One-sided(???) Meli/Florian, although it doesn’t get explored in this scene.Words:
A scene set directly after the end of Amaranth
, in which Meli begins to question Florian about everything that just happened.Rating:
PG, I guess.Notes:
Just discovered this while digging through my fic files recently. I never actually did really figure out what a Scion was. Or what, exactly, the Wise One was warning Meli about with regards to Florian (though at least I had more ideas about that then about Meli as Florian's Scion). Also I really just love Meli and Florian’s interaction, sob. I wish I could continue this and make it an actual epic fanfic but...too much work. And at this point, if I were going to put that sort of work into a fic like this, I might as well just make it completely original (which I do have vague plans for).
Meli finally — and reluctantly — convinces Florian to let her down before they actually enter Neo Valeriam again, knowing that the sight of her being carried by him would garner quite a lot of questions and strange, suspicious looks from bystanders. At this point, more attention is the last
thing she needs. Now that she's not distracted by the warmth of Florian's body against hers, Meli feels the numbness and uncertainty returning to her again, like miasma returning after a wind has died down. She isn’t sure she can handle anything else today.
The two of them walk along the outer edges of Neo Valeriam, towards the west side of the city that faces the mountains. Florian's house is a compact but sturdy-looking thing built onto Neo Valeriam's outer wall, two stories high. Bright red and orange flowers bloom from a small windowbox in the front. The area in general seems only slightly more inhabited and kept than its counterpart in the south.
"I would've thought you lived closer to the academy," Meli says as they approach the front door.
"I did, once." Florian slips a key from his pocket and into the door in one smooth motion. With a twist of his wrist, the door swings open. "However, I find that this location is more conducive to discouraging visitors."
Meli glances at him, slightly confused, then smiles a bit. Someone with Florian's favorable reputation at Kradinos would most certainly have his share of admirers, and living in the heart of Neo Valeriam lends itself well to flimsy excuses of "just passing by" or other such things. In fact, Meli herself has used the excuse at least three times since meeting Florian, albeit for his office and not his home.
The first thing that strikes her as she walks inside is that, for a scholar's abode, there aren't as many books or scrolls as she would've thought — just one full three-tiered bookcase in a corner. At the very least, it doesn't look like his office does, where every inch of wall is a bookshelf. It’s probably just as well,
she thinks, considering how small this place is. Were he to keep those books here, there'd be no room for anything else. He'd have to replace his furniture with books eventually.
The second thing she notices are the glyphs and scripts written on the walls in white chalk.
"A minor keep-away spell, among other things," explains Florian. "It prevents others from getting too curious about this place. Normally I wouldn't have to draw all that, but it's the only way to amplify the little of my power I am allowed through my seals."
At the mention of his seals, Meli's gaze drops to his forearms. The patterns, once a lava-like orange, have since cooled to a charcoal black.
"Do those hurt?" she asks quietly.
Florian laughs. "They're more annoying if anything. Come, let's talk in the kitchen. I'll brew some tea."
In the kitchen, Florian waves a hand to light a set of iron lanterns mounted in the corners of the room, along with a larger one in the center. They provide the only illumination in the room, for there are no windows. Meli takes a seat at the table, which looks to be carved from obsidian with an iridescent rainbow sheen. Her palm tingles with power when she lays her hand on the tabletop. "This is beautiful," she breathes. "Did you make this?"
Florian only smiles at her after he sets a kettle of water to boil on the stove. "What do you think?"
Meli stares at the table, uncomprehending. And then it hits her.
"Th-this is Lemnia's gift to you!" she exclaims.
There is a story in this region of Angara that in the early days of Weyard's history, Mars had fallen in love with a woman named Lemnia, who lived in the area around Mount Aleph. She was well-known for her proficiency with making tools and weapons, but without fire, she could only go so far with her talents. To court her, Mars not only made her into a fire Adept, he also granted her the knowledge of blacksmithing and metalworking. Lemnia was so grateful that she ventured into Mount Aleph and used a chunk of volcanic glass from there to carve into a table for him, which he went on to use for a variety of purposes, from a writing desk to a place where he could sharpen his blades to...well...a kitchen table.
