The Mistake

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Kira Adia
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Location: The Red Dragon Inn

The Mistake

Post by Kira Adia »

1/13/2021
2:15 AM

At the Red Dragon Inn, in room 31, a certain resident had been preparing a spell. It was risky. It could kill her. But it was the only way.

Chalk lines cross-crossed along the floor in the middle of the living space. Kira had meticulously created and connected a series of runes, some prescribed by the notes in her references, others she had added in experimentation, and a few stumbled upon by blind luck. The connecting segments spiraled onwards and outwards, before bringing the entire network to a single large symbol in the center, large enough for Kira to sit in. A position she now occupied.

As the spell was being prepared, Kira placed her hand on a few of the closest runes, one after another. As each lit up, energy snaked its way through the network, slowly activating the massive rune as it built energy. The young enchanter watched the process unfold from her perch.

This would be the third attempt at this spell. The first was a failure, and while the second was incomplete, it was a partial success. The entire process of preparing the ritual took her a week, while the research behind it was the fruits of over a decade of experimentation by James. It should clear the last obstacle to her full use of Jame’s chronomancy.

The spell itself was a bit of a perversion of healing magic. She would be going through the effort of modifying her own soul to withstand the side effects of dealing with time directly. Her few attempts and doing the spell work herself were memorable in the pain that followed.

If she were to face the challenges ahead, she would need to be clear-headed with every jump. When she left to find James, she would need to be prepared to react to whatever she may find on the journey. And now that Sylista was in danger, there was no more time to prepare. Whatever the huntress could do needed to be done now.

These were the stakes. For anything else, she would continue the search for alternatives. There were other lines of inquiry, and she had all the time she needed to do that work for Jame’s sake. But the news Luna gave her an hour and a half earlier had led her to make up her mind. This was happening, and it would happen tonight.

The final rune segment charged and the outermost channels were completing their connections. Kira closed her eyes and focused on the network. Her soul was laid out before her now. She knew what she was looking for. The entire thing was fascinating, but she didn't admire more than a passing glance. She had a purpose.

In the room, Kira sat eyes closed. The previously dark space had been illuminated with the warm golden hue of the runes. The focus gifted to her by Sylista as a part of her training set in a circle of chalk, also glowing white in a way not in its intended design. The air around the huntress shimmered as though with heat. Pressure built up in the air with the exertion of the spell at work. After several minutes, it was as though the entire room was vibrating. Then, at its peak, it suddenly stopped, the lights from the magic extinguished, and Kira was on her side in agony.

Her screams would have likely summoned help in a normal circumstance, but frequent nightmares and concerns for neighboring residents led to Kira placing dunes of silence on the walls. No one outside the room would be able to hear her. She was wounded, she was hopeless, and she was alone.

No, not entirely helpless. She had just done all of this to unlock an entire arsenal of new magic. She tried to focus through the pain, to steady herself for just one spell.

After a few moments, screams turned to whimpers, and soon she had enough control back to push herself back up to her knees. Ever move sent a new sharp stab of pain throughout her body. Kira concentrated on herself and visualized a place she could get help. There were a few options, but one in particular came to mind easiest. She rose to her feet with the help of the chair at her desk. After a few deep breaths, there was a pop, and she found herself collapsing on a well-maintained path in front of a house in the Wilds.

Kira struggled to contain a fresh bout of screams. But the pain was not like it was before. She didn't feel the blow that so often accompanied these jumps in her early attempts. What she felt was a cold sensation of nothing. An entire portion of her soul was now severed, and time could no longer hold her. She knew the implications, but she didn't dwell on that.

She rose and stumbled to the front door and pounded at it. It was not particularly hard, but the sound thundered in her ears. She had used up what energy she had. She couldn't even shout anymore. She collapsed for the third and final time at the threshold, struggling at the edge of consciousness.
Kira Adia
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Re: The Mistake

Post by Kira Adia »

1/15/2021
3 AM

There was a faint indigo glow in the road leading to the entrance to the house. It grew in intensity, until there was a pop, then a scream, as Kira fell to the ground. She had used much of the focus and effort she had left for this one jump. She needed to just make it a bit further to the door. She tried to push herself up, but she fell. The pain was so intense. Like nothing she’d ever felt.

She lay panting and weeping for several minutes. Then she tried again. She pushed her way up to her knees and steadied herself. Then she stood. This was a start. Everything was spinning and she was sure she was dying. She couldn’t tell if she was walking or if she’d fallen again.

