Quick post, cause that's all I seem to have time for anymore :S
I did a bit more work on Piper Sorrows today, but be advised that this one is still kinda a work in progress. Still, it shows a bit more of the Face of Piper, who he is and what he is. He's a complex man. This section will be revised, but reading through it a couple times I'm happy enough with the presentation of the new facts to post it here. Hope you enjoy :)
Sorrowful confessions ~part 2~
Summer flourished, filling the air with heat and scents from a world that brimmed with life. Piper sat on a tall hill in deep grass still wearing a travel stained jacket and heavy gloves. The world around him stretched perfectly in all directions, a castle sat against a range of mountains that spanned the horizon. There were parts of the world that seemed too real, parts that didn't seem real enough and other things in the corner of his eye that were unearthly horror.
“This isn’t real.” Piper said to himself, lying on the grass.
“It’s as real as you make it, lost one.” A voice whispered in his ear. The voice was formless, coming on the winds to speak softly to Piper. It spoke in words and feelings, carried on a tide too powerful to contain, like an ocean’s whim.
“I thought you might find me,” Piper said to the nothing. A tattered black cloak fluttered just behind him like an evening shadow, but when he turned his head it was gone. “Though I don't remember who you are.”
“Still no memories, it pains me to see you like this, lost and alone. Weak. I would protect you, you know I can. Even if you don't remember, you know I can. If only you give me your hand. Not even a hand, just speak a word and I will give you back everything that was taken.”
“I’m finding it myself.” Piper said. “And I am not as weak as you would think. I am surviving.”
“Barely!” The voice tensed and the power beneath it quivered, showing part of its true nature. Black ribbons and tattered cloth like funeral shrouds rose briefly in a flurry around Piper, though they were gone when he looked for them.
“You are a shadow of what you once were. You were more than a prince, more than a warrior!” The voice crooned. “Now you are a beggar with tricks that will not long protect you from those that will come for you. So far it has been the vagrants and mercenaries that have harassed you. Far more powerful foes you will face.”
“If you don’t send any, none will come for me.” Piper rose to his feet, finding that his legs worked normally in this strange place.
“Me? You think it’s only I who searches for you? You don’t fear Jonas? You don't fear the Thanes? It is not only my will that bends itself towards you, it is all the enemies you left behind. They still live, all of them, they thrive now while you only linger. You would do well to fear them.”
“I have no fear left in me.” Piper smiled, bending to pluck a flower from the field, “I was stripped of all that and left like this.”
“You should learn fear. Fear creates respect. Fear and respect Jonas, he will find you, have no doubts.”
“Then it saves me the time of finding him.”
“Fool! In your state you could not withstand even his captains!” The voice shrieked, wilting the flower in Piper’s hand. “You are lost and powerless! To survive you need protection! You need me!”
Piper nodded in agreement to the voice, “I have all I need to find who I was. I have more control than you think. Now I think I will wake up…”
The world around Piper hazed, as if he saw it through a mist and the voice faded, the power behind it waning, but the intentions still clear.
“We will see you when you have found the parts of yourself you despise! I will come to you then and see what you say!” The voice faded more and more, as did the field. “I know where you are now, I will send for you! I … will … send … for …. You!”
Piper opened his eyes painfully, and in his vision there was nothing around him that smelled of a field. The roof was bleak and thatch, the smells of stale bodies and blood rose up around him like a steam and mixed with the scent of animals. His head was wet from a damp cloth that sat there, cooling the fever that he still felt. He remembered the place, but it was if the memory came from another man; or the dream of another man. Piper tried to sit up but found that he couldn’t. Still, the small motion of trying brought a woman to his side and she leaned over him attentively.
“You should not move. It took me a day to move after the drugs left me.” The woman said. Her voice was harsh but carried with it compassion. “Can you hear me, can you understand me?”
Piper tried to speak, coughed and then nodded his head.
“This is good.” The woman said, “I would thank you for saving me. I heard all of what was to happen to me, and such fear I have never known! You saved me from that. Here, drink this, and I will help you as best as I can.”
A steaming cup was pressed gently to his mouth while a hand raised his head and Piper did his best to swallow without choking on the bitter drink. The hands that pressed the cup were careful and firm, making sure that some of the draught entered his lips without flooding them. Those hands had done this service before.
