[Short Story] Motherly Love

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  1. Avatar ImageRial

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    Argonian Sorcerer

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    Fevure raised her hand and knocked at the door. She hadn’t intended to, but old habits were hard to ignore. Mistress Drani always had insisted on no one entering her study without her expressed permission, and thus her servants and students were expected to knock and wait for her to ask them in, no matter the reason for their visit. Fevure was angry with herself for having knocked.

    I’m going to kill her, thrice cursed, I couldn’t care less for her comfort now.

    Out of anger, she banged her fist against the door once more, and from inside a hoarse voice called indignantly.

    “Oh, come in then.”

    Fevure grabbed her son’s hand and held it tightly.

    “Now, Ethyn,” she whispered with a weak smile on her lips, “Now we’re going to end it for good.”

    They entered. Being a pod at the very top of the tower, the study was almost spherical in shape, except for the even floor. It could well have been made of books and scrolls, for they were packed so tightly along the walls that not even an inch of the mushroom’s wood could be seen. In the middle of the room stood a big, wooden desk, behind which Mistress Drani rested. She was reading a book. Fevure could only see her hair, as white as cold snow, peaking over the leather cover. Drani closed the book and willed it to float away, back to the wall, where the manaminds – immaterial weaves of pure magic – returned it to its assigned place. Even though her eyes were of a deep red colour, they were even colder than her hair as she regarded Fevure. There was no friendliness in those eyes, only mocking disdain.

    “Fevure, dear,” Drani said, her voice not mirroring the warmth of the words chosen, “What can I do for you?”

    Then the old Dunmer stiffened. Her back got as straight as a pole, her thin fingers clawed into the arms of her cushioned chair and her rheumy eyes bulged out of their sockets like a Kwama forager out of a worker’s arse.

    “I have come to talk, mistress,” said Favure amused. She had caught Drani off-guard, silenced and paralysed her. The old woman had been as arrogant as to think herself invulnerable amid her chaos of books, and after years of theoretical work too unused to working magic to counter Fevure’s attack in time.

    There was, however, a last line of defence. The mana minds were not only made to move and index books. They were quite capable of obliterating threats to their mistress as well. But Fevure had spent many hours in this room, debating with Mistress Drani while secretly analysing the weaves. With a though, the magic shield bound into the ring on her left index finger flared into life to block the weaves’ attacks. No streams of fire or forked lightning. The manaminds spent no energy on impressive visual effects but poured everything they had into the attack. The shield was under siege by raw magical power.

    While protected by magic not her own, Fevure reached out with her mind into the weaves. They were all offence with no defence. They had to eliminate attackers fast, in case Mistress Drani’s life was in immediate danger, and so the old woman had neglected their defencive capabilities, allowing Fevure to reach into their most vulnerable nodes unopposed. Quickly, she unravelled the magical threads composing the first manamind’s sensory node. With no way to orientate itself any more, the weave shut down and it’s attacks ceased.

    Fevure was already working on the next mind. It was similar to the first one and lost its environmental awareness just as quickly. Only three more weaves were left. By now, Fevure’s shield had started to strain under the attack. She could fell the enchantment in the ring wavering, trying to keep up the spell while its resources were dwindling.

    The third manamind was only a few years old and much more complex than the others. Its sensory nodes were slippery and evaded Fevure’s grasp with ease. Not wanting to loose time, she directed her attention at the imperative node instead, the central command unit of the weave. She had to dig deep into the fabric to find the threads that would unravel the weave, but in the end, it too shut down.

    With the third and most advanced weave neutralised, the load straining Fevure’s shield lessened but did not vanish entirely. In fear of failing so close to her goal, she reached into both the last two manaminds at once and tore them apart.

    And just in time, for in that very moment the enchantment on the ring had exhausted its magic supply and the shield flickered and vanished. Within not much more than the blink of an eye, Fevure had disabled all the weaves. Mistress Drani’s last line of defence had been broken.

    Fevure pushed away the empty chair on her side of the desk and stepped forward. Finally, after all those years, Drani was hers. How many times she had imagined this, having the one person that ruined her life crawling before her, helpless and afraid. Now the dream had become reality and Fevure would take her sweet revenge.

