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Dev'ania and Madeira investigate the strange symbol that appeared on many doors in Lhavit

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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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Postby Madeira Craven on April 24th, 2019, 7:59 pm

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Dev'ania breathed out in a meditative sigh and pressed her hand to the door. And Madeira, grimly curious, having never seen a fortune-telling gnosis before, hovered over the Konti to watch. But such divine gifts are not so flashy, and from the Spiritist's point of view nothing much happened at all, much to her disappointment. Yet it seemed the Konti got much more out of the experience.

"Wow. That seemed so... magical." Dev came back to herself, blinking her bright blue eyes. Immediately she turned and dragged her notebook out of her bag and began to sketch what she saw in her vision: someone in a familiar dark hooded cloak.

"That's what my house saw too!" Madeira exclaimed at Dev's explanation of what she saw. "I mean, there are plenty of dark cloaks in this city, and not seeing their faces means we can't be sure, but do you think its possible this was all the same person?" She still clung stubbornly to her Inverted theory, but she had to consider the idea that this was something else.

But then Dev did something she didn't expect. Glancing once between Madeira and the mark, and leaned close and sniffed it.

"Don't touch that! You have no idea where it came from." Madeira, being intimately familiar with several blood-activated magics and possessing an unhealthy knowledge of the dangers of decaying body fluids, quickly hooked a finger in the woman's collar and dragged her back. But not before the Konti delivered a shocking revelation.

"... I don't think this is blood after all."

"What?" Dev stepped back from the door to allow Madeira access, and the Spiritist leaned close and gave her own tentative sniff. She was not the expert that Gemma would have been, but she agreed with Dev; that wasn't blood. Removing the rings and gloves from her left hand, she carefully swiped her finger down the viscous red liquid. Was that... paint?!

"We've been tricked", she shook her head, dumbfounded, yet turning away to hide a small secret smile from Dev as she wiped her soiled hand on a tall fern. "But why? Why go to the trouble to make it look like blood? Why are they trying to scare us? Lets ask your crone."

Steeling herself, Madeira knocked politely on the mark and let herself into the Lonely Shack.

The front room was just as sparse and rundown as the outside, with bare creaky boards and hard furniture. On a low table a half-burned stick of incense was covering the room in a fog of perfumed smoke. Somewhere above their heads a bell chimed.

Not seeing their mysterious crone, Madeira pressed forward through an archway opposite them covered in sheer gauzy fabrics. This opened to a room that struck her immediately as a fortuneteller's lair. Circular, small, and stuffy with incense, the crone had made it even more claustrophobic by lining the walls with shelves groaning under the weight of mysterious boxes and bags. On a table covered in a fringed tablecloth in the center of the room was all the trappings of her craft: a cup of tea, a pile of knucklebones, a deck of cards and a mortar and pestle.

"Dev'ania. It iss good to ssee you again."

The hardened Spiritist gave an undignified squeak of fright as a tiny, ageless woman drifted out from behind a curtain to an unseen doorway. Bald beneath a colourful headscarf, a thin pipe held between dark desert coloured fingers and dripping in a gypsy's copper jewelry, she greeted Dev even as she regarded Madeira with dark fathomless eyes. Every hair on the Spiritist's body shivered to attention.

"Pardon the intrusion. I'm Madeira Craven, Ma'am. Dev'ania's friend." Madeira recovered from her fright as quickly as she could and bowed primly at the waist. There was a kind of low, primal nervousness still licking at her bones to be in this woman's presence. It took her a moment before she could place why.

The Crone is a viper Dhani, she recognized belatedly. Small, dark, hairless, and everything from her sibilant speech to the snake-like movements in her hands as she adjusted her pipe pointed towards the predatory desert race. She knew her type. She even loved one, once. But that didn't make her fear her any less.