She felt the door. She probably fell into it. She was on her knees on the porch, resting her head in the hard wood. How long as she been there? She lifted her fist, head swimming and barely aware. Pounding and pounding. Was she doing that? She couldn’t remember where she was.

By the time someone made it to the door, nearly an hour after she’d appeared (possibly minutes after she started knocking) she was on the ground again, shivering, barely breathing.

Luna's voice, spooked and panicked, was who would greet the nearly unconscious Kira, dressed in no more than a robe, the elf would look back to her lover with a sad smile, "We need a room, we need medicine, pain killers probably something to break the fever, cold water and a lot of face clothes just in case," A pause would overtake her for but a moment, "Clean clothes to, she's been out in the snow and needs something dry."

Gideon would smile to his lover, noting the care she put into each action with those injured, not bothering to ask for anything for herself, not even an outfit to change into. Her focus was saving a life, so of course, he would have to take care of her. He found his own way to their room, picking up a comfortable night dress for the girl, more comfortable to sleep in after all, leggings and a tank top for his girlfriend.

Each room for patients had a couple chairs for family visits, and even as Luna was laying the redhead into the bed, clothes and blankets were laid out, he knew she wouldn't rest willingly, and so would be ready to take care of her here when sleep took over.

Luna kneeled down quietly to the woman, pale and shaky, "Kira? Kira honey can you hear me? I'm going to get Gideon to leave the room while I help you into dry clothes so you don't get sick, and then we're going to help you alright?" Her voice was kind and worried, trying to keep her in the know as much as she could about what was transpiring, warn her before it happened.

Noises of acknowledgment would occasionally be heard from the girl. She was distantly aware of Luna helping her. A small part of her was listening for it, knowing she could trust coming here. That small part of her kept her resting while she was changed. By the time she was in dry clothes, she felt capable of making words.

“Lun... ‘m a dumb... dumb girl... should have asked...” it took her a moment before she could manage more. “Syl... she still alive?”

Luna was gentle resting a hand on her forehead, "She is alive," anything beyond that wouldn't be answered, not yet. Luna pulled various magical implements from drawers, still not yet changing into the simpler brought clothes. That was for later. "Can you tell me your name? First and last." A small quick spell was cast, the elven redhead checking vitals.

“Kira... Iskira Adia...” the girl felt some relief, though she didn’t know why. She just saw Syl a few hours ago, right? That was before Luna called. Is that what this was? No, the phone call was earlier. “Confused... things jumping around... memory... t’s out of order...”

Luna listened closely, Gideon taking up a chair and taking notes, "Alright, can you tell me where you are?" Her hand went up to check for a fever, a light stream of magic leaving her fingers, searching for a physical anomaly, "We're gonna figure out how to help."

“Where... your house. Luna and Gideon. Thendozal... no, Rhy’Din...” words were becoming easier as her body temperature increased. She was extremely hypothermic, almost the temperature of a corpse. She should be dead by temperature alone, but her heart and breathing hadn’t stopped. Otherwise, she was extremely sleep deprived and mildly malnourished, as though she hadn’t been taking care of her self for several days.

"There we go... see, can you tell me what day it is?" her voice was gentle, Keep talking Kira, stay awake for just a little longer, let me see what I find...

A nod was given to her lover, hot water, before he moved to get it, warm eyes watching her, whispering that she should change, a squeeze of her hand, before he was gone, such gentle love.

“Day... time... all at once. I can’t...” she looked pained, as though something were missing. Something that should be there. “Haru... challenge on Tuesday... so... after midnight... when you called... Wednesday... today...”

Luna shook her head, but wouldn't correct her just yet. So there was the limit. On the side of the bed she sits, "Kira, may I look inside your head?" The question gentle, "I think... I know how to help you," Another nod to Gideon, Text them.

“Trust... not many... trust you...” the pain would not let up. She tried to think through the shuffling and the fog. How long has it been, it could been seconds or centuries, she couldn’t tell the difference. And the pain made it hard to think of specifics. She felt lost, more than in her exile, or had that happened yet? Was it time for her lessons with her cousins? Or was she telling Haru it would be okay, sometimes giving birth takes time?

A sad smile on her lips, Luna would gently rest a hand on her forehead, she had many tricks for healing, this was by far the greatest risk to herself. It opened her mind, while making her body vulnerable. At the bare minimum she could stop any deterioration. No more losing friends.
Kira Adia
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Re: The Mistake

Post by Kira Adia »

4:30 AM

There was a small part of Kira, maybe her mind, that would register a change. Sleep. She was asleep. But she didn’t feel different. Adrift. Then there was something. The spell. A line from James’s journal. Time will lose hold on you. So she did it. But she was dying. No, she wouldn’t die. Luna was here. She was close to death, but she would trust her friend. Some semblance of sanity restored for now, she waited for Luna to come to her. She’d done enough harm. Time to accept help.

