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The Void Unravels from Avalissa Sol'zoun's blog

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Lissa's head snapped up. She was in the tavern. Lamb. Drumming her nails on the bar. Her head was swimming, the start of a migraine setting in. She didn't remember coming here, but it was empty on afternoons and she'd probably wanted to nab a drink before turning in her report at the offices.

She slid her coins across the bar and stood, grimacing as her vision swam. She should get to the safehouse, turn in her report, and take a nap. She heads for the exit, bumping into people as she goes. Their hands on her skin... hurt. Burn. She flinches away, her throat constricting with fear as she picks up her pace, heading for-

She collides with a tree. She's still in the Mage's district. She'd wandered- no- blacked out? She groans, pulling herself up from the ground, grasping at the tree, anything for purchase as she sways on her feet. Io. Io had been harassed. She'd heard it on the communicators but... It was now night. The sky was dark. How long had she been out? Where had she wandered and for how long?

Her blood is humming, singing in her ears as she strides forward. Her vision has dimmed, narrowed, tunneling because of something she can't identify immediately. She notes the steady pace of her gait, hearing her plated footsteps clack against the stone of the city. Stormwind. Then grass, then wood, then sand, then-

Every damn bone in her body is humming. Rattling in place alongside her sizzling blood, sizzling in her ears, drowning out a sound she feels herself making in the back of her throat. For the first time she hears the whispers, the *real* whispers, the ones that layer over themselves as if she's being lectured- no- coerced by a choir. They sing to her, pulling at her mind, tugging her forward. They promise her a gift for her obedience, and for a moment, she prays the gift is to silence the rattling of her body and from that hope she obeys. Heat swarms around her, warm, like an embrace, but it burns. It burns worse than anything she can remember and she squeezes her eyes shut, trying to block it out and then-

Just like that, it's gone. All of it.

"W-w-wh-wh-" She tries to mouth a word with a trembling jaw, teeth clacking together as she's caught in a sensory whiplash. A chill replaces the heat, washing over her face and spilling down her frame. The crackle of energy is gone. The bubbling of her blood in her ears ebbs into the sound of familiar water lapping against something close. Is she near the shoreline? The lake near Falthrien Academy? The idea that this is all just a dream causes her to let out a croaked sound meant to be laughter. She opens her eyes to test her theory, expecting to find herself on a bench in Stormwind. It too, is gone.

She's floating through a backdrop of dark nothingness. Hovering in a place surrounded by swirls of energy. Spheres- no- planets in the far distance. The nether? No- that wouldn't make sense. One of the planets grows larger, moving closer, sending a spike of panic down her spine as it grows so large it fills her vision and... collides gently with her face, rolling away. She turns her head slowly, watching it, realizing it's no larger than a egg. Looking forward again, she notes that more follow in it's place, floating listlessly beside her, varying in size and color.

The surreality stuns her, watching herself and the planets bob by, caught in a slow, invisible current. The sound of water, of waves, is somewhere to her left- no- her right? But she can't see any inkling of water. With the farce of safety creeping through each steady, uneventful crash of a wave, her panic turns to curiosity.

This... must be the Void. Or something close to it. Affected by it. Her interpretation of it? Or... her special section of it, trapped within her mind? Was that why her mind had burned? Was that...

She boldly reaches out and snatches a planet, intending to inspect it. It's heavy and light all at once, growing more opaque by the second. She squints at it, watching as a fog roils over it's surface. It's only when it begins to grow in her hand that she releases it, attempting to twist her body and head to see if the others have begun to do the same.

They are. They're expanding, filling the emptiness around her with orbs of varying size. All blending into one until she's encased in a room of them. She should be nervous but something deep, something primal in her finds the room comforting. Familiar. She's not in the room, she's within the room, viewing it as if through a painting on the wall that's not really there. There's nothing here; no detailing at all in the plain white walls, painfully contrasting the darkness she'd just come from.

She can't help but wonder if the Void is just a creative space for the mind. Or if this is something wholly unique to herself. She regrets not studying it more when she was given the chance. Why does she feel a small pearl of fear that she won't get the chance again?

Her thoughts shift abruptly, as a few orbs fall from the wall, bouncing awkwardly, collecting in front of her. They begin to meld back together into a shape and she waits, patiently, urging herself to stare until she can make out what it is. Strangely enough it's herself- younger, however. She's no older than twelve. This must have been during her time as a student, noticing the scowl on her face.

