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 Gillar on September 15th, 2019, 2:00 am

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Ripple Me This

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1st Day of Fall in the Year 519 AV
(Timestamps are somewhat relative here.)


"Time. Mortals tend to have little concept of time. Those who do attain some understanding find it rather limited and fleeting at best." Tanroa mused as she walked the surface of the River of Time. Stopping to stand over an otherwise inconsequential day, she looked upstream of the river, to the past. There, on the calm surface of what was, ripples appeared; five of them. The ripples started centuries ago and slowly spread down river toward Tanroa and the present. The goddess then looked downstream to the future and noted the effects those ripples had on what would be.

Continuing her musings, "Unfortunately, even the gods, in all their self-perceived wisdom, also have little concept of time." Doing something she only did when neccessary to the flow of the River, Tanroa knelt down and tapped the surface. From the point of her touch, ripples rolled outward and met the opposing ones at a single point many days before the one she touched.

"That one will never learn." Standing up, Tanroa looked again upstream and then downstream. There were infinite currents below the surface of the river; currents leading to countless possible futures. Tanroa's touch had created a few more.

"A few more options for the five. Which one they will take I wonder." Tanroa then continued walking the river, carefully watching and guiding it along the paths dictated by Fate.

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Evening of the 80th Day of Summer in the Year 519 AV


Nighttime had fallen on Ravok and with it came the typical nightlife that greeted the city with each sunset. The canals were alive with ravosala's; their lanterns hung from long poles helping to illuminate their journey. The Docks were alive with all manner of activity; both innocent and sinister. The sounds of parties could be heard in some parts of the city while in other parts, the people slept. The curfews that had dominated the Summer nights had finally been lifted as the threat of aggressive animals had been stifled and security was returning to what was normal for Ravok.

This particular night found a lone figure wandering the city streets. Dressed in white robes baring the embroidered symbol of the Black Sun predominately on her back, a young woman made her way through the city toward very specific locations. Although a lone woman traveling the streets of Ravok at night was generally a formula for unpleasant things, any who saw her immediately moved out of her way. Even the most unsavory of individuals dared not cause slight to the The Word. The Word was the official messenger of The Voice of Rhysol and thus considered an extension of The Voice, Herself.

Five different locations The Word visited in search of five individuals. Their names, Shiress, Rohka, Sevris, Capian and Hollis. At each location, The Word sought one of the designated people. When she found them, each would be confronted by a young woman with dark brown hair dressed in white robes adorned with the Black Sun. Over her mouth she wore a perfectly-fitted-to-her-face golden hand that looked as though it were silencing her.

The Word reached into her robes and produced a small scrollcase engraved with the person's name. The woman did not speak and once the scrollcase was delivered, she silently turned and left. Any attempt to stop her would be met with a crippling, ear-piercing scream that only the offender could hear; enough to immediately bring them to their knees.

When the scrollcase is opened, the small scroll inside simply read albeit in handwriting that looked nothing short of beautiful with elaborate curves and angles with obvious attention to detail in every letter:

I hope this evening finds you well. Your presence is required tomorrow, midday, at the Temple of the Black Sun. Do not be late.

The scroll was stamped with the personal seal of The Voice, a stylized black sun with rays that actually radiated outward on the page in an animated way.

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Midday of the 81st Day of Fall in the Year 519 AV


Upon arrival at the Temple of the Black Sun, those summoned there would find themselves inside the central worship chamber. The chamber itself is circular with a polished, black marble floor. Numerous alcoves branch off in all directions while balconies stretch out overhead. The great central dome of the temple looms above and is covered in a dark mural depicting the grand figure of Rhysol gathering the frightened and lost people of Mizahar; protecting them from the ravages leftover from the Valterrian. In the center of the chamber floor is a tall black shard of unknown material jutting upward about 20 feet. At the base of the shard, facing the main entrance, is an altar apparently carved from the shard itself. There are pews arranged around the shard and extending outward toward the outer wall; aisles allowing ease of entry and exit amidst the numerous pews. Two sets of stairs climb the outer wall and lead to the upper levels where government offices and private quarters are located. A simple set of black wood doors lead to the Vitrax; the headquarters of the Ebonstryfe.

Standing at the altar was a woman dressed in long white robes hemmed in black. Her long black hair was elaborately braided with woven-in beads of ivory and obsidian. Her eyes were completely white; devoid of color of any sort. Her fingers were adorned with numerous rings and she wore a soft, comforting smile.

In a slight voice that felt commanding despite its otherwise passive tone, "Welcome. I'm pleased you've came. I know you are wondering why you were called here. That is a rather complicated question that will all be answered soon enouch. For now, please have a seat." The Voice motioned to the nearby pews arranged around the central shard.

"To start, I will admit that I know some things about each of you but alas, what I know is not complete by far. I ask that you tell me about yourselves. Who are you? What is your life like? Do you have family? What are they like? I have my reasons for asking these things of you that will become more relevant soon." The Voice, despite being of divine blood, an Alvina, did not outwardly exude such qualities. She did border on being beautiful to a point that it became uncomfortable to look upon her directly for too long yet it was not overpowering. Her voice was pleasant and comforting while still commanding. Her movements were soft and inspired a surface layer of trust.

The rest of the worship chamber appeared devoid of people. There were only The Voice and those whom she had called to the Temple.
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Rohka on September 15th, 2019, 9:06 pm

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80th Day of Summer, 519 AV

A couple small bonfires blazed near the shore and laughter sprang up amongst the group of men and women and children gathered around the spits. It was the day before the festival that the Calicos were planning to have as a farewell get-together, and many were working on preparations. Rohka sat with her grandmother, a thick piece of pine bark in hand, collected from her venture into the woods a few days before. Many of the women had been carving out wooden spoons for tomorrow night, and they’d gotten to the point where the productivity decreased and the artistry began to bloom. Spoons were being engraved with emblems and flowers, vines and waves. Little carvings and statues were made too, as pieces of decoration for the tables.

“I want to make something different out of this, grandma.”

“Well cub, how about a face?”

“Um,” she paused, looking around. Just then, she caught sight of a hooded figure walking towards them. “No, not a face.”

“How about a leaf engraving?”

“Ah, hm,” Rohka kept staring at the figure. She turned to her grandmother and saw her staring as well.

Soon, the lone figure walked up to the group in silence, fixed on Rohka’s gaze the entire time. The sybil felt the presence of her family inching closer.

“Hey, you there,” one of her uncles called out. Rohka could see the golden hand over her mouth now, glinting in the fire’s light. The symbol of the Black Sun was adorned all over the figure’s white robes, and Rohka could hear gasps and murmuring coming from her family when they noticed as well.

A cousin started running towards them.

“She’s looking for Rohka,” said the little girl, out of breath. “She came on a boat, I told her you were here.”

Sure enough, the woman came to stand in front of the sybil. There was an air of fear and importance around the figure that she couldn’t shake. Rohka quickly stood up and faced her, receiving the scroll case, brushing her fingers over the neatly written name, astonished. The strange woman silently turned and started to leave.

“Wait, but who are you—“ a scream pierced her ears and Rohka fell to the ground. Her aunt called after the strange woman as well, and she too fell to her knees in pain. None of her family were able to stop the the robed woman from leaving, and anyone who tried had felt the crippling sound blast havoc until they stopped trying.

“Rohka, open it,” demanded her grandmother after the woman had left. Sitting up now, she did as she was told, and at once was in awe of the detail and beauty inscribed within.

