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Patrick
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A Dance of Light and Shadow

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Cylus 25th 720


Like most nights spent in the lingering dark of his cell, Patrick had little to no trouble drifting off to sleep anymore. If anything he expected that by what should've been morning time, for Cylus anyway, he'd be wide awake and moderately sore from the firm mattress he laid on. Except when he slipt away into that empty slumber, he felt something tug at him the deeper his weariness settled within. Exhaustion he understood because that was a given every Trial, but this was a different sort of weariness; the kind which implied one falling into an actual state of mental sleep. Which meant...

As he felt himself drift deeper within he felt lost, fallen inside what felt like an enormous void of space. Yet his feet touched ground after what felt like an eternity, implying that wherever he'd sunken to had some means of footing. As his heavy eyelids came to a slow open his senses shortly became aware, a sign which implied he had yet again fallen inside the realm of dreams like many times before. He should know after all, he was still a Dreamwalker after the Maze event that took place. Funny how not long after that happened, the dominos came tumbling down in one continuous reaction.

Yet to be here again? As he brushed the grogginess from his eyes, Patrick realized he wasn't just in some empty place. He was in his own dreamscape sure but it was different now, compared to the other few instances he had visited this place. He stood at the shore of the old pond that seemed to represent something, or at least remain connected to him in some way. Beyond on it's other shore was the cavernous nook where the waterfall normally trickled down... except now there wasn't any sign of it. Much less the life in the trees or stars within the sky, even the moon had abandoned this place from the looks of it. And surprisingly enough Patrick started to see why, for particles of black floated from the barren ground; with a thick pool of what appeared to be black sludge in place of the pond.

So this was the effect his darkness had on his dreamscape now...

"It's a sad turn of events; isn't it?" A familiar voice reached his ear in almost a mournful tone. Patrick turned around to look at the source, his green and honey colored eyes narrowed once he laid eyes on it. "Such life used to thrive in this place, but now that it's almost gone; tell me what do you think Patrick?" Lush added with quite the intense look at the Dreamwalker present, however within the Dreamscape even Lush seemed different than before. Instead of his pelt being golden as it were in the waking world, here it was a coat of midnight much like the world itself; with a sole eye the color of silver lingering on Pat.

"Probably won't be long now before it fades away." He answered the oversized cat with a moment of contemplation, before turning a shoulder away with a bitter tone. "This place sucked anyway."

"Patrick..."

"I thought I made it clear. I don't want your help, why can't you or the glowing insect accept that?" He balled his hands into a fist, eager to leave this place now more than ever. He knew how to, all it would take is a bit of focus and... Nothing? He tried to push past the boundaries of his mind, project his subconscious to make him leave; yet no matter how hard he tried he couldn't dive into another Dreamscape.

Lush only seemed to sigh as a response to Patrick's remark, "That isn't going to work. There'll be no running from it this time."

Aggravated Patrick turned around to face him once more, his eyebrows furrowed as he looked close to being angered. "Who says I'm running? I did everything I could, I tried to be the hero and look where that got me!" Lush opened his maw as to start answering, however the Rharnian wouldn't allow it. "No Lush! Don't even bother, it's over so just leave me to rot. Forget about me, just like everyone else already has."

"Hmph, you forget it's never that easy." Now it was Lush's turn to interject, once he saw Pat shake his head and open his lips to speak. "And before you go denying any it further, you should consider that maybe there's a reason you're trapped here. Surely you could just wait it out until you awaken, but I think you'll find that things won't go your way. Beside we've an unexpected surprise for you."

Once Lush's words had managed to sink in after hearing them, the sour expression which lingered on Pat's face dissolved into confusion. "Surprise?" Lush's lone eye moved away from Patrick towards the Rharnian's right, towards a vacant space within the desolate grove they stood within. And then in the middle of all this darkness a light manifested, generating two separate forms which appeared within the Dreamscape. The first being the smallest form, Patrick immediately recognized it to be the winged fairy he'd insulted earlier. Yet the other hadn't fully manifested yet, but the silhouette around it's form implied it was somebody shorter than him.

"Whew, we actually made it!"

"On time too considering... Has he agreed?" Lush inquired as he watched the form materialize, the light dissipating into particles at the figure's feet first. Gradually the rest of the figure came to appear as the light surrounding him lessened, as he appeared to be looking around in a timid but curious manner.

"Yep! I told him everything and sure enough, he agreed to step in and help us out. Can't believe your idea worked though, never thought I'd be able to bring another into Pat's dreamscape like this." As she finished the rest of the light faded away, and the child who had accompanied her looked around. Daxter stood near Ri but once he saw Lush, he wasted no time to walk up towards the lion near him.

"So this is another dream?" Daxter inquired curiously as he looked around more, a gradual turn made until he finally came to face his would be father. "Patrick?" Hearing the boy say his name somehow stinged, but not as bitterly as the realization that the others... had brought him here. Here.

"Why the hell is he here?!" Patrick remarked with cold resentful eyes on the other two.

"Ri'ku told me everything." The boy answered quickly in their stead. "They said that I could help you."

