God Quest Absolute Midnight
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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#1
On the night of the new moon two figures walked side-by-side to the edge of the woods. One was tall and slender, his long hair a tail of silver in the starlight that shone all the more brightly for the lack of competition in the night sky. The man was dressed in pale-colored clothes that made him stand out against the darkness, seeming more than half-spirit himself. The uncanny tilt of his eyes didn't help that image, the whites hidden in broad blue irises and slitted pupils. At his hip was a slender sword, cold steel and intricately swept hilt, and at his side was a shorter young woman with eyes even darker than his own and tawny hair kissed with gold that was swept back for their night's work. In one hand she held a staff topped with glowing red luxere antlers, and from one of their tines hung a lantern, beautifully ornate and glowing with a steady light from a white candle.

"Ready?" he asked her with a quirk to his lips that revealed the challenge and the excitement that he otherwise hid behind a pretense of calm. He stretched out tentatively to take Amalia 's free hand in his own, as if still finding it strange and a little unsettling to reach out so willingly to another, and as they stepped beneath the branches of the trees he lifted his sweet, low tenor and began to sing. The melody was one he had not learned, but had been given, and with the music he called, coaxing the lost ones to come in out of the dark, offering comfort and reassurance.

Welcoming them to come home, at last, to Ludo's lantern - and, eventually, to Mort's everlasting love.


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#2
Random Event
Like the end of a Hitchcock movie,
a little dark and a lot confusing

The music carried, soft and sweet, and echoed further than any human voice ought to. Through the trees and out across the fields, into the Sanctuary and down, down into the earth, Jigano's melody called them.

It called them and they came - slowly, at first, dreamlike, but in the illumination of Ludo's lantern and the antler's red glow, the duo would see figures beginning to approach.

Some would be strangers, but others they might recognise - those who had knocked at doors, or had been pulled out into the night. All wore an expression of mild bemusement, but seemed happy and keen to walk in the light of the lantern.
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
AMALIA
She wants the silence but fears the solitude
She wants to be alone and together with you
Born from dark water, daughter of the rain and snow
Amalia nods her eager assent, though her face betrays some anxiety. Clothed in dark colors she is a contrast to her companion, deep green dress criss-crossed by a simple brown vest, the whole thing hidden beneath a midnight cloak - he mother's garments, once. In the light of the lantern her sun-kissed hair is darker, too, and where he shines like a beacon she is a pool, deep and still, observing the world through attentive, sable eyes.

Jigano's song is an alluring chorus, and Ludo's lantern compliments it beautifully. She lets the tall man take her hand, squeezing it lightly as he begins to sing, and with soft footsteps leads him deeper into the wood. Hers is a silent role, and she is content to listen to his song.

When they begin to appear, a current of fear at the dark night runs through her spine, unbidden yet unavoidable. Many are strangers, but here and there she picks out a familiar face, each another mark upon her heart. A brother, a daughter: each is a reminder of the toll they pay, the unavoidable and insatiable hunger of the darkness which plagues their home each year.

Giving Jigano's hand another squeeze, as much to reassure herself as him, Amalia swallows and continues to walk, the lantern swaying on the antler, causing light to dance among the trees.
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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#4
Jigano had seen ghosts before, most violent and angry but some simply lost and confused. He had faced them with trepidation, once. Now he did so with outward calm, though his hand tightened on Amalia's. His song carried on unbroken, however, his performance clear and as flawless as years of training could make it. He did not know as many of the souls that came to join them as she did; he had not lost so very many, in the grand scheme of things. Not, at least, to the dangers of Caido. His souls were mostly accounted for, for which he was grateful as some of the younger spirits came to bask in the lantern's light.

