Closed [Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Wherein Kelski and Kynier reunite and make some unusual discoveries.

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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Luminescence on June 23rd, 2018, 1:29 pm

The statues moved with unnatural grace. While their motions were heavy and loud, stone as they were, they also moved with finesse and purpose. Across from Kelski, stone arms bore a dagger each, the silver glinting in what dim light was to be had. The statue made no move to attack, however, though it held its weapons in an offensive position, pointed at the Kelvic.

On the other side of the room, Kynier sprinted for his weapon. The statue followed, stone hair rippling as if being blown by a breeze. Impassive, it watched the man snatch his shortsword off the ground, and then thrust its own forward. The movement was abrupt, the attack almost clumsy; it was as if the statue was simply toying with Kynier, as if it was capable of much more, and yet deciding not to use its skills.

The statue's stone eyes shifted, its face turning down to look at its arm where sparks flew from stone as Kynier's shortsword hacked at its limb. It stopped moving, allowing Kynier to back up further.

Thick and heavy silence reigned then for a long moment, as the statues each surveyed the flesh and blood person they stood before. The only sound in the dimly lit room was Kynier's breathing, harsh enough from his impromtu and short-lived battle that it drowned out Kelski's.

The statue in front of Kelski still had a faint smile on its face, blank stone eyes twinkling. Slowly, very slowly, the one standing across from Kynier also began to smile faintly. From no known source, laughter began to echo in the room.

It was soft, barely audible, more of a chuckle than a genuine laugh. But it was there, and it grew slightly in volume until there was no mistaking it. It wasn't cruel or mocking laughter; quite the opposite, it sounded almost kind.

Both statues shimmered, turning their gazes to where they had originally stood as one. The shadows in the room spun around like a whirlwind, and while silent to Kynier, to Kelski they chattered with excitement and delight as they swarmed towards the small dais in the center of the room where the statue had stood.

Suddenly and abruptly, the shadows fell silent, and all slid to the floor. While they lay still, they rippled with excitement they were unable to contain like puddles of oil, and even Kynier may have caught broken whispers of an unknown language if he listened closely enough.

But the shadows were not of importance. Where the statue had once stood instead stood the very Goddess it had been a replica of, and no matter how masterfully carved, the black stone could not do her justice.

Akajia stood in the center of the room; despite her lithe form, she stood with a strength that commanded the room. Shrouded in shadows and with Zintila's stars crowning her head, she was truly a sight to behold, bright and gleaming eyes peering out from her enshrouded face to rest first on Kynier; her gaze was impassive, almost faintly quizzical. Her eyes then shifted to Kelski, and something close to perhaps affection crossed her features faintly before becoming, once again, impassive.

Stepping off the small dais, the shadows swirled around her feet, clinging to her robes and crawling up her. The Mistress of the Night paid them no mind as she approached Kelski with slow, measured steps. "Little eagle," Akajia spoke, her voice soft and velvety, caressing Kelski's skin like the shadows that swarmed her.

"I have not forgotten you. For so long you have suffered, have you not?" Akajia's voice was gentle, her features soft. "But look at you now. You are strong, stronger than perhaps you even know. Do not lament what you could not do for yourself; so often do things fall outside of what we are able to control. Take what you are given and make it yours. Use it, embrace it. You are not weak for allowing circumstances to force you places you did not wish to be."

She paused, letting her words sink in, and spoke once more to Kelski even as she began to circle the room. There words, however, were for the Kelvic's ears alone; shadows draped around the two women, blocking sight and sound from Kynier. "Do not be afraid to follow your heart and its curiosity, little eagle. Your fear may allow the greatest potentials to slip from your grasp. You must do what you think is right."

Illuminated eyes rested knowingly on the Kelvic's face, and then the shadows dispersed, and Akajia stood in front of Kynier. "Do not think I have not heard your prayers." She spoke to Kynier now, her voice still gentle, but there was something more of an edge to it. "I hear all those who pray to me. Many do. Why should praying make you worthy, mage?" The question was not harsh, but lightly reprimanding. With slow, measured steps, Akajia circled Kynier.

Finally, she stopped, once again in front of him, and when she spoke again the edge had left her voice, leaving it only soft. "But I can feel your hunger for knowledge. Prayer is not the only thing you have, and yet perhaps you do not even realize it. Why, even here, mere moments ago, your search for knowledge loosened the lips of one of my devoted."

Akajia did not seem overly perturbed by this fact; if anything, amusement sparkled in her eyes for the briefest of moments. She knew the importance of keeping secrets; but also she knew the thrill, the intimacy, often the need, to share the occasional secret with one who was trusted and valued, when the moment was right.

"Your faith is not as strong as it could be, Kynier. You know this. But faith in me is not all I demand of my followers. Secrets and knowledge and the quest for them; it is never ending, and it is there where your faith must not waver." Akajia regarded him thoughtfully for a long moment before sweeping past him, moving to stand in front of both Kelski and Kynier.

She beckoned them closer, each with one hand, knowing they would have questions or words of their own to say to her. In front of her, the shadows parted way, leaving space for the Kelvic and the man to approach the Goddess.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on June 24th, 2018, 12:36 am

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The Kelvic was cautious. She drew her weapons but did not attack her Goddess’ effigy. She would wait for the Goddess Statue facing her to make its own move. Kelski kept her eyes on the statue’s starry gaze. When she made no move to attack, Kelski re-sheathed her weapons and noted the shadows going crazy, zinging around the room, whirling like dervishes, and chattering in delight.

