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BlackPrincess

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  1. Thanks
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Danin in Danin's Castle of Strangery (Art!)   
    I know it has been said a lot coz it really is true. Professor Moo Art is so hilarious 
    The artworks r nice too. The butterfly looks amazing 
  2. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Mu11berry in Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things   
    I didn't make anything for Saint Patrick's day but I do have this Clearwater aesthetic which has a lot of green so I'm going to pretend I was prepared hahaha
    So anyway yeah, enjoy this aesthetic of Rhen's hometown. Sheep, meadows, and apples. What did you expect? XD 
    I also have this aesthetic for Alicia Pendragon
    Alicia is one of my fave characters in the series (which I say about every character BUT IT'S STILL TRUE), she's got such grit and I love her. (Also I love how much Rhen takes after her, and also how much she doesn't, she's determined to be her own person which ironically is totally an Alicia thing and don't let me analyze these character I will actually rant forever)
    As usual, images for both aesthetics are from pinterest. Except the quote on the Alicia one, that was one of her lines in Ahriman's Prophecy.
    Aannnd another entry for the 31 day fandom challenge by @Queen-of-Ice101 (I'm almost done okay guys)
    Day whatever-this-is of the challenge (14 I think?) is otp of Aveyond 2, and obviously I picked Iya Tiki and Ean Okho. I don't think anyone is surprised I picked the two fluffiest sappiest sweetest characters, hahaha. Their friendship is one of the truly lovely things in this world <3
    Also I almost forgot their elf ears but my roommate reminded me so everyone thank her for not allowing me to make such a grave mistake
    To be fair their ears were originally hidden under the flower crowns but it still would have been a shame
    And also, because I doodle in class instead of paying attention and color instead of doing homework, here's a messy rhenxdameon sketch which I'll probably make a nicer version of eventually but for now I sort of like the chaotic lines look  
    They're in a meadow and they're doing the run-jump-spinny hug thing because fluff is life and also I got carried away with the flowers again ahaha
  3. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Mu11berry in Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things   
    @Scrivener of the Gods Haha, that's true. There are so many largely ignored characters and Haddan might be one of the most forgotten. I remember the story! I was interested in that one. 
    Anywayyyy I have more art, I've been kind of behind in my sharing ahahaha. But this will catch me up for now XD
    An aesthetic for Stella! She's such a sweet cute gentle but firm soul and she deserves the world. Actually literally Aia would have pretty much ended without her so XD As always, images from pinterest i really need to get help for my aveyond obsession ahaha
     
    ~~~~~~~~~~~ A tiny fanart of the wedding of Rhen Pendragon and Dameon Maurva, made by editing the sprites from the game and making a background. I am o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d
    Again, obsessed. Dameon is soft and gentle and Rhen is fierce and strong, and together, they're brave, and I... am a melted mess.
    The background is based on the AV1 title screen!  I really loved the mountains. Also, Rhen has freckles! 
    (I have been waiting to use one of those emojis hahaha)
  4. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Mu11berry in Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things   
    It's been like half a year since I started this "31 day" challenge by @Queen-of-Ice101 and I'm only on day 13 XD XD 
    Anyway day 13 is favorite nymph, so here's Aisling, Nymph of Hope:
    I love Aisling. Her little line about, "Now you can dare to hope again, young elf. All is not lost," just gets me every time. It's one of the defining moments of the whole game for me. 
    So yeah, before I become too sappy here's this fanart. Drawn in gel pen, still don't really know how to use them but am having fun ahaha 
    I also have more aesthetics because pinterest + procrastination and I just love aveyond so.
    Elinidana'ter'Lithir De Aramati (why have I memorized that name? XD XD)
    And Ingrid, my fave witch. Does Ingrid have a last name? I don't remember one for her but I've still only watched a let's play for AV4 (I'm working on it, Aveyond 3 is four chapters, okay?!?)
  5. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Mu11berry in Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things   
    GUYS! Guess what day it is!! FLUFF DAY!!!!! (also I have three tests this week and one of them is today aaahhh T.T)
    I drew SO MANY THINGS! Well just three but XD 
    Happy Valentine's day everyone! 
    Everyone's favorite vampire couple, Te'ijalxGalahad. I wanted to do a more cutesy pic for them but Galahad started making that face and how could I say no to that face? XD
    Also, I'm laughing because all the pics I have to share are in such different styles and I swear I drew all of them I just don't know how to be consistent ever okay
    Rhenxdameon!!! I did that thing where I actually clean up the line art a bit. Also, stars <3 And softness <3 And ahhh <3 T.T
    I got new gel pens and wanted to try them out so clearly I had to draw my otp, Rhen Pendragon and Dameon Maurva. He's so gentle and she's so fierce and I am no good at ink but I love them so I shared anyway.
    Now I reallly need to go study so please excuse me ahahahahahaha T.T
  6. Thanks
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Honey Butter Chloe in Chloe's Edits and Art!   
    The chibis.....r so.... KAWAAAAAIIIII!!!!! 
    I loved the rhenxlars one!!!!!! 
    I wish I was this much talented.... 
  7. Thanks
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Ishti in Aveyond Character Height Headcanons!   
    These r cute 
  8. Thanks
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Azura in 【Updated!】Azura's Art Gallery .:。* .   
    SOOOOOO cute 
    especially Iya!!!!
  9. Like
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Azura in 【Updated!】Azura's Art Gallery .:。* .   
    My all time fav would b Lars and Rhen . I like Mel,  Edward, June. I recently finished AV4 and I really liked Boyle, Myst and Ingrid. I enjoyed the scenes/rants in it. 
  10. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to callmedan in DAN's Art (Art?! ROLF) & Resources   
    A giant orb for your game (maybe?!). I'm not sure if it could be used in a game lol

  11. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Ishti in Aveyond Character Height Headcanons!   
    I made a height chart for the Aveyond 1 characters! A little bit of Rhenegade influence slipped in, so Rhen has no braid, plus I included some familiar NPCs and my Rhenegade OC. I'm really not an artist, so they're all stick figures.

    From left to right, we have Rhen, Lars, Dameon, Elini, Te'ijal, Galahad, John, Marge, Peter, Danny, Talia, Devin, my OC Sophie, and the Oracle!
    EDIT I finished my charts for Aveyond 2 and Aveyond 3! Here they are. By 3, I tried to draw each character with two colors, because why not. (Also, Pirate John didn't have an eyepatch before, so I fixed that in the image above!)

    From left to right: Iya, Ean, Rye, Emma, Nicolas, Gavin, Ava, Jack, Uthar, Ishtar, and Heptitus!

    From left to right: Mel, Stella, Lydia, Edward, Galahad, Beatrice, Te'ijal, Gyendal, Spook, Ulf, June, Yemite, Yvette, and Hercules!
    I was going to post the link to the site where I found the blank chart, too, but now I can't find it. 
    If you make charts of your own, post them here! I'm excited to compare our headcanons!
     
    EDIT Umm... Can someone please help me figure out how to embed an image from Dropbox or another external host? I would significantly prefer to use Dropbox over another host. (SOLVED)
  12. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Mu11berry in Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things   
    Well it hasn't been a month yet so technically speaking by the rules I invented just now I'm not inactive yet >.>
    Anyway here's the art I've been making lately:
    An aesthetic for Candar, mostly influenced by AP and AV2. None of these pics are mine, I just arranged them and messed with the colors a bit. I have like 50 million Aveyond-based pinterest boards and they all have about 10 billion bins, and I was procrastinating so. Aesthetics happened XD So anyway if you want to see the original images/as a way to credit them, they are here and I'm just sorry I'm like this ahahaha
    Another aesthetic! For Talia Maurva, Druid of Dreams. Honestly I put way too much thought into this one and could rant about all the design choices but I will spare you, you're welcome XD Again, this is the result of too many pins so here you can find the original images. (Except the top left one which I made using the Dreamer quote thingy from AP that was referenced in AV1 why am I such a huge aveyond nerd)
    Day 12 of the the challenge by @Queen-of-Ice101 is most exciting Aveyond twist. Honestly there were so many good ones, but this one is the one that stands out in my memory most. I had chills. 
    And if you can't figure it out, this is the part where Dameon says "Join me" and RHEN ALMOST DOES And just! AWLEKJAWG You sorta knew it was coming the whole time but also just the fact that it was actually an option that almost happened I just wawjwawejwegawa cannot sorry must have fluff now
    FLUFFF!!!!! Okay I'm good now. This is Rhen and Dameon at the beach being happy and peaceful and safe together. I actually made this as a desktop background for myself which is why it's so wide, and also I have no idea how to draw water so that was fun XD  Anyway I shrunk it down a bit for posting so hopefully it's not too huge
  13. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Mu11berry in Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things   
    I can't believe I thought I would be done with @Queen-of-Ice101's challenge by Halloween. It's the next year already guys. Ahahahahahaha.
    But anyway here's day 11, fave AV2 character! 
    I honestly had a really hard time picking, but I realized I probably won't get to draw Jack for any of the other days and I do adore him a lot. He's just so full of mischief! And I really loved AP so of course the return of one of those characters made me really happy. (Though I'm still waiting for Talia to make a cameo in the Dreamworld sometime!!! Not very patiently, either, haha).
    I actually had a few sketches of Jack but I hated all of them, so finally I gave up on making one and started doodling with crayons and made this and liked it enough so here we are XD
    idk why it looks like I tried to shade by his nose, there is literally nothing there in the actual drawing, my camera is just crazy ahh
    I doodled a couple other Aveyond characters, too >.>
    Frederick Le Mew and Rhen Pendragon!! Sorry for the low quality, my phone camera wouldn't focus cuz it hates me >< But I had fun doing these guys! So lil and cute and cartoony and not really any good but I just like crayons okay
    And of course I have some rhenxdameon to share because I love them <333
    I know this piece has it's flaws but I tried out a new coloring method so I'm sharing anyway. I did this using all primary colors, and mixing them with different opacities. IT WAS HARD. But fun. BUT HARD. 
    But Dameon is kissing Rhen's forehead so I am melted anyway ahahaha 
  14. Like
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Queen-of-Ice101 in Queen-of-Ice101's Art and Headcannons!   
    CHIBIS!!!!!!!!!  CUTE CHIBIS 
    The facesets look awesome too!!!! 
    BTW for the digital arts what software r u using
  15. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to moonpeace in Moonpeace's AV fics (Warning - here be CRACK!)   
    I wrote this as a (belated) birthday gift for @Honey Butter Chloe, because she loves Edward/Mel fluff and there isn't nearly enough content for that ship. Half character study, half gratuitous fluff (that I still kinda can't believe I wrote). 
    When Mel slept, sometimes she dreamed of her quest. Memories of years spent traveling under an unfamiliar sky each day and sleeping at a different inn each night would play beneath flickering eyelids. Sometimes she would sleep with a faint smile on her lips, and sometimes she would wake in a cold sweat, her whole body tensing under the weight of old fears made fresh again. Edward was always there to hold her through it, kissing the top of her head where her bow usually rested until she returned to the Dreamworld.
    And sometimes she would dream of what could've been.
    The memories - if that's what they were - came in random flashes, like shards of a mirror, except every piece reflected a different scene. One night she dreamed of that fateful day in Harburg before everything had changed, of turning away at Darkthrop Keep and running with the hundred pennies she'd been paid in advance. Mel wondered how her life would've turned out if she'd taken that path and never learned of the Darkthrop prophecy, of the orbs, of the world beyond the back alleys of Harburg - but she never dreamed of that timeline again. 
    Some nights gave her glimpses of a green-haired nobleman with a mischievous smile that belied his kindness. Others featured two sets of luminous eyes from Mel's past, but in different people - children, her children, nestled protectively against her own breast. She wondered about those the most.
    And sometimes, Mel dreamed of Edward. Edward buying a star for her in Naylith and guiding her hand with his to point to it in the night sky, Edward being Stella's husband and her visiting the castle every week for dinner, Edward and her laughing and bickering and loving each other in a hundred different ways. 
    Mel would wake the next morning with a strange look in her eyes when she turned to her husband. He asked her what she was thinking on one such morning. "About you," she replied, to which Edward responded with a cocky grin that always made Mel roll her eyes, if only to mask the small smile hidden in the corner of her mouth.
    "Shut up," Mel mumbled, although Edward hadn't said anything. She leaned in for a kiss to prevent a response, missing her mark and planting her lips on the tip of Edward's nose.
    "So what did you dream about," he asked, curling a hand through his wife's hair as she readjusted her head to lie beside him.
    Mel burrowed her face back into her pillow, unconsciously moving her body closer to Edward's. "I'll tell you later, 'm tired," she murmured. 
    That morning, Mel didn't dream, content to be grounded to the present by the sound of her husband's steady breathing beside her.
  16. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Scrivener of the Gods in Picturis Scribarum   
    Sorry, here ya go:

  17. Like
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Specter in Aveyond Character Interviews   
    It was hilarious!!! 
  18. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Mu11berry in Mu11berry's Art-ish Looking Things   
    @moonpeace lol trust me you don't want to see it XD XD Thanks though hahaha
    @Azura Thanks, that's one of my fave things!! Te'ijal would kill me if I made her wear that dress everyday though XD XD
    Aaaannnnd @everyone while I'm online I have some more "art" to share:
    Another piece for the 31 day aveyond fandom challenge posted by @Queen-of-Ice101. Day 10 was dream fandom crossover, but I really don't have any other fandoms so XD I mean, I like other things, but Aveyond is basically my life. So.
    However, every time I see the word "daeva" I think of the word "diva," and then I have to imagine the daevas as divas, which is really too beautiful a thought to ignore. So yeah. Here is my crossover, complete with flower crowns. (Except Agas who absolutely refused to be subjected to this kind of humiliation. The best I could do was make him hold a flower xD)
    Left to right, top to bottom, we have Aesma, Zarich, Tawrich, Agas, Indra, Nanghaithya, and Saurva. (Did I spell all those names right? Who knows XD). If you're looking for daeva references (which are IMPOsSIBlEE TO FIINDdd)  the basics of the outfits are correct here, except it turns out Tawrich actually doesn't have a breastplate (ahahahahaha it looked like it in the tiny let's play video okay), and Nanghaithya's robes are much more fancy and complicated. Also obviously there are no flowers or sparkles in their actual outfits.
    Except Nanghaithya. He always sparkles. 
    Anyway.
    Here is a dameonxrhen piece that I did for no reason except that I love Aveyond and I love Rhen and I love Dameon. The soft, gentle vulnerability between them warms my heart and the safety they find in each other gives me hope in the world.
    Plus they're just so cute and happy together. Look at them!
    (Also for some reason I kept doing wintery pieces during the summer and now that it's actually winter I keep doing summery pieces???? I cannot explain myself.)
  19. Like
    BlackPrincess got a reaction from Mu11berry in Moonpeace's edits/aesthetics/art   
    If u get time could u try Myst and Ingrid?? 
  20. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Queen-of-Ice101 in Shadows of my Twisted Destiny (a AV3 fanfic)- Completed   
    Hello all!
    We are getting closer to the end of this story! This was a harder chapter to write, just because until the end there isn't much humour. It's setting the mood for the final layer which comes next chapter.
    Enjoy!
    Unknown Horrors
    The ground was a dark burgundy, small cracks in the hard rocky substance serving as vents for steam. Mel barely waited mere minutes before she was yanking off her jacket and over-shirt that she had retrieved for the previous layers to reveal the white croptop that had been her constant companion through all previous quests on Aia.
    She shot quick glance at Gyendal who had shed his tunic and cloak in favour of surviving the heat in just his undershirt, both of them were already sweating.
    "How ironic, the dead and cold layer right next to the layer that slowly barbecues you." Mel muttered as they started forward.
    In front of them was something that looked like a mountain, it reached up what looked like miles above them with no end in site.
    "Well I hope you're good a mountain climbing, because that's exactly what we're about to do." Gyendal gruffly announced, pointing up.
    "Never been so glad I learned how to do this under Gray's field courses before in my life." Mel admitted, approaching the mountain and finding secure handholds as she began her careful ascent.
    She and Gyendal climbed for hours, taking small breaks to drink from the waterflasks they had stored in their magic pockets before starting again. It was about as far from a pleasant experience scaling the mountain as it could get and when the top finally became obvious Mel felt a rush of relief. They reached the top quickly, pulling themselves up and onto the ledge.
    "Uh, I have a bit of a bad feeling about this." Mel said slowly, looking straight ahead with apprehension.
    In front of them several feet away was a massive gunmetal grey fence, jagged spikes at the top. Directly across from where she and Gyendal were standing was a large gate, twisted metal and rattling chains.
    "I don't even want to see what's on the other side." Gyendal sighed, resignation clear on his expression as they approached the gate, unable to see what lay beyond but more then aware of the screams that echoed through.
    Mel reached out to touch the gate, making a soft noise of realization when her hand went though.
    "Looks like we don't have to worry about opening the gate to get through." Mel observed, stepping through next to Gyendal.
    The gate was not an illusion like the previous layers had, it felt insubstantial at first but as she passed through she felt the wholly unnerving sensation of the ghostly gate moving through her body.
    When they stepped out on the other side however, the sensation of the gate was long forgotten.
    "Great godddess!" Mel gasped, her eyes nearly doubling in size as she took in what lay before them.
    It was a massacre. Hundreds upon hundreds of shimmering spirits attacked each other, no one fighting on a clear side as creatures of all species, genders and appearances ruthlessly struck each other down. Mel had never seen anything like what lay before them, she could hardly believe it was even happening despite seeing it in front of her.
    Instinctively she moved to back away only to find her back pressed against metal. She wheeled to face behind her and stared at the gate they had just come through, pressing her hand against it and pushing what now felt like an immovable mountain.
    "What is this?" She slowly asked, staying flat against the gate.
    Next to her Gyendal reached into his Magic pocket, withdrawing a large knife that's blade was blacker then the night with a deep scarlet leather handle. He held it in front of him protectively and Mel tightened her grip on her staff.
    "You know those priests who always talk about those that die who are truly evil will not get off free because they go to a place of eternal suffering? Well, welcome to hell. Even those that people would see as "villains" do not always get here, you have to have literally no love or compassion left in your heart for a single soul on Aia. This is the worst of the worst in front of you, and it seems that we have arrived in their punishment waiting room."
    Gyendal's words made Mel's heart drop through her shoes. Neither of them had enough magic left in their reserve to make it through here unscathed. All they had to replenish themselves was the Elixir and the Auquifolium Extora, both of which it would be a complete waste to use simply to top them up magically and physically when they weren't nearly drained.
    "We're going to have to be very careful, there are plenty of rock formations and the uneven ground provides place to hide up or provide a small amount of protection." Gyendal said, pointing around them at the various hiding and protected places.
    Mel nodded and the two of them tensed in preparation, still having yet to be noticed by the battling souls. With a nod the two of them started forward, dodging around battling souls and ducking behind barriers to protect themselves.
    "Incoming!" Mel yelled as several fighting spirits noticed them and ganged up, lunging and attacking.
    Instantly they were leaping into combat, Mel alternating between magic and using her staff while next to her Gyendal didn't even bother using his magic as he slashed and and disintegrated spirits with his knife.
    They finished quickly and turned to start back on their path, groaning in tandem when it became clear that they had officially caught the attention of more of the Ira inhabitants.
    It felt like they would get only a mile at max before being attacked againt, the souls battling fiercely and slowly but surely draining Mel and Gyendal.
    Off to their right there was a loud roar as a gang of souls advanced, waving their weapons and shouting in various different languages.
    "Oh come on." Mel hissed, readying herself as the souls descended upon them.
    She spun, blasting the souls that encircled her with Dragon Bane, then twisted her wrist to perform a manoeuvre with her staff that turned several of the souls back to dust before attacking the closest two left. Behind her she heart grunts and hisses but ignored, focusing on her own battle. She glanced up quickly when she was given a second of breathing room, and promptly cursed when she saw a second and larger wave barreling down on them.
    "Alright, let's do this." Mel hissed, bracing her feet and holding her staff at the ready.
    As they began to attack she began to strike and dodge, zero mercy in her actions as she killed as many souls as she could reach. She was focused fully on her movements as she destroyed their enemies, finding herself overwhelmed as souls swamped her. Behind her there was a rumble and Mel spun, blasting the closest souls back as she tried to find the source of the disturbance.
    Her eyes fell on Gyendal who stood on a slightly elevated plane, loose hairs waving around his face, his expression positively murderous as he whirled and fought. It was like most of the spirits had completely bypassed her and were swarming Gyendal. His movements started to slow, then with a guttural shout he flung his hands that were glowing with power out and with a powerful explosion vaporized nearly all the spirits against them.
    Elation filled her at the prospect of ending the battle, only for seconds later that feeling to be drowned out by dread as Gyendal suddenly went ashen and swayed on his feet. Mel opened her mouth to call to her companion when his eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he collapsed, his blade falling out of his hand and bouncing away on the hardened ground.
    "NO!"
    Mel lunged towards him, easily killing the remaining spirits as she dropped down next to Gyendal. His chest was still, the usual rising and falling with his breathing gone. She fought off a sudden panic as she fumbled for a pulse, icy cold terror washing over her when she could feel nothing.
    She summoned the Magic pocket and shoved her hand in, grasping desperately for the package that the Shadow Oracle had given them. Ripping it open she snatched up a cassia leaf, forcing his mouth open and shoving it inside as she waited on baited breath for the leaf to pull him back from the border between life and death.
    Five seconds passed.
    Ten seconds passed.
    Thirty seconds passed.
    A minute passed and Gyendal was just as dead as he had been when she force-fed him the leaf.
    "Come on, come on! You don't get to die on me like this, I can't get out of this hellhole on my own power!" Mel shouted, her whole body was shaking with adrenaline and fear as she turned to see passing souls taking notice of unusual activity behind the rock.
    She was past panic by then and she desperately grabbed for the remaining leaves, praying under her breath to the goddess as she crunched them in her hand and crammed them down his throat.
    Suddenly Gyendal's body convulsed, the dark Mage heaving in a great gasp and beginning to coughing violently on the crushed leaves. Mel quickly rolled him onto his side as he coughed up the slimy green clump, gasping hard. Once she was sure he was finished she settled him onto his back, waiting for him to recover.
    Moments later his black lashes fluttered before his eyes flew open, wide and confused until his memories of what had taken place came back to him.
    "I died." He croaked out, allowing Mel to help him sit up.
    "Yeah no kidding." Mel snapped, her body still undergoing the effects of the adrenaline shot she had received with his unexpected death.
    She reached over to the package that lay next to her, grasping both an Aqualiform Extora and an Elixir. Uncapping the Aqualiform Extora she helped him drink that, relieved to see that the layer didn't prevent the potion from working perfectly and completely bringing him back to full health. She left him with the Elixir to take care of and stood, packaging up her things and ignoring his raised brow as he studied her jerky movements.
    "We need to go, the skirmish over here has drawn too much attention and I wasn't able to move you to a safer place after you croaked." She said snappishly, putting away the remainder of the package from the Shadow Oracle and gazing out past the rock to map out their next course of action.
    She heard Gyendal approach but nearly jumped out of her skin when a cool hand settled on her forearm, turning her to face him before raising her arm and sliding down to flip her hand up. She twitched and attempted to pull free but Gyendal ignored her attempts, merely tightening his grip as he placed a full Elixir and the Auquifolium Extora that was clearly from his own pack since hers were gone now into her open hand. He smiled ever so slightly as he closed her hand carefully around the two vials and released her, Mel recoiling back both unnerved and creeped out by his actions.
    He had smiled. Why the hell was he smiling at her?! He never smiled, he smirked and mocked! And what was with his weird gentle grasp and handing her his stuff?!
    "I scared you when I died." He said, his words not a question.
    "Don't flatter yourself, I was only worried about how I was supposed to get through Ira and Tartarus to the demon king alone." Mel scoffed, shooting him a foul look.
    The corners of his mouth twitched and he raised one brow, crossing his arms over his chest.
    "I never said is was for anything otherwise. Why so defensive?"
