Chapter Twenty Two: Rebirth (Part One)
(I’ve gotta escape! That voice… Stop! Please Stop! Beat me, torture me, kill me, anything! Just stop using that voice! PLEASE!!)
It had been three days since Niyleen had been captured, during which she’d been conditioned by the Altmer that talking would result in severe punishment. Though she could endure Telind’s torture, she felt her mind slipping due to this ‘Nyleine.’ She had her voice and apparently her looks. Hearing that voice caused a thought to creep into her head, and every minute it got stronger and stronger until it had ultimately taken over the Halfling: This Nyleine had taken over her body.
At first it sounded like madness, but after being conditioned not to talk and hearing her voice over and over and over, along with the numbness of her arms and legs and the fact that she’d been trapped in darkness over the last three days, everything began to piece together.
“Zzzzz… zzzz…” Telind’s snores confirmed two things for Niyleen. The first being that her torture had ended for today at last. The second being—
“Hello sister.” That she’d now be tormented by her own voice.
(S-s-stay away!) She began to struggle trying to free herself from her restraints, but to no avail.
“Gods, are you alright? You’re convulsing.”
That fake concern, that pity in her voice like she was some poor creature… Niyleen couldn’t stand it. She knew this sister of hers, whoever she was, was actually gloating inside about the fact that she had Niyleen right where she wanted to.
“It’s okay,” Nyleine said. “I don’t want to hurt you. I just want to talk.”
(L-liar! You won’t fool me! Just leave me alone! Stop using my voice!)
Niyleen continued to struggle until she was out of breath and gasping for air. (So this is how I die? Trapped in darkness, taunted by… myself?)
Nyleine sighed. “No one’s going to kill you.”
Niyleen froze. (Am… am I talking? Or… can she read my mind!? Nononononononono! This isn’t happening! This can’t be happening!)
“C-calm down Niy, I’ll… hang on one second.”
(Let me go! Please… I can’t handle this. This isn’t my body. I can feel that. I may not be able to feel much else, but this is NOT my body anymore. Something deep in me is telling me this. You stole my body. Why must you torment me as well?)
“I didn’t steal…” Nyleine paused momentarily. “…Fine, have it your way. But I’m trying to tell you that you’re wrong. We’re on the same side.”
Niyleen heard the sound of someone’s fingers snapping, and then suddenly she hit the ground hard and let out a soft moan. (This must be a trick. It has to be!) Niyleen began retreating, but being blind as she was, she didn’t know whether or not she was actually doing so.
“You poor thing… I told Telind not to harm you too much. I wanted your cooperation, not… to break you.”
“Stay… away…” Niyleen said barely audible. Punishment be damned, she didn’t want this body snatcher anywhere near her. (I have to escape! I’m… I’m going insane!)
Niyleen fell onto her back, rolled over and began to slowly crawl away from the voice.
“This IS insane Niy,” Nyleine said. “Let me explain what’s going on, why you feel the way you do.”
“Stop… tricking… me…” Niyleen tried for flee but with no visions, and the numbness in her arms and legs, she was going nowhere fast.
Nyleine sighed. “Father said you’d probably be this stubborn, but honestly I couldn’t see it. Luckily, he’ll never have to see you like this again…”
(You killed him?)
Nyleine hesitated before answering. “I did.” There was a sad tone in Nyleine’s voice. “I didn’t want to though. He made me, he forced my hand—”
Her answer had already fueled Niyleen’s fear and the Halfling continued retreating until she smacked right into a pile of wood. She was trapped. She couldn’t see it, but she knew that she was trapped between the pile of logs and Nyleine. (I… There’s no escape…)
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. You don’t have to escape. You’re not my prisoner.”
(The torture, the restraints, the blindfold—)
“All necessary in dousing your fury, your rage,” Nyleine said. “Father tells me that you’re too predictable, and even after not seeing you for twelve years he knew how the nineteen year old you would act if you saw me, I mean, you.”
(If I saw… me?)
“Yes. Please, just listen to me and everything will begin to make sense, alright?”
(She could have killed me at any moment…) Niyleen slowly nodded, but still had a look of fear on her face.
“Thank the Gods. This will be simpler now.”
(STOP CALLING ME THAT!)
“I-I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Father always called you that, but I could image you’d be scarred after what happened.”
(What do you mean?)
“Father…” Nyleine paused. “That dream you had a few days ago was one of my—OUR—memories.”
