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Thread: Bring Out The Dead

  1. #1
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    Bring Out The Dead

    [ooc]Closed to Amari.[/ooc]

    No matter how many times I promise myself that I'd never be back, I always find myself here.

    So much of who I am is because of the Seventh Sanctum. All the memories of my years spent in the frigid depths of the Skavian Wilds, the skills I acquired, the friendships forged and enemies made. The plagues and lifeforms and potions and poisons I created and experimented with (or on), many of those were tied up with the needs of the Crimson Hand and whoever it sold its services to.

    As much as I hate to admit it, my life is tied up with Lichensith Ulroke and his empire of jerks.

    I always tell myself that I'll never come back. This is the last time I'm leaving the Sanctum. I'll turn around, wash my hands clean of the master assassin's crumbling dreams, and move on with my life.

    It's like they know I'll return someday. They never bother to erase the bits of blood and soul I gave up to their security system for identification purposes.

    That, and because my last departure was on relatively good terms, was the only reason I was confronted by a single guard at the gate to the greater compound as opposed to the misshapen beasts that generally keep trespassers out--in one piece or many.

    State your business, Briarheart. The guard--I could never remember his name--held me at spear's length.

    I'm here to collect some of my research and strike a little deal with Ulroke, I said matter-of-factly. Let me through.

    I pinched the sharp, cold steel tip of his weapon and tried to guide it to the side, but the man tensed his arms and the spear refused to budge.

    Ulroke is out, he grumbled. No surprise there.

    Okay, I said with a shrug. I'll just hang around in my lab and clean up a bit before he comes back.

    I took a single step before the guardsman jabbed the edge of his spear into my chest. Not enough to pierce the fabric of my shirt, but enough for me to feel it.

    You will do no such thing.

    My fists involuntarily clenched. Anger simmered in the pit of my stomach. Who did this little tattered-leather-and-rusted-mail-wearing fuck think he is, denying me--me!--entry?

    Amber light flashed threateningly from my eyes. You know who I am.

    Sure do.

    You know I can force my way in.

    The guard braced himself, his muscles wound and ready for a fight. Of course.

    Or I could just blink past you and pop up in my lab.

    And yet you haven't already.

    I tilted my head back slightly. I'd rather not trespass and ruin my chances of walking away with what I need.

    The guard said nothing and simply doubled down on his resolve to keep out the plant lady.

    This was really starting to annoy the shit out of me. I should have been packing up my research notes, my laboratory supplies, and a pile of mostly-intact and mostly-dead bodies by now. And here I stood, stonewalled by some greasy shit stain who must have drank a little too much of the fruit punch in the mess hall.

    Let me in, I tried again between clenched teeth.

    The leather of the guard's gloves protested in the chill of the air as he gripped the shaft of his weapon tighter. With Master Ulroke away, we cannot let anyone enter the Sanctum without clearance from the Right Hand.

    Right Hand. Right. Okay. Aurelianus fucked off ages, so... And who's that, now?

    That you have to ask shows that you are no longer one of us, the little fuckwit sniped, a sneer plastered across his pocked face that I wanted nothing more than to rip off and nail to his taint. The Right Hand is Scarlet, Briarheart.

    Scarlet? Who the fuck is--

    --Oh. Oh.

    Red upgraded her name to sound more intimidating, I see.

    Last I knew, we were still on good terms. I threw my arms wide. Then go and get my clearance from her! Tell her I wish to discuss an exchange of materials and knowledge that might prove very useful to her, knowledge that won't be found in my lab!

  2. #2
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    Amari's Avatar

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    "Mistress!"

    Advencia came barrelling through the doors of the main hall of the inner sanctum. Scarlet, despite having herself corrupted, and what little humanity she had left snipped away by a loud blue haired catgirl still enjoyed cooking. It felt...she wasn't sure how it felt exactly. Anything that was a semblance of emotion was difficult for her. She couldn't recall feeling happy, sad, angry, or fearful. But this, it felt familiar at least.

    "Yes?" Came Scarlets calm response as she slowly stirred the rice simmering away in a large pot. "I'm busy."

    Advencia stared at the pot, then at Scarlet, then back to the pot. A number of things crossed her mind. Why was someone who held such a position of power cooking for the entirety of the Crimson Hand? Why did the monster in human skin before her seem so calm in doing so? If Advencia had half a mind, and she did, she'd assume the red headed woman would poison everyone who dared eat the food, but her nose was keen and there were no toxins lilting in the air.

