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A Reprieve [Finn][Festival]

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#1Leyaria Venerak 

on Tue May 01, 2018 2:27 am

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

She had spent enough time around taverns and bars to know better. Leyaria knew that drinking without eating generally did not lead to many outcomes, and having spent so much of the last day travelling from Magnolia to here, she had barely had given that any consideration, much less have something to eat. That was more a testiment to her behavior at this point, more reflective of bad decisions than anything else, which had become a bit of a trend for Leyaria unfortunately. Perhaps it were more her accepting what was to eventually happen, a bit of her coming to terms with her impending death. But unlike how she had behaved in the past, there was less consideration taken towards her actions. Rather, they more stood with her coming to terms with this.

After all, she had reunited with Bianca. That was perhaps the most pressing thing that she had aimed to achieve before she passed, and she accomplished that. At this point, she was living on borrowed time. And her behavior reflected that. That wasn't to say that her behavior was neccesarily one that went against a lot of what people were doing right now, as many a people were being reckless themselves. The only difference stood that they didn't know that they would be dead soon. These people were largely just living in the moment, enjoying themselves at a place that was admittedly a place of festivities.

And to a degree, Leyaria was as well, but her own carelessness was becoming more apparent than what even she might have wanted to admit. And she was paying the price for it now with a raging hangover and the last bits of her drunkenness waning, providing more clarity to her, but at the same time reminding her of the headache that was pounding upon within her head. In spite of that though, there was a level of comfort upon her face, particularly as she looked around and saw everyone else living it up to their fullest. It was hard to deny that the general atmosphere was a bit intoxicating, but it also lent to people being foolish, as Leyaria was coming to find out first hand.

Taking a seat against one of the larger trees in the area, she almost felt as though the shade provided by the returning leaves was helping her relax. It may have only been in her mind, but nonetheless, sitting there with her head leaned back against the bark was a bit comforting nonetheless. More, what she was coming to wonder was how many more times would she be getting an oppurtunity like this. The hangover she could do without. But to just enjoy herself, to have a moment of bliss like the people around her were, Leyaria wondered just how many more chances she would have to enjoy that.

She hoped it would be a few more times, at least.

Internally Conflicted

#2Finn Mertens 

on Wed May 02, 2018 11:25 pm

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Orchidia had become a place of joyous exuberance, drawing individuals from all over the nation of Fiore and perhaps abroad to travel there. For mages it was a time to unwind, spending a bit of that hard earned jewel and making connections where it mattered. For adventurers it was a time of letting go of the stress that their lives had brought about. For a vast majority of those who came, it was simply about enjoying what the town had to offer. The flowers were beginning to transition into bloom as if to welcome the onslaught of Spring. The allergies that made themselves apparent with travelers were a meager price to pay for the sights and experiences brought alongside.

Through the streets that were packed with new souls, a lone man traveled among the pack. He did not particularly stick out, wearing neither armor nor a weapon. By all indications he was a man just as any other. While many would remain wary of whether or not he were a magician, no one would be able to tell that he was an adventurer. The bandages that wrapped around his arms, hiding wounds still healing, were no indication. The muscles that looked as worn as they were refined indicated he did not slack on his physical capabilities, but what of it? Blacksmiths were no different, and much more common. Who would guess that one of the most powerful adventurers in the kingdom walked so inconspicuously?

His blond hair caught in the breeze. It was weak enough not to make him a mess, instead offering a light sway that was only half a beat faster than his stride. His eyes were blue like the ocean, stained by light. His face held a sated curiosity about it. The integration of nature with civilization was something that was quite unique in the town of Orchidia. They were by no means living side by side, but it was an attempt more valiant than any other location.

As he broke from the crowd a sigh broke past his lips, one indicating obvious exhaustion. His recent travels had aggravated his disdain for such cramped spaces. It was hard to react when elbow to elbow with people who may as well have been innocents. Still, Fiore was nothing like the hellish land he had been to. He repeated that assurance again and again to keep himself at ease, but truth be told he barely bought it. Rather than continue forward in the torrent of bodies, why not find a nice relaxing place to catch his breath?

No sooner had he decided that than a face stuck out of the scenery. There were plenty others wondering around, claiming sections of grass or trunks of wood to rest, yet this particular appearance was as though a spotlight shone upon it. He recognized the features immediately as someone he had met long ago. Approaching the tree with a certain sense of confidence that was not previously there, he positioned himself so that she would not see him coming. His approach was from her right side, just hardly within the gaze of her peripheral vision. It would make sense if she didn't even notice him, his frame blending in with the hustle and bustle going on.

"Well, its a small country after all. Leyaria, how have you been?"

#3Leyaria Venerak 

on Thu May 03, 2018 4:09 am

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

Watching the people, it brought no shortage of thoughts through the mind of Leyaria. People, some of whom had arrived alone, having the time of their life, whether it was them being caught up in the festivities, or finding themselves in circumstances that led to greater fortune. Wealth maybe. Companionship. A brief moment of happiness. Whatever it was, they were finding it here. Then there were those who had come with others. Some their significant others, the one they loved, the one they were hoping to find that special spark with. Others arriving just as friends, experiencing all of the highs and lows that came with being here as a group. It almost brought a tear to Leyaria's eye to see them so happy and engaged.

