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An unexpected hero
(2013-04-21 - 2013-05-22)
No description.
Seith Cornelia has been fairly peaceful as of late. Nice white idyllic clouds crowning over its head and a nice blue sky to go with it. Heartless are kept at bay by the brave soldiers of this kingdom. There's of course the upheaval now and again when a Shadow breaks through, but vigilance is at an all time high!

Yet, nothing can be done about things when a Shadow Lord decides to bring some 'interesting moments' to the kingdom. Enjoying nothing less but to put 'heroes' to the test, a man in black heavy armored garb and horns steps into the kingdom through its front gates, throwing the two guards that stand at its entrance aside as if they were nothing with the power of Gravity - and continues further into the city. A series of heartless pop from the ground and quickly spread out to keep soldiers busy and strike terror into the hearts of those that live within the city.

And the man - Seith - continues forwards until he stands at the plaza at the center of the city, and raises his voice; "Dare a Hero stand up to me!?" It is a very simple message. Timeless perhaps, even. An evil that challenges as hero.

But is there a hero to be found in this ancient kingdom?
Morgan Albaste Mayhaps Cornelia, even in days of old prior to the matter of 'Heartless', is accustomed to 'good versus bad'; 'light versus dark'; etcetera, etcetera. To think of this ancient kingdom going head-to-head with such an ordeal, one may consider a classic storybook tale... a knight charging off into battle, a King sounding the call. Oldschool. Right...?

Case in point: Heartless. A new Evil; still a grand unknown to those who live in this backwater kingdom. Cornelia, though perhaps destined to pony up and figure out better defenses, is for now prone to the activities of the Heartless and their leaders. The two guards, as they are flung aside, are a prime example of this. Cornelia just /isn't/ properly equipped... and the denizens -- for there are quite a few -- who witness Seith's arrival are quick to be stirred into a panic. Some try to flee, shuttering themselves away into houses and storefronts. Other guards, having seen their comrades flattered by that nasty spell, hesitate just /barely/.. like nervous cattle, they skirt the center of town and try to figure out the best manner in which to approach. They're not afraid, they're just uncertain.. blind-sided. What other sorcery is afoot here?!

One Cornelian 'felt' this energy even before it came through the gates... it was a feeling that was enough to pull her from a /very/ in-depth project and sit at her sewing table, white as a ghost, for a few minutes. WHat is it about this aura that Morgan Albaste finds so frightful, and so familiar...? One must give the Elf credit, alas; she did not stay indoors. She left her home, as if drawn out via means beyond her control. She just cannot hide from this feeling anymore, this fear that has governed her life and left her stagnant with murky memories.

"What do you hope to gain by troubling a small kingdom such as this? Where is the challenge? For shame!" Flutes a woman's voice, responding to Rain with the barest bit of trepidation. Should he glance in the direction of the jab, he will see a tall Elven woman in dark, feminine robes of wine red and black. Though she strives to hold her head high, she appears a touch pale due to nerves. THose at Morgan's side stir uneasily... why is the town seamstress calling this foreboding man on his intrusion?!
Seith The man has brought out a massive staff by the time that Morgan dares bring herself outside of her own home, and is pointing it at the guards who are circling him with uncertainty. Heartless rush them, trying to weed out the weak. Anyone who could not deal with a few soldiers and shadows was not enough to face him.

When that female voice touches the air, Seith stands with his back towards her. "The challenge is to find a Hero in a small kingdom such as this! To find strength! It is that simple." He declares and then slowly turns around, letting the metalic staff come to life; two massive purple-energy blades appearing on either side, making it appear as a double-bladed scythe.

The man turns, and points it at the woman, hoping to see a female warrior of some sorts. But what he finds instead is...

"... Morgan." His heart skips a beat, and his lips press firmly together after speaking that name. It's obvious that her presence has moved this man. It has moved him to be entirely, and completely... /still/. Like a statue in impressive armor. His gaze captures the entirety of the woman.

The red and black robes. The pale skin. The perfect lines. And elf. How long had it not been, besides the Dark Elf that is Morrighan, that he'd seen one of his own kind. But far more dire...

How long has it been since he'd seen Morgan?

His brow furrows, and he tries to shove aside his moment of weakness. "I desire to see a warrior! Not a pup that has lost its master." He sounds angry, like she is something personal to him. But does she even recognize him? Never in this armor, that is certain. Not with these horns.
Morgan Albaste Indeed! The Guards now have more than enough to deal with, especially when the Heartless see fit to swarm and create a fiasco. More denizens flee; the situation really does appear dire here. When Seith draws that formidable staff, Morgan tries not to flinch. She wields /no/ weaponry; there is no hope of that whatsoever, for the sharpest articles she wields in her home are knives, forks, and sewing needles. Pretty pitiful..

But there's always that power... it awakens with her in the morning and lays with her at night. It's always there... and it seems that the very presence of this Shadow Lord causes the Darkness within her to stir. It's different from what she 'feels' in the presence of Heartless grunts.... it's... older. Deeper. A small ache automatically begins to arise behind her eyeballs, troubling her further. But it is in stoic behavior, true to her Elvish race, that Morgan responds to this physical problem: she tries not to let on that she is both hurting and afraid.

