My Ranking Points
Lian — POV #1
Lian was beginning to realize how many holes there were in her plan. She had been walking through the Endless Woods for a few days, but her amount of food was getting progressively smaller, her dress progressively more *****, and Jade’s ivy-wrapped forests had only just given way to the Outskirts’ barren fields. She didn’t even know if she was going in the right direction.
But what could she do? She had her bow and arrow; she could hunt animals for food, if only she had seen any that didn’t look toxic. She could change her dress, if she had someone to watch her back while she did. She could light a fire, if she knew how. And — no matter what — she couldn’t go back. Her parents would have figured out the reasons behind her disappearance by now. They’re probably glad, Lian thought bitterly. They don’t have to deal with a daughter who’s an embarrassment, who’s not meant to be the way she is. They can just tell everyone I’m dead.
No, the only way onwards was forwards. And so Lian kept walking, clutching the bundle of everything she had to her pounding chest, the rocky ground underneath her slowly becoming
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The shadows shortened and darkness began to creep into the sky. Lian’s legs ached. She needed shelter, and soon, before the daylight vanished. Her eyelids grew heavy as she passed between the mangrove trees, over a river, through tall, swaying reeds whose flowers brushed her calves. They gave way to a bank of soft moss and Lian collapsed onto it, not even bothering to check if it was safe.
All of a sudden, she saw something through her closing eyelids. Lian sprung to her feet.
A boy sat in the clearing in front of a tent and a fire, a mane of matted brown hair surrounding his face, a patch over one eye. Lian darted back into the reeds before she could see more, her pulse racing. Who was he? What if he knew who she was? What if he didn’t, and he wanted to rob her? What were the ropes? Were they for a trap?
The chilly air caught up to her again, and she froze mid-step. She really did need somewhere to sleep. Maybe she could just see if he’d let her sit by his fire, if he looked friendly enough. If he wasn’t, well, she had her bow and arrow.
He didn’t look dangerous, Lian repeated to herself as she tiptoed back into the clearing. Indeed, he sat hunched over a guitar and a bundle of rope. She crept closer, and her skin prickled when she realized what the rope was.
It was a noose.
For whom? For himself? For her? For someone else? Possibilities swarmed her mind as she leant closer to him, watching him scrub the rope.
She stepped forward slightly too far, nudging his shoulder, and leapt backwards in terror as he jumped upwards, the guitar instantly in his hands.
“I just wanted to ask if I could sit by your fire for a little bit –” she mumbled, regretting every decision she had made.
He ignored her. His fingers fell across the strings, mellow notes ringing out across the glade. The sounds formed words in Lian’s mind — ”What are you doing?” — and she as she tried to figure out how and why. She opened her mouth, and closed it again, as what he was doing caught up to her. It was magic. It was evil. He was probably evil too. He didn’t want to help her. He wanted to enchant her —
”If you stammer, I can’t read your lips.”
Lian let out a breath. Now she understood the guitar, why he used it. She paused, trying to figure out what to say so she could get away. “I am so sorry,” she over-enunciated. “I was just — I was just wondering –” She tripped over her words and anxiety filled her. She stumbled backwards, back towards the forest. Help wasn’t going to be found here —
The boy grabbed her wrist, and Lian tensed. His calloused fingers closed over her veins, and she wanted to grab her bow, but was terrified to move.
With his free hand, he grabbed his guitar, playing another riff. ”Do not disturb me twice and then refuse to explain yourself.”
She turned to look into his eyes — no, eye. It was a piercing, pale grey. She trembled beneath his gaze.
Abruptly, something in his face changed, and his grip fell away. ”You’re scared. You called to ask me something before, but I failed to hear you, right?”
Lian managed a nod, unsure whether he was easing or fueling her panic.
”You might as well ask me now, then.”
“I… I had a supply of food….” Suddenly, everything came tumbling out. “But it’s running out. My dresses and jackets are torn and muddy. Nothing I had could prepare me for the Malachite Marshes. If I try to stay one more night here, I’ll freeze to death. I don’t feel comfortable in the Inns: I’ve heard stories about this area, but I don’t know how to –”
He flung something at her. She stumbled backwards, distrust escalating panic to send her tumbling into the swampy river.
Ice-cold water penetrated every pore. Mud pulled her downwards. The weeds twisted around her legs, her dress clinging to her skin, and she frantically gasped, swallowing mouthfuls of vile water as she sunk beneath the surface —
A wave of sound, rich and electric.
