light the way

Started by Thanatus Essair at Apr 06, 2019 1:18 am
Einmanudur 1, 76
9 Posts

Thanatus Essair

21 Posts 24 Years Young Male Hume Commoner House Essair 6' Nomad

It is better to die with a purpose, than to live without one.

A couple cubes of cheese, leftover from dinner, a few sliced tomatoes, fresh from the garden (he had not, for the record, swiped those out of the garden specifically for her-except maybe he did), a bit of turkey, and about a quarter cup of goat milk... that wasn't perfect, but, it was better. He'd already toasted the bread, to a nice even crisp, leaving the inside still soft, sprinkled some minced garlic and a bit of parsley on top, for flavor. That should do it. Really, he may just be delaying the inevitable. It may be kinder, ultimately, to just kill her and get it over with. No one would ask any questions. They all expected, sooner or later, she'd lose her mind, and that'd be that, or she'd starve, and that'd still be that.

It didn't sit right. She didn't have a collar, or one of those tattoos that body slaves were often given, nor a brand. She was well-educated, from what he could tell, spoke in a very refined manner, there was no way she was a slave. Even if she was, it made no sense to him, why someone would toss a slave, ostensibly a sizeable investment, into a tower, and forget they existed. How did anyone go completely unnoticed? How did no one else care? Many of the slaves didn't even know she was up there, which implied she'd been there quite some time. How was it that she was almost completely forgotten? The blood games ended nameless people's lives all the time; Dalmascans didn't need to do it outside the arena, too, but Thanatus should know better, than that.

About fifteen hessions; that was the value of life.

He released a long breath, gathering up the small plate, setting the milk to one side, and taking the glass of water in the other hand. It was some work, making sure he could get up there, without anyone finding out what he was doing, but, strangely, not a single Warwicke had bothered to pay him any mind, since assigning him to the lady in the tower. The slaves all said, he was wasting his time, risking his neck for nothing, but, Thanatus didn't feel that way. Someone, somewhere, knew who she was. Someone, somewhere, missed her. That was enough for him. He had no one and nothing-and his life really didn't matter, in the long run. Giving a future to those that wanted one... and she most certainly hadn't given up, just yet.

Perhaps it wouldn't be much longer, before she did. ... the Warwickes didn't pay him any mind, or her... maybe he could get her out... he mulled that over, as he went up the twelve flights of stairs, stopping at the grate, unlocking it and nudging it open. "I'm a bit late, tonight," he said, scooting through and closing it behind him. The quiet clank of it locking sounded, as he carefully made his way across her ice prison. She'd built an igloo, to one side. "But I brought surprises, this time!" Sometimes, he couldn't manage to scrounge up as much. Sometimes, all she got was bread, because he couldn't find anything else. Thankfully, it wasn't too constant an occurrence.


Ksenia Essair

queen mother 19 Posts 45 Years Young Female Mage Warlord House Essair 5' 6 Ice Affinity Dalmasca

But you will not make me fall.

What day was it? Come to think of it, what year was it?

The woman had lost track, quite some time ago. Somewhere, buried under the several layers of ice, each a slightly different shade of frosted blue, which she currently paced back and forth over, were the scratches. Tallies that she'd used to keep track of the days, as the days turned into weeks, into months, into years... she had lost track sometime around June of 69. Or was it 68? She'd forgotten, now. Several layers down, somewhere toward the window, was a cobra etched into the ice. The cobra was important. Sometimes, the woman remembered why. They are here, a voice whispered, in the back of her mind, and sometimes, she remembered who they were. And yet other times, she forgot.

There were many things the woman forgot. Forgetfulness was, by now, a familiar, almost comforting companion.

Window, she called it, in her head, as if the small hole in the wall was really capable of qualifying as one. She could hardly fit her arm through it, albeit, nowadays, she could get her arm most of the way through. The rest of her, well, that wasn't going to fit, no matter how skinny she got. Had she lost weight? Certainly, her clothes fit her a bit looser than normal, her hair limp, brittle, and lacking its usual sheen, blue eyes missing the glint in them, sunken and hollow. She paced, some more. About four layers ago, she'd buried the last of her small mattress beneath the ice, and had somehow managed to control her ice sorcery well enough to create a small igloo-like structure, to one side. Eventually, that, too, would be buried, but if the fates were at all merciful, the woman would be dead by then.

