Sable’s Journey: Chasm

“Damnit,” Gabe stated, clenching his fists.

They stood at the edge of a chasm, the distance between the two cliffs almost enough to fit a village into. Nothing could be seen at the bottom of the pit save for pitch blackness. Behind the cliff across from them, they could see the edge of the city. No wall surrounded it, likely no one ever thinking something would get passed the guardians outside.

The stillness of the air unsettled Sable’s heart. Continue reading “Sable’s Journey: Chasm”

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Sable’s Journey: Faith

“Why are you staring at me,” Sable demanded as she opened her eyes again.

“Curiosity,” was his simple response.

She narrowed her gaze, glaring at him with suspicion. For Gabe, curiosity was not always a good thing.

He caught that thought, letting a gentle smile curl up the corners of his mouth.

“Can I be honest with you,” he requested.

“Go ahead. Though be aware that I know honesty is not necessarily your strong suit.”

He looked down to the dancing flames. They reflected in the black of his dark eye, piercing its blue mate with shades of gold across the ocean.

“I wasn’t sure that you would ever leave that place. I had thought for certain I would come back some day and you would still be there. Starved and rotten. I never imagined that you would leave him, no matter the years or the consequences to your life,” he admitted with genuine concern.

Sable avoided his gaze while his words took her back there with him. She could have sworn that night had grown cold as ice when the silence settled in after the horror. A broken girl far too young for her ability to shut off her tears. She’d just watched, stunned and confused. When those stone gates locked, and she’d felt the rumble of their finality crack the egg on her collarbone, the dam had finally shattered.

She’d wailed and pounded the walls with her weak fists, crying out, sobbing… suffocating.

She would not press her hand to the wound now, though. The only evidence of shattered pieces still remaining was that the bottom of her vibrant eyes sparkled with a brush of liquid.

“I didn’t want to leave… had things gone any different, I would likely be long dead by now,” she admitted in a quivering whisper.

“What managed to change your mind?”

“I made a desperate prayer, and it was answered.”

She half expected Gabe to burst out laughing, or to ridicule her if nothing else. He remained silent, though. When she glanced up at him, he was watching her with that quiet, studying gaze churning its gears. She was curious to see what would come from his gifted mind. It was well known that he scorned Light and Darkness, as well as the race of what she knew to be false gods; even though he was on a first name basis with most of them. Did he know that there was one that was higher yet, or would he assume she spoke of one he was already familiar with?

It would make her job too easy if he was aware of the truth. Or perhaps harder.

Gabe’s brows furrowed, and he leaned back, inhaling a long breath. He almost appeared disturbed, though it remained hidden behind that curiosity.

“What was the prayer,” he inquired after some time.

Her gaze raised to the stars as she recited from memory, “if you are all powerful, you can change even the darkest of souls and save this madman from his own damnation. I would forfeit my own life if it would pay for his salvation, just take it. If only you will free him of that evil which keeps him damned.”

She would never forget the words, nor the ugly way in which she’d wailed them to the heavens. At that time, she’d believed with every shred of her heart that her life would end the moment that she finished the prayer. And she had been more than ready to sacrifice it.

The price, though, was far more than her life could have paid. The one who responded to her had explained that someone had already bought not only the salvation of Kazious, but even her own. She just had to learn how to use what was freely given, and then she could save him.

Gabe was smirking at her, all the seriousness from a moment ago wiped away by the ever-present amusement resurfacing. That look alone was enough to tell her she’d lost him.

“Well, of course, when you offer your soul, something will answer. That is guaranteed,” he leaned forward, clasping his hands and dropping his voice to a tumbling whisper that mocked her. “How can you be certain this ‘master’ isn’t someone with powers like my own? How do you even know that Kazious is still alive? That prison isn’t known for hospitality you realize.”

She replied unshaken without missing a beat, “it’s a mixture between intuition and faith.”

Gabe’s lips pulled into a wide, toothy grin that held no actual mirth. His chuckle earned a frown from her as it glided over her skin.

“Come now, Sable,” he began, voice twisting with a maniacal edge to its ridicule. “Do you know how I admired you when you were so very young; far too intelligent for your age. You were fascinating. I loved you back then.

