Floral Visages, as I am calling them, are little short stories meant to provide information on certain characters in a way that the novel can not. These novellas will likely be published up till, and after the release of my entire novel. (That will not be any time soon) The content provided by these stories display a moment in the character's history before the events of the novel. (This is not to say I expect any reader to remember the visages in order to understand the core story. I merely intend to provide useful content that would otherwise make the novel too long.) I hope this can excite viewers and introduce them to my world!
Memories are often cherished by beings of love and joy. But for the health of some, they must be forsaken. The witch known as Salem understood this curse, but could never release her wretched past. Even as the memory's began to fade, her own lust for vengeance would not. Each and every excruciating moment was simply a part of her being. The soul of her righteous malice was, and always would be, a profaned flame without an end.
She could perfectly recall the first time she begged for her life. The shame and humiliation felt upon selling herself to another was truly unbearable. In a way, she would rather allow herself to be defiled then suffer the noose at the hand of a cheering crowd.
"Witch." The pale girl read aloud, staring upon the crude markings upon her arm.
Using nothing but a shard of wood, she began to carve the brand out of her own flesh, showing little sign of pain. It was sadly a mild inconvenience when compared to the rest of that she had become accustomed to. After shielding the wound with a handful of snow, she continued along her intended path. The road ahead resided within a shadowy forest covered in ice, its horrors laying peacefully undiscovered. But that was only for a moment. The witch hadn't chosen the forsaken woods without cause. And upon discovering a neatly hidden cottage, she released a faint gesture of disappointment.
"Stay right where you are witch." A rough, but feminine voice called out to her. "Name one reason I should not slit your throat this very instant."
In response Salem knelt down with a submissive frown. She wanted her message to be undeniably clear. The black haired woman she happened upon seemed to understand, and was quite amused. Her silver eyes narrowed as she began to recognize the pale girl's beauty.
"Before I accept your servitude. What is it you desire in return?"
"Please. Stay their hand."
"Perform well enough, and the very men trying to end your life won't bat an eye." The woman glared as she pulled Salem in by the arm.
In truth, the pale girl was a forsaken being, scorned by all. Her mystical appearance did little to settle the masses. And her legacy of bringing death and misfortune upon all forced many to slay her on sight. But of course, finishing the accursed demon proved to be impossible. She herself hadn't the slightest clue as to how she still lived.
The witch had an awful habit of losing herself in traumatic moments, and was entirely clueless for sometime. When her mind had finally reformed she began to notice the terrible cold, its teeth tearing her flesh apart with unending force. This was due to an inspection of sorts designed to ensure her beauty was up to standards. And judging by the rather voracious gaze upon the woman's face, Salem had surpassed all expectations.
"And to think they labeled you a hideous monster." The woman laughed, while inspecting Salem's tongue. "Most of our girl's have to earn their outfits. But I think one that would match your eye's simply cannot wait."
Simply enduring the vile treatment, Salem began to question the reason as to why she tolerated any of it. But the truth of the matter had been reclaimed when a crimson collar was clasped around her neck. The tight sensation reminded her of the noose, and the hellish pain it had brought upon her. Never again would she endure the endless suffocation, and inevitable dismemberment.
It was only a matter of time before Salem's fabled beauty had made an impression upon the brothel. Men and women alike found themselves able to tolerate the girl's devilish appearance, so long as they were given pleasure. And for the witch herself, she began to feel at home. One might even say she had a natural talent when it came to seduction and fraternization. Certainly her confidence and fiery spirit had allowed such a skill to take form. But whether Salem enjoyed the experience or not, her survival was all that mattered. Or at least that's what she had envisioned. In reality, her violent downfall was inevitable.
Within the girl's head, a childish voice echoed throughout. "She is a perfect paradox. The little doll's mistress. The mother of death. And the savior of none."
What was it to be a harlot? Most believed the practice to be degrading, if not inhumane. A woman of the night was no more than a soulless trinket to herself and her clients. For a time, Salem believed to be just that. A detested witch who fed upon the desires of others, always offering her beauty to whichever creature she encountered. The lust of her antagonists was irreplaceable for the scorned. "But I am no doll." Salem whispered to herself, despite not moving her lips.
It was at this moment that the witch first began to doubt her pitiful existence. She found her defiled body within another realm, entirely unlike the brothel she resided within.
A voice called to her from the deep. "Indeed you are not."
The pale girl attempted to lash out towards the invader, but was physically bound from head to toe. Her body was yet again within the presence of the silver eyed mistress. Another satisfied smirk appeared upon the woman's face as she watched the witch flail about with all her futile might.
