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 July 5th, 2020, 12:45 am

A Memory's Requiem

88th of summer, 520 AV

The heat of the day had retreated somewhat, but the humidity still clung thick and heavy to the air. Outside, thunder rolled, tolling and ominous as it rumbled across the sky, loud enough to send a few windows rattling in the mountain city. The rain fell heavy and fast, as it had done for seemingly endless days now, the drumming of it on roofs a familiar sound to be drowned out. The air crackled as lightning struck somewhere not too far off, illuminating the rain soaked world in stark violet-white light for the briefest of moments.

Lhavit's streets were empty; few people were willing to venture out in such weather, and besides, it was the middle of a rest period. Those few who were awake, and the fewer still who had left their homes, were huddled up nice and warm in a tavern or bar rather than strolling the streets.

But indeed those people were scarce. Most were nestled in bed, or curled up in a comfortable chair, tossing and turning as they struggled to find sleep with sweat clinging to their skin, or struggling to keep it as thunder rolled incessantly overhead.

But indeed they slept, and such was the case for some very specific people this night as well. Madeira Craven, safe and sound inside her living house, watchdog and sanctuary all in one. Moritz Craven too, slept soundly inside the Infinity Manor, safe under the watchful eye both of the house and his mother.

Autumn Rose, a spirit who could take the form of the living, enjoying her flesh and blood body, found herself slipping into sleep as well. Perhaps it was an accident, or perhaps she found herself tired from breathing and having a heartbeat, or maybe she simply wanted to dream of happier times; but indeed, the living ghost found herself drifting off.

Lily Maier slumbered on in the Solar Winds, her small apartment giving a slight tremor every so often when thunder boomed overhead; but now that sleep had claimed her, the storm didn't bother her.

Thunder rolled once more, but this time, it was loud. Very loud, louder than any of them had yet heard it. It sounded as if it was coming from the very rooms they slept in, vibrating through their bones and clacking their teeth together as it woke them all with a start, a ringing in their ears. As they opened their eyes, either sitting up in bed or perhaps leaping to their feet, a blinding flash of lightning followed, sending everything white. The air smelled of electricity, the hairs on their arms standing up.

And then the white faded, except it didn't really, because everything was still so bright. As they squinted, looking around in an attempt to orient themselves, each individual would realize that they were no longer in their home. The furniture remained the same, in the same spot; the door remained in the same location, though it was now firmly shut had it previously been open. Judging by those things, the dimensions of the room seemed to be the same.

But as their eyes adjusted, they could see that the walls, floor, and ceiling were a pure, glowing white, just intense enough to be mildly irritating, spots still dancing in their vision. Looking around, they would see any windows in the room had seemingly disappeared. It was no longer as hot as it had been, nor was it cold; footsteps were silent if they moved, and anyone who spoke would find their voice almost muted, as if it was being contained and not allowed to echo, the room entirely silent.

Dressers, drawers, and chests, should they be investigated, were empty. While the furniture remained, anything contained within or on top of it had vanished. The only other items that remained were the clothes in which they had slept in.

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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Moritz Craven on July 6th, 2020, 8:37 pm

88 Summer 520


As each day passed Moritz seemed to grow more. Just a season or two prior the youth had been talking in broken sentences. Now he was using full sentences, regular grammar relatively, and seemed much older. Nearing the end of the summer Moritz appeared much closer to ten than he did nine in terms of human age.

He still slept the same as always, in the buff, a habit perhaps bound to his nature as a kelvic. He was most vulnerable in his sleep, and if he needed to shift quickly from said state he could not do so safely if clothed. Better to sleep in the buff and not worry about his clothing.

In the heat Moritz did not wear a blanket, instead leaving himself bare and better able to cope with the temperature. But sleep he did, safe in his bed.

Slept at least until a sound to end all sounds echoed through his room and stirred him from his slumber. Violently stirred with a crash of sound and light which sent the young kelvic rolling out of bed to land on all fours beside it.

As the sound slowly faded, still ringing in his ears, Moritz began to look around. The first thing he noticed was how... Bright, everything was. Almost as if the lightning was still flashing, casting its glamour across the room. His square eyes gazed through the glare, staring at his surroundings, turning his head as he had to in his human form with his differently positioned eyes. An annoyance, but necessary.

There was a small table, a chair, the bed he slept on. The normal surroundings of his room. It occurred to him then that compared to the rest of the rooms in the residence, his was quite bare. But then, he was not much for possessions, so it made sense.

Heading over to the door Moritz worked at the knob, only to find it would not turn.

"House! Are you awake?! Can you open the door?! House?!"

Unsure if the house was mad it him, or unable to answer, Moritz pondered further. And paced. And moved about the room.

It was then as he made his third circuit of the room that he noticed something odd. He hadn't noticed it sooner, because it was not something added but something missing.

His window was gone. Now being in a living structure this was less odd, but still the house did not usually do such changes without telling him. It was more likely to move things around than remove them entirely, and it knew he looked to see outside.

He felt a small catch in his throat, a tightening, as he realized he was trapped inside the room. For a moment his mind was lost, trapped in a memory he did not remember. Something rushing at him, being buried, a flash and confusion of motion...

"House!?" His voice, he noticed, was also wrong. Not quieter but... Less lasting.

"I'm done. I want out!"

