• Closed • Blind Date [Max]

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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Blind Date [Max]

Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:27 am

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3rd of Vhalar 719

Ellasin had hesitated back in Rharne, when they arrived. As if sensing something, she cast glances about. Something changed her mind about where she was. In a flash, her mind was made up. The powers at her command had eroded her virtues of secrecy and discretion. Where once she relied on cunning, brute force and blatant acts of violence had taken their place. This was not her way, not her old way. It wasn't how she'd built her empire from the ground up. It was exactly the way everything found itself crumbling around her ears.

She needed to put the breaks on, and not let an errant pawn drive her to desperation.

So she turned to Maxine, and smiled her inscrutable, unreadable smile. "We will finish this at a later date, when the appropriate forces have gathered. I want you to meet me at The Red Hand, in Scalvoris town on the morning of 3rd of Vhalar... Don't linger too long here in Rharne. Already eyes have focused in on our arrival. I'm sure a woman of your skills can find someone to smuggle you out... In the meantime..."

And just like that, Ellasin had vanished before Max's eyes. Nevertheless, the invitation to her own establishment had been made.



And if Maxine found herself in Scalvoris, on the 3rd of Vhalar, her establishment would be mostly deserted during the day, it's main attractions being active during the night time hours.

Even so, should Maxine look around, she would find one familiar form seated at a round table, near a dirty window. A ray of light shone over her hood, but a lock of black hair could be seen to be streaming out of it. The hand that tapped the table had black fingernails.

It appeared that Max's date had arrived. Would she take it?
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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:00 pm

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One moment they'd been full speed ahead with a daring endeavor to get even. In the next, the Necromancer apparently got cold feet. Max could feel the hesitation before Ellasin voiced it. Halting made frustrating sense. It had been some time since Maxine had been an annoyance upon the Augustin property. Active troops, traps, and defenses were likely unknown to her. To advance would've been to attack blind. The witch knew that. Common sense had been a driving force in keeping her alive and in power so long.

Maxine's lips pressed together at mention of meeting again instead in Scalvoris. That damned island was where the Zuuda champion had gotten an inexplicable jump on her. She expected that the man's death had immediately earned Famula's attention, and thus informed Faith. Whispers of entertaining the enemy would spread. The ex-convict more than expected a wave of head hunters would follow. It was the mention of meeting at her own place of business, The Red Hand, that tightened Max's guarded expression. The lounge had been a safe house for someone other than just the criminal.

Even if she wanted to protest the command, she never got the chance. The witch was gone in an instant. Maxine's jaw slackened at the realization she'd been left behind and so close to Famula's army. Cursing quietly in the woods, she kept her gaze focused on the direction of the distant house as she made her retreat. Her mind reached out against her will, wondering who might've still lingered on that Augustin land. She swiftly warded those thoughts away. Escape became the new, desperate priority.

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Getting out of Rharne undiscovered had been no easy task. By the first of the new cycle she'd made it back to Scalvoris against the odds. Her employees looked at her strangely upon her arrival. The last time they'd laid eyes on her was quite some time ago. Wagers on whether she was alive had been made, half betting her dead. Show up she did though, tired and angry. Time abroad had meant she scored good Ambrosia though, which nearly made the whole ordeal worth it.

No longer completely undone, she'd properly prepared for the 3rd of Vhalar. A skeleton staff was in place during the day time. Guests were sent out. When Maxine came downstairs and spotted the hooded woman with black fingernails, she felt herself harden. On a nod, her few employees were sent away to busy themselves with side work. Her bouncers manned the doors from the outside. Discreet had been one of the lounge's selling points, but the gesture was exaggerated in respect for the Coven leader.

When Maxine made it to the table, it was not without pacifying gifts. A cup for each of them was placed down and filled with rum. The bottle went in the center when the simple task was complete. Only then did Max slide down into the chair opposite of the Necromancer. She reached into her cloak pocket and procured one of her new Ambrosia joints. After placing the joint between her lips, she leaned forward to light the end on the center candle. One drag and she felt the drug rush through her blood stream like a stampede. A buzzing, intellectual high blossomed between her ears.

"Well," the ex-convict started amicably, leaned back in her seat. A slow plume of Ambrosia smoke flowed from her mouth with each spoken word. "We here to discuss getting your balls back?" She plucked the joint from her lips and gave the end of it a tap on the arm of her chair. A couple ashes dropped softly to the floor. Her steely caramel stare moved from the lit Ambrosia to steady on the hooded face of the woman who had saved her last season. "We want the same thing, Ellasin. Nothing has changed."