Seith, who recognizes Morgan right off the bat, shall see that she is essentially unchanged from when he had last seen her.. at least physically. Yes, that last time.. had she not, by Malachy's urging, destroyed the sorceror's love, his life?

THere is a lie afoot here: Morgan /has/ changed a bit.... the vacant hate, the malice that she wore during that terrible time... is gone. Seith says her name and her stoic countenance fails just a tad.. she looks completely taken off-guard. "My name, how do you know it...!" Morgan snaps, her eyes wide, her bit of bravado faltering.

Seith's further words do not help matters much, and the lady Elf stamps her foot once in frustration. "What do you mean by 'master'..! I have no master! How dare you... take your dark designs elsewhere!" She calls out, trying (and failing) in her attempt to save face. Her upset results in the shifting of her own energies, her Dark aura pulsing once, twice. Even in this armor, and with those horns... Morgan does not recognize Seith...!
Seith Yes. She has changed. And Seith can see it. She has become 'better' than whom she had become with Malachy's influence. He's glad, very glad, that he'd been right in his decision to leave her be. To have dispelled his magic and let her wander in this world.

But now she stands here, and he's blabbing his mouth! What is he doing!? He'd promised he'd never see her. That he'd tear her from his life. She is a distraction! She's... Morgan. That ache in his heart grows, and the man lowers his head a little and raises his posture.

"Of course I know your name." The man declares, swinging his weapon around mightily to make for a simple display of power, the ground being 'cut' where the blade touches it.

Yet that darkness. It still remains within her. She still has that beautiful darkness he'd loved so much. That gift they had shared. The ache in his heart, it's drawn by something that he's missed for such a long time. He knows that it is tempting him.

The man slowly steps back. Away from her. As if he somehow were afraid of her. Deciding that makes him look weak, he turns his back on her. "Leave my sight, elf. You indeed have no more master."
Morgan Albaste It really is quite sad -- as much as it is merciful -- that Morgan's memories have been fractured. Though she had done a grand series of travesties while under Malachy's rule, there /were/ some very rich memories prior to that. Times spent with a peer, a close and dear friend, whose aptitude with dark magic ran parallel to her own. They learned together; they were once upon a time very close. It's not to say that the lady Elf is fated to never remember persay; it would have to take an immense catalyst. Something immense enough to break down the barrier that was built following Malachy's destruction, and the healing that followed...

But one thing for sure: Morgan's response to this terrifying man's acknowledgement of /her/ is still very vague. HOW does he know her...? How---

As startling as his stillness had been in the moment of recognition, Seith's swiping of that awful weapon breaks the Elf out of her trance and she flinches again, her lips pressing together into a tense line. The dust kicked up by the energy blades' movement -- smelling 'burnt' -- makes her pale eyes water a bit. "There is something I am missing, here.... something eluding me.." Morgan says levelly, though her calm voice does not match her stricken expression. If this exchange is enough to stall Seith and allow Cornelia to bolster itself, so be it... even if this exchange /disturbs/ her. It's like her emotions are contradicting themselves; she is both incredulous and so deeply, /deeply/ disturbed.

"What do you mean by this---" What! He's turning away?! Morgan, triggered by this blatant dismissal, charges forth.. her skirts forming a black froth of lace at the heels of her boots, so harried are her movements. "Tell me more.. who are you and how do you know me?" Morgan demands, her voice faltering as she physically gets closer to the man. Her hand reaches forth in an attempt to grab at his shoulder and try to /make/ him face her. Frustration has made her brave, and stupid... but even gentle Morgan can be at her wit's end and act erratically.

For months now, she has been in the dark.. in more ways than one.
Seith "It is nothing that matters." The man declares with certainty, but he lies. And as a man who refuses to lie... it is so obvious from his tone. As much as he loves to be an actor and play up things, he never goes out of his way to lie. The fact that she can't see his face is maybe his only grace in that moment.

To lie to his friend. But it's better that way! A white lie!

"Step away and let a true hero come face me!" He raises his weapon. "WILL NO HERO FACE ME!?" He's trying his best to dismiss her. But then the girl has to go and do something foolish. She runs towards him. Every step, the sound of her foot touching the ground each time... creates more pain in his heart.

"Don't come near me..." He whispers. But then she reaches out. She grabs for his shoulder. And the man's reflex is so instinctive! She touches him, and he turns around while shouting at her; "DON'T TOUCH ME!" And pulls his gravity-magic reflexively into his hand and tries to thrust her away from him!

The moment he does, wether it makes contact or not, guilt begets him. "No... Morgan!" His blade being let go of and reaching his hand out towards her.... before an anger overcomes him. Damnit! This is wrong! This entire interaction should not be going this way! He should leave! But...

What if she got hurt?

All he'd done would be for nothing if she got hurt.
Morgan Albaste This man speaks to Morgan as if she is a trivial being to be dismissed, but yet.. why does his body language speak otherwise? Wouldn't so powerful a being -- unbeknownst to Morgan, a Shadow Lord -- see fit to just smite her and go on his merry way with terrorizing Cornelia...? Seith has had a couple of opportunities, by now, to have really shown the lady Elf exactly how much business he means....!

