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He wasn’t sure what the crying creature was, but he knew it couldn’t be human. Their eyes were bright, and in the moonlight those tears glittered as if liquid diamonds themselves spilled from her lids. What could have made this creature become so overburdened they'd cry, alone, beside the clear lake, and underneath the stars? They appeared to be alone without anyone near to guard or protect them, as fragile as they appeared. He, an old painter of 50, approached the distraught creature with careful intent.
"Excuse me, but whatever has you so sad?" The painter inquired, then sat down their satchel and easel before approaching any further. He took a slower step towards them as the creature looked up at him. At first, he was taken by surprise, but with quick composure he was able to sit near them with on a stump.
The creature looked at him confused and obviously didn't understand him. He gave a slight nod then sighed out, "Ohh. I see. You don't speak as I do." He chuckled to himself, then reached a hand out to wipe away one of the tears. Upon his finger sat an opaque substance, that was like silk, and looked precisely as he had suspected. Liquid... diamond.
"My word. You really aren't of this earth." He muttered, then looked at them one more time. Upon further inspection, he still couldn't tell if it had a gender. Just that it was a beautiful creature, with such extraordinary tears.
"Hmm... Yes, I suppose I shall find another way to communicate then. I do love a challenge." He nodded, then looked around to spot a long stick with a pointed end. He gave a nod, then picked it up to begin drawing in the dirt. Two eyes, and a frown, with a question mark.
The creature looked to the earth and then sniffled. They sat in silence for a moment, but this was good. It meant they weren't sobbing as they had been previously. Then their gaze went to the stars and gave a wistful sigh. The painter, too, looked up and wondered what they were thinking. He was startled when he felt the stick being taken, and then watched as the creature began to wipe the earth clean to create a new slate. They drew what looked to be the solar system, and then stars, and finally a shooting star. They wiped the earth clean once more, then drew that same shooting star landing onto a planet. Then, with the pointed end of the stick, they directed the painter's attention to an indentation in the bottom of the lake. The waters were pristine and clear, so seeing to the bottom wasn't difficult.
"Oh. Oh, my. You fell... from..." He pointed to the middle of the lake, and then looked up to point to the stars. When looking back to the creature, they gave a nod and tears began again. Their hands fumbled, so they could reach into their pockets, to retrieve a broken amulet. The front, supposedly a bracket, was broken, and inside was empty.
"Do you need this fixed then?" He inquired, putting a hand out, so he might ask to see it.
The celestial creature gave a nod, then handed over the necklace, so he could inspect it.
"Hm, yes. I think I might know just the trick then. But first, let us get you somewhere warm." He gave the necklace back, standing as he did so, then waved them on over. "Come then. You shall rest at my home until we can get you to your own, yes?" He spoke, though he knew they wouldn't understand. After picking up his gear, the elder began a slow walk back up a familiar trail. The being followed, seeming to trust this human, as they could sense the good in their heart.
They arrived back shortly after midnight. He'd lit an oil lamp he had just outside his door, then picked it up after opening the door. Setting the lamp on the table, he then went to light the fire just underneath a large pot with a heavy lid over it.
"I suspect you are hungry. I think." He guessed, then went to his small cupboards to fetch a cup and bread he'd made earlier that day. The creature sat at the table, looking at the fire. It intrigued them so much so, they reached out to touch the flame, only to hiss and withdraw their hand. So beautiful, yet angry.
"Ah, ah, ah. Careful now. I suppose experience is the best way to learn, then, isn't it?" He set down the cup he had filled with fresh milk, then set the roll of bread down, so they might eat. For trust's sake, he also sat down with his own cup and piece of bread. He showed them, drinking from their own cup, and then tearing off the hardened roll to eat. The creature seemed to understand, and followed suit.
