Acria Xes: The True Beginning Of The End

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Acria Xes: The True Beginning Of The End

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:47 pm

She sat on her legs, knees bent, hands carefully scrubbing the delicate clothing under the surface of the water. The stream swiftly carried away the dust and dirt, sloshing forward with a mild temperament. She sighed, the expulsion of air carrying the stress along with it and relieving her body from the chores she had to endure. The work was not wholly without benefits... all around her nature sprawled in its peaceful brilliance. Humans had scarcely touched the land she and Master Jericho dwelled upon, and they were both committed to ensuring their presence did not hinder the land. In fact, the land seemed to offer its thanks in return. The leafy tree branches of the forest, along with the cool misty breeze, kept the summer heat at bay. Any warmth they would need in the winter would come from the skins of animals they hunted during the cold seasons. Rather, whatever warmth Master Jericho needed... the cold simply did not bother her any more.

Acria rose, folding the shirt as she studied a bird with her cold, blue, glacial eyes. The small animal added its voice to the fluctuating chorus that was nature's sound. As she gathered the rest of the washed clothes, she wondered to herself how such a tiny thing could produce such a piercing sound. Not that it annoyed her, but rather that it connected straight to her heart and rendered her rightfully content whenever the notes passed her ear. Then, there was a sudden, distant crash, as if thunder.

"I hadn't seen any rain clouds..." she wondered aloud, turning to spot the mischievous storm. She breathed a small, silent gasp as she found that the sun shone brightly in the sky, unhindered by any sort of cloud. The crash came again, along with a cascade of other sounds barely passing across the wind that blew her silver locks across her face.

"Master Jericho..."

She dropped the burden of cloth and ran as fast as she could. A decade spent here since a child had allowed her to identify almost every tree with an individual memory. Along with that ability, she could easily map out any trail through the woods in her mind. She drew the quickest path and gave chase, hoping she would find Master Jericho simply toying with another experiment. Acria surprised even herself with how fast she flew across the ground, given the obstruction the full-body garment she wore provided.

Again, there was a crash. This time, the sound of snapping trees, of faint laughter, and of painful cries. A simple thought rang out through her...

He is not alone!

She ran with increased fervor, desperate to find exactly what was going on with her mentor. Had bandits snuck through the forest, unfortunately upon their small home? Were they after Master Jericho? More importantly, was Master Jericho alright? Tears began to well in her eyes, a byproduct of both the wind hitting her in the face and the fright she was under. She forced them back as she neared the clearing where the two of them lived. She stopped in a sudden halt just inside the treeline. The scene before her was one she was completely unprepared for. The tears she fought to hold back spilled freely, as if the chains holding them at bay simply shattered.

Jericho kneeled, as if in fealty, in a bloody mess. Crimson slipped from his chest and soaked into his brown, pierced robe, his face and hair dotted with droplets and smears of blood. Acria watched as a single bead of red slipped from the corner of his mouth, slipping down to the crest of his chin. She found not even the power within her to sob but found her heart and mind jump as she witnessed his brown eyes glow, the fluorescence magnifying, the color of the earth below them. The same earth that responded to his call.

A spire of solid rock jutted up from the surface in front of Jericho, tearing the grass to shreds. The spire faced a group of four white-robed men, Acria realized, who were all grinning... a look of victory already taking hold of their features. The spire suddenly exploded and shards of earthen shrapnel flew towards the group, who looked upon the act as if they were watching a child drown in a river... with sick humor. One member of the group took a staff and thrust it towards the shrapnel. The shards connected with the air in front of the staff and simply dissipated into clumps of dirt that fell aimlessly to the ground at their feet. Another tilted his head upwards with the sick, grim grin he shared with his companions and raised a hand towards the kneeling mage. When cackling lightning coursed around his fist, something inside Acria snapped... a very important part of her. Her innocence and ignorance to the world was shed.

Her eyes instantly glew with the ferocity of a blizzard, illuminating her pale face. She thrust her body forward, hands spread towards the men, and unleashed a blood curdling scream. A sound of terror and hopelessness echoed throughout the paradise as her tears flew from her eyes... and froze in mid air. Instantaneously, ice spread from her elbows to her hands, covering them in inches of frozen thickness. With a sound she uttered that seemed constructed of both intense anger and dire desperation, the ice shattered into shards reminiscent of Jericho's earthen shrapnel, and flew towards the unprepared group of men. The one with the staff was much, much too late.

The ice tore asunder flesh and bone, meat and cartilage alike. The wall of shards found itself dented with each passing man, hundreds of needles embedded into the victim that did not yet know of their own demise, their brain unable to recieve the pain all at once. They felt but the cold sting of death... all but one. His left arm and torso were shredded into bloody pulp, fragments of red ice decorating his wounds. Where the rest fell, with eyes faint and distant, he instead screamed in pure agony. His anger stifling the mind-numbing pain, he raised his staff towards the young girl, and a blurry haze thrust itself at her. In panic, Acria cringed backwards, holding her face in her arms, as a solid wall of ice thrust from the ground to protect her. She could feel the splinters of ice slice her skin as she felt it shatter with her mind. What she could not feel, however, was death. She blinked for a moment, tears still streaming across her face, and looked back to where the man had been. In his stead were his three companions, laying on their stomachs, lost to the living for eternity.

