Shade in the Shadows
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 6 - Strg: 19 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Online
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#1
SAMUEL
i am the ocean, crawling madly at your moon.
and with one wanton whoop —
Sam wasn't sure if he was quite ready to return to full Loreseeking just yet, with the adventure in the Greatwood only just behind him and another potentially ahead, but he missed the Atheuneum. Missed the chance to just get lost in his work, to think of nothing but swirling inks and beautiful words for a while.

So he was in among the shelves, sat on the stepladder Remi had made for him, reading something he'd found tucked deep into the back of another book. It was hard to decipher, written in old fashioned language and with blurred ink, but as far as he could tell it was the diary of an explorer from long ago, who had ventured beyond the sea.

The puzzle of working out the sentences along with the interesting content kept him very interested, completely wrapped in his own world and not seeing beyond the pages.
— i melt into a sycophantic soup,
& all that's left to do, is giggle, fawn, and swoon.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#2
it is both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply
Amalia, too, has been busy, her time torn between her budding relationship and trying to save the world, with some wedding and baking and resisting arrest thrown in for good measure. It feels like ages since she has been in the Atheneum: certainly not since they finished repairs, the roof finally shielding the elements, the walls finally built rather than crumbling down. She used to haunt these hallowed halls, one of the ghosts, the wraiths within; now she has been brought back to life, her dusty tomb almost forgotten, the books left lingering on wooden shelves.

Perhaps it is the recent repairs, perhaps the other changes to the world, but as Amalia slips between the heavy doors she notices more people than usual filling the sacred space. It gives her pause, a strange mix of pleasure and jealousy rising in her chest. Once this had been her haven, the place she weathered her storms. To see it now, illuminated and alive, is another reminder of the changes that plague them, the way the world continues to turn.

It is a good change, though, a rare positive switch in a time when things only seem to darken. And despite it all, the place is familiar, the shelves and content still the same. Amalia knows them like the back of her hand, it is only a matter of minutes before she finds the volumes she seeks: an old tome on Attuned magic, the art of shifting and speaking to animals. The book fits well between her fingers, and the baker opens a random page, inhaling the familiar scent of parchment, delighting in the delicate handwriting, the scrawl of old ink. She drinks in the knowledge written within: ...the Attuned race can, in time, gain trust of animals, enough to bend them to their will. However this compulsion seems only to extend as far as animals who share their species...

She, too, is too absorbed to notice the world around her, the others in the path of her pacing exploration, until it is nearly too late. At first she does not recognize Sam; then she wonders if she should pretend she does not, walk past wordlessly without awkward exchange. Something stops her, though: their shared status as Naturals, as Loreseekers, as the lasts in lines who used to uphold this place.

Swallowing down her rising anxiety, Amalia turns her face up to the Ascended, her voice appropriately low for the setting. "Hello, Sam. What're you reading?"
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 6 - Strg: 19 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Online
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#3
SAMUEL
i am the ocean, crawling madly at your moon.
and with one wanton whoop —
Sam noticed Amalia as soon as she entered the row he was on. He was wrapped up in his book but he was still finetuned to notice figures from his upbringing; Amalia had always lingered on the edges there. One of Evie's friends, therefore guilty by association in his mind, someone to be anxious around. He watched her carefully, hoping she would just leave.

Guildmates, maybe, but he was still waiting for her to push him over and call him a loser.

When she spoke to him he raised his eyebrows in clear mute surprise, lowered the book to his knees. "Um...hello. Is..is there something I can help you with?" Often, when people he didn't speak to much approached him in the Atheneum, it was because they wanted help finding something - after all, it was his domain too.
— i melt into a sycophantic soup,
& all that's left to do, is giggle, fawn, and swoon.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#4
it is both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply
She doesn't expect the way Sam tenses when he sees her, the way he seems to shy away. They have never been close, Amalia having followed in Evie's footsteps as a girl, but the baker had rather thought them at least friendly- or enough for a conversational exchange.

If the Ascended's tension wasn't enough to put her on edge, the question raises her hackles a little, defensive, her eyebrows drawing together as she worries her lower lip. As if she isn't just as much a denizen of this place than he- a little less these days, perhaps, but it is because she is trying, involved, engaged, keeping the place they've grown into alive.

What has the redhead been doing, besides hide here among the books?

"Yes," she replies without thinking, closing her tome with a bit of a snap. "I took over the Loreseekers, when Jigano was in danger of being arrested. To protect it. And him." And what did you do to help with that? "Now that he's King, I doubt he has time to be Provost again, but I have the bakery to tend to. Would you be willing to take on some of the responsibilities? If you're not too busy, of course."
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 6 - Strg: 19 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Online
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#5
SAMUEL
i am the ocean, crawling madly at your moon.
and with one wanton whoop —
The sharp 'yes' and the way she slammed the book made Sam even more tense, sure now that she was here to tell him off or set him to rights somehow. Amalia was a great fan of the Old Gods, he knew that much; had always suspected she didn't like him for his race - perhaps he was about to see that in action.

