Completed Broken Souls

Even ghosts can be afraid.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Broken Souls

Postby Autumn Rose on November 2nd, 2019, 5:01 pm


Broken Souls


Fall the 43rd, 519 AV, the 14th bell


There was light from every angle, but even better, there was her from every angle.

Eleven days ago, she had discovered this room down on the first floor of the Red Lantern, and it was the delight of pride and vanity. Mirrors, polished and perfect, lined every surface they could aside from the bed. There was no part of one’s body that couldn't be seen, especially when one was standing at the foot of the bed. Any blemish, any imperfection, any line or curve made lacking by idle pursuits. All of it would be revealed. Only the proudest would feel comfortable in this place, and so it sat empty most days.

Autumn had never considered herself vain, but looking at the infinite versions of herself cascading back and forth off the many mirrors, she found no part of her that she didn’t like. Curves gave way to more subtle curves interrupted here and there by angles, but the interruptions were welcome ones, like comments that built a conversation and led it to greater subjects illuminating the meaning at its core, the soul of its work and its words. Each opportunity for an imperfection only made her appreciate the idea of herself even more. Maybe she was vain.

Coiling every bit of the soulmist that comprised her being deeper into herself, Autumn spun once and watched in a simple satisfaction as errant wisps of mist swirled around her like the hem of her materialized dress before they disappeared into the ether. She pulled the loose and unfocused strands back out of the nothingness and set them into their appropriate places, pushing away the haziness at her outer edges until she, in her truest form, was revealed. This was her, or at least the her she remembered from life. With a sudden surge of strength, she shoved as much of the mist to her periphery as she could, twisting its form until she could squeeze a different light from it. That light became color, spilling outward from the bright blue of her eyes until it met the white of her dress and bled into the green of the floral patterns that covered it. This had been her favorite dress while she had lived, and she had worn it to the point the hem was tattered and the green, faded. But this dress, the one that adorned her dead existence, was as the dress had been in its prime.

Such efforts exhausted her, and she couldn’t hold such a detailed materialization very long. With a sigh of her soul, she let go of her tethered grips on the many strands of soulmist and watched from a million angles as color faded from existence to leave only the striking blue of her eyes. The sudden exodus of color from the world only made her eyes seem all the more brilliant and as stunning as the cloudless sky in a snow-blanketed winter.

Autumn studied herself again, and the idea of her became even more alluring. She wondered if this was how the world saw her, if this was how he had seen her. Maro.

At the mention of his name, something in her spirit fell, tumbling down into a place it should not have been. Everything good about death had existed in him, been personified by him. Curiosity, his greatest weapon and his greatest fault, had led them to many wondrous memories, but it had also led him to his death. And unlike her, he was content to move on. She wanted to be angry, to hate him for leaving her. She was angry, but the latter thing she could never do. She cared for him too deeply to hate, and if she was being honest with herself, she was happy he didn’t have to share in the misery that was death suspended.

But her mind returned to the thought of him and how he saw her. Something had changed between them in the year before she lost him, and she had never been able to say what that was. Autumn still couldn’t say what it was, but maybe it was this, attraction. A small part of her, her vanity and some other unaddressed fragment of her soul, wished this was so. Other parts of her prayed he had no attachment to her, that in his final moments, there was no call to stay in this world. In the deepest part of her soul, she hoped Dira had taken him quickly. He deserved that much.

There were people Autumn knew who did not, ones who had seen her in this light. Her fiancé and murderer was one of these. He had seen her beauty and, rather than appreciating her for it, had destroyed her. In that realization, in the memory of that night, her vanity meant nothing, and she hoped Maro had never noticed her.
WC: 817
Last edited by Autumn Rose on December 26th, 2019, 3:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Autumn Rose
Even weightless, I'm a burden.
 
