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Renegade (18+, Violence, Strong Language, Mature Themes)
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Tahlia Faras
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm

Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 151
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Can Be Found: Here and there, depends on her mood
5111.70 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Head Above Water

So pull me up from down below
'Cause I'm underneath the undertow
Come dry me off and hold me close
I need you now, I need you most
~ Avril Lavigne


The darkness never receded, it just lost that purple hue in favor of something more like a lightning bug glow. The opening to the portal was no longer visible, though if someone stood there long enough they might feel the hint of a breeze signifying that it was indeed still present and open. The sounds of a hammer still rang on, though its origin had shifted position and the timing of the blows was off by half a beat. Shelves stood in odd places within the new space, all of them laden with the bits and pieces that made up sea life. In stark contrast, there were a number of spaces which held iron bars and from the sound of the ringing that was the material being worked currently. The space between the strokes was filled with the sound of chanting, though the language was either dead or something far from common.

A large man stood over the anvil, his hand holding to a long handled hammer, he was burly but something in the greying shade of his skin spoke of age. From time to time his head would lift, attention drawn to the second figure in the room. His distraction with her didn't seem to hinder his ability to work any, a clear sign that he'd been doing this for a long time. The other, it was just as clear, had not. She was as obviously youthful as he was aging, his gaze held a certain fondness for the kneeling girl. Her attire was a long robe reminiscent of catholic nuns except that she wore no cover. Her hair hung in wavy lengths of cerulean and viridian highlights. A second sound broke the rhythm of the room, another bell coming at discordant measures to the smith's hammer. It was enough to draw the chanting woman out of her work.

"I have to go. I'll return to finish when I can." She rose to her feet, revealing a handful of weapons laid out on the floor, then crossed the room to place an almost chaste kiss on the smith's cheek.

"More meditating, Angelfish?" His tone was rimmed with disappointment, though the kiss did give him a bit of a smile.

"I only do what the mother wills." She raised the back of her robe, covering her head and glided from the room.

There was a sigh from the smith as he watched her go, head shaking. "At this rate I'll never get all these weapons blessed... kind of a strange time for meditation, it's barely past breakfast."

Tahlia stepped from the portal, automatically ducking behind a rack of weapons - some complete, some obviously in progress, watching the scene before her with sharp eyes. She didn't know how visible, or not, she was like this, but it didn't hurt to be cautious. She assumed that if Bo had been able to sense her in that god-forsaken torture dream, others might be able to as well.

Blessed weapons...war had been a near constant reality, when she was young, and she remembered the priests offering blessings and absolution to the soldiers. Still, it was a piece of information she would have to hold on to, glancing around the space as if to note details, but really just to see if there was anything distinctive. She could feel a subtle tug, a direction,nothing more, but the warmth of it gave her no question as to who it was drawing her to. Ducking down, she snuck along the wall until she gained the door, glancing back for a moment to make certain the smith was back at his work before she slipped through the doorway.

Motion caught the smith's eyes, he got a glimpse of someone...something... retreating through the door. He balled up a fist and held it against his stomach, certain he knew what was happening. "The girl can't cook to save her life... got me seeing things. At least she's pretty."

There were more than a few hooded forms moving along the hallway, though the door to the smithy seemed to be the last one in this particular corridor. The light wasn't blinding, but it was certainly much brighter than the forge had been. The sound of the bell seemed to intone through very walls of the place, perhaps something in that smooth pearlescent finish acted to amplify the sound. They were lined with brighter versions of the glows that had been in the forge, here and there a tapestry hung. Most of these depicted a domineering woman as she appeared to be commanding the waters to do her bidding, or standing over sea creatures with a loving expression on her face.

The corridor bent inward, yet never seemed to rise. This was not a ramp but something that ran along the outer wall perhaps. The hooded women veered to the right through another doorway. There was another a little further down and to the left, here too was the hint of brimstone and something more. The hint of a whisper saying it would help to see it through.

Tahlia was certain the hooded figures would be more likely to notice her, so she bypassed the doorway on the right, smoothing one hand along the wall, and kept her eyes on the figures. They looked like the ones from the cavern, only unarmed. At least, visibly unarmed. One passed close by, and the blonde held her non-existent breath. There was a rush of forms, and she pressed into the wall, edging herself behind one of the tapestries, one depicting the Mother (she assumed) gazing down on her children with love. It didn't seem to match the vibe of the hooded figures, or the buzz of war. More likely the other...the one she could see hanging just across...who seemed...well, the angry god of the Old Testament she'd grown up with.

