• Solo • Who Crazy Is

Max learns from a familiar Mer who her patron Goddess really is.

From Tried's Mouth to the mysterious Tower, the waters around Scalvoris and the island itself hold a vast array of secrets, just ripe for discovery. Here are landmarks and small villages of note, dotted in and around the island itself.

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• Solo • Who Crazy Is

Postby Max » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:16 pm

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Zi'da 15, Arc 717
Immortal's Tongue


Max stepped onto the docks of the small, windy island with her cloak wrapped tightly about her body. Her eyes scanned the snow-dusted, scraggly path ahead with an expression of undeniable reluctancy. The few other that had made the short trip by sea piled out and moved around her to begin their trek. Given the way they all seemed fixed in their own individual directions of travel, it seemed the Rusalka was the only one that was a blatant newcomer.

"Off you go," the sailor ushered from the deck of his small ship. Max glanced back at him as though she thought to admonish him for rushing her, but thought the better of it. Her mind was too muddled and tired to stand there and throw verbal jabs. She grit her chattering teeth and began down the path leading left. Several times she found herself catching herself from a treacherous, icy fall down the path toward probable death. The occasional skeleton reminded her of the present danger from the elements alone. She hadn't the slightest clue where she was going, but she had half a mind to duck into one of the better-kept shrines as a pretender if only to find warmth.

Out of no where she felt someone finger's seize her shoulder. With wide eyes, Max turned with the intention of burying her knuckles into the offender's face. The figure standing in the way of her raised fist, however, gave her pause. The woman didn't flinch at the violence of Maxine's reaction. Max wasn't even sure the woman blinked. With her curly hair and solemn dress, she seemed to just...stare. It wasn't a dumb or absent stare. It was an uncomfortable one, like she was looking into her island's visitor rather than upon them. Max found herself frozen in place as though possessed. After a brief moment the woman released her grip with a cautious expression.

"Chrien," she said the goddess's name with almost a tone of anxiety. "She waits for you up there." The strange woman pointed her finger just up the next hill to the right. Max followed her gesture curiously, but when she turned her head to thank the woman, she was long gone. Nothing but the howl of the persistently cold wind seemed to accompany Max for the final ascent. It would seem her journey would remain one that she would undertake alone, just as she was alone in the sea when Chrien rose from the depths of the sea.


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Who Crazy Is

Postby Max » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:15 pm

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The "shrine" at the top of the hill was not what she was expecting. Shrines and edifices, she thought, tended to be ornate and imposing as a sign of their religious importance. At the very least they tended to be, well, whole. Most of the shrines she passed were similar to the one that laid before her, but she'd be lying if she didn't admit she expected Chrien's to be as intimidating as the goddess herself.

The shrine was more of a collection of rubble and deteriorating stone. Melted snow filled small pools of water here and there, a large pond of it sitting just to the left of the "building" of worship. The wooden door into the shrine was frosted with moss. Whatever intricate story it once told upon its surface had become weathered and cracked until its once obvious depiction was as impossible to decipher as the will of Chrien herself. Heavier than expected, Max had to give it a good tug before it moaned open to reveal a wet, cold interior that seemed oddly fitting given the deity it served.

Rows of lanterns both lit and unlit surrounded the insides of the building. Glass had chipped away from most of the windows to invite the chilling gusts of the outside in. Holes in the roof left strange circles of light upon the path toward the altar bearing a figure roughly of Chrien's likeness. Max squinted through the dark but not another soul seemed to be present in the House of Spite. She stepped inside and let the strength of the window behind her blow the heavy door closed with a loud rattle. It didn't take long for her eyes to adjust to the dim light, but her nerves never eased. This place of worship brought her no peace.

"Welcome," an airy voice purred from the moist depths of the building. With tilted head, Max watched as a vaguely familiar form moseyed out from the shadows with a lit candle in hand. If not for the occasional slap of tentacles upon the wet stones, she might've thought the nearly silent being to be a ghost. "I had a thought you'd never come."
"I did," Max admitted from where she stood rigidly by the door.
"Yet here you are."
"Yeah. Here I am, Kevai." She glanced about the crumbling shrine as the large, tentacled Mer man emerged completely from behind Chrien's statue likeness. The red coloring of Kevai reminded Max of freshly spilled blood. Though her blade brought her comfort, she hoped not to see any spilled in reality.

