• Graded • CitW: Round 2: The Generous

120th of Ashan 719

Here is the repository of the story of the Fall of Emea. This forum contains all posts from "The Maze" and "Crack in the Wall" - the two events which led to the Fall.

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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"

It was Death.

They stepped through the Doorway, all of them together, and they looked upon the field of corpses, of nightmares and dreams. The stinging winds buffeted them, and Hart's hands tightened on Eliza's and Wren's as if to keep them from being taken by the wind.

It hurt to be in this place, like the dead of Cylus and the burning hot of Saun, and Hart felt his breath pulled from him in a gasp by the unexpected pain and by his own fear. He looked upon the windstorm in the distance, so very far away and yet too close, too close, and he felt--

Terror.

He felt terror like no terror he had felt before.

Wren spoke of a path but Hart hardly heard him. He was trembling, and he was so afraid and panicked because of it that he felt he couldn't breathe. "Hart," Wren said and when Hart looked at him the boy spoke as if to remind him, "Together."

And in that dark, death-filled place, the boy smiled.

He had cried in Pala's nightmare but this, Hart thought as he looked at Wren, was not the same boy. He was their Guide.

Hart took a breath --together-- then another, and another. And when he could breathe again he nodded.

That was when Auya began to sing.

"I walk a lonely road,
The only one that I have ever known,
Don't know where it goes,
But it's only us, and I am not alone."


Jovy had used to sing to storms to calm them, and Auya held out her hand as she sang into the wind.

Hart took it.

His avatar was two representations of him in overlap, and he held Auya's hand despite that he already held Eliza's and Wren's.

Because, he thought, in this place, he wasn't Hart. He was Kind.

Or rather, he Was.

As Auya sang she called fire forth from her and it ran over them, through them all. Auya's heart burned clear and in front of her she called upon a Door. It came from her prayer. "It's a shortcut," Wren whispered and tugged on Hart's hand.

The truefire came over Karshe, and the crystal on the silver string around her neck burst into the same, familiar flame. "Hart," Karshe whispered, and that was when Hart saw what was all around them.

The corpses started to stand.

All of them.

Hundreds.

Thousands. More.


And Auya, who had given them a Doorway, screamed in pain.

"Through the Doorway!" Hart said at once but Wren shouted, "No!" Hart looked at the boy but Wren wasn't looking at him; he saw the boy's crystal eyes gazing over the corpses. "Wait!" Wren said, "Auya wait!" but the corpses were pressing closer.

"Wren!" Hart said.

Wren stepped off the path and bent down to the ground and began digging through the grey. "Wait!" he screamed again, but the corpses were here and Auya was hurting.

Hart still had Auya's hand and, without a thought, he took her pain. In its place he put surety. There was nothing else, no agony, no indecision, no doubt. She had done the right thing. She was doing what was right. He took her pain and replaced it with the pleasure of being prepared for a task to complete; of having completed a task exceptionally well. Certainty and motivation and satisfaction went through her like a drug. If she dropped Hart would call out, "Karshe!" Karshe, the stag twice Auya's weight and strong and glowing with Auya's truefire, would be able to carry her if need be.

Hart turned towards the corpses and held up his last hand.

"Stop," he said, right as Wren said, "Go!"

The boy finished planting the little flower the caterpillar had given him. Hart's aura, spilling out from his avatar and his Fractures like a fount, went over it, stronger than water and soil and sun and more than them, because it was potential and Pleasure and Glamour and it was pure Need.

Need.

Suddenly Hart understood.

The both of them, boy and mortalborn, established a Sanctuary around the little flower, and Jesine's power billowed out through the storm.

The corpses came and Wren and Hart and Karshe with Auya were at the edge of the Door. Hart still had Eliza's hand, and Eliza had Eberhardt.

"Wait," Wren said.

Perhaps fifty of the corpses of dreams and nightmares came into that sphere of magic, of Jesine's influence, of Hart's and Wren's, or perhaps it was more. They were coming and Wren looked at the flower in the midst of all that Death and whispered, "I am the Guide." He lifted his eyes to the corpses. "I am the Guide and I say you, all of you, are mine."

"Come back," the boy whispered. His crystal-blue eyes shone and his wings flourished around him and he commanded in a voice that was bigger than he was, "Come back like I did."

And, if it worked, with the Sanctuary around them and the guidance of the wingless boy and the spell woven by the mortalborn of Need--

--with the warm heat of the truefire and the bravery it took in such a place to survive--

--the flower would grow roots in that lifeless barren ground and it would bloom.

The daisy turned into a rose.

And any corpse, dream or nightmare, within the protection of Sanctuary would come alive.

They would come back like Wren had.

If they did, Hart with Wren's hand and Eliza's, and Eliza with Eberhardt, and Hart again with his hand on Karshe who carried Auya Trueheart through--

--would all of them step through the Door--

--into that fire which burned--

--but though it hurt, hurting was a part of life--

--and together they would step through Auya's Doorway to the the other side.

And, if it worked, they would bring the resurrected dreams and nightmares, protected by Sanctuary from the wail and killing grasp of the storm, with them.

"There," Wren said.

OOC: Hart used his mortalborn ability Bliss on Auya. Bliss reads:

Using this ability, Hart can bring someone to the pinnacle of pleasure; thrust into pure bliss the target is rendered unable to feel anything else. During this time the target is in such extreme bliss that their mind becomes clouded, making it hard to focus. The effects are similar to being high or drunk and last as long as the target is within Hart's presence (within 100 ft of Hart), or, should the target remain in his presence for an extended period, for up to one break per day. Hart's touch, in this way, can cause an intense high. Because of this he has to be careful how often he uses this ability on a person or risk them becoming addicted.

He used it to take away the pain from Auya's Doorway. It might cause her to be only semi-conscious and partially aware, as if she was heavily drugged; however, Hart can drop the ability whenever he wants. So, it can be assumed that when the Doorway closes and Auya is no longer in pain, he'll drop the ability.

