[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

A Nuit and a Spiritist meet in a most unlikely of places.

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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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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Savis Maren on September 25th, 2018, 7:42 am

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62nd of Autumn, 518

Time sits still for no man.

The adage rang true when Savis Maren heard it as a young girl, spilled forth from the lips of a father holding back tears. Grim acceptance of a fate in the making for years, the bitter words were one of the last the then-mortal and dying girl heard with living ears. Rendered blind and deaf by her illness, the grim words took a whole new meaning. One of lies, for as the girl waited for death, time certainly seemed to grind to a halt.

A lying father. How fitting that a pointless adage spilled forth by a helpless fool would turn into a mockery for my entire existence? Yes, time sits still for no man, but I am not a man,

The Nuit's musings were only for her to hear as she dwelled within her accommodations, relishing in her solitude. The Nuit stood uncovered by fabric, but the thin bandages that painted white all over her graying, pallid skin kept a modicum of modesty about her. For the moment. Quickly, the Nuit uncovered herself, throwing the sopping bandages aside.

Damp and brittle from the mixture of formaldehyde and perfume, the bandages were no longer useful. The Nuit took hold of her embalming tools, bringing them to her flesh and rubbing the formaldehyde upon her as of yet whole and 'healthy' flesh. The incisions in her body had melted away, the scars of her dead flesh cauterized by the mixture of fluids she possessed to preserve her shell for the longest stretch of time possible.

As Savis Maren rubbed the formaldehyde into her flesh, she also scrubbed her pores, meticulously cleaning her form without washing and possibly exposing herself to bacteria that'd further poison her already inevitably decaying body. Satisfied that her efforts were fruitful, the Nuit set forth to the opposite side of her bedroom, retrieving fresh bandages and wrapping them about her flesh in thin layers.

The first layer was treated with formaldehyde, the next layered with a pleasant perfume created by Lhavitian merchants from the flowers of the mountain. Then, she wrapped a third layer about her arms and legs, parts of her that might find exposure to wounds easier than torso or back. She dressed herself accordingly, hiding her bandages under long sleeves and pants that covered her undead visage and made her look somewhat bulkier than the shell she bore truly was.

When the Nuit finished dressing, a ritual she underwent every ten days to assist in preserving herself, she raised her head up high, satisfied in a job well done before she exited her room, a haughty huff parting her lips as she scaled the staircase and made her way out of the Solar Wind Apartments. Reasonably tested in her navigation of the city of Lhavit, Savis Maren tipped her head as unnerving silver eyes cast their gaze about.

She found her path, lips parted in an easy smile. The undead woman was in fine spirits, her ritualistic commitment to the preservation of her decaying corpse a catharsis that bled through the senses. Her ritual preceded, of course, her plans to go out in the world. Savis Maren intended to expand her wardrobe, feeling that her current outfit, while functional, did not properly serve the voracious vanity that manifested within her. The desire to be lovely, the need to outdo and outdress the dastardly Ethaefal and their mortal subjects so highly wired into her brain after her many encounters with their kind that it could no longer be ignored.

Savis Maren trudged through the streets of Lhavit, turning through the city until she found the Silk Palace, hearing wild rumours of the impeccable, customizable attire that was created within its walls. Though the Nuit was often apprehensive of such rumours, she felt compelled to investigate them for herself. The place was obvious enough to find, beautiful fabrics of brocade and silk presented to her sights and immediately, the Nuit was enamoured. She reached into her pocket, dabbing an extra coat of perfume along her wrists and the still flesh of her throat before entering the facility to explore it for herself. Initially, the Nuit was welcomed warmly, though her condition even through her many layers and perfumed aroma disheartened the twins, who were anxious to step aside without assisting the Nuit.

Savis Maren was glad for such distance, however, for she was more than able to make her own decisions without prying eyes (no less of children so very close to the age her mortal form was) and ears paying attention to her. No, the Animator was capable of finding her own way, and she did. Silver eyes combed the many fabrics available to her, fingers playing at the unbroken surface of silken perfection. The woman's eyes ignited with vibrant desire, a sort of elation that even the Inarta children picked up on.

Endeared to the presence of the Nuit following such a display, they began their approach, but Savis Maren did not acknowledge them. Instead, she pulled at the wellspring of djed within her. Deep within the soul, it stirred at her command. She guided it forth, pulling it from her chest and up along her throat before it manifested within her eyes. Pale, silver eyes sparked with the momentary flicker of life before they were emblazoned with the mark of Auristics. The Aurist picked up a footlong layer of fabric, her lips parting in subtle incantations to preserve her Sight and embolden it. She saw through the silk before looking into it. Woven fibres became apparent to her, the patterns arousing her delight as she filtered from fabric to fabric. Eventually, the Nuit beckoned the Inarta children to join her, the incantations ceasing as she parted her lips and allowed words to flow through them. No longer plagued by the bite of the Summer, which robbed her of both eyes and voice, her tone was high and her words rich, flowing easily from her as she asked,

"How much fabric would I require for three scarves, one of which is padded at double the normal thickness?"

The Inarta knew the answer immediately and told the Nuit. The woman was looking at a transaction valuing 100 kina, but the number didn't bother her so much as assurances of quality and beauty appealed to her. The woman cared little for comfort, for her sense of touch was muted the farther she got from her extremities. Sight and sound were her only true, unbroken senses, and she delighted in the exploration of the both of them when time allowed. The Nuit did not immediately make her order, and instead continued to filter through the store, searching for the perfect fabric. After all, it needed to serve a purpose as well as be a vessel of beauty and envy throughout the city of Lhavit.

"The dimensions are irrelevant," she began, muttering to herself so that only souls very nearby her would overhear. The reason for her arrival was not meant to be a mystery, but Savis Maren hardly cared for eavesdroppers catching wind of her projects and taking them from underneath her.