She breathed quickly and unevenly, frightened at everything that had transpired. She had never used her power like that before, yet it came as natural as thought, so sudden and impulsively - only after she had used it she realized she had been using her power at all.

"Acria..."

The weak, hoarse voice shook her from her thought and her eyes instantly fixed themselves upon her master. She was beside him before she realized her feet had even moved.

"Acria..."

A tear slipped from her nose as she cradled his face in her arms, dropping onto his cheek and mixing with the blood flowing from his eye. The sight ushered forth a cascade, blinding Acria to all the detail in the world.

"I... I didn't mean... for you... to see this..."

Each and every pause was a choke... surely on his own blood. She let out a weak cry, clutching him harder.

"Acria... you must listen to me..."

She nodded in all of her agonizing sadness.

"Look inside our home... find... my journal... my notes..."

"Master Jericho..."

"Listen to me... read them... the trunk..." He coughed, and Acria could feel a thick liquid spill onto her arm, causing her to cry out again. "... the trunk," he continued, "...find the staff... robes I have been saving for you..."

She felt him stir, and her heart leaped for a moment, desperate in the foolish hope that he was going to stay alive.

"I have taught you all that I can... Acria... child... you are dearer to me..."

His breath hitched, unable to complete his own sentence. She could feel him sob against her arms.

"I give you... one... last... gift... so that I will always... be by your side..."

She felt him stir again for a moment, but then lie breathlessly.

"Mas-... Master Jericho...?"

The salty composition that blocked her sight cleared for a moment, long enough for her to gaze at the wet, bloodied, lifeless face of her mentor before the tears came swelling back and she dug her head into his his neck, openly sobbing. The day had started out plainly enough and changed completely within minutes. She rubbed her hand across his chest, uncaring that blood was certainly staining her pale skin, and brushed against his outstretched arm. She slowly looked up, mouth open, ragged breath spilling out. In his hand lay a vial, full of his own blood. Beside it lay a knife, colored red, across his other wrist. She choked back her sadness and clutched the vial in her shaking hand.

"How... how is this... a gift...?"


Last edited by Admin on Mon May 07, 2012 1:05 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Acria Xes: The True Beginning Of The End

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:50 pm

With a pause of unnatural silence, she stared blankly at the vial. Her mind was erased of all conscious thought, and her body driven seemingly by another's command while she watched as its vessel. She rose as if one of the dead, covered in the blood of her mentor and of her own. She stumbled wearily into the meager shanty that they had survived under for years. Her vision of the world was dark and haunting, nonexistent shadows passing over the small furniture and desks inside. She sank a hand onto one of his books, staring at it's cover as if it would come to life and give her some semblance of reality. Her knuckles whitened, grasping much too hard at the edge of the cover, and lifted it across and over. Her eyes widened instantly... for a second, the sadness was gone. She saw but two words written on the first page in Master Jericho's handwriting, but those two words alone sank their connotations into her mind.

Elemental Bloods

She had heard Master Jericho speak of them before. In fact, for her twelfth birthday, she had been given what he called 'The Elemental Blood of Ice' to her as a reward for mastering a spell that even he could not perform. To receive it, she had to drink an awful, purple mixture, and she found herself quite surprised that such a mixture gave her such incredible power over ice. She was also surprised to find her eyes begin to glow glacial blue, akin to her mentor's own glowing brown. Jericho had taken very ill, and could not leave bed for some time after that, explaining that to give her that power was quite demanding on him. The memories rattled her for a second and she focused on the vial of blood in her hand.

This is so similar... only the color... but... if you simply ground up something blue... and put it...

She needn't complete the thought, the conclusion already rang throughout her broken mind. Jericho bled the Elemental Blood of Ice from himself to give to her, and now he bled again to grace her further. His gift, his last dying wish was to give her more power. She brought the vial towards her lips, tears spilling once more, her hands shaking with uncertainty. She tipped it upwards, and the same awful taste invaded her mouth. As she drank, she cried.

She gasped aloud, breathing deeply to rid herself of the taste and sorrow. Somehow, she could tell there were already changes being made. When using ice, she could feel it as though it were a part of herself, separate but still somehow connected. Now... she could feel the outline of something very, very powerful nearby that she could not sense before. Within a second, she could also feel Jericho's form and the three she had slain in his defense. She opened her eyes slowly and looked upon the single mirror in the room. She looked as if she had been cut to ribbons from the head down, showing more crimson than the white of her skin. Her hair was matted to her face, and she could feel the blood drying the strands to her skin... but that was not what she was focusing on. Her eyes were pitch black.

