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Old July 11, 2010, 06:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Beneath a Roof of Leaves (Aydyn)

Timestamp: The First Brightening of Ioannes, Summer, Era XVII Post Fractum

The suns had just set as he arrived on this most peculiar of islands. Unlike most, the druid did not depend on a ship to reach his destination. The guards at the harbour never saw his face, never had the opportunity to check his visa or notice that there was something decidedly strange about him. Since he had advanced in his chosen art, he’d been able to travel from one Enchanted Glade to another within the blink of an eye, to transcend the kingdom in its entirely. Rain fell down heavily as he stepped into the clearing in the middle of the glade. He raised his face towards the sky for a moment, felt the wet drops on his face, before he entered Clara and reached out towards the trees that surrounded him, willed them to form a roof over his head to keep him dry.

The grass beneath his feet was greener than anywhere else, and it literally seemed to pulse with life. He had seen plants grow to their full height within a brightening, herbs that he had harvested the darkening before were suddenly there again, as if nothing had happened. Carmelya’s touch seemed strongest here. He felt closest to her on this island, in the Enchanted Glade. Here, he could still believe that the goddess cared about him, that there really was hope for him, that those words had not only been spoken to torment him. Here, the eternal hunger seemed diminished, the constant temptation and the madness further away although they were never completely gone.

Here, he could still believe that there was a point to it, that he’d been brought back from death not once, but twice for a reason, that there was a reason why he had been given this form, this face, why he had been changed like that, that it wasn’t only coincidence and there was another opition besides letting chaos take a hold of his life, besides becoming a monster through and through. Here, he could still believe that he was Carmelya’s child, her child in darkness, and that she thought about him, her priest, from time to time, that there was a place for him among her creations.

He sat there, among the magical trees, beneath his roof of leaves for a while, thinking, strangely comfortable despite his inner turmoil, until the rain had almost stopped, and then he left his resting place to move slowly deeper into the forest, still protected by the trees. There was another purpose to his visit besides the need to feel Carmelya’s touch, to assure himself that he still had some kind of connection to her. There were some plants that only grew here, in Eunesia, some things that were best harvested at this time of the brightening.
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Old July 11, 2010, 02:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It was dark. Seldom did Aydyn find herself striding through the forest when the sky had long drifted into midnight blue, further stealing away what little light already penetrated the thick and high Ariosian canopy. It wasn't so much a matter of being afraid of the dark, but a thing of responsibility; she disliked leaving her girls with Warae brightening and darkening and much preferred to steal away as much time with them when she wasn't working as she possibly could. And lately Aydyn had found herself immensely busy, pulled in one direction or another. All because she'd done what she thought was right.

She needed to stop doing that.

The Druidess had stopped in at a home far off the beaten paths that cut through the woods, a place she'd been only once before and only then in the bright light of brightening. Now, she had somehow managed to get herself turned around...something both amusing and unsettling all at the same time. She was a Druidess. The woods weren't supposed to turn her around like that. She'd let amusement at the event take hold over being unsettled. It was a pleasant enough darkening, comfortable, if a bit damp, and she could use a little time to herself for a change.

She slowed to a halt as the trees around her began to change. It wasn't a dark, foreboding feeling that she garnered. Instead, it was a calm that reached out...just the sort of calm that accompanied silver and gold and magic. A faint smile twitched at the corner of her mouth as she slipped through the boundary of 'ordinary' (if one could call the Ariosian forest ordinary) woodland into the Enchanted Glade of the island.

It was a familiar place and comfortable...and yet she found herself again stopping, tense and alert, eyes shifting through the darkness until she'd found exactly what had set her ill-at-ease: A figure, a person, moving through the woods, not particularly in a hurry, but seemingly with some sort of purpose. She shifted through the trees, bare legs scratched by thick undergrowth. Doubtless she wasn't of the silent sort, feet snapping twigs, squishing damp ground. She didn't try to skulk, knowing it to be pointless. "Serale?"

Chance encounters in the woods--those always went one way or another. She held her breath, wondering if maybe retreating would have been in her best interest instead. She almost laughed, thinking it. She wasn't the same helpless girl she'd been eras earlier. She could take care of herself.
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Old July 12, 2010, 01:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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He could feel her before she noticed him. He could hear her, smell her, feel the blood pulsing through her veins. She was clumsy. He could hear twigs snap as she moved through the forest, could hear her steps loudly and clearly as if she wasn’t entirely aware that it was dark, that she was without company, that he was nearby, that he’d killed people that had been just like her. He instinctively moved closer to her, the plant he’d been about to harvest all but forgotten.

