Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Guardian Angel Haruki
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Callie stared at Merrill as he apologized, mixed emotions appearing on her face. Indignation, anger, bafflement, fear, hurt, betrayal...they all raged in Callie's heart. When he said he wished he could explain, she told him "You can! Just tell me!" But instead of listening to her, he instead reassured that she would figure out how to control her powers and find her destiny, and then he turned to leave.

She was left alone in stupefied silence. She could see in his eyes that something was haunting him. But what? Did...Did he see something and he wasn't telling her what. She sighed and pinching the bridge of her nose, she decided to try and talk to him about it some more. Besides, it's night in the forest. She was pretty sure that it wasn't safe to go out alone. She started to walk, until...

She felt something wet and slimy climb up her leg.

Letting out a scream, she whirled to see what was climbing up her leg. Instinctively, she called upon bolts of fire and aimed at the thing that could still be seen slithering on the ground, trying to kill whatever unknown horror with fire.
Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by Marrakt
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The scream pierced the clearing. Merrill glanced back towards the source of the sound.

”Callie,” he called out.

The figure stepped forwards into the light. The girls skin was tanned, and her brown curly locks fell to her shoulders. She wore a bright shawl of different colours, of purples, reds, yellows and oranges. Dark brown breeches and black boots completed the travellers unusual garb.

The flash of a knife reflected off the moon....

Merrill caught her wrist as she plunged the knife down. Holding her gaze, Merrill held her hand above his chest, the edge of the blade threatening to come down.

”You have hunted me.....all this time. Why?”

Dulcimae shook her head.

”Because of what you are. What you will become.....brother.”

He could see it in her eyes.

”You’re not committed to this course. Your heart isn’t in it. You, of all people should know better than to believe in prophecy Dulcimae.”

The knife fell from nerveless fingers, striking the ground. Looking to her, Merrill shook his head.

”I don’t have time for this Dulcimae.”

He raced back the way he came...

***


Flames erupted around Callie. The creature, whatever it was, went up in fire. The next thing that Callie felt was pain as it sank its fangs into her leg. Slithering back down, it wriggled and raced back into the shadows at the edge of the clearing as it burst into flame.

”Callie, hang on!”

Merrill’s cry came from the distance. Bursting into the clearing, he was shocked to see it in flame, and in the center of the fiery inferno was Callie.....

Trying to get to her, Merrill weaved around the flames......

He grabbed her hand and pulled her towards him. As he did so, the flames caught the back of his breeches, setting him on fire.....

Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Guardian Angel Haruki
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Callie winced and let out a cry of pain as she felt something pierce through her skin. She fell to her knees as whatever that thing was slithered back into the shadows before bursting into flame. She stayed where she was, despite hearing Merrill call for her.

She simply sat there, in shock, and trying to get over the sensation of something crawling up her leg and the pain that shot through. She snapped out of her stupor when she felt Merrill grab her hand and pull her towards him. She easily noticed that he was aflame and she whimpered "Fire...You're on fire...!"
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When it comes down to it and you stand here, at the very edge of the world, and the end comes for you.....can you look in the eye and say that you’ve done everything that you wished to do.

He burns. He feels the pain, the searing sensation of agony across his back from the flames. Yet even as he burns, Merrill shields Callie from the worst of it. He holds her as he pushes through the inferno, covering her from the fire, using his body to shield her. Feeling his arms burn, his legs burn, his face burn, Merrill doesn’t flinch as he presses onwards.

Lying in the arms of night,
In the shadows of the firelight,
Suspended by this feeling of fading away,
I want to run away with you,
So meet me by the cut through,
Together we'll make our sweet escape,


For the second time tonight, the forest turns into fiery death as Callie’s magic takes spark. Trees burn. Bushes burn. Grass burn. The animals, those too slow....they were caught fast in the tendrils of burning doom.

Despite it, despite all of it, Merrill pushes through. Scooping Callie up, his body now a shroud of fire, he holds her into him......ignoring the terrible pain and ignoring his fading strength as he continues on, one foot in front of the other.

The vision won’t come true.....not this time. The end comes for me.

The flames eat away at him, and the thought pushes away the dark void inside of him. He was dying, that he knew. Yet, that was immaterial.

”I am expendable,” he gasps, his features twisted, burned beyond recognition.

”But you must live.”

One foot, another one. Carrying on, because that was all that there was.

Under a canopy of stars,
Where thought and truth divorce,
In that latticework of dreams we are shameless,
I want to run away with you,
Somewhere they cannot undo,
Together we'll make our sweet escape,


Through the tops of the trees, the canopy of stars shone down on the burning man and the girl he was trying so hard, so desperately hard to protect. Even though it cost him his own life....

