034. Memoria – Imperfection

Title: Imperfection
Genre: Undefined
Characters: Valerie Vega, Sesana, Christian Koenig, Evangeline Koenig
Story Origin: Vignettes prior to Angel of Lies
Prompt: 034. Imperfection
Word Count: 1,300
Rating: PG
Summary: Sesana has some advice.
Warnings: None.

Valerie stood, feeling the hot sun on her back and the sand beneath her bare feet.  They’d been running for days after a run-in with some ‘unfortunate’ people.  Sesana bore a scar on her cheek now and Christian’s soul continued to be consumed with a hunger he couldn’t sate.  Valerie was happy to just be standing still.  She didn’t join Christian and Evangeline near the ocean’s edge, instead opting to look from afar.  She couldn’t see them with her eyes, but her other senses painted a pretty good picture of what transpired.  She barely heard Sesana come up from behind.

“I don’t think Sanctus Unus intended for you to use the other sight for that particular purpose, Valerie.”

Valerie felt her chest tighten and her face grow hot with embarassment.  She wasn’t even sure why she felt embarassed.  She hadn’t been doing anything wrong.  She was keeping an eye on Evangeline, that was all.  That was her purpose, to protect the child vessel of Sanctus Unus.

“I-I wasn’t–”

Sesana grinned, taking a deep breath, “I love the smell of the ocean, don’t you?  Don’t care much for the salt, though.  I was only kidding, Valerie.  Don’t look so mortified.”

“I was keeping an eye on Evangeline… er, figuratively, of course.”

“I think she’s fine and that you can relax a little.  I don’t think Christian would let anything happen to her.”

“He rough houses with her too much,” Valerie sighed.  “She’s a little girl, not a pull toy.”

“She loves it,” Sesana assured her, smiling.  She watched as Christian lifted Evangeline into the air, her feet dangling above the sand.  She couldn’t hear him speak, but from the giggle that erupted from Evangeline and the girlish squeal, he was likely threatening to throw her in.  “I’m sure your father did the same to you.  Men show their love this way, I think.  Not with cuddles or hugs, but with tomfoolery and tickles.”

“He used to throw me in the air,” Valerie said after a quiet moment.  Her voice grew quiet.  “That was before my mother died…”

“Ah, yes, of course,” Sesana said, acknowledging Valerie’s hurt.  She tried a different approach, a more direct one, “you shouldn’t feel guilty, Valerie.”

“I… I don’t!”

“You do.  You can hide it from everyone, but not from me.  I’m too old and I have too much knowledge for that to work.  It also helps that I have some experience here, with unrequited love.  It isn’t easy.”

Valerie was a little startled, “I… I don’t understand…”

Sesana sighed, “Christian’s father, Valerie.  Eckhard.”

“It’s silly, really, when I think about it now.  It had nothing to do with the charisma or the sleezy way he gets into your head.  I just… loved him.  I don’t know why.  Even after I heard about what he’d done to Christian, it remained.  I hated him, too.  Hate and love.  Sometimes I think they go hand-in-hand.”

“B-But… everything he’s done…”

“Yes, I know.  And Abigail.  It’s different than Christian.  Abigail died and she chose your father, always.  There was never any question about that.  Eckhard only wanted what he knew he would never have.  He’s not one to allow someone to deny him what he feels is ‘rightfully’ his.” Sesana took a deep breath, watching her son and granddaughter on the beach.  They’d stopped horsing around and now Christian was sitting while Evangeline played in the water.  “Love makes us stupid and blind.  But lust and greed, those are much worse.”

“He helped me.”

“Only because you are the only thing that remains of Abigail.  The daughter that could have possibly been his.  But you’re too much like Antony.  He couldn’t take it.”

“I feel so horrible, Sesana.  I don’t just feel guilty, I feel… evil.  Like I’m keeping some terrible secret from him.  What if he finds out?  He’ll know that I knew…”

Sesana shook her head, placing her hand on Valerie’s arm, “no, there’s nothing you can do about that, Valerie.  You’re the Seer.  It’s your job to know and keep secrets that could possibly put someone in harm’s way.  What good would it be to tell him?  Beryl Cross is dead.”

“But she’s–”

“No,” Sesana said firmly, “I know how it works, Valerie.  The woman my son loved is dead.  What remains of her lies in Evangeline… and in my son’s memories.  He’ll never let her go.  When she died, she took everything he had with her.  They’re twisted, entwined in a way that no one can sever.  He suffers now because of it.  She has become something beyond mortal understanding, that breaks the limitations of our own perception.  He can’t understand it.”

“But… she’s still around.  She knows.  I feel horrible.”

“It takes time, but I don’t think she’d blame you, Valerie,” Sesana comforted, her voice soft.  “We’re in a bad situation, protecting a little girl who will hopefully save us all.  We’re close, all the time, constantly stuck together, depending on one another for survival, for comfort.  It makes sense, in a way, that it would come to this.  You’ve raised her just as much as he has, Valerie.”

