Chapter 255: The Choice Of Steel
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She tossed her limbs around, whipped it on the sides, and rolled around, her bedsheets crumpled. The rain continued, and its continuous patter sounded faint. Through the leaves, the branches, and down to the crevices of the stone road.

In her dreams, yes, her dreams which allowed her to access the memories of the Ciara that lost herself to power.

She stood outside a hut with a man caring for the game. Deer, boar, and rabbits, this man had hunted, behind the man was a woman calm gaze. Aria recognized that face, it was hers, a woman who had gained the ability of the past War Maidens, the timelines, and became a War Maiden of Space and Time – a possibility that was beyond her understanding.

The woman calmly smiled at the man. Her belly was huge, and her cheeks perpetually beet red. A woman drowned in ecstasy, and a woman who had to hasten the growth of her children.

Aria calmly looked at the woman. Jealousy, envy, and a tinge of hatred, it all came to her heart, and yet it was doused by cool water called reasoning.

 The memories she saw consisted of this woman’s hatred. Single-Minded hate, a defrosting that took millions of years for the man named Nolan Salvatore to melt.

The scenery changed into the woman’s musings. She floated inside a void that had fragmented, a vault of memories where she replayed the actions of Nolan Salvatore, her face that of amusement, and confusion, and heartache.

“Why do you go to battle?”

The woman who is Ciara Alician said inside this void. She watched the memories for a thousand times before breaking out of her space.

The memory changed into the hut. The woman said in her thoughts, “It took me this long and even though I manipulated him. He’s a fool. Such a fool. But, alas, I’ve fallen in love with a fool.”

She patted her belly lovingly. Aria felt intense emotion, an emotion that was beyond obsessive, almost as if she wanted to possess all of this man. Like a chain that drags and twists the threads of Nolan’s fate.

A slave charmed to the War Maiden. She had nicked his heart to the point that eventually his actions would lead him to where she was.

I will always find you.

Those words echoed inside Aria’s head. It was a charming spell and it was the same as a sigil of a bleak walker. Instead of showing despair and cries, the words of power were like a steel collar that tightens around his neck.

Aria swims through her thoughts and wanders to the memory of separation.

A sky of powerful beings, appearing out of the cracks, fighting Ciara Alician, the woman stood against the many gods, and yet she could only be contained through a crystal and made the heart of an entire planet. A punishment, to drain her of powers.

But it won’t work. Aria stood near the crystal. Ciara Alician draws on the powers of the War Maiden of Pasts. Her authority allowed to her gain power from all the Ciara’s that existed in the timelines.

Her power was overwhelming that it made Aria recoil in fear. Fear that there was a possibility that she would become a Goddess.

Is this my fate? She thought, turning to the memory of Nolan carrying this Ciara over deserts, taking care of her, and allowing her rest. It was a trick and a test, and he succeeded in that test, so astoundingly that the Ciara of that timeline, after testing him, became what she was, a woman who wanted to collar a man, a slave, not a partner or a companion.

She swam through the memories again and found parts of love. The strongest parts of a memory of birth and love.

She stood in a cave where Ciara Alician gave birth. Nolan was not around and she sat with her babes on her hands. Her cheeks flushed and gaze so loving that it was hard to say otherwise that she hated them or used them for her gains. Yes, she made them for desperation, and yet she lost that, all of that, out of finding love for her babes.

The memory of letting her child die. She recalled that memory with her heart feeling like it was being stabbed by daggers. It was a dreadful feeling that left her unable to deny that pain. Not even this Ciara could be so hateful to do so, and her soul was bound to never repeat that same mistake.

Aria could feel the despair of this Ciara. The loss of her babes and Nolan torments her. Indeed, she’s drunk with power, and would never let go of it. Yet, there were parts of her that were genuine, and Aria could not deny those. 

Human to her core. 

Aria played judge in this void. Yes, this Ciara is her, but not truly her, and she was the first, the original, and she would never let go of that belief. She had not danced and killed in the abyss – only for her true self to be taken. She would not allow that.

Even though there are genuine care and love you have there. I cannot let go of what I am. Never.

 Aria hammered that belief into steel. Sympathy was sympathy, and yet she would not allow her sympathy to cloud her thoughts.

 I acknowledge you but never will become you. I may have done things I did not like, yet I will own them, I will not reason that what I did was right or wrong. I will face it. I’ve lived long enough to know that.

 Aria hammered the steel inside her mind and threw it in the center of this void. It burst into a brilliant tower of light that evaporated the thoughts she held.

 She had been tempted. She had been offered power and yet she refused them out of her belief. That borrowed power is no power at all. She might have died because of that belief. But that belief had died with her. It was the same as ripping her heart out. She could not do it.

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