Closed A Hunt for Hunters

Savis and Madeira search the Hunters Guild for something new

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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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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Madeira Craven on November 19th, 2018, 11:17 pm

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    84th of Fall, 518
Madeira didn't think she would be so soon back to the Hunter's Guild, and definitely not with a Nuit. But alas, her life was strange and it often moved in strange ways.

The floor level of the glorified tavern was thick with people. Dusk had weaseled all the hunters out of the forest and into the bar to celebrate their victories and morn their losses within sturdy mugs of ale. The loamy, animal smell of fur pelts and leather jerkins was thick in the air, mingling with the scent of the startling amount of alcohol being consumed. The talk was a tuneless hum in the air, punctuated by great barks of laughter and boisterous song.

Madeira had chosen to seat herself and Savis in the very back of the room, in a shadowy corner where the light of the enormous hearth couldn't quite reach. It had a wide view of the room and bar, with the added benefit of keeping themselves unobtrusinvly out of the way. A place to see without being seen, for they were hunting a different sort of prey.

Having visited the infamous Hunters Guild once before, Madeira knew the atmosphere and was prepared to act the part. A plain, loose linen shirt and dark earth toned pants replaced her usual ostentatious garb, her swollen belly hidden under a black mohair cloak. Her hair was worn simply in a long straw colored braid down her back, and her makeup was nothing but pressed powder under her eyes and a barely there rouge upon her cheeks. It was about as guileless and salt of the earth as she was ever going to look, though the illusion was ruined somewhat by the gaudy rings she never removes and the painfully straight posture of rigorous training and high breeding.

She had ordered herself a platter of dark, seedy bread and sweet Okomo cheese and was absently picking at it. Madeira had also insisted on buying a spiced wine to put in front of the Nuit. A refreshment that they both could only watch go tepid, as neither the pregnant woman or the undead creature could drink it. Still, she had reasoned, this way nobody could accuse them of not paying for the space they were occupying. Plus, the one thing that could make you stand out in a place like this it was not having a drink in your hand.

Above their corner table a buck with enormous twelve point antlers was staring dolefully down at them with big glassy black eyes. Distantly she wondered if any of the many, many stuffed heads in the Guild were maledictated. Then she wondered if they'd ever notice if they received one that was.

Shaking herself out of her musings, she leaned closer to Savis. She had not wanted the Nuit to come, but Savis had insisted. Now that she was here it would only do to make good use of her.

"What do you think? See anything we could work with?"

They were hunting for hunters, and there was a variety available. Old and tough, young and fearless, drunk, sober, somber, loud, timid. They needed a very particular type, but even Madeira couldn't quite articulate what it was. They had discussed the idea of outsourcing the more mundane and laborious parts of their magics at length in the Infinity Manor, and had agreed on the logical decision of using the same person. Both for privacy's sake, to prevent the spread of gossip, but also to spend less resources keeping their one lackey compensated. Problem was, they each had very particular needs of this one person.

Savis needed someone with the patience, fearlessness and open mindedness needed to be the Source for her strange Animation word magic. The process of which could take bells or days and was a somewhat disquieting experience. Madeira needed someone with the skills to bring her the many sorts of animals she could use and the wits to keep their mouth shut when she took the skin and bones and left them the meat. And above all they both needed someone who could be persuaded to take part in their strange requests and still not be a total moron.

It was a tall order. They had to choose carefully.

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Wine (Spiced): -4 topaz
Bread & okomo cheese: -2 topaz
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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Savis Maren on November 20th, 2018, 4:21 am

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84th of Autumn, 518 AV

In a flurry, Savis Maren left the Bharani Library and the mass of text as she realized what came next. The Nuit craved levity, the past day and a half spent scouring texts in a hungry effort to utilize the time afforded to her as efficiently as possible. But, the coin spent was low and there was an opportunity to continue later, so she put down the books and cast forth. A scarf covered the ugly scars on her neck, her dark attire, retrieved from the Twuele and exchanged with the sterile gray of the previous season was accented by the coat that extended well past her hips. She made her way home for a time, intent on covering up every aspect of her undead nature.

She made sure to de-activate Wheels, and instead carried her satchel on her shoulders, quite displeased to have yet another reason to leave it behind. As she prepared herself, the Nuit allowed Sil to hold her mirror in front of her face. The automaton grew more precious to her since his disappearance, and she was proud for the simple servant to serve a purpose. Pomade covered her dark lips, giving them the hue of a living creature's, a soft pink that she complemented with the face powder she brushed against her flesh. Next, she combed her tangled blonde curls, straightening them out to frame the sides of her face, covering her ears from view before leaving her entire face exposed. She applied additional face powder before smoothing it out with the included brush. Provided with a tone similar to living flesh, she hoped that the lighting wasn't so strong as to expose her to heavy scrutiny. Next, she applied her perfumes, washing her form in the scents of the mountain flowers, applying it on her wrists and neck before throwing on her scarf and making her way out.

The Hunter's Guild, she repeated before she headed towards Sartu Peak. The Nuit didn't blend in under the light of Syna, that much she knew, but the surrender of sunlight to moonlight, the bringing of dusk might yet prove her ally as she wove through the city and found her destination with some assistance.

