Fiction Ep83 The Gate Stone

All of the fanfiction I’ll be putting up is basically prose analysis, in the style of creative nonfiction, so I believe that it’s important to show my research. After all, this is only an insight check.

Analysis:

How Percy looked to Cassandra for “The Gate Stone” Story


Story

The study door unexpectedly opened, startling Cassandra. A worried

guard said hastily, “My lady, Vox Machina has returned. Carrying one of

their own. One of the gnomes, I think.”

Her heart sank with that too familiar dread. She forced her

voice steady to ask, “My brother? He’s among them?”

“He is, m’lady.”

“Good. I’d like to see him.”

The guard left. Alone, Cassandra let herself bow under the

weight of her anxiety. All those years thinking Percy was dead, only for him to

come back, and restore their home. Then disappear again for increasingly

dangerous battles. Leaving her full of fear that this would be the last she

ever saw him alive. They’d already brought him back dead once.

He never talked about the danger, if he’d died before or

since. He acted as if his silence could protect her. As if not knowing would

stop her from imagining every horrible thing that could happen to him. As if she

couldn’t see every new scar he brought back, and every blood-soaked tear in his

clothing. He played it off like the blood was just the mud they’d flung at each

other as children. He set off for dire battles like they were day hikes up in

the Sierras.

Part of her understood. He’d never done well with nothing

going on. It didn’t match the tempest that had always been in his head, long

before their lives were torn apart. He’d always felt more at home when too many

things were happening. He blended in better, it was easier for him to hide

behind his mask of being fine. He was used to chaos, so he handled it better.

But he never could quite handle peace. She wondered if his friends saw how much

stress and pain he was holding back now. It wouldn’t last, it never did. The pressure

was holding him together. He’d fall apart again in its absence. If he didn’t

fall in battle first.

The sound of someone fumbling the doorknob brought her out

of her thoughts. Percy burst into the room, frantically saying something, but it

didn’t register through her shock. He was pale, shaking, limping, and grimacing

as he moved. Gore from close combat covered him, but it didn’t disguise his injuries.

The trickle of blood from a head wound stood out starkly in his white hair. Massive

polychromatic bruises framed his face and neck. His heavy jacket testified to the

damage: a dragon’s tooth sized rent in the front and back, a line of claw marks

down the back from the top of the shoulder past his other hip. The jacket was

hanging too poorly for him to properly hide what must have been a terrible gash

to his side. Her eyes froze on it. The layers of his clothes were absolutely shredded.

Even among the rest of the blood, the wash of gore that spread from that wound

was obvious.

Her mind tore her away to another part of the castle at

another time. The bodies of her parents, siblings, friends, lying scattered, lifeless,

covered in that much blood, passing her by as she snuck down the hallways

trying not to scream. She felt the flood of that old fear drag her under its

currents, and drown her in the specter of those inescapable horrors.

When he took her shoulders, she was so startled that she hit

him. He winced as she came back to herself, pleading with her in that overly

controlled way that he panicked, “Cass? Cass? Please- I’m sorry I’m a

wreck; I know. I know it’s bad, I know you’re scared, but there isn’t time for

that. I need the Gate Stone. We have to get to his daughter now.”

She stared at him, bewildered. “What?”

“We still have some problems. Please! I just need the

Gate Stone back from you.”

“What happened,

Percy? His daughter? Scanlan?”

He cringed, his mask of composure slipping just a moment.

“He fell. We couldn’t revive him. We’re still trying to bring him back.

His daughter might be able to call him back. I know-” He cringed again,

“I know what it would mean to him. Please…”

Cassandra took the Gate Stone off her desk and pressed it

into his hand. “I’m sorry. I hope it works.”

He took it and started for the door.

“Percy?”

“Yes?” He didn’t turn around.

“I’m worried about you.”

“I know. I am- I know.” And he left.

She stared at the closed door a long time, silently crying,

despite herself, wondering how much longer she could do this. How much longer

until one of his friends asked her to help bring him back again.

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