The squeeze of his hand caused him to slant a glance towards his friend, but Amalia - dear Amalia, brave and true even in the face of these lost souls who had been her friends, her family - stayed steady at his side. He walked lightly through the dark, his fox's eyes and the light of the lantern shedding enough light to see the ground ahead of them, and he offered his support and guidance to his friend when the undergrowth grew tangled or the terrain was rough. Still he sang, steps slow and sedate as he let the song wend out through the night, calling to those who were even further away with a patience that belied the awe that thrummed through his veins at what he was witnessing - what he was doing - under the moonless sky.


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#5
Random Event
Like the end of a Hitchcock movie,
a little dark and a lot confusing

The young and the old all came, and the longer Jigano's song carried out into the night, the more appeared. LongNight was such an isolated time, and afterwards it was difficult, always, to know just how many had been lost. Especially given that the bodies disappeared, sequestered off into the dark before anyone could see them go.

They might see animals, too - companions of those who had bonded to humans, or Attuned. A small, ghostly cat would wind its way around Amalia's legs as they walked, and a hawk moved to perch upon Jigano's shoulder.

The woods around them seemed more than, somehow, after a while. Darker, deeper, spanning further than they ought. Surely they should have reached the barrier by now. Surely...?
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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#6
AMALIA
She wants the silence but fears the solitude
She wants to be alone and together with you
Born from dark water, daughter of the rain and snow
They carry on through the moonless night, surrounded by an ever-growing entourage of ghosts. Amalia's nerves flutter with electric uncertainty. She has always been a scholar of the living, not a student of the dead. Yet these are not the vengeful, the damned: they are lonely, lost, loved; they are souls in every sense of the word, and the girl aches for them all. Every now and then she catches sight of another familiar face, and her confidence in their task grows greater, determination strengthening within her narrow breast.

Further, deeper, into the woods they go, the girl with her lantern, the man with his song. A weightless feline brushes by her legs, leaving the sensation of static in its wake. Almost without thinking Amalia reaches down to caress the creature, before remembering that it is another lost soul, another casualty of the longest night.

As their path takes them under boughs and branches, the world begins to feel strange. Amalia blinks, her dark eyes peering into the infinite trees. She knows the Woodlands, and this is not them. Reaching out to brush Jigano's hand once more, Amalia whispers so as to not overpower his song: "We aren't in the Hollowed Ground anymore, I think."
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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#7
So, so many. He had not known what to expect, but it hadn't been all of these, lost souls in a parade, a throng, a stream that gathered around them and walked in peace in the light of an otherworldly lantern, to the tune of a song no mortal had composed. Jigano shivered in spite of his awe - or perhaps because of it. These were not vengeful spirits but gentle souls, lost in the dark, but no longer alone as they found each other and the light, found Amalia and the guidance of Ludo in her hand.

He sang on, voice raised as his training and endurance took over long past the time a normal melody might have ended. Ludo had, he hoped, chosen him for this task because he was a bard, with the skill to sing for hours on end if he needed to. Even the hawk that alit on his shoulder, a cool breeze against the side of his face, didn't shake the resolve of his voice, but eventually he began to worry past the honor and pride of serving as Ludo's herald. They had been walking for so long, and he knew the woodlands, had run them in his foxform for months now. They should have been forced to turn aside by now, and he didn't recognize the landmarks-

Amalia's voice echoed his thoughts aloud, and he squeezed her hand gently. His voice softened a little, unsure of whether he should keep singing or not... but he had the feeling that stopping now might not be wise. Stay brave, he thought to her, his mental voice faint with the reluctance he still felt at using it with others. But Amalia was closer to him be far than Caiside, and some of that affection warmed his quiet tone. We'll walk until we find the sunrise again, if we have to. For us, and our precious charges.
Spooky Rags


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#8

It would be easy to turn back - or try to. Easy to let the song die, easy to let the souls roam lost. But the duo who walked in the forest-that-was-not was much stronger than that by far, and their resilience and faith would pay off soon enough.

Soft lights punctured the darkness through the skeletal trees, and as they continued to walk they would realise that the illumination came from lanterns. Lanterns of all shapes, all sizes, each one selected carefully at the end of the Festival of Lights for over three hundred years.