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Broken Souls

Postby Autumn Rose on November 3rd, 2019, 9:05 pm


If thoughts of her death depressed her, Autumn didn’t even know how to begin describing what Maro’s death did to her. Devastation? Maybe. Not wanting to acknowledge either, Autumn crowded them out of the forefront of her mind with other thoughts. To say she pushed them out completely was lie. Those two thoughts were always there. They were the reality of her existence. She was dead, and so was her only friend. She was alone.

But she had plenty of other memories. She thought of her first encounter with Dira, of how astounding the Goddess was, how calming Her voice was. There was a sense of calm when addressing Death face to face, a calm she had felt even before she had arrived on Black Rock, but meeting the Goddess had reassured her. Only once did fear enter her when she was in Dira’s presence. That was the day the Goddess of Death had offered Autumn Her mark. In a moment of a brash sense of nobility or perhaps outright stupidity, Autumn had refused, knowing her end would come too soon for the mark to make a difference, before she could think about what refusing a Goddess meant, the Goddess of Death no less. Rather than responding with anger, Dira showed understanding.

Autumn was so lost in these thoughts of Death that she missed the subtle changes happening around her here in the present. Even if she had been paying attention, even if she had been watching herself and the room as she had been moments ago, she would have missed its beginning. It was an insidious sort of change, bleeding its way into the periphery of every frame, each mirror compounding its effects until she was forced to take notice.

If ghosts could get chills, if she had a spine, one would have run down it. As it was, the sudden sense of terror and the knowledge that she was no longer alone spelled danger, and she froze for a moment, watching it and trying to figure out what it was. At the edges of what each mirror could capture, stray strands of mist gathered far out from herself, separate from herself. It built all around her, it seemed, as she watched in the many split images. Small strands became wispy clouds that began to take a human form, though whose it was was indiscernible in its infancy.

But gathering clouds weren’t what frightened Autumn. She’d weathered the storm of other angrier ghosts. Some of them had been less than pleasant. Some of them had hurt her, but she had survived them all. Ghosts and clouds didn’t frighten her, but this was no ghost. She could feel other ghosts when they were about, sense them.

When two souls occupied the same space, they encountered each other with an intimacy that was indescribable to those of mortal inclination. The closest Autumn had ever come to experiencing this while living was during sex, but the living were bound by the confines of their own flesh. During sex, the melding of souls ever happened, and this intimacy proved a poor imposter of two souls meeting. With ghosts and the living, the interaction took on more meaning. Both could sense the other was there. There was a cold, a chill both physical and spiritual, when soul met flesh, and the intimacy only deepened and peaked when the two were joined during possession.

No matter how intimate it was to share a body, it was nothing like the meeting of two ghosts’ souls. As the two coexisted in a single point in space and time, their soulmist intermingled and changed possession, sometimes so quickly it seemed to belong to them both, be under a dual control. In fact, Autumn had met two ghosts in her time on Black Rock who were of such a singular mind and purpose that they had decided to continue heir existence as a singular entity.

Intimacy was not the point though. What mattered was that Autumn knew when another ghost was about because she felt them, felt the tingle of her mist as it encountered strands of soulmist that had wandered away from their original owner. She knew, and yet, she had felt nothing and, even now with it all around her, still felt nothing. Whatever this was, it was no ghost. It had no soul.

Spinning in a circle, she searched for a way out, a way where this thing wasn’t, and grabbed at loose strands of her mist as she did, hoping to have something to fuel herself if this came to a fight. That was when she realized it wasn’t in the room with her at all. Whatever it was was in the mirrors, but it seemed to be in all of them. Perhaps it was in just one, and mirrors doing what they did had just cascaded an image of it everywhere. But Autumn couldn’t know which one it was in or that it wasn’t in all of them, and she didn’t dare take the risk of guessing.

In her desperation, the mist she reached for only slipped away, and the more attempts she made to harness it, the more it receded from her control. As strands upon strands of soulmist flooded away from her and beyond her reach, she searched again for an escape but found none. Everywhere she turned, the thing was facing her. As Autumn’s form began to fade from the lack of control, the thing solidified and began to let details of itself take shape.

