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  resurrection tastes like iron
Posted by: Lusea - 1 hour ago - Forum: The Spire - No Replies

I am in the room with his father, the stone beneath my knees, my flayed back bleeding with fresh wounds, tears falling from my face-

-I am on the floor looking up at him, and he is furious, screaming, but I cannot hear it because my ears are ringing from the blow to my head-

-I am watching him and he is reaching for me and I want to tell him to stop, to tell him it's pointless, that the more he loves me the more they'll hurt us both, and I want to reach back, to press myself against his chest, but my arms are bound and I cannot move-

-I am listening to the boom of his father's voice. It sounds like thunder during the floods, dangerous and closer, and I wonder how soon the dam will break, almost wish for it-

-I am looking at him, and he is looking at me, and I can see what is about to happen in his eyes, so I smile, smile, through my tears, and mouth the final words I will ever say, declare them in defiance as the blade slips across my neck-

-I love you, Sunny, I love you, I love you-

-The blood on my neck is hot and acrid, and I can feel it leave me, feel my body grow cold, feel the light as it escapes my eyes, but it's okay because the last thing I see is him-

-I am dying---

-I am---





-I am alive.

I gasp as my knees hit the cold ground, inhaling one sharp breath and then another, my hands around my throat to stop the bleeding. The bleeding - the bleeding - I was bleeding, I was dying, and I couldn't breathe, but now? Now I am gulping down air, swallowing it like a starving thing, and it tastes so sweet I could positively die, except that I'm already dead.

So is this the afterlife?

Slowly, carefully, I take one hand off my throat, waiting for the feeling of rushing blood to return. When it doesn't I remove the other, looking at them both with wonder because they're clean, free of the red I know should coat them, free of any sanguine stains. Trembling I push myself off the ground, staggering a little as I stand, my body weak and uncertain after so many weeks of being bound. The pain on my back is there, but faded, more dull ache than stinging burn; so too for my wrists, once bound and torn by shackles, now simply scarred. I rub my hands over them uncertainty, exhaling, breath visible in the cold.

..the cold...

Why is it cold in the afterlife? Why am I alive? Nothing makes sense, and I'm so cold, clothed in nothing but a light shift, the same thing I wore in prison. Wrapping my arms around myself in an attempt to keep warm, I raise my head, looking for any sign of life in this apparently dead world. [say]"Hallo? Is enige iemand daar?"[/say]

Hallo? Is enige iemand daar? - Hello? Is anyone there?

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Posted by: Jigano - 2 hours ago - Forum: The Wildwood - No Replies

It was Isuma who first noticed Melita nearby, the gryphlet aware of the solemnity of the occasion, if not the reason for it. She took a strand off white hair in her beak and tugged gently, reep!ing to get her companion's attention from where his thoughts had wandered down dark and lonely paths she could not follow. He reached up distractedly to stroke her to calmness, but she placed a firm image of Melita's grieving countenance in his mind and he blinked, looking around to see all the others who had arrived. Amalia, Deimos, and Kiada had formed a little family group, and Phoebe was already in the arms of another man. A familiar Fae fluttered overhead while Remi performed miracles, and Sam contemplated a lantern of his own.

It was strange to be alone among so many people, so many of them who he had met over the past year. Friends, acquaintances, farmers and artisans, people from the town and others from the outskirts. There were many he might have approached, offering comfort or seeking connection, but it was Melita who caught his eye. She, who had burned so brightly now flickered dimly, her light struggling against the weight of illness or worse. He found his steps carrying him towards her, drifting to a halt at her side as he smiled faintly down at Fangorn, and Isuma dropped down to nuzzle her gourd friend, peeping a greeting of her own.

The lanterns she stood before were orange and lilac, flowered into bloom and filled with love and the odds and ends of memory, absent lives writ small across the glowing canvases of light.