Beyond the door a stairway rose, that it did not also descend was telling in a way that there was no further down to go.The scent, the sound both disappeared within that pristinely carved staircase. Whether they had been real, or simply tricks played by the mind once inside they slipped away. From here, there's only one way...up. They might be gone, but there were other things reaching out for Tahlia, one in particular really and if she had a doubt she'd find that the pull became stronger the closer to those steps she got. The steps were steep, and bent around two more times before stopping at a closed door. It, much like the walls, was slightly opaque, the stout hinges indicated that it swung inward, and perhaps that it was heavier than it looked. A window of sorts rested halfway between the top of the door and the handle. It wasn't like the ones she'd be familiar with. There were no seams, and the substance wasn't glass. It was designed to be there, a distinctive oval shape which seemed to have had the pearlescence drawn out of it.

She followed the pull, closing her eyes even though it didn't really do anything at all, and feeling her way along the smooth curve. She nearly walked into the door, stopping just short, and blinking at it for a moment, still disoriented by being both present and somehow...not. Rising up on tiptoe, she peered through the opening, scanning the other side for a hint of what was ahead of her. Assuming she could get on the other side of the door.

Another corridor ran forward from the door. Here the walls had been siphoned of the milky tint as well, though what was beyond them was difficult to see. To the left everything was dark, like the sky at night when clouds covered the stars. To the right another wall was visible through the windows. The angle making it obvious that room on the opposite side was deeper than the floor, like they'd been put in place to observe something happening below.

There had to be some code, or sequence. Leaning up and in, she tried to see what the other side of the door was like, if there was a key, or a lock...or something. So focused on looking over - she nearly fell flat on her face when she went through the door, and stumbled a few feet down the corridor. Glancing around, she was incredibly thankful Eddie hadn't been there to see that, or anyone else for that matter. Turning, she reached to close the door behind her, only to realize that it had never opened. Huh. Maybe Kruger had been right about looking through things.

A panoramic view was offered through the window to the left. It was definitely outside, and yet even more confining. The darkness was unbroken from above, from far below rose a glow that pulsed in shades of crimson. It came from thousands of small, at least they appeared that way from here, shapes lining....the seabed like rows of rubies. If there were any doubt about this place being beneath the water it would be removed as a shape swam uncaringly past. It's coloring was bright, the kind of thing found in tropical waters... or fish tanks. The view to the right was less open, the windows looked down into vast central chambers. There were creatures swimming here too, less ornately colored and at least half their measure was humanoid. The first window revealed a nursery, dozens of forms small enough to be nothing other than infants which zipped back and forth within.

Each window looked down on a similar scene, though the creatures within were bigger, presumably older and progressively less innocent in nature. No longer were the caregivers a reasonable facsimile of land nannies. Now they were weapons instructors and the students the size of five year old children. The corridor sloped upwards, the chambers deepening as the children increased in size. They broadened out to accommodate the ever more aggressiveness of their training. Upon the walls were diagrams of different species from both land and sea. The final window looked down upon groups of young adults engaged in combat against each other under a massive banner reading. Flosh Klin Emo Cosain!

Tahlia could read the words, but not understand the language, save the one word. Whatever the rest was, she suspected it wasn't good. She continued along the path, pulled inexorably onward. To say the scene below gave her goosebumps would be an understatement, or at least, it would have if she wasn't just...a projection. Maybe an illusion. She hadn't really had a chance to ask Kruger, not that she expected him to be any more forthcoming than his brother.

Shaking her head at the thought, she kept moving. She had to find Eddie - and then, then she wanted to get out of here.

The corridor bent sharply to the right, the windows becoming the same clouded color that most of the place had been up to this point only to end at yet another massive tapestry. This one, like all the others had a maternal figure on it, though unlike the others it depicted her healing the injured. To the left was another set of stairs, whatever was happening to the right would be inaccessible. The pull was growing stronger, it came from the stairwell, and yet it wasn't strongest there. Its greater urging was to move forward.