"So," Max slowly began her awkward advance deeper into the shrine. "You oversee this place? Does that mean you speak for her?"
"I oversee but little more," the Mer man admitted. "Chrien created us, but she's abandoned us as a race. I know of no tribe with the privilege of her affections, let alone attention."
"She created you and then left you? She's that indifferent?" she echoed with a furrowed brow.
"Indifferent would be a gentler substitute for what many of our people believe."
"And what, then, do your people believe?"
"That she undeniably, irrevocably hates us."


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Who Crazy Is

Postby Max » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:55 pm

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Maxine knew what it meant to be an orphan. The story of her conception was a colorful one in that it was the farthest from a pleasant story one could probably get. She didn't know her parents. She never even thought about meeting them anymore, and even if she had the chance, a part of her feared she'd sooner assault them than melt into a puddle of poor orphan tears. Not even her adoptive Biqaj parents were truly parents. They raised her, but she was never a daughter they really claimed as their own. She'd been a ward, a symbol of their good will and charity--nothing more.

As twisted, sadistic, and gory as the event itself was, the moment Chrien marked Max as one of her rare Rusalkas was the first time anyone had claimed her. The goddess's words had been depreciating, insulting-even, but she'd still declared her a worthy investment, even if her intentions for her were far from benevolent. In a pathetic way, the Goddess of Storms, Spite, and Luck was the closest thing to a mother she ever had. To learn that to her own creations she was perhaps no better than Max's own biological parents was a blow. She wasn't surprised. She wasn't taken off guard. Even so, the reality still hurt even if she'd never admit it to anyone else.

"Why create something you despise?" Max asked Kevai with a tone of frustration, though both seemed to understand the question was more rhetorical than literally one she expected the warden to answer.
"The Meerabelard tribe has their theories and believes that through adoration we can work our way back into Chrien's cold, empty heart, but no one really knows much about the mind of our creator," Kevai mused with a sad smile.
"And are you a Meera-whatever then? You must be to be here."
"No, no!" Kevai chuckled with a shake of his head. "If that were true, I'd have drowned you the moment you walked through those doors. I'm Akktava."

Truth be told, the clarification didn't mean a thing to Max. It wasn't like she could tell one tribe from another despite how ignorant that reality sounded. Nonetheless, she feigned understanding with a nod and strode up the middle toward the altar. One of her hands moved outward so that her fingertips could graze the rough surfaces of the stone benches she passed. The streams of light that came down from the roof provided an eerie sort of encouragement for her to walk through.

"Kevai, if she abandoned you and you're not one of the, uh, other tribes...why do you give a shit?" she finally asked him in that crass, direct way in which she was wont to do. Oddly enough, the tentacled Mer didn't take much offense her lack of sensitivity. Instead he turned and illuminated the Chrien statue, staring briefly at it as though he could read the answer off the crumbling stone.
"I'm Akktava...but I believe the Meerabelard are onto something," Kevai admitted softly. "I need to. The rejection feels...more harsh than most of us Mer are willing to let on. The hope of filling it brings me purpose and so I serve." The Mer was admirably honest, and Max still wasn't quite sure why. The sentiment he offered about rejection, unfortunately, was one she was all too familiar with though. The very mention of it left an unwanted pang in her chest that she ignored even in that moment it might've been helpful to connect with Kevai over it. "When I saw you on that ship, it renewed that hope."

"What are you talking about?" Max inquired with raised brow and crossed arms. Kevai smiled and slipped forward slowly along the wet stone. When he reached her, his hand darted down to grip her cloak with a speed that caught her off-guard. Maxine reached down and gripped his wrist with eyes that any creature could read with warning. With his other hand he gave her shoulder a reassuring pat and proceeded to brush her cloak away. Then he grabbed the bottom of her shirt and drew it up, much to Max's palpable unease. Her skin prickled to the cold. Kevai's smile widened.