Hart and Wren both, simultaneously, used the Nyvora ability Sanctuary in the hopes that it would strengthen the ability. I'm not sure if Sanctuary would work here so it's a gamble. But, Sanctuary reads:

Sanctuary gives the user the ability to protect their own dreams and anyone involved in them from Kielik's influence (from Nightmares), and from most native predators of Emea. The protection extends to all other individuals that should chance upon the dream, though the marked is at liberty to shut out or expel unwanted visitors at their discretion. Only those possessing a mark from Kielik of a higher caliber than the dreamer's Nyvora level, particularly potent entities in Emea, or Kielik himself can override this protection. Dream threads can only be marked as "closed" if started by a PC with this ability.

They used it to gather as many corpses in as possible, and then, using the flower the caterpillar gave Wren and Hart's avatar's magic, attempted to resurrect the corpses within the Sanctuary, which, in theory, would shield the newly-resurrected dreams and nightmares from the windstorm of Death.

Then they stepped through the Doorway, bringing the Sanctuary and the resurrected dreams and nightmares with them.

Hopefully, lol.
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

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For a mortalborn girl who in spite of her age, and one who had lived through any number of tragedies and losses, Eliza had managed to remain an optimistic soul, one who still wondered and marveled, and who loved color, music, art, life and all the wonderful things that came with it. This dark world that they stepped into after leaving Roland behind, was everything that those things were not. A wasteland filled to the brim with death and discarded, dying dreams. A landscape laid broken and left barren by what had happened before, and what might were they not able to put things right.

The burning, yet chilling wind tore at her cloak and her hair, and Eliza wondered again why the caterpillar would call her out as the brave one. Again, though she put up a good front, she didn't feel very brave. Until suddenly, she remembered.

"Of course you're afraid Eliza. You wouldn't be human if you weren't." Or for that matter, mortalborn either. It was Poppy who had told her that, nearly two centuries ago but suddenly she remembered it as clearly as a cold, earsly spring morning. One of many 'grandfathers' she'd had and who'd raised her, who she'd known all along their journeys from cradle to grave. Who she'd mourned when they'd passed to the next plane. Poppy had been teaching her to swim that trial, in the little pond at the base of a hill below the ruined keep that they lived in.

But she wouldn't jump in, not even into his arms. "Being brave doesn't mean not being afraid," she said aloud as she remembered, as she, Auya, Hart, Wren and all their companions regarded the enormous cyclone ahead and the undead all around them. "Being bold without fear isn't bravery. It's being a dunderhead bent on your own undoing." Ok. So it wasn't exactly poetic, but Poppy did have an odd but strangely poignant way with words. And in the here and now, she wasn't completely aware that she'd said it out loud. At any rate, that trial, Eliza had finally jumped.

So what did it mean that none of the corpses were on the path, she wondered as she held tight to the hands of the others. It could be that the path was a place of safety and the corpses had made the poor choice of stepping off it. Or it could be that something quite the opposite of that. "Best we stay on it, I think," she suggested. Either way, that cyclone ahead of them seemed to be their intended destination.

She smiled when Auya squeezed her hand, and Eliza returned the gesture in kind. A way of saying be brave. Don't reject the fear. Acknowledge it, use it to advantage, and overcome it. The flames that licked all around Auya's body, those she herself produced, seemed like the only splash of color in this otherwise colorless place. Eliza knew not exactly to who Auya was praying, but when combined with the flames, it was all too easy to imagine. So far as Eliza was concerned, they could use all the help they could get.

Auya's trueheart was transparent, just as it should be, and through it was the way that they'd travel. Perhaps in turn it would reveal the truest path to their destination. Fire. Maybe a shortcut, just as Wren said. But a veritable inferno of a porthole that they'd all need to pass through. Already, Auya was suffering the consequences and her suffering cut Eliza's senses to the quick. It was only when Hart took her suffering upon himself that it eased, albeit briefly, as if the suffering had only really changed hands.

Fire meant something different to different people, Eliza knew. And this place, Emea, was full of metaphors come to life. It meant death and destruction. It was something that could forge other things into stronger stuff. And, Eliza thought, considering her particular connection to Ymiden, it also signified a sort of rebirth; just as in the wake of a vast forest fire, eventually life returned to the land. It always found a way. Always.

All the while she held tight while Wren planted his flower and Hart weaved a sanctuary around them. Even those corpses who Wren called to rose up to join them. But was it enough to allow them to pass through unscathed? Eliza wasn't sure. And there was something else. Auya had sacrificed herself for all of them. Hart had sacrificed himself for Auya and Wren and all of the rest. And now they were suffering and in pain. "Wait," she said. They had time now, if only just a little.

Just as Auya had prayed to Faldrun, Eliza also did. But to her father. To her own shame, she hadn't done it very often and the last time she'd done it, she'd behaved like a resentful and wilfull child. She'd apologized after, but still. "I'm sorry I called you a terrible father," she said. "I'm still not sure I understand, but Poppy always told me that if I didn't get the chip off my shoulder it would only grow until the weight of it bent me in two. I should have listened. I know it's been more than two centuries, but I'm still learning. We could use your help. Mother gave me the gift of song. It must have been you who gave me the means to use it for good. We could use a little good right now."

Not for herself of course. Eliza didn't think that was how it should work. But for them. Her companions. At least she could do something more, in case Hart's sanctuary wasn't quite enough.

They were all, most of them, hurt and hurting. Everyone was a little broken somehow. Everyone including her. "I don't have enough hands. Take mine, touch me somehow," she said to all of the others, including Wren, even Eberhardt and Ashe. "So long as I feel your touch, then you'll feel mine. Be still. Heart, mind and body. Together."

Almost anything was possible in Emea, Eliza felt it instinctively. It was a place that combined imagination and reality, knowledge and wishes...The trick she thought was weaving them all together. Her singing voice, she'd inherited from a mother that she'd never known at all. And the gift of Healer's Song, from a father she'd never once met, so far as she knew. But it was not for her. It was for others, and that's how she'd use it. But here in this place, she'd focus on expanding that ability in a way she knew she never could on the waking plane. Not just a healing of physical wounds or pain, but those of the psyche, the heart and the soul. And all around them, a healing cloak of protection expanded and surrounding them all, to combine with Hart's Sanctuary, to see them safely through the flames.

