Mercy Prose in Vazdimet | World Anvil


"You."   The accusation hung heavy in the air as Silas turned to greet his fuming host. Her sapphire eyes sparked with an intensity only matched by the hot white flames caressing her fingers as she stared at him from the top of the gilded stairs.   Lethia.   Not that she'd used that name lately; she preferred to go by Mercy, now. A true misnomer, by anyone's standards but her own. She hadn't shown mercy since the first time they'd met, or any of their meetings thereafter. Not when he'd finally succumbed to the desire to drown his perpetual loneliness in the intoxicating beauty of her former inquisitive nature, nor today when she'd demanded his presence, knowing he had no choice but to accept.   But damn if she wasn't still beautiful.   Silas struck a pose, accompanied by a faint swagger to his step as he moved toward her. "You Called, and I answered."   She rolled her eyes, not even attempting to hide the now-familiar cynicism smoldering comfortably behind the red hot daggers of hatred she always directed at him these years. The offended huff of her breath teased the short-cut amber waves of hair that so delicately framed her face as the flames cradled in her palms lept higher. "Please. You act as if I want to see you."   She hadn't aged a day since their last meeting. She hadn't aged since the first moment he'd laid eyes on her. Since he'd decided someone like her was too precious, too fragile, to fall victim to the ravaging currents of time.   But then again, neither had he.   "Why else would you invite me?" he pressed, glibly, and she pursed her lips with a glare.   Voids, she was imposing, glowering down at him from the top of her ivory staircase, all sharp angles and seductive curves in her meticulously layered deep violet gown. The light from her Pyromancy caught in the array of miniature diamonds carefully arranged across her dress and through her hair in awe-inspiringly complex starbursts. They scattered rainbows across her pale skin just as easily as her presence scattered Silas' thoughts, leaving him as breathless as the moonlet's barren vacuum stretching away in all directions outside the private mansion and its prohibitively expensive floor to ceiling windows.   "Zaros," she growled, threateningly.   "Silas," he corrected her. "I go by Silas now."   She snorted, and yet Silas caught the hints of a smile tugging at the edge of the dour curve of her lips as she doused her flames and made her way toward him.   He hoped it was a smile. Perhaps she'd decide to live up to her name, this time.   He could hope.   "You change your name more often than I change my wardrobe," she observed, her hand lightly caressing the rail as she glided down the curve of her staircase. "What was it last time? Ambrose? Horus? Drake?"   "Alaric."   "Alaric," she repeatedly, frowning. "That's too many syllables. For you."   He raised an eyebrow. "You liked Nikolas."   "I liked you when you were Nikolas," she corrected, raising her arms and her eyes to shake her head, briefly, at the ceiling. The richly faceted gems adorning her wrists and earrings added their hues to the refracted light following her motions. "Void knows why."   "I'm unforgettable," he quipped, stepping backward. Just once. Just enough to maintain a safe distance from the woman now standing before him, her chin raised slightly to look him in the eye, her face a mask to hide the deadly fury that always simmered just beneath.   "You are," she agreed, and for a moment his heart swooped.   For a moment she was the spitting image of the woman he'd once known. Shorter hair, more guarded smile, but for a moment he could ignore...   "Not a day goes by I don't hate you for what you did to me. For what you took from me."   And the moment was gone, crashing down around him and squeezing at his chest until his eyes watered. From pain or from tears, he couldn't say.   There'd be no mercy from Mercy today. She still hated him, as only she could. As only she should.   "I think of you often, too," he told her quietly.   It was no secret. It was why he'd come. Why he'd always come, even knowing the pain he was bringing upon himself – and her – each time he answered her summons.   She was his only friend. His only enemy. His only true link to who he'd been before: the man best remembered and even better forgotten, punished eternally by her eyes and her lies.   His greatest sin and greatest triumph stood proudly before him, balanced seductively on the curve of her sneer.   "I won't ever forgive you," she promised, and the words felt right.   The twin daggers of hurt and longing drove deep through his heart, a heart so accustomed to indifference he gasped at the sudden swells of emotion. This. This is what living felt like. It had been so long, he'd forgotten to remember.   "I dream about killing you, sometimes. Often, in fact," she continued conversationally, her eyes lingering meaningfully on his neck. The accompanying pout, adorably poisonous, merely drove home the truth of her intent. "If only I could."   