Two logs from a while ago, detailing how some ideas for research ought to be treated with caution...
Surrounded by exotic greenery.Weeks later...
Though an insulated wall is hit at the back of the Spirean greenhouse, the growth of vegetation refuses to stop there. Long, green vines extend up along the flat surface, several feet in height and the varied lengths sprouting an equally varied selection of colourful fruits. Most of these blooms, however, rest upon the limbs of the many trees that have been planted and grown here, row by row, illustrating an interesting canvas of colour that would otherwise be quite out of place in the northern weather. Pale pink blossoms sprout from a tall, blooming plum tree. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. @Holbrook is here. He is riding on a misty grey mare. He wields a scholar's leather-wrapped codex in his left hand and a spiked kite shield in his right.
You see a single exit leading south.
You have emoted: Near silent are the steps of the soldier that walks in, dark eyes searching the greenhouse for some flower no doubt better than the cesalla held in one hand. The bardiche Galilei carries with her is an impressive thing, a reminder of her station as it is a weight to hold her down.
Holbrook straightens at your entry, snapping his codex shut, and rising from the ground. "Ah," he says quickly, inclining his head at you politely. "Good morning."
You have emoted: The Consanguine's gaze slides to the lone human, away from the single plum tree that has taken root in this place. "I hope I have not been intruding?" Galilei asks.
Holbrook shakes his head somewhat hastily, his eyes catching on your bardiche, and remaining there for a moment. "An impressive weapon," he says quietly, before turning a curious eye back to search your features. "Not exactly, no, but..." He trails off, leaving his shield leaning against the side of the tree.
You have emoted: Amusement flickers across the woman's lips, and her eyes move to reflect it. "The first of such compliments I have heard. Thank you." Galilei tilts her head then, bites a corner of her lower lip with a protruding fang that speaks of awareness. "The undead may still seek the beauty of life, held in a single flower. It has been a while since I have been here, but the greenhouse is as lovely as ever."
Holbrook's brows furrow, as his eyes focus on the lower half of your face; blinking when he finally sees you speak. "Fangs," he says abruptly, before catching himself and clenching his jaws shut. He draws himself up with something of an awkward rigidity with a sharp inhalation. "You're Consanguine," he continues quietly. "Apologies, I... don't think I've ever met one of your kind before."
You have emoted: Again, that quirk of a lip - and before Holbrook Galilei's features simply *shift.* The ivory canines retract, the rosiness still remaining in the Idreth's skin takes on a hue that one can only now notice is truly alive; the cloud of mist at her back melts into her back as though it had never been there.
You focus your blood reserves, directing a small amount into the hollow, lifeless capillaries of your face and limbs. A ruddy tint quickly suffuses your complexion and as you will your fangs to retract, you look like the mortal you once were.
She is an athletic Idreth of Tsol'aa heritage whose lightly rosy skin is clear enough to seem almost translucent. Coolly elegant facial features are complemented by a pear-shaped, leanly muscled physique befitting her status - the woman's six-foot-tall frame is held with a proud bearing that is only reinforced by the arch in her thin brows. Her deep-set, long-lashed eyes are darker than smoky topaz; her voice is low and velvety, further flattered by full, rosebud lips. Her wavy black hair is cropped short, not a single strand falling past her nape, to highlight the graceful shape of her skull and neck and showcase her pretty, pointed ears.
a sedate black dress with hematite clasps, striking against porcelain skin
a pair of elegantly tooled malachite boots, snakelike and sinuous
dangling earrings of rainbow quartz, throwing off glints of pastel light
a violet-touched headband of silver vines, embracing the back of the head
You say, "Tell me, good citizen - which do you find easier to stand with, a mortal reaving souls that belonged to someone alive, or the Consanguine claiming the soul with one sweep of the scythe?"
Holbrook's head tilts in curious appreciation. "Ah, a handy ability," he grants, before pausing to add, "Perhaps I may have unknowingly met one, after all." At your mention of souls, he goes deathly still, however. His gaze askance remains fixed on something distant, unfocused. A moment passes, before he lips his cracked lips in vain attempt to moisturize them. "You're Carnifex?" he asks, quietly, though it almost sounds like a statement.
You have emoted: Galilei idly lifts a white cesalla blossom to the great weapon, pale fingers brushing against the pole in an effort to find a notch to wind the stem upon. "While I do not always use the Carnifex' great skewers in battle, I am its Palatine - a priest or priestess, yet in training."
