[The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

Savis Maren and Madeira Craven engage in the Rituals of Transference in the Twuele.

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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 Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

Postby Savis Maren on November 12th, 2018, 3:10 am

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The world around Savi Maren whittled to nothingness as the ritual of transference took on the entirety of her focus. The woman positioned herself leaning over the corpse, dead lips nearly in contact with one another. The barest flicker of silver vomitus dripping into the new shell to be inhabited triggered Madeira's nausea, but Savis caught none of the sight of it. Instead, her mind was rendered asunder as it siphoned from one shell to the other. Memories flashed before the Nuit's eyes, flung back and forth between past and present as instinct entirely took over the process. Savis didn't feel it when Madeira looped an arm around her waist, nor as her weight was supported by the hand at her chest. Savis Maren was gone from that corpse when it sagged against Madeira.

But, there was more to undergo. As with any process, the results weren't immediate. Savis Maren's ichor flowed down the throat and settled within the hollowed chest, the cavity more than spacious enough to house the liquid that consisted of Savis' spirit. The spirit, unlike the body, was strong and she felt her astral body take hold, stemming from that ichor and manifesting throughout the physical. The Nuit's consciousness flourished within the new, blonde shell and Savis didn't stir immediately. Fatigue set in deep wrinkles throughout her and she didn't hear Madeira for the first two shouts for her attention. It was with the third that Savis Maren at last found herself stirring from the dreamless sleep of her transference. Eyes flew open as she tipped her head back to look at the upside-down form of Madeira Craven desperately gripping at her former shell, which the Nuit's eyes poured over with some measure of curiosity.

Savis Maren's current shell lay in a degree of nudity on the table, her body covered with some bandages but her modesty certainly was not intact. However long she languished in undeath, the notions of personal modesty persisted. The Nuit rose on the table, swinging her legs over the edge of the mobile bed that the corpse was brought in with. Savis did not have a full connection with this body just yet, and felt it awkward and uncomfortable to move in the moment. She rose, with some difficulty, to her feet, and steered herself towards the set of clothing provided by the Twuele. If she looked on it properly, it was the same dark, drab attire she'd visited the Twuele in the first time. Washed and purified of parasites and rotted offal, the attire was more then suitable.

Savis Maren threw the shirt over her head, refusing assistance if it was offered and allowing herself to cover her chest from the woman's eyes. She didn't bother ridding herself of the paint and instead threw each of her legs through the length of her black pants, ignoring the intricacies of undergarments for the moment. When she regained her strength, she'd re-dress herself, but the idea that Madeira Craven would continue to face a nude corpse did not appeal to the undead's sensibilities. When, at last, the Nuit was prepared, she sat on that same bed again, her fingers smoothing out the fabric of her shirt in an idle motion as she sought to properly synchronize herself with the corpse shell provided to her.

"As with everything, Madeira... it takes time. You look quite the sight," she offered the Spiritist, the barest flicker of a chuckle escaping her. Savis Maren did not yet possess the telltale signs of her ilk. Her body very much resembled a corpse, and when she stood entirely still, perhaps she'd be mistaken for it. The human corpse's eyes still retained their light blue hues, the bags beneath those orbs merely shadows of what they'd become. Savis' movements were clumsy and weak, and the Nuit was remiss to test her efforts further.

Instead, Savis looked over Madeira Craven. While her bodily movements were weak and unsure, her light blue eyes were sharp and scrutinizing. The Spiritist certainly did look quite the size. Vestiges of nausea were set upon her features, combined with a sharp worry that creased her features. How lovely, she mused in the confines and safety of her own mind. It was, despite her frigid nature, quite nice to be cared for by someone. A friend, she repeated, her mind whirling back to their first encounter, and to the letter she'd written to Craven earlier this same day.

Fascinating, she thought, her lips curving into a smile. At last, chimes later, her body began to adopt the signs of habitation by her undead 'curse'. Her lips began to darken, quickly taking to the tone of soot. The bags beneath her eyes followed, growing deeper and more pronounced as the remainder of her skin paled entirely. Her countenance took to that graying tinge as the color left Savis Maren's eyes entirely. Those orbs turned pale white before the presence of her soul burst forth. Rendered silver, Savis Maren raised a hand to traverse her short, blonde curls as teeth played at the blackened lips with a measure of intrigue. She'd catch her reflection off one of the medical mirrors kept in the room, winking back at that mirror before she looked between Madeira Craven and the corpse.

"In a few chimes, I believe I'll be ready to leave. I'm not sure if you'd prefer to preserve the corpse now while we have access to this space? Or if you'd prefer to do so in the privacy of your home? It's entirely up to you."

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Last edited by Savis Maren on November 19th, 2018, 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on November 18th, 2018, 7:02 pm

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The blonde corpse opened her eyes, and Madeira sagged into the table.
Relief flared through her chest, a blasted heat she could feel
straight to her frigid fingers.

"Gods, you scared me", she admonished the corpse as it swung its legs
off the table and stood. No, not a corpse, Savis. As Madeira got over
her shock she watched the blonde dress, and there was no shame in her
eyes, only a kind of wrong-footed bewilderment. They had just gutted
that woman to the bone, laid her out on a table to have every inch of
her salted and burned. Modesty at this point was hilariously quaint
when they knew her body better than the living woman ever could. But
Madeira was starting to realize that Savis cared about appearance.
That's why she wore perfume and cared about fashion just as much as
function. Modesty of the body mattered only when the body was hers.

