Closed Wish Upon a Starfire (Lani)

Stranger things in the night.

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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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Wish Upon a Starfire (Lani)

Postby Luminescence on March 26th, 2019, 3:01 am

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Wish Upon a Starfire

The 55th of spring, 519 AV
One chime before midnight

The streets of Lhavit were quiet; the midnight rest was at its peak, and most citizens were taking the chance for the much needed rest before they stirred and returned to their normal, daily lives. Above, the moon hung full in the sky, silver light shining brightly and reflecting off the skyglass below.

Lani Stranger was no exception. Sleep was perhaps debatable, but the mixed blood was resting in her new home, still adjusting to the strange sleeping schedule of the crystalline mountain city. Her rest would be peaceful, uninterrupted except for her own thoughts, until a voice cut through the still night air.

Lani. Masculine, deep but soft, like the quiet rustling of feathers or a swift breeze; the voice called her name, though no audible sound was made. As Lani searched for the source, her rest disturbed, she would see nobody; but what she would see was the soft glowing on the table by her bed.

On it sat her starfire key; had it been there when she had gotten into bed to rest? Regardless, it was there now, the silver glimmering in the moonlight; a silver glow was gently beaming from the pearl set into it, engulfing the whole key in a soft light, bathing the surface of the table beneath it.

It was as if the key was beckoning; the longer Lani looked at it, the brighter it glowed, calling her silently to pick it up. Come, Lani. The voice repeated, echoing in her mind, as calm and still as ever; but it was perhaps just slightly more prodding, urging her to pick up her key and use it to visit her own private space.

Was she dreaming? Sleep-walking? Despite the key and the voice calling to her, she was entirely in control of herself; and any pinch or slap would sting as normal, signalling that the black-eyed woman was indeed awake. The key shimmied slightly with a barely audible rattle, apparently impatient, waiting for Lani to pick it up and use it.

OOC :
Sorry this is a bit short, we'll get kicked off properly soon! Also, feel free to steal this template to use if you like it; I went ahead and made it while I was brainstorming for a bit of extra inspiration. :) If you don't like it that's fine too!
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Wish Upon a Starfire (Lani)

Postby Lani Stranger on March 31st, 2019, 7:58 pm

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Although she had always been a lover of the night, not considering herself subject to rules and taboos like most of society, she had long since aged from those years of staying up until Syna’s morning rise. Her time in The Spires, and in Zeltiva, and in Wind Reach had forced the wild child to adopt a somewhat regular schedule of sleeping under the moon. Alvadas had no issue with a child remaining awake through the night, and Lhavit was just as alive under Leth’s watchful eye as it was under Syna’s, and so she was afforded a childhood without proper schedule. Still, when the midnight rest settled on the city, Lani found herself crawling into her bed, exhausted from her day’s work. She liked to spend the evenings listening to Spider preening himself or cooing to Madeira’s mysterious blue bird down stairs. Sleep did not take long to find her this night, and she welcomed its embrace as an old friend, carefully removing her precious jewelry she had recently begun acquiring, and placing it beside her bed on the delicate side table.

Lani. But it seemed just as she closed her eyes that someone was rousing her, whispering her to wake. If she had been anyone else, perhaps she would have been reminded of a father waking a child to take medicine while she was sick. But Lani had never known a humanoid father, and thus had not known any memories such as these. As soon as her mind wrapped around the masculine voice calling to her, her midnight black gaze flew open. It would take a few ticks for her eyes to adjust to the pale grey moonlight filtering in through the window and how it cast long and deep shadows across her room, luring her into thoughts of strange figures to which the strange voice might belong to. Not waiting for her eyes to pick out too many details in the room, Lani sat up, immediately finding herself drawn to the starfire key, which had begun to create a light of its own. The godly gift that had nestled close to her heart since she had received it, had a strange habit of drawing her attention at invariable times for unknown reasons, but she had not yet found a reason not to trust strange urges that were not her own.