With that Moritz bent forward, and in a flash of color and light that lasted but a moment he was replaced by an Okomo. Backing across the room Moritz turned, lowered his head, and ran straight at the door to bash it open with his partly grown Okomo horns. As an Okomo was want to do when something annoyed him or, in this case, got in his way.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Madeira Craven on July 7th, 2020, 3:49 am

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Madeira woke alone in her bed with a strangled gasp, the bed covers clutched to her chest. The thunder was still humming in her ears and echoing in the spaces between her ribs, and for one wild tick she thought that the sound might be the Infinity Manor tumbling down around her.

She pulled aside the covers, her bare feet making shivery contact with the cold wooden floor. Not even fully awake Madeira was taking a mental tally of her tiny kingdom as she pulled her silk robe off the bedpost. She should check on Emma and Spooks, and look in on the twins. Maro, Jomi and the rest were undoubtedly fine, and Infinity wasn't so easily rattled. She had barely brushed the edge of her consciousness across the awareness of the manor in sleepy acknowledgment when the world went white.

Scarred hand clutched to her thundering heart, Madeira blew out a stuttering breath. Electricity crackled in the air. Whatever that was, it was entirely too close. Maybe she should check on everyone after all. The world around her was still white in a way that hurt her eyes, but even as she recognized the familiar contours of her room rising from that sterile nothingness she wasn't immediately alarmed. Infinity could do some strange things under stress. It was only as she reached again for the mind of her Architectrix, and felt only an empty void where it used to be, that she felt the first twinge of anxiety.

In a world of white the pale blonde woman in a pink silk nightdress and matching robe was a riot of saturated colour. She stood, squinting into the glow of the blasted white furniture. There was her fireplace, unlit and devoid of ashes. The seating area, missing that mysterious burn mark nobody in the house would own up to. The starry sky painted on the domed ceiling was gone. Pulling back the drapes she discovered the tall windows, one on every wall of the hexagonal room, were also missing. The anxiety settled deeper.

"Infinity? Are you there?" her voice was muffled and deadened, like she was speaking underwater. She never noticed the sounds the house made until it was gone. The pop of the iron stairs settling, the creak of wood remembering the weight of many feet, the soft sigh of the ghosts through haunted rooms. The hairs on her arms began to rise. Silence.

This wasn't her house.

There was a trapdoor that opened to the corkscrew floating stairs that descended to the lower floors. Madeira grabbed it by its heavy brass ring and pulled with all her might, but it didn't budge. It was not even bending with the moan of stressed wood, which was strange. There was no latch on that door. It couldn't even be locked.

Getting on her knees and pressing her face to the invisible seam, she sucked in a deep breath and yelled for all she was worth through the strange muffled quality of the sounds.

"Moritz! Jomi! Is anyone there! Can you hear me!?"


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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Autumn Rose on July 8th, 2020, 12:43 pm

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Life was precious, but to some, it meant more. Some had so very little of it, and they understood the need to make the most of what they had. Autumn was already dead, so she understood this perhaps better than anyone. Being dead, though, didn’t mean she couldn’t live again. Autumn had her ways.

For nearly a full day, the ghost had considered what gem of the Borrowed Life she should take. It wasn’t a decision to be made lightly. A lot of consideration and planning went into it. Time was limited, but the bigger gems brought more of it. If she needed to get a lot done, which she had, then she would have to choose one of the larger ones. For that reason, she had selected a large gem, a deep green, so dark it was almost black, though in it shone the light of a familiar constellation, one that seemed to shine brightest over Lhavit. Zintila’s Fall.

Life was precious. It was meant to be appreciated, but she had more use for it than appreciation today. The once-dead ghost had spent the entirety of the day from just before sunup stalking the woman who had brought Maro, her Maro, back. She was no closer to finding out how he had been brought back and how Luthisa had managed to stifle his soul. Very little of Maro remained, but Autumn caught glimpses now and again.

Patience was something Autumn was long practiced at, but for this, self-restraint was so very difficult. When she figured out what Luthisa had done to Maro and how to undo it, Autumn was going to make her own death look like child’s play in comparison to what she did to that woman.

One thing Autumn was not practiced at though was being alive. Her mind had been focused on one thing, Luthisa, and in that focus, Autumn had forgotten the lesser yet still important things. She hadn’t eaten all day, and as the day drew to its close, her body wore down. It needed sleep, but sleep wasted precious time.

It was grudgingly and hungry that she went to bed. The room was empty. Gweneveh was entertaining a client downstairs. Despite needing it and knowing she’d be useless without it, Autumn fought the sleep, but the gentle patter of rain against roof won her over. Under its influence, Autumn was dragged unresisting into slumber.

There was another reason she had avoided sleep. The dreams. By the Goddess, the nightmares were unbearable, and they waited for her every time she slept. Whether true or just her mind’s imaginings, they played scenes of Maro dying again and again and again, and she didn’t think she could stand to watch it another time.

But this time, nothing came, and for a moment, at least, she was dreamless. Autumn couldn’t be sure how long that blessed quiet lasted, but it was shattered by a bone-numbing boom, a crash of thunder that penetrated to the very soul of her, one that she was sure she would have felt even if she had still been dead.

