Closed Death and the Desolate Priest

Madeira and Jomi confront a Desolate One, and the stakes could not be higher.

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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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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Jomi on March 17th, 2019, 8:37 pm

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Date 518 AV
"Speech"


The ghost stood on the edge of the moat above grassy knoll. His unmaterialized body rocked back and forth as he struggled to bring his terrified mists back together. The ghosts wildly erratic mists wound and contracted around his etherial body, refusing to be tamed by the ghosts scattered mind. The stone in his hand flashed brighter as the ghost knit his brows together in concentration. Slowly the ghost gathered himself and focused his mind, forcing the soulmist back under his control. The etherial smoke began twisting and fusing with each other as they built up Jomi's materialized body.

The Shinya are here! Jomi come see!"

Infinity wove its thoughts into Jomi's consciousness with a surprising amount of pep considering the circumstance. Relief rolled off the psychic connection in waves as the manor's concentration narrowed in on its saviours.

Jomi hesitated as he felt the manors attention fade off him. He should have blinked away to Madeira's side immediately but he couldn't will his soulmist to move. He no longer needed breath but the ghost would have sworn he was suffocating. The wash of terror he had repressed when faced with the Priest came roaring back and the already shaky materialization vibrated sharply as the emotion worked its way through him.

And then he heard the screams.

Male and female. Shinya and Madeira. A orchestra of voices and a monstrous screech raised over the trees to be carried by the winds back to the ghost. Infinity's wordless terror manifested and overwhelmed their physic connection as the ghost threw the latent power in his soul forward and spread it out to the ends of his soulmist. Jomi's etherial shroud dissipated and scattered as it activated. Thick ribbons of the mist shot downward and ensnared the crossbow and dagger before blinking away to the front of the manor in a blind panic.

The screaming and stopped by the time the ghost rematerialized behind Madeira's slumped body. Her glassy eyes stared vacantly at the horrid nightmare that showered Infinity's grounds with blood and visceral.

"Spiritist.... Spiritist..."

The Priest tested its weight on the pile of bodies before releasing its hold on the edge of the moat. Its eyes shone hungrily as its malformed lips pulled back across rows of shining white teeth. Its haunting mantra increased in speed and intensity as it began to rake its talons into the soft soil on the their side of the moat. Directly beneath the soulbeads hidden in the grass.

"Madeira get up." Jomi hissed low and pleading in her ear as the lip of the moat crumbled away and the Priest pawed excitedly at the ends of the barrier. "We need to get inside, please Madeira. GET UP!"

Jomi dropped his weapons as he rushed forward and tackled Madeira's vulnerable soul. The ghost tore through her body aggressively, saturating her bones and soft tissues with his essence and plucking at the threads of her astral body. The ghost filled her vision and forced himself into the space her soul occupied, overwhelming the traumatized soul as he took control.

Jomi pulled at Madeira's astral body, forcing the heavily pregnant woman to her feet just in time to watch a thick chunk of earth give into the Priest's assault and crumble into the moat. A bright flash of green blinked in the thick grass and Jomi watched in horror as a polished ball of jade rolled out of its hiding place and into the dark abyss, breaking the seal.

The ghost twisted the spiritists body towards the door of the manor as the Desolate priest cried out in victory as it clawed its way over the edge of the moat. But Jomi knew the heavy, pregnant fragile woman wouldn't make it in time, not without help.

Jomi stilled his mind and focused, much in the same way he'd activate his soulmist in order to interact with physical objects. he reached in his core in order to draw on the spiritists dijed, directing it and letting it pool in her legs. The tension and stored energy within the muscle fibres peaked. Releasing with punishing force as her legs thundered over the pristine swaths of blue flowers and leapt up the balcony towards Infinity's door before colliding with the second barrier.

The ghost nails embedded in the floor stopped Jomi at the entrance. Jomi's mists ripped out of his host and scattered across the invisible wall as Madeira's dijed enhanced momentum carried her through into the safe zone.

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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Madeira Craven on March 24th, 2019, 5:05 pm

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Madeira was distantly aware as the ghost pressed into her body, levering her soul aside. How dare he take her body without permission. But even so she could not find it within herself to stop him. She watched passively as he did something he had never seen him do before; Jomi harvested her already exhausted dijed, pulling threads of power from her soul, and was weaving them through her legs. What was this? Their shared eyes watched as a rotted, clawed hand of the priest sunk deep into the lip of the moat and pulled its body up. Viscera and the last of the Shinya's blood still clung to its teeth. But that was the last she saw of it. With a speed her body should not have been capable of she had launched herself to her feet and turned, bounding up the steps three at a time. A foreign magic was using her own dijed to propel her far past was her exhausted muscles were capable of.

The house was urging them on, ringing like an alarm bell in their minds, its front doors open and waiting. As soon as her possessed body hit the doorstep Jomi collided with her ghostnail barrier, ripping himself from her body. The heavy oak doors closed behind her with a bang, and every open door, shutter and window in the house followed suit with a clatter. Madeira fell hard, sprawled on the hardwood floor and shrieking with agony as her legs seized and spasmed with the absence of magic. Something inside her jarred with the impact, and it felt like her entire abdomen was clenched in a huge fist. The pain cleared her head, and as she gasped in agony the world came back into focus.

