Legends of Belariath


The Nature of Ourborus

This, she was no stranger to. The clear night sky stretched out above her like so many rolling black hills, the glitter of the stars far off and unnoticed. For once, her observations were internal. Silence had reigned for hours now. Ahmara was sound asleep, the tell-tale tear stains on her cheeks evidence of the girl’s wrong doings, another victim of her inability to comprehend the gauntlet of mortal emotions. The leather clad redhead had at first been furious, then morose after following the girl to her private lessons with Westlake. The walk home had been an uncomfortable contradiction. On one hand, Lydea was enjoying the brisk elation that came with a good fight. On the other, there was the confusion over her lover’s stony silence. Not a word was spoken between them and when they did finally arrive at the inn, Ahmara hurriedly barricaded herself in her room.

That was where it had really began, the younger of the two faced with a board of polished wood for reasons she could not fathom. Banging on the door did no good, she was only told to go away. It was only when Lydea threatened to take the door from its hinges that Ahmara relented and even then it was with obvious annoyance. An argument ensued, accusations were hurled and the mage was left feeling like a villain. The gist of it all was that she didn’t care, or rather that Ahmara could not tell if she did.

This was far from being a new development. In fact, this was how most of Lydea’s affairs ended. There was one paramount difference this time, the girl refused to walk away. Why?

That was the question that plagued her now. Why hadn’t she left well enough alone? She could have simply admitted that Ahmara was right. Agreed that it would be best for them to part company, but she didn’t. Nor did she want to. That was key, the desire to make amends was there, startling and searing in her consciousness. Something was urging her to fight the end, to turn it back and most importantly, to put Ahmara at ease. She had threatened to leave and that menace filled Lydea with something very new. Fear, even anger had brewed then, simmering just below the surface but never permitted to rise further. Emotion never culminated in her roseate eyes.

And so, Ahmara had cried. The very act itself urging Lydea to feel more. All that raw emotion that she was so unaccustomed to left her at a loss for words. She had held her lover, trying to explain things as best she could, but never before had a situation arose in which she was inclined to divulge the reasons for her nature. Unfortunately, there just weren’t any. She was as she was just because. There was no dark and bitter past, no great tragedy in her life upon which to lay the blame. Lydea was distant. She was morbid and impassive. She always had been. Not utterly dispassionate and perhaps in that was the lure, what drew people to her, most expecting that they could change her apathetic nature. They could not and when they finally accepted that, they left.

Just as Ahmara would…

From Lydea’s perch, she watched an owl a few boughs above her, its glittering dark eyes honed in on a small grayish creature skittering through the underbrush. The mage was witness to one of the usual late night scenes. With a screech, the bird took flight, swooping low with talons extended… It hit a tree trunk as the mouse scurried into some dark hiding place. Stunned, the owl fell to the forest floor and lay there for some time before clamoring to its feet and taking flight again. Lydea shook her head. She’d known many of her counterparts to take the ‘wise’ creature as a familiar, a poor choice. As far as birds went, owls were generally stupid. They had little capacity for learning and they were all but blind, even at night.

The girl blinked when the connection came to her. She felt like the owl.


This revelation set her to brooding and in a near silent rustle of her dark leather cloak, Lydea left her perch, landing in a crouch within the lively night of the forest. The wildlife around her went still, then continued on various forms of natural business when it was deduced that the mage was not a threat. She wandered with no destination in mind. An ever-present conundrum rolling over in her thoughts. What would be the proper apology? Yet, it had to be more than that. It had to be a sign of the young woman’s intent to not necessarily change, but to, at the very least, try to learn. To learn what exactly? Ahmara had said that she just wanted her to be happy. That she wanted to be able to tell that there was some emotion there beyond distant amusement. Just how was one to go about such a thing when the concept was so alien to them?


The voice came out of nowhere and instinct put Lydea’s dagger quickly in hand. There was no reason to call out once she’d taken the time to scan her surroundings, something that private meditation did not really allow. The scene that she took in would have been observed as exquisite were her mood not already so foul.

