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Mine is the Fury [Short Story]

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Loud wooden creaking resounded in the air as the great double doors which stood vigil to the inner sanctum of the cathedral opened. The cacophony was contrasted by quiet, timid steps, muffled despite the metal clop that bounced off each cobblestone as their owner hesitantly approached the altar which stood before the titanic statue of Halone. Fingers encased in metal gauntlets traced over the polished wood of the pews which stood in silent witness to the grandiose decor of the house of worship, painstakingly crafted to inspire reverence in any who sought succor in the arms of Ishgard's Goddess here. The timid steps grew even more muffled once the plated feet trod upon the rug that led to the altar, and in the dimly lit gloom of the sanctum, only a shadow of an armored figure could be discerned until it broke a beam of light defiantly standing against the dusk. A gray-skinned Duskwight girl stepped through the light, hair black as midnight and pinned back in a neatly cropped hairstyle designed to be efficient in combat. Her bright, ice-blue eyes found themselves pinned to the visage of the Goddess of War, and it was clear the girl had seen no more than 20 summers, if that, so fresh and unmarred by the trials and fire of combat was her skin. 


Another parishioner who had come to offer prayers to the Fury glanced over at the armored Duskwight, lifting a curious brow at the girl's timid nature. The girl brought one hand up to rest on the opposite arm, nervously tracing the lines in her armor as she continued to stare at the statue. Why she seemed so timid was beyond even her, and she lifted her chin slightly, reinforced her resolve, and strode the remaining few steps to the first line of pews, where she suddenly stopped. The single other soul in the sanctum continued to watch her for a moment before silently rising to leave, leaving Celeste alone with the spirits of the holy place. Celeste inhaled and exhaled a few deep breaths. Why was this proving so awkward and difficult for her? All her life had been dedicated to the Fury. Through ridicule at the hands of the other children, derision by her superiors, largely ignored by the nobility as a Brume-born Duskwight, she had never once wavered in her dedication to Halone. Yet now, faced with a true, tangible test of her faith, she found herself faltering, just a little.


She moved past the first line of pews to stand just before the statue, gazing at it reverently, and dropped to a knee. For a moment she was silent, conjuring the words that she so desperately felt the need to speak. Anything that would soothe her turbulent soul, give her the courage to face what she knew was looming on the horizon. She lowered her gaze to the feet of the Fury, and settled her other knee under her body, adjusting her pose from a respectful kneel to a pitiful slump. Her hands shook slightly as she willed whatever courage might yet be found within her to the forefront; she would not appear as a weak, scared little girl before the Goddess. She was a knight of Ishgard. Or rather, she would be. She swore that, to herself, to her mother and father, to those who said she would never amount to anything - this plain, unremarkable lowborn Duskwight - she swore. She would be the greatest holy knight Ishgard had ever known. A weapon of legend, forged from naught into a shining beacon of the glory of Ishgard and the Fury. An avatar of Halone herself.


This newfound pride swelled within her, and for a moment, her resolve found its footing. She straightened a bit, and said in a voice that shook only a little, "No battlefield shall I fear to tread, and no foe shall I fear to face, for mine ally is the Fury, and She shall not lead me astray." Her hands shook more, and her breath came in uneven drags as she struggled to maintain the composure she had such a tenuous grasp on. Her lower lip trembled a bit as she continued, "Through blood and thunder shall I stride, and death shall hold no sway over me..." Her voice cracked just a bit and she tried to stifle a sniffle. "For mine ally is the Fury, and She... She shall not lead me astray."


As the final words left her lips, a barely suppressed sob followed, and she gritted her teeth. No. No. No more crying, no more fear. 'Mine is the Fury,' she thought, 'And She shall not lead me astray.' The soft plink of water hitting her gauntlets made her look down. Tears rolled off her cheeks and onto the polished bronze of her armor, sliding off almost instantly with the motion of her shivering limbs. She gritted her teeth, fighting back the tears that threatened to cascade from her eyes, shrinking her form more and more as she felt her will slip away, until finally she broke, and curled into a ball at the feet of the Fury, weeping softly, and begging for her mercy.

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