Magic the Gathering copyright Wizards of the Coast.
This is just a silly story born of a conversation born further from a silly comment about energy. XD Sorry this isn't my usual fair. Though, this is likely rife with all my usual writing issues. Very few canon characters are mentioned, as this is part of an origin story for a fanwalker. I don't commonly do this sort of thing... but if I do keep doing writings like this, I might just go ahead and keep adding them here. As it stood, this was bonkers long and copypasta on tumblr, even with a 'read more' cut would be too much. So here we are. Enjoy?
(side note: yes, I strongly hint it, but Slovmia is Golgari... or at least a part of the guild, and no, I have no clue what I would make Prisma's home plane)
She was a creature of passions. Of dreams and inspiration. Her crystal heart glowed in the seas of emotional delight as she wove hope and life around her. Each of her dearest sisters and herself saw to the growth and love of an entire city of people. She had helped raised and even birthed many of the greatest hearts this land had to offer.
True, it was always sad when one fell to age. Even her own children were primarily human, not a single one possessing the unique crystal heart that her own kind did. But it was always happy partings. She knew their souls would enter back into the delicate weave of the universe to be reshaped into another lovely soul and born again.
It had been building for years. First came the jealous kings from afar. These leaders that thought one hand to rule with an iron fist or some form of control was the natural order. She and her sisters had tried to tell them, tried to teach them the truth; that everyone just wanted to feel wanted, to have a place, to have shelter and warm arms to hold them.
Instead, they only saw their own greed, their perverse joy at control. It sickened her. True, it was delightful to have command over someone's body, over someone's actions, even over their very heart. But then after your fun was done, you were supposed to hold them, let them know they are precious. Thank them. To return that control that was given freely to you. It was always a temporary thing. There were such people that enjoyed being submissive to others, but the truth was that they were in the most control.
After all, it was they that were giving you permission to use them. It was only right to show your love, to bring back the relationship to an equilibrium. It didn't matter whether it was sexual, social, or anything like that. A heart was a heart, and a heart wants to be loved and to love in return.
But these men wanted to do nothing but take. To feed their people lies. Lies that were meant to control. They even used the faiths of the world to their advantage. Twisting believe and conviction into control and condemnation.
And so it was. Her queen had watched from afar as pious peoples become bent to the will of a few men that were false prophets. Holy warriors became sanctimonious executioners. Open hearts radiating love and trust and a willingness to understand others even if they didn't agree turned into souls closed tight with fear.
And what was once considered normal and healthy was deemed terrible and vile if it didn't fall in line with some manufactured binary of good or evil, of man or woman. Heterosexual or perverse.
And thus, her entire home was deemed a den of sin and needed to be cleansed.
Prisma looked up. Her home once alight in the metaphorical fires of passion now burning in the literal fires of hate and death. Even the defenseless and the children were being murdered under some foolish assumption of corruption. She could barely do anything. Her powers weren't geared for combat. She was a healer, a spiritual guide.
Her sister Array was a warrior. She helped inspire the strongest of their people to great acts of bravery. Her troops would often go to other countries and help protect against demons and dragons, deranged giants and tyrants.
But they had been tricked, fed some story about a kingdom to the south being in desperate need. She had felt everyone of them fall.
And so too was everything around her.
She had tried to fight. She had tried to use her powers to do… something. Anything.
Instead, her queen, Selene, commanded her to hide. She argued, she cried, she pleaded with her Queen to follow her then. But the woman, her own mother, gave her an order. With a hesitant and heavy heart, she did.
How, where, and why was she still alive was difficult to say. All she knows for sure is that she kept concentrating on not being found. And in the early morning, as dawn first broke it's light over her home, she chanced a look.
It had been silent for long enough, she felt. The few hearts she could feel were traveling away. Hearts she dare not follow, for they were like dark, shriveled, dried dates compared to the warm summer apples of the souls she often tended. She knew these hearts where the enemy.
Looking out over what was left of her home, terrifyingly amazed at the level of complete destruction of everything. Every home, leveled. Every drop of blood, cold.
Every heart, stilled.
As she took it in, she felt numb at first, like the pain of her first child passing, and then a prickling, a twisting itch burrowing through her limbs, tearing through her muscles, gripping her very bones, her heart clenching and searing. She curled up, falling to the ground, letting out a sound that would forever haunt the dreams of any close enough to hear.
And then light.
She didn't know how long it was. She had the vague feeling of the earth changing under her, the scent of the air transforming, of dawn suddenly being night and possibly a moon overhead? As her mind started to slowly come back into focus, she had the fleeting remembrance that the night before was without the moon. The thought only stayed long enough for her to wonder just how long it was since that morning.
After a time, more things came to focus. She felt like the initial shift was rapid, but the feeling of it being days, weeks, or even months ago floated through her lost thoughts. How could that be? Was it that time past before she even uncurled? Or was it an instant and she was just catatonic? Could her grief be playing games with her sense of time? Even the worry that should accompany those thoughts were muddled, as if in a thick fog of an early spring morning.