In Rhydin still, Luna finally changed, curling up in the lap of her love, her home, her safety, quiet words of love spoken, before she to entered the land of dream. Eyes forever alert, her own mind doing what it could already. “Kira...”

She didn’t see her yet, but she felt her. “Luna. I’m sorry. I was dumb. I panicked. I just wanted to help. I wanted her to know I wasn’t just waiting for her. That I was doing something. I didn’t want to run away again, like I did with James. I had to...” the center of her mind was settling into a place where it could understand. The past and the future was no longer merged. She was back in the now. “Thank you. It was not my intention to impose. I... made a mistake. And I hope you can help.”

Her voice was still gentle, a long coat on the form that stepped through the dream, leather armour and a staff at her back, the state she was most comfortable. “You were scared, and wanted to help, I have done things for the same reasons, I understand it, perhaps more than I can ever say with words,” a beat, “It’s never imposing Kira, I’m glad you asked for help. I know there may have been better ways, but you didn’t try to handle it yourself and say it was fine, I would rather this than that.”

Kira appeared to be in a dark grey cloak, covered head to toe in shadow. The shape of her face could be vaguely seen in the shadow of the hood, but violet irises glowed like twin stars as they looked out.

“I know, and I should have asked for help from the start. But I panicked. When you told me Syl was hurt, something in me snapped. She is in danger. I don’t know who Fire is. I don’t know why he... it, wants her soul. But it means to take her from us. I can’t allow that, and I felt I had to do something.”

Luna steps forward softly, green eyes glowing slightly, the slight golden tone of her wolf, “Did... she not tell you what was going on?” Her voice soft, “Fire puts you in danger as much as the rest of those she cares about.” Luna sighs softly, “From... what I understand, fire is the element from which her powers come from. It is volatile and wild, consuming and controlling all it touches. Her fight is going to be one of will mostly for now... and all we can do is support her,” her eyes cast down, she didn’t know much. She knew the elements, in theory.

Luna watched the area of the dream become more stable, her own mind acting as a support, to take the extra weight needed for the human to start recovering. She couldn’t fix everything in its entirely, but she could keep Kira alive, little by little working to rebuild the support beams in her mind.

The huntress thought back. Trying to remember everything Syl had told her. The camp. Last week. “I love you. Don’t push me away. Please just tell me. What am I? I’ll wait. I’ll be here. I love you. My name...” Any time she tried to think about anything other than here and now, things got confused and shuffled. “I remember... things. She told me some things. Fire is dangerous. If it takes her, it could hurt her family. She said someone she loves may have to kill her.” Somewhere in her mind, she shook her head. A refusal to accept potential tragedies. “I broke. I have been broken for a long time, Luna.”

She moved as though she took a deep breath. It didn’t matter here, but she remembered the action being calming. “James. He’s alive. Maybe he can help.” She felt her grip loosening again. “He can help. He has to help. He’ll know what to do. He can help. Help her. Help her. Help her.”

Another deep breath. “I feel you, strengthening my mind. That’s helping, but it will collapse as soon as you leave. I did a spell. I amputated part of my soul. I miscalculated and took more than I needed to. I took the part of my soul connected to time, so I can move through time without being in pain. My mind can’t find itself. Memories and present reality are the same thing to me. Right now, your presence is an anchor to here and now, something to focus on and get my bearings. We need a new way for my mind to know where it is. Otherwise I’m lost in the time stream.”

Luna watched their environment become cracked and jumbled, then immediately reassemble, the here and now breaking apart as thoughts on the past were reached. She didn’t push for those moments, she knew better, “Broken... Is far more common than many think. You have friends willing to help you, who have been broken and are only now being reassembled, who know the feelings involved.” Maybe a little lecture, the elf falling into the habits of a concerned sibling or parent, words spoken to her own kid at some point.

Each word was processed carefully, Luna treading lightly so not to break the supports they were building, “How can we find James?” Her hand reached out, she didn’t want to push, but she knew James was someone who could help, far more than her. Kira trusted him, he could be an anchor until she was truly ok, “All I am trying to do is hold up the supports while you bolt them in place...” her voice staying calm through the whole process, Gideon able to feel her body shaking in uncertainty in the real world. “What can we do to support the missing piece, Kira?” Lectures about this decision wouldn’t come. Kira already knew she fucked up, she didn’t need to hear it again. “What will help with the focusing?”