Valerie shook her head, closed her eyes, “she is Beryl’s daughter.  I am only here to help with her powers.”

“That’s a lie and you know it.  Sanctus Unus knew what would come and so did Beryl.  Did you think this was a mistake?  Evangeline will never know Beryl, not her name, who she was, nothing.  Beryl accepted that when she gave her life.  Without that sacrifice, Evangeline wouldn’t have a chance.”

“It makes me angry, too,” Valerie confided suddenly, her face twisting in pain.  “Angry that she left like that, left him like that… and Evangeline.  And I’ve had to pick up the pieces, all of them.  And that’s it.  I’m just Valerie, the Seer, pushed to the background.  I hate it.  I don’t want to be angry.  I loved Beryl.”

“We are only human, in the end, Valerie.  I realize that more now than I ever have before.  We are imperfect, prone to faults, to anger, to bad decisions.  I covered for Eckhard, I did things I shouldn’t have, and now I’ve endangered my granddaughter and my son.  We all make mistakes… we can’t choose who we love.”

“That’s becoming glaringly obvious.  I always seem to want the people who will kill me.”

Sesana sighed, “Christian wouldn’t hurt you, Valerie.  He gave a part of himself to revive you.”

“He will when he finds out Beryl isn’t dead.  Not completely.  He’ll find out, Sesana.  I know it.”

“Don’t worry about that now,” Sesana said, pulling Valerie into a hug.  “Worry about what you can control and what you can do.  Evangeline needs you and so does Christian.  It isn’t love, but it’s something.  Without you, they would both be lost.”

“And you?”

Sesana smiled, pulling away, holding her hands, “I’m just here.  I’m just happy to see my family, to be with them.  I’ll die for them, Valerie.  Without a second thought.”

“I know, Sesana,” Valerie replied, tears building in her eyes.  She gave the former Era’s hands a squeeze, “I know.”

“Enough of this depressing stuff,” Sesana said, shaking her head.  “Let’s go down there, shall we?  Enjoy the day while we have it.  We’ll be moving again soon.”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the ocean,” Valerie said suddenly, following Sesana.

“Well, then, aren’t you in for a pleasant surprise?”

I had really hoped I would somehow be able to work this into AoL, but it wasn’t possible.  This scene is important, though, so I hope others that read AoL will see this.  It explains some things that may have people befuddled.  It’s also a good look at Sesana, as we didn’t hear much from her in regards to Eckhard.  It was always alluded to, but never said for sure.  This one was also very dialogue heavy.  I haven’t done anything driven entirely by dialogue awhile, so I’m a little rusty.  Tried not to let it show!


11 Responses to “034. Memoria – Imperfection”

  1. karen says:

    I felt sorry for val,she had the right to feel overwhelmed. Christian won’t look at her like he love beryl, eckhard someone who had been her father figure had turned into a monster and the knowledge of beryl, what she becomes and keeping it from christian? I don’t want to be in her place. Your dialogues is fine, you delivered all the raw emotions in those simple lines.

    I was hoping this would explain Valerie’s motivations a bit more and humanize her. I also wanted to get Sesana in there, who better to give advice? Thanks!

  2. S.B. says:

    This hit me so hard, it’s going to take some time to absorb it. Love bites. And sometimes doesn’t let go.

    Right now the emotion I’m feeling is anger on Valerie’s behalf. Her concept that she is “only” the seer, like some kind of appliance. That has to be terrible. Sesana…I just love her! There really is no point in agonizing over what you can’t control.

    The shots with Christian and Eva and simply gorgeous. Beautiful and simple and loving.

    Thanks, Beth! I am glad the emotion came through. I was worried it would be awkward, but there’s no better person for Valerie to confide in than Sesana at this particular moment. Valerie’s got the raw deal, that’s for certain, but we can’t choose who we love. Christian doesn’t see her as an appliance, but his love for Beryl is obsessive. I’m trying not to show Christian’s face too blatantly. He’s changed a bit.

  3. sandybvv says:

    Christian and Valerie?
    Are raising Evangeline as if she were Valerie’s daughter?

    And Christian doesn’t know that Beryl is Death? OMG!!
    What a mess…. I can’t only guess his reaction when he founds out!!! It is going to be bad…

    I loved the conversation between Valerie and Sesana very real, very clear and Sesana is right…
    :( I somehow feel that Sesana wont make it out alive of AoL :(

    Evangeline knows Valerie isn’t her mother. She makes that clear in Angel of Lies. But she does see Valerie has a ‘mother figure’. It’s all she’s had aside from Sesana. And we’ve been given a hint in Angel of Lies that Sesana died saving Evangeline. :( I’m glad the emotion came through! Thanks, Sandy!

