Beach

Flashes from the life of a redhead mage.

Topic/Postby Ceruse » 21 Nov 2009, 23:26

Beach

Her feet were so cold. Like ice. And wet. She felt dazed. “Where am I?” she opened her eyes. The sky was grey. And cold. Northrend? She felt so heavy. Not in pain. She just couldn’t move. Gentle waves flowed up over her feet. Only her feet. She felt her robe, wet, up by her knees. The rest of her robe was dry, just unusually heavy. Everything was heavy. She looked to the side, her arm outstretched, her thin white fingers clenched. She took a deep breathed, the icy air hurt her lungs, made them feel somehow too small. The water was very shallow, it washed up in soft waves, not tall enough to cover her feet. She tried to fix her eyes on her hand, beyond that was a brown-grey blur.

She lay still, staring idly into distance for some time, eventually a long beach took form. It seemed endless, and endlessly dull. She grunted, the cold air was painful. It dawned on her that she might want to try and get her feet out of the water, if she was keen on keeping them. By supporting herself on her elbows she heaved herself to sit up. Her feet didn’t seem to obey. She grabbed her legs one by one and shuffled them to the side. It was too early to venture standing up. She rubbed her feet. It didn’t help much at all, her fingers were too cold to help warm her feet, but the movement itself felt comforting. She peered from one side to the other, seeing nothing but a flat landscape, grey sand and in front of her the sea, shallow water turning darker in the distance where it finally became deeper.

Ceruse was struggling to make sense of it all. How'd she end up with her feet in the sea, flat on her back? What was she doing?
She mumbled to herself "Woke up.. Went to talk with Modera... Went to the library... Around the city... Erm..." She looked around again. "Where am I?"
The depressing greyness reminded her of the beaches around Borean Tundra, but this place was much too desolate. Even that dull place has plenty of life. She staggered to her feet. She felt her circulation improve, the numbness in her feet fading. She turned around. In the distance behind her were some hills. It was hard to tell how far away they were. Perhaps they were mountains, rather than hills, just very far away.
"Oh, yeah... that warlock…?" she sighed. "I shouldn't talk to myself." She looked around again, as if hoping something would appear that would be of help in any way. In lack of other options she started walking towards the hills. "That warlock."

Yes, that warlock.
A man had walked in front of her for quite a while in Dalaran when she was doing errands. It felt odd, he walked a few metres in front of her, wherever she went. Surely it was just a coincidence. He seemed to stop outside the shops and places she went to, and then as she walked out he was in front of her again. She saw only the back of him. He was tall, dark hair, wore a dusky grey cloak and dark clothes, as far as she could tell. If she quickened her pace, then so did he. It was like being stalked from ahead, it was beginning to get on her nerves.

He stretched his arm out, and an imp skipped out from behind his cloak. She hated those things. Jittery and twitchy, always whining. It skipped around its master, babbling endlessly. The warlock did not seem to notice, nor care about its high-pitched whining.
Ceruse randomly turned towards the reagent shop, as did the man in front of her, without having looked back at her. She didn't need any runes or dust, she had plenty, but she was sick of feeling like she was forced to stalk this man and wanted to hide somewhere, despite not being very convinced that he'd go away. She stayed inside for a while, chatting with the shop keeper. The warlock stepped inside and leaned against the wall by the door. The imp stood at his feet, seemingly admiring his master's boots, in particular the shoelaces. The imp traced the shoelaces with its impy fingers, seeming very fascinated with how they were tied up. Suddenly the warlock kicked the imp, it whimpered as it was thrown a few feet back.

-"I dislike imps, even more so flying ones. Please keep it outside the shop, sir." The shopkeeper glared at the imp, rather than its master.
Ceruse looked at the warlock's face. She had imagined him quite differently. This man was in his early thirties, her own age, clean shaven and rather handsome. By default she imagined male warlocks as mean-looking and with goatees.
He smirked at her "Got bored with stalking me?"
- "I was not stalking you, sir. You seemed to know exactly where I was going. And you loomed outside whenever I went into a shop. Rather felt like you were stalking me."
-"How could I? You walked behind me. No?"
-"No. Or well yes, but not because of you, I wasn't following you."
-"Of course not. Are you buying any reagents then?"
Ceruse frowned and felt silly. She asked the shop keeper for some arcane dust. She wasn't sure why, she didn't want any, but she felt stupid just standing around. She didn't want to start walking around again. Now that he had actually talked with her, she wanted to know what it was all about.

The imp seemed to have recovered from being kicked and skipped up on the counter. It squeaked "Strings!" and started fingering the piece of string that tied up the pouch of arcane dust. Ceruse shooed at it "Leave that be!", but it did no such thing, ending up pouring most of the dust all over the counter. Ceruse turned her head around and glared at the warlock, who looked at his imp. His face had no particular expression, if anything he looked a bit weary. The imp however, whimpered and winced, as if in pain. Was he cursing it? The imp slouched down onto the floor again, hanging his head and stood by his master's feet.
-"Be still." He said, calmly. He smiled up at Ceruse. His teeth were perfect. "I'll pay for the dust." The shopkeeper simply nodded, his dislike for imps surely greatly enhanced. He walked into the back room behind a curtain, seemingly not intending to sell any more reagents for the time being.

