Closed (GST) Better Dead than Red (Rohka)

Rohka and Rhysol have a little bit of arts-and-crafts fun.

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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]

(GST) Better Dead than Red (Rohka)

Postby Calla Davin on September 18th, 2019, 8:23 pm

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3rd of Fall, 519 AV


He knew what had to be done. Or, at least, that's what Mihill told himself as he scooped his supplies into an open-top crate. There was no rule book for something like this, because something like this was never supposed to happen. He was raised in this city, and he thought he had paid his dues like all the rest. You send your prayers to Rhysol, give him everything you have, behave, behave, behave. Things like this weren't supposed to happen. This wasn't supposed to happen.

The forty-nine year old swiped a jar of paint off his workstation, sending it crashing to the ground. The sound was amplified as the glass shattered. Deep red paint oozed out of what remained of the jar, lapping at the painter's feet. Maybe it was the panic, maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but Mihill swore he saw a face swirling in the paint. It was laughing at him.

He ran.

It was a pleasant morning like all the rest in Ravok. As Mihill hit the walkway, though, the sunlight seemed oppressive. He hadn't left his apartment in the Merchant's Ring in days, instead preferring to take shelter in his dark studio to paint. His brown eyes felt like grapes being squeezed to make Ravok's most pitiful wine. As he reached the ravosala landing, the painter shielded his eyes.

Once inside a ravosala, Mihill gave his destination in a low, raspy voice: "Registration Office." They lurched into motion, giving Mihill time to take stock of what was in his crate. He hadn't checked before, and, instead, had simply thrown whatever paints and tools he owned into the box. There were several jars of paint, most all dark shades of red, purple, green, and black. There were also a three large jars of white paint sitting next to every brush Mihill owned.In total, he had about twenty brushes ranging from large, 6 inches wide ones to small detail-work ones. Jammed at the bottom of the crate was a large tan drop cloth, but that was only a remainder from a different expedition. Today, there was no time for such luxuries as cleanliness.

A few days ago, a tightness had began to plague the man's chest. It persisted no matter what he did, and often worsened whenever he left his painting studio. Mihill grabbed frantically for one of his brushes, seizing one of the smaller ones in his wrinkled, paint-covered hands. Without looking, Mihill opened a jar of paint and plunged the brush into it. The brush came back up green. Mihill began to swirl the brush on his pant leg, creating no pattern in particular. It helped ease the tightness. Mihill sighed as they neared the Citizen Registration Office.

While still painting, the man pointed with his free hand towards a building adjacent to the Registration Office complex. This building wasn't anything special in particular, which was good. All that Mihill needed was a building close to the city center, one that everyone could see--that they could see. Thankfully, the building owner was glad to dedicate his blank wall to the honoring of the great Defiler and gave the man permission to paint there.

The ravosala pulled close to the narrow pathway and allowed Mihill to step out. He heaved the crate onto the dock, which caused the pain in his chest to surge. The painter placed the crate down on the ground somewhat hastily, then looked around. His hand continued to absentmindedly paint green dots on his clothes as he scanned the area.

In front of him stood a large wood wall. It was mostly light, though streaks of green weathering reached up from the platform. The wall had no windows. The thin walkway creaked as passersby hustled across, some bumping into the ladder that leaned against the wall. Mihill followed the ladder up with his eyes, examining the structure it led to: wood scaffolding. It was cheaply made, but seemed sturdy enough. Though, Mihill didn't much care; as long as he could finish this mural, he didn't care if the petchin thing crumbled.

Finishing this mural--it was all he cared about. He supposed that was why he was willing to sell his soul to the Calicos. They had been reluctant to help Mihill, given his newfound social standing. He wasn't the most popular in the city now, and all the other families had refused to even see him. But, slowly but surely, Mattias had agreed to build Mihill this scaffolding.

One of Mattias' conditions was that one of the family members help oversee he project. Mihill didn't care. He needed to paint this wall, and he needed to have scaffolding to do so. If he then, in turn, needed to babysit to get scaffolding, then so be it. The older man ran his hand through his dark brown, wavy hair, leaving paint stains behind as he did so.

