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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: 156
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Can Be Found: Here and there, depends on her mood
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:14 pm    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

Tahlia

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: 52
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:13 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

Eddie

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 ringing...no 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 up...at 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?"
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Tahlia Faras
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 156
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Can Be Found: Here and there, depends on her mood
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poor Unfortunate Souls

If you want to cross the bridge, my sweet
You've got the pay the toll
Take a gulp and take a breath
And go ahead and sign the scroll
~ Poor Unfortunate Souls lyrics (c) Walt Disney Music Company


Eddie had never been here, not inside here at least and yet he knew exactly where he needed to go. "You could have, but I didn't expect that you would want to." He reached out to take Tahlia's hand only to have it pass right through her. How had he missed that she was practically transparent anyway? "Do I want to know what's happened to you?" He probably should have phrased that differently, because yes he did want to know. "Stay with me, I'd hate to lose you in here." If that were even possible in her current state, he was about to head out when he heard the creaking groan echo through the corridors. That wasn't a major concern, it was the sound that followed which had him start to worry. The inrush of the sea was distinct even at the distance the sound needed to travel to get to the dynamic duo. "Oops..." He would have made a quick grab for the blonde, if he hadn't already been thwarted once by her lack of solidity.

Turning back towards the essence which pulled at his chest like fishing line, Eddie stepped over the fallen Mer and those things which would have his feet bleeding. His path becoming a winding twist of doorways and corridors that undulated anglelessly, though even as he moved forward he couldn't keep from looking over his shoulder to check on Tahlia.

"Your brother. He did - something like that mark Nim put on me, so I'm here, but...not. I guess cause the whole...not one of you, thing?" Tahlia shrugged, staring at her the way her fingers closed over nothing. They were ghosts to each other, in this place, but she was there and he could see her, and somehow that was important. She couldn't hold on, but she was as close behind as her much smaller strides could keep her. Habit had her murmuring a single word under her breath, hoping to erase the crimson footprints in Eddie's wake. "And before you say anything, I asked him to." Begged might be closer, but now wasn't the time or the place for a conversation they'd been so good at avoiding.

The rush of water was a backdrop as they made their way through the smoothly curving corridors, trusting the big Selkie to lead the way. She was pretty sure she couldn't drown like this, but really, why test that theory? Hopping over a splayed figure (possibly landing on its head just to make herself feel better), it took her a moment to realize that the corridor had somehow gone from simply clean to pristine, and there was a subtle scent in the air she could only describe as antiseptic. Nose crinkling, she resisted the urge to touch anything, and took an extra few steps to stick just a little closer.

Abandoned pathways stretched out before them, their normal occupants pulled away to other places whether that was dealing with the flooding below or the Livyatan that someone had managed to enrage mattered little to Eddie, so long as they didn't get in his way. It wouldn't last, he knew that much, hell he could hear voices ahead and see where this particular hallway became an open area. Navigating around it would have been pointless, the pull would bring him back here again. He stopped at the edge, putting his back to the wall and pointing to a closed door in full view of the chamber just around the corner.

"Liandra's always saying the most horrible things about you." The voice was clear, strong, and quite young. It came from a novice acolyte who, judging by the smell, was delivering food.

A second voice came from further into the chamber, this one deeper, full of experience, and a bit of ire. "Girls who gossip are a bore, dear. I'm certain they've told you I don't like a lot of blabber... so run along, before I teach you what idle chatter's for."

The tray the acolyte carried hit a tabletop hard enough to indicate that it was done on purpose. It was followed by a haughty huff and solid footfalls heading down an adjoining corridor. "Ugh! She's such a witch!" It likely wasn't meant to be heard, but the low chuckle from the other woman said that she'd gotten exactly what she wanted.

The witch in question tilted her head, not turning to look at the edge of the hallway, although it was obvious there was no-one else to whom the next words could be addressed. "Come in, come in, my dear...we musn't lurk in doorways. I know why you're here, of course...you have a thing for a certain Selkie...not that I blame you, he is quite a catch. But - you're just a little landbound, aren't you. And...you aren't quite all here either..."

Tahlia looked over at Eddie, and mouthed a question. Not quite a question, since she took a half step - after all, what could the witch do to her in her current state?

He certainly didn't like that the woman seemed to know that much about Tahlia and her current state of unbeing, but it was clear that she only sensed one of them. Then there was the matter of the ring of keys that glinted their all too solid presence on a desktop. Eddie was of two minds, on the one hand he was more than happy to make a play for them himself but he knew he wouldn't get more than a few steps before he was wrapped up in some sort of spell. The acolyte's accusation of the woman being a witch may have been more accurate than a simple insult. He nodded at the keys, hoping that Tahlia would understand what needed to happen.

She did, and nodded ever so slightly, masking the gesture by tucking her hair behind an ear, and stepped out to where the witch could see her. Tahlia had yet to see an old Mer, or one who wasn't in fighting trim - this one was neither, her face crinkling at the edges, and drooping into a jowled jaw that kept nodding after she had stopped. "How did you know I was there? And...why I was there?" She wouldn't mention names...the sea hag didn't seem to fall for the Misery Woe myth that had had the sister in the infirmary screeching. Making her slow, gravity-mimicking path to where the witch stood, she purposefully angled her way along the wall, hoping the other woman would turn to track her.

"The girl wasn't kidding when she called me a witch. I fortunately know a little magic, and I use it on behalf of poor unfortunates...like yourself." The zaftig figure shifted as they'd hoped, moving toward Tahlia with what was meant to be a reassuring smile.

Timing was everything, knowing that didn't make waiting any easier for Eddie. There would be those who, if they ever heard of this, would chastise him for sending her out there into danger[/]. They were the same people who believed that women weren't [i]capable of handling it too. Maybe they weren't always wrong, there were plenty of women who needed to be constantly protected. Of course there were plenty of men with the same issue, and those same people would often look down on them. There's nothing wrong with being afraid, what was more important was finding the strengths in those people and using it.

It was true that there had been the occasional rescue, but Eddie had faith that Tahlia was more than capable of anything. It didn't make it simpler to let it happen, but that was exactly what he would do. He observed, as stealthily as he could, the interaction between the shade and the admitted witch, letting things unfold as they would. He was ready to step in, should the need arise, but she knew what was needed and slowly the little blonde managed to get the witch turned fully about. That left him to do his part, at least his bare feet were quiet on the floor though he was conscious of every step and the way his skin seemed to want to stick to it. Probably whatever they used to clean it? It didn't matter, what did was getting the ring of keys without them making a sound to call attention to himself. It wasn't much different than picking a pocket, just a bigger sleight of hand illusion. Once he had them in his palm, Eddie moved silently towards the door and began to test the different keys in the lock.

Tahlia kept both of them in her sight, her bottom lip caught between her teeth, every inch the damsel looking for a magical cure to whatever was a step beyond a long distance relationship. "So you could...help me? How?" Eyes wide, hands twisting in front of her, those angelic looks of hers sold the act with only the barest effort from her. She just needed to keep the witch focused. Eddie could do the rest - would, she had no doubt. She'd never seen him fail.

"What you need, dearie...is to be part of his world. I could do that for you...you'd make a very pretty seal. Such...lovely golden fur...Let Orsine help you get your Selkie, pet...after all, who knows what he's getting up to while you're sitting on the beach, just waiting for him to come home. There's a lot of fish in the sea, so to speak...fine, strapping male like that probably has a mate in every cove..."