Madeira looked away, to give her the privacy she obviously sought, and
her eyes inevitably fell to the black-haired corpse she was still
holding.

Oh, this was weird. She could get over the sudden physical change of
the woman she knew as Savis Maren. Madeira herself was not new to the
sensation. When she had lived in Alvadas she had spent a few bells as
an Akalak, once sprouted multiple arms like the Eypharian, and had
even spent an entire week as a man. But those changes typically didn't
involve shedding her former body. She tipped back the corpses head,
and it was Savis. The same thin cheeks and shapely mouth and
black hair she had introduced herself to. When she looked back to the
freshly dressed blonde, who had pulled herself onto the end of the
table to sit while she tested the flex of her fingers, she saw a
stranger.

"As with everything, Madeira... it takes time. You look quite the
sight," the blonde chuckled at her. Indeed, she realized she must. Her
face was pale with fright and shiny with the sheen of sweat her nausea
brought on, her knuckles white and hard around the corpse she was
still holding up. She couldn't find it in herself to laugh, but she
managed a small smile.

"You look lovely, Savis."

Even as she said it the corpse's eyes were turning from a soft blue to
a cloudy silver. Fluid was filling black bags beneath her eyes, what
was left of her rosy skin turned to a papery, molted grey, and a a
creeping black was spidering across the mucus membrane in her lips and
eyes. Slowly, she was beginning to look less like the blonde woman
they had opened on the table and more like a Nuit.

Savis was admiring her new reflection in a medical mirror before
turning to the Spiritist. Did she want to preserve the corpse here,
she asked, or in the privacy of her home?

Madeira glanced at the door, then back to Savis. The Nuit looked weak
and frail, her movements sluggish and her voice a mumble of numb lips.
She should take her home and look after her. But... She glanced back
at the corpse in her arms, then back at the door. The room was set up
for this visceral business already, and who would dare disturb a Nuit
when they knew what gruesome business she was doing?

"Sit", she told the Savis bluntly, huffing as she struggled to lift
the dead weight onto the table. "Recover. We'll do this here."

She laid the old corpse on her back, legs together and arms at her
sides. Her brittle hair was falling out in clumps with the rough
treatment, and there were still tiny drops of icor in her mouth.
Madeira pinched her arm. The flesh was soft beneath her fingers, not the rubbery texture of the freshly dressed corpse, and
the skin retained an imprint of her thumb and forefinger. She must be
at least a little bit rotted, she assumed, mostly out of guesswork.
She usually looked to butchers or field dressing hunters to get her
skin and bones for Malediction. She had never done the task herself,
at least not on something this big and complex

Well, first thing first. She placed a hand over the corpses sightless
eyes and bowed her head to pray.

"Blessed Dira, beloved goddess, warden of death, we thank this woman
for her baring Savis while she walks this life. We honor her in the
magic we create from her bones, and honor you in the service of her
corpse. Shall she find peace in her rest, and happiness in her next
life."

She sighed through her nose as she blinked herself back to the
present. Picking a long scalpel from the medical tray, Madeira began
the process of undressing the corpse and cutting through the many
bandages wrapped around her body.

"Sorry", she mumbled uncertainly to the Nuit behind her as she laid
the corpse completely bare.

The old Savis was skinnier than she had assumed. Even skinner than the blonde corpse she was wearing now. Did a body lose mass with time? Was it a symptom of rot, or of the stresses put on a body after it was dead? Her rips were outlined clearly against the soft, pliable skin. Her thighs were thirty centimetres apart at their widest point, and look hardly strong enough to climb the stairs to get to the tower room. A swell of pity rose in the Spiritist. This body had been used and used again, and now it would go through one more transformation, to tap into the dijed it had collected on its long journey carrying two souls.

Sweeping the black hair from the forehead, she used the scalpel to scrape along the scalp like a razor, collecting the long black hair and tying it into one large knot to keep the lock together. Next she found the biggest knife in the room, a twenty centimetre blade with a short handle. The end of the blade curved backwards from the blunt side, to make a strange reverse sickle kind of instrument. She didn't know what it was called, but she remembered seeing one before as an amputation knife.

"You don't have to watch, Savis", she said, not looking at the Nuit as she judged at which joint she should cut first. She decided that the knee would be the easiest starting point, and the most forgiving, as there was another one should her inexperienced hands were to break the first.

The first cut was strangely easy, the skin and muscle falling away from the point of the knife. It was when she hit the joint that the work began. Standing on her toes, her heavy body putting all its weight into the handle, she worked with sawing motions through the tough connective tissue in the joints. There was no blood, only a foul smell and the ooze of leftover embalming fluid as she finally cut through the leg. She made the same work of the ankle joint, then made a long lateral slice up the calf, like she had seen Raeyn do when field dressing, and peeled back as much of the flesh and skin as she could. What was left was an oily, yellowish tibia with chips in its joints and the last of the greyish flesh still clinging to it.

She did this long process with each of the limbs in turn, then the scull, then opened the torso and collected the rib cage (mostly intact) and the many joints of the spine. By the end Madeira was dizzy with hunger and a need for water, with blisters inside her gloves and sweat on her neck. All the collected bones were deposited in the trunk she brought with her. The flesh and skin were deposited into the buckets now brimming with the discarded offal of both bodies.

Throwing off her gloves, Madeira washed her hands and wiped the sweat from her neck with a damp cloth.

"We should go, before something thinks to check on us. How are you feeling, Savis?"

