• Solo • Bone Collector

Almund is a thriving township with a dark side. With houses made from the wooden bodies of decommissioned ships, there are many opportunities here, coupled with many dangers.

Moderators: Pegasus, Vorpal, Ghoul

Post Reply
User avatar
Mute
Approved Character
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:42 pm
Race: Human
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Point Bank Thread

Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:16 am

"Silence Reigns . . ."

Ymiden 7, 718
Almund
Bones. The foundation of a soul’s physical experience. Some men said when they were deep in their cups that when you cut a bone open, you found rings like that of a tree. Hundreds, each of them representing a major moment in its life. And that there were men and women who claimed they could read between the lines to uncover the past and see the future. They scoffed at that notion, afraid to accept that there was power in this world that they would never obtain. I, however, had tasted a sliver of that bounty for myself and did not suffer from the fears of ignorance. Only the obsession of curiosity.

I overheard the rumor at the Sapphire the trial prior. A patron of fortune was discussing his reading with his companions at the table next to mine, so confused he didn’t notice my eavesdropping at all. Inconsequential. He was a parting detail in this narrative, worth only the words he had spoken that night. The poor sod would never even know that I meant to prove his fortune true.

The Bones had a reputation that marketed itself. Everyone knew the alley in which it was tucked. Most had heard of the eyeless skulls that watched the men bold enough to cross its threshold. Wariness clung to stone and wood like a perfume. An intoxicating warning. It told me that there was truth to be found within these walls but not without cost. Perhaps that was why I drew a few from the loiterers as I stepped up to passageway. Many would never get closer than that, just enough to stare and pass judgment.

Sometimes, however, you have to get close to learn the things others never would.

Ducking into the alley, I made my way to the entrance of the building and step through the front door. I didn’t even bother to look up at the faces staring back at me.
User avatar
Mute
Approved Character
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:42 pm
Race: Human
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Point Bank Thread

Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:59 pm

"Silence Reigns . . ."

The Bones was a single room establishment divided in parts by curtains that hung down from the ceiling. This created a closeted effect on the space, tricking the mind that knew there should be more room in which to move into believing that what it saw was all that was there. The decor was minimal. A single rounded table with two chairs on opposite ends. One was occupied already.

The woman's skin was drawn taut to the point that she resembled the heads that adorned her threshold on the outside. Her hair, once a vibrant blonde, was now more gray than not and extremely brittle. A few loose strands had fallen onto her shoulders, mingling with the black fur of the blanket she had wrapped around her. She looked cold despite the choking heat outside. True, the room felt muggy--my brain drew parallels to a catacomb--but not to the extreme this woman was prepared for. Efah Chazon, the Bone Reader. Hardly more than bones herself.

I reached into my pocket as I crossed the room, moving to take the empty chair across from the woman. I retrieved a single golden nel, rolling it in my palm for a moment before setting it on the stone table top. I noticed the painted design on the marble: a single circle ringed by a second pattern of lines. It reminded me of a garden fence ringing a decorative pond. The spirits of the bones were the fish that nibbled at your fingers when you dipped them into the pool. A payment paid to find the truths that laid in the sand at the bottom.

The sickly reader reached across the table and picked the coin up in shaky hands and slipped it into an unseen pocket in her dress. "What type of bones did you wish me to cast?" she asked. Her voice was the strongest attribute. A motherly tone that felt odd in this setting. Though, in a way, it made sense when considered in the context of the bones. They were her children. They would outlive us all.

I stared at her, silent.

"You haven't hesitated once since stepping through that door. A pure casting, then." Pushing down on the arms of her chair, Efah slowly rose to her feet. She shuffled towards the curtain running along the back of the wall, disappearing through the flap. I could hear her moving around for a few trills before she reappeared with a carved wooden box in her hands. Taking her seat again, the woman opened the lid, revealing over two dozen bones with runes. The entire surface of the totems were carved in symbols that I could not understand. A few--I could see a knuckle and a vertebrae from where I was sitting--were whole, but most were fragments of larger bones. It was obvious that they were human.

"Shall we begin?" The reader, asked, before scooping the bones up in her hands held together and tossed them into the center of the stone circle. They settled a moment later
User avatar
Mute
Approved Character
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:42 pm
Race: Human
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Point Bank Thread

Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:31 pm

"Silence Reigns . . ."

Silence. The bones were scattered across the stone like an ancient battlefield. Time had eroded away the topsoil and revealed the truths of the past and, to those who could see, the future. I leaned in while Efah began to speak.

