Closed Everything is falling apart according to plan

Madeira and Jomi learn how frail loyalty is

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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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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Jomi on November 5th, 2019, 11:15 pm

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"Speech"



Jomi came back to reality with a jolt. His shroud flickered and he dropped to one knee with a roar of pain, clutching the bolt in his foot. He recognized the raven feathered bolt as the spiritist's, but the spiritist herself was long gone. A ribbon of soulmist ripped the projectile out of the floor with unneeded force as he scanned the empty room. He'd been so consumed by his battle against the obsession, he'd completely shut out everything else. The sun had grown stronger in his absence, cutting sharply from beneath the upper pane of the windows.

"WHERE ARE YOU WITCH!"

The ghost blinked to the cold, dark fireplace. She couldn't have got far, not with her injuries the ghost, reasoned as he slid his star fire dagger from beneath the stuffed and mounted head of Raj. Madeira would be constrained by the movement of her flesh and blood body. If he only knew where she was headed the incorporeal ghost would be able to catch up to her easily.

The ghost could feel the barest flicker of the manor's presence as his soulmist dissolved into a formless mass and poured out from beneath the grand front entrance. The manor made no move to stop him from leaving. Instead Jomi could feel the young building retreat into itself, weeping like the scared and confused child it was.

Jomi's heart seized painfully at the sound as a moment of realization washed over him.

He wouldn't be coming back.

No matter how this ended, no matter who was stronger or more cunning, no matter who survived. His life here with Madeira, Alister, the twins and the endless stream of faces that had passed through those doors was over.

Jomi remembered when Madeira and himself had found Infinity. Back when it was in the form of a tiny birdhouse, packed in a crate and fished out from the Suvan sea. The ghost had watched from the beginning as that shoddily made birdhouse and its seed of sentience grew into their home.

No, not their home. Her home.

Jomi gritted his teeth blinked forward toward the tree line that surrounded the edge of the property. He didn't stop or turn back until the house's cries faded away. There was no time to be sentimental now.

No longer distracted by the voice of Infinity Jomi focused his mind inward. Ever since Dira had marked the spiritist, Madeira had carried with her a aura that unsettled the ghost. Now what the goddess of death had given her servant for protection was going to lead the threat right to her.

The feeling was faint, but it still made his soulmist crawl. Now all that was left was to follow the sensation to its source.

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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Madeira Craven on November 13th, 2019, 12:25 am

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Madeira ran through Ahleas Park, and people either leapt out of her way or were knocked aside. Blood was drying in her unraveled hair, and she couldn't quite seem to catch her breath, but still she ran. In her right hand was her sword cane. In her left hand was her crossbow. It had four bolts left.

Jomi would be after her soon, and her head start would disappear in an instant when he did. She had to find somewhere to make a stand.

As she moved deeper into the park the people she encountered became fewer and fewer, and the pretty manicured lawns began to wither at the edges in the face of the landscaper's neglect. Eventually she passed into a wide meadow like space ringed with the trees, and suddenly and unexpectedly Madeira was hit with a deep sense of recognition. She knew this place.

The Spiritist slowed to a stop and bent at the waist, her breath coming in hard, rattling wheezes. There was a strangely empty space in the darkness of the trees that stood completely out of place in the well ordered park. That was where that Crone's house once stood. It was the place where Dev'ania and herself were told by an old, mysterious Dhani that they were scared of the wrong thing. How ironic. If Madeira had the breath left she would laugh. Turned out the witch was right. She had been so scared of the enemies outside her home that she missed the ones inside it.

The Crone's shack wasn't there anymore at any rate. Some people said it appeared and disappeared by that old woman's will. Or maybe it could just get up and walk away. Who knew? That out of touch old witch wouldn't 'get involved' anyway. But here was her little clearing, wide and empty. Maybe that old crone could be some help after all.

A young couple holding hands came down the path from the other direction, taking a romantic midday stroll. They were so lost in their reflection in the others eyes that they didn't realize they weren't alone until they heard the click of a crossbow as it armed. When they looked up they saw a skinny, wild eye blonde woman with a weapon held level at their chests.

"GET OUT!"

They didn't need asking twice. The woman yelped with alarm and the two backed away before running back the way they came. Hopefully they'd tell anyone the met beck that way that there was a crazy woman in the park. The last thing she needed were oblivious people to stumble upon them, or gods forbid or some stupid good Samaritan try and get involved. If Jomi got a hold of someone there wasn't much she could do to exorcise him as she was, not without killing his host. And right now, with her hate burning hot and deep, she wasn't sure whether that would stop her.

