Divorce

I don’t hate you…
I just hate they way you gave up on us and the way you gave up on yourself.
I hate how I was ignored and underappreciated and how even now, it really is no different except I don’t live with you.
I hate that you need to be intoxicated to feel or express yourself.

I hate that you’re a zombie.
I hate that you clearly saw the effect you had over me; the toxicity claiming me and did nothing.
I hate that my soul had died, and I felt like I was withering away and you still did nothing.
I hate that you lied to me and yourself.
I hate that I wasn’t enough.
I hate the fact I am broken because of you and I have to relearn how to live.

I hate the fact that there wasn’t even another woman involved because then at least I could have understood.
I hate how worthless I felt with you.
I hate how now friends and family are fading from my life because I chose to leave you to better myself.
I hate that in choosing to live, everything around me dies.
I hate the fact I don’t miss you anymore but resent you.

I don’t hate you…I just hate the piece of me you destroyed and I can never get back.

Empathy

Okay, Wifey knows I can not resist.. So I’ll post what lead up to her above scene. Enjoy!
~~~~
“What are you doing?” Ess chuckled, kneeling down beside Lily who was staring very intently at Puppy in a cold stone expression. She looked so serious and was silent as the grave as the large dog stared right back at her, his expression much more curious and adorable as his ears perked up at Ess’ approach. When Lily didn’t answer, Ess folded her hands in her lap and watched the two for quite some time. Ess felt like it had been forever and went to ask Lily again what she was up to, when the girl tilted her head back, her face stretching in a wide and noisy yawn. Essence quirked a brow, thinking that maybe the child had grown tired of this staring contest, absently stifling a yawn of her own. Puppy’s tail thumped happily over at Lily as he reflected her gesture and let out a soft whine, his jaws parting in a yawn of his own, tongue lolling out of his mouth. Lily broke her statue like pose and began giggling and tackled her fury protector in a massive hug, the dog covering the girl in kisses.

Ess snorted shaking her head. “Lily…what are you doing?” She smiled in amusement.

“Hi Miss Ess! I was trying an spearmint..” Lily giggled, when Ess’ expression when dumbfounded.

“ A what?”

“A spearmint! Jason said that he read that animals and people…who are good…sense someone is good and you can tell this by if yawning and seeing if that animal or person does it too.” Lily lifted her head proudly as if she were giving a lesson on morality.

“OOooh…an experiment.” Ess laughed and nodded, tapping her chin thoughtfully as she listened to Lily’s explanation.

“Dat’s what I said, Miss Ess. An exspearmint. And it worked. Puppy yawned when I did.”

Ess fell silent for a few moments, watching the girl lovingly play with the Wolfhound. Thinking over the girl’s words, she began to understand what she was doing, a warm smile touching her eyes as she quietly appreciated the girl’s intelligence. Lily had a pretty good understanding of what Jason had explained to her, but Ess was familiar with what the boy had read and knew it was still quite a bit over the young girl’s head.

“It’s to tell..if someone has Empathy, Miss Lily. Do you know what Empathy is?” Ess sang softly, reaching over to ruffle up Puppy’s fur. Lily looked up at Essence and tilted her head in curiosity, staying silent to politely wait for the woman to finish.

“Um..well basically it’s..for example…Let’s pretend you fell and hurt your leg and I found you. I would feel bad and sad that you hurt yourself and want to help you. Your pain I don’t really feel, because I’m not hurt, but I see you’re in pain and I want to help it go away.I would want to take care of you.” Ess reached over and lifted the girl onto her lap as she spoke, running her fingers through her hair to separate and braid the loose strands.

“So…it’s wanting to help people?” Lily asked, quietly settling into Ess’ lap.

“Sometimes. It’s understanding what someone else feels, even if you don’t feel it. Sometimes you do feel it too.” Ess snorted, shaking her head when Lily looked back at her a bit confused. “Ok..what if Puppy didn’t yawn back, what did Jason say that would have meant?”

Lily was thoughtfully quiet as Ess twisted six small braids; three on each side of Lily’s head, uniting them at the base of her neck where she began braiding those together into a much larger design. When Ess was finished, that was when Lily seemed to come to an answer.

“I think…it would mean that Puppy was bad. I think if someone didn’t care about me then they’d be mean. I’m a good girl and I like making people stuff and helping Jason and the other kids and Maga. I was sad that day your hands hurt Miss Ess and you couldn’t eat..so I helped. So..I have mapthy..”

“Empathy..” Ess corrected, brushing a few hairs from her eyes. “..Yes…you do. and you’re right…those who don’t..can be very mean..”

“You have empathy too then.” Lily smiled.

Essence giggled. “Why don’t you go find out if Mr Luckas does too? Go play your game with him…but don’t tell him why until after, ok?”

“Ok!” Lily jumped up with a small burst of energy and went to run off to find Luckas. “Miss Ess?” Lily paused in step and looked over at Essence with what could only be recognized as confidence. “…You know what?”

“What is it, Lily?”

“Mr. Luckas has to have empathy because he’s never mean to me.”

“Is that so? Well, you sure it’s not because he knows he’d get his butt whooped by a camp full of guardsmen and women if he were to be mean to you?”

Lily laughed, clapping a bit in amusement. “Maybe..but I don’t think so..”

Blackbird's Nest

There is a bit of a history to the scene I’m going to post below and to those of you who are reading, or participating in, SOF it may actually be posted there in the future although. Read at your own risk, although it contains no plot relevant anythings and it’s just something I wrote for cuteness sake. The history I spoke of, well… I’ll tell you guys about it in the end. 😉

——————

Luckas sighed, holding back a laugh. They had been doing this for a while now; Lily followed him around for a bit then stood in front of him, stared for a few seconds, and then yawned vigorously. After some time of making the girl chase him down for this; with no explanation as to why whatsoever, Luckas finally stopped trying to get away and just sat down by the oak, compliant, watching as she stared…

View original post 1,281 more words

The Battle Within

Something like this needs to be shared with as many people as possible. To all those out there who have suffered with depression at one time or another  in their lives who have heard  this same thing said to you but it fell on deaf ears, it was just not sinking in, or you were in denial because you were so much pain that it numbed you from the inside out; maybe this will reach you. It helps sometimes to hear it from someone who has hit rock bottom and come back, not just surviving but excelling in their own expectations. From all the messages I have seen, this one got to me the most; this one pulled on my heart strings. 

To those of you who don’t understand depression and cast cruel judgement onto your fellow man; maybe this will open your eyes. That homeless person, humbled and begging for food on the corner is not worthless and they are not a loser; they are lost. Any one of us, in this world today, could end up there if caught without someone to back you or simply down on their luck. Who knows, if they are given a chance, you may one day become their biggest fan. They may be the next Corey Taylor or at the very least your new best friend. Don’t dismiss what you refuse to understand.

His poetry amuses me and speaks about the darkness within humanity; that battle within.

Love Or Fear

My soul is not contained within the limits of my body, my body is contained within the limitlessness of my soul.

I found this youtube feed from a link to Alan Watts. Those of you not familiar with him, essentially he gives philosophical and emotional speeches to inspire, motivate, and get the mind working. The page I go to is ‘theJourneyofPurpose.‘ For myself, I love anything that makes me contemplate life from it’s minor simplistic view of reality and illusion to the most intricate moments of our lives. To me, it is awe inspiring and beautiful. It reminds me of that moment when I first saw the night sky not polluted by all the city lights, way up in the woods on a snowy, winter’s night. I wanted to count every star because I felt I had witnessed it all while at the same time feeling so small in the scheme of things. The universe can be thought of as infinite and thus limitless just as Mr. Carrey is stating here in comparison with the human soul. Who knew his artistic passions surpassed those ‘smoke and mirrors’ into a real human being. Breathtaking to know real people exist in a world that is so often seen as dark and broken. Life really does come down to the little things we encounter on a day to day  basis because if everyone took a moment to smile at a stranger or give to someone in need; true acts of selflessness, then the whole and unity of our planet would be all for the better. There are no limits except those we implement as a prison within ourselves.

 

 Within each of us, there is a silence, a silence as vast as the universe. And when we experience that silence, we remember who we are. ~Gunilla Norris~

Some of the most meaningful acts between two people can be interpreted through their silence. How many people out there, take the time to look beyond the mask many of us put on for the world? That mask that was slowly molded into existence as a child by our peers and family, even if unintentionally; sometimes it will never come off and sometimes it will shatter. We all judge one another just as much as we judge ourselves, even if we don’t like to admit it, because of how others may have perceived us and thus perceive the world. What is considered beautiful or ugly? Right or wrong? In the end, it all comes down to the notion if we can live another day to look at ourselves in the mirror. Are you happy with what you see or do you cringe and shy away from that reflective glass, dreading your reality? Music does the same thing for me as silence because it gives me moments to myself to reflect without the noise of society breathing down my neck and I firmly believe it is important for everyone to be able to be comfortable with solitude. Moments of peace and chaos.  Those who can not stand it, seem to, at most times, be the ones who are not comfortable with themselves. Which leads us to the next quote..

 

There is no reality except the one contained within us.. ~Hermann Hesse~

 

Love Or Fear? Timeless question to which many debate between the matter that we have a choice or that we don’t. I think it goes both ways. Upon my back I have a rose aflame, tattooed with those words, “Love or Fear.” It is a huge part of me and I feel a huge part of humanity. What drives us if not stemming from those two major factors? Do we choose to proceed with the cards we have been dealt; to play or to fold? To grow or to burn? Is it all in our minds what we love or fear or are some things simply out of our control when it comes to emotions? It is no easy feat to take hold of our spirit and rein it in so that our minds can be at peace with our hearts. Perhaps therein lies the problem and maybe we should just let our souls run free.

What is holding me back in pursuing my dreams? Money, time? What is holding you back? If we are honest with ourselves, it is us drowning ourselves in that sea of doubt and giving birth to excuses. We are all guilty of this, myself included. It is no easy feat, but perhaps it isn’t the end result that is most important, but the journey itself. Prioritize, reflect, focus and yet let your mind go and be open to the beautiful possibilities this world is capable of. Have faith in yourselves, embrace your fears (which may never disappear), and choose love.

To Slay a Shadow

The brighter the light, the darker the shadow we cast. That darkness can not be avoided, only embraced as it will never stop stalking us day in and day out. When the light is extinguished, some fear that abyss consuming them in their blindness, but only if they choose to keep their eyes closed to what lays before them. Some believe that their obscured twin may even leave them in that crepuscule, but one can not incinerate what will always remain a part of us. Embracing those demons doesn’t just help us understand our own, but in doing so, enlightens us to the world’s best kept secrets. In turn, we then see ourselves in our worst enemy while barely recognizing our best friend. Perhaps then, the enemy transforms to our closest ally. We can then envelop compassion, forgiveness and project empathy to those who lack it.

My Shadow: I can feel his eyes upon my soul, reaching out to graze my skin, his icy breath upon my neck. I question his closeness but fear his distance. All those casted within my shadow will envy me from afar and die within his arms.

~~Written contemplation as Essence Talon, Shadows Of The Forgotten~~

This was just something that flooded my mind after reading OM’s blog post. Thanks for the writing prompt, so to speak. ^.^

Bloody Knuckles

