Solitude

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm
Deidra buried her father. She carried the weight of his body herself, and now must carry the burden of his collection, his knowledge, and the inheritance of his power.

Submitted: February 10, 2017

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Submitted: February 10, 2017

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Deidra stared blankly into the fire of her hearth. Her consciousness stirring for the first time in many days, she came back into the world around her. Like a candle slow to burn, feeling came back into her body. Her fingers, firmly gripped together, loosened their hold. Shoulders squared tensely, relaxed. Deidra stretched her legs, reaching her bare feet towards the fire, ever burning and smokeless. The warmth of it was welcomed. Inhaling deeply she took in her surroundings. It was dark. Late at night? No early morning. She could see the growing gray of light from the window on the far side of the room. It’s edges framed in frost. Frost? It was cold. It had been early in the Autumn months when she left. In my absence, it seems the cold has settled in… She took notice of the shawl draped loosely over her shoulders, pulling it closer around her. She settled deep into the worn cushions of her old chair, an overwhelming exhaustion taking hold of her. There was no point in denying herself sleep, so she allowed herself to fall into a true restful slumber.

It can be dangerous going so long away from the body. The physical form has to stay in a state of both alertness and near death. Too long and the stress upon the body could prove to be too much. But Deidra was strong and skilled. Living alone deep in the mountains was not for the weak. It required both strength of mind and body to face the cold, the darkness, the hunger, and the harsh and unending silence in solitude. The daughter and granddaughter of wizards, her father had taught her how to navigate the paths away from the body and how to roam the earth as a spirit. Her grandfather Oerdel had at one point been a great wizard. With long, glistening, white hair indicating his power, he was the consult of many kings, warlords, and other men seeking power. As the years wore on, after witnessing bloody battle after endless war - he recluced himself from their circles of power. He coupled with a woman who bore him a son with blanched white hair. He named him Otham and taught him everything in his knowledge. Otham inherited all of his father’s wisdom and skill, and in time surpassed him. At seventeen he was like a recreation of his father in his youth. Tall and broad, smooth bronze skin, and lengths of hair, bleached white by the weight of wizardry.

But unlike his father, Otham took no interest in involving himself in the politics of kings. Instead, he found his passion in collecting. At first, it was just off hand magical trinkets. A crystal charmed to find underground streams or bowls that always kept food hot. But as he traveled he encountered more and more marvelous items. A dagger stolen from Death’s hilt, the seeing eye of a Wyvern Lord, the spellbook of the cursed King Garaldil. Otham often said that each of the items he obtained, whether through trade or theft, he was drawn to – that they called to him. Relics forgotten to rot in temples or disgraced by unfit masters, recognized Otham’s power and called to him. It was what drove him to perfect spirit walking. To find these items often took months, sometimes years. Their calls were an incessant nag, pulling at his mind day and night, almost driving him to madness. But once he learned to wander from his body and follow their calls in spirit, he could obtain an item in weeks, days even. His collection grew rapidly. Amazing objects, their powers and ability mastered by Otham. In the North, hidden by the dense woods of Ter Llyne at the foot of Mount Hesied, Otham built his fortress. Constructed from the dark stones of the mountain, it was fortified by his own magic and the ancient will of the forest. It was beautiful. With gardens that grew despite the season, the walls decorated with tapestries taken straight from the halls of kings. Large windows of colored glass stretching high, thin as paper but hard as steel, holding against the harsh winter storms. Each room was decorated with care, Otham sparing no detail. Every carpet, every cushion, every placement of a window or lighting in a room was done purposefully to accentuate the beauty of his collection. Swords forged from the blood of demons, crystal orbs that fortold grim fates, skulls that spoke, but only in puns. The house was littered with such items. Some were certainly dangerous. The key to the underworld was one. It constantly called to anyone near to use it to release an army of the damned upon the living realm. But in Otham’s care and under his power, it was made silent and nearly harmless.

It was in this fortress of his own making, that Otham lived in solitude… for a while. The youngest daughter of Theodric, lord of Luceria, once rode too deep into his forests - losing herself in the mists and dense woods. Dalida was like a fawn, the youngest of seven sisters, she was beautiful and frail with large black eyes, always wearing an expression as if she was constantly mourning. Otham over the years had gained infamy as both a powerful wizard and a thief, but when she encountered him, Dalida was unafraid. He meant only to divert her, away from his forest and back on her route. But when his gaze caught her eyes, dark and glistening, like with many other of his treasures, he found himself drawn to her. Otham brought her deeper into the woods, trapping her within his fortress. He built her rooms of deep oak and crystal windows. Intricate carvings framed every door, every pillar. Inlays of gold decorated the walls and fine plush rugs littered her halls. Every room she entered was meant to highlight her beauty. But unlike the items in his collection, she would not be mastered. She rarely acknowledged him or his gifts, her face always shrouded in gloom. She would dictate to him her desires and he denied her nothing – always coveting her favor. On rare occasions when she did smile, it was ungentle, too toothy and too wyry to suit a woman of her status and upbringing. Eventually she bore him a child. A girl, with his same copper brown skin and her mother’s dark doleful eyes. Her hair was as black as tar. She had none of the usual marks of wizardry but the power rested within her regardless.  Otham was shocked initially, but she was bright and quick to learn. He taught her how to walk from her body, how to twist the forest to her will, how to assert her power over the items in his vast collection, amongst many other things. All of the wisdom of Oerdel and Otham was passed onto her. Otham named her Deidra and made her rooms of her own in a spiraling tower that peaked up above the trees, as to catch the sunlight that was otherwise lost under the dense canopies. He died when she was seventeen. Her mother, who had always lived like a shadow in her life, disappeared back into the forest, just as she had come. And Deidra was left alone in this wondrous fortress of her father’s design, an expanding collection of legendary and extraordinary items, and more power than any seventeen-year-old should ever have.


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