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Allister and Madeira set up their new life in Lhavit

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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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Postby Madeira Craven on September 4th, 2018, 8:19 pm

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    53rd of Fall, 518
Night was falling by the time Madeira, Allister, Jomi and Emma made it up the winding path from the port and through the Amaranthine Gate, yet the city before them showed no sign of winding down for the quiet hours. People clogged the streets and lights shone in every window of the great, glittering buildings. There was a subdued festive feeling in the air. Like a great sigh of relief had twisted down from the mountains and through the populace, blowing away their worries and leaving them light on their feet. They moved around the little group like a river around a stone, and Madeira was nothing but brittle with awe and exhaustion and culture shock.

The Spiritist adjusted the bite of the pack on her shoulders and her grip on the basket that held a single confused chicken. Spooks the cat was napping in the hood of her red cloak, and appeared neither impressed or interested with their new surroundings. The heavy chest that contained most of their worldly possessions she had left to Allister.

Jomi had wandered away the tick they had passed the gates, but Madeira had only expected it. Emma was more nervous, pressing in close between her and Allister and squinting around their bodies at the kaleidoscope of a city that unfolded around them. She swallowed nervously before poking her mistress in the side, who immediately broke out of her stupor as the electric cold of her soulmist touched her skin.

"Ah! Em, what is it?"

The ghost pointed to their right, where an elaborately carved, domed building shone like a beacon in the confusing glitter of opulence they had found themselves in. A sign hanging from the arched doorway proclaimed it to be the Cosmo Center.

"The old man said to go there." she stated, her voice whisper quiet. Their Okomo guide had indeed pointed it out as the place to go to get themselves orientated and situated in their new city. And it was clear they would not be able to rest until they had.

"Oh, thank you, kitten. Come on, Allister, lets see if we can find us somewhere to sleep."

She shouldered the door open and held it to let her bonded and his over-ladened arms pass. The inside of the Cosmo Center was not indicative of the outside, she found. The dazzling, elaborately carved exterior opened to a rather simple office-like interior. Two desks were set up in the circular space, with parchment drawings on the wall and strategically placed potted plants throughout. There was a head of curly red hair behind the desk closest to them, and Madeira was reminded forcibly of the Sanity Center, the orienteering office of Alvadas. But the harassed Serenity Berel would weep tears of joy if her office was ever half as clean and organized as the Cosmo Center. The thought brought a sad smile to her face.

"Can I help you?" the red head looked up as they entered with an eager and genuine smile on her face, her clear blue eyes skimming the luggage they carried. "You must be new. Here, have a seat and lets get you started."
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Postby Allister on September 7th, 2018, 7:32 pm

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Allister heaved and wrestled with the burden he’d been given. The chest was big, bulky, loaded to the brim and just the right shape so that he was forced to twist and turn to see around it. His legs ached and is arms burned while his back protested by telling his brain that it would not be moving for a good long while should they choose to rest. The kelvic was grateful for the funny ram-like creatures that brought them up the mountain but now that they were gone, the hyena because the beast of burden. Black eyes followed the figure of his blonde goddess and he filled their bond with adoration and love with an undertow of lust born from following her body up the path. Her condition had filled out in even more dangerous curves than the trail upon which they’d climbed and the kelvic was far from immune to such fantasy.

Allister heard Emma speak- the little dead girl was such a helpful asset to their family. It was like she never forgot important details and was quick to point out obvious things that adults overlooked. The hyena often found himself wishing he could see things like she did but his childhood had been much different and he was thankful that it was not something Emma shared with him. He grunted and groaned as they wound along the streets of this fascinating new town.

Lhavit was nothing like Alvadas or Kenash or Riverfall and the kelvic was liking what he saw around the trunk’s ornate lid. Darkness was descending and people weren’t about to give up on their activities and tasks. It was like no one here slept -similar to Alvadas though Allister doubted it was because they couldn’t find their way home. When the building indicated by Emma rose up before him, the black eyes went wide. It was so lovely and peaceful yet there was this odd feeling of a laid back demeanor which made the man want to strip naked and run through the streets. Had he not been about to snap in half, he might act on such an idea.

As it was, he followed his love, his heart and guiding star through the door. Shaking, he moved off to one side and eased his burden down to the floor with a thud that shook the desks and plants. Allister didn’t care. He spun around as every part of his body pleaded for him to just lay down and die, he reached for the armloads of stuff Madeira carried. He would not let her past him without passing on at least the pack and birdcage. Spooks could stay in the hood- cats weren’t the hyena’s favorite. Once all of that was said and done, Allister piled these items on top of the chest then moved around to help Madeira if she’d let him or just to stare at the redheaded lady. The former slave was instantly drawn to her hair and he rested his elbows on the counter. Arms folded, he rested on his cheek and stared at her with exhausted interest though his mind was ever vigilant in the bond with a nurturing enthusiasm to help the spiritist however he could.


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Postby Madeira Craven on September 12th, 2018, 2:19 am

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    Having let Allister divest her of her burdens, Madeira smoothed the wrinkles out of her cloak and the front of her dress and followed the Kelvic to the desk. She smiled reassuringly for the secretary as she took her seat, trying to diffuse the woman’s alarm as the skittish, heavily tattooed man leaned forward on her desk and stared at her with ardent fascination.

    “Don’t worry about him, he’s harmless”, she said, only half meaning it. She gently smoothed back his brindle hair like a dog owner demonstrating that no really, he doesn’t bite. “We do need some help getting things in order.”

