Old August 6, 2017, 02:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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We Get Lost Beneath the Surface

Summer Era XXIV


Too many eras had swiftly trickled away from between open and shaking fingers. In the vestiges of what memories remained to him afterwards, there was a face with a lingering smile and soft, knowing eyes, one that had granted lessons in hope and forgiveness to a man who had long since thought to abandon them.

Adyn had lost the finer details of those lessons somewhere along the way. What little had been meant for him had been lost amidst reality. His reality, a haphazard and almost senseless thing that sometimes afforded small glimpses of what joy and understanding had died away with her.

But that was the mood that often struck him, he supposed, when the things he had seen and the mistakes he had made sought to wrestle with his mood... when the drugs Sliucha had offered, the steady burn of alcohol, or the women he often took too much solace in were not quite the medication he had hoped them to be. Between the war and many lost moments of belonging, Adyn had an interesting relationship - a precarious understanding - with that curious thing called death.

This was, perhaps, why he had found himself in such an unfathomable situation. What a strange obsession he had come to know, this guilt for having not been there to save her.

If only he had been there, he knew. He could at least have tried.

And what good would it do him now - to try and make it right, he wondered? She had been dead too many eras to linger long in Krypta. And yet when he had heard whispers of the ability to plunder the land of lost souls, still he had let the temptation rule him. Part of him wanted to believe that it was because hope yet remained that Aria might live. But the part of him more rooted in a sense of reality knew better. It knew that the thrill of it was what would ultimately rule him. The impossibility of it. The knowledge that he could, and would, somehow find his way to Krypta in life.

And so here he was. Waiting once again. Waiting for the irony that his strange relationship with death might somehow make him feel more alive.

The city, in the meantime, was dark and cast with the sheen of a recent rain, the moonlight basking both in a cold and consistent glow. Every now and then the hurried steps of a passerby disrupted the glassy surface of those puddles in a street over, but then faded into obscurity somewhere beyond. After that there fell a silence once again, one in which the figure settled in the shadows merely listened to the sound of his breath behind the mask.

Cocky a man as he had come to be, he had known better than to assume this was a gamble that could have been made alone. Trust was a funny thing that had become less of a necessity, he found, and more of a sacrifice in favor of success. Strangers as any of the figures he awaited might be, he would wait until the moon had fallen too far beyond the horizon to keep the suns at bay.

And when and if they arrived at last, the slanted and pale blue eyes of the mask would turn to greet those of his would-be companion. Who, he wondered, could be as insane or desperate as the wolf-man lingering in silence there?

"Shall we begin?" would sound the cool, impassive tone. Another mask, behind the mask.
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Old August 20, 2017, 12:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Anonymity was not a thing often granted the Lady of Centripax. Thus, while her disguise was a flimsy thing and the false name she had given this particular contact easily delved behind, Tiyribi was determined to enjoy the moment as she could. After all, any other thought allowed within her consciousness would lead her back to the pressing realization that this was foolishness in the highest degree and was sure to conclude in her end—and, perhaps, consequences far worse. It wasn’t an idea she relished but she had fought it too long to consider any other real alternative.

After all, what greater desperation could there be than that felt by a mother who had lost a child?

Not just once, though, silently rang through her head as she held to that same peace throughout their short walk through the city. She’d lost children, and if fate held to its truth, she’d lose them all in time. It sobered her, haunted her nightmares, tormented her every waking hour—and yet despite all the power and influence and strength that she and their father had won and wrest from the mortal and immortal world alike, she felt utterly powerless beneath its weight. She had tried fighting it before but it had only ever caused more pain, more loss, and a more pressing understanding that there was truly nothing they could do.

But that couldn’t, and wouldn’t, sit well with her, not while she still drew breath and had mortal time left. She spared another glance at her companion, knowing that he knew well too the danger that they now both faced. She wondered why and what drove him for yet another instance, but then put the thought ever so quickly away. It didn’t matter. They were strangers and both had every intent of keeping it that way. She had given him the name Elena from the decimated province of Lauryl, an Esh’lahier woman who had lost everything to the Xet and clung only to the slim hope of its return. That, after all, would have been the only circumstances desperate enough to explain this foolhardy trek into the realms of spirits and souls and gods from which no mortals were every destined to travel and most certainly not to return.