Come, Lani.Lani almost choked, realizing that the voice she had heard was disembodied, although very real. Curiosity drew her close, and the mixed blood pulled her shift over her shoulder and swept her legs from beneath her blankets, firmly placing bare padded feet on the floor. Carefully she picking up the soft glowing key from her bedside table, and the small simple ruby ring as well, donning her magical jewelry out of possessive habit. Lani stood, feeling her joints crack with the movement, and examined her key for physical changes she might notice. Only, it was too bright. If she looked away from it, it left ghosts in her eyes where the light had once pierced them, and dimmed the room as black gaze was forced to readjust to the darkness. Deciding to listen to it, she stepped forward, placing the key horizontal in the air as if there was a keyhole awaiting her in the center of her room. Spider stirred on his perch, curious as to why she was awake at this bell, and flapping his wings twice in an attempt to join her. She always attached the bird to his jesses while she slept, because he was prone to playing pranks on the hen, or chewing up any paper that had been left out. Lani had had to recopy one too many notes because of the crow and had since learned her lesson.

”Stay tonight.” She cooed at the creature in Nari, twisting the key in her invisible door. She could already imagine the oasis of her memory forming before her, and the more she focused on the image, the clearer it became to her. By now she was used to the faint pop of what should have been metal in a wood frame, but was in reality a faint shimmering appearing out of nothing. A sliver of fresh grey moonlight appeared in the center of the room, arcing halfway over her head, but not completing the doorway just yet. Lani waited, testing a hand on the moonlight portal before peering into her little oasis as she took her first step in. It was just the same as it had always been, with the massive glowing moon on the horizon, and the sandstone ruins crowning her small clear pond. The area was empty except for the translator’s sphere that Val had gifted her, resting safely inside its velvet box beside the oasis.

As always she felt a fresh wave of comfort fall onto her, relaxing her shoulders and easing the small line between her brow that had become permanent since she left her teenage years. For a few ticks she forgot that she had been summoned, and she wanted nothing more than to dip her feet into the cool pond and reflect on her time spent in reality since she had last escaped to her oasis. She had once tested all the boundaries of this small space, and while it looked as if she could see far into a vast desert that expanded past the ancient and unknowable ruins surrounding her, she could not in fact go far. This was little issue because she didn’t want to. Lani found herself crouching beside her pond, her knees settling into the sand, and looking up at the massive moon that filled her horizon.

”Why have you called me here?” She finally ventured to ask, having not heard any more of the faint masculine voice since she entered. It is possible it was an imagination of her mind, so many things seemed to be that lately, even her own father deity of doors and travel, it seemed. Still, she knew it could not hurt to ask. The worst answer would be none, and even that she could live with. Perhaps it was an imagination calling her forth to meditate, because it had been too long. Perhaps it was fatigue lying to her, and she was sleepwalking into the unknown, unable to control her actions… but no, she seemed in control enough to realize this was not the case. She would have to be patient. Something, or someone, had called her here… She would have to discover what it was.
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Wish Upon a Starfire (Lani)

Postby Luminescence on April 14th, 2019, 5:26 pm

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Lani would find no trouble using the starfire key to open the door to her own personal domain; if anything, the faint shimmering and click of the ethereal lock came faster than normal, as if the key itself was impatient for Lani to open the door.

Once inside, however, she would not notice anything amiss. The moon hung large in the sky, and the small oasis was perfectly still, the surface of the pond more akin to a sheet of glass or a large mirror than a body of water. As she stepped into the space, the door behind Lani shimmered and then vanished.

Kneeling beside the pond and speaking into the silence, only the faint breeze would reply to her, sending a small ripple across the surface of the pond. The ripple expanded, only growing larger, and as Lani looked into the surface of the water, she would notice a silver glow coming from within the pond; the same sort of light that came from the starfire key she still held.

Finally, the voice came again. Trust me, Lani. Better yet, trust yourself. The key thrummed in Lani's hand, and then as if being pulled by another person, was wrenched from her grasp, flying into the pond with a small splash.

The ripples emanating from the pond stilled as the key sunk into the clear water, until the surface was once again still; the glow from the key was visible as it sank further and further down, until it merged with the silvery light shining from the bottom of the pond. Once the two made contact, the silvery light flared brighter, casting a reflection up into Lani's face from the surface of the water.

Peering down into the pond, it would seem much deeper than it had previously; but there, near the bottom, was a shimmering silver surface, similar to the doorway created by her starfire key.

Everything else was still; even the breeze had stopped blowing. Make a choice, Lani. But choose carefully. Behind her, if she turned her head, the mixed blood would see a shimmering doorway reappear; a way out. She could leave, and forget what was happening, forget the strange voice; her key would reappear to her when the moon next rose, and she would be none the worse for the strange, dreamlike experience.