    “Of course, that’s what I’m here for”, the red-head’s smile flickered as she saw the gruesome child-ghost drift in behind them. Though between the ghost and the tattooed man, it was clear the more corporeal creature unnerved her more. “Call me Youchi, welcome to Lhavit”, the woman put her smile back in place and reached a hand to Madeira amicably, having decided that the blonde was the one in charge.

    “Madeira. We’re happy to be here. This is Allister, and that’s Emma.”

    “Pleasure to meet you. Okay, I’m sure you’re anxious to get a roof over your heads. We have some options for you, the first being the very cozy Solar Winds Apartments-“

    Something in the expression on Madeira’s face made the secretary clear her throat and change tracks immediately.

    “Or, if you’re not keen on apartments, there are the Okomo Estates. Lovely little cottages on the countryside-“

    “-No, thank you”, Madeira cut her off as politely as she could, her body having a visceral reaction to the words ‘little’ ‘cottage’ and ‘countryside’. “There must be something else.”

    Put off and a touch confused, Youchi shuffled her papers. “I’m sure we could find something to your liking. Why don’t you tell me what you’re after?”

    Madeira didn’t know what exactly she was looking for, but she knew exactly what they needed. After two seasons wedged like sardines with rough sailors at sea, living in an airy, joyless apartment in Riverfall, her own tiny run-down cottage in Alvadas, and living in a mansion with people she feared before that, she could look back at all of it and pick out exactly what didn’t make a good home. So, organizing her thoughts, she tried to explain it to Youchi.

    “We want privacy and space. Something with land, and big enough to keep an armload of animals and room for at least two ghosts to haunt. And multiple bedrooms, for us and the baby” she steadied her hand unconsciously over her belly. “But I don’t want anything to do with the country living. I want to be on the biggest peak, the centre of everything.” Madeira got a wistful look in her eye as she rambled, as the possibilities opened up before her. “Something comfortable, with a proper bath, and a space to work my trade and Allister his and…”

    “Well”, Youchi quickly interjected when Madeira paused for breath. “There’s really only one house for sale that meets any of your requirements… Just a moment, I have the information in the back.”

    The redhead scurried away, disappearing into the back room. Madeira took the opportunity and semi-privacy to reach over and bring Allister’s hand back to her lap, where she laced her hand through his and massaged the cramping out of his fingers. He was exhausted and overwound, she could feel it through the bond. She pressed a steady stream of patience to him though the connection, and sealed it with a kiss to the palm of his calloused hand. At the moment Youchi came back through the door with several pieces of paper and small teenage boy nipping at her heels. She gave the boy a sealed envelope and a familial kiss to his brown hair before he bounded off.

    “Here we are”, Youchi’s short, curly hair gave an exaggerated bounce as she sat back down on her side of the desk. “It’s called the Infinity Manor. It’s been unoccupied for several seasons, but it’s in decent condition. It has three stories, a basement and an acer of land all on Zintia, which is the centre peak and the most popular. I should warn you though, it’s quite expensive.”

    “Cost doesn’t matter. We’d like to see it.” Madeira’s eyes flickered with hope. That sounded like everything she could dream of.

    “I thought you would. I’ve sent my son to contact the owner. Hopefully he will meet you there.” Youchi’s eyes sparkled as she finally found her rhythm with these strange foreigners in her office. “Next you’ll be wanting a job. What kind of skills do you have?”

    “I already have a job lined up”, Madeira nodded, for once grateful that she would not have to find employment on top of everything else. “But maybe-“ her eyes flicked to Allister, and Youchi’s followed, until both women were regarding him. “Allister, you should get a job. What do you want to do?”
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    Postby Allister on September 13th, 2018, 2:26 am

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    Allister was tired but he was also happy. He had never been happy for this long and it seemed like the more time he spent with Madeira, the more he was allowed to linger in this state of perpetuating bliss. Black eyes filtered the entire situation with a haze of salt water and bloodlust. Fortunately for him, his beloved spiritist filled the bond with patience and her overwhelming presence. No matter how long or hard the kelvic stared at the helpful woman’s red hair, it would never usurp the ticks he spent admiring his the lady fair; Ms. Craven.

    As far as past times go, it would be hard for the former slave to discover a better way to spend his time than to watch Madeira. Not only was she beautiful in ways that other women only dreamed about but she had a way with people that seemed to bend everyone to her whims. The blonde spritist was a powerful storm, a hurricane, and anything that refused to bow was uprooted, broken and tossed aside. What rubble was left would be his to dispose of- a labor of love that he would gladly do for a thousand lifetimes.

    Allister sighed heavily. Living a thousand lives with Madeira was such a wonderful thought that his head spun on his cheek to stare at the woman who carried his child. She was light in a room of shadows and music in a hall of silence. The song of the blue-eyed goddess was one that made the hyena dance across clouds and rivers with a grace not born of his abused limbs but such was the power of the hyena’s bondmate. One day- the world would know her name and if he had his way it would be due, in some part, to a ballad that the kelvic would one day compose to tell of her exploits.

    The conversation ended and Allister found his hand to be not his own. Eyes followed the delicate digits as they massaged his aches and laced against his ugliness. Beauty and the tattooed beast, the hyena didn’t care how people looked upon him so long as they didn’t transfer that negativity upon Madeira. If anything, the odd pairing should reveal the wondrous mercy and benevolence of the Lady Craven. Her profession was to help people -the dead to move on and the living to be safe while her legacy would be how she constantly drew people to her and made their lives better. Allister was a part of that now and her every touch was repaid by nothing short of everything that he was being pushed into the bond. Simple emotions would not suffice and he was too tired to cherry pick the choice few so he offered it all to the spiritist. Madeira deserved more than he could ever hope to give but she was gracious in accepting his paltry sacrifices.

