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Hurik and Madeira encounter shadows in Lapis park

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Light in Dark Places

Postby Madeira Craven on April 19th, 2018, 1:34 am

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Madeira looked at the tall, rough hewn stones that marked the entrance to the Lapis Park and scowled. They were tall, jagged things, about as tall as an Akalak. The grey stone was shot through with white veins that reminded her uncomfortably of a map. Deep fissures like open wounds revealed the deeply purple crystals inside.

This was another thing about Riverfall that baffled the Avalad. Admist their ridiculous adherence to straight lines in architecture, their insipid, lukewarm fashion, their strive for boring, predictable perfection in all things, their fascination with nature was one more thing she just did not get. Every space not put to perfectly functional use was required (by law, no less!) to be a neatly groomed pocket of green. The three parks, endless gardens and several
menageries all seemed to be for people who fantasize about living closer to nature.

It seemed like all of Riverfall worshiped nature like nature doesn't want them dead. They worship it's beauty and forget that the most beautiful things in the world were made by people. Could nature paint a mural that bends your sense of logic? Could it write a song that makes burst into tears? Could it dig the gold from the ground and twist it into a mesmerizing work of art? No!

Of course, the last time she had been in a garden was in Alvadas. The infamous Garden of No Return had her dragging her disease wracked body through kilometres of hedge maze, running after an adulterer and chased by a murder, and spat her out several days later with a strange artist she had just met. The incident had soured her opinion of gardens somewhat.

So she scowled at the flanking rocks, and all they represent. And when a gardener passed and gave her a strange glance she scowled at him too.

Riverfallians. They're all insane.

It was approaching the ninth bell, and the park was mostly empty. From deep inside she could hear birdsong and the chattering of squirrels, and below that the babble of slow-moving water. With all the shadow activity this season Nessela had said that people were not be going about as much frivolous activity, such as walks in the park, as much as they would have that time of year. Which was actually quite helpful for their purposes. You didn't want people around while preforming an exorcism.

"Are you okay, Ma'am?" A kind-faced human man paused on his way out of the park, holding a hooked lighter on a long stick used for lighting lamps. "You've been standing there since I came in. Is something troubling you?"

Madeira uncrossed her tightly laced arms, pulling the cuff of her white blouse over the bracer crossbow on her wrist and busily smoothing the lap of her dark trousers. The rucksack on her back gave a mysterious glassy jangle.

"No, not at all", she lied smoothly. "Are you the caretaker?"

The man chuckled. "I take care of the lamps and Priskil's stones. The park pretty much takes care of itself." He turned the back of his hand towards her, so she could see the mark glowing faintly in the morning sun that claimed him as a priest of Priskil.

"Then you must know of the ghost that's haunting the park?"

"You're the Spiritist they hired?"

"Yes."

He nodded. "Well, yes, I do. She'll pop out of the bushes and scare the families every now and then, but she is a gentle soul. She just babbles to herself and seems sad and lost most of the time, poor thing. Hasn't hurt anyone as far as I can tell. You'll go gentle on her, won't you?"

Madeira squinted at the man like she had never seen one before. "You know", she smiled crookedly, "I think you're about the first person I've met that has ever spoken on behalf of a ghost."

He shrugged his shoulders and gave her a small returning smile. "I believe there is good in all people. And just because they're dead doesn't mean they're no longer people."

Well, she agreed with the last part. Madeira nodded to express her agreement, and looked back at the towering stones and what lay beyond. Gods, she didn't want to go in there. She'd get lost and never make it out. Or worse, there could be something much more dangerous than ghosts in there.

"Good luck on your business, Spiritist. May hope light the darkness in your path", the priest blessed her, and turned to leave.

"Goodbye, Priest. Stay out of the shadows."

"Always do, m'dear. Always do."

Then he was gone, and she was once again alone in the park entrance as the world got lighter around her. She couldn't stay there much longer. If she wanted to finish the exorcism before the brave few who wanted to leisure in the sun she had to start quick and find the bloody ghost. Madeira stood there gathering her resolve for one tick.