Kelski knew instinctively their Mother was here.

Kelski dropped to her knees the moment she saw the Goddess standing where the statue had originally stood and bowed her forehead low. The Kelvic owed the Goddess a great deal, and she acknowledged it all in that single gesture. As the Goddess approached, Kelski sat up, still kneeling, and rested her hands on her knees. Her eyes shone with love for the Night Lady that approached.

And when she spoke, Kelski listened carefully, letting the Goddess’ words wash over her. The Kelvic smiled, nodding her head. “I learned important lessons and gained important skills. The suffering was insignificant.” There was conviction and truth in what Kelski said, telling those that heard her words she truly believed what she spoke. “I will, as always, do as you advise. Thank you for sending my companions. They have become my friends, my advisors and those I trust above all.” She said softly, thankfully, as if she truly did appreciate Akajia’s gifts. To Kelski the language of Makath and the shadows were all that had kept her sane at times in the recent past. Her prayers had reflected that, since the Kelvic refused to forget gratitude.

When beckoned, Kelski gently and gracefully rose to her feet. She stalked closer, her eyes flashing silver with pleasure. She was not afraid of Akajia as some followers were afraid of their patrons. Instead she respected the Goddess, trusted her, and was proud to be one of her marked. She stopped a polite distance in front of the Goddess and at Kynier’s side if he too approached. Then quietly, because she thought by the Goddess demeanor that this was an appropriate time, she asked her question.

“I did not choose to live in Sunberth, but I ended up here regardless. I have worked hard and set up my life so that I can do many things and have many freedoms. It would be my deepest desire to know, My Lady, if there is anything in Sunberth a jeweler such as myself… one who can fly and is not afraid to fight… can do in Your Name or for Your Pleasure. I look, as you task all your Nightstalkers too, for those mysteries that are closely guarded by others. But I would do more, work harder, and serve You further if You would will it.” Kelski said plainly.

She’d met Akajia before and such plain speech without flattery had served her well. And she truly wanted to know what Akajia wanted of her. There was much in the city that needed to be done and many works that could be accomplished. But Kelski was just one person and aware of her own failings. Since Akajia was the only true Mistress in her life that Kelski felt was worthy of serving… she’d prefer to do Her Will, and hear that desire from The Goddesses own lips.

When Kelski was done speaking, she glanced at Kynier, curious as to what his reaction was. She hadn’t watched his fight and did not know if his actions towards the statue would anger or please Akajia. Kynier had spirt, intelligence, and a will to accomplish things. Kelski was curious what the Goddess would say to him as well.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on June 24th, 2018, 2:30 am

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Kynier placed a healthy distance between himself and the animated statue. To his surprise it did not pursue him further. Curiously he watched it stand there, weapon drawn, smiling at him. At the sound of Kelski’s dagger being sheathed he chanced a glance. Kelski was staring at something. When he turned to look he saw a woman emerge from the shadows. Dark colored skin and silken hair, the woman stepped from the statue’s original place with unearthly grace. Staring in awe he watched the Goddess approach her Nightstalker. Kynier only turned his gaze away to sheath his weapon. When he looked up again shadows sprouted up and blocked Akajia and Kelski from sight and ear.

He almost called out her name, but realized she would be safer than him. And he didn’t have to wait long for the shadows to disperse. Once they did the Night Mistress had her eyes upon him. Kynier instinctually turned his eyes down and away from the goddesses’ while dropping down to a knee. The sense of touch was still gone from his body from an artifact he had used his auristics on many days ago. Kynier was fearful of what glimpsing the Goddess before him could do.

The words she spoke to him made his breath catch in his throat. Looking down at his hands he could see that they were trembling violently as they had occasionally over the last fortnight. Akajia’s words were soft in volume only. Kynier raised his head enough to just see the hems of her robe as she paced around him. The air smelled different with her near. Nothing he could describe, but if he could feel anything he was sure his skin would be crawling from the power that would naturally radiate from her. Kynier dared not respond nor argue. The question was clearly rhetorical. And when her tone was devoid of reprimand he felt more at ease, though only slightly.

To hear the Night Mistress’ description of faith was enlightening. As she watched him thoughtfully his eyes slowly rolled up her form to rest on her chin. He didn’t feel the right to speak to her even if he could form a thought to speak. When she turned away he almost felt relieved. When she summoned the both of them closer Kynier took his place beside Kelski. Unlike her he kept his head bowed. For he wasn’t blessed with her mark. And as he knelt there he felt more like a bystander to the occurrence. Kelski spoke the words of a faithful follower. Listening he felt himself wanting. To know how to have that sort of faith in something other than oneself.

When Kelski finished her eyes came to his. The sheer pleasure in those silvers shone so apparently. He broke away and looked at the hand resting on his knee. Violently it shook against his will. Weakness. That was all he was showing to both of them. It was not what he wanted to be. Kynier’s desires were beyond that of a weak man. He respected and feared this goddess, as any sane creature would. But realization of his display filled him with self-loathing. Kelski would see his face snarl briefly as he took a deep regulating breath to get himself under control. Afterwards, his expression would change to that of determination. The shaking hand slowly went to full extension before clenching into a fist so tight his knuckles paled, all in rhythm with his breath. The tremors stopped.