Upon the realization, Meli jerks away from the table, breathless. She can't bear to touch it anymore, let alone look at the thing. She has never felt so little and insignificant as she does at this moment. The truth of her situation has fully possessed her now: she is in her own mythical story.
"Hmm," Florian muses. "Perhaps that wasn't such a good story to start off with. That's not exactly one of the happier ones."
To say the least. Drunk with power and fueled by revenge over slights suffered at the hands of another tribe, Lemnia eventually used her newfound abilities to slaughter not only the offending tribe, but that of nearby tribes as well. Mars stopped her by turning her into a large cluster of Psynergy Stones, so that even in death she could continue to provide for others. The cluster remained untouched and potent even to the time of the Catalysts, located in the main plaza of the village of Vale. It had eventually been razed by the first king of Neo Valeriam out of fear that the peasants would use it to easily empower themselves against him.
"I'm sorry," Meli says. "I didn't mean to bring up such things for you."
Florian walks over to her. "It's hardly your fault. After all..." He pats the table. "I've kept this thing with me this whole time. What does that say about me?" He glances sidelong at Meli and gives a small laugh. "That was a rhetorical question, by the way."
Meli doesn't smile.
“As a side note, her name was actually Elemner, as I knew it in that time. But no matter.” Florian slides into the chair next to her. "The past few days have been quite a mess, haven't they?"
She nods, her hands clutched in her lap, not looking at her teacher. Her god
"What do you want to know first?"
she want to know? She can hardly decide where to begin; it's like trying to figure out which terminally ill patient she should tend to first. Everything that she can think of that she wants to know about seems to be of equal urgency and interest in her mind.
Finally, Meli asks: "Who is the Hellbringer?"
"The Hellbringer is a mortal whose role, as ordained by the alchemical order of Weyard, is to destroy Weyard's civilizations in order to make it anew. The idea is that, after a certain amount of time, too many impurities accumulate in Weyard, and so the Hellbringer is needed to cleanse Weyard of those impurities."
"With the Purifying Fire," Meli says, a sinking feeling in her stomach.
"Yes, with the Mzaraph Legra
"But why is it a mortal? Surely the gods are powerful enough to destroy and remake Weyard themselves if they felt the need to."
"We are powerful enough, true, and we have more knowledge than mortals can comprehend. But we are not all-powerful or all-knowing; we can still misjudge things.”
"But so can mortals." And the irony occurs to Meli now that the job that Florian describes for the Hellbringer — destroying the old world to make it anew — sounds exactly like what Ramesh had been planning to do to Neo Valeriam through his schemes.
Florian shrugs. "I never said the logic made sense." He waves a hand. "Though that intellectual stuff was always more Jupiter's domain than mine."
Meli blinks at him, disbelieving. "And yet here you are posing as a scholar
He laughs. “I’ve played enough at being a warrior-for-hire in this realm,” he explains. “Not to mention that since my powers have been sealed, I figured that the change of pace would be more beneficial to myself. Additionally, I was curious as to whether any mention of either the Purifying Fire or the Hellbringer had survived through the centuries here, and being a scholar seemed to lend itself better to researching that sort of thing."
"But why would you have to go down here for that?" she asks. "Surely there's some mention of the Hellbringer in the Hall of the World?" She suddenly shakes her head. "No...you wouldn't have come down here specifically for that reason...and you certainly wouldn't have been bound here for that. It makes no sense."
"Correct. My research into the Purifying Fire was mostly a way to pass the time. And the truth of the matter is, while there are records of previous Hellbringers in the Hall of the World, only a select few are allowed to access them."
"Why? And" — a horrified afterthought — "just how many Hellbringers have there been, anyway?"
"To answer your second question, you would be the third.”