... So why, pray tell, does he turn away from her as if shielding a great hurt? Sure, his mask with those ghastly horns hide the real depth of Seith's expression, but his movements speak volumes. As Morgan runs to him, Seith hollars for a 'hero to face him' as if desperate for that intervention. It is too late; Morgan has reached for his shoulder, grabbed at it---the shout may as well have been a strike from the energy blades! Morgan's eyes widen, fringed by long black lashes; her breath comes in one brief, sharp gasp.

"Wait---" She starts, and then... an abrupt, jarring force causes the svelte woman to stumble back! In a rare display of clumsiness, brought on by Seith's burst of magic, Morgan scuffs backwards and with a quick windmilling of her arms, just /barely/ avoids falling onto her rear! The native Cornelians -- many of whom are usually so very polite so as to help a lady keep her footing -- have already fled by now. As the Guards face off with the Heartless and the square rapidly empties, it is only Morgan and Seith in this focal point. In complete contrast to the scene between the two Elves --- almost a mockery, really -- the town's lovely stone fountain continues to gurgle and splash merrily with ribbons of water.

Morgan isn't quite so happy. Something has shifted in her expression; she does not look aghast, or upset... no. A hardness has arisen in her gaze, and it is as if the blue of her irises has paled to that of a terrible, stark gray. Her full lips pull back into a sneer. THe Gravity spell (or even just a portion of it that Seith had used to buffet her) appears to have set off a reaction; Morgan's mind is currently overwhelmed by an anger that is /not/ quite her own. A fair hand snaps forth, palm out and facing Seith as he too seems to be warring with emotions. Especially that of anger.

"How DARE you...!" Morgan hollars, her voice forceful as magic that is much akin to Seith's own bursts forth in the Dark Sorceror's direction! A low humm, a sudden sense of heaviness... and much in the same fashion as he had sought to shove Morgan, the woman strikes out at Seith with a Gravity spell of her own! Mayhaps the very same incantation...
Seith Seith's instinctive reaction is to reach out to help her, a feeling that spawns for years and years of having spent with this girl. For all the atrocities she'd committed, she was still his childhood friend. As she stumbles back, he draws his hand back quickly to not show this moment of weakness. The heartless might notice it and target him. He must not allow weakness into his heart!

Still, the horned magician lets bits and pieces show on his expression. That initial reaction wipes quickly off of his face, and turns into a different one however. Her gaze - the way in which she beholds him! He feels that 'crackle' of magic coming.

'No...' he thinks to himself, realizing that the girl is drawing on her memories of the past. That she's drawing on her /past magic/. The man brings his hand quickly forwards at the same time that she pushes her gravity-swpell forwards, and launches one of his own. The two spells slam into eachother - at first invisible, then suddenly fiercely struggling as purple lightning carves hairline fractures across the ground all around the impact point.

The man digs his feet in and watches as the ground sinks beneath the force of their two spells, until they finally cancel eachothother out with a sickening sound of air being 'sucked' into the little anomaly they created together, and the pebbles they'd crushed and pulled up are shattered every which way. Seith, in his heavy armor, is in little danger.

"HOW DARE /YOU/ STRIKE AT ME!?" Seith shouts at the girl with a tone rather reminiscent of Malachy; something caused by the sheer surprise that she would strike at him. Something deep within his heart sinks. After all this time... he'd become the catalyst for her to awaken a bit of that what lies within her? The man quickly tries to use his gravity-magic to 'rush' himself towards her so he might grab her two hands and push her up against a nearby wall; to try and prevent her from casting any further magic.

"Stop that this very moment, Morgan! Go to sleep! Forget this day!" He starts demanding of her, attempting to bring a spell of sleep over her. But surely, her magical resistance might very well overpower his dark sorcery.
Morgan Albaste It is a substantial reaction, this meeting of magic. What results is a tiny fracturing of some of Cornelia's pretty little cobblestones... had she the sense of what just happened, Morgan would feel /terrible/ about it. The pebbles, cast asunder by the culmination of the spells, bounce off of the lady Elf's body... some of the dust even causing her eyes to water. However, she blinks the irritation away; that quicksilver stare continues to pin Seith even as he shouts at her in his rage. THAT is enough to startle Morgan out of the trance that she had fallen into...

And in that span of seconds, Seith deepens the parallel comparison to that one doomed Shadow Lord... he does the very thing that Malachy /would/ have done.. had ALWAYS done: he rushes in, and he grabs the woman. Not /overly/ violently, but with intent to bind and control...

Yes, yes; that does it.

As she is pressed up against the wall and restrained, Morgan's mind vaults into a series of quick, 'stabbing' images: flashes of memory, though were one to view them they would see them as if they were overexposed photos. Morgan's head jolts back, her mouth opening in a guttural gasp... who is this man in her mind, with the sharp features? Who is /this/ man holding her now, demanding that she not strike him? And 'lo.. what is this...

.. one memory bearing a pain so acute that it /physically/ hurts. A sunlit grove, an aquiline Elven man with silver-blonde hair and icy eyes 'speaking'; another boy, on the cusp of adolescence... dark hair, speaking companionably... as if a peer. Speaking to /her/...? What, WHAT?

Eyes flying open, Morgan opens her mouth wide and /shrieks/..! Screams violently as if she were a woman possessed. Seith may very well feel the tension in her arms, straining, live-wiring. The high-pitched scream wanes into a low howl, and the Shadow Lord may then begin to feel a distinctly icy chill in the space that both he and the woman occupy. Morgan is so upset, that the Sleep spell has difficulty catching (and mayhaps due to some help from resistance, too) ... and if he does not try again, or give her a good shake at least, a Blizzara spell will be coming to pass.

