Quest [Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Five individuals are brought together for fantastical reasons. What they will encounter will be even more outrageous.

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Sevris on September 19th, 2019, 5:21 pm

The Soldier listened intently as the Voice began to answer all of them. There he was able to glean information about the ones gathered in this chamber and the about the Voice herself. Her words spoke of many telling moments of her life. Bested by the Champion of Ivak and betrayed by her lover.

Betrayal at its highest level he was surprised to learn this about her, he couldn't imagine someone or something be able to stop the Voice. But there was a period of time where the Voice had been absent, now they were learning why. After speaking to Rohka and Hollis, she went on to answer Sevris himself.

His family were well known throughout Ravok but he was baffled to hear that he was of a Myleena's brood. The name sounded like he should have known it, but he hadn't heard of it before. He was honored to hear that she knew of him already and he happened to be one of her favorites. He had never earned the right to meet the Voice. But now he had a chance to show his loyalty and devotion to her.

That she knew of his road to redemption and that he may have the opportunity soon. Sevris beamed at the thought. He wasn't used to showing such emotion but he was elated to hear that. She continued on answering each of the others gathered around him.

The Voice finally told them their reason for meeting. It turned out that an ancient shrine before the Valterrian had activated itself. She told them of Caretakers well before their time, and their duties to Rhysol. But the only way that could possibly happen would be the return some divine presence near the shrine. As there were no more Caretakers around. And that everyone there weren't exactly strangers. They all shared a divine link deep within them, from one of the Caretakers. Sevris looked at everyone a bit a differently after finding out they shared a common bond. Another surprising discovery about his heritage.

The Voice asked if they had questions. But there was many questions running through his head. Rohka was the first to ask. Asking some of the questions Sevris wished to know as well.

Sevris wanted to know more about Myleena and her absence. They were immortal, so she must've still be alive in some facet. After Rohka asked her questions, Sevris cleared his throat to say, "Who is Myleena? What happened to her?" He wished to know a bit more about her. His heritage was something to study now with these new revelations.
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Shiress on September 19th, 2019, 11:48 pm

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As The Voice spoke to each of the other occupants of the room, Shiress couldn't help but feel as if she were invading somehow. That was being said it was somewhat personal and possibly not meant for all to hear. Although she tried not to listen, she couldn't help but hang onto every word the woman before her spoke, and by the time The Voice stood before Shiress, she somehow seemed more....human.

The sympathy radiating from the diety -was she a diety?- as she addressed Shiress warmed her and very nearly made her sob. All she had ever heard of The Voice and of Rhysol had only encouraged a respectful fear. Granted, Shiress knew next to nothing of either The Voice or of Rhysol, but here, today, fear was nonexistent, only calm? Peace? She couldn't quite place the feeling, but it most definitely wasn't fear.

When it came time for questions, Shiress found herself silently contemplating all that was told to them. They were connected in some way? All of them? Caspian immediately came to mind and a time many seasons past when a young Caspian had been caught by slavers in Sunberth, beaten, and left very near death. It had been Shiress that had helped the young boy, seen to his wounds and orchestrated his successful escape. Even when her own attempts of escape had been thwarted at every turn. She couldn't help but wonder if Rhysol had had something to do with that.

But, despite how much she contemplated the unexpected and surprising news of Shiress and her companions somehow linked, the only questions that she could conjure were questions about The Voice herself. Shiress had an almost unnatural desire to know more of this female and before she could stop herself blurted out a very personal and inappropriate question.

"Do you have a name?" As soon as the words passed Shiress's lips, she was appalled at her own audacity. She immediately averted her eyes and bowed her head, the age-old inculcated slave mentality firmly taking hold. "Forgive my forwardness, my lady. Please, don't answer that. Instead.." Shiress's mind spasmed as she tried to pull up a less insulting question. "You mentioned that it is our help that you seek, might you share with us what we will get in return?"

Seriously?

Like that question was any better.

Shiress blushed furiously looking down, suddenly very interested in the palm of her hand, but when the raven-haired beauty turned and passed by her, she couldn't help but lift fingers to brush against the soft fabric of the woman's robe as it billowed out.

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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Hollis on September 20th, 2019, 8:36 pm


The skin along Hollis's arms and neck erupted in horripilation.