But they weren’t true, these lies she had told to maintain her mistaken identity. She had children at home that were still alive, that needed her. She had a husband and a people and a land that required its leader. These things had kept her shackled to responsibility and its companion of obligation for eras and left her to suffer the residual pain that the losses she had suffered had left behind. Tiyribi hated it. She hated all of it. She hated the impossible choices and the crushing sensation of guilt and that no matter what she chose, it felt wrong, as if she was dishonoring some other part of her life that needed her more.

No matter how hard she had tried to bury herself in her daughters and her work and her position, she had never forgotten her lost sons. That had felt wrong too, ignoring their absence as she had been forced to do to simply survive each day at a time. It was why she had agreed to this. They were why she had come. But as much as it felt warranted, felt needed, in her desperation for the children that had been so unceremoniously torn away from her, it also felt wrong.

And yet, she was here. And that, for the moment, couldn’t change. Or at the very least, she wouldn’t change it.

The man’s comment drew her attention unavoidably back to the present. She blinked, taking a moment to absorb the question as its complexity swam past her dizzy mind, and then she simply nodded, agreeing. Anything more and she would have considered what they were doing and what was bound to happen if they failed—and even if they succeeded, and then she’d turn away. She couldn’t do that. She wouldn’t allow it.
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Old September 9, 2017, 01:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The streets of Port Alyxandrya were terribly suffocating, he thought. Where there might have been complete and total silence, there was the errant disruption of footsteps. Where a sense of life and warmth might have lingered, the alleys were now cold and wet. And where he thought he had known the shadows around him, they retreated as if afraid. Nothing about the city in that moment felt familiar to him at all.

In light of this, he considered the also unfamiliar woman beside him. She didn't seem so afraid. Although he imagined the look on her face might have been as much of a mask as the one over his. Elena, she had said to him. It was as serviceable a name as any. Not that he believed it any more than the one he had given her.

But that was what he would call her, because to him, that was who she was. And as far as either of them might know, he had become a faceless man named Shepherd.

It was that stoic expression of the mask he wore that observed the bob of her head, the silent agreement to his simple question - as simple as it could have seemed. At her response he didn't dare hesitate, not allowing himself a moment to consider anything otherwise, and with a twist of a gloved hand he pulled at the latch upon a door nearby.

He slipped in without a word. He wished he could have been sure of what either of them would find within - but his contacts had been vague and wary, and his few meetings shrouded in suspect darkness. Nothing about what had brought them here had seemed certain or simple or legal, but little of that had been enough to deter him when he had seen the possibilities.

He waited for his companion before stepping further inside, giving his eyes a moment to adjust to whatever might greet them just past the door. He then shut the latch behind them and guided them through the hall, fingers remaining warily near the weapons that he wore.

His approach was deliberate, steady. Whatever happened when they left that hall seemed too much like a point of no return for him. He breathed in, listened to the sound as it returned to him, and waited for the storm to come.

oocSorry for the wait. I'll poke our mod!
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Old September 15, 2017, 04:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Inside, the light was dim. Not much brighter than the cold moonlight that bathed the streets beyond. The air was heavy, warm and hung with some spicy, earthy smoke that billowed away from the door and the two who stepped through, as if recoiling from their very presence.

They were in a hallway of sorts, leading back into the belly of the building. The feeble light was thrown off from candles that flickered within sconces along the wall, the red tinted glass casting warmth and shadow. There were no doors visible, and man and woman would have to walk forwards before they would see the break in the expanse of the wall that opened up into a small room. No door here either, but instead heavy drapery acted a barrier between the hidden room and the hallway outside.

“ Don’t hover out there. The place you seek holds far more dangers that anything in here”

The voice was accented, and spoke of heat and sand, and far off places. The warning it spoke was not loaded, delivered in a perfectly conversational tone. And it was not, after all, a revelation to either of the figures that lingered in the hallway. And yet they had chosen to come here, hiding behind false names, false faces. United in their inability to let go of what had been lost to them.
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Old September 30, 2017, 01:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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She had been here at Port Alyxandrya once under the guise of its patron lady, playing the part of its savior with a generous hand to rebuild the shambles the Xet and incompetent leadership had left behind. She had been happy then, as strange as that sounded. Life had been happy then. It hadn’t been more than a handful of eras ago anyway—a blink in the lifetime of one carrying elfin blood. So what had so dramatically changed? Had she?