    Someday, he would give her gifts worthy of her station but at least they were now in a city nestled among the stars. Even as the woman came back and continued talking, Allister was visualizing a way to get the goddesses who lingered about these peaks to meet Madeira, become friends -sisters even- and then the hyena would gut them all and serve their divine hearts up to his love for her to eat. Then, she could make fetishes out of their bones. Lhavit would be indebted to Madeira for her wise leadership, generous policies and clever wit. A wicked grin ripped his pale face in two as he imagined thousands of people on their knees and faces before the woman who ruled his soul.

    Like a bolt of lightning, Madeira’s question torn his mind back to the present and the huge grin faded into a delicate smile. There was only one thing Allister wanted to do but he didn’t need paid to bring the woman to her full. A giggle like bubbles trickling up a cactus’ spine popped out of his mouth as Allister slunk from his chair and snapped up into the unused space of the room. “I want to sing!” He moved quickly but smoothly over the floor as he bent down and pressed his lips to the top of Maderia’s head. Black eyes looked up under his tilted brow to the woman in red. There was something predatory about it and his inner deviant suddenly became a slicked into action.

    If either woman could see his subconscious it would be akin to the tall, pale man rising straight up out of a mud pit with death his in eyes. His voice rose up like a wave gathering momentum from beyond the riptide as it prepared to shred the boardwalk of some unsuspecting carnival town for nothing more than pure entertainment. His tone started low but rose with each note as if he was willing the tsunami to grow.

    “In a town of mountains
    A river of red roses flows
    The petals are blood candy
    The finest red you’ve never known.”

    Allister moved quickly but gracefully around the room as he shifted his feet and twirled on the toes of his worn boots from plant to potted plant. The gaze of his inky stare was never far removed from the famished murderer that he had triggered when pictures of slaughtered deities laid about Madeira’s lovely, thin feet. When he continued, his voice rose and fell in tone and volume as if he was swirling a maelstrom aimed at swallowing the the mountains where they stood.

    “Flowers- sweet as poison
    Will tickle your fine little nose
    Whispering current of sadness
    Blood from a martyr she doth chose.”

    As he finished up his lines, he made his way back to his seat and managed to catch the hand of his bonded but the black eyes of glass never left the redhead. Allister finally sat down and kissed the knuckles- one at a time- on the back of Madeira’s hand. He put on a playful expression and addressed their hostess. “Got anything for a fool like me?”


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    Postby Madeira Craven on September 14th, 2018, 2:50 am

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      Madeira enjoyed the reaction people had to Allister. There was something so unsettling about a creature like him that didn't follow the social rules, especially when in the company of someone like Madeira, who did almost religiously. The spiritist felt the pressure building in him, bubbling over into that that swinging manic state that made him a zealous performer and obsessive person. When it overflowed he was prone to fits of laughter or song or pinning her against walls. This time, taking centre stage in the large, plain office, he was going to sing.

      What he lacked in skill, he made up with delivery. Everything came deep from his soul and his body moved like it was possessed. In the plain, unembellished office, he was an offensive smear of smiling teeth and glittering black eyes. When he returned he took Madeira’s hand off her lap and kissed every knuckle with reverence, never looking away from Youchi even as his expression was arranged into something playful and puppyish.

      The secretary was shaken. She did not like the sudden slice of madness in her orderly office, and she especially did not like the way this 'Allister' was looking at her. His unbreakable eye contact he maintained all through the dance, the bloody imagery in the song, and the intimacy with the blonde, was intense and predatory. She was tempted to ask them to leave to preserve the sanctity of her simple haven.

      Sensing this in the nervous flick of the secretary's eyes and the whiteness around her lips, Madeira realized she would have to be the balm to her rattled nerves.

      "There must be a performer troupe, a playhouse, something company that can make use of his talents." she slid in, her voice light and even, offering the woman a thread of reason to grab on to. "His unusual air was made for the stage, don't you agree?" Subtly she persuaded Youchi to look at Allister objectively, and thus put some distance between herself and his unsettling behaviour. Nothing is quite so threatening when viewed from an emotional distance.

      Mastering herself, Youchi turned her attention resolutely to Madeira. "We have a few entertainment locations. Theres the Ethereal Opera House, which might be too…" Youchi waved a delicate hand, trying to find the right words. “Well, it doesn't strike me as a perfect fit. But there is another, the Spinning Glimmers, that values spontaneity. I'd be happy to refer you."

      "That would be perfect", Madeira rewarded Youchi's professionalism with a smile.

      "All that's left is to exchange your foreign coins with our kina, topaz and jade. If you could please gather your currency, it won’t take long."

      As she promised, the exchange was simple. She explained the little round chips of stone carefully, and Allister and Madeira's purses were suddenly a clash of blue, green and gold. Next Youchi gave them directions to both the Infinity Manor, Dusk Tower, and the Spinning Glimmer clubhouse. The directions were given to the ghost at Madeira's insistence, much to Youchi's discomfort. And finally they were settled. Gathering their luggage and animals once again, Madeira offered Youchi her deepest thanks. The secretary wished them well, but it was clear she wasn't terribly sorry to see the back of them.