    Scarlet spoke again. "If you're just going to stand there, make yourself useful and fetch me two dozen eggs."

    Advencia shook her head, "Ah. No. I mean. its Madison. She's at the gates and she's-"

    "Madison? Madison?" Scarlet repeated incredulously. "Didn't she get tired of Ulroke's shit and saunter off to become a Librarian or something? You say she's at the gates?" Scarlet set the wooden spoon down on the counter and turned to face Advencia. Advencia took a step back, seemingly worried about speaking to her. It should have bothered Scarlet, to have someone who was once so close to her treat her with naught but fear. It should... but, as with mostly everything these days... it failed to garner a response from the stoic assassin.

    "W-Well yes, she wanted to, well..." Advencia shook her head and curled blonde ringlets bounced about her exposed shoulders. "One of the guards is refusing her entry till she garners permission from you."

    "What?" Scarlet sighed. "Right. I'll deal with him, if he's still alive. You, go fetch those eggs, then slowly crack them into that pot one after the other - keep stirring. After that's done add...ah fuck it. They can have it as is." Scarlet waved Advencia off dismissively. She didn't want to sit around and explain the intricacies of 'fine dining' to the succubus.

    Scarlet left the small kitchen and headed past the mess hall and past Ulrokes throne of human bone. She thought it was stupid when she first arrived, and she still held that sentiment now. "One day, I'm going to tear you apart." She muttered to the inanimate object. A few men were already sitting at the large table, awaiting their meals, lavishly lounging and chatting amongst themselves. A few stilled when they saw her cross the hall, others offered her a small nod of acknowledgement.

    It's amazing how quickly word spread, and how quickly the entirety of the organization began to accept her. It took months, but they were finally coming to terms with the idea that she had just as much sway as Ulroke did. Many saw her as the leader, and he as the second in command. He had become recluse, reserved and barely spoke to anyone. Last time, he had no one to pick up his slack. This time, Scarlet stepped seamlessly into his place. Now, he left without so much as a word. Even to Scarlet, when she asked where he was headed he responded with 'Contingency.'

    The heavy wooden doors slammed shut behind her, and she was immediately hit with the bright light of the sun and the brisk air. She held her hand up to shield her eyes as they adjusted. The cold... that was nothing more than a mild nuisance. Ever since her night with Shinsou, she barely registered the frigid temperatures of Salvar. She didn't question why, she just accepted it as fact. Her leather boots crunched against the freshly fallen snow as she made her way across the grounds. There were more guards posted about than usual but none paid her any mind. Her hair was tied back in a loose ponytail, thing bangs too stubborn to comply stuck out and framed her face. Her dress, a bright red whipped about in the winds.

    As she approached the front gates she could hear the guard.

    "You think she's just going to let you in after you fucked off? You got some-"

    "Brian, is that any way to treat an old friend?" Her voice boomed from behind him. Brian quite literally pissed himself. "Mistress. I was-"

    "Get Jackson and Friar to relieve you. Clean yourself up. Let the others know Madison is my guest."

    Brian nodded, then shot Madison a small glare before shuffling awkwardly away. Scarlet snorted. Only one person at the front gate? Were they mad? What was the point of all this extra security if the gate was left wide open. Scarlet gestured for Madison to come in. "Come on then, I can only assume you want whatever you left in your lab? I need those gates up. We can walk and talk."

    Madison regarded her with curious eyes. As curious as two glowing circles in a mess of writhing vines could be. Scarlet knew Advencia had successfully delivered the book to Madison, she had some correspondence from the briarheart of its contents but it was vague at best. "Yes. I know." Scarlet said as she turned and began to walk. "Hell, tomorrow I may just change my name to Rose, or Blood. They're on the red spectrum, right?" She thought she heard a 'snrk' come from Madison, but could not be sure.

    "You need to teach your men manners."

    "Since when did anyone here have anything of the sort?" Scarlet asked. The question was a rhetoric, and the woman was thankful that Madison didn't bother with an answer. The Briarheart went straight to the point of why she was here. It didn't surprise Scarlet, she guessed Madison would want to get in and get out as fast as possible and not deal with any shitty remarks or hostility. "Left your lab mostly intact. Ulroke took all of the paperwork. I had copies made in case you decided to show your face again." Scarlets words sounded cold, but that's because they lacked the usual emotion held within them. They lacked her warmth for the other woman, and the friendly yet cautious undertone she had. Scarlet had no ill will toward Madison, and still held her with somewhat of a high regard.