Memories flashed within the mind of the Nuit as she stepped into what looked like a massive bar. The Hunter's Guild possessed an atmosphere the undead mage was quite used to, for it was in these sorts of places that she perpetuated her existence throughout Sylira. Savis Maren held a past very close to her chest, one rife with 'backroom' deals and the passage of coin from one hand to another. The past was dead like her flesh was, but the warmth of the room, the 'pulsers' in larger numbers brought it back to life in spades. Illusory chills wore down her spine as she allowed a cold, practiced and analytical gaze to whirl throughout. Perhaps Madeira Craven imagined her as some sort of antisocial creature, bent only on her own whims. And the analysis was true. In Lhavit, she became what she wanted to be rather than what existence forced her to become. She reveled in every moment of her peace, glad for the bloodshed to be where it belonged.

Sensations were more vivid in this form than her last, the nerves carried sensation through her form and she found it very odd to experience things like warmth and the facsimiles of pleasure that whirred throughout. Presence and texture were more discernible, and she wondered if the previous transference, in her haste to switch forms, might have been improperly done. With Madeira Craven assisting her so much, she'd had every opportunity to do everything... better. She mused on the foreign sensations and was quite distracted when Madeira addressed her for the first time. Her gaze danced throughout the Hunter's Guild before she truly allowed her attention to thrive there. Djed welled within the Nuit's silver eyes, called to the forefront of the senses. She allowed herself to delve fully into the presence of a particular mortal. He seemed in part Inarta, with vibrant red hair that reminded the Nuit very closely of Raeyn, though it was cut short and the man seemed wasted away.

She allowed herself to delve into the Sight, the world falling by the wayside as the djed flooded her senses and bridged them to the presence of that redheaded figure. His fingers held a texture to them, scarred and worn but only on one hand. The twang of the bow, perhaps? She felt at the soles of his feet, worn by the travel up and down the mountain. He was intoxicated beyond measure, and certainly, the wisps of sadness rose throughout his aura, but the Nuit couldn't begin to ascertain why.

"You need someone with the skills of the wild at their helm. So do I, but we also need someone who's capable of lasting long through the night either in dark stupors or patient enough to last through the processes of Animation," she reasoned. Savis Maren wasn't picky about personality, caring nothing for the past. But the same instincts kicked in as those from many decades past.

Find the person alone. The one no one will miss. Those entrenched in the darkness of their condition. Those are the souls most willing to listen, to be persuaded to do anything that can lead them to more coin to waste away with, she mused, an echo of the past that was far more malicious than her present-day intentions.

"What about that one?" she offered, pointing to the being whose aura she was already admiring from afar.

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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Madeira Craven on November 20th, 2018, 10:43 pm

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Madeira didn't think it was truly possible to tell if someone was using auristics, but being employed in a tower full of people of varying levels of the personal magic she was starting to see a pattern. The master hardly had to look at you to suss out everything you were, it was like the ability was simply active all the time, and they could sweep by and know everything. But those on the lower tier of mastery had a rather intense stare. They were looking at you and through you at the same time. It stood to reason they knew and saw less than the experts, but with less passivity and subtly in their stare it was almost more uncomfortable.

Madeira glanced at Savis and saw that kind of focus on her face as she scanned the room looking for a likely match. Her silver eyes were already intense, now they were searching as well. Nobody would notice the difference to her gaze, and Madeira herself could hardly see it, but logic led to the conclusion and her secretive and controlling personality made the knowledge sit uncomfortably in her mind. Privately relived the gaze was not focused on her, and equally jealous that she could not use that branch of magic herself yet, the Spiritist used more mundane means to pick out their candidate.

Thankfully she was nothing if not observant. As she watched the room she could pick out who was drunk, who was holding back, who was high off of the victory of a good day's catch and who was spending their last kina on a hard drink to forget it was their last kina. As she watched she spotted a lone man sitting at the bar. A dim spark of recognition flared through her to see his reddish hair and wiry frame, but she couldn't remember where she had seen him before. He was bent low over his glass of whiskey, rolling his head slightly from side to side in a way she immediately recognized as a drunk man testing how drunk he really was. Dressed practically in clean hunters garb, but roughly shaven and in dire need of a comb, he had the air of someone who gave zero shykes. Spilling over the side of his lap she could see the lazily swinging tail of a calico cat that was just hidden from view. Drunk, alone, with the kind of lone wolf air about him that meant less gossip and a sadness that could make him pliable? She was already intrigued.

And she was just about to say so when the Nuit opened her mouth and beat her to it. "What about that one?" Savis offered, pointing to the man she had just been about to suggest herself. Well, at least now she knew his aura was just as interesting as his manner.

"Good choice", she hummed, watching their hunter shift in his seat and loudly call for another whiskey over the din of conversation at the bar. "Let me go see if he's up for a chat."

Madeira stood, brushing out the creases in her trousers and adjusting the fall of her cloak over her shoulders. As she approached she wracked her brain to remember this hunter than was ever so slightly familiar. She pushed through between the tables, side stepping overzealous singers and the occasional barmaid, and was almost right behind him before the memory came back to her. The man had sensed her presence and turned to regard her cooly through eyes as bright and green as sun through a canopy of summer leaves, and she realized where she had seen him before. She had been in this very tavern, persuading a different Inarta, Raeyn, to do a very different strange job. She had sought to make the hunter change his mind about something, and had threatened to take her offer to this hunter instead. If she remembered correctly, he had laughed and said that this man was a talented hunter, but what had he also said? In her minds eye the laughing, arrogantly handsome face of Raeyn floated into focus. "Although, do take it from somebody who'd been on many hunts with him over the years", the Inarta was saying, smugly indifferent to her ruse. "I'd trust him with many things. My life is not one of them."