"The self is in conflict," she began, "eyes watching both the inside and the out. Focus is divided between that which is written on the man's mind and the unknown that lies beyond the boundaries of mortality." The Reader gestured to the bones she read, which was a great help while I tried to follow along. The twin curved bones she began with reminded represented the eyes, I suspected, given their duality. They faced opposite directions, one towards the edge of the table where no other bones had landed and the second at a chipped shard. This bone chunk's interior was facing up. The rune was foreign to me, an abstract jumble of lines. At first, my mind was drawn to a mortal's tangle, but I felt I was just trying to project my own understanding to the vague symbol.

"Rib and womb are in contact in the latter's broken tip. Mother and child, once separated, brought together again." Efah's attention shifted to a pair of bone chunks that had settled against one another. The former was the pointed tip of a rib; I could not discern the origin of the second shard. The reader gestured next to the three knuckle-bones that had fallen in a halo around the two touching shards. "Relations not left untouched by manipulative hands. Threads of fate draw them closer."

The use of the word thread sent a chill down my spine, but I stilled my emotions before they bled into my face. The reaction had been involuntary, stirred by my earlier thoughts of Tangles. As to the discussion of mother and child . . . well, I figured it best to approach this reading from a more figurative perspective. To do otherwise would be to be deceived by Fate's limited vernacular and the seer's margin of error. My mother had fled several arcs ago, disappeared like a wounded beast looking for a secluded place to die. I did not think it possible for her to return. Her memory, however, was a different story.

"The will bends to the master of self and turns away from the Other." Efah gestured to the three vertebrae that were scattered across the line, forming a curved segment between them. The runes etched into them were complex and unidentifiable. I could not determine the source of the masters. "Conflict exists in--"

Suddenly, out of no where, Efah collapsed from her chair unconscious.

I stared down the woman, caught off-guard by the sudden shift in her health. I had thought her ghastly when I first walked in, but now I wondered if the ailment was more deep-rooted than I initially considered. I knew I couldn't leave her like that. I doubt people would have suspected foul play if she died--one look at her would exonerate him--but he felt it unwise to just up and leave her. If she did recover and discovered that I had abandoned her, I ran the risk of making a powerful enemy. Even if her abilities proved empty, the clients that believed wholeheartedly in her could still be directed against me. I had no desire to fend off the superstitious; they were the hardest to deflect.

Sighing, I stood up and moved over to the woman.

She was light. Frail. I slid my left arm under her knees and my right across her shoulder blades. Then lifting with my knees instead of my back, as every son of a stevedore would know, I lifted the reader off of the ground. I could feel her breath as I carried her through the back curtain. A small living quarter was back there, quaint and ripe with the smell of scented candles burning. I ignored my curiosity long enough to place Efah atop her small bed. I didn't have any medical experience so there was little more than I could do but make her comfortable. After that, the reader would decide whether she would recover from this.

I spied a blanket tossed over the back of a chair opposite the bed. Snatching it up, I covered the woman with it, up to her neck. Despite the stifling heat outside, she suffered from cold chills. Stepping back, I moved back into the main room, drawing the curtain wide so I could see when, or if, she stirred again. Then, I took my seat again, glancing down at the bones. They hadn't moved at all.

It was time to see what I could discern.
User avatar
Mute
Approved Character
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:42 pm
Race: Human
Renown: 0
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Point Bank Thread

Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:00 am

"Silence Reigns . . ."

When I was young, before bitterness had tainted me, my mother would buy puzzles for us to put together. Small wooden chips were carved in a way that they only fit in a certain pattern. Most of them were painted so as to make the finish project easier to visualize. Scenes of gardens, oceans, and cities designed to be shattered and put together again. My father would even help every once in a while, though he often would antagonize me more than aid. Whenever a stray sound or whim pulled my attention away, he'd hide one of the pieces, and would only give it back when I reached the end of the puzzle and found that one black void amidst the color. He had said there was a lesson behind it all, one that I would only learn when I got older. Eventually, I did.

Don't trust a creator. Their restoration came only after the hardest parts of life had already been pieced together.

The bones reminded me of one such puzzle, though I did not dare to move them about. To the untrained, impatient eye they were little more than carved totems, fetishes to the spirits of the past. It required a mind sharpened like a blade to peel away the truths hidden beneath the surface. To do that, I needed grind a mental whetstone against the unnecessary distractions of the psyche.

First, I began to regulate my breathing. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. The cycle of life patterned in the rising and falling of my chest. This monotony would become the foundation of my meditative state, the physical act while I focused myself on a mental clarity in which true enlightenment could be achieved. Most days, I allowed my mindscape to be a collage, a bombardment of information that I tried to process throughout the passing trials. Now, however, I sought a blank canvas on which a single portrait would be cast. I focused on the bones in front of me, unmoving save for the periodical blink. I allowed myself this mortal habit, for now.

Efah had described much of individual pieces already, which was helpful to visualize their individual roles in the pattern. No discussion was had yet, though, on the entire collection together so I sought to draw my own answers out of the casting. At this time, that I was all I thought bone reading to be: the projection of your own interpretations drawn from your determination of what the patron would want to hear.

