in the places I wasn't meant to be
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 7 - Strg: 24 - Dext: 20 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
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#1
When everything and everyone
Becomes my enemy
In the interests of finding something in the endless blizzard as quickly as they could, Sam and Nate had split up with an agreement to meet back near the portal in an hour. He was looking for anything interesting, anything that could show him a hint of somewhere the Voice might like to see - he felt there was something here, not the city. Something wild, in the mountains, that had to be seen.

He felt the cold in an odd, impartial way; no bite in it now that his pain had been removed. It made it easier to take each step, though he still hugged his arms and chattered his teeth, habit and his body knowing that the snow whipping around his head was freezing.

Hopefully, he would not run into anyone here, in the middle of nowhere; he could just explore for The Voice as needed then go back to the Hollowed Grounds, ready to deny he had ever been there if anyone asked. With the 'portal guardians' instated, he felt like he had to be constantly one step ahead; especially as most of them were far more powerful than he. Having lost sight of where it was he had been trying to head he was still for a moment, kneeling down to make sure his shoes were still holding up against the wet snow.
There's nothing more you can do
I'm gonna blame it on you
SAMUEL
Base Code by Sky!
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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#2
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
Amalia has not yet come to love the mountains.

Perhaps if they had been introduced in a different way: less fraught, less bloodshed, less responsibility and deepening conflict thrust upon them all. She ought to love them, wants to, if not for herself than for those she loves. She wants to share Deimos and Kiada's enthusiasm for the towering peaks and frigid cold, the endless ice, the blanketing white.

She wants to, yet she can't.

She's too distracted by the future it might lead to. Portals and blights, death and decay, tasks from gods old and new- it is enough to keep her anxious mind occupied, too busy to delight in this vast open world. Her forays into Halo, then, are less about a sense of adventure and more a sense of duty. It is for this reason she is here today, clothed in fur and padded feet built for traversing just such terrain. She had intended not to stay long, not to go far, not to do much more than linger.

Then she caught the scent.

She recognizes it easily. She has been around Sam her entire life, even if only peripherally, and the predator in her has no issue distinguishing his aroma in this barren place. Still there is something in her that lurches and shifts as he wafts into her nares, desperately scrambling to escape, to avoid the inevitability of this poorly wrought encounter. There is no world in which her following him results in anything but hostility, no way to reconcile their ever widening differences. She does not want to fight, not today, not ever... and yet there is a brightness in her, too, hot and jagged, tempered steel, as she thinks back to the blight. To the role he had in spreading it then.

She sets out on his trail.
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 7 - Strg: 24 - Dext: 20 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,834
MP:
#3
When everything and everyone
Becomes my enemy
His shoes were wet, but showed no signs of wear yet; the material would last for a while more of walking through the snow-covered mountains. Sam stood back up and tried to peer past the whipping snow to see where to head. Eventually with a shrug and a sigh, he began to walk in the same direction he had been going again, figuring he could at least backtrack.

At least if he got lost, he didn't have to worry about starving.

Every now and then as he walked he got the sense of being watched, would turn his head and scan the environment behind him; yet each time he saw nothing but the endless expanse of white ground and flurrying snowflakes. Perhaps it was just his paranoia resurfacing - after all, now he had four definite enemies (three, really, given Remi didn't seem to be taking on his role) there were things to be worrying about.

Trying to put it out of his mind, Sam kept walking.
There's nothing more you can do
I'm gonna blame it on you
SAMUEL
Base Code by Sky!
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
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Posts: 1,924
MP:
#4
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
His scent is strong despite his nature, strangely metallic and electric in the air- but it's the shock of red hair that makes him obvious, sets him apart from any other. She, by contrast, is nearly invisible in this terrain, camouflaged in a body built for snow: she is ice, and she tries to tell herself she is the same within, despite the thundering of her heart.

Approach him or wait? This is the thing that taunts her, the decision she cannot seem to make. It feels almost dirty to watch him from afar, strangely voyeuristic, predatory and ill at ease. She is not accustomed to stalking prey, as natural as it feels in this form- and more than that, the idea of having prey at all causes her stomach to flip and boil. She should show herself, confront him directly, demand answers for this action and the countless others, the sins he has committed against their world.

