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|✧ ARIAH ERAN||
Posted: Oct 12 2017, 03:42 AM
Old • Celestial Human • Loyalty • Sanremo, Italy
Once Upon a Time...
Ariah is the kind of girl that has skin someone would kill for. Always soft, always smooth. The only problem with that is that she tends to burn really easily. She doesn't tan, she burns. Her hair is typically kept at a longer length, and it's almost always in an untidy collection of black curls (inherited from her mother) unless she's cleaned up for a concert. Her go-to is to just gather it all up into a ponytail while she works on composing. It's so dark that when the light hits it, it gives off a blue sheen. Her eyes are reminiscent of dark chocolate, a brown so deep that sometimes, they may appear black. It's easy to get sucked into her eyes.
She doesn't really have any prominent bone structure in her face. Her jawline slopes into a gentle curve of her chin. She's a little below average for height, and she has a more petite figure to her. Even with her height, her proportions give her legs for days. That being said, she's not afraid to show off her legs with a skirt or a shorter dress, accentuated with a statement piece (like a prominent necklace or a shiny bracelet), especially in modern day. These days, she prefers dark or muted colors, nothing flashy or bright. She loves skirts and tights and often keeps her clothes tightly fitted or form-fitting. Nothing drives her crazy more than loose or ill-fitting clothes. Though her ears are pierced, she only wears earrings for special events or occasions.
She has a small tattoo of the constellation Cancer on the inside of her right ankle, a deep blue that almost appears black. She also has a tattoo on the back of her left shoulder, a red and gold dragon, and below that, two crossed anchors. Both have large significance from her pirate days. She has a light hand with her makeup, often going for no-makeup makeup looks. Rarely will she darken or glam it up. She aso has a few very light scars across her body, on her arms, on her torso, on her legs, and a couple on her back. They're from her pirate days, but they're so old, they're very very faded.
TW: blood, death, carnage, curse words
Ariah looked around her bedroom as she tried to fit the back of her earring against the small metal stick that pierced her ear. It was hard considering she was wearing silky black gloves that stopped right past her elbow. She was on her way to the Italian opera with a few of her close friends, and she was beyond excited. She needed to finish getting ready, though. The show started soon. And any minute now, her friends would be knocking down her door.
She was excited. They were on their way to see an opera that she had helped compose. Under a male pseudonym, of course. Her friends knew her secret, but even in modern day, a secret like that was best kept under wraps. She moved over to her vanity, taking a seat to do one final check on her makeup and to pick out some more jewelry. In her jewelry box, she dug around for a necklace to wear, but she paused when she saw an old, gold locket. A bit hesitantly, she picked it up, opening the squeaky metal hinge and looking at the picture inside. On one side was a picture of her parents in front of their home back in Cancer.
Ariah watched her dad's long, slender fingers hit the ivory keys. Each note struck piqued her interest more. It was unlike anything she had heard before. She loved listening to her mother play the harp, but this was different. It was... still pure, but less flighty. She loved it. She shifted on his knee and peeked at the keys, slowly raising a hand and striking a random key in the middle of his song. He gave her a look, which she returned with a sheepish smile. "You wanna learn how to play?" he asked. She nodded excitedly. He nodded along with her. "I bet you could compose some beautiful music someday."
"Why?" the toddler asked.
"Music is a language. And if you're lucky, you'll inherit the gift that your grandfather had--The Gift of Tongues."
"What's that?" Ariah asked.
"It's a special gift that follows the Eran line. My father had it, and his grandfather had it. Typically, every other generation, an Eran is bestowed with the gift to speak any language. And music is a language in and of itself."
"Music is just a way to relate feelings to someone, or to tell a story. It's quite beautiful. My father was a wonderful composer, and maybe one day, you will be, too."
"Okay, that's enough, now."
Ariah's hands tapped the piano keys idly, trying to find the right tune, trying to find the right rhythm, sound, feeling. The piano was several years old, the one in the same her father had before her, and her music room was actually a detached room next to their house, closer to the edge of the water. The windows were open, and the thin white curtains fluttered as a warm breeze blew through.
"Ariah?" The girl looked up from the keys to see her father approaching with an envelope in his hand. Her mother stayed in the doorway, leaning against the frame. "You have a summons," her father continued.
"A summons?" she repeated. Like... a royal summons? What could the royal family possibly want from her? She was a good girl, she didn't do anything illegal, and she loved her home. She hesitantly took the envelope from his hand. The parchment was thick, and it was sealed with wax, pressed with the crest of the royal family of Cancer. She popped the wax from the parchment and pulled out an elegant letter. She paused for a second to admire the detail that went into this piece of paper. She was silent as she read over it. Her eyes traced every line, multiple times, trying to wrap her head around what was being asked of her.
her mother asked. "The royal family wants me to help compose for an upcoming party." She looked up at her father with a beaming smile. He returned the grin. She had worked so hard for this, composing and performing, slowly making her way to the top musical talent of Cancer, and now all of her hard work was finally being acknowledged. She stood from the piano bench and crashed into her father, hugging him tightly. Soon, she felt her mother join the embrace, as well.
"I'm so proud of you, Ariah," she whispered. "I love you so much."
"I love you guys, too."
"Do you love him?" her mom asked.
Ariah's leg swung as it hung off of the edge of her bed. "I don't know what love is supposed to feel like," she replied. "I've never really had a boyfriend before." She clutched her pillow to her chest a bit tighter, cheeks pink. "And... he's way out of my league, Mom. What could a royal like him possibly find interesting about some low-class girl like me? You know?" She let out a small huff of defeat. "And his brothers..." She shook her head. "They're a little... much."
"Well, you're not dating his brothers. And you're not low-class, dear." Her mother ran a hand through Ariah's hair. "We're middle-class. Average. And if that hasn't stopped him yet, then I sincerely doubt he cares about something as trivial as that." It was quiet between them for a moment as Ariah leaned against her mother. Then the older woman asked, "Is he at least a good kisser?"
Blood. Carnage. Death. That's what she woke to. Screams filtered in with the warm breeze through her open windows. She had fallen asleep in her music room, curled up and hidden away in a pile of thick blankets on the floor. When she first woke, she was disoriented. Her eyes felt crusty from the dried tears that put her to sleep. There was an untouched plate of food in front of her from hours before she fell asleep.
Each scream, each begging cry pierced her ears and her heart. She leaped from the floor, ignoring the ache in her back or the crick in her neck, going over to the white windowsill. Darkness of night, and darkness of the Nightmare Men approaching. Is this the same thing that happened to the constellations before? She was told that they would be safe, that the forces of Cancer would stop them before they invaded.
Clearly, that wasn't true.
"No," she mumbled. She slammed the window closed and took in a few deep breaths. They were coming, and they were coming fast. She had to get out. She had to go.