Damnit, it was too late now. She smiled to meet the hunters peeved scowl.

"What?", he snapped at her, as he rapped his knuckles on the table to signal the barman to speed up with his order.

"My friend and I were admiring you from over there", she began, waving indirectly over her shoulder to keep him from pinpointing Savis. Though she wasn't sure he could anyway, with the way his eyes were doing all they could just to focus on her. "We need someone tough for an odd job, and we were thinking you might be just what we've been looking for." She let her eyes roll over him boldly, taking an educated guess that he's the type of straight talking man that doesn't appreciate coyness or beating around the bush. Plus a sprinkling of flattery was always a good flavour for those too drunk to consider insincerity.

"Raeyn suggested you", she pressed gently, as she noticed his frown softening but his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "You must be an excellent hunter, I've never heard that man speak so highly of anyone."

Actually Raeyn said no such thing. His praise had been severely backhanded and hung like a guillotine. But if this man knew enough about Raeyn to know his pride, it might ring true. As long as he didn't realize that in the Inarta's gushing praise he had failed to tell Madeira this excellent hunter's name.

"What kind of job?" he asked carefully, eyeing Madeira just as brazenly as she was eyeing him, and coming to the immediate conclusion that she did not belong here.

The barman slapped down a glass of amber liquid and Madeira was quick to put her own kina on the bar. "Bring your drink and lets discuss it at our table", she insisted, leaning in as if it was all she could do just to hear him.

He detangled himself from the stool, holding his drink in one hand and a bright eyed calico cat under the other arm. Madeira led him back to their darkened corner, and she was impressed by his balance and quiet steps he possessed even when intoxicated. She stopped beside him as they arrived at the table.

"I'm Madeira, and this is my friend, Savis Maren", she offered, speaking with the kind of nonchalance that would hopefully suggest that there was absolutely nothing abnormal about her friend being a rare, illusive and highly mistrusted Nuit. "Please, have a seat."

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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Savis Maren on November 21st, 2018, 5:36 pm

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84th of Autumn, 518 AV

Fingers closed around the glass of spiced wine that the Nuit refused to drink out of principle. The consumption of food and drink, contrary to expectation, wasn't impossible for the undead. However, it was entirely unnecessary. The magic that perpetuated her existence did not require nourishment, but rather, maintainence. Savis Maren swirled the spiced wine in her glass, raising it to her lips to maintain the illusion that Madeira sought for her to carry while the Spiritist moved forward to 'capture' their prey. The hunter bearing a cat on his lap was, in the Nuit's gaze, perfect for the task at hand. He ordered another drink even though the aura he bore showed reeked of it, the billowing smoke of aura suffused with the taint of intoxication.

However, when Madeira Craven addressed him, the Nuit changed her approach. Like with Animation, Savis Maren felt a burgeoning growth in her perception of auras. Information grew sweeter and the understanding she garnered from it all was richer. She could 'hear' their conversation as she synchronized her sense of hearing with the aura. She listened to what the hunter listened to, and felt the vestiges of suspicion arise within him as Madeira mentioned Raeyn.

Ah! She knows him as well? How interesting,
she mused, curious to know if the intriguing hunter had spent much more time with Madeira than he had with Savis. A possessiveness curled within the Nuit, who felt rather displeased with the fact that the man she's sought after privately as a Source never reached fruition in that role. Perhaps the short-haired and far more intoxicated man they both sought after might be more available. When the Spiritist invited the young hunter over to the table, the first thing the Nuit noticed was how the cat jumped from his lap. The feline landed on its feet as Savis Maren kept her Sight fixated on the hunter.

Despite the man's intoxication, his step was well-balanced and his trajectory was straight. It was all that Savis Maren could do to stop from staring too intently, returning her gaze to the wine glass. She'd spill half of it over the side of the table as the pair approached, an ease in the Nuit's expression as the Spiritist introduced the both of them to the hunter. Liard simply shrugged his shoulders, not offering his hand to the Nuit. For a moment, it seemed that the hunter stopped in his tracks, looking over the undead woman before shrugging his shoulders and making his way into a seat.

"What kind of job, then?" he asked, looking between Spiritist and undead with an air of impatience about him. Savis, of course, wasn't going to tell him what she needed from him just yet. Or, rather, she'd wait until he settled in. Rather, she'd emphasize Madeira Craven's intentions, for they were rather benign in comparison to the Nuit's far more... invasive machinations.

"Madeira and I have formed a partnership..." she trailed off, unsure just as Craven was what the hunter's name was. Despite the obvious discomfort of the situation, it seemed that Liard knew, intuitively or not, where his next meal might come from and decided to play nice for the moment. The soft timbre of Savis' voice flowed uncomfortably from the lips of an older woman, and it certainly caught the intoxicated man off guard.

"Liard," he supplied and encouraged by his cooperation Savis continued to supply the information he sought. "And in this partnership, for different reasons, we have need of a hunter."

