*falls to floor*
*fumbles blindly in pockets*
*falls to floor*
*fumbles blindly in pockets*
Devona felt herself yanked from the nightmare world around her, and back to the reality of which she was considerably more familiar. The Seer in front of her reared back and howled, at its side, an assassin in Vanguard armor had driven her daggers deep into the floating monster’s side, torrents of thick black ichor spurting from the wounds, momentarily forcing Yue back with a hiss as the acidic “blood” ate through her armor and clothing.
The Seer then became aware of its gross miscalculation. In focusing its efforts on Devona, it neglected its control on the Charr Shamans and their forces. And once the pressure to join and continue the fight was lost, they did what most beings did when suddenly faced with a fight or flight situation such as this one.
And this allowed for further support to come to Devona’s aid. A hail of meteorites crashed from the sky; the combined efforts of Cynn and Vekk, searing the Seer’s flesh with its heat, and pounding the floating body with concussive shockwaves as the heaven borne chunks of rock struck the earth.
But even as Devona felt the Seer’s gripping paralysis leave her, she couldn’t stir the energy to move, or do anything more than collapse to her knees. Fortunately, a pair of arms caught her before she could completely fall over. She was only barely aware of the embrace, or of the calming, worried voice attempting to reach her ears.
The Seer writhed as more of her allies joined the assault, and in short order, the monster collapsed lifeless, one of its grotesque four arms reaching out in Devona’s direction, and it uttered one last sinister threat.
“You merely delay the inevitable, livestock. Soon, my master shall rise and feast upon you as was intended from before the rise of your oldest kingdoms… human… Charr… Asura… Norn… all that live, all that die… are only destined to be food…”
Finally, with the Seer’s death, did Devona find she could focus on something else. She was turned to face Coran, who had not surprisingly been the one to catch her as she fell… but even though he was staring her in the face, alive and well (save for a handful of scratches that were to be expected from combat), the image of his mutilated body transposed itself upon her eyes… whether it was a circumstance of her own treasonous mind or lingering effects of the Seer’s psychological attack wasn’t entirely clear.
“Devona, dearest… please… say something.” Coran pleaded, the worry in his voice thick.
She blinked rapidly, trying to force the waking nightmare from her mind, and succeeding to the point where she could actually see the prince’s face as it was. Her mouth opened, but her throat and cheeks felt sickeningly dry… unable to even force words.
Tentatively, the warrior’s hand crept up to Coran’s chin, and once satisfied that she felt living flesh under her fingers, broke down. Trembling violently, Devona crumpled into the paragon’s embrace, her sobs shaking the prince’s body and her crying shaking his soul.
Gwen herself was astonished, only able to imagine what only Devona saw to reduce the seemingly invincible warrior to tears.
“I… couldn’t do anything…” Devona finally croaked. “I couldn’t move… couldn’t talk… and that thing… what it did to me and showed me…”
Coran didn’t reply with words, only tightened his embrace and kissed her forehead, smacking his lips silently when he realized how profusely Devona was sweating. Then, with a voice barely above a whisper, began issuing orders. “Norrit, secure the perimeter.”
Pyre offered, “My clan will assist with that.” Even the unflappable Charr looked rattled. He knew Devona as well as a Charr could understand a human. He knew her unbreakable courage and iron determination. She was no damsel in distress. She was not your run of the mill, weak-minded female. Whatever shattered her composure to that degree was not something he ever wanted to encounter. No, whatever it was, he wanted to be as far away from this hole as possible.
“Good idea.” Coran handed his communications box to the Charr chief. “You all know what the Charr Shaman and their forces look like now. If you see any, kill on sight. If you locate another Seer, inform all units, and then eliminate it will all predjudice.”
He then turned his head towards the excavation site, and continued, “Vekk, once the perimeter is secure, call in research and scanning krewes to examine this dig. I want to know all we can about what this Seer was trying to find.”
Vekk nodded, unsure of what he could say. The stories of the bookahs said that the monsters could make you face your greatest fears, steal the very hope from your soul, and leave you begging for death. Maybe it wasn’t entirely accurate, but it was close enough for the Asura’s tastes. He felt rather guilty that he didn’t mention such before, deeming it “unreliable information.” He grabbed his own communications unit and started walking away relaying the Headmaster’s order.