Eddie looked away from the door for a moment, using touch to insert the keys. He frowned at what the witch was saying, a look was sent to Tahlia to steady her resolve perhaps to let her judge for herself what was true and what wasn't. His fingers gave a twist to the key which turned, he could feel it pulling the bolt of the lock open. He left them in the door, turning all the way towards Tahlia and Orsine. He'd thought the *woman* was a fable, maybe he should have known better but she just seemed so...unreal... growing up.

He moved away from the door, it was time to put the witch in her place as defiantly as he could. Eddie still had the advantage of being *unseen*, the irony wasn't lost on him and he'd likely point it out later. Now he just needed to keep the witch's offer from taking hold. He kept his progress slow, the room wasn't huge but there was a lot of space to cover between the door and them, too much if he betrayed his presence too soon. Enough that Orsine would be able to get the drop on him and who knew what she would unleash?

Anyone else would have missed the wink before her eyes went wide, her attention on the larger-than-life figure of Orsine. "Do you think that would help? He's been away a lot, lately...and there's this...one..." A little truth, just enough to season the lie. As secure as Tahlia often seemed to be, she couldn't compete with the ocean, and she knew enough not to try. Eddie wouldn't respond to a tight leash any better than she would. "But I wouldn't be able to change back..."

Who knew what snapped the witch's attention away from the girl, and toward the door, and the giant Selkie standing between her, and it. Rage contorted her features, and power crackled across her skin as she pointed a shaking finger at Eddie. "Ainmhithe díograiseach...you dare too much!" Lightning gathered in her other hand, rising to send it flying before turning with a speed surprising in one of her age and build, and sending that ball of destruction toward the tiny blonde figure who'd served to distract her.

"You go too far, Witch!" Eddie could take being the focus of Orsine's ire, at least he thought he could, but the woman turned the intention of her assault on Tahlia. "No!" He was too far away to interfere, half a step it might as well have been a mile for all the good it did. He'd gotten his hands on Orsine, used every bit of the strength in his body to pull at her and force her away from the little blonde. Too late...he'd been too late... that shocked him, left him uncertain of how to proceed. His foot came up catching Orsine in the stomach and sending her careening towards the table he'd so recently liberated the keys from.

There was desperation in his expression as he turned back to Tahlia certain to find her a quivering mass of electrocuted flesh. Eddie knew he should have kept his focus on Orsine, but that just wasn't something he was capable of doing. He didn't care what happened, not if he'd brought the blonde to harm. "Baby?!" He stepped forward, dreading what he'd find when he felt the implosion of heat across the exposed skin of his legs. He winced, expecting to become little more than charred Selkie, only to hear Orsine hit the floor next to his feet. It was enough to pull his gaze back to discover the fierce gaze of the redhead standing in the now open doorway.

Tahlia's instincts had taken over, throwing herself to the side, and down before she remembered that she...wasn't really there. Still, who knew what magic could do to her, in whatever state Kruger had sent her here in. Brushing off non-existent dust from her illusory form, she stood up just in time to see a blast of something vaguely purple ripple through the air, and send the sea witch Orsine plummeting to the floor. The flames aimed at Eddie's back hit the strange smooth surface below their feet, and faded. There wasn't time to react, just stare in shock at the figure that had emerged from the cell, eyes only a few shades darker than her own, and crimson locks that reminded her of centuries past, and people long gone from her. Facing down the witch she'd done without a thought, this woman...made her nervous.

"I'm ok, baby. I'm pretty sure it would have just gone through me but..." Stepping closer, she reached for him, cursing under her breath when her hand went through his. "I'm ok. Did she get you?" Later, maybe, she'd find herself a quiet moment to process just how many times she'd nearly died since meeting the Selkie, nevermind that she wouldn't change a moment of it. Right now...there were more important things.

Habit, had him putting out his hand for Tahlia to take hold of, or was it instinct now? Either way he was unable to feel the solidity he was looking for. Her voice pulled his attention away from the form of Lumira and, after several moments of high scrutiny, finding the smile that would answer her questions. "Right as rain, Pumpkin." He wanted to put his arm around her protectively before going to where his mother stood eyes glaring at the unconscious witch lying prostrate on the floor. Those eyes moved to him and in turn to Tahlia softening ever so slightly as she gestured for the two of them to come inside the chamber with her.

Eddie would have preferred that connection which he was being denied, probably something done on purpose just to injure him. He'd have things to say about that later. In lieu of it he moved forward placing himself between the redhead and the blonde as he moved into the room past his mother who closed the door behind them. "You should dress more appropriately, Edward Jain Blake...this isn't the time to go about with your bits hanging out."

"No no... you're right. Let me go back and find my pants... just wait here a little longer...mother." The last word was a mixture of sarcastic formality. She'd started it calling him his full name like that. You'd think she'd be a little more grateful and less critical, she might as well have asked if he was wearing clean underwear when he got into an accident. "This is Tahlia...she's... with me." He indicated the woman he was unable to make physical contact with. "This is Lumira, my mother...who's much nicer than she seems, just under a lot of stress I think." Despite the greeting he'd gotten, one that he really did understand it was just hard to accept easily, Eddie hugged Lumira like he hadn't seen her in years...like he'd believed she was dead only to discover she wasn't.
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Eddie Blake
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 13 Feb 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Such a vague explanation seemed perfectly clear to her. They were what they were, and she doubted there was ever going to be a label that fit them completely. Suddenly very much reminded that Eddie was, well...as nature intended, she made very sure that she was looking up or at his mother. At least until the other woman was engulfed in the kind of embrace that brought tears to Tahlia's eyes and had her finding the small chambers design fascinating. It certainly wasn't the most awkward 'meet-the-parents' moment she'd ever had, but it had been a very long time, and none of them had ever meant quite this much,

"I can't say I blame her, Puddin...and it's very nice to meet you." Bringing her eyes back to where she suspected the woman's face was, she resisted the urge to curtsy, biting her non-corporeal lip as she tried to at least look like she wasn't a mass of nerves. Eddie wasn't the only one who would have preferred the comfort of contact just at the moment, and it was nearly certain the smith was going to be in for it the next time she saw him. After the reunion. Tahlia had some idea what this moment meant to all of them, after all.

"You're the one who has them making warding gestures. I'm not sure that you are quite what I expected. Of course I only had the pieces of conversation to go by." Lumira's eyes practically glowed as they fixed on Tahlia. Whether that was from the presence of friendly faces or the reuniting with her family was open for discussion. It was the healthiest of her attributes at the moment. The imposing figure who'd struck down Orsine, upon closer inspection, was a little too pale. Her hair, a stark contrast to that paleness lacked the kind of fullness and luster that regular care would have brought out. There was a thinness to her fingers and the rest of her as well. She was fed, but obviously not nearly enough to keep her healthy. "What did you do, E.J? It hasn't been so long that I don't know when I hear a crash that you've broken something." That crash had been impossible to miss, having shaken things up even here.

"It wasn't me...I was just trying to get out of the way." Eddie's tone was awash in complete innocence. It wasn't really his fault that the livyatan had broken the place, right? He looked at Tahlia for help to corroborate his story, because witnesses held weight! "We don't have much time though, the lower floors are taking on water... for some unknown reason." He was still affecting the angelic look that had only lost a little of its power because he'd grown up. Something else that wasn't his fault. "I can backtrack to where I came in, but... I don't think we're getting out that way." It was a little too high to reach that hole. Just a few meters or so.

Tahlia managed to hold the smirk at bay long enough to nod in support of Eddie's version of events. After all, she couldn't swear that he hadn't been innocently minding his business when the sea monster happened to attack. It wasn't likely, but it was possible. "Uh...yes. Apparently. I'm not sure why, but that does seem to be the usual response. I don't think I'm what any of them expects, either, if that helps."