Original writings with Trickster (who wrote Mageria) taken from Shadows Of The Forgotten. Here we have my character stuck on babysitting duty and things take a turn a little bit down the line there. For those of you who may not have read other things I’ve posted, Ess can not have kids. (I’ve previously mentioned Darren as her son…that’s a spoiler, but he was born before the brutality.) That was taken from her at a young age from a brutal beating/rape from her time as a slave at a brothel before she escaped. Some scars just run too deep. We write in Text based Role Playing style, so again, be kind when reading as it is in a different style. 

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{Raven’s Nest}

There had been something of a one day cold that was working it’s way through the camp. Nothing harmful, but the best way to deal with it was for the effected person to stay by their fire and sleep for the day. And, it seemed to have caught Mageria. She had managed to get up and dress, coughing the entire time. Jess was glaring at her, but with six children in a building that was comfortable for two adults; she wasn’t going to get any rest anyways. There was a knock at the door, looking at the time told Mageria that she was far late for Ess’s training. She groaned under her breath and started towards the door, only to find Jess there in front of her. The pregnant woman pulled the door open and ordered the children outside before glaring at whoever was on the other side.
“Today, endurance training. You get to take care of the kids.” She closed the door firmly and grabbed Mageria’s shoulder, somehow managing to steer her even though the Captain was taller by 4 inches and had years of fight training.
“You . . . are going back to bed.”

Ess stumbled backwards from the sudden entourage of children running past and around her (followed by Puppy), quirking a brow she nodded with a chuckle at the idea of the kids as her ‘endurance’ training for the day; like she hadn’t done enough running already this morning. It was not a bad day to spend outside, although it was cold, it was well above freezing. Tala came pouncing over happily, diving into a pile of fluffy, light snow besides the wolfhound; the effect covering both animals in white. The boys and girls laughed happily in a game of tag, taking turns in tickle torture when they caught another and at first seemed to be self entertaining.

“Look, it’s the pretty doggie!” Lily yelped happily as she ran up to Tala, the wolf wagging her tail in response, distracted as Puppy playfully tackled her causing Lily to giggle. Lily turned towards Ess and gently tugged on her sleeve, “Can I pet her, Miss. Ess?”

With a slight smirk, Ess nodded, kneeling down to lock eyes with the little girl, “Only if you promise to be real gentle with her, okay?” Lily clapped in her excitement, running over towards the wolf and instantly wrapped her small arms around Tala’s neck, causing the wolf to cough in a slight choke, tail thumping harder in the snow. “Aww, think Tala likes you Lily.”

A sudden defiant scream, alerted Ess to the boys arguing who’s snow ball hit who first, the sight causing her to roll her eyes. With a sigh she stood walking over to the four as they began shoving one another back and forth. “Hey!…Really you all can’t play nice for five minutes?” Ess’ words fell on deaf ears as they ignored her. Tucking her upper lip behind her top teeth Ess let out an ear piercing whistle, Tala bolting forward to her side. For a second she got the boys’ attention before they went back into it. Crossing her arms a bit frustrated, Ess turned to Tala, “Tala….stand at attention!” She commanded, the wolf sitting back on her haunches expectantly with a bark. “Sound the alarm!” Tala tilted back her head and began to howl extremely loud and long, the sad song echoing into the day, causing many who were hustling around the camp in their chores to stop and question it with a curious stare. All the children stopped dead in their tracks to stare at Tala wide eyed. When the wolf ended her song, Ess stared at each child expectantly. “Now that I have your attention…who wants to help with Tala’s training?”

Ess smiled when all the children lined up like little soldiers, awaiting instructions. “First rule…any whining, you lose privledges….Any fighting…..you sit out for the activity for the rest of the day….Are we clear?” Ess spoke softly, yet her tone commanded obedience. All six children nodded firmly, the two girls giggling when Tala barked as if to confirm Ess words. “Right…and then you’ll have to deal with Tala…” Ess held back a smirk as the kids gasped, the wolf trotting circles around the line. “Ok then….while I work on a reward for your assistance….First task is to help Tala with her speed…Try to catch her!” With that the kids dashed forward, Tala leaping aside and around a few trees leading the children in pursuit, Puppy trailing Lily from behind.

Aiden had appeared behind Essence, and when she turned she almost collided into him. “Shit, man!…Funny I was just about to come looking for you…What can we do about making some sleds for the kids…?”

Aiden laughed, raising a brow at Ess’ question. “You plan on having them pull it, Talon?”

Ess shook her head, “Very funny….more like the Wolf and Dog..”

Aiden thought for a moment, crossing his arms across his massive chest, “I think I can work with some pieces we have lying around….When you need it by..”

Ess looked over her shoulder, enjoying the playful scene as Tala remained out of reach of the kids, but only just. It was as if she was letting the kids have a slight chance, enjoying the game herself. “…The sooner the better…”

~~

Lunch time came rather quickly, and already the children commanded Tala about with the cutest hint of authority. Ess taught them some basic commands, and in that Tala was spinning in circles trying to keep up with the demands of the little ones. “All right….who’s hungry?” Ess yelled out to the crowd, as she finished cooking a stew over the fire at her camp. Out of breath, the six happily sat upon the large log of lumber beside the fire, devouring the hot stew with some cider Ess was able to grab from Jess. The Captain was still confined to her bed with the much needed rest that was due to her, per Jess’ command.

One of the girls spoke up for the first time all day, “Miss Ess? Can I feed Tala?” The child appeared to be a few years off from Jason who was in the beginning of his adolescence, so Ess had no problem with her helping herself to the stew upon the fire. “Just..set it down and back up…don’t want to be in the way of a wolf and her food…and don’t forget Puppy now…”

Lily chimed in, “Ya, Puppy’s hungry too.”

Ess looked up at one of the younger boys, Clayton she thought was his name, as he approached her with a shy smile. “Miss Ess….do you know any stories?” All the children’s eyes were on her now, curious to her answer as they worked on their meal.

“Uh…” Ess’ mind went blank. “Let me think…a story…huh?” She smiled placing her bowl aside, arms outstretched towards the boy as he inched closer, climbing up on her lap. Ess wrapped her arms around the boy, a bit surprised by the small display of affection, but it warmed her heart all the same as she gave the child a small squeeze. Ess really didn’t remember any stories from her own childhood, she decided something somewhat true would be best. “Ok….I can tell you about the wolves then….”

Lily piped in, “There aren’t any wolves though…Tala’s the only one.”

Some of the other children began to debate, “..But if there’s no more wolves, then who’s Tala’s mommy?”

“Where’d they all go?”

“There has to be more, somewhere?”

“I hear the WolfPack helps protect them from mean hunters..”

Ess sighed, raising her finger to her lips, waiting patiently for the voices to calm in their sudden array of questions. “Wolves, are pack animals. They have very strong ties to family…they are loyal, loving, intelligent, aggressive, and great hunters. Just because you haven’t seen many doesn’t mean they aren’t everywhere, especially in the forests. They aren’t all like Tala here or like their cousin Puppy…and tend to shy away from people.”

Ess continued on in her explanation before she defined how not all are like Tala, and how she found her years ago. There was much that made Tala different from the average wolf and that was her training, human interaction from a tiny pup, and with the additional help of a Beast Speaker. Ess retold shortened, clean versions of the times Tala had saved her life and visa versa form poachers in these same forests.

“I heard that’s what Puppy was made for….war dogs for hunting wolves.”

Ess glanced along the many faces and then back towards the animals at her feet. “Just because one person created Puppy’s breed for that purpose, doesn’t mean Puppy has to live that way, right? Puppy, likes Tala, and seems to like people who are friendly. Puppy can choose what he likes and what he wants to do. We are all in control of this.”

Jason spoke quietly, “Just like Mageria says we don’t have to learn to fight if we don’t want to..”

Ess smiled as Lily scooted closer to her, nodding at Jason’s comment. “Very true, But one still needs to know how to defend one’s self.” Ess glanced up to see Aiden making his way over to her with an affirmed nod, Ess gently placing Clayton onto his feet. “Ok guys…ready for sled rides?”

The next couple hours flew by, as Ess simply watched the kids take turns on two sleds: One harnessed to Tala, the other to Puppy, giving tours of the camp at different paces. Aiden had explained to both animals to be gentle with the littler ones, making sure they didn’t fly off the sled even though the children pleaded to race one another. Ess shook her head, knowing better. No matter how hard they tried to command Tala or Puppy to go faster, the two only listened to Ess or Aiden.

Lily rubbed at her eyes, looking up at Ess expectantly, reaching up to be held. Ess was taken a bit back, just staring a moment before she knelt down and picked her up, letting the girl rest her head upon her shoulder. “All right kids, time to pack it up and give the animals a rest. Got to be back in time for dinner.” Ess slowly led the group back towards the Captain’s cabin, letting Aiden unstrap the wolf and dog from the sleds. The boys ran forward, barging through the door only to be reprimanded by Jess to take off their slushy boots and change into something warm and dry.

“Can we go sledding again tomorrow?” Lily whispered to Ess.

Ess stood in the doorway, looking at Jess as she set Lily down and smiled just a bit sad. “It will be up to Mageria…ok?”

“If Maga is feeling better..” Lily smiled, her eyes closing in a slit as she turned and bounced off for dinner. After Puppy made his way inside after the group, Ess closed the door behind her, making her way back to her tent.

‘Is this what it is like to have kids?’ She pondered to herself, her expression still a bit sad. Ess had enjoyed herself quite so, and she did feel more mentally tired than anything as the kids were good for the most part. Even when they fussed or argued, she wouldn’t mind doing it all again. Absently she rested her palm along her flat belly, thinking on what she would be missing out on, when Aiden approached her with Tala by his side.

“You looked like you all had fun today, eh Talon?” He beamed, pulling his hood tight over his face to hide from the coming night chill.

Ess shrugged, attempting to hide her smile. “Tala got lots of exercise….Thanks for helping out.. with Tala and the sleds and all.”

Aiden gave Ess a playful tap on the shoulder, “Don’t mention it. Happy to help.” He gave Tala a gentle pat along her side as he added, “..Ever think about giving up this life and having kids of your own, Talon?”

Ess’ shoulders slumped at those words, her expression shutting off completely as her fingers clenched around her shirt across her stomach. A flair of anger cross her purple iris’ but she kept quiet, knowing Aiden was ignorant to her situation and was just making small talk. At least that was what she was trying to tell herself, to calm down. Ess attempted to play it off with a not very convincing laugh as she answered, “..If I want any…ever…I’ll adopt..So many without families ya know..”

Aiden nodded, “Right…but if you found a guy you liked…would you try for some of your own?”

Ess began to shake in her anger, not looking at Aiden as she started to storm off but was stopped by his hand clasping firmly around her arm. “…Ess…what’s wrong?”

Essence halted, turning abruptly, her fingers curled in a tight fist which painfully collided into Aiden’s right eye as she snarled in her fury, “Ess??!…Did I bloody tell you…you could touch me!?” Stepping back she held in a few tears, cradling her hurt hand, the knuckles already began to bruise. “Stupid men…” Tala began barking, glaring hard between Ess and Aiden while Ess shook her head to Aiden’s objections.

“..E…Talon…What did I say?!” Aiden cried out, holding his eye, blinking as it swelled and he tried to look at Ess.

“Just…leave me be..” Ess felt a bit ashamed in her fury but would not allow herself to let him see, she couldn’t stand for him to see… Ess bolted at full speed back to her tent, Tala on her heels as tears fell from her cheeks, she dove inside, hiding beneath a pile of blankets. There she remained for the rest of the evening, never leaving to eat or anything. Time seemed to stand still, Ess sobbing heavily for the first time in so long, she couldn’t even remember. She felt so alone in that moment, not even hugging Tala for comfort, as she cried herself to sleep.
~~~

