Closed Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Shai on December 1st, 2014, 10:39 pm

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Timestamp: 14th of Winter 514 AV

The frigid water lapped at the seashore. In the distance Shai could make out the shadow of the rowboat, riding the receding tide back to their fishing boat. Standing in the shadow of the looming tower, the Spider waited until she was entirely alone before turning away. The fisherman would return for her in the late morning, as agreed over gold rimmed chips. It was one night away from the anarchy; one night for remembrance.

The sentinel whose shadow she shared, stabbed against the darkening skyline. The tower of Klet, it had been years. It was here that clarity had come to the Symenestra, no the woman. Her life had changed since then, more stable and full. Lucian, the sweet boy, who had come to live with her inspired hope. Some part of the spider could still be humane, it wasn’t all smothered in her insidious actions. Standing alone, on this very coast, with the same observer Shai had chosen once again to trust.

The missing son was never found, and now Antar was gone but while it lasted they had meant hope. Now that was Lucian, and Chell. The familiar in his sealed form, a faceted crystal affixed to a silver chain at her breast, had been quiet about the trip. Generally the Irylid wanted to question her motives, to assess the risks. He must have come to understand this was a journey she needed to make. There were no bodies of the men passed from her life, but this was the closest to a gravestone Shai would ever have.

A nod to the changed season, the spider had chosen to wear mittens and boots. A stark contrast to her normally escapist themed gear. When cilia were your greatest asset, covering them was a large concession.


Chell will you watch for me?

Affirmative. He replied and drew from her essence. Taking on his spherical natural shape. Here where no one could out their magic, the display was as safe as it would ever be.

With Chell at her back, Shai lowered herself at the foot on the tower. Kneeling in reverence to the unknown and symbolic. The Widow’s vigil began

The Tower’s mystery had always piqued her curiosity. Perhaps tonight she would scale it and discover where those windows led. There would be time before the humans returned. The time had been earmarked for meditation, there was a turning point rapidly approaching on the horizon and Shai had to come to terms with the changes. Still the thief’s curiosity had a way of getting the better of her, neither age nor responsibility seemed to diminish the drive.

Before alabaster eyelids could flicker open, Shai was already shedding the mittens.
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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Perplexity on December 3rd, 2014, 10:44 pm

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14th of Winter, 514

"Eyes that last I saw in tears
Through division
Here in death's dream kingdom
The golden vision reappears
I see the eyes but not the tears
This is my affliction..."

-Thomas Stearns Eliot


Winter’s chill swept across the Wildlands. In the distance the yip of a fox could be heard but in the shadow of Klet there were no creatures that dared to approach the silent tower. None, save Shai. Though the sounds of the world still echoed in the background they seemed muted. The very air seemed colder around the enigmatic tower as if the stones drew in the freezing winds that brought Morwen’s whispers to every corner of the world. It was as if the tower had turned its attention from contemplating the unknown to address the pilgrim that had once again come to visit it. A lonely sentinel greeting an equally lonely soul. It was strange but the feeling that Shai was being watched would be impossible to ignore. A presence lingered around the tower.

…and there it stood. The sentinel in the dark. There on the edge of the world between the Divine and Oblivion.

The voice that came was as soft as the wind. Indeed, as the winds from the coast fluttered across the landscape it looked as if sea mist gathered on the gusts. The mist came together however forming a vaguely humanoid shape. There was no mistaking the appearance of the spirit, the ghost that formed before the Symenestra. It took no more definitive shape other than the humanoid form that continued to sway with the gentle but cold breeze. A wisp floating that was just as forgotten as the tower before Shai. It quirked its head though no facial expression could be seen there was no missing the note of curiosity in its bearing.

Do you always kneel before stone edifices lost in the wilderness?

The tone held a small amount of amusement in it. The spirit was apparently ignorant of the connection Shai held with the tower. Those many years ago, a period of her life that she would never forget. For the moment it appeared that the ghost held no malice toward the woman. Whether or not that would change was of course unknowable. The motives of the dead made to linger were fickle things prone to shifting as the years went by and they slipped further and further toward the bliss of madness. The ghost moved no closer but continued to float just a foot or so in front of the tower. Should Shai step forward it would drift off to the side evidently not there to bar her passage, simply curious.

