Concordia stared into the bottomless sea, waves rippling, seaweed glistening under the sunny Castelian sky. Her blonde hair flailed around her, squirming and squealing like a live animal, no longer the gorgeous plait it once was. She stared, and stared, hoping for a different scenery with every blink, every step. Heart rate matched her stride, feet tapped gently on white sand. She would stare, stare, stare, look at everything but her hands, don't look at your hands, for god's sake Concordia, don't you dare -

She looked. Her gray gaze flickered to the rendered useless appendages, stubs on once slender arms. She had no hands to look at, only the nubby scar they abandoned as they jumped ship, when they decided to leave it all behind and return to the cycle of life and love and misery and she was thinking again.

She took a deep breath, one, two, three. Exhale. Safe. She was safe, no need to think about the accident that took her hands, once beautiful hands goddess hands porcelain and velvet touch. Velvet, velvet, velveteen, sateen on bad days. Her hair was that of angel's, a curtain of ethereally spun gold. Her eyes were diamonds, coveted, gorgeous, lovely.

She was lovely, once.

Her mouth formed an o, preparing to speak.

She pressed her lips together, ran her tongue over the scars and scabs.

She tried to speak, again.

Then she remembered.

She couldn't.

"A wicked harlot like yourself doesn't deserve the privilege to scream."