And it broke her heart knowing that to encounter joy like that again, it wasn't likely to come by.

At first, the man's words didn't exactly register with her. The tone, the resonance, it reminded her of a time past. But that wasn't possible. Could it have been? Leyaria at first believed herself to be going mad, no doubt another side effect of the demonic taint which was only getting worse. Maybe it was just the hangover, Leyaria stealing the happiness of the others and implanting her own memories into sound. Another word was spoken and she become more anxious, hopeful that she wasn't out of her mind.

Turning around from the tree that she leaned against, she couldn't believe her eyes. It wasn't possible. It couldn't have been. She looked at the man, perplexed, suspicions and disbelief rushing through her head as she tried to grasp just if who she was looking at was actually him. When he spoke her name, the ease by her name escaped his lips, her mouth dropped. Her eyes began to water, tears beginning to form and began to descend upon her cheeks. For a moment, it was as though time stood still, Leyaria rushing up from her position, all but throwing her arms around the man's body.

"Finn!" She cried out, unable to contain the emotional wave that was overtaking her presently.

She struggled to get out her words, unable to do anything other than cry right now. She had thought that reuniting with Bianca, that would have been the most of what she would have been able to achieve with what time she had left. But for this, to have encountered Finn as well, she was beside herself. After everything that had happened, after how much time had passed since the one time they met, Leyaria had no reason to think that he would remember her, let alone her name.

This revelation, this chance encounter, she didn't know how to react other than this.

Internally Conflicted

#4Finn Mertens 

on Thu May 03, 2018 6:04 am

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Her face expressed a range of emotion, all of which cascaded out as if a dam had finally broke. Her confusion and disbelief swiftly transformed, giving way to shock and relief. It had been as though his appearance came at the perfect time. He remembered this girl well, and he remembered how troubled she had been. She had been timid, reluctant to allow him a foothold in her life but quick to concede when given the opportunity. It seemed that their friendship had not wilted in his absence, instead blooming and growing in a way that fostered such a response.

As she leaped from her sitting position, moving forward to cling to his frame, he felt a sense of relief. She had moved much too fast to see the look on his face. Lines at the corners of his eyes betrayed an exhaustion beyond his years, the stress of recent events having taken quite the toll. His eyes themselves shimmered with a dull light. The vibrant nature they once boasted was no more. The bandages on his body seemed to go unnoticed, though they may not be considered at all. It was not uncommon for people to wrap themselves in such cloth preemptively, an act of utility rather than to cover wounds.

She had been swift, but not so swift as to conceal the tears that now stained her cheeks. A weak smile found its way to his lips, and a bit of the light that had died within him found itself rekindled. A single arm wrapped itself around her upper back, offering a comforting support. His dominant hand found itself on top of her head, lightly ruffling her hair. "Good to see you, too." His voice held a bit of joy, but his words seemed measured. Each syllable seemed to carry a certain weight to it now. It was certainly not a negative thing. It brought with it an air of maturity where he had previously seemed aloof. It would take time to see if the results of his travel would culminate into positive results, or leave him a husk of his former self. With experiences like this, however, he was off to a safe start.

"I'm glad I was able to run into you. It has been far too long."

#5Leyaria Venerak 

on Thu May 03, 2018 7:20 am

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

To say that she had not expected to encounter Finn, whether it had been here or anywhere else within Fiore, it would have been an understatement. The sad reality had long been, after the two of them had first met what seemed like so long ago, she had high expectations for what could have been between them. Not sure the two of them, though she would have been lying to herself if she did not view Finn as someone special. Perhaps not like that of a lover, but certainly of someone who cared for her, and vice versa. More like that of a brother than anything. But it wasn't just the dynamic between the two of them that she had hopes for, but also that of Blue Pegasus, the guild which for a brief time at least, she had been a part of.

But then things changed, and not for the better.

When she had left the Blue Pegasus Guild Hall, she had imagined that whatever might have been between the two of them, whatever report or care the two would hold towards each, namely whatever Finn may have held towards her, would have been gone. Leyaria wondered a bit, if the letter that she had written to him, the lone explanation for which she provided for leaving, the only person who she had confided to or felt she needed to explain herself to, she wondered if Finn ever got it, let alone read it. Even still she wondered, but that wonderment could not have hoped to eclipse what she was feeling right now.

Overwhelmed emotionally, Leyaria managed to hold back her tears, even just a bit, yet still remained at a loss for words. Her mind flashed back to when they had first met, how he had made her feel like a person. Like someone who mattered. And even here, during a time in which everyone cared about either themselves or those whom they had come here to the festival with, the same man who had shown her kindness was there again, doing the exact samething. It was when she felt the hand gently place against her backside, Leyaria's eyes widened slightly, a sense of reassurance rushing through her.