"Get on with it. 'Ou wouldn't be 'ere if you didn't need a hunter. What's the job?" he asked, impatience arisen within him and catching the Nuit in the stride of her introduction. Savis looked to Madeira for a moment before she continued on. She figured that if she were talking instead of wasting about in silence, it'd be regarded as less suspicious. Hovering about in conversation like some sort of silent spectator wasn't in the Nuit's nature, either.

"Right. However, in the interest of discretion, going through the Guild wouldn't be in any of our best interests, you see. Raeyn mentioned your skills and we need someone on retainer who can bring carcasses and game to us without the spread of gossip. Can you keep secrets, Liard?" Savis asked, her lips parted in a smile. With that bit of introduction, she figured that Madeira Craven could take over. After all, the Spiritist had a much better idea of what she wanted. Savis seemed to intrigue the hunter somewhat, the mention of secrecy and a hunter on 'retainer' certainly appealing to one whose heart was in it purely for the coin. By the out of place outfitting and demeanor of both of the women, it seemed apparent to Liard that they didn't belong.

Auristics revealed to the Nuit more and more. The Sight allowed Savis to reach through physical senses and the vestiges of emotion, but moreover, she sensed intent. The longer she spent peering into Liard's aura, the less she required her eyes to do so. She listened, felt the changes in the billowing smoke around him. She concentrated, but she did on other things. The combination of the various feeds that were filtering into her thoughts brought illumination to the undead that she'd never considered before. In the past, Auristics required far too much investment, too much put to the forefront and not enough received as a result.

Now? Savis Maren felt the reaches of power, a wellspring of knowledge that could be hers if she reached for it. And reach she would. Eagerly.

"Aye, then. What'll it be, then? I haven't got all night and the two of ye seem right desperate to play coy games. If ye need someone to hunt, then tell me. If not, me and me cat can go back and drink the night away."

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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Madeira Craven on November 24th, 2018, 4:52 am

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Madeira took her own seat and watched as Savis took her own
introduction. She remembered first meeting the Nuit, and how her
tongue softened from barbed wire to honey as soon as she recognized
that Madeira might be useful. It was gratifying to see it from the
other side, how diplomatic Savis could be even when 'Laird' gave her
sass for her careful words. She was glad the Nuit was on her side, she
made a decent sweet talker. Her tactful use of intrigue and offhand
mention of retainer was smooth, though the finer points seemed to fly
over the drunk man's head.

Then she smiled a satisfied smile, as easy and pleased as a cat over
cream. Laird did not recoil, but his wobbly stare was suddenly as
sharp and straight as his arrows as the long, yellowish teeth and
black gums came on full display. Suddenly he looked very sober, and very rightly confused about what he was even doing here, this simple hunter between these strange women who spoke like they had something to hide.

"Aye, then. What'll it be, then?" he recovered, shaking of his stupor and looking just about ready to leave these bitches to their secrets and go nurse his drink in peace. "I haven't got all night and the two of ye seem right desperate to play coy games. If ye need someone to hunt, then tell me. If not, me and me cat can go back and drink the night away."

"I need beasts", Madeira interjected quickly, trying to distract him from his fraying patience. "That's all. I will ask for specific ones, anything from squirrels to mountain goats to snow leopards. And I will ask that they be killed in certain ways. Sometimes bloodless traps and snares would be preferable to them being shot and punctured. And..." Here she paused, unsure how she might be received. "I don't want the flesh. I'll ask for the bones or skins or talons or feathers. You can keep the rest for yourself, to sell or eat or do whatever you see fit."

Laird's eyes moved between the soft, beseeching blue eyes of the Spiritist to the intense glassy silver of the Nuit's. His tough, calloused fingers rolled around his glass as his cat hopped lightly into his lap. The cat eyed Savis for a moment before hunkering down under the table with a rumble of disquiet.

"No", the hunter's answer sliced through the pregnant pause and was delivered like a slap to Madeira's ears. "Whatever you two are up to, I want no part of it. Keep your bones and petching secrets. I just want to drink."

He was getting up, his chair scrapping back against the worn floor, his patience having finally snapped. But Madeira wasn't going to give up just yet. Her soft white hand closed over his as it braced against the table.

"Stay", she told him, skipping the gentle pleading for something more forward and direct. "You haven't even asked what your compensation would be. Our requirements might be unusual, but I assure you for your skills and your discretion we are prepared to reward you. ." Her smile was a sickle, sharp and hard and ready to reap what she came for.

The man wavered, smelling a good deal in her easy confidence. She latched on to that, and her dijed moved forward. Her tongue was heavy with promise as she opened her mouth, and words lathered with a hypnotic suggestion fell from her lips.

"Stay", she said. "You want to hear what we have to say."

But even as her lips spoke her mind pushed outward with the dijed riding heavy on those words. She willed it to sit in the shadow of his thoughts, injecting a feeling of curiosity to flavor them and make his choose the right decision.

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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Savis Maren on November 24th, 2018, 8:20 pm

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84th of Autumn, 518 AV

Perhaps, in their distant future as allies, Savis Maren might confide in Madeira the grit of survival that pushed the Nuit from her past and into that same future. In the midst of her indulgence into the arcane Sight, her mind ventured into those memories and the darkness that lived in the heart of every man, woman, and child of the world. She fell silent as Madeira Craven took over the conversation, and granted, she allowed the foothold of her Sight to loosen. To tax her djed so severely wasn't something she desired, and the billowing smoke dissipated. Savis Maren no longer felt the scratchy fingertips drumming at her senses, but instead only drew upon the vestiges of emotion the intoxicated hunter felt.

