Private Tales Remembering What Might Have Been

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Ilona Xy'Mari

The First Sword of the Order
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Ilona took the few possessions and placed them in the empty saddlebag. She nodded at Ánië before she placed one foot in a stirrup and pulled herself onto Achlys. She reached her left hand down to assist her passenger in mounting the mare. Once they were both settled, Ilona patted the horses neck softly.

"This is Achlys,"
she told Ánië with a look of pride that would be missed by the woman sitting behind her.

Achlys did not need to be told where to go because technically she was connected to the collective via the possession. It was nice for travel especially at night. She just hoped that Ánië did not think to deeply about the fact that Ilona was neither navigating or directing her horse.

"It is about four days to get to the city and then we can get some answers," Ilona said in a light, breezy tone.

"It is about four days to get to the city and then I will lose you forever," is that Ilona wanted to say.


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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Settling down onto the dark horse's back, she put her hands on Ilona's sides out of instinct. She'd never rode like this, at least not that she could recall, but this felt comfortable. Ilona introduced her companion, and they were off. She said something else too, but as they departed Ánië caught Ilona's scent, and her mind began to drift. It was so familiar.

Such a simple thing, and yet the sensations it created, though starting slow, became like a whirlwind.

"Ilona," she whispered, her eyes clenched tightly shut, "take me home."

Gently then, she slumped against her fellow rider and alleged sister as she once again slipped into unconsciousness...



For days, Ánië was hardly coherent. Any time spent conscious was nothing more than a blurred haze to her. But while her awareness of the present faltered, her recollection of the past improved. Greatly.



It was the end of the third day. She woke to the sound of water, and the chatter of the night.

"Ilona...?" she beckoned, but try as she might, she could not hide the change in her voice. There was more strength in it yet again, and also, more understanding.

Things were not all as they appeared.



 

Ilona Xy'Mari

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Ilona had taken her time in their travel. The excuse she used in her head was that Ánië could not hold on properly so they had to take it slower. In reality, Ilona had used one of the times that Ánië was semi-conscious to switch spots on the horse so Ánië rode in front of her. She was able to hold her easier that way.

The holding her had been the hardest part of the three days. Even though Ánië was not the same woman she knew, she was still Ánië. Ilona may have snuggled her face into the woman's hair more than once.

They had stopped for the night on day three and Ilona had helped Ánië off the horse and only some blankets. She was not expecting much company for the evening so when she heard her name, she nearly jumped.

"Ánië, you are awake!" Ilona stopped messing with her saddlebag and walked over to where Ánië was sitting. She smiled even though something was off. She could not put her finger on it though.


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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In truth, Ánië was not yet fully coherent, but she was definitely coming to. All the while her mind remained in disarray as memories and thoughts flooded over her, so much so, that she had difficulty maintaining the difference between what memories were which. Her time of suffering amnesia became a haze beneath the rushing recollection, and when she heard Ilona say her name, her eyes shot open and up at the woman smiling down at her. She looked up at her for a moment, and in Ánië's eyes was a clear and brief look of disbelief, and wonderment.

Slowly she rose to her feet, and stepped near, whispering, "I've not seen you since the tower fell..." her hand brushed against Ilona's cheek, her eyes fixed upon her, "so often I've thought of you, so often I sought you in the Shoraes... but you were so distant, so far away..."

Whatever had come over Ánië now in these moments had seemingly overridden her most recent memories, taking her to a time after the Eventide when her lands were cursed, but before the curse took hold of her people. Before the Dark One came.

She smiled, leaning close, "and now here you are... is this a dream?"

Ánië pulled herself against Ilona, and with a passing look pressed her lips against hers, gentle and painfully restrained.


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

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Ilona stopped walking as Ánië looked up at her with a new, strange look. Ánië stood and stepped close to Ilona causing her to stop breathing.

"I've not seen you since the tower fell..."

Ilona closed her eyes as the soft fingers of her love caressed her cheek.