She quickly turned back to the book, wrapped in a dilusion and weakness, aching across her body, and dropped the vial to the ground. Acria was so focused that the sound of the shattering glass simply evaded her ears. She began to flip through the pages, scanning the text with her eyes. Ice... Earth... Death. She knew that she possessed Ice, and, if the eye color was any indication, it was not Earth that Jericho had passed to her. Death was now under her domain. Noticing the powerful object tug on her consciousness, she turned and looked at the chest Jericho had spoken of. She strode quickly to it, broken glass slashing her feet though she did not feel it. She had been told under no circumstance were she to open the trunk. Now, although she was given full permission to fufill her curiosity, she hesitated. She pulled the lid open, and gasped at what she saw. On top of a black robe lay a staff of skeletal composition. The staff's construction was entirely of melded bone and a scarlet gem was placed at its tip. She grasped both it and the robe, noticing that there were intricate swirls of silver displayed across the magic uniform.

Wishing to adorn it, she thought of using ice to rid herself of the blood covering her body. Suddenly, the staff no longer felt as if an extension of herself, and she could no longer feel the bodies outside. Glancing at the mirror once more, Acria beheld that her eyes were once more colored cold blue. Deciding to put thought into experiment, she coated her body in shallow ice, then broke it away, letting it fall to the floor, taking the blood with it. A shard of ice fell and cut the robe, and she shrieked with horror that she defiled the gift of her now dead master so soon with her carelessness. Amazingly, the threads seemed to weave themselves together, restoring even the part of the silver swirl the ice took with it. Smiling with the knowledge that she had been given such a meaningful gift and relieved that she had done no wrong, she shed her clothes and adorned the robes, finding that it easily passed over her hands and legs, concealing all save for her face. She reached up and drew the hood up and over her head, and looked in the mirror once more. A gasp rang out as she could no longer see her face through the hood's shadow, save for the fluorescence of her eyes.

Master... than-.... thank y-...

Acria broke down again out of emotional exhaustion, unable to complete her own mental thanks to the man who had protected and raised her. Though she sobbed deeply, she could not tear her gaze away from her own shadowed visage in the mirror, entranced by the blue wrapped in darkness. At last, she blinked and turned away, trying to focus on what to do next.

One thing was obvious. She couldn't stay here. Even the thought was an impossibility. Taking various notes found inside the trunk and placing them within the pockets of her new robe, she walked with the aid of her staff to their supply of food. She grabbed the various dried meats and prepared herbs, compacting them into a small bag. With that, and the journal and other notes found on his desk, Acria exited her now meaningless home and laid eyes on Jericho once more. Holding back her devastation, desperate to cling to what insane peace she had found, she drug him inside. Every moment she was dangerously on edge, the tears and cries willing to burst forth from her given the slightest chance. He was laid onto his bed. Unsure of how to better handle the situation, she grabbed some flint and kindling, and lit the house on fire. She walked out as the smoke began to fill the room. There was nothing left of meaning to her within those walls, save for Jericho. If she were to continue, however, she must know that even he was gone to her completely. Content that the roof and other walls began to catch alight, she turned towards the setting sun and saw the three she had so easily murdered.

"No..." she said as she neared them. "You three will stay to rot."

The realization that she was talking to corpses never crossed her mind, and if it had, she wouldn't have noted it as a change. Her entire world was ripped apart, and with it her sanity. It fled her even as she grasped the dying form of her master, even as she so naturally slew the three mages. Acria found within herself a swirling vortex of emotion and felt the tug of the staff once more. Her pitch black eyes churned, swirling with a ferocity, with a vengeance like no other. As the world turned towards the night, the stars hidden from the glow of Jericho's burning tomb, within Acria was born a vast void of loss, a chasm that could never be filled, a longing never fulfilled, a sanity never recovered.

____________________________________________________________________________________


Acria walked along a mountain path, barely traced in the snow that winter so graciously bellows upon the earth. Where the path was indiscernible from the ground around it, she took suggestion from the placement of the ice-covered trees to lead her on. It had been three years since that fateful day. Since, she had discovered several things. One, there were no one she found who could contest her. They were weak. They were unfit for Jericho's legacy, his staff, which lay uncompleted. Two, she was as much an adept of ice as she was of death. She could reanimate the fallen to slaughter the friends they had a moment before their death. Three, she cared not for life. Everything, everyone's life was meaningless to her, as meaningless as the first three she laid to rest, to rot. Everyone, save Jericho's. He was the only one who mattered to her. All others were simply something to sweep away or to use for the staff.

A sharp, piercing sound lit up the quiet she had been traveling in for so long. She crouched and turned quickly, looking for the source of the sound. However, by the time she found it with her eyes, her mind had already located it and silenced it. A bird, perched on a nearby limb, had uttered its song for no longer than a second. Now its frame was covered in ice, spikes jutting from its eyes and belly.

"I'm sorry," Acria said, mentally willing the ice to break and leave the bird. Once uncovered, her eyes changed color, and she beckoned the bird closer. It rose from the branch, floating before her. "Please, continue playing your song for me." She forced its chest to expand, air flooding its lungs, then pushed back out to vibrate in its throat. Eerie, emotionless notes played from the avian corpse, and she tread on to the beat of its song.
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