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    Breaking Down the Walls

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,808,129

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 18th September 2022, 9:02 am

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Breaking Down the Walls RJtajUnz_o


    A storm was coming to the island of New Rhaegar.

    It wasn’t an official name, at least not yet. There hadn’t been any official meetings about what the plan was for the island moving forward, as everyone was still well within the range of adapting to two races living there. There hadn’t been any issues between them but given the Rhaegarians being pulled from an entirely different universe and the Xocili tasting the first freedom in many years, the rush to establish any kind of operating government or future plan wasn’t considered top priority. Everyone was trying to feel out their own path. The only reason it had started to be called New Rhaegar was because, simply, the island hadn’t been given a name and simply calling it ‘the island’ was generic and lacking definition. It was a name that started with one person and eventually everyone on the island just began to address it as such.

    But that was hardly the issue at the time. Nor was it anywhere near the forefront of Vandrad du Wolff’s mind. In fact, to say that his mind was nothing but a swirling vortex of unfathomable rage was most likely still putting it nicely. He’d held back the gates of his fury for as long as he could; long enough to do what had to be done and finally ridding the world of the infection once known as Thana. She had been hard to fully kill for good but frankly, that just gave the former prince opportunity to hurt her again and again and again. But it had done nothing to quell the storm within; if anything, it had just thrown tinder to the flames and erected an even larger blaze.

    When he returned to New Rhaegar, he crashed down on the centralized areas by the docks. And it was evident to everyone in the surrounding area that something was wrong. The impact of his landing fractured the stone walkway beneath his feet and jagged veins spread out far and wide from the epicenter. Miraculously, the semi-crater managed to halt before it uprooted the ground beneath anyone’s feet, though several of them were forced to fall back a few steps to avoid tumbling over. All eyes were caught on the blistering blue blaze of magic that pulsed off of Vandrad, his aura taller and moving more wild than it ever had been. Even the island natives that were up near the top of the island would be able to look down the belly of the island and see the magical dispersal.

    Vandrad rose to his feet fully, having landed in a half-crouch. His face was shadowed, despite the vibrant cobalt color that surrounded him on all sides. Once on his feet, he began to walk slowly forward. His feet did not carry the same weight as his landing, his steps leaving the already tousled ground from further damage, but there was an air about the way he moved. Everyone could feel it -- the oxygen all around them seemed to freeze in place, a tension so thick that no weapon or tool was strong enough to cut through it. All of the people had come to a dead stop, frozen in sheer awe and even partial terror at the blistering man as he walked up the street from the docks. No one knew his direction, the target that he was marching to, so all the people could do was stand and stare. Several managed to look away from the sight, if only to look down at where he had come from and see the flaming footprints left in his wake, blue blazes gently billowing where once feet had occupied.

    It wasn’t until he came upon the house that his trajectory shifted. He turned to face the building, considering it for a long few beats. His aura seemed to grow in strength as he took in the sight, the magical dispersal gaining even more height. Within the flames, Vandrad’s hands curled into even tighter fists that he broke skin, blood pooling between the digits of his fingers. He moved forward again, his steps bringing him to the door of the home. And then in one swift movement, Vandrad’s arm pulled itself back and rushed forward.

    There was no debris as the entire front of the house detonated. The former prince hit the surface with such power and strength that any fractals that should have rightfully blown inwards were instantly vaporized. To everyone watching, it was as if Vandrad had simply deleted the front portion of the building through sheer will and might. With the barrier between them gone, Vandrad’s head shifted just enough so that his gaze would set upon the target of his rage, the foundation of the impossible fury.

    Khelban.

    All at once, the aura that had grown to the size of a raging forest fire was pulled inwards towards its epicenter. Now no longer surrounded by the blaze, Vandrad stood with a cobalt outline around his entire body. His placement only lasted a second before he moved so quickly that the ground shook beneath him, the house and the street outside. In yet another swift movement, he had grabbed Khelban by the front of his shirt, hoisted him from his spot and lifted him. His path brought them to the inner wall of the home, a load bearing structure that was, most likely, the only thing keeping the house from collapsing in on itself. Khelban would find himself pinned against the wall with such force, the drywall bent inwards against his body. There was no escaping Vandrad’s grip, his face somehow still shadowed as it seemed to stare through Khelban’s body.

    "I know what you did,” he finally spoke, his words surprisingly quiet but dreadful nonetheless. There was a venom in each spoken syllable that would have made any living creature shiver in fear. "I know what you did!” he repeated, his voice gaining volume enough that people outside would certainly hear him. "Do you know what you’ve done? Do you even comprehend the damage you have caused?”

    Were Khelban to make any attempt to answer, he would find himself pushed harder against the wall, a physical movement to tell him one simple fact: this was not his place or time to speak. "I have allowed you to live on this island for the sake of your people, for the sake of your family. I thought I knew the worst of your crimes. I was wrong.” His grip on Khelban tightened as, finally, his head lifted and the shadows melted away. Cold, sharpened sapphires stared at the Xocili with a deep-seeded rage, shimmering brighter against the fresh tears that lingered against the corners of his eyes and gently ran down his cheeks. "How dare you!” he roared, his voice carrying strength enough to shake the ground once more. "How dare you even show your face here after what you’ve done. You insect! You filth! How dare you hurt her like that. Your own sister!”

    Vandrad leaned in, his teeth grinding against one another as he bared them at Khelban. "You don’t deserve to live.” Every moment he spoke, every instant he spent looking at the face that had hurt Mercury, violated Mercury, only made him angrier. He had reined in his aura, collecting the loose expulsion of power so that it would house itself in his body, making him even stronger. This was not a man that came to threaten or terrify. No…

    This was a man that had come to kill.






    Words: 1260 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault  | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 672
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Gunblade Master
    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Re: Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 18th September 2022, 4:02 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    “Are you sure you don’t need any help?”