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[The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

Postby Savis Maren on November 19th, 2018, 4:13 am

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Savis Maren listened to the admonishment without much of a reaction, though bewilderment was certainly present within her mind as she considered the Spiritist. Patience was a virtue taught to the undead by the magic that both created her and captured her utmost fascinations. The processes that Savis took to the most took bells or even days, time passing in flurries of activity intermingled with bells upon bells of nothingness. As the Nuit dressed herself, she watched Madeira look away and was despite herself quite grateful for the modicum of privacy. The corpse she wore now was hers, the physical extension of self and a state that was more or less fluid to the undead being. After all, there was no telling what she'd be in a season's time. The Nuit caught the Spiritist tipping back the head of the shell the undead vacated, the curiosity in her gaze apparent.

Is she considering the ramifications of the transference? Or looking over the body for that curious bone magic of hers? It's quite difficult to ascertain just what she's thinking, she mused in silence before speaking aloud. Then, Madeira Craven said something the Nuit never expected to hear.

You look lovely, Savis. The off-handed compliment was accompanied by the undead's adaption to her physical shell. Her eyes shone with the silvery ichor of her soul, her bags laden with fluid as the Spiritist deigned to give Savis an order. The Nuit was quite struck by the command. She merely nodded her head and vacated the hospital bed, allowing Madeira to begin the process they'd entailed in their previous meeting. The corpse needed to be cleansed of flesh and viscera. Though much of the work was already done, with internal organs out of the way, cleaving through musculature and retrieving bone was quite the spectacle in it of itself. Savis Maren pulled her fresh corpse to the nearest chair, throwing herself into it as she listened to Madeira utter a second prayer.

A spectacle, indeed. Praying to the Goddess of death before defiling corpses with arcane practice. Exactly what is Dira? What does she stand for? she wondered as the Spiritst deigned talk about peace and rest, along with happiness in the next life. The whole thing sounded like rubbish, but Savis Maren allowed an old adage to manifest within her, one that comforted her in the times that she associated with mages that were so very different in philosophy from herself.

Genius accepts genius unconditionally, she reasoned. And though the organ was cold, unbeating and frankly in a trash can several meters away she knew it in her heart to be true. Savis always saw religion as a waste of her time. The Gods did not oft look favorably upon the dead and damned, and her defiance of Dira in particular did not endear her to the idea of loving that goddess. In her time in Lhavit, she'd visited the Temple of the Moon and prayed to Leth, but even that was a self-serving, placating gesture on the night of the Moon Festival. She'd not returned, nor had she prayed to Leth any further.

The Nuit allowed the musings on religion to pass without further incident, Instead, she watched with a measure of curiosity as her prior corpse was mutilated by the very same woman who'd just prayed to Dira not once, but twice. The hypocrisy of the actions didn't quite escape Savis, but she didn't wish to draw Madeira's ire. So, she kept silent and instead chuckled as her words rang out through the room. Didn't have to watch? Surely she did. There was no spectacle to consume her attention otherwise.

"Oh? But who'll proceed to admonish you for your wrongdoings if I don't?" she asked, a hint of laughter still in her dulcet tones as she focused on the matter that required her attention the most. Fingers set into twitches, pattering along the surface of her chair's arm rests. She wanted to feel if her astral body was adapting properly to the fresh corpse. Inevitably, it'd fall into place, but what harm was there in testing it more and more? The twitches turned to long strokes of her digits along smooth wood. She shifted back and forth in her seat for several chimes as Madeira Craven cleaved flesh from bone, exposing a yellowed tibia to the environment.

The Nuit allowed her attention to fall on that bone, and she noticed immediately the chips in the joints. When Madeira spoke about Malediction, she mentioned the future, implying that the Spiritist either wasn't capable or willing to utilize her strange bone magic on these bones just yet. Savis Maren, however, held no such limitations on her own magic. Rather than pay attention to Craven's ministrations, she allowed herself to muse on her own future and the future of those bones that the Spiritist was cleaving from that corpse.

Our plan was to utilize Animation and Malediction in conjunction. She asked about taking fingers or hairs from my inhabited body to see what might happen. So, it stands to reason that she's unsure of what might transpire. That leaves me perfectly capable of using Animation on it, first. What modifications might need making... she thought, and at last allowed herself to rise from her seat and approach the table. The Nuit didn't touch anything, looking over the bones one by one before chancing the usage of djed. She pulled at the strings of djed deep within her core. She wrapped her eyes in it before allowing the Sight to take hold.

Pale, silvery eyes admired the bones she'd once used for locomotion, the faint chips at the joints somewhat worrying, but she could always suggest to Madeira that they cast the joints with metal to strengthen them.

Perhaps a visit to a blacksmith is in order? What we're doing is odd, but no one seems to have any qualms in the Twuele about me doing my transferences. Surely the smith wouldn't mind, particularly if kina was involved, she thought. Bells passed in the dimly lit room, the passage of time irrelevant to the Nuit, but it looked as if the Spiritist was quite affected, both physically and mentally by the ordeal. She's a grown woman. She knew what she signed up for, she assured herself as the sweeping Sight cast over the bones. She looked into them, seeing the liquid marrow within, the chips in the material and wondered if it might be best to puncture the bone and allow the festering liquid to leave. She had no use for it, after all. Looking back to Madeira Craven, the Sight dissipated into nothingness, Savis nodding in agreement with the Spiritist.

