Solo Less Dead Than Before

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role play forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

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.

Moderator: Luminescence

Less Dead Than Before

Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:46 pm

Image
    77th of Fall, 518
"Don't give me attitude, not this early", Madeira huffed as she walked the circumference of her room that topped the Infinity Manor. Golden hair loose down her back, barefoot in her pink silk dressing gown, she was tired and finally ready for sleep. But twitching the drapes closed over one of the six tall, narrow windows set into each of the walls only resulted in the one on the other side of the room flying open again.

"Please," she pleaded, as she tied shut the window overlooking the front yard, where Emma was dancing in the manors first attempts at a garden. Great sprays of blue and purple flowers were set in drunken, whirling patterns like an oil spill in patches all across the property. Unseasonal blooms were pushed up from the ground to only to grow crispy and brittle and die every evening when the frost set in. Yet every morning there were more flowers to replace them. "It'll be light soon, and I need to take the midnight rest. As soon as I'm up I'll tie the drapes back and open the windows all day. How about
that?"

As if in answer the window overlooking the back of the yard swung open with a whoosh of drapery. To add insult to it, the window itself swung open with an ominous rattle of expensive glass. The chill cut through the airy space and set Madeira to shivering in her thin robe.

"House, I swear to gods."

The manor stirred weakly in the connection they shared, and from deep within she felt an insistence. A force of will that didn't have words was adamant she do something, but couldn't explain what.

"What's wrong? If you're playing games with me..." she let the threat hang in the air as she stalked to the open window, pulling her robe tight around her.

Out in the pre-dawn blackness the skinny beech trees reflected starlight on the backs of their silvery leaves. Crickets sang in the long untended grass and bats swooped low to snatch at pale, moon-bright moths. It was a perfectly ordinary night.

Yet that insistence didn't let up. The house was flickering with thought, and she could sense a low burning frustration under its young, scattered will. Frankly, she related. The two could communicate in nothing but emotions, and the house was too young to know how to control them. But giving it the benefit of the doubt, she lingered at the window and shivered, straining to see into the dark.

Soon her eyes adjusted to the darkness, and she could see the sparkling of frost that covered the flower petals and the rustle of grass as small critters fled. Then it got brighter, and the bats became more than just a dark flutter of wings. Then brighter still,
and Madeira looked up in time to see a shooting star fall to earth. A burning white ball broke from the velvet black of Leth's sky and dropped screaming to the ground. Madeira ducked behind the window sill as it hit, and great clods of earth struck the side of the house and flew into her third story window.

WC: 541
Image
x
User avatar
Madeira Craven
long may she reign
 
Posts: 1309
Words: 1100445
Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 8
Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

Less Dead Than Before

Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:47 pm

Image
    Heart in her throat, the Spiritist peeked over the edge of the sill. Not fifty meters from her back door a crater had carved a chunk out of the garden. The manor was awash with grief over the destroyed flowers.

    It didn't take more than a tick for the seasoned Avalad to shake off her shock. Grabbing a set of slippers from her closet, the empty house filled with the clanging of the metal staircase as she thundered down to the bottom floor as fast as her swollen belly would allow. The back door opened for her and she stepped into the crisp fall night to investigate the fallen star.

    The crater was over three feet deep and double that across. She peered into the hole, not quite sure what she was expecting. Inside was a perfectly round stone.

    "What was that!?"

    Madeira didn't flinch as the ghost of Emma Chamelle materialized out of thin air, twisting her nightgown endlessly around her fingers, her doe eyes wide and frightened.

    "I'm not sure, kitten", Madeira soothed the girl with a level tone, never looking from the mysterious stone. Pulling dijed to her tongue she let the reassurance wash over her words, and a suggestion of calm vibrated through the air. "But now that it's landed it cant hurt us”, her hypnotism purred over the weak-willed girl as she stepped into the deep divot in the earth, hands extended for balance.

    "No, don't touch it!" the girl shrieked, hands discarding the edge of her dress to crawl up over her eyes. "It'll melt your hand off!"

    "If it was that hot we'd see the steam", Madeira pointed out reasonably. "And if it was too cold to touch it would have frosted over the dew. We're fine, Em. We're just going to have a look."