For the first time, the true weight of where they were, and the predicament they were in hit her. "I...have no idea. We obviously came in different places." Tahlia closed her eyes, trying to retrace her steps. "I had to go up to get to where I met you...there was a...forge." Of course. "If the lower levels are flooded, it probably is too. But I didn't come in through the same portal you did..."

"They're all superstitious." Lumira released Eddie as she said the words to Tahlia as if that was enough to explain everything. "That's the way we're supposed to go, that's what I was told anyway." She stepped back and looked at her son. "Pay attention, and do what I do." She pushed aside the blankets on the bed they'd given her to reveal a pelt as red as her hair should be. Picking it up she didn't even drape it over her shoulders, it just seemed to come alive and mould itself to her cladding her in leather from ankle to neck. There were gaps, her arms were bare, and the length of her back though this was at least covered by her hair. "Do you understand?"

Eddie concentrated, attempting to mimic what his mother had done and was only half successful. His long coat had melted away, sliding down his torso to become a pair of pants that didn't look nearly so protective as what Lumira had managed. He gave a small shrug to her. "Best I can do... now who told you where we needed to go?"

"Your brother was here just a bit before you... sort of here...mostly not." She put a hand up towards Tahlia as if that should explain enough. "He said to follow her." It was clear by her expression that there had been other things said that she was holding back. "Something about not being able to maintain multiple doorways." It made more sense to her, having heard what Tahlia said about coming through a different portal. It may have explained that much, but there was a lot more going on than met the eye. Her eyes shot to the door, having caught the movement of the knob. Even if she hadn't seen it, she'd been in here long enough to recognize the sound of it.

Tahlia exchanged looks with Eddie at the mention of his brother. She might have also snuck a rather appreciative look over his now bare torso, because, in all honesty, who wouldn't? Especially since all she could do was look. Maybe that's why he'd done it? It only distracted her for a moment. Dragging her eyes away at the sound of someone, or something, on the other side of the door, the blonde cursed softly. Lumira was in no condition, and while she and Eddie were a force to be reckoned with - they were both unarmed. What she needed, was a weapon.

"We need to get out here first..." The hand tugging at her braid was reflex, and just happened to twist her head enough to catch a glint of metal coming through the wall - no more substantial than she was. It was...something, at least, and with only a second's hesitation she reached out and took hold of the hilt. The blade gleamed, slightly curved, somehow both present and not. "Hey, Puddin...your brother is a little creepy..." Who else could have done it? Glancing over at Lumira, she gave a little shrug. No offense meant, but she didn't think there would be much argument either.

Showoff was the word that Eddie was muttering, regardless of the fact that he was standing there half dressed. That was something entirely different! The door opened filled by an armored Mer leading his entry with the tip of a long spear. Eddie was quick to grasp the shaft and yank it to the side leaving the intruder wide open for Tahlia's new little friend to find a place to poke him. Far from the aggressive attack earlier, this one had Lumira backpedaling to wall the first real indicator that she was far from recovered. She had put everything into that single expulsion of fire and water.

It was strange watching the blade move forward its form as translucent as the wielder and yet the Mer's physical body felt the impact and subsequent tearing through armor and flesh underneath. It was a display that Eddie would have marvelled at even applauded if the feat hadn't been engineered by... showoff supreme.

The Mer didn't really have a chance, they couldn't touch the blonde wielding the the strange blade - although the sword itself seemed to stop them from touching her regardless. Tahlia tried, at first, simply to keep them back, to give them space to plan. Soon enough she realized that they weren't going to give up, and just...let them out. The holographic girl and her strangely solid weapon wasn't enough to break their ranks, even if there were murmurs of 'Misery Woe' from those who were face to face with her.

Puffing her hair from her eyes, she changed tactics, peridot eyes taking on a silvery gleam as her movements shifted - now she was on the attack. A tight spin of her wrist took a blade, and the hand it was attached to, and a step had a Mer falling in half to the ground. She had no idea how long she could keep it up, the energy sustaining her had to come from somewhere. Nothing landed on her, nothing touched her, she moved like a deadly ghost, pausing only to glance back to the two Selkies - Eddie might recognize the look on her face from a different time and place.

Eddie's grin was for the little blonde murderess, he did like to watch her move. There wasn't space for the two of them, which was mirrored by the way the door forced the Mer to come in one at a time. It didn't take long for him to be able to join her though, the hand on the spear fell away allowing the big Selkie to take it for himself. Its reach let him attack from further back, the tip alternating between low and high thrusts. He kept the point moving in and out, circling lazily or swift and tight. He'd have preferred something a little louder that had an even better range, but there were no shotguns or pistols in this place. Even if he'd managed to bring one with him it would have needed a thorough cleaning if it were to function after the swim. He took what he could get, and used it with deadly intent.

Together, he and Tahlia pushed forward through the door and into the room beyond. It was slow, but a glance at his mother said that slow was all she was going to manage. A hint of anger burned through him, the evidence coming from a particularly vicious thrust that tore into the throat of one unlucky Mer whose breath bubbled wetly out of the hole left behind. Once they'd managed to clear the path, he put an arm around Lumira taking her weight so that they could move a little faster. "If I get us back to where I came in... can you find where you did?"

Her braid wrapped around a shoulder, the sword coming down at her side another Mer gurgling to the floor behind her. Second battle of the night, assuming it was the same night - time had lost all meaning. There was more blood than even the wounds they were inflicting would justify, every nick and cut flowing freely, responding to the soft hiss of a single word. She couldn't Call at her full strength, assuming she could tap into it, if she was honest, she was afraid to do harm to Eddie, or his mother. "The forge? I think so...through the infirmary, and then down. You two can get through the water, but I...ohh. Duh." She'd blame the golden strands twisted and tied down her back, if anyone asked.

"I'm not here. I don't have to breathe. Right." She looked nervous even so, remembering a night that seemed very far away, now. Her own skills she knew, even if she didn't understand them - the magics she'd been exposed to here were still so very strange, and the fear of drowning had stuck with her. "Is she...?" Tahlia didn't know how to ask if Lumira was going to be able to change, or for that matter, make it to the surface if the portal wasn't there.

Lumira nodded as Tahlia came to the realization that she had no need for air, not as she was. "Keep that in your mind, if you panic so too will your physical form." The words were tinged with exhaustion but it didn't keep her from offering the girl a smile... did she dare think of her as a girl? It seemed she already had, though something about that felt odd. "I'll be fine... probably better in the water than here. Swimming takes far less effort, there's less need to fight gravity." The explanation came in soft spoken words that held no malice for someone who was so obviously from the land.

Their path to the place where the ceiling had collapsed in was blessedly empty, but sounds traveled to them. There were more of the Mer ahead, the sounds increasing with every twist or turn. Eddie started to slow his pace, checking corners now instead of blundering haphazardly around them into the mother knew what. The place where he'd met up with Tahlia was quite occupied, though there didn't seem to be any soldiers among them. Craftsmen worked frantically to close up the breach that someone had created. "Maybe we can slip by them?" His voice was barely audible for fear of being heard by unintended ears.

"As long as there aren't any squid..." The response was barely audible, and not something she could take the time to explain. Not now. Maybe once they were back, with wine, or something harder. After everyone had had a chance to recover. A swift glance to Eddie for reassurance, and she took a needless breath. The short nap earlier was wearing off, but she had to keep going. Once she had her own body back...flushing slighting, she gave Lumira a grateful smile - her explanation was a great deal less judgemental than Nim's.

