Sesha – Coils

How the character relates to their own race

“Will there be anything else, my lord?”

“No. Now get out. I do not wish to be disturbed again today.” He sat, back ramrod straight, until he heard the door close. Only when he was sure he was alone, the servants well away, did he relax and the air of command leave him. He was free today, his master elsewhere, though given his position, what he was, freedom was somewhat limited. At least he wasn’t bent double over the tub again, his stomach wracked in agony. Those days were always free, and never wanted.

He wondered what he should do with himself. He could go out into the city. Nothing was stopping him, but if he did he couldn’t be himself. Only here, locked away in the god’s quarters, could he drop the facade. Being the mortal vessel of a deity was a great honor, or so it looked from the outside. Only one other man even knew he existed anymore. When he’d come of age and the god had taken him for the first time, the people had assumed his mind had been consumed, a feast for the nesting deity. Before then, he’d always thought that was what was going to happen, too.

At the time, he’d been pleased to still live. These days, he thought death might have been easier. The god wasn’t always present in his body, but in order to keep the facade he had to act like he was. It made the opulent quarters little more than a prison, the elaborate costume the garb of an invader. It had taken him years to fully learn to impersonate the god. Years in which, he’d been long sure, his humanity had been burned away.

Despite the feathered wings on his back, denoting him as the god’s vessel, he was human. He would live a similar span. His body could fall ill or be hurt in the same way, if the god allowed it. He felt the same pain and euphoria, joy and sorrow, even if he’d long since given up dreams. But he wasn’t sure he’d ever really understood his own race the way they understood themselves. He’d never really had the chance to.

From the time of his birth he’d been marked as different. He’d been taught his body had never belonged to him, his mind merely a pilot to keep the flesh safe and ready to be sacrificed. He’d been coddled and prepared, making him ready and willing to receive the god. He’d watched out of windows as others lead their lives, laughing, fearing, throwing themselves into the trials of the every day. He attended festival days, but in a special position, never getting to dance, or revel. Always watching from afar. Despite this, he’d developed a fondness for the people he couldn’t join. His heart reached out to them, as someone in the dark might to a candle flame.

He was never supposed to care about the mortal world. Other sacrifices threw themselves into the opulence showered upon them. All of that did little to draw his attention. There had been keepers, teachers, and the occasional playmate, people to whom his care had been drawn. Those same people now only bowed and heaped praise, while someone else moved his hands, and spoke with his mouth. There were times he hardly believed himself little more than a puppet, a container, far less than human.

The god reveled in his own depravities. Flesh, blood, gore, mind, all of it. As the god wore his flesh, he was party to every moment. He saw minds pried open to horror, bodies convulsing in pain, heard screams in the air. He’d tasted their flesh on his lips, felt the weight of it in his stomach. In those moments, he saw humans the way the god did. They were insects, toys. So easily broken and so very delicious. Even as the god’s desires coursed around him, white hot, he never gave himself over to it, though it would have been far easier to do so. His heart wept for anyone caught in the serpent’s coils. He understood, because he was there too. Each time it became harder, each time humanity felt a bit further away. One day, he was sure, his own heart would crack under the strain.

But there was, perhaps, hope. He knew he would never been free of the god, but there was a man who knew him for what he was. The warrior had seen his true face, had held him in his arms, had been angry at the things done to him. The warrior had suffered too, not always willingly. He was a connection, an anchor to the world of men, something he thought he’d lost forever. Not even the god himself seemed able to stop him, or intimidate him. He was unlike any person he’d ever met.

He felt more alive with him than he had in a very long time. He looked forward to being in control, even if he was trapped away in these rooms. He thought more often of the people outside, of their well being. It might not have been freedom, but it was life, and it pulsed like a light in his chest. Whatever he might be, each time the man was with him, he felt more human than he ever had.

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Sesha I – An Abandoned Concept, Part 2

“For the last time, no.” Elanoen said, voice soft but carrying that terse tone that it only did when he was becoming frustrated. Cherasesha knew when to be careful, knew from long experience just how far he could push his Father before it was to far. He had given his Father a myriad of good reasons so far as to why he should be allowed to go with him to the Weyr, but nothing seemed to move the man and he was running out of options and time.

“Please…” He gently pleaded once more, following his Father as he moved about the infirmary. Elanoen had been working when he son had come to him. The boy had been bothering him about this for nearly a week now, and so far, he had yet to give in. He knew how much his son wanted to travel with him to the Weyr, but he knew so very well what his wife would say to that. She would have both their hides and it was that danger he tried to get his son to understand. Cherasesha, however, hadn’t been deterred and Elanoen was loosing his resolve. Unlike many families, theirs was based upon the strength of will. Between the four of them, whoever was the strongest usually got their way.

