Calidon: Abysm of Souls

In the cold jade and marble walls of the palace of Elphame, Calidon had spent many an hour, perplexed and lost in deep thought that would bring her one step closer to serenity. Today was just another of those days, Asteliš d'Meqair stitched in black on surrounding golden banners draped over the gallery balustrades. Her ladies attended her from a distance, circuiting the sacred area marked by the intricate, circular mosaics, where Calidon was knelt in the centre. As per usual, a lace veil crossed from the top piercings of her elven ears, just a few shades lighter than her hair that shone like white gold in the sunlight through the stained-glass skylight. Only her eyes - glowing like spring water - were uncovered, the rest of her was in ceremonial dress that she was permitted to wear each evening at the end of each month, a flowing white robe that was as unflattering as it was old and treasured.

Breathing deeply, easing herself into a state of calm and contemplation, she felt the ground shift beneath her, or so it seemed, like there was a great tremor. A power tingled through the air, the likes of which she had never felt before. She wondered if it could be the solstice, whether the powers of Light had increased around her, gifting her for such brief a wonderful time. Despite this, she continued on, her eyelashes flickering against her pale unblemished skin as patterns swirled on the backs of her eyelids, her core growing heavier inside her like an anchor cementing her, whilst her spirit hovered just an inch from her body. She wanted to do as she had done before, to intimately feel Her presence again, from the fibres of her fingertips to the oldest strand of hair. She hadn't felt anything of the sort for many years, not since her coronation some sixty mortal years ago, and then a later seventeen when she had mastered the first of the Seven tempers. For her, the first had been anger, and a good thing too, as her sister's contempt for her had grown with each passing day, challenging and transcending her to a point that would unhinge her as the beloved Empress of the Imperium. 

In modern time, Maegard dignitaries saw little purpose for her, her old race - the solitary Elven - upholding an old tradition that like all that was old was soon expected to degrade. But in her own world, on the rich peaks of Evneor, her title and her power was second to none. So she would rise above all mortal weakness, and she would be the Everlasting Empress, a name they whispered around her, but never to her, afraid of how she would react.

The air crackled again with that strange power, and her fingers jerked like bolted with electricity, her heart jump-starting in her chest. She could feel that something new would happen, a greater bestowed gift, and she opened her mind to it, inviting in the power so that it would flow through every nerve, every chakra, every soul compartment until it became hers. There was nothing benevolent, not that she could sense, so when the power seemed to lock around her neck, forcing her breath, Calidon did not panic, she only fought through it to the other side. And when she realised, it was much too late.

She felt the instance her spirit left her body, when her arms lost all feeling and she fell back against the tiles, but there was nothing that could be done. She saw herself, fallen back, her robe splayed out around her, ladies skittering with sudden, terrified speed and swarming around her, shaking her body and willing her eyes to open, for any sign that she lived. Calidon tried to look at her own form, but there was nothing to see, and somehow, there was nothing to see through. She was Sight itself, slowly rising higher and higher until she could see the swirl of vibrant colour in the skylight panes, lighter than air, a voice weaving its way around her.

         Trust in me, my daughter, it said. For I am the Knowledge and the Path to guide you. You have a purpose to serve, my daughter, and only then will you understand My Will.

         'I trust,' said Calidon without lips, and on her words she fell, dropped like a puppet without its strings towards the stage, only she did not fall into her body, or even into her realm. Instead, she fell into a darkness that had sifted from the stone and coiled around everything she knew, and she was plunged into the unknown. The darkness rose around her in shades of silver and black, and she could see through a space like eyes sewn shut and tearing threads to see. Only when the darkness had formed into matter did Calidon realise she was standing, that she had feet, that she was dressed, and looking around at the dark, damp stone and glistening metal, she realised she was not home.

The End

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