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TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide
For a week, Lydia had drifted aimlessly on the edge of the world. Each night, as she curled up beneath the foreign sky, the moon crept closer to its monthly sentencing. As the darkness around her filled with light, her once bright soul grew darker. As it sunk into shadow, a plan began to form.
Then, someone told her of this place.
That was why she was here on the full moon’s eve. Her hair freshly brushed, and her bagged armor donned and polished. Beneath her freshly-refreshed appearance her heart pounded. The heart that, under any other circumstance, would find her next actions cowardly.
Her feet hesitated, poised on a rotted railroad tress. She swallowed. Bright, tear-stained eyes lifted towards the still bright sky. Can I truly leave this world behind knowing so little of it? Tongue prodded her teeth, remembering the taste of iron and gore upon them. With a distressed noise, nails dug harshly into her opposite hand. No! I shall not fall to this beast’s rage again! I will not endanger another!
The pain lent her clarity. The texture of her scar, determination.
Around her, the forest buzzed with life. Big-breasted robins hoped nimbly from branch to branch, pecking at the bareness of winter. In the distance, a stag searched desperately for any remnants of summertime’s bounty. And yet, Lydia saw none of these things. Instead, blinded all but physically, she saw nothing but the rusted remnants of a railroad bridge ahead. It is time, Lydia. You are as dangerous to this world as that of your family. Do not allow Fenrir to lead you astray!
Thunk! Greaves thudded upon the oaken and steel bridge. For a moment, she paused to wonder anew at the structure’s purpose. It is fitting that I may meet my end upon the tracks of this great beast. A muscular hand lifted to grip a dilapidated rail tightly. Slowly, she began to tiptoe her way to the bridge’s center.
Beneath her feet, unused to such intrusion, the rusted girders moaned. The cries those of industrious souls lost. < br>
But, now it was the tow-headed woman’s turn to cry. She lifted shaky hands to prey, feet teetering on the edge of the bridge. Odin guide my soul to Valhalla. For, I fight harder than you know. Dropping her hands to her side, stroking her scarf for what might be the final time, she released the railing.
Her feet teetered on the edge.
And, yet, the young werewolf hesitated.
Tagged: ashe dermott
Although he did not often have reason to venture outside of Mythril, every now and then Ashe liked to grab the dogs and head for one of the many nature trails that wove through the wilds. Give them a chance to really stretch their legs, get some fresh air, that sort of thing. Getting out there was a bit of a hassle sometimes, with how few roads there were, but the trips were always worth the effort, hands down.
Scenery wasn’t bad, either. Plenty of trees and wildlife, a couple of natural landmarks… There was even an old train track they passed a lot on the way to one of the trailheads, and the forest there thinned out for a pretty fantastic view of the valley below. The car was just coming up on it now, actually.
But as the last line of trees fell away, it wasn’t the bridge or the valley below that caught Ashe’s eye. Somebody was out there, in some kind of armor that gleamed in the sunlight. She had her back to him, and from what he could see, she was far, far too close to the edge of the track.
The car ground to a sudden stop, jostling the dogs a bit from their places with their heads out the windows. Muttering an apology, the redhead practically fell out of the vehicle, just barely lingering long enough to shut the door behind him before sprinting for the bridge.
Shit shit shit! The woman teetered near the edge, but hadn’t jumped yet, caught by hesitation. For that, Ashe thanked whatever gods might have been listening. And despite every instinct that told him not to, he slowed down as he neared. Didn’t want to startle her into a fall, especially not before he was close enough to do anything about it.
Rotting wood and rusting metal groaned beneath him as he edged ever forward. One step, two steps… The pace was achingly slow in that moment, but he wasn’t going to do anyone any good if he tripped and ate shit.
“Hey,” he called. Just a little bit closer… Act natural. Nice and easy… “Nice, uh… nice view, huh?” It occurred to him that he really had no idea what he was doing here. He wasn’t a police officer, wasn’t a counselor… wasn’t anything, really. “Can get a look at the whole valley from up here…”
TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide
She did not know how long she stood frozen above the ravine. When one faced Hel herself, time became a meaningless farce. Little meaningless ticks upon a god’s pocket watch. And yet, she knew more ticks passed by than she had originally intended. What had been a pause for prayer had twisted into one of prolonged hesitation.