Next Morning..

Mageria waited patiently for Ess to finish her run, sipping a cup of hot cider. She had heard about Ess entertaining the children yesterday; apparently it had been highly inventive. Rather more quickly than she had expected, the other woman came around the bend. She was shaping up nicely. Raising one eyebrow, Mageria beckoned her closer. With a closed expression she obeyed, standing just a bit defiantly before her. Mageria shifted so that she wasn’t facing Ess directly, staring instead out over the river.

“You know, we’ve all got things in our past that we’d not like brought up. Around here, we respect that, because we’ve all got our own personal hells. For example, I’d tell you to never ask Aiden about the scars on his wrists. But,” she shifted so that she could take Ess’s wrist, examining the bruises there. “First things first, I need to teach you how to hit properly. Your knuckles look worse than his eye.” She gestured at a bag of sand hung about chest high from a nearby tree. “You can start with that.”

Getting up, she walked Ess through the proper way of punching without breaking her own bones; then stepped back. “Come find me when your knuckles are bloody. After that we’ll go over the proper places to punch to cause some real damage.”

Ess nodded slowly, her expression almost empty as she stared and mimicked Mageria’s form, not quite punching the bag of sand just yet. When she was satisfied, she took a chunk of her rage and sadness and tested a few punches. Her wrist and knuckles ached a bit, but she saw the difference. Mageria had left her alone, and that was when she began hitting harder. Bending at the knees she lightly danced around the sand bag in a one, two motion with her fists. Trying to keep her mind clear was not an option that day, and it was just one thought after another memory,after another thought, which only seemed to cause her to hit harder.

{Flashback…22 years ago in BlackPond}

Essence backed herself into a dark corner, her hands bound before her which she tried to use to block the man from coming any closer. Her voice was weak from her constant wailing, her cheeks streaked through the filth from her flow of tears. Ess wasn’t alone in the room, however. Several other young girls were huddled together in the far corner, trying to remain silent in their fear of angering their attacker.

“…Now…be a good litta’ birdie and put the dress on for the mistress to see….” Jasper breathed heavily over Ess, the hot stench of him practically suffocating her, causing her to gag a bit.

Ess whined softly, shaking her head slowly, hiding her head behind her hands in preemptive defense, knowing what was coming as she was struck hard across the face.

“…You’ll do it….or I’ll do it for you!” Jasper’s voice bit into her as he began tearing at her nightgown.

“No….stop!” One of the other girls screamed. “Just do what he says….it’s easier this way…”

Ess was trembling, trying to fight off the man to no avail, so tiny and weak in comparison. Ess managed to kick the man between his legs, causing him to pause momentarily in pain only to grip her by the throat, raising her high against the wall. Her pale cheeks began to turn red, slowly to a blue as she kicked, panicking to breath as he choked her with one hand, the other tearing the sleeves off her gown. “Stupid….litta’ whore…” Another moment passed, Ess’ eyes rolling up in her head as she lost consciousness.

Essence awoke some time later, her throat aching in pain, finding herself dressed in a blue, cotton gown. She was on the floor of a room, empty of all but a fire place which was burning the last of it’s embers, several girls huddled around it for warmth. One of the girls spoke, the familiar voice perking Ess’ interest as a blond blue eyed girl, a year or so older than herself approached her. With a sigh, the girl looked over Ess, gently examining the bruises along her throat and jaw. “You…should of just done what Jasper said…you’ll live longer if you do.” The girl paused, forcing a sad smile that did not match the emptiness peering out from her gaze. “I’m Jemma….”

~~
Some months had passed, Ess finding her only friend in that hellish place was to be Jemma. They’d share the bits of bread given to them, or what they managed to steal from the dogs who seemed to be fed better than they were. It was like a prison, where they were told they would be conditioned to be the perfect little fantasy, the perfect woman; or as Jasper put it, “A savory whore.” The girls who cried a lot, were the ones Jasper focused on the most, so it was up to Jemma and Ess to keep eachother calm, and helping to keep eachother out of trouble. It began to dawn on them, how their numbers started to dwindle. Most of the girls had hardly any fight left in them, and when it seemed they were almost broken, Jasper took them out of the room and Ess never saw them again. They weren’t sure if they were being let go, or killed, until one of the girls actually came back. Tess, was her name; of course she stopped responding to such, and when she was returned, wouldn’t even look at any of the girls or explain what had happened to her. The look in her eyes, vacant and cold, gave Ess chills, unable to imagine the horrors she must of went through. It was like a nightmare they couldn’t wake from but instead fell farther into darkness, losing sight of the light.

“We have to find a way out of here, Jemma…” Ess whispered one night, unable to sleep.