    Zemenar was lingering in the kitchen watching as his son put together a dinner for them. Like the rest of the Xocili, it had been a bit of an adjustment to a newfound life of freedom, though arguably Mercury’s father was adjusting better than most. While his most recent years had been spent in slavery, that was still only a very small portion of his life so far. So while it was weird to be in control of his own life again, and while he certainly had his share of issues and traumas he would have to work through, it was notably more comfortable for him to slip back into a rhythm of comfort. It helped that he was focusing most of his time on helping the younger members of his society settle in on the island that had unofficially been dubbed New Rhaegar by its residents. Zemenar wasn’t the oldest of the remaining Xocili, but there were very few left that were his age or older, and what was left of his people had looked to him as a leader figure for the better part of two decades. As such, he had put it on himself to help make sure they adapted to their new lives.

    However, one individual in particular was having a notably difficult time with it. “It’s alright, dad. You should relax. You’ve been doing a lot around the island today. Let me handle this for us.”

    “You have worked yourself plenty today, too. And every day since we got here.”

    “There’s a lot to be done. And in comparison to most of it, dinner is a simple and rewarding task.”

    Zemenar frowned lightly at Khelben’s back, his face rife with concern. Ever since the Xocili were saved by Vandrad’s people, Khelben had thrown himself tirelessly into just about every opportunity for labor or work that had come his way, often to the point of threatening to overextend himself. They had been on Earthland for several months at this point and Zemenar was certain that he had yet to see Khelben truly relax, or even so much as smile – not in a way that fully met his eyes, at least. He seemed constantly distracted and on edge, especially around Vandrad and Mercury, and certain members of the du Wolff family. There was a tension between the siblings that Zemenar had attempted to discuss with both of them privately, to no avail. Neither wished to speak about it and both insisted that they were fine when they clearly weren’t. Left to his own devices, their father could only assume that they were simply having a difficult time reconciling themselves with one another after Khelben’s kidnapping of Mercury. Unfortunately, he didn’t understand just how deeply the truth of that assumption ran.

    But he soon would.

    The older man sighed and relented, hiding his thoughts behind an easy smile for the time being. “Very well, if you insist. I’ll set the table, then.”

    By the time Vandrad was touching down on the island, their meal was well underway, with neither man aware of the approaching danger. There were more than enough people on the island that it was difficult to ascertain specific individuals among the masses. At this point they were even used to their radars picking up individuals coming and going from the island that were capable of flight, such as Vandrad, as as such nothing was really sticking out as out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until Vandrad was standing outside of the home that both men paused in their meal. They couldn’t sense magic, but that didn’t matter. Both had been in the military long enough to have a sixth sense, and both of their guts were vibrating with a strong sense of foreboding. “Who-”

    Before he could even pose the question the entire front side of Zemenar’s house was vaporized into nothingness. Standing there was Vandrad, cloaked in a blue aura that neither had ever seen before, his expression etched with an incalculable rage. While Zemenar was certainly as scared as any normal person would be in that situation, he was more confused than anything else. Khelben on the other hand… the moment their eyes met, Mercury’s brother became paralyzed with absolule terror.

    Khelben had been very, very careful ever since being brought back to Earthland. He knew he had not done anything recently to invoke this kind of fury from the former prince, which only meant one thing: he had learned the truth. In a more calm setting, Khelben would have admitted his surprise that it had taken this long. He was sure that Mercury would have told Vandrad not long after their return, and as such he had been waiting for this confrontation for some time. Except it never came, and while Vandrad almost always found ways with his words or sneers to make sure Khelben was aware the man wasn’t wanted, the behaviors had never increased in weight to indicate that he’d been told the truth. After a while of waiting for a shoe that seemed never to drop, the Xocili had gotten… well, not comfortable… but he had allowed his guard to drop a bit.

    But now the reckoning was upon him, and all the man could do was sit there in abject dread, too scared to even have the wherewithal to actively panic. He simply froze, his gaze locked on Vandrad’s as the walls of his vision began to tunnel around him. Before he knew it, he was halfway buried into the nearest wall, his computerized mind reeling not just from the force but from being entirely unable to calculate the movements of his hunter. Zemenar was practically gripping the table, his head swiveling from the spot where Vandrad had just been to where Khelben now hung at the mercy of the enraged demi-god, his mouth hanging open and unable to form words, let alone sentences, in response to the events unfolding before him.

    Vandrad spoke to Khelben, informing him quite plainly that he knew what the Xocili had done. Khelben didn’t make any attempt to fight back or pull away from his future brother-in-law… not that he would have had the power to resist the man, anyway. As Vandrad repeated the statement with more vigor, tears started to well in the Xocili’s eyes before pouring down his face, though not necessarily out of fear. Yes he was still very much actively afraid of Vandard, but the moment that the prince had confirmed Khelben’s suspicion, his fears were quickly overwhelmed with a mixture of other emotions that Vandrad had likely felt simmering below the surface just about every time he’d been in a room with Khelban since their return: sorrow… remorse… and weirdly, even an almost absence of emotion, the kind that resulted from having reached a point of numbness or even resignation. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mea-”

    He quickly stopped talking the moment Vandrad set him more deeply into the wall, too afraid to do anything but stare back at the man as it was explained to him that the only reason Khelben had been allowed to make it this far on the island was due to Vandrad’s respect for Mercury’s people and family. But now he understood just how deeply Khelben had wronged Mercury, and rightfully things had changed. Vandrad’s anger continued to rise higher and higher as he berated the Xocili, questioning the sheer gall of his mere existence after the way he’d hurt his sister before stating that Khelben didn’t deserve to live. And it was becoming increasingly clear that Vandrad had come there that night with the sole purpose of correcting the mistake that was Khelben’s continued existence.

    It was then that Zemenar finally found his voice. While his instinct was to protect his son and insist that everyone calm down over what he wanted to tell himself was just a gross misunderstanding, he simply couldn’t bring himself to embrace denial. It was dawning on him that something was very wrong. Between the level of Vandrad’s hatred and the way that Khelben didn’t take any action to defend or stand up for himself, Zemenar understood that he was missing very crucial details. Slowly – more to keep from triggering Vandrad into action than anything else – the older man stood to his feet and carefully took a couple steps toward them. “Khelben… what is he talking about?”

