CHAPTER I – Always black and white in my eyes, I’m colorblind
Yasha’s mother dies of childbirth, holding onto life for a couple of hours before giving up on both her husband and her newborn daughter.
Yasha’s father is away on a mission when this happens, and when he comes back, he cradles his daughter in his strong arms and softly sings her to sleep.
He allows himself to cry the loss only when he thinks Yasha is asleep, but the baby feels his pain through her bones, each night for the following months.
She grows up as a quiet, melancholic child, and when she is three her father realizes she can’t see colors.
When he asks the cleric of their tribe, he tells them that children like Yasha are uncommon, but real.
He explains that the reason why no one has ever heard of them is because they generally don’t last long in battle, or they leave their tribe to never come back.
Yasha’s father holds her close and places a protective kiss on the top of her head.
She doesn’t understand, but she feels the fear and the sadness, and that’s enough.
Her father dies in battle a month later, and when the tribe finds out of Yasha’s peculiarity, they don’t think about it twice.
They have no use for a child who can’t see colors except for black and white, and Yasha is barely four when they sell her as a slave.
Her slave Master is nice with her. He doesn’t care that she can’t see colors, and he doesn’t make her carry rocks that are too heavy; he lets her go to the bathroom when she needs to, and doesn’t threaten her to leave her outside to the rain if she wets her pants at night.
Other slave masters are not that nice, and Yasha, in her little knowledge of the world, considers herself lucky.
It’s only when she is five, almost a year after she’s been sold as a slave, that she accidentally stumbles onto her slave master and one of the other girls that work with her, a new slave that they have acquired just last week.
Yasha doesn’t understand why she’s crying, why he’s touching her that way. She doesn’t understand, but she perceives fear and pain and loss and disgust coming from the girl, who is not that much older than her.
She looks as her slave master covers the girl’s body with his own, and she sniffs, before running away.
She doesn’t know how she knows, but she is certain her slave master has seen her, too.
She doesn’t say a word of it to anyone.
It’s the second day of the third month of the year when Yasha brings her hands to her head and lets out a blood curdling scream.
Colors rush into her vision early in the morning, and it’s too much, too overwhelming for her little, young mind. The sensation is over stimulating and her head cracks in two for the pain and the discomfort.
She screams, and screams, waking up half the camp.
Her slave master is not nice to her anymore when he beats her with his stick to try to shut her up.
She screams louder, tears running down her face, until she passes out.
Across mountains and valleys and caves and villages, a baby releases its first cry.
It’s the second day of the third month of the year, when Beauregard breathes in life for the first time.
Her first day of life is daunted by a deep pain that a baby can’t understand nor express differently than crying; so Beauregard cries and cries and cries for a full day, with her mother clutching her to her chest and her father looking out of the window of the nursery with little to no interest in to what is happening to his newborn daughter.
Yasha wakes up on her sleep area, covered in cuts and bruises, and she faintly wonders if this much pain can kill her.
She doesn’t understand how injuries work, she doesn’t understand that the liquid covering her body is not water, but blood.
She’s never seen the color of either one, so she just changes into her second pair of clothes, hanging the old one to dry, before collapsing on the ground again.
It’s only in the morning that the other slaves tell her what the red on her crusty clothes means, and some of the better ones help her clean herself up as best as they can.
Luckily, none of her wounds get infected, and Yasha slowly pushes herself back on her feet, spending the next few weeks trying to hide the pain of each bruise.
Somehow, the same reason why she got beat up in the first place is also what helps her live this nightmare through.
She sees the world in colors, now.
She sees the green of the trees and of her bruises, the yellow of the bees and of her slave master’s jewels; she observes in awe some of the tieflings that have been captured as slaves a few weeks prior, loving the soft purple of their skin.
She sees beauty for the first time in a bush they cross, and although she recognizes the color because it’s the same of her blood. She picks a little one up, brings it to her nose and falls in love with flowers.
Yasha learns to rediscover the world in colors, and it takes a few weeks before she realizes, not without a bit of disappointment, that she can’t still see the color of the sky.