“Now you’re sitting here and talking about ‘faith’? Even while the life of the one man you ever cared for hangs in the balance, my little stone witch? My Clo-Caillea.”

She narrowed her eyes at the nickname he’d given her when she was a child.

He was continuing before she could respond, though, stepping around the fire to come closer and tower over her. One brown eye blazed with fire, the blue one a frozen glacier while his tone came to a booming roar.

“Faith is for the easily manipulated; the people that must enslave themselves because they have no strength to stand on their own two legs. You of all people can do better than faith, you fool!”

Sable did not turn away when his face drew in, inches from her own. She did not flinch when he grabbed her arms in bruising holds, the wound on her bicep stinging under his harsh fingers. Her strange amber gaze regarded him with pity; raging him further. He gave her a violent shake as if thinking it would bring her senses back, yet her only response remained a deepened, calm frown.

She could see terror galloping behind his anger, and she understood him. He was not angry with her for becoming ‘weak and foolish’ but rather, he was frightened by the strength she carried now which was absent when he’d known her as the stone witch.

To put it simply: he was confused.

He seemed to become aware of himself a moment later, as if something had snapped back into focus. His grip loosened, though it did not yet fall away. He breathed out heavy, searching her face for the answer to a question he was not ready to ask.

Sable spoke into the silence, tracing its shape with gentle ferocity, “tell me, Gabe: what is it that stopped you from choking me the way that you wish to? Is it out of respect for the stone witch you once knew, or are you afraid of not knowing the extent of the power my faith will allow me to access?”

His mouth dropped open, but he couldn’t answer. She leaned closer to him until their noses brushed at the tips, deliberate in the connection of their gazes as she continued, “by your calculations alone, who here then is truly weak; or is fear not one of your methods of manipulation?”

He yanked his hands off her as if they burned, stepping back until his legs hit the log he’d sat on before. Her unwavering gaze held his, though she did not mirror any of his rage or scorn. She regarded him with understanding and a shred of sadness. The pity was gone.

He hated her in that moment.

“Damn you,” he muttered as he sat down with a heavy thud.

She released a chuckle, sending him a gentle smile. “Come now, are you giving up that easy,” she mused, earning a halfhearted glare. “Let that incredible mind of yours find the truth. Otherwise, you’ll always have doubts, and you can’t trust someone you doubt to come into battle.”

He was beginning to draw his humor back across his face, allowing a smirk to grace the edge of his lips. “You are a strange, little woman. Do you realize that?”

Sable let out a hearty laugh from her belly. Her following smile held a glow to it that lit her eyes in a way which caught the man off guard.

“You’ve seen nothing yet,” she whispered.

Sable’s Journey: Observation

~Wait. Observe…

She didn’t question the command and came to an immediate halt. Gabe just about ran into her, but he side stepped at the final moment and stood still too, watching her with amused confusion.

In the silence, she scanned the houses surrounding her, noting that all eyes left as soon as she began her observations.

The village was in repair, children were even helping to bring wood, tools, and nails to the adults rebuilding their terrorized homes. The horrors of the previous day had sunken in their eyes and haunted the hands that tore away smoke-stained pieces of their devastated hovels.

A gentle wind lifted her curls off her shoulders.

She heard the whisper of splintering wood to her right and faced its source. Mere steps away stood a decrepit doorway into one of the more blackened shacks, and it was giving way under the easy push of the breeze. One more scratch came from the darkness inside, and Sable realized why she’d been warned.

She had a split second to decide how to act.

“Give me the strength, my lord,” Sable prayed, throwing herself into the crumbling home.

Her long arms secured around the waist of a short, elder woman who’d been

shuffling her way outside with a bag of belongings. Sable shifted round at the same time as she surged them forward so that she was placed beneath the rubble while the woman would be somewhat safer.

The building was groaning and before she could manage one more step, it gave in. Shattered wood and heavy iron nails rained down upon them. Her knees quivered under the weight of the rubble and it was all she could do to protect the elder’s smaller frame from the brunt of it. A fire lit up in her shoulder, screaming that the leather had been punctured, but she refused to cry out at its heat.