"Would you like to talk about them?" he asked quietly, not wanting to startle her. Memory and remembrance, grief and comfort; he could offer little enough on this bittersweet night, but he could listen if she wanted to share the stories of those who might be unknown to any other soul on all the world of Caido.

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  long way to go yet
Posted by: Amalia - 7 hours ago - Forum: Mathair - No Replies

Amalia and Jyoti lead the way, the starwhale easily picking paths through the dense and ever shifting forests. There are few words exchanged between the women: they are not friends, simply allies through necessity, united by a common cause to try and save the world.

You know. Everyday things.

By the time they reach the middle of the wood it is late in the short day, twinkling stars lighting the sky. Amalia shifts her eyes to a leopard's, the better to peer into the dusk; the staff in her hand and the whale at her side let off enough light to follow the trail by, especially for the feline girl.

At last the towering tree rises into view and Amalia draws to a stop, turning back to look back at Roana, her eyebrows pulled into a thoughtful frown. [say]"Alright. What's the plan?"[/say]

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  Ghost Walk
Posted by: Jigano - 7 hours ago - Forum: Ruins - No Replies

He had walked a round in the Underground, singing Ludo's song and carrying the soulcatcher lantern. He had not coaxed any lost spirits to him then, but it was a large place and he had been interrupted by Kiada. He would go there again soon, to keep trying, he told himself. Tonight, however, he felt called by the open sky and the promise of frost on the wind. Deepfrost approached on snow-shrouded paws, and an eerie fog rolled across the Hollowed Grounds this night, the moon occasionally glowing down from above when the clammy mist thinned.

Should he have been out in that weather? Probably not. Rory worried when he did, but he had nearly lost his blight-fueled temper again with his gentle mate for no reason whatsoever, and Jigano had chosen to walk in solitude a while, leaving Isuma to comfort the farmer. He held his white lantern low, the light shaking unsteadily from the tremble in his hands as he picked his way through the ruins, an eerie, wordless song rising from his lips to wind through the broken buildings and shadowed falls of stone where houses had once stood. The sound of it calmed him, baseless anger fading to a quieter, more weary feeling as if his emotions were bleeding out of him, bleached by the moon and muffled by the fog.

His walking stick, a rough staff growing smoother with constant use as he grew increasingly uncertain about wielding his rapier, tapped out upon the stones as he used it to help him over piles of rubble in his wandering search for the lost and forgotten.


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  The Last Thing I Need
Posted by: Samuel - 9 hours ago - Forum: Temple - No Replies

Sam sat in the temple, eyes ringed red, staring forward.

He didn't even really know why he was there - he had decided to go for an evening walk when his thoughts were so claustrophobic in his house he felt they might choke him; but he had not at all meant to come here. After all it was in the temple where he had been scorned long ago by the Old Gods, hurt so. They were the cause of everyone's amnosity towards his people.

He stared at the altar, wondering why it was he had to be where he was, how he was. Why the Gods let bad things happen and good people get hurt. Why he was such an idiot, saying something like that to Remi-- Pushing his head down into his hands, he stared down at his shoes and considered whether or not he regretted ever leaving his little house and stall and actually talking to people.

Perhaps he had lost Remi, but he had still made friends elsewhere. Jigano, Nate (the thought of the man, his body over Sam's and his strong arms...it was distracting, so he did not linger on it) and...he realised with a sad sigh a lot of the first friends he'd made were now dead or in Ronin's case, soon to be. With a sigh he looked back up, so focused on the altar before him he did not pay attention to any other goings-on within the temple.

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  Flickering Memories
Posted by: Phoebe - 9 hours ago - Forum: The Wildwood - Replies (15)

Phoebe had stood in front of the lantern for her lost child for a long time. Even after Sunjata had come and held her. Even after others stepped up to place lanterns around it. She had told herself when she met Ludo after she miscarried that she would set her grief aside and move forward. And she had moved forward, she had done a great many things since then, but she had never stopped grieving. She would have been but a few months away from being fully at term now. Her belly would have been large and round, her back would have ached, her nursery would have been nearly perfect, and she would have been so happy and excited to hold her child.