“How….? We can only get out if Jasper comes for us….I don’t want to be like Tess…” Jemma cringed.
“…I see that as the only chance we’ve got….”
~~

The next time Jasper came into the room, Jemma and Ess began to cry, holding eachother in apparent terror. “Oh..what do we have here? Is it time for you two now?” Jasper muttered curiously, a sadistic sparkle in his eye as he dangled the room key playfully over their heads. “Well…you two can come along like good litta’ birdies or I can make you…”

The girls continued to wail but stood obediently, shuffling along the floor as they followed Jasper out the room, Tess watching Jasper dangle the key as if it were a piece of meat. In a sudden terrified craze, she began muttering to herself, rocking back and forth. “Why…do they get to leave…why do I have to stay….THEY ARE GONNA ESCAPE….NOT FAIR NOT FAIR..!!!” Tess began screaming, jumping to her feet, she leapt up on top of Jasper’s back, clawing at him for the key. Jemma and Ess were wide eyed in confusion, until they looked at eachother taking off in a sudden sprint down the hall. The commotion stirred up the house, several hired hands appearing down the halls, causing the girls to dip and run into another direction. Soon enough they were cornered against a window, where Ess instantly began pounding on the glass, not caring when her fist went through and sliced her all the way up to her elbow. After taking out all the glass with her bare hands, blood slowly coating her skin, Ess began pushing Jemma towards the window. “Time to go! Hurry, out the window!”
Ess squatted, Jemma climbing up on her shoulders and out the window with a heavy thud as she landed on the otherside. “Run Jemma!” Ess never even got a chance to climb out, before she was struck hard with the hilt of a sword, everything turning black as she hit the ground.

Ess groaned, her head throbbing in the annoyance of always getting knocked out in order for anyone to get their way. Maybe it was a good thing to not know what was happening to her, not like what she saw when she awoke. Tess, Jemma and herself were bound to chairs, all facing each other. Ess went to speak and Jemma shook her head sternly, thwarting that attempt as Tess began hissing in their direction. “You stupid girls…are gonna get us all killed…you know that-“ Tess was cut off as Jasper appeared off to the side, a chuckle escaping him. “Probably right…my litta’ whore…” He stepped in the center of the three girls, turning slowly to look at each of them. “So…whose gonna go first….hmm?”

Ess spat at the man. “You should be the one to die. You’re horrid man!”

“Ah…we have a winner….”

“Don’t touch her!” Jemma screamed.

“Oh…feeling competitive now are we?” Jasper turned away from Ess and grabbed Jemma by the hair with one hand, the other fiddling with his belt.

Ess began thrashing in her chair, rocking it back and forth, til she was almost on her feet, her back bending forward to keep balance. “Get off my friend!” Ess tried to ram into Jasper, using her chair but was simply knocked aside.

“Oh..is that it now…” The man sneered. “What are you gonna do for me, if I leave Jemma bird alone?..Maybe I should have Tess here show you girls how it’s done…”

Tess didn’t even put up a fight. It was like her mind was gone, and all that was left was an empty shell. Jemma screamed, refusing to watch while Ess simply cried silently, darkness filling her thoughts. “I’m gonna kill you one day…”

Jasper laughed as he approached Ess. “I doubt that birdie….”

“If not me….someone else will…”

Jasper brought out a dagger, and began cutting Ess’ bonds loose and then backed away, holding the blade to Jemma’s throat. “Now…if you want your friend to be spared…you best do what I say…”

Afterwards, Ess curled up, trying to cover her bare flesh, trembling in pain to the point she began to vomit. Jasper gently ran his fingers through Ess’ curls, panting like a dog over her as he dressed. “Better than you thought it’d be, wasn’t it birdie?” Jasper then walked back over to Jemma, who was sobbing perfusely, her eyes never leaving Ess. “You bastard!”

“Maybe I am…” Jasper snickered, bringing the blade up towards Jemma’s throat. “Did you get all that? Your turn…”

Ess sat up and growled, “You said you’d leave her alone….you said she’d be spared! I did all that you said! You’ve won!”

Jasper nodded, “I did, didn’t I?” Without another word he grabbed a handful of Jemma’s hair, slowly dragging the dagger along her throat, causing the girl to gurgle as she gasped for life, spitting up thick droughts of crimson. “See…where having friends gets you?” Jasper turned out the door, locking it behind him, leaving the three girls alone.

Ess stared back at Jemma, unable to move, her mouth dropped open in shock in almost a foolish expression as she watched the life drain from her friend. She stood, still without a stitch of clothing on her as she went to her friend, resting her head on Jemma’s lap she held her in her last moments. “I’m sorry Jemma….I’m so sorry….” Ess whispered.

“It’s your fault! You will get us ALL killed….he’s right you know…doesn’t pay to have friends in here..” Tess muttered hysterically.