Holbrook's head and focus snaps to you, some ferocity behind his eyes. "Apologies. You spoke of claiming souls," he quips, taking a single step forward towards you. "And I made an assumption. I am not familiar with the term; is that a position within your.." he pauses, before adding, "..army?"
You have emoted: "Within the Keep, let us say." Galilei folds her hands before her and speaks pleasantly within her poise; the change overcoming Holbrook has not gone unnoticed, and hers is a scrutiny quite different from the Belletrist's - quiet, earnest, but not dissecting or arresting. "When I choose to wield my soulstone, I may indeed gather souls for use."
Holbrook finally turns away and retreats back to his small book bag, slumped against the plum tree. Working the braided chords of hemp loose with practiced movements, he slides his codex in, retrieving instead, a heavily embossed charcoal journal. "I am not likely what you were looking for, when you came in here searching for something," he says, back still to you. When he turns back to face you, however, it is with both the journal and a quill in his hands. "You happen to be an intersection of two subjects that I am currently studying," he explains.
Cautiously, Holbrook asks, "Would you happen to have some time to discuss those topics with me?"
It is now noon on Tisday, the 21st of Haernos, year 495 of the Midnight Age.
(Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "Noon is upon us - get to the shadows."
You have emoted: "You are no winter snowdrop, no," Galilei replies. She looks about while Holbrook goes to retrieve his items, steps to the side while Holbrook turns, and is standing two paces before him, bardiche leant lazily against that same tree. "Around a quarter day I may have, but this is hardly goodbye forever. What do you wish to know? I may not know everything about souls, but I can endeavor to postulate."
With your closing proximity, Holbrook's blinking is one of sudden awareness as he takes a step back, but his impassive eyes remain on you. With a practiced flick of his wrist, the journal falls open to a blank page, the feathery tip of the quill on his other hand wafting lightly with his movement. "Very well," he says, "I try not to impose." His jaws clench once more, the muscles bunching and releasing as though attempting to ask several questions at once. He a moment to breathe, before asking simply, "How do the Carnifex utilise the power of souls?"
Holbrook frowns and glances aside for a moment, before returning his attention on you.
A swirling mass of void-black darkness gathers in the space before you. Reaching forth, you casually withdraw your soulstone, returning it to your possession.
Multiple facets make up the outer layer of this soulstone, each one an irregular size to give the stone an imperfect shape. The surface of the stone seems to reflect no light, even when held at every angle. In fact, it is almost as if the dark stone truly absorbs all light that comes in contact with it. Its makeup is of some dark crystal, quartz perhaps, or of something similar. It is heavy, heavier than its half a foot in length and diameter should be. Along with the impossible weight, the soulstone is ice cold to the touch, almost to the point of burning. Every so often the soulstone pulses with an inner glow which sends swirls of black motes dancing beneath the surface of its facets.
It weighs about 1 pound(s) and 4 ounce(s).
It bears the distinctive mark of Palatine Galilei Ladoran.
You have emoted: The stone lies, shimmering and inert, in the palm of Galilei's hand. "It is not simply molding ectoplasm, the things we do," she says quietly. "Roan Seluno, decades and decades before my own birth, came up with a way to go further than simply steal away what the Underking was given Him when He was placed to rule His realm."
You say, "We mold the energy of what once housed the Spark still has, its potential for rebirth and whatever power it comes from being its own self, just as the sentient tastes far sweeter than the mindless blood of animals..."
You say, "We use this energy to strengthen our weapons, to keep us from death but once with each soul, we use it as a conduit for blessings... that is, of course, the priests' lot."
You display a pulsing soulstone for all in the room to see.
Holbrook's eyes flick to the soulstone, and a feverish glint takes hold as they widen in singular focus. The gaunt man is almost motionless, or near as such as mortals can be, as taken in by the stone as he is. "It is beautiful," he says simply, breath catching in his words. A quiet moment passes, and his quill is finally about to ink his journal, before he pauses to look back up at you. "Would you mind if I make a quick sketch of it in my journal?"
Quickly adding, Holbrook continues, "And do they all look the same, for all who has a similar stone?"
You have emoted: "Perhaps one facet differs from another. But overall - it is easier to see the glimmer and its blackness that all soulstones have." Galilei's hand is steady beneath the stone's weight. The smile upon her face is not merely a shadow. "Sketch away."
Despite his gaunt appearance, something of a youthful exuberance has taken over his form, as Holbrook begins mark his journal; the feathered tip of his quill a drifting approximation of his sketch. "This conduit," he begins, eyes feverishly flicking back and forth between his journal and the stone, "Does it simply ... 'convey' the energy of a soul, or does it store it too?"