"Did they tell you that I don't want it. Not even from you?" The inquiry posed as an insult hit the child hard, and while Pat wanted to think nothing of it; somewhere within him a part hurt even more when his boy looked disappointed. Why? "Get him out of here. I don't want to see any of you ever aga-"

"What's with you?!" Dax cried out bitterly with a pained look in his eyes. "You think hurting us with insults is going to drive us away?!" While a lot of emotion seemed to pour out in his tone, Dax's own remarks to Patrick garnered a look of proud intrigue within the lion. Even Ri'ku seemed to bounce just a little, after seeing the boy so bravely confront his father. So did that make Patrick the villain of the story after all? Was his own son here to save him, to help him see the light within all this darkness? "I get why you gave it away, but if this is the cost of that; then you need to get it back!" Get it back? Get what back? Did he mean?... Oh... Oh now that was precious.

"Dax..." Patrick muttered with a troubled tone, his expression solemn with a hint of regret. "Sometimes things happen... and we can't take them back. No matter what."

"But this," the boy brought his arms up to gesture at the hallowed environment, "all this and more can be fixed! Sure you can't take back what you did, but you can't fix everything you expect to avoid it all the time!"

"Dax-"

"No!" The boy nearly shouted now with a shake of his head, his denial met with the combination of sadness. "I wanted to meet you, to know who you are because... Because..." No. No please. Patrick had an incline where this was heading, and no matter what he had to avoid hearing it.

Patrick brought a hand up to gesture a stop at his words. "No, Dax, listen I'm not-"

"You are!" Daxter yet again interrupted as tears started to well down his cheeks.

"Go on child."

"Tell it to him Dax!" The fact they both encouraged him meant all of this was planned, that Lush and Ri'ku had every intention to force the confrontation. And he knew why too, because now a deep seated pain started to resonate within Patrick. A pain he wanted to keep buried away forever, at least to the end of his days. So why? Why now did they have to force him to face it? Daxter hesitated even with the encouragement, yet even the child could see that Patrick was lost. And when the Rharnian seemed less and less inclined to say anything, or even break away, the child finally came out with what he withheld for what felt like an age.

"You're supposed to be my father... someone I can count on." A momentary lapse came as Dax breathed deeply a few times. "But I can't do that if you don't even want to be." That was the hammer which drove the nail within, which staked Patrick's very core deeper than any knife could possibly could. Reluctant as he was to admit it Patrick wanted to... He wanted to be so much more than what he was now. A hero. A father. A brother. There were so many things he wanted back, so many things he wanted to become in time. Yet all that went away the moment he sacrificed the other half of his humanity, the light which he lost within the depths of Emea once the Dreamscapes were being repaired.

"I..." Patrick choked after that sole noun escaped his lips. Internally he felt the walls he kept up crumble away, the will to push everyone away diminished within seconds afterwards. "I want to." He admitted softly with a heavy swallow, hopeful the lump in his throat wouldn't be noticed. "Believe me Dax I really do... I just... I don't..." Why was this hard? Come to think of it why was he admitting this to a kid? Daxter didn't need to be involved in this, yet even though he tried Patrick couldn't hold onto that thought. It wasn't enough to fight back, not when all three watched him intently. "I don't know how anymore." He finally came out with a sigh to follow. "Don't know how to do anything right anymore..."

While he resolved to lower his head in total shame, Daxter eased off from the lean he had on Lush earlier. Slowly did the boy creep up to his father, with the eyes of innocence that all child seemed to possess. "Then stop trying to do what you think it right," The boy responded softly as he took one of his father's hands, "do what Lush and Ri'ku ask and let us help you."

Dax lingered where he was with a hopeful look in his pleading eyes, the other two still in their patience to watch things pan out. It felt like another eternity had to pass for Patrick, for all the consideration and contemplation he had to weigh in. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that there would be a lot of torment, a lot of hell, and certainly a lot of shit to do... before he'd even be remotely ready to be the kind of person they all needed him to be. But if these three were the only ones intent on not giving up, then surely all Patrick could do was try and do his damnedest to live up to the expectation.

Finally after yet another troubled sigh, the father looked down to his son once more; a reluctant nod given to the boy to show he'd comply.

"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "Lush"
Last edited by Patrick on Sat May 30, 2020 4:42 pm, edited 3 times in total. word count: 2131
"Freedom is everything."


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Re: A Dance of Light and Shadow

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The look on Daxter's very face, once he'd seen his father nod, became one of relief and hope combined now. Even in a place as dark as this, as desolate and dreary as the world they were in, there somehow seemed to exist a faint sign of hope. "Very good," Lush finally murmured as he stood on all fours to approach them, "the path before you is long and arduous... but you mustn't forget Patrick that it was you, who asked that someone help bring you back."

He remembered the event well, the words he said before his own light faded away. "Find some way to bring it back...." the memory echoed within his thoughts, "Bring... me back." Yet after the failure that struck the world when Emea broke, and all the chaos the world briefly experienced as a result; not a single soul came to aid him in accordance to Patrick's memory. No one. So naturally he felt broken and lost, and decided he wasn't worth the effort; even for himself to save.

"Believe it or not, we were actually looking." Ri'ku answered him, aware of the thoughts that followed his memory. "All those times I was gone, I actually went to search for your light within the Dreamscapes."