Autumn was not so removed from life that instinct had no effect on her. She bolted upright and threw a blow at the empty air that surrounded her. It was darkness that greeted her, though only for a tick. Blinding and white, the rawest light there was, a flash of lightning illuminated the room, but silence followed.

Even disoriented as she was from her sudden tearing from sleep, Autumn noticed the irregularity of that. In her experience, it had always been thunder that had followed lightning, not the other way around, but these had been distinctly out of order, as if the lightning was a memory of the thunder, a memory of something that should have come after, like some twisted déjà vu.

The light that faded from the room did so half-heartedly, and even as burned as they were from the lightning’s brilliance, Autumn’s eyes could see that the light remained. As if it had permeated the walls, haunted them the way Autumn possessed a soul, the light had become the floors and the walls and the ceiling.

It was her room, but it wasn’t, almost as if the heart and soul of the thing that made it up had been removed leaving only a skeleton filled with light. Furniture remained the way it had been before she had fallen asleep.

Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed, her feet hit the floor almost soundlessly, though she was still heavy and clumsy on them. Whatever the light was doing to remain was consuming the other senses, mostly sound.

Hoping for some comfort, her eyes dropped to her chest where she expected to see her necklace, but it was gone. Panic filled her at that. It had been a gift from Dira, and it held the soul of her killer as well as all of her most precious memories.

Had she removed it before bed?

Autumn went from dresser to dresser as quickly as her legs unaccustomed to living would take her, opening every drawer only to find the necklace not there. What was perhaps more disconcerting was that nothing was there, not even any of Gweneveh’s clothing and other sundries that usually filled them. Everything was empty. The room was empty, except for Autumn, and that made her want out.

The door wouldn’t budge.

For a moment, Autumn thought to panic, but then she remembered herself. Her greatest strength was patience. She was eternal, if she so chose to be. She could wait anything out. If she died, then she would be her ethereal self again, and her ghostly self was not hindered by such inconveniences as walls.

Still, she’d rather not waste her precious time, her precious life, so she jiggled the door knob again. Nothing.

Autumn knocked and spoke a soft hello against the crack of the door, then stuck her ear against it to see if anyone responded.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Lily Maier on July 11th, 2020, 11:47 am

Lily had never much trouble with falling to sleep. Long hours on her feet, mind focused on the pots and pans and ovens a-plenty, recalling recipes or practicing her timing so that no meal she cooked would ever go out overdone. Such days rendered her slumber that of a heavy rock at the bottom of a river bed. The thundering sky above did little to shift her heavy eyelids. Such was fact of life that after every night, a day would rise again to take its place. Twenty something years alive, she had never seen the cycle truly broken. So whether she looked forward to the next day’s events was irrelevant. Ever living in the moment Lily cherished rest as if it were precious jewels.

One could only imagine Lily’s dismay therefore, when thunderous roar tore Lily once and truly out of her slumber. Blinking ever so slowly and forcefully enough to put pressure on her eyes in hope that the sensation would clear a moment of temporary blindness, she sat up in bed reluctantly. But as she blinked and blinked, the bright white would not vanish from before her eyes. Perplexed she began to rub at her face with her hands, confused somewhat, confirming to herself that sensation was most certainly there, thus a dream this could not be. Why then, could she see little more than the modest furniture of her flat, and so little else?

Was she imagining it? Was this dream just an unsettlingly vivid figment of her imagination and the white that surrounded her was simply her tiered mind’s inability to come up with suitable filler for her surroundings? Was the sound that awoke her merely amplified thunder outside the window, plucked out by Lily’s subconscious to frighten her; as if her own mind’s whim was to torture her that night. Heavens only knew how recent events lead her to dislike the distinct crackle of lightning. This wouldn’t be the first time such things happened, a self sabotage in a sense, after all what else were nightmares if not that?

Still sitting on her bed Lily continued her train of thought, trying to logic her way out of her conundrum. This must have been a dream. And she would quickly discard any evidence to the contrary for her dream theory would be easier to stomach. And if this was a dream, then all she needed to do was wake up. So she pinched her skin, and when that didn’t work to bring back the familiar view of her little flat , she would pinch again. And again and again until her fingers left light bruises on her pale skin. And yet this didn’t work.

“Never mind then.” She told herself out loud. Since this was a dream, then none but her subconscious could ridicule Lily for conversing with nothingness. “I’ve had quite enough nightmares, thank you very much. I’m leaving.”

As the exclamation left her lips, Lily reached for the door and turned the handle with a certain frustration behind her action. And it took a moment for her to realise an irritating subversion to her expectation. The door would not budge. “Eh? What in Mizahar…? Maybe I’ve locked it and simply forgot?” She hadn’t the habit of doing so, trusting as she was of her neighbours.

But a rummage through the pockets of her night gown left her hands empty. And soon she would fly around the apartment manically, searching for her keys in every nook and cranny, behind the hearth, under the bed. Where could she possibly have dropped them? And the keys weren’t the only thing missing. All of her possessions were nowhere to be seen, a chest flung open, empty.

Dread bloomed like a dark flower in her heart. A realisation washed over her that perhaps…. Perhaps this wasn’t just a mere dream. And that was a much more frightening thing to admit.

With no windows to climb out of, not that such a thing would be safe in the first place, she slammed her fist on the door. “Hello! Anybody there?” Her voice echoed, more and more shaken by the second. “What in Mizahar is going on! Hello! Anybody!?”

