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Yvar and Madeira meet

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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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Postby Madeira Craven on June 12th, 2020, 1:09 am

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33rd, Summer, 520


Madeira wasn't in the habit of drinking alone, but sometimes there were exceptions.

The Spiritist rolled her cocktail around the bottom of her glass. It was a wounded red concoction of wine and spiced rum that smelt like bonfires and bad decisions. Aleah had called it Time's End, and patted the back of Madeira's hand as she slid it over the top of the bar to her.

Aleah didn't stay to chat though, the beautiful Ethaefal bartender was busy tonight. The Scholar's Demise was one of the most famous bars in Lhavit, so there was no such thing as a slow night. The midnight rest was just beginning, and many people were gathering to enjoy drinks and company before heading home for a few bells of much needed rest. It was a melting pot of students, high society and common workers all pressed together, enjoying their poison of choice over the hypnotic glow of the bar's blue candle flames.

But strangely Madeira could sense a common thread through the eclectic mix of people and races. A whispered hum of strange dreams seemed to be on everyone's lips as she listened to the miasma of conversations around her barstool. She shuddered and tipped back her drink, grimacing as she downed half the glass on one sharp pull.

The Spiritist wasn't really prone to nightmares. She didn't dream much at all, really. Not since leaving Alvadas. But the moment she had dozed off at her teacher's desk in the Dusk Tower half a bell ago, with papers spread out in front of her and quill nub drying in her hands, she had been thrown headlong into one of the worst nightmare of her life. She had forgotten it the moment she woke, sweating and gasping with her papers bunched in her fist, but the feeling lingered. Now, not wanting to go home and sleep and risk plunging back into that nightmare, she decided to see if she could self medicate with alcohol first.

And wasn't it strange that the night she finally had a dream was the one where a not insignificant number of bar goers were having the same experience? She would chalk it up to coincidence, if she believed in such a thing.

Maybe this whole 'drinking alone' thing wasn't for her after all. She was starting to overthink, and the cocktail was disappearing faster than she thought possible. She wanted company. Someone to talk to who had nothing whatsoever to do with her life or this cursed city. Swiveling on her barstool, she surveyed her options. Most were in groups already, and the ones that weren't didn't look nearly interesting enough to hold a conversation. That was until she noticed a flash of red out of the corner of her eye. An Inarta? Indeed, the man stood out with his particular racial features and very un-Lhavitian clothing choices. But it was the eyes that got her; they were a deep, friendly sort of blue.

She raised her gloved hand and waved to the man, making sure to catch his attention from across the bar before smiling and silently offering him the seat next to hers.

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Postby Yvar on June 12th, 2020, 1:08 pm

Something about the large, open space of the bar helped Yvar feel at home, reminding him of the communal barracks back in Wind Reach as it did. He'd been in Lhavit for a few days now, but still felt like an outsider. Observing the city and it's people from a distance had helped him to learn how to find himself a home, and just this morning secure himself a job. It did nothing to alleviate his feelings of loneliness, however. He'd never been a people person, but what few close friends he'd kept had been very important to him. Regardless of their importance, he'd left them all behind along with his previous life when he left Wind Reach to strike out into the wider world. Not that he'd got particularly far, but Lhavit like nothing he'd imagined from what he'd read in the Enclave texts. It wasn't just the buildings, it was the whole culture. The people, especially, were very different.

It was the people he was watching now, leaning against the end of the bar, looking out across the room. Lots of couples and small groups talking - no-one quite saying what they mean. Then, as his azure gaze flitted from one table to the next, he noticed a young woman sitting alone. As he watched her, she raised her hand to wave, seemingly at him.

His languid slouch against the bar ended as stood up straight, still gazing at the woman with a slightly quizzical expression. Almost comically, he turned his head to look behind him for the woman's companion, only to find them absent.

