Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by The Muse
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The Muse

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One Month Previously...


Damon's grey eyes snapped open, his dirty blonde hair stuck to the sweat beading on his forehead and his heart pounding beneath his chest. He let out a small breath of relief, realizing he was free from the nightmare he had been reliving for the past week every night. Sitting up in his plush king sized bed, he ran a hand through his hair and glanced out of the window next to the door leading out onto a balcony that overlooked the entire kingdom of Eredel. Judging by the dim light peaking out over the horizon, he guessed it had to be nearing 6am.

Beside him, a soft groan broke his concentration. "My Lord? Are you alright?"

He looked down at the petite blonde next to him, her naked body sinking into his bed of soft pillows and silk sheets. He smiled faintly, though it was more like a smirk, and pushed a strand of stray hair away from her face. "Shhh..." He whispered, leaning down close and pressing a kiss onto her lips before she had a chance to utter another word. She melted against him, yearning for more as he pulled away.

"My love-"

"Leave me." His voice was devoid of emotion then, the pet name she had just called him sending chills through his spine.

"Sir?" She was confused, clearly.

Damon was at the door in a split second, something he had still been trying to get used to. "Get.Out."

The woman, a commoner who had practically flung herself at him, sat up abruptly and stared at him in awe. It was a spectacle to see a human move so quickly, but he was in no mood for questions. He didn't even have the answers. He only knew that he needed her to leave, and he needed to do something that he had been putting off for nearly two weeks.

"Now." He was talking through his teeth now, trying to keep his voice quiet so as not to wake the entire castle. When she didn't move, Damon had the thought to gather up her clothes, shove them into her hands and push her out the door himself. Before he even finished the thought he had done just that, and the woman was too shocked to do much more than allow herself to be moved around like a doll. This new ability of his was becoming annoyingly impulsive.

"Prince!" He slammed the door on her as soon as she was past the door line.

Sighing, he turned and looked up at the ceiling, imagining the Gods above. "I'm doing it, you bastard." He spoke aloud, hoping that the Gods could hear him. Something about it felt right.

For the past two weeks he had been having sporadic visions of the God Hermes, telling him vague things about a message he was supposed to deliver. It's been perplexing, especially considering he was never one to be truly devoted to the Gods. Almost simultaneously he had become quicker than the average person. Over these two weeks, he had run into closed doors at least a dozen times. Twice, he ended up in a village in the middle of the forest. The latter was a shocking experience, and he couldn't figure out how to get himself back to the castle just as quickly. Those days he was late to all of his training and nearly missed dinner, but he was unable to explain his reason to his teacher and family. His father assumed he had run off with some girl, so Damon allowed them all to believe that. How could he possibly explain that he had been trying to make his way back from the village of Tavaru when it would have normally taken him a day to get there and a day to come back?

When the visions didn't seem to work for Hermes, Damon was afflicted with vivid nightmares. This left him exceptionally tired, which seemed to make his new skill even more unpredictable. The nightmare started off normal; he was sparring with one of this sword-masters, just like any typical day. Until sparring became increasingly aggressive and the sword-master eventually bested him and shoved the blade deep into his abdomen. As Damon gasped for air, the sword-master drove the weapon deeper into his body and leaned in close to whisper, "The letters."

Occasionally the sword-master would give him a name, which the Prince would promptly write down upon waking. No matter what the sword-master said, however, Damon always awoke with a searing pain in his abdomen, as if he had truly been stabbed there. Tonight was the same, but this time Damon had had enough. He could no longer ignore these dreams and waking visions. They were a plague, truly. He'd finally given in, hoping that this one task would end whatever it was that the Gods must have wanted with him.

"I'm going insane." He thought as he grabbed a pile of paper splayed out over a desk in one corner of his room. Most of the pieces of paper had the name of a stranger he had never even heard of on them, aside from a select few. Sitting down, Damon went through each name and began writing the same letter to each one of them, something that came clearly in his mind which he assumed Hermes was feeding to him.

Dear [first name of your character],

You have been chosen. I know that you have been in considerable pain, and probably some measure of shock.

If you wish for answers and for the pain to leave, please meet me at the Silver Crow Tavern in exactly one month; the fifteenth of May. It is near the border of Eredel and Haventis.

You risk your own life should you not arrive.

Damon left the letter anonymous, as he felt compelled to do. He nearly shuddered at the thought of going to the Silver Crow Tavern, located in one of the few poor areas of Eredel, but nonetheless he knew in his heart that he had written the correct location. When he finished writing the letters, he sent each one of them out with a raven to deliver them. By the will of Hermes, each raven would find its way to the correct person.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Helo
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Helo Wonderlust King

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Enzo’s heart raced as he ran through a thick and disorienting forest, he knew treasure was near and for some reason the rest of his crew was nowhere to be seen but he couldn’t remember where they had gone. Something was chasing him, he could hear it running just behind him when suddenly he tripped and became inexplicably entangled in thick ivy vines that wrapped themselves around him. As much as he struggled the ivy only tightened around him until he could barely breath. Then the beast that had been chasing him leapt upon him, a savage panther whose teeth and claws ripped and tore the flesh from his body.

