Closed [The Mourner's Rest ] Mistakes of old.

Wikus prepares the funeral of a father. [Job Thread]

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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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[The Mourner's Rest ] Mistakes of old.

Postby Wikus on February 25th, 2016, 4:04 pm

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88th – Winter – 515AV
11th Bell


Push-ups were next in the man’s routine. Laying flat on the ground, feet extended as much as possible and his core rigidly holding his back straight, his arms pressed against the ground slightly wider than shoulder width apart as his chest flexed and brought him up. He repeated the motion, again and again, each time his strength waning slightly and the sweat gaining intensity. The cold ground was already stained with said sweat, Wikus having spent the last bell doing exercise due to the lack of work. Undertaking was not quite a stable job, as not every day people died in this city. Days like these were slow, and he had learned to at least use them for the bells he would spend on nothing if no corpse arrived to be worked. Sometimes, entire days passed without a corpse being delivered, and in other occasions many died and were brought in to overload the two individuals with work. Goora, the woman that had given him the chance to work here, was surely outside smoking as that was one of the only things she did. Wikus, on the other hand, limited himself to train and at least do something productive. Exercise has been neglected by him since his days in Endrykas, yet now he had felt the need to return to the training routines of old. His ‘condition’ gave him quite the amount of strength despite his plain physique, and the thought of training his body to its limits and the effects of his ‘condition’ combined was almost enough to make him drool.

His triceps soon began giving in, much like the chest that already felt sore. Panting due to the exhaustment, Wikus would finally stand up and move to retrieve his towel, swiping away his bare chest. Thankfully, he had learned to control his ink enough to avoid random stains on clothes. As long as he didn’t absorb too much of it, he was able to control it just fine. It also didn’t drip from his flesh anymore, and perhaps the only thing he couldn’t quite control were the frequent filtering of said ink directly into his digestive track, which sometimes tainted the foods he consumed with its bitter taste. One day, he may control it fully, but for now he had no other option but to accept this slight inconvenience. Just as he was refreshing himself with the towel, Goora entered the room through the southern entrance, heading to the opposite as if someone had beckoned for her attention. Wikus knew what this mean, as he had spent the entire season working along her. She had a strange gift that allowed her to sense when her undertaking services were needed, but what it was Wikus didn’t know as they two didn’t talk. It’s strange to spend so much time working with somebody and barely exchange a word – it wasn’t bad, as Wikus liked it. Nonetheless, it was bizarre. Wikus placed the towel on his neck and followed the old Myrian woman to the other exit. Through the glass he saw two Akalaks, one blue and one red, carrying an obviously dead individual that was covered in a blanket.

Goora opened the door and signaled towards the altar-like structure that stood near the opposite entrance. “We found him in an alley. He was beaten to death, and the culprit is yet to be found. The Militia will investigate this matter. He has so family, so the Council will pay for a simple funeral as usual,” Said the blue one, not quite interested in his words. They left the man on the stone structure before nodding to Goora and leaving the building with the same haste they arrived. Goora and Wikus alike moved to the altar and removed the blanket, unfortunately for them the Akalak’s condition being very severe. His eyes were gouged, his nose was cut and the left side of his skull being partially sunken due to what appears to be a wound caused by blunt force trauma. His clothes were ragged and damaged in whatever battle had befallen upon the individual, cuts present here and there in the rather simplistic attire the man wore. The gruesome image brought a frown on Wikus’ face, yet it didn’t cause any sort of reaction in the experienced Myrian beside him. Beside all those wounds, the work would be quite easy today. Goora moved away to the wicker section to begin weaving the raft, as Wikus refused to learn said skill due to the apparent difficulty. Plus, messing the construction of the raft could have grave consequences.

Nonetheless, he would have work. Retrieving a small dagger, Wikus began tearing the dead Akalak’s clothing, which unfortunately revealed even more wounds they would have to sew, clean and mask before the burial can take place. As he tore the clothes and deposited them on the ground, two pieces of paper flew out of one of the pockets. Wikus bent over and retrieved them, only to find that he couldn’t quite read them as he was illiterate. Placing a finger on the ink, the pain of the ink’s absorption hit him intensely as the words were stuck in the back of his brain for their recital. Once the message was completely absorbed, Wikus began reciting the absorbed knowledge. The more he repeated, the more he realized the letter was sent from the individual’s son called Lo. He repeated it until he memorized it, the letter being short and shallow, and thus easy to remember. Afterwards, he returned the ink onto the letter by ‘printing’ it by swiping his forearm on the empty paper, letters returning to their original place. Afterwards, he proceeded with the second letter. Since this individual was dead and nobody was here to mourn him, his privacy had died with him. Once again absorbing the message, he repeated it until the short message was memorized. It was short and simple, and thankfully it was in Common.


