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Jul 19, 12 at 1:57pm ^Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
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I had lived half my life in Plant 19 on the day it all came tumbling down. It was extremely difficult to get work there—they only accepted the best and brightest into their ranks—and once you got in you were never allowed to leave so that the company heads could better prevent the leaking of sensitive information to the general public, or other major companies. There were I don’t know how many of us, maybe a few hundred, maybe a few thousand, maybe more. We were spread out among seven floors, most of which were under ground, and we rarely bothered socializing for fear of punishment should our idle chatter be deemed “internal espionage” which was a concept I only pretended to understand. My work took place on the third story, a mile below the surface, with powered assault armor: impervious suits that could more than triple a man’s natural strength and grant him amazing abilities such as flight, and the weapons that were attached to these suits.
For a time I was very happy, but eventually I began to experience a certain sense of dissatisfaction. It occurred to me that my entire life from a certain point on would take place underground, designing tools that others would use to inflict terror and suffering on others. I would never see my friends or family, and all my life's work would bring nothing but death and suffering to people I had never heard of.
But then the event which brought about my current circumstances occurred. One day while I was at work the lights suddenly went out, and the ground began to shake. Someone yelled, and then the emergency lights and the emergency broadcast system activated in unison. We were instructed to proceed to our floors cryogenic storage bunkers so that, “in the event of untimely death” our brains could be preserved for “future biodata access.” I can hear the awful mechanical voice chanting that soulless advisory over and over again to this very day. Sometimes I hear it in my sleep. . .
I don’t remember much about what happened next. I know that as I climbed into the storage unit marked 041-KASTALAR the floor began to shake very violently, and I heard a high-pitched whining like the cry of some awful animal. Then my entire world vanished into blackness, thankfully never to return.
How much time passed I cannot say. It must have been many, many years though because when my pod finally opened the entire facility seemed to have been in a state of disrepair for at least several generations. I checked the other pods in my bunker, and it seemed at that time that nobody else had survived. I lingered in the ruins for a couple of days until hunger and curiosity drove me to find a way outside. The elevators were dead, but thankfully Plant 19 had come with several low-tech alternatives for use as fail safe measures in the event of technological failure. In other words, I found the stairs. When I stepped outside I was flabbergasted. Yes, that’s a good word. Imagine if you will a belief that the entire world was flat and gray, and that plants never grew any larger than tiny shrubberies or domestically kept flowers. Imagine never having seen the sun because the sky was always full of acidic clouds of polluted smoke. Now, imagine seeing grass and trees and sunlight where all of this dreariness once was. Imagine hearing birds instead of heavy machinery. Imagine smelling not ozone and carbon and hot metal, but the fresh coolness of a summer’s morning. At the time, it horrified me.
The walls around the plant were crumbling, as were most of the buildings on the surface, but what appeared to be a gate of some sort stood at the end of the main path. I could see people milling about, so I approached them and tried my best to look friendly even though I hadn’t been the social type even when things were normal. Instead of responding to my call with a smile and a wave though, they brandished spears. When they spoke it sounded like English, but with some sort of accent I didn't know. Through the strange lilting, I could just barely make out one man shouting "Another demon comes!"
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
|quote quick quote|
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Jul 19, 12 at 2:00pm ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
I'll record the RPs major events here in summary form as the occur. These include planned events I always intended to occur, and player-induced shenanigans. For now, have some more backstory.
I don’t know what year it is. I don’t know what happened on the day I got frozen, and I don’t know how the world got this way, but I almost don’t care. The people that I met were part of a larger society, and they are absolutely amazing. I was at first imprisoned because of my association with Plant 19, which they know by another name, but in time I earned their trust and my liberty.
They are hyper advanced in many ways. Their medical sciences and engineering practices are hundreds of years beyond the world I once knew, to the point that they have nearly eradicated disease altogether. Their buildings are made of simple materials with very few processed metals, though they are not nonexistent. They favor wood and brick for smaller structures, and huge chunks of carved stone for larger buildings. They have advanced indoor plumbing, but eschew electricity of any sort because of some tenant of their religion or philosophy. I won't say I understand it quite yet.
Transportation is limited to horses and wagons, very quaint really, and their weapons as well are a throwback to the medieval ages. They mostly wield swords, bows, lances, battle axes, hammers, and other such things with occasional use of gunpowder in simple cannons. According to their historians, there is a perfectly good reason for this which is related to the reason that they first reacted to me with such mistrust.
Their largest city is a walled metropolis some miles from the ruins of Plant 19. Very few people are permitted to visit the ruins, and almost nobody is allowed to enter. The men who initially accosted me were a part of a special division of soldiers whose only function is to guard the entrance. They refer to the place with a sort of awestruck revulsion which really reminds me of the way some of our old world religions used to react to the concept of the devil. They call it the Shrine of Past Darkness, and believe that it was once a source of great evil in an age long past. Thinking about it, they aren't exactly wrong. Only a class of individuals known as High Priests are allowed to explore the ruins and handle the technology within, as it is believed that they are holy enough to resist being corrupted by the residual evil of that place. These priests also fill the role of medical scientists, using the equipment salvaged from the plant’s medical bays (“purified” by some ritual involving a lot of chanting and dance) to work their miracles. The technologies which they found can save lives are venerated as holy, albeit corrupted, relics. The weapons and armor are considered tools of demonic nature, and eschewed universally. Well, mostly. Except where medicine is concerned, and even then only if the tools are "sanctified" by these odd priest people.
As noted above, the guards who first saw me referred to me as “another demon.” This part. . .this is difficult for me to write about, actually. Difficult to even think about. They called me this because their world, while idyllic and beautiful, is also full of perilous monsters. They have accurately guessed that these monsters are the progeny of beasts that escaped from that evil place—our beloved bio-weapons. Not all of them are dangerous, and some of them have in fact developed into rather beautiful if somewhat alien-looking animals, but I do hear men and women make mention of something called the Underlurker in a way that chills my very blood. I think I may know to which creature they are referring, but I cannot be sure unless I see it. If I’m right I don’t want to know, though. That damn thing. . .
Their lives are peaceful, connected to nature in a way that is as beautiful to me as it is foreign. They hunt and farm for their food, and there is no war. Their government is a monarchy, with elements of democracy blended in (the people choose their next absolute ruler upon the death of the previous) and the ruler becomes the head of state in a very soviet way, developing plans for the distribution of resources and the like. Crime rates are very, very low; I actually think I was the only person in the prison where I was kept. Other than the monsters, these people seem to have nothing to fear.
Why am I writing all of this? I don’t know. Catharsis? Maybe I’m trying to help myself adjust? I truly do feel as if I have nothing to offer this world, glorious Sergei who knows nothing of anything except weapons that these people would consider blasphemous.
A few days ago I was given a permanent place of residence, and permission to walk about the streets without an armed escort. I live on the outskirts of the large city which they call High Haven. The city is walled off and guarded, but not for fear of any invading armies. It seems armed conflict between human beings is an extremely rare event, so security measures are taken only to prevent any wandering bio weapons from entering settlements. My home is a small cottage, outside of the walls; it seems they still don’t fully believe me when I say I am no demon.