Enzo awoke with a stifled gasp covered in cold sweat and out of breath. He’d been having that same dream for weeks and it was driving him well past exhaustion. He hadn’t had a descent night’s sleep, he woke up barely able to catch his breath, and with his entire body in pain as if it had been real. He was far too awake now to go back to sleep so he got up and wandered the ship’s deck, restless and shaken. Starring out onto the vast open sea calmed his nerves, as did the sound of rolling waves, and the smell of salty ocean air. He took slow deep breaths until he was able to fully relax again. He turned from the bow of the ship and headed back to the crew’s quarters when a raven dropped a scroll at his feet before the bird flew off. Enzo picked up the scroll and briefly looked at it, unable to read he couldn’t make much sense of it so he placed it in his pocket until morning.

Enzo failed to get much sleep the rest of the night and was up bright and early that morning. He quickly remembered the strange piece of paper the raven had delivered to him during the night and headed to the galley. The ship’s cook was a grizzled old man, called Old Man Johnny by the crew on account of him being the oldest man on the boat, pirate nicknames usually weren’t too clever, and he was one of the few been on board that could read. A much younger Old Man Johnny had been a tutor for some noble family but due to some bad luck he ended up on a less than reputable vessel living a pirate’s life. Enzo looked to Johnny like a second father and trusted the man more than other aboard The Harlot’s Kiss. Enzo showed Johnny the letter and after hearing its message he further explained to the old man the reoccurring nightmare’s he been having as well.

“Zeus’s tangled beard boy! Have you not studied the gods at all?” Johnny asked him. Enzo rolled his eyes and shook his head; he’d never put much faith in the actual existence of the gods. “Panthers and ivy, sacred symbols of the god Dionysus, he is speaking to you in your dreams. You have been called by the gods, can’t be a coincidence that we are due to dock near here almost a months time.”

“Can’t say I’ve ever need much convincing to spend my shore time in a tavern but what could the gods possibly want with me.” Enzo asked, the whole thing was so strange although it wasn’t the first strange occurrence as of late. A few weeks ago, he’d gotten into a fist fight with another member of the crew and after the exchange of only a couple blows the man had a bizarre case amnesia. Enzo would’ve sworn he hadn’t hit the man that hard but the amnesia lasted several hours. Not long after that he and some of his fellow sailors had almost been arrested by some guards in Eredel only to have them come down with a sudden case of amnesia as well. “Some weird stuff has been happening lately, you think it could be connect?’ He asked as he thought about the past few months, any explanation other than him losing his mind did sound preferable.

“Aye, lad, I’d say ‘tis.” Old Man Johnny said with a nod.

May, 15th

Enzo sat in the far corner of the tavern, his back against a wall and his eyeline towards the door. He was several flagons of wine into things and a small group of fellow patrons had joined his table. Enzo freely spent his ill-gotten gains on his temporary friends as they all cheerfully sang sea-shanties and traded exaggerated stories. He figured he might as well enjoy his time in at The Silver Crow while he waited for his answers. He continued to drink wine, occasionally pouring out some libations to the floor and shouting ‘for Dionysus’ figuring he might as well celebrate the god and maybe he’d actually get a decent night’s sleep for once if he sacrificed enough to the god. At this point Enzo would give anything to make his nightmares stop.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Kitty
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Never did Kalanie think that she would actually end up leaving Xivia. Even if she had the desire to go explore the rest of the world, she never intended to act upon it knowing how it would affect her kingdom. But that all changed when something inside of her changed, something she didn't understand and something that scared her greatly.

It all started with the dreams, more like nightmares in her opinion. Dreams of constant war and fighting within her country. Bloodshed everywhere. And the person leading it all... her. Every night for three weeks the nightmare plagued her sleep, causing her to try and skip out on sleeping more and more. It was when her family took notice of her lack of sleep that she was sent to one of their priests to have her dream analyzed by him.

The priest listened to her retell the events of the dream and was horrified, to say the least. "You are cursed. Cursed by the gods! Cursed by Ares himself!" The priest kept yelling at her telling her she was cursed and decided she needed to be ended so the curse couldn't happen nor affect their nation. Even if he was seen as a traitor. So the priest attacked her.

Kalanie was no fighter, no one in Xivia really knew how to fight all that well but for some reason upon him attacking her and wrapping his hands around her neck she knew exactly how to get out of the hold and fight back. But she accidentally hit too hard in the wrong place and with a snap, he dropped to the floor dead. The princess let out a shriek of horror and her father along with some guards came running from elsewhere in the palace. They entered the room to see the priest's dead body and the princess curled in a ball tears streaming down her cheeks as she stared at the body, red marks on her neck from the priest's attempt on her life.

All of them were shocked at the scene, no one had attempted anything on the lives of the royals in a long time and the fact that the princess somehow accidentally killed the man who did try to take her life was also shocking. But all that mattered was that she was safe, that's what everyone else thought. But Kalanie only thought herself a monster.

