Set after Intervention
in the The Chronicles of BenedictoKind thanks to Moirean for donating this log. It is a mixture of both perspectives
He is a stalwart Yeleni and is clearly a creature born of the Maelstrom. His face is smooth and hairless with water-like veins clearly visible beneath pale, thin blue skin. His broad features are characterized by sharp cheekbones and a square chin and piercing pearl-white eyes, the left of which is split by a neat scar which runs from his brow to the hollow of his cheek. Thick tentacles of an off-white color form his hair and are free to dangle and rest upon his broad shoulders, the coils curling and flexing lazily. His body itself is covered in midnight-blue scales that shift to an electric blue under direct light, silvery lines cut through the plating, tracing out a massive network of scars across his entire body. The bones of his large wings are covered in the same dark scales that decorate the rest of his form, but when fully unfolded and stretched to their full span, the same translucent skin as that between his fingers can be seen. His body is well-muscled and toned, his movements smooth and fluid.
(worn loosely around his waist) : a slender, low-slung black weaponbelt
(around the neck) : an amulet
(worn on the hands) : a pair of gauntlets
(worn on his wedding ring finger) : an entwined feathers and starstone wedding band
(covering the body) : a cascading Slyphian robe with a silver dolphin motif
(worn wrapped around his right bicep) : a black armband bearing the crest of the Sentaari
(worn snuggly over his knuckles) : spiked knuckles
(tied loosely about his waist) : a lustrous black and gold belt
(covering the body) : engraved gold-burnished splint mail armour
(Tells|Benedicto): Benedicto tells you, "Let us continue our conversation. My brother told you not to tell me something. I would have you tell me what it is. I know I do not need to force you into this because I know you, Moirean. I know that you are bursting at the seams to tell me. So, start talking."
(Tells|Benedicto): You tell Benedicto, "You don't know me as well as you think you do, perhaps."
(Tells|Benedicto): Benedicto tells you, "Had you wanted to truly keep it a secret, you would never have mentioned anything to me."
(Tells|Benedicto): You tell Benedicto, "I think you deserve to know."
(Tells|Benedicto): You tell Benedicto, "Be warned, I will not hesitate to kill you if you...if you act as you did before."
(Tells|Benedicto): Benedicto tells you, "Thus far I have not had any relapses. I cannot make any promises however."
(Tells|Benedicto): You tell Benedicto, "You can explain what you mean by that, as well."
A garden of flowering trees. (Village of Saluria.)
The stars twinkle in the clear night sky. A path of soft white sand passes under the branches of the flowering cherry trees. The grass around the trees is a vibrant green color. The wildflowers around the tree trunks are bright and colorful, and fill the air with a sweet aroma. A blanket sits on a particularly large plot of grass; the intended spot of someone's picnic. The garden continues to the south around the monastery. A gardener tends to the flowers, dark fur beaded with sweat. A large mastiff is here, growling softly. Tiny and fragile, a gleaming clockwork dragonfly perches here. The fresh-looking droplets of crimson contrasting sharply with its radiantly white leaves, a blood-speckled rose lies here.
You see exits leading northeast, east, south, and west (closed pine door).
Your pose is now set as:
Moirean sits here beneath the shade of a magnolia tree.
(Tells|Benedicto): You tell Benedicto, "Come to me. I am in Saluria."
Benedicto enters from the northeast, riding a war turtle.
Bene thinks: There she is, just sitting as calm as you like.
Benedicto slides down from the shell of his war turtle, landing lithely on his feet to face you.
You have emoted: Moirean's stare shifts to you as you approach, gaze tracing the scars lashed across your body. She frowns, jaw tightening, and then stiffly nods towards the blanket beside her. "Sit," she suggests. She then shrugs. "If you like. Or not."
Bene thinks: I should not sit. For her sake as well as mine.
"I should not." Benedicto states, raising a hand. "It would probably be best if a healthy distance is maintained between the two of us. For both our sakes." A tiny tremor passes through him causing a brief tic at the corner of his mouth that is quickly stilled.
Benedicto stands a healthy distance from Moirean, his stance rigid.