So, Dev'ania, the sweet Konti barmaid, was actually a divinely marked fortuneteller, and chums with a mysterious woods hag in a magical, rundown shack who just happened to be a venomous snake monster?! She didn't even know if she should be impressed or confused by this Konti who was much, much more than she first appeared.
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Postby Dev'Ania on May 10th, 2019, 3:43 am


Dev'Ania stood back, observing Madeira as she took her turn at sniffing the substance on the door. "We've been tricked," Madeira said.

"Indeed we have been. Everyone has been fooled." Dev'Ania replied the other woman, moving next to her side. "Well, we still need to know why. This seems to be much more than a harmless trick."

It was time to ask the crone some questions. She would have the answers they needed. Madeira opened the old wooden door and walked in. Dev'Ania followed behind her, the old wooden floor creaking with every footstep. The pair walked through the fabric covered opening into the very familiar fortune-telling room. Cala appeared, smoking her pipe. The smoke from the pipe merged with the smoke from the burning incenses, making the room seem more stuffed as it was.

The room looked the same as it had the last time Dev was there. "Dev'ania. It iss good to ssee you again."

Madeira shrieked at the sight of the crone. Dev'Ania looked at the woman to reassure her before directing her attention back to Cala.

"Oh thank Avalis you are okay! I saw the mark on your door and was worried about you." Dev'Ania spoke in an excited tone, relieved to see her former mentor safe. She quickly sat down in the chair across from Cala. Madeira introduced herself. Dev could see that she was quite alert and a little nervous.

"How rude of me not to introduce my friend, Madeira." Dev stood up from the chair and offered for Madeira to sit. Whether the blonde woman accepted her offer or not, Dev stood next to the chair. "I have no doubt that you presumably already know why we have come. We want to know who is behind the marking of all of these doors. Is there any more information you can give us?"

Dev'Ania took out her notebook and quill again, ready to take down any information.

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Sorry again for the long wait. Let me know if you want me to edit anything. :)
Last edited by Dev'Ania on May 28th, 2019, 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Neologism on May 15th, 2019, 1:57 am

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”I know who you are.” The Crone steadied a gaze on Madeira that seemed to see just a bit too much about the woman. From most people, it might have been a threat, or an unwelcome acknowledgement. But from the Crone, it was simply a statement of fact. No one entered her shack without her permission, and so it could only be expected that she knew who was approaching. She took a long drag from her pipe, filling the room with heavy sweet smoke as she exhaled slowly, hobbling over to Dev’Ania and gently placing a hand on her shoulder while she spoke, a rare show of familiarity. ”And I know why you are here.” She said. There was a surety to her voice which did not breach arrogance, but filled her aura with the reality of her knowledge. The Crone was a relatively powerful being, but one who chose not to meddle in many affairs.

”Trickery, thievery, falsse accussationsss… alwaysss ssscared of the wrong thingsss, we are. I do not wisshh to involve mysself in this trivial argument of thosse people.” The Chrone started, pausing once again to inhale her tobacco, crossing one arm over her stomach to support her other elbow. She watched Dev’Ania for a few ticks, as if deciding something. ”In regardsss to what you assk: What you do not know doessn’t matter with thisss one. They are a fleeting kind, only important for now, gone tomorrow.” The Crone waved the knowledge in the air, releasing the smoke from her lungs with her words. Well aged and clearly used to the inhalation of tobacco, her scratchy voice was seemingly affected by years of this pipe, making her gender slightly less sure. ”But if you mussst know, you will find little information on the doorsss of the cccity. If you want to ssspeak to the masster of thisss trick, you musst read their wordsss yourself. They already told you their intentionsss.” She paused, crooking an eyebrow at the girls, but not bringing her pipe to her mouth.

”Of coursse what you learn, dependsss on what you allow to ssspeak to you.” She muttered, black eyes unfocusing from the face in front of her for only a tick before refocusing themselves on Dev’Ania. ”You’ve progressssed with your sssight. You’re better at ssseeing what the Chavena wisshesss you to, you musst ssseek thesse ansswersss yoursself.”

