While wilted roses fill the stage,
and the thrill, the thrill is gone.
Our debut was a masterpiece
but in the end for you and me,
the show, it can't go on.
Melodies and movements went hand in hand, as they always had. Often did Olivia dance without any evident sound but music still held her mind, her body and soul, allowing her the same grace she would have at the fine plucks of a harp or gentle hums of a viola. From time to time, she would hum the gentle melodies that had inhabited her being, the ones that were the strokes of each movement across this ballroom which she was so lucky to practice in now. A light little song, an ode of flowers, started as a buzz of her lips and ended with her quiet, sweet voice taking the top line of the duet. Much as she hated to have her singing heard by those she was not certain she could trust, she just as much wished to sing at someone else’s side. Perhaps she wished to be praised for such musicality.
She would never admit that. Even with a soft sigh, she knew her voice would never fill a room if she knew it was to be heard. Always so nervous, it was something she could not help but curse herself for. This was a good time to stop for a while, she was thinking far too much on this to move with clear intentions. Dancing halts and she finds her breathing deeper, a sure sign of the passion that drove all her movements and the work she had put into this practice. Dancing was never difficult for her, not when she loved it so, but it still required rests.
Breaks were when she allowed herself time to sit and reflect and once she pours herself a small glass of water, she does as much and lets herself to delve into her thoughts. She had begun to dance for fun, the thumping of her heart a rhythm and the melody that played in her head the story she would weave, but she had fallen victim to her own insecurities. It was dangerous to allow herself to continue under such circumstances, to be blinded and bested by sour notes and a cord or two struck with disdain. She had not been like this as a child, she recalls that first spark of passion with vibrancy, clear in her head as yesterday.
The air was crisp, vague notes of lavender tickled a young Olivia’s nose, and a stage of beautiful cherry wood was lit by the shinning sun, capturing her eyes. Gliding upon the surface as smooth as silk, tranquil as a steady stream, was a woman clad in black and gold. She danced as if the very world was defined by her movements, let herself live only in this moment of serenity. To see even better, Olivia shifted restlessly in her mother’s arms, held up so she could watch, and when her mother paid this movement attention, laughed at her little girl, Olivia had to tug at her sleeve.
“Mommy…” a hushed whisper, as if the sound of her very breath would disturb the moment. Tearing her eyes away for a sliver of time, to miss as little as she could, she looks to her mother’s face.
“Mommy.” The word is repeated no louder but much more insistent now. “I want to do that, Mommy, I want to be her.”
These words came with more laughter, the nod of her mother’s head, and a grin as bright as the very sun broke out on Olivia’s face as she turned her head back to the stage, watching with appreciation, desire, knowing full well she’d follow this dream.
Reflecting on this here and now caused Olivia to chuckle to herself, ah what a time. Since that day, her mother had enrolled her to study with the best instructors and tutors possible for performance and dance. She had learned to make the stage her own with ease yet practiced modesty in the face of every compliment. Life had felt so simple back then and she could relive some of that still when she danced, only now she carried troubles in her heart too.
Always preferring solitude as an adolescent, she had few friends and they were all girls and boys who danced, people who shared her passion, she was unprepared for what the world was really like and a Feroxi theatre troupe would be the way which she learned. Travelling the world and dancing had been enchanting, seeing different cultures and showing them her art, all until trouble licked at her heels. She shudders to think on it but she was so clearly shaken, unable to dance tonight, and perhaps she must keep it in her mind to confront her fears. She was seventeen, young and beautiful, talented and modest, and compliments were always thrown her way. Despite her tendencies to shrug them off, completely in denial of the talent she held, this never changed. Often it was well-intentioned, meant to reward her, build her confidence, but he was another story entirely. He had been so persistent, offering a marriage proposal that would be the end of her more carefree era.
His name was gone from her memory, the traces of him which stayed were simply the scars on her spirit, so no matter how she worked to live on after trauma, she would not easily forget what it was she had lived through. When he first proposed she was nervous but summed up a sure answer.
“No, I am sorry. That’s… very nice of you but I’m just not that interested right now.” He sighed, as if she were silly and ignorant. His proposal was repeated, a declaration of his nobility and titles, of all the wealth he could bequeath upon her, his intentions of making her a wonderful wife like she was some kind of prize for him to win. She shook her head.
“N-no. I really don’t want to get married, I am only seventeen! Please, leave me alone.“ Yet walking away proved fruitless. He had caught her arm, trapped her in the shadows which he had occupied, and made his intentions clear as crystal. She was to be his, by choice or force, and so was she kidnapped, forced to spend time in his company, to question all the good in the world and all the good that had once defined her. She worried for what must have been weeks, wondered what would become of her, if she could be anything more now than his slave. He would kiss her, make her dance solely for his pleasure, and scared her enough to cause her to comply with these wills. He had made one mistake in choosing her, however, and that was her saving grace.
Her family had fallen into favor with the West-Khan Basilio, specifically Olivia had garnered his attention as a great asset to the culture and arts of their country and the kindness and good work of her parents had not done any harm either. He’d have searched for any of his own subject to such a fate as this, she knew from the good intentions he always expressed under that boastful exterior, but for her? He had practically torn the world apart. Enlisting the aid of their ally country Ylisse, the Exalt Emmeryn, the two leaders had safely recovered Olivia almost as soon as they had learned of her kidnapping, and from that day had Olivia sworn to pay back her debt and learn to fight for herself.
She has to laugh bitterly now. Oh, she had come so far with that. Sipping at her water, she let herself feel a little hopeless, if only for now, but she was quick to realize what she was doing. Self pity. It was hardly ever the driving force behind success. She had not pitied herself as a little girl for being unable to dance like that older woman, pitying herself now would do her no better. She would learn to fight, to wield a sword beyond just knowing the right stances and movements. Battle could be her new dance, an art of it’s own, and in Emmeryn’s name would she become a better woman, worthy of the chance she had been given with Chrom. Water cup set aside, she stands once more, ready to dance again, and in seconds is she gliding across the oak floor, humming and singing again, letting herself live.
The world is now your stage, Olivia, stand and dance upon it.