That was magic. Jomi had used magic. How does Jomi know magic.

Suddenly the house shook as the heavy, fleshy body of the Priest threw itself at the front door. The impact bowed the wood and knocked Raj's head from above the hearth as dishes rattled in the cupboards. But the door didn't break. From outside came a howling of rage and frustration, and a cry of stressed wood as the beast rake its claws across the doors.

The ghostnails!

In a panic, Madeira pulled herself back to the front of the house on her hands on knees. There, in one of the six corners of the hexagonal house, was a twenty-five centimetre iron nail sunk deep into the floor. She moaned in relief. The second defence was still standing.

The house was weeping, dripping agony into its creator as its exterior was ravaged by the claws of the Desolate One. The creature was moving in a circle around the exterior. She heard a window shatter in the kitchen and a shoulder ram into another corner. The house felt like it was hunkered down with her, protecting her with its body, weathering the blows to keep her safe. Madeira pulled herself to her feet by a scone bracket and forced her legs to hold her weight.

"Hold on, you poor creature", she laid her hand flat on the wall, her mind stretching out to shoulder the pain with the young Architectrix. "Hold on. I've got you. We'll fix you, just as soon as this is done we'll fix you. I need you to stay strong a little longer. I promise this will all be over soon."

The thought of her weakness on the front steps, of having the house and Jomi watch their leader's mind run away like that, was sickening. That can't happen again. No matter what, she couldn't let them down like that. Their first plan failed, but there was one more left. There were no more second chances.

"Jomi!" She slammed her hand on the wall, shouting for the ghost outside. "Jomi! I'm here! I'll let you in. Keep it busy!"

There was an old fairy tale, popular in Alvadas, called Jack and the Four Evils. In it the titular Jack managed to trap a Desolate One by tricking the creature into a small jar in its smoke state, thus sealing it away forever. The creatures could not turn solid unless it has room to do so, or so the story goes. She didn't even know if it was true, but gods help them, the moat, the Lie and the magic show didn't work, so this was their last ditch plan.

The monster was moving around to the back of the house, tearing up the grounds as it went. Madeira tracked it through the Architectrix, while doing her best to hold her poor, wrecked house's crumbling mind up. There was a silver flask on the table, laid out for just this purpose. On its dented, tarnished surface, amid pretty scrollwork, was an embossed scythe. Dira's symbol. A holy flask to trap an unholy creature. Who knew it would come to this?

Snatching the thing off the table, she got back down to her hands and knees in a corner of the room farthest from the beast. The creature couldn't pass her ghostnail barrier yet, but it would only be a matter of time. Trapped inside there was nowhere to run, and with the barrier intact Jomi couldn't help her. The house would be the first to die if the creature broke inside, and she would swiftly follow. The plan wasn't to give the creature the opportunity to break in, but to give it an opening of their choosing.

Placing her palm over a section of wall right in the corner, she whispered to her house, "here". After a tick she pulled away, and a knoll of wood came with it, leaving a rough sliver of a hole that peered into the desolation outside.

Her hands were sweating by the time she worked her fingers under the head of the ghost nail sunk deep into the corner. This was madness. Purposefully taking down her last shield was madness. But there was nothing else they could do. She dropped her head to pray as she worked the nail back and forth, loosening its hold.

"Dira, beloved goddess, warden of death, protect us. Save us from what defies you, for your enemy is knocking at our door, and there are fates worse than death."

With a last tug, she ripped the nail free, breaking the barrier. The mouth of the flask she fit as tight as she could over the broken sliver of wall.

"Jomi! Jomi!" She shouted, spraying blood and spit from her blistered lips. "I've broken the barrier! Quickly, get in!"
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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Jomi on April 8th, 2019, 11:24 pm

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Date 518 AV
"Speech"


"Jomi! I'm here! I'll let you in. Keep it busy!"

Jomi didn't respond. The pearly mist that made Jomi's astral body had spread thin and weak after having been torn from Madeira's body so forcefully. The monstrous, decayed body of Uldr's priest let out a bone chilling howl as it tore at Infinity's walls, trying to force its way in. The Manor cried out in wordless pain, its mind projected its agony and it's boards creaked and moaned as they pressed together to prevent the monsters entry. Infinity was sacrificing its own body to ensure the protection of its Master.

The ghosts soulmist spasmed with exertion as the last of the foreign dijed rolled through the ghosts soul. The ghost tried desperately to contain the erratic movements enough to build up his body and materialize. The Manor's soundless screams echoed through Jomi's head as he wrest the soulmist together. The etherial strands writhed and pulsed as they were pulled closer to his core, the stone in the ghosts hand shone a deep red before the divine magic set to work. The exhausted mists condensed together rapidly, starting at his head the soulmist shaped itself into Jomi's preferred shape, a younger, lithe version of himself he remembered from his youth. Even as tired as he was the ghost was able to cobble together and maintain the perfect imitation of life with the help of the bloodstone.

