Shattered Peace



Scene Title Shattered Peace
Synopsis Elaine Darrow sees where the reflections don't quite line up, leading her to face an unfamiliar demon in her nightmares.
Date February 9, 2021

Curation of artifacts to display in the museum housed in the Yamagato Fellowship Center is honestly one of the best parts of this job. Selecting pieces, even if they have to be sent from afar, deciding the order and placement and how best to describe them and handle the translations of those into multiple languages… it's peaceful, and seeing the final work always brings with it a sense of fulfillment.

When Elaine spends her time back in storage, pieces spread out over workbenches, oftentimes it's done alone.

But being alone here drenched in all this history doesn't bother her at all.

When she has nothing else, she always has her work. The workbench in front of her has a small collection of pottery, broken pieces having been restored with the traditional art of Kintsugi— each piece joined together with gold. The collection consists of ceramics dating back as early as the 15th Century, stretching to more modern pieces from current Japanese artists, to explore how the art has changed over time.

Leaning carefully against a worktable, she painstakingly organizes translations for the infographic to go with each piece. Japanese and English translations are to be placed in the exhibits themselves, while a pamphlet is designed for other major languages with translations of the various bits of the exhibit.

It's quiet work, but it's satisfying. And, most importantly, peaceful.

When she leans back to stretch and relieve tension in her shoulders, with it comes a stretching of her awareness of the space around her. On the opposite end of the room stand several objects of prominence— a marble-carved statue done by a modern artist, a preserved wall-hanging scroll, a suit of armor…

A six-foot tall dressing mirror with an ornate, wood-carved frame rests between those other artifacts of note. It gleams in the light abruptly, catching the corner of Elaine's eye. Its rounded, whole surface reflects reality back at her as all things should be.

Except in her peripheral glance, the woman seated at the workbench is not herself.

A mirror?

Elaine's eyes fix on the mirror, moving her hand to touch the artifacts on the table… a test to see if the mirror reflects what she sees in front of her. Regardless of the reaction, she's already getting to her feet to head towards it. That doesn't seem right. She glances briefly around the rest of the room to make sure nothing else seems out of place before she walks in the direction of the mirror. Cautiously.

The mirror does reflect what she sees in front of her— except herself. The woman in its bounds touches the pottery, pushes herself to her feet.

But the face of her reflection belongs to Kam Nisatta.

When Elaine steps closer, cautiously, Kam mirrors the same movements, the same slight dip and tilt of her head. Passing underneath the light overhead, the angle of it shifts on the mirror, capturing hairline fractures across its surface from where it had split apart at some point into jagged sheets — or has it?

The rejoining of this object into one whole piece is like the kintsugi she had been arranging — something thin and light sealing it whole while something reflective and flashy was placed over that fixing…

Except when she moves again, the effect is no longer visible. Her reflection has no longer split and become imperfect staggerings of self, either.

And Kim Nisatta no longer moves as a mimic to Elaine's shifts and expressions. She blinks in shock at what she sees, her posture straightening. Even so, her head dips forward first as she takes another uncertain step toward the mirror's surface.

She speaks, unheard. Despite that, the word can be read on her lips. It's familiar to her more than anything on this earth, after all.


It's her name.


That's a face she's not expecting to see. Elaine squints at the mirror for a moment, especially when it's clear that it's not a strange distortion of her own reflection in it. No trick of the light. A dead woman on the other side of the mirror? Her hand moves as if to touch the mirror, but she pauses for a moment in uncertainty. What was she actually looking into?

"What's going on?" While she isn't sure that her words will be heard, she takes care to speak carefully, in case the other woman can read her lips.

When Kam realizes she's recognized, her brows pop high above her dark eyes. You can see me? She becomes excitable on her side of the looking glass, rushing the rest of the way to it. Her hand flattens against its surface.

Once she's there, she closes her eyes to regain some of the composure she normally has. This close, she can actually, somehow be heard through the surface of the glass. Muffled and distant, but…

"Elaine! You have to listen to me. It's not safe for you there." She frowns sternly. "Do you understand?"

The redhead glances over her shoulder for a moment, double checking to make sure that there's no one sneaking up behind her or something. "It's not safe for me where?" Elaine's eyes wander the mirror behind Kam, looking to see if there's something in there behind Kam that perhaps she doesn't see. "There's nothing here. And you're…"

She's not going to say the word dead.