"While I watched you in the Waking World." Lush added bluntly. "You were never a lost cause Patrick, merely lost after what took place." More heavy shit he didn't want to hear honestly, and yet Patrick still understood the intent behind it all. "Now we're short on time... and this will have to do instead."

"What is it I have to do?" He inquired with a slight rise of the shoulders, his presence still gloomy and broodful for one who intended to try once more.

"There is a way we can restore the lost light within you, but it'll be a very difficult and drawn out process... and it's going to hurt a lot once it's over." Lush didn't appear to be holding anything back, his sole eye locked on Patrick's gaze as he continued. "It starts with facing the darkness within you." Right on queue the lion looked around Patrick towards the blackened pond, it's surface now still while a black abyss stirred beneath. Patrick glanced back to the lion beside him, with a speculative crease made with his eyebrows. "A task which you're not quite ready for just yet..." The remark implied something but Patrick wasn't sure what, that is until Lush turned face Patrick directly and roar. Such a thunderous cry practically rattled his entire chest cavity, and while he was almost startled by the sudden action; what took place proved even more startling.

The nighttime clothes Pat always wore when he dove into a Dreamscape changed, the very fabrics that made his outfit the variation of pajamas gained from before Emea's Fall no longer present. Instead a new weave came to dissolve as the old outfit dissipated away; a doublet vest buttoned over a sleeveless shirt, with a pair of pants fitted with pockets and a belt, and a pair of traveling boots much like the ones he used to own. The rather noticeable feature that matched all of these items was the color, all which appeared black much like the surroundings around. A belt strap rested in a slant across his chest, the black leather weighed down by a heavy metal object on his back. "It's a start, but this new raiment will grow stronger the more you fight."

"Whats a raiment?" Patrick checked with a confused tone.

Ri'ku then took the opportunity to fill him in, being the helpful little fairy she was of course. "A spiritual raiment is a part of you, sort of, in that it reflects your outward appearance. Most of the time it reflects the Dreamscapes you enter, changing it's form to match whatever Dream you explore."

"So it... changes based upon the Dream I'm currently inside?"

"It's not armor exactly, but can be when it counts."

"When it counts? Does it protect me or not?"

"Not exactly. It can serve as armor, but first you have to reacquaint yourself with your Dreamwalker powers. That'll come later after you've finished your current quest!"

"Which we're certainly not getting done by standing around here. Patrick. You have a sword now also, but know that the sword is a representation of your will. If your resolve isn't strong enough, then the blade won't be able to protect you." That very statement unnerved Patrick once he heard it, the fact that both raiment and weapon here were tied to his will... That meant if he ever had any doubt or inner struggle, then it would have costed him dearly in the end. "Are you ready?"

Patrick took a moment to consider it, thinking how nice it'd be to back out now. But no... He agreed to do this, the worst he could do now was change his mind. Thus he slowly nodded once more, his eyes set on the black pool before them. "I'll come too." Right away the trio at the shore turned, a mixture of 'absolutely not' and 'the fuck you are' retorted at the boy. "I came here to help! So please let me!" The child pleaded towards the lot, mainly to his father in hopes the appeal would work.

"Look Dax, it's too risky! You should-" Ri'ku's voice trailed off when Patrick raised a hand to stop her, a bout of confusion heard in her thoughts as he stepped forward. Of all the times to be doing this... Patrick certainly wasn't the perfect father figure, and he definitely had no right to start acting like one now. Yet...

Patrick knelt down to be eye level with his son, and while he still felt puzzled by all this the father placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Please Patrick?"

"I know you came here to help... and believe me you did." Again the child looked ready to protest. "No, listen to me Daxter. Earlier I wasn't willing to do any of this, I didn't want to have any part of it. The only way to make sure I do now is that you remain safe, which is here beside these two while I go on ahead. Got it?" Already the boy looked on the verge of being let down again, only this time it was because someone wanted to be the right kind of parent. "Hey..." He started but then a pause came, for what could he say to cheer the poor lad up? That he'd be back? That he'd promise to complete this 'quest' and return unharmed? Lush made it clear there would be a lot of pain in this endeavor, what that pain consisted of remained to be seen for Patrick.

So what to do? Well...

A look at the faint halo around his wrist brought an idea to mind, and while it's light also seemed tested by all this darkness; he somehow doubted it wouldn't hurt to try. "See this?" He showed the blessing to the boy. "A very special lady gave this to me, and believe it or I can share it with you."

"You... can?" Daxter looked at the ring curiously, with a hint of doubt cast towards the Rharnian.

"I can," he responded plainly, "all I have to do is snap my fingers. Then if you accept it, you and I become bonded through it; and you can feel my presence no matter how deep I dive in there." That last part he remained uncertain about, for all he knew it could've been a complete lie. But what was there to lie about it? Qylios was an Immortal who obviously cherished Her bonds, and therefore what Pat told his son wasn't a lie at all. The uncertainty behind it of course was when Patrick dove in, since there was no telling what awaited him within the darkness. Daxter's eyes seemed alight with wonder though, an earnest nod given to show that he did want to share in this bond. Believe it or not the reaction made Patrick smile, briefly, before he pressed his thumb against the tips of his index and middle finger.