Silas knew for a fact she was perfectly capable of the act. He'd seen her at her worst – at her best – cut down those he'd dared allow to breach the Shielding of his heart. She'd claimed it mercy, and hated him for it. He'd claimed it jealousy, and loved her all the more.   Because that's what it was, when he admitted it to himself. He loved her. Her hate. Her passion. Her rage. Her regrets.   All his. All for him. All because of him.   He'd dreamed of killing her, too, in the quiet, lonely moments. Arriving unannounced to stake his claim in her heart and end her misery in the same, beautiful moment. She'd taken much from him, through the ages. Killing her would solve most of his problems.   But it wouldn't solve any of the problems that mattered. That was the problem with immortality, after all. With an eternity before him, everything else became inconsequential.   Except her. Lethia.   "I suppose that's why you've attacked my businesses instead," he told her, eyebrow raised, his own true emotions masked from centuries – millenia! – of practice and Psychometry. "I have to admit. Your latest trick? Quite thorough. Nothing left to salvage; had to write off the whole affair."   She smiled faintly, the cruelty of it spreading to her eyes. "I was beginning to think you didn't realize that was me."   "You're not as clever as you think you are." His voice was cold, calculating, and at odds with the thrill he felt within his pulse at her acknowledgment. "I realized the moment you set your plan in motion. Wanted to see how far you'd go."   He turned to study the view outside, although not before Mercy's eyes widened briefly, a miniscule crack into the icy chill of her composure. The oxidized iron dust clinging to the outside of the windows and tinting the stars a muddy red betrayed the moonlet's former life, a section of the thriving planet below before catastrophe struck in the form of a meteor, sentencing it to a cold and airless orbit around the existence it loved but could no longer participate in.   He supposed she'd chosen the moonlet because they had that in common, she and it, and briefly wondered whether he could ever claim the role of the planet. Him a shining example of what she'd given up in her anger, her a vengeful ghost haunting his nights with a mocking reflection of the sun.   But that was pure arrogance. He'd been the meteor, ripping away her life as she'd known it and everything she'd loved about the brief beauty of mortality. He'd known it when he'd made the decision, hoping foolishly that an eternity with him would soothe the loneliness for them both. It had merely taken her centuries to learn what he'd hoped to ignore: that all love evolved into hate if one squeezed it hard and long and desperate enough.   He never should have made that choice for her.   He'd make it again, no hesitation, if offered the chance.   "You're getting impatient," he chided her, turning to meet her gaze once more. "Two hundred years? Sloppy."   "Five hundred," she corrected him, triumphant. Her shoulders lifted higher, just a fraction. "It was five hundred."   "Five? No. But that would mean..."   "Yes." She moved to stand beside him, just out of reach, and stared through the window. Her tone was light, but the barbs beneath the words were unmistakable. "Where did you think you got the idea? A resort planet? Too clever to be one of yours; you are losing your touch. Shipping conglomerates are so..."   She wrinkled her nose as she slipped into her native tongue, its last mortal speakers dead and forgotten, lost to history long before the wars of petty mortals had even considered expanding their reach to the stars. "So pedestrian."   It had been a good idea. He'd been thrilled when his steward had proposed it. He couldn't remember which steward – everyone blended together these days, everyone but Mercy – but he'd never forgotten the thrill of knowing he'd finally crafted a plan she couldn't anticipate.   "But that means..."   "She was one of mine?" Mercy's pleased laughter filled the empty ballroom. "Yes, Silas. As was her successor. And the one after him, too."   Silas scowled. He'd always suspected she'd infiltrated his staff, but he'd never expected her to claim the loyalty of those closest to him.   Still, he should have known. She'd always been the clever one in their relationship. His only advantage had been his significant experience – thousands of years, compared to her mere twenty one – but time had erased that edge long ago, as it did to all things but existence, in the end.   "How many?" Silas asked quietly.   She merely smiled, clearly savoring his discomfort. "Perhaps I'm only telling you now because I have none, so you knowing makes no difference. Or perhaps I merely want you to believe that."   He'd have to clean out his entire staff. There was no way around it. He'd built a strong, loyal company – or thought he had – by employing the descendants of his former staff. But without knowing who was related to whom – and he faintly acknowledged a large part of this was him not remembering – he'd need to clear them all. Start over from the beginning. Rebuild from scratch.   