Regardless, she lay now under warm blankets. An unfamiliar ceiling hung over her head, and the smells around her were totally foreign. There were notes that sparked familiarity, but only in the way one flower might remind you of the fragrance of another.
A movement from her right drew her glance.
A woman. Old? Maybe a bit, but still in the range of those that she had bedded in the past. Of course, thoughts of that kind weren't really at the forefront as much as the curiosity of how did she not sense her and what did she want.
Wisened eyes met her's. If her judgement of looks were something to go by, she could be no more than forty or fifty autumns at best. Well, she could have pushed more than sixty. Even so, that was going by the flesh around those sagely orbs. Their green was vast and deep, filled with mirth and goodwill, with a twinkle of mystery.
The woman was rather tall, robes that were ragged and worn adorned her, cloaking her in earthy browns and greens. She looked like some witch or mage of the forest, at least going by the sort of person she met on her rare travels outside the borders of her home land. This woman struck her as the type that was often shunned by the more 'civilized societies' of the outer lands.
It was then that she realized why she had not felt the woman. Her own heart was still shut tight. Even now, it was as if she were blind and she couldn't open her eyes.
"Still afraid, child?" The woman's voice was soft and smooth like a fresh honey, but it was the words that caused her to bristle. She raised an eyebrow, "Oh? Not as young as you seem, then?" The sage nodded with some amusement, "I'm used to that myself."
Sitting down by her bed, the woman placed a small plate of fruits and bread on the night stand, as well as a mug of something that was hot and smelled of herbs. Some sort of tea, perhaps?
"At the very least, you seem like you are much more coherent." she looked down at the food, a knife and fork at the ready, "I have been giving you little bits for these many days. Just sitting and staring off into space and whatever horrors you probably saw before you walked here; but at least you chewed and swallowed the food I gave you." The sage gave an apologetic smile, "Well, at least any fruit or grain. You didn't seem to take well to some of the chicken. Only reaction I got out of you till now, but not the kind I wanted you to 'wake up' to." Looking at the plate, and then to her again, "Of course, now that you are here with me, did you want me to continue? Or would you like to do the honors?" The sage's gentle smile told Prisma that she wouldn't have minded it either way, and would even be happy to do whatever she asked.
She wasn't sure about anything. It was so strange to have to rely on visual cues rather than her natural empathy. Everytime she tried, all she felt was her own fear, cloaked around her, choking herself. After a moment's thought, she tried to smile, "I… w-wouldn't mind…" Before she could complete her thought, her caretaker had placed her hand on Prisma's.
"Please, sweetheart, don't smile. Not like that." The sage's eyes bore into her with concern borne of what had to be the experience of her own pains. "Seeing you force a smile hurts more then when I saw you broken on my doorstep a week ago."
Her eyes widened. For the first time since she fell, she connected with a heart. The physical contact bridged the gap created by her fear and allowed her sight into the sage's heart. She was much much older then Prisma even guessed. Her heart was scared, loss filled every cut and scratch. Children, friends, allies, and even enemies. Loss to age, to sickness, and even betrayal. And the vision of a floating egg.
She reached up suddenly, remembering her own horns, but finding them missing somehow. Looking at her hands, her nails looked mortal and blunted. Placing her hand over her own heart, she searched. It took longer then she was used to, but she found herself. Her shape was merely shifted, hiding herself. It must have been instinctual. Something about this place told her that her true self might have drawn the wrong attention perhaps? Or maybe she had hidden them when she hid herself that night? It was all a blur.
She felt faint, placing her face into her hand as sweat beaded on her skin.
"Don't push yourself. Take your time, you are safe here." Prisma looked over at her caretaker again, feeling the welcoming spirit inside her. She could tell the sage knew something about her, something that felt unfamiliar to herself. But she was not a mind reader, only empathic. She knew the flavor, the weight, the color of emotion and memory. It was a thought she filed away for now.
"Y-you don't even know me…" She hesitated. She was so used to trusting, and in that one night, all trust was robbed of her. Fear ruled her heart at that moment. The very armies she and her people had helped so easily turned their backs on her. Would it be the same now? She didn't like hiding her true self, her passions where to strong.
"True, but then, no friends start knowing each other," the sage patted her hand a few times. "My name is Svolmia, and you may stay as long as you need to get on your feet again." Keeping her hand on Prisma's, since it felt like she was calmer for it, the sage lifted the mug with her other hand, offering it to her patient.
Prisma nodded, leaning back and letting her new friend gently tip the warm brew to her lips. The flavor was like nothing she had ever tasted. True, like the smells, there was some similarity here and there, but it was like comparing gemstones. Topaz and beryl were both stones of many colors, but when cut revealed different beauty. So too could this tea be assumed to be that, tea. But that was where it ended. It was gentle and calming, the herbs helping the warmth of the water they were brewed in carry throughout her body.
The first good warmth she had been filled with since...
Pulling the drink away, she looked over and produced the first real smile, small and weak as it was, "Thank you… you can call me Prisma."