    "Did the translation of that book bode well for you?" Scarlet asked, getting to the point of what she wanted quickly.

    "Enough to know that you've gone and done something really fucking stupid." Madison responded.

    "That's how it seems, huh?" Scarlet turned her attention toward the entrance to the catacombs, she heaved herself against the doors which groaned as they ground against the stone floor, opening inwards. A rush of stagnant air hit the two women. "Shall we?"

  3. #3
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    I breathed in deep the sharp, cold air of the Sanctum. My lungs turned to ice as I subconsciously rubbed my hands up and down my arms. The Hands must've been going through some tough times, if they couldn't heat the place like they could when I first served here, before the war.

    Not to take all the credit or anything, but I did have a pretty lucrative thing going here. When you have one of the best poison makers in the world working for you, clients tend to open up their coin purses just a little bit more.

    I was kind of hoping that Red wouldn't have brought up that accursed book, though. Advencia, Lye's succubus adviser or whatever she was, caught up with me when I was on my travels one day and unceremoniously dropped it in my lap, saying that the Left Hand requested that I put eyes on it and try and uncover its secrets. I'm a sucker for the forbidden and unknown, so I agreed to look into it.

    Fucking thing was written in a script that I had never seen before--and based on what I was able to turn up in my little anonymous circle of scholar friends, it was one that hadn't been written in ages. You have to love living in a world with all sorts of mythical beings and ancient civilizations that couldn't bother to learn Tradespeak.

    “Yeah, that's how it's seems, alright,” I said as the two of us wound our way through the labyrinthine hallways of the Sanctum towards my lab. “You know I'm not one for subtlety, so forgive me for being so blunt, but...”

    I glanced over my shoulder at the Ar'Tuel. “You're essentially a ticking time bomb.”

    It's not a conclusion I would have jumped to so lightly. For the stone-cold professional that Advencia is around me (considering I put her master under a mountain for a year and all), I was able to get her to open up just a little bit about how things were going back in Salvar. What she told me wasn't encouraging.

    I'll spare you the details, as they're probably chronicled in-depth elsewhere by people who are less likely to abandon Red at any given moment. But had Advencia not said anything about Red's dramatic shift in attitude, I wouldn't have been able to piece together some of the ramblings that were written down in that book.

    “There's a lot I haven't been able to translate so far, with the language having been mostly lost to time and all, but what I've been able to surmise isn't good.” I waited for a reaction, any reaction at all, but Red only nodded imperceptibly.

    Advencia did mention that the woman had grown emotionally distant since I left, but wouldn't elaborate more on what caused this... transformation, I guess you could call it.

    I plowed on. “I don't know what triggered these changes in you, and frankly it's none of my concern. But what I do know is that something has to be done to reverse them, otherwise some very bad things are going to happen.” I jabbed a gnarled finger at the Ar'Tuel. “Not just to you, but to everyone and everything.”

  4. #4
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    Amari's Avatar

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    Scarlet noted Madisons gesture, how her briar knitted hands ran up and down her vine covered body. "Ah. I forget, others feel the cold. We don't heat this area, or most areas these days really, why waste resources.

    "You don't? Feel it?" Madison asked incredulously.Scarlet could practically feel the other woman raise her eyebrows in skepticism. Wasn't surprising. What was surprising is that even Lye barely bothered to question her on it. Why she barely bothered with her leather jacket, why she was able walk around the frigid wasteland with naught but a flimsy dress. "I don't feel a lot of things, but the cold? I haven't felt that since a night I had with a man named Shinsou. Course. He's dead now."

    A nuance of a smirk was forced onto Scarlets lips, even if it were just for show when in reality she felt nothing seeing the exasperation within her former 'friend' Madison turned oddly serious, telling Scarlet she was a bomb of sorts. "Is that so?" Scarlet asked. She wasn't phased by the statement. It didn't scare her, it didn't bother her, it was just a new piece of information. One that wasn't surprising. She was a being that was created out of pure mana, to bring life to Althanas. Her very being was literally a force of energy, to have that twisted and burnt into the opposite - it'd make sense. The opposite of life is both death and destruction.

