“Falling.” She said.
“Go on. Falling was why you chose to die?” The dark man’s voice was soothing, but clear.
“No, it was because it was the only option,” Tarasi said, the young woman who stood beside the dark cloaked man. She was looking at herself, seemingly frozen in time. The two stood beside one another, she wearing an elaborate white dress, and was standing on what amounted to nothing – a scrap of cloud that hovered near the open face of the tower.
Beside her was the dark clad man, black leather pants and a black hooded cloak that came down to his mid-thigh, covered most of his features. His hands came out from under folds of the cloak, revealing a long sleeved black silk shirt and black leather gloves that came up to his elbows. His tall black leather boots came almost up to his knees. One could see his narrow chin had a black goatee and a mustache that rose above his upper lip, which framed his expressive mouth. His jawline had a well-manicured beard that swept into the shadows of the hood, and hid his features. But his eyes sparkled like chips of blue ice, and seemed to burn with a cold fire, from inside the shadows of that hood.
“Well, I am falling because I chose to jump,” Tarasi said, as she glanced at the spooky man beside her. She wanted to edge away, but she knew that if she did, she would rejoin her consciousness to her falling self, and .. well.. that would be “that”.
“I do realize you jumped, Tarasi, “ the black clad man said, tilting his hooded head, looking at her sidelong. “What I want to know is – why? I have slowed time to a near standstill, but I can’t hold back the flow for long. Nor do I know why I should bother if it was a choice you made in such haste as to not care about that consequences. “
He said that last with a rather chill judgemental tone in his voice. She didn’t like that at all, as it sent a horrible shiver of deadly ice down her spine.
“I didn’t want to be a slave in that tower any longer. That odious man, and his odious touches, and the spells he was wanting to use on me! They were barbaric!”
“That still doesn’t tell me why you jumped, Tarasi.” The black clad man narrowed his blue-chip eyes, and she felt like she was being put under scrutiny that would be more severe than an interrogation by a tax collector.
“Just who are you? You just show up, and interrupt this grand gesture.. and you said you haven’t stopped time then? You just slowed it.. I can actually sort of see it! Like a really really slow shift.. but why? Who? How? If you’re this powerful, you could take me away from here, completely.. “
“Ah, but that is interference in your right to choose, my young lady. You chose to throw yourself out of the tower, and the consequences are yours, as well. Your right to die by your own hand is a choice you made, not one that was forced on you. “
“But it WAS forced on me, if I wanted to keep my sanity! If I wanted to continue to be ME!”
He frowned, those lips were full and expressive, and he frowned at her deeply.
“My right to choose ended when he said he was going to scoop out my soul, and use its power to summon a demon, and instill it into my body. My soul! It was to be food for a demon! And my body like some kind of meat suit! That’s what he said! And he was about to make that spell complete! I couldn’t.. I won’t ! I’d rather die! “
The tall dark man frowned, and walked over to the tower, his feet touching nothing but open air, but it was as if there were sturdy ground under his feet. With a wave of his hand, he caused time to flow backwards, or at least seem too. Everything but her plummeting body seemed to flow backwards around them.Her plummeting body was still visible in mid fall. It was like he was controlling multiple flows of time, at once.
“Oh wow, you can do that? Rewind time?” She was astonished. And she knew she was blushing at having said that.
“I can ‘rewind’ events, yes, as you say. I can observe things, forward and backwards, and sideways if I must. “ The tall dark man’s voice was low and melodious, but not malicious. He sounded professional and somewhat interested in what he was looking at.
The looked upon the figure of an aged dark sorcerer, man-handling the woman in white, Tarasi.
“In answer to one of your questions, I am called Phaust, the Keeper. I am curious why I was drawn to this situation, and this place and time. It is in my power to do many things, but meddling in time, with free will, is something I am forbidden to do. It is unlikely I will be able to intervene on your behalf, but I will see this through.”
The strange and mysterious dark man, calling himself Phaust, made a gesture, and time resumed at a regular pace, and he and Tarasi watched the events play out, their presence seemingly unnoticed by either of the two figures they were watching. The Sorcerer began telling Tarasi her true purpose of being in the tower, as a meat suit for a demonic entity. And as she watched, she pointed to the way that the old man pushed her, cajoled her, and terrorized her into doing things, until at the end, she snapped and threw herself over the edge of the open wall of the tower chamber, after a brief stand of threat and defiance teetering on the open edge of the tower. Now, the two images merged, and thus her image – her real body? – was now arrested in mid air.
