Mists of Kel Doran
Season 1 - Dragon-Touched
Episode 1 - The Weave of Fate
Chapter XIII - Awakening
Chapter XIII - Awakening
Approximate read time ~ 8 minutes
Ava lay under the windowsill, beaten, battered, and bleeding. Her attempts to breathe were nothing more than a gurgled blend of blood and panic. Her body had shut down, yet her mind was fully awake, a captive witness to her own murder. She laid motionless in a pool of wine and blood. Broken shards of glass littered the floor, piercing her pale, porcelain skin. Ava’s labored breath haunted the chamber while her master’s boots echoed in her mind, their sinister purpose not yet fully revealed.
Ava’s eyes fluttered as Varin approached, her chamber of death coming into focus. Wine clung to her eyelashes, painting her world in a morbid shade of red. Her mind twisted while her broken body refused to act. Though her body reflected a soul lost, it bore no assurance to Varin, whose fury was born somewhere deeper, an inner rage that plagued a tormented mind.
He brandished the stiletto dagger and cast the heavy table aside, its few remnants destined to join the other rabble in the darkened corner. Varin dipped into his reservoir of venom and berated the lifeless body as a dog in need of punishment.
“Do you understand what you’ve cost me?” His teeth clenched in a fit of rage, “Do you have any idea what you’ve just done you stupid, stupid girl? It wasn’t enough that you made a fool of me…was it?” Varin took a final step toward Ava, her body framed by the sun as it peaked through the dockside window. The light reflected her blood-soaked skin and wine-stained hair. Even in this moment, her features were angelic, though the subtleties of natural beauty were lost on this man. In this room, in this inn, in this god-forsaken world, this angel was an animal to put down, a mistake to be corrected.
Varin screamed as he plunged the dagger into Ava’s ribs. “You stupid bitch!” Ava felt the dagger, but her spirit had fractured; a split between body and mind, a mechanism she learned long ago at the hands of this…man. Varin grew enraged, denied the screams he so desperately sought. He raised the candlestick high overhead, then brought it down as a smith would his hammer, as an executioner would his axe.
Relentless, Varin struck the helpless girl while rage consumed him. The piece of meat before him was bloodied, but not enough. It was beaten, but not enough. “You little, insolent whelp…you cost me more in one morning than a bitch like you will see in a lifetime,” he yelled, his murderous weapons thundering down upon her body with each gristled word. “I’m going to beat it out of you,” he continued with labored breath. “Then feed you to the dogs.”
Ava’s mind drifted out of consciousness as a distant, numbing sensation sweep over her body. She felt her bones break, but it did not hurt. She felt her ribs give way with each blow, yet the pain was absent. She wandered to a different time, in a different place. She opened her eyes to see a brilliant blue staring back to her…the eyes of her mother.
Ava knew she had her mother’s eyes, always proud to tell people when asked, but she never remembered them being this radiant. Like shimmering drops of moonlight, the brilliant, blue eyes looked into hers as only a mother’s could.
"Good morning, my beautiful girl,” her mother said. The moment the words fell from her lips, Ava’s present fell away. “Why are you sad, my sweet?” Ava waited to hear her response, but one never came. Am I not part of this dream? Why can’t I speak? She wondered. Ava thought she had recalled a time from her infancy; but as she looked around, she could tell she was no baby. She stood in her mother’s bedroom, on a large, purple flower-shaped rug. She wore her favorite dress and thumbed through her long, braided hair. It was a sweet dream, one that Ava had many times before…yet it was different.
In previous dreams, her mother would hum Ava’s favorite song. Why had my dream changed? Ava thought. Her eyebrows contorted into a questioning grimace as Varin’s reign of terror continued. She looked around her mother’s room, reflecting on her dream, when a sudden warmth caressed her chin. Ava’s mother pulled her attention back to once again meet her brilliant eyes. Like the hottest of flames, the eyes pierced the little girl’s thoughts.
“Where did you go, my sweet?” her mother said, returning the calm to Ava’s inner torment…yet the young girl was confused.
This conversation had never taken place, she thought. This is no memory. The small girl looked back at her mom, her eyes swollen, her lips shaking.
“M, Mom?” she said, a quiver in her tiny voice. Ava’s mother gave a soft smile of recognition as the little girl released her emotion. She ran headlong into her mother’s outstretched arms, followed by a torrent of tears. Lost in the moment, Ava let it all go. Years of pain and suffering condensed into one glorious embrace.
“He cannot beat you,” Ava’s mother whispered. It was not a message of reassurance to a crying girl. It was a statement…a calm, strong declaration. Ava heard her mother’s voice, but the message did not make any sense. Who could not beat me? What does she mean?.
“Calm your mind, my sweet,” came another soft, tangible statement. Again, the words surprised Ava. She stood in her home, wrapped in the safety of her mother’s arms. Why is she saying these things? Why doesn’t she just make sense!” While the little girl’s emotions strained to comprehend the words, Ava’s mother pulled her to arm’s length and stared. Her eyes were white hot, with only a subtle hint of blue remaining. “Quiet the storm within,” she said. Her voice grew stern yet her tone remained soft and caring.
“You must do this for me.”
