Hallows' evenings

GalileiGalilei Member Posts: 97 ✭✭✭
edited October 21 in Roleplay Logs
The sun is red, there are unexplainable chills in the air, lots of gray mist... a perfect time to be haunted by one of the people Galilei both longed to find and desperately avoided.

As a Carnifex with a mostly-full soulstone, Galilei isn't free from whispers, most of them antagonistic. This one's something different - if apparently just as hostile.

@Ardent is chill, having dealt with Zsarachnor too recently to not be spectacularly unimpressed; @Qelres is disbelieving and ultimately Qelres.


(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ardent's mind: "Hello." The smile in her voice is somehow genuine and forced at the same time. "Was your rest pleasant? One of us ought to have had it."

(Tells): In soft, clicking whispers that are reminiscent of tapping mandibles, Ardent hisses against your mind, "No not really. Fraught with echoes of the past and whispers of the future."

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ardent's mind: "You are burdened already. I have an ear and a need of a distraction, should you need to unload."

(Tells): In soft, clicking whispers that are reminiscent of tapping mandibles, Ardent hisses against your mind, "Your dreams must have been worse than mine to be in need of distraction dear."

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ardent's mind: "Oh, I try to tell myself they are not, compared with others'." Something rarely-heard: sarcasm. Though it is, expectedly, lacking a concrete target. "They might well not be. The whispers of souls from my stone fades when I sleep."

(Tells): In soft, clicking whispers that are reminiscent of tapping mandibles, Ardent hisses against your mind, "Alcohol and food. Best distraction I can think of."

Ere, the Celebrant's voice echoes grandly across the realm, "At this rate, I'll need to start working on our Celesmas preparations before any of the teams make a move!"

Ardent's voice resonates across the land, "I want a pony! And some booze!"


(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ardent's mind: "I will take that into consideration."

(Tells): In soft, clicking whispers that are reminiscent of tapping mandibles, Ardent hisses against your mind, "Company also helps I would imagine."

(Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ardent's mind: "Wherever would I find that?"

(Tells): In soft, clicking whispers that are reminiscent of tapping mandibles, Ardent hisses against your mind, "Waist deep in the sea?"

Far out to sea.
Rain pours down from dark thunderclouds, only the merest hints of sunset breaking through. The waves are a bit more undulating here, as the ocean swells and heaves beneath you. The shore is but a thin line to the southwest, and the current seems to pull you gently farther away, yet keeps you from swimming further out to sea. A lone gull laughs at you from above, apparently mocking your situation as it flies easily in circles in the air. A kelp plant waves in the currents. Dark fur stretched tightly over sinewy muscles, this giant wolf snarls at those who walk too close.
You see exits leading north, northwest, and down.

You have emoted: Galilei's hand is curled around a pulsing soulstone, and for a moment she looks as though she is pondering skipping it across the waters.

Ardent says, "Well hello there, sneaky lady."

The ghost of a smile passes fleetingly across your lips as you glance at Ardent.

Ardent smiles at you.

Ardent ponders your profile, deep in consideration.


Without prompting and voice somewhat dried of emotion, you say, "Have you ever felt guilt? Over your kills?"

Casually, Ardent says, "I do not feel guilt or remorse over those I slay."

You ask Ardent, "Could you explain how that works for you?"


[A Teshen's snarling face: You dodge, outsider, but you will never be free.]

With an arched brow, Ardent says to you, "Why would I feel remorse for a lesson in pain that someone will never forget? Why should I feel remorse or guilt for ending someone's life when the cycle will bring the most of them back in some way, or the earth will reform their body?"

[A wraith, features too blurry to see: Your efforts are meaningless. He owns no stone. HE does not seek to usurp the powers of Dhar. HE leaves the dead alone.]

You have emoted: Galilei closes her eyes. The Consanguine draws in an audible breath and does not use it to speak. "Something - I would do well to learn." It takes time for her lips to move, as though needing to unfreeze them.

Gently, Ardent says, "It is not in everyone's character to be as cold as that you know."

[You've changed. You've died. Call your state of being whatever you want. You're not Galilei.]

You have emoted: Galilei's eyes open wide, and she almost moves toward Ardent, as though to grasp his shoulders. She has heard him; but she is simply hearing something else now. Her gaze holds what might appear to be paranoia. "Ardent. Can you feel anything? Around us?"

Ardent says, "Feel? Sure. Hear or see? Not in the slightest. Though it does feel as though we have company."


You have emoted: "It can't be... Souls can't know me. All the Teshen I've killed, the Nazetu I've torn apart." Galilei's words are rapid-fire now. "Drakuum, Mor, Fengard, none of them can ever have known me."

Ardent says, "The souls of those you slay do not seek you out you know. That will never be the case."

Whispering, you say, "There are still souls... in my stone... but they can't know me."

Ardent says, "Why can they not know you?"


[None of them know you.]

[None of them were betrayed.]


You have emoted: "Ardent." Galilei's lower lip faintly trembles. She wades deeper into the water, closer to her mate, tension locking her body even as her face grows so very wan. "It's not them - he - it - it reacts, even now - "

Ardent says, "He? He who? Does this specter that is haunting you have a name?"


[A name you, YOU, forgot. Tried to forget. Didn't you?] No - I -

You have emoted: "I knew he'd - I knew I'd disappoint." Galilei's words are broken as long as she is disoriented - and as long as she is with Ardent. That is one luxury, being able to unravel without having to hide. It's also likely she simply does not have the energy to hold things together. "Being... like this, vampire. Killer. I - wait - " She swallows, and tries again. "*Mayar.* It's Mayar." She offers information in bits and pieces; the clench of her muscles, the odd pleading prompting in her eyes tell you this is a conscious choice.