The wood beneath them creaked and bowed dangerously from the weight of the priest's monsterous form. It laughed cruelly as it circled the trapped spiritist, the ghost could hear the pop of wood fibres as the priests acidic saliva splattered over the thick outer walls. The beast knew she couldn't hide in the manor forever, no matter how fortified.

But Madeira didn't need forever, she just needed her servant to buy her some time.

The ghost blinked forward to hover above the path of the rampaging priest and watched with cruel eyes as its deformed muzzle and jagged, mismatched teeth open as it made to tear at the front of the heavy double oak doors. No longer having to focus the majority of his energy on keeping up his materialization Jomi instead furrowed his brow and drew his attention back into his core. The swirling mist condensed and shifted as he drew up the dead dijed up from his well and passed it through to the very ends of his soulmist. Jomi felt the flood of kinetic energies pooling into the erratic mists before he turned his mind inward, activating the soulmist with a thought.

The priest howled as Jomi dropped his materialized body atop its long scale covered jaws still slick with the visceral of the dead Shinya. Temporary out of reach of the priests acid filled mouth and rows of serrated teeth the ghost grit his teeth and pressed his unsubstantial, etherial body over as much of the priests as he could. An electric current traveled up the ghosts arm as Jomi reached forward and jammed his fingers into the priests lidless eyes, pouring all the energy his dead soul could conjure into the monsters very essence.

The grotesque, exposed tendons jumped out in sharp relief as the shock set in. The priests jaws gapped open and roared in pain as waves of stinging energy passed through its eyes and into its soul. Long cruel claws swatted blindly at the desperately clinging ghost it couldn't see before its body began to dissolve.

Jomi watch in horror as the flesh beneath him began to peel away, severing the ghosts connection to its soul. Thick flakes of flesh broke free of the beast, exposing bones and pulsating purple organs before they too broke down into dust. The priest gave one more wet mocking laugh before its throat and jaw dissolved into a black smoke.

"Jomi! I've broken the barrier! Quickly, get in!"

Jomi reached for the panicked flicker of energy in his soul and threw it back into the manor, his incorporeal body blinking away just before the wall of black smoke descended on him.

A tick of darkness overtook him as the ghosts soulmist blinked into the now destroyed ghost nail barrier just in time to see it bow as the priest threw itself against the doors. The ghosts sudden materialization flickered dangerously as he struggled to conserve his energy, sending a plume of dust into the air as he rushed to his Masters side.

Madeira's face was turning a deep purple and was as thick and swollen as her belly. Thick oozing sores around her lips bled onto her simple linen shift as she held her silver flask up to the opening in shaking hands. The ghost paused for a moment, his mind reeling as he tried to pull a single cohesive thought from out of the scattered mess. He wanted to run. This might be the last time they ever see each other. After years spent in her company the ghost had one last chance to make peace with his Master. Or to push her to fight. And he wanted nothing more than to flee. He wanted to run to the ends of the earth rather than see his only friend die a painful, horrific death at the hands of a god. He wasn't sure his fragile, broken mind would survive if he didn't. His teeth locked into a snarl as he fought his cowardice and begged his traitorous body to will his last words to materialize.

"Promise you'll come back if you die." The ghost hissed into her ear before he disappeared one last time.

Jomi blinked back into the womans body and demanded the space it occupied. The ghost twisted himself into her shape in order to fill his new container, leveraging the spiritists fear and weakness in order to wrest control and still the tremble in her fingers. The ghost pressed the lip of the flask to the wall with all the strength his Master couldn't summon on her own and braced them both for the priests arrival.

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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Madeira Craven on April 18th, 2019, 2:48 am

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Ghosts are ethereal, Desolate Ones are not. As Jomi moved himself into her body, gripping the holy flask tighter than her tired fingers could on their own, they allowed themselves to believe this would work. The monsters could be stopped with spiritism barriers, souldarts, they could be Lied to, but they were not ghosts. Their smoke form can pass through cracks and keyholes but cannot pass solid wood. If it meant to follow Jomi through the broken barrier, it had to do so here.

In their shared mind Madeira could see the ghost's painful indecision. His Kelvic instincts were telling him to flee, but his heart was telling him to stay. He was scared. Terrified. Not for his life, for that ended long ago, but for his mind. It wouldn't survive a second break.

I'm never coming back, she told him, mercilessly crushing his last request. If she died here so would her children. And she did not delude herself into thinking Allister would survive without her. There was nothing worth coming back for after that. But when I go, I hope you come with me.

She could feel the priest moving outside, feeling its way around the edge of the broken barrier, looking for a way in. Its poison smoke was peeling away the paint it touched and rotting the wood beneath. The Architectrix's mind was bending under the weight of this creature, and it was all Madeira could do to hold the poor things mind up. Dijed sparked in her hands, but it quickly died as her body rioted against the loss of more of its soul. She couldn't strengthen the manor anymore.