She pushed, ever so gently, off of Finn, if to give her a chance to look right at him, to get a better look at the man who time and circumstance had robbed her of. Robbed her of a chance of reuniting before this, before things turned out as they did for Leyaria, before her inevitable death clock began. Robbed her of a chance to spend time together, whether as guildmates, or even just as friends. Robbed her of a friendship that she had come to believe she had, or may have still, lost.

He looked so similar to how he did before, but yet, different at the same time. It wasn't a change as great as what Leyaria had gone through, whether on the outside or within, but she could tell. The smile, the one that was infectious enough to cause her to reciprocate, even for as down as she may have been, it didn't seem to be there. After all the time that had passed, she couldn't have imagined what he had done with Blue Pegasus over the period since they last spoke, but it clearly took its toll. Leyaria didn't want to admit it, but she did miss the smile from when she last saw him.

"I... missed you, Finn," Leyaria said, her words hoarse, weak. She would have liked to say more, but she was admittedly at a loss for words. To some degree, she was still stunned, surprised, and maybe even a little excited. Within her mind, her thoughts shifted back and forth between her memories of him, and the most recent thoughts she had had of him, of the letters that she had written. Written for him, as hopefully some way of explaining herself to him, but they had been - up to this point - nothing more than a dream. That would be for later though.

"I... I was worried that..." Fears of what might have happened to Finn, the uncertainty of it all, it caused her to pull a bit closer towards him, as though to deny she had those concerns. "It's been so long... I guess, I guess I hadn't expected to see you here..."

Leyaria sighed as she lowered her head slightly, ashamed at the fact that she had lost faith that they would have met again. "But I'm glad we could meet again too," she whispered. She didn't want to admit it, but with what time she had left, it wasn't likely that they would have another chance.

Internally Conflicted

#6Finn Mertens 

on Fri May 04, 2018 1:12 am

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This girl had always felt like such a fragile existence, a tiny shell swept up in the foam of the shore to be tossed and turned as nature saw fit. It seemed, at first glance, that time had not changed that. Her frame was small and petite. Her eyes still had the same lost sort of look as when he first met her. Her voice was timid, as though she had to build up courage before every word. Still, there was an air about her that screamed of changed. He couldn't place his finger on it, nor could he be certain, but she seemed stronger now. It was as if something had happened to make her more sure of herself.

As she spoke, her voice was strained. It sounded as though the moisture in her mouth and throat had begun to dry. It was a sure sign of nerves, and one that simply redoubled his opinion of her being so very like their first meeting. As she fought over the urge to push away from him, hoping to burn his image in her mind, or to pull closer to him to remember her old friend, he couldn't help but relax. For a moment, however brief, the recollection of his recent was no more. His smile lightened, no longer as forced or as rigid. It happened for only a moment, and if she had not been looking at just the right moment, she would have never known it existed at all.

As she looked down again, he stepped back and sighed, a weak smile on his face. "I missed you too, Leyaria. It truly has been too long." His voice came out with a soothing tone, evident of the kindness he had shown her in their first encounter. His smile may have temporarily been pushed to the brink of extinction, but the will to help those he cared about still burned lightly within his soul. "Let's walk." His invitation was made as a statement, but one that offered no sense of command. It seemed more like a precise request. Given the slightest indication that she agreed, he would begin walking towards the food stands. He needed something to wet his lips, and it sounded as though she did too.

As they began to walk, Finn analyzed the girl briefly. She seemed tired, even in comparison to the exhausted woman he had met on the streets of another town. Leyaria had been so timid then, and despite her bashful nature even now it had seemed as though she had grown. "A lot can change in such a breadth of time. Tell me about your life! What's new?" His voice held a bit more life in it now, as though simply being near someone whom he trusted was enough to begin warming his heart once more. It was always a good feeling to run into old friends in new places.

#7Leyaria Venerak 

on Fri May 04, 2018 3:33 am

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

Whether or not it were fair for her to blame herself, she did. Leyaria blamed herself for abandoning Blue Pegasus, for having betrayed Finn's trust, for what he may have likely thought was her leading him on the last time they met, for all of it. The more she thought to herself, the more she rationalized herself being just why his smile wasn't like that of what she remembered it being. It was hard to show any sort of excitement or joy towards someone who had broken your heart, and Leyaria couldn't help but feel that she deserved all of what he was projecting onto her. All the spite. All of the guilt.

Hearing him say that he missed her, Leyaria felt as though a huge weight had been lifted upon her shoulders, not sure if to be angry with herself for believing what she had convinced herself what she thought, or to be angry at him for denying to her what he really thought. She couldn't tell at this point. Was this for show? Did he truly miss her? Was she just going crazy? Had she spun this lie so often through her mind that she had become convinced of it all? She wasn't sure how to feel. Surely, she should have been happy, but why wasn't she? Anger mixed with confusion and delight in her head, each of the emotions vying for control of Leyaria, leaving her paralyzed, left without a course of action to take, unable to do anything more than remain there, her head looking down, too ashamed to allow Finn to see the confusion in her right now.