The sight of a tear in the eye of the Voice was incredible. Someone so divine, someone who has seemingly ascended beyond, someone who has become more than herself...she too could feel and has felt what Hollis was feeling. This perspective shifted something in Hollis in an instant. She listened as the Voice told her tale, speaking to Hollis directly. She spoke of her own betrayal at the hands of her lover, and Hollis felt a lump in her throat. How could a lover do such a thing? She gripped her hands tightly, angry, but also aroused with newfound strength. She, too, could become great, like the Voice before her.

"Thank you," she whispered inaudibly to the Voice. She would never forget this moment.


Listening to the rest of the party tell their tales, Hollis began to have a clearer understanding of those she found herself amongst. Sevris, the man who spoke following her, a member of the Lazarin family. Hollis had certainly heard tales of this lineage, and knew he may be someone worth knowing in the future. Then spoke Orias, a sailor who had clearly come from a modest background. He spoke in shorthand, Hollis couldn't help but smile slightly at the man. Something about his voice, the curls in his hair, the clearly brand new tunic, tickled her.
Next was Caspian, someone Hollis eventually learned to be a spy, trading information for money. This line of work fascinated her; she wondered how one got into such work to begin with.
Next, a hunter name Hauk - a man of mystery to her. Why in all the realms would he bring his petching dog in such a place of divinity? She scoffed slightly as he approached the Word, dog at his side.
"Bringing that mutt here, I swear..." she said under her breath, so quietly that perhaps only Rohka could hear her due to their lack of distance from the augur. He apparently lived in the border outside of the city, and Hollis found herself perfectly fine with this. Hunters never settled right with her.
And lastly, a woman named Shiress. Clearly uncomfortable, or nervous, or sick--Hollis couldn't tell. She was a soft spoken woman, and looked soft to the touch, but also seemed like she had a much larger story to tell than she let up when speaking with the Voice. She spoke of family in Zeltiva.

After all was said and done, the Voice began to explain the reasons that she summoned all of them here today. She spoke of Shrines to their God, Rhysol, and how they were planted all over, and what purpose they served. She spoke of their Caretakers. She spoke of a Shrine being activated recently, and this in particular piqued Hollis's interest, only to be further piqued when the Voice said that they were all connected, all living with a "sliver of essence" from the original Caretaker.

"Why do we in particular have this 'essence?' If it has naught to do with our biology, what has determined us to be vessels of such an essence? Does this mean we are innately connected to the Shrine itself? And where is this Shrine located, here in the city?"

Hollis feared she spoke too much, but couldn't help herself. She was fascinated and terrified and overwhelmed by such a tale.
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Caspian on September 21st, 2019, 5:19 pm

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    Though she doesn’t at first address him directly, Caspian finds himself utterly transfixed when The Voice begins to speak. Each bend of pitch is a swallow diving and rising on a zephyr’s peak, without hesitation, without stutter, even as she tells them of sorrow. With each bell-like tone he comes to know her both more and less, and when her gaze turns to him he feels himself start for a second, because one of her syllables had so precisely struck the pitch he tunes the highest string of his violin to.

    He had been half afraid that his reticence to speak blithely on himself and his family would prove provocation for, at best, irritation, and at worst, well, one could speculate. But she seems to have taken his strained explanation in stride - no, more than stride, but in all-encompassing embrace.

    What she says of him, of all of them who have been collected here -

    There is nothing to him. It is a thing he has always believed, a declaration regularly reinforced by a mercenary stepfather who found him useless for his reluctance to throw himself as wholeheartedly as Taalviel into the family business - and to some extent it is a personal aspiration. But from the mouth of The Voice - he dares believe, in quiet glimmer and glow, that he might despite everything be fated to strive for more.

    Funny how Taalviel’s years of trying to instill some similar sense of personal alacrity in him had been utterly outdone in an instant.

    At the revelation of a distant but palpable connection - palpable enough to warrant The Voice bringing them all here - Caspian involuntarily finds his gaze flicking towards Rohka. When isn’t he, though, when she’s in a room that he’s also in and actually, never mind the room, all it takes is her being on his mind, which as of late is a matter of increasing frequency.