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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Luminescence on July 12th, 2020, 10:40 pm

Try as they might, none of them could get their respective doors to budge. Neither Moritz nor Madeira could get their home to respond to them. The silence around them was deafening; it was impossible to say for how long they had been in that white, glowing room, so familiar yet so strange to each one. Mere ticks? Chimes? Bells?

The doors swung open quite suddenly.

Moritz, rushing forward in his okomo form, ready to batter down his door, would find himself charging through the doorway as it swung open. Unprepared for lack of resistance, he nearly sent himself flying horns over hooves, skidding as he struggled to slow his momentum when he was greeted with only empty air and not a solid piece of wood as he had expected.

Her face pressed close to the trapdoor, leaning down against the floor, Madeira wasn't prepared for it to suddenly swing open and downwards fairly forcefully. Supporting herself above the door but with her head leaning down towards it, she quite nearly pitched forward and through the sudden gaping hole in the floor.

Autumn, pressing her ear up against the door, would be greeted only with silence. A moment or two passed before the door opened without warning, nearly sending Autumn tumbling forward as it left her pressing her ear up against nothing but empty air; it had been a long time since she'd been used to the physics of a weighty, physical form. It was much more difficult to catch herself from falling forward with her own weight behind the fall than it was to stop herself when she was weightless.

Lily was the only one, unbeknownst to her, who managed to avoid being flung forward in one manner or another, as she stood close to the door but not putting any weight into it, slamming her fist against the wood. Nobody answered her cries, but after a few ticks, the door in front of her swung open, just as she was raising her fist to bang on it again.

Each of them were greeted with darkness beyond the door, unfathomable and deep. It was impossible to say whether it was truly an inky void of nothingness that stretched on, or if it was just impossible to make out anything in such darkness after being stuck in a room full of near blinding light for an indeterminate amount of time. If they squinted hard enough, could they maybe just make out the familiar shapes of their homes outside of their rooms?

As each person stepped out of their rooms, cautiously or boldly or in any other manner, the door behind them would slam shut once more. The air was no longer muffled, and the bang of the door was seemingly nearly as loud as the clap of thunder that had woken them, resonating and final. And as they whirled around or looked over their shoulder or even took a moment to blink, they would each find themselves in a very different place.


Moritz


As Moritz finally got his forward pace under control, the bang of the door behind him echoing in the darkness, the landscape that appeared around him was familiar yet not. The grass beneath his hooves and the thin air filling his lungs distinctly said that this was home; but the heavy mist that obscured the scenery around him made it difficult to be sure.

He could just barely make out the distant, obscured shapes of rolling hills and mountain peaks, nothing but shadows flickering through the mist. Somewhere around him, he heard a snort, then the familiar bleating noise of another okomo. The air smelled clean and damp and of sweet grass; and tinged on it, as Moritz breathed in, was the distant but sharp smell of fear.

The bleating came again, sounding much more distressed and much closer, followed by the dull thudding of hooves on grass; and as Moritz looked around, he would see the sudden shadow of an okomo dashing through the fog, the mist swirling around its form as it ran by him, ruffling his fur in the breeze. And clinging to its back was a familiar shape. "Moritz!" Amelie screamed, as the fog swallowed her and the okomo back up. "Help!"

Her voice was shrill, pitched with terror, and it echoed around Moritz along with the swirling fog, the sound of the retreating okomo's hooves muffled by the thick haze in the air. Amelie's shrieks of terror, on the other hand, sliced through the air like a knife, ringing loud and clear across the misty mountain peaks, echoing around, seeming to come from every direction all at once. Faintly through the fog, rapidly vanishing as the whorls of mist it left behind began to reshape, Moritz could just make out the retreating figure of the okomo.


Madeira


The scene in which Madeira found herself was familiar. If she cared to pay attention to the details, she would notice a few things were off; the house behind her was difficult to make out, blurred. Perhaps the flowers that grew in the yard were of the wrong type. But there was no mistaking it as the yard from her childhood, so familiar but so distant now. As she took in her surroundings, the shadows from the trees around her seemed to lengthen, stretching towards her. Water lapped at her heels, calling for her attention. Had the pond behind her always been so big?

Surely not, because it stretched out in front of her now, seemingly infinite, more of an ocean than a small backyard pond. Aside from the gentle waving of the edges of the pool across the ground, the pond was as still as glass, and as pitch dark as the empty night sky. The black depths of the pool were unfathomable, impossible to see into or tell how deep the water went.

Madeira's own pale face reflected back up at her from the surface; surely it was a trick of the light or the angle at which she stood over the water, where the blackness of it broke through the reflection, but the face that stared back at her did so with blank eyes as black as a Chaktawe's.

Beside her reflection, a long ago familiar one shimmered into view, her father's face reflecting in the pool beside her own. His lips twisted into a sneer, scorn heavy in his eyes. "You've always been weak, Madeira." Her father's voice hissed seemingly right into her ear, but should she look, there would be nobody there. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked.


Autumn


It was impossible to recognize Alvadas, with its ever-changing streets; but perhaps ironically, that was what made it recognizable. Autumn found herself standing in the middle of an unfamiliar street. An alleyway stretched out in front of her, but even as she blinked, the world around her changed, shifting around her, the buildings closing in to block off the passage, leaving a street paved with iridescent stones for her to walk down.

