Mists of Kel Doran
Season 1 - Dragon-Touched
Episode 1 - The Weave of Fate
Chapter 18 - Sinister Purpose
Chapter XVIII - Sinister Purpose
Approximate read time ~ 9 minutes
Ava studied the glint of steel between her fingertips, mesmerized by the dancing light as it cascaded through her window. The metal was cold…icy…like frost on an early winter morning, yet the sensation was not surprising. “This is mine…isn’t it?” she asked, her tone filled with resentment, her lips pursed. She could not recall seeing or holding it before, yet she knew its touch. Her eyes fell away from the stiletto and back onto the shriveled form before her. “Is this my dagger?” she yelled, yielding a simple shiver from the husk of a man.
Varin whimpered as his body recoiled in fear at the body before him. Words were lost and he simply nodded his head toward the beautiful woman. Snot dripped from his lips as his engorged belly heaved in reflex.
“But how?” Ava questioned, returning her gaze to the ornate hilt. “I know this weapon,” she continued. “Where did it come from? What would you have of it?” she demanded, scolding Varin as a mother would condemn a child.
Once again, Varin lacked the ability to respond. His sobbing grew louder and the snot flowed with regularity. His head turned back toward the chair, back to the body of Mr. Aerent. He lifted his hand and pulled his fingers tight…all but one. With a single outstretched finger, his arm slowly uncurled to face the large body on the floor, lying in a pool of his own blood. Varin opened his mouth and a flow of snot and mucus fell to the floor. “To…kill you,” he whispered, as though apologizing for every indiscretion of his life in one statement.
Ava stopped. The dagger slipped from her fingertips and tumbled to the floor. With a ringing thump, the blade wedged between the wooden planks. The old floor cracked and popped as it froze near the tip of the dagger. A blue chill emanated from the point as ice filled the splintered wood. The young girl’s heart sank at the words. “To…to kill me? But why?” she questioned. Her eyes sought answers as they too sank to the floor. They filled with water and wandered around the room in search of resolution. She looked to Varin, then back to her hands before settling on the ridged lines that encircled her wrists. Ava’s eyes narrowed as she rubbed at the tattoo and her fruitless attempts to erase his mark. “To kill…me?!” she said again, anger resurfacing in her voice.
Varin recoiled and fell backwards to the floor. He crawled away from the young woman as her eyes demanded answers. “He…he told me!” Varin whimpered, his voice aggressively pointing back to the body on the floor. “He said…he said…your mother,” he continued as his eyes widened in panic. “They’re…coming for you.” He coughed and clutched at his chest. Snot and mucus coated his face as he tried to breath. He rolled to his side, but could only muster gurgling sounds and the occasional cough.
Ava’s hands fell to her sides while the sun caressed her subtle curves. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes lost their luster. “They’re coming…my mother?” she whispered, her gaze losing focus. “To kill…me?” she continued as her knees hit the floor. The words twisted in her mind while guttural noises emanated from the man she hated most in this world.
She could not tell if Varin was dying, nor did she care. Her expression remained unchanged as the rotund man rolled around the floor, gasping for air. She watched for a few moments before her eyes drew sharp and her lips pinched. Ava crawled next to her former master while he clutched his neck, a look of terror draped across his face. She bent over him and placed her face directly in front of his, locking her blue eyes to his own. “Do not speak of my mother!” she screamed. Resentment returned to her voice as she held his head in place, recounting his words, “...a sinister purpose, indeed.”
She stared into his eyes and relished in his agony. Countless memories flooded her thoughts as she recalled moments in their past, moments he would terrorize, even torture, the young girl…moments of innocence lost and painful regret. “And to think…I spent my life in fear…of you.”
