A Cold and Lonely Painted World

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                There once was an abomination who had no place in this world. She clutched this doll tightly, and eventually was drawn into a cold and lonely painted world.

 

                What happened to that doll, anyways? And, for that matter, where was the painting? It didn’t matter much, of course, where anything was – the guardians would follow the painting anywhere, and ultimately the condition outside didn’t change anything inside anyways. Priscilla knew that, of course, though they were still interesting questions. She had brought her doll into this fascinating new world – or, well, she was pretty sure she had – and just now she realized that it was nowhere to be found. Wherever it was, though, if it were outside the painting, it could be used to get inside. And if just anyone from the outside could get in, well, surely they wouldn’t understand anything about its residents – what could an outsider possibly know about the world of rejects?

                More importantly, what would they do? The painting was home, for Priscilla and everyone else in it. They’d try to protect their home – and what if they were to be hurt? The Crossbreed shifted around nervously. There was probably nothing to worry about, but she’d been seen as a leader and protector within the painting ever since she first arrived. They were her responsibility. Priscilla took a deep breath. This wasn’t the first time she’d started thinking like that, and every other time nothing bad had happened. Why should anything be different this time? She had her own needs anyways, she couldn’t keep putting the painting before herself. Now that she’d calmed down, that was readily apparent – not a big deal yet, but why put it off?

                Setting her scythe to the side, she walked over to the edge of her tower and looked out at the distant horizons of the Painted World. No less beautiful than the first time she saw it. Putting her feet as close to the edge as possible without stepping off, Priscilla grabbed at her fluffy skirt of fur and prepared to lift it out of the way. But then there was a sound. She’d never heard it before, but she knew exactly what it meant nonetheless. She jumped back and grabbed her weapon, positioning herself right in the middle of the room just in time to see an armored figure walk through the light blocking the doorway. A human, no doubt, with some shiny plate armor covered up with a blood-stained blue surcoat.

                “Who art thou,” she said, softly, despite her fears, “one of us, thou art not.” Even though part of her was practically shouting at her to just kill the thing and be done with it, the rest of her was calm enough to give the human a chance to leave. “If thou hast misstepped into this world, plunge down from the plank, and hurry home.” Hopefully the human would listen. “If thou seekest I,” she said, “thine desires shall be requited not.”

                The human just looked up at her, their face obscured by the visor of their helmet. Priscilla took a deep breath and slowly moved her scythe into an attack position, but as she was doing that the human suddenly sat down, directly on the snowy tower floor. She lowered her guard as the human removed their helmet, revealing a soft face and black hair tied off into a tail at the back – female, probably. Her heart felt like it was about to punch through her chest. This could still be a trick. But, no, the human just sat there, and even spoke after a while.

                “Uh, hi,” she said, waving a hand. “You, uh, you’re not gonna use that?” The human pointed at Priscilla’s scythe – and she even glanced at it herself for a moment before turning to address the human, refusing to answer the question.

                “Thou must returneth whence thou came,” she said, still somehow managing to speak softly and calmly. “This land is peaceful, its inhabitants kind, but thou dost not belong. I beg of thee, plunge down from the plank, and hurry home.”

                The human just sat there and smiled at her. “Y’know, they told me about you. Well, sort of.” She adjusted some rings on her hand – one of them seemed far too tight to ever come off. “They told me there was a monster in the painting, some hideous beast that was the enemy of life itself.” Priscilla just stared at her. “I’m disappointed, actually. They told me there was a monster and all I find is you.” The human laughed, and Priscilla sighed. The human didn’t seem to be much of a threat, but Priscilla still wanted her to leave – she didn’t belong in the painting, after all, and, well… Priscilla lightly pressed her legs together. Hopefully the human would get bored soon.

                “Please,” the Crossbreed said, “thou hast no place here. Begone.”

                “But I want to know about the painting.” The human looked Priscilla right in the eye and crossed her arms. “What is this place? Why do they call you a monster?” She pulled a flask off her belt, its liquid contents glowing a brilliant gold, and took a sip from it. “And why’s it so cold?”

                Priscilla just stared at the human. She’d toss her over the edge herself if it meant she’d be alone again, but perhaps if she just answered the human’s questions, the human would leave on her own. “Ariamis created this world,” she said. “’Tis a haven for that which is cast out from the land outside. And thou art no outcast,” she added, “so, please, return to thy world.” 

                “The world out there isn’t my world,” the human responded, “I remember nothing of it but I know I have this brand-“ She pointed to a slight burning ring around one eye, “-and that means I’m not wanted out there.” Another sip from the flask, and a muttered “damn it’s cold.”

                “Even so,” Priscilla said, shifting her weight between her legs and hoping it wasn’t obvious, “This world is not thine either.”

                “What’s really any different between us,” the human asked, still drinking that little undead drink of hers, “After all, we’re both monsters. I take souls from things when they die, and when I die I just wake up at a bonfire. I’m a damn human, I had to escape from a prison I was put in just because I’m human.” Another sip to warm up, and she added, “That’s actually where I found that doll that brought me here.”

                “Thou hast found my doll?” Priscilla’s eyes widened.

                “That was yours? I just found it lying around in my cell – though, somehow, it was only there after I escaped and came back.” The human pulled her arms close to her body and wiggled around where she sat.

