[Holiday Challenge] Luminous Heart ii

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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[Holiday Challenge] Luminous Heart ii

Postby Oralie on December 27th, 2021, 10:01 am

Continued from Luminous Heart i

She did not spend long in the treeline, and soon enough her human self was becoming anxious enough to cause her to step back into the sunlight. Pink nose twitching, she breathed in deeply, smelling the salt on the air. She turned back to face the trees and breathed again, and this time it was the scent of musky earth, rich and deep.

After a while, Oralie came to realise that there was a person standing a little way off from her. She turned her head, luminous golden eyes taking in the form of a woman, so very out of place, standing alone on the pristine sand. She was watching Oralie carefully, not moving. Something was draped over her arm, and it took the Kelvic a few moments to remember herself before she realised it was her dress, the one she had removed earlier that should have still been folded neatly on the rock where she had left it. Her gaze moved back up to the woman’s face, away from the yellow patterned fabric, the memory finally settling itself into her mind.

Priskil.

The Goddess was exactly as she had been the first time Oralie had met her. Drab coloured fabrics almost swamped her lithe figure, the frayed hems of her cloak dragging on the sand. The shoes were the same too – Oralie could see the sole was still barely attached to the right one. A hood was pulled a little way over her head, tendrils of long, dark hair escaping it and falling to frame her beautiful face. Though her clothing gave the impression of a poor woman, her features could not belong to anyone other than a Goddess of Radiance. A smile graced her mouth, lips curving upward as she saw the recognition spark in Oralie’s eyes.

Oralie huffed out a breath through her nose before she turned, padding slowly across the sand to where the Goddess stood, waiting. There was not a single other soul on the beach with them. Even the sea birds all seemed to have flown away, Priskil’s luminous presence too wonderful for them to handle. The only noise was the sand grains shifting beneath Oralie’s paw pads and the soft whispering of waves lapping at the shore.

She stopped a couple of paces away from her Goddess, her golden gaze rising to meet Priskil’s own deep chocolate irises. Crinkles appeared at the corners of her eyes as she smiled down at her.
“My dear Oralie.”
She crouched, kneeling in the sand, bringing herself closer to Oralie’s level. The Kelvic dipped her head as the Goddess reached out to gently touch behind her shoulder, an appreciative rumble sounding deep in her chest at the caress of a hand through her fur. They stayed like that for a full couple of chimes, Oralie with her eyes shut, and Priskil smiling serenely at the small feline. Eventually the Goddess withdrew her hand and stood, the yellow patterned dress still draped neatly over her arm.
“Come, walk with me.”

She turned and started to walk away without a pause or backward glance, and Oralie paused for tick, head tilted ever so slightly to one side, before moving quickly over to walk by Priskil’s side. They walked in silence, though of course Oralie was unable to speak given that she was currently taking her ocelot form, but it was a silence of companions. Even though the Kelvic had not seen her Goddess again beyond the first time, it did not feel otherworldly anymore. Her company felt comforting and familiar, like it was a completely normal thing to take a stroll with the Goddess of Radiance. Perhaps, in Priskil’s world, it was.

“It is rather lovely here, is it not?” Priskil had her head tilted back, looking up at the sky as they walked along the sand. Oralie huffed an agreement, her tail swishing behind her as she padded alongside the Goddess.
“It is, I think, a good place for you.” Priskil lowered her gaze to take in Oralie, eyes running over the spotted fur of her coat. “Yes, you chose well. Did you know ocelots naturally live in places like this?”
The Kelvic roughly shook her head to indicate her surprise at the words. Priskil smiled. “Oh yes, if you ever venture into the trees, expect to find others like you.”

Oralie turned her luminous gaze on the dense tree line as she walked. It would explain why she felt pulled to enter the jungle, despite her fears of the place. She was thankful that her human urge to live outweighed those feelings, for she knew that it was not a place for her yet. All the same, she often wondered just how many things called the jungle their home.