And then finally he was free. Free of the fire around him. Free of the smoke. Here, once more at the brook, he fell to his knees, letting Callie go. Falling forwards, hiding his burned face from her, holding his hands up to hide it, feeling his life fade from him.....dissipating into the ether like the ghosts that had chased him now for so long.....he gasps.

”Callie....” his voice is no more than a faint echo.....a ghost on the wind. ”The world is yours to change.”

Then his world fades into the blackness of oblivion.....

***


”Your magic is powerful, but uncontrollable,” the woman steps out of the shadows, as she had stepped out only minutes before to confront Merrill.

Her dark eyes gleam as they fixated on Callie, standing as she was there with the fallen Merrill. The colours of her clothing were in sharp contrast to the darkness of the grotto, outlined by the orange fire in the distance. Walking slowly over to where Merrill lay, her dark expression was unreadable.

”I came here to kill him. I did not expect him to die at the hand of the girl he was trying to protect.”

A small smile crosses the face of the stranger as she looks at Merrill’s ravaged body. She reaches out, her own perfect hand touching burned skin.

”Not this way. It should not be this way.”

Her eyes spark for a moment. Dark irises become white, and her hand begins to glow. Before Callie’s eyes, Merrill’s burned skin begins to fade.....becoming whole and pink once more. His body glows, and the wounds close, the burns all across his body fade. She gently turns his body round to face the stars. His chest rises and falls gently.

”His life has a price. It is one I will come to claim from my brother in time, as was pre-ordained.”

Standing, she looks to Callie. The strange woman’s voice begins to fade as her form begins to dissipate. She looks to Callie as she does, and she smiles softly.

”Remember girl, despite what you may have been told, and despite what history would have you believe.......not all of us bring death.”

And then she was gone.
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Guardian Angel Haruki
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Callie gasped in utter horror as she saw the fire mar his features as it devoured his body. When she heard his words about him being expendable she shook her head and whimpered "No...Nononononono....Put out the fire...!" When he let her go, she stood up and stared at him, when he whispered and then fell limp. She fell to her knees at the realization that he was dead.

This...This was her fault....!

She....She did this!

...She....She really was evil! She killed the one person who was willing to help her!!!

Tears started to blur her sight and she was ready to scream once more. How could she have been stupid?! HOW COULD SHE HAVE DONE THIS?!

Before she did though, she heard another voice, and she stood up, turning to see who the source was. She watched as a strange woman stepped out of the shadows. Callie let out her own wary question, her voice choking as she tried to hold tears back, "Who-Who are you?! What do you want?!"

Callie's own body tensed as the woman drew closer, her own eyes widened at the mention that the woman was here to kill Merrill. She watched as the woman placed a hand on Merrill's body, and Callie raised her own hand, ready to try and call fire again and she warned "If...If you do something awful to his body, I swear I'll--!" She stopped when the woman spoke once more, saying that it shouldn't be this way.

Callie watched as white light appeared, and it seemed to bring life back to Merrill. Callie's breath hitched. Merrill was alive! HE IS ALIVE!

Her creating became erratic as the tears forced their way through and she stared at the woman. Before Callie could say anything, she was gone. Once the woman was gone, Callie fell to her knees and cried.
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Marrakt
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Marrakt Lord of Graves

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My name is Merrill Anwin. Once, long ago, I was just like you.

He wakes, to the sound of horses and the motion of wheels moving. Opening his eyes, the first thing he sees is the sight of a raven haired beauty looking to him with an expression of concern on her features. She was wearing a long, flowing dress of multi colours, a garment that framed her beautiful, lithe form to perfection. Hanging from her neck was a beautiful emerald set within a golden pendant. She had worn the amulet for as long as Merrill had known her.

Dulcimae. Sister. The Dark of the Moon.

Sitting up slowly, Merrill winces at the sudden shooting sensation of agony that knifed its way through his gut. Dulcimae stood, laying a hand on his chest to settle him, pressing him down gently.

"Not this way. It should not be this way. You took a nasty wound from the sword."

Dark eyes looked down at his bare chest as worry flickered across them. Glancing down, Merrill saw the bloodstained bandage wrapped around his bare torso as she continued.

"It could have been worse though. Despite the fact that the man struck from the shadows, you managed to react just in time to avoid the worst of the blow. Either you have cat-like reflexes, or you were born with the gift. Except we know that that is impossible of course."

Laughing softly, the expression not lessening the worry in her eyes, Dulcimae stood. She missed the brief, pained expression crossing Merrill's features as he grimaced, and not from the pain. In all the years of their people, there had only been one recorded instance of a male child born with the sight that had lived to adulthood, and that man had been hunted down and killed. Legend told of a prophecy that a male born child with the sight would bring about the doom of their kind.

Dukkar, or Darklings as they were called, often showed their abilities early, and such children were killed before they grew to adulthood, and old enough to be a threat.

