Author’s Note: This is the second precursor chapter for Gold Heart, Silver Chain. If you haven’t read the first one, start here.
Genres (so far within the totality of the universe): Romance, Slice-of-Life, Drama, Fantasy.
Tags (so far within the totality of the universe): F/F, M/F, Mature Sensual Content, Mild Fantasy Violence.
Totality Rating: This serialized content is “Mature” due to romantic overtures between adult women and use of hard language (cursing/swearing). No severe warnings currently apply to this fiction. Warnings will be added on an as needed basis.
Agreeance to Meet: Gold Heart, Silver Chain Precursor #2
Setting: “The Black Causeway”
A royal messenger from the north had ridden with haste down along the pathway of the Black Causeway to deliver a missive of great and profound importance to his people. With direct orders issued from his great and noble queen, he’d barely slept, hardly ate, only rode along the path to where he suspected the wandering nomads to be.
He cared little for the Arvad as a whole, he looked down his nose at them great many times when a collection of them roosted right outside of the auspicious kingdom that he called home. Still, loath though he was to admit it to himself, the new consort to his majesty was not completely useless. She was no waste of space. Granted, she was still a low brow, a questionable choice, but it was not his place to question at all. He was only to serve, his loyalty promised great rewards.
It would be beneath him to speak ill of the royal houses that so favored his tenure. As one of their messengers, he lived a life not many could. He’d never do a thing to give that up. That he would be regarded with a job of such import, that was an honor. It sugared what might otherwise be an insult. As he sat to break bread with the wandering nomads of the shadow’s influence late that afternoon, he waited for letters to return with.
Meanwhile, Blair penned her replies carefully, but with an urgency. She would not want to leave her chosen one waiting. She sat by the fire, meal untouched as she worked to craft the perfect responses to the members of the Birendra family.
Blair’s most important letter of all came last.
You mentioned something of a diatribe, but I assure you, this will not be that. It occurs to me, however, that there is much you’ve probably yet to be told of our ways. We don’t often speak of them, it goes against the very nature we keep. Tied to our elements as we are, there are plenty of ways that can go entirely awry. There is so much I wish I could tell you about my element, and we Advar who are so often stringently governed by them. However, there are details mortals cannot understand.
The universe is much too vast, and even we Advar can’t possibly know everything either… more often than not, we know nothing. Conjecture becomes a comfort, our best guesses are merely that.
I was born by the Grace of Shadows, Valda… he is our patron deity. Well, for those of us bestowed powers in his likeness anyway. Of the six great beings to cultivate Basa, he is the one I am expected to answer when called. I recall when I was gifted to my parents as little more than a small speckle of a spirit. I remember those days, floating along at their side.
I was conscious of my own individuality, even back then. I could think on my own and watch the world. Although I couldn’t wander far from the influence of my mother and father, I could at least learn the ways of the land. For several long years, I stayed in that form.
She looked up to the ruckus going on around her, a pure and unmitigated havoc of curious infantile Advar frolicking where they ought not to. The poor Cadfan messenger ran away from the harmless youths, unaware perhaps, of their very young nature. The poor man looked as white as a sheet, and Blair could hardly blame him for his fear in the matter.
Cadfan and Aasa knew so little about the Advar way. Tangential knowledge could never be the same as the firsthand understanding of the primal flow. He tripped face down in the mud, and that was a fine point to make. Blair suspected that her cousin was going to teach the Birendra family a great deal about the Advar way of life. Still, she was not of shadow, she was of flame.
There was only so much that she could expect her cousin to impart about the matter. A lesson, a personal one, seemed wise.
Mortals think we are parasitic in our infantile state, but that is far from true. We don’t feed from our parents like leeches, we take nothing from the outside world. As newborn spirits, we only have a need for one thing; to be tied to this world, just as every Advar is. To be kept stabilized in a place that is not made from shadow alone. To be protected, we require the influence of our parents.
That is why we are born in their image, you see…
It is so that our parent’s stronger influence can protect us from the environment. When we are small, it is entirely foreign to our nature. It takes time before we are mature enough to reclaim a bodily vessel after we have been reborn… I recall the shadowy void faintly from my own infancy, but I do not recall my past lives… the life that I live now, is all that I know. Perhaps this is only my first life, but somehow I find that doubtful.
Advar like my parents, with no mortality between them left to speak of, they can only have children this way… to wish for a child deeply. If they truly desire that bond, their own souls commingle with the void of our element, and that void makes life anew.
Why do I say all of this?
Valda, I don’t know what rests beyond the shadow, or why such a power resides within us… I only know one thing. We of the Advar, we are not meant to take life, but to birth it. The older we get, the less we require the influence of our parents. Eventually, the tether between us fades. Then, we are expected to lend ourselves to this world, or face the repercussions of our failure when we don’t.
A droplet of unplanned ink fell onto the paper. Blair suspected that was just her luck. First the rain rendered her penmanship imperfect, now the pen failed her too. Against her better judgment, or perhaps simply because she felt she would least be judged for it, Blair continued to write anyway.
The moment we are no longer needed, that is the moment we become obsolete… but, so-in rests the reason I tell you all of this. I have news. My parents conceived twin souls just last week… a grace for them, a damnation for me.
I’m of age now… old enough to cast out on my own merits.
The last vestiges of my own soul’s tether with theirs faded only recently. Once it did, they became viable tethers once more for new life, and so, that is what they became. The infant spirits are still too young for me to try and commune with. Only my parents can do that for now.
I’ve been told I’ve been given brothers.