    At the sound of his father’s voice, Khelben was practically drowning in despair and grief, closing his eyes and sobbing without letup, unable to answer his father or even look at him. A pit began to form in Zemenar’s stomach as he realized that whatever crime Vandrad was accusing his son of, Khelben wasn’t denying it. He took another step forward, his voice finding more purpose. “What did you do?”  Zemenar was trying very hard to keep his cool, his tone expectant but collected. A beat of silence followed with Khelben still unable to answer, and Zemenar had to wonder what act could have been so atrocious and humiliating that his son couldn’t even speak.

    And that was when the suspicion began to creep in. And like any parent, he immediately tried to tell himself that it was anything else, desperate for any other answer – desperate to be overthinking things and to be proven wrong. But he needed answers. He needed the truth.  “What did you do to Mercury?”

    Still no answer. Zemenar’s world was caving in around him, his body shaking as he desperately fought back his own rising sense of anger and trepidation. For some reason, he could not shake the memory of Mercury from back on the flotilla, where she had spewed such venom about there being no worse torture than being in the same room as Khelben. At the time Zemenar had assumed it was just because of Khelben kidnapping her and following orders. Now, however… Swallowing very carefully in an effort to moisturize his mouth, which had suddenly gone very dry, he spoke up in one last attempt to get the truth, his voice almost as dangerous as Vandrad’s. “Answer me, boy: did you hurt her?”

    “...Yes,” Khelben whispered.

    “How?”

    A beat passed as Khelben steeled himself to admit the truth, knowing that he had no choice, knowing that he needed to own up to his sin. Presuming that Vandrad didn’t stop him from talking, he finally answered, struggling to get the words out through his tears and trembling. “We… we got into a fight… on the way to the flotilla… She had gotten free and… and tried to t-take over my ship to take us b-back to Earthland… The hull.. The hull was breached… We al-almost died, and I was so angry I… I blacked out… When I came to after, I r-realized that I had…” He hung his head, practically choking on his words and his sobs. “I didn’t mean to. I’m s-sor-”

    Unless Vandrad made an attempt to stop him, Zemenar would be stepping forward and letting a fist fly right into his own son’s face. The older Xocili, typically calm and collected and slow to emotion and judgment had become overwhelmed by a level of fury on par with Vandrad’s, almost completely blinded with rage.


    Several continents away, Mercury was hands deep in an experiment in the labs of Silver Wolf. Sparks bounced off the goggles on her face and the leather apron on her body as she pieced her current project together. “Hold it steady, now. We’re almost done with this part.” A couple members from the Scholar branch were with her, holding various parts in place while Mercury used her magic to weld the items together, each of them eager to explore the scientific possibilities before them that their ace was helping to guide them through. It was in the middle of this that Mercury received the message from her father.

    I need your help. I think Vandrad is about to kill Khelben.

    Mercury stopped dead in her tracks, so caught off guard by the missive that she didn’t even stop to think about why her fiance would be attacking Khelben. Had her brother done something? Stopping what she was doing, she quickly ripped off her goggles and apron. “I’m so sorry everyone, I have to go. Family emergency. Continue without me. Myers, you take lead.”

    As the confused group of guild members shifted their positions to adjust roles, Mercury didn’t even bother to hide her act of materializing her translocation ray, conjuring it without the use of her pack. Hurriedly, she dialed in the coordinates to her father’s house on the island and opened a portal, stepping through it almost before it even had a time to fully open.

    The scene she walked into froze her in her tracks. She had expected to see Khelben being attacked by Vandrad, considering Zemenar’s message was pretty upfront to that reality. What she hadn’t expected was for her father to also be taking part in the assault, screaming at Khelben at the top of his lungs in the Xocili tongue.

    “WHAT IN THE STARS IS WRONG WITH YOU?! WHO TAUGHT YOU TO ACT THAT WAY, BECAUSE IT SURE AS SHIT WAS NOT ME!”

    “Dad, please-”

    “DON’T YOU DARE ‘DAD PLEASE’ ME! I HAVE HALF A MIND TO LET HIM KILL YOU! IF YOU WEREN’T MY SON, I’D-”

    “STOP! DAD, VANDRAD, BOTH OF YOU STOP Mercury’s voice cut through the noise, drawing all the attention back to her as she stood there staring at the lot of them with a flabbergasted expression. “Will one of you explain to me what the fuck is going on?!”

    WORDS: 2284 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,808,129

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Re: Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 18th September 2022, 4:53 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Breaking Down the Walls RJtajUnz_o


    Being an empath had its benefits. But for a man like Vandrad, it held far more drawbacks. Being in tune with other people’s emotions was something he had only partially learned to block out, unless he directly allowed or wished to be experiencing it. It had been a sole training situation, as his being an empath was something he hadn’t shared with anyone -- including Mercury. But there were moments, moments where he himself wasn’t in control of his emotions, where he had no reign or influence over what came in off of other people. As an unbridled storm of rage, feeling the dread, despair, fear, sadness, depression -- all of the negative, guilty feelings that erupted from behind closed doors inside of Khelben -- only served to make him angrier. As if he was holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, this had been a ploy by Thana as a last-ditch effort to screw with his life. But all it took was a look at the Xocili and the rush of emotions to confirm the truth.

    Khelben felt like nothing in his grip, equally as heavy as a leaf or feather. He hadn’t considered Zemenar in his march of anger, Mercury’s father the farthest from his mind. There was only a brief moment, as he took in the sight of the rooms before him, that he wondered if the older man himself knew the truth and had hid it. But all it took was the sensation of confusion connecting to Vandrad for him to know that Zemenar was just as clueless as he had been. And while this was the worst possible way to break the news, Vandrad could not hold himself back. He had Khelben up and against the wall faster than even he truly comprehended, his mind flipping in and out of blinding red rage and semi-black outs. The Xocili’s emotions were all over the place, blasting off of Vandrad like invisible waves, perhaps his only unintended defense against the savagery before him. Even as he tried to speak, to apologize, to deign to think that words would ever make up for his actions, Vandrad slammed him further into the wall, ironing out his point that any argument, any attempt to talk would only make things worse for him.

    He was standing before his noose and the headsman had all the power.

