A Drop in the Ocean
For Vervain
Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor

Age: 28 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 7 - Strg: 20 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 18
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#1
The things they taught you
they're lining up to haunt you
Since the Voice had stripped him of his power and strength, Sam had retreated from public life in Torchline considerably. His work for the Grounders was done until Longnight came after all and Zeph's house was a relative sanctuary, quiet and peaceful.

Still, he couldn't stay there all the time. As the moments and hours went on he felt increasingly guilty about taking up space in the man's home, in the world at all, when he was so worthless again. Just like he was when he had lived in solitude in his little world of books, just like his father had said. In an effort to try and shut up the voices in his head that said things like pathetic and useless, he had gone for a walk.

He'd always been one for a little fantasy and superstition. When he realised he was walking towards the Miana pool, he looked for a nice stone on the way there, thinking wishing might at least make him feel a little better. It was smooth and cold in his hand and when he reached the pool something like calm had taken him over, enough so that he felt alright speaking out into the darkness of the night, even if it meant hearing his own broken voice.

Dropping the stone, he quietly said to the ocean: "Please. L-Let it all be..be..b-be alright. Just...somehow. Let it be alright."
You got your back against the wall
Samuel
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Vervain Calob
Witch

Age: 37 | Height: 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
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#2

"It will be. It usually is, in my experience."

Call it habit, but Vervain was more used to sleeping out under the stars these days than indoors, and compared to the Greatwood, Torchline had an incredible view of the stars. She'd made shelter in the shade of a few trees close to the Miana Pool, where travellers liked to sit and rest or nap during the day.

And she had just been about to doze off too, when the plunk of a stone hitting the water reached her ears, along with the visitor's broken wish. So now, half sitting up, her blue eyes thankfully adjusted to the dark, she peered across at the pool until she recognised him.

"...Sam?"

vervain
well i'll rest my eyes
and i'll let the earth breathe
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Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor

Age: 28 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 7 - Strg: 20 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 18
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
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#3
The things they taught you
they're lining up to haunt you
Sam had not been expecting to hear a response and the voice made him jump; for a second he peered down into the deep, wondering if some Torchline spirit or maybe L'ma itself had decided to give him a reply...after a moment though he realised it was far more reasonable that the voice had come from a passerby, especially when it appeared that they knew his name.

He looked around until he saw Vervain, at which point his eyes widened. He hadn't seen her in a long, long time (and oh, why did she have to see him now? When he was at his worst?). "Vervain...? I..d...didn't think I'd see you h-h-here." Sam sighed and his brows furrowed together as he stuttered over his words, clear shame in his face. "S-sorry. Um...it's b-been...been a hard week."
You got your back against the wall
Samuel
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Vervain Calob
Witch

Age: 37 | Height: 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 4 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 8
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#4

Vai couldn't help but laugh a little as she watched Sam peer into the pool, as though it had been the thing to speak back at him. As he finally spotted her, she rose to her feet and brushed herself off, glad for the comparative warmth of Torchline. (The Greatwood was not so friendly when it came to sleeping outside in Deepfrost). "Mm, I heard that Remi had become Governor. I came to visit him, to see how he's doing," she explained.

"...I didn't expect you to be here either. Want to talk about it? Your hard week, I mean. I find that the water isn't so great a conversationalist." She stepped forward to peer into the Miana Pool, like she would be able to see his wish.

vervain
well i'll rest my eyes
and i'll let the earth breathe
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Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor

Age: 28 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 7 - Strg: 20 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 18
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
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#5
The things they taught you
they're lining up to haunt you
"Oh. Yes...he's do-doing well." Sam gave Vervain a tight lipped smile he wasn't really feeling, trying to engage in niceties when he had come to maybe have a good cry at the edge of the water.

Thankfully, Vervain moved on to asking him if he wanted to talk about his week and before he had a chance to really consider he was nodding, needing some kind of release that he wouldn't feel guilty pouring on top of Zeph in addition to everything else. Their reflections next to each other in the water, he found it easier to speak looking at them. "...Um, well, si-simply...I left the Voice. I d-decided to stop following her...she didn't li-like that." He laughed, a quiet and hollow sound, at the obvious nature of that statement.
You got your back against the wall
Samuel
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Vervain Calob
Witch

Age: 37 | Height: 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 4 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 8
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#6

"Mm, he is," Vai murmured, though of course there was just as much not being said with both of their statements. Luckily for the two of them, she was much more interested in listening to Sam rather than dwell on the things she had yet to speak about with the Alchemist, watching their reflections ripple across the pool and hearing out the Ascended. Her eyebrows raised at his confession, Vai brushing a stray curl out of her face and letting out a deep breath.

"No, I imagine she didn't," she said softly. "Are you in trouble? I mean... is she actively trying to come after you?" Another way of asking what had happened, in retrospect.

vervain
well i'll rest my eyes
and i'll let the earth breathe
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Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor

Age: 28 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 7 - Strg: 20 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 18
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
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#7
The things they taught you
they're lining up to haunt you
There was something comforting in the way Vervain spoke, soft and gentle; as much as Sam hated when he was coddled there was a joy in it right now, in having her treat him kindly. He shook his head to her question, though then tilted it, unsure.

"I d-don't think The Voice herself wo--would come after me. The o..other Ascended, though...they m-mi-might." Sam hugged himself, knowing that if Wessex chose to she'd be able to kill him in one instance; many of the other Ascendeds might also be able to with the right blood in their systems. "..But...but she took everything. I d-don't know what to do. I c..can't do a lot of what I was doing. I'm useless."
You got your back against the wall
Samuel
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Vervain Calob
Witch

Age: 37 | Height: 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 4 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 8
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#8

"Ah," Vai said, a sadness in her tone that the other Ascended might take it upon themselves to show their displeasure at something Sam had done. Shifting to sit at the edge of the pool, she stared into its depths for a few more moments before glancing up at the bookmaker. "Useless? That's hardly true, is it? You were something before you were Ascended," she reasoned.