The other slaves say it’s a color called blue, the same color of what their slave master’s robes appear to be.
Yasha looks with sadness at the sky and sighs at the sight of clouds.
She knows now that their colors are what other people call white and grey, but she can’t enjoy the newfound knowledge since they rest on a colorless sky.
Beauregard is born in a wealthy household, with a loving mother and an absentee father.
A mother who wakes her up every day with a soft kiss on the inside of her wrist and a smile on her face.
A father who never wanted her in the first place and despises her with his whole being.
A mother who follows her first crawl, her first step, her first tantrum, her first tooth with an encouraging passion.
A father who ignores her cries and turns his head away when his baby daughter tries to reach for him.
A mother who loves her more than life itself and a father who just wanted a boy.
Beauregard says “Mama!” For the first time and her mom cries.
Beauregard says “Papa?” For the first time her dad leaves the room.
Beau can see colors without any sort of problems, so her mother knows that her little girl’s soulmate is somewhere out there in the world.
It’s her only consolation, knowing that, one day, Beauregard will be loved with the love she deserves that right now she is being denied.
It only takes a few little games for Beau’s mother to figure out that the missing color in her baby’s eyesight is a greenish blue that resembles the color of the purest of waters, the color of the sky right before it turns from blue to orange and then into night.
“Your Soulmate has beautiful eyes, Beau.” She whispers each night before putting her baby girl to sleep. “And so do you.”
It’s been months since the first time Yasha’s started seeing colors, when she is woken up by a storm.
She can’t fall back asleep, so she decides to go take a look outside.
What she sees, is the color of the sky. It’s black and purple and it thunders yellow and gold. It’s full of colors that are so different than the sad, greyish one of the sky she’s used to.
Yasha falls in love with the storm, and the storm falls in love with her.
Beauregard’s father starts travelling around the land for work more and more often. So often that Beau doesn’t see him for weeks at a time, then for months.
She turns into a joyful young toddler, always climbing all over her mother’s dressers and wielding her father’s walking sticks like they’re weapons. She pretends she’s a knight, like the ones of the legends. She finds a particularly interesting book with pictures in her father’s collection and she forces her mother to read it to her.
Since that day, she doesn’t pretend to be a knight anymore and she starts hollering at the top of her lungs that she is a Druid capable of shape shifting into whichever animal she pleases.
Beau’s mother watches as her child grows strong and carefree and she praises the Voice of the Tempest that her daughter loves so much that she will remain that way.
It’s around Beau’s third birthday that her mother realizes Beau’s life will be absolutely everything but carefree or easy.
It’s a beautiful day, and just as clouds start to appear on the horizon, the toddler drops on the grass as she’s playing outside and starts crying.
It’s early morning, and Yasha has already worked three hours, carrying rocks and wooden pieces that had cause her hands to bleed.
The slave master has been eyeing her with a strange look for a couple of weeks now, and Yasha wants to do her best not to disappoint him
She knows what happens to those slaves who disappoint their masters.
So Yasha works hard and fast, and her young body shakes in the effort of lifting rocks that are bigger than her. She’s growing taller, and bulkier; her hair is black like the night sky, and her skin is soft even with all the scars that map her limbs.
Yasha does her best, but she’s only eight.
She works all day without ever complaining, and evening rolls slowly by.
Inevitably, after so many hours breathing dust under the sun, she trips and falls.
She gets up immediately, but her slave master is already next to her, grabbing her wrist.
The tent he leads her in is warm and it smells funny, and Yasha doesn’t completely understand what it’s about to happen, but she feels it.
She feels that the reason why so many girls look like their spirits have been broken after one night spent in that tent with their slave master, is not a good reason.
Yasha is frozen in place as she looks the man who was once so nice to her try to push her to the sleep mat.
Yasha is frozen in place, until she is not.
Before she can even realize it, she is pulling her hand away, she is grabbing the nearest object and she is slamming it against her slave master’s face.
He is not a tall man, and she is now taller than she was when she has met him for the first time, and she brings the candlestick down on his head once, twice, three times. He tries to fight her off, but every effort is in vane. Yasha’s fury mixes to fear and pain, and she keeps hitting, and hitting, and hitting, until her arm is numb and her vision is completely blurred by tears.