Her father had carried her out of that room that day like he used to do when she was young and tried to comfort his daughter but nothing worked. That night when Kalanie was finally left alone to sleep, a Raven flew in through her open window and left a letter at the end of her bed. Reading the letter left her with more questions than answers and a heart torn on what to do. Leaving could very well protect her kingdom but at the same time what would the other kingdoms do if they found out the Princess of Xivia was wandering through their kingdoms after so many years of her kingdom staying away from the rest of the kingdoms with little to no contact between them.

Despite the risks, Kalanie knew she needed to go. So she set out, packing a small bag of clothing along with a bag of gold coins, more than she would probably need, and another bag of gold for paying a ship and its crew to sail her close to the borders of Eredel and Haventis.

May 15th
The trip to the other kingdoms had been a rough one, she had seen quite a few shipwrecks as they passed through the rough waters around Xivia and prayed to the gods that their crews' souls had made it over River Styx to the Underworld and were now at peace.

Once the ship she was on made it to land, Kalanie began her journey to the tavern she was told she was to meet at. The journey across the land had lasted a few days but she hadn't met much trouble yet as she kept herself hidden behind a cloak.

When she arrived at the tavern she looked up at it and cocked her head to the side, green eyes taking in the odd sight. It was definitely not something she'd see back in Xivia. At the thought of Xivia, her heart grew heavy but she simply shook her head and pushed her way in. The people near the door grew silent and peered at her, though she wish she didn't she couldn't blame them. They were all bigger and more burly men while Kalanie was short and small in stature and was also wearing a cloak to hide behind. She'd also much rather have them staring for that reason then for the reason guys at the seaside town stared at her before she got the cloak, which was because the attire she wore over in Xivia that was normal over there was much more revealing over here compared to what other woman wore. Kalanie refused to change but she also wasn't quite ready for perverse stares.

Taking a deep breath Kalanie walked passed the staring men and made her way to the furthest corner in the back and sat down. A sigh of relief passed her lips as her aching bare feet got a break, she probably would need to invest in some shoes at some point. But that didn't matter for the time being. Observing the others in the bar she heard the yell of "For Dionysus" and looked across to another corner to see someone poor out some alcohol before cheering with some men and drinking. As she looked away to continue observing others, she wondered to herself if he might be another one of the people cursed like she was. Although he would be taking it a lot better than she if he was.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Saarebas
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Saarebas Spell-Slinger For Hire

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The world was set ablaze; fire rained from the skies and the seas boiled, forests were razed to ashes and kingdoms melted away into nothingness, and the only thing that withstood the hellish flames of the raging inferno was a single man. He was colossal, head nestled amongst the clouds and his body rivaling the size of mountain ranges. A thick, lushes smoldering beard hung from his face down to his ash coated chest. His frame rippled with muscles that roared of this giant's incomprehensible strength. But this titanic being's most notable feature was undoubtedly his eyes which burned twice as intensely as the hell scape that they looked over. In front of him stood an equally as massive anvil, the metal structure burning red hot within the flames the engulfed the world around it.

It seemed like an eternity as the chaos and carnage ravished the land and the towering figure did nothing but loomed over the destruction, but seemingly in an instance he sprung to life. Gripping the hammer that was hung from his belt the living mountain raised it far above his head, it and his gargantuan arm being lost among the clouds. It was a split second later that the hammer was brought rocketing down from the heavens and down onto the anvil, the impact sending out an ear piercing clang of metal and causing the very earth to shake. The giant raised the hammer again and brought it down for yet another soul shaking strike. Over and over this colossus struck the anvil, causing the earth the tremble, but with each blow the scorched wasteland began to change.

The mounds of ash and the rivers of fire began to fade and to be replaced with a glorious golden city. It was a kingdom fit for the gods themselves; countless beautiful buildings of such intricate design no mere mortal could of dreamed of them lined the streets, the roads themselves were paved in silver and gold, and numerous glowing towers reached up towards the heavens. The city grew with each and every hammer strike to the anvil until the ruined world that once stretched as far as the eye could see was nothing more than a bitter memory.

As the giant continued his work new and more fantastic creations began to fill the world. One of the giant's strikes brought fleets of chariots into existence, these brilliant machines were able to pull themselves without the aid of any beasts of burden. Another blow birthed an army of bronze armor clad figures, not made up of men of mere flesh and blood but rather beings born from the hammer of a smith and driven forward by the fires of a forge. Yet another strike caused the skies to be littered with mesmerizing ships that sailed through the air on golden sails.

The world only grew more full of the enormous being's magnificent creations as he continued his work, but as more inventions came into existence the brilliance turned blinding. The machinery began to over take the earth, all the simplicity of nature was eventually replaced by cold and soulless metal work. Once there was nothing left of the world that once was that was when the giant ceased, stepping back to look over his work. But without the guiding hand of its creator this new world was purposeless and without direction. The glorious cities and otherworldly machinery left aimless began to falter; buildings began to crumble, ships crashed from the skies, and the bronze army began to turn on itself. The chaos and destruction turned the once heavenly world into a wasteland of fire and ash, mirroring the one that it was born from.

The giant figure looked over the wasteland yet again, eyes still burning brighter than the flames that ravaged the world ever could, before he took his hammer back into his hand and raised it towards the skies and brought it down with the same earth rattling force as before.

