Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, July (?), 2000
I used to write more roleplaying stories when I first began playing Asheron’s Call. I started playing on Darktide – the full PvP server. Back in the beginning, there was more RPing on the server in general, and I enjoyed writing. This story was written “visually” in an attempt to help convey the franticness of the words. Yeah, sounds really highbrow, doesn’t it? I just thought it was a neat thing to do at the time.
My entire existence narrowed to that one thought.
If I stop…
They will kill me.
The quiver bounced against my hip, and the straps of my pack cut into my shoulders.
The cramps in my legs.
Rasping, gasping for air.
My starving lungs.
My sweating palms slipped on the stave of my bow, my father’s bow, my father…
Don’t think of that now.
Sweat dripped into my eyes and I swept it away with trembling fingers. I didn’t look at the blood that I knew was there as well. Pain flared in my ankle, and I couldn’t stop my fall. Rocks pounded my body as I fell to the ground. I cried out at the pain, but pulled myself up quickly.
The noise started to whine in my ears, like a cloud of gnats on a hot summer night. My mother always put out sweet incense to keep them away, but it never seemed to work. I can see her now, sitting quietly on the porch, calmly waving her fan back and forth. Back and forth. The surprise on her face when the band of men came out of the forest and ran towards the house…
The sound kept getting louder, and a flickering purple glow lit the twilight. Was it still only dusk? It seemed like forever since the men came.
My feet slid on the gravel as I ran down the hill. I flailed my arms in an attempt to keep my balance. It worked for a moment. It was the sight of a purple swirl that was my downfall. The noise that I hadn’t been hearing rose suddenly in a screaming triumph. Distracted, I tripped and fell once again.
A streak of violet shot towards me. Dark tunnel walls, beyond black, leeched of all color, rushed past my head. The dizzying swirl of not-color bruised my vision, and I shut my eyes to block the pain.
The call of a hunting hawk
Wind through the trees
My lungs didn’t gasp for air.
My legs no longer ached
Grass against my cheek
The humming of a bee after flowers
The old man caught me when I ran into him, almost knocking us both over. His kindly face was lined with wrinkles, setting off his smile. I could only gape foolishly at him, amazed by the warmth in his eyes.
“Rest, daughter of suns, you are safe here.”
His hands were strong yet, but still gentle where they held my arms. I could feel the calmness emanating from him. He held me gently until the need to flee drained out of me, leaving me spent. He then lead me to a fire, seated me in a chair and then began to move silently about the room, busy with tasks I was too tired to notice. All the while he spoke to me, his deep, soothing voice falling into the sing-song cadences of a true master.
I can’t remember all he said, but the words slipped into my head, eased into my thoughts, only to surface later when I least expected them.
Who can remember.
But finally it was time to go.
I remembered all he told me, all I was taught by this master, but still…
Always alone now…
“Not forever, daughter of suns. You will find a new family one day. Not to replace the old, but to continue it. There will be a place for you, Waiting to take you in.”
I shook my head, No. I could not accept that. Not yet. The pain was still too new, too raw for me to believe that it would ever fade. I kissed him good-bye, for soon I would not be able to visit him. And then I stepped through the door, walking towards the twirling blue stone outside. He had told me what it’s purpose was. But I was still free to not do it, not touch the stone, not bind my existence to this world. If I died, perhaps I would return to my home…
I touched the stone, and found my center.
Now, this was my home.
I walked along the path, heading towards the town ahead. Shoushi, he’d called it. Perhaps I will find a home there.
Up ahead, I saw several figures in a group. Their voices were distant to me, I kept myself wrapped up in aloofness. One of the men, noticing me, walked over to block my path. He looked me over with insolent eyes. I stared back, uncaring. This ‘man’ was a mere pup compared to the others I’d seen…
Don’t think of them. Think of the now only. The past is done, the future will come.
“And who are you, little girly?”
Mute, I only stared at him.
“Your name, girl!” His anger lashed out at me quickly, searingly, but it had no effect.
I am no one.”
“Dare mo? That is a funny name, little girly.”
His ugly laughter rang out.