In Pursuit
Seiji Okura
Musician

Age: 25 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Accepted | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 2 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 25 - Endr: 12 - Luck: 10
Played by: kae Offline
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#1
Longnight is over.

Flowerbirth arrives in a shower of sunlight, of glad voices rising on the chilly morning air. Seiji, too, has spent some time outside just looking, drinking in what it means to be out of doors again. To see the sunlight after all that time shut inside. There is damage, of course. Grieving to be done. Repairs to be made. But he is once again able to sleep inside the walls of a home halfway his. Able to move without brushing elbows with all manner of stranger. Able to breathe without inhaling the mingled smells of food, drink, warmth, bodies, sorrow, sickness, fear. It’s a good feeling.

It is not all celebration for him, though. He has a good number of things on his mind. After all that time indoors, Seiji is drawn back in again. Not to the Rathskeller, but the big, domed building nearby. He finds it blessedly quieter than the bar, filled with the scent of shadows and dust, and a prickling sensation of remembrance.

As if he has known something like this before. And not just known, but beloved. Seiji entered with a purpose, but he quickly finds himself wandering, taking the time to run his fingertips so delicately over the spines of the books, to peer into shadowed corners, nimbly picking his way under and around the occasional bold spider web.

He stills at last to draw one particular volume from the shelf, dark blue and faded, the pages cracking as he carefully parts them. There, lost in curiosity, he is tenuously forgetful of the danger Caido tends to pose.
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
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#2
Jigano had no shortage of things to do, now that Long Night had freed them from their captivity. He'd helped Vervain do some cleaning in the Infirmary, but the guildhall needed tending and he had a handful of new topics to begin researching. Perhaps some of the books from Isla's shelves would come in helpful...

He sighed as he headed into the Atheneum, his mood momentarily dampened, but the spring sunlight filling the great old building, sending sunbeams dancing through the dust, was enough to raise it again as he inhaled the familiar scents of leather and paper and ancient wood. He was almost smiling as he crossed the stone floor, reveling in the return to a place he had grown quite fond of.

As he walked slowly through the aisles, running his fingers lightly over the spines of books as if greeting old friends, Isuma took off to stalk spiders. He grinned at the feeling of joy from her at her return to familiar hunting grounds, chuckling softly to himself. His laughter died away as he spied a dark head down one aisle. A familiar head, one he hadn't seen in far too long. Blue eyes lighting up with relief in spite of his weary appearance - cheekbones hollower, eyes more shadowed, carriage more tired - the bard changed his course to walk towards the distracted young man with a smile. "Hello again, Seiji," he called softly through the shadows and dusty light. "I'm glad to see you're safe!"
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)
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#3
It is a traditional pilgrimage for the lonely girl: after Long Night concludes and the bakery is cleaned, she heads to the Atheneum  to tend to the books. Her dearest friends for many years, the tomes have been touched by other fingers of late, and Amalia feels a twinge of jealousy as she notes the slightly open door, the scuffle of footprints in the dusty floor. It is unreasonable, irrational, but she cannot resist: there have been so many interlopers of late, so many strangers leaving scoff marks on her home. A strange year indeed, weird and wonderful, with near death and new life, the arrival of legends and conversations with gods. Amalia's head spins when she tries to recount it all. The world has changed with the turn of the sun, and her grandmother is not there to see.

Slender fingers trace the skeletons of books, curling contentedly around old spines as she begins to right the ruins. On soft feet the girl drifts, at ease in the familiarity of these hallowed halls. She knows the layout as though it were her home, and dances between towering stacks, carefully avoiding the strangers within, disdainful of them, the interlopers, the strange. The quiet of solitude is a welcome respite from the bustle of the Rathskeller, the oppression of the Infirmary. She misses the days when this was hers, her kingdom, her haven, her only companions parchment and ghosts. The influx of Outlanders has changed her dreams: at times, Amalia wishes to wake up back in the comfortable disquiet of before.

One voice among many catches her ear; Amalia pauses in pursuit to listen, frozen for a moment between nostalgia and interest. She has taken pains to mask her presence, yet suddenly a desire to be seen flares within her breast. Carefully, cautiously, she rounds a corner and sees them, slender forms near silhouettes in the shafts a dusty light. Seiji and Jigano stand within the aisle, and Amalia can neither prevent nor explain the smile which blooms across her face at the sight of these men. Moments ago trapped in her mind, the young baker feels a sudden need to be seen, be heard, be wanted by these strangers who had treated her as friend. It is a desire tempered by fear, the loathsome terror of rejection ever present in her soul: and so for a moment she hovers nearby, torn between two impulses, watching and wondering and waiting in silence for some sign of the path she must choose to take.

a m a l i a
I've been watching your kindness keep
A lonely company - Look at the fire and think of me


Seiji Okura
Musician

Age: 25 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Accepted | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 2 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 25 - Endr: 12 - Luck: 10
Played by: kae Offline
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#4
A familiar voice raises Seiji’s attention from the book. At once, he looks up, his dark eyes alight with recognition and joy. “Jigano!” he grins. “I am glad to see you, too!” Though to Seiji’s knowledge they have only met the once, that fateful night in the woods, he remembers Jigano’s knowledge and kindness fondly. Seiji himself is much better company now, bright-eyed and energetic, brimming with questions. He hopes Jigano has not tired of answering them.