    All level reasoning, of course. But it wasn't its physical properties that were sending her heart galloping through her throat. Any Maledictor worth their salt knew you touched nothing without knowing what it was. But the Spiritist in her was whispering investigate in the other ear, and she didn't know which to listen too.

    Eventually curiosity won over caution, and carefully reaching down, her fingers grazed the rough stone and lifted it in her hands. It was slightly larger than her stacked fists and impossibly light. And impossibly cool, considering it fell from the sky as a burning ball of light.

    "Huh", was all she said.

    Emma stepped closer, peering over her shoulder anxiously. "What is it?"

    Equally intrigued by the question, Madeira took the orb back to her workshop with ghost in tow. The rest of the rest was spent at the worktable while Madeira, still in her nightdress, chipped and hammered and sawed and ruined most of her tools simply trying to crack the orb open. No matter what they tried, she couldn't get so much as a chip out off of the mysterious object. Conceding defeat, with the first of the dawn light struggling through the windows, Madeira dragged herself to bed to catch a few chimes of sleep before the rest ended.

    WC:537
    Image
    x
    User avatar
    Madeira Craven
    long may she reign
     
    Posts: 1309
    Words: 1100445
    Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
    Race: Human
    Character sheet
    Storyteller secrets
    Journal
    Plotnotes
    Medals: 8
    Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
    Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
    Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
    One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

    Less Dead Than Before

    Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:49 pm

    Image
      The next morning Madeira dressed simply in her green dress and red cloak. Powder was pressed under her eyes, rouge onto her lips, and her hair was scrapped back and braided into a neat knot at the back of her head. Thus presentable, she affixed her bracer bow onto her wrist beneath her sleeve, gathered her spiritism supplies (including her second bow, ghostnails, and a jar of soulmist dough) and the mysterious stone, and left her little tower of a manor with Emma and a purposeful gait. She had a class later that afternoon where she planned to teach her students how to make souldarts, but before that she had a stop to make. The Observatory ought to have a clue about the mysterious star that landed in her backyard.

      The day was blooming crisp and clean and dry. Syna's light was bright but her warmth hardly touched the windswept peaks. People walked with their heads down, leaning into the sudden drafts of wind that barrelled down from the mountain peaks with the first kiss of Winter. Madeira held her flapping cloak closed and followed, passing first through Zintia and across the spyglass bridge to Tenten. But as she neared the bridge through to Sartu, the foot traffic slowed. People grumbled and more than one took offence to having been shoulder checked or run into, and as the crowd slowly got more irritable and frustrated the traffic all but stopped altogether.

      Thankfully Emma had a way with parting crowds. Madeira stuck close behind and partway through the spirit as the girl spoke up with a shy, quavering voice.

      “Excuse me. Excuse me. Sorry, Excuse me…” If it wasn’t her uncomfortable electric cold of her touch that parted the sea before her, it was the gruesome, leaking sores that was all that was left of her face. Together with Madeira’s strategic use of elbows they arrived on the bridge, and found the problem.

      Rostam, Spiritist of Lhavit, was in the middle of the glass bridge. She could not hear what he was saying, but he was saying it earnestly to the weeping ghost of a woman who stood on its railing. Her arms were wide, her face skyward, her dress hanging heavy around her ankles oblivious to the vicious current of the wind. Rostam was keeping well back, and Madeira could see why. The ghost’s soulmist was a storm in itself. It whipped around her, high and agitated, reaching back like it was trying to find something to hold on to. People scooted by in single file against the opposite railing, nobody daring to go near the grasping trails of her soulmist.

      Emma took one look at the scene and faded away after an anxious look at her mistress. Madeira didn’t blame her. The first time they had met Lhavit’s resident spiritist he had attacked the girl thinking she was a wandering spirit. The confrontation had almost come to blows between him and Allister. Perhaps this was a chance to mend that disastrous first contact. It couldn’t be wrong to check out the competition, and possibly bring them to heel. Madeira hoisted her pack higher over her shoulders, took the railing firmly in hand and walked across the no mans land to meet him.

      WC: 550
      Image
      x
      User avatar
      Madeira Craven
      long may she reign
       
      Posts: 1309
      Words: 1100445
      Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
      Race: Human
      Character sheet
      Storyteller secrets
      Journal
      Plotnotes
      Medals: 8
      Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
      Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
      Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
      One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

      Less Dead Than Before

      Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:50 pm

      Image
        “Need a hand?” she smiled as she reached him.

