Fatum Writing Challenge – March 2022

The Challenge:

The first Wednesday of the month a random character personality was drawn using Fatum cards. The challenge is to write a short story about the character described in the Fatum spread. The story is to be submitted by the last Wednesday of the month. One of the submissions will be selected to be read aloud on stream and posted here.

The Spread:

 

The Story: “A River Must Flow” by Sora Leoyfaith (Submitted in Discord)

The sun filter through the window of an old home, unassuming in stature and way out in the countryside. Inside gather many young people, waiting attentively after an old man. Despite his many years carved on his form by ages lines and gray hair he has a vivacity about him and his voice speaks firmly.

‘’The river of time is an unrelenting torrent of events; it streams unpredictable water where all are rush along with the flow. Landscape flying by most undiscernible but the greatest features carved by the passion and hatred of the masses. Among the chaos and the wave, we chosen few, children of Alistair, guard the river so it flows stay unconstrained. Gifted with the Key of Lusitania, shining jewels from the lands of dreaded gods, snatched from their envoy of mayhem. All of you here is worthy of such duty, but the key will only take one as master and guide him against the tide moving in the opposite direction of everyone.’’

‘’Master, all of us are only apprentice none of us is initiated even yet.’’

‘’yes yes… that is true, but all of you have the virtue to become great masters yourself and have been selected as such. It takes many to fight the dreaded gods and their plan seed history with chaos and incessant fighting.  but not all duty is the same. Being the bearer of the key is a grave duty, one that can only be liberated from with dead. All members of your order have, is and will aid the bearer even if it doesn’t make sense at the present. For he is the only shield we have against those who want to us wish us harm, and alone surely his shield would shatter leaving us weak and ready for being picked by the envoy. If it is what they want that is. We do not know the of those that tormented us, they come and they go through time sowing discord and mayhem that we know. There are not many of them but they always cause an enormous amount of destruction when they do appear. They call themselves Messenger of the gods, but themselves they are not gods that is for certain, to many of them have we beat for us to believe them immortal. Per sharp even human, they are after all, many things we know before it was invented by the message of the bearer. Still, we must never fall victim to the same vice. Never must we interfere with what people choose for themselves, only the intercept the envoy. It is always tempting, to choose a better future to control things, but by doing so one will lose free will. Even if some of us went back the flow we do not understand how the key and river work at all. Is time one single river or many streams parting and merging we do not know.’’

Many of the pupils appear a bit unsettled; though they know all this already. One a bit more daring than the other ask:

‘’Master, you have still many happy years before you as the bearer of the key, is it not too soon to choose the next one? ‘’

To which all other pupils nodded.

‘’Liam you always have been a sweet boy, you must not let your emotion get the better of you. It been an honor to serve as the bearer for so many years, more than most of your bearers. We meet your dead willingly before we are too weak to serve as a shield, in hope that this will afford humanity a little more time. But it is not me that choice, it is the paradox of your existence, all bearers come to tell they have been chosen once they are to pass, and thus we submit ourselves to fate for others to be free to choose them. I have already done the same, and you just did so yesterday.’’

‘’Now don’t be sad, once it is time you will understand. We have much to talk about, for you have quite a lot to learn. You have quite an adventure ahead of you for you my boys are going back to the very beginning of this cycle to the time of princess Lusitania and her brave knight Alistair. And per sharp with all this you will be the one to end the cycle too and free us from those who torment us.

 

Aryianna Nightshade – Sudden Preparation

Aryianna Nightshade – Sudden Preparation

Procrastination wasn’t like her. It had been months and they still hadn’t made the trip to the mechanical giant. Deri never pressed the issue and patiently waited for her to signal it was time to go. But why did she hesitate so?

‘The answers could be best obtained through a different route’

She knew that to be true. She knew the answers would best be learned by going…

‘Home’

She hadn’t thought of Garlemald as anything more than an enemy for years. She was labelled a traitor and hunted by their military. Had countless confrontations with all levels of personnel. Been captured and experimented on… and yet…

‘Go Home’

That was all before the civil war broke out. As long as she didn’t walk into the city baring her signature armor and weapon she would likely be able to move through the city unnoticed.