"so often I've thought of you, so often I sought you in the Shoraes... but you were so distant, so far away..."

Ilona tried to smile back but she couldn't. She felt tears welling up in her eyes as she fought to tell Ánië the truth. Nothing came out.

"and now here you are... is this a dream?"

As soon as Ánië's lips pressed against hers, chaos erupted in her mind. The struggle for control started even as Ilona parted her lips to deepen their kiss. She could not handle restrained.

She felt the thread snap and she pulled away from Ánië. She only had a few seconds.

"Help me, Ánië, help m--"

The thread of possession came back over her and she grabbed Ánië by the back of neck, forcing her to look up at Ilona.

"So you do remember everything after all?" The voice was Ilona's but they were not the words she wanted to say.


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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Her restraint was short lived, and she surrendered to Ilona without an inkling of hesitation. For so long they'd been apart, deprived of this closeness even when standing side by side, so many times... so now, there wasn't even a thought of where they were, how they got here. There was only her hand running through Ilona's hair, her arm wrapping around her waist, her breath brushing against her...

That was, until she pulled away in a panic.

Ánië's eyes shot open, despair washed over her face as she heard Ilona's mysterious plea. But, before she could even respond, there was another change and she could have sworn she saw a sinister glint briefly flicker in her lover's eyes. Then she felt her malevolent hand harshly grab hold of her as she questioned her. Ánië even whimpered, but not for the pain of Ilona's grasp, but the tear ripping her heart in two.

"No," she replied, "I don't remember this, what... what are you doing?"

It was impossible for her to understand at the moment, but she did remember what happened in Aeraesar when the tower fell. It was said many of their own people turned against one another, slaying without relent. What she saw in Ilona's eyes now was not the tender affection of her love. This wasn't even her. It was something else entirely.

Only in that moment did she realize... she couldn't hear them.

She couldn't hear the song of the Shoraes.



In the distance, others approached.
Ánië would not feel their presence, but Ilona would.
It would not be long until they arrived.


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

The First Sword of the Order
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Cursed Ilona continued to hold Ánië in her strong grip. Her head tilted slightly to the right as she peered down into the blue eyes of her prey.

"Why are you not possessed? Why are you not connected anymore? So many questions we want the answers to, Ánië. The amnesia was a lovely surprise and it was even lovelier to learn that I loved you..."

Cursed Ilona let out a pleased sigh with herself as she brought her free hand to brush down Ánië's cheek like she had done previously.



The real Ilona screamed and thrashed against the curse like she had never done before. She felt like she was in a prison cell that she could not escape and the cell had just gotten an added layer of security.

The hidden spot where she held the memories of her and Ánië had been found.


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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The amnesia...?

"What are you saying?"
she whispered.

Then she remembered. She remembered Ilona coming to her. She remembered her lies, her coercion to gain her trust while in such a vulnerable state, even telling her that Aeraesar wasn't the blighted wasteland it had become.

Not possessed. Not connected.

She struggled against Ilona's grasp. Magic welled within her, and her eyes became luminous, "release me, Ilona."

But it was too late.

First one appeared. Then another, and then a third, and Ánië found herself surrounded by four Swords of the Order, each of them with weapons drawn against her. In all her life she'd never imagined she'd be standing here now with her kin poised to strike her down. It nearly broke her. Her eyes closed and a tear slid down her cheek, and she said, "release me."


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

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Cursed Ilona let out a condescending sigh and gave Ánië a mischievous smile.

The four Swords had surrounded them now. They were poised to strike. Ánië was coming with them and Ilona would be exalted as the First Sword she was.

"Very well," cursed Ilona whispered and let go of the woman's neck.

One of the Swords had stepped up directly behind Ánië now. Silly girl if she thought Ilona would just let her go.

The Sword that was behind Ánië sheathed his sword and stepped forward to place restraints on her wrists.


