Author Topic: Gale's SP/RP Fic & Writing Thread  (Read 596 times)

Gale

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Gale's SP/RP Fic & Writing Thread
« on: July 03, 2016, 07:59:26 AM »
reposting this 'cause i was kinda happy with it at the time of writing even tho i was sleep deprived af and whatnot

phoenix & meridian backstory fic, phee has a v glorified & distorted perception of meri and she is not actually that, er, sue-ish seeming. probably.


Repentance // Rebirth

It’s been nearly a year now since the illness had stolen into her life.

Its entrance had been heralded by a light splattering of coloured flecks across her skin, barely distinguishable from freckles. When they had first caught her notice, she’d dismissed the observation with indifference. By the end of the month, to her unnerved astonishment, they had multiplied—sweeping across the surface of her arms, crawling up her neck and around her torso in darkened, wispy coils that pulsated with a menacing magic, a life of their own. Mere weeks later, they had come to completely coat every visible part of her body, a sheen of seething, glimmering darkness, so that even the slightest glimpse of bare skin gave the viewer a nauseating sensation of vertigo. Each indistinct twitch of non-life, dancing across the tips of her nerves, singed her flesh, an omnipresent scorching heat. It compelled her to claw through that thin epidermis, urging her to bare muscle and sinew to cool, welcoming air, as though peeling herself apart, layer by layer, would somehow alleviate that impression of being ever-so-slowly burned alive. It was only then that she finally deemed it worthwhile to abandon her studies and seek out answers, instead of covering up more and more of her skin and hoping the phenomenon would be overlooked by the few others she interacted with in her days.

Ten months have crawled by since then, her dread swiftly mounting with their passing, and she thinks every once in a while that she might regret that decision. Her illness, she had discovered with no small amount of difficulty, is brought on by the malfunction of magic in the body, as one healer had explained to her with a voice saturated in pity. The disease is incredibly rare, he’d said, occurring solely in mages of certain unlikely lineages and disciplines, and even then the occurrences where it manifests are so few and far between that one shouldn’t expect to ever so much as hear of it in their lifetime. For those unfortunates who do contract it, it is incurable, to the extent of his knowledge, by anything less than a kiss of death.

A Necromancer she’d visited in her despair had suggested just that—that she allow his magic to stop her heart, cease her breath, for a mere few moments, and trust that he would wake her once the cursed sickness had retreated. It wouldn’t even hurt, ma belle, he’d crooned, draped in that bone-chilling aura of foreboding that he and all of his ilk seemed to possess. Not one to be taken for a fool any longer, she’d thanked him coldly for his kindness, then slipped away the moment he turned his eyes away. That had been a mere week ago, and she had thought then that she had reached the peak of her desperation, but now she curses her naivety in that encounter. Despite the vicious glint in the man’s eye, the near-certainty that he would have kept her lifeless remains for some sinister use instead of bringing her back, she knows that she would offer herself up to him without hesitation were she before him now, grasping wildly for even the barest chance of being cured, freed.

There are few options left that she knows of: an alchemy-adoring eccentric who’d squirrelled himself away halfway across the world to savour his research in solitude; a Sanomancy-prodigy recluse who’d renounced his magic after his family’s slaughter in the War; a handful of other names with fragile threads of possibility tangled along with them. Even if she was so hopeful as to think that she could convince any of them, beg for their help and be met with relenting acquiescence, she knows as a forgone conclusion that she would be dead before she could find them.

Instead, Phoenix casts away her pride, her morals, and any other such accessories useless to a dying woman, and seeks out her sister.

She despises herself for it—close to a decade has passed since she’d cloaked herself in enough courage to wrench herself from the side of she who Phoenix had once admired enough to name herself after, the one she’d then sworn never to return to again. It’s easier than she expects to track down whispers of her name, rumours of a ruthless woman who danced for her enemies upon the wind, one who set any who crossed her aflame and looked them all in the eyes while their lives and souls turned to ash. It’s been nine years and four months since she stood at her sister’s side, but she doesn’t think she’ll ever purge her memory of being witness, willing accomplice, to Meridian’s unconstrained cruelty, as much as she might try. Not for the first time nor the last does she wonder whether that could absolve her of responsibility—that facilitator she might have been, but never once one to end a life herself, and perpetually beleaguered by the guilt of that thereafter. A ridiculous, shameful notion. Her involvement could never be so easily excused and, Phoenix thinks, she wouldn’t like it to be either.

And following on the heels of that consideration is another: not for the first time nor the last, she wonders if she doesn’t deserve this fate. She’s not one for faith or superstition, would never go so far as to claim it to be the universe bestowing upon her what she was due, but maybe—maybe—if she renounced this search and accepted the inevitability of her death, it could serve as some form of repentance.

A voice calls her name just as she’s almost set her mind on leaving for home and resigning herself to death. It’s soft and chiming to her ears, speaking with aristocratic grace and familial tenderness, and complemented with a welcoming warmth that envelopes her body. It amazes Phoenix that her sister recognizes her at all—she’s aged years, her body frail and shuddering and cast in shadows of swirling pigment, her hair present only in short, scattered tufts across her scalp. Meri, meanwhile, is identical to the figure she’s cast in her memory, the one difference being a smile she decorates her features with now, one that tells of false guilelessness to an observer. And upon the sight, for an agonizing moment, Phoenix thinks she might have brushed against absolution of another kind—the only kind that might matter when her sister, her idol, is next to her. In its footsteps follows an instant of euphoria, basking in the notice of the one she’s lionized in lieu of any other.

