(Written by myself and Matthew, the player of Alastair. This is a character study long past their time in Second Life. Thank you Matthew, I appreciate the stories you and I have shared.)
She appeared before him, stepping from the shadows of the corner of his study. Ancient books set among flickering firelight weighed down the heavy shelves that lined the wall. He knew her form well, soft pale curves carved from porcelain perfection. She was made of shadow and light, a monochrome specter save for the long locks of crimson curls framing deep black eyes.
He let out a startled gasp when he saw her, his eyes going wide. She smiled when she saw a ripple of surprised lightening shimmer across his eyes.
“Good to be remembered.” She murmured, her true voice was madness to hear, echoing wildly of the moaning masses of her demonic domain. He had heard it before, oh so many years ago.
“Ach… ‘ow could ah forget?”
His voice was nothing like she remembered, gone gruff with age. How many years has it been? 40? 400? Time had been so slippery between them. His long black hair gone thin and grey, though he never lost that boyish gleam in his eyes. That bright spark of curiosity that had so drawn her to him, despite him being trapped upon the mortal coil. Even his godlike powers could not keep time from his bones. Thunder eventually goes silent and storms only exist so long as there is a planet on which to have them.
She was larger than that, her being cast out over the entirety of creation, her death was still such a painfully long time yet to come. Inhuman black eyes trail over him as he struggles to his feet, the grip of age is heavy upon his joints yet he still manages to leap up from his chair to greet her on his feet- old hands that held some of the rarest mysteries of the world, now clinging for dear life to an oak cane.
She gathers herself from shadows, drawing light into her flesh as she steps further into the room. Darkness clothes her and she flicks her two twin tails slowly behind her, a small sad smile curling her lips at the sight of him.
“Oh Alastair,” she whispers, “You know I can ease your burden. I can pull you from the mortal coil, We could be together until the cosmos returns once more into the arms of the Void.” Her fingertips brush his cheek, a gentle caress of past affection.
He looks at her for a very long time, memories of their time together flashing through his mind. His chuckle rumbles low, a reminder of the power he wields vibrating through the air between them. A little shake of his head flits strands of grey down over his shoulders.
“Ah Vedis, Ya really dinae know wha its like due ya? I’m not mean’t ta live f’ever. Heck! I’m not even certain I want to!” He straightens his shoulders and pulls on his vest down with a jerk. He still had that aura of strength about him. Despite the years between them, he was still the god of the storm. His energy snapped and crackled in the air between them, lifting his hair up from his shoulders, nearly floating it back into place. “Look Lassie, ya know I love ya, I cannae help but ta love ya till ma grave. Tha’s jus’ it, d’ya see?”
Leaning on the cane, he pulls up the sleeve of his robe revealing the marks. The tattoos pulsed with the fury of the storm, still visible- even unnaturally dark- against the aged skin of the old Scot.
“In mah life… what all ah’ve done… ah’ve held more time than ah should’ve, and more power than mos’ men imagine. Fer all a tha’… there’s a price t’pay. An’ ah pay mah debts, lass.”
His eyes meet hers again, and he gives her a wan smile. “We both know it canna’ happen, lass. We ‘ad our high times… beautiful ones.” The flicker of pain that tightens his lips doesn’t go unnoticed by the demoness. “Ah’m tired of seekin’ more. ‘Ventually, the Dhoo’ll come fer me… or Le Baron- tho’ ah don’ think ah’m in ‘is jursidiction. D’ye know… I’ve met w’ Death so many times now- should ah be scared when it comes roun’ one las time?”
He shakes his head softly and runs a thumb over her the back of her perfect, porcelain hand. “But m’time is runnin’ up, Vedis.”
She nods reluctantly. “This is love.” She sighs with a wistful smile. “I thought it a lost memory, but I remember why I have come to hate it.”
His gaze softens, “Vedis, ah will always love you- but ah’ve Lorelei, an’ our boy, Dougal. They are everything ah ever wanted, lass. S’ a happiness tha’…” he struggles for a moment, trying to find the right words, “Ah couldn’a have had any other way…” He prays she understands.
Her gaze drops and she nods, she would never be the one who could give him what he needed, she knew that all to well. “I just hate to see you suffer so.”
He waves it away, “A small price t’pay for all ah’ve seen and done. A small price t’pay for the memories that ah carry with me now.” A slight wince as he turns to the window, and chuckles. “‘Ere… y’remember tha’ idiot dragon that crashed yer castle?” He looks down at the marks again- a sigh rattles in his chest. She snorts in amusement.
“Agin’ ain’t s’bad, lass.. Ah’ve got all these memories t’keep me company. S’ the stories, Vedis- y’ unnerstand? Folks hear th’ stories… and they remember.”
She cocks her head, “Stories are no match for reality. At best they become legend, at worst they fade into time.” She steps up, resting a hand upon his shoulder, she seemed so small for such a vast entity, “I can keep you writing your stories.” She smiled up at him, the glimmer of crimson tears dancing in those pitch black eyes. “I keep age’s cold grip from your bones.”
Alaster smiles and pats her hand, walking her over to sit near him on the couch.