But none of them could stand up to Audra.

Elanoen hadn’t quite known what he was getting himself into when he had married the woman. But she had been the daughter of the Hall leader, how could he have turned her down? And she had been so very beautiful. She still was, despite her iron fist. He had had so many plans for himself, nearly all of which had never come to fruition after his marriage. He was no longer the man he was, and he hardly ever noticed anymore.

“Papa please…” Cherasesha’s voice pulled him back to the present and he looked over. Hazel eyes met hazel eyes and he couldn’t help but feel pity for his son. Though he did not hate his life, it was not everything he had wanted it to be, everything that it should have been… And he knew, that would be his sons fate as well. Audra was already searching through the promising young girls in the Hall, looking for one with the same temperament as her own, to join Cherasesha with. He knew very well his son’s personality was soft, like his own, and he would be left with nothing.

Cherasesha had taken his Fathers arm, holding himself close to the man in the same way he had done when he was little and had wanted attention or to be picked up. Things were different now though, and he and his Father had grown slightly apart. He had never wanted that to happen, but it seemed he had so little control over things anymore. And he wanted this so very badly. Just one more chance, just one to see the dragons again and then he would be content. He swore to himself that he would never ask for anything else ever again. His eyes shone, speaking much of what his heart was feeling inside and he could read the emotion emanating from his Fathers as well. In so many ways, they were the same. He truly was his Fathers son.

Cherasesha was about to speak again when Elanoen very gently placed two fingers over his sons lips, silencing him in the same way he used to do when the boy had been younger. He was silent a moment as he tried to gather his thoughts. He truly did want to give Cherasesha this chance. It was what he felt in his heart was right, but so many years of being in the iron grip of his wife had worn away his resolve.

“I know how much you want this Sesha, and I want to be able to give this opportunity to you, but your Mother…” He sighed.

Cherasesha very gently took his Father’s wrist and moved his hand away so he could speak. Normally, he never would have dared, but this was different. His voice remained soft, hardly more than a whisper.

“I promise Papa, I’ll never ask you for anything ever again. Just this once, just once before my next birthday. I’ll have new duties then and I’ll never have a chance to leave. Please…” He was in total earnest, and the despair he was feeling must have been quite clear in his eyes as his Father’s own took on a pained look. Cherasesha held his breath, just waiting for his Father to tell him no.

The answer he got took him totally by surprise.

“I’ll think about it.”

The boys eyes widened and he threw his arms around his Fathers neck, giving the man a squeeze the likes of which he hadn’t done since he was much younger. Cherasesha knew his Father, and an ‘I’ll think about it’ was far better than anything he could have hoped for. There was still a chance, and a good one now, that he would be journeying to the Weyr.

And he could hardly wait.

Sesha I – An Abandoned Concept, Part 1

It was nearing noon, just at that oh-so critical point in the day when the air would begin to warm as the sun reached its zenith overhead. The sky, deep unfragmented blue, seemed untroubled by anything that could possibly be going on anywhere in the world. One would hardly think that there was so much going on outside of the meadow where a lone young man and his runnerbeast were.

Cherasesha had gone out for the day, with the explanation of needing to replenish several of the bottles on the infirmary shelves, more especially before the slow shifting of the temperature did away with certain species until the next season. It was true, for the most part. The fact that getting out of the Hall got him away from the iron grip of his Mother was something that he had decided not to mention. He needed the break, and even with his good excuse, she had been adverse to it. Therefore, he had had to slip out past the escort she had decided to send along with him.

He knew where to look for what he needed. Taking his runner, his supplies and his bow and arrow ‘just in case’ he had left several hours ago and had traveled farther than needed in order to garner the common plant life. The lands only a couple of miles from the Hall held most of what he was looking for, but he had passed them by, much to the questioning of Ven, his runner. The beast stopped complaining, however, when he had loosed the rein and sent him into a long wild gallop across the flat country finally letting the beast use all of his power, which was so rarely allowed. It had been absolutely glorious. The wind whipping all around them and the ground falling away under them so that it hardly mattered any longer. He trusted his runner implicitly and so, when he closed his eyes and let Ven choose his own path, he could have sworn that he was flying.

