Demons in the Dark

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Post by Amira Ranevskaya » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:51 pm

Demons in the Dark

((Closed rp, pm if you wish to post))

She always preferred to work at night. Perhaps it was because the studious of Runewick had gone to bed. Perhaps it was because she slept better when the sun sits high in the sky. At the very least, the library was quieter at night.

Amira’s quill danced across the page. The dark ink glistening in the lamplight, just as it always did during her late night study sessions. Except instead of a book laid out in front of her, pages were scattered across the secluded table. A neat stack of parchments slowly growing off to her right. Notes upon notes had been scribbled upon them. The basics of arcane magic. A study guide for her sole student.

Echoing footsteps suddenly pierce the dark silence. Amira’s cold brown eyes raise from her work and stare off towards the shadows. She sits frozen in her seat. Her eyes narrow as a man rounds the corner, a small cylindrical item in his hand. His sword sits idly at his belt. As he nears, the heraldic colors of Runewick become apparent, though muted in the dim light. She relaxes, setting her quill down.

“This came for you.”

Her stomach knots, but she forces herself to mutter a thank you. With a short bow he leaves, his heavy footfalls fading back into the darkness. Fear bubbles up inside her. Good news never arrives in the middle of the night, nor had she been expecting it. Not since she found out that her student had been caught in the surprise attack at the Hempnecktie inn only days earlier. An arrow had punctured her lungs, her survival was not assured.

Death would have been a mercy, she thought as Katharina described to her what had happened. Grey and his cronies surprise attack on a peaceful new year's party at the inn. The attempted massacre left many injured, and at least one would be dead if not for the abilities of a few well-learned druids that were found in time. This is why I don’t take students, people have a habit of dying on me. She had told Katharina that. But she is a fighter. Was the woman’s reply.

So are all those who grow up in the gutters. Those whose parents had decided to abandon them at birth. Bequeathing them to orphanages and sewers and the resulting world of horrors. EIther you fight, or you die in a ditch somewhere, covered in your own blood.

Slowly she unrolled the parchment. Her hands shaking as she does. No. The parchment drops from her hands and she goes to cover her mouth to stifle a gasp. Her student, Lizzie, dead, by her own hand. No. No. It can’t be.

She had offered to take her as an unofficial student barely a year before. Tired of seeing one thirsting to learn and being pushed away because they did not live in the right town or follow the right set of rules. Amira had always rebelled against such limitations. Her life alone was living proof. Fighting all odds to become one of the few Albarian women to read and do magic. She had paid drastically for the ability to do so.

Perhaps it was the kindness of one orphan to another. Perhaps it was her finally rising to Raina’s challenge. That if she so thought that Lizzie was a worthy student, then perhaps she ought to teach her. Unlike Raina, Amira did not determine worthiness to be defined by a series of rules and disciplines, even though she too still adheres to Pellandria’s old principles for students.

People have a habit of dying on me.

Parchment flies violently into the air as she whips the stack of papers she had set aside off of the table. Amira’s eyes narrow, watching as they float calmly to the floor. She breathes and the air catches in her throat. Slowly she raises a hand to her mouth. The chair creaks underneath her as she leans back, her eyes closing. And for the first time in many years, she cries.

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Post by Amira Ranevskaya » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Demons in the Dark

Hoofbeats sounded behind her. Trees whipped past her as she ran. She knew she was running for her life, she was dead if they caught her. Amira dodged quick to the left, weaving in and out of trees. It made no difference. She could hear the shouting now. The manic laughter. The sound of the horses grew louder.

“Kyre! The gate! Open the gate!” She cried, running towards the woman as swiftly as she could. Behind her the laughter grew louder. A root catches her boot and she trips, falling prone. She gasps, attempting to catch her breath. The manic laughter is behind her now and she turns to meet it.

Greys hallowed eyes stare down at her. He laughs manically, raising a short spear. She raises her hand defensively fingers spread in a vain attempt to shield herself. Her other hand searching hopelessly for the wand that she had dropped when she fell. His laughter grows as his spear point hurtles down towards her.