The street was empty at first, but slowly, more and more people trickled out of the buildings, slipping out of invisible alleyways. They walked casually at first, then faster. The people around her were silent, but seemingly quite suddenly, Autumn found herself in a crowd, moving against the flow as people began jogging. "Autumn," A distant voice, far ahead, called for her; one she would recognize after a hundred lifetimes. Maro was calling her, in the opposite direction of the crowd.

But even as she began to push her way through, the throng of people thickened, and jogging turned into running as they ran, screams beginning to ring out. Dark hair flashed around Autumn, and she would realize that while she couldn't quite make out any of their faces, all of the people streaming past her, running from some unknown danger, had dark hair and multi-hued eyes. The Vantha were fleeing for their lives.

Ahead, the sun was suddenly blocked out by a shadow as a wave arced above the city, and then came crashing down, a flood of crimson rushing through the street towards Autumn. The torrent of liquid brought with it the sickly sweet smell of rot and the unmistakable metallic tinge of blood, and it was warm and sticky as it crashed around Autumn, sweeping away everyone but her. The torrent calmed, the river running sluggishly now, the liquid lapping lazily at Autumn's calves, just below her knees. Around her, dark-haired bodies bobbed as they surfaced from the sudden flood, drenched in red and stained crimson, glassy eyes stuck in one colour staring sightlessly at the sky.


Lily


The grass was lush and green as it waved in the gentle breeze, tickling the soles of her feet. The garden Lily found herself in was achingly familiar, with carefully tended herbs growing in the soil, each patch marked with its own small hand-lettered sign, done in familiar writing. It was her childhood home's garden. The windows that lead into the kitchen were open, the curtains fluttering in the gentle breeze. A voice interrupted her surveillance of her surroundings, a voice that she hadn't heard in nearing a decade. "Lily, there you are. I thought you wanted to practice with me?"

Turning to see where the voice was coming from, Lily would be greeted by the sight of her mother, smiling, a short sword held in one hand. Her hair was pinned up out of her face, and she still wore her apron, dusted with flour. "You won't get better if you don't practice, you know. It's the same as cooking or baking," her mother chided gently. "Come, spar with me."

Lily suddenly became aware of a weight on her hip, finding a short sword resting against her side. Had she always had that on her? Surely not, for she was still in her nightgown, still in her bare feet. But sure enough, there was a sword resting at her side. Birds chirped distantly, and the sun was shining bright and pleasantly warm.

Her mother was waiting, mischief gleaming in her eyes, but holding her stance patiently, a warm smile still lingering on her mouth. The smell of freshly baked bread wafted through the air, drifting from the open window of their cottage, curling around Lily with a near tangible, physical warmth. It smelled delicious, mouth-watering; but more than that, it smelled of home. It smelled of comfort.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Moritz Craven on July 13th, 2020, 12:07 am

Moritz was expecting to feel an impact. With his glass Okomo bones made of the same stuff as the city of Lhavit, hooves and horns similarly strong, he had yet to find something he could not batter down. Of course, he had to admit in that moment of rushing before he struck, he had not tried to batter down that many things.

Such thoughts were running through his head as he neared the door... He was expecting the crunch of wood, the pressure as his horns smashed into its surface, but instead he felt nothing. Out of his peripheral vision he could see the motion as the door swung open suddenly. So startled was he it took a moment for him to react, realizing as he was hurtling through the doorway.

He nearly lost his footing, or whatever it was called when standing on hooves, but managed to stop from doing so by some chance or luck. Instead he was left to try and abruptly stop, not so easy he quickly found. Even for an Okomo, a being used to stopping and changing direction and landing on a miza sized perch, stopping when at a full tilt run rather than a jump was not so common a thing or so easy.

It took his eyes time to adjust, going from bright light to pitch near absolute blackness. A void devoid of light which his eyes fought with.

Slowing to a stop, Moritz began to notice his surroundings as they came into clarity. Were his eyes adjusting, he was left to wonder, or were they appearing from the void of blackness?

But he did know the grass of the land beneath his feet, that was not part of a house. He even tore up a small clump as he skidded to a final halt, revealing the dirt beneath.

Confused by the events, Moritz was left wondering if this was real or some really real dream.

He was also confused how he could have gone from the room to a place out in the open. He heard the door bang behind him as it shut, but quickly lost track of it.

Instead his focus was more immediately on something else. Motion, in the distance, obscured by mist. Fog? What was the difference with fog and mist? The air he breathed and the ground he stood on seemed like someplace in or near Lhavit. And yet... Something was off.

And then his senses were pulled away as all at once and in tandem they noticed something. His nose, ears, and eyes and detected it, an Okomo.

By the sound it was moving fast, making noise as it did. But it did not seem to be speaking anything, just... Making noise. Maybe it was confused, or being pursued? Fear on the air, which could only be from that same Okomo.

As he turned about he finally found it, getting a good sight of the Okomo moving nearby. In a rush, as he had first thought. He did not however see anything behind it, nothing clearly chasing it.

It was clearly in distress, even if the Okomo was not making any sense with its utterings. Once more he found himself having trouble taking in breath, freezing in his sweeping turn. For he saw something on its back. Something small, and familiar. And then the small thing on the Okomo's back let out a yell, a cry for aid.