You have emoted: "Stored," Galilei states. Pale, smoky blue coils beneath the stone's surface, shifting slowly under the touch of her like fish beneath arctic ice. "We are given a link to the soulstone when we go to prize it from the Masterstone; we may claim souls from our kills, store their motes within this same stone. When we look for a soul to utilise, what comes out is not a single mote but a full soul, usually."
Holbrook's eyes snap up at you, interrupting his sketch. "A Masterstone?" he asks simply, and incredulously. He lips his lips once more, taking a pause to finish his sketch before setting the quill down in the fold of his journal. "I don't suppose the Carnifex would be open to allowing such an artifact to be examined." He says, a question - but in the form of a statement. "Amazing," he says quietly to himself. "I had no idea that such a thing even existed."
You have emoted: "It is not within my authority to simply bring an outsider to the seat of the stone; that is best decided by the Commander." Galilei's gaze is level, and so is her voice. "We are not an unreasonable guild. We will protect our interests when pushed, but I do not think she will turn you down out of hand, as long as you have someone from the guild with you while you observe."
You say, "Something to discuss when we next meet, perhaps?"
Holbrook's nod is slow, and thoughtful. "Aye, perhaps. I've many more questions to ask you, to be honest." He snaps his journal shut, trapping the quill within. "A most fortuitous meeting. I am glad you stepped into the greenhouse."
You have emoted: And now does Galilei's gaze turn assessing, analytical. What she discovers is not for any to see, and perhaps she herself has not found anything to hold onto and scrutinise. Not yet. "It is pleasant to meet one so studious." The bardiche is back in her hand, and already she is moving. One pause, to look back. "Until then, be well."
You have emoted: Galilei might have forgotten Holbrook's face, perhaps that is why she is here - in a living guise again. Indeed, her movements are slow and deliberate when she approaches, and her eyes take in the state of his haleness with a gaze one might attribute to a Consanguine - merely with little avarice.
Holbrook's flat expression twists into something of an awkward grimace as he cuts his fishing line, reeling the rod in, upon noting your entrance. "Ah, apologies. I hadn't quite noticed you approach."
Holbrook's eyes flick at his rod, and back at you, before slipping the fishing rod away. "Something to do, while I work through my thoughts," he explains, albeit somewhat clumsily.
You have emoted: "An advantage," Galilei chuckles. The Carnifex does not bow, or so it is said, and so her greeting is a deep incline of the head that also acknowledges Holbrook's explanation. "The frail are not always a best candidate for self-inflicted experimentation. I see you are not among them."
You have emoted: Galilei's dark eyes are trained upon Holbrook as she speaks, slightly narrowing in thought, and her lips murmur 'Tekal' without a sound, turning the concept over in her mind.
Holbrook's eyes shift down to his now emptied hand, as he opens and closes his palm, then experimentally flexes it. He frowns with a curious glint in his eyes, as he studies his sinewy hands. "I suppose I would not consider myself necessarily frail. The Ef'Tig of sound mind and a sound body.."
You have emoted: The details of that hand are not lost on Galilei, whose eyes are faintly luminous even when masqueraded; burnt amber, far from a panther's gold, at least. "Understand that most of Deathlore has had to do with souls already reaved and stored in the stone. But with your knowledge as an Archivist and mine as one who wields the Blood... perhaps we can make some inroads. Even without them, perhaps Deathlore will prove more insightful on its own."
(Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "The shadows shall soon embrace us."
Holbrook's continued study of his hands is somewhat thoughtful, as he considers your words. "Ah," he says, after a moments' consideration. "Well, Deathlore is merely one aspect of my curiosity for the time being." He then reaches out and offers his open hand, as he finally shifts his gaze away from it and to you. "I don't believe I've offered my name, nor did I get yours. I am Holbrook. Pleased to meet you."
You have emoted: "Palatine Galilei Ladoran." The woman's hand is slender and pale, fingertips hardened by work yet the rest of her kept remarkably well-groomed. Galilei is warmer than one would expect of a Consanguine as well, even with her guise - is it some magic in the guise itself, or is her Idreth configuration playing a part? "Fortunate that names are not always necessary when tracking a presence in the realm, mm?"
"Y-you're warm," Holbrook stammers, his typically well controlled expression giving way to something of a childish interest. It fades again quickly, as he continues, "I'd never .. touched one of the Consanguine before." He clears his throat then, changing the subject back to your comment: "Unfortunately, however, that when it comes to journaling it is less helpful to not have your name." He quips.