Morgan's skin feels as cold as ice. But the scream may have been the worst attack of all.
Seith Seith's knowledge of Malachy was small. All he'd known was that the man had been cruel, and had wrecked much of Morgan's mind and identity. It's when he has her pinned to that wall and feels the shock of the two of them hitting it, that he realizes that he's being the very same cruel person that he had hated with every inch of his Heart and Spirit. Still, he can't break away from this moment. He is trying to stop the girl from remembering.

Yet, for all his attempts, he is only making things worse. "Stop it Morgan!" He demands of her. "Stop thinking." The demands continue, until the girl suddenly opens her mouth and stares straight at him. A disgusting feeling overcomes the man. Sickening. A hatred... a hatred of himself. Right now, he's being the very thing he'd sought to protect Morgan from those many years ago. He instinctively lets go as she screams. Guilt overcoming him fast. The loud shriek hurts his sensitive elven ears and he continues to back up forther when the icy spell comes to form.

He can feel it coming as it 'takes time' to build, and is quick to wrap his robes around himself in order to defend himself of the spell. And when it finally does wash forwards, the icicles ripping into his robes and tearing small fractures into his armor - the man is forced back once again, letting out a pained sound. He's stopping himself - finally. Stopping himself from lashing back out.
Morgan Albaste Few, these days, know much about the Shadow Lord formerly known as Malachy. Back in his day, his reign had been an insidious one; manipulation and fear were two of his favored techniques. He did it well, and when the time came to really bring the heat... well, that's when a certain Elf came into his employ.

Woe be to Morgan if she every remembers, completely, the siege she helped to create.

Indeed, Malachy had been cruel. His cruelty yet remains at this very moment in the form of the very agitated Morgan. Seith, try as he may to prevent snippets of memory from arising in the Elf's fractured mind, is unfortunately not given to a complete victory. Morgan is thinking, and she just cannot stop. Following her terrible scream, and the involuntary preparation of Blizzara, Morgan can only stare balefully at Seith as he retreats from the shriek and prepares himself for the icy fallout.

Her full lips move, though nigh-soundlessly, as she wills the spell into culmination. The jagged lancets of ice erupt from around her, frost settling upon her dark robes and into the immediate vicinity.. dusting the cobbles and masonry of old structures. Morgan's eyes, now dark and enraged, pinion upon Seith as she wills the ice projectiles in his direction. She can /see/ him going on the defense... and in the back of Morgan's mind, her /true/ self is seeing that he is trying his hardest not to retaliate.

Yet one lithe, alabaster hand rises to command another maelstrom of icy magic... preparing to strike this man when he is 'vulnerable'.. it's as easy as breathing, to call Blizzara back----

Yet Morgan cannot... /will/ not. A thought, as sharp as a knife, rips through her mind and she crumbles again, palms flying to her face as she emits another sharp cry. She was about to do EXACTLY what Malachy would have done: strike someone when they're compromised/down.. strike them until they die horribly. The shock of such brutality is all Morgan can take, and she falls to her knees upon the frosty ground. "Oh.. no, no no..." She chokes out, head down and hair hanging in black hanks to obscure her features.

"Why.. who am I trying to remember.."
Seith It takes a lot for the mage not to strike back - not to just try and snuff out the life that threatens him at this very moment. But he's built up enough guilt and sorrow over the years to pull his instinctive reflex and keep himself from doing something he'd /never/ be able to forgive himself for. Slowly, he breaks pieces of ice off of his body, using his guantletted hands to pull off larger pieces, slumped over just midly, staring out at her with a hard to read expression. After all, she has prepared further projectiles to pierce him with; and his armor can only take 'so much' punishment.

"Stop it Morgan... please." Seith asks, finally 'falling so low' as to beg for something, or... no, not beg. Ask. Politely. His eyes are wide, as it looks like she's just about to throw the spell, bringing his hand up to protect his chest and face... but what he expects to come fails to be delivered. There, in that moment where she cries and lets the spell falter, he recognizes something. A sight he remembers from that day... so very long ago.

~~~~ Years Ago ~~~~

The body of Malachy lies on the ground, and Heartless are swarmed around Morgan - pulsing with power. Yet the wave slowly parts as a thin and pale skinned elf steps through their ranks. They part, pushed away by black magic that swirls around his body in a spherical shape, until he finally steps close enough. When he stands before her, the sphere expands, pushing heartless further away, and leaving an 'area' for just the three of them.

"Morgan Albaste..." The younger elf speaks to her, offering one hand to the distraught girl. The mark slowly disappearing. He'd prepared so long for this day. The day of his revenge... the day he could free Morgan from this man. "It is better you never remember any of this..." Seith whispers, feeling a heavy feeling in his heart. Right now, he stands before Morgan, his life-long friend... and right now, he's about to cut the very last person out of his life that is still alive. He tries to step besides her; to kneel down onto one leg and offer his hand. "Take my hand, and I will free you from the pain."
Morgan Albaste "No more, no more.. I nearly.. I acted so.." Morgan whispers, as if trying to talk /herself/ back into sorts. "Beastly." She chokes out. She's still cradling her head in her palms, still hearing Seith's plea to 'Stop it...' echoing in her mind. Sure, this fearsome man came into town seeking trouble, in the first place... sure, he meant ill for the denizens of Cornelia... but... /but/. Seith has knelt, not to beg but ask her to just STOP. Will he retreat? Will he just go and leave Morgan to slither off to her home, hole herself up and hide for days?

Though after THIS behavior, Fates only know /when/ the Elf would show her face again.

Specks of snow continue to dance and spiral around both kneeling Elves.. an oddly pretty 'end' to what could have been another nasty dose of Blizzara had Morgan not called it off. The square around the two seems oddly deserted.. which is pretty absurb considering the Heartless which accompanied Seith into town. Mayhaps they continue their seige farther off, as they contend with the guards. But here, it is only Seith and Morgan in this bizarre and terrible conflict..

Morgan's mouth opens and she goes about gulping in air in a fashion that she would not -- on a normal day -- consider to be lady-like. Something about this Shadow Lord's voice, the 'feel' of his aura.... why does it call to the entirety of Morgan?

