Writing: Character Background Story
Word Count: 1800
When I was seven, the Cordelian secret police group invaded the village. We knew almost a week beforehand, and some were able to escape, but their scout crew caught most of the escapees. There was nothing to do but wait for the attack, fight, and hope we would win.
I learned why everyone was so scared of Souls.
There were actually only two Souls during the attack—Akeisa pointed them out to me from a rooftop one day before the attack. They looked like normal people, milling about with the rest of the attacking party, but Akeisa said they were able to possess others.
“Most Souls abandon their original body for a host’s body,” she explained as we climbed down.
“What about their original powers?”
“They lose them, of course, but they gain those of their victim.
I mused on this, wondering what it was like. “Can I try it out?”
She peered at me funny. “You wouldn’t need to ask. I’m not a Soul, so I wouldn’t know, but most just intrude. Some say the host’s soul is able to resist Souls in the early stages and even push them out, but it’s rare that it happens,” she said, striding ahead. I walked behind, wondering how I was supposed to use who I was as an advantage.
Thinking of my soul-sending abilities—I had noticed that a lot of me revolved around souls and possessing—I flung my entire conscious at her. It was awkward out of my body, but I persisted. My soul-self drifted near hers, and before I knew it, I—Veraline—was at the same time Akeisa. It was strange. I saw my body lift a hand, and the Akeisa-me raise a hand as well. The real Akeisa stared, confounded. “You must be doing it wrong,” she decided. “You’d have to let go completely of your body.”
“How?” I said, and the words popped out of both my body and the Akeisa-me body.
She shrugged. I returned to my body and the traces of the double fluttered back into its source—the real Akeisa—like any other soul-sending move. We walked in silence a while longer before I asked, “How does the Soul return to his or her original body?”
She shrugged again. We had reached my house, and stopped. There was a moment of silence before she reached out and shook my hand. “Veraline, they’re attacking tomorrow. I can feel it.”
I didn’t doubt her. Akeisa had the Gift of Auras as her power , and she could detect emotions and sometimes intentions.
“If we never meet—“
“Father says all the children will be sent away to escape. We’ll see each other then, right? And we’ll protect each other. They won’t catch us.”
She started to shake her head, then nodded, a tear escaping. Akeisa never cried. I knew something was wrong—even more wrong than she let on. “I’ll be coming with you, and guiding, most likely.”
I nodded, understanding. Akeisa was a clever person. She was waiting to determine the exact intentions and natures of the attackers to ensure the most advantageous move. “I’ll see you in the morrow then,” I murmured, shaking her hand. After a teary hug, she disappeared into her house, and I into mine.
Father in at home, for once in a rare time. He’d been spending more time at the house recently, helping Cora cook and pack. When I walked in, he nodded and drew away from her—it was clear they had been discussing something before, and possibly tears were involved, though I saw none.
“Veraline,” he addressed and I curtsied. “You’ll be leaving with the other children tomorrow?”
“Have you everything you want to bring?”
Another nod. I had already collected my few possessions—a blanket, a pillow, and my beloved glass figurines— and tucked them safely in a knapsack. Cora had added a load of foodstuffs, water, and hygienic materials to it, and determined I was set. Unlike the other children, I needed no weapon.
“Get some dinner and sleep them. You’ll need it.”
The next morning—the day of the invasion—I woke up early, nervous. Father and Cora were already up, talking quietly in the kitchen. After a solemn farewell, I shouldered my pack and joined Akeisa at the south gate. She had a similar pack on her back, as well as a belt of knives and was consulting a map. “Hello, Veraline,” she greeted without looking up. I fingered one of my braids.
“Where are all the others?”
“They escaped at midnight,” she said neutrally. “Without telling anyone.”
“Weren’t they afraid?”
“A few of them were caught,” she said, putting the map away. “We’re lucky it’s foggy today. You ready?”
I nodded, and she unlatched the lock. Without a backwards glance, we strode out, relocked the gate, and ventured into the forest, towards the lake.
We were almost at the lake when the first sounds of battle reached us; it was so soon we were both a little scared. At the river, we encountered another surprise—the group of children that had escaped the night before had taken the boat to the other side, leaving us with no way to get across.
Akeisa looked around for a handy vine or log we could use, and after a moment’s thought, I came up with an idea. With a hand, I absorbed the materiel of a nearby tree and enlarged the hand as much as possible. It still couldn’t span the lake. I tried using the other hand as well, and was able to make a makeshift bridge. We both scuttled across.