Merrill tried to rose again, but Dulcimae shook her head, pressing him down gently once more. "Rest, brother. Please, for me. Mother and Father have things in hand. We will cross the border tonight. We are clear of the bandits."

Dulcimae's eyes reflected her worry. Since childhood, the siblings had been inseparable. Their bond was one of blood, and it was one that the dark land they lived in could not break. From an early age, the troublesome siblings had inflicted all sorts of mischief on their long-suffering kin. And yet, despite their mischievous antics, the twins were regarded with much fondness and love from their tight-knit community. The others saw the twins as a lucky omen. Merrill was the light of the sun to Dulcimae's dark of the moon. And in the dark land they lived in, there was little enough good left to hold on to.

Tonight, they would look to cross the border, to escape from the tyrannical, lord who hated them and their kind. They would leave this place where their kind were hunted down and butchered on the whim of the mad lord, to make a new life for themselves. Tonight, their lives would change forevermore.

And as he lay down, as he looked his sister in the eye, Merrill nodded, and simply replied, "Aye."

For him, his own reckoning would come soon. Merrill knew, deep down, that he could not hide his "condition" from the others much longer. Already, there were mutterings in the camp. There were whispers that Merrill possessed some strange power that they could not comprehend. Sighing sadly, he closed his eyes. He would miss them....especially his twin, whom he had never been apart from. Once he was gone, he would carry a hole in his heart.

Yet, he knew no other way.

The door closed softly behind her. Opening his eyes, Merrill looked towards the door, where she had stood only moments before. A soft whisper escaped his lips.

"Goodbye, my sister."

***


He wakes to the sound of her crying. As his eyes flicker open, he feels a strange weariness overtake him. The last thing he remembered was the fire. The fire.....and burning. Bringing his hands up to touch his face, Merrill looks to the sky. Tracing his fingers across his skin, he is almost surprised to find that it, and he, is still whole.....

But how could that be? I died.....I remember dying in fire.....

Sitting up slowly, holding his head in his hands, he blinks once....twice. This didn't make any sense. There wasn't even any pain, just the memory of it.....burning away at him. Moving his hands away, he blinks again, looking over to see Callie there, on her knees, crying.

"Callie," he whispers, as he moves over to her.

He places his arms around her, drawing her into him as he holds her tight. Squeezing his eyes tight, he holds her.

"Its ok Callie. Its ok.....its all going to be ok. I promise." Tears formed in his eyes, spilling as they fell.

"We survived.....it doesn't matter how, but we did it....." Bringing a trembling hand up, he runs it through her hair as he holds her head into his shoulder.

"We survived....." he whispers again.

In the distance, the fire still burned, but the rain was dampening it. Soon it would be nothing but smoke on the wind.
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Guardian Angel Haruki
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Callie didn't stop crying, despite that Merrill was waking up, and was clearly alive. She couldn't stop crying. The events of this night...

The loss of her family...

The loss of her home...

The loss of her normal life...

And the near loss of someone who had been willing to help her...

They all just crashed down on Callie and the tears just would not stop flowing. She truly felt like she was just a child, as her magic surge had physically forced her into becoming.

When she felt him wrap his arms around her, she hugged back instinctively, and she buried her head into his shirt as the tears kept on coming.

As she cried, she could only manage to say the words through her sobbing, "I'm sorry...! I'm so sorry...!"
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Marrakt
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Merrill shook his head, holding onto her.

"There's nothing to apologise for Callie. Nothing at all. It'll all be ok."

He hadn't ever had to comfort anyone before, and so Merrill was a little unsure about whether he was doing it properly. Eventually he settled for just patting her back awkwardly. The night was drawing on, and it had been a long night indeed..... In the distance the fire became nothing more than a damp smoulder.

Still holding Callie to him, Merrill lay his head on hers.

"You'll make it, I promise," he whispered to her.

***


The next thing he knew, sunlight was streaming down into the small grotto. Its light reflected off the surface of the water which ran next to him. His eyes flickered open slightly, taking in the small sliver of light that illuminated their surroundings. The feeling of a small weight on his chest drew his attention. Glancing down, Merrill saw Callie's head, still laying on him, her eyes closed. They must have both fallen asleep from their exertions the night before.

Wincing inwardly, Merrill stood, gently moving Callie off him and withdrawing his arm from around her.

That was inexcusable, an inner voice hissed at him. You were supposed to stand watch over her as she slept. The demon could have come back....or your sister, or worse. You could have lost your charge because of your incompetence.

Sighing softly, Merrill walked over to the river. Sitting down there on the riverbank, he crossed his legs, and he watched the river as it flowed eastwards.

And as he did, he reflected on the fact that that was the first night he could remember for a long long time that he didn't have any nightmares.
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