RP:Death is Lighter Than a Feather
Part of the Death is Lighter Than a Feather Arc
The salty chill of the Cenrillian coastal breeze found residence in the folds of Rheece's coat and thick, woollen jumper; his regular Cenrilli Guard armour set aside for a few days in order for him to heal up from his encounter with one of Arril's gangs a couple of nights previous. The night still weighed on him, as it would any youth who had struck another down for the first time, the sudden limpness of the man's body and the glazing to his eyes of a soul ripped from its home. What really brought a chill to the young Guard's heart was that it came in such a flurry of movement and frantic fight for his own life that there was no recognition either from himself or the man's comrades, nothing, a life spilt out across the Cenrilli streets, red washing over cobblestone only to be washed away by rain into the gutters and forever forgotten. What of the man's family, his kin, they would wait for his return for how long before they gave up hope and the inevitable dread would consume them. It was a thought not worth holding to, Rheece knew that, and yet it clung to his lithe shoulders like a cloak of the most nefarious make, dragging him down both emotionally and physically. What had become of his city that such wanton death went untracked. It troubled him more than he cared to admit, sure, he smiled when the older Guards slapped him on the back and offered words of reassurance that the feeling would fade but why should it, why should the man who had his life torn from by Rheece not be mourned with due diligence. So it was like this, mind a thousand miles away and his thoughts drearier than the sky above, which almost certainly promised rain, that the young soldier found himself wandering the streets of Cenril, hands shoved into the pockets of his trousers and eyes studying the chipped and hammered stone of the various paths. His slender form had begun to show signs of growth of late, the rigorous training of the Guard had sat well with him, the vague outline of trapezoids and hardened deltoids causing his shirt to ride a little higher on his torso, he vaguely made a note that he would have to go shopping - the thought tossed aside almost as quickly as it came. The direction his feet had taken him led him beach ward it seemed, the richness of the air his mind's first point of realisation as the invigorating winds swept throughout him, "Ahhhh." It was a gratifying sort of reawakening the sea air always was and with a swifter step to his gait Rheece pushed onward toward the beach's limits, every pace now coming with an increasing expedience. Soon he was running, running so fast the salty air stung his eyes and threatened to take hold of his most cherished hat and wrestle it from his head but he did not care; this was action, this was movement, it was feeling -- it was something more than the sobriety of reality he had found himself dwelling in. It was mindless and he was lost in it, he loved it.
Astrid found solitude bearable whilst at the beach. She needed to move to Cenril, because despite all its crime, and general dilapidation, it reminded her of home so much it hurt. In fact, with the crime and run-down status of some of the buildings, it was the Cove's twin. She had strolled through the market just as the stall keepers decided to close up shop, and the few items that had caught her attention didn't hold her interest long enough for her to fish out the coins for them. It was her intention to hunt down the woman, who had been selling novellas, but the directions she had garnered were faulty, and in the end Astrid found herself on the beach. Though the briny breezes that flitted along the costal line were chilly, and frigidly caressed the bared skin of her legs, she didn't seek to turn around and visit the area another day. She was used to the temperatures of tropical locations, and the pain of homesickness clung to her gut and anchored her feet into the sand. At least ten minutes had passed before Astrid found a companion along the shores of Cenril, a young girl selling seashell jewellery from a small, sloppy box made out of driftwood. Cursed with a charitable nature, a few pieces were purchased, and fastened to her body; a set of earrings, a necklace, and a small bracelet. Just as Astrid sought to bid the girl farewell and turn from her to continue her walk, she witnessed Rheece's figure sprinting down the beach. He was familiar, but not overly so that she intended to call out to him and strike up a conversation. Instead, she jogged across his path long before he'd reach her, and strolled out into the waters just as the heavens tore apart and loosed a steady downpour.
Sand divulged from its resting place sashayed around Rheece's celeritous steps in mottled grey showers as he cut through the Cenrilli coast with an almost reckless abandon. Lost so in this heady reverie it is at length that he finds his face subjected to the heavy downpour, the almost anthropomorphic weather fitting him just right as he continues his loping physical assault on the beach. The faint flicker of a familiar figure finds a foundation with his flighty focus, his sea-green gaze drifting to further inspect the svelte frame of the paddling Astrid. With his breath now labouring in his chest and his clothes clung to his flesh the young soldier slows to a broken halt, stopping nearby the woman his palms sliding down to his knees and his back bent as he drinks the sea air greedily to restore his oxygen starved tendons and muscles. With a timid slowness he rights himself, hands finding residence in the small of his back as he rotates his head in a tight semi-circle across the front of his heaving chest. Light, that felt better. The ache in his shoulder had dulled to a faint thrum, the leaden feeling of his despair no more than a pang of regret, perhaps this too could pass. Perhaps. Now, though, his focus is all on her, albeit panting, sweating and drenched, so should she look his way a sort of half wave would be offered and that soft smile which lessened the sharpness of his features, if only briefly. Over the tumult of the rainy chorus his voice can be heard calling out, "Ahoy there. Not really ideal conditions for a swim?"