And so it was for a while. Svolmia would attend to her. Fruits, bread, and that lovely tea. Very little was spoken between them, but much was shared whenever she touched Prisma's hand.
She knew the sage was a kind soul. Old, powerful, but gentle. Through her, Prisma learned possibly one of the most important lessons, one that her queen had tried time and time again to instill in her. It was a lesson that needed perspective though. That you can trust even after the pain.
She had healed many a heart that had been betrayed, but it was always the most difficult for her to do to the fullest of her abilities. It was a mystery to her. The process wasn't all that different from any other pain. Patience, kindness, openness, just being there. Sharing warmth, and even a shoulder to cry on. But betrayal always took longer for her, and would often require the help of her other sisters.
Those sisters would often look at her with something she thought was pity.
This one woman helped by revealing one painful truth: Betrayal never fully heals. It leaves scars deeper than any other pain. Like tearing down any structure from it's very foundations, it becomes that much harder to rebuild. You have to first address the leftovers, then start with a fresh foundation. It also had the effect of hardening the soil of a heart, making it more difficult for other relationships to be formed.
She knew these things from the hearts of others, but it was a much different thing to feel it inside her own self. It was not a pain she wished on anyone, and blessed was the soul that would take her own gaze as pity rather than the envy she know understood it to be.
After a month, she finally was feeling well enough of heart and mind to stand and step out into the world again. A bath and new clothes were enjoyed before Svolmia opened the door, letting in the winter's cold only as long as it took for them to travel behind its boundary.
She had been curious about the falling flakes she had seen just the day before and it left her with even more questions about when and where she even was. It was just turning autumn, and here the first frost was upon them.
Stepping out, she felt the chill even through the heavy robes she borrowed. She felt the cold. That in an of itself was another question. All she had was questions. And someone she was slowly coming to trust would add a new one to the list as her eyes were drawn up.
They stood on the edge of a small garden. Soil tilled, sticks for bracing and small year around plants dotted the space. Most of it fell to the slumber of winter. Beyond it, she saw buildings of an architecture the like she had never seen before. She had already seen enough of the inside of Svolmia's home to know she was in some foreign land, but even the air felt different here. She watched some snowflakes fall into her open palm, the pure white against her darker skin. Slovmia's own paler skin created an interesting contrast as her friend had taken the open hand in her own and began leading her somewhere.
It wasn't as if she cared much about skin colors, she found them all pretty and wondered at how some countries cared. It was more that, she had been to countries where the the people were of lighter skin, where the winters would bite at the skin of her human friends.
And none of those lands looked like this place.
"Tell me, Priss, what was your home like?" It was a normal question on the surface, but the skin contact allowed Prisma to glean that there was something deeper in the asking.
"I come from a city vast and warm." Prisma started, the memory bitter, but sweet all the same. "And warmer hearts. Our queen would see to the needs of every citizen and even those seeking refuge in our lands."
"Sounds like a utopia" The word was unfamiliar to Prisma, but there was a ring of disbelief and of almost disdain, as if something about "Utopia" was wrong. She got the feeling of a sweet apple with a rotten core. Whatever it was, it was most definitely not her home.
She shook her head as they drew closer to a strange space, filled with archways and beautiful tile work, "It was nearly a paradise, but we didn't let that go to our heads. The value of an individual, the strength of working together, the release of passion." She couldn't help it, her heart gave a soft bet in her remembrance. The snow, the warmth of a friend's hand, she could even almost hear the drums and singing of the winter solstice.
She began to dance as she told more, even under the layers, her friend could almost feel the different emotions communicated. Joy, hope, a fleeting lust, a purity of passion. Prisma wondered a the feelings she was producing and reflecting in her friend as she lead her through one of the more relaxed movements. "In the spring, new fields were tended, planted and readied, the summers saw growth, even as new warriors trained and began their hunts. The autumn saw the forests around us burn in reds and shimmer in gold, the air filled with baked breads and pies. And then the winter, it would fall, and so we would warm each other through song, dance, and even…"
And that was when she realized how close her lips were to Svolmia's. Slowly she backed away, "I… I'm sorry. It's just…"
Their hands were still connected, their hearts still mildly linked, and through that, she felt a warmth. She was pulled back close, "No, Priss, it's alright. Stay close if you need it." She leaned in, "I don't know what you are, but I recognize the sort of magic, the kind of power fills your heart. I know it the moment I touched your hand." Svolmia touched her forehead to Prisma's. "I have something else I was intending to talk to you about, but this? I think you need this moment."
Prisma could feel it. It wasn't lust. It wasn't even love, not yet at least. But a seed. It was caring, it was the warmth of home. She had felt this seed grow into flowering vines that would bind hearts together.
Her fear wanted her to keep hidden, deep in the shadows, far from any warmth or growth. But that was not who Prisma was. She was learning the pain of betrayal from those she had helped, but she also had the lessons of her mother and her sisters to fall back on as well. A lesson about the renewal of trust. And now she was living the lesson.
If she backed away now, she would remain small. Safe, but small. But she was passion incarnate, joy and hope, silly optimism and dreams, it all wanted out and to dance.
