Archive for October, 2019


Prompt #30 – Darkness

Falling. Floating. Without end. Without beginning.

Iscara slowly found her consciousness wrapping around herself, aware of her surroundings now.

Or, should would be, if there were any surroundings.

An endless darkness, nothing but void, all around her. But it didn’t feel wrong, it almost felt familiar.

“Hydaelyn?”

She called out, no words, no sound, but she called out all the same.

“Mother?”

Nothing. No crystal, no light, no words spoken to her soul.

And then there was everything, light, noise, brilliant, blinding, a rush, an onslaught, overwhelming.

Iscara woke up with an intake of breath, one hand clenching the covers of the blanket. The familiar ceiling of the Pendants greeted her, the large room silent with no one else around.

She pushed the covers aside, striding to the large windows, and pushed them open. The twinkling night sky greeted her, and she relaxed. Tension disappearing as she watched the stars glimmer against the blackness. Leaning on the railing, she simply watched them for a while, letting them calm her thoughts.

Usually when she had those experiences, it was Hydaelyn calling to her. It had felt the same, certainly not a dream, but what it meant she wasn’t sure. A reflection of what had happened here in the first perhaps?

Warrior of Light. Warrior of Darkness. Less and less, the title she was being called mattered to her. She would do what she had always been doing, no matter the place or time.

But for now, the fight was done, and she could enjoy the hard-won peace of the night, standing here, looking up at the stars glimmering against the dark.

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For my free day prompt, I once again delved back to the 2018 challenge and randomly picked one of the prompts. So my extra credit day is inspired by 2018 #17 – Without A Trace.

Aymeric rarely had time to himself, even a morning was a treat to have spare. Although he swore that Lucia and Handeloup would scheme among themselves to make sure he got one every so often.

Not that he was complaining of course. He often used these rare occasions to relax and indulge in things he was otherwise too busy for. Today, he was in the kitchen, baking himself some treats to go along with his tea, something to look forward to on the busy days.

His loose cotton shirt was rolled up to the elbows, hands covered in flour and spices, the air a little cloudy as he folded the pastry for the last time, before rolling it out thin. Picking up a sharp knife, he deftly cut it all into rectangles, neat and regular.

Leaning over to the stove, he picked up the pan and removed the lid, the sweet smell of cinnamon and stewed apples filling the air. Each rectangle had a line of the mixture spooned onto it down the middle, steam gently curling up.

Humming to himself, a little tunelessly perhaps, he finished with the filling and picked the knife back up, cutting ribbons into the pastry on each side, and then drew them over the filling in a lattice pattern, sealing in the sweet treat in a pastry cocoon. When all twelve of them were wrapped up snugly, he brushed a little glaze on top, sprinkled them with a shower of sugar, slid them into the oven, and turned a sand timer to measure how long they were in there for. It shouldn’t take long, just until they turned golden and the sugar melted a little.

Out of the oven came the cherry pastries that he had made in the previous batch, little squares with diagonal corners cut out and folded over, so the cherries were just peeking out of the middle. These were transferred over to the wire rack to cool, and Aymeric busied himself with clearing up his efforts, washing the pots and pans and utensils in the sink. His chef would have told him not to bother, but he had given her the morning off so he could use the kitchen without feeling like he was getting underfoot, and he had every intention of leaving it as clean as he could.

The timer ran out, and he quickly dried his hand, using the towel as a hand cover to take the tray of apple pastries out of the oven and slide them onto the cooling rack next to the cherries.

Returning to the sink, the metal tray hissed as it hit the water, but he wiped it down and along with a few more utensils, wiped them all down before stacking them on the draining board. Turning back around to the pastries, he smiled to himself, took a step, and then stopped dead.

Slowly, he turned back, narrowed his eyes, and counted. One, two, three, four…nine, ten. He counted a second time. Ten cherries pastries. Ten apple pastries.

Which was a problem, because he had made twelve of each.

Looking around, he looked at the doors and windows. The windows were still misted up, the warm kitchen air causing dew drops on the cold glass panes. Those were undisturbed, so unlikely that a thief had come in from there. The door was on the latch, just as he had left it, nothing to suggest it had been opened recently. He looked back at the table, counting the pastries for a third time. Still ten, and he knew, he knew he had made twelve.

He tapped his hand on the table, lipped pressed together, thinking. For now, he fetch a large cloth, and carefully placed it over the pastries, covering them from prying eyes whilst they cooled. Then he went upstairs and found his linkpearl.

“Lucia?”

The line buzzed for a couple of moments “Ser? Is everything alright? You still have a couple of bells left of the morning.”