Confused slightly, Ardent asks, "Mayar is...?"

Whispering, you murmur to Ardent, "The only brother I have really known."


Ardent beckons you to him.
You begin to follow Ardent.

Ardent hapharzardly chitters something in a mix of squeaks and small barks.
You follow Ardent to the ether.

a secluded greenhouse bedroom.
As with the rest of the dwelling, warm redwood flooring graces this room. The walls are a little different from the rest of the house - crafted from thin diamond sheet and tinted slightly to keep out the majority of the sun invading the room. The ceiling is done in a similar fashion. The walls are lined with shelving that happens to be dotted greenery, flowers and various instruments. There are a number of other instruments scattered about on stands, too large for the shelving. The scent of rich earth and growing things permeates the air - the lapping of baths from below can be heard, with the slight invasion of gentle sound.
A gentle trill can occasionally be detected from the direction of the gardens. A brilliant duskcrystal bird inside a birdcage sits here. This large glass cage is home to a dwarf boa. There are 3 monolith sigils here. A large bed is here, its four posters dramatically draped with silk. Lying flat on the ground is a key-shaped sigil. Dark fur stretched tightly over sinewy muscles, this giant wolf snarls at those who walk too close. Ardent is here.
You see a single exit leading down (closed pine door).

Ardent gives an inconspicuous cloth doll a tight hug.
The mouth on an inconspicuous cloth doll opens, a shrill and eerie laugh escaping into the air.

Ardent whispers soothing words to you.


You have emoted: "That's what you are, sis." It's hard to tell just what sort of emotion lies there among the hurtful sneer that reaches even Ardent's ears. "I die, come back, and see you running off with 'Uncle.' I followed, and I listened." Galilei still leans into Ardent, but now she has gone rigid.

"You bought it." And here the voice deflates, if only a little. "All that. About turning yourself into a corpse. About murdering people." Galilei is very still where she stands, no longer even breathing. "And now you're going around sucking souls into that toy of yours." The air, too, is still. The spectre still has not shown himself, and the less-than-peaceful undertone in his words slowly become apparent. "Whatever for, sis? Come on. Work your brain."

Whispering, barely audible, you say, "I wanted to find you again. I wanted to find you all. But how could I? As what I've become?"


Ardent lets his arms fall about his mate as he remains silent and lets her seem to work through what it is she's dealing with right now. His presence offering comfort where words fail him.

You have emoted: Of course Galilei's spectre wouldn't let the Kobold in the room slide. "Oh, of course you'd have the blood bag with you."

Ardent says, "...blood...bag?"


You have emoted: "Aren't you?" The sneer grows upon the voice, even as it takes on a rather raw edge. "You don't look particularly tasty and she still spends *so* much of her time with you, I don't get it. Then again, good judgment wasn't exactly Galilei's thing."

Whispering even as she knows the ghost's attention is still on her mate, you say, "Mayar, this isn't about him."

"I'm her husband. Deal with it you decrepit ghost and shadow of the past."
Ardent offers casually with the barest of shrugs before he settles into his mate comfortably.

You have emoted: Malice almost radiates off the unseen ghost. Galilei, however, simply stares at the space his voice was coming from. Her black eyes are wan, and the arms wind around Ardent tight. Staring, until the chill about the room drifts closer to the pair.

A distant keening howl seizes your attention, and you stop to listen. It is the sound of some creature, somewhere, experiencing inutterable sorrow. A chill ripples down your spine as the sound trails off, but you remember...

"I don't fear the dead, the undead or the Divine." Ardent offers casually with a shrug.

You have emoted: And there is silence from the ghost, for a long while. Features blur into visibility, one by one. Pointed ears; blond hair as rumpled as it is short; a rather strong nose, in contrast with Galilei's; pale grey eyes tinged with faint blue, the way Galilei's eyes were, in the beginning of her and Ardent's acquaintance. Only a boy, barely over sixteen years. His eyes bore into Ardent's, the look on his face seething. Then into hers.

Ardent rolls his eyes casually before dragging his wife over to their bed and laying down, ignoring the specter completely.

Ardent prods an inconspicuous cloth doll hard in the chest.


You have emoted: "You don't even have mum's eyes anymore." The ghost's voice is faint. This is not a fact that has just occurred to him, yet he states it anyway. His voice grows in volume as Galilei is led away, the tremble in his words striking a similar chord with his sister's, in certain, blessedly few situations. "You - Don't even think about poking around back home! Not like you ever cared!"

"You've made your choice... so stick with it."
The ghost lifts a stiff hand, pointing at Galilei and Ardent with too-bright eyes. "Leave me and my brothers alone." The chill rushes out through an open window, almost as though running away.

Ardent offers a casual yawn and simply nestles into his wife more. "Living or dead, a tantrum is a tantrum and I have no patience for them."

You have emoted: "If I'd had the courage to find him sooner - " Galilei interrupts herself, quietly. She reacts to Ardent's touch as she would, burrowing close herself to press her forehead to his and wrapping her arms tighter around her mate. "Oh, Ardent... I shouldn't have been so afraid."

"Seems like he needs a hug."
Ardent offers with a faint shrug. "All he needs is communication it seems. He can throw his tantrums about leaving him and his brothers alone but it will result in a boring and scared and hollow death of an existence."

You have emoted: Galilei merely tightens her grip on her mate, pressing her cheek to his. "Brothers, he said," she whispers. "Surely not all... and he never mentioned my sister."