She'd been more thorough in her destruction than he'd realized. More heartless. More Lethiaful.   "You realize you're sending them to their deaths," he whispered, already planning his next move. Caralis had developed a booming tech sector, delivering their wares across the Freeholds. Surely he could get a piece of those planetary exports. Get in on the ground floor before they learned to rival the Legion's quality.   With enough fatal accidents among the current industry leaders, he could easily buy up their holdings with the credits he'd salvaged from the bombarded resort planet. Maybe he could get his current staff to do it, before he killed them. Frame his past self so he could enter the political currents a hero.   "No," she told him, just as quietly. "You are. I'm done taking credit for your bloody hands."   He'd need a new name. Silas was too well known, now. And already tainted, from his inability to defend his resort planet from the Hydell Order.   "Did you even hear me, Silas?"   "Darrick," he corrected her, automatically.   Yes. Darrick. That sounded like someone worth following. It would do.   "You're already running again." She sighed. "I don't know why I bother. Every time I convince myself to give you another chance, delude myself into thinking you're not as bad as I think you are, you remind me just how lenient I've always been with you. How low I've set my expectations. And still you fail to meet them."   "But you keep Calling me back." Darrick smirked. "Because you love me, too."   "Love? Love!" The pyromantic flames were back again, engulfing her in a beautiful shield of scalding fire and deadly fury. "Love has nothing to do with it."   "What is it, then?" he demanded.   Mercy glared at him, as if expecting something from him. When he merely stared back, she sighed, waving her hand dismissively as she turned her back to him.   "Of course you wouldn't admit it. You claim you want things but then you run the first chance you get, and blame it on everyone and everything but yourself. And yet you learned Necromancy to stay chained to the ghosts of your past, instead of even pretending to face the present."   Darrick shifted his weight, suddenly at a loss for words. He'd come to dwell on her faults, not listen to her complaints about him.   "Typical," she muttered, shoulders slouching further. "I don't know why I bother. Leave. Now."   "Where's your staff?" he asked, as the oppressive silence of the mansion finally sank through to his consciousness. "Don't tell me you're alone."   She halted, her words cold as ice. "I have everything I need."   "No, you don't." Tucking his hands in his pockets, he bounced lightly on the balls of his feet, pleased to finally push her off balance. "If you did, I wouldn't be here."   "I like the solitude," she told him finally, the faint hint of a tear tracing its way down her cheek as she spin to face him. "No worrying about judgement from others. No balancing act of showing my appreciation while still keeping enough distance that I won't come undone when time dictates they, too, leave me. No requirements to try and fit into a society that would just as soon let us fade into dust, like the abominations we are. No, this is exactly what I need. What I've always needed, ever since you took my mortality from me, and left me with... this! This empty, cursed farce of an existence."   He held his hands up in front of him, stepping backward as she moved closer, her flames rising higher.   "You asked for this. I told you what would happen, and you said you wanted it."   "I didn't know!" she wailed, pointing toward him accusingly. Lighting licked her fingertips. "You did!"   "I didn't know it would be like this!" He admitted. "I swear. You have to believe me!"   "No, I don't." But the flames died with her words, along with any conviction she'd carried with them. "I don't have to believe you, but may the extinct gods of my parents have mercy on me, I do. I do, dammit!"   This wasn't what he'd intended for this reunion, either. He stared as she unraveled before him, her shoulders rising and falling with each breath as if she were an inflatable thing, her skeleton alone unable to carry the weight of her past pain and the cursed existence he'd – selfishly – foisted upon her.   "How many?" she demanded at last, the sharp points of her canines now visible against her lips as she gave up all pretense of hiding who she'd become, and what he'd made her.   "None," he told her honestly. "You were my first. And my last. I..."   He scowled as he struggled to regain his composure. She always did this to him. No matter how much he prepared himself, she always found a way to catch him off guard and slice through his defenses.   "Not that it's any of your business. You?"   "None," she repeated back at him, blinking slowly. "Not that it's any of your business."   "And visitors?"   