kristyjnh in witchy_writers
Here I go again. Same reading as before. Focus on the romantic pair, the Magician is conflict, so maybe a mentor character is a problem or one of the characters feels like they have to control everything. The theme is love (or maybe choices 'cause the Lovers).
Finally her hand wrapped itself around the old leather pouch. Jenn had worked so hard to get here. Five trials, each harder than the last had stood in the way of her path home, but now it was in her grasp. "You retrieved them then?" A voice came floating into her head. The Queen of Dreams. A door opened beyond the pedestal in the air, ostensibly created by the Queen to bring Jenn back. The once extravagant dress she wore was in tatters, her hair disheveled, her bone hand now extending up to her elbow. But the Tears of the Damned were hers. Jenn could go home.
She stumbled through the door, limping slightly. The room she entered was the same she had left, still decorated with the remnants of their elaborate meal. "Jenn… Don't…" Simon was collapsed on the floor by his seat, barely conscious.
"Well the poor boy's been poisoned. A shame really, do you know what happens to the dead when they die here? Their souls lose their sense of self and well… You saw them on your way here right? The Lost?"
Jenn swallowed hard. She had seen the pale, vaguely human shaped ghosts spotting the landscape, always standing before a mirror, staring endlessly at the reflection of what they had become, trying to remember who they were. Simon had told her that because a soul can't be destroyed completely, they are robbed of their identity and left as empty husks. Simon couldn't… "Oh, but he could." The Queen read her mind. "Really, it's up to you. If you want the cure, you'll hand over the Tears."
So that's what it came to. Simon's life or her way out. If she stayed, she would die as her flesh continued its rot up her arm and engulfed her. Her hand, wrist, and forearm were already reduced to bone. Would she end up like those skeletons she had seen on her way here, the bodies she had pillaged her blade and map from? There weren't other Tears out there. The trials she had completed were the only way to receive them. But Simon… She couldn't leave him to face life as a Lost.
Precious time slipped away as Jenn stood, frozen. Save Simon or save herself. How could she choose?
"He doesn't have much time left. Choose. My hand or the door." The Queen of Dreams had always had an ulterior motive, they had both known that. But this...
Losing Simon would haunt her forever. Her vision blurred from her own tears, her decision made. She stuck out her dead hand, bone fingers wrapped tightly around the pouch containing the Tears. "The antidote, please."
"Don't…" She heard Simon wheeze.
"Good choice dear." She dropped a vial into Jenn's good hand as the pouch slipped into her own. Immediately Jenn ran to Simon's side, uncorking the vial and bringing it to his lips. Tears dripped from her eyes as he drank it down, color returning to his face as he did so.
She cradled his head as she whispered his name, stroked his face, held him close. Either way she lost.
Behind her, the Queen cackled as she opened her prize. Jenn turned to watch, heartbroken. She would die here, in this unfamiliar world, slowly and painfully. The Queen reached her hand in, lifting a bit of the valuable contents out. Suddenly, her gloating smile turned to a piercing scream as she flung the fingerfull of Tears in Jenn's direstion. Jenn shot up, surprised enough to let Simon's head plunk against the ground. She had been told that the Tears could get her out, but she had no idea what they actually were or what they could really do. Nor did the Queen, apparently. She was shaking her hand -the one she had dipped into the bag- screaming, crying. "It burns! It burns! You little bitch! What did you give me? My hand! What did you do to my hand?!" The pouch had dropped to the ground, somehow closing itself before making the fall as the Queen brought her hand to her chest, trying to stop the pain.
Jenn bent for a closer look at the bit that had been thrown. She picked a few grains up with her bones, poking a single grain with her good hand. "It looks like… Salt. It's a bag of salt?" The Queen was clutching her hand against her, cradling it. Before she could think of what to do, Simon was up, recovered and running for the precious bag. The Queen looked up as he reached her, a ferocity in her eyes that made Jenn's blood run cold. Without thinking, Jenn swept up what she could of the discarded Tears, running to Simon and the Queen. The Queen fingers wrapped around Simon's ankle as his own hand wrapped around the pouch. He looked back at her, terror coloring his eyes as they locked with the Queen's. Jenn saw her chance, throwing the sprinkling of tears into the Queen's face. She tumbled back, screaming once more, her grip loosening enough for Simon to slip away, sprinting away, taking Jenn's hand without stopping, and running from the Queen, her castle, and the nightmare she had wrought.
A little romance, a difficult choice, a Magician-like figure... I think I nailed it! Also I hope you guys like my characteristic unromantic romance. That's how I roll.