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Writing prompt #16: The most haunting or beautiful memory


CrystalDragon
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Credits to Occult for this one.

Memory can be a really tricky aspect for roleplaying and a lot of the times it becomes background information.

What is the most beautiful, or haunting memory your character has?

 

I suppose a dragon would have many, but Crys' has only a few memories of her home world that really stuck to her. A lucky thing given what all had occurred there. The most haunting memory was the shadow of her brothers looming over her and her first nest before the wars started. Something about the way they were hovering over her and her beginning family really struck a terrifying chord with her and sometimes, even now, she jumps at shadows of larger people around her. The most beautiful memory however, was the hatching of her three whelps in this world, she didn't get that chance to be a real mother back in her world and she absolutely revels in it in this world.

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The first time Spark of Inspiration used magic was an intensely surreal experience.

 

Ricky removed his welding mask and looked at his partially finished work. It was a four foot metal statue of a person with outstretched arms. He was enamored with what he called the simple beauty of bronze age figures, and like those figures the statue was abstract and mostly featureless.

 

The statue was certainly something that Ricky found aesthetically pleasing, but he wasn't happy with it. His money was running out and he was under intense pressure to produce something commercially viable. He'd been through such a long drought of ideas that he was about ready to give up on everything, leave Paragon City, move back in with his yiayia in Chicago, and find an apprenticeship.

 

He cleaned up his workspace and looked at the statue again. He remembered leaving so much of his life behind to move to Paragon, begging his yiayia for money for art school, the satisfaction of making his earlier pieces, the magic of exploring a museum when he was a kid...

 

Ricky snapped back to the present and suddenly felt strange. The earlier mix of melancholy and dread was suddenly gone. He felt wild and restless, like something trapped had to break out. He looked at his hands and saw sparks start to erupt out of them and scatter around the room. Then there was a flash and he was knocked out.

 

A short time later, something nudged Ricky awake. He was dazed, in intense pain, and covered in blood and he could barely move. He looked at what woke him up and screamed. What he saw was a strange, short, faceless figure also covered in blood sitting next to him in the dim room. He yelled at it to get away from him and it noisily shambled into the dark. When he couldn't hear the thing's clanking steps anymore, he screamed for help until what little strength he had gave out.

 

A few days later, Ricky woke up in a hospital bed. He was greeted by a woman who said she was an investigator for MAGI.

 

"You're Richard Zografos, right?"

 

He nodded.

 

"25 years old, transplant from Chicago, artist, no prior experience with magic."

 

He nodded again.

 

"I wish we could have met under better circumstances, but it's not often that a mage with your level of experience makes a semi-intelligent golem by accident."

Edited by sh1zuchan
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((The Lady Cobra’s most beautiful and most haunted memory both relate to the same person. This is a brief account of the most beautiful one – their first meeting.))

Emily Chang’s eyes fluttered and she moaned wearily as the midwife told her for the millionth time to remember to breathe.

She had lost sense of how long she had been here. Hour after hour of tormenting labor; an excruciating blurry of oxygens masks, contraction monitors, whimpers, pleading and desperation. By now she was exhausted beyond comprehension and just wanted to close her eyes never to open them again. Except, that annoying midwife wouldn’t let her but just kept telling her to breathe and to push.

A final depleted sob escaped Emily’s lips, and the accompanying push that she was barely aware of making brought unexpected relief and triggered wailing that wasn’t coming from her. Emily closed her eyes to the sudden flurry of activity around her, hardly daring to believe the ordeal was over.

And then something wonderful was placed against her chest. Emily opened her eyes and looked at the most beautiful thing ever and felt her heart overheat and liquify as she gently cuddled her newborn daughter. Suddenly everything was pure, joyful bliss. It had been worth every second of agony and suffering; instant and unconditional love beyond anything she had ever imagined possible.

As she still cuddled the baby close, Emily knew that her life would never be the same. Now there was new meaning, larger than her own life and more important. Much, much more important. From now on, her life would be dedicated to loving this baby and keeping her safe, and nothing else would even begin to matter or compare.

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((Rei Mizuni’s most haunting memory.))