A woman comes by from time to time and from her I have learned a great deal more about their language and culture. They speak a tongue based on what we called English. It is slightly different in terms of enunciation and some vocabulary, but similar enough that we can understand each other easily. This world’s fashion is an interesting blend of old and, well, older. I see people wearing blue jeans and tunics quite often, and hand-woven cloaks and tights seem to have made a comeback since the 1400s. Sometimes people pass through the gates wearing togas and sandals, sometimes flowing gowns, and sometimes grass skirts and tank tops. It’s all quite a far cry from the armful of gray jumpsuits I harvested from Plant 19. . .
Today I learned that the woman who visits me works for the palace, and is apparently some sort of historian. Her current assignment is to “measure my level of corruption” but she won’t say why or how she is doing this. She’s friendly, but a bit cold. I guess that’s more than I should have expected if she literally thinks I’m the devil, though. Before she left, she hinted that I may be taken to the palace quite soon. Something about more demons. I don't know: this woman's accent becomes indecipherable when she gets excited. Or impatient. Or when she just wants to irritate me, I think.
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
|quote quick quote|
Jul 19, 12 at 2:09pm ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
Things about the world:
If you read the preceding posts, you’ll know a lot about the world as it currently is. Consider this setting a mix of fantasy and science fiction in a (hopefully) new sort of way. Take a moment to examine the cute little map I’ve made, and the included map key. That will give you a fair idea of what geographical features and lore are common knowledge.
Fun facts: this setting is based on the world in which we all live, and the map is based (somewhat vaguely) on an actual place in the continental United States.
High Haven is the largest known settlement in this region, and is represented on our map by a large star shape. It is a sprawling metropolis made up of a core of massive stone and glass buildings in the center of a sea of low, wooden cottages. At the center of the city is the royal palace, which contains the royal family’s residence and the headquarters of both the Historians and the High Priests.
Because of the way this world’s economy works, there is no commerce. Rather there are major ministries responsible for every facet of daily life. These ministry headquarters are situated throughout the city and include the Ministry of Garb, the Farmer’s Guild, the College of Arts, and the Ministry of Craftsmen. Each of these places is the center of all daily operations in its intended area, and where most people seek employment according to their own interests and abilities to earn their keep. The ministries are discussed in greater detail in the economics section.
The city is walled in to protect it from roaming monsters and the occasional raiding party from the Mad King’s Colonies, but for the most part there is little danger of human conflict here. The current ruler of this city is the young but wise and benevolent Queen Elise Prieta. She claims no family, and so inhabits the royal quarters by herself, kept company only by visiting historians and her royal guards.
High Haven is situated at the northernmost end of a large valley in which a number of other villages also exist. Much of the space not used for housing has been turned into farmlands which are guarded very jealously against wildlife by a large security force. All of the farms are controlled by the Farmer’s Guild, which collects and redistributes their harvests.
The Shrine of Past Darkness is represented by a large black rectangle on our map. It is made up of the crumbling ruins of the mostly-subterranean Plant 19, and is universally feared as the source of the sweeping doom that wiped out the Previous World. It is also the source of the abominable monsters that now prowl the earth, though so far Sergei is the only human being known to have emerged from the ruins.
1.Clearbanks Lake- So named for its exceptionally clear waters, Clearbanks is one of three major bodies of water in The Green and is home to a number of small fishing communities which, while technically independent, all swear fealty to High Haven. Many fishermen have found prosperity by trading a portion of their catch to the city for other supplies they are unable to procure for themselves. Because of this prosperous relationship the lake has also been granted the boon of High Haven’s protection, with several barracks of royal soldiers positioned in the surrounding wilderness.
2. Blackheart River- This forbidden river, extending into the northern section of The Green from the unexplored regions to the north is inhabited by the Fishmen. Only a fool would venture there. . .
3.The Green- This massive deciduous forest is one of the largest defined realms in the known world, and is full of various geographical features and innumerable small villages and settlements. Everyone within The Green swears loyalty to the royals of High Haven, and therefore enjoys some measure of protection from escaped bio weapons from High Haven’s legion of monster-hunting soldiers. Very few people venture beyond the trees into the outside world, but enough do venture forth that a fair amount of information about the surrounding world is available.
4.The Green River- Less thoroughly inhabited than Clearbanks Lake to the north, but also less obviously dangerous than Blackheart River, The Green River is an even mix of civilization and untamed wilderness. Fewer communities exist here than in other regions of The Green, which also means that there are fewer soldiers stationed here to protect the people from the wildlife. This isn’t so much a concern, though, because of the simple sort of alliance the people of the Green River have struck up with the semi-intelligent Hill Howlers who live in the mountains near the westernmost reaches of the river. The terms of the agreement are simple: the Howlers will help the soldiers fight off more malevolent creatures, and in return the people of the Green River allow the naturally curious Howlers to simply observe their daily lives and attempt to practice whatever trades strike their fancy.
5, 6, 7. The Mad King’s Colonies- The Mad King is the sole source of human strife in the world. His trio of settlements was once fairly peaceful, and even occasionally traded with the communities of The Green, but that was long ago. The king himself is a recent addition to the region. He came seemingly out of nowhere and rapidly established a small kingdom that seems dedicated to nothing more than his insane fancies. The people here worship The Mad King zealously, but also pay homage to the bizarre and twisted Underlurker, which lives near the colonies. The Mad King’s court is located in the ruined but nameless town marked number 5 on our map.
These colonies are rather different from the other communities in the world. Rather than having adopted new architecture, they prefer to exist in the barely refurbished ruins of the Old World, claiming that this decision has something to do with their religion. While these strange and hostile people generally leave the rest of the world alone, they occasionally raid The Green’s outlying communities to procure sacrifices for the Underlurker, and they seem to be perpetually at war with the Howlers who also live in the Moonlit Mountains.
8. The Underlurker’s Lair- That’s where it lives; a network of caves where skulks one of the most terrifying and vicious creatures in the known world. It is rumored that there is a tunnel directly connecting its lair with the Mad King’s throne room, into which unfortunate sacrifices are lowered for the pleasure of this sadistic abomination.
9. Treasure Lake- A lake in the heart of the Mad King’s territories where are rumored to be all manner of strange and vile monsters. It is even rumored that this is where the Underlurker spends whatever time it does not devote to torturing and devouring sacrifices.
10. The Eastern Hills- Home to the powerful but gentle Howlers, this chain of low, sloping mountains skirts the edge of the known world and is home to a hearty society of nomadic humans who were the first to learn to live in harmony with Howlers. These eastern nomads have a rugged, almost Spartan society but are just as peaceful and benevolent as the people of The Green. Many adventurers and explorers roam these hills in search of the mysteries that may lie hidden in the valleys and crevasses of this mountain range.
11. Worldsnake’s River- The longest river in the known world. It is poorly explored at best, and regions to the south of the Eastern Hills are almost totally unknown. There are towns and settlements along its banks, and many of them pledge themselves to The Green, though High Haven’s presence in this region is minimal. Hill Howlers and Eastern Nomads generally lend a hand to the people of the river when they find themselves besieged by monsters, but the region is still just a bit too wild to be truly safe.
This enormous river leads far to the south, and Queen Prieta is interested in using it as a means to explore more of the world, but she currently lacks the resources to attempt any major expeditions.
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
|quote quick quote|
Jul 21, 12 at 9:06am ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
The creatures of this world are very similar to any who would live in a deciduous forest region: deer, black bear, skunk, fox, porcupine, squirrels, and the like. The events that destroyed the world Sergei knew also set free a variety of domestic animals which have since adapted to life in the wild. Horses, bulls and cows, boars, and hybridizations of domestic animals, coyotes, and wolves are also common sights.