"The thickness is of tantamount importance. A cut to hollow the fabric and house the mechanism... Perhaps I should use an inferior fabric to begin with? Perfect the design and then indulge myself with the final result when the time comes? Hmmm..." the Nuit mused, her cold fingers traversing the surface of a beautiful velvet fabric that, sadly, couldn't meet her specifications.
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on October 3rd, 2018, 6:12 pm

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Time sits still for no man.

The saying was so old Madeira didn't even know how she heard it. It was like the expression was stitched into the collective consciousness. But she had never truly understood what it meant, not back then.

Gripping the sides of the copper tub, Madeira steadied herself against the forward gravity of her rapidly rounding belly as she stood. Sudsy, perfumed bathwater ran down her in rivulets, skin made pink from abrasive scrubbing and gold by the light of the cackling fireplace. Grabbing a towel left on a rack to warm, she stepped out of
the bath and took a seat at the vanity for a morning ritual. Cream was massaged into her skin, powder pressed into the crescent under her sleepless eyes. Hair was brushed, pulled, braided, and knotted in a simple chignon. Experimentally, she took a pot of rouge and tried dotting the thick cream into the apple of her cheeks. She smiled her favourite, most practiced smile, turning to see the effect from every angle.

A lot of people misunderstood how big of a factor beauty was to the social game. The right clothes, body maintenance, attractiveness, all served to endear oneself to people. And frankly, she needed all the help she could get.

A movement in her body, like a fluttering of moth wings, made her hand fly to her belly. But it wasn't a glow of motherly love in her expression, it was a grim, determined panic. If she had been anywhere near a doctor when she had gotten pregnant she would have aborted it. She would have taken Allister aside and told him the truth, that they just couldn't, that this would have been nothing but a painful mistake. But there were no doctors, and now into her second trimester it was far too late. Now there was no time.

In Alvadas she had a powerful name, the resources of a wealthy family, and allies who had her back. Then she made a crucial mistake in the political game she had just started to play, and was sent away. Now stranded on the other side of the world, pregnant, alone but for two of her people, everything she thought she would have forever had vanished and time was slipping through her hands. She needed to rebuild. She needed those allies, those resources, she needed it before the baby was born, before her needs outweighed her means. She needed people to need her, before she needed them.

And all through this last year, as everything good was being carved out of her life and the wounds salted with uncertainty and fear, as everything was spinning faster and faster out of their control, all she wanted to do was hold out her hands and beg for time to stop.

Throwing the sodden towel back over the rack to dry Madeira left the washroom naked. The manor groaned as the early morning sun loosened its bones. The sound sighed through the empty rooms and up the dark iron staircase that clinked as she climbed. She could feel a fluttering here too, but outside her body. A stirring of consciousness not fully sentient, struggling into wakefulness. The manor was alive and lonely and looking for her, its creator. Another child she had to raise, and she didn't have time.

The bedroom she shared with Allister was as large as their entire cottage in Alvadas. Early light streamed through the windows, and crisp fall air blew through the cracks in the sill she had yet to seal. The domed ceiling twinkled with painted stars. In her closet she pulled down a deep blue velvet dress with beading, her newest purchase from the Silk Palace, and paired it with a blue emerald pendant the size of a chicken egg. She threw her white fur cloak over her shoulders, dressed her hands in her lace gloves, and three gaudy rings. Only two still contained soulmist anymore, but it never felt right without all three.

Finally Madeira stood in front of her tall silver backed mirror, examining herself critically. She looked wealthy, though that was mostly an illusion. Pretty, in that made-up, good-breeding sort of way. But most of all she looked put-together, like she might just be important. She decided it would do.

First she would stop by the Silk Palace, to thank them for the dress she was wearing and compliment them on their work. If she was going to make friends she might as well start with the businesses she planned to be loyal too.

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"Welcome back, Miss!"

"Oh, that dress-"

"-looks wonderful on you!"

"Please, let us get you some tea."

The twins Mae and Lae held hands as they fluttered about like the two wings of the same butterfly as Madeira set foot into the Silk Palace. They were quick to compliment her, recognizing the dress as the same one they sold her several days ago. Their mistress was busy with another customer, they said, but they offered their own services if she wanted another consultation. Madeira was barely listening.

The shop was seeing steady business, as a few people were browsing through the bolts of fabric laid out for display. But there was one with their back to her that was different from the others. She was female in shape, with brittle black hair and pallid grey hands that twisted a piece of fabric as they studied it. A flowery perfume was thick in the air, but underneath an astringent, chemical cleanliness was carried with the current of air and rustled cloth.

"Thank you, but there's no need. I'm just here to brows for inspiration for the next dress, may I?" Madeira abandoned her agenda in an instant as this new interest caught her eye. She tore her gaze away from the hunched figure to smile for the twins, and they sent her on her way after she promised to ask for them if she should need anything.

As she got closer to this curiosity, she noticed the woman was muttering to herself. The words ‘dimension’ and ‘design’ and ‘mechanism’ floated through her mumbling and lodged themselves in Madeira’s mind. She breathed deep until her nose burned with perfume and she could just sense underneath it the gumminess of dried fluid. Nuit, certainly. She hadn’t seen one in years. Her pale eyes roamed the creature in a way that was a little less than casual. The body was thin and shrunken, but well preserved. Her voice, even when speaking to herself, was smooth. Studying the bones beneath, questions of Malediction and Spiritism and death pounced on the opportunity for research she had missed the last time. But first, she had to actually talk to the woman.

