Light and darkness

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Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#21 Post by Eileena » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:09 pm

* Whoom whoom whoom whoom*

The steady rhythm of her headaches sends her back in time.
Panicky voices among the sailors who have never seen a pirate ship up close. Eileena can hear the captain booming orders. He is mostly ignored, although his orders do make sense. When people are obviously unprepared to fight, there is absolutely no use trying to be brave.

She has been told to stay below deck in hopes she will be left alone.
The healer knows better than to disagree.
She also knows the chances are slim.

Creaking and gnashing the ships hug and her sensitive ears pick up many more footsteps.
Calculated.
Clear.
Almost crisp.

There is no bartering. The pirates will simply take the cargo and leave. Any disagreements will be solved in blood.

Eileena holds her staff with both hands. Her thumb strokes the carvings she has spent weeks on. Whether or not they are accurate depictions, the little faces in the wood are what remains of her family and husband.

Boots weigh heavy on the stairs down. The white lady takes a deep breath, her mouth dry.

"There is nothing here! This is the spare room fer when we dock in AGH!"
The argument of the sailor trying to steer them away from her is cut short.

Eileena gasps. Her grasp intensifies. She reaches out instinctively, already knowing Arend's Song from before. They sing together and somehow his melody is even clear from a distance.
There! He is still alive! She can hear the notes skipping.
She wants to move.
Seconds count.
But he tried to stall them for her.
Maybe they will leave.
Maybe.

"Spare room, hm? Looks to me like they were withholding some precious cargo!" The grin is audible in the voice.
They obviously did not leave.

Eileena lashes out with her staff.
WHACK! One against the head.
A quick turn to use the other side and WHACK! To the other side!

A * thump* and the man is down for now at least. Quickly the healer moves towards another fallen body. Her hands touch Arend softly. She encounters the sticky warmth she already expected.

I know your Song.
Allow me.
There is little time...

There is no knowing when the next man will come down to check on his companion. Eileena breathes and
moves
fast
She can hear where the melody is waning, which notes are missing. She knows where they should be. Quickly she sings to his system, reminding his body of being whole. Already steps are coming down the stairs.

"Lookatit! She's closin 'is wound! Witchin woman!"

Almost stumbling over the basic melody that has no words Eileena pulls Arend out of the danger zone.
Right before they are disturbed.
Right before something hits her on the head.

"Better take this one to the cap'n."

Silence.

* Whoom whoom whoom whoom *

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#22 Post by Eileena » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:24 pm

Dreamshards floated by while Eileena's body and mind tried to recuperate from the excesses of her recent actions. She tossed around restlessly in her bed, words escaping her dreams in the dark hours. Days passed in between waking and sleeping.

"They are using you!" Words of truth from Nomine, but she cannot believe it. How can she not trust a god?
"False gods!" He emphasises, trying to keep her by his side, but she is called and must go.


"They were false." The healer moaned, still feeling the pain of that moment.

A fool she is, her drive to help opening the door to leeches and miscreants. But people have a spark! They all have that spark! They cannot be all that bad!
"The world is not your responsiblity." Nathanial reminds her, his deep voice resonating in her heart. "There are more healers. It is commendable you wish to help, but help yourself first."

She feels her father's hand on her shoulder. "Sweetheart, you have grown so much. You can do so much. Yet never think you are the only one who can save the world. Learn to share the load. You are not alone."

But I am! They do not hear the Song! How am I to learn when no one can teach me?
"Trial and error, little blackbird, trial and error. And if you fall, there will always be someone to catch you."

Her father's voice fades where her husband takes over: "Strength in unity. What does that mean to ya?"

Taking care of each other, being there, finding strength in each other, managing the whole by delegating the pieces. To each their own. To each their strength. Together invincible.

"So why are you still allowing people to use you?" Nathanial interrupts again.

I am not! She wants to scream.


"I am not!" She cried, turning around again.

"Why are you still waiting?"

I have nowhere to go!

"To each their strength...you are more than a tool. You have more than healing skills. Put your mind to it!" Her father's stern voice admonishes her.

"If it works, use it." Nomine agrees.

Why can't they see face to face when they agree so easily here?
How do they see so much in me?
I trust them.
I love them.
Trust.
There must be more.
Why do I still wait here?
When it is unlikely I will be found?
Done waiting.
I am done following someone elses path.
I
am
done.

Pale eyes shot open. "I am done." Eileena repeated, surprised by the calmth in her own voice. She had no clue who was in the room with her or if anyone was there at all. "Call the captain. We must speak."

She threw the dice boldly before she could reconsider. Now to find out if she could change the game.