"They seem focused - no one saw me before except the sister, and the witch. Maybe they don't care?" True, there little group looked different, but the workmen seemed intently focused, and the only eyes she saw stray from the work were aimed upwards, scanning for the return of the monster. "Let me try...I can scout ahead, see if I can find a path through..." She hadn't let go of the blade, and the twist of her grip said that she would clear the way if necessary.
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Tahlia Faras
Adult Wyrm
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cochise

Drown if you want,
and I'll see you at the bottom,
Where you'll crawl on my skin
and put the blame on me,
so you don't feel a thing.
Go on and save yourself, and take it out on me.
~ Audioslave

The tools might be different, but their use was quite similar as workmen spread a mortar like substance into the gap. It wasn't exactly mortar, the hue and consistency were as pearlescent as the walls. Eddie didn't want to think about how it was made, or where it came from. He nodded to Tahlia, it made sense to send the one person who made no noise to scout ahead. "Just be careful." He knew he didn't need to worry, but that didn't stop him from doing so anyway.

"It'll give me a chance to rest up a little for the next stretch." Lumira put her back to the wall and slid down til she was sitting on her heels. She watched as Tahlia moved off, doing everything she could to prepare herself and not be the reason that they ended up getting caught. "She seems nice. You deserve someone nice." She didn't catch the grateful, if confused, look that Eddie gave her.

"She's whatever she needs to be." He mumbled the words, keeping his eyes on where Tahlia had disappeared to.

The tiny blonde blew a kiss back before she disappeared behind a pile of rubble, carefully picking her way with an eye to how easy the path might be, not only for Eddie, but for Lumira. It was probably for the best that she didn't hear the description - it would only have made her laugh, and lose her focus. Glancing up, there was no sign of the creature, and no sign of patrols. She just had to trust what they had been told. So far, showoff or not, Kruger had been as good as his word.

Right now, Tahlia was being exactly what she needed to be, what *they* needed her to be. It was took much to ask that there were no guards at all, but she was swift, and silent, moving up on the one left behind to make certain he was alone. The path beyond seemed clear, as far as she could see. It wouldn't stay that way. Carefully making her way back, she caught Eddie's eye, and gestured, certain he would be able to follow even if she wasn't right ahead. Not wanting to take the risk that the guard would hear Lumira's more audible approach, she crept back to the guard, breathing out a single word as she sent the blade through his back, and used the relatively solid weight of it to carefully lower the body to the ground, away from immediate discovery. No sound, and somehow the blood pooled slowly from his butchered heart. Holding her breath, she tried to listen past the sounds behind her for any alarm, and heard...nothing.

Silently, Eddie reached for his mother, lending her his strength to help her rise. The progress was slow, anathema for him. He would have preferred to go at this fast and hard, but what more would you expect from someone called Fast Eddie? This entire thing plagued at him, pulling him from his own believed strength, that and having to watch the frailty of someone who had always seemed unbreakable. He found himself, even as they quietly moved down that first least dangerous hallway, hoping that something would happen...anything that would put him into a place where he was far more comfortable. In a different situation, there hadn't been many, this urge of his would have pushed him to make something happen. It made a sick kind of sense perhaps, Eddie didn't like feeling vulnerable, or avoiding things that were better faced head on with a grin and shout of something foul. In a way it was him pushing away those things that were better for him.

Those feelings didn't disappear as he led Lumira through the opening hidden by the massive tapestry. They lessened, slowly seeping out of him in order to make room for the next time...and the next. He looked over his shoulder at the shrouded entrance like a man expecting trouble to find him that he'd thought left behind. They moved through the spiraled corridor, that prickly feeling on his neck subsiding even as a certain amount of trepidation began to rise at the sounds coming ahead of them. Water still surged down there, another of those unfightable enemies. At least this one was an old friend.

Lumira concentrated on every step she took, not wanting to become the reason for their getting caught, and yet she managed to marvel at the gaping hole and the fractured fault line descending down the wall. It had even managed to crack the floor, though that was too fine, its edges pressed too tightly to leave room for light to flow through it. It was more than she'd expected to see, though if she were being honest with herself not so much that she was surprised. Her son had always been bigger than his peers, and even those several years older. He grew quickly, and with that had come all the awkwardness of rapid growth. He'd tripped often, broken things unintentionally, messes had followed him until he'd managed to get used to his own size. She'd never thought about it back then, perhaps she should have but the sight before her seemed right in a way. This is what it looked like when her son intentionally broke things.

Tahlia stayed in the lead, glancing back occasionally to check on their progress. Rescue missions were not something she was familiar with, as a rule. The last time - the last time had been in a cold, wet dungeon in another world, almost another life, and she had been the one being rescued. She was deadlier, now, if not much bigger. Looking back was nearly like looking in a mirror...with a shake of her head, she focused, her steps slowing as they approached the training grounds, and the sounds of battle reached her ears. It had a different tone than before, more frantic, desperate, even. Holding up a hand, Tahlia crept forward, blade at the ready, and glanced down to the rapidly filling enclosures. If they hadn't been fish, she might have worried, but it seemed the denizens of the deep were taking the offered opportunity to get a little of their own back.

Lumira couldn't help but feel something for the scene below, her gaze had been drawn there whether through the sound or some sense of foreboding from an unknown source. The predatory sea denizens were not large, the break wouldn't allow for anything large to push through. It didn't hold back the numbers though, the forms below were certainly trained but there's always a huge difference between training and reality. She wished she could want them all dead, would have perhaps if they weren't children, older perhaps, teetering on the edges of adulthood but children nonetheless. She watched as they formed defensive squares against the influx of hungry tooth filled mouths, fascinated even as she was disturbed by what was happening. She kept moving, their progress was still within her ability to keep up moving by feel at the moment while her gaze was trained elsewhere. She kept moving that is, until she ran smack into Eddie's back. His form was stiff, like every muscle he possessed was suddenly bunched up, coiled and ready to spring into action.

Coldness burned its way through her, its source beginning at the very tips of her toes where the first touch of rising water washed over them. She looked at that, and was reminded of what it looked like when water filled a bathtub by slowly increasing degrees. It was the low growl that she felt from Eddie as much as heard that managed to direct her attention forward. The corridor extended further by quite a bit, there was one break some distance ahead and instinctively she understood that was for them. It wasn't the way that had them halted, but what shared the path with them. Lumira felt Eddie start to move, and grabbed his arm tightening her grip desperately when it seemed he was trying to pull away.

A massive figure stood in their way, eight feet tall and heavy with corded muscles. Its mouth was filled with wickedly serrated triangular teeth. The Rokea had transformed only halfway, and the head that lifted from its shoulders was that of a shark, but Lumira knew it to be the one who had brought her here so long ago. It was the same one they always brought in when they needed to move her from one place to another, though it had been some time since she'd seen Jax. She didn't know why, only that his disappearance had incensed many of the acolytes. She knew she didn't have the strength to hold Eddie back, not with her hands at least. "Don't...please."

Tahlia stood between the two giants, frozen, her eyes locked on the Rokea much the way a sparrow watches a snake. She wasn't a harmless songbird, though, and the smile that wreathed her face was more predatory than anything that of sang like she did ought to be capable of. The blade was slowly twisting in her hands, rising slowly into position. She could hear Eddie's growl, and it kept her from backing down.

"Do not engage." There was a sluggish tenor to the words, the kind that could be found in any drunk in a tavern, or to one on the fringes of exhaustion.

Eddie pulled his arm free of his mother, and gripped the spear in both hands. "We can take him together, Pumpkin."