“It’s always wise to experiment with your cheapest supplies first” she said in lieu of introduction, sliding in close by pretending to look at a bolt of fabric beside the Nuit. “That velvet will cost you a fortune if you ruin it. What kind of project could you be working on? Perhaps I could help with recommendations.”
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Savis Maren on October 5th, 2018, 12:01 am

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The Nuit was lost in her musings, her attention poured upon the fabric as a deluge layered with the interference of djed. She welled the power within her eyes, moulding it to her design as she filtered through the fabric. Fingertips closed around a spot in the roll two feet out, her musings on the measurement cut into nothingness once a voice poured into her dead ears. Sixty-two days since the last change into a fresh body rendered the sight of her increasingly grotesque. Surely the Nuit's attempts at cleaning herself on a regular basis did their job in preserving her, but nevertheless, it showed. Black bags grew ever deeper into her once, at the least pretty pallid expression. Black hair turned brittle and frayed at the edges, falling out in places but disguised with the use of a hair tie. Savis Maren's body was not failing her, but it certainly no longer held any of the beauty it knew in life. The Nuit was pragmatic and decided not to switch shells at the slightest show of ugliness but by all curses did the desire strike her. When that voice poured into her ears she turned immediately to face the woman.

Immediately, the Nuit caught sight of the woman's rotund belly, which rounded unnaturally at her core. Her frame carried the form of one who'd gained weight rather quickly and it was obvious that she carried foreign life within her. The Nuit soured at the sight of such a spectacle, finding the woman's unwelcome intervention in her thoughts accompanied by the grotesque sight of her. Pregnant, clearly bearing bountiful makeup, this woman was hiding behind a masque of rouge and deception. A deception that made her look finer than she would otherwise. It occurred to the Nuit to use such deceptions, never considering the mystique of such assistance in her unlife.

It's always wise to experiment with your cheapest supplies first, the woman interjected, her advice so obvious, so condescending that Savis Maren couldn't help but flare with anger. It jolted down her spine even as the djed carried and with it, poured knowledge about the fabric into her thoughts. The fibres stood out to her, each in turn, carrying the purity of the material and the skill of its manufacturer into her thoughts. The use of Auristics faltered, her connected to the djed in her eyes obliterated as she turned on the pregnant woman.

Silver eyes caught her at once, narrowed in frustration and distaste molded into the same emotion. The woman in front of her held a sort of eagerness within her gaze. Clearly, there were ulterior motives to her approach. Most understood that there was something unnatural about Savis Maren upon first sight. The spectacle of her condition did not endear her to the world and yet this... thing before her carried an intrigue that the Nuit could equate with only burning curiosity. She, however, also seemed to hold the convention of not blurting out her questions to the void.

Savis first sought to spew fire from her tongue, to shoo away the prying eyes and bleeding tongue that dared speak. But, when one took interest in her projects, she found it difficult to refuse them. The machinery of the Nuit's mind did not work on the principles of reason, Madeira's condescension met in equal terms with her curiosity and Savis found it very difficult to ascertain which she should address. So, she met the happy medium of both. The Nuit drew on the pregnant mortal with venom in her silver eyes. She looked the woman over once again as she mused aloud,

"You? Dear, if I wished assistance those two fire-haired children could assist me far better, nitwits though they might be. It's so very rude to intrude on the thoughts of another, you know. However, I'll have you know that I am looking to house a tool within a scarf. There are conventions that need be obeyed and I'd much rather have function and fashion join as one." The Nuit left her response at that, letting her silver eyes catch Madeira's as she contemplated the woman once again.

Savis couldn't tell whether the woman was mad or simply an intrusive wretch, coming to the Nuit with little more than passing conversation. However, starved for attention as she was, she tolerated Madeira's presence for a while longer, piercing the silence as she asked a question of her own,

"What brings you to me, child? Surely, it's not the venture of assistance. You want something. Everyone does."
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on October 6th, 2018, 1:40 am

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Her irises looked silver in the cloudy fluid of her eyes. The colour glinted like the blade of a knife as the creature turned to the Spiritist and looked her over with frustration and clear disgust. Madeira was studying her in much the same way, though her own expression was anything but hostile. It had been two years since she had been this close to a Nuit. Though the last time had technically been even closer, as she had grabbed and kissed the walking corpse before she knew what she was assaulting. In her defense they were both wearing masks, it was a sensory-overloading Illusion Festival, and she was on several types of recreational drugs at the time.

A revolted shiver snaked it's way up her spine as she threw off the memory. This Nuit was much the same as the first. Heavy bags that might have been a build up of fluid hung under tired eyes. Her teeth were long with receding gums but still shone white from the black cave of her mucus membrane. Yet for all of the decay in her body it was clear her mind was sharp.

Madeira raised a brow as the Nuit belittled her and answered her questions in the same scathing tone. She was trying to house a tool in a scarf, she explained, in a way that was both functional and fashionable. Madeira wasn't aware Nuits cared anything for fashion, but a far bigger question eclipsed it: what kind of tool could be worn around your throat? Could this be a device of her own invention?

"What brings you to me, child?" the woman continued, radiating contempt but not yet sending her away. "Surely, it's not the venture of assistance. You want something. Everyone does."

That's more like it, Madeira thought, eyes glittering with promise.

"Would you believe I'm here like you to pursue the fine fabrics?" she smiled ruefully and gave up her trite inspection of the bolt beside the Nuit to face her fully. "I suspect not, you're too clever for that." She licked her teeth as she considered the creature in front of her, clad in grey clothes and pallid skin. What kind of soul was surviving in there? "Call it professional curiosity. I'm a Spiritist by trade and something of a student of death. I find your condition fascinating."

She wasn't sure what notions the word Spiritist would conjure in the Nuit's mind. There tended to be two polarizing stereotypes: the righteous smiter of all things undead, or the collector who traded favours with the undead to the benefit of their own power. But like every stereotype there was a great gap of grey area that most sat on, and Madeira happened to be somewhere in the middle.

"I simply want to get to know you better. I have no foul intent, I promise you. I could never hurt or kill you without your permission. That's how vengeful ghosts are made." She smiled as she laid her cards on the table one by one, her voice low and persuasive in the chattering din of the shop. "Perhaps you would like to get to know me better as well. I understand your deathless predicament better than most, and you will not find me shying away from the practical reality of your situation. I even have a comfortable position in a socially influential Tower, and workshop and lab in my home that might make your... life, easier. Perhaps we could be good for each other."