After a small sip of the milk, they stared at the glass and sniffed it. After the bite of bread, they sat up and looked between the food and drink in their hands. A smile hit their lips and the painter was happy then too. They ate again, and drank leisurely, before seeming to ask for more. The painter inhaled deeply, looking over his shoulder to his cabinets, knowing that he only had a small portion left. "Well, I..." He sighed then gave a smile and nodded.
"Of course. You must be hungry." He took up his own plate to give them his portion of bread, then stood, so he could fetch them more milk. The being ate happily, and after the second cup, was satiated. After, they seemed tired. He didn't know how to speak their language, but often body language spoke louder than words themselves.
"Come. Rest." He retrieved the plates and cups to set near a cold bucket of water, and then made his way across his small home to a bed. It was poorly constructed, and had very little padding anymore, but it was what he had. Besides, he'd be up all night fixing that necklace for the poor creature.
The being sat, looking at the length of the bed, and then the pillow. It was inviting, but they hadn't ever known sleep. They hadn't needed it before tonight. In fact, they felt most alive at night. Yet, here they were, tired, and ready to sleep for the night. And it wasn't long before they were off to sleep.
The old man nodded as they rested, then hobbled back over to the opposite end of the house. He would do a quick wash of his dishes, then set them aside. After, he retrieved his small toolkit, along with some wire. He sat at his worktable, lit up by a few candles, and worked the night away.
By morning the being was rested. They woke quickly, noting the sun in their eyes, and then looked abruptly around for the old man. They noted he had fallen asleep at a desk, then looked to the side near his hand to see their necklace. The painter wasn't very proficient with jewelry making, but he was ingenious. They created a front latch, with a door that could be fastened closed. This was a crude fix, and stuck out horrendously against the dainty bracket that once had been in its place, but the being was happy nontheless.
The old man woke when he felt a strange notion of being watched, then opened their eyes to see the being nearby.
"Oh, you are awake then. And you've found the necklace. I hope it suits you, or at least, will work until you can find a proper metalworker." He acknowledged the poor craftsmanship of the item, but was happy with the work he had done. The being was thrilled, having found someone so wonderful and kind, that would give their food, bed, and hard work out of the kindness of their soul.
The being smiled, urging the man to come outside. He nodded, standing with a cracking of his knees, then followed them out.
As they got outside, the being's hair began to shine brightly, and their skin radiate brilliantly.
"You have shown great kindness to me, without even knowing who, or what, I am. For this, I offer you a gift." Their voice was feminine, yet held an innate echo in their tone. The man looked to the being and stared up at them like they'd seen the face of God themselves. His own eyes began to water, and tears now fell at the beauty that had revealed themselves before him.
"Fear me not as I wish you no harm. Instead, I wish you youth, riches, and eternal happiness." They offered, and the man gave a quick nod, too flabbergasted to speak proper.
"Very well. You shall join me by my side." They spoke, and a brilliant light had shown down around the both of them. It was hot, scorching the earth where they stood, and when the ray was gone, so were they. All that was left were a pile of garbs, scorched by heat, and shoes embedded into the soil.
That night, when anyone looked above, a new constellation would appear beside the constellation Virgo. Stars formed the rough shape of a man, standing strong, with a star seated where his heart once was.
“Your heart belongs to me,” said the stranger in a hushed, yet familiar tone, "After all, I am the one that created you." The voice was unmistakable, but the face... he had no memory or familiarity. He'd stood there in fear while watching as the figure opposite him begun to slowly circle him. The air surrounding them was tense, and the other figure, cloaked under a dark hood, only seemed to close in on them with a severe glint in the one eye that could be seen. Very little was exposed, though due to the fabric that clung to certain parts of their body, they could tell it was someone of similar stature and physique as himself.
"W-What?" He'd choked out and felt a soft brush of fabric touch his arm as the stranger's cloak had shifted in the wind.
"You don't think we all just... appear out of thin air, do you? That we just... Poof! Here we are!" The voice was a little more high-pitched than his own, making him believe it was a feminine figure. He couldn't make out much more, but when he'd felt his back pressing up against the wall, panic set in. He didn't have any escape, other than through.
