She just sat there looking at what she wrote, the freshly inked letters on the paper eventually blurring as the tears appeared. Why they came this time Annabel didn't know, but came they did anyway. She turned her head so they would not drip on her journal and as she did so her eyes fell on the windowed doors of her room. Wiping the tears away, she stared at those doors for a few moments then got up and walked over, her stockinged feet making no sound on the floor at her approach. Reaching for the knob, Annabel opened them slowly so that she could get a better look at her failure.
A sea of brightness greeted her, Light from all directions filled the sky. Light that for but yesterday had not been there had returned once more, returned because of her failure to contain it inside of her. All of this, all she surveyed, was her fault and hers alone. The thought of this crushed her soul and drew all hope from it. She had failed these people, after trying sooo hard, she had....failed; all of it, for nothing. Despair welled up in Annabel and all she wanted to do was cry till she had no more tears to give. It was what she did, it was what she did best.....
But before she could do so she heard a voice, a familiar one, "I can imagine what you are feeling right now milady."
Getting a hold of her emotions, Annabel turned to see the familiar glowing form of Arbert standing there looking stern and solemn. The young woman framed by the bright Light behind her gave the spirit a questioning look and said, "do you? Yes," her look turned to one more melancholy; "I suppose you do don't you with what all you have experienced." Annabel turned back to the brightness and stared. "How did you do it", she asked, "how did you handle the...the.....FAILURE welling up within you? It's just," she turned to face Arbert again. "Damn it Arbert, I tried SO hard, I did EVERYTHING... right, and LOOK!" She raised a hand and pointed to the sky, "look at my result." Annabel then said the next in a soft, quiet voice half to herself. "I'm so tired of this. I can't, can't do it anymore, I......can't." Not being able to resist anymore, the tears finally came and Annabel slumped to the balcony floor, sobbing gently.
Arbert stared at the young woman on the floor for a few moments not sure what to say, not sure if he SHOULD say anything. He finally walked over to her and stopped, wishing he could hold her somehow, comfort her; but being a spirit he knew it was folly. "Annabel," he began, then stopped as Annabel was once more wracked with severe coughing and pain; her turmoil must have brought it on again. As Arbert watched, white blobs splattered onto the floor where Annabel coughed up pure Light. Her crying turned into screams then whimpers as a mix of emotions enveloped her, breathing hard to try and deal with the pain.
Seeing Annabel like this Arbert, on instinct, reached down to try and help her. To his surprise he was once again able to and as he helped the light from before appeared once more enveloping them both. The two beings in the room glowed with a soft light and the affect on Annabel herself was immediate. The coughing as well as the sounds she was making stopped and her body went still eventually turning into a soft breathing. Her face showed relief and the young woman gave a soft sigh as she lay there, recovering.
For his part, Arbert said nothing, just stared astonished that this had once again, worked. Just what WAS going on here? Who was giving him this power to help this woman? A sound broke his thoughts from below him. "You didn't answer my question," Annabel said in a soft voice. "Oh," she added, "and thank you, again I guess; you seem to have very good timing."
"Question," He said back to her confused, then brightened. "Ah, before you um....fell. Milady, you are rather.....confusing at times. Oh, and you are welcome, don't ask me what I did for you, I still don't know or understand it myself. As for your question, I....rather, it was.....difficult at times."
Arbert stopped speaking, causing Annabel to look up at the spirit. She saw the all too familiar look of someone thinking of memories of the past and the various emotions that they inflicted on ones self. Annabel's question had caused Arbert to relive them and this made the young woman a bit sorry she had asked in the first place.
"Look", Annabel said as she slowly struggled to her feet then collapsed into a nearby chair positioned to watch the goings on outside. "You don't have to answer if it brings up too much pain. It was just a question born out of despair at my own situation; I didn't mean to dredge up your own memories."
