Author Notes: This is a bit of backstory of a very important moment of my elezen lady, Aure's, life. Just thought I'd share it since I wrote it down for a change. Please note that this is a dark story, so please take care of yourself and don't read it if you think it may upset you! Aure is about 6 years old in this, so it's set probably around 1557 in the Sixth Astral Era, which is right around the fall of Ala Mhigo and the Empire's takeover. I welcome any comments on the story or the writing after this post, and I hope you enjoy the read!
The faint twinkle of the evening's stars were dimmed that night, the moon hidden away in its full splendor by a passing thicket of clouds. So thick were the clouds, that the moon's light could not shine through that all, leaving a thick blanket of darkness to swaddle Ishgard's warm summer night. The height of the Manors that lined the Pillars touched the cloudy sky, the sharpest points atop the roofs like knives, cutting through the thick moisture only to find themselves surrounded like a rushing river still.
Among the Pillars heights, tucked in the tight corridors of nobility, a manor stood like the rest. There was nothing out of place or remarkable about it, save for a single flicker of light that lingered inside along the windows. The light from a small candle barely illuminated the hallways and it shifted, dancing about and nearly licking the skin of the hand that held close to it, directing the light forward and keeping it from being too bright.
A door opened softly, not even a creek made as it swung forward. Inside, the room was quiet and still. It was a child's room, with toys neatly tucked away in the corner. School books and quills lining the bookshelf adjacent, and several poorly drawn images of a family. The man holding the light stepped inside, looking quietly down towards the bed as he made his way further and further into the room. The door quietly swung mostly shut.
The candle light barely gave off enough light for him to see the girl's face. No older than six, she wore long silver hair and soft pale skin; she was the striking image of her mother, and none other.
He stood there for some time, agonizing in his mind as he looked down upon her young fragile form. A bead of cold sweat ran down the side of his face. His dark tanned skin faintly glimmering with the liquid left behind as the candle's flame continued to dance. The green of his eyes shimmered too, the flames behind him mirrored in the reflection of the candle's own.
His hands trembled. His face contorted with a myriad of emotions. He knew what he must do.
He blew on the candle, the flame sharply dying and the room swallowed by the darkness.
Tap. He set down the candle holder. He knelt down, his hands shaking. And then he reached out. Trembling hands grabbed the girl's thin neck, wrapping around its entirety and squeezing. Squeezing with all of his might.
The girl gasped, her eyes sharply flickering open in the dark and her little hands grabbing at his, pulling as she wheezed and mutedly screamed. Her voice was being held back by his hands. Her breath was struggling, and she kicked her feet towards the assailant, trying to in vain to free herself.
And then the clouds moved, the full moon's light raining down and lighting up her room like a wildfire.
"Da-ddy…?" The girl gasped, her struggling seizing with shock. Her little hand moved from his hands upon her neck, reaching out towards him as she always had done. But the man's eyes were wild, his face more akin to a wild beast than the man she knew to be her father. He was always cold, stern, quiet, emotionless perhaps. What had she done wrong? It was the last thoughts that raced through her mind before her eyes flickered shut.
And then she heard a loud commotion. She felt herself being moved, pressed back against something hard. Her eyes flickered open again. She saw her room, the door to it flung open. Her mother, the striking image of her daughter, was there. Her long white hair wild in the moonlight and nearly glowing. There was a screech, though she couldn't tell from which of her parents it was uttered. The glimmer of steel in the moonlight too, caught her eye.
And then her mother flung herself forward, dagger in hand as she lunged towards her father. The blade piercing through his chest cleanly. Even half delirious and held to the walls, Aure could see the blood spattered. The grip her father held on her released, and she fell to the floor hard. He in turn, screeched and dove towards her mother. They were both on the floor the next she could see. Her father on top, punching at her face, blood spattering from her mouth as the dagger tumbled onto the floor.
They rolled over, her mother managing to get on top this time. They were close to the dagger now, and she grabbed it. She screamed, plunging the dagger into his face. And then pulling it back. Aure could hear the a gurgling sound. She saw the blood spatter about the pink carpeting. And then her mother screamed again, plunging the dagger into his father's face. Again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again…
Aure looked down, watching her father's blood pool around the floor and touch her outstretched finger tips. She felt a hot liquid well at her eyes, blurring her already hazy vision.
"Daddy…" She murmured it as she breathed out between her mother's crazed screaming, and then it all seemed to fade away.
When her eyes opened again, they stared up to a white unfamiliar ceiling. She felt someone squeeze her hand and tried to look over, finding her neck stiff and unwilling to move.
"Aure… dear…" The voice was familiar. Her mother. The woman shifted besides her, leaning forward to come into her view. Her long hair was pulled back and still wet. Her eyes red and puffy. Her fingers trembled. Aure could feel how she shook without even looking. "What do you… remember?" There was a hesitation to her mother's question.
"…. Did I… do something wrong Mother?" Aure asked, her voice hoarse and more like a coughing fit than a real question. She could feel her mother tremble again, the shaking growing worse.
"No… you… you didn't honey…. But… no one can ever know what happened, okay? If they do… Mommy will have to go away forever. And your baby sisters… they will get hurt. And you will too. So you can't…"
"Okay…" Aure interrupted her mother. In truth, she did not understand. But the way her mother trembled, the way she shook and the tears that mounted in the corners of her eyes, it scared the young girl.
"Everything will be okay sweetie. I'll tell you what you need to tell everyone when they ask you about this, so just listen to me and remember this…."
"So you say it was one of your ladies-in-waiting then? She tried to strangle you, stabbed your father to death, and then your mother chased her off? Is that correct?" The man across from her looked up from his paper towards Aure seriously. She nodded carefully, mindful of the thick bandages that covered her neck. The man looked back to her, his brow raised before giving a heavy sigh and nodding his head. "Very well then Young Miss Descoteaux. I am terribly sorry for the loss of your Father. Send my regards to your mother, and please ask her to come in once more, will you?"
Aure pushed herself off the deep purple plush chair and nodded quietly again to the Inquisitor, carefully stepping through the small parlor room and opening the door to enter the hallway once more. Her mother was already there, dressed in black with a black veil across her face. She motioned towards the door and walked quietly past her, her eyes glazed over as she absent-mindedly made her way through the house.
She found herself in one of the guest bathrooms and paused, looking about the empty and sterile room. She stepped across the marbled floors, coming to a long mirror and staring at her own reflection for a time. Her fingers reached out, pressing lightly on the bandages about her neck. She reached back, untying the knot that held them in place and slowly pulling them off, layer by layer.
When she looked back into the mirror, the thick dark marking of his hands still lay imprinted across her pale skin. The edges had spread across like spikes now as well. Aure reached up, her eyes glassy and blank as she touched it again, a single tear rolling down from the corner of her eye and down her cheek, dropping upon the marble floor, and like a gunshot breaking the utter silence of that place.