Jump to content

[ Story ] Buried Soul

Recommended Posts



Chapter One

My Enemy, The Dark


The world began in pain, darkness, and choking death; the sensation of being crushed beneath a mountainous hand as if they were naught but insects. Ringing in her ears sent her head reeling and each breath was a struggle; she cried out in pain, but could barely hear the muffled thrum of her own voice as it clawed its way from her throat. Tears burned trails like hot brands down each cheek, only to cake into mud from the dirt and debris that covered her like a second skin.


"...yra..." came something muffled in the distance, cutting through the ringing in her ears. "Syr... can... hear me?"


Movement was infinitesimal and more effort than she wanted to expend given the pain it cost her to do so. "H-here..." she thought she managed to rasp out through the grated ruin that was her throat. "Arth...here..."


"Syra!" She could almost hear the worry in her sister's voice now as a pair of scrabbling hands searched through the debris that covered her. The rubble shifted and the first breath of fresh air cut through the stagnant miasma around her. It was sweet and clean and her lungs drew it in with all the desperation one drowning. The dust in the air made her cough and coughing hurt, but it meant she was alive. And living was paramount. Surviving.


"Wh-what...happened...?" Syra gasped between ragged breaths as her sister continued to dig into the earth around her. Sounds continued to warble in and out, all equilibrium lost. Her head spun and she felt the overwhelming desire to sleep. She couldn't, though, not yet. She had to focus.


She could feel Arthuriel's fingers scraping the dirt and stone away from her neck and shoulder. Even that small release of the pressure crushing her form was a relief. It gave her more to focus on, more to feel. For the time being, that was more important than anything else. To know that beneath this pile of rubble a duskwight still existed.


"I-I don't know..." Her sister, Arthuriel, managed as she wiped a filthy forearm across her nose. It didn't much help matters. She was crying. Even in the darkness, Syra's keen duskwight vision could make out her sister's face. It was covered in grime and dirt, her tears having cut two darker trails down her face, one for each cheek. "There was... a cave-in, I think. I was asleep under the lee of that stone, down by the aqueducts, so I was somewhat sheltered."


Arthuriel leaned forward, touching her forehead to her sister's. "Gods, Syra, I thought I lost you..." She sobbed. Syra could feel the warm patter of yet more tears splash against her own cheek as her sister wept over her.


Syra stirred. "Well, you haven't yet..." She said, strength returning to her voice with each lung full of air that she drew. "Help me out of here."




Between the two of them, Syranelle was the stronger of the two, the leader while Arthuriel was the follower; the eldest and the youngest. It seemed to always be the way of it. Even as exhausted as she was, it fell to Syra to keep Arthuriel motivated, murmuring words of encouragement long past the point of her throat going dry. Minutes bled into hours and hours felt like days. When finally Syra could no longer keep up her tide of words, she murmured into the darkness.




"Gods, right, I should have done that first thing. Oh, Gods, Syra, I'm so sorry!" Arthuriel whimpered on the verge of panic, her voice trembling with the stress of all they had been through thusfar. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I'll go get some now!"


Stone and dirt clattered and shifted as her sister scurried away. For long moments, it was all she heard until silence descended again. The darkness, once a place of peace and comfort where she and all the other duskwights of their small band resided, now felt heavy and oppressive. Panic blossomed in an explosion of fear within her, she could feel it gripping her heart to send it racing as she gasped for breath. Crushing. Lifeless. Endless. The dark was no longer friend, but enemy. Syranelle let out a whimper, feeling the tears of her recreancy spill from the corners of her eyes.


I don't want to die. Not here, not like this! Her mind swam, filled with only the overwhelming need to survive, the desire to live. Still mostly buried beneath the rubble, her body spasmed as every fiber of her being urged her into panicked flight, a will and want she could not obey. There was only one thing she could do, trapped there in the darkness.


She screamed.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Two

Path to Recovery


Patience was rarely a virtue; recovery was slow, vastly slower than she might have preferred. In the aftermath of the Calamity, aetherics were hard to come by since few actually remembered how to use them. Those who could did so haphazardly and with sometimes worse results than they tried to heal. Still, it was better than nothing.


Allerian withdrew his hands away from her still-sore ribcage. "That is the best I can do for you now, there are others in greater need." With no more than that, he stood, turned, and departed. There was no hesitation or afterthought for her. There wasn’t time. There were too many yet who needed his help.