She scrambled for the door, and she nearly tripped over her own feet as she made a dash for the main house. "Mom, Dad!" she called. She opened the sliding glass door to their humble home. She heard screams coming from down the hall. She knew what would be in there. She knew that she might not have escaped herself if she tried to help her parents. But that didn't matter. "Audax at Fidelis," she mumbled to herself before charging down the hall. But when she opened the door to her parents' room, there was nothing left but carnage. The room was cold. Their blood was soaked into the white sheets and organs were sprawled across the cream carpet. Nausea overtook her. Her world started to spin. She immediately ducked out, stumbling back down the hall. She was going to be sick. It took everything she had to stay upright, including the help of the wall she was leaned against.
She had to get to her ship, get to... get to somewhere safe.
Her fingers traced over the almost-faded faces of her parents. She didn't need a photograph to remember them. She would never forget them. Her fingers fell onto the other side of the locket, over a picture of a handsome man with long, flowing hair, dressed in his finest attire. She smiled sadly at the picture.
Ariah was so nervous. Her corset was so tight, her long hair was curled and pulled into a high ponytail, leaving the curls to cascade across her upper back. The dress she wore was a bright sky blue, and it was embroidered with gold. Her mother did the embroidery herself. Her parents sprung for her to get this dress just for this occasion. She couldn't thank them enough. At the time, she thought it was beautiful, but now that she was here, walking with the prince of Cancri, she felt so plain, too plain.
She was also nervous to meet her co-composer. Erion Geminorum himself, a wonderful composer from Gemini. She adored his work, and to think that she would actually be working with him? It was crazy. This opportunity would make or break her career.
The room they walked into was gorgeous, a lighter blue than her dress. As soon as her eyes landed on her fellow composer, also a royal (and also above her own class), she knew that she was way underdressed for the occasion. Worry started to fill her mind. Prince Caspian introduced her, and she did the polite thing and curtsied. But she wasn't really used to curtsying, so maybe she curtsied too hard, too deep, deep enough for her curls to fall over her shoulder. Almost immediately after she rose, Caspian excused himself to deal with some other business. Well, at least she would only have the pressure of trying to impress one royal instead of two.
The only problem was the silence after Caspian left. It was thick and tense. How should she even approach one of her composing heroes? However, he ended up being the one to break the silence. "It's n-nice to m-meet you M-Ms. Ariah. I'm a fan of your w-work," he stuttered out. Oh? He knew of her work? He was actually a fan? What? Her cheeks tinted the slightest shade of pink, and there was no stopping the smile that came across her lips. She couldn't help but to wonder why he was so nervous. She was the one that should have been scrutinized.
"Thank you," she started. "The pleasure is mine, Mr. Erion." Mr. Erion? Really? He was a prince. Also, should she curtsey again? She had no idea. She did a small, mini-curtsey, but she was taken aback when he waved his hand.
"J-just Erion, ok?"
She relaxed a little, and her smile widened. "Well, Just Erion, I'm just Ariah then." He nodded, and the quiet settled between them. This one was... more comfortable. Just a quiet acknowledgment of each other. Ariah used it to take in the details of this man in front of her. His long hair, his bright green eyes, his timid-but-sweet demeanor. And if she was being honest with herself, he was pretty cute, too.
"Should, um, w-we start then?"
Ariah snapped out of her own thoughts. "Oh. Yes. Of course." She approached the piano bench and took a seat, only fighting with her dress a tad bit, and pulled out some sheet music from her bag. No actual work got done, though. She ended up talking to Erion for hours. She quickly picked up that his stutter was a part of him, but as soon as the thought entered her mind, it was gone just as quickly. She didn't care much about how he said the things he did, she was just interested in what he had to say at all.
It was the most fun she had had with a person outside of her friend group in a long time. And all they did was talk. After he left, and when she was waiting for her father to come and pick her up, she found herself wondering if they would even get any work done the next time they got together. Probably not.
And she was absolutely fine with that.
Why were chaperones a thing? Ariah just wanted to be able to sit with her--what even was Erion? Her boyfriend? It sure felt that way. She got butterflies whenever they held hands, and she loved talking to him more than anyone else. He was her favorite person. She loved listening to what he had to say, even if she didn't agree with it. That's how girlfriends felt about their boyfriends, right? She had never really been in a relationship. If it were up to her parents, they would just let the teens be, but no. Erion came from a woman that was way too invested in his romantic life. Which was dumb. But, she couldn't complain. She was a guest at their... palace? She loved Erion's music room, though. It was so much bigger than her small studio, and it was much more elaborate.
Ariah turned to the chaperone and placed a hand on her chest, clearing her throat. "I'm sorry, would it be a trouble for you to get me a glass of water, please?" Their chaperone stood without protest, and as soon as he was out the door, Ariah scooted closer to Erion, setting her hand over his. She needed to get to the bottom of this, or it was going to drive her crazy. "So, we've been doing..." She used her other hand to gesture to the two of them, "...this for a while now. What are we? Are we dating? Are you courting me? What's going on?"
He definitely seemed taken aback by the question. "I uh- um- w-we-... W-what d-do you w-w-want us to b-be???"
"Well..." She let out a little huff, averting her eyes down to their hands. "I like you. I feel nervous every time I come over. I love being here, though. I love being with you."
He was definitely looking some sort of mixture of confused and embarrassed. "...Thank you?" He was giving her zero stuff to work with. She let out a frustrated groan, then rose to her feet. "Do you like me, too? Or not?" She was actually surprised when he stood up, as well.
"N-n-no I d-didn't m-m-mean- I- Yes I l-like you I j-j-just... N-no one has ever s-said anything l-like that t-to me b-before and I j-just-... I'm s-sorry." Well, now she felt bad for getting him so worked up. She was a woman on a mission, though. She needed an answer. At least she had it, now. And she was pleased with the answer she was given.
She stepped a little closer to the other composer, taking his hand in hers once more. She grinned up at him. Even if he was a little worked up, he was still cute. "I've never dated anyone, either. This is all new to me, too. But I'd be happy to date you."
"I g-guess w-we know w-what we are then."
Ariah nodded. Yes. Dating. That was a thing they were doing, and she couldn't have been happier. She wrapped her arms around the taller boy and nuzzled her cheek against his shoulder. Her arms squeezed lightly. "I'm sorry for being so intense. It's just something I've been thinking about for a while." They had never had much contact before. This was the birth of their relationship, after all. And being watched all the time, it was hard to get in anything more than hand-holding, no matter how much she wanted to.
Erion hesitated a bit before hugging her back. Understandably so. This was new to both of them, and he wasn't near as bold as Ariah was. Maybe that was why she liked him so much. He was the calm to her storm. "It's okay," he said. "It's b-been on m-my m-m-mind t-too..." Ariah nodded against his chest, and they just stood there like that for a moment. A long, warm moment. But it ended too soon when Erion cleared his throat and said, "W-we should p-p-probably... b-before the chaperone c-comes back..."
She knew what he mean, and she hated to admit that he was right. She slowly pulled away from him, letting her arms fall in front of her, where her hands nervously folded together. "Hey, how much trouble would you get in if we went and hid somewhere?"