Then with a snap the ring around his wrist glimmered faintly, with a newer and brighter ring manifesting around Daxter's own left wrist. "It worked!" He cheered with a warm smile, somewhat relieved he'd have a way of knowing his father could be sensed now.

"It did," Patrick remarked softly with a poke at the boy's chest, "now promise me you'll stay here with Lush and Ri?" Daxter looked back down at the ring around his wrist, then back to Patrick with a firm nod as a response. "Good boy. I'll be back as soon as I can." He assured Daxter as he rose to a full stand, that much he could at least promise the child. Thus with a small sense of determination, Patrick approached the black pool once more. For what once looked to be a simple waterhole, now looked to be a gaping maw ready to swallow the world. Yet within that maw the darkness stirred sluggishly, in it's eerie and imposing sort of manner of activity.

Every part of Patrick... every fiber of his being felt cold and rigid now. Like going inside there would mean tempting the worst of fates, and given that this was somewhere within Emea after all; the chance for that to happen seemed feasibly possible as well. But with a deep breath he bent his knees a couple of times, and on the third bend he pushed himself forward with a bounce. Patrick brought his arms forward mid-jump into the taint below, and plummeted beneath the surface down into the depths. Thus he dove and dove, deeper into the abyss stretched further down before him.

"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "Lush"
word count: 1697
"Freedom is everything."


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Re: A Dance of Light and Shadow

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All around him the depths of shadows swirled and danced, it's cold embrace the only thing noticeable now that he'd ventured so deep within. Not even the presence of his companions could be felt down here, and yet the halo around his left wrist still glimmered just so faintly. As a lingering concern grew over whether or not he'd be able to go back, Patrick thought hard about the ones he'd left so far behind. Strangely he didn't feel so alone in this forsaken part of the abyss, and when his descent began to slow he knew it was almost time; that he'd almost reached his destination deep within. He felt so lost now in comparison to before, uncertain as to where this could all lead for him.

Was this what awaited him back at the Cathedral of Dreams? Did infinite darkness welcome him there as it did here? Eventually he came to a full stop, hovering in the space which haunted him so. As he searched within he looked for something, anything really, that might allow him to accomplish his task. What was it he'd came down here to do again? Face his darkness? There was certainly a lot to face that's for sure... Yet nothing else seemed to stir here, just the tangible particles of black matter he could touch. "Patrick? Can you hear me?" A voice faintly echoed within his mind, sounding ever so distant in this place Patrick surveyed.

"Lush? That you?" The Rharnian called out as he looked somewhere above, hopeful his words could reach the lion even from these depths. "Please tell me you can hear me..." He didn't want to be cut off from them, because that would mean he was alone from here on. Alone and lost within the folds of his own horrors, tormented by the true fear which nobody deserved to face.

"Not to worry, Ri'ku and I can hear you just fine. But you've dove pretty deep, pretty soon things will begin to escalate. Are you prepared?" Now that was a trick question to try and answer. From the moment he jumped into this place, he wanted to believe he'd been ready from the start. Truth be told of course he wasn't, he was scared out of his mind now that he'd delved so far within. His heart drummed erratically ever since he began this quest, but to hear his friend's thoughts reach him even down here? Well that certainly fed him a little bit of comfort, even with such uncertainty looming before him.

"About as ready as I'll ever be." Not long after he said that the shadows around him stirred, the thick dark clouds increasing in volume as darkness brushed past him. It felt colder even colder than Zi'da's wintry bite at first, and seeped deeper into his being than any other chilling wind possibly could. At the heart of all this activity something started to form, amassing with an aura of negativity the matter collected into a large shape. It looked to be like... a man? The spectral form of a man with eyes alight with a fiery crimson hue, with the darkness around it collectively feeding the shade's manifestation before Patrick.

"Remember, face the darkness within you! You must overcome it at all costs!" At the reminder Patrick finally knew what the lion meant, he was literally about to face off with the shadow being now before him. No... It wasn't just a being. It was his own shadow he had to face, the embodiment of his own darkness. Reluctant to engage right away the Rharnian reached up to grip his sword, the hilt of the blade grappled as he used his other hand to reach and hold it's scabbard. Upon drawing the blade Patrick looked to see that it's body resembled a broadsword, a classic option since that had been his weapon of choice since... since when again? Fuck worrying about it, right now he had more pressing matters to deal with.

Now that he'd drawn his own weapon the shadow he faced did the same, only it needed to extend an arm and then collectively manifest the weapon from darkness. The same kind of weapon in fact, which meant this was truly a fight against his residual self. As Patrick took the hilt of his blade with both hands however, the shadow only held it's weapon with just one hand instead. "Well shit, this isn't gonna be good." His inclinations were correct to assume as much, for the shadow didn't waste the opportunity to assail him with initiative. With the blackened blade thrusted forward the shadow practically soared at it's target, at an alarming speed in which Patrick couldn't quite keep up with.

It had only been a manner of luck when he brought his own blade over from the right, hopeful to either redirect the thrust direction with a parry or hit the shadow in its trajectory. Yet the maneuver missed entirely as the shadow form was too fast, with a very reflexive pull made to redirect it's direction of attack once more. Now the figure rose up to come down with the weapon, intent to smite Patrick with a heavy pull into a downward arc. The Rharnian's first thought was to try and block the blow, but there wouldn't be enough time to come up with a counter if he did so. So he did the second best option and projected himself away from the attack, satisfied to see that he generated an opening that looked rather promising.