Madeira straightened up as the twins came bustling back, pressing a cup of hot floral tea into her gloved hands. Their Mistress was ready to see her if she so desired. Madeira thanked them for the tea but declined the invitation. As they left, curtsying first to Madeira and then to Savis, the Spiritist turned back to the Nuit. Lifting a hand she demurely brushed away an imaginary hair from her own cheek, and the magic in her gloves woke with the movement. A simple hypnotic suggestion of trust me rolled into the space between them, and Madeira willed it to settle in the space between the Nuits thoughts and brighten the image of this nosy child she clearly thought she was.

When the spark of magic faded from her fingertips she held out that same hand between them like an olive branch.

"My names Madeira Craven, what's yours? Or are you going to tell me that Nuits have the luxury of cherry picking their friends." she challenged, raising a brow as she sipped her tea. Truthfully it was not as one-sided as she made it seem. If she was going to make allies a Nuit might be a bad choice socially, but she was obviously smart. And more than that she seemed to know a creative trade that had to do with strange mechanics. Besides what Madeira could simply learn from her condition there could be a wealth of advantages to having this prickly creature on her side. And time was ticking.
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Savis Maren on October 6th, 2018, 3:01 am

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Fierce vanity consumed the thoughts of Savis Maren as fire, burning all else in its path. Often, the Nuit's vanity provided her a single-minded focus on the tasks at hand. At others, it provided her the flexibility to play the games of the mind on those she deemed lesser or less intelligent. The brighter the star of the soul burned in front of the Nuit, the harsher her scrutiny rained down upon it. Though the woman introduced herself in time, the Animator found the unknown presence before her to be one of many distinct, devious faces. She stared at the Nuit with focused, hungry eyes, clearly a professional interest taken in the matter of her being. She called herself a Spiritist, a being who played with the souls of the dead and gone. Savis Maren compared what she knew of Spiritism to her own experience with Animation, and found the idea of getting to know this wench might yet be worth battling the sight of her.

How Savis retched at the thought of carrying life within. The Nuit, though young by standard sired several souls into being. They were not true beings, but rather facsimiles of herself thrust into purpose and woven through the careful plucking at the djed imbued by Twin Circles. Savis thought herself, once, as the mother of that accursed failure, Sil. Now the tool lay abandoned in her bedroom, thrust about with astral hands or commanded to fetch her paints when the focus of her tasks were too monumental to part from them.

I simply want to get to know you better, she began. The woman followed the introduction of that idea with a flourish. The gesture was, in truth, a magnificent one. The wave of her hand to stroke at a hair that certainly did not exist, to brush aside the very world before her and continue on with her train of thought. Savis Maren might have questioned the prickle behind her neck, the intrusion of djed about her but she paid it very little mind. Rather, the suggestion coursed throughout. It began with a simple smile. Savis Maren allowed herself to hear out the Spiritist as she elaborated about her lack of malevolent intent.

She'd mentioned the influence and status that she held, powers that by virtue of her condition and her lack of mobility within the previous season eluded the Nuit entirely. Savis Maren was not a name known by much of anyone, but her unsightly status as Nuit was. The undead considered herself lucky that even with such influence, Madeira Craven was not a 'household' name. No, she was ugly, bloated with her pregnancy and as far as the Nuit was concerned, someone she could introduce herself to.

Savis Maren drew to her full height, her piercing silver eyes catching upon Madeira Craven's. The woman was intelligent, careful with her words and very much capable of whirling about webs of pleasantry that both aroused the Nuit's attention and her suspicions. The idea of trusting her seemed so intriguing, but more so the idea of using her. The woman even invited it, all but a step away from begging the Nuit to enroll her in the idea of camaraderie. Savis Maren, though irrational, stubborn, and prone to her ideas more so than that of others was also highly intelligent. The woman in front of her, though a child in comparison to Savis, was also clearly a woman that demanded respect. Within Lhavit, Savis Maren had little reason to fear.

Within Lhavit, I have no reason to turn away such an opportunity, she admitted to herself. The Nuit had little in the way of friends, with the occasional stripling coming about from the stonework of the city. But before her there was something she'd be very stupid indeed to pass up. Power, poise and arcane knowledge beyond Savis' comprehension stared at her and the Nuit was, in truth, envious of Madeira. Though she'd sooner peel the wretched skin from her bones than admit to such envy. Savis raised her hand and took the woman's hand as she allowed her lips to part in answer.

Sultry tones replaced the bite of her metre. Savis Maren's lips curved into a wider smile as she allowed herself to open up her posture. Djed welled within the silver pools of Savis' eyes, a wellspring of it pulsing within the orbs as her djed latched onto the aura of the woman in front of her.

"I am Savis Maren," she answered at first, the djed creating a steady stream as information gleaned from the contact, from the sight of her. The air shimmered in the presence of Madeira Craven, signs of totems and jewels of arcane power that riddled her form. The Nuit wasn't so attuned as to know what or how, but she certainly felt her awe compound as she allowed a last bit of contemplation before finishing her thought,

"Such accommodations are not given, but earned. You, my dear, have sparked my interest, though I'm happy to admit that it's for different reasons. Mortals often elude me, trivial concerns and lusts of the stomach and flesh do not bind me. But you, with the visage of death on your face bear the mark of one I might come to understand rather well. What have you in mind, Madeira Craven?" she mused, using the woman's first and family name in an effort to convey her desire that she wished similar treatment in turn. Nicknames were an insult to Savis, who felt the mystique of a name spilled forth in full told of the radiance of their being.
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on October 6th, 2018, 10:58 pm

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There was an endless pause as Madeira's hand hung empty between them. But eventually, after the Nuit had given the offering serious thought, her cold, lifeless hand met Madeira's half-way, and they shook.