The rib and "womb" piece were the two most center pieces, which most likely meant it was central to the pattern. An unfortunate result, I thought to myself; I would've much preferred good fortune or uncovered knowledge over any reminder of a parent that failed me. Nevertheless, it required consideration given that the other bones seemed to orbit this pair.

The twin eyes had fallen closer to the left half of the circle while the yet unidentified bone shard that represented the mind settled closer to the center. I couldn't fathom what its placement might mean in the full picture, though it was higher than the three vertebrae that had formed an arched spine in the lower right quadrant. Perhaps, in that sequence, it could represent the brain atop the back. As for the other dozen or so bones scattered about, I hadn't a clue to their role. Efah had passed out before they had been read and they were too indistinguishable. They were probably chips broken off larger bones that the reader knew by sight but the casual reader wouldn't understand. The key, I realized, were the runes themselves. That, sadly, was not a language I could decipher.

Noise reached my ears from the alleyway behind me, but I forced myself to stayed focused. A pair of voices, men passing through to the next street over. I smiled to myself when all sign of them faded into the distance; no chance to steal my pieces when I looked away this time, father.

The next break passed by with little change in my understanding of the board. It did prove, however, an important test to quell the distractions of a clear mind. The most frequent, and the one I had the most success in combating, was the wandering mind. Whenever I felt thoughts creep in, I focused my gaze on a single piece, visualizing and memorizing the pattern until the other thoughts would pass. My bladder and hunger proved much more difficult to ignore. Perhaps, given time, I could come to push those aside as well, but no to-trial. By the time Efah came to, my stomach had begun to ache from its emptiness. My body cried in my head for relief. The bone reader proved a timely distraction.

Somehow, the woman found the strength to push herself up into a seating position. "What did you see?" she asked before a fit of coughing wracked her feeble frame.

I stood up and moved away from the board. There was a small table in the space that constituted as the kitchen where a pitcher of water. Digging through a pile of dishes until I found a cup, I poured the woman a glass and carried it to her. She accepted it in shaky hands, but she was still strong enough to sip from it herself. I backed away while she recovered. No need for me to loom over her.

"Thank you, child, for sticking around. Not every person would have." She sat the cup down on the end table beside the bed, a far off look in her eyes. "In a room full of bones, the sight of a dying woman can be even more frightening to some." She sighed, placing her hands in her lap. Her Tangle bled with the dull blue of sadness; I didn't need to see the full thread to know its source. "Would you like me to finish your reading. The stone can actually be picked up off the table, so I could read it from here just as easily."

I shook my head, holding a palm up to dismiss the offer. This woman had only been conscious for a few bits; the last thing she needed to do was strain herself further. Plus, I had spent long enough looking at the pattern already. I had grown to-trial, perhaps not in the ways I would've thought initially, but growth none the less.

Efah studied me for a moment. "Perhaps a parting gift, then. Bring a single piece over to me and I'll teach you the truths of the runes etched on them. Then, its yours to keep. As a reminder."

I glanced over my shoulder at the board, a budding question forming in the back of my mind. The woman offered a secret beyond what most men would ever learn. It was a gift, but also a test. A lot could still be discerned from the choice I make. I was about to cast a single bone and this woman would read the tale behind it. Power. I could only think of a single option. The most important piece on that entire board.

Moving over, I picked up the rib piece, breaking the touch with the womb, and carried it back to Efah.

And then I listened as she instructed the runes that had been carved into me.
Purchases
-1 GN for Reading
User avatar
Oberan
Approved Character
Posts: 258
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:32 pm
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Part-time God
Renown: -63
Character Sheet
Plot Notes
Templates

Contribution

Miscellaneous

Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:53 pm

Review Rewards


Tape Face

Points awarded: 10

Knowledge:

Caregiving: Covering someone suffering from cold chills
Caregiving: Pouring a cup of water to combat coughing fits
Discipline: Ignoring Unnecessary Distractions
Meditation: Regulating Breathing
Meditation: Clearing the Mind
Strength: Lifting with the Knees, not the back

Non-Skill Knowledge
Location: The Bones
Efah: Bone Reader
Efah: She's dying

Magic: No magic exp

Other: +1 bone shard: tip of a rib, about the length of a thumbnail, covered in carved runes (up to you what it means)
-1 GN for Reading

Notes:
I very much like your narration and descriptions. They're great. Very solid fortune teller dialogue as well. All around awesome thread.

Your review request is here.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns in regards to this review, feel free to PM.
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

"Speaking"| If it's a sentence, then it's a thought|"Others speaking"
Mortalborn Abilities | Die Roller
Post Reply

Return to “Almund”