    “How does it feel, ‘Mistress’?” she sneered, glowering down at the paralysed hag, “How does it feel to be at someone else’s mercy?”

    Mistress Drani, paralysed as she was, couldn’t answer.

    “Like Vilendryn. The whole experiment was your idea. Experiment, ha! It killed him, and that’s what you wanted. It was murder, cold and calculated.

    “Why? Why are you so cruel that you wanted him in pieces? Because he wouldn’t be your lover and you decided that because you couldn’t have him I shouldn’t either? Is your heart that cold that you had to destroy three lives because Vilendryn wouldn’t share your bed? Ethyn was only a baby when you killed his father! Have you any idea what you did to him?”

    She led her son forward.

    “Tell her, Ethyn. Tell her what she did to us.”

    But he wouldn’t speak. The boy kept staring at the ground. Fevure pulled him close, into a motherly embrace.

    “You don’t have to be afraid, my love,” she said to him softly, “She can’t hurt you anymore.”

    Ethyn remained silent.

    “Well then,” Fevure sighed in sympathy. It had been hard for him, loosing his father at such a young age and growing up in the presence of the vile hag that was Drani Llimera.

    “See what you have done to my son? He can’t even speak out of fear. Hasn’t it been enough to take his father from him, did you have to make the rest of his life miserable as well?”

    Fevure was screaming now.

    “You, with your sweet-tongued lies. You promised us education and wealth when you took Vilendryn and me to be your students, but all you wanted to give us was pain. We trusted you. We adored you. We felt save to have a child.”

    Hot tears ran down her cheeks as she let out all the rage that had accumulated in her over the years. And it felt good. Like when she had given birth to her son, and now she was giving birth to something just as beautiful; a better world without Drani Llimera.

    “You are sick, Drani. You are a cancer to the world and I am the cure!”

    Fevure raised her hand as if to slap the mistress. Slowly static charge started to build up inside and around her arm. The air crackled and lightning arced around it. There was no need to hasten the kill and Fevure wanted to savour every moment of it. Her fingers wriggled in giddy anticipation, ready to unleash the blast that would end Drani Llimera’s worthless life.

    Pain. Pain like she had never felt it before coursed through her body. The brilliant white lightning blinded her eyes, it’s powerful currents surged through her body.

    Then it was gone.

    Everything was gone.

    Was she dead?

    No, her sight was returning.

    But her body felt so numb.

    What was that strange sensation in her side?

    There was a dagger.

    Ethyn still held it.

    Fevure began to fall. Quickly Ethyn let go of the dagger in his mother’s side and caught her. Gently he helped her into the chair she had so thoughtlessly pushed away earlier.

    “I’m sorry I had to do this, mother,” he whispered and took her hand.

    A dagger, enchanted with silence and paralysis. How could her son, her own flesh and blood, have done this to her? Fevure couldn’t think anymore, her mind was numb.

    Why, Ethyn, why? Why did you do this to me? she thought because her mouth wouldn’t move to say the words.

    Behind the desk Mistress Drani had regained control over her body. Slightly shaking, she sat up and made her way around the desk.

    “My thanks, Ethyn. I hoped it wouldn’t have come this far, but still…”

    She lay a hand on the young man’s shoulder and looked down on his mother. However kind she might try to appear to Ethyn, Fevure saw the hateful spark of murder in her eyes. She wanted to reach up and break her withered neck, but her arms too wouldn’t move.

    “I couldn’t let her kill you,” Ethyn said with a weak voice. His face showed a shocked expression.

    “It’s her grief, you see. Mother never got over father’s death. She can’t think straight any more.” he said, wiping away a tear, “Just like you said.”

    “Yes, my dear. I can hardly be angry with her. Such a sad life.”

    Fevure’s face showed no emotion, but inside she cried. Her son, her only son, had fallen prey to Mistress Drani’s poisonous lies. All she had done since she had first seen Drani’s true face she had done to protect him from her. But she had failed. She should have seen it earlier, should have protected him better, should have killed her sooner.

    “Now then, Fevure,” Mistress Drani said and looked her student straight in the eyes, “You took the time to favour me with an explanation, so I will do the same. Despite your attempted murder I owe this to you.”