"You always struggled." She sighed. "It didn't aid you then. It won't now."
Salem snarled and continued to fight. She would refuse to say a single word. Her spite and discomfort was apparent, especially in the absence of her clients.
"Do you know why you're here? Do you understand the extent of my mercy? They want you dead. Less and less will tolerate your transgressions."
"Then throw me out." Salem muttered, ashamed to finally respond.
"An ungrateful little whore you happen to be!" The woman scoffed while snatching Salem's arm. "You believe yourself to be the victim? You cheat, lie, and murder your way through every town you enter. And you dare blame them for the way they treat you?"
The woman's grasp served as a reminder for Salem. The hand was so terribly cold, it froze the witch in place. She could hardly wince before entering a paralyzed state.
"You feel this? It is the reason behind your humiliation. Like the noose, you cannot stand the cold. You would rather sell yourself then spend another moment out there."
Eventually, she released her hold on the girl and returned to her sinister work. Salem continued to lie in defeat with a vicious glare. She was fit to be tied when it came to being controlled by others. The feeling was so strong in fact, she felt a malicious urge.
"You cannot help, it can you? Neither could she. Though I suppose your addictions are entirely different. Kill as many as you want. But at least leave some of your clothing. I happen to like my handiwork upon you."
The mysterious offender then disappeared into the abyss. Whether or not Salem was sure of her reality was irrelevant. All that she had heard was truth. The witch had indeed lost all control over her abysmal life. And time was running short. For who was a Goddess of Death without her unfortunate victims?
Memory was always a fickle thing. For the witch, she found it to be a fleeting construct, always just out of reach. Even when the times were good, they quickly fled the reaches of her mind. Though of course the most scarring of experiences refused to depart. Whether or not she consciously chose this path was irrelevant. Quite simply, Salem couldn't rid herself of the constant failures of life. She longed to reminisce of what she might have had before. Perhaps it was truly better. Though perhaps, some things are better left forsaken.
Long ago, during the time of great betrayals, the girl with no name sat content within her enclosure. She was like an animal waiting for its mother. Whether or not anyone would visit the little exhibit was beyond her pubescent mind. All that she knew was carefree bliss, for how bad could life be to one such as her. Surely her mother would arrive any moment now. The odd creatures with no face kept insisting she had just a mother, who would be pleased to see her.
She only began to fear once the first shock-wave rattled the facility. It was a dreadful place designed to contain those closest to extinction. Whoever sought to annihilate such a thing was surely aware of its priceless value. But soon enough, she was entirely alone. No more visitors arrived to inspect her rarity. Only the screams of painful death reminded her of their existence. Surely, she would have died there if not for the glass around her shattering as the room shuttered with excitement.
She did not hesitate to seek her mother regardless of danger. In fact, she was unaware of the horrors that awaited her. For the girl with no name was as innocent as one could be. Though like the rest of her family, it would be irreparably tarnished.
"Is anyone there?" She tried to speak, only little childish grunts escaping her mouth.
Just then, a small little lizard stumbled forth from one of the many vast doorways. It seemed petrified as it's little legs scurried as fast as they could. Whatever it seemed to evade was not something to be taken lightly. And upon tripping over its little stubs, the lizard looked in horror as a slender hand rose from the shadows.
Salem nearly burst into tears upon witnessing the shadow. Truly, it was a creature of death, its limbs reaching farther than any tree, and its eyes wide as the ocean itself. The abnormally large head smiled and laughed as it reached for the lizard. To be blunt, it was a lack of realistic detail that furthered its terrifying aura. Clearly this was no practical weapon. It existed only to terrify its enemies, a tactic reserved for only the most sadistic of creatures.
But the line of crimson malice were no cowards. The girl knew she had to do something, even at her age. In but a few moments, she stood before the creature with a comically demanding expression.
"Have you gone mad?" The lizard screeched in a feminine voice. "Run!"
Without a doubt, the figure would have gratefully ripped her head from its body if not for an unforeseen factor. In a brilliant surge of crimson energy, the creature was set ablaze. It screamed in pain and almost begged for mercy in a taunting fashion. But the girl saw through its lies. She only needed to lock gazes, even if for a moment, to understand its heart. And indeed, there was nothing but void.
The lizard nodded as thanks, before scurrying off. It was almost as if it felt ashamed appearing the way it did. But the girl ignored this, and turned back towards her true intent. Now was not the time to feel like a hero. She had a mother to find. Though eventually, it would be a little Bear to sway her from this suicidal path. Perhaps, it was its way of saying thanks. For when it came to the truly mischievous, no debt could go unpaid.
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