The Nuit lowered her gaze to her fingertips, keeping her Auristic senses on the hunter, but only just as Madeira Craven went over the information that she'd told the Nuit about just a handful of nights before. The woman had challenges for the hunter, certain ways she needed things killed, particular animals in mind, as well. The Nuit knew very little of this strange bone magic that Madeira Craven practiced, but the craft of Malediction seemed very particular in the way to approach it. Savis Maren listened and paid particular note to the tone and metre of Madeira's voice. She seemed adamant rather than placating and then she made her own sort of mistake.

Why would you tell him to keep the meat? Make use of it, allow it to spoil. There's no need to call so much attention to exactly what is needed, is there? Making things sound like too good of a deal... Where does that feel familiar? she mused. At last, Savis Maren raised her attention to Laird again, the sharp no that caught through the silence alerting the Nuit to the need for her again.

"Whatever you two are up to, I want no part of it," he began, his aura discolored and laden with a heavy, uncomfortable displeasure to it. The drunk's aura was already frayed, likely due to the immense stupor he'd pushed himself into. What was Madeira going to do now? Would they find a different hunter? Or...?

Then, the Nuit listened as Madeira abandoned placating words and woven subtleties for a much more direct approach. Her hand kept Laird's on the table and the hunter didn't yet lash out. In fact, he didn't do much of anything at all. Savis Maren watched as the frayed, translucent aura about the hunter shifted yet again. Foreign djed suffused into the layer of the soul, wrapping itself around the hunter's throat like a collar. Then, Savis felt from the vestiges of emotion she sensed a sort of invasion, a shadowy specter of foreign emotion that the Nuit truly couldn't identify if she tried. Savis Maren felt fatigue set upon her, the focus of utilizing Auristics getting to the undead. She allowed the Sight to dissipate once that invasion registered, and she glanced between the new hunter and prey.

Clever girl, always hiding something, the Nuit realized. It seemed that Madeira Craven did practice personal magic! From what the Nuit understood of that forein intrusion on Laird's aura, the Spiritist infused foreign emotion into her words and drove it into the hunter's thoughts. The Nuit couldn't understand more, and certainly wouldn't try in the moment. There were enough implications in what had transpired and, of course, there was Laird to consider. If Savis Maren stared too intently at him for too long, the discomfort he was already experiencing would double, or triple and there was no use in a hunter who grew squeamish under the eye of scrutiny. Nor was there any victory in causing one's target to flee from them.

"Do I, now? You've said quite enough, haven't ya? Some'tin about leavin' ya bones and skin but keepin' the flesh for meself? Strange bits to keep if I say so myself. Tell me, then, Madeira," he interjected, placing a sarcastic emphasis on the Spiritist's name before he continued on, "What do ye plan on doing with the bones n' skin that needs all this hogwash and secrecy, hm?" It seemed, despite his words, that the hunter was willing to listen. He kept his voice low and sat himself back down at the table. His gaze flickered from Madeira Craven and back to Savis Maren, flitting between the two before he said,

"If I'm going to keep yer secrets, then you best let me in on them," he reasoned, narrowing his eyes, but keeping both of his hands on the table. What a reasonable lad, Savis realized, but daren't say so aloud. Whatever the magic Madeira employed was working its wonders, and surely, Savis Maren would come to learn what it was. Fixated within the Nuit came a desire to watch this woman, to learn from her indulgences in the spoken word, for on top of being a highly talented speaker in it of itself, Madeira also possessed the capacity to infuse those very same words with personal djed.

If Madeira has secrets she keeps close to her heart, I'll pry them from her soul and lay them bare to my scrutiny, she affirmed.

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Savis Maren
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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Madeira Craven on November 27th, 2018, 3:44 am

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Laird returned to his seat. He returned reluctantly, bitterly, with sarcasm in his voice and impudence in his eyes, but he did return. Madeira rewarded him with her best smile, and kept her hand over his as a way to anchor him in place. It was a fact of human nature that even superficial contact breeds a certain kind of connection.

"That's a good point, Laird. How can you keep a secret you're not in on?" She placated him with an agreement, her tone not rising to match the intensity of his, but kept level and casual to try and influence him to do the same. She did notice how, while his voice was whipping between inflections and hissing with derision, it kept the low volume that at least hinted that he didn't want to draw attention. Perhaps he did want to listen, after all.

"I make charms", she began. "Little things out of bones and fur that grant different boons to the wearer. Like this," she slid the bone ring off her finger and placed it in front of him. It was carved into the likeness of a tusked beast, some jungle creature Madeira had never seen before. She did not make the ring, as she had implied. It was stolen from a cargo hold of the ship that brought her to Lhavit, by a ghost in her service. The maledicted ring makes her seem more intimidating, giving her an aura of fierceness that she could not conjure on her own, but only when possessed. She wore it exclusively for Jomi's sake.

"It's called malediction, and it has something of a reputation this far north. It's just a case of the rich and comfy fearing what they don't understand. Unfortunately it is the rich and comfy who keep me employed, and their opinions of me matter."

