Tales of Shore Blossom

Odiri's Journal Pt .19

Adventure 32 - Ghost Shade Keep

TW: Domestic Abuse , Miscarriage

Entry dated prior to main recap

Eucarion and I fought last night. Worse than ever before. I thought him asking me to get rid of our child was the worst fight we would ever have but I was wrong. I want to blame my mood swings but he was beyond infuriating. All I wanted was to go out beyond the wall for a small adventure. Being cooped up in the cottage was driving me mad. There was only so much domestic “bliss” I could handle. I remember the women of my village reveling in this concept they call “nesting” while pregnant but it was hard to make a nest in a tree I knew was not my own. In my temper I may have shattered nearly every dish the man owned. In response Eucarion manhandled me in efforts to lock me into the bedroom as if I were some petulant child. I must clarify while there are bruises, he did not hit me. He is not Gerrick he was just trying to protect me. I have a hard time blaming him for the marks he left after watching the father of my child completely breakdown. It was then, I learned that Tannion, his son, was not Allaya’s first. That she had lost 7 babes before their success with Tannion. His fear, his rage, it was all justified. I can only apologize and make amends. Starting with fresh dishware and humble appreciations for Eucarion conceding to a small adventure while I still fit in my armor.

Main Recap

I don’t much feel like writing today but if I don’t get this down on paper now I never will and may just abandon this journal all together.

The “Reaper” showed up on <s>our</s> his doorstep with her little cult insistent on visiting at the ungodly hours of the night between midnight and dawn. Our ease was already off kilter due to the spat a few days before. I had just replaced the crockery I had destroyed, I had no desire to upset the precarious balance we existed in with this half crazed follower of Persephone especially at that hour. Serena persisted that I specifically needed to come pray with her. If it were not for Kethra’s bribe of honey cakes and hot tea if I came with them to the temple, I would have slammed the door in their faces.

Eucarion and I went with them; I significantly more begrudging than he. Eucarion seemed to genuinely desire to participate in this nonsense. As much as I don’t want to admit it, the Temple of Stars is a beautiful place. At this strange serene hour only the acolytes of Persephone, Lunor and Sidreal were awake doing their pious tasks. Serena led us to a room draped in dark fabric decorated with candles of mostly black with a few scattered in of white and grey and a solitary green one that V.Gates seems to tend to personally. While I was distracted observing my surroundings, Serena took her opportunity to remove very stitch of clothing. While modesty isn’t exactly my strong point it just seemed a little bizarre to be entirely nude for a religious ceremony. I wasn’t much very much better in nothing but my shift and dressing gown but no one seemed to mind either her nudity or my casual dress.

She led me through a series of candle lightings explaining the cycle of things. She speaks of re-birth but I still struggle with the concept even after I personally brought Xiao back to me in a form of re-birth. I lit the candles in the order she instructed but I didn’t feel any different. What good is this garbage ritual if nothing happens. I expected something. Some sort of breeze or even the barest hint of calm to my own internal turmoil but I got nothing but woken up at 3am.  At the conclusion of all this I headed back to the Rose Shell with Kethra as promised for my honey cakes and tea. Eucarion curiously stayed behind at the temple with Serena and V.Gates. I was beyond exhausted at that point and rather than walk all the way back to the cottage Saru sleepily offered me a room to nap at no cost. Despite what other’s may think of her she is a compassionate woman. A business woman at her core but still not as heartless as most paint her to be.

The next morning, I was woken up by Shei and a cup of coffee. I panicked a moment realizing I would have to get back to the cottage to retrieve my armor and Dusty if we were to go on the adventure today that we had planned in the walk to the temple. As Shei stepped aside I found all of my necessary belongings for a trip beyond the wall. At the moment I thought nothing of it assuming Eucarion had brought my things but when I made it downstairs to see that Eucarion was just then arriving leading both Collien and Dusty I had to stop and wonder. I later found out from an exasperated Eucarion that Shei had “liberated” my belongings from the cottage while he was still at the temple at the behest of Saru and was even so kind as to leave a note.

