Lilac Lake

RP: Lyte Visits Ostara

This topic has 14 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 3 weeks, 2 days ago by Lyte.

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    • #53494

      A tattered map flapped in Lyte’s hand as a northern breeze kissed him amongst the otherwise cool landscape. The snaps of the paper against his hand seemed abrasive, though also squandered abruptly and muffled within the bayou’s thick embrace. Lyte looked on ahead beyond foreboding trees arching out of the lake.

      “This can’t be the place, can it?” he said meditatively.

      But of course it was. It fit Ostara’s profile. Ominous, quirky, and unsettling. It was the perfect home for her. He marched on, slowly, as to a dirge, but inside his heart quickened excitedly, for now he heard something stirring ahead, very different from the crickets and cicadas that sang their haunting psalms which hovered over the face of the waters. He made out a faint light beyond the mist. Moving forward still, he saw that the light was beckoning from within a small house.

      He curved to a pause a few steps away and wondered at the display. Warm and cool lights both vibrated and pulsated from within the windows. Above were carved runes, pieces of bone, and cultured trinkets and mills of every kind – placed on the roof, hanging from the rafters, erected on murky wooden poles, and grasping the mantle of the door itself. Lyte took in a large breath and walked to the door. He knocked twice.

    • #53545

      The hour was late and Ostara was already tucked beneath a nest of warm blankets which were crafted out of all manner of textures and colours for the woman had fashioned them out of sewn together scraps of salvaged fabric. Nestled deep within her Dreamscape, the sound of knocking was quickly drawing her from sleep and she groaned, one arm moving to drape itself over her face. Her eyes were still closed, trying to maintain her grasp on the fading images that her mind had conjured, desperate to hold onto the peace and silence that only dreams could give her. “Business hours are.. closed” She muttered in a icy cold voice, crackling with frustration. Couldn’t the dead leave her alone for just a few hours?

      It took several minutes for the woman to realise the sound was coming from her front door, the unmistakable chime of movement signalled by the gentle swaying melody of those hanging charms being disturbed. Slowly, she rose from that evaporating warmth, a heavy sigh taken as she rubbed at those mismatched orbs. Sleepily, she ambled towards the door, bare feet padding softly against wooden flooring and two toned carpets that were strewn about in a haphazard fashion. Slender and pale fingers curled around the handle, the door creaking as it opened just a mere crack.

      Lyte would be confronted with one eye peeking at him through the gap, the light blue one, which widened as a glimmer of recognition flowed through its depths. The door opened wider, enough for him to see her in her entirety. Clad in black satin, the short dress she wore flowed transparent in places, its edges resting against ivory tone thighs, her skin gleaming beneath as one thin strap dangled, having fallen to rest half way down her shoulder. Those multicolored strands of hair hung loose and crimped from days of being restrained though thick woven ropes remained dreaded, clumped with beads and silver bells similar to the ones that dangled above her bed, strung above to alert her to the presence of certain kinds of entities before they issued a spiritual or psychic attack for this was often done whilst she slept. Her neck was near naked, only her most treasured memories worn at her throat. The charms were tucked beneath her bustline, hidden from view.

      “Lyte…” She murmured in a breath of a whisper, her voice husky and low, almost inviting. Almost.

      That haunting gaze of hers, both disturbing and breathtaking at the same time, settled with startling clarity and focus on the man who stood before her. A smile floated across the contours of her face, dreamy and surprisingly genuine. There was a different aura about her in this moment, one that radiated a drowsy calmness. She seemed softer, more connected to the ground on which she walked and far less distracted, those sharp edges of danger and lunacy softened so much so that if it weren’t for her otherworldly appearance, one might actually mistake her for someone quite sane and almost normal. Of course, this was just a side effect of that recently interrupted dreamscape, a slow departing languor keeping her wrapped in blissful and almost drugged state that would slowly wean with each second, each minute. The sight and sound of the dead could not be held at bay for long.

      She only offered the one word, his name. Any other might have asked why he was calling or at the very least, how he had managed to find her hidden home, the tiny cottage basked in the unearthly glow from those lavender tinted waters, shards of bone at the bottom glimmering. However, Ostara did neither of those things. She only smiled, turning to vanish back inside though by the way she had left that door open clearly signalled a silent invitation.

    • #53590

      Only the bayou’s eerie lullaby answered the rapping on the door. But Lyte’s keen hearing then caught the faintest whift of bell sounds inside, followed by a murmuring. He held his breath by habit, embarrassed that he may have awakened his host.

      “Closed,” he repeated in a whisper, letting out his breath. He considered sprinting away – the woman would never know it was him who so rudely stirred her. He only took a couple of steps back instead, however. And by the time he had decided to leave, the door was opening.

      Ostara’s figure, barely visible, still glowed in the moonlight. Lyte looked into that faded eye, the one he had so secretly named “sweet” days before. Despite its troubling hue, being held in that gaze was the feeling of being cherished. His gaze then wandered down her body, marveling at this new transformation. She seemed more vulnerable – it was a temptation to the dormant evil to prey upon but an invitation for his awakened heart to love and serve. His eyes found their way back to her face, just as she began to disappear from view, revealing that the light inside was nothing more than a candle, and that blue ambiance merely attributed to dazzling reflections upon metals and dulled, reflective surfaces. He held his breath again and made his way inside.

      Lyte pressed the door closed and treaded lightly, his boots giving soft taps on the sighing floor boards. He surveyed her space out of habit, though he was quickly uninterested. He was there to see her. He reached around to his shoulder and disrobed from his thick grey coat of wool, folding it in his arms. He was not wearing his usual attire either – only a black cotton shirt twrapped snugly around his chest, but his pants of leather and cloth were the same, a mixture of woven ambers, tans, and browns.

