Background: This is an ongoing arc between my character and @Lin
's character. It did not truly start at the first part and there have been a series of conversations between our characters outside of the logs both before and after. In any event, without spoiling too much, Seir has uncontrollable sensory overload since Omei took his eyes, causing him to get high off who are repressed in their emotions or are inadvertently giving off too much emotion while attempting to inhibit themselves. Meanwhile, Lin has been tackling a difficult issue related to her psyche, her memories, and so forth. Thread will be updated as the series goes on:
Lin arrives from the west.
A weathered path broken by fallen trees (42433) - Valley of the Ancients (Unmapped)
You find the weather around you imperceptible. Wind and time have reduced this patch of forest to a sad echo of the rest of the verdant valley; the soil is windswept and bare, revealing hard earth beneath, and the pinetrees are for the most part either sundered and fallen, or little more than sickly saplings. A path of sorts cuts through the shattered boles, hugging the slopes of the eastern mountains as it winds from the west to the north, heading into a damper portion of the wood. His mask rendering him entirely inscrutable, Vras stands here, eerily inert. A tall, spindly raven totem rears up from the ground, onyx contours gleaming. Lin dur Naya, of Viru Ambor is here. She wields a massive quarterstaff of ironbark in her hands. Vras is a tutor. View HELP LEARNING for more information about learning skills. This area has been overgrown with a swathe of seething plantlife.
"How unsurprising," Lin remarks, coming up from a deep impression in the valley. She crushes dirt underfoot, leaving behind tridentlike footsteps, her staff digging shallow ruts into the earth.
As Lin's staff reaches towards the overgrowth covering the ground, it reflexively inches away like a snake having bit off more than it could chew from prey. Seir's ears twitch slightly at Lin's voice and the man pivots on his heel, the eye upon his blindfold fixated upon her. "That the blind Seer checks upon the totem of Srahda?" he asks, his voice airy as if he realized the humour of it himself.
"I interrupted," Lin says - the apology in her tone is likely the most direct apology you will get from her. She stands by your side, lowering her head by instinct; her body slackens in ways that suggest constant repetition, or training. She's been here many times. Though she is quiet, she more or less blatantly side-eyes you, squinting uncomfortably at your blindfold.
Seir raises his wooden hand, flicking his wrist to-and-fro in a dismissive gesture. "It is of no consequence, Lin..." the Idreth replies as his head slowly swivels and tracks Lin's movements. Silence permeates the air between the two of you for a reprieve as the man cranes his attentions away and fixates back towards the direction of the totem. With a quick flick of his wrist, the man tosses his staff beside of him. As if reflexively, the vine and bramble in the area strike upward to seize the staff, coiling around it and keeping it from touching the ground. "You smell of tension, of disdain... or perhaps skepticism. I'm not quite fully sure, as the two can oft be of similar scents. What is it that you're looking for, Lin?" he asks, his head still set upon the totem.
The denial runs strong like a tight-stretched wire in Lin's voice, her head turning away.
"I come to pray to the spirits, and cleanse the blight," she insists. She, too, relinquishes herself of her staff, opting simply to go to her knees and set it gently on the forest floor, where it rolls a few inches away. Hands clasped on her thighs, she takes a deep, preparatory breath, and bows her head.
"Do you know the most fascinating part of what She did to me?" Seir asks on a tangent, his voice airy once more as if he were disinterested in his own question -- or possibly suggestive of something else entirely. "I can hear the beat of hearts, the pumping of blood, I can smell fear, taste colours..." Quietly, the man takes a few steps back, positioning himself behind the kneeling Azudim. He too follows suit, positioned at Lin's flank. However, his intention is not for prayer, as his head leans close to the back of Lin's shoulder and he whispers: "I can also smell lies."