She heard Finn suggest they go for a walk, which Leyaria paused for a moment on, then lifting her head as she slowly began to follow behind Finn, the distance between the two of them slowly growing a bit further and further with each step that he took compared to the few she managed out over the same duration. All the while though, even in spite of this growing distance, they were within speaking distance of each other, Finn's words still managing to make their way through Leyaria's ears into her mind, causing her to only further feel overwhelmed.

It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to Finn.

He might not have quite been the same man who she had met so long ago, but even of what she could see of him, he retained more of what she knew him to be than of what she was then. What Leyaria most appreciated about Finn, his kindness towards others, the willingness to put them before himself, she could still hear it in his voice. Listening to Finn speak, she hadn't even realized that she had been reaching for one of the letters she had written. She didn't know what prompted them, what motivated her to write them, but she had done it for only a few, Finn included. As Finn asked how life had been for Leyaria, she stopped right in her tracks and looked down upon the one she had reached for, an "F" written on the opening of it to indicate it was in fact for him.

Staring down at the letter, she felt frozen, unable to advert her gaze away from the letter, the heartfelt confession that she hoped would one day reach him. The thought of her delivering it to him herself, could she have given it to him? The likelihood of them meeting again, she hadn't figured being possible. "Finn," she said aloud, her voice no longer hoarse, but still calm. There was pain in her voice, uncertainty, and more than anything else, worry. Worried how he may react, if she was strong enough to go forward with this or not. She wasn't sure she could.

She wasn't sure.

She wasn't.

Her eyes stayed focused on Finn the entire time, for a brief moment, it seeming like the rest of the world had completely frozen in time. In her hand, was the letter, it shaking slightly with her own hand as fear rushed through her body. Her lips twitched slightly as she sought to speak, to make any sound beyond just the man's name, but she just remained there. Not even the tears seemed to affect her. Whether Leyaria had failed to notice it or not, she had found herself crying, standing upright, looking right at Finn, the letter now slightly crumbled as it remained in her hand, tears descending from her cheek, staining the dried ink that had been written down so long ago, right when she first began to realize that things weren't right. Back when she was afraid, but still had hope.

Letter's Contents:

"Finn,"

"So much time. So much time now has passed since we last spoke, I wouldn't be surprised if you had forgotten of me. I guess, I suppose a part of me is hoping that's the case. That this letter is nothing more than a reflection of a past that neither of us need to think back to. I wish things had gone differently. I wish I had done more, that I had been stronger than to just walk away. From Blue Pegasus, from your friends, from you."

"Everything has devolved into a mess. Moments like when we met, how you made me feel, like a person. I'm losing them. That day, you made me feel like someone worth living, like I had a purpose. I knew then, even if I was stepping away from Blue Pegasus, that memory would always exist. It would always be the light that helped to pull me from the darkness surrounding me. You did that. My hope is, or was, that that could never be taken away from me."

"Finn. I'm scared. I walked away from a family and now, now I don't don't even know myself. I feel like I'm slipping away. My body, my mind, they feel as though it's being torn apart and the moments like that, the brief periods of joy that you helped me feel, I'm losing them. I wish to go back to that day when we first met, as if if things could have been different, to maybe reverse my path. Could I have prevented this? I don't know..."

"It's been so long since we've spoken, that I've even heard from you, I can only hope that someday this letter reaches you. I long for a chance to see you again, if for no other reason than to make me believe that I'm not as broken as I think I am. That moment, that brief second of time where you made me feel like a person, I miss that. I need it."

"Please. Help me Finn. Everything around me is getting darker and I don't know what to do."

" -Leyaria"

Internally Conflicted

#8Finn Mertens 

on Sat May 05, 2018 5:29 am

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The lightest sound made its way to his ears, cutting through the distance that he had not even realized. The young mans forward motion halted, his dominant foot pivoting as his left did a sweeping motion to allow him to turn in place. For a second a trick of the mind made the distance between them seem exorbitant. It had been similar with Seira as well. Had the distance between himself and others always been so grand? So incredibly overwhelming that it was suffocating?

What he saw before him now was not the woman that he had walked away from in their first, albeit only, meeting. That woman had hope for tomorrow. She had a belief, however faint, that not all was lost. She had come to believe that there truly was a chance for a better life, and she had taken the first steps towards that life. Now all he saw was a broken girl, crying and caught up in a whirlwind of self doubt and depression. He felt a small piece of his heart crack, and his smile turned into a frown. It was real, the emotion on his face. He was sad to see her sad, and that much was obvious. The letter she held crumpled in her hand was hardly an issue, and at the moment he didn't notice it in the slightest.

Finn turned his body fully towards Leyaria, and went to move his leg. He felt resistance. His body fought against the motion as his mind questioned the decision. Was he in any position to comfort someone right now? The last thing he wanted to do was cause her more problems. As his mind contemplated the issue, he heard a small voice in the back of his mind. A familiar sound, one that he had not heard since before his travels. It was with that voice, before he realized, that the distance between them dissolved, and his hand had raised to her cheeks.