And then Eliza began to sing.
► Show Spoiler
Be still, the dawn is breaking, listen as the blackbird sings
Find a heart to share your journey together for all life brings
The hunger and the longing, the wonder and the will
Your world is enchanted, when your mind is still
Be still, be still, be still.


And when she was done..."Now," she said. It was now or never, and time to pass through to the other side.
Last edited by Eliza Soule on Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:16 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 1283
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous


The fire burst forth from her chest, and a door opened. She didn't know what she expected, if anything, but that certainly was not it. Then it started to burn. In her very core, it burned. Her heart was on fire, and she screamed. The door shrunk a bit as she flinched in pain, as the pain surged through her, setting every cell ablaze. She'd never felt so much pain, it was so overwhelming, she was gasping, crying, bawling, trying to be rid of it. But she couldn't. It was a door, a shortcut to go through.

She reached deep inward, searching for the strength to keep it open. The door widened a bit, and she let every scream out. It was something to fight the pain back. Just keep it open, for them. She held it open as long as she could, determined to let them all make it through. It was hard to focus on anything they were doing, but she kept her eyes locked on the doorway. She could watch them at the least, even if through tear filled eyes.

She could barely hear the words that Hart yelled over her own screams, but she felt his hand squeeze her own. And then she felt the pain slip away. This scared her at first, immediately thinking that she was dying. But soon the pain was gone, and she found a confidence welling up within her. She stood taller, puffed out her chest a bit more, and continued the outpouring of fire to form the door. The edges of the door formed more clearly, and it grew.

Without the pain, she could see more of what was going on. She saw Hart give life to the corpses, amazed that such a thing could happen. She saw the flower and smiled. Another gift given that became truly a most important tool. It seemed that Roland truly did want them to succeed at this. Auya wobbled a bit, feeling a sort of daze take her over, as she stepped back in her blissful high. As she did, she saw that the door sort of... followed her lead. She laughed a bit at this. She moved and the door moved.

Then Eliza's singing took over, and Auya found herself swaying to it, her door swaying with her. She watched as the people given life by Hart went through the door, as Hart and Wren went through, as Eliza and Eberhardt went through. Auya was the last, of course, she was the door. She stepped forward, and the door stepped away, with her. She saw it nipping at the heals of those she'd opened it for, and a sudden realization came with it.

She was the door.

She stepped back and the door came back once more. The confidence, the surety given to her bolstered the decision she was making, one she knew she'd have to make quickly. Just as stairs are meant to be walked on, doors are meant to be walked through. But a door can't walk through itself, just as stairs cannot walk upon themselves. Everyone has roles and everyone has limits. And she'd found them both here and now.

"Hart. Eliza. I'll catch up. Be Kind. Be Brave. Truth will find you again."

And then she severed the connection, and the door shut instantly.

Auya stepped backwards, feeling the confidence wane now that Hart was gone. She was still in the sanctuary, but she wasn't sure how long that might last as protection. She looked all around, seeing the corpses swarming still. She looked back toward the door that brought them here. Too far, and in the wrong direction. She looked forward, seeing the Path that was still there. The way they were supposed to have taken. She'd made a shortcut, but the long route was still there.

She'd have to be the Brave, the Kind, the Guide, and the True for herself now.

She'd have to become more. To Become more. Hart had shown kindness to the corpses by bringing them back to life. But perhaps there was another way to be kind in his absence. To empathize. These were dead dreams and nightmares. She had several of those. She had dreamed of taking over her father's smithy, the shop she'd worked in since a child, hand in hand with him. That dream died when her husband killed her father, for being an Ilaren worshiper.

Her flames snuffed out and her glass state changed, returning more to her normal self, her skin growing pallor and cold.

She'd dreamed of having a family, of having children with her husband, back in Sirothelle. Having a nice home, that they'd built together, to be part of their community, to work on her craft. To be happy, comfortable, safe. That dream died when she had to kill her husband.

Her skin and flesh decomposed further, the glowing in her Trueheart fading. Her hair was ratty and stringy, what skin was left a yellow grey hue.

She'd dreamed of running her own shop in Rharne, to escape her mission and her pain. To be accepted by the other outcasts of society. To build a family of friends. That dream died when those men took her.

Her body decomposed further until she was just another walking corpse, albeit with redhead in this grey landscape. Auya bent down, scooping the flower of sanctuary up, keeping its roots in a large clump of soil. She then took the first step upon the Path toward the tornado, hoping this worked. If it didn't, she prayed that Faldrun would watch over her companions and help them in her stead. If she couldn't be True enough to reach them, maybe he could.

And so, she walked on shaking legs, tears streaming down her face, urine down her thighs, trying to disguise herself as an undead surrounded by an army that might tear her to pieces if she was discovered. She didn't speak it, but each step came with a name in her mind. Varlum. Finn. Laramy. Gerty. Tully. Chuckles. Stairs. Roland. Hart. Eliza.

And with each step, a new tear fell down her face.
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

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Image
Image
It's too late, to go back
I would take it back
For just another minute
Just another chance with you

Give it up
I would give everything up
Every last breath
Every first taste, for you.
Just to make it alright.
Just to make it alright.

But its too late, to go back.
I can see the darkness, through the cracks.
Daylight fading, I curse the breaking.
The day is gone.
The day is gone.

Run away
I'll just run away
like a child
from all them to you...
And now I see
my most constant mistake
is I don't know what I love till its gone...

But its too late
To go back
And I can see the darkness
Through the cracks
Daylight fading
I curse the breaking.
The day is gone.
The day is gone...

Its too late to go back,
I let the darkness seep through the cracks.
Love is bleeding, I curse my breathing.
The day is gone...
The day is gone..
120th Ashan, 719. Midnight
The Moment.

Image
The Generous
What Soft -- Cherubic Creatures --
These Gentlewomen are --
One would as soon assault a Plush --
Or violate a Star --

Such Dimity Convictions --
A Horror so refined
Of freckled Human Nature --
Of Deity -- ashamed --

It's such a common -- Glory --
A Fisherman's -- Degree --
Redemption -- Brittle Lady --
Be so -- ashamed of Thee --

~~Emily Dickinson~~

There are moments in time, in history, which everyone knows. Moments which resonate, either because of great emotion, wonderful images and great, joyous hopefulness. Or, like this one, because they are so very tragic.