Or she could dive in after her key, and swim down to the strange doorway near the bottom of the pond; the silver light shone brightly, beckoning. It was her choice. Leaving through the newly appeared doorway would see her back into her room at Madeira's manor, as if no time had passed at all.

Alternatively, diving into the pond would immerse her in the pleasantly cool water. The silver light shining at the bottom seemed distant, but not impossibly far; it was bright enough that Lani would need to squint if looking at it directly, but not so bright she couldn't look at it at all. It was a beacon of sorts, guiding her through the water.

Upon reaching the shimmering silver light, she would find herself disoriented as she transitioned directions; one moment she was diving down towards the bottom of the pond, the next she was swimming upwards, towards a new surface.

Breaking the surface, the mixed blood would find herself in a new space filled entirely with darkness. The silver light still shining from the pond at least provided enough of a glow to see by, at least in the immediate ten feet around it. Above, high in the black sky, a full moon stared down at her, though no stars surrounded it.

The ground was black, and nothingness stretched out on all sides of her. It was eerily silent, the only sound Lani's breathing and the quiet splashing of water where she disturbed it. It was as if she had entered a void, an empty space. She would find that the ground still felt like sand beneath her bare feet when she exited the pool, firm but soft and shifting slightly, but looking down she would see only blackness beneath her.

Walking forward, she would find herself stopped by an invisible barrier once she reached the edge of the light from the pond; it was smooth, and just slightly cool to the touch, almost like glass but not quite.

Beyond the barrier, the nothingness began to shimmer and shift, forming into something; but what, Lani couldn't tell just yet.

Tell me a memory of yours, Lani. Tell me something you think of fondly, something you cherish. The voice returned, firm in its prompting; it was a demand, not a question.
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Wish Upon a Starfire (Lani)

Postby Lani Stranger on April 29th, 2019, 9:31 pm

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As if someone had yanked the starfire key from her hand, it flew into the small oasis before her, disappearing beneath the black surface with nearly no sound. The key, which she had always had an unexplained pull to, even when it was just a rock, before it was a key, was suddenly gone. For the first time in nearly two seasons, she was not touching it, and it felt odd. Still, she could see it, shimmering beneath the surface, seemingly far down. When the voice spoke to her again, she listened.

Choose carefully, it had said. She could stop blindly following this voice now, chalk it up to a dream and not risk drowning, or worse, by following that door. Something told her she likely wouldn’t drown, but that if she continued down this path she could find herself stuck here. Here which was nowhere, and not-reality. She would be stuck wherever this was, in the key on her neck, forever. Then again, perhaps there was something waiting for her. Something that she had to experience. Or, perhaps there wasn’t. Perhaps she dove into this suddenly deep oasis, and she found nothing of note, nothing special. Perhaps she opened her eyes and woke up.

Perhaps it was a dream, in which case following the light would not hurt her. But must she no fear pain in order to do something brave? Could she fear it and do it anyway? Was she not the brave little Knight from all those years ago? Did she fear things unknown? No. There was something there. Someone was telling her to go, but giving the option not to. This told her it was most likely going to be risky… but then again, someone had called her here, hadn’t they? She had to trust herself to be strong enough to face whatever this was.

”Here we go.” She muttered, standing properly. The half-Chaktawe girl had barely learned how to swim as a child, and diving was out of the question. She imagined herself making a graceful arc headfirst into the small pond, but she was large and uncertain, so instead she stepped forward. Her feet sank into the soft sand beneath the liquid, and in less than a few steps she was dunking her head under the water, closing her second lid to protect her eyes. Suddenly, the small oasis was huge around her, and she felt as if she was swimming down a massive well, with only the bright shimmering light of her starfire key as guidance.

I trust that I can handle whatever is down here. She thought the mantra to herself to help build confidence, dragging the water up around her as she neared the light. It was becoming unbearable to look at, and so she let all of her lids fall closed, still thinking towards the voice. I’m trusting you that this is something I need to do. She thought to whoever spoke to her. She had no information to go off of, no idea if this was reality or a dream, but she was doing it regardless.