Kynier gradually stood as he raised his eyes to finally meet the starry gaze of Akajia. As he stared he took two steps forward. He would not cower. He would not be timid. Kynier would rather stand before a divine being. Never had he gained anything from kneeling, and this would be no different. If he could stand before Her then he felt he would never shy away from what lay ahead. For several tics of a chime he stood there in silence before the words finally came.

“When the appropriate time comes,” he spoke boldly and slightly louder than his normal volume, “I ask that my worth be tested. Until then, I will do as I have done and work to unravel the mysteries I have found. Unless you advise against it.” At that he lowered his gaze to the Goddess’ feet and stepped back to Kelski’s side. Kynier did not return to his knees, but stood silently as he waited to hear what Akajia would say to them.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Luminescence on July 7th, 2018, 2:58 pm

Akajia was pleased with the manner in which Kelski approached her, though her face remained impassive and did not show it. She had little use for those who cowered in fear; the Kelvic approached with respect, but with confidence as well.

Akajia listened quietly, allowing Kelski to ask her questions. "You have done much for me already, little eagle; and you continue to do so simply in being yourself. I know that you wish to serve me further; I can feel it within you, and rest assured, I will allow you to. This city may be uncultured in many ways; brash, bold, and thoughtless. But it has its own share of secrets."

Akajia paused then, letting Kelski take in her words. She rested her gaze on the Kelvic, but she was acutely aware of Kynier approaching her as well, standing beside Kelski; but she would deal with him in a moment.

"Find them," Akajia addressed Kelski again; her voice was but a whisper, but it was fervent and intense, and the shadows around them trembled at it. "There are strange going-ons. The people here, the ones who hold what little power there is to be had, are scheming, always. Strange things are happening, and I trust you to begin to uncover them. Can you do that for me?"

The question was rhetorical, but Akajia allowed for a pause to let the eagle respond if she so chose. Turning her head, Akajia finally addressed Kynier. She had noticed his trembling, his borderline fear, and was ready to discount him. But the mage had given her a small and pleasant surprise when he had strode up to stand tall and proud next to Kelski, forcing his hand to be still and jerking his head up to face her.

"And you, Kynier. What shall I do with you?" Akajia murmured, more to herself than to the man himself.

"Worthless," A shadow hissed, swirling around Kynier's ankles mockingly. "Not worthy, not worthy. Weak. Leave him to the light."

Akajia hummed thoughtfully, another shadow rearing up to argue. "He has courage," It disagreed. "Fear is not weakness, being consumed by it is."

Kelski would hear the argument clearly, but to Kynier, all he heard was the occasional hissing sound, like steam escaping a teapot. Finally, Akajia raised a hand. "Enough," She stated, and the shadows instantly fell silent.

Kynier finally spoke then; and Akajia rested the full weight of her starry gaze on him, her eyes sparkling with their own light. His words were bold, but not disrespectful, and he dropped his gaze once more when he was done speaking. Akajia tapped her lower lip. "My marked thinks highly of you, Kynier," She finally spoke.

"My children have mixed opinions. As for myself..." The Mistress of the Night was thoughtful. She had two clear choices; one was perhaps taking a chance, but if Kynier disappointed her, he would know it, and come to regret it.

"I see potential in you. You are fearful, but you do not let it restrict you. You still have much to learn, but it is true that you have been faithful to me even through your doubt. You wish to have your worth tested? Very well; the time is now. Aid my marked in her quest; discover the secrets within this city of depravity."

Akajia raised both her hands, addressing both Kelski and Kynier when she spoke. "Those who seek power in this city have many secrets; Kelski, my little eagle, you may be an enticing target or potential ally for them. Gems are valuable of course, and money holds a high place in this city. Use this to your advantage. As I have said, there are strange things in this city, but they are for you to discover and find out for yourselves. Perhaps you should both pay a visit to the Baroque Bay, if you have not done so already."

Akajia had heard her shadows chattering about the mysterious slab present on the abandoned ship in the Bay; she herself was curious about it. She knew, of course, of other happenings in the city as well. But it was not her job to lead her followers by the hands; she would nudge them, direct them generally, but what they discovered and how they did it was up to them. It was what made them useful, what set them apart. She could appear to anyone and tell them what to do; no, her Nightstalkers were better than that, and Akajia trusted them.

Done speaking, Akajia stepped forward to Kelski, and gave the Kelvic a gentle smile, mystery in her eyes. "You have asked to serve me further; you have not disappointed me yet, my Kelvic, and so you shall." Akajia reached out, lightly touching her fingertips to Kelski's cheek; her fingers were cool and ghostly on the Kelvic's skin, but with the touch, Kelski would feel a familiar sensation of cold-burning between her shoulderblades, as Akajia gifted her Nightstalker with a second mark.

Turning away, she faced Kynier now; his gaze was still firmly low. Akajia stood in front of him, and slipped her fingers beneath his chin, raising his head and forcing Kynier to meet her gaze. Her touch, while still light and cool, was firmer. "I am giving you a chance to serve me, Kynier. I do not think you will, but do not disappoint me. Aid your fellow Nightstalker as best as you can; the two of you will have need for each other in the coming times, I feel."