She sits up with a gasp. The room is dark but for the moonlight sweeping in from the window. Her coarse linen shirt is soaked with sweat. Amira turns, putting her feet in the cold wood floor of the Runewick dormitory. The cold comes as a shock, but helps her return to reality. She bows her head and rests her hands on her face.

How long was it since her last night terror? Six months this time? Seven? She had managed to go years without an episode before coming to Illarion. That was until her first Mas here. Now it came in cycles. Every couple of months it would come and go. Every couple of months she lived sleep deprived and aggravated. What else was new?

Amira grabs a satchel from under the bed and grabs a clean shirt. She pulls off the sweat soaked one and shivers, the cold hitting her skin. Slowly she dresses, pulling on her hide pants and boots, buckling her leather armor. Finally she pulls on her red robe, black embroidery climbs the front of it. Amira belts it shut, hiding the leather armor underneath.

She grabs her old battered leather bag and slings it over her shoulder, wincing. She had not yet healed from the encounter with Grey. Stupidly she had decided she was out for blood, after what he had done to her student in the tavern. Stupidly she stood in the front line with her wand raised. How could she be so stupid. She knew better.

Whatever. There was no point in dwelling on it now. Instead Amira carefully crept her way towards the stairs, doing her best to avoid the squeakiest boards in the floor. She was going for a walk.

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Post by Amira Ranevskaya » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:35 pm

Re: Demons in the Dark

Amira sat up with a start. Her heart pounding in her ears. Breathing heavily, she raises her hands to her face. The fire. The flames.

Slowly reality returned to her. The moon casting an eerie glow on the dormitory floor and the students or visitors to the academy slept on, blissfully unaware of her strife. She shuttered, pushing the dream away. She hated these episodes. They came on so quickly and without warning.

No, there was plenty of warning. She was just too stupid as always to avoid the instances. She caused her own suffering and only had herself to blame.

Amira slid her feet into her boots and pulled on her robe. She crept towards the balcony, doing her best not to disturb the sleepers, and sat down at one of the tables. She gazed out towards the glow on the horizon. Off towards the pillars in the fields.

She had all, but locked herself in the library researching those bloody pillars. It was not uncommon for her to lose herself in her work. But this time it was different. No, not different. Just perhaps the final straw for a woman who had suffered too much at the hands of the world and teetered on the edge of sanity.

Externally she seemed as cold as ever. Internally, she churned in turmoil. It was bad enough that she typically lost track of the hours and missed important things such as citizen meetings and lectures. Now she missed whole days worth of meals. It was not uncommon for her to avoid sleep before giving into exhaustion and finding a bed to sleep in. Yet now, she found herself being rudely awakened by the Runewick librarians who grew tired of her succumbing to her night terrors in the middle of the day.

It was bad enough the whispers the Dean had generated by his uneducated rebuttal to her work. The Charlatan of Runewick. Her! A woman who had crossed oceans to seek out magic. Who had spent time in various societies across the land in order to to learn from them. She had even gone so far in her youth to masquerade as a scholarly boy in Albar in a foolhardy attempt to geam what learned secrets they hid. Charlatan! The Dean could kiss her lily white . . .

An extra loud snore from the dormitory caused her to startle and reach for the knife she kept tucked away on her belt. She had stupidly left that under her pillow. Amira gave an exasperated sigh and sunk back into the chair.

Once again she looked towards the horizon, eyeing the glow from the active portals and flaming pillars. Her months spent in the library had brought forth fruitless effort. She had found nothing. She read everything she could get ahold of, and yet, she found nothing. Even spent a day’s worth of insanity searching the walls and bookcases for some secret passage, nearly having convinced herself that the Bearers hid the books worth any substinance in a hidden cellar. Nothing.

Amira sighed, suddenly feeling as if the fight had gone out of her. It didn’t matter. None of it mattered. Shuttering, she pulls her robe tightly against herself. And there on the dark balcony, huddled against the coldness deep inside her, she slept a restless sleep.