Frowning slightly, she glanced again at the man hiding underneath the name of Shepherd, and bit her lip. It wasn’t the same woman here in Port Alyxandrya at all. This was someone lost, someone desperate, someone who was willing to risk greatly in the dim hope of regaining—what? That continued to elude her. But when her partner in this endeavor opened the door and the voice beckoned them further inside, the decision was already made. Whatever doubts she may still harbor as to their purpose and their likelihood of success, or even survival, would remain unspoken—because, in fact, the decision had truly been made long before.

Perhaps even on the very day they had buried her unnamed son.

Glancing again into the shadowy building, Tiyribi idly noted just how cliché this entire situation had all become, among the cowls and the darkness and the whispers. But, perhaps, that simply spoke to the necessity of the thing. “How much have you told him?” she voiced softly to her pair, silently questioning the contact’s strange accent and how easily, or not, he slipped into Shepherd’s design. She had too, after all.
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Old January 21, 2018, 07:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Adyn exhaled as softly as he could. In that moment, as he studied an unknown darkness suffused with spice and smoke, there was something disconcerting about the sound of his own breath behind the mask - as disconcerting as it had been comforting to him in other times. Perhaps it was this unexpected sense of vulnerability that washed over him, threatening to make him shudder where he stood... the knowledge that the protection this mask may have offered him could be so easily ripped away.

By why now? Why, in just that breath of time, would such a realization choose to take him? He frowned, fighting an almost childish sensation to blame the darkness beyond for his hesitation. What right did it have, in all the times it had sheltered him, to somehow stare back at him with so much portent now?

But here he was, the dark doorless space before him, and the woman - Elena - silent and watchful at his back, her presence dissuading him from any thought to flee. Yet the memory of the people he had comported with to get here, to discover this hidden space of Port Alyxandrya, made him tense and wary now. How... unfamiliar all of this was. The superstitions, the meddling with unknowable powers... all of it was too unnatural... too foreign for him. Too dangerous. Too strange.

Or so... he had thought, perhaps. As the voice from within seemed to tug at the coattails of the smoke it carried, he found himself blinking as if from a reverie. Yes, he would go inside. He had known that even before he had attempted to see what might await him there. As if afraid such an action might change this fact, he resisted the urge to meet the eyes of the stranger beside him... especially as her question, as softly as it may have been spoken, reminded him that he was - in essence - alone. The underlying meaning behind her question - or what he suspected of its design, at least - was a bitter reminder that especially in this, there was no one he could trust.

But... no. The turmoil within him was clouding the purpose he needed to drive him. Strangers as they were, Shepherd and Elena were kindred spirits in this one thing, at the least. And against his better judgment he allowed this to soften the edges of his defenses, to acknowledge and to understand her hesitation, perhaps even her fear.

His voice, attempting to measure equally in the softness of her own, seemed rough against the air, even to his own ears. "That we have lost something we wish to reclaim," he admitted. He had had to tell the man that much at least. He had to know that they needed a way in, and that they had every intention of coming back again... with more than what they had entered with, no doubt. Withholding such information, he feared, could have compromised the validity of the man's assistance, and thus, everything any of them hoped to achieve from this.

"No more," he promised, finally allowing himself to cast the woman a glance meant with sincerity. For it was only then that he realized he didn't want her to force him to go on alone. He couldn't have been sure how strong his nerves would remain if her presence were suddenly lost to him. As intangible and wavering an alliance as it might have been, theirs was the only one he had right now.

"What more he claims that he must know... I'll leave to you to give," he said. Far be it from him to do otherwise, so sacred were his own secrets. He knew that to dare to trust this Elena, was to respect the sacredness of her own.

From there he turned and moved to venture down the hall, somehow convinced that he did so to sell his own soul. Had the suggestions of its consequence not promised him so much, he might have been a wiser man than to continue down that road. But when it came to the idea of what he might be able to reclaim... what he might be able to make right again... he was far too weak of a creature to be wise.

And so be it.... For what more, he asked himself, did he have left to lose?
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Old January 30, 2018, 12:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There was nothing to be found in the hallway. The two would need to venture further, push past the veil if they wished to speak further of their desires. And if they could not even speak of them? How did they think to do what they sought?

Should they manage to find that will, to commit further to whatever thinking had led them this far, then man and woman would find themselves in a small, simple space. Mirrors hung on all four walls, meaning it was impossible to hide, or it would be, if the source of the smoke was not revealed as their host puffed away on a hookah pipe, a fragrant smog curling upwards and licking around them and the room in which they stood.

