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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Kynier on July 18th, 2018, 8:52 pm

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Timestamp: 24th of Summer 518
Thirty Chimes past the Twelfth Bell


The midday meal rush was in full effect at the No Man’s Land tavern. Stepping through the doorway Kynier was engulfed in the clamor. Everyone shouting loudly just to be hear. The oversized bartender, Carston Hammer, had been completely surrounded by patrons trying to get their food and drink. As Kynier walked by Hammer gave him an acknowledging nod but spared no more attention to him. Kynier liked Hammer, though the man was built larger than a grizzly bear. The bartender made an effort to at least have a familiarity with his patrons. Hammer was also agreeable enough to hold messages for him, for a price.

The dining area was almost stuffed to bursting. Lana Steel and a few others were weaving through the mass of people with expert grace. Kynier hated crowds. Especially since he lost his sense of touch. The occasional bump wouldn’t be registered until he needed to make a corrective step to compensate. As a precaution he also brought fewer valuables with him. Four gold and ten silvers, the locket with ombre hair, the Mighty Quill, and his larceny tools. All of which were sealed in the four separate concealed pockets of his dark green vest. Cold iron short sword and a dagger at the hip, with the assassin’s dagger stowed in the boot.

There was a single table available, though it was still cluttered with the remnants of the previous patrons. Without hesitation Kynier sat down and cleared a space. As he waited for someone to provide service he occupied himself with stacking the dishes and setting the utensils all in one cup. After a few chimes, Lana came up to him. Her petite frame and long dark hair swayed through the crowd to his table. “Apologies hon. I’ll get this cleared up in a chime. What are you thirsty for?”

“Water, please.” Lana looked up and registered that it was him with a small smile.

“Hello Kynier. It’s been so busy today I haven’t been able to stop and even listen to someone talk.” She sighed as she stacked the plates onto her forearm. “Do you want the roast, or the stew today?”

“The stew please. And I’m expecting company at the beginning of the next bell. I don’t know what their preferences are.” Lana gave him an acknowledging nod before returning to the fray. Kynier leaned over the table and laced his fingers together to rest his chin on. There were so many conversations echoing around him it was hard to select one and focus on it. Words bleed into each other to form an incoherent sea of speech. So Kynier kept his gaze on the door and watched for the stranger that he ran into yesterday.

Peaked was an understatement for his curiosity. Kynier knew that ghosts existed, just as he knew there were specialized magics to deal with those spirits. Yesterday was the first time he had ever seen it used. Having already had a ghost trespass in his home it seemed like something that would be worth learning more about. The stranger has stated that he also had questions for him. Kynier was willing to oblige for the possibility of a quid pro quo. When Lana brought him his water he thanked her and took slow sips of the fluid. Eyes almost never leaving the door.
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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 19th, 2018, 4:12 pm

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For most of Sunberth, the mugginess of the noon day sun incited irritable tempers, and on Anja’s walk to No Man’s Land he observed a number of scuffles, a few shouting matches, and one full blown knife fight. Anja was beginning to learn that such things were typical in Sunberth. Either way, it wasn’t his job to interfere, simply clean up the mess that was left afterwards. The spiritist had elected to leave Maisa at his tent, as she was rather sour from the previous day's events and he thought to give her a break. A brief inquiry to Jeb revealed a raised eyebrow and gruff directions to No Man’s Land. Anja was finding he rather liked Jeb. The man was no nonsense and easy to work with. Anja started out early, giving himself good time with his sore ribs, and made it to the location just before the thirteenth bell.

The tavern swarmed like an ant nest on fire. For a moment, Anja wasn’t certain he was going to be able to fit through the door. He spotted an open spot in the swarm and moved for it, sliding between a pair of shouting patrons and pushing himself into the fray. In Sunberth, it paid to be aggressive if you weren’t knifed for the trouble. Aside from a small handful of gold stashed against his thigh, his bastard sword strapped to his back, and his usual three vials of soulmist, Anja hadn’t brought more than the clothes on his back. The less the spiritist had to steal, the less likely he was to be harassed. The sense of mystery his gnosis wrought could only get him so far. It wasn’t a solid method of avoiding trouble.