"I saw you," he repeated simply. Max glanced down at her exposed skin, and indeed he had exposed her mark of Rusalkis: the spinning hurricane imprinted by Chrien forever on her flesh at the goddess's pleasure. "I wanted you to come here, because I could see you don't understand this wonderful blessing you've been given. This?" Kevai brushed his strange, scaly skin along the outer edges of her mark, daring not to touch it. "This is a gift, Maxine."
"I never wanted it," she replied harshly. Kevai lifted his gaze to find hers, his scaly brow raising when he identified the concealed pain there when she voiced her truth.
"You will."


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Who Crazy Is

Postby Max » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:51 pm

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Kevai dropped her clothes to cover her mark again before turning his back. He raised his lantern and took one of the unlit candles from their holder. Max continued up the row and dropped herself into a seat directly in front of Chrien.
"I don't even know what she wants from me," she confessed aloud while she gazed upon the statue. Kevai lit the candle and placed it back into its holder, then calmly moved on to the next to do the same thing. "I've never even prayed to a deity before."
"Well," the Mer mused. "I've never known someone who has met our creator before, I just know the stories. Tell me what happened. Maybe between your story and what my race knows, we can help each other." Max fought the urge to roll her eyes. She came here for answers, not a spiritual kumbaya experience bonding over mommy issues. It seemed she had no choice. The two seemed to came as a package deal.

"I..." she trailed off before she could even start. She licked her lips, look up at the ceiling, and tapped her foot. Why was it so hard to talk about, even if Kevai would be the first she'd told? She ran her fingers through her hair. It was her story. She'd tell the version she wanted him to know. In this case, as always, it would be the version that left her protected: the truth, but not the whole truth. "I was a part of a ship crew. An accident happened. I was the only one left alive, drifting. Chrien appeared from the depths of the sea and brought a massive storm with her. I couldn't escape." She could still see everything as though she were living it all over again. Maxine had never been so afraid of anything in her entire life. The feeling was one that had left her rattled, and she'd hoped to never feel so scared and helpless again. Not even Merces had elicited such a response despite the havoc he'd wreaked upon those that displeased him.

"What did she look like?" Kevai could hardly contain the mild excitement in his voice as he crossed the room. Max had nearly forgotten his voice was a manifestation in her head rather than a sound from his actual lips. "Does she look anything like the statue?" The pair looked to the shoddy remains of what might've once been a stunning work of art. They laughed together, and Max shook her head.
"She was blue and green, littered with pale scars. Her lips were a deep purple and her eyes were...haunting. Darker than the worst storm I've ever seen. When she looks at you, you can just...feel it."
"Feel it? Feel what?"
"Just...the hatred. How angry she is? It's...shocking."
"Terrifying."
"Yeah. Pretty fucking much."
"Did she say anything? Any reason why you earned her favor?"

Max bit her lip and ran her fingers through her hair. She could sense in the sound of his voice that she'd been swelling the man with hope. Sometimes it was fun to crush someone's sense of purpose, to truly break them on a level where there's no light over their horizon anymore. Doing it to Kevai came with no sense of power. It was just sad.

"I don't think I earned her favor, Kevai," she sighed. "She named me her 'Little Storm'. It didn't feel like she even liked me. She wants to use me."
"Use you how?"
"Like..." Max struggled, her mind reeling with the question of how much honesty was dangerous to her well-being. "She hopes I destroy civilization from the inside. I think she knows that I look like I fit in places but that I can't." Kevai moved to stand in front of her with a critical stare. His eyes looked her several times up and down. After a half bit, his expression softened and a sense of enlightenment filled his stare.

"Genius," he breathed. Max frowned, but she needn't voice any opinion. Kevai was happy to fill in the blanks in his own head aloud. "It's no secret that Chrien hates humans, maybe even more than she hates us. I thought you were special because you were the first human she blessed as a Rusalka...but you...you're not human, are you?" Max pressed her lips together and just stared at the Mer. Kevai hung the lantern upon one of the nearby hooks with eyes shining with excitement. "That's it. That's why I sensed you on that ship. That's why I could sense you and you could sense me, but you didn't feel the same as the other Biqaj either. You--you're something else, aren't you?" He stared intently, no, expectantly at her.
"Yeah," she finally gave up. "Okay, yeah. I'm something else. What does that even matter?"
"What does that even matter?" he parroted in a voice so loud it practically bounced off the inner walls of her skull. "Many regard our creator as crazy, but let me tell you something, that is a profoundly smart play by someone supposedly so insane." He grabbed her by her shoulders and attempted to literally shake the apathetic expression from her face. "Max, you're the set up for a very, very powerful weapon. You can walk into her enemies' homes, drink with them, eat with them, laugh with them...and then you can destroy them. You're the Rusalka they'd never see coming. She's the goddess of Storm, Luck, and Spite, Max! Think of all the power she could give you if you served her, really served her! Think of what you could do with it!"


