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Nimue staggered a few steps and sat down hard on the carpet as the senshi henshin dissolved into mist. She knew that she hadn't used any of her own energy, that everything used came from the ring now sitting on the floor in front of her, but she always felt oddly hollow and drained after the rush of power she experienced as Sailor Avalon. She shivered and wrapped her arms around her slender frame, the air suddenly too cold, though it had been hot moments before and she knew the heat was on. The slight woman sobbed once and drew her knees up to her chest, rocking in the middle of her bedroom floor. She hated the feeling of loss she always felt after a battle. It didn't even have anything to do with the battle itself, but with releasing her senshi power and going back into a normal human. As normal as she ever got being part fae, anyway. Never did she miss the feel of a lover's arms around her more. That feeling of being loved and wanted, even needed, just for who she was.
As always, her senses cried out for her to henshin again, for the power and feeling of invulnerability of being a senshi. The world seemed like a very cold, dark, quiet place without that power. The seemingly young woman knew that the power was addictive and that she should avoid it like the plague, but she didn't have enough power on her own to protect her prince and his princess from this new threat that somehow seemed so familiar. It was harder to let go of the intoxicating power and henshin back every time. One day, she might not be able to do it and that thought frightened her more than facing down Beryl herself.
A knock tapped lightly at the locked door, "Nimue?" Her brother's muffled voice was filled with concern, "Nimue, are you alright? I thought I heard something..."
Nimue cleared her throat and sniffed, scrubbing her face with her hands, "I'm fine, Galahad. I'll be out in a minute." She was pleased with how steady she managed to keep her voice. Now if only he wouldn't hear the slight quaver she was unable to conceal.
An uncertain response filtered through the door, "A-alright, Nimue... As you say."
Nimue made a face. She could tell that he wasn't buying it, but there wasn't anything she could do about that. Well, in for a penny, in for a crown, "I just want to change and freshen up a bit. That youma was pretty tough." She winced at the outright lie, her senshi instincts, unusually sensitive so soon after battle, screaming at her to denounce the lie and beg forgiveness. She had to literally bite her tongue until the coppery taste of blood filled her mouth to keep from speaking, silently promising she would apologize later. After she had recovered somewhat. The forlorn sound of Galahad's heavy boots retreating, accompanied by the softer padding of twelve animal feet, compounded her guilt as she dragged herself to the closet to prepare herself for cleansing. For the briefest of moments, she considered cutting off her knee length white braid in hopes that it would shake her out of the hole it seemed she had fallen into, but she hadn't had hair shorter than her hips in... Well, she couldn't remember the last time, so it had to have been a couple of centuries ago. Besides, if she did, then Galahad and the young guardians were sure to know that something was wrong.
In the back of the closet, in easy reach in a box on the floor, was exactly what Nimue was looking for. A simple undyed linen robe, some candles, an earthen ware bowl, some inscence, a jar of scented oil, and a small box of matches. The woman undressed and wrapped herself in the thin robe, undoing the braid that kept her hair contained, before dragging the box back to the middle of the room and setting the contents out on the floor around her. First, she opened the jar and dipped her hands into the lavender scented oil, running her hands though snowy hair that pooled on the floor behind her in a mass of silken threads. She kept dipping into the jar until she had every strand coated lightly in oil and it shone in the dim light filtering in through the closed curtains over the window. Careful not to spill any on the cream colored carpet under her, she poured a small amount of the inscence into the bowl and arranged the four candles in a semicircle around it, lighting them and the small lavender scented pellets with a single match, leaving the bit of wood in the bowl to be consumed by the cleansing fire. The calming scent of lavender filled the room as she sat there, kneeling on the floor, the rough carpet biting painfully into her knees, and allowing the smoke to bathe her in the essence of fire. When the contents of the bowl were consumed, she blew out the candles and allowed them to cool before placing them back in the box with the oil, inscence and matches. Still she remained on the floor, her mind clear while she opened herself to divinity, allowing the Mother to burn the impurities from her soul like the inscence had been burned from the bowl.
It seemed like almost no time had passed when Nimue finally came out of her trance and took note of her stiff legs and cramping back. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand and sighed. She had communed with the goddess for well over two hours and still she felt the urge to henshin again. To grasp hold of her senshi power and never let go. A single tear rolled down her cheek and she wiped it away impatiently. She could sense that Sailor Moon's power was as far above that of Sailor Avalon as Sailor Avalon's was above hers, even when she was just simple Nimue Pendrag. She truly didn't know how the other senshi dealt with their powers, if they had the same issues she did or if actually being born to them gave them some sort of advantage. She'd had to take on the senshi fuku when her mother's cousin had failed to give birth to any living children. She offered up her old petition to the Mother that none of the other senshi had to go through the torment that she had to and that any daughters she have would be spared the same fate as she unlocked her bedroom door and went in search of her brother to offer that appology.