What she told him though, despite it's harsh tone, completely eliminated any thought of prejudice from his mind for a second. "Jigano...king?! You mean he...he...is he marrying Edy?!" Such a thing seemed absolutely bizarre, but it was the only explanation. "I..Of course I can help with the guild, but..." He shook his head in amazement and stared.
— i melt into a sycophantic soup,
& all that's left to do, is giggle, fawn, and swoon.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,745
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#6
it is both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply
His surprise at the news takes her even further aback, making her blink a moment as he sputters. Did he not see the notice board, not hear the talk? Gossip was a thing that spread like wildfire here; to be oblivious was a rare feat indeed. Again, she wonders what he has been doing, to be living life so unaware.

At least he knows about Edy. So she doesn't have to explain it all.

"Not marrying. Edy... Edy made him king, I guess. And offered to make Ronin one, too, but he said no. So she gave it to Wessex instead. There was a notice." The whole thing is almost enough to make her laugh out loud. She shrugs, still not sure what to make of these developments, whether the resulting chaos will be better or worse than when Zariah wore a crown. Jigano, at least, seems unhappy with the development, and the rest of her friends rather taken aback. It will take time for the dust to settle, and the baker fears that in the meantime more and more people will get hurt.

She already regrets being so sharp with him, tired simply from thinking about their tumultuous world. She's always though of Sam as a delicate person, a softer version of his vibrant sister- not unlike Amalia, in that way. Sighing, she runs her hand through her hair, leaning against the row of books. "Thanks. I... I've been a bit swamped. With everything. You'd probably make a better Provost, at this point."
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 6 - Strg: 19 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Online
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Posts: 1,754
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#7
SAMUEL
i am the ocean, crawling madly at your moon.
and with one wanton whoop —
Sam had a tendancy to isolate, to spend days entirely with himself and his own little world - less so now that he lived with Nate, but he still did not often read notices unless they were truly earth-shattering.

"..She..can't just do that, can she? How many people is she planning to make Kings or Queens? Doesn't it...lose the point?" He wasn't sure if he fully understood what was going on. How they'd gone from essentially a dictator to a multi-monarchy in a matter of weeks was becoming difficult to comprehend.

Provost, though...he had never liked leading. "Um. I'm not sure I know what's involved in being the Provost. I'm...I can't lead as well as Jigano can. He's much more confident than me." Sam pointed out, as if it were not painfully obvious.
— i melt into a sycophantic soup,
& all that's left to do, is giggle, fawn, and swoon.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,745
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#8
it is both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply
Amalia shrugs again, running her hands over her arms, no easy answer ready to give. "They're the ones who keep insisting they know all about leadership, and we're just dumb heathens." Her tone is a little sharper than she intended, but this time the anger is not for Sam. It is for Zariah, for Edrei, even for Jigano, for the whole situation that is truly absurd, the mess that their simple home has become in the time since the barrier came tumbling down. "I... I was a little surprised Jigano said yes, honestly. There were..." plans, Amalia doesn't say. "...was history. With Edrei, and Rory."

She raises an eyebrow as he backpedals a little, not entirely surprised. "Me too." Jigano is a lot more confident than most of the people Amalia has known - or at least, a lot better at seeming that way. Lately the girl has begun to think more and more that it might be nothing more than an act, a mask to hide the insecurity which plagues the silver bard.

"I don't think anyone knows what they're doing these days, Sam." Amalia fidgets with the book in her hands, tracing the spine, her expression clouded. "But I know you love books. And the Atheneum... it needs someone. To care for it. With Jigano off playing king, I think that person is you." It's a hard pill to swallow, a hard admission to make. I am not the one best suited.

I have failed at something else.
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 6 - Strg: 19 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Online
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Posts: 1,754
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#9
SAMUEL
i am the ocean, crawling madly at your moon.
and with one wanton whoop —
"Mmm. I do find it odd that none of our major choices in the last year have been made by Naturals, but...ah. I don't know. I haven't been doing anything to change Caido, so.." Or at least, he didn't know how the things he'd done would change Caido yet.

Samuel knew nothing of history or plans between them; had not ever really been in an 'in' crowd, not even in the Loreseekers. He always seemed to be on the periphery, on the edge, looking in. Amalia seemed to be upset about Jigano being King, and while hearing about his friend right now when they were arguing made him feel a little unsettled...he was fine with that. It was better than Zariah, surely? He trusted Jigano not to enlist everyone to an army or limit everything right away.