Tahlia stayed alert, moving cautiously across the hall. She still wasn't sure how visible she might be, or might not be. Angling toward the steps, she slowed as the tug that was leading her didn't seem to follow. Two steps toward the stairs, and it was at her side. Turning, once than once more, she found herself facing the tapestry. Closing her eyes, she spun, following the pull, only to end up exactly where she'd started. It was drawing her to the tapestry. The one showing the Mother caring for her children. An infirmary? Was Eddie hurt? But...she couldn't see an opening, but then, did it matter? Just as she moved toward the wall, she saw it. A shadow along an edge that was darker than it should have been. The slightest movement. A sign. Taking a deep breath, she stepped through the tapestry, hoping it wasn't a disaster.

Hidden behind the tapestry, a low tunnel swept away and upwards. There were signs that it was used often, the biggest being no dust on the floor. It was the perfect height for someone small, anyone too much over five feet tall would need to stoop to traverse it. The tunnel, like so many other things in the place was a worked spiral, though another opening existed in the wall not too far away from this one. The darkness in it said that it too was covered, quite possibly in the same way. As Tahlia worked her way upwards she would see there were many such openings, all of them hidden behind a curtain of thick woven cloth. Still, it's not always what's ahead that is the danger, but that which comes from behind. Glass shattered in her wake, the sound of porcelain hitting stone punctuated by a terrified shriek. "Mother protect me from Misery Woe!" The call was frail despite its volume, tremulous words from an aged throat.

"What is it Nianni?" A second voice full of authority asked.

"A spirit, sister, the dark one... the destroyer roams our halls this day!" The presence of the other woman had done nothing to pull the panic from Nianni's voice.

"Calm yourself you old fool, your eyes are old and are playing tricks on your mind. There's no way the destroyer could pass through our hallowed halls. Where is your faith?" The stern voice began to reprimand the old woman, but even that died away as another sound carried through the tunnel. "Get someplace safe, Nianni...maybe you did see something after all."

"You see! I said what I saw... she's here to consume the blood of our children!"

The crash of glass pulled the tiny blonde up short, staring at the crone in surprise. That name again. She wasn't sure where to go - at least the older sister didn't seem to be taken seriously. Making her way along the corridor, the blast of a horn sent her hiding behind a nearby tapestry. Maybe in wasn't her the old one had seen...or perhaps she'd tripped a wire, or some kind of alarm. In between the lowing bursts of sound, she could hear footsteps. Too quick and sure to be Nianni, it had to be the other one. For the moment, Tahlia needed to play it safe. Besides...there was something familiar about the rhythm of the tones...

There were a lot of voices now and footfalls to match the quantity. They remained outside of the tunnel, almost as though they didn't know this accessway existed or surely they'd have been inside. "Livyatan..." was said by more than one voice though another was asking where it had come from. The steps behind were closing and ahead there seemed to be nothing less than filled chambers and corridors.

"Here it comes!" Boom, the impact could be felt as well as heard, the entire complex shook under the impact of something that had to be massive. Ahead and behind the footfalls became the sound of bodies hitting the floor. The tapestry behind which she was hidden also shook, though it was with the impact of a body against the other side of it.

Tahlia ducked, looking up at the cracks spiderwebbing across the ceiling...the opalescence of the walls shimmering with the impact. A single word breathed out - a name she uttered often, and with every ounce of hushed joy she could manage. He always did know how to make an entrance. Ducking out from behind the tapestry, she looked out over the room below, then up, squinting in the sudden shadows. Ghostly lips pulled into a smile, realizing that it wasn't clouds, but a whale the size of a battleship blotting out the light...surrounded by alarms and chaos, the blonde stood still, waiting.

Large sections of the ceiling collapsed inward towards Tahlia to shatter as they impacted the floor. Some did more than simply become bits of thick shell scattered across the corridor, pinning Mer unfortunate enough to have lost their footing completely. There were still plenty stirring to life, their progress marked by the scuffing of weapons on the floor and the tinkling of shifting detritus as bits and pieces slipped noisily from the slowly rising forms. The hornblower had stopped, likely as out of sorts as those in the space beyond the tapestry, though the bell still tolled. It rang out a couple of times before being followed by a voice from above.

