Author Topic: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Complete]  (Read 8792 times)

Offline LivvieLove

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Three]
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2016, 12:52:29 AM »
Part Three
The Fall

King Eglanor was summoned to his wife’s side as were their three remaining children. The royal tutor, Siun, carefully attended to the queen all night the previous night after her collapse. The men stood somber, expecting grave news.

Galan stood straight, but his eyes fell to the floor with shame that the last thing his mother would see of him could be of the fight between he and Tuon.
Finreth leaned against the wall, arms crossed and eyes closed in meditation and frustration.
Tuon stood with an empty stare ahead, nervous energy seeming to surround him.
King Eglanor sat and eyed the bed quietly, an unknown emotion written in his features.

Finally Siun spoke, “she has survived the night. She is weak now, but she will live.”
Galan couldn’t stop the smile that came from the relief he felt, his brothers had strangely mixed reactions: Finreth only grew more solemn and looked away, while Tuon’s anxiety had clearly increased.
King Eglanor nodded, stood, and exited the room without another word, and Finreth watched him go with a glare.
Queen Araiel coughed lightly and her eyes came open slowly.
Galan ran over to his mother’s bedside, kneeling with his eyes to the floor. “Mother!”

Araiel looked at her son quietly and a weak smile passed over her lips, “my son, Galan. I’m so happy to see you.” Her voice was lower and lacked the energy it usually had.
“I’m so sorry mother. I know I haven’t been around as much as I should’ve…”
Araiel ran her hand along his cheek and shook her head gently, “I’m just happy to see you now, my son.”
Galan stood up quickly, “are you hungry? Do you need anything? I’m going to get that silly servant. You’re going to need all the help you can get in order to recover.” Galan took off for the door, and his mother smiled sadly and watched him go. Her eyes caught Finreth’s from across the room. Tuon noticed this and looked at Finreth’s face that showed nothing but distaste.
“My Finreth,” she held her hand out to him, as she did every day when he came to see her, “why the sour face?”
Finreth took a long breath in and pulled himself from the wall, walking around the bed slowly. “You live today, but for how much longer?” His voice was low as he shook his head. “I would not wish you to live forever only to see you in pain everyday.”
Araiel smiled at him, “do not worry for me, my son. You held up your end of the deal, it’s my turn to hold up mine.” She smiled at him weakly and tried to laugh, but it only came out as coughing.
Finreth smiled at her and shook his head. “I suppose I did.”

Araiel motioned for Finreth to come forward, and Finreth leaned over closer to her. Araiel examined her son’s face, “you are destined for great things, my son.” She shook her head, “do not forget that.”
Finreth’s face became serious and he closed his eyes. He let out a long breath as he nodded, “I’ll be by to see you later, mother, as usual.”
His mother raised her eyebrows at him, “remember our deal. Perhaps you should work on that instead.” She tried to tease, but Finreth was the only one who understood what she meant. Tuon gave him an odd stare, but Finreth just shrugged at his brother before exiting the room quietly.
Araiel smiled at her last son then, “Tuon, my sweet Tuon, are you alright dear? I heard about what happened with Marie.”
Tuon looked at her in disbelief, “how could you know?”
Araiel smiled, “I’m your mother, I know everything.” It was her favorite joke. In reality, her only frequent interaction with the outside world was the servants that came in and out of her room, and as such, she learned about things only the servants knew.
Tuon shook his head and looked away.
“Tuon… please do not let her bother you. You will find a wonderful woman who will make you very happy, I’m sure.” Araiel tried to comfort him.

Tuon crossed his arms, “I’m so sick of being in their shadows.” His brothers. He would always be underneath them, and it made him angry. "I'm tired as being defined as Galan or Finreth's brother!"
“Tuon, you are not in their shadows.” She tried to motion him over to her, but he did not move nor meet her eyes.
“I will never be able to prove my worth because no one will see me.”
Araiel shook her head, feeling distressed for her son. "Tuon... you are as bright as a star-"
Tuon cut her off, "I don't want to be a star, mother. I want to be the sun." He bowed curtly and walked out the door without another word, leaving Araiel alone. She sighed and closed her eyes, unsure of what had become of her boys.

-------------------------------------------

Tuon bit his cheek, his eyes looking around nervously. He replayed the conversation he had with the stranger in the garden in his head over and over again, trying to harden his resolve.
”I can grant you anything you desire, but a price ALWAYS must be paid.” That man’s laughter made Tuon’s skin crawl, but he knew what he needed to do. He would pay the price, no matter what it took. Galan could not take the throne, he would run the country into the ground.

Tuon replayed what he heard his mother telling Finreth. Tuon wanted to let Finreth live, he really did, but he couldn’t take any chances. Thoughts swarmed Tuon’s head. Perhaps Finreth could be persuaded? Galan will never give up his birthright, but Finreth? He never wanted any of it. Of course Finreth was mother’s favorite. Tuon felt his mind turn to something more bitter. Tuon was never good enough for either of his parents, nor his brothers. He was not strong enough, he was not brave enough, he was not charming enough, he was just not enough. He would show them that it doesn’t take strength to run a country. He had the answer to the problems right at his fingertips, and while Galan ran around with his silly theories on the death keepers, Tuon would know better. Tuon would carry Dragon Valley to prosperity once again, if only they would just give him a chance.
His mother had made a deal with Finreth. Over what, Tuon couldn't be certain, but if he had to wager a guess it would be the throne. Tuon frowned. Finreth would be working on 'their deal' and Tuon knew that he would need to dig in and figure that out before he could move forward with his plans, but he just didn't have time for that.

Tuon sighed and entered the castle library - his sanctuary. He had until the end of the day to pay his price or the deal was off. Tuon ran his fingers along the books on the shelves when the idea struck him. Perhaps he wouldn't need to worry about either of his brother's after all.

-------------------------------------------

Finreth moved quietly through the castle, his thoughts were dark as he thought of how close his mother had come to dying. His mother had teased him that he should get to work on finding a wife, but that was the farthest thing from his mind. He's spent enough time dealing with people in these last few days to last him a lifetime, and he was determined to find some solitude in the comfort of his room.