Two tick.

Three tick.

Dammit.

Muttering darkly to herself she rolled up her right sleeve and dug a souldart out of her wrist bracer. With a precise jab she nicked one of blueish veins that ran through her pale skin like marble. With gentle pressing she managed to coax the gory ink from her body and with it drew a lopsided sixteen point star in her palm. Now, who should she call to help? Not Emma. The girl was too delicate for an exorcism. Jomi? He was possible to control if she held the long arm of retribution over his head, but her uneasiness might prove too delectable a bait for him to pass up.

Hurik? This she pondered. The man was braver than Emma and more loyal than Jomi, yet he was unpredictable. While she could count on Emma getting spooked and fleeing, and count of Jomi to throw her to the wolves, she never knew what her newest servant would ever do in any given situation. Well, she had never had him on an exorcism before. Maybe now was the time to test it out.

Closing her fist over the painted star, she focused on the gold ring that sat resplendent on her third finger. Inside she could feel the pull of Hurik's soulmist. She focused on that, on the tiny sliver of the ghost, and used the blood circle to open its connection to the greater whole. She fed it power from her own soul, until the pull doubled, tripled, and became an irrisiatble force dragging the ghost across the space separating it from its mists.

Once she had her big, angry, red-bearded servant focused in her mind, she called him by name.

"Hurik!"
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Light in Dark Places

Postby Hurik on April 21st, 2018, 10:01 pm

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Hurik looked up at the sun at it shone down on Riverfall, casting brilliant rays of light through the city, and he marvelled at the beauty of it. He'd been gazing at the sun since dawn, after watching the truly breath-taking sight from the crest of the Blue Vein's waterfall. Now he stood perched atop Zulrav's Tower, mostly because Hurik figured a god of storms and blustery wind wouldn't be very picky about what or who exactly blew onto his tower's roof.

Watching the cloudless sky gleam in a mirrored reflection of the blue seas filled Hurik with an indescribable desire to be one of the birds flying over that salty windy expanse. He found himself singing before he could stop himself. It was very tone-deaf and poorly pitched, but he was grinning like an idiot by the chorus.

"The love of my life's an ocean blue, whe'ere I find her love be true! Every man's beholden to some, but whe'ere the sea touches a man can be anyone! Have you e'er seen a lass so fair, with a crest of foam for her glimmering hair?
The toss of her locks, the rush of her bubbles, the losing of troubles, in sig-"


Hurik had been gradually building up to the climactic final line of the refrain when mid-verse he felt the signature tug at his Soulmist which indicated a summons. The implications of this were lost on Hurik, which was why he materialized next to Madeira, arms extended and head turned skyward. "-ght of her buttocks!" Hurik exclaimed, practically shouting the words with all of his strength.

He stopped singing, the beautiful horizon from the height of Zulrav's Tower having disappeared. He was in a park, and there was nobody around. Almost nobody. Hurik turned towards Madeira, and gave his most winning smile. He felt his mists curdling with a powerful desire to melt away into the air. It was her fault for summoning him at such an inopportune moment, or at least that was what the ghost told himself.

"Mistress! To what do I owe the pleasure? You might recognize the tail-end of what I was just singing there. It's My Love, The Ocean, which I hear is very popular with sailors."

Hurik took note of the blood that coated her arms, as always, which was necessary to perform her magic. He found himself staring at the crimson substance, pondering how even now he was still indirectly responsible for the spilling of blood. He felt his mood souring quickly and decided to try and salvage what little of it he could.

"Don't you ever worry you'll run out of blood? A little woman like you needs every last drop she can get. You can't afford to go spilling it every time you need me to do something for you." Hurik had meant for the comment to be tongue-in-cheek, as a kind of joke, but it ended up just sounding like he was concerned. Which Hurik was, though it frustrated him that he couldn't hide his feelings behind his humour, because that usually worked.