Syranelle propped herself up on her arms with a groan. Every fiber of her being still ached and her ribs throbbed unduly, but it was all manageable. Allerian had done his job well, the rest fell to her and her own resiliency. She’d make it, she didn’t have much choice otherwise. As if to emphasize that thought, Arthuriel sat nearby wringing her hands into the coarse leather of her skirt as her hazel eyes stared at Syranelle in worry. In an effort to comfort her, the elder sister waved a hand and grunted as she got herself up into an upright, sitting position. She smiled over at her pale-haired sibling.


“There,” she grunted, placing a hand to her ribs. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”


Arthuriel hedged in close, her hands aflutter like nervous birds, half-afraid to touch Syranelle anywhere that might hurt. “A-are you sure you should do that? Allerian said--”


“I don’t care what he said,” Syranelle said, holding out her left arm. “Here, help me up.”


For a moment, Arthuriel hesitated on the verge of refusal, but all it took was one look from the older of the two sisters for her to meekly take Syranelle’s arm and drape it over her shoulders. With a quiet grunt, the younger sibling levered the both of them up from the cold stone of the floor, the two of them wobbling like a pair of newborn foals until Syranelle found her balance. There was a part of Syranelle that hated this; she was never meant to be dependent on others. Certainly not on her younger, delicate, sensitive sister. 


Regardless, Syranelle gave her a smile. “Don’t know what I’d do without you, Ari.”


“You’d manage, like you always do.” Arthuriel pointed out, an edge of bitterness to the words. “You don’t need me as much as you let on.”


“Hey,” Syranelle said, lifting a hand to touch her sister’s chin and make her sibling look at her. Arthuriel’s blue eyes met Syranelle’s green and the elder sister could see the pain written there. Pain that spoke more loudly than Syranelle’s own battered form. “You are my sister and the last of my family. I need you. I will always need you.”


Arthuriel grunted, shifting her sister’s weight on her shoulder and placing a steadying hand on Syranelle’s waist. “Where are you looking to go?”


“Anywhere that isn’t here. I’m tired of being abed and the air in here is stifling.” Syranelle replied, hobbling forward with her sister’s support. Together they crossed the cave as Arthuriel spoke of the matters of what remained of their colony.


“The air in here is running out. They’ve managed to dig a tunnel, but it comes out on the surface. People are frightened, Syra. We’ve always dwelt underground; we have no place above it. How would we survive? We know nothing. We’d be as children. But we can’t stay here. We’ll die if we stay here.” There was an edge of panic in Arthuriel’s voice that worried her older sister, causing Syranelle to search her sister’s face, even in profile, looking for answers.


Though Elezen are slender by nature, there was a gauntness to her sister’s countenance that spoke keenly of malnourishment. Pale hair that was once brushed several times a day and washed to a silvery sheen now hung in brittle, lank snarls over Arthuriel’s shoulders. At her waist, Syranelle could feel the bony, skeletal-like fingers that dug in. Always had her sister been slim, but this emaciated creature was far removed from her pampered, cosseted sibling. It disturbed Syranelle to see her delicate sister brought so low, filling her with a resolve to recover as quickly as possible so she might do better by her.


“Take me to this excavation,” she said, putting a hand to still bruised and aching ribs as she leaned on Arthuriel for support.


Her sister did not argue and together they hobbled through the warren of tunnels their people subsisted in until they finally reached the tunnel that led to the surface. The tunnel was carved at an low-grade angle, making it easier for the wounded to either walk or be transported up it when the time came. So, by necessity, it made it obscenely long. The light at the end was a mere thumbnail of brightness in the distance. Up this path lay a world of uncertainty of sights, sounds, and creatures they knew nothing of. There would be untold dangers and brilliant wonders, but foremost on Syranelle’s mind was the fact that there would most likely be sources of food and fresh, clean water, things they did not currently have.


“How long is the walk?” She asked to one of the Duskwights that was helping with the dig.


“No more than a bell, I imagine. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less.” The worker looked her over with an appraising eye. “With legs like those, I’d say less.”


Syranelle gave him a sharp look, her lip curling in contempt. “Yes, perhaps you should say less, we’d all be better for it.”


Arthuriel looked at her, aghast. The worker merely rolled his eyes and barked a laugh. Syranelle turned with her sister to go back the way they had come so they might return to the main body of the camp. As they walked, despite her pain, Syranelle already began planning. She would need a sturdy pack if there was one to be had, provisions to last her a few days, a good, strong hunting bow, and a lot of luck. It was going to take every onze of her courage to go through with her plan, but she didn’t see how she had much choice. She had to protect her sister and she would do it, no matter the cost.

Link to comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...