You have emoted: Moirean coolly processes that, and then shrugs again. The motion stirs her wings, and they flex for a moment, the seamed scar across one side catching a shaft of sunlight in an accusing, shiny gleam, before they settle back at her side. "As you wish," she answers, stare shifting away from you to look out across the gardens. There's a flash of movement beneath the trees, and a quiet noise that drifts towards you, like a soft call or a faint laugh - the sound has Moirean tense, and she gives you another glance, almost suspicious, before she raises her throat, calling out, "Lorana!"
You have emoted: At Moirean's call, a small figure peers out from behind one of the flowering trees, giggling again before racing towards the woman. She barrels into her lap, and the Azudim holds her tight, smoothing down a few wispy blonde curls as she shifts the girl towards one side, very subtly placing herself between you and the child. Only then does the girl notice you, and her posture stiffens, childish amusement and playfulness melting away as she studies you with pale blue eyes.
Benedicto stiffens, his entire body going rigid with shock. "But..." He manages to stammer, his expression drawn and tense. "...I had thought?" He stares at the child as if his pearl-white gaze are capable of gaining answers through sheer force of examination. The tentacles that dangle about his face curl and uncurl in agitation, clutching at the empty air erratically. "Lorana?" He chokes the word.
You have emoted: "I will K-I-L-L you," Moirean warns in a very low hiss, clearly mistaking your reaction, obviously seeing your past actions overlaid on this moment. She pulls the girl tighter, hugging her more protectively, and the child calmly endures - if anything, she seems more comfortable with the closeness, her own arms sliding around Moirean's neck to tightly encircle it. For a few moments, a tense silence drags on, the threat hanging heavy in the air, as the child solemnly stares at you, peering out through her mother's auburn waves, and then she quietly lisps, "Don't kill him, Mommy. He's my second daddy."
Benedicto jerks as if he's been slapped, blinking dazedly. "Second?" He shakes his head, tentacles swinging this way and that as he attempts to clear his mind. "You owe me an explanation." He finally demands of you, his voice as hard as his expression as he looks at you. "I thought I had..." He trails off, clearly unwilling to speak the words in the face of the little girl's stare.
You have emoted: Moirean seems surprised by the girl's words as well, ignoring you utterly as her attention turns solely to her. She cups the child's cheek, brows furrowing. Some unspoken sort of communication passes between mother and daughter, and the girl whispers in answer, "I saw him through the glass, behind flames. It was cold, but there was fire outside the glass." Moirean hugs the girl close at that, drawing in a sharp breath, and her head snaps back to fix an accusing, icy glare on you. "You thought what, Bene?" she harshly hisses, steel in her voice as she maternally cradles the girl, still shielding her from you. "Say it."
You have emoted: Coldly demanding, Moirean repeats, "Say. It."
Bene sees: Do you like what you see? The child, perhaps yours, perhaps not. That very well may be your blood standing right before you - but who's to know?
Clenching his jaw shut, Benedicto shakes his head as if to deny you. Despite his flat refusal, his eyes find the girl once more and he swallows with difficulty, his expression stricken. As he heaves a sudden sigh, the resistance and tension flow out of him. "I thought I had killed her." He whispers brokenly, his voice riddled with remorse. "I thought that...in my madness. I had-" He turns away from you and the girl as he begins to weep silently, his shoulders rising and falling with each new sob.
Bene sees: "Second daddy," comes into your mind. "Second daddy."
Bene sees: She's growing stronger, you notice. Stronger by the day, by the -minute- without your influence.
You have emoted: "You did," Moirean flatly answers. If there's sympathy for your pain, she's hiding it completely, leaving you only with a cold, withering stare. She lets you sit there with that truth echoing in the air, shifting the child's weight against her as a breeze blows through the trees, stirring the fallen flowers to swirl past your feet. Finally, she looks back at the girl, and brushes back an errant blonde curl, escaped from the pigtails. A trace of softness is in her tone when she speaks, but there's also something else, almost a dismissive note, as she explains, "I do not wait for solutions to come to me. I do what needs to be done." A faint smile curves her lips at that, inexplicably, and she murmurs, almost as if to the child, "That is strength."