“That’s the seal of The Voice,” whispered her grandmother. Rohka slowly sat back down in shock. Sivary began to spread the news amongst her family and Roh stayed sitting. Unsurprisingly, in the next few chimes, her parents had joined them, and so did her uncle Mattias. A discussion began and Roh contributed, explaining herself as best as she could and knowing there wasn’t much else she could offer in terms of information. The sybil dared not mention anything of the meeting she had with Lelia, Sariven, and Markham. In fact, the day after that meeting, she’d gone to buy three more silver rings as plain as the one she was given, so that she was wearing two on each hand. It was truly the only thing she feared could be the reason why she was called.

As the family spoke amongst themselves, Rohka whispered to her grandmother.

“Grandma, I want to make a boat. As an offering for the Temple,” she said, with earnest brown eyes.

“Very well,” said Sivary. The old woman called for attention and settled the argument with a few words speaking of their duty to Rhysol—their protector and saviour—assuring Mattias, Vida, and Meer that her granddaughter’s absence from the festivities should be seen only as a blessing to the Calico name. She spoke of honour, making Vida, her daughter, aware of the fact that Rohka would be attending the chamber they all held in great esteem while representing the Calicos with courage and faith.

“So it’s settled. Go make us proud.”

silver rings :
3 x 3gm = 9gm


—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—~—


81st Day of Summer, 519 AV

On the ride to the temple, Rohka used her grandmother’s straight chisel, just as she was taught, to make the interior of the little boat look like it had a seat. She pushed the back of the chisel, removing thin slices, attempting to control the depth by raising the handle. Sivary called this the paring cut, because it pared off thin slices, using an arching motion. Roh clicked her teeth when she saw that she’d chiselled off too much. The rocking ravosala made it harder to be precise. She worked on it some more to level it out, then used the edge of her small knife to shave the sides, smoothing it out as best as she could. There were a few nicks and scratches and it wasn’t at all a piece of fine craftsmanship, but the sybil was happy with it. Her nerves were building and working on the small offering helped to keep her feelings at bay.

For the occasion, Rohka wore a long black linen dress. It was simple and fairly plain, with billowing sleeves and a slit in the back to let her dark, iridescent tail move freely. Her silk headscarf kept her long dark hair away from her face, and the soft waves curled at her mid-back. Around her neck hung the bronze Heartstriker Medallion, and on her fingers were her rings. She made sure to apply creams and rouge to her cheek, and a bit of kohl around her eyes, thinking that it would be best to make a good first impression for whoever she would be meeting. The sybil’s pack contained a few essential items—her cards, dice, parchment, candles, and other things— in which she put back her small knife and chisel. Besides her bladed boots, she brought no other weapons along with her. In fact, she left her barely used bow and arrows back in her apartment above the Malt House.

It didn’t seem like she needed to expect violence at the Temple.

When Rohka arrived, she showed her letter to the guards and was let through. The grounds were extremely quiet and she noticed that the guards weren’t letting others in. Outside the doors, Rohka was elated to recognize two people.

“Shiress, Cas, you’re here? Goodness, do you have any idea how glad I am to see you?” She ran to them and hugged them both without looking for reciprocation, her cheeks reddening when she noticed the look on Caspian’s face. The sybil hoped she hadn’t caught them by surprise. In fact, as far as Roh was concerned, no matter what had happened between them in the past, she considered the two people her friends, at the very least.

Rohka turned to the other two individuals she hadn’t met before and waved hello before the guards let the five of them inside.

The familiar chamber greeted them, but what stood out was the white-eyed woman standing at the front. The sybil bowed both in awe and in gratitude for the immediate welcome. She quickly walked to the front and took a seat, as instructed, adjusting the chain of her necklace and pulling her headscarf back a tad. The movements were less about her comfort and more about her desire to look appropriate for the occasion. Rohka had noticed the beautiful braids and beads in the woman’s hair and immediately felt self-conscious about her own appearance. The sybil listened to the woman speak of knowing things and then her eyes widened when she began to ask questions.

Before the silence that followed could get awkward, Rohka stood, holding the wooden boat in her hands.

“I can start. First, thank you, it is a great honour to be here. My grandmother told me that the letter had the seal of The Voice, and our whole family was shocked, to say the least. But the Calicos send their thanks as well, um, ma’am.”

The sybil wasn’t sure how to address the robed woman who hadn’t introduced herself. She was almost sure this was indeed The Voice. It had been so long since the young Calico had seen this mythic woman in person that it was hard for her to know without a doubt. Rohka shook the worry from her mind and continued onwards in her own introduction.

“My name is Rohka,” she started with a nod, looking at the two other individuals who she hadn’t met. While The Voice may already know her name, she was quite sure that the others did not.

“Rohka Calico. I’ve brought an offering,” the sybil gingerly walked up to the alter and placed the little wooden boat atop, then stepped back a tad, bringing her palms together in prayer. “It’s a boat that my grandmother helped me carve out of pine bark. It doesn’t look as nice as a ravosala but,” Roh paused, gathering her thoughts. “It’s a symbol of home, I guess. Your messenger found me at the lakeshore, you see, and my family, the Calico family, are having a grand festival today without me, because I needed to be here. I’m glad to be here, honestly,” she admitted with a small smile.

“My life is fair and common, I presume. I work as an apprentice fortune teller at the Mystic Eye, with Lelia, and I live mostly in the city above the Malt House. I’ve been fortune telling for a couple years now and my life has been a lot simpler than it was when I was back home on the shore with the Calicos and the Lumber Company. I liked fortune telling,” she said, realized she’d spoken in past tense. “I mean, finding out that I could make a living doing something that I used to do for fun was such a revelation and it allowed me to learn a lot of new things, and that’s thanks to Sariven and Lelia,” she clarified.

“My family,” she started, palms still pressed together, her eyes downcast now. It was hard to think of how to describe what her family was like. She didn’t want to talk ill of her family, nor was she sure of what sort of details would be important to hear. Rohka resolved to keep it simple.

“They work hard. They love each other very much, and are proud of what they’ve established. They have a lot going on, all the time,” she said with a grin, knowing how honest that was. “And it’s hard to keep up with. But I manage, and I help out when I can, if I can,” she said, shrugging slightly.

“In fact, my father asked me to help him recently. He’s going to Zeltiva. I might go with him,” she quickly glanced at Caspian in her periphery. “But I know that my family is still discussing the matter. I’m happy to share more about them, if you like. Honestly though, you would get better answers from Cyrus, my grandfather. He’s the head of the family now, but my uncle runs most things—Mattias is his name. Them and my mother Vida are far more connected to what the Calico life is like nowadays,” said Rohka, her gaze on the boat.

That was all she could think of saying. At The Voice’s command, Rohka would retreat back to her seat and listen to the others speak about themselves as well.
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Hollis on September 16th, 2019, 12:57 am


Late evening, 80th of Summer, 519.

The gentle night breeze blew in through the open window, caressing Hollis's skin, sending tingles down her spine. She smiled. Her small apartment was dimly lit, a single candle burning in the middle of the modest table. Her mind was calm, maybe for the first time in weeks, and she reveled in the moment.

The knock came suddenly: thump, thump, thump. Three short, consecutive knocks, steccato in their delivery. Hollis looked over her shoulder to the door, the only entrance into the apartment. Who would be here at this hour?

Opening the door slowly, Hollis gasped lightly at the sight of the woman before her. She was striking in appearance. Her robes alone signified her importance, and the gilded hand over her mouth pointed her to be the Word. Her mother had warned her of this particular woman: she was to be respected and feared. In an instant, Hollis backed away from the door slightly and bowed before the Word.

"Your presence in my home brings me great honor," she said in a trembling voice. What was someone such as this doing at the home of someone like Hollis? A fallen woman, one so fragmented.