"By the gods!" Cal's voice escaped him as he desperately took in air in an attempt to try and recollect himself after the dream he just had, unfortunately for him he didn't have too much time to collect his bearings. Just as soon as the young lad got his wits about him he realized that he was no longer in his own bed, but rather he was at his workstation at the forge with his hand completely submerged in the flames. Panic raced over his body as he instinctively recoiled, the fires still coating his broad forearm. "SHIT!" Cal exclaimed as he practically pounced onto the trough of water near by, plunging his blazing arm straight in.

"Not again..." A slight sigh escaped Cal as he slowly pulled his arm from the water, revealing it to be completely unscathed. This wasn't the first time that he had woken up to this situation, for the past few weeks almost every night he would be plagued with the same dream only to awaken to find himself working at his forge. His eyes moved to the still roaring fire of his forge then to the water trough next to him. He let out another sigh before plunging his hand back into the water and pulling out a glimmering piece of metal. "Another one." Cal's voice resonated with annoyance as he looked at the shining object in his hand. Turning it over a few times Cal figured that it had to be some sort of perch for a bird, but what really caught his attention was the detailed carvings that decorated the entire piece of silver. The most prominent of the designs was the clear symbol of the god of craftsmen himself, Hephaestus.

"I don't even have any silver in the damn shop." Cal spoke half aloud as he placed the perch onto a table and took a seat in a chair next to it. His amber eyes stared the his small creation down as his mind recalled all the other random bits and pieces he found himself waking up to. He had created a quite the assembly of metal work in his sleep; such as quite the breath taking tiara laced with small sapphires, a massive claymore with a intricate battle scene engraved into its blade, and even a full suit of golden armor. All of which had one thing in common, being marked with the brand of Hephaestus.

His late night smithing however was only part of Cal's problem however. Around the same time the dreams started Cal began small sparks would appear around him, even when he wasn't working the forge. Next the fire in his forge would spring to life whenever he had the mere thought of crafting something. Occasionally the food in his mouth would turn to ash. Eventually one night Cal awoke to find his entire bed on fire, with him still in it. He was able to jump from the flames and put them out before the spread, but what concerned Cal was the fact that he didn't even have the slightest of burns on him from the fire.

Being so wrapped up in his own thoughts about the events of the past few weeks Cal barely even noticed the raven that had flown in threw his window and settled onto the freshly crafted perch as if it was made for this very bird. Cal's initial thought was that some noble was asking him to craft some sword to hang up on their mantle and never use, this idea was quickly thrown away as he read the letter.

Someone out there knew what was going on with Cal and maybe even knew how to stop it. Cal didn't know what to make of this whole chosen thing, he never considered himself anything special and he defiantly didn't count himself as a devote to the gods. All Cal knew was that whatever was going on he needed it to stop.




May 15th


Hiring transport from his village to the border wasn't too hard, most carriage drivers in Haventis would take passengers across the entire country for the right price. As he arrived Cal couldn't help but be reminded of his childhood as he watched the string of drunkards march both in and out of the tavern. "Glad to see people are the same no matter what country they are from..." Cal thought to himself with a shake of his head as he headed inside of the building.

Cal didn't know what he should of expected, but from the letter and the bizarre things he was going through a normal night of revelry at the tavern was far from his mind. He watched as numerous groups of men downed their drinks and cheered, barmaids scurry to and fro dispensing drinks and evading the wandering hands of drunkards, and as a older bartender skillfully poured drink after drink to try and appease the ever growing thirst of the crowd.

The blacksmith didn't really know what to do so in an attempt to blend in he took a seat at the bar and ordered himself a drink, which the bartender had poured and delivered to Cal in almost an instant. Cal wrapped his massive hand around his drink and brought it to is lips, the substance hitting his tongue prompting a slight grimace to his face, the man wasn't much of a drinker. Setting his glass aside Cal scanned over the crowd again with only one question on his mind. Who in this place could possibly know what he was going through?
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by SouffleGirl123
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SouffleGirl123 Weird dweeby fangirly tiny smol bean

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Luella awoke to the beginning of dusk with a groan, her head was throbbing and her joints ached. They have for quite some time actually, unceasingly. Every morning she awoke to sore muscles as if the day before had been an extreme workout, luckily that faded by noon, but her head? That never stopped throbbing. It made sleeping hard and thinking harder. She tried appealing to the master of the household that she needed rest, that she was ill, but after the fifth day he took her for a liar, so got a nice beating out of that. From that lovely occasion she had no choice but to try to set the pain aside and continue to work. She gulped, peeling herself from the bed and attempting to groan as little as possible as she did so. She slowly got changed into her simple, bland attire before leaving the room for whatever was left for breakfast before Christopher arose.

Luella was cut short, however, at the call of a raven out of one of the windows she passed. Not a common bird around the manor at this time. She turns to the window to see the bird sitting there with some paper in its sharp talons. The woman quickly looked around her to ensure she was alone before walking to the window. Upon her further inspection she saw the paper was not just a piece of paper but an envelope... with her name on it. She looked around to ensure she was alone once more before quickly making her way to the nearby door and out into the cool morning breeze, the raven somehow already sitting at the door. She slowly (and painfully) lowered herself to her knees before reaching for the envelope in the same weary matter. The raven, however, allowed her to take it freely before flying off. She watched it oddly before turning to the letter. She hadn't a clue who would have sent it. Her busy duties meant he had little free time and very few friends, none of which would bother to send a letter.