Benedicto gives a sniff, dragging the sleeve of his robe across his face roughly. When he turns to face you once more, it is with red-rimmed eyes, a hint of jade deep within their depths. He draws a ragged breath, visibly trying to calm himself before he looks upon you with a stern expression. "Stay out of my mind. I carry enough regret without your influence." He says sternly. "You are not free of blame. Tell me, what has happened to your other children. Did your strength keep them? Protect them?"
You have emoted: Moirean's tone softens even more as she speaks, ostensibly addressing the child. "Do you remember when we went to the menagerie, Lorana?" The girl peeps past her mother, quietly peering at you - oddly, she doesn't seem afraid, and an almost adult-like calm is on her features - before she looks back to Moirean and nods. "Do you remember the lion, there? The big, strong, ferocious lion?" The girl gives a slight smile and nods again. "Do you remember what he did, all trapped in that cage, when those kids came by and threw rocks?" The girl nods again, eyes wide, as she solemnly answers, "He roared, mommy."
The battered corpse of a small girl seems to step forth from between the trees, her icy blue eyes wide and alert as her gaze falls upon Benedicto.
You have emoted: Moirean gives the child an approving smile, and echoes, "He roared."
"He roared," the battered corpse of a small girl resolutely echoes, her tiny hands balling into fists as her gaze remains plastered upon Benedicto, as if transfixed. "ROARED," she too now roars in a way that sends a violent tremble through the very ground you stand upon.
"body141963" the battered corpse of a small girl.
A quick glance at this small girl's form would lead one to believe that she's indeed quite dead as evidenced by the scorch marks that mar her form, and the gashes and blood that stain her freckled cheeks. Her blond hair falls to her shoulders in a tangled mess, dirt and detritus splayed within their midst as if she'd recently been tossed in a grave of some sort. Despite all this, her icy blue eyes glean with a sort of rigid intensity - accusingly, threateningly.
The battered corpse of a small girl looks weak and feeble.
You have emoted: The cry makes Moirean start and she presses the girl closer to her as she whips around, eyes narrowing as they fix on the battered image. "NOT amusing," she hisses at you.
Benedicto shifts his weight to compensate for the sudden lurching of the ground underfoot, his brow furrowing as he shoots you a sharp look, a faint hint of fear barely visible in his eyes. "Mm. No, not amusing." He confirms as he straightens, a wariness now entering his posture. "That is not my daughter. It is an abomination. A demon housed in a dead girls corpse." He declares, moving parallel to you and the battered corpse of a small girl.
"As for you Moirean. I have no doubt the lion roared. I bet he roared loud and long, terrifying everybody." Benedicto continues as he stops walking. "But, the lion was still caged. Helpless. It was nothing more than a show. The lion could do no more harm than you could prevent the loss of your first daughter. Our son."
"What's not amusing?" the battered corpse of a small girl queries with an air of innocence only one so young could manage. She takes a few steps forward to grasp Benedicto's hand with a steely grip quite contradictory to her size. Guiding Benedicto's hand upwards, she places his fingers over top of a deep hole present in the direct center of her forehead that seems to be the uncanny result of a bladed weapon. "Is what you did to me not amusing?" she regards, head tilting in such a way as to allow Benedicto's fingers to swirl in the wound.
The battered corpse of a small girl says to Benedicto, "I didn't laugh when you did this, daddy. I cried. I cried and cried and cried until I couldn't cry any more, until I was nothing but a soul in mommy's stone."
You have emoted: In Moirean's arms, the girl is warm, alive, cheeks flushing as she stares at the lurching body with a wide-eyed look of terror. Your words mean nothing, nothing, to the woman right now - she has focused back on the girl, hugging her closer as she tries to soothe the her panic. The wrenching sound of a child's crying cuts through the garden, faintly muffled as she buries her face in her mother's breast. Moirean's own features grow tight, tense, angry, a cold, steely anger you've not seen from her before - it's not mad, or wild, like her usual surge of emotions, but sharp and focused, her stare slowly lifting to piercingly regard you.
In a low, dangerous whisper, you say to Benedicto, "Open. Your. Eyes."