As Akajia spoke, with her fingers still firmly beneath Kynier's chin, the mage would feel a burning on his back, centered between his shoulders. It was not the hot burning of fire, but rather the cold burn of ice, when it was so cold that the body could not help but translate the pain as intense heat. Akajia dropped her hand, and the feeling faded, leaving Kynier marked as a Nightstalker.

"She did it, she did it, Mistress did it," The shadow that had been rooting for Kynier chattered excitedly, and Kynier would find that he could understand what it was saying perfectly, for he now had grasp of the strange language of Makath that the shadows spoke in.

The heavy sound of stone echoed throughout the room as the statues suddenly moved again; they'd been all but forgotten in the actual presence of the Goddess, but now they moved to stand, one on either side of her, paradoxically clumsy yet elegant in their motions.

Each one held out a hand to the respective person they stood before; the statue before Kynier extended the arm holding its shortsword, offering the weapon, though its fingers were still closed tightly around the hilt. The one in front of Kelski did the same with one of its daggers.

"Before I go, I leave you both with gifts," The Goddess spoke, resting one hand on the shoulder of each statue briefly. As Akajia touched the stone, the weapons they held in their outstretched palms shimmered strangely, shadows swarming around them and obscuring them from vision. "I hope you will find them useful, and that they will aid you in aiding me; they should be useful in seeking knowledge and unraveling the mysteries lurking in this city."

Akajia dropped her hands from the statues; she lingered but for a few brief moments. If either of her Nightstalkers had anything to say to her, it was then. If they did, she would stay and listen, but offer no more wisdom; she had given the two enough for one visit. Otherwise, if they were silent, she would not linger any longer; with another secretive smile, the shadows wound up around the body of their Goddess, obscuring her from sight.

In the next moment, Akajia had disappeared, and the shadows were left to swarm, voicing their disappointment as they returned to the floors and walls; but their attention was caught again quickly by the items that Akajia had left for Kelski and Kynier.

The shadows obscuring the hands of the statues had vanished with Akajia. In front of Kynier, the now-open hand of the statue held what seemed to be, at first glance, a simple quill. The feather was a deep and lovely true blue, the colour of the night sky, edged with pure white. Near the very tip of the writing utensil, upon closer inspection, was a visible glyph.

The statue in front of Kelski had uncurled its fingers; a dagger still rested in its open palm, but it was a far cry from the simple weapon the statue had held previously. A long, curved dagger rested on the statue's open hand. The blade was black, one edge sharp and the other serrated; it seemed to draw the shadows around it closer, and in the dim light, Kelski would see faint, smoky wisps curling off the blade's surface.

Upon touching the quill, Kynier would hear Akajia's voice one last time, echoing faintly in his head. Use this mighty quill well; let it aid you and Kelski both.

Similarly, as soon as Kelski's fingers brushed the dagger, which was startlingly cold, she would also hear the Goddess' voice in her head. The dagger Pitch is yours to wield now, little eagle. I trust you will use it wisely.

No more information than that was gifted to either of them; what their gifts were capable of, they would have to discover themselves, in their own time. But there was no doubt that both items were special, even magical, and would come in great use to their new owners.

And so Kelski and Kynier were left in the dark room, both with a new and fresh mark from Akajia, and a gift from the Goddess sitting in front of them, tasked with a vague yet purposeful quest all at once; the never-ending quest for knowledge and secrets, and to uncover the mysteries that dwelled beneath the grimy surface of Sunberth.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on July 10th, 2018, 12:14 am

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Kelski was one of those rare creatures whose short life had been infused with the Akajia’s divine presence. So seeing the Goddess like this was not a first for her, but it was something that re-affirmed her reverence and respect. Akajia was one of the most influential, accepting, and loving presences in Kelski’s life. Besides Master Li in Lhavit, Kelski had never known tenderness save for The Night Mother’s touch. Most of Mizahar’s pantheon tended to ignore the value of Kelvics due to their brief lifespans, but Akajia embraced them and used them as Marcus Kelvic had intended them to be used.

To Kelski, that was everything. And had the Goddess asked it of her, the Sea Eagle would have found a way to fly to Leth’s pale surface if it would have pleased her. Unbonded, Kelski’s relationship with Akajia was the closest thing she had to scratch that internal burn she had to bond. And now, with Kynier standing beside her, the Goddess’ eyes also on his, the Kelvic saw the future unfold before her as clearly as someone unfurling a thick roll of black silk ribbon. Akajia had claimed Kynier just as thoroughly as she had Kelski, and the fact that they stood before her together meant everything to the Kelvic. It reinforced and affirmed every feeling she’d ever had around the man beside her. And in that moment if happiness could kill, the Kelvic would have dropped again to her knees because her heart would have stopped with the sheer amount of the emotion flooding her.

Akajia spoke and Kelski listened. She nodded reverently at each thought the Goddess passed her way. And when ordered to find Sunberth’s secrets, Kelski readily agreed with a deep bow and a smile that said she’d enjoy the challenge. “I will, Night Mother.”

