Completed The Thousand Soul Lament

Anja's arrival to Sunberth

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

The Thousand Soul Lament

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 14th, 2018, 1:07 am

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Summer 5, 518
8th Bell
Sunberth

Sunberth sang with the voices of a thousand restless dead. Anja had felt it as the speck of the distant city grew ever closer, swelling into a agonized, echoing dirge. Countless tormented souls screamed their regrets into the sea. The cacophony swelled. Quietly, the man bowed his head. There was nothing resentful in the gesture. Anja wasn’t, bitter, merely resigned in a thoughtful way. This was Anja’s purpose. More than any city Anja knew, Sunberth needed the firm guiding hand of an Eiyon.

Anja and Maisa stepped off the rickety docks into the sprawling streets. The pungent scent of rot stung the man’s throat and tensed his jaw. Sunberth swarmed, but the patterns were unfamiliar to the Drykas. In Endrykas, every person had a purpose and movement was coordinated. All moved as one. Here, there seemed to be no grand purpose, or at least none that Anja was capable of discerning. The people were less like a swarm of bees, and more like flies: their own greed and motives fueling their paths. Anja watched dispassionately as a man approached a beggar staring unguarded towards the sea and slid a knife into his back, then snatched whatever paltry coppers the man carried. Not a single passerby reacted. No surprise, disgust, or remorse. Nothing.

Anja approached the collapsed beggar and kneeled beside him, touching his shoulder lightly. The man stared up at him. Blood flecked his lips and stained his rotten teeth.

“The next run will be better than this one,” Anja said, his voice thick with a Pavi accent.

“Petch you stranger,” the begger snarled, and died. Anja watched a faint mist pull from the man’s mouth, leaving an invisible distortion in the air. Anja waited, and watched.

“Ain’t nothing left,” the spirit growled. Slowly, the mist dissipated to nothing.

Anja straightened and wiped his bloody hand against the corpses’ shirt. The ever vigilant Maisa had followed Anja and stood by his side during his ministrations, and had faithfully stood guard with her hindquarters to him and her face towards the writhing masses. When Anja pushed himself to his feet, Maisa glanced at the Drykas, her expression a look of enquiry that only Anja, having been bonded to the mare for three years, could decipher. Three years in the constant presence of any creature would create an understanding, but Maisa was also a strider. Anja was convinced she was smarter than him sometimes.

The spiritist indicated to the mare that the soul had departed. She snorted and turned to face back towards the swarm, wary eyes scanning the crowds. Anja rested his hand against his companion’s neck and felt the tension making her body rigid. She hadn’t been a fan of the boat, and Anja doubted that witnessing a murder had done much for the strider’s comfort level. Anja gently hooked his arm underneath Maisa’s head and pulled her against his chest. She nickered, soft and sweet. “Let’s go my friend,” Anja murmured, and swung onto her back.

(Words 503, Total 503)
Last edited by Anja Nightwatcher on July 15th, 2018, 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Anja Nightwatcher
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The Thousand Soul Lament

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 15th, 2018, 8:42 pm

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His companion eased the pair of them onto the street and towards the busier section of the town. Anja watched passing strangers eye the two of them, their eyes carrying a mixture of suspicion and uncertainty. Anja was used to that uncertainty. He had come to know it very well since he has been marked by his goddess. The man now carried an air of mystery about him that gave people a pause when they looked at him. He doubted that anyone really understood what that strangeness was, unless he were to show his mark to them. For the moment, it was a relief. It was keeping anyone from confronting him, although he doubted it would work forever. He was hoping to avoid getting stabbed before he spent too much time here. There was too much work to be done, and Anja wasn’t ready to give up the ghost for a while yet.

As Maisa trotted Anja down the rickety streets, the Eiyon felt the presence of death swirling around every corner. It seemed as though someone had been murdered on every street corner. In the span of ten chimes, Anja watched the after images of four deaths, gifts that his goddess would offer him at the scene of an unfortunate’s demise. Two were muggings gone wrong, or perhaps right depending on one’s perspective. The third was an act of rage as a drunk smashed his opponent's head against the side of a building. The fourth was an assassination; a simple knife to the throat, a splutter of blood, then a casual, emotionless retreat.