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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:23 am

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As Max leaned forward to light the ambrosia joint with the candle, a thin shadow crossed over her face. It continued to lengthen, while the ex-convict started to smoke, in the center of the table. Narrow, the darkness stretched along the surface then poured over the table edge onto the floor.

While drugged smoke curled around Max’s vision, the shadows twisted unnaturally in The Red Hand. They flared from every light source. Darkness whorled and branched out from no source that could be perceived with the eyes.

From the ceiling, the deepest of shadows gathered and poured down along the walls of the establishment.

The ambrosian ashes tapped away by Max landed on her own shadow, which no longer remained stuck to her body. The shadow detached from her, slid to the side of the table, and gradually lifted upward. From this gloom, a womanly figure formed into existence: curvaceous and unmistakable as to who had joined the secret meeting.

“A morning rendezvous after the light has begun to shine. What an interesting choice. How subversive,” said the Dark One - the Great Shadow Mother - while she sat next to the round table at the edge between Max and Ellasin. The Red Hand had darkened as if it were the pitch of night still.

Her shadowy figure continued to morph like the whorls of darkness along the furniture and walls. Until it started to settle into the very form of… Ellasin, of which both women could see. She purred in a smoky voice, “Maxine, Maxine, you do know how to get into trouble, don’t you?”

The Mistress of Shadows reached over and she lightly touched Maxine’s shoulder. “Oh, do continue. I’m here to observe one of my most favored. In the meantime, mind sharing a joint?”

Audrae lowered her hand from the shoulder, held it out in expectant wait for Maxine to either give her the ambrosia joint or to get out a new one to give the Immortal.

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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:34 am

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The woman at the table barely had time to respond to Maxine's statement, before something altogether unexpected happened. As the light on Maxine's joint flared, the shadows coalesced against the source of light, forming into the Mistress of Shadows herself.

Maxine's guest barely had time to react, and perhaps Maxine was distracted by her sudden appearance. But behind the hood, the posture stiffened, the nails stopped tapping, and arms withdrew to fiddle with something under the table. Within a few trills, a box was produced from below the table, and set there. The woman pushed it toward Maxine. "For you to open... But at the price of a name. Remember how you named one you would have spared? I give the contents of the box over to you, if you name one more to that list."

She waited, and turned fractionally to the right, away from Audrae, as if attempting to obscure her face from the Shadowed One. In her hand, the woman twirled a little trinket, a key, presumably to open the contents of the wooden box.

"I've kept my part of the bargain, haven't I?" Stated Maxine's Guest. "You've little to fear by giving over one little name."

Again, the woman's hooded head turned, this time angling itself in Audrae's direction. "I didn't know we'd have another guest. I suppose that comes with one wearing so many leashes. You're quite the prolific servant, aren't you Maxine?" She asked, her head still angled toward Audrae. Behind the cowl, her bright eyes narrowed.
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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:13 am

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The sweet, sweet embrace of her vice had reached the vessels of her head, blossoming starbursts of neurological delight and stimulation. The haze had quickly faded away. In its place, her mind was operating on overdrive, analyzing and re-analyzing every detail that was happening around her and to her. The light in The Red Hand changed and she caught on just as quickly.

Places of light became dark. The darkness twisted and altered before their very eyes until the lounge appeared swallowed in it. The sudden invasion granted the business owner no feelings of fear or trepidation. The one causing the gloom had sought to steal those emotions away from her for her own good, after all. Maxine hadn't seen the Immortal of Fear and Shadows since Sephira and the Elements dragged her off to be incarcerated at Slags Deep. Never would she forget the pants-pissing expressions of base-line terror written across the faces of the soldiers as the being made her entrance to bless the prisoner. The memory of it brought the faintest twitch of a momentary smile to Maxine's lips. This shade was more than welcome here.

Audrae.

Maxine took another pull from her joint. The end of it turned a vibrant orange in the dimness that had suddenly overcome their meeting place. The Ambrosia burned her lungs when it was held in her chest, but after a few moments, it was released in a slow stream through her nostrils. She leaned back in her seat, apparently soothed by the familiar darkness that consumed them now. Questioning caramel eyes regarded Audrae curiously. She'd heard nothing from the Immortal for some time. Now she was here like no arc had passed between them. Still, she knew so little of the patron.

