Light of the Prodigal Dawn (Priscilla)

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Light of the Prodigal Dawn (Priscilla)
Date of Cutscene: 04 June 2016
Location: Anor Londo
Synopsis: Someone who Priscilla thought she would never see again, finally comes home.
Thanks to: Those who made Dark Souls possible.
Cast of Characters: Priscilla

     Priscilla doubts she will ever get used to a throne. She can remember, if only distantly, a time when she would wander the halls of Anor Londo's spires before anyone knew of her power of invisibility, dodging the feet of gods and goddesses at the height of only a human child. Every so often, she would manage to slip into the highest, innermost point of the gargantuan castle and spend hours staring at the seat of the Great Lord Gwyn, lost in thoughts of what it must be like for her grandfather to rule the entirety of Lordran, but not once did she ever see him sat upon it. A little less distantly, she can remember when the painted people had gotten together and built one for her as a birthday gift to console her homesickness. It was little more than a fancy table chair, but she had played queen in that thing all day, and fallen asleep curled up between the arms. She can very clearly remember, not even a year ago, the surreality of being allowed, and outright expected, to walk back into the throne room of her own volition, looking upon on that seat one more time and know that she would never see her grandfather come back to take its place.

     Now, up until the present day, she has barely touched the thing. As bewildering as it felt to take that power, she has recently begun to think that she knows why she had never seen Gwyn in the room she now stands. Being surrounded by the City of the Gods, overflowing with life; with people from all over the world, living and working together, side by side with divinity, working crafts and miracles every day, and yet sitting around in a cold and vacuous room of grand stone and gold instead of seeing it for oneself, is too much of a tiresome and lonely waste to stomach. In reality, she only comes here to think, knowing that nobody would dare enter without pardon. Though most believe she spends all her time in the castle lording over Anor Londo's grand affairs, she had built a hand-picked deliberative so she could do exactly the opposite, walking the stairs, bridges, paths and spires of the city instead, invisible amongst the people, where she can truly appreciate what she had fought for; what she had walked thousands of miles, and slain thousands of enemies, to achieve.

     Today though, she has plenty to think about. She has been shut in all day; all of the last night too, watching the beautiful full moon rise and fall, and trade its place with the holy sun. The only thoughts she had shared, hours between, were with the great, Everlasting Dragon that had made its new rest under her watch, vigilant over the last eggs of its kind that Jormungandr had retrieved from the distorted time of memory. The unliving sentinel of stone is as grey and unmoving as she, its massive form visible at the highest level of the courtyard, only through the grand windows of the throne, where sometimes it responds to her with the echo of its whispering thoughts. Its wisdom, and its perspective, are vast, but even if she shares so much of her core nature with the ancient being, there is still a half of her that even a creature that sees through all of time knows it cannot fully comprehend. For all their power, there is nothing that its visions of fate can do to mend her heart; only offer its strange answers to what she will share, and its infinite, alien patience.

     In all likelihood, she would have stayed here for weeks. Perhaps months. She doesn't sleep, she doesn't eat, she doesn't feel or weariness or boredom. She'd have gone insane long ago if she did. She would have, were it not for the impertinence of someone pushing open the soaring doors to her private place, echoing grandiosely over the marble tiles, and entering without a word. There is a moment where her teeth grind together, pointed canines digging into her lower lip as the eye she had taken from Kalameet, laying crippled and dying as Psyber's feet before she had finished him, flickers with a sibilant whine of angry power, but she composes herself regardless, turning to offer her strictest condemnation in as officious a tone as she can manage with so raw a heart.

     Instead, she finds herself staring silently, caught dead in disbelief, sharing a mutual moment of aching jamais vu with the woman stood across from her, neither of them daring to breathe. She looks exactly the same as she remembers, after all this time, but in the end that isn't surprising for a goddess. What catches her off guard, in a way that strikes her in a sense so absurd she almost wants to laugh, is:

     "When didst we becometh the same height?" There it slips anyways. A helpless little cough of a laugh, struck dumb by how strange it is to look at her mother at eye level rather than clinging to her skirts, wondering if she would ever be as pretty. Gwynevere smiles much more easily, but there are tears in her eyes as she does. "I beg thine forgiveness, but I do not know. At some point, I was unable to see thee grow up." She responds, in the old tongue of the gods; one of the few times Priscilla had shared a native language in recent memory, without the innate understanding of the Multiverse interjecting itself as an unwelcome visitor.