He was not a remarkable looking man, skin bronzed as the desert people he hailed from, slanted dark eyes narrowed against the smoke as he looked upon his guests, a lazy hand directing them to take a seat on the low level overstuffed stools that were positioned around the hookah. He would offer them a pipe each too, should they wish to join, before setting his own down to survey the pair leisurely." Why so hesitant then? You sought me, did you not?". His gaze slid from man to woman.
" If you are having doubts already then there is little point in wasting all of our time here. I thought you wanted what was lost to you"
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Old January 31, 2018, 09:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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We was not the word that she would have chosen. They had a similarity in quest and desire, but that was as far as the familiarity between Shepherd and Elena stretched. She had found the man by reputation alone in the very dredges of the City of Queens and they were tied by the passage of coin and the security of lies. That was not companionship and they were not equals. They simply were two that had the same destination in mind.

And yet she believed Shepherd when he retold that bare minimum related to the gatekeeper. Perhaps that trust was misplaced and the lady would very quickly live to regret it, but there was something about the darkness behind his eyes that she understood as it was so well echoed in her own, and in that, she felt kinship. They had both been driven here by desperation when neither saw this as a true solution for what they had lost. In that, she could trust. In that, she could believe that they were not alone. It might have been folly, but at least someone else in the world would be their to mark it and their passing in its failure.

Secret halls and smoked mirrors were not to her liking, and Tiyribi felt her skin veritably crawl as they continued down the rest of the corridor. What were they doing here? What was she doing here? With a mere command she had the resources of an entire province and more at her disposal. Surely there was a better, more upstanding way to return her son’s soul to his original body. And surely she of all people, an imperial governor, a peer, a regnant in her own right, could find it in more scholarly environs than this hovel.

But she hadn’t, and she didn’t, and she couldn’t. Gods, after all, were not much dissuaded by the threats of mortality or the bribes that physical goods could buy. Their only surviving son had been stolen by the machinations of an archon, and petitioning a god, especially one charged with the safekeeping of the dead, seemed a better solution than any of her thousands of advisors and courtiers had devised.

So she kept walking.

Shepherd has taken the lead but she wasn’t much behind as they approached the room at the end of the hall. Tiyribi coughed, but well-trained politeness kept it light and mostly smothered by the bend of her arm. Her eyes watered from the oppressive smoke and took long, extended moments to readjust to the dim lighting and make it the figure in the center. A wave of her tapered hand shooed away the pipe but she did take the man’s offer of seating, sinking down with all her elfin grace into the cushion and crossing both hands and ankles gently over one another.

She blinked slightly at the man’s derision, but said nothing in immediate retort. The lady had remained behind in her home, after all, and Elena was a desperate petitioner at the feet of whomever would take notice of her plight. “It is a task I do not partake in blindly, though, and so caution is much warranted.” She shrugged and then added, “but do not confuse such for indecision, as it most certainly is not.

A hand gently rested on her hip inside the outer folds of her cloak. “And the payment you require for your services?
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Old February 17, 2018, 09:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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As little as Adyn believed in life's fairness, he felt somewhat at odds with searching his companion's face when his was hidden so well behind that of a wooden wolf. Worse, he couldn't have been sure what he was looking for in the space between his words and hers - some proof that she was with him, perhaps, or some sign that she would not bolt in the other direction?

Still, he forced his way onward, telling himself that he would commit to this even if she did not follow. And yet he could not have anticipated the wash of emotion - so tangled and abundant that he couldn't even decipher its beginnings - when he heard light footsteps in the corridor behind him.

Had he been in a better frame of mind, he might have scorned himself for such a weakness. He might have known it for what danger it might present him in the candlemarks to come. But all of that fell away from his mind as he entered the smoke-smothered room at last, eyes grazing their surroundings deliberately before settling upon the man who spoke.

In response to the question that lingered in the air, the rogue peered carefully at the speaker's features, his expressions, his mien. Silence remained between them. In fact, it did not seem as if Shepherd had any intention of replying to such a thing, blue eyes cold and unwavering in their moment of silent judgment.

It was a good thing, then, that Elena spoke instead, filling what might have been a far more awkward silence than what was broken. Her question of payment seemed to bring the man back to the thought of now, however, and he looked briefly from his companion back to the man of mystery and magic... or whatever it was he called this thing he dabbled in, unnatural as it seemed to be.