But what if he is in the process, now, of undertaking another crime? What about if (when) he lies: about his intentions, about his Goddess, about the schisms that gape between them, the two born into this same world yet chosen for such greatly disparate things.

No, she will not confront him yet. She will continue to follow, a wraith in the snow, a shadow on his heels, her footprints leaving no trace of her presence, her senses and suspicions on the highest of alert.
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 7 - Strg: 24 - Dext: 20 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,834
MP:
#5
When everything and everyone
Becomes my enemy
No matter how much he tried to keep his focus on walking, Sam could not shake the feeling of being watched. He felt there were eyes on him any way he turned, no matter how much he pulled his hood over his head. Stopping and turning to look over the blizzarding horizon as closely as he could, he chewed at his lip, wondering if The Voice would save him if he was hurt in the process of doing her work.

Of course she would, right?

Right?

Just to be safe, he activated his barrier, the electricity shockingly bright in the midst of the snow. "Is...someone there?" He asked out into the air, figuring it was best to confront now rather than risk an ambush later.
There's nothing more you can do
I'm gonna blame it on you
SAMUEL
Base Code by Sky!
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,924
MP:
#6
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
He sees her- or he senses her, at least. In a way Amalia is relieved: it makes the next decision easier. She'd been agonizing over whether or not to reveal herself to the man, whether it would cause him to behave differently, to hide, but if he already knows he is being observed there can be no harm in confirming his suspicions.

She hasn't come here to hurt him, after all. She just wants to know why.

The leopardess emerges from the snow slowly, paws crunching quietly and softly enough to not avoid leaving footprints. Through large dark eyes she stares at Sam, her body taut with coiled grace. She could strike him if she wanted, stop this madness here and now. How many would she save from this game, by removing such a key player?

What cost would it take upon her soul?

The girl who stands before the Ascended is not a huntress, not a killer. As she shifts she becomes simply herself: Amalia Chandrakant, friend of his sister, a familiar face as they grew up. And he is Samuel Wordsworth, always quiet and shy, never joining their games and antics, and they are children of a snowglobe world thrown out to the wolves and cast in a war passed down to them from generations past.

"Hi, Sam," the baker says softly, her face half-hidden behind a long red scarf. It is the calm before the storm, she knows- but oh, she wishes it would last.
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 7 - Strg: 24 - Dext: 20 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,834
MP:
#7
When everything and everyone
Becomes my enemy
There was a moment of silence and hesitation where Sam thought perhaps he had just become over-paranoid, that he was letting the sound of falling snow become something horrific in his mind; then he saw the leopard begin to appear from the white. Frozen in place with surprise and fear he stared, unsure what to think.

Then as Amalia shifted the fear took over. Since hearing of the 'Portal Guardians' he had found himself building up confrontations with them to bigger and bigger nightmares in his mind. Jigano he was sure would be hesitant but would hurt him in an effort to stop him doing his work, and Amalia? She was devout to the Old Gods. Faith, when it was working against you, was terrifying.

His hands frozen, fingers slightly bent, at his sides, he watched her approached with clearly nervous eyes, expecting her to start slinging accusations right away. When she instead simply greeted him it threw him and he stuttered out, before he could think about it: "H-hello, Amalia, um I...d-didn't think I'd see you here...?"
There's nothing more you can do
I'm gonna blame it on you
SAMUEL
Base Code by Sky!
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,924
MP:
#8
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
We are as good as strangers, Amalia realizes suddenly, watching the nervousness on Sam's face. I do not know this man at all.

It makes her want to shake him awake. It makes her want to cry.

A frozen gust buffets them suddenly, causing the dark-eyes girl to wince. She wraps her arms more tightly around herself, trying to keep the cold out, but the worst of it already sits against her breast. Amalia's expression is inscrutable as her dark gaze searches the Ascended's face, her own still half-hidden beneath her scarf. His comment almost makes her laugh, though- "Didn't you?" she asks him flatly, head adopting an avian tilt. She isn't good at games, and she knows that he knows what she is, as surely as she knows how far apart they stand.

As surely as she doesn't know what she's supposed to do.