And so poignant.

Auya prayed to Faldrun, her prayer heartfelt and beautiful. Because she needed to know. To know if the Path was true. And for all of the metaphor and imagery, even though it was a dream - of sorts - it was as real and Auya was as true as anyone had ever been. Her heart burst open in glorious, flame-filled, beauty and there, before them... the Path opened.

And it was fire.
Image
The fire was beautiful, but it hurt her. Then, Hart stepped and took her pain and Auya Trueheart and Hart the Kind briefly shared their energies. The storms raged around them, Beauty's Son and Turmoil's Child. Fire and Ice.

Wren, in the meantime, dug in the ground and planted the flower.

From the hands of a child, the flower nestled into the ground. As Wren looked at Hart, the flower began to wither and die, like it was sped up. As they hoped, and they did their very best.

It died.

And the dead kept coming. And they kept being dead. It was like they were two sides of a triangle and all three needed to be there in order to make it work.

And Eliza stepped forward. And she, too, prayed. As she did, her prayer to her father rang out and her song lifted.

Summer. The flower, the single bloom which Wren had planted, burst into the rose they had wanted it to be.
Dawn. The light of the sun hit them. The warmth of it. It combined with the smile of the child who had been saved, the scent of the bloom and the sacrifices of those in this place.
Forgiveness. Just for a moment, Eliza felt ~ and then they all did ~ the relief of forgiveness wash over them.

and rebirth.

Rebirth.

In order to be re-born, one must first have died. As Hart, Wren, Eliza, and five of the Previously Dead found themselves face to face with the ... next bit, Auya died. Hart and Eliza were in a Room. White stone walls, high ceilings and enormous doors ahead of them. The only thing in the room, between them and the Doors was a plinth. On the plinth, a book. A book of their dreams, maybe with secrets to be told.

But Auya was not there.

She stepped, the white wing, and with each step her tears fell. But she was True. As each of her dreams were stripped away, Auya found herself to be truly ~ and completely ~ alone.

She stepped, not one of the dead but pretending to be one. And the moment It Happened, Auya realised two things.

She was no longer pretending. She was, like all of her dreams, dead.

And, of course, she walked alone.

As her body crumbled to ash, the bloom Wren had planted burst into flame.

And now I see

my most constant mistake

is I don't know what I love till its gone...

Hmmmm

Auya has sacrificed herself for the remaining two of you (+NPCs) to go through. You are through the Flamespawned Door. Auya is very much out of this thread. The moment that Hart, Eliza and Wren step through (and even if they don't step, they're through), the door closes behind them.

Hart & Eliza: In the book, you see dreams - your dreams - being played out. I will post again at the time identified. But until then, if you'd like to - pm me what your pc sees.
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"

The Door shut behind them and for a moment Hart thought that all of them had gotten through. There were-- five of the Resurrected with them, and that was why, for a full handful of trills, he didn't see it. He didn't see.

But then he did.

Auya.

Auya wasn't there.

She had said something to them, right before the Doorway had closed. The Door had been full of fire and hot and loud. It had been so loud. It should have burned them, it should have, and it didn't. And Hart was afraid --he was so afraid-- that he wouldn't remember what it was she had said.

Being brave doesn't mean not being afraid, he remembered Eliza saying. He looked at Eliza and then, looking around that pristine white room, he said, "Auya?" as if she might still be there.

Auya had said, "Hart. Eliza. I'll catch up. Be Kind. Be Brave. Truth will find you again."

And then she had shut the Door behind them.

"No," Hart said. He looked at Wren who would not look at him. He looked at Karshe instead. "No," he said again, and the stag's large brown eyes watched him cautiously. "We all said together. We said together," Hart said.

"She's-- she's okay," Karshe tried, but Hart shook his head. "Look!" Karshe told him, but he had crossed to one of the white walls and placed his hands against it.

He was thinking furiously. The only doors were in front of them, not behind. Those doors would not take him back.

It's too late to go back.

He shook his head.

Auya had said, And I'm not alone.

"Look!" Karshe demanded again, and when he wouldn't she came and jabbed him with one of the points of her antlers. Hart looked at the crystal necklace strung on a silver sting around her neck.

Auya's truefire. It was still there, still burning, within.

"She's okay," Karshe said, and Hart looked at the shining, sparkling crystal. "She's okay," the stag said again.

"No," Hart said. "She's not okay. She's alone."

He turned back to the walls.

Hart stood there, the two representations of his avatar in perfect overlap. He stood with all his hands pressed against those white walls, and he thought that he never, ever knew what to do.

He thought of Pala.

"We said together," he said again. "We don't leave people behind."

"She said she would catch up," Karshe said softly.

Wren didn't speak.

"How will she get here?" Hart asked her, and this time it was Karshe who looked away from him. He looked at Eliza and then gestured to the walls. "There's no way back," he said. And then, suddenly overwhelmed with frustration and helpless guilt and fear and fury, he nearly screamed it, "There's no way back! She was the Door and she couldn't come through and now she can't come back!"

"Hart," Karshe admonished, and he went away from those awful fucking walls to the book on the stand.

He opened it up.

There was a man.

The man looked familiar and, with intuition, Hart raised the broken mirror from the maze and looked at himself, at his own reflection.

It was him. Just not-- how he knew himself. He didn't have the same features.

Hart looked back at the book.

The man was on a ship. Hart could see in the distance a handful of other ships, all of them flying similar colors. One of the distant ships he recognized as his mother's. He didn't recognize the ship the man was on. He looked at the man and he understood suddenly--

The man in the broken mirror, the man Hart was Being. He looked like Jovy. Jovy had been his sister. Hart and Jovy hadn't been twins because he was a mortalborn. But he had thought she was his twin for most of his life. Growing up, he had never figured out that they didn't look enough alike. He had never figured out that they didn't share a father, nor a birthdate. They didn't even share a mother.