When Hollis's eyes met the woman's once more, she handed her a small scroll, sealed with a mesmerizing seal that seemed to glimmer, even in the darkness of her room. Once Hollis had the scroll firmly in her hand, she watched as the cloaked figure turned quickly on a heel and glided away from her home into the night. Lightheaded, Hollis realized she had been holding her breath.

81st of Summer, 519

The message was clear: "Do not be late." Midday, on the dot, Hollis walked through the entrance of the Temple of the Black Sun. She was accompanied by several others, no one she recognized or could recall ever seeing before. Three greeted each other, exchanging hugs and pleasantries. She held her shoulders back, her hair hanging loose around her face. Her grey silk cloak hung around her shoulders. She attempted to give off an air of confidence.
The sounds of Hollis's boots against the cool marble floor made an echoing sound throughout the circular chamber, as did the boots of those accompanying her. Her pace was slow, each step taken with care. She could hear her heartbeat in her ears and her breathing was ragged. She was nervous, no doubt. The Sanctuary itself was beautiful and familiar, though the circumstances in which she found herself there were entirely unique. As always, she kept her expression calm, masked behind a sense of propriety and couth.

A sense of awe washed over Hollis as the woman ahead greeted them in a calm, languid voice. Hollis stared at the woman with wide eyes, finding a seat next to the girl with the colorful headscarf. She settled in, straightening her posture and adjusting the cloak around her shoulders. She made sure not to cross her legs, a bad habit of hers.

The questions the woman before them asked utterly shocked Hollis. Why in Rhysol's name did she even care? From what Hollis could tell, they were just a group of average citizens. The girl next to her, apparently named Rohka, took it upon herself to speak first. Hollis listened to her carefully, taking note of how she presented herself, how she held her body; she spoke of herself and her family. The life that Rohka described sounded warm, full of love and family that took care of each other. Hollis smiled slightly at the fortune teller, enjoying her tale.

Once Rohka took her seat, Hollis felt it only natural to go next. She inhaled deeply and arose from her seat, walking forward to face the white-eyed woman directly.

"Allow me to say first that I am honored to be here, madam. I am Hollis Raegard," she said in a clear tone, careful to pronounce each word carefully. She extended her left arm out and bent her right arm over her chest, bowing toward the robed figure. "My life is complicated, if I am honest," she said as she rose from her bow, settling back into a proud position. Her cloak fell over her shoulders again, engulfing her arms. "I have no living family to speak of, to my knowledge; I was raised by my mother, Haldine, no father to speak of. She told me he was never in the picture. I am not sure he even knows of me to this day.

"My mother and I had a difficult relationship. While she taught me of the world best she knew how, I cannot help but feel her own shortcomings got the better of her. She could not rise above her flaws, above her weaknesses. In the end, she betrayed me in a way I cannot forgive. She took from me a lover, and extinguished a kind of love I fear I will never taste again. In the end, she died, leaving me alone in this world with nothing but an aching heart."

Hollis felt the tears in her eyes. Damn it all, she thought to herself, raising a hand to quickly whipe the tears away from her eyes. "I will rebuild my life," she said in a firm voice. "And I'll make it my own. I will not tolerate weakness like she did." She stood silent for a moment, looking the great woman in her white eyes. After a moment of the silence, she walked back to her seat beside the fortune teller. Her heart was pounding, and she realized that she was yet again holding her breath.


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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Sevris on September 16th, 2019, 10:02 pm

Evening of the 80th Day of Summer in the Year 519 AV

Evening had already come and gone, and the night was slowly approaching. This was perfect timing for Sevris to our himself a drink. Wine at this time always helped him settle down before sleep. Though his solace time would be interrupted. Relaxing within the large mansions living room, he was sitting down by himself as usual. One of the Lazarin slaves walked in looking nervous.

The slaves had a reputation around Ravok, for good reason. Sevris was in mid-sip, and he stopped to stare at the young girl. "Ser, there is someone important at the door." His narrowed as this was a first for him. They didn't receive many visitors, though when they did it was much earlier in the day.

"Thank you Lucina. I will greet them." Sevris set his wine glass down and fixed himself up for their visitor. How the slave knew they were important, he would soon find out. Walking past the large bend, he made his way down the hallway to the large black oak doors.

Opening them he was instantly shocked. It was a woman with dark hair, and she was wearing pure white robes. Adorned with the Black Sun symbol, but what caught his attention was the golden hand over the mouth of the woman. Perfectly fit for her mouth.

It was the The Word. It was apparent this person was not one to cross and one to avoid. However she sought him. Without a word, she reached into her robes and pulled something out and handed it to Sevris. It was a scroll case. Sevris took it from her still with a look of surprise on his face.

As soon as he took it from her, she turned on him and walked away. There was no reason to stop her, whatever it was in the scroll would explain her presence. Interested, he gave one last look at The Word and returned to his home. Closing the door he began to open the scroll case and then the scroll. Written was a summon.

I hope this evening finds you well. Your presence is required tomorrow, midday, at the Temple of the Black Sun. Do not be late.

An order. The Solider would have to find out what it was. It seemed important. He would definitely not be late.


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Midday of the 81st Day of Fall in the Year 519 AV

Sevris arrived to the Temple of the Black Sun. There he was led to the worship chamber where he had been before. There were several others that seemed to be summoned as well. He gave them all a nod, but did not speak. The Lazarin was wearing an all black and red silk outfit, his families symbol embroidered on the back.

His short black hair combed aside for once so he could see properly. There, there was a woman in all white robes similar to woman he saw yesterday. Though the white robe was hemmed in black, her hair had all types of jewels in it. He knew who this beautiful woman was.

Sevris was taken aback to see that The Voice was there to greet them. After she asked them all to take a seat. She begun speaking to them, asking them a number of things to get to know them. The questions were unexpected, he hadn't thought someone of such grace would ever care to hear the answers.

But two of people there began to give their stories. When they finished, it was his turn to present himself. "I am Sevris Lazarin. Its an honor to be here in your presence." There was a slight pause as he tried to answer her questions.

"My life is complicated, but it is better than most. In my time I have risen and I have fallen, now I make amends for that and to better myself. I spend most of my life in service to our Lord. Ever since I was born it was my legacy to do so. I belong to the Lazarin family, we are a large family which have been in serving the Ebonstryfe for decades. But we bicker and fight among one another. Though I hope to change that dynamic between us, because together we are much more than that."

It was true, the Lazarins had a knack for butting heads with each other. And sometimes it can be brutal between them. However Sevris was adamant about turning that into something better. Their squabbles spelled ill will for them.
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Orias on September 17th, 2019, 1:22 pm

---- 80 Summer 519
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It was a typical evening within the Silver Sliver, its location along the Nitrozian Plaza and proximity to the Shipyards making it a common haunt for sailors and dockworkers, alike, and the din of the masses that sought it out was a constant hum. A drum played, the beat barely audible above the chattering crowd and clink of mugs and plates and, although a dancer wove her body on the stage to the sound, only a few paid the performance much mind. It was still early - there were stories to swap, food to eat and the trademark silver ale to drink. This was the time to catch up, converse and reflect.

A collection of those from The Whailer sat in a cluster two tables out from the bar. Sethra, the ship's Quarter Master, reclined with a boot resting along the edge of the table, head lolled casually to one side as she conspired with another crew member, light eyes flitting towards the last known location of their Captain. Rollston, the ship's Navigator, played at dice with Lon, a fellow crew member, sitting opposite, the pair expertly managing to avoid hitting Setha's boot with each toss. And opposite the Quarter Master was Orias, mug in hand and back twisted as he chatted with a sailor at the table behind him, the pair loud, lively and animated as they debated over which crew had had the biggest haul of the day.

