• Event • Moondream

The expansive wasteland of the Northern Region is both beautiful and inhospitable. Viden, though isolated; it is not a solitary city. Satellite towns, which are little more than fortresses, surround Viden and are both ancillary to, and autonomous from, the citadel of Viden.

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Moondream

Postby Caius Gawyne » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:31 am

"Maybe?"

Caius' tone was incredulous and pained at the same time, but there was real terror in his expression and in the unfathomable darkness of his irises, squeezing her delicate hand tightly, he could only be quietly honest, "No, the whispers of Ziell's leftover lineage in my watered down existence are somehow linked with this place ... which is why I've only attempted to study things about Treid's Sanctum from afar, Darcy. Filling my room with books and papers and grasping at straws for almost an entire season now. For what? It's not like I've sarding managed to learn a thing. And now I'm here? How? I had no plans on coming here, not for a long time, no matter how much it tempted me, I—" and she knew why. If there was no other reason why he'd not followed his curiosities here no matter the end, it was her,

"I was not ready—am not—I am not ready. Not now. Maybe not ever. I don't sarding know!"

But Mae knew, too, and he sighed. She knew quite a bit, of course, about himself in ways that would in the present situation be somewhat strange and awkward to explain. Now wasn't really the time to discuss past relationships and his choices and his failures or current relationships and the future he was sure he wanted. The matters of his heart were not important here or perhaps they were too important and too precious to discuss, and so he said nothing about the past nor the present, swearing he wouldn't unless he knew he had nothing else left to talk about. This just wasn't the time to open dusty tomes or to savor freshly bound ones. The young Gawyne didn't miss the emotion in the familiar Eidisi's voice, and while his words were not weighed down by guilt or regret in the moment, he wasn't without feelings at all when he answered,

"—I have no idea if I can escape what I've seen my whole life in some form or another. This understanding of sorts that my prophetic gift feels like has only come into focus the more I've attempted to know. The closer to truths I've touched in my research, the clearer everything becomes."

He frowned at that sort of clarity, preferring suddenly to be the sort of Gawyne that defied prophecy.

Just once.

Still, Alucard snapped him from any emotional reverie he would have wanted, and Caius was far too out of his comfort zone and far too afraid not to snap back. What he didn't actually expect, no matter how much the strange man threatened, was actual physical retaliation, and the smack of his hand more than once with his words truly caught him off guard. He groaned angrily, raising his arms in defense but resisting the urge to stoop to the older, uglier man's level. Instead, the northern noble narrowed his pale, silvery gaze at the Ranger and said nothing, jaw clenched, confused.

No one else was here for the same reasons as himself. No one else had any sarding reason to be here at all, either.

The First Ranger turned to Yolande, who had grown quiet, and Caius watched him pull something from his pack but not yet hand it to her, no, Alucard just had more to say about their group's propensity for studiousness. Who the fuck cared? No libraries for miles. He hissed at the older man's continued warnings, impatient and afraid, confused and burdened, but it was when the man moved and the map rolled to the cold ground that he felt suddenly warm. The young Gawyne stared in anger and horror at the blank sheet of vellum that had been passed as important, and his mouth hung open a little, ears ringing, heart fluttering, dizzy.

He really was going to fucking die here.

And so was everyone else.

Molten lead, fresh from the stove in the Rynmere Gazette's sweltering print room, was poured into the cavity of his chest and it formed inside the mold of his ribs, wrapping his heart and searing his lungs. Had one cracked his frozen corpse open, they would have found the most exquisite matrix of his heart ready for casting. If Caius had anything to say, he didn't say it. The Seven weren't here to hear him either, so far into the middle of nowhere north of Viden, so he didn't have any prayers, either. Perhaps in Ashan, when everything thawed just a little here in the sarding far north, when Ziell made his way through the city and the Videnese welcomed him, perhaps some other intrepid explorers who longed for a good hike and some sunshine would find their perfectly preserved, terrified, out of place bodies—

Caius was still holding Darcy's hand, but the flash of white light dragged him from his morbid confusion, blinking and scowling. Yolande had disappeared and left the four of them behind, the crystal she'd used as a magical exit clattering onto the floor.

Why her? Why not Darcy or Mae? Who got to make that choice?