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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Shai on December 3rd, 2014, 11:54 pm

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Shai dropped her mitten in a start. Jumping back onto her feet and skipping yet again a pace further away. Her gaze reeled looking for the source of the speech. The spectral figure looming ahead, stole her attention; the tower little more than a backdrop. Already she felt her heart take fearful pace, hammering against her fragile sternum. Attempting to edge out the lavender irises, her pupils dilated in anxiety and impossible strain to see more. To attempt to perceive where the next shock might come from. Of course, this offered no greater detail than previously available in the low-light of the darkening evening.

Gulping steadying breaths the Symenestra watched the hardly defined figure. It didn’t look like a Craven, Shai knew normal less violent ghosts existed. If this wasn’t one of those, did she have any chance of escape in any event? The boat wouldn’t return until morning, but it would return for her here. She had to stand her ground to have any hope of survival. “Lost? I do not think the tower can be lost. Do you mean to say you lost it? Because I am not lost, I am here on purpose.”

At the mention of purpose, Shai recalled her original intent. Pulling off her second mitten and retrieving the first, she tucked them into her belt. If she was going to wait out the night, it would not be here at the base of the tower quaking in her boots. Chell hovered near the small of her back, keeping the largest field of vision available to him. The two were not so close they could share feelings, but Shai didn’t doubt the Irylid knew her fear when he saw it.

Kicking off her boots, she retrieved them as well and knotted their laces together. Hanging them across the back of her neck so she didn’t lose them. The cold bit against her toes, the stones especially frigid compared to the loamy dirt. Still undeterred, she stalked passed the specter. Her cilia rippled out from her skin and the spider set to scaling the tower’s face.

Perhaps in the windows she would find refuge from the ghost. The wind tugged at her hair, tightened in a bun so securely not a tendril yet dared escape. It was not a difficult ascent but still she took it slowly, worried that the ghost might try to ripped her off the tower wall and send her to her death on the rocks below. It wasn’t an even landing like the dirt streets of Sunberth, there was little chance of survival from such a fall. Then again, were ghosts even strong enough to dislodge her?

What do you think is inside, Shai? Chell hummed through her thoughts, speculative was an unusual tone for the Irylid.

I don’t know, perhaps riches but certainly less chill than out here. I came here for contemplation but found mystery. Aren’t you curious Chell?

I think so. The ghost though, maybe this is home? We cannot find him.

I know its a risk, but what else could we do? I will not let terror stop us, it is not an option. Down that road is only death, my dear partner.

Agreed.

And so the pair climbed yet again higher. Every so often the Symenestra dared look down at the specter, always waiting for the attack.
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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Perplexity on December 7th, 2014, 8:47 pm

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14th of Winter, 514

How curious.” The ghost drifted away from Shai, little more than a wisp of mist upon the wind. A gust picked up and with it the vague form of the ghost seemed to be blown along his way. Shai was left to scale the walls of the tower in silence, or as close to silence as one might have there in the wilderness.

There existed at the top of the tower a single window. No light shined through the thin window and it seemed just big enough for the Symanestra to fit through upon reaching it. As her hands and feet touched the cold stone the temperature of the world seemed to drop that much further. There was no warmth to be found here. While nothing jumped out at Shai as an obvious warning the sharpness with which the cold flowed through her body might have been warning enough.

I was just thinking…” The misty form of the ghost materialized right beside Shai as she moved a hand to continue her trek up the tower’s wall.

I did not lose the tower. You say you did not lose it either. If neither of us have lost that which was lost does that mean it found us? I have seen travelers come and go. Most of them never even glance this way. Most of them want nothing to do with the Tower. Well…except for him. But then he was different. He was always different.” The ghost drifted out of the stone to hover next to Shai. Its tone had taken a slightly sad turn toward the end of its rambling. Whoever this “him” was it was a person that had obviously been someone of note to the ghost. There was no telling how long the spirit had drifted around the coast.

The ghost drifted closer to Chell peering at the Familiar with what one could only assume was curiosity.