    The only thing that gave Vandrad pause -- that could have made him stop -- was Zemenar speaking up. It took him out of his rage, if only by a fraction. He fell silent as the older Xocili asked Khelben what Vandrad was speaking about. And rather than confirm it, he let the trash in his hand give all of the context clues needed. The easy way would have been to deliver the news, ripping off the bandaid metaphorically. But the former prince wanted Khelben to suffer and his pitiful mewls as his own father questioned him was torture enough. The former prince remained a silent statue as Zemenar continued to demand an answer from his son, Khelben at a complete loss of words. The realization was beginning to form in the older Xocili’s mind and finally he demanded to know if Khelben had hurt her, to which he confirmed. But that wasn’t going to be enough and Zemenar further demanded to know how.

    There was no reason to quiet him now. If he was going to own up to his actions with his own words, speak the truth that he’d hidden for so long, it was the very least the former prince could grant him before his execution. Vandrad continued to stare through Khelben as he finally told the story. It was short and to the point, somewhat. He blamed his actions on his anger, claiming he hadn’t meant to. It was taking ownership without truly taking it, as far as Vandrad was concerned. As furious as he was in the moment, he knew later, when he was calm, he would still hold himself responsible for his actions, whatever result they brought about. He sensed Zemenar moving, felt the anger bristling off the older Xocili near if not on par with the former prince’s. He rightfully should have stopped Zemenar before he could strike him, save him from enacting violence on his own blood, even for heinous, unforgivable acts. But he couldn’t bring himself to rob Zemenar of his own rage. He would hold Khelben there, keeping him stuck as a perfect target for the older Xocili to unleash his rage and frustration. Zemenar was raging, roaring at his son in the language of their people. He didn’t need a translator to get the context of what was being hurled upon the slime in his grip.

    But through his anger, he suddenly felt a shift and the familiar presence of Mercury appeared in his senses. She screamed through the yelling, demanding that they stop. Suddenly the guilt within himself welled up, adding fuel to the fire while somehow still managing to quell its ferocity. She demanded to know what was going on and Vandrad turned his head slightly, enough that she would see the side of his face without him having to fully look at her. "We know,” he said, his voice still rife with rage but more tempered than before. "We know what he did.”

    His gaze shifted back to Khelben. "I never trusted you, Khelben. Not for one second. Your fake charm, your laissez faire attitude stank higher than the heavens themselves. But I tolerated you because I didn’t understand what you were, what position you were in. When you kidnapped Mercury, I understood why you did the things you had to do, especially after learning more about your people’s plight against the Nazru. You thought you were protecting your people. In a sick twist of fate, I could almost respect you for that.” Once more he pushed Khelben further into the wall, the dry mass now so severely splintered that it threatened to fall apart all around the Xocili. "What you did changes everything. Because I know your father wouldn’t have taught you that. I know your time with Silver Wolf wouldn’t have taught you that. And the Nazru didn’t teach you that. Think about that for a moment, scum.”

    His grip on Khelben’s shirt tightened. "When I signed up for the military and was being sent off to battle, my mother reminded me of three lessons -- virtues that she had instilled in me since youth. Treat your friends and enemies accordingly. Fight for what you believe in and protect those that do the same…”

    "And let those that would defile others be ended swiftly and brutally.

    It was meant to be the strike of the gavel. The words heralding the eruption of magical energy that would have vaporized Khelben slowly, painfully and without hindrance. Almost every single fiber in his being cried out for him to act, to follow through with the threat that he had just delivered.

    Something held him back. He wasn’t sure what it was. He couldn’t even narrow in on it. It was, for all intents and purposes, some unknown, unseen, miraculous existence within him that held his hand and told him no.

    A long beat would follow his last words before, finally, his hand released Khelben, freeing him from Vandrad’s grip and the imprint in the wall. As he turned and walked towards Mercury, his Empowerment began to melt off of him, the glistening shreds of cobalt peeling off of his body and frame and reverting him back to his normal self. He came to a stop before his fiance and she would be able to see that his eyes had changed. The anger had disappeared and all that remained, what swam deeply in his gaze, was guilt. "I’m sorry…” he said softly, meeting her stare with his own. "I should have known… I should have asked… I thought it was merely your capture that had hurt you but…”

    "I’m sorry.”






    Words: 1331/2591 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault  | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 672
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Gunblade Master
    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Re: Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 18th September 2022, 7:11 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Rightfully, Mercury should have known what all this was about. The puzzle pieces were all there, but she simply couldn’t put them together because there was no possible way they could have found out. She had not told a soul about what happened, mostly because she couldn’t fully remember it – and that was a whole separate issue, considering the Xocili biology. Furthermore, she knew that Khelben also had not said anything to anyone, because surely if he had it would have come back around to her by now. So it was only through sheer luck that Mercury was as confused as she was when she stepped through the portal, demanding answers even as she briefly glanced around to take in the state of the building, her eyes practically bugging out as she realized that the entire front half of the house was simply missing. She was so caught up in the chaos that she didn’t even notice or question Vandrad’s new empowered state, nor the condition of his body from his still recent fight with Thana.

    So when her fiance half turned to her to quite simply state that they knew what Khelben did, her blood practically turned to ice in her veins. “W-what..?” How? How could they possibly have known? Did Khelben actually tell them? Mercury wouldn’t get the chance to interrogate. Vandrad was already off again, his focus returned to her brother while she simply stood there in shock. The former prince came right out with telling Khelben how he had never trusted him, even before he understood what Khelben was and the position he held. To a point he understood why the Collector had done what he’d done, and understood that the man was driven by a need to protect what was left of his people, as sickening as Vandrad felt saying it.

    But all of that was completely washed away by the one additional action, the one truth that had been swept under the rug up until that point. He insisted that he knew Khelben had not learned such atrocities from anyone in his life, the Nazru included. Khelben shook in Vandrad’s renewed grip, biting back a yelp as bits of sharp drywall and broken stud beams jammed into his body. Vandrad informed him of the teachings he had received as a young soldier, creeds that his mother had drilled into him about the proper way to treat friends and enemies, with an emphasis on killing without remorse or mercy those who would violate others.