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#23 Post by Eileena » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:30 pm

Nothing turned out as I expected it to.
Most hopes will remain dreams.
Yet...

I wished to negotiate with the captain, but she beat me to it.
Her reasoning is sound, even if I do not like that particular sound.
I have become a liability.
By killing Benny I have shown my hand.

Let that be the reason if she needs one, for the outcome will be the same:
I am going home.

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#24 Post by Eileena » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:50 pm

The world exploded!
From one excited moment of almost freedom to utter chaos.

While captain Stormwake fought off invaders on shore more than a dozen nasty imps entered the Salty Mare. Completely surprised by the attack in a neutral port the sailors did their utter best to repel the outworldy attackers.
The demonspawn moved fast.
Too fast for the mortals.
And before there was a chance for the healer to help, the world was snuffed out.

Eileena slowly came to her senses again. It smelled damp around her. The hard rocks below her body were slippery.*Cave?* She wondered. Her head still hurt.
There was another scent, acrid, that definitely did not befit the surroundings.
And a sound.
Chuckling?

"Ahhh, good to see you come to, sweet lady." A cheerful voice sounded. There was a slight echo.

Must be a cave. The white haired woman moved her head slowly, trying to get an idea of the air currents. She might be able to figure out which way the exit was. So close...SO close...and now what? It pained her to think that an hour might have made the difference between freedom and the latest confrontation on the docks of Anyport.

"Now, I do believe we do not have much time, so I would like to get straight to the point." The chipper voice came somewhat closer. "You will have to forgive me for not helping you up. I know what you are able to do when touching." There was a slight chill to his words, for it was definitely a man speaking, quite possibly a gnome.

The healer breathed in sharply. This had been planned, then. But by whom? Had Stormwake broken her word? It seemed unlikely.

"And you are..." She tried to keep her voice calm, although the thought of yet another chapter in captivity made her want to scream.

"Fennelwald, Horatio Fennelwald. We have met, in a way, but I do not think you were thinking clearly at that time." He sounded awfully happy.

Eileena swallowed. Her mouth was dry despite the humid air. "Why am I here?"

Another chuckle. "Oh, sweet thing, if it makes you feel better, you can make me out to be the antagonist, but you...you are far from the innocent heroine, are you?"

The woman tilted her head, her heart pounding faster. What did this man know?

The voice came closer while she got into sitting position, careful not to cut herself on the sharp rocks. "Freehold has few secrets. And apparently all my work, all the careful crafting of this beautiful myth of the singing healer, the lady in white, the secret source of life, has been undone because our sweet songbird has another side to her...ah, my dear, you have cost me dearly."

Her heart skipped a beat. Frustration over all her lost years spilled over. "Cost you? I have cost you? Can we speak about all the years you have stolen from me?" She strained to get the words out.

"Mmm, I would think a little gratitude is in place here." The voice sounded dangerously confident. "From where I am standing, I see a stupid girl going on a dangerous trip, only to be accosted by pirates. Imagine what these pirates would have done to the stupid girl had not protection been thrown up, hm? You seem to be in one piece. You have enjoyed these years in safety, hm? As far as I am concerned, we have given you these years, not taken them! And I knew the story would crumble at some point, as all myths do, but woman, did you have to save Stormwake? Benny would have been good for another year or so at the very least! But no, you had to ...kill...him...and for what?"

The information in this little monologue was overwhelming. He was behind Benny's plotting? But...he worked with the captain too! Who has betrayed who here?

"Anyway!" The cheerfulness returned to his voice. "Let's talk about repaying your debt, shall we? Can't have an open tab after all." It sounded like he sat down at a safe distance. Eileena could not feel anything within reach to help her take the man out. She was so utterly done with being the damsel in distress! Maybe she could move in closer, get within reach to touch him...

She shivered.
So easy to jump to this thought.
Too easy.
He is right. I am no innocent...gods, what have I become?

"I will tell you what." The man spoke amicably. "You just show me how you ended poor Benny's life and we will call it even, hm? I am very interested indeed in how you turn a healing song into a deadly one."

Her pale eyes turned in the gnome's direction. She had no inclination of reliving that moment. None at all. It was not something she could explain anyway. There was no reason to believe it would help her cause here either.

"No." She shook her head.

A short silence.

"No?" Horatio repeated. "My, that surprises me. The little songbird grows claws, hm?"

It irked her to hear him call her that. 'Blackbird' was her father's nickname for Eileena. None had since touched that badge of honor. A waft of air distracted her.
An opening! People might still come!