Alone in her boarding school room, Rei had finished homework and was now busy studying fresh interim management reports from the Mizuni Entertainment division’s most recent acquisition – Roberto J’s record company. The deal had been Rei’s suggestion and it had been the first she had been allowed to structure, lead, and close herself. Numbers were looking good, and her father had even acknowledged her achievement. She smiled proudly at the recollection before being interrupted by an unexpected knock on her door.

She opened and saw Madame Barrington at the door. Her dreaded English teacher looked slightly less strict and disapproving than usual.

“Mademoiselle Mizuni, Madame Depardieu would like to see you in her office immediately.”

Rei nodded and tried to suppress a sudden fluttering in her stomach. The headmistress’ office? Immediately? Whatever could this mean?

Quickly she checked her appearance in the large mirror. Even the slightest infringement of school uniform regulations, be it an open shirt button, an imperfectly knotted tie, or – heaven forbid – an unnoticed sag in the tights brought about immediate reprimand or disciplinary sanctions that were worse. Satisfied that everything looked irreproachable, Rei hurried downstairs and knocked on the office door.

“Enter!”

Madame Depardieu was waiting behind her desk. Even she looked a little less frowning than usual.

“Ah…Mademoiselle Mi-Zy-Ni…sit down s’il vous plait.”

Rei complied, her entire nervous system tingling in cautious anticipation.

“I am afraid I have some very bad news.”

Rei’s stomach knotted. “Y-yes?”

“I am afraid your father has been killed. Shot I was told.” The headmistress looked at Rei, struggling to reshape her frown into something more comforting. It was a valiant effort but a limited success.

A strange sound was trying to form in Rei’s throat and she felt like her head would come crashing into Madame Depardieu’s desk. She clenched her fists madly. Never show emotion or weakness in public. Never show emotion or weakness in public. Never show emotion or weakness in public. Her father’s words were racing on repeat through her mind.

“I…I see…” she somehow managed.

“Of course you will be allowed to take tomorrow morning off. I expect you will have arrangements to make.”

“T-thank you…” Never show emotion or weakness in public.

“And now you may be excused. I am…sorry…for your loss.”

Rei nodded and tried to see if her legs would carry her. It worked, sort of. At least she made it to the headmistress’ door. Never show emotion or weakness in public.

The walk back to her room lasted forever. From all directions eyes were following her. It was as if they knew. Rei held her head high. Never show emotion or weakness in public.

Finally, she was in her room, the door locked safely behind her. She cranked up her radio. Business news on full volume.

Then, sure now that nobody could hear, she flung herself on the bed, buried her head in the pillow and wailed.

Edited by White Cobra
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Hmm. Have to head to Ishku for this, I think...

 

Ishku's native world had been wracked by magical wars before, or around the time, she was born. The world wasn't recovering. *Her* world's boundaries, as far as she was concerned, was the city she lived in - outside its walls was just desert and death, or so she believed. Not that inside was better. Life was just cheap, its loss entertaining for the ever-shrinking crowds.

 

So when she was rescued, brought to primal Earth through what was frankly a fluke - well, she jumped at it, but didn't know what to expect. She'd wound up with some odd friends with odd abilities, but it got her and her axe into some interesting fights.

 

Knowing these people got her to *grow,* though. She hadn't had people caring about her since her mother hid her away, the night they came for her parents. And soon - on a trip to Florida that itself involved more than beaches - she found herself offered a new family. One of her rescuers would become her brother, and his mother and his - other, sort of mother, though she was the mother of the alternate self that existed when a certain artifact made him not exist... no, that way lies headaches, even with a lot of description.

 

But the night she got a *family* again, well that was a good memory.

 

And it was just capped perfectly with Lily, the "alternate self mother" whom Ish had decided to live with, rented a boat and took her out on the ocean (... so much water!) and for the first time in her life, she actually got to see the stars.

 

She's loved them since. Other things have changed - there's a new iteration of the Guardians, she's hung up her axe (even blunted as it was after coming here) for a staff, taken up dance, even gotten a boyfriend - but the stars? Her love of those hasn't changed.

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

 

I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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((The Lady Cobra’s most haunting memory. WARNING: Very much on the dark side and includes hints at domestic violence, depression, and the abduction of a child.))

