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    Face the Voices Lest You Fade

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    Lineage : Descendant of the Candy Witch
    Position : None
    Faction : The Rune Knights
    Posts : 802
    Guild : Guildless
    Dungeon Tokens : 5
    Experience : 2,545,552

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    Face the Voices Lest You Fade Empty Face the Voices Lest You Fade

    Post by 88 23rd October 2019, 4:27 am

    Ace Exam Prompt:

    theo silversong
    Silver Wolf || Alone || WC: 2,931


    These days, things were starting to iron out for the jello mage. His life tended to be a rollercoaster, so he knew better than to get comfortable. Though it was hard to remember, the start of his bizarre story was calm, as far as he could remember. At present, the faces of his mother and father were fuzzy at best. Were they an older couple when he was born? All he could seem to remember was white hair and a swollen belly. Pregnant...with a sister, he thought. He was looking at his mother's back as they had walked along, his tiny hand in hers. He was very young, but unless his memory failed completely, he was nearly positive this one memory didn't take place in Desierto. Compared to the memories after, there was a distinct lack of sand, and he swore he could remember the scent of sugary cakes wafting from a building nearby. In fact, hadn't he stopped to peak in the window when he fell? That's all he remembered. Falling.

    It felt like he fell into the dark pit for forever, and when he woke up, he was amongst the wind-blown granules of sand. The first village he'd come to had some kind people, though they quickly rid him of his clothing and replaced it with more humble garments that protected from the sun and sand. A gaunt but warm couple unable to have children took the strange boy in, despite his wild stories. All Theo had on him was a folded piece of paper. For a few days, his life had a small amount of comfort, but it wouldn't last. Showing a picture he'd had in his pocket sent the couple and the whole village into hysterics he didn't understand, partially because he couldn't understand the language, and partially because they seemed terrified by the piece of paper in his hands.

    Theo, even though he was grown now, still remembered how the paper was creased, but he could no longer make out the people in the picture. Actually, now he even doubted there had ever been a picture. How could he have had a photograph? That technology was far from existing in ancient Desierto. Since he'd mostly accepted his oldest memory to be just a dream, most of his mind was made up that the folded paper was also a figment of his imagination, probably something jumbled since his first death. He couldn't contest that his brain had been damaged when he died since he could no longer read or write. Was it such a stretch for it to have warped his perception of a few memories? Still, there was something about that paper that definitely got him booted from the couple's home and the whole village. Unable to part with the paper, he did remember burying it in a secret cave near some cliffs along with some other precious possessions. If the people were going to react so horribly to them, he needed to keep them safe, but also apart from him if he was to survive.

    At first, child-Theo insisted to anyone who tried to get close to him that he wanted to go home, back to wherever that memory was, but in time he started to accept that it had just been a very convincing dream and that he had always been Theo, the orphan. With the burying of his last threads connecting him to a former life, he let it go. At times he'd felt like he'd had a last name, but he'd been so small that it was hard to remember anyway, and no one cared enough to ask him for one. It was his own choice to adopt Silversong as his surname after becoming enamored with a street performer's song, a choice as strange as his first name considering the country he was living in. Just a weird, pale boy with a weird name. So that was the first heart-in-your-throat dip in the coaster tracks; having a nice life with parents somewhere with a cool breeze, to being an orphan in the sun-ravaged sands of ancient Desierto, to ultimately adjusting and accepting his life as it was.

    There were many dangers in Desierto three hundred years ago for the average adult, let along a very small child. Soon his skin burned and healed so many times that it turned the honeyed tone of the locals. There was little he could do about his icy eyes standing out among the sea of browns and black hues, but his tan and dark hair was just enough for him to blend. It took no time for him to start getting used to stealing. A bonafide street rat, he lived off of rotting fruit tossed from markets stands and snatching loaves of bread while backs were turned. Every day was one of belly-rumbling hunger but also thrills so that life was never dull. He learned to evade capture, or how to escape if he was caught. When it's life or death, skills form quickly. A young Theo was very soon adept at feeding himself for free, as well as snatching valuables off of the distracted wealthy shoppers. Perhaps he pushed his luck there since the mounting shiny obsession got him into a pickle before long. While trying to peddle one of his stolen goods for some money, a couple saw an opportunity to make some quick money. They snatched him, acting the part of another couple happy to help a child. He was a gullible and pure-hearted boy. He was happy to make his life with them as they waited for the right scenario to come alone. The wife was pregnant, something that resonated with young Theo. The old memories surfaced, and it was easy to let the two meld together. These were his father and mother, and soon she would give birth to his sister. However, she was very sick, and there was a high possibility she and the baby wouldn't make it. No matter how much Theo stole and sold, there was never enough money to feed them all and get her the help she needed. When a raider guild made their way into the village they lived in, Theo's adoptive father took him to them to sell. Theo never blamed the man. Actually, he was glad. With the money his father made from selling him, he could save the mother and the child. Even if the father hadn't done it, he'd have done it on his own. And thus, another corkscrew in the coaster tracks; Theo learns to fend for himself, is kidnapped, finds himself in a temporary home that was nice enough, then found himself owned by an infamous raider guild called the Bahamuts!