Mother’s smile flashed inside her mind. Her father’s ever-bountiful laughter. The memories of a Valhallan sunrise brushed her cheeks. But she knew it for what it was: the beast’s trickery. She would not be swayed by magic tricks and siren song.
Refusing to die a coward’s death, eyes closed to the injustices of the world, Lydia opened her eyes and stared defiantly into the forest. The abyss stared back. The dark and unforgiving certainty of death. As the wind let out a wolfish cackle, her knees threatened to buckle beneath her. Fingers curled into petite fists, sheer stubbornness driving her arms upward and away from the handholds they so desperately sought. No! I shall do my duty and rid the world of this unholy beast!!
With a vicious, almost wolfish smile, she allowed muscular knees to bend. Bright eyes fixed on the forest below, seeing all and none of it. May mother forgive me, All-Father. I know she would not understand. Someone responded. In her self-absorbed confusion, her lips formed a single word, a question. “Odin?” Curiosity drove her to pivot on one foot, the other sending her off balance as hands reached desperately for a pillar of steel. What does the All-Father wish to say? As she realized her mistake, her face clouded with an illegible expression. Suspicion. Embarrassment. Her face finally settled into its default: a thoughtless frown.
To subject this civilian to the sight of a broken corpse would be unbefitting of a Valkyrie. Her appointment with Hel must wait.
Voice guarded, Lydia turned towards the ginger-haired man. His question drew her gaze back to the valley below, its beauty laid bare to once-blinded eyes. It is a trick, nothing more! That beast shall do anything to live another moon! A sigh. “It is certainly not the ugliest place mine eyes have seen.” Though her voice spoke of winter’s cold, her eyes spoke of pain. "I trust you did not come to wheedle thine time with pointless observations.”
Tagged: ashe dermott
Ashe felt his heart stop in that moment, as the woman lurched, then spun, then stumbled. He’d delayed a jump, but in his timing may very well have initiated a fall instead. His breath caught in his throat, and muscles bunched in preparation to leap after her if he had to. The landing wouldn’t be pretty, but maybe he could catch them on a tree branch or—
She caught herself. Thank gods… Half wheezing out a relieved breath, Ashe slowed his briefly frantic pace to the previous walk it had been, until he reached the railing nearby. The woman was frowning at him, probably unhappy for the interruption, but he was fine with that. He’d gotten her to stop and talk. To his eyes, that seemed like progress enough. Now he just had to keep it moving.
“If you ask me, it’s one of the best little vistas, at least around here.” This one… talked funny. Well, not funny exactly, but her language was of a sort that he hadn’t heard in a very long time. At the back of his mind, he wondered where she’d picked that up.
Ashe smiled, soft and warm. “Well, not only to waste time, anyway. I did come out to talk to you, though. Seemed like you could use the company.” A hand extended toward her, not to grab but to greet. “Name’s Ashe, by the way. Yours?”
TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide
Lydia continued to stare out over the valley, suddenly unable to meet the ginger man’s gaze. His odd phrasing caused her frown to deepen. “But, I did not ask?” Though cold, a hint of confusion tainted her words. “I do not understand why I would when you have already provided the answer.” As she stared out across the valley, her vision blurred with tears. Her voice, however, remained stalwart. “I have seen naught else pleasurable in this land.” Its air stank and hummed with the power of things she did not understand. This realm was nothing more than a sickly perversion of Odin’s will.
It would not be one she’d be sad to lay behind. Its people were cruel. Its culture godless. And, the only feelings she had received thus far were a strange mixture of pity of disgust. Until now. Though she did not trust this man, he at least tried to be kind.
When she next took a deep breath, the air was filled with sweetness. The hope that welled in her breast, visible in the tiniest smile, quickly vanished. Combat-hardened muscles stiffened from toe to tousle. She stubbornly set her jaw. Relish it beast. His kindness merely bought you a stay of execution, nothing more. Something in his next words clawed at the icy dam she had built around her heart.
Her tone, though it shook, grew colder. “I know of nothing in my demeanor that would make you assume such a thing.” Her hands tightened around her sides, digging between her ribcage before she turned and offered her hand. Muscles bin within her arms as she offered the stranger a firm squeeze. “I am Lydia Magnusson, youngest of Saga and Prima Magnusson.”