With the back of his index finger he wiped at either side of her face, brushing away the tears that continued to form. His mind continued to churn, hoping desperately for something to say. Before the words would come so easily to him, a natural response to whatever was going on around him. That was no longer such a simple thing to do. He felt like any answer he would give had to be thought out plenty beforehand. The paradigm was that the more he thought about his responses, the worse they became. Finally, the small voice within his mind forced him into action again. It was just a step ahead of his mind, but that was enough.

"You're not alone anymore. You haven't been for a long time." The words came out earnest, and a genuine if not weak smile etched its way on his lips. "What's wrong, Leyaria?"

#9Leyaria Venerak 

on Sat May 05, 2018 7:40 am

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

When she had first met Finn, what most impressed her about him was that he put others first. He had been one who cared, who in some respects, gave her validation that she believed that she had long ago lost. Those were different times. She had been someone who lacked a purpose, cursed with a Magic that she never asked for, one which she blamed for the death of the only one who ever truly loved her. As bad as she felt then, she still wanted to press forward, to live, and Finn was a major contributor for her doing that.

That was the Finn that she remembered. The one that she saw for a moment there. But as much as she wished he could fix things, he couldn't, and Leyaria hated knowing that.

Had it been their first encounter, Leyaria may have ceased her crying when Finn softly wiped away her tears. She might have viewed this as a gesture of kindness, of maybe something more, and though he may have sought to replicate that feeling within her, she knew well enough of what she had suffered already. Of what she was going to suffer before the end. Finn's kindness and his presence here, though a brief reprieve from what she had been suffering from up to this point, it was all that it was. A momentary distraction.

She continued to cry, not at her own fate. With every new ailment in which she began to suffer from, a part of her that sought to fight died inside. It had been prolonged, drawn out seemingly since before she could remember, but now unlike when she had written the letters, one in which she had written for him while the other remained in the small satchel that she carried, whatever hope had been there was gone.

And that was what ultimately terrified Leyaria, what caused her to despair, and at that moment caused her to cry; the fact that though she knew she was going to die, what impact would it have upon him? How could she have done something like this? To come back, a woman who had disappeared, only to now again return just to tell him that this would be the last time they would ever meet?

In her heart, she knew that that was why a part of her hoped to have never reunite with Finn or Bianca. What sort of pain would she cast upon them in that moment? Already she had likely caused plenty of pain to the both of them. They didn't need more. It would have been easier to just say nothing, to be quiet and never tell Finn anything, to act as though things were fine.

"Finn..."

But as much as it ripped her apart, she knew that he deserved better.

Finn had opened his heart to Leyaria before. He was doing it again, even when she had no reason to deserve any of that care. He had every right to despise her. She had pushed for him to allow her to join Blue Pegasus. She had left the guild because of a crime she believed he committed. She had disappeared from his life, with only that accusation being what he would have to remember her.

The distant stare that she had for so long looked out into nothingness honed into the eyes of Finn, earnest care lingering in his pupils. He cared about her, she could see that, and that caused her heart to sink further. Her eyes, her focus never averting away, she gently pushed her hand forward, the letter that she had held as though her life depended on it being put right into the center of Finn's chest. It would never be a sufficient answer to the questions that would arise; probably nothing ever would be.

And that would be the guilt that she would carry. The burden she would be expected to bear.

The words struggled to escape her mouth, a reality that she had within her heart come to admit, but never aloud. She had hoped things could have been different, but it would not have changed the reality of things. A different setting, a more tranquil environment, none of that would change what was destined to happen.

"I'm dying, Finn."

Internally Conflicted

#10Finn Mertens 

on Sun May 06, 2018 5:26 pm

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Her words were knives on a chalkboard. The sound almost caused him to physically repulse from her, a display of discomfort and disbelief equally vying for control of his facial features. Neither one of those feelings won out, of course. Instead he displayed a sense of absence, his eyes staring at Leyaria and also through her. What she had just said, that had been no joke. Her words were assured despite all the doubt she displayed with her body language. It was no exaggeration, just the sad truth. He could not know how long she had left, nor what caused her to earnestly believe that her life was reaching its end, but he could only go forward with what he now knew.

Leyaria was dying.

His memories flashed before his eyes, an overlay to the images that lay ahead of him. He saw the deaths of countless innocents. Many of them had trusted the young adventurer with their lives, a foolish mistake that had cost them. Some simply wished to hold onto life, as all mortals would. His belief about life and death had been challenged the most at that time. The strong fed upon the weak when required, and that was how it was. Yet, succumbed to Gluttony, countless of people could die for nary a cause. Was that not the strong, gorging upon the weak?

Even this before him was a testament to his belief. If he had been slain in battle, a part of him would have accepted it. It was simply the chain of events, nothing more and nothing less. It had been his time to die, he had been too weak to continue forward. That was how life continued to operate on this planet. Getting angry or vengeful over such a simple truth would get him nowhere. Everything was adhering perfectly to his concept of what was fair, and what was not. And yet what was this feeling of disparity? Why did it feel so wrong, as if she and countless others were being cheated out of their fair chance?