She seemed familiar, that hair, those eyes, the way she held herself. He’d met her before. He’d heard that voice before. He’d already been of the living dead then, but he’d clung to the remnants of his old life more than he did now, had lived among her kind, worked for them, with them. She’d been his first student, he her first teacher. She’d been a good student, talented, although she had been confused by some of the things he had said to her.

“Aydyn.” She could hear his voice, the surprise in it, a moment before he approached, and then he was standing there, in front of her. He still looked exactly the same he had back then, the same white hair, the same dark skin, the same red eyes. While she had grown older and given birth to two children, he had not changed at all. Had he been human, she would have noticed something, but he was an elf, and they lived for centuries.

“I did not expect to find you here at such a time.”
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Old July 26, 2010, 11:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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She twisted, jerked towards the voice in the woods. She'd been prepared for someone to simply evade her. Or maybe the woods to point out that her mind was playing tricks on her. But it was someone she knew--or rather someone that knew her, for the voice ghosted out and she struggled for a moment to place it, her body a little tense as she processed it. Someone from the town? Out here at night, doing what, exactly? Oh, whatever it was these sleepless Ariosians did to keep themselves occupied by night. Or maybe the exact same thing she was doing out in the woods at that candlemark.

Processing the voice was snuffed out as a figure moved, stepped in front of her. She took that instinctive step back, fingers flexing slightly...but they remained empty. She let the staff remain where she'd left it at home, leaning up against the wall by the door (although it wouldn't have surprised her to learn that one of two children--or both--had knocked it over since she'd left). She tipped a glance over him, brows furrowing. Familiar. She was quick to put the face to a name, an experience; there were few vysstichi she had met in life, never mind the ones that had left some sort of dent in it. This one had.

"Adamon. Serale. Your surprised me." The words stammered out as she recovered herself...more from the surprise of seeing someone that she knew from time past...not from the present. She recalled easily the end of her lessons at the Academy, brought about as much by no longer having any further spells to learn...and the fact that there had been a certain emptiness to him when she'd cast that detect spell. Not normal.

She drew in a deep breath, mustered up a quick smile, tentative. He'd been an Adept at the time. Was he more now? Did she have anything to worry about? Yet he didn't seem to offer a threat. "I'd say the same to you--I haven't seen you on Arios at all. Certainly didn't expect to run into you here...now. At such a time." Although it was less of a jab towards the candlemark...as it was a general 'didn't expect to see you at all.' "You live here? In Arios? Or..." She shifted a glance about the glade, well aware of what he could do as a druid. "Traveling?"

oocSorry--life has been crazy busy the last few weeks!
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Old July 27, 2010, 02:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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„I hope I didn’t scare you.“ His voice was soft, gentle, with just a hint of worry, worry that his presence made her uncomfortable. He’d never expected to see the human woman again after those darkenings in Demios. She seemed hesitant, as if she’d secretly hoped that there’d never be more than that those few meetings. Had she ever figured out who he was and what he was? Did she know that he was a dead man or had she drawn a different conclusion from the few words he had said to her towards the end of their time together? Had she believed him when he’d told her of his contact with the goddess? Had she grown in power or was she still an initiate?

“It wasn’t my intention.” He came a bit closer so that she could see him better. His pose was relaxed, the look on his face friendly, polite, as if the fact that her spell back then had not worked on him did not matter in the least.

“No, I don’t live here”, he replied and looked at the silver trees that surrounded them as well. “I only visit from time to time, to gather herbs or to think about the past. I spent one of the happiest times of my life in Eunesia.” There was a hint of sadness on his face, almost invisible in the twilight that surrounded them, an intense kind of regret, and then he shrugged his shoulders as if there was no deeper meaning to his statement after all. “There is no other place like Arios anywhere in this kingdom. You can practically feel the magic in the air. I’ve never seen plants grow within a brightening. I’ve never seen people go without sleep for an entire cycle and not go mad. It’s amazing.” She could practically feel his fascination for this strangest of islands now.

“And what of you, Aydyn?” he asked. “Do you live here now?” It had somehow sounded as if she’d been on the island for a while, but he could be mistaken. “Or did you just come through the same enchanted glade?” He made it sound as if this were nothing more than a conversation between a teacher and his former student, as if they were both alive and it wasn’t dark around them.
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Old August 23, 2010, 09:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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oocCold + Vacation do not a fast-posting Aydyn make!

