Onwards into the Dark

“I’m sorry Ma’am,” said the very polite Charr female. Vigil, judging by the uniform. “The phoenix team is on leave. They won’t be back for at least two weeks.”

Suiriane fixed on her best smile and slung her pack back over her shoulder. She thanked the Charr and clamped down on her disappointment.

A month in Orr and she had grown rather attached to the tightknit band of oddities that made up team Phoenix.

Even Zach, that annoying and judgmental charr. At least he was someone to talk to. The Charr, in-between berating her for hunting had made a few well observed comments.

“Correct me if I am wrong, but you don’t seem the type to be alone. Where are the others?”

Where indeed?

She should have written, but was terrified they would come for her if she did. Sylvana had found her of course. Her old mentor had been the tonic she needed as her faith in herself had dwindled.

“If you feel you are in the right place then you are in the right place. The answers will come in the end.”

She cursed her corrupted dream for the millionth time. If nightmare had not tried to infect her before she even opened her eyes, then she would not be left with such a fragmented image of her hunt.

“Take care of the risen,” she grumbled as she scrambled up towards her camp. “What does that even mean?”

Ellros, the enigmatic but plain speaking whispers agent agreed with her that ‘Take care’ meant kill. Though she had explained her frustration to him, just as she had to Sylvana. He had a different perspective.

“Perhaps it’s a certain type of risen you are here for?”

That had given her pause. Could it be that her dream wanted her to focus on some of the truly monstrous things out there? The idea had refused to go away.

“Just my luck,” she snarled and dumped her pack on the hill that had become her home. “Killing the risen is not enough, oh no. I get to battle the special ones.” She looked to the sky, it was a good a thing as any to yell at as the dream of dreams was not exactly a real place.

“A little fucking help down here would be nice!” she bellowed, startling a boar below the hill she stood on, the creature ran off squealing. Animals had never liked her.

Suiriane, in being around humans once more had started speaking like one again, she had even gained back the slight accent she had once had in Divinity.

“I’m here, what more do you want from me? You won! Do I have to solve a bloody puzzle too?”

But she knew there would be no answer, there never was. She rubbed a hand over her face.

“Get a grip Sui, this is not helping,” she muttered. “You are shouting at the sky.”

The dawn born sighed and sat heavily, armour clanking.

This was not how it should be. Was this punishment for delaying acting on her hunt so long?

“Bollocks,” she muttered, borrowing another human curse. “I’m tired and frustrated.”

Yes…She was tired… had been even before Orr but now it was worse. The former Prime did not sleep well. It was not just the regular nightmares she had always suffered but grief added on top.

It had taken time but she had identified the emotion now. She would wake in the middle of the night sobbing and begging, words on her lips that made no sense.

“Please… don’t do this… don’t let me go… I still need you… don’t push me away!”

She had not felt so wretched since Niu died, it was if she had suffered another bereavement but knew she had not.

Was this something from her dream, desperately trying to surface through the corruption? Or… was it something more sinister like repressed memory? Sui hesitated to dig into her psyche however. She had only just beaten her chaos addiction and her reserves were needed for fighting the risen. She could not be weak here, ever, or she would die.

It started to rain and Suiriane did not even notice for a few moments. That was happening more often also. She would lose herself in her thoughts and sometimes lose awareness altogether. Most disturbing of all, was she could not always account for her actions. Her hunt took over at times.

An image of the last incident flashed across her mind and she shuddered.

She had come back to herself and she was standing on the edge of a small cliff, looking at a pile of risen bodies below. They were missing limbs, mostly one leg. Sui had glanced at the tracks in the parched dirt and sand behind her.

The valiant had been toying with them. Removing a leg and letting them give chase until finally leading them off a cliff. Just like a well fed cat would toy with mice. That was not how she knew it should be done. They should be ended quickly and efficiently.

“Nothing like enjoying your work,” she muttered in an acidic tone, then burst out laughing.

The bitter laughter did not stop… and soon dissolved into heart felt, confused, grizzly sobs.

Suriane covered her face and rocked back and forward. Just as she would do when she was holding an upset sapling. All those she had comforted, put back together. Now she was the one that needed arms to stop her shattering to bits and there was no one to provide that.

The sobs and emotion passed as the rain intensified, hammering down on her head. It was not cold, it was never cold here. A small blessing.

Sui turned her tear streaked face up to the sky and let the warm rain wash away the evidence of her turmoil.

With the passing of the emotional storm came clarity.

She could carry on as she was and go slowly mad, or go to meet her fate.

It was time to choose.

The mindset of her time in command took hold and she gathered her things. The essentials she had managed to beg and borrow over the last few weeks. Too proud to ask for residence in the fort, but not so proud to refuse food and equipment.

She stood and saluted Fort Trinity. Her way of saying thank you.

Suiriane headed out into Orr, far from the safety of the Pact fortress.

A week later the guards who patrolled past her camp regularly took note of the fact she had still not returned. She had told the majority of the residents of the fort so little that they had no idea whom to alert that she was missing.

Just another statistic. Another that would never be found.

Sui knew well herself…

Orr did not forgive.

gw544

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