Finally, Coran addressed Devona’s guildmates. “Once everything else is secure, we will return to Atal Ra.” To the warrior herself, who was still shuddering even though her eyes had gone dry, he said, “As for you, dear one, just rest for now. You’re safe and among friends. We’ll get you somewhere comfortable as soon as we can.”
But how could honestly he promise that… when once again, he failed her when it truly mattered?
Last edited by chemiclord; 23-05-2009 at 00:12.
wow, incredilbe chapter! The paragraph about Pyre's feeling about what happened to Devona was awesome!
Wow. Just wow. That chapter was amazing. I love how you've managed to breathe so much more life into the characters of the game.
“I’m fine!” Devona protested yet again. She could at least walk, for Grenth’s sake.
It was Cynn, surprisingly enough, who had been the most concerned on their return to the Atal Ra cavern. “Devona, no one has ever seen you like that… ever. Pardon us for being slightly worried.”
The only thing more annoying than how she broke down like a terrified child was how people kept bringing it up. “I wasn’t prepared for what the Seer could do. It took advantage of a momentary weakness. Others of its kind won’t get the same opportunity. It’s over.”
They passed the arches that signified the academy grounds proper, and Coran turned to the procession. “Vekk, could you escort Devona to one of the guest chambers? Despite what she says, she could use some rest. For the rest of you, I would like you to report to King Adelbern. He probably should know of the skirmish and that one of his captains will be recuperating here for a short time.”
Aidan looked at Devona, silently asking for permission, and upon receiving the warrior’s nod, gestured for the rest of the team back towards the exit.
For a moment, the warrior’s voice wavered. “What… where are you going?”
The prince turned about, and wrung his hands. “I have some work to attend to, and I suspect the Krewes will soon be reporting in with whatever they have discovered up to this point.”
“Are you sure I can’t be of help?” She stepped forward, and slowly reached out to Coran.
He sensed her approach, and subtly retreated from her touch. “It’s mostly administrative duties, I fear. I mean no offense, but I don’t think you are exactly trained in those tasks. You do need some time to recover… my dear. No one rebounds from what must have been such a truly crippling psychological assault in such a short time.”
The warrior looked positively forlorn as Coran moved with all haste towards the central complex of Atal Ra. Even as rattled as she still was, she could tell the prince wasn’t telling the whole truth… why was he running away from her?
“I suspect it’s because you smell.” Vekk said near callously, correctly guessing Devona’s internal question. “Horribly, in fact.”
Devona initially rejected the idea as preposterous.
“He’s been living among us Asura for near one of your decades.” The tiny elementalist explained. “He’s grown accustomed to our hygiene. To be honest, I’m amazed he could bear being around all of you for as long as he has.”
“You… really think that’s all it is?”
Vekk shrugged, “That would be my guess.”
“But… I washed two days ago.” Devona protested, then seeing Vekk’s jaw dropped, incredulous expression, the warrior sheepishly cringed and added, “Wrong answer, I suppose?”
The Asura shook his head in dismay. How could a species actually survive with such horrific personal grooming? “Come with me… we’ll get you cleaned up…”
* * * * *
This wasn’t clean… this was outright sterile.
There was literally no smell in the air, and the polished tile floors and walls shimmered from the tubes of artificial lighting running across the bland, barely textured cream colored ceiling.
There were only two things of note in the moderately sized space; a console in the far left corner, where a female Asura was standing, looking rather bored, and a smaller steel frame enclosure with deeply translucent windows.
“What… is this place?” Devona asked, slightly unnerved by her distressingly unnatural surroundings.
“This is the Sonic Honed Oscillating Waves Engendering Rife Sterility, known in short as the S.H.O.W.E.R.S.” Vekk stated, as if annoyed that he had to describe the surroundings. “Yunda here will program the sonic emitters to project the proper frequency to... shake the stink off you at the molecular level.”
The warrior tried wrapping her mind around the procedure, and failed. “You don’t use water to clean?”
