|Summary:||Daryl finally brings himself to a confrontation of his failures and sins.|
|Location: Sept of Tanglewood|
|January 30th, 290 A.L.|
The Sept of Tanglewood Manor is not a large chamber, it is designed for worship, reflection and peace…Yet this is not what brings Daryl Ashwood here this night. It had been quiet full during the day…Even into the evening hours…Lord Aleister's and Lady Miranda's death still brought grievers to the altar, if only for a few short prayers. Its been some time, but the Deputy has finally managed to bring himself here.
Long had Daryl leaned against the entrance way, staring into the place of worship, past the wooden pews towards the altar where statues of the Seven stand in their silence, looking over the grieving, the pious, the uncertain. It had been hours. Hours of silent contemplation. Of the Seven. Of his actions…Of the state of his house. On the outside, he had always gone along with the faith of the Seven…But when it came to a personal connection between him and his religion…Things were much more troubled.
The Ashwood finally spurs when the last retainer leaves, and moves to enter the Step and close the doors behind him. The echo of them slamming bounces off the walls of the closed chamber. He was alone, or was he? Either way this is why he had been waiting so long. To settle some scores, perhaps even repent some sins…We'll see. Slowly, he turns and faces the Seven once more, his steady emerald gaze unblinking as he begins to step slowly down the aisle between the pews, Each footstep thuds and extends throughout the room. The sound is trapped, there was nowhere for it to escape.
Daryl stops short of the first pew, his jaw clenched tight. He stares in silence, but not reverence. He doesn't speak for some time, but when he does find his voice, it is filled with anger. He levels his eyes on the Father, even as his chin quakes in unkempt fury. "…-Every day-!" He seethes, his lungs rising and falling quicker as his emotion finally gets the better of him. "Every day I prayed to you…!" The sound creates a coliseum effect, hearing his own voice twice over after speaking it.
"…And for what?!" Daryl barks, stepping closer as if he was staring into the Father's eyes themselves. "For this!? To see my sister's head roll from a trunk?! …Left to rot…Like some animal?!?" He's furious, his grieving process had been put on halt following the deaths…And he had reserved this part of the anger stage for when it would finally explode out of him. His wrath, pushed aside for so long, knows no bounds at the loss of Miranda. His best friend. His heart. His soul. "Is -this- what you call JUSTICE?!"
A finger is extended, pointing the statue right in the face with accusation. His voice rises to a yell, "-You- were supposed to protect her!!" Those resounding words,
Holding his stance, Daryl turns his gaze beyond the figurine…Just a little. Behind it, the thick leaded glass on the far wall mirrors himself…A man tarnished with grief and fury. Pointing right back at him. His accusation of the Father's failure had turned right back onto himself. He lowers his hand, staring with a loathing glare at his own reflection. "…You were supposed to protect her." His words come a bit softer now.
He couldn't accept the weight of the full blame yet. Even after weeks had passed, it was still too soon. Too near his heart. He tears his eyes from his reflection and just steps down the line of statues, one for each deity of the new faith. He stops. The Crone. A woman holding a lantern that was supposed to have provided guidance.
"…And you," Daryl near growls, setting his eyes on the statuette with bitter distaste plain on his features. "Weeks of the best search parties our House has to offer, and when do you send a reply? A -hint- of their location?…After their death. In a trunk. Placed about the road for us to find." There's a mirthless chuckle. "Guidance?!" He curls his lips and spits at the ground before the image of the deity. His jaw tightens, and one boot moves to smear away the fluid he had just desecrated the chamber with.
His chuckle only grows now, deep in his throat, approaching amused laughter. Shaking his head in disbelief as he moves back towards the center aisle, arms outstretched. "I don't even know -why- i'm wasting my breath. Talking to bits of stone!" He stares them all down, and in turn, they stare back. Quietly. With an eerie way of just watching his antics. He takes it as accusingly.
"Oh, -I've- sinned, yes. You know me -quite- well for the things i've done. " Daryl near defends, pointing at his own chest and glaring defiantly. "But not my sister. Not my sweet Miranda. She was innocent!" He grinds his teeth, shaking his head. "It was -me- who should've payed that price. Not-her-!" No response still. He begins to lose whatever faith he had left. "…Forget it."
A quick spin on the heel of his boot has him tromping back the way he came, his departure ringing clear with each stride. But as he gets about halfway, he feels burden. An overbearing weight takes him, and before he can so quickly exit the chamber, the Ashwood is dropped down to hands and knees with a grunt, his anger left him…Replaced by sadness and agony. His handsome visage is twisted into one of doubt, uncertainty. His head lowers, his eyes close. What was it that had him so grounded right now?
Behind those lids, his mind races. Seeing more things than he would with them open. The horrific image of his beheaded sister, forever lost to him. Something he couldn't rid from his mind no matter how hard he tried. No matter how much he drank.
The look of disappointment. Of sadness on a certain blonde Erenford woman's face as they stood on the rooftop of Tanglewood Manor. A final embrace before she slipped into the arms of another. His failure, his broken promises to marry her. A single word is choked out, "…Aemy." One hand is able to be lifted, set to his face, expecting the wetness of tears to fall, but…There is nothing. He was so burdened with grief, yet not a single drop of salty fluid releases. Why? He had lost the ability to.
That same hand balls into a fist, slamming onto the ground before him in any attempt to get rid of the emotions that plagued him. As if beating them away would work just as well as tears. Nothing. He expands his hand palm first back down onto the ground, knuckles red, eyes still closed. The images return, though now of his past sins.
The women he had taken advantage of, from his first whore to the betrothed he had disrespected prior to their union. Daryl tilts his head to the side, but can not bring himself to open his eyes. The flawless ivory skin and fiery red hair of a woman stolen away from her husband prior to their marriage. The nights they had shared together in secret, taboo to society. Lust.
The countless amounts of times he had emptied pitcher upon pitcher into his body, poisoning it in turn for the dulling effects it had on a wounded heart and mind. The physical dependancy that began to grow from something as simple as ale and wine. His drunken, foolish behavior. The rumors and reputation that had sprouted from such behavior! Gluttony.
The scratching of fingernails down his back, ones that he could somehow still feel as they raked his skin, marring his flesh. Soon to be healed, but not forgotten. The feel of the leather of boots as they wrapped about him, skirts as they brush against his legs, the weight of the body that he had held so close and so willingly, even though it was not his to have. Where was his remorse? He could not feel it. Betrayal.
Daryl shakes his head, attempting to will them away, but becoming a prisoner to his own mind. If he wouldn't acknowledge his sins, then he would be doomed to relive them. Here, now in front of the Seven themself. He finally finds the means to bring atleast one foot up, though he is still kneeled, hunched.
An image of his cousin Robben, the smile he wore. How genuinely happy he was, and even worse…The smile on Aemy's features too. As they stepped from their table at a Broadmoor wedding, passing him on their way to the dance floor. Hardly giving him a glance as he had stooped to another night of drinking. His knuckles tightening white on the goblet he had held. Envy.
The Ashwood raises a hand off the floor, moving to clench it on one of the pews, finding his grip. He has had -more- than enough of this. Why was it he felt no need to repent? Or did not feel the guilt of all his wrongdoings? What had happened to him? Muscles tightening and stressing, he lifts himself up slowly, getting to his feet, and finally, finally green iris' reveal themselves as he opens his eyes once more. His gaze is cold, unforgiving. It rests on the doorway he had come so close to escaping too. There's a nagging feeling, an urge to turn and head back towards the altar, but he refuses. Teeth clenching, he moves forward, eyes straight ahead as he opens the doors to the Sept and closes them behind them with a slam. He needed some fresh air.