"Hold on", she begged it instead, whispering with her forehead pressed against the wall. "Just a little longer. You've protected me this long, and I'm so grateful. Hold on."

Then the beast found the little hole they made, and the Architectrix warned them with a silent feeling of dread. Jomi and Madeira kept holding the lip of the flask to the wall, her keeping control and him keeping her tired hands steady. A trickle of sweat was working its way between her breast as she waited with clenched teeth. Whatever magic Jomi used on her earlier was still taking its toll. Something was wrong inside her body, a kind of deep, intense cramping she had never felt before.

When the priest was completely through, worming it way confusedly through the neck of the flask, the Architectrix chimed frantically in their heads. The two souls wrenched the flask away and tried to slam the lid into place, but the thing was fast. It didn't matter that there were two souls in the body, or that the ghost could not feel the pain or limitations of the hosts body, and thus push past them. In the end the host body was still a skinny pregnant girl, and it was not strong enough.

She struggled to close the lid completely, fighting a force that was pushing up from within the flask. A voice was hissing from within, whispering about how it was going to flay her open while the ghost watched, how it was going to eat the babies before killing her. A rotting, sulfurous smell was coming from the solid silver flask as smoke trickled out.

Then her grip tipped, just a little bit, as she leaned into the force of it, putting all her weight behind it. There was a crackle, like tinder just starting to light, and the top exploded from her hand. Three fingers of her right hand bent back as the delicate bones snapped, her palm was skinned and bloody. And suddenly the thing was in her house, and the last barriers she had put up between her and it were finally destroyed.

The thing laughed as it expanded to fill the entire floor, its smoke thinning but inescapable.

"Spiritist!" It roared is some perverted glee as she choked. "Spiritist!"

She had thought seeing Dira was seeing death. The goddess who stood in her home had been cold and distant, her eyes inescapable. But that wasn't true death, not really. This was. It was rot and hate and sickness it was everywhere. She couldn't keep it at bay, not forever, and she realized right then, with a finality that struck deep in her bones, that she was going to die.

Every uncovered piece of skin was burning. Her face and hands bloomed with blisters and her throat tightened as she tried to breath. Lifting her wrist she fired wildly into the smoke all around her, and it contracted and screamed in rage. It began pulling itself together, away from the vulnerable smoke the spiritist could manipulate into something solid that she couldn't.

"Save me!", she rasped through her thickening throat, and ejected the ghost from her body with force, throwing him between her and the beast. The front doors swung open, the Architectrix wordlessly screaming for her to run. But run were? She can't outrun smoke.

The half formed creature lunged at her as she made her frantic decision. She threw herself away from the doors and to the stairs, hobbling on legs that could barely support her. She reloaded and fired over her shoulder, not taking the time to see if it hit. She was almost to the wrought iron stairs when a claw caught her across the back, raking her clothes and the skin beneath. The force knocked her over, and she had just enough presence of mind to twist and protect her belly before she fell down the twisted stairs.

The door at the bottom was open. Weeping in fear, Madeira dragged herself over the threshold to the basement and the heavy oak door slammed and locked behind her.

Distantly, she felt Jomi's ghostly presence vanish, melting away as the last of his very being was spent. It was just her and the manor now. They were alone.

"I don't want to die. Oh please, don't let me die", the thin composure she managed to armor herself in finally broke, and she wept like a baby as she fumbled for the collar of her dress. From inside she pulled out a little silver key with shaking hands. "I can't. I can't. Oh gods..."

A silver doorway opened in the dark stone room, shining with Leth's light, just as something heavy smashed into the basement doors. Madeira screamed in fright, her eyes wide and terrified as she groped for the light.

"I can't save you. I lied. Oh gods, I'm so sorry!"

She could feel the Architectrix crying in pain as she stepped through the light and vanished.
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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Jomi on May 7th, 2019, 1:09 am

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"Save me!"

The grasping fingers of Jomi's mist that permeated throughout the spiritists body flexed hard as it fought the sudden expulsion. Jomi cowered reflexively as the priest broke the barrier of their silver flask. He pushed himself deeper into her muscles and bones and twisted his soulmist aggressively away from the expanding force that pushed against the invading soul. But even with all his fight and struggles the ghosts tentative hold on the spiritist astral body severed in less than a tick as Madeira's adrenaline fuelled reassertion cast the ghost out.

A flash of silver shot past the ghost mere inches from his formless soulmist as Madeira franticly loosened her weapon over her shoulder. The projectile struck the wall in a spray of splintered wood before a string of Jomi's soulmist shot out from the tips of his fingers and wound tight around the embedded head of the souldart. Each strand woven tightly together around the pointed silver head. The ghost pulled the latent energy of his soulcore up and saturated it into the ends of his soulmist and used the activated mists to pull up on the projectile, freeing it from the wall.