Gesturing out to the west, Holbrook says, "And neither is this environment for any journaling work. Shall we extricate ourselves from this river?"
You have emoted: Galilei's smile is fleeting and quick - she has seen that look, and from how her eyes flicker, she will not be forgetting it soon. "A wise choice."
You begin to follow Holbrook.
Surrounded by exotic greenery.
"Much more appropriate," Holbrook says, as he swiftly dismounts his mare, leaving his kite shield hanging on her saddle.
You have emoted: Galilei's steel boots are quiet upon the greenhouse floor. Of course she moves to stand before the plum tree, and the surprisingly warm hand rises again to brush against a low-hanging blossom - she never picks it. "Most of my kind are cold. I found it distasteful, and while I shall never be as warm as I once was, I will not be on par with a corpse."
Thoughtfully, you say, "I did not think I could manage, even as a Tekal myself. But the moment of change came - and passed, and there I was."
Holbrook's nod is slow and thoughtful. "Ah. So it came after .." he trails off, a frown forming as he pauses. "After you became one of the Conganguine?" He tilts his head suddenly, as though something has caught his attention. Though his gaze remains fixed on you. "Was it a conscious decision, or .. subconscious?" he asks.
You have emoted: "I changed long after my Embrace, yes." Galilei looks back to Holbrook, and the jeweled wisteria by one ear clinks gently. "I know I was dissatisfied with the cold, but I may not have actively wished it. My rising was done in the midst of a ritual offering to the Master Soulstone, of the spirits in Drakuum - all the soulstones' desire, all the souls' emotions - they had claimed me, and I was not myself when I rose." Something comes to her even as she speaks. "I have written the procedures, and the book resides in my haven as well as the Carnifex guildhall."
Holbrook's gaze is level, as his jaw clenches for but a moment. "Pardon the question, but when you say rising, are you referring to the .. Embrace?" He reaches up to loosen the scarf around his neck, and it uncoils into a loose wind. "I have a theory," he begins somewhat hesitantly, before picking up in cadence, "That the soul is able to reshape a mortal body, depending on what it wants, whether subconsciously or otherwise. I hadn't yet thought of how that would apply to the Consanguine."
"This book, however..." Holbrook continues quickly, "Is this something you would be open to sharing? I would be quite curious to see what it entails."
You have emoted: Galilei shakes her head. "I was referring to the process of actually transforming into an Idreth, and I am open, yes." Her face and voice are earnest. "I am rather inclined to agree - my once-sister-in-law, Ayastia Aldrati of the Templars, now, fashioned for herself a pair of feline ears - " she is aware of how this may sound, but soldiers on - "as some symbol of change she wished upon herself, I believe. Come, and we will go to my library."
Holbrook cocks an eyebrow at that. "Feline.. ears. What is her heritage?" he asks, as he steps in line.
Holbrook begins to follow you.
Simply, you say, "Human."
You close your eyes and begin to focus on your haven.
You turn your mind to the entryway of your haven, and further in to the Twilit City. Its pull is a
penetrating vibration, fragmenting your senses and expanding your mind. Another moment passes, and you have already left the shell that now tethers you to reality.
Holbrook follows you to the ether.
On a sunburst platform.
High above a sea of feathery clouds, a circular platform of rainbow quartz hangs; at the centre, a sunburst carving eternally dominates, perhaps to give an origin to the never-burning daylight that shines here without a source. Though already ringed by markings of major constellations, countless shadows from a spiraling canopy of crystalline spheres also traverse the carving's surface to reflect the sun's journey. Those delicate shells hang like morning dew from their twisting quartz rod, the height of which would be overshadowed by the balancing act of structures further into the mindscape - but only if one would turn their gaze to look upon those. Northward, boundless skies await the eye, changing as the world outside and the mind within are wont to change. South across a bridge of crystal, a phantom, looming city beckons beneath its twilit glow. Faint, honey-gold light twinkles here and there to soften the mass of thought and memory, a gentle reminder that this is home. A small sign indicates that LIBRARY CATALOG will list the materials in this library.
You see a single exit leading south.
"Hm," is all Holbrook says, with a frown and crossed arms.
Holbrook is forced to uncross his arms, however, as he audibly gasps at the vision that meets him upon stepping into the haven. "What--" is all he manages, as his eyes track around the platform, and into the horizon.