"Least I could do," Max eased with a shrug, holding her own joint in her mouth while a hand vanished to fish into her pocket for another. "Sunlight. Bad for hangovers." She found what she was looking for. The Rharnian Ambrosia joint was fiddled with between her fingers momentarily. Her eyes were fixated on it. Then, she seemed to break from it. The joint was willingly surrendered to Audrae with a half-grin. "The dark reminds me of my former home. Can't say I'm too nostalgic for it." Yet those murder tunnels in prison made more sense than the world on the surface for her.

The ex-convict turned her attention back to the caller of this meeting. Her head tilted the slightest bit. All of Ellasin's body language screamed her discomfort with the Immortal's presence. The unforeseen arrival had thrown the confidence of her mood. Her presence was less commanding, and it also seemed like she was actively trying to lower her face. Max's brow furrowed. The mage's active attempts to keep her head down and eyes from meeting Audrae's reminded her of a submissive mutt. Rolling over beneath the Mistress of Shadows was all that was missing to complete the image. For the first time, Max found a disconnect between the tales of Ellasin's evil and great power.

This is who keeps you up at night, Faith?

Max sat there, smoking in vexed silence while the Necromancer procured a curious box to place before her. She frowned at it. A gift, is what it seemed to contain. Whether it was a good gift or a bad gift, Max was unsure. She could give a name, another to spare, and the contents would belong to her. She inhaled more Ambrosia, letting her mind run in every which direction within a matter of trills.

The truth was that she was in a box of her own now. Choice, in the grand scheme of things, was off the table. A variety of choices, her own and those of others, had resulted in bridges put to flame. There was only one other path to walk. It still promised her righteous revenge and the chance to purchase mercy in exchange for service. The expense was high. Maybe too high. She glanced toward Audrae before looking back toward Ellasin and the box. She thought she understood then why the Mistress of Shadows had come to spectate. Audrae was also the Immortal of Deception. And Maxine had become one of Idalos' greatest traitors.

The turncloak was letting that revelation settle heavily when Ellasin made the accusation she was a servant. Her eyes tightened and her lips curled at that. She adjusted her jaw and leaned forward to put her elbows on the table. Her fingers were unwittingly curled into fists. Ambrosia smoke twirled around her in a hot haze.

"I already told you once and I hate repeating myself," Maxine reminded the mage tensely. "I'm no one's fuckin' dog. I don't wear a god damn leash for anyone. Keep implyin' it, and you'll see which of my Immortal patrons I take after more." Eyes dark and stormy, Max nodded toward the far calmer Audrae. "She didn't mark me for my composure. She'll tell you that much." She looked the mage up-and-down, the idea the woman might think herself another master over the ex-convict not going over her head. "Besides...the only prolific servant is the Augustin bitch in that big house in Rharne you can't seem to get near."

The fire died down about as quickly as Ellasin unwittingly threw fuel into it. Her fingers uncurled and her shoulders lowered a bit. Her concentration moved firmly back to the box. The mage was full of gifts and quick to look to attach strings. The first was Maxine's own life. The second was agreeing to spare Sephira the wars to come. Now the third appeared to be the protection of another name as well as the mysterious box's contents. The only obvious price, which was high, was the service Maxine had agreed to pledge in return. Yet, without proposition for a strategy to quell their enemies, Maxine was beginning to wonder if her new ally was all smoke and mirrors.

"What say you?" Max suddenly inquired of Audrae, gesturing between Ellasin and the box. So far the mage had been true to her word. Something, however, told her that this next exchange would once again raise the stakes. The path of treachery she was on would become more sinister with this act, she knew. And if this infamous mage was going to double-cross her despite their aligned wish to rain devastation on Faith, who better to see through the facade than the very Immortal of Deception?

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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:02 pm

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Audrae’s fingernails, polished black, glinted deep red in the dim candlelight. The mockery of Ellasin’s form wasn’t a mere mimic. This was the Great Shadow grandly adorned in another’s skin like how noble women wore dresses. Underneath the visual appearance, the Immortal proved unmistakably herself. Languid in motion, the long nails grazed over Max’s hand in a gentle scratch that left thin shadows behind on the Favored’s skin, before she took the surrendered Ambrosia joint.

A smirk played on black lips. She leaned against the back of her chair. Her legs tightly crossed. The joint rolled between her nimble fingers like a thief playing with a coin. She insisted for the meeting to proceed, with her as a witness.