"There's no need to question what I want," he assured the room at last, his voice low but firm as if spoken gently through clenched teeth. His head tilted, inviting the man's response to Elena's question instead - one that he, too, was no doubt invested in. There was no need for any other words, after all, for hers were plain yet substantial enough to hold the rest at bay.
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Old February 23, 2018, 02:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The desert man drew a long slow lungful of smoke, held it, and then let it trickle slowly from between parted lips, floating skyward to join the fog above. Dark, dark eyes shifted between the woman and the masked man as he took a measure of them. Their shyness surprised him, what they pursued was no simple thing and yet this pair seemed skittish, unusual for those committed enough to have sought him out.

“You do not partake blindly? Gifted you must be to see what lies ahead then, lady. I can boast no such thing. Only what I know, which may or may not be of use to you in your…...pursuits, shall we say.”

He shifted his gaze to the man who hid behind a mask, his smile shifting to show a row of white teeth, bright like sun bleached stone in his mouth. “ And you..Shepherd I presume? Why do you hide?”

He waved a hand, as if brushing away his own question. “ Ah I care not for your wants, if you have the means to pay. Information is a valuable commodity after all. Before we discuss our terms, first tell me...what do you know of what you seek?”

Easy enough after all, to discover he had nothing further to add. Besides, it would give him some idea as to how serious this pair really were. They would not be making plans if they knew nothing, would they?
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Old February 28, 2018, 12:42 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The riddles were already annoying her to her core. The dark-skinned man had every intention of hiding behind his rings of fog in both word and deed for whatever reason, and the elf woman wasn’t even fully convinced that there was actual substance behind any of it. It was only the long years of practice that kept her icy self-will in place and the apathetic mask that it controlled. Her eyes dropped slightly and she pretended to preoccupy herself with straightening the hem of her skirt, all in an attempt to distract her from the growing temptation to retort back exactly what she was thinking.

But that would accomplish nothing, Tiyribi knew, and it also wouldn’t shut down the doubts that were creeping through the edges of her conscience. Did she truly understand what it was that they were about to face? Did she care? She had, after all, picked up a stranger from the street through rumor who had led her to yet another unknown face whose promises were the only assurance they had. But even if both men proved true and if they achieved their aim—what then? What would be accomplished even in their success?

She stifled a sigh. Her lips twisted into something of a half expression, curling into her high cheekbone against the pallor of her skin. “Then it is your use that holds interest to us,” she said simply, if not entirely free of the curt nature she felt bristling within. Whatever business or issue he had with the man who had accompanied her this far was none of her concern. They weren’t allies nor were they even companions. In truth, she didn’t know him from the very First Men that walked the face of Telath, nor did she truly care.

They were all means to an end. At least she knew and acknowledged that, as much as the gods had interfered in her existence thus far to prove it ever so thoroughly.

But then the man of the desert’s question interrupted ever so rudely into her thoughts and she couldn’t avoid it. It echoed far too similarly to those she had asked herself since starting on this unexpected journey. “I know that souls do not die with the body,” she began, but it was ever so finite of a start. “I know that the gods keep tallies. And I know that it will not be an easy thing to collect one underneath the eye of the other and that great cost will need to be paid to every gatekeeper along the way.”
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Old March 25, 2018, 10:30 AM   #12 (permalink)
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As much as the desert man scorned the mask, Adyn was grateful for it then. There, after all, stood only a silent man with no evident reaction to the other's barbs. Instead, from his shadow, he was free to observe - to take in without the need to give back.

From that small illusion of safety, the man watched as the smoking figure turned judgmental eyes from Elena and back to him. He took note of what might have been scorn in the voice - and what seemed like a test of words. Was it a lack of patience on this man's behalf, perhaps, or a prod at them to see if they were ready? Maybe it was a bit of both, and yet Adyn was still not sure how to best respond.

He measured his own words carefully, wolf's face settled firmly on the other man. He could find no reason to be duplicitous, and yet no reason to give the man everything he asked.

"I hide because I must," he responded plainly. It was the only explanation he gave. The desert man, after all, was so clear in the attitude that he cared very little for their wants. And as much as the word "must" held the tone of need, it was the want of it that caught the strongest for him. He did not want to be known, to lead a clear path from this world to the one with the few things he held dear.