However that opening remain short lived, for the shadow form spun around to whip it's blade into a sideward cut. Patrick barely had time to avoid it, let alone brace for the next attack that came next. As the shadow's blade missed him in his last second pull away, the figure tucked his weapon arm back and brandished it forward into a thrust once more. Patrick's chance to parry was in that instant, and so with a flourish of his blade the Rharnian redirected the blow to his left; with his left leg brought up to attempt a kick at the shadow form's belly area. The kick landed but did nothing to the creature, if anything it generated a different opportunity for the being to use. With it's free arm brought to grip firmly at Pat's lower leg, the shadow proceeded to rotate once more into a spin; and then throw Patrick further away within the darkness.

"Fuuuuuuuuck!" The Rharnian bellowed as he felt himself soar, a brief tuck made his right so that he might reduce the distance he flew. "Whoa..." Patrick came to mutter as he regained his sense of balance, albeit a hard thing to hold onto when you floated in places such as this. The shadow form never stayed it's blade however as it came at Patrick in full force, intent on assailing him with more sword swings and thrusts that the Rharnian could barely avoid. Finally he had enough of tucking and dodging, and therefore brought his own blade up in another blocking stance. Yet when the blacked sword of the shadow fell to clash into his, Patrick failed to withstand the might of force felt against the impact. In the blink of an eye he felt the shadow's blade sink into his shoulder, as it managed to cut halfway through the broadsword he used to help defend himself.

"Ack..." The Rharnian hissed as he felt the weapon draining his will, as no blood seemed to leak from where the blade had made the injury. Still it didn't bode well for him now, for the shadow loomed above him with it's sword embedded in both Pat's weapon and left shoulder. "Dammit!..." He cursed as he felt what frail strength he had left dwindled, already outmatched by the superiority and skill of this being's power. Was this just some of the stuff he would've been capable of? If he had truly focused on honing and refining his skills, would've he made an amazing sword fighter like this creature? The way the entity moved it was as though it danced and struck with pattern, and every attack had intent packed in every single strike.

"Patrick! You must fight back! If you lose now, then this will all be for naught!" Lush's words echoed within his mind as Patrick tried to push back, except no matter how hard he tried his strength continually receded. "Patrick! Fight back! Fight!!" As he could feel the pressure of Lush's command, Patrick's eyes rose to meet with that of the shadow being above him. It's glowing sockets bore down on him like he were nothing more than prey, ready to be slaughtered as it endeavored to claw for survival. Patrick wasn't ignorant to what Lush was telling him, and if it was all over when he failed? That couldn't happen here... Yet...

The darkness emanating from his shadow started to swirl, enveloping Patrick as it seeped into his skin from the blade's contact. What little strength Patrick had slowly came to diminish, and thus his vision started to blur as darkness started to envelope them. "Sorry... Dax..." And just like that he started to slip away, the shadow being above him ready to end it as the darkness swallowed them both. Until...

"Patrick........ Patrick........."
"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "Lush"
word count: 1615
"Freedom is everything."


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Re: A Dance of Light and Shadow

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Strange. He could hear his son so very far away. And yet... "Patrick!" That was enough to arouse him once more, the Rharnian's eyes flew upon as he jumped up from where he'd lain. With intense ragged breaths he quickly reached for the shoulder that'd been damaged, unsure as to what took place after he had managed to black out. "You're okay! You're fine!" The boy attempted to comfort him as the father looked at his surroundings, he was back on the shoreline next to the pool of darkness; with the three he'd left behind surrounding him to make sure he was okay.

"What happened?" He inquired in a total daze, confused as to how he'd make back to this place.

"An act of foolishness that's what!" The lion spat out with his one eye shot to Daxter. "Remarkably he managed to save you in time." Patrick looked from his friends to his son, aware now that he didn't just pop back up here on his own.

"I had to," the boy insisted, "they were both worried because they couldn't hear you anymore. So I followed the bond you made between us, and pulled you out of there myself."

"You promised me that you'd stay here!" Patrick reminded him scornfully as he moved onto his hands and knees, so that he could rise to a stand a moment afterwards.

"And you promised you'd come back!" Daxter quickly argued with a fists planted at his hips. "Not die to whatever monster is hiding down there."

"Yeah... about that." Right away Patrick looked from the boy to the other two, a grim expression on his face when he did. "I can't win against that thing. I'm sorry, but there's no way." And then of course it dawned on the Rharnian, which gave cause to focus on Daxter once more. "How'd you avoid getting caught by that thing?"

"It... couldn't touch me for some reason, the moment it tried something happened. I think..." Daxter looked to the ring around his wrist, uncertain as to the assumption he was about to make. "I think maybe this protected me? I don't really know."

"Well, least it's good for somethin..." The Rharnian retorted as he looked back to the lion and the fairy. "I can't go back in there though, not if it means losing to that thing for a second time." Or a final time for that matter, because Daxter wasn't going back in there. Ever. The fact he even tried implied that Pat couldn't trust him, even if the intent was heroic it was a foolish action on the boy's behalf.

