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Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)

Chapter Text

1814

When you die, it is a matter of fact you do not weep.

Even as the horses hooves’ bear down on you like the will of the good Lord Himself, your eyes remain dry, widened by fear and agony as they are. Even the fact of your dashed wedding plans could not move you enough to tears. Perhaps there was some hidden significance to that that should have spoken to you moreso than it did, imparted you with a sort of vital clue of what was to come. Instead, any real meaning continued to evade you, slipping from your grasp as easily as your blood spreads over the cobblestones.  

In contrast to your own silence, your mother was inconsolable- her sobs drowned out the chatter of the watching crowd as she wailed, clutching pathetically at your numbing hands. The warmth of her palms against yours was a panacea against the rising chill that swept through you, the cool of the paving working in tandem with the biting emptiness of blood loss. From some distance there came the sound of activity, the jangle of heavy brass buttons mingling with the steady clicks of even more hoofbeats. A constable, if you were to guess. Even with this knowledge, the sound of yet more horses quickened the already fearful pounding of your struggling heart. 

Stupidly, at the noise of the animal, your panic had returned in spades- not because of the fact that a similar sound had preceded your injuries but because of the misplaced certainty that some cruel audience had brought in yet another horse to abuse you: yet even as your higher intellect scoffed at the idea, some childlike part of you still quailed at the thought.

Ignorant of your innermost turmoil, your mothers’ hands descended upon you once more, fretful hands attempting to remove the distasteful layer of equal parts blood and soil that had accumulated across your cheeks from your injury. Though your awareness threatened to abandon you in bursts of disorientation, you maintained enough composure to watch through stuttering eyesight as she passed a damp kerchief over your face in a vain attempt to clean you even as her face bore an expression of the utmost misery. Though the pain had long ago fallen away in exchange for a total absence of sensation, her evident suffering served to cultivate a well of a pity within you; with little concern to your own mangled frame you caught her hand in your own and held it. For a moment, her hand trembled under your touch, as fragile as a moth trapped between your fingers. Her eyes still threatened to overflow with tears once more. Truly there was little else you could offer in the way of comfort while in your current state but you attempted a smile for her nonetheless.

Curiously enough, the effect was the polar opposite. The motion failed to achieve your desired image of levity and you watched as her drawn expression once again lapsed into tears.  You want nothing more then to voice your concern, offer her comfort in this trying time. Your voice however is fading within you, a dying ember snuffing out in your throat. 

The reality of the situation had begun to weigh on you- the intensity of your own pain, combined with your mother's hysteria and the unceasing eyes of the crowd made an immutable stone on you, pressing down on you heavier than any beast of burden. At once, the rock bore down on you with a frightening intensity, forcing your eyes shut with a gravity as corporeal as the hand still in your grasp. Your eyes closed involuntarily under its influence before you began resisting once more, valiantly fighting to keep your gaze focused even as your blood stained your skirts and the road alike.

Perhaps your suffering was of a greater quantity than previously assumed; against the previous efforts your eyesight rapidly degraded, coherence fleeing as the world around you became reduced to mere stills, a parade of incomprehensible daguerreotypes.

The control over your facilities was still waning despite your efforts to the contrary, and you could do little more than watch as your hand slid limply from your mothers’ clutch and conspired without your input to land palm up before her like the corpse of some ghastly and monstrous spider. Her expression, already one of considerable fright, fell into unspeakable despair at the sight of your waning strength. 

Desperately you wanted to console her and staunch the flood of new tears, but it soon proved more than impossible. Indeed, your limbs and body had become entirely ignorant to your wishes and so you simply lay there, cursing your weakness with each breath.  The world around you degraded once more, fading further into distortion broken by only the vaguest of forms and noise. Still, you fought against the encroaching dark. Concern lied little with yourself- instead, you found your nebulous focus turning toward your mother, wanting nothing more than to ease her fears. Your hopes were soon woefully dashed, however, when your very pulse seemed to waver most pathetically, a sensation of the utmost exhaustion pinning you where you lay. 

The light sight your flickering vision gave was the sight of your mother's tear-streaked expression as the streets around you pulled away in a final sickening rush, the round halo of her face lingering behind your eyelids long after the rest of existence retreated from your comprehension. 


When you finally awake, all you know is the dark. A pungently sharp odor cuts the air as you lie there, utterly cocooned in the quiet. Initially movement is foreign to your trembling legs but with repeated effort you find yourself upright once more, aided by the support of the porcelain surface beside you. 

Awareness is slow coming, hampered by the twin spectres of fatigue and confusion. Even though your hands make contact with the darkened room around you, brushing over wood and steel alike, the sensations seem entirely alien and offer no comfort to your feverish mind. 

Stumbling deeper into the space, you become aware of a strange consistency of the surfaces: the tabletops seem to be entirely clear, swept clean or otherwise unmolested, and for a terrible moment you’re convinced you’ve been struck deaf and dumb, unable to make sense of the world before you. When you spy a seam of light running across the floorboards, you seize the opportunity and all but throw yourself at the glow, hands encountering smooth wood before you reach lower and encounter a knob, cold and brass between your fingers. The door is opened with a speed that borders on manic before you bodily tumble out of the egress, a sound of strangled hysteria leaving you. The sight of the coroner’s office around you is detestable in its realism, and more of that familiar, detestable dread seizes you. The sensation of that horror drives you through the shop’s front entry without a second’s thought and out onto the cool night,directly into the illumination of a gaslamp outlined by the night sky.

Light encircles you, the brightness stunning in its ferocity. Tears of relief begin to flow from you overflowing and startling you in their multitude.

It was no small mercy to find the coroner’s office void of all life, you know. You were loathe to discuss your seeming-resurrection with anyone, let alone an unknown element. It was a further relief to find the streets in much the same way of abandonment, though the sensation of the cobblestones against your bare flesh again did not fail to draw a chill of fear from you.

Haloed by the light of the gaslamps, you stood alone in contemplation of your next destination. Instinct demanded you return home, embrace your mother and father and beg for them to take you back despite your objectionable state. However, you were amply aware of both parents' ceaseless capacity for superstitious thought. Your body still felt warm and mortal, full of blood and needing breath, but you found this proof of vitality not only meager but distressing.    

With such doubts present, returning to them directly seemed not only rash but bordered on foolish; you had no desire to reward their earnest efforts of rearing you from infancy by returning as some agent of undead terror, if indeed that’s what you are.

To best smooth your transition from the land of the dead into the world of the living, you found yourself longing for an ally and after extended deliberation you set off, all of your knowledge guiding you back to your betrothed- to Jonah Magnus.