“Ah lass…if’n there anythin’ ah’ve learned from a life of finding legends- s’that they’re th’ single bes’ way fer a man t’be immortal. Y’ still drink tha’ ol tea you liked? Ah might ‘ave some round here…”
Laughter bubbles up from her throat, eyes twinkling “You were always one to have tea with the strangest of creatures.” She shifts and the shadows shift with her. She settles down on the couch, her movements as graceful as ever. “Magicians and fools don’t fear death, and you have never been a fool, Alastair.”
The old face splits into a wide grin- it was always good to see her laugh. “Ach, yer kind t’say so… “ With a grunt, he stoops and drops the last few inches into his armchair. “OOF! … Ahh, but per’raps it was foolishness kep’ me alive all those times.” He reaches over to the small end table and tips out two small tumblers of scotch. “Nah.. Death was never a true enemy t’me, lass” he murmurs, offering her one of the glasses. “Fate, though… tha’ was always a bitter pill t’swallow.”
Her fingers curl around the glass as she watches him behind cool eyes, “I am not known for my kindness and I hope you don’t take my offer as anything of the sort.” She pauses to look down at the glass, the amber liquid swirling within. “You were the only one who took me on my own terms, you treated me as more than just a Demoness.” Her gaze is drawn back up to his. “I never understood why.” Her smile was wry. “You were so smart, so cunning, yet your kindness never wavered. Even when I showed you none.”
Alaster sipped the liquor through pursed lips, intently enjoying the smooth, smoked peat aroma. He raised an eyebrow, a small smile of his own appearing behind the glass. “S’tha’ wha’ immortalities good for, then? Pertendin’ y’ don’ have qualities ah know y’ do?” He set the glass down gently- he doesn’t trust his fingers to hold their grip for so long. “Y’ said yerself, lass- tha’s love. Cleverness is well an’ good… s’what y’ do with it tha’ matters mos’.” He shrugs slightly. “Y’ were never jus’ a demoness, Vedis- no’ t’me any way.” He smiled. “Ye’ could be a right terror… b’ ah never once doubted ye were capable of goodness an’ kindness. Tha’ was enough.”
Her tails would curl and uncurl by her thigh as she watched him, her fingers playing over the top of her glass. “Then come with me, Alastair.” She scoots forward on the seat suddenly, setting her half finished drink aside. “I could show you such sights, worlds beyond your imagining. Come with me and watch your grandchildren and your great grandchildren thrive.” She pins him with an intent stare, knowing full well she could simply escort him away, but giving him the respect not to. “Just say the word and I will ease your pain.”
He studies her for a moment- he’s seen that look on her face before. Reaching over, he picks up his glass again in silence. After a sip, a deep sigh comes up instead of words. “Y’ make it sound wonderous, lass… an’ per’raps a part of me would want it. But… “ He pauses again- the old doctor in him trying to choose the right words. “Lass… d’ ye ever go down t’ the sea anymore?”
She blinks, nodding slowly, “When I can, when it’s safe.”
Alaster nods. “Aye… d’ye no’ sometime watch the sun go down into the horizon? See the sky change’s colours, the clouds turn t’ wafts o’ pink an’ purple in th’ golden light?” He leans back, picturing it in his head as he speaks. “Supposin… suppose the sun never set. Suppose y’ could make the skies blue forever… or suppose y’ could wave yer ‘and, an’ make that sunset stay jus’ as it is, fer as long as y’ like… ‘ow long would ye hold it, lass?”
“S’because the sunset ends and night comes they’re so beautiful.. It means y’ can wake up early an’ see a sunrise. Science an’ all ‘as told us where those colors come from- told us wha’ the clouds are made of, an’ how the sun works an all… but it don’ make it less beautiful fer that moment, Vedis, y’see? If ye get rid o’ th’ moment though… s’just scenery.”
Crimson curls frame her face as she looks into the flames of the fireplace, her dark eyes shimmering with the light of a thousand stars. She knows full well that everything has a time, everything has its moment before disappearing into the crazy chaos that is the end. Immortality is just a matter of living longer than everyone else. She closes her eyes, fighting fate to the end. When she opens them once more she offers him a smile. “You always were so stubborn. You strove to answer your own questions, to search out your own mysteries. I loved the way you stopped to watch the sunset when we went on our adventures.” She looks out the window, something shifting around her.
She stands, uncurling from the couch slowly. “If this is what you wish. Then this is my gift to you.” She leans over and cups his aged cheek, her smile kind, despite the sharpness of her teeth. “I shall remember you, dear friend. Until the darkness takes me once more. I hope that wherever you end up, you are happy.” She smirks and straightens, “I hereby declare you banished from my domain, and the domain of my brothers and sisters. Your soul shall find no admittance into the infernal realms.” Finally, a singular kindness from the queen of the damned. “May your journeys bring you peace, Alastair. You deserve nothing less.”
Alaster can’t help but chuckle at the ceremony of it all. “Ach.. Kicked out of Hell, is it? Well, m’mother should be QUITE disappointed… she was always convinced ah’d wind up there- though ah ‘magine the neighbors’d be less than pleased t’see me.” Setting down his glass, he stiffly rises again, his hand cupping Vedis’s smooth, ageless cheek- a thumb brushing away whatever hints of tears may have been there. “Thank ye, lass. We’ll remember each other- that’ll b’ enough immortality fer both of us, hmm?”
An echoed laugh, and the warm sensation of a kiss upon his lips and she fades one more from view. “It will be enough for me.” She murmurs before leaving him once again, alone in his study.