There is also a variety of strange new creatures thriving in the wilderness, their ancestors engineered in Plant 19’s laboratories for use as living weapons. Once the facility shut down, these creatures promptly escaped and set about living and breeding in the wilderness. The following is a list, with descriptions, of known bio-weapon descendants:
Fanged, finned amalgamations of fish and man, the pale-skinned, dark-eyed fishmen are the offspring of an initial hybridization experiment intended to create marines in a more literal sense. Fishmen are muscular and sport webbed hands and feet perfect for swimming. Their fangs and claws are razor sharp, easily capable of tearing through light armor, and their physical strength is formidable. They live in small tribal bands near just about any body of water where they perform profane and bloody rights in the honor of their violent gods. They are fully sentient, and bear nothing but malice for mankind and are the bane of any would-be fishermen. Those which live near the Green River regularly engage the territorial Hill Howlers in bloody combat. Any attempts at negotiating with them are futile: they either do not, or do not want to, understand any language that isn’t their own hissing shrieking tongue.
Large, muscular, apelike creatures whose earliest ancestors were part of a Plant 19 attempt to induce super strength in humans. The results of the various procedures early volunteers underwent have manifested on a genetic level in their offspring centuries later in the form of enormously powerful musculatures, very durable skeletons, and curious alterations to their sensory organs meant to make them more effective hunters. Modern Hill Howlers are powerful, slouching creatures that walk on their knuckles and use their supersensitive, trunk-like noses to track prey over long distances. Large numbers of them live in and around the Eastern Hills in primitive communities lead by the largest, strongest males. Unlike the Fishmen, their mental faculties have dulled considerably and they possess only a rudimentary sort of language. The howls for which they have been named can carry for miles and miles. While most find their calls unnerving at best, the humans along the Green River take the deafening reverberations as proof that an ally is nearby.
A curious combination of reptile and arachnid, the Wood Skulk possesses the body of a roughly Labrador-sized lizard with two eyes at the ends of foot long, elastic stalks and a face made up almost entirely of four enormous, fanged mandibles like those of a large spider. The creatures are very stealthy, and able to climb on just about any surface quietly while also shifting the pigments of the skins to better blend in with their surroundings, a-la Jackson’s Chameleon or, more accurately, a terrestrial octopus. Originally created to make jungles and forests unsafe for enemy combatants, the descendants of the first Wood Skulks now use their enormously long, surprisingly strong, sticky tongues and highly venomous fangs to make wooded areas unsafe for just about anyone. They tend to nest rather than wander though, and a Wood Skulk’s lair is easily recognized by the desiccated remains of unfortunate victims inevitably left scattered about the premises. Hunting Wood Skulks is a very common assignment for squads of royal guards not currently needed on any patrol routes.
We don’t know what it is, but since anyone who sees it usually ends up dead momentarily, we’re sort of glad that we don’t know what it is.
Build a Beast Workshop
If you have an idea for a bio-weapon turned free-ranging creature, write up a description similar to the ones I’ve posted above, send it to me, and if I like it and it seems appropriate, it's in.
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
|quote quick quote|
Jul 21, 12 at 9:19am ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
Characters, important notes, and final miscellanea
Here are some final notes I believe are necessary for you to function in this RP, including your intended role in the world. It’s a bit disorganized, but oops—things like that happen.
Queen Elise Prieta
A young woman from a relatively unknown settlement near the Green River recently chosen more or less at random to be The Green’s new lifelong queen. She is young and inexperienced but fair and compassionate in her dealings, and unflappable in the face of danger. As a result she is much loved by the people, though she does attract some criticism for her apparent fear of the Mad King. Ladylike in appearance and mannerism, her flowing black hair is the envy of fashion conscious individuals all across The Green, and her eyes (blue with flecks of gold around the iris) have bewitched many a would-be suitor. She claims no family, but those closest to her know that she once had an elder sister until one day the mood of a certain southern lunatic saw fit to change that. . .permanently.
The Mad King
Scrawny and feral are words that might leap to mind when viewing the skeletal countenance of the Mad King, but anyone with half a brain will keep those adjectives to themselves. The dangerously unstable yet oddly charismatic leader of The Mad King’s Colonies, this apparently nameless psychopath has been the cause of much misery since he came to power some years ago. He seems to have an extreme case of what Sergei might call bipolar disorder, exuberant and cheerful to the extreme one moment and violently, often murderously, angry the next. His misdeeds are many and varied, but perhaps the best example of this man’s modus operandi would be the story of the final moments of Queen Prieta’s elder sister Sybil. Taken during one of the Mad King’s sacrificial raids, she was treated as a queen for no apparent reason for nearly a month and then in an instant boiled alive in an over-sized cauldron forged just for the occasion. Her remains were then fed to the Underlurker, along with several of the peasants who had failed to point out how inefficiently large the cauldron was.
Everyone in this society must do something to earn their keep, and thus their portions of everyone else’s labor. To help make sure this happens, the Ministry of Garb, the Farmer’s Guild, the College of Arts, and the Ministry of Craftsmen help regulate industry in each of the areas for which they are named. At around the age of fifteen, young men and women actively choose which ministry they wish to work for, and apply there as soon as possible. If they are able to prove their worth in their desired field, they are given a work assignment and put to use right away. If not, they are offered training, or a suggestion as to which ministry might better suit their abilities. This is a utopian society, so it is perfectly acceptable for people with no other real talent to work for the College of Arts doing nothing but entertaining others through song, dance, poetry, storytelling, or theatre. Successful applicants to the Farmer’s Guild will be given a home at one of the government-owned farms outside the city and put to use by the farm supervisor as needed. Individuals in the ministry of garb are responsible for creating clothing and everyday objects of all descriptions, and those who work for the Ministry of Craftsmen are responsible for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure, weapons, and armor. Those who do not live in High Haven are welcome to apply to the ministries any way, or they may simply live out their lives in their settlements, doing whatever they need to there.
High Priests and Historians
Occasionally an individual is singled out as “gifted” in some way, according to criteria unknown to the general population. These individuals are offered a chance to work for either the High Priests or the Historians, two highly exclusive guilds responsible for exploring the mysteries of the past and deciphering the heretical technologies from long forgotten ages. Since the knowledge these individuals may obtain can very dangerous to everyone’s way of life, members of these guilds must pass a battery of psychological exams to ensure that they will not abuse what they learn.
Think of Historians as archaeologists, going out and digging up things to be studied and catalogued. High Priests are the world’s only known experts in ancient advanced technology, and are distinguishable from the general populace only by the unique, eye-shaped tattoos on their foreheads.
Free public primary, secondary, and university level schools for anyone who wishes to go. Students are taught to read and write, and learn a great deal about natural sciences and even history, although their history lessons are generally very limited and vague and always boil down to “don’t use technology from the past because it is evil, unless a High Priest says its okay.” Of worthy note is the fact that nobody knows exactly how the Old World was destroyed: just that it was a bad time for all, and it probably had something to do with The Shrine of Past Darkness.
As Sergei noted, it’s a mix of a ton of different fashions and styles ranging from denim, blue jean like pants to dresses, to togas, to whatever else. Imagine a shattered society trying to find an identity based on pictures of people from old history textbooks and no real context.