You have emoted: The night stretches on into her mindscape and so Galilei's haven is also night, yet the feathery leaves floating around the platform are as well-lit as any library bookshelf. They float closer as though carried upon a breeze and weighing nothing at all as their host raises a languid hand. Is she pleased? "Welcome to the Twilit City."
Holbrook's gaze is drawn to the crystalline bridge, but he tears his eyes from it to turn to you. "It's beautiful here," he says simply, before adding, "Peaceful." Inevitably, however, the man's gaze is finally drawn to the library, noting the rather large collection of books on the shelving and he frowns slightly as he attempts to read the titles on their spines without approaching.
You have emoted: A flick of the wrist, and a crystalline leaf floats ever closer. Scrolls, a few books, all bearing Galilei's name. She does not reply as she watches the man's attentions shift, and merely smiles in a manner that is a touch more relaxed even as one showing another their creation might not quite be fully at ease.
Holbrook's eyes catch on the crystalline leaf, and his look of wonder finally fades into his typical controlled expression. His eyes flick across the names of the scrolls and books, and, remembering something, suddenly reaches into his own book bag to retrieve his journal and quill. Having done that, he turns back to you. "I'd visited my own Haven, after having become a Tekal. But it is formless, and .. empty." Gesturing out with his journal, he adds, "You've inspired me somewhat, I think," a little grin crimping the corner of his lips, though that too fades quickly.
It is now midnight on Tisday, the 4th of Chakros, year 496 of the Midnight Age.
Today is the Liberation of Moghedu.
(Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "Midnight is upon us."
You have emoted: "For those who seek a home in their own minds... you'd like to adorn it how you'd always like to adorn a home, wouldn't you?" The expression is mirrored on Galilei's lips, though that one lingers. "I am happy to hear it."
Holbrook's nod comes slowly and thoughtfully. "Aye, I suppose you would. I'd given it some thought, but what I had thought of were more practical." He casts his eyes around the boundless skies once more, before finally turning his attention back to his journal. He flips it open to previously noted page to add an addendum on it. "I suppose in return I should show you my sketching of your soulstone that you kindly shown me... though it is a poor exchange."
You have emoted: Galilei carefully takes the book, sensing weeks of toil in every page.
You have emoted: Galilei is smiling still - her eyes have grown wider, appreciation glimmering
there. Holbrook has his a heavily embossed charcoal journal back in his hands now, but she has taken a good, long look at the etchings, and taken in the style of his hand.
You murmur to Holbrook, "Blessed is the hand that can capture an idea right in such a short amount of time."
Despite your words, Holbrook's look is one of a grimace as he glances down at the quill in his writing hand. "It is a poor mockery of the true wonders of Reality, but I do try my best to capture it." He takes a moment to take a breath, and clear his expression once more. "Now then, lest we risk further distractions - which of these scrolls and books had the procedures that you had noted?" he asks, as he takes a step towards the crystalline leaf of the bookshelf.
You have emoted: "Carnifex Rituals: End-of-year offering would be the one." Galilei considers a moment. "The way in which some Deathlore abilities can be used are shown in the Enfrost, Substitute, Fortify ritual, but moreso on how it is conducted than how it works."
You say, "Both have to do with shared power in the form of a blood offering, to link all soulstones present to a focus."
Holbrook's fingers, though sinewy and rough, are gentle as he lightly brushes with but the slightest touch of his fingertips, as he traces spines of books and scrolls as he searches along the shelving for the one as titled by you. He stops with a step when he finds his prize, and gently removes it from its nest. With a soft brush of his fingertips on its cover, he flips the book open, and gives it a cursory glance before turning up to look at you. "You're quite the scholar yourself," he quips.
You have emoted: "Required for a priestess of war." The smile takes on the first hint of a smirk, a look that would have felt a little more malevolent had Galilei retained her fangs, as she still carries herself the way a soldier would. "I have woken again, and I seek to add to my writings in time." She steps back, hands clasped behind, allowing Holbrook time to read while her own mind, it seems, surveys the rest of her haven for anything amiss.
Holbrook falls quiet as he begins to read. Only the soft ruffling of pages breaks the monotony of his controlled breathing in the silence that spreads.
"Fascinating," Holbrook says, after several moments of quiet reading. "Is this ritual something that is expected of all Carnifex?"
You have emoted: Galilei shakes her head. "It is not. Not many have taken up the ritual I crafted, either."
You say, "Those who are awake may attend as they wish, of course."