Lin is afforded perhaps two or three seconds to focus - but by then her attention has gravitated solely to you. Even with her head down, she gives the impression of watching, her ears turning and twitching in subtle ways, her tail reaching out along the forest floor. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the moment you mention the beating of hearts, Lin's begins to thunder in her chest; the queasy scent of unease seems to waft from her. As you whisper into her ear, her mouth comes ajar, and an uneven breath is forced audibly through her teeth.
Lin whispers, "... y- you're not right... the blight's gotten on to you..."
Seir's own ears begin to twitch, moving as if almost in sync with the palpitations of Lin's heart. "Your heart song," he murmurs, the tone in his voice almost ecstatic, rapturous, and perhaps even infatuated. The man leans forward more, eventually moving to wrap his arms around Lin. The Idreth's wooden hand lifts a bit, brushing against the base of Lin's chin. "I see now," he says, his voice low though no less encorselled as before. "I see now why She is so fascinated in you -- you, whose soul is like a harp of infinite melodies, each string plucked and offering forth another colour and endless potential."
Within Lin there rests an uneasy tension, a mishmash of emotions that grow steadily and threaten to bubble over, like tea left on the flame. The noises she utters as you encase her in your arms could be mistaken for sexual - strained gasps, moans not of pleasure but pure unease. What began as a trickle of fear blooms into full maturity, throbbing in her blood like a sickness. "S- Seir, you--" Something has overtaken her; speech is difficult, if not impossible. Her every muscle is clenched as tight as it can. "Going-- going to-- bite... fight off," she hisses.
Something unseen continues to spur Seir, almost as if he were taken prisoner by some sort of hallucinogen or intoxicating drug. The fingers of his wooden hand tilts Lin's chin upward, the other hand trailing along Lin's collarbone. "There it is," he whispers, a rumbling low in his throat as he snarls: "The tart smell of fear, of restraint..." Suddenly, the man grows still at Lin's final words, frozen like a puppet whose master has left to dangle. After a quiet, yet tense reprieve, Seir's head moves ever so slightly, his chin resting on the skin of Lin's neck. "Bite me, fight me, let all of your emotion out. It is what I want, it is what She would want. Be you. Be the untamed, savage creature that you are."
"No! I- I... I- I locked... her away!" Lin gasps through clenched teeth. She shakes, her shoulders and elbows twitching; they are the beginnings of thrashes and attacks that she keeps suppressed, jostling but failing to shake you off. In spite of her retorts and her efforts to restrain herself, a low and threatening growl mounts in her throat, a noise that would be ear-shattering to someone of lesser stature. She hunches forward under the subtle addition of your body's weight, her hands going from her thighs to the grass, where her claws sink in deep. "Get... off... -demon-."
The bottom portions of Seir's form are jostled slightly, yet he remains firmly wrapped around Lin's body. While it remains unclear if his persistent attachment is due to his own strength or Lin's lack of sincerity in repelling him is unknown. Regardless, the Idreth makes no other motions, his only change being that a smile has appeared across his lips. The smile is innocuous at first, but it quickly evolves into something progressively sinister, toothy, and eerie. "Let her out," he coos into Lin's ear, the fingers of his normal hand running along the length of Lin's collar bone.
Locked in an embrace like a lover's, Lin shudders appropriately, the first drops of sweat beginning to finger their way down the sides of her face. The color has all but bled from her eyes - ghost-gold irises stare without seeing over the alien landscape. The moment passes in heavy, labored breathing and the quaking of her muscles. The ensuing explosion of movement comes with a bloody roar. Lin rips herself out of your arms, slashing, kicking as she goes, fighting without a modicum of strategy or thought. Skulking low to the ground like some scrabbling underground beast, her every breath is a growl, and she glares at you without a shred of humanity on her face. Her tail looms high in the air, curved over her back.
Seir is sent backwards from Lin's movement as if he offered no resistance whatsoever; however, as he falls onto his back, that same disquieting smile can be glimpsed right before he connects with the ground. With arms and legs splayed, the man remains still, his blindfold looking upwards towards the firmament. "Yes," he says, a low quiver shivering down his spine as excitement builds in his voice. "YES!" he shouts in vivicating triumph. "Bite, tear, fight, live!" is what follows from the man's lips, though Seir makes no motion to defend himself as he lies helplessly upon the ground.