Soldiers are allowed to order customized sets of armor, looking like basically whatever they want so long as it includes the emblem of The Green (a large, green eyeball) somewhere prominent. Though this seems decadent, in reality it's probably just a way to keep the smiths busy since most soldiers don't tend to face all that much actual danger.
Your role in all of this:
You live in this world, likely as a native of The Green. If you’re interested in a part as an Eastern Nomad or a Southern Crazyperson, or someone from beyond our map, or whatever else you dream up, ask me about that and we’ll see what we can work out. Everyone may have a maximum of two characters. Your character sheet is below.
Name: Whatever, really. This is XXX thousand years in the future, in a post-apocalyptic utopian socialist society based heavily on the worship of nature. Who knows how names will work?
Original home/Current whereabouts:
Occupation: Include job-relevant tools and equipment
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
|quote quick quote|
Apr 7, 13 at 11:39am ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
Norad 2 as:
Name: Sergei Kastalar
Appearance: Sort of scruffy and bewildered, Sergei looks like what he is: a man who just woke up from a very long nap. His short dark hair is a matted mess despite half-hearted attempts at straightening it, and he hasn’t bothered shaving since leaving Plant 19, leaving him with thin stubble across his face. His eyes are weary and bear the look of someone who doesn’t quite believe what he is seeing. His current clothing consists only of the ancient gray jumpsuits and black boots he brought with him from his former place of employment.
Original home/Current whereabouts: Plant 19/Outside of High Haven
Occupation: Former weapons engineer
Name: Lyssa Moonstronde
Appearance: Lyssa is an average sort of girl, with thin features and a humble height of about five feet. She is the sort who would look delicate if her face wasn’t permanently set into either an expression of impatient expectation or an unreadable poker face. Her shining black hair is immaculately straight and usually kept bunched into a long ponytail running halfway down her back and bound with a variety of jeweled clasps, and her emerald eyes seem perfectly designed for the cynical facial expressions she so often employs. Despite the constant and scholarly nature of her work she makes some effort to maintain her appearance and usually dresses quite smartly. She is also fond of painting her fingernails.
Original home/Current whereabouts: Lyssa was born and raised in High Haven, and has only left the city very rarely.
Occupation: Miss Moonstronde is a middle ranking Historian whose work is primarily concerned with documenting and cataloguing things. Because of the whimsy of bureaucracy, she was assigned as a liaison to the demon called Sergei.
Scott Cee as:
Name: Spoon McLaren
Appearance: Short and slim with a shock of short dark hair with the left side of her fringe dyed bright pink.
She wears a dark grey heavy canvas coat with the fur-trimmed hood pulled up, and holey stained jeans with battered sneakers.
Original home/Current whereabouts: High Haven
Occupation: Spoon currently works for the Ministry of Garb, having previously worked for the Ministry of Craftsmen and the Farmer's Guild. This resulted in greenhouses that lost panes of glass in even the slightest of breezes, and tomato plants succumbing through lack of water or to too much water. The amount of work and effort she puts is beyond reproach, but it likely won't be very long before she is shunted in the direction of the College of Arts - where she won't be able to do too much damage.
She makes coats.
Other: Spoon is too much of a dreamer to fit in with the more serious-minded people of High Haven, but too driven to really let herself slide into absolute mediocrity.
Appearance: Griff is a Howler. His large frame is packed with muscle and covered in thick black fur. He has some scars, visible where his fur has silvered, from past battles between his tribe and Fishmen, mostly on his chest and the backs of his arms. He wears a pair of dark blue shorts to conceal whatever it was that Spoon felt necessary to be concealed in the civilized company of High Haven.
Original home/Current whereabouts: Griff was born in the Eastern Hills, but is usually to be found in the company of Spoon McLaren
Occupation: Spoon's partner in idiocy
Harvest Life as:
Name: Lark Etherby
Appearance: Tall and willowy Lark resembles the models from years gone by. Her hair is the color of chestnuts while her eyes are a light green, like spring grass.
Original home/Current whereabouts: High Haven
Occupation: As a musician, Lark is almost never seen without her trusty violin, Lady Lenore.
Appearance: A roguish looking young man with the look of a Mesopotamian of old, so naturally tanned skin, short dark brown hair, and rather abnormal dark brown eyes with flecks of gold. Being the height of 6' and having the weight of 165 pounds, he has the perfect build for his job, Retrieving. He wears a slightly old dress shirt under a military style hooded coat and a pair of versatile jeans complete with a pair of running shoes.
Original home/Current whereabouts: High Haven
Occupation: The Retrieval Ministry, as it is jokingly called. His job requires an adaptable crossbow and a good length of rope.
Other: At one point he was part of a respectable family, but once in a blue moon, bad things happen. James' family was murdered deep into the Green by a High Priest. All because James found another facility. Now in his free time he hunts for their killer.
Name: Crona Arumat
Appearance: Crona is a tall, strapping, and slightly muscular young man. He is roughly 6,5 ft. Weighs about 210 lb. His solid white hair runs at a short length in the back, with bangs hanging down just above his eyes. He keeps nice clean as well as shaven. His right eye is a cool icy blue while his left eye is a fiery red. Why this is, he keeps secret. He also has a big X shaped scar going across his back. Crona's normal casual attire are a pair of denim blue jeans, a open, button up, grey short sleeved jacket, black fingerless gloves, and a pair of sneakers. His formal attire resembles that of a gentlemen’s. A top hat, crimson red dress pants, a crimson red tux, and a black jacket. He wears either a Sapphire or a Ruby earring on his right ear, depending on his mood or the occasion. Armor wise, it's a thin and light full body battle armor that looks kind of like a medieval knights. Its colored Silver with gold trimmings. Instead of a emblem of The Green, His armor has a custom Full moon symbol on the back. The symbol has what looks like a Chinese dragon god wrapped around it and a pack of snow wolves sits below the moon, howling all together.
Original home/Current whereabouts: His original home is theorized to be Way down south of the Worldsnake's River, where it has yet to be explored. His current whereabouts is his small house located not to far from Treasure Lake.
Occupation: He makes his living as a part-time Jack-of-all-trades and Hunter. He hunts own regular animals, but also descended of Bio Weapons, such as Wood Skulks. He sells the skins, bodies, organs, and whatever else some collectors or businesses may want. When he's hunting, he uses a HF (High Frequency) muramase katana, its specialized scabbard, many different types of traps, such a pitfall trap, trank darts, and/or poison darts. For other tasks, he uses whatever tools or weapons will suit the job.
Other/weapon description: The High Frequency muramase katana is a type of blade that was created by a great sword smith named Sengo Muramase. Muramase blades were believed to be some of the best katana in history and were known for their unique shape and sharpness. But Crona’s Muramase blade generates high frequency sonic vibrations along the sword, increasing its attack and slicing power to amazing lengths, able to cut through steel and metal like butter when at full power. Normally, he keeps it at a lower setting as to not hack his prey to pieces and ruin the spoils. He really only turns it up if he has to. Finally, the scabbard for his katana has a small explosive device inside of it. It’s not very powerful and lacks any destructive abilities. It acts more like a gun barrel. When the sword is sheathed, Crona can press a button on the end of the scabbard located next to the handle of the blade to activate the explosive device. It blows up the inside of the scabbard, pushing the sword out at a rapid speed, allowing quick draws, and draw strikes.
