In the Refuge of the Azhemyra
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Many things had changed over the last two decades of Maenthrai's life. One of such was that she no longer acknowledged her childhood name of Thraya. She had discarded the childish name her mother had given to her long ago upon becoming a woman, relishing the abandonment as much as she could.
That wasn't the only of her names that had changed; she had gotten married during her early adult years in Morrthault City. She had taken her husband's name upon marriage instead of preserving her own. It seemed fitting to throw away the family name of Haullpent so as to replace it with her inherited family name of Ahlmunast. The ties that held her to her blood name had been destroyed in her younger years. Putting some distance between her and her past had let her focus on her own life, her own family, and her own path as an oracle.
It had been an arduous two decades since she left her childhood home in Neshran to move to Morrthault City. She remembered the hope she had on that day. She was brimming with pride at her studies and felt like the whole world was opening up for her. She was dismayed that her mother hadn't managed to make it for her last day with her family. Perhaps if her mother had of made it, the path that Maenthrai's life had taken would be vastly different. It would have saved her and her brother more sorrows than they could currently endure. It would also mean that the rest of Maenthrai's family might still be alive.
With a flurry of anger, Maenthrai lifted her right hand up from the wooden table in front of her and crushed her fingers into a fist. In sympathy with the motion, a piece of parchment fluttered up from the table and crumpled into a ball, violently. There was a crackle in the air as she did so; a feeling like at any moment lightning might go off. A guttering candle at the edge of her writing desk flickered under the strain of the emotional energy as if struck with momentary fear.
With an exaggerated throw of her hand, she let the crumpled ball fly from the air in front of her and out the opened balcony doors, slightly to her right. She gave a grumble under her breath, seizing a small wooden writing stick in her left hand and then setting back to a fresh piece of parchment before her. Her long fingers wrapped around the writing stick and set it forth, frantically scratching runes in horizontal lines down the leftmost two-thirds of the parchment. She scrambled to get her thoughts out, feeling the pressure of time and obligation to do so.
Her emotions were running high and every now and then a trinket from inside the room she occupied seemed to shift as if jittered or moved by unseen hands. Her powers were bleeding into the very air of the room. Such was the price of a powerful oracle. With fevered emotions came the unfocused blasts of her telekinetic or telepathic powers. Given the emotions that were flying through her at this very moment, she had now become a whirlwind of disjointed energies.
Beyond where she sat — outside the rusted metal-trimmed balcony doors and beyond the stone balcony just outside — the world was cast in shadows. There was a light that crept in despite the darkness; a mix of shimmering reds, blues, and deep violets. These colors mixed and moved in strange ways like all three were caught in a hypnotic and tranquil sort of dance. The light was dim and pulled at the edges of perception with a strange and uncanny sort of brilliance.
The warm and harsh hues of reds crept inside the room from the churning rivers of molten rock that dripped around the edges of the outside city; these flowed into rivers that wound their way through the crumbling ruins beyond. The shades of blues came from the refracted light shimmering gently off the immense layers of ice that encapsulated the domed roof and the many walls of this subterranean city. The violets were born from the eternal silver and indigo flames mounted outside that illuminated this once thriving city; the same flames that lived on despite the people who had once used them for light so long ago now being nothing more than ash.
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