Jomi heard the tearing of flesh and a hard fleshy thud from behind the priests wide frame as the beast caught the spiritists back. Sending her careening down the basement steps before the ghost blinked forward and tackled the desolate one from behind. The thin silver projectile hurled downward, propelled by a whiplike ribbon of mist and struck the priest between its half formed, exposed ribs.

A scream of agony tore itself from Jomi’s form along with a chunk of his soulmist as the priest twisted its long animalistic jaw and caught the ghosts projection. The Kelvic Ghosts remaining animalistic instincts lite like a flair, prompting his mists to churn and struggle to tear itself away from the oily yellow teeth. Jomi's mists fell out of the cavernous jaws as his body disintegrated back into its etherial state and collected on the floor. As the shock from the initial stabbing pain passed into a tearing ache Jomi focused his mists and pulled them back towards his core, forcing them together rapidly to cobble together his body. Although his edges trembled with lingering shock and pain he twisted his torso around to the beast and pushed his spectral palms into the beasts eyes. The ghost set his focus on his palms, drawing the lingering energy from his mists and focused them into the central points, and poured out his remaining strength into the priest.

She's gone.

Infinity's voice filtered through the noise and chaos directly into the ghost subconscious. Small desperate words soaked in the helplessness of someone who had already given up.

Madeira opened a door to the Ukalas and stepped through.

The ghost's mists seized as Infinity's deep soundness cries echoed around his etherial skull, paralyzed by the crushing weight of a dark realization. If infinity was right and Madeira had truly left then there was no way this would end well for either the house or the people that lived there. He wouldn't be able to find Edith as another mindless soul or without Madeira's help. If he wanted to see his bonded again he needed Madeira to live, but it seemed she had already given up and abandoned them both. The Kelvic's jaw dropped open and he roared into the darkness. He pushed away the betrayal and heartache, packing it away deep inside his mind and let a wave anger wash away the bitter taste they left as he clung tighter to the grey, rotting flesh.

The priest thrashed its heavy, mutilated body. Wisps of soulmist tore off in the jaws of the monster as the ghost pushed his soulmist farther than he ever had before. The electric currents emitted from the ghosts soulmist cooked the flesh beneath them as the priest clawed at the wet, rotting flesh of its monstrous face. Claws as thick as a woman's wrist dug furrows into the soft tissues in a futile attempt to pull off the etherial body that covered it.

"She's not gone, just needs time! She's coming back. She has to!"Jomi roared into the empty room. The ghost could feel the last pieces of his soul crumble away as he expelled the last of his stolen life-force. The force used to maintain his body and interactions with the world shred his soul with the force of a thousand burning spears as it exited his body. Jomi cried out in pain as he poured everything he had into the Priest. It wouldn't be enough to kill it, Jomi knew. But he could still serve his purpose and slow it down, leave it here crippled and weakened for when the spiritist returns.

Jomi's body flickered weakly as the colour and definition drained from his form. Slowly disintegrating into a formless mass before finally wasting away completely, leaving no trace of his existence.

But the ghost was still there.

Jomi's consciousness lingered in the cavernous room. Positioned over the pile of seared flesh as the priest trembled with residual electric currents.

Stay down

Even as a bodiless conscious Jomi could still feel the pleading tone of his thoughts.

Just stay down

A bubbling rumble emitted from the depths of the priests barrel like chest. Its blackened, burnt flesh cracked and bleed as it stirred. Its exposed muscles and tendons in its legs bunched and flexed as it pulled them beneath it. The low rumble grew louder, echoing off the stone and filling the room as the priest reached up with its thick paws and raked it over its burnt flesh. It stripped off the blackened flesh and let it crumbled under its talons. The black flecks drifting to the floor and collecting in piles of ash as the rumble turned to a laugh.

Layers of burnt rotten flesh was pulled off the priests corrupted body as it laughed wildly. The maddening sound shook the manor on its foundations as the priests monstrous body stood to its full height. The crown of its head left scorch marks on the high arched ceiling and its paws left bloody prints in the pile of its own visceral, with not an injury in sight.

Oh fuck

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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Madeira Craven on May 8th, 2019, 3:01 am

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Madeira fell to her knees as she stepped through the shining door into Leth's domain, her wailing polluting the endless calm of her private sanctuary. Above her Leth hung heavy in the velvet sky, looking down as if to judge her. The whisper of the breeze through the endless rolling hills were mocking her. The crumbling markers of her graveyard stood sentinel to her failure as she clung to her favourite headstone and wept.

And how poetic it was, that she should meet her end in such a place. The old bone of the headstone was warm under her hands, as if holding onto the warmth of a sun it had never seen. The inscription upon it was impossible to decipher, the words sliding in and out of focus no matter how many times she tried to read it. She remembered a time where she used to fantasize that it was her name inscribed upon that marker. She once thought this would be a beautiful place to spend eternity.

"I was wrong. I was wrong. Goddess forgive me, I don't want to die", she whispered, sliding down the marker into the plush grass, where she once spent bells deep in silent contemplation. Now it was all she could do to stay afloat in her thoughts, as her broken bones and ruined skin sang their agony. Deep in her body she felt something move and seize.