The voice pulled her up short. She knew what it was. Knew who it was, even if she'd never heard it sound like that before. "But...we can beat him. He can't touch me, and Eddie could take him..."

"That's what I said..." Eddie started to cut off Tahlia, then looked at her to see who she was looking at. It wasn't his mother. "Who are you talking to?" This was hardly the time for insanity to set in.

"Regardless, you're running out of time." The words dimmed in volume, and if it were somehow possible felt more like a groan.

Eddie began to move forward, there would be time later to figure out what was going on with his little blonde.

Pale green eyes remained locked on the half-shark, and there was just the barest shake of her head. "Your brother says we're running out of time. Baby...he sounds tired..." She still thought there was a chance.

That may have explained Tahlia's sudden insight into things, but it certainly didn't shed any light onto how they were going to manage to get past the big Rokea without time wasted on a fight. He needed a moment to think, to assess the situation...a second or two to resign himself to tell Tahlia to get his mother out, that he'd see her soon as confidently as he could muster on short notice.

"Where did you come from?" Jax's voice rasped its way past those jagged teeth a fiendish facsimile of the one that had last been heard by any of the trio as the giant Rokea looked at them...except he wasn't looking at them, his eyes seemed to Eddie to be focused on something else altogether.

"No!" The shriek came an instant before Eddie could manage one of his irreverent retorts. It came from his mother of all places. Perhaps she knew his plan? The rising water between them and Jax splashed three times at different intervals which began in front of them and ended half a stride in front of Jax. There wasn't even a heartbeat between that final splash before the massive figure was blasted backwards down the corridor, his mouth striking for no visible reason.

Lumira had felt the faintest brush of air against her skin, nothing that might not be expected considering where they were and what was happening as the cold sea infiltrated deeper into the warmer space of the corridor. It was the smell that didn't belong, the barest hint of heated sulfur which told her what was happening. Visibly nothing had changed, she didn't see the form that had emerged from the corridor that had veered off to the left. That didn't stop her from knowing it had run past the trio, despite never viewing the words that blazed off the dark material of its shirt which read The Anvil eats Fish for Breakfast! She had heard what Tahlia had said, and understood the danger of what could be. "You'll have to carry me from here." It was the only way to speed up their pace.

It seemed only Tahlia had front row seats to this show. The shirt made her laugh - both brothers had a positive gift for showmanship, even if they'd never admit it was something they shared. If only she had more of an understanding of what was going on. Part of her wanted to go after Jax, a big part...the rest knew he wouldn't have done this if it wasn't absolutely necessary. "Baby...?"

Eddie wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth, not when he was in a hurry at least, no matter how odd it was to watch the Rokea fighting with nothing. He nodded at Tahlia letting the spear clatter to the floor and turning to hoist his mother. She wasn't wrong, this would allow them to move much more quickly. "Lead the way, baby." He fell in behind the blonde, surging forwards with his burden and not thinking twice about how the area right around Jax appeared to have the red tinge of blood in the water. He wouldn't have the time anyway, because the now unblocked doorway showed why the water was rising above their ankles. The stairs had disappeared beneath the incoming sea like some kind of sinking ship.

The little blonde hissed a word as they drew closer...blood in the water meant she could do that at least. The translucent form paused at the stairs. She knew she wasn't there, and yet...water and she didn't have a great history. But it was the only way out, and the faster they got out, the faster this would all be over. At least she hoped so. Not for the first time, she wished she could touch - she was trying to listen to Lumira's advice and not panic, but the touch of Eddie's hand would have done a lot to keep her calm. Shooting a last look over her shoulder, she gave him a soft smile, and moved forward into the water. This way out, apparently.

Eddie was careful, carrying his mother slowly into the rising water rather than plunging in like he normally would. The change came for them both at nearly the same moment. It did manage make things better for Lumira, as she'd said there would be less pressure from being forced to stand. Though it did nothing to assist in communication between the two selkies and the transparent Tahlia, who seemed to be balking at being submerged in salt water. Eddie poked his head out of the water to look at her and chirp whistle reassuringly. She knew the way... they needed her... he knew she could do it! Likely she understood none of it.

The water didn't so much as ripple as she stepped into it. The chirps didn't translate to words, but she could guess Eddie was being encouraging. Taking an unnecessary breath she moved deeper...not finding the resistance she expected. The water was like air, and she realized that she wasn't constrained by normal movement. Watching the two selkies for a moment, Tahlia launched herself forward - at least this time, she couldn't drown.

Being in the water had a healing effect on Lumira, it didn't make her whole by any means, but she felt stronger than she had in a long time. Normally she'd delight in the sea, perhaps marvel at how Tahlia's half there form moved so swiftly and maybe even try to play. There was an urgency to their swim, one that she was unable to explain to either of them in any language. She pushed herself to keep up with them without charging ahead into places she didn't know. If she had she'd have left them behind, in fact it was the moment at which Tahlia made the last turn into the forge that she did just that. There was a figure in there, a burly Mer who stood in contemplation of the disk feebly pulsating in his workspace. Lumira used her considerable size to bowl into the smith, pushing past him through the rupture to disappear.

Tahlia watched the seal-Lumira send the Mer tumbling, and paused, watching the gateway flicker. Moving close, she laid a hand on the giant head of the leopard seal behind her, knowing he couldn't feel it, but wanting the moment anyway. The way out dimmed, and then brightened, and she knew they didn't have much more time to lose. Hopefully Kruger would be waiting on the other side, after all, he was only a little more there than she was. Blade still in hand, she darted back to the surface.

Eddie couldn't feel the touch, that didn't mean he didn't appreciate what it would feel like. He let out the briefest of whistles, then watched as Tahlia took her run at the dying gateway, following along in her wake and maybe almost playfully colliding with the mer who was trying to right himself as he passed into the portal moments before it disappeared completely.

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Kruger

Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 02 Jun 2007
Posts: 847
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Can Be Found: Kruger's Exotic Weapons Armor & Leather
91107.62 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heroes Fall

Ashes floating from the fire
Arise
Silent prayers and whispered ends
I hear 'em calling from within

When all the heroes fall
The world plays its wicked games
And I am left defenseless
'Cause I know
The sky's gonna say my name
~ Hidden Citizens (Feat. ESSA)

-----------------------------

Kruger

Darkness swallowed Nim, from someplace unseen another of those bell tones rang out, she flinched, it was the first time Kruger had ever seen her react in any way that wasn't cold or simply put, superior. He didn't know whether it was the ringing notes that did it, or the way the darkness thickened, perhaps it was simply her own lack of control. She regained that haughtiness quickly regardless of the cause. He knew she thought him beneath her notice and unworthy of respect. He wanted to feel the same way, she was still blood, wasn't she?

"I don't answer to you. I was being kind when I named you stone, but my kindness has worn more than thin." Nim's voice cut across the scant distance between them like ice. Kruger knew she was trying to turn things around, to regain the upper hand, or at least to make him question who truly held dominion here. She'd used that tone with him before, but then he'd been in her world, and she was a long way from her world now.

"Thin or not, you don't have a choice." Once more the sound spread through the air, Kruger could see how Nim tried to prevent it there was still the hint of a flinch. "What part did you play in what happened to my mother?"

Hesitation, it was even smaller than the flinch but in the silence between bell tones it was too loud to miss. Nim didn't know if she wanted to answer his inquiry, that much was obvious. "I told you what happened to her, the white shark took her. She's gone, you need to accept that and..."

