The young woman sat huddled in the corner of the damp cell beneath Doplin Castle. Her body ached and she shivered, closing her eyes against the tears that threatened. Her auburn hair was dirty and her clothes rumpled and stained, but her green eyes were clear. She was pretty, even beneath the grime, and young, though the sadness in her expression made her seem older.
She released a deep breath, looking up when she heard the guards talking outside her cell.
"Let's just put him in the room over there."
The cell door was unlocked and pushed open to reveal two guards and a young man with black hair and blood-stained clothes of blue and red. They roughly tossed the young man into the cell. He landed face down on the hard and cold stone floor and didn't move. The young woman raised a graceful hand to shield her gasp as the guards slammed the cell door and locked it firmly behind them.
The young woman watched the young man with fearful eyes, waiting for him to move... But his breathing was shallow and ragged and he didn't move. At all.
'Maya,' came a voice within. 'We must help him.'
The young woman 'Maya' worried her lower lip, fear keeping her back-- and then he groaned and coughed blood. Maya quickly scooted forward, turning him gently over onto his back and giving a silent cry at the bruises and blood on his face and chest. She gathered him onto her lap with careful and tender movements, gently wiping the blood away from the cuts on his face. Then she closed her eyes and concentrated, feeling the cure power drift from her spirit to his body.
'Maya, he's bleeding within. Hurry.'
Maya absently nodded, moving the focus of her hand to his chest and abdomen and concentrating harder. She couldn't let him die. Not if she had the power to save him. Too many people had died already. Too many smiles and sounds of laughter had stopped. She could help him, and she would. He wouldn't die. He wouldn't.
The young man groaned and slightly moved, slipping from her lap with the motion. Maya continued to work, healing the pain and broken bones. Ceasing the bleeding and helping the body recover-- The young man opened his eyes, pretty grayish blue eyes, and sat up. He gasped in pain, a hand going to his shoulder.
Maya moved her hand to the place and concentrated again, healing the pain and helping the body reknit the strained and torn ligaments. The young man looked at his shoulder and then regarded her with suspicion and a little uncertainty.
"Wh-Who are you?" he asked, and Maya liked his voice.
It wasn't mean or cold. It wasn't angry or condescending. It was... honest. Maya signed and then touched her cheek as she opened her mouth. Then she traced her name in the grime on the stone floor.
Maya nodded, meeting his honest and clear blue eyes as he said, "My name's Lang."
Lang. Maya offered a smile. It was a good name. A strong name. Straightforward. Like his eyes and his voice.
Silence occasionally broken by the drip of water or the cackle of chains preceded his question, "You...? Can't you talk?" And it seemed he was hesitant to ask.
'Good mannered young man,' an older woman's voice whispered within.
Maya timidly smiled and nodded.
Lang suddenly blinked with realization and sat up a little straighter. "Hey! That power... That power you just showed me! What exactly was that...?"
Maya heard the fear and anger in his voice and lowered her head and closed her eyes, summoning the origin of her healing power so that he could understand they meant him no harm. A lovely and graceful entity seemingly a mixture of water and reality appeared beside Maya, water blue in color.
Lang sat up a little straighter, pushing himself back against the wall a bit. "Whoa! What the..!! What's that thing?!"
'Do not be frightened,' the woman assured him.
Maya looked up at the 'woman' and gave her a small smile. They had been together for a long time, the woman's presence being a source of comfort and strength for her. Especially now, after all that had happened.
'I am Rivas, the Life Origin that lives inside Maya. You, too, are a... Mystic, are you not?' Rivas asked carefully.
Lang leaned forward. "Yeah, they said so, too... That I was a Mystic... ...Could I really be a Mystic?"
And his question was hesitant and disbelieving. Maya watched his expression. He didn't seem to want to admit the truth. As if it were... painful to him. Maya's concern for him grew, and she felt sadness at what he must have gone through at the hands of Elliott and Marienne. It had put such a fear of the gift into his heart and mind.
'You are not aware of it yet...' Rivas informed, 'but that mark on your chest...'
Lang looked down, raising a hand to his chest. The look on his face was unreadable. Then Lang looked back up, confusion still clearly seen in his gray-blue eyes. "Yeah, what is this thing?"