"Luella!" came a sharp call from the door, "Why are you out here child? I am sure your duties thus far all lie inside!" Luella winced at the sharp call. Eryla was the household's strict head maid, she'd go straight to the master at any wrongdoing, even if it were small.

"Just...er... inspecting how warm it is. Master Christopher likes to know if the day is warm,"

Eryla grunted, no entirely convinced. "Then why, pray tell, are you on the ground?" she snaps.

"I tripped," Luella quickly replied, not entirely unbelievable, Luella was known for not being the most coordinated on the manor by far. Eryla sighed.

"I am watching you, child, if you mess up I am not afraid to inform the master," and with that she disappears inside. Luella slips the envelope into the bust of her dress. Comfortable? No, but none of her was right now anyway. With a groan she stood, her vision going a little disorientated with the throbbing of her head. she stumbled for moment before escaping inside and back to her quarters. Who needed a small breakfast when she had letter sent in a peculiar fashion? She sat on he bed and puled out the crisp envelope, a decent one too, one like the nobles in the household received not one from a peasant's wages. She spun it in her hand before opening it and reading the letter inside. She was, honestly, confused. Who was this sender? How did they know this of her, heck, how did they know her. But she was compelled to go, as if some invisible force was encouraging her. Eredel though? Eredel as so far away. She'd have to leave by the end of the week to ensure she was there on time.

~o0o~


Darkness had fallen upon the land hours ago, all the oil lamps had been turned off and the manor's noblemen and staff (par some wandering guards) all slept, all except for Luella. Her head throbbing made sleep difficult, she felt dizzy and slightly nauseous, but that may have been accentuated have been the fear of what would happen to her if she came back after tonight... or if she were caught. Luckily the guard manning the front door would easily not see her... for the right price. An offer he would deny anyone but her. She ensure her mother was asleep, stumbling over to her bed. She whispered I am so sorry, mother, but this is something I need to do. I love you," before planting a soft kiss on her cheek. She stood. Her throbbing head made it hard to focus on the world around her, on her actions and made her feel as if she was about to throw up. She gave a deep (yet uneffective) breath, slipped all the coin she had into a pouch, donned her black coat and hood and slipped out f the mansion and into the night, giving the guard a soft "Thank you," on her way out.

From there Luella was able to convince some noblewoman to let her aboard their carriage to the docks as a temporary handmaiden, not there was much one would do as a 'hand-maiden' on a carriage but purchase supplies and much at different stops but she believed the women took pity on he more than anything. Luella wasn't hard to pity, she supposed, between her skin colour, the healing wounds still in the process of fading from her last beating, her slim figure from being underfed and her constant state of pain. She could use that with more compassionate people although the majority of that list seldom bothered her. After a long travel with the women she was able to bribe a merchant going from Vespora to Eredel to let her aboard. It was a nice change to not have to serve anyone or once, even if the rocking boat made her head ache more and force her to feel more nauseous.

May 15th

After a journey from the docks to the tavern on foot Luella had arrived a day early and stayed in a shady inn. Probably not the best accommodation but Luella didn't have much coin so it would have to do. When the next day approach, however, she opted to stay in bed. Her body ached more than usual from all the walking on the previous day which made her head throb more which put the young woman in quite a lot of pain. Luckily, the coming of the afternoon lead to it being subdued. She forced herself out of the bed and donned her black cloak once more before making her way into the tavern. At her entrance she pulled down her hood, knowing to failed to belong against the tough men that occupied the place. She slipped into a seat in a booth near the door. In the middle a large group of pirates cheered and drunk wine at an incredible speed. Their yelling seemed to have little effect on Luella's head's constant throbbing which was good. Who was she meant to meet? It wasn't like she'd notice them, would they even know her?

Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by The Muse
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"She's possessed father! I swear it. You should listen to her when she speaks to no one and stares at nothing." The eldest Princess of Adlan pleaded with her father, interrupting him in his study. "It's... well, it's frightening!" Her voice raised then and her father shushed her, he had asked her to keep her voice down only a few minutes ago when she entered the room and started speaking obscenities about the girl who had been taking care of his daughter for over six years.

Eavesdropping around the corner, Ariella leaned in as close as she possibly could to the door which had not been fully closed.

"Fine. If not possessed, she is certainly unwell. She was reduced to tears just the other night, saying her head felt as if someone was hammering a nail into it! That's not normal father, even you cannot say it is."

The king made an exaggerated sigh, "Sarina, dear, if it will make you feel at ease then I will send her to be evaluated by the priests. Okay? First thing in the morning, I'll have a carriage waiting for her."

Horrified, Ariella leaned away from the door and felt her heart drop into her stomach. It was true she was unwell, the Princess had spoken honestly, but she couldn't see the priests. Even Ariella had begun to believe she had been possessed by some demon in the night. The priests would surely cast her out if they didn't decide to kill her first.