"Well, n-no. I suppose not." He tried to contain himself, so he might learn something else and find a way out of this situation.
"So then, who, pray tell, is our creator? Do you have any inkling of an idea? Who is your creator?" The figure asked, but the male didn't respond. They stood in front of them, silently staring them down with their one visible eye, and then grew impatient. Did he really not remember a single thing?
"You haven't even a single guess? Not even something preposterous? Something basic, like God? No, big bang nonsense? Nothing?" They asked once more, but the other being was too stunned. After glaring for a moment, the figure began to unbuckle the cloak, and loosen the ties that held the facemask and hood together.
"Perhaps you need something more obtuse." They'd spit out in a mild wave of anger. For years they spent their life unseen, unheard, and largely ignored by everyone. All they wanted was someone else who they could spend their time with, and someone who would think like they did. Nobody else seemed even remotely interested in things that actually mattered, like facts, science, and undisputable truths.
As the layers of their cloak, and face covering, began to fall away, the male figure begun to have small flashes of another being. These flashes held some sort of significance, as he could feel a very strong connection tied to those flashes. The flashes grew into migraine-esque pains that would begin cause panic, and eventually sadness. He didn't know what was happening, except that the sadness begun to turn into a spiraling depression. It wasn't until he saw the final piece of dark fabric fall from the face that it finally clicked.
"My..." He stopped, as did the thoughts and flashes of images did as well.
"Your.... Your....?" She ushered out. Her face was remarkably similar, though there was damage that skewed a great portion of their own natural appearance. Three fourths of their face was burned, and gnarled, with only the upper right corner free from damage. The skin was darkened, and contorted, even years after the incident. Where her other eye was supposed to be seated, was now nothing more than a scar where the cavity had been closed up. The skin pulled at itself in various directions where it had shrunk and dehydrated. The healthy skin was a stark difference. Where the healthy skin was bright, and smooth, the other was dark, rough, pitted, and angry.
"I thought you were dead." He blurted out.
"Thought? Yes. I'm sure you did think so. But, alas, I am not. I have not been! In fact, I'd spent nearly 12 years having reconstructive surgery, in pain, by myself, in the hands of incompetent individuals! Alone!" They shouted, and the other could feel saliva hit their cheek and lip. The male shuddered and choked on their rapid inhale.
"Instead of you, standing by my side, and helping me to escape, I find you left me to die as you high-tailed your way out of the lab. I created you, from me, and spent years perfecting you! I was going to spoil you, and give you a life I never had! But, you decided, in that very moment, that I wasn't good enough for you." She'd hiss, and leaned in closer.
"You... You created me.... for your own selfish reasons! I wasn't living! I was serving you!" He'd shout in rebuttal.
"Serving... me? You think serving me means living a life of luxury, where all you ever had to do was keep me company, was a life of servitude?! Being my companion and talking with me throughout the day?! You never had to lift a finger. You lived a life without need or want." They were so close the male could feel their breath on his chin.
"I wasn't allowed to leave. I didn't know anything, or anyone else, existed outside those doors. I was living a stagnant and boring life." They spoke, now fearlessly, and somewhat flat in tone. He leaned forward to push back against the lady, with a puffed up chest.
"It was hardly stagnant and boring! And I didn't let you leave, because I knew you'd leave! Just like everyone else!" They shouted, now tears welling up in their one functional eye. The tears fell and traveled down the broken, twisted, skin in a sort of maze, until they'd drop to the floor. "And you... You left to live a life... of labor, to live amongst the wretched people out there."
The male stood up straighter with his own fire in his eyes. "I left because you were pitiful, and wallowing, and I knew that your only chance of salvation, was to end your pitiful existence!" He shouted, and the words hung in the air, heavily.