"What the—Where's Yolande?! That's it!" It took everything in the northern noble's power not to lunge for Alucard's sword when he bent to pick up the crystal that had just given one of them freedom from their maddening predicament. He twitched, ink-stained, gloved fingers sliding from the delicate pianist's as he almost reached, body tensing, arms moving, ready to spring into violent action because at this point, nothing else made any sense. He snarled in frustration and tugged on his hood instead, Caius' expression one of furious terror,

"For Fates' sake, no more lies!" He growled, though he moved to herd both Maebella and Darcyanna after Alucard toward the cave with an angry wave of his hands. Shelter was better than staying out in the horrible cold anyway, no matter how much colder it had begun to feel the closer they got to the entrance, no matter how the breaks and bits and trills whispered through his thoughts.

Still, he followed, no longer feeling at all afraid. Trekking toward the cave and desperate for a moment, he felt the weight of everything begin to settle with chilled heaviness on his shoulders. Was this his fault? Could he fix it? Where else could they go?

"Whatever the fuck you're not telling us, Ser I Have a Map but Don't Really, or Ser I Have a Teleportation Crystal up my sarding arse, now is a good time for some sarding real honesty in our group. Any more tricks up your sleeve?"

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Moondream

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:16 am

91st Zi’da, 717

“You shouldn’t be ready Caius, no one should be fekking ready for this. Not now, not ever. It should be unexpected and when you’re old and grey. Not....not yet.” She said angrily, as though by saying it she could make it so.

Darcyanna nodded at Maebella’s words, grasping at anything that made more tangible evidence that this was not the beginning of the end for the northerner. As they trudged through the snow, stopping briefly at camp, the blonde Venora smiled at the blue skinned Eídisi.

“Not at all, please don’t apologise. There’s much more important things going on right now then worrying who says hello to who out here. I...I take it you know Caius then? And her?” She nodded to the other woman, feeling a small pang of jealously. First Valeria, now Mae and Yolande. It appeared the Gawyne had no objections to sowing wild oats before tying himself down.

Would she have been the same if her life had not been so cruelly stomped on by Pythera? Would there have been other lovers?

Maybe. The logical thought swept some of the bitter feeling away, allowing the musician to focus on the freezing path before them. Fates she was cold, teeth chattering cold. Her arms were wrapped around herself and her breath fogged thickly in the air before her.

Balking away from the First Ranger as he rounded on the Gawyne, she blinked with each slapped word around the taller diri’s face, shrinking further still as the hard man fixed her with a determined glare. What had she done?

Oh. Oh ok.

Pressing her lips together, Darcy blushed and looked down with pale blue eyes, extremely certain she was not going to tear up. No ser. As the man moved to Yolande, the pale woman frowned. She couldn’t use a sword, but she had other...vices...she could use. Maybe they would help? Maybe they wouldn’t.

A map fell then, poetically unrolling as it landed, and Darcy stared wide eyed at the blankness before them. What map had no map on it. Her stomach sank. What the sarding fates was going on? They were dragged here without knowledge or consent, to follow the most horrible excuse for a man, in a frozen wasteland, with no map??!

At least she was here with Caius, if it was the end. At least she could try something.

Clinging to his too warm hand in hers, the noblewoman watched Alucard more to the other blue skinned companion. He handed her a stone, and suddenly, Yolande was gone. The blonde gasped. Magic? That was...it was...that was forbidden. Illegal. Wrong. Unable to say anything more on the matter, she scrambled as all but herded by Caius into the cave, escaping the rapidly dropping temperatures.

As the Gawyne continued to rant, something in the blonde snapped. She spun around on the taller diri and stared up into his angered face.

“Caius Gawyne, shut the fek up, for fates sake!” Frowning at her own angry outburst, she put her hands on his chest and held the clearly terrified man’s gaze. She knew fear, inside and out, like an old and unwelcome companion.

“Just...just stop okay? Take a breath and get your bog together. We’re all confused, and as far as I can tell you’re probably the only one between us three that has any sarding skill with a weapon. So pull it together, keep your sabre at the ready and stop taking this all on. You didn’t bring us here, but you damn well need to help us get out of here. Alive. All of us. I need you to get it together, okay? If you could face my sister and live, you can fekking well face this.”
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Moondream

Postby Maebella » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:08 am

This situation just kept growing stranger and stranger. It was already odd enough that they'd awoken in a tent in the Tundra with neither recollection nor clear indication of how they'd gotten there, but now they were dealing Caius claiming that he was here to die, a man who seemed highly unstable and hardly fit to lead them, and to top it all, Mae had decided to catch feelings. In truth, they were old feelings although not as aged as she would have liked. What was more, she'd been sure that she'd buried them or at least had deluded herself into believing that she had. In reality, it seemed that she hadn't dealt with the problem as effectively as she would have liked, which was to be expected given that she'd repressed it rather than facing it.