‘Find her’

She could use any number of light armaments for the trip but she only had one scythe. The one she currently possessed was very recognizable. It would have to be replaced before the trip.

‘Hurry’

She grabbed several ingots and crystals from storage and headed toward the forge with a sense of urgency. She had work to do.

Aryianna Nightshade – She is Alive?

Aryianna Nightshade – She is Alive?

Aryianna casually walked down the stairs on their residence. As the work area came into view, her eyes scanned it like that of a hawk scanning a field. Deri was connected to several machina by cables connected at her wrist and the back of her neck. Her eyes were closed and she was rubbing her temples. Her expression was that of frustration and annoyance. Seeing her work always made her smile, even if it was only a little, and today was no exception.

Not wanting to disturb Deri, she quietly moved to the display case containing her Garlean armor. She crossed her arms and stared at it, her mind grappling with what to do with the information she had received from the stranger who visited her recently. Her armor was a relic from her past that the duo had spent significant time adjusting, upgrading and adapting. Even still, she avoided wearing it whenever possible. It was a past she had tried very hard to put behind her and putting it on always felt like she was flirting with becoming that person again.

“Ah, hi Ar. Sorry if the power went down, had a fuse blow up but already replaced it.” There was a brief pause as Deri adjusted herself behind her. “Your armor is fully aether locked now with your registry by the way, only responds to you.”

Ary continued staring at the armor. “Thank you.” Her voice was quieter than usual and the accompanying nod was barely perceivable.

“Everything alright, love?” Deri asked as she adjusted herself in her chair.

She could feel Deri’s concerned look on her back. “My mother… may be alive…” Aryianna didn’t realize how conflicted she was until she heard it in her voice.

The chair moved slightly accompanied by sounds of cables hitting the table. “That’s… are you sure? I mean… can you trust the source that is…”

“I… am unsure…” Her voice was laced with pain, “but I have a possible source that could show me for certain.”

Deri’s arms wrapped around her from behind. “I say go for it, but not by yourself.”

Aryianna had been so focused on what the stranger had told her and the implications of it that she didn’t feel Deri move from the chair. The embrace startled her a bit. She looked at the arms around her waste. A smile slowly crept onto her face. “… I will have to visit the Colossus in Dravania. I am not sure it is wise for you to face the lord of the machine with me…”

“I’m sorry, we’ve met before right?” Deri responded playfully. “I’ll pack some necessities. Pays to be prepared! Also promise I won’t try to dismantle anything.”

Aryianna closed her eyes “… Alexander is a primal that controls time… I do not want anything to happen to you … I … would never forgive myself …”

“And you do realize I’d wage war against Alexander if anything happened to you, right?”

Resigned, Aryianna placed her hands over Deri’s. “… of course. I would expect nothing less.”

“I’m not comfortable letting you go alone, so you may venture into its area by yourself while I remain outside if that puts you more at ease…” She pressed the side of her face against Aryianna’s back, “but know that at the first sign of distress I will go for you.”

“… and I love you for that.” She paused for a moment, relaxing a little and enjoying their contact. “How is your research coming along?”

“Keep hitting a dead end… either there’s some kind of code I’m not seeing… wrong crystals… not enough power… or may very well need access to a server in one of the various facilities in Azys Lla.” She dragged a sigh with a hint of concern.

“I believe you will solve it. Is there anything I can do to assist you?”

“First we worry about the trip to Alexander, this can surely wait.”

Aryianna turned to face her and returned the embrace, “So be it.” She leaned down and kissed her on the lips. “We will need to prepare.”

Deri nuzzled her then looked up to her and tilted her head “What will you need? Aside from the usual crystals.”

She considered for a moment. “Me… not much more than that. You will need provisions.” She glanced over her shoulder at the armor. “… I would prefer not to wear that unless I have to. I will bring my daggers.”

“Easy enough then. I’ll pack for ranged support and take my hacking tools just in case.”

Aryianna tightened her embrace “… I love you.”

“Love you move, Ar.” Deri tightened her embrace, “We’ll be alright.”

Aryianna picked her up, looked into her and kissed her again, “mmhmm”

Deri chuckled lightly. She wrapped her arms around Aryianna’s neck and her tail around her waste then returned the kiss.

