Blairjay

can still surprise...

Aug 22nd, 2020 (edited)
104
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  1. The Fulcrux of Nocht.
  2. The image of a beautiful nighttime sky has been stretched across the fulcrux. Dim stars struggle futilely to compete with the terrifying beauty of Mother Night. The ethereal image wavers on occasion, the sky rippling like water in a pond. A lonely hill covered in tall grass leads up to a single shrine. Behind the shrine stands a large blackthorn tree. The tree is taller than most of its kind, extending upwards rather than outwards. Delicate blossoms shower down from its branches, creating a flurry of white petals and filling the air with the pungent scent of wyrden foliage. A complex series of stones orbit around a stygian orb here. A rippling image of a beautiful night sky has been magically wrapped around the fulcrux here.
  3. You see a single exit leading through an image of the night sky.
  4.  
  5. You bow respectfully to the master shrine of Nocht.
  6.  
  7. [Thinks, emotes]
  8.  
  9. You think to yourself: ...I hope I have taken Your words to heart, about doubt.
  10.  
  11. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
  12.  
  13. You think to yourself: ...it's harder than it sounds. But I'm trying.
  14.  
  15. The image of the night sky grows terrifyingly dark as an icy breeze cuts across the lonely hill, spiralling patterns dancing across the tall grass.
  16.  
  17. A wind cuts across the fulcrux, carrying a whisper, "What do you still doubt, little one?"
  18.  
  19. You have emoted: Esei's eyes flicker down to the shrine as he folds his hands together. "I... I am not sure," he says, raspy voice quiet and softened. "It is... some kind of innate doubt that I do not truthfully know the source of."
  20.  
  21. The boughs of the large blackthorn moan loudly as they shake, sending a new shower of petals cascading across the fulcrux.
  22.  
  23. The pointed tips of your ears twitch to hear an errant sound.
  24.  
  25. The soft voice whispers in your thoughts, faint yet clear, "Gurashi made a request of Me before abandoning the Glomdoring. They spoke of your doubt... Asked Me to assure you it is misplaced."
  26.  
  27. You have emoted: Esei's gaze drops to the ground and narrows, lips tightening.
  28.  
  29. The boughs of the large blackthorn moan loudly as they shake, sending a new shower of petals cascading across the fulcrux.
  30.  
  31. You think to yourself: Traitortraitorliar...
  32.  
  33. You have emoted: Esei's fingers tighten to a white-knuckled grip around each other, and he inhales slowly, carefully, before relaxing. "I had not realized that."
  34.  
  35. The magicked image above grows darker and a biting chill sets into the fulcrux. The frigid dimness lingering between calming and discomfort. "I've watched many mortals, little ones. It is rare that one without doubt deserves to be without it. Perhaps it will vanish with time, indeed, you are young even by mortal reference. Or perhaps it will linger about you, always. Through such trials, you can grow stronger. So if this doubt is one you must endure, take comfort in that fact."
  36.  
  37. A faint edge creeps into the voice as it whispers, "Unless, of course, you succumb to it in the way Gurashi succumbed to their own weaknesses... But as one of Mine, I am certain you will not allow that to happen."
  38.  
  39. You have emoted: Esei runs his tongue over a sharp tooth, as though to ground himself. He gives a slow, short nod.
  40.  
  41. The image above wavers and ripples gently as a cold breeze howls through the fulcrux.
  42.  
  43. You think to yourself: ...I hope that, even with this doubt I have, I have greater standards for myself than... that.
  44.  
  45. The image above wavers and ripples gently as a cold breeze howls through the fulcrux.
  46.  
  47. A ripple of energy shimmers across the air, accompanied by a sense of approval mixed with amusement.
  48.  
  49. You close your eyes and inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of your surroundings.
  50.  
  51. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
  52.  
  53. Shadows swirl around your arm as the Fingerblade of dha'Wyrden-cree digs itself more painfully into your finger.
  54.  
  55. You have emoted: Esei opens his mouth, as though to speak, then pauses and closes it again, closing his eyes thoughtfully.
  56.  
  57. The boughs of the large blackthorn moan loudly as they shake, sending a new shower of petals cascading across the fulcrux.
  58.  
  59. You have emoted: Esei runs his tongue over a sharp incisor again, eyes still closed.
  60.  
