Her resolve

Her resolve

A Story by Xuannu5810
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And Idea for an original story.

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She was in hell. As she looked around the once lush field, she only saw carnage. Gingerly walking around the bodies of the fallen, it felt as though each breath had to be forced.  The smell of iron and sweat permeated every sense, making her nauseous. The electricity left from the mages’ magic made her skin sting. This was war. As she looked towards the horizon, she saw no sign of the clear blue sky she had remembered witnessing time and time again in her childhood. Almost as if the clouds sensed her dread, a large mass gathered above the grotesque scene with the dark hues, and ominous rumbles-foreshadowing they would begin their own assault soon. Their outline was a dull contrast to the blood red sky which accompanied the setting sun. But the clouds were not the only thing which gathered. As more time passed, a murder of crows swarmed around the immobile masses of flesh, the hungry piercing cries like spears to her mind. As she stood there amongst the remnants of the blood bath swords in her hand her mind began to crack, just like the remnants of her bloodstained armor. This was war, and she was in hell. 

The sun was a few hours from setting when she was jolted awake from her recurring nightmare. Shaking and covered in sweat, she found the energy to drag her abused body from her damp bed. Still sitting on the edge of her mattress, half covered in cold sheets, she stared at the blue sky. Yet somehow amongst the clear azure backdrop she only could see the crimson sunset which stained her mind like the blood on her fraying rangers’ armor she once had to wear every day. Tearing her eyes away from the window she cautiously stood on her unsteady legs and walked to the mirror, only to feel and find the same thing as the previous weeks: unfamiliarity. This is what she thought as she stared into the dingy, body length mirror which stood in the corner of her cold room. The hollowed out, tempered woman who stood before her had no hint of the soft features she once had heard people use to describe her. 

She was no longer the beautiful wild child who had danced to the unheard beat of a drum. She was still wild, but in a feral way. One false move or word seemingly would set her over the edge. She was standing at a cliff which hung over a void and she was close to falling into its depths. Taking one last glance at the unrecognizable woman, she turned to the two garments placed upon her dresser. She could not help letting out a tired laugh at the sight of the attire laid side by side as their designs seemed to oppose each other in every way. 

The one on the left reminded her of the person she once was: innocent and lively. Much like her eyes use to be, the dress was baby blue and had the intended purpose of hiding the parts of her body which  had been manipulated by the war and lifting what had remained undamaged. The bodice of the dress hugged the imaginary curves, which her face and body once had held, and the neckline was scooped along her chest, accentuating her collar bones with the sleeves trailing along her arms and tapering past her hands.. Dropping her eyes down, she took in the skirt and its many layers of fabric, which was topped with diaphanous lace, making the skirt take on a bell shape. Adorning the lace was the most intricate embroidery she had seen, consisting of twenty golden roses and leaves which danced along its surface much like she once had danced across the southern coastal plains. To complete the ensemble was a lace blue shawl just a few shades darker than the dress; it happened to share the same color of the ocean which hugged the shore near the nomadic tribe who had raised her. The more she looked at the dress the more she saw of her past. Sylvia, the castle’s seamstress, had done an amazing job creating it. 

Before she realized what she was doing, she found her scarred and cracked hand reaching towards the silky dress, but it never made connection. She stood there for a minute contemplating her next move before she decided to drop her hand and change her attention to the other gown.

  As her eyes shifted to the right they fell upon a dress as black as the void within her soul. Contrary to its companion, this dress was meant to compliment her features as they were now: marred by the reality of war. Its neckline creeped along her shoulders and neck, ending just below her jawline, elongating her neck and accentuating her now hollowed and angular features. The bodice of the dress played no such game with her curves as the other dress had and held a straight cut, evening out her sides and showcasing her empty frame. It landed at her waist, giving way to a slim skirt adorned with crimson lilies along its straight surface,  which were lined with silver thread much like her hair. Unlike its partner, she had no desire to stroke this dress and rather than awe, she regarded it with trepidation. As she stared at the two dresses, the only thing she thought about was how she did not want to attend the feast. It seemed like a farce to spend the nights dancing and partying, even though the purpose was because of the kingdom’s victory in the war. As the king and his court sat safely upon their stolen throne their stomachs filled with the waste of war men, woman, and children needlessly and cruelly had died. She felt anger rise as she thought of the king’s smug face as he received the final report. As the numbers of the opposing countries’ fallen had been counted, she remembered the cheer which had went around the hall and the way they had applauded at the carnage, which played out every night in her darkest dreams.  With an overwhelming feeling of disgust, she realized those men needed to pay. They had to feel every bit of the pain which countless innocents had felt. Only when the king was brought to his knees would this disgusting war truly end and by doing so she might have a chance to repent for the lives she took while under his command. 

 As she stood there in her grey room, she noticed this was the first time in weeks she had felt any emotion other than emptiness. She liked it: the desire for a purpose. It replaced the pieces of her she knew she never would get back and it held her fragmenting soul together. Looking again at the two dresses, she had no problem picking the black one. Slipping it on, she took her time fastening the buttons on the side. With each new button in place, a bit of her resolve hardened. And as she moved on to braiding her hair, she came to terms with what she had to do.

Turning to the mirror one last time, she closed her steel eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them, she looked into the eyes of neither the wild child nor the broken woman. Instead she saw the determined gaze befitting of, the name she had spent six years trying to forget: Nesrin Valda: her name and the name she had been given by the southern men and women she had been forced to slaughter and the people she should have protected. 

Staring at this new woman, she made a vow: a vow to herself and to all who had suffered unjustly at the hands of pigs and monsters. Starting from this moment, she would bring the foundation of this rotten monarchy to its knees. She would make the king and his court suffer just as the helpless beneath their rule had suffered. And when she was finished, she would look into the eyes of their arrogant king and end this war, whether it cost of her life…or his. 

After a deep breath and a last glance at her painted face, Nesrin turned away from the mirror each step echoing her determination as she headed toward the door. Turning the door handle the metal felt refreshingly cool under her feverish hand she stepped across threshold, her heart racing with anticipation towards the future. As the door shut, its resounding thud seemed to seal her resolve.

© 2019 Xuannu5810


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I absolutely loved this! the beginning of your story is much like the begging of my novel, and it made me more interested. Your descriptions of the gowns are wonderfully written and I could just picture them in my mind. I have so much to say about this and how much I loved it, but I can't seem to find the words. It's such an amazing piece and I'm glad I took the time to read it

Posted 4 Days Ago



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Added on September 5, 2019
Last Updated on September 5, 2019
Tags: Original story, Woman, war, change