A heartbeat later, stubborn in her determination to despise this world and crucify her monsters upon it, she tugged her hand away. “Though I appreciate your concern, I am not in need of your company—” Blue eyes shifted to his car. A tiny, conflicted smile appearing on her face. “You may return to your hounds.”
Tagged: ashe dermott
This one was an… interesting woman, as Ashe was learning. Took things too literally, and spoke in a manner so formal it was a wonder she hadn’t popped out of some old story book about knights and chivalry. Hell, maybe she had. He’d seen stranger things, in his time. “Well, you know. Have to really look for the pleasurable things sometimes. It’s not always easy.” A gentle, understanding smile punctuated his words. The feeling his new acquaintance described was not as unfamiliar as he’d have liked.
The smile he caught on her lips, just for a moment, the redhead took as a small victory. To him, it seemed a sign that there might be hope here yet. “Look, kid— Lydia. I…” Ashe trailed off for a moment, unsure of his words. A keen listener might have caught the curse mumbled under his breath as he raked a hand through his hair. “I’ve been here, you know. Where you are. Not, like, in a perfectly literal sense but… I uh, I’ve found myself standing on the edge before, thinking about how easy it would be to take the plunge. A few times actually. And I know I could have used a friend then.” His own calloused fingers closed around the woman’s, just for a moment. Not long enough, but trying to forcibly drag her back wouldn’t do either of them any favors just now.
Opportunity knocked. Softly, tentatively, but it still seemed to be there. “… They really like meeting new people, you know. Really friendly.” Ashe nodded back to the car, where his dogs sat staring curiously at them through the back window. “Might be better at helping you work through this than I am, too.” Once again, his hand stretched forward in a quiet offer of assistance.
Though taught English from an early age, Lydia understood little of what these people said. The syllables were the same. The noises were the same. She knew their meanings and their tonality. And, yet, a tweet had nothing to do with birds nor did a like have any concrete meaning. In his phrasing, she saw another attempt by modernity to twist her teachings. Why must these people speak in such riddles!? I have had less difficulties breaking into a draugr’s tomb!
Hearing nothing in way of response, she allowed blue eyes to jump to this ginger-haired man’s face. Though her bearing remained frigid, her words were tinged with softness. This man did you no harm, Lydia Magnusson. There is no reason to tear into him like a rabid beast into a carcass. “I was truly confused by your words—” A sigh emerged from between pursed lips as she offered the stranger an apologetic glance. “I meant no offense.”
A frown appeared on fair features, matched only in its severity by the steady raising of her brow. “I do not believe the world’s pleasure will slay the beast inside me.” It could also not be carved out with prayer or deep-seated determination. If she wished to protect this world, and her own, she would have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Her mouth formed a silent ‘o’ as a realization slammed into her skull like the blunt end of Mjolnir. The blonde chortled, “My lord, I am not suicidal.” Certainly perturbed and more than a bit confused, certainly. But, she did not wish to kill herself , no, just the devil that lived inside. Her dry humor vanished at his painful admissions.
Whilst her tone remained solemn, the iciness in her eyes softened to that of powdered snow (as opposed to the jagged lines of an icicle). “I am sorry this world did not offer you one—” When his hand took hers, the blonde woman blushed. Outside of her elder brother, no man had held her hand before. Not even the man who had nearly taken her purity. The warmth was unnerving but not unwelcome.
Blue eyes slid to where the dogs stood at attention before panes of darkened glass. A small smile, unbidden and unwanted, threatened to play across tightly pursed lips. Only a fool would trust those he loved to a stranger. “I am certain such beasts are only half as kind as their master seems to be—" As one dog lifted its paw towards the window, she felt her heart flutter. That grey was the same grey. Those big eyes held the same childish light.
“Kaias. . .” Ribbons in her hair. Mussed and free. A broken stick clutched in both hands. Drool on her chin. The wolfhound who owned it dancing clumsily around her. Her first battle steed and, more importantly, her first friend.
Just as quick as it had appeared, the ghostly smile once again vanished to haunt her memories. To her own ears, her next words sounded oddly juvenile. "There is nothing to work through, my lord.” Protest or not, however, Lydia did not pull away from his hand. "This can only end one way.
Tagged: ashe dermott