        The Myrian turned toward the interruption and eyed her coolly, lingering needlessly on her swollen belly and the fake but polite smile.

        “Good morning, princess.” his answering smile was sticky with sarcasm. “I’m sure her highness has better things to do.” Behind him the woman was screaming, her eyes swivelling madly in her head.

        “The blue! The blue, it calls to me! Gods help me, it calls!” she wailed, hands grasping at the sky while her soulmist snaked through the bridge.

        “No doubt”, Madeira pressed on, looking away to pin Rostam with her own pale eyes. With effort she smothered her snideness and reigning in her intense dislike to poke at the opening he left in not immediately sending her away. “I regret that we got off to a bad start, but we hardly need to be friends to work together. This woman is in great distress and blockading an entire peak.” As she spoke her voice voice lowered to a velvet purr and her eyes softened. From deep in her soul her dijed welled into the bed of her tongue and traced her words through the air with a suggestion of warmth. Not a thought, but a feeling, as she twisted the words into something like camaraderie. “I just want to help.”

        And what a show it would be, to have Lhavit’s trusted, renowned spiritist work together with the new professor. It never hurts to be seen with the right people when they save the day.

        Rotsam looked at her, and something wavered in his dark eyes. But as suddenly as she had seen it, it vanished. The Myrian’s expression turned to open, gleeful mockery as he leaned into her space, forcing her to step back.

        “Your silly little tricks don’t work here, princess”, he breathed, and his breath smelled like blood.

        Madeira turned cold. Nobody had seen through her hypnotism before. And how could he have? The thought that he knew she was a hypnotist ran briefly through her mind, but she couldn’t see how that was possible. Struggling to regain composure, she coughed daintily.

        “I resort to tricks when people fail to see reason. Are you really going to refuse my help? Perhaps I should go back and let that irritated, nervous crowd know that Rostam the great has it all under control.” The ghost wailed into the wind, and the Myrian’s eyes flicked to it and back to Madeira with disgust. She had him trapped. To go back would insinuate this was his fault, and the reputation he enjoyed would take a hit. But to accept her help would be a hit to his pride.

        “Fine”, he snapped, his lip curled back like a snarl. “Amanthea Gillroy. She killed herself on this bridge three years ago. Psychosis. She returns every once in a while.

        “Have you tried talking to her?”

        “I cant get close enough.”

        They pondered this separately for a moment.

        “Does she have family? Maybe we can get closer if we were someone she recognizes.”

        “A sister, Mycella, her mother and father…” he paused for a moment, and his words turned measured and even “… and a son. Ryson.”

        WC: 539
        Image
        x
        User avatar
        Madeira Craven
        long may she reign
         
        Posts: 1309
        Words: 1100445
        Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
        Race: Human
        Character sheet
        Storyteller secrets
        Journal
        Plotnotes
        Medals: 8
        Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
        Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
        Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
        One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

        Less Dead Than Before

        Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:51 pm

        Image
          Madeira perked up at the mention.

          “That’s worth a shot. What mother could kill herself while her child watches? At the very least it could slow her down enough to talk her down and get her to follow us somewhere else.”

          Rostam shifted his weight uncomfortably, his gaze fixed on the wailing woman. “I dislike these deceptions and slight-of-hand. I prefer a hands-on approach.” His black eyes finally found hers, and his gaze was cold. “I’m not as an accomplished a liar as you.”

          “I can do it”, she nodded, refusing to rise to the bait. “But I’m not getting near her without a plan.” From within her bag she dragged out her one-handed crossbow and ten bolts. Putting her foot in the stirrup, she showed the Myrian how to notch an arrow. Once the weapon was armed she handed it to him, and she saw his eyes slide over the traces of soulmist in the bolt only he could see. “If things look like they’re going sideways, pull the trigger. It’ll give me time to get away.”

          He held the weapon gingerly, and she suspected he was not a practised bowman, but his eyes were quick and sharp. She didn’t doubt he’d be able to hit a ghost shroud as wildly extended as hers. The Myrian gave a sharp nod. Why did he look so grim?