  4. Dektora says:

    This was a beautifull piece, the line where Sesana says she’d died for her familly made me teary eyed, cause I think this is very much around the corner :(
    Also to me, you don’t need to humanize Valerie. No matter what part of herself she had to sacrifice to become the seer, she will always be the most human of your characters to me :) Sesana on the other hand, felt very human in this bit of fiction. She often has that untouchable ex Era aura*, but here, she just sounded like a granmother looking after the people she cares the most in the world. And some words about her relationship with Eckard were very usefull to understand the character better.
    As for pics, simply gorgeous. I love the contrast between the carefree blondies by the sea vs the heavy conversationist further back.
    Also, what is left of Beryl is not really Beryl, no matter how hard we’d love to see her back. Fully noted ;)

    *try to say that bit 3 times very fast lol

    Thanks, Dektora! That’s quite the tongue twister, lol. As for humanizing her, my fiance is my proofer and he said he had a difficult time ‘connecting’ with Valerie. He said this helped, a lot. I was also worried people would hate her for liking Christian. I am definitely glad this helped get a better view of Sesana! I really do love her character and am happy when I can show her. :) I also wanted to get the Death is not quite Beryl thing out there.

  5. Gayl says:

    This was an interesting reveal. I wondered why you weren’t showing all of Christian’s face. I knew he changed and have been trying to visualize those changes.

    Valerie is reminding me so much of her mother right now. It is sad that she does not see herself for what she is and how significant she is. But unrequited love can be very difficult especially when you carry knowledge on top of everything else.

    I also think it was good to hear Sesana speak of her feelings for Eckhard.

    I loved the shots with Christian and Evangeline. That he can be so changed and yet be so loving with her is amazing. I do feel bad for Valerie that he could never return her growing love for him but he has always been a one woman kind of guy. Even in death that doesn’t always change.

    Thanks, Gayl! Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until Christian appears in Angel of Lies to completely see his face. :) Valerie is struggling, but she’s got a lot of strength in her, despite her claims otherwise. She wouldn’t have made it through everything she has if she didn’t! I’m glad you liked the shots with Christian and Evangeline. She is all he has left. You can only imagine how bad things got when she disappeared…

  6. goodbye_sun says:

    I always feel so much for Valerie, how she puts herself down and assumes everything is somehow her fault. Its a bit like being in love with Christian is safe since it won’t be returned and it fits in with her view that she doesn’t deserve good things.

    Ooh and a little hint at Christian’s powers and the fate of Sesana.

    You know, that is an amazingly good point. Hell, I’m her creator and I hadn’t even really explored that angle. It makes a lot of sense. For me, it just sort of happened, when I was thinking. It seemed logical and her character sort of ‘leaned’ towards it. Yep, plenty of hints, too!

  7. E. Black says:

    I’ve always loved Valerie and it’s great to hear her thoughts about the whole situation she found herself with after Beryl’s death. Also, I can’t help but love Sesana. I never realized it until after Wings of Steel but Christian bears a lot of similarities to his mother.

    I am definitely glad you think Christian shares similarities with Sesana. He definitely does. ;)

  8. Detris says:

    Great insight on what happened before all hell broke loose. I was wondering why you wasn’t showing Christian’s face. I love the shots with him and Evangeline. Its sad knowing their fate and saying goodbye to Sesana again.

    Hehe, I am sneaky! ;) I’m glad this gives some insight. It’ll be good to know when things start picking up a little!

  9. Veron says:

    I LOVED Sesana, and I had sort of known that something had happened to her, but she really just forwarned the crap out me. Oh, that’s sad.

    I loved hearing her thoughts on Eckhard, and the more I learn about him, the more I just want to smack him.

    And wait… why wouldn’t Christian know about Beryl’s sort of, kind of, not really, role as DEATH? I mean, doesn’t he have the capacity to figure that sort of thing out? Valerie is right, when he finds out, he’s going to stab something.

    I loved this!

    Haha, no, Christian would have no way of knowing. The only thing Samaria told him is that Beryl would die. Only Sanctus Unus, Beryl, Valerie, and those in “the circle” would know what Beryl would become. Christian doesn’t know because Beryl “ceased to exist” the moment she died and his connection to her severed. :( I’m glad you enjoyed the glimpse of Sesana!

  10. Em Noir says:

    It definately explains quite a bit. I don’t think Christian will harm Valerie either. He might be cranky at her but I dont’ think it would harm her.

    I suspected Beryl was still alive but it was good to know for certain now. So much on Valerie’s shoulders. Poor girl.

    Nope, he wouldn’t hurt her, but he’ll sure be angry… ;) The Beryl we knew and loved is most certainly dead, for the most part. But there’s an issue with that…

  11. ~Drew says:

    Mao, your shots are stunning. Someday, I must get BV~I love too, what you do with your shots, really, I have no skill in photoshop. Your great tutorials though, may give me the courage to try.
    Feel kind of silly commenting, as I am not sure about the characters, but I love the way you write! Steeped in deep emotion, I love that!

    Hey there, Drew. Thanks! It’s a mix of photoshop and taking pictures. I love taking pictures, especially in games, haha! :) Hopefully the tutorials work out for you!

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