She stops and she cries, quietly, as she sits on the warm ground in front of the lifeless body of her slave master.
That’s how they find her in the morning, covered in red blood and brownish dirt. The other slave masters take turns into beating her, punching her, kicking her, until Yasha stops screaming, until she stops bleeding, until she stops crying, until she stops breathing.
Beau’s mother hurries to her side and checks her all over for injuries, without finding any.
It’s only when Beau starts sobbing against her chest in fear that she understands, and her heart breaks.
“I can’t see.” Beauregard hiccups, in the only way a three year old can express the sudden lack of colors in her world. “I can’t see.”
Yasha is only eight when she dies.
Beauregard spends two whole days crying, inconsolable, between her mother’s arms.
When the fear of not seeing is not overwhelming her, it’s her bumping into walls and furniture, or tripping over her own feet because she can’t see properly, that makes her burst into tears.
She exhausts herself and cries herself to sleep, and her mother’s heart breaks with every tear the girl sheds.
A powerful storm rages all across Tal’Dorei and Wildemount for the whole two days and nights, nothing like anyone has ever seen.
When the sun rises over Kamordah, on the third day, Beauregard opens her eyes and stumbles out of bed. She runs to her mother’s bedroom and slams the door open, waking up the woman on the massive bed with kisses and laughter.
“I see.” She says. “It’s okay, momma. I see.”
Beau’s mom doesn’t know how to explain this miracle, but she gathers her daughter closer to her chest and celebrates today as a new day. A birthday, of some sort.
The day the Gods had brought her daughter’s soulmate back to life.
Yasha wakes up in between scarce and tall trees. She’s lying in the dirt and that’s how she knows she’s still around Xorhas. She would recognize the golden dust everywhere.
Her clothes are wet and she can’t immediately figure out if it’s with water or with blood.
She doesn’t know how much time has passed, and the last thing she remembers before losing consciousness is pain and desperation.
She wonders if she’s dead.
When the first bite of hunger hits her, she knows she isn’t.
Yasha is alone in the woods, and as she tries to start a fire to roast the rat she’s captured, she realizes she’s alone.
Except, she’s not.
She falls asleep and dreams of evil and benevolent Gods.
One of them smiles at her and she shyly smiles back.
The Stormlord hugs the small child with gentle arms, and Yasha cries, and vows her life to the God who saved it.
When she wakes up, the Stormlord leads her feet to a nearby stream, where Yasha washes herself and studies how her body has changed over the past few days.
Her skin is paler, her body is stronger, and the tip of her hair has faded to a white color. Blinking at her own reflection, she winks each eye and marvel at the new color of her right eye. It’s a bright purple, and Yasha loves it.
As she bathes in the river, with trial and errors, Yasha learns to swim.
She laughs, and as far away thunders announce the arrival of another storm, the Stormlord watches over her.
Beau’s mother is insistent into giving her child some teaching, and she is something she brings up one night when her husband is home.
The man doesn’t seem to have an opinion in merit, but by the end of the month Beau is going to a scholar’s house twice a week, together with three other kids from the wealthiest families of Kamordah, to receive private teachings.
Beauregard is curious, and she gives her mother one hell of a life. The kid is keen to get into troubles, she is a hard headed, passion driven, good naturedly active child.
She likes to climb and get into fights.
By the time she turns seven, she has collected an enviable amount of scars.
Her mother smiles and patches every single scratch with a heavy heart. She knows her child is going to have a tough life because of her strong personality, and she wishes she could protect her from all the evils.
Beau saunters into her parents’ bedroom to see her father pack before each trip.
“Stay, Papa?” she asks, every time.
He never does, and sometimes Beau sniffles and feels tears falling.
But Beauregard doesn’t cry anymore like the day her world went colorless, and she lives her childhood proving her mother that whatever will happen, she is going to be ready for it.
Yasha travels across the deserted lands, guided by her Stormlord’s words, protected by the God’s power.