"Scare?" Aydyn made a light-hearted effort to scoff at the notion, straightening her shoulders back to draw herself up to her full (and rather unimpressive) five feet three inches. She shifted a smile over her face and pressed her nails briefly into the palms of her hands, willing that brief surge of pitter-pat in her chest to calm down. Scared? Hah. "I'm just not used to seeing many people out here, that's all. Not many people seem to know it's here." She reached out and idly brushed her hand against one of the glimmering tree trunks. It was both a shame and a blessing that not many people knew of the glade. That was, she knew, of a purpose. If everyone knew the glade was there, she wasn't precisely sure how serene and placid they'd remain.

She watched his progress, innately uncomfortable and yet well aware that she knew the person walking in the glade, knew that past experience dictated he meant her little harm. Silly to be so nervous, but past experience with other folk told her encounters in the woods were usually bad. Surely this one wouldn't be. She knew him. He'd taught her for feth's sake. That took a certain amount of trust. Her brow furrowed and she rubbed irritably at her forehead. Too many conflicting thoughts and her imagination was certainly merely getting the better of her.

But his rapture about the island garnered a smile and her hand fell away from her forehead, swinging at her hip before settling. It was an echo of her own sentiments and fascination of Arios, drawn in by the magic that permeated everything, the strangeness of the place. She loved it. It was why she stayed, despite the frustration of being incapable of sleeping. More to the point, of her two daughters never, save for one brightening each cycle, being able to sleep. "Oh, I'd argue people go a little mad not being able to sleep. At least, those with kids." But she smiled as she said, expression fond as her eyes drifted about her almost lazily.

She cleared her throat and rolled her shoulders. "I live here, on Arios. I am her thane." She set her hands at her hips and drew in a deep breath, coming to a conclusion about the earlier warring of her thoughts. "I'm sorry about my earlier wariness. Chance encounters in the woods usually don't end very well for me." She tipped a look around her. "But it's good to see a familiar face. That's not a common thing for me. I was on my way home. Would you come along and have some tea?"
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Old August 28, 2010, 06:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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„But I know it’s there“, he replied. “I often visit the enchanted glades. There is something about them that fills me with calm.” Even though she had denied that she was scared, he could notice that she was not entirely comfortable in his presence. There were all those little signs, the fact that she straighened herself to make herself look taller, that she scoffed at the notion, the way in which she smiled. He could almost feel her heart beat faster. It was as if part of her, her subconscious maybe, was aware of the fact that there was something unnatural and dangerous about him, something that should not exist at all.

“You have children then?” He spoke the word as if he found the idea of children strange – and fascinating – at the same time. There would never be any children of his. Even if he found a way to revert his condition, he would never willingly force anybody to live like this, to be like him, to have him as a father, subject them to the madness that had been a part of his existence for as long as he could think. But at the same time he could not help but feel a bit of regret. Sometimes he wondered what would have happened if he had met Skay as a mortal man … if there could have been a child …

“Boys or girls? And how old are they?” He smiled a little as he asked the question, displaying honest, harmless interest in her family. Her next statement caught him by surprise. She had not seemed like the kind of woman that was interested in politics back then. He had always thought she would become a healer or something similar, somebody who helped people. He had never imagined her ruling an island in faraway Eunesia.

“A thane? Congratulations are in order then. And there is no need to apologize. It is always better to be careful, especially when you are taking a walk alone after dark. Chance encounters in the woods usually don’t end well for me either …” He did not elaborate on his statement, did not want to think about it, the chaotic events that had unfolded in the Pegasi Woods or the Dolwood. His first death had taken place in a forest not too different from this one.

“I would be honored to visit your home and share a cup of tea with you.” Normal food tended to make him severely sick these brightenings, but drinks were at least tolerable, even if he barely tasted them anymore.
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Old August 30, 2010, 10:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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"Calm," she repeated quietly, almost under her breath. "It's that." She could agree readily on that, letting her eyes drift away from her old acquaintance and draw in that calm from around her. Her nerves might still have been settling, but drinking the glade in, breathing it in, gave her some measure of that calm that she wanted. What harm, after all, could the elf be, given what she knew and the fact that he was there, seeking a calm that someone dangerous doubtlessly would not be.

She inclined her cheek, the interested query about her children drawing her attention back to the vysstichi. Children were always a safe topic, comforting in their way, nearly as calming in thought as the glade. Sort of. In theory. In reality, they had too much energy and life to be all that calming. "Two. Sometimes I forget they weren't always with me, that not everyone from the path knows that I have them," she admitted with a quick grin. "It's hard to remember not having the children." She shrugged slightly, easily enough able to recall a time when she wasn't tied down, but not interested in holding on to those memories. "Two girls. Evan just turned one and Noah will be four in a few months."