      Lyte let out his breath again. “Hi,” he whispered, and then his voice returned. “I came to see… I came to apologize,” he offered, finding a stool nearby and sitting on its edge, not completely relaxed.

      He had reached into the pocket of his folded coat and brought out a mundane bag of cloth, tied closed with beige twine, and set it on a nearby shelf. The action didn’t seem related to his statement. He was lost again in a memory, and his eyes drifted to her mouth.

    • #53629

      If the vine covered cottage had looked small from the outside, Lyte would soon discover it was just as tiny on the inside though the space he stepped into was generous enough to accommodate one person quite comfortably. A kitchen was tucked around a bend, hidden away and out of sight whilst the room they stood in seemed to serve as both sleeping and living quarters though he would find very little furniture within for what use was such things when the dead and demonic forces that plagued her often took to violence and rage, destroying all in their path. Lye might also notice that there was no glass in the strange woman’s home, the panes of windows replaced with cloth through which a silhouette of the moon could be seen. Likewise, not a single mirror could be found and whilst it would be safe to assume to these things were due to their tendency to be shattered by the spectres that came to call, there was an additional and much deeper reason.

      Most would be shocked to know that Ostara had not seen her own reflection in years, having actively avoided glancing at herself since early childhood. Unlike those around her, she knew not her appearance and had you asked her to pick herself out in a crowd, the woman would have simply selected the most horrifying face she could find. The image her mind had conjured of her own features was disfigured and grossly inaccurate for she based the picture she created on the reactions of those she encountered who were so often disturbed and terrified by her. Indeed, she quietly assumed she was a monster, hideous and frightening to view. An eyesore.

      Candles of black and white burned in a golden glow of illumination, pools of wax forming in puddles beneath flickering wicks and covering what few surfaces there were, scattered over wooden shelving which housed not only a slanted collection of books, most without visible titles, but an assorted array of decorated animal skulls. Gleaming ivory shards of white shone beneath a pattern work of painted lines and glimmering beads, the designs etched over smooth edges both intricate and startlingly beautiful, the product of many hours of labour and focus. They ranged in size and species, some so large they needed to be slung from the walls instead, difficult to determine exactly what beast they had once been to the untrained eye but Ostara knew the trace of every curve, knew how to determine which was an owl, a deer, a ram.

      In one corner, a makeshift bed could be glimpsed. A mess of roughly sewn patches of fabric made up blankets and pillows heaped upon a straw mattress that sat low to the floor. Above it, a rope of tiny silver bells were slung, still and silent, looped onto thread and nestled between dangling charms and trinkets. The wall that faced the bed was lit with a myriad of rippling colours, rainbow waves of light cast from crystals that were strategically placed and hanging from rafters and beams along which creeping vines grew, dotted with those sleepy blue blooms. Ostara liked to watch those different shades of refracted colour dance and twirl as she fell to sleep each night, soothed by their rhythm and hue. Alongside raw chunks of amethyst, quartz and obsidian, ornaments and windchimes crafted from bone rocked from side to side with the breeze that slipped in before the door closed.

      Plumes of grey smoke rose, incense billowing and perfuming the air with the mixing aromas of sage, lavender and other unrecognisable herbs designed to ward of the most violent entities for it was not just the lost souls of the dead that roamed beyond the veil. No, there were much darker things to be confronted. Creatures of wrath and chaos with an unquenchable thirst to consume and destroy. A hearth contained the crackling remnants of a still burning fire, a pile of cushions patterned in violet, indigo and sapphire were spread out to form a comfortable nest of seating and it was in this direction the pale and barely dressed woman roamed though as Lyte began to shed clothing, she did the opposite by reaching for a purple robe to drape over her curves. Even so, it did little to disguise that milky flesh for the cloth was transparent and wispy, emblazoned with silver thread that was pieced together to mimic the constellations of a night sky, flowing open in soft rivers and crushed against the dark satin of her dress.

      Ostara glanced at the male over one gauzy shoulder, a small smile appearing in response to his whispered greeting. “Hello.. You’ve come to..” She had begun to say as she settled herself before the fire, sinking into the warmth of heat soaked pillows. Her voice faded at the continuation of his and slowly, mistmatched eyes came to lock onto his features though she silently noted the difference in attire. Shock pooled over her face and for once, woman seemed speechless and clearly baffled.

      “Apologize..” She repeated in that soft husky voice as she gestured with the tilt of her head for him to join her.

      “Of all the things I expected you to say, that was not it.” She said in a quiet tone, frowning at the apology as if it were some kind of trap for she had never been offered one before nor did she expect such a thing. Her brows furrowed in focus as she began the overwhelming task of attempting to sift through fractured memories, both her own and those of a more foreign nature, trying to recall what it was he had done to apparently offend her. After a few moments of deliberation, she spoke once more.

      “I don’t understand.” She murmured as that two toned gaze shifted to his hand, narrowing at the sight of the small pouch he held, placing it on a nearby shelf. An unspoken question rising to gleam in the depths of that orb of pastel blue as she stared.

       

    • #53704

      Lyte had well learned the art of prayer for when the darkness tried to claim him. In the beginning of his walk with the Divine, his assurance of forgiveness had always been under attack – doubting the mercy and grace that rained upon him on that far off desert dune. Now, he no longer listened idly to his empty thoughts. No. Instead, he spoke to them. Corrected them. And so, though Ostara’s exquisite physique and revealing attire would invite him to secretly lust for such a woman, he did not not endure it, instead redirecting his passion upon her spirit, and thus found a safe resting place for his eyes at her lips. He had tried to avoid it, but Lyte knew he would soon have to take shelter in her gifted gaze, or else how could he say he loved a friend he would not regard. So the view lifted from those inviting lips and skipped across the shimmer of nose rings and that fair skin to reach its final resting place – the bittersweet eyes.

      But here in that cottage, under that moon, it didn’t seem bitter at all. Perhaps the result of the uncertain candlelight or her tired pupils. It could have been Lyte’s strong will that prevailed that day. But for whatever reason, it was now just a gaze between a man and a woman. His lips parted pleasantly.

      “Oh,” he whispered, marvelling at the simplicity of it all. The word had barely escaped. The woman he both feared and longed to know was in that one moment, only cherished.

      Lyte swallowed hard and explained. “I did not take you seriously when we met. It’s clear now you have a gift… you’ve seen things of my past.” His head turned down and his eyes lifted for effect, almost smiling before he continued.

      “Then, I came to you for aid and clearly upset you by asking too much of you, without… payment. I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize… twice now I’ve held your gift in contempt.”

      He waited in the silence, but finally broke it, eager to make amends.

      “I inherited a lot of things from my family-” His lip curled up at the term. “From… the wild ones,” he whispered before resuming his usual plain tone. “There’s some jewels and charms in the bag; not sure if they’re of any use to you… not even sure what they all are, but I thought you might like em’. Also, I’m prepared to give you something more dear, if it’s not enough.” He slowly tugged the ring out from inside his shirt. It dangled on its silver chain.

      When he finished, he breathed deeply and leaned back, still careful not to touch the wax creeping off the wooden shelf behind him. He averted his eyes to the silver bells, assuming that these were the cause of the blue flashes his predator-like eyes had picked up from outside the cottage windows. Then his face went blank, staring into the Aether as he waited with her (as if by her side) to respond – like two friends discovering and pointing out constellations to one another.

      But soon Lyte could see that his new friend was slowly slipping away to unseen forces, competing for her attention. His heart began to mourn, but he did not know why.

    • #53787

      The lull of dreams was indeed fading, the reprieve her altered dreamscape had cast on her senses evaporating rapidly and giving way to the murmurs of the dead though here, in the refuge she had created, most knew their place and those that didn’t were kept at bay by the charm of those hanging crystals and the mixture of sage and St. John’s Wart she burned. Even so, exposed as she was so constantly to their world, she could never really be at peace. Besides, having a visitor of the living meant inviting in those that walked unseen by their side and Ostara resisted the urge to scowl, having to pour focus into her attempt to hear Lyte’s voice over the snarl and screech of the one that clung to him like a shadow. It did not help that the single syllable he offered was nothing more then a whisper and by the time she redirected her gaze back to his face, she found that pools of emerald had risen from her lips at which they had gaped seconds earlier

      It was a strange moment for it may very well have been the first time she had seen the male glance at her with little to no fear, something she was quite unused to for it happened so rarely with those she encountered. There was a tense moment of thick silence where neither offered words and Ostara wondered quietly what had caused the sudden change in the way he looked at her but she was certainly intrigued by it

      As he started to speak once more, her hand drifted to find a tied bundle of afore mentioned herbs, retrieving them from a reed basket before throwing the stack onto the flames which ignited with a sudden flare of light and scented smoke. Her mismatched orbs rested on dancing tendrils of amber and orange, turned away from his explanation. Most might assume the woman was lost to her own thoughts, ignoring his words but in truth, she listened intently. She made no attempt to interrupt until he was finished though when he spoke of family, she shifted back to face him, eyeing him with an unreadable expression

      The wild ones. Of course, she knew of who he spoke. She had detected the scent of death in his veins the moment she had laid eyes on him and yet, Lyte was different from the others of his kind. Her gaze silently glided between the unattended pouch and the ring of silver he pulled at, dragging it over the fabric of his shirt to rest against his chest. There was that gleam of interest and sudden desire tumbling through the blue of one eye as she stared. However, Ostara supressed the urge to paw at the item. Instead, she clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth, a whisper falling beneath her breath a moment later.

      Lyte would feel an abrupt ripple flowing through the air, a gust of wind cascading over his features, seemingly caused by something that laid invisible to his senses and moments later, that pouch was plucked from its place on the shelf. It floated towards the woman who maintained her perch by the fire, one arm held out and accompanied by a warm smile

      “Few do take me seriously at first. And as for apologies.. Consider the questions I have answered .. a gift. Though as for the future..” She murmured softly, breaking off as indentations formed in the skin of her forearm as if claws were pressing down upon it, the pouch now falling into her open palm. Slowly, a shimmer of spectral blue began materialising, a shape rising from glimmering specks that resembled stardust and before long, Lyte would find the empty space now filled with a ghostly if not ethereal creature perched upon her arm. An owl, or at least a hybrid of the species though this impressive bird was clearly not of this world. Its head swivelled, a caw given as one golden orb turned to the male, a shocking pool of scarred silver following suit.

      “She likes you. She isn’t one to let others be honoured with the sight of her.” Ostara murmured, surprised by the choice of the ancient spirit guide to whom her soul was linked. As she spoke, she emptied the contents of the pouch onto her palm, a critical look of focused assessment afforded to the assorted gems which were no doubt worth a small fortune. However, despite their clear worth, she gave a quick shake of her head, mumbling to herself.

      “No, no, no.. These just won’t do.. Not precious enough.. They hold no meaning to you” Rising to her feet, she gave her arm a shake to dislodge the feathered body atop it and in the glow of flame and candle light, its dark smoky grey blue plumage radiated its own luminesce as the bird spread its wings, taking flight before settling upon the rafters to watch the two with one eye open, a trail of silver smudges left falling like ash along the path it had taken.

      She also spurred into movement, fingers curling to entrap the gems he had offered as she straightened to her feet before light and musical steps carried her towards him, hovering close enough that he would be able to catch the scent of lavender incense, the perfumed aroma rising from her skin and clothes. She reached  for her hand, taking it in her own and forced his fingers apart in order to force the jewels and pouch into his grip. In the same breath, her other hand wandered towards his neck, the tips of her fingers trailing slowly up his chest, taking time to reach their destionation

      “Tell me..” She whispered huskily as her plucked at the ring laced onto chain, fiddling with it as she continued. “What does this mean to you and why? Perhaps then, we will be able to come to an agreement.”

    • #53825

      A chill went down his spine as he felt the gust of wind and then, a subtle flinch as the bag was whisked away from his side of the cottage. He almost opened his mouth to warn Ostara, but the fear was ill founded. That horned creature appeared, and his muted pupils suddenly glimmered with turquoise reflections. Corporeal owls were majestic enough, but this was something marvelous to behold.

      “She’s Beautiful,” he commented and fixed that gaze back to Ostara’s silhouetted form by the fire. “Beautiful,” he repeated thoughtfully.

      Now somehow Lyte wasn’t surprised that the bag of treasures didn’t appeal to his host, though he did endure a small wound by the way she objected so abrasively. He had ducked his eyes to the ground – a reflex only his close friends would recognize. Besides this, the marvelous creature had flown to the rafters, and he watching it with boyish wonder. When he found Ostara again, she was already approaching him.

      She stepped into his space, Lyte’s skin began to react, giving off aromatic scents, creating a sort of intoxicating concoction to would be victims, which also blended perfectly with Ostara’s calming lavender. This effect was not in Lyte’s control; a leftover reflex from his vampiric nature. His anticipation and curiosity grew while he watched her hand on his and the other pouring over the ring. She would have felt his cold touch – colder than a human’s, cold as the very ring she now caressed.

      He said very slowly, “It’s my wedding ring, to my wife… Saria.” He gritted his teeth after saying her name. The name Saria bore too much weight. So much story. So much heartache.

      “It was my pledge to her,” he explained, looking into Ostara’s haunting eyes. Tears were fighting to be let loose. “But she’s gone. Now it’s only a memory.”

      He intended it dismissively, but the words caught in his throat. He still felt guilty for leaving Saria. He had replayed that scene every night when he went to bed. It was more than a memory, it was a reminder for him. He had made a vow he couldn’t keep – to win her to the light. It was that failure that always ridiculed him in the night, in Ostara’s piercing eyes, and in that ring.

      “The ring means everything to me, and also at the very least,” he said, more matter-of-factly. “It’s time to move on.”

      He put the bag in his pocket and move his open hand to the necklace, unfastening it with uncanny precision. The ring tumbled eagerly into Ostara’s palm.

      Watching those terrible and wonderful eyes, he could see it was not enough for her. She would know he was hiding something. With one final breath, he took a risk and spoke it in that lonely cottage.

      “Its… my hope for her. And my failure.”

    • #53849

      The spectral owl above cawed, its sharp hoot echoing in the cosy confines of the tiny cottage. The sound was clearly in approval of Lyte’s compliments though Ostara would have been more then shocked to discover that the remark had been extended to both the animal and herself. The admiring look he had cast to her silhouette was missed in favour of pawing over the glimmering jewels in her hand and by the time she reached him, the comment was already forgotten. Or had it even been heard to begin with? It was quite hard to tell sometimes

      An intoxicating and alluring scent suddenly made itself aware to her senses, drifting about her and permeating from the closeness of his skin which she soon discovered was cold to the touch, mirroring the iciness of her own flesh. She swayed for a moment, pale fingers tightening around the silver ring she toyed with and without invitation, her other hand came to rest on the back of his neck in order to steady herself as he began to speak.

      Pools of ivy green rested on her face, locking onto that intense gaze of hers and slowly, a tiny speck of the darkest shade of emerald appeared in the centre of that dark orb. It was barely noticeable, at first. But as the traction of his voice continued, it would begin to pulse dangerously, both inviting and disturbing. It lured one in, sparking curiosities and hidden desires for the unknown. Like Pandora’s box, it was near impossible not to gaze into its depths. Perhaps it was a both a blessing and a curse that Ostara soon forced her eyes away from his, darting them to the side where they bore into empty space instead and when they returned once more, the dab of colour had melted away back into shadow

      “Oh Lyte…” She whispered in a soft if not almost sympathetic voice. Almost. Her hand lifted from his neck in order to let the tips of her fingers breeze across his cheek. “You do not need to speak her name. It only gives her more power as does the fact that you carry her still within your heart. You cannot move on if she refuses to let you” She murmured, her hand trailing from his face to place itself, palm open, against his chest as her head shook from side to side. “She is not gone but I can help with that…” Her voice skidded off suddenly, a pensive frown appearing as she noted the beat beneath her skin, thudding through his clothes. Odd… For one of the Undead to still possess the rhythm of life… But such a thing only intrigued her more.

      She felt the ring freed of the tension of the chain upon which it was strung, the pendant and charm coiling in her hand as he removed it from his throat. Silently, her fingers curled around it, trapping it inside though her mismatched gaze did not leave his own despite the fact that the very moment he relinquished the trinket into her grasp, a heavy and frost bitten gust of wind gushed into the room. The silver bells above her bed began to chime, tossed back and forth almost angrily whilst the bird above them began to screech in warning.

      “Those who believe they can impose their will upon that of others will always fail for you cannot force another from the path that they themselves have chosen. That… what she became… it was never within your power to change it nor should you blame yourself however if you truly wish to help her..” She said, raising her voice to be heard over the symphony of sound though the rest of her sentence was abruptly cut off for the woman’s head was jerking violently to the left, several of those dreadlocks gathered by an unseen force and given a firm, sharp yank.

