Kiss from a Rose
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 5 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 34 - Luck: 34
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,898
MP:
#1
A cold moon rose over the ruins. The broken, jagged bones of the dead city were deceptively softened by a thick blanket of wedding-gown-white snow that glittered beneath the sky, catching and reflecting starlight back to the heavens. It might have been a place of wonder if one looked at it only briefly and from a distance.

Closer inspection would reveal the shadows and the ashes mixed with the snow, the tracks of predators and prey marring the snowbanks and the occasional splash of blood or abandoned carcass not yet picked clean by the scavengers.

At night the hunters were more active, prowling on silent wings and paws to make their strikes and dine on kills.

One of the hunters perched on a stone wall, his long white hair a tangled braid behind him, his tunic torn and caked with blood both old and fresh and the black drippings of his own tears and saliva. He was a strange parody of the impeccable bard who had once walked the streets of the Settlement with such elegant grace and confidence. Now he licked fresh blood from his fingers, savoring the steaming liquid as he dipped them once more into the broken body of the cat beside him. His clothes should not have been enough to keep him warm, but he seemed heedless of the cold Deepfrost air as he crooned a gentle, wordless lullaby to the dead beast at his side in between sucking each finger clean in turn before dabbing them into the upthrust, broken ribcage again and beginning the process anew.

Bastien
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Bastien De Rosieres
Guildmaster / Artist

Age: 34 | Height: 6' 2" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 14 - Luck: 7
PITTORE - Mythical - Gremlin (Disappearance)
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
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Posts: 768
MP:
#2


Bastien, fresh off his wedding and the current success of his guild, was in good spirits. Not that he was often in poor ones. It was natural for the artist to be cheerful, his default way of being. Life was a party and he was lucky to attend, after all.

Though all this good fortune had made him rather busy. His paints had laid untouched for more than a day in the first time in a long time and he found his fingers ached to create again. When he stood before the canvas in the artist's guild though, he found there one of his gravest enemies: Artist's Block. Standing from the side did not help and neither did trying to paint upside down. Spontaneously making brush strokes just made a mess and intensive planning left him feeling like he had never had a good idea in his entire life.

Finally, he decided that perhaps what he needed was a change of scenery. But not somewhere he usually went like the fields in the dusk or the temple. No, somewhere different. Risky. Interesting.

The ruins at night was a promising idea. Dangerous enough to be thrilling and he could draw in the dark now with his Ascended eyes. Making sure Rexanna knew where he was (and to come looking if he had not returned by morning) he set out, the stars above accompanying him on his walk. When he finally reached the crumbling stone of the ruins he put up his canvas, laid his paints on a nearby wall, then got ready to begin.

His brush had not touched the paint when he heard a noise. A sort of sickening crunch, followed by sounds of...sucking? Stepping back, he looked around himself trying to find the source of the noise. Catching a glimpse of white hair behind a column he began to walk closer slowly, unsure if he was approaching an animal or...a..person? A few feet away, he quietly called out: "Hello...?"

Bastien
I must say, it’s nice
This pageant of vice
For life’s just the rice
But sin is the flavour


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 5 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 34 - Luck: 34
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,898
MP:
#3
Hello, said the voice, and Jigano's song cut off abruptly into a snarl as he turned and flung the cat corpse at the interruption of his... meal? Playtime? Lullaby? All of the above? Either way he was crouched on the wall and facing Bastien even before the carcass reached its target - as it would, if the painter didn't get out of the way of the messy projectile.

The good news was that the ragged ghoul of the man who had once been the Loreseekers' proud Provost didn't seem to have any weapons to hand as black eyes fixed on Bastien with predatory intensity.

The bad news was that his fingers were tipped with black claws, and his mouth was full of blackened fangs that clashed together as he growled a low, rumbling thunder deep in his chest. He slipped from the wall, landing on light feet upon the snow before beginning to prowl a slow, hungry circle around the artist, the spiral growing tighter with each turn around the other man that Bastien allowed him to make.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Bastien De Rosieres
Guildmaster / Artist

Age: 34 | Height: 6' 2" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 14 - Luck: 7
PITTORE - Mythical - Gremlin (Disappearance)
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 768
MP:
#4


Bastien stood back with a surprised huff as suddenly something came flying toward him in the darkness. It stank; looking down he saw it was the carcass of some creature. After realising that, he didn't want to investigate any further and looked away, stepping around it.

