Title: Decision to return
Writing: story excerpt/ random writing.
Word Count: 1118
"Elysia, this is your decision," Alina Zephyr said, standing with one arm over the other and head slightly bent in questioning. The dark mark on the left side of her face gave a little twist before staying still again.
Elysia Kieran looked away. Even after traveling with Alina and learning to accept the Object of Holena, the Mark of Holena still bothered her. "We have to go back," she repeated, more to herself than anyone else. She set the newspaper down again and sat on the temple bench to keep herself from falling.
"Is there anything I can get you?" It was a temple apprentice, Elysia guessed.
"Tea please," She ordered. "Thyme and rosemary."
He nodded and turned to Alina. The Object hesitated and nodded to indicate she would have the same. The apprentice hurried off and Elysia fingered her Angelsign pendant feverishly. "We have to go back," she said. "Andromeda was my best friend."
"We are going back to Bryka Fields?"
"Yes--no," Elysia quickly amended. "Oh--" she hesitated, not sure if she trusted the Object so much yet. "What would you do?" She asked in a soft voice.
"If I were you?" Alina asked. Elysia nodded. Alina stretched her hands and folded them behind her as she stared at the temple's intricately carved ceiling. She squinted as if trying to read something carved on the ceiling. "Well," she said with a sigh, her arms swinging loose and her gaze returning to Elysia's face. "Andromeda is not dead."
"But it says here she was killed in a skirmish among the tournament participants!"
"Ferrezin casualties are turned into vaerlaxies. Their vaernima will be given as prizes to the winners," Alina countered expertly. "Andromeda is not dead. Now, if I were you, I would set that aside for now. The real choice is to either continue this journey, or turn back. If you turn back, you can either return to Bryka Fields or head directly for the Capital."
"Why would I go to the Capital?"
"The first round of the Ferrezin has not been held. You can still claim Andromeda's vaernima--assuming her parents have not yet."
"And what'd I do with it?"
"Sonora's power was vaerlaxies spellcasting, was it not?"
Elysia gapped at Alina for a moment before sputtering, "That-that's stupid! Why would I go to her for help? She's trying to kill me! She's the reason we're on this journey!"
Alina silenced her quickly as the temple apprentice returned with their tea. He left a hovering tray between them and scampered away quickly, obviously afraid of Alina's Mark, which had happened to swirl while he was there. Elysia poured for both of them with trembling hands and downed hers quickly. She refilled and drank another two. By then it seemed her nerves had calmed enough for her to speak again.
"Anyways, just because Sonora's power had something to do with vaerlaxies doesn't mean she can bring back the dead."
"Andromeda is not dead," Alina replied smoothly, sipping her drink. Her Mark stopped swirling around her eye and settled into a wavy circle design.
"I don't like it," Elysia retorted, taking another drink. The herbs in the tea seemed to do her no good, though Alina could feel them keep her from bursting out in agitated tears.
"As I said, this decision is up to you alone."
The two sat there for a long time, each occasionally pouring a cup of the quickly-disappearing tea. Alina closed her eyes and meditated and once Elysia had enough control of herself, she did too.
When the Object opened her eyes again, Elysia was still floating next to her, meditating and thinking. The tray of tea was gone, but she had sensed that mid-way through her meditation. Alina let her boots touch the floor gently and wandered away.
She made her way quickly through the halls, through the back gardens of the temple and to the temple Sanctum, stopping only to pick a blue and a white rose from a garden. In the Sanctum, she hurried to the back of the long hall and stood before the wall with a neutral expression. This wall was free of pedestals and offerings, and the only thing on it was a beautiful mural of the Angelsign.
"Ghosts," Alina said, holding the blue flower up to the sign. "Ghosts of the land, speak to me."
The stem of the flower vanished as a heavy breeze swept through the hall, leaving a handful of petals in her hand.
"What do you seek, Alina of Zephyr?"
"To speak to Andromeda of Corren. Species phantom-elf."
There was a collective hiss from the ghosts and the majority of them vanished in a gust of mist and air, some out of disgust and some to search for the mentioned person.
"Why do you seek a phantom?," one asked. "You are a half-ghost. What use have you of a phantom?"
"She was my friend and was recently killed," Alina replied, immediately identifying the speaker, though the echoing voice could have come from any one of the wispy figures.
"Then she is dead."
"No. I believe she was preserved in vaerlaxies."
Another hiss escaped the gathered ghosts and the small crowd thinned again.
"She was my friend," Alina repeated firmly.
A few ghosts nodded reluctantly. Alina glanced down and saw that only two petals remained. As she watched, one of them withered and vanished, as if it were never there.
The ghosts that had gone to search began returning now; most just offered her a sorry shake of their head but finally one told her, "Andromeda of Corren is well. Her spirit cannot come with us, but it is in good health. She bids you and Elysia of Kieran to hurry in your decision." The ghost vanished then, as swiftly as it had appeared, and the last petal faded. Alina turned, bowed to the Angelsign, and returned back out the Sanctum. Before she exited, she stopped at one pedestal and left the white rose on it. "Thank you for your help, brother ghost," she murmured. The rose remained where it was for a minute before fading away, as if it had melted into the air. Alina bowed to the pedestal then, to thank its resident for accepting her offer, and left the temple Sanctum.
She returned promptly to Elysia, who had come out of her meditative trance and was packing fresh supplies into her pack. "I have decided," she said when Alina stopped before her. "We're going to the Capital, but not to lay claim to Andromeda's vaernima."
Alina nodded as Elysia stood, sweeping her white hair into a low ponytail. "I-I'm...going to speak to Sonora."
Artist's Note: HI! Sorry for super-late post (for last week) and for the suckiness of it. Erm... EtHR returns? (EtHR= Destiny's Edge: the Heart Reincarnation, my former NaNoWriMo 2010 idea before I randomly changed it.) Really I just felt like writing with Alina a bit and this is what popped out. I should be working on other writing >.<
Hopefully I get something decent posted on-time this week!