She turned her attention to Kynier and Akajia’s interaction then, scrutinizing the way Kynier spoke to what Kelski considered HER Mother. And even though the shadows were annoyingly divided – as they usually were – Kelski could find no fault in the man’s respect and his actions. In fact, she was incredibly proud of the way he held himself. Every word Akajia spoke of Kynier was truly accurate and what Kelski herself had seen in the man. He was afraid. But he faced that fear, acknowledged it, and moved past it. He was cautious because of it, and that kept him alive in the world in which they were forced to live.

Kelski nodded, noting she would have to visit Baroque Bay immediately. “I will do what you ask, of course.” She said firmly. But in terms of the power struggles in Sunberth, she’d already chosen sides. She’d side with the average people and anyone who was a champion of them. She’d stand against the slavers and gangs that wished power only for the sake of power and not to better things in the world. It was something she’d have to do quietly, silently, and slowly without drawing attention to herself.

Her attention was drawn back to the Night Mother as the Goddess stepped closer. Kelski stood frozen as the Goddess touched her and the mark between her shoulder blades burned with an incredible and beautiful pain as her mark doubled under Akajia’s touch. Tears slipped from the Sea Eagle’s eyes, the salty liquid a genuine response to the generosity and acceptance she’d always felt from Akajia. She was so proud to be a Nightstalker, one of Akajia’s chosen, and so incredibly proud to serve the Goddess. And to receive her second mark alongside Kynier as he received his own Mark from Akajia was the highest honor she could think of. And as the stone statues approached and offered their gifts, Kelski stepped forward and took hers. The dagger was as cold as the heart of the night. She loved its elegant curve and its wicked serrated edge.

“Thank you, Akajia. Thank you for all your gifts and insight and for walking the darkness and making it something vibrant and alive and so much more than most people understand. Thank you for sending the Shadows so I never feel alone. And thank you for Kynier.” Kelski whispered softly, her words for the Goddess and not meant to be spoken too loudly or too proudly. She’d had a million conversations with Akajia, though only two of them had actually had the Goddess standing before her. Then she bowed low again, and sheathed the dagger in the small of her back. Pitch. It was a fitting name.

When Kelski was alone again, with only the statues and her stoic mage companion, she turned to him and even though it was fully dark, he could see the light shining in her silver eyes. “It’s nice to have family.” She said abruptly and took a step towards him. The Sea Eagle reached out and touched him where the Goddess had as if to reassure herself he was real.

The quiet only lasted a moment though. The shadows swirled around them, calling softly, offering welcome and exchanging chatter with each other in a strange language that both could clearly understand.

Kelski dropped her hand from Kynier’s skin, grinned abruptly, and threw back her head and really laughed taking two or three steps back. She suddenly burst into motion, spontaneously, and began to dance with the Shadows, getting lost in their swirling whirling chattering motion. And it would be suddenly be clear to Kynier that all those times he’d suspected Kelski of speaking when there was nothing and no one at all there… was simply in fact her interacting with these Shadow creatures, Akajia’s children.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on July 11th, 2018, 12:38 am

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The lingering silence after his words was dreadful. The way the goddess stood there contemplating his fate. For a moment Kynier feared he had invoked her wrath. The shadows danced at his feet and hissed. The shadows actually hissed. To steady his mind he focused on his breathing and the soft sound of it breaking the silence. Then Akajia spoke and the shadows at his feet fell quiet. Mere chimes ago Kelski spoke of how they lived and spoke. Now he truly believed it. The goddess spoke again but as though she were moderating a debate. One that was at a standstill with her own vote still undecided.

Then the divine’s words turned favorable. He would receive a test like had requested. To help Kelski in her task. One that sounded closely related to what he was already working towards. With his gaze still low he watched the goddess bless Kelski with more power. He saw the happiness in the Kelvic well up and escape her body in the form of tears. Then the divine came to him. Kynier gasped at her touch in surprise, not fear. For fourteen days he had felt no physical sensation and was worrying that Doler’s words of it being permanent would be true. Though when those midnight blue fingers forced his chin up, he felt the cold of night from them.

The goddess spoke and Kynier felt the divine power pulse through her fingers and through his body. Mouth agape and eyes wide, he breathed in loud quick gasps. The pain forming in his back burned and warped his skin to form the mark. It was overwhelming. As though he wandered the desert for fourteen days without water only to fall into a lake. The sudden stimulation was so strong Kynier only just was able to register the goddess’ words to him. Words of encouragement, as well as warning. When she removed her hand all of it vanished and Kynier fell to his hands and knees with a final gasp. The numbness returned.

Voices he didn’t recognize spoke in the dark. A liquid dropped onto the stone floor below his face. Kynier brushed a finger by his eye and inspected it. He too had shed tears upon his transformation. For that’s what it was. Kynier blinked as he began to notice the changes. The chamber was clearer, no longer shrouded in darkness. The voices came from the shadows that moved around him. It was as though a veil had been lifted and he could truly see the world.

