• Closed • Dead & Deader

Navyri has a few questions for her favorite necromancer.

Rising from the stony plateau overlooking the rivers and plains of the western continent, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from this same rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence, eagerly spreading its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the different factions set aside their agendas long enough to see this through?

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• Closed • Dead & Deader

Postby Navyri » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:20 am

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Common Rakahi Euthic Sign Grovokian

13th of Cylus 718
There were so many interesting places in the caverns, but the most peculiar had to be a room she had yet to trespass. Navyri tried to be a good girl when not working, but it was so hard. Especially when she could hear such fascinating sounds. Growls, wails... The sounds of torture? Weaving down the caverns, she pressed against the darkness, a wraith among the walls and waited. When she felt comfortable, almost to the point of predicting any cries, she slipped around the corner and lifted the scarf around her neck, allowing the fabric to lay across her head and hide her face from the few torches that hung from the walls. The anonymity made her feel safer, the shadows casting across her facial features.

The smell of decay was the first distinguishable sensation when she pushed further into the room. A wave of naseaua washed over her, reminding her of the Miasma and the dark well and she had to lift a hand to cover her mouth. What was down here?

Around the corner she stepped and her blue eyes locked onto piles of bones in the corner, and then a mass resting on a table. She instantly knew where the smell was coming from, or believed she did, and crept further inside. "My, my," she muttered with hallow disgust, swallowing as she took another step towards the figure. Whoever the man was, he was long dead, a canvas tarp tossed over part of the corpse. Manicured fingers reached for the fabric, about to lower down upon its hem when the sound of chains being pulled across stone made her whip around. Bony hands with jagged nails sliced towards her and she gave a startled cry, stumbling backwards as she lifted her arms in defense. Steel wings shot from her forearms, a barrier between her and whatever creature wanted to tackle her. Braced for impact, Navyri was ready to accept a blow but instead the chain snapped back and an undead wailed and snarled, another counterpart joining the first. Unlike the corpse on the table, whatever these things were... they lived .

Heart pounding at the surprise, when Navyri realized they could not reach her and she was still safe, a laugh of disbelief bubbled from her lips and she gripped her chest, the metal protection sliding back into her arms one feather at a time. She edged around the experiments, or pets, or whatever they were, eying them all the same, and was standing before them, head cocked as she contemplated the magic. How... how was something like this possible?

They did not use words, nor did they seem to have a spark of intelligence in their eyes, only growling and groaning, desperate to attack her. She watched them for a bit, fascinated, and then realized that this room had far more secrets than she would have anticipated. Remnants of fear still kept goosebumps along her skin, but she slipped further away from the threats, moving to a desk where a few papers sat scattered. Beyond the three loud gaunts screeching in alarm, Nav thought she heard footsteps and she propped herself upon the table, kicking her legs idly as she skimmed some of the notes.

When the new arrival entered, she looked up casually, beaming a charming smile when she noticed the familiar man, "Marrow? Long time no see, darling. Now I know how you got your name." It had in fact, been quite some time since their last meeting. She had assumed he had... well, died. "Sorry for the intrusion. Love what you've done with the place."

Slipping from where she was perched, she neatly stacked the papers and chewed her lip, "Care for some company while you work? I... have a few questions if you aren't too upset with me"
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Dead & Deader

Postby Neronin » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:12 pm

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In the instance of the Blight, a five trial period is needed to ensure maximum festering of the undead worms within. These are the key to the effective implementation of the Blight. While the Pestilent thrall carries carrion worms as well, these are small and come in multitudes. For the Blight, the worms are massive and are quite more of an investment of time and ether for each. They are the primary means of both combative capability and of spreading disease. For the Pestilent, the worm-born disease is a secondary function of the thrall.

Neronin scanned his writing while he tapped the quill against the inkwell on the stone. Before him were an array of plants and fungi collected by undead crows and rats he had sent out. They would be catalogued and their properties for chemistry his next task. He had taken a trial and error approach to the newest subject much akin to his self-taught necromancy. At least, ever since Divinya had been busy with faction missions. Neronin still felt as though his renewed presence here caused mutterings, but not from her. She had, at least, been surprisingly glad to have him back. This was one of the reasons he had decided to do his work outside the caverns today. He wrote in a wooded clearing with his undead rodents and birds arrayed around him.