It was in that moment, Ess felt the spirit inside her fade some; when much was taken from her today. She was soiled through body and soul, made to believe all this was her fault. Ess was the one who wanted to escape and failed. She had shown weakness, and let it be used against her all for nothing. Jemma died anyway, but at least now she was free. Tess was right. It wasn’t safe for anyone to have friends in here. They were all better off alone, worrying about themselves and their own survival. Ess remained with Jemma, letting her blood coat her skin, cracking and peeling once it dried. Felt like over a day before anyone came for them, dragging Ess away from the blond corpse without a fight. The violet color of her eyes twinkled with a silver lining, a curious glow emanating from them as she watched without feeling as the dogs were released upon Jemma in a hunger frenzy, tearing her body to bits as they devoured her.

~~~

~Present Moment~
Some time had passed, Ess finally paused to look at her knuckles when it dawned on her that she couldn’t feel anything anymore. Her skin was peeled back just around the knuckles, shiny and red from their repetition, yet Ess just smiled going for another round. “They…are not….good and….bloody…yet….” She muttered in a defiant growl, the words seeping out each time her fist collided with its target. The aching inside her seemed to level in her excursions, but it never dissipated that day. It was as if she forgot to find the Captain even after the blood began to drip off her hands, she kept going, tears of frustration streaking her cheeks. When her arms tired and she felt the muscles heavy and almost numb she started kicking the bag of sand, angry yells following each hit. Refusing to stop, hours had gone by as she attempted to release her rage into that sand bag before her.

“Enough!” Mageria came around the curve of the path, Tala dancing at her heels. She had gotten distracted sorting some problems out, otherwise she would have been back hours ago. Tala had come whining and scratching at her door, making her realize just how late it really was. Once she realize just what was probably going on down near the river, she had grabbed her healing kit and nearly run out the door.
“Enough, Ess. Sit down, girl.” Carefully taking one wrist, she grimaced at the state of her hands. “Gods. You may not have worked it all out today, but if you can move in the morning I’m going to be surprised.” Gently, she lead Ess over to a boulder and sat her down. Pulling a familiar small jar out of her bag, she started gently smearing healing salve made up with as many numbing agents as she could get in; it certainly made her own fingers go numb. After covering most of the girl’s hands, Mageria carefully wrapped them in a protective layering of gauze.

Mageria started cleaning up, placing her things back in her bag before standing up and slinging it back over her shoulder. “Come on, then. We’ve got something for you to eat back at the cabin. You can eat by yourself if you want, or you can eat with the rest of us.” She watched the path in front of them, smiling at Tala now that the wolf seemed calmer. “If you eat with us, the children have been told that they can’t bother you, so you don’t have to worry about that.”

She didn’t say anything else, just walked slowly as Ess stumbled and staggered. It was obvious that she was still raw over whatever it was that had been triggered yesterday, the only thing to do now was to wait and see if she could move past the pain or stay mired in it. She hadn’t been lying, nearly everybody who chose to work in the Blacks had gone through some trauma or other that lead to them being fit to living a life fighting in the shadows. It usually wasn’t fighting skills that caused somebody to have to drop out of training, she could pick candidates better than that. But nearly one out of three couldn’t move past their pain and would have ended up twisted and broken if she didn’t let them go. She prayed that Ess could move past this.

Ess had practically collapsed to the ground, back to reality once she heard the Captain in her ear. Blinking from an angry expression, her features softened as she let her wounds be attended to and was silent, watching the Captain curiously. Her heart still ached, but the anger was lost for the moment, so that even through the physical pain she was feeling she actually started to feel better. Ess whispered a thank you to Mageria as she followed her back to the Captain’s cabin. “..Those kids…..would never be a bother to me, M’am…” Ess stated firmly with a nod. The idea of seeing them somehow calmed her and made her realize just how hungry and thirsty she really was at that moment.

Tala had curled up next to Puppy as Ess ate with the others. Ess forced smiles at the children when they waved happily to her when she had entered, but now she was just frustrated that she couldn’t hold her spoon very well to eat her soup. With a sigh, she stared at the bowl on her lap, when a tiny voice whispered shyly to her. “Miss…Ess?” Lily smiled at her. “..You don’t feel good, Maga says, so I want to help…” Lily carefully picked up the spoon and brought some soup up for Ess to reach. She could hear Jess trying to call Lily away from her, but Ess only smiled.

“You’d do that for me?” Ess whispered, thinking how if it was any other adult who tried to do this, she would have shunned them away, but the innocent gesture of this child simply touched her heart; reminded her of someone in her past. Lily smiled and nodded with a giggle as Ess playfully snapped her lips over the spoon, giving an exaggerated satisfied response. “Mmm..thank you..” This went on for a few minutes until the bowl was emptied and Lily crawled into Ess’ lap. “Can I have a hug now too?” Ess asked the child, and Lily simply snuggled herself against the woman, responding with, “Tomorrow, you can come to my tea party…” Ess laughed unexpectedly and nodded, “Yes M’am.”

Some of the boys came over and sat on the floor before Ess with a sweet expression that simply melted her heart. “Can we hear another story, Miss Ess?” Resting her cheek on top of Lily’s head she beamed at the attention of the children, the aching in her chest slowly subsiding. “Well…what do you want to hear about?”

Clayton spoke up first, “Ooo..oo… I want to hear about dragons!”

“There’s no such thing Clayton..” Another boy protested.

“Says who?” Ess interjected, her brows narrowing in a puzzled look. “I happen to know many who believe they exist, and some who swear they have seen one..”

“What do they look like?” Lily chimed in.

With that, Ess was hooked, reeled in and caught, spending the next hour recalling the stories she had shared with a childhood friend, from long ago. In the end, in order to get Lily to go to sleep, she had promised, when she was feeling better, she would draw her a picture of what she thought a dragon should look like.

Essence and Luckas Meet Again: Part 5

Shadows Of The Forgotten

Here we are again..continuing a scene that still gives me chills. Best way to put it, like my friend Camila/Blackbird says.  It is true though because it was here where I somehow sneaked into her brain and thus began the epic mind ninja battles. >.> You don’t need to understand…all you need to know is we were on the same page and it wasn’t even planned. Love it. 

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Luke raised an eyebrow at the coin pouch as he recognized it immediately, honestly surprised to see it again. He didn’t say anything however, not until the wolf-girl had gone out the door and had time to walk a fair distance. Then he stood up from his chair and stretched lazily before walking up to Ess. “So, what are the vials for?” He asked, smirking and playfully attempting to peek at the spot where she had hid them. Looking up at her eyes, he gave a light half shrug. “You know, Pretty Lady, I like your real face a lot better.” He said with a small wink, before walking back to the chair dropping down on it rather comically, almost knocking the chair, and himself, to the ground in the process, watching Ess carefully the whole time as if somehow he expected her to vanish the moment he looked away. While the compliment had been an absent one that he had let out on a careless moment, turning it into a nickname somehow made it easier for Luke to handle this weird affection he seemed to have for this woman; it was a name and nothing else, it was alright to say, it didn’t mean anything. “So…” He started, crossing his arms behind his head and staring at the ceiling for a bit. “Do you have any more questions or do you want to pick my brain now?”

Ess watched the Tala copy disappear into the coming dusk, awkward shadows teasing her perception as the streets temporarily cleared. Something was changing. She wasn’t sure anymore where she was headed, and it absolutely terrified her while simultaneously causing her smile to broaden. Closing her eyes, she inhaled slowly through her nostrils, taking in the sweet scent of distortion before closing the door tight, locking it behind her.

Ess responded to Luke’s playful advances to sneak a peek down her dress with side steps and dodging movements, countering his gaze. She couldn’t help the smile, thinking how she hadn’t laughed or smiled so much in so long and that she just couldn’t prevent it as easily as she wanted. “The vials, dear Luckas..” She teased, “are my insurance…. One needs a back up plan, or two.”

Ess let her head drop, her gaze staring at her feet a moment. Her mind tucked away the casual statement of Luckas again admitting he thought she was attractive, it adding more fuel to her conclusions which she kept to herself for the moment. She raised her arms up towards her head with an elegant grace, her hips swaying gently as her body arched into a wave like motion. “I think this ‘Mirage’ is quite flattering in the art of distraction.” Ess whispered, her body twirled in a curious dance, her core and hips working into a steady pattern before she came to a halt with a gentle laugh. With a sigh her facade melted away back to her doll like features. “Got to save my strength anywho..”

She watched Luckas find his seat with what she saw as disorientated steps, she giggled as he almost fell. Ess plopped herself onto her bed, lying on her side she rested her head in her hand propped up by her elbow. The fire began to die down a bit, as she was hit with a sense of deja vu, seeing Luckas leaning back in his chair casually, the light from the flames reflecting off his black orbs. It was a moment before the memory of the dream hit her. It had been so long since she had it, but she remembered clearly how their first encounter had left Luckas’ presence in her mind. Blinking she shook off the feeling, knowing her staring blankly in awe at Luckas would create some questions. “Sorry, spacing out.” She could only think of one immediate question for Luckas in that moment, and it was a bit odd.

“Have your eyes always been black?…Or is it a result of your…talents? Just…” She shrugged, “…seems like they should be grey…transparent.. But instead they are like a hole in your wall you keep at your beck and call.” Ess paused shaking her head, not knowing if she even made sense to Luckas, adding playfully remembering a comment he made earlier about her drawing, “Maybe you are manifesting into one of your demons…or maybe your a reflection of one of mine.”

Ess waited for him to respond before she suggested, “So, shall we try out my idea?” Her mind was scattered, and as confusing to some it may be, it strangely comforted her, spreading her emotions thin.

Luckas tipped his chair a bit too far at Ess’ question of his eye color and fell flat on his back with a little groan, he chuckled however. “You are one to talk of unusual eye colors, Lady.” He stated jokingly. “My eyes are black for as long as I remember, and I have had my gift for just as long as well.” He answered, not elaborating on how long exactly ‘as long I can remember’ was. “Maybe that’s all I am, the manifestation of others’ nightmares… Perhaps I’m not real after all…” He mumbled, partly to himself. It was a rather comforting thought for some reason. “My whole existence is the result of a bad dream and the sheer power of someone’s most twisted thoughts… Maybe I’m the only one who is truly still human… People speak of humanity as if it was a good thing, but is it really?” He continued that in incoherent mumblings until Ess spoke again. “Huh? Oh, sure we can try that.” He answered, sitting up on the floor and crossing his legs like a kid, looking up at her. “Just lookie here.” He said, with a little grin, pointing at his deep black eyes.

Ess turned onto her stomach with an amused grin as Luckas fell, sliding face first towards the end of her bed so that she could look into Luckas’ eyes, all the while contemplating briefly his words: “. “Maybe that’s all I am, the manifestation of others’ nightmares… Perhaps I’m not real after all…” Ess was partially entertained by his rantings, but at the same time saddened by them. If he really believed that then why keep going in life if nothing mattered, if his actions were pointless. Why care? Inhaling slowly, Ess relaxed resting her chin on her arms, letting her mind go blank curious to what was about to happen.