    If they were any closer than The Voice had claimed, it would certainly make what he and Rohka had gotten up to that summer something worth raising an eyebrow at; but as it stands -

    If there were some divine reason more than her own intrinsically held powers for their being drawn together on that fateful afternoon in Leila’s shop, and finding themselves drawn again and again in the recent weeks and with a particular kind of, let’s say, vigor -

    It makes a sort of sense, then. Harmony itself is an intangible thing, and when he tunes one string of his violin against another, when he lays fingers down upon them and draws out intervals played in simultaneous stroke, it’s all he can do to shut his eyes and let it resonate against his bones. That they drew towards each other in aggregation and exacerbation and if isn’t just a right blaze whenever she’s around -

    Forcibly wheeling his mind back to the matter at hand, there’s Shiress to consider too, as ready validation of The Voice’s claim. Shiress, or as he’d dubbed her rather disparagingly at the time of their meeting many years past, Flutter - but he means it warmly now, in the way of glittering petticoats whisking around carpeted corners, late-spring blossoms rising on nightly gales and doves taking wing.

    Was it mere coincidence or more that the two of them had met, then and here?

    The rest, though - Caspian’s never seen them before. He’s certain he’d remember, at least felt some inkling, even if they’d bumped into one another while he’d been especially tossed. Especially the one with the dog.

    The Voice stops speaking; the music ends, and in the moment of silence between her ceasing and Rohka’s beginning, Caspian feels as if one spell’s been replaced by another.

    Entranced as he’s been, though - the only question he might ask is what might happen if he simply -

    Turned and left.

    But unlike any other circumstance with news or amusement to be had, it’s not curiosity that brought him here, nor what keeps him here, and silent - it’s apprehension, and in what he considers reasonable measure.

    Better to stay still, then, and watch the others, at least for now.
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    [Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

    Postby Orias on September 22nd, 2019, 11:19 am

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    Orias listened further as the final three - for one had gone unseen, remaining upright at the back of the collection - made their introductions. Caspian, whose admission of being a no one who did odd jobs did not match - in Orias' mind - to the sharp, albeit understated, attire he wore until the man hinted to how he dabbled in secrets. The blond once more found himself trying to put the face and name to memory. Then came the voice from the back; Hauk, a hunter and, by what Orias could deduce once he twisted around to view the man and his mutt, a foreigner. Who else would not sit when the Voice asked? Would not act respectfully in her presence? Lastly was another woman, Shiress, a physician whose attempt to cover her broken tone led him to believe she was mourning just as Hollis was.

    When she spoke of family in Zeltiva, he swept his gaze to the fortune teller who had mentioned future travels there, mind trying to find a pattern or some sort of connection that might result in such an otherwise motley group being in attendance.

    His mental musings were interrupted as the Voice spoke, addressing each person in kind. He watched, awestruck, as Rohka received not just a boon for her family but also a gift in the form of a ring - a personal gift from the Voice, herself. His eyes lingered on the woman for a spell, taking in her reaction as a small smile spread across his own lips -- oh, to receive such a blessing!

    And then the stories the Voice spoke, shared snippets of her own life that moved him, stirring both his soul and mind. Her silky voice offered both comfort and support to each who had spoken, affirming goals and empathising with her own unique anecdotes. It was a surreal experience to hear her speak as if she - the Voice - were their equal.

    Her words warmed him, especially when they were directed at him, nurturing that stubborn little seed that had sat neglected for so long... until her cryptic parting words caused a chill to run down his spine. He sat there, eyes averted and fixed on the dark tile beneath him as he dwelled on this message, mostly missing much of what was said next.. until.

    Rhysol needed their help.

    Eyes widening, his dark grey eyes turned back to the beautiful woman that stood before the group, stunned, bowed lips parting as his jaw slackened at the thought. As she continued, recounting a tale of a time before the Valterrian, a tale unlike any he learned during his years at the Commorancy, he sat silently, gaping like a fish; never in all his years would he imagine a tale such as this... or to be in a position he was now.

    Lastly, she spoke of what he had pondered earlier - a connection - a single thread that bound them all. And, having been hunched, he found himself sitting straighter, cautiously curious. An essence that each bared?

    In a blink, the Voice has shaken a part of him he had worked so hard to secure within himself. A boy so alone yet so desperate for a connection - a true connection. And here, granted unto him that very miracle in those with him now.

    His mind swam and he felt the need to grip his own knee, steadying himself in his seat.

    The questions came pouring forth, but none that he expected, however, they, naturally, reflected each who spoke. It was the physician's words that drew his attention, the candour in which she regarded the Voice and his eyes narrowed at the show of disrespect. Again, he found himself suspecting her to be a foreigner.