"M-my m-mom would k-kill me."
"Hm. Dang. Guess I'll have to make this quick, then..." Before she could even give him a chance to question her, Ariah stood on her toes, leaned up, and pressed a quick but warm kiss to Erion's lips.
She broke him. All he could do was stutter incoherently. She couldn't stop the giggle that bubbled up from her chest. That ceased when she heard someone clear their throat, though.
Standing in the doorway was their chaperone, who had apparently witnessed the kiss. Whoops. Ariah glanced at Erion with a guilty frown, but he was smiling and obviously in another world.
When Ariah got Erion's message that they needed to talk, she was a bit afraid at first. But then it dawned on her... Maybe he was finally proposing? She had been with him for years. All of her teenage years were with him, and most of her early adulthood thus far. They had grown together, matured together, and it was finally happening. She could hardly contain her excitement, and she even decided to dress for the occasion. She let her hair down, she put on her cutest short dress and stockings. Her legs were a feature that she was proud of, and she was sure going to look her best when he proposed.
She made her way over to his place, just as she had countless times before. She was escorted to Erion's location, just as she had been countless times before. The difference between now and when they were younger was that they didn't have a chaperone anymore. They were adults. They could, more or less, do as they pleased. She was escorted to the winding maze on the property, where Erion stood waiting. She grinned and nodded a thanks to the escort, then came over and nodded to Erion. He seemed more nervous than usual. "Hey. Let's g-go somewhere m-more p-private ok?" She simply nodded and followed him into the maze.
She knew that this is where he liked to go to get away, to collect his thoughts. She could remember several times where he had lead her through the maze, just so they could get away for a bit. Those were some of her best memories.
They arrived at a secluded corner of the maze, one she was sure they wouldn't be disturbed in. She couldn't contain her grin. This was it. This was the moment where her life moved forward, the moment that would launch a long life with the love of her life. She was beyond ready. "Sooo? What did you wanna talk to me about, huh? It sounded pretty serious." It took everything she had not to bounce, she was so excited. She started to wonder what kind of ring Erion got. She didn't really care for anything flashy, just something simple. It was more the gesture that she cared about.
Erion avoided her intense, expectant gaze. "I um... It's... N-nothing."
Ariah stared at him for a moment. "...What?"
"It's n-nothing. N-nevermind..." She stared at him for a moment longer. He wouldn't meet her gaze. "D-do you w-want to g-go back inside? Or w-we can hang out here a little longer?"
"Wait, so... You told me that you needed to talk to me, and you made it sound all serious. So I got dressed up and came over, and we came to this super romantic and secluded spot, and then you just change your mind, like that?" She scoffed a bit, still in disbelief. Her arms crossed over her chest. "You can't do that, Erion."
"I j-just... It's n-not- I c-c-can't-..." There was a long pause from him, and she knew it was because he was getting upset and needed to focus on what he was saying. So she gave him a minute. "It's c-complicated ok?"
"Complicated? Nothing should be that complicated between us. I've been with you for years, Erion. Years. There shouldn't be any complications between us. How complicated is it to get on your knee and put a ring on my finger?"
He seemed shocked at the notion. "I- w-what? You think that's w-why I invited you?" A sudden realization dawned on his features. "Oooh..."
"Is that not what you were going to tell me? Were you not going to propose?"
"N-no... It w-was something else..."
Worry started to set in. There was only one other thing that 'we need to talk' could have possibly meant. Ariah tried to stay strong. "...Oh. Were you... Were you going to dump me?"
"N-no! N-no I'd n-n-never."
Whew, okay. Crisis averted. At least, that crisis. "So what the heck were you going to tell me?" What could have been so important that she had to be there in person, that they had to go to a secluded spot to talk?
"I- It's hard t-t-to explain and... I d-d-don't think you'd understand..."
That literally did nothing to narrow it down for her. "Look. I love you, okay? I thought you were about to propose to me, and I was ready to say yes. Even if I don't understand whatever you need to tell me, I'll still be here for you." She paused to try to collect herself before she got upset, but it was too late. "Do you really think that little of me?"
"W-what? N-no, no. W-why d-do you think that? N-no. It's j-j-just... It's c-c-complicated. Really c-complicated and you p-p-probably w-won't believe m-me..."
Once again, she scoffed. Why didn't he feel like he could talk to her about this? She had been there for him for years, through everything, the good and the ugly. Now there was this very important thing that he needed to tell her, and he wouldn't? No. That wasn't going to fly. Her voice started to raise, and her fists clenched and unclenched. "Why the HECK would I not believe you! That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard you say! I came ALL the way here because YOU said that we needed to TALK, yet here you are, NOT TALKING to me. What happened between then and now? I cannot BELIEVE you have NO faith in me. I can't believe I thought you were going to propose! I guess that makes me an idiot, huh? Especially because I couldn't POSSIBLY understand whatever the HECK it was that you wanted to tell me! I'm just DUMB!"
Erion still couldn't meet her gaze. "N-no it's j-j-just... You're n-n-not... I'm s-sorry..."
"No, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for believing that we could talk to each other about anything. Clearly, I was wrong! I should have known better. It's not a relationship if there are no secrets, right? It's fine. Even though I've told you everything there is to know about me. And you thought that whatever this was, it was important enough for me to come in person. But I guess I'm not important enough for you to tell." She could feel her face heat up, feel her eyes start to water. She would not cry. No. Even though she was beyond hurt that Erion didn't trust her enough to tell her whatever, she wouldn't let him get to her.
He was quiet. He stared at his feet. She didn't know if he was quiet because he was trying to decide on what to say, or if he just didn't have anything to say. So she stood there for a minute, fighting her tears and failing. His minute was up. And he hadn't said a word.
She rubbed one of her wet eyes with a clenched fist. "That's what I thought. I'm going home."
She turned and started to leave their little corner, but she was stopped momentarily when she finally heard Erion say something. "Ariah, n-n-no I-...." She turned to look at him, but she couldn't hold back her tears anymore. "I'm s-sorry."
She started to hiccup, trying to keep from totally breaking down in front of him. He didn't trust her. So he didn't deserve to be there for her. "D-Don't talk to me. That m-much should b-be easy for you, right?" She didn't wait this time. She just walked out of the maze.
That was the last thing she said to him before Gemini was attacked. And that was the last thing she ever said to him.
Ariah lay wrapped up in a pile of blankets on the cold wooden floor of her music room. The lights were off, but that didn't stop the light from filtering in through the windows. Her face was red, tear-stained, and her eyes were glassy. Her heart felt like it had been squeezed and squeezed until there was nothing left. Her head ached from the constant tears, but they couldn't stop. Under the blankets, her hand clenched the locket around her neck.
There was a light knock on her door. She didn't say anything. Her father came in anyways with a tray of food. "Ariah? Sweetie?" She didn't say anything, didn't look at him. He kneeled down next to her and set down the tray of dinner, and he picked up the tray of untouched lunch, setting it aside. "Baby," he mumbled, his tone insistent. "What happened?"