Besides, there was something else demanding his attention; a beast he had not seen before with fangs and claws, and...peering close, he realised with shock it was Jigano. The rather stuffy, uptight bard that he had seen around town, who had played for him once at a party. What was he doing here, and why did he look so...Suddenly, Bastien realised this had to be the blight. He had not yet seen it up close, but what else could i be?

With Jigano circling him he had to time it right, trying to run as quickly as he could back to his easel, where his satchel lay on the ground - within were two roses not yet planted that he had taken from Vi's shrine. He grabbed one and held it out towards what had once been Jigano. "If there is still any of you in there, letting me prick you with this might help, I've heard."

Bastien
I must say, it’s nice
This pageant of vice
For life’s just the rice
But sin is the flavour


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 5 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 34 - Luck: 34
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,898
MP:
#5
Even with the blight removing his normal limiters - at no small cost to his body in the process - the Attuned could not match Ascended speed at night. Bastien broke away from his stalking hunt of the man in a blur of movement, but the once-bard was right behind him, bounding over the snow on nimble feet with a snarl on his face and black slaver dripping from his chin.

Sounds without meaning fell from the prey's lips. They might have meant something to a more civilized man, but since they weren't the sweetness of screams nor the challenge of a shout the blightbeast ignored them. He leapt at Bastien the moment the Rose was brought into view, black eyes fixed on the man's jugular as he tried to grab and rend the bearer of the hated flower with black-clawed fingers. A banshee or a stone golem may have reacted in such a way, bestial and rabid in their attacks. The bard had fought the blight with every inch of his being in Leafchange, holding it back and managing to continue working in spite of the rages that occasionally overcame him, but now he paid the price for it. His mind, his consciousness, were entirely subsumed in the darkness and he was reduced to little more than an animal.

An animal that could change shape at will, had no concern for its own safety, and had a fox's cunning, but an animal nonetheless. One that, unfortunately for Bastien, was enraged by the simple sight of one of Vi's Roses and sought to destroy both it and its bearer with frightening intensity.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Bastien De Rosieres
Guildmaster / Artist

Age: 34 | Height: 6' 2" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 14 - Luck: 7
PITTORE - Mythical - Gremlin (Disappearance)
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 768
MP:
#6


Bastien was the faster man with his Ascension, perhaps, but he had never been one for fighting. He had always preferred to put his energy into learning how to draw and create rather than attack. Perhaps that was what made him stumble back with shock as Jigano rushed forward, his mind struggling to connect fear to the sight of the gentle bard, even with the monstrous turn to his face.

Trying to recover quickly (though feeling unsteady on his feet) he acted aggressively back in the hopes that after one hit, Jigano might return to his senses. Bastien had not thrown many punches in his life but he had spent a lot of time developing muscles in his arms. Taking all the strength he had he tried to pull his arm back and hit it into the side of the bard's jaw, hoping to knock him over then rush to straddle him.

Holding the rose and the reluctance to hurt worked against him as he tried, the painting things behind him wobbling as a stray foot or bit of clothing struck them.

Bastien
I must say, it’s nice
This pageant of vice
For life’s just the rice
But sin is the flavour


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 5 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 34 - Luck: 34
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,898
MP:
#7
Jigano sought to strike hard and fast, but Bastien was too fast for him, stumbling back out of the way and evading the blightbeast's attack more from luck than intention. Though the Ascended telegraphed his retaliatory punch, not even the bard's blight-heightened reflexes could match the speed with which it was thrown, impacting Jigano's jaw with an audible crack of bone-on-bone.

Unfortunately for Bastien, it would be like punching another Ascended. The strength of the blow knocked the beastly bard back half a step, but aside from the kinetic energy the blighted man barely seemed to feel the blow, spinning back around again with a broken hiss. He wasted no time in dealing with any injury that might have resulted, his body as numb and frozen as his blackened heart. Instead Jigano crouched and dove in low to try and tackle Bastien around the hips, hoping to drag him down where his Ascended speed would be hampered - and where the blightbeast could take its time taking him apart to get to the loathesome rose.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Bastien De Rosieres
Guildmaster / Artist

Age: 34 | Height: 6' 2" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 14 - Luck: 7
PITTORE - Mythical - Gremlin (Disappearance)
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 768
MP:
#8


The crack that sounded from Jigano's jaw when he struck it caused Bastien to cringe - if the man ever returned to himself, he hoped that this incident would either be forgotten or forgiven. Not that he thought it likely Jigano would go back to his usual self, not after this; he had only seen the kind of wild glint in his eyes once elsewhere and that had not been a hopeful time.