When Anja was able to find a momentary respite in the Sea of chaos, he scanned the room looking for the stranger he had briefly met at the stables the day before. Anja had considered that the man might not show up. He had been flighty during their brief meeting, and Anja had known that if he wanted to keep his secrets to himself then all he had to do was not arrive. Anja wouldn’t be terribly offended if he did so. He wasn’t the sort to pry into a man’s secrets if he didn’t want to tell them. But Anja was interested. The stranger’s appearance had been unusual, if not clandestine. Fate wasn’t something Anja took a lot of stock in, but the pair of them arriving at the same time with similar motives was something that was at least worth probing.

That said, when Anja spotted the stranger at a solitary table at the edge of the room staring fixedly in his direction, Anja found himself distinctly pleased. The man gave the stranger a brief wave, then navigated his way around jabbering patrons and over encumbered tables until he was able to weave himself into position by the stranger. Anja pulled out the chair beside the man, slid himself down into it, and turned to his side to take his first good look at the stranger.

The man was a fraction taller than Anja was himself. Dark hair, hazel eyes, and a face and body that spoke of years, if not a lifetime, of hardship. He was an intense man, Anja noted. Not one to be trifled with, nor one easily fooled. Like most Berthers, he carried an air of suspicion but also mystery. Anja might have pegged him for an Eiyon himself if Anja couldn’t recognize his own kin on sight.

“I’m Anja Nightwalker.” Anja introduced himself politely, his voice heavy with his Pavi accent. The pair had not had the opportunity to exchange names or titles during their brief meeting, and Anja figured it was best to get it out of the way before the pair moved onto further questions. Handshakes weren’t common among the Drykas, so unless the stranger offered his hand Anja would make no attempt to shake. Before Anja could speak further, a woman swooped out of the mass of people and gave Anja a nod and a smile. She was a pretty sort, and Anja met her smile with one of his own.

“Hi hon,” she said. “What can I do you for? Stew or roast?”

“Roast, please,” Anja said. “Thank you.”

“To drink?”

Anja glanced at his companion nursing his glass of water. “Just water for the moment. Thank you.” The woman smiled winningly and vanished back into the swarm so thoroughly that Anja couldn’t see where she’d gone.

Anja turned back to the stranger. He had specifically chosen to sit next to him so that the pair of them didn’t have to raise their voices overly much to understand one another.

“Your arrival at the stables was fortunate. I don’t know what your goal in being there was, but you assisted me and I’m appreciative. Hunting that boy down while keeping that ghost tame would likely have been more than I could have managed with just myself and Maisa. Might I know your name and your purpose there? You clearly weren’t a part of the stable’s staff.”
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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Kynier on July 19th, 2018, 10:29 pm

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Almost at the exact time that had been specified, the dark haired stranger entered the tavern. The man’s movements were intriguing to watch. While possessing the aggressiveness of a man that knew where he was going there was a calculated hesitation during the process. Kynier figured that it was due to a preference to be out in more open terrain. When the stranger noticed him there was a wave of the hand. Kynier didn’t reciprocate the gesture but drank his water as the man approached. Kynier’s eyes wavered to the handle of the bastard sword strapped to the stranger’s back let out an amused snort. Such a large weapon wasn’t very practical for Sunberth, especially indoors.

Kynier took note of all the small things that could come to mind. Like how the man took the seat next to him rather than across. Right away the man declared his name with no other form of greeting offered. A heavy accent laced his word but not enough for Kynier to have difficulty interpreting. Nightwatcher, an unusual sir name. As the man spoke to Lana he did something that was interesting. Anja gaged what Kynier had to drink before making his decision. The man was a thinker. What would he have chosen had Kynier’s cup been filled with something else? When Lana walked away Anja expressed… appreciation. Not something that Kynier had been expecting to hear. He let out a single amused laugh at Anja’s astute observation.

“Kynier Haltara,” he said plainly before taking another drink of water. “It wasn’t my intention to get involved. I was only there to observe, initially.” Every time someone moved close by Kynier’s eyes would shift in their direction to note their movement. To his dismay he woke up without feeling still, drawing him closer to the deadline that would declare it a permanent loss. Kynier’s sight and hearing were attempting to bridge the gap that his sense of touch provided, but it was especially difficult in larger crowds. It gave him the look of one quite paranoid, which was only appropriate. “The most curious thing I saw was how you,” he pointed a finger at Anja intently and lowered his voice just enough to still be heard, “used magic,” Kynier raised his voice again, “so openly against the ghost and no one seemed bothered by it. Normally in this city they form lynch mobs for that in an instant.”