Kam looks to the side with a short sigh, seeming frustrated her urgency isn't being heeded. Where isn't safe?

"Yamagato," the woman behind the mirror stresses. For the moment, nothing in particular seems out of place about her surroundings— they look similar, if not exactly the same. Nothing's different. "This place, Elaine…"

Or at least, nothing was different. The edges of the mirror begin to darken, like the silvering is warping with age right before her very eyes. The surroundings behind Kam become a little more out of focus, even if the woman herself is still very much visible. "Get out while you still can," she tells Elaine firmly.

But at the core of the strength of that statement lies fear. She's been shaken by something.

Maybe by the very thing Elaine hesitated to call her.

The idea of Yamagato being unsafe gets a small frown from Elaine. She doesn’t answer immediately, but as things seem less in focus in the mirror, her attention snaps back entirely on the woman in the mirror.

“I don’t understand why it’s not safe. Yamagato is home. It’s a purpose and honestly my life right now.” Her gaze moves momentarily behind her, as if to check that it’s only the mirror that seems out of focus and not the world around her. “What’s so wrong with Yamagato?” She asks when her gaze returns to the mirror.

Even without an explanation, the tone in Kam’s voice is enough to make her worry. Was it safe?

The moment Elaine looks away from the workshop around her and back toward the mirror again, it's hard to notice how darkness encroaches here, too. The Fellowship Center is its own world in some ways, but it, too, is not impenetrable to the city-state, the country, the world beyond its borders. That darkness works its way in at the seams, silently, insidiously.

It dims the corners of the room, working its way toward the light made up of Elaine's peace.

Insistence that Yamagato is home actually brings a touch of surprise from the trapped woman. "Is it?" she wonders in a tone that's hard to read. Incredulous? Offended? Shaken, perhaps, and she shakes her head to shake that off.

"This place will take everything from you if you let it," Kam beseeches Elaine through the mirror, her voice still warped and muffled.

“I thought it was,” Elaine says, her voice suddenly becoming a little more uncertain. Perhaps it’s the conviction with which Kam speaks, or it could be the fact that something is wrong. “But I wouldn’t know where to go,” she protests. “What do I do?”

Placing a hand on the mirror, Elaine continues. “I don’t plan on ending up like you did.” Even if it had been some time, the explanation of Kam’s death still remains vivid in her mind. “Kimiko isn’t even here anymore.” While Richard had claimed that the woman had been the one to kill Kam, the mention of Kimiko has her voice turning a little more shaky.

The darkness closes in further. The light above dims. It ebbs its way toward Elaine. When she places her hand on the mirror, it feels for all intents and purposes that it's like it's a glass she looks through rather than what it's supposed to be.

It means that when she looks upon it, there's a faint reflection of the world around her she sees in it. Beyond the worry in her own eyes she sees refracted back at her, she catches sight over her shoulder of a woman in shadow draped in white, red-painted lips curled into a smile.


Elaine asks what she should do, and the ghost image of the woman over her shoulder lines up with Kam perfectly. Their mouths open at the same time to speak. But then she says Kimiko's gone, and the smile disappears off the face of the woman in red. Kam, too, looks just as taken aback.

"What?" she breathes, her head beginning to shake in disbelief. To her, that seems an impossible thing. But she recovers. The lips of the woman in red move in tandem with Kam's. "Kimiko was just a symptom. Yamagato itself is the root cause. You've got to get away. This whole place, Elaine… I'm not even sure getting away would be enough."