Shifting her weight onto her other foot, the Shield exhales a puff of steam, her sigh a visible cloud between them. Finally the baker looks away, her eyes scanning the endless snow and mountains, wishing she could simply disappear within them. "Why are we doing this, Sam?" she wonders, suddenly tired, weariness in her tone.
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 7 - Strg: 24 - Dext: 20 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,834
MP:
#9
When everything and everyone
Becomes my enemy
At Amalia's question Sam opened his mouth but no words came out; he supposed she was right. He had believed with all of his paranoid heart that someone was going to stop him...he had just hoped desperately it would not be someone as powerful as Amalia.

He looked down to his hands and sighed, thinking that at least he had Nate's blood, from before he had Ascended. If he absolutely had to, he could summon his Goddess; he was sure she would have some words for a Portal Guardian. Though he hoped it wouldn't have to come to that.

Sam wasn't sure if he was expecting an immediate fight, yelling...but he definitely didn't expect the sad, questioning tone in Amalia's voice, the almost rhetorical question she asked. "...Because.......well, I-I can only speak for myself. I'm doing what I feel is right for Caido, I really am. And...I suppose...you're doing the same." He said softly, sadly, knowing the both of them would despair at the methods of the other.
There's nothing more you can do
I'm gonna blame it on you
SAMUEL
Base Code by Sky!
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,924
MP:
#10
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
Her arms wrap tighter around her body, as though to keep him from seeing the rawness and wounds that lurk beneath her skin. It hurts, to be so immediately at odds, to know that she will never be able to see eye to eye with him and so many others; it hurts to see her childhood drift away, her anchors to a simpler time slipping one by one from their fragile moorings. First Wessex, now Samuel, and after... who? Emmett is dead. Maea is gone. Rory is withdrawn. Evie...

Evie is Samuel's sister, not the Shield's. If the time comes to choose - when the time comes to choose - where will the apothecary stand?

"What's right about it?" She tries for a level tone, she really does, because the truth is that she wants to know. Desperately, hungrily, the girl wants to understand: Why are you doing this? What could be worth it? How do you justify the sickness, the pain, the wrongness of it all? What is it the Voice offers that acts like such a siren song, luring people she knew to be good to follow a prophet of discord and hate?

"What's good in what she's done?" She takes a step forward in the snow, as though proximity might lend her enlightenment. Her expression is childlike, her voice strained and pleading. "Please, Sam, I... I just want to understand." The wars, the blight, the monsters, the Fae- what can the Voice possibly promise to make up for these atrocities?
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 7 - Strg: 24 - Dext: 20 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,834
MP:
#11
When everything and everyone
Becomes my enemy
Amalia continued to surprise him: He had expected by now anger, hate, even violence potentially; he knew she was dedicated to her Gods and they had now been placed opposite each other in what could be a world-changing conflict...yet she seemed more desperate and sad, needy. As much as he was resistant to hope in nearly all it's forms, he wondered if he could properly explain himself well enough for her to gain some understanding. She at least sounded willing to listen.

He took a moment to try and gather his words so he could say them in the best way, explain it all as well as he could. "Um, well...The Voice wants to use the portals to connect us all. To bring families together, to bring supplies and trade to everyone, to let us all explore freely. Everything she does is for a good reason like that. She is a young God though, and the Old Gods work hard against her; is it not natural she will make some mistakes? If you look back at the history of the Old Gods....you can see they've hurt people too. They've brought about illness. They trapped us in that barrier." Sam's voice was soft, earnest.

"The Voice cares deeply for us. All of us. She doesn't want to hurt anyone. It happens because the whole world is against her and how we are trying to do things. But they're for the good of the people here, they really are. You...Amalia, you know me." This was a break from his practiced script he'd written in his mind, but sudden emotion had taken over. "We aren't close...but...from what you know, d-do you really think I'd follow something evil?"

He wasn't sure if he wanted to hear the answer, actually.
There's nothing more you can do
I'm gonna blame it on you
SAMUEL
Base Code by Sky!
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,924
MP:
#12
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
She tries to keep her composure as Sam attempts to explain the Voice, but the frown that darken's Amalia's brow only deepens as the man goes on. What families need to be rejoined? What care has the Voice demonstrated? Claws bite angrily through her gloves, tearing into the tender skin of her palms.

