The JourneyThe night was cold. A bright, full moon shone in a cloudless sky devoid of motion save for the rare stack of smoke billowing up from pyres dotting the darkened city whose alleys shaded by the tall townhouses sandwiched together for streets on end, the continuity only broken up by the odd bridge here and there spanning back and forth over the rabble of gothic stone, connecting towers which jutted up into the dark sky like tombstones in a cemetery. Winding outwards from the inner sanctum of forsaken steel fences and forgotten mansions and castles, a once well-travelled road lay, the few cobblestones that still remained glistening with the dew of a silent twilight with weeds filling in the gaps between. A lone wanderer stumbled down the road on this night, weary and hungry. Her cloak fell about her drooping shoulders like loose drapery, the length of its sleeves and her barely visible fingertips evidencing its unbefitting size even further, though to her it fit just fine.The Journey by FullmetalNyuu
The night was cold. A bright, full moon shone in a cloudless sky devoid of motion save for the rare stack of smoke billowing up from pyres dotting the darkened city whose alleys shaded by the tall townhouses sandwiched together for streets on end, the continuity only broken up by the odd bridge here and there spanning back and forth over the rabble of gothic stone, connecting towers which jutted up into the dark sky like tombstones in a cemetery. Winding outwards from the inner sanctum of forsaken steel fences and forgotten mansions and castles, a once well-travelled road lay, the few cobblestones that still remained glistening with the dew of a silent twilight with weeds filling in the gaps between. A lone wanderer stumbled down the road on this night, weary and hungry. Her cloak fell about her drooping shoulders like loose drapery, the length of its sleeves and her barely visible fingertips evidencing its unbefitting size even further, though to her it fit just fine.
The odd article and the hat that came with it once belonged to her father, the official magistrate of a small town many a mile to the south of the dreaded place towards which she tread. The task to save this small town was left to her, its inhabitants learned on the nature of the curse which plagued the center of their land. It was her father in specific who sent her alone, his decision not founded on a basis which favored her, quite the opposite in fact. He didn’t expect that she would succeed in her quest, any more than he expected that the blight would simply disappear one day. No, he was hurt by the fact that Genevieve Lariatt was his only child, and in order for their family line to continue he would require a son, which he had yet to conceive with any woman.
He saw her birth as a curse on his lineage, and as he searched for a way to remedy this, the plague grew and grew until the great city to the North, Yharnam, was far from the only place to fall to it. Genevieve’s father grew desperate as he saw the horror written on refugee’s faces, their ceaseless passing bringing an equal horror to him until he let every ordeal, both private and public, unhinge his mind. He was convinced, then, that Genevieve must die in order to save their town, the conclusion reached through the synthesis of the world’s troubles and his own. Of course, he was not mad enough to suppose that the town would support the murder of a youth, and rather than relinquish his authoritative position on the girl’s account he resolved to send her away instead, on a quest destined to fail: to search for a cure.
The girl was of fifteen years, and her rather sheltered upbringing kept her from realizing the true intent of her father or the true severity (and nature) of the plague she was now made to face. She truly loved the man, as he was all she had known in those fifteen years, and when he sent her away with his oversized coat and hat, she was determined to complete his mission. She would see the approval on his face, even if it meant she had to feel pain to achieve it.
Spending months alone on the open road, however, would logically begin to discourage a girl like her. With little money and no means of protecting herself from the beginning, finding food became a problem very fast. Luckily, a kind innkeeper mere miles out of town took her in and gave her ample supplies to last her a week after she explained her situation, and he did not stop her, although he felt the futility in her efforts. I need only reach Yharnam, I need only reach Yharnam. She constantly repeated in her mind, the reassurance pushing her forward when nothing else would.
Her previously cushy lifestyle in the home of a noble, spent reading adventure novels and eating expensive food warped her view of life on the road, especially this one. There was no servant to cook for her, no assistant to help her dress, no place to relieve herself and definitely no place to bathe. Genevieve soon abandoned the dress she wore under her father’s coat in favor of her simple undergarment, all of the trappings gone soon as well. As she passed others on her journey, she looked at them from under the brim of her large hat and wondered how they could stand so tall with the hunger tearing at their bellies, the thirst at their throats, and the stench of unending travel hanging about them. She asked herself if they simply got used to it after a while, but the more she pushed herself the more she found herself identifying with the thinning faces she passed on the road.