Aryianna Nightshade – A Stranger Comes

Aryianna Nightshade – A Stranger Comes

Aryianna worked the metal at her newly installed forge. She wasn’t used to working outdoors and was still tuning the new environment to her liking. She was working on the bellows when she felt the presence of someone on the property.

“Miss Nightshade?” The man’s voice was both bold and confident.

“Mrs…” she corrected as she continued fiddling with the pieces of her forge, not bothering to turn around. “Miss Nightshade lives in Ala’Mhigo.”

“Apologies, Mrs. Nightshade. I was hoping you could spare a moment to discuss a opportunity for Cliff’s Edge.”

She paused for a moment then continued fiddling with the various parts of the forge. “Cliff’s Edge closed permanently over a year ago.”

“I see… perhaps then, you, would be interested in the opportunity.”

“I am not currently accepting freelance work.” She said frankly with an air of annoyance. She stopped making adjustments and picked up her forging hammer then started for the door.

“I was of the understanding that the Lady of the Rose wouldn’t turn down a potential job without at least listening to what it was.” She pivoted on her feet and threw the hammer. It soared past the visitor’s head and lodged into the pillar behind him. He didn’t flinch, but he did smile.  “You missed on purpose. Lucky day for me.”

She stared at him for a moment, then touched her ear and activated the linkpearl. “Susan, put on some tea… we have a guest.”

“Yes Ma’am” Susan replied.

She looked at the stranger and motioned to the door. “You have one tea time… make it good…” He nodded in response and walked in. She followed close behind and closed the door.

Aryianna Nightshade – Encounter at the God Mark

Aryianna Nightshade: Encounter at the God Mark

Aryianna took in the view as she approached the god’s mark. Both the Crystal Tower and the ruin of the Argius with the great dragon Midgardsormr wrapped around it were visible from here. The plasmoids that buzzed lazily around the Mark of Thaliak slowly found themselves attracted to her. She always enjoyed their company and this day was no different. She took a deep breath and approached the mark, then knelt as a sign of respect. When she needed to think on a problem, being in the company of the god of knowledge and wisdom seemed an appropriate place to do it. After several moments she rose and folded her arms as she approached the precipice. She allowed herself to be immersed in many issues that she was trying to work out, the most prominent being ‘What was happening to her.’

Her concentration was broken as she sensed the approach of several armed men. Her expression soured, but she did not face them. “Turn around… Go home… No one needs to die here today…” Her voice was commanding, cold and lacking emotion.

She felt one of their number step forward, “Lilith Natel, former Tribunus Angusticlavius of Garlemald, you are under arrest for treason against the Garlean Empire.” His tone was bold and arrogant.

She turned to face the small contingent. “I do not know why you decided to come here… or what makes you believe you can succeed in your endeavor… but I assure you that if you continue down this path you will not be able to walk away.” She mused that to the untrained eye she must look helpless. No weapons. No armor. An easy target for an enterprising young upstart. The poor fool…

The leader commanded, “You will come with us or we will take you by force.”

“You are boring me… you are welcome to try, but if you hurt the plasmoids in the process I will make you suffer for your attempt.” This was her attempt at humor. It obviously missed the mark.

He face flushed as he gritted his teeth. “Seize her!” he yelled. Several of them drew their gun blades. Two soldiers advanced. She just shook her head. As they reached for her arms she swiftly cracked their heads together knocking both soldiers out. “Fire! Kill her!” The guns went off. Shot after shot was fired kicking up a significant amount of dust. “Cease Fire!” When the smoke cleared they could see that not only was she still standing, she appeared to be undamaged.

She glanced down at her ruined outfit, then back to the men who were now visibly shaken. She narrowed her now glowing eyes. Her voice echoed as she spoke, “Fool… you entered into a fight where you did not understand your quarry…” She glared at him. “… and now you will pay…”

He took as step back, “You… you’re…” He never got to finish his thought. She appeared in front of him, her right hand grabbed his throat and she lifted him off the ground and began to squeeze.

“How dare you…” her voice was not longer calm and serene. It was full of primal anger. The necklace she wore started to glow and grew warm on her skin. “I should kill you here and now…” He was grabbing at her hand like a wild animal. She scowled at him and looked into his eyes. Fear… Pure fear… The sight shook her enough to begin to regain her senses. She released him and he fell to the ground gasping for air. She turned her back to them and slowly walked back to the precipice. “Take your commander… and your wounded… and leave…” Her voice was back to normal.