      And just like that, the Kelvic, the ghost and the human were disgorged back onto the nighttime streets, which had lost none of its fervour in their absence.

      "Do you think you can lead us to this Manor, Emma?" She pulled her ghost's attention away from a jewel-bright shop window crowded with enormous iced cakes.

      "Uh-hu", the ghost nodded, though it seemed she was having trouble focusing in this overwhelming new setting.

      "Good girl. Raj probably hates being tucked away in the trunk. We’ll go lay him down to rest and then tomorrow I'll take you out to see the city. Does that sound okay?" She encouraged the child to focus by manipulating her concern for her beheaded bondmate, and with a promise that they would see the enchanting sights again. Thus mollified and with a new determined, Emma nodded more vigorously and led the way through the crowed.

      Madeira fell into step with the overburdened Allister as they followed the flicker of the ghost.

      "Sing like that again and you will have no problem auditioning for these spinning glimmers", she promised, watching the play of light and shadow across his hollow cheeks. "Sing it for me again."
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      Postby Allister on September 18th, 2018, 2:18 am

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      Allister could feel the tension settle in like a thick fog as he wound down and returned the intensity of his being onto the attractive little redhead. She was a different kind of pretty and it made him excited for what lay about in this new mountain top city. The life in her was tied to her hair and its vibrance like the bright red blood in a hunk of meat ripped fresh from a kill. The marbling was perfect and begged the question as to whether or not she tasted as good as she looked. While the women debated amongst themselves about matters of importance, the kelvic settled into his body from the standpoint of his astral self. He could see the lines between the seen and the unseen which brought a chill up his corporeal spine. With a will of patience and the knowledge of projection the hyena severed the connection between his forms and slipped his tongue away from his body. His black eyes guided it to the delicate lines of the secretary and pressed the fat of the muscle against her neck. He drew a magical lick that was long and steady like that of a big dog’s from her collarbone to her behind her ear.

      The redhead tasted like fear and some kind of tea-infused fruit. The flavor of one who is in this state simply translates to bitterness on the tongue. The man was quickly bored and no longer attracted to the secretary. While he went through the process of calmly reattaching his pieces, Allister envisioned what it might be like to make her scream or beg… or to beg for her life in screams of agony. Yes, red rivers and red locks make robust appetites happy and sated. So engorged in the daydream was the former slave that he nearly missed the chance to exchange his money for ...stones.

      When then left the place, ALlister felt a renewed zest in his bones and hefted everything he could onto the chest then wrangled his long arms and legs around it. Balance was needed to move the damnable thing and it forced the tall man into a deep squat. His back ached already but he drove the pain from his mind by focusing upon the freshly plump and slightly widened bottom that poofed up a fancy dress. The fine getup hung from narrow shoulders with a high neck that supported his blonde idol. It was her icy blue eyes that drove him beyond his normal means. Madeira had a way of gifting her chosen with powers above their given abilities. He watched her use her ghosts in this way; spirits ripped from a tormented existence and honed into tools of a higher purpose. Allister loved the rush she gave him even if it did come with pain or some suffering. The ornery smile broke his serious demeanor as he stood. A growl ripped through his vocal chords to accentuate the trembling legs, shaking arms and vascular profiles that revealed the immense strain it took to hoist their belongings.

      Allister had little trouble walking once the load was above his waist. The hard part was raising it and he had achieved just that. They slipped from the store and made their way from one fantastical sight to the next. The kelvic was sweating but happily soaking up every single thing. The people, the stores, the liveliness at this time of night and the exotic smells assaulted him into a tailspin. The constant pendulum of bony hips kept him in check and he pushed his gratitude for her steadiness. He almost smashed several people with their chest, however, since he kept looking over at his bond mate rather than ahead to Emma who was their guide.

      Madeira asked him to sing again and he hummed the tune a few times. It was easy for him to pick up and carry tunes but the words suddenly left his mind. He opened his mouth twice to sing and stopped only to wash regret into the bond. “I-I...I’m sorry, Mistress. I just made the words up and I don’t remember them.” A thought rang his fragile brain. “Maybe next time I make up a song, I should write it down. Would you teach me how to write, Madeira?” His black eyes bored into hers with all the excitement of of a child at a carnival. If he could write, then he could begin to compose the epic ballad of his beloved spiritist.

      As they walked, a shriek rang out ahead of them that both would recognize as a friendly little girl from Riverfall with scabs on her lips. The heckles of the hyena bristled and he bolted for the sound without a second thought. Emma was a ghost but she also belonged to Madeira and no one messed with any extension of the Lady craven without dealing with one very volatile kelvic. Fifteen yards up a sloped street was where his booted feet would carry him and his load. He arrived upon a scene that quickly grew as the nightlife’s vivacity swallowed the distraction from their drugs and booze.

      Emma was crying in the midst of a circle of steel beads held by the foot of a medium-sized man covered in tattoos of a wild and brightly-colored nature. Allister was caught off guard. He’d only ever known the Cravens as spiritists and this fellow was wholly different. He dropped the chest with great care upon the ring of iron balls which bound his friend. The weight and force broke the circle but at the cost of bringing an angry shout in some uncouth language from the owner of the foot.

