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2 yrs ago
Current Slight bit of depression setting in... I apologize if things are taking longer than usual. Just trying to assure the same level of quality in my posts to you guys.
2 yrs ago
*Has the sudden urge to come back to the Guild*.... *Guild is down*.... WHYYYYYYYY?!?!?! *Literally the story of my life lol*
3 yrs ago
One of these days I will learn to not input my opinions where they are not wanted on social media.... TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY. >.<
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2 1/2 hours in and I'm already done with the new year. T.T
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Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

The lie is Only a fool believes the vampires won’t abandon thee.

Amaris watched the water rise slightly higher as she awaited the serpent’s reaction. For a brief moment there was no change in either girl’s situation leading the Countess to wonder if the selection was wrong. Had she steered the mage wrong? They had both worked so hard trying to come up with the correct answer; Maddie would be crushed. Or so Amaris thought.

The grating sound of the serpent’s laughter filled her ears as the state of the waters changed. No longer was it crashing down upon the Countess but instead writhing about her as if brought to life. It was the sudden, intense force that took her by surprise and unsettled both her mind and body. Feeling sick, Amaris squeezed her eyes shut and begged silently for the unpleasant experience to pass.

Eventually the Countess felt solid ground beneath her once again, but upon opening her eyes she found her sight lost as well. Amaris raised her right arm slowly so that it was above her, hand waving side to side as if the darkness wasn’t proof enough of her inflicted blindness. It was a shame to go back to such a state after finally getting it back, but such were the rules of the game; who was she to argue?

She sensed Maddie before she felt her, allowing the mage to help her to her feet as best as she could. It was unsteady work at first, having to reorient to proper gravity and all, but eventually the Countess was standing upright alongside her partner. She tried to drown out the remnants of the serpent’s laughter ringing in the depths of her ears by focusing on Maddie’s voice. With the incantation spoken and the spell back in place, the next clue could be found and the pair sent on their way.

I’m alright, but Getsuga is damn lucky I love him. Never thought I would see the day that a snake scared me.” A chill ran down Amaris’ spine as she pictured the giant serpent staring her down. He was nothing at all like her mischievous companion and just the thought of him filled her with unease. Shaking her head, Amaris attempted to wear a comforting smile for the sake of her mage.

Magic has the ability to warp not only our surroundings but our sense of time as well. I fear how much we might have lost during our test as it would be a shame to go through so much and fail because the clock ran out… Still, I don’t feel the anxiety of dawn and I am having a bit of fun. Are you feeling well enough to attempt one more then scurry for the exit?” Amaris asked, her mind already racing to wonder about what lay before them both. There was still so much teaching the test had to offer, and not just about Maddie but herself as well. What other parts of herself would she be forced to face?
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

A sense of relief washed over the countess as the serpent’s voice returned, though the sound still held a grating effect on her ears. They had chosen the correct falsehood which would set them free; or so she had thought. Amaris watched as the creature began twisting about the space, the water twisting with it until it was physically pulling at her body. The faster the serpent moved the stronger the force tugged at her until she had no choice but to throw her arms up in the hopes that they might shield her face from any potential damage.

When Amaris finally opened her eyes she found herself somewhat disappointed that she wasn’t staring out into an open clearing with the statue of a serpent at its center, though at this point she would have been lying if she said that she was surprised.

You really ought to practice looking at the bigger picture…” She mumbled to herself while she took a moment to take in her new surroundings. Amaris found herself in a box partially filled with water but lacking in any visible cracks in the surrounding walls. Turning slowly in a circle the countess noted the distinct lack of a panicking mage trapped in the box alongside her, leading her to assume the pair had traded places. Such a thought was of no comfort as mortals generally did not possess the ability to breathe underwater. Amaris had to remind herself of the magical nature of their surroundings in order to calm herself, at least until she had something different to distract her.

The countess grit her teeth as water began pouring in from above, crashing down upon her head uncomfortably before she had a chance to move out of the way. She took this as a sign that the second half of the game had begun, Maddie likely being faced with her own list of overly vague statements. Crossing her arms, Amaris leaned back against the wall of the barrier to await her partner’s voice while doing her best to avoid getting ‘rained on’. She couldn’t help but wonder who Maddie had been shown, if she had been shown anyone at all. Amaris was finding it difficult to shake the images of her past partners boxed up just mere feet out of her grasp. Had Maddie experienced something equally as traumatizing? Would she be shown the faces of the dead, or something completely different.

Amaris snapped to attention once she heard Maddie speak, the countess hanging on to every word spoken. She was eager to help but she found herself equally at a loss. Was it arrogant to push the former statement as the lie?