She paused, looking baffled. "It's been a while since I've seen you," she concluded, laughed a little. "Time's moved quickly. For me," she added, aware enough that an elf's perception of time was a lot broader than her own. Four eras was likely to be nothing when compared to their own passing of time.

The druidess' smile was a shade mellow as he congratulated her. It made her feel self-conscious, this praise of accomplishment. The appointment was still new to her, barely a month in its length, and she had never really thought to find herself in such a position either. So she focused on the uncomfortable conversation about woodland encounters, trying to make it something less ominous. "Ah, well. I promise I don't mean any harm, threatening as I seem," she informed him flippantly, pushing a bright smile over her face.

"My home's a short walk from here, at the edge of the woods." She gestured ahead of herself, in the direction she had been traveling, prior to finding herself confronted with a familiar face. No sooner said than spoken, Aydyn set off. The walk wasn't far, although took more than mere moments. A small span of grass dappled with both wild and neatly ordered rows of flowers opened at the edge of the tall-treed forest, a midget of a barn in the corner of one yard, the sound of a stream near by. The stone home itself was three stories in height and conical in shape, broad at the bottom but tapering towards the top.

At the sight of Aydyn, a green and brown fluffball came prancing through the tall grass, flowers woven through its fur, to wind about her feet, mrowing loudly, following her up to the front door. She murmured quietly to the cat, assuring, and the feline disappeared inside the home as the druidess opened the door, darting on in without a second glance at the young woman. Aydyn turned a glance towards Adamon as the sound of loud children filtered through. Despite the late candlemark, they were still both very much awake and clearly engaged in a shouting match of some sort. Aydyn shrugged, her grin a bit rueful. "If you've delicate ears, I apologize in advance."

The home's interior had a rounded impression, the kitchen nestled just inside the doorway and spanning out to encompass a wide sitting room. A ladder in the back led up to the rooms above. There were three living, breathing folk in the living area: The two children and a slim-figured and golden-brown nymph that narrowed a wary look towards the vysstichi as he entered. She said nothing in greeting, although Aydyn took the time to indicate her as Warae and introduce her to Adamon. By then Aydyn had already been swamped by one of the children: The near-four ordinance old girl with her dark brown hair and freckled face and angered blue-gray eyes. "Evan took my doll!"

"And you got her back," Aydyn pointed out, stroking the girl's hair with a glance at the very red-faced one ordinance old, hair of a lighter shade of brown than her sister's but with the same blue-gray eyes and hint of freckling, looking so very much like her mother. Warae had scooped her up and cuddled her close, although it remained a little unclear whether this was more protective or nurturing in nature, her eyes still warily locked on Adamon.

"I'll get tea. Noah, why don't you show your doll to Adamon, please?" Aydyn tilted a look towards Adamon, grinning a little, then turned her attention towards the kitchen to begin digging around for teacups and saucers and small bags of herbs she kept stored. As she did this, Noah peered up at Adamon, bunching her nose up. The doll in her hands was a dog, made of cloth and worn through and frayed around the edges. Old. She did not show Adamon the doll. "Your skin looks funny," she informed him quite simply.

Aydyn just sighed from the kitchen as she set down teacups, shaking her head, face a little red in embarrassment. "Noah, that isn't nice. Say sorry, please." As she poured water, the little girl had the nerve to look uncomfortable and maybe just a little rebellious. She didn't apologize. She stuck out the doll in front of her, up towards Adamon. "This is Puppy."
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Old September 2, 2010, 09:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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„Noah and Evan“, he repeated and smiled very lightly. „It must be wonderful to have a family.“ That was all he said. If he had had children back then, maybe a wife, a family, if he hadn’t been completely alone, would he still have died? Would he have succumbed to the darkness if there had been somebody he had to take care of? Would he still have been changed, turned into a monster? It was impossible to change the past, and thinking about what might have been only led to heartbreak, but he could not keep himself from it. The life she had now wold never have been for him, he would never have been content like that, but he envied her nevertheless.

As she stated that time moved quickly for her, he nodded. “It’s different for me. My race lives much longer, but your kind are able to accomplish so much in a century or less. Sometimes humans amaze me.” He noticed that it made her uncomfortable that he had congratulated her on her recent appointment. He’d thought she would thank him or begin to talk about what it was like to be a thane. That she didn’t surprised him slightly, but he didn’t dwell on it. Instead he laughed as she told him that she didn’t mean any harm. She didn’t seem particularly threatening either – although he didn’t doubt that she would be able to defend herself against most normal people.