“You have grown much already since you arrived here. You have felt joy now, haven’t you?” Oralie met her gaze and whatever Priskil saw in her eyes was answer enough to her statement. “But you are keeping it behind a mask, only letting it slip sometimes. Your heart is still overburdened with fear.” The Goddess stopped, swiveling on her heel to stand in front of Oralie. “The fears of your past cannot haunt you here. You must have hope Oralie, hope for your future. You must feel that hope, shining, every day. Lighting you up from within so you can forge your own path. He owns you no longer, he has no say in your life anymore. Because it is your life, and you need to live it.”

Oralie’s swishing tail had stilled, her large golden eyes fixed unblinkingly on the Goddess before her. A long pause stretched between them once Priskil stopped speaking. A swirl of lights danced around the Kelvic’s body, obscuring her entirely from view for less than a tick. Almost immediately, Oralie was standing in front of Priksil on her own two legs, blonde hair tangled around her face and her eyes swimming with the threat of tears.


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[Holiday Challenge] Luminous Heart ii

Postby Oralie on December 27th, 2021, 10:02 am

Priskil reached a hand out to cup Oralie’s cheek. The Kelvic had stopped flinching when anybody touched her now, and she blinked, trying to stop the tears welling over.
“Oralie you have a special soul. You have known what it is to be lost, but you never truly gave up all hope. Even when you thought you had none, I could see it in you. It is why I came to see you in the first place. Despite all you have been through you retained your innocence, your wonder. But you still cling to the fear too.”

Oralie glanced down, breaking their visual connection. She dug her toe into the sand. “I just… Am I really safe here? I’m sure he would have found me by now if he knew but… I don’t know how to be a person, not really. Serving was my whole life and to be fearful, cautious… he practically demanded it of me, of all of us.”

She looked up again to see Priskil smile. “You need to trust in your hope Oralie. Forge your new life free of your past. Use your light, and mine to guide you. You are safe from the fears that once controlled you. That is not to say you should not remain vigilant, for the world is by its nature a dangerous place. But the dangers here are not the ones that you fear are following you.”

“You are young. So very young. You will learn in time. There are people here, people who will be good for you. You have met some of them already.”
The Kelvic nodded. “Everyone is so nice. They… they are a family. And nobody hesitated to treat me as if I was a part of it too. They go out of their way to help me and each other. It’s so different from Syliras.”

“That is good. You say you do not know how to be a person but you do. You are good, and you see the good in others. Even though you are holding on to fear unnecessarily, you have allowed yourself moments of happiness. You want things.”

Oralie frowned slightly, her brows pulling together. “I don’t know what I want.”
“Everyone wants something Oralie. If you could have anything, or do anything, what would it be?”
“I… I want to learn how to cook.” Priskil looked at Oralie for a while without saying anything. The Kelvic shuffled her feet awkwardly. “Well I do.” Her words were mumbled, as if she were a petulant child.
“Why?”

She looked up sharply, eyes confused for a moment before she considered the question. “I don’t know. I just used to watch the cook at my master’s house and saw all the things that she made. And then when I came here Tazrae cooked me a meal and it was the nicest thing I had ever eaten in my whole life. I want to be able to cook like them.”

“But why, Oralie?”
Oralie was getting frustrated with the repeated question. Why could it not just be that she simply wanted to know how to cook?! She was about to say as much, when she remembered who was asking her. Not just a friend, though Priskil was surely that, but the Goddess of Radiance, no less. And as far she was aware, the Gods did not do or say anything without a good reason.

She flopped herself down onto the ground with a sigh. The sand was rough and warm on her bare skin and she stared at the gentle waves for a chime, a small crease between her eyebrows indication of her frustration and intensity of thought. Priskil eased herself down next to Oralie, laying the Kelvic’s neatly folded dress on the sand between them. She tucked her feet primly to one side of her and waited.

“I want to learn to cook… because it is something that I can do for myself.”
She saw the Goddess nod once. “And then I can cook for other people too. I want to be able to cook somebody whatever they want.”
“And why is that?”

