"Over the years, Deev and Caedus rose into greater favor with the king, but in two vastly different ways. Deev worked through the ranks of the army, eventually becoming one of the best generals this land has ever seen. He was the first to incorperate non-human elements into formal battle." Lyta could've sworn that she heard a hint of pride in the enchantress's voice. All the talk about a chosen family being loyal apparently wasn't just talk. Gaia still was attached to the people she trusted in her youth.
"Caedus, however, became Ryder's replacement. The king is only a human man who does not possess a magical bone in his body. If he wanted the aid of sorcery, he needed someone else to preform it for him. Caedus and I had dabbled in magic during our days together, but through a manner that is unknown to me, he became unnaturally powerful very quickly. He was always a show-off and it was only a matter of time before the king got wind of a powerful sorcerer who was seeking employment."
Gaia paused, lost in thought. There was something about the way she talked about Caedus. There was more between them than the wise women was letting on, Lyta was sure of it
The pause ended quickly, and Gaia shook her head sadly. "Deev fought hard and served the king for a long time, but one day he was killed by one of his captians while he was sleeping. It was a coward's work. No one ever caught the murderer."
Gaia spoke bitterly.
Kotori was confused by her emotions. He didn't understand how she could still love someone so deeply afte they had betrayed her. Maybe it was wisdom?
((Oh geez! I'm sorry guys! It's been crazy here, and I forgot all about this.))
"In the end," said Gaia, her voice cracking, "it was Caedus who cost me everything. Enough time had passed since Ryder had betrayed me; a hundred years, perhaps. The dragon I had slain fleeing the castle-- it's blood had bound with my own when I delivered the fatal blow. I was immortal, at the cost of feeling the burns of dragon fire on my skin forever more."
She took a shaking breath. "I realize now that Ryder was not my first love; Caedus was, when I was young and naive. Yet if Caedus was my first love, and Ryder I did not love at all, then Terram was my last. Terram was not part of our army. He was a mortal man from the plains of Aftermon. His kingdom had sworn its service to the king, but he-- the captain of their armies-- had left when he heard with a band of loyal men. They came to me for refuge, and for assistance.
"I grew to love Terram slowly, not in so quick a decision as I had made with Ryder. I was older then, more weary. But Terram was a mortal man, and I was a cursed sorceress. Our love was shared deeply, but only for a few years. And the consequences were a lifetime of grief."
Some who call me lover, some who call me mother, some who call me friend. Her words still seemed to echo in the air with each piece of her story, ringing in our ears. They were, in themselves, an eternity of harsh living.
((You're all good. Life happens))
Lyta took a deep breath. The name Terram was not unfamiliar to her, but she could not place exactly where it she had heard it. Gods, she knew it, but from where? Gaia waved a shaking hand and a glass of some rose colored liquid appeared out of the shadows. She took a sip or two and then the glass vanished as quickly as it had come.
"Terram and I never intended to become as close as we were. It started out innocent. He would come to my tent under the guise of wishing to talk strategy, or some other offical business but our converstations turned more and more personal. After some time, he began to spend the night in my tent and my bed. Our relationship was always taking care of each other. I guess I should say it was me taking care of him. He was young for a mortal man, and prone to following his heart rather than logic. It was only a matter of time before he got himself killed.
We recieved word one day that one of Terram's men has been captured by an ancient sorcerer who had been seeking information. Terram embarked on a rescue mission immeadately. By the time I had discovered the news, it was too late to tell him that a mortal man such as himself stood no chance against Caedus."
Her breath shuddered painfully and she paused to gather herself together. Kotori felt his own heart tugging painfully as the tears glistened in her eyes. "Caedus was gone by the time I reached them. He had left Terram's men's bodies everywhere. I found Terram in the midst of them- alive, but he was no longer the man I knew him to be. He just sat there with blood all over him. He stared blankly into space. His eyes glazed over. WHen I touched him he did not move. He did not speak when I called to him. He just sat there. He just trembled."
Kotori shook his head. "Was it a curse?"
He was surprised he had spoken, as was the Enchantress. It seemed to pull her out of her memories for a moment. She blinked, as if surprised to find herself there instead of at Terram's side. Then she nodded.
"Yes. He was cursed."
Siva covered her mouth with her hand to hide her gasp. She had heard of dark curses before, but never known whether they were simply a myth to keep children in bed at night or a relic of history.
"Did you try to break it?" she asked, instantly regretting the forwardness of her question.
"Indeed. In the month since Terram had left and been found, I turned to my own sorcery. I had little experience, and little hope. I even called upon the power of the mountains to bring him back into himself. But I had not yet earned my place in that power." Her eyes grew wistful. "It would be a short but bloody time before I did.
"The greatest pain to me, however, was soon to come, as I did my best to break the curse and prepare to fight Caedus and his forces." She shook her head, her lips almost curving into an ironic, grief-laden smile. "You will find, one day, that life and death are often far too close for comfort."
"Unfortunately, my efforts to aid Terram made him worse. The more I tried to reach his mind, the more he retreated into the madness of his own thoughts. I had no idea what I was doing wrong, didn't have the ability to combat Caedus's powerful magic. Honestly, even to this day, I do not have the skill required to undo his castings." Gaia looked down at the floor, refusing to meet their eyes. Lyta felt a small rush of rage. She was asking them to destroy a force that she could not come close to defeating. What in her mind made this enchantress think that the three of them stood a chance??
"What happened to him?" Kotori asked in the silence.
SHe sighed. "I left him alone for only a few moments one night. It was all it took. WHen I returned I found him swinging from his belt. I had lost him for forever."
Kotori swallowed hard and placed a hand on Lyta's shoulder. He glanced over at Siva. What did think of all of this?
He felt a bit helpless. Even with the dragons were they any match for such power? They hadnt even been able to save their father.
"In the days following his passing I arranged for a grand burial. His soldiers swore their allegiance to me, outraged at Caedus and the king for killing their leader. We buried him on a mountaintop not far from here. That night, I stood over his grave. I lay down flowers from the mountains.
That was the night that..." Her voice stuck in her throat, and she coughed slightly. "It was the night I found I was carrying his child. I thought perhaps it was a life given for that which was taken from me. But I was an immortal carrying a child who would eventually grow old while I remained unchanging over the centuries."
Siva bit her lip. It was as if the last straw had been pulled. To watch your own child grow old and pass before you eyes was beyond her imagination.
((Yeah, sorry, I'm one of those writers who tortures characters))