    She snorted and rolled her eyes, muttering some choice words under her breath as she popped the corks off both vials and downed the contents together. Her whole body went numb and then tingled like she had just been struck by lighting before the sensations went away and she felt fully rested and refreshed for the first time in she couldn't remember how long.
    He patted her shoulder mockingly as if to console her on her fail before striding past her, leaving Mel to glower angrily at the dark haired male.
    Goddess he ticked her off.
    They finally reached the end of the "waiting zone" as Gyendal had called it after an excessive amount of battles and stupid, loud souls. She had been hoping that since the next part was dedicated to punishing the souls it would be easier to get through with no battles and was almost in a weird way looking forward to gettting there.
    But once they reached the punishment zone and she saw what lied within... she had never wished more that she could instead go through something they had already experienced in the previous layers. The sight that met her eyes was nothing like she could have prepared herself for in all the layers they had been through so far.
    "I never-...Goddess I think I'm going to be sick." Gyendal cut off as he was forced to turn away, gagging as the stench of rotting flesh reached their noses.
    Mel was past being able to process what she was seeing, her eyes were blank as she struggled to block out the sight of the layer in front of her.
    Words couldn't describe what she was seeing. People being tortured, using methods so twisted and evil that no place on Aia could have ever began to come close to what she was witnessing in that moment.
    She could smell the different venoms and poisons that were being used on some of the inhabitants, some sickly sweet and others a putrid burn, all of them assaulting her nose. The clang of metal against metal, the sheik of blades being drawn or falling, screams and howls that all piled on top of the others to create a deafening cacophony.
    "I can't walk thought that." Mel whispered, shaking her head as she plastered a hand to her mouth.
    "We have to. There's no other way to get through." Gyendal said, straightening and smearing the back of his hand over his mouth.
    "Did you actually get sick?"
    "No. I almost wish I had though. I can taste the death in the air."
    They stepped further into the punishment zone, Mel forcing herself to focus intently on the opposite horizon and nowhere else. Every peek she stupidly took of her surroundings only made the nausea and revolting of her stomach worse.
    They passed a soul bound in chains that was attempting to escape only for the stains to snap taut and halt the souls escape, a scaly red creature that laughed cruelly as he grabbed the chains and began to drag the man backwards in the direction he had just fled.
    A pathetic sounding noise escaped Mel as she witnessed that and what happened next, she never reacted as Gyendal placed a hand on her shoulder and urged her on.
    "Don't watch." He said, voice strained.
    She nodded mutely, continuing down the path layed out for them through the revolting sights. The screams were haunting and disturbing, but the further they got inside the more Mel began to hear another sound that tormented her far more.
    There were spirits who would be given breaks that lasted maybe a minute as it was prepared for the next round of whatever they were being punished by. The spirits would look over at a screaming neighbour... and they would laugh. They were taking pleasure in the suffering from others, even as they went though their own hell they were laughing.
    That realization made her feel sicker then even witnessing what was going on. That these people would get pleasure out of their companions misery and torment.
    They trudged through silently, the further they got into that zone the warmer the wind became. Their travels were silent as they attempted to block out their surroundings, just trying to get through that zone.
    It felt like weeks before the end became visible, a large stone wall at the far end that clearly served as a border between the punishment zone and whatever came after.
    "Do you think that the portal is just beyond that?" Mel questioned as they picked up the pace, both eager to get out of there.
    "I doubt it, this zone wasn't near torturous enough for that." Gyendal sneered.
    They stepped up to the brick border, touching it to find that it operated the same as the gate at the enterance to Ira.
    "It's gonna go solid behind us again, I am so not looking forward to whatever is on the other side." Mel groaned.
    They exchanged a look of misery before taking deep breaths and stepping through.
    "Oh crap."
    Mel's jaw hung agape as she stared at their next challenge.
    "It's a lake of lava." She said stupidly, staring down past the thin ledge they were standing on.
    It was dizzying, the sheer size of the drop. Jagged cliff lined the stone wall, hanging over a death sentence made of boiling molten lava. At the far end of the wall on their side of the drop there was a hole, the creatures that oversaw the torturing in the punishment zone stepping through and tossing souls down into the lake. Below monsters would leap out of the lava, opening their massive gaping maws and swallowing some of the souls while others fell into the lava, sinking below the fiery waves never to be seen again.
    "This is the final stop for the souls." Gyendal informed her darkly. "Once they have served their sentence they are thrown into the lava lake below to be fully and completely eradicated from Aia. You fall in there and there is no afterlife, this is the only place where death really would be the end."
    Mel shuddered, looking away from the gaping pit beneath them. Right in front of where she and Gyendal stood there was a ledge that jutted out two massive stone pillars on either side of the ledge, and between those two pillars was the first board of the rope bridge that spanned from their side of the lava lake to the other.
    "Alright, how are we going to do this?" Mel asked her voice hard as she attempted to quell the fear.
    "I will go first. The thick black smoke coming off the vents on the other side would hide any creatures coming after us and my instinct with magic is far more attuned then yours is at this point. I'll be more likely to strike accurately and deadly should something attack." Gyendal said, stepping past Mel and walking up to the entrance to the bridge.
    He took a deep breath and with a tight grip on the ropes on either side he stepped out onto the first board. When it held his weight he took several more steps forward, gesturing over his shoulder for Mel to follow once it was established that the bridge wasn't going to disintegrate under their fingers. The first step she took onto the bridge was the hardest, every part of her brain screaming at her not to be a moron and trust her life to a bridge that looked frayed and singed.
    "Test each board before setting your full weight on it, I could potentially weaken one with my weight." Gyendal called back, Mel grunting in acknowledgment as they made their careful way forward.
    The bridge spanned for at least a mile, swaying with their movement which caused the fibres of the rope to creak. Every step she took further out onto the bridge the more her thundering heart threatened to beat out of her chest.
    Just as her foot set down on a board she felt a crack and the wood give way under her.
    "AHHH!"
    Mel scrambled back, her grip on the rope railings white knuckled as her chest heaved with her panicked breathing.
    "Mel!"
    She stared through the now open slot as the wood spiralled down through the air towards the lake.
    "I almost fell." She said numbly.
    She took a cleansing breath, then very deliberately stepped over the hole in the bridge, meeting Gyendal's eyes and giving a short nod to show that she was fine to continue.
    "Be careful. Don't die on me now so close to the end." Gyendal threw out before starting forward again.
    Mel shot a black look at his back but reluctantly followed, each step careful and her heart momentarily jumping into her throat every time she stepped down on a new board.
    Determinedly she set her eyes on the far side of the chasm, her gaze fixed on the terrain that she could just see over her companions broad shoulders.
    Below them she could see creatures leaping out of the lava and diving back down inside. All along the walls of the chasm below were large holes, creatures flying out of them. Clearly monsters nested in those holes, the thought rather unappealing when she considered how vulnerable they were should one decide that they looked edible.
    She honestly had no idea how much time passed as they slowly but surely crossed the bridge, it all blended into the background as they focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Gyendal had his own moment with nearly falling through a hole in the bridge. Finally, finally, the end became near and Mel's heart lifted as with every step closer to solid ground.
    In front of her Gyendal cursed when the heel of his boot created a hole in one of the boards, not breaking but instead halting his movement as he attempted to pull his well-stuck boot free without shaking the bridge or breaking his other board.
    Mel was about to offer her help when the hairs on the back of her neck suddenly stood straight up. She glanced to the left where nothing could be seen, but upon glancing to her right she felt the blood drain out of her face.
    It was a massive dragon-like creature from one of the holes in the wall, and it was diving straight for Gyendal. He sensed it seconds later and as if in slow motion turned to face it, boot still stuck.
    "DUCK!" Mel shouted, firing a blast of magic at the creature and forcing it to dodge and delay it's attack.
    In the precious extra seconds before they both became lunch Mel lunged forward, tackling Gyendal and sending them both flying off the bridge onto the solid ground where they skidded several feet backwards away from the bridge upon impact.
    The beast dived them moments later, only to slam headfirst into an originally unnoticed magical barrier that lined the entire ledge on this side of the cavern. Mel pushed herself upright and twisted to look over her shoulder wide eyed as the creature fell backwards.
    "Thank goddess." She breathed as it vanished from sight.
    She stared behind them for several minutes, watching guardedly as creatures neared the barrier only to veer away when the Magic sparked at them. Mel left her breathing slow as relief washed over her, at least they didn't have to fear dying from those creatures.
    Her all encompassing relief was pleasant while it lasted...especially since seconds later there was a low chuckle that echoed from below her that brought her back to reality immediately.
    "As interesting as this situation may be, I do believe that we have a portal we should be starting for."
    Mel turned back to look in the direction her body was facing and promptly froze, her mind processing the position she was currently in.
    She was kneeling on her hands and knees above Gyendal who had taken the brunt of the impact from their crashland on the ground, hands on either side of his head as he lay on the ground below her. She became uncomfortably aware of the fact that more then likely during their landing a hand had found it's way to her back and the other to her waist to steady her.
    Her eyes nearly tripled in size as they met his green ones that danced with mirth as she shoved herself away with a string of profanities, each one more vulgar then the last.
    "Shut up! We nearly died, you should have better things to do with your time then make jokes about the fact that I fell on you while saving your life!" Mel yelled, feeling her whole face heat up.
    Gyendal smirked at her, expression wicked as he stood.
    "I'm not the one making a big deal out of it, I simply observed that we should get going."
    "Yeah well you didn't have to touch me while you were going about doing that." Mel sneered, stalking away.
    She heard him snicker before catching up with her and as they ventured into the thick smoke the humour quickly faded. Both of them falling serious as they began to search for the portal.
    "How do you think we're supposed to find it in this smoke?" Mel questioned quietly, glancing around them.
    "Probably by-..." He cut off and Mel stopped to look at him, only to see him staring off to his far right.
    She moved to look past him and found herself pausing as well, taking in the portal to their final destination.
    "Holy..." Mel breathed, staring at the massive archway.
    All the others had been large and stone, a simple arch with a portal inside. But this one...
    The portal to Tartarus could never have been mistaken for anything other then the doorway to the home of the Demon king. The arch was nearly twice the size of the other archways, massive stone horns having been formed to lead effortlessly off the top of the arch. Between the horns was a suspended disk made of stone with an elaborate and ancient symbol chiseled into it's face. Glowing runes lined the entire archway, pulsing with a light and magical essence of their own. Inside of the archway was a portal, vibrant jewel tones churning together with shades of black and grey to create an opalescent effect.
    "That's the last step of the journey through the layers." Gyendal murmured next to her, sounding as awed as she was.
    Mel nodded, the two of them slowly approaching the portal until they came to a stop mere feet in front of it.
    "Are you ready?" She asked, knowing that they had no other choice but to go forward but feeling compelled to ask anyway.
    "Yes."
    Then in a move so utterly uncharacteristic and utterly weird, Gyendal held out a hand to her.
    There was nothing humorous about this gesture like there had been earlier when they had gotten off the bridge. The weight of what they were about to do had fully hit Mel and as she stared down at her once-enemies offered hand she realized the full meaning behind his seemingly simple gesture.