Benedicto attempts to jerk his hand back in disgust. "Free my hand, demon." He snarls. "My blade did not do that to you, but some others." He struggles in vain to free himself from the clutches of the girl. "Lies. The words of a creature of Shadow. I will not heed them!" He declares, a look of uncertainty creeping across his face. He is so involved in his struggle that he does not notice you for the moment, though his pearl-white eyes eventually flick over to you and back to the battered corpse of a small girl at her words. "It cannot be." He states in a tone filled with unsurety. "I will not believe it."
The battered corpse of a small girl seems genuinely stricken by Benedicto's words, her hand releasing his the instant the words escape his lips. Her lips quiver briefly, hurt practically written across her countenance in a font so bold it cannot be denied. Tiny shoulders quiver as she releases a sob that's choked for breath, and where tears would typically be forming at the corners of her eyes is instead blood. "What did I d-do to you?" she barely manages to issue forth. "Why was I not good enough for you?"
You have emoted: Moirean laughs, the bitter noise only underscoring her absolute lack of amusement. The body clearly has her unnerved, but she seems to be past any point of fear or sorrow, your words of denial pushing her into this ruthless, cold anger. "OPEN. YOUR. EYES," she again demands, body rocking back and forth as she caresses the girl's back, holding the child close as fearful sobs wrack her small frame.
The battered corpse of a small girl says to Benedicto, "M-mommy thought I was good enough. She gave me life. Yo- you took it away though."
Benedicto staggers backwards, suddenly unbalanced by the freedom of his hand. His pearl-white eyes drift past the battered corpse of a small girl to you and the child in your lap. He shakes his head, gently at first, though the movement becomes more erratic. "What are you?" He whispers hoarsely to the battered corpse of a small girl. "The Avatar of my guilt? My secret desire to punish myself? You cannot be..."
"I am Lorana," the battered corpse of a small girl answers rather simply as she lowers herself into a sitting position upon the ground, legs crossed upon each other as she shifts to turn her back to Benedicto. "The daughter that wasn't good enough for you," she sniffles out, a hand lifting to wipe at the crimson-colored tears that drift sluggishly down her cheeks. This gesture only manages to spread the fluid messily across her cheeks and upon her fist, smearing it gruesomely into her skin.
Eying the girl in your arms, the battered corpse of a small girl says, "Hey, come here please?"
You have emoted: Moirean continues to stare at you, accusingly, but her attention is dragged away as the girl's fear escalates at being directly addressed by the creature. Sobs turn into heavy gasps, labored pants drawn in and out in ragged breaths as she begins to hyper-ventilate. Moirean's anger is shoved aside, now, and you, the battered body, everything is forgotten as she becomes purely a mother, soothing her terrified daughter. Her wings flare open, sheltering the pair from both you and the corpse-child, and she murmurs low words of encouragement, coaching the girl through the panic attack with a practiced, forced calm that makes it clear this is not her first experience with such a reaction.
Her shoulders drooping at the outright dismissal, the battered corpse of a small girl says, "I won't hurt you, I promise. We don't break promises, that's really bad."
Benedicto swallows bile as he falls to his knees before the battered corpse of a small girl, his large webbed hand reaching out and then drawing back, fearful of the potential contact. "You were good enough." He chokes out. "It wasn't me, child. I wasn't myself. I did not have control of myself." By the end he is almost babbling, his eyes wide, cheeks wet with tears of guilt, shame and terror. "It was Darkness. I have been touched by Corruption." He no longer sees you or the living child you shelter. Rather he is now lost in a spiral of his own torment, oblivious to his surroundings as his attention focuses solely upon the battered corpse of a small girl.
"People that follow Her would not do what you did," the battered corpse of a small girl irritably spits now over her shoulder to Benedicto, her eyebrows drawing inwards as if to insinuate her dissatisfaction with his attempt at distracting her from her focus upon the much more vibrant version of herself cradled within your arms. "I promise," she insists again with a fierce sort of seriousness attributed to the words. "Maybe if mommy comes along too? That's fine, she's nice."
"No, no..." Benedicto croaks, falling to all fours. His long, white tentacles fall forward to dangle around his face, their movements stilled. "It was Corruption. It was not me." The words become a mantra, mumbled to himself over and over as he loses himself in denial.
A gleaming clockwork dragonfly shimmers into existence before you.
