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GRAY’S POV

The dream is like watching a fish swim beneath icy water.

It is distorted at times, and hard to see what is going on, but I can definitely feel every chilled current that lingers on my skin.

The first thing that comes to mind upon opening my eyes is white. Like those pictures I’d seen of Arctic landscapes in the books at the library. Silver and ivory and alabaster dust until all the eyes can see is white, and it is unclear where one particle begins and the other ends. My eyelids feel bulky with the weight of invisible lead, but not the normal kind. I’m a thirty-year-old woman who’s upheld the role of Spymaster for half of her life and who’s completed several recon assignments into the Royal Palace and returned hardly scathed, so I could handle lead. Physical endeavors have never been too big of a problem for me. But this kind of lead is different. It is the kind that pulses through your blood vessels so that limbs are almost unmovable. The kind that drains and feeds on your resolve like a hunger-driven leech on a plump earthworm. Aside from the lead, there is the thick layer of chalky porcelain paste that sticks to my skin. It covers every surface area. Upon closer inspection and scraping, it proves to persist. Integrated into each and every skin cell. Delightful.

It is a prison – that’s one way to put it. A glassy spherical confinement that creates the illusion of peaceful isolation, but which reeks of the Fortunia’s delusional tricks from every shard. Decked out head to toe in a little girl’s fairy tale dream, I’m a hostage. Albeit, a very well-decorated hostage. If not for the orb I’m kept in, and if there were actual people around, one could easily mistake me for an uncoordinated bride. The soon-to-be spouse of a demolished life, that is. The tiny dips and scoops of the gown at my hips give way into great white canyons and ravines as it descends towards the floor. It’s perfectly tailored, with cinches in all the right places and tiny silk roses embroidered along every hem and every curl of my bleached hair. I look at myself in the partial reflection of the glass orb. I’m a paper rose. It’s disgusting.

"You will die in five years, eleven months, twelve days, three hours, forty-seven minutes, and fifteen seconds."

"Thanks," I say idly. In a way, the voice is a reassurance. A reminder that there is still life in me. A bit of colour. Even if it is just a darker shade of white. I say with sincerity, "I really needed to know that."

It's like he doesn't hear me. "You will die in five years, eleven months, twelve days, three hours, forty-six minutes, and fifty-five seconds." But his eyes glitter and I know he can hear me. He's heard everything I have said to him for the past thirty years, and I've said a lot. But all he's ever said to me is when I will die, and I can never dream of anything else.

Unsurprisingly, I am a raging insomniac.

Suddenly, a sharp pain attacks my abdomen, and I keel over. The white ravines and valleys and isles crumple under my weight. The edges of my vision blur, as if all the shades of white needed to be mixed even further so that all that exists in the moment is the fog of death and dissolution and the troubling absence of the sound of my own heartbeat. One that should be racing with panic. Isn’t this the part where Red is supposed to wake me up?

Still, there is no heartbeat. In its place, filling up the silence like a grenade in a dollhouse, is that of flowing water. Rushing, and the silent, muffled landings of individual snowflakes all around me. Merely background noises that I haven’t noticed until this moment, but that now terrify me to no end. White noise in a white cage. White ambush and the white calm before the blizzard. White water and white, white Death. Fortune’s opening act.

In the fog, images begin to appear. Red. Precious Red and her crescent-eyed smile. A smile buried behind layers and layers of years and that resurfaces here to pull at my heartstrings. She’s young and she’s laughing at something and I don’t try to figure out what she’s laughing at because the shock at the sight of her shoulders convulsing with the vibrations is enough to send my brain scattering. But I can see now that there aren’t just images. Noises, too. Voices of professional tone reverberating from every direction, calling out Spymaster. Spymaster. Spymaster, what have you discovered? And then more images; Truth Seekers – winged creatures, wreaking havoc in the villages. Families of the rebellion, slain, and their corpses neglected for the flies. Men. Women. Children. Something in the corner of my mind screams at me to open my eyes. To really open my eyes. I know they’re just illusions, but the stench of rot and maggots is so heavy in the atmosphere it forces tears from my eyes. Truth seekers. Seekers of truth summoned by those intent on burying a whole other side of this so-called truth for themselves. Ironic, isn’t it? Then, a brief shift in scenery. I’m back in my cell; a prisoner of the Royals, kept under watchful eyes. The letters and plans Red and I have received from rebellion meetings are scattered across the cell floor, all burnt and brown and utterly illegible. Some are still smoldering. The enclosing bricks on the wall all seem to blur into a mass of moving gray, and then a flashback. A man. The messenger that was sent to me back at the Royal Prison. His lips are in silent motion and there’s an urgency in his eyes as he recounts a warning already known. There’s a bad scar cutting through his right brow and I examine it and wonder why I’ve never noticed it there before. I examine him and wonder why I had never gotten his name. I examine and I wonder if he had had a family, or a lover, or a best friend. I examine and wonder and there’s an arrow that strikes the back of his neck and he falls, and though I am only a spectator, I can almost feel the same pain in the back of my own neck.