Still, there was one other concern about her next actions. Not for her, but the one she was quickly becoming attached to, "Thank you… but, first, I worry."
Slovmia continued their dance, much slower, much warmer than before, "About what, Priss?"
"You dream. They aren't good dreams." Prisma left the details hanging save one, "It's rare my power gives me specific images." She looked into the sage's eyes, "I see two horns, and an orb, like an egg or gem floating between them. There is such malice and pain in that image that it's very shape is burned into your heart."
She could feel the trepidation through their link, bit it was not as sharp as she was thinking it would be. Maybe dulled through the years? Maybe it was that Slovmia already understood a little of her power. Instead of pulling away or changing the subject, Prisma felt the woman hold her closer, burying her face the crook of Prisma's neck, A muffled, "Yes, him."
It was a mystery about what that meant and who 'him' was, but it wasn't her goal. "My real form is hidden somehow." She felt a nod, and pressed on, "And it…" She swallowed her fear. This moment might not be the only make or break between them, but it would certainly set the stage, "I have similar horns."
She felt the woman rubbing her back, trying to comfort Prisma, "Yes, I know. I don't know how your odd glamor works, but do an elf like me, it's almost like a ghost." Slovmia leaned back, letting there be enough space between them for her to reach up and trace the edges of where a strange shape, almost like a crown, could almost be seen. The distance allowed Prisma to noticed her friend's ears for the first time. Long, pointed, and just not human enough. "And even then, barely."
Prisma nodded and smiled softly. Maybe this might work out. But she felt like there was still something more that they hadn't addressed yet.
"But before we get any further with that, I think I should finish my own thoughts first." Slovmia gently turned the woman in her arms around and wrapped her arms around her, hugging her and affording her a view of the quadrangle they stood in, an arch way leading out to different parts of ruined buildings that were near to their home, "I asked you about your home, and for good reason. This isn't your home."
Prisma felt a playfulness in that statement, but it was blanketing a larger truth that made the woman holding her both excited and afraid all at once. "That goes without saying. I have never seen a place like this."
She felt Slovmia nod again, "You could travel your whole world and never find it's like. This isn't heaven, nor hell, and you aren't dead. Whatever happened to you, it caused a spark to ignite in your soul. It transformed you beyond what on once were into a being that is much more."
These words were ringing true, and yet, "You speak as if I were suddenly some sort of god."
"Close. The word those like us use is 'Planeswalker'. When your spark ignited, your inate magical powers grew much larger then before, and the multiverse opened up to you. More so, often with the first spark, a Planeswalker ends up on a new plane. You are farther from home then you could ever imagine."
Svolmia pointed to a particular mural on one wall, one of ten symbols arranged in a circle, "This is Ravnica, both a world, and a City of Guilds."
Turning Prisma around and holding her by the shoulders, Slovmia locked eyes with her, "I tell you this because you are an empath. I once had a friend that was an empath, it's how I recognized it in you. And I watched them spark one day."
Fear, worry, hope. Prisma remembered something vague in the moment of pain and anguish, a feeling so big, so much. Just, just so much. Something was telling her it was what contributed to the physical pain she felt when she first sparked, as her friend just described.
"I was able to track his movement to a plane called Alara." She shuddered, "I found him screaming and afraid. I was barely able to bring him back to his senses."
Prisma's voice shuddered, "How… how vast is the reach of our powers?"
"Domnar said he could feel as man people as there were stars in the sky. 'Flavors' of hearts so different from each other that they had to be on different planes." Seeing Prisma's widened eyes, Slovmia nodded, "And I have reason to suspect you might be stronger then him. He was one that learned how to become an empath from what little magic talent he had. You have the feel of someone born with it. If not stronger, then at least a more deeper understanding."
The wise woman slipped her hands back down into Prisma's, "And that's what I think happened to you. Your instincts knew you couldn't handle that level of information, and so you closed yourself up." She looked down to their hands, "It's why you are hidden I think. Looking like an elf yourself, even with your rather interesting hair color, isn't as eye catching as whatever you really are."
"Why are you telling me all this?" came the shaky voice in response.
"I think your fear holds you back, but not just from your loss. As many as there are stars in the sky," the tone of wonder in Slovmia's voice was matched by her own gazing up toward the heavens. "The stars are beautiful, but still, to imagine so much. So many hearts feeling joy, so many calm, and then so many burning in anger, worry, fear." She gave Prisma's hand a squeeze, "In pain. There are planes out there full of pain and war, nothing but. I have been to few places that were truly happy enough to offset that hardship. I can only imagine how that might feel to someone with the kind of power you and my friend have."
Searching her own feelings, Prisma felt that it was right. That it sounded correct to her own instincts. Many of her sisters had been betrayed, had watched loved ones be murdered before. Not to the level she had seen that night, true. However, she could never remember any of them hiding from their own true nature, even when they were afraid to touch any hearts.