    He wasn't just asking her to step through the portal with him. He was asking if she was willing to trust him enough to take on whatever laid on the other side of that portal as a team. He was asking if she was willing to fully put her mistrust behind her.
    She met his gaze and released a long breath, reaching out and placing her hand firmly on his.
    He gave a short nod, his shoulders relaxing slightly. This wasn't just a step for her, this was a necessity if they wanted to survive to the end of this.
    They turned to face the portal, and then together they stepped through.
  21. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Queen-of-Ice101 in Shadows of my Twisted Destiny (a AV3 fanfic)- Completed   
    Nightmare
    The illusions that struck seemed to come at random, but as their travels progressed so did the frequencies of the illusions. Mel and Gyendal were constantly reacting, protecting and attacking the illusions for fear of them for once being real.
    Above them the grey sky began to darken, slowly beginning to turn black. Around them the mist began to slowly recede, taking the illusions with it until the entire layer around them was eerily calm.
    "Should we be worried about this?" Mel questioned rhetorically, glancing around uneasily.
    "Probably. However, this also presents another issue. It's going dark at a rapid rate and getting progressively harder to see more then a few feet in front of us. It would be wise for us to find some sort of shelter for the night so that we can get some sleep." Gyendal commented, gesturing off the "path" they were following towards the trees around them.
    Mel nodded in agreement, veering off the path they were following into the trees despite the tugging in her gut in the other direction and searching through for somewhere they could set up camp.
    "Mel, look here."
    She turned to see Gyendal standing between two trees that had their upper branches interlocking, quickly making her way over as he stepped down into something. She quickly approached to see that he was standing at the mouth of some sort of half covering. She ventured over and studied the covering closely, it appeared to be an alcove of sorts that had been dug into the ground by someone.
    "A shelter made by the last individuals coming through this layer perhaps?"
    Mel glanced up when Gyendal spoke, giving a half nod in agreement before making her way down into the alcove of sorts.
    "It seems big enough to fit us comfortably as well as a fire." Mel reported over her shoulder, sliding down inside and scooting over to the far side of the alcove as Gyendal lowered himself down on the other side.
    They started a magic fire and ate in silence, watching as the light faded until it was gone all together. The layer was covered in an inky blackness, the light from the fire barely enough to light the inside of their alcove.
    Mel was laying on her back and staring blankly up at the roof of their covering while nibbling halfheartedly on some bread when outside of their alcove the silence was broken by shouting. She bolted upright, bread dropped and forgotten as Gyendal stirred in his corner and leaned forwards from where he had propped himself against the side wall.
    "Mel what-"
    "Shhh." Mel hissed, sitting perfectly still as she strained her ears.
    "HELP ME!"
    Mel moved into a crouch, raising herself up as high as she could to see over the embankment that led up out of their partially underground hideaway. The sight that met her eyes as she gazed into the woods was like something pulled directly out of her worst fears.
    It was Edward, thrown on the ground bloody and beaten. Over him stood Lydia who grinned down at Mel's friend, malicious glee and triumph in her eyes. She looked up at Mel, meeting her eyes and giving a cold laugh as Lydia lifted a large blade over her head.
    Horror washed over Mel and she leapt forward, the intricacy of the illusion momentarily blinding Mel to reality as she attempted to scramble up the small embankment to stop Lydia.
    "Stop!" A gruff voice shouted behind her, arms grabbing her and throwing her backwards.
    She landed on her butt, sliding a half an inch backwards before being slammed against the wall by her shoulders.
    "Whatever you're seeing is an illusion! We don't set foot outside this place until it's light out, if we get lured away into the forest we're as good as dead!" Gyendal snarled, holding Mel motionless as a choked howl echoed through into their alcove and Mel jerked in his hold.
    "It's an illusion, I know. I know..." Mel mumbled under her breath, her heart squeezing painfully.
    She felt his grip on her loosen when it became obvious that she wasn't going to try and bolt into the forest.
    "What did you see?" He questioned, his voice quiet.
    "Lydia killing Edward."
    He let out a heavy sigh before leaning back and releasing her, moving back to his side of the alcove.
    "Prepare yourself now. The things the illusions showed to us were things we feared or dreaded, images that would have drained us in our instinctive defence response. However they did not show us our worst fears, or the nightmares that haunt us in the night. That makes no sense after what we experienced in the last layer, the all immersing illusions. It seems that the layer was simply waiting until darkness fell to unleash the illusions that can lure us out of relative safety."
    "Aw man, this is gonna suck so bad." Mel groaned, hunkering down and restarting her small meal.
    They both waited in a tense silence, bracing themselves as they waited for the next illusion. Beside her Gyendal let out a hissed curse, pressing his head into his hands as his muscles twitched. Clearly it was his turn to fight, and whatever he was hearing was effecting him nearly as bad as it was her.
    Mel gave a muffled groan around her bread.
    This was gonna be a really long night.
    In the few hours since the night had fallen Mel and Gyendal had gone from being on opposite sides of the alcove to being mere inches from each other. More times then Mel had cared to count one of them had surged forward, terror and instinct clouding their mind and forcing the other to yank them back from diving through the fire and out of their tiny corner of semi-safety.
    For Mel it had been like nothing she could ever hope to describe, the invasion of her innermost thoughts that played out on a full colour screen in front of her. Mel's hands were buried in her hair, clutching the strands so tightly that it hurt. She could hear them, calling to her for help. The shrieks and wails of pain echoed around in her head, not going away but being constantly added too.
    It was like a wave, it would swell and wash over her with all the torment it brought before stilling and giving her blessed moments of nothing. Then another wave would come and she would once again be assaulted by the illusions this cursed layer wove.
    "Oh goddess, make this stop." She breathed, shuddering as the sickening sound of metal meeting bone penetrated her ears.
    It was becoming increasingly harder to discern between reality and illusion, each illusion made the haze over her mind thicker. It was pushing everything she knew fully to the back of her mind and drowning her in all her nightmares come to life.
    Desperation overcame her desire for personal space and without considering the potential consequences Mel reached over blindly, grabbing for Gyendal's arm to ground herself.
    However Mel did not take into account that his arm would have moved from where it had been the last time she had been with it enough to make sure her companion was surviving. When her hand came down, it didn't come down on his arm.
    It came down directly on his open hand.
    "Irk!"
    Mel attempted to jerk her hand away but before she could his larger one closed around hers, his grip tight.
    Her head shot up and she looked over to where he sat, thrown by his unusual action. He shot her a sidelong glance, raising an eyebrow at her expression before another illusion seemed to hit him and a pained grimace formed on his face. His hand tightened around hers, almost painful with the force of his grip as he took his turn battling the illusions.
    Mel felt herself relax slightly and turned her attention back to herself, bracing herself for the next illusion that she knew would be coming. He needed an anchor just as much as she did right now, Gyendal was no better off then her. If she was lucky, come morning they could both pretend that the moment of weakness for them both had never existed and go back to making each other's life as miserable as humanly possible.
    She was pulled away from her idle thoughts as the voices started again. They called her name, pleading for her help and Mel's own grip tightened, her muscles tensing as she attempted to block out the illusion. But she couldn't do a thing, she couldn't help anyone. All she could do was watch, watch as Edward and Stella were ripped apart by creatures as they tried to come to her aid on her quest that they never should have died for. A vampire Galahad being staked while Te'ijal was held back by vampires she just couldn't match.
    She felt like a monster just sitting there, like she was betraying her loved ones. It didn't matter that it was just illusions, it was getting into her head and playing with her mind.
    "How long do you think this night is going to last." Gyendal hissed out next to her, fracturing her concentration and forcing her to focus on something other then the illusion.
    "I...don't know. Hopefully these games they're playing with our nightmares will stop when night is over." Mel answered with some difficulty.
    He grunted in agreement, Mel assuming that would be it to the stilted conversion.
    "It's really not fair you know. Most of my worst nightmares came from centuries ago, my family and my experiences shortly after I was turned. I had nearly forgotten them until I arrived down here, then it brought everything to the forefront for this layer to easily pick from." Gyendal suddenly commented, sounding slightly sullen and so out of character that Mel would have laughed if the situation hadn't been so serious.
    "What's the hardest of them to sit through? I'll share mine if you share yours." She questioned, grabbing on the chance to distract herself.
    He was silent for several minutes before answering.
    "After I was first turned Te'ijal and I were terrified. Vampires were the number one enemy of our village, we were taught that they were foul and disgusting. Even a murder condemned could be pardoned and hailed a hero for killing one. We couldn't go back, and our parents were dead which meant that we had no direction in our life. After we escaped the only other vampire in our town, the companion of the one that turned my sister and killed our parents I begged her to take us to Aveyond. Because of the training I had received in the art of magic I knew that the oracle and her priestesses lived there, I foolishly believed that they would be able to save Te'ijal and I since we were innocent despite being turned."
    His face twisted with bitterness and resentment as he continued.
    "We got there and you know what the oracle and her priestesses did? They condemned us, calling us filthy creatures when they saw the fangs and bite scars on our neck. They hit us in the back with their staffs and when I hissed at one over my shoulder when they hit my back a priestess flung holy water at me. I was a child, I was twelve years old and those "holy protectors" willingly attempted to kill me. I still have the burn mark from the few drops that managed to land on me." Gyendal moved his cloak aside and pulled down his tunic covering the back of his shoulder, revealing a almost silvery scar.
    He was forced to stop as he was once again pulled into an illusion, Mel struggling against her own minutes later. Once they had recovered, Gyendal started again.
    "Several variations of that trip have cropped up since it went dark, all of them ending with death. The first was just the trio ending with losing my sister to her stupidly diving in front to protect me, then my parents and vampires I would spend time with from the council, as well as...some others. Always interspersed throughout other fears come to life."
    "And it's always your fault, in the visions I mean." Mel added, her tone not questioning and Gyendal shrugged. "I kinda hate to admit what I've been seeing, since it's so similar to yours that it's stupid and the idea of having anything remotely like you is positively nauseating."
    Her grumble made him snort and Mel gave a halfhearted roll of her eyes as she forcibly drowned out the illusion just outside. The alcove they were in was protected by some sort of magic, although near the beginning when they had tried to find out by what neither of them had been able to place the enchantments used. Not that it mattered, the important thing is that the illusions never seemed to enter the alcove to drive them out of it.
    "I'm watching all the people that ever meant something to me die, willingly following me on my quests and then losing everything. Their significant others, suffering through both physical and emotional pain before dying. At the beginning they were killed by enemies but now... every few visions I'm watching myself kill the people I love with my own bare hands." She released a hard and angry laugh. "It's amazing, my fears can't just be losing the people that mean the world to me. I have to kill them myself, I was so terrified that I would give in to that Prophecy and be driven to murder the only ones who I could remember ever having stood by my side."
    She let out a heavy sigh and next to her she felt Gyendal shift.