    His head spun and he shook his head - both at the woman and at everything that swam in his mind; so many things needing answers and yet he found he lacked the words to ask. The heaviness of the implications the Voice's words wrought were not lost on the sailor.. yet all he could manage was to continue with Hollis' process of thought with a weak, "If... if you say the shards have yet to be found until now..... I would suspect that means they are located in places we cannot reach? Somewhere in the wilds beyond? Or else-" His brows knitted as he paused. Magic was not something he was hugely familiar with but still, he ventured, emboldened by the chance to ask the Voice directly, "could they be cloaked..? Would a passerby not notice such a thing if they saw it?"

    He mulled over it all. Would Rhysol use his divine hand to help? It sounded dangerous... yet exhilarating.
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    [Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

    Postby Hauk Tarn on September 23rd, 2019, 5:52 am

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    The tension that Hauk felt, being in this dark mausoleum seemed to fade as the words of the Voice washed over him. Calm, soothing, and gilded, she seemed more mortal than she had just a few moments before. The effect seemed be the same on Fen, who looked visibly more relaxed, if alert. The same could be said of the hunter, although he still felt uneasy. Growing up in Syliras, there was generally a narrative surrounding Rhysol and his servants; Evil, Chaos, betrayal. He had never fully paid attention to what seemed to him as the propaganda of the order, and living in the outskirts of the city, most of it seemed like paranoia. A rivalry between cities and between gods. However, old lessons die hard, and a lingering suspicion remained.

    The voice glided to each that had assembled, addressing each in turn as they had spoken. The voice had given Rohka a blessing on her family’s travels, something he was sure the women he had met in the wilds appreciated to know end. A ring was passed, and Hauk raised an eyebrow. Surely, such an artifact would have value, or perhaps some form of enchantment, to be given away so lightly in exchange for home carved boat…

    The voice moved to next person, a woman, who spoke of betrayal and weakness. Her story was moving, the emotion clear in her tone. The Voice likewise told a story of betrayal, relating to the woman in front of her. Hauk admitted that moment was sincere, and he believed the words that were spoken.
    The next in line was a man, of a family line that meant nothing to the hunter, but apparently was of some note within the city, if the Voice’s speech were any indication, and of a lineage from the voice itself, which did merit a raise of his eyebrow.

    A sailor followed, one who came without a family, and had instead found it among his comrades. Hauk understood that. For all his issues with the knights and their philosophy, he had made some dear friends among the squires and knights of the order.

    Caspian, as he called himself, intrigued the hunter. A man who traded in secrets, yet claimed humility was man of interest for sure, and likely dangerous, if for no other reason that he posed a threat to Hauk, who knew his past affiliation with the knights of Sylir may not be welcome in the city.

    The voice turned to Hauk and Fen, raising an eyebrow at the pair but no more. Hauk had noticed some looks his way when he spoke, eyes flittering between the man and his dog. He payed them no mind. He doubted he could find a better companion than Fen in all the city of Ravok. The Voice approached and spoke to them, briefly. He had given very little information for the striking woman to work with. Never the less her presence, being so close to him had an effect. He was struck by her duality. She seemed utterly human – the previous admissions did a good job in humanizing her – yet at the same time Hauk could not deny the spark of divinity that seemed to flow from her. Fens could sense it to, judging by the standing ridge on his back. The hairs on the hunters back attempted to stand as well. A battle raged in Hauks mind: the image before him vs. what he had believed of Rhysols and hi servants.

    The Final person to be addressed by the Voice was a woman, pregnant by all indications. She was from Zeltiva, or at least, head family there. The thought comforted him, he wasn’t the only foreigner there.

    Deep, he was in his thoughts, when she began to address the assembled group. She spoke of a time long in the past, before the great sundering of the world. Of ancient priests and of their ancient shrines. As she explained the situation, Hauk began to think on how all this related to all of them. Some sort of divine imbalance would surely go along way to explain the be behavior of the animals in the forest. He subconsciously touched his side, where the boar had gored him two seasons past. The wound healed, yet he occasionally felt a twinge of pain, as if reminding him how close he had come to death that day.

    Something the voice had said snapped him out of his thoughts. ”each of you, buried deep within that which makes you who you are, bares the tiniest sliver of essence from the Caretaker of the awakened shrine.” essence of a caretaker? He had come from Syliras. His family, as far he could tell, had always been there. There were members of the order and everything, he, He had almost been a full fledge member of the order. To have some sort of connection with a priest of Rysol seemed….unlikely, or at the very least, highly convenient. His suspicions grew.