Her smirk remained while she observed. Not only did darkness gather and drip around the Immortal, drawn to the Shadow Mother, but divine smugness. She changed the cross of her legs, to switch which rested on top, while Ellasin brought out a box.

As the conversation proceeded, Audrae settled the joint against her lips. Her gaze slid between the two women, and then remained on Maxine for the moment.

Maxine leaned forward and warned the powerful Necromantress across from her. Not a lick of fear seemed perceivable in the ex-convict, but then, that made perfect sense as to why.

Nodded towards, Audrae’s eyes brightened like crimson blood on fire. When Maxine’s inner fire died down, Audrae’s eyes dimmed. She thinly smiled at Ellasin.

“What say you?” asked the mortal.

Audrae raised an eyebrow in an askew arch. Her smile remained. She glanced at the women. Then she gracefully leaned toward Maxine. The distance between them closed within a trill, Audrae’s Ellasin-sculpted visage only inches away from Maxine’s face.

With the joint between her lips, she coaxed, “Mind giving me a light?”

By the closeness, for any experienced smoker who had ever shared an ember, Maxine knew to light the Immortal’s joint with the ember of her own. The shadows shifted over the visage of Ellasin’s face, hints of the Immortal underneath or perhaps of other women – other Blessed – other daughters of the Shadow Mother. Her red eyes gazed into Maxine’s eyes, and a whisper crossed past Maxine’s ears though Audrae’s lips did not move.

And what of her hand, blessed Audnev?

Audrae leaned back, the joint lit now. Smoke curled like the shadows around her. The Immortal dragged deep, then held the joint out. Her smile curled on her black lips.

“Maxine is no servant of mine.” Her gaze slid over to look at Ellasin. “She’s more of a daughter. I suppose I shouldn’t claim surprise that you cannot understand such a thing. You only ever understand anyone by their subservience, or refusal, to you. You don’t understand the mortals. I’d say not anymore, but you never have.”

She drew in a breath of Ambrosia, then lightly blew the smoke in a wispy trail that drifted around Ellasin’s neck. “Still, I admire the Coven.”

Her gaze flitted toward Maxine, her smile remained never-wavering. “The Coven understands secrecy. They understand the necessity of the night and of shadows, and of driving fear into the hearts of those who know not what they even hide or run from. Arcs upon arcs of deceit, of betrayals, of the darkest parts of mortal souls, of deceiving even death and the beyond – as you have, Ellasin.”

Gaze returned to Ellasin. Audrae leaned over the table. Another breath of smoke traveled underneath the necromantess’ hood. The Immortal said, “I should bless you for all that you have accomplished...”

“Don’t you think, Maxine?” she looked to the ex-con and quirked a slender eyebrow. “Shall I bless the great Ellasin of the Coven with my mark like I did you? Has she not earned my favor in her deliciously deceitful ways?”

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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:56 pm

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Perhaps it was her strong personal hatred for Augustin that prompted a reaction, but something shifted in the woman as Max mentioned Faith. A deep and dark loathing crossed her features, what features Max could make out under her hood, although to whom they were directed might have been up for speculation.

That said, the dark lady could appreciate Max's forthrightness. She turned to Audrae with a smile, "She's so earnest though, in her drive to accomplish what she sets out to do, isnt' she?"

Then turning back to Max, "I know you're nobody's fool. Not mine, and not Augustin's. Ours is a gathering of opportunity. I offered you a gift. Another name to go with this box. A name you would have spared."

Here, the Lady, who was so acquainted with death and the dead, smiled. "But..." She drew the box back toward herself. "Perhaps there's only one you really care about. I suppose that was always in the tea leaves. But I wonder... Is there anyone from your past, some poor lost loved one you would return to life?"

"I've the power to bring about a perfect resurrection. Free of the shackles of undeath, filled with the blood of the living." Max detected no bluff in the woman's tone. She left that hanging on the air with a shrug. She leaned back as Audrae began to rattle off again, about this and that. The woman of death steeled her jaw with every syllable, as if she couldn't stand the Mistress of Shadows.

When at last, she floated the possibility of marking Audnev upon her, she laughed, but it rang hollow, with a twinge of discomfort at the idea.

"I have nothing to prove to any Immortal. I've risen beyond Divinity. I serve only myself." She declared, spitting to the side of Audrae's chair. "Keep your mark to yourself, as well as whatever domains I acquire on your behalf. I go my own way."

