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A darkness had descended, a shade that passed over the white buildings and little canals of Nysius, the invasion ships blocking out the light of day. The wind was biting and the noise deafening as the roar of the thousand ton turbines rotated viciously over the city. Allianora stood staring up at it, her hair whipping in a flurry about her face, her feet planted firmly on the ground as her gaze soaked in the silver metal bellies of the giant ships, such an unspeakable number that her breath was drawn away. The lights of the city began to wink out, a wave of deeper blackness that crawled up to Galivard's summit. It were as though the world were already dead, her lone heart beating, the last echo of the Vatiless, a race long ready to die.
She was the last Vatiless, she had been told this since the beginning, since the day her mother's eyes had fallen glassy and still in the asylum. She was the last daughter of pure blood, and she'd felt the weight of it breathe from her mother's lifeless chest onto her own. Denying death does not stop its visit, just as forgetting the outer-world does not mean it has forgotten you... or that it hasn't been waiting for your weakest moments, crouched in the shadows, hiding amongst the loyal.
She was the sacrifice, thrown onto the altar, the dampened streets of the capital that pounded with furious rain. It was a horrible baptism, flowing over her, a fear so chillingly deep that it hurt to breathe, but she stood, she stood and waited. She clung to this moment, relishing the power, her face drenched as she embraced the duty. She'd always found sacrifice eerily beautiful. She was saving nothing in this moment, but starting the phoenix fire, offering herself up to end the mistakes of a generation. It was like striking a match and watch it all burn anew.
And as she closed her eyes to the rain she felt the warmth of the morning sun-rise, a bitter echo that the visions were over. It wasn't a dream, but a haunting thought that played back on her eye-lids before she allowed herself to rise. No one dare know the dark ruminations that loomed through her mind before the waking hours, Nysius was too bright and white a world to stomach her fears. So gaily deluded were the days in the capital that she almost always imagined herself elsewhere, in places imperfect, riddled with villainous obstacles, ones she could fight with bare hands, and choke with their own evil. She was caked in mud and secret purpose in the missions in her head, and they remained hidden behind her tawny green eyes, cool and guarded. Every morning it seemed she awoke to a world too eerily perfect for her, a life suspiciously clean, so clean she had to invent obstacles to conquer in the day dreams of idle thought.
Maybe it was shame she felt when she looked in the mirror or pushed back the covers of her downy bedding, she was in a sterile kind of hell that could only be escaped by the worlds she created in her own head. She thought of it like running from herself, fleeing from the image in the mirror and conquering the troubles of a million invented worlds. It did not bode well for her social life. She was worried sometimes, that they already thought her mad. No one knew what was beyond the withdrawn silence, only halted by something sharp and bitingly intelligent.
She was an oxymoronic hodge-podge of pride and inadequacy, with an imagination that sent her everywhere but where she needed to be. It was the sort of thing friends could have fixed but she struggled to trust. The moments she spent in reality she would wish for such companions, but so swiftly forget this fact when she returned the lands of villainous overlords and bantering side-kicks.
There was no reason to grow up for a world that would not mature and so she'd stayed the same, been the same for a long time. She didn't have to fall into the uncomfortable whirl of adolescence, she could live out old and wise in her head in seconds, a flexible, elastic existence that could start and end in the time it took to sit through a monotonous history lecture, or stalk up the deadening six flights of stairs to her room.
What she used to hate she had grown complacent about; after all, Nysius wouldn't change. The ships would come long after she was dead, and all would pass in clean white Vatilian tradition, and she would continue to live in the safest place of all, her mind. All was well and all was hell for the fifteen-year-old princess.*