Composed of brass, iron and crystal, this tiny, four-winged insect is an incredibly intricate clockwork construction, articulated in such a manner that it is almost indistinguishable from a living creature. Tiny, faceted eyes of polished glass are set over mandibles of dark iron, and a tiny, bulbous boiler cell nestles in the center of the clockwork insect's thorax. A tiny, dark socket is set into the dragonfly's thorax, allowing it to be wound. It is called 'Zizz.'
You have emoted: "Here," Moirean murmurs to the girl, retrieving a small, clockwork toy from beside where the two sit. "Zizz is here. Focus on him." It takes effort, but the child manages to raise her head, tear-streaked eyes focusing on the softly-clanking "pet" - gathering it close to her chest, her panicked breathing slowly steadies as she manages to regain a measure of control over her panic attack. Moirean glances over at the corpse - and now she seems to see it, fully, sees her own daughter's features echoed in those broken lines, and she bites back a sudden sob, smothering the gut-twisting reaction to instead force a smile towards her daughter. Her eyebrows raise. The girl, calmer now, gives a very faint, tentative nod, and Moirean holds the girl close as she hesitantly edges closer - just a bit - to the creature, pausing often to gauge the child's response.
"You're really pretty," the battered corpse of a small girl attempts at a compliment to the little Lorana, though her rather disheveled and teary state seems to inject a more somber note into the attempt. "But I need to tell you something, okay? Something really, really important." Her own eyes now seem to flicker towards the whirring toy, which seems to rally her only slightly as she takes in a deep breath.
You have emoted: The girl is calmer now, though she's still sniffling, but it's more of a residual, forgotten sort of crying, as if a habitual response she's fallen into - beneath the tears, there's a curious blooming of maturity in her stare, a serious, calm intensity settling back into her stare as she looks at the battered copy of herself. Her gaze shifts, down to the toy, and she gives the gleaming brass body a reassuring, almost ritualistic stroke - once, twice, thrice - before glancing up at Moirean with a questioning look. The woman gives a slight, encouraging nod, and the child somberly faces the ruined version of herself again. Voice faint, tenuous, and fragile in the way that only a young girl's can be, she whispers, "Yes?"
"Daddy is one of the bad guys," the battered corpse of a small girl whispers, eyebrows lifting as she speaks. "He... he really hurt me- us," she continues on with another shaky inhalation before it's released. "Mommy's going to protect you, she's really good at that." She chances a glance over her shoulder at Benedicto before she returns her rapt focus upon Lorana. "But stay away from him, okay? He can't- he won't hurt us again."
Benedicto jerks his head up, staring with wild, jade-tinged eyes at the children and you. "No." He gasps. "Nooooo!"
You have emoted: The girl takes the information in silence, shifting in Moirean's arms to pull the toy dragonfly closer to her chest. Again, that reassuring once, twice, thrice run of her fingers over the brass body - the gesture seems to help steady her, and finally she looks up towards Benedicto, blue eyes sharp as she silently takes in his cry.
You have emoted: Very soft, her stare directed downwards toward her daughter, Moirean gently, almost painfully kindly, asks, "Is it really no, though, Bene?"
"He will not hurt us again," the battered corpse of a small girl resolutely repeats as she clamors upwards from the ground, her body a mess of blood, dirt, and whatever other plant matter cling voraciously to her form from her spot upon the ground. "You will not hurt us," she echoes once more, though this time directly to Benedicto as she pivots to face him head-on. Her icy blue eyes are alight with a certain fervor, a zeal in them that betrays her younger form. "NEVER AGAIN," she shrilly cries before charging towards him - yet as she seems only inches away from impact, she explodes in a blazing myriad of color that lingers in the air before fading.
"rose60034" a blood-speckled white rose.
White petals curl around the bulb of this beautiful rose that'd be so pure in appearance were it not for the droplets of blood that seem to be splattered upon them. The crimson liquid contrasts sharply with the ivory hue of the thorned plant, yet even despite this its beauty cannot be denied.
Benedicto shakes his head, clenching his eyes shut, his teeth grinding together. "No, I am not." He grates out with difficulty, though who the words are intended for is unclear. He seems to wrestle with himself for a long moment before, finally, his head droops forward with a violent expulsion of pent up breath.