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Post by Amira Ranevskaya » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:28 pm

Re: Demons in the Dark

Amira closed her book with a slam, causing those around her in the quiet library of Runewick to stir and glace her way. She met them in turn with her own cold glare, causing the gutless disciples to shy away from her look. As they did Amira ran a hand through her hair before packing up her items in frustration. There would be little progress made today in the scholarly arts.

Her one compensation was that for the past couple of weeks she had slept. The nightmares had temporarily subsided for all that was worth. But what replaced them was in a way, far more terrifying than she could ever imagine. The dead plagued her dreams. Just one, actually. One whose voice echoed in the back of her mind as she hurriedly packed her things. “I want out. And to do that, I need your help.”

She slung her heavy bag over her shoulder and stormed out of the library. Ruffling the papers and drawing ire from the academy students once again. They did not matter. She had now seen beyond death. The endless eternity that awaited all those who were not good little boys and girls in the eyes of the gods. The eternal plain, endless grass as far as the eyes can see. Only to be ripped asunder by some unknown force to her and the very fabric of her existence torn apart. Only to be rebound so that it can occur again. Perhaps the gods would eventually take pity on those who wandered there. Perhaps in time, one by one, the souls would be born anew and given a fresh chance. Amira did not have that kind of time.

“Resurrect me, or eliminate my soul from all existence.”

Amira batted away branches and vines that obscured her path towards Yewdale. Runewicks jungle was a mere nuisance as compared to what plagued her now. Though she made note of its possible use in ritual magic to come, or could she bind some of it to an object and take that mana elsewhere? What power there was here that was just being blatantly ignored and scattered off into the world. It was of no surprise to her that the fools created a greater mess in their attempt to be selfless, or shall we say, selfishly vain in their desire to appear the heroes.

If Amira had her way, she would light a candle and be done with it. But nothing was ever solved by standing aside and praying. She batted away another branch before stepping onto the golden bricked bridge towards Yewdale. Case and point.

How does one destroy a soul? This concept alone troubled her. Was this even possible from her side of the void? She shuttered. An eternity of being torn asunder made her blood curdle. But the very idea of non-existence scared her deep down.

“Find my bones. Rebind my soul to them. Then we can heal my bones to be me again.”

Resurrection. Now that was a possibility. After all, she had heard of it being done before. In fact, she has seen evidence of what can be accomplished by it. One could be brought back entirely, in their old form. But it was possible to store a soul in an entirely different body, perhaps change them from elf to human. Did this make female to male transitioning possible too? After all, it was just a life force, did it matter what it actually inhabited so long as it inhabited something? Maybe she could put the soul in a rock until she could figure out what to do with it. Maybe a raven, call it a familiar. Would be nice to have a pet.

Yet, all this came at a cost. There were risks involved and so much that could go wrong. When you open up a portal to the great beyond, there is no telling what one might pull through. What might whisper in your ear to be freed. What might latch on and be taken across in the process.

Then there was Cherga, the keeper of the underworld to deal with. How does one take what belongs to a god without recompense. Does one say, sacrifice an innocent mother and child to save themselves against retribution? Or does one risk one's own soul to reach across into the underworld and potentially lose theirs to save another's. What shard of herself would she lose in this process should she risk it.

“I know all the risks you are taking. I don’t know what you’d value resurrection at. But I would pay you back for it.”

Oh child, if only you knew.

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Post by Amira Ranevskaya » Fri May 04, 2018 10:26 pm

Re: Demons in the Dark

The small black book caught fire with a WUMPF. A scholar, burning books! The thought about made Amira laugh. But no, it was true. There is a reason why some information is best hidden away from the world. Why some things are kept secret and only those who are responsible enough and experienced enough were aware of it. Why only they were permitted to use it.

The very concept went against everything she ever fought for. Her general philosophy was that information should be available for all who sought it. But oh, there were some things people aren’t meant to find. There are some things, that should never be found.

She learned this the hard way. Once, a long time ago. But it was the only lesson on the subject she required. Amira was only just in her late twenties at the time. Just at that age where even though she had already experienced and survived hardships, she still considered herself invincible. A trait found in most people of that age.