Gotcha. Madeira's own smile was slow and satisfied. The Nuit had offered nothing and was not reaching for what Madeira had dangled in front of her. But the Spiritist had managed to catch her interest. She saw something in Madeira that she liked, and she just had to make sure that interest continued.

It's rather like taming a feral cat, Madeira ruminated as Savis introduced herself. The open contempt in her voice had softened into something almost civil, as her epithet evolved from 'child' to 'dear'. The disgust in her already hard to read face was hidden entirely under a smiling, enigmatic expression. Madeira had shown the cat a bowl of cream and the creature had decided she didn't need to bring out her claws just yet.

And besides being civil, the Nuit was proving herself to be eloquent in her speech as well. She was educated and spoke in the measured tones of one who, like Madeira herself, relied heavily on her tongue.

"Savis", she rolled the name around her mouth like she was trying to figure out how it tastes. "I have many things in mind. But why don't we go somewhere more private to discuss them? My manor is close, we can talk freely there. And I'd be happy to give you a tour of my workshop, if you're interested." She let go of her hand, where the silk thankfully kept her from feeling the unsettling texture of her flesh. "I'll wait outside while you buy what you came for."

She smiled amicably for Savis and nodded to the twins before she saw herself out. And only when the door closed behind her and cut the Nuit from view did she let out the breath she had been holding. Gods that could have gone so wrong. She didn't yet know what motivated Savis and without that knowledge it was impossible to tell what would make her purr or launch at her throat. Now the pressure was on to find out exactly what made her tick.

"Hi Maddy."

Emma, cheeks bubbled in a bored pout, was crouched under the shops window sill trying to pick the crumbling mortar from between the cobblestone. Madeira never left the house without at least one of the ghosts, since she had a mental block that made it impossible to navigate a city that stayed firmly rooted to the ground. Thankfully her youngest ghost was right where she left her.

"Hey Em, we're going back home."

"Already?" the child perked up immediately.

"Yes, and we're bringing a friend with us. But I need you to do me a favor. Are you listening closely?" she crouched down to the girls level.

"Uh-hu", the ghost got to her feet, all bright eyes and bouncing curls around her crusted skin.

"When we get inside the gate I need you to blink inside immediately and make sure Jomi is not home. Can you do that for me?"

The girl's eyebrows met in a confused little frown. "What if he is home?"

"Then you tell him to leave. Tell him Maddy will scatter his dust to the seven winds if I so much as feel a flicker of him on the property."

The deadpanned serious in her tone sent a cold shiver through the childs shroud, and she sobered immediately under her cold gaze. Head down and hands behind her back, she nodded contritely. Madeira was taking no chances. She was going to make sure she had Savis by the throat before the touchy, belittling Nuit got anywhere near her chaos-loving servant.

"Thanks, kitten." she smiled and brushed a curl back behind her ear. "There's a nice big jar of soulmist in the pantry for you and Raj when we get home, ok?"

Once Savis returned with her purchase, Madeira waved Emma to lead the way and fell in step with the Nuit's slow pace.

The morning was slowly breaking into a crisp early afternoon. Noon rest would be upon them soon. People were bustling about to get the last of their work done before enjoying the quiet time. But Madeira was noticing a phenomenon as she walked with Savis. People on the city's arguably busiest peak were giving the trio a wide berth. Between the ghost and Nuit (whether they knew what Savis was or thought she had some sort of plague) people were going out of their way to give them all the space they could want. A little pool of calm that followed them right to the wrought iron gate of Madeira's acre property.

As instructed, the ghost vanished as soon as they stepped foot on the long cobble path to the front door. The windows of the colourful hexagonal house winked at them as they approached, reflecting the rising sun through the dotting of trees on the property. The grounds were in bad need of tending. The ankle high grass was littered with the red and yellow of shed leaves, and wildflowers pushed up between with great sprays of blue and purple. Never the less the house itself was something to behold. Three stories tall and an elaborate confection of architecture, it rose straight from the ground like a small tower. Whether from the excessive haunting or the budding Architectrix, it gave off a distinct feeling of being watched as the two women climbed the curving stairs to the door.

Madeira pushed one half of the double doors open but stopped Savis with an outstretched palm before she could walk through the threshold.

"Before you come in, please introduce yourself to the house. I insist", she interjected firmly, expecting an derisive scoff or eye-rolling protest. "This is a very special house, and it's listening, I promise you."

Though the house certainly would not understand whatever Savis said, she hoped it could read the intent behind it. She was trying to teach the manor the difference between a guest and a burglar, or whatever could be at its door.

She left the door open and hung her cloak on a coat stand. In the common room the fire lit itself with a sizzle of burning tinder, and a friendly warmth did its best to dispel the constant cold of a haunted house. In her mind Madeira reached clumsily for the thin thread of connection she shared with the house. Not fully sentient, and no more than two weeks old, it could communicate only in vague emotions. But she listened hard, hand caressing the wall, and felt a stir in the connection. It was pleased she was home.
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Savis Maren on October 8th, 2018, 5:54 am

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There was little to rely on aside from the tongue for the Nuit. While the visage of undeath provided her with an inability to tire, her body moved in a slow, shambling pace, lagging behind the quick pace of her thoughts. She was well-accustomed to the lag, and rarely felt a need for the reflexes of the living. Lhavit was a haven, patrolled by young, sturdy Shinya and the laws they served. Savis Maren was indulgent in conversation when it arose, though highly selective in those she deemed passable in conversation. It seemed to the Nuit that this Madeira Craven might just be the sort to breach her defenses. Indeed, the woman seemed to relish in the breach she created, her lips parting to sound out the Nuit's first name. The pleasantry of a first name basis was a thing she'd wanted to avoid, but again the Nuit found herself conceding to... Madeira. When the woman posed her next leading question, the Nuit did not speak again. She nodded in agreement before she moved once more to browse the remainder of the fabrics set along.

The Nuit took ten more chimes within the store. Quickly she arranged with the twins. They cut off square yards into the shape of simple scarves, three in number per square yard she purchased. Twelve such garments were folded and neatly stowed into her backpack. Savis surrendered 14 kina to the twins before she turned on her heel and exited the storefront. When she rejoined with Madeira, Savis Maren bore one scarf around her neck, the sensation of the linen curling about her neck and slide around her shoulders. She seemed to enjoy the presence of it well enough and followed along with the Spiritist. Savis wasn't introduced to the spectral being that led their path towards Madeira's home, but she didn't care for the introduction in the slightest. Instead, she decided to conceal her emotions, inwardly mocking those that moved out of the way in the procession of their approach. The Nuit carried herself with a sort of elegance, her steps taken in slow, but fluid paces as the Spiritist seemed to match her pace, if not her movements entirely. It was a courtesy, she supposed, and opted to keep her thoughts away from the feeling of condescension that matching pace rose within her.

Madeira and her ghost led her to a high, iron gate and with their arrival, the spectral servant vanished entirely. Savis was glad for its absence, by no means wishing to be in the presence of yet another reminder of death and the curse she so narrowly avoided by making her change on the first day of the season. During their walk, Savis' pace had suffered as the silence afforded her time to think. Their arrival brought her sanctuary in the form of busying herself with drinking in the sights of splendor. The manor that Madeira Craven brought her to was a whirlwind of color, but upon closer inspection was laden with the flaws of poor maintenance.

What a queer display. Such a lovely property marred by negligence. What might this tell of Madeira herself? Is she a woman of half measures? she mused, withholding the chuckle that threatened to escape her with some measure of difficulty. When Madeira pushed open a single door, Savis began to step forward. It was only when Madeira spoke that she listened with narrowed, silver eyes hovering at a point between the Spiritist's eyes.

Introduce myself to the house? What sort of non- she began to interject mentally, her features most certainly twisted in a mixture of distaste and perceived disrespect. Savis Maren came to bear witness to marvels that the Lady of the house promised, not to make nice with some inanimate object. However, at her insistence, Savis Maren decided to humor the deluded child. The Nuit's cold stare remained on Madeira Craven as a grayed arm rose to splay itself diagonally along her chest. She bowed, a gesture dripping with sarcasm as she hunched over to a 60 degree angle.

"My name is Savis Maren," she uttered, the tone measured, but clearly laden with heavy skepticism as to the purpose of this exercise. When the strange, delusional Spiritist at last moved to enter the home, the Nuit's eyes were no longer so narrow or filled with resentment. The home certainly had qualities about it that Savis Maren could come to enjoy. The Nuit did not feel the warmth against her cheeks, nor could a flush carry upon her countenance, but she relished in the atmsophere that the Spiritist's home imposed upon her.

The Nuit looked to Madeira Craven with an entirely different expression now. She'd proven herself to be a delusional madwoman, but not a liar. Whatever she believed this house to be capable of was most assuredly beyond the Nuit, but she cast her doubts and trepidation aside, instead focusing fully on the Spiritist and on witnessing the treasures that could be offered by their association.

"This is quite the lovely home, Madeira. What would you show me first, hm?" she asked, her lips curved into a grotesque smile which showed off her black gums and yellowed teeth.

Purchases :
-12 kina for three yards of linen. Added a 2 kina fee to cut the linen into scarves. If it needs to be more, I'll make appropriate adjustments.

Total = -14kina.
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on October 8th, 2018, 8:37 pm

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Savis introduced herself to the house reluctantly, in a cloud of derision and disbelief, but she did introduce herself. Madeira was beginning to think this woman was kept in the mortal realm by the sheer power of the contempt that radiated off her very soul. The Spiritist's lips grew thin and hard to keep from smiling at the thought as she motioned her inside and shut the door to keep out the biting Fall chill.

"This is quite the lovely home, Madeira" Savis spoke, eyes wandering the bright space. "What would you show me first, hm?"

"Thank you", Madeira replied graciously at the compliment, unsure through her black smile whether she was being facetious or genuine. "Why don't I give you the grand tour?" With her best mocking hostess wave she ushered Savis forward towards the back of the first floor, around the wrought iron staircase the rose from the center like a great black sculpture. A wall towards the back sheared off a section of the hexagonal house and acted as a separate room from the rest of the open main floor.

"I'm living here with my kelvic bondmate and two spectral servants." Madeira explained. "As you can imagine much of this house is going unused, but I have great plans for this space."

The door opened into a simple workshop. The curved wall was set with many high windows to let in as much light as possible, and Syna reflected off the array of tools hanging on the opposite wall. The furnishings here were plain, the walls and floor devoid of the art and plush carpets that made the main room so exquisite. The workshop clearly prioritized function over comfort. Two long worktables and a desk were set against the walls, their surfaces scratched and dented by the bite of overzealous tools. The tools themselves were secondhand but clearly loved, their handles darkened by the grip of many hands and their metal blades, teeth and heads gleaming and polished. The air smelt of cedar and bone dust.

"You said you were trying to house a 'tool' in a scarf. Does that mean you work, or dabble in, gadgeteering? This would be very useful to you if that were the case. A true workshop, with space to plan and build and all the tools you'd need to do it." Madeira crossed to the desk, plucking a deep red notebook out of a pigeonhole. "I use it for something very different. Or I plan to, once I get the proper supplies." When she looked back up at the Nuit her eyes were glittering like the blue jewel around her throat. "What do you know of Malediction?"

Currently the people who knew she studied the widely mistrusted practice could be counted on one hand. Of those one of them was missing, the other wouldn't betray her on his life, and the last two feared her wrath more than the gods. This was the first time she had spoken of it openly to strangers, but having the Nuit in her house was making her bold. The curve of her smile was almost hungry as she looked at the Nuit like she could see the bones beneath the layers of clothing, bandages and rotting flesh.

"It's a world magic from the south. Using the remains of animals, monsters... people, you can make charms and talismans of incredible power." she began, laying the much-abused notebook flat on the table for Savis to see. The pages were dark with crowded circles full of strange designs.

"That woman you're wearing", she motioned to the body Savis was housed in with a sweep of her hand. "Did you know her soul left something behind? Maybe you can feel it. A vessel doesn't house something that holy for that long and not absorb some of its power. It lingers in the bones and tissue as dijed, and if you know how to find it, how to tap that space somewhere between the living and the dead..." she lost her train of thought as a memory resurfaced. Ssanya, sitting on her bed in her Alvadas cottage, holding Catherine's skull in her lap. "Malediction givess dead thingss a purpossse., the Dhani was saying in her thick, silibant voice, her fingertips brushing lightly over the gleaming bone. "The purposse is given through a circle. It iss all in the circle. A circle of meaning."

Ssanya, her teacher and first lover, now gone or dead or worse. She shook off the memory before the devastation could show on her face.

"...Anyway, Its a practice I'd relish your help to study. Think about it, what would happen if I maledictated something from a corpse that's still occupied? Would it contain a fingerprint of your own living soul as well? Would it double the power of the charm, or halve it? There are so many questions I have no answers to. If I could trade you for a lock of hair, a tooth, your smallest finger... Perhaps with a small incision on your torso we could extract a rib."

Madeira was lost in the possibilities, her eyes roaming the Nuit's body critically like she was trying to pick the ripest fruit at the market.

"It could be beneficial to you, too. Besides an extra pair of hands trying to keep your body together and helping you when you need to transfer. With time and study, we could make a completely maledictated corpse to carry you. It would take extensive planning and many circles, two tattooed on the soles of the feet, the hands, one on the torso... But with it we could make the body stronger, more resilient, give it power and abilities it didn't have even when alive. An entire body with the power of ancient magic in its very bones."

The thought was incredibly intoxicating. She had never even heard of such a thing being attempted. Yet the idea was way beyond her abilities at the moment. With her teacher gone she had to practice by herself with whatever she had on hand. But having a walking, talking corpse with her would greatly speed up the process. Not only that, the Twuele would never have let a Nuit into the city without a plan for when the creature had to change vessels. Savis had to have access to other human remains.

This was everything Madeira wanted: a supply of incredibly hard to find materials, a rare creature to study, and the added benefit of a highly intelligent mind to work with, even if she had to deal with the prickly, manipulative, and frankly dangerous personality to get to it.

"Do you know magic yourself? Tell me about it. Perhaps I have something else to show you."
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

Postby Savis Maren on October 10th, 2018, 5:23 pm

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The Nuit was in equal parts derisive and curious. Surely, Madeira Craven had much to offer in spite of her odd rituals of invitation, and Savis Maren would discover what those offerings could be. The information that she lived with one mortal and two spirits bound into servitude materialized, but she did not bother to acknowledge the information. Rather, Savis followed the Spiritist into the next room. This one was far different from the last. Gone were the dressings of aristocracy, and Madeira Craven exhibited a room that appealed to the Nuit's more... practical sensibilities. Worktables and the handles tools both small and large... the place had what she required if she was a Gadgeteer. The Animator dabbled in such practice, but often found the lack of tools at her disposal to mar her efforts. Lucis and Lucis might have offered her similar opportunities, but this was not contingent on her performance in a menial profession.

The Nuit listened for the question, the reason Madeira Craven took an interest in her. Instead, she found pandering and an invitation before at last, the pregnant woman let loose a secret. It was a vile, delicious secret that might have dragged Savis' tongue along her lips if she exhibited such displays of emotion. Instead, her expression remained neutral and did not answer Madeira immediately. She allowed the Spiritist to go on, emboldened by being within her home. Savis' hand rose to trail along her own collarbone as she listened to the Spiritist's explanation of inert djed and the soul that dwelled within.

if you know how to find it, how to tap that space somewhere between the living and the dead...

As Madeira Craven lost herself in her own thoughts, Savis mused on the possibilities of this discipline she spoke of. Malediction wasn't an art form she'd learned about on Sahova, instead her servitude to the Projectionist involved her expanding her knowledge of Animation, to create tools for his use. Savis Maren learned much on Sahova, but fiddling with the dead was left to the rituals of transference.

"Ah, so you hope to utilize my bones while I yet use them, Madeira? Unfortunately, that I cannot allow. These shells fall apart when such incisions are made post-entry. I do not trust my abilities sufficiently to willingly create wounds and allow infections to fester..." she trailed off, a visible shudder coursing through her body at the idea of being an immobile shell once again. She quickly steeled herself, absorbing the rest of Madeira's statement. An extra pair of hands might yet be useful.

With time and study, we could make a completely maledicted corpse to carry you.

Savis wondered about this. The Nuit had never attempted Animation on parts already imbued with magic. How would her ichor take to a shell already so suffused with arcane power? The trepidation was stronger than the allure of greater power, but the ideas that Madeira Craven had appealed to her. There was no denying that Savis Maren bore the traits of a world mage. Experimentation and honing of craft were in her nature... the idea of mixing world magicks together appealed to her tremendously.

There was no disguising the hunger Savis Maren wore upon her expression as she allowed Craven to complete her thought and end it with a question of her own. Did she know magic? It seemed silly for the Spiritist to bring her here and spew off about magic if that question was anything but hollow and pandering in nature. Savis allowed easy laughter to escape her lips before she started from the top. She'd address each of Madeira Craven's statements in turn.

"As you said, this idea would take time and study. I, too, am a student of world magic. The idea of placing my body into a foreign entity suffused with wild, activated djed requires a great deal of thought and understanding. This condition of mine is a masterwork of Animation, a soul transfixed to this world and required to shift from shell to shell in order to know eternity," she explained, humming in thought before she took to her next thought. Silver eyes looked over the tools in turn before fingers glided along the surface of a worktable. Savis traced large circles into the surface with her fingertips, her hums continuing before she continued on,

"I will not give you any part of my corpse. Based on your explanation, the traits this soul bear will dwell within the body after I am done with it. This bone magic of yours can come to use then. I have an arrangement with the Twuele and their 'Constellations', an agreement not to slay the inhabitants of Lhavit if my needs are accounted for. In twelve days time I plan to visit the Twuele and undergo the rituals of transference. I've never asked what they did with my last shell. This time, I suppose I won't need to. Come with me, Madeira Craven, and this body can be the test subject for furthering your hypotheses. I am not merely a masterwork of Animation, my dear. I am a practitioner. I will give life to the bones you suffuse with unnatural power. We can see how the disciplines interact with one another," she mused, a grin caught upon her features at last. Savis Maren did not take to Lhavit's three Towers, believing the individuals within close-minded and haughty by the nature of their indulgences. But Madeira Craven? She bore the signs of a madwoman, the very same signs Savis Maren bore within her.

"I know in passing four distinct magicks. Animation is my specialty, and I've been using my time within Lhavit as an opportunity to expand my grip on it and the rest. Projection, Glyphing, and Auristics are the tools at my disposal. Tell me, Madeira, what other magicks might you know?"

The Nuit offered her own secrets first, quite wishing for the woman to follow her lead. She'd earned the Nuit's honesty. Granted, she'd also earned the draining of ire in her voice. Madeira Craven, with her mad ramblings, earned the respect of Savis Maren.
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[The Silk Palace] Musings of Madwomen (Madeira)

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

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Savis refused to sell her parts of the corpse while she was still living in it, which disappointed Madeira greatly. That would have been an incredible point of study, since maledicted remains from a living creature react very differently from a dead one, but she let it go. For now. Perhaps once she had proven herself to the Nuit she could persuade her to reconsider. Asking a stranger to sell their body piece by piece was a bit of a hard sell, she had to admit.

But Madeira was nothing if not observant, and even in her disheartened state she noted the shiver as Savis explained why she could not allow Madeira to have her bones. At first she thought speaking of infections and festering disgusted the Nuit. Yet afterward she seemed slow to recover, and had to make an effort to steel herself. Madeira realized she was wasn't disgusted, but fearful. She feared the sickness in her body.

She listened intently as Savis explained her condition, a "masterwork of Animation, a soul transfixed to this world and required to shift from shell to shell in order to know eternity". Of which she sounded almost proud. There was an offer to accompany her to the Twuele, to collect the empty body once she had acquired the new one. At that Madeira's learned propriety had to wrestle the instinct to gasp with excitement like a little girl. Last was not so much an offer as a simple state of fact: "I will give life to the bones you suffuse with unnatural power". She wanted to combine Animation and Malediction and note the results.

Madeira pulled out a chair from under the nearest work table and sat down. Between her pregnancy and her whirling mind she wasn't sure how much longer she could keep upright.

"I'd be honored to accompany you for your... transference", she began, rearranging her skirts to hide the excited tremble in her hands. "There is much I could learn from the experience. One I doubt many living people get to see. And once your corpse is unoccupied I'd relish the chance to combine our practices."

Savis had four magical disciplines at her disposal: Animation, Projection, Glyphing, and Auristics. projection was the only one Madeira had any real knowledge of, since that was Allister's sole foray into personal magic. Animation was something she knew as nothing but a story told to children, one that always seemed to end up with terrifying Golems destroying their creators. Others in her family knew Auristics and Glyphing, but she was never deemed important or resilient enough to warrant teaching. All of these magics were something she had never imagined interacting with one another, and here was a creature who wielded all four in her skeletal hands.

"Spiritism is my public profession", she began, when Savis's silence told her it was her turn to spill her trade secrets. "Malediction is my new focus. And I've recently stumbled upon Architectrix, a magic that can spark life into inanimate structures. I don't have the disposition for personal magic. I'm afraid I'm not nearly as far reaching as yourself", she admitted, her tongue flitting easily around the half-truth. Her dipping into Hypnotism was a secret she kept close to her heart, and did not divulge.

"But seeing as you're a world mage like myself, I have one more thing to show you." Thankfully the chairs in the workshop were hard and high, so she did not have to embarrass herself with pregnant acrobatics as she regained her feet and led Savis back to the main room. From there she took the winding metal staircase in hand and carefully descended to the basement. The landing below was dark and unpleasantly cold. A thick wooden door set into a stone was was studded with rivets and a strangely purposeful array of thick-headed nails.

Madeira fumbled in her pocket for the key, but with a heavy click of metal and a groan of wood the door opened of its own accord. The Spiritist watched it creep open, then frowned and pulled the door shut again.

"No, we keep this closed", she spoke aloud, clicking the lock back into place. From her connection with the house she wound her displeasure around the words it couldn't yet understand. This was a behavior she had to be careful not to reinforce, no matter how convenient. She didn't want the house opening the basement to anyone without a key.

Finally fishing out the key, she made a show of unlocking the door manually. As she pushed it open herself she sent warm praise to the house for leaving her to do it herself. The house rumbled internally with a vague contentment.

As if to make up for its blunder, the house stirred strongly in the lab. A fire leapt to life in the cold hearth and the scones on the wall lit of their own accord to illuminate the scene. Light sparkled off a large assortment of glass phials and metal tools on a long lab table. A blackboard dominated one wall, and on the other were numerous basins with running water. A tiny library in the corner held journals of mystical writings and a large sixteen-point star was etched onto the middle of the open stone floor.

This was Madeira's pride and joy, and something she would never have dreamed of owning: her own private magic lab. A safe, secluded space to practice things the rest of the world had trouble understanding. Her own little sanctuary.
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