In this moment, Lin as a person has ceased to be - the woman half-crouched, half-crawling on the ground is nothing more than a beast; her very presence triggers the same uncanny senses that know when you are being watched, or in the presence of a predator. Snarling aloud through her fangs, she backs away slowly, putting distance between the two of you, her footfalls having ceased making sound entirely. It seems that her instincts tell her not to attack, but to elude you, though her vicious warning growls suggest a fight is not too far off.
Seir remains still, his body tense like a strained wire. "The paean of the unfettered and unshackled spirit," he says, voice laden with anticipation. "Yours is a melody awash with crimsons, whites, purples, and riotous colour but even now..." The man's statement continues with a sensual note, but a snarl follows his final word. The man's wooden hand digs into the soil beneath it and, with a violent surge, the vine and bramble surrounding the two of you rises and begins to provokingly lash out at Lin, their movements not unlike a serpent's own. "Bite, fight, tear... do what your instincts tell you to do. Be free," he murmurs, his smile waning.
You may as well talk to a dog, for all the good it does. Lin is completely unaware, conversationally speaking, focused solely on you, the hints she can glean from your posture. She obsessively tracks your hands and feet. As the flora begins to churn and grow hostile, she looses an especially loud snarl and charges headstrong through it, her claws whistling as they rip through the air, splitting vines. The brambles chew at her flesh, thorns biting deep where they bypass the armor plating of her limbs, but she is no more aware of the pain than a golem. A mere two armspans away, her feet leave the ground, and she covers the final stretch of distance by leaping right into you, intent on taking you down violently.
Seir's ears twitch at Lin's pounce towards him, his body turning slack in response. Indeed, it seems as if the man's posture intends to offer nothing in terms of resistance as he raises his chin upwards, the toothy, sinister smile on his face widening. The overgrowth, regrowing and replenished almost near instantly, does little to stop Lin's violent encroachment upon their summoner. "And you are free," he faintly whispers just as Lin's leap nearly reaches its destination.
It's like being hit head-on by some tremendous cannon ball. With the full brunt of her mass and speed, Lin crashes into you, her claws latching instantly around any part of your body they can find, dumping her momentum directly into your frame. From afar, it would appear as if she has gone sledding, using you as her conveyance. The growling and snarling she emits is deafening; to your extrasensory perception, it seems that each comes with flumes of terror and rage, the full bouquet of complete and uncompromised emotion without those damnable layers of civility to dampen them down. You have not yet stopped skidding along the ground when her thighs clamp around your hips, and she employs her hands to slash at you instead.
Seir's smile turns into a sudden grunt, his senses jarred and utterly sent awry by Lin's bestial clamor. There is pain, a great deal, evident across his features, his mouth opened wide and giving off a cry of pain utterly muted by Lin's rage. The skin of his back is met with the friction generated by the momentum Lin's dive, scraping against the leather of his armor and scratching viciously at his skin. Still, even after all this, the man offers no resistance to Lin as she begins to tear at him -- almost as if he knew, or intended to be a sacrificial lamb lead to the slaughter.
Mindlessly, Lin beats on you, rips at you, her rage utterly indiscriminate. Spurts of blood are flung from the furrows she opens in your flesh; vines are split and bark tears away, leaving a detritus of shaved wood and splintered bone dust from her claws. In this fashion she assaults you, blow after blow until her voice gives out, the growling cutting off like an old Ankyrean engine kicked to death. Sitting atop your body, her arms drop to her sides, made filthy with blood and floral matter. There, she pants roughly, the golden hue returning slowly to her eyes.