Finreth quietly slipped into his bedroom before he noticed something was very off - his hidden door was open. A rush of fear and anxiety hit him before he hardened his resolve to anger. There was an intruder in his room and he would deal with them swiftly. He looked around but knew his blade was nowhere closeby. He crept to the fake bookshelf and peered in before he rushed the intruder.
Finreth had pinned back the culprit but soon found two big eyes of a woman staring back at him. He released her immediately, but kept his angry stance. "Who are you?! You don't belong in here!"

The girl jumped back and held her hands out in front of her. "I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry my prince!" She fell to her knees and didn't look him in the eyes.    
"What are you doing in here?! Who ARE you?!" Finreth looked at her sharply with his fists clenched.
She made a motion to the basket on the floor across from her, "I was just supposed to deliver those to you, I swear it."

Finreth stole a glance at the basket of art supplies before his eyes narrowed back at the girl. "Eliza is the one who brings me art supplies."
The girl shook her head, "I'm so sorry, your highness, she was too busy... with the queen's illness and all..."
Finreth gritted his teeth, "who else knows?!"
"Just me, your highness! I swear it! I swear!" She still hadn't looked up at him.
Finreth did not ease, but he nodded slightly. "That doesn't explain what you're doing in here." He growled.
"I came in to bring your supplies and you-"

"They're not mine." He hissed.
The girl quieted and bit her lip, confused. "Eliza mentioned you had a hidden room... I just wanted to put the supplies out of sight, your highness, that's all. I figured you wouldn't want someone to walk in and see a basket of paints in plain view."
Finreth frowned at the intuition the servant had, and his angry reaction faded back to the darker feelings he had felt earlier. "Ah." He nodded and swallowed, looking around awkwardly. After a long silence he let out a breath and offered her his hand.
The servant stared at it anxiously for a long moment before taking it very hesitantly.

Finreth pulled her to her feet gently, "I apologize for... rushing you like that." He said to the wall beside her, not able to meet her gaze.
The woman shook her head, "I'm so sorry for invading your space. I beg your forgiveness, your highness."
Finreth gave a short nod, sucking in his cheek. "It's probably best if we never speak of this again. I trust I have your discretion on this matter."
The servant nodded furiously, "of course, your highness. Not one soul will know." She paused for a long moment before she stole a glance up at his face, "for what it's worth, these paintings are the most beautiful use of mixed mediums I’ve ever seen." She tilted her head down and started to slowly back for the door.
Finreth stared at the wall a moment longer, "what's your name?"
The girl stopped immediately, fear filling her eyes. "My... my name?"

“Yes, what is your name?” Finreth looked at her, his face unreadable.
The girl shifted and looked to the floor, “Leila, your highness.”
“Leila.” He let her name roll off his tongue, “a pretty name.”
Leila flushed, unsure of whether she was in trouble or being flirted with. “I…”
“You’re familiar with painting?” His voice was gentler now, almost interested.
Leila smiled softly, “I’m not good at it, especially not as good as these… but I have dabbled in it. That’s… that’s why Eliza sent me… I think.”

Finreth nodded, and they grew quiet. Finreth had never met someone who actually knew about painting in an actual artistic sense. Siun had taught him the history of it, and the logical side of it, but he had never met someone who viewed it the same way he did.
“If that’s all, your highness, I’ll take my leave.” Leila curtseyed quietly, her eyes to the floor. She turned to the hidden door.
“Wait.” Finreth called to her and she stopped, turning to look at him. “Would you mind staying for a bit longer?” He paused and took a breath in. “I… have never had the chance to talk to someone who actually enjoys painting… the way that I do.”

The servant’s eyes grew wide and she looked around, “are you sure, your highness? I… I’m not exactly suitable company for a prince.”
Finreth flashed a charming smile, “that’s exactly why you’re the most suitable company I would ever want to be in.” The thought of his father having a heart attack over him fraternizing with the servants only solidified the decision.
Leila being beautiful certainly didn’t hurt either.

-------------------------------------------

Galan had been on his way back to the library to return to his research when Tuon exiting caused him to pause. Galan turned away and walked towards the window, he would not be dragged into another fight with Tuon, not after the way last night went. He would do his best to ignore his brother and focus on his birthright and all the things that came with it.
"Brother." Tuon spoke coldly as he approached Galan.

Galan grimaced, "I do not wish to speak with you, Tuon." He would be the bigger person for their mother's sake, and no one else's.
"Too good for everyone, as usual." Tuon spat.
Galan looked at his brother as though he were a foreigner. The brashness with which he spoke could not have been the brother he knew. What happened to the coward in the library? "I will remind you of your place in position to me, brother, but I will not take your bait. I refuse to distress mother any further." Galan said firmly.

Tuon rolled his eyes, "well, that position won't be yours for long if mother has her way. You ran out right before things got interesting - brother." He narrowed his eyes and a small smile tugged at his lips. For once it felt good to see his older brother squirm - after all the years of torment Tuon was finally getting the upper hand. Tuon had planned this perfectly. He leaned over to his brother with a wicked grin, "mother and Finreth made a deal for the throne. It appears I'm not the only one who's viable competition for you, dear brother."

Galan's face hardened, and he opened his mouth to ask further of the situation, but Tuon patted him on the shoulder, "good luck, Galan." He said coldly, and he turned and walked off, a wicked smile spreading over his features as he did. It was a shame he was pulling Finreth down this way, but in the end it would be worth it. Everything would be worth it.

-------------------------------------------

Leila had spent several hours in Finreth's hidden room talking with the prince. She found herself surprised by how charming and normal he seemed. She had only ever gotten glimpses of him when she would deliver food to the royal table on rare occasions. If she were honest with herself she just assumed he was an angry, stuck-up royal from the way his face always seemed to rest on a scowl. His younger brother was much brighter and friendlier to the servants, and his older brother was certainly easier on the eyes to look at, yet today he was different.