The orbs break apart, ruining the image and she gives a huff of dismay. They spill onto the ground before building back up again. This image is... different. She's older, but she can't recall the scene. It's her. It's familiar, in a way, but she has no recollection of the event. Once again, the orbs break apart before tumbling back together into something different.

It dawns on her, through this odd slideshow of herself and her life, that she's... losing something. She can't return to the previous image. There's a haze that cloaks any thought beyond the now, the immediate; scrubbing at the words and their meanings and their context in her mind until they're indecipherable.

She must be alive, she's just-

"F-fuck."

A softly exhaled word of mortification that incites invisible fingers to claw at her skull, wedging their way into tender temples. The comforting chill of before is replaced with jagged edges of pain, stabbing and ripping and gouging. She can feel the burning again, but this time, its all her, it's always been her, a roaring bonfire at the core of her, lashing out. Begging to get out. Clawing at the coattails of her decisions. She can smell charred flesh and feels pride and acceptance. But the hands on her, at her, in her- She gives one last struggle, twisting and flailing in an attempt to get the hands to release her. The hands return the favor by shaking her.

They shake. They shake her again. They shake harder. Her mind rattles around in her head and she can see stars, she can see flashes of her life and flashes of the life of another in her skin, memories that don't make sense, events that never happened, decisions she'd never make. She watches in dazed pain as the stars form up together, forming a mass of tendrils that slink back into the recesses of the white room, piercing into the darkness, unraveling into individual strands. She grasps for them, but they're too far for her to reach.

"Wake up, I don't want to explain this to the guards," a voice bites through the Void. It breaks the spell, whatever daze she's in, and she's falling through the white floor, through the darkness, eyes flying open when she hits bottom. A woman greets her with scowl, startling her.

She wants to ask where she is, if she's awake, but there's cotton expanding in her throat and the sides of her skull ring out in pain. She gives a choking sound, fingers shakily touching the side of her head. Her fingers jerk back as if shocked, the flesh raw but healed, wait, she has burns? She's slick with something, either sweat or blood. She can taste salt on her lips.

The woman huffs and pushes something into her hands, the coldness of it jarring to her. She looks down and finds a cup with some sort of liquid in it. She prays its water and brings it to her lips, drinking it in greedy gulps. She sputters, voice grinding through her throat, "Where... who? Are you one of..." She trails off. One of what? She knows to be cautious. Of someone. Someones? But why? She can't recall.

"I found you floating near my boat. Don't you stupid Ren'dorei know not to swim in the docks? It's not for swimming. Thank the Light you're not dead, at least. I really didn't need that."

Her brows furrow. She can't... understand. She can, but only individually. Together, the woman's words don't make sense. There's something she's missing, something that's gone, some context or clue that she can't find to clarify the statement. So she nods, dumbly, hoping the woman will expand in detail or talk more, giving her time to find her bearings.

But she doesn't. Without another word, the woman scoops her up. Her body is like a rag doll, her feet scraping against the ground as she's tugged forward, until she finds her footing. She's lost to the sounds immediately, the birds overhead, the water lapping against stone and wood. The skyline in the distance is familiar and friendly. She doesn't hear what the other woman says as she's dumped onto the dock, left to bake in the sunlight. Left to be someone else's problem.

She knows, distantly, she needs to do something. Talk to someone. But who? And why? Beyond that the particulars escape her. She has just enough to know that something is missing, and it gnaws at her, inciting worry and fear until-

A seagull caws beside her. She never liked birds. This thought startles her, as it's specific, raw, real. But why does that startle her? Shouldn't her likes and dislikes be simple things to remember or know? She does not know herself. For some reason, this doesn't frighten her as much as it should. But why should it?

A thought sits at the back of her mind, and she wants to knock it free, to know the whole shape of it. She knows, distantly, that she needs to find someone. Talk to them. About what? This? What was this? How could she explain something that was not a something? Her hands twitch in her lap, like beetles with their legs cut off, jerking.

She always loved beetles. Why though? Something flickers in the back of her mind. Who would know? She feels like someone would know, but she... does she know their name? Can she connect it to a face? Perhaps.

She looks out over the water, watching the curl of the waves against the ships. It soothes her, but the ship irritates her. She can't recall ever being mad at a boat, but this is so sudden and absolute. She's angry. At who? A captain? A shipmaker? Or herself?

She should ask someone. She needs to talk to someone. But who? Placing her hands on the ground she pushes to stand. They're not here, whoever or wherever they are. If she walks she might recall.

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By Avalissa Sol'zoun
Added Jan 7

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