Moritz spent no more time thinking. Before the word "Help" was even done being uttered he had leapt forward towards the Okomo. Then another, and another. He had grown since before, his stature higher and his body more filled out and well muscled. Before he had been a thin and gangling little thing. Now he was still that somewhat, but much more refined and closer to being a full Okomo in terms of proper size and shape and build.

He was running, jumping, racing after the Okomo and its captive guest.

A part of his mind was wondering on that. If that was his sister, she should be bigger. And the Okomo in question had been seriously injured. Would it be racing about like that so soon after its prior injury? And what were the odds of the same thing happening? Time had passed. But it seemed the same Okomo and the same situation. Which did not make much sense to him.

The greater part of his mind was not questioning, rather focusing on the task at hand. Listening and looking for where the Okomo was and was going. Each sense extended, focused on detecting them. He was eating up ground at a impressive pace, each bound carrying him forward a good distance.

Was it a dream? Was he dreaming? If it was a dream, then nothing he did mattered. If it was not, if something else was going on, then he had to help. Whichever the case was, it hurt nothing to try, and possibly could hurt if he did nothing. And so it only made logical sense to act and try to help her.

He did not care. He would work things out later. For now he would go after the Okomo, stop them and aid the child on the Okomo's back. And then afterwards, he would work things out and figure out whether or not everything was a dream. That seemed to him to be a good plan.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Madeira Craven on July 15th, 2020, 11:48 pm

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Madeira gasped as the trapdoor swung the wrong way on its hinges, dropping down into the impenetrable darkness. It was only the heel of her palms that kept her from pitching headfirst into the floor below.

But was it even there? Madeira squinted into the blackness. Was it just her imagination, or could she hear the settling of the staircase, and see the shine of the wooden floor? She reached for the house and still felt nothing. She refused to believe Infinity was dead, but she had to work under the assumption that it couldn't help her.

"Moritz?" she breathed into the stillness. "Amelie?"

She felt strangely deadened, like she had been numbed or blindfolded. She couldn't sense the Architrex, couldn't sense her ghosts, her voice was reaching her ears deflated and flat. Without these senses the world around her felt that much less safe. She swallowed hard.

"Stay right there, do you hear me? Stay right there. Mom is coming to get you."

Swinging around on her knees, she stepped out into the darkness. The stairs were still connected, thank gods. She stood and slowly descended, feeling for each step as she did. But as soon as her head cleared the door, and the blasted white heath of her bedroom was an impossibly white square above her, there was a tremendous bang, and the world went dark.

Madeira froze on the step, her breath growing sour in her chest and her eyes wide in the sudden consuming darkness. She wasn't scared of the dark. She was well acquainted with the things that went bump in the night. But this wasn't just darkness, this was nothing. Was another sense stolen from her?

Then, in between one blink and the next, the world came back into focus.

She wasn't in her house anymore. Her mind reeled as she was pulled back ten, no, fifteen years ago. This was her father's house. She knew that endlessly reworked paint, those hacked and pruned flowerbeds, the smell of desperation that rose from the seams of a house that was being constantly remade even as its bones rotted in the foundations. But it was out of focus and distant like things often were in memories and dreams. The details of everything were confused and twisted, the trees longer and more menacing, the flowers alien. The grounds were smaller than she remembered (or was she just bigger?) all except for the pond.

Water lapped over her bare feet, and as if she were channeling Allister or Jomi she could feel her hackles raise to see that still, mucky pond stretching out before her almost to the horizon. It was mirror calm, reflecting a muddy black sky and her own pale face. Except...

Her pale, fishy eyes, an unfortunate family trait, were gone. Cut out of her face by the shadows or a trick of the light, they almost looked like a dead, lifeless version of her childhood friend Lani's glossy black Chaktawe eyes. As she stared a reflection joined her at the water, shimmering into life. It was her father, wearing the eyes she no longer had. They looked a lot alike; both pale and thin, with bruised bags beneath their eyes and a thread of hunger woven through every feature.

"You've always been weak, Madeira", he whispered in the shell of her ear, the words heavy with disappointment and scorn.

Water sloshed around her ankles as she twisted towards him, but there was nobody there. In the distance a dog barked, and the sound seemed to catch in her throat. With rising dread she could feel the edges of a memory closing in, circling like a wolf. She knew what this was, she had relived it half a hundred times. A familiar old shame was building high in her chest.

Out. She needed out. Was she still sleeping? Did someone find her stash of Blinder and drug her? Her mind felt stretched out and paper thin, and she couldn't keep the situation in focus. Part of her knew this was not right, that she needed to pull together and figure this out, but another smaller but no less vocal part was six years old and pleading: I'm so sorry, daddy.

"No, no, not you. How dare you", she snarled to the empty presence of her father, angry and frustrated by her own reaction. "I'm exactly how you made me."

Every bark was a lance straight through her chest. She was starting to sweat under the thin nightdress.

"Weak..." she mumbled deliriously, twisting her bare hands together as if looking for her rings. "I'm not weak." It had been nearly four years since she had last spoken to her father, and still his presence ate at her like nothing else could.

She shook back the sleeves of her robe. Underneath her arms were thatched with scars and scabs in various stages of healing. There was nothing sharp to hand, so with her one remaining set of fingernails she tore into the half-healed scabs, hissing as she dug her fingertips in to widen the shallow cuts until she managed to open a steady flow of blood. It dripped down her fingers and into the pond, clouding the already dirty water.