The house’s location was lovely. It reminded him slightly of the small house near Diana where he had lived himself when he had been the High Priestess’ student, before he had died, although he had had a tame dear instead of a normal cat. As she opened the door, he hesitated for a moment. He knew that he wasn’t really supposed to be here. He didn’t belong here. Aydyn and her children were human, mortal, and no matter how much he regretted it sometimes, he had killed people not too different from them. His kind killed mortals, but they never associated with them, not in such a way. “There is no need to apologize, Aydyn. I don’t mind that kind of noise.” He followed her into the house. In the end the temporary illusion of normalcy was more important than the fact that predator and prey were not supposed to mingle.

“My first teachers were nymphs”, he remarked as Aydyn introduced Warae to him. He looked at her for a while longer, wondering if she could feel it, the lack of life in him, the darkness inside of him, the constant conflicts, but those thoughts were cut short as Noah ran up to her mother and complained about her doll. He noticed the other girl as well now. She seemed almost like a miniature version of Aydyn. “She looks like you”, he remarked.

“Noah.” He turned to the older of the two girls as Aydyn went into the kitchen to get the tea and smiled at her. “My skin is like that because I am a dark elf. Most dark elves would probably find your skin funny as well.”

“I don’t mind, Aydyn”, he said as she chided her daughter a little. “She was only telling the truth. My skin must look strange to her.” As Noah showed him her doll, he looked from mother to daughter. What was he supposed to do now? He’d met a goddess’ avatar, demons and talking trees and had killed master mages, he’d died and come back twice, but he had never learned how to deal with a child. He’d been a child over a hundred eras ago and hardly remembered what it had been like. “You have a nice doll, Noah”, he finally decided. “Where did you get it?”
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Old September 3, 2010, 01:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Aydyn's home was more than just a shelter to the youngish mother and her two daughters. The one cat that had pranced in had moved immediately to push another cat from a favorite roost, rolling a winged blue and white alicat over none too delicately, the alicat flattening its ears with a low rumble in its throat before deciding against retaliation and launching itself up towards the ceiling to perch on a shelf…next to another alicat, this one a smaller brown, that had been lazily grooming itself. The only other cat in immediate evidence was cat of the same size as the first with tan fur with light green markings. She sauntered casually up to Adamon as he interacted with the child, winding through his legs as she purred loudly. Noah didn't seem to notice--it was far too much the norm.

Across the room, Warae watched with a vaguely flat look, cuddling the child still against her bare chest. She didn't seem entirely thrilled with the vysstichi's presence, but her reasons weren't expressed vocally. In any case, Aydyn wasn't perturbed by the behavior…as if that, too, were something of a norm around the home. "They were?" If he'd ever mentioned it before turning her own lessons, she couldn't recall it. More than likely it had gone unmentioned, given the nature of their get togethers had been more tutorial than social. "Warae helps with the children. She's very good with them. Protective." This garnered an amused look as she glanced over at the nymph. She was tempted for a moment to dismiss the nymph, not really all that keen on having her glower over them, but the creature had managed to calm Evan. It wouldn't hurt to let her stay longer.

She studied little Evan, her miniature, with bemusement. "Yes, she does. She ought to." And then she shrugged slightly without explaining it any further, still reluctant to really share with too many people the origins of her second daughter. Those that knew had been close confidents, people she could trust with the little secret. There were too many people that might look at her askance if they knew. Would the vysstichi? Aydyn wasn't entirely sure. On one hand, he was a druid himself, a mage…he might understand. On the other… Why risk things?

With that, Aydyn set her mind to arranging the area for a guest. There were toys and other such items strewn about that needed tucked aside, hidden from view. It was the nature of a household with two small children, but it wasn't a reality Aydyn was always prepared to put up with. She sighed a little as Adamon dismissed the issue of Noah being so bold and honest, thinking it wasn't really okay, but managed to find her small smile again as he turned it around right back on her.

"You think I'm funny?" Her nose wrinkled and she lifted an arm to inspect the freckled spots on her arm, frowning rather intently. She peered back up at Adamon, uncertain now. She didn't want to look funny. She fretted a little at this until he overcome his own discomfort and asked her about her doll. She grinned brightly, clearly happy enough to talk on a subject that wasn't as odd as skin. "From papa." She hugged the doll against her chest with a bright smile.

By that time Aydyn had arranged out the table, cups and tea and a small platter of local pastries. She poured out a pair of cups. "Chamomile tea. There's honey there, if you want to sweeten it." She gestured to a small jar with a spoon. "Noah, here, take a pastry. Share it with your sister, please." Noah stuck her tongue out, sighed as she took the pastry, and made a show of trudging over to the other side of the room to let Warae break a small piece off for Evan. Wonderful to have family, certainly, even when it was a little bit of a trial.