    "It's a shame you cannot just delve into my memories like you do that book. I can share my memories of this life, but I don't think I can tap into the 'me' who wrote that thing." Scarlet traced small circles in the air. "Such writing, it's pretty to look at, almost like its sung instead of written.

    Scarlet paused as they arrived at the door to Madisons lab, a series of clicks and clacks and metal grinding echoed down the hall as the old locks began to open. Something didn't entirely add up. Madison was astute, and Scarlet knew that the woman would not have left anything of import behind. "I wonder if I'll just explode one day, like a literal bomb." Scarlet mused, she followed her query with a shrug. "Not that it would really matter. Bad things happen all the time, they always have happened around me - partly due to my incompetence, partly to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Honestly, it feels like its a poorly written narrative by some poor and bored sod." Scarlet kicked at the ground as they entered the lab.

    The lab, it was left untouched, aside from the once jumbled papers which had been neatly stacked in the centre of a white table. Covered in a thick layer of dust. Ulroke wanted them, Scarlet had copied them, meticulously by hand just in case Madison returned and wanted them, back then...back when she called herself 'Amari' she wanted to do something for Madison, she enjoyed Madisons company and saw the other woman as a dear and close friend. Scarlet now knew that sentiment wasn't shared. Friend's didn't abandon each other. People like her, like Fenn, like Jake. They weren't friends. They were just people. Scarlet pushed gently past Madison and headed toward the table, she picked up the papers and shook the dust off of them.

    "Ulroke took the originals, but I copied everything out. Word for word. My writing is atrocious." Scarlet handed it to Madison who reached out to grab it, Scarlet strengthened the hold on the notes and the paper pulled taught.

    "Forgive me for being blunt, I don't exactly have the emotion to be otherwise these days, but why are you really here Madison? For notes that you surely already have? Abandoned test tubes and jars? Scraps of leftover failed experiments? What do you really want?"

  5. #5
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    No surprise that Lichensith would've given the order to have my shit rifled through. He was probably looking for my notes on how to deal with the thorns wrapped around his heart. Probably didn't take him long to find them; I only packed what was important when I left the Sanctum several months ago. Given that my research on how they were merging with his body in a way that I couldn't have foreseen was incomplete, I'm surprised that he hadn't send anyone to coerce me into completing that project. Maybe he thought to try his luck with any number of superstitious "scientists" he could find in Knife's Edge, or any of the incompetent goons littering the stone halls of the Sanctum.

    I reached out to grab the notes, but Red refused to let them go, even after a few quick tugs.

    "Why are you really here, Madison?" She asked the question with the cold calculation of someone who was expecting ulterior motives or betrayal from me. "What do you really want?"

    A gnarled grin twisted its way across my face. "The same thing every girl wants. Peace, quiet, and a pile of dead bodies."

    The Left Hand tilted her head a bit, and if she weren't an emotionally-stunted fleshbag there would've been a hint of confusion in her eyes. "A joke, Madison?"

    I shrugged. "Not the dead bodies bit."

    Red's brow knotted up. "That's all you want? I'm having a difficult time believing that. You've always been one to concoct these grandiose plans. I've seen hints of your schemes in these." She rattled the pages we both had a vice grip on for emphasis. Can't say she's wrong there. "Your sudden arrival cannot be for something so simple. What else are you here for?"

    "Really, that's all."

    The Crimson Hand was never big on celebrating their dead with a proper burial; instead, those who were unable to complete their duties or who fell in battle were unceremoniously chopped up and fed to the boars. Some were kept frozen in a storeroom near my lab for potential experimentation. I was unsure if that too had been raided since my departure.

    "I'll take some living ones as well, if that makes it easier. From the dungeons."

    Red narrowed her gaze at me incredulously. "For what purpose?"

    My smile widened, bearing my sharpened teeth. "Forgive me for being vague, but let's say that the roads leading through Concordia are getting more and more dangerous by the day, and there must be capable mercenaries who are willing to escort caravans past the terrors that lurk in the forest."

  6. #6
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    Amari's Avatar

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    "And here I thought you were just after my cocoa supplies." It was an attempt at a joke, a poor one. Madison didn't laugh. Scarlet sighed, she felt better, less heavy and burdened without her emotions but it made interacting with others incredibly hard. She had to keep feigning facial expressions or interest, she had to figure out what the usual response to something was. Sarlet wondered if this was what Lye used to be like, no wonder he went mad.