None paid much mind to the sound of the tavern door opening; it was only as the shrouded woman began her silent trek towards the back of the establishment that those nearby took heed and stalled their conversations to watch. It was not every day that a lay person got to see The Word in the flesh. Chairs scraped against the floor before falling silent as patrons moved to catch a glimpse. The woman was like a tidal wave, her presence muffling all those around her as she passed, this silence eventually sweeping through the entirety of the tavern.

The Word came to a quiet halt behind Sethra and the firelight of the candles hanging above glinted off the golden mask that covered her mouth. The Quarter Master froze where she sat, eyes fixed on the table, unsure how to react, if moving were appropriate or if removing her boot now would be seen as an affront. In fact, everyone at the table dared not to move.

The silent figure of The Word reached into the folds of her robes and withdrew a scroll case and then, with the slightest of twists, manoeuvred her shrouded frame around the woman before her to press the item to the table top. With every eye upon the case, she then pinned it with two fingers and slid it beyond the centre of the table until it was left to rest before Orias.

And, for the next few ticks, time stood still. No one spoke. No one moved. No one even dared draw breath.

It was only once The Word straightened and turned to depart did life return to the tavern. Bodies strained to get a glimpse of what it was that brought her here. Others - confused, curious, suspicious - began conferring in low tones amongst themselves.

Lon, young and brash, sat up straight and cried out to the shrouded woman, "Hey now!" Ignoring the looks his fellow crewmen gave him, specifically Rollston's pointed glare, he continued, "What's all thi-" The Word's power coursed through him that instant, his words choked as his eyes bulged. Writhing in pain, he slid like a sack of potatos from his chair, a knee collecting the floor, followed by the other, until his hand dropped down to steady him, the other clenched tight in his lanky brown hair.

"Shyyyke" hissed Orias, dark eyes wide as he watched this all unfold, body moving as he reached for his comrade. Sethra and her companion mirrored the curse while Rollston frowned.

"Never question The Word, you halfwit," was all the Navigator said.

Lon groaned as he settled back onto his heels, the piercing sensation in his skull slowly lessening. Orias' gaze darted between Rollston, Lon and the place where The Word had just been, confused and wary.

"The Word?"

"Aye," answered Sethra, her gaze shooting to Rollston and then back to the blonde, "She is an emissary of The Voice... and acts on her behalf." Her pale gaze shifted between the pair before, at last, she tilted her head to the scroll case that still rested on the table top. "If whatever's inside that case is meant for you.. then it's important. Best not to let it sit too long."

Orias' mind reeled.

The Voice?

He tried to think of anything that might have drawn attention to himself but fell short and, suddenly, the weight of every eye on him was crippling. He hesitated, eyes on the ground, and Lon gave him a hard shove, the brunette's breathing still laboured.

"Go on. Open it."

Orias returned to his seat and reached for the case. Drawing it close, it was only then he noticed his name engraved in its exterior and another low, bewildered curse left him. Everything felt like slow motion as he pulled the ends apart, revealing the bone-white piece of parchment within. It unfurled, unbidden, exposing the simple three sentences it bore, the hand it was written in more beautiful than any Orias had ever seen. He gawked at it until a deep voice broke through his concentration.

"Show me."

It was Captain Tlezzano and his solid frame bent over Orias' shoulder to try and get a look at the one thing that had the entire tavern abuzz. Rollston and Sethra narrowed their eyes at the action yet said nothing.

"It's a missive from The Voice." Orias' words were distant and hollow, his confusion evident, "She requests my presence at the Temple at midday tomorrow." Slowly, he turned to look up towards his Captain.

More straining, more leaning, more hushed mutterings. The Captain eyed the words on the scroll for one long chime, jaw moving as if chewing on each and every letter. At last, he gave his dark beard a single stroke and sent the blond sailor a sideways look. It was evident he was torn over it all. Losing one of his sailors for the day put added strain on the rest of the crew... and with the current dissent...

"Very well," he uttered with finality.

Orias took a moment to survey the faces around him, as if seeking support. Sethra wagged her brows.

"Our Orias, summonded to meet The Voice, herself." A cat-like grin stole across her lips.

Lon clapped him on the back and Orias couldn't help but laugh. With a shy shrug and a sly grin, he lifted his mug and cocked his head, "Well.. in that case, time for another round." And then, with some added boyish confidence as he arched his back and stretched his arms wide, "Unlike you lot, I have no where to be in the morning." He punctuated this with an even cheekier grin before bringing his mug to his lips, downing the dregs.

Sethra's grin widened as she hooted, boot thumping loudly against the table. Her companion joined in, clanking her mug, followed shortly by Lon. Rollston shook his head and sighed.

Orias tried to ignore the stares, the scrutiny, the awe and focused on drowning his own stupefied curiosity with ale, proceeding to spend the rest of the night masking his worries with laughter and unease with impish grins.

81 Summer 519-----

Morning came too soon and Orias woke up dusty and drained and spent the first bell nursing his waterskin while eyeballing his few possessions. The message on the scroll he had received the night before had been vague: no details of why he was being summoned, or what he might need to bring. Just that he was to be present.

It hurt to think about it, to pour over the reasoning of it all, so, instead he shut his eyes and dropped down onto his bed, hands finding his palms.

He ran a hand over his face and then up through his tangled, wild curls and sighed heavily. He was a mess. This was all a mess. But the only thing he could control was how he looked and what he had. So, with this in mind, he stood and moved to stoop before the small steel mirror that sat propped up on top of his wardrobe and began trying to tame his appearance. A bit of water in his palm made quick - albeit temporary - work of his unruly mane, fingers brushing it off to one side, and a razor rid him of his stubborn stubble -- and about seven years.

He gave his pants a solid shake before tugging them on and then eyed his crumpled shirt. Frowning, his eyes skittered over the rest of his belongings before landing once more on that sad piece of clothing. Reluctantly, he tugged it on and was assaulted by the unmistakable smell of booze from the night before and felt his insides roil.

No. No.. this would not do.

Resisting the urge to gag, Orias found the fortitude necessary to continue piecing himself together.. all while trying to remember if there was a tailor on the way to the Temple. In his current state, his muddled mind failed him and he decided to leave his fate to his Ravosalaman.

He overpacked - as he had a habit of doing, his years having lived communally within the Commorancy resulting in him feeling it necessary to keep his possessions on his at all times. Donning the leather bracers of his armor, the other leather pieces were shoved awkwardly into his pack along with the rest of the various miscellanea he owned. His crossbow and quiver were then strapped to his belt, the dagger and pouch he also wore doing little to act as counterweight, resulting in there being a noticeable sag. He ignored it as he tugged on his boots and coat before ducking out the door.

Hailing a ravosala was easy enough and he slumped heavily onto the front seat of the small boat. He marvelled at the Ravosalaman's skill between bouts of friendly chatter, the pair discussing mundane things like the weather and the impending season change. Eventually, he found himself at Azure Reflections and, with the Ravosalaman's assurance that he'd remain, made quick work of finding himself a new, clean shirt.

It was too white, too clean, too new. Although it felt like butter on his wind-chapped skin, he felt as if it made him a beacon, gleaming harshly in the midday sun. But, he reasoned, anything was better than smelling like a dirty tavern at closing time.

Eventually, he disembarked at the platform before the grand Temple, his eyes roaming it as he approached before lifting to the sun, trying to gauge the bell by its placement in the sky. Certain he was on time, he still hurried his step yet slowed once he spotted others lingering outside the black Temple gates. He wasn't sure why he was surprised to find that others had potentially been summoned, as well.. but he was, and a faint furrow formed between his brows. He tried to find some comfort in their presence, and to convince himself that - at the very least - if this were to be his final day and he were to be smited for reasons unknown, then at least he wouldn't die alone.