Hart had never looked like Jovy. He had never looked like his mother. But the man in the book--

It was him, and he looked like them.

It was who Hart ought to be.

He looked down at the book with sudden heartbreak, and longing.

The picture was just of a man on a ship. But he had pointed ears and his eyes flashed the same color Jovy's had when she was happy. The man called out to someone and Hart saw the rest of the crew, some people he recognized and some he didn't. And running on deck--

Children. A boy and a girl. And they looked like him.

He closed the book gently.

Then he looked at the book and he said, "You never were."

There was a noise like paper tearing, like something ripping in two. The first half of Hart's avatar, the one that was depicted in the book, the one that looked like his family, abruptly stumbled back from the plinth. The second half stayed where it was.

"Never-- were," the first half of him said as if it pained him, and Karshe said in alarm, "Hart!"

"Never Was," the second half murmured and suddenly--

Hart looked like himself. Both representations of him were him, they looked like Hart normally did. One --the one at the plinth-- was wearing the green night clothes and the stag's antlers. The other was wearing Hart's clothes, the clothes he wore on the day to day. His clothes were well-worn and plain. His boots didn't fit him.

The two turned and looked at one another.

Then the second abruptly began to flicker like a candle about to go out, and turned back towards the walls.

And then, as if he had never been there, he ran through the walls in the direction he thought Auya was, and he was gone.

"Auya's okay," the first Hart said. Or rather-- Hart said. Wren had watched the second Hart go in stunned silence. Hart looked to Eliza and Eberhardt and Karshe and Wren. "We need to go on. Auya wanted us to go on," he said. He seemed tired, very tired of a sudden, and Karshe came uncertainly to stand by him, letting him lean against her.

"Thanks," he murmured to the stag.

"Hart what-- who-- where did you go?" the stag asked uncertainly.

"I don't know what you mean," Hart said. He nodded at the book on the plinth. "As far as I can tell, it reveals your dreams to you," he said, and smiled at Eliza. It was not a pretty smile. He looked very, very sad.

He thought of the thousands of corpses of scattered dreams and nightmares, and of Auya out there, all alone. But the truefire around Karshe's neck was still burning.

"For what those dreams are worth," he said, but only to himself.

OOC: Okay just to keep track in case this nonsense actually works. Hart has, for all intents and purposes, torn himself in two.

Hart 1 is going to try to find Auya. Currently, he has 2 minutes of his mortalborn ability Living Glamour, which allows him to become incorporeal. Living Glamour reads:

Once a trial, Hart can effectively turn himself and anything inanimate that he is wearing or carrying (ie clothes and a backpack, or whatever is in his pockets or hands) into a living glamour. His body becomes briefly incorporeal, for up to two bits.

During this time it is obvious he is no longer a solid thing; his image does not change shape or form (he will still look like himself) but it will flicker like a candle about to go out. During this time he can take no physical damage as his body is no longer on the physical plane, and neither can he deal physical damage to any object or person. Using this ability, Hart can go through inanimate objects but not animate ones, and he cannot be held or grabbed. /description

Living Glamour comes with the risk that nonphysical attacks (such as magic) will do more damage to him. Any damage Hart takes in either form will eventually come back to the all of him.

Hart 1 also still has Sanctuary up around him, since he believes he's going back out into the storm.

His only goal, right now, is to get to Auya. So assume, if he makes it through the wall, that that's what he's doing. Since I don't know what's on the other side of the wall, I can't write anything further on it for now.

Hart 2 has decided that they need to go forward. He's the one who used Bliss last post, so within the next 10 minutes he will become extremely fatigued and likely need to rest for a little while. I'm not sure how time works in Emea, so I'm really not sure when that should happen.

Hart 2 also still has Sanctuary up around him, as does Wren, just in case. I don't think there's a limit for how long it lasts, nor how many times he / they can use it.

Either Hart can only use his powers (mortalborn or otherwise) as many times as he is usually allowed. So, together, they can use Bliss 3 times a day, for example, and Living Glamour once. Basically it doesn't double the number of uses, because ultimately both of them are him.
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As he uses the ability, Hart splits into two. So does Eliza. This thread will continue as normal. New thread forthcoming
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

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Eliza hadn't walked through the door that Auya had made. She hadn't run or stumbled or even been willing to go at all without all of them going together. "No! That's not how it works!" she protested, even as she realized that Auya hadn't created the door so much, as she was the door. The mortalborn had even refused to let go, but somehow in spite of it, Eliza found herself in some sort of room on the other side. Her thoughts and memories made out of sorts from the sudden change in location, her mind raced as she turned and took in her surroundings. Not the where, not just yet. But the who. There was Hart, Wren, Karshe, Eberhardt tucked in at her shoulder, a handful of dead...not dead souls or dreams come to life. But..."Auya!"

Even the door that they'd come through was gone, and Hart seemed as confused and upset as she was. Tears that Eliza didn't even realize were there, were streaming down her cheek. She agreed with Hart, no matter what Karshe said. "She's not ok. She's out there alone. It was supposed to be all of us together. All of us." Eliza knew that they had to keep going. It was more than just one of them, or even all of them here an now who were in danger if they didn't. But how could they? "No. No way back," she said, and the tears kept coming. At least, there didn't appear to be a way back, and there was no gift that her father had given her, that she could think of at least, which might make it possible.

Hart seemed to be caught in a cycle of self-torture, if not blaming himself, and there was little Eliza could do to console him. She was feeling all those things herself, and was feeling as helpless as him. But when she stopped looking for seams in the wall that weren't there, but that she'd hoped might be concealing a way back, she blinked away the tears that had blurred her vision, and nothing changed. Or quite a lot had. Never were, Hart said. Or at least one of him did, and the other answered.

And then...there was one. That one was gone in a instantaneous, hazy blur that Eliza might have thought she'd only imagined. Or maybe, she'd only imagined that there'd ever been two Harts. And yet strangely, she felt...not quite the same. As if a part of her had gone with him, and yet wasn't missing. It was a sort of deep thinking that the mortalborn didn't often indulge in and wasn't very good at, in spite of having had several centuries during which to practice. Auya was okay? "I know. Maybe," she said, even while Hart examined the book.