“Do you know the parasites, impurities, and/or pathogens that live and thrive in water?” Yunda berated from her position. “Using water can leave you filthier and in worse health than not using it at all.”
“I shall leave you to Yunda’s care.” Vekk said quickly. “I’ll be waiting outside when you’re freshened up.”
“Alright, bookah… strip down and get in the chamber.” Yunda said dryly.
Immediately, Devona’s world shifted… she remembered being paralyzed in the darkness. The Asura’s black eyes morphed into the impossibly blacker eyes of her Seer torturer, taunting her as her hands moved without her accord, pulling the laces of her hauberk free and dropping the armoring to the floor, joining the rest of her plate and mail.
“Yes, a delicious specimen… you will be a wonderous meal.” The Seer crooned, two of its hideous hands rubbing her flanks. “Firm, well maintained meat… I do so love it when the livestock prepares itself for consumption…”
“Woman, let me assure you that there is nothing about you I would find attractive. Now get undressed and get in the sonic chamber. You’re not the only one that’s going to want to use the S.H.O.W.E.R.S.”
Devona’s eyes bulged as once again reality won over her treasonous mind. Yunda’s eyes were narrowed crossly, her left arm pointing towards the enclosure. She shook her head in a vain attempt to clear out the memory, then said, “Yes, of course. I apologize.”
She hastily undressed, and fighting back nervousness entered the open end of the steel frame. The warrior yelped when the open end abruptly slapped shut with a hiss of air, and snarled at herself when she heard Yunda laughing.
“That always gets first timers!” The Asura chortled, and with the sound of a few beeps, the S.H.O.W.E.R.S. came to life.
Devona could only describe the feeling that buffeted her as “weird.” There was a deep, low trilling hum that seemed to come from everywhere at once in unison with what felt like a million hands shaking her gently.
“Raise your arms every ten seconds or so to make sure every part of your body receives cleaning.” Yunda ordered.
As Devona complied, she found the shaking was starting to make her eyes water furiously, and so she instinctively closed them.
And once that happened; the nightmares returned…
Last edited by chemiclord; 06-05-2010 at 07:11.
Awww, poor Devona, that damn seer is still in her head.
"We’re… bonded, and I can’t even bring myself to actually marry the girl." Coran said to Gwen at one time... now we all know what he actually meant
anyway, i am starting to understand him for not wanting to return to Ascalon sooner
Asinine Sanctimonious Unbearable Rabbit Annoyance, known in short as the Asura
I love how you keep coming up with all the various acronyms for stuff, I get a kick out of them
Mhenlo had to admit this was a bit of a switch. For all the time he had known the feisty Surmian, this sort of scenario had played a handful of times. Mhenlo would be concerned for whatever outpost or people they were leaving, and Cynn would be dragging him by the arm, assuring them that those left behind would be fine, they would survive, and all would be well the sooner all the tasks set before the heroes were completed.
Yet, this time, the roles were completely reversed.
“Cynn… we should report to King Adelbern as soon as possible. We can’t do that when you stop and turn around every three minutes.” Mhenlo said patiently, his arm looping under the elementalist’s shoulder.
Even that action didn’t even stir Cynn’s volatile temper, she continued to look back towards the shrinking gates of Atal Ra. “I… just don’t know if it’s a good idea to leave Devona alone.”
“She’s not alone.” Aidan interjected. “Prince Coran is there, the Asurans are there… I’m sure they can handle any lingering problems our leader may have.”
Cynn remained unconvinced. “I… know how it feels to be shattered; to feel helpless and broken; to have no hope that your life will ever get better. Wounds of the soul are a lot like wounds of the body. They can leave gruesome scars.”
Her eyes clamped shut forlornly, Devona’s plight bringing back the horrid smells and sights of her own trials. Buried underneath the ruins of her home… no escape… trapped in a small space with the dead remains of her mother… watching as each day the woman who gave Cynn life and the only one who had ever loved her unconditionally at that point slowly rotted away. Even now, every so often, Cynn would see the faces of those she now new going through that same necrotic transformation.
“I’m just afraid that they don’t understand what Devona is going through, that’s all.” Cynn said grimly, yet allowed herself to be turned once more to the task assigned to them.