And it was grotesque. The first of the details was color, just a sense of it, but Autumn knew the color well. It was blood, and this thing that had captured her was covered in it.
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Autumn Rose
Even weightless, I'm a burden.
 
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Broken Souls

Postby Autumn Rose on November 3rd, 2019, 11:01 pm


Autumn couldn’t move now, mesmerized by the thing before her, captivated by its unholy visage. Growing from the ground up, the vision’s head remained a blur while the rest of the body took on exquisite and alarming clarity, first the legs, then the belly, and finally the chest and shoulders. She had a sense that there was skin on the thing or that there once had been, but most of it was missing or covered in blood. Tattered remnants of a dress remained here or there, but its original color too was masked in scarlet.

More detail slowly leaked out of the void and into the creature’s being, and the more it did, the more she saw, the more Autumn wanted to be gone from this place, whatever that meant she had to sacrifice to do so.

As details emerged, she could see it was a woman, or had been a woman. The form was feminine, though little remained of various parts to say so. The skin of the entire right side down to the hips was missing, revealing the muscle and tissue beneath. The left breast had been carved away, and where it had once been, a hole had been dug into the chest. Another hole had been messily opened on the right abdomen just over the hip, and Autumn was grateful that ghosts didn’t feel nausea. Things that should’ve been inside were out.

Eerily white against the background of red, bone protruded from where it had been crushed, snapped, and broken like cathedral spires preaching purity in a land of decadence. Ribs from the hole in the chest, bones from the skin-stripped right arm, and finally in a burst of rapid materialization, the pieces of skull from the caved in right side of the head.

But the gore wasn’t the worst part. It was the eyes. Whatever had mutilated it had left its eyes intact. It wasn’t any disruption to them that was disturbed Autumn. They were colorless empty eyes, completely devoid of emotion, the eyes of a thing long dead, and the thing had locked gazes with Autumn.

Somewhere, sometime, Autumn had heard that eyes were the window to the soul, but she saw nothing behind these ones. They met hers but stopped at that. They didn’t try to peer past the surface. Theirs was the stare of a dead thing, something the soul had long ago left, and past her terror, a spark of pity burnt bright and died inside of Autumn for the wretched existence of this thing.

The dying of the little light of pity broke Autumn, and she turned away, only to find the thing waiting for her there, eyes still locked with hers. She didn’t know what it wanted or why it had chosen her. It was as if it blamed her for what had happened to it, and though the eyes carried no emotion, Autumn felt their accusation. Autumn needed escape more than ever now.

Holding up a hand to try to placate the being, Autumn froze in horror as it raised a hand in return, pointing its finger in judgment. A sob escaped from where Autumn’s mouth should have been, but she was sure she was nothing more than a shadow, a silhouette of what should have been Autumn. The thing opened its mouth in mocking return. It would have no mercy on her.

She spun once, searching for the door, not finding it in the mess that was the mirrors, before she remembered she didn’t need one. There was nowhere to go but forward. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, Autumn knew she had to keep as calm as she could. She reached for every strand of soulmist she could muster and focused it all together in a single point in front of her suspended form. Not wanting to take her eyes off the monster in front of her for a moment, she took what little concentration remained and packed the most as tightly as she could, then steeled herself for the rush.

It was as if the mirror monster had read her, because as soon as Autumn made the break toward the wall, it charged forward at her. A moment before they collided, Autumn launched the pathetic bundle of mist forward with a simple push. There was the small crack of a tiny portion of the mirror breaking, and then she was through. She stopped, still stuck somewhere in the wall, waiting for the monster to be waiting in there with her.

Nothing came.
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Autumn Rose
Even weightless, I'm a burden.
 
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Broken Souls

Postby Autumn Rose on November 17th, 2019, 8:27 pm


When nothing came, a calm began to seep into Autumn’s soul, like an insidious disease creeping its way deep into a person’s bones, and with calm came reason. For nearly a bell, she sat in the wall as logic and reason built her calm which in turn gave reason a greater foothold. An explanation had to exist for this thing, for this monster.