"T̶̜͙̳̍́̈h̶͉͖͉͆̌͠ę̷̧̠͓̽̒ ̶̦͋̈́o̸̦̮̽n̸͇͇͐̋l̴͎̇̈͑ÿ̷̟̯́́́͝ ̷͙̰͈̘̌̐͂w̴͍̼̮͂̊a̸̼̻͓̥̓̇y̷͙̬̜͕̑ ̶̡̝̓̊̊ț̵̢̹̐̈́ŏ̸͔͈̣̑̄ ̴̤̀̋̕͝b̴̦̀ė̸̙͕͜ ̷͓͝s̶̝̱̀͜͜u̵͕̠͊͠r̴̦̋̌e̶̙͒ ̴̻̦͔̼̀́͂y̴̡̎͆̾o̷̼̠̲̳͊u̸̞̰͂͜ͅ'̵̻̐r̶̤͇̠͖̐̏̕e̷͕͔͕̰̐͂ ̸̻́̆̀̉s̵̨̨̼̱̐̈́͝a̴̖̮̐̀̒f̸̪͔̟̽͌̕ē̷͉̞̂̓͜ ̴̱̝͎̾ḭ̸̺̫͓̿s̸̨̜̳̠͊̀ ̵̧͕͍̙́t̶̪̟͕͛̔͆̚ȍ̶̮̬͌̌ ̷̡̬͝b̷̥̽u̴͇͔͌r̸̗͓͗n̴̫͕̻̎̈́̚̚ ̸̜̞͑i̶̥͖̬͋̕ͅt̷͍̮̭̯̅̈́̃ ̵͚̃̔̉̏á̵̢̩͖͘l̶͔͕͖̋l̶̬̍̈͋́ ̵̧̉̈́̏͛ḍ̶̢̡̠̃̎̾o̵̪̪̾w̴̜̹͈̣̋͑n̷͇̰̓͝."

The workshop around Elaine is so dim now that its details, the kintsugi she left behind, are impossible to see. The glass she places her hand on, however, visibly slowly begins to unmake itself, creases zippering their way across its surface. Kam doesn't seem to notice, her eyes imploringly on Elaine's.

There’s not a lot of room to back away from the woman in the room, but it’s Elaine’s first instinct. Especially after a warning like that. Regardless of if she’s actually going to heed Kam’s warning, there’s something going on in her immediate vicinity that feels more like a threat. She turns away from the mirror just slightly and retracts her hand, keeping the mirror in her peripheral vision as she speaks to the figure.

“Why are you here? What do you want?” Her voice is stern, edging on the sound of a threat of her own.

When Elaine turns away from the mirror to the woman behind her, the phantom in white proves to be solid enough. Her dark hair is drawn back into a bun, short bangs framing the side of her face even still. Her skin is pale, highlighting the crimson painted on her lips even more. She seems surprised that Elaine's turned away from Kam at all.

The mirror's cracks become more pronounced, a crunch of material that's not meant to bend being broken. Everything on the other side of it blurs over.

She considers the question posed to her by the curator, dark brows pulling together over grey-toned eyes. "For it all to burn," whispers the middle-aged woman, traces of that darkness in her voice. "The way they did to me."

The woman steps forward toward Elaine, and with that distance closed, the lines on her face sink and become more pronounced. The black of her hair becomes thinner.

"You have to help me, Elaine," the stranger explains. She takes another step forward, and her hair shifts from grey to white, receding in length and becoming more disheveled. She reaches out with a wrinkled hand, the smoke of her grey eyes blinding Elaine to the rest of her surroundings as the last of the darkness encroaches in. She extends her fingers toward Elaine's face, and lunges.

Ḧ̶̛̦̙̬́͠͝ę̶̮̥͕̂͂́͑l̴̘̀p̴̹̟̺̻͆͛ ̷̢͙̮̤͛m̵̡̬̭̃̉e̶̫̬̐̾͠͠ ̵̥̈̾b̷̬̎̔̽̿ū̷͈͓͍̺̂r̴͖̫͈̘̃̂͒̑ṇ̶̜͊ ̶̭̘̖͉̋́i̵̞̻̋t̷̢̳̻̓̈̎ ̸̲̯͇̮̃̉̄͐ǎ̶̜̭̪͐̽̎l̶̛̫͙̫̒͗̇l̵̹̓̀̕!̴͓̘̬̱̃͐͑

The glass of the mirror shatters and explodes outward.

Elaine's Residence

Cresting Wave Apartments

4:09 am

The gasp Elaine lets out and the tense jolt accompanying it rouse her from sleep entirely.

Her hands clutch at the covers in a death grip, unable or unwilling to move immediately for fear that she wasn’t actually awake, that she somehow hadn’t escaped. When she does move, it’s to turn on a light and head towards the bathroom to wash her face with cool water.

She stops near the doorway, the light from her bedroom bright enough to catch the reflection of the bathroom mirror. She freezes for a moment, then retreats backwards away from the bathroom, instead turning away from the room entirely.

She’ll wash her face in the kitchen instead.

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