The illusion is dissolved by another intrusion of searing pain, and with it the reminder of her current circumstance: Phoenix, in the last days of her life, gazing with longing adulation towards Meri, murderer. Her sister’s litany of greetings and exclamations, incoherent to her ears, falls into a lull, and gentle hands reach upwards to caress her face and examine what’s become of her. The concern in Meri’s ministrations scalds her when melded with the knowledge of all the horrors wrought by those same two hands; had she the energy to escape, she might have vanished herself from the site once more. Instead, Phoenix presents her confession to her, and eyes averted, beseeches her aid.

There’s a glimmer of what might be fear from Meri, but no hesitation to be seen when she proposes her solution with characteristic efficiency. Clever little Marie, and Phoenix recalls that girl from her childhood, ready for any situation imaginable with a beaming countenance that never could not be contagious. Despite the panic that constricts her lungs, weighs down her bones, Phoenix allows herself to be consoled; for all of her few faults, Meri can always be relied upon, and would not disappoint her with a matter so severe.

She’s left with few details about the sorcerer they’re to visit, and any curiosity of hers is tempered by a potent medley of apprehension and shame. Conversation between them is meagre, and along the way, the pair rests in a silence that could be read as amicable or tension-wrought; either is equally viable to Phoenix. Meri guides her to the doorway of an expansive residence, no doubt of some mage who’d prospered off of the bloodshed and chaos of war, and braces herself to call for its inhabitant. Idly, Phoenix notes the agitation that seeps unchecked from her every movement. Never in the most dire of situations does Meri display anything less than absolute confidence that borders on arrogance, and the departure is odd, if not slightly startling.

When a man emerges from the doorway, she’s jolted by the viciousness contained in his silent reception, unadulterated loathing and grief battling outrage in his expression. She’d presumed him to be an ally of Meri’s, but she’s only ever seen her sister’s victims, lone survivors, greet her with that potent concoction of utter revulsion. In her sweetest voice, reminiscent of the tinkling of the softest breeze against wind chimes, Meri implores him to stay his hand—and Phoenix, stricken into paralysis by the potency of his emotion, had overlooked his readying magic to wield against them. A gust of wind spirits away any utterances that emerge from her lips, delivering them in confidentiality to his ear. Somehow, Meri achieves what Phoenix would have believed to be impossible, and the mage invites his family’s murderer and her grateful accomplice into his home.

Meri forbids her from entering the adjacent room they leave to for negotiation, and she detects only low murmurs interspersed with occasional vitriolic eruption, followed by Meri’s hushed elocution—soothing, beckoning, persuading. Sitting in wait, she’s left with little else but to reflect on the hours passed. By the time Meri emerges, Phoenix has once again dispelled her glorifying reverence of her kin, enough so that she recognizes her for what she is. The harsh revelation, her second of the sort, ushers in with it the return of her bitterness towards Meri: enchanter, manipulator, and life-ruiner, she who weaves the slaughter of men into marvel-filled performance.

He approaches, lays out the terms as though he is offering her some condolence—for what tragedy, Phoenix isn’t certain. He would heal her, yes, but she must return—one day every year, to strengthen the spell and ward off the disease within her. There might be no cure, he admits, but he knows his power to be enough to chase away her suffering and mend her ailing form again and again; Phoenix stays the skepticism that immediately propels itself to the forefront of her thoughts. Meri has yet to address her through this explanation, and with her bowed head and closed eyes, Phoenix thinks she might be sending off a prayer. With a command contained in a nigh-imperceptible gesture, he indicates that she should explain the rest—the price for this exercise of power.

Her words quivering with terror, Meri’s usual composure has vanished without a trace. I’m staying with him, she tells her, my freedom for your life. Left unmentioned is the implication of the obvious—that she’d face inevitable retribution at his hands for her past deeds. Phoenix thinks she should comfort her, thank her for a sacrifice she could never repay even if she cared to. Instead, she’s confronted with a sudden, unshakeable conviction that this is all either of them were ever owed. To Meri, it’s naught more than the inescapable consequence of her reckless savagery, one she with all her cunning must have readied herself for before each bloody battle. And to herself, Phoenix, it’s liberation. With this knowing that her sister could not haunt her days any longer, she might even dare to chance calling this an opportunity for rebirth.

Assaulted with a most unusual combination of contrition and expectation, her answer to Meri consists solely of silence. The mage—and dimly, she registers that she has yet to so much as learn his name—doesn’t bide his time to watch if she’ll bid her sister any goodbye, and she barely just discerns the feeling of a firm grip against her wrists before her senses are drowned out by battering waves of magic. It stings almost unbearably, boils within her cells, and she’s nearly convinced herself that Meri isn’t the only one he’s set on transforming into an outlet for his grief. It relents, though—not soon enough, and she’s fallen to her knees, and with every remnant of energy within her she gasps for air and for life and babbles on with incoherent curses and praises, side by side. Gradually, her raving is subdued, and now she inspects her own body with incredulity at her restored health.

Meanwhile, he takes hold of Meri, cupping her face in a display that could almost be mistaken for loving. Threads of iridescence weave into her blood, and her strength seeps away from her, her entire frame falling limp against him. She staggers as though drugged, jabbering on in disjointed fragments, erratic gaze flickering from corner to corner. In her last seconds of lucidity, Meri calls out for Lucifer, pleading to Phoenix that she might find her, crying out to the devil’s name like that of a lost lover. Then her eyes lose their focus and her body convulses, stiffens, and her mouth opens to release a keening, agony-filled whine.

The crescendoing noise irritates her hearing; she blames this for the shivers that creep along her spine, and speaks a hushed thank you to the mage, hesitant to encroach upon what seems to her to be his long-awaited moment of jubilation.

With the screams of her sister ringing in her ears, Phoenix turns and steps away from the scene, then vanishes away to construct and savour this new life of hers.