“You’ve bred a monster amongst us. You’ve let him grow and you’ve let him drain us from joy. Some may have forgotten this as you’ve cut the leash of that abomination that is your son, and you’ve let it escape into the world. I don’t forget, for I have witnessed your kin’s true nature. I am not brave enough to quest out into the world and face that beast, but I am coward enough to point my finger at you and seek to end your life. May the Gods curse you and your son.”

1088 / 50000

The first letter is from Lo'Campo, and the letter can be found here
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[The Mourner's Rest ] Mistakes of old.

Postby Wikus on February 26th, 2016, 10:15 am

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This was obviously a murder concluded Wikus as he pondered about the message left by the murderer himself. The message was pretty clear about it, and it seems the sender of the letter was the one being targeted for whatever reason. Despite the mysterious nature of the situation and his whims to investigate such mater, Wikus withheld that curiosity to instead focus on the work. Retrieving the usual bucket of water with the rag that came with it, he began cleaning the dead man’s body of all the gore and blood at first before moving on to a more general cleansing. It was somewhat disgusting, especially with a body so damaged, yet that was his job. The blood was not very fresh, thus requiring some scrubbing around the head area as the damage was more present there. It took a long while to clean it all, which eventually allowed him to move on to the naked body of the Akalak. Coating the privates of the corpse with a piece of cloth, now he proceeded to thoroughly cleanse the blue skin of the deceased, which revealed the staggering amount of dirt present on the body. Some parts of the body were clearly gravely damaged by blows, generally of blunt force trauma yet in some parts light cuts dotting the flesh. The man had fought back, yet he nonetheless lost his life in the conflict.

It took him a bell to cleanse the flesh, countless times having submerged the rag in the water of the bucket only to bring it up again and continue his task. Now that said part was over, Wikus inspected the now clean body of the deceased – which despite being clear of dirt, still showed all the damage to the skull and the gruesome features the deceased now had. The gouged eyeballs he had cleaned with a finger, removing the remains of the eyes and blood with his own finger that now let on two empty cavities serve as eyes for the dead man. Sighing, Wikus would move to the wicker in order to retrieve a bowl of clay, in which he added a small amount of water to give it some consistency and be able to mold it as he likes. Returning beside the dead body, he scratched his head before finally proceeding with the next part of his task. Mixing the clay with his fingers, he’d retrieve a small amount of it and use it to ‘fill’ the empty eye cavities and form a rather uniform and plain layer on top. It was very disgusting, but thankfully it was easy to do and simple to accomplish. As the funeral was never sponsored by the apparent lacking family of the deceased, the Council took it upon them to pay for the most basic funeral possible. That simple funeral only included some grooming on the dead man’s body and a raft which would be sent through the waters to burn outside the city’s limits. Goora was handling the raft in the other section of the minimalistic building, and so the dead man was Wikus’ entire responsibility.

She had eventually begun trusting Wikus’ ability or at least his dedication to the matter as it didn’t really take too much skill to handle a dead man. Whenever flowers were to adorn the death bed of the deceased, Goora was there to guide Wikus through her precise planning, yet the grooming was left for Wikus to handle as it lacked any kind of real effort. Working with clay was really easy, indeed, thought Wikus. Smearing the clay onto the open wounds and running his hand over them to polish them and smooth it out covered the gashes perfectly, and if not for the color difference of clay and body, one wouldn’t be able to quite recognize any sort of wound – if they ignored the change of texture, of course. Working with the damaged head was somewhat challenging, mostly for his stomach as every here and there Wikus felt his fingers coming across a broken part of the Akalak’s skull, feeling his fingers sinking even if there was supposed to be bone below the flesh. The head was indeed the most challenging part; as once it ended Wikus felt the discomfort of working the blue male ease on him, moving to the blue limbs and coating any open wounds with little effort as only one of his fingers was needed to fill those wounds with clay.

Finally done, Wikus would take a moment to breathe deeply. Glancing at the body below, it seemed as if the man was part man part object, the clay so present in the body and the contrast being so great that it was enough to raise the eyebrows of whoever looked. Now that he had finished this part of the deal, he glanced over towards Goora, which had advanced a lot in the raft with her characteristic speed and skill in that part of the business. Returning the bowl of clay from where he got it, he instead retrieved a grooming kit from inside and headed back to the body’s location in order to attempt to disguise the many imperfections. Using a small brush to apply some of the many different color choices of makeup dust, Wikus would test a few of the blue colors on the dead man’s fingers to try and match the one closest to the Akalak’s skin tone. Once he settled for one of the choice, Wikus gained confidence and thoroughly coated the soft brush in said powder, now gently tapping those locations in which the clay contrasted with the dead man’s skin. The more he did it, the more subtle the clay turned, which despite still holding signs of imperfection and different textures, now it matched the color of the dead man’s flesh and thus disguising it. It would soon be time for the mourning in which family and friends of the deceased would come, which made Wikus hurry up the process. He swallowed the ink that was filtering into his mouth, as it usually did whenever he felt stressed out. Ironically, it was his ink what had granted him this job opportunity in the first place.