But, alas, he had to bring the new finds to the lab to conduct his exercise. It would be foolish to haul the entire chemistry kit out of the caverns. Neronin stood and gingerly wrapped the plants in a cloth. Then he commanded one of the undead crows onto his shoulder. He set out back to the cavern with his thoughts still on Blights and Pestilents.

His cavern was not empty however. Obviously his Gaunts remained chained to the wall, but another was there. A woman. Neronin stared at her until her face returned to his mind. “The servant of Delroth.” He said, tilting his head. “You work with Al’Angyryl.” It was not a question, but his voice held a note of surprise. “Or is this a poorly planned invasion?” He turned and set down the plants and journal on the desk, making a point of showing her his back so she knew that was a jest.

Then he walked over to the corpse on the table and pulled away the tarp. The chest cavity was open on the pale man’s body, and white worms moved in the wound. Neronin stuck his hand inside the wound without grimace or comment. His whole arm began to exude a wriggling black substance that seeped down into the wound. Neronin looked up and met her gaze. “Yes, I’ve added my own special charms.” He watched her as she continued speaking. Then he shrugged one shoulder.

“You clearly had no control over that...whatever it was.” Neronin said. “And you can stay, but be careful. Much of the contents of this room are quite dangerous.” He nodded down to the corpse she had almost touched. “This one isn’t animate but the worms can still kill the living.” He said as he pulled his hand out. “It’s a Blight, they take five trials to make. Very dangerous.”

“What kind of questions did you have?” Neronin asked as he crossed to the table, sat, and began to scribble in his journal again. “Pull up chair, or a stone, or a damn skull. We haven’t exactly furnished the place. He cast around the room with his eyes for a moment before spotting the rickety old stool Divinya had left in the corner beside the large pile of human bones. He gestured for her to bring it over to the table.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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Postby Navyri » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:31 pm

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How fascinating! As Marrow pushed further into the room, so unfazed by the death around him, she let her gaze fall upon the remnants of the man she once knew. Surely she would not had recognized him had it not been for his outfit. His robes - once so lavish, were dirty and stained with something that, had she been standing closer, perhaps she would have identified as blood. Even with her night vision, Navyri was no expert in forensics, and focused on the ruined fabric.

"Poorly timed invasion?" she repeated, turning her head to hide a grimace as his arm struck the gaping cavity and an awful suction noise followed. Swallowing, she shrugged and noticed the way he turned. Was he playing with her? "You recruited me, so you tell me. Do you think I would plan any invasion poorly?" She smirked and tapped her nails on her knee, eying the gaunts that still pulled at their chains nervously. The question what rhetorical, and she began to put all the pieces together, rubbing her lips together at the possibility of knowing such a... powerful mage.

When Marrow acquiesced, seeming to dismiss the blunder of Delroth's visit, she slipped from where she sat and eagerly pounced upon the stool he pulled closer. Perhaps she should have shown more restraint, but danger was not something to hold her back, although she noted the vile workings. 

She would have to keep her hands to herself, least she contract some disease, "About that," Navyri wasn't sure if she should smile or remain serious, "After Delroth's visit... I went somewhere..." How much was she to disclose? Caught in his work, had he not noticed her new wings, he soon would as she settled upon the perch, "Do.. Do you know anything about souls? I've never thought my people to have souls - just darkness given life... But.. If I do, I believe mine may be damned."

"I know Etzori scoff at the Immortals and their abilities, but Marrow- I have seen things." For the first time her voice took on an urgent quality, "This magic you practice - any magic," She peered up at the man, her blue eyes burning wave of subtle desperation. He looked so different, so changed from the handsome man she had met in the alley. Perhaps he could understand, or knew enough to teach her and her voice softened to solemnity, "You sacrificed yourself to it?"
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Dead & Deader

Postby Neronin » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:41 pm

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Neronin looked up at Navyri with a searching look. She seemed genuinely worried about whatever had ‘damned’ her soul. He listened carefully to her words because she seemed to lay her fears out in earnest. Neronin was not one to sympathize, but her doubt surrounded a subject he had devoted his own mind to in recent times. As a growing necromancer he had watched much of his life stripped away to make room for the magic. All a welcome change for the power.

