Solo Integration

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Integration

Postby Mauriel on September 1st, 2018, 12:11 am

Integration
25th, Summer, 518AV


Mauriel had been spending her days in a confused haze, wandering around Lhavit, aimless. She was given a lot of charity, as many people seemed to be aware of and sympathize with the plight of recently fallen, but she was yet to procure housing or make any genuine effort to settle in. The only thing she did buy was a lute, and the only thing she enjoyed doing was playing it.

Her body allowed her to postpone things that would be essential for another. She quickly learned that Leth's blessing enabled her to feed on moonlight, and she did not need sleep or rest so long as she was outside at night. All of this coupled with weather that was rather nice, despite the mist that enveloped them, allowed her the luxury of spending her days outside, sometimes playing the lute for the crowds, sometimes for herself.

Her failure to integrate was not completely unintentional. She was still refusing to change, refusing to let go of Leth and his realm. Joining the mortals in their everyday struggles seemed tedious, but beyond that it seemed as a final admission of what was going on. She tried to believe that Leth would take her back, that this was a mistake despite how much sense it made, that she was just visiting, just showing off his glory to the city of worshipers. Or something. Anything.

But enough was enough.

She was given an amazing opportunity. She had a headstart in life that many of her kind must have sorely missed, for to fall right beside the Star of Kalea was an unimaginable privilege for a daughter of Leth. She had quickly learned that in many other places she would have likely been a slave by now, and if not that, she would have at least missed out on a lot of the warm welcome she got here. And beyond that, the city had a large following of her beloved Leth - large enough for a temple to exist within the city. While nothing but Leth had been on her mind ever since her fall, she figured that a proper prayer, perhaps guided by some of his chosen priestesses, might help put her mind at rest, or at least aid in that process.

While Lhavit was bathed in darkness and mist, upon finally closing in on the Temple of the Moon, Mauriel could still make out the faint shimmer of the large structure, colors of the night sky permeating the mist a bit more stubbornly around the structure. The closer she was, the more hesitant the Ethaefal became, knowing that from this there was no going back. She was going to face herself, and once the dam is open she knew there was no going back. She was introspective enough to know what she was doing, but rationalizing it didn't make it stop. Through the incessant fog, the silver eyes caught a shape of a figure by the door, dutifully waiting.

She needed time. Or perhaps she didn't, but it was comforting to think that she did. Seeing the person awaiting, probably expecting someone like herself, froze her in place. Perhaps... She wanted help, desperately. But she didn't want to have to help herself. Maybe... Maybe tomorrow night would be right? She could play the lute some more tonight, entertain the people. What's wrong with that? It's honest work, it could help pay for a house.

You know the right thing to do, Mauriel thought. Or at least it felt like a thought, but a different voice was inside her head. She turned around looking for the source, despite being somehow aware that it was in her head. The strangeness of the experience made her consider the possibility that she was imagining it. I can see you hesitating, but you've come this far because you yearn for a change. The voice was female.

She looked up at the priestess at the door, but she was already coming down towards Mauriel. The figure identified herself as the source of the thoughts by meeting the silver gaze with a smile. Much like the odd thought communication, her smile was strange, though Mauriel couldn't make out what was so strange about it from the distance.

The confusion was evident on the Ethaefal's face, even although many conflicting emotions made her curiosity take a backseat. "It's just an ability Leth has gifted me for my service to him as a Chandra, a maiden of this temple. Come." The words were spoken softly and gently, but it was still an order. Just like that, the Ethaefal was reduced to a child, and she readily clung to this motherly figure for guidance, following her like a puppy. She wanted to be told what she should do, although she'd already known, primarily so she could argue with it.

"Are you a newly fallen?"

The Ethaefal responded with a nod, wondering what gave it away. Beyond her confusion and aimlessness, the priestess probably knew each and every Lethaefal in the city, as their collective population was probably around a couple of dozens, but Mauriel could not have known this at this point.