"Whoever this Calico is," Mihill murmured. "They better get here fast." His already weathered face wrinkled in frustration as he squinted down the pathway. He was originally looking for his Calico escort, but the longer he stared the more he could swear that he saw a familiar face glaring from around the corner of a walkway.

A shove came from behind him as someone cursed his immobility on the walkway. Mihill waved at the person roughly before he finally stopped painting and pocketed his brush. He placed the crate at the foot of the ladder, stepped over it, and slowly began to climb. It was maybe ten feet tall, but it took the man a few chimes. He couldn't keep air in his lungs as he ascended, making it extremely difficult to do anything. Mihill cursed himself, knowing his lean body was more capable than this. He was old, yes, but not weak.

Once at the top, the man flopped onto the scaffolding. It shook violently, but held. Mihill retrieved his paintbrush and began to swirl on his pantleg once again. From here, he could easily see up and down the walkways bordering the canal. As he regained his breath, the painter leaned against the wall and impatiently waited for his company to arrive.
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Last edited by Calla Davin on September 20th, 2019, 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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(GST) Better Dead than Red (Rohka)

Postby Rohka on September 20th, 2019, 5:31 am

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“I know, I’m late, don’t tell Mattias, okay?”

Rohka huffed as she came to a stop next to the bottom of the ladder. She’d been running across the walkway after being dropped off at the wrong location. The directions she received were confusing, being told to find a blank wall with scaffolding near the city centre—but there were so many buildings and walls and bridges and windows and not one of them fit the description she was given. It was only when she caught a glimpse of the man with paint in his wavy hair did she finally think she found the right place.

The sybil hated being late. She hated it especially when she knew it was caused by her family. That particular morning, her father had tasked her with a ’special job’, promising her that she would be that much closer to joining him on his trip to Zeltiva if she did this for him. Unfortunately, the architect gave his daughter no warning, no preparation, and had only decided on the morning of the job to find her at the Malt House—and as soon as she saw his face, it had been apparent that he was needed for an emergency meeting back at the Lakeshore. In which case, Rohka was left to—once again—carry out work in the name of the Calicos.

Meer’s steeled gaze was enough to tell her that he was serious about the ultimatum. Worse was the tone in Grayson’s voice when she told him she wouldn’t be doing business at the House telling fortunes at her usual table that day.

“Right, because your father said so,” said the bar owner as he walked away from her. “Go on, then. Isn’t Zeltiva what you wanted?” Grayson asked the question as he crouched down to pick up a fresh cask, heaving it up to place it on the table. He shot her a glance and she caught the mockery in his eyes as bright as the morning light. It was hard for her to bear, being seen through as if she was nothing but clear glass, the growing smirk on his lips like a knife gently grazing against her throat.

“I want out.”

Grayson half-suppressed a laugh.

“Of what, Rohka?” He turned to face her and picked up a dishcloth, slapping it on the table as he walked away again.

The sybil turned to leave as well, the rage boiling up to only get caught on the slit between her heart and her voice. If she was honest with herself, she would know that she was late due to her own fault. As always, she needed to speak things through with her friend, and as usual, Grayson pinned down the logical truth within her feelings.

But if it hadn’t been for Meer’s unplanned ask, she wouldn’t have had those feelings in the first place.

So of course it was her family’s fault that she was late. And it was no wonder that she decided to run instead of walk, in order to feel her whole body working; her leg muscles running warm, fresh air entering her lungs and blood flowing into all of her limbs. It felt good. It strained and it stung and she sweat and she suffered through it all, just to get to the petching wall…

And there it was.