          “Ok, wish me luck.” she straightened herself out, and from the soulmist permanently imbued in her face brought the name Ryson to the forefront of her mind. She folded herself behind the name, holding it out before her like a shield. Ryson, her soul seemed to bellow, changing the perception of every soul before it by sheer force of will. Only when she was sure the Lie was completely under her control did she venture from behind Rostam and towards the ghost.

          “Mama!” she screamed into the wind at the edge of Mycella’s whipping currents of soulmist. “Mama, come down!” A bitter bite of wind staggered Madeira as it pulled at her cloak. She clutched it tighter as she edged towards the shrieking woman.

          Something like recognition sparked in the woman’s eyes as she saw Madeira, and the weight of her soul weighed down the trailing edges of her mist.

          “My boy. Oh my baby boy. You’ve come back for me”, she moaned, tears glistening on her face. “Baby blue, baby boy, my boy.”

          “I’m here, Mama”, Madeira said tentatively, though her relaxed, easy smile was the ease of a decade of practise. “Come down. Come with me. I need you, Mama.”

          Mycella smiled too, though hers was relief and pain pushed through a veil of tears. “I’m coming, Baby. Mama won’t let you go alone. Baby blue. I can hear you.” She reached towards Madeira, stepping down from the ledge.

          Something wasn’t right. Madeira felt her smile falter, though she clutched tightly to the Lie. She just needed to get her off the bridge, then they could take their time exorcizing her properly. She took courage from Rostam and her bow at her back as she reached out to take her hand and lead her away.

          Mycella laughed through the tears. “I knew you’d come for me. Baby, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Baby Blue, I’ll go with you.”

          Madeira saw what happened next as if in slow motion. The woman moved forward to embrace her, and the touch felt solid against her skin. Then she was driving at her shoulders, and the wind howled through her ears as she fell into the railing. Her weight was off balance with the pregnancy, and she couldn’t steady herself. The railing hit her back, and the ghost was bearing her down. There was no scream in her throat, there wasn’t time. But she saw Rostam. The bow was up, the arrow fired, but too late. Just as she was pulled over the edge by the ghost, for a single endless moment, they locked eyes. And she saw again that grim look in their darkness, and thought: why didn’t he tell me her child was dead?

          If the crowd screamed she didn’t hear it. In her ears was nothing but the roaring of the wind and her heart, burning through all the beats it had left. Allister, her mind whispered, and just the word cut through the panic with a clean slice of pain. Her first wish is that he would live through her death, and find his new Madison. But her heart screamed no. Come with me, it begged. don’t make me walk my next life without you. Her thoughts ran through clear with thoughts of Jomi and Emma, Ssanya and everything she had ever loved. It lingered on her and Allister’s child, who she had doomed to die with her before it had even lived. She thought of everyone she had abandoned, everything she had left undone.

          I can’t die. Not now.

          It was a long way to fall. In ticks the bridge was nothing but a thread of rainbow glass. her cloak choked her as it dragged at her neck, and the blue of the sea and sky twisted and inverted and moved liquidly together as she tumbled. Then there was green, and the grey of mountain stone. Madeira had just enough time to close her eyes before the world went black for good.

          WC: 926
          Image
          x
          User avatar
          Madeira Craven
          long may she reign
           
          Posts: 1309
          Words: 1100445
          Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
          Race: Human
          Character sheet
          Storyteller secrets
          Journal
          Plotnotes
          Medals: 8
          Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
          Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
          Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
          One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

          Less Dead Than Before

          Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:52 pm

          Image
            If this is death, it’s not so bad.

            A tingle of pain was working its way around the back of her head and up and down her spine, but it was more uncomfortable than agonizing. There was a curious sensation of cold air touching her insides. A crackling like dry tinder, an uncomfortable jolt, and suddenly she could feel something hard and jagged beneath her straightened back. The feeling of coolness faded and there was a new tightness to her skin. She was aware of light beyond her eyelids. She blinked them open.

            The Lhavitian afternoon shone down on her, bright and gold. Madeira lifted a hand to shield her eyes against it. Blood dripped onto her face.

            Digging in her elbows, the dead woman lifted herself in her seat. A fox chittered at her in alarm and vanished into a rocky crevasse. She was in some sort of valley between the two great peaks. Towering pines stood sentinel around her, one right above her had half its branches shaved off. She stared into the forrest of the unforgiving and her Avalad mind skimmed neatly over the impossible. I’m alive.