Her arms were emptied so fast in that terrible moment that she almost yelped, though.

She shot her eyes up, taking a lunge as she saw one laughing ice blue eye assuring her to remain calm. Gabe had an arm wrapped around the hyperventilating woman.

The cluttering pieces stopped falling as solid weight came down on her, overwhelming her until she came to her knees where bolts of lightning rushed up her legs into her hips. She dug her fingers into the dirt, locking her jaw while black spots blotted out pieces of her vision. More lightning struck scattered pieces of her back while nails bit into her.

~There was an easier way. He chuckled behind her eyes, spilling warmed syrup into her bloodstream and soothing the scream of her wounds.

As if to prove His point, the rubble shifted on cue and she was freed. Long, spidery fingers appeared in her vision, offering aid.

Eyes of an angry hearth travelled up to Gabe’s smiling face, yet she wasn’t yet ready to trust in his support. She looked higher to his other hand, raised above him and hoisting the wreckage up. He wasn’t touching any of it though; a twisting, grey ball was hovering over his palm. Little cyclones twirled out of it as if reaching like tiny arms, and those were what was holding up the ruins of the home.

Sable shifted her gaze back to the ground, lifting herself until she could sink back on her knees and press her bruised palms against her legs. They protested the pressure and she hissed.

“You’re certainly more reckless than I would have expected, you know. Stronger than I gave you credit for, though,” he remarked around his boyish grin which rounded out his jaw and made him look much younger.

“That strength is not my own,” Sable corrected, rising to her feet and pulling the pain away from her expression with ease.

The limp was not as easy to ignore, she realized, when her left leg buckled. Gabe reached out to steady her, but her forges lit back up and halted his second attempt to help. She began to walk away from him while he frowned at her.

He made a motion with the hand still under the rubble, pulling a breeze passed Sable that whipped her curls across her face. She turned back just in time to see the wind throw the remains of the building into a heap away from the immortal.

The air stilled afterwards. She turned away again.

Gabe trailed behind her, eyeing the crimson that streamed down her back out of the holes in her armor. He didn’t miss the way she was limping either.

“I wonder how many places you can bleed from before you collapse,” his words indicated amusement, but the tone was a warning.

Part 1: Hollow Angel

This place had no windows. Instead, it used warm, artificial lights that were soft on the paintings. He examined each one with an appreciative eye; literally. One eye was covered with a black patch, the other shifting between shades of crystal blue, and violet.

This place had no windows. Instead, it used warm, artificial lights that were soft on the paintings. He examined each one with an appreciative eye; literally. One eye was covered with a black patch, the other shifting between shades of crystal blue, and violet.

He could only imagine the horrors in the artist’s mind to make such powerful, grotesque pieces. Some were paintings of world damnation; strange creatures frozen in the midst of epic slaughters where people were indiscriminately torn into pieces. Faces forever stuck in terrorized screams. These were pieces that were all chaos and mayhem, no need for subtlety. Just straight to the point and horrible.

As he moved on further into the room, he found portraits of happy mothers holding their precious infants, and young boys grinning in excitement, showing off their missing teeth. Onward still and he found more dark images painted of quiet suicides. A young girl with tears dripping off her chin and a gun against her temple. A man in a bathtub cutting the rope of a pully system keeping a large weight off his chest.

“What do you think you’re doing here?”

A smile formed on his lips. He had been waiting for her to wake and join him. Not that she knew ahead of time that she had company, though.

“Well darling, I am here to kill you,” he declared through a handsome smile as he turned to face the girl.

She had soft, sloped cheeks and a gentle jaw. The face of a child, though his documents stated she was in her early twenties. Her storm washed eyes had an edge to them that spoke of a maturity her features couldn’t. Something sharp within their depths that was familiar with danger and isolation. They stood out against her dark skin and darker, thick hair. For as young as she was, she did not seem frightened with impending doom. In fact, she crossed her arms over her chest and leaned her shoulder against the door frame she stood in.

“Oh really?” She prompted with a deep frown on her pink lips.

His eyebrows rose, as did his amusement. In his silence, she appeared to realize the severity of her situation as her gaze fell to his covered eye. Recognition filtered through her face, chased soon by what he could only describe as awe.