She didn't say anything for a moment. When she finally mustered up the power to say anything, her voice was already broken. "I don't know," she murmured back. It took her another moment to continue. "They couldn't find his body."
"Maybe he escaped."
"Why wouldn't he come here? For me? I know we had a fight, but--" Her icy eyes finally dared to look at her father. She could see the concern on his face. "Maybe he escaped, but maybe he got turned into one of those..." She nearly choked on the word, "Nightmares. Like Koz." Tears welled up in her eyes again. "Maybe he was one of the bodies too badly damaged to be identified." She held back a sob, but just barely. She lurched like she was letting one out, but she was silent. "I love him, Dad. I thought he was going to propose to me. I thought we were going to always be together. And then the last thing I said to him--" She couldn't hold back her sobs any longer. "A-And..." She sucked in a breath, but it came out like a squeak. "I love h-him..."
"Ariah..." Her father pulled out a handkerchief and used it to dab away the crocodile tears. "You have to have faith that he's alright. This is a crazy time we're in right now. With the war and the attacks on the constellations... He must have known that this was going to happen, and he must have escaped. Have faith, my dear." He leaned down and pecked Ariah's forehead. Her tears had slowed, but they hadn't stopped.
"Can I be left alone, please?"
He looked at his beautiful daughter with sad eyes, but slowly, he nodded. "Of course. Your mother and I will be inside if you need us. I love you, Ariah. So, so much."
"I love you, too, Daddy."
He gave her one last kiss before returning inside. Little did either of them know, that would be the last time she saw him alive.
She heard a honk coming from outside, so she grabbed her diamond-studded choker and hurriedly secured it around her neck, then she grabbed her clutch and headed outside, where a small car full of her girlfriends waited. They all shrieked when they saw her. She just shook her head with a chuckle as she approached the vehicle. Clearly, they had started the drinking early.
"Ariah! You look so gorgeous!" her friend Catalina commented as she climbed into the passenger seat. In the backseat, her friends Maria and Fiona agreed. "Thank you, ladies," she chuckled out. It was just a bunch of chatter until they made it to the opera house. They were a bit early yet, but that was all fine and dandy with Ariah. Easier to get to their seats. They turned in their tickets and picked up their playbills, then headed to the balcony.
Ariah took her seat alongside her girls, and she got caught up talking with her friends. The time passed quickly, and before they knew it, the lights were dimmed and the curtains were drawn back to reveal the first decoration set on the stage. The first thing that Ariah's eyes drew to was the large outline of a ship among cardboard tides.
When Ariah got to the docks, she wasted no time boarding her airship and getting the hell out of there. As she was starting it up, though, she could see the Fearlings approaching. "C'mon," she mumbled, trying to crank the ship to life. She tried three times, all without success. The Fearlings were drawing nearer, already at the docks. Her heart slammed in her chest. She couldn't let this happen to her, not like this. "Come on!" She gave the engine a harsh kick, then tried to rev it once more. This time, it came to life, and Ariah wasted no time pulling away from the docks and heading any direction away from her constellation.
She was coming in fast, too fast, and her ship was already in shambles from the meteor field she had plowed through. There was no way she was going to have a soft landing. As she got closer to the blue and green planet, she could tell that the blue was water. Great. She would just crash and drown. She held onto anything she could as her airship plowed through the atmosphere and crashed into the deep blues of the foreign waters.
Two days. That's how long she was floating. She was soaked, resting on the wooden remnants of what had been the floorboard of her airship, curled up tight into a ball to retain what little warmth she had left. She had no food, and the water around her was salt water. Not for drinking. It was so cold enough for her to see her own breath, which came out in shaky puffs. Her arm was definitely broken. She had several cuts along her legs. The long skirt she wore, she had torn to tend to her wounds. All she had to shield her was her torn skirt and a thin blouse. Her fingertips and her lips were blue, and all she could hope for was that she would drift to land before she died, but that was unlikely. This was it for her.
She knew she couldn't cry, she needed to retain what moisture her body had left if she wanted to survive, but her emotions overtook her. Tears welled up in her eyes. Her hand clutched the locket that hung from her neck. "I'm coming, Dad," she mumbled. Her voice was barely above a whisper. "I'm coming, Mom." A tear wriggled loose from her eye. "I'm coming, Erion."
She heard a faint voice. What? She managed to push herself up onto her elbows, though she was shaking. "Hello?" she hoarsely whispered out. Why was it so foggy? She heard another distant shout behind her. She looked behind her, and there was the giant frame of what appeared to be a ship. Her eyes widened, and adrenaline helped her to sit up, though she was hunched over, arms wrapped tightly around her. "Hey!" she tried to call, but it was still that hoarse whisper. "Here! Right here! I'm right here!"
She locked eyes with a strangely-dressed person that peered over the edge of the ship. She could hear them, but she couldn't understand what they were saying. He pointed at her and called out, and then three more heads peered over the edge. Then there was a bunch of shouting. Her heart slammed in her chest. She wasn't sure if these people would help her or hurt her, but upon seeing them, her will to live was ignited once more, tenfold.
A rope was thrown over the edge of the ship, and it was clear that one of the men was yelling at her, but she still wasn't sure what he was saying. Her hands gripped the rope, and she tried to pull herself up, but there was no energy. She tried with her broken arm, and she shrieked in pain, immediately recoiling onto the small wooden platform. The man turned to some of the other men and spoke words to them, then he tied another rope around his waist and started to scale down the side of the ship.
Oh, God. Oh yes. He was coming to get her. A sob found its way up her throat. Once he made it down, he took the first rope and tied it around her waist. He also took off his cloak and draped it around her. Her wet hair hung in her face. "Thank you," she whispered. "Thank you so much. Oh my God, thank you." He didn't say much, just carefully scooped her up into his arms. She put her good arm around his neck, keeping her hurt arm close to her chest. He nodded to her hurt arm and asked her something. She narrowed her eyes in confusion, then looked down at her arm. "Oh, no, I broke it." He tilted his head a bit. It was clear he didn't understand her, either.
It was now clear, being this close to him, that this guy couldn't have been older than 15 years. She wasn't sure how these people aged, or how long they lived for, but he was clearly younger than her. Or he at least appeared to be so. He looked back up at the now ten men that were peering over the edge, and he yelled at them. Most of them disappeared, and they started to slowly be pulled up the edge of the ship. Ariah set her head against the man's shoulder, trying and failing to keep from shivering. This was happening. She was being saved.
Once they made it to the top, the man sat on the edge of the ship and turned so he was facing inward, then he carefully set her down on the floorboards. There were now at least sixteen men all standing around in tattered and dirty clothing, staring at her, murmuring amongst themselves. She looked around, up at the sails, and saw at least five more watching from up there. The man that rescued her untied the rope from around his waist, then hers. The men parted when another man came out, though, and it was clear that he was the one in charge. His clothes were far more elaborate than the rest of the men on board, though his were just as dirty. He also had a rather large hat accentuated with many feathers. She also took note of the sword he kept hilted at his side.