"At least two others and no mention of a sister, no."
Ardent offers gently as his hands start to stroke up and down his mates back.

You have emoted: Galilei nuzzles Ardent's nose, her movements just as much of an effort to distract herself from whatever the experience has left her with, as it is an expression of affection. "She was born premature, and died the year my eldest brother bled out his own life," she murmurs. "He'd always bruise so much, and so would the twins."

"Souls with regret should be the only ones who remain." Ardent offers in a casual manner.

You have emoted: "Mattias. Mayar. At least one of the twins. They'd all be old enough to have regrets," Galilei murmurs. She lets her eyes flutter shut, drinking in Ardent's warmth and closeness while she can.

She'd certainly need them, in a few weeks.
Post edited by Galilei on
Ardent

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  • GalileiGalilei Member Posts: 97 ✭✭✭
    edited October 21
    ...to bolster her for the task of reconnecting with a hurt little brother, stuck nearly a decade for hurting, in the land of the living.

    Southern Paradise Street.
    Eerie shadows contort and couple beneath blood-red twilight, the sun balanced like an accusing eye upon the world's edge. At this active location, the village seems to be bustling with life. The smell of fresh bread fills the air as the cobblestone road passes by several bakeries. Peddlers stand on the street displaying their wares, while the more successful merchants advertise their goods from behind shop windows. The murmuring sounds of the village flow through the street at all times of day, the villagers both examining the tasty wares and accessing fresh water to the south, perhaps for their washing. To the west, the blue glint off the top of a glass tower shows over the trees and shops.
    You see exits leading east, south, and northwest.

    How long was it since I lived in this place?

    Three years? Four?


    A turn in the road.
    Eerie shadows contort and couple beneath blood-red twilight, the sun balanced like an accusing eye upon the world's edge. The road curves as it changes direction here, heading off as a gravel path to the north and a cobblestoned walkway to the east. Many exquisite buildings are here, mostly fine houses instead of shops. The river cannot be seen for all the houses, but its sussurating flow can be heard from the west and south nevertheless, and the smell of fresh water fills the air. To the west, rising above the rooftops, the glint of a tower of blue glass is visible. A long-haired Mrenadhi villager goes about his business here. A sandy-haired boy runs about with irrepressable energy, bearing a strange puzzle.
    You see exits leading north, east, west (open pine door), and northwest.
    Sparing you a fearful, wide-eyed glance, a long-haired Mrenadhi villager tries his best to look unassuming.

    A typical Mrenadhi, this villager is relatively pale-skinned in contrast to his long dark hair and equally dark eyes. His tall frame shows the effects of an active lifestyle, and his attire is neat and well-kept. He goes about his affairs with a busy air, but always with a smile and a friendly greeting.


    You have emoted: Galilei has noticed a long-haired Mrenadhi villager’s reaction. Her half-smile is reflexive and painfully apologetic until she realises it.

    Approaching a small village.

    If it helps, I'm not here to do harm.

    And just thinking it won't dispel thoughts that I might.


    A cheerful Mrenadhi villager leaves to the south.

    You have emoted: Galilei's throat bobs as she swallows, but the villager has gone on his way before she can speak. A moment passes before she, too, moves on, unwilling to make eye contact with a young boy.

    Dazzling glass shop.
    This cluttered shop is filled with a large variety of glass objects, crafted both for decoration and for practical uses. The glass has been expertly blown and infused with streaks and swirls of color. A counter stands on one side of the room with a locked metal box upon it. The store appears to do a fair amount of business, but the larger and more intricate glass works are covered in a fine layer of dust, suggesting a price far above the means of most customers. Heat pours out of a doorless opening in the northern wall which leads to a back room.
    Cuaor the glassblower peers about himself hesitantly, his face drawn in fear. You see a sign here instructing you that WARES is the command to see what is for sale.
    You see exits leading north and east.


    On an opaque dais of pink glass, this heavenly figurine of an angel stands coyly. Her body, curved in sensual contrapposto, is accented by her legendary wings which are dipped in gold. These fragile wings are held parallel and aloft so as to catch light between them. Her head is downcast and crystalline locks obscure her face, but her inlaid emerald eyes glimmer through mischievously.

    You have emoted: Galilei is lost gazing at the pretty pieces of glass around the shop. It's just as much of an escape as it is genuine interest; Cuaor the glassblower appears to keep shop rather faithfully. Her eyes are taken by the angelic trinket in particular, though she does not reach for it.

    "You're the one who's given that up." Invisible again, Galilei's brother. The outright malice has faded somewhat from his voice. Somewhat. "Why are you here?"

    "Why are you here?" Mayar asks again. "When I specifically told you to stay away from - " He cuts himself off. "You've things to do, squire, if I'm using the right title. What happened to 'Your Imperial Grace?' I thought you liked having titles and rubbing elbows with coin. Wasn't that why you ran off to suck blood just like the rest of 'em?" Galilei looks straight ahead, gaze fixed upon the angel's dais.

    A chill swishes about her, circling. Galilei is the statue upon the dais herself, frozen in contemplation far too focused to pass for just another customer considering pieces of blown glass.

    She thinks she can hear the pounding of blood in her ears. It's her brother. Betrayed, tempestuous, poisonous as well as pained. Galilei could lose him. After so long - how long?

    A year? A bit more? Since chasing souls and strength, straight into the Carnifex' arms. And before it? No, Galilei couldn't hear him. Couldn't see him. Not this often, twice in one week.

