Prelate Maelok Xanatov says, "Could you give me an example of a tool of artifice?"
You nod your head emphatically.
You say, "Fear."
You say, "Manipulation."
Prelate Maelok Xanatov says, "And why might these been tools of Artifice?"
Flecking the darkened sky with streaks of orange and magenta, rays of early morning light streak upwards from a newly awakened sun.
You say, "Because they can be used over people in Corruption. As I was explaining to the Arch-Prelate, vampires and undead are everywhere, and we must be there to meet them. At home in Enorian, we must steel ourselves against Corruption and Artifice."
"Steel yourselves against corruption?" comes a voice that seems to echo upon the chamber walls around you at all places at once. A steely laugh cuts the air in direct response to this notion.
You have emoted: Joul flicks his ears at the unknown presence but keeps a good deal of his attention at Maelok.
Maelok gazes quickly around the room in an attempt to locate the source of the voice.
The beautiful mural painted lavishly upon the ceiling begins to ripple and distort, the beautiful blue sky transitioning into something much darker and sinister, clouds darkening, blues fading to be replaced with blacks, and clouds shifting into a myriad of green-flecked hues altogether.
Casting off her final fetters, the luminous lady awakens fully, shedding her joyful light from horizon to horizon.
Prelate Maelok Xanatov says to you, "Yes, you are correct. We must steel ourselves against Corruption and Artifice, though it would appear that Someone might not agree with you."
Someone indeed. It becomes quite obvious who that Someone is as Chakrasul Herself ripples into existence before your very eyes, seated casually upon the desk that lies in the center of the room. A leg is crossed over its pair, and She regards the both of you with a look of pure amusement.
You have emoted: The fur on his tail begins to puff up as Joul springs back from Chakrasul towards Maelok, hands shifting towards his mace.
Prelate Maelok Xanatov says, "Ah, it seems the Lady Herself has decided to cease hiding in the shadows."
Headmaster's office (12183) - Enorian (69)
Resting on the ground is a cube-shaped silver sigil. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A steadfast Templar patrols here, visor drawn and belt laden with weapons. The shining figure of a guardian angel floats in the air here. Prelate Maelok Xanatov is here. He wields a buckler in his left hand. A seething miasma of jade clings to the towering form of
Chakrasul, Goddess of Corruption here.
You see a single exit leading west.
She is an Immortal that is tall and rather slender, Her form complemented by rich ivory skin that's barren of scars or marrings in its entirety. Hair a bright blond in hue frames Her face, the luxurious tendrils that make it up left to fall to about Her shoulders in length. Her cheeks are notably thin, but if anything this feature only manages to emphasize the sheer radiance of Her eyes, their vivid green shifting and contorting in a dazzling tumble of jade hues. Sleek curves emphasize the Goddess' feminine figure in a way that's only supported by the elegant dress of flawless white that's draped over Her form.
(draped gracefully over Her body) : a dress of stark white
(hanging lightly over Her shoulders) : a luxurious coat of ivory-hued fur
"Hiding?" Chakrasul scoffs forth, a feigned expression of hurt seeming to scathe Her features. "Goodness no little Luminary, I hide nowhere," She informs, Her hands stretching behind Her to hold Her form aloft upon the desk. "I am in your hearts, waiting for the opportunity to strike - I am with you at all times, always - you need but open your eyes to see it. I do not hide."
Attaining her fullest glory, the shining sun sits upon her throne at the apex of her daily trek through the firmament.
You have emoted: Joul gives a slow subtle nod to Chakrasul's words, finding unfortunate truth in them. "T-There are some hearts you cannot have, though." he quietly says.
"Oh but that is where you are wrong," Chakrasul seems to almost purr forth, gaze narrowing upon you. In a blur of motion She is off the desk and then slowly, almost dramatically so, approaching you. "I take what I want," She murmurs, head canting. "When I want it. All is Mine when I wish it to be."