”If you truly want to walk into that heathen’sss handsss, you are welcome to it. However, I would advisse you not to invesstigate further.”
She warned with a nonchalant and frail shrug, but there was a small glint in her eye as she spoke. As if she was in on some joke that the two women could not fathom. Or that she may have taken part in whatever had happened to the city…. or just that it amused her to watch those without her sight look for what she could already see. The true intention of the Crone was more ambiguous than she was, but there was a distinct neutrality in her words. She only paused now to gauge the women’s reactions, and to answer any more questions they may have. Or at least answer them in the strange contradicting way that she spoke, revealing details only to those who listened carefully enough. While the Crone was old, her mind was sharp, and her habit of rambling distracted many from her truly insightful words. Dev'Ania would be used to the Crone's ambiguous nature and withholding of the future, as it was a respect paid to Avalis. The Crone followed the philosophy that if everyone was to see with the eyes of a Diviner, then the Goddess would have given everyone the sight.
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Postby Madeira Craven on May 16th, 2019, 7:48 pm

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The bridge between Madeira's eyebrows grew narrower and narrower the longer the Crone spoke. Perhaps it was thick, heady smell of incense and pipesmoke that was making her head swim and the Crone's words dance like visions in front of her eyes. Maybe the weight of the words, heavy with meaning her narrow mind couldn't decipher, was what was causing this seed of pulsing pain in her temple. Or perhaps this backwoods witch was really just completely petching incomprehensible.

And this little Dhani looked so smug, chuckling at her own little joke with the universe, purposefully obfuscating what she clearly knew but wouldn't divulge. She was toying with them, watching her student and this woman she had just met run around in circles while she held tight to the answers they were looking for. Madeira bristled like a cat, eyes flashing cold and blue in the candlelight.

"You! I would allow you to speak to me! What words do we have to read? Why does what we know not matter? Who is this heathen? You are this close to being useful but you can't quite make that leap, can you?" The Spiritist fidgeted in place, the room too cramped for pacing, and her not quite able to give up the space she had staked as far as she could physically get from the Dhani.

"So... We're always scared of the wrong thing. Then what's the right thing to be scared of? Magic? Overgiving?... Important for now, gone tomorrow. Is this person not from Lhavit? Read their words yourself... Do you mean what the Towers posted in the Gazette last season? What other words are there? Is this just some 'between the lines' bullshyke? And heathen means they follow a god, but not your fortuneteller god... So this is religiously motivated. But then-" Madeira made a wordless noise of frustration, her bracelets clacking noisily as she clapped her gloved hands over her head as if to prevent it from rolling off her shoulders.

Perhaps Dev'ania, the fellow fortune teller, could puzzle this out, but Madeira was officially in over her head. She needed clarification but she knew asking a direct question would be pointless. If she asked where to find the words, or what this persons intentions were, this Dhani would just give them the runaround and pollute things further. So, what question could she ask that would give them the maximum amount of clarification for the least amount of bullshyke? What could satisfy the Crones fetish for being ambiguous while still giving her and Dev a thread to clutch in this impenetrable mess?

"Okay, fine. What should we be scared of? What is this heathen warning us against?" It was a weird comment for this Crone to slip into the conversation, this reflection on what 'those people' fear and their trivial arguments. Perhaps that insight could prove useful in knowing where to go next. "Dev, ask what you need to ask, then lets go. I don't want to stick around any longer than we must." She sniffed in distain and immediately began to cough as the tobacco and incense shot up her nose. "I have a pigeon at home that'll be much easier to get a straight answer out of."
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Postby Dev'Ania on May 28th, 2019, 7:16 am


“...I do not wisshh to involve mysself in this trivial argument of thosse people.” Trivial? How could this Dhani think that this situation was unimportant. People were being threatened! Someone had to be brave enough to truly investigate what was happening, which was exactly what the women were doing. Yet, Cala had known all the information the women needed to solve this mystery, but would not disclose any of the facts with them. Wouldn’t Cala be upset, too, since her own door was marked? Wouldn’t she want something to be done?