“Souls.” Neronin repeated, setting down his quill carefully in the inkwell and cupping his chip in both hands. It was an almost universal gesture of great pondering. “My art strives for the creation of souls, though does not achieve it...yet. The soul is an interesting thing.” He looked at her carefully. “I would judge that you do indeed have a soul. Whether it is damned...” Neronin sighed.

“Damnation accepts another’s judgement - and control - of the soul, which is where the Etzori differs.” Neronin continued finally. “You may sacrifice your comfort, sacrifice your pleasure, your happiness...” He gestured at himself, “Your physical form. But none of these are your soul. Yes, I have sacrificed for my own power. But these are cheap trinkets to the devices I have gained. And I plan to ensure my soul is out of reach of any meddling Immortal and their damnation.” Neronin was staring off at the Gaunts against the wall now. “So it just depends on if the ends justify the means. “I sacrificed the superficial aspects of my physical form, my comfort, my conformity, but not myself.” Neronin finished. He seemed happy with this explanation for he did not extrapolate.

“The nature of the spark, any spark, is that it grows in strength as it grows in need.” Neronin explained. “It is alive, or almost so. It demands attention. No man or woman can grow a spark within them to proper power whilst not giving up other... less important aspects of themselves. There is simply not enough in a person to do so.”

Instead he turned to her and raised an eyebrow. “There are many roads to great power, and all demand a debt of sacrifice in one way or another.” Neronin said, staring into her eyes. “So what is it that has damned you?” Neronin asked, picking up the quill again.

He began to write but it was clear he was still listening to her. Neronin wondered what exactly the Immortal Delroth had required of the Naer. He had been the only Immortal Neronin had ever met and had nearly killed both he and Mongrel with a thought. The power there was more than he had ever experienced before or since. But it was not invincibility. Of course, for one like Neronin the point was almost moot. The Immortals were an entirely different tier of influence. He did not envy Navyri her bond.

“Please continue.” He said, gesturing that he was going to keep working. Neronin stood and moved back to the corpse, still listening to Navyri’s words. “I just need to add more ether-“ He stuck his hand back into the wound and this time concentrated the current of ether in a more intense stream.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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Postby Navyri » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:04 pm

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She wasn't quite sure if she had given control of whatever soul she might have to the being in the Miasma, and she listened quietly, on the aspects of sacrifice and power. More questions seemed to bubble in her mind making it difficult to pay attention to each strand of though. What was a spark? She imagined it as a unknown thing, some hungry essences that sucked away parts of yourself... But not your soul. Marrow was convinced he remained untainted on the inside, but seeing his appearance... was it truly possible to be so unchanged when your body displayed otherwise?

She... doubted it.

Whether he believed it or not, there must have been a stain, or brand on his being. Power always came at a price, and while Arithzma had given up his wings to live, had he not also been destroyed in the process? When she looked up, Marrow was watching her, her blue eyes burning in the dim light.

“So what is it that has damned you?”

She pushed back her cowl and smiled, so tragic in its modesty, "A being not seen on this plane in a very long time. I was the one." The one to release the Man in Red. "I was the sacrifice." She frowned and looked to the gaunts, their grotesque faces and strong, contorted bodies. "It wasn't Delroth." 

Marrow looked back to his work, urging her to continue while he applied something called ether. Another magic necessity, no doubt. "Perhaps some background is necessary," she waved a hand, realizing how cryptic she was being. A result of such supernatural surroundings.

"No matter how you appear now, I would wager I am older than you." She spoke with a slight amusement, "Can you guess? I'm young for my race - the Naerikk, if you remember. At fifty five, I'm hardly a young woman. I imagine if I was human, I'd be considered... maybe seventeen or so." Navyri watched his hands work, pressing deeper into the chest cavity, and the strange things that wiggled in reaction to his touch, "If we're smart, we live upwards of two hundred arcs."