Instead, all she held was herself as silent tears rolled down her cheeks.

But eventually she pulled herself away, Pim carrying their small basket in his jaws, her hand seeking out Jata’s. There was an empty spot near a fire where she laid out the blanket she had brought for them to sit on. In the basket were a number of treats – lemon bars for Jata of course and some apple cider donuts and pumpkin hand pies…as well as a bottle or two of wine. She sat on the blanket in silence, grabbing a donut, honeyed eyes flickering with gold as she stared blankly into the fire, cheeks stained with tears and sunny countenance marred with a frown.

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  Carpe Noctem
Posted by: Jigano - 9 hours ago - Forum: The Spire - Replies (4)

His illness had interrupted his grand plans to heed the Tulmhainar's final suggestion and lead a group to end the danger of the plants in the Spire's basement. They had gone ahead without him, a situation he both understood and yet found incredibly frustrating, the twisting tendrils of shadow in his soul hissing anger into his veins at the slightest opportunity. True, he had let them all down. True, they had every reason to chose not to follow him, now or in the future...

But still, it galled.

He needed to go down again, to see what had been wrought... but the corruption in his blood had left him cautious of the consequences of his actions. The portal in the basement was a temptation, and one he regretted sharing with those he had intended to lead down there now. With the Blight loose among humans, he did not think it wise to go much farther than they already had. Not until they had found a cure - and, just as importantly, the cause, to make sure it wouldn't follow them out of their gods-given cage.

But was there more than just a portal in the Spire? There had been a Tulmhainar, after all. What else might lie within it? The plants might not have been the cause of the blight, but that didn't mean all hope was lost. Ludo had said that they would watch the bard, and perhaps inadvertently given him fresh courage to fight both his own illness, and for the souls of those within the Hollowed Grounds. He could not simply give up and wait to die - or change.

He had asked Samuel to meet him here, on this chilly Leafchange evening, hurrying to the shelter the Spire offered from a blustering wind and an approaching autumn storm. Not quite Loreseeker business - not, while Amalia still led the Guild - but one friend asking another for help on a mission of exploration. Jigano ducked into the open doorway, pushing his hood back to let Isuma burrow out from underneath his hair. He ignored the way his hands shook, almost used to their palsied tremble by now. In one hand he carried a white lantern, with a flame that seemed to burn without fuel, and in the other he leaned on a staff, an affectation from his Silversmith disguise that he had kept when his fever had left him weak. His strength had mostly returned, but he found the smooth wood comforting when he could no longer be certain of his aim with his rapier. A rope and his usual bag of medical supplies and waterskin completed his preparations. He didn't expect them to do much besides walking and poking about... but it didn't hurt to be prepared when the place they'd be poking about had once housed and imprisoned a goddess, and killed at least two men before them.

"Sam?" he called out, looking around in case the redhead had made it to the Spire before he had.

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  strayed a bit too far
Posted by: Remi - 10 hours ago - Forum: Monster Hunters Guild - Replies (7)

Did Remi need Amalia's help for his project? Yes and no. Did he want it? Absolutely. Not only would her presence probably keep Ronin away (the hunter seemed more at ease being a grumpy blight-beast when only Remi was present) and thus make it easier to keep this project a surprise, but for as kind and warm as Amalia was, she wasn't full of false hope. Remi didn't need to hear that it would all be alright, because it very likely wouldn't. He just needed someone to just let him be, and to provide the eyesight that he no longer had, of course.

And so he'd sent a note to the bakery asking for bread and some of the baker's time and then waited on the roof of the guildhall for her to arrive. The Leafchange afternoon held a particular chill, but it wasn't one that Remi really noticed. His soul felt permanently on ice, growing colder for every day that Ronin's count-down clock ticked towards his death.