    The others had begun to ask their questions, as the Voice had allowed them to. Hauk had a few himself, yet wanted wait, observe, and to hear out the full explanation. He had a feeling that the Voice would soon tell them not just of their connection, but what, if any, purpose that connection would serve. Crossing his arms and intent on listening, he remained quite.
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    [Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

    Postby Gillar on September 24th, 2019, 3:32 am

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    The Voice patiently listened as most of the group voiced their questions. She looked to each person as they spoke, her face calm and offering only acceptance of everything that was said. She allowed each person to speak and waited to answer once everyone had an opportunity to talk.

    “Before I answer your questions, allow me to say that I understand how unbelievable this all sounds. It is not every day that you are summoned to the Temple and are told by The Voice of Rhysol that you have some strange thing buried within you that somehow connects to each other and that Rhysol needs your help.” The Voice offered a sympathetic smile.

    “Fear, doubt, confusion, I understand. I also understand the perception many have of Rhysol and of myself; in a few moments, I will offer a different perspective on those things but for now, your questions.” The Voice moved to take a seat in one of the pews and turned toward the rest of the group.

    “To start, I know that you are all connected because I can sense the essence within you. The essence I speak of is a sliver of mystical energy that was passed on to you, over the generations, from your ancestors. Just as certain physical traits such as hair and eye color, freckles and facial features are passed from parent to child, so to has this essence been passed on to you. Now, sensing this essence or energy within you is relatively easy for me; a benefit of being blessed with a certain level of divinity. Identifying it however, I can do that because I am the one who created the Caretakers more than a thousand years ago; the essence within you being an echo of sorts of the magic that went into that creation.” The Voice paused for a moment and considered some of the other questions while noting some things to speak on later.

    When she spoke again, she directed her words to Rohka for the moment in regards to her questioning of the ring. “The ring…it is woven from my own hair and given its sturdy form from my magic. I craft such rings as gifts to those who gain my favor. My mother…she was a seamstress and used to weave a few strands of her hair into the clothing she made as a symbolic signature on her creations. I honor her in the making of my rings.”

    The Voice paused again; the look on her face revealed the slightest hint of conflict. It was as if she wasn’t sure she should elaborate further but, in the end, she decided to do just that. “Allow me to digress a moment while offering another answer that Shiress has sought. I was born well over 2,000 years ago. My father was a general craftsman; a capable carpenter, mason and blacksmith. My mother was a seamstress and as I mentioned, I had an older brother. We lived in a village, when such a thing existed, several days west of here. Life was hard but not overly so. We lived, loved and enjoyed what the gods provided. That lasted until shortly after my 10th birthday. My brother as I mentioned, was killed. Soon after, the Lord of the lands, the one who owned the land the village was built upon, decided that our taxes were not enough. He sent his men into the village to round up a few women and children to be brought back to his castle. When they tried to take me, my father tried to stop them. When he did, they subdued him and murdered my mother in front of both of us before killing him and taking me away.” She stopped and turned her head, wiping her sleeve over her face before turning back and continuing.

    “The men took me back to their Lord; his name I will not speak. There I was made his servant. I helped cook, clean and assist others in the castle with their various tasks. When I my work didn’t live up to his standards, I was beaten. He was not easy to please so the beatings were…frequent. The abuse grew in ways that I will leave to your imagination. This lasted for a couple of years and left me scarred both physically and mentally. I prayed daily for the gods to deliver me from the torture, yet never did they answer me. One day, I snapped. Having spent time in the Lord’s gardens, I learned a bit about poisonous plants. I began using them to slowly poison him over the course of the next couple of years while still acting as the local if abused servant. It was not pleasant; his body rotted from the inside out. It was very painful and quite horrific. When the day came and he was taking his final breaths, I stood at his bedside and told him that it was I that had killed him.” The look on her face was vacant of emotion.

    “After he died and word spread of it, his men began pillaging the estate. I locked myself in my room and awaited whatever horrors would come. They never did. Instead, the sounds of looting were quickly silenced and time seemed to stand still. My door slowly opened as if the locked never existed. There, in the doorway, stood a man dressed in black silk. He had long black hair and his eyes…his eyes had no pupils. He introduced himself as Rhysol. Immediately I was crippled with fear. My parents had told me of Rhysol and how he was the source of all the bad things in life; evil, lies, betrayal and chaos. Yet, as I looked upon him, I saw none of that. He stepped into my room and told me that I was safe; that no harm would come to me. He said that he saw what I had done to the lord and saw something special in me; a strength few possessed. He told me that all I had to do was take his hand and everything would be better. So, I did. He embraced me and held me close. He smelled like the flowers that my mother grew in our garden. As he held me, my scars, both physical and most of the mental, were erased. After that, he taught me what it was to be strong, to use all of the bad things that had happened to me to become something greater. In a few years, I became his Voice.” The Voice had a distant look as she remembered the past. It lasted for a moment before she returned her thoughts to the present.