The noise of the statues moving brought his attention back to the situation. As the flanked her the shadows engulfed the stone weapons. Before she vanished Kynier spoke, in a quiet whisper that only the goddess would hear. “Thank you.” His emotions beckoned he say more, but he couldn’t articulate it. Before the words could come, the goddess was gone. Kynier looked at the statue before him and saw the marvelous feather quill it held out to him. When he took it from the statue the Night Goddess spoke in his mind. The Mighty Quill. Kynier immediately saw the glyph on it and examined it closely. It was complex with traces of at least three root runes in its making. Kynier placed the blue-white feather in one of his new vest’s hidden compartments. “I will not fail you. And I will do everything I can for her,” he prayed to the goddess.

At the sound of Kelski’s footsteps he turned. She reached out to touch him at the place where Akajia had. To his despair he couldn’t feel it, but he still smiled at the gesture. Then the shadows moved and spoke over each other. Their language was strange and stranger still was that he understood what they were saying. Kelski laughed and began to dance. Kynier was frozen in wonder. He knelt down to gaze upon each shadow individually. “Hello,” he said in the strange tongue. A few of the shadows returned the greeting.

“Come. Come dance…” a few whispered. Kynier looked up at Kelski as she moved in circles with the shadows. As though to encourage him more a few swirled around and even came up his body. Kynier attempted to shut of the curiosity of it all and allowed his feet to move in tandem with them. It was unnerving to dance in this state, but he tried it anyway. Kynier was sure that his motions were foolish to behold. Yet as he continued he cared less and less. Kelski’s laughter incited his own to emerge. He was a Nightstalker now. They both were.

As though the shadows had somehow planned it, the movements of the Nightstalkers’ gaiety led their paths together. When Kynier’s eyes feel upon hers he stopped with the foolish smile still lingering on his face. After a moment’s pause he cleared his throat. “Congratulations. I uh… I’m just amazed by all this.” He looked around the chamber. There were so many shadows and it baffled him to know that they were all alive. Like an addiction he couldn’t ignore, his eyes returned to the Kelvic. The next thought he had took his smile away and filled his eyes with worry. “I know what she was talking about. In Baroque Bay.” He took a step forward and his eyes changed. A side of him she had never seen before emerged. His gaze was hard. Though he spoke with the intent of warning, it would be easy to interpret it as more of a command.

“Kelski, don’t visit that ship, or what lays in its cargo hold. I already have. Ask and I will share what I know of it. And when I’m ready to look into it further I will bring you with me so we can fulfill Her will. But don’t… visit… that… ship.” With those last words her keen eyes would be able to see morbid fear in his.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on July 14th, 2018, 7:12 pm

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The Kelvic danced with joy, weaving in and out of the Shadows that were somehow different. She spun and wheeled like she would have airborne wearing feathers and not skin… somewhat surprised that in this form she could feel that freedom her winged for could. There was an expansion to the power Akajia gifted her with somehow with the second mark. It wasn’t just Makath, but it was that the Shadows welcomed her in a way that they hadn’t before. She could step into one, kicking out a foot in celebration and vanish, only to reappear a few feet away bursting forth from another Shadow. Having rarely laughed, the shadows drew the joy out of her and she laughed with them, their voices rising as her own did. She whirled and twirled happily until she ran straight into Kynier.

Coming to a halt abruptly, Kelski froze and reached out to grab his shoulders to steady herself. There was a faint hum in his presence, a tingling of her gnosis that recognized the presence of another Nightstalker. Her eyes widened in wonder and she nodded when he offered his congratulations, her laughter dying but the mirth still in her eyes. The Shadows continued to spin around them, trying to lure the Kelvic back to her dancing… but Kynier took all her attention. He was happy too… but then like a stormfront rolling in, his eyes clouded with concern.

He crowded her in the way Kelski had learned Kynier liked to do when he wanted her to really listen and understand something he was trying to say. He was fierce, hard, and almost predatory suddenly as he advanced. A burn coursed through Kelski because she liked him looking like that… like he was stalking her and completely and utterly focused on her. It caused her to trill slightly under her breath, the noise more eagle than woman. His words were utterly dark, foreboding, and he meant every single thing he said. Her adrenaline was already high, but it spiked again under his scrutiny… under his demands. Gods….

She dragged in a breath and shook her head. “I have too. She’s sending me. You heard her. You can tell me everything you know, but you don’t know what her creatures that are there might know. I can ask them. You can ask them now too. I can’t NOT go Kynier. I can’t…. but you can come with me. We can go there together. Maybe take some muscle like Krieg. He needs to get out more. If you know what’s there and what’s dangerous, you can protect us.” She said with absolute conviction.

“I won’t go without you. But Akajia says I should go. I will not ignore The Night Mother’s wishes.” Kelski said firmly, releasing Kynier and crossing her arms. She narrowed her eyes and looked absolutely stubborn about the whole thing. “You should sit down, tell us both what you know, as a way to prepare us, and then we all go together. When can you be ready to go?” She said abruptly, tapping her foot.

Strangely the shadows in the room stopped whirling. They froze in place then started gently undulating. Whispering, they seemed to be debating among themselves whether Kynier would agree to go or not or whether he could get Kelski to budge and not go. To an outsider, it would be obvious that the two Nightstalkers facing off in front of Akajia’s statue was probably the most entertaining thing the shadows here had seen in hundreds of years.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on July 14th, 2018, 10:54 pm

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That was the answer he should have expected but it was far from the one he was hoping for. Kelski’s faith was too strong to deter. He could see that in her gaze, if not in the incessant taping of her foot. Kynier took a step back as he thought over the counter proposal. It was true, he could learn more now from the shadows that lived aboard the Saique. Yet he already had a lead to follow. One he wasn’t prepared for mentally. What had happened still had him shaken, mostly with the uncertainty. Doler’s advice still echoed in his mind and caused unease.