"I feel fine. Weary, but that's nothing new for me. You, however, need to rest, my dear. Let's get out of here," she agreed, clasping the Spiritist on the shoulder with a bony hand before closing the trunk Madeira brought with her. Satisfied with the events that transpired, the same hand rose through her thin blonde hair before she asked,

"I'll join you in your home for a short time, if you don't mind. Once you're fed and watered in the privacy of home, there's a few matters I'd like to discuss with you. About this... acquisition of ours."

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[The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on November 19th, 2018, 8:08 pm

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    Savis wanted to join her at the Infinity Manor, to discuss matters and her 'acquisition' of theirs. Madeira nodded her agreement.

    "It will soon be your home as well, Savis, you hardly have to ask permission. You're right, though; we have much to discuss." The trunk was lighter than she expected. The bones rattled hollowly inside as she hefted it into her arms. "But I'm exhausted and pregnant and very mortal, give me a moment to tend to my needs and then I'll be all yours."

    They collected Sil and their various belongings and descended the spiral stairs to the floors below. It was dark by the time they exited the enormous tower. Perhaps the midnight rest was upon them, for the streets were slow and quiet. Stars glittered above them and the Fall wind was biting cold, snapping at Madeira's cloak like a hungry dog.

    It was quick work to summon Emma, and the little girl was happy to lead the pair back to the Manor through the sleepy streets. And soon enough the Shinyama skybridge was behind them and the tall wrought iron gate of the expansive Manor grounds was before them. Madeira whistled through her teeth and the gate swung open of its own accord. Beyond was a field of severely out of season blue and purple wildflowers blanketed in great sweeping spirals across the grass, every single one beautiful and glassy and dying of frost. The Manors first attempts at gardening had not been going well for some time.

    Emma blinked away to chase the black glimmer of Spooks through the grass, and the two woman entered alone through the front doors.

    Depositing her burdens just inside, Madeira pressed her palms into the small of her back and arches backwards with a groan. Her bones realigned themselves with a snap like dry tinder.

    "Allow me to be human for a moment", she beseeched Savis wryly. "Make yourself at home, I won't be long. If you're going to poke around the workshop don't touch anything organic." That was obvious advice when you were inside the home of anyone who practiced Malediction, but it bared repeating.

    As she ascended the iron stairs the house stirred itself and hummed its greeting. A wordless flurry of affection and contentment spiraled around her in a way she took to mean 'hello'.

    "You're flowers looked lovely tonight", she told it fondly, caressing the banister before following the round second story hallway to the bathing room. With Savis waiting downstairs she only gave herself time for a quick sluicing with water as scalding as she could bear. Then leaving her soiled clothes where they lay she climbed another flight in a towel and pushed open the trap door to her room.

    One of the six windows was open by a crack, with the long drape fluttering minutely in the fresh air it brought inside. While in the hearth a fire was smoldering among fresh logs, and its warmth was reaching comforting fingers into all six corners. The lamps on the walls were burning even and dusky, the whole space illuminated but not over bright. It was exactly how she enjoyed her room to be. Madeira fought the urge to roll her eyes.

    "Don't think I have forgotten your stunt this morning", she admonished, even as she dropped the towel and enjoyed the warmth of the fire on her bare skin. "We are having a long talk tomorrow about what you let in. Has Jomi been by?"

    The house couldn't understand all the words, but it could fill in the blanks with the emotions it could feel within her. From it Madeira got no words, but felt a murmur of contriteness and a rumble of uneasy relief. It was sorry for what it did, and it had not seen Jomi that day. The manor and her oldest resident spirit had a slight falling out. Her house had begun to fear the destructive temper of her ghost, and neither would tell her why.

    Naked, with her closet open before her, she considered dressing in proper clothing to talk to the Nuit but reached for her nightgown instead. Savis might have strange notions about modesty, but the Spiritist had seen both the woman's bodies naked to the bone and her twisted, uncovered soul besides. She won't quibble over the judgmental Nuit seeing her in her sleepwear.

    She covered the slip of pink silk with a matching robe tied at the waist, brushed out her long, tangled hair so it laid flat along her back, and returned downstairs.

    "Did you have something in mind for this woman's bones?" she called to Savis as she returned to the greatroom and padded into the kitchen to make her refreshment. She filled a kettle with water from the hand pumped sink and hung it over the kitchen fire. Then she carved herself a generous slice of black bread from a loaf in the bread box and speared it on a toasting fork.

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    [The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

    Postby Savis Maren on November 20th, 2018, 6:40 am

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    Savis Maren was very glad that the two mages did not need to clean after themselves. Of course, they did their part, but it was the prerogative of the Shinya or the Constellations or whomever it was that owned these halls to sweep up the viscera and cleanse the room of the gruesome carnage they left behind. The Nuit, however, was not an unmerciful soul. She placed three kina on the hospital bed behind her. A gratuity for the poor, unfortunate soul that needed to spend their entire night scrubbing and purifying the room in their wake. Savis nodded in understanding, having made mention specifically of Madeira's needs as a mortal. There was little pressing them for time, and Savis herself could spend bells in waiting so long as she had a means of occupying her attention. Which of course, she always did. The prolific Savis Maren didn't expect the traits of authorship to stem from her studies, but they had and it was never boring for her to review.

    It's how I spend the majority of my time, she reasoned as the pair of them at last began the process of moving out of the Twuele. The Nuit's step was sluggish even by her standards. Flesh obeyed her command, but almost two ticks after she initiated them. She allowed herself to step forward and follow Madeira Craven, but her step was slow, her arms gripping at her legs with the intent of forcing herself forward. The initial bells after a change were the most unpleasant of all.