The lyrics of My Love, The Ocean tumbled through Hurik's mind. He was most definitely beholden to Madeira, but she also seemed to be the most freeing thing in his current state of unlife. He couldn't imagine where he would be without her as his touchstone. What a funny little paradox she is, the redheaded ghost mused silently.

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All credit goes to the amazing Arisia!
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Light in Dark Places

Postby Madeira Craven on April 22nd, 2018, 10:46 pm

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Madeira was rubbing the tin out of her ears from Hurik's explosive
entrance, and missed most of what he said. But what she did not miss was the dark way the ghost watching the trickle of blood that was crawling across her wrist. From inside the park there was a furious rustle and muffled cursing as a startled gardener fought himself out the bush he had fallen into.

"A little blood is a cheap price to pay to have you by my side", she
smiled sweetly, pulling her sleeve back over her arm and wiping the
summoning star on her trousers. She dissuaded but did not dismiss his
concerns, figuring guilt might just make his loyalty stronger. "Good
morning, Hurik. Did you have a pleasant night serenading sailors?" she teased, rolling her eyes skyward. "You're starting to have worse manners than Jomi. Anyway, come on, I need some help today with an exorcism. There will be a jar of soulmist in it for you." she rolled her shoulder to jangle the rucksack invitingly. "I'll tell you about it as we walk."

Passing by the flanking stones, Lapis Park turned into five acres of
weaving trails. Uncultivated and wild, it was thick with the thin
costal trees and lush vegetation native to Riverfall. Yet, unable to
keep their perfectionist hands out of anything, the Akalaks had helped the beauty of nature along somewhat. Little ponds had been dug and populated with colourful fish, while large stones, statues and benches had been placed in aesthetically pleasing positions around the park. Tall lamps that had been burning all day and night since the discovery of the Shadows struggled to add light to the brightening day.

Madeira blew by all of this with very little interest in the natural
beauty around her. Instead the Spiritist was watching the darkness
beneath the benches and the spaces between the tall grass for ghosts
and something worse. Her learned senses were stretched thin and wide
as she tried to ferret out the ghost they were looking for, while
being hopelessly distracted by the presence of the ghost beside her.
Her eyes roamed as she spoke, never settling long and twitching at the
small noises of creatures in the bushes.

"There is a lady haunting the park", she explained, "a Konti. She
wanders around mumbling old nursery rhymes and apparently isn't
terribly lucid. Nobody is quite sure who she is, but she keeps running
after children shouting for 'Ada', so people think she might be a
mother looking for her child. She's harmless, but she's scared enough
people that the city is paying Nessela a hefty sum to do something
about her, so-", she opened her arms as if to say 'here we are'.

To their left a heron looked up from its morning snack of frogs,
unnerved by the gripping cold Hurik brought with him, and took flight.
The unfurling of it's six foot wingspan and the noisy beat of air
spooked the professional ghost hunter, and Madeira let out a
humiliating gasp of fright and cringed through Hurik before she could
stop herself. As she stumbled out of Hurik's soulmist, shivering with
the blast of cold, she realized that nowhere in her explanation did
she explain why she needed him for something so routine.

She was suppose to be his mistress, the leader of her little band of
broken things. She couldn't admit that she needed him because
Riverfall had beaten her. Or maybe she could. The thought hit her like
a lightning strike. Maybe, for once, she could tell the truth. Hurik
always wanted to help, to make amends for his violent life. It was his
most easily exploited flaw. Sincerity and need would cement their
relationship more firmly than pretty words or a tissue thin excuse for
toughness. She would lose nothing by being honest with him. So going
against every instinct to cover herself, she took a deep breath and
explained.

"If you could just... watch my back as we looked for her, I would be
grateful. This park is so big, I would never find my way out again.
And with the Shadows stalking the city and the city itself trying to
eat me alive, I don't feel safe. Gods, I hate this city. Once I'm done
here with Emma and Raj I'm sending my family a letter, getting on a
boat headed for Alvadas, and I swear to Ionu we're never coming back."
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Light in Dark Places

Postby Madeira Craven on May 23rd, 2018, 4:32 am

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"Hurik?"