His lips formed a line and he met the gaze of one of the men, tan and clean, and offered a civil nod before his attention moved to the nearest guard. He undid his belt with the intent to disarm himself and held it out to the guard yet no movement was made to unburden him of it. Instead, the guard made a near imperceptible motion with his chin towards the gate. Uncertain, Orias glanced about at those still in his vicinity, as if to ensure there were witnesses, before he finally stepped past and through to the belly of the Temple.

He couldn't remember the last time he had been inside - years, perhaps? - and his eyes drank up the sights, refamiliarising himself with the dark beauty of it all. His eyes roamed the fresco above him, following the details of Rhysol the saviour before, finally, they dropped to view the woman standing near the altar. Eyes white as stone. Pristine robes etched with black. It could only be one person.

The Voice.

Despite all the jests made the night before, he had not actually believed he'd see her in the flesh and it gave him pause as a mix of disbelief and utter reverence took him. However, he found himself having to look away after some time as these feelings melted away into a strange feeling of discomfort and unease that he couldn't quite put his finger on. He busied himself with finding a place to sit, favouring a pew off to the side opposite where two women had seated themselves. A man in red and black finery was already seated and Orias did his best to settle his pack and belt - with all its bits attached - down quietly. A monumental task given the emptiness of the interior amplified every sound.

In time, The Voice - of the woman he believed to be The Voice - spoke, and her words felt akin to a caress. He did not anticipate what she asked and suddenly felt like he was a kid in the Commorancy again, having to stand up in front of the class and tell his fellow pupils about himself. To say he was relieved when one of the women at the far end took it upon herself to begin was an understatement, and he listened and observed each who spoke in turn.

Rohka, a fortuneteller from a well known family - the Calicos, made an offering to Rhysol before she spoke of her family with warmth and earnest. Hollis Raegard, recently orphaned, whose story he empathised with, got teary eyed as she recounted her life with her mother. Sevris, the man whom he shared a pew with, was a Lazarin with ties to the Ebonstryfe. Judging by the way he spoke and the clothing he wore, Orias had a feeling he was a blooded member, a true born of the name, and he found himself trying to put the man's face and name to memory in case he might need it again.

And then it was his turn to stand.

He sucked in a breath and turned his gaze respectfully towards The Voice, bowing his head, "It is an honour to be here in your presence." Listing his head, he straightened, words artless and humble, "I feel a bit out of my depth.." A whisper of a smile touched his lips as he tried to rid himself of his unease, "My name is Orias, of The Whailer, a merchant ship on Lake Ravok. I'm a sailor.. and count the members of my crew as family. I have no family name.. or any true family to speak of, at least that I know of."

This was all sounding so dull in comparison.. yet he knew not what else to say. He had little to report. He was a simple man. So, with a slight yet warm smile he added, "I am the result of the Galatos family's benevolence, a product of the Commorancy, and a proud and loyal servant of Ravok and Rhysol."

With that, he sat himself back down and waited for the final two present to speak.
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Total - 1sm 9cm
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Caspian on September 17th, 2019, 6:22 pm

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    80 Summer 519
If he thinks about the past too much it holds him in high arrest.

It stops his throat if he lets it, curls round his ankles and twists him into the earth, clasps a manacle about his wrist and plunges him down. It is the dark obelisk that looms through sand and hill, in tundra and shard and ice, lingering in the corner of his eye no matter how far he treads and turns.

There are ways around it – there are stoppages and stalls – and when the city curfew finally seems to lift itself he takes full advantage, throwing himself back into his vespertine stalks through road and canal, as if the pace alone might keep his mind off and away. The magical suit’s of his ilk that night, transforming into a jacket of burnished gold worthy of celebration, from the shoulders of which a cape flocked with amber billows and folds. In it, he hides in plain sight, from a past that jeers and cavorts after him, ever at his heels as he drifts from one summer’s end’s party to the next.

The night’s not an entirely unproductive one. There’s an art curator with a well-timed habit of grasping one by the elbow in an attempt to emphasize the emphatic, and it proves better than a mere attempt, for in the moment he finds himself swayed to have any opinion to begin with on the topic of whether never eating past eight has any bearing on one’s constitution; then, in more lively fashion, there’s a grinning scoundrel with a neat trick of sneezing into his hand, only to produce a bursting bouquet of tissue-paper roses in rainbow hues for the bevy of women raptly in attendance. Both motions are catalogued away for future reflection and use. They’ll require practice, even the first, because the reaching over will necessitate knowing precisely where the beats of his sentences will fall, and it can’t be a brush nor can it be a strangle, the power of it lying in an assumption of jovial familiarity that he’s never done well with, as he’d always rather cajole than physically coax. And the thing with the roses – it all begins, he supposes, with figuring out how to fold them in the first place.

So it’s interesting, swanning around with the usual swarm of beautiful people the city has to offer, and the two individuals he observes in a modest fete in a townhouse some ways east; even more interesting is noting the types of individuals who are immediately drawn to them, and the ones pulled in after the tricks are said and done.

When he returns home The Voice is waiting, a wraith beneath a paling moon.

Little does he know that she had waited all of a moment, having just exited the Silver Sliver Tavern with one burden delivered but a breath ago to a sailor he’s never seen.

It occurs to him to walk past – to sidestep and slip about her, topple up his flight of stairs and bolt the door behind him. Because there’s still a disbelief, there, that anyone of any bearing should want anything to do with him – but she waits for him just as his obelisk stems and seethes, and when she hands him the scroll he accepts it without protest.

The night’s balmy air and balmier liquor that had made him amiable and light filter down into complacence, tempering further with each step into a particular kind of dread he cannot fathom.

Portentous sight on a portentous night – or, frankly, just the consequence of her seeing and knowing more than is right – but Taalviel is waiting for him at the door.

“Did you read it?” she asks, when perhaps a usual person might have wondered what does it say?

She knows, too well, his penchant for putting things off; as a universal rule, he’d rather not broach to begin with, but –

“If you don’t read it, she’ll only return,” she goes on.

He doesn’t know if that’s true, but she says it like a specter, like an old biddy frightening children with tall tales before they sleep.

“…a lot chummier than I expected,” he says when he unfurls it with his back turned.

Taking any degree of lightness towards the call doesn’t thrill her, but sometimes it’s all he has.

With an unusual level of tenderness, she pulls his golden coat from his shoulders and tells him he ought to sleep, even brings him his pipe and a glass of water and sets his shoes at the foot of his bed. For the rest of the night, as he drifts, she takes to perching at his table, gaze trained unerringly at the door.

81 Summer 519


The past comes back to bite again when Caspian enters the Temple of the Black Sun. As if his magical suit had already known what the day holds in store for him – of it, he wouldn’t put it past – he’s dressed in a tightly cut suit of black, the most overt of its embellishments limited to a cluster of glittering beads sewn in floral array across his cuffs. His knee-high black boots click and resound more loudly than he’d like across the Temple floors.

He’s not sure what he’d been expecting, exactly – had certainly held his breath and hoped this wouldn’t be entirely exactly about him alone – a horrifying thought, yes? Not exactly his flavor of an ego boost – but he certainly hadn’t thought to see anyone he recognizes.

“Eh-lee-ohh, Flutter?” Caspian says in his old Sunberthian lilt, playfully nudging Shiress with his elbow once he spots her – but the directness and solemnity of The Voice at the altar stops him short, and that’s him in arrest twice now, in arrest thrice when Rohka appears in all her litheness, the full breadth of her immediacy, and his hands linger for a moment too long about her waist when they embrace.