"When Delroth interrupted our meeting, what I said was the truth. I entered his service to survive, and since he hadn't once asked anything of me. Even now, I am free to do as I please. He has not caged me in the slightest. I gain power and in return, I fetch him a few coins? I do what I am already naturally good at? Is this not what I do for this organization now?"

"I am not a fool, I know I risk everything." Abandonment, desolation, damnation, "When I went to that place, it was..." 

She closed her eyes, experiencing the smell of rot again; the mist, still so cool upon her skin, "Ancient. Haunting... I tore out my eyes and ripped my skin with claws of shadow. And then I was taken to find the wings. Dead things, hardly more than mummified fossils. No feathers. Just... dust. I remembering feeling fear - not my own. The air... you could taste it, Marrow. Smell it. I opened a door, and then... so much power. So... much."

She exhaled and then swallowed, chosing her next words carefully, "When I touched those wings, they flourished. They bound to me and I saw history past. I suddenly knew the first owner. I completed my mission. But at a price."

"Everything has a price." she muttered, shaking her head, "I believe I was a sacrifice, for what I do not know. When? I do not know that either. Have you.. Have you ever heard of the Man in Red?" 
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Postby Neronin » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:52 pm

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Neronin made no attempt to guess her age, just watched her carefully. She was still the only Naerikk he had ever met. Neronin listened as she rationalized her servitude to Delroth. It was a distinctly un-Etzori sentiment, the benefits of serving the immortals no matter how enticing. But she seemed to be working towards something more, something else. That something was what had caught Neronin’s attention. He carefully finished with his work with the Blight and wiped his hands on the tarp before replacing it. His digits were only marginally cleaned after this, still smeared with dark blood that had gotten into the minute crevices of his hands.

“Delroth sent you somewhere to find his wings? Where did you go?” Neronin asked. He remembered when the flamboyant Immortal had showed himself and hijacked their fateful meeting. The being had been supremely powerful, and Navyri was subject to his will despite her determination at being free. Then again, they all were to an extent. Where had the Immortal sent her?

Neronin was distracted by the conversation so much that he hardly thought about it when he stepped through the portal and appeared again by the desk. He kept forgetting that this casual use of magic was not a normal sight for most. “The Man in Red?” Neronin repeated as he sat once again. He did not pick up his quill, but peered at her, his brow furrowed.

“I have not.” His attention was fully on her, the blood left hand resting atop the leather of his journal. Another stain of the dark substance to go along with the many others. “Is that the entity in whose name Delroth intended to sacrifice you?” Neronin asked, staring past her and drumming his fingers against the opposite knuckles. What sort of thing would an Immortal sacrifice to? Was there something out there, some ether entity that claimed more power than the Immortals. Neronin had never heard of such a thing... But the world beyond the fractures was a dangerous place, they said. He had experienced only a small taste of that.

Neronin began to ask her his own questions. “Did you enter Emea in some way? What was your journey like?” The mage’s eyes flickered to his quill. He had taken to writing every facet of interesting information in his journal recently. The importance of documenting his work was not lost on him as the sparks grow within and vied for his attention. They seemed to all be struggling with each other for dominance, though the necrotic one had always been alpha. It made him need the reaffirmation of the written thought.

He itched to pick up the quill right now and write what the Naer said.

“You know, these wings are claimed by Delroth. Does it worry you that he may come and take them someday?” Neronin asked her. He sighed and let his eyes drift to the Gaunts. “The Immortals see us as nothing more than tools to be had. Perhaps Delroth thinks his wings in his possession because you, also, are in his possession. Either way, I would be careful.” Neronin’s tone was somehow warning rather than disdainful.

“May I examine these wings of yours?” Neronin asked, his eyes lighting with interest.
“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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Postby Navyri » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:11 am

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Argh! There was just too much to explain!