She sat down at the table, children distracted, and gestured for Adamon to join her. "So. What have been doing? Are you still at Demios? Teaching?" she pressed. They'd covered bare niceties back at the glade, but now Aydyn felt comfortable enough to push those aside and simply get into the details. She'd never thought to be sitting comfortably at a table with her first mentor, but why not? She couldn't recall anything terribly about that time. Demios had, she realized, been a brighter time in her life. Simple. Easy. She smiled a little wistfully, missing it just a little.
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Old September 10, 2010, 02:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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„I met them in Centripax“, he told her as she voiced surprise at the fact that his teachers had been nymphs. “Literally in the middle of nowhere. And when I talked to them, they agreed to teach me.” He cast another glance at Warae. “How did you get a nymph to take care of your children? They rarely involve themselves with our kind so much. That they taught me was an exception.” He’d said ‘our kind’ even though he was quite aware that there were great differences between them, apart from the obvious difference in race and skin color. Maybe he’d be able to pretend that he was just like her for a while, just another druid, that all those things he had done had never happened. Now that his last chance was gone, he yearned for that simple, normal life.

As the cat purred at him, he bent down and let his hand brush across its soft fur for a moment, very gently. And then he let go again. His touch was different from Aydyn’s, slightly cooler, his skin harder. He hadn’t been in a house like this one in a long time, since before his second death. It was strange, almost surreal, almost too normal, and yet, in a way, he felt comfortable, an unusual mixture of feelings.

“No, I don’t think you are funny”, he told the little girl. The tone of his voice was serious, as if he were talking to an adult, to an equal that understood everything he said rather than a small child. “But some vysstichi, those of my kind that have never seen a human, might think that you are funny because they don’t know you.” As she told him that the doll was a gift from her father, he cast a glance at Aydyn, but quickly pulled his gaze away again. He had not seen a man here, but the question that was on his mind would remain unvoiced for now.

He sat down at the table opposite of Aydyn and took a cup. “Thank you.” He left the pastries untouched, and did not drink from the cup immediately, but just held it in his hands, to enjoy its warmth. “I haven’t been in Demios for a while”, he told her. It had become harder for him to pretend, harder to resist the darkness inside. He had spent the last eras drifting from place to place, looking for something, anything that would end his inner conflict, way to regain part of what he had lost, questioning everything, even the goddess herself, but she could never know. “I needed time to concetrate on other things in my life, my service to the goddess, my art as a druid.”

He fell silent as he lifted the cup to his lips. He still did not really drink it, but simply let the warm liquid touch his lips, and then he regarded his former student over the rim of his cup and waited for her to say something.
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Old September 12, 2010, 02:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Aydyn hesitated for a moment over the question, looking down at the array of tea she had set out on the table as she formulated an answer. At length she shrugged and smiled almost sheepishly. "A spell." It made her feel a little guilty speaking of it aloud. She was not someone who did much Conjuring from the Nature Plane. She'd seldom felt any benefit in asserting her control over anyone other than herself. Usually it ended poorly. "I needed help watching the girls while I worked. In exchange she gets the run of the yard. I think she just wishes there were less trees about." She smiled faintly, still clearly embarrassed. "From what I've seen, it doesn't take too much to get them to watch over a pair of little girls. They...seem to enjoy it."

Indeed, Warae had a very protective stance towards the children. She kept her eyes on Adamon even as she sat down with the smallest of the two girls to play with some colorful warped blocks that were scattered over the There was almost a constant physical connection between little girl and nymph, maternal in every aspect.

Whether or not the cat that had deigned to bestow its attention on Adamon was perturbed by the chill of his fingers was unclear. It continued to wind itself through his legs, purring loudly, then traipsed off the room at a prancing gait to show the same affection to the mistress of the household. When Aydyn ignored the cat, she sat down on her haunches by the table, tail twitching from one side to the other, big green eyes alert and flickering between both vysstichi and human, waiting for something. Food, perhaps.

Noah looked a little perplexed and introspective at the thought of others like him finding her 'funny'...she just didn't seem to like the idea at all and it put a frown on her face as she shifted a puzzled look at her mother. Aydyn, however, pointedly was looking elsewhere, feeling the shift and the question that Noah's declaration about the doll had brought on. When it went unvoiced, she relaxed a bit and smiled at her daughter. "I don't think your funny, honeybee. Unless you mean to be," she added, although the girl didn't seem to understand this and just frowned even deeper.