As he grabbed the letter which she had sprung into his chest he looked her in the eye. There was a sort of mutual understanding locked between them. He knew that she was sincere, and she knew that he cared for her well being. Without opening the letter to read it, he placed it comfortably within his pocket. It could wait until later, no matter what was on the parchment. What mattered currently was his focus on the present. The people surrounding them flowed by, like a current of water dancing around a single protruding rock. It were as if time itself was coursing around them, giving them space for the briefest of moments. It was Finn who broke their fragile silence.

"Leyaria... Would you come with me?" He would wait for her to give her approval before turning and beginning to walk, cutting through the crowd and aiming to take them underneath the blooming trees near by. Their branches were low, their trunks numerous. The two of them could get lose in this man made forest of beauty, and there they could talk to their hearts desire without the accidental intrusion of the common man. He didn't know what to say to her, and how could he? His mind was racing, and he was selfishly trying to come to terms with his own thoughts rather than help her. It was partially why he suggested they move- To give himself time to think.

#11Leyaria Venerak 

on Sun May 06, 2018 8:01 pm

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

As soon as the words had left her mouth, she knew she had made a mistake. She could see it in his eyes, any number of feelings rushing through him whilst a deathly feeling of guilt and pain rushed through her. Leyaria had not hoped that this encounter would come to this. She agonized over it. She hated herself for it. But to a degree, as much as she wished to deny it, she knew this had to have happened. For Finn to be reunited with her, even for as fleeting of a time as this was, to never see her again and not know the truth, or worse yet to find out and know that she had not told him, Leyaria was not sure as to if she could have lived with either of those scenarios.

She wanted him to say something. Anything really. The contents did not matter to her so much as the selfish satisfaction that what she had done was the right thing, for both of them. Her eyes which had produced no shortage of tears before seemed to have been dried up, her own desire to cry being there, but her body seemingly acting against her own will. It made her feel terrible. It made her hate herself, more than she already did.

A brief moment of silence echoed around them, the hundreds of people within the nearby area of the Orchidia Flower Festival seeming to have disappeared, if only for a time. There stood her and he, the former holding a letter, one in which she hoped would have better conveyed what she had thought at the time, a time when hope still lingered, though was fleeting. Now, that optimism, that feeling that things could have been proven wrong, were long gone. No longer was it a question if, but rather when. And she did not know that. It was soon, she could tell that only by the ailments that she had come to realize where afflicting her throughout the duration of her time at the Festival, but there were no clear indications as to what might have been next.

That was scared her most. The unknown. When it would eventually become too much for her to endure.

Her eyes had not parted from Finn's when the slightest feeling, of him reaching for the letter brought her back to reality. He did not read it, but he had it. Leyaria was not sure if that made her feel better or worse at first, though thinking upon what she could have remembered of what was written, perhaps it would have been for the best that he not. To read it, would have been as though seeing a timeline of her suffering, a thought that selfishly never crossed her mind.

Finally, Finn spoke to Leyaria's delight, though his words were of pain. Her heart sank. For a brief moment, she thought of running away, the guilt of having put this information upon Finn being too much, for not just him, but for herself as well. Her feet did not move though, at least not away from him. As though guided by something out of her own control, she proceeded with him through the people, with each step trying desperately in her head to explain to him what happened, how best to word it, to explain herself, to give him some sort of a way to feel better about this. She wondered if that were even possible.

After a short distance, the two of them found themselves perched beneath a number of large trees, everyone else who might have been enjoying themselves throughout the Festival otherwise preoccupied with the numerous things to have done. For what seemed like the first time in a long while, they found themselves alone.

She leaned her back against the tree, her legs feeling weak, unable to sustain her current weight. Looking up, she saw Finn simply standing there, almost stunned at the revelation, that whatever strength he had displayed a moment ago had faded from him. Leyaria reached out her hand to gently take hold of his, lightly pulling, hoping that he would reciprocate and take a seat beside her. While there was a beauty to the scene around them, it was evil, hiding the ugliness that was the reality of their situation. Swallowing, building the courage to speak, she spoke softly, the regret still wholly apparent within her voice. "I... I honestly had not expected this. To have met you here, to have had told you like that. I just..." Her words escaped her for a brief moment, "I just don't know if I could have allowed for you not to know."

A gentle breeze swept through the area, just enough to cause some of the blooming leaves upon the trees to detach. Some of them landed on or around where Leyaria and Finn had been located. One of them landed upon Leyaria's foot. Picking it up, Leyaria caressed it against her other hand, feeling nothing at all. The texture of the leaf, the soft brushing of it against her skin, and even the feeling with her hand itself, she felt none of it. Allowing the leaf to fall to the ground, she put her hand upon Finn's person, again feeling nothing at all, whatever sort of sensation may have been there being only that of like she had no actual control over her own body.

No warmth. Only a dead cold.

"I don't know how much time I have left. Once I got here, it felt as though things were just getting worse... It's like..." She shook her head. Finn did not need to know the details. She had already thrown too much her way. "I'm sorry... Only I should be the to suffer. Not you..."