            Her hand flew to her belly. The dress was in tatters, scratched and torn and suck with pine needles like a pincushion, but underneath her body was whole. Scratched and bruised, but whole. As if to confirm it was okay, a flurry of movement emanated from inside her body, and she knew her baby made it too. She stood carefully, arms out for balance, but miraculously, she was okay. Nothing was life threatening. It barely even hurt.

            Her impact had left a crater in the ground, cushioned by the spiked shards of the pine tree she mutilated on the way down. She looked at the crater for a long moment.

            Her rucksack was still on her back. She swung it to the ground and dug inside. The jars were nothing but powder, but the nails and the sturdier knick knacks survived. Yet that wasn’t what she was looking for. From its depths she surfaced with the fallen star, and turned its wholly uninteresting surface around in the golden light. Is this star, who fell from the sky unharmed, and could not be damaged by metal or stone, what saved her?

            Well, maybe saved was not the right answer.

            Madeira looked up, at that thin rainbow thread, and was hit with a realization that she was alone. They thought she was dead. Hell, she had thought she was dead. Nobody was coming to look for a dead woman.

            The sentinel trees pressed close, standing tall above her, and suddenly she was afraid. She survived the fall, but now what?

            She touched the back of her head, and her fingers came away wet with leaking blood. Not an alarming amount, but when she remembered the crackle of her crushed skull she shivered at the memory. With the blood she drew a sixteen point star in her palm. Closing her fist around it, she focused on the moonstone ring on the broken finger she could hardly feel.

            “Emma!”

            The ghost appeared in the blink of an eye. The air shivered and she stood there, the sweet little girl, her companion of two years. That girl look up at her and screamed so hard the birds flocked from the trees.

            “Maddy! Maddy! You fell! You fell and- and!” the ghost was wailing, great pearlescent tears catching on the scabs around her eyes.

            “I know, kitten. I know. It’s okay. I’m okay”, she knelt in front of the girl and clutched her to her chest as she cried, her shroud solid beneath her fingers. The girl was weeping in great big hiccuping sobs of fright and hardly seemed able understand she was being consoled. Madeira brought her dijed forward and into the palms of her hands, twisted the message and pressed its meaning into the long, calming strokes she moved down her back. Calm the dijed whispered, slipping underneath the tidal wave of terror with that simple motion. She had never tried to use hypnotism with touch, but now seemed like a good time to try. Madeira shushed her with words and gentle assurances, and with the help of the persuasive edge of the magic the girl hiccuped her way back to her senses.

            “I need you to be big and brave and listen, okay?” Madeira began slowly, still holding her but leaning back to see her face. “I can’t get back up. You need to come with me until I can find a way back to Lhavit.”

            The girl sniffed mightily and looked skyward, at the tiny speck in the distance that was the Diamond of Kalea.

            “H-How?”

            “See the ocean?” She pointed further down from the valley, to the bay with its sparkling blue waters. “We arrived by ship, do you remember? There’s a port down there, and a trail that goes all the way up the mountain. We have to make for the water and find the port we arrived on.”

            “But it-its so far!

            “It’s the only way. Come on, chin up. We can do this.” she smiled for the girl, though her own gut was rolling with confusion and questions and a dark flash in grim, determined eyes.

            WC: 893
            Image
            x
            User avatar
            Madeira Craven
            long may she reign
             
            Posts: 1309
            Words: 1100445
            Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
            Race: Human
            Character sheet
            Storyteller secrets
            Journal
            Plotnotes
            Medals: 8
            Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
            Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
            Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
            One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

            Less Dead Than Before

            Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:53 pm

            Image
              The first bells of their hike were brutal. Madeira bit back curse after curse as the rocky mountain soil shifted under her thin leather slippers. In nothing but a tattered dress and cloak, her rucksack loaded with useless supplies for the Spiritism class that she should be attending. No doubt her class had heard about the accident by then. It gave her a masochistic pleasure to wonder if they were grieving for her.

              The forest floor was thick with pine needles and the sweet decay of fall. Madeira controlled her descent by holding tight to the branches thrust in her path, leaning away from the downward slope and the forward pull of her belly. Soon her muscles ached and her her legs were shivering beneath her. Noon was long past and the shadows lengthened around them. Syna set early in the mountains. Soon it would be too dark to continue travelling.