I filled Dusty’s saddlebags with as many honey cakes as I could get my hands on and grabbed two especially large apples to treat False Indigo and Gryphon Bait. I raided the case for the arrows that I have become very fond of and Makiko’s gloves and cloak. Taking off Eucarion’s gifted rabbit fur cloak in exchange for this cloak of invisibility was unexpectedly difficult. Spending time in the cottage gave me a particular insight on this gift. What I thought was just a simple cloak was in reality the closest thing to a proposal that I will get. The cloak was in the Crowsley house colors. His colors. I may never be Mrs. Crowsley, but he loves me enough to cover my shoulders with his colors.

Our travels were to take us back on our path to the Ghost Shade Keep marked on Serena’s map. We made it back to the river’s edge along the wall without a problem after I bribed the cart horses with their apples. As we set up camp at the river’s edge once again Eucarion and I had the first pleasant conversation we’ve had in days regarding building a waystation there with the new boar hides we had been tanning. I chose to take my morning watch as usual and Kethra was kind enough to volunteer to wake up with me for that shift. I was restless and anxious trying to sleep before my shift trying not to think of what happened the last time we were out along this river causing Eucarion to lose some of his own meditation time attempting to soothe me back to sleep every time I woke.

Sadly, when sleep finally found me it was interrupted by an insistent nose in my side from Charka warning me of incoming Hobgoblins. The fight was over quicker than it started, suffering only an arrow high on my side missing anything vital. With Xiao’s help Eucarion spared the last of the Hobgoblins and chose to interrogate it. I had no stomach for the aggressive banter of interrogation knowing Eucarion would make sure I knew anything that was worth knowing I tended to my own wounds. Charka and V.Gates in his newly found wolf form were suspiciously missing after the fight was over. In time both of them trotted back into camp and V.Gates resumed his natural form and provided me that icy water bath of a healing I braced for.  That bitch and Eucarion argued through most of Kethra and I’s watch over her indiscretions. She had a fair point. He had only forbidden her against Naligor. She is way too smart for her own good, and if she has a litter from this heinous act Eucarion may have a fit.

I was another 2 days up the river to Makiko’s Trust. I’ll admit I slept in the cart for most of that time but we were in no danger with Eucarion leading us. We chose to spend the night at the Trust before we took the ferry across the river. That next morning was especially odd. While trading watch shifts with the dog f*cker he very solemnly apologized to me before going to bed. What did he do wrong? Serena seemed equally disconnected and distant from everyone during breakfast tracing the ruins on her halberd and mouthing prayers to herself. I shook it off, ate my breakfast and steeled myself for crossing the river.

The ferries we noticed had been repaired recently I hope from our own charter and not from some other nefarious group out there, all of which are out for our blood. I made sure that I stayed as center on the barge as I could to keep equidistant from any chance of falling into the water. V.Gates boasted of his swimming prowess and I am not entirely sure if it was meant to mock me or comfort me but regardless I clamped my eyes shut and trusted the party to get us across the river.

The other side was like being on an entirely different plane. The forest was thick with a low-laying fog but the muggy hot humidity I expected in a forest like this the place was a cool mist like the kind that hovers over the marshes behind Eucarion’s cottage. It took us two days before we saw the crest of the tower. Further proof that followers of Persephone are insane. Who would build a temple like this so far from any sort of civilization? The morning of the 3rd day of travel since the river found us at the base of a very purposefully desecrated statue of Persephone. As non-religious as I am it still hurts to see art like this destroyed out of spite. Up a rocky paved-ish road 20 feet was the tower we were seeking. Four stories tall made of crisp white marble and dark basalt topped with a massive crescent moon, it loomed over us silent and slowly being taken back by the forest’s moss and vines. I reached out using my magicks and was hit with the sting of fiendish presences. After a short discussion turn argument Serena “volunteered” V.Gates to go into the tower first by pushing him through the archway in.