    And before even that? Galilei presses her lips together, suppressing the sting of tears at the corners of her eyes. Mayar has been dead nine years. And living around the house, never heard, for five.

    The air around her feels uncomfortably cold, like the burn from winter winds. Mayar, too, has trailed into oppressive silence; slowly Galilei lifts her head, looking around her at last, towards the chill. Still unseen, looming.


    I know I have to say something...

    I can't... let silence fester, but I don't know. I don't know how to make this better.

    Nine years...


    You have emoted: The growing fervour in the ghost's whisper sounds remarkably like the hate Galilei is imagining. "Go. Play with your precious blood bag. Write that sham of an essay you've abandoned. Go butcher an innocent town. Forget about me." It is only for Cuaor the glassblower and any wandering customers that Mayar does not manifest. Appearances. "Forget," he presses, "just like you obviously want to. You always get what you want, don't you?"

    She can't just leave the shop. She can't speak, not out loud. He knows. Of course he knows. And Galilei fails to surprise him.

    The chill in the air departs without another whisper. It takes a few seconds for Galilei to unfreeze - and then she rushes out, after her brother's spectre.

    Brilliant courtyard.
    Light reflects off of the glass walls surrounding this magnificent courtyard, a few ornate lanterns providing in this way abundant illumination for the large chamber. Wide passages lead off through the walls in the four cardinal directions. A brilliant array of colors, from the deep purple of the marble floor to the rich blue of the glass-filtered sky, overwhelms the senses. A mighty pillar of the same sturdy glass spans from the floor to the ceiling, which could only be touched by standing on the shoulders of another. Thin silvered slabs of marble have been inserted into the pillar at intervals to create a spiral stairway that seems to be suspended in midair. The brilliant surroundings, both austere and arresting, convey an atmosphere of celebration and of humility before a grander power. Constructed from white marbled and edged with gold, a two-tiered fountain is settled here, filling the air with the soft susurrus of trickling water.
    You see exits leading north, east, south (open pine door), west, up, and in.

    Her silken robes gliding behind her, Sequa enters from the up.
    Sequa the procurator inclines her head politely to you.


    Sequa the procurator says, "Lovely to see you again, Galilei. As always, I'm happy to help you however I can while you're here."

    A dark aura surrounds Qelres, bringing the smell of decay in from the south.

    You have emoted: Galilei stares at Sequa the procurator with wide, wide eyes. "Procurator, have you felt a gho - " She is the one to interrupt herself now. She shakes her head, composure having fled from her face, and runs upstairs.

    You step off the glass balcony to the south and immediately plummet down the height of the tower.

    A fiery crevasse.
    Night cloaks the sky in ominous gloom - the clouds, dimly lit by silver starlight, veil unseen shapes in the heavens. The craggy rocks in this narrow crevasse are tinted red, as if rich with iron ore, and hot to the touch. Blisteringly hot air is belched sporadically from various cracks, holes, and crannies scattered about the face of the cliff that looms above on all sides save to the north. One large geyser of heat dominates the center of this area, its constant smoke occasionally interrupted by the eruption of gouts of flame originating from deep within the mountain. A deep-blue valerian plant grows here. A hardy blueberry bush is growing here. Stalks of pinks and violet rise up from the leafy bergenia plants growing here. A zigzagging fissure extends from the base of the geyser, running red-hot with lava. Hovering above the ground, waiting to help those who wish it, is the flickering apparition of a thoughtful-looking Drakt.
    You see a single exit leading north.

    (Tells): With a wheezing hiss to their words, Qelres tells you, "...what was that."

    You have emoted: No Drakt, no Qelres. Little appears to register for Galilei; she has not even stood up to leave the sprays of deadly heat about the area.

    Why did I not ask her?

    He'll be gone.

    He'll have gone away and -

    I can't stay here.


    (Tells): With a wheezing hiss to their words, Qelres tells you, "Galilei!"

    The Tearfall.
    Night cloaks the sky in ominous gloom - the clouds, dimly lit by silver starlight, veil unseen shapes in the heavens. A waterfall springs from the rock high above, cascading down and churning up a steady mist before flowing out to the south in a smooth, slow stream. The torrents of water have carved a basin into the sandy riverbed, forming a shallow pool that allows for relaxed enjoyment of the waters a safe distance from the chute. A rim of sand speckles the shore surrounding the pool, a crushed sand path leading towards a settlement at the edge of sight. A hillside stand of trees and grasses accents the shoreline, and the top floors of a shimmering blue tower of glass can be seen rising above their crowns. Beyond the northern shore, the mighty outline of Mount Kentorakro towers in a diffused haze. A small shrine, arranged on the right bank under a trickle running beside the main falls, beckons to the curious. The area exudes feelings of richness but also sadness. A kelp plant waves in the currents. Growing from the water, long stalks of plantlife host clusters of ruddy fish roe. A watercress plant grows here in a tight cluster. Qelres is here.
    You see exits leading north, northeast (closed pine door), east, and south.

    Qelres has to walk hastily to keep pace with the darting Consanguine. "Galilei, slow down," they plead, "What's going on?"

    You have emoted: "I have - to find my brother - " Galilei is not crying. She might as well be. Even now she is moving off, haste adding to the speed of her race.

    Brilliant courtyard.

    You ask Sequa the procurator, "Please, Procurator - have you not felt something? Anything? Going upstairs?"

    Qelres's face falls. "Galilei," they say quietly, speaking the name with gentleness. "Galilei. Stay...stay here."

    ...

    Qelres descends the stairs, stopping partway between this floor and the next. Feet staggered, they lay a hand on the railing as they regard you. It is with the softness of understanding that they ask,
    "Did you see your ghost, just now?"