A jump and attempt to grab his hips caught him by surprise; he did tumble backwards but managed to keep his arm up with the rose clutched in his fingers. He had been concerned before that the prick of the thorns could harm him, as an Ascended, but now in the moment he had no time to worry, clasping it tight in his fist and not feeling the pain, clear fluid coating his fingers.

Before Jigano could begin to claw at him (and he knew if that happened he would be hopeless, even as an Ascended and even as the larger man) he did two things: first he activated his aura, hoping to use it to soothe the parts of the bard that could still respond to it, then he brought the rose down and across, scraping the thorns over Jigano's jaw and cheek.

Bastien
I must say, it’s nice
This pageant of vice
For life’s just the rice
But sin is the flavour


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 5 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 34 - Luck: 34
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,898
MP:
#9
A desperate lunge, fueled by rage without strategy, was more effective than any clever footwork a saner man might have mustered. Bastien went down into the snow, Jigano scrambling atop him to begin his grisly work with an unholy glee. Claw-tipped fingers drew back for a slash, but in the moment that he opened himself up Bastien the Ascended lashed out with the Rose. His powers had little effect on the blight that controlled Jigano's body, but the Rose was another matter. The once-bard snarled, flashing black-coated fangs as he flinched back from the piercing stem. He wasn't quite fast enough, however, and the thorns grazed lightly over his cheek and the hand he tried to deflect Bastien with. Black blood beaded swiftly on the shallow scrapes, and for a moment the beast froze, eyes wide with the fury of realization.

A hand balled into a fist as he struck down at the artist beneath him, sinking deep into the snow before he rolled away and came up shaking his head. Hissing protests turned to the gasping of a drowning man, and he shuddered as he dropped to his knees, face buried in his hands and clawless fingers digging into his skull as a rasping moan escaped and he finally went still except for the slowest, smallest of breaths that still shifted his rib cage beneath his filthy tunic.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Bastien De Rosieres
Guildmaster / Artist

Age: 34 | Height: 6' 2" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 14 - Luck: 7
PITTORE - Mythical - Gremlin (Disappearance)
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 768
MP:
#10


So far Bastien had managed to keep himself relatively calm for the situation, panic pushed away, but for some reason the sight of black blood truly unnerved him. Truly dug in with the message this man is no longer himself. The rose he tossed towards his painting things, hoping that it was still enough in one piece to be planted for Vi.

Flinching as the fist came down into the snow next to him, Bastien stared at Jigano for what would have been a few breaths, if his lungs still used air. It seemed the fight had gone out of the blighted bard, at least for the moment, so he tried to slowly pull himself out from underneath him. Sliding his legs away he stood and stared, wondering if he should take Jigano somewhere, leave some kind of message, or...put him out of his misery...? Was that the right thing to do?

If it was, he knew he wasn't going to be the man to do it. It was best a decision left to those who knew more about both the bard and the blight, he told himself, hoping that he was not just being a coward.

Leaving the majority of his painting things there, he took his satchel and the rose, walking backwards towards the way he had come in so he could keep an eye on Jigano.

Bastien
I must say, it’s nice
This pageant of vice
For life’s just the rice
But sin is the flavour


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 5 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 34 - Luck: 34
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,898
MP:
#11
Jigano had already rolled away from Bastien, leaving the artist free to find his feet again un-hindered. The bard was staggered by the blight's reluctant retreat within him, his conscious mind finding purchase for the first time in days. Not since he had met Ianto in the Greatwood had he regained this much awareness, and the shock of it left him frozen with fear and horror, wondering what - who he had attacked this time.

A foot crunching softly into snow alerted him to movement nearby and he flinched, shoulders shaking where he knelt. He raised his head reluctantly, dreading who and what he would find when he could see more of them...

