Devoted Without A Cause (Graded)

Arthur and Ulric try to plot their next move now that Lisirra has been defeated.

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Devoted Without A Cause (Graded)


17 Cylus 720 | Ulric | Commercial Circle: Inn
Arthur and Ulric stood divided by ideology and a table in an Inn that had a lot less business since the war. There were so many dead in the city these trials that no one was surprised by Ulric's appearance. Ulric had begun manifesting himself regularly now that he seemed to have mastered the ability. He enjoyed walking around in a body for three reasons.. He enjoyed being seen. It made him feel less like the specter of himself that he had become since Corvus murdered him. Yet when children looked to his eyes and saw nothing but the blackness then turned away in fear more often than not. It was that which tore at Ulric and made him feel monstrous. This materialization was not enough. He needed a body again. He had to have it. With a body he'd be free to hunt and kill Corvus. He had to become flesh and blood again.

The second reason Ulric had remained separate from Arthur for so long was because he did not want to betray his thoughts to his companion. He didn't want Arthur to realize that he was becoming less content with his spectral form. He'd never dare to take Arthur's body, but he didn't want Arthur to begin thinking that Ulric was considering it. Ulric didn't want to disrupt the alliance they had made because as the war had proven, it was an effective alliance indeed. They'd paid for a room in the Inn for the time being but Arthur seemed intent to move back to the outlying villages. Despite the demise of the immortal, Etzos made Arthur feel uneasy and Sintra's presence didn't seem to be helping matters.

That was the third reason Ulric had not been possessing Arthur as of late. When the battle had ended and the dust settled, the two of them had come away with very different opinions of the immortal. Ulric heralded her as their savior. Her power, her might, and her conviction had guided them through layer after layer of Lisirra's domain and in the end the Plague Queen had been vanquished. Yet Arthur saw it from the perspective of a cynical mortal. Sintra had used the Etzori to settle a score with another immortal and they'd all almost been killed as a result. Ulric had accepted Sintra's mark only to discover he could only access it when he possessed a body... and he could not bring himself to possess Arthur while the swordsman did not know the truth.

So they stood in the Inn where Ulric had just put all his cards on the table, figuratively. Arthur stood, leaning forward with his brow furrowed and his eyes lost in thought. Ulric stood, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. His white face bore a slightly grey sheen to it indicating he'd materialized as fully as he could. The light of a candle on the table lit Arthur's face but it did not reach to Ulric who remained in the shadows. Ulric had just told Arthur the very truths outlined above. He wanted to be restored to life, Sintra was offering it to ghosts, and Ulric had already signed up. He did not know where he sat in Sintra's cue, he did not know if he would ever be restored by the immortal, but one way or another he would find a body to make his before they destroyed Corvus. He saw it as the only way to survive killing his anchor.

"She cannot be trusted." Arthur insisted after a long, long silence had passed between them.

"I know," Uric began "I do not trust her."

"But you are willing to swear loyalty to her?"

"I'll say whatever I must to be restored."

"You cannot deceive an immortal." Arthur cautioned "You don't understand what your decision will cost you- what it will cost us!"

"You will be protected, as always-"

"No! No! You don't get to make that claim! I fought alone in that war! You left me!"

"We were separated, what was I to do? Look for you and ignore Lisirra's minions?" Ulric's words bring another long pause to the conversation. Arthur steps back from the table and the candlelight.

"There is always another way, Ulric. Sintra can't be trusted." Arthur said in a sad voice. "These Immortals do not care for us. We are pawns in their wars."

"Sintra lead us against Lisirra. She has given me power unlike anything I could do when I was-"

"You sound like Corvus." As the words passed through Arthur's mouth he realized he shouldn't have said them. Ulric's black eyes widened and his hand reached out, a tendril manifesting and wrapping around Arthur's neck. Arthur's hands rose to try and pry the tendril off, he knew the force working against him better than most Ulric threatened with it. After a few moments he unsheathed Ulric's sword (and anchor) from his belt and severed the tendril around his throat, the sword cutting the ectoplasm with ease. "You know I am right! He sword the immortals guided him, guided us, and we did horrible things in their names."

"I am not him! The voices he heard in his mind were his own!" Ulric protested, rage flaring in him now that Arthur had drawn his own sword on him. "I have seen Sintra. I have heard her promises with my own ears. She-"

"Wait," Arthur interrupted as he seemed to realize something. "What did you mean? What power has she given you?" A silence passed between them that told Arthur everything he needed to know. The way Ulric averted his undead gaze- the indignant look on his face... Ulric knew he had been caught but wouldn't conjure the words to confess it... so Arthur conjured them for Ulric. "You've already taken her mark? I thought you were speaking of plans to come..." Ulric gave Arthur hardly more than a nod in response. Arthur seemed lost. "How? You're dead. I've had your sword-"

"I am resourceful and Sintra is powerful." Ulric answered. "Her mark was only the beginning. There is more work to do." Ulric did not tell Arthur that the mark would only work so long as Ulric was possessing a human. That was a limitation Arthur didn't need to know to fuel the argument.

"Ulric we do not serve Immortals. We agreed that this quest would destroy Corvus and then..."

"Then what? What, Arthur?" Ulric interrupted with an edge to his voice that caused Arthur to pause.

"Then you could rest." Arthur let the words escape him with a deep breath. Ulric shook his head softly.

"I'll never rest, Arthur. When Corvus is destroyed I'll be free of his memory... but I can never rest." Ulric spoke with a softer tone than moments before. The sad reality that he'd resigned himself to unfolded before Arthur. "The lightbringers were my life. I gave them everything. Then I thought I could live happily with Marian and Corvus took that from me... forever. Marian won't be waiting for me wherever the Immortal's take our souls. She never had one. I have nothing to gain from rest."

"And what will you gain by staying when Corvus is defeated?" Arthur asked, slowly sliding Ulric's sword back into it's sheath.

"If I survive it... we will see." Deep down Ulric didn't think he would survived destroyed his anchor... destroying Corvus.

"You've given up your choice by signing your soul to Sintra. When Corvus is gone, you'll just become another tool in her arsenal. I won't stand by and watch my last friend be corrupted and turned against the good people of this city by her."

"And I have never asked you to." Ulric replied. "When Corvus is dead, I release you from your oath. You'll be free to live your own life, Arthur. Let me endure mine."

"Ulric, Marian my be gone but you can still move on. You can still-"

"No, Arthur... I cannot." Ulric said. "Have you not felt it? No matter how much we train and how much I learn about these new powers I have, I am not getting better at the things I did while I lived." Ulric paused an gestured towards his sword at Arthur's hip. "I'm no better swinging that chunk of metal than I was last season. Arthur I can not move forward. I can not grow and become something better than I was. I am a slave to the memories I had when I died. So long as I remain the way I am... nothing can get better." That was why he wanted to be reborn. Ulric hoped that the hole left in his heart by Marian's death could be filled in a new life- a life where he could forsake his past and become something else entirely.

But that was a long way off.
word count: 1530
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Re: Devoted Without A Cause


Socialization x 4
Persuasion x 2

Loot: --
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: No, but ghost experience.
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: Reading about Ulric’s desire to have a body again as well as children’s reaction to him was quite interesting. I’m sorry that their reaction makes him feel monstrous though. The subsequent conversation between Arthur and Ulric in regard Sintra was well-written. I enjoyed reading more about their different points of view. I wonder if Ulric will ever reach his goal and get a body …

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 97





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