    She let go of the paper and Madison glanced over the notes. "If that's really all you're after, I don't mind obliging. I'll even have Brian help you load them onto a cart." Scarlet attempted a small smirk. "As payment for pissing himself in front of you." Madison didn't give Scarlet much of a reaction. Scarlet wanted to feel frustrated at this, but couldn't find it in her. Every so often she'd feel... something, but lately... lately it was getting harder and harder to do so. "Hmmm..." Scarlet turned her gaze away from Madison, then her body as she turned away, she leaned the table and could hear the clatter and clink of test tubes and vials as Madison began to collect her things.

    "I don't think I can feel anything anymore." She began, "You think that'd worry me. It doesn't. It worries him though. It's odd, how the roles seemed to have reversed. He's almost like some sort of doting..." Scarlet paused trying to find the right words. A lover? No. Lichensith Ulroke had never been of the sort, at least, in the past. "...It's unnatural to see someone who once lead the Crimson Hand to be so cautious and caring." She finally said.

    The clinking stopped.

    "Guess I fulfilled my promise eh?" Long ago...Scarlet once promised Madison she would quell Lye's ways, and she had - but at a far greater cost than she could ever realize.

    Scarlet pushed herself off the table and turned to Madison. "I'll take you to the cells now. We may have some that could be useful. I have two conditions. One. You take that god-awful blue haired half-breed cat thing, and two, whatever it is you're going. I want a few for the hand. We'll leave you and your studies be, this." Scarlet gestured around her. "Will always be available to you. I'd rather our relationship amicable. But if you choose to take your leave, and never return...again... I will not hold it against you."

  7. #7
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    I took one last look around the lab I used to waste countless hours away in. The long, sleepless nights spent trying to get that alchemical formula just right. The spilled cups of coffee that mingled with the dried up stains left on the countertops by failed experiments discarded long ago. So many memories, so many plans gone awry, so many futures that would never come to pass. As much as Red--I refuse to call her Scarlet, no matter how much she insists on complimenting her apparent transformation with an edgier name--promises me that I'm free to return to the Sanctum as I wish, I doubt I could ever willingly come back. Not anymore, now that she's essentially taken my place as the holder of Lichensith's leash.

    "Thank you," I offered with a polite smile. "I should have everything I need to continue my work in Corone, but if I return I'll send a raven ahead of time so I don't drop in unannounced."

    As we turned and left the lab, locking up behind us as we proceeded through the dark corridors towards the dungeons, I mulled over what the Ar'Tuel had said about her situation.
    Her tone remained neutral, but I could sense the meaning of her words. The Master Hand tried to control her, tried to mold her into his successor; but something inside her snapped and now he stands to lose everything he worked so hard for. The irony of the situation was not lost on me. Everything that happened since my departure runs perfectly parallel to how I imprisoned Lye after the Eiskalt conflict and tried to re-educate him on how not to be such a shitty leader. I tried to do it with a kind and firm hand, but my mistake had been to also allow Aurelianus Drak'shal to torture him during that year. What civility can't teach, pain certainly can.

    Except, Lye took what we had taught him and twisted it into something far worse than his older ways.

    Sure, he was more focused in his dealings after we released him from his cell deep under the Sanctum, but he was also more ruthless. He would disappear for long stretches of time, without warning, scheming with gods-know-who-and-where. He refused to tell any of his inner circle about his machinations, only give us the vaguest of orders that we were expected to carry out with no questions asked. None of us could figure out what he was building up towards.

    And then one day he brings home this ginger waif with the weird-ass back tattoo.

    Twenty-five men died within the first week. Twenty-five men who fucking deserved it, mind you, but still.

    I resigned my post (again) shortly after that... incident. Shortly after that, something must have happened to Red to turn her into an heir that Lichensith could be proud of at first, but apparently she spiraled into something that scared even him. What had he done to her? What did he trigger deep inside of her, that she would fall into the abyss and emerge this unfeeling, uncaring thing that finally made him start remembering all the shit I taught him about treating your subordinates as people and not expendable tools?

    Whatever it was, it must've had something to with that book that Advencia delivered.

    Oh well. It wasn't my problem, really. Not anymore.

    If Red asked me politely, I'd continue looking into the matter when I had the time. Both she and the succubus knew I wouldn't turn down the book, since I'm a sucker for a good challenge. I'd just have to get the stupid thing translated, first.
    Last edited by Briarheart; 08-15-2017 at 08:04 PM.