A Darkfacer. He had a Darkfacer too. I wonder if you will find what he did.” There seemed to be the slightest shrugging of the ghost’s shoulders before it floated up toward the top of the tower accompanying Shai remaining an arm’s length away. As the spider continued her ascension up the tower the cold that seeped its way into her limbs however would continue to grow ever more prominent the higher she climbed. The winds picked up blowing cold and dirt into the spider’s eye just enough to force her to squeeze them shut in response. The interlude, while distracting and quite irritating wouldn’t take long to rectify. Upon opening her eyes however Shai would find herself at the top of the tower. With no window in sight. The ghost meandered closer quirking its head once again.

Were you looking for something?” It quirked its head in the other direction.

You know, I’ve found that a more interesting question is, is something looking for you? Have you ever thought about that?


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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Shai on December 10th, 2014, 8:18 am

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At her angle the window was little more than a ghost of an impression. Still Shai put hand over hand pulled her frame higher. The cold began to affect her, scoring against ashen cheeks bringing the rare flush of color only surprise or chill could manage. The actual ghost dispersed and returned, and the spider’s fingers were beginning to burn at the cold. “I have experience with places that find you and not you finding it. I find those places often succeed whether you wish they would or not.” Thoughts of Alvadas whispered across her consciousness, taking the spotlight from the cold and letting her push upward for a time with muted chill. Alvadas had been disturbingly sentient, in the Symenestra’s eyes. The city always seemed to intentionally hinder or assist those who traversed it on a whim. Whose whim had always been the question… speaking of who.

“Ghost, why are you here? Where no one else goes?” Shai’s thoughts began to accept the fact she couldn’t escape this ghost. If it was intent to follow her, few options at her disposal could combat that. When the Ghost appeared behind, the only clues were its voice and the desire to jump out of her own skin. Darkfacer? It had been a thought to herself, but little was personal within the shared mind of the thief.

He’s talking about me, Shai.

I don’t understand, you see by being in light. Why are you a ‘darkfacer’?

The World I come from has two sides, a light side and a dark. Irylids like myself live on the dark side... Chell trailed off and Shai waited, mentally for the continuance. When it didn’t come she realized he was failing to point out an obvious oversight.

The ‘he’... Shai nodded to herself drawing closer to the window. Then the wind whipped harsh over the side of the tower and the Symenestra was forced to duck her head in. The wind, this high above the ground might be strong enough to pull the spider from her perch, and so she pushed all of her available skin against the stone for better purchase. The frozen numbness sunk in further than ever before, a shiver wracked her spine and the amethyst eyes squeezed shut. Turning back now would take longer than pressing on. Blinking against the searing cold; she gulped a burning breath. The window was gone.

The similarity to Alvadas was seemingly less coincidental by the moment. The ghost came again and spoke, but Shai kept her peace until she reached the roof. Any errant wind might end her on the side of the tower. Still crouched she kept several points of contact for her cilia keep traction. “I am looking for something, and am always looked for. I cannot allow an unknown something that may or may not be looking for me to slow my steps. There is too much that survival requires of me and too much I have… lost that I may never find, to stop.” If she was brazen, she might put her mittens back on, her fingers strung and were turning pink. In her youth, Kalea had known deep winters but that never really touched them into the deep insulation of bedrock. She was no hunter trained for the elements, just a quiet climber and lithe acrobat.


Then, while her mind drifted through her past however briefly; the riddle struck her. It was like it always happened as a child. In one moment it was utter confusion and in the next heartbeat it all came together. “Ghost, if you are not lost and I am not lost. Are you ‘He’ who had a Darkfacer too? Who found what he was looking for? And if something is looking for me, did it look for ‘him’?”
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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Perplexity on December 13th, 2014, 3:27 pm

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Curious places are they not?” The ghost emitted an airy chuckle before considering Shai’s question. The woman was left to contemplate her own thoughts for a few moments. The only sounds were the whistling of the winds and the call of animals in the wilds. When finally the ghost did answer the conversation between Chell and Shai was over.

I don’t know.” The ghost drifted along the currents of air billowing about the tower. “I remember…I remember the sky. It was burning. There were…there were so many screams.