Norad's Note: This weapon has been discussed and approved on the basis of back story to be revealed later.
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
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Apr 8, 13 at 6:02pm ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
It was to the pleasant sound of morning bells and singing birds that Sergei awoke, eyes fluttering open in the orange glow of early morning light flowing through his open window. A soft breeze blew across his bed, cool and fresh. He lay for a moment in the simple feather mattress he had been given, breathing calmly and staring at the wood plank ceiling. Wood! That really got him. Wood from trees! Not stone, not metal, no inexplicable stains. Just pure, clean. . .was it birch? Or oak. He had no idea.
He thought for a moment that he should have found it more difficult to adjust to all of this, and sometimes he did wonder if it was all just a symptom of some dementia brought on by chemical exposure and sudden deep freeze. Every day, though, he saw things that he never, never would have imagined on his own and so he felt comfortably sure he wasn’t dreaming. He sat up then, the cotton clothes he was given rustling softly. He imagined they were daytime clothes—they certainly looked too elaborate for a set of pajamas—but they were just so much more comfortable than his wretched old jumpsuits. As he swung his legs over the edge of the bed he resolved to ask that Lyssa woman about getting him more clothing.
Speaking of her, he realized as he made his way across the creaking wooden floor, miss Moonstronde said she would be coming by today. He glanced out the window as he passed, but saw no one save for the farmers who lived and worked nearby.
He entered the simple washroom and looked at the polished sheet of metal that counted as his mirror. The distorted reflection was stubbly and unkempt, but already he noticed that the simple, hearty food the local ministries had brought him was helping fill out his formerly gaunt features. He washed with the sink and donned one of his gray jumpsuits with a sigh just as he heard a loud, clattering bang on the downstairs door. He started, and made his way to the window again, which looked directly down over the front door, and saw Lyssa and several armed guards standing about the cabin’s stoop, a carriage on the dirt path behind them, the horses pawing and sniffing at the fragrant breeze. One of the men raised an armored fist and was about to hammer again when Sergei called out “Hold up, hold up! I’m here. I will be right down.” His visitors gazed up at him, but said nothing.
Leaving the two-room second story behind, Sergei stepped gingerly down the stairs, which terminated immediately before the front door. He heard more knocking, as if the oaf with the lance had forgotten where Sergei was the second he left the window, and opened the door with pronounced lassitude.
“Good morning, Miss Moonstronde.” He said, the vague Russian lilt he picked up from his father preserved by the deep freeze right along with the rest of him. Lyssa looked at him oddly and opened her mouth as if to correct him, no doubt to point out yet again that her name was “Lyssa” and not “miss” but she seemed to think the better of it and just started talking.
“Hello” she began flatly, reaching up and flicking her flawlessly horizontal bangs as if they had been irritating her. She was looking a bit on the corporate side today, not that she knew what that was, with a black wool vest fastened with golden buttons over a red shirt of some sort, and a knee-length skirt. Her lips were a dark blue today, and her nails painted to match. Sergei flashed a quick smile. How pleasing it was to see women who didn’t all look as ashen, paranoid, and worn as he did!
“Are you ready to go?” She asked, sounding a bit more bored than curious.
“No. Wait. Maybe. Where are we going?”
“To the caste inside of High Haven. You have a meeting with some of the Historians regarding your nature, and what you can contribute if we allow you to stay.” At that, two of the guards tilted their heads toward each other as if to say to the other that they didn’t know he was going to be hanging around. “Also,” Lyssa said slowly, her eyes darting to the right for a moment as if she were debating what she felt like telling him “The queen might wish to speak with you.”
Sergei laughed in spite of himself. “Oh, really? Well, let us go then! Don’t want to keep your queen waiting.”
“I said she might meet with you!” At the end of her sentence there came a little clucking noise, as if she had started to call him ‘creature’ like she had when they first met. “Let’s just go.”
Sergei followed obediently, curious and perhaps a bit nervous as he clambered into the carriage. It was an enclosed, four seated affair in which Lyssa and one guard sat directly opposite him, the second guard next to him, and the third took up the driver’s seat. They looped smartly around his humble little cabin, built almost directly up against the massive walls of High Haven and traveled along them for a while before passing the heavy wooden gates which now stood open for daytime commerce.
They clattered along cobblestone streets mostly in silence, the guards looking uninterestedly through the carriages’ tiny windows, and Lyssa sitting, hands folded on her lap and eyes closed, apparently dozing. Sergei had spent some time wandering the streets of the city, and found himself quite impressed by the scale of the buildings and the lovely, dreamlike appeal of the architecture, all jutting spires and open courtyards and fountains scattered about. He didn’t know how many people lived here, but it must have been many thousands: the streets were always busy. He stared dreamily out of his own window, and tried not to wonder why he didn’t miss his home very much.
The rest of the afternoon was disappointingly uneventful. Once they arrived at the grand palace, an enormous structure comprised of a labyrinth of walls and gates, and towers which seemed to catch clouds in their peaks, and all so shockingly white it was difficult to look at in the rising sun, he was promptly stuck in a small waiting room and left alone for a long time. As the minutes crawled by he overheard passing guards and court officials, most of whom seemed particularly concerned about this Mad King he had been hearing about, and the increasingly erratic nature of his raids into The Green. He also heard snatches of conversation about monster hunting expeditions, and once when a man with a thin little voice stopped outside of the room he had been stuck in the mention of The Shrine perked his ears up. It seemed that they wanted to talk to him about Plant 19, but whoever had been talking hurried off.
That same man came back not long after Sergei had first heard him, a tall and balding fellow with a little nose and an overly friendly smile. He padded across the thick red carpeting of the tiny square chamber, and plopped down in one of the ornate wooden chairs across from Sergei, who had sat slouched over, arms resting on his knees for lack of a table to lean on. He looked up at the new man, and waited with a calculated blankness about his expression.
“Hello, demon” said the bald man. “I am brother Harper, and I work with the high priests. If, uh, you couldn’t tell by the robes.”
Sergei could, in fact, tell by the robes. They were green with gold trim, and he wasn’t sure what that meant yet but it was likely it had something to do with this Harper’s exact specialty. “Yes, I guessed that much.”
“I suppose you’re wondering why you’re here?” Harper seemed nervous. A lot of the people who knew where Sergei was from behaved like that. He seemed to debate whether or not he wanted to call him demon again.
“It means yes.”
Brother Harper made a sort of amused expression with a scowl and a silly little smirk that Sergei felt sure wouldn’t work on anyone else’s face. “Well, I can tell you that. You are here simply because you are the first living thing to come out of the Shrine that did not attempt to kill the guards on dutry. And the others of my caste would very much like to know the difference between you and, say, another variety of mutated fishman.”
“Pardon me?” Sergei looked up. “I would assume the primary difference involves my not being a fish.”
Brother Harper laughed a little laugh, and made a nervous "oh" noise in his throat, and suddenly Sergei was much more interested in this interview.
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
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Apr 11, 13 at 6:52am ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
“Spoon! Spoon, come here, I want you!”
Heads raised from looms and spinning wheels all across the open hall that was the main workshop of the Ministry of Garb in this part of High Haven. This was where fleece was spun into wool, cotton woven into thread, tanned leathers turned into belts and bags and shoes, and flax turned into whatever it was flax was turned into prior to becoming clothing. Possibly involving hammers.