Before Ariella could hear anything else, she took off running down the hall towards the servants quarters. Filled with panic, Ariella hastily grabbed a knapsack and rushed to her small room to grab anything of importance. A few changes of clothes, snacks she had stashed into a nightstand, what little coin she had left, and the purple hooded cloak and gold set ring that had been left behind by her parents.

CAAWWW

Ariella jumped and nearly screamed when a raven appeared outside her window. She stared at it for a second, feeling uneasy about the way it stared back at her. Slowly, she turned to leave the room, hoping to forget that odd experience.

CAAW!

It was squawking at her again, and this time it began to tap the window glass with its beak. She turned back to look at the raven, now noticing that it clutched a small scroll in one of its talons. "A message?" She thought, her heart racing as she opened up the window for the persistent bird. The large raven immediately dropped the scroll inside the window and then flew off into the night.

As Ariella finished reading the message, her heart raced faster. Was this a trick? A ploy to get her alone in the middle nowhere? A test of her sanity? She bit her lower lip in thought, weighing her options. Unfortunately she didn't have enough time to think things through - she suddenly heard voices and footsteps coming down the stairs. Surely it was the other servants retiring for the night, but if Ariella wanted to leave the kingdom she needed to think fast. Being seen by one of the other servants with all of her belongings in a knapsack wouldn't do well in her favor. Surprisingly to herself, she made the snap decision that she would meet whoever wrote this letter at the tavern.

Quickly, Ariella closed her bedroom door, donned the purple cloak, and put the scroll into her knapsack. With a deep breath for courage, she took one last look around her room and then wiggled herself out of her bedroom window.




May 15th



It had only taken Ariella about a week to arrive at the tavern, but with no where else to go, she decided to take up a room there until it was time to meet her mysterious letter writer. Luckily she had thought to take her coin with her when she left the kingdom, but by the fifteenth of May she would certainly be broke. She could only hope this would be worth it and this person could make all her problems go away. Then again, anything was better than being "evaluated" by priests.

To pass the time Ariella made friends with the tavern owner and workers. She even offered to help out with their daily chores every so often in exchange for a smaller room fee for the night. They got along well enough, but there was no hiding that they thought her an odd girl. She was still seeing things, just as she did in Adlan. The ghostly forms of those who have died would appear to her, sometimes speak to her. It was unnerving to her and to those around her who witnessed her strange behavior. She still had excruciating migraines, but the nice thing about staying in the tavern was that she could retreat to her room to be alone and unbothered by the silly demands of a Princess.

"It's all going to end today." She thought, reassuring herself. It was finally May 15th, which filled her with both excitement and anxiety.

Tonight was a busy night for the tavern, busier than most days she had been here, so she had been helping out by serving drinks behind the bar. Everything had been going fine, but then things got worse when a group of ruffians arrived and began shouting about the God Dionysus, pouring their drinks straight onto the tavern floor. It was typical, according the tavern owner, but it certainly put Ariella on edge. She felt bad for the girls who would be cleaning it up later tonight.

Her concentration on the group broke as a burly man entered the tavern and sat down at the bar, asking for a drink. As fast as her hands could move, she made the drink and handed it to him. "Bottoms up." She offered him a faint smile as he took the drink, though he seemed distracted by his own thoughts. Her eyes followed his which seemed to scan the tavern. Was he looking for her? Was he the letter writer? She was too afraid to ask.

Before Ariella could turn her gaze back onto the man, her eyes locked onto a dark haired woman who entered the tavern alone. Ariella's blue eyes followed her, just as many of the patrons who she walked past. The woman was strikingly beautiful and walking in alone made her sorely out of place. Women didn't normally travel alone in these parts, especially so close to Haventis, unless they were mercenaries or ladies of the night and had someone to meet. "An escort, perhaps?" Ariella thought, wondering if the girl would strip her cloak and make her way onto the lap of some man who had hired her for the night. Surprisingly she took a seat alone in a dark corner of the tavern. Feeling a slight ping of worry for the woman, Ariella left her place behind the bar and approached the woman with a bright smile.

"Good evening miss. Can I get you anything to eat or drink?" She felt the obligation to befriend this woman, not wanting her to be taken advantage of by any of the ruffians across the room. It was certainly odd for a woman to be here alone, especially in the middle of the night, but Ariella wanted to make sure she at least didn't feel alone. @Kitty
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by The Valkyrie
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The Valkyrie Beautiful Trauma

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Zywie was working fastidiously in the storeroom of the clinic. If someone had been observing from the doorway, they might think that her quick and sharp movements were supported by a well-loved and practiced habit; in actuality, she was working through a mix of anger and confusion. She knew her parents weren't trying to punish her, but they needed to get her away from the front of the clinic. They needed to keep her away from the patients.

For some reason, only a few weeks prior, several of the patients seen at the clinic started to show signs of lost motivation for their work, lethargy, and in a few extreme cases a complete lack of purpose for even the basic activities of daily living. They essentially stopped going through the motions of life, some refusing to even eat or drink without assistance and/or force-feeding. The Taborys worked tirelessly in an attempt to figure out the cause of this new affliction but to no avail. For a time.

