I admit that it’s been a hard day. I had a bit of a meltdown actually. The culprit is Valentine’s day. But not in the way that you might thing. My husband and I don’t usually do much for V day. But we’ve been apart for a really long time and it just hit hard today. I wanted to hold hands and snuggle up and it hurt a lot that I couldn’t. It was tough. I really feel done with this, but I can’t be. So I have to keep keeping on and I can’t melt down anymore. I’m mom. I’ve got to keep it together. I hate being an adult.
As I mentioned yesterday, I had to start a new chapter on the WIP, one that introduced a new character. I thought you might like to see what I’ve done so far, keeping in mind that it’s pretty rough:
Chisriya watched Carys limp away. She still wasn’t used to his new appearance, though it had been two years and she’d seen him several times in the new body. A body that had been ravaged. Ugly red slashes ran down his left buttock and thigh. More lashed his shoulder. His one eye would never see properly again.
She turned away. Bodies were ephemeral; souls were forever. Should his body die, Carys’s soul would still exist. Knowing him, he would probably haunt her. She flicked a glance at the rainbow gossamer spirits hovering in the air and swirling around her. He would not be the only one. It was the price of being a Soul Mage; it was the price of being one of the few surviving free Soul Mages.
Her jaw clenched and she forced herself to relax, her expression smoothing. She turned her attention at the waiting women.
“What is your name?” she asked.
The conscious woman, the only one who could answer, hesitated a long moment. “Morna,” she said at last.
Chisriya smiled inwardly. Did Morna think that witholding her family names would insult her? Or was it more?
Her eyes narrowed as she examined the other woman. She was probably near to thirty-five or forty years old. Her magepaints layered her skin with strong bold lines. Within her dark eyes was a hint of green. A potion mage, then, though one who either practiced little, or had only minor talent.
But what hooked Chisriya’s attention was the slight curl of her lip and the repulsion in her eyes that she could not mask. Or perhaps she did not care to.
Familiar anger burst into flames, rising from the ever-present coals in Chisriya’s chest. Her face hardened, her eyelids lowering to conceal the intensity of her emotion.
“You despise me,” she said, her voice lacking all inflection.
Morna’s eyes widened. “You are a Soul Mage.” As if that said it all.
Chisriya cocked her head to the side. “And yet you are here, asking for my help.”
“Carys asked,” Morna corrected, then bit her lower lip.
It was splitting hairs and she knew it. She was here, she was asking to be transferred into the soul-sick woman’s body that she carried. Chisriya smiled mockingly.
“Do you ask this?” she pressed. “I will not transition an unwilling soul.”
The other woman looked like she’d just eaten a handful of maggots. “I— Yes. I ask this for the sake of my family.”
“Does it matter why?” Chisriya said. “You have made the choice and she,” her gesture indicated the soul-sick woman, “she struggles for freedom. Her soul hurts.” Her eyes closed, feeling the agony threading endless thorns through the broken girl.
“He will pay,” came Morna’s guttural reply. “The man who did this to her. I will make certain of it.” Her lips pulled wide in a semblance of a smile. “When I am his wife.” She drew a breath. “Yes, I want this. I want you to do this for me. For us.”
Chisriya winced. The ritual words were long forgotten, stamped out by suspicion and hatred for Soul Mages. Again the flames of hatred and bitterness flared, searing the still raw places inside.
They’d killed all her friends, her brothers and sisters. People just like Morna, like Carys. They’d hunted her across centuries, all the while pretending they’d made a mistake; pretending they revered Soul Mages after all. The truth was they had discovered how necessary Soul Mages were to Keatu-Safi and how defenseless the land was without them. But that only meant keeping mages in gilded little cages, using them only when it was deemed right and proper.
Never. She would never serve those who destroyed everyone she’d cared about.
Morna stepped back, a frightened look breaking through the cold revulsion on her face. Chisriya caught herself, forcing her anger deep inside. Whatever Morna thought of her, Chisriya had her duties, and even if the rest of Keatu-Safi had forgotten to honor Soul Mages and their work, she had not. The request had been made; it was not for her to judge, but to perform her tasks as she had been taught, as creed and vocation required.