She slowly makes her way through Xorhas, and she hides.
The Stormlord has a mission for her, and she needs to earn herself a weapon of some sort, if she wants to complete it.
She wants to make her God happy, and she finds a job in a pub, gathering money, strength and knowledge.
There, she hides for the next few years, training in secret with the help of travelers she meets, as her body changes and shapes into the one of a warrior.
It’s a sunny day when the Master gives the kids some dyes, and Beauregard grabs her colors and happily paints the outlined figures. She does her best to color inside the lines, she makes sure every paint stroke is in the same direction, and she is happy and proud of herself when she hands her finished drawing of a castle over to her teacher.
The other kids laugh loud when they see it.
Her teacher shakes his head.
Beauregard is confused. She is hurt and she tries not to show it.
“Beauregard. Castles are not purple.” The teacher chastises her.
“That’s grey! I know what grey looks like.” She grumbles, frowning.
And she does. It’s the color of the sky right before the sun sets, it’s the color of her neighbor’s flower. It’s the color of her mom’s earing. It’s the color of the streets of Zadash, that she’s seen in books. The color of castles and swords.
The kids laughs louder.
Beau feels tears prickling in her eyes and she closes her hands in two fists.
“SHUT UP!” she screams, but the kids don’t stop giggling.
Beau grabs the drawing from the teacher’s hands and tears in four pieces, throwing them to the floor.
Beau’s frown deepens as the teacher looks at her with sad eyes, and asks her to go wait in the hallway.
Beau’s mother arrives at the scholar’s house within the next hour, worried for what her daughter might have done this time.
Today of all days is not an ideal time to be called in, because Beau’s father is back home from his travels, and he is never happy when Beau misbehaves. Especially when she does so during her teachings.
Beauregard waits with her feet dangling from the stool, and she lights up when she sees her mother. But her smile is daunted and it looks more like a grin that Beau is using to cover up how she really feels.
Her mother knows her too well, and she immediately feels her daughter’s pain and worry.
“Ma’am.” The scholar begins, as the woman clutches the kid to her chest. “Have you ever explained your daughter how Soulmates work? Generally kids of Beauregard’s age already know what to expect, and they know which colors can and can’t see.”
Beau is confused and so is her mother.
“Of course she does.” The woman answers. “Beau hasn’t been able to see the green-blue of water since she was born. What does this have anything to do with-?”
Beauregard hides her face in her mother’s cloak, as the teacher sighs.
“Beauregard can’t see purple either, ma’am.”
The woman looks between the teacher and her daughter, and clears her voice.
“I don’t understand.” She admits. “She’s always been able to see purple, since…”
As her voice fades away, the teacher sighs again.
“Has Beauregard ever experienced any issue with her sight? Any unbalance, any disturbance?”
Beau looks up at her mother when she feels her tensing against her. The woman looks paler, and sadder.
“Only once. Beau was three and… She just stopped seeing colors.”
Beau trembles, and her mother holds her tighter.
“For two days, she couldn’t see colors, and then they just… Came back.” She whispers, remembering her daughter’s pain and feeling it like her own. “What does this mean?”
The teacher pauses, trying to figure out the most delicate way to explain the situation.
“Sometimes… Sometimes, when someone’s Soulmate goes through something traumatic, the other person experiments disturbances in their vision. Some other times, when the Soulmate, well, dies… It happens the same thing.”
Beau’s mother shakes so hard that the little girl clutched to her chest feels an anguish that she’s never felt before.
“But her sight… It came back…”
The teacher sighs for the third time, and Beau feels the instinct to punch him in the face.
“I’m sorry. It happens, sometimes, but what Beauregard has experienced…”
Beau doesn’t want to listen anymore, nor apparently does her mother.
They leave the building in a rush, and Beau holds onto her only anchor for the whole duration of the trip home.
The moment they step through the door, Beau’s father meets them with a disapproving look and asks what had happened.
When his wife tells him, he moves his gaze on his daughter and sneers.
“You couldn’t be a boy, and you are not even able to behave like a proper girl. No man would have loved you anyway.”
