1st Trial of Vhalar, Arc 698The final day of Saun had come and gone and with it, the blistering second sun as it descended finally below the horizon, giving way to a most dark night. It wasn't dark by any means as the flames within the city, as well as the glow of molten rock flowing along side the mountain, cast the sky in a light, gray haze. No, it was dark in the sense of... something ominous..?
En'yka sat atop the stone seat of a window that looked out onto the great city of Sirothelle, her amber eyes locked onto a rather large temple seated off to the south. She could already see flickering lights entering through its stony pillars, most likely members of the Occult arriving early to prepare for its new recruits. Soon, En'yka would be among those flickering lights, proclaiming to the Zatkai and ruler of Sirothelle as well as their beloved Immortal, Faldrun, her undying faith and allegiance to their powerful city.
It hadn't been easy getting to this point... Nothing in life had been easy and En'yka could only assume that such a fate would continue for her. But she was anxious and for what reason, she couldn't decipher. She had tapered her emotions into a small ball and pushed them inside a box that she kept locked and buried beneath barriers and walls within her conscience. Even the neglectful behavior of her father didn't phase her anymore, neither the harsh words of her superiors nor the cruelty of her acquaintances bothered her. She had detached herself and built inside the void a desperate need to survive.
That same desperation was mirrored in the eyes of her fellow students at Oikeia.
Oikeia was a division of education that provided intensive conditioning and training to “gifted” students. Though Sirothelle provided jobs to every citizen, Oikeia was specifically designed to craft young adults into soldiers. Equipping them with knowledge and the right kind of discipline to encourage cognitive abilities and critical thinking as well as self reliance and loyalty to the government and its people, Oikeia also instilled a deep seated fear. One the rested below the patriotism, pride, and love for Faldrun. Sometimes it coupled with the need to survive and sometimes, it hide away in the darkest parts of the mind, whispering troubles in soft words...
She didn't turn her head to the voice. She didn't even answer it for she knew it needed no answer.
“En'yka... Here me now...”
The flickering lights moving slowly into the temple began to cluster further just as, somewhere off in the distance, a low bell chimed. Its single note was hollow, deep, final...
“Ennn'yka!” A crazed giggle reverberated against the stony walls of her room but still she sat, patiently waiting to be collected.
Then, just from her peripheral, an ivory hand approached her. Though, it halted during its journey, a pause that quieted the room just before En'yka could feel the heat and burst of flame caress her cheek. Closing her amber eyes, she tilted her head away. Something about the heat made her own blood boil fiercely and the young Aukari could feel her skin heating up, shifting to a soft hue of purple and blue mixed with sun kissed, tan pigment.
“Here me now...” The voice whispered again. “There is only death... Where is your freedom, En'yka? Death.. is freedom. Only death.”
Taking a deep breath, En'yka let out a soft sigh, calming herself. The voice would not bother her, it could not. Such a thing was a figment of her imagination, a symptom of her achieving such renown as she had through her training. Her emotions were trying to spring out of her and as always, she clamped the mental box on them.
Opening her amber eyes, they were bright and molten, burning with focus and determination but also a deep seated hatred. Turning her head, she scanned the room. There was no one among its emptiness except for the plain, wooden furniture provided to the students from the school. She knew it would be empty, though the sound of foot steps approaching held her darkening orbs to the door. It creaked open without a knock and a robed, hooded figure entered the room.
Standing upright, En'yka bowed her torso before waiting to be approached by the figure. When the individual stepped to her so close that any individual would have eased back, she remained planted. Such a thing was a test. As was everything...
“You are not ready, remove yourself from the building... You have failed.”
Her dark eyes burned bright again as she looked up, fire bleeding just below the surface as she reached for the hood.