Anja knew he had to start somewhere. A place this overrun with the dead had to have a way to deal with them or else this place would be chaos. Well, more than it already was anyways. Anja turned his head to the horizon, and focused on the strongest presence of death he could sense. It made his skull buzz with the intensity of it. Maisa must have felt Anja’s hips shift, because without prompting she turned down a nearby street and trotted in the direction of the strong presence.

Maisa’s steady trot led the pair through the city, where Anja watched the after images of a dozen deaths. Eventually the mare's steps led her out of the city and to a large rocky hill overlooking the sea. Here, the dead swelled. Anja watched a ghost lazily circle above, pausing as it noticed him. Suddenly disinterested, or perhaps unwilling to engage an Eiyon, it turned away from the pair and vanished.

A rickety house stood on the hill, its wooden walls standing strongly despite the unseasonably cool wind that whipped across the hills. Following a gentle nudge from Anja, the pair approached. Suddenly the door was flung open as if struck by harsh wind, and slammed against the side of the building. A giant of a man stormed out of the building like a hurricane and opened his mouth as if to shout at Anja. Before the words could leave his lips his eyebrows shot up in surprise. Anja supposed his own expression, which was generally mild and emotionless, had flashed with similar surprise. When one was marked by a god, one recognized others bearing the same mark.

“Shyke,” the man muttered. “Well, alright. Come on in then. Leave your horse at the door, ghosts shouldn’t bother her none. If they do, I’ll set em right.”

(Words 570, Total 1067)
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Anja Nightwatcher
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The Thousand Soul Lament

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 15th, 2018, 11:20 pm

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Anja dismounted from Maisa’s back, patted her shoulder, then gave her the Pavi gestures for 'calm’ and 'safe’. Maisa snorted and nudged Anja’s chest then turned her back to the shack to watch the rocky hill top.

Anja followed the man inside, stepping over a threshold of ghost beads surrounding the house. The inside of the shack was small, but comforting. The furniture was simple and wooden, and there wasn’t much more than a bed, a table, and a pair of chairs. The inside of the shack glowed dimly with orange candle light. The man gestured to the nearby chair, and Anja sat.

“Alright then. I’m Jebediah. Call me Jeb. I’m the Undertaker here in the Dust Bed. That’s the graveyard you’re in now. All of Sunberth’s dead get buried here.” Jeb leaned a massive executioner’s sword he carried against a nearby wall, then sat in the chair opposite to Anja. The wood groaned under his weight. He hit Anja with a piercing stare.

“Now I’m giving you the benefit of doubt, seeing as how you’re marked like me. But you gotta admit I was plenty pissed when a ghost told me there someone riding across my graveyard. Sunberthers don’t come here for good reasons, unless I hire them specifically.” The man took a deep breath.

“You ain’t from around here though. Any berther can spot a stranger from a mile away. You one of those horse people? What are you doing here?”

Anja looked at the man calmly. His biting words didn’t bother Anja. If anything, they were restrained in respect of their shared connection to their goddess. Anja, likewise, offered the man respect in return. He was infringing on his territory after all.

“My name is Anja Nightwalker,” Anja explained. “I am of the Drykas. The wandering horsemen who hail from the moving city of Endrykas. I have been tasked by Dira to destroy undead and soothe the souls of the dead. I came here because I was told the place was thick with spirits. It’s very true. I’ve never seen the like before.”

Jeb sighed in a weary, haggard way. “Aye, we’re thick with them. Hard for any soul to rest easy here. Lots of people dying fast and angry.”

Jeb took a moment to stare at Anja, his eyes intense but thoughtful. Anja was very aware of himself being scrutinized very carefully.

“You know spiritism?” he asked after a moment.

“I was frequently called on to dispatch ghosts in the Sea of Grass,” Anja replied. “I know my way around spiritmist.”