Beauregard feels hot tears threatening to fall from her eyes, but she wants to prove her father that she can be strong as he wants her to be.
So she just lifts her chin and doesn’t answer, and she doesn’t shed one single tear in his presence.
When her mother helps her to bed, that night, Beau holds her hand a little bit tighter.
“Am I broken, Mama?” she asks. “Is that why Papa doesn’t love me, and my Soulmate is gone?”
The woman’s heart breaks once again for the pains of her little girl, and she shakes her head.
“No, my sweet angel. You are not broken, nor unlovable. You are wonderful. So wonderful that you are unique, and you will find someone who will love you the way I do. And I love you more than life itself.”
Beauregard nods and smiles a smile that doesn’t reach her blue eyes.
She doesn’t believe her mother.
Yasha grows strong, keeping a low profile in Xorhas as the handyman of the worst pubs in town.
She learns the way of the sword, and she learns about the slave trade happening just outside the walls of the city.
She learns every slave Master’s name, their schedules, their guilty pleasures, their paychecks, their desires.
She learns how they dispose of the bodies they don’t need, and how many people they break each month in order to make them obey.
She learns of tortures, of blood and bile, and she feels less regret for the life she’s taken.
Yasha grows strong, and her desire for justice grows with her.
It’s a fine line between revenge and justice, and the Stormlord makes her walk it on tip toes and bated breath.
Her mother falls sick when Beauregard is fourteen.
The doctors come and go from their house, and for the first time since she has memory, her father doesn’t leave town.
Beauregard watches as her father loses that last bit of humanity he had left, as his Soulmate slowly fades before their eyes.
Beauregard gets into more fights in school, she discovers sex and alcohol, and how numbing they can be when all she wants is for the pain to disappear.
She climbs into her classmates bedrooms when they invite her over in secret, and she fucks them and she lets them fuck her, she lets every girl raw her body without a care in the world.
And when meaningless sex is not enough to numb the desperation and the pain, she steals from her father’s cabinet and drinks herself to stupidity, passing out in the same bedroom where her mother used to sing her to sleep.
Her father doesn’t notice her disruptive behavior, or if he does, he doesn’t seem to care.
Beauregard is brushing her mother’s long, brown hair, when the woman raises a hand and grabs her daughter’s wrist.
“Beau. I need you to promise me one thing.” She says, voice weak and trembling from the sickness.
Beau sits on the mattress and nods.
She has grown taller, more slender. Her hair falls gentle on her shoulders, and she blows it away when a strand crosses her eyes.
“Anything, Mama.” She says, intertwining her fingers with her mother’s.
“You have to promise me you won’t let anyone break you.” The woman says.
“I’d like to see them try.” Beau grins.
She’s gotten better at hiding her pain behind her walls, but her mother will always know better.
“Beauregard.” She murmurs.
The grin falls, and so does Beau’s head.
“I’m already broken, Mama.” She whispers, sadly.
The grip on her hand grows stronger, as the woman tries to shake her daughter’s arm to get her attention.
“You are not. You are a beautiful, gentle, caring soul. You always speak your mind, and it’s a quality not many possess. Beauregard, my child, you are far from being broken. You will find people who will love you the way you are. But in the meantime, you can’t let anyone break you and change you. And believe me, many will try.”
Beauregard caresses her mother’s cheek with love and adoration, fixing the blanket over the woman’s fevering body.
“I will do my best, Mama.” It’s all she can say. “I promise.”
Her mother smiles, and closes her eyes, too tired to keep them open.
“I love you, Beauregard.”
Beau is thankful that her mother can’t see her now, or she would be pained by the tears streaming down her young face.
“I love you, too, Mama.” She says back, her voice strong and unwavering.
Beauregard’s mother dies the night of Midsummer, as the birds chirp outside and the music of the Festival reaches the bedroom window.
Beauregard stands in the doorway as her father lets himself cry, and she watches as her mother’s body lies lifeless in a bed where they have laughed and cuddled countless of times.
“It’s your fault.” Her father says as he finally leaves the room. “You broke her heart too many times.”
Beau swallows tears and nods.