The hall itself was constructed from the same white stone as many of the other buildings in this part of the city, heavy wooden benches arrayed in neat rows across the open space, dark wooden beams supporting the roof far above. And it was from these rafters that Griff was hanging by one huge hand, idly swinging back and forth while waiting for his friend.
A young woman looked up from where she had been working the treadles of her sewing machine, trying to sort out a particularly difficult seam, the needle punching in and out of the thick cloth that would eventually be a heavy winter coat, to find that the Overseer was standing over her, a disappointed look on his face and a battered tin megaphone in one hand and an... item of clothing in the other.
“Spoon, what exactly would you call this,” he asked, casually throwing it on top of what Spoon had been sewing together.
Spoon, for that was the young woman's name, lifted the garment, held it up and looked at it critically. It hung limply from her hands, dark grey like the coat over the back of her chair, the hood trimmed with some whitish coloured fur.
“I would call this a coat,” said Spoon cautiously, inwardly wincing at what she knew would be coming next.
“It has three sleeves,” said the Overseer, using his megaphone to lift one, facing up to the very real possibility that the girl he was talking to did not know what a sleeve was. “That's these things here, that arms go into. How many arms do people have, Spoon?”
“We-ell,” said Spoon carefully, “Marten, you know Marten? He only has one arm. He lost the other to a fishman, I think. And Silvy was born without a little finger on her left hand.”
“Spoon,” said the Overseer in that special voice that people use when talking to children and idiots. “People, most people, are born with two arms. They don't need a coat with three sleeves.”
“They could tie a knot in one and keep things in it,” said Spoon hopefully, though she knew she was fighting a losing battle. She hung her head and intently studied the stitching of the three-sleeved coat, face slowly turning red.
“You can't keep doing this, Spoon,” said the Overseer kindly. “Coats with three sleeves and trousers with one leg shorter than the other are of no use to anyone, and a waste of materials in top of that. Cotton doesn't grow on trees, you know. If this keeps happening, I'm afraid I'll have no choice but to let you go. You'll have to find work with the Farmers or Craftsmen. Or there's the arts? People are always looking to be entertained.”
“Yes, Overseer,” said Spoon meekly, still staring at the surface of her bench. “I'll try harder in future.”
“Good, Spoon. That's good. You can go for today, I think.”
The Overseer bustled off, megaphone in hand, to annoy somebody else, and left Spoon to gather up her things. She lifted her own coat, which had the regulation number of sleeves as well as pockets to keep things in, off the back of her chair and struggled into it.
Griff dropped down from the ceiling, landing with a surprising noiselessness for such large creature, and blew a very loud, very long raspberry at the Overseer's retreating back.
“You said it, buddy,” said Spoon, raising her hood and heading for the exit.
Spoon squinted in the sudden brightness of the sun reflected from the white stone walls of the buildings of High Haven, which could come as quite a shock following the semi-darkness of the Ministry of Garb Hall.
The city was busy, the city was always busy. The cobbled streets were full of people coming and going on errands, or just ambling from one place to another, taking the time to greet friends as they passed or looking at the various goods that spilled from shop fronts and out onto the street. Carriages and carts rattled and bumped their way across the city, sometimes weaving between groups of people who had stopped for a quick chat, sometimes impatient drivers, or those merely in a hurry, shouting at folks to clear the way.
It was one such carriage that caught Spoon's eye, the driver up on the box clad in polished armour, red-faced and sweating as he yelled at a knot of children playing a game in the middle of the road. Through the window Spoon could see two more guards, a rather severe looking woman and a dishevelled-looking man dressed in strange grey clothes - strange in the way that she had never seen anything like them, not strange in that he had a scarf over eight feet long, or socks with three heels.
“I wonder who that man is,” said Spoon, though Griff wasn't paying attention, trying to haggle, in his slow, patient and completely silent way, that the man cooking venison over flaming barrel should give him some for nothing.
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Apr 14, 13 at 9:13am ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
Moving through the hub office of the Upper Archives, location of the Historians’ headquarters, always felt to Lyssa Moonstronde a bit like navigating a swamp. The large cylindrical chamber had once, she was told, been very prettily decorated and used for balls or some such. Now, though, all paintings and hangings had been taken down and replaced with stacks upon heaps upon mounds of crates and boxes full of unknown odds and inexplicable ends. Some of the stacks were several hundred feet high, reaching upward toward the vaulted ceiling past multiple layers of a spiraled staircase that ran up and down the circumference of the room. Like a swamp, there was evidence of life everywhere, but pinpointing its exact location could be tricky, so one was often more or less completely alone, whether in the lobby or their own office. The whole setup was a massive safety hazard she realized, but like a real swamp, there was more to fear here than a big mess: Governess Upshaw, head of the categorization department where Lyssa worked, had been in a particularly foul mood of late, and mostly one tried to avoid her even when she was feeling relatively pleasant.
Lyssa made her hazardous, high-heeled way through the forest of rubbish, click-clicking her way across the stone of the floor and alerting the single, practically unnoticeable, secretary who sat at a tiny oak desk roughly in the center of the lobby. The younger woman perked up as Lyssa approached, but then quickly returned to the trashy novel she had been staring uninterestedly at: every Historian knew that Governess Upshaw was mean, and Lyssa Moonstronde was not one for conversation. Lyssa passed the desk without a word, but just as she was about to vanish into the unthinkable clutter and head for her office in the back the secretary spoke up, her voice curiously muffled by the encroaching mess.
Lyssa stopped in her tracks, and made a little irritable noise in her throat. “Yes?”
“Governess Upshaw was looking for you. Something about the demon you escorted in.”
“Oh.” She pursed her lips, reminded herself to say “Thank you” and then click-click-clicked the rest of the way back to her office.
Lyssa Moonstronde’s exact job within the Historians was somewhat of a grab-bag of tasks. Most of her time was spent sifting through the junk the field agents hauled in, sorting, labeling, and storing, but because she did not have an exact title within the guild Upshaw was fond of using her as a sort of bureaucratic mercenary, sending her to and fro to accomplish whatever needed accomplished at the time. Technically, Lyssa supposed, she was a mid-ranking agent as she was able to boss most other people around when she felt like it, but mostly what she felt like was the Governess’ little crony.
She sidled her way through the barely passable door to her workplace, next to which was a particular mess due to the fondness the field agents had for dumping their “critical” findings immediately next to her. Everyone wanted their worthless junk looked at first, in case it turned out important enough to merit a promotion, or a more glamorous assignment. Upshaw had once implied that Lyssa was not the only one who spent her time on this drudgery, but the stoic young woman had yet to see anyone else knee-deep in ancient kitchen appliances. Her office was accordingly claustrophobic, although somewhat more neat, with boxes and folders of documentation stacked along the walls instead of just wherever. A single chandelier hung in the exact middle of the room and provided a modest but depressingly artificial amount of light for her to work by. Her desk was in the rearmost corner of the dreary little rectangle, and just behind that was a private washroom she had requested installed after the third time she had been required to remain at work for three straight days.