She was going to die. She knew this deep in her bones, the inevitability of it. She had put up every defence, pulled every trick, threw all she could at her death, but it did not stop. She had been dismantled, every trapping stripped away. Her strong, brave Architectrix, the power of the Shinya, even her faithful Jomi, it was all gone. Without them she was just a little girl playing at war.

"I am- I am going to die." She spoke the words aloud. They tasted strange on her tongue. Yet the certainty washed over her, clearing her mind. She could not change it, she could not stop it, so she worked on accepting it. She was going to die.

She had faced death before. It was the test Leth gave her before rewarding her with the key to her private graveyard. During those few days she had been decapitated, beaten, crushed and half eaten, but she had been charmed by the god of change so that she would come back whole. Yet every time she was about to die, she wondered if this was it. During that time she said goodbye to Allister half a hundred times, she had kissed her unborn children and made peace with everything she was to leave behind. And every time she came back, it was like the world was brand new again. Leth had given her this place to reflect on that time. Perhaps he knew what was going to happen in the coming months. Maybe that test was his mercy, to prepare her for this day. Maybe he gave her this graveyard knowing it would be her tomb.

"I am going to die", she spoke again, stronger. Her voice rasped and her blistered lips broke and bled, but this needed to be said. She needed to hear the words. "When I die my children will die with me. My bonded will die with me. I will be abandoning the Infinity Manor to life without an Architectrix mage to care for it. I will be abandoning Jomi and Emma to death without a Spiritist to take care of them. I will have failed my family. I will have failed my goddess. I am going to die."
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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Madeira Craven on May 19th, 2019, 1:27 am

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Madeira wiped her eyes with the ragged sleeve of her ruined dress. Why
was she so scared? Why, when she had interacted with death all her
life, did it now seem like this great black pit opening in front of
her?

Perhaps it wasn't death she feared, not really. Perhaps it was
everything she was leaving undone. All her scheming ambition, everything she had worked for, was about to vanish. The claw marks she had left trying to drag herself to prominence would fade away in moments, and the world would go on as if she had never existed. It was sobering, realizing the true breadth of her life. She had always lived as if she was the center of her own universe, now she was realizing how little space she truly occupied in this life.

Madeira pulled herself up and stood on shaky legs, breathing deep of the fresh, clean air of her private domain.

Now that she knew she was going to die, what should she do? The
monster couldn't reach her here. Perhaps she should hide in this sanctuary, in
peace, and wait to die. Infection or starvation would catch her eventually, but she could linger in life for a few more precious days. She could make death wait to take her.

But that thought turned her cold. There was a monster in her house this very moment, a thing that spat in the cycle her life was devoted to preserving. The cost of those few extra days would be the suffering of her family, as the thing destroyed everything in its way to look for her. And when it was done it would go about its other foul tasks as it licked the last of her life from its claws.

Going back would only guarantee she died screaming, she knew. She would be sacrificing this quiet death under the stars for one of blood and shattered bones. She couldn't kill it. She couldn't. It was impossible.

But I have to try.

"I am going to die." she said, fumbling about the collar of her dress for the small silver key, letting the breeze of the hills dry the last of the tears on her face. "And I am going to make my death mean something."
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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Madeira Craven on May 21st, 2019, 12:41 am

Image
She stepped back into the world through a silver doorway, and the world slammed back into her. The air was thick with the sweet, gummy smell of rot and festering wounds. Glass bottles and the iron caldron shivered as an incredible force slammed into the heavy oak door to the basement. The Infinity Manor was lost in the white noise of it's own damaged mind, it's consciousness assaulting hers with an expanding sense of dark, hopeless dread and bright white pain. A roar of frustration and the unmistakable grinding of exposed bone ripped through the small stone room as the priest landed another blow, and Madeira stumbled into the long research table.

The door was studded with iron ghostnails, so the monster couldn't slip through with its poisonous smoke. But that would not stop it from breaking the door down. The wood next to the doorknob was already splintering, opening a rent in the wood like a jagged row of teeth.

"Goddess help me. Goddess help me", Madeira mumbled like a mantra as she scanned the room, looking for a weapon, a barricade, anything. But in the basement laboratory all she had was the trappings of her research. This was not a fortress, and she was armed with only chalk and glass. Even the hearth was cold, and the house was too far gone to build a fire. Spinning in place, looking for any help that could be found in the cold lab, blood flung from her skinned and broken right hand. A drop of red, so like the stone Dira left Jomi, arched in the air and splattered in the middle of the mark carved into the stone floor.

The Spiritist paused, even as the stressed wood of the door groaned under the force of another blow. She stepped back, staring at the sharp, engraved spikes of the familiar sixteen-point-star like she had never seen it before. Her summoning star...