Internally Conflicted

#12Finn Mertens 

on Mon May 07, 2018 10:34 pm

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The trees offered them a sense of solace, as though they would protect the two as long as possible. The trunks formed a sort of wall, and despite the plentiful gaps that could be easily traversed it made him feel like they were in a new world. His mind flashed back to childhood, within the Worth Woodsea and all of its wonders. The forest had been his home for a majority of his life. It was only fitting that in a place surrounded by nature, however manufactured it was, he felt safe. As though the outside world could not penetrate any further into him. The only other time he felt so secure was when he was with his lover, though she was not yet here.

Silence was permeated by noise, as it often was. Her words shattered the almost tangible construct of peace, for they brought the anguish that was between them back to the forethought. His eyes found hers, and as she pulled him to be seated he did not fight it. She likely was looking for a way to physically demonstrate his understanding. If he had resisted, stayed standing despite her wordless plea, it would be the same as telling her that her concerns were founded.

"Same here. I didn't expect to see anyone that I knew, least of all you. It had been so long- I was hoping that you were happy." His words came out without any dual meaning, and his eyes did not stray from hers. Even as a broken man, he was stronger than most people would ever be. Courage was the act of overcoming ones own self in order to assist others, and he was at least courageous. As the silence settled between them like snow, offering a chill to the air, she was once again to lead the charge.

Her words brought about a look of bafflement to his features for only a moment. His eyes closed, and he sighed with a light smile on his face. "Leyaria, you know better than that." His words were matter-of-fact, a sign that perhaps he was not as lost as he seemed. He let the air fall still between them once more before continuing on. "You and I are friends, that much has not changed. Nor will it." As he spoke, his words came out with a sense of confidence. It was as though he believed every word that came out of his mouth, simply because he did.

"That means I will share your burden, no matter what it is, as long as I can. And even if I cannot help, or alleviate it, I'll be there with you." With that, he had said his piece. He offered her no solace, no words of wisdom, and no methods on how to fight this. Neither death, nor the emotions swirling around it. He had seen much of it even before his travels, and that much had never changed. One could not coach another on how to die. They could only help process. To do that, one had to be as blunt as possible in the most tactful of ways.

"What happened that led to this? Is it a sickness, or perhaps magic?" He didn't mean to be insensitive, and hopefully she would not think it so. He simply wished to understood what she was saying, and where it was she was coming from. She was confident that her words were true, and that meant he was as well. If it was something that he could help fight, however, he wanted to be informed.

#13Leyaria Venerak 

on Tue May 08, 2018 3:02 am

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

The feeling of the cool air brushing against her chin was a welcoming one, if only for how seldom now things of that nature had come to be. In reflection, she was stunned by much she had come to take even the smallest things like feeling the wind against her skin for granted. More even, how it had been everyone who had seemingly. She thought of the people whom she and Finn had escaped from, the crowds of people, going about looking for whatever might have satisfied their hunger, whatever intricate smells they might have picked up upon, the incredible sights of which there were no lacking to on the grounds, and the sounds of joy and excitement, of people having a good time. People had come to expect these things as human nature.

She doubted that any of them could have faired any better than she had up to this point, knowing that her senses were no longer within her own control.

But the circumstances to her situation, it was unlikely that even in someone's wildest dreams could they have paralleled how it came to be. It was a combination of factors so specifically set such that only perhaps via an act of God could someone have suffered them. Sure enough, Leyaria had hit all the marks. And yet even then, there was no certainty to if it were the case or not, only what she could have possibly believed it to have been.

"Heh, there's the Finn I remembered," Leyaria mused, her eyes watery though not enough such that tears began to descend down her cheeks. "I missed that," she remarked, finding a bit of comfort in the matter of factly manner that he tended to speak, that she appreciated about him. He asked her about what had happened, how it could have been that the young woman he had met so long ago was in such a terrible state. Even she had trouble coming to terms with it, "You know, I don't even know if I can believe it myself. Maybe it's God's will! Maybe this is some sort of divine intervention..." She sighed, "Or maybe it's just dumb fucking luck. Who knows at this point."

She looked down at the ground while she dragged her finger against the grass, whatever feeling she felt fading in and out as if on a timer. "Apparently, it's something that can happen when a former Demon Slayer tries has a demon invade their body. I don't know, I don't know what happened, but it's the only reasoning I've gotten for it." To this day, she did not know what happened, how it was that a demon could have tried to possess her, where she had left herself get vulnerable, or anything to that nature. It was all just a mystery; one that she would never likely solve.

It shamed her talking about it, about what had happened to her, even to Finn. She knew that he did care, but the whole thing felt wrong discussing. Demonic possession, it was always a belief that only those who were weak, corrupted, or evil at heart would be the ones vulnerable to it, and whatever reasoning might have gone through Finn's head hearing that, the judgement that he may have cast worried her.