A pale girl sat under a large elder willow, its boughs heavy and fallen, as if reaching down to cradle the child leaning against its trunk. A curtain of ebony hair flowed down over her bare shoulders, the only curls being twin ringlets framing either side of an ethereal visage. Eyes so dark a shade of blue that they seemed black peered out from beneath the piceous crescents of the stranger’s lashes. A shudder worked through Lydea’s thin frame as the gaze pierced her. The girl was nude, but the beautiful length of black hair served to cover pert breasts and pooled about porcelain thighs. Seeing no evidence of weapon, Lydea eased her grip on her own, but kept her distance.

“Excuse me?”

The girl gave a firm nod, “Flowers. White. Roses.”

The mage scowled. Where had this girl come from and what was she talking about?

“What about them? And who the blazes are you?”

An enigmatic smile graced full berry hued lips, “They’re the perfect way to say that you are sorry. And me?” The smile faded somewhat, but the gaze intensified to the point where Lydea felt herself take a step back. “I am Nadine, Consultant to the Vanished, if you will.”

The absurd title brought back the mage’s brashness, a condescending smirk taking over her expression, “Counsel for ghosts?”

Surprisingly, Nadine returned the smirk and climbed to her feet. Lydea lowered her eyes as a curvaceous and nubile body was fleetingly exposed. When she looked again, the girl had procured and donned a robe of dark green satin.

“Hardly. Ghosts know where they are and where they stand. It’s the living that all too often lose their way.” The voice was soft and oddly soothing. Still, the subject that introduced them had not yet been explained.

“Why bring up flowers?”

“Because you’ve upset someone and need to set things right again.”

Lydea could not help the eerie feeling that was seeping into her bones, her hand once more fell to the concealed dagger at her hip, “What do you know of it?”

Nadine chuckled softly, a sound that was both enchanting and taunting. “You’ve the look of a guilty lover… And you’ve been muttering about it for over an hour now.”

“You were following me!”

The girl swiftly lifted a slim white finger, “Correction, I was ahead of you. Therefore, by technicality, you were following me. I’ll forgive you this time.”

Astonished at being accused of being the one culpable of such a wrongdoing, Lydea stared for a moment before glaring. Nadine only laughed softly again, letting her eyes leisurely wash over the woman opposite her. The mage was young, no older than herself perhaps, but with an age to her eyes that was interesting. It was not so much wisdom that lay there as evidence of witness. This was a woman who had seen many things, yet felt so few. She was pretty, in a standoffish sort of way. The black leather of her outfit complimenting fair smooth skin and an impressively long braid of paling gold. Her eyes were large and the color of soft pink rose petals. Her build was slight but still feminine.

Deeper though the examination went, the creature striding ever closer to Lydea as the mage stood her ground. Something… beckoning. Yet, there remained the ever persuasive instinct to flee. For all her verses of darkness, her aberrant fascination with the unknown and unseen, this was beyond her. The paling was obviously flesh and blood, human, but there was more, deep and ethereal. Her concentration so set on keeping her shivers from being noticed, that the warm touch that caresses her cheek forced a gasp of surprise from her lips and she found herself locking gaze with Nadine.

In turn, the girl smiled, slow, seductive, yet dangerous. Yes… There was darkness to the mage, but not one she was accustomed to. In others, in the paladin Morrigan, that darkness is self-imposed, created as a defense for both mind and soul, walls of solid will to keep even those who love her far from herself. In Vetic, the darkness has seeped, it smolders and at times it sleeps, but that he can harness. He can learn to twist horrid perversions to his own ends… And he is learning just that. Trinka, bloodstained hands with a purpose. Her darkness wells from her deeds but with her lessons, will never overcome her.

Regardless of those, there was this mage. This child made a woman by her own enthrallments. In her, the shadows are natural, constant and such a part of her that there is doubt that they can ever be vanquished.

“You were born of death…” Nadine murmured, tracing her fingertips lightly over the fine lines of Lydea’s cheek. A sharp piercing glare was her reward, but she continued. “Tell me… Tell me how you came to be this.”

Fear, accusation, hesitation all flared in Lydea’s pale pink eyes as she battled between two of the most primal of instincts. To strike… or to flee.

Midnight eyes watched as the leather clad mage turned from her, taking off through the forest without a word. A small approving smile curved Nadine’s soft lips as she murmured, “There is no distance great enough to sate you, Miss. And no enigma to match.”

Soft laughter rustled the leaves and the mortal turned as well, venturing further into the forest to the recluse of her love’s den and arms.