The silence after her uncomfortable honestly was stretching to uncomfortable lengths. Madeira looked up, doing her best to avoid catching the ghost’s eye, only to find herself alone. She blinked in the brightening dawn, and cast around from side to side.

"Hurik?"

Somewhere a frog gave a loud, mournful croak. The tall grasses moved with whispers of sound. Yet it was much more quiet than it should be. The red-headed, bombastic ghost was gone.

"Hurik!" she roared, as the situation of the betrayal dawned on her. "You complete-! You despicable-! Oh, oh, I'm going to keep you in a jam jar for the rest of my natural life you cretin! Come back!"

Out of the corner of her eye she saw the crinkling shadows of a poplar tree leaning across the path before her. With a gasp she whipped around, holding out her useless crossbow, only for the tree to lean back as the breeze in its tall branches subsided. The Spiritist swallowed noisily and breathed hard through her nose like an angry bull. Come on, Madeira. What kind of ghost hunter is afraid of their own shadow? The danger was real, but this timid level of fear was irrational. Calm vigilance and an efficient exorcism was all she needed to get through this simple errand.

She considered drawing on her Kelvic bond for internal strength, but she didn't want to alarm her anxious bondmate. Instead she centred herself with a breath, and tried to find the clear-headed calm she needed.

Yet as she was gathering herself, she heard something. Filtering through the wild landscape she could hear singing. It warbled from note to note, as if the singer was crying. Listening hard, she could just make out the words.

“When Shadows Rise And Eat The Light
Those Sentient Gnash Their Teeth And Flee The Night
Ancient Wrongs Were Never Made Right
Torments Awake And Itch For A Vicious Fight
Take They Will Your Will And Your Beautiful Colorful Sight...”


Gooseflesh erupted on Madeira's skinny arms. She had never heard that song before, but something about it raced up her spine. The light around her seemed to shift and the darkness followed, stretching greedy dark fingers deeper into the park towards the mysterious voice. The Craven reached out with her spiritist's sense, looking for the change in air, an unusual smell, a sudden chill, that suggested the singer was not among the living. The most damning evidence was that the voice appeared to be coming from two places at once, giving the song a strange, reverberating dissonance.

Good, she found the ghost. But the Spiritist still wasn't going anywhere without someone to watch her back. She looked to the two remaining rings on her left hand; a pale, glittering moonstone and a mirror-smooth onyx. Her eyes flicked longingly to the moonstone, but she knew she really had only one option left.

Scratching off the newly crusted scab, she opened her wrist for the second time. Her palm was still tacky with blood, but she scribbled her star with the same practiced motion. Closing her fist, this time she focused on the black stone, and the curl of soulmist in its hidden compartment. She brought her servant Jomi to mind, until an inky imagine of his silky hair, burnished skin and evil, crooked grin swam in front of her eyes.

Holding this firmly in her mind, she used the circle to open the connection. She fed power to the sliver of his mists and latched on to the ghost. Caught and reeling like a fish on a hook she used force of will to drag him to her. Two summons in less than twenty chimes was taking it's toll on her, and she could feel her grip loosening. But she shut her eyes, grit her teeth, and kept his stupid, snarky face firmly in her mind. Soon the magnetism of that little piece of soulmist, fed by the power of her own soul, was strong enough to summon its host. As soon as she felt the tides beginning to turn in her favour, she summoned him by name.

"Jomi, you evil little shyke, come!"
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Light in Dark Places

Postby Jomi on May 25th, 2018, 4:48 pm

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Jomi's brows knit together in single minded concentration atop his perch in the rafters of the blue bull. The dematerialized ghost was laid out flat on his back with a thick flax thread in one hand, and a tiny silver key in the other. his mists vibrated with tension as he attempted to thread the twine through the small hole on the uppermost crest of the key.

"Dammit woman, the lockbox key! Where is it!?"