“That day, twelve years ago, Father killed us. We died sister. No,” Nyleine said correcting herself. “Rather, on that day WE were born.”
(I never died… that was just a dream!)
“Stop being like this and listen to me!” Nyleine said raising her voice. “If not with your ears, then your heart, your soul. I’m telling you the truth. When we were seven, Father—in an attempt to try and create the perfect apprentice—killed us, trapped our soul in a soul gem, and did… other things to us.”
(That doesn’t make sense!)
Niyleen froze. After hearing Nyleine’s voice in her head, something about her words began to ring true.
(The sole reason there are two of us is because Mother found Father degrading our body and when she tried to kill him, he shielded himself with our soul gem breaking it in two. Half of it went back into the original body: you. The other half Father was able to hold onto as he escaped from mother, and after some rather unique experiments, a second Niyleen was born: me.) “Haven’t you ever felt a void in your life? Something that you could never fill? Not with wealth, love, anything?”
Nyleine’s words rang true throughout Niyleen’s very being. There were only two times in her life that Niyleen had felt almost whole. The first being when she was Eolri’s servant. The second being when she was with Lucari after being saved by her from Nanae. Both instances weren’t long lived for Eolri was killed due to Niyleen’s actions, and Niyleen made Lucari hate her for no reason whatsoever. And even then there was still something missing. Niyleen felt like she was always looking for something, anything to fill that void.
It was why she took on a Eolri’s rough persona; to mask the fact that she always felt alone, weak, and incomplete. It was why she became stingy with gold and never forgave anyone from stealing it from her; it represented something more than just money, it was a quantification of her completeness. When she had bags of gold or stacks of coin, it had a placebo effect on her and made her momentarily feel more whole than she knew she really was, however the opposite was also true.
(Why… can I hear your thoughts?)
Niyleen couldn’t see it, but she knew Nyleine was smiling. “Our souls are resonating,” she explained. “They’re calling out to each other, wanting to be made one again. You see when our souls were split, in time they began trying to repair themselves. So if we both had half of the original soul, due to the passing of time we’d both now have about three-fourths of a full soul; more than enough to have a regular life, but not enough to have a fulfilling one.”
A shiver coursed through Niyleen’s body. (So that’s why you found me. You want… to combine our souls?)
“Sister…” Nyleine said on the verge of tears. “Listen to my heart. I only wanted to find and talk to you. My methods may have been… suboptimal, but they worked. Father said that we’d never be able to hold a conversation without coming to blows, but he was wrong. Ha, look at us!”
“I know… I know your words… are true,” Niyleen said, and she honestly did there was no deceit in her words. (But you tortured me, sicced that crazy Altmer on me, killed father, chained me up—)
“I’m sorry Big Sis,” Nyleine said still on the verge of tears as she suddenly wrapped her arms around Niyleen. “I… I didn’t know where mother was. Father is with me but not of this plane. I just… I just felt so alone. I tried everything; immersing myself in my work, relationships, wealth, nothing helped. I needed this Sis. I needed to talk to you like this. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…”
Nyleine continued to hug her sister for quite some time before pulling back and getting to her feet; an act that pulled at Niyleen’s own heart as she knew and could feel how hard it was for Nyleine to let go.
“I can understand if you need some time to yourself. And,” Nyleine snapped her fingers again and Niyleen felt something loose around her eyes. “You can remove that blindfold whenever you wish. As a matter of fact, you’re free to go if you want.” Her voice was strained and Niyleen could hear her undertones of her voice screaming out to her, please stay. “If you stay, I’ll instruct Telind to keep your distance and if you want, not to say a word to you at all. I just want to be with you Big Sis, but after all I’ve done… I can understand you wanting to leave.”
Feeling her other half walk away from her, Niyleen couldn’t help but feel torn. This woman had kidnapped, beat and tortured her, but now that she could hear her thoughts, her undertones, her soul, there was no malice towards her. Nyleine was just what she herself would have become if she’d continued to follow in her father’s footsteps. Two halves of the same soul, literally.
She for a moment she thought about leaving, forgetting about everything she had heard and leaving this crazy bitch to her own devices, but then she remembered how that hug felt. Never before, not with Eolri or Lucari, had Niyleen felt so alive and sure of her place in the world than when she was hugged by Nyleine and deep in the back of her mind she knew that if she left, she’d eventually come running back so that she could embrace that feeling once more.
(I… I guess I can stay for a while. This will give me time to sort things out…)