“You see, I had no choice!”
“Ahh but you did have a choice, and a chance. He was lying to you about the fact that the demon can inhabit your body without your consent. It could only do so WITH your consent, and if it tried to force itself in, it would be temporary at best. Sooner or later it would have to leave. You were tricked, but jumping was your choice. You cost this demon-summoning sorcerer a valuable and powerful host. He will be rather distraught.”
“DISTRAUGHT!” Tarasi said in an incredulous voice. “DISTRAUGHT! I care less if his old, wrinkled ass rots in a nether plane for all eternity! He was going to do horrible things to my body and all you can say is this creep would be DISTRAUGHT?!!” Tarasi was beside herself in anger and anguish. “I’m going to die.. I’m really going to die!”
The dark cloaked man waved his hand again, and rewatched the scene over and over, observing this and that detail up close. And then, after a few strangely accelerated rewinds, and fast forwards, Phaust stroked his bearded chin thoughtfully. Tarasi stood there mute, sniffling, and wondering what he was doing. He glanced at her, and said, in a soft voice. “I hate to say this, but there might have been tampering here. But without proof, I cannot erase what you have done. At least, not completely.”
“What do you mean, ‘tampering’?” Tarasi asked with a slight bit of alarm in her voice. She was clenching her jaw, and she put her hands on her hips, and pointed at the dark hooded man. “You need to make some sense, Phaust – or so help me I’ll.. “
He smirked at her, and shook his head, dismissively, and then furrowed his brow, those blue-ice-chips he had for eyes taking on a more sullen dark brooding color of blue. They still glowed inside those shadows, but his face was no more illuminated. “There is nothing you can do to me, other than annoy me with threats, and even then, all I would have to do to end that is put you back in your body, and release time to flow as normal. “
She gulped and swallowed hard. “Ok.. I apologize.. still, what do you mean?”
“I can give you one chance to make things right. With what you know now, you know there might have been tampering. If you make some kind of different choice – another choice – one that might save your life, do you think you’d take it? “ Phaust was looking at her in earnest, and she could feel the moments were slipping away. So she stepped up to the dark robed figure and nodded. “I’ll take the chance, the risk. Damned be the consequences. “
Suddenly, she was standing in the tower again, teetering on the edge of the opening. She was preparing to jump, she could feel the wellspring of emotions she had felt before, but it was muted somehow. But she hesitated with the jump. But the Dark Sorcerer sneered at her, and he strode to the edge of the ledge, the wind blowing his beard in the wind, and tugging at his robes like little greedy talons. “You have no choice, Tarasi – you are destined to become one of us!”
Tarasi was defiant, and she shook her head, even as the older man stepped in closer, and she stepped a foot closer to the ledge, so that if she shifted so much as a half inch forward, she would tumble into the nothingness of the chasm below the tower. “I mean it! You’ll get nothing if you come any closer!”
The old man made a lunge and grasped for her arm. She twisted and fell BACKwards, instead of forwards, and the old man pitched over top of her. He grasped the hem of her white dress and desperately clung to it, as it yanked her to her knees and she was being tugged towards the open air, as the old sorcerer dangled over the edge. He hisses and started to chant a spell, but she gripped hold of her waist band, and ripped the buttons down the skirt’s side, and the outer layer peeled off like an onion skin. The chanting mage started to scream as he helplessly fell and fell and fell.. until neither he could be seen, or his screams heard. His bony body was found years later, on the rocks below.
Tarasi was safe.
Tarasi never did see Phaust again. But he had given her a 2nd chance. And even if she never understood the ‘tampering’ – she did know one thing. Killing yourself instead of giving yourself a chance to live is never a good choice.
Sometimes she would dream of that fateful fall, and the outcome that should have been. When she did, she would wake up and talk to the air, and speak to Phaust, like he were there. She hoped he was listening. She owed him her life. Even if he was an ass.
Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd
Hair- ~Tableau Vivant~ Cersei II & Starry Night \\ Windy (Modified Combo) (Store)
Eyeshadow & Lipstick- Zibska ~ Delight & Felicity (Enchantment)
ROQUAI sparrow 3 (Store)
*Side Note~ the dress is white the colors are because of Windlights and PS skills*