She had always thought royals had it easy, that their lives were just perfect and ripe with happiness. She frowned as she thought of how he worded it, his "gilded cage." She never thought royalty would be forbidden to do anything at all, and yet his life seemed almost worse of than her own. Despite that, when he spoke about his art she could see the light in his eyes. He was actually quite handsome that way. She stopped and stood for a long moment, cursing herself inwardly. Off-limits. He was thoroughly off-limits.
She sighed and looked down when suddenly she was jerked backwards - forcefully shoved against the brick behind her. Pain radiated into her back and she screamed, dropping the clothing she carried. A blade was held to her neck firmly as she looked upon her attacker's face.

"Hello peasant." The crown prince looked at her with anger in his eyes. "You spent an awful long time in my brother's room today, didn't you?"
Leila's lip trembled, unsure of if she should speak, nod, or say nothing at all.
"If you value your life, peasant, you will tell me everything."

-------------------------------------------

Tuon quietly walked up the stairs to his mother's bedroom, book in hand. He could feel the anxiety filling him, nearly destroying him. It was almost time. He bit his lip and let out a breath to try and steady his nerves. His mother could usually see right through him. He needed to be firm in his resolve. He had to pay his price, and he couldn't let her stop him.
Tuon knocked on her door and opened it, surprised - and somewhat relieved - that the servants were not around. "Mother? It's me. Can I come in?"
His mother looked over at him from the bed with a weak smile, "Tuon, I'm glad you've come to see me." Her voice had gotten a little stronger from this morning, showing she was on the mend.
Tuon felt a pang of guilt run through him, "I'm so sorry for my outburst earlier."

Araiel smiled at him, "all is forgiven, Tuon. I'm just glad to see you're doing better."
"I brought a book to read you," Tuon approached her bedside hesitantly.
Araiel nodded and studied him intensely. "Tuon... is something wrong?"
His mother had already scented it out. Tuon almost couldn't believe it. He could still back out - there was still time.
No. He was going through with it. He had to.
The door came open suddenly as Eliza entered quietly, not seeing Tuon in the room.

"How are you feeling, your majes-" Eliza squealed, "the prince! I'm so sorry, your majesty! I did not give him permission to enter!" Eliza's eyes were wide with a mixture of slight anger and fear.
Araiel shook her head and smiled weakly, "it is quite alright, Eliza. My sons are always welcome here."
Eliza nodded and curtseyed. "Forgive me, your majesty. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Araiel looked at her son then back to Eliza. "No, I think I'll be set for the afternoon. Why don't you go enjoy yourself with a few hours off."
Eliza looked around with big eyes, "are you sure, your majesty?" She almost couldn't believe what she heard.
Araiel nodded, "absolutely."
Eliza bowed lowly, "thank you, your majesty. Thank you so, so much." Her voice was filled was sheer gratitude before she slowly moved towards the door, "please call if you need anything." She bowed again, lower, and then disappeared out the door.
Tuon almost couldn't believe the way things were working out. He looked at his mother nervously, "are you sure about that, mother?"
Araiel gave him a strange look. "Of course I am. I'm glad to have some time with my dearest son."
Another pang of guilt ran through him.
"Will you tell me what's bothering you, Tuon?" She poked at his secrecy again, and Tuon felt a cold sweat cover him.
He looked away, "I would rather we didn't talk about it right now," he spoke quietly and thought quickly. "Just feeling sad about Marie." He lied.
Araiel nodded warmly, "I'm so sorry Tuon. She wasn't good enough for you anyways." She reached over and grabbed Tuon's hand with hers. "What did you bring to read to me?"
Tuon looked at his mother sadly, before picking up his book. "Just some fables, something lighthearted."
"That sounds wonderful. I should warn you though, I'm a little tired. Please do not take it personally if I cannot stay awake, my son." She smiled sadly. "I should be on the mend though. Maybe even enough that we can have dinner again, and perhaps you'll be there this time?"
Tuon swallowed, his mother's weapon of choice was always guilt, and she was an expert at wielding it. He nodded, "that would be great." His voice broke as he spoke but he shook it off and opened the book before his mother could question it.
Tuon focused on reading aloud to his mother. He read the words, though he didn't actually pay any attention to them. After a point he finally looked up and saw his mother had dozed off. He put the book down beside him on the bed and felt himself struggling to breathe.

”I can grant you anything you desire, but a price ALWAYS must be paid.”
The man's laughter echoed in his ears and Tuon swallowed and closed his eyes. He remembered all the times in his life when Galan had pushed him around. All the times he had been publicly humiliated by being unable to fight. He remembered how Finreth watched and even laughed at points. How Galan had purposefully gone after Marie after Tuon had expressed interest. Tuon thought and thought until his thoughts fueled his anger. He reached further up on the bed and grasp at the pillow that was there.
"In order for you to gain a new life..."
He picked the pillow up quietly. His eyes still closed. He sucked in a breath as he gripped the pillow with both of his hands firmly. He clenched his jaw. In one swift movement, he smashed the pillow onto his mother's face and held it there.
"... you must take someone else's away."
Tuon's eyes opened widely as his mother struggled against him. She was too weak from the illness to truly fight back though, and her attempts to fight only grew weaker. Tears fell from Tuon's eyes and his lip trembled.
Eventually, Araiel stopped fighting completely.
Tuon began to sob openly. "I'm sorry." He whispered. "I'm so sorry." He choked on his tears and his whole body trembled. He removed the pillow from his mother's face and almost couldn't bear to see her so still. He slowly put the pillow back into place and stood up. He felt dizzy, like he needed fresh air. The room was suffocating him. He wiped his tear-stained face and ran from his mother's room.
Outside, another explosion occurred further into town. Tuon's actions had triggered events that would change the world forever.
The fall had begun, and nothing could stop it.

Offline oshizu

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Two]
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2016, 01:12:01 AM »
Such tragedy!
At this point, I detest Galan for tormenting Tuon, stealing Marie, and now interrogating the very lovely Leila. (I recall you have a weakness for natural freckles...)
Galan is beyond salvation.