So she was forced to watch Caius and Darcy share their moments of intimacies, telling herself that she shouldn't care and couldn't do so. After all, the Rynmere noble had never looked at her that way or spoken to her like that. No matter how he might have acted, her feelings had been very one-sided she saw and ultimately, pining over the past wasn't going to do her any good. In fact, instead of feeling sorry for herself, she'd be better off feeling sorry for Darcy because this talk of her love's impending death must be quite traumatic for her. Plus, she'd probably picked up a certain tension between the man and the Eídisi, but she hadn't shown any sign of recognition when she'd given her name so this was news to her and probably not the pleasant sort. Her inquiry was genuine, it seemed. She honestly didn't know of their connection so she decided to adopt a policy of careful neutrality. There was no sense in causing additional pain if it was avoidable.

"I knew Caius when he was studying in Viden last arc. He was kind to me, which isn't something to which I'm accustomed. He was my friend when I had none. I met Yolande once but I can't say that I really know her," she admitted, hoping that her reply offered some reassurance to the blonde; kindness and friendship didn't sound too problematic.

The scholar tried to turn her attention to something other than Caius, her gaze focusing on the First Ranger and trying to glean what she could from his features and what he'd been saying. His temper ran high and it was quick to rise to the fore but she wasn't sure if that was his normal temperament or a result of their present circumstances. After all, it seemed that he bore quite a grudge against Caius and while the young man had certainly been an arse, that wasn't the true cause. There was a certain hostility that had also been aimed at Darcy and the reason was clear from his snapped words: they were nobility. She didn't know if it was useful information per se, but it might be handy to know. It wasn't the sort of thing that she'd ever been keen to announce in any case but it appeared that it would be wise to keep her own heritage to herself just in case he counted her as aristocracy by proxy.

When the First Ranger began to smack the Gawyne about the head, Maebella flinched, the unnecessary violence of it horrifying to her, even more so because it brought back relatively recent memories. Caesia had whacked her about the head in a similar manner at the Academy, infuriated at the idea that her boyfriend showed greater interest in the Eídisi than her, as if that had been the blue-skinned woman's fault. As such, she didn't agree with Alucard's actions but she wasn't going to confront him either; she didn't want to earn his ire as well. Too late, however, for her question seemed to set him off. It hadn't been an unreasonable query at all and the girl set her jaw, pressing her lips together hard so she wouldn't point that out to him. Making a logical argument, even if it was in her own defence, wouldn't do her any favours here so the part of pansy she would play.

Glaring at the ground, she saw the map fall and unfurl, its startlingly pristine surface eliciting a gasp from the youth, white eyes reproachful as they turned on the First Ranger. There was no map, no sarding map at all! He'd dragged them out into the Tundra with no information at all! They were going to die! Her mind caught up, soothing her panic as she considered the matter. If there was no map then how had Alucard gotten them this far? The only logical conclusion she could draw was that he'd known how to get here, map or no map. Perhaps he wasn't as clueless as he'd let on. However, she didn't think confrontation would do the trick but it was a suspicion that she filed away, deciding to watch the man to see if there was any evidence to support it.

There was a silence after the map unfurled, all of them too stunned to say anything but in this silence, the First Ranger stepped forward, offering something to her fellow Eídisi with a whisper whose content was to remain a mystery. The next moment, Yolande was gone, all that remained in her place some sort of crystal. Without any explanation of what had just occurred, the man picked up the shard that remained and handed it to Maebella who regarded him with her mouth agape. No more magic? The pointy shard that she now held had contained magic, presumably the kind that allowed transportation, but its power was now gone. Yolande was probably safe back in the city while Mae was left standing with a pointy stone! A soft but high sound issued from her throat, brief as she strangled it again but it was the beginning of a keening noise. There'd been a form of escape in an emergency and now it was gone. She couldn't exactly blame the nobleman for reacting the way that he did but she was sick of it. She was oddly grateful to Darcy when her patience seemed to snap and she turned on the Gawyne, hopefully enough to knock some sense into him.