              Hunger burned in Madeira’s stomach as the mid and evening meals came and went. She was breathing hard, and watching as the moisture left her body in little puffs of steam.

              “Em, I’m going to have to rest soon. Scout ahead and find us a stream. You’ll be able to hear them from the waterfalls.”

              Emma nodded and vanished, and the woods became just that much less friendly in her absence. They had yet to meet anything bigger than a badger, and thankfully Madeira left the cougars and territorial goats behind in her long, long fall. But the dusk was full of skittering as the small animals ran for cover, and it was making her nervous. Thoughts of wolves and bears and worse beasts filled her imagination and spurned her forward despite her exhaustion. She wasn’t sure she would be able to cheat death a second time. And if the elements didn’t get her, the animals would.

              “Maddy!” a voice called in the distance, much too loud in the rustling woods, and Madeira flinched. Emma materialized in the shadow of a maple tree, grinning with triumph.

              “Did you find something?”

              “Yes!”

              “Good girl! Take me to it.”

              The ghost’s etherial glow led the way as the spiritist made her cautious way further down the valley, testing her steps and climbing carefully over logs and around the obstructions Emma could breeze through. It was well and truly dark by the time they found a babbling little stream at the foot of a short seven foot waterfall.

              Madeira shook back her sleeve and raise her wrist. The bracer still attached to her arm stirred with magic, and her arm burst into flame. The flesh of her arm seemed to sizzle and slough away, the fire burning bright and green around it. With its light Madeira inspected their campsite. It was heavily wooded and choked with shrubs, but at least it kept off the wind. And the water looked clean, as far as she could tell. So exhausted and sore and ripped half to shreds, Madeira approved and immediately set to work making camp.

              Having never made camp in her life, however, she wasn’t sure what such a process entailed. She had gathered fallen and trampled sticks from the nearby woods and struggled to make a proper fire. Piling the wood in the centre of a ring of stone, she flicked her flint and steel at it, showering the greenery with sparks. But nothing took to light, and the ones that did stick only burned smokily for several ticks before vanishing. It was only when she started padding the sticks with dried leaves and nearly wore her flint away did anything catch. She blew and struggled and and after much swearing and coaxing was able to make a proper campfire.

              Her holy flask was dented in the fall, but it was still sealed. She uncorked it and gave the delighted ghost the soulmist inside, and filled it instead with water from the stream. Once she had drunk deeply of the cold mountain stream and was able to shake off the worst of the cold by sitting with the fire, she began to believe that maybe she would actually survive this.

              The soulmist dough was flattened and crusted with congealing egg and dried blood, but it was all she had for sustenance. Years of practise helped her stomach the taste as she swallowed it completely, leaving it to sit undisturbed in her belly rather than transforming it into completed soulmist.

              “Keep watch, kitten. Wake me if something is coming, or if the fire looks like it’s going out, okay?”

              “Okay” the girl nodded, plonking down on the other side of the smokey novice fire and sitting tall, letting Madeira see just how alert she was.

              “Thanks, baby. Goodnight.”

              “Night-night.”


              WC: 795
              Image
              x
              User avatar
              Madeira Craven
              long may she reign
               
              Posts: 1309
              Words: 1100445
              Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
              Race: Human
              Character sheet
              Storyteller secrets
              Journal
              Plotnotes
              Medals: 8
              Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
              Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
              Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
              One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

              Less Dead Than Before

              Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:57 pm

              Image
                78th Fall, 518
              Madeira, wrapped tight in her cloak, curled up facing the low smouldering fire, was awoken at the crack of dawn by the electric touch of a ghost. Emma was on her knees, having crawled halfway through the fire to tap her on the shoulder. Madeira shivered herself awake and looked up to see the girl wasn’t looking at her, but at something behind her.

              “What is it?” Madeira whispered in her croaky morning voice. Emma did not look away.

              “Bear.”

              She could hear it now; a heavy shambling through the undergrowth and deep huffs of air gusting through an wet nose. Madeira tried to keep her own breathing even as she opened her stiff limbs enough to prop herself on her elbows and look behind her. Fifteen meters away some mountainous brown shape was crushing the new growth of the riverbank as it pushed through. Easily seven hundred pounds and with a head larger than Raj’s, it’s black nose the size of her palm was high in the air as it sampled the morning air in great heady gusts. From this close she could see the mats in its shaggy winter growth and smell the musty sour scent of raw earth and spoiled meat that rolled off it in waves.