Shadows spring forth under the Goddess' feet as She walks, a twirling, turgid miasma left in Her wake.
You have emoted: Joul flicks his tail in a flinch but holds steadfast in Chakrasul's approach, uncertainty marking his features as he peeks over to Maelok.
Maelok quickly places himself between Joul and the Goddess of Corruption. "You will not be taking anything today. Least not unless you go through me first."
Maelok stands with arms outstretched, his mouth moving rapidly in fervent prayer.
White strands of light weave themselves together before Maelok, and within seconds he holds a spiritual mace within his grasp.
Chakrasul waves a hand towards Maelok as She continues Her languid approach in your direction, sending Maelok violently flying towards the side of the chamber like a piece of discarded garbage. "What I want," She states as She lays Her index finger upon your chest. The flesh begins to sizzle and hiss under Her touch, and yet despite this no physical pain is made evident by the gesture while Her finger slips beneath flesh, muscle, and sinew alike.
Jayce's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Everything ok? My interview didn't take so long."
You whisper softly into Jayce's consciousness, "C-Chakrasul's here..."
Jayce's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Oooh, how quaint.."
The sun begins her downward journey towards eventual sleep, casting even, full light upon the land.
Maelok lands hard against the wall of the chamber, and rises slowly, dazed by the impact. He gazes over to watch as Her hand enters Joul's chest. "You cannot have him!"
Maelok finally recovers, grips his buckler and mace tightly and charges towards the Lady of Corruption.
You have emoted: Joul hesitates long into Chakrasul's approach, confusion and indecision plauging him but gripping a bit tighter at his mace at Maelok's assault. He finally shakes his head in clarity and recoils from the dark touch, doing his best to avoid and retreat.
The deepening dusk yields to impenetrable darkness as night claims the land.
You whisper softly into Jayce's consciousness, "It's not quaint it's scary! S-She's trying to touch me!"
Her hand slides deeper into your chest, Her other fingers now joining in as they sink below the tender flesh. As Maelok charges, Chakrasul waves Her hand once more towards him almost distractedly as Her focus remains upon you. You can tell by Her abrupt squeeze that She clutches something, but without a peek into your anatomy it's quite difficult to tell.
Jayce's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Then bash Her over the head!"
A ring of jade flames erupt around Maelok and begins to shrink rapidly around him. Unholy tongues of emerald fire leap upwards into the heavens above as they reach Maelok, setting him alight. Screams of agony, like a benediction to suffering itself, fill the air as he fades amidst the acrid smoke and smell of charred flesh.
It takes only a moment for you to gather precisely what it is She grasps - your heart. Your breathing, your consciousness, everything altogether comes to a jarring sort of slow-motioned halt as Her fingers wrap around the beating organ.
Leaning forward to whisper lightly, quietly into you's ear, Chakrasul, Goddess of Corruption says, "This is where I reside. Always. You cannot hide from Me. You cannot fight Me."
And then, She is gone.
You have emoted: Joul feels at his chest before surveying the room throughly, finally looking up to the mural.
The mural has returned to normalcy, as has your chest. No signs of the Goddess' presence can be felt or seen, save for that deep, unsettling feeling that plagues the back of your mind. Was She truly there? Perhaps it was a figment.
Killien swiftly gallops in from the west.
Killien slows his horse to a canter before he deftly dismounts, his eyes settling upon you, "Are you harmed?" He asks in a calm voice, his eyes looking about the office.
You stare at Killien and blink.
Quietly, you say, "I-I don't think so..."
Maelok rushes back into the room, breathing heavily.
You whisper softly into Jayce's consciousness, "...Come to me?"
Killien tilts his eyes toward Maelok as he enters, inclining his head slightly, "So tell me more of what is happening. Tell me of Corruption's plan," He says, his voice an even tone, yet slightly harsher at the mention of Corruption.
Jayce enters from the west, riding a shadowy nightmare.
Jayce gracefully hops off of a shadowy nightmare.