"If you need to talk, let me know. You may pray, but don't touch the water." The water referred to a rather large pool of very still water in the middle of the Temple, shimmering white from the moonlight it was basked in. Mauriel gasped. Angst and anger, love and devotion, so many things seemed to glimmer out of the water before her, faces, shapes, ideas, formless materialized. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, although that might not have been much. She was on her knees within moments.

But then she was at a loss for words. What was it that she wanted? I want the strength to accept this enormous change, she quickly realized, and yet can't find it within myself. Again, what was it that she wanted? She could not borrow strength of another. I want to find it. It must be in there somewhere. The very thought brought tears to her eyes, which she suppressed, swallowing audibly. Was it in there somewhere? Or was she just who she always seemed to be, a useless pleasure seeker incapable of taking such big steps?

Looking at the pale surface of the pool before her, she felt warmth and love and trust. Leth believed in her. That's why he took her and why he returned her. To not believe there was a strength to be found was to think him sorely mistaken, or to think that he was playing some sort of cruel of twisted game with a fragile heart. She recoiled from even considering such thoughts.

Was that enough, though? Could she believe simply because He did? She did not know, but it seemed to be her best bet right now. For some odd reason, what remained of her personality and memories was such that it did not allow for other sources of motivation. She did not know who she was, so there would have to be a period of her relying on another for her identity.

A sigh escaped her. Even her prayer was a comfort she wanted to waste herself in, even her wish for change but a platitude meant to ease her guilt. She had to act, to do something. But she felt so lost.

"I would like to talk," she told the priestess, still on her knees. A silent gesture showed her to stand up and join her away from Leth's reflection.

"What troubles you so much, daughter of Leth?"

She scoffed a bit at being termed that, but then lowered her gaze, embarrassed at her own impoliteness. "I have been mulling about my troubles for long enough now. I need some practical advice on how to belong here. I feel a resistance to do so within me."

An understanding nod. "Have you got any money?" After being informed of the generosity of her fellow citizens and sneaking a proud smile about it, the priestess continued. "You can get a cheap cottage at Okomo Estates if you plan to stay here for long, or you could rent out at Solar Wind Apartments. Perhaps you wish to spend your time in moonlight at night and need no sleep, but having a place of your own is rather helpful for storing your belongings, inviting people over, resting, working, or simply hiding from less than ideal weather. I would strongly urge you to deal with that, as it will give you some anchor which may focus you."

Tears still shimmered within the horned woman's eyes, as she played with her hair. She was enormously grateful for the advice, for each little thing she didn't need to worry about made it easier to take any sort of leap she was preparing for, but at the same time the mundanity of it all drove her up the wall.

"While Lhavit tends to be really really safe, I'd still suggest getting yourself a weapon and learning to wield it. This is a very dangerous world and your immortality can be stripped from you in a matter of moments." Unbeknownst to the Ethaefal, she was trying to warn her of creatures precisely as herself, who would maybe take her for the Harvest, especially if she wandered outside the city. "Do not exit the city unless you seriously know what you're doing, and even then not without a really good reason. The wild is unbelievably dangerous."

Mauriel nodded politely to all of the advice, having little to ask or add.

"I see you're carrying a lute as well. If you're a musician, I heard The Scholar's Demise is looking for a bard. They're on Zintia peak, the big one in the middle, right besides this one."

Mauriel perked up. That was actually exciting! The prospect of being given a proper audience and money for her craft finally made her kind of eager to get a move on. Her change in attitude was offered yet another one of those smiles, now evidently strange because of weird claw-like teeth her companion had.

"I'm really sorry for asking this, but the curiosity is killing me. What exactly are you?" Her voice was lowered so that the other visitors of the temple would not hear them, but she was still met with polite shaking of the priestess' head.

"Come outside."

The Ethaefal sneaked one last glance at the pool before exiting. The glassy shimmering plane gently reflected the light towards her, as if returning the gaze. This will surely be her place to seek solace and comfort.

