The Gods Are CallingMature

A little insight into the terror caused by the takeover of humanity on Maegard.
This character is seen if only for a few minutes in 'The Sanctuary of Light' in Holloway Village, seen burning to death on a pyre by Willow, Andrel and Tayna.

She could hear Death calling for her.

In the middle of the night, she knew that she'd heard Him whispering, beckoning, welcoming.

The walls of her prison were slick and damp, moonlight slanting through the bars of the single high window, she bathed herself in its glow as if it could cleanse her of the filth that covered her body. She had wondered for days what fate had been crafted for her, she'd just begun to believe that they would leave her to dessicate when she'd heard crunch of booted footsteps on gravel, the groans of exertion, then the heavy clonking of wooden logs being stacked on the opposite side of the wall.

From that moment, she could confirm what she'd known deep down in her heart and had been foolish enough to doubt. But now she knew.

In the morning, Sarah would burn.

There was little to do in the prison cell, only to wait, think and listen - a torture of the worst kind, for she knew that what her body did not feel, her mind could recreate it threefold, and she would not be able to stop it. The attendant in the mayor's office had departed for home, to his patiently waiting wife who would greet him with a kiss on the cheek and reward him for a good day's work with a piping supper at the fireside.

Humans, oh how she abhorred them.

She tried to think back to the times when humanity had not plagued her life - or even the lives of all Maegardians, but she had none in living memory. In her dreams, she knew the peaceful times of Maegard, she wondered if perhaps they were the memories of a past incarnation returning. Memories of magick twirling freely throughout the streets and of the songs of the old children echoing across the vales were from no years that she had lived in. Sarah had lived in Holloway all of her life, yet all she could remember was the cold, and the day it had arrived, appearing like a white miracle on a November morning. She, a small child of nine, had raced out onto the streets, playing with the other children gleefully, hoping that it would never end.

And it never did.

Twenty four years on, and the frost had not melted, and the sun had been trapped behind the steel grey clouds ever since. After a month, the worst of the cold had set in, and even the children beseeched Winter away, but there was no relent, and slowly people began to move away until Sarah's family and a couple others were the only magi left in Holloway Village. 

All of the other residents were human, the worst kind, those that did not only fear magick, but despised it, and from that moment on Sarah had been counting the days before she would be discovered and punished for her "crime." She could not believe she had lasted this long.

She leant forward onto her knees - the manacles chinking around her wrists and ankles - and crawled towards her bed, the springs took her weight with an asphyxiated squeak, a noise furthered as she lifted her feet off of the ground and brought her knees to her chest, into the darkness but off of the cold, stone floor where her captors believed she belonged. She knew she would not sleep, how could she? Her final hours would be fleeting whilst she dreamt, and when she awoke, she would die.

'Die...I'm going to die...' Admitting it to herself brought a deluge of tears to her eyes, she wept into the filthy, unwashed skirt of her dress, keeping one watery eye on the spectacle of dust which swirled in the moonlight. She did not know how long she cried for, but it made her tired, but she forced herself awake, finding something that she could do to keep herself from sleep's warm embrace.

She would pray.

Sarah did not believe in the gods, she had not believed in them for a long time. Maybe there had been gods once, the ones who had created the world, but if they were immortal they would have helped, they would have stopped the suffering of their people. Her grandmother, decrepit as she had been, spoke her most passionately when she spoke of the gods, and that suffering was necessary to teach others about peace, and that without evil, there was no good.

But what good? Sarah had not seen goodness for a long time, not even in the warmth of a stove or the bubbling laughter of a child, wood was too damp for fire, and mothers had salvaged their children from the frost and left many years ago - taking with them the warmth and the love and the good, until all that remained was the cold and the dead. 

Reaffirming these beliefs, Sarah couldn't properly understand why she slipped off of the metal-framed bed and onto her knees, sliding forward so that only her clasped hands felt the moonlight as if to make it more noticeable. 

"Please..." she whispered, "I do not know if you can hear me, or if you are even there, but please, save us. Not I, I am condemned, there is nowhere I can go where my face is not known as a witch, but to the others. I know that they still hide, I know that they are safe wherever they are, let them stay this way." She glanced to the floor in the patch of moonlight, and saw the front page of the newspaper that, after much negotiation, had been given to her by the cell attendant. On the front it read, "THE ROYAL TEN RESURFACE," and below, a hazy picture of a young girl, her eyes were bright, her hair lightly-coloured, and the sepia tone gave her a muted and modest radiance that colour could not capture.

"The royals...if the words are true, and they have returned, then they can help us. I do not know if I believe they are the incarnations of gods, but I beg of you," her voice was breaking, Sarah knew there was little time before despair would inhibit her continuation, "send them to help us. I am afraid to die, but I do not matter, and if you do nothing, then what is the point of you?"

She ended bitterly, with none of the respect she had been taught to conclude with, but it was how she felt, she was a dead woman, courtesy did not matter to her anymore.

She led down to sleep, her eyelids growing heavy and darkness pressing her to sleep, and Sarah slept her final night knowing that there was nothing more that she could do. She had prayed though she had thought it hopeless, and admitted that there was a part of her that had wished she could believe, it was a beautiful thing to have - faith - and it would have been precious in her final moments.

Sarah was not allowed to freeze to death - it would have not been a cruel enough death for her - so her mattress was thick, a fur throw to warm her icy shoulders, and she could not help but chuckle that the most comfortable she had been in many moons was in her final moments. As she snuggled into her warmth, she imagined a world where the gods did exist, where they had heard her prayer and it had been enough to cause them to act. Whilst they slept, the gods plucked each of the evil humans from their beds and eradicated them, the magi would wake up to find them gone, and celebrations across Maegard would last for months.

All dedicated to a woman who had prayed but, even in her last moments, had refused to believe in God...

In her dream, Death flew down to the cell in a hooded cloak of slick black velvet. He had arrived for her, but He could not see her beneath the furs, and He could not separate her from comfort's embrace. He reached out a hand to her, teasing her by tracing a long, icy finger across her flushed cheek, sending rivulets of chill through her body, but though he could torment her, He could not take her just yet.

So He stood and watched her all night, waiting.

The End

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