    “I create my rings as a reminder of the little girl who wanted to grow up to be a seamstress like her mother. It is an odd interpretation but it is who I am. I am not Myleena Vos; The Voice who ruled this city before me. To answer your question, Sevris, Myleena was The Voice who founded Ravok. She was a brutal ruler who dominated the people with fear and intimidation. She used the Ebonstryfe to terrorize the citizens and control them. When the Djed Storm of 512 happened, she used it to soak up the wild magical and divine energies that erupted and ascended to full godhood. She became Ssena, the Goddess of Fear."

    The Voice looked down at her hands clasped in her lap and then back up to the group. “Back to the issue at hand. You are all indeed linked to the awakened shrine. Why you? Why you all at this time in this place? Call it a miracle, call it divine intervention, whatever the reason, you are here and now and we need you. The Shrine is located far from here, in the northern reaches of the Taldera Region. It has been dormant for centuries. Before that, the shrines were unobtrusive; located in places where most people would not find them. They had their own defenses powered through their link with the Caretaker. Because they were so isolated and defended, none chose to seek them out thus they remained mostly hidden from the unwelcomed. They were centers of worship and faith; places where people could go to understand the darker aspects of life and learn how to survive them, understand them and even control them so that their lives would once more become their own. The Caretakers, with their intimate links to the shrines, were able to focus magical and divine energies in order to do amazing things. The shrines themselves were linked to one another through a series of portals. The Caretakers could open these portals and travel between shrines. The portals only worked for the Caretakers and only they could pass through them. They allowed the Caretakers to assist each other in need and easily share information and resources. Unfortunately, when the Valterrian destroyed or laid dormant the shrines and killed their Caretakers, the portals became inaccessible. With this shrine awakening and you all here with that shrine’s Caretaker’s essence, I believe I have a way to reestablish as much of the link as possible.”

    The Voice allowed time for follow-up questions before adding, “I can make it so that you all can access a portal that will send you to the shrine.” She then left it open for another round of questions although it was quickly becoming clear that The Voice intended for the group to link to the shrine, travel there and…to what end? What was she wanting to find there? Was it connected to the events that started with the Hunters Moon? Was there something else?
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    [Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

    Postby Hauk Tarn on September 25th, 2019, 4:27 am

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    Despite his suspicion, despite his trepidation, the Voice’s words washed over him. The ethereal mix of humanity as she told her story, mixed with the divine quality of her being battled in his mind. Subconsciously, without noticing, Hauk lowered his arms as he listened. She in turn answered all the questions that were spoken, explaining the connection the soldier had with the goddess of fear, the connection each had with the shrines and their caretakers, what that essence was – all direct answers to the groups direct questions.

    Once satisfied that the had indeed answered them, the Voice proceeded to explain why they were there. They were linked, both to each other and to this mysterious shrine. Hauk had no idea if it were true, but at the same time he had no reason to doubt it. As she spoke, a clearer picture formed in Hauks mind as to why they were there.

    A mission.

    That was ultimately what this was shaping up to be, all the way in Taldera even. Haul frowned when he heard that. He considered himself a competent woodsman, able to survive in the wilds of Sylira, however he had heard that Taldera was more of a frigid tundra. Sure he might be able to survive for a short while, after all the basics of wilderness survival could be transferred to any type of wilderness, however, the longer they were out there, the less his experience would be useful. He had already begun to consider supplies that they would need to make such a journey; rations, camping equipment, tools, not to mention anything that they might need to take with them for this specific mission when she started speaking of portals.

    Magic. While it certainly erased the need to travel over land, Hauk’s frown did not lighten. He was uncomfortable with any sort of magic. He did not understand it, and thus did not trust it. Truth be told he would have preferred making the trip overland, for who knew where the portal would drop them. The Voice however, seemed confident by the measure, her words providing some reassurance. So they would go directly to the shrine to inv….