      “Are you petchin’ stupid or just-” The wild man had to stop. With the trunk no longer obscuring his view, he was confronted by the size and shocking appearance of the pale kelvic. Sensing the moment was primed, Allister slipped his jacket to the ground by shrugging out of it as he had a thousand times before. The only difference was the bloodlust that boiled up inside of him and across the bond. It took no effort to drag out his arms with a razor tucked into each of his fists. He coiled loosely as he beckoned his muscles to awaken for combat. This man wasn’t so large that he intimidated the bonded hyena like the giant blues. He wasn’t even as big as Daniel. Allister grinned wickedly and settled into a light bounce on the balls of his feet.

      “That ghost belongs to my queen, ya angry little bitch.” His words dripped with malice dipped in a light tone of insanity. It was almost like listening to a hiccup swear. “Ain’t anyone ever teach you not to pick on little girls?”


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      Postby Madeira Craven on September 21st, 2018, 9:33 pm

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        Madeira was disappointed that he couldn't remember the song, but the disappointed bubbled away into shock almost immediately at his request. He wanted to learn to read and write? As far as she was aware he had never shown an interest in any sort of study. She watched him from the corner of her eye. That mad grin of his was aimed at her,
        full of wonder, and she was struck for the first time in a long time just how young he really was.

        "Of course. I'd love to." she gentled him, pushing a lock of hair back from his eyes.

        Just then a scream cut through the milling pedestrians. The sound sliced through Madeira, rocketing through into the deepest part of her, and for a moment her soul was bleeding panic.

        “Emma!” Madeira called her youngest ghost while Allister shot off in the direction of the noise. Opening a scab on her wrist, she shook several drops of blood into her palm. The sixteen-point star was automatic at this point. In less than a second she had drawn the rune into her hand and closed her fist around it. Focusing on the moonstone ring on the third finger of her left hand, she forced open the connection with the drop of Emma’s soulmist inside. Feeding it the power of her own living soul, she used it like a magnet to drag the child to her. No matter where she was in the world, Madeira could call her in the blink of an eye.

        But something was stopping her. Sweat beaded on her forehead and her nails dug perfect little crescents in her palm. The connection was open, and she could feel the ghost on the other side. But something was blocking the way. Madeira fed the soulmist more power, trying to blast through the obstacle. Her eyes screwed shut and her soul heaved and shuddered as she demanded it work to its limit to retrieve her scared little ghost. Pulling, pulling, pulling, he tug-of-war finally snapped, and Madeira was left alone, blinking in the glare of the city lights, having failed a summon for the first time in three years.

        With nothing left to do, she set off after Allister. The incline was not kind, and Madeira was breathing heavy by the time she reached the scene. Allister was removing his coat, his words were inflammatory and the sound promised violence. Emma was sniffling in the middle of a broken circle of soulbeads, too scared to run from a spiritist. And across from them both was that spiritist. Small and heavily tattooed, dark skin shining with a sheen of soulmist only she could see. His eyes were dark and narrowed on the Kelvic, and though he had no weapons to speak of, he had his hands opened and knees bent like he was prepared to take on the man single handed- and win.

        People were circling the commotion, wide-eyed and interested. Madeira didn’t know what the law was like in this city, but she was sure it was going to come down on them if they wen’t careful.

        “Emma, come here.”

        Seeing her own powerful spiritist and their protector on her side, the ghost blinked away with a sob of relief. She hit Madeira with a weak possession, taking shelter in a body where the other couldn’t reach her. Madeira didn’t even stumble, but continued forward until she was at Allister’s side.

        “You’re the ‘queen’ I take it?”, the dark man sneered, his eyes never leaving the Kelvic.

        “You welcome to call me that too, if you’d like”, Madeira intoned coldly, gently putting down her basket.

        “Yah, well, princess, I don’t like your pet much. Move out of the way so I can kick his petching ass.”

        “Why did you trap my ghost?”

        Your ghost?” he laughed a wild laugh, full of the dark rustling of the jungle. “Some kind of spiritist, then? I’m sorry you feel that way. Now move.” His weight shifted and sat low in his heels. His eyes, never so much as flicking in her direction, were narrow slits of rage.

        “You should worry less about the monster”, she said loudly, laying a restraining hand on Allister’s shoulder, “he’s already made up his mind about killing you. You should worry more about the one holding his leash, who’s still mulling it over.” She waved his hand to catch his eye, and smiled. “I’ll ask again, why were you harassing my ghost?”

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        Postby Allister on November 13th, 2018, 2:48 am

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        The kelvic did not relax when Madeira entered the immediate area of conflict. It took almost no time at all for the small blonde, swollen with child, to take command of the situation. Emma absorbed the space between herself and the woman who was like a mother to her in a blink. Allister missed it entirely. First, the girl with scabbed lips was crying in front of him and then she was gone; safe within the Craven’s form. It suddenly dawned on the hyena that the ghost inhabited the same space as his offspring -a concept he had yet to even try to embrace.

        The dark-skinned man bantered with Madeira but he seemed fully intent on leveling the former slave. That was fine with Allister. He preferred to be the target rather than his beloved. The blue-eyed goddess’ touch wasa thing of grace and wonder. She brought peace to his mind but tension in their bond and the blood in her palm allowed his growing rage to focus more intently upon the one who dared to mock Madeira in the presence of her ‘pet’. Rather indelicate considering the depth of their relationship but the kelvic was no incensed by the remark. No one would ever suspect the beautiful woman, obviously intelligent and of good breeding, to associate in the darkened rooms of sweat-drenched passion with a pale apparition so hideously marred by ink and pain.