As soon as they were on the moonlit front door, Mauriel's mind was filled with the familiar voice again. I am a Symenestra. There's a handful of us in Lhavit who're trustworthy, but generally if you see someone with my traits run. People can be uneasy about it, so I try to be discreet, but I guessed a newly fallen would have no time to form the prejudice.

Why do people fear you? she said in her head. For a moment, she wondered whether doing that made any sense, but a response that came soon dissuaded her.

Our mothers die in childbirth, so my people have started kidnapping women of other races for reproduction. Our city is close enough to Lhavit for it to be a common target. Shinya, local guards, do a really good job at protecting the citizens, as do these mountains which are had to traverse, but it never hurts to be extra careful.

"Thank you for everything."

She was met with another one of the smiles, wondering if the woman enjoyed the unique privilege Mauriel's ignorance awarded her. She smiled back, glad to offer the perhaps rare intimacy to the Symenestra.


word count: 1583


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Mauriel
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Posts: 213
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Joined roleplay: July 12th, 2014, 12:45 pm
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Race: Ethaefal
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Integration

Postby Mauriel on January 24th, 2019, 11:06 am

As she exited, Mauriel faced the city sort of refreshed, focused. Right. She'll have to use this mental energy to start taking practical steps before she falls back into her usual routines. The temptation was already knocking on her door, offering her to lull her back and ease the pain, but at least for now she could manage to ignore the incessant tapping.

So, a job, a weapon, and a cottage. Sifting through her pockets she realized she would not have enough for rent, let alone buying property as it was. Plus she was not sure she was equipped to make such a financial decision right now, she didn't know what her goals were and would it make sense to invest upfront to avoid accumulating costs, or will she be traveling too soon for that to make sense. She didn't know if value of property dropped or increased with time here. It was a bit too big of a bite for her right now, so she decided she'd be content with living in the streets for a while longer. She could pay for the public bathhouse, and her possessions weren't numerous enough to warrant a storage space. Perhaps she could inquire with her employer about delaying her wages, so that she's paid the full sum she needed for a cottage at once. She could even give them some of the money she accumulated, perhaps the business would benefit from a short-term investment and she could have it when she needed it.

Okay, so that settles it, she will be heading to Scholar's Demise. The middle peak, right? While still somewhat confused about the specifics, due to flying in her Akvatari form she's learned to orient herself at least towards each of the peaks rather quickly. Going by foot was a different beast, as she couldn't always take the most direct path, but knowing the general direction helped. She kept an eye out weaponry, and sure enough she spotted a smithy not far from the temple itself.

She entered without knocking, seeing that the shop was open and assuming that's how it worked. She still had no idea what was the social protocol around here and just went with her gut more often than not.

"Hello, ma'am," a young man greeted her as she entered. "May I help you?" The room she entered was quite small, or rather seemed so due to being cluttered with their products. Metal tools lined along most of the left side of the wall, and weapons on the other side and their respective stands, scabbards displayed along some of them.

"Hello, yes, please. Could you recommend a weapon for somebody with no proficiency in one, looking to learn some basic self-defense?"

It seemed to be a common question, as he nodded and immediately showed her to a corner where daggers were displayed. "I think you could probably benefit from a dagger best. They're small and light, so no particular strength is needed, you can easily hide them if you want to avoid seeming aggressive or confrontational, and moreover, well... They're best for surprise strikes or fighting unarmed assailants. If you're not looking to properly train, I would wager catching your opponent by surprise would be your best chance in close quarters."

The young lad seemed quite passionate for weapons and fighting alike, and it was rather enjoyable to listen to his arguments. She pondered on them for a bit. She didn't know whether she'd be capable of lifting a very heavy sword, and having literally no experience fighting she was worried about a blade she carries becoming
a disadvantage rather than an asset. Perhaps something discreet would indeed be the best.

"There's one downside, though. For a dagger to pierce somebody severely enough to incapacitate, because of its own light weight, you would have to put a lot of your own weight behind the stab and not rely on the acceleration during the swing. So bear that in mind."