A look of pure shock appeared on the Konti’s face as she observed Madeira become frustrated with Cala. Of course, Dev’Ania was frustrated and partly annoyed with Cala, too. But she respected her former mentor too much to shout at her.

“It’s okay Madeira, we can figure this out.” Dev’Ania tried to calm the woman down. Cala deflected all of the questions Madeira asked. She couldn’t even give a simple reason why they were doing this. Dev wished Cala would just tell them what she saw and help them. She had to see something.

Dev’Ania fidgeted where she stood before sitting back in the empty seat. She tapped the end of her quill on the notebook page, unintentionally making dots as she thought through what the Crone and Madeira were saying.

Dev whispered to herself as the other women spoke. She listed all the information obtained to get a better understanding of it all. “Okay. So, the marks on the door won’t be of any help in getting any more important information, we would have to get it all directly from the words of who was behind this, and we have already been told their intentions - maybe in what the Towers have posted in the Gazette.” The Konti, quite frankly, could not piece together any of the information.

Dev’Ania was shocked to know Cala had known she used her sight. She knew Dev had used her gnosis to divine information. This made Dev’Ania happy knowing that her mentor acknowledged her progression in her divine gift.

The Crone warned the pair about investigating further. Dev refused to give up. They had come so far in their findings, and she could not just forget about it all. “I’m sorry, but we must get to the bottom of this. If you won’t help us with your sight, then I will have to do it myself.” Dev’Ania knew Cala was only withholding information out of respect for their Goddess, but she thought that this would be an exception.

Dev packed her things and rose from her seat, giving the Crone a look of disappointment. “I don’t believe I have any further questions. Hopefully your...bird...will help us, Madeira.” She had no idea how a pigeon was to give them information, but in Lhavit, anything was possible. At this point, she was open to trying anything. Including using her sight again.

Dev’Ania began walking out of the shack, the heavy smell of smoke and incense fading as it diluted in the fresh air.
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Postby Madeira Craven on June 3rd, 2019, 7:55 pm

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Madeira snorted with dismissive exasperation and followed Dev'ania from the smoky room. Though the dramatic effect of storming out was lost somewhat when the Spiritist took the long way around the table to avoid passing in front of the tiny Dhani. Once outside she took a great breath of clean spring air, feeling it fill every corner of her being and chase out the numbing effect of the layers of incense and pipe smoke.

"What a- What a useless old mage", Madeira huffed, following Dev back into the glad. "Valuing being spooky over helping us. Keeping their precious knowledge to themselves so they can make us chase our tails for their amusement. Damn it all. No. You know what? I'm going right back in there to shake her until the truth comes spilling out."

Full of righteous fury, Madeira spun on her heels, ready to storm back inside and threaten that old hag with being haunted for the rest of her days, but was brought up short.

Where was the shack?

The shallow between two heavy trees, where the fortune teller's hut had been moments before, was empty. The prism flies and the smoke trickling from the chimney, all of it had vanished like it had never existed. Madeira spun on the spot, squinting into the trees like she expected to see it sprinting through the woods.

"Coward", she muttered.

Shaking her glove off her hand again, she pulled a jeweled comb from her hair and pricked her finger. With the spot of blood she began to draw a spiked symbol into her hand.

"I'm sure my bird will help us, Dev. It has to. Unless the Crone's spookiness starts making sense soon we'll be fast out of ideas." Closing her hand into a fist, she called for Emma.

The little ghost child shimmered into existence, a nightdress floating about her bare scabbed feet. At the sight of the pretty Konti stranger the girl smiled nervously at the ground, her little hands picking at the weeping sores between her fingers.

"Hi Maddy..."

"Em, kitten, this is Dev'ania. Dev, this is Emma."

The ghost bobbed in a quick curtsy, but still wouldn't look the Konti in the eye. "How do you do?"

"Can you take us home, please, Em? We need to have a visit with Bird."