1035 / 50000
Last edited by Wikus on February 26th, 2016, 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Mourner's Rest ] Mistakes of old.

Postby Wikus on February 26th, 2016, 2:36 pm

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Nobody came to mourn the dead man. The news would have already spread through the city, as the death of Akalak brethren was grave news that spread like wildfire. Still, nobody came. The whole afternoon Wikus had been waiting for someone to show up, almost begging to see someone come mourn the dead Akalak. Despite his refusal to accept it, he feared this would happen the day he died. Wikus had no friends, no acquaintances, and no family. He was alone in this world, and even his donkey wouldn’t mourn him. He had accepted his miserable existence long ago, but only today he realized the great fear this caused in him the thought of his body lying there and his life not being recalled by nobody – neglected and rejected even in death. His life was spent uselessly trying to chase glory, and accidentally he had refused his right of being happy or establishing some sort of connection with somebody. Although most times he was proud of such harsh destiny due to the feeling of superiority and undeniable strength said life required, now that he was alone and deep in thought he couldn’t shake away the feeling that he may have been wrong all along. The choice was always given before him and the answer he gave was never definitive: he could reject that one man’s gift that set him apart from everyone in order to live amongst the rest of his days moderately happy, or chase that vague objective in his life even if that meant eternal suffering for him.

It was always a difficult choice, indeed. Sometimes, he wanted to try and change what he was, to smile widely and laugh even if he had never felt said jolly emotions. Other times he simply wanted to isolate himself from all these crowds, to lose himself in the wild and dig his own grave in due time. He would always pick the first choice, the happy life even if it was nothing but a fantasy for him. His pride and his experience, however, always dragged him to the opposite side. He wanted to prove to them all how inferior they are, how weak and puny they were compared to someone who had lived through so much. His scars belittle him, promising how anyone would squirm and cry in pain even if they lived half of it. Even he was damaged enough due to all the cruelty, yet here he was, standing tall no matter how hard life got. That quality was what set him apart, and what drove him forward each day even if all he’d receive in his funeral was spit. At last, Wikus stood up and closed the northern glass doors to conclude the lack of mourning. Goora, as usual, seemed to be aware of such as she entered through the southern gate, smoke still escaping through her mouth as she entered. It was time to arrange the raft in which the body would escape into the waters before burning.

Goora had finished building the basic wicker raft, which had a few curves on its edges in which the wood would be placed for burning. She brought it next to the stone altar in which they worked, each of them carefully taking a hold of the deceased by each end, and gently deposited him on the wicker raft. The rafts were round; big enough to fit the big male inside without any of him peeking outside the round bent corners of the raft. Now lying inside the raft, they picked each end of the raft and brought it to the embellishing section, having to place the wood inside. The wood wasn’t simple firewood, but they were in fact light planks of wood that didn’t weight too much as otherwise the raft would sink rather than sail in the waters. They were short and wide, thus needing quite the amount to cover the deceased. Wikus began placing the planks on one of the sides as Goora did the other end, slowly building walls around the male’s body. There was a need for ventilation, so every now and then a plank was not placed to allow air to filter inside and fuel the future flame that was to consume the deceased.

“Nobody came to cry him,” said Wikus, words that usually weren’t spoken as he had barely talked with the old Myrian. He didn’t quite expect an answer, yet the Myrian spoke clearly immediately. “Nobody needs to mourn him. He’s dead.” Wikus glanced up at her, confused. Neither of them stopped working, and the Myrian elaborated. “Death comes upon us all in due time. His soul is now free. There is no need for nobody to mourn him.” Wikus pondered on the words as his hands worked, the ‘wall’ almost complete. Now, instead of placing the planks parallel to the dead man’s body frame, they began placing planks perpendicular to the walls – the top part of the coffin. In this location, the ventilation was far more present. “It is sad.” Wikus queried, wishing to exploit the experienced female to gain some knowledge that may aid him in soothing his doubts. The Myrian shook her head. “None of us die alone. Death of the body does not mean the death of the soul. The moment our eyes close, Dira takes our hand and guides us. Only when you die you realize that death is nothing to be feared, but something to be enjoyed. The reward of a long life is it happy or not. Only fools mourn the dead.” Wikus once again thought about the female’s words, before asking once more. “Who be Dira?”