But that was the thing. She couldn't stay hidden. Now that she knew, maybe she could finally open her eyes. And so, she first closed her physical ones and retreated to her earliest lessons. She could almost hear her mother's voice leading her through the different levels of awareness.
"Prisma?" A worried voice. A friend. A strong heart, hurt and healed. The beginnings of love, a heart she wanted to cherish even if only for the kindness shown. But that heart she knew by touch.
She cracked an eye.
The light of a few hundred people, toil and pain, worry and wonder. Surrounded by muck and mire, but to these hearts it was home. Humans, Rats, gorgons, elves. The scent of death magic working alongside healing powers.
She cracked the other eye.
A city, vast. Thousands? Millions? Hearts filled with warmth and wonder at the first snows of the season. Children learning to protect themselves, friends gathered for drink and comradery. Shadowed hearts skulking about, secrets and plans. Ambition and hope, anger and drive, pain, sorrow.
These and more were the flavors, the feelings, the weight of a plane she now knew as 'Ravnica'.
A little wider.
Vague sparkles, pinpricks of light far away only starting to come into focus as if through her sister Array's telescope. Yes, Slovmia was right. Pain, hurt, fear. But she was also wrong. As she opened her eyes wider, taking more of the multiverse into her view, she could see that among the pain was laughter, joy, family. For some it was a way of coping, others took joy in the hardships. That their pain mixed with pleasure creating bittersweet experiences that would one day turn to shared stories around a campfire between skirmishes.
And finally, she opened her eyes wide.
She saw beyond the planes, into the in between, into the shadows, into something like a heart, but vastly larger and yet dimmer. The feelings were alien and familiar. Beryl and topaz, the tea of two planes. These concepts barely scratched the surface of what she could see out there.
She could picture three of the titan hearts with their hands caught, pinned to one plane. A plane writhing in the pain of such things being embedded in it body. She could no longer look at the strange hearts. Something about them felt wrong in the most right of ways.
Or was the right in the most wrong way? She was uncertain. It was too much like looking at a mirage, only the mirage would stare back. It was unsettling and she was glad they were so far away.
And then she gazed down, putting her hand to Ravnica, "They are live, and there is so much more." She spoke with wonder.
She could feel the smile on her friend's lips, "Your horns,' Prisma felt the gemstone of her horns being caressed and then the smaller, smother amethyst floating between them touched tenderly, "They are beautiful."
She could hear her friend, feel her presence, but then when she focused on one so close, everything became brighter and vaguer. Too much still. She 'closed' her eyes just enough. It would take some practice, but she could see again.
She could feel her own joy flowing out, mixing with the wonder and love just starting to blossom in her friend. Wrapping her arms around Slovmia's neck, she took those lips this time, letting their joy at finding a friend and connecting once again. She could feel how rare it had to have been for Slovmia, to find some one not only kindred, but that could share her vast viewpoint, even if just a little.
She panted with joy and need, "I'm… sorry, M-mia." She tried the shorter version of her firend's name as Mia was already often doing with her own. "I'm not used to going without this feeling, without being fed for more than a few days. The raise eyebrow, she answered the obvious, "My kind, empathy is more of a side effect of how we eat. The fruits of the earth and even the flesh of creatures can help us survive, but we thrive on emotion."
Mia quired her head to the side, "Emotion? LIke, you eat people's feelings?"
Realizing how it sounded, Priss was quick to expound on the thought, "LIke a flower drinks the sun. We cultivate the emotional state of those around us. We are sustained and grow through the kind of world we craft. We can survive off of negative emotions; but our empathy also causes us to sink into those places."
She leaned against the person quickly becoming beloved to her, "We found it felt better and was far more delicious to help heal those pains, to grow joy, to loose passion." She shuddered, tears coming to her eyes, "But then other kingdoms first became jealous, and then would ridicule us. They would call us demons, temptresses." She spat out the next word, "Succubi. Its not what we are. The succubi of legend were about devouring souls, and we could never even dream of something so sickening." She shivered with revulsion.
Priss found her chin lifted up and her lips taken, warmth of the soul and of breath filling her. Once the touch left her, Mia's voice brought her back to Ravnica, "We have time enough for stories. Being a planeswalker means we are practically gods. It means we have ages, eons, probably longer to live and learn all the little amusing moments and even make new ones."
A hand on Priss's hip and another rubbing her side, not to mention the boiling passion she had caused to spark in what definitely was going to be her lover at least this night, told her very much what was going to be said next, "We have an eternity to get to know each other's souls. But I have to say, I have seen you naked, and I have been hoping for this outcome for a month, and if we don't get back now, I might have to make a show of us here."
Giggles filled the air as they returned to their home. The cold no longer bothering Priss, and the night promising to be even hotter.
They had traveled to many other places in the multiverse, found many kind hearts, healed several lost souls, and enjoyed the finest teas they could find. They grew closer and protected one hearts and bodies intertwined for several hundred years.
But there was always one fear inside her lover's heart. So many hurts did she heal through touch and kindness, through story and salve. But this fear was one that would refuse to go away, change or lessen. Because it was a fear based on a someone, a planeswalker. It was a fear that made Priss weary when ever they would encounter a fellow Walker. And one day that fear became a reality.
