|The Mask and the Avatar
Author: liuli-xia PM
The mask sang to her, implored her to put it on. It was the key to the realm of the gods. She could create or destroy worlds, realign the past, present and future. She was in the in-between world. Hoof beats sounded in the distance and she felt them calling out to her as they had done before in her dreams. Around her swirled the spirits of the dead. WARNING- SPOILER FOR BLACKVEIL!Rated: Fiction K - English - Supernatural/Drama - Karigan G. - Words: 1,556 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Published: 10-10-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8598025
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I wrote this for a writing exercise in which I was asked to rewrite a portion of my favorite book, so I chose "Blackveil." I used the chapters "The Chosen Mask" and "Their Separate Ways." I mixed the two together and then, obviously, alter events.
SPOILER WARNING! I use sections from the chapters themselves so if you have not read Blackveil, do not read this.
Currently, Karigan and her party are in the Castle of Argenthyne in the heart of Blackveil, home to the ancient, arcane evil. As a side note, Blackveil was once the kingdom of Argenthyne of a race called Eletians, which are similar to elves. There are several Eletians in Karigan's party.
Karigan awoke to the ghostly light of the castle, noting that someone had draped a blanket over her. Nearby, she heard Yates and Lynx snoring, with the singsong murmur of the Eletians serving as an undertone to the sleeping men. The chamber they were in was far vaster than any of the other's they had passed through. Three grand doorways and several smaller ones were spread along the chamber walls. In the chamber's center rose a giant tree carved of stone with leaves of silver and roots that appeared to sink into the floor.
"The tree was a gift from King Santanara long before war came to us," one of the Eletians, Ealdaen, spoke from behind her, having ended his conversation with the other two Eletians.
"What is this place?"
"The core of Castle Argenthyne, its nexus, the meeting of all paths and ways."
An object at the base of the tree caught the young woman's eye. Cautious of her leg injury, Karigan rose from her makeshift bed with the aid of her bonewood staff. Slowly, she crossed the chamber until she stood before the great tree. Some of the leaves had fallen from their branches and shone brightly on the floor, reflecting the fire light. An elbow where root met trunk cradled an object of silver. She approached it carefully and gasped as she saw her reflection in it. Karigan was almost afraid to touch the thing, but she picked it up anyway. Turning it over in her hands, she saw reflections upon reflections, a mosaic of sliver leaves mirroring into infinity. She turned to face the Eletians and shock was evident upon their faces.
"The Looking Mask of the Trickster." Lhean whispered in awe.
The Green Rider ran her hands over the surface and a hairline seam appeared on the surface, like two halves subtly parting like a clam shell. With shaky hands, she opened the mask as the Eletians watched on. Mirrors lined the interior of the mask, reflecting not only the chamber but into other places and times as well. The mask sang to her, implored her to put it on. Slowly she raised it to her face, to see through faceplate when a gust tore through the chamber and tore both her and the mask from reality into another dimension.
All around her was grey nothingness and Karigan clutched the mask to her chest as a dark chuckle filled the void as the figure of a man began to emerge. Before he was even complete, she knew who he was and dread filled her.
"Yet again we meet, Galadheon," his voice wrapping around each sound in a sickly sweet manner. "You have tried ridding the world of me by sending me into the future but, alas, you have failed."
She ground her teeth. "I am not Galadheon and I have not failed. I will defeat you in the name of Zachary, the High King"
He chuckled once more. "You are but a child who bears the name of him who betrayed me. Your family bears his burden. What could you ever do to defeat me? I killed your ancestor. You shall have his fate as well."
She bristled and reached for her sword, revealing the mask. "I will not fall to you."
Suddenly, his demeanor changed, no longer mocking but challenging, menacing. All the malice and rage he had been holding back was let loose as he flew at her.
"Give me the mask!"
"NO!" She dodged him and leveled her sword in front of her.
"GIVE it to ME!"
The sound of metal on metal rang in the void as she attempted to parry his attack with one hand. Though he was little more than spirit, Mornhavon was still a better swordsman than she, especially wielding a two-handed blade. Throwing her body weight, she shoved him enough so that she could jump out of the way. Mornhavon's grin was feral as he looked at her. He slowly changed his featuresuntil they resembled that of Yates.
"Why not let me see the mask, Karigan?" Though it was Yates' body, it was not his voice.
She closed her eyes and then opened them, looking down at the mask. In it she saw all the stars, like the lights of celestial cities. She saw all the threads of reality, as the Eletians called them, some as fleeting as comets' tails and others as luminous chains. The mask was the key to the realm of the gods. She could create or destroy worlds, realign the past, present and future. She had the power to become a god. She closed her eyes and looked away. When she opened them, Mornhavon stood before her, still in the appearance of Yates.
She had seen all the endless possibilities within the mask. Ignoring his cry of outrage, she brought the mask up to her face once more only to be stopped by a spectral lance held in between her and the mask. Looking up her eyes met the visage of a raptor, stars shining in his eyes that reflected the heavens. There was no mistaking him, Westrion the god of death.
She could see the disapproval in his eyes. No human was to bear that mask, no matter how justified or righteous their purpose. Slowly, she brought the mask down to her side and bowed her head in apology. Turning from his Avatar, Westrion faced Mornhavo and passed his lance to Karigan. Dutifully she took it, the death god's armor covering her body. Around her swirled the spirits of dead Green Riders as she raised the tip of the lance to be level with the specter's face.
"Mornhavon the Black, long have you avoided your death," her voice rang with Westrion's power. "No longer shall you continue this existence between life and death. Your time is at an end." Behind the man opened a void to the realm of the dead and she motioned to the spirits around her. "Go and take him with you to your byres and sleep once more."
With that, the spirits rushed him with whispered screams and pulled him into the void. Then, it was gone as Westrion summoned his lance and armor from the young woman. Then, he waved his hand and transported them to another realm, empty and void, save for the lights streaking the sky. Immediately she recognized them as the lives and threads of worlds. Westrion had brought her to the realm of the gods.
Then it flashed white and once more, she was in the in-between world. Hoof beats sounded in the distance and she felt them calling out to her as they had done before in her dreams. Voices form her past echoed in the white void.
"You are touched by the dead, but you are not dead. Not yet."
"Galadheon… To live, you first must die."
"How did you die, Galadheon? For only the dead walk this path."
"You… Do you know who, no. Do you know what you are?"
"Aaavataar… Why do rouse us from our death?"
"Come. Why do you seek to live when you are dead?"
"Karigan Galadheon, the choice now is yours. Either you shall live amongst mortals while touched by the dead or you shall live amongst the gods as my Avatar and messenger. Which path will you choose, Karigan Galadheon? If you wish to remain in the realm of the gods, put on the Mask of the Trickster."
She stared at the mask in her hands, weighing the options in her head. Already the king had been forced into a loveless marriage as an act to stabilize the kingdom in a time of war. Though he had asked her before, she refused to be his mistress. She raised the mask to her face one final time.
Henceforth, Karigan Galadheon, Knight of the High King and Tamer of the Wild Ride, was never seen again. Nor was her brooch ever returned to the keeping of the Green Riders. However, over the years, a young woman clad in the uniform of the Green Riders was often seen by those sent on dangerous missions. She always rode a winged horse that was black as night and had stars for eyes, who was said to be Salvistar, the horse of the death god. But, none ever saw the face of the woman, for she wore a mask-like mirror. According to the Rider legends, it is she who comes to the Green Riders who are to die and leads their spirits safely to their eternal sleep.