She traced one hand absent-mindedly through the air, the glitter of precious gems born in pressures of the universe half as old as she was drawing his eyes to the motion. "The Vardan swing by, on occasion. I trade them tales of ancient histories, and they leave me everything I need to survive."   His brows furrowed. "But who looks after you? Maintains the household?"   "I do." She raised an eyebrow. "Time is an infinite resource, Silas. There's a comfort in the repetition. I make my own meals, too. I've been studying cooking. And growing my own ingredients."   Darrick didn't bother to correct his name, merely crossing his arms against his chest with a scowl. "You can't even taste anything."   It was true. Sometimes he wondered which side effect of the haemovampira virus was the worst, the eternity of loneliness or the fact the only flavor he remembered was iron.   "Which means it doesn't matter if I make a mistake." She shrugged. "What's the worst that could happen? It's not like I'll die of food poisoning. And textures can be just as enjoyable as flavors. Burnt leaves a strong, dry crunch. I've grown quite fond of it. Guests don't seem to like it, but they can cook for themselves, then."   He pounced on the admission. "So you do have company!"   The flames appeared in her hand again, this time as small marbles of fire which rolled across her palm and between her fingers as she watched. "Mortals enjoy their petty wars. Always looking for someone to blame so they can feel better about their own sorry existence."   He opened his mouth to comment, closing it again immediately as she glared at him.   "There's no false blame for my present state, Silas. My vampirism is your fault. But a poor farmer, minding their own business, isn't responsible for the drought two systems over. Unless politicians decide it makes a good distraction from their own incompetence, and starving citizens decide it makes a good distraction from their own suffering. So they collect all their anger and self-hatred and heap it onto someone else in even more dire straights than they are. Just because they can get away with punching down." A faint smile tugged at the corners of her lips. "And sometimes, the Vardan find someone who's been beaten down so badly, they don't even want a fresh start anymore, just a place to hide. And they bring them to me."   "So you do have staff!"   "No," she told him coldly. "I keep pets. I give them a name I can remember and a safe space to stay, and they follow my rules and stay out of my way and otherwise do whatever they wish. And then someday they die and I bury them out back when I find them. I carve their name in the dust and forget they ever existed and promise I'll never adopt another. But then the Vardan bring a new stray and they beg so pitifully for sanctuary and the whole cycle starts again."   She walked to the window, pressing her palms against the glass as she stared at the dusty wasteland outside. "Someday I want to terraform this moon. Leave it in better shape than I found it. A gift to universe; some small, pointless project to try and find meaning in my existence."   Darrick scoffed. "How? It doesn't even have an atmosphere."   "I've time to solve that problem," Mercy told him quietly, still staring outside. "It's not like I'm dying any time soon. I should. We both should. We're relics of a different era, Silas, and we don't belong here among the living."   "Lethia..."   "Mercy," she told him, coldly, her face quickly turning to glare at him.   "Mercy," he began again. "You didn't have to be alone. All this time... You could have just Called me."   "I'd rather die," she spat.   "Yes, we've established that," he agreed, slipping into his usual suave demeanor. He was accustomed to her hatred; that was familiar territory. But seeing her vulnerable... That he couldn't abide. "So why did you Call me now? You're not..."   He couldn't finish the sentence.   "Voids, no!" She wasn't even attempting to hide her anger now. "You... coward! And yet you think I'd... How could you even..."   Grinning, he reached for her, his lips thirsting for hers.   A rough shove of Telekinesis pushed him back, driving the air from his lungs the same way he'd hoped a kiss would draw the protests from hers.   She hadn't known that the last time she'd Called. He'd always loved surprises.   "Do not even pretend–"   "Why am I here?" he asked again, this time forcing himself to wait patiently for an answer. He'd been accustomed to taking charge in the beginning, but she'd clearly decided at some point over the past millennia that she deserved a turn. That was fine. He'd learned the act of patience long ago.   "Because..." She crumpled again, this time the tears flowing freely down her cheeks. "Nobody else understands! A whole universe to choose from and I'm stuck with you because nobody else understands the tedium of it all."   "You could make them understand."   Mercy had long ago mastered the art of cutting him to the quick with just a look, and she did so now, her words dark and dangerous and thrilling. "Do not propose to me that I turn into you."   