    At once something became clear to him. They had no idea what they were walking into. None of the questions the group asked dealt with the nature of the event itself, being all directed in one way or another at the revelations of their heritage. It wasn’t hard to see why, really. Such a reveal, coupled with presence of the Voice had apparently thrown them all for a loop. In fairness, Hauk wasn’t immune, for most of the questions he had held back were in similar veins. Nor did the explanation that was given had given any details on it either.

    His stance shifted. It was subtle, minute, however any one paying attention or with any sort of military training would have been able to pick it up. While he had never achieved the rank of Knight himself, his time as a squire had drilled into him certain reactions and attitudes, which were now on display as the hunter faded and in its place a shadow of the former squire he had once been emerged. Waiting for a pause in the explanation, Hauk was the first to speak up.

    “Do you know what will be on the other side of this portal?” His voice was firm but not forceful, not demanding answers from the one touched by divinity in front of them, but instead of someone who was trying gather all the information before embarking on such a quest. ”Do you know who activated the shrine? If another god had done this, surely, they know it would provoke a reaction, and could be waiting for us on the other side, have left an ambush, or something similar. This could be trap.”
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    [Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

    Postby Rohka on September 27th, 2019, 2:47 am

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    “Hauk, it’s not. It can’t be.”

    She couldn’t believe that after hearing all of that, the hunter was worried about a trap, of all things. Rohka had been ready to walk right through any portal the Voice opened up, absolutely, and immediately, for reasons she knew she would soon list.

    “Why would the Voice lead us into danger?” Rohka stood up now, hands on her hips, the volume of her voice rising while facing more towards her friend—a man that she knew would be able to take her sudden outpouring of emotion. “She said she needs us, that she wants to bring life to as much of the link as possible. Does it really matter what’s on the other side? Surely The Voice wouldn’t tell us about this shrine if she thought we couldn’t handle whatever is over there. Gods, Hauk, your wish to be prepared for the worst is completely logical, but is that really the first thing you had to ask about? Aren’t you…”

    Her voice trailed off, beginning to rethink and reel inwards when she started to take note of the very real journey this would become, if she agreed to help.

    And that was when she thought of Shiress.

    When the physician had asked for what they would receive in return for their aid, Rohka’s heart began to race. It was certainly a question that had crossed her own mind, and she’d left it alone, in the dark, unwilling to seek compensation from a very real source of blessed divinity who had already treated the sybil with such care. In fact, The Voice treated everyone with care. Every question was answered so thoroughly with equal attention and grace. Roh noticed how she’d spoken of Myleena, which answered Sevris, and how she spoke of their connection, in answer to Hollis, and even how she spoke of the shrine’s defences, in answer to Orias. Thinking of this care was what spurred on a memory, and Rohka knew what she needed to say next.

    “Hauk, I’m not going to be the one to convince you. I won’t try to convince anyone here,” she looked into the silent eyes of Caspian for a long tick, and then into those of Shiress. Caspian, the enigma she longed to convinnce of what could only be seen as impossible between them. Shiress, the darling with a depth that the sybil dared not reach, in fear of surfacing the pains they both could not bear. Rohka turned to stand facing The Voice—the beauty who sat in the pews with them. The only one who shared so much of her own story with them.

    Roh clasped her hands together and placed them against her chest, closing her eyes, trying to still her beating heart to no avail. It would be obvious to anyone watching her that she was shaking yet again—whether that was in fear, or nerves, or excitement, would be for the observer to guess—but for Rohka, it was her drive to speak her mind. The same drive that made her move into the city. The same drive that asked for her own table at the Malt House.

    The very same drive that needed her life to change.

    “I only want to convince you, The Voice, that I want my life to become my own.”

    It was this piece of knowledge that Rohka picked up on at once, when the divine woman explained that the shrines were places where people would go to understand the darker aspects of life and learn how to survive them, understand them and even control them. This fascinated her, along with The Voice’s own story of how she came to be. Of how Rhysol had kept her safe and taught her to develop her inner strengths—the strength to build greatness with the badness of life. Rohka admired this trait as soon as The Voice spoke of it. She was in awe of The Voice’s actions and supportive of the desire to reconstruct the ability to share information and resources. There was nothing about this story that caused her to worry about the woman’s intentions.

    The Voice cared. She cared as much as Rhysol did, for all of them.