You have emoted: At the corpse's burst into shimmering colors, the girl seems on the verge of tears again. Moirean pulls her close, shifting the toy more firmly into the child's hands, as one arm cradles her daughter, mechanically rubbing her back in a soothing gesture, automatically and maternally reacting to stave off another panicked bout of crying. Over the child's head, she shoots you a stare, eyes narrowed as she hisses, "A good man - a father - would not do what you have done."
Benedicto draws in one ragged breath after another, pushing himself unsteadily back so that he rests upon his knees. "You are right. They would not have." He pants, sweat and tears mingled upon his face as he looks at you with red-rimmed, pearl-white eyes. "It was not me. I refuse to believe it was me. You know-have known-me for years. Would the Benedicto you knew have done as I-as..." He trails off, unable to find the words.
You have emoted: A shred of compassion breaks through Moirean's cold, angry stare, her expression softening just enough to betray her doubt. She does know you and, at least on some level, part of what you say is obviously ringing true. She blinks away, down to the girl again - staring at her daughter seems to strengthen her resolve, and she stiffly points out, "It still happened." Her jaw tightens, and then she looks back at you, eyebrows raising, and demands, "So how will you fix it?"
Benedicto raises his hands, palm upwards and then allows them to flop down against his thighs, the gesture clearly one of helplessness. "If I had any answers neither I nor you would be in this predicament. I am no closer to understanding than before I went to slumber. All I know..." He tugs at the straps of his pack and tugs it partially around. He places a hand inside and draws out a bunch of Chakra blossoms. "...is that She gave me these. Just before I started..." He shoves the flowers forcefully back into his pack. "Corruption has a hand in this. I drew Her ire and She wishes me to suffer for it."
You have emoted: Moirean gives the flowers a flat stare, as if regarding a serpent that might strike. Her arms tighten around the child. "Destroy them," she demands. "Burn them, bury them - I can exterminate them, if you need. Just...destroy them." She draws in a sharp breath and then presses her lips to the girl's forehead. The child's eyes lift to look first at her mother and then over to you. "You know what you need to do to make things right," Moirean accuses. "And I won't let you do that - I won't let you be a father to her, I won't let you even SEE her - if you are a danger."
"I have sought the aid of Lord Damariel." Benedicto nods, ignoring your plea to destroy the flowers. "I left Slyphe. He betrayed me. He gave the Order over to Rashar." He says the name in the same tone that one might refer to something they had found on the bottom of their shoe. "Lord Damariel was the only one who tried to help me. He set watchers on me, to ward my behavior." He staggers to his feet, drawing his robe about him as if to ward off a chill. "I will find the answer by pursuing the Truth."
You have emoted: Moirean hesitates at that response, frowning as she cautions, "Nola saw nothing wrong with you killing me." She pauses. In a whisper, eyes lowering to indicate the child, she adds, "...her." She hugs the girl tighter. "They are so caught up in evil and light and purity, Bene, they forget to simply be human. I...Be careful." She relaxes her grip on the girl, a bit, and the child gives a tentative smile. Moirean nods once to the girl, setting her down on the grass, and sits back on her heels.
Slowly, hesitantly, the girl steps closer to you, eyes wide - there's a surprising, almost adult calm in that stare, beneath the apprehension.
Benedicto chooses not to reply, he simply follows the movement of the girl to the grass and her tentative approach. "Be wary child, please. For all our sakes it would be best you do not come to close. I am a danger." He says the last words in a hollow voice. "Moirean-" He looks towards you with a plea in the depths of his pearl-white stare, "I-" He does not finish, he just stares at you for a long moment before walking brusquely over to the war turtle and leaping onto its shell. He cracks the reins and he and the turtle speed away northeastwards.
You have emoted: The girl's steps falter as the man - her father - backs away and leaves her there, standing alone. She watches him go, remaining stock-still, before she suddenly whirls about and barrels towards Moirean to bury herself in her mother's arms. Another bout of tears come, now, but they are not the panicked sobbing from before. Instead, they are simply sad, the vital cry of a child who's lost something, and the woman lets her bawl, rocking the girl in her arms as she murmurs quiet, soothing sounds, stroking her back as she, too, stares down the road upon which Benedicto vanished.