Ava shifted her curiosity to Mr. Aerent’s body, seeking answers to Varin’s mysterious gesture. His mouth and eyes were still open, capturing the last moment of his life in horrific detail. His jaw was crushed and there was a gaping hole in his neck, a slow trickle adding to the bloody pool on the floor. His robes were the fashion of nobility, expensive and elegant, with a crimson rose stitched across his chest and shoulder. All of his pockets had been either turned out or ripped during Varin’s manic search, with one exception. On Thibold’s lapel sat a decorative pocket, consisting of small, beautiful flowers. Purple petals curled to a tip to accentuate the deep red center, inviting the young woman’s touch.
Ava reached for the flowers, then recoiled in pain as she caressed the soft petals. As if stung by a bee, she examined her delicate fingertips, then looked back to the flowers. The petals wilted…then blackened. One by one, they turned to ash and crumbled upon Mr. Aerent’s silken robes, leaving behind the blood red center. The remaining flowers, however, sat undisturbed in the comfort of his pocket.
She reached for another flower, and again, her finger snapped back in pain as the petals withered and decayed at her touch. “What the…?” she whispered as she glanced at her fingers. Determined, she reached once more and grasped the flower by the stem. She slowly pulled the long flower from his lapel and held it before her, the colors fascinating the enthralled young girl.
She pulled the stems free and tucked them behind her ears, pinning her long, blonde hair to the side of her face. Ava stood, tall and proud, catching her reflection in the mirror. She gazed into her mother’s eyes, smiled at the flowers upon her face, and felt truly beautiful for the first time in years. The mirror reflected the image of a strong woman; determined, powerful, and still very much naked.
“By the Hells,” she cursed, scanning the floor for her emerald dress. Ava crossed the room, stepping over the squirming body of Varin Wray as if he was nothing more than a hole in the side of the road. She pulled her elegant dress off the floor and brought it to her toned frame, brushing the fabric against her skin. She spun in a circle, letting the dress fly free as it encircled her body. A gentle smile came over the young woman as the taste of freedom began to whet her appetite.
She lifted the dress over her head and pulled tight as she worked it over her breasts, then let it fall. It clumped around her waist before gliding over her hips. The soft fabric fell effortlessly to her knees and bounced as it reached its full extent. She twirled once again, allowing the fabric to hug her curves before falling back into place. Ava could taste it…freedom. She looked out of her second story window, seeing the docks for the first time. She saw people milling about the market and hurrying about their business.
Ava stood before the old windowsill, her portal to the world. She ran her fingertips along the bench, feeling along the cracks, splinters, and chipped paint. She thought back to the first time she saw this as a little girl, and how little it had changed over the years. A colorful glint caught Ava’s eye in her moment of reflection. She looked to the dark corner of the room. Brilliant jewels lied in a pool of wine, broken glass, and blood…her blood. As the sun rose, it caught these jewels and each one sang its own chorus, weaving a colorful melody of light. The darkest corner of her life, the scene of her death, had become beautiful once again…a rainbow from the shadows.
The young girl pushed away from the windowsill and knelt in the corner. She collected each jewel, along with an old, onyx-encrusted necklace. Ava placed the jewels in her pocket while her soft gaze remained fixed on the old amulet. Two dragons raced around the center stone while the opaque gems swirled in the darkness, capturing the light. She placed the center stone between her fingertips and stared into the abyss.
Voices whispered in hushed tones, echoing through her mind in a language she did not understand. Her eyes sprang open and she shot upward, dropping the amulet back to the floor…back to the pool of blood and wine.
“The fuck?” she whispered, staring at the old necklace. Ava examined her fingers, then her hands, before returning her gaze back to the shadowed corner. This is madness, she thought as she bent to retrieve the old jewelry. Madness.
Ava hurried to the bed and dropped her collection onto the covers. The gems and necklace fell into a blood-stained pile. The young woman folded the covers and rubbed, cleansing the memories away. As each gem was cleaned, she dropped it back into her pocket, saving the amulet for last. Ava lifted the onyx stones and examined them once more, allowing the unfamiliar voices to resonate in her thoughts.
She shook her head as she pulled the amulet around her neck and tightened the clasp. As she turned to leave, she bumped into the nightstand, sending a small stack of coins to the floor. Ava’s shoulders slumped while she stared, reflecting upon their meaning. With resolve, she knelt down to scoop them up, ensuring every mark was accounted for.