I guarded the back as I was want to do in these frustratingly narrow hallways the 1st Kingdom was so fond of. Within a few rooms time of exploring we happened upon three undead revenants. Normally these things are of no threat as they only seek to destroy whom caused their demise in the first place but the vile necrotic brand of Utos on their necks was a clear sign there would be no reasoning with minions of The Fallen Warden of Souls. The fight was brutal and got worse as time went on. I did my best to defend Eucarion as he did his best to defend me. Xiao was hit especially hard and my heart dropped when I definitely heard one of his ribs break but he kept fighting as fierce as ever. When I felt we finally had the upper hand those undead hellions called for re-enforcements in the way of a wraith and two wights. Upon seeing that wraith all I could remember was the spread of necrotic evil that shot through my body the last time I was run through with one of their blades. I couldn’t let that happen again so I shot off a thunder arrow and did what damage I could before a booming voice echoed through the tower demanding that The Reaper was brought to him. Our enemies seem to very demanding these days.

Continuing to fell each enemy one after the next was a blur and yet somehow even MORE reinforcements were called upon us when a swarm of 4 hungry dead entered the fray. V.Gates produced a formidable orb of flames trapping all four hungry dead in a doorway but also trapping Eucarion from getting past to us. One of the hungry dead launched itself from the fireball and grabbed me. As much as I fought to get free of its grip I could not. It grabbed at my face and I could feel my own vitality being pulled from internal depths that should not even have a sensation. The feel of a cold breeze blew through me starting at my toes up through every part of me and escaping from my mouth in a wisp of my own life swallowed by the hungry dead as if it were the finest delicacy. I kicked violently against it desperate to regain my ground save me and mine from this threat but, try as I might could not break loose. That cold wind ripped through me again and again, each time more painful than the last. I had so little left in me but with one last ditch effort I gathered what energy I had left and put it all into one last kick and was rewarded by the foul thing releasing me and swiftly being cleaved clear in half by Eucarion.

We were finally free of assailants and I did what I could to stay on my feet while the rest of my companions pulled the corpses into the sun to be reduced to ash. Before the keys brought us home we were handsomely rewarded with a chest of goods found under the wraith’s throne. But in honesty I couldn’t care less. I just wanted to sleep off that horrid feeling of having my life pulled from me one breath at a time.

 

CW: Graphic, Emotional AF, no really, I cried just writing it so…be warned

TW: The Miscarriage

Continuation of Main Re-Cap
 
Eucarion helped me into bed that afternoon. After such a rigorous battle I felt sore and aching. If only I had known what that ache really was I would not have been so eager to sleep. I woke to the most agonizing pain that felt equally like being stabbed and like a giant hand was grabbing me from the inside and pulling. All I could do was call out for him as I was in too much pain to move from the bed. It felt like hours. I bled and I cried. When he finally was there the look of pity instead of fear on his face told me everything. It was happening. What he’d warned me of.
He had begged me not to go out beyond the wall and this was my price to pay for it. Three days of pain, tears and apologies. I remember so little of it. I don't know if my mind is trying to protect me or if I genuinely have lost my memories. I can recall him drawing me a bath then I felt like I was sleeping and I would wake in the bed cold then it was back to the bath. Over and over with dark spots in the timeline like ink splatters on text. My clearest memory was apologizing with every waking breath I could muster. This is my fault. If I would have stayed home we would still have our daughter.
I held her wrapped in the green cloth I intended to be her first gown. I hadn’t even had a chance to lay a single stitch of thread before I stood on his back porch staring at the smallest empty grave I’ve ever seen in my life. I had no chance to rock her, no chance to sing to her. There would be no bassinet to build, no toys to trip over in the night. I would never have the mother’s joy of hearing her first cry or first laugh. All of this was my fault. I traded this for one fucking trip beyond the wall.
He couldn’t stand the sight of me, undoubtedly furious I had done this to his child. He drank and avoided me, keeping to the the back of the house. As much as leaving her grave felt like it would end me I knew I had to go back to Ramshackle Manor for his sake. I didn’t want my presence to taint his home any longer. When I found him to let him know that I was leaving he was entirely intoxicated staring dead-eyed into the marshlands beyond the porch. He had taken to throwing out the dishes I had bought him into the marshes each with a crash. Though they were yet a week old I had a sentimentality to them. I had never had a chance to buy him a gift before, even one that was born from my transgressions against his previous crockery. My already broken heart felt like it was crumbling into ash as I watched him throw a particular set of cups I had picked out for their painted family of raccoons. How metaphoric it all is, him throwing away my gift to him like I threw away his gift to me. I left before I had to witness the crashing demise of what was left of our “family”