    As the conversation went on, Mercury was having a harder and harder time keeping herself together. Surprisingly, she was not delving into a panic attack. However, she was quickly being swallowed in a typhoon of embarrassment and shame, anger and grief, fear and trepidation. Her father had forced himself to break away from the other two men and was storming around what remained of the room in a furious pacing, rage pumping adrenaline through his body so hard that he was having difficulty controlling it, his hands constantly clenching and unclenching. There was a conflict within him, the man trying his best to reconcile his fury and his love for his son. He didn’t want Khelben to die, but at the same time he could not deny that if the deed had been done by any other person he would not have hesitated to kill the perpetrator himself. He wasn’t even sure of his own ability – or desire – to stop Vandrad from following through.

    “Vandrad, please…” Mercury pleaded. “Don’t.” For reasons that likely no on in the room could understand, she was the only one who seemed willing to take a stand against Khelben’s execution, her voice soft and almost desperate as she did her best to fight through the slog of feelings that assailed her. Whether her words convinced him to step down or whether he reached the decision by his own methods, Vandrad ultimately let go of the man and stepped away from him, leaving Khelben to collapse onto the ground.

    Mercury couldn’t even look at Vandrad at first as the former prince shed his empowerment and slowly approached her. She wasn’t even aware that she had started crying at some point, the tears silently dripping down her cheeks as Vandrad let go of his anger – at least for the moment. He apologized to her in a gentle tone, claiming that he should have figured it out, or at the very least been more direct in asking about it. He had made assumptions that were incorrect, and was now realizing just what kind of suffering she had been enduring alone.

    She didn’t say anything for a long moment, still overwhelmed primarily with shame and embarrassment. Of all the ways she had envisioned Vandrad learning the truth, the idea that being able to tell him herself had always been at the core of it. Mercury had been building up her courage and working hard to bring herself to a point where she could find the strength and the bravery to speak to him herself, and it had been robbed from her. More than that, her father knew too. She had never intended on telling him at all, or anyone else for that matter. As far as she had been concerned, the only people that would ever know the truth were herself, Khelben, and eventually Vandrad. And now she was very much feeling caught in a corner, grasping for some semblance of control over her life and finding herself wanting.

    “I don’t want to talk about this here,” she finally told him. More than anything, Mercury wanted to get away from this house and the watchful eyes and ears of everyone around her. It was too much for a subject in which she was all too vulnerable, a situation that was far more complicated than it had any right to be.

    “Let him do it.” Khelben’s voice was shaky but oddly calm, drawing Mercury’s attention to him as her gaze slowly lifted to look at her brother where he knelt, still recovering from the abuses handed to him. “Vandrad is right. I don’t deserve to live. I’ve been on borrowed time since the flotilla. I know that. I’ve spent my entire time here trying to figure out how to apologize to you, how to make it right, and knowing that nothing I ever said or did could fix what I did. What I did to you… it is unforgivable. And the only one I have to blame for it is myself. Sister or no, it’s unforgivable… and I’m so, so sorry.”

    From his tone, it was clear that he wasn’t throwing any kind of pity party or trying to get any sympathy or attention. Khelben had spent quite a deal of time thinking about this and coming to terms with the consequences that ultimately laid ahead of him. He finally looked up at her. “But it’s okay. I know what’s coming to me, and I’m not going to fight it. It took longer than I expected, but I’ve been ready for this for a while. So go ahead.” He glanced briefly at his father, who was watching and listening with obvious conflict, before finally meeting Vandrad’s gaze again and giving him a nod. “We all know what needs to happen. I will not run from it.”

    Mercury was quiet for a long beat. Finally, she drew in a ragged breath through her nose. “No.”

    The finality in her voice surprised both Khelben and Zemenar, both men looking to her. “...No..?” he braved himself to ask, confused.

    “No,” she reiterated. Steeling herself, Mercury stared him down with a hard, cold expression. Building up her courage, she slowly and meticulously informed him,  “You don’t get to die. You get a long, long life coping with the regret of what happened. I want you to see me and be faced with the reminder of the monster you became. I want you to feel all the pain you put me through and more. You took something from me that not even the Nazru could take… and I want it to consume you like it’s consumed me. If I have to live the rest of my life suffering and struggling with what you did to me, then so do you.”

    There was a long, weighty silence as Mercury stared her brother down, daring him to defy her ruling on the matter. He did not. He only hung his head and nodded, knowing that he had no choice but to accept her judgment. It was Zemenar who ultimately broke the silence, the man still struggling with his emotions but at least having most of it contained for the moment. “Did your mother install a jail anywhere on the island?’ he asked Vandrad flatly. “He will not be staying here tonight. Or for the foreseeable future.”

    WORDS: 1482/3766 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

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    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Re: Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 18th September 2022, 10:09 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Breaking Down the Walls RJtajUnz_o


    Something had stopped him from killing Khelben then and there. And it had not been Mercury’s voice, pleading with him to stop. Instantly, the moment he gave into the strange sensation and released the Xocili, allowing him to fall to the ground, a new swirl of anger and embarrassment rushed over him. Already he could hear his grandmother’s voice chiding him in the back of his head; calling him a coward, a weakling, a nobody that wasn’t capable of doing what needed to be done. It had been some time since the last time the pestering memory of her had taken form within the confines of his psyche. But as he turned and moved towards Mercury, he became abundantly aware of how public it all was. People were watching from all over the road and though the finer details of what had been said would have fallen on deaf ears, there was little denying that something had happened.

    As if he needed more reason to realize he’d made a mistake, as he approached Mercury and apologized for what had happened, she was quiet for a time. She could barely meet his gaze and when she did speak, after what felt like hours, she insisted she didn’t want to talk about it there. He’d made a public spectacle of her trauma and while it had been in an effort to hurt Khelben, there was little denying that it would and had done damage to her as well. The luster in his eyes dimmed further and after a moment, he nodded, reaching up with one of his hands and wiped away the crusted tears from his cheeks. But in doing so, he wiped the blood that he had loosed from his fingers over his features. He wasn’t quite sure what to do or say after that but it was Khelben who broke the momentary silence. A flicker of anger rose in the former prince once more, his head swiveling around to glare daggers at the Xocili as he insisted that Vandrad finish the job. As he saw it, Vandrad was right to believe he didn’t deserve to live. It was clear that he understood the full and true weight of what he had done and accepted that there was nothing he would ever be able to do or say that would make things right. Ironically, he wasn’t pitying himself, speaking from a place of acceptance and understanding.