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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:14 am

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Maxine watched the Immortal closely as the Ellasin-doppelganger seemed to consider the mortal's inquiry. It was odd to be flanked by both the original image and the mocking copy, though both images were equally dangerous. Perhaps unsettling for her at worst, Max imagined the experience was more frustrating for the mage. Several times the ex-convict herself had been forced to stare into the eyes of her own mirror image. She'd even had to kill one of them. That had been an uncomfortably intimate experience. Ellasin's was far more a benign presence by comparison.

When Audrae called for a light, Maxine did not hesitate to oblige. She leaned forward toward the Immortal until the ends of their joints touched. The end of Maxine's flared a bright orange, and in a trill or two, Audrae's began to glow in kind. Max returned to her previous slouch. Smoke billowed softly from the Ambrosia she nursed. Her tough gaze remained settled on the woman, awaiting her judgement. Instead Audrae's voice carried suddenly without the movement of the Immortal's lips. Maxine's brow knit, but her eyes did wander to the mage's hand.

Black fingernails.

Insignificant. At least, that's what her original assessment was until memory served her.

Like Faith's. What does that mean?

The sound of her own name drew Max back in to the trio's conversation. For the duration of Audrae's clarification, she remained silent. It was strangely validating to hear the Immortal agree that she wore no chains. To hear the Immortal thought of her like kin, however, came as a shock. Audrae had been the mysterious shadow looming over her. Silent and hands-off, but distantly present. It was a raw and confusing sentiment the ex-convict wasn't able to process.

The not-so-subtle digs at the mage dissipated and instead Audrae moved to her assessment of Ellasin and The Coven. The flitting gaze and pointed remarks gave Maxine the idea that the words spoken weren't meant to merely fill the air. It was a subjective knowledge shared, and one in which she wished Maxine to use in weighing a later judgement. In the eyes of the Immortal, Ellasin and her ilk had displayed an unintentional reverence that served the Immortal's domains all too well. Secrets. Lies. Betrayals. All accomplished from the shadows of Idalos.

"You seemed to have made up your mind already," Maxine murmured after a long pause to smoke her Ambrosia. Caramel eyes appraised Ellasin critically for a trill. She shrugged. "Besides, it's not for me to say. It's your mark to give." It hardly mattered. Ellasin quickly warded off any misguided thoughts she was open to Audrae's approval nor blessing. Her harsh dismissal of the Immortal had the ex-convict tilting her head. She crossed her arms and regarded Ellasin coolly with a glimmer of new curiosity in her stare. The selfish, independent loyalty to self had gotten the Necromancer far. Further than any mortal could expect to go.

Max found her respect for the woman growing despite herself. Perhaps it softened her into a better negotiating head space. Whatever it was, Max found her attention back on Ellasin and her mysterious box on the table. Interested in its contents as she was, the stubborn woman found herself more so seduced by the mage's boast of resurrection. Moreover, a perfect resurrection. Not a shambling, bone-rattling, mindless creature stumbling in the dark. The mage had accomplished the defeat of what Max had been raging against her whole entire life. All the violence, crimes, double-crossing, and greed. All of it in service to the game of survival. She envied that immortality in the palm of Ellasin's hand.

Maybe by remaining by her side, I'll get the chance to possess it for myself...

"Fine," Maxine placated the woman's apparent generosity with a sigh. She leaned forward and plucked the joint from her lips, holding it between her index and middle fingers. "I'll speak another name. Another you spare." Ambrosia buzzed her in racing mind. She braced an elbow on the table, joint gesturing toward Ellasin sternly. "Same deal as Sephira Blackwood. She stays out of this. Neither you or your Coven even look at her, let alone touch a hair on her fuckin' head, agreed?" She adjusted her jaw, a final hesitation before she committed. "Nell di Bellona. No one fucks with Blackwood or the one going by Nell di Bellona."

Max brought the joint back to her lips and took a long drag. The smoke hung out to char the inside of her lungs before she sighed it through her lips. Her chin nodded then toward the mage after a glance toward Audrae.

"Alright then," Maxine settled in her spot more amicably now. "What's the next move?" An assault? A subversive act to put Augustin and Famula on their heels? The ex-convict didn't care what it was. She only knew that she couldn't sit still. She wanted the war to be waged and won. Then she wanted to forget it, come back, and run her lounge. She wanted to execute the plan before she had a chance to think about the consequences of her own personal agenda she committed to. "And what's in the fuckin' box?"