“I had to wait until after Longnight to visit this place,” Seiji says, his eyes skating across the dusty vault. “But I like it. It feels… peaceful. I think I have been somewhere like this before.” His tone softens over the contours of memory, wistful now, until his gaze returns to Jigano and he flashes a quick, sheepish smile. “I came here to find the Loreseekers,” he explains, “Do you know of them?”

Some movement in periphery catches his attention then, furtive and soft. Seiji is just a little slower to recognize Amalia’s long fall of golden hair, not quite as unique as Jigano’s stark white. When he does, though, he smiles, mirroring her expression, and lifts a hand to wave, cradling the book safely against his chest with the other.
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
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#5
He almost didn't recognize the bright, eager smile that met his greeting, Seiji transformed since the last time Jigano saw him as a man. Even when they had met in the woods, fox and human, the other Outlander had been quiet. He had liked that young man, but it was heartening to see such animation and open emotion on his face now.

He nodded a wry understanding to why Seiji had to wait to visit, the terror and pain of Long Night still lingering close to the surface of his thoughts, ready to sink sharp fangs of guilt and mourning into his heart if he let them. "This place called to me from the moment I stepped inside," he agreed with a smile, sharing his own memories of the Atheneum. "It has become the closest place I have to a home here, really." With his office in Loreseeker's Hall now housing his belongings and occasionally serving as a place to sleep, it was indeed a better home than his fox's den in the glade. 'Home' was becoming more and more a person rather than a place but... that was a thought he wouldn't dwell on now.

"I'm sorry your memory hasn't returned yet, but I'm glad you're finding echoes of it," he offered sincerely. With so little to build from it was hard to know where to start, but every little piece that Seiji could find would help to build the whole again.

The young man's explanation and question kindled a broad grin on the bard's face. It had been so long since he'd smiled that wide that it almost hurt, but he welcomed the sensation and began to place a hand over his heart. Before he could answer Seiji waved to someone behind him, and when he turned to glance back his eyes sparkled with the dramatic timing of the moment. "Amalia!" he greeted warmly. "Please, join us? Seiji was asking where to find the Loreseekers--" he turned back to the dark-haired man and bowed gracefully, gesturing back to the blond librarian. "And I am happy to say that you have found two of them!" Most of them, now that Isla had... changed... but he wrapped the thought tightly and tucked it away for later. "How may we help you?"
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)
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#6
They are a symphony of quiet voices, a duet rising and falling from whence she catches a handful of notes. It would be a gross misrepresentation to say that Amalia does not mean to eavesdrop: she certainly does, though she would not admit it, her innate curiosity leaving her wholly nonexempt from a certain degree of nosiness. She thinks herself something of a sleuth, but is moments before they catch her in the act, and the bubble which she stood outside of suddenly grows to encompass the girl.

It feels good, to be inside.

Compelled by a quiet wave and welcoming smile, Amalia drifts closer to the pair, her narrow cheeks flushed in the dusty light. "Hello," is all the girl says, black eyes flickering between Seiji and Jigano as the latter man enthusiastically introduces her as a Loreseeker. In all the frantic rush of Long Night she has nearly forgotten the organization, and her membership within- certainly all such similar attempts to develop a group dedicated to knowledge have fallen flat, in her experience. It heartens her to see Jigano's dedication, even as she feels a pang to think that it took them to create a thing that lasted, Outlanders to breathe life into her world... But she bites that thought down, buries it away. Some change is good, the girl tells herself as she nods to Seiji, seconding Jigano's offer of help. This change is good.

a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Seiji Okura
Musician

Age: 25 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Accepted | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 2 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 25 - Endr: 12 - Luck: 10
Played by: kae Offline
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#7
Seiji is pleased as Jigano speaks of the Atheneum, fondness shining through in his voice. The closest thing I have to a home. In him, Seiji senses something of a kinship, a similar spirit. Seiji's dark eyes roam the room, the rows of books, the sense of age pervading the vast space. "It will come," he says softly, referring to his memory. He knows enough, he thinks. Enough to keep moving forward. He must believe this, or be undone.