Once their frantic footsteps had faded she stuck the butt of her cane into the earth and scratched and scratched, tearing up the earth. But already on the very edge of her perception she felt a presence of undeath like a black cloud on the horizon, moving closer. A threatening storm. She thought she had more time!

Dragging, cutting, slashing, the ground for ten meters around the green meadow was a ruin of brown wounds filled with pink, eyeless worms that thrashed and died in the sunshine. But she was not done. There was not enough time. She was on her knees, with dirt under her nails and sweat was darkening her dress when she suddenly twisted at the waist and shot wildly into the darkness under the trees.

"Did you like my little song? Brings you back, doesn't it." She struggled to her feet, hiding her panic behind a big smile while still keeping her eye on that innocuous patch of darkness. She picked up her cane and unsheathed her sword with a snick of metal against wood. Then, opening her arms with a showman's dramatic little flourish, she displayed her loaded crossbow in one hand and the naked blade in the other. "What do you say, one last dance for old times?"

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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Jomi on November 24th, 2019, 2:10 am

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The wild, desperate shot was fitting for such a sight, Jomi thought. Madeira, hunched over and clawing at the dirt like a wild animal, made a hasty decision the ghost had no time to counter. Just like a cornered deer. The bolt snagged on the edge of the ghosts soulmist and painfully dragged his etherial body back and embedded itself into a tree.

A shower of splinters fell through the unmaterialized ghost. Jomi's soulmist seized painfully and he stifled his voice. His dagger and silver ring dropped into the long grass as the surprise shot startled the ghost into dropping his projection. The wild woman shot fire with her eyes towards the shadows that ringed the clearing. Unable to see him unmaterialized in the open space, she was instead honing in on his soul. She had bet one of her precious few remaining bolts that her ability to sense the undead would hit true, and it did. Jomi seethed in the privacy of his mind. She was taunting him.

"Did you like my little song? Brings you back, doesn't it."

A pained hiss rose from the small outcropping of trees as Jomi pulled the bolt from the tree, freeing himself. She was right, it did take him back. It was the first song they had ever danced too. Back on the ship heading to Lhavit. Before he'd found his bondmate, and before he'd met Rothsam. Back then he still believed the best of the witch. They had made a promise in the dark belly of that ship, to reaffirm their loyalty and protect each other.

"What do you say, one last dance for old times?"

Jomi bent down and pulled Tanora's ring and the Starfire dagger from the grass. He made sure to keep his eyes cast down on the witches hands and away from her soulmist imbued face.

"Alright." Jomi's eyes slid across the grass. Coming to a rest a few meters to the right of the spiritist. "One last dance."

Jomi vanished with a puff of disturbed air, reappearing a few steps ahead for a fraction of a tick before blinking away again. He kept his movements random. Advancing on the diminutive woman without giving her time to react. Until a few ticks later when he materialized at that point to the right of the spiritist.

A thread of soulmist extended from the ghost and whipped horizontally across the grass. The burning blue Starfire dagger gripped tight at the end and aiming for Madeira's shins.

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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Madeira Craven on November 25th, 2019, 7:41 pm

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Jomi was too fast. She could track him by his soul's presence, but that didn't help when he moved faster than her hands. The barrel of her bow followed him a full tick behind as he blinked closer, but her simmering rage kept her strangely calm. Let him come. She wouldn't let his materialization catch her off guard again. Her living soul was still stronger than his. If tried to pit them against each other she would kill him.

A beam of light flashed across her eyes as something in his shroud caught the light. Madeira squinted into the midday sun, where the ghost was no more than a flicker. What was that?

Jomi blinked to the left, into the shade of a nearby tree, and Madeira's heart stopped.

That was a blade.

He was armed!

Madeira's heart started again with a pounding rhythm and she backpedalled, her heels dragging in the soft soil as she tried to put as much distance between them as possible. She shot again in her panic, the bolt sailing past where the ghost had been two ticks earlier. She swore and brought up her own blade, slashing widely and inexpertly as the ghost blinked in front of her. But by then he was already behind her, and the bite of his starfire dagger was deep into her leg.

The shock of feeling the air move against the exposed muscles came before the pain. There was a moment of dissonance where she felt nothing at all and moved only by reaction, twisting at the waist and slashing downward on her right. But then the pain came, not sharp and clear like she expected, but throbbing like a heartbeat. She wasn't even aware she was screaming before the sound left her mouth.

Blood was soaking her right leg just below her knee. She tried to stomp on the stirrup of her crossbow to reload, but her ankle didn't flex. Whimpering, she tried to bend the bow with her arms instead, but the torque of the crossbow was to strong, and her arms too weak. There was nothing left to do. She threw her bow and the three useless bolts left aside, and just like that Jomi had removed her strongest weapon from the fight.