A cough of blood erupts from Seir's mouth, rolling in lines down both his chin and cheeks. His torso has been exposed, his armor failing to withstand the full extent of Lin's fury. Much of the flesh has been shredded to ribbons and the man looks as if he is almost ready to fall into shock. However, just as his mouth is about to go utterly slack and lifeless, a pulse shudders through the Idreth's body. Of its own accord, his flesh begins to knit itself back together with areas that once were bark and vine becoming so once more. Twitching, his body stirs to life once more, the reconstituted flesh on his torso pale and fresh like scar tissue. Raising his normal hand, he lifts it weakly to his mouth and wipes away the blood covering his lips. "Beautiful," he manages with nary more than a wounded murmur.
Lin tumbles backward off of you, a controlled fall that ends with her crabwalking away. With animal rage drained from her and her humanity resurfacing, her body language becomes defensive and fearful - though she understands that you cannot see, she avoids eye contact and keeps an arm raised, a leg out, as if fearing violent reprisal. "Wh... what did you do to me," she says, her voice coming out far too small, and ragged for all her gravelly noisemaking.
Seir's nose twitches as he inhales deeply. Lowering his nose, the man is quiet, expressionless, and utterly still. Struggling and gritting his teeth, the man lifts his body upright and, with some small effort, he manages to rise to his feet. His face vacant, Seir begins to lurch towards Lin, shambling like a recently raised undead creature towards her. The movements appear ominous, threatening, and before long, the man has stopped before Lin. The silence and inaction from him is palpable, tense, and even the overgrowth begins to twitch in anticipation, as if not knowing itself what is to come next. However, what comes after is surprising: he kneels before Lin and, just as before, wraps his arms about Lin in an embrace, the palm of his normal hand resting against the back of Lin's head. "I did nothing," he murmurs, his tone pained yet warm. "You merely allowed who you truly are to take over. You are a passionate, instinctual person, Lin..." He coughs a bit, his body shuddering for a moment before he collects himself. Backing away from the embrace, he lifts his chin and presses his lips to Lin's forehead. "Do not hide from who you are and do not fear what you are, for I... and She... would have you be nothing but."
Once a raging animal, Lin has shifted forcibly to her polar opposite: timid, afraid, made small with posture. She squirms uneasily as you embrace her, as if ready to break loose again. At this proximity you can hear the worried, sniveling noises she makes, a constant, wobbly melody. "No, no-- I failed, I lost control, I..." The coughs, the unsteady jerking of your body, the kiss on the brow are too much. She writhes free then, though compared to her prior assault, she is nearly as gentle as a lamb now, as if afraid to harm you. "I'm better than this... I'm better than this!" The words have scarcely left her mouth before she turns tail and flees.
Lin leaves to the west.
Seir falls forward as Lin departs, a brief flicker of that sinister smile returning one last time before he collapses in a heap.
Lin enters from the south, riding a menacingly-armored stallion.
Lin ducks under a bough, riding in toward the core. She is filthy, covered with the glutinous remains of various creatures; feathers and stringy organic matter cling to her hair.
Seir sniffs at the air, lurching forward slightly in disgust as he inhales a combination of red spores and whatever unholy combination that covers Lin. "Who smells like a rojalli's rear?" he asks, his voice strained.
Lin's horse canters past, his behavior just as tempestuous and subdued as his owner. She snorts loudly enough to hear. "Are you so softened, Seir, that the natural odors offend?" Her tail swings like a mace, its tip hissing at the air.
Seir brings his spindly, wooden thumb and index finger to the bridge of his nose, pinching at it lightly. Lin's question towards him doesn't appear to elicit a response at first save little more than a grunt. "No," he replies, "but I have a splitting headache and you smell like peaches, tart lemons, and ina'a unicorns all rolled into one package." The Idreth's tone runs contrary to the crude words of his joke, his voice both amused yet still strained.
Lin sneers at you, hopping from her horse sprightly, leaving behind stains wherever she walks. "You think you are funny," she says accusingly, wasting no time in getting right up in your face. "You think you will tell me sugary words I want to hear and I will dance right into your -palm." Her eyes are livid.
"Sugary words?" Seir asks, his voice laden in confusion. "Dance... into my palm?" he adds, no less curious than the last. However, as Lin grows closer, the man's nose twitches lightly and it looks, at first, like the man had a brief, yet plainly evident shudder throughout his body. His words are swiftly followed by a sudden gasp, both pained and strained, and the man takes an awkward, off-balance step back away from Lin. After a moment, the man grows still and his posture, while still imbalanced, freezes like a marionette whose puppeteer has discarded it.
Some indefinable thing passes behind Lin's eyes. It cannot be easily quantified, but her body's language serves as evidence: sharper, more hasty movements; the hawklike quality of her gaze; nostrils that flare just slightly; perked ears; a tail, frozen in its beckoning curl. All of the sudden, she looks all too predatory, matching the pace of your retreat perfectly, keeping equal distance at all times. "Do you think you know who I -am-, Seir... or do you see only this little white animal none of you will shut up about?"
Seir's body twitches, and as if the marionette had suddenly been taken up once more, his upper body bends upwards and he meets Lin face-to-face. With a deft motion, his wooden hand rises to cup Lin's cheek affectionately; however, the smile on his lips suggests an entirely different perspective: curved upwards, toothy, and almost sinister in its appearance. "I know not who you are," he whispers, his breath touching Lin's face. "But I can see who you are, I can see the beast but... little? No, no, no..." he coos, his wooden fingers trailing down the side of Lin's face and pinching Lin's jaw. "She is not little."
Right then and there, Lin comes close to striking you. Her whole body moves forward as if leaned on from behind, her lips twisted with anger. For whatever reason, she weathers her own fury, even going so far as to let you touch her, despite the way her cheek and jaw clench, as if her skin were rejecting your very hand. "Why?" she asks, surprised to hear how tight her own voice is.
A low, rumbling sounds picks up in Seir's throat, his already wide smile growing as if he sensed Lin's tension. Still, as his laughter becomes both baleful and pronounced, he takes a few steps backwards from Lin, his movements exaggerated and theatrical. "You ask why?" he asks in an airy, sing-song voice, his mirth subsiding. "Why do I think the beast is not little, or..." he pauses, sniffing at the air around you, his features twisting with some measure of comprehension. "Or is it that you're curious as to why I have taken an interest in you."
"Why do you torment me?" Lin says. For a moment, it was as if the hunted had become the hunter, but an uneasy sense of dread has replaced her savage expression, and as you withdraws, so does she, her footsteps crunching the grass underfoot. "What... what do you want? What is your goal? Why won't you tell me?"
Seir's smile wanes, his lips slowly coming back together. Expressionless, the man takes a few steps towards Lin, this approach completely contrary to his previously aggrandized movements. "Why, why, why..." he whispers, his tone becoming increasingly guttural with every word. As he comes within a hair's breadth between the two of you, the man stares upwards towards Lin's face. "You ask that..." the Idreth whispers, skeptical, confused, and yet also angry. "YOU ASK THAT EVEN NOW," he roars, screaming upwards at Lin, his tone guttural and almost savage. "YOU ASK THAT, YOU LITTLE WAYWARD SHEEP WHO WANDERS FROM HER FLOCK. LOST, CONFUSED, DULLED. YOU HAVE REJECTED WHO YOU TRULY ARE. YOU HIDE -- YOU HIDE!" he shouts, baring his teeth at Lin.
Dread spreads across Lin's face, like something spilled, ramifying its way down her body until her extremities rattle, the din of bone-on-bone. Instinctively she bares her teeth, her silent snarl wider and wider as your voice rises in volume. She is nearly twice your height, but the way she carries herself, she behaves as though she were no more than the size of a rabbit, backing away faster and faster, until she loses her footing, scrabbling instead on her hands and rear. "No, no," she hisses, "You're demontouched, you're-- something's in you--".