Tuon's anger makes him too vulnerable but how could he agree to sacrifice his mother?
I'm sad that the artistic Finreth will likely be robbed of his happiness.

I will patiently wait to learn whether these events occur before or after Anne's fateful encounter with he-who-shall-go-unmentioned.
Such suspense!



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Offline LivvieLove

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Three]
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2016, 01:32:39 AM »
Such tragedy!
At this point, I detest Galan for tormenting Tuon, stealing Marie, and now interrogating the very lovely Leila. (I recall you have a weakness for natural freckles...)
Galan is beyond salvation.

Tuon's anger makes him too vulnerable but how could he agree to sacrifice his mother?
I'm sad that the artistic Finreth will likely be robbed of his happiness.

I will patiently wait to learn whether these events occur before or after Anne's fateful encounter with he-who-shall-go-unmentioned.
Such suspense!
All I can say is this next chapter will answer ALL of your questions regarding "he-who-shall-go-unnamed" and more. I'm so excited. Bursting. Really. I've started writing the next chapter already, but likely won't post it until tomorrow or the next day.

I love how you remember my love of natural freckles! She's an adorable girl. Poor Finreth is pretty good at painting too. :-/

Thank you for always reading and commenting! I love hearing what you and other commenters/readers are thinking about with my chapters/stories. Anyways, it's the final countdown! :3

Offline Nettlejuice

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Three]
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2016, 05:09:00 AM »
*flips table* No, you did not! Urgh, I am just so angry! And want to read the next part right now xD

I've been reading your signature and something about Reapers seemed familiar so I went and checked the story, to my surprise I've read your stories before. I loved the Reapers, but went on a hiatus from the forum and didn't get back into reading. I couldn't remember where I had seen the stories before but I've found you again, I have to begin from the start as I've forgotten so much. Reading Oshizu's comments, there must be some connection to the Reapers so I'll be sure to read them no matter how long it takes ^-^
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Offline LivvieLove

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Three]
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2016, 12:44:11 PM »
*flips table* No, you did not! Urgh, I am just so angry! And want to read the next part right now xD

I've been reading your signature and something about Reapers seemed familiar so I went and checked the story, to my surprise I've read your stories before. I loved the Reapers, but went on a hiatus from the forum and didn't get back into reading. I couldn't remember where I had seen the stories before but I've found you again, I have to begin from the start as I've forgotten so much. Reading Oshizu's comments, there must be some connection to the Reapers so I'll be sure to read them no matter how long it takes ^-^
(Evil grin) Yeah, I think I did. ::) I'm working on the next part as we speak! I work tonight, but after that I get the pictures and will try to have it up later tonight! It's the final chapter in our story - and then there will be an epilogue! :D

Aw, thank you so much! Welcome back from your hiatus! I take a few of those every now and then, but when I came back this time I really came back full force - I really got in there and nailed out the lore you're kind of getting a glimpse of here. ::) I apologize, you'll probably have A LOT to read, but hopefully it will be an enjoyable journey!
As for Oshizu's comments - there is a connection between the stories. I will not say how, for I don't want to spoil anything. I will state that these stories are separate though, and you should not need to read one to understand the other. It's more just for fun for people who are fans of that particular character (he-who-shall-go-unnamed-until-this-next-chapter ;) ) considering where we are in my story is reflective of a different area of his life.

There, I think I summarized that without spoiling anything. :-X That's tricker than it seems, haha!
Anyways, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! The final part is dawning!

Offline LivvieLove

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2016, 02:11:47 AM »
Part Four
From the Ashes

Finreth had gone out for a bit of sparring practice. Seeing Leila roaming around in his room - his secrets - made him entirely uneasy. He had practiced the rest of the afternoon, but his head wasn’t in it. She had a pretty smile. His father would die if he married the servant. The thought made him actually a little happy. It would never happen, but the thought alone was enough to bring him a bit of joy.
In the distance, Finreth spotted a large cloud of smoke climbing into the horizon. A fire had started? He was confused and stared at it with narrow eyes before he turned and went inside, hoping to get some answers. His brother Tuon nearly knocked him over as he passed him through the door. Finreth’s brow furrowed, “hey!?” Tuon looked at him briefly with fear in his eyes before he shook it off and continued out the door. Finreth was flabbergasted by how odd Tuon had been acting lately. He shook it off though, as there appeared to be a fire in the distance that would need attending to and his father would need to know.

His father wasn’t in the throne room, which was highly unusual. Everything seemed unusual lately and it made Finreth deeply uneasy. He looked around before climbing the stairs to check to see if perhaps his father had grown a heart and gone to visit his mother. He stopped as he passed his own bedroom door and heard noises inside. Rage filled him and he threw his door open only to find a scene that would put him in ruins.
His father stood with a raised eyebrow staring into Finreth’s secret hide-away - the bookshelf had been overturned to the side while a roughed up and deeply traumatized Leila sat helplessly on the floor, crying. Galan stood there as well, a smug look on his face when he turned to look at Finreth. “Look who finally decided to join us. Come to paint a bit? Oh wait! You don’t paint, or at least, that’s what you always say.

Finreth looked around with his mouth open and his fists clenched.
His father turned to look at him, shaking his head, “and here I thought my only daughter was dead.” His voice was hollow.
Finreth gritted his teeth, unable to say anything on pain of death.
His father turned back to the paintings, “with all the paintings in here, we won’t even need to get you a dowry sorted for when suitors come for you.” He shook his head again and his eyes closed. He opened his mouth again to speak when a shout shook everyone from their thoughts.
“THE QUEEN!” They all jerked towards the door as a servant went running down the hallway shouting. “SOMEONE, PLEASE! THE QUEEN!”
Elganor stepped forward and gripped Finreth’s arm firmly. “We’ll continue this later.” He let his son go and disappeared up the stairs, followed by Galan quickly at his heels.
Leila looked up just slightly from the floor, “I’m so-”
“Get out.” Finreth’s voice was a whisper.