“I know. Perchance have you heard anything from the warrior of light this morning?”

He could almost hear the knowing grin she was concealing, “I may have informed her of your status as a free agent this morning.”

“Have you seen her?”

“No Ser. I would imagine she would have gone straight to yours. Or perhaps the Fortemps manor? Is something wrong?”

“No Lucia, nothing’s wrong. I’ll go back to enjoying the free time you’ve won me.”

“My pleasure Ser.”

The linkpearl cut out with a blip of static. He put it down, and then his hands on his hips, “You know I would have given you one if you’d simply asked for it?”

“I know,” a low voice came from behind him.

He turned around to see her leaning against the door frame to the room, one of the apple pastries in her hand, half eaten already. He gave her a look, and she returned it with a smile, taking another bite of the stolen treat.

“But where’s the fun in that?”

Ever since she had first attuned to an aetheryte in Gridania, she had liked travelling by the aether currents that the network tuned into. There were always, flavours, tastes, smells associated with each

The Black Shroud was earthy, dappled sunlight and rustling leaves. A deep hum of elements, blending together in harmony

La Noscea was salty, churning, a spray of water against the face. The headiness of wine on the tongue.

Thanalan was heat, warm stones after a day of sunlight. A stillness in the air that made everything seem a little less urgent.

Coerthas was the first bite of winter, cold nipping at your heels. The scent after rain and the first signs of spring just peeking through the snow.

Gyr Abania spoke of undulations, the high peaks and windings valleys. A blend of earth and wind whistling around each other.

Orthard was brightly coloured, more so than any other place. The sounds of tiny bells, and metal on metal ringing at the edge of hearing.

The excitement of new places never dulled for her, and she was ever curious about what would be next, what places and sights there were to see just around the corner, what new aether was there to sense.

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Completely forgot to cross post the last few, apologies! Spoilers for A Realm Reborn Quests, Astral and Umbral.

The noise in the kitchen was absolutely deafening. Bubbling, clattering pots, knives chopping against wooden boards, the creak of the roasts turning, people calling and screaming at each other, shouting out instructions and questions.

In short, chaos. Chaos that was perfect to hide in.

Until Alphinaud appeared at the door, looking frantic.

“Have you seen the warrior of light? Has she come through here?” His voice made no impact on the noise, looking helplessly around as the people moved by without paying him a wink of attention, “Ah, excuse me. Oh. Um, excuse me!”

It wasn’t until the lord of the house himself stepped into the entranceway that a silence swept across the room, people stopping and looking. Lord Edmont leaned on his cane, “Have any of you seen our guest of honour perchance?”

None of them could really meet his eye as they swept around the room, until one of them sheepishly pointed towards the pantry. The two elezen followed the finger, entering the slightly cooler room where the food was and looking around, until Alphinaud exclaimed, “There you are!”

Tucked away on one of the highest shelves, the warrior of light was lying on her back, legs wedged in between some boxes, a book from the library in hand as she took absolutely no notice of either of them and continued to read. Edmont raised an eyebrow, curiously wondering quite how she had gotten herself up there.”

“Please come down? I realise that attending this celebration is not exactly high on your list of pleasant things to enjoy, but you are the guest of honour, and it will make our stay here in Ishgard much more pleasant if we can get all the High Houses at least on polite terms.”

She didn’t answer, nor did she respond to the next several pleas from Alphinaud. Edmont reached out a hand and placed it on his shoulder, taking his turn, “My lady, if there is something about the evening which is displeasing you so, I can see what I can do to change it. In the short time you have been here with us, you have already had quite an effect on us, and these celebrations are the way we wish to express our gratitude.”

The warrior of light sighed, still not looking at them, but instead up at the ceiling, “The last ‘celebration’ we were at…I just…I don’t think I’m ready.”

Alphinaud immediately softened, “Oh Iscara, I didn’t mean to…”

“I know.”

Edmont know the story, the reason that the trio of Scions had come to Ishgar,d seeking refuge within their snowy city. The poor young Sultana, poisoned, the warrior of light blamed.”

“Would you like to come down to the wine cellar with me? We can check the vintages that are to be offered at tonight’s ceremony together.”

She finally looked down at them, and after a few moments, alarmingly rolled off the shelf, landing on her feet lightly.

“I’d…appreciate that,” she said softly.

Edmont gave her a sympathetic smile, and held out his arm for her, which she took. Iscara looked down at Alphinaud, “I’ll come. Just…tell Tataru I’m not wearing a dress.”

The young scions spread his hands, grimacing slightly, “I’ll try.”

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