It had a reputation for a reason, honestly. Most magic did. But at her skill level her fetishes were weak, if they worked at all. So perhaps it wasn't so much of a downplay as to be a lie, but it was toeing the line. Neither was she as salt-of-the-earth as she suggested, for one day she aspired to be one of those rich and comfy mages in their tall towers. But alas.

"For you it would be a simple hunting job, with the perks of keeping all the best parts of the kill for yourself. A stable hunting job, mind. If you continue to keep my little secret I'll continue to ask for your service. How many people here have felt the bite to their wallet when their traps and arrows give them nothing to sell to the butcher, and all the special requests were taken on that job board? You'll never have to wonder where your next drink will come from when you've got me."

Her voice was a low, seductive purr as she painted that mental picture. With the aftereffects of her artificial curiosity still sizzling away in the back of his mind, she decided it was time to push a little harder. This time it was her eyes that soaked the dijed from her soul, and she waited for the naturally skeptical hunter to look for deception in her eye before she induced the Flash. The hallucination upon his senses was derived from a feeling she was sure everyone had had at one point in their lives; an empty belly and a deep, unsettling feeling of uncertainty. She pushed it out with her eye contact and let the man ruminate on this false memory of hunger and disquiet. I am the answer to your problem, she longed to say. But she would have to come to that conclusion himself, with perhaps some sway from herself.

Laird blinked away, suddenly uncomfortable with the eye contact, and his eyes fell on Savis. The Nuit was sitting quietly in the corner, without the stir of breath or fidget of movement that a human would display. In their shadowy corner she was a ghastly figure with unnerving silver eyes that simply watched.

"What's yer deal then", the hunter shot at the older woman, removing his hand from under Madeira's and draining the last of his whiskey in a single swallow. "You want bones too? Or are you lookin' for a long pig to wear?"

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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Savis Maren on November 27th, 2018, 2:18 pm

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84th of Autumn, 518 AV

Knowledge. Awareness. Power.

Savis Maren heard the mantra course throughout her mind as the Auristic sight faded from her eyes. Savis felt her eerie silver gaze speck with black dots that coursed throughout her sight. She allowed her eyes to fall closed in a manner similar to blinking. When she re-opened her eyes, the spots were gone, but the ghost of her indulgence weighed on her thoughts. She heard the mantra a second time, a chill coursing up her spine. The words were unsettling to begin with, but they beseeched her to continue. While Savis Maren sank into the depth of her thought, she ceased moving, she never breathed to begin with, and her utter stillness in that moment certainly caused Laird some measure of concern. Although Savis' atttempt at disguising her undead nature might work at a distance, the astringent smell and her mannerisms conveyed the truth, and Laird's expression twisted somewhat at the full realization of what she was.

The hunter distracted himself with an offhanded gaze the Nuit's way before Madeira Craven's explanation distracted him. Of course, the sounds of conversation stirred within Savis' thoughts, but she'd heard all of this before. Malediction and the needs and wants of the apiring Legate next to her were well reviewed. Savis found her intervention unnecessary, and her thoughts were readily distracted by the realization of the whispers beckoning her to reap every bit of knowledge out of the discussion that she could.

I refuse, she thought to herself, the voices growing louder still until she grit her teeth and banished them from her thoughts. She 'blinked' again, letting her mind fall blank as her eyes opened and she heard the echoes of conversation take hold instead of her own twisted voice demanding her to indulge.

"Unfortunately it is the rich and comfy who keep me employed, and their opinions of me matter."

Of course they do, the Nuit agreed. Madeira Craven held a place of prestige within the city, as a master instructor of Spiritism within one of the illustrious Towers of the affluent mage-families of the city. The powers that be that truly held the reigns of influence. The Nuit agreed with Madeira's need for discretion, but for very different reasons. Where the Spiritist wished to protect her position from ill rumor and inspection from without, Savis wished to protect the work she tread forth with alone. Prying eyes could usurp the knowledge that she held so dear to her, the knowledge that, as far as she was aware, precious few within the city of Lhavit possessed at any level, let alone the burgeoning prowess she strove for.

Savis Maren listened to Madeira with a measure of pride. She spoke in silken words, stating practical realities and the benefits of obedience to the cause for Laird. She took to very nearly sultry tones that seemed an intriguing choice given the state of her body, but this was seduction of an entirely different course. Savis Maren was reminded of her encounter with Raeyn, and how she'd used a mixture of honeyed words and a call to action for the young hunter. Though these words spoken by either witch were spoken to hunters, the show of force behind them were leagues apart from one another.

Jealousy reared its ugly head, even as Savis Maren felt the flare of djed that welled so very close to her. Madeira Craven's aura spilled forth in feet in either direction, and as the movement of djed welled within her, the attunement the Nuit felt intrigued her. She dare not pull on that string, despite how much her mind craved understanding. She abstained from making use of personal djed again, narrowing her eyes in distaste. She craved more power, the ability to test her limits more thoroughly, but in that same eagerness, fear materialized as an ally of discouragement.