    The Nuit ignored her surroundings, following Madeira Craven, using her as a guiding post to keep her shifting pace and unbalanced step in line. The pair completed their trek with the aid of Emma, who led them forth in a sort of line. Once the trio made it to Infinity Manor, Savis Maren was far too consumed by the relief of a completed journey to make any sort of note of the environment. The trio scaled the stairs and when Madeira Craven asked her for a moment, the Nuit felt she needed one, herself. She nodded, dismissing her attention from the Spiritist as she wandered off to make herself at home.

    Savis Maren settled onto the floor, extending her legs in front of her as she closed her mind and sought to bury the sensations of the world under the utter nothingness of oblivion. The Nuit allowed her senses to trace along the cavity that housed her soul, feeling the tugging tendrils of her astral body and the haphazard connections throughout her physical shell. Of course, the astral body would take root properly given time, but the first day was the hardest, and she knew very well just how vulnerable she was.

    Fortunately, I'm in the presence of friend...s, she mused, considering Emma and Infinity Manor herself as allies under the umbrella alliance she forged with the Spiritist. The dismissing of the senses and delving deeper into her psyche allowed the Nuit an opportunity to root herself more firmly into the shell she bore. She felt her senses sharpen, the sounds of the manor sifting in and out of her awareness. She felt the brisk temperature on her flesh, and she noted immediately that her sense of touch was very much alive in this form.

    Fascinating, she noted, having separated from the sense to a great extent in the Summer and for most of the Fall. She blamed the absence of the sense on the effects of her exposure to wild djed, and considered it lost for eternity. Not so, she mused, curious about the implications of it all. Perhaps the matter merited a visit to Corin Row, to learn more about the nature of wild djed from a man she'd listened to a lecture about the topic from.

    But, never mind that for now. There are more important matters to consider. Madeira might be back soon, and it wouldn't do to stay on the ground. Savis maneueuvered her fallen form, placing herself into a chair when at last Madeira Craven's footsteps began to echo throughout the large manor. When she entered the room to join the Nuit, Savis immediately took note of the night wear she had on. She hid away the silent judgments, for she could empathize with the Spiritist.

    The pair of them had a very long day, filled with carnage and fatigue on both sides of mortality. The Nuit allowed Madeira to ask her question from the kitchen. She prepared a meal for herself, of sorts. Savis Maren couldn't tell what it was, nor did she care. Instead, she debated the phrasing of her answer before she spoke out for the Spiritist to hear from the adjacent room,

    "Have you ever had the feeling with magic that a new realm of power is at the precipice of being discovered, Madeira? I've had the feeling... more and more lately. I've felt my understanding of the Twin Circles wax in my time in this city. If I preserve these bones and then ask a discrete, knowledgeable individual to cast the joints in metal... then I can make something truly spectacular. That's my intention. After I make that effort... what you do with your own Malediction circles on it will be a fascinating experiment into combining magicks."

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    [The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

    Postby Madeira Craven on November 20th, 2018, 9:14 pm

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      Madeira set the fork in the rack over the fire before retrieving tin from the pantry and a mug from the cupboard. The scent of Lhavit's famous floral tea felt more cleansing than her scalding shower. It flushed through her senses, wiping away the memory of decay until she felt clean from the inside out.

      "Have you ever had the feeling with magic that a new realm of power is at the precipice of being discovered, Madeira?" Savis asked from the sitting area. Yes, she wanted to say. I know exactly what you mean. She had been feeling the same about her only personal magic, Hypnotism. There was this feeling like you were outgrowing what you know, that you were soon going to be ready to push yourself and discover something more. "I've had the feeling... more and more lately. I've felt my understanding of the Twin Circles wax in my time in this city. If I preserve these bones and then ask a discrete, knowledgeable individual to cast the joints in metal... then I can make something truly spectacular. That's my intention. After I make that effort... what you do with your own Malediction circles on it will be a fascinating experiment into combining magic's."

      Madeira paused in the act of lifting the whistling kettle off its hook. The house, reacting to her astonishment, coalesced in the kitchen, causing the lights to flicker as it fled to its creator in a kind of confused and anxious flutter.

      "You're going to... animate her entire skeleton? Reanimate her body?" A smell of burning toast and a string of muffled curses followed as the Spiritist was forced to save her meal from the hungry lick of flame. She silently gentled the house, sending it soft reassurances even as her mind was whipping in chaos in her head and she sucked at the sting in her burned fingers. Could something that big, that complex, even be done?, she wondered. She had seen how much effort it took to give simple verbal commands to a safety device, what kind of time and resources and knowledge would it take to make something as complex as a human skeleton move and act and have specific function?

      "That's amazing", she hummed, a smile splitting her tired face. She joined the Nuit in the sitting room, sitting across a low coffee table with her tea and a singed piece of toast. "I have no doubt you will find a way to do it. Trust that instinct your magic is giving you. Though I have qualms about you outsourcing the construction of these obviously human remains that I think we might have stolen", she continued pointedly over the rim of her teacup. "Not everybody would be thrilled to have a Nuit hand them human bones and ask for favours. Who is this discreet, knowledgeable person, and why do you trust them?"

      Truthfully, her heart didn't have it in her to question Savis' decision. Her mind certainly did. It was poking holes in the whole idea almost the moment it was made. What kind of purpose would something like this serve? What kind of social repercussions would they experience if someone were to find it? Is this really the best use of her time when her time was running out and her baby was on the way? But her heart sang with the possibilities and discoveries that came with crossing the thresholds of two world magics.