Jayce gives you a look of concern and steps over to your side.
Maelok looks around the room frantically, searching the room for traces of the Lady of Corruption.
You have emoted: Joul moves quickly beside Jayce as he still settles down from the incident, his ears twitching alertly.
Jayce presses his ears back into his head and narrows his eyes at his surroundings.
Quietly, you say, "There's only one person who can have my heart. S-She'll never have it..."
Maelok kneels before Joul and says, "I'm sorry, I failed to protect you." His head bowed in shame.
The beats of a thousand duskycloak wings can be heard in a soft, sussurant whisper as a mortal heart still dripping blood is carelessly tossed aside here by an unseen source.
Jayce picks up a mortal heart still dripping blood.
You have emoted: Joul shakes his head at Maelok. "I'm sorry I hesitated... m-my first instinct was to attack but I didn't know of maybe any formalities..."
Killien inhales slowly, keeping focus upon his center. "Do You have little better to do, Jade woman?" He suddenly shouts into the surroundings, "Are we, as ever, Your preferred distraction in Your attempts to spread Your foul influence? Do You think You may walk here as You wish and go unnoticed?" With that, he waits, allowing his eyes to slowly scan every inch of the walls, waiting for some response. At the drop of the heart, he shakes his head, "Games, always games. Endless games and distractions!"
Kindled Soul, Jayce Chaltier says, "Listen here, You filthy creature. Yes, You Lady of Corruption. His heart belongs to he alone, not something You'll ever be able to take."
A bolt of burning blue fire slams into the ground near where Jayce stands.
Jayce steps further in front of you, saying even louder, "Strike me down if You wish! You do not get to toy with the heart of my fellow Luminaries! We are stronger than You, no matter how You try to deceive and corrupt us! My life is but a piece in the grand scheme and You will not silence me!"
Killien turns toward Jayce. "The best we can do? Ignore Her. She has power when you acknowledge that She has it, over you. Ignore Her whispers, Ignore the pain She visits. Toss Her aside, like you would anything you do not need."
Jayce inspects Killien and expresses his opinion with an unimpressed "tch."
Kindled Soul, Jayce Chaltier says to Killien Sai Cardinalis, "Some man you are if you wouldn't protect the heart of the one you love."
Killien narrows his eyes. "Do not -speak- sir, as if you know what I have done in the face of Corruption," He says, his voice an icy chill, "I know Her rather intimately, and I offer advice as one who has been under Her influence."
Kindled Soul, Jayce Chaltier says, "I'll speak as I please, not you or any corrupt Divine Being is going to silence me."
You have emoted: Joul grips his mace a little tighter as he moves closer to Jayce. "D-Don't let her get to us, guys.." he says as he places a hand on Jayce's shoulder.
Jayce turns an idle ear and back to Killien to look over you again, murmuring as a frown overtakes his lips, "You're not hurt, are you?"
You shake your head at Jayce.
A sickening, lurching sensation makes itself evident within the very center of your gut, like bile churning and roiling in the pit of your stomach.
Maelok snaps his head up suddenly and says loudly, "Enough fighting, this is exactly what She wants. We must stand united."
Killien Sai Cardinalis says, "Know this: So long as You acknowledge Her presence and Her influence, it will take hold of you and find root. She only has power when She is known. Stand against Her by turning your back to Her, not by standing defiantly in front of Her."
Jayce places his mace in his weaponbelt, still ignoring those around him and rests his hand over your chest silently.
Jayce ceases to wield a spiritual mace in his right hand.
You have emoted: Joul closes his eyes with a small grimace as if thinking really hard, hands still clutching his mace and shield tightly.
In a whisper, Kindled Soul, Jayce Chaltier says to you, "You have pulled me from far deeper darkness and corruption, my love.. focus on me.. She's not there, do not let Her eat at you.."The bile rises, traveling up your chest and towards your esophagus to linger there irritatingly. It is as if you are on the verge of vomiting, but you cannot gather up the ability to expel the substance from your body.
