The last couple of days have been a bit stressful, to be honest, Diary. I apologize I didn’t tell you about their events sooner, but things have been a bit… tense. Now, more than ever, I appreciate your allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings with you. You are, and always have been, an excellent listener :).
The evening that I left off at last time I wrote to you was strange, unpleasant, but ultimately a victory, if a somewhat hollow feeling one now. We joined with Broken Walls on the roof of the house that Piper was holed up in with her would-be inducer, Lang. Saiten promptly broke an entrance in for us, and the battle began.
I could not see my companions’ first blows, as the hole was big enough for us to fall through, but not so large as to be able to get a lay of the room. Broken Walls dropped through first, and no doubt lay about him with his sword. Chaoxi followed suit, a whirl of blades by the time she had barely cleared the hole. As she dropped, ghostly hands and faces began to emerge from over the edge of the roof, those self-same white masked figures Chaoxi and I had seen from Mara’s! I was next to drop through the roof, and found a grim sight: Lang, bloodied and beaten, Broken Walls standing over her, a gruesome specter lying at Chaoxi’s feet, blubbering up blood, Piper, laying about him with what looked to be a point of glass, but at seemingly nothing (I thought perhaps at first that she was under some enchantment, or had been greatly disturbed by what had taken place until the shard stuck into the air, into one of the ghostly beings it seems!), and a poor, wretched soul bound and gagged against the wall, strapped to a chair and looking horrified at the whole scene.
I dashed to his side as more of the ghostly creatures started to drift their way inside, and summoned my courage and my light. I took a breath, and let a few notes ring out towards them, my light flaring up in a golden aura around me, brilliant light to banish the dark creatures. They would not touch this innocent man!
It seemed my display was too bright for these wraiths, as a few of them faded from existence, and the others seemed to leave us be, but other were not faring quite so well. The gasping creature gurgled pitiably as Chaoxi dispatched it, and hopefully whatever it was before, it was now at peace.
And then, Broken Walls summoned his light.
I have never before seen another’s displays of light in such… overawing fashion. I know that sometimes, when I am shining my brightest, something strange and luminous happens, but I am not sure how it looks to someone else. Broken Walls, well, his light was an Army, shining with dazzling brilliance, echoing with their gleaming, light-made armour, a pride in their selves and equipment that I see in Broken Walls himself, not broken, never breaking. I am not sure what it must have looked like outside, but it must have been magnificent, because the soldiers filled the room, marching through the walls as if they were smoke.
Broken Walls himself was a glorious apparition, a paladin of the sun, swinging deftly and surely with his light-filled blade, undoing the spirits of darkness until he stood before Lang, judgement in his eyes. His blade sliced through the flesh and bone of her neck as though it were air.
If I had not known him, I would have thought him the Golden Lord of An Teng.
We had little time to breath and take in the magnitude of what had just happened, because the horrific masked Host were still setting upon us, even with the bit of breathing room Broken Wals had gained us. Piper and Saiten fought off their opponents deftly, but there did not seem to be an end to them, and even if my light could keep them at bay, their are limits to what any of us could do.
Chaoxi had made it outside at this point, but it seemed that there were more of the creatures outside as well. Broken Walls gave a shout to us inside to stay together, a wise suggestion, and dashed out after her.
I have come to some conclusions, I think, Diary, about Broken Walls: he is a Good Man. He may be more fond of battle than I am comfortable with, but he cares quite deeply about others, about honour, and justice. It takes some time to see the caring in him; expressions of affection would not be something that would come naturally from him. But his deeds speak volumes. I have no doubt in my mind that he would die for any one of us, for a cause he believed in, especially one which involved the safety and freedom of his fellow Solars.
And I really do think he loves Choaxi. Perhaps not in the romantic sense (though, I am not sure at all that it is not), but in the sense that he would probably do just about anything for her. This makes sense, given that it seems it was she who released him from his prison, but there seems to be such a deep bond between them that it feels like it must go beyond that.
I am young. I think I am never more reminded of this than when I see the two of them together, having known each other for so very long, in synch in a way that I do not think I will be until I have known someone for a very, very long time.
And perhaps not even then.
But back to the battle.
I had freed the poor captive man, and he seemed safe enough so long as he stayed close, but the Host seemed to be gaining far too much ground with us. A cry came from Choaxi outside, and a roar of rage from Broken Walls. I knew that I must do something!
I gathered all of the light I could to me, putting ever ounce that I could into making myself seem as authortative and powerful as I could. If my light is for nothing, it is for dispersing the forces of evil! The shining golden glow around me blew up into the air, forming soft, shining petals, glinting like the shimmering diamonds of sunlight on a windswept sea. The swirl of them slowly settled on my shoulders, making up the threads of a beautiful, white-gold robe about me. As the last, delicate petal sank into place, my cloth of gold burst into a bonfire of terrific flames of pure light, still blazing off of me like a gown of righteousness. I began to sing.