"I agree that what Dax did was extreme, but we're all fine and back in one piece."

"And like it or not... you have to face that entity Patrick. Whether you want to or not." Lush looked at intently as though he were aware Patrick had more than just reservations. "Look at it this way. That thing you fought isn't just a monster or being, that thing is the very embodiment of your darkness. It's power comes from all the pain and suffering you've kept within, and if left ignored it will only continue to consume you until nothing is left."

"So?" Patrick waited to hear the other alternative, anything which implied a better outcome at least. Unfortunately he didn't seem lucky enough to have such a luxury.

"So?! Would you rather fight and lose? Letting this thing consume you either way isn't helping, you need to overcome it to restore your lost light." As Patrick sighed and looked even further disappointed, Lush narrowed his eyes on the Rharnian for a moment. After a short few seconds of consideration, the Lion approached him with a furrowed eyebrow. "You faced the darkness believing you're not ready, but little do you know how wrong you really are."

"What?" Patrick couldn't help but scoff, knowing good and well he was the one outmatched. That was when Lush brought a paw up to pull Patrick in, and wrestle the man down onto the ground so that he could pin Pat down. Dax of course had to watch in awe and worry, afraid that Lush had suddenly grown frustrated with the man. Patrick on the other hand tried to fight with what strength he still had, granted he still felt feeble, and naturally lost to the lion that wrestled him down. "Lush! Get the fuck off me! What in Gods are you-"

"All this time I had wondered what had happened, what truly happened to the man you once were! I figured he had been hiding within but now, it makes perfect sense to me!" The lion growled at him with a furious look, his maw baring fangs as he continued to speak aggressively. "You think you're incompetent Patrick but the truth is you couldn't be any more wrong! Deep down you still possess the qualities that make you stronger, faster, and even better than you think you are! You just keep shelving them away, all because you let the past distract your thoughts!"

"The fuck-"

"Think!! There once was a time where you knew what to do, knew how to react when the time was right. You allowed this to govern your actions, because deep down you knew you could handle anything. Now dig deep within yourself, and reclaim it!"

"Reclaim what you overgrown bastard?!"

"Your instinct!!" Right then the struggle against the lion above him stopped, and for what it was worth Patrick couldn't help but gaze him in the eye. "You know it's there, and you know it's never been wrong!"

He didn't want to admit it but then why would he? Every bad decision he's ever made has led him here. So what if Lush was right, what if Patrick held himself back in that fight? All because he never heeded his instinct? Now that he thought more about it it started to make sense, everything didn't start changing when he became cursed.... no it was long before that even took place. Patrick's search for his brother's killer... that was when he first started to ignore his instinct, and only when he really needed to get through dire situations; did he ever find himself relying on it ever again. Why? Because of all the pain and suffering he endured in his past? The losses he had to take just to keep living for another day?

By that logic he was the only thing holding him back, and even Lush could see it now, that Patrick was beginning to come to his senses. "Instinct huh?" On that remark the lion backed off and allowed Patrick the freedom to move again.

"It used to be... Lush paused and then sighed in a melancholic manner. One of your most defining qualities by far." As Patrick rose to stand once more, he looked hard at the pool of darkness nearby. Instinct is what used to drive him forward, before he started making all his recent mistakes. No wonder he had come to fallen so low, and lose so much in such a span of time.

"Daxter." The Rharnian called to him plainly with just a slight turn, his gaze cast over the shoulder towards the worried child. "I know I said I'd be back as soon as I can... but this time I really need you to stay here; no matter what happens." His son didn't seem entirely too invested with the idea, and why would he after what took place deep within the abyss below. "I promise you that I'll come back... and this time it'll be with that damn light I need so badly." While he faintly smiled at the level of seriousness his father possessed, Daxter couldn't help but reluctantly nod yet again. "Promise me?"

"I promise." Daxter assured him still with an afraid expression. Patrick didn't worry about making any further remarks or promises on that, instead he looked directly to the source of all his problems; and in turn balled his hands into tight fists. "Instinct." That's all he needed to persevere through this, and now that Lush reminded him of that he was fully equipped to handle all this. Doubtful that his chances were even better than before, Patrick took a deep breath and once more bent his knees. With another brief bounce made to kick off the shore, the Rharnian dove straight into the shadowy pool before him.

This time with a bit more focus and determination in mind.
"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "Lush"
word count: 1470
"Freedom is everything."


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Patrick
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:39 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Trouble
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Re: A Dance of Light and Shadow

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Given the fact he'd already dove down into this abyss before, he felt the culmination of fear and determination guide him towards his destination. Sure enough when he'd fallen low enough to become reacquainted with the tangible forces at work, the shadowy form that represented his other half loomed several clicks away. Yet it was closing in on him now and fast, eager to finish what it had started before his son had intervened. This time however Patrick not only knew the risk, he knew what he had to do in order to overcome this. Against any and all odds, no matter where they were stacked, he had to face this part of him... and survive.

He had to win.

"I know we didn't get to finish what we'd started earlier." Patrick remarked as the blur of darkness rushed in on him. As it drew within close proximity with the sword raised, Patrick drew his own sword once more with a counterblow made with one hand. Both blades clashed and the impact brought a fierce ring in the air, as the tension between two foes dramatically grew now that they were close. "But this time you'll find that things are different." The Rharnian threatened him with a fierce look in his eyes, as the mark of Palenon seemed to sizzle and crack at his fingertips. The shadow being lingered for a moment, and then craned it's head as though it were trying to understand him now.