An image insinuated itself between the two of them, one that cut Nim's reply short. "Does that look like someone who's gone, grandmother?" The tone sounded again as Kruger said the last word, the flinch that came had him feeling particularly satisfied. "She's not gone, she's being held...against her will." Kruger touched the image, giving a shove that sent it outward into the darkness. It increased size as it moved past Nim stopping abruptly colliding with an unseen wall and adhering to it. Nim turned to watch it, taking several tentative steps towards it, the look on her face was that of surprise.

"Careful... the floor drops away." Light bit into the darkness, its purple ambience revealing the precipice upon which Nim stood. It revealed other things as well, the tools of Kruger's trade lining the cliff edge in a massive circle were there, as was the prone form of Tahlia. The latter had Nim hissing.

"What is the meaning of this, boy?" Despite her obvious dislike for the blonde on the floor she stepped backwards from the edge even if that meant taking her closer to Tahlia. Nim turned on him accusations written across her features even if she didn't know exactly what it was she was accusing him of, it was enough to draw a tight smile out of Kruger.

"This...or her?" He let his gaze fall to the unmoving form on the floor even as a series of bell tones sounded through the air. "This is what happens when you're incapable of doing what is needed. She is just an added advantage, a hidden weapon...a necessity to keep my errant brother focused. That her presence makes you uncomfortable is just a bonus for me." Kruger slipped the haft of his hammer into a loop at his belt and reached both hands out towards the image of his mother. He pulled them apart hard and swift the movement sending more images outward arcing around the two of them each coming to rest one each above the barely visible tools.

*******************

Nim's stomach lurched as the images twisted away, the spectacle momentarily dizzying until they settled into place. There was something familiar about the configuration, a nexus of things happening all at once visible to the two of them, though inside she understood it was there for her benefit not his. She moved to one which held her old frenemy, a pang tugging at her chest as she observed Ysabeau and Kaelin. Seeing it... seeing him still hurt, Nim reached out to touch the image, never expecting what came from that simple action. She was there, listening to everything, a witness to their conversation and to that force which cut away the light and shattered the Cosain's meditation. She refused to cry, hiding feelings away in a compartment which she would touch only rarely. She was back with Kruger, it didn't surprise her except in the strength of will required to keep her trapped.

She moved to the next one, a chamber not unlike the one she was in currently, with one profound difference. Here it was just Kruger hammering away at a lump of brilliantly heated metal. Curiosity overcame her reluctance, Nim's fingers moved tentatively towards the image even as another bell tone washed through the room. She had time to notice that it rang in coordination to his hammer strike, and then she was there. Her senses were overwhelmed, there was more here than just sight and sound. Nim could feel the heat of the forge, smell the sulfuric emanations from its depths with every imagined breath. The stimulus was too stifling, and the song crooned by the man working threatened to break the walls she'd spent centuries building. This was reality, someplace she shouldn't be able to occupy, not like this...and yet... Nim pulled back reflexively, her need to put distance between that place and herself compelling her lest she become trapped there.

"You're still awake." It wasn't a question, Nim understood it within as she did her vast underestimation of the form sharing this space with her. "Do you comprehend the danger you place yourself into?"

"Of course. You're concerned?" Kruger's eyes reflected the amaranthine glow, though it did little to alter the amber of his irises. "Ah...not for me. Do not worry, grandmother, I won't leave you stuck here with no way back to yourself."

The boy was an arrogant fool, but he wasn't wrong, Nim couldn't control the thinning of her lips. She'd been about to give him an acidic retort, but he chose that moment to move. He touched that central image, the reality of him, then went to another of the images. The blonde was there and she could only guess at what Kruger was up to. He ignored her, seeing Nim and yet unable to communicate. He repeated the movements first touching on his reality then moving to other images. Nim shut her eyes concentrating on what she couldn't see. It was here that she began to understand, this room was like an operator's switchboard which used lines of awareness rather than cables to connect two places. Nim went to the image of Tahlia, touching it tentatively. This was also reality, hers, and yet she could sense the subtle influences guiding the land bound woman. He was there too, Nim extricated herself from the place having no interest in what might happen to that particular life. Instead she went to the scene depicting the ocean and the image of a Selkie she was more than familiar with. Here she could hear even more of Kruger's influence, the way his hammer agitated the Livyatan, the almost conversation happening between her grandsons.

Then prove it!...You asked for it, brother.

Pride filled her as she observed the way the big Leopard seal outpaced the monster. Nim spent time admiring his determination, never willing to admit that it was exactly the same as what she called arrogance in Kruger. She'd not been present with the latter as he connected other scenes. Eddie to Lumira, Tahlia to Eddie, she could sense the change, as it happened, the guiding force which drove them all towards each other. It took effort to pull herself free this time not because she didn't have the ability, Nim always enjoyed watching Eddie. Free herself she did, not that Kruger seemed to notice. He stood facing Lumira, his hand placed delicately on the image of the red head. The sight hadn't made her unaware of another scene happening in a distinctly different place. The image of the destroyed temple confused her, especially since Kruger seemed to be paying it no mind at all. Nim ignored it too, for the moment her interest lay in whatever was happening with her daughter. She knew she shouldn't intrude, but the boy had started this, and he would have to suffer her presence. Her fingers slid into place on that image.

"They're coming for you..." Kruger's voice was disembodied, it seemed to come from everywhere at once, in palpable vibrations which had Lumira looking at every corner of the room.

"Shale?" Lumira's eyes began to well up with unshed tears.

"Do not call me that."

"It's your name. How are you here?" The rebuke hadn't changed the loving tone from Lumira, even as laughter shook the room.

"He died a long time ago." The voice of Kruger snapped harshly at Lumira and left Nim feeling cold. "I'm everywhere right now mother, but I need you to listen. They'll be here soon, you need to follow Tahlia. She knows the way home." Kruger's words were enough to make Nim want to hiss again, but she held it in listening to the exchange.

"You can't be here, Sha... Gaia will come for you." Worry wove through the words, the kind only a mother could give for a child.

"I'm aware of her, taking steps even now. Just do as I've said and everything will be fine. Get ready. They're here." Kruger's presence disappeared, catching hold of Nim and removing her along with him. Things had changed, several of the scenes were the same if seen from a slightly different perspective. Kruger had moved again, standing now before the image of the temple with a look of concentration. Caution had Nim wondering if she ought to observe this one. Would Gaia be able to sense her? Lumira hadn't, but she was obviously in need of recovery. Nim had to know, had to see more. She tripped in her attempt to move to where the smith now stood, looking down at the object which impeded her she discovered that the form of Tahlia was now holding to a sword hilt of Daedric design, and that its blade was...of all things...ephemeral. There wasn't time to contemplate what it meant, what any of this actually meant.

Shattered glass crackled beneath a heavy booted foot, the sound bringing Gaia's head up to stare daggers at the figure intruding on her. "Who are you?"

"No one of consequence...you should think of me as just another stone." Nim was familiar enough now with her grandson's voice to know that the hooded figure that entered was his.

"Why did you do this?" Gaia's voice was sharp as daggers, but the question had the hooded figure looking around.

"This? Not me, you and yours just lost concentration. Not that it bothers me any, you've taken something that you shouldn't have and this is a small recompense for that." He took another step forward, and it was only now that Nim saw that the chairs were occupied by at least thirty acolytes. The fool didn't even pause in his advance.

"I've taken nothing that the mother hasn't given me freely." Gaia's words were heated, but they were just a prelude to the attack she sent towards Kruger. A thread of fire spun its way out of her outstretched palm heading right for the hooded form. It coalesced on top of him, and yet he simply strode forward unmarred by it.