Ilona Xy'Mari
 

Ánië Táralóm

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Ánië stood upright as she was released, and as Ilona stepped aside she perceived a new threat coming from behind. She turned, and in her palm energy began to take shape, crackling as lightning. She was about to defend herself when she was stopped in her place by another, more sinister assault. Blackness coiled around the High Councilor, and ensnared her, her magic rendered powerless. The last of the Swords to arrive had been none other than Sil'Dalin, Ilona's trusted Second Sword, and wielder of darker arts, ones once forbidden by their formerly benevolent Order.

In a similar way to what she had planned to do, Ánië - while wrapped in this cocoon of blackness - was thoroughly bombarded by dark lightning. So much so, that when the darkness finally abated, she collasped with not an ounce of strength to resist with.

Sil'Dalin drew close to Ilona, saying, "you are indeed well appointed to your station, First. Lord Arkhivom will be quite pleased to have his most prized possession returned..." he looked down at Ánië, his features twisting into a scowl, "...I wonder why she is so important anyway."


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

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Cursed Ilona looked down at Ánië as her lip curled. She was so pleased to finally drop the pretense of being her sister and being nice. It was exhausting. She was also very pleased to see Sil'Dalin. He was her Second Sword but he was more than that to this Ilona.

"I do not know the specifics but I am guessing it has to do with why she is no longer linked like she should be...naughty naughty," cursed Ilona said in a sing song voice.

She looked at Sil'Dalin and pulled him close to her before she brought her lips to his. When she pulled away, she looked down at Ánië with disgust.

No...she would not be saying anything about Ilona and Ánië's relationship.

"Let's go! We are close to home and I have shit to do!" Her voice rang out as she walked back over to Achlys and pulled herself into the saddle.



Ilona was not sure if that kiss was to keep her in place or to break Ánië a little more but she raged against the chains that now wrapped around her wrists. She felt more disgusted with herself than usual as she looked at Sil'Dalin with a new kind of disgust.

"Nooooooooooo," she cried to no avail. "Ánië..."


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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She tried to lift herself up, but she could not. Every bit of strength had been sapped from her veins, and even her head spun with uneasiness. Without even making it to her knees she collapsed again, able to lift her eyes only enough to see her beloved embrace another, the very one who had left her like she was now, and share with him a passion she thought belonged only to her. And it was this that was the last thing she saw before her she once again fell quiet and still.



Their pace was leisurely, feeling far less urgency now as the world turned dark around them. The light of the sun faded to night behind the veil of rolling blackness above. The trees around them slowly turned from lush green, to leafless limbs with bark as black as soot. Even the ground beneath them became as death, and it gave forth no beauty. And finally, the dreadful coolness carried on a frequent breeze.

Red eyes watched them from afar. A number beyond worth of counting were soon upon them, yet even these enthralled and corrupted beasts were afraid to approach these elves. The scent of their lord's influence instilled great fear in these creatures, who in the case if anyone else would attack on sight. But were it only the elves under Arkhivom's influence who traveled here, they'd not gathered in such number or taken as much interest. In fact, they'd have likely ignored them altogether. But it was not only they who traveled through.

Each set of eyes was fixed wholly upon Ánië, who remained unconscious, slung over Sil'Dalin's horse.

Sil'Dalin himself had traveled on foot, and now that they'd returned to Aeraesar, he began whispering to himself. Through the collective however, he was clearly heard, casting dark wards, curses, and spells for any who might follow them down this path. And it was once said of Sil'Dalin, that he was one renowned as a great champion of the light, and often could be found at the foot of Astra's image. And it was with this same fervent devotion with which he now served the darkness, and wished it prevailed upon all of Arethil, just as it had prevailed upon all of them, and gave them strength.

Gave them their desires.

Ilona knew this. So did Tia'nZul and Áialryn. They all knew it, and soon, Ánië would know it too, as she did once before. Only this time, there would be no going back.