The ghost’s form rippled as if it were shrugging away the specters of long forgotten memories. It followed Shai on her ascension up the wall of the tower. It came to hover just above the roof watching Shai carefully as she gathered her thoughts. The ghost commented mostly to itself in regards to her statement.

We are all of us, always looking for something. But when do we stop being a seeker and are just simply wandering, lost in a search for something that doesn’t exist?” Filled with cyclical questions it seemed, this ghost never ceased asking them. Undoubtedly such cryptic speech would eventually grate on one’s nerves after a point. The ghost shook its head at Shai’s question.

No. I am not Him. He came long ago. He was an interesting one. Most who come to Klet bring questions. He brought answers.” The way he pronounced the name of the tower was like he was speaking of the earthly material, clay.

But you did not come with answers. You came with questions.” The ghost floated upward from where it hovered on the surface of the tower’s roof. It met Shai at eye level the chill of its mist wrapping around her.

What is your question? What answer do you seek?” The whole of the world seemed to stand still in that moment. It was as if the tower were listening in awaiting confirmation for an unknown suspicion.

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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Shai on December 19th, 2014, 7:28 pm

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Shai listened patiently to the Ghost’s story, it sounded like he didn’t know who he was either. Perhaps from Nyka or Sunberth and died in a fire. It made as much sense as anything given his story. The sky simply did not catch fire. Shai tugged her cloak tightly around her trying to combat the increased wind at this height. “Did ‘he’ leave with more answers or just questions?” Shai asked mostly for her own amusement, at this point the questioning was nearly indecipherable. Let no one say the Symenestra had no wit.

His last question caused a long pause, although who could say how much time a ghost considered long? There were a number of things Shai wished she knew, but didn’t. Such as was it really the lot of mortals to live in a constant flux of have and have not? Would there never be stability? Or was it mortal to change so significantly every few years? None of those were quests that were relevant though.

It would not be wise to tell this stranger the things we do and do not know Shai. He may be looking for weakness. Chell chimed in.

Shai nodded slightly, that was true as well. Chell always managed to keep perspective of situations like this while Shai became dragged into the moment. Long term consequences rarely occurred to her, but she always got the job done. The fall out though, sometimes that haunted her. Shai tried not to laugh at the irony, “Ghost, I want to know what it is inside the tower. Alvadas changed seemingly on no one’s whim, but this tower seems different. Is it a trap of some kind? To draw someone to scale it and then leave them stranded? Or is it just me?”

As she waited, subject to wind and specter, Shai began to wonder if it was possible to shield against the wind. Chell, watch for us? I am going to try to get a reprieve.

Very well, but you’ve never managed to successfully keep a shield in place, you cannot block a thing. He replied, always the annoying voice of reason.

Shai kept her eyes open but focused internally. Her gaze became unseeing, staring but not observing in the least. Internally she traced the lines she herself imagined the first time she consciously cast a shield through the channels that flowed from her thoughts into her core. There she had a mental construction, she thought of as a chest. the tendrils of her thought picked the lock as a thief ought to and flipped it open. Taking grasp of her djed she drew out out through the lines in her back. Curiously she realized sight was utterly unnecessary to understand where the djed was. The threads she pulled straight a wove a net over her back. Slowly the threads widened, flattening ever more, until the next was a solid sheet of djed and then it snapped into more. Drawing around her body, it was patchy and there were holes but it covered her body, although not her cloak. How odd that it could cradled her frame but not her clothing.

Against wind she commanded in the same mental space she spoke to Chell with. For a moment the weather abated, it was strange. The force was still there but the bite no longer touched her flesh. Still old, still forceful, but less so.
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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Perplexity on January 8th, 2015, 8:47 pm

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He left. Whether it was with a question or an answer was never clear. What is clear is that he left something behind.” The tone of the ghost’s voice implied that there was more to what it was saying. For the moment however it did not elaborate on that particular subject. At Shai’s question it seemed contemplative. The wispy form that drifted through the currents of air became more solid though still lacking in features.