Another red light! I felt as if I might crush the steering wheel in frustration. Light after light after light, as if even they were conspiring to keep me away from my daughter.

Until now, Jessica’s birthday had been an unmitigated disaster.

First there was William. I had always known that he has a difficult relation to nóong Jessica at best, but his behavior this morning, completely refusing to take part in the Happy Birthday singing, the opening of presents, and the birthday cake ritual, and just leaving for an unspecified “meeting at the office” was unprecedented even for him.

Then there was the nanny, brought into our home by William without consulting me and against my wishes. It would enable me to devote more time to William’s needs had been his rationale. She was from somewhere in the Northern regions of Thailand and commanded a range of facial expressions spanning over four or five variations of strong, frowning disapproval. Her sole purpose in life seemed to be keeping me away from my daughter while making me feel as miserable and inadequate as possible in the process. Even today, she had made sure that I spent practically no time at all with Jessie on her birthday, and in my stupid fear of doing anything to enrage or defy William, I had failed to do anything about it.

And then my mother had called. Today of all days there had to be a Ngo Damh situation at a Copenhagen casino, and with my mum across the globe in Khao Yai it had fallen on me to investigate, nóong Jessica’s birthday or not.

Foolishly thinking that matters couldn’t get much worse, I had gone to change, and just as I emerged from our bedroom, William returned home. He took one look at my low-cut lavender dress and immediately deduced that I was on my way to some adulterous encounter that had only been prevented by his unexpected early return. He started walking briskly towards me.

At that moment, I couldn’t allow him to hit me. There was no way I could show up at the casino with a swollen cheekbone or a cracked lip. Perhaps because I was in my professional mindset, it was almost ridiculously easy to deflect his blow and subdue him in a wristlock and with my other palm to the back of his neck until he ran out of steam and gave up any thought of attacking me. His frothing insults stung though. He had never called me a filthy whore before and I didn’t dare imagine what horrors might await me when I returned home to face his wrath, but I just had to forget about that for the time being and focus on the mission.

Jessica had stood in the door in her pretty pastel pink dress, closely guarded by the nanny of course, and with her hands formed in an adorable but heartbreaking waai as I left.

To top things off, the tip about Ngo Damh had been wrong. Yes, there was an alarming over-representation of Asian patrons at the casino, including quite a few Thai, but the suspected Ngo Damh representatives were nowhere to be seen.

And thus finally, after wasting the evening, I was on my way home, hoping desperately that Jessie would still be up, my longing to be with her for the moment suppressing the dread of what William might have planned for me.

-0-

To my surprise, the lights were off as I finally entered our driveway.

That was strange. It wasn’t that late. My first thought was that they had gone out for dinner and then that William – despite my efforts to be as gentle as possible under the circumstances – might have been hurt in our brief struggle after all and they had gone to the ER, but then why hadn’t they called me or left a message?

A frantic search of the house confirmed my initial assumption of it being empty. Finally, on my seventh attempt, William picked up his phone. The tone of his voice was sub-arctic. He had gone to the office to attend to “business”, and no, he had no idea where Jessica or the nanny might be. And then he hung up on me.

My stomach felt like I had swallowed a woodpecker that was now thrashing about, trying blindly to hack its way out. After searching the house yet again to be sure they weren’t there, I rushed to my car.

The hours-long, increasingly aimless, and desperate search yielded no clues to the nanny’s or Jessica’s whereabouts. As the car finally ran out of gas and left me stranded at the side of some random neighborhood road, I felt like my soul was being crushed and my mind about to implode.

-0-

Hours became days, days became weeks, and weeks became months. Still no sign, no ransom note, or even the smallest of clues.

When there was nowhere left for me to search, everything became darkness, each morning a struggle just to get out of bed. I had sworn to love and protect nóong Jessica before and above anything else and I had failed her and that promise in the most horrible manner possible.

William suggested therapy. A Dr. Holmblad – one of his hunting buddies. If only I could muster the energy to call him, I would. I needed help. I needed so desperately for someone to help me. If not, I wasn’t sure I was going to survive.

Edited by White Cobra
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