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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:39 am

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Ellasin spit to the side of the Shadow Mother’s chair; Maxine murmured a stance of neutrality in the haze of Ambrosia; and Audrae’s lips – in the mockery of Ellasin’s form – twisted with malicious delight. She observed, as Maxine gave away another name, and sought to continue the deceptive plans. Her eyes burned red as the embers of the joint she smoked from.

And what’s in the fuckin’ box?

Audrae slid forward, the shadows followed, and she stood from the chair. The Immortal Mistress stretched her arms out, in a graceful extension of the limbs, then she rolled her head from side to side in a fluid bend of her neck. She turned away from the chair, and table, with a sway of her hips. The steps might have seemed dancerly, if it weren’t for the strength behind the heels that flavored each movement with a bit more imperious attitude.

She laughed. A raspy, low roiled laughter. The shadows hissed in echoes of mimicry to this laughter, as if the darkness itself laughed at Maxine and Ellasin.

Audrae continued to laugh. She turned around to look between the other two women. Her gaze flitted to Ellasin, and lingered on the woman, then with one last sharp laugh… the Nightmaiden said, “Next time you should wear the Empress!”

Shadows gathered under her feet, sank down from the edges of physical objects. It gathered around her body, the doppleganger of Ellasin shrouded in darkness. For a few trills, women who were not Ellasin could be seen, silhouettes in the darkness that shifted and morphed, and a last glimmer of a woman unlike any other with long black hair and gaunt face with a killer smokey eye.

The Immortal vanished.

Light returned to the establishment, as if it’d never been gone at all, and the only shadows that remained were the dim ones from before. On the floor, the smoking half-burnt joint of Ambrosia smoldered.

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Re: Blind Date [Max]

Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:00 pm

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As much as Cierel had intended for her daughters to complement and accommodate her rule, they had turned into a bickering coven of conspirators, manipulators, and deceivers. Audrae rose above them all, among the daughters, she alone aspired to overthrow her Original mother. She alone among the Immortals had destroyed the life of another Immortal, ripping out the heart of Treid and replacing it with that of a pig. She alone had forged a kingdom beneath the earth in mockery of her mother, dwelt in from wall to wall by her creations, the Naer. And above the Naer, her Mortalborn daughters, the Vice Queens.

Then there was Ellasin's patron, the Mistress of Arachnids, Sintra. She who dwelt in the dark and pulled strings, never deigning to set herself up for rule yet by subtle pushes and pulls of her webs, set by her web spinners, dictating the fates of nations. The chief among them were the Champions, who alone could come and go to her Labyrinth of temptations and horrors as they pleased. Their ilk was quiet, cautious, not at all the brash assassins or hitmen, one might run into, bragging about their associations. One would never know a Webspinner by looking at them unless they were terrible at it. They did not mislay plans that weren't meant to be mislaid, and they did not take chances.

Ellasin was one of them, the web spinners, possibly the greatest among them before Labrae, Kielik and Sintra herself. She'd navigated the avenues of power for centuries. Political power, power among the shadows, arcane power, and divine power. No one had wrapped their little finger around so much potency, only to let it slip by on the barest glimpse of victory, seen through a momentary glimpse. Something that could change on a whim from a mere mortal. What a thought!

Then there were the gentle daughters of Cierel, Moseke, and of course, the issue that brought the woman to this meeting; Famula.

She smiled beneath her hood, and then cast it over her shoulders, casting aside the illusion her sister had aided her in crafting, in an effort to test her favored mark. A test that she'd sadly failed. Not that it mattered, Audrae had made it difficult enough without giving away Famula's game. Audrae probably found her sister's attempts at subterfuge cute, by comparison, and wanted to encourage her to break out of the comfort of her domains of doom and gloom from time to time. Nevertheless, Famula could stomach no longer the commitment to deception and sought to complete the errand that had brought her here today.

The box opened, revealing inside a simple, black leather leash. Around Maxine's neck, she'd feel a black collar of spiked chain, a tattoo, a new souvenir of Famula's wrath. "Bring this leash to your 'Nell' then, now. And you will do as she commands you."

And with that, the Immortal of Souls, Servitude, Resurrection, and Blood was gone, as was Maxine's link to Zuudaria.
 ! Message from: Pig Boy
Maxine, you've been given a custom curse, the collar of Famula. Which prompts you to follow a set of commandments decreed by whoever holds the leash, set once per trial. Famula has directed Maxine to give the leash to this Nell di Bellona. Your next command will come from her. At the point of review, I will give you a method of overcoming this curse.


word count: 579
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