Realization took a long time to come when it was working against panic, but panic was a brief emotion. Left to linger, it became a tired thing and petered out, not meant to be a thing sustained. The more Autumn thought about it and the more that panic faded away, the more realizations came. She realized that the thing in the mirror had done nothing until she had. She realized it lingered in the mirror. She realized so many things, but perhaps the most important realization was that she did recognize the thing, the monster in the mirror.

The inexplicable could be explained, and that comforted her, though only so much. Autumn still had to face it. She sighed, not so much a physical breath but the release of the worry of the soul. It seemed to steel her. Suddenly, her resolve and her courage put those of many heroes to shame. They had not had to face the things she had. They had not endured anything quite so terrifying. She had survived more frightening things than this creature, and she would continue to do so.

Another deep breath in, and Autumn was as prepared as she could be. She had to face this. Stepping out of the mirror, she took several strides away from it with her eyes closed, then turned around, knowing it would be waiting for her. As soon as she opened her eyes, its gaze met hers, and for a moment, her courage faltered. But she was resigned to face it.

It was there waiting for her. She had known it would be. Locking eyes with its dead gaze, she rallied herself, and in her calm drew as much errant mist into herself as she could. This was the moment of truth. Her willpower guiding it along, soulmist flooded upward into her eyes, bringing with it the brilliant blue her eyes always contained, and as it did, the figure in the mirror’s eyes turned blue with them.

The familiarity was final. This was her or at least how she had been in the moments of her death and dying. It had been a long time since she had lived through this memory involuntarily. Summoning the last mist she had control over, she watched as her death played in reverse, the hole in her chest sealing up, the skull filling back out as pieces of bone slid back beneath skin, peeled away skin sliding back over flesh beneath to reveal her naked self before the dress untore itself covering over her body. In the end, there was her, bright and beautiful in as much color as she could muster.

There was her from every angle, and beneath the surface, she found plenty she didn’t like. The many things she had said about the thing in the mirror were true. It was unholy. She was a thing that shouldn’t have existed in this world, death suspended. It wasn’t the natural way of things, but this was what she had chosen. It was a monster. The blood of her death wasn’t the only blood that had been on her hands. She had taken life and felt nothing but proud of the fact. There had been no remorse. Even worse, there had been no resolution. It blamed her. For every bad thing since her death, it blamed her. She blamed herself for the encouraging Maro’s curiosity. She blamed herself for letting him go that night. She blamed herself for his death. The accusation was sound, and that only made it sting all the more. She could have stopped him. She had always had that power.

And the last thought. It had no soul. She couldn’t think of a truer statement, though all she was comprised of was a soul. But it wasn’t so much about the composition as it was the essence of the thing. Sure, she had a soul, but it was empty. The thing that had given it meaning was gone. She had let him die. And on the cusp of being so close to whatever it was he was about to give her, she didn’t care to start looking for it again.

There was her from every angle, and she didn’t like what she saw. Tired, she faded into the ether and left the room empty.
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Autumn Rose
Even weightless, I'm a burden.
 
Posts: 137
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Joined roleplay: July 20th, 2019, 12:12 am
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Broken Souls

Postby Madeira Craven on November 18th, 2019, 12:28 am

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Autumn Rose

Skills
  • Materialization: 4xp
  • Soulmist Projection: 1xp

Lores
  • Autumn: perfect in her imperfection
  • Materialization: creating colour
  • Maro: left Autumn behind
  • Aurtumn: alone in the world
  • Lore of the intimacy of possession
  • Soulmist Projection: push technique
  • Autumn: the ugly truth of her death
  • The truth of the 'monster in the mirror'
  • Autumn: blames herself for Maro's death

Awards & Retribution


Notes
Congratulations on your first completed thread! This was a fantastic introduction to Autumn as a character. I love how you reconciled her NPC past and used it as a jumping off point into the wide world of protagonistism. She feels very round and fleshed out. I look forward to more!
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