The illusion ended soon enough, however, and he finally found a place to stop. Giving his runner rest he took to the ground to gather up the herbs, roots, vines, and flowers that would be taken back to the Hall and eventually used to heal the wounded. Taking his time, and working with skill borne from long experience, his hands were soon stained a myriad of colors from the plant juices, as was the blade of his small knife. Morning was ending by then, and he could feel his stomach rumbling. Gathering up his things he returned them all to the special containers carried in his runners saddlebags and cleaned off his knife and his hands with some water. Lunch, was a simple affair, just some dried fruit a little bread and some water, well enough to satisfy him. It was not as if the gathering had been particularly physically draining.

While Ven moved around nearby, lazily cropping grass Cherasesha laid back on the ground, gazing up at the sky. A gentle wind blew past him and he was reminded of the feeling he had when on the back of his runner, flying. Though he loved Ven his thoughts turned, inexorably, to dragons. How it must feel to be on the back of one as it moved through the sky… He had seen them a few times and he had found them terribly fascinating and after that first time he had searched through the Hall’s library for books on them. Unfortunately, outside of the healing of the animals, there were little. He remembered when the riders had come to the Hall, but had been turned away by his Mother. She would not allow them to search for candidates among the youth and it had made him sad, in more ways than one. Not just for the others, but for himself as well. Secretly, he had wished to go along. But his Mother would never allow it and he knew he had more important things to think about. Mending bodies and minds was one of the highest and most noble goals one could possibly strive for. He probably wouldn’t have made a very good dragonrider anyway…

A soft sigh escaped him and he turned on his side, eyes now filled with the green of the meadow. What if he were to simply take off on Ven and just ride out to somewhere and never go back again? But he knew very well that was out of the question. His steps would always lead him back to the Hall. After all, it was his home. He closed his eyes and let himself drift off into a light sleep, dragons dancing behind his eyes.

He was woken by a gentle nudging against his face and upon opening his eyes he found his runner snuffling close to him, probably tired of watching him sleep. He sat up, looking skyward to judge the time. It was well past mid-day now and he needed to get back before his Mother had a fit. Well, it was probably a bit too late for that now. The ride back was far slower than the one there, letting Ven take most of the control, as he lost himself in thought.

When he became close to the Hall the sound of another runner approaching broke him out of his revere and he looked up to see a young woman with honey blonde hair and sharp green eyes, looking a bit stern-faced. She must have been a few years older than he was. He gave a deferential nod as she drew up to his side to follow him.

“Mother is frantic.” Her voice was soft when she spoke, though it held a gentle command of its own.

“I am sorry Lyn… I lost track of time.”

Her face softened at that and she smiled over at him.

“Why does that not surprise me? You always did have your head up in the clouds.” She teased. He and his older sister, Saralynne, could not have looked more different but more than most siblings, they understood and supported each other. She suffered from their Mother just as he did and when they were younger they had often escaped to find the hidden places in the Hall to play and relax. Things had changed recently though, his sister coming of age had meant that her duties had been increased and there was little time now for them to talk as they used to.

They rode awhile in silence and in the distance he could see other runners and their riders turn their paths back towards the Hall after catching sight of the pair. So, his Mother had sent people out looking for him. A frown touched his lips. When would she ever let him go?

“There is news.” He blinked as his sister spoke and he canted his head to the side a little so he might look better at her. She went on.

“One of the Weyrs has contacted us, seeking a healer for one of their dragons.” He was instantly at attention.

“And Mother agreed to see them?”

“Yes. She hates them, but even she must offer aid to those in need of our skills. You know that. She won’t go herself though, she’s sending Father.” He was veritably squirming in his saddle now, all sorts of plans forming in his mind. Over the years his Mother’s dominance had slowly worn his father down and so he was much more forgiving of the two of them. Maybe, just maybe, he could talk him into letting him come along.

“She won’t let you, you know.” His sister broke his thoughts, almost as if she could read just what was going on inside.

“I am sure Father will. Think, it would be great experience for me.” He could at least use that as an excuse.

“And its not just so you can see the dragons again?” She asked, though she knew the answer.

“Of course not!” He drew himself up and gave her an indignant look that faded after a few moments. “Well… maybe that is part of it…”

They had reached the Hall by now and the building seemed to loom over him like a great shadow and he pulled his runner to a stop. He knew what waited inside for him and he was not looking forward to it. A soft sigh escaped him and he slumped a bit in the saddle.

“Things will turn out right Sesh, you’ll see.” She gave him one of her soft smiles; the ones that he had seen so rarely as of late and it drew one from himself. He plucked up his confidence and started off again, ready for the railing he was going to get.

But, despite it all, there was hope for him now. A hope of dragons.