              If it noticed Madeira and the ghost it didn’t show it. The beast shambled to the stream and lowered its head to lap at the crystal waters.

              Now, Madeira’s mind was roaring as the maw parted and she saw the yellow glint of long dull teeth. Go now!

              Putting her finger to her lips to signal silence to the ghost, Madeira rolled slowly to her feet. The foliage crunched under her, but the beast didn’t look up. Then slowly, ever so slowly, she picked up her bag. The jangle of crushed glass and metal finally got the creatures attention, and it looked up to regard her with two small black eyes.

              Just keep moving, she told herself as sweat became to bead on her palms and roll into the blood crusted wounds at the back of her head and spine. She ran through all she knew about bears, and realized it was next to nothing. Should she hide, climb a tree, run away?

              Scrambling for her dijed, she ripped it forward, pressing the magic into the set of her shoulders and the contact of her eyes. She couldn’t run away and she couldn’t climb in her condition. Hiding was useless this close. All she could do was make herself look like a bigger target and hope she looked unappetizing. She bent the dijed to her will, letting it roll off her body in waves as she stood tall and wide. Backing away slowly around the fire, she stumbled and her eyes flicked up automatically, and she looked it in the eye.

              WC: 482
              Image
              x
              User avatar
              Madeira Craven
              long may she reign
               
              Posts: 1309
              Words: 1100445
              Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
              Race: Human
              Character sheet
              Storyteller secrets
              Journal
              Plotnotes
              Medals: 8
              Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
              Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
              Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
              One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

              Less Dead Than Before

              Postby Madeira Craven on October 21st, 2018, 11:58 pm

              Image
                The bear huffed and charged. River rocks clattered behind it as it took two bounding leaps and cuffed Madeira hard across the head. Neck snapping to the side she went down hard on her shoulder, missing the fire by centimetres. Emma screamed as the beast held the spiritist down with a paw on the chest. Bones crunched like stressed porcelain as it’s weight settled on her ribs.

                Wild flailing of feet and hands, gouging at eyes and screaming for all she was worth, it was nothing but an annoyance to the aggravated beast that was standing over her. Fetid breath ghosted over her as its nose flared to smell at her still open wounds behind her head. The creature shook its great, shaggy head and roared. Then the creature opened its long, heavy jaw, pulled back its lips and mauled into the flesh between her neck and shoulder.

                Was it adrenaline that made the pain seem almost trivial? Even as her screaming was choked with blood and her breath whistled through the hole in her throat she found it within herself to fight back. Her heart was pumping her life away in warm red waves, and that familiar blackness was closing in. But I’m coming back, she told herself. Petch this, I’m coming back.

                It pulled away as she got a lucky shot into its small eyes, only to return for another more vigorous mouthful of her shoulder. Catching the joint in it’s huge teeth she watched with a strange kind of detachment as her entire arm was ripped away with it. Emma was doing her best to pick up stones to lob at it, but she was too weak to do more than chuck pebbles into the hurricane that was the angry bear. And now an amputee, Madeira was too.

                Taking a wild guess, as the jaw dripping with blood moved to make room to rake at her side with its long claws, Madeira fell still. She let the fight drain out of her as blood pooled in the hollow where her shoulder used to be. She could no longer breath, so she didn’t hold her breath, just watched passively as the bear pawed at her ruined throat.

                The bear sense the change and paused, a rumble low its belly. Dipping its head into her body, it ripped another chunk of flesh from her side. Yet it seemed almost cautiously indifferent as the tight blue ball of her womb started pushing at the opening. For another few ticks, yet some of the longest of her life, the bear poked at her ruined body. Deciding that she really was dead, the thing simply swung its muzzle around and wandered off.

                “Maddy? Ma-Maddy?” Emma was inching closer, the fog of her comfortable delusion drifting over her vacant eyes as the child witnessed the carnage. “Maddy, it’s gone. You can get up.”

                Surprisingly, Madeira thought she just might. Even as she laid there, barely hurting, in a puddle of her own visera and blood, she was somehow certain she would be okay.