      Hands flew to her scalp though far too late for the force of the grip Saria’s demonic force yielded was lifting her off her feet and sending her flying across the room. The attack was quick and unexpected, little time to brace herself given nor did she even have a chance to wield the power of the silver coils that were fitted to both her wrists and ankles. A short yelp came from her as she collided with one wall, the crystals that hung from the rafters now swinging back and forth until one came loose, cracking into two jagged pieces as it hit the floor.

    • #53947

      Now one might have guessed from watching those two lost in each other’s gaze, that desire had begun to spark. But the black tendrils of plagued memories were already grasping at Lyte’s thoughts as the emerald spots burned in Ostara’s eyes, and a strange intimacy was being built out of horrors, mystery, and intrigue.

      As Ostara spoke, her words seemed muffled and far away, as if in another room, and he was no longer in the cozy cottage but walking outside. Tiny bare feet were pressing into clovered ground cover in a woodland on a warm summer day. A woman twice his size was holding his hand. He watched her blonde curls bounce with each step, and though he struggled to keep up with her, he knew he was safe with her in that forest. He blinked once, and behold, Ostara’s dreadlocked hair and figure had replaced the woman’s for only a split second.

      Then he was carried away to the White Raven tavern. He was sitting at a dark stained oak table, leaning over towards his new bride Saria. She was winking at him, her red hair flowing over the other eye. Then suddenly it was Ostara’s face who tilted her head to flirt. Lyte flinched, but the face reverted back to Saria’s coy expression.

      And finally, Lyte was walking in the forest again as an adult. He could smell his clan just ahead, hunting for helpless travelers. He was hanging back, looking for a chance to escape, when he saw a tiny girl ambling aimlessly through the woods. He gently approached her and held out his hand. The girl had chunks of hair missing; her eyes were mismatched. She did not heed his invitation, instead only glaring back with stoic expressions. Recoiling, Lyte ran ahead to meet Saria who asked him if he had seen any would be victims.

      “No,” he lied, and then the vision was over.

      Back in the cottage, Lyte could see that Ostara was looking away. He sighed softly, relieved to be back where he belonged with her, but now he was searching her face for something familiar. The distraction of noises all about them was quite alarming. He was about say something, but she spoke again, and his attention was fixed on her – hanging on every word now.

      Then she flew, and Lyte watched in horror.

      “No!” he screamed as Ostara crashed into the wall.

      He dropped his coat and started for her, just as one of the broken crystal shards was wielded from the ground to his chest. His vampiric instincts kicked in and he caught it easily with one hand. He was not so fortunate with the other attack. The second shard found purchase in the meaty space between his right shoulder and chest. He grunted and continued toward his helpless friend.

      The candles had all blown out. The fire stirred. Lyte crouched beside Ostara and carved her out of the corner, holding her close to him just as one of the candles flew toward his back. Lyte had not seen it, but something unseen clashed with the candle in the dark. It rebounded and splattered on the bedside wall, never touching the couple.

      “Stop it!” Lyte cried and he began to pray. “Sylmafela, vata ma xela.” The words came from his spirit; he didn’t understand their meaning. “Help us…” he added in a rough whisper.

      Amidst the imminent threat, he pulled Ostara’s frail body close to his for a moment, releasing it as he kissed her forehead – how a father might kiss his weary and sick daughter, still huddling over her and hoping to shield her from the next attack. When he saw the ring below them, still spinning on the ground, he swiped it away with his backhand.

    • #54026

      Saria’s spirit did not simply stop at hurling the woman across the room by her hair. For even as Ostara landed, bony fingers were entangling themselves deeper within the loose strands, kneading into her scalp and gathering a fistful before promptly dragging the flailing woman across the wooden flooring though as Lyte called out in horror, she felt that grasp loosen in hesitation for a second before it tightened once more. She gritted her teeth, hands flying to attempt to wrestle the locks from cold hands though a flash of movement and colour had her pausing in her struggles to watch the shards of shattered crystal shuttle towards Lyte. Her features contorted into anger and as the jagged edge pierced his flesh, her wrists were came together with practiced quickness. A soft clink sounded as the thick bands of silver coiled around her skin collided, engraved grooves filling with spectral blue light however such a thing could not be seen with the naked eye, detectable to only those with finely tuned senses. Oh but one could feel the tremors of vibration rippling through the air in waves, hear the vengeful shriek of that demonic spirit was pushed back by the sheer power and energy that now flooded from her limbs. Her arms shook, trembling as she pried her wrists apart with an audible gasp.

      Fingers fluttered towards her bruised and aching scalp, massaging the pain away as she pulled herself into a sitting position, a crackle of fury to be glimpsed in the fine contours of her face as those mismatched eyes began to whirl, darting to find the shadowy figure that loomed in her peripherals. As Lyte crossed the room, skidding to her knees to cradle her to his chest and planting a soft kiss on her forehead, Ostara flinched at the contact and concern he showed. In truth, she was far more alarmed by the sudden touch of tenderness then she was by the wrath of the demon that now lingered in her peripherals, patiently waiting to strike once more. Was it the first time anyone had ever showed worry for her welfare? Perhaps. She was far more used to being used and feared, even content with it for she knew little else. Even Azriel had rarely touched her with such gentleness, if at all. No, their encounters had been filled with lust filled violence of which she still bore the evidence and now, the curve of her finger dipped to graze across the silverly lining of the scar that cut across one hip. A different kind of memory, one she herself had requested he leave her with. Perhaps she had always known his interest would wane, that the novelty of her flesh and the sights her touch exposed him to would fade.