Leila sucked in her lips, tears forming in her eyes, but she stood and ran out the doorway, leaving Finreth alone in his destroyed room. He wanted to sink to his knees, but something pulled at him - he needed to see his mother. She was ill and she would need help. He gathered himself and went running for the stairs behind everyone else.

-------------------------------------------

Finreth sat alone in his mother’s bedroom next to her body.
Her corpse.

He swallowed at the word. He was not a man to cry about anything before, but he could not stop the tears that fell from his eyes. It seemed like the world was burning alive and no one would be able to save him now.
Finreth welcomed whatever his father planned to do to him once this all settled. One thing was for sure: Finreth would never paint ever again, he swore on it. He looked at his mother’s still form and swallowed back bitterness.
Something wasn’t right though, and it was something Finreth couldn’t wrap his head around. He had been there with Siun the day Amet died. Galan and Tuon had been fighting in some battle of pride when Amet had started coughing furiously. Finreth had been with his mother. He remembered everything about that day with vivid detail. Amet coughed and coughed until blood came pouring from her mouth and nose. She cried and bled out that way as the plague finally took hold of her completely.

This was far too clean for the plague to have taken his mother. There wasn’t a drop of blood anywhere. Finreth picked up a rag from the floor, the one his mother would use to conceal her coughing, and that, too, was surprisingly clean - only speckled lightly in blood that was already dried completely.
“I see I’m not the only one to sense something’s amiss here.” Siun spoke from the doorway. He nodded at the book on the floor next to Finreth. “I forgot my book in here earlier. I was researching how the plague could’ve taken her life so cleanly.”
“You saw how Amet died.” Finreth’s voice was hoarse. “Does this look like the plague to you?”
Siun said nothing, instead he picked up his book and walked over to the window. He closed his eyes as he saw the destruction spreading across the kingdom, “the prophecy has begun.”
Finreth’s brow furrowed, he knew the scholar wanted him to ask, but he just felt too bitter. “Good. Let the world burn.” He whispered.
“‘For in this age the sky will fall, order will right a vicious wrong, and out of the ashes, one will rise.” Siun repeated the fortune to Finreth, but Finreth only shrugged.
“I care not for your wisdom right now, Siun. It will not bring my mother back.” Finreth looked forward.

“I told you the prophecy only because both of your brothers know it too. Perhaps that is something to think about.” Siun tipped his head down and walked out of the room quietly.
Finreth sat on the information before he sat up completely and looked at his mother skeptically. His eyes searched the bed around her until it fell on the pillow next to her that was slightly crooked.
His mother never touched that pillow, as she hoped his father would return to her bedside one day, and now it lay just slightly crooked. Finreth hesitantly leaned over and picked the pillow up.

He wanted to shake his head and forget the notion completely, however something caught his eye when he moved the pillow.
Blood.
The bottom side of the pillow held speckles of blood, and Finreth’s sorrow immediately twisted to rage. Who could have done such a thing? Galan seemed far too upset and surprised at finding the body of their mother but…
Tuon had ran straight into him as he barrelled out of the doorway of the castle. Finreth clenched his fists. He wanted to scream; and more importantly, he wanted to kill Tuon. He just had to find him first.

-------------------------------------------

Galan sucked in a long breath and tried to steady himself. His mother was gone and the kingdom was in ruins. It was a king’s worst nightmare, and he wasn’t even the king yet. Galan sat outside, trying to catch his breath and keep it calm. His brother, Finreth, was stirring up a ruckus and he could just barely hear what was being said.

He wanted to know where Tuon went. Galan sucked in his cheek. Those two were always plotting things against him. He had heard about the way they had met in the library just two days ago. Ever since that day Tuon has been acting weirder and weirder, and now Finreth had caught the strangeness too. Galan clenched his fists.
The world was falling apart and what were they doing? Plotting in the midst of it. He hated them for that. He watched Finreth mount his horse and take off riding like something was after him.
Galan glared at him as he left before throwing himself up and rushing to get his own horse. His brothers would rue the day they decided to plot against him.

-------------------------------------------

Tuon was just barely above being a mess when he arrived at the designated meeting point. The stranger he met had to be here - the stranger Tuon had deciphered was the God of Magic and Madness. He knew a god could grant him this power. All it took was the price being paid, and now it had been.
Tuon swallowed hard, but it felt like his throat was collapsing in on itself. His horse shifted uneasily at the magic that filled the area.
Tuon struggled to walk forward, “I know you’re here! I did as you’ve asked. I paid my price!” He shouted at the trees.
“Did you, Tuon? Did you pay a price?!” Tuon turned around suddenly at the familiar voice, spotting Finreth - his bow drawn and aimed right at him. “Because it looks to me like mother paid that price.”

Tuon was collapsing inside, “Finreth… you don’t understand…!”
“I don’t? Oh well that’s fantastic news!” Finreth drew the bow back further as sarcasm dripped from his voice, “please enlighten me, oh filthy murderer.”
Tuon opened his mouth when suddenly he felt a strange wave of magic wash over him. He started laughing, “the unicorns!” He shouted, laughing insanely as he fell to his knees.
Finreth jolted back, startled, but he redrew his bow firmly and glared at Tuon, tears fogging his eyes. “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!”
Another man’s laughter echoed off the trees, “my loyal servant Tuon, you have done well.” It was followed by strange sounds of coughing and cursing. 
Tuon was rocking as he cradled himself, a strange smile pulling on his lips. He giggled at his name being mentioned.