Eliza held back while he did, waiting. And she spent her time examining the floor, the walls and the ceiling around them. Was that all there was? One room. One door. One plinth and one book? Was it just a stopping off station between once place and another? As for the book, and the dreams it revealed, according to Hart. Eliza turned and regarded the thing before even looking into it's pages. "Surely there's a reason for it to be in this place, at this moment," she suggested. "Whether it's a help or a hindrance, who knows?" she admitted, and lifted her slender shoulders in a shrug, before dropping them again and approaching the book.

And so she took Hart's place, lifted open the book and looked inside. Eliza's dreams were almost always painted ones. Flat like panel or canvas and still, disinterested and unaware; or as three dimensional, interactive and alive as any other living landscape or setting full of living, interactive beings. Sometimes the paint was old, dried and cracked. Other times, it was fresh, thick and wet, and clung to her skin and clothing as she passed through. And many times, almost always for as long as she could remember, she'd been an observer in those dreams.

She didn't leaf through the pages of the book. They turned themselves so quickly that it seemed like a blur of color fanning before her eyes. But Eliza recognized all of the faces and places. All of them. She'd painted and drawn some of them. She'd recorded the names of all the others, and taken note of the trials of their births, and then later when many were old and gray, their deaths. Domhnall, the boy with the bright green, shining eyes and the mop of red hair tousled by the breeze passing by, had been her little cousin that she'd rocked in his cradle. He'd been the uncle who she'd hounded to teach her about fighting, and he'd been the grandfather who she'd eulogized in the arc 517. Susannah, the beautiful, vivacious blonde in the pale blue dress, had toddled after Eliza as a babe, and had died a lonely, bitter old spinster in a tower on the hill.

There were hundreds of others racing past her eyes, if the living, painted representation of a lone tree in a lonely meadow was any indication. It's thousands of leaves, cutting themselves loose in the breeze, were quickly replaced by others, and she stood and watched it happen. She'd been a part of all of their stories, one way or another, and they were a part of hers. The only difference was, theirs had ended and hers had kept going. And going.

Eliza closed the book and turned away, and a fresh tear had escaped and run down her cheek. "And here I thought I'd run out of those," she said and swiped it away. "But you never really do. It's interesting to think about though," she added, more to herself than anyone else. "Go back and pluck just one person out of your family tree too early or too late, be the cause of just one of them turning left when they would have turned right, and the whole story changes. I do that with my paintings sometimes." A twinkle in the eye, where she'd previously painted a tear or a far away look. As an artist, it fascinated her, the degree to which just a single brush stroke could change everything. It was an errant thought that in that moment almost seemed like it might be useful here in the place. Then again, Eliza considered, probably not.
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

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And so it goes, and so it goes....
In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows
120th Ashan, 719. Midnight
The Moment.

Image
The Generous
Master of human destinies am I;
Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk. I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and, passing by
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late,
I knock unbidden once at every gate.

If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise, before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate,
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death; but those who hesitate
Condemned to failure, penury and woe,
Seek me in vain, and uselessly implore.
I answer not, and I return no more.

~John Ingalls~

Hart, Wren, Eliza, Eberhardt and five of the Previously Dead.

And the book.

That was what was in this room. The pair of them - weary travellers both - seemed to be almost at a standstill - not quite able to move forward, or maybe not yet willing to. Hart split himself in two and, as he did - the strangest thing happened. Eliza felt herself start to almost stretch. Then, there were two of her too.

And the other Eliza and the other Hart both simply looked at each other, nodded, and went through the wall. Like they were ghosts, but they weren't. Yet the wall was still intact.

"Well, that was odd," Eberhardt said and Karshe looked at the primate and nodded. The other thems didn't have their companions with them.

Yet, there in the room there was just them. A plinth, with a book on it. A door. Nothing else.

Except.

In between the paving stones of the room they were in, there appeared a single bud. Growing at an impossible speed, it pushed it's way through the cracks and blossomed there, in front of them. Wren looked up at Hart and said, quite seriously. "But I was thinking about it," he motioned to the plant. "I was just.. picturing it in my mind. For Auya." Large, child-like eyes which were far too old for their arcs, looked at the two of them and he explained, earnestly. "Right there. I pictured it right there."

As he said that, there was a squeak of delight from Eberhardt. "LOOK!" The primate held out a small hand-like paw and in it was a single nut. "I thought, if he can make plants, I can make food!" Without hesitation, he popped it into his mouth and then grinned at Eliza. "s'good!" He exclaimed, with a full mouth and bits of nuts between his teeth.

Wren knelt in front of the flower and then looked at the two adults. "Should we prepare?"


And this is why my eyes are closed

It's just as well for all I've seen...

Objectives & Rules

 ! Message from: MUST DO OBJECTIVES

You two are one post away from your part of the endgame. For all you know, you will be the only two. Therefore, you have this round to prepare. You may take time to rest etc. If you experiment, you will discover that you can, indeed, "will" things into existence here. Although - there are rules to it which you do not know. So, be prepared for things to not be quite what they seem.

Dates & Deadlines

You need to post here by Monday 18th March. If you have not done so, you've missed the round. I will be locking the thread at that time.
I will post on Tuesday 19th March.
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

"Speaking in Rakahi"
"Speaking in Common"

He had taken Auya's pain, and as the other Hart and Eliza vanished through the wall, Hart's legs quavered and almost gave out beneath him. He'd been leaning against Karshe, and now he leant against her just so that he might keep to his feet. "Hart!" Karshe said, alarmed.

"It's okay," Hart told her, though his voice was exceedingly weary. "I'm just tired."

And then Wren did a most peculiar thing.

He made a flower grow from between the stones of the floor.

The flower bloomed and the boy knelt and picked it up. When he did, the roots came with it. As Eberhardt made a nut appear in her palm, Hart understood. He put out his hand and the sword he had used in Pala's dream, the sword he had meant to bring with him all along --the midnight sword-- appeared in it. His sword. As it appeared he chuckled out an exhausted, "Aha."