Then a pattern was uncovered: all of the village folk suffering from mild to severe symptoms had all been seen by the youngest healer, Zywie. Try as they might, her parents could find no other common link. None had fever, visible wounds, or come into contact with any mind altering substances. Zywie had argued with her parents earlier this day before she was relegated to storage duty. She still didn't believe that it could be her doing; why--how could she even think about let alone doing such a thing? It didn't make sense and it defied all logic. What irritated her most of all was the mystery of how 'she' had yet to place this affliction upon her own parents seeing as the three of them worked in close proximity most if not all day. More importantly, how come they didn't believe her when she denied the accusation?

Arriving at this point of thought, Z collapsed to the ground of the storeroom, head in her hands as her body shook from the quiet sobbing. That is what hurt the most, feeling like her parents were against her. The idea had surfaced a week or so before, and she had been wracking her mind over it ever since. It didn't matter how many times she went around in circles, looking at all the data collected; she'd only gained a tenacious migraine and zero other answers in the process. Deep down, she knew something was wrong. She wept until she lost the rest of her senses, drifting into sleep.

She was walking through the woods to her hidden garden, but she couldn't quite remember how she got here. She could follow the winding path with her eyes closed if she willed it and sometimes she did, but this time she kept her eyes wide open on the owl. It seemed to be flying in front of her but in slow motion. She willed her feet to go faster to keep up, but when she looked down, even she was moving in slow motion. Refocusing on the great bird, Zywie followed her to the end.

As she stepped from the woods into the clearing, she seemed to pause mid-step as she took in the scene. Instead of her garden, she saw a marbled white dais encircled with ionic columns. In the middle of the dais, a single tree stood firm as if it had been there for a century or more. Timed seemed to turn back on and she finished the last step from the path to the new scene. She was inexplicably drawn to it, and before she knew it, the cold marble was tickling the soles of her feet and she was reaching out to touch the tree. She noticed small fruits hanging from the branches--some green, black, or a mix of both.

If she stood on the tips of her toes, she thought she might be able to reach one. She stretched her body as far as she could, and just as it seemed she was about to take hold of the strange fruit, the back of her head was assaulted by something sharp. Immediately recoiling, she protected her head with her arms but it was already pounding with sharp twinges of pain. The assault continued for what felt like forever; for some reason, this felt very familiar to Z and she knew it wouldn't stop until the creature retreated.

Finally, a moment of respite, she risked a glance at her attacker to see the owl perched on top of the closest column. The two locked eyes and a moment passed. Then another. Who would move first? Again, it seemed everything had frozen; she couldn't even tell if the owl was breathing, and Zywie herself couldn't feel the warm blood running down her arms that she knew should be there. She finally pulled her eyes away to examine her injuries only to find her arms untouched. She didn't understand. The pain had been nearly unbearable by the end. She quickly flicked her eyes back up to the owl in time to see it open its beak let out a mind-piercing scream.


Zywie jolted from her position on the floor, her spine and bottom aching in addition to the continued migraine pounding out a pulse in her head. It was dark out now and it took several moments for her eyes and brain to catch up. "Oh, arse it," she managed to spit out before slowly standing to straighten her spine. As she did so, she nearly knocked all her hard work down as she spotted another winged creature in the open window just by her head. She instinctively covered her face, the dream still fresh in her mind, but the claws never came. Instead, the bird--which she now recognized as a raven--gave her a side-long glance before dropping off a rolled up piece of something. It let loose a cry as it took off from the window, and Z just had a moment to notice what she thought was a second slip of paper in it's grasp.

When she was sure the creature was gone, she stepped quickly to the window to grab the slip. She unrolled it, learning towards the window for some light. It took a few moments and did nothing for the state of her head, but she was able to successfully read the writing on the paper. What was going on in her life right now? Could this really be happening or was she still sleeping? She didn't think she was sleeping, and after giving herself a good stomp on her own foot, she decided she wasn't. She knew what she had to do and rushed home.

That night, she showed her parents the message; she had to. She required their good opinion and sound minds to confirm to her that she wasn't going crazy. She hadn't decided to go yet, but she did resolve to tell them everyone she had been thinking and feeling. The Taborys prided themselves on being logical and grounded thinkers, so they all took the conversation very seriously. It was decided that they would wait a while longer and Z would became a new patient, kept separate from the townsfolk and studied by her own parents. It was mutually agreed upon.

It was a few days before she heard the news that Ariella had fled the castle, whence no one knew. Z didn't have too long to think about her old friend's troubles as hers continuously rose to the forefront of her daily life. Before too long, the evidence was too hard to argue with, and the three decided it was best for Z to follow the notes directions. Her family made preparations for her to travel a week and a half's time before the intended date of arrival to account for difficulties traveling. However, her parents couldn't go with her. As much as they wanted to, the village stilled needed them, now more than ever with so many still recovering from... whatever it was that had happened to them. Besides, they were getting too old for the nomadic life. Zywie wanted to travel one day, but this isn't how she imagined it would be.