When Amalia approaches, she does so hesitantly, and it reminds Seiji of the luxere present the first time they met. His voice is kind when he answers her greeting. "I am glad to see you again, too, Amalia." He gives her a small nod, remembering the way she had laughingly mimicked his bow the first time. He thinks he senses still a sadness in her, as if she fears rebuke for every action, even for being present. The people of Caido have been so friendly thus far Seiji cannot understand it, but he hopes to make her as welcome as he can whenever he finds them sharing company.

With a nod, Seiji lets his eyes flick over each of them, pleasantly surprised to learn they are both Loreseekers, themselves. It will be easier to speak with people he knows. "I am looking for information," he explains. "As much as I can find. About... Caido. I want to learn everything I can about the world. I was hoping the Loreseekers could help me, or... I could help them, maybe, if they seek knowledge. I can read, and also write. I am learning how to fight. So I can explore this place. Also, I came to ask what is done with the dead, here. My friend lost someone over Longnight and I think it will help her to mourn him the way people do here." Falling silent, he awaits a response before continuing farther. His questions are many, and he cannot be sure how any answers they have,or how much time.
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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#8
Jigano bowed his head in gracious acknowledgment that time was the only thing that would bring Seiji's memories back to him. Time, and perhaps familiar surroundings and tasks, which he'd only know if he tried new things and went new places in the hopes of unlocking some of the lost pieces of the puzzle of his past.

But they were not alone in their little corner of the Atheneum, and Amalia made a glad addition as their pair became a trio. He welcomed her into their conversation, happy to see that the young man and the young woman seemed to know each other and sparing him the need for introductions, though he noted her quiet reservation with a little concern. Seiji's need for information sparked Jigano's interest, though, blue eyes sharpening as he turned his mind to specifics - and then softening as his smile became a wide grin of approval at the slender man wanting to know 'everything' and offering to help. "I think we can help each other," he agreed gently, looking to Amalia for confirmation. He cocked a brow at her above his little smile, a silent question of if she approved if Seiji's 'application' and impressive set of qualifications.

The smile faded as he turned back to the other man, a sober expression on his face at hearing that Seiji's friend had lost someone. The Long Night had left no one untouched, who had been on Caido for most of a season or more it seemed. He bowed his head in respect for the loss and then gestured to Amalia, ceding way to her expertise on the subject of post-Long Night funeral rites.
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)
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#9
Amalia eases as Seiji declares an interest in the Loreseekers guild, glancing at Jigano's easy smile and finding herself smiling in turn. Seiji has been nothing but pleasant and kind, and the girl cannot help a surge of pleasure at the prospect of him joining their ranks. It is another step toward something like friendship.

His interest in Caido and their customs only endears him further in her eyes. So many of the Outlanders have fixated and focused on getting out, and while she cannot deny she shares their desire, the bubble and all within will always be her home. So when Jigano turns to her for confirmation, the girl nods a quick assent, her expression warm and welcoming.

Seiji asks about the dead, and Amalia too grows somber, thinking of Kinda and the vast weight of her loss. "I am sorry," the baker murmurs sincerely. "May Ludo lead them to the next life." Will this soul be one of the ones they collect for the being? She glances at Jigano, wondering if he thinks the same, but the man is uncharacteristically silent, seemingly deferring to Amalia's expertise.

She clears her throat. "After Long Night there are no bodies, so we do not bury or cremate. It is customary to light candles, or a lantern for Ludo-" and here she thinks of the two in her home, and swallows before continuing "-And families mourn privately. She could plant something in their memory to honor them. That is also traditional." They had planted lilies for her grandmother, when her body had been lost, Amalia recalls with a bittersweet smile.

She did not plant anything for her mother, except her body in the ground.

a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Seiji Okura
Musician

Age: 25 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Accepted | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 2 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 25 - Endr: 12 - Luck: 10
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#10
Ludo. Seiji nods along with what sounds like a blessing, though curiosity glints in his eyes. Further questions build on his tongue as Amalia continues to speak, but he waits patiently for her to finish before he moves to interject. "Thank you," he says finally, nodding. "I think she will like that. Is Ludo one who keeps your dead?" Seiji cocks his head. Swimming somewhere at the edge of thought, like a fish through murky water: the image of a lantern floating gold and resolute against a background of black.

Something he imagines? Half a memory? Something between the two?

"I do not know any of the gods here," Seiji admits. "I arrived so near Longnight, I had no time to ask questions. If you have time.." He allows the question to trail off, for Amalia to answer if she feels up to the task. He has no desire to press the shy woman out of her comfort zone.
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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#11
Jigano's smile widened a little at Amalia's silent approval of the new recruit, but for the moment he let the conversation continue on towards more somber topics. In truth he was as interested as Seiji in the funeral customs of Caido. Candles and lanterns made sense, with Ludo's iconography. He was a little surprised to hear that planting was customary as well though, and he drew in breath a little sharply, before letting it out slowly with a quiet smile for his friend. "There are some similar customs on my world," he said softly. "Planting something as a memorial... I was planning to do that for Isla, even though she wasn't truly lost. But since she died, at least for a while, it seemed appropriate." To honor who she had been, and the skill she had lost, in a way, the deftness of her hands replaced by the healing magics of a horn.