You have emoted: Joul draws a deep breath as he shifts his buckler hand over his belly, giving it a probing rub as he traces it up higher on his chest. He opens his eyes to look at Jayce, his expression still worried as he gives a hard swallow. "S-She's not there..." he quietly repeats.
The bile burns like acid in the back of your throat. It lingers obtrusively.
Jayce flips his shield over his back and takes your cheek with a nod, continuing to whisper, "Your heart belongs to you, no other.. She cannot pull you down unless you let Her.. Even if you were to slip I would be there to catch you." His other hand remains on your chest but he can't seem to shake the frown from his face.
Riding her chariot of light, the great life-giver rises from her long sleep and shoots a timorous ray over the horizon.
Killien continues to watch the walls, the ceiling, a smile forming on his lips, almost wistful, he closes his eyes briefly, fingers moving their way to the heavy chain about his neck, feeling its cool surface.
Maelok covers his head with his hands and head falls towards the ground. A tear patters against the floor. "I failed." He whispers.
You have emoted: Joul quivers and convulses, hands shooting up to grab at his throat. He wobbles where he stands for a moment, and then from seemingly nowhere he violently expels a torrential surge of black, murky bile from his lips.
Jayce closes an eye as whatever you expels strikes him, but he remains close to keep you supported should you begin to fall. He rubs the bile away from his cheek with his shoulder.
Killien Sai Cardinalis says to Prelate Maelok Xanatov, "We only fail if we give up. Hold tightly to your spark, Prelate, for it is the Light that can protect us, if we allow it."
You have emoted: Joul reels with a stagger as he vomits, doing his best to keep the projectiles away or pointed to the floor. He nearly collapses were it not for Jayce's support and draws a few air-gasping coughs as he begins to finish.
Rising higher in the sky, the sun illuminates the land, confining darkness to the shadows.
Jayce wrinkles his nose at the smell which wafts from the expulsion of fluids from you and looks to Maelok, saying firmly, "Prelate, what would you have me do?" His eyes flick towards a mortal heart
still dripping blood as he further wraps his arms around the man before him to keep you from collapsing.
Maelok shakes his head back and forth pushing the images flowing through mind back. He gazes up to Killien and says, "...You're right... The only failure is to give up, we...I must not give up."
You have emoted: Joul leans a bit heavier on Jayce as he recovers, closing his eyes as he quietly says, "S-She didn't get my heart... She tried but She can't have it.."
Killien nods toward Maelok, "As you say, we stand strong together. Let our Light burn away the shadows of Corruption, so that we may continue our march toward Dawn."
Maelok rises from his knees, regaining his composure and says to Killien, "Thank you, brother. You have brought me to my senses."
Killien smiles toward Maelok, moving closer to clasp the him upon the shoulder, "Always," he offers, before his eyes take in the bile spread across the floor. His jaw tightens at the smell, "We should clean away the mess through fire, and then..." his voice trails off, looking toward Maelok again, "What it is you suggest, Prelate."
You have emoted: Joul gives a few unsure nods to the conversation then nods into Jayce, shifting his weapons away as he follows his lead.
Maelok shifts his attention towards the black sludge across the floor, looks around the room at his fellow Luminaries. "As you have said, we must trust in our Inner Sparks, we should call upon its power to burn away this darkness."
Jayce narrows his eyes as he hoists you up into his arms, saying, "Hold on, I've got you.. The Great Spark is a place for clarity and peace. It is stronger than any ailment one could suffer," before he vanishes through the doorway, blackened footsteps of bile goop trailing behind him.
Inner Sanctum (12192) - Enorian (69)
The bright sun shines down, blanketing you with its life-giving warmth. Soft light emanates from an exquisite chest of silvery crystal. An intense white flame, inexplicably formed into a sphere, hovers above the altar. There are 2 cube sigils here. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A steadfast Templar patrols here, visor drawn and belt laden with weapons. Eyes watching his surroundings closely, an imposing Luminary stands guard here. There are 2 guardian angels here..