Lana returned to their table carrying their meals and Anja’s water. With a spoon he stirred the contents of his stew to help cool it down. “Overall, I didn’t do anything to help. You weren’t there to hear the stable boy’s confession to killing that horse, though I was. And somehow you, and your horse Miasa? Already knew about it.” Kynier looked down at his stew and watched the steam waft up. “Besides, had I done nothing the apparition would’ve trampled the boy. Wouldn’t that have resolved the issue?” Kynier knew nothing for certain about ghosts, their creation, and their… ending. While he wouldn’t have learned the tale behind the entire scene, letting the spirit get its revenge seemed like it would’ve been the fastest way to close the problem.

Still mixing his meal, Kynier watched Anja’s expression. He had put forth the ignorant question to see what knowledge the man would offer on the topic. Professionals had a tendency to correct the naïve after such statement, Kynier was no exception. So he waited to see what he would learn.
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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 20th, 2018, 3:50 pm


Anja listened quietly to Kynier’s introduction, and his derisive laugh and following statement about not intending to get involved. Kynier gave off the impression of not caring, of being outside and uninvolved. It was a typical Sunberth mentality. One only cared for himself and his kin. But already, Anja could see the contradiction there.

“For someone who intended to stay uninvolved you certainly didn’t hesitate in trying to protect the boy,” Anja commented mildly. There was no derision or accusation in Anja’s statement. It was simply an idle observation. Anja watched the man’s eyes flicker whenever someone approached too closely. Kynier was, Anja decided, a cautious man at best.

Anja listened as Kynier spoke quietly of magic, and mulled over what he said for a brief moment. He was able to extend that silence for a moment more as their food arrived and he thanked the waitress. The Drykas sipped at his water as he allowed his still steaming roast to cool and carefully considered how to phrase what he wanted to say.

“I’m a spiritist,” Anja explained finally, breaking the silence. The man made no attempts to lower his voice. It was unneeded. “It is a type of magic dealing with ghosts and the like. A well respected profession nearly everywhere. Sunberth, in particular, is thick with the dead. Far worse than I’ve ever seen anywhere in my travels. I believe that the people of Sunberth do not show an aversion to this particular art because if they did they would be completely overrun here.”

Anja also turned his dominant right hand outward towards Kynier, revealing the black scythe imprinted on his palm. The image was raised slightly, and the black was so dark it swallowed the light. “I am also a chosen of the Goddess of Death, Dira.” Anja added. “An Eiyon, as we are called. I have an affinity for death, ghosts, and the like. I can sometimes witness past scenes of death at the sites where the death occurred, or simply if my Goddess wills it. My purpose, as given to me by my Goddess, is to bring the restless souls of the dead to rest and to exterminate the abominations that are the undead.”

Anja pulled his hand away from Kynier and looked to his food which was now steaming not quite so furiously. He took the knife provided to him and cut a slice of the meat off of the slab and left it to cool as he heard Kynier speak further.

“Maisa did not know about the boy’s murder, but when the stallion possessed me I saw his death, and knew the boy to be his killer. I explained to Maisa what she should do, and she took action. We work as a team her and I, and she’s good at taking initiative even without direction. She’s a Strider, one of the four legged people of Sea of Grass. Trewal, as we call them. They are much more than horses.”

Anja prodded his roast with his fork, and judging it to still be too hot he continued. “As for the boy and his method of death… it’s possible that the stallion getting revenge could have prompted it to move on. But there were many moving factors at play. There was, for example, a second boy present at the stallion’s death. Perhaps killing him would have fueled the stallion to commit more acts of revenge. Perhaps he would have gone for the second boy, then upon his death decided that wasn’t enough either. Then perhaps the stallion would have decided the entire stable was at fault, and would have pursued a never-ending cycle of revenge.”