Pocketing the crystal in her coat pocket so it was easy to get to, she followed Alucard, giving Caius a dirty look as he tried to herd her. "Do us a favour and shut up, Caius. If there's something ahead that might eat us, I'd appreciate if you didn't give it advanced warning. Pretend your in the Prime Atheneum and modulate your voice if you have to speak. If it isn't pertinent then say nothing," she informed him softly and coldly, almost seeming to look through him before she turned her attention from him altogether. Her fingers curled around the crystal in her pocket as she set off after the First Ranger, hoping that she wouldn't have to use it.
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Moondream

Postby Djinn » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:49 pm

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"I never said my wishes were supposed to do any good," said the Djinn...

91 Zi'da 717
The Tundra north of Viden


Alucard's cold eyes never turned to look at the trio again, instead focusing on moving into the mouth of the cave. Caius' defiance continued to echo around his head, though, stoking the flames of anger to a purple-and-black rage. The young noble was mouthy, that much was true, but he just couldn't see that Alucard was only there to protect them all. He didn't know why he was there, just the same as them...

Well, that wasn't entirely true, was it? Alucard had a sense, as he often did about these sorts of things. A hand went up and brushed the fabric covering his chest, a subtle and quick gesture, as he slammed foot after foot into the quickly-freezing blanket of snow, leaving heavy footprints in his wake. The temperature was dropping rapidly, a biting cold that seemed to seep into their warm gear and strip them of any comfort. They weren't in serious danger of freezing because of the provided material, but all comfort they had, even the slightest modicum, was sucked from them like a greadl sucked the marrow from the bones of its prey. Alucard felt the change, each step taking him closer to the mouth of the cave, and each step assuring him that he was traveling in the right direction. He just had to convince the three behind him that following him into the cave was their only option.

Which it was. That much he knew.

As he came upon the cave, he stopped, turning around. His white skin had paled even further, attempting to blend chameleon-like into the snow below him. His jaw was set and clenched, tight against the stinging winds that ripped at their exposed flesh, biting noses and searing ears with extreme cold. It was like the cave was breathing a cone of cold onto them, each wave of icy air as cold as the next, repeatedly. Alucard stood in the entrance, face colder than a grave, as they approached. First, his freezing glare stopped on Caius, as frigid as the air around them, then to Darcyanna and then Maebella. His lips were a thin line, the horizon between life and death, and when he spoke, his voice was low and guttural, almost lost to the howling winds sending swirling clouds of icy snow around them.

"A'right, listen up. From here'n out, we're in this together. No more sardin' talkin' about yer deaths, or missin' yer warm beds. No more bein' a little shit an' tryin' to undermine my every fuckin' word. From here, we're a unified front, or we're four fuckin' corpses, freezin' beneath the cold, hard ground in this Saints-forsaken cave. I don' care if'n ye don' give a sardin' shit about me. From here, your survival depends on our survival, understand?" His voice was barren, rivaling the landscape for the bleakest experience in their lives. Each flicked between each, Alucard nodding.

He'd given a variation of that speech thousands of times to thousands of faces, plenty of fresh recruits in it for glory or money. He'd said the same thing so many times that Alucard had started to believe it... He started to believe that they could survive if they worked together, but he knew the Frozen North better than any, and the barbaric landscape didn't give two shits if you worked together. But in Alucard's experience, a fractured team was the surest way to leave men and women behind, and he had no interest in that on this occasion, even if one of them was a mouthy shit.

"We gotta get inside an' figure out a base camp, so's to ensure we have a place to rendezvous should we get sep'rated." He turned and trudged into the cave, the others following him at a close distance. Heading into the unknown, distance could prove a serious adversary, and so they clung close to the more experienced, and strongly scented, First Ranger. Together, the four of them trudged through snow growing to cover their feet entirely, each step taking more and more energy to take. Alucard looked back every few steps, to make sure one of the prissy nobles weren't face down in the hardening powder, or to ensure that the Videnese girl hadn't just turned and left. They needed each other now, he knew that. All of them... Losing the other Eidisi had ensured that their every decision was critical now, no room for any errors.

The last time the situation was as dire, Alucard had lost his team. Not this fuckin' trial, though. He promised himself that he would lead these three through this, whatever that cost. Each step reminded him of the gravity of that conviction, but it was one that he was willing to confront when the time came. Plenty of missions had come and gone, plenty of life and death, struggle and success... And Alucard had never feared more than he did in that moment.

But the narrow passageway had an opening at the end, though from their distance they could not tell if that was the extent of the cave system, or perhaps just some sort of antechamber. Or, for all Alucard knew, it could be the lair of some snowbeast, intent on snacking on a delivered meal. He paused, hand raising with all the fingers standing straight up, indicating a stop. The trio behind him noticed his left hand was missing the ring finger, the fabric of his glove sewn there so that there was no excess fabric. He turned, pointing to their positions, then held up the palm of his hand.

Ye stay here, the gesture indicated. If the three could be amused in the tense situation, they all heard the command in his voice, in their heads. This was no time for amusement, but life was about a series of moments, and if theirs were at an end, this would not be the worst moment to remember as they died. Still, though, Alucard offered nothing else, crouching and crawling forwards towards the opening maw that extended beyond their vision. His steps made no more noise the the rustling of sifting snow, and as he approached, he offered them no parting glance. Coming up the opening, he paused, then slipped through. The cold grew, and they each felt it in a unique way, though none more than Caius.

The cold was never a problem for the Northern Noble, the Gawynes always being born of snow and Ziell-blood. But this time, the cold was intense, seeming to come from within him. Caius didn't feel it, but the girls did. Radiating from him was not warmth, but instead cold, surrounding him like a suit of frozen armour. Caius, he felt the cold, sure, but not the absolute frigidity he was putting off. He couldn't shake a feeling, either, like his heart was itching. He stood there, considering the feeling, until a sharp whistle floated down the passage to them, landing on each of their ears simultaneously. It was clear the intent.

C'mon. And they did, trudging forward into the freezing cave. The girls had to allow Caius a few steps to himself to keep from shivering, the cold of his aura compounding with the natural cold around them. It took them a few bits to reach the mouth of the chamber beyond, but when they did, they were overwhelmed, each of them.

Standing there in the center of the antechamber, Alucard stared up at the ceiling. It was comprised of a magical prism of colours, the natural light of the cavern echoing off the spiky stalactites to shred the light into colours, patterns both irrational and pleasing. Violets mixed with greens, swirling around reds and oranges, creating rigid dawn-dusk hybrids. Blues mixed with greens, mixing with the other mixtures, to create the phantasm of brilliance. To each of them, there was something different in that ceiling. To Caius, he saw the beauty of winter, the light refracted and coalescing to create the truest tapestry of natural light. For Darcyanna, she saw the ocean of emotion, coloured by the lights above her, seeing each variation and shade as the slightest facet of the next emotion, each bleeding into each other and forming, ichor-like, into a gestalt of feeling. Maebella saw the cold, hard light of intellect, seeing each colour as its constituents before seeing them as a whole. Her mind dissected the colours, seeing each as a part and whole.

But it was Alucard who was the most stricken, staring above him. Each colour, distinct or combination, was a face he'd covered in dirt, allowing them to rest eternally in the place of their choosing. Each red, whether deep or blood or wine, had a name to him. The yellows and greens and blues, they were the spectres of his past missions, echoing in the darkest recesses of his heart and mind. Tears rimmed his eyes, threatening to freeze in the cold, as the room pulsated like a beating heart, a dull thump coming from behind a wall.

Sitting against a wall, close to the opening that led further into the structure, sat a wooden chest, frozen in time by the freezing of its wood, sticking out against the shining glitter of the ice that covered the room. Within the chest, a long and thin sword sat. Next to it, a bow strung with eight arrows in a quiver next to it, made of smoothed and polished wood. Underneath it, a heavy fur cloak, appearing to be made of white reindeer fur. Alucard removed the contents, laying them on the ground in front of the three.

"Take yer picks, an' let's be off." He growled, the miasma of memory swirling above him souring the awe of the chamber. Turning back to the chest, he lifted the final item from it, a small leather-bound journal. Scratched on the title page, "Field Journal" was legible. The item mostly detailed the trek of the rangers from Viden, through a battle with a tundra beast, to the mouth of the cave, to the extreme cold of the entrance of the cave. Its author, Galius Sipender, was a ranger that Alucard knew. Well.

"A'right, well... Looks like we're not the first here, in an' case. Galius, good lad. Led a group of... seven here, three arcs ago. Never made it out, apparently. Fuckin' Kata's bloody rag, what're we doin' in this boghole?" The last bit was to himself, the ghosts still staring into him from on high.

"Ye picked? Let's fuckin' go." The beating heart continued, rhythmic in the walls around them. Alucard's eyes fell on the far wall, examining it for a moment before turning back to the three of them, impatient. He was ready to be done with this place and the ghosts of his failures.


"In fact, I swore they would always do as much harm as possible."
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Moondream

Postby Caius Gawyne » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:42 pm

My sister.

Caius' face twisted at the words and his free hand moved to dig the gloved palm of it into his shoulder instinctually at the memory, fingers curling against his coat where the deep, puckered scar lay hidden across his chest. The chill made it ache anyway, but it was the act of remembering that hurt just enough. Dark irises paled, the visual effect not unlike some deep lake frosting over,

"Bogs." The word was more of a long exhale than an actual collection of sounds, coming into focus with heated reluctance, looking at the delicate pianist gripping his coat, familiar words the first ones his mind could put together coherently after such a reprimand, "I'm sorry, Darcy. I'm sorry."

The young Gawyne blinked slowly, ears ringing, blood slowly solidifying lead in his veins—not even his too hot nature, not even his indignation felt to be enough to keep the frozen North at bay. Both hands moved to grip the blonde Venora's tightly for a selfish, encouraging moment and he kissed her shamelessly, not at all ignorant of his audience, the weight of such a visual transgression in the eyes of someone else he'd been much more than casual friends with not a heavy enough anchor to keep him from the needful act,

"I'm fucking alive." He whispered against cold lips: an acknowledgment that he was necessary, an acknowledgement that he'd made promises he had every intention of keeping. Holding Darcy's gaze for a purposeful, wordless trill more, he leaned away and let her go, clearing his throat as if the noise cleared the frigid air and cleared the ashes from his previously angry soul,

"And so are you—both of you—all of us. Us. We are fucking alive." Caius narrowed his eyes on the last syllable, glancing to Alucard, avoiding for a heartbeat or two looking at Maebella because he felt the itch of guilt for hurting her, "And we're sarding well going to stay that way."

Even if he didn't.

Inhaling sharply, he reluctantly looked to the Eídisi, desperately hoping it wasn't cruel to place a hand on her arm, "I'm sorry, too, Mae. For things." The northern noble offered a specific apology awkwardly, uncomfortable giving something he'd otherwise consider private in front of an audience such as he had in a moment that was the same terrible timing he was sarding infamous for. For, in his strange mind, it was much more difficult to have such a heartfelt conversation in front of curious eyes than it was to kiss the human he'd all but proposed to just a handful of ten-trials ago while staining the inside of a carriage red with his own life. His jaw clenched and he made as if he had more to say, but instead his narrow shoulders sagged and his hand slipped away, turning at their First Ranger's rousing, sarcastic words of so-called encouragement and leadership.

Together.

With nothing else to say, standing around in the growing cold unbearable, the only thing left to do was follow. Caius' choice was to offer assistance, making sure both Darcy and Mae trudged through the snow without slipping or falling. While his blue-skinned friend was far more familiar with the frozen environment of Viden, he knew that his future Gawyne was not, and so he chose to sacrifice his speed for efficiency, making sure that he was available as an extra hand once the snowdrifts clawed at their knees and the wind had tried its best to strip skin in icy layers from their faces.

He didn't keep his eyes on their destination so much as their guide, unwilling to make comparisons of distance for himself lest he become discouraged and afraid to judge the relative safety where they were headed based on his admitted lack of knowledge otherwise.

When they paused to wait on Alucard, however, he began to notice subtle things—Darcy taking a few steps away from him. Mae's concerned glances. He felt little different except that he was forced to dig the heel of his gloved palm into the left half of his chest where his heart was hidden under layers of clothing and flesh and bone because an annoying sensation had become something he couldn't ignore. The strange itch made him uncomfortable, reminded him of the whispers that haunted his subconscious thoughts. Caius scowled once the First Ranger waved them forward, wanting Darcy and Mae to go before him but noticing they hesitated,

"What? Is something wrong? Go on." Confused, he finally just went first and let them sort out their snow struggles if they didn't speak up about what they felt that he couldn't. Nothing could settle right in this place of so much cold, and as the four of them entered the antechamber, the young Gawyne was both amazed and afraid. Taking in the colors and lights created by the ice and sun, he sighed, feeling the weight of the present like the cold and the longings of his future like a needful warm breath stolen from his already burning lungs. His face stung and his ears were ringing, the deep ache in his shoulder awake in such heavily frigid temperatures, gnawing at his confidence.

The lights filtered naturally through the ice and Caius was left for a trill or two to chase his curiosities into the depths of his ever-busy, sleepless mind. How did they get here? Why was it them? Was there a purpose? Was this some Immortal's cruel joke?

A strange place to wake up.

A stranger place to die.

His mind wandered through all the things he'd yet to do, the plans he'd made but would be forced to abandon, the people he didn't want to leave behind. Why now? Who decided these things? He'd not lived enough. Not done enough.

He felt it then, the strange pulse of the room, and if it was at all possible, Caius felt colder, more afraid.

There was a chest, and the sight of it interrupted his wandering thoughts, thoughts he was desperate to tuck away and not dwell on, for he'd been asked to be brave, to stay alive instead of resign himself to the prophetic promise that drifted through his distracted thoughts. He glanced over the three items in there, all of which would have aided one person better than split among three, but aware that no one else had his skillset, he chose the sword on principle, his own having decided to stay at home when he woke up here for whatever sarding inconvenient reason.

"This'll do." He eyed the book that the First Ranger chose curiously and listened to what Alucard had so colorfully to say, hissing in displeasure a near-crystalline cloud of heated breath and whispering, "Seven? And they never—fuck those odds. Let's beat them soundly."

Caius didn't like the sound of that, didn't like the sound this cave was making, and didn't like the way he couldn't scratch the itch that writhed in the cavity of his chest. Seven help them, he was terrified.

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Moondream

Postby Darcyanna Venora » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:21 pm

91st Zi’da, 717

He kissed her, as though not a soul stood with them, and for a moment in time in the bitterly cold wasteland Darcyanna saw only him. The words echoed in her mind, a stark memory that even now competed with any of the fear this place brought. She held back the agonising feeling that formed a lump in her throat, and as he pulled back she nodded a little.

“Yes. Yes we are fucking alive.” She whispered in encouragement, averting her gaze from Maebella to the snowy ground before them. There was a past there, as clear as the trials of a Ymiden sky in Venora, but Darcy knew her future was with the Gawyne. Pasts were what they were, and whilst she didn’t have relationships before Caius, she could acknowledge he had and could accept it.

Bogs it was sarding cold, the pianist thought as they trudged with great difficulty through the snow. When Alucard stopped to speak, her bright blue eyes connected with his and she nodded firmly. The man was an arsehole but he was far far better suited to the task at hand than any of them, and so what he said she would take to heart.

On they went, snow so deep and thick in the passageway the short blonde struggled to walk. If offered assistance, she would unashamedly take it, and her sigh of relief was nearly audible when their guide held his hand to signal a stop at what appeared to be an opening. He crawled through and disappeared, and the cold got colder.

Fates did it get colder!

Darcyanna shivered, tucking her hands under her arms even in the cloak and hugging herself tight. The cold it seemed, was radiating from the northern noble, causing the blonde to move back closer to the blue skinned Maebella, shooting her a confused look. A sharp whistle sounded, their cue to move onwards, and it was not without a frown that Darcy waited for Caius to go first, unable to get closer than a few feet from him. The cold that came off him hurt, it made her skin feel like it was burning. He noticed their hesitation, and the musician shook her head.

“Cold Caius. You’re...you’re making cold.” How else could she describe the sensation that he was physically throwing off in biting waves? Walking through into the antechamber, Darcyanna’s gaze was pulled up with a gasp of wonder as the icy ceiling split the light into a breathtaking prism of effervescent colors. Each one spoke to her, of happiness and sadness and anger, so many emotions in each iota of the spectrum. She felt it, sighing with wonder at the unfathomable magenta of love or catching her breath at the bloodied red of hatred. Seven, she could barely think for all the emotions that gripped her, tearing her eyes away finally with a sting of tears. It was too much.

Blinking rapidly, it was then she noticed the room’s pulsating.

Tha-dump.

Following Caius’ form as he crossed to the chest, the blonde followed suit at distance, her nose and cheeks hurting from the frigid air between them. Looking at the items, she considered the reindeer fur. It was gorgeous, but she already wore fur. There was left, a bow and eight arrows. Darcy had very little skill with the weapon, at best Charlie had taught her how to draw an arrow, and yet she picked it up from the ground and gripped it in one delicate hand whilst slinging the quiver over her chest like she’d seen the Sergeant do.

At the least, she could always stab with the arrows and beat things with the bow. Right? Yes. Right.

Glancing up at the First Ranger as he read the journal, the Venora swallowed her fear at the words. Seven in, zero out?

Tha-dump.

Drawn from her inner thoughts, Darcyanna turned to the far wall with a frown. She wanted to go it, wanted to touch it and see if it was truly moving. Truly pulsating. Perhaps it was merely a trick of the wind through the passageways. Then again...

Seven in, zero out.

Perhaps not.

“Lead the way, ser.” She said softly, standing away from Caius reluctantly, wanting nothing more than to hold his hand.

Tha-dump.
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Postby Maebella » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:16 pm

She was trying damnit! She was trying really sarding hard to keep it together and be reasonable here. Caius was with Darcy and regardless of what Mae had shared with Caius in the past, it was over and done with and the young man had made his choice. It was fine and she was dealing with it. However, she did have feelings and she could only deal with so many things at once. As such, when the couple embraced right in front of her to kiss, it was too much.

It was like she took a blow to the chest, a whole arm across it so that a shock went through it. Then the initial vibration became a painful thump as her heart beat within her, each pulse of the organ seeming to circulate an ache through her torso. It felt as if she didn't have enough air and all of the blood vessels in her torso were screaming at her in panic. It wasn't a logical reaction, it wasn't something that she could make sense of and yet if she was asked to describe it, she'd say it felt like her heart had literally broken in two. The physical pain was unreal, a manifestation of the emotional agony that had just been induced within her.

They had a touching moment, the pair seemingly wrapped up in one another, but when the Ryn noble looked her way, she had things reasonably together. At least, she could smile softly at him and only appear a little bit sad, otherwise, her expression was rather wooden. The pain continued but she endured it because she had to put up with it; what other choice did she have?

His hand on her arm was... a lot but while she stiffened, she allowed it to remain, counting slowly in her head. It wouldn't be there for long, it couldn't remain for long, something of which she felt certain. Once it was over, they moved on and she was able to focus on putting one foot in front of the other, almost marching through the snow as she followed Alucard. There was a grim determination to her steps and when the Gawyne offered assistance, she shooed him away, determined to carry on without him. The scholar knew that she didn't require his aid to navigate some snow.

The First Ranger brought their group to a halt, his hand raised in a silent gesture. She found herself staring at the point on his hand where he had a missing finger, unable to look away until he withdrew it and disappeared ahead.

While she stood waiting in the passage, the young woman stamped her feet in an effort to improve her circulation and bring some warmth into her body. The chill was something else, growing in magnitude, almost seeming to seep into her bones as she stood there. It was like it was getting colder with each moment, as if there was a source of cold that was-

Her hand reached out, feeling the air and testing a theory. The closer her hand grew to Caius, the colder it got. The man who was always hot now seemed to be putting out an intense chill. It seemed totally unreal. Her gaze fixed on him, searching for any visual sign of change but she couldn't see anything obvious. She glanced at Darcy to see what she made of it and she too seemed to be feeling the cold.

When the whistle came, Caius waited for them to move but the pair of them stood and kept their distance. Darcy explained it to him in a very blunt way but it probably sounded ludicrous. What was apparent though was that he didn't seem to feel it himself.

"Don't ask me how it's possible, but you're emitting serious cold, Caius," she explained. "It's quite uncomfortable for us although you don't seem to feel it. I think we'd both prefer to keep our distance."

They carried on, moving into a new chamber that seemed to hold every hue on the colour spectrum. It was a kaleidoscope of colour but she could differentiate each individual shade as well as the whole, gazing at the ceiling in fascination. She was rapt, wondering what caused the phenomenon but also simply enthralled by its aesthetic beauty. It wasn't just visual though but something she could feel. The thump of something in the air, a pulsating vibration that made her feel as if she'd been hit with a tuning fork, as if there was some important aural part of this experience that was just below her range of hearing.

She was slow to gaze around the room, slow to engage with what Alucard was investigating. He was setting out various items and she wandered over to look as he flicked through some sort of journal. Her eyes trailed over the three items that had been set out, eyeing the weapons uneasily. She was not a violent sort and disliked having the ability to hurt, especially as weapons had the potential to hurt her as well as others. If she wielded a sword, she'd probably slice herself open. As for the bow... well, she had no idea what to do with that. In that case, if she had to take something then she settled on the fur cloak. It might be useful later and she could appreciate its beauty in any case.

Folding the cloak carefully over her am, she hugged it to her, listening with lips pressed firmly together as Alucard explained that an expedition of seven had been here previously but never returned. "Ah, how helpful. I'm sure if you found any other relevant information in there, you'd tell us, yes?" Mae questioned dully. "You said we had to work together if we want to get through this so that includes communication, right? Providing each other with as much information as possible. I'm sure if there was something important in that, you'd tell us. It's not just in your own best interest but all of ours. You're one of us now after all."
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