    If Fevure had had control over her mouth, she would have told Drani to shut up and get it over with. She didn’t want to hear the old hag’s lies. Why couldn’t she just kill her and be done with it? Why did she have to torture her with her fake kind voice and false words? Hadn’t she suffered them long enough already?

    “You have always been like a daughter to me,” said Drani, “You know my own children are all grown up and the thrill of adventure has lured them out of this house long ago. When you – and later Vilendryn – requested to become our students, it was like having children again. And when you fell in love and had Ethyn…”

    The old woman’s eyes gazed dreamily into the distance as she thought of the days past when everything had seemed to be perfect.

    Your children knew what an evil woman you are, Fevure screamed inside her head, They left as soon as they could to be free of you. If only we had seen you clearly sooner…

    “The accident hurt all of us. You must remember, Fevure, it was not only your husband who died that day. He was working with my beloved Avel when the serpentenuse spiked and sharded the north tower.”

    Got rid of him, more like. Avel had become older than you like your men to be, so you made room for younger ones.

    “I know loss is a difficult experience for someone of your young age, especially since you just had become parents. Poor Ethyn wasn’t even a year old.”

    She glanced at the boy cowering at his mother’s side. Tears were flowing down his face but he made no sound.

    “I did my best to help you through these difficult times. I was old and, as much as I hate to admit it, losses don’t hit as hard when you’ve already had many of them.”

    And even less hard when you orchestrated them yourself, you vile hag.

    “It troubled me deeply that, despite all my efforts, you retreated ever further into yourself. I wanted to help you, I really did, but I just didn’t know what to do.”

    Mistress Drani sighed and looked up as if to beseech a higher power for help.

    “By ALMSIVI, I did what I could to make sure Ethyn grew into a healthy young man not weighed down by emotional ballast. But you I just couldn’t help. Ethyn was the only one you opened up to, if only a little bit, but he was too young.

    “You were still studying in the library, conducting experiments and debating with me, just as you took care of Ethyn. But you should have seen yourself. You were so empty, just going through the motions, like a puppet whose strings were pulled by habit.”

    I made you believe you were safe, think that I wouldn’t do you any harm while preparing to kill you. And I failed. Vil, please forgive me.

    “It was hard for him. Losing his father and seeing his mother becoming a stranger…

    “Yes Ethyn, my dear, you want to say something?” Mistress Drani said, because Ethyn had been trying to speak when she had trailed of.

    “Drani was…” the boy sobbed, “Drani was…,” It was clear we was reluctant to finish what he had to say, “Drani was more of a mother to me than you ever were.”

    It hurt. More than the dagger. More than lying silenced and paralysed before Mistress Drani. To hear her son say these words broke Fevure’s heart. With her twisted lies Mistress Drani had made her own son to renounce his mother.

    “You always told me that she was evil and that she wanted to ruin our lives, but you did that yourself. You couldn’t get it out of your head to blame Drani for everything bad that ever happened.”

    No Ethyn, don’t listen to her! She killed your father, she ruined your life, don’t believe her lies!

    By now Drani had taken Ethyn into her arms. His sobs were muffled by her robes as she patted his back.

    “Ethyn told me of your plans,” she said to her student, “That you were practising spells of silence and paralysis and analysing my manaminds. He didn’t want me to get killed, so I gave him the dagger. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to… to betray you.”

    YOU WOULDN’T KNOW CONSCIENCE AND GUILT, YOU WOULDN’T!

    “Fevure, I… I have watched you. I have tried to help you. But it is too late now. You’re too far gone, too much of a danger to not only me, but everyone else and especially yourself. I do not want to, but I have to kill you.”

    “Mother…” Ethyn whimpered.

    “Go outside, Ethyn,” Mistress Drani said, “You shouldn’t have to see this.”

    The boy did as he was told. He untangled himself from Drani’s arms and walked – no, shambled – out of the door. Before he closed it he looked back at Fevure.

    “I’m sorry, mother,” he whispered, “Goodbye.”

    When he was gone, Mistress Drani looked down onto Fevure. Triumph was shining out of her eyes like from a pair of bloody red suns.

    “At least this way it will be quick and painless,” she said, promising that it wouldn’t be.

