Wings of Steel

April 30, 2008

Reflection: Act III

Filed under: Chapter Eight — Mao @ 12:39 am

Can you see like a child?
Can you see what I want?
I wanna run through your wicked garden
Heard that’s the place to find you
Cause I’m alive
So alive now
I know the darkness blinds you

Can you see without eyes?
Can you speak without lies?
I can drown your sorrows
I’m gonna burn
Burn you to life now
Out of the chains that bind you

Can you see just like a child?
Can you see just what I want?
Can I bring you back to life?
Are you still alive?

Burn, burn, burn
Burn your wicked garden down
Burn, burn, burn
Burn your wicked garden to the ground

Stone Temple Pilots, “Wicked Garden”

Valerie sat with her back resting against a slope of warm sand. She dug the toe of her boots into the ground, letting out a sigh. She had been waiting for what seemed like forever. After her last encounter with Nicolas, Valerie had isolated herself even further. She’d been meditating for so long her own energy felt considerably weakened. She was certain Sanctus Unus would pop up and scold her for such foolishness, but at this point, Valerie didn’t care.

She had to find out if it was really Nicolas or her mind’s manifestation of her doubts. Something told her it wasn’t all in her head, but she needed proof. If it was really Nicolas… well, she hoped she didn’t have to worry about the consequences of that.

When the sun shattered this time, Valerie was ready. She stood up and waited patiently. The warm shards disappeared and she was left in complete darkness. A human with normal sight would have been completely blinded, but Valerie could see best in the darkness. Her ‘second sight’ seemed to heighten when there wasn’t a shred of light to be found.

She waited and waited, her breath slowly growing more and more ragged as time passed. The salty air made her throat clench in protest and she could feel the rivulets of sweat running down the backs of her legs. It may have been her mind’s own projection, but it was as true to life as one could possibly get. It was sweltering, even with the sun gone, the sand still permeated with heat.

“Waiting for someone?” Nicolas voice chimed, disturbingly close to Valerie’s face.

Valerie tried her best to swallow her own discomfort. Now that there was a possibility it was really Nicolas, Valerie felt a little uneasy in his presence. The last time she saw him, he ran her through with a sword. If he was really here, well… perhaps he could hurt her, too. Christian wouldn’t be able to save her.

“You’re sweating,” Nicolas said with a smirk. “And shaking. That’s a rather… odd combination, Valerie. It’s a little late to be frightened.”

“I-is… is it… really you?” Valerie asked nervously, unable to keep her voice from quavering.


  1. Hmmm, what is Nic up to – really up to? He’s still trying to convince Val (and maybe himself) that he really is the bad guy, but I’m not so sure … The double bluff idea I had a while ago is still floating around, and as Val said perhaps he did fail on purpose. And they’ve found her people? As he whispered that to her maybe it’s something that Onael and her cronies don’t want her to know, so he was possibly afraid that someone was listening in – he’s making a big public show of being a rotten sod but he hasn’t really gone over to the dark side, so whispering that final piece of information was his way of telling Val not to give up on him?

    LOL, it’s good to know that things between Christian and Melissande haven’t changed :D

    Nicolas already knows which side he’s on. He may not be 100% bad, but he certainly isn’t good, either. He whispered it because he’s messing with Valerie’s head. Everything he does is a power play right now. His goal is still to remove Valerie from the equation. ;) Haha, yeeeah those two are still the same!

    Comment by Tanya — April 30, 2008 @ 7:32 am

  2. Hmmm is Nicolas trying to protect Valerie in an odd sort of way? What did he mean by we found your people? If he was suppose to be killed does that mean that Nicolas is Oneal’s secret weapon kind of like Christian is Santus Unus? If so, why did Eckhard put Valerie in Nicolas care if he is suppose to be on Santus Unus side? Yep Melissande be very uneasy something bad is about to happen I can sense it to. At least we see that Valerie is using her powers and finally getting some kind of answers. The dialouge between Christian and Melissande is hilarious. Great chapter.

    Nicolas protecting Valerie? Not consciously. He has no reason to. Subconsciously, though, maybe? I really don’t know–he’s such an odd character. His motives are still a mystery even to me. Melissande has a right to be on edge, that’s for sure. Thanks!

    Comment by Detris — April 30, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  3. Oooh…Valerie and Nicolas, I really don’t know what to think.
    The last scene with Melissande and Christian took the edge off nicely. :P I really enjoy Melissande, with her bitchiness and her hoochie outfits. She’s kind of awesome.