    It honestly just made Vandrad angrier. But he remained still as Khelben looked up at Mercury and explained that he was ready for it to be over with. And then he turned his attention to Vandrad and told him plainly that it needed to happen and he would not flee. A man ready to die as vindication for his actions, believing that doing so would rid himself of causing more pain to those around him. It was almost poetic… but Mercury was quick to cut him to the quick and defiantly tell him no. Vandrad stood as still as a statue as the other Xocili questioned the judgment, only for Mercury to repeat her statement with more strength. And as she built up her own courage, she continued. As she saw it, he didn’t get the easy way out. He was going to live a long time and deal with the regret he lived with each and every day, acknowledging his actions and his descent into immortality every time he saw her. He had hurt her, even more than the Nazru had and as she saw it, he deserved to suffer right along with her.

    It made sense and Vandrad cursed himself for not thinking of it himself. Now that his anger was beginning to taper off, his more rational side of thinking was beginning to come to the surface and it was outraged at his heinous, impulsive actions. With her piece said and what was ultimately a ruling on Khelben’s fate handed down, a tense silence clung to the air between everyone gathered. It was Zemenar that finally spoke up once more, turning to Vandrad and asking if there had been a prison built on the island, as Khelben needed somewhere else to see for the unknown future. "Yes,” he said simply, his gaze still glued to the defeated Khelben. "I’ll bring him there myself.” His tone was cold, almost beaten and worn. With that said, he would finally walk over to Khelben and hoist him to his feet. "I’ll send for Everance to come and patch your home. And I’ll inform my mother that he will be staying in the jails for an undisclosed amount of time. She doesn’t need to know the reason why.” It was more to inform Mercury than anyone else present. With that said, he walked out of what remained of the building with the ashamed Xocili beside him.

    There wasn’t much else to say to Khelben now. The trip would be in silence on Vandrad’s part, his exterior neutral, bordering on uncaring. He escorted the man to the jail himself and was the one to close the door and lock it. He reached out to his mother to post a guard, if only for the sake of making sure Khelben didn’t do anything irrational to himself. The former prince highly doubted the Xocili had any plans of escaping to save his life but he may seek a more final approach to solving his sorrow and Vandrad had every intention of making sure Mercury’s wishes were held up. There were a lot of questions and concerns to what had happened but Vandrad waved them off and luckily his family knew better than to push him on it. He was finally left alone and he found himself outside the door to his and Mercury’s chambers.

    There he stood, his heart pounding in his chest. Once more Beatrix’s mocking tone crept out from the darkness of his psyche and chided him. He’d screwed up; he’d put on a show over her pain and suffering, just like he always did. Poor little Vandrad, always reacting without thinking. He may not have been the one to violate Mercury physically but he’d practically drawn it out of the dark and thrown it up for all to see. He had raped her emotionally and mentally, taking what was kept secret and making it public. How could she trust him after that? Why should she? He was nothing, nobody, ruining everything good and violating it with his very presence.

    Vandrad gave a small shake of his head, breaking out of the near-trance he’d been in. He realized that, once more, tears were streaming down his face along with a cold sweat that peppered his brow. He was also half-turned and he realized that, in his prior state, he may have been on the verge of fleeing. He scoffed in disgust. Vandrad du Wolff was not a coward and he was not a man that ran away when his family needed him. His own self pity over what he had or hadn’t done didn’t matter in the grand scheme that was being there for Mercury and helping her. The fact that he’d allowed his inner demons to once more break through his mental shell made him almost physically ill. With his moment passed, he lifted his gaze to the door and pushed it open, entering the chambers.

    Wherever Mercury happened to be, Vandrad would walk straight to her. As he slowed to a stop in front of her, he kept his gaze focused on her, his former regret and guilt gone and a newfound inner balance shining through. "He’s locked away for now. I’ve posted a guard there just to ensure he doesn’t do anything rash.”

    He inhaled slowly. "I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have attacked him like that. I just… lost control.” Vandrad shook his head gently. "I… understand that you didn’t want to talk about this publicly. And I imagine you had your reasons for not telling me before. I wouldn’t have known had it not been for Thana. As you know, we were attempting to split Thana apart from her other personalities. In the midst of all that, she… let it slip. One last attempt to rattle me before I removed her from the world.”

    "It worked,” he said softly. "I was so filled with rage that I couldn’t see anything but the path to him. A part of me didn’t even believe it until I looked into his eyes and…” He stopped short. "I’m sorry, I can’t imagine this is making this any easier…”






    Words: 1430/4021 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault  | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

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    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Re: Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 19th September 2022, 7:17 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    It pained Zemenar to request that his son be put behind bars. They had only just regained their freedom after several long decades, and now he was taking the initiative to imprison Khelben once more. But there was no denying that Khelben had put this on himself, that he had lost his right to freedom and the comforts it provided. He couldn’t bring himself to even look at the monster he’d raised, though his peripheral vision caught the sight of Khelben’s body slouching in resignation and acceptance. Vandrad confirmed that there was a jail, and volunteered to take Khelben there himself. And by the way that Vandrad’s own countenance had fallen, no one had to worry that he would further assault the Xocili along the way. With a quite assurance that he would send Everance to restore the house, and notify his mother that the jail would have its first resident without informing her why, he lifted the man to his feet and off they went.

    Neither man spoke a word along the way. Khelben did not resist or falter, and when they arrived he wordlessly took his place in the cell without turning to look back at Vandrad as the former prince shut and locked the door behind him. He only took a seat on the cot and buried his face in his hands, crying quietly to himself and toiling in his grief as Vandrad had a guard summoned.

    Back at Zemenar’s house, shortly after Vandrad and Khelben had left, Mercury was practically rooted in her spot trying to come to grips with everything that had just happened. It had all fallen apart so quickly, everything spilling out into the open before she was ready. How had this happened? She stood there for a long time, all but forgetting about her surroundings as they were drowned out by the cacophony of chaos in her mind until…

    “Mercury..?” Zemenar’s broken voice softly called out to her, her father unsure of what to say and desperate to console his daughter, or perhaps be consoled by her. “Mercury, I-”

    She couldn’t take it. She couldn’t look at him, couldn’t bear the thought that in a single moment his relationship with his children had been turned on its head. The shame was too much, and Mercury wasn’t ready to face it, wasn’t prepared to cope with feeling like all this extra pain and suffering and discord was stemming from what had happened to her. So before Zemenar could even piece together whatever he was going to attempt to say, she adjusted the settings on her translocator, opened a new portal, and simply left. Zemenar watched her go, and only a beat or two after she was out of sight did he drop to his hands and knees and give way to his grief, the Xocili that had gathered on the street rushing inside to attend him.