Finreth’s face was slipping more and more into disgust. “Show yourself, you demon!” He snarled as he began to let his eyes search the horizon for any sort of movement.
“Don’t fight it Finreth! Let it happen!” Tuon called his brother with a crazed look in his eyes.
Finreth shook his eyes and backed up slowly, “what have you done, Tuon?!”
The maniacal laughter started up again, but stopped suddenly, “oh dear, Tuon. Your brother doesn’t want to play our game. How unfortunate is that?”
Tuon’s face hardened to a glare directed at Finreth.
“Ah well. Servant, dispose of him. He is of no use to me.” The laughter rang out along the forest.
Finreth’s heart nearly stopped, “Tuon…” He looked at the man he once called his brother. “Please… think clearly!”
Tuon stood up, his head lolling to the side, and he began to walk towards Finreth with malice in his eyes.
“Tuon, PLEASE! Don’t make me-” Finreth couldn’t finish his sentence, his bow was drawn at his brother who was coming towards him. Tuon’s mind was completely gone.
Finreth’s lip quivered and he had trouble keeping his bow steady. “I don’t want to shoot you! Please! TUON!”
The plea fell on deaf ears. Tuon was humming to himself under his breath.
Finreth closed his eyes and knew that he had to do it.
He loosed the arrow, piercing his brother in the chest.
Finreth fluidly drew another arrow, his eyes narrow and watering as he did so. It was an automatic reaction to keep his bow drawn. Tuon clutched at the arrow in his chest, looking at his brother with pangs of clarity in his eyes.
“Why would you do this, brother?!” He cried out as he tried to pull the arrow from him. The clarity in Tuon’s eyes dissipated, and he jolted forward, running at Finreth.
Finreth gritted his teeth, sucking in a harsh breath as he loosed another arrow.
And another.
And another.
Until the man he once called his brother finally stopped moving.
Finreth’s hand came up to his mouth immediately as he looked at the limp body. Tears pricked at his eyes but he sucked in a breath. It was not his brother he killed. His brother had already been dead. His brother would never have murdered their mother. This stranger wearing his brother’s face was vanquished. Finreth looked down solemnly. “Why did you have to do this?” He said quietly.

“I KNEW IT!” Galan threw himself out of the brush, sword in hand. “You two were always plotting something, and now it seems that you’ve finally turned on each other!”
Finreth turned, his brow furrowed, “Galan? What are you-?”
“Finally!” Laughter bubbled into the forest once again. “And here I thought things were going to be boring!”
Finreth looked around the forest again, “SHOW YOURSELF, you MONSTER!”
“Oh! Ooh?” The man’s voice was amused. “I’M the monster? Well I didn’t just murder my own brother, now did I?” The voice laughed wickedly. “What about you, brawny? You’ve had quite a difficult life being the leader of your two imbecile brothers. It must have been hard on you having to fight for your given birthright.”
Galan’s sword lowered and his eyes grew narrow as he looked around the forest. “Who… who are you?”

“Nobody important, just a friend, dear Galan.”
“How do you know my name?!” Galan raised his sword again.
“I know a great deal of things, like how your brothers were plotting to take the throne away from you.” The voice was sliding up and down over octaves as it spoke.
Finreth’s eyes went wide and he turned immediately to look at his brother. “IT’S A LIE, GALAN! Please! Don’t believe-”
Galan had turned on Finreth and pointed his sword at him. “You always were so deceitful, brother!”
“No! Please! Galan I beg you to see clearly!”

It was too late though, for Galan lunged at him and began his attack.
Finreth fought him off as best as he could, but he was only wielding his bow. Finreth was quick enough to dodge most of his brother’s incoming attacks. After a moment, the same magic that filled the air when Tuon lost his mind began to seep over the two remaining brothers. Whispers began to fill the air - each saying different things to the two brothers.
Galan’s face had grown angrier and he dropped his sword, nodding along with the whispers that spoke to him.
Finreth shook his head as he watched Galan; the whispers spoke of how his mother wanted him to be king. Galan was too angry. He couldn’t possibly rule correctly. If he were king no one could tell him what to do or say. He could paint all he wanted.
Finreth gritted his teeth. The mention of painting was enough to cut clarity into him. He would never paint again. He clutched his hands over his ears and resisted the whispers, but Galan had no such clarity. “Galan! Don’t listen to them! They’ll make you mad!” Finreth tried to call out to him.
Galan couldn’t hear his brother, and instead lunged for him, going for this throat.
The two struggled against each other for several minutes. Finreth pleaded the whole time, begging his brother to be rational, but there was no logical part left in his brother. Galan, too, had completely lost his mind.
Finreth felt his heart sink, and he almost wanted to give in and just let himself be killed, but he couldn’t do that. He thought of the kingdom, and how the world would fall apart if he did so. No, the world needed him to keep fighting.
So he did.
He used all of his strength to overpower his brother, who tried desperately to scratch and claw at Finreth’s face, and Finreth held pressure down on his neck until his brother stopped fighting. Finreth’s eyes were closed tightly, unable to stand the horror of what had become of his brothers. Finreth nearly wanted to let the tears fall from his eyes, “you… STUPID, pig-headed, lout! Why couldn’t you listen to me?!” His voice was low and it broke as he spoke. The tears would not come now. Finreth sat numbly next to his older brother’s body while Tuon’s body lay not far from where he sat.
 
Finreth was ready for the magic to swoop in and take him, to end his life and finally put him at rest, but nothing came.
There was a stillness to the forest and the silence was deafening. The only audible thing was Finreth’s ragged breathing.
Suddenly a sharp sound broke the dead silence, as a slow clap began. Out of the shadows a wiry man stepped, and his clapping slowly got faster.

“Ladies and gentlefolk, we have our victor.” The man gave a wild grin.
Finreth didn’t bother to look up at the man who stood on the other side of the lake, he just focused on trying to breathe.
“The KING of Dragon Valley!” The man laughed, and the magic in the air seemed to stiffen. Finreth knew he was the source of all the problems for the last fifty years if not more. A god truly had been toying with all of them.
Finreth didn’t want this. He didn’t want any of it.
“What says our victor?” The man’s voice jolted up an octave as he stepped forward. “Perhaps he-” His voice grew strangled and he fell to his knees. Magical artifacts grew from the ground and created a strange cage around him. He clutched his neck like he was choking. It did not stop him from laughing, “Agony-wony! I’m so glad you’ve joined our party!” He coughed and laughed again.
Another form came from the woods, this one was dressed in all white. His face was severe and he walked gracefully, speaking as he took each step towards the cage. “By the Order of the Pantheon, under the grace of the World’s Essence... I, Agonin Madere - God of Order and Restoration - charge you, Zachurr Odaline - God of Magic and Madness - with treason of the highest offense. This includes, but is not limited to, the withholding of the magical barrier, thereby not performing the duties as outlined to you by the order of which we both belong, for preventing the gods and others access to their magic and by willfully ignoring the summons to trial to face your misdeeds. The punishment for which, in accordance with laws and traditions of old, is death.”
Zachurr gritted his teeth, “I demand you let me out of this foul cage immediately!” He screeched.
Agonin breathed evenly and let a small smile catch his lips. “I will enjoy this.” He stated levelly. He held out his hand and a light flashed from each of the beams that were holding Zachurr in place.