"You started... the fire?" She looked to him, and felt utterly betrayed. She did nothing but give him a life that she could have only hoped for, only to have been repayed with pain, and debt. The once saddened eye now was dull, but the crooked and burned lips turned up in a cracked smile. A switch in her brain flicked on and a small giggle turned into a sour and wicked laugh.
"Oh, I thought you were my greatest creation. I grew you from my own cells. You, in a sense, were my child and I figured that you would have my own sense of brilliance. I hadn't accounted that you might had a different mindset. I thought, perhaps, you would be just as happy to be in the company of someone like you. I suppose, however, nature and nurture are two very separate things after all. And, in the end, you are just. like. them." The smile warped as she presented a knife before herself. She'd intended on removing her creation from the world, figuring he had perhaps been an experiment gone wrong. But, instead, he'd proven, or misproven, her own science.
She looked down, fixing the knife into his hands, and pointed the blade towards herself. Her eyes then stared up at his and head tilted so her good eye could better see him.
"Wh-what are you doing?" He stared down, but her free hand held the back of his head back by the hair to keep his eyes locked on hers.
"This is what you wanted. You wanted... freedom. From me... and the only way you'll get that, is if I... sacrifice myself for you." She spoke, and then shrieked out as she pressed herself against him, with the knife not piercing her tough and gnarled stomach. The tried to look down and fumble away, but the grip she had on his hand, and the hilt, had him unable to release the knife. Her eyes were fixed onto his, and soon she helped him guide the knife further up. Eventually, it was even too much pain for her to feel once she'd gotten past the dead nerve endings.
"I grant you.. freedom. Friend." She grinned, and he watched as the life drained from her eyes, as their clothes and hands began to soak in scarlet.
PROMPT: Traveler returns home after a last maritime voyage on their long moored ship. ~ @Hekazu Randomly Generated Character: This wordy lady has beady blue eyes that are like two turquoises. Her fine, straight, milky-white hair is short and is worn in an attractive, complex style. She has an hourglass build. Her skin is pale. She has prominent cheekbones and small feet. Her wardrobe is severe, and is mostly violet.
She was a hell of a sailor, though she didn't look the part. Most of the crew was dark in complexion from the sun beating down on them relentlessly, while at sea. They'd been faithful to their captain, and while most even considered her 'Mother', they would continue their maritime adventures without her with a newly appointed captain after a week on shore. Another female, vastly different from herself, but capable nonetheless.
Nadie, Mother Mentor. Pronounced Nah-dee. Not Nah-Die. Not Nah-Dee-Eh. Nah. Dee.
Nadie was very particular; from how she enunciated her words, dressed, walked, ate, and even down to the pronunciation of her name. Everything needed to be... Precisely precise. Her crew knew this well, and despite some of her more peculiar rules aboard the ship, respected her more for her convictions as a woman sailing the oceans. While severe when crossed, she was gentle and nurturing with anyone who needed her. Her punishments were fair, just, and swift. Her rewards were rare, but usually in good taste and extravagent. Though no matter how fair the Mother Captain was with all, nobody touched Nadie, Mother Mentor's, umbrella. Punishments then were even more severe than her jawline.
"Mister Tanner, if you could kindly retrieve my umbrella, I think I am ready to disembark. I've spent long enough ruminating, and I must continue on my next adventure." Nadie remained seated in her plush, purple chair with her left hand, palm facing downwards, extended until her umbrella was placed under it. A strapping Cockney English lad, about the age of 50, approached tenderly carrying deep violet umbrella with a finished oak shaft and mother of pearl curved handle.
"Aye, Cap'n. I dan fin te crew'd be blamin ya fer... rumineratin'."
"Ruminating, Mister Tanner. Roo-min... Oh, nevermind. Thank you, Mister Tanner. You are a dear, as always. Now onto more important issues, Mister Tanner. once I step foot off this ship, this is neither my ship, nor am I your Captain. Is that understood?"