He squatted down in front of her and spoke what sounded like the same language to her. He looked at her expectantly. Oh, did he ask a question? "I-I'm sorry," she murmured. She turned her head to cough a little, then looked back at him. "I can't understand you." He turned to one of his men, the one that rescued her, and barked something at him. He immediately disappeared. All of the men around them started to murmur again. And she could catch one word that was being repeated between all of them: mameido.
"Mameido?" she repeated. They all silenced.
The man with the hat, who she assumed to be the captain of this ship, grinned at her with yellow and black teeth. "Mameido!" He nodded and moved down to his knees in front of her.
Her brows furrowed. "I still don't know what that means." She placed a hand on her chest. "Ariah. My name is Ariah."
"Ariah?" The captain looked around to his crew. They all shook their heads. He placed a hand on his chest, then looked back to Ariah. "Seki. Kyaputen Seki." Kya-what? Captain? She placed a hand over his. "Seki," she repeated. He nodded. Then she put a hand on her own chest. "Ariah." "Ohhhh." He turned to his crew, then said a short phrase. They all echoed his, "Ohhh." Her savior returned with a wooden mug full of something. When he peered into it, it was clear. It had no smell. Water? She brought it to her lips, and yes, it was water. She chugged the whole thing in under a minute. While she drank, the captain turned to the man and explained what little information they got. "Ariah," the Savior repeated, then he smiled at her. He motioned to himself. "Kujo." She weakly smiled back at him. The captain turned to her savior and said something to him, to which he nodded. He leaned down and picked Ariah up once more. She didn't fight it. He was so warm... She leaned against his chest, her heart still slamming against her ribs. She could hear his heartbeat, which mimicked her own. The captain yelled something at the crew, and they scattered. Her adrenaline high was coming down, and she was finding it difficult to stay awake. She couldn't fall asleep, though. She still wasn't sure what was happening, and she was so weak, would she even wake up again?
Kujo followed the captain into a tiny hallway that had two doors. The captain waved him off with some words, and her savior nodded, heading into a tiny room with a bed and a chest. Under the bed were books upon books. He set her down on the bed, gently, like if he made one wrong move, she would break. Her head rolled to face him once it made contact with the pillow. "Thank you," she mumbled once again. He just nodded and looked her over. Lightly, his fingers traced over one of her makeshift bandages. He looked up at her with wide eyes, almost asking silently for permission. She nodded at him, and he turned back to one of the scraps wrapped around her thigh. He untied it, and he winced at what he saw. There were splinters of wood embedded in a gash. It was clear that she had tried to remove a larger piece of wood, but some remained. He got on his knees beside the bed and started to work at taking out the small splinters. She winced with each sliver of wood pulled from the wound, but she knew it had to be done. He then moved over to the chest next to the bed, pulling out a dark glass bottle stopped with a cork. He mimicked pouring the bottle over his arm, and he winced.
"It's gonna hurt?" Her brows furrowed. "Ow?"
"Ow," he repeated with a nod. Ariah sucked in a breath. Her fingers were already starting to burn as she regained feeling in them. With a bit of hesitation, she nodded. He uncorked the bottle with his teeth, spitting the cork out onto the ground. Kujo poured the smallest bit out over the wound, and Ariah lurched up off of the bed, fingers gripping the sheets for dear life as she screamed out. She tried to jerk her leg back, away, but he must have been expecting the reaction because he was holding it down in place. That was more than just ow. That was pure liquid fire, eating away at what was left of her. Her arched back relaxed after a moment, and she fell back onto the bed. A sob racked her chest, and she shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes. He grabbed some bandages from the open trunk and wrapped them around her thigh. Then he untied the next scrap of fabric.
"No more," she begged. "Please. No more." She shook her head. He gave her an apologetic look, and he said something, though she didn't understand it. She knew that this had to be done, she really did. But she couldn't bear another round of that. She was going to have to, though. He went through the same process with the next wound, carefully taking out what slivers of wood she missed or couldn't get to, then he doused the wound with whatever disinfectant he had that felt so miserable. He made sure to hold her leg down, but she seized up, back arching, head thrown back as she cried out in pure pain. It burned, it burned so bad. It was too much.
When Ariah woke next, her arm was wrapped and in a sling, and her legs were both properly bandaged. She was also now in a loose-fitting pair of pants and a long, oversized tunic that sloped off of her shoulder. Her head was fuzzy, and everything was spinning, but as she became more and more awake, she felt more and more pain from her crash injuries. Beside the bed, on top of the chest, was a wooden mug filled with water and what looked like a piece of cooked fish. Her head was too heavy to lift, as well as her arm. Her throat was so dry. She wiggled a bit, somehow finding the ability deep within her to lift her head and sit upright. She managed to get the mug of water and to down all of it. She was also showing the fish no mercy when the door opened.
She looked up, eyes wide, a piece of the fish hanging out of her mouth. It was that guy, her savior... What was his name, again? Kenji? Karlo? Whoever he was, he said, "I'm glad to see you're finally conscious."
Finally? What? Also, how could she understand him? It was the same language she had heard before, but... now she understood it perfectly. She finished off the piece of fish in her mouth and washed it down with some water. Without having to even think about the words, she mimicked the language back to him. "Finally? How long was I unconscious for?"
He seemed taken aback a bit. "You speak my language now? You didn't when we first retrieved you."
"Call it a gift." She smiled up at him, then took another bite of fish. She was starving, absolutely ravenous. But she tried to keep her manners up. "What was your name, again?"
"Oh, I'm Kujo. And you are... Ariah?"
She nodded. "That's me. Sorry, how long have I been out for?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. You've been in that bed for a little over three days."
She gawked at him. "Three days? Three days."
He made slow movements towards the edge of the bed, then cautiously sat next to her. "You've had small bouts of consciousness where I was able to feed you a small bit, or to give you water, but it never lasted long. And you don't really seem to remember it."
It made sense. She crash-landed on Earth, was stranded and injured for two days, and now she was recovering. She nodded slowly before finishing the fish that was waiting for her. Kujo just watched intently, like every move she made was more magical than the last. "I'm sorry," he started, "but you must answer one question for me..." She looked up at him expectantly. "...Are you a mermaid?"
Ariah just stared at him for a second, speechless. Kujo continued, "When we were last at dock, a fortune teller told my captain that we would find a mystical creature bearing from the sea. And we found you among some wreckage, in the middle of the sea, not even two days later. And your legs are so... long. Disproportionately long, almost. Almost as if they morphed from a tail."
She blinked. "Wait--"
"See, mermaids are said to bring great luck to sailors, and to have one on board is just..." While he was talking, she looked down at her legs. They weren't that long... "It makes sense. Even a mermaid that's had her tail taken from her."