"...Bastien?" he asked hoarsely, blinking in surprise to find Caido's most notorious hedonist out in the snow. There was no blood around - but of course there wouldn't be, he realized belatedly. Bastien was Ascended now, wasn't he? He had clear fluid in his veins rather than crimson, but at least he didn't seem to have any obviously grievous wounds on him.

Not like Ianto had, the last time the white fox had regained consciousness.

"What... are you doing... here?" His voice rose on the last word as he looked around in confusion, not entirely sure where 'here' even was with the blanket of white hiding much of the Ruins and giving them an illusion of softness.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Bastien De Rosieres
Guildmaster / Artist

Age: 34 | Height: 6' 2" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 14 - Luck: 7
PITTORE - Mythical - Gremlin (Disappearance)
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 768
MP:
#12


Bastien had nearly left, stepped away into the dark, when he heard the feeble voice calling his name. If he had any sense, he would have continued leaving, should have known not to trust it. But the last time he had left something similar, he had nearly left Ronin out to die in Longnight.

Slowly he stepped back towards the ruins, staying a few feet away but able to see Jigano. The man looked a mess as he had before, but now something was different; there was a hint of human in him, of a person and not just a beast. It was in the way he was kneeling, the cautiousness in his question, which Bastien quickly answered. "I was painting, when you ah...appeared. You seemed rather beside yourself, so I did strike you..." He look at his own hand as if ashamed of it, and in some ways he was, even though it had been unavoidable. "I had thought you lost to the Blight. Jigano, are you back to yourself?"

Bastien
I must say, it’s nice
This pageant of vice
For life’s just the rice
But sin is the flavour


Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 (Level 5 Abandoned) - Strg: 30 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 34 - Luck: 34
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 2,898
MP:
#13
He'd half-expected Bastien to keep going. More than half, if he'd expected anything at all, and he wouldn't have blamed the other man if he had. He didn't owe Jigano any answers, and he had already given him a gift - however unintended - with the jab of the Rose's thorn. The artist would have been well within his rights, and all common sense, to just walk away. The words were more courtesy than Jigano knew he deserved, even if he wasn't sure what exactly he'd done. He was sure if had been terrible, though. It always was, when he woke in these rare moments of lucidity from the Blight's black grasp on his mind and body.

"It's alright," he said quietly, shifting his hand to tenderly feel the ache in his jaw. "I... don't remember it. I don't remember... much at all." The admission was wrested from him in abject misery, the keeper of lore and memory an exile in his own mind. "I just hope I didn't hurt you in return." He took a shuddering breath, forcing himself to drop his hands to his knees and really look at Bastien to try and confirm his initial impression that the Ascended was unwounded.

"No," he confessed, black eyes haunted in his haggard face. Nightmares danced at the corners of his vision, and he slowly wrapped his shaking arms around himself - an easy task with how gaunt he had become. "The Roses... their thorns seem to keep the blight at bay but... it's only temporarily. I might have a few hours, but nothing more. And no guarantee when I'll fall to it again," he finished bitterly. Not enough time to go see his loved ones or friends, not when he had no idea how long or short the interlude would be. Now that it had him, the blight did not seem inclined to give him up again, not even at the behest of magical roses with golden thorns.
Only simple tables without images or background colors when threading, please. It's much appreciated!
Bastien De Rosieres
Guildmaster / Artist

Age: 34 | Height: 6' 2" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 15 - Dext: 22 - Endr: 14 - Luck: 7
PITTORE - Mythical - Gremlin (Disappearance)
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 768
MP:
#14


That Jigano couldn't remember a hit that had only happened a few moments ago really made it clear to Bastien that The Blight had taken his mind truly. It scared him at the same time as it gave him intense waves of pity. With a gentle smile he shook his head and laughed. "It takes more than that to harm me. I am not easily overpowered."

Jigano explained his situation, and Bastien frowned. It probably was not a good idea to take him back to town, not if the Blight could return so easily. For a moment he stood, unsure of what to do, then he had an idea. "Well--here." Taking the rose he gently pulled off a thorn, taking the steps forward to Jigano to pass it to him. "I cannot give you the whole flower, but you might use this. When you feel it returning...I do not know if it would work without the rest of it, but it is worth a try, yes?"

Bastien
I must say, it’s nice
This pageant of vice
For life’s just the rice
But sin is the flavour




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