As though this sudden newfound strength and motivation wasn't expected, when in truth the being should've known it was there from the start. Thus the ensuing clash began as both pressed their blades hard into one another, driving each other back so that they both might gain the upper hand in their next blow. Patrick reeled back with his right hand tucked over to his left side, the shoulder directed to his opponent as he braced himself for the next move. Seeing as how they were practically gliding through a void of darkness, the Rharnian made it his first priority to gain the upper hand at all cost; and that meant overwhelming his enemy until an opening was made.

Patrick zoomed forward with his blade brought over, from the left side into a broad slash toward his right. As he closed in with this maneuver the shadow mirrored his action, bringing the darkened blade into another clash against his as they closed in. The exchange of blows followed with the two retracting their weapons, and swinging again from opposite sides into one another. Which meant the shadow knew how to defend itself, then again it was an acting force born from his will; therefore it shouldn't have surprised him the damned thing could mirror his moves. Still Patrick didn't relent his assault as the two exchanged another blow, this time the swords crossed as Patrick pulled back a little earlier.

As a result the force of the Shadow overtook him, but in a way he desired, and started to send Patrick in a backwards trajectory when he fended off the attack. As the Shadow braced it's blade for a thrust it propelled itself forward, ready to lunge in for what could've been a lethal blow... Had Patrick not prepared a secondary attack. As the being drew closer Patrick brought his left hand, the free hand, up with fingers partially clenched towards the creature. Then through the will of intent behind his thought, the Rharnian shot a blast of lightning at the creature. Indirectly the obsidian bolt grazed the shadow, therefore slowing it's advance, as Patrick followed up with another push forward. While he'd hoped the dose of lightning would've helped him a little more, he did learn enough of it's application to consider it a worthwhile tactic. One he needed to avoid using again so soon naturally...

Regardless of his other abilities Patrick brought his blade behind him, and closed in with a strike from his right side as a means to assail the entity. However being as clever and agile as it was, the shadow form swayed over to perform a full counterclockwise rotation; therefore avoiding the blow entirely with a follow up of its own. Yet two could play that game, for Patrick was all about using agility; and this situation allowed him to apply it in numerous ways. As the blackened broadsword swung it's way towards him, Patrick tucked backwards to perform a somersault away from the shadow. Seeing as how the entity missed it took the opportunity to close in once more, with a pattern of frenzied swings at the one who fought against it so plainly.

Regardless of the direction they came from Patrick merely watched and reacted, dipping and dunking in accordance to the attacks thrown at him. He could feel their forms practically dance in rhythm to the attacks, all while they both sailed through the abyss with anticipated strikes. Finally the Rharnian tucked once more to pull away, and rather than charge like before the Shadow remained at bay. Perfect timing. Patrick knew the entity expected another distanced attack, yet it didn't expect him to come into a full spin and charge at him. With a full forced swing Patrick smashed his blade into the Shadow's weapon, the brunt of the attack almost stopped until Patrick pushed with everything he had.

The result sent the Shadow form reeling uncontrollably away, enough to grant Patrick the opportunity to cast another shot of lightning. Thus with his hand aimed towards the form, Patrick released the clutched tension in his fingers and sent forth another bolt of obsidian. Rather than be hit directly though the Shadow spun around, with it's free hand brought out to mimic the same gesture as Patrick; and therefore countering the lightning with a blackened bolt of it's own. "Dammit!..." He cursed the damnable entity as he should've known, his abilities were shared with the Shadow too after all. All but... Daxter said that something about Celarion kept him safe from the Shadow, that it tried to attack him until something occurred. But what was it? Celarion was Qylios' blessing, and she wasn't just the Immortal of Bonds and Leadership; she was the Immortal of Light as well.

That meant...

There was no way he could create a Bond between him and his darker half, not when he knew the entity wasn't exactly 'willing' to share in the light. But if he could find a way to use the Light of Her blessing, then perhaps Patrick could expel the Shadow being and consider this over. The only problem being was that he didn't know how, since he had never anticipated using it in such a way. He didn't even know what he was fully capable of honestly, just that if he could get in close and force an opening; then this could be over in the act of a single strike. Thus rather than charge forward Patrick remained on the defensive, his broadsword brought over to his left side, with two hands now gripped on the hilt, and the blade pointed directly towards the looming figure ahead of him. The Shadow took this as an invitation, and rushed forward with blade thrusted first before it.

In all of Patrick's lifetime there were selectively few moments worth remembering, because in this moment timing was the most important key to his victory. As the Shadow form inevitably drew closer, it's blade remained posed to thrust at Patrick's core; while the Rharnian himself shifted his left hand just a little. He knew there was only one shot at this, but every fiber in his being commanded that he pull it off no matter what. It was always a gamble of a maneuver, but one that paid off when he learned it's effectiveness. Now here, at the heart of all this, it would ironically be his saving grace once more. The Shadow's blade nearly reached him as Patrick brought his weapon over to counterguard it, except this time the placement of his hand allowed for a brief bit of control with the parry. As the pommel of his sword pressed hard into his palm, Patrick pushed hard to redirect the weapon away; pulling his left hand away from the weapon entirely once his right hand secured the parry.

