[Memory] The Secrets In The Garden

Charity hides away in the East Garden, and in a moment of weakness, will there be a voice of reason?

Anaxas' oldest and most prestigious University of Sorcery, the de facto cultural capital of the kingdom and a city in its own right.
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Charity Darthe
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:14 am

6th Vortas, 2709
EAST GARDENS | FIRST BREAK
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T​​​​Two weeks.
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​​Two weeks since her father had shown her just how seriously he took her disobedience.
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​​Two weeks since she’d told Rhys Valentin she could no longer see him anymore. Could no longer study with him. Could no longer even speak to him.
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​​Two long clocking weeks since Damen D’Arthe had broken two hearts.
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​​Charity sat in the over run gnarled mess of the East Garden, a far cry from its glamorous twin, vines crawling up twisted trees, huge stone statues cracked with age and covered in moss, and wild bushes and brambles everywhere. The broken stone seat the teenager leaned back against was cold, and snow dusted thickly over the wretched place, echoing the frozen expanse of her heart. The blonde hid in the garden, clearing a spot to sit on the icy ground, because she knew sitting here alone in the cold she ran little risk of running into the tall boy that had been her best friend for so many fleeting seasons and her crush for a whole lot longer.
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​​Plus, hidden in the East Garden, she could cry without being harassed by Diaxio. The hoxian was unashamedly pleased as punch that Rhys was finally out of the picture, more than sour that the blonde youth had stolen away her best friend. But things had changed, and Charity needed time. She didn’t want to clocking sneak into the tenth form dorm room to flutter her lashes at Benjamin Torres, she didn’t want to find a ‘new crush’ as the green eyed girl constantly said.
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​​She wanted her Rhys back.
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​​Hugging her knees, the Captains daughter cried quietly into her forest green skirt, ignoring the chill that burned her cheeks. She dug her fingers into her flesh through the material, as though the mild pain in her legs would help to drag the severe one from her chest. She felt hollow inside, and it was almost unbearable. Lifting her face, the youngster looked over at the snow dressed labrynth that dominated the garden. There were rumours that the curious rose maze was haunted by the ghost of a young student that had drowned in the pond at the centre, but frankly no one had actually seen the spirit. There were even more rumours that students who entered the maze didn’t come out.
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​​Maybe that was better than feeling like this.
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​​Wiping her eyes, Charity stood up, drawing her cloak tightly around her as she approached the arched entrance of the labyrinth. A sense of strange anxiety swept over the blonde, and her field flexed to test the waters. The teenager stepped closer, trying to lean to see around the first bend of the maze just inside the entrance. She swore there was a soft voice, just on the Vortas wind.
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​​ “Hello?” She called out softly, resting a hand on the frost trapped leaves beside her. An overwhelming urge to enter the maze all but pulled against her, and Charity took a hesitant step, breath pluming in a thick cloud against the cold weather.
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​​She could just get lost inside, and everything could just go away. The voice on the wind seemed to be calling her, comforting her. All it took is just stepping inside and following the leafy halls and turns.

It would be so much nicer, she just needed to come in.

Shivering against the feeling brushing at her field, the heartbroken youngster prepared to enter the rose bush maze.
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word count: 610

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Drezda Ecks
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:54 pm

Vortas 6, 2709
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Perhaps for those who knew her, it would be odd to discover that Drezda Ecks was homesick. Then again, no one knew her well enough to know that it actually made perfect sense.

It was actually quite a painful thing for her to experience. She felt simultaneous longing and repugnance for her homeland. She missed the snow, the chill, the culture. She disliked the Anaxi and their way of life, the intermingling of humans and wicks and passives and galdori. The reasons why she wanted to return to Hox were clear, especially when there was snow dusting the ground. Not real snow but that bare, light fluttering that suggested the onset of winter. At home, it would be oh so different and she wanted to be back. It wouldn't even be that long. Soon, it would be Winter Break and she could return to her home Kingdom.

Except that she also didn't want to do so. She didn't want to go back to her family. She didn't want to be aware of the fact that despite her return home, there was a definite hole in the household, a sense that she could not fill it because she was not important enough, precious enough and never had been; that had been reserved for Tsia. There would be the awkwardness, the disapproval and the discomfort in her presence. A Perceptive for a daughter, really? What a shame when she had talent. Could she not have done something better like Static and perhaps have Perceptive as a sideline if she really felt it necessary? Was she planning on teaching like Freja Lux? No, of course not, because she didn't have anything particularly valuable to pass on, did she? Drezda thought that she actually made her parents nervous and Rozr... well, he was due for greater things as the heir and son, wasn't he?