    You have emoted: "Felt. Heard." Galilei is very still, hands curled into hollow fists by her sides. "He wouldn't make himself seen. Not in front of others. Not in our home." Her voice breaks on that last word.

    You say, "Not in Mrenadh..."

    "I saw it as well when you ran up the stairs,"
    Qelres says as they lower themself down the last few steps. They approach you, but do not come too near. Their voice is a low murmur, rasping, meant to be comforting, but, "There's no ghost, Galilei. It's a trick of the light. You saw the priestess. You saw me just now. And I saw you. That's all."

    You have emoted: In answer, Galilei simply holds out an unfurling palm. The soulstone there pulses, cobweb-white motes of light restlessly moving beneath its surface.

    Quietly, quietly, you say, "He spoke to me. He ran. Because I would not answer him and expose him where he is already an outcast in his home."

    You say, "When he needed an answer..."


    Qelres has no more comfort or denials to offer. They hold their disbelief in their expression even as they nod. Toes turning in the direction that you faces, they sweep a narrowed gaze over the shadows, checking for spirits. All they can say is, "A brother."

    You have emoted: "One among four, dead at sixteen." Galilei's fingers are tight and bone-white upon her stone, now. Again she turns to Sequa the procurator. "Please... is there no way for those not of the Order to cross the bridge?"

    Qelres turns sharply back to look at you. "I know the way across the bridge," they say, "At the very least, I used to."

    You have emoted: Face set, Galilei moves to fall in line behind Qelres before Sequa the procurator can voice protests.

    Balcony facing the mountainside.
    Night cloaks the sky in ominous gloom - the clouds, dimly lit by silver starlight, veil unseen shapes in the heavens. Stepping onto this long, protruding balcony invites extreme vertigo. The security of the tower's sturdy frame to the south is overruled by the peril of the low glass railings on both sides; the lack of any restraint to the north and the near-transparency of the floor itself lessen the distress not at all. Standing immediately north of this vantage point is the precipitous slope of Mount Kentorakro, a smooth-walled tunnel lined up directly ahead as if bored into the rock by a titanic auger. The mountain's windswept peak is faintly visible swirling high above; a fissure of steaming lava gutters at its base, alarmingly close to lying directly beneath the balcony's northern edge. Other hills and valleys are visible to the west and east, and the placid gardens encircling the tower's base can be spied upon by those willing to cast their gaze directly downward. A gently curving bench of silvery glass faces out upon the imposing vista. A splendid marble plaque hovers above the back of the bench, its message cautioning all against proceeding further in haste. Qelres is here, giving off a truly ghastly stench.
    You see exits leading north and south.

    Qelres says, "[REDACTED]."

    Qelres Misi has lost you.
    The air seems to smell more fresh and light filters into the area as Qelres escapes to the north.


    You say, "[REDACTED]."

    As you declare your faith in the Goddess, you sense an invisible force suffuse your body, making you feel buoyant and safe from calamity.

    With true amazement, you step out onto pure nothingness without falling to your doom, the tendrils of Lady Niuri's essence your only support.


    Cave on a steep mountainside.
    Night cloaks the sky in ominous gloom - the clouds, dimly lit by silver starlight, veil unseen shapes in the heavens. The opening of a massive cave, perfectly circular in cross-section, sits as a medium between a terrifying fall down a mountain slope into a fissure of lava and a stony tunnel fading into a sullen red glow. A fine layer of dust covers everything within the cave, swirling in eddies occasionally as wind blows past the house-sized cavern mouth. Beyond a dizzying expanse of open air, a sparkling tower of blue-hued glass splits the grassy southern horizon in twain. A deep- blue valerian plant grows here. A hardy blueberry bush is growing here. Stalks of pinks and violet rise up from the leafy bergenia plants growing here. A splendid marble plaque hovers above the dusty ground, its message cautioning all against proceeding further in haste. Qelres is here, giving off a truly ghastly stench.
    You see exits leading north and south.


    Despite your faith in the Goddess of Mystery, you exhale your nervous energy as your feet find solid purchase once again.

    Qelres is waiting for you on the other side. As you nears, they reach out their arms, to lay a hand on your shoulder and waist to guide you to the ledge.

    The strands of uplifting force begin to unravel from your person, and you suspect the Goddess's essence will not sustain you much longer.

    You have emoted: Galilei's face is slackened for only a moment - she is awake again, eyes frantically searching - even as she knows he is still unseen.

    Passage with hot walls.
    This tunnel, ascending northwards in one direction and descending southwards in the other, is in many respects like any other natural fissure threading through the rock. However, the walls here, illuminated by a dim red light, are too hot to touch for more than an instant. The heat emanating from them distorts the images of every visible thing, causing occasional mirages in the stuffy passage. Roaring and popping sounds are frequently audible against a faint whistling in the background. Qelres is here, giving off a truly ghastly stench.
    You see exits leading north, south, and down.

    Qelres leads you into the narrow tunnel, their feet walking sure across the stone. As the air grows hotter they turn, look back, and offer a hand. "It is a maze from here on," they say, "If...if he's here, Galilei, you will have to guide us." Their face sets, mouth flattened, calm and patient. It is so painfully obvious that they do not believe the one you seeks is here at all.

    You have emoted: Galilei simply looks at Qelres for a moment, eyes hard and bright, before accepting the proffered hand. As though rebutting the Azudim's calm disbelief, her grip tightens sharply - she does not have the wherewithal to apologize, or the time to voice it.