    Rohka opened her eyes and directed her attention solely to the blank white gaze before her. “Earlier you asked about what our families were like. What I failed to mention is that they’re downright suffocating. I understand them, ma’am, I really think I do, but I struggle to become what they expect of me. I doibt that I've felt anything close to the abuses you've suffered. But I feel as though I've experienced some of it, at least mentally. I'm almost sure that I've blocked most of it out of my mind. Even this ring, gods,” she looked at it and grinned, anguish written across the angles in her features. “If my family knew that it was made from your hair, they’d find a way to make me give it back, if not get rid of it. They’ve always hated having hair lying around in the house. When I was young, I thought it was just because they wanted to keep a clean household. I grew up hearing them speak of fallen hair being the cause of familial quarrels, or of hair being used for curses from strands that fell into the wrong hands, or souls being locked into oblivion using hair cut off by mages of enemies. They would be so worried for me, and I know I’d need to fight hard against them to make them understand that this was simply a gift. That I’d gained your favour.

    “Sometimes I really wonder about their trust in you—in The Voice of Rhysol, versus Rhysol himself. They rarely spoke about you, or of the Voice before you. Which makes sense, given that she ruled with fear and intimidation. My mother was born here in Ravok, but my father was born in Zeltiva, where he’d met my mother when she studied at the University. We’re all devoted to Rhysol, and I know this. But my mother and father have just been wanting to make the best living that they can on the lakeshore as the Calicos. Recently though, I think there’s more to it. When you spoke of the northern reaches of Taldera, isn’t that where Avanthal is? Isn’t that where the Vantha live? The children of Morwen? The children being hunted to bring Morwen back?”

    Rohka paused here. She felt out of breath, her voice having risen multiple octaves in her wish to understand while fearing the eventual response. The sybil was never skilled with being clear and direct with her words. She took a moment to try and centre herself again. She closed her eyes. The words she spoke next were softer, measured, and careful.

    “Hauk’s fear of a trap, in that case, makes sense to me. I just don’t think you would be so careless." Rohka brought her hands to the medallion around her neck and slowly faced it towards the pews. She held the small mirror and knew that there would be a way to clear her doubts and the doubts of others. "You care about these shrines, just as much as the Caretakers did, yes? If what you say is true, and if I do have the essence of a Caretaker within me, I would like to know how I can help.

    “And whether I can help myself through this endeavour, too.”

    The sybil held the mirror in direct view of The Voice and mentally voiced the phrase needed to activate the medallion:

    Let me know thy heart.
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    [Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

    Postby Hollis on September 27th, 2019, 4:02 am

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    Hollis stood from where she sat and placed her hand on Rohka's shoulder. "All shall be well," she said calmly, smiling warmly at her. She turned her face toward The Voice. "I believe you to be right," she said, still speaking to Rohka. "The Voice would not lead us astray."

    Hollis felt an intense burning inside her, something she had not felt before. Purpose, she thought to herself. "This must be...what it feels like to have a purpose," she thought, this time aloud for all to hear. Her smile had grown, and she laughed, stunning even herself. "Can't you see it, Hauk? The serendipity of it all?" She looked toward the hunter, and his dog, and then once more toward the Voice.

    She extended her hand toward the woman before them. "She is the herald of our Lord. Here, in His temple, in His city, we have witnessed a miracle--all of us being brought together. This is grace." Hollis' eyes welled with tears, overwhelmed with a sense of surety. "The Voice has told us that we are all blessed with an essence passed down from our ancestors, connecting us innately to shrines that were solely dedicated to the celebration Rhysol in all its manifestations. This honor is in our very blood, and under these perfect circumstances, we all find ourselves here, together. This is--" her voice breaking.

    She stopped, pausing to wipe her face. "I apologize; I am emotional, and this is unlike me." She inhaled deeply, filling her lungs and slowly exhaling.
    She was moved by Rohka's faith, and even by Hauk's caution. She was moved by the patience being shown by The Voice, and moved by the idea that these very people in the sanctuary could, somehow, in some way, be her family.

    And maybe that meant she really was not alone in this world.

    She thought of the betrayal she suffered at the hands of her mother. And for the first time, she pitied her. She pitied her weakness, her limitations. Hollis knew that she would be able to rise above it all. She knew she could surpass her mother and do something meaningful with her life. Her life could mean something.

    "I, too, want to know how I can be of help. This feels...right, and good." This time speaking directly to The Voice, "You have moved me by sharing your past with us. I see myself in you, somehow; I see a strength within myself I did not know I possessed, because you have shown me how, in the little time we have been here with you. This could be nothing other than fate."

    Looking around the group, she smiled once more. "I go forth with complete faith, in service to Rhysol."

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