(From the perspective of Osu, character name Osu_Delta)
After spending some time among the bards around Serendia and Kamasylvia, I thought I would write a tale I made, to commit it to memory. Maybe I’ll perform it one day, but I’m not sure.
This is the story of two women, and the god one angered that cost them both their souls’ freedom.
Deltha and Kairii were like two pieces of a two-piece puzzle. Neither would look complete without the other. Their love, while frowned upon by some of the more staunch of Altinova’s upper-class, warmed the hearts of all those that came into contact with them. Kairii was a songstress who played an enchanted harp, made by her father, to bring joyous melodies to the gritty Altinova streets. Meanwhile, Deltha was born with an affinity for magic and used her natural talents to help the weak and defenceless of the city, growing a little reputation as a local hero.
For a while, they lived peacefully. The lack of any real religious presence in Altinova made things a lot easier for them, at least compared to if they ever chose to reside in Calpheon. The peaceful life they led left them happy. Kairii’s musical skills extended to learning piano, while Deltha began to weave alchemy into her magical routines, creating potions, clothes and weapons imbued with power.
Yet, as with many of these tales, there must be a conflict. Kairii became infected, a latent strain of the infamous Black Death riddling her body. The nurses and healers proved useless, and Deltha’s potions could not fight the ailments plaguing the prodigy; Kairii died young, too young, a death that brought sorrow to replace the joy she gave to hundreds. Deltha was heartbroken. Deltha was devastated. Weeks went by; a poem written by Kairii was the basis for Deltha’s eulogy of the girl, the whole situation sending her mind into a downward spiral. Mostly, however, Deltha was enraged. Feeling her life being torn asunder by her love’s death, Deltha vowed to make things right.
She began by weaving a new magical potion to cure the Black Death. Given samples from other patients, Deltha worked tirelessly to create the remedy. A week was all it took, and the cure was administered to all who asked within the city walls. Not content with simply curing the strain, however, Deltha began a new project, one to bring her lover back from the jaws of death.
This took much longer, and the young Deltha faced many challenges along the months of her task. Her magic served her well, though, and she managed to preserve Kairii’s soul and body soon after her death and before her burial, keeping a pure form of the girl until she was ready to be brought back. Likely what stood against Deltha the most wasn’t reforming and repairing the body, but retaining and preserving the memories and morals.
Deltha tested on animals, then on criminals, a sinister blot growing on her own morals as she toiled for what she wanted. Eventually, she was ready, and on a cold night in winter Deltha stood before Kairii’s grave in Altinova, beginning her ritual. Combining a modified version of her cure potion with healing magic, Deltha dug through the ground above Kairii’s casket and resurrected the girl, a full six months after her death. Perhaps unexpectedly, it worked perfectly, as if Kairii had never died in the first place.
The news travelled fast: “Kairii Karnsteiin Alive After Months Dead!” - the joyous headline was passed around Altinova, the rumour being that Kairii simply woke up, the sheer will of the young woman waking her from her fatal slumber and returning her to life. Deltha held her pride behind the scenes, not even divulging to Kairii what had truly happened, and for a month after life began to return to normal. Kairii returned to the harp, joyfully singing to the populace once more.
But once again, things would not remain happy for too long. The meddling with mortality drew the attention of a higher power: a god. This god’s name is not revealed in this tale, but He deals in death, passing on souls to the beyond. Deltha’s claiming of Kairii’s soul was a slight that could not be ignored. She would pay dearly for this transgression against the divine.
The nightmares Deltha and Kairii began to share quickly turned to terrors, visions of a horrible future, of thousands of futures, where they both suffered immensely at the hands of a figure cowled in shadow and mist. These terrors turned to voices, whispers at first becoming calls and heckles from the other ends of rooms, which became shifting faces of their friends and families around them speaking in cryptic horrifying tones.
In a matter of days, Deltha and Kairii were beginning to be driven mad. They left Altinova at dawn one morning, travelling west to a shrine in Calpheon where they’d been told they could meditate to recenter themselves. This was a lie, fabricated by their tormentor to lure the pair into a secluded space. The trip was surprisingly quiet, but the feeling of being watched burned quietly in both of their minds as they rode for the shrine. Once they arrived, the terrors began anew, building in intensity with an intensely terrible pace until suddenly stopping.
A lone figure hovered a few feet above the ground, in a foetal position, that grew in height as its dark misty limbs extended so it stood above the ground. The pair could only look up into the piercing duo of burning pink orbs in the figure’s shadowed face. The exchange lasted mere minutes. The previously enraged god seemed calmed in this moment, his sentencing of Kairii to a permanent death coming with a tone of almost nonchalance. Without another word, the young songstress was torn from the world, her body fading like a dwindling fire as a chilling scream rang through the warm evening air, clearing the humidity of the forest clearing of the shrine. Deltha could not be mortified for long, as she was next.
The punishment the god had for the meddling Deltha would be more severe than simple death. Kairii was put in her place, and Deltha would be put in hers. The alchemist and magician was sentenced to life, a never-ending life. Her life would continue endlessly, her body and soul persisting throughout any peril or danger and would never age. Pain would still be known to her, but her body would always heal and reform as she had made Kairii’s until she redeemed herself. Thus, Deltha was punished with an immortality she would not wish upon her worst enemy, one of sorrow and without what she loved most.
The final punishment wrought upon Deltha was the knowledge of a location, a grave in the Hexe Sanctuary. She avoided it for years, but finally gave in, knowing whom the grave and plain headstone belonged to. A pile of rotten, withering and freshly-picked roses lays in front of the grave to this day, as Deltha continues to mourn with only herself to blame.
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