After a time, Sil'Dalin finally fell silent. The trees began to become more scarce, and the knew and recognized that soon their home would be before them. The trees would open into a vast meadow, and far across set against the mountain their home came into view.

"There's no place like home," Sil'Dalin said, turning his crooked smile to Ilona.


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

The First Sword of the Order
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The real Ilona raged in her mind as her body did and said everything the opposite of her will. Her hope of being together with Ánië had been dashed so quickly. They were almost to this cursed home that would never be her home and they would find a way to cure Ánië.

This journey had gotten the best of her as she curled up and cried. Wholly unable to do anything.



Cursed Ilona closed her eyes and let out a contented sigh as she felt the annoying creature that shared her brain finally disappear. Sweet silence, she thought to herself. This Ilona was used to the quiet but ever since she had found Ánië, the former owner of this body and mind had been acting strangely. Yelling, banging, crying, trying to take control from her.

Silly little girl didn't understand true power and strength. Ilona hoped the silence meant that annoyingly good Ilona would go back to being a passenger and stop trying to change things.

"There's no place like home."

She huffed out a laugh at Sil'Dalin's words. He was quite right even using the most overused phrase possibly. There was no place like home. The darkness, the decay, the cold...it was what Ilona loved about this place and she was happy to be back after being in the light for so long.

"You always know the right things to say, Sil'Dalin. Tell me, what has been going on in my absence?"


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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Passing through the dark meadow, Sil'Dalin kept his eyes forward on the city that lie before them: Sharyrdaes. Its once tall tower rested in ruin, cutting a sharp line through the city and out into the meadow below. Much of the city was ruined, decimated in a former battle. And yet, for even these fallen Aeraesarians, there was a particular comfort at the sight of their holy city. For some there was reverence, others on affinity, but to all, there was truly no greater place.

"...Tell me, what has been going on in my absence?"
"Much has happened..." he began, "Lord Arkhivom and the Lady Lina have departed for the northlands... he only said so much. But he spoke of the Lightbearer..." through the collective, Sil'Dalin's mind was opened. He shared the knowledge he had of the ancient texts. They spoke of a once great evil, one that had persisted even after the banishing of the gods. It told of the Patriarch, and the Bearer of the Light, and how together with the Cleansing Flame they three banished That Which Makes Desolate from this world. It was a tale most dismissed as fables, as these writings came in a time when the Shoraes was new - they could be easily embellished or misinterpreted, even falsely influenced by co-mingling imaginations.

"In the meantime, the Conclave has been ordered to begin the rituals..." his mind became closed, "I have seen our lord's will for us, how we will be changed... it is magnificent." Inklings of memory trickled from his mind, as it seemed even he had trouble withholding the horrors he'd been subjected too.

Screams, horrible and terrified, slowly turned to the sound of hatred and rage.

And then silence.

And what emerged, chilled even Sil'Dalin to his core.

"She is to face one, as a test."


 
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Ilona Xy'Mari

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Ilona looked through Sil'Dalin's mind and was quite intrigued by the ancient texts. She had absolutely believed the stories to be exaggerated and to hear that their Lord intended to perhaps defeat this Lightbearer. Fascinating.

The faded memories that hit her next caused a shiver to crawl through her body. She slowly turned her head to look at Sil'Dalin. She had never seen anything as horrible as what trickled out of her partners mind.

"That...is...horrifying" she said with a frown etching her features now.

"But effective," she added.


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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Sil'Dalin nodded, and though it was clear that he too was unsettled, even somewhat afraid, he was also excited. Their lord Arkhivom had promised those worthy would be granted great strength - and immortality. He suspected, this is what he'd meant.

Soon, the broken gates of Sharyrdaes were before them. Once, these two great slabs of stone, etched with many markings, thrumed with magic, and guarded the way. Now they were tossed asunder, and split into many pieces. For over a century now they lay dormant and broken, claimed by now dead moss and twisted, blackened vines.