'That is the sign of another 'you' that lives inside you. It stands for your Origin.'
"My Origin...?" His face seemed to harden, and his voice became angry as he said, "Are you telling me there's a monster like you living inside me?!" He clenched his fists on his knees. "I don't believe you!!" he said harshly. "No way there's any monster inside ME!! This mark is just a plain old birthmark! It's not what you say it is! I'm no Mystic!!"
Maya's expression saddened, her throat tightening at the almost pained look on his face as he looked down. It was colored so much darker by confusion and disbelief.
"Stop saying that!! I'm NOT a Mystic, I tell you!!"
Maya closed her eyes to fight back the tears. To deny such a wonderful gift... What has he suffered...? Tears burned.
'I do understand what you are feeling now,' Rivas said gently, 'but all the same, you ARE a Mystic... Nobody can change that simple truth. Please accept--'
Lang looked up sharply, cutting her off with "Shut up!! Go away!! Just disappear, why don't you?!"
Rivas and Maya exchanged understanding glances. Then Maya lowered her head and closed her eyes, helpless to know what to do to help him see... Rivas sighed and disappeared as Maya timidly raised her gaze to watch Lang. His head was lowered, his knees pulled up to his chest as his face tightened and twisted with so many fearful questions and realizations.
'There is nothing more we can do now, Maya,' Rivas said, regretful. 'One day he will realize the choice he must make, and from his response, the path that he has tread so far will not make that an easy decision.'
Maya closed her eyes and lowered her head, wishing she could help him but not knowing what would be seen as help and what would be seen as hurt. 'You should rest, Maya,' Rivas instructed. 'I have a feeling great things are in store for the morrow.'
Maya sighed and nodded, raising her head to watch Lang's grieved and confused expression for a long moment before turning away and laying down to sleep...
Maya released a soft and sleepy sigh and slightly wrinkled her nose.
Sleep beckoned through the aches of her body and mind...
Maya opened her eyes and sat up-- Her eyes widened and she voiced a silent gasp as she saw Lang standing by the now open cell door, the rubble of stone at his feet. His expression showed thoughtful consideration before he looked back out into the hallway of the prison.
Maya couldn't make herself stand and force herself to go with him. She was a Mystic, and he was afraid of them. Even though he was one himself. He didn't trust her, and if she forced him to take her... No.
Lang seemed to move toward the door, but he still didn't step out. He hesitated and looked again toward her, hesitation and something else in his gray-blue eyes and handsome face.
Again Maya didn't move, and Rivas didn't say whether or not she thought Maya's decision was the right one. But she just couldn't force him to take her. Not when she had seen the pain and confusion on his face with the knowledge that he was a Mystic. Not when she had seen the wounds on his body and healed his pain, caused by other Mystics. Hadn't she also been hurt and beaten by them? No. She understood why he didn't trust Mystics. Not when he had seen only Elliott and Marienne as their representatives.
Lang lowered his head and looked again out into the hallway. His shoulders and entire body seemed to sag at a realization or thought, and again Maya was overwhelmed by the silent way he bore it. So determined and silently couragous-- He looked toward her sharply, the determination and resolve sparking in his eyes and hardening his handsome face.
He turned and walked toward her, Maya watching his expressions and the sudden upright and... resolute way he walked. He seemed so much stronger now. Such a very different person.
"Um... Why don't you come with me?" he asked, voice uncertain even as his stance was sure. "We'll get out of here together!"
Maya looked down, closing her eyes as she thought of his path and hers. How they had seemingly so coincidentally joined together... Her helping him and then he offering to help her... His mistrust and almost hatred of Mystics, and the possibility she might make him see they weren't evil... But what if she hurt him? What if she...
Lang leaned down and extended a hand toward her, his lips lifting upward in a soft smile. "Come on. I'm not gonna leave you here."
And his tone had changed to a gentle persuasion. Softer. Kinder. Maya looked up, seeing the genuineness of his offer in his eyes and his expression. He had a good heart. She could tell. He had only had a hard life and bad examples of what a Mystic could be. She couldn't leave him alone with that. Not when it seemed... She smiled and accepted his hand, and for the first time in a long time she felt safe.