The past, then, comes to him with the intent to strangle.

In response to The Voice’s questions –

He pauses.

For longer than he ought, longer than all the rest who’ve already spoken.

“I’m Caspian,” he finally says. “I’m – no one, really. I have the odd job here and there, take the mizas and float.”

But – out of anyone, she’d know if he was lying, wouldn’t she? Not that that had been a lie –

“I’m - a secret keeper. A secret sharer. Depends who’s paying, I suppose. I live on the westerly Docks with my sister Taalviel. We keep to ourselves. We’ve a father to the east of here, in Sunberth – and I’ve my own to the west, in – well. I doubt he’s still alive.”

He doesn’t say Avanthal out loud.

“One day to the next, we are, on a lovely lake,” he goes on. “Sorry. There isn’t much to me,” he finishes with a stilted shrug, and it’s not just a deflection – he had felt, so succinctly, an acuteness of his own displacement when the rest in attendance had spoken. In far contrast, they had seemed so much more to belong to anywhere at all.
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Hauk Tarn on September 17th, 2019, 11:46 pm

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80th of summer 519, Evening

The night was no longer young, nor was it yet old. A few bells had already passed by Hauks reckoning since syna had set over the horizon, however the hunter wasn’t bothered. His sword lay on his lamp as he meticulously applied small amounts of grease on the blade, to keep it from rusting . His camp was well lit by the fire he had going, a small mammal, already skinned, skewered from end to end, being roasted. There was a trick to this, one that Hauks father had taught him: Never roast your dinner right on top of the fire, you would burn your meal. Instead set the spit just off from the flame, and let the heat cook it. This had the added benefit of letting the fat drip down the animal into a small bowl that the hunter had set. Once cooled, the fat made an excellent grease to maintain his sword and daggers, another trick he had learned, this time from his patron Knight, back when he was a squire in Syliras.

He paused a moment, Fen looking up at him from his usual spot next to the duo’s tent on the outskirts of the lake shore village. The Dogs eyes shone bright, reflecting the flames as he studied the man, almost as if he could tell what his master was thinking. It had been some time since Hauk had thought of his time back in Syliras. That time seemed almost a lifetime ago, almost as If a dream. Shaking his head, the woodsman pushed those thoughts from his mind. That was his past, and no longer his life. Apparently satisfied, Fen put his head back down on his paws, apparently sleeping. Hauk smiled at his companion, for he new better.

The night was cool, pleasant, as it usually was next to the lake. The weather here never did seize to amaze him, and for the moment, he just sat there, on a small wooden stump he had appropriated, and enjoyed the evening. A few ticks went by, before Hauk noticed it. Even at night the forest was full of life and sound, and the outpost, while small, usually had some activity. Silence surrounded him. Fen felt it it too, and stood. The dog stared at something behind the hunter, his ridge rising, yet curiously he did not growl, and that was when he felt a presence behind him. It was less some ability, and more all his time outdoors hunting training his senses that alerted him. Prepared for anything, jumped from his seat, sword in hand raised in a defensive position and turned.

What he saw disarmed him. A woman, in a long white robe untouched by filth stared at him, her dark hair framing her face, a stark contrast to the golden hand that covered the lower end of her face. Hauks sword lowered on itself. Whether on instinct or by some compelling force, Hauk could feel no threat. The woman seemed unperterbed, as if the presence of the sword itself did not register. Instead, in a fluid notion she produced a scroll and offered it to the huntsman.

He broke the seal, and read the short message, uncertainty clouding his face. When he looked up to to ask the woman who had sent her, she had disappeared. The sounds returned to the forest.

“Do not be late.” It was not a threat, yet Hauk could not ignore the danger.
--------------------------------------------

81st of summer 519, Noon



Hauk and the guard stared at each other, killing each other in their minds, as the guards companion read the letter. The hunter felt naked without his weapons and was at a clear disadvantage if the who barred his way from entering the temple decided to cause him any trouble. At the very least he had Fen with him. The dog stood at his side, muscles tense, feeling the situation.

A few ticks later the guard handed Hauk the scroll back, scrutinizing the man, as if unable to believe that he had received the summons. “Go on through” he said roughly, “but the dog stays.”

“The dog comes with me.” Hauk replied flatly, staring directly at the man. A few, tense ticks went by before the guard sighed, and got out of their way. The duo entered into the unfamiliar building, but they found the chamber easy enough. Large, imposing, and dark, Hauk was reminded of a mausoleum. He was not alone, and he even recognized one of the few others that where in the chamber with him, nodding to the woman who he had met out in the woods. A dark pillar dominated the center of the room, but what drew his attention was the woman, dressed in white robes with white eyes. Her beauty was great, and her voice smooth. Hauk had paid little attention to the government of Ravok, spending as little time as he did in the city proper, but there was no mistaking who this was: The Voice.

While others had taken her invitation to sit, Hauk had remained standing. He wasn’t comfortable sitting in this place, as empty and as lifeless as it was, listening intently to the Voice’s questions, and to the answers that the others gave. Hauk was determined to gain as much information as possible. There was a brief silence after the man in some sort of suit spoke, and the hunter realized it was his turn now, to speak.

“I am Hauk,” The woodsman’s voice was low, his tone guarded. “…and this, Fen”. The deerstalker sat on his rear legs next to Hauk, stiff, as if also feeling the uneasiness that Hauk felt in this chamber, the dogs eyes looking up from between his master and the imposing figure that was The Voice. “We live in the outpost, and hunt for our trade. It is a simple, but good life.”

Hauk paused, unsure of how much to say next. “My family…my family does not live in Ravok, and I have not seem them for some time.” More he did not say, feeling that he had adequately, if not exactly, answered the questions posed to him.
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Shiress on September 18th, 2019, 12:07 am

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80th Day
Summer 519

The Caldera manor was dark, chilly, and so very very quiet, the servants having been let go nearly a season past. With Elias gone, there was no way in which Shiress could afford to keep his servants. She all but lived alone now in the big house, save Bella. Oh sweet, loyal Isabella. Shiress smiled sadly at the thought of her. Bella, Elias's slave, and the first thing Shiress had corrected when she had come to live at the Manor. She had become Shiress's handmaid when freed, though Shiress felt her more of a friend. When she had approached the young women to explain that she would need to find elsewhere to live and work, Bella had scoffed, insisted on staying, even going so far as to finding work on her own in the city.

Had it not been for her servant come friend come roommate, the last season would have seen the end of Shiress, she was sure of it. What with her lover disappearing and her Bondmate dying...Shiress drew in a sharp breath at the thought of Rook, eyes stinging.

"What? What is it?" Bella said, coming through the doorway and into the large living area.

Shiress grimaced, unfolding her legs from the couch and sitting straight, setting a half-full cup on the table beside her.. "Nothing. Just doing too much thinking."

Bella frowned, looking concerned.""More ginger tea, maybe?"

Shiress's grimace turned into a deep scowl "No!" she slummped back against the couch. "I'm too sick to think of any more."

"You are not sick, my dear friend" Bella pointed out, making her way over to where Shiress sat, hand reaching for the cup. "You are pregnant. There is a difference."

"It doesn't feel different." Shiress retorted, a bit of a whine in her voice.

A knock sounded at the door, causing Bella to pause, replacing the cup. Shiress sat straighter, Bella glancing down at her, a question in her eyes. Shiress shook her head. Bella headed for the door, pulling it open with a soft intake of breath and a quick step backward. By the time Shiress had made it to Bella's side, a woman stood in the doorway offering a scroll past Bella to Shiress. She took it in suddenly trembling hands, lips parting as if to speak. The woman turned and was gone.