And into the city, there was debris, and darkness. Quiet lightning flashed in the clouds over this once holy place, illuminating the decimation all around them.

Through the streets, and up, they made their way closer to that ancient place. The Temple.

And in her uncomfortable place, Ánië began to stir.


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

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Ilona was sure that this place would be terrible for anyone but their kind and she found herself not giving a fuck. She barely tolerated people in the outside world and there were a few that annoyed her into their early grave. She was always happy to return to Lord Arkhivom's dark embrace.

They rode in silence as Ilona reveled in being back. She was looking forward to her bed. Or Sil'Dalin's. Either would work. As long as he was there so she could wash herself clean of the good she had to live in lately.

Movement from the horse beside her caused a frown to form on her perfect face. "The little saint is waking up, Sil," she said as she glared over at Ánië. "Let's get her somewhere before she tries some silly shit to get away from us and we have to kill her..."


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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"Why perfect. She is, of course, expected..."

To the Temple then. The Conclave would be waiting there, to undo whatever had severed her from the Shoraes.

Until then, even if Ánië did awake, there was no escaping four Swords of the Order, especially not here where Arkhivom's dark magic was greatest. Nevertheless, Sil'Dalin took up a closer vanguard, keeping a watchful eye on their quarry. To their benefit, she remained unconscious for nearly the entirety of their journey, even as they came unto the gates of the great Temple. It was a vast and formidable structure place upon Sharyrdaes' pinnacle - though it was scarred, its great tower a ruin. Despite this calamity, the Temple was still as grand as it had ever been.

It was here, before its great entryway, Ánië was awoke by an unpleasant smack against the ground. She stifled her pain, and rose to her hands and knees before her eyes drew up, and she beheld the structure before her - and she knew.

She knew this was not where she should be now, she knew that this was not the sacred home she remembered.

She knew she was not surrounded by friends and loved ones.

The Temple's gates began to open.


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

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Ilona laughed as Ánië hit the ground and got to her hands and knees. She did not understand what the old Ilona saw in the girl. Too good and not that pretty. Terrible taste.

Evil Ilona dismounted and handed the reigns off before she stepped in front of Ánië and looked down.

"Are you not excited to be home?" She asked sweetly as she reached down to grab Ánië's arm and pull her to her feet.

"You have an appointment to keep, Councilor Táralóm. So many people have missed you!"

It may sound like a friendly conversation but it was anything but.


Ánië Táralóm
 

Ánië Táralóm

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Ánië barely resisted when Ilona pulled her to her feet. She gave her only a momentary glance, keeping her attention on the slowly opening entrance to their grand temple. Seconds felt like hours, and dread filled her heart thinking of what may await them. But the great doors were made open, and there was no one there to greet them - only silence.

Within, there was a great hall, as vast as one would expect. And even though the great tower was fallen, the rest of the Temple was as well as untouched, save for the great chasm in the ceiling where the tower once was. Sil'Dalin led them forward, intent on moving through the great hall and into the Chamber of Tychan. There, their quarry was to be tested, and rejoined.

Once inside, the way was once again sealed shut behind them, and Ánië said, "what are you doing with me?"


 

Ilona Xy'Mari

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"Healing you, Ánië. You are lost from us and we cannot allow that," her words dripped with contempt and disgust. She was fine with just killing the Councilor but they were not sure how she had disconnected and that needed to be explored.

She was unsure if it was mercy or punishment that Ilona's hand had been stayed. Ánië would probably choose death by the time this was over. It really did suck to be the Ánië right now.

She marched the girl through the corridors towards the council chamber. There Ánië would face the people who were once her kin, her friends, her peers and learn her fate. Ilona, on the other hand, would be praised for her amazing work.

Sil'Dalin and Ilona entered the chambers with Ilona between them. Illona still had a firm grip on Ánië's upper arm.

"I have brought you a present, Councilors," Illona announced loudly.


Ánië Táralóm