    From here it was a whirlwind fit for the world's most ridiculous and unpredictable thrill ride. The Bahamuts raised him amongst other youngsters to be more efficient thieves, prized for their small sizes, quickness, and disarmingly youthful faces. Once they aged out of that field, they were trained as proper treasure hunters and raiders, brought into the fold of the guild proper. It was here that Theo lost a bit of himself, becoming selfish and money-hungry. His affinity for shiny things only grew and possessed him. His allegiance was only to himself and a handful of others, his trust was non-existent, and his skills went out to the highest bidder. As long as someone paid him, he'd steal and kill until he was satisfied and felt worth something, two feelings that would never grace him with their presence.

    Theo rose as quite the formidable force in Desierto. One of his many expeditions had brought him across what would ultimately be a dragon slayer lacrima. He used it to become a Treasure Dragon Slayer, earning him the title of Bahamut Slayer among locals. Mages weren't that common, and most of his skills he could pass off as the blessings of the gods or as fantastic talent. He often worked alone, so no one ever witnessed him using the magic directly. However, when the trio of sultans focused their sights and fears on mages within their country, it was clear that if he wished to continue getting paid with as little threat to his way of life as possible, then he was going to have to ditch the lacrima. He hid it among the treasures he and some other Bahamuts were tasked with hiding in a temple, leaving his power behind many traps never to be seen again (for a long time anyway). And those twists in the rails account for his rise, his corruption, and his fall in power!

    Long story short, the train goes off the rails for a while and wracks up some casualties amongst the riders. Theo, being a not so great guy, tried to play two sides of a non-mage vs mage war, put on by the sultans. Bahamut had split once it was discovered some of their population possessed magical powers. 3 Wishes were the hunted mage half, and 1001 Knights were the non-mage half hired by the sultans to hunt their ex-guild mates. With a foot in each camp, Theo was in love with a mage he'd grown up while making money from the other side to kill any mages but them. As it usually does, it backfired. Theo was never the best actor and his a terrible liar, so soon enough the 1001 Knights became aware of his sneaking off to 3 Wishes and followed him to their secret location. A war broke out! Brother against brother, people who once lived and broke bread together were killing each other. Theo realized his mistake too late, only choosing a side once he was forced. He'd protect his lover, no matter the cost. The twice-betrayed leader of 3 Wishes, Aimu, killed his own brother Kebir, leader of 1001 Knights, then whirled on Theo and ripped his heard clean out of his chest with a fiery fist. Theo died.

    His will to live was strong! He fought a demon for the ability to come back and make sure his lover was ok, but the deal was twisted. Theo ended up killing a lot of people in a berserk rage, including his lover. As the demon and death both reclaimed him, he again fought for the chance to make things right, but even that didn't go to plan. That battle raged on until the demon was forced into a contract, and through luck that could only belong to Theo, he ended up resurrected as a coffee bean three hundred years later. An old lady merely wanted a sip of morning joe and POOF! there was a teenage boy with coffee-pot glass in his butt. He didn't speak a lick of the modern language and was a complete derp, but she grew fond of him. She could also see the sadness growing in him as he realized what happened, though he never explained it to her.

    Atoning for his sins and turning over a new leaf was the best he could do now. The flaming trainwreck returned onto a shiny new track that was actually calm....just before the track ran out and sent him shooting into a fire pit. He made friends. Joined a new artisan guild. Fell in love. Lost the guild. Made a new one. Lost his love. Lost his life again. The contract with the demon brought on a strange side effect, melding Theo and demon together into a new being until the situation could be rectified. Ike joined Silver Wolf. Ike and Leona went on a fateful trip to retrieve the old lacrima, and Theo and Leona emerged at the end. But...how could he possibly pick up the pieces from there? There was hardly any left.