Again that question. But this time Oralie took it to heart, because she was starting to realise something. “Because not everybody can do it for themselves.” She turned to meet Priskil’s gaze. “I don’t just want to learn how to cook. I want to know how to do a lot of things. And I want to know how to do those things because I want to help. People, animals, anyone. There is so much suffering and it’s so unfair. And so many of the ones who suffer don’t know hope, they don’t know you! If you can still hold hope in your heart for Aquiras after all this time, then I can too. I can hold it and I can give it to others like you have done for me for all of my life.”

“That is truly what you want?”

Oralie nodded vigorously, blonde waves fluttering over her bare shoulders. “Yes. To be alone in the dark is a horrible thing. To not feel like there is a way forward, a light at the end of the tunnel… it was almost unbearable. You and your hope made me want to carry on and to live, to imagine that one day I could be free and be whoever I want to be.”

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[Holiday Challenge] Luminous Heart ii

Postby Oralie on December 27th, 2021, 10:02 am

“I was alone in the dark once too.”
Oralie’s eyebrows knitted together in concern. “When Aquiras’s heart was taken from him.” It was not a question, for she knew that was truly what had happened. Priskil closed her eyes with a single nod.
“Yes. For someone who represents hope, I myself had very little of it in the time immediately following that event. My world was one of darkness and sorrow.” Oralie felt herself wanting to reach for her Goddesses hand, but she restrained herself from doing so, instead running her fingers across the golden vortex decorating her left palm.

“But it was the strength and selflessness of humans that rekindled my light. People like you, Oralie. I turned to mortals in order to help me help my love, and they willingly chose to walk by my side, even if I offered them little in return.”

Oralie had an overwhelming mixture of emotions battling inside of her. There was sadness for Priskil’s slumbering lover, anger for the insane and evil mage Sagallius, joy that Priskil saw her as a human of some worth and hope from hearing that Aquiras might yet be saved. The Kelvic had not been able to learn too much of her Goddesses lost love, the people at the Temple of All Gods in Syliras merely telling her that The Goddess of Radiance offered hope to others.

“You truly think that he can be saved? Aquiras, I mean.”
“Oh yes.” Priskil turned her unfathomable gaze on Oralie once more. “He slumbers still, after all of this time. His Heart is out there. If it were returned to him, he would be whole and well once more.”

A silence grew between the pair as they sat upon the sand. If anyone saw them together it may appear an almost comical sight. One young woman completely naked, pressing her toes so far into the sand that it was almost up over her ankles, and the other dressed in tatty robes that would be far, far too warm for even the most heat adjusted person to be wearing in a place like Syka.

“Why did you choose me?”
The Goddess smiled at the young Kelvic. “You are selfless. You helped someone even though you did not have to. You gave them the only thing you had that was for yourself because you felt that they needed it more than you, and you asked for nothing in return. And even before that, I had been listening to you. I heard your sorrow and fear, but I also felt your hope, your desire to keep going. Those qualities are what my light embodies.”

“But I’m not strong. I can’t do anything useful. How am I supposed to help you?”
“You are not strong yet. Not physically. Mentally though, Oralie, you are stronger than most. Your mental fortitude is just as important as having physical strength. Never forget that. Hope is one of the most powerful things you can wield. With hope a person can survive almost anything, can inspire others to overcome great obstacles. You and I have both seen dark places inside our own minds. Yet here we are, because we hoped.”

Oralie nodded slowly. “I still don’t understand how hope will help us get Aquiras’s heart back though. How can hope fight monsters and bad people?”
Priskil shifted in the sand to face Oralie properly. Her face was very difficult to read, no one particular emotion standing out on her beautiful features. They held each other’s gazes for a while before... “Us?”

“Well… you said you asked mortals for help for Aquiras right? You meant that you gave them your mark, didn’t you? Like you gave it to me.” Oralie turned over her left hand to expose her glowing palm, holding it a little way away from her body. “So of course I must help you. I think that even if I did not have your mark that I would want to help you anyway. But I do, so I guess that I can help better with it. But I just don’t see how.”

The Goddess smiled. “You are astute, Oralie. There is more to it than you are aware of though.”

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[Holiday Challenge] Luminous Heart ii

Postby Oralie on December 27th, 2021, 10:03 am

“You have a small mark at the moment, a tiny sliver of what it can do. If I were to give you more, eventually your hope can become a physical weapon.”

