Visions III: Revealed - Part Seven
Jix had been taken away to the prison, though he seemed slightly subdued, even regretful. His nature was curious, though it was better than the wild, vengeful persona he had taken on.
Now, everyone waited anxiously outside of the spare guestroom that was now serving as a temporary ward. No one was allowed inside except for Hara so that the Zafara could work in peace. Jazan looked over at Karan, who waited in silence, constantly glancing at the door and tugging at his shirt as if something was supposed to be there that wasn't.
This has been hard on all of us, he thought, looking around at the worried faces. He turned towards Nabile, who was fussing over him in her nervousness. He gently reassured her that he was fine and told her about what had happened since he disappeared in the morning. It was hard to believe all the events that led up to them sitting outside the room, awaiting news on the Kyrii who was believed to be the attacker when the day first began. It was almost funny when he thought about it. A single day that concluded weeks of worry and anxiety.
"It's hard to believe we were so wrong," Altador said, coming to sit beside him. He shook his head. "I can't believe I ever trusted Xag--Jix."
"We were all fooled," Jazan replied, looking at the door to the room.
"I wasn't!" Hanso interrupted.
"You kept on telling me she was the attacker," Brynneth pointed out. "Now you're saying that you believed her all along?"
The Ixi shrugged and smiled. "You'll never know for certain."
I think we all know for certain, Jazan thought to himself. Normally, he would have scolded the stupid thief, but he was too anxious about Nil.
"King Jazan, you survived Jix attacking you," Karan said, nervously fiddling with a piece of rope. "Do you think Nil will be--" His voice choked at the end and his hands stilled.
"She'll be fine," Jazan reassured him. The Xweetok was doing his best to contain his worry, but it was clear how nervous he was.
"Nil won't die on us yet," the Ogrin Master insisted. "She is strong and stubborn, plus she still has your necklace. Is that right?"
Karan looked at him in amazement. "No one knew I gave her that. How did you...?"
The old Ogrin smiled. "I heard something around her neck that hadn't been there before, so I assumed it was a necklace she got somehow. With the sound you were making, I could tell you were messing with your shirt. Obviously something's not there that was before."
A blind Ogrin saw what the rest of us were blind to, Jazan thought, and realized it was true for something else. The Ogrin had known a Wocky was his attacker, whereas they all assumed Nil was the attacker.
Hara came out and everyone stood and went over to her. She backed up, as if she were being attacked. She even covered her head with her arms.
"Is Nil alright?" Karan asked as everyone backed up a bit.
The Zafara nodded and stood normally. "She'll be fine, but she won't wake up for a while." Hara glanced back at the room. "She seems to be dreaming about something."
Hopefully it's nothing to do with Jix, Jazan thought. The Wocky even scared him a bit. He couldn't imagine what facing Jix had been like for Nil, as much of a disadvantage as she had been at during the fight.
"Out of my way!" someone demanded, pushing through the crowd and heading for the ward. It was a short, red Kyrii female who was clearly distraught. She was clearly from Sakhmet, though Jazan doubted if that was even her first home. There was something about her that seemed... Altadorian.
Hara stopped the Kyrii. "You can't go in, ma'am. Nil needs to rest. She's badly hurt and--"
"I know that!" yelled the Kyrii. "Let me through! She's my daughter!"
Karan immediately went over to the Kyrii, his eyes wide in disbelief. "Mother?"
The Kyrii turned to Karan and studied him for a moment before recognition crossed her features. The two embraced and everyone looked at them, clearly confused.
"Eh-hem," Jazan coughed, interrupting them.
"Oh, yeah," Karan said, exiting the hug. "Everyone, this is my mother. I haven't seen her in... what? Fourteen, fifteen years?"
The Kyrii nodded. "Only ten with Nil, though, and I'm afraid our parting wasn't exactly a happy memory."
"Well, tell us what happened," Karan insisted.
"Alright. Well, here it goes." She closed her eyes and began weaving her tale of how, and why, she left her daughter on the street.
The pain was too much, so Nil's mind left consciousness and drifted for a long time in Limbo. It was silent and everything was still, making it seem almost peaceful. There was no sensation aside from a strange warmth on her torso and arms. Then, something stirred her from the nothingness that had settled around her. She felt a memory tug at her consciousness and she embraced it, letting it fill her mind with something more than just warmth.
She was back in Faerieland, happily watching her mother receive gifts for her birthday. One was a pair of silver earrings that reminded her of snakes. They were still quite beautiful, though. Nil grabbed the little cardboard box that held the gift for her mother and ran over to the Kyrii.
"Mommy! Mommy!" Nil exclaimed, holding up the tiny little cardboard box. "I made it for you."
The red Kyrii smiled down at her and took the gift. She pretended to figure out what it is, and then opened the lid. Inside was the roughly-made portrait of Queen Fyora Nil had made using flower petals and anything that glittered.
"You accidu--accidentally threw the big one in the fire," Nil explained. "I thought it would be a replat--replut--replacement."
Her mother's mouth tensed slightly and she stiffly patted Nil's head. "It's very nice, dear. Go on and play."
Nil nodded, happy that her mother was satisfied with the gift, and ran to her room, immediately finding the roughly stitched Fyora doll she had made out of bits of spare cloth.
