Leafiara/Tales/In Noise, Melody; in Chaos, Choreography
Original Story: Phoenatos 22, 5119
Leafiara couldn't help but shiver as she faced herself in the mirror, adorned elegantly and uncharacteristically in Mynalari's gold brocade gown. A sense of surreality, even unreality. Overwhelming. The gown had practically called to her the night before, and even as she'd gathered it she suspected it was a trap, a last trick of the witch's... but even so, let the trap fall on her alone. Nothing to be done about the items that went to Arianiss, Bristenn, and Lylia, but at least this one would end Leafi and no other.
And if she were wrong, so be it; then let it be a gown of vengeance, an even better outcome. The cleric attached her shimmering trinket to the front of the gown, restoring an illusion of her normal sundress, and urged herself to calm before setting out for the Landing's cobbling warehouse. She'd seen the princess' sandals long enough to recreate them.
The gown. The sandals. The seashell anklet. The ruby and diamond necklace. The bleakstone Leafi had etched with the symbol of a rook. Mynalari Anodheles, Reannah Kestrel, Drandea, Cyph Kestrel, Rysus; just five of the thousands for whom she sought vengeance. One memento taken, two created, two given--and she'd thought those gifts too might be traps at the time. Part of her hoped they were. ...but no, nothing. Always nothing.
So much nothing.
Too much nothing.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Leafi worked idly, the deft fingers of a master cobbler recreating the princess' sandals even as her thoughts drifted far.
Two months of battling Raznel, always racing to the front lines, and nothing--no plague, no moulis infestation, no scarab. Almost everyone got them but her. Leafiara's most optimistic thought was that surviving the black blood curse had built a resilience in her, and admittedly she hadn't seen Shinann affected by recent strikes of the witch either... but there was no use lingering on hope. Those who weren't prepared for the worst case weren't prepared at all.
Were the bleakstones protecting her somehow? Was she unknowingly spreading evil even with the stones--or in some other way? Did Raznel still have blood collected from Leafi three years earlier, not all of it used for the obelisk? Was she already corrupted? When rebutting Arianiss the night before, she'd even sounded like Lylia for a few fleeting moments, maybe the most chilling sign of all.
Leafi's mind raced beyond coherent or conscious thought. Too many possibilities. Too much distraction, noise, chaos. She bowed her head, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. Maybe there was a path to understanding. Seeking Tilamaire's power--the melody of everything, the voice of all, the beauty and the unity of the world.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Leafiara tilts her head slightly, as if listening to something, and her face lights with a warm smile.
Leafiara begins to hum softly, a sweet, soft melody that somehow manages to harmonize with every random noise and tiny sound of your surroundings.
Leafiara sings a wordless, beautiful melody at a human thug.
Vertebrae ripped from body! The human thug's head falls into shoulders.
The human thug falls to the ground and dies.
Leafiara sings a wordless, beautiful melody at a human robber.
Both the human robber's kidneys rupture. Death is quick and painful.
The human robber falls to the ground and dies.
Leafiara seems to be straining to hear a fading melody. She shakes her head slightly and brings her soft humming to an end.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In noise, melody; in chaos, choreography.
The music always came to Leafi, yet it faded so quickly. If only she could train to hear it always, to feel the connections between all things. No... Maybe she could hear it always, if she persisted. Pushed herself further. Even the witch must have a purpose, if only she listened long enough. There must be a way to make sense of it all, to seek clarity and truth.
Her trinket now reflecting an illusion of all five mementos of the fallen, Leafi knew she looked like a noble with no guards--the ideal target for roving bandits. Good; let every one of them approach. Better her than the defenseless, and she needed more time to harmonize.
For Tilamaire dwelled in no one temple, but wandered. The music was everywhere, as he'd hoped it would be when he sought to challenge Cholen. And perhaps in Leafiara's song-prayers she'd find her answers. Perhaps she'd learn in the heat of battle, for in the struggle there was harmony. And the beauty of her song reverberated--resonated--as ribs cracked and limbs flew, as spines ripped and heads blew.