“I’m,” she breathed in deeply, catching her breath, holding onto the wooden rails. “Rohka. Rohka Calico. You needed someone, right? What do you,” she exhaled, wiping the sweat off the back of her neck, pulling her long dark locks over in front of her shoulder. She’d already had her hair pulled back with her headscarf, and she’d left most if not all of her things at home, save for her cards and dice in her pocket. She did, however, still carry the medallion on her neck, since she’d grown quite fond of it. Her lean fingers gripped both sides of the chain now, looking up at the older man who seemed to be painting his pants.

The sybil cocked a brow. “Uh, what’re you doing?”
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(GST) Better Dead than Red (Rohka)

Postby Calla Davin on September 20th, 2019, 5:15 pm

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The painter swirled and swirled his brush. He tried to breath in and out in time with the swirls. In for three swirls, out for three. In for three, out for three. For twenty-some years, Mihill took comfort in knowing that painting brought him everything he needed: friends, money, joy. Painting was his solace.

But, lately, he found it to be his curse. He loved it the same, but inspiration had become a cruel mistress to him. She'd gone cold. Every idea he had seemed to fall flat in the eyes of Yae Varone. He couldn't sell anything--not even a letterhead--to a blind man. Though, trust that he had tried. In the matter of a season, Mihill had gone from a successful painting socialite to talentless recluse. He didn't go out anymore, instead preferring to pour all of his time and energy into nurturing his artistry back into existence. And, if he were being honest, he would prefer it to be as such; he would rather be dead than be seen outside as a dried-up, washed-out, deadbeat artist.

Mihill shook his head. He understood enough how pathetic he had become. No need to linger on the subject. Instead, the man focused on the people below. Perhaps he could take inspiration from them. After all, this mural was for the people of Ravok just as much as it was for their patron deity. The faces below blurred by. Occasionally, someone would look up at him before curtly returning their eyes to the walkway. He'd see a smile here, a frown there. Once, he even saw a milky eye.

Mihill was watching to his right when a choppy voice broke his concentration. At first, he ignored the woman, annoyed by how loud and out of breath she was being. Then, his mind caught up to him. Calico?

"Yes, yes, yes." Mihill impatiently replied. He was just about to follow up with "it's about time you showed up," but he remembered that friends and favors were far and few between for him. He edited himself, though his tone still conveyed a slight sense of hostility. "Put that crate on the pulley. Please."

To the right of the supplies and ladder was a pulley system. It consisted of a board leaning against the wall and rope that was strapped to each corner. The rope led up to a mechanism attached to the level of scaffolding above Mihill. Overall, there were only two levels of scaffolding: the one Mihill sat on, and the one above him that was roughly another ten feet up. The ladder to the second level was on the far end of the first floor of scaffolding.

"Painting." Mihill replied to her question. He thought it pretty obvious, but perhaps this woman was slow. "Do you know what that is? I hope you do, because we're on a tight schedule and I don't have..." The man trailed off as he swung his legs over the edge and peered down at Rohka.

She was small. And she had a tail.

There was a pause. "Who are you, again?" He stopped painting, partially due to the shock of seeing this lizard-woman...thing, but mostly because the paint on his brush had been depleted. The paint on his pants was thinned out from being pushed around too much, and it was tacky to the touch. Mihill felt panic setting in as the woman replied.

"Okay, okay, Rohka." He pointed impatiently at the crate. "Let's hurry up. Talk and work, okay? Talk and work." Mihill would be calm once his paints were returned to him. Then, they could begin and there would be nothing left to worry about. He hoped.
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(GST) Better Dead than Red (Rohka)

Postby Rohka on September 22nd, 2019, 12:45 am

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Rohka swished her scaled tail when the man asked who she was. He soon said her name, so it wasn’t like he’d been deaf to it. Instead, the question seemed to come from her appearance. She was tired of having to explain the fact that she was indeed human so she kept it to herself for the time being. The extra limb tended to be on the back of her mind nowadays—to her, the summer’s blessing from Rhysol was no more different than her arm or her leg. She was only ever reminded of the oddity when she received the type of paused, shocked expression as the one looking into gaze at that very moment.