They are here. She'd never see them, again. It didn't matter, anymore. Despite her best effort, she'd lost, but wasn't that to be expected? Only one woman in Dalmasca had ever won anything, and this woman... she was no Asheron. She was no dragon. She made not a roar, but a yip.

"What?" she asked, turning around, as the new slave that brought her food came in. She remembered, once, being given more than this, and sometimes, he seemed to try adding to it. The woman worried he'd get himself in trouble, for her sake. Ah, she was close upon the heels of death. Or perhaps, more accurately, death was close upon her heels, but the woman wasn't running from it, not anymore. They are here. They'd stay there. She'd stay here. And that was that. She didn't remember his name. She didn't remember her own, now.

Presents, he said. Ah, he'd gotten hold of something besides bread! Even when full, she could still eat more, she thought, if given the opportunity. "Milk!" Oh, milk was so rare a treat! Careful not to knock the plate out of his hands, or displace him, she took the small cup of milk, and downed the entire thing. Goat milk, it was, but it was better than water. The woman was so sick of water. "You shouldn't," she said. "You are young. Barely a man. I can't remember how old I am, now, but, you are young enough to be my son, I'm sure. Don't waste your life on mine... it ended a long time ago." Ah... yes. It had. She held her hand out, her fingers moving just slightly in the air, sparkles of tiny snowflake dancing over her hand. The ice and snow were a constant companion, too. How lucky it was, she ended up with the one affinity that didn't require a pre-existing source.

They are here.
Mommy, why do I have to die?

"Kassandros..." Yes... they. Her sons... some of them, anyway. She had another, somewhere. His name was something with a C, but it came and it went. "Sorry, I got distracted," as always she did. "I've forgotten your name. What is it?"

Thanatus Essair

21 Posts 24 Years Young Male Hume Commoner House Essair 6' Nomad

It is better to die with a purpose, than to live without one.

Pacing, again. Thanatus patiently waited, until she registered that he was there, shuffling to one side, and watching her. Every day, of course, it was a toss-up, what she'd remember and what she'd forgotten. Sadly, she never did seem to remember her own name. It seemed somehow rude, to refer to her as 'the woman,' or 'her.' At least he didn't need to address her by name-at the very least, that gave him some small comfort. He could skirt around not knowing her name without accidentally insulting or confusing her. Very little seemed to upset her, though. He supposed it wouldn't have mattered, either way.

He smiled, a bit, as she noticed the goat milk, waiting until she'd taken it before setting the plate and the water down, to the side. She tended to pace around, a lot, often talking about whatever it was that crossed her mind, and nibbling bits and pieces here and there. It wasn't like Thana had anywhere else to be, and being honest, he enjoyed his time up here. Certainly, she wasn't terribly unintelligent, wasn't boring to listen to. Actually, he hadn't had anyone be so excited to have a conversation with him.

A frown crossed his face, a flicker of anger, as always slipped in sooner or later. The tower was wearing on her as much as the lack of interaction and proper food were. He probably was young enough to be her son; he wondered, not for the first time, if she had sons. That might be a viable option, if she had sons somewhere... surely, a son would want his mother back? Children never really stopped needing their parents. Dalmasca was such a crap-shoot, though, it was hard to say if they had a decent relationship with one another. She seemed kind enough, had a bit of a maternal streak to her, but, admittedly, he didn't know much about her, aside from what he'd seen the last few weeks, and who knew, how much she'd changed. "Mine ended, too," he answered, softly, not minding too much, if it got lost in the nebulous mess of thought that her mind was, now. She hadn't always been like this-at one point, he remembered her being much more lucid and aware, seeming to remember more things, and as time went on, it all filtered through her mind like it was sand in a net.