~~~~ Years Ago ~~~~

As the waves of Heartless part to admit a lone male Elf, Morgan looks up slowly from the body that is at her feet. Her expression is dead, for the most part; the glassiness in her eyes may as well be akin to that of Malachy's open, dead stare. He looks ferocious even in death, though his physical body has long since been wasted and withered as a result of his reign. The Seal of Heresy remains emblazoned upon Morgan's sternum even after the death of her master, and so too does the red ring around her pupils, signifying the pulsing state of rage that Malachy has always left her in.

Morgan lifts her bejeweled head, her hair long and loose; a golden headdress, consisting of delicate golden chains and blood red jewels, chimes with her movements. Malachy, though he has treated her cruelly and used her.. has nonetheless outfitted Morgan to resemble some sort of grand warrior queen, a puppet... she looks beautiful and terrible. It is this vision that meets Seith, and she pulls her lips back in a nervous sneer, eyes flitting to his hand as he extends it. She yet remains upon one knee at Malachy's body, but her attention is entirely upon this Elf.. whom she /should/ know... did know, and indeed love as a dear friend.

However malicious she may look, Morgan is terrified, and that remnant of her true self within her wills her hand to lift, and seek out Seith's. What could /he/ do...?
Seith Seith can do many a thing. After all, time had passed since the girl and her master had mercilessly murdered his family. Time that went by thinking. At first, it was sheer and utter desire for vengeance that carried him forth. From desert to desert, world to world that he could find. Following the signs of the Shadow Lords, hitchhiking in Corridors of Darkness. Waiting for worlds to fall, so he might find his way to a different place again. Will, pure will power had been what kept Seith going. But that desire for Vengeance had slowly grown and turned into something else as well... twisting until finally he realized that Morgan... was a prisoner. And that he perhaps was the only one who could ever break those shackles.

That is the very reason that he now kneels before her, holding a small gem, knowing that he can help. His heart beats fast, his body strained by the magic he keeps up - pushing away those Heartless. Soon, he would join them. He would take his name and become a Shadow Lord himself. But before that, he had to commit to this one task.

He'd take this girl's place.

The man watches her, taking note of those very same rings of red he'd once seen so many years ago. It hurts his heart to see her like this. To be dressed up like a doll like this, some kind of... perverted dream of a perverted man. "I will make you forget, Morgan. I will make you forget all about Malachy... about all that you've done. I will return you to who you once were. Clean you of sin... and make you pure again - just like you were when we were younger." The man takes her hand gently and lays his other on top of it as well, drawing her up to her feet.

"No matter what... you must forget about me... you must forget about this day - Morgan. The world as it is now - the universe. It isn't right. This isn't a place I want you to live in. But I promise you, I will make it a better place." He pauses for a moment, tears starting to well up and pour down his cheeks. "I will make this a better place for you." He whispers, the very second before the gem he held earlier comes to glow a pure white glow, and a sigil forms beneath them.

White wisps of light draw up from the ground, wrapping around the two of them. "Forget, Morgan... forget about me. Forget, and never look back. I will carry your burden from now on."

Those white wisps begin to pull from his body, transfering into her. Slowly, wiping memories. The now... Malachy's mistreatment. The Shadow Lords, Hollow Bastion, little wisps of those visions traveling through his mind, allowing the future Shadow Lord to learn of the Hollow Bastion. And then slowly, the effects of the spell begin to show on Seith. It's not a spell one just goes and casts. Slowly, his once beautiful 'white' hair loses some of its life, growing grayer. Though elven - she can tell the signs. Those small bits as the man visibly grows older. A human would certainly die casting this spell...

Further memories leave, until finally her killing Seith's daughter and wife... and finally all before that until even her departure from Elfheim is gone...

Seith has no more tears to shed the moment the spell completes. After all, it is done. And with the last 'Shadow Lord' gone from this place, the Heartless too disappear. The Mark of Heresy would remain on the girl, but it would lose any use - for Malachy is dead, and he had been the one to place it on her. Such is a magic that Seith can not remove yet.
Morgan Albaste Ah, the ultimate 'black mark' on Morgan's record: the destruction of Seith's family. Under Malachy's direction she had killed quite a few, or at least sent them on the path of becoming Heartless minions... but before and after the fall of Seith's loved ones... she never once destroyed a child. Seith's late daughter had been the only youngling to fall by Morgan (Malachy's) hand... right at the zenith of power for both Shadow Lord and Puppet. That dreadful act yet remains a black space in the lady Elf's memories... and were she to know of it... it may well destroy her.