While she understood the meaning of Priskil’s words, she still did not understand how hope was or could be an actual weapon. However she sensed that the Goddess would not elaborate on it, even if she asked her.

“You said that you would like to help me?” Priksil waited for Oralie to nod before she continued. “Oralie, you must understand that it is a task many have been trying to aid me with for a very, very long time. It is not and will never be an easy one.”

Oralie swallowed, a little nervous at the darker turn in the conversation, but she had a new determination blossoming inside of her. Her Goddess, Radiant Priskil, had done so much to help her already. She had pulled Oralie out of the darkest depths of her own mind, and had given her the hope and courage to eventually come to Syka to build a new life. While Priskil had never asked for anything in return, and the Kelvic knew that she never would, she still wanted to help her, no matter what it took.

Oralie nodded once again. “That… that is okay. I have your hope, right?” She smiled. “Even if I struggle, I want to help you. I truly do.”

“Very well then. In that case there are some things you should know. The people who help me call themselves an Order, The Order of Radiance. In having one of my marks, you are a member by default, if you wish to be. There are no others here, no Chapter, otherwise I would have asked them to help you.” The Goddess paused, considering Oralie as the Kelvic spoke up again.

“I will do it.” Oralie’s brow had a determined set to it. “I will be your person here, tell people about you and make sure there is hope for those people who need it.”

Priskil smiled and inclined her head.
“The closest Watchtowers are in Black Rock and Taloba, homes of Dira and Myri respectively. One day, when you are strong enough you may be able to visit either of them, even Taloba. You are a predator Kelvic, I think the Myrians would ultimately be okay with your presence.”

Oralie had not heard of either place before, but that was not the thought at the front of her mind, for she knew that others in the settlement would probably know something about them, Instead, she asked, “The Watchtowers… they are Aquiras’s, right?”

“Yes. They were built by ancient humans for the pair of us. My power infuses the gemstones and gives them the light that changes with the seasons. Aquiras though, is The Voyager, and his power turned the towers into doorways. A person could travel almost instantaneously between Watchtowers. There used to be so many, all over Mizahar.”

Priskil’s expression became sad for a moment. “But now they do not work anymore for he is sleeping.” She looked sharply at Oralie. “If you ever come to find a Watchtower Oralie, do not enter its doorway unless there is an Order member there to tell you that it is safe. There is no knowing where you might end up.”

Oralie did not say anything for a short moment, a little alarmed at the intensity with which her Goddess spoke.
“If… if we can find Aquiras’s Heart, and wake him up again, does that mean the Watchtowers will start to work properly?”
Priskil nodded. “Yes. Things would be as they should once more, as they used to be.”

“Okay. How do I do it?” Priskil blinked, clearly a little taken aback by the intensity behind the young Kelvic’s words.
“Oralie, you cannot do it alone. The Order of Radiance has been trying for many years.”

“I know, you said already, I just… I have to help you. I don’t just want to teach people about you and your hope, though I promise you that I will do that too. What I really want is to restore Aquiras for you.” She had never felt so sure of anything in all her short life before this. Listening to her Goddess speak, she knew it was the right thing to do. She raised her left hand, closed into a fist and a golden light shimmered faintly from between her fingers, visible even in the shining Sykan sun.

Priskil simply looked at Oralie for a chime, the corners of her eyes crinkling a little with the small smile she wore. The Goddess reached out and took Oralie’s closed fist in both of her hands.
“Oralie, you are so young. You have so much to learn. But I can feel your heart, your hope and your determination so strongly.”

Priskil gently eased Oralie’s hand open so it lay sandwiched between her own. The pair held each other’s gazes, and Oralie’s palm grew almost uncomfortably warm for a moment, a familiar sensation that brought back a very specific memory.

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[Holiday Challenge] Luminous Heart ii

Postby Oralie on December 27th, 2021, 10:04 am

The warmth receded once more, and Priskil let her hands fall away from Oralie’s. The Kelvic peered at her palm, the golden vortex shimmered there exactly as it had always done. She flicked her gaze up to meet her Goddesses eyes.