Darrick smirked. "Why try to imitate me, when you can have the real thing?"   "I don't know if you were ever real," she told him, and there was an earnest honesty this time. "You change your identity whenever you think you'll get something out of it. But if there's a real you in there somewhere, I'm going to find him."   Darrick didn't like where this was going.   Silas loved where this was going.   "I'm going to call you Cassius," she said thoughtfully, running one finger along her jaw. "Cass, for short. It suits you."   "And what shall I call you?" Cassius asked.   "Mercy," she laughed, and there was a genuine joy in the word. "Same as the last five millennia."   "Mercy," he breathed, reaching for her.   "No." She stepped away, waving her finger at him. "You don't touch. You only think of yourself. I can't trust you to care about my needs, too. You never have before."   "I see."   "Rules: This is my house, not yours. You don't come looking for me; I'll find you if I ever want you. If I give you a command, you follow it. If you need something, find it yourself. And never set foot in my bedroom without my express invitation."   Cassius felt a slow smile settle across his face. He could work with this. Bide his time. "And what do you command of me?"   She beamed, and suddenly this was the Lethia he'd once known. Innocent. Hopeful. Alive.   "Follow," she told him, turning to the stairs.   He did, watching her move in the slinky dress, the silk and lace and diamonds clinging to her form with a grace surpassed only by her own.   Allowing his eyes to caress her figure, he was pleased to note the elevation difference between them permitted him an exquisite view at eye level, and he made certain to enjoy it thoroughly as her hips swung seductively at each step.   "Enjoying yourself?" she asked, the faint lilt of amusement dancing through her words, and he realized that view was intentional.   The stairs were for him. Like the rest of her life since she'd fallen into his orbit, she'd built them with him in mind.   But before he could reminisce further on how much of the rest of her mansion, of her life, of her existence had been built around his own she was turning over her shoulder, watching him with an expression he didn't quite recognize.   "I suppose you've realized by now that I know your secret. The one weakness you never thought I'd exploit, and yet always hoped for."   "Hmmm?" He wasn't quite listening. How could he, with that view?   "You've taken everything from me," she continued, her voice dripping with delicious poison. "My family. My hope. My belief in purpose and meaning. Death is a gift, a motivation to live while we still can. But without that deadline, there's no way to avoid the ultimate truth. All of this?" Mercy waved her hand to encompass the room. "Means nothing. It has no purpose."   She'd turned to face him, now, at the top of the stairs. Damn, she was gorgeous in that dress. He couldn't wait to get it off of her.   "So I found my own purpose," she continued, smiling coldly. "Crafted the perfect revenge. Justice, for myself and the universe. What's the one thing you've always wanted, more than anything?"   "Mercy," he breathed, his eyes lingering along the curve of her neck. "Mercy. You."   "And so I sentence you for your crimes." She sneered, her eyes colder than the Void outside her windows. "An eternity of eternity. Until the end of all existence. Begging. For mercy."

Cover image: Mercy Header by GetCovers


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Dec 9, 2023 05:40 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

Very compelling!

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Dec 9, 2023 05:43 by Morgan Biscup

Thank you!

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jan 21, 2024 19:01 by Barron

This was a real fun read and the intensity of the emotions you captured was just insanely well done. A true author you are. I really loved the part where they were both imagining the death of each other and the complex like "God I wish" emotions that can go into that.   Just a fantastic piece of prose Solarcat, I look forward to more.

Jan 21, 2024 20:56 by Morgan Biscup

Thank you so much! That's high praise, from you. <3

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jan 27, 2024 15:04 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

This is really a great short story. I love the very toxic relationship those two have and Silas is still in love with her and will let her do almost anything to him XD I also love Silas as a character and how he's just giving everything up as soon as he's in danger and just completely reinvent his life XD And you've really done a great work showing their emotions and relationship here <3

Jan 28, 2024 14:19 by Morgan Biscup

Thank you so much! I'm quite proud of this one. I had a blast sorting out their relationship and motivations.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
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