It had been Malachy's direction that warranted the death of mother and child... both Útíradiel and Caladhiel had come into Seith's life after Morgan had been lost. What should have been a new beginning, filled with light and love, had quickly been dashed away by Darkness. Oh yes, for Morgan to know that she destroyed the family of a man whom, in younger years, she loved so dearly... what a terrible thing. Her dearest friend; her peer. Seith's wiping of Morgan's memories, in his bid to 'take her place', had been substantial... but...

.. had it been total?

In this soiree back into the past, the decorated lady Elf continues to watch Seith; she remains motionless even after he draws her up to her feet and holds her hand between his own. He may very well feel the cruel points of the rings upon her bejeweled fingers grating into his palms... everything about 'this' Morgan is angular, and sinister. "Why do you weep for me.." Morgan asks of Seith prior to his incantation, inklings of her former softness imbuing a voice that had been made husky from power and rage. "Burden...?"

Her last words, before the magic takes hold. Her body jerks once as her mind's eye is quickly filled with a stark, white brilliance. Wisps of shadows, seen only by Morgan, 'flee' from this mental image... if Seith watches her face while he wields this magic, Morgan is looking at some point beyond his shoulder.. then, skyward... then, to the ground... every which way. It's as if she is 'watching' something depart. Her mouth opens partly as a deep, shakey breath is drawn.

As the haze begins to clear, her eyes flit to the strained face of her childhood friend. To look into Morgan's gaze now is to see the diminishing of the ring of red; all that remains is the cool, clear blue of her natural eyecolor. In an instant, Morgan recognizes him.. it's as if she has woken up from a terribly long slumber... she knows nothing, now, of her months in Heartless Hell. "Alastor..? Alastor.. what..." She trails off, shaking her dark head once. The jewels in her circlet tremble like miniature windchimes, catching her off guard and causing her free hand to reach for what makes such a sound. Fingers knitting into her hair, she feels the delicate golden bands.. her eyes widen. "What is this.. where are we---"

When Alastor's -- soon to become 'Seith' -- hair loses it's pearly lustre and becomes gray, Morgan's shock becomes complete. Her hands move now to reach for the man's shoulders. "What is happening to you?! Alastor, what is this! You're hurting yourself.. why are you doing this?!" She cries, indeed knowing the signs of what her father had always called 'forbidden magic'. Not necessarily to never be cast, but... just the gravity of such spells.. how terrible they can be for the caster.

Paying no mind to the landscape around them, or to the body at their feet, Morgan looks upon her changed friend. IT's not the reality check of 'coming back' that warrants her tears now, but rather... what has Alastor done?
Seith Alastor.

How long had he not chased this woman and her master, he can barely remember the time that has passed since that day. But that is a word that stands out amongst everything. It takes him a small moment to recognize it, a name he'd long forgotten. His own name. When she'd asked him why he weeped, he'd not answered. The question was too cruel. How could he /not/ weep? How could he not weep for the memories he was erasing? His lips opened, but no sound leaves him.

But when she speaks his name... the ritual ends prematurely. The wash of white light collides against his body, shocking against his chest and leaving him buckling back for a moment. A sorcerer he is - one of the most powerful and darkest kind. He is the kind of sorcerer that would lead to the fall of a world for certain, thanks to the events in his life. He /has that power/. But where he is right now, magic like this requires so much concentration still.

"Morgan..." 'Alastor' whispers to the person who would now have the memory at the point of where they were still considered an elven /girl/. He looks at her with sorrow in his eyes. More questions, questions he hadn't felt prepared to answer - and would never be prepared to answer. "You are home now." Is his answer. Mysidia - he knows the place. He'd been here once. To think that this final chapter... or this prologue to his own life... would be in the same world they'd left. Somewhere out there is Elfheim. Somewhere, /out there/.

Yes, he can feel it in his body. He is hurting himself. He's hurt himself. But this pain - no matter what - he still feels that this is worth it. But this girl... she will remember him. She will remember this moment, won't she? This moment of goodbye. He will erase this moment too - he will erase /himself/ from her memory. That is the last thing he must do. Can't he at least give himself this one moment?

The sorcerer slowly kneels down onto one leg and bows his head before Morgan. "Please, don't ask me why." Soon, he will begin this spell anew, and he will give a part of his life once more for that final push.
Morgan Albaste "Home.." She whispers, and the mere uttering of that singular word results in another bombardment of memories. It's as if such mental images were waiting in the wings; cast aside by the enveloping Darkness and held there. Now that the 'barrier' is gone, that which had been pure and good is left to trickle into her psyche. Though Morgan (in the 'real' world beyond this flashback) has yet to even know if her parents are alive or dead -- for Malachy had taken her before thusly wiping out her kin -- .. the Morgan in said flashback is filled with an abrupt loneliness. A great, empty, whistling expanse of lonely pain that fills her stomach and chest.