“Well, well, well,” a familiar voice said. We whirled, to find one of the boys from the village glaring evilly at us.
“Traitor!” I hissed, clenching the giant wood-hands into fists.
“No, he’s being possessed by a Soul,” Akeisa noted quietly to me. Seeing that she wasn’t looking for an escape told me that this Soul had commands to fight and kidnap.
“I’ll take care of him,” I muttered. “You go.” I lashed out at him, sending wood splinters flying at him. The Soul laughed and I briefly wondered why he hadn’t even tried to pretend to be a friend. I swung another hand at him and he dodged again, leaping around the clearing with amazing speed. Suddenly, an arrow whizzed from behind me and struck him in the chest mid-jump. He was tossed against a tree heavily as two more arrows found their mark. A figure dashed up and stabbed the wisp of substance that floated out of the dead body, but the wisp didn’t fade. After a moment’s shock, I recognized my father as the attacker. Seeing no bow on him, I looked back and saw Cora across the lake with her bow, crossing the lake on the boat that my father had surely pushed back for her.
“RUN!” I heard, and did so, the wood-hands vanishing as I summoned my soul back into my body and following the darting figure I knew as Akeisa. The Soul had managed to possess my father, and was now racing back to the river to eliminate Cora. I saw a bloody slash of his knife, and a splash of red water before Akeisa pulled me out of sight behind a boulder. She was shaking, but she quickly undid one of my braids. I was about to ask if this was seriously the time to be worrying about hair, when she stuttered, “The braid. It’s a symbol of the Revelin. Take yours out. Hurry!”
I did as she said, and shook the two remaining pigtails on my head so it seemed that I had never had it braided in the first place. Akeisa did the same, and ignoring the brown mess as she dug through her bag. “Take these,” she said, handing me two hairband-like objects. I set them obediently in my hair, the vain part of me delighted with the way the “wings” on the stone looked and the sensible side yelling about the intelligence of worrying about all this now. “They’re exploding rocks,” she said, getting up and continuing to jog over the hill. “And they’ll reform after every use.”
“Thanks,” I said, as we ducked under a low branch and continued downhill.
“Don’t mention it,” she said bitterly. We ran undisturbed for a while, and then suddenly Akeisa stopped, holding her hand out for me to as well.
I mouthed, “What’s wrong?” but she ignored the question and told me seriously, “Never braid your hair again, Veraline.” She then recited a quick spell making it so the command would override any future orders I was given. Confused and scared, I said the reply, confirming her spell.
“Good,” she sighed, grabbing a couple of knives. “The other Soul followed us here. I’ll hold him off for a while—you leave. Go west,” she ordered, pointing.
Unable to refuse, I left the way she had indicated, tears rolling down. First my father had been possessed by a Soul, then my mother had been killed by him in his possessed form, and now my best friend was abandoning me.
The other Soul—also in a body from the village—entered he clearing as soon as I was a few trees away, hidden in the fog and behind a few trees.
“Akeisa,” he greeted, faking friendliness. “Come with me. I know where are friends are. Why have you undone your braids? Why do you threaten me so?”
Akeisa ignored him, though, chanting another spell. I was worried—spells were usable by any, as they were set by the ancient ones, but using one still drained remarkable energy. Already Akeisa looked fairly pale. Another one might kill her.
“My friend, what are you doing?” the Soul stepped closer, but Akeisa didn’t move, and only kept chanting. “Stop this,” he said, reaching for her hand, but she finished the chant—her left knife glowing white, she stabbed the possessed body with her right, and as soon as the Soul escaped to possess her, she swung the left at him with unmatchable speed, screaming, “ESTALLOS!”
I didn’t see or hear what happened next, because I was still moving backwards due to the obedience curse. A few moments later though, I saw a bright light shooting from the small clearing. The ghostly aura of the light was so strong that even though I did not have Akeisa’s ability to detect auras, I could feel the call of ghosts and spirits rushing out and then collapsing back in. Frightened and propelled by the curse, I ran.
Adrenaline coursing through my body, I raced westward as fast as I could, with little care about where I was going.
Artist's Note: Part 2! So soon? Yes. :) This may or may not be this week's post though...
Anyway, that covers the majority of Vera's childhood...next post will go into her conversion and the fourth will hopefully finish it off, with a return to the scene described at the beginning of part 1.
School resumes after a four-day weekend tomorrow =.= I don't know what to say besides wail about my grades :'(
Please read and review!
EDIT 12 June 2010: Edited a little! :D Thank you for the reviews! Hopefully this is better :)