Luckas took a deep breath as he looked into Ess’ eyes. He tried to pull his mind into what he wanted her to see and separate the rest. In his mind he relived every conversation and brief encounter he’d had with the Black Knight Captain, it worked, but a part of Luke’s mind was still caught up in his previous thought and something else came forth in his memories, something Luckas himself didn’t quite recall.

Luckas’ eyes were opening as he woke up. He felt himself choke as someone was holding him up by the back of his shirt and the collar was pressing against his throat. The unusual amount of light flooding the usually dark basement meant that the door was wide open. Once the five year old boy felt he could open his eyes, he noticed he was being held up over a girl’s dead body. “Look at her! See what you did, you little piece of shit? You killed her! That’s what happens when you disobey, you little freak!” With an angry growl the boy was forcefully thrown across the room, pain invading his body as he collided with the stone wall. “Stay on that side of the line!”

More and more the man shouted, but Luckas wasn’t listening. The boy’s eyes were fixed on the pretty, lifeless, features of the girl lying on the dirty floor. Did he kill her? Had he done that? He couldn’t remember anymore, his mind was blurry, his head hurt… How could he have killed her? He couldn’t have… It couldn’t be…

Boots blocked his view as the man stood before him, forcing him to listen. “You are a killer, a monster, and that is all you’ll ever be. Accept it, embrace it, and learn to play by the rules. It’s the only way to ever leave this room alive.”

Luckas broke eye contact with Ess, crawling his way as far away from her as he could and jumping to his feet even before the image of the woman’s house came back to him. Blindly, he stumbled over the chair he had knocked over moments before in his desire to get away. Unable to look at Ess, or say anything, he simply made his way to the door and stormed out leaning on the outside walls of the house, breathing in the cold night air. What was that place? Who was that girl? Had he actually killed her? Why was he remembering this now? Now of all times! He pressed both his palms against his face, hiding from the world, but unable to escape himself. Luckas let out a muffled scream. The unkown man’s voice echoing in the back of his mind. “Accept it, embrace it, and learn to play by the rules.” Maybe he was a nightmare someone else had dreamed after all. Maybe he was never real.

Ess stared back into Luckas’ eyes, slowly, as if paint splattered across her line of vision, everything went dark, her home disappearing from view. Ess was seeing through Luckas’ eyes, as if she were inside his head. Flashes of Mageria flew by, minutes of information condensed into mere seconds; down to the way she spoke Luckas’ name for example and the emotion only some could see, behind her eyes that she fought to hold back, in the Captains own mask of deception.

The images were ripped away, quickly replaced by a blinding light in utter darkness. Ess’ mind couldn’t think while Luke’s own memory flooded into her brain. They stared at a dead girl, to a dark figure of a nameless man as they were scolded, punished and abused for the terrible act. When her vision came to and the connection was severed, she caught Luckas’ stumbling to evade the room already recovering from an apparent fall, her brain quickly sorting through what she was just shown. It didn’t make sense. Did it have to do with the ‘hypothetical’ questions Luckas was drilling her with earlier? Was it a forgotten pain? Hidden shame?

Ess blinked, quickly rolling herself off the bed and onto her feet, not hesitating in her pursuit of Luckas as he escaped outside, a despaired scream rumbling from him as he seemed to be having some sort of panic attack. Before she even reached him, her mind fumbled in the pieces, overwhelmed with questions and concerns. Who was that punishing the poor boy for something a child most certainly did not do? She couldn’t believe it and knew from enough abuse how the victims were sometimes manipulated into feeling they were responsible for whatever horrors or despair they were experiencing first hand or by proxy. The voice echoed in her ears, as if she still could hear the man, “It’s the only way to ever leave this room alive.” Tears welled in her eyes, yet her expression was almost angry when she halted by Luke’s side, searching to see his eyes before she stepped closer, heeding his warning if they were red. “Luckas….what just happened?….” Ess paused waiting for an answer and saw he was still lost temporarily inside himself, not quite understanding how to act. She needed him to focus so she raised her voice a bit hoping to snap his attention to her… “Luckas! Look at me!…Who was that who hurt you? Is he still alive?” She growled.. “If he is..” She trailed off, not sure what to expect but she needed to take a breath, for Luckas’ sake, to figure it all out and not bombard the man with too many questions at once.

Luckas slid down the wall onto the floor, face still hiding in his hands, he was trembling now on account of the cold and the freezing rain, but he couldn’t even take notice; he was trying to hold onto the imagery, to some detail, to anything that could tell him who he was; who he truly was… He could hear Ess was speaking to him, her voice beginning to break through asking who was the man hurting him… If he was still alive… Luckas had no answers. As he replied his voice came out weak, but rose more and more in his frustration. “I don’t know, I don’t know, I DON’T KNOW!” He shouted, taking a moment to breathe out and get a hold of himself before running both his hands over his eyes and through his hair as he looked up at her finally, his eyes had their usual black color, but for the first time in a very long time they showed fear. “I don’t know who they were, I don’t know where that was… I don’t know if I killed her… What if I killed her? I can’t remember…” His voice broke as he leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. “I don’t even know who she was…”

After a moment more of half coherent ramblings, Luke managed a deep breath and spoke; his voice now more firm as the shock began to fade. “I was found, me and my brother, in the basement of this shop at age nine, when the owner died, apparently of natural causes. We were taken to the orphanage after months in a hospital ward… The medics said that we had probably been locked there for a period of at least six years. I don’t remember any of it. Nothing before my first day at orphanage. Nothing. At least, I didn’t until now. When I lived with the White Shadows, their leader at the time, the only telepath who ever managed to affect me, she tried everything… I never managed to see a thing before the orphanage. She said that pushing any further would be too dangerous… That the memories were so painful that my mind built a wall around so strong that it could break beyond repair if we tried to push through it…” He heaved a heavy sigh. “I still wanted to try, but she wouldn’t let me.” He mumbled, still unaware of the rain or his own shivers as he sat on the cold ground. “Suppose we’re even now, huh? You got to violate me a little bit.” He joked, managing a weak smile.

Ess’ eyes widened as Luckas yelled in frustration, noting the familiar blackness staring up at her from where he had slinked upon the ground. Kneeling down beside him, ignoring the freezing specks bouncing off her back, she adorably rested her head on his shoulder giving her best smile she could muster at the moment while she listened to him. “Sounds like an evil person to have locked up children in a basement…”She whispered, not breaking her gaze from Luckas. “Well…you didn’t attempt to break through this ‘wall’, it just happened this time. Maybe this is a sign, that your body is ready for bits and pieces to be revealed…maybe I’ve hypnotized you with my sweetness and maybe I’m just good for you.” She winked, her smile only broadening, motioning for him to get up and come back inside where it was warm.

“You were only a child and you don‘t remember exactly what happened so you can‘t rush conclusions either now. You can’t cast blame or judge with nothing to back it with.” Adding another point, she shifted the conversation slightly. “Should I blame myself for all the horrid things I was forced to do in order to survive the brothel?” Shaking her head knowingly, she continued to hint at her open door.

“Do you still think you’ll have to kill me?” She teased, standing she tugged lightly on his arm, attempting to lead him back inside. “Or maybe we have more in common than you even thought in the first place.” For some reason, Luckas’ words from an earlier conversation appeared from the back of her mind; the meaning creating more questions for herself: “I hope you remember what you just told me. It might save your life some day.” He sighed and mumbled under his breath. “Hell, it might even save mine.”

“…maybe I’ve hypnotized you with my sweetness and maybe I’m just good for you.”

Luckas laughed softly at those words. “You think so, huh? Well you sure think highly of yourself, Pretty Lady.” He chuckled as he stood up slowly, still trying to retain the image of the dead girl, but it was already fading from his mind again; fading into that part of him that he had never known. He couldn’t help the feeling that she was important however, that she was important to him personally for some reason. “I think that I killed her, because that would explain a few things… And haven’t you blamed yourself? At least for a moment, haven’t you?” He asked, again mumbling, partly to himself, although still expecting an answer. He ran a hand through his hair, a little startled to discover that he was soaked. “Looks like I’ll need those clothes after all.” He stated absently.

“Do you still think you’ll have to kill me?” She teased, standing she tugged lightly on his arm, attempting to lead him back inside. “Or maybe we have more in common than you even thought in the first place.”

Luckas seemed to flinch at those words, and he stared at Ess for a long minute thinking about them. No one had ever seen so much of him before and she spoke of them having things in common. Luke was unsure what to make of it all, he was unsure of what that told him about her exactly. “I think…” He started, moving towards her and half-stumbling forward, momentarily forgetting that he had just had his mind prodded minutes ago, he caught his balance as he continued in a soft snicker, leaning in close to her as if telling a secret. “I think this is one of those things that can destroy or save a person… And we’ll never know which it’ll be, until it is.” He then walked past her to walk back inside. “We should go back to the castle soon, if you think you have what you need.”He stated, finally going back to his usual demeanor as if the whole meltdown had never truly happened.

“Well you sure think highly of yourself, Pretty Lady.”

Shrugging her shoulders, pulling a soaked curl away from her eyes her smile faded a bit. “Maybe, but more likely it’s part of the persona…giving ourselves the image of confidence. Could be stemmed from a deeper, internal source of hope..or it could just be my successful attempt to make you smile.”

Ess shivered, wrapping her arms around herself in a gentle hug, hopping in place slightly wanting to keep warm. “Seems you and I are not use to certain changes in our lifestyles, but today is just full of ‘em. Of course I’ve blamed myself…it’s natural…this is just my feeble attempt at being your…friend.” She whispered, giving him a half smile, not even quite sure what she had just said.

Following Luckas inside, her only response to his last comment of this making or breaking a person was a curious look, “I look forward to that day then.” Locking the door behind her, she left Luckas with his option to change into the clothes she left upon the bed, while she began digging through floorboards at a hidden assortment of supplies. It appeared as if she was prepared long ago to flee, with the option to do it at any time if necessary; several leather satchels were filled with jerky, raw ingredients most recent and fresh for her serums, plenty of money, and some clothes. She paused upon a few basic swords that she had on hand, thinking how she may just be following the Captain wherever she was planning to go with her loyal guards.

“Well…I’m already prepared for the coming trip into the unknown… so check. Luckas…do you ever carry a weapon? I could give you one…you know besides that brain of yours.” She listened to him, keeping her stare along her supplies and began thinking over Luckas about how she would need to get to the castle to acquire an uniform, something that Mageria would wear and also to go light perhaps only with a weapon along her thigh, similar to the Captains. Standing,she lazily draped herself across her bed with a sigh, feeling her body ache subtly from her excursions throughout the day. “We can leave in an hour…there’s still plenty of time. I think we need to get warm…You can eat some more if you like..get some strength up…rest a bit so we don’t make ourselves vulnerable…” Closing her eyes she mumbled, “Do me a favor..Mr…I don’t do favors…” A tired giggle escaped her chest. “Wake me up in half an hour..”