"Why did you decide to leave her? Did you know this would happen, that she would take everything?" Not that Vai had any clue what 'everything' meant, knowing precious little about the Ascended.

vervain
well i'll rest my eyes
and i'll let the earth breathe
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Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor

Age: 28 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 7 - Strg: 20 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 18
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
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#9
The things they taught you
they're lining up to haunt you
Vervain's insistence that he was something before he Ascended...well, Sam supposed she wasn't wrong, but he hadn't been anything he wanted to return to. "I c..can't do the job I was he...ee..re to do. I can't help the Gr-grounders." Not without his sun resistance, which meant he'd have to stay indoors the whole time; in addition if there was any actual threat, something which Sam could not quite shake from his mind...what would he do? Cower at the monsters?

"I..um...I left b-because she keeps...d-doing things that don't make any sense." Letting out a frustrated sigh and shaking his head, Sam put a hand down to the water to swirl a finger around in it, watch the ripples. "She...she en-endangers people, pits us ag..against each other and makes ev..everyone stay. You c-can't leave when you're in...I shou..should have known..this would happen." Really, now that he thought about it, it had been obvious the Voice wasn't going to let him go without some kind of cost, but in the moment he had been so hopeful.
You got your back against the wall
Samuel
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Vervain Calob
Witch

Age: 37 | Height: 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 4 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 8
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#10

Hearing him out, Vai also watched the ripples Sam made, a thoughtful expression on her face. "...Well. What do you want to do to help them?" she asked. "The Voice aside, what help would you want to be? A warrior? A keeper of knowledge? An ear to listen?" All suggestions, but some of them didn't require Sam to be anything other than kind, at the root of it.

Taking in a long, deep breath, Vai sighed out into the night, crossing her legs to sit more comfortably on the sands. "I find that trying to make sense of the things gods do only brings me pain," she murmured, thinking of the pit she had once found Remi in, the trial Ludo had put him through. "Whatever is done is done now, unless you go back to her," she reasoned. "From here, it's all you. You get to decide who you want to be."

vervain
well i'll rest my eyes
and i'll let the earth breathe
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Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor

Age: 28 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 7 - Strg: 20 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 18
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#11
The things they taught you
they're lining up to haunt you
Vervain's question was a good one but also one Sam had no idea how to answer: what did he want to be for the people of the Grounds? "I..I wa-want to make them feel like I know...know what I'm d-doing, that I can help them be sss..safe here." With his voice so unsteady and his posture so obviously terrified, he wasn't able to provide that, at least not to the level he wanted to.

Maybe she was right about trying to make sense of the Gods: Sam had certainly found it to be a fruitless endeavour. "I..I just wa-wanted to make her happy, once. Bu..but...she kept doing things and p-pp-people would ask me how I could st..stand with her, and..." Sighing and shaking his head, Sam shrugged his shoulders. "I struggled. To..to answer."

Who did he want to be, though? That was hard. "..What do you do...wh..wh..when you hate everything th-that you are?"
You got your back against the wall
Samuel
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Vervain Calob
Witch

Age: 37 | Height: 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 4 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 19 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 8
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#12

"You do know what you're doing." It was a statement of fact rather than a question, and Vai smiled to herself a bit. "You grew up in the Grounds. And you make books - have you thought of writing it all down, so if people have questions they can find the answers more easily? It doesn't sound like adventurous work, granted, but... knowledge makes people feel safe."

As he continued to speak about the Voice, she considered his words with a soft frown. "It's not my place to comment on the relationship between someone and their god or goddess, but... What other people say doesn't normally matter, with something so personal, surely?" She tilted her head, blue eyes flicking up to look at him.

"Did you ask her, why she did the things she's done? As for hating yourself... I guess you take a look at everything you are. And you change the parts you can, and learn to accept the parts you can't. Hate doesn't go very far."

vervain
well i'll rest my eyes
and i'll let the earth breathe
Air Manipulation (Upgraded) - Base Healing (Upgraded) - Fire Manipulation (Basic)
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Samuel Wordsworth
Book maker/seller / Naturals Advisor

Age: 28 | Height: 5' 5" | Race: Ascended | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 7 - Strg: 20 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 18 - Luck: 18
MIA - Regular - Ragdoll Cat
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#13
The things they taught you
they're lining up to haunt you
Sam swallowed the immediate 'no I don't', supposing that as much as his horribly persistent negative brain wanted to tell him he was useless, Vervain was right. He could write things down. That would give him more time to think of what he wanted to say and he could present it better, and might at least give the impression that he had a plan. "..Y...you're ...right. Thank you. I c-could do that."

It would help to have a project, too. Less time for his mind to beat him up.

When it came to the Gods though, he had to disagree. "If...if they h-h-had things to say I t..thought weren't tr-true, then...yes. B-but the pro..problem was that I ff-fff-found myself agreeing with them." Often, the moral concerns raised had been things he'd thought himself without any outside perspective: the voices of his concerned friends tended to echo his own rather than inform them. "I try to..to ask, but...I th-think we just see some things...d-d-differently."

Staring into the water, he wanted to say he hated it all, give in to the angry and hot flash of anger in his chest...but it wouldn't be true. "...I...li-like the bits of me that are..n..nice to people. I don't like the b..bi..bits that are weak. Pathetic. Small."
You got your back against the wall
Samuel
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