"Since we already established you are not particularly innocent, nor in any position to negotiate, I wonder what your reasoning is. Please explain and after that I will ask you again. Think hard before you turn me down, sweet lady. I am offering you a chance to work with me. Far better deal than you ever had with Stormwake. " The words sounded so callous, but they sent a shiver up her spine. Small he might be, this man had an ace up his sleeve or he was the best bluffer since the coming of Nomine.

Eileena got up on her knees. The ground did not feel very stable. After so many years aboard a ship she was not quite sure whether it was the actual ground or just her distorted balance. Would it be false to hope Stormwake would come after them? If the captain found out she had been thwarted by her companion, she might want to have a word with him. Was there a way to stall this man?

You have waited so long.
Are you really going to wait again?


She swallowed again and tried to ease the voice of fear. "I...could not show you. There is nothing to show if you cannot hear it." The excuse sounded lame, even to herself.

Again that annoying chuckle. "Oh but I believe everyone can learn, hm? There is no such thing as mystical abilities, sweetheart. We live and we learn. Even magic has its rules and everything can be analyzed and thus learned, given time. I've seen better healers, love. Far more time efficient than you. But the song adds that nice touch of the mystique that people long for. This is what makes you so interesting for the role. Yet...you squandered that mystique when you killed Benny, so what do we have left? A little research opportunity, if you will. For if we go through this together, you might actually learn to control that other side of the coin. Imagine how easy it would have been for you had you been able to affect the entire crew without actually touching them? Imagine the possibilities, the safety!"

The realization somehow hurt. Of course Eileena knew there were many more healers in the world, most of which had talents she could only dream of. But to have it spelled out in front of her after her moderate talents had been used for so long, was just nasty.
His talk about control hit another nerve. He was right, of course. With the right skills she would never have ended up in this mess in the first place. Maybe she should...

Hold on...
Eileena sat up straight, suddenly aware of the subtle push inside her head. Maybe I should nothing! He was not offering her anything. This Fennelwald was just going to use her like Stormwake! She breathed in deeply and pushed back, sending a mental wave to surround her, inspired by the song of the Sea she had learned to understand.

"Whoah, sweety, not so hard!" Fennelwald laughed. "Ah well, it was worth a try, hm? So this is the famous priestly shielding I have heard so much about? I guess we can disperse with the niceties now. Let's see how that shield holds then. I will get my payment, you understand? And really, I am not asking for much."

The shocked healer tried to keep her breathing level. A mind mage! Gods almighty, will it never end? This reads like the worst story in the world!

"If you can do this, what do you need me for?" She countered, fully aware that anyone able to enter another mind would have the power to end that life.

That annoying chuckle. "Oh, fel usually shows, sweetheart. A song however, does not."

Fel.
Of course.
That smell.

It also explained why he had no need for human help in here. He could probably conjure up his own assistants.

"You wish an invisible killer." Her voice sounded strained.

"Well, that sounds a bit crude, but yes, I suppose so. M-hm."

Eileena shook her head but was interrupted by Horatio: "I know what you are going to say and don't you worry: I know you are going to tell me this is something you would never agree to, bla-bla-bla. I know your act. I merely wish to understand how this works. That is all. See how little I ask of you?"

He sounded so soothing.
Yet the waves crashed down on another attempt to enter her mind.
Eileena frowned and concentrated, using the rhythm of the sea that might be unpredictable to those not accustomed to her waves. She was not going to let herself be distracted again by his talk!

He has told me too much.
He will not let me leave this place as soon as he has what he wants.
Think...think!


In silence a battle unfolded with Horatio poking here and there from a safe distance while the blind singer held his attacks at bay. He increased intensity, realizing the flexibility of the rolling shield would work against him. Yet every time he got close, there was only time for a snippet of information before he was pushed back again.

Eileen was wrecking her brain. Fight training, what did Nomine tell us? Use the other person's strength against them. Maybe there is no need to touch him! What if I use this strand of his own energy as an opening to him instead? But what if I fail? Then he will have what he wants from first hand experience!

Nomine.


The name echoed in Horatio's mind. He blinked his eyes and withdrew before Eileena could execute her plan. Laughter bubbled up from inside of him until it filled the cavern.

"No, no, no, this is too rich. NOMINE? You know this man? Nomine, guild leader of Starlight, Stormwind, boss to Tikal Silvermist from Starlight, Stormwind? Oh, such a small world this is!"

Eileena froze. She had been thinking too loudly. But how did this man know Starlight?
Unless...

"Oh, sweet songbird, if only you had known. Now I understand why mister Silvermist insisted on seeing our mystery healer. I guess you killing off Benny actually saved my neck. How fortunate! Oh, but this changes things...maybe there will be a use for you after all!"

