When I was working on my Changeling character for the World Of Darkness game I play in, my ST had me roll randomly to determine if my character remembered her life before Arcadi as well as if she had any memories from inside the Hedge.
Eiel has no memories at all of her life before the Hedge. She does, however, remember her time in captivity very vividly.
My ST asked me to come up with some ideas of what my vision of her Durance and captivity was like. Here is the first of five stories I wrote with that intention. Hope you enjoy!
I entered the oversize ballroom, clearly examining my surroundings. The cathedral ceilings are gilt in gold, the walls blanketed with soft frescoes and endless tapestry. Chandeliers and sconces emit strange flickering light over the cavernous room, playing tricks on my eyes. The mere beauty of my surroundings is hard to fathom, and the mood of the hall strikes an odd chord in my heart. Shadows dance a jig in the corner, yet a strange melancholy rests in my head.
The music is played by what I see as moving anthropomorphic instruments. I have a stray thought of a dancing candlestick, teapot and armoire. I vaguely remember these images, but I can't recall why. As I move closer, I notice the musicians in more detail. I'm strangely moved by the cello, a curious cross of flesh and strings. I see her face in the scrollwork of the head, her ears poked with ivory pegs, like nightmare jewelry. Her slender neck is the fretboard, and her dark brown hair has been worked into strings. Her broad back and shoulders are softly rounded, with her wide chest bearing the bridge and crosspiece. Her arms act as the bow, moving across the strings with the music. Her wide lines come in sharply around her abdomen, with her torso flayed open for the “F” holes. Her hips and pelvis form the base of the instrument, coming to a gentle rounded stop, with her legs crossed and nearly fused together as the endpin.
There's a table stretching from one end of the room to the other, exquisitely appointed with chargers, monogrammed linens, crystal, silver, gold and breathtaking china. The table is laden with sumptuous foodstuffs; every dish more delectable looking than the next. Other appetites are addressed as well, with narcotics, pornography, libations, and more laid out for the taking. The air is thick with aromas and the scent of wax from the candles lighting the table.
A cool scrutiny presses heavily on the room, it's presence active and intense among the occupants. Like frosty breath puffing from a warm mouth, the air moves with chilly vapors. The varied beings here all react in some way, aware of each touch, each sensation and each action as the hall settles into an icy pall, thick with investigation and examination.
There are others here, aside from the quartet of living instruments; about eight in total. A few sit carefully, heads held high, chatting amiably yet discussing nothing of importance. Their eyes are riveted straight ahead, and their bodies kept remarkably still as they convey no emotion nor show any indication of the table or the surroundings.
There are some who have managed to control the outward expressions of desire, interest, or hunger. Their latent desires are betrayed however; through a quick flicker of their eyes, a nod of their head or the slightest twitch of their fingers. The electric heat of their pique rests in my nose, on my tongue, on the hair on my neck.
A fierce and primal part of me responds, eager to pounce on the morsels of arousal. My ears perk forward, my nostrils flare, my haunches tighten and I gather myself in anticipation of a quick strike.
The room goes cold, the air nearly frozen in time. I hear a crisp, cool voice murmuring to me. The question is simple enough, but loaded with malice.
“Whose desire is the strongest? Who would you find as your prey, if I were to let you hunt?”
It's the briefest of signals; the slightest of hints. The cold presence thickens and falls upon the target suddenly. The crystalline form of her body shimmers with ripples of color as she devours the emotion, and I'm crushed under her weight. I should know by now, but I can't help myself. I'm still too greedy.