“You are marked twice now, Oralie. Your hope and vigilance will protect you when you call on the light from now on. You used the mark before to help you when you were feeling afraid and needed courage to cling to your hope in order to keep moving forward. Power it now with that same hope, pour positive thoughts and optimism into the light and be a beacon for others.”

The Goddess watched Oralie somewhat expectantly. Oralie gazed at her palm again. While she was not a natural optimist, with anxiety usually standing out as her primary emotion, she was starting to feel a little lighter as the days went on. As such, it surprised her when she found it easy to bring feelings of hope and happiness to the surface. She smiled. Of course she had hope. There was so much she had to do now, and failure could not be an option.

When the light came to Oralie this time, it did not just appear in her palm. Instead it wrapped around her entire body in a beautiful golden halo. Oralie’s heart felt like it was singing and Priskil smiled.

“The light will protect you, as though you had on light armor, or you can protect another person with it instead. Everyone who sees you shining will feel hope, and creatures of the darkness will be cowed by it. Oralie, I believe in you as much as you believe in me.”

Oralie gazed down at her body, watching the shimmering halo. After a short while she let it fade away and returned her attention to Priskil once again.
“What do I need to do now?”

Priskil’s expression became more serious as she answered. “Don’t do anything reckless. You are too weak still, and your knowledge is limited.” While it could have sounded like an insult, the words coming from the Goddess of Radiance were anything but. Oralie nodded earnestly. “Your task for now is to become stronger. I said that it would not be easy and that was putting it very lightly. You need to know how to defend yourself against terribly powerful things. Remember that Aquiras is a God, and you want to go up against someone who managed to best him. Train Oralie, train in whatever you can. Learn to fight but also learn to defend. Learn about the world too, about as many different things that you can. Knowledge is just as important as power.”

“I will. I will do everything you ask.” Priskil reached out and took Oralie’s hand again in her own.

“Do not forget though, that you will not be alone. I am always with you, even when you cannot see me. Stay vigilant, and hold that hope in your heart always. You are being drawn into a web, with some people you already know, and others you have yet to meet. Pay attention to these people, keep them close to you for you will need them, and they will need you too. The path ahead of you is a long one, and while there is much light there will also be many shadows.”

Priskil stood, pulling Oralie up with her. She dropped her hand, and instead reached out and took hold of Oralie’s face, gently resting her palms on the Kelvic’s cheeks. “I have to go back now, I cannot leave him for too long.” The Goddess stroked Oralie’s cheek once, gave a small smile and turned away, walking across the beach. She had vanished in the tick it took Oralie to blink, and the Kelvic stood for several chimes, watching the spot her Goddess had last been in.

The cry of a gull in the sky above shook her out of her reverie. She peered up, noting a wheeling flock of birds where just a moment ago there had been none. Oralie turned her palm face up again to look at it before calling on the light as she did before. Once again the halo enveloped her entire body. She had almost thought it had been another dream.

She stooped to pick up her dress, then unfolded the fabric and pulled it on over her head before turning to head back to the Protea Inn. She had no idea how long she had been, but it was probably time she headed back. She pondered the conversation as she walked, wondering on who the people were that might be important. She thought Tazrae could be one of them, hoped it even for a moment. But then realised that if the Innkeeper was such a person, would Oralie’s future put her in danger? She did not know, and had no idea how to work it out. In any case, she had to become stronger before she could do anything else, so she resolved to start training as soon as she could. Even though the task ahead seemed long and dangerous, Oralie herself had never felt lighter. She had a purpose, a purpose given to her by her Goddess no less. And she was determined not to let her down.

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[Holiday Challenge] Luminous Heart ii

Postby Alric Lysane on March 14th, 2022, 7:35 am

Image

Your Grades


Oralie

Skills

Interrogation – 4
Observation – 5
Philosophy – 2
Socialization – 5

Lores

Aquiras: Heart Removed
Aquiras: Priskil’s Lover
Ocelots: Live In The Jungle
Priskil: Appearance to Oralie
Priskil’s Task: Get Stronger
The Order of Radiance
Watchtowers: Black Rock & Taloba
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