Kassandros? That was a new name. Obviously, it wasn't hers, it sounded masculine. "It's fine," Thana replied. "I'm called Thanatus, miss. If you don't mind me asking, who is Kassandros?" Someone she knew? Maybe... maybe it'd give him a lead, on where to take her, because, Thanatus wasn't sure how much longer he could watch her stay up here and die. And the worst part was, it'd take her several more weeks, before she did, if he was guessing right. It wasn't like he'd really gotten attached to her. They hardly knew one another, and she barely remembered him, on good days. It just wasn't right. And those that sat by and did nothing about it, they were just as bad as those that'd done it in the first place. Blind compliance and acceptance were just as bad as torturing and murdering themselves.

Dalmasca had, most likely, broken the vast majority of the slaves, here. Most were too afraid to do anything. Thanatus was not. True, he probably should've been. Nobody said he was doing the smart thing, least of all him. But he was doing the right thing. He'd get her out. Somehow. ... no, he knew how. If he timed it right, he could even catch it during the guard shift. There was a shed in the back, made of wood, the wall went too far down to get under it, but he could get over it... if he was careful.

Yes, he'd get her out of here. But he needed to know where to take her.

Ksenia Essair

queen mother 19 Posts 45 Years Young Female Mage Warlord House Essair 5' 6 Ice Affinity Dalmasca

But you will not make me fall.

If she heard his murmur, it didn't seem to sink in, one moment there in her head, and the next, filtered right back out. Many things flitted into her mind, and left just the same, because there was, not often, anything the woman truly wanted to hold onto. She may not remember this man's name, much of the time, may not even fully remember that he was real, that he wasn't a figment of her imagination, some odd mental specter her mind conjured in its loneliness, but she remembered that he listened. The woman was half mad, by now, many would say. Her mental acuity glimmered for a moment, and was gone, in a constant cycle, sometimes in quite rapid succession. She was there, physically, but her mind was always a thousand miles away.

They are here.

Thanatus... yes, that was his name. She still couldn't remember her own. "Thana," she decided, tone light and airy, as always it was. "I like that. Is that your real name?" She thought she remembered that slaves were called one thing, but their parents had named them something else. It was quite rude to just randomly change someone's name because one felt like it. Unless, of course, he preferred Thanatus. It was difficult to say. The woman was not a mind-reader, by a long shot.

Kassandros? The woman paused, for a moment, in her pacing, eventually kneeling down to pick up a piece of cheese and a slice of tomato, idly nibbling on them. Kassandros... who was Kassandros?
He knows a lot.
Too much.

The light from the shadows has come.

"A light," she answered, softly, returning to her pacing. "The light. The light from the shadows." What did that mean? He was important. Icarus and Cygnus... who was the fourth one? The cobra... but what was the cobra? No. Don't get distracted. Who was the fourth one? Cy... Cyp... "Cyprian," yes, "Kassandros, Icarus, and Cygnus. My sons. Cyprian is my oldest." Yes, now she remembered. How'd she forget them? Everything slipped away. Where were they?

They are here, they are here, they are right here...

They weren't here.

Thanatus Essair

21 Posts 24 Years Young Male Hume Commoner House Essair 6' Nomad

It is better to die with a purpose, than to live without one.

That was a new shortening. Thanatus blinked, for a moment, in surprise, but eventually, he smiled a bit. It was kind of cute. Thana... he could get used to it, and he'd admit, at least in his head, that he was so okay with the random nickname, because she'd come up with it. Alright, maybe he had gotten a bit attached. It was obvious, she was lonely, and maybe that was coloring her interactions with him-as far as he could tell, no one else interacted with her. Still, she had been kind to him, in her distant way, somewhat maternal, really. That was what made him think she might be a mother, to someone.

"It is," he answered. Thanatus actually wasn't his real name, but, he didn't remember his real name anymore, and he thought it might be more confusing, trying to explain that. In a few minutes, she'd forget she asked, anyway.