  8. #8
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    Amari's Avatar

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    If I return... She says. That means that Madison would stay away from this place as much as humanly possible. Scarlet didn't blame her. The Crimson Hand, as it was, was in a bit of a mess. Everyone was on high alert. Ulroke had left on some Contingency mission, they were under strict instruction to allow no one in, unless they were a prisoner or dead. People's alliances were shifting, they were doubting the control the silver haired assassin had, and were taking Scarlets words as rule. Scarlet expected this eventually, but no so soon, and so suddenly. It started with Advencia, and with Madison leaving - but what really drove the matter home... was her transformation. It scared people. It scared him.

    The two walked side by side, silently through the dark labyrinth of halls, back up the steps and into the frigid air. Madison flinched at the cold, Scarlet did not. "He thinks I'm a monster now." Scarlet mused, but no further words were exchanged. Scarlet wasn't sure why she said such a thing, it was truth, but why say it? She wasn't sure... that was a bother. She'd rather know the reasoning behind her actions. Not wanting to end it on such a note, Scarlet continued as they entered the main hall of the inner sanctum. "He always claimed he'd take the last of my humanity, and in a way. He did. He holds it, a literal piece of my soul that this catgirl ripped from me. I gave it to him as a sort of joke. He's been very silent and pensive since then."

    We passed the food hall, the smell of fresh cooking lilted from the kitchen. Scarlet wrinkled her nose. Advencia had gone and fucked up the meal. How hard was it to stuff up such a simple thing? They passed Lye's egotistical throne of human bone, and to the back door, down the stairs and into the cells. The residents were silent, and the smell of rot and decay festered.

    They passed cells with dying people in them, some already dead. Two cells stood out, one just ahead seemed to emit a soft glow. Upon further inspection, it was a young girl suspended in a large glass tube. She was wearing an odd plug suit, cables trailed out of her body, the top of her suit was unzipped just enough so the curvature of her breasts could be seen, and one other thing. A birthmark that was exactly like Amari's. She passed this woman and continued to the next a few feet down.

    "Here she is."

    Scarlet gestured toward Eteri, who was bound and gagged lying on the floor of the cell. Blood dotted her face and her ears had been nailed into the floor. Her tail had three nails pounded down its length, if she were to move or struggle, it'd be painful for her. The girl looked to be unconscious.

    "This thing. She helped an Ixian Knight into the Sanctum a while ago. I believe she got past the beasts in the forest the first time because she claimed she didn't have a soul." Amari unlocked the cage and swung the door open. "I was going to whittle her down. Someone who can rip souls from people? That may be useful. Unfortunately, she's more annoying than I'd first thought. You caught me at a good time Madison, just a few days more and she'd be pig food." Scarlet nudged the unconscious girl with her foot.

    "Wake up. We have a guest."

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    EXP: 104,236, Level: 14
    Level completed: 2%, EXP required for next Level: 14,764
    Level completed: 2%,
    EXP required for next Level: 14,764


    Briarheart's Avatar

    GP
    1,846
    AP
    10
    Name
    Madison Freebird
    Age
    30-ish
    Race
    Briarheart
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Corone

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    A soft glow emitted from one of the cells as Red and I moved through the corridor filled with the fetid stench of death and infection and the dying wails of captives. I felt myself inexplicably drawn towards it, like a moth to an open flame.

    To say I was shocked at the discovery of what was inside would be a vast understatement.

    Before me stood this amazing machine, dotted with various lights that blinked their messages silently in the darkness of the pits. What were they? This was technology that was far more advanced than anything you'd find in Alerar. Was it from far across the ocean, in the lands to the east? Or did it have some other origin entirely? It looked like how I pictured one of the suspended animation setups from all those science fiction novels I read.

    All evidence pointed to it being exactly that. The centerpiece of the whole thing was a giant glass tube, roughly eight feet tall and another three in diameter. Inside, floating in a vat of some clear gel-like substance, was an almost ethereal figure. She wore a skin-tight suit with an array of tubes and cables coming out of it, presumably to keep her alive and functioning but in a constant state of sedation. Her hair was silver, almost white even, and pulled back into a neat ponytail that floated messily around her head. She was thin, almost scarily so, appearing more like a life-sized porcelain doll rather than a living, breathing human being.