"The Word" Bella whispered, making it sound almost like a curse, eyes locked onto the small, rolled missive in Shiress's hand. "That message is from The Voice Shiress! Read it!"

She did, and when she had finished, Shiress met her friends gaze with confusion and not a small amount of terror.

--------------------------------------
81st Day
Summer 519


Isabella had truly outdone herself.

Claiming that no one in their right mind would arrive at a summons from The Voice looking like that she had dismantled Shiress's wardrobe and donned the young doctor in a pale blue cotehardie dress, fitted around her hips with a loose golden rope belt. Shiress's chestnut hair was pinned up on the sides, leaving loose curls to frame her face and long ringlets to sway down the length of her back. It had taken most of the morning, but Bella had seemed pleased with her work on Shiress. Shiress, however, had left the Manor feeling a lie.

Shiress glanced down to the scroll held tight in her fist, then back to the entrance to the Temple of the Black Sun and to the guards flanking either side. With feigned confidence and a profound breath, she approached the guards, offering forward her summons. One nodded, and she passed through the portal.

She entered the circular room alone, trepidation growing, eyes downcast. Within the next few chimes, two men entered the room, looking just as confused and concerned as she felt, the same rolled scroll as her own clutched in their hand. The newcomers took their places, and Shiress's gaze again fell to roam the black tiles beneath her feet.

A familiar voice and a called name had the girl whipping her head around to see Caspian just as he playfully jabbed an arm at her, then to Rohka. Rohka! But then she was following both seized gazes and felt her mouth fall open at the woman standing in the center of the room. How had she not noticed her before? Shiress immediately averted her eyes, wishing nothing more than to shrink away, feeling dirty and unworthy to be looked upon by this female. By The Voice.

When came time for Shiress to speak, she stood, letting out a breath that she had not realized she had been holding as the others spoke. She still wasn't fully capable of meeting The Voice's gaze.

"My.." she croaked, then cleared her throat and began again. "My name is Shiress, and I'm a physician at the hospital." she paused, mulling over 'family.' Elias and Rook had been her only family, and now they were both gone, dead most likely and by the Ebonstryfe's hand. She stifled a sudden sob with a cough, hand covering her mouth. "Excuse me." she said, clearing her throat "My family is in Zeltiva, A mother, father, and brother. My life is fair and with good friends."

Glancing up, she gave a tentative smile before sitting back down quickly, expelling a long and shaky breath past pale lips.

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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Gillar on September 18th, 2019, 6:13 am

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1st Day of Fall in the Year 519 AV

As Tanroa turned to walk the river once more, something else brought her pause. Looking back upstream, she noted two more ripples appear along with the other five; perhaps a response to her own ripples of correction. She noted the additional alterations to the past with a derisive sigh yet did not act further. The ripples she created met the new ones and she looked again downstream; her correction remained.

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Evening of the 80th Day of Summer in the Year 519 AV

The Voice stood before a floor-to-ceiling mirror in her bedchambers. She brushed her hair with a fancy silver brush. Her reflection in the mirror was joined by another figure. Completely nude, the mirror reflected perfect dark hair, flawless skin and eyes that matched that of The Voice...Rhysol.

His hands gripping each side of her waist, Rhysol leaned in and licked her earlobe before speaking quietly in her ear. "There has been a small...hiccup in the plan. There has been a response and as such I had to make an adjustment. Where there was five, there are now seven. That should provide you will all you need."

The Voice smiled and reached up to touch the side of Rhysol's face before turning to face him. "It shall be done, my love." She said as she pushed him back on to the nearby bed and joined him.

Meanwhile, The Word finished delivering the first five messages. As she started back to the Temple, she paused for a moment and reached into her robes. Pulling forth a small blank scroll, she watched as an invisible hand wrote upon it a similar message as the ones before it. The scroll then rolled itself up and a case formed around it. This happened twice with two new names forming upon the cases; Orias and Hauk. The Word turned and made her way to the two new recipients.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Midday of the 81st Day of Summer in the Year 519 AV


The Voice had been expecting five individuals up until the night before. That was until Rhysol had informed her of the change. While she would have been able to do what was needed with only five, the addition of two others was a true blessing. She smiled to herself at the physical pleasures that followed news of the additions but allowed the memories to move to the side as the first person arrived at the Temple followed by the rest.

She could taste the nervousness, the questions and bits uncertainty as they entered. Such was expected with the suddenness of her summons yet it couldn't be helped. Time wasn't exactly on her side.

When the new arrivals settled in and in turn, introduced themselves, The Voice regarded them individually.

She listened to Rohka and smiled at the woman's offering. Picking up the small carved boat, The Voice examined it for a moment and said, "Rohka, this is unexpected yet appreciated." As she held it in her ring-adorned hands, The Voice's blank eyes flashed for the briefest of moments. "I accept your offering and in turn know that your family will find divine protection in their journey to Zeltiva. As for you..." The Voice placed the carving back on the altar and stepped toward Rohka. "I take even the simplest of offerings quite seriously for it is a gesture not often seen these days. In my time, long before the Valterrian, offerings were a common way of expressing respect for the divine. This is a refreshing bit of nostalgia. In return, take this." The Voice pulled a ring from her hand, took one of Rohka's hands and placed the ring on her finger. The ring looked to be woven from black hair, the same color as that of The Voice yet it felt as solid as metal.

As Rohka took her seat, The Voice turned to Hollis. She listened as the woman spoke of her life as complicated. She smiled sympathetically as the woman spoke of betrayal and of weakness. As the woman finished and sat down, The Voice allowed Hollis to compose herself before addressing her directly. "Hollis, I have experienced betrayal and weakness as well. Long ago, I trusted in those whom I thought were faithful to me. They betrayed me and led the Champion of Ivak, the god who ravaged this world with his rage, to me. While strong, I am not a warrior. He overpowered me, encased me in a stone coffin and threw me into the heart of a volcano where I remained, in a constant state of burning, for centuries. One of those who betrayed me was my mortal lover. He is long dead now and will never have to face his betrayal." Hollis could see a single tear form at the corner of The Voice's eye before it was casually wiped away.

"Regardless of its severity, betrayal is betrayal. You survived your own experience with it. From it you will grow stronger, stronger than you can currently comprehend. Hold on to the feelings you have, use them to form a weapon against any who would hurt you again." The Voice's words were filled with confidence and strength; both feelings that Hollis could tangibly feel wash over her.

The Voice then turned to Sevris. As the man introduced himself, The Voice watched him, observing his movements coinciding with his words. When he finished, she said, "Lazarin, a loyal if unique child. One of Myleena's brood." The Voice referenced the Druvin, Lazarin being the product of the Voice who had ascended to godhood in the form of Ssena, Goddess of Fear. "Something of a stubborn child but one of my favorite I must say. That said, I know of you...the one who seeks redemption. Something tells me that you will have that opportunity very soon."

Next was the man, Orias. As he spoke of his being a sailor, The Voice listened and smiled at the mention of sailing and who he considered his family to be. "A sailor who regards his crew as his family...commendable. You say you have no true family that you know of? I believe you will soon face a challenge to that. As for being a sailor, that is something, in all of my years, I have never developed a feel for. I don't tend to get along very well with some of the things that dwell in the depths."

Caspian then spoke as the Voice looked to him and listened. When he had finished, she responded, "Sharer of secrets to the highest bidder? Yet one who himself claims to not have much to him? No real ties with your family either. I think there is more to you than you wish to share right now but that is quite alright. There are times in all of our lives, even my own, when we think we are simple folk who have no outstanding qualities to speak of. When I was a child, I never thought I would become who I am or experience what I have. Even as a young adult, becoming The Voice of Rhysol was beyond my comprehension. My point is that we may see our lives as basic, our family as simple, but things can change in an instant."