To me, the former statement stands at odds with our prior correct answer. I have no intentions of betraying the trust that you have placed in me and see no reason I would willingly abandon you. That being said, there is something you would have to consider… If the former is false, the latter must be true so think Maddie: is there someone of which you seek to control? Or perhaps a particular outcome you wish to change?
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

The countess could hear the multiplying panic in Maddie’s voice as she responded. She could do little more than imagine the water rising from the cracks in her containment, her mortal body slowly shutting down as the cold set in. Amaris was just about out of time, and yet even with Maddie’s help she still found herself at a loss for words.

How could it be that the answer was only a singular lie rather than the two the rules had mentioned before? Was there some sort of clue Maddie had that she did not, or had she allowed the circumstances to muddle her mind so much? As it was, from Maddie’s point of view, the only part she had personal stake in was the final statement but she didn’t find herself in agreement with it. Amaris wished she could believe it was the lie, but it was difficult for her to see it the same way.

Perhaps she had not broken the trust between her and Maddie but she had not given the mage much of a reason to trust her. Not to mention the past partners she couldn’t even bring herself to look in the eyes, how could she expect Maddie to trust her after such horrific failures.

It was never their trust you lost. Amaris thought to herself softly. Through it all, Amaris had been beating herself up over events that had been outside of her control only to end up projecting her own feelings onto her lost companions. It was the trust she had in herself that she had lost and because of it her partner was facing freezing or drowning while she sat playing the self pity game. Clenching her fists tightly, Amaris decided to put her faith in Maddie’s sincerity and spoke.

Alright then serpent, a decision has been made. ‘One partner now, two partners past, lack all trust in you’ is the lie.” The countess’ hands remained tightly closed as she waited for something, anything, to happen.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

Amaris lightly tapped at her bottom lip with the knuckle of her first finger as she set to work trying to place the new information. Unfortunately, Maddie’s guess of the raven potentially connecting to the Noila’s family crest didn’t set off any immediate bells.

Seems that I’m still missing something then, but what could it be?” She asked aloud, though more for herself than for her partner. Thinking about the second statement with the raven standing in for the princess only served to confuse the vampress more. Instead of just two sentences reading true all three of them did, something that didn’t change no matter which royal Amaris tried to swap the aforementioned raven for. There had to be something about the riddle the countess was misunderstanding, but what?

I don’t have time for this! I have to solve this quickly. It is my job to protect Maddie, I will NOT let her down. The countess’ voice seemed to echo back to her within her mind, repeating over and over until the words began to fall apart and only ‘I’ remained.

Somewhere along the way, Amaris had forgotten the tasks were meant to be a team effort. Each of them had knowledge or experience the other did not, different perspectives that would allow them both to reach distances much further than either could alone. This didn’t just stop at figuring out which direction to walk or what color bell to select but extended to the simple things, how to walk and think. Amaris had made so many assumptions about the riddle that she had forgotten to include the one person she was supposed to be able to trust the most.

Alright Maddie, I need to borrow your mind for a moment. Please listen to my words carefully and let me know your thoughts. I get the feeling I might be too close to this to look at it objectively.” The images of her previous partners flashed through her mind again, quickly pushed away as Amaris worked to recall the words spoken to her by the snake.

Quickly but clearly, Amaris relayed the information of the rules, as well as each of the three statements, to her partner and then waited. Despite the ticking clock, Amaris couldn’t help but to keep her mind focused on what responses her partner might have for her. She just hoped it might contain some kind of clue instead of the ever growing list of questions Amaris seemed to find herself entangled in.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

The countess froze as the sound of Madalyn’s voice filled the space around her. It didn’t seem to originate from anywhere in particular making it impossible to locate which of the boxes actually contained her partner. Even with her sight returned, her eyes could not be trusted down in these depths. She would have to play the game on her own and quickly, the panic laced through the mage’s tone was clearer than the words she had actually spoken.

Have you learned nothing since father? You cannot continue to lose focus over those that have been lost to you. Maddie needs you here, now. Don’t let her down too. Amaris berated herself silently, curling her hands into tight fists until the tips of her nails were digging into the flesh of her palms. She wanted to scream into the darkness, let loose all of her built up frustrations and feelings of helplessness but what help would it be? It wouldn’t change Minfilia… It wouldn’t bring Cassandra back… And it wouldn’t save Madalyn.

With a snarl, Amaris refocused her sights on the blue text that would serve as her choices but recalled the instructions spoken to her by the serpent. Four truths, two lies, but only three statements before her. So either she was in for a couple of rounds of true/false statements, or it was up to her to pick apart each line and find the more subtle lies within.