"Truly? That doesn't sound right. Since when has fire been a part of your arsenal?" Kruger came even with the first of the acolytes, touching her lightly with a finger and bringing a shrill shriek from the woman half an instant before she disappeared.

"You are attached to her in some way aren't you? You ought to know better than to challenge me here." Another jet flew towards him, this one scalding water. It too was ignored as he repeated the process on the next acolyte.

"Where exactly do you think we are?" At his words the landscape changed, bits of glass disappeared into a deep purple abyss that Nim at least recognized for what it was. He'd brought Gaia to him, much as he had brought Nim herself.

"This is NOT possible!" Gaia screamed it to the darkness as though the words would change what was. "You'll never overcome us!"

"You're right, but I will hinder you. I will hold you here to me until it is too late for you to stop us." One by one the acolytes disappeared at his touch until it was just the two...the three of them and if Nim had possessed a body its heart would be pounding. Why was the boy showing her this? She'd come to realize that was exactly what he was doing, and that he had a purpose behind it.

Gaia opened her mouth to speak, but the hooded figure's hand covered her mouth. "Soon you'll lose that which you took, and I won't need you anymore."


Gaia did not scream like all those others had, behind his hand she began to laugh. His hand came away from the woman as though the reaction startled him. "Is that all? Fool, Jax is waiting for them. You've already lost!"

"Jax?" Kruger asked the question, but it wasn't Gaia who answered.

"The White Shark... the one who took her." Nim's voice was a whisper which held no more force than a draft.

"Thank you... that was all I needed to know." Now Gaia did squeal at the touch of his hand, her metaphysical manifestation dissolving into the darkness like she'd never been. It was followed quickly by the dissolution of the place in which they stood, leaving the two of them together looking at the remaining two scenes. One holding Nim's daughter, grandson, and that woman, the other held Kruger's already exhausted form. That transcended to this place as well. This Kruger flickered once returning translucently.

"You need to end this." There was a note of concern in Nim's tone that she had no idea where it came from. "The strain of dividing yourself so many times..."

Kruger held onto the anvil as he lowered himself to speak softly into Tahlia's ear. Her murmured response brought another from him. "I'm not done yet." His hand trembled with the effort to lift it to the trio, Kruger's index finger dropping heavily to the scene which pulled him right inside of it even as his corporeal form fell to the floor barely breathing as his lips mouthed the words...She Want Me...
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Tahlia Faras
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 156
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Can Be Found: Here and there, depends on her mood
5440.06 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wish You Were Here

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
~ Songwriters: David Gilmour / Roger Waters Pink Floyd


Lumira was blind. In the brief instant it had taken her to cross the portal's threshold she'd lost her ability to see. That wasn't quite accurate, her eyes still worked just fine, they hadn't been prepared for the intensity of the light on the other side. She held her hand in front of squinting eyes trying to block the white purple glow as she would the sun and stepped forward cautiously. Had there not been others about to traverse the same space she'd have remained in place until her eyes adjusted to the brilliance that burned across her retinas like wildfire. Two steps were taken the soles of her feet shuffling across the floor with an almost agonizing slowness, she took three more before she felt what couldn't be seen. The tip of her toes collided with...something. It was solid even if it lacked the hardness of stone and it moved at the gentle impact ever so slightly.

There is a certain feel that can only be recognized as flesh. Lumira would have known what it was even if she were immersed in darkness instead of light. It was still warm at least, the brief contact of her skin told her that much before she pulled her foot back. An arm most assuredly judging by the weight and how it had moved. If there had been a sound to hear it was lost in a cacophony of guitar like feedback in the key of D sharp, or perhaps E flat, which permeated the air heavy as a wall. She stopped her advance, moving vertically instead to kneel and grope for the impedance letting the scent guide her where her eyes could not. That hadn't been noticeable before masked as it was by the smell of sulfur from even her keen senses, not that she recognized him after so much time had passed. There wasn't even a bare emanation of the aroma the child in her memory possessed. It was still him though. Despite all the contrary input Lumira received from her five senses, a mother always knows in her heart. "Kruger..."

Tahlia didn't so much step through as wake up, her eyes ringed in silver as she, took the breath she'd been subconsciously craving since Kruger had put her into that strange half-existence. Rolling onto her side, she coughed, her brain certain she was drowning, and it took a moment for mind and body to sync back up to each other. Once they did, she looked up, her first thought, as always, for the giant selkie who was center and shadow, and was only distracted from that search by the sight of a slowly leaking form sprawled across the floor of the forge, with Lumira hunched over him. Not the one she'd been seeking, but one connected to him - to both of them, in his own way. Grumbling under her breath about the stubbornness of the entire family, the tiny blonde shifted to her feet, and stumbled over, sinking to her knees next to the smith. She laid her hands on his chest, and murmured come back, paying little attention to the fact that the blood pooling on the ground began to seep back into the man it came from - it was what she'd asked it to do, and she expected no less.

Eddie could have been insulted, even surly at how abruptly the opening closed as he passed through it. He would have been, and just as eager to lash out at the obvious orchestrator of that if there hadn't been one most excellent reason not to. It was far more important to be seen as the epitome of presence. That would be impossible if he made himself known by angrily chastising his brother, so he acted like it was nothing more than he expected. Sure he hadn't anticipated the blazing light and blaring noise that enveloped him, but he refused to let such banal things touch him... "I am not planning to help anyone pay for his utility bill... just don't even ask." His half smirk was only slightly besmirched by the need to shield his eyes, the need for it becoming far less as the tear in the air sealed itself fully and the radiance dimmed enough for him to be able to make out the person he most wanted to see him. He wasn't upset at all to see her kneeling with her hands on Kruger's chest, no not jealous in the least little bit. His face always looked that way.

Nim was alone, an unseen witness to events still being played out on two similar planes slightly adjacent to her own, or at least to the one she currently occupied. At least she was no longer subjugated to listen to the lunatic ravings of her daughter's fool of a son. Of course that only left her to listen to the sound of her own thoughts, things that nearly had her speaking them aloud. Craziness...she almost missed the boy...almost. He'd promised that he wouldn't leave her here with no way to get back, and yet here she stood wondering if she should try to leave and half afraid that if she did that she'd miss something important. So she lingered, letting her attention be drawn to the image of Lumira. A noise...certainly not a squeak...pushed out of her involuntarily as she watched and did not fail to notice the diminishing pool of blood or the creature responsible for it. She watched it unseep, or was it anti-seep from the savage crescent shaped wound on Kruger's chest.

The White Shark's bite was always vast and deep. Skin peeled back in the shape of wicked claws across an abdomen which until a second before had been pristine. Their depth should have been accompanied by gouts of red vitreous lifeblood, but it was suspiciously absent. She didn't need to see the raking blow Jax had delivered to Kruger's consciousness to know where it had come from. No, she was seeing things far more clearly now which only increased her suspicions of E.J's blonde distraction. There was more wrong with what was happening, the bite which had punctured the skin on Kruger's torso began to slowly knit itself back together leaving not even the hint of a scar behind. "How...why...who?" Nim finished the sentences that went with each inquiry silently in her head. It simply wouldn't do to be found talking to herself.

This close, Tahlia could keep her eyes closed, and focus her attention on keeping his blood where it belonged. Or at least, where they thought it belonged. Whoever kept taking shots might disagree. Eddie had seen her do this before, to herself, or to him - it didn't occur to her that there would be questions, or concerns - wasn't she using her powers for good, this time? Whatever fight Kruger was raging had given them the chance to get to the portal, and get away. Besides, she knew how much they meant to each other, even if it might actually kill them to say so. The healing...helped. It was easier to make the blood behave when it didn't have an easy way out, but there were more injuries. "Baby...could you come here? Your brother seems pretty intent on trying to get himself killed, and if I'm gonna be here a bit...I haven't been able to touch you for ages."