"Ding Dong... Avon Calling! I got just what your faces need!" Another impact, this one significantly smaller than the previous. It likely didn't register on the richter scale at all, the poor sap that felt the full weight of one Eddie Blake, he only had a moment to really get a feel for what just happened. What followed were the sounds of some kind of blunt object making contact with some almost solid objects, if a little hollow or squishy.
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Eddie Blake
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 13 Feb 2016
Posts: 51
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Can Be Found: Drifting
2991.38 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Symphony of Destruction

You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people's heads a'roll
~ Megadeth


Control is an illusion, Eddie Blake already knew that quite intimately. That didn't mean he wanted to give up his illusory control, and yet that was exactly what he'd done the moment he stepped through the portal which had manifested before him. It might have bothered him less had he given it over to someone other than his estranged brother. Maybe they wouldn't have dropped him fifty feet above the blue green ocean surface. Then again, had he simply stepped into the water he'd never have seen the massive nautilus on the horizon. Eddie had no choice but to trust that Kruger had done it for that reason. He'd had no choice in relinquishing his control either considering it was he who had manipulated Kruger into action, or had he been allowed to do so?

Eddie could do a lot of things, he knew the right things to say to get whatever reaction he wanted. He wouldn't have known how to do this, hell he didn't know that this was even a possibility. That wasn't a fault his brother had, though the list of faults was long and Eddie could...had recited them off to him on at least one occasion. He knew one thing about the smith, he never asked if something was possible, he asked how do I make it possible? Eddie managed to consider all of this in the amount of time it took him to impact the roiling surface of the sea. Then he changed, and swam hard towards the place he knew held his mother. He could sense her presence like a beacon.

He'd been to this place before, once, going there simply because he was ordered not to. That had been at night though, not while dawn was breaking like now. Eddie had managed to use that to avoid the sentries, something he was sure wouldn't happen this time. Not because he was incapable, no, far from it. Eddie was looking forward to it, there was a score to settle, there were several scores that needed settling. It had, after all, been his duty to protect his people but when his closest family needed him he'd been away doing his own thing. There were two layers of defense that needed to be penetrated. A pair of circles one within the other and rotating in opposite directions, but he had a plan. It required a lot of swimming, but was necessary if he didn't want his presence to become known. It was still too early for that. His plan required him to swim in opposing directions to the Mer, to take the outer sentry and then alternate his direction to take the inner so that no one would be missed. His own arcs had to push wider and wider the more he took down. He met the first one from their flank, swimming in fast and deftly separating head from shoulders at the neck in one quick snap of his jaws. Then he dove deep and took the next from below. It wasn't all their fault, yes they were out there to keep watch for danger, but it wasn't Eddie Blake they'd had in mind. There were still plenty of monsters in the sea who considered anything smaller than themselves to be food. This was the specialty of the sentries, to defend the fields of ruby colored fertilized eggs, to kill large predators which would attempt to prey on their spawn, or turn them away if they couldn't manage the kill. Eddie was large, but he was barely a blip on what they were looking for and he used that to drop the sentries like so many dominos.

It wasn't necessary for Eddie to take all of them, it never would be beneath the surface. Put enough blood in the water and there would come a frenzy. Let the Mer wonder why the white tips had shown up, by the time things were settled there wouldn't be any evidence he'd been there. It would also pull the rest of them away as well, and leave him free to approach the giant shell. He was home free, except for one tiny little detail. There was no way inside. He'd circled the outside close enough to feel its outer surface brush against his thick fur, and could find not one break in it big enough to allow him access. The main entry was far deeper, and far too active for him to have a prayer of getting in. Besides, his mother was much further up. He could almost pinpoint her exact location simply through that odd pull at his senses. To make matters worse, the higher he went the thicker the shell walls became.

The fifteen foot leopard seal that was Eddie swam to the surface. He needed a few minutes to rest and regroup, well that and think some very nasty thoughts about how his brother had left him in this condition and forgotten to give him a mouthful of explosives to plant. He could almost hear Kruger in his head asking him laughingly why he was called Fast Eddie.

Because I am! Eddie would have yelled it to the clouds if he could have in this form without too much concentration. There was more laughing in his brother's voice, and the rage he felt had his ears ringing.