He gathered up his tumbler of ochre-coloured drink and began his approach. His gait was relaxed and progress unhurried as a genial smile blossomed upon his thin lips. He ran his free hand over his auburn beard as he arrived at the table. Wordlessly, he pulled back the chair immediately adjacent to the woman that had been offered and sat himself down without any of the usual formalities.

Despite his forwardness, his manner remained warm and unthreatening, his actions tempered by his affable expression. Eventually, he broke his silence. "Hey...", his words faltered almost as soon as they began as he paused apparently in thought before speaking. "You... Want to speak with me?". His accent was quite thick but softened somehow by the quiet, thoughtful manner in which he spoke. Loud enough to be heard over the drone of the bar, his tone low and sonorous. Almost as though he was telling some secret too lascivious for the ears of potential eavesdroppers.

The drink within his glass tumbler swirled and sloshed as he placed it down upon the table. Despite his relaxed manner, he sat upright on the chair rather than slouching like he did at the bar. The air arriving with him was subtly scented with the faint aroma of spices from his lightly oiled hair. His clothes, though Inartan in style are basic and without ostentation.



(OOC: Ledger - The Sun's Glory: 1ki)
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Postby Madeira Craven on June 18th, 2020, 1:20 am

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"Hey yourself", Madeira raised a playful eyebrow and her glass in greeting. As the man approached he brought some herbal, spicy smell with him. This close she could admire his carefully cultivated strawberry-blonde hair and the relaxed but respectful way he held himself. "Yes I indeed want to speak with you", she laughed. "First, I wanted to ask if I can buy you another drink."

She flagged down Aleah and asked for a bottle of wine and two glasses. From beneath the bar the Eth produced a dusty bottle of red and two slightly uneven glasses. She decanted herself and poured them each a measure of sweet dark wine before excusing herself with a smile, leaving the bottle behind.

"Secondly", Madeira turned back to the man. "I'm not going to pretend that Inarta are hard to find here, but they usually stick to their own groups." Well, mostly. They could be a notoriously racist bunch, she had been told. But their rowdy love of a good party often transcended social barriers. Unfortunately the only Inarta that she knew did nothing to break this stereotype. "I was wondering if you're here with the trade group. Those eagles are magnificent. Terrifying, but magnificent."

"Thirdly", Madeira broke her perfect posture to lean her elbow on the bar and grin darkly at the man. The blue candle flames did strange things to her face, carving out the hollows of her cheeks and glinting coldly off the diamonds around her throat. Her pale skin looked paper thin and ghoulish. "I want to speak to you about your dreams. I hear there have been some strange ones going around. Maybe they're contagious."

She lifted herself up and extended the same hand, clothed in shimmering silver gloves and spiked with half a dozen strange rings. "My names' Madeira. It's a pleasure to meet you..." She waited for him to fill in the purposeful silence. On that hand she wore her Affiliation Ring, as she always did. It would show her by way of flashing images anything the man felt beholden to, including religious, businesses, and families. But only if he took her hand.
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Postby Yvar on June 23rd, 2020, 4:16 pm

The Inartan's eyes lit up and he gestured his approval with a flourish of his hands at the offer or more drink. "I'd never turn down such a... generous offer." He smiled warmly to Aleah as she poured their drinks, uncharacteristically offering her a nod of the head by way of thanks. Despite his approval, both his drinks adorn the table and seem lost to his attention as their conversation progressed.

"And, oh no, I'm not part of the trade... group." He titled his head as his accented drawl went on to explain further. "I left Wind Reach a while ago....", he said. Then he paused a few moments before continuing. As though he needed to search for the right words. "I've settled here in Lhavit. To live." His Common is clear, despite his relatively low voice. However, his accent punctuated his words with little slips. Hard and soft consonant sounds changed places which made his voice sound more endearing than perhaps it should.

His eyes widened a little as the strange woman before him altered her posture and was eerily illuminated by the candle light. As she explained her interest in his dreams, he recalled the past few nights of restlessness. Again, he gave his words careful consideration before he allowed himself to respond.