      She smelled blood. Thick, hot and scented with rust. She slowly blinked her shock away, a slightly dazed look to the one blue eye as she focused her vision on the male who held her, gently pushing at his shoulders as she slid out of his grip just as that candle was being hurled at his skull. With one hand still pressed to her scalp, the other rose and flicked to the side, the stick of wax veering away as the flame spluttered and died with a hiss.

      “Your bleeding..” She murmured in that husky voice of hers, a finger poking the wound as if to confirm that what she saw was not in her own mind, curved slopes becoming sticky and coated with blood as she rubbed the tips of her fingers together, staring at the slow spread of crimson against white.

      “No need for that. Do not be frightened..” She whispered in response to his chanted pleas for help, the strange language that fell from his lips. “Its hardly the worse I’ve suffered and I expect it won’t be the last time your lover voices her displeasure.” She added, giving the side of her head one last rub before her two toned gaze drifted to find blackened flesh and piercing amber eyes. “He is not yours anymore” She hissed, scowling as a warning shot through that orb of milky blue. Whilst Lyte hastily slapped that spinning ring away, Ostara reached for it before closing her fist firmly around the band, unwilling to let her prize go however she now wondered if it was a memory worth keeping, tainted as it was by its intimate connection to the being that had lunged for her minutes earlier.

      With the threat avoided and repelled temporarily, Ostara now stared at Lyte with a mixture of wonder and fascination for she recalled with startlingly clarity how their memories had seemingly fused with one another just before she was thrown across the room. The woman was used to invading the recollections and dreams of others but how had the male managed to force himself into one of the few fractured memories that remained inside her mind? The green pulse of that usually green eye could be unpredictable, she knew that. For it seemed as each face that looked into that dark chasm glimpsed something different. Usually, it was visions of their own demise but sometimes, they saw those pieces of themselves they wished to hide away, the images they tried to forget and that shared link often meant she had a front row seat to their past whether she wanted to be drawn into it or not.

      But this was different. He had somehow absorbed himself into her pictures of her childhood. His subconscious blending with her own. “You were there. You saw me, just as I saw you” She breathed. The candles had all but been extinguished, the only light cast by the dancing flames of the fireplace, basking the two in a halo of flickering golden radiance

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • #54051

      The adrenaline was wearing off. Lyte had been on his knees, and now he allowed himself to collapse backward so that he sat on the floor with one leg to the side while his other knee bent up. His torso was arched over his legs, taking in quick breaths. He concentrated on slowing it down while watching eerie shadows of himself and Ostara being cast from the firelight on the far wall.

      “Ow,” he winced as he rubbed his shoulder with two fingers.

      He waved her concern away dismissively before tugging at the crystal shard, which thankfully had not embedded too deeply. He dropped the piece casually on the ground, and it cut through the thick atmosphere with an abrupt tink. Then he sighed and reached for Ostara reassuringly and found her leg closest to him. He patted it reassuringly (later he thought back to that moment as almost comical, considering the danger they had just shared). “You okay?” He asked as he did so.

      His hand slid off her leg so he could lean back, putting his weight on both hands and still sitting. Before this, however, he had pulled a piece of her disheveled robe back over her lower half. He found her face again, but in that position, as he eclipsed part of the remaining firelight from reaching her face, he found that he could endure her gaze once again. He watched and listened, now thinking upon that memory together, sometimes tracing her cheeks, forehead, and jawline with his eyes to see if there was a resemblance to the small girl. He nodded slowly with hopeful eyes while she spoke, though they may have been darkened by a secret somewhere in the corners of his soul. In that conversation, he asked once about what she had done with her bracelets, but he wasn’t sure he needed to understand the answer.

      “So that was… you?” he whispered. “I saw a little girl. Your eyes… they,” But he paused and asked, “That ever happen before?” After listening to her interpretation of events, he only nodded again and shrugged.

      “Well, she was a cute little girl,” he grinned with glistening eyes, tilting his head at her all the while. After some silence, he broke his eyes from hers and rubbed his shoulder again.

      “You sure you want that ring?” he joked, but as soon as he said it, he wondered if she’d be put off by the comment. He also realized, however, he was just too tired to care. That and he was beginning to feel like himself again. And it felt good.

    • #54067

      As Lyte managed to pry loose the shard of crystal that was embedded in his shoulder, Ostara reached for it. Held between two fingers, she lifted the glimmering and blood splattered fragment up to her face before tilting her head, staring at her crimson tinted reflection mirrored in sharp edges. The image was warbled and blurry, that dark eye blinking back at her. She wrinkled her nose in disapproval, thankful that she was spared the sight of herself.
      The cool touch of Lyte’s hand brushing against her leg in a patting motion had the woman shifting her attention back to him as if she had completely forgotten his presence for a moment. And who was to say she hadn’t? She blinked at his question in confusion for her mind was already racing ahead of her, lost in a swirl of memories that were not her own. It took her several seconds to recall the incident that only just taken place, a slanted smile appearing.

      “Okay? No. I’m quite deranged. You can ask anyone.” She chirped with an amused grin before shaking her head gently. “I am used to far worse then her, Lyte. Of course I am okay” She added, eyes darting for moment only to centre back on his face as she felt the weight of his emerald gaze which seemed to be drinking in her features, searching them for something not unlike those that looked to her in hope that she might be the ending to their grief and torment, that she could provide them with solace. In a way, she could. But she could only provide them with brief flickers of those they mourned, a temporary connection that could be accomplished in a variety of ways. One which was now becoming apparent as the lines of her face seemed to morph, distorting and bending in an unnatural way until, for the tiniest moment, it was replaced by the slope and curve of Saria’s. In the back of her warbled mind, she thought the sight was what he sought but as his question fell, she understood. Within the blink of an eye, she changed once more, reverting back to her true self. She frowned as if disturbed his line of questioning. It was so rare that people were interested in the personal details of her past. Or her present for that matter. Most were just looking for what they could gain through her.