Klet has always been curious. It has become more so with the passing of seasons. What always will be however is that Klet is exactly what it appears to be.” The ghost gave a chuckle before stepping back becoming a wispy cloud of mist once more. It bounded backward off the roof of the tower disappearing over the edge. Ever a riddle, the tower seemed to present more challenges than it did straightforward answers. The ghost didn’t seem very keen on lending much assistance to finding them either.

Shai now had at her disposal several pieces of information. Whether they were useful or not? That was up to her own cognitive abilities. There was the ghost, the nameless specter that never gave much of a straightforward answer. There was the also the question of who the man in the ghost’s story was. A man who left something behind. Why would he leave something behind? Why would he leave it in an enigmatic structure in the Wildlands? More important, what did he leave? And what of the tower itself? A downward spiral had presented itself. With how many questions had already arisen it would have been easy to see precisely why so many arrived with questions and only left with more.

The window had not reappeared. The winds, for the moment, had died down in their intensity though the cold still remained. Shai’s shield remained intact and would for as long as she either fed djed to it or it was simply hit with something it could not withstand.
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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Shai on January 11th, 2015, 10:22 pm

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Shai huddled against the cold, confused and unsure precisely what she had gotten herself into. The ghost was gone again. Something was missing and that was what they needed to find. Chell, what do we know?

A Ghost That Answers in Questions
A Tower with No Entrance
A Thing Left Where None Can Enter
A Man Who Did Enter with Answers
The Familiar listed.

Shai nodded to herself, And a tower which is precisely what it appears to be The spider turned it over on her tongue, an idea was forming but it seemed too easy too obvious. “Chell, is it what it appear to be because we are looking at it?” She shook her head and her skin prickled anew at the chill. That wasn’t quite right, but it felt like she had the rabbit by the cotton tail.

Turning her mein towards the sky, the spider realized this was the closest she had ever been to the god of the moon. So high up, so illuminated but utterly obfuscated. The Symenestra blinked and then rose her voice, “Ghost, Is it a Secret? You answer only with hints that cause more questions, an item left hidden where none can reach it by a man who knew, and a thing that changes depending on how it appears to you?”

Chell murmured through her thoughts, It’s possible and it fits but so could many other things. More importantly, at what point did we begin doing riddles at the top of abandoned mysterious towers?

Shai tugged out a mitten to cover at least one hand while the other kept them in place. The shield had broken when her thoughts focused so much on the verbal puzzle, and though it held no cold back it had been a piece of mind against the chill. She had to find a way inside soon or risk illness because of the weather. “Negative as always. Do you suppose the tower is at it appears and so if it appears to me not at all the window will return?”

Do you honestly propose to scale back down this tower blind folded in hopes that you might stumble upon a portal which you cannot see by happenchance? Chell actually vibrated this time, creating an audible voice instead of just speaking telepathically as he continued, “This Shai is why I call you the Fool.” His voice had a metallic quality to it but he spoke with her own Symenos accent, a part of how he understood the language as a whole was because of her.

The thief nodded, “Yes if it is not a Secret, then we will make it one to find refuge.”

"You’re mad, Shai Nerium. Mad beyond comphrension."
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Shadow of Doubt (Perplexity)

Postby Perplexity on January 18th, 2015, 10:35 pm

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The winds picked up whipping around Shai’s form bombarding the tower almost as if in anger. The waters gurgled as they lapped up against the coast. The slicing cold bit into Shai clinging to her form as the winds picked up almost screaming in her ears and then…

Silence.

Silence that was followed by an audible sigh and the shifting of stone.

Whether or not Shai’s answer to the riddle was correct was inconclusive. It would seem that the ghost wasn’t inclined to respond. The tower however? There at the base of the tower now stood a solid oak door. It appearance had come with the sliding and grinding of the tower’s stone itself almost as if the door had simply been hidden behind the masonry. Inscribed upon the surface of the door was an insignia. A blazing sun at the center of which rest an inverted triangle. The door possessed no knob nor did it seem to possess a key hole. Written upon the surface of the door in Common however were the following words:

I welcome the unwelcome.

The winds had died down in their intensity. The sense of being watched would fade. Shai and Chell seemed to have been left to their own devices. To enter the tower or to go forth with questions unanswered.

NoteShort post is short but it is necessary.
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