She sat as gracefully as possible, and glanced at her own delicately porcelain face in a small mirror she kept at the desk just so she could remember she was human on a late night. It often occurred to her to wonder why everyone on the outside was so eager to work for the Historians. Nobody seemed to realize that it was mostly just drudgery, unless you were one of the dozen or so people selected for field duty at any given time. In theory, everyone was supposed to spend an equal amount of time in the field and working in the office, but Lyssa had not actually been out in the field ever since Upshaw had realized that she would never put up a fight about her orders. She tried to remember exactly when she had stopped being an impatient, impetuous teen and started being an irritable, but subdued, woman.
She opened one of her desk drawers and reached for a pen, one of the kind with the clicky button on top she had stolen from the secretary, and steeled herself to start scratching her signature into another stack of fieldwork authorization forms when there came a rapping at her door.
“Moonstronde!” Crowed the high, rasping voice of her immediate superior. “Moon-stronde! Are you in there, girl? Open the damn door!”
Lyssa wished for a moment that she could explode things with her mind. She wasn’t sure if she’d use the power on Upshaw, or her own head, but either way would be a nice change of pace.
The door creaked open, and Lyssa poked her narrow face out, taking in the bony, wrinkled, almost bloodthirsty countenance of Governess Upshaw. She too was very pale from years and years of office work, and looked quite a lot like something freshly raised from the grave. Her hair, which might once have been perfectly lovely, was a curtly-shorn mass of gray and brown and old-lady blue: it was obvious it had been a long time since she had had a reason to care much about her appearance.
“There you are girl! You need to make yourself easier to find!” Upshaw snapped, as if Lyssa could help how hard it was to find her when she was out on an errand Upshaw herself had sent her on. “Where’s the demon?”
“I left him with the priests. Like you told me to.” She found herself becoming irate with Upshaw from the moment she had heard the old crone’s voice. The woman had that effect on people.
“The priests!” Upshaw tossed her arms up in the air as if she couldn’t believe the priests were even still allowed to exist. “Only because the queen herself told me! But that man is the property of the Historians’ guild!”
Lyssa wondered how Sergei, as he called himself, would feel if he knew two different breeds of desk-jockey were arguing over who got to question him first. “I’m not sure how you came up with that idea, Governess, but you know as well as I do that when it comes to living things she emphasized that point, more because she felt like correcting her superior than defending the demon, “The High Priests have the right to determine whether or not it is a threat to our society before anyone else gets near him.”
Upshaw appeared to ponder this for a moment, a sort of vapidly tranquil look replacing her usual scowl for a moment. Then the scowl came back, a beam of intense hate trying to burn away the practiced look of boredom Lyssa wore in the presence of other Historians. And merchants. And farmers, and more or less everyone. “Well, that idiot Harper is almost done with him. I want you back down there, and I want him brought to me!”
“But I just got—“ Lyssa’s nostrils flared, and her eyes narrowed a bit, then she bit her tongue and held her next breath in for a second or two. “Yes, Governess Upshaw.”
The High Priests were not stationed in the central tower like most of the other high-level administration offices. Instead they had their own building at the other end of the palace, with lots of other, smaller buildings that any non-priests were forbidden from entering. The High Priests and the Historians tended to work closely together though, so navigating all their rituals and regulations was a bit easier for someone like Lyssa. When she arrived, she was shown immediately to the room where Sergei was being interviewed by the shrew-like Brother Harper. She expected it to be just the three of them, but much to her surprise she had to elbow her way through a packed room full of priests and guards, all of whom seemed to be clamoring to hear whatever it was Sergei was saying. A few times she thought she would be crushed between the massive frames of armored men, but a few strategic kicks to the kneecaps brought her to the front of the crowd, where Sergei was regaling them all with a tale of some war. The soldiers looked puzzled by the idea of men killing men en masse, and Brother Harper seemed positively horrified.
The crowd had pressed her forward so that she was practically standing on top of the man in the gray jumpsuit, who was lounging casually in a wooden arm chair. When he noticed her, his solemn narrative paused and he made direct eye contact, smiling slightly.
“Hello, Miss Moonstronde! Guess what?” He beamed up at her. “They’re giving me a job.” When Lyssa raised an eyebrow in lieu of asking, he continued. “They want me to help the historians explore Plant 19.”
“Plant. . .?”
“Oh, you know. The, uh, the Shrine?”
Lyssa’s expression must have changed, for Sergei started to ask if she was alright. She ignored him though, and turned as best she could in the packed chamber to face Brother Harper. “Is that true? Historians? In the Shrine?”
Brother Harper smiled stupidly and nodded, obviously excited. “Unprecedented, isn’t it? Maybe if you ask Governess Upshaw, she’ll let you work with the team!”
There would be no maybe about it. Lyssa Moonstronde would be working with that team. Not even Upshaw could make her miss this opportunity.
Veni, Veni, Venias
Ne Me Mori Facias
|quote quick quote|
Apr 16, 13 at 1:04pm ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
Today is the day, she thought to herself. Her brother was coming to visit. Lark hadn't seen him in a few months, which was rather disappointing. The letters she had received talked of Caleb's unexpected extended courtship of a young woman with the name of Ethel.
Lark was pretty sure that a woman named Mrs. Ethel Etherby would be laughed at by young children. When she had received the letter of their breakup her brother had kindly informed her that he would need a place to stay for awhile. Though she would never say it to his face, she truly believed that he shouldn't have been sleeping in Ethel's parent's barn.
She loved her brother dearly but he would get on her nerves after awhile. In fact, if he didn't make her amazing costumes, she probably wouldn't have anything to do with him at all.
Lark had woken early, even though she had been out late the night before. She cleaned up the guest bedroom and made sure that there would be enough food for a few days. When she was sure that there was nothing more to busy herself with; she started the hardest part of her day: waiting.
She sat at the kitchen table for a good hour, staring at the texture on the wooden door. She knew she would hear. She started plucking at Lady Lenore's strings nervously. Perhaps he wouldn't be coming. Maybe on his way back he'd found someone else that had caught his fancy. That would be just like him too, to say he was coming and not show up.
Interrupting her thoughts there was an insistent rapping and tapping on the door.
"Coming!" she yelled, nearly dashing to open the door.
"Sister, dear!" Caleb said, dropping his tiny black leather suitcase on the landing and enveloping her in a hug. Lark smiled, perhaps he had changed since she'd last seen him. When he let her go, she took a step back. He had changed, in looks at least. His brown hair had gotten longer. He put on some more weight and he'd filled out some. He had the beginnings of a beard growing as well. Even though he made clothing, the clothes he wore never seemed to fit him properly and he appeared scruffy.
"I'm so sorry about Ethel, Caleb. What was it like on your travels? You wrote about so many beautiful places in your letters," she said, taking Caleb's bag and depositing it on the kitchen table. He'd been to stay with her before, he knew where his room was.
"It's fine, she was a bit of a snake anyway. How's Lady Lenore?"
Lark smiled and picked up the violin, running her hands along the polished wood, "Lady Lenore is the sweetest lady in all the land."
"I bet if she was a real woman she'd like me," he muttered.
The musician laughed, "She would be disgusted by the mere sight of you, Caleb. You'd have to win her over with your singing voice."
"Of course, sister dear. Women faint at the sound of my manly baritone."
Lark shot him a mischievous grin, "Oh, do they?"
It wasn't long before both of them were walking the streets, Lark carrying Lady Lenore, who was safely stowed away in her case. Caleb walked with his hand behind his back, carrying a tambourine in his right hand. The Etherby family was filled with members of the College of the Arts. From birth, both of the siblings had been taught to play music and sing and dance. Caleb had failed miserably at most of these things, while Lark was good with music in general.