Eddie needed no more coaxing than the request, he'd have moved at a look from Tahlia. He stepped around his mother and knelt behind the blonde, slipping his arms around her waist and pressing himself against her back. Funny the kinds of things that brought out that I'm trouble smile. "I hope he wakes up soon..." Eddie wanted to be concerned for what was going on, the things that he couldn't see shouldn't be happening here and now. "...I think his stereo is broken." Wanting a thing and actually allowing himself to touch it were two completely different things. He did have the good sense to look abashed as Lumira frowned at him. He'd thought it was funny, maybe inappropriate but just a little. Of course the silent rebuke was just further proof that mom always loved Kruger better!! Eddie was not pouting!

Talia knew him, even if they never really talked about it - certainly not to say those words, and leaned back into his chest, snuggling into his arms and trusting him to move around her, tilting her head back and kissing the only part she could reach. Which turned out to be his jaw, but it didn't really matter. She could touch him again. She liked the smith just fine, but he was Eddie's brother and that meant she'd push herself to the point of exhaustion to help him as much as she could. The fact that he was healing, somehow, helped...it just meant she had to deal with the new wounds, and making sure there wasn't anything else mixing with it that could harm him. It had been a while, and between the massacre the night before, and tonight...Tahlia was tapping into reserves she hadn't used in years.

"He's trapped." Lumira's gaze was on Tahlia but the clipped tone was obviously meant as a mild rebuke for her youngest. At least she hoped it was mild, though who could really blame her if it weren't? It had been a long time since she'd had anyone else's feelings to consider when she spoke. Eddie would just have to learn to be understanding. "I don't know what's holding him there." She looked over her shoulder in Eddie's direction though her intent was focused more up where the portal had been. "The way back is closed. Either he couldn't hold it open or..." or he'd closed it on purpose, but that thought was folly. No one in their right mind would intentionally trap themselves that way. "We need a way to pull him back, or barring that sever the connection." Despite the intervention which seemingly came from the blonde, Kruger's body would only take so much. Her attention was drawn to a shimmering in the air, a space significantly darker than its surroundings which never really solidified into the form of her mother. "What did you do?!"

Things had become clear to Nim now that she was no longer distracted by conversation. Even that was now an obvious ploy to keep her from discoveries, being manipulated left her feeling a trifle sour. This was what she did, having it done to her had been inconceivable until now. Being alone had allowed her to observe things with far greater lucidity. Oh, she'd seen it all as it unfolded, but the barbs and droning of Lumira's whelp had prevented her from understanding exactly what she witnessed. This place she'd been brought to was an illusion, but it was most certainly based on fact. She could see now what she'd been missing, why the nexus of imagery centered itself over the anvil. Initially there'd been no reason to believe that it was anything more than a symbol. Now she surmised that it was more, she'd seen this particular artifact before. Maybe Georg had been right after all. Maybe they'd both gotten what they wanted.


"I'm a victim here, Mira, as we all are." Nim could feel the strain at her mind as she pierced the metaphysical veil though she refused to let it alter her opinion of anyone else. The sound of a disbelieving chuckle pulled her attention to Eddie. She looked from her daughter to him with narrowed eyes before letting them fall to Tahlia with what was a promise to have words with her later. "Scoff if you will, but I've been as impotent as a child since this began." Her footfalls made no sound as she moved her way around all of them to the place where until recently Tahlia had lain.

"Oh good...just what I was missing." If Nim was making promises, Tahlia was unaware, eyes closed, curled up as much as she could be in the warm, safe circle of Eddie's arms and trying her best to keep Kruger alive until they could figure out how to get him back. Assuming Eddie was looking, which, let's be honest, was all but certain, he'd be the first to see the gold start to fade, deepen into the color of blood in the ocean, and then to nearly the same shade as the liquid she was working her hardest to control in the smith. The tan faded out from her skin, and marks appeared that hadn't been visible before. A fleur de lys behind her right ear, and the edge of an oak leaf visible along her ribs, both branded into skin more porcelain than it had been before. The black pearl nestled in her navel shivered as she let out a slow breath, and leaned in a little closer, depending on the man behind her to hold her up. He was the only one who knew how much it cost her, to let that go. She didn't raise her voice, she was sure she didn't need to. Nim had never frightened her. "Look, much as I love your cryptic little entrances...and seriously, is that genetic? Because you ALL do it - if you're not going to be helpful, I really need to focus on keeping him alive...for as long as I can..."

"Perhaps you should focus more on what you're doing..Bó na Talún." Nim's face took on an innocent expression as Lumira squealed out MOTHER! You can't say that! It only lasted a moment, broken by the scrape of steel on stone. Nim bent taking the hilt so recently abandoned by Tahlia in hand.

"Your leanbh briste has linked itself to this place, Mira dear. It's up to us to know how to sever that connection. Fortunately the fool left us all the tools we'll need." She would need to find this place again, to claim the artifacts within for her own Just causes. Gaia's words were still with her. As she stood, the same transparently luminous blade extended from the Daedric hilt. "We just need to kill the heart of his manufacturings." Maybe she was Cryptic, it wasn't up to *that* woman to comment on it, right? Nim advanced on the prone figure of Kruger and the pair of kneeling women raising the weapon high over her head tempted if for a moment to cure the firstborn of this disease called living. Pity that her daughter would never forgive her, she could see that in the suspicious look in the woman's eyes.

Unseen behind her lids, the once and again blonde's eyes shot silver, and the voice that pulled from her throat was soft, but unbroken. "Nim, I swear by your precious Mother that if you swing that blade at either man I will take every drop of blood in your veins to heal them without so much as a blink. You mean nothing to me other than being their kin. Are we clear?" Small she might be, and nearly exhausted, but there was nothing in her tone to suggest that she was not capable of doing exactly what she threatened.

The weapon descended in an arc, faux blade falling swiftly towards the intricately carved anvil. She tensed for the impact, imagining (though it would be impossible to prove) the neck of a redhead stretched across the space. The crash never happened, the weapon's edge passed through the anvil as though both were made of smoke pulling Nim off balance enough to have her quick stepping to recover. The image was there one moment, and then gone like the bursting of a bubble. The only evidence that something had happened was the opening of Kruger's eyes and the sound of a child's voice surrounding them.

Mommy! Around them everything was following the anvil into oblivion. Where once there was an entire working forge, now there was nothing except for them. The only solid thing left which wasn't alive was the hilt in Nim's hands. Kruger reached for Lumira and then broke apart like smoke on water. Inside her head she could hear his voice...What's really going to break your brain later is when you wonder if I was ever here at all...

The sudden disconnect sent Tahlia falling back, and if everything was dark, she hardly noticed - mostly because her eyes were closed. At least she wasn't in a bikini, this time. Salt crusted leathers and a torn tank top weren't much better, but it meant she wasn't shivering. Blinking didn't seem to improve matters. "...he could have at least left the lights..." Not, really, that it mattered - a moment later, she slumped against Eddie's chest, reserves tapped out, head leaning on one gigantic bicep and trusting him, if no one else in the room, to keep her safe for long enough to recover some of her strength. There would be questions, later...both for her and from her, she was certain. All of that could wait.

_________________

But now and then, a woman walks up, full blossom, a woman just bursting out of her dress - a sex creature, a curse, the end of it all.
― Charles Bukowski, Post Office
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