ysonesse: (Default)
ysonesse ([personal profile] ysonesse) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2012-04-02 12:13 am

Tyrian Purple #11, Provence Lavender #15

Name: leiamoody
Story: Phantasmirrora—“It Can’t Be Forever”
Colors: Tyrian Purple #11, “Pandora’s box”; Provence Lavender #15, “morning song”
Word Count: 1341
Rating: PG
Summary: Jacob discovers Miranda in the library.
Note: Takes place one hour before Bringer of Light.


Jacob wandered along the portrait gallery. It was another late night around the manor (insomnia was a bastard and wouldn’t stop biting him in the ass). It might have been easier to chase a couple hours of snoring if he’d returned to his apartment in the city…but natural night came upon Ysonesse, and it wasn’t safe to travel.

Why didn’t he leave before sunset? The new arrival certainly threw a screw into the works; anyone that fell into the Ash Valley became first priority and needed to be saved. When Miranda came through her mirror portal, Eustace called out directions to Jacob (“Take the carriage”) and Arianna (“Use the copper spear”). The duo flew across to Thanatarosa on a rescue mission. (Eustace could not join them because he suffered from the aftereffects of a spell designed to heal Romena’s psyche after her soul split).

Jacob never minded going on these pick-ups; he would have been devoured in the first minutes after his own fall if Eustace hadn’t been on duty. Jacob’s descent was a typical nightmare scenario: he clawed his way out from Bittersweet Dark, choking and spluttering brackish water. He wasn’t on dry land very long before a trio of Dark Shadows discovered him and began the hunt; one hungry ghoul almost got Jacob’s shoulder, until Eustace came along with the funky carriage and grabbed him.

He stopped near the open library door. Was Eustace inspecting another volume of Greek mythology?

Jacob entered the room and discovered the person who left a pearl lamp burning: Miranda. She was curled up beneath her long black coat on the sofa. Books lay on the floor, on the reading table, in a cane-backed seat stacked four volumes high. At some point she wandered into the library in search of the true exit mirror that nobody else had supposedly managed to create. Eventually she fell asleep, overwhelmed by the abundance of lore and theory she would need to learn just to understand the creation of a basic spell.

Maybe he could wake up Miranda, chat for awhile until the collective idea of sunrise occurred. (True daytime wasn’t permitted by The Summoner, so certain mages long ago decided to ensure the continuation of some form of daylight because their souls craved the familiar comfort brought along with dawn. No warmth came from this artificial sun, but any light in the sky helped push back the darkness).

Jacob stepped into the half-light, but stopped before coming into the full circle of shimmering light. Twelve years away from Reality, and it was possible to become fascinated in a woman’s presence.

Jacob turned back in the direction of the library door. The matter of what she discovered within the Pandora’s box of Eustace’s books could wait until morning.

“Hello. Am I taking up your space?”

“Didn’t mean to wake you up.” He turned back around for a proper conversation. “I thought Eustace might have been doing some late night reading.”

“Just me poking around in search of answers.”

“What did you find?”

“Exactly what I should have expected in the beginning. No chance of getting out without any struggle.”

“Pretty much what I said before dinner.”

“Like I’m going to believe what anybody says till I see it for myself.”

“Proof before faith?”

“Faith isn’t much good without evidence.”

“You’re going to be disappointed if you always require proof.”

“Are you some religious type?” Miranda pulled the coat away from her body. At some point before coming into the library, she swapped outfits: from a navy security uniform into a borrowed white shirt (from Eustace) and black pants (from Romena).

“I was raised lapsed Catholic. Now I’m pretty much agnostic and dabble in some Gnosticism when I feel really dark and mean.”

“So there’s room for skepticism in your little faith collection?”

“You pursue whatever spiritual paths bring comfort in this place.” Everybody followed varied hodgepodges of cobbled together tenets and codes which satisfied their different needs for comfort. The only Unfortunates who refused to follow these pursuits were the hard-line atheists, who took comfort in a lack of God and cited The Summoner as proof. There was even a small but potent group that worshiped The Summoner as a quasi-deity.

Miranda set her feet upon the carpet. “Why don’t I feel like anything is numb? Normally if I’ve been in a chair for awhile without moving I get all tingly and my back hurts.”

“One of the many side effects of becoming Invulnerable.” Jacob sat down on the access ladder’s bottom rung. “The Summoner alters your body so you don’t feel pain, then he gets to work on making your cells immune to sickness and getting old. The age you are right now is the age you’ll always be until forever.”

“So I never get old and can’t get sick?”

“The Summoner makes you better than human just so he can mess with you.”

“Is there any way to protect against random attacks?”

“Everybody’s got a portable arsenal: potions, powders, jewels, charms and tattoos. If something comes up then we’ve usually got the remedy.”

“How come nobody has fixed Romena yet?”

Jacob stared at her. “A soul split literally takes one person and creates three individuals who carry around the most important pieces of the original person. Memories get shattered, split up among the four personalities. Those other three beings wander around, creating their own lives and getting into their own lives and troubles. Of course they don’t have any real foundations to use when it comes to having their experiences, because their personalities are based upon one quality: heart, mind, spirit. That doesn’t make for a stable person.”

“Does that happen to everyone?”

“Only the ones who attempt exit spells. And those dumb enough to perform any spell without some barrier protection. The Summoner might split someone apart because they dared go against his rules which don’t include the exit spell transgression.”

“Do you all have anything to prevent your souls getting torn apart?”

“The Ouroboros, preferably burned into the skin.” Having the Ouroboros brand kept his identity together. Total spiritual obliteration was avoided by a charm branded into his upper right shoulder. The Ouroboros provided total protection by connecting and containing the four components of an Unfortunate’s personality. No spell could backfire and shatter the original personality into fragments (the side effect which caused Romena’s transformation).

The fact Jacob was trapped inside his mind and body until he left The Realms was a misfortune to be endured.

“So how did you it?”

“I went into the city, visited an Oracle who specializes in the protective stuff. Got it on the upper right shoulder.”

“Is the Ouroboros the only symbol that works against The Summoner?”

“It’s the best. You can add other flesh charms to help boost your willpower. Anything that has personal significance can keep you sane.”

Miranda draped the coat round her shoulders. “I don’t have any symbols that appeal to me.”

“Nothing?”

“Pictures are static. Like a photo is one dimensional. It’s a flat copy of the object.”

“Even a photo can help you keep going when every level of hell is breaking loose.”

“The only images that keep my interest are paintings.”

“Well, tattoo an Old Master on your arm.”

She laughed. “Mona Lisa on my back, Birth of Venus on my stomach.”

“I might go for the Sistine Chapel frescoes now that you’re talking about art.”

“Ambitious.”

“Hey, go big.”

“Sure.”

The grandfather clock near the window rang five times. One hour away from mock daybreak and the start of another interminable day in Ysonesse. There would be many hours to explain in greater detail how The Realms operated, how to avoid becoming multiple personalities, among other grim topics. Right now, Jacob could offer Miranda a half-Grand Tour of the portrait gallery, then he could escort her outside to the verandah for her first sunrise in this dark place. If she wanted to anyway…

“Care to show a girl around the big house?”

Jacob grinned. “I was hoping you would ask.”
kay_brooke: Stick drawing of a linked adenine and thymine molecule with text "DNA: my OTP" (Default)

[personal profile] kay_brooke 2012-04-02 06:22 pm (UTC)(link)
This place really does sound kind fo awful, when you look at what people have had to do just to survive from day to day.

I like the rapport between Jacob and Miranda; they seem pretty comfortable with each other already.
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2012-04-03 04:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I really, really like the dialogue here. Nice job.