  61. You think to yourself: ** A flash of a memory... dark water, cupped in pale hands and its cold quality as it is drank... a flicker of curiosity, then fear, more present, overlaps it. **.
  62.  
  63. The voice intrudes upon your thoughts, faint and cracking like dead leaves underfoot, "Is there something else you wished to ask, little one?"
  64.  
  65. The boughs of the large blackthorn moan loudly as they shake, sending a new shower of petals cascading across the fulcrux.
  66.  
  67. Worrying away at one of his claws with his teeth, you whisper, "...yes. But I do not know how to ask."
  68.  
  69. A shift in the air, an impression of curiosity, "Oh? Is it so difficult a question?"
  70.  
  71. Quietly, you say, "The question itself is not difficult, perhaps, but the context and the phrasing..."
  72.  
  73. You think to yourself: ** The memory broadens, larger and longer... Esei, staring into the ink-dark pool on that forested platform of the Whispering Abyss... their hands sink below the pool, then bring back some of the water, cupped between their palms... **.
  74.  
  75. You sense the touch of Nocht upon your thoughts still, though if He understands your recollection, He offers no comment.
  76.  
  77. You think to yourself: ** The sensation of drinking the contents, though there is no image, as if their eyes were closed... then the memory fades, leaving dread pooled like a viper in Esei's stomach, ready to strike. **.
  78.  
  79. You shiver violently.
  80.  
  81. The image of the night sky grows terrifyingly dark as an icy breeze cuts across the lonely hill, spiralling patterns dancing across the tall grass.
  82.  
  83. The whispering voice twists through your thoughts, "Perhaps this is a good test for you, little one. If you seek answers, you must be able to give voice to the question."
  84.  
  85. You close your eyes and inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of your surroundings.
  86.  
  87. You let loose a long breath from your lungs, exhaling slowly.
  88.  
  89. Quietly, you say, "I suppose there are a few. But I suppose the most obvious one is... am I going to die?"
  90.  
  91. "Almost certainly.", the voice whispers in your thoughts.
  92.  
  93. You chew on your lip thoughtfully.
  94.  
  95. You nod your head.
  96.  
  97. The voice continues, "Though that is part of being mortal, little one. If it is any comfort, the fate-touched seem much longer lived."
  98.  
  99. Another biting wind cuts across the fulcrux, spiraling patterns in the tall grass, "Or is there something that has you more concerned for the immediate future?"
  100.  
  101. Pausing for a few moments, then elaborating, you ask, "About... drinking the water. Am I going to die... for that? Or because of it?"
  102.  
  103. You feel an icy chill at your cheek as the voice now whispers in your ear, "Ah, My little one... An interesting concern to have after the fact."
  104.  
  105. The voice continues, "Do you feel as if you might?"
  106.  
  107. The image of the night sky grows terrifyingly dark as an icy breeze cuts across the lonely hill, spiralling patterns dancing across the tall grass.
  108.  
  109. Quietly, you say, "I suppose if... You felt it prudent."
  110.  
  111. "Hmm...", the air shifts and twirls as if the voice itself was twisting through the air, "It may be nothing more than water to you, little one. But even after centuries, mortals can still surprise. I suppose we will learn the answer with time. If it puts you at ease, I sense no immediate threat to your body or spirit."
  112.  
  113. You have emoted: Esei runs his tongue over his tooth again, hands tightening as he dips his head in acknowledgment.
  114.  
  115. Softly, you ask, "My other question, I suppose, was..." here, the viscanti pauses, tail twitching in brief agitation as he searches for words. "When You came to me to give me the Sagehood tasks, there was... something in the water. I'm not sure if I saw it or felt it... What was that?"
  116.  
  117. The voice whispers, "Perhaps one of the myglae. I've noticed they trail after Mine quite often even if they do not make their presence known at all times."
  118.  
  119. You nod your head slowly in understanding.
  120.  
  121. Quietly, you say, "I must beg Your pardon. My soul is demanding its rest now."
  122.  
  123. Nocht, the Silent has bestowed His divine truefavour upon you. It will last for 2 months.
  124.  
  125. "Rest well, little one."
  126.  
  127. You bow respectfully to the master shrine of Nocht.
  128.  
  129. You stand before the wavering image of the night sky, your arms spread wide. In an instant, shadowy tendrils shoot out and wrap around as they forcibly drag you into the image. All fades to black before you are suddenly hurled into a dark cavern.
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