The light from the shadows? His gaze narrowed, slightly, more in thought, watching her pace around, apparently trying to remember something. He could be patient. She forgot things, his name, what day it was, what he was there for, that her bed was under fourteen layers of ice (last he counted, at least), where they were. Her forgetting, it was nothing new, not for him, probably not for her, either. If he went the back way, he'd have to figure out how to get past that, without one of the other Houses around noticing. Technically, they'd be trespassing... it'd be easier, if he could get her to the street, and then take her into the commons district, somewhere, maybe hide around the docks. The worst of the slums in Nydema may be enough cover, if only because the street patrols never went that way, and neither did the nobles. Unless someone ratted them out...

Cyprian, Kassandros, Icarus, and Cygnus. Her sons. Well, that made the chance one of her sons cared about her go up somewhat exponentially. If there were four of them, then... he needed a House name, at least. Probably, he could get her to go along with whatever he decided; she was trusting of him, by now, enough that she may not question him or his motives too hard, but despite the good intentions, it seemed like deception, and Thanatus never dealt in deception. If she decided it was a bad idea, later, and he hadn't told her the truth, he could lose that somewhat delicate trust between them, and then she could end up right back here, if not worse off.

If he got caught after this... there were worse things, than death, and in his time here, he'd learned Dalmasca knew them all. It wasn't like he cared. He'd never claimed to be smart. "Listen," he started, reaching out and gently taking her hand, trying to get her to look at him. "I know it's hard for you to think, but I need you to try, okay?" His tone dropped lower, quieter. "I can get you out of here, if you're willing to trust me, but I need to know where we're going. If any of these sons of yours may at all want to see you, may care about you, I need to know where they are. You're dying up here, miss, and I know that's the idea, but I'm not someone that can just let it happen. Letting you die knowing you were would be as bad as killing you myself."

Nothing changed, if no one did anything different.

Ksenia Essair

queen mother 19 Posts 45 Years Young Female Mage Warlord House Essair 5' 6 Ice Affinity Dalmasca

But you will not make me fall.

The light from the shadows. She'd thought that, before, when Kassandros' name had come to mind, but she didn't remember what that meant. It was important. Kassandros was the strongest. No, he was the strongest, but he was also the weakest. When she'd first ended up in the tower, because the Warwicke elders didn't know what else to do with her, she'd known then, of all of them, Kassandros needed her the most. It wasn't to say Cyprian, Icarus, and Cygnus didn't, but, Kassandros was very, very powerful, too much so. And without something to temper that power, to teach him how to use it right... his father was going to create a monster. Maybe he already had.

And yet, no one had seemed alarmed, at the rise of a light-sorcery wielding monster. He was the light, that showed others the way through the shadows, the light that was friends with the darkness, that burned the brightest. The brighter a light burned, the faster it burned out.

He was going to die, too soon. How long had she been here? He needed her. The woman had tried, at first, to use ice sorcery to break apart the wall, to seep into the cracks in the stone and shatter it. It hadn't worked. She'd only managed to coat her tower prison in ice. It didn't matter. She wanted to see him, again, before he was gone. Wanted to be there when his brothers no longer had him, to help them through the pain. Their father never would. They needed her.

Where? The woman blinked in confusion, but she didn't pull away from Thana. He was kind, to her, he always had been. She trusted him not to hurt her, but, if he got caught, would she remember enough to convince them he was following her orders? Would they take them both back to House Warwicke, where she'd die in a tower trying to find what she'd lost, and he'd end up nailed to a wooden board for running? Was it worth it? Her eyes narrowed, partly in thought, partly in concern, perhaps a trace of sadness in the blue depths. Yes, they needed her - but was them needing her worth Thana's life? She'd forget. She always forgot. That was what she did, all she could do was forget.

"I..." The words scrambled in her mind. What was she saying? Why did she have to choose between one and the other?
Mommy, why do I have to die?
Stay away from Icarus and Cygnus.
Flowers don't kill, Kassi.
There's no point in bothering with anything beyond nurturing his powers.
And the stars will bless Azaleon with magic.