On the plane of Dominaria, in the land of Madara, they came across a heart that felt fouler then any Priss had ever touched. Even the twisted greed of the men that led forces on her old home did not compare.
The most terrible thing came to the fact that the heart knew she had brushed against it. It was a rare thing, to be detected, to be tracked. The only way that could be, was if it was some sort of extremely powerful empath or telepath.
Even before she could warn her lover, a dragon was upon them. Mia turned to her, screaming at her to run, to leave the plane as fast as she could. But for a long moment, Prisma was rooted to the ground, staring into those evil eyes.
The eyes of Nicol Bolas.
His mind pushed against her's, trying to get entry. Trying to gain her secrets. She could feel his curiosity. He could see through her glamor that she would commonly wear to not scare the locals, see the ghost of her own horns and the gem that would always float there.
"So similar, so different" he mused aloud, his voice large, heavy, dark.
Finally, Mia's voice got through to her, bringing Priss's attention to full. She saw the fear. "He is too powerful, we need to leave now". But just as she was taking Prisma's hand, just as she made to walk away, a claw tore through her arm.
Prisma felt the pain in her heart, the blood splatter on her face. She cradled her lover's body close and looked up, her eyes glowing with power. "Not. AGAIN!"
The dragon bolas put up his own mental guards, ready for a duel of the minds. Instead he felt old wounds break across his skin, deep fears boiling to the surface, anxieties and nightmares from his youth ages ago. It was like nothing he had ever experienced before. Rather than attack his mind, she tugged at his very soul.
Prisma could feel the confusion settle into a sickening certainty. She could hold him, confuse him, cause him hesitation. She could feel he had no easy defence against her.
But they both knew that was it. That was the extent of her power. Against a mortal or even some human walkers, what she had done could have driven them insane, or even outright stopped their heart. Against a dragon of his age and experience, it would not stop him.
Perhaps if she had a team, people that could work together against him, maybe then her power could count for something. But she had no way to defeat him. And worse, she may be guarded, but her lover was not.
She felt his mind slide of her and onto Mia's. She screamed, instinctively covering her lover with her own body, as if that would have done anything, and walked, pulling them both way as fast as she could.
She felt everything come apart and come back together again. She quivered, scared that maybe they were followed. Taking the first look around her, she found that the musty air and the shimmering moon above told her they had landed in Innistrad. Such would be cause for further alarm, given the sort of dark forces this world had of its own, but she didn't care.
Quickly, she used her power to start healing the wound. It was strange, their wounds would heal so fast, but it was taking so much power just to staunch the bleeding. As her magic went to work, she connected with her lover's heart, "Please, speak to me, Mia."
The woman looked into her eyes, a sad smile on her lips. The heart was whole and safe, but the mind was gone. Shattered, and crumbling still. Even this far from Bolas. A shuddering voice spoke to her, "Y-you… live… good." Tears were falling from her eyes.
Priss felt the heart and mind drifting from each other. Feelings and impressions that created the scars she lovingly touched and caressed into healthy, whole recollection now had no memories to connect them.
She watched as her heart left her body, but she grasped it. She would be damned if she let Innistrad rob her of her lover and add her to its damned spirits. Hugging her lover close, she chose, instead, to make one more walk.
Back home, to Ravnica.
Her body would be given back to the earth, her heart to the sky. And as for Prisma? She would hide once more. Her heart was ruled by grief and loss, and those would mend with time; but worse was the fear. If she wasn't careful, she might draw that terrifying monster to Ravnica. She could feel his dark greed, his vile lusts for power. He might already be aware of the plane she had been calling home for several hundred years, but Prisma didn't want to give him any more reason if any to find his way here.
And so she hid, closing her heart as much as she could given her vast god state as a planeswalker. For many more hundred years, only myth of a strange woman with purple gems for eyes and a kind word on her lips if you went down just the right alley would circulate through the City of Guilds.
But nothing more than myth would she be, a shadow until the day when she could figure out what to do about her fear...
More than four hundred years later.
The Rakdos corner of Ravnica had always been home to many kinds of debauchery. Some more visceral, like fight clubs, some more in the way of spirits and food. But of course, there was those of the more carnal nature. Brothels were not uncommon in the slightest.
There was one that was special. Well, there were several. But each held a different vibe, a different spirit. For this one, the 'Purple Gate', it was a matter in how they handled both clients and employees alike. One could say that this was one of the few that held itself to a high standard. All that were in the Mistress' employ had chosen to be there, and even those that did not hold themselves as personal pets of her's gladly wore her collar when representing her.
And the clientele were actually rarely those of the guild the Mistress worked with. While difficult to find, those that were allowed entrance wore many different colors. Azorius officials, Gruul hunters, and Izzit scientists could all find friendly conversation around the hearth and warm beds with enthusiastic company. Even righteous Boros and shady Dimir could find themselves as drinking buddies inside the Purple Gate.