    ...

    You have emoted: Galilei has somehow wandered back to where they had both started, having sensed little. Her footsteps now are nearly running; still she cannot let her shouts burst free for the occupants of the temple.


    Mayar.

    Mayar.


    Qelres follows along with you, silent to the pain of your grasping hand. They do not sweat in the sweltering nearness of the tunnels, but the honey in their hair runs thinner than usual, melting in streaks down their face.

    You have emoted: Too moist. Too loud, these distant drips. Too loud are the slight cracklings and the faint roars. Galilei needs to move, but she cannot hold back a moment of sinking hope.

    A distant keening howl seizes your attention, and you stop to listen. It is the sound of some creature, somewhere, experiencing inutterable sorrow. A chill ripples down your spine as the sound trails off, but you remember...

    Passage with dense air.
    This tunnel, proceeding south towards the surface in one direction while plunging deeper into the depths of the mountain towards the north, is in many respects like any other natural fissure threading through the rock. An accumulation of soil underfoot bridges the narrow gap between strangely warm walls. The air is almost tangibly thick here, making movement under the dusky light difficult and nerve-wracking. The thick layer of earth covering the ground silences any echo, and the silence is nearly complete and constant. Qelres is here, giving off a truly ghastly stench.
    You see exits leading north and out.

    No. I can't go back. I can't - he has to know -

    Qelres's hand turns over in yours; they grab suddenly at your wrist.

    You yell, "Mayar!"

    You have emoted: Galilei pulls away with frightening strength, only to cover her face with both hands. She does not sink down onto the ground.

    Qelres winces at the sudden cry. It may as well be the bellowing of a dying deer, here in this silent, heavy place. They do not let you go easily. As you slip their grasp, they reach for shoulder, for elbow, for hair if need be, any part of you that they can hold onto. "Galilei, Galilei," they are saying your name over and over, a chant, "Galilei, love, what is this? What are you doing?"

    You have emoted: Galilei jerks away almost reflexively - an intruder, here, upon her grief - only to face Qelres properly. Her hands are curled halfway, like husks. "Nine years." The numbers come on a choked whisper. "Nine years I've abandoned my brother - He was just... a boy..." She can only tremble as she holds back incoherence and tears both. "when he died... just a child..."

    Shutting her eyes, you say, "He's been in the realms for nine years as a ghost - I joined the Carnifex, once I'd found some peace and even then I was too afraid to find him -."

    Whispering now, you say, "To let him see what I'd become - he knew nothing of Shadow when he died, nothing of vampires..."


    Qelres's six-fingered hand slides, slick and still somehow rasping, over your cheek. They try to grasp you by hair and jaw. Their touch is not gentle. "And?" they ask, as oblivious to the shame as they always are. The heavy air around the pair tries to swallow that word, turning it into a kind of reverse echo that can barely be heard.

    You have emoted: The time it takes for her to react to this intrusion - and her reaction itself - is testimony to all the months she has left behind. Galilei's white hands fall upon and entrap the Azudim's, all spiderlike, slender fingers curling beneath each palm to pry them firmly away from her flesh. "I ran from him first. He has found me. And I will not lose him."

    Qelres is about to say something more, but their jaw hangs open without words leaving it. They sway forward, just briefly, as if some great wind has pushed into them from behind. Underneath the shoulders of their robe, the swarm clicks and shifts nervously. "And," they breathe, finding their voice despite the worried look they throw over a shoulder, "What will you do when you find him?"

    You have emoted: There are no whispered remarks from around the caverns, no venom on the wind. Wherever he is, he is unready or unwilling to show himself. "What I can to help him," Galilei rasps, even as her face minutely contorts, as though in response to a prick of a pin that is, again, unheard and unseen. "And our brothers. Our brothers..."

    Qelres's gaze remains steady, studying that twist of perfect features with an almost hungry reverence. With the hand forcefully removed from your face, they stand perfectly still and the palm remains uplifted. Their shoulders are a tense, hulking line, bracing for another mysterious blow from behind. Something about the way their mouth moves, and the way their teeth flash, could be called unpleasant. "I see," although they clearly do not, "And you saw him - them - here?"

    You have emoted: For the first time Galilei is studying Qelres, not merely replying to questions posed. Looking outside herself. Suspicion narrows her dark eyes as she takes in the Azudim's expression, even though it is established they do not feel what the Consanguine feels. "I cannot see him. I merely chased his presence, that chill of souls - " Some thought comes to her, it seems, one she visibly shakes off. Her soulstone had fallen to the floor with a clatter that had gone unheard in her strange scuffle with Qelres. She does not yet stoop to pick it up.
    "I will not draw him here. I only need to know where he is. Right now - right now he may not wish to listen. Not after all those years lost in his thoughts." A declaration for whoever that may be listening, and one as soft as it is firm.

    "Please invent whatever tales you need to give yourself comfort," Qelres retorts, and the malformed side of their mouth twists high. "If you, in your searching, find the soul of the man I ate for breakfast, tell him I send my regards." Their chin jerks up and they step away. The visible discomfort they feel in this place remains; when they do not look at you, they look down the dark tunnel in either direction, suspicion written in the narrowing of their gaze. A handful of insects slip loose of the hem of their robe and go to investigate. Their gaze is slanted beneath dark lids. It is the only beautiful thing about them, those long-lashed, carnation-colored eyes.

    You have emoted: Qelres receives no reply to this from Galilei. Once more she has shut her eyes, feeling her way through the air without moving. Resentment sparks through it, skewered by the telltale flare of wounded pride - hers, or another’s? Should one look, they would only find a Consanguine frozen still.

