• Closed • We Bare The Fires of Our Souls


The Orm'del Sea is an ocean that separates Eastern and Western Idalos. It is said to have many horrors awaiting those that wish to travel through its waters.

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• Closed • We Bare The Fires of Our Souls

Postby Aeodan » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:01 am

First trial of Cylus, arc 718

I'd spent a season reasoning with myself, hiding behind my guilt and shame at leaving behind Nolan, allowing Ninacky to die, and the consequences facing Aegeo for his despicable but necessary deception... I hid from it, buried it beneath logic in an attempt to reconcile what happened in Vhalar. Zi'da passed with its typical tides, ebbs and flows, and still Edalene and I carried on. Thomas and Malena and the twins, we were like a family, but each of us bore the weight of Vhalar moreso than we'd ever let on. I wanted to talk to Thomas about it, to get him alone and discuss it as men, but the time had not been right. There was a time to share one's stories, over a meal and fire. It hadn't been that time yet. But for Edalene and I, there were no stories. It was pure and true emotion, and we couldn't hide anything from each other for long. My guilt was mounting, every trial stacking against me, threatening to weigh the air from my chest... But I felt something inside Edalene too. It was unhealthy to keep it from each other.

Had I known what to expect, we would have just continued to play happy house. There is always place for the Truth, but sometimes, it's impossible to hear.

-Journal of Aeodan Burnett

Aeodan sat with his feet over the side of The Black Dolphin, staring out over the sea as the perpetual twilight of Cylus clung around him, sticking to him like a shroud. His gaze rarely moved, even as the Biqaj behind him danced and laughed, swung and swam. Two young Biqaj, twin boys named Ekue and Loruae, wrestled at the prow of the ship, grunting as they spun about each other, hair tangled with beads and shells, clinking as they struggled against each other. Aeodan, though, did not watch them this time. In his hands, instead, he clutched the figurine that Ninacky had, its subtle warmth keeping the chill from his fingers. On the ships, the chill was a given, but the figurine made it more bearable. It was likely in his head, but when he was alone, he liked to hold it. It reminded him of what he'd promised, and what he'd lost.

He felt Edalene's approach before he heard her, but when she sat down beside him, he put a strange hand on hers. It was hairier, rougher, but there was something comforting about it. He looked over at her, as he often did when they were alone, and remained silent. The look of sorrow in his eyes was one she recognized, and he just sighed and looked back out over the sea. He'd wanted to discuss it so many times, but never had the rescue burned so brightly in his mind as it did then. He loved Edalene, she was the other half of him, and they needed to talk about it unless their feelings would become an echoing drum of misery, going round and round until one of them went insane.

"You know, I used to sit on the banks of the river and put my feet in. I'd wonder if there was more to the world than what we saw, what we knew. Books and tomes and facts, but I only felt what I imagined, you know? I read about Raduv the Ferocious, the clan-king of the Borou Tribe in the North, but I never knew what it was like to trudge through the tundra, to feel the snap of my enemies necks as I drove them from my homeland. I'd never made a promise I couldn't keep, and I certainly never felt as helpless as I did on that trial," Aeodan said, the first candid words he'd said about the event since they stepped off Narav's stolen sloop. Aegeo and Vhalo had left, and Aeodan had wondered if he'd gone with them, would the Enclave have secrets or ways to take it from him.

Memory... He stared at his fingers, the nails black as if painted, and wondered if Vri could take the memory from him. But sitting there, for the first time since she'd died, Aeodan didn't wish to forget his promise to Ninacky. He couldn't fulfill it, but he could ensure that he never let another companion die with wishes unfulfilled. He could feel the blood of Cassion flowing through him, calling him to greater purpose and pushing him to strive to fulfill the goals set before him. He could feel the wanderlust growing in his belly, and he ached to row to one of the islands and find something new, to do something, to experience peril.

But he was facing a different kind sitting next to Edalene, and his heart raced in his chest as he looked at her, his face familiar to her now more than it was in Rynmere. She'd seen it every trial for ninety trials, and it wasn't as strange, but there, his eyes were more familiar in his old face than the new one. There was a look of defeat, of anguish, as the scene replayed perfectly in his mind over and over. Ninacky's throat splitting, every fiber of her skin untwining one by one as he looked. He watched in crystal clarity as Aegeo lifted her above his head, the final sacrifice as her flaming body kept the Mantis at bay.