Then prove it. He shook his large seal head trying to clear that laugh and the ringing. It didn't help. The laughter was gone, but that sound remained. No amount of shaking would make it go away, there was no reason for it...unless it was really there? Eddie dipped his head beneath the waves once more, sliding his body into the water after it. It was really there, not a this was more of a ping. That he could pick it up above the surface could only mean something massive had made the sound. An idea struck him, it was dangerous perhaps even suicidal but it was all he could think of. He began to swim once more, away from the nautilus and the pull of his mother. He swam directly towards the place where that sound was coming from staying near the surface and keeping a very wary eye in the waters beneath him. Despite his attention to the depths, he still nearly became a casualty of nature. He'd gone about ten miles tracking the sonar pings that blasted out in waves and was considering giving up when the ocean moved. It started small as so many things do, and all too quickly the shape grew charging straight him!

Eddie changed direction a full ninety degrees and dove downward at the shape, that maneuverability of his saving his hide as he barrel rolled and twisted his way around the massive two meter horn that dipped out at him. The Livyatan was fifty meters long from its tail to the tip of its horn, its open mouth revealing rows of conical teeth in a maw wide enough to swallow a Great White... or a large selkie with a big mouth. It was another six meters across, and was moving fast. For all its size and speed, it lacked Eddie's ability to bend and change directions.

Then prove it! Eddie heard the three words again only now wondering if they were as real as the Livyatan had become.

You asked for it, brother. Eddie had often said he was the fastest thing out there above or below the water. It wasn't because of his species, if it had been he'd have been chased down on many occasions. It had nothing to do with what Eddie Blake was, and everything to do with belief. He believed absolutely that there was no creature in the ocean that could catch him, and none that he couldn't take from behind no matter how great the head start. Of course he'd never actually encountered a fully grown, hungry, Livyatan before either. Eddie did the only smart thing, he ran, of course he was followed very closely by that mammoth creature, but like every other time he'd been tested, when it looked like he was about to be swallowed up he found another burst of speed, an additional gear to shift into that left the Livyatan's jaws closing down onto nothing. It would have been a fun game, if it weren't life or death. Several times he'd managed to get far enough ahead that the creature started to drop its pursuit of him. Eddie needed it to follow him. When it started losing interest he'd send a series of whistles through the waves to keep it in pursuit, just like an underwater Pied Piper.

The giant nautilus grew on the horizon as they closed with it. Eddie went straight for it, making the Livyatan renew its efforts. It expected to trap him there, likely as it had done countless times in as many places. What it didn't expect as it exploded from the water was the way Eddie shifted, or that his hands would reach out to grab hold of that massive horn. It hadn't expected to land hard on the exposed shell, or the way it went from being solid to insubstantial. Had it been a bit more sentient it may have even been insulted that the once seal let go of the horn to land lightly just in front of its mouth. The Livyatan thrashed twice, but that only opened the hole beneath it even more. It heaved once with its tail hard enough to pull its massive body backwards to slide down the outer shell of the nautilus and impact the water once more.

"Ding Dong! Avon Calling!" Eddie yelled the words as he dropped through the space that he'd worked so hard to create. He was feeling more than a little cocky, and why shouldn't he? He'd just won the most epic race that ever graced the sea. When his feet hit the floor he swept up a macuahuitl, Mer were down all over the corridor, many trapped beneath the detritus from the ceiling. Eddie never gave them the chance to recover, swinging his newly acquired weapon with a certain merciless accuracy. For the barest instant he thought he'd seen Tahlia, except that she was transparent and clearly that meant she wasn't here... except she was still there when he finished his sweep of the corridor. "This thing's about as elegant as a barb wire wrapped baseball bat named Lucille." He dropped the macuahuitl to the floor, turned towards the apparition and frowned. "What's the matter with you? You trying to get yourself killed?!" Not that he hadn't just played chicken with a monster... but that was different!

She'd never been so happy to see anyone in her life. She took a deep breath, not that she needed to, and just watched him work, clearing the hall with that signature Eddie Blake smile. At least, until it was replaced by a look of concern. One pale brow arched on the holographic face. "Um, baby...that was a whole lot of fish you were just driving." Tahlia was fairly certain she wasn't at risk of being hurt, she wasn't entirely certain that she was really there. But here and now, well, that conversation could wait. "Couldn't let you have all the fun by yourself, now could I?"
Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor. ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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