"You will die in seven minutes, and five seconds."

The voice momentarily breaks the fog. It takes a second for my senses to respond, but the wave of panic crashes in like a tsunami. The white water is at my hips, and is making its sure way up higher and higher. With amazing difficulty, I pull myself up so that I am standing once more, and so that the liquid splashes against the lower part of my shins. The pain in my abdomen has subsided, but the heavy feeling of lead in my blood and thick paste on my skin and the weight of the soaked gown struggle against my weary muscles.

“You will die in four hundred years, thirty two months, one hundred and forty days, seven minutes, and two hundred seconds.”

“You will die in sixty months, four minutes, and four seconds.”

“You will die in one year, five seconds, and two months.”

“You –“

“Forty – “

“You will die –“

My death clock is going crazy, it seems. Whatever kind of enchantment the Fortunia had put on this place is messing with my special-born abilities. Before I could think on it more, however, the fog surrounds me once again.

This time, I’m back at the lab. I look around and Red is beside me, humming a tune distorted by the white dust in the glass orb. She is beside me, and in an instant, she isn’t. She is on an experiment bed across the room, and I am behind yet another glass wall. And although all the sounds are vague and mutated, her screams cut through clear as a bell. I pound my fists and willingly offer up my own screams to the air in order to replace hers. Always glass walls. Always the illusion of seeing and being in control when really you’re the one being confined and offered up for display – for others to control you. I am behind a glass wall and Red isn’t beside me, and in an instant, she is. She is panting and sweating and we are running through a dark hallway towards a set of doors. I look behind me and I see emptiness. We are not being chased. I remember this moment clearly. We had been running for our lives, but not because something or someone was on our tail. Not even to escape the explosion. We had been running towards the exit; towards freedom and light and maybe a future that we could say we had made for ourselves. We had been running for lives we could call our own. For Sun Festivals and for chasing butterflies and kites with red and gray-ribboned tails and for laughing at a past that was exactly what it was. The past. I had been running for those things. I am running for those things. I am running down the laboratory hall with Red and all of a sudden I am running through a field and I am alone. Ahead of me lies a great castle. A magnificent structure accentuated by the backdrop of thick, dark green woods that connect with vast blue skies. There are one-eyed birds flying from tree to tree around me and they chirp loudly. I pretend that they are speaking to one another in human tongue. Gray. It’s Gray. Where’s Gray’s Bird? Somebird tell Gray’s Bird! As soon as I take a step toward the castle, however, the fortress ripples. The illusion coils in on itself, and suddenly the building is on fire. The entire field is burning and in the middle, tear tracks breaking through the mud stains on her cheeks, is little Red with a battered female corpse in her arms. She is surrounded by a colourful orb and is shrieking towards the heavens.

I gasp loudly as the fog once again retreats for a bit. The water has risen to splash along the curve of my exposed back, and the frigidness overwhelms me newly. I don’t have enough energy to move much, nonetheless find a weak spot in the glass to escape. And it isn’t until this moment that I notice my own tears. Deep breathing is proving to be quite the ordeal. They say childhood traumas follow you forever. They’re right.

The fog comes in for what feels like the final stretch. My death counter is silent. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt such stillness.

The images this time, however, are different. These images pinch me and suffocate me and hold me suspended in endless time and space and fog. Vixinna is smiling coyly, her giant eyes looking in from the outside of the glass orb. Her hand is raised in an almost modelesque gesture. My death counter is floating in the water next to me, naked, with the word Immortal burned and scorched into the flesh of his back. I reach out to him, but as always, it is only an illusion. He doesn’t exist in the material world. I try to stop myself from feeling grateful for the silence. And then, more images of Vix. Young Vix back at the Academy. Smiling Vix on her birthday, when I surprised her with flowers. Vix with dead, hollow eyes after the Cleansing. Smiling Vix in my cell at the Royal Prison. A different smile. A sad, dead, hollow smile.

The water is at my neck now.

“Gray. Love. Give it up.”

Red

“Gray, you’re tired. After all those years back at the Academy, you think I can’t read you by now? You’re so, so tired.”

Red. Help.

“After all those nights that kept you up and turned you into an insomniac? You wish more than anything you could sleep peacefully again, don’t you?”

Red. Where are you?

“Rest Gray. Rest for eternity with me.”

Hurry.
Chapter 6: My Little Glass Cage

For the 'Whose Chapter Is It, Anyway?' program at :iconlive-love-write: .

So if you haven't been able to tell yet, I'm obviously not very good at being a team writer and actually helping to advance the plot. No, what do I do instead? Put Gray in a glass prison, and attempt to drown her while she is bombarded by flashbacks. Happy new year, people :)

Kudos to the previous author, by the way, for setting me up with a reeeeeaaaallllyyyyyy good plotline to go with. Really, I wish I could've went on with it, but I've had this idea in my head for a while, and alas time restrictions prevent me from writing a second part. (I'd be happy to write another part later, though, if the admins need any more deviants to finish up the story.)