"I... I blame myself, Eda. I promised to get Thomas to safety, and I promised she'd get to tell him that she feels for him what I do for you. It was something else, Eda. She had real fire in her blood. Not like Aegeo... She believed in something. She believed in her love for Thomas," Aeodan pleaded with her, more for himself than her benefit. Still, though, the tears that rimmed his eyes threatened to fall from his eyes told her that he was full of remorse.

"I don't know what to do about it," he said, and he gripped the statuette tightly in his hands. The flickering of the candle behind him grew in intensity, and he could swear that he could feel its heat on his neck. Blinking, though, he focused on the sea. It was peaceful. If only he could be as well.
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We Bare The Fires of Our Souls

Postby Edalene » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:52 pm

That damn figurine.

Lying in the boughs of the ship, away from the biting Cylus air, Edalene knew that her brother was staring at Ninacky's totem. Even without seeing him, that blaze of emotion that swelled through their link whenever Aeodan looked at it had become familiar. With it came guilt, and longing, and loss, and Edalene hated it.

Not out of jealousy. Not out of a desire to take the pain away. But she hated, more than anything, the gulf that had built and built over the past seasons until it was too wide to cross. The only bridge that would allow the twins to traverse it was one made of Truth, but Edalene had yet to offer up hers for the journey.

Guilt swirled in her every trial. Aeodan could feel it, she knew, but he did not truly know why - did not truly know what she had done. When she awoke screaming from nightmares, or in a cold sweat shaking uncontrollable, or when she nearly flung herself into the water from overwhelming despair, he was there with crooning words and fingers running through her hair to calm her. Even with a form she still was not used to, Aeodan was always there.

But how long would he be there when he knew what she had done?

No more. No more secrets, no more waiting in this journey. Suddenly determined with a fire that might have been gifted from Ninacky herself, Edalene swung her feet over the bed and strode determinedly to the bough of the ship. The Nji'hardi were a rowdy lot, filled with joy and song, and while it was often a balm, to-trial it was jarring. She found Aeodan easily, their link acting as a magnet always drawing her to him. Without saying anything as he stared at her with eyes that were his own in a face that was not his, she joined him, her feet swinging over the bough. She leaned against his shoulder, drawing comfort from the strength beside her. Edalene feared it may be the last time she had it.

At his words, despite the sorrow that they both wielded like armour, she could not help a gentle laugh. "I often think that if I'd known what adventures were really like, what they took from you, maybe I'd be more interested in the sciences instead." It was not true, of course. Aeodan, marked by Cassion, was called with a ravenous hunger to see the world, and while Edalene did not have the Immortal's blessing, it was as much an innate need for her as well. "But then again, I don't think we get to choose if we go on adventures. Stories choose us. It's all we can do to try and stay together as much as possible on the journey."

When she had first come aboard The Black Dolphin, the rocking of the ships had made her ill. She'd thrown up many times a trial, sea-sickness worming its way into her body, but now after ninety trials, it was a comfort to her. A constant lull of security, something that would always always be, in a world where so much was uncertain. Aeodan looked at her, and her dead heart clenched in pain as she took in the tears that rimmed his eyes. She wished she could take the figurine, fling it into the ocean and never see it again, for all the torture it gave Aeodan in this moment. But he would never forgive her - and she would never forgive herself.

With black-rimmed fingers, Edalene reached up and stroked his cheek, smiling sadly. While she was becoming used to his new form, she missed his old one. He was her twin in every way - soul, mind, but no longer body. "I don't think there's anything you can do but remember," she said softly, looking into the eyes she had beheld since birth. "Remember, and forgive yourself. She wouldn't - she wouldn't have wanted this penance. And if she loved Thomas in the way you love me, that we love each other, I have to believe she would have given her life if it meant saving Thomas. I would do the same for you."

They were insufficient words, she knew that. And without resolution, guilt and blame would eat away at Aeodan until he was a husk of a man. It was time. Time, she thought bitterly, time to tell Aeodan what Ralaith had made her do. And the worst part? She had no reason to offer. Only blind faith to an Immortal Aeodan did not understand.

"You cannot blame yourself, Aeodan," she said, looking back out over the sea, unable to look at his tortured features. She took her hand from him, folding it into her lap. She did not deserve his comfort or touch. "For whatever promise you made, you did so much for her. It was not your fault. You could not have done anything."

Her throat dry, tears rimming her cheeks, she spoke the words she had dreaded for ninety trials.

"It was mine. Ninacky died because of me."
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