Astrid waded into the waters until the waves lapped at her shins, and occasionally splashed higher onto her knees. With her sandals abandoned on the sand, she stood within the waters with her hands rested on her hips, her eyes closed, and her nose flared as she sucked in the salty air. While Larket was a gorgeous town, nothing seemed able to replace her need for sea and sand, and the obnoxious, but missed sound of seagulls begging for scraps. Despite her absent-minded expression, and lackadaisical posturing, she kept tabs on Rheece's location with acute peripheral vision. By the time the guard reached his paralleled stopping point, she was thoroughly soaked through by the rain and the spray of the churning waves that broke against her legs. "I'm not swimming," she called back, turning to regard his heaving frame with a curious glance and a subtle smile as she moved back toward the shore. She had waded out at least twenty feet into the surf before the appropriate depth was discovered, so the trek back wasn't difficult or too long. Once Astrid had left the sea for exchange of the sand and a closer proximity to Rheece, she raked her gaze over his figure in a purely benign fashion. "Not really ideal conditions for running either, is it?"
Rheece's sharp features break into a wry grin at the woman's rebuttal, the softness that perforates the usual hard planes and angles of his face most evident around his ey"Yes, well, you win. Well played." The shortness of his breath was easing now, the youth standing a little straighter maybe due to this fact or because of the company he kept. The rain was increasing its vibrant tumult as he regarded her, drops of water becoming a stinging pelt causing Rheece to look up at the heavens, nonplussed, "Weird weather we're having..." he half-shouts to be heard over the clamorous patter of the elements. Was it growing stronger still? The once calm sea has risen in song with the chorus of rainfall, waves writhing in ecstasy as they come to play with their sky-dwelling cousins. Along the horizon snaking cracks of lighting suddenly assault the twilight sky, the whip-lash like flashes of light punctuated by the screaming punch thunder. Rheece is forced to shout in totality now, "I do not like how this looks, how fast did that storm just come in?!" Overheard clouds roil and eddy in a mixture of dark and malicious hues, a concerto of dulcet 'string' to guide in the 'wind section', so to speak, and true to form the coastal gales pick up in due course, continuing the savage beat to which mother nature dictates, whipping at the pair and bringing with it the coarseness of sand and the bitterness of the sea air in its full force. "We need to get out of here!"
Astrid loosed an amused snort in conjunction with Rheece's grin and reply, she opted to merely smile in return rather than vocalize a response. At least, not until he mentioned the weather. "I wouldn't know," she shouted in return, her hands rising to forcefully keep her shoulder length curls out of her face- which resulted in a frustrating attempt to wrangle down the wind whipped strands. "I don't live here." She turned from him to glance out toward the ocean, her eyes narrowed as she judged the severity of the brewing storm. The moment the thunder crashed through the sky, chasing after a brilliant streak of lightening that tore across the swollen, purple sky, Astrid squeaked and clapped her hands over her ears- unexpected thunder was the worst kind. "This isn't safe," she spoken in unison to Rheece's final words, and since they seemed to share a similar thought process, Astrid turned for the city proper. "Where's the best place to wait this out?" While she had grown accustomed to the general layout of certain streets, and certain shops, she wasn't knowledgeable enough to determine which buildings could be used as a sturdy safe haven in times like this
Rheece simply nodded in reply, his eyes narrowing in a brief dissection of the area that surrounded them his brain mechanically working through the options available to them from their current position. They were a ways from the relative safety, surely, of the City proper, the beach stretching out before them now with an almost malignant emptiness, which had been so inviting prior to this. The rain had soaked through his clothing now to the point of saturation, his cheeks reddening from the continued assault of cold and hail - the thunder had moved closer, too close, smashing down on them in near palpable blows whilst lightening lapped at the edges of the water. So close, so fast. With nothing left for it he reached for the woman's hand and, allowing that she took it, began to half-drag, half-lead her toward the bluffs that lined the beach in hopes of gaining some form of shelter as they fled, the sand dunes spraying massive sheets of grainy debris over the pair as they came close. The wind had come to full fruition now, truly awe-inspiring in its strength plucking at driftwood and other detriment that lined the shores and whipping it through the air with impossible ease; the heady air currents wrapping with one another into a vicious and unrelenting gathering of unmitigated power. Bolts of lightning seemed almost drawn to the ceaseless gales and if the duo were to catch a glance behind them they would see that for a moment, and with gathering intensity, the flashes of light coalesced and held in place before exploding in an iridescent display of primal fury. As this phenomena continues slips of broken wood that are struck by the crackling balls of pure energy simply disappear, the faint resonance of their shape momentarily outlined before replaced by nothingness.