Despite the location being deep in Rakdos' personal territory, any that held an invite for the Purple Gate would often find their way unmolested, mostly due to what the Mistress would do to those that would mess with her own.
Prisma stepped onto the floor overlooking the main room of her brothel. It had taken years for her heart to heal. Longer for her to feel safe enough to even show her horns again. She had almost rejoiced when she felt the multiverse tremble at the fall of Bolas. She may have been planes away, but she could feel his sickly soul being crushed.
And then to her horror when somehow he returned. A horror tempered by the Mending. One night, she could feel the universe get smaller around her, her power to touch hearts as far away as Kaladesh diminish. The few walkers she was in contact with were confused and scared, and she could even feel that trash dragon's own fear of losing his pathetic godhood right before her view of souls collapsed down to this one city.
It was rare thing when she delighted in the negative emotions of others, but that had been one of the most delicious flavors she had ever tasted.
And for the first time in over a thousand years, she was happy. She never wanted to be a god, never wanted to be a shepherd of souls like she tried to be once. Not on that scale. It was too impersonal. There was a certain tipping point where everyone just became numbers, a sea of feelings, stars that you clumped together by constellation.
No, this, right here, was more her speed. She was still effectively immortal. The title of 'succubus' was one she continued to wear as a part of the Rakdos guild. It was easier then explaining what she truly was.
But a god couldn't work so close or on such a personal level. And so she was happy to have crafted this place, her "Purple Gate". Her home.
Her home was considered neutral ground, one of the rare sort to be found within the vast city of guilds. And she was proud of the home she had built. It was difficult, and it relied strongly on her leadership, her heart. But this place was full of love.
Funny sort of thing to find in the Rakdos lands.
She held a very high standard to her clientele, and even if she didn't have the most powerful people, she didn't care. This small place was the tiniest of rebirths of her old home. Here, maybe she could cultivate a new generation of friends, family, and those that would work together to protect their homes rather than fighting among themselves over scraps.
When that Jace boy rose to be the Guildpact, she rejoiced. True, he wasn't her first choice, as if she had any; but when he did work, he did a pretty fair job. If only he would stick around more.
She had watched him every since the first moment his heart entered her city. She wasn't sure what to make of him, being telepath. She didn't have many good memories of any telepath she ever met. But he worked through many adventures, and her respect in him grew. She was happy to count the young planeswalker as a part of her home… though, there was so much pain inside him. She wanted to help, but by the time she felt sure enough about him, he was wrapped up deep in the politics of the city, a side of the city she tried to stay out of direct contact with. She preferred to raise up people that would do that work for themselves.
Some would say it's a fool's errand, to try to change the world so slowly. But she could not bare to enter into the afterlife of any plane and be able to look her beloved and her fallen people in the eye if she didn't at least try.
As she walked past her many and varied patrons and beloved workers, she touched some here and there, spreading her magic, giving them her blessing for the night. It was said her touch would cause their nights to be so much more pleasurable. Men would find that more of the ladies would join them. That some of the ladies would discover more about their sexualities. And even sometimes, those with issues of their form, by morning's light, would find themselves blossomed into something more befitting their hearts.
Her touch was more than mere lust. And she was happy to spread her blessings. And for those few she chose to bed, they would find a stronger effect meeting them the next day. Of course, her standards were exactly what kept everyone in check.
They didn't know how, but she knew their hearts and would even make a show of those with the fouler hearts. Amusingly, the Dimir agents quickly learned that she didn't care much what they did outside her walls, what sort of dark plans they might have had, or even if they killed other clientele. She only cared that they didn't make things personal, and they especially didn't use any advantage gained through her business.
She walked a razor's edge in that way, but it made things interesting and kept her lovers, pets, and toys well behaved without resorting to anything too drastic.
Finishing her trek down the stairs, she gazed around the room. Every being her eyes met made themselves just a little more presentable. Ladies would angle themselves so that their best asset was on display without being too tasteless. Men would puff out their chest and give bright smiles.
Yes, Jace can have the power of the Guildpact, and kings can have their rule, this was the power she enjoyed.
And yet… Her eyes rested on a fellow, a Boros solider that was by himself, head down and sighing. Not a new face, nor a common one either. The rest of the room knew who had been chosen at least for this hour. The mistress always had a soft heart and always knew a heavy heart when she found one.
Stepping over to his side, she sat down. Instead of leading him into her lair, she spoke with him. Her deft touch both physical and social helped him to open up. Those nearby, much like the pseudo family she was trying to cultivate, came together around him.
A loss, a loved one perished. Not by politic or war, but by a sickness that was rare and deadly. Even a Golgari sage, nor the Selesnyan healer before him, that he had hired could not figure out what was wrong. His wife had wasted way in days, leaving him without a lover and his daughter without a mother. After several days of grieving with the child, he had left her in his aunt's care while he got away and spent time trying to find his own heart again.