"You know that sword," Wren said to him. "And I know this flower." It seemed, to Hart, that the flower was the same rose they had grown, out in the Dark.

Tired as he was, Hart considered the boy's words. And then he waved a hand and suddenly there was an armchair beneath him. It was the armchair from the fireplace in the library in Scalvtown. He relaxed into it, and that was good because it meant he didn't fall. As he relaxed his face went pale and drawn, but there was something there, a tired determination. He rested the sword upon the arms of the chair and then lay back as best he could. "I just need to rest a moment," he said, and then, because he couldn't have done anything else, he closed his eyes.

Ten bits passed, or twenty, or thirty. To Hart it felt as if he had only just laid back in the chair. But he couldn't rest forever, and at some point he blinked his eyes wearily open. Though he still felt exhausted he looked better, though either way he did not look precisely well.

"Going through those doors--" Hart rubbed at his eyes as he spoke to Wren. When he stood Karshe was at his side, and with her help he made sure that he was well and able to stand. "That's it, isn't it?" Hart asked.

"Yes," Wren said. "We're almost at the End." The boy held the rose close to him.

Then it was best to prepare, Hart thought. Like Wren had said.

The book of dreams was still there on its plinth and Hart approached it, walking independently. He walked carefully, as a person does when they're quite tired. When he made it to the plinth he picked the book up though he didn't look within it. If Eliza didn't mind and if he was able to do so, it would be one of the items he would bring with them to the End.

Next he called to him his messenger bag, the one he carried with him in the waking world. It came with his sketching materials, his sketchbook and charcoals which, after a moment's consideration, he offered to Eliza. She could have them should she wish. All the usual items were within the bag, mundane and likely not useful. It was the bag itself he wanted, but he couldn't picture it properly without the rest.

He slid the cracked mirror from the maze into one of its pockets and, after opening the journal from the maze to see if anything new had appeared in it, he tucked the journal within the bag as well. He also put the the book of dreams within. He shut the bag carefully, and slung the strap of it over his shoulder and head.

"Karshe," he said, and the stag nodded at him. Hart indicated the truefire in the crystal which hung around her neck. "Keep that safe?" he asked.

"Yes, I will," she said. The stag herself could have prepared something, though Hart saw that she didn't. "I think," Karshe said hesitantly, "I think I'm supposed to be there as I am."

"Wren?" Hart asked next.

The boy already had the flower, and he didn't seem to want anything else. "But you should borrow this," Wren said. He offered Hart the book the caterpillar had said they might need, the one taken from the Waiting Place.

"What should I do with it?" Hart asked.

"Ask it," Wren said.

All this time Wren had carried the book carefully, and so when Hart took it from his hands he too handled it with care. When he opened the book he was exceptionally careful. It was very, very old and very, very worn, nearly falling apart. If it had once had words, the words had faded into nothing. "What do you do?" he asked the book.

If the book answered, Hart would go on from there to ask it a few important questions.

"Is there anything in particular we need going forward on our quest?" he asked it. He looked at Eliza, wondering if she had any questions to ask. Should the book be able to answer and should she have questions, Hart would give her a time with it.

But before he did, "Is Auya okay?" he asked the old book quietly.

"The others, from the Waiting Place. Where are they? What are they doing?"

"Are any of them nearby?"

At that Wren looked up at Hart. "The token," the boy said abruptly.

Hart held the token in his hand; a little silver wren. He hadn't used it, as of yet. But he had seen Auya and Eliza use their tokens, and he had an inkling of what he might do with his.

Simply, Hart closed his hand over it. He closed his eyes and murmured, "May it Guide them." When he opened his hand again the silver wren was gone.

He had sent it to those who Needed it.

The sword he sheathed upon a belt that appeared as if it had always been there, slung across his hips. For a moment he frowned at the night clothes he and Wren were wearing, but then he shook his head.

He had his bag, the book of dreams, the sword. He wasn't hungry. He wasn't thirsty. He was tired, but that was another matter. He had rested as best he could.

Across from him, Karshe let out a big yawn. "My role as protector," she murmured to herself, as if in thought.

If the book from the Waiting Place had told him something specific that they would need for their quest, Hart would take a moment to try and figure out how to call that to him.

Then he considered briefly what else they might need going on. Of course. He closed his eyes and from his mind he pulled Auya Trueheart, trying to call her to the room if he could.

"Hmm," he said, and, closing his eyes once more, he pictured the caterpillar. "If you wouldn't mind coming with us," he said, and opened his eyes again. The caterpillar would be there or it wouldn't.

Lastly, he turned to the five Resurrected. They were dreams and nightmares and yet he couldn't tell-- what exactly they were. It was best to keep them safe, he thought. He pointed at each of them and imagined the collection of stones he had back on the Jovy Akor. Unless Eliza had a better idea for them, he would make each into a stone.

Each stone he made was a different color. Some were not from his own collection, but all were stones he had seen and held throughout his life. One was an amethyst, one obsidian, one a pearl, one rose quartz, and the last was a simple rock with a hole in it. If it worked, when he held the stones in his hands, he would be able to feel the dreams and nightmares swirling snug within them. He would offer Eliza her pick of the stones, should she want any of them to hold onto.

Then, looking around the room again, Hart let out a breath. Was there anything else he could think to do?

"Eliza, do you have any last ideas on what we might need?" he asked. He was aware she too had been making preparations. Wren came over and took Hart's hand and Karshe wandered over as well. Hart draped his arm over the stag's neck. As he did, he realized the three of them were still tied together by string.

"The string goes on forever," he said, or at least it seemed to. "Do you and Eberhardt want to be tied to us, just in case?" he asked.

With that, he was about done.

His sword was at his hip but in the dreaming world it was less of a sword and more of a-- a focus, a working, he would call it. And, he sensed, looking at Eliza, that perhaps if they were clever, fate might be with them. But only once.

That was all they could do. Go forward with what they had, and try.

And Hart, for one, would try his best.