Lian was flung onto the bank, gagging and heaving, shaking violently from the frigid water. The boy stepped closer to her, sliding his guitar back over his shoulder. He pried open her quivering fingers and closed them around a piece of fabric; a handkerchief. This must have been what he had thrown at her, she realized, ashamed.
“If you want help, let me help you, or get out yourself.”
“I — I — I’m s — sorry –”
He picked a pity-filled sigh from the strings of his guitar. “My name is Aspen, and it looks like you’re staying with me for the night.”
She opened her mouth to thank him, but another wave of hypothermic nausea ran up her throat, and she bent over the ground again and retched.
Slender but strong arms closed around her, scooping her up. Aspen carried her over to the tent, gently setting her down on a pile of blankets, and reached for his guitar. “You have other clothes?”
Clutching the blankets to herself, she gave a minute nod.
He plucked a minor chord as he draped a soft fur over the entrance to the tent. “Change out now. You’ll die in under an hour if you keep those on.”
Lian pulled another dress, this one thicker and made from raspberry-coloured wool, from her bundle. She slipped it on, wrapped herself in a patchwork blanket that glittered with scraps of fabric, and made her way to the bonfire. Aspen sat beside it, stirring a *** of bubbling stew, and poured some into a clay bowl for her. She welcomed the hot liquid as the night air stung her skin, and for a few minutes, the two of them were silent. Aspen poked at the fire while she finished her stew.
”So, why are you here?”
“I… ” She hesitated. Could she really trust him? He looked back at her, expectantly, and she decided she could. She had eaten his stew, after all. If he wanted to kill her, he would have done it by now, and he couldn’t be connected to her parents: he was magic. “My name’s Lian. I’m from Jade. It was have my parents lock me up or run away, and I chose the latter. I’ve been trying to find the schools.”
”You have magic.”
“How did you–” She looked around, realizing all the space around the fire was filled with open wildflowers, even though the sun was long gone, and blushed.
”I have bad news for you. The schools burned down. The Gavaldonians sieged them.”
Lian’s eyes widened. So it wasn’t safe, not even out here; magic was still abhorred. Anger filled her. “Nowhere’s free of them, is it.”
”There is one place. In Lazuli, the capital of Malachite. I haven’t visited there in a long time, but it’s close, and famous for being friendly to magic users. I can’t guarantee that the route will be, though.”
Lian pulled her bow and arrow from her back. “I can fight.”
Aspen looked taken aback, but he nodded, picking at G major. “I’ll show you the way. You’d better get some rest first, though.”
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Lian collapsed into the blankets, her eyes immediately closing. Some fear stirred in her when she realized the extent of everything she had just done — she was staying with a stranger who carried a noose, she was going straight into the heart of a region she had never been to, she was magical in a place that hated magic.
She pushed the thoughts away, sleep taking their place. Fear could wait for the morning.
This was hard to write, because I haven’t written Lian before, so I holed myself up with tea and spotify while there was a
ridiculous thunderstorm outside for like 5 hours.
@arian2 I hope Aspen turned out okay in this.
“in this house we love and appreciate EVERY lockwood & co. character” idk man I still don’t like Holly that much
but it stems from childhood trauma don’t ask
Also I’m proud at the level of Lockwood & Co. trash you have become I remember when there were only 6 kids in the fandom
ALSO HECK YEAH LUCY DOESN’T HATE HOLLY BECAUSE OF LOCKWOOD I WROTE THIS LONG RANT ABOUT IT WHEN THE HOLLOW BOY WAS RELEASED BUT HAD NOWHERE TO PUT IT SINCE I DON’T HAVE SOCIAL MEDIA
AGAIN THE RANT MAY HAVE SPAWNED FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA
@sherlock so here’s my deal: if you don’t love holly, whatever, that’s fine, but if the reason for that is because you think she’s breaking up locklyle or because you believe everything lucy says about her; that’s wrong and basically a mischaracterization because a) holly is 18 and has NO INTEREST IN LOCKWOOD and honestly lucy and lockwood themselves are breaking up locklyle way more than holly ever will, and b) lucy is one of the most biased narrators ever and a lot of the reasons she doesn’t like holly aren’t holly problems, they’re lucy problems, or lockwood and george problems. but! yay! lucy is overcoming these! which means holly is getting a redemption arc and becoming a much more developed character. (you actually saw the same thing happen with lucy’s opinion on george; in tss, he was a fairly flat character bc lucy didn’t like him and characterized him badly, but he developed more as lucy got over these.)
also if you’re only just realizing how much lockwood and co has taken over my life: http://fittes.tumblr.com/tagged/lockwood%20and%20co
This is absolutely terrific. I’m looking forward to seeing this storyline play out.