    Bold and careless despite their dismissive words, Qelres leans forward to press a dry kiss to your forehead. "I want to see him if you find him, love," they rasp, "I've never seen one soul picked out from the lot. It'd be a great working, to be certain." They sink to a crouch. They retrieve the soulstone. It is offered, on an open palm, to you.

    You have emoted: It is yet unclear whether Galilei is affected by the dissatisfied shadow that fills the cavern, or if it is still her; nevertheless, she takes the kiss as a peace offering, rather than an attempt to patronize. With a long blink she reaches for her stone, brings her hands up as she dips her head.

    Eldritch glyphs coruscate in flickering patterns of crimson across the surface of a soulstone as you press it against your forehead. Melding seamlessly with your skin, a dark sheen of red ripples over your body as it hardens against all weapons.

    Quietly, you say, "I hope he'll agree to see you, someday."

    Qelres is silent for long moments. Eventually, they make a true peace offering. "Talk to Iazamat," they order, "He's good with souls."

    You have emoted: Galilei's intrigued, if tight, expression is at odds with the air's acerbic turn at Qelres' last phrase. "I shall remember," she says. "The matter at hand is more... how to speak with someone wounded. But I will take what help, what information I can get."

    Qelres's smile is full of self-awareness. They tip their head. "I can't help with that," they say,
    "I only know wounding." Their feet drag them another step back. They half-turn, about to go, but they stop to look back. "You belong in a place like this, you know," they say all of a sudden, hand gesturing up and around - they mean all of the temple.

    You have emoted: "In another time, I think I would have belonged," Galilei says softly, memories seeming to shine in her eyes. She speaks a goodbye instead, not yet stepping forward but looking straight into Qelres' eyes. "You know where you are going, yes?" It is not exactly a question. "I... we... will let you know when."

    Qelres winks one carnation colored eye. They step into the darkness and become a part of it.

    A black wind descends upon your surroundings, immediately forming itself around the body of Qelres.
    In seconds, Qelres has vanished utterly, and only the vapour remains.


    You have emoted: "Kentorakto." Galilei's laugh is soft and rich and too fragile, not in the breakable sense. "I should have known, I should have - " She cannot see him, but she still speaks. "I know now. Mayar - can I come back, to see you?"

    The cavern yields no answers. In the stale, stifled air impatience grows - the boy does not know undeath and thus cannot remember its resulting freedom from breathing any sort of air altogether, although the air resistance here is unnerving to living and undead alike. "I'll come visit again, Mayar. I hope..." Galilei has to gather her own courage, simply to speak. "I haven't been a proper sister. I - " she has to take small pauses not to falter altogether. "But... it's what I've told them. I've found you. I'm not letting you go."

    The chill air rushes out and away, away from Galilei.

    You yell, "Next week, Mayar."

    I've said it. Now I just need to keep to it.

    Post edited by Galilei on
    Ardent
  • GalileiGalilei Member Posts: 97 ✭✭✭
    edited October 21
    Further on, @Ayastia proved to be a sweet, if briefly misguided, support, and @Cameryn offered help where Gali wasn't expecting it.

    Ayastia raises her hand in greeting to you and says "Hi!"

    Cameryn takes a long drag from a lit wildflower-pressed cigarette of faded parchment.

    Cameryn exhales a pungent cloud of smoke, redolent with challenging, wine-like scents.


    Rousing herself, you say, "Ah."

    Ayastia gives you a tight hug.

    Straightening into rigid, militant attention, you square your shoulders and crisply salute your fellow soldiers.

    Ayastia gives you a peck on the cheek.

    Straightening into rigid, militant attention, Cameryn squares his shoulders and crisply salutes his fellow soldiers.


    Cameryn says, "Carry on."

    You release yourself from your tensed posture, lowering your shoulders to a more relaxed position.

    Cameryn fidgets with his jacket as he looks about in thought.

    You have emoted: Galilei offers no help in that quarter, simply folding her hands behind her back and looking expectantly between the knights.

    Ayastia smiles and says, "I don't know why we are here Sister. Though I am glad we are. I've missed seeing you."

    While my true brother seethes alone.

    Cameryn purses his lips pensively, gazing thoughtfully at some distant point.

    You have emoted: Something appears to shift behind Galilei's eyes, and the air correspondingly grows a just a little colder. Her gaze flickers around the cavern.

    He followed me? After all that?

    And I hoped things would get better with a few days' break...


    Ayastia furrows her brow, tilting her head in your direction. "Sister, are you okay?"

    Cameryn offers a curious quick glance about before his gaze falls back to the floor in thought. Seemingly lost to his own flights of fancy as if considering something important, though his head does seem to be shifting so he can listen to the other two - even if he doesn't appear to be paying attention.

    You have emoted: Galilei does not reply, eyes still searching for something none of them can see. A faint chill manifests somewhere near Ayastia, and a current of sharp resentment flares before the presence moves off.

    Galilei is where she is, rubbing at a temple with her hand.


    Ayastia furrows her brow in consternation.

    Ayastia takes a step closer, her demeanor changing in the span of a couple heartbeats.
    "Squire. Did you ever fully recover from your ascension?"

    More explanations.

    Lowering her hand without haste, you say, "I believe so, Ser."

    Cameryn cuts his gaze off to the west, as if searching for something, clicking his tongue in his mouth.