The crisp bite of the woman's words made clear that she might have felt the same about this "transaction." His gaze turned to her as she went on to explain what she knew of the path they were about to walk. His lips, all the while, slowly settled into a grim line from behind the mask.

He turned back to the desert man when she had finished. His tone was frank as if the insufficiency of his addition might not have been a trouble to him at all. "I know that although the souls don't die, it's unheard of to enter such place without some form of death." There was a pause, although if out of uncertainty or invitation even he was not entirely sure. That was the crux of it, after all, wasn't it? - The unspoken insistence that some death would be required this night... but what solutions the desert man might deign to provide would no doubt be riddled with sacrifice.

"I was told, as well," he went on slowly, "that the longer the body has been dead, the deeper the soul might have been driven." This time the words were spoken almost like a question, for his sister had been dead many years, "...and that to follow so far is only an invitation to lose one's way back again."
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Old April 2, 2018, 07:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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There was an incline of the man’s head, the suggestion of a smile at his lips as he accepted the pale woman’s observation. The slight bite that her best efforts could not hide did not rile him, though he found himself curious despite his spoken disinterest.An odd pair they were. He listened, gaze sliding from the woman to the man as each stated much the same thing.

"Souls? Indeed Souls do not die with the body" The bronze man took a lazy drag on the hookah, held his breath and then blew it out before he continued “You are right,in that. And the Gods...well I can not tell you what they do. But…..this place you seek to enter... Death is usually the road to entry. And yet,there are murmurs of other ways, other paths that have been walked. Not without risk though. And, yes, “ he stared hard at the elven woman then “Not without cosssst.” His tongue wrapped about the word, elongated like the sound like the hiss of a snake.

They hoped to bring back the dead? How often he heard the same thing. Whatever walk of life, whatever creed, it seemed the inability to let people go was something the races of Telath shared in. Even this masked man and cool elf. Even he. The Nairu fell silent for a long while, letting the smoke create a veil between them as he walked the boundaries between present and memory, pulling out those thoughts he treasured, letting them run through his fingers like grains of sand. Yes, death had taken from him also, and the temptation to outwit death itself, to take back the taken? It was an intoxicating thought.

Elegant fingers, glinting darkly with gold and gemstone rings, replaced the tapered hookah pipe its holder, and the desert man shifted, curling forward towards his guests as he rested a calculated gaze upon them. “ I too, seek what has been lost to the sea of souls. If you could bring back what I desire? Well..then of course the things I know will be shared with you to...ease your passing.”

And there it was, an offer that hung on the air like the heavy smoke that surrounded them, their's for the taking.
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Old August 20, 2018, 08:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The fingers of one hand at the rogue's side twitched at the mention of a soul. Had he not seen the things he had in the last few years, he might have wondered if he even possessed one. Strange, that even the existence of arcana and ancient aelyrians might not have been enough to offset such an ignorance, but it had been a willful ignorance in an attempt to ignore what might become of him, should he be damned.

There was, however, no ignoring it now. He had long since spoken to the shade of his beloved sister and knew that she "lived" on. Yet the dullness of those strange and ghostly eyes had been so unlike what they had been like on the material plane that he could hardly call that presence any sort of life. The woman who had once been so full of that spark was now relegated to some sort of torment... of this, he was absolutely certain.

Such was why the man did not flinch when their informant made mention of checks and balances. Despite his unease in the current situation, he had already long since decided that no cost was too great - not for a life he had always seen as more valuable than his own.

Still, his head did tilt slightly to one side upon what seemed to be the Nairu's request for payment. "And will that not increase the likelihood of us not returning with anything at all?" he asked. His tone was curious enough, lacking the curt bite of a refusal... but he of all people knew that to be greedy with one's spoils was to invite misfortune. When his mark was a god or two, he found himself leaning heavily on the apprehensive side.

"And this lost soul of yours... have you tried to retrieve it on your own before?" He wondered, now, if their guide's advice would come from a place of his own experience.

The rogue's eyes then flicked briefly toward his companion, checking for any expression that might further reveal what she thought on the offer given. He knew less of the subject than he would have cared to admit, and had not gleaned anything beyond that from Elena otherwise - but this was just as much her burden as it was his own, so he suspected a healthy dose of wariness preoccupied her thoughts just the same as his.

oocSorry, super rusty. It's been a while.
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