In her twenty-three years of life, Astrid had never experienced such a storm as this one, and that was saying a lot. Rain and hail, thunder and lightning weren't foreign things to many people, and they could easily be considered regular acquaintances with the witch, but flying debris was always an unwelcomed visitor, and Astrid never set aside time to find a friendly ground with this aspect of storms. When Rheece grabbed her hand, she allowed the contact and made their movement easier by keeping pace with his strides while managing to dodge bits of airborne driftwood and other beach trash. But once they reached the dunes, where the sands swept out to meet them and simultaneously blind them in the most unforgiving of fashions, Astrid slowed minimally, and forced Rheece to lead her to the area he deemed the safest. "Where are we going?" She cried out after the final rumblings of a dying crack of thunder while her free hand rubbed fervently at her eyes. With each flash of lightning, and every fiery touchdown of the furious streaks of energy, she shrieked, ducked and stumbled over her own feet; she was generally a clumsy thing, and caught in the midst of this storm, she certainly wasn't expecting herself to be the most agile of creatures. "Are we almost there?!" The pitch of her voice had turned into genuine terror threaded with plenty of anxiety.
With the unremitting rage of the riled sands Rheece is finding it hard to decipher their exact location, the direction they need to go and well how to maintain a sense of some sort of calm in front of Astrid. "Nearly there!" He cries out, for her benefit, turning himself so to offer her what he assumes to be a smile but is likely more a grimace. His hat is long gone, lost to the wind's mischievous grasp and a silent prayer for its safe return is still formulating as he is struck, his body still turned to face Astrid, from behind by a particularly large branch. His knees buckle and his eyes sting from the pain, his already injured shoulder searing in painful protest to this latest advent. "Argghh." Blinking sea-green eyes open and using the sodden collar of his jacket as some protection from the biting sands he makes to stand, drawing a little on Astrid's hand to aid him. "Wh-", freezing midst movement his eyes are open wide with genuine fear as he looks over the young woman's shoulder - there refracted in his eyes, should she be able to see, is the beginnings of a violent flash of that relentless lightning, the majestic arc in which it sears clear from the Guard's expression. Gifted less than a second to react Rheece does the only thing that seems right, instinctual to him, what else to do before your life is extinguished. With a powerful spring of coiled legs, ignoring the protest of his aching body, he pushes Astrid from in front of him delivering himself toward the bolt with all possible haste, hoping to intercept to an extent the majority of the strike. It is at this point he remembers their linked hands, should she manage to cling on it will be for naught, the current smashing into his form and carrying her with him into oblivion. And when the strike tolls, be it both or just one, that vague outline resounds and any sign of their existence is snuffed out like a flame. Thunder sounds like a death knell; death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain - his father would say, right now he felt no weight at all. How had it come to this. The waves roared and the winds tore at the skyline, then there was quiet. Completely and utterly, Cenril slept without a cloud in the heavens, stars tattooing their twinkling radiance throughout the fresh clarity of a storm-cleared sky. How had it come to this.
Astrid had seen the branch as it swung out to crash into Rheece, but she was unable to utter a warning, and instead managed to twist her features into a look of shock just before it slammed into his body. Immediately, she ducked sylphlike figure closer to his side, giving him more leverage than just that of her hand to find his feet once more. "Are you okay?" She demanded, forgetting about the storm for just a moment so that she could ascertain his wellbeing. Unfortunately, within that moment, the birthing of light is unnoticed as it's refracted within Rheece's irises, and rather than an answer that she had expected, her body was flung aside for reasons unknown to her. Due to the sudden shove, she tightened her grasp on the hand in her own, using it as an anchor for stability within the torrential storms. She felt the electrical surge as it passed through her due to their entwined hands, but Astrid wasn't given the chance to utter even a whisper of breath before she was cast into a sea of nothingness. The transformation of Cenril's shores from stormy to serene wasn't witnessed, and she wasn't given the opportunity to question the reasoning behind it. Instead, she hovered in a space void of light and darkness, of colour and sound, and she felt at peace; the anxiety and fear that had roiled within her gut just seconds prior dissipated entirely, and she was filled with a sense of tranquillity. What was this? Was this death? Had she died? Briefly, a panicked feeling flared simply because she hadn't the chance to say goodbye, but once more a wave of calmness sedated her, and Astrid chose to find enjoyment in this eternity, because surely, she hadn't survived.