      "But gods, to maledict an entire skeleton.." she murmured almost to herself. "A skeleton from a complex, sentient creature that has seen more than one soul? I might never have this opportunity again", she worried her lip between her teeth, staring into the dregs of her teacup as she mapped out the process in her head. "That's no small task, either. I'll need to know who those bones belonged to, investigate her life, talk to her family... I'll need to take your soul into account too. I'll need to plan these circles very, very carefully. Oh, but think of it, something as unpredictable as Malediction aligned with something as ridged as Animation! What would happen?"

      That childish glee was back in her eyes, the kind that loved magic and its possibilities. It was tempered by the caution of a professional mage and the realities of the possibly dangerous experiment they were attempting, but it shined through regardless. That wicked light found Savis, sitting off kilter and uncomfortable in her new body, and found the madness in her too. This is what they talked about when they decided to join their forces. This was everything they had hoped for.

      "We need a plan." Madeira's hands slapped together, startling the blue pigeon in its golden cage in the corner of the room. She stood and crossed the room, shouldering open the workshop as she mumbled to herself. When she returned it was with her red book, its pages thick with the scribblings of a master spiritist and a beginner maledictor. She joined Savis in an adjacent chair.

      "We can keep the bones here.", she began, flipping to a fresh page. "Have them soak in a chemical bath and boiled. You're better at embalming, so I'll leave it to you to start the process but I'll keep a watch over it for you."

      She wrote the first step out at the top of the new page.

      "For my part I'll talk to the Constellations, see if they have any records of this woman. Then I'll start my investigation into her life and death. This will take a long time, I'll need to be thorough. And perfecting the circles themselves will take even more time. You should do what you need to do to finish its animation before we actually carve in and activate the circles. We'll want to handle the bones as little as possible once their active, just to be safe. God forbid I activate a curse, but anything is possible with something this irregular and complex."

      She tapped the ink stick to her mouth in thought, and a bloom of black creeped over the pink of her thin lips.

      "What will you do, Savis? How do you need to prepare? Who will your source be?"

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      [The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

      Postby Savis Maren on November 21st, 2018, 7:29 am

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      The Nuit had every excuse to leave Wheels at home. When she'd visited the Silk Palace, it was a case of personal privacy. The automaton attracted a great deal of attention, and it was ill-suited to small spaces. Rather than subject herself to a spectacle, she elected to leave it in her home. The reasoning behind leaving it for the transference was the fact that the two mages needed to travel up six flights of stairs to get here. Even the idea of one or two stories, like she'd need to climb in Madeira's home with the automaton was a true ordeal.

      Wheels has... wheels. Those are the limitations of automatons. You don't see Lucis' animations helping out in the store for a reason, she affirmed. All objects had their uses, and she realized that there was truly something spectacular about the anatomy of locomotion. She'd studied some of the principles of motion in her spare time, and she found her thoughts moving to it more and more often as she performed her tasks.

      "You seem surprised," the Nuit teased. It was such a delicious thing to hear the astonishment in the voices of others. While Savis sought sanctuary from those that could never understand the intricacies of craft, she was right to confide in the Spiritist. She and Savis could both relate to the marvels presented to a mage with their defiance of the natural world.

      "The platform we created is an intelligent device, but it has hard limits. Animation is only as powerful as the limits the structure of an automaton possesses. A platform is rigid and inflexible. A wheeled instrument, for example, is quite useful. A gadgeteered limb can serve a purpose, as well. But the mortal form? The shape a mortal knows best? The movements are identical. The habits are identical. I'm not so concerned about the scale of the Animation as I am imbuing it with... more," she clarified before she moved on to address Madeira's concerns.

      They were, of course, valid. The Nuit was growing more and more concerned about it, her ability to properly formulate her ideas somewhat muddled by the utter scope of what she intended to imbue. More directives, greater complexity. Savis Maren created Wheels, a gadget with movements she could never re-create. She felt confident that she could do more. Be more. And she'd not let something as reasonable as pure logic restrict her from advancing.

      Ambition colored the Nuit's words, her silver eyes narrowed as she listened to Madeira Craven's own ambitions emerge from her, in turn. The two understood each other, and could even support one another in those goals. An alliance, she thought to herself, quite bemused at the notion of it all. The formation of it so suddenly. And yet, it seemed appropriate.

      "You may be right. I might have spoken with haste. I'll figure it out myself," she countered, utterly adamant in her convictions to move forward. When she listened to Madeira's own plans, she realized that the Spiritist thought through her intentions far more succinctly. Patience was present in every syllable she spoke, and while the idea of initiating curses with an automaton was something she wasn't particularly excited for, she also reasoned, unlike Craven, that they'd find another opportunity should the need manifest itself.

      We got this one out no problem, after all, she reasoned before the Nuit allowed her tempers to deflate. She despised the notion of being corrected, but she allowed her quiet rage to settle in her bones.

      "Perhaps instead of looking for an elaborate solution, simpler ones are needed. I'll look into it and begin my work as soon as I'm able."

      For the part of cleansing the corpse, she agreed fully that it fell to the Nuit to tend to the bones. After all, she was far too used to the humdrum upkeep of the human skeleton.

      What will you do, Savis? How do you need to prepare? Who will your source be?

      The questions were ones the Nuit needed to ask. At times, she was far too consumed with what could be that she lost ground in the plane of reality. Ambition that derailed itself from logic was flawed, and Madeira Craven seemed to understand that quite well. Savis allowed her fingers to weave together as she considered her answer. She'd spewed off in few enough words, trying to gather her thoughts in the heat of the moment. Wrong tactic. she warned herself.