Anja took a sip of his water. “I respect the cycle of death, Kynier. I do not act to stop death when it is inevitable or required. But I also do not approve of mindless slaughter either. Death should be a release. Think of how many restless spirits might have arose under those circumstances. By allowing Tieria, whom the stallion loved and trusted, to kill the one the stallion begrudged it allowed him to find peace. He was able to see that the one he loved cared for him enough to see his justice done. And that final push was enough for him to move on. Revenge isn’t everything. Love is a far more powerful motivator for allowing a ghost passage onward, particularly here in Sunberth where the regrets of the dead are frequently bitterness and hatred. Sometimes understanding is all that is required for them to move on.”

Anja finally took a bite of his roast, chewed, and swallowed. “That said Kynier, now that I’ve answered your questions might you answer mine? What brought you to the stables that day? I still find your timely appearance intriguing.”
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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Kynier on July 21st, 2018, 3:01 pm

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Finally, Kynier took a partial spoonful of stew and blew on the contents. He listened to Anja describe the function of a spiritist as he ate. Chewing fast and swallowing quickly. The temperature of the food was left unknown due to his numbness and he didn’t wish to unknowingly burn the inside of his mouth. But he paused when Anja extended his hand and revealed the black scythe on his palm. It was impossibly dark, as though Kynier had conjured a portal to the void and could somehow manage to attach it to flesh. The mark of Dira herself.

Kynier wasn’t set into awe at the description of the power Anja had been blessed with. It was intriguing to be sure, yet he couldn’t imagine himself ever wishing for that power. To the remark of the quantity of dead in Sunberth Kynier nodded thoughtfully. It would be a lie to claim you could walk through the streets on any given day and not see a corpse in the road. Sunberth was brutal to its residents and the animosity the people could have towards each other was dumbfounding. Should less than half of them desire the same revenge as the apparition from yesterday… Anja would have an extensive work load.

This talk of his horse was a little unsettling. The way she was described it was more of that a person had taken the form of a horse. Trewal? Kynier knew nothing of the Sea of Grass or its culture. Before now Kynier didn’t even recognize that Anja was a Drykas until now. Identifying the human variants was something he was a little ignorant on. But Anja and his… Maisa, seemed to have a strong partnership. Seeing the creature’s intelligence for himself had been surprising.

When Anja answered his question Kynier listened intently. It wasn’t as simple of a matter as one would think it was. There was another boy in the stable? Clearly he hadn’t gotten the whole picture from the guilty party. It wasn’t a revelation to be sure, that even one critical detail would escape Kynier’s notice in a hasty interrogation in the middle of a crisis. From the sound of it though, spirits didn’t really desire revenge. They wanted justice. Kynier lowered his spoon as he started laughing. Laughing hard enough to close his eyes, tilt his head forward, and rest more weight on his arms for support. After several ticks he sat up straight, still laughing at the thought of it all.

With a deep breath he was able to suppress further laughter. “Oh. While you think that’s love you’re speaking of Anja, it’s actually justice. That someone or something they trust will deliver a desired outcome.” Kynier took up his spoon again. “So your purpose to bring justice to the dead? In Sunberth,” a final chuckle escaped before he took a bite and shook his head. Kynier did not envy the path the ghost hunter was on. It looked to be never ending and each step a bitter struggle physically and mentally. It wasn’t a lost cause though. Meriann’s ghost came to mind. Perhaps Anja could bring her peace.

Kynier took a drink as Anja asked his question. Unlike the Drykas, there was no grand scheme or great purpose he had been trying to fulfill when he arrived at the stables yesterday. “My employer tries to actively be aware of the things that happen in the city. So I go out and learn such things.” Kynier took another bite of the stew. The taste was savory though a bit muted from the lack of sensing the texture and heat. “After hearing about the disturbances at the stables all through the night I was sent to see what was happening.” Kynier looked at the man and considered what else was worth mentioning, then what among that was permissible for him to know. “That wasn’t the first ghost I’ve seen Anja. So I understood that the stallion was searching and picked that boy out in the chaos for a reason.” Kynier turned his hand over in a gesture of admission, “and I wanted to learn why. I can’t converse with horses and get answers. So I needed to keep the boy alive in order to sate my curiosity.”