"Here!" Lark said, stopping in the middle of a busy street corner. She knelt down on the sidewalk, unlatching the clasps on her violin case.
"Here?!" Her brother yelled, his face turning beat red.
"We're not going to get much of an audience if we don't stop in the middle of the street," she said, gently plucking each of Lady Lenore's strings with her fingers to make sure everything sounded right. She had no need for a tuner, as she could hear even the tiniest shift in the notes.
Even the simple act of plucking a few strings drew a small crowd.
"What are we going to play?" Caleb hissed, his eyes glancing nervously at the faces of the eager people.
"Scarborough Fair? We've done that before when we were kids, remember?"
Caleb nodded and Lark pulled her bow across Lady Lenore's strings. It was a single note, and she held it for longer then she needed to. She could feel the small gathering lean in, and she began to play. She drifted away on Lady Lenore's song, allowing herself to no longer be in a crowd full of people. Instead she was nowhere, and it was peace. The sweet feeling of nothing. She smiled as she lowered the bow, lost in the music.
Caleb's voice tethered her back to the present as he sang the first verse. The first few notes were shabby, but as he got into it his voice began to effortlessly soar though the notes and he sang. The crowd seemed spellbound, and before long, Caleb started to actually enjoy himself. The pack of people clapped just as Caleb's voice faded on the wind.
Her brother looked a little shocked and Lark nudged him with the end of her bow and he bowed. Lark brought the bow back to the strings, and began to play.
|quote quick quote|
Apr 18, 13 at 5:55pm ^re: Shrine (M)(PM)(D-B) ACCEPTING
James sat down on the coarse blanket, it’s been 3 month... 3 month since my parents perished in flames at the hands of a protector, a High Priest. All because I found a facility, another one of the plants. Plant 20 and it was my fault. I found it, I told them, and they died. I remember it like it just happened...
My father had been planning to take us out to an ancestral stone manor that was deep into the Green for quite some time now. Luckily Father had been approved for a vacation, you see they were Historians, and currently it was one week after mother told the High Priest, about the plant. When we arrived it was a wonderful afternoon, the manor looked rather happy and the breeze was cool. On the second night there we awoke to something odd, a searing heat. The strange part was that nothing could have produced any form of warmth at that hour and to me it felt like the air around was excited, it was shaking like a Parkinson’s patient. After the abnormal occurrence we decided to leave the windows open. On the third night it happened. When I woke the air was doing it again, it was moving erratically. It was getting hotter and hotter. Then the smoke had begun to rise from the floor, from the walls, from everywhere. Next the flames began to materialize. As this all occurred, I began to try to escape the now burning death trap. I exited my room and dodged falling debris. As the smoke got thicker I began to cough. Somehow I made it downstairs as the coughing began to get worse. I managed to make it to the front door, as I pulled it open I saw something that confused me, it was a High Priest, identifiable by the eye upon his forehead, just watching woefully. Then something even more unexpected happened, the Priest attacked me. The way he assailed was vicious, like a cornered animal. Soon I couldn’t defend anymore as we exchanged blows and I found myself being dragged into the burning manor as my vision began to darken and recede...
Somehow I survived; I awoke in a shadow of the manor, only the stone and part of the top floor left standing. I quickly picked myself up as my damage body groaned in protest and tried to get to the second floor. I glanced at the still standing stairs and they appeared stable enough. I recklessly climbed up the stairs as I searched for my parents, CRACK was the sound as I reached the top floor. You see the ceiling above suddenly gave way and knocked out stairs and part of the top floor. As I lay there in agony on the bottom floor I noticed the debris knocked holes in the stone, maybe I could get up that way. I pulled myself up again and tried a different approach. My muscles burned as I climbed up slowly using these holes placed by opportunity. After what seemed like an eon I pulled my body up and began to head to my parents' room. I stood in front of their door which was blocked by an infinitesimal amount of debris. As the sun reached midday enough debris was cleared for the door to be opened. What I saw inside tore my very soul, inside laid my mother and father, just blackened skeletons upon the bed, clutching the each other in their last moments together. As tears blurred my vision I exited the manor and found myself curled up at the edge of the property.
I eventually limped into the city and got patched up. Surprisingly I only suffered from a multitude of contusions. As I healed up I kept an ear to the news, soon enough after a few days the official news of my parent arrived. I was proclaimed a killer, in High Haven a homicide, let alone a double homicide was news. My family's assets were taken, since there was no next of kin the government took our accounts and distributed it somewhere, as per custom.
As the days changed into weeks one of the regulars approached me and asked me if I wanted a job in the “Retrieval Ministry”. I honestly thought this was bizarre, asking a stranger about a job, but then he read me like a book. He told me that he has seen me in the same spot for days drinking away, “A man like that has nothing to lose," He says. He was right, I didn’t. He led me to the back there sat eight people laughing around a table playing an old card game. Soon I was noticed by a grizzled older man wearing a suit the jokes and jibes were put aside. He asks,
“So you would like to join the Retrieval Ministry?” As the men around him snickered I replied “Yes sir, Mr…”
“Just call me Brocker, everybody else does. Now I say we shall celebrate and introduce our fine cast of employees.” At the end of his sentence he released a loud laugh. So the man named Brocker pulled James to the collection of cheerful drinking men and one woman and began to introduce them. The first was a taller bearded man who calls himself Jefferson Cornwall, but everybody calls him Jeff. Second and third was a pair of nearly identical brothers named Jake and John. Fourth was George, a large rather peaceful man; fifth was Marc Lorenzo, the apparent “genius”. The sixth member of the merry band of fools was Homer “The one from the Odyssey.” he says quite frequently. The seventh is Lincoln, who reveres the leader of old; he’s complete with a top hat and a bushy chin strap. Eighth was the jewel of the crew, Ashley, with luminous tanned skin, exotic emerald eyes and a pert bosom. While she is beautiful, beauty can be very distracting.
The night continued on and on and as the final toast was raised I was invited to give it I confidently said,
“To whatever this Ministry does!” After the ever so comical “I’ll drink to that!” we drank and Brocker took me to back and began to explain it all,
“Alright so the uh, Retrieval Ministry does all sorts of things, but if you boil it down we are thieves, now don’t gasp, we have honor and rules, but one thing people find us useful for is as a connection to the limited underworld of the world. People pay big money for this, we get them what they want, maybe some for us on the side, and get paid. James if you have a problem with this you don’t have to join but you can’t leave… alive.” I remember staring at him, hoping that there was a laugh in his eye, but I only found darkness,
“Brocker, I have no need to quit what I haven’t begun.” He smiled at me and said one more thing,
“I know we already paid for your room in advance,” He said with a twinkle in his eye, “now tomorrow we will begin to train you.” I headed to my room ready for the new life set out before me, ready for the training to begin.
As the time passed I got faster and stronger, I learned how to speak honeyed words and how to move fluidly in a crowd. At the end of the month’s training I was given a gift from my new family, a modified crossbow, made of some composite metal, capable of shooting a hook and reeling my “busy body” in. In the time in between now and then it has saved my ass too many times. But now I must stop reflecting and head to pick up a package. James then suited up and reluctantly left the inn, still grimy from the previous night, blended into the afternoon market crowd and began to navigate the cobbled High Haven roads.
I don't know what my last signature meant!
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