The ghost nodded and led the way out of the park, her form flickering in the spots of bright morning light that filtered through the trees. Her main job was to simply ferry her master from place to place, since the Avalad had an affliction of the mind that made her incapable of finding her way unaided. The little ghost was quite content with the roll. Madeira looped her arm through Dev's and followed.

From the park it was only a few blocks to the Infinity Manor. The tall wrought iron gate opened unaided before the two women and the ghost, and Madeira strolled confidently through, pulling Dev along. It looked to be a handsome house from a distance; a very Lhavitian-esque confection of opulent architecture three stories tall. But as they crossed the grounds the ruin came to light, from the many boarded windows to the melted paint, to the great swaths of sour, dead soil. Ringing it all was a wide, fierce moat studded with stone spikes and traversed by a hastily constructed bridge, and at the top of the porch stairs, smeared across the wide double doors, was the same strange symbol from the Crone's cottage.

The sentience of the house moved in slow currents well out of Madeira's reach. The house had not properly spoken since the battle that had ruined it. But she felt compelled to try anyway.

"We're home!" she announced. Something warm and gentle brushed her mind in acknowledgement and retreated. "The house is alive", she leaned into Dev to explain quickly. "It's not feeling very well, but if you're polite and avoid stepping on its flowers you two will get on just fine." As they stepped onto the porch steps Madeira passed a hand over the banister. From her soul she pulled her dijed forward, twisting it into her palm and feeding it through the contact. With her mind she begged the house to drink deep and recover, though she knew it wasn't its strength that needed tending.

The doors opened ahead of them, slicing the painted symbol down the middle. The inside of the house was no less ruined than the outside, but it looked like some effort had been made to fix it. It was dusted and swept, the furniture sparse and hard but intact, with a fire sparking merrily away in the fireplace and the oven to dispel Springs wet chill. And in the corner, cooing happily in his golden cage, was a pretty blue pigeon.

"Bird!" Madeira dropped Dev's hand and approached the cage, poking her fingers through to stroke his feathered head. Emma pranced off to talk to the stuffed tiger head that snarled at them from above the hearth, and from the kitchen on the other side of the hexagonal room a large black possession-addled cat wove his way to Dev to tangle up in her legs.

"I got this pigeon from the Inverted, years ago. He was just an egg then", Madeira explained, her exuberance curling at the edges as it burned away into sadness. "If I'm right, and the Inverted are at play here, he'll lead us right to who's responsible. But if I'm wrong..." If she was wrong, and the Inverted were still in Alvadas, or touring across the Suvan sea, she would never see him again. She had been carrying this little piece of home from city to city, he had been with her for years, this mysterious bird that was not a bird, touched by a god she missed more than anything. The reality that she might lose him forever sat heavy in her throat.

"...Never mind", she shook off the sadness, turning her mind back to the task at hand. "Be prepared to run. I have no idea where he'll lead us. Ready?" She waited for an assent from the fortune teller, before saying a quick prayer beneath her breath and throwing the cage doors open for the first time.
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Postby Luminescence on January 12th, 2020, 7:02 am

A small bit of warmth pressed against Madeira's mind as she explained Bird to Dev'Ania, the manor offering some comfort when it felt the spiritist's deep sadness at the prospect of losing the magical, feathery creature. Bird cooed gently and rubbed his feathered head against Madeira's fingers, shuffling closer and ruffling his feathers.

There was no immediate reaction upon Madeira throwing open the door to the gilded cage; Bird blinked at her, cooing again, and then hopped forward, spreading his wings to flap somewhat clumsily as he was finally granted permission to exit his cage. He landed on Madeira's shoulder first, cooing gently into her ear and nuzzling her hair, his beak gently poking and pulling at her earlobe before he gave another flap, mussing Madeira's hair as he hopped up onto her head and then launched himself into the air.

He did a loop around the top of the room before making a beeline for the nearest window, perching on the windowsill and pecking impatiently at the glass of the window. A faint sense of disapproval washed through Madeira, the house letting her annoyance known, before the window creaked open, and Bird flapped out into the open air outside, leaving Madeira and Dev'Ania to rush back out through the front door to follow.