With her finger she drew a sixteen point star over the tiger skull tattooed on her chest, then held her bleeding arm close. She had only attempted an evocation once before, and that time the ritual was done in an equally messy, frantic way. She couldn't imagine a situation where she would be prepared and composed when knocking on God's back door. But right now she needed help. And if she couldn't call on her friends, she would call on her gods.

"You who lived yesterday, I call from my mind to yours", she chanted under her breath, repeating the phrase over and over until the words became sounds without meaning. "Serve your Marked, so I may serve your god. Break what is holding me so I might wake anew."

Someone had to come. Dira's ascended souls, Sagallius'. Anybody, she begged, please, get me out of here.



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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Autumn Rose on July 19th, 2020, 5:41 pm

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Silence. If anything in her many decades of living had taught her anything, it was that this was all that ever answered her cries for help. Silence. When the Gods and Goddesses spoke, this was the language they used, older than words and as old as time. Silence was all that greeted her soft hello.

Leaning against the door, she pressed her ear against it as if she could conjure an answer from the wood by doing so but heard only silence. And then gravity struck with the short, colossal burst of the sound of air rushing past her ears as she pitched forward and collided with the ground, the air forced from her lungs on impact. Disoriented as she was from the fall, it took Autumn a few moments to recover.

She had forgotten to swear while she was falling, so she did so while she was dusting herself off on the... cobblestones? The inner floors of the Red Lantern certainly weren’t made of cobblestone.

Looking behind her, she recognized the familiar door to her and Mario’s home. Her stomach fell as her heart rose in her throat. She was in that place, the place where Maro had died. But how, if she had been in Lhavit this past year, did she end up half the world away? Unless she had never left. Unless this was all some cruel prank, an illusion to toy with her heart and her mind. In horror, Autumn began to realize that it was the one thing that would make Maro’s return make sense.

But if one year had been a dream, perhaps more of them had been as well, and if enough of them had been, then Maro might still be alive. Hope pressed her to her feet, but even as she looked at the roadway, it changed, side alleys disappearing to form only one path for her to tread. When she was dead, the way Alvadas’ streets toyed with her wasn’t a bother. If she wanted to, she could breeze through solid structures and illusions alike, but having a body changed things.

Now there was only one way to go, so Autumn took it. If there was a chance Maro had never passed, she would try to find him. At first, there was no one. Autumn knew she had never seen the streets of Alvadas so empty, but one by one, people appeared, some through doors like normal people and some out of the sides of buildings from alleyways disguised as nothing.

There was a murmur as they move against her, all of them going where she had come from, toward a dead end. Perhaps they knew something she did not. The murmur wasn’t in their voices. They were quiet. It was in the steadily building urgency. At first, they walked, but slowly, the crowd’s pace picked up.

There was a murmur, but above it, a single voice called out, a voice she knew, a voice she had listened to for its entire life time, a voice that called her name.

“Autumn.”

“Maro?” Autumn didn’t care if it was a trick. Real or not, she wanted to hold him, to promise to him, whether truth or lie, that he would be safe from here on out. “Maro.”

The murmur grew as the crowd pressing against her grew and grew. This would be so much easier if she was dead. She could just blink through the bodies. The murmur built, and as the people passed her, she recognized the dark hair that seemed to catch the light of the aurora and the eyes that leapt between colors. Vantha. This would be so much easier if they were all dead.

Autumn blamed them for Maro’s death. If they would not have cried out for help, if this people just wouldn’t have been abandoned by their Goddess, then Maro would still be alive.

The eyes around her stopped changing, each pair settling on a single color. The colors meant nothing as just a color, but in each individual, they signified something. That something was the same thing in all of them. Fear.

The murmur surged, and a scream sounded. Then, the world went dark, not dark like night but the unnatural dark that came when something too thick blocked the sky. Whatever it was perverted the light of the sun, left it muted and stained. One glance up explained it all.

A wave, not made of water, loomed over the city. It was thick, thicker than water, and its shade seemed somehow familiar. It was coming straight for them, but Autumn didn’t care. She had died, more than once, and the feeling had almost become a comfort. Besides, Maro was somewhere ahead of her.

As if some great dam held it back, the wave seemed to hang suspended above them as Autumn tried to push herself through the tide of the people, and then without warning, it came crashing down, turning their little street into a churning river of bodies and blood. Crimson and sticky, the river enveloped them. Initially, the cascading blood hit them all at chest level. Perhaps it was that she was special, blessed by some God or Goddess or innate iron constitution. Perhaps it was just that she was the only one facing the current and was better able to brace herself against it. Either way, when the blood subsided to a slow, pulsing current at her calves, she was the only one standing. No. She was the only one. For several ticks, Autumn was completely and utterly alone. Then the bodies surfaced, all of them on their backs with sightless, lifeless colored eyes staring at the sky.

Body upon body floated past her, and for several, long chimes, Autumn couldn’t place what was so haunting about it.

Silence!

Where was Maro’s voice? Why didn’t he call now? Had she lost him again? Why did fate find it so entertaining to give Maro to her only to take him away over and over?