To awaken from such Darkness and rage.. into so vulnerable and raw a state. And there before her, holding her hand and weaving such tragic magic, is Alastor. One look at his graying hair causes the Elven girl to gasp again.... the uttering of her friend's name seems to have stymied the spell, catching Alastor off guard. THere is still time to stop this madness!

Morgan's heart -- having been suspended for so long by way of such diabolical means -- is filled to capacity with feeling, it seems. Everything /hurts/.

She meets the sorrow in the man's eyes with her own, and in doing so something rather.... profound happens. Somewhere 'out there' /is/ Elfheim...

~~~ Present Day, Cornelia... ~~~

As Morgan and Seith's physical bodies continue to lock themselves into this shared flashback, in the Cornelia of the 'real' world, it seems that a byproduct of this feat is coming to pass. Morgan's entire mental process is engaged by this experience; the two 'like minds' of Seith and Morgan may as well be likened to a handshake, so enmeshed are they. So long story short, Morgan's own mind has the ability to 'shift' this flashback much like Seith was able to engage it... and in doing so, the lady Elf taps into the Shadow Lord's mind while he is, perhaps, in so vulnerable a state...

~~~ Years Ago... (Flashback) ~~~

"Home..." Morgan whispers again, in exactly the same fashion as before. The reddish skies of the dying evening, the sight of Cornelia -- spared from onslaught -- on the horizon.. Malachy dead at their feet. This all seems to shift as if the scene were a single slide in a show, and someone has deigned to overlap the slide with a completely different one.. distorting and muddling the two until one begins to fade. THe scene before Cornelia dissipates and is replaced with... you guessed it... Elfheim. Morgan and Alastor remain in their huddle, with the latter still attempting to will forth the magic that will erase memories and sacrifice his own 'life'.

THis is not the idyllic, recluse, beautiful Elfheim of their educational years. This is an Elfheim that is under siege, much as it had been briefly when Malachy had first come calling and had taken Morgan with him. This attack is far more brutal; homes are being invaded and peaceloving Elves set upon by all manner of terrible little creatures. As the scene intensifies in it's madness... as Elves flee only to be caught and attacked.. one thing is for certain: there is absolutely no sign of Morgan in this fray. Following Malachy's death and Seith's takeover as a Shadow Lord, Morgan had not returned 'home' to Elfheim..

.. no, she had fled to Cornelia. She hadn't returned to the death trap that Elfheim ultimately became.

As the small township continues to fall and the scene becomes darker, Morgan continues to look down upon Seith/Alastor as he kneels before her, head bowed. It takes everything in her not to watch the siege and weep anew, so terrifying is this scene. "This.. is what happened to our home.." Morgan, still bedecked in Malachy's crimson and black finery, whispers. "I do not recall being here for... f--for this... but... I am seeing it all now. Am I looking into your mind...?" She asks the stricken man, and again seeks to give his shoulders a quick shake. "I shall ask why! Am I seeing what you have seen? Answer me, Alastor! Were you admist this chaos... did you run free to escape it?" She asks quickly, flinching as an Elf can be heard shrieking nearby. Morgan still has no idea that Alastor hadn't been a victim here but rather... he had been Seith.
Seith ~~~~ A Few Years Ago ~~~

Both of them move to the very center of Elfheim. Heartless swarming around them every which way. And there, Seith - dressed in full black armor, those demonic horns, and that beautiful cape waving in the wind behind him. He's obviously looking for someone. His mouth opens and closes, but no sound comes out. But Morgan knows what he's saying.

The man grabs an elf by the arm, asking her something. But when the girl shakes her head, he throws her to the side and continues to search - the heartless immediately swarming the poor woman. Seith - Alastor - looks around and notices what they're looking at, and then turns his sights on Morgan. "Stop it Morgan! This isn't for you to see! Go back! Go..." The scenery changes, as Morgan's mind grabs onto one more memory so tightly woven into Seith's search.

That moment where the world started to fall, darkness all around Morgan. Her own experience. Only, she's seeing it from a different perspective. From Alastor's perspective. Rushing towards her amidst the heartless just before they manage to get to her, his hand reaches out desperately. "Morgaaaan!" The man calls out his clawed and gauntleted hands reaching... and helping her open a corridor of darkness just before she leaves. Maybe she saw them. That gray hair and those eyes amidst the swarm of darkness and heartless. That expression in his eyes... that absolute... and utter...


~~~ Years Ago: Moments before the Ritual's Completion~~~~

Then they're back there, before Cornelia - Alastor in his dark clothing, new tears having formed at the man's eyes who has yet to finish the ritual in its entirety. A man who doesn't yet know what his future will hold; except for one thing. It must be one without Morgan. His head is turned down towards the ground, he dares not stare her in the eyes. He feels ashamed.
Morgan Albaste ~~~~ A Few Years Ago ~~~~

THe sight of that man in the fearsome armor, seeming to search for something or someone... Morgan, spying from a distance and invisible to Seith, can see his mouth working as he asks questions of a terrified female Elf. Not getting what he looks for, he tosses her----Morgan cannot watch; her head turns back to the kneeling man before her -- Alastor. He tunes back in at this moment and realizes, with some alarm, what the scene has evolved into! Morgan's eyes widen as he bids her to 'go back', to /not/ see!

She opens her mouth to speak, to ask /again/.. to---

The scenery changes again, shifting and morphing into.... yes, this feels familiar. Yet, it is... what is seen here is /not/ of her own perspective. What Morgan can discern now is, much like the previous glimpse.. the theme here is not only that of a world's ruin but also.. of 'searching'. The desperation and pain that is afoot here, as the world spirals into termination, is cloying... Morgan, as she bears witness to it.. feels it so very heavily. It's enough to almost warrant pain that is felt so deeply that she may as well be sick. Heartsick, perhaps. THe cry of 'Morgaaaan!' is piercing... but nowhere near as painfully poignant and striking as...

.. that gray hair. Those eyes---

