Absolutely amazing, Emily thought to herself. Even after saying her goodbyes to her mother and setting out on the road again, her mind still rested on Lucelle. Why do I feel this attraction to that side and not her regular side? I want to see her more and more like that.
“Listen, I understand that you are the Lady’s daughter, but we are not going to wait up for you,” Nagin’s voice ran past the group into Emily’s ears.
Emily noticed that she had spaced off and was a bit behind them already. “Oh, sorry,” she said while jogging to catch up. Lucelle slowed down to match her pace and gave a knowing smile. It’s like you can always read my mind.
“I don’t like him,” Lucelle said in Emily’s head.
“Not at all,” she agreed.
“Still thinking about earlier?”
“A bit, yes.”
“I am, too. I think it was great how you didn’t freak out.”
Emily smiled back at her. “I thought about it.” She offered a hand to Lucelle, who hesitantly took it. “Can I feel it again?”
“Feel wha- Uh, oh. I guess so.” Lucelle’s hand, under the moonlight, slowly became black and Emily felt the claws touch down on her own hand. She also felt the glossy and smooth texture again.
“It feels wonderful. I don’t know why, but it does.”
“That’s always been something that happened. Both of your grandparents and your mother had that same attraction, unfortunately. I think it might be because of my... uh, special abilities? I don’t know how to describe it.”
“Like a succubus.”
“A succubus, you know. The demon women in the tales that lure people into traps with sexual desires and then suck out their lives... or something.”
“You think I’m going to suck out your life?”
“No. I’m just saying that’s what it is like.”
Lucelle appeared a bit off, but she kept the hand transformed the way it was. “I guess you aren’t wrong.”
Caviere looked back at the two of them, then turned forward again. This caught Lucelle’s eye and she pulled her hand away, transforming it back to its regular state. Emily looked down at her hand, then let it go back into her light arm swing while looking back to the front of her feet. She could see the heels of Ysella’s boots hitting and pushing off the ground. Who are you? Emily thought to herself.
Ysella had a natural, confident-looking strut that made her look like she knew exactly what she was doing at all times. Her hair hung loosely, making it questionable whether it would get in the way or not. She had not said a single word to almost any of them and was looking straight forward, having a bit of a statue-esque feel to her. Emily turned her head to catch Lucelle staring at Ysella as well. It was clear that neither of them knew what to think about the odd woman.
“I hope you all like hiking, because it is all uphill from here,” Nagin pestered from the front. He was trekking along at an excessive pace that had Emily nearly speedwalking. “If we are quick, we will get there before sunrise.”
I can’t handle this, Emily thought as she began to space out again. She looked around dazedly and noticed the large shadows casted by the moonlight. She slowed a small bit and took one large step to the right, then fell down. The timing of the fall and focus on the shadows made her fall directly into Lucelle’s. Without a sound, Emily dropped into the darkness casted by Lucelle’s figure. It was like back at the castle when she hid against the pillar. She could see the sky, Lucelle, and the trees overhead, but everything else below was just blackness. She sat down, letting herself slow down for a bit. She sent a single message up to Lucelle, “Resting in your shadow. Hope you don’t mind.” Lucelle, in response, looked to the left, and then simply shook her head.
“Wait, where’d she go?” Nagin had looked back after a few minutes, seeing Emily had gone missing. The others turned as well to see the same.
“She’s, uhh...” Lucelle began, “She is in my shadow... resting?”
Ysella didn’t seem to care as she looked forward again. Caviere gave a knowing smile and looked back. Nagin, having not had much interaction with Emily, maintained a confused and unbelieving expression. He shook his head. “Crazy mages,” he mumbled as he went to look forward again. After that, all seemed to go back to normal for a while. Well, as normal as a band of unofficial militia members traveling to receive an ancient artifact can be.