With the child set aside, distracted with the delight of a pastry and Aydyn arranged comfortably at her table, she plucked at a pastry, idly ripping off a small section and tucking it into her mouth, washing it down with a small sip of tea. She was hungry, even if her guest did not appear to be. She listened with a small pang of envy as he described what he had been up to. It sounded so much freer than any existence she'd been able to grab onto. She was shackled by a need to watch over her children and to play mother to a small hoard of cats that she bred.

She chuckled lightly as he went silent. She wasn't sure if he felt uncomfortable with his admission or self-conscious. "I think that sounds wonderful, personally. I would love to just get away and focus on Her and druidism." Past events in her life had almost demanded that she do that, but it was hard to set life aside and envelop herself. The small nymph that now sat in her living room had implored her to focus, to dedicate, her life to the goddess...but life simply hadn't allowed her to show that dedication in a way other than quiet thanks. "Do you feel like it did any good? Getting away?" Or maybe that was prying too much. She ducked her head slightly, acknowledging that he needn't answer the question if he didn't want to.
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Old September 19, 2010, 12:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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„A spell”, he repeated. He didn’t mind conjuring creatures from the Plane of Nature, didn’t mind exerting control over others – at least in some limited form - and from the look on his face it was obvious that he did not understand why she was so embarrassed, but he chose not to comment on it. It would not do any good now, would only make her uncomfortable when he wanted nothing more than this illusion of a pleasant darkening with a fellow druid. Instead he simply remarked, “I’ve never met a nymph who wished for fewer trees. My nymphs always liked them. I think they almost lived in trees, as if they were dryads rather than simply nymphs.”

He turned to watch the cat again that seemed so unperturbed by the cold of his skin or the fact that he had no heartbeat. He’d met animals that could detect undead, that noticed the smell that was always a little different from that of a living person. That this one did not seem to be able to notice that there was something different about him, was strange – and pleasant at the same time. “I have nothing for you”, he told the little animal, aware that it was hungry – and that it likely wouldn’t understand a thing he said. “Unfortunately I can’t produce cat food with my magic.”

“In a way”, he murmurred. “Leaving Demios made it clearer what I need to do with my life, but there are new questions now, and I still don’t know which form my worship of the goddess should take from now on. Hiding in the wilderness, meditating and growing plants, seems like a waste of time sometimes, but I don’t know if the opposite, life in a city, in a temple would suit me.”

Of course it was also impossible. He would never be able to spend an extended amount of time in the company of other priests, would never be able to join others in prayer. Had he found Carmelya as a mortal man, he would have gone to Diana, would have done what he could to serve the goddess, but it would never happen now. But sometimes he liked to pretend that he still had all those options. And sometimes he found it foolish that a vampire prayed to the goddess of nature. Sometimes his faith made little sense even to himself, and he could not help but wonder whether it would have been better to forget everything that had been before, easier.

“But you, Aydyn, why can you not get away and dedicate some time to druidism and your goddess? Even a thane does not have to work all brightening long, and even a mother has some free time every once in a while.” He lifted the cup to his lips again, and this time he allowed a few drops to touch his tongue. It didn’t do anything for him. In fact he found the taste almost revolting – even the most delicious drinks, the best of food seemed disgusting now that he had become a blood drinker – but he made himself smile, a gentle, reassuring smile that looked strange on a vysstichi, on a vampire that drank the blood of the living several times a cycle.
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Old September 24, 2010, 02:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Aydyn quirked a smile. "Warae is…" she trailed of, trying to struggle for the appropriate sounds that went along with the word. It always tripped her up, which was why she stuck quite firmly with the term 'nymph', a rather appropriately vague term that said as much that really needed to be said. She cast a brief look towards the nymph, who just stared at the druidess and her guest rather than helpfully supplying the word. The nymph's head turned slightly to stare entirely at Adamon, her silence continued. "Ah..Aulonid. That's it. Right, Warae?" The nymph bobbed her head and finally looked down, smiling at the small girl in her lap and helping her set a block up on top of another…only to have Evan knock it down with a loud and happy laugh. "Apparently they live in…meadows." Aydyn shrugged. She knew very little about all of that.

The cat eyed him for another moment, let out a plaintive merrooow, then finally seemed to give up, tail twitching, and turn her attention once more on Aydyn, twining between her legs and occasionally standing, paws placed up on her thighs and sticking her face as high as it could go, trying to at least find out what the druidess was eating. Larger than a house cat, it managed to get closer than Aydyn liked and she shifted, adjusting herself so that the food was out of reach. "She's only acting hungry, this one. You had your food," she chided the flower weaver, nudging her away with a free hand. The cat sat again, but didn't budge from the side of the table, tail twitching back and forth, back and forth.