"I... I have not been sleeping well, but I... I rarely remember my dreams when I'm awake.", he replied. He reached out for his own glass, ignoring his freshly-decanted wine for a moment. After having taken a small sip, he added, "Though I did wake this morning feeling very... uncomfortable."

Again the glass is raised to his lips. This time, he took a long, slow draught to empty the tumbler. He smacked his lips in appreciation as the empty tumbler is returned to the table. "I'd presumed it was just me... Have you had such bad nights, too?", he asked.

The red headed foreigner took the offered hand and replied with his own introduction. "Nice to meet you, too Madeira.", he shook her hand lightly while remaining seated. That was what the people of Lhavit did, wasn't it? Shake hands, introduce themselves and swap pleasantries. Seemed like a lot of unnecessary ritual, but he was living in a new city now.

Unbeknownst to him, the ring divined from him his affiliations. Inartans didn't really have family, so the only people he felt beholden to was his old half-Symenestran mentor back in Wind Reach and the nice woman at the Star Gazing Gazette who'd just given him a job.

"My name is Yvar", again he flashed that warm smile and genial expression. It felt good to be socialising in the city that was to be his new home. Perhaps he did have a future in Lhavit, after all?
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Postby Madeira Craven on July 1st, 2020, 12:19 am

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Date, Season, Year


"Yvar? How exotic. Pleasure is all mine."

Madeira blinked away the visions when the Inarta clasped her hand. She recognized the emblem for the Star Gazer Gazette, but the other sign, a simple flash of inhuman purple eyes and a feeling of camaraderie, missed her completely. She was rather disappointed by the lack of information. The Inarta were a very close knit and closed community, so it was rather shocking to see this one so untethered. Perhaps that was why he left.

"So you're a Windreach transplant" she smiled ruefully. Taking her glass of wine she lifted it in a sarcastic toast before taking a long sip. "I myself left my home city of Alvadas a while ago. I live here now too." There was something dark in her tone that suggested it was not her idea.

"You strike me as a writer, or a journalist. Am I close?" her smile turned cheeky around the edge of her glass, pretending her magical insight was nothing more than intuition. "I'm a magician. Well, I don't work much in the field anymore. I'm mainly teach now; I work for the Dusk Tower as a spiritism professor. It's the study and handling of ghosts and other undead", she clarified succinctly, in case he didn't know the discipline.

"As for dreams, if you ask around it seems like everyone is having some crazy sleeps. It's not just you. Though I suppose the stress of moving to another city didn't help in your case." She twirled the wine thoughtfully in her glass, watching the reflection of the blue flame in the liquid. Talking about dreams seemed like a terribly intimate thing to do with a stranger, and Madeira found herself feeling uncharacteristically shy. But she could also feel her investigative intuition humming like an overwound guitar string, and she couldn't ignore it. Something was wrong in this city. Some subtle pressure was building between all these tired people talking about vivid dreams and terrifying nightmares. Talking about her experiences would just be another clue to figuring out what, if anything, was wrong.

"I've been having bad nights too", she began carefully. "The strange thing is, I don't typically dream at all. Once I left Ionu's influence I almost stopped dreaming entirely. Just another symptom of leaving the city of Illusions after two decades, I suppose. But this season I've started having... wild dreams. And sleep paralysis, of all things." she waved the comment off casually, though the experience was anything but. Her body still ran cold at the memory of being trapped in her own body as her dreams pursued her into the waking world.

"Isn't it odd though, that everyone is being affected at the same time? That would take incredible magical power. Hypnosis, maybe. Or divine influence." she raised her pale eyebrow at him, as if daring him to call her crazy. "What do you think? Doesn't this make your curious?"
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Postby Yvar on July 6th, 2020, 2:41 pm

The Inartan took a slow, deep breath as they both ruminated on the subject of leaving home. His drawn-out sigh concluded, he explain. "Wind Reach didn't work out for me the way I'd hoped. There was nothing really keeping me there..." His thick accent added to the exoticism of an otherwise rather mundane subject. "So I hope to start a new life in Lhavit."