She could hear the soldiers fussing behind her as they helped their comrades. “Why…” The voice of the commander was raspy

“Because… I am not that person any more… now please leave…” She stood still until she felt them leave. When they were gone she curled behind the Mark of Thaliak and cried.

Aryianna Nightshade – Chores in Limsa

Aryianna Nightshade – Chores in Limsa

Her trip to Limsa Lominsa was pretty routine.

She stopped at the Blacksmith Guild to order some raw metal for the forge. Then went to the Arcanist Guild and looked over a few rare books that Thubyrgeim acquired for her. Next, she made a quick stop at the Bismark to order a couple bottles of wine for her personal stock.

After her chores were done she wandered around for a bit. She ended up in the Anchor Yard gazing at the ship below. As she stared a grin started to creep onto her face. It had been a long time since the visited the light house. She removed her clothes, ran and dove off the edge. She hit the water several seconds later in a perfect dive. She surfaced near the ship and swam freestyle swiftly toward the lighthouse.

In the back of her mind it amused her that she would likely get another ticket for swimming naked in city limits.

Aryianna Nightshade – Special Delivery

Deri was engrossed in her work. She watched for a few moments before she approached with her gift.

“These are for you.” She said with a smile that was hiding her sadness about the reason for the gift.

Deri looked up from her work, “These?” She accepted the neatly wrapped package, placed it on the desk and carefully opened it. She grabbed one of the weapons in her hand and slowly pulled it from the scabbard. “These are beautiful. Has this been what you’ve been working on recently?”

Aryianna unconsciously took a small step backward as she nodded “Yes.” She wasn’t sure how to proceed.

Deri raised an eyebrow and eyed her suspiciously as she placed the dagger on the table. “Reason…?”

Aryianna’s gaze dropped to the floor, “… to … … well …” Her face briefly flushed. She was angry at herself for this inability to communicate. “… to keep me … in check …” She had no problem giving this speech to her sister Ne’ci. Why was this so hard?

“Ar…” Deri got up from her chair, wrapped her arms around her neck and looked up at her. “Don’t make that face, you’ll get wrinkles.” Her tone was joking and playful. “I love the gift, but you’re worrying too much. Although you did beat me in the process.”

The tone took her by surprise. A bit confused, she continued on. “… I have made weapons such as these before… … I have started having nightmares again. Something feels wrong… off… I wanted a safe… guard…” her voice trails off as the last thing Deri said finally registered. She meets her gaze, “… beat you?”

“I figured it was something like that… wish I would be better about your nightmares though, love.” Deri offered a soft smile followed by a nod. “Granted, now I have to devise a way to keep these safe” She brought a hand to her chin and pondered a moment, then looked back at Aryianna. “Ah yes. Actually I’m working on aether limiters.”

Aryinna’s hands drifted to Deri’s hips. “I have a tendency to overload such devices… … but those are a last resort. I do not want you to have to… but promise me that you use them if you must…”

Deri’s head tilted, her look became more serious. “Only as absolutely last resort.”

Aryianna leaned forward touching their foreheads together. She closed her eyes and breathed a quiet sigh of relief. She whispered, “… that is all I ask.”

Deri wiggled her ears and nudged Aryianna’s forehead then emitted a soft purring sound. “Hopefully you’ll sleep better soon.”

Aryianna easily lifted her off the ground and held her close. Then she began to walk in the direction of the bedroom. She kissed her neck and said in a low tone, “soon sounds good…”

Deri blushed and her ears wiggled slightly. “Yes, it does.”

Aryianna Nightshade – Safeguard

Aryianna Nightshade – Safeguard

She had been in her forge for hours carefully working the strange metal. Her natural abilities normally allowed her to work the forge without the standard protections. She was unaccustomed to wearing gloves but special nature of this project required it.

Clang… Clang… tick tick tick… Clang… Clang… tick tick tick…

The last weapon she made of this nature was a sword. It was a gift for her bride to be, Seras. That same sword was turned on her at her wedding. She had let her guard down and it nearly cost her life.