  2. Avatar ImageHordearii

    Grandmaster

    Khajiit Nightblade

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    That was lovely Rial :) Gothic, but lovely. Fantastically evocative last line.. I must say I do find every character enormously repelling – and I don’t see how any child is able to murder their mother without extremely deep seeded psychopathic tendencies – unless Ethyn really was being controlled?

    But short stories aren’t about character attachments, only emotion. I still remember Hemingway’s shortest story that sort of epitomizes the ideology behind them, confining as much emotion into as few words as possible – much like poetry.

    “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

  3. Avatar ImageRial

    Moderator

    Argonian Sorcerer

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    Hordearii said on July 1, 2013 :

    But short stories aren’t about character attachments, only emotion.

    I’ll make sure to make this into a novel as soon as possible :p

    However, this won’t be the last you’ll ever hear about the cahracters of this story. Well, most of them.

  4. Avatar ImageHordearii

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    Rial said on July 1, 2013 :

    Hordearii said on July 1, 2013:

    But short stories aren’t about character attachments, only emotion.

    I’ll make sure to make this into a novel as soon as possible :p

    However, this won’t be the last you’ll ever hear about the cahracters of this story. Well, most of them.

    Hehe on the edge of my seat :P Make sure to tag me in your next installment in case I miss it on the Recently posted sub-forum.

     

  5. Avatar ImageRial

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    Hordearii said on July 1, 2013 :

    Hehe on the edge of my seat Make sure to tag me in your next installment in case I miss it on the Recently posted sub-forum.

    It’s going to take some time until I can even start writing more about Drani and Ethyn. I’d like to go with the official ESO story with them (Well, kinda. At leas the trip to Coldharbour) and to make it authentic, I’d need to play the appropriate part of the game. Until I can do that I’ll just have to content myself with continuing Rogash’s story.

  6. Avatar ImageHordearii

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    Rial said on July 1, 2013 :

    Hordearii said on July 1, 2013:

    Hehe on the edge of my seat Make sure to tag me in your next installment in case I miss it on the Recently posted sub-forum.

    It’s going to take some time until I can even start writing more about Drani and Ethyn. I’d like to go with the official ESO story with them (Well, kinda. At leas the trip to Coldharbour) and to make it authentic, I’d need to play the appropriate part of the game. Until I can do that I’ll just have to content myself with continuing Rogash’s story.

    Well I think you’ll have to either create some fantastic qualities in Ethyn – or highlight some unidentified, grievous flaws in Fevure – because to me it seems the woman is guilty of nothing more than loving her son to death, certainly not warranting murder as reciprocation – she came off as the most appealing of the three, even if she was irrational, it was for rational reasons – until then I must feel like Ethyn is a wicked child, congealed from a wasted clump of daedric semen that had festered underneath the cushions in a humid living room..

     

  7. Avatar ImageRial

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    Argonian Sorcerer

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    Well, maybe it doesn’t look that way, but the story is written from Fevure’s point of view. Anything but unbiased.

     

    I tried to leave it to the reader to decide for him/herself where on the scale from “Fevure has gone completely nuts over her husband’s death” to “Drani’s the most horrible being next to Molag Bal” the truth lies. At least until future writings bring more clarity.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Avatar Image Rial.
  8. Avatar ImageAtropos

    Daedric Prince

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    @Rial, I enjoyed this very much. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading further when you get around to it!

    Founder, creator, and developer of Tamriel Foundry.

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  9. Avatar ImageZanthor Titanius

    Journeyman

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    I should read these more often: that was really suspenseful

  10. Avatar ImageDyna

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    Oh my, this was incredible!! Please tag me when you do write more – I love the uncertainty of it! It could definitely be either way, but I imagine it’s probably both.

    Roleplayer, Raider, Healing Enthusiast; cannibalelf.wordpress.com

  11. Avatar ImageRial

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    Dyna said on July 5, 2013 :

    Please tag me when you do write more

    I’m afraid that for the sake of member retention I cannot do that, you’ll have to watch out for more by yourself ;)

    Anyway, I’m glad you liked it.

  12. Avatar ImageDyna

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    Oooo, you dastardly person, you!

    Roleplayer, Raider, Healing Enthusiast; cannibalelf.wordpress.com