    "It's fascinating how much we take upon ourselves, fear and guilt over things that never actually happened. We do so much to those around us, out of desperation to protect or out of anger and hurt because of emotional rifts." He gave a self depreciating laugh. "It never fails that when everything is stripped back or taken away, be it the walls that we've built or a hunger for a power that we can no longer grasp that these are the fears that most of us share. The fear of losing those we love because of our own actions."
    Once morning arrived the two of them rose, utterly and completely exhausted from the tiny amounts of sleep they had gotten the night before. The nightmare visions faded the lighter it became until it looked just like it had the day before, the momentary freedom bringing a peace that Mel welcomed with open arms.
    "Well we've seen the fears and negative things that we've already lived, we saw those yesterday. Last night we saw the fears that we didn't live, I wonder what happens next." Mel mused as they walked, rubbing her already frozen hands together before stuffing them into her pocket.
    "Yes well as interesting as the answer might have been I'd rather not know if it's all the same to you." Gyendal muttered.
    Mel ignored him, simply focusing on the path they were following.
    "What in the-...Mel, look over there."
    Mel glanced to see him pointing in the far direction and turned, studying the Misty wooded area. When she saw what he was pointing at however, her jaw dropped.
    "Is that...us?!" She gasped, staring in shock at the two forms standing in the trees staring back.
    It was, but at the same time the two forms couldn't have been more different. That Gyendal wasn't a tired human Mage, he was a vampire and the malevolent glint in his eyes made it clear that he was still as power hungry as he had been before the whole Demon Realm situation. His garb now black with a red coat, and a diadem upon his head. That Mel was also different, wearing a black dress and crown upon her head with the staff of Destiny gripped tightly in one hand.
    "...Queen of Aia..."
    The whispered words made her insides twist and she recoiled, her gaze flicking between the Gyendal she was travelling with and the duo in the trees.
    "Gyendal...?" She said slowly, eyeing the other version of them who smiled coldly and took a step forward.
    "We're both seeing this, so I highly doubt this is one of the layers illusions. Perhaps now would be a good time to retreat." Gyendal said calmly, although the look in his eyes was anything but calm.
    Mel gave a nod and they both began to back down the path, away from the "shadow" Mel and Gyendal. But the dark duo only laughed, the air around them twisting as they vanished and reappeared mere feet away.
    "You cannot run this time, you will never be able to outrun yourself." They intoned together, the hairs on the back of Mel's neck standing straight up.
    With those words the shadow versions of them attacked, Mel finding herself on the defensive as Dark-Her swung the staff of Destiny, forcing Mel to throw up a magic shield and tap her bracelet to summon her orb staff.
    "What the hell are you?!" Mel demanded angrily as she blasted Dark-Her with a spell before landing a blow with her staff.
    "Who do you think I am? I'm you." Dark-Her snorted, countering with the exact same spell Mel had just used against her. "I'm the version that you always feared becoming, I'm the person that will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals and the one that isn't bound by fear of hurting people."
    Mel was forced to dodge as the Dark-Her brought the Staff of Destiny down in a powerful crosscut, attempting to knock Dark-Her's feet out from under her with Mel's staff.
    She chanced a glance behind her to see Gyendal locked in a heated battle with his own dark version, the movements so swift and graceful that it was nearly impossible to follow.
    "I'm not going to be beat by myself!" Mel snapped, blasting Dark-Her with Dragon Bane.
    Dark-Her only snorted, opening her arms and absorbing the magic into herself without a hint of damage.
    "You cannot overpower me Mel, I know everything you're going to do as you do it. We are one and the same, I am simply the darker side of who you are."
    Mel snarled and whipped her staff, the metal clanging against metal as Dark-Her blocked her strike. They danced in and out of contact, each strike more violent then the last.
    "You are not me! I would have never become what you are!" Mel snarled, her manoeuvres near-reckless.
    Dark-Her laughed coldly.
    "Oh I am you, I'm that dark voice that would speak in the back of your mind asking if it would really be that bad to just give into the Prophecy. I'm the part of you who always craved something more then just existing, the part of you who was drawn to power. I'm the part of you that revels in the darkness of magic, the part of you who can go toe to toe with the most powerful living Dark Mage and feels nothing but adrenalin while behind you your friends act in fear."
    With each statement that Dark-Her made, she would strike out at Mel and force her further back. She tried to fight, but it was like all the training and strength she had was zapped with every moment longer she spent battling every blow Mel managed to land, Dark-Her would land two. Slowly but surely Mel found herself retreating, attempting to fight off Dark-Her just long enough to escape.
    "You know what I say is true. Even now you have come face to face with situations that you just know you should fear but instead excitement fills you and you find yourself rising to the challenge, reaching out farther and striking out harder. You will never be free of me, you cannot be. Yet you still refuse to accept it."
    Mel felt herself falter as Dark-Her's words hit home and the shadow version facing her took advantage, striking out and slamming Mel's chest with a booted foot. Mel lost her balance, stumbling back as Shadow-Her pounced and pinned Mel to the ground with the wicked point of the Staff of Destiny pointed down at Mel's heart.
    "Unfortunately for you, I might be a manifestation of you but I am not you therefore I do not feel the need to save you. Once you leave this Realm I will cease to exist in this reality, you dying here will not affect me. You've failed the test, and now you will pay the ultimate prize."
    Panic filled Mel and she repeatedly blasted Dark-Her with magic, struggling vainly under the unyielding grip of Dark-Her. Her mind spun out of control, grabbing desperately for an answer.
    Failed the test...
    "YOU NEED TO ACCEPT HER!" Gyendal suddenly roared, Mel jerking to see that he had Dark-Him slammed against a tree. "We have to accept them as part of us!"
    Mel whipped back to face Dark-Her and reached out, grabbing onto Dark-Her's arm and closing her eyes. Inside her mind memories of situations and sensations that filled her with a dark excitement and adrenaline despite knowing that no one would have ever understood that reaction began to surface. Those memories and sensations, Mel would always shove them down and pretend that they had never happened, this time however she simply allowed them to flood her mind as she forced herself to accept the truth.
    The arm in her grip went cold, wavering slightly and Dark-Her let out a muffled snort.
    "Good save, accepting me as part of you just in the nick of time. I suppose you passed the test."
    Dark-Her pulled free of Mel's grip, standing straight and stepping back several feet until she was shoulder to shoulder with Dark-Gyendal.
    "Good luck surviving what comes next." Dark-Gyendal sneered, he and Dark-Her beginning to dissolve from the bottom up until all that was left was mist.
    Mel lay motionless on the ground for several minutes before pushing herself upright with a long sigh of relief. Gyendal came over, offering his hand which she accepted and allowed him to pull her to her feet.
    "It seems that our little skirmish has revealed the next portal." He commented, pointing behind him.
    Mel stepped back, peering into the woods where the dark-duo had first appeared to see that a path had opened. Several feet into the frozen and dead forest another arch stood, the portal inside radiating a blood red light.
    They nearly ran towards the portal, both beyond glad to be out of the second layer to play with their minds. The closer they got, the hotter it became. It was like the portal radiated it's own heat, the ice on the trees all around completely gone and some of the trees even slightly blackened.
    "Goodbye Tristita." Mel as they stepped up to the portal.
    "Hello Ira." Gyendal added behind her, his words blown away by the hot wind as with a deep breath they stepped into the next layer.
  22. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Queen-of-Ice101 in Shadows of my Twisted Destiny (a AV3 fanfic)- Completed   
    Hello all!
    And so I present to you the next chapter that I so kindly left you guys hanging for after the last one I hope you all enjoy!
    On a side note, Highly, highly (highly highly) encourage that you listen to this song as you read the first half of this chapter until they leave Rhapsody and move onto the next layer:) It was the music inspiration that drove my writing this: When It's All Over- Raign
    Enjoy
    Haunting
    Mel shoved through the misty forest, glancing off of trees that were hidden in the thick fog as she made her way towards where she could sense the dark magic.
    "Gyendal!"
    Her shout was swallowed by the mist and her mouth twisted in a snarl, she was not going to let them lose Aia to some misty illusions. She finally reached the small mossy area between several trees where Gyendal stood and lunged forward, grabbing onto his shoulder tightly and jerking him back towards her.
    He moved back towards her blankly, but her action had another highly unintended effect that she hadn't considered the possibility of. Because of her physical contact with the Mage, she found herself pulled into the very illusion he was being trapped by.
    "Woah..." Mel muttered as the world swirled around her a second time, forcing her to steady herself with the grip she had on Gyendal's shoulder as she gazed around her wide eyed.
    She stood in a homey wooden cabin, a fireplace on the far end of the room crackling cheerfully. Sitting around the dining table across the way sat two adults who she had never seen before, yet looked familiar in a way. She glanced over at the other two individuals, one coming out of the kitchen with a dish of food in hand and the other sliding into one of several empty chairs.
    "Te'ijal..." Mel murmured, looking at the woman now sitting at the table.
    It was the vampiress she had travelled with for most of her quest, except she wasn't a vampire anymore. Her skin was the same colour as Gyendal's, her eyes violet and her smile fully genuine. Her gaze snapped to the male setting the dish of food down, taking in a version of Galahad that she never truly saw on their travels, smiling and friendly as he chatted amiably with the other people at the table.
    "Mel?"
    She turned sharply to Gyendal who had half-turned to face her, seeming to have only just registered her sudden presence in his illusion. His enchantment clouded eyes were not narrowed or angry much to Mel's surprise, simply puzzled by her presence.
    Mel gaped at him. How was her sudden appearance not jolting him enough to realize this was an illusion?! This place showed you the life you could have had, or the life you wanted! Her face alone should have knocked the part of his brain that could discern between illusion and reality enough for him to register something was wrong!
    She opened her mouth to argue when a softer and kind voice called from the table.
    "Sweetheart, is that a friend of yours? Don't just stand there, be a gentleman and invite her to join us!"
    Gyendal gave a good natured sigh, the first Mel had ever heard out of him, before gesturing to the table.
    "Like my mother said, I should invite you to sit. So go take a seat, you're just in time for dinner."
    Mel turned sharply towards the laughing woman, realization dawning on her on why she recognized the older couple. The woman's features were so very similar to Gyendal's and her eyes were green, while Te'ijal's sharper features were almost identical to the man's.
    "Your parents.."
    "Well of course they are, don't look so surprised. You've met them in passing before." Gyendal snorted. "Are you joining us or not?"
    Mel shook her head sharply, tugging him towards the entrance of his house behind him.
    "I need to talk to you. Outside." She hissed, tightening her grip despite the irritable look he shot her as he attempted to pull free.
    "Mother, I'll be right back. Don't wait for me to start eating." He called over his shoulder before herding her out the door and into a beautiful fenced in garden, closing the door behind him.
    "What is your issue Mel?! I want to enjoy a peaceful dinner, I have no interest in sitting here for one of your rants. Why are you here?"
    Mel's head nearly exploded at his comment, this stupid illusion was weaving her right into it to keep Gyendal distracted.
    "What do you mean what am I doing here?! Neither of us should be here!"
    The familiar look of irritation flitted across Gyendal's face and he tried to yank his shoulder free, Mel only curling her fingers into his cloak to prevent him. If she dropped physical contact with him she would forced back into the layers reality, she had to keep hold of him in order to try and force him out.
    "What are you babbling about? This is my home, I have every right to be here. Stop saying foolish things and let me go eat!"
    "No this isn't. Look around you Gyendal! This isn't possibly real, you've been a vampire for centuries before this before becoming human again! Your family would have been long dead, the only family you had left when we met was Te'ijal and her husband!"
    He glared at her and ripped himself free, Mel just grabbing onto his forearm as her other hand was pulled loose from his cloak.