"Oh, pretty Queen," Nil said to the toy, "I want to be as pretty as you."
The silver earrings stuck out in her mind and she imagined herself wearing them, as beautiful as the Queen with them on.
"I'll just try them on," Nil decided. "Mother won't mind."
The memory faded and was replaced with a different one. Nil was sitting alone in her mother's room. Mother had gone out, trusting Nil to stay inside the house and go to bed on time. The little yellow Kyrii pulled out the jewelry box and set it on the floor. She opened the little clasp and looked inside at all the sparkling jewelry. The earrings sat on top of it all and Nil snatched one up. She looked at it and wondered for a moment how to put it in. There was no hole in her ears like her Mother, but she could make one.
Nil raised the sharp end to her right ear and pressed it in, fighting pain and tears as it began pushing its way through her skin. Eventually, it was all the way through and Nil began to cry. It burned. It was painful. She didn't like earrings.
Then, her mother came in, back early from her trip. "What did you do?!" she exclaimed, staring at Nil in disbelief. "Why did you put in one of my earrings?"
Between sobs, Nil said, "I wanted... to be... to be like the pretty Queen, Queen Fyora."
Her mother's expression hardened. "What did you say!" she yelled, pushing Nil to the ground.
"I--I just wanted to be like the Queen!" Nil replied, wiping her tears. Why is Mommy so mad?
"Get out!" Mother yelled. "Get out this instant and never come back!"
"I said GET OUT!"
Nil screamed as her mother struck her with a hand. She turned and fled, running through the door and not looking back.
Through the night, she ran, not stopping. Some stopped and stared, but most ignored her. Tears burned in her eyes and she felt exhausted, but she kept on running, afraid that her mother would hurt her again. Finally, she stopped at an alley, certain she had gone far enough for the time being.
Mommy was so mad, she thought, curling up inside of a cardboard box. I thought it would be alright if I tried them on. I thought she would like me being pretty. She fingered the earring, feeling the smooth surface hanging loosely from her ear. She lay down and closed her eyes. I guess I was wrong.
Nil felt the memory leave her again and she drifted towards another. It was the morning after her mother had kicked her out and the young Kyrii found she was incredibly hungry. She stood and stumbled out of the box. Maybe Mommy's not upset anymore, she thought, and started wandering towards home.
It took a while, but she eventually found the humble little house that stood on the edge of the city, as far away from the Hidden Tower as possible. When she went inside, she found that everything was gone. Her room was also bare, save a single piece of food: an ummagine.
"Mommy?" Nil asked, her voice cracking. She fell on the floor and began crying, lost and lonely. She picked up the ummagine and left the house, crying and holding the ummagine tight.
"What's the problem?" a faerie asked, her attire mostly purple. She had harshness in her voice that scared Nil.
"My... mommy," Nil replied timidly.
The faerie laughed. "I remember you. The little Seer? Ha, your mom left last night after you ran away. Good luck trying to find her."
As the faerie left, Nil pulled the ummagine closer. "You're wrong," she whispered. "You're wrong." She started off again to find her mother, but Nil knew the rest of what happened. She never found her mother, and she ran from anyone else, afraid they would treat her like the purple faerie.
The memory faded and Nil felt as if she were going to wake up. She firmly held on to the feeling of drifting, not wanting to rejoin the world where so much pain and sadness existed.
"You have to go back," a voice said firmly. "Your duty is not yet done."
"Get out of my head!" Nil demanded, finding herself standing in the dark. She could see herself, but not the person talking to her.
"I'm here to stay, I'm afraid," the voice replied, and a red Shoyru appeared before her. The Shoyru was wearing a simple blue shirt and pair of brown pants. She wore a dark purple traveler's cloak and Nil realized how similarly attired they were.
"Who are you?" she asked, ready to fight the Shoyru.
"I'm your grandmother, Mala," the Shoyru replied. "I died just before you were born, so you've never met me, not that you would remember."
"What are you doing here, though?"
The Shoyru nodded. "Ah, yes. Right down to the heart of the matter, I see. You don't like messing around with people for long, do you?"
"Just answer the question," Nil insisted. She had had enough trouble already to last her a lifetime.
"Ah, yes," Mala said, clearly enjoying this. "Well, our family has always had a history of having abilities others didn't have. There was one, though, that always appeared in every other generation."
"Which would be?"
Mala smiled. "The ability to see future events."
Nil nodded. "Makes sense, but it still doesn't explain why you're here."
"The way this gift was sustained was by handing it down from grandmother or grandfather to grandchild. The grand-something then died before the grandchild was born so that a part of their spirit could enter the grandchild's mind."
Great, I have a dead person's spirit inside my mind, Nil thought.
"It's better than having Xandra inside your head," Mala pointed out. "Oh, and this is your mind. What you think isn't private."
Nil shuddered. "Look, just leave. I never wanted these visions, and I definitely don't want them now that I know you came with them. Leave me alone."
Mala smiled. "I am leaving. My spirit can be at rest now that your visions are fully developed. Your visions will stay, naturally. You'll need them for what comes next."
"What comes next?"
The Shoyru smiled. "Good luck." She vanished from view and Nil found herself awake, lying alone in a bed.
"Mala," she whispered. "Who are you?"
To be continued...