The longer he thought on it the more it seemed less of a counter proposal and more of her own demand. She never lied to him and said she wouldn’t go without him. Yet she would listen to Akajia. Kynier abruptly turned away and shouted. “Shyke!” As the word echoed Kynier was certain he could hear amused tones coming from the undulating shadows that surrounded them. If he did nothing he would not only fail Akajia but cause Kelski to fail her too. For the first time, he didn’t appreciate Kelski’s surprising intelligence. He set his hands on his hips as his back faced her.

The name Kreig had a ring of familiarity to it. Offhand he couldn’t say why. Though it sounded like someone that Kelski trusted to bring in on this. That honestly sounded like it would only complicate matters. Thusly, he wouldn’t be surprised if she insisted on it. That’s how the summer had been progressing after all. Kynier paced back and forth as he tried to banish his pessimism. Kelski was going to go regardless and now she would be set on dragging him with her. By the gods…

Maybe it would be safe enough for her and the other person, Kreig. There hadn’t been much danger until he used his Auristics on it. That meant little now. Kynier’s actions could’ve awakened it in some way. Maybe if he told her it would be enough to get her to come with him to the doctor instead. Kynier turned back to face her, hands still on his hips. “I don’t know Kreig. So I can’t trust him to know how I learned what I know. But inside that ship is a magic artifact. A very powerful one. I went to investigate and wasn’t the only one there. An Akalak was there too.” He paused to shift through the important details of the encounter in his mind. “Without his knowing, I used magic to perceive the stone. And I underestimated how powerful it was Kelski. This was on the sixth day of summer, and I am still suffering from the side effects. Side effects that could be permanent.”

Kynier took a step closer to her, holding up a hand in a thoughtful gesture as he did. “My folly wasn’t without reward though. The ship began to fill with screaming as soon as I stopped. The akalak could hear it as well. But what the akalak didn’t hear was a collection of voices in the cacophony of agonizing shrieks. They spoke of conflict, perseverance, and a plan. Nothing specific.” His eyes lowered to peer at a image that wasn’t there for Kelski to see. One that his mind drew forth as he thought of the details. His voice grew softer as the thoughts and emotions associated with the memory accompanied it. Kynier couldn’t feel it and couldn’t see it, but Kelski would. The raised hand began to tremble to the same degree it had when had knelt before Akajia.

“That was when it appeared. On the stone surface that no one’s eyes could read. The word Petricious. Even the Akalak could see it despite not suffering for it.” That’s when he noticed his hand, “Damn it,” he whispered. Kynier closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. The trembling hand closed into the tightest fist that hit could be as he meditated. All his willpower was put into that hand to regain control. It did not come immediately, but gradually. When he opened his eyes he loosened his grip to see it only shaking just barely. He stared at his hand for a moment considering if he should tell her. Had he failed to convince her to not go he was sure the kelvic would still indirectly demand that he accompany her. His coordinate was still off which had led to many mistakes. Kelski deserved to know for the sake of understanding his usefulness, or lack thereof.

“I can’t feel anything Kelski,” he said quietly with a voice laced with shame. “When the Night Mistress touched me, it was the first time I’ve felt something in fourteen days.” He raised his head to meet the molten silver gaze. “The loss of my sense of touch could be permanent. Though, She has given me a trace of hope that it won’t be. Just from one touch…” his voice and his eyes trailed off. They rested at the feet of the statues and the darkness that flickered at the light’s edge. It could be seen how much the loss of the sense bothered the new Nightstalker. In truth, he didn’t know if the loss of any other sense would’ve been better. Perhaps smell or taste.

Kynier raised his head again and continued to describe the status of his investigation. “Petricious is a name apparently. The doctor’s name. The one from The Clinic that’s located in The Den district. I’ve been waiting to regain what I’ve lost before investigating further. A… contact I have has given me a letter to give the doctor in relation to this. I don’t know what it says.” Kynier took another step closer to the kelvic. “I don’t know when I’ll be ready to move onward Kelski. But,” he sighed reluctantly, “whenever you are ready, I will accompany you to see the artifact.” Kynier was certain that his spine would’ve experience a shiver at the thought of returning. But she had left him no real choice, unless she changed her mind.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kelski on July 15th, 2018, 3:50 pm

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Kelski jumped slightly, flinching all over, when he turned away uttered the profanity in frustration. She understood he didn’t want her to go. She understood he was trying to protect her. But Akajia had TOLD her to go. What choice did she have? Right now, at this stage, as much as she was enamored of him… they weren’t bonded and her first and deepest loyalty was to the Night Mother. Kelski had no parents and Akajia was the closest thing she had to a mother. Had the woman told her to fly to Leth’s surface, the Kelvic wouldn’t have stopped trying until she found a way to succeed. Everything in the woman was built to serve, designed for unquestionable loyalty, and to do otherwise was almost physically impossible for the Sea Eagle.