      He was scanning for similarities to the woman before him, comparing silently in his mind. Those eyes were the same of course and since it was unlikely another gaze akin to hers was in existence, it was rather obvious that the child had been a young Ostara but the hair was different. The miniature version he had glimpsed floating through the forest had locks of one solid colour, pale blonde, strands of it missing and torn from her scalp from the constant harassment of dark entities. She was surprised to remember that night in the forest, for she had long assumed that night had been lost, replaced by the stains left inside her mind. It had been before she had assisted that first soul, before she had found the sisters, before the dead had begun to leave fragments of themselves inside her, leaving smears of themselves and altering the shade of her locks.

      “Yes, it was me. Those unfortunate enough to see that of which you speak more often lose their minds.. Confronted with their demise, or the memories that haunt them.. I am sometimes a witness to the latter though there are times I remain blind to what it is they see. Certainly, no one has ever invaded what little of the recollections I have left and never before have such things fused .. together in such a way” She murmured. As she spoke, there was a shrill caw as the luminous bird above lifted off its perch and swooped to settle upon her shoulder, pecking at her braids as if trying to garner her attention though her gaze remained set on the male before her.

      His laughter had her glancing away, almost as if she was offended by his mirth. “Cute?” She questioned in a strange voice. “I was on the verge of insanity, abandoned by my father in the woods to find my way to the temple of the sisters that guided me. It was that, or execution. They were terrified of me.. Somehow, I think you are the only one who would ever choose such a word to describe me” She muttered, rising to her feet.

      “Lyte, there is a reason I have not seen my own reflection since I was a child. I am not a fool. I know that what people see when they look at me is monstrous. So please, do not try to flatter my ego” She murmured in a quiet voice. “Yes, I want the ring though if you were to offer something.. sentimental yet not related to that woman, it would likely be a lot more peaceful around here” She said.

    • #54093

      Lyte’s eyes widened with disbelief at Ostara’s transformation. He blinked a few times and flinched. He thought in that fleeting moment to warn Ostara, but as soon as it had started, it began to disappear. It seemed for a moment Saria had arrived in the flesh. No, not quite, this Saria was different. Her gaze was curious and almost patient. While the experience had been rather disturbing, it didn’t not make him sad this time. It was as if he was looking upon an old acquaintance, not a lover.

      “You know…” Lyte began his final estimation, grunting as he pushed himself slowly back to his feet. A few droplets of blood pattered on the floor as he arose. He slowly approached Ostara, confident in that dark abode, moving the hair from his face and then running his fingers through the wavy locks. His shoulders straightened, now fueled by his new found freedom from the ring (and so the vampire bride) he had clung to all these years.

      “You indeed are a strange sort of woman, I’ll give you that. But… whatever this is… I think you already know me too well to mistake what I said as flattery.” Lyte confronted her with resolute eyes, which darted back and forth between each of her pupils, finally searching her for a change. There was a fierce and dangerous love in that gaze. And several silent moments passed before he bent beside her to scoop up his wool coat.

      “She was an innocent, precious little girl,” Lyte said defiantly. He took a few steps back and set the coat on the bench, and that’s when his brows knitted together at the sight of wax and broken pieces of candle on the bed. In that short respite, he recognized that his pride got the better of him in that moment. He sighed.

      “Ostara…” he spoke more softly, “I’m not scared of you.” This might not have been entirely true in previous encounters, but it certainly was now. “But I’m sorry everyone else is.”

      It pained Lyte that he could not offer any solace for Ostara. He took her in as the beautiful woman and innocent child she was, combined all at once, seemingly ravaged by the darkness of the present realm. He wondered who she might have been… who she still might be, underneath those layers of oppressed nights and pale moons. Oh how he wanted to embrace this woman and protect her from whatever afflicted her. But he thought it best to refrain. For Lyte, this was counter intuitive. But he thought it was right. To fancy himself as the key to her locked soul was only another prideful thought. He knew it. She would know it too, perhaps.

      He looked at her hand that held the ring and pursed his lips. “The only other thing I have of value is The White Raven tavern,” he explained. “The ring will have to do.” He shook his head, still uncertain why she would clutch at such a terrible heirloom.

      There was so much more to say to her, but he thought it best to stay silent and wait for her next move. That is until the owl continued to pry at Ostara. Lyte lifted his head and closed his eyes, listening for something far off. A faint unsettling groan could be heard outside the house, carried along the stillness of the lake.

      “It’s not gone, is it?” Lyte worried, looking back to Ostara.

    • #54168

      The ring was still clutched in one balled first, searing her flesh slightly however Ostara ignored the faint burn. A step back was taken as Lyte rose to his feet, her gaze falling to rest on the droplets of blood he had left smeared across the wooden flooring though as he approached, those strange eyes lifted to find his face. She seemed confused by what rested there, simmering in emerald pools for the woman had very little experience with being looked at in such a way and struggled to recognise the emotions that flitted through those mossy depths. Frowning, she tugged at one grey coloured dreadlock, its shade like smoke, the woven rope jingling as she gave it a yank. It was an old habit. One developed in childhood as a coping mechanism and part of the reason her hair was styled as it was, to prevent both her own hands and the dead from ripping those strands from the roots.
      She maintained her silence as he spoke, pursing her lips in faint irritation as he challenged her own perspective of herself, defiance crackling in his tone. Had she been innocent? Not entirely. Maybe, once. Before the poison of those whispered words began to seep beneath her skin, melting into her bones and soul. She had let their hate nourish her and she could not deny that there had been times when she had used the secrets the dead whispered against the townsfolk that hated her so, wielding her words as if they were weapons. Or at the very least, a shield. Still, surprise and confusion gleamed in one blinking pastel blue orb. Two emotions that were so very rare to glimpse in the woman.