As the fire burned before her, she gazed off into the dark black of night. The firelight flickering off of her cold brown eyes. As it did, the memories began to flood back to her. Memories she had also hoped to forget,

She found herself where all adventures seem to begin. Alone, in a tavern. A place filled with drunkards who spent what little coin they earned on beer and where travelers seeking a warm bed after many long days of travel rested. It was there that she waited for her contact. Someone she had hired with what little coin she had to seek out a book that no mage dared to find.

By this point, Amira had heard of many a legend or local rumor. Stories which caused local town folk to listen in awe. Other stories spoke of curses and forbade the visitation of those locations. These stories would frighten locals and create superstitions to last for centuries. It was those stories that drove intrigued her. Drove her to explore and disprove the tall tales.

It was that hat brought her here today. Legend told of a long-dead archmage whose arcane tome lay hidden in his tomb. It was not a secret really. Everyone knew of his final resting place. It had become a pilgrimage point for mages, who would come to pay their respects to the illustrious archmage. And yet, for all those who knew of the tomb, no one dared to enter it. Once again superstition played its part and kept even the most well learned of scholars from investigating further. Rumor had it that the tomb was protected by Elara, and that all those who entered with the intent to take with the archmages knowledge out of the tomb, would die.

Amira believed none of it. Even then she had little regard for the gods, as is frequent of those who had seen true horrors. Those whose dreams cause them to relive them nightly. And so she was certain that the gods had little care for the lives of mortals. That blessings and curses done by them were really just the toils of men attempting to enforce their will on others. She had little to fear of Elara’s curse. It was all just hearsay.

A rugged man sat down in front of her with a large mug of beer. “You da mage?” Amira simply nodded as she gave him a once over. Blondish-brown hair, emerald green eyes, five o’clock shadow, no, maybe a day or two old stubble. His brown leathers were well worn, but not falling to pieces. A bandolier of small vials filled with liquid crossed his chest, mainly violet, probably healing related. He seems confident and calm, a good trait for someone about to face ‘Elara’s Curse’ with her. One hand gripped the handle of the beer mug, his other rested idly on the pommel of the sword that hung from his belt. “Very well, love. Dusk has just fallen, we will have to wait till all the drunks won’t have memory of our leaving. That alright?”

Amira did her best to hide the cringing from being called ‘love’. Quickly she redirected to the mug in his hand. “And you think you won’t be one of them?”

He gave her a grin, “What? You don’t think I can hold my liquor? I’ll be alright. Why don’t you have a drink yer self. Best to relax a bit before going on a heist like this.”

She shook her head and raised a hand to signal one of the female tavern keeps. “I don’t drink. I prefer to keep my head clear. And this is not a heist, it is an excavation.” Amira pulled a few coins from her pouch and handed it to the woman that appeared, “Two plates of what is being served this evening and a hot tea for myself.” As soon as the woman turned and left Amira reached for another pouch tucked into her light blue robe. She tossed it across the table towards him. “Half, as promised. You will get the other half when the job is complete.” He took it and watched her a moment longer than she felt comfortable. His eyes lingering on her chest before rising to meet her eyes. A look she now figured was less lewd in nature and instead his questioning where the other coin purse was hidden on her person. Then again, he was a man. She would hardly put both past him.

Hours passed before they left the tavern. The tomb itself was not far, but it was enough of a distance from the tavern to keep others from bothering them. And small trek into the forest would obscure their breaking and entering. Thankfully, the full moon made their short journey all the easier. Though Amira guessed their journey back would not be as lucky. The night was damp and she could see the tendrils of fog beginning to creep along the path. It would obscure their vision upon their return and perhaps cause them to lose their way even on the forest edge.

The rogue she had hired stopped at the front gate, gently setting his bag down in front of him. From it he withdrew a roll of lockpicks and began searching for the proper tools. He hesitated a moment, “You sure you want to do this? There ain’t no coming back from here.” Amira gave him a firm look and he relented, picking the gate lock and allowing the two of them to slip inside. The gate clicked shut behind them. There was no going back, not from here. Either they found what they were looking for, or they died inside.

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