Then came the man with the dog. The Voice regarded the two with a slight raise of the eyebrow but maintained her simple smile. "A hunter? Likely it has been rather interesting out there in the wilds during the past couple of seasons with all these issues with the animals. It is a pleasure to meet you, Hauk as well as your friend. A good life is all any of us can hope for and it pleases me to hear you think of yours as such."

Shiress was the last to speak and The Voice turned her attention to the woman. She gave a sympathetic look to Shiress' momentary loss of composure. Reading Shiress' body language, The Voice said, "It may surprise you to hear that I had a brother once. He was my best friend. He was murdered for the handful coins he carried. I imagine that if it wasn't for that, I would never have looked for the answer of why it happened. It was the search for that answer that led me to Rhysol. My answer as to why he was killed? Bad things happen to good people. Grieve their loss but grow strong from it. Improve yourself, help others if need be. It sounds like you are doing that."

After everyone had introduced themselves, The Voice nodded and addressed the group as a whole. "Thank you for sharing a bit of yourselves with me as well as each other. I know it was an odd bit of questioning on my part but hopefully the relevancy of it all will become clear soon. You have a lot of questions. First, why have I called you here? Honestly, I need your help, Rhysol needs your help." The Voice stepped forth to stand closer to the where the group sat.

"As you all know by now, the city and its surroundings has been experiencing an unusual increase in animal aggression since last season. While it has been mostly brought under control, the question of what caused it remains. Which brings me to another oddity that has recently occurred." The Voice casually walked around the area where the group was seated as she spoke.

"This one requires a short history lesson. Before the Valterrian, before The Black Sun, before this great temple, there existed a series of shrines dedicated to Rhysol. These shrines were scattered across the known world and served as centers of faith and worship. Each shrine was tended to by a Caretaker; a devoted follower of Rhysol who served as not only the protector of the faithful but also their guide in their divine service. During the Valterrian, most of these shrines were destroyed and/or their Caretakers killed. Those who weren't killed during the devastation, died in the years that followed; unable to survive the divine fallout. Without a Caretaker, those shrines that survived eventually went dormant." The Voice paused for a moment to let the group process the information.

"The shrines were intimately linked with their Caretakers. So even if we could find a shrine, reclaiming it without its original Caretaker is all but impossible. Even though a shrine is linked to Rhysol, it needs its mortal link to be complete. I tell you about the shrines because, in the Spring, during the Hunter's Moon when all this animal nonsense came to a head, one of the shrines awoke." The Voice stopped and moved to face the group again.

"The awakening of a shrine could only happen in one of two ways. First, in the presence of its Caretaker. Second, in the direct presence of some other divinely empowered force. Since there is no Caretaker, that leaves the second option being the most likely one." The Voice paused before continuing. It was as if she was hesitating ever so slightly about speaking more on the topic.

This leads me to why I have brought you all here and why I need your help. You see, by divine grace, a miracle if you will, each of you find yourselves in the same place at the same time. This is a miracle because 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. Although it couldn't be much more distant, each of you are in a small way, connected to one another. This is why I wanted you to think about family because, while not exactly related, you all share something quite unique and very special. I imagine this may be a lot to take in at once. Before I continue, I will answer any questions you may have."
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[Fall 19 Seasonal Quest] Ripple Me This

Postby Rohka on September 18th, 2019, 7:19 pm

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“How do you know?”

Once again, Rohka piped up first, a part of her recognizing that her rash eagerness had the potential to overwhelm some—even herself.

It was a question that perhaps needed clarification. After the sybil had first introduced herself, she listened to the stories of the others in the divine presence of The Voice, curious as to how their individualities may or may not be similar to her own…

Hollis in her grey cloak had entered seeming so calm yet confident, but then, her countenance changed when she spoke of family. The death of a mother was heartbreaking—and moreover, being taken away from a lover was certainly devastating. Rohka had felt a pang in chest, a familiar feeling striking her in a flash of a memory from long ago, of lovers lost, due to familial pressures of her own. It was the reasoning for the mark she’d gotten on the inside of her wrist when she moved away into the city. The sybil completed respected the drive Hollis had to rebuild a life for herself.

Sevris had been next, a Lazarin. She’d only heard of the family but never met one before, and when Sevris spoke, he held the reverence expected of those who served the Ebonstryfe. What Rohka didn’t expect, however, was the admittance of bickering—something she knew all too well with her own family. The sybil was struck with humility when the Lazarin spoke of his hope to change the dynamic. She wasn’t sure how well she agreed with his last statement of being more when together.

The man who’d spoken next wore a starkly bright, white shirt, and she squinted a bit while listening to him, hearing his name. Orias, another without a family, but a sailor who saw himself as a product of the Galatos’ Commorancy. To this she nodded, aware of the children who grew up there and humbled by his apparent growth and current way of life upon the waters.

And then Caspian spoke—Cas, who seemed to know Shiress as well, calling her by a nickname that the sybil didn’t recognize. She wished to ask how they knew each other before they entered, but she hadn’t had the time, and she’d been too distracted floating on the comfort of every tick that he’d held her close. With any room to speak, Rohka knew she would disagree entirely with Caspian’s assessment with himself. It took every bit of patience within her to not interrupt in protest. There was far more to him and he should know it.

Similar to Caspian, the man who greeted The Voice next was reserved in his words. So glad to see another familiar face, Rohka answered the man’s initial nod of recognition with her own, a warm smile on her lips when they’d entered. Hauk’s introduction was short and straightforward, but Rohka expected as much. He seemed to be reading the room, still uncertain and almost uncomfortable to be here, which reflected in the way Fen sat unmoving by his side.

The last to speak had been Shiress, who also kept her story brief. Rohka couldn’t help but frown, wanting to move closer to her when the physician hid something that welled up inside her with a cough. Roh’s brows raised when she heard news of family in Zeltiva. She made a mental note to asked her friend about this later, wondering if Shiress would want to visit them and join Roh’s family on their eventual journey.

A journey that had been blessed with protection by The Voice.

For this, Rohka was beyond grateful. Such sacred words would have been more than enough, knowing she needn’t worry about her family’s safety and could then focus on preparing for other, more personal matters. But the sybil had doubled over in gratitude, visibly shaking with nerves and a certain exaltation when The Voice took her hand and placed a ring on her finger. This generous kindness and balance came through in every single sentence the divine woman spilled in answer to each individual who told their tale. She even shared moments from her own life, from a mortal lover to a murdered brother, spinning a wheel of wonder that travelled in directions that spanned the surface of centuries.

And yet, she didn’t ‘get along’ with things that dwelled in the depths?

It was an interesting revelation that almost went over the sybil’s head. But it was in fact a form of depth that Rohka seeked as an answer to her first question posed to The Voice.

“I mean,” she said immediately, feeling the need to add detail to her abrupt interrogation. “How do you know that we are all connected? What does that mean?” A slight feeling of discomfort took over when she began to take in the fact that she shared something with everyone here. How ‘miraculous’ was it to be in the same place at the same time if everyone must have been invited to be here, like she was? Rohka unconsciously started to spin The Voice’s ring around her finger, thinking harder about her question.

“What is an ‘essence’? I don’t understand how this is possible,” she paused, brows furrowing as her own voice grew softer. She remembered that The Voice had mentioned that the answer to ‘why they were here’ would be complicated. She could see why now—at least, she could see that it was indeed complex. Her large brown eyes looked down to the black marble floor and at once she noticed the difference in the visible texture between the ring she was given and the chamber’s holy ground.

“What is this… made of,” Rohka whispered, eyes still downcast, lost in confusion.
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