    ***

    Theo had received a personal quest from his guild master, Leona. Actually, it felt weird to call her that. Not because she didn't deserve it or anything dumb like that. If anything, she deserved it more than most, what with her cool head under pressure and friggin' scary strength. Even a guy like Theo could sense her power enough for his nose hairs to quiver. No, it was strange only because he'd had so many guild masters before. Aimu, Kebir, Desiree, Lester... All gone now for various reasons. He'd even been a guild master once himself along with...her...but that had been so short-lived he could hardly count it as anything to admit. He'd been a colossal failure, to the point that even when he found himself back in among the living yet again, Aurora was no longer standing.

    He'd failed everything.

    She...Rin....was dead. Tahira was dead. He had little doubt that if he got too close to another, even hazarded himself a third chance, she would die as well. Yet he craved friendship. Theo wasn't the type of man that thrived being alone, even though he knew that was what was best.

    Anyway, Leona wanted him to go to the Cursed Lands to get an artifact that made the person using it invisible. Seemed simple enough. Theo preferred hunting for valuable treasures that would get him a lot of jewel, but these days just the thrill of the activity was enough to distract him. Without Aspen with him, though, he could feel the gloominess already gripping him. As he sat his flying pirate ship down near an abandoned cabin, he couldn't seem to muster his usual excitement. He didn't need to. It was just him.

    As he descended under the cabin, it was more of the same. Going through the motions. He was skilled at what he did, despite his derpiness. He had a natural talent for finding things, honed by his life in Desierto. His jello body wiggled and squished through impossible cracks in rocks, stretched to get him across glowing caverns with luminous, fungi-filled subterranean waters. His gut told him which ways to go, and once he started hitting old ruins with drawing warning of the hazards of the ring he sought, he knew he was close. The journey distracted him from his nearly unbearable anguish, something he was truly thankful for. Maybe he should do this more often.

    Or maybe not. Slipping into the chamber, he saw it. An unassuming ring inside a bear skull, seated atop a crumbling stone pillar. Wasting no time, he plucked it up. Now, it was probably a terrible idea to put the ring on his finger, but Theo wasn't known for his great decision-making skills. As soon as it slipped over his second knuckle, he felt a magical surge. He couldn't see his hand or the ring. He couldn't see his own feet. Ok, so this was the right artifact! How useful would being invisible be? Back in Desierto, he'd have been the absolute best thief. As it stood now, it would do him little good other than to avoid monsters while he hunted valuables...

    Or to just stop existing...

    Hold up. No. Where had that thought come from? Theo was at a very low point in his life with more hurt than he'd ever felt, but he wasn't depressed...was he?

    Being invisible is just the first step. No one notices you anyway.

    That wasn't wrong. Everyone who cared for him was gone. He'd started over again, and all he had to show for it was a girl he dragged along with him on jobs that he had to pay just so he wouldn't be so lonely. Paying for companionship...oof.

    What's the point of pressing on? There's an easier way.

    There was an easier way. Without even realizing it, he was standing back at the edge of the glowing river from before. It raged far below, flowing into god-knows-where. The sharp rocks jutted out from the froth, the bright blue lumination mimicking the color of his eyes and drawing him in. He wasn't worth it, was it? It was too much. It hurt too much. Teardrops slipped from his cheeks and joined the rapids below.

    Maybe you'll stay blissfully dead this time.

    Maybe.

    Do it.

    Okay.

    By the time he jarred his mind away from the foreign and malicious whispers, his invisible body was already falling. It was too late. He didn't want to die! He was terrified of death! He'd met it three times and every time it was just as painful and terrifying as he remembered! No matter what spell or how he stretched, it was too late to catch himself. Theo hit the water and was engulfed, battered and bounced around in the violent waters and sharp rocks. It sucked him into the mysterious depths. He hit his head and passed out, releasing the barely held breath in his lungs. At least the pain was over. Theo couldn't handle all three of his biggest fears at the same time.

    Whether by extreme luckiness or unluckiness, the young man washed up in a different cave a few miles away. Did his contracted demon aid him, or was he just that durable? Either way, he was beaten up and nearly despondent, but alive. Ripping the ring off, he jammed the cursed thing deep into his pocket and made his way back to the surface, the long walk back to his ship doing some good to clear his head. By the time he was back in the air, he had already buried the traumatic thing that had just happened deep inside himself, thinking only about warning Leona of the evil voices this ring of invisibility had.

    Notes: [N/A]

    ivyleaf33 of FTRP



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    Face the Voices Lest You Fade 65698_s

      Current date/time is 23rd April 2024, 11:42 pm