        The shorter man sneered at his pale adversary. The narrowed gaze never left the blank inkwells of the hyena even as he calmly addressed the woman. “Spiritists eradicate ghosts and I am the spiritist in Lhavit.” The emphasis he used was not lost on any and even drew a few ‘ooo’s from the crowd that continued to steadily amass more partygoers. Within his form, the man was gathering djed to his muscles in preparation for what was to come. “My name is Rostram the Curse Eater. You’ve gotten your ghost now move so this thing can get his beating.”

        Allister snarled but it ended in a snicker. Blades clung to callouses on his fingers as the lanky fellow bent his knees and lowered his center of gravity. However, before he could ever speak a word, the Myrian moved in a blur. His body curled around Madeira leaving only a breeze upon her skirts as a balled fist found its way to Allister’s lower left ribs. The blow was more powerful than anything the former slave had ever encountered -even from the Akalaks with their massive size could not hold a candle to this force! He would’ve yelped but the only sound heard was a whoosh which gently blanketed the crack of bone. Pale skin folded and engulfed the tattooed fist as disbelief filled the kelvic’s empty stare.

        Within the bond, fear and pain flooded and washed away everything else. Allister was not without reaction though everything was simply a reverberation of the shockwave that traveled throughout his form and shook his organs. A stray hand flew past his beloved and the flailing arm pushed her away from the dangerous man who had hidden so well inside the body of one so unremarkable. The other arm swung like a rubber band’s tail after being snapped and sliced a curved line from the man’s armpit down into his chiseled abdomen. The blade twisted some and lodged itself into Allister’s fingers but also made a cut in his enemy that was never any more shallow than a fingertip. This searing pain was enough to belay a second punch from the spiritist which might’ve caved in the hyena’s skull.

        Allister fell into a heap and rolled away gasping for breath but to no avail. The spiritist bled and roared as he flashed from one place to the next and hoisted the pale man into the air. Allister reacted by shifting into his canine form and the skinnier joints and appendages slipped through the potent warrior’s grasp. The shock was enough that the hyena hit the ground and had a single second to strike. Allister was not a fearsome tactician but he was certainly one to recognize when he was outmatched. Only Madeira’s presence kept him from fleeing before the better man though the displays of speed made the former slave doubt his ability to make a clean getaway. No, a stand must be made. The hyena twisted despite the singing agony of whatever the blow had done to his midsection. His maw opened and he bit down as hard as he possibly could on the thing closest to him - the back of Rostram’s left ankle.

        Fortune smiled upon the hyena for it bore the spiritist to his back in seconds. The pain that escaped his lips was something the hyena recognized instantly and the thick skull began to shake his hold with all the fury he could muster. Blood bubbled from the corner of his black lips but for anyone to discern the source would be very difficult since the dark-skinned man was gushing from his leg and Allister was all but gagging upon the flow that welled up from within his throat. Rostram pounded upon the street until the blocks cracked once and then twice but not a third time. As the last swells of his magical gift died down, he leaned up and planted the flat of his fist right into the hyena’s skull between his eyes. Blessed with a high bone density, the haymaker was just hard enough to make him let go.

        Both bodies slumped down in exhaustion and broken torment. The spiritist was cursing in a language that Allister had never heard before and the dog shifted back to human form. His forehead was off color and his eyes held larger bags than normal. Bright red blood dripped from his lips. One his side, the man coughed and spit to regain a way to breath in shallow- quick- breaths. He smiled through the pain. That man could’ve killed him but this draw was worth the angry bruise of purple, red, yellow and black and covered most of his left side. With eyes rimmed in tears, the hyena looked to his love and his purpose. The bond was filled with pain but that was minor compared to the triumph he felt. Madeira would make it better. She always did. In an attempt to draw her in, Allister lifted his head even as sweat caked the hair to his face. He had won in his mind- he had protected her and helped to rescue Emma.


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        Postby Madeira Craven on November 18th, 2018, 9:35 pm

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          She had meant to protect him. This self proclaimed Spiritist of Lahvit, who called himself Curse Eater, would not attack a small pregnant woman while his fellow citizens watched. If she could have kept herself in front of Allister, and kept this Rothsam at bay with words, they would have made it out okay. But that's not what happened.

          The man moved like a lightning strike. The only reaction in Madeira was a stirring of her skirts before his fist was buried in Allister's abdomen. Her shriek of shock and pain seemed belayed from the attack, when the bond erupted in pain seconds after the blow was already struck. After that the fight was almost too fast to follow. The was a flash of blades and a second blow that rattles teeth and bones. Allister's hand shoved her out of the way of a wild hit, and she stumbled and twisted so that she fell onto her back, hands out to protect her belly. A flash of light turned to snarls and bristling fur as Allister's hyena form made an appearance. Blood dotted the cobble road and something shattered with a crackle like dry leaves, and both men were suddenly sprawled on the ground. Both human and both hurt, one was cursing in a tongue thick with the brutal jungle, clutching a bleeding ankle. The other, her most precious person, was moulted and swollen and looking at her with eyes red with tears and a proud smile.

          "Al! Oh gods, Allister!" She scrambled on her knees to his side and cradled his head in her palms. Other pairs of hands were helping Rothsam upright. He had one leg planted firmly on the ground while the other dangled uselessly in the air, his mouth speaking only to curse. People were shouting about something called the Catholicon and calling for the Shinya, while still more revellers were melting away now that the excitement was over. Nobody moved to help Allister. They were outsiders here, Madeira knew. They wouldn't find help among these strangers.

          Youchi explained that the Shinya were the law enforcement of the city. A creature she was not ready for her family to face just yet. Not when it was the word of foreigners against those of their precious city Spiritist.