“I don’t know. Not yet. Maybe it will heal. A blind person eventually learns to understand the world in a new way.” The watch. Memories. “That's so beautiful. Oh, it's broken. I'll take care of it for you. I have to fix it. I have to find him.” Focus! “Wait. In my things. There is a picket watch. I’ll... try to hold on from here. James said it was an anchor. I didn’t understand at the time. I though it was just a way to make jumping around through time and space easier. Maybe this is what he meant.”

She felt a tug. Another part of her mind. “Wait... Luna... I’ll need your help after. I’m... I’m broken. And it’s not Syl’s fault. I’m clear headed now, but when I’m anchored and start reassembling myself, the grief will still be there. I thought Syl was pushing me away. I though I was losing someone else I loved. Just like what happened with James.” Her mind reeled at the memory, but she struggled to hold tight to Luna. “Syl wants to help me. She’s protecting me. As much as it hurts me, I know it’s best for me. And I know that when this is over, I’ll have a chance to open up to her again.”

For a moment, the strain of her holding on slipped. Instead of the hooded huntress, there was a sobbing girl, afraid and alone. Waiting for someone. She knew that someone would come, that no matter how dark things were, she would come. But she was so alone. She didn't want to be alone anymore.

Kira’s mind snapped back. She was running out of time. “Luna, I may do something desperate. Something stupid. Stop me. I can’t find James. Don’t let me try.” That was all she managed. The huntress disappeared. Kira’s mind was exhausted and let go. The support Luna had given was keeping her from losing herself entirely, but she could no longer focus on here and now. She trusted Luna, and that small part of her waited for Luna to act. She didn’t know if it was an instant or an eternity. It didn’t matter. All she had was time now, and she could wait.

---

Luna tried to speak before the woman was gone, but it was too late. The words never passed her lips, only a curse. The image of Luna vanished

Eyes cracked open, and the elf darted towards the drying clothing. Gideon watched a bit confused as she fished for the watch, her hands gently taking it, checking it over and moving beside the bed, hoping to everything she believed in that this was a magic item, an item that truly could anchor the girl. “She’s trying to protect you... I just don’t think she knows how...” her voice spoke, slipping the watch into a shaking hand. “I’ll do everything I can to stop you, but my power is limited... I just hope it can be enough.”

---

When you’ve lost your sense of the passage of time, all moments are equal in length. The fragment of Kira that knew what to do waited. It was difficult. There was constant danger of being lost in memories that made no sense without context.

Eventually, however, the watch was in her hand. She knew it. She tried to focus. It was suddenly much easier. A familiar sensation of being in one place and time was somewhere in the distance. It was an external sense, but she could use it.

She reached out, and she found a place to stand. Bit by bit, she began the slow process of reassembling her mind. She knew it would still be shattered and she needed to heal. She would do it, though. One advantage of being lost in time is finding that memory worked in both directions when you’re adrift. She would forget all she had learned, but in that moment, she knew what was ahead. She mourned what she would go through to get there and she feared her own mistakes that would make it worse, but she found hope. She held on to that as long as she could, gripping it tightly so that it would be there with her in her core. When the time was right, it would shine through.

---

In RhyDin, a long moment passed with nothing. After a while, the markings etched into the casing of the watch glowed for a few seconds. When they faded again, Kira’s hand gripped the watch, and the girl began to visibly relax. She began to cry softly, weakly, exhausted with the effort it took to come back

Luna waited at her bedside, medicine and magic alike at the ready. She was a healer, a druid, all she knew really was medicine. Her wolf cried softly over the pain of their friend. She would wait, never leaving a patient.

The wait was rewarded. A free hand reached over and found Luna’s. Mouth moved wordlessly, but the thanks underneath it was clear. She could not grip the woman’s hand; she was too weak for now. But she was back.

Luna’s grip was gentle, “I got you.” Both hands clasping Kira’s, “Get some rest, I’ll still be here when you wake up next.”

Kira nodded acknowledgement. She held on to the watch, as tightly as she could for a moment, then in a relaxed grip as she drifted back to sleep. She wouldn’t wake up again for a while. It would be another day before she could once again speak.
Kira Adia
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Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2020 9:38 pm
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Re: The Mistake

Post by Kira Adia »

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Luna for the help in this story. This is a collaborative work, and it is as much their story as it is mine.
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