The sybil let out a slow breath at his curt commands and stared at the crate sitting by her feet. Inside, she saw a collection of jars holding a multitude of colours. The dark green shade caught her eye before she noticed the paintbrushes, of all different sizes. It was an impressive collection of supplies and suddenly, things began to click in her mind when she put the pieces of information together.

This wasn’t a simple paint job.

Dark brown eyes glinted with a spark of excitement. She bent down to pick up the wooden crate, hoisting it up, her arms shaking from the weight of it. Slowly, she stepped over to what the man called the ‘pulley’ and placed it on the board being held by ropes attached to one circular thing on the scaffolding above her new boss for the day. She followed the length of the ropes with her eyes until she could figure out how to get the crate to where he was sitting. It seemed like the only way to use it would be to pull on the rope.

“You know, if you just stuck to one colour, you wouldn’t need my help,” she said walking over to grip the rope with both hands. She took in a deep breath and used the force of her small muscles to lift the crate off the ground. Rohka grinned when she saw the crate being held up in mid-air and looked up at the man on the scaffolding. “Look, it’s definitely obvious that you’re painting,” she said, her breathing starting to get heavier under the weight. The sybil figured she could use her tail to grip the rope as well, so she did.

“But I don’t understand. You have a whole entire wall to cover with this stuff. Why waste the paint on your pants?” Rohka wasn’t wearing pants. She owned a pair, but she found that her long and simple tunic shirt that fell to her mid thigh was enough to let her tail move freely behind her.

“Testing out a new design, maybe?” Rohka smirked up at him. Alternating hands and tail, she continued pulling, catching a steady rhythm as the pulley creaked above her head. The effort it took to pull was equally difficult to the effort it took to lift the crate with her hands—but it was definitely easier to pull something while standing in one spot than it was to lift something while climbing at the same time. She could see the point of the mechanism now.

Could there be a way to make it easier? A second pulley perhaps?

Rohka kept the idea to herself. Once she got the crate up to the scaffolding, the sybil would hold onto the rope until the supplies were safe and in a place where the man wanted them. Rohka quickly realized that she’d forgotten to ask the strange painter for his name.

“Well, whatever the reason, I don’t mind really. Paint whatever you like. I’m supposed to be here until you finish covering the wall, I think. At least, that’s what my father told me,” She paused, panting, catching her breath. “I think he might’ve told me your name too, but I’m sorry, I completely forgot. Honestly, I’m not sure I payed enough attention to what he was saying.”

Rohka walked back to the ladder now and started to climb, one step at a time. She pulled herself up using the wooden rails and smiled when she saw how high up she was going. A part of her was even eager to go up to the second scaffold above the stranger. Would he be painting all of this in one day?

“Who are you exactly? Do you work alone or for someone else?” The questions were asked with as little hostility as possible. Something about this middle-aged man seemed to be closed-off and that was fodder for her curiosity. If she was meant to be there for the whole day, then she would have time to open up as much as she could about him.

“And why do we need to hurry? Do you have a deadline for painting this wall?”

Rohka asked as she put hand over hand on the rungs of the ladder, going up as carefully as she could, feeling the wood scratch against her bared legs. With one last heave, the Calico reached the top. She let out a small laugh and put her hand against the wall, leaning against it. From where she stood, she could tell that he was indeed a man who wore the troubles of his years on his face, the almost permanent frustration etched into the lines on his skin. He was taller than her, lean, and there was a hint of brooding confidence in the way he held himself. The sybil took a moment to look away from him and over to the view around her.

It was nice up here. She had a great vantage point, and many people seemed to be walking past the area. It was busy, even down the canal. It was then that she realized how visible this spot would be.