 Navyri shook her head and let out a frustrated sigh, not at Neronin, but her own situation, seemingly more dire with each detail she realized need retelling, "I remember falling though an endless pit, nothing but talons and screeching," she looked at the wall, staring at it as the events replayed behind blue eyes, "The Great Bird - the one that pinned you and your employer ... there were more. Hundreds of thousands like it. An endless flock of great and terrible beauty. A wind that steals your breath and a fall that lasts forever."

 She did not say what it was called, for she did not know its true name - The Roost. "Then," The Naer had done a double take when Nero disappeared and reappeared by the desk, first on one end of the room and then the other with a single blink. She sat straighter, "I was in a warm bed, the sheets like liquid silver. Delroth was there and he told me what to do. There was a fire that burned the room away and I walked until I saw a well."

 Memories of the haunting structure flooded back and suddenly a chill ran up her spine. The words felt fat in her throat, and she had to swallow to let them out, "This place is called The Misty Miasma. It houses terrible things." 

 'And I'm a Naer.' she almost said, the laugh dying in her throat, "I think Delroth knew what I would find, but it was Garizma who sacrificed me. He was in that well. An Avriel whose wings had been torn off and his wounds infected. Strips of his flesh had been peeled back. And the Shrivma..."
 
Her voice had taken on a threatening, terrified tone. She shook her head at the memory and rose quickly to her feet, looking around until she spotted the journal and quill in the man's lap. "Let me show you," Lowering herself before him, with careful hands asking for permission, she pulled the items towards her and with a determined expression, began to drag the quill across the page. Neronin was apprehensive in letting her touch his things, she could tell in his body language. Navyri was slow going, often ghosting the lines before putting ink to paper. Blotches of blood - dried brown and fresh red were smeared in various places to avoid and soon an image became visible. She was no artist, but the work was surprisingly accurate, if utilitarian. The short creature had slits for a nose with only black holes where its eyes should have been. It's mouth - an overly cut smile with rows of sharp teeth - grinned eerily up at the Necromancer from the textured pages, and in its clawed hands it held an eyeball in each fist. Beneath it, in clear Gravokian, Navryi labelled it.

While pushing the journal back towards him, she met his eye, "Shrivma is Evil. No good comes from it." 

"Now, Garizma had been trapped in the Miasma," she said after returning to her stool, "He was the first to fail, and so he lead me to the Man in Red - to the Wings. When I opened the door, I had unleashed him from some imprisonment. I do not know what he is. Maybe another Immortal. Maybe something more."

Her hand cupped the arm that had been branded with Belaera's mark, and she held it to her torso, continuing, "Belaera said Garizma's sacrifice had been accepted. That I had been accepted. I think Delroth knew what I would find. But I don't think he knew what would happen when I touched them." The Wings.

Neronin's inquiry had occurred to her before and she shrugged with a weak smile, "You are right, Marrow. I think he will come for them, but he hasn't. Why? Would an Immortal of Greed share if he didn't have to?" 

Something was wrong with the wings. Whether it was Arithzma's conciousness or Belaera's connection with them... there was a reason Delroth didn't take them himself. Navyri had begun to look at her hands and ponder this, picking at her sharp nails when Marrow requested he inspect the wings. Immediately her attention snapped upwards. The Necromancer might as well have asked if she would be his personal slave with the look of shocked disgust that darkened her features. With a shake of her head, she was already preparing her denial as she rose to her feet. Taking a step back, she remembered how Noth had touched them in similar curiosity - and while they were sensitive, nothing alarming had happened then. But then again... Mercy didn't strike her as a mage or a scholar with all the armor he semed to favor. Maybe there were secrets yet to be uncovered?

Would he... try to take her wings? Steal them for the Al'Angyryl, or the city of Etzos? No signs of danger were evident in his body language, but looks were so deceiving. She watched him with suspicious eyes, "Fine. But no surprises." Navyri pointed a finger at him in warning, looking at the gaunts wearily and forced herself to remain still when he took a step closer. "And wipe your hands off better. You're about to touch a woman." 

Swallowing, Navyri pushed her shoulders back and began to extend her wings.The first and only winged Naer - an anomaly to the natural order and an absolutely breathtaking specimen. The Mistress of Wind and Shadow.
 
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