When Laird shifted his gaze and addressed the Nuit, Savis took a moment to collect herself. She'd remained entirely too still for entirely too long, all too willing to allow Madeira Craven to salvage the situation she'd created through an excess of divulgence of information. When that snide comment spewed from the hunter's lips, Savis Maren shrugged one shoulder, allowing easy laughter to spill forth in an effort to diffuse tension. Whether that tension was hers of Laird's was very open to either's interpretation.

"I hardly need a hunter to find 'long pigs' to wear, Laird. That matter is handled by other alliances forged in different rooms. What I want from you," she began, raising the wine glass to her lips. The aroma of the spiced wine welled within her nostrils, and the Nuit reveled in the full breadth of the five senses that returned to her. She had Madeira Craven to thank for the easy success of the transference. And, of course, her own foresight in making that change ahead of schedule.

The Nuit even took from the glass, letting the sip of somewhat stale wine flow down her throat. The alcohol soaked into the preservation salts that filled her chest cavity, soaking into the material as she found her words,

"Is your knowledge, Laird. I have my own practices to keep, and I hope spending an evening with an old woman isn't so displeasing for you. I practice a craft known as Animation, and with your assistance, I can create marvels with the ley of the land in their realm of understanding."

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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Madeira Craven on November 28th, 2018, 8:16 pm

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Savis's laughter was meant to be easy and casual, the throaty chuckle serving to break eye contact as she sipped the tepid wine. It was a good way to break the confrontational atmosphere with the man who was lashing out, him on edge and not sure if he was being cornered. The Nuit found her words in that gentle silence, and when she spoke it was with that same air of mystery that she had used before. But this time, far from being intrigued, the hunter grew paler almost as soon as the first words left her mouth, and Madeira saw disaster in the nervous movement of his fingers as they circled his empty glass.

"I hardly need a hunter to find 'long pigs' to wear, Laird. That matter is handled by other alliances forged in different rooms."

Where did the wine go when it was swallowed, Madeira wondered even through her anxiety as she watching the movement of her throat. She had been with the Nuit when this body was prepped. It had been gutted and hollowed out even before she had even entered the room. Did it fall straight through the hollow cavity of her chest? Mingle in the sour embalming fluid and burning salts that lined the flesh? Would it seep through the long, roughly stitched and forever unhealed incision she knew hid under her clothes? The thought made her queasy, and she pushed away her half eaten platter of food.

"What I want from you, Is your knowledge, Laird. I have my own practices to keep, and I hope spending an evening with an old woman isn't so displeasing for you. I practice a craft known as Animation, and with your assistance, I can create marvels with the ley of the land in their realm of understanding."

Madeira caught a passing barmaid by the elbow, nearly upending her tray of empty ale mugs. In low words she asked for another whiskey, and pressed an extra silver on the girl for the promise of swiftness. When she turned back to the hunter he was looking at the Nuit with a suspicion so narrow and so heavy it was likely to cleave straight through her.

"Its the Twuele", Madeira intoned, snapping her fingers behind her in an effort to hurry the barmaid along. "They have made arrangements with her to look after her particular needs. I doubt they would have bothered, but Savis is fast becoming an expert in her field. Such prestigious animators are hard to find."

No, these other alliances in different rooms are not illegal. The government would hardly condone murder, she was trying to say. He was welcome to fear Savis all he wanted, such things could even be of great use to control him. But to think there was a Nuit on the loose in Lhavit, making secret deals for bodies, and that he might have to be alone with it, might me too much for him to handle. Additionally, though he definitely didn't seem like the type to let the law get in the way of what he wanted, knowing he wasn't being roped into anything he could be seen an an accomplice in would make him more likely to say yes.

As she was reassuring him the barmaid returned with another short glass of dark amber liquid. She set it down in front of Madeira and whisked away the empty glass. The Spiritist pushed the drink in front of the hunter and he wasted no time in sucking back half the contents in a mighty pull. The alcohol seemed to ground him with its burn and steady his fingers some, though she couldn't say the same for his countenance. Though still upright he was starting to sway slightly where he sat, like one good hard breeze would knock him right over. Perhaps the second drink wasn't such a good idea. They had to finish this quickly or he might not remember this strange conversation on the morrow.

"Animation makes automatons. She would need you to sit still while she uses you and your strengths and your well known skills to... model them after. You would simply attend her and be quiet about her methods and her projects. Easy money, isn't it? And safer than stomping around these mountains, especially when winter sets in."

She let Savis's mention of marvels and the incredible heights of of their understanding go uncommented on. A little sprinkling of fear wouldn't go amiss here. The Nuit spoke truer than her, at any rate. Her explanation of Animation was no more correct than her explanations of Malediction. Both were shamelessly sugar coated for easier swallowing for the non mage. And truly, between the two woman Savis' practise had more potential for danger. If Madeira ended up with a cursed fetish it was unlikely the hunter would even be there to see it, though the thought of using him as an unaware tester did come to mind. But if Savis did ever make a rouge, destructive automaton, the source would be right in the thick of things when shyke goes down. Even if everything went smoothly it could potentially be bells of sitting, waiting, as a Nuit poked around in his mind.

It didn't matter for now. The goal was to catch him. Once they did they could worry about how to keep him. Marshalling the last of her dijed, Madeira prepared to end her little talk with a simple suggestion. It was one of the most basic hypnotism tools available to her, but her most well used.