The coffin made of planks was complete, and so Wikus stood up. Goora, perfectionist as usual, corrected the last details before she too stood up. “Dira, Goddess of Death.” And with that, Goora turned around and walked away, ending the conversation and leaving Wikus alone. Wikus thought of the letters once again, the ones he had absorbed in order to decipher the message within. A son had written to the father, and a murderer had written to that same father. Despite Goora’s words, he still felt it was somewhat tragic and morose to think a man’s life ended in such a harsh manner. Perhaps Lo, his son, would be the only one to mourn.

1057 / 50000
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[The Mourner's Rest ] Mistakes of old.

Postby Wikus on February 26th, 2016, 4:35 pm

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The night had fallen, and the cold gusts of wind were blowing harshly. They arrived from the cold sea, having traveled endless miles just to caress the features of the small group of people gathered by the waters. Due to the freezing of the Riverfall bay, the raft couldn’t be just deposited in the waters and thus it had to be moved to one of the beaches that lead to the open ocean. A group of Akalaks helped with the task, part of the militia that only came to pay for the modest funeral but that was asked to lend a hand with the heavy raft. The beach was cold and deserted nobody brave enough to even approach the cold waters. It was only appropriate for the cold body to join the cold waters, now that its soul was gone. The group of Akalaks paid Goora and left, the two funerary workers being the only ones present in the Akalak’s funeral, the only two present in the dark night. They both had a torch with them when nothing but darkness lured around them. Nobody wanted to speak a word, not for the dead man nor for each other, as if the night has swallowed their thoughts and made them empty husks at the mercy of the waters that clashed against the distant rocks. They were frozen in place, watching the dark horizon as if waiting for something to happen even if it was clear nothing would. They remained like this for entire chimes.

Goora moved first, obviously extracting yet another cigarette. She really smoked a lot, and Wikus was forced to do the same. Extracting his pipe, he’d take a chime to prepare the tobacco for it, Goora being kind enough to lend him a match as the torch would set the entire wooden pipe on fire rather than only the tobacco. The winds were merciful, and the gusts of air calmed themselves as the pair of workers smoked. It was a calm location and a calm situation. Wikus found joy in the calm, surely infected with this melancholic air Goora usually had around her. She was old, much older than Wikus, but her hands were scarred with time in a way Wikus’ hands didn’t dare to imagine. Perhaps she too carried a story behind her, having been working with the deceased for years already. Once Wikus’ tobacco was finished, he poured the ashes from his pipe and returned it to his coat. Just as he did this, Goora bent over and took the edge of the raft in her hands, Wikus joining in the opposite side moments later. They made an effort, dragging the raft through the sand until the waters filtered below it. Goora then extracted a vial of refined animal oil, which she poured over the planks and the body that laid below in order to fuel the flame that would come afterwards.

Once that was complete, they made an effort once more until the agile raft began swaying in unison with the whimsical waves. Retreating from it, it would take a few chimes for the current to finally take a hold of the raft and drag it into the depths of the ocean. Goora then stepped back, which was strange since she was the one to usually toss the torch inside the raft. This once, it was apparently Wikus’ turn to do it. Closing his eyes in order to inhale the cold airs as if he was inhaling peace itself, he opened them just in time to see the raft beginning to escape his reach. He spoke no words, taking a moment before he finally tossed the torch inside the raft as it escaped the coast and swayed with the water. Just like that, the interior of the raft began burning as it escaped into the horizon, gaining speed and the flame becoming more and more distant with every tick. Both watched as the dead man’s body escaped into the nothingness, until its flame was so far away it could be barely distinguished through the crests of the waves. Wikus moved towards Goora, and from his pockets he extracted the two letters – one from the killer and one from the dead man’s son. “He had son.” He said, as he showed her the letter. Goora didn’t seem to care, as she didn’t even glance at the letter. Her eyes were fixed on the horizon, Wikus returning to stare at the small flame that shined in the distance, which beckoned humbly for attention.

“Help me write to him. To tell his father be dead.” Goora offered a nod, as they both watched the small flame finally disappear, either because it had sunken into the ocean or because it no longer could fight the darkness of the night. Wikus always wanted to be father, yet he had never managed to breed a son. He could only imagine the amount of love a father could hold for a son, even if the son didn’t usually know about it. He felt obligated in a way to tell that unknown son of this unknown man the fate of his father. He didn’t do anything similar to this in the past, yet this one he’d make an exception. They remained in the dark beach for perhaps half a bell, submersed in the melancholy of their jobs. Perhaps ink could bring some comfort to that distant son, even if had brought this morose feeling to Wikus. He regretted having absorbed those two letters, and finding out about the true sadness of this dead man’s life.


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Wikus
It burns when I pee!
 
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