You see a single exit leading east (open pine door).
Jayce moves over to a brilliant ball of flame and places you near it, running his fingers over your ears and whispering, "Meditate.. draw the flame into yourself. Know in your heart it is stronger than Her corruption.. find peace and clarity within the warm embrace.. I'll be here should anything happen."
You have emoted: Joul gives a slow nod after reluctantly leaving Jayce's arms, turning to sit before a brilliant ball of flame and closing his eyes. He gives a few more fidgets as he wipes any remaining fluid from his mouth, preparing to meditate.
You meditate on the power of light, and feel your reserves of illuminating essence grow.
Jayce pulls a cheerful picnic quilt from his pack and uses it to begin wiping at any remaining fluids which might cling to his flesh. He kneels behind you with his back to the other man, ears perked in alert.
--From Jayce's point--
You whisper psychically into Maelok's mind, "I'm keeping an observant eye on him as he meditates."
You whisper psychically into Maelok's mind, "Thank you for defending him to the best of your capabilities. I am in your debt, Prelate."
His voice laden with crackling fire, Maelok whispers warmly to you, "I would do the same for any of my family. Please let me know if his condition changes."
You whisper psychically into Maelok's mind, "I will. Thank you."
You have emoted: Joul gives a few labored breaths in his meditation, calming a bit more with Jayce's presence behind him again. He gives a few grunts as he jerks in pain but his focus remains intent and unwaivering as he contemplates the recent happenings. Soon, his skin begins to tinge with a soft light and pain or discomfort become unnoticeable.
Jayce's tail thumps against your as he ponders the heart within his fist. His hand grows rather hot under the organ and his ears flick to see if he hears any audible sounds of pain escape his partner.
You have emoted: Joul begins to breathe a little more calmly and gives no reactions to your probing. He opens his eyes as he considers the mantra complete and he leans back a little more comfortably on Jayce. "I-I don't know who's that is..." he quietly says, flicking his own tail back against yours. "It can't possibly be mine."
Maelok arrives from the east.
Prelate Maelok Xanatov says to Kindled Soul, Jayce Chaltier, "How is he doing?"
Jayce leans into you to give you support and a flame rises from the flesh of his hand to devour a mortal heart still dripping blood. He turns slightly on his knees towards his partner and asks, "Are you feeling better?" in response to Maelok's question.
You have emoted: Joul turns to offer Maelok a small smile, then a bit more to nod at Jayce. "M-Much better already!" he says a bit louder than normal, ears flattening to either side of his head. "I think I should meditate a little longer to be sure but it really helped."
Jayce nods as he turns back to Maelok, saying to no one in particular, "I think that's a good idea."
Maelok offers a gentle nod. "Rest up, I am glad that you are alright."
Jayce thanks Maelok sincerely.
You have emoted: Joul nods and closes his eyes as he faces the flame again, leaning back into Jayce briefly before more meditation.
Maelok nods his head emphatically.
Maelok turns and heads towards the exit, closing the door behind him as he leaves.
You have emoted: Joul continues at his meditation, occasionally seeming to fall more asleep than into deep though as he leans back against Jayce periodically.
Before too long, it seems as if Joul is mostly sleeping as the occasional snore escapes him. One really good, loud one catches even himself in surprise as it startles him. then leaning forward to turn back to you. "W-Why, do you think?" he quietly asks, looking down to his hands. "What am I to Her..."
Jayce shakes his head slowly and mutters, "I don't know, my dear.. I wish I had that answer. What's important is that you did not fall to Her temptations.."
Joul shifts back against Jayce and quietly says, "Never.." drawing a few deeper breaths as he considers the flame. His ear twitches at the low, sultry tones but he shifts back around to stand up. "T-Thank you.." he quietly says with a wide smile as he extends a hand to Jayce to help him up.
Jayce takes your hand and rises up with a nod, "Of course."