The blind woman scrambled up, trying to feel her way around, shuffling in the direction of the draft when she walked straight into something cold.

"Ekkeris, hold." The command sounded and strong, humanoid arms pinned her to something foul enough to make her skin crawl all over. A quick try to wriggle out of its grasp only made the creature hold her closer. It was hard to breathe.

"Alright, first we finish our business here and if you behave I might have another talk with mister Tikal Silvermist, Starlight, Stormwind about your release, hm?"

Eileena could not move inside the demonic embrace. The knowledge that Tikal was on her trail was almost too much to process. Again there was the nagging feeling she had been so close to actual freedom in Anyport. Yet the knowledge was also terrifying. What was Fennelwald planning for the feline Starlighter?

All the more reason to not give in! She stayed silent.

"Cat got your tongue?" The little man giggled. "Pardon the pun. Now, where were we?"

It was all the warning the healer got before Fennelwald renewed his attack. She threw up wave after wave of shielding, holding him at bay. If he had tried to unsettle her by sharing all this information, he had failed, for the blind woman was more determined than ever to keep him busy as long as she could.

A thrill of annoyance snuck through the probing. "Well, this is tedious. I really don't have all day for this, dearie. Ekkeris, distraction."

Without any hesitation the tall demon grabbed her right arm and twisted it painfully on her back. Eileena yelped. Another yank and she heard the snap before she felt the sharp pain of her upper arm breaking. It spread like wildfire through her arm, up to her shoulder while her fingers were suddenly useless. Her head swam, momentarily distracted by the unexpected brutal assault.

"That's enough. Need her awake." The voice sounded distant. Eileena tried to recollect herself. There was no use trying to heal herself. She had never managed before. The woman had to get her shields back up!

Suddenly there was a presence in her mind.
It whispered.
Tugged the memories of Benny's attack on the captain
Enlarged the threat he posed.
Invited her to act.
Eileena felt a panick growing. There was no time!
Forced her to act.

Use their own strength against them, a familiar voice whispered.

She turned from the pain to the memory of the big sailor and shoved him towards the mental invader! If he wanted Benny, she would use him as a make shift shield until she got her own back up.
It worked momentarily, the dark whisper staggering for just a second in surprise. The Song of the Sea welled up, getting Eileena back on her mental feet. It was hard repelling the intrusion now that he was already in her system, but she gave the waves the strength of the deep, with an undercurrent to pull her adversary under when he'd least expect it. Slowly she was gaining ground from the foul being that tried to twist her mind.

"Ekkeris!" It sounded properly agitated.
The demon let go of her arm.
Pain shot through her system, breaking her concentration. Tears streamed down her face.
Agony followed as Fennelwald entered full force.

I have you now. The cold whispered as it spread, feeding on her memories, twisting them into caricatures. Sing, songbird, show me your little trick. It urged her as nerves were triggered and engulfed her in hot flames of his making. You will not last. Save yourself.

Eileena screamed.

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#25 Post by Eileena » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:34 am

Chit's voice.
We got you.
You are home.

I cannot describe it.
It keeps echoing.
Home.

Pain washed away. I thought it was Irenya.
It was Lia.
A friend of Tikal.

Tikal, who seems to have tracked me through the songs I left.
It worked.

I cannot sleep.
My body will not stop shaking.
As if I am waiting for something to happen.
It is as if I can still feel the warlock's touch inside.
It hurts.
Inside.
I do not know if I can go outside.
The ground feels strange. It waves without waves.

Nomine asks me how broken I am inside, mind and soul.
Truth is, I do not know.
I am sane.
But
The world is so strange.
I know who I am, where I am, except for the snippets after dozing off.
I am home.
But I cannot feel it.

I hear Nomine's hand sliding down towards his belt.
Is his knife there?
There are doubts.
I understand.
It feels awkward.
I am nervous.
Afraid.
So very afraid to be turned away now
After long
Too long.

I know the signs.
I have counselled people who have been in captivity.
I would rather not talk.
Not think.
Not feel.
Just pick up where I left off here.
And so I try talking.
Thinking.
My mind goes in a thousand directions. My words are inadequate.
I want to stop trembling!

And then I hold him.
He holds me.
Gods up above, to feel his arms!
I am leaning against his chest.
I hear his breath, his heartbeat.
I smell the leather, the sweat. I feel the lines in his face. I may drown in this embrace and I would let him.

His hand on my neck.
The captain's strong hand on my neck, very able to snap it if need be.
I know he will not hesitate.
When need be.

I do not know what will happen next or where we will go from here.
But I felt him around me.
I will fight my way back
To feel it again.