    "Enough Mel! I will not play your game! You are taking away from my precious family time where we can all gather together, I do not appreciate this!" He snapped, grabbing her wrists to pull her free.
    "STOP!" She snarled, startling him enough that she was able to grab onto the front of his cloak and tunic to anchor her hands. "I'm not playing, this isn't a game! You and I are in the demon realm right now, trapped in one of the layers. We're falling prey to an illusion, it's just a trap! How the hell am I supposed to break you out of this!"
    The look on Gyendal's face told her that he had now passed mere frustration and was now angry, he grabbed her shoulders and tried to shove her back without success.
    "There is no such thing as layers within that realm you fool! I've studied all the records about the phenomenon known as the Demon Realm, a portal has not been summoned in centuries and it only presents itself for evil, or for the neutral to be reborn for the purpose of darkness!"
    She gave him an angry shake, at a loss as how to convince him. She didn't know his story, she had no idea how to break through and show him that they were in an illusion.
    "How are you unaware of this?! Once I saw the flashback the memories returned, how are you still not seeing the illusion with me standing in the middle of your perfect life! You hate me, we were enemies for years until being forced down into the Demon Realm!" Mel near shouted, several people on the streets turning to see what was wrong. "How do you not remember what it was like to fall through that portal towards the lava, an arrow in your shoulder shot by Te'ijal herself after you went after the Destiny Staff?! Having to take care of me for over a week because I was sick, you were awake every four hours to forcefeed me medicine! Running through the demon plains as we were pursued by that demon of the staff."
    She could see confusion in his eyes and a feeling of near-hopelessness washed over Mel. She had to break through, he was holding so much tighter to his illusion then she was. Her mind raced, thinking over all their conversations and everything she could remember him saying or reacting to. There had to be something!
    Then it hit her. A memory from the first day they were in the Demon Realm, just as they were looking for the Shadow Oracle.
    "Aveyond! In the middle of a forsaken and desolate plain of lava and ash. The birds are chirping and a soft breeze was blowing as crystal waters flowed. You flinched, something happened there! What happened there Gyendal, what did they do to you? Did you go to a priestess when your parents died, were you looking for them to be healed from a sickness or something?" Mel hissed, holding his gaze unwaveringly.
    Gyendal recoiled, as if her words had physically stuck him. A look of near panic set him and he tried to twist free from her, but his reaction was exactly what Mel had been hoping for and she dug her heels in to jerk him back towards her.
    "I've never been to Aveyond! That was a dream I had, how dare you use that against me! Now release my cloak before I force you too so I can go eat with my family!"
    "You don't have a family anymore, you tried to kill your own sister near the begining of this whole mess and she put the arrow in your shoulder that threw you into that portal in the first place! Your parents are dead, you're just as much and orphan as I am, oh great Lord of Twilight!"
    "ENOUGH!" Gyendal roared, attempting to fling her away from him. "I will not listen to this any longer, you have taken this too far!"
    "Clearly not far enough, Aia is going to be destoryed if we don't get to the Demon King in time, we cannot afford to stay in this illusion and you still won't listen to me! You need to wake up and break out of this illusion that your family is here with you. They're dead and we're going to be too if you don't break the enchantment with your Magic!"
    Utter fury radiated off the powerful Mage in front of her and Mel was forced to fight against his grip as he tried to yank her hands off his cloak.
    "My parents are alive and well and that is how they will remain for as long as I have the power to do something about it!" He shouted, having clearly reached his limit with her. "I will not play your games and I will not turn my back on my family! I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR LIES, I WILL NOT LEAVE AND LOSE MY FAMILY AGAIN!
    His words fell heavy and Mel sucked in a sharp breath.
    "Again. You said you didn't want to lose your family again."
    Her words were soft and she hardly expected him to even acknowledge them, but it was as if she had struck a blow and found the one tiny chink in his armour. He let out a pained hiss, his head flinging back as the illusion around him rippled and twisted and the clouding she could see in the side of his one eye from where she was standing began to fade.
    She heard him swallow hard, his Adam's apple bobbling before he straightened his neck to stare ahead. When his face came back into view Mel felt her eyes widen and without realizing she recoiled back slightly, just barely remembering to keep her grip on the cloak as to not get herself thrown back out of his illusion.
    The only word she could think of to truly describe the ex-vampires expression was crumpled.
    "Again." He grated out, "I've already lost them before. I remember, my parents died and Te'ijal-..."
    He trailed off before turning his glare to the house next to them, the anger in his eyes almost succeeding in hiding the pain underneath.
    "You said break it with Magic?"
    "Yes. That's how I broke mine and got out." Mel explained.
    His eyes narrowed and he reached up, grabbing her shoulder pulling her sideways out of harms way as he shoved his hand forward, a veritable wall of black energy practically exploding out from him. The pieces of the broken illusion hanging motionless for a half second before fading completely.
    The moment they were back in the reality of the layer Mel pulled back and took several steps away, finding the close proximity discomforting.
    "Uh...are you okay-"
    Gyendal cut Mel off with a snarl, stalking away into the woods.
    "Let's just find that damned portal, I want out of this layer."
    Well that was as obvious a hint as anything and Mel wisely decided to keep her mouth shut and leave her companion be, catching up with him silently as they continued in the direction the tugging sensation led them, knowing that it was bringing them to the portal.
    Mel pulled the dried meat out of her Magic pocket, deciding that eating would be a productive way to pass the time. They weren't walking for long before they came to an area in the forest where the trees were tightly woven together, as if to protect something within. There was a small entrance and Mel was forced to duck in order to fit through, Gyendal doing the same and coming through behind her.
    Inside the protected clearing was the portal arch, the breeze that filtered through frigid. The branches that were on the inside of the clearing were frosted with ice and Mel grimaced.
    "Well the next layer should be fun."
    "Oh undoubtedly." Gyendal snorted, both of them about as optimistic as a sentenced criminal taking their place on the gallows.
    Mel took a deep breath, then with a glance at Gyendal next to her who looked hard and determined she stepped into the portal.
    "Great goddess it's freezing!" Mel exclaimed, her foot crunching on the frozen grass below her.
    Gyendal grunted in agreement and Mel reached into the Magic pocket, withdrawing a thick coat to pull on. The chill in the air was far from pleasant and it bit through her warm layers. A feeling of fear began to play in the back of her mind, Mel barely aware it was even there.
    "If we keep up a fast pace, it should keep the cold from affecting us too badly." Gyendal said, already starting off at a brisk pace.
    Mel quickly caught up with him, glancing around edgily. After the way the past layer played with her mind she was more then uneasy about whatever came next.
    This realm was probably the most foreboding yet. There was nothing living here, the grass was dead and incased with ice. All around were dead trees, their naked branches sharp with hanging icicles. Black shadows curled around the dead trees and drifted in small patches over the ground.
    "Well this is welcoming." She muttered as they started off.
    Gyendal never answered, seeming far to focused on his surroundings. As they walked, Mel began to hear soft and indistinct whispers all around them. Shapes would move at the corner of her eyes, causing Mel to jump and twist to face the direction of the movement only for nothing to be there.
    "...Mel~"
    "What the-?!"
    There was a ghostly laugh and Mel flinched, shifting closer to her companion.
    "Am I hearing things or...?" She trailed off, leaving the question open ended.
    "The mist is calling to us." He finished, Magic glimmering in his hand furthest from her.
    Both of them quickened their pace, edgy and fearing the worst.
    "NOOOOOO!"
    The piercing scream scared Mel out of several years of her lifespan, causing the young woman to leap sideways and knock Gyendal off balance as she gaped at the empty mist beside her.
    "The hell?!" She squawked, ignoring as Gyendal shoved her back out of his space.
    "If you're going to freak out please kindly do it without knocking into my person." He snapped, although his tone was more unnerved then angry.
    "Tell me that I'm not losing my mind and you heard that too."
    "Oh you are losing your mind, but in this situation I did also hear the scream." Gyendal snarked.
    "Oh well that's comforting." Mel muttered, ignoring his cheap shot as they once again started forward.
    There was several moments of eery silence, then next to her Gyendal let out a sudden shout as he spun to face the emptiness behind them. She was just about to ask him what the problem was when he ducked and fired a blast of Magic at the empty mist.
    "RUN!"
    "What-?!"
    Mel barely got the chance to finish her first word before Gyendal had grabbed her arm and taken off at a dead run, forcing her to either keep up or be dragged.
    "There isn't anything there! Why are we running?!" Mel shouted as she was jerked around trees and under low hanging branches.
    "Are you blind?! He's right there! We go up against an Angel of Death and we're signing the death warrant of ourselves and Aia! They were have supposed to have died out in the collapse of the caves on Ahriman!" Gyendal shouted back at her, throwing her sideways into a small pile of bushes as he spun and cast the Curse of Despair over thin air.
    Mel stared wide eyed at the dark Mage who let out a shaking breath and dropped back against a tree.
    "If we're going to have to go up against enemies like that-"
    Mel snorted and he stopped, turning to glare at her as she stood and plucked ice off her coat.
    "What enemies? You were attacking thin air, there wasn't anything there to fight."
    The look on Gyendal's face made it very clear that he thought she had lost her mind and Mel rolled her eyes, taking a step towards him.
    "YOU WORTHLESS LITTLE RAT!"
    Mel spun with a strangled sound in the back of her throat as she faced the source of the harsh shout. A shape hulled over her like a nightmare come true, ugly and marked face leering down at her.
    It was the massive man who had overseen the orphanage she had lived in as a child gave a cruel laugh, a sound that had haunted her for so many years after escaping the orphanage. He had died years ago, killed by several of the older teens at the orphanage after a beating gone to far, but his last words had haunted every single one of them.
    He would see them again.
    How was he here?! She had escaped him when she had left the orphanage and he had died! Was he sentenced here?! Fear swamped her and she leapt back and away, tripping and falling on her back as she scrabbled away. In that moment all logic left her, it was as if she had just reverted back to the terrified child she had been before. He raised the massive punishment stick in hand high over head and fear clamped down on Mel like chains, holding her immobile. Just waiting for the blow to fall.
    The stick was just coming down when the air around her shimmered before a dark shield went up over her. Mel sucked in a startled breath and watched as the stick came down on the shield, both the stick and the orphan master wavering before dissipating like steam.
    Mel let out a relieved breath, sitting up straight and gathering herself. He cheeks were slightly pink as her wits returned and she realized how foolish her actions were, cursing herself for her weakness.
    "It's an illusion. This realm is just like the last one, playing with us by making these damn illusions." Mel hissed to herself, standing and glaring into the blackness around them.
    "I would assume that was what I saw also." Gyendal commented, Mel nodding distractedly.
    "So how are we supposed to know the difference between a illusion and a real attack, there's always the chance that these illusions are supposed to act as the cover for real monsters."
    "If it kills us it's real." Gyendal offered, sardonic amusement in his tone.
    "Oh thanks for that oh brilliant one! I never would have figured that one out on my own." Mel snapped, shooting him a black look that he returned.
    They carefully edged onto the main worn path through, following the trodden down ground with careful steps. Every few minutes a new illusion would appear, Gyendal flinching or blasting with magic while Mel constantly found herself draining her Magic reserve with instinctive shields thrown up around herself.
    If whatever inhabited this realm didn't kill her, the draining on her Magic would make her open for the kill for whatever came next.
  23. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Queen-of-Ice101 in Shadows of my Twisted Destiny (a AV3 fanfic)- Completed   
    Temptation
     