Luckas smiled quietly at the word ‘friend’, but was careful to hide it from Ess. It wasn’t a word he heard often, and even though friendship was never something he sought, or even understood, it was an intriguing idea nonetheless. Once back in the house Luckas changed into the dry clothing quickly, absently hearing the sounds of Ess going through things, by the time she was done looking through the supplies, he had changed and sat at the same chair he had been sitting before, barefoot, and absently checking his boots for any holes. He lifted his head curiously as she asked if ever carried a weapon and offered to give him one. “I’m not that good against opponents who fight back, so I figure it would be a waste of a sword.” He replied absently with a light shrug. “Nice of you to ask though.” He knew he needed training. That had become clear to him a long time ago, but the thing with Luckas is that he trusted almost no one. Lena had taught him a few things, but she hardly had enough time to work him into something decent. Aside from his gift, Luke was just about as harmless as he looked and he looked pretty damn harmless.

Luckas slipped his boots back on, glad that, even though the soles were pretty worn, there were no holes in them just yet. He nodded quietly when Ess asked him to wake her in thirty minutes, not helping a small chuckle at her comment about favors. He shot a small glance in the woman’s direction as he pulled his chair closer to the lit fire; he was still freezing from sitting on the nearly frozen ground outside. Ess was right though, these clothes were far warmer. He took another quick glance towards Ess and confirmed that she had in fact fallen asleep. Thirty minutes… Luke sighed, looking around the house, watching all the drawings on the walls carefully and trying to be as quiet as possible, but feeling bored and uneasy as he sat there. It had been a strange and exciting day for Luke and despite the little scare he had just gone through, he was hardly tired. Eventually his eyes reached the shelf where he had placed the journal Ess had dropped moments earlier, he shook his head, mentally scolding himself a few times before he finally let curiosity get the best of him and he stood up to get the book, one eye always on Ess as he took it out of the shelf and returned to his chair with it.

His mind set on just skimming through the journal to ease his curiosity and putting it back, he opened the book absently flipped the pages, not minding the writing and simply looking at the several drawings contained inside, most of them the same ones drawn on the walls of the house, Ess’ different faces, the little blue eyed boy… Tala, annoying little creature, Luke just knew he was going to end up bitten… Suddenly Luke caught sight of something that caused him to lean forward in his seat, his eyes widened and slightly sparkled in red as he saw the drawing, a grin widening on his face. The drawing was all black, dark, and out of the darkness eyes stared back at Luke. Several eyes, of all different colors, but all the same in a way and unmistakable; his eyes. One single line of writing followed the image:

“Why are the Eyes, the gateway to the soul? Why so many for one soul?”

At this point, Luckas was way too intrigued not to read, and his curiosity spoke louder in his mind than any shred of a conscience he might have left on him, drowning any possible remorse over invading the privacy of someone who had offered him comforting words and even friendship moments ago.

The journal entries were addressed to ‘Blue Eyes’ and they were written as if speaking to this boy. The first few entries Luckas went through made clear that Blue Eyes was dead, and Ess confessed to her friend how much his death had affected her. Those entries spoke of things Luckas never felt, things he was unable to understand, at least up until this point in his life. He didn’t know what it felt to care for another to a point where their absence is unbearable. He’d seen it many times in the healers’ camp when people watched their loved ones die, he saw it when Captain’s friend died as well… He stopped for a few moments going over those words, trying, but failing, to imagine the extent of that pain.

Is it pathetic to miss you so much, Blue Eyes? To love one so deeply that it hurts to eat…it’s hurts to breathe. I feel no reason to keep going, but I do to a point. I wake up every day remembering your words…the words of a child who promised that even in death, would never leave me. I believed you, and although I never forget you so that in a sense you are always with me, I have never felt more alone.

I am eating again…but sleep my days away as it is easier than to live each day out in pain.

I don’t remember the last time I drew something…

I haven’t sang since the last time I saw you…

I don’t deny my own words to you on life, I just find it harder to swallow them now.

Losing the will to live, barely surviving without a purpose I am unsure where to find that edge to continue on.

Not long ago Luckas would have said that it was indeed pathetic, but he remembered the dead girl and wondered if he had ever felt such pain, maybe this is what he was so afraid of. Was he really this pathetic underneath it all? He shook his head, shoving the thoughts aside as he continued to read. A few entries, or pieces of entries catching his eye here and there.

It’s ironic that with my freedom to NewHaven I would chose to gain coin through the same means as my slavery burdened me. Is this all I am, a whore? Do I have any other skills? Is there really anything more to me? Perhaps I am just wasting away..wasting myself…

Is it wrong to feel good about killing another human being? It wasn’t in self defense this time, but a vengeful and preventative act. He wasn’t innocent…he hurt so many, my friend, similar to those who hurt me as a child for all those years. I know you would understand, but if you were still alive you may be scared of me. The emptiness inside is numbing more. It’s as if the hole is still there but filling with shards of tiny purposes. I think I could get use to this…maybe one day I can fill the emptiness inside.

So…how does one tell the difference between Heaven and Hell?

Again, Luckas shifted in his seat as he found himself here and there amongst the woman’s entries…

Stupid. Stupid. I don’t even know where to start Blue Eyes. I took a job, not knowing much about the client. First mistake…..he attacked me…wouldn’t allow me to choose what I was willing to participate in…I escaped..with his coin purse and a few bruises…but I’m ok. Tala was not with me, as I try to keep her low key as not to draw too much attention to my real self. I mean..how many people have a wolf? Right…So the past hour is a hazy blur. I’m pissed off, having to relive some horrid memories that I thought I was past. What I remember is that it was late, walking home alone, came across two men in an ally….next thing I know is one is on the ground slamming his head into a wall and all I remember is a face…a teenage boy..raven locs….purple eyes…no black….maybe both? His smile made my skin crawl…but at the same time…he didn’t hurt me. In fact I came home with two coin purses instead of one. I don’t know who he was….maybe I dreamed it all?…There’s something familiar about him…

It was a dream….I’m pretty sure. Mostly because Tala was sound asleep and she would of been alert and angry if there was an intruder. The dark eyed boy …I opened my eyes to find him smiling beside me as I lay in my bed with Tala curled up behind my legs, all warm and snug like. His smile…..so sad….and he was silent as he brushed one of my curls from out my eyes..and then I blinked and he was gone…What is happening to me..?

Every night this week this stranger has visited my dreams…same way every time

Is it weird that I missed not having that dream last night?

He seems older now..this shadow in my dreams. Now he sits by the fire in my home, watching me sleep curiously, his eyes a terrifying red. As much as he seems frightening…I’m drawn to him and I want to know more…but I always wake up if I move from the bed.

Luckas slowly lifted his eyes from the book, and he shot a glance at the sleeping woman… Feeling a slight chill at the fact that he was exactly where she had dreamed him to be. Maybe he was someone’s nightmares after all… His eyes lit up red, burning bright for a moment as he watched her face, but the light went out as he continued to read.

I dream less and less now a days…kinda disappointing…

He snickered softly at one entry, shaking his head in amusement:

Today, I took on an appointment, but I was bored and troubled…..In a disguise, mirroring the client’s own wife I ‘broke’ into the home assaulted him, stole money and happily acquired a pretty set of finger sized daggers….What a lovely addition to my collection. I know what you may say my friend, but I took one look at this man…saw his lies….saw his lechery…and knew I would not touch him with even my sword. At least I didn’t kill him…

“Should’ve killed him. I would have killed him.” He whispered to himself.

Why are the Eyes, the gateway to the soul?

Demons do exist..inside of us all.

Last night….I dreamt the black eyed stranger was everywhere…
Inside my home…around the corner…down an ally…watching me from afar at a lonely table at the bar…Eyes flashing all colors…his smile so sad….yet his gaze seemed to penetrate my very soul…he saw me for who I am…he knows what I’ve done….His sad smile turned almost manic in his sinister laughter..I can still hear it..

During my dream I was a bit shaken…but when I awoke I swore I could hear him breathing..and I longed to know him.

Luckas frowned slightly wondering why she kept calling him sad. Wondering why he felt like he had actually been there like she had imagined him, or maybe he wished he had… Seemed to him he would have learned a lot more by following Ess around like she dreamed he had than stuck in the White Shadows camp, where he actually was most of those years. Even if he didn’t understand why she had never forgotten him, why she wanted to know him… Ess was right in her statements; they had plenty in common.

“I’m not that good against opponents who fight back, so I figure it would be a waste of a sword…”

“…Nice of you to ask though.”

Ess’ breathing slowed, but grew louder in their rhythm when she drifted off to sleep, the last thing she thought of was how maybe they could trade off in skills as teacher and student: He could give her lessons in defense against telepaths and she would give him self defense ones in turn. Memories, not her own manifested into dreams, flashing from one to then next in almost the same manner she absorbed them earlier from Luckas, Mageria’s voice whispering in the back of her mind.

“You’re dead. You’re not real, you’re dead and I don’t have to do what you say because you’re not real.”

“Why aren’t you doing what I tell you?”
Mageria didn’t even look at him, refusing to even acknowledge that he was there. He started to reach out and touch her, and she leaned away, not wanting to let him get his hands on her even as a hallucination. When he made it clear that he would continue to try and touch her if she didn’t answer, she stopped and glared at him. “What?”
“Why aren’t you doing what I tell you to do?”
She sighed. “Because you’re dead. I saw your body back at Newhaven and I know you’re not real. So therefore, you don’t have any control over me.”
The teen rocked back on his heels. “Do you see things that aren’t there often?”
Mageria sighed. “Only recently. Why?”
He tilted his head to the side. “Are you Enlightened at all?”
She shook her head. “No, not the slightest. Go away and leave me alone. You can come back later.” She started to move away and he jumped in front of her.

The memory scattered like broken glass, revealing another behind it…

Luckas looked down and smiled like a child that had gotten away with something truly mischievous, then pretend to think for a while, tapping his chin with his index finger. “Hum… I probably shouldn’t tell you… Should I?” He mumbled, grinning. “Fine, as a token of my appreciation Captain, I’ll tell you what I saw: I saw something I didn’t knew even existed, and I might have gotten a little too close to it in my curiosity. And when IT tried to kill me… I found out IT is in fact a HE. Because, see… My ability only works on people, and it worked, thankfully. Even though it sure didn’t look like a man, he thought like a man, at least momentarily… And you were very much on his mind the whole time Captain. On his mind, on its mind… Both, I think.” He leaned further into the wall and looked up again. “As it occurs to me that you might not believe me, if you like I’ll gladly show you proof. The little mark he left on me is still quite fresh.” He said, reaching for his chest, where he had been bandaged the day before.