So if she told them the truth, or at least the truth about not being a mermaid, what would they do to her? She didn't want to lie. This man had saved her, had bound her wounds, had taken care of her. Her fingers clutched the loose fabric of her tunic, and she averted her eyes downwards.
Kujo reached over and placed his hand over hers. "Hey," he whispered. She looked up and met his strong gaze. "It's alright. Mermaids aren't known for getting captured. I can understand how you might be feeling." She just nodded, unable to tell him a lie, unable to tell him the truth. It was better to let them all believe whatever they wanted to believe.
Ariah's oversized tunic fluttered as the wind picked up, also causing the sails to wag. The only thing that kept her in it was the belt she had that hugged her waist, right below her chest, which heaved with each heavy breath she took. Her locket was tucked away safely under her tunic. She had on some tight brown trousers and black boots. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail. In one hand was a sword, and the other, a dagger. Around her were ten fallen men. Applause from two hands came from behind her. Leaning against the wall was Captain Seki, who had a wide smirk on his face. "Wonderful, Mermaid. I've made a fighter out of you, yet."
Ariah smiled as she panted, and she turned towards him. She threw the dagger, which landed right in front of his feet. "I've already had combat training, Captain. You just fine-tuned me." She hilted her sword, then dusted off her hands and started to help the men she defeated stand on their feet again.
"As for you lazy pieces of shit," the captain called, "I suggest you either practice fighting or hope you don't get cornered by someone stronger than you. Mermaid won't always be there to protect you. She's too valuable to send ashore."
Ariah placed a hand over her chest. "Aw. Thank you." She chuckled and helped the last man stand. She smirked at him as she offered a hand out to him. "You didn't do too bad, Kujo."
"Oh yeah?" he groaned as he rose to his feet. "I would have liked to see you fight me right after I rescued you two years ago."
She gasped, fake-insulted. "That's not fair. I had a broken arm and hurt legs. I was stranded for two days before that, no food, no water."
"That sounds like an even fight to me."
Captain Seki set a hand on each of their shoulders. "You still would have kicked his ass," he commented with a deep chuckle. Ariah chuckled with him, but Kujo was pouting. Seki clapped his hand against Kujo's back. "You're still a great fighter, Kujo. That's why you're my first mate."
"Thank you for everything, Seki." Ariah wrapped her arms tightly around the captain's neck in a hug, and he shook his head.
"Alright, Mermaid, you're getting too clingy."
"You're like a father to me. Thank you so much."
"Ugh," he groaned, rolling his eyes. "Get off of me."
Ariah chuckled and let go so he could get as far away from her as possible. Then she grabbed Kujo by his belt, tugging him away from the rest of the crew. He followed with no resistance, and once they were away, he asked, "What?"
"It's been two years, Kujo. Today marks it. And... again, I know you've heard it before. My life is debted to you. You rescued me. Of course, I'm loyal to the captain and the crew, but--"
"I know, Ariah." He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. "Your life is in my hands. I know. But you've already repaid me. You've saved us again and again. You're our best fighter. And a woman, no less." He shook his head as he laughed at his own joke, and she punched him in the arm. "Ow! I'm just joking." She raised a brow, but she let the comment go. He rubbed his arm. "You bring us safety and luck. And for that, I'm truly grateful. One day, together, we'll bring down the Ming Dynasty."
He dipped his head down, slowly, and moved his hand to cup Ariah's cheek. Right before their lips made contact, though, Ariah ducked away and cleared her throat. "Kujo, I--"
"He must have been a hell of a man for you to still be in love with him." He dropped his hand and took a step back, just to give her some space.
Ariah's hands fell in front of her, folded a bit self-consciously. "It's more complicated than that, and you know that."
What would have turned into a small quarrel between them got interrupted when shots were heard. Someone from the crow's nest called out about an imperial ship. "Get below deck," Kujo said before drawing his sword, running back out to the deck. Ariah didn't have time to argue with him, but she was definitely not going to go below deck. She drew her gun from her belt and prepared herself for battle.
One shot. That was all she heard. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. The soldier emptied his gun into the Captain's chest. She didn't even think. She drew her own gun and aimed for the soldier's forehead, then pulled the trigger.
There was so much blood. The Captain's chest heaved. Ariah tried to stop the bleeding, pressed her hands against the wound. "Kujo!" she cried out. She could see the life draining from Seki's eyes. "No," she mumbled. "No, don't go! You can't leave me, too!" She tried to blink the tears away, but they came down her cheeks instead. "KUJO!" she screamed, glancing up and around at all of the fighting men.
Seki raised a hand and gripped Ariah's arm. "It's fine," he mumbled, though blood was starting to also spurt from his mouth. He coughed and hacked, and more came up.
"Seki, no, you're gonna be fine, you--"
"She's Kujo's ship now."
Ten bodies. That's how many were wrapped and thrown into the ocean. What remained of the crew stood at the edge of the ship as they were dumped into the icy waters below. Ariah kept pressed against Kujo's side. It was now he that wore the hat. It was now he that controlled the ship.
Kujo sat on the edge of his desk, shirt removed, as Ariah set about stitching up a wound. He was much older than when they had first met. He must have been in his 40s now, a death sentence for any human pirate of that time period, Ariah had learned. Kujo winced, but he did his best not to move.
"If you weren't so tense," Ariah stated curtly, "it wouldn't hurt so bad."
Kujo's fingers gripped the edge of the desk in the captain's quarters. "Right, how would you feel if someone was stitching your flesh back together with a needle and thread? Do you imagine you'd feel a bit tense?"
Ariah tugged the thread to close up the last stitch, and Kujo groaned, gritting his teeth and gripping the table. "Done," she mumbled as she tied it off. As she stood, she cleaned her hands with a wet rag, then dried them on the corset she had on. She turned to leave, but Kujo caught her hand.
"Wait. Ariah, I'm sorry. About... this, and... And last night." She turned to look at him. It was clear, guilt read all over his face. He continued, "I was... I was really drunk, and I was way out of line. I'm sorry."
She shrugged, pulling her hand away. "It's not my business who you sleep with."
"Damn it, Ariah!" He knocked a cup of sterilizing alcohol the table. Ariah's eyes kept trained on the cup as it clattered against the floor. She couldn't look at him, that was for sure. "I can't sit around and wait on you forever. Okay? I have needs. And if you're not going to meet them, then I'm gonna find a wench who will."
"Like I said, it's not my business who you sleep with, Captain. May I be excused?"
"No. Not until we talk this out."
Ariah rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest. She knew she was being selfish. She knew that. It had been so long since the Golden Age, and everything with Erion. He was most likely dead. She knew that. But it was still so hard to bring herself to move on. And she couldn't have Kujo while the majority of her heart still belonged to Erion. He didn't deserve this. Still, she couldn't help her temper. She cut her eyes to him with a small scowl."What do you want from me, Kujo?"
"I wanna know what you are."
Ariah tensed, her face falling. "What?"
