sanctuary @lunarsparrows
a budding sprout published on 09/26/20. again, mindlessly self-indulgent wol/npc ship stuff

The Warrior of Light is reaching her breaking point.

 

They all saw the way her eyes stared hollow and empty into the wall when she thought no one was watching. There were no tears when Haurchefant had fallen, only numb shock and disbelief on her face, while Ysayle’s death had been met with terrible rage, an all-consuming fury she had brought to her fight with Thordan. 

They all saw the way her eyes stared hollow and empty into the wall when she thought no one was watching. There were no tears when Haurchefant had fallen, only numb shock and disbelief on her face, while Ysayle’s death had been met with terrible rage, an all-consuming fury she had brought to her fight with Thordan. 

 

Afterwards, there was nothing.

 

The shadows underneath Ziyue’s eyes grew deeper by the day, black and purple splotches of inky bruises. Alphinaud didn’t think she ate much, if at all. Any words directed towards her were answered with as little conversation as possible, voice dull. 

 

He had reasoned that it was the calm before the storm. That the grief hadn’t caught up to her yet, and when it did, she would rage against the injustice of fate with the same intensity she had fell Thordan with.

 

But for now, there was nothing.

 


 

“Ziyue, your soup is cooling.”

 

Ziyue nods but makes no move to pick up the bowl. Y’shtola stares at her with thinly-veiled concern, something slightly hesitant briefly flitting across her face. It’s an expression she’s never seen on Y’shtola before and the observation makes a tiny spark of curiosity flare up in her chest, cutting through the otherwise oppressive haze of numbness.

 

“Perhaps you should rest before eating,” Y’shtola murmurs, ears flicking thoughtfully. “Care to lie down for a while?”

 

Ziyue blinks, brain working to catch up. They’re both sitting on a small sofa with barely enough room for a miqo’te of her height to lie down comfortably in, much less with another occupant sitting on the other side. 

 

Y’shtola raises her hands to put on her shoulders and she flinches away. That hesitation is back on her face again, hands floating awkwardly in the air. Ziyue bites her lip and cautiously moves back into touching distance, letting herself be gently pushed down until her head is resting on Y’shtola’s lap.

 

Any other time and being in such close range with the other woman would’ve had her heart pounding in her chest like the quick beat of a war-drum, but all she feels is bone-deep exhaustion and the sudden desire to close her eyes and never wake up again. Y’shtola’s hand comes to rest on her forehead, gently brushing away her bangs.

 

“You’ve been through a lot lately,” she says softly.

 

The tender gesture causes something to snap inside of her. Tears fill her eyes and start overflowing, sobs rising unbidden to her lips, shoulders shaking like a leaf in a storm. She buries her face in Y’shtola’s lap, dimly aware of the fact that her tears are soaking through the thin fabric of her breeches and they'll be uncomfortable to wear soon. Y’shtola strokes at her hair carefully, a gesture Ziyue herself had used to soothe and calm her younger sisters down when they cried.   

 

She’s not sure exactly how long she cries or for who she grieves. Haurchefant, a warm and constant presence that had a bright smile for everyone and made the cold Ishgardian winters more bearable. He had been the first person to truly worry for her wellbeing, and she would never forget that. Ysayle, her unwavering faith and conviction an inspiration to those who had traveled with her. Ziyue had come to see Ysayle as the older sister she never had; there was an endless well of kindness beneath the cool exterior if you knew where to look. Ratatoskr, her trust betrayed by mankind’s greed and repaid with the spilling of her blood. Even Nidhogg, his grief and wrath scorching away every emotion until nothing but the thirst for vengeance remained. 

 

She cries until both her body and soul are drained. Y’shtola says nothing the entire time, simply stroking her hair and offering her water when the sobs subside. Ziyue takes the water gratefully, throat parched after crying so intensely, and her eyes close as the fatigue washes over her limbs, Y’shtola smoothing away the last of her tears with a gentle swipe of her thumb. She feels her tail curl itself around Y’shtola’s arm and knows she’ll feel embarrassed tomorrow for this show of vulnerability, but all that matters at the moment is that Y’shtola’s embrace is warm and her voice is soft as she whispers, “Good night, my brave warrior.”

 

i am now the proud creator of the "y'shtola rhul" character tag...? hmm.
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