Seiji's following question and his admission on the nature of the gods earned a nod of approval - and a raised brow towards Amalia. The bard was also curious as to how his pious friend would describe the gods, given that Ludo and the Voice were the only two he'd encountered personally - and most of his encounters with the goddess of the Ascended were as a passive bystander. But before Amalia could answer he brought his hands together softly with a smile of welcome for the young man, and another shared smile with the baker. "This sounds like a conversation that loreseekers should have in our guild's Hall," he declared, purposefully including Seiji in their number. "We can stoke the fire down there and put tea on, and settle into more comfortable chairs while we talk. What do you say?"
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)
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#12
"Yes," she answers simply, though it is more complicated than that. Ludo holds the dead for Mort, but Mort is not here, and the dead are kept without recourse or rescue. And as she now knows, Ludo some of the souls who die in darkness are unable to find their way to the gods. Amalia does not tell Seiji this: after the Long Night the Outlanders need hope, not more reason to hate this world they've fallen into. Besides, she and Jigano will soon help to address one of those issues come the new moon.

For once Amalia perks up at the opportunity to speak, eager and willing to wax poetic on her favored topic: the gods. Eagerly she nods her assent, ready to spin the tales of her youth for this captive audience, to regale Seiji with fact and myth. But a glance at Jigano stills her tongue, and the stories crumble within her mouth as he suggests they move their soiree somewhere more comfortable. There is no denying the appeal of the picture he paints, and though Amalia feels suddenly self-conscious she nods her assent, waiting for Seiji to agree before following Jigano to the Loreseeker's - their - little Hall.
a m a l i a
You were young and you'd stare With a reverence unimpaired
Searching in your dark eyes to find the stars already there


Seiji Okura
Musician

Age: 25 | Height: 5'7" | Race: Accepted | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 2 - Strg: 10 - Dext: 25 - Endr: 12 - Luck: 10
Played by: kae Offline
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Posts: 149
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#13
Seiji's expression shifs to one of horror as Jigano speaks. "Isla?" he repeats, thinking of the kind woman who had told him about chestnuts. How long ago that felt — another lifetime. "The doctor? She is dead?" For a while? What did that mean?

Seiji turns just slightly away from them, his eyes far away. He should not be surprised, and yet... He thought all the death accounted for. Somehow this blow catches him blindside. She was a doctor, not someone who would have been out fighting... She had seemed so gentle. Seiji shakes his head.

He is hardly aware of Amalia's limited answer. When Jigano speaks again, Seiji glances up, blinks, and finally nods. "Yes," he replies, voice soft. His expression softens, though, the smile returning as he looks to Amalia. "I want to hear everything you have to say."

He waits for Jigano to lead, presuming nothing, but eager to see their hall.
Jigano Silversmith
the Sage
Provost of the Loreseekers Soul Shepherd / Outlander Advisor
Portal Guardian
Age: 29 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned x Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 10 - Strg: 30 - Dext: 33 - Endr: 39 - Luck: 35
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 3,481
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#14
"Not... exactly," Jigano temporized, glancing to Amalia, wondering how much the fierce and gentle librarian knew of what had happened. "Though, yes, she did die. Something happened during Long Night, I'm not sure exactly what, but there was a luxere who was injured by the monsters. Several people went to help it, but Isla... of course, she went to tend to its wounds. She couldn't do anything less," he smiled sadly. "But the monster was apparently still inside the luxere and it attacked her when she got close. I am told it was... over quickly." He winced, looking away for a moment. "At least, no one I spoke to who was there had a chance to intervene before it was too late. But... after they returned, Remi found out what happened and went out into the night to recover her body. It was very foolish of him... and very brave," the bard added softly. "He said that Ludo appeared to him, and he brought Isla back, but... changed. In the body of a unicorn, who I suppose is bonded to Remi now as a companion." Jigano exhaled, tilting his head and giving Seiji a wry, sad smile.

"So, yes, she died. She's not still dead but... she is changed. She can't talk anymore, except through body language or with Remi there to translate. She doesn't have hands or thumbs anymore. And... in truth, I have no idea how much of what Ludo brought back is truly her, or how changed she is on the inside from this." He shrugged, caught in the strange, guilty, uncomfortable position of lacking closure for a death that was reversed, but having still, in many ways, still lost a dear friend who had been irrevocably changed.

That seemed as good an introduction as any into the gods of Caido, and the loreseeker provost, bowed to his friends and led the way through the shelves towards the door of burnished metal - the image a stylized book with rays of light coming from its open pages.

(Continued in Of Gods and Monsters)


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