CW: Drugs & More Angst
Entry dated several days later
 
I can’t believe I landed in a cell twice in a week. With nothing to hold me back I fell back to my normal habits. I probably shouldn’t have been drinking this heavily after what happened but I don’t fucking care anymore. It’s almost freeing to a point. Frivolity gave me time to “settle in” which I think is her attempt to let me grieve. I don’t want to grieve I want to escape this empty feeling that buzzes through my veins like an upturned ant hill. I feel consumed by it day and night. I’ve tried everything.
It started small. A short ride with Dusty turned into a breakneck race against the sunrise atop the thin aqueducts bridging the farmlands. When that stopped making my heart beat I found myself trying to pick fights in the Drunken Fish, knowing I would be safe from Eucarion there as he’d been banned for the exact same thing I was trying. No one would hit a pregnant girl. Curse this abominable lump that continues to fucking torment me. After insulting the proprietor's wife I finally won my prize of a solid fight. Hearing my blood pump in my ears while I lay pummeled on the floor of the bar was the first feeling of life I could hold onto for even the briefest of moments. It wasn’t till I was approached on the docks while smoking my pipe by an overly friendly fellow that I found the truest ticket to peace of mind. Pure opium from the The Empire of Stone. It cost me more than a few coins but it was the closest thing I could find to happiness. I spent the next two days in a fog of carless warmth. It was like falling asleep in the softest warmest field of sweet grasses. 
Regrettably that night I had not fallen asleep in said field but instead in an alley or so the city guard tells me. I work up in the holding cell with none other than the spiteful almost father. He barely said a handful of words to me with little to no meaning. I could barely hear his words through my fog as it were. He wouldn’t even look at me. I don’t blame him. I smelled like a gutter rat that fell into a pot of incense and probably looked twice as bad. I wouldn’t know as I had the housemaid take the mirror from my room in the manor so I would not have the daily reminder of my failure. The town guards looked at me with pity which only provoked me further, causing me to end back in the cell not even 3 hours after my release after a screaming match with the market square constable. I didn’t need anyone else's pity. I was pitiful enough on my own. 
20 years of age, failed to be a mother, failed to be his love, thousands of miles from home. What’s the point anymore?
The docks are always so quiet at sunset.

CW:Death & Angst
Entry dated one day after the last
My mother told me at the death of my brother “If your spirit tells you it’s time to weep then, listen.” I didn’t understand. I was so young then. We were only 8 when the river took Orryn from us. She had no body to mourn over. No grave to visit. I should count myself blessed.
I’ve overlooked my fortunes. I had almost 2 months in the home of the man I love dancing every night to a music only we could hear. Loving kisses and lingering hands over our growing daughter are memories no amount of drink or smoke can strip from me. From us.
I mistook his eightfold grief for hatred. There is nothing I can do overnight to repair the damage that has happened the last few days but for now, we have found a quiet comfort in each other's presence. Time will tell if we'll ever dance again but for now sitting on the back porch hand in hand watching the fireflies dance over her headstone will have to suffice for now. 
I’ve named her Aster. 

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