Holding her now only weapon, her straight bladed sword, in both hands she made hobbled around the meadow in a wide circle. Seemingly unable to bend her ankle, her right foot could do nothing but drag across the ground, the toe digging furrows behind her. Tears were blinding her, but she couldn't see Jomi anyway. All her senses were on high alert, seeking the ghost.

"Rothsam doesn't want you. You know that, don't you?", she shouted into the empty air. "He's using you to get to me. If you kill me now he'll have no more reason to keep you around", Changing direction suddenly she cut across the middle of the meadow. "Don't make the mistake of thinking he cares. And what do you think you're doing to Edith? You're a ghost, forever stuck in the past, and she's just starting to live. If you really loved her you would let her go."

The tip of her blade was wavering, flicking this way and that way, sensitive to every sound, every puff of air.

"You don't belong here anymore. You never did. I forgive you for what you've done. For what you're doing. Come to me, Jomi, and for all the years you were mine I'll do you one last kindness, and kill you as gently as I can."

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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Jomi on December 6th, 2019, 9:21 pm

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Jomi marvelled at how easily Madeira's flesh split under the searing hot blade. He watched with a sort of detached fascination as the layers of muscles and fat split open. The fire covered dagger was lighter than a feather and the blue fire melted her skin and fat and cauterized the wound as it passed. Creating much more damage than the bodiless soul could inflict with a heavy iron or steel weapon. It passed through her body as if cutting through the surface of the ocean, and leaving a blackened gouge of weeping blistered flesh in its wake.

The scream and violent jerk of her upper body warned the ghost before the sword cane descended in a wide overhead ark. Leaving the ghost plenty of time to blink out of the way of the panicked novices range. It was as if the ghost were a passenger in his own body, watching through someone else eyes as the spiritist screamed and weeped as she dragged the useless limb behind her.

The difference in their physical abilities was all the more apparent now. This was the first hit he had landed on her and it was all he needed to remove the use of one of her limbs. But after being hit with three bolts and a sword Jomi was still standing. She had her magics but he was both faster and stronger than her and he needed to keep that advantage.

"Rothsam doesn't want you. You know that, don't you?"

Jomi heard Madeira's voice, pitched with pain, as he dropped his dagger and picked his way to the discarded crossbow. He scraped together the three bolts and inspected the mechanism Madeira had failed to pull back earlier.

"He's using you to get to me. If you kill me now he'll have no more reason to keep you around"

Her statement didn't illicit an answer from the preoccupied ghost. After today he wouldn't need Rothsam either. Soulmist and spiritism was a luxury he could do without. He had his bondmate now, they would look after each other just like old times. He was strong enough now to protect Edith all on his own.

Jomi stood the crossbow up on its point and slid his materialized foot into the stirrup. Once he was sure the weapon was stable and his foot secure he pulled back hard on the string, just as he had watched Madeira do a thousand times. He activated the soulmist that coated the string in order force it back against the pull of gravity. His soulmist strained and tore as he rushed to slid a bolt into the groove in the centre of the bow.

"And what do you think you're doing to Edith?" Jomi froze at the mention of his bondmate. The sound of her name in the spriritists mouth made the ghosts soul howl in rage. "You're a ghost, forever stuck in the past, and she's just starting to live. If you really loved her you would let her go."

"And what do you know about love!" Jomi roared as he stalked towards the limping spiritist. The crossbow hung by his side, the ghosts transparent fingers rested stiff on the trigger. "You'll never know what its like to truly love something. To sacrifice everything for them and to be grateful for that honour!"

A ribbon of soulmist snaked out from the ghosts hip and swiped at the spiritists behind the knee of her one good leg. Jomi channelled as much of the raw energy he had left into the materialization in order to bring the witch to her knees. The ghost drifted before her, a meter away and just out of reach with the crossbow aimed at her chest.

"You don't belong here anymore. You never did. I forgive you for what you've done. For what you're doing. Come to me, Jomi, and for all the years you were mine I'll do you one last kindness, and kill you as gently as I can."

"You're wrong." Jomi's face twisted into something less than human as he brought the crossbow up to his shoulder "This is exactly where I belong."The ghosts body tensed up as he squeezed the trigger, but the ricochet blew back hard on the unsubstantial, massless body. It took the ghost by surprise, ripping the crossbow out from the clutches of his etherial hands. The bolt, sent wide, embedded itself into the soft flesh of Madeira's shoulder.