And then, it seemed, she was no longer swimming down. Her hands broke the surface of water, and her eyes instinctively opened. She trusted whoever brought her here, but her curiosity would force her to evaluate where she was. She was looking up at the moon again, the same giant sphere in her little starfire room, but without the soft blue sky or stars around it. Here was nothing but black. Black, the moon, and the pool she swam it. Almost feeling disrespectful of the silence, she found herself holding her breathe, trying to take in the pure nothingness surrounding her. Had she had some sort of drug without realizing it? She doubted her mind was creative enough to come up with such an utter lack of things.

Slowly, carefully taking small breathes, she swam forward, her feet meeting sand beneath her. It felt as if she was walking up the same path she had walked down in her own oasis, but everything was different. This was a new place, this place was not hers. As she stepped onto the land surrounding the pool, which felt like sand, but she could not see it, Lani instinctively reached her hand out as if she was blind. Only a few steps away from the pool, her hand reached a smooth invisible barrier like in her own oasis. It seemed that this new place was exactly like her starfire room, only empty, and dark.

”Hello?” She finally ventured, seeking guidance from the voice that had been speaking to her.

Tell me a memory of yours, Lani. Tell me something you think of fondly, something you cherish. Lani’s mind did not wait for her to respond to the command, already digging out her most fond memory of her life. What surprised her was that it was not her mother. At first she thought of the countless times her mother had nursed her from illness, or taught her to make jellied tea eggs, or brought her to the tower. Her mind did not show her Madeira’s child face giggling as they played Knight and Queen, or her time spent studying at the University. None of these things showed in her mind, but another face that she had only known briefly, and yet could never truly forget. It was Quett.

”The sky was blue, and the clouds were pink. I think the sun was rising, it was morning. My first morning in The Spires.” She recalled, her storytelling was weak. She was an actor, not a storyteller. She conveyed emotions and behaviors with her body and her tone, not just words. Luckily this was the truth, a rare thing, and thus easier to tell about. Still, her recollection was choppy, and she tried. ”Yeah, it was, and that was when I got my name, my new name, Lani Stranger. But that’s not all, I also met Aquiras for the first time.” Lani let her eyes close against the moon, dragging up as many details as she could.

”I didn’t actually meet him, of course. One does not just meet Gods. But that is when I was first introduced to the concept of him.” She began, settling into a crouch on the sand, and looking back up at the moon as if she was speaking to Leth himself. Her lone audience.

”I was fifteen, my mother had just passed… er, I had just left my mother in the Talderan wilderness.” She winced at the harsh truth. ”I was too old to be an orphan, and I hadn’t had any skills to start a life with. I could not marry… well, not in the Spires. I was useless. Quett, our wilderness guide, had taken me in after the incident on the trail, but he didn’t owe me. His family took care of me for some time, but they didn’t need to. I am grateful for that. But the thing I am most grateful for is the day he named me. Well, we named me.” Lani corrected herself.

”Quett told me of various travelers he had met. A Chaktawe named Shishja the Strange, and her son…. Um… I forgot his name. It started with an ‘A’… or maybe an ‘M’. But it was interesting because I had never heard of Chaktawe before then. And that day I learned that I was one, or at least, half of one. Later I learned I was Eypharian as well, but that day I learned I was Chaktawe. Hey, that rhymes.” She laughed at herself for a tick before remembering to stay in line.

”He also told me of an Inarta human named Lani. She was the only other worshiper of Aquiras he had known, in all of his years, and neither of them had ever heard of Aquiras. If Quett had not told me of the God, and recounted knowing another who followed him, I would think Aquiras isn’t real.” She shrugged as nonchalantly as possible, her heart racing a bit at even muttering such a taboo idea. She didn’t believe it, but the idea still scared her a bit. ”He is just very quiet. He has not spoken to anyone since the destruction of man. We probably offended him, at least that is what I think. To me, that does not matter. A deity whose domain I frequent, who’s divinity I rely on, I will not ignore. Even if he is angry, he is a God and deserving of my worship.” She said, getting a hit of déjà vu as she realized how exactly she had adopted Quett’s words and adapted his ideas to her own. It felt right, it felt real, and it assured her that she was not alone in her faith.

”We decided upon my name, Lani Stranger, inspired by the traveling women he had known. And then he told me about Aquiras. There was not much information but he told me stories and showed me how he expressed his faith. At the time, I was so young, it was so important to me that I learned this. Not only had I received a new name, and I could shed the weight of my mother’s mistakes, but also because I found faith. I found a God whose domain I lived in, and could pay homage to. I had a new name and a future that did not look bleak and dangerous. It is a small memory, and definitely not my most exciting or most compassionate, but the day I was named and the day I learned of Aquiras was the most important event in my life. The most uplifting memory I have for you.” Lani grinned to herself as she finished the short story.