    Ayastia does not break eye contact, her single eye remaining fixed.
    "Are you sure? Because I feel the same thing I felt then," she offers, eye finally breaking contact to glance down at your hand. Grabbing the woman by the wrist, she drags the hand back up to look at a pulsing soulstone. "You have been distant for sometime now. Not long after your ascension in fact. Different."

    You have emoted: Expression unchanging, Galilei pulls her wrist free with iron strength. "I had to object, I am sure you understand, Ser," she says, outwardly mild.

    You say, "I have already gone through, and refused, examinations in this manner. Now, as for your conjecture."

    Cameryn shifts his gaze to stare at you now. The artist giving an appraising eye much the same as the painting in the tavern.

    You have emoted: "Though in the same path, Squire Ladoran is nevertheless not Ser Aldrati; you are correct to note that my demeanor has been changing." Galilei folds her hands behind her back, heels close together. "Call it an experiment, if you would, Ser. Trying out a different way of living."

    Cameryn stares a moment longer before rolling his shoulders and pulling out a pad, seeming to drift off to himself as he starts to sketch something out.

    Cameryn purses his lips pensively, gazing thoughtfully at some distant point.

    Cameryn shakes his head and notes a change, smudging something then starting with the sketch once more.

    Ayastia's expression remains, eye examining the squire before shaking her head, shrugging.
    "I don't care if you are trying something new. Or changing, Gal," she explains, voice soft. "I get it. I do. I am still going to worry about you." Cautiously, she reaches up, cupping your cheek. "I love you, Sister. Just... don't change too much, hm?"

    You have emoted: Galilei cannot quite sense the previous, telltale chill from where she stands. A faint nod, at Ayastia, at the air, affecting satisfaction but far from cheery. "I doubt I can leave all of myself behind."

    Exhaling, you say to Ayastia, "That is whatever you may have sensed does not want me to do."


    Ayastia drops her hand, sighing softly, nodding. "I guess we will leave you be..."

    Cameryn takes a long drag from a lit wildflower-pressed cigarette of faded parchment.

    Cameryn exhales a pungent cloud of smoke, redolent with challenging, wine-like scents.

    Cameryn stows the sketch suddenly and stares at you once more before his head cants. "Did you have any spots in mind for your painting, before I toddle off?"

    Ayastia says to Cameryn, "I'm going home. Go ahead and take care of your project."

    Ayastia says, "Voltda."

    A sulfurous portal opens in the ground before Ayastia and she quickly jumps into it before it snaps shut behind her.

    Cameryn pinches the bridge of his nose and exhales slowly.


    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ayastia's mind: "I am sorry I cannot fully explain to you now. My last encounter with the spectre was draining. I think... I will write to you of this. Writing is... it can be better."

    (Tells): An uneasy sense of emotion hedges into your mind as the throaty whisper of Ayastia imparts, "We are Carnifex, Gal. If a specter is bothering you, cull it. Torture it. Show it who is in Control. Your strength."

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ayastia's mind: "Stop." For this moment she is no longer the tired squire. "I am not culling, or torturing, my brother."

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ayastia's mind: "He - it will take time. To... help him heal."

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ayastia's mind: "I am sorry. My alarm was misdirected."


    (Tells): An uneasy sense of emotion hedges into your mind as the throaty whisper of Ayastia imparts, "I was unaware it was your brother. I am sorry for... suggesting that."

    You have emoted: One would not be surprised, at least in one way, if Galilei had turned and pummeled a hole into the cavern wall. As expected, she does not. The tension around her body does not yet dissipate. "Capital job I am doing at conversation, today."

    You say to Cameryn, "Hold, Ser. Location..."

    "For being a member of the Religion path she sure is dense to the dead."
    Cameryn states bluntly and flatly looking to where the redhead had been standing before his gaze shifts back to you fully. "Location, aye."

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ayastia's mind: "I didn't state outright who it was. I should have. There are a lot of things I should have done..." She does not speak only of Ayastia, here. "But those I can do."

    (Tells): An uneasy sense of emotion hedges into your mind as the throaty whisper of Ayastia imparts, "I assume you probably want to do this on your own but... if you want to heal a soul, Kani can teach you a lot."

    You have emoted: "Location..." Galilei gives her head a hard shake.
    "Gods. Yes. I'd... thought of an aviary in the Black Flagon Inn. The Lunare Ballroom in Spinesreach. Even my own parlour here in Bloodloch."

    (Tells): On tendrils of air, you let your velvety voice reach Ayastia's mind: "Even if the wound is emotional?"

    "Would your parlor be sufficiently hidden away so people do not interrupt?" Cameryn asks, his tone and gaze lacking any form of emotion as his head cants a bit.

    Cameryn takes a long drag from a lit wildflower-pressed cigarette of faded parchment.

    Cameryn exhales a pungent cloud of smoke, redolent with challenging, wine-like scents.


    (Tells): An uneasy sense of emotion hedges into your mind as the throaty whisper of Ayastia imparts, "Those are... harder to deal with. Those need to be talked out."

    You have emoted: Galilei blinks once, twice after the shake. She settles, back into placidity. Nowadays it appears cooler without the half-smile she used to wear along with her full-length gowns. Her demeanor itself, however, is clearly not wintry. "It is locked unless I say otherwise."

    You say, "One of the city apartments."

    "Noted. I'll go and find an easel and a number of other things I'll require. Sorry to have interrupted your day. Do take care."
    Cameryn offers now with a nod at the affirmation before shifting a bit, smoothing out his jacket once more and letting out a long sigh. "She's just worried that she's upset you or that she's losing a friend." He turns to step away on his mount now, stopping to offer further, "Same issue whoever that was that stopped by had."

    Ardent
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