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    Mel's eyes snapped open as she began to fall and she reached out a hand to catch herself. The feel of her skin grating against the ground to hold her up and the pain of the gravel cutting into her palm brought her a sliver of clarity. It was the enchantment, and it was more powerful then she could have possibly realized.
     
    Her muscles quivered with the effort of keeping herself upright and not just giving in to the song. Shake her head violently Mel bit the inside of her cheek as hard as she could, the coppery flavour of blood filling her mouth.
    Struggling, Mel pushed herself upright and looked over at Gyendal who had staggered back several steps. His eyes were closed and she reached out, punching his shoulder as hard as she could. His eyes snapped open and he snarled at her, Mel shaking her head again.
     
    "Pain."
     
    She mouthed the word slowly, exaggerating each syllable. She saw realization dawn in his eyes and his hand clenched into a fist, scarlet red beading around his nails a moment later.
     
    By silent agreement they started forward, not knowing what direction they were going but simply following the tugging in their gut. The silence was eery, she could see plants and trees waving in a breeze that Mel did not feel. The leaves and and trunks were ash white, as if the colour had been sucked right out of them.
     
    It was as if the entire realm was lifeless.
     
    They trudged forward through the realm side by side, both entirely focused on keeping their drooping heads upright and battling the sleepy fog over their minds.
     
    The hairs on the back of Mel's neck began to prickle and she glanced around carefully. She had long since learned to trust her instinct after all those years on the street and without even looking over at him she grabbed Gyendal's shoulder, halting him and holding perfectly still as she began to tentatively reach out with her magic.
     
    Movement that Mel picked up out of the corner of her eye had her wheeling to face the trees and bushes to her right. Nothing could be seen other then the trees in the breeze that she assumed came from the sirens song.
     
    There was a jerk on her arm as Gyendal pulled himself free, shooting her a black look before pointing in the direction they were going with the expression like that of an adult being saddled with an easily distracted child. The expression ticked her off and in a rather common show of immaturity she singed the bottom of his cloak before striding past him without a second look.
     
    She could practically feel the aggravation rolling off of him as he caught up to her side.
     
    _________________________________________________________________
       
    Mel stumbled slightly, nearly falling for what had to be the umpteenth time. Her muscles were like dead weights, her head heavy and her movements sluggish. The terrain as far around them as the eye could see was constant and unchanging.
    In her left hand Mel clutched her orb staff tightly, unwilling to walk through Acedia without some measure of protection. Letting out a long breath Mel allowed herself to close her eyes for a mere moment, only a few seconds really.
     
    A cold blast of air hit her back, the only movement of air that had been felt since they had entered this realm. Mel wasn't sure which one of them turned first, both her and Gyendal wheeling as a massive black creature with huge scaly wings reared up over them. They reacted simultaneously, Mel firing a blast of magic through her staff and Gyendal throwing out his hand, a magic circle lighting up under his feet as he summoned hellfire on the beast.
     
    It was not the strongest monster that she had ever faced although it was a challenge. But as she backed away from the carcass on the ground and turned to face her unpleasant travel companion she found herself shaken. She always relied of her senses, her ability to hear or feel something approaching. Without being able to hear her surroundings she felt isolated and vulnerable.
     
    "I believe we may have just met one of the sirens." Gyendal mouthed to her slowly, looking rather alert as he turned in a slow circle to study around their surroundings.
     
    "Do do think they'll have sensed the death of the Siren?" Mel mouthed back, glancing around uneasily once he was facing her again.
    He was just about to respond when the feeling of exhaustion over them all but completely vanished. Mel's eyes widened slightly as the trees and bushes went completely still.
     
    "They noticed." The two of them said in sync, Mel unable to hear his words but having seen what he said.
     
    The wave of enchantment that blasted over them was enough to knock both the mages onto their backs, the trees nearly bending over with the force of the magic. Instantly they were scrambling to their feet, running in the direction the almost painful tugging sensation was leading them. The ground under their feet shook with tiny tremors, and Mel could feel the pulsing in the air as she assumed the creatures pursued them.
     
    In the distance she took note of a strange black blob, Gyendal waving his hand in front of her face to get her attention as he pointed urgently at said blob before gesturing over his shoulder. One glance behind them and Mel knew that their chances of making it out of this layer had dropped drastically. There was a flock of at least eight or nine of the winged creatures and they were approaching rapidly.
     
    "Oh we are gonna die." Mel said, not caring if Gyendal was able to read what she was saying.
     
    They veered into the ash coloured forest, ducking and weaving through the undergrowth with their course set. The blob began to grow, the closer they got the more clear it became, and Mel realized that the blob was serving as the mouth to an underground cave that sat in the middle of the plain and monotonous terrain. The pulse of the air being buffeted by the winged creatures became stronger the closer they came and with no other option Gyendal and Mel abandoned their temporary covering, racing to the cave.
     
    They were feet from the mouth of the cave when the creature dived towards them, razor like teeth bared and hooked talons grasping for them. Mel dived into the cave with mere inches to spare, Gyendal seconds behind her. As they entered the cave the air at the very mouth of it shimmered, lighting up as the creatures made impact with it.
     
    They could not pass through and just when Mel thought they were safe for the moment one of the creatures latched onto Gyendal's cape that was still partially outside the barrier, yanking it further onto their side. Gyendal's eyes widened and he scrabbled at the fastening, his hands clumsy from the sirens enchantment. His feet slipped as he was yanked towards them and in a last ditch effort Mel grabbed his collar, throwing her entire bodyweight backwards as she yanked Gyendal free. The corner of his cape ripped clean off and they both were sent tumbling backwards, a steep decline behind them that neither had been aware of.
     
    Mel landed hard on the ground with a grunt before shoving herself into a sitting position and looking around the dimly lit cavern they had fallen into. She turned to look at Gyendal who was rubbing his head and waved to get his attention.
     
    "Is it safe to remove the earplugs? With the Magic barrier stopping the sirens I mean? I can't feel the enchantment anymore but..."
     
    Gyendal paused, shrugging after a moment.
     
    "Well lets find out." He mouthed, before reaching over and plucking one of the earplugs out of Mel's ears.
     
    Mel let out a startled shout, rushing to clap her hands over her ears only to stop when she realized that she couldn't hear anything and that the only exhaustion she could feel was from travelling. She let out a relieved sigh, then snarled at him before ripping both earplugs out of Gyendal's ears and chucking them at him as hard as she could.
     
    "You freaking jerk! What the hell is your problem?! Why would you do that?!"
     
    He fended off the earplugs and rolled his eyes.
     
    "I could feel that the enchantment was unable to reach us, I wouldn't have done that if there was a significant chance the siren song still effected us down here."
     
    Mel sneered, standing and staring around her until her eyes landed on an arch almost exactly like the one at the Oracles temple. However unlike the one at the temple, this one already had a portal inside, the colours moving sluggishly and the light it emitted almost unnoticeable.
     
    "So that's probably the portal to the next layer."
     
    Gyendal stood next to her, brushing the grit from the cave floor off himself as he nodded.
     
    "I would assume so, yes. The head start seems to have worked in our favour, let's see how much further we can get before this all goes to hell shall we?" He commented.
     
    "Sure. But we are going to need to sleep before we go very far in the next layer, Gula I think she called it. I'm exhausted, but there's no way I'm gonna sleep in this layer even protected like we are in the cave."
     
    He grimaced, nodding in agreement. Feeling as though she was stepping up to the gallows in preparation for execution Mel approached the portal, taking a deep breath and stepping through.
     
    _________________________________________________________________
      "Oh goddess..."
     
    It felt like knives in her stomach, the sudden hunger that hit Mel. Her mouth felt dryer then the desert and pain induced tears gathered in the corners of her eyes as the pain brought her to her knees.
     
    Her arms came around her middle and she dry heaved, the pain brining a level of nausea that Mel couldn't remember ever experiencing before. A groan sounded from behind her and Mel looked over her shoulder to see Gyendal leaning against a tree, pain clear in his own face.
     
    "I think I might have figured out the curse of this layer." Mel muttered.
     
    "Oh you think?" He snarled. "I never would have guessed Mel, thank you for that brilliant observation."
     
    Mel's brain felt scattered in a million different directions, the gnawing hunger fracturing her ability to think and focus. She pressed her hand against her stomach as if to silence the growling of hunger emitting from her.
     
    "Let's just go. I don't want to find out if there are any added challenges this realm might present." She sighed, the two of them once again striking out in the direction the tugging led.
     
    They were walking for what Mel figured was close to an hour when a smell hit her nose that had her eyes lighting up.
     
    "Food! Can you smell that? There's food somewhere around here!" She exclaimed, grinning at Gyendal before breaking into a slow jog as she followed her nose.
     
    Gyendal called for her to wait but Mel ignored him as she picked up speed, eyes locked onto what looked like a row of booths within a gated area that conveniently enough was right along the path that the tugging was taking them.
     
    She reached the entrance of what looked like a farmers market and stopped abruptly, staring around perplexed. There were people here. Smiling, talking, laughing. They were picking up the food and drink offered at the booths, enjoying the delicacies that were offered as the conversed.
     
    "...what is this?" Gyendal murmured, having caught up with her.
     