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Who Crazy Is

Postby Max » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:20 pm

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She could see it. Maybe it was the excitement Kevai was radiating, the ambition he held for her that Chrien supposedly might've seen. Whatever it was, it was real. She could really, truly see it.

Inexplicable luck that turned to vast wealth and clout. Trees, ship masts, and entire armies bowing with the force of a gale that rose at her will. The very sea itself swirling to swallow her enemies whole, and even the closest bonds breaking just to please her.

"I'm no one else's weapon," Max spat with a curled lip. "And I'm no one's fucking servant."
"Don't think of it like that," Kevai sighed. "Think of it like a business partnership. She probably doesn't care about you anyways, Max, not really. No more than you really care about her I'd reckon. It's a give and take. You do things that make her happy, you become a living storm with a power unlike anything the mortal world has seen before. You play the part, be her Little Storm, and use the power she gives you in return for your own purposes." For a while Max said nothing, only returning to a thoughtful stare that focused on the bizarre features of the Mer's red face. Kevai stood up straight. "No prayers. No bullshit. Just service." Something swirled within Maxine's middle like the hurricane winds tattooed upon her skin.

"And how am I supposed to service her when not even her creations really know what she wants? What am I supposed to do? Just run around killing people?" Those questions seemed to actually stump Kevai briefly. His tentacles moved upon the cold stone floor, curling and wading through the shallow puddles of melted snow.
"I've heard stores about ships Chrien herself has supposedly sunk in her storms. They say she doesn't just drown humans. It's like she saves some of them for...something else."
"Well that doesn't sound fucking creepy at all, Kevai."
"True," the Mer conceded carefully. "But I've heard the tale more than once. Maybe there's something there for you to discover what it is she wants from you. You'll have to find out for yourself."

Max peered up through one of the roof holes at the sky and frowned. Time had passed quickly, and though she had learned quite a bit from the fly-on-the-ship Akktava Mer, she had more questions than answers. Kevai might've been willing to wait around to talk with her more on the subject, but the boat back to Almund certainly wouldn't. Maxine had no intentions of becoming another frozen corpse along the walkways of the Immortal's Tongue either.

"You've given me much to think about," the Rusalka rose with a tired exhale. She extended her hand out toward the worldly Mer, who returned to gesture by grasping it for a friendly shake. "Will I find you here again?"
"Unlikely," he said. "I come ashore now and then to visit places like this, but a Mer belongs to the sea. I still serve my own master in the deep."
"Then I hope to see you hanging like a parasite on another ship," Max teased before releasing Kevai's grasp and turning to saunter back to the exit.
"Perhaps, Little Storm," Kevai chuckled and began to return to tending to the down-trodden state of his creator's shrine. "Perhaps."


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Max
I am the storm, so wait
 
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Who Crazy Is

Postby Zipper » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:23 pm

Overview : Well, at least Max has no illusions of what Chrien is and what it means to be marked by her >_> Enjoy your points.


@Max
Points : XP: 10/10
Loot/Injuries/Overstepping :  No
Knowledge : Deception: Pledge Allegiance but Serve Yourself
Intelligence: Picking the Brain of the Religious for Answers
Intelligence: Using Rumors and Legends as Leads
Navigation: Traversing Icy Terrain
Navigation: Finding Your Destination with Directions
Strategy: The Power of Surprise
Location: Immortal's Tongue
Chrien: Created and Abandoned the Mer
Chrien: Hates the Mer
Chrien: Hates Humans
Chrien: Sometimes Saves Humans for...Something Else?
Chrien: You're Her Trojan Horse
Rusalkis: It's a Gift
Rusalkis: More Power in Exchange for Service to Chrien?
Meerabelard: Tribe of Mer Still Loyal to Chrien
Akktava: Scalvoris Mer Tribe


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