Jeb chewed the inside of his cheek thoughtfully. “Alright Anja. Want a job? I can set you up as a ghost hunter. You need wages to eat round here. It’s shyke living but better than starving. I need hunters. Got plenty of people to help me with digging and burying bodies but no one wants to touch ghosts and I don’t have time to train someone who doesn’t already know his shyke.”

(Words 497, Total 1564)
Last edited by Anja Nightwatcher on July 16th, 2018, 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Anja Nightwatcher
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The Thousand Soul Lament

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 15th, 2018, 11:21 pm

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“I would be flattered,” Anja replied, surprised. He hadn’t put much consideration into how himself and Maisa we're going to stay fed, and ghost hunting seemed like it would fit the bill.

“Alright. You report to me every morning and I’ll give you work to do. You’ll be out and around the city a lot. Hunting ghosts, setting up protection, getting them to pass on or kicking their asses if you can’t. You need training, I’ll give it to you. You got a place to stay?”

“I have a tent,” Anja replied.

“You can set up in the tent city then. Shyke place, lots of thieves, but better than squatting in an abandoned building and getting eaten by rats.”

“Actually,” Anja suggested. “Why don’t I set up camp here? I like the Dust Bed. It feels relaxing.”

Jeb stared at Anja in stark disbelief for a long moment before barking out a laugh.

“I forgot you were a petching Eiyon. Most my men don’t want to stay here unless they have to. Not entirely safe though. You got any ghost beads Anja?”

“I do,” Anja replied. “But I’m still learning to use them.”

“Right then,” said Jeb standing up. “Let’s go find a place to set up your tent and I’ll show you how to do it.”

Jeb followed Anja as he found an area not far from Jeb’s shack to set up camp. It was less rocky than the other areas, and mostly clear and flat. Jeb effortlessly helped Anja to unload Maisa and set up his tent and the objects inside. The man nodded with approval as Anja unwound a long sixty foot string of ghost beads. They allowed him to circle his tent, and left a little room for Maisa to stand in if she needed safety.

“These have already been charged, so it’s as simple as that,” Jeb told him. “Keep an eye on them, and charge them every couple of days or so and you’ll be fine. If you need blood to make soulmist, come talk to me and I’ll help you out. The ghosts might try to move them around if they get pissed, so keep an eye on them and try not to piss anyone off. Better not to make enemies if you don’t have to.”

The pair stood in silence for a while, looking over the bleak rocky terrain while Maisa picked at the rough scrub near the tent.

“Right then,” Jeb said. “Can’t promise thieves won’t come picking at it, but won’t be worse than the tent city. Anyways, you should poke around town to get to know the place. Try not to get knifed. You can report in tomorrow, and I’ll see you then.” Without ceremony, Jeb turned and walked back to his shack.

Anja stroked Maisa’s mane and felt the vibrations of her nicker through her neck. They had a home. Not a fancy one, and not likely a permanent one, but one with more meaning than Syliras and Zeltiva had had. And more importantly, here he could do Dira’s good work. The drykas gently embraced his strider and felt the waves death gently cascade around the graveyard, making his body tingle.

(Words 533, Total 1564)
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Anja Nightwatcher
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Posts: 262
Words: 298384
Joined roleplay: February 15th, 2018, 3:26 pm
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The Thousand Soul Lament

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 23rd, 2018, 11:26 pm

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Grades Have Arrived



Anja Nightwalker

XP Award:
  • +1 Observation
  • +1 Persuasion
  • +2 Riding
  • +3 Socialization
  • +1 Spiritism

Lore:
  • Location: Sunberth
  • Sunberth: Haunted
  • Location: The Dust Bed
  • Maisa: A Watchful, Loyal Companion
  • Striders: Intelligent Horses
  • Eiyons: View After Images of Death
  • Jeb: Undertaker of the Dust Bed
  • Jeb: Eiyon
  • Tent City: Full of Thieves
  • Spiritism: Using Ghost Beads to Make a Location Safe
User avatar
Anja Nightwatcher
Ghost Hunter
 
Posts: 262
Words: 298384
Joined roleplay: February 15th, 2018, 3:26 pm
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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