"...I..suppose I could try, but you should ask Jigano first. We...he is not happy with me at the moment, I fear. Because of the work I have been doing for The Voice." He did not elaborate, sure Amalia wouldn't like it either.
— i melt into a sycophantic soup,
& all that's left to do, is giggle, fawn, and swoon.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#10
it is both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply
"Maybe it didn't need changing." Amalia's face hardens a little, and she turns away from Sam, staring down the row of books, the hallowed halls at once familiar and strange. The fae, the blight, the barrier, the spire... had any of it really been for the better? What price did their freedom cost, aside from devastation, disaster?

At least Amalia is trying to help, as futile as her efforts may be. Sam's apparent ambivalence about it all is frustrating; she is reminded, again, of when they were children, the boy a wallflower to his vibrant sister, rarely a player in their follies and games. But now, now they are adults, and the world needs them to step into view, to carry burdens and push and try, because trying is all they have.

She almost laughs when he mentions Jigano's displeasure, but his follow-up statement holds her tongue, sharp eyes turning on the redhead, suddenly far more engaged. "What work?" Still convinced the false goddess has some role to play in the Blight on the forest - and by extension, Safrin and Ronin - the idea that Sam is doing work for her sets the baker immediately on edge, especially when her understanding has always been that the bookmaker was not like other Ascended, enraptured with their mechanical god.
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 6 - Strg: 19 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Online
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Posts: 1,754
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#11
SAMUEL
i am the ocean, crawling madly at your moon.
and with one wanton whoop —
"Maybe." Sam agreed. He had always been a fan of things staying the same. But from what he'd read of history and how he understood the world, things would always change eventually. It was best to be the people at the forefront of it, even if that position was unnatural.

Amalia asked what work he was doing. He sighed, knowing she wouldn't react well to it; thinking he'd probably alienate her now as well as Jigano. When they weren't Ascended, they just couldn't understand how the Voice made him feel. As if he were the only child on Caido as loved as he was. It was a pride, a love he'd never felt and he could not believe the Voice was steering him wrong.

They'd see when it all worked out. But for now it was best to be vague.

"Oh, just some exploring in the woods. She wants to see whats out there. I made a small shrine by a tree." Sam said. He did not like to lie, but it was better than having another person yell at him for his work. "Jigano was upset because I got close to the Fae village."
— i melt into a sycophantic soup,
& all that's left to do, is giggle, fawn, and swoon.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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MP:
#12
it is both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply
Sam is right: Amalia does not react particularly well, her body tensing visibly as Sam explains his ostensibly benign activities. Why does the Voice want to see the woods, and how is it related to the blight? She wonders if Ascendeds spread it, if this is her way of killing the world despite remaining inside the barrier, of slighting a world she believes has slighted her. Or perhaps it is just a cruel game.

Amalia's hands tighten around the book, her expression cloudy and dark as she tries to keep her voice calm. "Why does she want to see?" There is no part of Amalia who trusts the intentions of the being, the false goddess; she doubts even Sam know why she really wants to invade and infect.

That Jigano was upset for Sam nearing the Fae does make her raise a brown, glancing back at the redhead with a slightly bemused look. Half of her wants to ask why the bard should care; half of her wishes Delah had caught him and stopped whatever task the Voice had set in its track. "Sam... while you were out there. Did you notice the blight?"
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 6 - Strg: 19 - Dext: 17 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Online
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Posts: 1,754
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#13
SAMUEL
i am the ocean, crawling madly at your moon.
and with one wanton whoop —
Sam could seen Amalia tensing right away, could just sense how uncomfortable she was. A cold hurt grabbed his heart at the knowledge that she would always hate him, just a little bit, for what he was and what he did. That his very being was an offense to her and her beliefs.

"Because it is new, I suppose. Why shouldn't she want to see it? Everyone else did." He answered defensively, not quite looking at Amalia.

There it was again, the blight. He sighed. "Yes, I have noticed it. But no I did not spread it and I'm not helping The Voice too." His eyes were hard when he looked to her now, his mouth drawn into a line.
— i melt into a sycophantic soup,
& all that's left to do, is giggle, fawn, and swoon.
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 11 - Strg: 31 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 30 - Luck: 31
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,745
MP:
#14
it is both a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so very deeply
There is a space that stretches out between them, and Amalia is reminded of the night with Wessex where bonds were irreparably cut. Those bonds never existed between the baker and Sam, yet part of her still aches at the distance, the separation that grows in the wake of religion, another price extracted by the Voice. They should be allies, bound by their backgrounds.

The Shield of Safrin sighs.

She does not answer his defensive question: the answer is obvious to her, and he must see it as well. But the declaration after makes her raise an eyebrow, glancing back over in surprise at his vehemence and bristling in kind. "I didn't say that." Her voice is clipped, her skin bristling, anger darkening her alto tone. She meets his hard gaze with her own, flint and iron meeting with sparks, frustration running along her nerves.

"But since you said it... the Blight is spreading. And it's eating and killing organic life. Not unlike the Voice." Now it is an overt accusation, a question beneath her steely tone. Isn't that strange, don't you care? "You said you didn't help the Voice. Not that she didn't spread it herself."


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