    Mercury hadn’t really consciously chosen her destination. There were very few places she could go, particularly since she was supposed to be dead and couldn’t risk being seen out in public without a disguise. She did not wish to return to Silver Wolf, for surely the spirit wolves would notice her distress and grab Leona or someone else to check on her. There was nothing she wanted more badly in that moment than to simply run away and disappear from the face of the earth, where she wouldn’t have to face any of it, but deep down she knew that was not an option.

    So instead she found herself in the room she shared on the island with Vandrad. The prince hadn’t arrived yet, having taken the slower route to the jails where he would likely have to wait for a guardsman before he could leave without leaving Khelben unattended. It gave her plenty of time to finally succumb to her own tears in earnest, sitting down at the foot of the bed with her head between her knees, sobbing. By the time Vandrad returned, she had gotten the worst of it out of her system and she was simply sitting there in a numb and thoughtless state of existence, her systems barely aware of his presence where he hesitated outside the door.

    Finally, he pushed his way through and strode up to where she sat. Bandit was with her, the bird shifting restlessly on her shoulder and gently preening her hair. If Vandrad’s tone was any indication, he had managed to wrestle his emotions under control once more, as he calmly confirmed that Khelben had been locked up and someone had been posted to watch over him and make sure he didn’t try to hurt himself. Mercury merely nodded her acknowledgement, her tired eyes zoning out on a spot on the floor.

    He apologized, stating that he should not have gone after Khelben the way he did, nor should he have drawn it out in such a public setting. Vandrad felt that she likely had her reasons for not saying anything to him, and then told her outright that it was Thana who had spilled the beans – one final act of entropy before her ultimate demise at Vandrad’s hands. And as he admitted, the trick had worked. The truth had sent Vandrad over the edge in a way that he simply could not control, and while he had hoped that it was just a trick on Thana’s part to put him off balance, nothing could have made it worse than to look into Khelben’s eye and know it had been the truth.

    There was another long silence as she didn’t say anything for several beats. When she finally spoke, her voice was barely louder than a whisper, exhausted and sapped of any life. “I tried. I wanted to tell you so many times, but I didn’t know how. For a long while I wasn’t even sure it had actually happened or if I had just dreamed it… I don’t… I don’t fully remember it. Most of it is… missing.”

    To any normal human that would have been understandable, even expected. But for a Xocili, who could remember and replay nearly every moment of their life in perfect detail, not only was it unheard of but it was downright terrifying. And it was a sure sign of just how traumatic the experience had been, that she could go through an entire lifetime of abuse and slavery and turn out relatively okay, but this one act had, for lack of a better explanation, corrupted that file of her memory. “I’ve recovered some of it here and there… bits and pieces…” But of course, who would ever willingly want to fully restore that kind of memory?

    “It should have been me,” she said, silent tears once more streaming down her cheeks. “You should have heard it from me. I should have been strong enough to tell you, and instead I was… wracked with fear, too afraid to cause more strife to my family after everything else they had already gone through. I lived my entire life believing I had no family, and I just… I didn’t want to risk destroying what little I had. I didn’t know what to do.”

    “You did nothing wrong. I probably would have reacted the same way in your shoes. I’ve thought about killing him more times than I can count. You would do anything to protect me, and I love you so much it hurts. I just…” Finally, she looked up at him, her green eyes trembling with shame and defeat. “I’m scared. And ashamed. Some days I feel like… like I’m not even alive. I go through these waves of feeling absolutely nothing at all to being so crushed under the weight of emotions I don’t even understand that I can’t breathe. I can’t control it, and I can’t fix it, and I… I don’t know what t-to do…”

    WORDS: 1318/5084 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
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    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Re: Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 19th September 2022, 9:01 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Breaking Down the Walls RJtajUnz_o


    Vandrad fumbled out a makeshift… explanation slash apology kind of statement to her, wanting to explain his actions and how he’d come to act so rashly. He wasn’t looking for her forgiveness or pity but she had come in at a bad moment and her secret, her trauma, had been the root cause of it without her knowing or allowing it. His blinding desire to protect her and avenge her had overwritten any sane attempt to go to her first and speak with her before making a violent, belligerent show of it all. Of course, Thana had wanted it that way -- that would have been her goal right from the start. And like a fool he had fallen right into her trap.

    He fell silent as he took the sight of her in. She had been crying, understandably, but now she was simply sitting and staring off. She barely acknowledged the information that was being provided to her and remained silent after he had finished. The former prince didn’t quite know how to continue forward; talking at her wasn’t really helping her. Maybe all he needed to do was simply be there. But as he mulled those options over, she spoke up finally, her voice soft and worn. She had apparently tried to tell him, attempting to push herself to let it out but she hadn’t known how to find the words. For a fair amount of time, she hadn’t even believed it was real; the memory of it was fractured in her mind. Vandrad recognized that was a very big deal; considering the aspects of her race. On the one hand, it was a blessing, as recalling every part of it would have made the trauma worse. But that didn’t dismiss the very real fact that it had happened and for a woman that could quite literally store her memories and play them back as film, having missing sections must have been existentially horrifying. A true symbol of how truly traumatic it had all been.

    As her tears began to flow once more, she told him that it should have been her to tell him. As she saw it, she should have had the strength to tell him but instead she had given into her fear, terrified of tearing apart the little family she had managed to find amidst all the chaos and turbulence of her life. She’d finally found them and one of them had caused one of the most painful moments in her entire life. It had frozen her in her spot, unsure of what to do or how to move forward. She told him that he had done nothing wrong, as she would have done the same thing as he had. She’d considered killing Khelben numerous times and she appreciated how much he cared for her. And as her eyes looked up at him, the wet, glimmering emeralds wide and pained, she told him she was scared and embarrassed. She went through days of not even feeling that then flipped to so much crushing emotion that she couldn’t even function. She didn’t know how to get it under control or how to fix it and she was frozen in place, a path with no end and somehow no continuation all at the same time.