Madeira snatched an empty beaker off the shelf above her head and smashed it against the edge of the table, sending shards of glass halfway across the room. This was mad, she told herself, as she hobbled over to the star and stood in its centre. Evocation was used for ghosts that still resided in the physical world, a technique she had perfected over her career. But there was another kind, one she had never seen preformed and only knew by theory. If the living members of her family had ever even attempted it she never knew, but journals and second hand accounts from their dead in their library claimed one could call beings down from the Ukalas itself.

Half remembered fragments of text blew through her mind as she scrambled to put together all the pieces she knew of the ritual. It required the alahea star and... and it required blood. A lot of blood. There was no time to do this neatly. With the neck of the broken beaker in her hand she pulled back her sleeve and cut into her wrist, dragging upwards towards her elbow. The tough skin of the thatched scars along the inside of her arm plucked like guitar strings as the glass bit deep into her flesh. Blood tricked and then began to pour, and soon her side was drenched in blood. Now quick, before you pass out, what's next?, she demanded of herself, trying to ignore the seconds of her life that were ticking away with every pump of her heart. There was an incantation, she knew. But what was it? What words could summon beings from beyond this life? With dawning horror she realized she didn't know. She scrunched her eyes shut, tuning out the roaring of the creature outside and the steady drip of her blood and tried to focus. But the words alluded her, every account she had ever read was sliding farther and farther away from her minds eye.

With a snap the splintering fissure in the door buckled, and a sliver of light fell across the floor. Through the crack a long claw hooked through, and began tearing the door off it's hinges.

"Spiritist..." a cloud of vapour huffed through the crack on its breathless laughter. "Spiritist!"

I am going to die, she reminded herself, and turned away. She breathed deep of the fetid air and calmed herself, taking comfort with the inevitability of it. Only when she was ready did she begin to speak, as her soul sought that connection she had to maintain to evoke with soulmist. This time there was nothing there. Her soul tried to reach and twisted, looking for that space somewhere beyond itself, where gods lived.

“You who lived yesterday, I’ll call you from my mind to yours" She began, holding tight to the memory of Dira standing in the bright light of their living room, back when she didn't even know the meaning of fear.

"Help me purge the undead from the earth, to serve our goddess
Who protects the circle of life and death of which we are all a part
Help me preserve the sanctity of her mission
For I am about to die, and now I truly understand,
there are fates worse than death"
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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Madeira Craven on May 21st, 2019, 8:40 pm

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Madeira felt it first with her soul. As she was reaching for something she didn't fully understand, it reached back. The connection was met halfway between them and soaked with a power that nearly made her balk, but she held on. She pulled the summoned beings to her, and they allowed themselves to be pulled. The blood drenching the alehea star began to vanish and Madeira's breath hitched with the effort of holding tight to something much more powerful than herself.

Suddenly the connection dissipated, and Madeira, wobbling where she stood, opened her eyes.

There were four of them, surrounding where she stood inside the star, and she knew at once that these were not ghosts. Humanoid in shape, they otherwise emitted a powerful glow that was too bright to distinguish much else. Without a body she couldn't tell if they were human, male or female, old or young. Maybe such things didn't apply to these beings any more. They stood in silence, facing her, while behind them the door finally gave way with a screech of iron hinges.

"Destroy it!" Madeira commanded, or was it begging? With a leap of her heart she saw she beings rush the Priest who had forced its shoulders through the empty door frame. These were ascended souls who served Dira, and a priest was no match for them. The Desolate One was forced back, and she could hear the rattling of the stairs as it retreated, its roaring reducing and contorted as it finally tasted the fear it had given her.

Madeira dropped the broken glass and chased after them, her heart pounding in her ears, and leaving a trail of blood behind her. The world was tipping, sliding out from underneath her, and she couldn't quite tell if it was blood loss or that sudden nerve wracking influx of hope that felt so unfamiliar under her feet. The tide was turning. By the gods, the tide was turning.

She managed to drag herself up to the main floor, clutching the railing, propelling herself with the power of adrenaline. The Priest had dissolved to mist and was attacking the beings from every side, but they were holding it back without even touching it, like they were protected by an aura it couldn't penetrate. As Madeira got closer she swore she could feel it too; a strange, overwhelming sense of death. It seemed to repel her body and attract her soul, until it felt like the bonds holding the two together were weakening. Was this the power of Dira's gnosis? To kill with a thought? To be so pure that undeath cannot be in your presence without destroying itself?

In the time it took her to limp across the room they had it pinned with nothing but their hands and auras, but they moved aside as she neared, like they expected something of her.

"Spiritist!" the mist took on a rough, skeletal shape as it tried to speak. "Our lord will know what you have done! Release me, or risk the wrath of god!"

Was this what it sounds like when a Desolate One begs for its life? Madeira smiled drunkenly where she stood, cradling her bleeding arm against her chest. She didn't think anything could sound so sweet. Moving between the ascended beings she reached out her right hand as if to touch it.

"Do not listen to their lies! Death is the true evil, the thing we all fear! All suffering is born from death and dying. Serve Uldr, for he is life eternal! Never fear death again! Do not listen to their lies! Do not touch me! Do not touch me, Spiritist!"