I’m here Maddie, just try to stay as calm as you can ok?” She called out, hoping her voice would carry back to Madalyn just as hers had before. It was difficult to tell if her words would reach when her voice sounded so normal but she would have to trust that it wasn’t just some one way taunt. Though if her words were truly for Maddie or for herself had yet to be seen.

A riddle with a time limit. Not comforting but not unheard of, just have to tackle what I know and the rest will work itself out… hopefully.

A book with secrets of the lineage holds the name of a father slain.’ Amaris took pause with the first line, shaking her head to herself with disbelief.

Ryner really knows how to pull her punches.” She read the sentence three times over to see if there were any particularly dangerous tells, but from what she could see there was little to be concerned about. ‘Secret’ could refer to quite a many things, all of which were perfectly legal and easy to explain away. As much as Amaris would have preferred to avoid acknowledging the book’s existence in the first place, she couldn’t see the hurt in admitting the riddle’s truth.

Amaris had hoped the second statement would be equally as obvious as its predecessor, however, such luck was not on her side. If the aforementioned raven was supposed to represent something, or someone, she hadn’t the faintest idea of what. Unfortunately, not immediately recognizing something that Ryner had put together didn’t mean the statement was inherently false. She would have to reinforce her established truth with the third statement.

One partner now, two partners past, lack all trust in you.

Just reading the words packed a punch that Amaris had not been expecting. A cruel taunt reminding her of all the ways she had failed since the start of the semester. She recalled the sight she had been met with initially, with Casandra slumped over and Minfilia banging against the walls of her enclosure. The images sent a shiver down her spine unrelated to the cold that was permeating her whole body.

You don’t have time for this. Dwelling on the past will change nothing. There is a job to do, and you will NOT fail Maddie too.

Something still felt off to the countess though. According to the rules there was meant to be two lies but the second statement didn’t seem to be split. Without any idea of what the raven could be referencing it was difficult to tell, but from where she was sitting, it sounded like a singular thought. Would there be consequences for an incorrect guess other than time lost? There had to be something she was missing, a clue that would help filter out the necessary information.

Wait a minute… ‘Four truths do bury two simple lies… things that hide within two minds? Hey Maddie?” Amaris called out, still holding on to the hope that her voice would carry to her partner the same way her partner’s had carried before.

I think I’ve made some progress but there are still a couple of missing links. Is a raven meaningful to you in any way? It’s the only part of the three I don’t understand.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

Amaris could still sense a sort of tension coming from her partner as the pair drew closer to the serpent’s statue. While she wasn’t likely to admit it, the countess was beginning to share the nervous energy she felt from the mage. She wondered if perhaps it was an empathetic response she was developing or if it was her own uncertainty creeping up on her now that she’d offered to be on the front lines. Either way, it was far too late to turn back at this point. All there was left to do was put the bell in its place, answer a couple of questions, and move on with the test… or at least that’s what she had thought. A sudden scream caused the countess to jump, and nearly trip over herself in the process, before the sound was seemingly swallowed.

Maddie? Maddie what’s going on? What was that sound just now?” Amaris called out into the silence but received no response in return. She parted her lips to call out again but found herself speechless as her sight was suddenly restored to her.

This can’t possibly be good. The countess’ thought was swiftly punctuated by the very sudden, and very unnatural explosion of water consuming the clearing. She could feel something wrap around her body, pulling her down into dark and cold depths. Amaris attempted to free herself from the grasp only to find her efforts wasted. The cold temperature of the water was uncomfortable to say the least and was equally as distracting as the changing scenery that she could still partially see.

The only source of light down below illuminated her missing partner, who strangely looked dry despite the location the pair found themselves in. It took the countess a moment to realize that the mage was inside some sort of barrier, but for whatever reason seemed less than thrilled about her current situation. She tried to move in Madalyn’s direction but found the task easier said than done as her path was cut off by a very real serpent.

So much for the statue.

Amaris winced as an unfamiliar voice filled her ears. To say it was unpleasant to listen to was an understatement but it was mostly a surprise at how clear it sounded despite the circumstances. The countess would have expected it to sound more warbled but she found little difficulty in understanding the creature as it spoke its ‘riddle’. Four truths, two lies, and all they had to do was agree on which ones were which. The task should have been an easy one, so why didn’t she feel better watching the serpent retreat into the darkness?

