Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?
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Cylus 11th, 718
There was a certain expectation on anyone that managed to snag a title even close to ‘hero’. It was a similar expectation to the ones placed on politicians or military figures, and yet it always seems to be a little more intense and binding if said hero has any intention of keeping their title. They can do no wrong, they will also sacrifice their own life, and they will always do the right thing. Most importantly, they will always pander to the majority population. How amusingly ironic, didn’t that idea just directly go against what a hero was supposed to do? Circumstances provided, didn’t it make more sense for a hero to act, you know, like a hero? Defending the weak and prosecuted even when it didn’t seem like they were the innocent party. Standing up against all forms of criticism. That was how the heroes in the stories were always portrayed.
Yet fate didn’t seem to go quite in that direction when push came to shove. People were so quick and so willing to demonize those who differentiated from their own opinions. Unfortunately this left the half-breed with something of a conflict of interests. A true hero is someone who isn’t often praised. They give second chances and risk their lives for no thanks in return, and in the stories they’re always rewarded for these actions and praised. But in the stories, the heroes never face the kind of issues that make for real scorn on the part of the public. In contrast, reality was a little different. No good deed goes unpunished. She’d heard the phrase spoken on a few different occasions, but Night had never truly believed in its validity. She had so much faith in the inherent good of everyone, she thought just doing good things would eventually win praise. And in some cases it did. But now? She had never believed that phrase until she actually started to be faced with situations reflective of its meaning.
An “Etzori” hero was the kind of person who could kill Immortals no matter how kind of pure they might be. The “Etzori” hero purged mutants or Naer or Aukari without a second thought and did so with ruthless effectiveness while still putting on a show for the populace. The “Etzori” hero by all definitions was loved and adored for being what amounted to a blistering ass. That wasn’t the kind of hero that the half-breed ultimately wanted to become. She scored one of the most popular “Etzori Heroes” so often enough that should have been an obvious point by now. She hated Doran inwardly with a vicious festering wrath. He attacked Xuir for what amounted to no feasible reason, ran off like a little kid who didn’t want to get spanked, and then somehow got praised by the entire city. Meanwhile, Nightshade was going toe to toe with Lissira and she barely got so much as an eye batted at her when she got back, let alone enough attention for it to be mentioned!
There was something binding in the idea of being recognized for one’s actions. There was so much of a desire for that recognition. But why? What did it honestly matter? How much did it truly mean? There was nothing beneficial from winning the praises of the citizenry and yet so many ended up dangling like puppets on strings when the common folk started to cheer or jeer them on. In all honesty, the woman was a little scared of one day being scorned for her actions. She had so many opportunities to make so many large changes in this world. She could have jumped to an extreme seasons ago and championed her ideas. And yet, she hesitated. Why? In a way, she was scared. But scared of what? Scared of being hated? She’d spent her entire life hated for her breeding and yet that never bothered her for long.
Perhaps it was the idea of being hated when you knew your deeds were valorous. She felt something very similar in the pit of her chest whenever she wanted to scream out her Immortal’s name at the start of the battle. Every battle would be fought in Her Lady’s honor if she wasn’t in such close proximity to Etzos. She wondered if anyone in the city walls even knew how high ranked a mark she had or had she just been too cowardly for them to know?
She was bound in a way. Just like so many heroes who had come before her. Bound by the whims of those around her. She has a couple directions to go from here. At least she thought she did. She could always give in, wear her chains and smile. She’d made enough of a name for herself, she could always just keep going and forget her morals. She could have wealth and pride in such a case. Or, she could just say forget all of this and be the kind of person she actually wanted to. Yes, there were opinions riding on her actions, but she’d spent so much time worrying about how others would think of those actions. And sometimes, it kept her from doing what she actually thought of as right, and that was honestly shameful. She’d tried so hard to in the past, but there was no way she could please everyone. She curbed her words and talked sweet with the intention of not upsetting anyone. But, those weren’t the actions that changed a city. At least, not in the time frame she had to work with. Yes, maybe in a great many arcs her present actions could slowly condition of a populace into actions like such, but by name means could she have an effect with someone like Vuda sitting behind the power. She feared that man.
So what could she do? What direction should she go now? She was still apprehensive, to say the least. But she didn’t want to act on the opinions of others. By no means was she going to let that keep being a dictator to her actions. It was time to act like a hero properly. She wondered if this was the train of thought that had led to the present Noth. But it was a different situation entirely. Yes, they were both trying to do what they believed was the correct thing. But Noth’s actions were shamed for cruelty and slaughter. Night’s would be for the exact opposite, her kindness would be critiqued and her willingness to forgive was torn apart as weakness. The idea was almost laughable.
She was a little apprehensive to throw her hard work out the window, but was she really? If the storybooks were true then maybe, just maybe, it would end up okay for the little bird. There was no certainty, but there was still the chance.
The half-breed gathered up her thoughts and herself. She’d been sitting quietly for a while now in the back of a stinking tavern while she half listened to the droning of mercenaries, the like of which could barely care about much past them own selves. Their opinions, how much did they honestly matter? She was almost hit with the recoil of her realization. They didn’t matter. She was dancing for people who wouldn’t so much as remember her name in a couple of seasons if she just so happened to disappear. There was something despairing about that thought but also relieving. Freeing in a way. She didn’t have to care, she couldn’t even find it in herself to care, their thoughts of her turned to nothingness as she watched the boisterious men yelling at one another with venom tinted words and fake smiles. They acted friendly, the toxic little vipers. It was almost an insult to her favored immortal to call them snakes. Irritation boiled in the back of her mind. How has she found it sane to dance on their strings for such a long time!?
Her attention turned towards the back of the tavern, a little ways away from where she sat now, to a couple of men and a small woman with red hair. Zealots, they were likely accusing her of being an Aukari. Whether she was or not didn’t really matter, they didn’t see her as a human being. She was a different species to them, one that was under the thumb of an immortal. The half-breed wondered, what would such large men do to such a small girl. Once upon a time, she’d been in a similar situation. No one saved her because they were scared. Opinions were just something that others used to lord themselves over people. They were instruments with which to manipulate, control, and deceive. They meant so much, and at the same time, so very little.
The half-breed was starting up before she completely realized it, her body moving more so on its own volition as she approached. Defending an Aukari, what scorn that would bring! But she was a half-avriel, one obsessed with Justice. Obsessed with a Justice so grey toned and personal, one that was completely of her own design. What she believed it to be. She’d almost lost that Justice. And over what? The opinions of a couple hooligans who found it reasonable to attack a young woman in the back of a bar because they thought they were better? How very Avriel an opinion of them. Perhaps they needed a lesson on manners. Her steps felt lighter and almost unbound as she approached. There wasn’t the familiar sense of dread that came with initiating a situation where she’d quite obviously garner someone’s negative opinion.
“Excuse me gentlemen, a word?”
word count: 1660
Common ~ Ith'Ession ~ Lorien
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Points! 10 (may not be used for Domain Magic)
Renown: None. She didn't actually do more than walk up to some people, so I can't award renown for that, I'm afraid
Comment Oh nice! What does it mean to be a hero, are you bound by other people's definitions of you and how do you escape that, if so? I really enjoyed reading this thread and it was nice to see Night shake off a few of the chains she wraps around herself. Really nice read and, as always, a beautifully written thread. Enjoy the rewards!
word count: 116