For reference, Hart tried to call to him:
- his sword, which he basically uses as a focus of his will in Emea
- his messenger bag, with its contents
- the bag includes all the usual stuff, tinderbox, waterskin, compass, etc.
- a belt and sheath for the sword
- anything the book from the Waiting Place might have told him they would need
- Auya Truehart
- the caterpillar >_>
- he tried to turn the Resurrected into travel-size stones lmao

- Wren is bringing the flower he made
- Hart is bringing the book of dreams
- Hart also made an armchair but only to rest in, which he will leave behind

He asked the book from the Waiting Place these questions:
"What do you do?"
"Is there anything in particular we need going forward on our quest?"
"Is Auya okay?"
"The others, from the Waiting Place. Where are they? What are they doing?"
"Are any of them nearby?"

Most importantly, perhaps, Hart tried to send his token to the Dead 2, in order to act as their Guide.

All of that is probably way too much but our objective was to prepare and thus, Hart did.
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

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It was the strangest sensation that Eliza could remember having felt before. Hart was talking to Karshe, or to himself...the other himself, something that never were or never was; and she was contemplating the walls, looking for something; some other way out of the room so they might go back for Auya. Then she felt as if the world, or rather she was stretching somehow. There followed an even stranger sense of separation, and then a cosmic sort of snap as something fell back into place.

The mortalborn knew intuitively what had happened, and also realized that she'd have no control over what the other....her was doing. Eliza had a real knack. More often than not she opted to play the eternal optimist. And much of the time, she even managed to convince herself. "Well I'm out there somewhere, Eberhardt," she said, turning away from the wall. "I only hope that the other me doesn't say or do anything to embarrass us or get us killed." She'd been told more than once by any number of those that raised her, that her mouth was bound sooner or later, to be the peril of her.

When Hart announced that he was tired, it was almost as if she'd needed permission to give over to the exhaustion herself. His simple statement was that, and her shoulders slumped just a little. She could use a rest before they moved on. But when she saw what Wren did, or at least what happened in response to his bidding, and then the nut for Eberhardt. "Very clever," she teased her little friend. Clever yes, but also useful. So while Hart focused on what he might need, Eliza did the same. The first thing she did was call upon her favorite fainting couch, the one up in her gallery in her cottage at the edge of the forest. She loved that thing and had taken many a nap there during breaks while she painted. She'd be sure to take some rest on it, and send it back home before the two of them moved on.

Then there was her traveling sack, which contained a flask of water, some bread and cheese that she kept for hikes into the forest. The usual things, including the crystal that she'd taken away from the Maze that they'd been caught in before. The other things she'd brought with her, the ribbon, the mirror, the notebook, she'd put into that sack. Except that before she did, she grew curious and looked at the pages of the notebook. She'd never drawn in it, never written in it. She'd been sure to keep it just as it had been when she'd found it inside the maze. Had anything changed since then?

Hart had given her his art supplies, which she gratefully accepted. In addition, she called on her short sword and pistol crossbow. It had to be said that her skills regarding both weapons left much to be desired. Once, she'd hacked through a stubborn vine in her garden with the sword. And she'd accidentally killed a big rat in the corner of her parlor with the bow. She'd been aiming three feet away from it, and had only meant to scare the creature away. Next, even thought Hart had given her the paintbrushes and pencils, she used one of the former in order to create a special brush. Much like the one that she'd used in the young boy's nightmare to create an exit door for him. A brush that would never run out of paint, of any color that she chose. That brush would be the focus of her will in Emea.

When Hart offered her one of the stones, she smiled and chose one. A smooth polished pearl. She wasn't sure what they were for, but it felt like a good luck charm of sorts to keep in her pocket, and they needed all the good luck they could get. "Luck," she said, smiling dryly. They seemed to have gathered quite a lot between the two of them. But again, all they could get. Although the book might have other ideas and although she couldn't add any questions to Hart's, she was curious to hear what it would say, if anything.

At some point, Eliza would take some rest on the fainting couch, with Eberhardt curled up on her breast with her strange little rolling snore that Eliza found strangely enduring. But before she'd drifted off herself, she pulled the whirligig from out of her pocket, blew on it and watched it turn. One more wish, if this was indeed a designated wishing place. "Like the weather vane that turns and rattles when a foul wind approaches, you shall be our...watch whirligig, to warn us when danger lurks nearby." She might have come up with a more poetic sounding moniker, had she had more time to ponder it.

It would have to do, and so she napped while there was still time and when she woke, after dismissing her couch, she tucked the handle of the whirligig into the band that she'd used to bind up her hair. There, it could freely spin should any unseen danger be lurking nearby, or approaching from any direction. Not that they'd necessarily know what it was. But if wishing worked, at least they'd know something was afoot.

And when it was time to go? "I'd completely forgotten about that," she said when Hart mentioned the string.[/b] After taking the time to tie the end of the string to the belt that kept her short-sword, she knotted and fashioned a little harness to secure Eberhardt with. Then what was left, she gave to Hart to tie off with his own bit of string. "Everyone ready?" she asked. then.
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Re: CitW: Round 2: The Generous

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Hart was busy. Very much so. Some things worked, others did not. All of the items which he called to him appeared there, willed by him. The people, did not. Nor did the caterpillar. When Hart no longer needed the armchair, it simply no longer existed, but Wren's flower and the Book of Dreams were easy enough. The five small stones which had been the Resurrected were gathered up, also. What that might do to them of course, who knew? But it seemed that intent was everything and Hart intended them no harm.

When he asked the book, the answers appeared in writing.
"I answer questions."
"Your wits. Your heart and soul."
"Auya is dead."
"They are in different places around the Dreamscape. Too many words."
"Yes. Tio is there."

As it said it, Tio was, in fact, there. The only thing Hart had left to do then was to send his token. And it left his hand.

Eliza, having rested on her fainting couch, pulled forward a number of things - all of them there. When she looked at the book, it had the story of this adventure. From the first step in to the Maze to this moment. It was beautiful, the calligraphy exquisite and the illustrations gorgeous. It got up to the point of her reading the book and then, it stopped. The whirligig, when she put it in her hair, it felt... right and it blew in a gentle, even rhythm.

And so. Together. They went.

Please go and post now in CitW Endgame 1: Dreams.
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