Clang… Clang… tick tick tick… Clang… Clang… tick tick tick…

Her mind wandered to the nightmare from the other night, playing it over and over again in her mind. She shuddered. Her wife had been turned into a sleeper and the trigger event happened at the wedding. It was far too late by the time she realized what had happened. She shook her head.

Clang… Clang… tick tick tick… Clang… Clang… tick tick tick…

It wasn’t lost on her that she was putting herself in the same danger as before and in the same way. Deri was not Seras, but that didn’t change the fact that history could inevitably repeat itself. Still, this was necessary and she continued her work. 

Something felt off. Something was happening and she didn’t like it. She needed a safeguard. This was the only answer. This was how she could be neutralized if things got out of control… if she got out of control.

Clang… Clang… Hissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Steam rose from the liquid as she plunged the long dagger blade into liquid. After a few moments she pulled it out and examined it. Satisfied with the quality, she pulled off a glove and touched blade with her finger. She recoiled quickly, crying out in pain. She put the blade aside and put her glove back on.

One down… One to go…

She began work on the matching blade.

Aryianna Nightshade – Red Wedding?

Aryianna Nightshade – Red Wedding?

She stood at the alter looking into the eyes of her beloved. It had taken weeks to prepare for this moment. The hand made metallic red dress that she helped design, the roses attached to the silk veil on her head, the perfect application of make up… she had never understood the importance of it until she was the one doing it. She was in love… she was happy…

They spoke their vows and they were married. Friends and company mates cheered and celebrated. She sang for them. Everything was perfect.

At the end of the ceremony they exited the chapel side by side. She was at ease… nothing could go wrong… she dropped her guard…

She turned to her beloved and smiled as she looked into her beloved’s eyes… her dilated unfocused eyes. Something was wrong. She looked at her questioningly and started to say something, then winced as something hot pierced her stomach. The pain was unbearable and she cried out. She looked down to see the Primal that was forged by her own hand being pushed into her by her wife. It burned. She could feel her aether draining from her. The blade twisted and she cried out again. She could see the crowd rushing toward her as her sight began to grow dark. Through the pain and fading consciousness began to overtake her, realization of what just happened struck her like a hammer.

“I… forgive… you…” It took everything she had left to get the words out before everything went dark and the void took her.


She screamed as she opened her eyes. The scene played in her head over and over again. She curled into a ball on the bed and howled in grief and despair.

Fang, a drake she had taken care of for the last several years, wandered into the room and laid down on the bed next to her. He snorted and laid his head on her. She wrapped her arms around him taking comfort from the beast and cried herself back to sleep

Aryianna Nightshade – Trip to Gridania?

Aryianna Nightshade – Trip to Gridania?

She was a bit disoriented as she entered Carline Canopy. She had come to Gridania on business, but she felt off and wanted to rest in The Roost first. The Wailing Barracks would wait until morning.

Antoinaut smiled at her as she approached, “Mrs. Nightshade, it’s a pleasure to see you again. Can I get you your usual room?” He had already turned around to retrieve the key.

She nodded and rubber her forehead, “Yes, thank you.”

He placed the key on the counter. “Have a pleasant stay!”

“Thank you.” She took the key and headed to her room.

Once in the room she headed straight to the mirror. She stared at the necklace that adorned her neck, absently caressing it.

Remove it…

You are an abomination…

Two distinct voices rung in her head. The was first fluid and almost musical in nature, the second cold and callous. Her gaze slowly rose from the necklace to the face in the mirror. The face staring at her was contorted with smug contempt and a sneer.  The red eyes stared coldly back as her.

Remove it…

You do not deserve to live…

There was an audible crackle and then a snap. The necklace fell as a lead weight to the dresser. Her skin began to burn as aether began to grow inside her.

“NOO!!” Her fist slammed into the mirror, shattering it and leaving an indentation in the wall behind it.


Her eyes fluttered open and her hand rushed to her neck. She sighed, relieved that it was still there and intact. She sat up in the bed and looked around the room. She was home and everything appeared to be normal. It had been a long time since she had a nightmare and even longer still since her nightmares were about… that. She got out of bed and went downstairs.

I hope this doesn’t become a normal thing…