She smiled down on him, looking to the others. "Do not worry," she spoke, "You will find good friends here. Enjoy yourself as much as you want, and if you need a shoulder to cry on, be assured on my word, every person here will gladly supply it. I can't guarantee it will hurt less, but by morning, the burden will be lighter." She placed a small silver ring, a blooming flower with an amethyst set inside of the blossom adorning it, "And take this. Your child is under my protection until she can protect herself." She blessed him with a soft smile, "I'm sure a strong warrior like you can teach her what she needs to get by in this world." Kissing his forehead, she moved away.
Picking a curious Izzit woman and a gruff, but kind feeling simic fellow, she lead them back to her room.
It was hard to miss, straight back from the front entrance, was a large opening with a sliding door built in, and idea she picked up from her time in Kamigawa. Strings of purple, white, and pink gems hung down from the top, just barely blocking a full view of her space. If her chosen didn't mind, she often enjoyed being watched. But this time, she had her personal assistant, a short and radiant woman named Sapphire, slide the door closed.
A few hours later found the soldier in good conversation with a fellow Boros and her own lover from the Rakdos of all folk, just hanging out in companionship. Her lover even handed the soldier a ticket for three to the circus. It might be a bit much for his daughter, but it was the thought that was important here.
The pair blessed by the mistress left the room, still kissing each other and heading to the upper rooms to continue their night. The rather common sight of the blessed walking out with little on was easily glossed over by the amusement that the two had been in a restrained, but heated debate a moment before she took them into her care. Sure, this wouldn't guarantee any sort of lasting truce or partnership, but some folk need a way to unwind and see a new perspective before they could continue.
Prisma sat, her body cloaked in the musk of her joyful work, her eyes just looking through the gems and watching as hearts were lightened, as people came and went. Like a dream.
She put this all together over the course of fifty years, and some of these people bore rings like the one she gifted this night. She knew what she aimed for and what would happen were two different things. She could have probably forced more change in this world if she jumped into politics, but that wasn't her way. That wasn't the way of the one she loved or the people she lost. A drink found it's way to the small table by her bed, a goblin looking up at her with concern.
"Mistress seems stressed tonight," the goblin fellow stood close. He was a special sort, a little less manic than his brothers, though once fixated on a thing, he did it with just as much gusto. "Is there anything she would like to talk about?"
Spreading her legs, she curled her finger under his chin and guided him close to her, "Maybe your tongue will help my woes this night, more than your words, Spevic" Her lips held the ghost of a smirk. There were feelings that she wanted to forget and a few extra waves of passion might do the trick. Or so she tried to lie to herself. And the smirk widened, but with little of her usual warmth.
Normally, the little pervy gob was happy to ply one of his best skills, but he had been seeing that look on her face too much lately. Taking her hand in both of his smaller ones, he looked up and said words she never thought she would hear from someone again, "Please, Mistress, don't smile. Not like that. It hurts to see that smile."
Sure, on the outside, one might assume it odd that he would ask her not to smile like that. Spevic was on of the masochistic favorites of Mistress Prisma. But Prisma could feel it, this wasn't the pain he liked.
But moreso, those words were HER words. After several hundred years, to hear -those- words.
To the shock of a few of those nearer to her, tears started to fall. Pulling the small fellow into her lap, she hugged him close, the goblin returning the hug.
Sapphire, seeing the state of her mistress, turned to the doorway, stepping through the hanging jewels before sliding the door closed. There were a few that had been waiting, and even some who had seen the tears start and had gotten up to see if they could help. She just smiled softly. "I am sorry, at this time, the mistress is in disposed, all clients wishing her audience will have to wait until tomorrow. However, I would be remiss not to offer the warmth of our other lovely ladies, gentlemen, and others in her employ" Her pleasant smile and business savvy did help her keep her own worry down. Spevic would help her mistress tonight, and after business was down, she would join in.
And to be honest, she was one that favored a nice, chaste sharing of warmth over some of the more wanton hungers of her mistress. Though, she wished it under more a positive circumstance, she was still happy to be there for her.
In any case, she was glad. Tomorrow, Mistress Prisma would have her own heart lighter, a thought that was already warming her own soul.
The next morning, Prisma woke, feeling a heart of a planeswalker leave her city. Jace and Liliana had been here and there the last several months, but Vraska was someone she had been expecting. A few of her Dimir friends whispered strange things. Details they noted, but would not add up to anyone else but a planeswalker.
There were mysteries that at the whiff of a certain dragon. Her and Ral were ones that she had to keep an eye on. She knew their hearts, knew their truths, but could not yet move.
Had she met Jace properly, had Jace not been a fool and ran in with most of the Gatewatch to Amonkhet, and had Jace been made to realize how powerful an asset she could have been, the dragon Nicol Bolas would have fallen.
It was not anyone's fault to be honest, fate and destiny had other plans in story for both the Gatewatch, and Prisma's own Purple Gate.
Prisma took a sip of her tea, the herbs helping ease the last of the pain of the nights revisiting of old memories into a warm feeling of recollection and remembrance. She watched as the gentle steam rose out of the mug, the view of a special planet she had taken with her when she moved, whose leaves were the origin of the magical taste, made her smile just a bit more honest and lovely.