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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Madeira Craven on January 16th, 2020, 9:48 pm

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Madeira twisted away as the trigger pulled, and the crack of the bow was something she felt rather than heard. It felt like the breaking of the earth. The force of it rocked her back on her knees, and for a moment the world had narrowed down to nothing but that ribbon of pretty blue sky high above her head.

But then came the pain. Hot waves of it pulsed from her shoulder, throbbing like a second feathered heart. Blood was soaking into her battered dress and ran wetly between the stiff, scarred fingers that clutched at the ebony shaft. She could smell it, that hot, coppery stench of her own blood. A few scattered drops landed on her lap, and for a moment the colour amazed her. It was jewel bright, the colour of Jomi's stone. Her hand clenched into a fist, and the blood bubbled from between her knuckles, and suddenly she was laughing.

Her eyes were wet with pain and overbright, and she was laughing. It bubbled up from her chest, choking on her pain and rattling her bones. But still she laughed and laughed, red faced and wheezing with madness showing the wide crack of her bloodstained lips. Her hand snapped out for the ghost that stood over her, seizing his whirling shroud in her disfigured hand. The pain of the contact was excruciating, but it was like she couldn't even feel it as she dragged him close enough to kiss.

"If that is what love is you can have it!" she screamed with mirth. "Look at this fool in love! His love is so strong he destroyed himself for it! His love is so pure it has blinded him! So blind he forgot you should never, ever, make a spiritist bleed!"

With her other hand planted firmly on the ground she rose shakily to her feet on legs that were no longer limping. Blood leaked from her calves and her shoulder onto the ripped, furrowed earth. It was rough and lopsided, little more than a desperate scribble, but beneath their feet, almost encompassing the entire meadow, clawed out of the earth with hands and nails and dotted with blood, was an ahleas glyph. The summoning star.

“You who lived yesterday, I’ll call you from my mind to yours" Madeira recited, releasing the ghost's shroud as it reacted to the glow that sprang from the black scythe in her palm. Her voice was wild and high, quite unlike itself. Her fury had reached a crescendo that was tipping over into madness. "We purge that which endures. End the suffering of those who's time has come!"

Betrayer. Liar. Her heart was pumping hard in her chest, but what met the air was disappearing almost instantly as the glyph reacted. He did it for love? What a stupid, self sacrificing fool. What was it ever going to give him but a more painful way to die.

Four summoned figures shivered to existence around the meadow, but they weren't ghosts. They glowed with otherworldly light, almost too bright to see. Young or old, male or female, it was impossible to tell. Maybe such classifications didn't apply to them anymore. These beings had been summoned from the Ukalas. They were perfected souls, claimed and marked by Death herself. As one they turned towards the ghost.

"Tell me I'm weak!" Madeira roared, hands balled into fists at her sides. "Say it! Say it one more time!"
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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Jomi on February 12th, 2020, 9:16 pm

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"So blind he forgot you should never, ever, make a spiritist bleed!"

Those words, screamed by the witches grinning, sadistic mouth, pierced the ghost's core like a spear of ice. A thick ominous frost crept over the ground that surrounded the ghost as a physical manistifation of his internal panic. Madeira began her incarnation and for a tick Jomi could have sworn that the air around them stilled. As if the world itself were watching them with baited breath.

Jomi felt, rather than saw, the four blinding, etherial creatures that stepped out of the light and into existence. The light bent around them, shaping them into their divine forms. A crushing, soul destroying dread crawled up from the depths of Jomi's being. It was not the unease he felt around Madeira after she'd been marked. Or the creeping hopelessness that clung to him like a shadow before he'd found his beloved Edith. In that moment the ghost felt that he was once again in the presence of Dira herself.

Madeira was screaming but Jomi couldn't hear her over the roaring in his own head. He was trapped on all sides by those burning creatures. He had come here prepared to fight and kill, but now it was all he could do to keep himself from releasing his hold his soulmist and fading away.

Jomi franticly gathered his energy and forcefully threw his soulmist back and away. Abandoning the crossbow and the spiritist still kneeling in the centre of the circle. The overwhelming need to flee from the aura of death sent Jomi blinking back into the cropping of trees that surrounded the meadow. The ghost blinked randomly, without care or strategy. His materialization dropped as he travelled until he was a paltry shade unable to interact with, or be hurt by, the world

But they were already there. The beings made of light and terror had already appeared and surrounded Jomi as he was blinked back into existence as if they'd been lying in wait. His soulmist, unable to be seen by human eyes or interacted with by physical objects was seized from all sides in the single tick he needed to orientate himself.

Terrified, inhuman sounds echoed through the meadow as Jomi's mists were twisted as torn by the radiant, divine hands. Every time the ghost worked up the will to blink to safety the pain sent his thoughts scattering again, and again. Stuck in a constant limbo of mind numbing pain spectres drifted back dragged the struggling ghost back to the centre of the summoning circle.