-"That journal in your bag…. He wouldn't have wanted -you- to have it."
Ceruse turned around sharply towards him.
-"How would you know about the contents of my bag?"
-"You often carry that one with you. Have you read it all? From cover to cover, and then you start over again?"
-"What do you want? I can't see how that book is anyone else's business than mine. My father's diary is certainly none of -your- business. How dare you say he wouldn't want me to have it! Who are you?"
-"I knew him. I had that diary in my possession a while. It's precious to me."
She sized him up. He seemed a bit young to have been a friend of her father, he would have been in his late teens or early twenties about the time her father died. Of course it wasn't impossible, but somehow seemed unlikely to her.
-"I can't see my father hanging much with adolescent warlocks."
He chuckled. "Never made a friend older than yourself, then? And as for my interest in demonology, your father was interested in all kinds of magic. All. And all kinds of people. No matter what age."
-"Why would he give his diary to -you-?
-"I never said he gave it to me."
-"Did you steal it?"
-"I don't -steal-, miss Snowdon."
-"Only people's souls, hm?"
-"A necessary sacrifice. Some people or creatures are better off dead."
-"And it's of course up to you to decide that. Warlocks are always so humble."
-"Not everyone is happy just turning their foes into sheep and teleporting away.”

-”I don’t suppose there’s any chance of you selling, or lending me that book?”
-“What for?”
-“Like I said, it’s precious to me.”
-“I assure you, it’s even more precious to me.”
-“But perhaps less useful.”
-“I don’t even want to know what you mean by useful.”
-“Sit down, will you?”
-“Excuse me?”
-“I said, sit down.”
Ceruse suddenly felt very heavy, her body did not obey her and she couldn’t help but to drop down on the floor of the shop. A thump was heard as she dropped down. The shop manager yelled “Stop kicking that imp around in my shop!” from behind the curtain.
-“What are you doing to me?” Her voice was a mere whisper, she wanted to scream but had no voice.
-“Don’t worry, I just want to try something. You’re a mage, you have portal runes with you. You’ll be fine.”
-“What are you on about? What are you doing to me?” She felt panic take over, not so much because she was scared of whatever he was up to, but because she couldn’t move. She hated being restricted, she could not focus enough to cast a spell, and even if she could, she’d teleport herself right into a wall. A memory flashed of once when she was a child and got stuck in a spiderweb, the helplessness and panic spreading inside.
-“I know just the spot. You’ve been summoned before, of course. This is a bit like that. Only there’s no one there to summon you. So something like portaling really. I know just the spot. It’s somewhere you’ve never been before, for sure. Not many have. Shame about those shoes though. They’ll get wet.”
-“Okay, what ARE you on about? Let me go!”, she grunted.
-“I’m doing you a favour here.” He peered down at his imp “Take them off.” The imp bounced up to Ceruse’s shoes and untied them, occasionally squealing “Strings!” with delight, as he handled the shoe laces.
-“You two are very, very weird. Oh, and let me go. Now.”
-“As you wish.”
Ceruse felt whatever bonds holding her still released, but something else was happening. A demonic circle with rune markings appeared underneath her, and everything went very bright, then pitch black.

Next thing she was aware of was her very cold feet.
---
Now she was slowly walking towards the hills in the distance.
“Hmm.” She reached her hand down into her pockets and felt a smooth rune of teleportation in her pocket. She looked up towards the hills. They could be miles away, really. She turned around. Nothing but sea and sand, both seemed grey and dull and void of life. She felt uneasy, and puts her hands down her pockets, sighing with relief as she felt some runes in her hands.
She teleported back to Dalaran. The noise of the busy city was an overwhelming contrast. There hadn’t even been any wind on the beach, the city was a loud roar in comparison, she heard gruff orcs and engineers' choppers outside the portal room. She sighed with relief and felt herself slouch, wanting to sit down right where she was. What a surreal and desolate place. Depressing. Some woman behind her said something, from the tone of her voice Ceruse could tell it was a question, though she wasn't really listening. Ceruse replied "Yes", assuming she had been asked is she was okay, and slowly walked out.
She walked towards her quarters, thinking about those distant hills. Some nagging voice in the back of her head cursed her for not having kept walking on to see what was behind the hills. Where was that beach? She had been so eager to get away from there, and now she was thinking of finding it again. It felt intriguing in hindsight, now when she could feel her feet again, and some distance to the situation. A mage is rarely far away from home. Had anyone even been at that beach before? She felt like she was the only one who'd ever been there.

Never before had she been so eager to talk with a warlock again.
:ghost:
Ceruse
Rhymer
 
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