      “Perhaps you should be” She whispered. “You look at me as if.. as if I am someone other then what I am and I accepted the darkness of my fate long ago. There is no need to be sorry about it. I’m not. I learned not to mind being a monster. To wear my disfigurement with pride” She murmured. There was no trace of self pity or anger in her voice only apathetic honesty for the woman really did believe she was ghastly to behold. How could she blame those villagers for recognising their repulsion and desire to eradicate the abomination of her existence? Yes, she mostly loathed the living for the sins they had committed against her and yet, she understood their motivations, felt no lust for revenge.

      She gave a heavy sigh, grateful when he was moving on to another subject. His words elicited a wry smirk of amusement from her though before she answered, her head moved to find the bird upon her shoulder, ruffling her fingers through its luminous violet and sapphire coloured feathers which almost seemed to be spun from stardust for how it glimmered. Lips pressed, a whisper uttered and reserved for the hearing of none other then the creature who used the woman as a perch. With a quick motion, shining eyes darted to Lyte and the spectral animal gave a sharp and loud caw before it slowly faded into the air, leaving smudges of color floating like fallen ash. Was the sound a farewell? A warning? Something else? It would seem only Ostara would know the answer to those questions however she was far more focused on the folly of his answer.

      She drifted towards him, shaking her head gently from side to side. “Oh Lyte..” She breathed in an almost sympathetic voice. “You have much more then that. For you see, I do not care much for things that most would consider valuable. Material worth means nothing to me. Something as simple as a lock of hair ..” She said, close enough now to rise on her bare toes, reaching to twirl a strand of his dark hair around the tip of one finger before letting it spring back into place once more, dropping back to the soles of her feet.

      “..or a button. Just as a long as it holds meaning, a memory” She said. As she spoke, her hand drifted to plunge into the bustline of the dark cloth that rested against her ivory skin. There was a musical tinkle as she rummaged through her favorite memories before plucking a charm into the light for his examination. Between two fingers, looped from a chain that stretched around her neck was a faded brass button. It was nothing special. No patterns, no bright colors or odd textures. If anything, it was worn and scratched, its gleam faded from use and constant handling.

      “If you truly cannot think of anything, then we can create our own. I would just need a souvenir of such. Of course, I only accept that method when someone manages to spark my personal interest” She finished with a light shrug, not forthcoming in whether he met this definition or not, the smile that appeared able to be interupretated in whichever way one saw fit. “A tear. A fingernail. An eyelash. All these things are more valuable then your tavern despite the recollections it holds within”

      Glancing at the door and his question, Ostara sighed. “It never leaves Lyte. We are never alone. Even when we think we are. I am just the only one who sees them” She said. “Saria clings to your soul like a rusty fish hook, spreading unseen poison through your veins. But, I can help be free. Or.. I can give you a chance to say a proper farewell, to the woman she once was. I suppose I could do both. In truth, there is few limits to what can be achieved when one walks between worlds. It is up to you.. I will keep the ring until you decide, on both your payment and her fate” She said softly, dipping her head to the side in a silent indication that he could leave whenever he wished.

      “Do not fear the forest and those that walk within. You are in my protection in this place and Akasha will guide your way home through the darkness if its needed.” She murmured and within a blink, the majestic owl had returned, staring at them from above as if it had been there the entire time.

    • #54249

      Lyte raised his brows incredulously. “Disfigurement?”

      He guessed this was an attempt to emotionally distance herself; a sort of game perhaps. Was she speaking of a monster within or without? It wasn’t clear, but he had taken two steps toward her automatically to close the perceived distance. After they discussed his valuables, however, the owl had flown at him, and he started backward again. His eyes darted from side to side, bewildered.

      “You are very dangerous,” he admitted. “But. I mean… that’s not the point…”

      Indeed Ostara was meaningfully different than that wandering girl from his vision. He had compassion on that little one. He even wished to speak with her. But the very beautiful, very strange, and very opaque adult would have to do.

      “Ostara,” he explained in gentle tones. “There’s nothing in those eyes that can harm me without God allowing it… no hurt you can cause without it ending in my final good.”

      As if on cue, he had caught something in her stare that jolted him to that night in the desert. He closed his eyes quickly and took a deep breath, rocking his head to the side almost as Ostara might have done in the right context, now momentarily lost in his own world. This was not a memory he had thought to share with her.

      He saw himself atop that sand dune, in the crisp air, awaiting for the sun to finally come and carry him away in righteous judgement. And then, he saw the moment those warm and glowing rays had found his skin, the gasp he took as his heart began to beat, and the tears that had come when his heart of stone was replaced with one of flesh – a gift of repentance and forgiveness.

      He opened his eyes and found her. “Thank you. You’ve already done so much. I am ready to be free of her. I can see her talons have been stuck in me for some time. And… I think I know what to bring you.”

      He picked up his coat and made for the door, opening it delicately and surveying the calm lake outside. He stood there, wondering what awaited him out there on the glass. Ostara had reassured that he was safe. He believed her, but he was more afraid of the childhood memories that might return as Saria followed him again – for now he suspected there was a connection with Saria and his mother, a memory lost until the eyes of Ostara had brought it to the surface.

      “Ostara?” Lyte whispered and his voice cracked. He hung his head but tilted it in her direction while his hand still grasped the handle on the door. He spoke his last question to the shadows on the bedside wall.

      “Do you ever see your mom?”

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