She shook her head. No. No, if they - would they remember him? Maybe. Eventually, she was sure, but most of them didn't think about her. It wasn't hard to imagine, they may not think about him, once she was gone. How? How did she convince them of that? It was safer for them both. It'd be easier. The guards would let him pass, no problem, getting rid of the body was - because it'd smell terrible and - the thoughts scrambled again, bursting into tiny ice crystals in her mind. No.

Don't get distracted.
They are here!

The cobra. "I cannot remember the name," she answered, turning to the cobra etched into the ice, and holding her hand out toward it. "The cobra. They are there. I do not remember the way. I will forget where we're going. I always forget. Thana, if they catch you, it would be too kind to say they will kill us both. I forget. Sooner or later, I'll put us both in danger, don't do this. You don't need to die for something you have nothing to do with." It wasn't right. ... but then, did he not have something to do with it? It may be too late.

It'd be difficult for our enemies to maneuver around us, if there is nowhere they can go our son cannot see.

It may be too late. Yet, if it wasn't, if there was any glimmer of Kassi left in him, if there was any bit of hume left in the Messiah, she needed to save it. Before... before the prophecy's more common interpretation turned real.

Thanatus Essair

21 Posts 24 Years Young Male Hume Commoner House Essair 6' Nomad

It is better to die with a purpose, than to live without one.

Despite the confusion, that was evident in her expression, the woman didn't pull away from him. He watched, with careful observation, for any sign that she wanted him to, that if she did, he'd let go instead of her having to fight him for even a second. He didn't know her story. He didn't know where she'd been and what she'd been through, he didn't even know her name. But, this was Dalmasca. And Dalmasca destroyed-that was what it was good at, he knew it, probably she knew it. Only kindness and care would get one anywhere, now. He didn't want her afraid of him.

Thanatus' gaze followed where she gestured. A cobra was etched into the ice, there, near the window. He remembered seeing it before, and it was a familiar emblem, but he couldn't remember the House name, either. High up there, far above anywhere Thana had ever been. It was almost suicide, trying to climb that high, and he knew it. The house could well turn on them. He could well die, for this. He knew it.

He was doing it, anyway.

Of course that was what she said. "I know," he answered. "I know what I risk. I can't explain what it is. Something wants me to save you, and I am the only one that can. We can wait, until the guard shift change. There's a shed in the back, that's close to the wall, if we could get up there, maybe we can get over the wall, instead of trying to go through or under it. It's worth it." At least, it was to him, and, he recognized, she may not feel the same way.

"If you forget, I'll remind you. If you get lost, I'll put you back on the right path. If we get separated, I'll find you. And if you can't walk on your own, I'll carry you. We can figure out where these cobras of yours are, see if they'll take you in. If they don't, then, I guess we run for the Free Cities. But I'm not turning a blind eye and pretending I don't know what I know, that I don't see what I see. Too much of Dalmasca does that, and I am not Dalmascan, nor will I ever be Dalmascan. I don't know what I am, but I know what I'm not. I'm not a heartless bastard, either. You can't stay here."

Maybe his parents didn't raise him that way, but something had, because he really couldn't just pretend there was nothing wrong, here. Thana wasn't sure what else to do, besides run, and try and run faster than Warwicke could catch up to them. Maybe he'd die in the attempt, of getting her out of Dalmasca, but it was better, that way. It was better to die with a purpose, than to live without one.

Ksenia Essair

queen mother 19 Posts 45 Years Young Female Mage Warlord House Essair 5' 6 Ice Affinity Dalmasca

But you will not make me fall.

No, no he didn't, because if he knew, then why would he still risk it? Death was not the worst thing that could happen, and the woman had long accepted that she was going to die, here, in this tower, and that was fine.
I will vanish, someday.
Her eyes squeezed shut, head tilting down, wispy strands of silver-white falling over her face. It was fine.
Because you keep giving him foolish ideas.
That's not fair, he's five -
If the gods have given us a seer, maybe there's a reason why.
Children need their parents!

It wasn't. It wasn't fine, it never was. She shook her head, pulled her hand from Thana's grasp, shuffling toward the window. It was late, and there was only but a sliver of light falling to the ice through the small window. She held her hand in the light rays, her fingers wiggling in the light. The woman's skin almost seemed to glow, but there was a slight sickly tint of blue to her hand.