     Priscilla descends the handful of stairs that cut wide across the room, tall enough that she once had to struggle to climb up them one at a time, made for neither humans nor children. She finds herself pausing as she reaches the bottom, unsure of what to do as her thoughts suddenly turn to the most asinine things. Whether her mother approves of her clothes. How lame she probably looks standing around with her arms at her sides. Whether the light is too bright and if she should have closed the curtains. It is only when she sees that hesitation in Gwynevere's eyes, that she takes the first step. She cannot abide that look; the one that tells her that the Princess of Sunlight wonders if she even has the right to approach her any closer. It's far too sad for her to take at this moment.

     "I am afraid it is a very long tale, and not worth half the effort for how little interesting it wouldst be to retell it." Priscilla's lips twitch with a touch of depreciating humour. "Mine apologies, but there is little that thou wouldst be proud to hear that hast not taken place within half a decade. Thou hast missed, for the most part, only a needy brat growing into an immature recluse." Gwynever curls her hand against her mouth, but she fails to hide the improper smile, briefly rubbing her eyes on the back of her sleeve. How bizarre it is to realize that the two of them are so similarly dressed. "Regardless, I wish I had seen every minute of it." she squeezes out. "There is no excuse I may offer thee, for I didst try mine very best, and failed thee all the same. I can only offer mine regret that what I had meant to be a happy gift left to thee had turned out so darkly."

     Briefly, Priscilla feels her throat tightening. How long had Gwynevere been here? How many weeks dallying and fretting over whether she could approach her? She had found out about Ariamis. Had she found out about the rest? How she had killed her former lover; her brother; her father? What was she told? What did she think of her? How would she ever tell her if she didn't already know? It suddenly strikes her that she has no higher ground to stand on. She knows even less about where Gwynevere's life has carried her these long centuries. In her mind, there are more things she could ask of her than she could possibly be asked in return, and yet, despite it all, she is surprised to suddenly find herself with her arms wrapped tightly around her mother as she given up on ever happening again.

     "I am very, very tired of regret, mother." she sighs, tightening her grip, and then a few moments later, feeling that warm embrace that she had all but forgotten in return. "I wouldst die before demand apology from thee now, of all times. A cheerful face is better a cure for a long nightmare than any sympathetic concern, so I beg of thee, do not decline mine love for thee, whatever thou believeth I must think of thee." She can hear the sniffle such a short distance from her ear, closer than she has been to anyone in so very, very long. "Thou hast grown so strong; enough that I wouldst feel chagrin for fearing for thee, but I believeth it mine sacred privilege to worry over the little girl in mine memory." She replies, so much of the tension dying from her voice.

     The words sting. Grown strong? She has. Objectively, she really has. However, hearing it spoken to her, even as tenderly as it is, only reminds her that, for the first time, she hadn't quite been strong enough. Not in the sense of character, or in the sense of will, or even the sense of competence, but in such a way that she had known everything, done everything right, and had refused to give in even to the end, and yet not achieved what she had fought for all the same. Some part of her wants, dearly wants, to blame the others; to displace the unmistakable fault, but all of them had done the very same. It was never their obligation to be better than they could be for her. There is one answer, and she knows it all too well. The idea that she had laughed at so many times before, and only realizes now that she did so not because she understood that it was foolish, but because she had never cared so deeply enough to understand it.

     "Thou knowest I cannot reinstate thee as Princess without due process." she replies facetiously, even if truthfully. "This is well, for I cannot help but laugh at the idea of being subject to nepotism from mine own daughter." Gwynevere laughs back. "To think thou wouldst be Queen before me . . . nay, to think that thou wouldst becometh something even greater. I wouldst only be honoured to see this for mineself." Priscilla smiles at the irony of it, genuinely, but at the same time, as if to reflect her half-and-half nature, she thinks oh so very deeply, her hands still jealously holding her mother, as if she intends to never let go.

     "Then it shalt be so. See all that I hath done, and be at peace knowing that thou wilst never be made to leave thine home ever again." Now it's so crystal clear why this had all come to pass, today, of all days. An old adage, its true meaning long forgotten in short human memory in the long age of encroaching Dark. Right now, sworn to her path, the Flames Guide Her.

She will not fall short of their intent. Not again. Not ever, ever again. ~ Nameless Song