He had the opening he needed. "I won't lose to you!!" He roared as he shot the left arm out, with his fingers cackling again as they partially clutched the air. As Patrick released the tension in his fingers, lightning surged from their tips to blast into what should've been the Shadow's own face. In that moment he hoped to have channeled Qylios' light somehow, that maybe She might've added enough edge to help him end it; yet the bolt of lightning that shot from his fingertips remained darkened as before. Regardless it's impact was square in the face of this creature, and while he had only minor power over the element; it still generated enough force to at least stun his enemy.

Now with the Shadow reeling away with a hand brought up to its face, Patrick wasted no more time in surging forward with his own weapon ready. With the broadsword held towards his left in both hands, Patrick rushed forward so that he could cleave right through his target. The moment he closed in on the Shadow, he bellowed a roar as his own blade sung within the air. "I'm going to defeat you!!" And defeat he would; in one fell swoop his blade cleaved through the body of the Shadow, tearing it in half as the entity just loomed there in two. There wasn't any time to process what just happened, only the notice that it's other half slowly faded away; as the rest of it did so not a moment too soon.

Now as he watched the Shadow being dissipate into the abyss they were both caught in, Patrick's fiercely determined look lessened to one of weary relief. The battle was over now, and while his entire body ached; he felt a sense of ease knowing he'd faced his inner darkness.

"Patrick", "Follower", "Ri", "Lush"
word count: 1740
"Freedom is everything."


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Pig Boy
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Re: A Dance of Light and Shadow

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Within Patrick, a small sliver, a chance glimmer of hope remained. The hope that with some ultimate sacrifice, some grand gesture to give himself to the greater power that was Qylios might redeem him. That perhaps his sacrifice at the Crack in the Wall might not have been in vain, and that he should hold up his end of the bargain. Thus, as he reached out to strike the shadow beast with lightning, and hoping to reach out also with what remained of Qylios' mark within him, that glimmer fled along with the lightning.

For a moment, the lightning seemed more brilliant than any he'd ever conjured, louder and more oppressive than any he'd seen of any lightning knight. It was not of Ilaren.

The lightning roared with anger as it struck at the shadow beast, and with the remainder of Qylios' light, shards of that glimmer sank into its Emeyan flesh. When at last he swung his sword through the Shadow being, the blade sliced easily through it, almost with no resistance at all. As he recovered from the swing, he'd see the creature dissolving before his eyes. The flesh melted and sizzled with horrific detail, slipping into the abyss all around them.

For a while, it appeared to Patrick that he'd won against his darkness. Yet in the moments leading up to that moment, had he not considered creating a bond between himself and the darkness? Was that not his mortal intent? To afflict the darkness with a bond of light to return balance to his soul?

Thus as he recovered from the fight, he felt a shiver run through him. The destroyed Emeyan shadow sank into the ground. Then he heard a distant voice, as if a whisper, "You are unworthy. You will always be unworthy. Blasphemer, traitor, and coward."

So as the bond was formed with the Shadow creature, its leavings which was seeping into the landscape began crawling up through his legs, up his torso, into his eyes. He could see nothing. He could feel nothing.

Qylios' light had abandoned him, but not before sealing the bond with the darkness.

It was at that point, that Patrick awoke from his dream, in his cell, forever blinded by his hubris in constructing his own terms for restoration of the light, and blinded in fact until the day he dies.


 ! Message from: Pig Boy
Okay, Patrick, consequences have been handed down, and Patrick has failed his trial as set out by Qylios in this grade. Now it's time to await your trial in Rharne, with Ilaren.

To be specific, you earned Qylios' ire by failing light by siding with the darkness. You failed bonds by betraying a friend. You failed Courage by turning coward.

I will post a review very soon, keep your eyes peeled.
word count: 472
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Pig Boy
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Re: A Dance of Light and Shadow

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Patrick

Experience: 15 no magic (Added xp since this is at least partially moderated.)

Knowledge:

Acrobatics: x5
Blades: x5
Deception: x5
Discipline: x5
Detection: x5


Renown: none

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: Cursed: Despised by Qylios. Struck with the blindness curse as the mod post on this thread.

Comments:

Patrick seems to go through a lot in this dream thread, between his interactions with Daxter and Lush and Ri'ku, it feels almost like a tug of war with his soul at the beginning. I was a little concerned that Patrick used the Qylios power of bonding given his tumultuous relationship with that Immortal of late.

When Patrick finally decides to do something about the 'Shadow' haunting his dream, departing from Daxter and his other companions, it's very foreboding and yet uplifting at the same time.

The action segments were extremely well written, detailed, and fun/easy to read. It got very close there, as the shadow stuck its blade into his shoulder, but eventually, he triumphed (at least physically/tactically) over it. Yet the consequence for calling upon an Immortal that isn't all that pleased with him was shown at the very end, where she punished Patrick for ignoring the challenge she set before him.

I look forward to seeing where Fate takes Patrick next.

If you have any concerns about this review, please PM me about them.
word count: 238
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