He would not be hard to find as the two women chased after him; Bird seemed...confused. He was wheeling in a slow circle outside, cooing, head cocking this way and that. After a long moment, he took off back the way they had come towards the Park, then seemed to abruptly change his mind, and banked sharply, doubling back and heading further into the peak.

It was slow-going at first, but Bird eventually seemed set on his path and began speeding up, the small white and blue spot in the air swooping just low enough and slow enough for Madeira and Dev'Ania to keep track of him.

Bird eventually lead them towards the edge of the peak, where houses and business began to fade out, becoming more sparse. Abruptly, Bird banked into a circle, honing in on one house in particular. It was small, seeming to be more of a cottage than a real house, and while not in overt disrepair, was clearly not inhabited. Dust coated the windows thickly, and the paint on the door was beginning to fade.

Bird swooped down after doing a few more circles over the house, landing on the outside window ledge and pecking at the window as he had done inside Infinity Manor. As Madeira and Dev'Ania finally caught up, his pecking would increase in urgency, the little bird fluffing his feathers and looking, somehow, increasingly annoyed.

The sharp 'tap tap' on the window continued to speed up until either the window or door to the house was opened and he could fly inside, or Madeira recaptured the pigeon in her hands, which Bird would allow without much fuss except an irritated coo.

Certainly, the abandoned home was likely not what Madeira had been expecting; if she were to peer through the dusty window, she would see no sign of movement inside. If either of them tried the front door, they would find it unlocked, and it would swing open easily if loudly, as the unoiled hinges screeched in protest.

Bird, if still loose, would swoop in ahead of the girls. Otherwise, he would coo excitedly in Madeira's grip. The inside of the house was just as abandoned as the outside; still fully furnished and neatly kept, in relatively good condition aside form the thick layers of undisturbed dust and the cobwebs gathering in the corners.

The small house contained a main entrance room, a kitchen, and a single bedroom. The kitchen table was set with a clean plate and utensils, as if ready for a meal, but just as coated in dust as the rest of the furniture and decor. As the two women swept through the house, it would become increasingly clear that there was nothing particularly special about it, and that nobody had been there in a very long time.

Bird, if free, would perch on the mantle of the fireplace; regardless of if he perched in the main room or in Madeira's hands, he sat still and quiet, seemingly content despite the fact that there was not a soul in sight aside from himself, the spiritist, and the Konti. The house was truly empty and abandoned.

OOC :
Sorry for the wait on this guys! I appreciate the patience. As you've probably figured, Bird isn't actually going to turn up much...but you're welcome to look around and investigate as much or as little as you'd like. :) Hopefully we can wrap this up finally with a few more posts.
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Postby Dev'Ania on February 11th, 2020, 2:13 am


The Konti woman stood with frustration next to Madeira. She had not been surprised to see the shack disappear as soon as the pair left. Cala did not want to be found. Dev paced in a circle, going over their conversation with the crone in her head. The crone had answers but would not share them and the reasons were unclear. Coming this far into investigating, there was no giving up.

Dev’Ania stopped in her tracks to inquisitively watch the Spiritist draw a symbol on her palm out of her own blood. At the closing of her fist, a ghost child appeared before them. A shocked look was set on the Konti’s face. This was her first time ever meeting a ghost. She always thought they all were mean, but looking at the little ghost girl, whom Madeira introduced as Emma, she wasn’t afraid. Just in a little disbelief.

“Hello, Emma. I…uhm... I am fine. It is nice to meet you.” She smiled warmly at Emma.

At Madeira’s request, Emma led them out of the park, and to Madeira’s home. Approaching the manor, Dev followed closely to Mads and her ghost friend. Her home was nothing like she had ever been to. Standing at the house’s front doors, she observed the same marking on it that they were investigating.

