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(Story) Reassignment (fifth archived part)
Adri prime
adriellyn

(( This was mostly by "Wendy", but Jendria's reactions are mine. ))



"Angels are guarding you 

As you sleep,

And they watch o'er thee."

 

The song floated through Naddie's thoughts again and again, as she drifted in and out of consciousness on Jendria's bed.  Was it her own voice or another's that now sang the words?  It was impossible to tell, impossible to focus.

Colors and sounds swirled around her mind though she could make out nothing clearly as the memory crystal began to release it contents.  Now and again, an object would stand out - a sword, an open window, a lighthouse - then be swept away before she could make any sense of her surroundings. 

For a moment, the colors settled, and Naddie saw that she was inside of a small tent.  Her arms were wrapped around her knees to warm her against the cold ground beneath her.  She was singing the lullaby.

As quickly as it had come, the vision swam away and the colors churned again.

***

"Wendy?"

The voice sounded very distant and quiet, but it was enough to make Naddie's breath catch when she heard the name.

"Wendy!  How was your day?"

Naddie opened her eyes to a large and finely-furnished room.  A roaring fire had been built in a stately hearth, around which a large group had gathered.

Family.

The word was unmistakable and echoed through her thoughts as she surveyed the smiling faces in front of her.  She dropped her packs unceremoniously just inside the grand door of the hall and approached the happy group.  

"Well enough, thanks."  Naddie heard the reply come from her lips, though the voice was not her own.  It was her daughter's.  Deeper, more mature than the last time she had heard it, but it was unmistakable.  She was within Blodwyen's thoughts.

The rich smells of a home-cooked meal - roast turkey, she guessed - and of the wood that burned in the hearth greeted her as she took a seat in the hall.  

Home, the memory told her.

She could hear her daughter's laughter as she made small talk with those surrounding her about the events of her day.  An enormous dark cat that lay sprawled on the divan next to her seemed to be joining in on the conversation, and her daughter gave it a playful scratch behind the ears.  On a chair across from her, a woman with black hair and nut-brown eyes smiled kindly at Blodwyen as she handed her a mug of tea, an imp at her feet touching a finger to the mug to warm it as it changed hands.  At a table in the corner of the room, a red-haired man gave her daughter a quick nod and an amused grin before he looked back down at the device in front of him and continued his tinkering.  

The woman whose voice Naddie had first heard when her daughter had entered the hall now stood before the hearth, inquiring about what she had done while she was away.  Her face was lined and bore small scars, but Naddie could see that she was still quite young despite the bits of white that peaked out from among her copper hair.  Her blue eyes fixed on Blodwyen with interest as the girl answered her questions - an almost maternal interest, Naddie noted with a pang.

Two of the creatures in the room looked decidedly different than most anything Naddie had seen before, though she had heard the sin'dorei talk of their kind - the draenei.  One was a female who wore a beautiful gown of fine silk and who played happily with some flowers that had been placed along the hall's windowsill.  The other, a male, leaned heavily against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest as he seemed to work very hard to resist the urge to smile.

Yet among the familiar, comforting faces, Naddie was struck by a clear sense of something that was missing.  She looked again at each of the people in turn, beginning to be able to put names to faces as the crystal's information swirled about her mind.  Then, her vision clouded and the scene shifted.

***

The room was not her daughter's and seemed to have sat unoccupied for quite some time.  It belonged to someone, Naddie realized quickly as she closed the door behind her and moved to sit on the edge of the bed, but someone who had not been here in many months.  

She looked up to the mirror on the wall at the opposite end of the room, and there was her daughter's reflection.  Naddie saw the eyes first - she knew what to expect, but to actually see the piercing icy glow staring back at her was beyond unnerving.  Where were Blodwyen's bright blue eyes that had reminded Naddie so much of her own mother's?

Her skin was pale, though not as unnaturally so as some of the undead Naddie had seen, and her long hair had maintained the auburn color it had been since the day Blodwyen was born.  The girl had tied her hair back into a sloppy bun, and her mother was struck by her own sudden memory of many past arguments in which she had attempted to convince Blodwyen that her hair was too beautiful to be worn up.  It seemed she had lost that battle.

Her daughter's face was still youthful and supple; no signs of age nor wear were apparent, and her cheeks had even retained the ruddy tint Blodwyen and her brother had inherited from their father.  If anything, the girl appeared somewhat too young for the eighteen years of age Naddie knew that she must be.  Yet Blodwyen's face was drawn and tired-looking, and - though it was difficult for Naddie to tell with the odd glow that emanated from the eyes - it seemed that she was on the verge of tears.  The reflection in the mirror looked down, and Naddie's gaze followed.  In her lap, she now saw, she held a sword.

Nadezhda knew nothing of such weaponry, but the consciousness in the memory did.  The sword was made of the highest quality of rare truesilver and was perfectly balanced.  She watched as her daughter's practiced hands guided a paper-thin stone from the sword's tang down the length of the blade.  There were no scratches or imperfections to be polished away - the sword had not been used recently and, Naddie realized, her daughter did this often.  Suddenly, she was struck by a overwhelming wave of grief.  A deep sense of longing and loneliness overtook all her thoughts until it was nearly too much to bear.  Tears dropped onto the carefully polished blade in her hands and Naddie looked up to the mirror again to see that her daughter was now crying.  

The mother wanted nothing more than to reach out to hold her child, but instead she was held captive within Blodwyen's mind.  She watched in the mirror as her daughter's hands - her own hands, now - furiously wiped the tears away.  Together, their hearts jumped as a voice called out from the hall below.

"Wendy, dear?  Are you going to come down to have some tea?"

Naddie gulped and then took several deep breaths as she felt the girl attempting to quell her emotions.  "Yes," she replied eventually, her voice now pitched oddly low.  It was an old trick - one Nadezhda herself had taught her daughter - to speak in a lower tone when upset so as to not betray one's emotions.  "Yes, I will be down in a moment."

The girl wrapped her arms around her chest, her fingernails digging into her shoulders as she willed away the last of her tears.  She, and Naddie, looked up to the mirror once more to ensure that there was no lasting evidence that she had been crying.

The reflection in the mirror stared at her in shock - she was not intended to be here, not to see this.  No one was to see this, Naddie thought guiltily.  These moments were to remain hidden, secret, private.  Embarrassment and anger clouded her mind as the consciousness from the crystal tried desperately focus its thoughts on the memory that Naddie was meant to see.  The vision flashed back to the smiling faces at the hearth, then to the sword, then faded completely until all Naddie knew was darkness.

***

The link was broken.

Naddie lay still on the bed, her breathing shallow and labored.  Images swam in a cloudy mess in front of her as her mind and the one from the memories slowly began to reconcile again.

Jendria reached over, placing her hand on her friend's shoulder.  "Are you all right, Naddie?  That looked... harder on you than I would have liked...."  Her voice trailed off, hoping the priestess was comprehending and would respond.

The Forsaken's eyes opened, but only for a moment.  Though she heard Jendria's words, the draw of the crystal was too strong for her to pull away.  She gave a long sigh as a new vision began to form before her eyes, and the soft light of the lamp in Dree's bedroom faded from sight.


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