Her once large eyes narrowed, and her once fair face roughened. She soon grew skinny and gaunt, going days between meals on occasion, and her pace slowed ever so slightly at certain increments of time. The only thing that seemed to stay constant about her body was the long, curly mass of red hair that fell around her freckled face. She used a knife she managed to persuade one of the travelers she passed two weeks into her trek to give her in order to keep it a manageable length, and sometimes she would find herself stopping and simply staring at a rusty lock which she kept, the first of her hair that she had cut herself. She felt that it marked a milestone for her, a point that would be impossible to come back from.
After the first month and a day had passed, she sat under the ruins of an old wooden barn in the country off the road to avoid the heavy rainfall that plagued the past several days of her journey, her arms pinning her legs to her chest as her abdomen pulsed with intense pain she had never felt before, her convulsions seeming to match the incessant patter of water on her shelter’s tall roof. Genevieve couldn’t help but doubt her father in that situation, the combination of confusion, terror, and annoyance at the rain making her head spin. Why did he want to send her out here, wet, alone, and hungry, just to slowly die in a horrid rainstorm? Shivering, the girl pressed her back against the wall she braced against, tightening every muscle and putting her head between her knees. Could there be any solace in this situation? Was there any hope at all of a better ending…?
Before she dared to attempt any of the questions she forced herself to ask, her eyes shot up in search of the source of a voice she just heard in the dark. Just spotting a swish of motion in the wall of rain, Genevieve shot under the stairwell up to the loft, burrowing into a pile of rotten hay for a bit of camouflage. Slowly, the motion became human, and split into two distinct bodies. She guessed that they were travelers, same as her, just seeking to find shelter as well. A shudder of relief coursed through her body, and as the pair sat down cross-legged in the center of the barn, she accepted her suspicion as truth. Of course, in the sudden fright she had forgotten her weakness and as she attempted to stand and greet them, she could only manage a squeak, flopping onto the ground in front of her hiding place and curling into a ball from the sudden burst of remembered pain rushing through her body.
Both the entities dashed backwards at her unexpected entrance, their clockwork pistols clicking to the ready as they watched her for signs of movement. All was still in the large room for a moment, the only sound being the constant downpour outside and Genevieve’s quiet whimpers. Slowly, they lowered their guard and the taller of the two padded towards the girl’s shuddering form, poking her shoulder with its gun and rolling her over. Taken aback, the traveler took down his hood and motioned back to his companion, crouching over the girl and scratching his stubbly chin.
“Wha…she’s but a little girl…” his friend murmured, taking tentative steps forward and tugging down the mask over her mouth, taking a deep breath. Looking up at the two, Genevieve felt a shiver course down her spine, clenching her teeth. They were much taller than her, much taller than anyone she had ever seen in fact. They both stood easily three heads taller than the tallest of her acquaintances, though the woman was the shorter one. It took a bit of time for her to process their appearances, narrowing her eyes and picking out all the buckles and chains holding on each of their ankle-length coats, a leather poncho adorning the man’s shoulders and bunching up as he leaned forward. “You have a name, girl?”
Blinking again and glancing down, Genevieve swallowed and looked back up at him. “G…Gen…” Breathing out, she closed her eyes tight. She had only ever spoken directly to five other people in her lifetime, and she just couldn’t bring herself to correctly address the towering traveler. Still, he nodded and stood up, pointing at his companion who seemed to be fiddling with something mechanical in the barn’s far corner. “I am William, and the one with me is Elizabeth. You are the first sane soul we’ve seen for days, and that’s rather lucky for you.” She was unsure what he meant by that, but it obviously wasn’t good. Pushing herself up to a sitting position, Genevieve blinked away the moisture in her eyes and pursed her lips, tipping her hat back to see the pair better.