    He met her gaze evenly before he slowly sat down next to her. "I was wrong. We both know it. Just because you’d do the same thing that doesn’t make it right. If I’d had a better control of my emotions, I would have come to you. We could have talked with one another. Instead I nearly destroyed a home and your father…” his voice tapered off there for a moment, his head shifting downward slightly. "I… knew something was wrong. I could see it on your face, in your words. I told myself that it was just the trauma of the kidnapping and all the actions of the Nazru while you were there. But… I think I knew it was something else. Something only I would recognize. And I knew if it was affecting you that badly, you were still processing it. I stubbornly believed that when you were ready, you would tell me.” He fell silent for a long beat. "I should have asked you. I know I told you plenty of times that I was there for whatever you needed but I should have just asked you. Maybe you wouldn’t have told me, maybe you would have. I guess there’s no point in thinking about the what ifs.”

    He slowly reached over and took her hand in his. "What you’re going through… is irrational. It’s not going to make sense; it’s not something that you can just store away or move past. And what made things worse was the fact that it was Khelben. I know the pain you felt, wanting to keep your family together and suffering the agony of what happened to you in silence because of that. I know what it’s like to feel… hollowed out. Caught in a cyclone of emotions and then practically dead a moment later.” She would know all too well about his own trauma from his childhood; the pain and the agony that he had suffered at the hands of his grandmother. "I won’t pretend to know what it is to experience what you experienced but… I had an idea.” That’s all he would say on the matter but it would, most likely, be enough for her to fill in the rest. Beatrix du Wolff had left scars all over his body from her torture and it wasn’t a far reach to assume that Vandrad would have to have been without clothes for those wounds to be inflicted. Only he knew what she had said and done to him and it seemed he had no intention of reopening those locked vaults.

    "It’s okay to feel scared. And ashamed. You have nothing to be ashamed about but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel it. But you need to know that it is not your fault.” He gave her hand a soft squeeze. "This shouldn’t have happened to you; you didn’t do anything to deserve this. And even though you weren’t the one to tell me, it still took a lot of courage for you not to just hide it away. I’m proud of you and I’m glad I can finally share this load with you. You’re not alone in this, Mercury. I love you and I am here for you, in whatever way to need me. I will help you get through this because you will get through this. I can’t promise that the memories and pain will ever truly go away but you’ll learn to live with them, to grow past them and become stronger because of it. And I’ll be here for you the entire way.”






    Words: 1146/5167 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault  | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
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    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Breaking Down the Walls Empty Re: Breaking Down the Walls

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 21st September 2022, 7:06 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Somehow, Mercury managed to form enough sentences to finally speak about the experience she’d been struggling with for a number of months. Starting to talk was one of the hardest things she’d ever done in her life, but once she got started she found it easier to keep going. Vandrad listened without interrupting her as he always did, her fiance ever mindful of giving her the space and time to work out her words during the moment when he knew it would be difficult for her. And by the time she finished her tale, he was right beside her on the bed, meeting her at her level.

    Gently, Vandrad informed her that he had been in the wrong. Just because they both had given heavy consideration to murdering Khelben in cold blood didn’t make the notion right, no matter his offense. He insisted that he should have gone to Mercury first and talked to her instead of going ballistic. She could only watch him as he took on a resigned countenance, admitted that he had always known something was wrong but had assumed it was just the entirety of the kidnapping and torture she’d endured. And to his credit, that was probably part of what she was dealing with… it just wasn’t the whole story. He claimed that his reason for not pushing the discussion was wanting to give her time to work through it and come to him when she was ready. But now that he knew the truth, he felt that he should have confronted her about it outright.

    Either way, it was already in the past. What was done was done and there was no changing it now. She didn’t resist or stop him from taking her hand, continuing to look up at him, her eyes practically pleading for help. Vandrad informed her that the thing she was experiencing wasn’t something that could be rationalized like she was used to. It was going to take time to work past it, if she ever did – especially considering the perpetrator had been her own brother. But he understood why she hadn’t said anything. He knew the struggle of not wanting to tear one’s family apart with the truth, to suffer in agony and silence alone, caught between grief and emptiness. Mercury had never forgotten, even in the midst of all this, Vandrad’s own experience with abuse. While it wasn’t exactly the same, there were certain areas of overlap that at the very least provided him with some insight to the way she was feeling.

    And most importantly, he reassured her that it was okay to feel scared and ashamed, even confused. The only thing she needed to understand was that it wasn’t her fault. Nothing she had done merited the action that had been taken against her, and even if she had been robbed of the opportunity to tell him herself, she still had chosen to not run away when the incident had been thrown in her face. As far as Vandrad was concerned, that was just as brave and he was proud of her. No matter what he was going to be there to help her through it, no matter how long it took, even up to the rest of their very long lives. One day she would learn to be at peace with it all, and it would make her stronger.

    Truthfully, Mercury hadn’t known how badly she’d needed to hear that it wasn’t her fault until he had said it. Her rational mind knew this of course, but she couldn’t stop the nagging voice in the back of her head that kept telling her she shouldn’t have provoked Khelben, that she should have been more compliant, less obstinate, less confrontational with him. That there was something, anything, she could have done different to keep herself from pushing him in that direction. And while she had yet to be consciously aware of the realization, some of that was stemming from the fact that even now, she didn’t fully hate her brother, despite everything he’d done. He was still her brother... and a part of her, a part that truly infuriated and confused her, still wanted some kind of a working relationship with him.

    There really wasn’t anything to say to that. No words would ever do justice to the gratitude or love she felt for him in that moment, and every other moment in her life. So instead she merely nodded her acknowledgement and acceptance of his reassurances, leaning forward and resting against him to feel his warmth and let it soothe her. There was a long road before them both, but it was a start to recovery, and as long as he was by her side she knew that she would get to where she needed to go some day.

    WORDS: 805/5889 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



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      Current date/time is 16th April 2024, 12:36 am