Silence hung in the air after her words, and her mouth was a little dry with all of the talking. Lani was no storyteller, and her rambling had been rough and discontinuous, but she had said all she needed to say on the subject. The warm flowering happiness that the memory of earning her new name brought her did not leave, and she realized she was letting one hand rest gently over her heart, as if she was holding onto the joy that the memory brought her. It occurred to her that she never questioned the command, or thought to ask why, and for a tick she wanted to ask. But she didn’t. Instead she let the words settle in the air around her, filling the darkness, and waited.
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Wish Upon a Starfire (Lani)

Postby Luminescence on August 6th, 2019, 11:42 pm

The silence around Lani was thick and soft as she began to speak; her words did not echo back to her, but rather almost seemed to be absorbed by the air around her, as if the blackness was drinking in her voice and story. Behind the invisible wall, things continued to shimmer and shift as Lani spoke. There was no response to her words, no encouragement but neither was there derisiveness. Simply silence.

When she finished speaking, the silence continued to linger; but the shifting shapes in the darkness began to contort more quickly, colour slowly seeping into the blackness. It was muted, but sharply visible against the inky stretch of nothingness still visible behind it. Slowly coming to life behind the barrier was the very scene that Lani had described, starting at the top and solidifying downwards. A pale blue sky and rosy clouds, a morning in the Spires.

A lumbering shape took form, one she would recognize easily as Quett; and a much smaller one beside the Jamoura, with dark hair and darker eyes. It was Lani herself, albeit much younger, still not fully grown or matured. Lani's reflection stared at her through the barrier, tilting her head curiously, the only thing that moved in the frozen scene.

"Sometimes it is the smallest, quietest moments that mean the most." When the male voice sounded again, it came from her reflection's mouth. Fifteen year old Lani approached the barrier, peering closely at her current time counterpart. "And yet it is those moments we often tend to lose when we reflect back."

With a wave of the reflection's hands, the scene around her dissipated into a grey smoke, drifting away. "A moment that was a pivotal shift in your life, to be sure. A change in your very identity. And you've changed even more since then, but yet you remain the Lani Stranger that you became in that moment."

There was a thoughtful pause before the other Lani continued to speak. "But for every good memory, there is a bad." The other Lani pointed upwards, towards the full moon hanging in the sky. As Lani watched, it shifted through its cycle rapidly, waning from full to gibbous to crescent, until there was only a sliver of it left, and then darkness.

The vast expanse of nothingness seemed to dim slightly, and the other Lani stepped closer to the barrier, a mere fingertip away from it as she leaned in close. The depths of her black eyes gleamed, and she put a finger thoughtfully to her lips. "Now, Lani, if you don't mind. What about your worst memory? What keeps you up at night still, makes you tremble with regret, or terror, or maybe both?" The voice, so strange coming from Lani's own mouth, dropped in volume, becoming a hushed murmur. Dark eyes watched Lani expectantly.

Whoever or whatever had called her there, it was clear they were not about to give Lani their purpose until she played along with their game; recalling your best memory was an easy thing to do, a wonderful thing to share. Even now the remnants of joy from Lani's memory seemed to hang in the dark air around her. One's worst memory, however, was a vastly different story. The light shining from the pool of water behind Lani seemed to flare for a moment, brightening as if to remind her that it was still there.

"Was it when you left your mother to die?" The other Lani asked, idly; there was nothing malicious in the man's voice that came from her mouth, simply an intense curiosity, a deep desire to know as she probed, eyes never leaving Lani's face. Shapes and colours swirled behind the barrier again, another scene constructing itself around the younger Lani.

The dimness of a cold and snowy forest as evening set materialized first, the figure of a painfully familiar Konti woman then coming into view. Her mouth was open in a silent call, a silent plea, her glazed eyes fixed on the distant silhouette of a caravan disappearing among the trees.

"Or is it something worse? Don't try to lie to me, Lani Stranger," the male voice chided gently, in case the thought crossed the mixed blood's mind. The scene behind the barrier wavered slightly, seemingly ready to dissipate if one even breathed too hard in its direction, but held for the moment.
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