Ah, of course. She was a bit anxious thinking about all of this. As an Akvatari, she could probably escape from most people if she wasn't taken by surprise, but in her current Ethaefal form she would have to be more careful. A bigger weapon would get really heavy to carry between transformations as well, her wings posing a problem and her balance being distorted while flying, and she saw no real benefit in size as she was sure she stood no chance against somebody who knew how to weild a larger weapon either way. She decided to take the boy's advice, confirming that with a nod. "Okay, that makes sense. I think I'll go for a dagger then." Looking at the selection, though, she noticed considerable differences. "What's the benefit of having a blade on only one side?" she wondered as she scanned them.

"Oh, that is for penetrating chainmail. The unsharpened side is reinforced and is meant to break or spread the link between the chains, so that the sharp side could stab under it. If it were sharp on both sides, there would be more resistance from the chain, as the blade would cut into it and get stuck. There is the disadvantage, of course, of it not being sharp on one side for most other purposes."

Whoa, so much went into designing this weapons! Blacksmithing seemed quite boring on the outside, but perhaps it was an art all of its own. She turned to look at the double-edged swords, as she hoped she wouldn't be piercing any chainmail. One of the daggers was quite decorative and she rather enjoyed its look. It was curved, with carvings of a tiger, snake, and a human head at the top. The whole texture of the hilt resembled a snake. Although it was embarrassing that she was attracted by decor over functionality, she really wanted it. It came with a nice scabbard at that. "Why is the blade of this one curved like this?"

"It makes it more effective as a slicing weapon. Daggers are most commonly used for stabbing, but if they're designed specifically for that they tend to be too light and fragile to use in other situations. A wide curved blade makes it a bit more versatile, as it can inflict fairly deep slashing wounds. Maybe not lethal or incapacitating if you don't go for a really weak spot, but at least decent enough to be distracting to the opponent and maybe give you an opening."

She was grateful for the excuse to buy it, although she started to suspect that she was being systematically lead towards an expensive product and that this boy's youth and enthusiasm served well to conceal that. She indulged, however, deciding to treat herself to at least that much.

When money changed hands and she was out in the open with her new weapon, she felt surprisingly happy with herself. That small step made her feel like she was making a lot of progress, and the annoying temptations were replaced with excitement. She was sure her brooding would return in time, she had far too much to process, but as of right now she allowed herself to be somewhat happy.

"Finally!"

What? She heard somebody yell that, but the street was not very busy. She turned around to check out the shop, but that wasn't it either, the door were shut closed, exactly as she left them.

"I thought I was going to turn to rust in that petching shop. Damn the merchant who sold me there!"

She looked down at the dagger, realizing its head was moving. Her new dagger was talking to her.

"How? What are you?"

"Hmph." That was all. It sighed, and shut up. Mauriel poked and proded and provoked her, but couldn't get more out of it. It seemed to be in a rather bad mood. She decided to leave it for now, realizing she might appear as a madwoman talking to a dagger in the middle of the street. Or worse yet, she might be targeted if its magical properties were revealed. She assumed an intelligent dagger would be sought after, even if it was a grump. She wished she had someone to ask about this, but knew no one. This made her feel a pang of guilt. She could have known people by now, she talked to so many of them. She was just being reserved and distant, and was now paying the price for it.

Well, she'll bother him more when they get home. She stuffed him into her pocket and continued her walk towards Scholar's Demise.

For GradersThis is in reference to a contest award. I got Animated Features to be applied to her weapon, I did not have to acquire it in a thread, I just preferred to do so. The details can be found in my CS under Ragespike with a link to the contest, as well as in my SS. The costs have already been deducted in my ledger under the Starting Coin tab, though I can move this particular cost to Summer if it's important.


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User avatar
Mauriel
Shining On
 
Posts: 213
Words: 167952
Joined roleplay: July 12th, 2014, 12:45 pm
Location: Lhavit
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 4
Featured Thread (1) Artist (1)
Overlored (1) Lhavit Seasonal Challenge (1)


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