The Death of Severina Oakplume.
Severina Oakplume never envisioned her life turning out this way; ended, yet not over.
As a fae of the twilight court, she had pondered the finality of death on many occasions throughout her brief life. Yet, when it came for her unannounced, she found herself rejected; reanimated cold & alone with shrivelled, tattered wings & only a hazy recollection of the moments leading to her demise.
Her original plan, whilst alive, had been to learn the intricate ways of shadow magic that called so strongly to her blood. Unsurprisingly, it was this yearning for knowledge that would inevitably set her on her fatal path. For, though she hungered for magical knowledge, Severina realised this would not be attainable if she stayed at home as, unlike most of her kind, she had been raised outside of fae society – by humans.
The exact details of how and why she ended up at the farmstead still elude her to this day. It may be that her adoptive parents never told her. But, ever since the fog of death erased parts of her memory, she has made peace with the fact that there is little chance she will ever recall the truth of her childhood.
Still, she remembers the gentle warmth of their kindness & love, if not their faces or names.
After setting out from home & travelling the local countryside for several months, Severina caught word of an undead mage said to be in need of an assistant operating somewhere in the vicinity of Hamelstead. Upon further investigation, she was eventually able to glean his name & a general location from a travelling merchant who had traded with him a number of times.
As her cursed luck would have it, she ended up encountering the mage whilst he was out on one of his rare wanders in the forest. After a faltering introduction & rambled explanation as to why she believed she would make a good assistant/apprentice, he invited her back to his dwelling without protestation, seemingly grateful that he would not have to venture further into civilisation to find a helper.
The details from that point on become hazy in her memory. She recalls that she assisted the mage for several days or weeks – possibly even months – all the while picking up little bits of information & snippets of incantations that she has, regrettably, mostly forgotten.
On the evening of her demise, she remembers waking from a brief slumber to the sound of strange words echoing from the lower reaches of the basement, below the main study.
She remembers descending the stone steps quietly so as not to disturb her teacher. Her intent merely to observe & learn as usual.
She remembers creeping across the cold floor towards the protruding wall of the foundation so that she could sit in the little nook hollowed there.
She remembers the book – a discoloured, mildewed tome – floating in front of the mage as he continued to read aloud in a tongue she did not recognise.
She remembers the sound of the chair she never saw, crashing to the ground.
She remembers she was alive.
Now, she is not.
Her next memories are of being cold & alone. The only sound that of the stream lapping at her feet as it wended its way towards the flickering lights of the small village on the darkened, unfamiliar horizon. Her dead wings hung limply against her back, pitifully bereft of their former lustre, covered in dirt like her clothes.
Her heart was silent, her skin was cold, and those memories that were not silent remained achingly elusive.
Little has changed since that day and yet, despite all of this, her desire for knowledge – the root of her fatal misfortune – still grows, unabated.
Severina Oakplume is dead, but she still has much to learn.