“...The house is alive…”

Alive! How could the house be alive? Ghosts, magic birds, and now a magic house. It was no shock that Madeira’s house was marked with the symbol. Everything about her was magical.

Eyes wide and jaw dropped, Dev walked slowly into the house after Madeira. Her gaze was immediately taken by the bright blue pigeon perched in a cage on the house’s mantle. She walked over to it, nearly tripping over a cat weaving through her legs, through her attention was fully on the bird and the task they had. Avoiding the cat and listening to Mads, Dev slowly placed her fingers through the cage to pet the pigeon.

Dev readied herself for a chase as Madeira prepared to open the cage. Her anticipation for a fast-paced chase fell short as the blue bird gently hopped out and perched onto Mads’ shoulder. Just as Dev released her breath with the thought of the bird “not working”, it launched itself into the air and made way for a window.

Soon, the pair were making their way after the bird as the sentient house opened a window, setting it free. Dev’Ania rushed out the front door to see where the creature had gone. Thankfully, it flew at a rather slower pace she expected, often circling and turning around, but she was easily able to keep up.

After a few chimes of following the pigeon, it led them to a small, abandoned cottage.

“It looks like this is where we are meant to be, according to your bird friend. It looks like no one has lived here for a while, though.” Dev cupped her hands between her eyes and a window to peer inside as she spoke to the Spiritist. “Hmm. I don’t see anything through the windows...Perhaps if we were to look around inside?”

The Konti looked at Madeira for approval before entering the house. The door squeaked loudly as it opened. Just as the outside was, the inside of the house was also covered in a layer of deep, brown dust.

Dev’Ania covered her mouth and nose with the end of her cloak to prevent herself from inhaling the thick dust.

“I suppose it is worth taking a look around. What do you think?”
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Dev'Ania
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Postby Madeira Craven on February 18th, 2020, 10:15 pm

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What was happening?

Madeira did her best to keep up with Dev as Bird swooped confusedly around the peak. Her fear that the blue pigeon would disappear into the mountains and make for their illusion choked home began to drain away, but she felt something was wrong. Was bird broken, somehow? The last time she had used the creature it had flown straight to the Inverted, barely giving her and her companions a chance to keep up. Now it seemed to be changing its mind, hoping from place to place like it couldn't quite decide what it was looking for.

The Spiritist was out of breath by the time Bird lead them to the very edge of the peak and finally banked hard, honing in on a little cottage on the outskirts of the city. He was tapping incessantly on the window as the two women approached. Dev joined him, cupping her hands around the dirty window to peer inside before announcing that it seemed like nobody lived there. The Konti opened the unlocked door and disappeared inside, holding her sleeve over her nose and squinting her eyes against the dust. Bird slipped in ahead of her with a contented coo.

Madeira followed them over the threshold and her heart sank. It did indeed look abandoned. A thick layer of dust was swept up by her skirts, disturbing the spiders in their cottony webs. A single setting was laid out for a meal, and towards the back a simple bedroom could be seen through the crack of a door. Bird was settled contentedly on the mantle, grooming his cerulean feathers and making not a sound.

“I suppose it is worth taking a look around. What do you think?” Dev'ania suggested. Of course they should. Madeira tried to nod but couldn't do more than bob her head. Something hard and dry was stuck in her throat. Dust, probably. It was irritating her eyes too. She blinked hard against the prickling feeling behind her eyelids. Just dust. She stared at the place setting, perfectly posed for a meal that looked like it never came. She stared at it until her vision warped and blurred.

Without warning the Spiritist swept her arm across the table, flinging the plate and glass and cutlery across the room. Porcelain and glass shattered, sending spiders fleeing for their lives amid the whirl of disturbed dust.

"Cowards!" Madeira roared, fury painting red into her cheeks. Bird flapped his wings and hopped in alarm. "I know you're here! How dare you hide from me! How dare you hide!"

Her excitement upon seeing that inverted triangle, of realizing what it might mean, and that little bit of hope and excitement thinking that maybe, just maybe, she would find one shred of the home she so desperately missed in this godforsaken city, it all came crashing down. Disappointment was carving a hole in her gut.