Some things to point out is how I imagined the Fortunia to work. Illusions. Trickery hidden behind pretty, lacy facades. Also, Gray's memories, and the things that haunt her most; the burden of being Spymaster, her love and care for Red, her hopes for a brighter future that she might never get, etc. etc. etc. And the Fortunia knows this, so she uses them against her in an attempt to overwhelm her and to eliminate yet another obstacle in her ascension to power (if that's what she's really after?).

NOTE: GRAY ISN'T SUPPOSED TO DIE HERE. SHE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE FROM THE RISING WATER. The next author(s) can take it from here, but the addition of the rising levels was just to add a sense of urgency to the story, which I felt was almost going to tell itself out whilst leaving Gray behind.

SUMMARIZING TIME:

A. Important Events

                1) Gray's soul, after she was kissed by the Fortunia back at the prison, is taken by the Fortunia and confined into a tiny glass orb. Gray's soul takes on the physical manifestation of her body, just a smaller version (Think: ballerina in a snowglobe).

                2) She is decked out in a long white gown and decorated with tiny roses, as well as a chalky white substance on her skin. White is a recurring theme here.

                3) Gray is attacked by a pain in her stomach and surrounded by a fog, in which she sees images and hears noises representing her memories, things/people precious to her, traumatizing moments, events that are to come, etc.

                4) All throughout, water is slowly filling up the orb, and snow is falling around her.

                5) Her death counter starts to malfunction, and then appears to her to be dead with the word Immortal branded into his back (a reference to Vixinna).

                6) After Gray begins seeing flashbacks and visions of Vixinna, she begins to hear her voice. The Fortunia speaks lovingly to her, and tries to persuade her to "rest for eternity".

B. Character Information

                a) I'm not sure if this will help, but here's a brief list of the things Gray sees in the orb;
-
Red laughing
-
voices yelling 'Spymaster'
-
Truth Seekers killing rebels and their families
-
Rebellion letters burnt and scattered across the floor of her prison cell
-
the messenger in Ch 1 being killed
-
Red back at the lab
-
Red being experimented on
-
Gray and Red running towards the exit after setting off the explosion at the lab
- A field with a rippling castle (Hint: the castle seen by Purple in his dream) surrounded by what's supposed to be the Forest of Banishment
- Red's most traumatic experience
-
old memories of Vixinna

  C. Location Information

                a) It is assumed that wherever Gray is, her orb is in the possession of the Fortunia.

                b) It is a glass prison that adorns its inhabitant with beautiful white clothing and accessories. It is also enchanted, and designed to apply a heavy weight onto the inhabitant from within, as well as to make them see things in the snowy fog suspended in the orb.

                c) It is unknown where the water, snow, and fog come from. The water is rising at a slow, constant rate.

 

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For this week's :iconlive-love-write: assignment.

Partner/Author featured: *drumroll please*

:icondreamdaywirter: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks so much for being a great partner.

Surprisingly (but nor unfortunately), there was a harsh tie between two of my favourite pieces from her gallery, so I guess I'll just have to post them both on here...

!. Secret Book: Chapter: Cetus {Chapter 2}Alex's face stayed calm and relaxed. Even though his heart beat frantically against chest, sending a shock of pain through his already sore rib cage.
Now that his blood was rushing to his heart, his head was beginning to clear, he was able to think.Alex's eyes slid to the man sitting by his bed side. He had seen this mans wrinkled face before. His dress clothes were too well made, to be those of a day to day guards.
"Have you made up your mind about a name?" the man asked.
"Sė," Alex spoke with no shift in his voice. "LeVar Capitano. That is your name correct? Captainof the Florentine Guards." LeVar raised an eye brow. "You can remember that, but not whether your name is John or Alex?" Annoyance slipped heavily into his voice.
"Correggere." Alex spoke with a slight smirk coming to his face. "I know your name because I saw a flyer about the citizens of Firenze being watched. It had your name and photo on it." As Alex was telling him this, his eyes were slowly sliding back up to gaze at


2. Window
It's hard
To watch the day
Through the window pane
Of what the world might hold
It breaks
The soul
The heart
To be stuck between four walls
That feels as if they are caving in
Its hope
The bird bring
As it passes by
Gleaming sad eyes
That peers through blinds
It's my mind
That I'm tapped inside
Watching the day wave by
Through the windows of my eyes
Waiting for my release
  • Mood: I Have To Pee
  • Listening to: The Listening - LIGHTS
  • Reading: DreamDayWirter's stuff
  • Watching: Supernatural
  • Playing: League of Legends
  • Eating: Rice

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Thanks so much for the fave!:peace: 
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Thanks for the :+fav: on "Aqua"
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Thanks so much for faving 'Seam Stress.' :glomp:

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