They are here. Go.
You can't stay here.
If you're ever lost, call for me. Kassi, I'll show you the way.
The light from the shadows has come.

"I have a better idea," the woman said, softly, turning away from the light. The whispering on her skin stopped, the warm buzz of something; she didn't always hear Ytias, but it was not rare, that he spoke to her, because Kassandros... he was Ytias' son. Maybe that was why her triplet sons had come out so beautiful. It wasn't Vopiscus' genes, it was Ytias' blessings. It didn't matter. This was the only opportunity she was going to get, and maybe she'd accepted death, a long time ago. Her sons still needed her, and here she was, ready to wither away and die, for nothing, and no one would remember her, or her name. Did her sons even know, now, how much she loved them? Their father never really did. His children were political tools and stepping stones, not children, but they were her brightest stars. Her only stars, and when she was scared and lonely, she turned to them.

She couldn't give up, yet. Not now. Her sons still needed her.

Her hands raised, fingers splaying in the air, and the ice sorcery burst forth, unchained, uncontrolled. It didn't go everywhere, though, swirling and twisting around itself, into an almost intricate ice sculpture. It had no real form to it. "This will knock me unconscious, for several hours," she explained, turning to Thanatus. "I trust you. The guards shouldn't question it too hard, you can just tell them I died and you're disposing of the body. They should let you right out the gate. Be careful; if they believe you, they may still come looking for you, later."

The ice swirled itself upward, reached the ceiling, spreading across the stone, some stretching for the floor into icicles. As one of the icicles just brushed the ice on the floor, the woman huffed, the ice stream stopping abruptly, and she fell.

Thanatus Essair

21 Posts 24 Years Young Male Hume Commoner House Essair 6' Nomad

It is better to die with a purpose, than to live without one.

Please don't fight me... She took her hand back, and Thanatus let her go, frowning, albeit, mostly in thought. There was no way he was wrong, and he had a decent plan. It wasn't the best plan ever, he knew that, there was the chance he'd fail before they even got outside the gate, but if he had to punch their way out, he'd do that, too. She had sons, family that may want her back, family that might actually care about her. He didn't know, if the Warwickes were her family or not, as no one seemed to want to talk about her, but even if they were her family, clearly they didn't give a damn about her. Maybe she'd married in. Maybe she was a rival noble. The Warwickes seemed the type.

A better idea? Somehow, he didn't think he liked the sound of that - what was she doing. Thanatus had never seen sorcery so close before, and, being honest, it was actually rather pretty. He watched, for a moment, in interest, and then turned to her when she started speaking again. Another frown crossed his face, but, before he could actually argue with this plan, the ice stopped, and she dropped. Barely, he managed to catch her before she hit the ice, gently setting her down.

What now? He supposed, he could try this plan of hers. It wasn't exactly foolproof, but it was certainly an idea. If he still managed to catch it when the guard shift happened, he could theoretically bypass a large majority of them. And if they asked him questions, Thana might be able to be far enough away from the gates that they couldn't tell from that distance, she wasn't actually dead, and just accept it. Certainly, she looked about dead, anyway, her skin an odd mottled grey, bits of yellowish tint. Shit, how was he going to take care of her while they were looking for her cobras?

He shook his head, getting one last look at the cobra in the ice. He had to remember it, because the woman might forget it. Thana could've sworn, when he was out in the streets, he'd seen a few people wearing that emblem on the backs of their shirts, embroidered in silver thread. Maybe he could find one of those, if he tried. Thanatus took a breath in, shuffled over to the grate, unlocking it again and using the glass of water to hold it open. Then, he carefully slid the woman through, closing it after, and got her up in his arms. She was deathly light... and her clothes hardly fit her. He'd need a weapon. Thana wasn't terrible at fighting unarmed, but it'd be more efficient with a blade. ... even just a kitchen knife would be better than nothing, yeah, he'd stop by there on the way.

Ahh, what the fuck did he get into?