"What do you think, Laird? It would be worth your while, and we'd be ever so grateful." And grateful means generous. "From me you would have fifty gold per carcass you have cleaned to my specifications, and another fifty every season if you prove faithful to our need for discretion" The price was steep, as a butcher or fur trader would pay less than half of that, with another fifty added as a bribe. But the a happy lackey would help the Spiritist sleep at night. She would hate to send Jomi after him, and if she did it could only be after he had loosened his lips. Better safe than sorry.

Her eyes burned cold and blue in their shadowy corner, with firelight dancing deep in the black of her pupil. Summoning the last strains of her dijed, she pushed a simple suggestion on him through the contact of their eyes. Say yes, it lured, layering atop the efforts of curiosity and the exaggerations of his worry for his financial future. Say yes to this solution to the problem they had made themselves.

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A Hunt for Hunters

Postby Savis Maren on November 29th, 2018, 9:04 am

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84th of Autumn, 518 AV

The Nuit hardly needed the aid of Auristics to venture into what Laird felt as her admission fell from her lips, of an arrangement made for the shells she wore for her own. Savis Maren did not bother to specify the nature of her existence within Lhavit, for the information was hardly relevant to the situation, but it seemed the quickly paling hunter needed more information. Fear, or was it anxiety? The Nuit didn't care which it was, but nonetheless, it painted along his visage and blinded him again from the enterprise of the situation. Madeira Craven made the hunter an offer too good to be true, an offer she seemed happy to make in order to secure his service. And yet, he'd break away from such an arrangement on the Nuit's behalf?

Savis watched the hunter for a moment before Madeira Craven interjected, sharing the information that the Nuit herself was so reluctant to offer. A momentary flare of anger steeped within as silver eyes made their route to Madeira's visage. Despite the seething glare, the Spiritist went on and both of their guts were spilled to this hunter, this outsider looking in. Perhaps it was right to offer as much mundane information to this man as he required, to save the effort and omissions needed to enthrall and silence another individual. Madeira Craven did what was required of the situation, and Savis Maren did not fault her for it, even if she did dislike the necessity of it all. The Nuit relented, freeing her gaze from Madeira, who summoned the barmaid yet again and set down more liquor to drown the hunter deeper into stupor.

Mortals and their vices... they willingly blind themselves, surrendering their senses for a false pleasure, she reflected. The Nuit couldn't empathize with such fools, and though Laird was very likely the right man for the job, she detested the need to rely so heavily on him as to divulge so much freely for the satisfaction of his curiosity. Then, after Savis Maren divulged but a taste of what Animation offered and it seemed Madeira Craven was content to leave it at that. At the very least, the Spiritist knew to keep quiet the deeper natures of the disciplines the both of them held knowledge of. Explaining the minutia of the arcane arts was a long and frankly unfruitful venture for the layman who so thoroughly threw their efforts into the common goings about of the world.

At least Raeyn had an understanding of djed. Even if it was rudimentary and his company was rife with question after question.

Was it elitist for the century-old Nuit to berate a layman for his lack of understanding? Perhaps it was, but she didn't care in the slightest. As Madeira pointed out in their previous meeting, the two had need for a lackey, not another contemporary. Savis needed more friends like she needed another hole in the torso. The Nuit felt a measure of dampness on her flesh, the smallest dregs of wine that freed itself from the preservation salts packed within her chest cavity. Drinking the wine was a calculated move, for alcoholic drinks rarely exhacerbated the rotting process. Rather than dwell on the scarcely visible stain at her shirt, the Nuit's gaze flickered between Laird and Madeira.

While the layman wouldn't notice the flare of djed in her eyes, Savis Maren noted the flicker of signs that came with a mage on the precipice of utilizing their remaining djed. She felt it in her own body, the power of the soul burst forth in the effort to study deep into the auras of the Hunter's Guid to find one that suited the Nuit's intrigue. Delving deeper still, to find the manipulation Madeira set upon him, the flaring emotions during their conversation. Savis Maren kept it in her mind to take things slower, for while the dangers in Auristics were less than other personal magicks, those dangers remained present nonetheless.

At the mention of price, Savis knew that Madeira Craven had the hunter ensnared. She could practically hear the greed compelling him, and Laird emerged from the shell of his stupor, leaning back in his chair for a moment before his lips curved into a grin. He nodded curtly at the silent Nuit, having few words to mince with a corpse and instead inclined his head. The nod was slow and subtle, but the shifting of an arm that extended forth solidified the answer. He offered his hand to Madeira Craven, glancing again between Nuit and Spiritist before he said,

"Aye, I'll 'ccept your most generous offer, milady," The acceptance might've sounded sweet if the hunter wasn't nearly collapsed from the depths of his indulgence in the poisonous liqueuer before him. The very thing that alienated the man to the Nuit, made him unsympathetic and ungraceful also made manipulating him simpler. Cautious and intelligent, this man must have some dastardly subjects on his mind always to push himself to the limits of his senses. Savis Maren didn't care for his wellbeing, but figuring such things might come in handy in their future together. Between Spiritist, undead witch, and hunter, an agreement was made, and the Nuit was glad for it all. Savis allowed her thoughts to flee from the table and the people in it, and she followed along as the hunter inquired as to where the trio would meet and where carcasses were to be deposited, a subject she'd leave entirely to Madeira Craven, who seemed to take to conversation like a moth to a flame.

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