Pure Marae route, part 2
- [If corruption is below 40 and you've cleared the first scene]
- Your rowing brings you to where the waters are purest, the air is richest and the skies are clearest. Marae's Island. Last you met, she had asked for more time to consider your offer. Will you visit her?
- [If "No"]
- It's too soon, your mind ponders. You're not even sure you want to take this journey anyway; what else you could be doing might be more important.
- [If "Yes"]
- With purpose, you land on its shores, and approach its divine ivory tree. The goddess' closed eyelids lift up.
- "Hello again, Champion. Thank you for your patience; this was not something I could rush. But...your cause is pure. If you would face the training of the druids, I will lend you my guidance."
- Elated, you ask what must be done.
- "Today I want you to understand the heart of what lies ahead. This will not be a short road."
- In a surprising gesture, Marae's human form steps forth from its bark. She walks forth, down across the ivory roots of her great tree as far as they will take her. You consider her poise, her shapely form, as well as her hesitation. When her feet touch the ground, it is not like before; the ground beneath her pulses. On the grass, her footsteps leave a trail that is white like a ray of sunlight, as the tree roots underneath are still connected to Marae. Or is this her avatar? How far from the tree can this extend?
- Now she stands before you.
- "But we will walk it together."
- You half expect her to offer out her hand. Instead, she beckons you to follow, and so you do.
- "Stay on my path."
- [Next page]
- Marae leads you along the shore, still standing on grass. Here, the shine of Marae's root path is at its dimmest. As you tread, your senses slowly sharpen. The water, the air, the trees, soil and stone...they have history. You always knew, but in Marae's company it feels different.
- After a long time walking in silence, you stop waiting on Marae to speak or lead you somewhere, and instead focus on the journey. You hear the lakewater lapping with low sounds by the shore; you imagine the rain washing over this land and the creatures who drink from it. You hear the wind tickling your ears and brushing past the flower leaves; you think of the seeds and soils it has carried, from one plain to the next, and the many mothers and fathers it has helped. Your eyes drift to the many flowers and plants closer to the mainland, some in full bloom; your mind sees the generations that they have stood for, the life that they have given and have yet to give.
- "[Player Name]."
- You stand still. Marae has stopped too, and now her eyes fix yours intently.
- Neither of you make a sound. Nature does. While you wait intently for the goddess to speak, your ears don't lose their focus. Her iris flickers up to them, seeing your senses at work, and her lips curve slightly upward. Then she looks back to your eyes.
- Slowly, Marae raises her right arm.
- "Hold my hand."
- She says it as though the gesture carries weight. It surely shouldn't. But you raise your palm to hers. Your fingertip brush each other as your fingers lock together. As they do, you feel the sensations rush from your fingertips all over your body. You close your eyes and open them again, trying to regain focus. You focus on Marae's hand, and how pure her skin suddenly seems. It's incandescent. You follow the arm to the rest of her body, and soon you're taking it in like every part is a miracle of beauty. Her emerald locks waver around her head, the wind caressing them with fervent grace. Her chest is so shapely that you are flushed with admiration; you think if you held a hand around that slim waist, you could never let it go. Maybe just to stroke her hips, fit for bearing like a goddess bears the world. Or her breasts, so naturally rounded and carved. You lift your head up to her face, and your eyes trace her smooth, soft lips. How many people have seen this face as clearly as you do now? Or held their lips against hers? If every woman in the world looked like this, you would--
- "That will do for now."
- Marae suddenly lets go of your hand.
- You stumble backwards, almost onto your knees. Your ears are ringing with some soft sound you cannot name. You didn't realise until now how heavy your breath was, or how fired up your heart is.
- "I told you - nature is not as the demons paint it. To see the world in an animal's eyes is one thing. To see it as a clear-minded human is another. But to commune with nature means more than controlling your base desires - it means to see them as they truly are. By the time this is over, you will see much more, and be in focus of it all."
- You heard her clearly, but you still find it hard to move. Now you're listening to your beating heart, and your bodily impulse. A quivering hand of yours reaches to your groin, despite your attempts at control.
- She frowns to herself. "You Perhaps I underestimated the corruption in this land. When I walked with people ages ago, the air all around was calmer."
- Hold on a little longer, then."
- When you look at Marae now, your vision flickers between the spotless woman you saw then, and the marionette carved from tree bark you saw at first. You want to re-establish that connection again, exhausted as you are.
- Instead, Marae gathers the shore's sand in one hand, and spreads it around her like a robe. Then she wraps your arm up over her shoulder, and helps walk you back to your boat. At some point, your vision flickers.
- [Next Page]
- You seem to have woken up back in your camp. You don't remember losing vision. Or even reaching your boat. Did Marae help you across the lake and back home?
- [If Rathazul is in the camp]
- You ask Rathazul if he saw anything, and he is surprised to see you. "Ah, [Player Name]! I didn't realise you were back!" When you explain you don't remember, he shrugs. "If you think there's something wrong with you, I can craft you some medicine."
- You don't think that will be necessary.
- [If Jojo is in the camp]
- You approach Jojo and ask if he knew how you came back. "I was meditating, [Player Name], so I'm afraid not. But now you mention it, I sensed something different. Not corrupt like I was used to, no, better. Peaceful. Is all well?"
- You think of telling him everything about Marae, but you'd like some time to process it yourself. For now, you tell him that you think everything is fine.
- [Returned to camp. Skip +2 hours. Minus corruption. Lust + (40 + (corruption level / 10] )]
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