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  Always another storm
Posted by: Remi - Yesterday, 03:04 PM - Forum: Temple - Replies (3)

Yes his husband was dying. No the blight hadn't been cured. That didn't mean LongNight was approaching any slower though. Regardless of whether or not Ronin would be there to see the week-long darkness at his husband's side didn't change the deal the alchemist had made with Ludo. So hard as it was to put his mind to anything else, Remi had forced himself to at least consider the problem that was LongNight.

He couldn't even count the number of deaths there had been last year. Not because there were so many, but because of how silently the monsters could kill. How the bodies were removed once light returned. Not that public forums were Remi's forte by any means, but though it was his promise to Ludo, he'd never planned on doing this alone.

And so the alchemist waited for those who had seen his notice or had heard by word of mouth to shuffle in, before beginning. Running a hand through his curls with a deep sigh, looking entirely weary and young, Remi tried on a small smile that for once felt ill-fitting on his boyish features.

[say]"I know there is much happening, much on all of our minds."[/say] He began, his accented voice sounding charmingly awkward as he tried to bring the meeting to a start. [say]"But I know I am not the only one who vowed that LongNight would not find us so unprepared, or—"[/say] With a glance towards many of the Naturals who had told the Outlanders of the dangers, he added, [say]"—or willfully ignorant."[/say] They had all been warned after all. They'd just not listened.

[say]"Every idea I come up with, I find immediate fault in. Magical keys for all, so that no door will ever be locked and so no one remains in the cold? And what if one of the monsters finds one? A device that can detect based on voice who is human and who is not? But what if they are not alone, when they come knocking on the door?"[/say] Remi ran a hand up the side of his unshaven face. [say]"I think it naive to simply say that we all stay in doors. Something will happen. It always does."[/say]

And so, now was time for his actual proposal.

[say]"If we can replicate the lights from the luxere...or if we can coax even more of them into the town, perhaps we can simply keep the monsters out. Or if we assign groupings and each has their own magical light—"[/say] Lights that he'd happily use his magic to create, [say]"—perhaps that way we could ensure the safety of all."[/say]

There was also the small matter of having told Ludo that he'd personally do a sweep once a day to find all those left outside, so that none would freeze to death or be taken by the creatures. But that bit of information could wait.

Mini Event to discuss LongNight plans! No posting order, shout out your suggestions <3

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  shatter like glass on the ceiling
Posted by: Remi - Yesterday, 12:14 AM - Forum: Glade - No Replies

Perhaps it was strange that Remi wasn't with Ronin. The hunter was dying after all and had been given quite an explicit expiration date by a goddess no less. A cure hadn't been found, and Ronin's condition had been deteriorating. But Remi's time spent with his husband couldn't simply be an endless cycle of note-taking, hovering and worrying. His attempts at the levity that normally existed so easily between them was forced and a burden that he'd not place upon Ronin.

And so the alchemist found himself simply walking. It didn't matter where; his troubled thoughts were always with him and so the path he took away from them was inconsequential. Today it just so happened that the chilly Leafchange afternoon found him in the glade. Smiling faintly at a memory that made his heart clench as if suddenly filled with ice, Remi simply stopped, knelt, and laid down in the clover and wildflowers. On his back with his arms stretched out into the earth around him, he tugged in a breath and held it, trying to drown his senses in the world around him. Indeed, the buds and grasses rose up around him as his magic unconsciously surged outwards. Wanting to feel more of everything, wings spread from his back (a feat he'd only just recently learned he was capable of doing, having always had his arms become wings in hawk form. Not so with a manticore, apparently) and stretched wide as well, quickly becoming dissolved by clover and moss.

Closing his eyes, shattered and pale as they were, Remi clawed his fingers into the soil (now tipped with large claws), clenching at the earth as if he expected gravity to leave him at any moment. His white-shirt was stained with charcoal smears from his notes and now with pollen and grass stains as well, but what did it matter? The alchemist could create something from nothing, as his trade implied.

What he couldn't do, was fix Ronin.

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