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Everything is falling apart according to plan

Postby Madeira Craven on April 16th, 2020, 12:20 am

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Madeira struggled to stay upright as the pain and blood loss wore her down. She could taste magic sizzling on her tongue. Sweet whispers in her ears were telling her to push her soul farther, tear it deeper.

Tipping on the edge of madness, she swiped her sword in a wide arch before opening her arms to the sky. Look what I've done, she wanted to cry. What a show she had put on. A fight to the death, and one remains! The drama, the tears, the suspense! Would the Speakers be impressed? Would Ionu applaud her, would Dira? She had rooted out the evil, and now she would vanquish it in a blaze of glory. Are you proud?

The ascended beings were dragging Jomi across the meadow towards her. The sounds coming from him were animal and brutal and sweet as summer wine. She would destroy him, her right hand was telling her so. Not kill him, no. She couldn't kill a ghost in any way that mattered. But to destroy him like he tried to destroy her...

The aura of the beings was overwhelming. As they stood the ghost in front of her she could feel it wedging itself between her body and her soul, repelling one and attracting the other until it felt like it would tear the two apart. She couldn't imagine what a soul without a body to shelter would feel, but she could guess.

Jomi was still screaming. He was held in place as a formless, chaotic roar of nothing. The rage was gone, the loathing ripped away into a beastial, primal wave of pain and panic. Her showman smile faltered, and she wavered where she stood. Something was wrong here. She had never seen Jomi scared before; not even when the Desolate One blew through their lives. She had never even imagined what that emotion would look like in him, and she found it didn't fit the image of her grand performance. The villain shouldn't be scared.

"No, no, this isn't right. Be mad, Jomi", she breathed, leaning in dangerously close to his whipping soulmist. "I want you angry."

Seizing the feathered souldart in her fist she fought a white wave of unconsciousness as she pulled it out of her shoulder. Everything hurt. It hurt so much. The adrenaline wouldn't keep her standing much longer. Yet the show must go on.

She opened her arms and wrapped them around the wild soul, pressing the fresh wound into him. Then her soul shrank, shuddered, and began to pull.

There was nothing quite like the feeling of dusting a creature. It wasn't taking life, it was imbibing it. It was sipping raw power. And for those few brave students of hers who had ever asked about the taboo practise she could only smile and say: "It's lighting up and burning down all at once. It's like drinking poison from the god's very own chalice."

Jomi couldn't overpower her like this, pinned as he was, held to the open wound and having what was left of his life stolen. Yet through the haze of euphoria that danced electric through the very core of her Madeira could still feel it, the small, persistent feeling that something was wrong.

"Fight back", she demanded, as she could feel his edges start to crumble away. "Jomi, fight back"

Knock me aside, roll away, escape. This wasn't right.

Nausea rolled through her. Her right hand ached, the scar tissue becoming unbearably tight. Her skinny arms contracted around him, her fingers digging into his soul, daring him. "Is this all I get? Did I really make you this weak?" she choked on her gurgling laugh. "Fight back."

Don't let me win.

That one small realization of what she really wanted forced itself up from somewhere deep inside of her. She never expected to get this far, and now that she had reached this point she didn't know what to do. She felt like a little child who hadn't learned their lines before being forced out on stage.

It wasn't supposed to end like this. After all the shyke, after everywhere the story had taken them, after everything they had done together, she wanted them to endure. Not out of love, or camaraderie, or even respect, but because he was the first and only thing that ever truly belonged to Madeira Craven.

Her soul heaved, and the dusting stopped. The thread of power snapped and came rushing back to Jomi, and with sudden force the Spiritist unwound her arms and pushed the suffering spirit away, only to fall over herself. She tripped on her own heavy feet and landed hard on the gouged earth in the middle of the glyph.

In her head was a roar of applause, or perhaps it was the sound of her blood in her ears. Dira forgive her. She couldn't finish the villain and close the curtain. The story couldn't end like this. But there was time for one last monologue.

"This is it!", she laughed, water spilling from her eyes and darkening her dress as she struggled to stand. "You'll always be mine now. I've dug the fire out of the very depths of you. This hate will keep me warm for the rest of my life. So leave! Enjoy her tepid love. Just remember that you'll never burn like this again, except for me."

The ascended beings began to vanish one by one, and without their light the clearing seemed dark and cold even in the middle of the day. Without their harsh otherworldly light the young Spiritist looked somehow softer than before, even with her blue irises fixed and cold in her bloodshot eyes.

"I hate you, I always have, and it was magnificent."
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