Finreth, who had watched the whole scene unnoticed, wanted to shield his eyes but he was frozen in place with his eyes locked on the two gods. The lights grew brighter and brighter and Finreth began to squint, raising his hands to shield his eyes, yet not cover them completely. The light grew so bright until suddenly it all sucked in, leaving a very strange calm that rested over the forest.
Finreth looked around, confused, but before he could really grasp what had happened a powerful explosion sent him flying backwards along with the bodies of his brothers.
 
Finreth’s ears were ringing and the only clear noise he could hear was the sound of his ragged breathing along with the pounding of his heart. His whole body ached. He opened his eyes slightly and could see nothing but ash remaining where the Mad God had been, the cage that was holding him in place had been completely destroyed and reduced to ash as well. There was something moving though, and Finreth almost couldn’t see it. It was like a glittering, translucent serpent that danced around the God of Order, swirling in the air with it’s mouth open, fangs exposed. Finreth felt fear in him when it spotted him and began to dart directly at him like a snake on the attack.
Finreth threw his arms up to shield his face but nothing could stop it. The serpent moved faster than light and pierced into him and his heart stopped.

His blood began to boil in his veins. The pain was completely unbearable. Finreth writhed and screamed. His vision had gone completely blurry, and his hands clutched at his scalp - his fingernails raking through to his skull. The magic twisted and distorted him, filling him and his mind with thoughts he could not control.
“NO!” He screamed against it.
Screeching. Dancing. The smell of lavender over a fire. Howling to the moon.
Violet eyes of a woman he had not met yet.
His skin bleached out, his ears sharpened to a point, his hair curled on end, and his eyes glowed bright orange with power.

Suddenly everything grew silent in his head, and the world seemed to glow around him.
Then everything went black.

-------------------------------------------

There were voices whispering in his ears, they were all talking too fast and he could only get glimpses of them. He groaned and rubbed his throbbing head. He opened his eyes and realized there was no one else around him. The voices were in his head, and panic set in. He gritted his teeth and his mind screamed internally, “GO AWAY!”
It did. His mind grew suddenly silent at his command and he swallowed and looked around nervously, half expecting the voices to swarm him once again, but all was quiet and calm.
He pushed himself off of his stomach and onto his knees before staring down at his hands - these were not hands he was familiar with. His skin was perfectly white, and his hands trembled as he came to that realization. He idly touched his face with his hand, his fingers running up to his ear which was now pointed and different. This couldn’t be happening. He squeezed his fists with distress and the grass around him died in response. His eyes grew wide.
“That did not take very long.” The man in all white - Agonin, he remembered, spoke now. “What is your name, son?”

He sat quietly and stared at Agonin who had started to walk his way. What was his name?
Finreth, he recalled to himself. He spared a glance at his brothers and frowned. No. That wasn’t his name. Finreth was a painter. Finreth was a brother. Finreth was a prince.
He was none of those things now.
His mind flashed briefly to his mother.
Queen Araiel Glebaal, wife of King Eglanor Glebaal, ruler of Dragon Valley, originating from the noble house Majnun of Galia. Mother of three, and killed far too early. He almost couldn’t stand to think of it any longer.
“Majnun.” His voice was raspy as he spoke. “My name is Majnun.”
Agonin nodded and held out his hand to him. “A pleasure to meet you, Majnun.” He said levelly.

Majnun eyed him carefully, but took his offer for help to his feet - fearing whatever else he might kill with his magic accidentally. He was surprised how easy it was to move. It felt like he weighed nothing at all. He could feel something bubbling in his throat, like a strange laughter, but he suppressed it and coughed instead. Agonin was looking at him intensely. “My name is Agonin.” He stated matter-of-factly. “I ask that you come with me, we have much to sort out.”
Majnun looked at him with narrow eyes, “just where are we-” his voice slid up an octave and his eyes went wide at the lack of control he had over his voice, “-going?” He struggled to finish.

Agonin was unphased. “I’m going to take you before the pantheon and introduce you to everyone, then I will help you get settled in to your new position.”
Majnun’s face twitched against his will and he frowned harder. He knew what Agonin was talking about, but at the same time there was still a piece of him that was in denial. “Position?” He asked nervously.
“As the God of Magic and Madness,” Agonin spoke with even tone, like the unshakable force he was.
Majnun could not help but look down and shake his head, letting out a harsh breath. “A god?”
Agonin nodded, and waved his hand, opening up a portal and ushering Majnun that way. “Welcome to godhood, Majnun.”

-------------------------------------------

This is where our story ends.
The world had been crumbling under the weight of magical strain as the god of such magic had not been permitting it through. The God of Order finally pinned down and rectified the wrongs of the world, and in the wake bore forth a new god to fill the void left by the death of his predecessor. Dragon Valley would no longer be suffering from the chaos of wild magic, untamed. Instead, Dragon Valley would fall into political chaos. Following the death of his wife and sons, Eglanor would tumble into darkness. He lit the castle on fire and watched it burn to ash while he, and many others, were still inside of it.

It seemed all would be lost - however, one servant snuck away in the dead of night with a painting tucked thoroughly under her arm. She did not look back to see the mob that was coming towards the castle, nor the fire that had engulfed everything she ever knew.