    But the one thing I noticed more than any of these details was the birthmark on her, ah, her chest. The bodysuit was consciously unzipped low enough to expose her, um, parts of her breasts, and the mark sat squarely between the two.

    It took a second to recognize it through the distortion of the gel, but it immediately set off alarms in my head.

    That was the same birthmark that Red had on her back.

    I'd only seen it once, and that was the day that I gave her a physical examination and a round of vaccinations, before I split from the Hands. It came up several times in that musty old book that Red asked me to translate.

    Was this another one? Another of her kind? These... these Ar'Tuel people?

    I suddenly had a thousand questions burning a hole in my stomach, but before I could let even one of them go Red called me over to the adjacent cell. Reluctantly, I took one last look at the suspended figure, and tore myself away.

    Red had already produced the key and swung open the door on its rusty hinges. She was droning on emotionlessly about this particular prisoner, but I didn't hear a thing she said. My mind was back with the other one, the waif with the tattoo. She must have been of some importance to Red if she threw down the gold to have that life support machine set up this far north.

    It wasn't until Red put a boot into the gut of the prisoner she wanted me to take off her hands that I started paying attention. In the dim light of the torches in the hallway, I made out a figure dressed in tattered rags writing on the ground. She was, like the other prisoner, extremely thin. Her hair was dark, with a pair off cat-like ears protruding from the top of her skull, caked with dried blood and nailed into the stone floor of the dungeon. Likewise, her tail had been restrained in the same matter.

    I knelt down next to the neko to get a better look at her. The soft amber glow of my eyes illuminated her features just enough for a pang of recognition to creep down my spine.

    Oh, shit.

    "I know you," I hissed at the sad little creature.

    Her eyes were wide and frantic, searching for any hint of salvation in my twisted features. The neko struggled against her bonds, the shackles chafing her wrists and ankles while the nails in her ears tore their wounds open once more. Slowly, I raised a briar-knit finger up to the dirty cloth that served as a gag and pulled it away from her mouth.

    "You're that little shit who took my soul."

  10. #10
    Junior Member

    EXP: 2,413, Level: 2
    Level completed: 14%, EXP required for next Level: 2,587
    Level completed: 14%,
    EXP required for next Level: 2,587


    Eteri's Avatar

    GP
    591
    AP
    18
    Name
    Eteri Yoko
    Age
    24
    Race
    Half Human Half Nekojin
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Corone
    Took her soul? Was she implying it was stolen?

    STOLEN?

    Excuuuuse me plant lady, I didn't still shit, it's not my fault we played a game and you lost! You're just a sore looser! Thaynes above I wanted to tell those words to her, I wanted to give her a piece of my mind. How dare she call me! Eteri Yoko a dirty thief! That was only half true, maybe 3/4 true. Ok, it was true, but NOT in this instance. I opened my mouth to give her the what for, but what came out was a series of pathetic whimpers. (Hey, give me a break, I'm literally nailed to the floor, that shit hurts)

    "E-Eteri no s-steal! You lost! YOU LOST!" My voice screeched, hoarse from lack of water, I licked my dried and cracked lips. "You want back!? Eteri try! I sorry! I sorry!"

    I tried to wriggle out of my binds but pain shot through me, and I fell deathly still. I had to blink back tears as they stung my eyes, I whimpered. She was there too, the strange scary lady who had the soul of a demon... no...hers was far worse. She had me cut away the only good part of it, and now? Now her presence was almost suffocating.

    "Help! Please help the Eteri! I give, I give many things. I got more soul now! From man named Venn! I no need the angry red, but angry red. It latches like icky leech." My words came out hurried and jumbled between jagged breathes. "I also met woman! One arm woman! Please, I show. I show all things! I good girl, I want see Hype! Please! Have fun with her, we can - I-UMfoffspph!!?!??"

    The red headed woman had leant over, nudging Madison aside to shove the gag back in my mouth, I choked back more sobs as I turned to the plant lady, why was she here? Why was she with the strange monster woman? I pleased with my eyes, I wanted her to take me away from this horrible and cold place. I wante to go back to Corone...I wanted to see Venn again, I wanted to play with Hyperion...

    I wanted anything but this....

    My chest ached.

    What was this feeling?
    Last edited by Eteri; 08-17-2017 at 10:00 AM.
    I am cat gurl, gib me ur soul

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