No, she didn't want to go back to that. She didn't want them to frown at how much she'd allowed her hair to grow; it had now crept past her chin and was well on its way to her shoulders. It could be tied back, it was perfectly manageable but it made things that little bit easier here. At least, she could fit in somewhere, even if it was only a little.

So she was left with an uncomfortable tug-of-war within herself, elated at the season and the impending winter, miserable at the prospect at going home, longing for the familiar icy spaces. Needless to say, she wasn't in the mood for company, especially when so many of the Anaxi creatures around her were gratingly chipper. She didn't know if it was because she was Hox or because she was set apart in other ways, but she wondered if girls her age were meant to be giggly and bright all the time, flirting with boys, being coy when they chose. Was she older than she ought to be? Too mature? Perhaps but it couldn't be helped; she couldn't stoop to that behaviour, even if there was something alluring about it, something that always drew her attention.

So to avoid the other students, she had come to the East Garden. The Hoxian young woman had come to like the lonely places of Brunnhold: the forgotten, the lost, and the lachrymal spots. The East Garden was one such place. It was wild, unkempt and allowed to forge its own path, largely deserted by the students and faculty given that there were more pleasant places to traverse. It was a place with its superstitions, an area that crossed one that was supposedly haunted and apparently connected with disappearances. Drezda had never actually walked the labyrinth but she had been drawn to its entrance, whispering to voices on the breeze and having certain ideas of the place based on things in her own culture.

She wasn't sure that she was right or that the Anaxi made the same sort of connections but there was something about those wandering into it never walking out again that made her associate it with those places in Hox where individuals met with tragic 'accidents'. Sometimes keeping a particular outward face was too much strain, especially if inside you were collapsing. It was strangely overlooked, a shared secret that was never talked about but often those found dead in such places had died at their own hand. It was frequent for it to be skipped over or for some wildly implausible explanation to be given for the source of wounds that everyone would agree with rather than admit the glaring obvious.

She had a peculiar respect in such places, an odd kinship as she could understand the pressures of her society and the things that one could be pushed to if you weren't inwardly strong and dependable as your outward face suggested.

It was a place of enough superstition that she hadn't expected anyone to be there and yet as Drezda reached the entrance to the space, she heard the sound before she saw the source of it.

Sobs. Guttural, despairing, the tears of someone who didn't expect to be heard by anyone or didn't care. Drezda crept in cautiously, curious to see who was making the sound, careful not to make sounds of her own as she picked her way over the snowy ground, avoiding the crunchy powder.

The green of Brunnhold's uniform stood out starkly, similar to foliage and yet clearly out of place in that nature-ridden space. The blonde head resting against skirt-clad knees on the ground was also a clear indication that she'd found the source of the crying. The body was shaking, the sobs quite evident and Drezda hesitated. If she hung around then there was always the chance that the girl in question would discover her. Such a discovery might result in the expectation of comfort and that wasn't Drezda's strong suit, especially with strangers. It was probably one of those vapid creatures that giggled incessantly but was also oh so ready to sob over nothing. Such girls typically had a gaggle of sympathetically cooing sycophants ranged around them but this girl was curiously alone. If she left then she might not be seen and it wasn't as if she could enjoy the peace of the garden in any case; it was far from peaceful right now. She began to pick her way back the way she'd come, doing so backwards so she could keep an eye on the girl and bolt if needs be before she was spotted.

Progress was quite slow but it gave her ample opportunity to watch the figure, see her attention fix on the labyrinth and then rise. Expecting to be caught at any moment, Drezda tensed and then realised that the girl had other things on her mind. However, her approach towards the labyrinth made the Hoxian remain in place rather than bolting, the hairs on the back of her neck rising. Perhaps the girl was like her, just curious but given the previous sobbing, she wondered if she was witnessing something else. Was she going to go exploring in the labyrinth with the intention of-

The questioning greeting was soft but it carried, tear-laden yet familiar. The Hoxian didn't know why the voice was familiar or why she had such a horrible, horrible feeling about the way she was standing on the threshold of the labyrinth but she found herself striding forward, all pretence of stealth gone.

"What do you think you're doing?" Hardly the most sympathetic question and too close to a snap in any case to be comforting. If she'd been cut out for this, she might have asked if the girl was all right. However, she knew that such a question was stupid and pointless; she clearly wasn't all right or she wouldn't have been sitting in the snow bawling her eyes out.