~~~ Years Ago: Moments before the Ritual's Completion ~~~

... and indeed, they're back. Together before Cornelia, Malachy once again lolling nearby. Morgan's body jolts once, in conjunction with a sharply drawn breath that is akin to the gasp taken when coming up from air, from underwater. Shivering once following this /gauntlet/ of realizations, Morgan looks down at Alastor as he continues to will forth this dreadful magic. She looks upon that very same gray hair; the eyes that are indeed as stricken as those of the armored man's.... as seen in the previous flashback. Alastor looks away from her, and the shame that he resonates with is enough to put the final pieces together for Morgan. She lowers her svelte body down so that she may kneel at Alastor's level, alabaster arms lifting to wrap around his shoulders, forehead pressing against his own. Or, if his hear remains turned, against his temple and nestled into his hair.

"You... you became that Shadow Lord... to save me from him---" A feeble nodding of her head in the direction of Malachy's body. "I--is that so...? You meant to free me..."

Malachy goes on laying there, looking both fearsome and pitiful... quite the oxymoron.
Seith Back then - the true past, he'd bid her farewell before ending her memories of himself. But here, this tainted flashback in which she interacts with him... she lays her head to his. It feels so real - her warmth, her hair, all of that laying against him in that moment. This moment feels good - her words showing that she understood his actions, as twisted as they might have been. "You must remain free, Morgan. I can't let you remember, even if I must cast aside more of my life to do it." Alastor answers her. The scene shifts, the flashback ending. Things were too distorted - history being 'overwritten' by Morgan's will and the clash with reality causing

~~~~ Now ~~~~

"You mustn't remember, Morgan." Seith tells the elven and beautiful woman, his eyes staring straight at her own. His fingers tremble, and a series of guards suddenly rush the plaza, having taken care of the remaining heartless. Seith looks behind him as the guards shout at him; "Halt! You stop right there, Demon!" They call out at him.
Morgan Albaste "B--but..." Morgan starts, head tilting downwards just that bit more, the circlet jingling again. Abruptly annoyed by it, Morgan grips it with her fingers and pulls it off of her head without fanfare, throwing it viciously to the side. It lands haphazardly across Malachy's upturned chin, and there it remains.. how symbolic! The lady Elf dips down again, in her attempts to plead with Alastor to reconsider. It's all so real that it doesn't even occur to Morgan that this /is/ a tainted/altered memory... Morgan is so addled in memories returning to her, while others are withheld, that she cannot determine true realities.

"Please don't go, please don't do this... we've been through so much. Please, I can take it, I can---"

~~~ Now ~~~~

Abruptly, suddenly... they are back in Cornelia, and Morgan's ears hone in on the sounds of Cornelian guards securing the upper hand. Mayhaps while their master was occupied with Morgan, the strength of the Heartless faltered... the perfect opening. Morgan blinks hard, breathing in the cool air. Gone is the finery of what Malachy had outfitted her in... she stands now in her calm, sedate Cornelian attire. Seith -- for now there is only Seith -- urges her to never remember. But how can she go with these wishes when she was just privy to....

.. Alastor. That name is a benchmark, a point of light in a black void of damaged thoughts. She looks directly into the Shadow Lord's eyes, holding the gaze.. her lips a flat, tremulous line upon her pale face. If she were to pursue the knowledge withheld from her.. would she in turn lay insult to Alastor's sacrifice for her? But at the same time.. how /can/ she just accept this and live her life 'normally'?

How. Can. She?!

Stricken, Morgan gasps once in surprise as the guards hollar out. "Go--" She utters under her breath to Seith, begging this Shadow Lord to leave as opposed to be caught. "Run. Go--" She begs, for his sake. But one look at her expression tells an unfortunate tale: Morgan will not, cannot, let this go..
Seith Damnit.

Seith turns towards the guards. He could dispose of them, crush them, rip them apart with the magic of gravity. Yet should he bloody these streets before Morgan? Is Cornelia going to be off-limits for this man from here-on out, just to save the woman? And her memories. Some of them had come back. He looks back to her. He wants to seal them again - he wants to seal all of it. To stop her from remembering. But there she is, asking him to... run.

Had it been anyone else, he would have laughed... but this girl...

~~~~ Flashback ~~~~

Malachy grabs hold of the young Morgan before Seith, pulling her with him. Seith tries to strike, but fails... followed by Morgan yelling something at him. To run? To run before Malachy might snuff out his life?

~~~~ Now ~~~~

The man turns away from Morgan in his entirety and opens a dark portal before him, and walks through it, looking back to Morgan for one last moment. "You mustn't...." He tells her, and then follows this up with a promise. "I will be back." A promise that he would come back to erase her memories...

This scene contained 23 poses. The players who were present were: Morgan Albaste, Seith