Yvar returned the toast, seemingly ignorant of the sarcastic tone and took a small sip of his cocktail. His new drink still untouched, his original still had a good portion remaining. His enthusiasm for the drinks was not yet supported evidentially by his desire to actually imbibe them, it seemed. Instead, his full attention rested on the conversation between the two new friends.

His eyes widened in surprise as Madeira apparently guessed his vocation. Was he so readable, so lacking in guile, that he was so obvious to her? "Why yes!" He nodded. "Though I think 'journalist' and even 'writer' are a pretentious titles for what I do. I scribe, really. Mostly...", he pauses in thought a moment, unsure how to describe his career thus far. Then it occurred to him that, now he would be working at the Gazette, maybe he would become an actual journalist. Rather than copying texts as he had been in the Enclave, perhaps he would be writing articles, even investigating. The idea of rooting out the truth and finding the story appealed to him. Quickly, though, his thoughts on that matter dissipated in favour of allowing the conversation to continue.

Perhaps it illustrated his niaivity, but Yvar was rather taken aback by the way Madeira so matter-of-factly mentioned her being a magician. Thus far for the Inartan, magic had been something that had only ever been mentioned in hushed tones in a dark corner of the Enclave. It was also something that he had only ever discussed in confidence with his most trusted friend and mentor. To hear it spoken of so openly surprised and thrilled him in equal measure. Perhaps this was what his new life in Lhavit would be like all the time?

Mystery, though, was the red-head's primary motivator. Discussion of such a strange subject was something he relished and his enthusiastic tone spoke of his engagement in their conversation. "Curiosity is my greatest weakness..." he began with a wry smile.

He leaned forward, setting his glass back down on the table, allowing him to gesticulate as he spoke. "I know very little of magic...", he said. His soft voice lowered yet further instinctually, "And I have no idea what could possibly cause such a widespread effect."

His expression turned quizzical as he lost himself in thought a moment. "Divine influence? Do you know of anything similar having happened before? What kind of magical power could do such a thing?"

He shrugged. "I can't think of any means by which someone.... Or something... Could gain by causing people to have nightmares. At least, not enough to warrant the amount of effort I'd imagine it would require..."

His words, when they came were delivered quickly, like some stream of consciousness. He paused yet again, either to marshall his thoughts or to find the correct words for his translation into common tongue. "Could it be an unintended side effect of some other spell or event?"
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Postby Madeira Craven on July 8th, 2020, 8:02 pm

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Madeira finished her glass and poured herself another one. She needed to slow down. There seemed to be a delay between thought and movement, but the numbing of her rattled nerves was too pleasant an effect to stop. She rested her head in her hands as she looked at Yvar beside her on the bar, letting the barroom chatter wash around them like their conversation was the breakwater in a noisy river.

She didn't miss the way his expression changed when she mentioned magic. His shock was strangely satisfying. She had come from a place where the practise of magic was a punishable offence, to one where it was openly taught and even celebrated. She had to unlearn years of bias in order to thrive here, and she was sure she made the same expression when she stepped ashore this strange city.

Yvar couldn't imagine what could be causing people to have such strange dreams, and why. But the sudden animation in his voice and the gesticulations of his hands said he was eager to figure it out. He might not consider himself a journalist, but Madeira thought it would only be a matter of time.

"A spell or event?" she hadn't considered that, and the thought intrigued her. "I suppose it could. Maybe there's some commonality between all the dreamers. Maybe a large portion of the city was in some kind of... magical blast zone. Wild djed loose in the streets." She blew out her cheeks, staring into the mirror overtop of the bar. What a pair they made. The eager red-headed foreigner in sensible dress and the dead-eyed resident in flamboyant finery.

"...I can think of a what, at least, if not the way", she began carefully, frowning into her wine like she'll find her foggy thoughts pooling in the bottom. "I lived in Riverfall for a few seasons, and they had this god they worshipped... Nysole? Nysel? I'd never been to his church, and I've only spoken to one follower, but they call him the Dreamlord."

Her time in Riverfall was a blur. Which wasn't surprising, as she had gone mad for a period of time there. She had coped with the cold injection of reality about as well as one could expect from an Avalad, and fought it with copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. She had also spent as much time as she could asleep, seeking sanctuary in the absurdity of dreams. She had recovered eventually, but as she did her dreams became more infrequent, until they almost stopped completely. She only remembered the priest telling her of his god's influence of not only sleepers, but of the waking dreams of the mad as well.

"He is the god of daydreams, nightmares..." she waved her hand vaguely. "I don't think he has a temple here though. And I don't even know if he has a cult or gnosis. But if it's something this powerful and widespread we're looking for, I'll bet Gods are the place to start looking. As for why..." she shrugged mightily, "why do gods do anything? Maybe there was an event that triggered this god's powers, maybe it's some champion of his misusing the magic of his gnosis."

She had not given up on the idea of hypnosis, or another magic she hadn't heard of before, but after meeting two gods face to face and getting batted around by several more she was beginning to understand that most humanities trouble could be followed back to them.

"So, mister journalist, where should we start investigating such a phenomena?" she put the question to him suddenly, a wicked smile curving her lip even as her eyes struggled to keep him in focus. "Assuming of course we are now partners in this search for the truth."
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Postby Yvar on July 10th, 2020, 3:32 pm

Yvar listened intently to what the strange woman was saying. Clearly, she knew far more on this kind of subject and so the wise thing to do was listen. Listen and try to understand as much as possible.

The Inartan resettled himself upon his chair and rolled his neck in a vague attempt to ward off the kind of stifness that plagued the necks of many a scribe such as him. All the time, he kept his eyes locked upon Madeira, his attention focused upon her and still very much a part of their discussion.

Then came the point where she was asking for his input once more. Furthermore, she was suggesting they team up as partners to solve this mystery. To him, the mystery was enough in and of itself. He'd always been attracted to mysteries and had tried to solve them before by himself. With varying degrees of success.

The idea of working in tandem to solve this appealed to him. Not only because the pooling of resources, mental and otherwise, was always a good idea. But also because he could use all the friends he could get. Madeira seemed a little strange, he conceded, but he had never been put off by people who were different. After all, his old mentor was as strange as they come and he still missed her terribly.

"Of course, partners in crime...", he smirked.

Then his expression became thoughtful as he gazed emptily into the middle-distance. "Umm...", he pondered. He straightened in his chair and looked purposefully across the table. Maybe now was finally the chance for him to show his worth? He'd always liked the idea of being an investigator.

"Regardless of the cause of these dreams, divine, magical or otherwise, they are a new..." He struggled for the correct word. "A new phenomenon?" He smiled as he found the word he was looking for.

"If we work out the approximate time when these dreams first started...", he added. "Then we need to find out what else happened around that time... Whether something arrived in the area, or some event happened. Something changed on that date."

Then he leaned back in his chair with a smugly satisfied look on his face. Finally, he took up his original cocktail and slowly drained the remainder. As he placed the empty glass upon the table he explained. "I'll bet you a kina to a pebble that the dreams and the event are related somehow. And that would give us our first clue."

Expectantly, he watched Madeira, hoping for her approval of his proposed plan.
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Postby Madeira Craven on July 17th, 2020, 10:49 pm

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Madeira clicked her tongue, considering Yvar's idea. Finding a correlation between when the dreams began and another significant event that might have caused them was indeed a good place to start. Perhaps it was good that she was teaming up with this strange Inarta. All her investigations tended to happen after the very clear inciting incident, which in her line of work often involved the various flavours of death. She was a bit out of her depth tackling something as nebulous as weird dreams.

"That sounds like a good place to start. From my own experience, and listening to the talk around us, I'm willing to bet these dreams only began in the last day or two", she added her two cents. "But the first place to know of any significant changes in Lhavit would be the Gazette. Have you heard anything from them?"

As he spoke she shifted on her stool, her eyes roaming over the assembled patrons of the small bar as she listened. The midnight bell had come and passed, and people were lingering over their drinks as they wore away the rest period in leisure. Some looked like they were just out for a drink with friends or to gossip, but a not insignificant number looked just as tired as she felt. Bringing her fist to her lip, Madeira tapped a snarling bone carved wolf against her teeth.

"If we're going to look into this coinciding event, we might as well do it now. We're not going to figure it out sitting at the bar with our heads together. Lets start talking to people." She smiled for Yvar, clearly not the slightest bit uncomfortable with the idea of injecting herself into stranger's conversations. "Come on, I'll lead."

She hopped off her barstool and caught herself on the bar as she wobbled like a bumped vase. Then turning towards the assembled patrons she scouted for their target. She wanted to avoid loud or large groups, as it would be harder to steer the conversation to where she wanted it. But she also wanted to avoid the loners, as they're more likely to be antisocial or less than 'casual' drinkers. So she picked out a selection of groups of two or three, taking a moment to study the dynamics she could pick up at a distance. After a moment she elbowed Yvar and motioned casually to a group of three women hunched over a table, talking in the whispering hiss of serial gossipers. They were closer to Yvar's age, dressed not in out-on-the-town finery but casual day clothes. Just three friends catching up after a day's work. Madeira brushed off her skirt, picked up her wineglass and the more than half full bottle of wine, and swept towards them.

"I'm sorry to bother you", she smiled her most charming smile as they noticed her hovering and looked up from their chat. "But I seem to be in possession of a bottle of wine my friend is refusing to help me drink, can we pull up some chairs and share it with you? I think he was too busy making eyes at the three of you to even notice it in front of him."
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Postby Yvar on July 28th, 2020, 3:39 pm

Yvar beamed with pride as his new associate expressed her approval for his suggested course of action. His heart began to beat faster at the thought of investigating a mystery as esoteric and wide-ranging as this one. It felt good to him to not only have found a friend in this his new home city, but also to be putting his mind to good use. Had he spent any more evenings alone in his cottage, it would only have been a matter of time before he would have started drowning his sorrows - and that never ended well for him.

The suggestion about the Gazette closely echoed his own thoughts on the matter. In response, he nodded his head enthusiastically. "I'll ask the boss if I can check recent records when I get into work.... I'm sure she won't mind." He hoped Kenvell, being a curious sort herself, wouldn't mind him taking a look through the Gazette's past articles. In his own time, of course.

Before he knew it, Madeira was up out of her chair and interviewing strangers about their experiences before he could even draw breath. She was showing a confidence and attitude to which the Inartan was unaccustomed. Despite his countrymen's propensity for hedonism, Yvar himself was a quiet person. Confidence in social situations was not really his forte. A combination of youthful disappointments and too many hours spent in isolation had affected his self image. That said, it was precisely those hours lost in books, texts and quiet reflection that he hoped would help him solve this mystery right now.

The plan to interject themselves into another group's conversation was too bold for him to come up with, but his new friend seemed to be a natural. He smiled his usual, affable and innocuous smile and followed her to the new table and it's trio of ladies. Hopefully, the would prove to be valuable fonts of information.

He nodded a greeting to each of them in turn and listened as Madeira asked them about their dreams. A strange ice-breaker normally, though it seemed to be a topic on the lips of most of the people in the bar.

Unfortunately, despite the very persuasive efforts of his accomplice, the ladies had very little new information to offer. Yes, they'd had similar dreams, but specifics were hard to recall. Worse, no-one could think of anything unusual that had happened recently. Even generous helpings of free wine did little to uncover anything more of value.

As they concluded their chat with enthusiastic goodbyes and promises of future get-togethers, Yvar shrugged a little and raised his eyebrows as he looked for direction from his new friend.

"So... What next?"
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