The day came and the warm but teary goodbyes were made. They made sure that she was well-supplied for the journey with dried foods and her own medical kit. Z wouldn't find her new mender's tunic in her bag until she stopped for the first night, prompting a whole new set of tears; she was so grateful for everything they had given her and she hoped she would make it back to them one day to return the favor wild tales and adventures. Well, at least one adventure to the tavern and back, anyways.


15th of May

The carriage trip across the border from Adlan to Eredel was honestly not what she imagined when she had first envisioned traveling on her own, but there wasn't really enough time to go wandering the countryside on foot as her parents had claimed to do. Nevertheless, many of the sights had been awe-inspiring thus far. Even after arriving in Eredel--the country she held a bit of bias towards due to their taking of most of her village's crops--Zywie had to admit that much of the construction had a certain beauteous art form to it that she had to admire.

Being packed in with so many people, however, was not on the list of things she was enjoying about the trip. Perhaps it was something one could become used to, but she wasn't quite there yet. Her profession often being one of intimate physical contact, she found herself more than a bit anxious by the number of arms and shoulders that had brushed against her on the walk over to the designated tavern. She was more than a bit exasperated, having gone first to the wrong tavern before finally receiving the correct directions, but she was relieved now when she saw the sign.

Her appearance a bit disheveled, she took a moment to comb her fingers through her short messy hair and attempted to flatten some of the wrinkles in her tunic before making her way inside the establishment. She was immediately saturated in its many sounds, sights, and smells; she hadn't decided yet if this whole trip had been a good or bad idea, and even though she was leaning towards bad right at this particular moment, she was already here. At first, she thought to just stand just inside the doorway, that way she could make a hasty retreat if the scene got to be too much or looked like trouble, but that soon proved to be a mistake as she was nearly vomited on by an exiting customer.

The bar was relatively close to the exit and she didn't want to take up a whole table by herself, so she slid in to a seat as close as possible to the exit, bright green eyes scanning the staff the other bar-goers briefly. She wondered how she was supposed to know who to look for, but it dawned on her that if whoever it was knew her name, location, and what she had been experiencing, then it wasn't too big a leap to think that they would be familiar with her appearance. When prompted by the barkeeper for a drink, she simply replied "Just a water for right now, thanks." She didn't intend to imbibe at all at until she knew figured how this was going to progress, but she wasn't going to tell the bartender that. Besides, her family didn't have a lot of coin to provide her with as they mostly traded their services for food. It would be smart all around to keep her head and money for the time being.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Gisk
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He was starting to wonder about the true nature of this dream. He had it every night, and it varied only slightly.

Eroebus was wading in a river of pale water. The sky was equally white; from apex to horizon, no difference could be seen. It might be easy to get lost, though that idea had no meaning as there was nothing here to get lost from. Though the water was up to his knees, and his robes grazed the surface, neither cloth nor skin felt wet. In point of fact, nothing felt like much of anything. It was neither cold nor warm.

He was not alone. He never was. There were others, but none of them were standing, awake and alive. All of the others were floating, face to the sky, eyes closed and peaceful, with the gentle flow of the river. The flow of bodies was usually fairly slow and steady, and most were notably elderly. There was the odd younger man, woman, or(and Eroebus wasn’t sure why it distressed him so much) child. The gray waters made a gentle trickling that almost drowned out the voices from upriver. Mostly murmurs, indistinct, and some crying. Every once in a while there was a particularly anguished wail.

There wasn’t much to do or see most of the time. As Eroebus stood, though, he heard the distant sounds of a fight. Though he hadn’t partaken in violence personally in years, he recognized the sound of a battle the way others know the sound of a city market, or a barn full of animals.
These noises heralded a noticeable upturn in the frequency of the floating bodies, particularly young men. He watched the gloriously fallen drift by, every once in a while touching one gently on the face or chest. He wasn’t sure why he did that, but it made him feel better, and he had the unshakable feeling that they felt some peace from it as well.

~~~

He awoke undramatically and rose from his bug ridden bed, and once again found himself in macabre company.

“Nights filled with the dead, mornings filled with carrion birds,” he murmured, staring down the oddly silent raven that stood on the sill of his squalid room’s glassless window. He crossed the room and took the the scrap of paper that the bird held. He found himself strangely unsurprised by the message. It was probably time to move on anyway.

~~~
May 15th

Eroebus arrived at the Silver Crow quietly, and quickly found a member of a friendly mercenary clan whose hospitality he could take advantage of, needing only to show him the Golden Ram insignia branded on his forearm.

The easy part over with, he sat at a table, not quite in the center of the room, but not too far out of the way either, and started to shuffle his cards quite loudly. They were almost more like tiles, each card painted on a wafer thin cedar plank, and he could produce a lovely clacking noise when he wanted to.

“Fortunes!” he crooned to the bar at large, “Read from pizar cards, guided by the gods depicted on them!” Some looked at him, some ignored. That was fine, he threw the finishing touch on his pitch, “A word of caution to any partakers! I do not claim to know the future, only to read the portents.” This part was important. Prophets were rare, and seldom believed, but most everyone trusted a proper omen.
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