"I know you're not a mermaid. Hell, I've known that for years. Ever since Seki died. If the rumors were true, he wouldn't have died in the first place."
"Even the best luck can't prevent fate. It was his time to go."
"I wanna know what you are, and how you ended up here."
Ariah shrugged, arms across her chest, shaking her head a bit. "Okay, so I'm not a mermaid. But I'm not some monster, either."
"Well, you're not a human." Ariah gaped at him. Before she could get a word in, he continued, "Ariah, I've known you for thirty years. Thirty years we've sailed this ship, pillaging imperial docks, ravaging the homes of those officials who have wronged all of China, those that have abused the justice system for their own personal gain. Thirty years we've been here, that you've been by my side. Thirty years. And you haven't aged a day. I was fifteen when you met me. Just barely a man. Now, look at me." She couldn't. She looked down at her boots instead, and she chewed on her bottom lip. "What are you?" he asked again.
"I'm..." She let out a huff, fingers digging into the fabric of her sleeves. "I'm supposed to be training the new recruits right now."
Kujo slid off of the desk and limped closer, a hand pressed against his side. His other hand moved to her neck. She didn't move. It slid up, under her chin, and tilted her head up so she could finally gaze up at him. And he stared her down intensely. "It doesn't matter what you are, Ariah. I love you."
She couldn't look away this time, so she opted to close her eyes. "Kujo," she warned.
"Thirty years, Ariah. It's been thirty years. It's time to move on."
She opened her eyes once more. His hand moved from her chin down to her hips, pulling her closer. She wanted this. She wanted this so bad. And she knew that she wouldn't have that much more time with him. "Move on with me," he whispered, leaning in a bit closer. "I'd do anything for you, Ariah."
He lifted the short girl up and carried her back over to the desk. "Kujo, stop! I just stitched--"
"I'm fine." He set her on the wooden surface and leaned down, pressing his lips against hers. It was instinct to kiss him back.
Ariah stood on the edge of her ship. It was the same ship that had rescued her, but it was hers now. All hers. On top of her head was a rather large hat, decorated with embroidery and feathers. She had a jacket that matched. One hand waved her gun in the air, the other gripped a rope to the sails. Before her was a crew of about 16 or so women and 10 or so men, staring up at her. "The Ming Dynasty has fallen!" she shouted with a flushed face. Her crew cheered her on. "They took everything away from us, they took our two previous captains from us, and now, we've taken everything from them!" They cheered her more. "No more corruption! No more bias! What say you?"
"Aye, Captain," was the collective response.
"It must be said, though, with a heavy heart... When I first joined this crew, this ship, fifty years ago, our only goal was to bring the Ming Dynasty down and reap the riches that have been taken from the court. That's been done. Our vigilante course has been met. So... I'm giving up this life of piracy. Tonight, we shall feast. And tomorrow, you will have a new captain, one that will lead you on adventures, one that will lead you to treasures, women, and an ever-lasting cache of sake and rum." Her crew cheered. "I only have one piece of advice for you. Stand up for yourself, and stand up for your crew. Be ruthless. It's kill or be killed on these seas. They don't call me the Mermaid of Death for no reason. I've killed more corrupt soldiers, more rival pirates, than any of you combined. Be fierce, be free."
The sound of operatic singing brought her back to reality. She lifted her opera glasses to her eyes to better take in the details of the scene. However, her gaze drifted down to the pit where the conductor was waving his arms, directing the players to perform the beautiful opening that Ariah had composed, retelling the sad tale of love lost at sea. She had a bit of personal experience with the matter.
Soon, the scene morphed into a ball. The actors filed out in gorgeous costumes, huge dresses, tons of frills and extravagances from the 16th or 17th century. Ariah also had a bit of experience in that department.
The party was going very well. Archduke Ferdinand Charles seemed like quite the extravagant man. He seemed to love to throw parties, as Ariah was regularly paid for composing for these affairs under a male pseudonym. The archduke was quite a patron for the arts, she found. Always, she received invitations to his parties in Farther Austria, but never had she accepted one. Not until that night, at least. He seemed to enjoy her work enough that maybe if she showed her face, he would find it amusing and allow her to live.
Or maybe she just wouldn't tell anyone that she was actually the composer. Yeah, that worked, too.
She stood off to the side, fanning herself and mostly trying to stay out of the way. She had a few men approach her and ask her to dance, to which she declined. Really, she didn't know why she came out. She didn't know any of these people, and she clearly looked more like the people around China than she did around Austria. Literally, one man had called her an "exotic fruit" when asking her to dance. She declined as politely as she could through grit teeth. Parties weren't really her forte. She was often a bit more reserved until she felt comfortable around the people she knew, then she would come out in full force. And man, was she a force to be reckoned with.
She was just considering leaving when another extravagantly-dressed woman, appearing just a bit older than herself, approached and whispered, "Please just go along with everything I say." Ariah didn't have time to really question anything before the woman launched into an egregious laugh. It was truly terrible. Ariah noticed the man hastily approaching them, clearly a royal or general of some sort, decorated with medals and such, so she launched into a fake laugh, as well. "Oh, darling," the woman said, "you're terrible, really!"
"Darling," the very well-dressed man said as he set a hand on the woman's back. "It's time to depart. I think you've had your fun tonight."
"Oh, but dear, I was just now catching up with my old friend..." She looked over at Ariah with desperate, pleading eyes. Ariah took the signal.
She curtsied for the man with a small head bow. "Ariah Carina," she introduced.
The man took a small bow. "Pleasure, madame. I'm General Moser. I'm sorry to steal Anja away, but I think she's getting a bit out of hand now."
The woman, apparently named Anja, turned back to her husband with a pout. "Oh, please, dear, just ten more minutes. I haven't seen Ariah in so long!"
He looked around, then let out a huff. "Fine. Ten minutes. But no more to drink. I'll not have you make a fool of me in front of the entire court."
"Oh, of course not." Anja shook her head, then her husband turned and went to talk to someone else. Anja gave Ariah's wrist a gentle squeeze. "I'm so sorry, dear. You must think me terrible to have put you in that situation."
"Oh, no," Ariah chuckled, placing her other hand over Anja's. "Anything for a party, right?"
Anja gawked at her. "Exactly! You get it! So. What's your title, or, blah blah blah? Are you just some lucky bitch who married well like me?" "Oh, um," Ariah looked around a bit. "Not exactly. I'm single."
"WHAT!" Anja shook her head. "Well, hey, let me set you up with someone! Lots of rich men to marry around here, you know?"
"Oh, no, no. I'm fine. I... I lost my true love a long time ago." Ariah folded her hands in front of her, wringing her fan in her hands.
"Oh... A widower? Sweetie, I'm so sorry. The Thirty Years War has taken a lot from us, I know. I'm just so glad it's over. And how kind for the Archduke to invite you, after the sacrifice your husband made. He must have done something truly courageous... How are you paying your bills without a man around?"