“You’re him,” she stated, pointing her finger as if finally placing his face. “You’re the Hollow Angel.”

He was impressed, but not surprised.  He was well known as the guardian to a powerful family full of magic and dark secrets, which was why he was referred to more often as an assassin rather than a guardian.Though they were certain to make him hard to find, his identity was difficult to hide.

He complimented, “clever girl,” through a devious smirk and took two steps towards her. “My reputation precedes me. That will make this all easier.”

She chuckled, shaking her head somewhat and glancing to the ground.

“No, you don’t understand,” she whispered. “I have dreamed of you, Kivas. I have painted you.”

It was his turn to stand confused and frozen with awe. She stepped away from the door frame and turned her back to him; a sign of trust or blatant stupidity, he pondered?

“Come, I’ll show you.”

Into the blackness, she faded. A heavy frown caught his lips as his midnight eye narrowed.

The other room was much smaller, the walls cluttered with paintings of a much different nature. Some were crude, with harsh brush strokes displaying blatant urgency. Others were smooth, well blended by a calm hand.

It was all death and completely familiar. Every last one caught the very moment of that final spark in the victim’s eye. He recognized every face frozen just before death.

Directly before him was the man he’d killed last week. In the corner, a woman assassinated with her bastard son. Staring up at him from the left was the teenage girl, too calm for what he was doing that night. He remembered her smooth skin under his palm.

To his right he saw himself as an almost perfect reflection. The thick black hair curling about his shoulders. The sun kissed, olive skin and the square, defined jawline. The eye wasn’t covered though. He stared, bewildered at the perfect shade of faded creamy blue mutilated by thick scarring like spider legs reaching out across the flesh. He knew without a doubt; she was well aware of him long before her name was penned into doom.

This was why he was contracted to kill her.

“You are a seer, and your gift is fixated on my life.” It was not a question.

He seemed to suddenly become aware of just how small the girl was beside him. She barely reached the middle of his ribs and her skinny frame was being swallowed up inside of a huge hoodie that was three sizes too big. Her chin slightly trembled, but it was the only response that he received to his statement.

He frowned at her for a moment, calculating his next words with great care.

“You have seen who I am. You understand why I am here. Yet you do not fear me.”

She bit her lip for a moment, shaking her head.  “Of course death is frightening to accept. But I know how you do things, I understand your namesake… Why you’re called the ‘Hollow Angel’. And I think if I am to meet a premature end, I would rather it be at the hands of someone gentle.”

It was the single most absurd thing he’d heard in a long time. He almost laughed. Probably would have had the situation been any different. He let out a heavy breath.

“How long would you like me to wait,” he asked in a whisper. “Is there anything you need before we begin?”

She stared at him in silence for a long moment. Her pale eyes were in such incredible pain. What had this child endured all this time? Was she ready for this?

He realized her hands were shaking at her sides.

“It is strange…,” she started, slow, as if testing the words. “I knew that this was coming, I had prepared for it… But to actually live it now… I could have never calculated it.”

He gave her a solemn nod of understanding. One truly cannot be prepared entirely for death no matter how long they await it.

“It is not weakness to be afraid. I do not want you thinking that your final moments must be some kind of act,” he told her.

 

Gabe Tries to Pray

Writing Prompt I gave myself: how would Gabe pray? Let’s find out together… Gives some insight on Sable’s Journey with him too if you’re watching close enough…

Gabe sank into the chair in his room on the second floor of his friend’s mansion. He frowned at his hands clasped in his lap, as if they might instruct him into his next action. They didn’t; he remained silent and staring at the long spidery fingers all interlocked.

An annoyed breath escaped him.

“She makes it look so easy,” he mumbled, his thunderclap of a voice seeming to roll to the floor like stones.

Raising his mismatched eyes to the ceiling, he pulled in one more long breath.

“What exactly do I even call you?”

He felt ridiculous and reverted back to looking at his hands.

“Sable calls you her father… and she’s taken to even calling me her brother. So, logically, that would mean I can call you father as well, right?” Continue reading “Gabe Tries to Pray”