                “Yes, that was mine. Long ago it drew me to the painting, and here have I been.” She now had her legs slightly crossed, just enough to apply a bit of pressure, but not so much that she couldn’t stand straight. This human really needed to get on her way.

                “But, uh, if you don’t mind my asking, why? Why’d you let it take you here in the first place?” More of that glowing liquid left the flask.

                “The gods fear what they do not understand,” Priscilla said, bending her knees ever so subtly. “That tyrant Gwyn cast me out from Anor Londo, and I cowered alone with my doll ‘till it brought me here, where the gods dare not trespass.” Tears came to her eyes but she blinked them away.

                The human drank yet more, and shuffled around. “The gods were afraid of you?” She laughed a little bit. “You’re not that scary. What could they possibly be afraid of?”

                Not only was this really not a conversation Priscilla wanted to have, but it was also a really bad time. She could feel the pressure in her bladder building by the second. Still, if the human’s curiosity was satisfied, she would leave. “Gwyn fears my powers,” she said, positioning her scythe in front of her so that she could press up against it without arousing suspicion. “He calls them the antithesis of life, he thinks them to be dark. Gwyn fears the dark – thus humans were imprisoned.” She shut her eyes tightly and concentrated for a second as a sudden wave of need came over her, but passed after a few seconds without consequence. “Thou art right, we are not dissimilar. And yet still this world is not thine – return to the outside, to thine own business.”

                The human seemed to be caught off-guard by Priscilla’s words. “But I was told to cast away the dark – link the fire and succeed Gwyn.” She shook her head and drank more from her flask, emptying it and leaving its usual cloudy green color visible. “If humanity is dark, then…”

                Priscilla stopped listening as she felt a small leak trail down her leg. She pressed harder with her scythe, hoping the human wouldn’t notice. “H-human,” she said, voice still soft but now with a hint of panic, “return to thy world. Thou art on some quest, and thy quest must be completed.” A fresh trail warmed her leg again.

                The human stood up and nodded. “Yeah, that’s probably for the best.” She stretched, and then said, “And, uh, is there anywhere I could, uh…” The human did a little dance. “Estus goes right through you if you’re not hurt, and there won’t be any good opportunities in Anor Londo…”

                Priscilla was both amazed she had to answer such a question and also that she could still maintain her composure, somewhat. “O-over the side.” She pointed off in some vague direction as yet more urine forced its way out and down her legs – now it was a constant trickle, though a very weak one. If the human could finish up quickly, perhaps Priscilla could get out of this without too much of an issue. Her feet were already a little bit wet and the snow under her already had a decent yellow stain on it, but, still, if she could wait just a little longer she could save most of her dignity.

                That would prove to be difficult, though. The human nodded at her and left to stand by the edge of the tower, out of Priscilla’s line of sight, but she could hear metal striking the ground as the human shed some of her armor. And if she could hear that, then of course she could hear what would inevitably come next. The shuffling of cloth as the human sufficiently disrobed, and then the one thing Priscilla really did not want to hear.

                Just hearing the human’s relief wasn’t that bad on its own – the only sound was of the stream itself, as there was nothing for it to hit against within earshot outside the tower. No, what made it unbearable was the sighs coming from the human herself. Clearly, the human was enjoying herself, and that was the breaking point for Priscilla. The constant trickle turned into a stream, and then she found herself dropping her scythe and falling to her knees as her hold broke completely.

                “Ahh… but, why…” Tears filled her eyes as she let out slight moans of relief. After all, she was sitting there on the floor, wetting herself uncontrollably, with a human nearby. If only the human just listened to her and left. Or, really, why’d the human need to show up at all? Priscilla was supposed to be beyond such things. She wasn’t supposed to act like some human child. And yet there she was, still going strong, now hugging her own tail for some degree of comfort.

                In Priscilla’s mind it was even more humiliating that the human had come over and leaned up against her – which she probably would have tried anyways, considering nearly every part of the Crossbreed’s body was covered in soft white fluff. “It’s okay,” the human said, but Priscilla paid no mind until she had finished. And then she wiped away her tears with her hand, but stayed in her sitting position.

                After a while, she spoke to the human, who was still pressing herself into Priscilla’s side. “What seeketh thee?” There really was no reason for the human to still be there. “I beg of thee, leave me.” She did nothing to force the human to move, and just lifted up the skirt-fluff over her legs to see what had happened. Her legs were wet, but she could feel that, and there was a rather large puddle underneath her. The puddle had reached far enough to soak the skirt-fluff on her backside, creating an uncomfortable moist seat. She quickly put everything back into place, though, once she realized the human was looking as well. “Leave,” Priscilla said again.

                The human looked up at her and nodded. “Alright, but once I have the Lordvessel, I’ll be back.” She hugged Priscilla as well as she could – she was much smaller, after all, so her arms couldn’t reach all the way around the Crossbreed’s body – before heading over to the exit. “This is a lovely painting” were her last words before she jumped off the edge and was carried away by a crow.

                Once the human had been gone for a while, Priscilla stood up and walked over to the edge, looking out at the view. In all honesty, she couldn’t say she didn’t want the human to come back. Solitude was fine, but a little company every so often didn’t hurt – when it was timed right, anyways. She smiled as she looked off into the cold painted horizon. It really was a lovely painting.



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