    "Our next meal." Mel said eagerly, entering the market and be-lining for the closest booth selling meat.
     
    She was so hungry, and all this meat was like attending a royal banquet! She eagerly reached for a kebab stand, her mouth watering in anticipation. Her eyes glittered as she pulled one free, brining it to her mouth to take a bite. It was so close that she could almost taste the succulent flavour of the tenderly cooked meat, but before she could even so much as lick it she found her meal being ripped quite literally out of her hand and thrown to the ground.
     
    "What the-?!"
     
    She turned on Gyendal who stomped the meat beneath his boots before shoving her away from the booth.
     
    "What the hell do you think you're doing?!" She almost shrieked, her stomach howling in time with her words.
     
    "The food is part of the curse!" He snarled, "The Shadow Oracle said herself that if we partake of what the realm offers as part of their trials we will be trapped there for eternity! This realm curses us with unquenchable hunger and thirst, why would it give us this food just to heal that?!"
     
    His question stopped Mel up short as Gyendal looked around before tensing and jerking her to face the direction of the booths, pointing past at some of the open tables behind.
     
    "Why are you making me look at people who are eating?! Are you trying to-"
     
    "No, it's a glamour." Gyendal said, cutting her off as he swiped his hand over her eyes before she had a chance to jerk away.
     
    It was as if she had put on a pair of glasses that brought the world into full clarity. She looked at the people once again and found herself recoiling, the illusion gone. The people weren't healthy and happy. They looked like walking skeletons, their skin stretched over their bones like parchment. Their features were sunken, and they shovelled food into their mouths desperately.
     
    "They're starving." She whispered.
     
    "This food isn't filling them, it only trapped them."
     
    Mel cringed as another stabbing pain went through her middle and she wrapped her arm around her stomach as she started walking forward again, stepping over the crushed kebab.
     
    It was hell for Mel. She had never had enough food, a street rat forced to live off the meagre coin she could make off of her thieving. So many nights would pass of no food that day, and yet she had never suffered quite like this. Passing table after table of food, the freshest and most vibrant of the fruits and vegetables. The best cuts of meat slow roasted over an open flame.
     
    And she couldn't touch any of it.
     

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    Unlike Acadia the Gula layer had a distinct daytime and nighttime. Above them, the sun was already sinking in the sky. The light that illuminated the land was nearly gone, they were all but stumbling in the dark.
     
    "We need to break for the night." Gyendal announced. "We already went longer then a day travelling through Acadia because sleeping wasn't an option. We can't exhaust ourselves."
     
    "Where are we supposed to set up camp, in the middle of the path." Met bit out, glowering at the path in front of her.
     
    "No, we set up in behind the booths near the tables."
     
    Goddess she hated the fact that he could think somewhat rationally despite the hunger. It so wasn't fair.
     
    They stepped off the path, retreating behind the tables to an open clearing that backed onto a cement wall. Mel reached into the magic pocket that she had stored her things in and withdrew one of her Mage robes, bundling it into a ball and setting it on the ground to serve as a pillow.
     
    "I'll take first watch. I can't guarantee that when I wake up if I sleep first that I won't give in to the food temptation." Mel said reluctantly.
     
    Gyendal gave a slow nod, seeming too tired to argue of even say much of anything. Wrapping himself in his cloak the Mage sat against the wall, somehow managing to relax somewhat and sleep sitting against the rough cement surface.
     
    Mel was left to sit and watch the light fade altogether, hunger clawing in her belly. She sighed, shifting to become more comfortable as she gazed up above her blankly.
     
     

    _________________________________________________________________
       
     
    If Mel had estimated correctly, about an hour and a half had passed before the sound of constant shifting came from the lump that was Gyendal. She attempted to ignore it for a while, but after a particularly loud shift her patience snapped and she grabbed an old wadded up napkin that had fallen off one of the nearby tables and hurled it at him.
     
    "Stop moving! You're driving me nuts!"
     
    "Oh I'm terribly sorry for disturbing you in my quest to find a way to sleep that will help me ignore these infernal hunger pains." Gyendal sneered, the mockery in his tone so blatant that only a moron could have missed it.
     
    "Yeah well you aren't going to have to worry about those pains if I murder you because your shifting pushed me over the edge." She muttered.
     
    "Please do. If I'm dead I could care less about the fate of Aia and I won't have to travel listening to your complaining."
     
    Mel snorted.
     
    "This is stupid. In fact, this whole quest is stupid. If we're doomed to fail why the hell did she send us here in the first place?! She's all so powerful, why didn't she go herself?"
     
    There was a soft sigh and Gyendal sat up.
     
    "She cannot leave Shadow Aveyond, the Shadow Oracle's power is tied to her part of the Demon Realm. If she left, she would leave her power and her immortality, that's how powerful beings like her work. The fates cannot leave the Dreamland, the oracles cannot leave their Aveyonds except for in short projections, the Demon King cannot leave the Demon Realm, and the Goddess cannot leave her own realm in full form. Aia is governed by balance and when one of the power figures steps outside of those borders it upsets the balance. That's why prophecies are so important, we as the lesser creatures are free to go where we will and can do what these power figures cannot."
     
    Mel turned that over in her mind carefully, thinking back to what the Shadow Oracle had said.
     
    "So everything is balance. That's why Aia would collapse if the Demon Realm was destroyed..."
     
    "Yes."
     
    Mel let out a harsh bark of laughter.
     
    "Wonderful. I get out of one stupid "save the world" quest only to be dumped headfirst into a second one. My luck just can't cut me a break can it?"
     
    Gyendal gave a noncommittal sound and Mel rolled her eyes.
     
    "Oh well, at least this time the person suffering alongside me has earned it in spades. That's somewhat comforting."
     
    "No need to waste all your sympathy on me." He said dryly.
     
    Mel smirked slightly before flinching as another pang stabbed through her. Gyendal settled down again to try and sleep and Mel returned to gazing up at the inky sky above.
     
    As hard as the last quest had been this one was already promising to be worse, and they had only made it into the second layer below Genesis.
  24. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Blurble in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    Rhen swallowed, unable to believe her bad luck.
    "The R-Royal Healer?" She repeated, as if maybe she'd just misheard.
    "I know, I'm way too young for it, but, I was apprenticing the old healer, and she up and left, and the royal family liked me, so.."
    "Do you... see them often?" Rhen asked. It probabaly wasn't so bad, right, how often could they be getting sick and needing a healer anyway.
    "I live on the palace grounds," Stella said.
    Rhen had a dizzying sense of vertigo.
    "Um," she said, mind momentarily blank with panic.
    With great effort she composed herself.
    "Stella?" She said. "Can I ask you for a small favor? Could you, uh, could you not call me Rhen? It's, uh, it's a very visibly Thaian name."
    Stella's eyes widened in understanding. "Ok, what should I call you?"
    "How about..." Rhen cast about desperately for a suitable generic name. "Peta? Peta Darzon."
    ---
     
    A/n: I know, it's tiny, but I've realized I either post tiny snippets or I don't end up posting at all. Sorry. Also, the continuity error introduced in this snippet has been edited out of the previous snippet)
  25. Like
    BlackPrincess reacted to Blurble in You Can't Escape Destiny (Lars/Rhen +others, all the AV games)   
    NOTE: there was a change of plan, fairly major, regarding Stella's role in the story. The original version of this post has been updated for the new plan. (FUN FACT: Dameon's role has changed six times in my head thus far and not necessarily settled down yet.)
    this post is still very much not done, but I'm busy with a lot right now and haven't had the chance to write the rest yet. It's coming, I promise, and there will probably be Lars
    ---
     
    “Rhen?”
    The sound of her name startled Rhen out of the miserable reverie into which she’d drifted.
    “Rhen Darzon?”
    She was suddenly being embraced, by a dark-skinned woman with light purple hair. She looked vaguely familiar, but it took Rhen a few befuddled moments to place her.
    “S-Stella?” She said, tentatively.
    When Rhen had been younger—much younger, before the full extent of her powers had become manifest and before her parents had given up on producing a male heir—her father had insisted that she be given an “ordinary childhood”, which had translated into being sent to a summer camp under a false name (but with six bodyguards posing as camp staff) while her parents gallivanted about the world like a honeymooning newlywed couple.
    It had been a great experience, complete with mud races and rotations at the petting zoo feeding the chickens. It was one of the things Rhen had missed, after she spoke to the sword and everything changed.
    Then winced, as Stella’s hug caused the rope on her wrists to bite into her skin painfully. Only then did Stella seem to notice Rhen’s situation. Her eyes widened, her dainty hand rising to cover her open mouth.
    “What’s happened to you, Rhen?” She said, her voice soft with sympathy.
    Rhen shrugged, uncomfortable. She was in enemy territory and she hadn’t decided yet on her cover story. She didn’t know how much she could trust Stella, who she’d only known for a few brief weeks over a decade ago.
    “Bad luck,” she mumbled.
    “We must get you out of here at once,” Stella declared, and marched over to the slave trader. The trader, clearly sensing blood in the water, gave a ludicrous asking price, and then looked like he regretted not aiming higher when Stella immediately agreed without bothering to haggle.
    But the deal was done, and Rhen felt shaky with relief and weepy with gratitude as Stella furiously removed the rope from her wrists, shooting the trader dirty glances as she saw the raw red marks rubbed into Rhen’s skin.
    “I’m here to buy salve ingredients,” Stella said, “I’ve run low on a few of the more exotic components and the ships bring better stock. But I’ve already gotten the most crucial supplies, so if you want to leave at once, we can.”
    Rhen suspected Stella was overstating her readiness to leave, but she wasn’t prepared to attempt polite insistence on staying, not when she was fighting back tears for the second time that day, swaying on her feet, desperately aware she was surrounded by enemies. The ground seemed to be rocking under her feet, nauseatingly.
    “I’d like to leave,” she said, managing to keep her voice away from actual sobs. And then she swayed, almost falling onto Stella.
    She added, a bit embarrassed “…Also, I don’t know when I last ate.”
    ---
    Stella brought her to a restaurant immediately located on the edge of the markteplace.
    But then she ordered a plain vegetable broth. Even as Rhen was staring mournfully at the bowl, in which a few small lumps of vegetable floated in an almost clear broth, Stella was frowning at the small roll of bread that accompanied it--  
    “Eat slowly,” she warned, “or you will make yourself very sick”.
    It was hard, but Rhen managed it, interspersing small bites with drinks of water.
    Only after Stella was satisfied that Rhen wasn’t going to throw up the bread/broth did she ask the waiter to bring a bowl of fruit salad, which had familiar pear and apples and also something light-blue and lumpy with a pleasantly mild flavor that Rhen had never had before.
    It was incredible to Rhen how much better she felt with even a little bit of food inside her, like her entire body was coming back to life. The initial impulse to desperately gorge herself had passed, and she found that she was able to focus on something other than food.
    “So what are you doing in Veldarah? You’re not from here originally, right?” She asked. She didn’t remember where Stella was from but she was sure she wasn’t originally from Veldarah—matters had been less dire between the empire and Thais before Rhen had killed their crown prince, but they’d always been tense enough she couldn’t imagine a Veldaran attending camp on Thaian soil.
    "I'm... Well, I'm actually the Royal Healer," Stella said, blushing. 
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