Strolling Among The Gods

[02.21.00] » by Astarte

I look out at the bright, sunny morning. Birds singing, people chatting, the comforting hum of the travel tubes as people zip across the city on some errand or another. I wander around the crystalline city, greeting people with a smile that's forced. I'm a prisoner in a city that hates me. That's alright because I hate them too. They hate me because I'm a sorceress and in the spirit of co-operation, I hate them because they're not.

I'm seventeen years old but I've been a sorceress since I was eight. I'd have killed that miserable old crone for giving me this curse if she wasn't already dead. Yes, I hate her too. Being a sorceress has been the single worst thing that ever happened to me. All I ever wanted was to be a normal girl, to go on dates, to have silly conversations with my friends, to giggle when boys smile at me. But I'm not normal, I don't have friends and I've never been on a date. Boys never smile at me even though I'm pretty. Everyone's too damn afraid. Afraid of the witch, Ultemicia.

My parents greeted the news of my inheritance by grounding me. Imagine! They grounded me for being a sorceress. As though this was somehow my fault. I spent an entire week in my room, crying and alone, desperate for some comforting hand, for someone to tell me that everything would be alright. It never happened. Instead, my parents withdrew from me, keeping me distant. If they had been afraid, I think I could have stood it, but they were ashamed. What will everyone think, my mother had sobbed that first night. Her tears hadn't been for me but for herself, her damaged reputation. My father had shouted at me that I was stupid, that if he lost his job it would be my fault. In that moment, everything that I had believed to be true was destroyed. I think part of my heart died that day.

My father did lose his job because of me. Even now, whenever something goes wrong or money is tight, he fixes me with those accusing eyes. I destroyed his life, his eyes say. My father was the sort of man who defined himself by what he did. He was his job and had always taken great pride in his work. Not his family, of course, only his work. A shallow, hollow excuse of a man far too obsessed with image to ever have substance. Mother was his perfect match. A physically beautiful woman, empty headed and vacuous, a perfect decoration for a shallow man. For my mother, image was not only important, it was more vital than air for survival. They lost everything they held dear the moment Hyne's power first coursed through me. I can't believe I'm even related to them.

Over the years I've developed the habit of making sure to be an embarrassment to them. I get a kind of perverse entertainment out of seeing their mortified expressions when I flagrantly use my magic or get into trouble at the academy. Like today, for example. I should be at the academy, listening to some old relic babble on about history. …Whatever.

There's no way that I'm going to attend that lecture today. Its about the origin of SeeD and how some battle nearly a thousand years ago changed history. I hate that stupid old story. Some ludicrous tale about a bunch of kids my age that battled a mysterious sorceress named Ultemicia, probably where my parents got my stupid name. The idiotic scholars don't even know if SeeD won the battle or not! Morons!

Instead I spend the day at the National Museum. I wander around, looking at all sorts of interesting stuff. Beautiful works of art, gemstone exhibits, they even had an ancient gunblade in their weaponry section. The huge weapon sends a shiver down my spine for a reason I can't explain. "A SeeD weapon", the holo explains," very rare and difficult to master". It's a gorgeous weapon, I have to admit, lovingly nurtured through untold centuries of history. Funny, that design on the blade looks exactly like the one on my ring.

I look down at the ring hanging around my neck. It's a man's ring with a strange creature emlazoned on it. Inside I can feel the pulse of life. The being inside is named Griever, pure and undiluted power incarnate. I know his name because I asked him. Griever is very, very old indeed. I look at the weapon again. There must be some connection.

Griever is only somewhat helpful. "We once belonged to the same master." He won't elaborate any more than that. Guardians are remarkably stubborn creatures who's respect can only be earned in combat. I've tried a dozen times to earn the right to call him. Lost every time and there's nothing worse than a smug Guardian.

Suddenly a sign catches my attention. "New Odine Exhibit". New is good, I think to myself as I pull away from the disturbing weapon. I wander around but nothing catches my interest. There are a few tidbits here and there but mostly its just decrepit junk. I'm just about to leave when I see it. A large crystalline device, elegant in its simplicity, sits near the emergency exit. For the first time in my life, I feel the rush of hope. My whole being tingles in response to this strange creation, I can feel it resonate with my soul. I look at the holo but again scholars prove to be of little use. "<undeciphered> Ellone" the holo says "This device is thought to be an attempt at time transference. Little is understood about…".

Time transference…time travel? Vague memories of past lectures start forming connections in my mind. Suddenly two paths open up to me. I see for the first time that I have another path, another option. I don't have to be Life's ugly stepsister. I don't have to remain forever helpless, unable to take what should rightfully have been mine in the first place. This machine places power within my reach, all I have to do is figure out how to use it. I look up at the machine. Its waited more than a thousand years for me. I understand everything now. My path is clear. There has ever been only one Ultemicia.

Free. I will finally be free. Free of ignorance, of fear, of hate, of everyone. I can make sure that no-one will ever cause me pain again. All I need is time and I have all the time in the world.

I can walk amongst the gods now.

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