Her question was answered as two additional barriers, as well as their occupants were made visible. Had Amaris any need to breathe, her breath would have definitely been caught in her throat as her eyes passed from one to the other. Before her were two faces she never thought she would see again but she couldn’t find any joy in the reunion. Minfillia’s gaze was the sharpest thing she had ever witnessed from a mortal, but the daggers were nothing compared to the pit growing in Amaris’ stomach. Seeing Cassandra’s slumped form pained the countess, her hand reaching out reflexively toward the barrier only to have her image ripped away to be replaced with words.

The words swam in her mind as she struggled to concentrate, her thoughts torn between that which she knew and that which she saw. What was the purpose of showing her such a scene? Was it just another piece to the puzzle or was it meant to bruise her pride?

I don’t understand, is Cassandra alive after all? What is she doing down here, it isn’t safe. Damnit, no. I have to focus, there;s something I’m supposed to be focusing on. But… what am I supposed to do?
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

Ah, so it was one of each. Not a bad idea. The countess smiled to herself, feeling somewhat proud of her partner’s decision. It was wise to have one’s bases covered, especially when there were so many things about the exam they did not yet understand… she just hoped that such preparation would not carry negative consequences.

Amaris listened carefully to the rest of Madalyn’s thoughts on the bells and her preference for the blue bell. She was happy to find the pair in agreement on the topic, although, perhaps for slightly different reasons. From what it sounded, Madalyn’s approach came primarily from the desire to avoid potentially dangerous situations due to the countess’ condition. While Amaris felt the same, she couldn’t deny an ulterior motive for her preference in bell.

Despite the outward appearances of their partnership, the truth was they hadn’t yet had any ability to build a type of rapport. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, simply not enough time or opportunity to truly test one another… at least, not until now. Courage was fine and all, but trust was far more important to the countess at present; lesser difficulty was just a bonus to the choice.

The countess had still been deliberating to herself when a gentle press eased her to a standstill. She could sense the open air before them signalling their next step, however, there was something about it that seemed to put Madalyn into a state of unease. Lifting the hand opposite Madalyn’s side, Amaris placed it gently overtop the mage’s tense grip.

Then a decision we have to make, best to not keep a serpent waiting. I gave it some thought along our walk and I agree with you on blue. It seems to fit best with the supposed theme of the exam.” She spoke with measured tones in the hopes that her calm might ease whatever it was that bothered her partner. Was it the form of the statue, a fear of serpents perhaps? Odd considering she had yet to hear a complaint about Getsuga’s escape habits.

Why don’t we go together and show that statue what we’re made of so we can continue on our way.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

Madalyn’s response confirmed for the countess that the pair were on the same page for the riddle at hand. There was no way for them to know what consequences obstacles in this exam could have for their progression. The obvious assumption would be time lost having to deal with additional puzzles or misdirections, however, there was always the possibility of additional points being awarded to their overall score for having completed more difficult tasks. It seemed like just the sort of thing the princess could think up for an exam already riddled with uncertainty.

While Amaris had intended to leave the final decision in the hands of her partner, she found herself personally hoping for blue as their selection. It was the choice that made the most sense when considering both the wording of the riddle as well as the goal of strengthening their bonds as mage and vampire. Then there was the point that Madalyn brought up about the dangers of selecting anything orienting toward action while Amaris was unable to navigate, let alone defend herself. Such a move would not only put her in danger but it also placed an additional burden upon her partner, something she thought would be unfair.

I think it would be wise to-” The countess was cut off by the sound of a scream echoing from the distance. It was difficult for her to determine exactly where the sound had come from but it was far from a comfort regardless of its origin. Amaris was more than pleased to hear the sound of her mage untying a bell before quickly returning to her side. It was a pace far slower than Amaris could bear after hearing such a distressing cry but there was little choice in the matter. The countess would have to remain optimistic that it was a scream borne of high strung nerves and a harmless surprise.

It took a few long moments of silence along their path before Amaris spoke up, a realization dawning on her as she actively worked to distract her mind.

Hey Maddie… Did I hear you grab more than one back there? What choice did you make?” She prompted curiously. There were only two that she was able to count, though, that was assuming that she had heard correctly in the first place. Two bells could have been one for each in the pair but she couldn’t recall such an instruction within their prompt. Perhaps there was a visual clue that only Madalyn could have picked up on, a presentation that didn’t matter to color selection in the slightest.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

The countess nodded her head thoughtfully, weighing the options carefully with the provided information. She had little doubt that Madalyn was on the right track by assuming it was the color of the chimes that would be their guide, but it was only half of the riddle. First the pair would have to determine which of the three colors paired with the trio of words provided, then they would have to determine which of the three they were meant to select. It was a task easier thought than followed but a challenge Amaris was excited to face.