Emily drifted away shortly after she lied her head down, and her third mind’s eye opened to see a small room. There were pillars of fire in the corners and a pedestal in the center. The floor and walls were stone and a bit rugged like she was inside of a cave. The ceiling in the center held a massive stalactite which reached all the way down to about a foot from the pedestal. The point of the stalactite and the end of the pedestal both glowed bright red with internal flames. In the gap between the two, a gem floated in air. It was spiraling around in place and she could see red particles orbiting it. The scene was all too real, much like how many of Emily’s dreams usually were.
When Emily was a younger girl barely able to make a candle flame flicker, she began to have odd dreams. They would only occur when she found herself falling asleep around magical settings. Once, she dozed off during the day while playing with one of her mother’s necklaces. In her dream, she dreamt she was flying herself around in shadows with Dark magic. She flew and flew until she ended up losing control, which made her wake up instantly. After waking up, she found that her abilities to drift and meld into shadows had grown exponentially, so much so that even Elektra was stunned by the results. She would come to have these kinds of dreams quite often over the coming years.
Emily stepped closer to the pedestal. It drew in her in like a magnet, just begging her to take it. She knew what would come, yet was still anxious. The last time she had a dream about Pyromancy, she combusted into flames without actually feeling any pain.
“Hello?” she called out. As usual, no answer. This wasn’t good enough for her, however, as she decided to sit down this time. She sat close enough to show that she had interest in the gem, but sat far enough away that she was able to control her urges to run up and grab it. “I don’t know why I am here and I know there is someone out there.” It was a guess, to be honest. She had no clue if there was really someone watching, but she knew that other, normal people didn’t have these kinds of dreams.
“If you won’t talk to me, then at least you can listen,” Emily began. “I used to love coming here. I was so excited to learn more and more and see where I could go next with my powers. Now, though, I’m not so sure. I’m afraid now. I hurt people. I… I killed someone. Maybe more than one person.” Tears began to drip down from her hung head. “I don’t want to fear myself hurting other people, especially if it means I could hurt those close to me.” Images of her one-sided fight with Der’Jak came to mind. “I lost control. I could have hurt more than just the one person. I wasn’t controlling my own power and I could have killed Caviere or Lucelle.”
“I don’t want it this time. I’m sorry, but I can’t take your gift,” Emily finished talking and put a hand to her face, breaking down on the floor. It was the first time she rejected one of these dreams, but it wasn’t the first time she had let her feelings bottle up inside her. She had a habit of doing so and would regularly wait until she was alone to vent her thoughts.
From the corner pillars, fire began to spew out. It seemed to leak on the floor and the flames created a unique circular pattern in the stone. The fire singed the ground and the heat bit at Emily’s cheeks and ears, so she looked up and around her. She wiped the tears from her face, which seemed to evaporate immediately in the heat. She stood up and felt her feet begin to burn from the hot floor. She whipped her head to look across the center pedestal from her, now barely able to catch the sight of a figure forming. From the flames on the floor, a creature grew to be at least six feet tall. It was humanoid, but had over-extended fingers and its eyes were merely darker tongues of fire. It faced Emily and she could feel that it was nothing but raw power.
The flaming figure reached for the gem, and Emily stopped it short by yelling, “No!” She stepped forward. “I- I’ll take it. I just wanted to… know that someone was out there doing this for me.” The figure stood still, simply watching. “I want to meet you and know who you are,” she pleaded. “Will you show me your real self?” In response, after a few moments, the figure took hold of the gem. It then aimed the point of it at Emily and a stream of fire shot out at her. She screamed and shielded herself, but was caught in the hand by the stream. The entirety of the beam absorbed itself into her hand and she cringed and yelped out in pain. The blood under her hand’s skin began to boil and it glowed bright red. Her veins were aflame and were seared a bright orange and yellow. Her fingernails were now completely made of molten fire. When all of the pain subsided, Emily felt overwhelming power radiating from the hand. She looked down on it, only getting a good enough look for a few seconds before she began to feel herself wake up.
“Wait,” she looked up at the figure, who was now gone. “No! I’m not ready yet. Who are you?! Tell me your name!” It was all for nothing, however, as her vision slowly went black once more, lulling her back off to a deep sleep.