Jomi knit the soulmist in his fingers together as tight as he could. His eyes narrowed in focus as the errant mists retracted and packed down to create a solid border around the digits that rolled the flax into a tighter point.

"I swear to whichever petching gods are listening I left it right here!"

Jomi had spent the last bell scouring the city in order to find the items he needed to build the perfect toy for Madeira’s pet cat, Spooks. Jomi had studied the animals’ habits and personality, spent countless hours observing the uncoordinated, spaced-out feline with the thousand yard stare. Now, finally, he had all the information he needed to design his ultimate cat toy.

A stick tied to a bunch of shiny things that rattled.

So far the ghost had pilfered a broken watch chain, a tarnished silver ring, a fishing lure, and now a polished key. All lovingly tied to a thick and sturdy birch stick he had found in a park.

"Turn over all the rubbish bins. No one leaves until we find it."

Jomi soundlessly worried his lip as he lined up the key with the thread for the dozenth time, both mere inches from his face. The frustration rolled off his body in waves as the thread caught the edge of the key and bent back. Having no success the ghost changed tactics, he adjusted his grip to hold to key horizontally between his index fingers as he pinched the bent thread between his thumbs. His eyes narrowed and lips grew taunt as he gently pushed the point of the thread forward.

With one final nudge the thread poked through the keyhole and the silver key slide down the thread. A wide grin crept across his face as the key hit the ghosts stolen knick knacks with a soft tap that cut clear as a bell.

Jomi let out a whoop of joy and soundlessly pumped his unoccupied fist. His translucent face radiated with the joy of accomplishment and smiling ear to ear. After several days of exhausting, tedious work his project was complete. Living a half life in a world that no longer wanted him, Jomi took whatever small joys he could to give him the energy to keep moving forward.

Until the ghost felt an unsettling pull emanating from his core.

Jomi vanished without a sound, sending the string of carefully arranged junk to scatter on the floor.
...................................

The ghost blinked once, twice, head pivoting wildly as he took in his surroundings. His mistress stood over him on the dirt path, face set to a grim, thin lipped determination and crossbow bracer out and loaded. A haunting melody drifting out from the tall thin trees and thick foliage that surrounded them. Once the shock wore off, the ghost hung his head defeatedly over his open, empty hands resting in his lap.

“I hate you. I hate you so much."
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Light in Dark Places

Postby Madeira Craven on September 13th, 2018, 9:58 pm

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Grades Awarded!

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Madeira Craven

Skills
  • Investigation: 3xp
  • Rhetoric: 1xp
  • Logic: 1xp
  • Spiritism: 2xp
  • Subterfuge: 1xp
  • Negotiation: 1xp
  • Persuasion: 1xp
  • Intimidation: 1xp
  • Meditation: 1xp

Lores
  • Riverfall: enjoys nature too much
  • Investigation: questioning witnesses
  • Lore of the kindness of Priskl followers
  • Lore of a traditional Priskl blessing
  • Emma: too delicate for an exorcism
  • Jomi: too unruly for an exorsism
  • Hurik: braver than Emma, more loyal than Jomi
  • Subterfuge: manipulating regret
  • Negotiation: offering soulmist for service
  • Persuasion: the strategic use of honesty
  • Intimidation: useless threats
  • Lore of a self pep-talk
  • Meditation: finding calm through breathing

Awards & Retribution


Notes
Self graded. Let me know if there is anything I need to change!


Hurik

Skills
  • Materialization: 1xp

Lores
  • Location: Zulrav's Tower
  • Song: My Love, The Ocean
  • Madeira: a freeing servitude
  • Socialization: hiding seriousness behind humor

Awards & Retribution


Notes
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.



Jomi

Skills
  • Materialization: 1xp
  • Soulmist Projection: 1xp

Lores
  • Soulmist projection: the effort of fine motor control
  • Observation: obsessive stalking
  • Lore of a ghost's small joys

Awards & Retribution


Notes
:finger:
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