Despite her small stature, she closed the distance between them quickly, moving to intercept the young woman's trajectory, even if that meant stepping into the first yard or so of the labyrinth so she could block her entrance. Drezda had the chance to view her properly for the first time, taking in the familiar pretty features even if they were blotched and tear-streaked. Yes, the voice had been known to her, of course it had: this was a classmate. She wasn't just in the same form as her but also shared classes with her. She was another Perceptive although perhaps she didn't have her heart in it as much as the Hoxian did; she seemed to recall that the young woman was involved in music.

"It's Charity, isn't it? Charity D'Arthe? What are you doing, mho?" she asked softly, unexpected tenderness creeping into her tone. With a sigh, she shifted her bag from her shoulder, rooting in a small pocket for the desired item. She plucked out a silken handkerchief, clean and simply designed, and offered it to her teary compatriot.

"Surely you know the rumours about this place. In your current state, it might not be wise to wander in there. Anything could happen to you," the ivory-skinned woman warned, a definite note of disapproval in her voice.
word count: 1589
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Charity Darthe
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Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:27 am

6th Vortas, 2709
EAST GARDENS | FIRST BREAK
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"What do you think you're doing?"

The snap of a female voice just about caused Charity to jump out of her skin, turning her head sharply, hand still on the leafy entrance to catch the quickly approaching form of a Hoxian student. She stepped back slightly as the girl moved to block her entrance, standing inside the archway to do so. From the long overgrown corridor that led to the first turn in the maze, a soft breeze picked up, swirling around the green clad skirts of the brunette’s legs. For just a moment, the young Hoxian would feel the cool of winter on her skin, cooler than the light dusting of the Vortas snow should have provided.

“What…I…y-yes. Charity D’Arthe.” The teen stammered in a slight state of bewilderment, as though she had stepped out of some curious dream. The brunette before her was familiar, but Charity couldn’t place her face just yet, looking at the hedge wall over the girls shoulder before focusing on her face again with red rimmed violet eyes and a shake of her head.

“Sorry, I um…I wasn’t…I just…” The sudden tenderness from the Hoxian threw the young woman off guard, and she took the kerchief with a tearful huff.

“I thought I could hear someone in the labyrinth. A voice, just on the wind. It..it doesn’t matter.” Dabbing at her eyes, the student laughed a soft bitter laugh and shrugged.

“The rumours? Maybe? Maybe I wanted something to clocking well happen. Maybe it would feel better than how I feel now.” Swearing at herself, Charity turned away, moving to the broken stone seat again and dumping herself down with a thickly emotional sigh. Sniffing slightly, her violet and gold gaze looked down at the silk cloth, toying with a corner before looking at the other student. Her brow furrowed and she hiccuped a little as she tried to calm herself. The face now came with a name, tickling the back of her mind.

“Are—aren’t you Drezda? I think you’re in my Perceptive class? I have a…a friend I guess? She’s Hoxian too and said you’re here from Frecks..stat? Is that how you say it?” She recalled that Drezda wasn't nasty, but she wasn't exactly nice. She was....blunt. And she didn't waste her time on the 'rah-rah' girls as she would call them to Rhys.

Rhys.

Sucking her lip between her teeth, the teenager bit it and made a frustrated sound as tears burned again.

“Ahh, I am really sorry. I don’t usually see many people here in the East Garden, so I came here so I could hide because I really can’t deal with seeing hi—seeing someone. I just sat down, and then—!” She waved a hand at her face before dissolving a little into a fresh wave of tears, breath hitching and face blotch as she laughed again.

“See? Clocking pathetic.” Pressing the kerchief to her eyes, the tear stained Anaxi fought back the sob that wanted to drag itself free from her chest, taking a deep breath and focusing on her hands as she lowered them to her lap.

“I didn’t mean to go to the maze, it just felt…right. Do you feel it? Probably just my mind, and like you said, the rumours don’t help.” Her eyes wandered to the snow dusted rose maze, its archway almost ominous as it stood open and waiting, a hungry maw calling to the weak of heart and mind. Looking back at Dreza, Charity tilted her head slightly.

"What does mho mean? You called me that before. I've heard Xi say it before too, but, I honestly have never thought to ask." The blonde idly wished she knew another language, but her knowledge was limited to Estuan and a very tiny handful of Gioran. Mostly the words for love, mother, brother. Her tear swollen eyes drifted over the other teenager briefly, admiring the Hoxian's proud and beautiful frame in a rather analytical way. Xi had the same no nonsense type of personality, and held herself with the same sort of self-awareness that Drezda seemed to have.

It must have been a Hoxian thing.
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word count: 752
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