She watched the stubborn line of his back as he gave her a full view of it and kept her arms folded defiantly. The Kelvic admired the strong line of his spine and the flare of his ass and longed to run her hand down his form, tracing the shape. She didn’t, however, with Kynier’s actual actions peaking her ire. He paced some then, mulled things over in his head, turned back to her, and she simply shrugged as he professed not trusting Kreig. She trusted the fighter. Kynier should know her well enough to trust what Kelski trusted. If he did not, then he it was his loss for underestimating her opinions on people. She wouldn’t knowingly put him in danger or introduce him to unsavory people. Kreig was one of the finest she knew.

Kelski listened without interrupting as Kynier spoke what he knew of the wreckage. She hadn’t even known it was a ship, to be honest, though she’d flown over one a time or two and hadn’t given it any thought. She nodded at all the information he freely gave her, but it didn’t make up for the fact that Akajia had ASKED her to go.

Her eyes narrowed as he admitted he couldn’t feel anything. What did that mean? In his heart? In his hands? Oh.. his sense of touch was gone. Kelski looked horrified and nodded, finally understanding. She knew of the doctor. It was the same one that tortured a friend of hers who had gotten knifed in the stomach. He finally… finally conceded he’d go with her. “You don’t have to go, Kynier. I didn’t know you were injured. You said nothing, though what you’ve told me now is frightening. I will be careful. I have no magic to use to look upon the thing. I can go alone or take Kreig whom I trust completely. But you shouldn’t trust the doctor. I know of him. He tortures his patients, even nearly killed one of my friends in the Sun’s Birth. Even going to see him with that envelope is dangerous. You should find out what is inside of it.” She urged, looking none to happy that Kynier was going anywhere near Petricious. He’s not a good man, but a really sick one, damaged in the head.” She said firmly.

Kelski reached around and fingered Pitch where she’d stashed the dagger in the small of her back. Maybe that was why Akajia had gifted her with the blade. It was more protection than she deserved though, even though she was grateful to have it. “You know how to do things. Can you open the envelope and reseal it so it does not look read? You should know what is in the thing before you give it to the doctor. It might even be a warrant for your death or something equally horrible.” She said, beginning her own pacing now.

“We should leave here. I need to go see the ship and soon. I can go tomorrow. But it has to be soon because I will be really busy in the days coming.” Her grand opening was the in ten days and she wasn’t ready yet. She hadn’t even told Kynier about The Midnight Gem because she wasn’t sure it would be a success and didn’t want him to witness her being a failure if she had to fail. “I will need to see when someone can go with me if you cannot. But we need to do it soon…. Unless you insist on waiting until your feeling is completely back, which might be safer.” Kelski said softly, not knowing how long that would be… if ever.

She looked at him worriedly but did not approach. Kelski gave him space. In her mind, men upset were men that could become volatile and she wanted to be nowhere within reach if that was one of Kynier’s habits.
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[Temple Of The Unknown] Undiscovered Secrets (Kynier)

Postby Kynier on July 15th, 2018, 9:26 pm

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No he didn’t say anything, because he didn’t want her to be worried about him. He was growing tired of having something wrong with him each time he saw her. Just for once he would like to be whole in her presence. There was no way of know when that would be, and that was the terrifying and infuriating part. Kynier lowered his gaze slightly in shame. How those eyes looked at him now hurt in a way he hadn’t expected to feel.

“I don’t trust the doctor. I have heard the tales on what he does.” A thought came to him. The unending screaming of agony that he had heard, and the intolerable suffering he felt with his auristics on the slab. What if the slab was directly connected to the doctor in some way? That somehow it harbored all the pain the crazed healer had inflicted on his subjects? Kynier’s eyes narrowed at the possibility. He listened to Kelski as she continued. A laugh was buried in his chest before it could get to his throat. If Doler had wanted him dead he wouldn’t be standing here. But he took her advice to heart. There was a way he could read it without breaking the wax seal.

For some reason, her pacing made him anxious. Her mind hadn’t changed. It was too much to hope for he realized. From how he saw this woman interact with the goddess he should have known it was a foolish effort to try and convince her not to go. Kelksi wanted him to come as well. And every day he’d rather choose to never set sight on the merchant vessel or its cargo. To set the bulkhead and sails aflame and let the sea claim it. Kynier met her gaze and stared. There were two reasons for him to get over himself. The first was that he wanted… needed to protect her from forces even he didn’t understand. The second reason…

“We’ll go together,” he said with a little reluctance. “It is possible that the power of the artifact is no longer dormant. It may not be safe for anyone, even those that aren’t mages, to approach it. And I would rather be there with you than have you go alone. Besides,” he let the word hang in the air as he gave her a sheepish grin with a shrug of his shoulders. “She’s commanded me to help you. I’m sure it would invoke her wrath to deny that within the first bell of being a Nightstalker.”

Kelski was sure to understand that. This was a test of his worth. To face something that had already scared him in a way he never expected. He would be useless if he balked at every task that required him to challenge his own shortcomings. “It is not my right to insist anything Kelski,” he said coming closer to her, stopping at arm’s reach. “But I will ask. I ask if you can wait for me and my recovery. If that is something you can’t wait for then I understand. But will you wait?”

He stood there and waited for her response. Should she answer yes, he would leave this sacred place with her. If she said no, he would linger as she left.
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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