She whirled on Dev'ania, her eyes wild and overbright, her voice a caustic hiss. "Bird is a petching magic item given to me by the Inverted themselves. He doesn't make mistakes. He wouldn't. If he lead us here that means the Inverted are, or were, here." They were here, they were here and they wouldn't show themselves to the one person who would do anything to see them again. Asking them why their symbol was painted on their doors, why they were scaring the magic population with some ambiguous threats, completely fled her mind as that fact crushed her. It felt like Alvadas, like Ionu themselves, were turning their back on her.

"They're the cult of illusions, aren't they?!" She whirled again, now sounding as though she was speaking to more than just the Konti. "They can make us see whatever they want!" She held back her skirt and donkey kicked the table, which left tracks in the dust as it slid across the floor and slammed into the kitchen, rattling the cupboards. "We could look for the rest of our lives and never find anything in here. Because someone doesn't want us to!"

First the Crone and now this. It felt like everything in the city was working against them. The air in the cottage became thick with dust as the Spiritist continued her rampage, kicking holes in walls, tearing furniture, and destroying the cottage that held no answers. Until, finally, coughing and choking, she sank to her knees in the middle of the destruction. She put her head in her hands, but didn't, wouldn't, cry. She suddenly felt very, very tired.
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Madeira Craven
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Postby Dev'Ania on March 27th, 2020, 3:55 am


Every inch of the abandoned house was buried in dust. Dev walked through the house opening the door to a bedroom room. Just like the front room, the bedroom was covered in dust but seemingly undisturbed.

Nothing. There was nothing other than normal bedroom furniture. No clues to help them. No new leads. Just nothing. It was so disappointing. The pair had come all this way and were led to a deadend. None of it made sense, though. Why would the bird lead them to nothing?

Dev’Ania exhaled a deep sigh and swiped her hand across the made-up bed to clear off the dust. The bed made a sharp squeak as she plopped down and buried her face in her hands. She stayed there with her eyes closed and mind running for a few ticks before the sound of shattering glass came from the front room. Madeira. She popped up and ran to see what the ruckus was about.

‘Are you okay’ is what Dev was preparing to say, but before she could, Madeira began shouting. Sheclearly wasn’t okay and understandably so.

“Madeira, I know you are upset-” Dev tried to calm the woman down, but her words seemed to fail. “I know you are upset, but it will be okay. We will be okay. This is what they do right? They give false hope and trick people. Don’t give in to their tricks. Madeira… Madeira, listen. The woman was angry and upset and it would be best to stay out her way, so that is what the Konti did. She stood and watched as Madeira shouted and kicked things in a rampage. Dust flew everywhere and the bird was disturbed too.

Finally, Madeira began settling down. “Listen to me now, Madeira.” The Konti stood in front of the kneeling woman and placed her hands on Madeira’s shoulders. She locked eyes with the woman. “I need you. I need you to stay focused for me. We are a team in this investigation, okay? You can’t let one dead-end in our investigation upset you. I know it is personal for you and we have only just met, but we are in this together. And I mean, we can solve the whole case in one day, right?” The Konti gave a chuckle. “We are going to solve this mystery. For now, I believe we have had enough for one day. I say we should each go home and get lots of rest. I live in the Solar Winds, and I know where you live, so now we can find each other to continue our investigation at a later date.”

With that said, the Konti gave one last rub to Madeira’s shoulder and turned toward the door. “I- I must go now, but like I said...you know where to find me.” The Konti waved goodbye to the woman. She felt bad for leaving her there, but she was exhausted and quite upset herself. Walking home, Dev’Ania could only think about the Crone’s words. What did she mean? How were Dev and Mads supposed to solve this investigation with so little clues and information?

She didn’t know. Only time would tell. Despite the Crone’s words and whether Madeira stayed along, Dev’Ania was going to investigate further.
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Dev'Ania
The Future Awaits
 
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