Seir approaches Lin in a baleful, threatening manner, electricity coursing through his wooden arm. Strangely silent until now, the overgrowth surrounding the core violently surges, slick in purple sludge yet no less ominous as they converge on the two of you, lashing outwards like a pit of snakes converging on prey foolish enough to stumble in their den. His posture seems poised for murder, angry and vexed, as he pauses before Lin. Leaning down slightly to match Lin's height upon the ground, your faces close yet again. His wooden hand appears arched behind his shoulder, suddenly lunging forward as if to claw Lin -- yet no pain comes, no blood, no violence. Rather, the man has placed his wooden hand on the back of Lin's neck. Quizzically, the only sensation felt is his lips joining Lin's in a light, yet lingering kiss. Breaking away only slightly, his lips are smiling once more, this one gentle and caring. "I do this because I care, I love, I feel. I feel you wanting to break free, to not become the little white beast, but also not to be the lie you are now. I want you to reconcile these two halves to become the greater whole, to become... who you are truly meant to be."
There can be no question that Lin is terrified of you. She reeks of fear; it roils down her face in a cold sweat. She is a frozen thing when you kisses her, worth no more than a statue, meeting it with unmoving lips, and a blast of air through her nostrils. "Wh- what?" she asks, vacantly, her shoulders rucked up in light of your grip against her neck. "But I... I hurt people, I- I hurt them I'm violent I'm a monster I don't want to, I don't want to don't want to..."
"Shh, shh," Seir whispers towards Lin, leaning forward to rest his forehead against her. His normal hand approaches now, merely brushing against Lin's lower lip in a manner akin to a lover's touch. "Is violence wrong?" he asks, that airy voice returning once more. "There is naught wrong with violence, with passion, with being who you are -- but a monster?" he murmurs, raising his normal hand to cup Lin's cheek. "To hunt, to kill, to murder -- these are not wrong, these are natural, these are impulses from inside your head. The beast trying to break free..." Lowering himself completely down to his knee, his arms withdraw away from Lin. "What I will help you do is reconcile you... and you. You will enjoy these things once again, but you will not indulge in them like a mindless beast. Control will be yours..." Cocking his head to the side, he asks Lin: "Is this something you would want, truly want?"
Lin can no longer restrain herself, whimpering quietly, bearing your arms, your touch, as if finding herself delivered into the arms of some demon. Her body angles and her hips shift always, in some fruitless attempt to make distance, her flesh itself retreating. When you finally lets go, she digs her elbows into the earth and pulls back just a bit further, panting aloud. "I don't know," she whispers, "I-- I'm scared."
Seir merely extends his wooden hand towards Lin, a silent offer made. Returning to life, the vine and bramble in the area begin to brush against Lin in an encouraging, yet no less sensual manner, as if trying to persuade her forward. "I shall be there every step of the way," he says, both tenderly and sympathetically, towards Lin. The smile on his face persists, just as gentle and still as it was before.
Lin reaches out, initially. Something's happened to her limbs - typically the dark fur dwelling beneath the plating is nearly hidden away, but now it bristles from between the cracks. There are haggard circles under her eyes, as if she hadn't slept in weeks. Suddenly, she withdraws her hand. "Give me-- give me a week," she murmurs. "A week to think. That is all I ask. I-- I am not in the right mind to make decisions."
Seir withdraws his arm, yet there is no disappointment upon his features; rather, that frozen smile persists as if this were an answer he anticipated, or even wanted. "Of course," he says, rising to his feet, looking upwards for a moment towards something unseen in the morning sky. A moment passes and as he looks down back at Lin, taking a few more steps towards her and eventually pausing at Lin's side. Gently, he brushes his wooden hand against Lin's cheek, the sensation coarse yet not painful. Silently, he withdraws his arm and departs towards the rest of the Council, the man eventually disappearing as he enters the core's exterior.
(Coming Soon... maybe. I dunno.)