"Oh, um..." She scratched the back of her neck, looking around. This drunk woman was making this conversation a lot easier than she thought. "Actually, I'm kind of scraping by."
Anja put her hands on Ariah's shoulders. "Wait. Do you need a job? I can give you a job!"
She rubbed her arm. "Well... It's hard to support yourself as a woman, you know? Especially in this society, in this era."
"Honey, that's why I married a man that doesn't love me. Come work for me. You can be my, uh..." She snapped her fingers. "What's the word? That girl that does things for you? Lays out your clothes, does your hair, that kind of thing...?" She brought her hands together in a clap. "Handmaiden. That's the word."
"Oh, I couldn't possibly--"
"Sweetie. Look. I can tell you haven't hit rock bottom yet, because you still have your hair." Ariah frowned and ran her hand through one of her ringlets as Anja continued. "But trust me, you don't wanna get there." She took either side of Ariah's face and squished her cheeks a bit, staring at her intensely. "Trust. Me. You don't wanna get to rock bottom. Just work for me instead."
Anja grinned and dropped her hands. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." Ariah caught the contagious grin, and Anja took both of her hands.
"Ariah. Darling. You're going to look back at this moment and realize it was the best decision you've ever made."
Over the course of ten years, Anja became Ariah's best friend. They revealed a lot about each other. Most importantly, though, Anja learned about Ariah's beautiful composing skills, so she started to pay Ariah for coming up with beautiful pieces just for her on top of her handmaiden pay.
One day, Ariah was brushing through Anja's hair, humming a tune she had thought of the night before. It was morning, and Anja already had a glass of wine in her hand. Anja was staring at her through the mirror of her vanity. "Ariah," she started. Ariah paused her humming and looked at her face in the mirror. Anja continued, "We've been together for years. But you haven't aged hardly at all. Is that because you're Chinese? Or what?"
Ariah paused. She knew she could tell Anja the truth. Anja may have had a loud mouth, but she was very good at keeping secrets. And they had been so close for so many years, surely she wouldn't freak out, right? It wasn't a long deliberation. Ariah went back to brushing her hair. "Well... If I tell you something, you have to promise not to tell anyone. And you can't think I'm crazy, alright? Everything I'm about to tell you is the truth."
"Now you're scaring me. What, do you go out and steal a baby every month and bathe in its blood?"
Ariah paused once again. "What? No! Anja, that's terrible." She let out a soft sigh and looked down at the brush in her hands. She traced the intricate design carved into the wood, somehow trying to find the words. "I'm... Not from here."
"Yes, I know. Not to be racist, but your eyes give it away. Aren't you from China?"
"No, I'm not. I'm not from Earth."
Anja turned around in her chair to look at Ariah directly, a wide smile on her face. "What?"
"I'm from the constellation of Cancer. It was invaded by a vicious threat that took over everything, so I got in my airship and flew as far as I could. I don't know how long I was on that ship. Too long. Then I ran out of fuel, and I got pulled into Earth's atmosphere, and I crashed in the East China Sea somewhere early after the beginning of the 1600s."
Anja's smile didn't falter. "So you're somewhere near 70 years old?"
"Older than that. I was already an adult when Cancer was invaded. I've just been on Earth for around 70 years."
"Oh my God, Ariah. You're crazy."
Her eyes widened. "No! I'm not, I swear, I'm telling you the truth! I haven't aged a day since we met ten years ago. And that's why. I'm not entirely human."
"...Uh-huh. Okay. So, is this even your real form or whatever?" Anja asked as she gestured to Ariah.
"Yes, of course. I look the same now as I did on Cancer. Maybe a few more scars from pirating, but--"
"You were a pirate?"
"Yeah." Ariah turned her back to Anja and pulled the sleeve of her dress down to reveal the back of her shoulder, where she had two tattoos. "The dragon means I sailed in Asia, and the anchors mean I've travelled over five thousand nautical miles."
Anja's smile was finally starting to fade a bit. "So... Those scars all over you?"
Ariah pulled her sleeve back up, then turned to face Anja. "From fighting. I'm excellent with a sword, as you know. You still can't beat me when we fence."
"...Oh." She set her glass of wine down on her vanity. "Okay. I believe that you might have been a pirate. You are quite the bold woman, much like myself, which is why I adore you so much. You really changed from that mousy girl I met at the Archduke's party."
"Well, I didn't know anyone then. I'm rather quiet until I get to know the people I'm around."
"Clearly." Anja rose from her seat, moving over to gently take Ariah's hands in her own. "Okay. If you say you're from another planet, then fine. I'll believe you."
"And you can't tell anyone. I'm serious, Anja. I don't want to be thrown into an institution. Promise?"
"I promise. You're my best friend, Ariah. What would I do all day if I didn't have you around to gossip to?"
Before she knew it, the opera was over, and Ariah's friends were tugging her up out of her seat. Catalina specifically. "Ariah? Helloooo?" Ariah's eyes finally broke away from the stage, and she rose to her feet, smiling at the others.
"That was a wonderful show, wasn't it?" she asked her girls.
Catalina just shook her head. "Were you off in your own world again? Living in your own opera instead of enjoying the one in front of you?"
Ariah shrugged. "Something like that."
The Gift of Tongues: Every other generation of the Eran family line, someone is blessed with the Gift of Tongues. Since Ariah's grandfather possessed the gift, and she is an only child, she was blessed with the gift. The Gift of Tongues allows for the blessed to be able to speak, read, or write any language heard. This is what makes her such a musical prodigy. Since music is a language of its own, Ariah can easily compose stories and emotion through her music. The gift only applies to what is heard, not what is read or seen. For the gift to work immediately, she cannot be in a state of shock (physical or emotional).
Things in the Shadows: Since Ariah isn't really human, she can see things that aren't human (Spirits, Guardians, etc.). She believes in things she can't see since she knows how wide the cosmos is.
Alien Life Span: Ariah is a Celestial Human, meaning she ages much differently than normal humans. She ages incredibly slowly, which means she's essentially immortal, though if she gets hurt badly enough or gets sick, she will die.
The Mermaid of Death: Ariah is very well versed in the arts of sword-fighting, shooting, and hand-to-hand combat from her time spent as a pirate in the early-to-mid 1600s. Due to years of training in kill-or-be-killed situations, she has deadly accuracy. Through the years, she's kept up her training. She's not much for throwing daggers or throwing accuracy, though, and she's much better with stamina and dodging than brute strength due to her small size. Full-body contact fighting, like wrestling or pinning, is her weak suit.
About the Author...
OOC ALIAS: DaniBugg
Posted: Oct 28 2017, 01:57 PM
??? • Canadian • Feels • The snowy place
MAKE YOUR CLAIMS!
GURL. I love the way you styled this app so much <3 I honestly can be pretty terrible at making COOL AND CREATIVE looking freeforms but I do like the way you colour coded this one? It's an excellent way to make her story flow <3 I'm super looking forward to seeing this gal and get ready for PLOTS because...they are coming....