The drink coursed through Piper’s veins warming them with a speed that made him gasp out loud. There was magic at work, a cleansing kind that caused rebirth within him and set every sense tingling. Visions of the Ouri came back to him, rushing in like the mountain wind. Piper remembered vividly the trek to the small mining town and paying the inn keeper well for a room before the poison took him. Then there were the dreams, his mind retreating from his body when it was no longer useful there and finding her voice in his head. Now there was here, the present, and the woman he remembered from the Ouri tent leaning over him intently, mass of hair falling down around them both.
“What was that?” Piper asked.
The woman smiled, “it was life.” Content that Piper was regaining himself she stood and brushed the stray straws from the pallet off of her skirt’s knees. She busied herself around the small dim room, putting things into a pot that was boiling in the hearth and murmuring snatches of song while she worked. Piper sat up, limbs still tingling from the draught and drew the blankets up around his shoulders. His coat and shirt were hanging on a peg by the door.
“I am called Willow.” The woman said from her work. “I have some powers, sight and healing. The forest gives me many things, lends me its strength and it’s many shapes, if I have need. It was my foolishness that allowed them to catch me, much as it was yours that allowed them to catch you.”
“I was not being foolish, I was led there to rescue you.” Piper said simply.
“Hah! Led you say? I call that luck, and not the good kind if you had not been able to outsmart them.” Willow chuckled, then glanced over her shoulder, “still you must have some protection if you are still here and not at the mercy of those animals.”
Piper shrugged, reaching for his shirt to stave off the chill. The warming effects of the woman's drink were fading and the stiffnes was returning in small parts. Movement was possible but his arms needed the warm embrace of cloth.
“I did not see what you did to them, but I heard your explanation.” Will said again, sampling a bit of the pot's contents with a long spoon. “How did you do it? It may be a trick I would want to learn.”
Piper let out a low laugh, and shook his head.
“What? You think I have not the skill?” Willow asked haughtily.
“In honesty I can not teach what I do.” Piper said slowly, drawing his shirt up and over his head. “It is just something I am able to do.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I don't know...” Piper said, pulling the shirt over his head. “I remember little of my life from before my journey.”
“Your journey? Where are you going?”
“East.” Piper said with a small smile. “That is all I know. I will find what I am looking for if I travel east.”
Willow shook her head, her hair fanning out breifly from the small act, “the great cities are east, the Once Kingdoms. Few from these terrortories go east unless they have to.”
“I have to.” Piper said slowly, beginning to put on his coat.
With Piper's back to Willow, she hesitantly raised a hand, “you are... I feel...”
Piper whirled around and raised up his hand to stop her, but it was too late she had already begun looking into his time, gazing on the thread that was Piper's own in the great trapestry of the world.What she found was desolation.
There was a sun that had died, a lifeless orb that sat in the sky above a barren planet. Red clay was wind swept and rocky for as far as the eye could see; no trees grew, no green flourished. The ruins of a once great castle sat in the middle of a crator that must have, at one time, been a great lake but had since been withered to a muddy pool. Brown moss grew stangnat on the rocks of the castle and on the surface of the muddy pool.
Worse than all of this was the moon. The sun's opposite, the moon was a great pale light in the sky, smiling like a skull in the night. It wreathed with power and force, straining to break free of some invisible bonds. It was not a safe or unsafe power, but an indifferent power that could be shaped, maybe, by a mind of enough will. Willow saw all this vividly in an instant, and then reeled back as it struck as she desperately cut the connection her powrs had created to Piper's mind.
Piper was at her side in an instant, covering her shivering body with his coat.
“What are you?” Willow stuttered out between shiving fits, “I saw... I saw only desolation.”
“I am broken.” Piper said softly, “I am what once was, but cannot be anymore. You saw what is left in my absence, all the great powers laid to waste. I am a man of Sorrow, a lesson in humility.”
“No man could bear... you cannot live with such a past. Its wieght would destroy you! No man can live under a history that looks like what I saw.”
Piper smiled saddly, “I do not think you understand. What I am now is what you saw, I bear it easily everyday. You wondered why I journey? It is to restore what is to what it might be again. If I only find enough good in the world to deserve it.”
Piper nodded, “there is much evil in this world, the very air is tainted by it. Greed, dishonor, lust.. these are killing the world. But there are traces of good, like flowers pushing through cold stone.”
“Is that... is that why you saved me? To put some good back into the world?” Willow asked, clutching the coat close to herself. “By saving me you made the world a better place?”
“ No, I saved you because you told the truth.”