Friday, October 30, 2015

The Seeker

Friday! As with any Friday this will be a Reader Post, but will continue on the theme of the week that being Halloween. This week's submission is from Vesthara and her own story about Hallow's End in WoW. So have a read!

Desolation was far from an uncommon sight throughout this land, as The Seeker had come to learn over the past few months. She trudged up the long, chilled winds brushing against her ragged cloak each step of the way. The road was a broken mess. Cobblestones shifted under the weight of The Seeker’s worn down boots, and she found herself constantly clutching toward the gnarled roots and clusters of grass sticking from the ground. Every now and then, The Seeker found herself stepping over a skeleton, legs often twisted at a very crooked angle, or the skulls cracked in some cases.

Glancing over her shoulder, The Seeker looked upon a long, grey stretch of hill land, dotted by the broken remains of towers, villages, and crumbled castles. Though the sun was beginning to dip into the horizon, not a single light glowed within the land. The Seeker’s gaze drifted upward, to the dark skies. Thick clouds hovered in the south, casting their shadow upon the land for endless miles. The Seeker turned her attention back to the climb, pace hastening.

By the time she had reached the cliff’s peak, the last of the light had died away. A void of black surrounded The Seeker in all directions. Not even the stars shined this night. The Seeker reached toward her waist, sharp nailed fingers unhooking the lantern that hung from her waist. With the twist of a rusted knob, a violet flame kindled to life, casting its glow upon the contorted trees and broken fences that surrounded The Seeker. She raised the light above her head, a chilled breathe escaping her lips.

Skeletons covered the road. Collapsed against the fences, on doorsteps, or beneath withered branches. As The Seeker slowly stepped forward, she could see a pair resting beneath a moss covered signpost, hands clasped together. That was when she realized what it was that had been confusing her about the scene: There were no signs of struggle. No swords littered the ground. No arrows penetrated bones. The skeletons were simply… there. The Seeker gave off a shudder, lifting the lantern toward the arrow pointing the way of her destination.

Sun’s Rest, its faded letters spelled.

Passing a final glance toward the hand holders, The Seeker continued on her journey. The further down the road she travelled, the more common signs of civilization became: Cabins and small houses sat apart from one another, covered in vines and, in some cases, rust. A door slammed open and shut against the rising gale, sending echoes throughout the empty valley. 

“CAW!” a crow screeched from a nearby rooftop, red eyes glaring down upon The Seeker. Its cry was immediately answered by dozens more, small, winged silhouettes bouncing on top the structures. “CAW! CAW! CAW!” 

The Seeker paid them no mind. She pressed on, taking note of empty benches, unlit blacksmiths, and the occasional toy lying on the road. Suddenly, she found herself stumbling to the ground with a loud grunt, landing against her hollow elbows and dropping the lantern. With a shudder, The Seeker rolled onto her back, looking toward what it was she tripped over. Her fingers tensed against the stones as she realized what she was staring at: An abandoned bag, children’s clothes spilling out from a hole that had torn open at its bottom. 

The Seeker snatched her lantern from the ground, rising to her feet and stumbling back. Turning on her heels, she raised the lantern, casting its purple glow upon a large, circular stone shape. A fountain, she realized, hands tightening around the lantern’s handle. Water still sat within it, covered by black leaves and feathers of similar color.

And yet… despite its broken look, there was something familiar about the fountain, the feeling itching away at the back of The Seeker’s head. A joy? Her eyes strayed away, looking to her left. Not to far ahead, she could see something in the darkness. A hill in the road? The Seeker approached it, taking much more caution with her steps. As she drew nearer, she lifted the lantern its way.
“CAW!” Winged silhouettes burst from the rooftops, flapping loudly above The Seeker’s head as they soared in all directions. Dark feathers drifted to the earth, several of them landing on top of what held her attention: A mound of skeletons, piled one on top of the other. Their bones were charred a bitter black, eyeless sockets staring toward The Seeker. They were of all shapes and sizes: Short and tall. Curved at the hips, or flat. Some were no larger than The Seeker’s leg, and there were many with cracks along their ribs and skulls. For a long moment, The Seeker just stood there, foggy breathes emitting from beneath her cowl.

Then she reached a hand forward, her frail fingers wrapping around a hand that looked to be in very similar condition. As The Seeker applied a grip, she caught sight of several white specs falling around her, beginning to cover the skeletons and all else that surrounded them. She pulled her hand away, stepping around the pile.

There it was: A house crammed between a stable and tavern. It looked just as abandoned as everything else in Sun’s Rest… but The Seeker knew this was the place she had been looking for. She stepped toward the door, the hinges letting out a squeak as she pushed it open with ease. She raised the lantern before her, purple light revealing a round, wooden table set before a cobweb covered fireplace. Dust enveloped the entire room, floating in all directions. The Seeker paid it no mind, making her way toward the stairs.

Each board let out a groan as she climbed upward. The planks that made up the second floor were in no better condition, The Seeker finding herself grateful for her lack of weight, ears straining against the creaking wood with each step forward. She found herself in a small hallway, rooms on either side. It was the one on the right that The Seeker chose, her steps slowly as she proceeded through the entrance…

...and into a very small room, where two beds half The Seeker’s length sat on opposite ends of the wall, both of them bordered by drawers. Wallpaper covered the walls, the horses it once depicted peeling away. Within both beds sat a stuffed animal: A rabbit to The Seeker’s left, and a lion to her right. Glancing to the lion, an unease formed within her lungs. An emotion that The Seeker had forgotten even existed: Guilt. 

She turned her head away, looking instead to the bunny. The unease drifted, giving way to something else: Want. The Seeker approached the bed, setting the lantern down. Her frail hands reached for the rabbit, cold fingers gently wrapping around its body and lifting it to her chest. Her eyes slid shut, a shudder escaping her lips as a third feeling swooped through The Seeker’s body: Warmth.

Slowly pulling the rabbit back, she opened her eyes, looking it over. Much of its fur had fallen off, and the poor thing was covered in dust. The buttons that served as its eyes looked ready to fall off at any moment. But that was fine. She could fix them with a little work, just as her mother had shown her before.

But then something caught her attention… a glint of light against the wall. The Seeker looked its way, squinting to see what it was. A fourth emotion clutched against her chest as she realized the answer: Terror.

For staring back at The Seeker was a yellow eyed monster, its flesh pale as the snow outside, bony claws wrapped around the body of her beloved rabbit.

Thanks once again to Vesthara and everyone else who sent something in. Have a safe and happy Halloween.

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