Ava calmly walked to Varin, still struggling to breath and grasping at his chest. His eyes were wide with fear and his lips were blue. The young girl gave Varin a smile, the only smile he had ever known. The one she saved…just for him. “I believe you may be needing these where you’re going,” she said as she stuffed the coins into his mouth. White fluid crept from the corners of his lips as his face turned red. He groaned in agony and thrashed side to side as his mouth filled with coins. “Perhaps you’ll finally understand the cost of your lies.”
Ava cupped her hand over his mouth and pressed, locking his head in place. She slid a few more coins between her fingertips and held tight while the oversized man panted. With sinister purpose, she pressed her fingertip against her lips and whispered, “shhhhhh.” Within moments, Varin’s eyes grew wide, then rolled back into his head. The panting and weaving stopped, as had his efforts to breathe. The smile faded from her lips, replaced by a menacing look of satisfaction.
The young woman calmly wiped her hands against his silken robe, then stood before her former master. She pulled against her dress and twisted until it fit correctly, then adjusted the amulet around her neck. Satisfied, she stepped over his body and strode toward the large double doors.
She did not make it far, however. As her eyes set toward the exit of her Hell, they fell upon another form, that of her friend. Ava raised her hands to her mouth in horror, recalling Di’Jor’s last moments.
“Oh, Di’Jor,” she whispered, racing to his side. The young girl dropped to her knees and tugged at the man’s shoulders, rolling him to his back. His eyes were brown and soft, just as she remembered. Ava’s soft hands cupped his cheeks while she leaned in closer, the tears returning to her embattled eyes. “Not for me. You can’t die for me,” she said as she pulled him to her chest.
Her arms wrapped around his head as her emotions consumed her. “No, no, no…you can’t die for me. You just can’t!” she pleaded, but Di’Jor was far past the point of responding. Ava rocked her friend in her arms, her tears washing the blood from his face. She felt the warm sensation against her bosom and looked to see Di’Jor’s wound, and the trickle of blood that followed. She looked back to her arms and chest and her own blood, now dried and caked into her pores.
Her tears subsided and her eyes widened, gently placing Di’Jor’s head back onto the rug. Ava closed her eyes and whispered, “calm the storm. You must calm the storm.” She placed her hands on her friend’s chest and forehead and spoke louder, “I must calm the storm within. I must…the storm.” The young woman opened her eyes…but nothing had changed. She looked at her hands. They were the same as they had always been, slender, agile, but nothing more.
Ava clenched her teeth and returned her hands to Di’Jor, yelling, “I must calm my storm! I am calm!” but her eyes once again opened to a silent chamber, her friend still lifeless before her. “WHY!” she screamed as she slammed her hands into Di’Jor’s chest. “Answer me!” she yelled again, turning her head skyward in search of answers.
It didn’t work, she thought, her eyes scanning the room. “Gone,” she whispered. Her head collapsed back to his bare chest as the torrent of tears returned. “Why, Di’Jor? Why did you die for me? Why did you die for…nothing?” she cried.
As Ava knelt across her friend’s body, she felt a subtle vibration in the floor. A low, steady rumble that rattled the portraits and mirrors. The vibration grew as small cracks opened along the wall, crawling along the ceiling. Screams from the tavern below echoed those heard in the market outside. Panic ensued as the vibration grew more intense. Ava placed her hands on the floor for balance while picture frames crashed to the floor, littering the enormous chamber with broken glass.
Ava looked across the room, through her open window, at the rooftops of the old market. Some roofs disappeared from sight, their structures collapsing into a dusty memory. A large rumble shot from above as enormous shingles slid off the old inn, crashing into the cobblestone below. The crack in the ceiling grew wider as chunks of ceiling gave way, bursting into the floor. Ava threw herself over Di’Jor’s body and held tight as all around, windows shattered, buildings collapsed, and screams of terror echoed through the streets.
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Mists of Kel Doran