apoxuponyou: (fight)
Buboes Pestis ([personal profile] apoxuponyou) wrote2010-02-06 04:25 pm

Ficlet: A Sense of Unreality and Truth

She knew it like a thunderbolt, a terrible black press on her chest, and she rose from her bed.

In the still night, she could feel the sense that something was terribly wrong, that she needed to act. She listened to the wind, as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, but she couldn't quite understand the feeling.

The breeze was cool on her face, but it did not soothe her, and when she closed her eyes, the picture was clear. He was a prisoner, tortured, held against his will – he had been fighting against his captors, but now he was still, unresisting. He was at their mercy.

She ran into the night, bare feet pounding on the forest floor, the branches slashing at her arms and tearing at her dress. It did not matter. She could barely see, but she was guided by the furious pounding of her heart and the dark image behind her eyes, the sure knowledge that she had to release him before something terrible happened to him.

At the back of her mind, there was the flicker of something half-remembered, a thought for her own safety as she entered this hall of twisted creatures. She could not bring herself to care, knowing that she was nothing but a curse, that perhaps this was the only thing she could do to amend. That he was the only good thing she had touched that had not crumbled.

Suddenly, they were there, and her sword was in her hand. She moved like a spirit, their numbers falling away, and she was greeted by the sight from within her head. He was sat on a wooden chair, rope curling around that once-strong body; his skin was marked by bruises, but they were fading, and he was absolutely still. She did not like how still he was.

His blue eyes were open, but dulled, staring. She did not think he knew her, that he knew anything outside his own thoughts. Smoke-like tendrils curled around him, and he flinched away; she stepped forward, unable to allow him to suffer. Yet the smoke stung her eyes and the heat from the unseen fire burned her skin – still, she would not relent, and she reached towards his face, her hand brushing against his cheek. His eyes slid towards hers, filled with both clarity and alarm.


The sound of a drum. She turned, her hand falling away from him, and she faced the black shadow, the one who had brought him here, trapped him so precisely, kept him at heel.

"You cannot help him."

She gripped her sword firmly, holding it up between them.

He eyed it dispassionately. "You will not kill me."

There was an order of balance and it was important. They could not perish, those who decided the fate of the universe, and she was one and he was one, and there could be no death in that room. Yet, she saw how this pathetic excuse for a general had harmed her beloved, and she could not allow him to simply walk away.

"You cannot kill me. I have rendered you useless. You are incapable."

She stumbled backwards, determined to protect, but the creature smiled, knowing his victory.

"You cannot save him. I have shown him what you are. He hates you."

There were no words, no thoughts – there was only the need to defend him and the solid steel in her hand. Behind her, she heard him begin to struggle once more, even through the heat from the fire and choking smoke that would not let her catch her breath.

"He will not defy me. He will hunt you. You will perish."

The smoke was making her dizzy, her vision greying around the edges, and she reached behind her, desperate to touch, to keep him with her. She could not leave-

With a gasp, Pestilence opened her eyes, and coughed up blood. Struggling to catch a shred of air, her mind clung to the last fragments of what she had seen, to make sense of what had played through her broken, fevered mind.

She did not dream. Yet what she had seen could not be real. Only dark and feeble things could survive to the light – the loss of hope, the certainty of defeat, and the knowledge that she would only see him again before the moment of her death.

Staggering from her bed, she swayed towards the entrance of the cave, and looked out into the night. She knew that something was terribly wrong, and yet she could not act.