They each had dark hair, Elizabeth’s shoulder-length and tawny brown, William’s jet black in curtains which framed his face. Though William had a fair few buckles and belts wrapping across his body and holding some sort of cumbersome-looking frame on his back, he was stockier and thinner than his companion, who’s coat’s unusually large collar was popped to conceal most of her features. Both had a rough look about them, and they had obviously been doing this for…a long time, though what “this” was, Genevieve still did not know herself. “What…are you…?” She asked tentatively, another wave of abdominal pain prompting her to put a hand on her stomach and turn her eyes to the ground.
“We are hunters, girl. On our way to the big city, in fact.” Elizabeth responded this time, her smooth and controlled voice a stark contrast to William’s gruff tone. Despite that, she seemed almost stronger, somehow. More sure of her words, at least. Still, the answer she gave didn’t do much to sate Genevieve’s curiosity, only giving her more questions if anything. Finally standing from her crouched position in the corner, Elizabeth held her hands out, a small flame flickering to life under her guidance and seeming to unnaturally bend to her will, though in this weather even a spark would have been considered nothing short of magic in Genevieve’s eyes. Scooting over to the wall parallel to the fire, the girl watched the hunters unclasp all of their buckles and chains, using several nearby sticks to prop up their shed coats to dry. When they glanced over at her, she instantly looked the other way and shuddered, only now registering the predatory glint in their eyes. It wasn’t threatening though, only startling, and it seemed to be nothing more than a trait inherent of their shared title.
It took a while for her to accept their subtle invitation, but once she grew somewhat colder and somewhat acclimated to the two of them, she slowly moved close enough to be warmed by the little flickering flame. “I’m…going t-to the city…too…” She said quietly, after another long period of silence. Trading looks, the hunters beside her let out a breath in unison and looked her over. “Where have you come from, girl?” Shifting his position, William got to one knee and rested his forearm on the thigh closest to the fire, raising his eyebrow at the girl and asking his question. She didn’t respond immediately, her first instinct to say Nowhere, or Nowhere important, but Genevieve felt that she had no reason to hide anything from the two whom she assumed that she would be spending a great deal of time with here on out. “A…small town, South…it is on no map, but…it was a common stop f-for…r-refugees…” She replied carefully, her eyes drawn to the stove-like device from which the flame sprang.
Narrowing his shaded eyes, William turned them away and considered all of the possibilities. The way the plague was spreading, any land to the South or West of Yharnam would have been condemned by then. With what little he could tell by looking at what remained of her clothes and her oddly fitting attire, he assumed that she had once been related to a noble, which was odd for her current condition. He quickly feared that there would be no place for her to return to, as he thought when he first set eyes on her.
A hunter was not an ideal caretaker for a girl, especially an inexperienced child, and William knew that…but hunter or not, he still felt that his human spirit remained. What he could possibly do for her, he did not know, but he did know that he could at least teach her how to survive. Her own will must have been strong as steel to allow for her to live this long on her own without a weapon. “We must keep moving, William. The rain is beginning to let up.” Elizabeth murmured, breaking him out of his thoughts. He nodded once and brought his eyes back down to Genevieve, pushing himself to his feet. “In that case, you have a choice to make. We will leave this place shortly, not to return. You may continue with us, or you may stay here, but take heed that this is your only time to choose.”
Elizabeth perked up, heaving a deep breath as she quelled the fleeting flame and threw her coat over her shoulders, only picking up what was necessary to keep. It was customary that only two hunters travel together at a time, to ensure that one can protect the other’s back with no third wheel weighing them down. She had known William for a long while, however, and she knew that he rarely said anything unless it needed to be said and rarely asked questions unless they had an answer worth asking for. When she saw Genevieve take William’s offered hand, she knew that the girl had made her choice, for better or for worse.
As I wait for Bloodborne to be released, I just couldn’t resist putting down my thoughts for a character, a mini-mythos within what scraps we have so far. By the time it arrives, new details may come along and completely change the meaning of the words I’m writing now, but for now, it’s simply a release for my pent-up hype. Perhaps I’ll continue, perhaps I won’t, but the former is far more likely. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.