Nadie was clear about her intentions. She was getting older. She'd seen every corner of the known world via ocean, and never once traveled alone, inland. The crew was to stay with the new Captain; a young sprite with fiery hair, dark skin, standing at 5', and built like an Amazonian warrior. Nadie had determined, whom she had lovingly nicknamed Miss Molly, was the only one fit to take over her command and lead her beloved crew to safe, profitable waters.
The feet of the plush chair slide across the polished floor which creaked under standing weight, and Nadie was prepared to leave. She'd walk with dignity to her door, then turned her head to peer over her shoulder. The desk and all in the room had been emptied for the new Captain to take their place, and make that space their own. The only thing left was a gift on a long empty bookshelf. An umbrella as ornate as the Mother Mentor's, though crimson and gold with a pointed suprise hidden inside the shaft. Nadie never had use for items, but she figured the spunky Captain taking over might need it.
With the tap of her umbrella against the floor, Nadie walked through the door with Mister Tanner had graciously opened for her. The plaque was taken off the door, and placed under Nadie's arm. Captain Nadie was replaced with Captain Harresse. More clicks of violet heels alerted the crew of Mother Mentor's arrival, and simultaneously her departure, to which they turned and each removed their hats to place over their chests. Nadie was stopped in her tracks to look out at her loyal crew, then inhaled deeply before looking towards the docks to see a red-headed woman, clad in red and golds, standing patiently next to her gear. She gave the woman a nod, and then turned to her beloveds.
"Gentlemen, once I step foot on that dock, I am no longer your Captain. You know this already, but I feel it must be reiterated. You've all gotten to know Miss Molly over the course of this last year, and she has made her way into our hearts. Yes, even yours, Mister Matthews." A young man in the back grumbled, then gave a sigh and nod, with an annoyed, but happy grin.
"However, I shall always be Mother Mentor, should you need me, though I do expect you should turn your questions regarding the ship, your voyages, and family matters over to Captain Harresse." A single, gloved hand was raised to brush back a lock of assymetrical, white locks, then was traced down her cheek to rest at her harshly pointed chin. Her eyes, as ever blue as the deepest oceans, scanned the crew and their impeccable attire. She had contemplated giving them one last reminder of the rules of the ship, but she was pretty certain they'd been engrained. Besides, Miss Molly had grown to love the rules, and was just as strict with them.
"A'igh' lads! A'chor eels!" Mister Tanner announced, and the rumble of 50 feet coming to attention clattered against the freshly swabbed deck, like the sounding of cannons. Hands were raised to rest above their right browlines, and eyes followed their Captain's, for the very last time. A few of the men did their best, but failed to hold back their tears. They knew Mother Mentor didn't want tears, but simultaneously knew that tears weren't punished. They wished to respect her, but personal emotion was just that. Personal.
Nadie turned on her heel to begin her descent off the ship for the last time. As she descended, Captain Harresse ascended. They both stopped halfway to exchange a handshake. Miss Molly pressed a small gift wrapped in a gold and red handkerchief into Nadie's palm. Nadie was about to say something, but refrained, and simply rose a thin lined brow towards the new Captain.
"Good luck, Captain Harrasse." Nadie gave a smile.
"I don't need luck. I have Mother Mentor looking over me." Captain Harresse winked, continuing her walk, up to board the ship. Nadie sighed, stepping onto the docks, then turned on her heel once more. The drawboard was lifted and the crew stood at the railing. Captain Harresse stood amidst the forefront of the men, giving a salute. Men raised their pistols into the air and fired off three rounds each. Afterwards, a sharp voice called the men to begin their departure checks. The men immediately left to resume their posts, though Captain Harresse stood for a moment longer. She looked down upon a woman, clad in a three piece violet skirt suit, with her violet and mother of pearl umbrella. The most extraordinary lady to explore the seven seas, and now she was a civilian living out a life of luxury, in a slow paced world, that she'd take by the reigns and break purely under her desire for order.
"Mister Tanner! Set course for Barbados! We have some business to attend too!"