It was just after dawn break when Anjasa stirred in her oversized bed. Easily big enough to comfortably sleep up to six large people, it only held two small elves tonight. She curled into his strong arms and though he shifted at her movements, she quickly coaxed him back into sleep.

The room wasn’t big enough for the large, oversized furniture, though they had made do with what room they had. They decorated it in dark silks and mageweaves, struggling to find the balance of home that had once been theirs. The curtains blew over the bed in a strong breeze, the dressers pressed together tightly to make room for the massive bed.

The morning was her weakest – the time she spent sorting the puzzle of her brain into tiny, decipherable remains, taking them apart and rearranging them in careful rows, struggling in the morning stillness to find her balance.

She trailed her fingers over her thighs as she shifted through the fragments of her life, of the personalities she had adopted. There was an attack on Zul’waja several months ago. The darkness had come to her and the Tribe in their sleep. But when Anjasa stopped sleeping, the visitor did not stop whispering to her. Though her memory of the day she snapped is hazy, she knew the details. That she had uttered all her alias’. That she had been all of them, at once. All of them fighting for dominance of her mind.

The quiet little mage that wanted more than what she could handle – a happy life, with love and marriage and a slightly odd living arrangement that included a happy trio rather than a couple. The little girl, slinking towards danger without the faintest idea of what it could lead to. Then there was Sunah. Dangerous, endangered little Sunah. Bound and gagged and tortured and beaten. She was the one. She had coloured all other personalities. Every time Anjasa pushed her down, she was back again, rearing her fanged head, her raven black pixie hair. Her strength and power was unmatched.

Her life had changed in that jail – she had changed. The world had changed. Decades had gone by, it felt like, though she had no way of knowing. But the jailer, he had aged a great deal in her time there. She didn’t blame him, though. After all he had done, after all he had taken from her, she still had a softness in her heart for the vulnerable, corrupted man he was. After he had removed her uterus, instead of the rage she should have felt, she had only felt a childish dependence on him.

She mourned him when he died, for many years. Though she returned to Silvermoon, she returned an outcast, hiding in the forests between the Amani and the elves, living with the two troll twins that had saved her. She was a broken tool. A faulty spy. She would take bribes to cover up anything, even if it meant her own skin was threatened. And it was. And when she was removed from spying for having a sick and twisted mind, she turned to the only thing that had mattered to her; that she was any good at. That she could make money with. She was on her own; her troll saviors had been killed. Her body was still ripe.

She made attempts at happiness, little futile grasping attempts. She looks back on her time as a librarian with a ripe form of bemused irony. All she needed to do was to lend books, to come home to her husband, to help him raise her little girl. She had all the time to paint and read and write, and she did. But even with the abundance of tasks she had set for herself, her attention still wandered. Even with his loving, tender, husbandly touches, she needed more.

And she sought it. She needed attention, and she needed more than husbandly caresses. She was aging and though no one but her could tell, she needed the desire and the fanatic carnal lust that came with being a working girl. And when her husband found out, he had burnt all her things, all her clothing, all her books but for the ones she had hidden in the library; but for her diaries and biographies and mad, all encompassing, frantic writing. She left with nothing, and went back to doing what she did best.

That’s what she always did. The safe route. Let the strongest part dominate, to control, to lead her by the collar. Even now, isn’t that what is happening?

Anjasa sorts through her history, putting it in line, following the trail. Studying it with a detached, cold sort of look. The wind blew into the room and she considered closing the window shutters for the briefest of moments, but decided against it until she had finished. Every morning she struggled to go through the ritual, analyzing all her wrong turns, bad moves.

There were gaps in her logic, and holes in her tale, parts of her history too gruesome to focus upon in her fragile state. But then, she had been in this state for months. And she was happy, she told herself. She had the world. Everything she had ever wanted at any point of time was hers to grasp.

She lowered her soft, elven hands to her stomach, stroking it gently with a tiny coo, wet tears forming in the corner of her eyes. The presence of the old god was still with her, lurking in the shadows, looking at the frayed edges of her life. She struggled every day to behave, to not allow Sunah to wield her power. It was a constant study to keep calm and in check and to not let her jealousy and anger and pain and hurt overcome her. To not return to the safety of sadism and pain.

Even though she had it all, there was still loss. Things had been shifting under her feet, caused by her but rippling towards unknowns. She had gotten too greedy in her life and was now paying retribution for it in her own manners. Jumwa. It was painful when it came time to relive their relationship, of how they met, of how they courted. Of how quickly she would still sacrifice herself for him, throw herself on the sword. And of how far they had managed to drift.

It was her fault, of course. It always was. She always was excellent at self sabotage and pushing those she loved away. She knew just the buttons to press, in what frequency. And so she pushed until he had another lover and another wife and another friend. She had her own lovers and friends, of course, but she wanted the world. He wanted to be her world. But even Anjasa Vilelight, Death’s Mate; his mate, could not dedicate her life to the cause.

She curled up tighter against Maglin as the tears slowly streaked her dewy morning cheeks, the liquid pooling on the soft, silk pillow. She tried to rush through the memories, a lump growing in her chest filled with regret and resentment over her needs, settling instead on the future.

Even though the present lay divided, the future held a happy family. Two mothers. Two fathers. A big troll brother and his tiny elfin sister. All of them caring for one another, happy, hidden into the woods. Away from the pain and agony that others had caused. This was the future that Anjasa was working for, even though she knew that there was no hope for it. She could never retire. She could never relax. It took all her energy to beat the beast back into her head day to day. She let herself be used, just to turn off the fear and anger for the time.

The blonde haired elf carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and always wanted for more. There was no happiness in store for this one.

Maglin stirred next to her, his hand instinctively pressing to her lower stomach, his strong hand protective as he opens his sleepy eyes to look at her, a smile immediately forming on his face. She had brushed the tears from her face and she smiled back at him. It was the only part of her life that wasn’t an act – her affection for those around her. For Maglin. For Jumwa. Even for Idryl. For the bodies pressed against hers, reminding her she was alive. For the Tribe.

She smiled back at him, her lips pink and lush, her cheeks a light pink hue, “Morning,” she mumbles in a groggy voice, though she had been up for over an hour at this point.

“Morning,” he smiles as he nuzzles his nose into her smooth, straight hair. “How did you sleep?” he nuzzles again, rubbing at her stomach with a soft, caressing hand.

“Fine,” she lies softly, her voice breaking.

“How’s Jade?” he grins an eager, boyish grin as he begins to rise, his nude body slowly revealed from under the sheets.

“I’m sure she’s just fine,” she sits as well, her hand pressing to his as it rests on her stomach, both of them looking down in a quietly excited manner before Anjasa slowly slipped out of bed, confident that the pieces of her puzzle were once again in place for the day.

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