Finding Acria

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Finding Acria

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:40 am

My brother was hailed as the greatest healer to have ever lived. Performing miracles of life everywhere he went, sewing together impossibly fatal wounds, saving hundreds from the brink of death, making amputees whole again...

Everywhere he went his name was celebrated. Feasts were held in his honour, and families threw their virgin daughters at him in the vain hope they would catch his eye and marry such a great and legendary figure. Never before had I heard of such wanton praise of a cold, ruthless mass murderer.

I followed him for two months when he came back to the Black Mountains. The Conclave had discovered a hidden magical academy nestled around the Ebon Range, and he arrived with Inquisitorial might to destroy one of the most pacifist society of rogue mages I had ever met. Of course, that was the real reason he was here. He had heard tell I was in the area, his twin brother who managed to escape the Conclave and a life of brainwashed fervor. A decade now he had stalked after me whenever he heard the rumors. Irony played its veiled hand, for it was I who tailed him.

I walked through the moonlit rubble, of houses and complexes that once were. The cobblestone pathways were broken up into craters and mounds, stone walls were reduced to pebbles and dust in places, and much of the forest lay dead in ash with deep, angry red halos formed around the peaks to the north giving sign to the inferno still raging. Such was the power of magic.

There was little sign of life, rather, of life that once was. Any bodies that were outside the collapsed or torched buildings were themselves torched or carried off for postmortem study. The blood of these people drenched my hands, whether by my association or by the blood that coursed through my twin's veins.

A hushed cry to my right shook me out of my morose thoughts and caused me to leap away from the source. I hid behind what was left of a wooden structural beam, sweating through my robes as I feared I had been found. The cry continued, growing more pitiful in tone as I became calm enough to properly listen. As quickly as I had leapt for cover, I vaulted over the beam and ran to what I was sure was the only survivor: a young child.
I dug into the debris, thinking over and over that a survivor here was impossible. The roof of the particular building I was excavating had collapsed as a result of the walls being sucked outwards by powerful mages in Sazil's retinue. Anyone inside had to have been perfectly flattened.

Yet the cries persisted, each one more hopeless in sound than the last, until finally I pulled away part of a bookcase that had toppled over. At first I thought I saw the survivor, though I saw no more than the bloodied back of a woman in nightwear. There was a gasp and a shrill scream that sounded from further within. I pulled the body aside at once and beheld the true survivor.

The young girl that lived through the horror had blacked out at first sight of me, hyperventilating until I took her in my arms and wrapped her in my robes. Her silver locks and pale skin gave me reason to believe she was albino, or of a gene magically produced, though I did not see her eye colour to confirm the unusual pigment. Upon further inspection, I found that she was shielded not just by the woman, but also by a man I could barely see in the destruction, his carrion form still suspending a large section of the roof from smashing the foundation.

Her parents, I determined, as evident from their silver hair, had protected her from the most powerful magical forces the Inquisition had to offer in their last moments. I swore to them there, and to the girl that lay in my hands, with tears in my eyes. I swore to them I would not let their sacrifice go in vain. I found her as a whore to this cruel world. I would do everything I could to change that. I would raise and protect this child for the rest of my life, with my life.

She awoke much later, more curious than as emotionally wretched as I thought she would be. She began immediately asking who I was and where she was. 'Jericho,' I told her. 'Jericho Clee. You lay in my hut, hidden in the woods. And what is your name?'

'Acria,' she replied in a tone mocking my own. 'Acria Xes. At least, that's what I think. So why are we here?'

The ramifications tore through my soul at once. Acria would live without a single memory of what had happened of that night, or any night past. She would live not knowing of her parents' loving sacrifice. She would live not knowing of time spent with her family or her friends. At the same time, she would live not remembering their bodies laying across her, or the sounds of them being crushed under their own home. I'm not sure what was best, but then, that was a matter completely up to Fate.

She had nightmares for a while after, waking us both up in the dead of night, screaming at the top of her lungs. Each night it happened I saw the fear in her eyes, but also of confusion, as if she didn't truly know what had haunted her dreamscape. These events gave me cause to question my first evaluation, but in time such doubts were cast away as the nightmares ceased. Her nightmares, anyway.


Personal Journal, Volume Five, Jericho Clee.

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