Ess was seeing everything again, as if she were Luckas, realizing by what he wore this memory was from the night her and him had been…reunited…

Luckas hesitated, going silent for a moment before asking another question, now looking at the ceiling and trying to pretend the question was innocent. “Say… How well did you sleep last night, Captain?”

Mageria hesitated and shrugged. “Nightmares, of course. Would you expect any less?” She sighed. “They seem to be following a theme lately.” She stated it simply and left it at that. “Why do you ask, Luckas? You don’t seem the type to worry about another person’s health like that. No offense.”

Luke laughed out at the words ‘no offense’. “You’re too polite, considering the circumstances.” He nodded, still smiling. “And I do worry about your health, Captain. Perhaps not for what you would call ‘the right reasons’, but I do.” He sat up straight again, and nodded. “The reason I ask is because I haven’t been sleeping well myself. And while I can’t always remember my dreams exactly, since I got here… Well… It’s gotten worse.” He stated, showing off his left forearm that still had the reddish marking of the word ‘stop’ scratched on it. “I’ve also been seeing and hearing things, even while awake, ever since I looked into that thing’s mind. It’s bothersome. Especially because it all seems to have something to do with you.” He scratched the back of his head and sighed. “I guess I’m trying to say that… I want to help you, when time comes for that.”

Ess began to stir, the dream fading from her mind. As her eyes peeked open, she saw Luckas by the fire, appearing quite mesmerized by something in his lap. At first, she thought she was still dreaming, everything was so familiar until she realized what Luckas had in his lap was her leather journal. She couldn’t move in the mix of emotions that plagued her at that moment, her heart beginning to pound in her ears. Closing her eyes to try to get herself to focus, she kept up the notion that she was still asleep.

How could he invade her things like that? Why did she leave it out in the open to be found? Why did it interest him so to read the depressed dribble of her inner most despairs? How far did he get? She wanted to scream in her embarrassment, to lurch at him and tear it from his grasp to just toss it away in the fire so that no one could read it ever again. Minutes went by as she tried to decide on her reaction, trying to bury inside her frustration with the situation. Finally, still with her eyes shut, she abruptly spoke, her voice letting him know she was pissed, but still managing to keep her tone calm and low.

“…You miss my company that much, you couldn’t wait to find out more? What do you wish to know so bad about me, my dear Luckas?”

Luckas was about to close the book and put it back when Ess’ voice reached his ears. He winced, staring intently at his shoes as if he was a scolded child.

“…You miss my company that much, you couldn’t wait to find out more? What do you wish to know so bad about me, my dear Luckas?”

Her voice was calm, but it was clear that she was angry, why wouldn’t she be? This was private and he had overstepped; he knew that. He was silent for quite sometime, wanting to say anything to make this look a little less invasive, but there was nothing, Sure he could lie; he could say he didn’t even get the chance to read anything, that he had just opened it right then, maybe that would make it a little better. The problem with that was the fact that lying was the one thing Luke wasn’t capable of. Finally he stood up and quietly placed the journal back where it had been. “I’m sorry…” It was strange to say that without the sarcasm. “… I guess, I was bored and them I got curious.” He returned to the chair and leaned back on the backrest, heaving a sigh. “I was just going to skim through it, find that drawing you showed me before, but then… It… Got interesting…” He mumbled, scratching the back of his head. Luckas truly look like a scolded child, staring at his feet and mumbling apologies. He felt stupid for it, but he really couldn’t help it; he knew very well that that book was important and it was personal, and he took it anyway.

Ess’ eyelids flew open when he didn’t answer right away, still not moving from where she lay, only watching him carefully as he rightly put the journal back upon the shelf. Her anger grew, literally biting her tongue to keep her temper, her violet eyes ablaze with the obvious displeasure of the situation, burning a hole into Luckas as she studied his reaction. It was clear he knew what he had done and wasn’t denying it, which made Ess calm just slightly. Sitting up she sighed, “I usually keep it on me…it’s my fault. I would of probably done the same thing…apology accepted…but only if you really mean it.” This wasn’t anything by any means, worth holding a grudge over, but she felt like the purpose of the journal was ruined…that maybe something was taken away and out of spite she still wanted to burn it.

Still studying Luckas closely, the glow in her eyes faded as she shook her head. “I’ll be honest with you hun, I can tell you read something that you are not understanding…so just ask me. Not everything is written down or explained in there, that’s the problem with those things. It’s what we choose to disclose, either for shameful reasons or…” Ess snickered, “…Self incriminating ones…”

Deciding the best way to get rid of her anger was to keep herself busy, she stood, changing out of the semi wet dress she had slept in, into a pair of black leggings that had closed feet with a matching black shirt that fitted snug along her hourglass curves. She could easily slip other clothes over these and not have to worry about them. Finding a small belt, she lifted her leg onto the empty chair beside Luckas, buckling a simple looking dagger along the outside of her thigh.

Luckas kept staring at his boots the whole time. He did feel sorry and he didn’t like feeling it one bit, it started to make him a bit unnerved. He’d done a lot worse in his life than go through someone’s journal why didn’t he feel sorry then? Why was he feeling so damn guilty for this? It was so stupid. Finally he broke his silence. “I don’t say things I don’t mean and I don’t need any explanations on things I shouldn’t know in the first place.” He muttered in a barely audible tone, before standing up and raising his voice to normal level. “We should just go… We’ve been away from the castle long enough; the meeting probably ended hours ago.”

Things had gotten a little more personal than Luckas was comfortable with in the past couple of hours and, after this he just wanted to talk about something else, anything else, that didn’t have to do with anybody’s past.

Ess brushed through her hair, watching how Luckas wouldn’t even look at her now. As she braided it up similar to Mageria did hers, the tone of her voice changing softly as she stretched her vocal cords to match the memories and experiences of Mageria with an impressive start. Quickly slipping a curious ring around her right hand, a silver claw turned inward along her palm, she finished dressing in her cloak, pulling the hood up over her head the material drooping over her face to hide her from plain view. When she spoke, her voice gradually drifted from her normal tone, to mimic the Captains. “Luckas…I believe you. You’re right, enough hanging about…Just keep in mind that you’re not the only one weirded out by all this…I thought I was still dreaming when I saw you by the fire…”With a sigh she trailed off, her smile peeking out from beneath her hood. Ess had not changed her appearance, but yet the way she carried herself and moved showed that she had definitely made much use of the memories Luckas gave her. It was almost uncanny in the simplicity and detail that usually may go over looked when comparing people; each step and each word improved the fantasy that she was becoming the Captain. “Let’s get on with the show then, my dear Luckas.”

“Maybe we’re both dreaming an none of this is real… Maybe I’m still locked up in that basement, maybe you never really left Blackpond to begin with… Who’s to say it isn’t all just one big illusion? Maybe nothing really changed.” Luke was mumbling under his breath again, taking notice of the change in the woman’s tone and thinking that things were just getting weirder by the minute.

Luckas was quiet as they walked the path back to the castle, trying hard to focus on the task ahead, but it had been one strange day and his mind was a little bit scattered all over the place; he needed it in one piece, he couldn’t lose control… He said he’d get the information out of Xypher, killing the man before finding out his motives would be failure and that wasn’t an option. With only the corner of his eyes he watched Ess, registering all the changes in her posture, in her walk… It was impressive how easily and how quickly she changed. If he didn’t know any better… He shook his head, amusement showing clear on his face even though he still kept to himself until they reached the insides of the Castle at which point he mumbled the word “uniforms” and began leading the way towards the Black Knights’s ward, hoping it’d be easy to snatch one with all the confusion of people preparing to move out.

As they reached the Black Knight’s ward things looked agitated. There were broken things being carried around and it didn’t seem like the Guard would be all that welcoming to visits right now. Luckas turned to Ess with a rather intrigued expression on his face. “You think we should tell the Captain what we’re doing? I mean… If she happened to show up while you’re luring the man, that could be a problem.” As he said that a member of the Guard approached them. “Hey, you two, what are you…” The man flinched for a second, but he took a second look at Ess and went on talking, shaking his head as he did so. “You shouldn’t be wandering around here, so why don’t you just turn around?”
Luckas tilted his head to the side curiously as he noticed the man had reached for his sword… Things had certainly grown more tense in the past few hours. “We’re allowed.” Luckas stated calmly. “Answer me: Where’s your Captain?”
The man relaxed some. “You’re allowed.” He agreed. “Captain’s at the medics ward.”
“Really?” Luckas asked. “Tell me more.”
“She and Pondus had one hell of a fight. They both ended up really messed up.”
Luckas flinched a little bit. “Pondus? Ain’t he the dead guy?” He asked absently, then he shook his head. “Never mind. Thanks a lot mate, move along, now.”
The Guard went on his way and Luckas looked at Ess, scratching his head. “Well, I’m going to the medics’ ward then. You wanna come with or you rather maybe go find some uniforms?” He asked.

“Maybe we’re both dreaming and none of this is real… Maybe I’m still locked up in that basement, maybe you never really left Blackpond to begin with… Who’s to say it isn’t all just one big illusion? Maybe nothing really changed.”

Ess shook her head, not liking the idea that all of this was a dream. She rather enjoyed the fact that Luckas standing beside her was not just the dreams haunting her, fragments that were not understood, now slowly were coming together. When she had rested her head on his shoulder, he felt as real as anything else she had experienced in her life. It didn’t make much sense to her why he wanted it all to not be real, so very bad..or maybe it did make sense. There are some things she could do without, but there’s no sense in wishing the impossible. Keeping her thoughts to herself, she felt a subtle ache in her chest for Luckas at how awkward all this seemed for him and she began to feel guilty for her anger towards him, even if she was in her right to feel that way. Having control over her temper once again, the glow in her eyes faded which was helpful not to draw unnecessary attention to herself before things even begun.

Entering the castle, Ess was in utter awe how much had changed in the past couple hours, the place was a disaster. She went to whisper something to Luckas, when the Guard approached giving Ess a double take. Dipping her head a bit, to continue to hide her face she smiled in her silence, letting Luke take care of the small matter. ‘Very useful this one is..’ Ess pondered to herself as the guard wondered off.

“I’ll meet you and the Captain in a few moments then..” She muttered, still tweaking certain vowels to resemble Mageria’s speech. Without another word she slipped past a few men, hustling down the hall, disappearing around the corner.

Luckas simply nodded, walking in the opposite direction towards where he knew the infirmary was, whispering under his breath. “Be careful now, Pretty Lady.”

~~~~~

This is where I will end this posing. Perhaps another time I will post more, but if you are really interested on what happens next, please click the link above at Shadows Of The Forgotten. Thanks for reading!