The undergrowth parted to a clearing, more lanterns nestled here and there in the grass, and the souls clustered about Amalia and Jigano would start to break away now, all heading for the comforting lights.

"You may stop singing now." Ludo's voice rang out from between the trees - it appeared as a dark haired youth, dressed in rags and wearing its customary mask.

LUDO
Braved the forests, braved the stone
Braved the icy winds and fire
Braved and beat them on my own

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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#9
AMALIA
She wants the silence but fears the solitude
She wants to be alone and together with you
Born from dark water, daughter of the rain and snow
Time passes and the pair presses on, hand in hand beneath the moonless sky. In time, the night begins to brighten, though it is not dawn which lights their path but lanterns. Dancing, dim, the flame-lit creations dot barren trees in the dark wood, casting soothing shadows and drawing the ghosts like so many pale moths.

And at the center of them all, Ludo stands. She knows it to be it despite the change in appearance, the young and boyish form. Amalia bows before the masked child, the lantern dancing lightly upon her crimson staff. Almost wistfully her black eyes watch as the spirits drift away, each one seeking another lantern, each light plucked from a hopeful hand at the festival of lights. She recognizes many of them, recalls them from the years stretching back.

One in particular catches her eye. Delicately painted scenes on glass: a forest of trees, a smattering of flowers. Amalia aches at the recognition of her grandmother's handiwork, but she is proud to see it here, among the lights. Looking back at Ludo the baker smiles, her hard face grateful as she regards the being.
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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#10
Stars? Luxere? No... the lights that twinkled ahead of them in the mist of not-Caido were lanterns. Big and small, simple and ornate, colored and plain, paper and wood and iron and glass they lit the way between the thinning trees until the mortal pair stepped into a clearing alight with otherworldly fires. He had arrived after the Festival, and though he knew from his reading that Ludo had a fondness for lanterns, the significance of these escaped him.

Their entourage began to disperse and Jigano's voice began to fade in wonder as he looked around at the variety and artistry on display, hanging from branches and sitting on stones and tucked into the grass. He squeezed Amalia's hand just as a familiar voice danced and echoed through the air and gave the bard leave to silence his otherworldly song.

He finished the line, letting it trail off into the light as he took in the once-young god's appearance with a wry tilt to his smile. He placed his free hand over his heart, and as the ghost-hawk who had accompanied him took wing to head for a tall lantern papered in turquoise, Jigano gave Ludo a respectful half-bow. "What would become of these gentle souls," he asked quietly, "if they were not guided home to you?"
Spooky Rags


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#11

"They become monstrous," Ludo said of the souls. "They lose their tether to this world, and they terrorise rather than finding peace. Some refuse to walk with me, refuse to be guided. Even of the considerable number you have brought tonight, there are yet more, I have no doubt, who did not heed the call."

Ludo walked slowly through the clearing, leaning down to pet the ghostly soul-cat that had been purring about Amalia's legs. Eventually it drew near to the lantern that seemed to have caught on her attention, Ludo tilting its masked face up to see her. "Your grandmother was a wise woman," it said. "Would you like to ask her a question? I can get an answer for you."

LUDO
Braved the forests, braved the stone
Braved the icy winds and fire
Braved and beat them on my own

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
AMALIA
She wants the silence but fears the solitude
She wants to be alone and together with you
Born from dark water, daughter of the rain and snow
"Why would they refuse?" Amalia asks, turning back from her grandmother's lantern to stare at the child in the porcelain mask. As much as her heart aches for herself, the pain she feels for those lost souls is worse. So many familiar faces had walked beside them in the night - the Palmers, the Valairs, figures from her childhood - and yet for more to be lost, for those unguided to be lost, disfigured, contorted, destroyed...

With a shiver, she wonders if her grandmother is in their midst.