My light wove into the notes of the song, the first searing through the air towards the Host like the blade of a knife, followed by the dull, echoing chords of a dirge, extolling my companions virtues, a warning to all those who might dare to try to bring them to harm.
(I do not enjoy thinking of myself being frightening, and thinking upon it afterwards, it is a bit embarrassing to imagine myself in such a manner. I know that I am powerful, and that my friends are as well, but do proclaim it so with such… pomp,shall we say… well, it makes my cheeks burn to think of it now. But, in the moment, I felt very… alive.)
The Host were thrown by my friends and my song from the room, and we had a moment to take our barings. Outside it seemed our translucent assailants had retreated somewhat, but were still closing in once more. Saiten seemed to notice something outside, for he rushed suddenly through the door, in a boom of speed that took my breath away. It seems he was able to defeat quite handily the controller of the ghostly creatures, because, as he brought a more richly dressed figure inside of the hut, very much out cold, the creatures began to disperse.
Lang was dead, but Chaoxi had been injured by the ghastly beings, so I began to tend to her as Broken Walls performed the ritual necessary for setting her at peace. I hope that whatever it was that caused her to feel she must live this way has left her, and that she is now able to rest. It fills me with great pain to think of how her life must have been, and how we could not really save her from it, but there was nothing I could do… right?
With Chaoxi as healed as she could be at this place, we began to see to the others now in our care. The man who had been captured by Lang was named Jar, and, while he was grateful for our assistance, we had apparently just wrecked his home. We offered him safe passage with us to the House, and lodging and employment, should he wish it.
Our other new charge… well, I do not know her name, but I am… uneasy.. with her fashion choices…
Broken Walls seemed to sense something that I didn’t with her clothing and armour, because he set his cleansing fire, usually reserved for the bodies of the dead, to it. Normally, this would do nothing, but the gown and armour burned as though it had had a soul. With everything that has happened in the last day, I do not like to think about what this means just yet.
We set off for home, an uneventful and Host-less journey.
A strange and wonderful thing happened when we returned home: Piper took off his disguise. This act in itself is a sight to behold, almost like a veil being torn away, or spiderwebs being brushed aside in an attic to reveal a beautiful old trunk filled with forgotten treasures. But what made it so heartening was that Piper did this in front of all of us. Not the troops or anything, mind you, but Saiten, Broken Walls, Chaoxi and myself. He trusts us. Or, at the very least, he trusts us enough.
This whole ordeal must have been so horrific for Piper. To have to make friends, partners, with someone you knew you might have to one day betray, maybe even imprison…. and then to have to have them killed… I don’t think it is something I could ever do. Piper is stronger than I could ever know.
Not to mention, Piper gave up what could have been great power, which could not have been easy. Don’t get me wrong, Diary. I would have no doubt that, given this choice again, Piper would make the right decision. But saying ‘yes’ to Lang’s proposition would have to have been tempting. To join forces with a powerful enemy instead of opposing them? To stop fighting the tide and flow with it? I admit, I could see the appeal. But working with Akkimu I don’t think will ever be the answer, not while she encourages others to kill without thought or mercy.
I do not pretend to know what Piper has been through. I don’t know that I ever really could. But he does seem to feel safer in the dark, behind his many masks. And Akkimu was definitely offering both of those things. That Piper chooses, day after day, to walk with us in the light, shows immense strength. Piper is strong, and I think she knows that, or at least I hope she does.
I was unsure of how to comfort Piper that night, and I was not entirely helped by Saiten shouting out “you’re a man!” when he saw Piper’s unmasked form. Saiten is a kind and helpful person, but he does not always seem he most… tactful. Thankfully, Broken Walls seemed to know what would work, and offered a game of Shogi. I’ll admit I feel a bit of shame at not being able to comfort him, but I think I am not the best suited to do so. As much as I feel the longing for my sisters back home, I think Piper feels the loss of his more dearly. I think sometimes I am a reminder of that, and so any methods I may have of offering comfort are likely to be tainted with longing and loss. I am terribly grateful, then, that Broken Walls and Piper seem to have found companionship in one another.
That morning, Chaoxi seemed to have fully healed, but I still wished for her to rest, so breakfast was a bit of a bare affair. I had much to think about, so did little that morning, checking in at the clinic, singing to Champoor, and tending to my lovely Daisy (<3).>s temple is doing, we will be looking into finding ourselves an Exorcist.
I wish we could contact Dasadi.