Strength she didn’t know she had drove her legs through the thick liquid that made the skirt of her dress stick to her legs and try to slow her. Even the swamps of Kenash hadn’t been this difficult to wade through, but against her purpose, it was nothing.

She didn’t really see the faces as they floated by, only that they weren’t Maro’s. Body upon body drifted down the road river, and Autumn pushed each on aside as she pressed onward in her search for him. None of them meant anything. Until one did.

Haunted by it, Autumn caught it and held it still against her legs. It was like looking into a mirror. The girl looked nothing like her for the most part. Her hair was too dark, and she was too young. But the eyes. Autumn’s were a blue bright enough to match clear skies, and the eyes staring up at her now rivaled them. Autumn couldn’t explain it, but she hated this Vantha for it.

Placing a hand on either side of the Vantha girl’s throat where her neck met her chest, Autumn shoved down, the body disappearing beneath the thick red and her arms submerged in its warmth. As soon as she let go, though, the body bobbed back to the surface, now coated in red except for the blue eyes that still mocked her. Though the blood clung to the Vantha’s skin, it ran free from Autumn’s hands and arms as readily as it would if it was water. Again and again and again, Autumn tried to drown the already dead body, but no matter how waterlogged it became with blood, it always bobbed back to the surface. And no matter how many times she dunked her hands, the same crimson with its warm stench wouldn’t stick to her.

The blood wasn’t on her hands.

Angrily, she pushed the body aside, letting it drift downstream with the others. Sifting through them one by one on her steady plod upriver, Autumn’s hope faded. Of the faces that drifted by, none of them mattered, because none of them were Maro. She hadn’t heard his call since the wave.

There was only silence.

Autumn stopped. There had to be a better way than this. If only she was dead. Her senses for life seemed somehow sharper when she was a ghost. Closing her eyes, she felt down into the depths of herself, as if she could grab ahold of her soul and command it to do her bidding the way she had when she was a ghost. Control was much more difficult. The body was attuned to the physical world and only felt the itself, its tissue and nerves and muscle. The soul meant nothing to it, nothing but silence.

Meditation had seemed key while she was living, so as gently as she could, she laid herself to rest with the floating bodies. As she spread out, the river buoyed her, cradling her like a doting mother would. Closing her eyes again, she drowned out the light. As her head lay back, blood filled her ears, smothering unborn sound. Autumn let go of everything as much as she could. For a moment, there was nothing but silence, but then, she began to hear something beyond herself.

It was beating. At first, Autumn thought it was the pulse of whatever heart had let loose this river of blood, but it was too irregular, double in its pattern. Hooves, she finally realized. Next came a different sensation. Smell. It was something freshly baked or still baking, and it almost broke her from her reaching. Lastly, came another sound, and though she couldn’t make out the words, she could sense the urgency in the voice. It was a prayer, a petition, a call for help, and Autumn felt drawn to it.

At once the river seemed to be taking her both closer to and farther from each of these, but Autumn didn’t strive to find one or the other. Instead, she let the river take her where it would, indistinguishable from the other bodies, the only one of them alive and the only one not meant to be.
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A Memory's Requiem

Postby Lily Maier on July 30th, 2020, 11:07 am

Once again Lily had told herself this had to be a dream. Her childhood home stood before her. A safe haven nested quaintly into the luscious grasses fields of Sharai. Even though intellectually she knew this house had no place existing, as it did, every detail was just as she remembered. From the chalk markings on the door frame, which her grandmother left as a reminder of just how small Lily once was, and how quickly she grew, to the hand written markers in the hard garden she still remembered drawing. Even the very last marker was just as she remembered, misspelled terribly.

Nostalgia made Lily’s head spin. Logically she knew this dream was an impossibility and once she awoke, she’d only grow sad with longing, without even an empty abandoned house to returned to. None of this existed anymore. Some rich family’s homestead replaced her’s. They probably grew little Lily’s of their own now. But perhaps if she could just remain dreaming for ever she’d never have to grow up again.

That’s when she heard it. A voice so familiar she almost welled up at the sound of it. “Mum?” She whispered as she spun around abruptly to find her memory indeed did not mislead her. She’d recognise that voice anywhere.

Fit as a fiddle, her mother stood there with the biggest grin on her face. So alive. So unlike Lily remembered her for the illness in her later years obscured those early childhood impressions so well. Was this a re-play? A chance to start again?

“Mum!” She cried as she bolted towards the woman and flung her arms around her neck. Squeezing tight she hurried her face in her mother’s hair, took in her very distinctive scent: tobacco and clove. A familiar laugh rang in her ears, but before she managed to say anything her mother had a demand of her.

"You won't get better if you don't practice, you know. It's the same as cooking or baking. Come, spar with me."

Butterflies fluttered in Lily’s stomach. It always felt like such a massive deal when her mother would take time out of her busy schedule to teach her something. It was a rare treat. And in that memento all question of what in Mizahar was going on left Lily’s mind once and for good and she reached to her hip only to find to her surprise that there indeed was a sword where she’d expect it to be. Without much question she unclothed the blunt, crudely made weapon fit for the hands of a child. Her feet beneath her dug into the soil as she held it in front of her, pointing at her mother who took up a similar stance with her own far superior weapon.

“Mum I’m so out of practice.” She admitted, a little embarrassed. None the less she was ready for the lesson.
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