"Forgive me, Goddess, for what I am about to do", Madeira prayed under the screaming of the Priest. "I cannot send this corrupted soul to your embrace, nor can I suffer it to live. I commit this sin knowing what I have done. Forgive me"
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Death and the Desolate Priest

Postby Madeira Craven on May 21st, 2019, 9:54 pm

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She plunged her bleeding hand into the tainted smoke, and the poison immediately began melting her skin. Choking on her scream, Madeira used the open wound on her wrist to suck away the dijed in the creatures soul. She had dusted a ghost only once before, but it was not a feeling one forgot. The energy swam up her veins as she pulled at the soul with her blood, and she almost laughed. The effect was giddy and powerful, it settled into the lining of her brain as an electric effervescence. She could hardly hear the Priest screaming in pain and terror, or hear his threats to her home and family. The pain as her flesh bubbled and melted seemed secondary as she relished the indescribable feeling of power.

She was stealing the last living part of him, and it felt good.

But it was a struggle. The process went in stops and starts as she fought with the Priest for its soul. Her concentration centred around the pull of energy between them and it was sapping at her strength. Sweat beaded on her forehead and her eyes rolled as she leeched him with her blood. On all sides she could feel the ascended souls watching as the Priest began to crumble away. As the last of the dijed left its body its smoke seemed to collapsed into dust. Little by little it wore away, until with a roar of pure hatred and fear the last of it fell inert to the floor.

The quiet choked the room, and Madeira felt dizzy and sick in the aftermath as the euphoria gave way to reality and a sickening guilt. Dusting is a practised that removes a soul completely from the cycle of life and death. The thing was conscious and trapped in this dusted state where it could not feel, move or see. But It could still speak. In the quiet she could hear the the indecipherable whisper of its threats. The creature was still alive, technically. But it could not die. It can never reenter the cycle and reincarnate, at least not until it is released.

It was over. The reality of it was creeping up on her tattered soul. She survived. It was over.

The Infinity Manor had pulled away almost entirely from itself, and she could barely sense it in the edges of her mind. But it too was realizing what had just transpired. Its panic was wearing away, and in its place came the grief. Turning away from her attempts to comfort it, the presence wept for itself, for her, for Jomi and the innocent bodies impaled on the moat it built.

The ascended beings vanished one by one. With their task over, they returned to the Ukalas where they came from. Then Madeira was left alone, injured, sick and in pain in the ruin of her house that still smelt of smoke and rot, with the priest she had conquered. There was no feeling of victory, no sense of relief, just an emptiness where the terror used to be.

Unable to hold herself up anymore, Madeira dropped to her knees. Holding her melted, blistered hand away from her body, she stared into the floor and let the emptiness take her thoughts away.

"Madeira."

It took a herculean effort to raise her head. When she did she saw a familiar figure standing before her, flanked by her jackal sentries.

"Dira", Madeira answered, the name coming hard from her sore throat. "Have you come for me?"

Death regarded her for a long time before she spoke. "No. This is not your time."

Madeira smiled and swallowed hard. "I am going to die, but not today."

"Indeed." Perhaps it was a trick of the light, or her own inebriated state, but Madeira swore for a moment she saw the goddess of death smile too. "I am here to offer you a place at my side. You have faced your death and accepted it, and shown your talent and your resolve. I sense a purpose in you, a drive, that can bend itself to my cause and the preservation of life and death. I have watched you, judged you, and found you worthy. Will you become an Eiyon, to serve me faithfully, with all the power and responsibility that comes with it?"

The goddess waited patiently for her answer as Madeira's world shifted violently on its axis. Words fled her mind as she came to terms that she was favoured by Death herself. The insinuation was huge, and Madeira respected the gravity of it by taking her time to really think before answering. This would change her life, and death, forever. There was no fear in that thought now though, and no fear to be found in the goddess that waited for her. When she spoke she spoke with a clear confidence even through her damaged lips.

"Yes."

"Then show me your hand, Madeira Craven, so you may be blessed."

It was with complete shock that the Spiritist watched the Goddess of Death lower herself to her knees in front of her. Not knowing what else to do, she offered her dominant right hand, still dripping with blood. Dira took it gingerly in her own hands, turned its palm up, and lowered her face.

The kiss to her palm was strangely warm. The shock of the entire experience was giving her an out of body experience, and she saw the act of a goddess on her knees, kissing her, in a way that was strangely detached. It was so intimate and somehow possessive, and she knew she had been claimed. A power flooded her body as Dira moved a sliver of her capability to the Spiritist, and under her lips a black scythe was branded into her palm.

The goddess pulled away and looked Madeira in the eye. The spiritist watched as she licked her blood off her lips.

"You will do great things, Madeira Craven."

There was a stirring in the air, and the Goddess and her jackals vanished. Madeira was left kneeling on the floor, but somehow not as alone as before. She looked into her palm and smiled through the tears.
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Madeira Craven
long may she reign
 
Posts: 1311
Words: 1103279
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