* * * * *
Devona knew this wasn’t happening. She even knew it was an illusion at the time it happened. But the memories were still so powerful, still so painful…
“Yes, livestock… let’s see how you fare on the inside.” The Seer warbled. It blinked, and for a moment, Devona felt sensation in her arms, felt control of her body start to return to her. If she acted quickly enough, perhaps she…
But before the warrior could even complete the thought, the Seer had full control of her once again. “Thought you could get away? Oh no… I just love seeing the last shine of hope disappear from my meat. Now… cut yourself open.”
Devona knelt down and picked up her father’s Rinblade, a mere spectator in her own body as she grasped the mighty weapon in her right hand, used her left to steady the massive blade, and with one quick slash, opened a clean, deep gash in her abdomen.
Blood started to flow from the wound as the Seer reached out, and to Devona’s horror slid its hand right into the opening. Had she control of her stomach, she would have likely vomited; for while she had no control, she felt the pain of the slice in her belly, as well as the Seer’s hand probing her innards, squeezing her intestines in various places. It was a horrific experience and sensation that Devona had never even imagined.
“The intestinal tract is normally considered ‘unclean’ for our kind, not fit for consumption.” The Seer smugly said. “But… I find the smaller tract to be an occasional delicacy if prepared correctly.”
Disgust, pain, anguish, helplessness, and terror all flooded Devona’s mind at once. If she could have, she would have cried. A second hand joined the first, exploring her innards with great curiosity. This was unreal… surely she should have passed out from blood loss by that point. Grenth take her, she should be dead right then… being completely honest with herself, she would have preferred that fate.
“Or perhaps…” Her torturer noted thoughtfully, “You’d be more useful for breeding first… yes… you appear to be of fine stock… you could bear many succulent morsels before you are parceled.”
Its hand then slipped into a very uncomfortable spot. “Would you like that? I can assure you only the finest specimens would be allowed to mate with you.”
“Miss… are you of sound condition?”
Devona’s eyes flashed open as Yunda’s voice coupled with the knocking on the stall door broke her remembrances. The warrior was on the verge of hyperventilating, curled up in a ball against the southwest corner of the S.H.O.W.E.R.S. enclosure.
Taking two deep breaths, Devona stood, wiped the tears from her eyes, and said with surprising conviction, “Yes… I’m fine. I was just lost in thought for a moment.”
The Asura on the other side didn’t sound terribly convinced, but wasn’t inclined to force the issue. “Very well then… I just recommend you don’t crumple up like that, it prevents a proper, thorough cleaning.”
“Yes, of course. Again, my apologies.”
Forcing herself not to shiver, Devona resumed her cleaning per Yunda’s instructions, this time forcing her eyes to remain open save for blinking, no matter how uncomfortable the buffet of barely audible sound was on her. How long was this damned process going to take?
“Just a few more seconds, Miss. Raise your arms again for a little bit more, and we should be… oh!”
Devona paused, wondering what had caused Yunda to cut off. Her internal question was answered quickly, as the Asuran operator again spoke, “Miss Yue! What are you doing here?”
“I’m scheduled for a cleaning.” The dour assassin grumbled. “I recall you insisting on such particulars.”
“That’s not for seven more minutes.”
“Oh come off it. I smell like a wet Charr, and I noticed Vekk prowling about, so he clearly is not using his scheduled time.”
Devona started when she realized what was happening, especially as she saw the blurred outline of a vague Yue shape through the clouded window. Yunda’s protest became more forceful as a result, “Miss Yue, the S.H.O.W.E.R.S. is currently…”
At that moment, the sliding door to the stall whisked open, and with a yelp, Devona modestly sought to cover herself as the blurred image gave way to a very sharp vision of the Vanguard assassin, wearing nothing but a towel and a sour frown.
“… Occupied.” Yunda finished with a resigned groan.
Yue appraised the situation with darkening chocolate eyes, and her lips pursed tightly before she grumbled, “So… mostly armor, huh?”
“So… mostly armor, huh?”
That line wins the BLOW award for the week! (Best Line Of the Week) :)