“Hey, are you planning on painting some art on this wall? Is that what this is about? ‘Cause gods, this is a great place for something like that.”
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(GST) Better Dead than Red (Rohka)

Postby Rohka on November 3rd, 2019, 6:52 am

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OOC Note :
Gossamer let me know that this was not an approved Guest Storyteller Thread. With the player greyed out, I decided to continue the story, and have been given permission to do so

Mihill wasn’t a fan of the young woman’s attitude, immediately, but he decided to hold his tongue for a few ticks. This Calico was curious, and clearly wanted to be helpful, but the dejected painter wasn’t sure if her talkative presence would actually serve to aid in his creative endeavour. He surveyed the woman’s form as he stayed silent, breathing in and out, fully aware of the pain in his chest while he took the time to process and ponder. Then, without a moment’s hesitation, he pointed to the crate.

“Pick up a large paintbrush, dip it in the white, paint wherever you want, for as much as you can cover. I’ll tell you when to stop.”

Mihill didn’t waste another moment. He, too, picked up a paintbrush, dipped it in the white, and started covering the wooden panels. The brush strokes were long and short, back and forth, but only horizontally so, and as Rohka watched, he seemed to transform the space into the colour of most of the typical white-washed buildings in Ravok. Mihill’s command left Rohka stunned and she wondered if she’d asked anything that could have hurt his feelings somehow—was it the question about his painted pants?

Suddenly, the fresh paint on the wall began to fade. Mihill froze, panic settling into his body, and he quickly reached for the green paint and began to paint squares on his shirt.

“Petch! What the petch did they do to this—did they give me one of those walls?”

Rohka had no idea what he meant. She watched as the paint he’d splashed on the wooden panels began to disappear out of sight, as if it was being eaten by the wall itself, vanishing until the wall look exactly the same as it looked before he’d started. The sybil swished her tail at the pure magic she was seeing before her eyes. And then she grinned.

“I want to try that! Is it just you?” She ran to pick up a brushed, dunked it in the white, and made an arc of a stroke across the panels.

It vanished immediately.

Mihill glared at her, unamused.

“What’s wrong with the—“

“Shut up! Just give me a tick, it’s just a stupid wall. It needs to be convinced. It’s one of the ones with a personality, does what it wants.”

Rohka squinted in confusion but then quickly remembered the time that The Malt House had its walls turn into glass. The time she’d gotten her tail. She simply assumed that the magic was Rhysol’s fault, that he’d somehow let something loose in the city. It was odd to imagine a building being anything similar to being a human.

“So what do we—“

“I said shut up!”

The sybil pursed her lips and promptly sat down with a huff. She took out her cards and began to shuffle them. If she had to wait for him to have an idea, then she figured she would rather do that while playing with something that would actually communicate with her. She shuffled for a good thirty ticks and removed a card at random. Out came a page of swords. She studied it, the bird standing out to her immediately. A messenger? Associations with freedom arose, and the feeling of some news that would alert her to a tru—

“Can I play?”

Rohka looked up from her cards to see a woman’s head peeking out of the wall. A cold chill ran through her entire body and she shut her eyes again, tightly, shocked and in fear and hoping desperately that she’d been tricked something. Hoping that this was just part of the magic of the wall.

“Perfect, a dead owner. Ma’am, can you tell your petchin’ house to calm down? This is for The Defiler himself, alright? The white is the base layer, it won’t stay that way.”

“I WANT TO PLAY WITH HER!!”

It was a high-pitched scream that sent both their ears ringing. If she wasn’t up high on a scaffolding, Rohka knew she would’ve ran right then and there. But she was scared. Terrified of movement from up here and couldn’t think of what to do.

Mihill spoke up first. “Just calm down ma’am. We don’t want any trouble. We’re just-”

The scaffolding began to creak and Rohka gasped, feeling movement beneath her. The gasp turned into a scream as it moved again, seeming to groan. People walking down the path began to move out of the way, and others watched in horror, transfixed by the sight of two lives seemingly at their peril.

“Okay, okay, I’ll play, please stop,” screamed Rohka. Internally she prayed for strength from her God in hopes that the woman would cease to cause havoc.

“Good! Thank you,” said the woman as she floated out of the wall and took a seat next to the sybil.

“I’m Rosa Drust. Who’re you? Can I play with your cards too?”

The sybil blinked and rubbed her eyes.

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