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#26 Post by Eileena » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:37 pm

Slowly the gaps in my timeline are being filled. It was the hawk that brought my song to Tikal and he followed up on it.
Everything seems to have worked out in the end.
Now to feel it.

Tikal does not seem to think I will be used by Fennelwald.
This is a relief.
On many counts.

I do know one thing.
My heart skipped a beat when he walked back in.
I love him still.
I wish to be with him.

But there is a danger.
One where I move from one powerful person to the next.
No longer just an asset.
I must be more than that.

So I must give him time.
Give myself time.
And win my way back
In truth
Not out of fear.

He is worth it.
Now to find my own worth.

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#27 Post by Eileena » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:34 am

The days are endless.
The nights even more so.

It is strange to hear voices on the stone again. Sometimes it helps to just listen. It is harder to talk.
I am a stranger to these people.

Nomine has kept my staff. They seem to have sent it to him with word of my apparent death.
I cannot begin to imagine how that must have felt.
He might have turned a switch that cannot be turned back. I know this is a possibility. I have prepared for it, yet to live it, is different.

It is time to go outside.
The wooden faces on the staff are my guide.
I will go outside.
It should not be that much different from going on deck.
I have left the cabin often enough.
Come
Let us take a step.

This is the door.
I know this door. I have been through it a million times.
Many a good time, some hard.
This is no different.
Hello door.
This is the handle. It is smooth from good use.
I can push it down.
This will make the door open.
There is a world outside that should be worth stepping into.
Push it down.
Hear the click.

There.
I can open the door now.
Pull it open.
I can smell the air outside. There are voices, people passing by.
Come now, open that door.
Please.
Open that door!

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#28 Post by Eileena » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:40 am

Visitors arrive from time to time. They ask many of the same things, yet the phrasing is so different that my answers follow suit. It is not surprising, perhaps, there are many different interpretations of what the years were like.
The most harsh word used comes from Tikal:
Slave.

Thinking of it, it makes me sick to the core.
I wish to brush it off.
Find another way of phrasing.

Yet when all is said and done, this is exactly what it was. No matter how the captain invited me to her table, there was no other way to go. The captain's pet, the white healer. The names may differ, but the outcome is the same: I was bound until that one moment where another man's death set me free.
Yes, Tikal, you may be right.
Maybe it is the word I need to come to terms with before I can leave it behind.
Perhaps I cannot move forward until
Until what?
How does one come to grips with this?
I accepted what happened, for there is nothing I can do to change the past.
But it goes further than acceptance, does it not?

Chit came by to visit me.
We spoke of many things.
I understand what happened now before I left.
In the end it was my own decision, but I let my insecurities be fed by words from another.
And Chit...bless her, she heard my silent need.
She got up and put her arms around me.
Oh, to feel!
To simply feel the touch for comfort!
I wish I could feel the entire world under my fingers!
I wish to reach out. It has been so long.
And yet I sit here, unmoving!

Chit will see to it deliveries are made. She also knows of a tailor who can help me get my wardrobe in order. If anything, I would very much prefer getting rid of what the captain arranged for me. The smell of the ship lingers.
The memories do.

Perhaps it is not wise to accept the offer for help. For it would surely force me outside if Chit did not help me by bringing everything to this doorstep.
But I welcome it.
I cannot fight everything at the same time.
I cannot win this alone.

The scribe that came with Liathéne's letter has written a note to father for me.
He has not yet been found.
I fear for him.

I do not know where Nomine stands after all of this.
But if the insecurity about Nathanial's life is an indication, I wonder if he will ever recover.

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#29 Post by Eileena » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:02 pm

Counting
People were counting on me
How many have lost faith?

Counting
I count the hours until I can spend time with Nomine.
Yet this will require stepping beyond that infernal threshold!

Counting.
I count my steps to the door and back.
Until another useless day is over

Chit came by again. She brought supplies and pie. I am not sure I can still cook. It is hard to decide what to make, so I will eat some bread instead.
She told me how to offer people pie if I did not know what to say. An interesting introduction to some new names in the guild who wished to meet me.
They wish to have a look at me.
Review my mental state.

Am I ready to have someone so close?
The sharpness of his intrusion still hurts. The raw fear tastes bad.
He was inside my mind, inside my very being !
How long
So long

I said no.
But they are counting on me to grow towards yes

Counting
I account for nothing
For I left
And was returned damaged goods.

Eileena
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Re: Light and darkness

#30 Post by Eileena » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:54 pm

The warlock might not have a need for you, but we do.

Goodness.
Those are words to warm the heart.
Thank you, Lumi.

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