Young Ava drew her eyelids closed, heeding the words of her mother. As they came together, a long, slow breath withdrew from her lips. As if the world around her slowed, her soft breath dragged out, the longest of her young life. Once the air in her lungs had expired, Ava held that breath, savoring the complete relaxation. A sharp pain in her ribs broke her concentration. An intense fire emanated from her side, twisting a grimace across her serene expression. Yet as quickly as the pain came…it left, replaced by a dull ache. A similar pain developed behind her shoulder, but she focused and inhaled through the discomfort. As the air escaped her lips, so too had the pain.
As the mysterious aches left the young girl, she felt repeated cramps across her body. Ava settled deeper into her trance and her expression relaxed. With every breath, the pain disappeared. In time, all that remained were the repeated aches in her side, aches that dispersed an instant later. The beautiful little girl opened her eyes to look back at her mother, now smiling. It was a joyous smile, one of immense satisfaction, as though Ava had taken her first steps, or said “mom” for the first time. Then, her mother began to fade.
Ava’s dream blurred as the dull aches continued. Her mother’s bedroom melded into a large chamber, nestled on the second story of an old inn. Her mother’s image distorted into a short, fat, wretched man, a bloody candlestick clenched in his fist. Varin struck her again and the source of the dull aches became clear. Throughout her dream, Ava’s master relentlessly struck her broken, naked body with the metal candlestick. Ava looked into her master’s eyes as he took out his rage on the helpless form. But she was not dead...she was not broken…she was healed.
Varin raised the candlestick again, blood dripping from the warped handle. His hand and arm were no longer recognizable, covered in flowing, red fluid…her blood. Ava’s mind returned as he struck. She raised her hand in defense, catching the candlestick in the air. Varin’s face lost its intensity as he looked to his hand. What he saw flushed the color from his entire body, leaving a pale husk of a decrepit man.
The young blonde girl stared back at him, her eyes radiating light, casting a blue hue across the room. It wasn’t the intensity of her eyes that would haunt him for the rest of his life, however, it was the look on her face. She stared at him as a judge would look upon a convicted man, as an angel would look upon a demon. It was a look of pity, anger, and condemnation. If years of pain, fear, and anguish could morph into a single stare, it was this. She knew he would never give her another order. She knew he would never again raise his hand against her. She knew those days were gone…and as he stared into the radiant blue light, he knew it too.
Ava got to her feet, the candlestick still clutched in her hand, her eyes fixed upon the wretched man before her. To his surprise, Varin’s eyes never left her. He wanted to. He wanted to look away, to hide, to run, but he could not. He was frozen in place at the sight before him. The athletic young girl stood to her full height. The morning sun caressed her perfect form, bathing her figure. The result, a halo so bright it stung Varin’s eyes to behold. He stared up at her, his eyes unable to leave hers. They became swollen and red, and as her stare deepened, the eyes pooled with water. In time, he cried like a beaten child.
Varin collapsed to his knees, unable to control the shaking in his legs. As his hands hit the floor, he lost control of his bladder and his bowels. A crude mixture of snot, tears, and mucus hit the floor, blending with the blood, wine, and broken glass. Varin knelt before Ava, a quivering shell of a broken man.
“You're…weak,” came a soft, gentle voice. Varin sniffed and looked around, only to realize it came from the woman before him. Ava studied her former master, disgust draped across her face. She glanced at her skin, bloodied and bruised, yet unbroken, then turned her eyes back to Varin. “and you…fear me?” she questioned.
Ava remained calm as she replayed the events of the past few moments…and the past few years. Anger welled within as the visions echoed in her mind, “you would murder me…and feed me to the dogs?” Her questions continued as she sought understanding.
As the words took hold in Varin's mind, he understood their meaning …and wept. He looked up to Ava, pleading, “P…please. I was…he…” but he could not form a sentence. The sun through the window was blinding, accentuating the angelic appearance. Through the tears, he mumbled, “what…what are you?”
Ava’s temperament remained unchanged. Her expression remained stern, her stare intense, and her resolve defined. She looked upon the man she feared most of her life, the man that enslaved, raped, and beat her, the man that emptied her life of meaning and numbed her of all sensation. This man knelt before her, disgraced. He pleaded for his life…he begged, but this only enhanced her disgust. “I…” Ava thought for a moment, unsure of her answer. With resolve, she raised he shoulders and furrowed her brow, “I am vengeance.”
She took a slow, controlled breath and closed her eyes. The last remnants of pain left her body. The last wounds healed. Her body was whole, as though the events of the morning never took place…as though the events of the past ten years never happened. She listened to his sobs and pitiful pleas. She listened to the sounds of the market. She listened to the sounds of laughter from the bar below. She heard it all. She soaked it in while her body soaked in the sun. She absorbed the rays, bathing in their warmth. In time, she exhaled. The act was torture to Varin, whose pleas had become nothing more than inhuman blubbering. The common tongue had long since left him and all he could do was mutter like an incoherent baby, a baby that had soiled, defecated, and slobbered all over himself…all over this city.
Ava opened her eyes and looked upon him, judging his entire life in a single moment. She looked upon the ornamental dagger and the purple lotus hilt. “That doesn't belong to you,” she began. “And neither do I.” Ava knelt down and pulled the dagger through Varin's grip, feeling the cold steel in her fingertips. She pressed the tip of the blade against his chin and lifted, bringing his eyes back to her. She saw the light of her eyes reflect through his tears, and with soft determination, whispered, “shall we begin?”
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Mists of Kel Doran