As she thought about what he might have been thinking, a surge of pain rushed through her body, the suddenness of it causing to very briefly cry out. Though it was intense, it quickly died down, at which point she ha regained her composure, to a point where even she might have been out of character given the circumstances surrounding her. Leyaria leaned her head against the tree, the smallest of a laugh beginning to escape her lips. Her time was nearing its end, and this was all the proof that she was waiting on.

The pain.

The pain that would get worse and worse, to eventually the point where it would take her life.


"Heh, there it is. I knew this was going to be coming... It's only a matter of time now..." She turned towards Finn, there almost being a look of acceptance on her face, as if she knew what was coming next. "To have seen you again, that was more than I could have ever asked for. That for all of my fuckups, you still view me as a friend, I can die happy knowing that." She moved her hand over to his, taking hold of it while she interwove her fingers between his, all the while looking at him right into his eyes, "But I don't know if wherever I end up, if I could endure knowing that you saw me at my worst. If there is even one thing that I could ask of you, it is that you do not remember me like that. Know me as the girl who you met long ago. The one who you inspired, that you gave self-worth to." A lone tear descended down her cheek, "Remember me as the girl whose live you saved that day. Not as what I am now."

"I beg of you, Finn. Please do that, for me."

Internally Conflicted

#14Finn Mertens 

on Tue May 08, 2018 4:38 am

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Her outcry of pain had been something to give him a start, his body tensing as if ready to fight. His eyes grew wide, his vision becoming sharper as if taking in finer details he had once let blend into the background. The eyes of a master swordsman never died, even when his hands no longer held a blade. As much as he had prepared to defend her against whatever caused that pain, the realization quickly dawned upon him that it was no external force. It was her body, whatever was invading it, that caused that horrible anguish to flow through her. He could not protect her from that. If he had only still held onto his sword, Durandal, maybe there would have been something he could do.

As the pain subsided and she relaxed back, almost blissful in her motion, he couldn't help but frown. She was not someone who deserved this. There were many people who deserved death, and there could be a fair argument that he belonged on that list. Leyaria? She had not caused harm to anyone, and only ever tried to carve out her own place in this world. She fought with him in the battle of Era, and for at least the briefest of moments she had joined his adopted family. She was there when everything was normal, and it only seemed right that she helped normalize life a bit again.

As she spoke, asking him a favor from a friend, his frown curved upwards. Her words, aside from being beautiful in their own right, sparked a sort of eureka moment from within him. She spoke, asking him to remember her how she was, and with that his eyes were the ones to water. Tears did not escape. It was as though, in this moment, his body knew better than to allow such a thing. His eyes trailed upwards and an incredulous laugh escaped his lips. She had taken his hand, not as the woman Leyaria, but as his friend. He squeezed, her grip and his tightening.

"Why is it that I came with the hope of helping you, and yet you're here bailing me out?" His words would be lost on her, mumbled as they were, and he couldn't help but shake his head. His eyes looked ahead once more and set themselves on hers. His face held a smile, his chest stuck out a bit more, and his chin seemed just the tiniest bit higher than previously displayed.

"You'll live on, Leyaria. In the memories of those who knew you. As long as you still appear in peoples minds, you're not truly gone. You have at least as long as I do on this Earthland, then." Standing, Finn pulled her to her feet and into a strong hug. "I will live to make your regrets right. If I can right even a few wrongs, I'll feel like I've made progress. Live your days well, Leyaria, and no matter what happens I will see you again."

With that he pulled away and smiled. If he heard anything at all about how to save one who fought possession, he would find her. As long as she lived, he would keep that in his mind. For now though he was to do as he promised, and that would be enough. So long as those who he could not save lived on with him, there was still a chance to do right. It felt as though a weight had been lifted from his chest. With that, he said a final quick farewell, and excused himself. He knew that to extend their time now would be to take importance away from their final words, and he wanted to make sure he could truly live up to her promise.

Until next time, my friend.

[EXIT]

#15Leyaria Venerak 

on Tue May 08, 2018 6:00 am

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Leyaria


The Struggling Demon

As Finn spoke, there was a level of conviction to his words, so believable that even Leyaria could not help but believe that one day, perhaps they would have met again. Except for what she knew more than anything else, that her time, it was only a matter of time before it came to an end. Even as she sat there, the pain radiated throughout her body from time to time, with no consistency to them. Though the first came as a shock, she was ready for the others, at the very least to hide her pain until Finn was gone.

It would not have been right for him to see her like this. To know that the pain was persistent, and better allow him to think it was a one time thing.

Looking up at the trees, the leaves gently moving about as the wind blew, Leyaria felt a small level of peace within her. She had worried how Finn would have received the news, if he would have been willing to accept it, and perhaps he did not. Perhaps he pretended to for Leyaria's sake, but she had to believe that it would be alright. Finn was strong. Much stronger than what Leyaria could have ever been. In the back of her mind, she knew that if there was anyone who can have endured what Leyaria told him, who could better channel it into something positive, it would have been him.

She turned her head slightly as she watched Finn depart into the crowd, disappearing for what might have well been the last time. With a smile on her face, she looked back up to the leaves overhead, "Goodbye, Finn..."

[Exit]

Internally Conflicted

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