Crown Prince Galan and Tuon would never live to see another day. And Finreth?
Well, as far as anyone else was concerned, Finreth died in the explosion resulting in the death of a god, and the birth of another. Majnun would grow to be one of the most powerful beings in existence and all would tremble at his presence.

The man who rose from the ashes.

-------------------------------------------

‘For in this age the sky will fall, order will right a vicious wrong, and out of the ashes, one will rise.

Offline oshizu

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2016, 09:17:32 PM »
I'm just speechless!
I read Part 4 late last night before going to bed but couldn't respond. I still feel somewhat dazed by the story now.
Majnun's origin story makes so much sense in light of later developments--his love of paints and his at times ambivalence toward his godhood (which I discussed a little in your Reaper thread).

You did totally catch me by surprise--the glimpse of those legs earlier led me on a false trail of sorts.
I'd wondered briefly why Finreth had fewer facial shots before--I was so caught off guard by his rebirth!

At the start of Part Four, Finreth is heading toward a fire, which never gets mentioned again.
I sit back and patiently await your epilogue.

Foolish me, believing a few days ago that I couldn't be any more obsessed with Majnun!



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Offline LivvieLove

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2016, 10:02:12 PM »
I'm just speechless!
I read Part 4 late last night before going to bed but couldn't respond. I still feel somewhat dazed by the story now.
Majnun's origin story makes so much sense in light of later developments--his love of paints and his at times ambivalence toward his godhood (which I discussed a little in your Reaper thread).

You did totally catch me by surprise--the glimpse of those legs earlier led me on a false trail of sorts.
I'd wondered briefly why Finreth had fewer facial shots before--I was so caught off guard by his rebirth!

At the start of Part Four, Finreth is heading toward a fire, which never gets mentioned again.
I sit back and patiently await your epilogue.

Foolish me, believing a few days ago that I couldn't be any more obsessed with Majnun!
You have NO idea how hard it was to keep this a secret. I was dying. Words can't even express.
This story has been on my mind for a long, long time. It'll probably become relevant in the Reapers later (as Anne will likely question Majnun about his past) and now anyone who wants to know about it, can!
So when I started this I scraped off his makeup and changed his skin and eye color and I was plesantly surprised by how different he looked - however he STILL looked like Majnun to me. My boyfriend was blown away and couldn't even recognize him, but I was too afraid someone would sniff him out even still, so I avoided too many facial shots of him.

At the start of Part Four, Finreth is heading toward a fire, which never gets mentioned again.

Finreth was going to warn his father about the fires that had started in Dragon Valley (he could see them in the distance). They all got distracted, but it's mentioned once again with Siun:
Quote
Siun said nothing, instead he picked up his book and walked over to the window. He closed his eyes as he saw the destruction spreading across the kingdom, “the prophecy has begun.”

The fire Finreth saw was the explosion noted here:
Quote
Outside, another explosion occurred further into town. Tuon's actions had triggered events that would change the world forever.
The fall had begun, and nothing could stop it.

Sorry if that wasn't clear!

Offline oshizu

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2016, 10:22:27 PM »
"Majnun looked at him with narrow eyes."
After reaching the end of Part 4, I looked back through all the screenshots and loved the image below the above quote the best.
It looks the most, and yet just hints, like the Majnun who stalked Anne!

Really fabulous storytelling, Livvielove!
And the screenshots were, each and every one, magnificient!

Offline LivvieLove

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2016, 03:21:35 AM »
"Majnun looked at him with narrow eyes."
After reaching the end of Part 4, I looked back through all the screenshots and loved the image below the above quote the best.
It looks the most, and yet just hints, like the Majnun who stalked Anne!

Really fabulous storytelling, Livvielove!
And the screenshots were, each and every one, magnificient!
Thank you so much! Majnun's not a half-bad looking guy when he's all cleaned up. Shame he never will be completely.  ::) Thankfully Anne doesn't mind him that way, right?  :-X I'm working on the epilogue as we speak. I should have that up by tomorrow (hopefully). It's been such a blast writing this. It was so hard to keep it a secret, but now that it's done I feel like I can shout it to the heavens!
Thank you again, for all the kind words and great comments to my stories! It's so much fun getting to see what people like or don't like about what I write and people getting to enjoy the things that go on in my head!
Hopefully I did Majnun some justice in his backstory. I'm just so excited that I managed to write all of that without anyone sniffing him out! That was my main goal, so mission accomplished!

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2016, 05:28:44 AM »
The legs poking out of the bushes in Part 1 threw me off guard.
Because of those legs, I kept waiting for the today-Majnun to make an appearance in the story.
I hadn't even stopped to imagine a predecessor God of Magic & Madness!

And now I will shut my mouth and wait for the epilogue!  :-X

Offline KRae

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2016, 10:28:42 AM »
Same here. You caught both of us off guard. This was even better though - a great origin story.

Offline LivvieLove

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2016, 12:56:26 PM »
The legs poking out of the bushes in Part 1 threw me off-guard.
Because of those legs, I kept waiting for the today-Majnun to make an appearance in the story.
I hadn't even stopped to imagine of a predecessor God of Magic & Madness!

And now I will shut my mouth and wait for the epilogue!  :-X
I'm glad! That was their intention! I was hoping to throw everyone off the scent while Majnun snuck by unnoticed. ::) XD
Here comes the Epilogue! I promise!

Same here. You caught both of us off guard. This was even better though - a great origin story.
Thank you! I'm so glad it was a surprise! One Epilogue coming your way!

Offline mpart

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2016, 12:57:13 PM »
Yay! This story is unblocked again! Thank you to the moderator who as unblocked this wonderful story! I just want to say, I love, love, this story. It is written very well and the screenshots are something out of this world.  :)

Offline Magpie2012

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Re: Risen From the Ashes: A Short Story [Part Four]
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2016, 02:10:41 PM »
Yay! I can finally comment! I hope my mail to Carl et al is what did it :-) this is EPIC! Liv, you have out-done yourself with this origin story! I am now even more of a Majnun fangirl than I was before <3

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