“Run … LEAVE … GET OUT!”
Those words resounded in her head, reaching into the deepest recesses of her brain, and she couldn’t escape them. What had begun as whispers, had escalated into a roaring in her ears that was unbearable.
She clutched at the sides of her head, gripping her hair even, squeezing her eyes closed, willing it to stop. Willing the voices to get out, to leave her alone. She began to shake her head from side to side, mumbling incoherent sentences, whimpering, crying, anything that would drown out the sounds.
Had Ana not seen what she had just moments earlier, a scene so horrifying, more traumatic than anything she had ever witnessed before in her life, she would have or could have taken heed of the voices and run away, just turned on her heel, away from the massacre of the Orc encampment in front of her, away from Kaeth, even, and just run back the way she’d come from. But her legs wouldn’t move anyway, they couldn’t. She wasn’t entirely sure how she was even still standing. She had that odd sense of just being there, almost as if it were an out of body experience, and it was a wonder her limbs would still support her at all.
How had this all happened? How had an entire camp full of Orcs been literally shred to pieces before her eyes by something or somethings unseen. What or who had ripped them apart with such force, such unbelievable ferocity and strength, and why? Why did the man just stand there and watch. Did he know what had done it, did he cause it?
And then suddenly the voices did stop. And Ana realized that somebody was still screaming. Her. Her legs gave out at that point, and she sank down onto the grass, heavily, on her knees, only startled into quietening when she heard the small voice in front of her whisper, “Sshh, “and she opened both of her eyes slowly, a hand flying to her mouth to stifle both another scream and the overwhelming urge to vomit at what she saw before her. A little girl, or at least what had once been a little elven girl by the looks of her stared at her from an eyeless face, for where her eyes had once been there were now empty sockets as if her eyes had literally been gouged from her head. Her hair, long and lank, lay straight, hanging from her head, partially covering her face, falling over her shoulders, and she cocked her head at a sharp, unnatural looking angle as she stared at Ana, her crooked finger held up to her lips.
It was then that the warlock turned to look at Ana, concern in his eyes.
“I’m so sorry you had to see … all of that, “he said, his arm gesturing back to where the bloodied scene had unfolded before her, but all that was there now was the forest. There was no camp, even. No blood, not a sign that what she had seen had even taken place at all. She shook her head with disbelief.
What has been seen, cannot be unseen.
She watched in stunned horror as the little girl walked away from her, towards the warlock, giggling right before she moved to actually embrace the man, and he reached down to stroke the child’s hair, smiling affectionately even before she just disappeared, sinking into his … body, almost as if he had just absorbed her. And at that point, her head began to really spin, her vision clouding, almost as if she might actually pass out this time.
“Sorry…” she choked out, finally, “you’re sorry?”
She started to giggle then, quietly at first, and then so loudly she couldn’t stop. Stunned hysteria was kicking in, full force. This caused Lord Stormblood’s brow to crease as he looked at her with more concern then, stooping down and crouching in front of her, the long sash he wore around his middle dragging on the ground, and he brought his face close to hers, cupping her cheeks with his hands, to try and make her look at him.
“Miss Blackcrest…”he murmured.
She startled when he touched her, a short, sharp cry escaping her lips before she actually looked at him, catching his eyes with her own, but hers still bulged wide with shock and fear.
What has been seen, cannot be unseen.
And she either couldn’t speak yet, or she just simply didn’t want to, for fear she might begin to scream once more, and he helped her to her feet, moving them back a few steps to garner a wider view of the forest before them and heslipped his arm around her waist to support her. He would press a soft kiss to her lips and then gaze up at the ghostly moonlight seeping through the thick trees overhead before smiling and remarking, in his normal tone and manner, as if nothing at all out of the ordinary had happened,
“It’s beautiful here, isn’t it? I always did like the way the lights filtered through the trees in just this way. It’s dark and mysterious, this whole place, yet beautiful. Don’t you think, Miss Blackcrest?”
She turned her head to look at him oddly, blinking, her expression flat and exhausted. But she simply nodded in agreement. It was as he said it was.
But what has been seen cannot be unseen.
Ana hadn’t expected to ever see the little girl again, nor had she hoped to, so when she made an appearance the very next night as she and her lover stood side by side at the top of the Row, about to conclude the last part of their evening walk, she had been as terrified as the night before it. The energy the little girl brought with her was not unlike anything she had felt before, but in it’s own way it was dense, colder, and far more oppressive. The girl carried with her an aura so dark and full of despair and vengeance that it chilled Ana to the very core. Still, when the manifestation tugged at the skirts of her robe, clawing at her leg insistently as the two of them stood there speaking with Felano Glacierwind, his armor spattered in blood from a source unknown to her, she had felt pity for the child, briefly. She was a lost soul, trapped between their own world and the next and she couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to her in her life that had brought about an end that was so traumatic that it would cause her to be stuck there in the first place.
“Mommy? Why is that man so dark?” The little girl had looked up at her from her eyeless face, and Ana reached down to stroke her head as Lord Stormblood had the night before and gave her a small smile, shaking her head.
“I don’t know, little one, “she answered, “I don’t know.”
And later on that night, when the child appeared beside her bed in the dead of night, startling her awake, calling to her as a child would their mother, again, Ana had asked her name. And then Eyla took her place in the corner beside Ghaad, curled up as a helpless ball beside the creature, her head resting on the Felhounds haunches and Ana closed her eyes wondering at the absolute insanity that she was now living in the midst of, and her dreams, when they came, would be filled with the sounds of crackling fire and screaming.