Holbrook's nod comes slowly, having continued reading at your reply. "Perhaps they should," he says with a frown. "Ritual is a good way to build discipline, and the power they have are not to be underestimated." He pauses, then inclines his head in concession to a point that has yet to be brought up. "Though I imagine you would be well aware of that too. If this ritual is one that allows for observers, I would be appreciate the opportunity to do so."
(Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "The curse of dawn approaches."
It is now dawn on Tisday, the 4th of Chakros, year 496 of the Midnight Age.
You have emoted: A pulsing soulstone makes a second appearance now, and Galilei's face is solemn. "Would you like to see the effects of blood upon a stone now?"
Holbrook pauses in his reading, as his eyes flick up at you, but more specifically the soulstone. Two fingers on his right hand still point at the words on the final pages of the book in his left palm, as he remains motionless. "I would, yes," he says simply. As if through an effort of will, however, he tears his eyes away and back at the book. He gently closes it and replaces it into its space in the bookshelves with a soft rustling of leather rubbing upon leather. "I did note, however that you wrote that those new to Deathlore are not recommended to lead the ritual, as they may be overwhelmed by the negative emotions of souls. Is that.. common? Emotions and memories within the souls?" he asks, turning back to you, and stepping closer.
You have emoted: And now a clawtip tears through her glamour, wicked and curving, to draw back Galilei's sleeve. "You feel their rage, their despair, their desire for life or simply for the Underhalls each time you draw upon Deathlore," she says quietly. "The faint of heart may, yes, buckle under their weight."
You have emoted: A white forearm appears beneath receding pleats. Galilei's fingers tighten upon her stone, and her skin breaks - with the offering, a pulsing soulstone is already flaring in a flurry of ice-blue motes - and the scent of life, even unlife, sends those same motes scurrying beneath the surface.
Holbrook nods says nothing more, as he approaches you, his eyes wide open and fixed on the soulstone in your hands . His right fingers twitches by his side, as if sketching in the air and committing the vision before him to memory.
You have emoted: Like ink unraveling in water the souls seep out their despair, raking invisible fingers into the air around Galilei and Holbrook. Life, life, taken, denied them. Unfair, someone help, so lost and cold and the mass around you has no face -
Holbrook's breath catches somewhat, as his eyes widen - if they could do so any further - at the despair permeating the air before him. His focus on the soulstone in your hand twists into a grimace as he frowns, a hand reaching up to grasp at his chest in a fist. "What--" he stammers, and blinks repeatedly, in some attempt to clear his mind. "That intensity of desperation."
You have emoted: Galilei's eyes are open, wide, wide open, and trained on the surroundings. The sky has shifted colour, turned crimson and sunset gold and a blazing sort of rose, fighting against the dark wind that is the souls' inaudible screaming. Her fingers are drained of colour, and her voice is low and tightly held in the grip of self-control. "This is what you endure. Less so, and more fleeting than this without blood."
Almost faltering in step, all Holbrook can do is clench his jaws in a weak attempt to steady himself amidst the whirlwind of negative emotion. The shifting of the sky's colour is all but lost on Holbrook, as his fights to maintain his singular focus on the soulstone in your hands. "This.. this is what you endure? On a daily basis?" he asks, breathless, voice strained.
You have emoted: Galilei is there in front of him, free hand and bloodied clawtip, offering anchor for his hand if Holbrook needs it. "One reason why I tend to rely on the Blood... more."
It is now noon on Tisday, the 4th of Chakros, year 496 of the Midnight Age.
(Bloodloch): A humble bellman says, "Noon is upon us - get to the shadows."
Holbrook grasps at your hand, knuckles white with strain, and tendons and veins popping on the back of his hand. His grip is almost rough, and tight, but it comes in an opportune time, as his step has faltered for good. He manages, however, with your help, to steady himself. Having broken his gaze from the soulstone from his stumble, the gaunt man finally lifts his gaze up into the sky, and inhales sharply when he finally takes in the difference in colour and light; a sharp contrast to the clear and peaceful night before. "I cannot truly imagine myself enduring this constantly," he says, as he takes a deep, and long strained breath as he steadies himself.
Holbrook stumbles once more, releasing his grip on your arm and backing away from the despair permeating the air. Though from the somewhat panicked look around him, he's likely realised it hasn't done him any good. "I'm sorry --" he stammers, "I think this might be too much for me. You've -" he pauses, catching his breath, his resolve appearing to finally crumble before the weight of despair pressing down around him. "You've given me pause - perhaps I shouldn't be so quick to dive into experiments with my soul," he says, before slipping away.