Rather spirited brothers, if she were to say so herself. One seemed to float around bombastically at every opportunity. To search and find anything he could to harass with his curiosity. The little one simply knew no better. Commonplace politeness was a learned behavior, it was not instinctive. The other seemed the shy sort, or at the very least indifferent to anything besides his own family. On occasion he would linger, as he did now, floating above the paper.
Blair paid him no mind, she had no need to do so. It would be a few days before he became old enough to attempt a connection. Even then it would be so minimal, she doubted the little one would take kindly to the attempt.
She certainly hadn’t cared for anyone’s attention when she was a floating speckle, no larger than a single grain of rice. It took time to understand this new world, to contemplate its existence, and his new place within it.
Please, do not think I am displeased at the notion of siblings, Valda…
This is a blessing, of course it is. Still, it means that I must do, as I was given life to do. The final cord tying me to this world has been cut… and I must locate another. I have found that in you, and even if your family does decline me after this impending meeting, I’ll know that I have tried.
The element that lords over me… well, I dare not speak ill of him. However, it would be truthful to say he is a capricious being at times. I do wonder though, what factors make Arvad of the shadows, like myself, useless to him in this realm?
We don’t know… we just don’t know.
I doubt any Arvad truly knows those details, I think it is meant to be this way. You see, so much of my existence is like that. It is unknowable, the same as it is for all who walk in this world. We have our unanswered mysteries too.
I don’t know when the shadows of this world will consume me once more… but, I don’t want to go back, not yet. I’m not ready to die, Valda.
I want to live… and to live with you at my side… I would like for you to tie me to this world in a way that only you could ever do. I will see you upon the Vamon Coast as soon as I am able to reach it.
It will only be a little longer, promise.
Setting: “The Vamon Coast”
To the gentle sounds of a harp, and the fading sun in the distant sky, Valda watched the golden hues paint the lands of Vamon. In the east, the open waters were calm. The boats slowly made their way into shore after a long day at sea. In the west, fields of grain rolled on as though it was also its own seemingly endless expanse.
Perhaps it was, for all that Valda knew. She rarely left the comfort of the northern kingdom. If she had her way she wouldn’t be tied down to a kingdom at all.
With a letter folded between her fingertips and plenty of considerations to make, she licked her lips nervously. She pushed some of her long crimson hair behind her ear. Loosening a bright white ribbon from her wrist, she used it to tie her hair back.
It wasn’t what she was accustomed to, her sister had even stated as much when she took notice.
Valda turned to the woman lazing across a long plush woolen pillow upon the floor. Really, it had little to do with the woman’s own taste in decor, but rather the liking her newly kept consort had for it. Truth be told, she felt that her sister looked rather ridiculous. Still, Valda knew it was likely what she had to look forward to in her own future. A life lesser in splendor, but filled with other sorts of warmth.
“I should get used to a lack of finery, I doubt I’ll have attendants out on the open road.”
“That’s still assuming I agree,” her elder sister stated.
“Do you doubt that you will?” Valda asked softly.
The elder sibling sighed at length. When she had chosen to take an Advar as a lover, she knew exactly what she was getting into. Perhaps she hadn’t been raised among finery, but as an Advar of the flames, Azar knew war. She understood battle, and in that way she was not so far removed from the Cadfan way of life. Blair was not the same, and loathed though the older woman was to admit it, neither was Valda.
She wished that her younger sister would keep to those of like minds. To find a suitor strong enough to protect her and keep her safe. Man or woman, Advar or Cadfan… her ethics be damned, even an Aasa of the right distinction would have possibly been tolerable. A woman of the shadow, such as Blair, was nothing of the sort.
“You were not made to go traipsing through the wilderness,” she said pointedly. “You’ve not even seen a skirmish, let alone proper war. I’d be a fool to blindly agree. I know what dangers loom unseen and they are not for the likes of you… not as you are.”
Valda rolled her eyes. “You doubt Blair’s ability to protect me? Now that is rather insulting.”
“I doubt many things, because I have seen many things. If that makes my thoughts on the matter insulting, so be it. I will come to a decision on this, but it will not be on your terms.”
“Virani,” Valda bit out icily. “Don’t you dare stoop to hypocrisy… not now.”
“Hey… Val, she’s got a point. Take it from someone who knows,” the woman beside her sister spoke, pointing a thumb in her own direction. “It ain’t always so easy out there. I’m not saying Blair can’t protect you. I know my cousin better than anyone… but, you know, that’s a lot to put on anybody.”
“It is a lot to ask perhaps, but it is a burden she seems to wish for,” Valda replied. She felt conflicted, holding the letter she had received aloft. She regarded that folded paper, eyes casting to it before looking to Azar. “Surely, you understand that, at the very least.”
“Yeah, okay… sure, but what about you, Val?” Azar said, feeling as though she had been put between a rock and a hard place. “What’cha have to understand is that you’ve got to be able to face down what the world tosses your way. You really do have to be strong-willed to be with someone like Blair… shadow-folk can get pretty nasty when you screw around with them.”
“Yes, well your temper is nothing to sneeze at, either.”
“Not the same, won’t ever be… our elements are too far down in us, it goes too deep. Blair’s not a bad person. Thing is, she is born from the shadow,” Azar said, sighing at length. “Nothing you do will ever change that. They say we fire-folk need someone to smack us upside the head when we get stupid. You know, that isn’t always so far off the mark. Someone who can match us, that’s someone worthwhile…”
“What exactly are you saying?”
“Shadow-folk… there’s no cooling them down, Val. If you wrong them, they won’t stop until they get retribution. That’s why I know Blair will protect you no matter what. Only question is, what’s the damn cost of it?”
End of Precursor…
Precursor #3 will be released April 27th, 2022
Chapter one to be released May 4th, 2022
Go to Precursor #3 (Does not release until April 25th
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