Chapter 23: In Absence of Truth, Fear of the False. In the False, Death.
There is a curious and unpleasant feeling that can pass through your body when a truly hate filled gaze is directed at you. A strange crawling chill in the skin, one that reaches out into one’s bones as if with clawed hands. A sense of foreboding, a paranoia that becomes horrified certainty as you realise that something wishes cruel and twisted harm to you, those connected to you and all you stand for.
Many people brush this feeling off, as often it is nothing more than a hateful glance, and few people can believe that someone or something can hate them so surely and completely. When the gaze is constant though?
It cannot be ignored.
One cannot comfort oneself by pretending it wasn’t real.
There was one thing that came to Jadah’s mind as she felt this gaze upon her.
It was what had killed her before.
She had felt that gaze before.
Its owner had killed her before.
It killed her.
Fear began to grip her heart. Her heartflame too grew fitful and agitated. She got on her broom and fled.
The gaze followed her.
Her spirit felt then as if she was already dying, and death essences leaked from it.
The sad thing was, if she had not fallen to fear…
She was taken by fear now, she was no longer simply just fleeing.
She was chased.
She the prey.
It the hunter.
The frozen crowleaf forest spun about her as she fled, and she lost all sense of direction. It tried to call out to her. To ask what she was fleeing from, to ask, why was she afraid. To her, its help seemed like hindering. It’s efforts to grab her with branches was an act of malevolence, not benevolence. She could not understand the truth. When the fear of truth is not present, delusion consumes and destroys. What was it that she feared?
The flow of magic worked with her, flew with her fears, and thus, the patterns lined up. What they lined up to was her death.
She did not see when it struck.
She did not properly defend herself. The story she had written was not one that had that part. Paralysed by fear. It was always Jadah’s weakness, to get carried away.
However… though she died, afraid, confused, and without a glimpse of her attacker…
The one that hated her was furious and then frightened itself when it found that it could not approach her dead body. That it could not tamper with her spirit, that her spirit was not torn from her body by the magic of the loop, to await the call of another day when her body would be made anew.
Her spirit was within her body, and shining on her body was a charm.
The stalker could not bear to be the presence of this charm, and while it wished so badly to inflict further harm to Jadah, it fled.
It left Jadah’s dead body and sleeping spirit behind.
There would be no need to worry about her though.
It was not, after all, the first time she died.
Her spirit was not afraid, sheltered in the warmth of a charm, one of three.
Her spirit, though sleeping, learned something.
Through the whisper of the trees, the screams of rage from her attacker.
What it hated most…
Was the charm that she bore.
What it feared was like…
The charm she bore.
[Sorry for missing the last day, slept instead]