    Haha, I’m glad. Reflection is a heavy chapter, but I try to break it up with some off-beat moments. What better than interaction between Christian and Melissande? ;)

    Comment by Cassie — April 30, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

  4. As soon as Nicolas appeared, I shivered. He looks much more creepy today. Probably the stubble, which makes him look like an unshaven man in his thirties stalking her.
    So it really is him, and it’s barely there, but he still seems to have the remains of a heart. It’s almost like they’re still friends, but he’s now the bad guy. So confusing, and if so for me, how much more it must be for Valerie.
    People? Her people? Yeah, I’ve got questions, too. It’s annoying that Nicolas knows more than me, when he always seemed to be the not-too-quick one before.
    Good to see Melissande’s still as mouthy as ever. No, no threesomes! Bad images! Her other comment was hilarious. I love her hair.
    …And yes, I looked back at the picture. I’d forgotten about the tree thing. I was too surprised and interested initially to pay attention to details like trees, lol.

    I love that you said he looks creepy. It’s the evil coming out. ;) I’m glad their interaction was tinged with familiarity, that’s what I was going for. Haha, tree thing? Did I miss something? Nicolas is still actually pretty clueless in the grand scheme of things. He knows only what he’s told and who is to say that’s what really happened!

    Comment by Infinity-Nevermore — April 30, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

  5. MELISSANDE!! shes so pretty! Melissande is my favorite… Nicolas needs to be kicked in the nuts! poor Val.. great update!

    Haha, poor Nicolas. I’m sure Melissande wouldn’t mind delivering the kick, though. Thanks!

    Comment by Alex — April 30, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

  6. Wow, the implications of what he’s saying are powerful. =|

    Valerie looks awesome in dreads by the way. :D

    And Melissande is looking great as well. :)

    I can’t wait to find out something! (Is it just me, or does Valerie spend WAY too much doing doing nothing? I feel like not much has happened since they were back in that forest, other than us fining Beryl. I don’t know why though. :| )

    A lot has happened, it just depends on what you judge by ‘a lot’. The main story isn’t the driving point of Wings of Steel, it’s the character development and interactions. I’m not much of a huge, main story person. I have one, but it’s always secondary to the actual characters.

    Comment by Josh — April 30, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  7. are you trying to kill me?? I am dying to know if nicolas is actually on onael’s side!!!!! can’t wait to find out!

    That has already been proven… back when he ran Valerie through with a sword. ;)

    Comment by liz — April 30, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  8. My favorite was Melissande and Christian together. They make me laugh. Especially Melissande. You never know…holy beings might be into that kinky stuff. I can’t believe Christian told her about having sex with Beryl. Maybe he did it because she suspected something. She isn’t dumb after all.

    It’s common knowledge simply because Melissande was there when he ran off. He didn’t tell her, because he refused to talk ‘about it’, as we saw. It was likely she overheard from Eckhard, as Sesana knows. ;)

    Comment by Eva — April 30, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  9. Haha, I love Melissande and Christian when they fight. Poor Christian, he’s so abused by Beryl…PLEASE PLEASE tell me Beryl gets pregnant with Christian’s child and everything turns out alright!

    I fail to see how Beryl getting knocked up would make everything all right. That’d make things twenty million times worse, actually, LOL!

    Comment by Phil — April 30, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

  10. Well, now I am too late to be first commentor…{I got to the site WAY too early on the day of the updates >.<} but Nic is still being mysterious… Not surprising, really.
    It seems like Val spend all of her time doin’ nothin.
    I am SO glad that Christian and Melissande still despise each other =P.
    I am not quite getting the whole story, but I am seeing stars from not eating again, so thats most likely the problem =D
    Great update, keep it up!

    You really need to eat more. :P Valerie may seem like she’s doing nothing, but she is making her own sort of progress. Christian and Melissande don’t hate one another… it’s more a familiar dislike in an almost friendly sort of way.

    Comment by Dragongirl — April 30, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  11. I’m torn between the two aspects of Valerie meeting with Nicolas. There is the side where she comes across still quite naïve and still so hopeful that Nicolas returns her feelings and the other side where she is learning how to play him at his own game, and take control of the discussion. So who won here? Valerie came away with information and Nicolas telling her not to contact him, so did she get the truth and he feared her getting more out of him or was that another carrot that’s purpose is to lead her on and keep her distracted?

    However, between Melissande and Christian, it’s pretty obvious who won. She is all kinds of awesome for it too.

    I’m glad you noticed that Valerie isn’t being completely led around. She has made an attempt to sort of ‘take charge’. Mostly out of frustration, though. I don’t think anyone won. Nicolas did not achieve his purpose and Valerie is now filled with doubt. Nothing good will come of this, that’s for certain. You can be sure that was a carrot. Hahaha, Melissande is ruthless.