          "Allister, on your feet", she demanded, her words cracking like a whip even while her hands were gentle as she helped him to sit up. "We have to get out of here, right now. Here's your clothes." She threaded his feet through his discarded trousers and found his purple jacket among the flotsam of their belongings.

          "See you around, dog!" the small dark Spiritist was shouting at them, laughing wickedly from over the shoulder of the citizen that was helping him hobble away. "You too, princess!"

          "Ignore him, Al. You beat him, you did so well. I'm so proud." She helped her bondmate into his jacket and helped him to rise. Whatever kind of witchcraft made an ordinary man twice as fast and many times as strong, Madeira didn't want to encounter it again. She was going to keep Allister as far away from that man as she could. At least until she was sure they could uproot and beat him; replace him in the hearts of the citizens with herself, and make sure Allister was strong enough to smear him across the cobblestone. She had to smile ruefully as she pushed the matted hair out of the Kelvic's eyes. They'd been in the city for a handful of bells and already they had made enemies of a powerful figure.

          A flickering of her soul, and Madeira was able to push the little ghost out of her body. The weeping girl tried to blink back inside, but Madeira had armoured herself against her.

          "No, kitten, it's okay. The scary man is gone and Al and I am not going to let him hurt you again, okay? We need you to show us the way again. There's a good girl." She didn't know if there was a medical facility, and as hopelessly direction disabled as she was, she didn't want to wander the streets until they found one. The only private shelter they knew was nearby was the manor they were heading for in the first place. So that's where they would go.

          Madeira took most of the baggage this time, insisting her injured partner burden the rucksack instead. And with her goading both of them to speed, they left the scene before the Shinya could arrive, leaving a smear of blood on the cobbles to ever show they were there at all.

          •••••••••••••••••••••••••••


          Emma found the Infinity Manor easily enough, leading them right to a tall wrought iron gate. On the other side, well back from the street, a little tower of a manor, three stories tall and seemingly round from a distance, poked at the sky. It's eccentric paint job was chipped and worn, and its grounds were choked with weeds and scrubby little trees. Not the great castle Madeira dreamed of, and not the lightly worn mansion Youchi promised, but it was sturdy, welcoming, and had the kind of extravagant, unnecessarily complex architecture that appealed to Madeira's Alvadas roots.

          At the gate was a portly little man in the flowing robes people in this city seemed to favour. His small, deep set eyes, flicked between the heavily beaten tattooed man, the gruesome child ghost and the pregnant woman with the tightness of stress all around her eyes, and wondered what he had gotten himself into.

          "My name is Madeira Craven, are you the owner?" Madeira asked sharply when they were close enough.

          "Uh, yes Ma'am. Tarbernacle, at your service. Can I give you a show of the property or...?"

          "No need, we'll take it."

          There was no use being coy. They needed rest and shelter and she wasn't about to traipse all around this enormous city when Allister was hurt and the Shinya were about. But the little man saw the insistence as desperation, and his dark eyes sparkled with opportunity.

          "Of course, Ma'am. Twenty thousand gold will cover this extravagant manor and it's lands. Not to mention its choice location."

          Madeira's eyes flashed. Who was this little man who thought he could play games with her?

          "That's ridiculous. Fifteen thousand would be more than generous, and rid you of this 'extravagant manor'."

          "No, I won't accept less. If you're not willing, I have other buyers who are. I thought to be kind and offer it to you first, seeing as you're a young one with a baby on the way..." He shrugged, making no mention of the ghost and the battered kelvic, like she was out alone.

          "So many buyers that you have let it sit abandoned for half a year?" she mused, her voice a low, dangerous purr. "Must be one hai of a bidding war you have." The receptionist at the Cosmo Center had mentioned the manor had been unoccupied for seasons. Madeira let him know she wasn't letting him get away with the lie while not explicitly calling him out on it.

          The man sniffed mightily, pretending he hadn't her. In his thick hands he fiddled with the keyring around his finger, letting the metal jangle like a toy in front of a fussy cat.

          "Mmm, well, that's too bad." Madeira continued. "We are travellers from across the seas. An expensive feat, you can imagine, not to mention we could not work while on the long journey. We simply don't have that kind of money." Her eyes bored into his, and dijed welled into the empty spaces in their endless blue. The hypnotic suggestion was simple, ferried on the contact of their eyes it settled into his thoughts like a book returning to its snug shelf. You should give her the key, it hummed.

          His fist closed around the key and it stopped jangling, and she knew he was fighting through the thought.

          "I would direct you to other available housing, but I fear you won't find any on this peak", he smiled with a sad sort of pity. "Are you and your fellows up for a good walk?" His eyes flicked to Allister, and Madeira's temper flared.

          "I mislike your cheek and your lies, Tarbernacle. I will give you fifteen thousand gold, all we can afford and all this place is worth, right this very tick. And if you get off my new property I promise you from the bottom of my heart you will never see me, my aggressive hyena Kelvic or my two loyal, insane ghosts ever again." Her smile was that kind of sweet and guileless expression fitting a woman barely out of her teens, but her words dripped poison. The words fell lathered with dijed much more aggressive than her first attempt. The words manifested not as a suggestion but as a sudden thought, supplanted in the forefront of his mind in his own internal voice: GIVE HER THE KEY.