Language is an interesting thing, wouldn’t you say? It wasn’t enough for us to have both the written and spoken word, we had to go and create more poetic methods of communicating with one another. Color is one of these methods. Let’s see: Red, Yellow, and Blue…” Amaris fell silent for a few moments, her irises shifting from side to side as if she were reading the lines from a book despite the lack of sight and any evident text.

We’re dealing with three primary colors which would suggest fairly strong and probably singular statements from each. And they aren’t flowers so I don’t think we have to worry about interfering messages, that is unless there is a ‘language of bells’ I know nothing about. With that in mind, I think I can help with the deciphering of colors. You see, the color red is one of passion, of power, of courage. It is bold and draws the eye, daring all who gaze upon it to act upon their deepest desires. Yellow is also quite the influential shade, however, unlike red it seeks not to beckon but to stall. It is the color of caution and of cowardice. Then you have blue… It is a deep and cold color, a symbol of harsh truth and thus trustworthiness.

The test that waits in the west requires many things. First, you must select the bell that sings the sweetest to you: That of trust or that of act because stillness is far too selfish but claim it if you must while woe becomes your misery. Take it now and trust your path until it reaches end for that is where lies are grown in plentiful abyss.

Amaris ran the riddle through her thoughts once more, this time with the assumption that blue was ‘trust’, red was ‘act’, and that yellow was their selfish ‘stillness’. The wording seemed to hint that either of the first two could be viable options while the third was far less so, the color itself a caution against its selection, yet it was the last line that gave the countess pause. Was it really a warning meant to intimidate and distract, or was it part of the clue to help select the item with the best outcome? There were so many possibilities, but the pair didn’t have the time to waste weighing all of the variables, after all, stillness was selfish was it not?
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Madalyn @Achronum

Straightforward directions would have been preferred, as would have been some type of clearly marked path… but then this wouldn’t be much of a test now would it? I hate to admit it, but sometimes the most effective way to learn is to dive head first into the deep end. Amaris had folded her arms across her chest while she and Madalyn had been talking, her tapping index finger an agitated contrast from her otherwise calm exterior. The anxious tick came to a slow stop as the countess inhaled slowly and deeply, exhaling the tension she had allowed to build. Now wasn’t the time for her to panic, after all, they had only just taken their first steps.

Stay calm. Your role here is as a resource, a role you cannot fulfil properly if your mind is clouded by wayward thoughts. Stay focused on what can be solved and nothing more. The countess scolded herself silently before finally relaxing.

I leave myself in your very capable hands, Maddie.

It was difficult for Amaris to proceed without her sight, her hesitant steps only serving to slow their already limited pacing for what felt like a long time. Eventually, as Maddie grew more confident in her ability to guide so did Amaris’ confidence in her ability to be led. Still, having some semblance of perception would have been much preferred to the current situation.

As the path stretched on, the countess’ thoughts wandered inward to the blood within. So far she had only learned how to trick the eyes into seeing something other than what was before them, but was it possible that there was a way to see through the spell placed on her? Would it be wasted energy to hope such a feat would be a passive one? Amaris had to silence the scoff before it had a chance to make itself known to her partner.

How childish.

Eventually the pair came to exit their initial path, the change in pressure alerting the blind vampire to the approach of a second clearing. This one was a bit different from the last, however, as the silence was broken by the sound of metal striking metal… no, that wasn’t exactly correct, it wasn’t as crass as that. With each brush of contact the metal sang to the space around them, each voice adding to the previous until a chorus had been born. Windchimes?

Her thoughts were confirmed as Maddie read the sign and described the scene for her, yet somehow the countess was still hopelessly lost.

Neither do I, but for all we know it’s just meant to intimidate and distract us. Let’s just take a moment to pick this apart and figure out what we can before moving on. Hopefully that will help ease some of our uncertainties.” Amaris began to chew excitedly at her lower lip as her mind went to work, careful to not break the skin like she had so many times in her youth. The first riddle might have been disappointing to her but this one? This is what she had been waiting for.

It sounds like our direction is pretty clear, so this must have more to do with an obstacle we will face along the way. Is there anything in particular about this that stands out to you?” The countess was itching to pick the lines apart one at a time and analyze the many possible meanings they could have but the test was not hers alone. Normally Amaris would be disappointed in having to show such restraint, however this was a good opportunity to learn a bit more about her partner. Not only would she get a glimpse into the mage’s thought process, but she might glean a new outlook on the puzzle before them if she halted herself from prematurely injecting her own bias.
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