      "First, I'll allow the bones to sit. I need to consider how best to move forward with casting the bones so that their joints don't break. Cartilage is inevitably going to decay long before the bones will. It isn't the rotting of bone that requires a Nuit to transfer. Very rarely are the corpses suffering from such decay when we leave them. It is cartilage and flesh, the existence of the cavities that hold our ichor. But this... this tool will not possess ichor. It's astral body will be contained in its bones.

      As I figure out my answer, I'll cleanse the skeleton, boil the bones and apply the proper preservatives to their surface. I'll wrap them and keep them safe from exposure until the time comes that I alter and utilize them. Once everything is in place, I'll assemble the skeleton and begin the process of imbuing it with a false soul. There are directives I want to implement, new limitations and a cleaner, more intelligent automaton that I want to create," she answered. It took the Nuit some time to formulate her idea fully, and looked to Madeira Craven to gauge whether the Spiritist had anything to say this time about her intentions.

      "As for the Source... that is another thing I've been wondering about... I have never been specifically taught that I could only use one. I never attempted to implement additional sources because of how involved it is to find others. But... what if we found another person? What if my knowledge, yours... someone else's... could be infused into the same automaton? I instructed you that a Source is needed for the entire duration of an Animation process. Perhaps that's true... until it's not," she added. The implication that Wheels' success as an automaton imbued within Savis inspired her to expand.

      And I will.

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      [The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

      Postby Madeira Craven on November 24th, 2018, 7:30 pm

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      Madeira's ink stick scratched away at the pages of her red book, their plans soon laid out and cemented in ink and paper. Plans to clean and arrange the bones, to have them cast, to investigate the deceased woman, to mapping a new, more advanced kind of animation and automaton, to making a new, more advanced kind of fetish from the twice-worn bones. Their first ever real collaboration, something that would push the possibilities of both their crafts.

      At the mention of a new Source, Madeira spoke up. The room felt strangely hollow without her incessant scratching to fill the empty space.

      "You mean to bring someone else into this? I appreciate the limits you are pushing, but we must be careful about who we bring into this fold." Her ink stick traced the outline of her parted lips as she considered the possibility. Her middling stare found Raj, and was captured in his glittering glass eyes. The kelvic's expression was set in snarling and blood hungry pose, but over the years of listening to Emma speak so ebulliently to him, and hearing nothing but stories of how kind he was, she saw him as nothing but gentle.

      "Truthfully, there are some things I need that only another person can provide. Butcher shops can only take malediction so far", she smiled, her eyes leaving the tiger's glassy gaze to settle on Savis. "I need someone who can bring me the specific corpses I want, the specific parts of that corpse, and not ask to many questions when I ask the beasts to be put down in a certain way."

      She shifted in her seat, crossing her legs with a rasp of silk. Her tea was growing cold and forgotten, her food stale and half eaten. She was sustaining herself on that low burning excitement that few things ever inspired in her.

      "Why not combine both our needs for a new person together? There is less chance of gossip if there is only one. Not to mention it would be much cheaper to compensate one for their services." Madeira could be considered wealthy from the outside, but it was very expensive to keep up that wealthy appearance, absurdly. She hardly had the kind of money to bribe two people to keep their mouths shut, especially with the house she was adding to, the family she was responsible for and the baby on the way. "Would a hunter make a suitable Source? Someone like that would fit my needs perfectly."

      "Also, I plan to have builders in to make you a suitable abode before the worst of the cold weather sets in. In a couple of weeks you'll be able to stay on the grounds in privacy and have as much access to the lab as you'd like. In the meantime you're welcome to stay in one of the empty rooms on the second story."

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      [The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

      Postby Savis Maren on November 24th, 2018, 9:54 pm

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      Savis Maren couldn't begin to comprehend the nature of Madeira's complaints. Lhavit was a city of marvels that encouraged the safe practice of magic. Perhaps in the part of the world she was from she was reared differently, and Savis understood the notion of it. Deep within Sylira, magic wasn't so tolerated or utilized as it was here, and the nuances of complex world magic escaped the understanding of the common folk of cities. Ambitions were tempered in that past, with survival and the search for a purpose being the key motivators of the Nuit's actions as a whole. Delving into that past wasn't something Savis enjoyed, and she always kept herself busy in some form as a means of avoiding the grim nature of her past when it materialized in her thoughts. The night was when such hauntings materialized most often, for as much of the world slept Savis Maren stayed awake and those nightmares haunted her alert consciousness all the while.

      It seemed that Madeira, despite her initial disagreement, came to a similar conclusion as her. She mentioned the need for another, and her gaze flickered from the tiger mounted on the wall to the Nuit as she made mention of corpses and the slaughter of beasts. What a vicious magic, she thought to herself, curious about how a woman so reverent to death and the goddess, Dira, could make light of such things so readily. A woman of many hypocrisies, Savis reasoned, and there was no disrespect in her mind for the Spiritist as she came to that conclusion.

      There are no true hypocrisies when one concerns themselves with magic. There's indulgence, experimentation, and the countless possibilities that lie in the combination of the two.