          At the end Madeira's dijed was spent and her eyes prickled with tears she rapidly blinked away. But Tarbernacle didn't seem to quite so easily shake his feeling. His mouth worked like a fish, silenced by her veiled threat and the workings of her magic, until finally he relented.

          "Fine. Give me that fifteen thousand right now, and you can have the key."

          "Deal. You drive a hard bargain, sir."

          From the depth of her truck she surfaced with all the money that could be stuffed in an enormous, drawstring purse. It was a couple hundred over the fifteen thousand they agreed upon, she thought, but she didn't have the time to laboriously count it. And perhaps a little sweetness on top of his gouged deal would make the previous owner not so unkindly disposed towards her and her family. She handed over the money and the man slapped the large copper key into her hand as if to minimize how much time they had to be in physical contact. Then without a word he left, hurrying as fast as his thick legs could carry him.

          Madeira unlocked the door of their new home, wondering if maybe she had just made a huge mistake. At least they had a place to sleep, and space to tend to Allister's wounds.

          "Welcome home, guys."

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          Postby Allister on November 30th, 2018, 2:12 am

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          Allister was in immense pain and it was plainly written upon his face despite the bloody grin. Pale teeth outlined in crimson blood shone more brightly amidst the inky black tattoos, bottomless black eyes and pallid skin. His side was throbbing with unkindness which continued to swell and darken the ugliness of his wound. It was far from the worst he’d received in terms of a beating but it was certainly one of the more potent strikes the kelvic had ever been forced to absorb. The call for action was easily one that Allister could manage. He lingered only a moment in the soft fingertips of his blue-eyed goddess before rolling towards his good side and onto all fours. Standing was harder since he was dizzy and a bit off balance but he managed then, with Madeira’s help, he stepped into his breeches. Boots, coat and razors were gathered and the former slave did not argue in the distribution of wares but he was relieved at not having to lug the giant case with the pains that racked his lanky frame.

          In the bond, the pain faded. Only solace was found as the words of his beloved echoed over and over again. Sometimes, a sound or a phrase on repeat can diminish one’s sanity but what’s to damage when there was very little at the beginning? Nothing, that’s what. Allister found the throbbing and the tacky feeling of his blood as it dried upon his skin disappeared in wake of the tsunami of pride that slammed against the shores of his resolve. Each crashing wave worked as the inverse of nature and strengthened the kelvic. As a former slave, he was never accustomed nor familiar with encouragement in any form. The blonde beauty was always kind even in her corrections but it was her love that filled his sails. This drove the man to not only be able to move well enough but to also help Madeira over suspect terrain and even spell her twice along the route towards their new home.

          When they came to the gate, the rush of wind gave away his surprise and amazement. What sort of house was this? Wide black eyes scoured the structure as if he’d never seen a large estate before. Allister had- many times over- and had even lived among Craven Manor with madeira for a time but this was theirs…their home. He turned towards the spiritist to reveal his excitement aloud even though it flooded the bond like a spilled jar of honey. That was abruptly silenced by the little man who greeted them. Heckles rose like spikes on a threatened porcupine and the blood of the hyena began to boil as his nostrils flared. No one else would harm them tonight. This fellow would be of no consequence and the kelvic salivated with the thought that his skin might taste like bacon.

          However, Allister felt the bond flatten out with a rigidity from his partner so he froze. Sidelong glances caught the unamused stares and the pungent stance of a woman at her limit. He knew she knew of his eagerness. The brawler also knew that Madeira was far more formidable than she would ever show. There was no need for violence and no time for it. The great lady, holder of his wild heart and keeper of his ignorant soul, worked her magic and her tact until the matter was settled and the fat little chap was on his way. His eyes wandered too much for Allister’s taste. When the seller made his way along after the deal, the kelvic chomped his teeth three times with a very audible click and a dangerous grin. If looks held captions, this one might say ‘when next we meet that is what you will be- meat.’

          Allister took the trunk up to the porch and stood aside with patience as Madeira opened the doors for them. He stepped in a few paces then set his load upon the hardwood floors. Breath like sandpaper was sucked into his lungs as he stared at the sheer size of what greeted them. The kelvic turned and slid over the space that separated the two. To avoid overpowering the smaller woman in his glee, the kelvic extended his stride so that his body dipped down in what could almost be seen as a genuflection to his lover. Long arms came out and scooped around her waist though he kept himself below her. Allister was as gentle as he could be -so much that he didn’t even move her as he interacted with her body. The battered skull turned and laid against her bosom as he felt the round ball of baby press against his bruised abdomen. The father-to-be wheezed slightly but smiled widely.

          “You kept your promise, love.” There was water gathering in the swollen portions of his eye, an extension of the damage from the potently strong spiritist from town. “You promised me a home just for us and you’ve done it!” He created a sound from his chest and throat that was somewhere between a coo and a purr but it was all warmth from within. The bond would struggle to hold the joy that rained from him in a typhoon of expressions that he was not used to feeling.

          “Tell me what you want me to do for you, my goddess.” The hyena slipped down onto his knees and leaned into her. He longed for her touch and her commands for his life. Purpose was a beautiful thing. “You kept your word now let me keep mine.” Black eyes looked up and reflected the geometric arrangement of the architecture as well as the icy blue stare of his bonded. “Surely, I could draw you a hot bath or would you like some food?” A hand ran over the pregnancy and the hyena’s tummy gurgled. “I’m not experienced but I could use my rough hands to rub away the soreness from your weary bones.” Hopeful and confident, Allister knew that she would give him sage advice and so he waited. Hungry to please her, he waited.


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