                She sat up. A thickness in her throat made her cough up all the blood in her lungs, but even then she noticed that the mess was coming from her mouth. She moved to touch her throat, and found it bloody and raw but definitely whole beneath her fingers. The same fingers she had just lost. She looked to her right and found fresh, pink new skin around a new arm.

                “Oh my gods”, she coughed, checking the various wounds on her body and finding the trauma still there, but the gaping wounds had closed and scabbed over. “Thank Dira. On gods, I’m still alive.”

                The top of her rucksack had fallen open when she dropped it. From inside the dull grey of the fallen star looked silver in the morning light.


                WC: 653
                Image
                x
                User avatar
                Madeira Craven
                long may she reign
                 
                Posts: 1309
                Words: 1100445
                Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
                Race: Human
                Character sheet
                Storyteller secrets
                Journal
                Plotnotes
                Medals: 8
                Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
                Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
                Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
                One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

                Less Dead Than Before

                Postby Madeira Craven on October 23rd, 2018, 1:18 am

                Image
                  They had to get out of there before the beast decided she made a tasty snack after all. Madeira struggled to her feet, ignoring Emma's little whimpers of shock. The right side of her body was all but flayed open. Gouges made from teeth and claw travelled from cheek to hip, though none of them were deep enough to be life threatening anymore. Her new arm seemed to have skipped the ground beef treatment. It was as clean and smooth as a babes. Even the two decades worth of soulmist scars on her wrist and palm had vanished.

                  Looking up from her new appendage she saw a strange sight, and the world seemed to tilt ever so slightly. A pink trail in the water led to her own arm, the shattered remains of the shoulder in the crystal clear water and the hand open on the bank, still wearing Jomi's rings. Trying not to think too much about it, she collected her rings, and using her knife sawed off the ruined bits of the shoulder. What was left was a broken humerus and miraculously whole forarm and hand, wrapped in her own flesh. Hacking off a swath of her ruined dress she folded the appendage, wrapped it in the cloth and tucked the whole thing in her bag as Emma looked on with horror.

                  "What are you doing?"

                  "... It feels wrong to think of leaving it to the rot and animals." she lied with none of her usual smoothness and looked away, pretending to be busy throwing the pack over her shoulder and adjusting the weight. There was no need to burden the girl with the thought of what would possibly happen if one were to Maledictate their own severed flesh.

                  Not knowing where the bear had wandered off to, but mutually agreeing it was attracted by the water, they left the stream and continued their trek to the sea.

                  By evening the last of the dough and half of the water was gone. Hunger was making Madeira weak, but desperation was spurning her forward. An experienced woodsman might have made the trip from the valley to the port in a day and a half, and when riding the Okomo from port to city had taken less than a day when they had arrived. But unprepared, inexperienced and unfit, Madeira was expecting another night in the misty peaks.

                  Glancing skyward, she guessed they had a bell or two of daylight left. Emma had been the one to suggest Madeira try to hunt something to eat, but the spiritist shook her head. To hunt would mean wasting precious time they would have been travelling. Besides, what animals that weren't scared off by their bumbling around the forest would definitely be alerted to their presence when Madeira would try to shoot it with her flaming crossbow.

                  She had her non magical crossbow on her the day she fell, she remembered. She had given it to Rotsam. A deep, bubbling anger surfaced as her stomach gave a plaintive rumble.

                  "Emma", Madeira spoke out of the blue after bells of silence punctuated with accidental curse words.

                  Emma did not look back at her mistress, but continued down their chosen path as she answered. "Yah?" much too brightly for their situation. Still, Madeira noticed the girl had stopped looking at her around the same time she came back from the dead a second time. To be fair, she likely wasn't a very pretty sight anymore.

                  "Do you remember what happened after I fell?"

                  WC: 592
                  Image
                  x
                  User avatar
                  Madeira Craven
                  long may she reign
                   
                  Posts: 1309
                  Words: 1100445
                  Joined roleplay: October 11th, 2016, 7:45 pm
                  Race: Human
                  Character sheet
                  Storyteller secrets
                  Journal
                  Plotnotes
                  Medals: 8
                  Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
                  Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
                  Donor (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
                  One Million Words! (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

                  Next

                  Who is online

                  Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests