Quest A Memory's Requiem

Searching while lost in the familiar.

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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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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Luminescence on August 2nd, 2020, 6:33 am

Moritz


As Moritz bounded forward through the still swirling mist, chasing after the okomo and Amelie, it was not difficult for him to follow. Despite the low visibility, only the barest shape of the other goat-like creature visible through the fog, the scent of panic was strong and Amelie's cries were sharp and clear.

His skyglass hooves thudded hard on the soil, tearing up clumps as he raced after them. But suddenly the mist seemed to thicken, swirling around him, pressing in until all he could see was dingy white...and then it cleared. There was no sign of the other okomo. Moritz stood in a patch of clear air, the fog drifting around an invisible barrier outside of the small area.

Across from him, lying motionless on the ground, was an all too familiar figure. Lying limp and seeming smaller than ever, Amelie was not moving, her white-blonde hair spread out across the damp grass.

As Moritz approached, the figure of Amelie did not stir; not until he was right above her. Her body was twisted and broken, trampled by the frightened okomo. Blue eyes flew open, and stared up at Moritz accusingly. Amelie sat up slowly, jerkily, her broken spine twitching and cracking in ways that no person's spine should.

"You let this happen," her voice came out raspy, as she rolled her neck to the side to stare up at Moritz, white hair falling over her face. "You should have been faster, stronger. You should have saved me, Moritz," Amelie's hoarse whisper rose to a shriek, ear-splitting in pitch.

The only warning Moritz received was the sound of muffled hooves; whether or not he would hear them and recognize what it meant in time to react was in the air, preoccupied as he was with the broken and accusatory form of his sister. The okomo came barreling out from the mist behind him, head down and charging straight at Moritz.

He had a split second to make a decision as the larger, adult okomo came baring down on him, eyes glowing red and breath huffing wildly; he could turn and run, or he could stand and fight. Beside him, if he cared to notice, Amelie had gone very still, her icy blue eyes trained on the approaching okomo, any sign of fear from her gone.

Madeira


As she snarled out at the empty air, the only thing that responded was faint, fading laughter, mocking and harsh. If she bothered to look back down at the pond, she would see nothing but her own distorted reflection in the rippling black water.

As she desperately ripped open her scabs, blood dripping down her pale arms, the air seemed to ripple with static. Messily, hastily, fueled by panic, she pained her own skin with the blood, willing the spirits of her deities to come help her. And she waited, panicked breathing muted, the air around her silent; even the barking had ceased for the moment.

And she waited. And she waited.

And nobody came.

Warm blood continued to trickle down her wrist and drip from her fingers, but nothing happened. Something was different, though; the air seemed alive, charged, and as Madeira continued to wait it was almost as if something was trying to tear through the very open air. Buzzing rang in her ears. A moment passed, and then quite suddenly it stopped. The strange tense, shimmering quality of the space around Madeira flickered and then vanished, as if it had been stamped out, and the buzzing faded from her ears. She was still alone.

The barking began again, louder this time, more desperate, interspersed with panicked howls. In the distance on the black lake, she could see the silhouette of a small rock, and beside it, two canine figures thrashing desperately in the waters. And as she continued to watch, the water began to ripple as stones rose to the surface; they were wet, and covered in lake mud and moss, spaced far apart; but they undoubtedly lead a path towards the small rock where the dogs were fighting for their lives.

At the same time, behind her, Madeira heard the squeak of rusty hinges as the back door of her house swung open, a yawning portal of blackness leading inside, from which she could just barely hear her father's unmistakable disapproving sigh. She had two choices, but she didn't have long to choose, as the barks of the dogs began to dwindle, turning into whimpers and yips as they lost their strength.


Autumn


The river of crimson bobbed Autumn along gently, occasionally bumping her into the body of a Vantha. The sickly sweet smell of death and rot was thick in her nose, and her mouth tasted metallic as blood lapped at her forehead and cheeks, sticky and warm. For a long time nothing happened as she simply floated there, meditating in the river of death.

But after some time, something different gently bumped Autumn's hand. It wasn't the smooth, sticky, cooling sensation of dead flesh coated in blood; it was something else. Something inanimate but familiar, something she could easily recognize even with her eyes closed. The spine of a book brushed Autumn's fingertips.

Opening her eyes, Autumn would see Maro's copy of their book of fairytales bobbing in the river. The pages were soaked through with blood, and if she flipped through it, they would be dyed a deep shade of crimson, as if there was never a single word or illustration on them to begin with. Bubbles rose to the surface, and with a gurgling, two more items surfaced; a silver bell, and a pair of bolas, equally drenched in red.

As Autumn processed this, looking over items that once belonged to Maro, something grabbed her ankle. More than something; strong fingers wrapped around her leg, and with a yank, she was pulled beneath the surface. Below, she found herself floating in an endless ocean of red; the liquid was somehow clearer beneath the surface. It was still murky, but there was a transparency to it now that allowed her to at least see through it with some clarity.

Red stretched out endlessly to all sides of her, well past where there should have been buildings, and infinitely deep as well, beyond street level. And as Autumn looked down, peering through the red, she would see what had grabbed her, and was currently dragging her down, deeper into the murky red. Or rather, who.

Maro was looking up at her through the red water, hair waving around his head. There was a grin on his face that Autumn had never seen before, full of malice and spite; half of his face was rotting away, leaving spots of bone and teeth peeking through the torn and jagged flesh. The hand that gripped her ankle yanked her further down, bone and flesh alike digging into her skin.

Bubbles rose from Maro's rotting mouth as he laughed; Autumn could hear him speak clearly, as if they were on land and not currently sinking deeper and deeper into a bloody ocean. "Autumn, I missed you. Come join me."

The Maro gripping onto her was no version of Maro she had ever seen; but yet it was unmistakably and undeniably him. His grip was tight, but not impossible to shake off if she really wanted to; but she could feel her lungs burning the deeper they went, the longer Autumn went without air. Silly human bodies, needing to breathe; it was putting a timer on her decision.


Lily


Lily's mother chuckled as her daughter flung herself at her, stroking her free hand down her mass of blonde hair. Reilin tsked at the next words that came from Lily's mouth. "Nonsense, that's no excuse. If anything that's only reason more to practice."

Reilin circled Lily for a moment before reaching out with a slow and exaggerated strike to try and tap Lily's side. She wasn't necessarily going to take it easy on Lily, but she was at least giving her time to warm-up.

The two sparred for some time; Lily was obviously out of practice, as she had said, but her mother was patient. Every time she stumbled or fell or missed, Reilin was there to help her back off and offer advice on how to do it better next time.

As she swung at Lily again, she said, "That's it, stay on your toes. When I swing down like this, raise your sword to block it." She slowed her movements to allow Lily a chance to follow her instructions, but smiled all the same when her sword was blocked.

"Your wrist needs to be more firm. A real attacker won't slow down or be gentle, and if your wrist is limp when you get hit with that much force, it could easily break." They had been going at it for some time now; it seemed as if at least a bell had passed, and despite the pleasant weather, both women were working up a sweat.

As Reilin settled back into position, motioning for Lily to take the offense and swing at her first, someone else spoke. Or rather...it wasn't someone else, because Lily recognized her mother's voice, but it was distinctly not coming from her mother in front of her.

"Lily dear," her mother's voice called from the little cottage, ringing out through the open window to the kitchen. "Lily, are you done playing out in the yard? I could use some help finishing up this pie. If we hurry, we can have it for dessert tonight."

The Reilin standing in front of her was still in position, smiling and waiting for Lily to lunge; it seemed as if she hadn't heard the voice at all. "Come on Lily," she urged, as the voice from the cottage came again. "Lily, come inside!"
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Moritz Craven on August 2nd, 2020, 1:30 pm

All that remained was the pound of his hooves as they struck the ground. The bend of his knees as he landed and jumped. Transferring the motion forward into another leap.

He could see the other Okomo, could see the girl like his sister but wrong, but could not catch them. Could hear the girl on their back, better than he could see them even.

The mist seemed to be alive, thickening and then loosening, only for the Okomo to disappear. And for the not his sister girl to appear on the ground. Fallen. Limp. Broken. It took a few small hops to slow down, angling and slowing his momentum rather than pushing off to increase speed and height, finally coming to a halt near the fallen girl.

He took a few paces, drawing near, with no reaction. And then all at once, the impossibly broken not his sister like his sister girl moved in a odd broken fashion. One not possible for one so broken.

He listened to her words, confused by them. Confused by the sights he saw. He listened. He considered. He thought. His conclusion. This was not his sister. This was not real. Logically, something false was at play. An illusion. A dream. Someone playing a game.

She was right, in that he had not saved her. The real her. Someone else had interceded. Which meant he did not now what would have happened if he had been given the chance. But this.... This was not it.

As he was considering this he noticed another sound, behind the shrieking of the not his sister fake girl.

The Okomo returning, hooves on the ground beating. He turned to see a form coming at him, an Okomo. But if the girl was fake, not real, not possible, not his sister, was the Okomo also? It had been broken after all, and would not be running about as such like this after such injuries.

He watched as the Okomo ran at him, them, eyes aflame. He could run. He could stay and fight. Instead, Moritz chose a third option.

With a burst of swirling lights that took but a moment Moritz the Okomo was gone, replaced by a small child in the buff.

Not specifically talking to the fake not his sister girl, or the Okomo running at him, more to whomever was in charge, he repeated his earlier words.

"I said, I'm done. No more playing".

Assuming he had the time to finish the small speech before the Okomo arrived.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Madeira Craven on August 6th, 2020, 8:41 pm

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Madeira's breath went sour in her lungs as she held her breath, waiting, waiting...

A derisive laugh was still echoing in her ears and the hollow spaces between her ribs. The air seemed to shimmer and stretch, a pressure descended on the grounds and the pretty rotted house. A buzzing electricity caught on the wetness of her lips and hands.

But nothing happened. Without her rings, her people or her gods, for the first time in a long time, Madeira was truly alone.

It was the one thing she could never be. Alone meant defenceless, vulnerable, lost. Madeira was already breathing through her panic when the barking took on a new, desperate tone.

A small rocky island had surfaced in the middle of the lake. Around it two thrashing figures were howling, screaming, white water churned into froth around them. From this distance she could see that they were dogs, but nothing else. Not breed or size or colour. But it didn't matter, her heart already knew what was happening.

"Beck!" she screamed, splashing waist deep into the water, the sharp sound ripping her throat raw. "Call! Here! Here, boys! Beck, Call! Come here!"

They were her father's dogs. Ghost hunters with black noses and bright, intelligent eyes. They were her first and only friends in this house, and now they were dying. Suddenly she was six years old again, a familiar horror worming its way through her body as she had watched the ghost possessed dogs drag themselves unwillingly into the shallow pond.

It wasn't her biggest regret, but it was the one that cut deepest. She had stood there, a little girl, transfixed with panic, unable to call for help or do anything at all as she watched her best friends drown themselves.

Stones rose silently from the surface of the lake. They were too far to walk across, and their shiny surfaces were slick with scum and mud, but they led right to the tiny island and her panicked pets. At the same time she heard the back door of the house creak open behind her, and a disappointed sigh rung just as clearly in her ears as the sound of the drowning dogs.

The dogs didn't have long left. Their howls had devolved into choked and exhausted whimpers. This was a second chance. Someone was giving her the opportunity to fix her worst memory. Her heart heaved and shuddered with want and something that felt a bit like hope. But the Spiritist tore down that wild impulse, because she was alone, with nobody to rely on, and Madeira couldn't swim.

How cruel. She wanted to cry, but even now her body refused to let her. Because she already knew she would not risk herself for the chance of saving them. That scared little girl inside of her was buried deep and silenced. She breathed, inhaling the scent of blood and churning water. That little girl on the shore back then couldn't act, and that's what hurt the most. But that little girl was older now, and had seen worse things, and had made harder decisions.

"I won't save you", she croaked. She cleared her throat and tried again. "I won't save you. I am choosing this. This is the path I choose to take." Steel crept into her voice, and in her chest she could feel her fragile heart hardening. There wasn't an ounce of cowardness in her body. Her oldest friends were going to die because she decided she was worth more than them. Her love was selfish and cruel, and it wasn't enough to save them. She acknowledged that fact and let it go.

All she could hear of the dogs now were the scratching of claws on rock and soft, pained whimpers. She turned away, sloshing her way back to shore. Her nightdress clung to her skinny legs, and her feet were slimy with mud. She wiped the back of her hand across her chest and flicked the blood onto the grass.

"How did I do? Did I fail your test?" her voice was low and cold as she spoke into the empty space, unsure if it was her own mind or something else that was putting her through this. Maybe someone laid a cloth of Blinder over her eyes as she slept, and this was a drug induced nightmare. Maybe she had been sucked away by Ionu to live out some bizarre, twisted memory from its city. Maybe she was dead on the floor of her room, struck by that world-shattering lightning, and this was Lex judging her soul. Either way, it felt like she was being weighed, or tested in some way. Here is the hard road with the chance to right her oldest wrong, and here is the easy way, thick with her father's disappointment.

She had nothing else to say. Without looking back, she ascended the porch stairs and with her jaw set and hard she walked into the darkness.

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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Autumn Rose on August 17th, 2020, 4:01 am

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Time was easy to lose when one had an eternity of it to spend, and Autumn wasn’t sure how long she spent drifting down the road river of blood. It was long enough that she was sure the initial dead end she had started at had been passed, and she felt far beyond any hope of finding Maro. There was no sense of him, even with the world as muted by the blood as it was. Meditation and silencing the world had done nothing to help her. Nothing changed, not the sticky warmth of the river, not the metallic tang of its scent, not the gentle rot of the bodies. Unsure of how long she had gone, Autumn made no move to stop herself.

Something else did though. A familiar sensation, one from life, both long gone and recent, brushed against her hand. It was the familiar binding of a book, the wear and tears on it exactly as she remembered as she had pulled it from the shelf at Madeira’s. Her meditation forgotten, Autumn rolled over and reached for the object before it could disappear.

It was! It was her and Maro’s book of fairytales, but even as she pulled it into her hands, the wear shifted, and Autumn was forced to acknowledge that this wasn’t her copy. This was the copy that had been lost with Maro in Alvadas’ Underground. She recognized the spot on the cover where honey had dripped after a night of making soulmist and they had never managed to get it clean. Once again, though the book was stained crimson, no blood stuck to her hands. As she flipped the book open, it turned itself to the appropriate place, the story they would’ve been reading according to their own little tradition, but the blood had saturated the pages and obscured any writing that had ever been there.

Despite everything, Autumn smiled. She didn’t need the written words. She’d read this book back to front so many times over that she had it memorized. Without any effort whatsoever, the first few sentences sprang into her mind, and she was whispering them aloud when another sound interrupted her.

Bubbles. There were bubbles escaping the river of blood that continued to flow lazily around her. The impossible happened, and two things that shouldn’t have floated surfaced. Though Maro’s life had been brief, his time with her had had the greatest impact, and she recognized his things anywhere. The first were his bolas that he carried with him everywhere. They had been on him the night he had disappeared. The other was a simple silver bell with several images engraved, all reminiscent of Dira and Black Rock. It had been a gift from Goddess of Death and her and Maro’s personal good luck charm, though it had failed on that end that night. It hadn’t protected him.

Gentle fingers traced the engraved images as Autumn recalled finding the bell after Maro’s passing. It was the bell she had found, not his body, that let her know he was gone. It was passing between a group of four people, and Autumn remembered making them kill each other off until there was only one left. She had left the bell with that one, leaving the girl to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life.

Even as those memories were playing in her head, Autumn felt something wrap around her ankle, and some blessed instinct from life told her to take a deep breath. Just as she took a lungful of air, the street beneath her fell away as if it had never been there, and something began to pull her into the depths.

Here beneath the surface, everything was quiet; and everything in her sight, stained red. She could see farther than she thought she would be able to, and all she could see was nothing. There was nothing here but her and the thing at her ankle. It was him! She had found him, but it was Maro like she had never seen him before. His skin was rotting away in patches, revealing the bone beneath, and here, in the blood, the stench permeated everything.

As he dragged her further down, he smiled, but it was not Maro’s smile. This wasn’t him. It was something wearing him, pretending to be him. Still, his body might still contain his soul, and she wasn’t about to let that go. Twisting herself in the watery blood, she grabbed at him and tried to pull him toward the surface, but he had her leg and her only way of kicking to the surface. She could kick him and swim for it, but that still left him behind.

As if he sensed her thoughts to leave, Maro opened his mouth and spoke to her. “Autumn, I missed you. Come join me.”

A deep burn was beginning in Autumn’s lungs, and she knew she’d have to breath soon. She needed to get away or get him to the surface, but a different idea bobbed up in her mind. It was stupid, reckless. But what was the worst that could happen? They could both die… again. Somehow, Autumn didn’t think fate would let them rest, let them go that easily, that they would be brought back again and again to face life with all its joys as well as its empty promises.

Maro had spoken, so why wouldn’t she be able to, too?

With her little remaining breath, Autumn bent, grabbed his face between her hands, looked him in the eyes and forced him to look into hers. She opened her mouth to speak.

You left me, and I waited. I searched. You left me. It’s time for you to come with me.”

At least, that’s what she intended to say. She couldn’t be sure whether the words would come out or the blood would go rushing in, but she tried all the same. Either she would speak or she would drown, but dying wasn’t the worst thing. She’d done it a time or two.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Luminescence on November 8th, 2020, 7:46 pm

Moritz


Okomo were well-known for their stubbornness, and Moritz was no different. The charging creature snorted, steam wafting from its nostrils as it charged at Moritz with reckless abandon, head down and skyglass horns gleaming dully even in the mist.

Closer, closer, until Moritz could feel its hot breath on his own muzzle; and then, as it collided with him, he felt nothing. The okomo charged through Moritz as if it was a specter, fading into the mist behind him, leaving nothing but torn-up grass and swirling fog in its wake.

Moritz was fine, if perhaps a bit shaken; but he still stood strong, as if nothing had happened at all. "So stubborn," the not-Amelie cooed. "But you're brave, aren't you, Moritz?"

If he turned to look at her again, Moritz would see several new developments to the scenery. The fog had receded slightly, enough to clear a small circle in the grass around him. Amelie was gone. Where she had once lain, broken and twisted, nestled in the grass, was a golden key. The handle was elaborately made, engraved with the symbol of an eye, the center of which had a small but brilliant sapphire shining in it.

Madeira


Behind her, the whimpering faded into nothing, and the splashing quieted until it too had faded. Her sharp questions cut through the air, but nothing answered her but silence. A heavy, weighted silence that felt accusatory in its heaviness; a silence that smelled of death.

The silence followed Madeira up the creaking stairs and through the door, which swung shut behind her with a final soft 'click' that somehow seemed infinitely louder than it actually was.

The dark room was suddenly lit up as an oil lamp above her flickered to life, casting a ring of soft lighting on the room. The floorboards were thick with dust, and beyond the ring of light, darkness stretched on as if forever. A table stood before Madeira, also covered in a heavy layer of dust and cobwebs.

The only pristine thing was the key that sat on the table; wrought of fine silver, and elaborately made with an eye etched into the handle, a small, glittering ruby set into the center of it.


Autumn


As Autumn spoke, all that came from her mouth was a rush of bubbles and a faint gurgling sound; but Maro smiled at her in a way that she knew he had understood. But it was an uneasy smile on his rotting face, one that didn't speak of the Maro she knew. He moved his grip to her wrists, bony fingers digging into her skin. "I can't go with you, Autumn. Maybe it's time for you to move on from the past."

She could feel the liquid flooding her nose and mouth, taste the sickly-sweet rot, tinged with something metallic. Maro squeezed her wrists once more, then let go of her, leaving them both floating. Maro pointed upwards, and a moment later, Autumn found her head being forcibly pulled above water, leaving her coughing and gasping.

She was sitting in a shallow pool of blood no more than a few inches deep; the street was empty of bodies, and the only things that filled the street were the occasional puddles of crimson liquid, the cobblestones stained with it. Maro's belongings had vanished, but floating in the pool near her hand, miraculously clean, was an ornate silver key, with a carved eye staring up at her, a ruby set where the pupil should be.


Everyone


Several feet past the key, they all saw the same thing. Two identical doors stood before them, seemingly standing in thin air; one on the left, one on the right. They were made of a dark, glossy wood, with elaborate crystal handles. Upon closer inspection, the knobs also had a similar engraving of an eye on them, but neither had keyholes. If tried, the knobs would turn easily, suggesting the doors to be unlocked; however, trying to peek through any cracks in the door showed only darkness.

If they circled around behind the door, they would find nothing extraordinary; the same scenery, same landscape, and the backside of the door, identical in every way to the front side of it.

Opening the doors showed the same thing as trying to peer through the cracks; only darkness ahead, though if they squinted, perhaps there was a faint light, far-off in the distance.

OOC :
I apologize for the wait on this; thank you all for your patience. I'm going to give you all two options to respond to this post; you can either simply PM me which door your PC picks, or you can write a full reply if you wish. :) It's entirely up to you and won't change anything, but I figured I would give you all the option.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Moritz Craven on November 8th, 2020, 10:31 pm

Moritz was many things. A deep thinker. A ponderer. Blunt. Honest. Logical. He took his time and considered his options before doing things, and rarely took split second decisions. What often appeared as such was simply the logical conclusion to a series of thoughts and decisions made before, resolving into a new seemingly sudden decision which was really just the last log added onto the fire which made its flame spark and become visible.

If he had been given more time perhaps he would have run. Or hunched down in a ball to avoid the strike and to protect his important parts inside his torso.

In truth his action of shifting had been one of finality which did not give him much time to do anything else. A leaping off a cliff without looking but based on the belief that he would find a deep pool of water to safely land in at the bottom based on other things he had seen.

For the next few moment Moritz was filled with fear. A desire to move, to run, to turn, to do anything. Instead he kept his outward cool, and waited... And waited... Not too long, as it was a full sized Okomo seemingly running at him, them, which did not take too much time to meet him head on. In that moment, in that short wait, his logic won out rather than his guts writhing in violence inside his chest.

Or perhaps it was just his being stubborn, that once he made a decision he would stick to it without turning away or back tracking. Regardless in that moment fear lost, whether due to logic or stubbornness or bravery or other such things.

At the last moment his eyes closed, feeling the hot breath on his face, thinking... Perhaps I was wrong... Or partly wrong. Or... Or not all the way right.

But before he had time to fully ponder this he realized that he had not been hit. By then, he should have. Opening his eyes the Okomo was out of sight, clearly not having trampled him.

Turning to look he saw it behind him, the insubstantial Okomo running off after having passed through him. Not like a ghost, not with the cold touch of the dead, but like a... A dream, a thing without physical presence. A thing that could not touch him.

Moritz listened as the not his sister girl spoke, considering, understanding, not truly agreeing but not disagreeing.

"Stubborn. Or not gonna be bullied. Brave. Or... Not gonna let fear tell me what to do. Brave is being afraid, and still doing the thing anyways."

Turning to face the voice and the spot where his broken not sister had lain, he saw she was gone. But he also saw something else... A... Thing on the ground, among... Grass. A key. Made of metal, colored gold, Moritz walked up to it and picked up the sliver of material. A tine of metal with some bits sticking off. Not sharp like a blade, though he felt it could still do some damage if someone shoved it into someones eye.

It felt real enough in his hand, though it occurred to Moritz he had not held a key before that he could recall. So in truth he had nothing to compare it to.

Looking closer he realized someone had written on the handle, or marked it. Quite naughty. Or was it on purpose? It looked like... An eye, or sorts, though not like one of Moritz own ones.

Looking closer he supposed it was on purpose, since the bit of the eye that on a human that would be colored was blue, some blue gem set into the keys handle. Markings were one thing, but he did not think someone would deface a key by putting a colored rock on it, no that seemed more by intent. It seemed kind of shiny, the rock, but besides that he did not see what purpose it might hold.

As he finished examining the key Moritz looked up only to tense in place. Where before there had been grass, a ring visible within the clearing in the fog, now there was a door. No, two doors. Not in a door frame though, just... Upright against the ground with nothing holding it up. Perhaps something underground, a frame at the base holding it up? But since it was not set into a wall or fence even, the door seemed to fulfill no purpose.

First things first, Moritz began walking around the doors. He went around one, only to see on the other side... Was more grass. Continuing on this circuit around the doors he found the other door similar. Nothing behind it, nothing hidden by its shade. Or wait, was there even a shadow here? Which direction was the light coming from? Wait was it this way or... Continuing as such Moritz kept his pacing, stopping when he came to rest roughly in the same spot as he had started.

Looking closer at the doors now, he noticed they seemed made of wood. With more stone or maybe glass for the handles. Picking one, the left, he moved up to it. The door handle seemed different than most he had seen, also cut with a eye on it. Like the eye on the key... But no key holes. Which was odd to say the least. What was the point of a key without a key whole? And if a door knob did not have a key hole, then how did it lock?

Moving to the other side he saw it was the same, checking quickly at the other door on both sides. The short trek there and back done, Moritz returned to the door on the left, to the same side he had started on where he had found the key.

Pondering for a moment, Moritz tapped the key to his pursed lips, thinking it over. If the way forward was not around the door, and the door had no lock... And going beyond the door was the same as the other side... Then logically, there had to be something within or through the door. Some trick or facet he was not understanding or seeing.

Plus, there was nothing else to do, besides wandering around at random in the fog. Which seemed like a bad idea.

With a shrug Moritz grabbed the left hand side doors door handle, and turned it. It turned, not locked then, which did not surprise him seeing as the door had no locking mechanism or key hole visible. Having gone that far Moritz pulled, opening the door. Inside was... Nothing. But not the nothing of an empty doorway where one saw through to the other side. No the nothing of... The lack of a thing. Not even light. Just darkness.

Moving around the to other side of the open door there was... The same thing. Closing and reopening it and he found.... The same. Closed once more, Moritz went to the other door to repeat the process. Open, looking within. Nothing, empty blackness. Moving around to the other side, still nothing. Empty blackness. Returning to the front, closed, open... Still the same.

With a sigh Moritz closed the door, moving from the right hand door back to the left hand door as a laid from where he had picked up the key. A key which he still held in one hand. With a turn of the nob using his other hand the door was opened, and Moritz looked within. Nothing. The same. Emptiness.

If nothing else this seeded to prove the nature of the door was not changing, and he could gather no new information by simply inspecting it visually. No, that meant he would need to inspect it more actively, he would need to interact with it. Go through it.

Leaning closer Moritz tried to see beyond the dark... He was unsure if it was just in his mind or real, but... He thought he saw something. A far off glimmer of light within the dark. But perhaps this was just his imagination.

With nothing else left to do Moritz took in a deep breath, worked up his courage, and stepped through the doorway into the darkness.

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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Autumn Rose on November 10th, 2020, 2:33 am

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Words never made it past he lips, but words passed between her and Maro just the same. With her speaking, he understood her, and she was reminded of the time years ago in Black Rock when she had possessed him and his thoughts began to bleed through. To her, it had been the most exquisite thing, intimacy beyond intimacy, and she would have spent an eternity that way with him, if he had wanted it. He hadn’t. There had been some private thought he had fought to keep from her, and she had respected that and left his body. More than anything, she had wanted to share that with him again but have him trust her more this next time around. They’d never got the chance. There was the move to Alvadas, the disappearance of Morwen, the hunt of the Vantha, and then, he was gone. And then he was not.

This Maro, him but not, smiled. It was his smile but not, the confident trust he’d always had in her lacking. What he said broke her ways she had never been broken, in ways she had never thought she could be broken.

“I can’t go with you, Autumn. Maybe it’s time for you to move on from the past.”

That was all she wanted was to have him with her, even if he wasn’t the him she had known. He was certainly more him than the empty husk she’d found in Lhavit. She certainly didn’t want to move on from the past. The past was where she had him, all of him, and she didn’t want to have to go through having get to know him all over again. Worse, she didn’t want one of the twins to get to know him and steal him away from her. Autumn held on as long as she could to the him she knew wasn’t him, but he let go of her as she began to drown, blood and rot filling her nostrils and throat and lungs. Maro pointed toward the surface, encouraging her to live, but she shook her head. She wasn’t going to leave him. She didn’t get a choice in the matter. Something dragged her upward, and air fought with blood to fill her lungs, leaving her coughing for several chimes.

While the street had been so deep with blood before, it was nearly dry now, the blood she had emerged from merely a puddle and not the seemingly fathomless ocean it had been only moments before. Thrusting her hand down into the puddle to reach for Maro, her knuckles only met the hard, ungiving cobblestone of the street, and she swore. He was gone. All traces of him and where he had been were gone. There was no lake of blood, no decaying Maro, no book of fairytales.

But there was something left behind floating impossibly on top of the thick liquid, and she grasped madly at it before it had a chance to disappear. It felt to her like a remnant of this odd remnant of his soul she had just encountered, and she wouldn’t let it disappear the way he had. Closing around the object, she pulled it close and marveled at its weight. Thought it had floated in the blood, it felt heavy in her hand as if it bore the weight of his lifetime and hers within it. Etched into the silver handle was an eye reminiscent of something she couldn’t place and set with a ruby in its center that turned what should have been a black pupil a brilliant red.

Holding it close to her chest, she wondered what it could go to, and as if in answer to her question, when Autumn looked up, there were two doors. They hovered in midair, their base a hand’s breadth from the ground, and were completely identical in shape and design. Even the patterns in the grain of the wood matched from one to the next. Where there was a knot in one, there was an identical knot in the other. Standing and sloshing her feet through the puddle, she was certain the blood refused to stick to her feet either, but it squished warm and thick between her toes until she reached the doors. One hand extended to the door on her left and glided over the polished wood, the few defects in its surface so rare that she memorized them immediately. A quick feel of the other door showed they were the same in this sense as well.

For a moment, she pondered which door she should take and then laughed, an almost musical sound that spread through the empty streets and filled it with life. If the doors were identical, then it wouldn’t matter which one she chose. They might lead elsewhere, but no one would be able to tell looking at them from this side.

A quick decision happened in her mind. She and Maro had always read their book one story at a time from back to front, so she would try the doors in the same order, right to left. Looking at the handle, autumn found she didn’t need the key, so she twisted the handle and opened the door, the key still clutched to her chest. Darkness awaited her, but she felt darkness waited behind the other door as well.

Autumn closed the door quietly behind her and waited for her eyes to adjust. They didn’t, but she sensed something different out ahead of her, not so much a light but a lessening of the darkness. Boldly, with her weighty key-turned-reminder-of-Maro, she strode defiantly into the waiting dark.

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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Madeira Craven on November 11th, 2020, 8:34 pm

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Madeira didn't look back as the whimpering faded to choked silence. She had made her choice. That was the one thing six-year-old Madeira couldn't do. Now that the thing was done she realized what had haunted her about the memory was not the gruesome death itself, but her inability to act on it. The choice she had made now was selfish and awful, but she had chosen to do it. Having that little piece of control made her just that more herself, and she walked into the house with her head high and her jaw set.

The exterior of the structure was dripping in a nauseating, haunted nostalgia, but the inside was barren. This was not the house she remembered. Dust left footprints behind her like new fallen snow, soaking up the pond water and blood that dripped steadily off her body. On a rough wooden table choked in cobwebs was a tall glass oil lamp that bled steady yellow light in ring around it. The only thing reflecting the light was the bright shine of Madeira's eyes and a pristine silver key on the table.

Madeira picked up the key and turned it in her hand. An eye was wrought into the handle, with a bright ruby like a drop of blood in its pupil. Not quite knowing why, she slipped it into the pocket of her robe and look up.

On the edge of the lantern's sphere of light were two heavy doors with expensive cut crystal handles. Madeira lifted the oil lamp off the table and approached cautiously. There were no keyholes. Circling behind the dark wood she saw there was nothing on the other side. But an Avalad knew a door didn't have to open to just the other side. Somehow she understood that these wouldn't open into the same dusty room.

But which door, the right or the left? She held her hands in front of her. In the light of the lamp they were both mismatched and ghoulish. The right was melted and disfigured, with the sharp edged sickle-shape of a gnosis in the palm. The left was punctured and atrophied, the muscles in most of her fingers and palm withered from long paralysis. She hated her hands, but it was the left she despised the most. It felt like a physical manifestation of her weakness; the hand that had to be held.

There was another choice to be made here. Madeira shook back her sleeve and reached for the left door with her withered left hand. This felt like the kind night where weaknesses had to be confronted.

The door opened into blackness. Madeira put the lamp down and left it behind. For some reason she felt it didn't belong there.

With one last breath she stepped through the left hand door.
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