      There were no conditions for the Nuit that would hamper her efforts at advancement. She hadn't worked so tirelessly, commissioning the creation of specific, economic automatons that extended the bounds of her understanding for naught. Now, on the precipice of something greater, nothing short of her untimely demise could work against the furthering of her ambitions. No doubt nor the conventions of a confidante could sway her from her goals. She was about to make this clear to Madeira Craven, but she was swiftly interrupted by the Spiritist's admission. She too required someone with the skills to do what she wanted and she made it abundantly clear.

      Savis Maren, despite being within this manor and the excess present inside of it, assumed nothing of the woman's wealth. She mentioned the economics of compensating one person instead of two, and the undead mage agreed wholeheartedly with the notion of it all. For one, it was cheaper, but it was also far simpler to tame one soul than two. Then, Madeira Craven made mention of a hunter, and the cogs of Savis' mind worked to adapt to the chosen goal. The Nuit required much of her Source, intelligence, adaptability, but she didn't consider the ramifications of physicality. A Source capable of tracking prey and intelligent enough to report back to the Nuit seemed positively delightful.

      A wicked curve adopted into Savis Maren's expression, her newly blackened gums holding yellowing teeth as she mused on the idea for a moment longer.

      "A hunter would suit my needs... splendidly," she agreed, perfectly at ease in allowing Madeira Craven's thoughts to drive their ambitions to new heights. The young Spiritist was motivated, just as Savis was, but to what ends the Nuit wasn't entirely sure.

      "I've much to consider and the creation I have in mind currently, with these bones that both of us have use for can wait until everything is sorted out," she mused. It seemed Madeira wanted to speak, and when she did, the idea of staying in an empty room within the Spiritist's house seemed... uncomfortable. There were a number of souls already present in the home, but she'd accept the invitation so long as she still had her own place to keep to herself.

      "I still have my home in the Solar Winds apartments, as well. I'll flit back and forth between here and there as required, though I'll be sure to alert the landlord that I no longer require his... services. I have you to thank for that, Madeira," she affirmed, nodding her head in a quaint sort of bow before the Nuit pressed on,

      "I'll be ready to move in properly come Winter, when my leasing arrangement requires renewal," she assured the Spiritist.

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      [The Twuele] A Macabre Waltz (Madeira)

      Postby Madeira Craven on November 28th, 2018, 6:11 am

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      A Nuits smile was a terrible thing, Madeira mused, as Savis expressed her pleasure with peeling black lips stretched tight over long yellowish teeth. Still, she was learning to find a strange sort of cheer in the expression. What was good for her new ally was proving to be good for her, too.

      "A hunter would suit my needs... splendidly," the undead woman agreed, speaking slowly and thoughtfully, her mind obviously deep in rumination of her craft and its needs. She also agreed to stay in the house, at least part time, until Madeira's promise of more private accommodations could be realized.

      "I appreciate having you near. It wouldn't be much of a partnership if we couldn't find the time to work together." Madeira nodded, acknowledging the Nuit's more practical notes about travel and landlords. "I'll make sure you're comfortable here. Though you must forgive the ghosts and the creaking of the house, you're won't be the only sleepless creature living in this place."

      Leth was rising behind the mountain. The silvery light was inching though the tall window and spilling across their laps. Even with the scones lit and the fire burning the world was seemed a little less saturated at night. The colours of the bright common room were as insubstantial as the ghost still chatting away with her bond mates severed head, everything washed with silver and grey and darkness. Madeira watched the light carve great swaths of shadow across Savis' new cheeks and wondered why most of the things she relied on all happened to be dead.

      Putting the ink stick to paper once more, she made note of their agreement to search for a hunter to fulfil both their needs, along with a list of qualities and skills they'd require of them. In a few days she would scout out the Hunters Guild and look for likely candidates. It would be a terribly odd job for a simple hunter and would take some tongue acrobatics and much convincing, but she was sure they would find something. As she got older she was beginning to suspect there was nothing in the world that money and sweet words couldn't buy.

      With a snap she closed the red book and placed it carefully on the low coffee table. Now it contained not only her lessons in Malediction, notes on her old Spiritism cases and various margin scrawlings, now it had plans for their future as allies too. Somehow the several pages of fresh ink made the book feel just that much heavier. The Spiritist's smile cracked into a jaw unhinging yawn. She stretched her hands above her head and felt her bones realign. Exhaustion and pregnancy was bowing her perfect posture and scotching dark circles under her eyes that almost matched the Nuit's.

      "Now that we have agreed, and have an idea of what we are doing and how to go about it, it is time for the human to sleep." She mumbled at Savis as she tried to stand with grace against the forward pull of her swollen belly. "You are welcome to stay the night, if you want to rest your new body or preserve the bones of your old one. I'll leave you the magic lab key until I can have someone cut you a new one."

      As she stood there, looking down at Savis, pulling her gown tight against the chill of the haunted house, she was struck again with just how lucky she was to have found her. Because of her she had the opportunity to witness a transference, had a new, reliable source of human remains, a rare species of undead to observe, and on top of all of it there was a woman who's ambition, intelligence and talent made her a unique friend and powerful ally. She smiled for the Nuit a true, genuine smile that was part gentle gratitude and part wicked, satisfied cat.

      "Thank you for inviting me today, Savis. I think this will turn out to be a wonderful... friendship." Madeira chuckled to use that word that made the Nuit so uncomfortable. She bid the woman in her new, strange skin and the bubbling ghost goodnight (and, at the ghost's insistence, the tiger as well) and headed for the stairs. Her mind was heavy with plans and musings and thoughts brought on by all the strange things she saw that day. And when she finally laid down her head to sleep, her dreams were full of bones and books and power and the undeniable smell of rot.

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