Kynier’s attention was drawn to the bartender. The oversized man was handling a patron that was apparently getting very rowdy. Taking another drink he brought his focus back to Anja. The other man probably wanted to know more. That was a simple question that could’ve been asked quickly yesterday. And while he had more question of his own Kynier found himself unsure of how to approach the topic. After a moment he supposed the only way was to be direct. “These abilities of a spiritist, are they something that you’re born with? Or can they be learned?”
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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 22nd, 2018, 11:17 pm


Anja watched as Kynier chortled with derisive amusement about Anja speech about love being a grand motivator for moving a spirit forward, his own lips tinged with a hint of a smile. He want terribly surprised nor offended by the man's reaction. In a place like Sunberth, such a statement must have sounded ridiculous to him. Anja stood by his statement, but he could at least acknowledge that in this situation justice had been a large piece of the puzzle for moving the stallion onward. As Kynier indicated his understanding of Anja’s place in Sunberth, the spiritist elicted to add a small addendum.

“Not every dead soul craves justice, or revenge, or love to move onward. Those three are common, especially here, but every soul is different. The primary and unifying thing that ties the dead to this world are regrets. Perhaps a man died before he could tell his beloved how he felt, or a woman dies without being able to bequeath an heirloom to her daughter. Those are also things that could force a ghost to remain. My job is less about getting justice, and more about discovering and soothing regrets. If the ghost is compliant or friendly, the job is often not dangerous at all. Ghosts don't really want to remain here when it comes down to it. Undeath is torment. Sometimes it's as simple as easing them in the right direction.”

Anja punctuated his statement with a deep drink of water to wet his throat. The man hadn’t spoken this much since having come to Sunberth. The people of Zeltiva had been quite friendly and chatty, but Sunberthers weren’t typically much for conversation. Jeb was direct and to the point, but otherwise quiet and hardly a fan of small talk. Anja felt a bit like his voice was getting a workout today. The man continued to eat his roast as Kynier spoke and inordinately pleased with how good the food was. He had eaten simply until now and didn't mind it, but having something new and rich was a refreshing change of pace.

Anja had just finished a bite of food as Kynier’s words drew to a close. Anja felt as though the man wasn’t being entirely forthright with his explanation. A person who simply learned information to bring back to his master like a common messenger did not have the kinds of skills Kynier did. Reluctantly, Anja chose not to push the matter any further than he already had. There was not any use in burning bridges with him, and Anja was fairly sure that any guesses on his part would be shot down, shooed away, or ignored. Besides, being on good terms with someone who knew things about the city was desirable.

In particular, Kynier’s mention of a ghost caught Anja’s interest. “You met a ghost? What were the circumstances of this meeting?” Anja’s priority was always his work first. Jeb usually located ghosts for him, but if Anja wouldn't turn down a lead if it was offered to him. If the ghost was bothering Kynier, then that could earn him some good will as well.

The spiritist acknowledged and accepted that Kynier had not been acting in the best interest of the boy. It was perhaps a little disappointing, but hardly surprising. Some part of Anja had been hoping he might have witnessed a trace of selfless compassion in this dark city. But he hadn’t and it was nothing to dwell over. Kynier’s self service was no different than anyone else’s here. Anja nodded in reply to the man’s statement, to show his understanding of his behavior.

The question that Kynier posed drew an intrigued look from Anja. It was perhaps a simple and innocent question, but also perhaps not. Nearly getting trampled by a rampaging ghost horse could lead anyone to want to learn how to better defend themselves against the restless dead, so Anja couldn’t fault his interest.

“Anyone can be a spiritist with the proper training,” Anja explained. “My grandmother taught me, but as long as you can find a willing teacher then anyone can learn. Spiritism is practiced through certain rituals, and with the use of tools. Mainly through the use of soulmist.”

Anja reached to his waist and drew out a vial filled with a cloudy, off-white substance. The man uncorked the vial and poured the substance into his left hand. It had a gel-like consistency to it, closer to a solid than a liquid. It gave momentarily to the prodding of Anja’s fingers then resumed its rounded shape after the pressure was released.

“This is soulmist,” Anja explained. “It’s the substance ghosts are made of. If a ghost is injured, this is what they shed. Spiritists learn recipes in order to craft their own for their own uses. I make three fresh batches every morning, and discard the old soulmist at the same time. It can be used to allow objects to physically interact with ghosts, gifted to ghosts to give them more power, and many other things.” Anja returned the substance to its vial. “Why the curiosity? Planning on becoming a spiritist yourself?”

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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Kynier on July 24th, 2018, 10:12 pm

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It was probably not the first time the spiritist had been laughed at. The man’s reaction was that of complete indifference as he sat there. As Kynier’s laughter ended Anja elaborated on how each situation with ghosts could be more complex or delicate. Despite how he had previously acted, Kynier listened intently. Taking in the not well known knowledge that was being given away freely. If Anja was correct about the possible amount of roaming spirits in Sunberth then any and all information could prove invaluable. When the spiritist had finished Kynier nodded in understanding.

“Of course, why should we be any less complex in death than we are in life?” he said rhetorically. “Though, from what I’ve witnessed, they don’t seem… whole. As if they’ve lost more than their living form. The ghost I spoke to seemed easily confused and easily agitated.” The spiritist’s eyes suddenly became energetic and he asked about the occurrence. Kynier shrugged, more to himself than to Anja. There was no harm to him to tell the tale. Though he would keep a few facts omitted for his own safety.

“It was at the end of the first day of summer. When Leth had domain of the sky and I was ready to retire. A pair of burglars came into my home. The ghost had witnessed their trespassing and followed. Before they made attempt to do me harm the ghost cried out and became visible.” Kynier took a thoughtful bite of his stew and chewed on his thoughts as well. He had burned one and killed the child for seeing his magic. “When both the burglars were dead, the ghost lingered in my home and questioned me for my actions. It had no attachment to me, nor my home. It was just… there and saw it all unfold. Though it was easily angered I was able to converse with it… her. None of what you described would really apply to this one I think. She seemed to have difficulty coming to terms with her death, and she was trying to understand the reasoning behind it.”

When Anja took out a vial and… dropped the contents onto his palm Kynier leaned in closer to look. The viscous substance conformed to the man’s touch before retaking its own shape afterwards. Soulmist. Besides the color it didn’t look anything like the wispy substance that an apparition’s form came from. Anja mentioned there being recipes to learn. So it was a form of world magic? Like glyphing it wasn’t something solely reliant on the user’s power, but on their creativity. Kynier was now very intrigued. When Anja returned the soulmist to its container Kynier pointed at it before it disappeared from sight. His voice was lower as to not be overheard. “You say it can be made from recipes, so Spiritism is a world magic isn’t it?” No he didn’t want to apply the dedication to become a Spiritist, but he did want the knowledge. Versatility had served him well so far. “Spiritism would be something worth knowing.”

His appetite was gone. The idea of another magic discipline, one that could be practiced openly, sounded like a fable in this city. It wasn’t though. Anja was using it as a profession even. “Would you be willing to teach Spiritism?”

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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 25th, 2018, 7:26 pm


Anja chuckled appreciatively at Kynier’s statement about people being no more complex in death than they were in life. It was surprisingly apt and Anja was very amused by it. Without even thinking, he made the Pavi gesture for agreement. “Certainly,” Anja agreed. “There are so many hidden motives in the living. Why should the dead be any different?”

He listened as the man mentioned that ghosts didn’t quite seem to be whole, and told his story of the ghost he found in his home. Anja tented his hands as he focused on the story, food momentarily forgotten. After the tale was finished, the man remembered his food and took a thoughtful bite while he considered. After he finished his bite, he spoke.

“Ghosts frequently have terrible trauma,” Anja explained. “Disorientation, confusion and grief are all side effects of it. That difficulty in coming to terms with their death is not at all uncommon. In those situations, helping the ghost understand things might be enough to help them to move on.”

Anja was intrigued by Kynier’s clear curiosity towards the soulmist and spiritism in general. Any doubts he had about the man merely having a passing curiosity we're rapidly retreating. He was definitely interested in learning. Anja raised an eyebrow as Kynier asked whether or not spiritism was a world magic. It was an educated question, but it was a question that one would not be able to ask if one did not at least know something about magic to begin with. A question sat unasked on Anja’s tongue. The swirl of people around the pair, the babbling of both drunken and sober patrons was ever present on Anja’s mind. Magic was not welcome in Sunberth. If this man was indeed a mage as Anja was beginning to suspect, then asking such a question among this slurry of people would not be wise. Anyone could be listening, and Kynier would never answer the question honestly.

Anja’s knowledge of other types of magic was limited, at best. He knew that there were types of magic that drew djed from the world around you, and others that drew djed from your internal reservoir. Other than that he knew nothing. The spiritist had no interest in casting fire from his hands, or commanding great beasts to raise from other worlds. But could there be a magic that could aid the spiritist in calming ghosts and destroying undead? Perhaps something gentler and more subtle. If Kynier knew such a thing, Anja would enjoy the opportunity to learn it.

“It’s a world magic, that is true,” Anja agreed. “We draw djed from the world around us, not from within.” Anja paused a long moment to consider how to frame his words in the least condemning way possible.

“If you’re interesting in learning spiritism, I could teach you the basics,” Anja said. “I am still learning myself, understand. And there are certain things you would need to learn from a teacher as your talents grow. One cannot learn everything there is to know with just one lesson.”

Anja took a sip of his water. “In exchange I expect there might be something you could teach me to aid me in my missions to calm ghosts and slay undead. I suspect there is more to you than meets the eye. But such a discussion might be better taking place where there are not so many prying ears. I could take you to my home. It’s a tent in the Dust Bed, Sunberth’s graveyard. Protected from ghosts, naturally. The only people around there are my Boss and his underlings, as well as the occasional unfortunate graverobber late in the night who tends to not last very long. It’s very quiet there.”

Anja took one more bite of his roast, finishing off the last of it, and setting his silverware neatly on his plate and pushed it to the center of the table. He stacked his empty water glass on top of it.

“I still don't know you very well though,” Anja said. “Before I teach you any advanced techniques, I would want to get to know you better so that I could be assured you wouldn't be using spiritism in a way that would make my job more difficult. But the basics. Yes, I’d be happy to teach you in exchange for a lesson of your own.”

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Anja Nightwatcher
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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Kynier on July 26th, 2018, 2:31 pm

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From the expression on the ghost hunter’s face Kynier could tell that the man was already suspecting the truth about him. It was a look of mild surprise mixed with disbelief when Kynier asked about what category Spiritism falls under. He himself didn’t balk at the slip. Though he now realized that when engaging with another… practitioner of sorts, words needed to be chosen much more carefully. Just because someone knew more than the average Sunberth citizen doesn’t mean they should automatically know his secret. Kynier had taken a great risk with his now fellow Nightstalker, yet it was a controlled risk. They had been isolated at the latest of bells. Had she shared the same view as the city then…

Anja had that look on his face. The one where his jaw tightened to imprison a question that desperately sought to be released. Kynier glanced around briefly at the state of the tavern. Tongues sopping wet with wine, ale, and beer spoke in loud slurs and boisterous laughter all around. Sometimes it was difficult to hear what Anja would say. But even in this environment that was a question that could get Kynier killed just for being asked. Kynier was thankful that the man had the wisdom to keep the question to himself. Because with practice, a spy was most effective at eavesdropping in these conditions.

Kynier nodded at the confirmation of his question. With the answer, Anja was no longer a stranger but still less than an acquaintance. The man took a moment to consider the idea of teaching. Kynier scrapped at the bottom of his bowl for the last bits of the stew. Hammer was a good cook and Kynier enjoyed the stew very much, but this time it was just different. Since the incident the mage had used auristics sparingly incase using it hindered his recovery. Now he was tempted to use it just to see if he could feel anything with magic stimulation.

At Anja’s words his gaze came back to the ghost hunter. “Anyone that thinks so is a fool,” he said in acknowledgement. Though he was a little surprised by Anja’s proposal. The tact was well executed, but Anja asked him for any other magical knowledge that could help with ghosts. But there wasn’t really anything Kynier knew that was effective. The stallion had charged through his Shield without hindrance and without damaging the spell too. Voiding and Reimancy were still untested. The only thing that actually helped…

The Dust Bed? That information wasn’t all that alarming yet was very telling of the man. Anja even slept near the dead. Kynier wondered if there was anything in the man’s life besides his sacred duty. Or was he like him? Having a single purpose that had no end in sight. Only making connections through unexpected encounters. It seemed better than the alternative which most of the city indulged in. The utter saturation in positive stimulation at the expense of making things better for themselves.

Kynier finished the last of his stew and emptied his goblet down his throat. “It does seem that the conversation has grown beyond the capacity of this tavern. We need not go to your tent if you prefer. There are plenty of unoccupied structures that would serve our purposes in the meantime.” Then Anja gave him the precaution that the ghost hunter felt. It was understandable. Power over the unlife was a precious thing and Anja didn’t want any decision to share that advanced knowledge to become detrimental. Thought Kynier smirked in response. “I would imagine that you know better than most that such assurances are never certain. Having taken upon yourself to tend to the wounds that linger after life’s end. So no, I can’t make that assurance. I want the knowledge to know how to defend myself against another apparition. If my self-defense makes your work more difficult… that would be unfortunate.”

Reaching into his pocket he removed some coin. After sorting through it he set down what was necessary to pay for both their meals. It wasn’t out of charity, it was strategic. The ghost hunter could very well decide to not teach him anything more. But the man’s value and talent was too unique to not keep some sort of connection, even if it was only a professional understanding. Kynier stood up from the table. “Either to the Dust Bed or somewhere else. It matters not to me. And you can ask your questions along the way.”

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[No Man's Land] Questions and Curiosities (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 30th, 2018, 7:02 pm


Watching emotion and thought play across Kynier’s face was a fascinating thing to behold. The man was such a guarded person. Anja suspected that much of that guard came from the fact that he was almost certainly a mage, but there was more to it than that. He was secretive because he kept secrets. Anja was not so curious or probing of a person to try to determine what those secrets were beyond that which Anja had already intuited; it was enough for Anja to know that the man’s reticince came with purpose.

Anja shrugged at Kynier’s glib response about offering no reassurances of not making Anja’s job more difficult. “I don’t expect you to offer me anything,” Anja told him. “I intend to determine it myself.” Words could be misconstrued. And here in Sunberth in particular, lies were more abundant than truths. Kynier was many things and could make a valuable ally. But Anja did not trust him. He was not the sort to inspire it, and Anja intended to take anything the man told him with a grain of salt. Deeds spoke louder than words did.

Anja raised an eyebrow as Kynier set out coin on the table, enough to pay for both of their meals. He had intended to pay for them himself despite his fast dwindling funds, so the gesture was appreciated. Anja made the Pavi gesture for thanks, then added a quick “thank you”. Even three years after his departure from Endrykas, old habits died hard.

“I believe it would be best for us to go to The Dust Bed,” Anja said, standing up from where he had been sitting. “Some of my tools for my craft are there, and I would be able to explain things better to you there. We should also swing by the market. There are some components I need to make soulmist.”

Anticipating Kynier to follow him, the man pushed his way through the still bustling crowd and offered a polite nod to their lady server on the way out, which was returned with a broad smile. Leaving the tavern was slightly less complicated than entering, thanks to the dwindling crowds as the lunch hour wound to an end.

Anja was mostly quiet as he browsed the bustlung market, taking time to organize his thoughts and set the questions he intended to ask in order. The man purchased a half pound bag of cheap rye flour, a quarter pound of cheese, and two eggs, all of which he tucked carefully in his sash. The eggs in particular he took great care with, tucking them in several layers of his sash so they’d be less likely to crack or break. Also, as an after-thought Anja also purchased a pair of eight ounce bowls, one of which he handed to Kynier. “That will be yours to keep,” the spiritist told him. “You’ll need it when creating soulmist.”

With his purchases complete, Anja finally started off towards the Dust Bed. The graveyard was fortunately not too terribly far away, but there was enough time in their walk for Anja to consider and formulate a question to ask Kynier.

“As an Eiyon, I am able to locate the dead, and often determine the way in which they died,” Anja said. “But there are often finer details that escape me. I am not interested in methods of brute force as they are generally not all that effective against ghosts. But perhaps you could suggest something to me that might aid me in getting a better understanding of a ghost’s...mentality.” Anja wasn't entirely sure what he was asking for. For all the man knew, what he was asking for was impossible to obtain through magic, or if it was that Kynier wouldn't know it. Still, he was certain that not all magic was fire and ice and doom. “Or perhaps something that could better enhance my senses?” Anja added after a moment of thought.
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