The Light from above made weird shadows that filtered through Arbert making him glow a bit oddly, the effect made the spirit seem more unearthly than normal. "No milady, it's ok, those memories are ones that constantly come up anyway. How could they not, they are the reason I am like this. But I have had them so long now that I have come to terms with them in a way. Oh, of course I think of 'what if' situations and 'why did this happen this way?' But my dear, time fades even the most heartfelt trauma and makes it somewhat easier to handle, even as you say, if the memories are 'dredged' up somehow. I know that's hard to believe right now with events being so fresh in your mind, but I assure you milady, it does get easier."
Annabel made a small scoffing noise and frowned; "'easier', everyone always seem to say that whenever something 'bad' happens. It's gets easier to deal with in time. But Arbert, there never seems to be a remedy for dealing with it when it really hurts, why is that?"
The spirit shook his head, "I really don't know, I'm just a warrior milady, not a scholar, that is a question for those that think all day. We who fight just get the job done and deal with the consequences of that job, for good or ill."
Annabel scoffed again, "and yet they dump it all on us who CAN fight and expect us to cope no matter what it does to us, and like fools or heroes, they're pretty much the same aren't they; we do it with either a song in our heart, grim determination, or fear of what will happen if we fail." A sigh escaped Annabel's lips as she shook her head in despair. "Being a hero really sucks Arbert."
"Arbert grunted and gave the young blonde a nod of agreement. "Yes Annabel, yes it does. But we do it anyway, for if we did not, who would?"
"Oh, there is always someone who reads the stories, who imagines themselves as a savior to the weak, the downtrodden, the helpless, and takes up the mantle to prove it. Some do, some fail, and some are like me, bumbling their way though it all trying her best and crumbling like a frightened little girl when she doesn't"
"Crumbling? From what I've seen milady, you do your best far more then you think you do and rise up even when you get knocked down. Yes, it is bad right now Annabel, but you are not alone in this. You have your many companions who are always by your side You have your family back home, thinking of you and rooting you on. And you have me, who will do all that I can to help you succeed and save my world. Believe in yourself milady, fight this corruption inside you. Find the strength to push on, and win, for us, for yourself."
Annabel blinked a few times in surprise at Arbert's words. Wow, where did THAT come from? She pondered over them for a few moments and as she did so, a radiant light shifted from above and shown down upon Annabel causing her honey-blonde hair to glow with an usual brightness. The effect made the young woman look rather angelic to Arbert's eyes.
"You know," she finally said, "for a ghost, you are quite inspirational. Are you SURE you were never a scholar? You might have wasted your calling you know."
"Um......." Arbert didn't really know how to reply to that, "if I didn't become what I was, we never would have defeated the forces of darkness."
"Um.....", Annabel started to say, then stopped. "We won't go there, but anyway, thank you. I believe I am feeling a bit better."
"Oh?" Arbert said in a mix of surprise and relief. "That is good to hear milady."
"Oh, don't get me wrong, I STILL feel like crap and don't know what the hell I am going to do about all of this, but now I think I can deal with it, at least for the moment. And that's what is important, right?"
"Arbert nodded, "at least for the moment, that is all anyone should ask of you for now. And on that note, I should be going so you can rest and recover for when the next moment arrives. He turned to go then stopped. "Do not fret milady, you will find someway to fix what is wrong with you and save the day, for that is what heroes do." He then disappeared in a fading of light leaving Annabel once more alone.
"But you didn't," she whispered, then shook her head to clear that thought out of her mind. No negative thinking, not now, take advantage of feeling better and get some rest. As Arbert said, tomorrow is another moment.
Rising from the chair, Annabel went back inside and closed the doors, shutting out most of the Light from the room and hopefully her thoughts, at least for a little while. Tomorrow, what will it bring? Well, whatever it was Annabel would try to handle it, because it was what she did, right, fix what others could not?
"Twelve," she said aloud sighing, "this world is really in trouble, isn't it."....
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With this one I have caught up on my little writing splurge. With spring here now, that means yard work and less time to write, (or play FF14 for that matter, BIG yard people!)
I will keep it going when I can, I know I still got some way to get SHB complete, not to mention I STILL have not done the 5.2 quests yet since to do it means I would have to write it up and I am STILL playing catch up, UGH!
Will I ever? Eventually. And yes Aria dear, I will TRY and get a new Modern Girl out sometime.