This writer’s prompt is from WriteWorld (check the link beneath the jump!). The exact world this comes from is The Secret World. It’s an MMORPG I play in my spare time – with a tagline like “Everything is true”, I doubt that it can be easily resisted. And so far, it hasn’t disappointed. Not yet. I do get bored of it once in a while, but I always go back for the lore.
Which reminds me, I do need to go beat up the dungeon lair boss Flappy. Just for once. And then I can go back to being boring.
It’s her normal haunt when she’s done with today’s work, the usual run-of-the-mill fieldwork as she runs around outside, gathering information, quietly finishing off those who stand in her way. Fortunately, not all of them are human, sometimes they’re supernatural, spirits determined to haunt the hell out of a place until they’re put to rest in pieces.
She doesn’t like the noisy pub around the corner in the street, nor that heavy rock metal bar. No – she prefers this lounge, with all its smokiness and muted tones, the dark and the hooded, crushed velvet and the polished wooden tables. The singer is crooning softly into the microphone, accompanied by stray tinkling of the piano keys. She settles at the bar, smiling cheerfully at the bartender as she orders her usual.
The Aspen Mint Martini is almost tacky in such a place, but she really doesn’t want to order a Scotch or G&T. For one she never liked the taste. So she sits herself on the barstool, still in her combat boots and leather pants. Her top is a little more formal, opting for a shirt and a few accessories, but she feels comfortable. Legs crossed, she observes the scene, allowing the calm to slowly seep into her and rest her jittered nerves.
She remembers briefly the screaming she heard down in the Temple, as she tried to stop the ghouls, set the prisoners free. She remembers the blistering heat of the Djinn as it tried to set her on fire before she finally felled him, bruised, bleeding, eyes haunted and dark. She shudders, and sips at the Martini.
“I think I need a cigarette.”
The voice drifts somewhere behind her, but it’s unmistakable. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, it’s one she hadn’t heard for years. One that she thought had vanished off the face of the globe, after high school when no one could trace what happened to the princess of their school. Everyone thought her gone. Eloped with whoever she had been in love with. She almost wants to laugh at their imagination. But she hadn’t expected to see her – hear.
The speaker settles next to her, alighting she remembers her – delicately, perfectly, like a faerie. She can hear her murmurings next to her, something about the lack of a lighter, ordering a drink – and unable to resist, she snaps her fingers (so overused, but the effect was so much better to be seen) and summons a flame, holding it out to the woman beside her. There’s a murmured thanks – and then she pauses as she turns to regard the twenty-three year old next to her.
She turns to look at the woman with the cigarette, taking in the bombshell red curls, her glittering blue-green-grey eyes (too perfect to be true, that was half her mystique back in high school), burnished skin. The woman regards her too, almost in shock as she attempts to identify the girl-woman next to her. She tilts her head, and offers a smile.
“Everyone was convinced you eloped in high school,” she says matter-of-factly. The redhead grins at the brunette wryly.
“And you’re the last person I’d have expected to show up in a place like here,” she retorts. “What are you doing here, Vivi? This place isn’t for normal people.”
She rolls her eyes at the old nickname, and instead rolls her sleeve up, revealing the myriad of scars and healing cuts that are on her arm.
“Ended up like you, Taylor,” she answers evenly. “Went down the rabbit hole. Fell down hard.”
Taylor’s eyes harden as she scans the scars. They are self-inflicted, yes, but for more deadly reason. As Taylor watches, trying to discern what is going on (probably), her own mind drifts. She remembers draining life force, the screaming as the spirit crumples to the floor. It’s a forbidden branch of magic, but in times of war…
She says nothing, nodding slowly. It’s her specialty, though she knows a small handful of basic elemental spells. Their eyes meet, the blue-green meeting her own, neither giving away, both knowing exactly what the other was talking about. No one says anything for a while, and as Taylor nurses her Scotch she sips at her own girly Martini contemplatively. There’s something different in Taylor’s eyes, disbelief, and then slowly burns to some sort of not-respect. Then, she inclines her Scotch to her, and she clinks her own Martini in return.
There’s catching up to be done. They talk their way through to the night, and when she returns to her apartment there’s a sense of tiredness, but at the same time, relief as she sits back with a good book and ready to make more notes on improving the efficacy of her spells. Her blade sits in its compartment, untouched, ready and waiting for action at the drop of a hat, but tonight she knows her apartment’s been warded inside out for protection, so she can sleep easy.
The flickering lights in the distance of Seoul soothe and reassure her, the slow rumble of thunder threatening to roll in. But she really wouldn’t have it any other way.