    Comment by goodbye_sun — May 1, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  12. Nicolas looks different… sexy … gosh never thought I would say that about him.. he was always ‘cute’.. but hmmmm…
    thats it Val, be strong! Question the sexy worm.. he’s holding out on you.. well of course, he’s the enemy .. but still.. okay that made no sense and i said it! *laughs* seriously, its nice to see Val getting a backbone and insist on answers even if she doesnt get them.
    ‘We’ve found your people–it’s over.’ oooooooo cryptic .. he could be a jedi … okay a sith.. I think he still has feelings for Val. even if he doesnt want to admit it.. and whispering it like that… mmm very sneaky, very well done.. mess with the confused girl, keep her off balance.. gosh, he’s come far… unfortunately for Val, he’s come farther along than she has.. she needs to catch up.
    *laughs* I love Melissande.. “..somehow doubt holy beings are into threesomes.” oh that was a great line!
    Christian is such a dolt. Melissande will get the best of him every time. She’s too good at being a bitch. *shakes head at Christian*

    Hahaha, Ruby! You just like ‘em evil, don’t you? ;) Nicolas may seem like he’s several steps ahead, but no fear, he isn’t. We’ll see that soon enough, I promise you. Melissande is, indeed, a bitch and Christian will never be able to keep up with her wit. Poor guy.

    Comment by ruby — May 1, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  13. That Nicholas gives me the creeps, he’s like a cat toying with a dead mouse. Only it looks like Valerie is finally realizing she’s not a mouse. Did Nicholas slip and tell her they fear her strength? Gosh, that would explain Sanctus Unus hounding her. I wonder how strong she can really get. Great story as always!

    Haha, I’m loving the ‘creepy Nicolas’ comments! He definitely is acting all cat and mouse, but Valerie’s decided to fight back… even if a little. ;) As for the ‘her people’ comment, that’s a reference to an earlier Chapter where they found the refugees hiding in Sanctus Unus’ realm (Sanctus Unus’ followers).

    Comment by brittybe — May 1, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  14. I have to say that I’m not surprised Valerie still sees good in him. It makes her a tad naive but it’s an admirable trait to have.

    As for Nicholas, why did he tell her what he did? He really didn’t have to but he did it anyway. To unbalance her perhaps. His motivations are very very unclear right now but I am sure there is an ulterior motive behind his actions.

    I like Melissande. She’s a firecracker of a woman and certainly knows how to get under Christian’s skin.

    I’m glad you caught that. Valerie refuses to give up, even though she knows better. Silly girl. Oh, there are ulterior motives all over the place. This chapter should bring some of those to light, hopefully. Hehe, I’m glad you enjoyed Melissande!

    Comment by Anghard — May 1, 2008 @ 10:14 pm

  15. Nasty mind games Nicolas plays…sort of on the level of am I real or are you crazy…

    And Valerie hears it and half believes it and just keeps on going. Call her strong or call her crazy, it’s admirable.

    The dialogue between Christian and Melissande was disturbing, more for what I felt about his reaction than hers. She’s a real spitfire!

    Nicolas definitely had his game face on, but Valerie wasn’t falling completely for it. She wants so desperately to believe in, but I think she’s figuring out it’s moot. Melissande is definitely a very sassy lady and she’ll never let Christian forget it. ;)

    Comment by Beth — May 2, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

  16. Kinda understand how Valerie felt. Is Nicolas botched the job purposely? Or he is just incompetent? And yup, he is damn creepy!

    I’m not going to confirm or deny anything, I’ll let you guys decide on your own about that. ;)

    Comment by karen — May 5, 2008 @ 1:21 am

  17. “Shouldn’t you be off with Eckhard doing something repugnant?”

    HAHAHAHAHA! Mao you crack me up.

    Do I sense just the tiniest almost non-existant tinge of sensitivity in Nic? Even if it is ass-backward? Or am I just like Valerie and only trying to see if there is any good left in him?

    You may be reaching, but Nicolas does have his moments. He isn’t completely heartless! Glad you liked the exchange between Melissande and Christian. ;)

    Comment by Veron — May 5, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  18. :( sometimes it looks to me like Nicolas is desperately asking for help, some other times, he is just the stupid bad guy trying to get the nice girl to fall for his charm again… what is he doing? he is so predictable/unpredictable at the same time!!!! GRRR I hate him and I love him…. lol

    Poor Valerie, it does look like the final day for her decision is coming closer and closer… I hope she makes the right decision!!!

    She is better without Nicolas, I wonder why she keeps looking for him and letting him in her mind! or is Onael behind it all?

    Now you know how I feel! I honestly don’t know what to do with him sometimes, such a fickle little bugger! As for Valerie, well, she doesn’t want to fail. She wants to be able to change people, because she thinks that’s her job.

    Comment by sandybvv — August 27, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  19. Hello… it’s me again. Finally getting a chance to catch up and find out what happens!

    Nicolas is still so damn hot. I mean really. I think he might be even hotter with the whole even badder boy attitude. I think the whole thing with Valerie is very ominous, is her fate so bad that she will want to die rather than have it happen to her.

    Haha, hey there, Verity! Glad to have you back. You and Nicolas, I swear. ;)

    Comment by Verity — May 1, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

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