The cat which kept her company at last breaks away, stopping for scratches from the rag-adorned boy before proceeding to the painted light. Amalia's eyes follow it, suddenly lonely without her companion, a bittersweet warmth stirring in her breast. It is enough to chase out some of the shadows, to clear her worried brow, and as Ludo speaks the girl's heart fills and expands with something half-hopeful, half afraid.

"She's with you?" A half-step toward the god, as though her grandmother might appear, as though Ludo's figure might shift and morph into the kindly, older woman. "She's safe? Will you tell her I miss her, I miss her every day, and I'm trying to be the person she wanted but it's so hard and I don't know how..." Like a wave, emotion rushes over her, the words coming fast, so many things she has ached so long to say. Amalia's face is a picture of pain, each line marked by her loneliness, her striving heart, the way she aches for adequacy.

Drawing silent at last the girl inhales a shuddering breath beneath her tears. A question... And though there are a million she would ask, a starlit sky full of thoughts and ideas she would like to pluck from her grandmother's mind, there is only one thing which the girl needs to know, one question she has voiced to the ceiling in the nights when she can't sleep, prayed to the rafters and sewn into every action of her short, brittle life.

"Is... is she proud of me?"
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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#13
Jigano tilted his head at the answer and nodded slowly. That was more in line with the revenants he had encountered on his world. Some lingered for love or confusion, but most... most stayed from anger, and that rage twisted them until they were unrecognizable and hungered only for pain, and hurt, and the sorrow of the living. Ah, but monsters...

He glanced over at Amalia's question, his heart softening at her innocent question, and he wished, briefly, wistfully, that he could protect that innocence. But it was not his place, as Remi had reminded him, to meddle so freely in the lives of others, and so he looked back to Ludo with a grim sort of dignity. "The monsters of Long Night?" he surmised, remembering the laughter, the madness, the hate they had instilled in the minds and hearts of himself and his companions. It was a bitter memory, a painful one... but not without reward. "Are they the remnants of lost souls who could not - or would not - move on after death?"

Ah, but this was not his world. Not his place. Oracle he might be, but he would always be an outsider here, as he had ever been even in Numeria. It was Amalia to whom Ludo turned, and Jigano released her hand and stepped back to give the pious young woman space for a moment he could not - should not - be a part of.

He could not give her privacy. The clearing was not big enough for that, and he did not want her to think herself abandoned, but he bowed his head and turned his face away as her heart and soul poured out, bared and vulnerable for god and man to see. Amalia, who was so strong, so brave, so supportive of others... he had not realized she had borne such a weight in her heart, nor that such anxieties devoured her from within. She was even stronger than he had known, to continue each day under such a burden, and his heart went out to her as she asked her fragile question with an openness that took more courage than most people would ever need to show.
Spooky Rags


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#14

Ludo shook its head softly to Jigano, as if to say it did not know, in truth. "Perhaps. This place is not like any other. Such monsters are not ordinary, at Longnight or at any other time," it explained, before glancing to Amalia. The bard had the right of it, and Ludo nodded as if in response to Jigano's thoughts. "Some died before they were ready. Some died afraid, lost, alone... and they cannot move past it. Every year I attempt to corral them again, but I am not Mort. I am not a keeper of souls - only a guide."

That wasn't exactly true - Ludo had been forced into the role of keeper over a period of centuries, and the frustration had made it cruel and prone to trickery and deceit. Still, that did not seem to be the case here, at least.

"She is," it confirmed to the girl. "She is with me, as are all the others I guide. Until such a time as they can be with Mort, and know their peace." It nodded, hearing her out as she spoke of her grandmother, absently plucking at a bit of its rags that were frayed. "I do not need to tell her - she can hear you, sweetling," it explained.

Silence, at Amalia's final question, Ludo's head tilting, as if cocking an ear to listen.

"She says she could not be more proud," it murmured. "That your path is yours alone to follow, but she is with you even if you cannot see her."

LUDO
Braved the forests, braved the stone
Braved the icy winds and fire
Braved and beat them on my own



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