She weighed her attention between turning aside the cat, who was not as easily put off as all that, and listening as Adamon explained leaving Demios, the results of it. She could relate…to a degree. Yet she felt she still hadn't learned exactly what it was she was supposed to be doing. There were too many directions she was being pulled in, too many things that wanted for her attention… She hated that she felt a bit envious of the vysstichi, for she really did love the life she had. But the fact remained that she had far too many obligations to simply let herself wander at will, letting her road unwind. She mustered a quick smile, seeing the opposing ideas that stretched one way or another in front of him. "Are those your only choices: Life in a city, in a temple, or meditating in the wilderness? There's no in-between?"

She broke off a piece of pastry and nibbled at it with relish. She'd need to get these again, she decided. "You don't need to be a priest--or a hermit--to worship Her. Temples don't suit me either and I think I'd get bored, being out in the wilds without anyone else around…" She smiled and shrugged. "Sometimes I think all she wants is to have nature minded, that the balance around us doesn't get out of whack…that people step in and make sure one thing doesn't completely overwhelm the other." She frowned thoughtfully, looking down at her tea, turning the cup before finally picking it up to take a sip of it. Good, not too hot. "And that can happen anywhere, can't it--village, city, the wilds…"

But Aydyn was still at a loss of how her own feelings towards the goddess were to be expressed. Warae's request had been for Aydyn to dedicate herself to Carmelya, to make it a focus, a priority. She hadn't decided yet what form that focus would take. And there, too, were complications… She smiled ruefully. "It's hard to wander out into the middle of nowhere when you have two daughters and a bunch of hungry cats depending on you." She cast a look about her, eying over the felines, the girls, Warae. "Obligations are a tricky thing. I don't like to burden others with them."

The smile fled and, contemplative, she frowned. She loved to be a mother, but sometimes…sometimes… It had changed life so much. Too much? No, never… "Maybe some brightening…" she added wistfully and shrugged.

She forced herself to smile again. "It looks we're both sort of in the same pickle, aren't we? Stuck at a crossroads…which way do you go?"
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Old October 6, 2010, 12:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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„Aulonid“, he repeated. „I haven’t met one of her kind yet.“ He had avoided the company of nymphs in recent times, for obvious reasons. Beings that were as close to nature as Warae’s kind made him slightly uncomfortable because there was something unnatural about him despite the fact that he had once vowed to protect nature. “Will she always be here with you?” he asked even though he had initially not intended to question her at all about the relationship between the nymph and her because it seemed to make her uncomfortable.

“The cat seems to disagree”, he remarked as Aydyn told him that the animal was only acting hungry and watched it as its tail twitched back and forth. There was a hint of a smile on his dark face now, but it disappeared as she asked him about his choices. “I don’t know what the in-between would be like”, he admitted. “Would it mean to move from place to place, to never settle down anywhere, to alternate between periods in the city and in the wilderness? That doesn’t appeal to me either.”

He still hadn’t touched the pastries, but he took another sip from the tea, pretending to enjoy it. “I’ve always considered myself a servant of balance”, he murmurred as she spoke about what she thought the goddess wanted. He preferred to think that he was somehow part of Carmelya’s plan despite the fact that he killed – or maybe because of it – that he somehow made up for his evil deeds by protecting nature.

“There are people who can help you take care of your children”, he said to her. “People that can feed your cats when you are absent. You can even taken the children with you. You only have two, and they are still young. It wouldn’t be that hard. You could probably find a way.” He was quiet for a moment, and then he agreed, “Maybe some brightening.” He said that to her as much as to himself.

For him of course that brightening would never come, that brightening when he would go out into the world and leave everything behind. He would always live a life that was not truly his own, stuck in a body that had not always been his, a vysstichi, hated by all except a few open minded people – like her, always an outsider, never really one of them, part of this world. He would never belong to the vysstichi – he didn’t truly know what it was like to be a vysstichi – but he was not lightborn either. He was not alive, but at the same time he was not really dead.

“Which way to go … indeed …” He nodded. Which way to go? For her the answer was likely easier to find than it was for him. She didn’t have to take hundreds of lost lives into consideration. The gods were not involved in her decisions. Her actions would not have such extreme consequences. She only had to think about two small children and her pets. But no matter which way he went, the path towards his goals would likely be filled with obstacles every step of the way. Aeternia or Aetheria, eternal damnation or an uncertain future. He envied her, again, although all his thoughts were still carefully hidden.
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