The intentions of the gift the Voice offers doesn't matter, if the goddess continues ignoring the cost.

"How can you believe all that?" Amalia asks gently, trying to swallow back the ire from her voice. "After all she's done- how can you trust her? She lied to me about the Blight. She said she didn't know what it was, and that she had nothing to do with its spreading." Lies upon lies; the girl cannot stand it.

Oh, but the accusation that Amalia knows him causes the Shield to flinch, her gaze falling back down to the snow as she wrestles with her thoughts. Would he follow something evil? No, Sam wouldn't- not the Sam she grew up with. But this Sam?

This Sam, she does not know.

"Did the Voice care for the Greatwood?" Her tone is rising now, the anger flaring no matter how hard she tries to subdue it. "Did she care about the Spire Demon, one of her children left to rot? Or the Prince, who lives in terror beneath the ground? What about the LongNight monsters? Does she care about those?" Shaking her head, the girl raises her dark eyes back to Sam's icy blue. "The Voice cares about whoever is useful to her. That isn't love. It's manipulation."
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor
Portal Calibrator
Age: 27 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural
Level: 7 - Strg: 24 - Dext: 20 - Endr: 22 - Luck: 21
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
Played by: Lancydulac Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,834
MP:
#13
When everything and everyone
Becomes my enemy
Sam saw Amalia's face as he was speaking and immediately knew he wasn't getting through to her. It was almost as if they were speaking on two different dimensions, their words going over or past each other with no meaning to stick. "Well, how would you have reacted if she'd told you the truth? That it was a mistake? That she had caused it? You'd have immediately started fighting her one way or another, which would have stalled her efforts to stop it spreading. And she did stop it. It won't be a problem anymore." Sam insisted, with confidence he didn't really feel.

As for the rest of things she mentioned...Sam was sure Amalia did not truly care for those Ascended gone astray; only conveniently thought of them when they would help her win this specific argument.

"Yes, she cares. She grieves. Are you.." Sam paused, some of his old insecurities returning mid-sentence as he wondered if he had the bravery to say what it was he wanted to. "...A..Are you going to bully every mother that loses a baby now? Every God with a death in their histories? Because all the Old Gods have deaths they've caused too, you know." He insisted, crossing his arms.
There's nothing more you can do
I'm gonna blame it on you
SAMUEL
Base Code by Sky!
Amalia Chandrakant
the Shield of Safrin
Hand of the Queen / Baker
Portal Guardian
Age: 22 | Height: 5'6 | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 12 - Strg: 34 - Dext: 34 - Endr: 35 - Luck: 34
JYOTI - Mythical - Starwhale (Humpback)
Played by: charks Offline
Change author:
Posts: 1,924
MP:
#14
the darkest nights produce the brightest stars
Can he hear how childish he sounds, she wonders, defending a false idol whose promises have only ever been met with broken defense? "Then why didn't she tell anyone? The other Ascended, even- you? If she knew that you going into the forest was killing it, why didn't she tell you?"

Or maybe she did. Maybe she told him about the Blight, and maybe he knew all along what he was doing. Maybe he killed the forest on purpose.

Maybe he truly did not care.

Shaking her head, she chokes a laugh. "The Voice didn't do anything to stop it. That was Vi and Rae - the gods you claim don't love us. The ones who could have destroyed her, but didn't, because it would have meant us dying, too."

The idea that the Voice is a grieving mother feels like a slap to the face, leaving Amalia wide-eyed a moment, her anger giving way to blatant disbelief. "Do you even know?" she whispers, hushed, pained, her voice cracking with agony at the memory of what she has seen. "Do you even know what happened to them? I watched the Spire Monster turn from something alive to something rotten as the Blight ate it alive. Have you met the Prince? He lives in fear and loneliness, and hates himself so much it hurts him just to be looked at." Her voice quivers; her claws tear into her palms, leaving spots of blood upon the snow, and she takes another step toward the man. "If she's such a merciful mother, why hasn't she helped them, Sam? You think I'm a villain, but at least I try. I tried to heal the Prince. I tried to help the Greatwood. I'm trying to protect the world from a monster who doesn't give her children a second thought!"


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