Mature II. Chamber of Anguish

9th of Cylus 720

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II. Chamber of Anguish

9th of Cylus 720

In contrast to the cold snap that was gripping Ne’haer in its deadly orbit, the space Woe found himself in was warm and moist. The frost that glittered on the rest of those subterranean gallleries seemed to melt before the warm radiations from a nearby furnace. As the droplets fell from the ceiling, they gathered and dispersed in a mold-scented mist. The space was humming with that warmth and the fire crackled in the embers of that well-kept furnace. Behind the linen blindfold, Woe could sense its light. As a hand grazed the side of his face, the fingers reached out to grip the blindfold, he braced himsefl. With one swift motion, the cloth was torn off. Woe’s eyes stung for the sudden exposure to radiating firelight, before shutting them tightly again.

After a moment, as his eyes acclimated to the light, he opened them slowly, squinting at first. Before long the mortalborn was taking stock of his surroundings. There were several iron pokers stuck into the embers within the oven. Various lashes and belts and other tools of the torturers trade were hung at various convenience points in the dungeon. There, he saw the source of the whimpering he’d heard earlier. It was some woman or girl, gagged and strung to a stiff wooden chair. Woe, for his part, was shackled to the wall. The main socket was hung low enough that he was in a sitting position on the floor, lying there as one would leave a half-starved beast.

The lack of control over his situation was beginning to give rise to panic. His empathy spark began reacting, readying itself to be unleashed upon the first word Woe uttered. It's venomous lurings coaxing him to speak words, to enact its will upon Idalos in order that he might gain dominance over the situation. Yet the mortalborn suppressed it’s urge to envenom whatever sounds or words his mouth might make. Whoever had captured him was a mage of unknown yet considerable skill and domain. He wouldn’t force the mage’s hand. He seemed adept at his magics, and who knew if he had ways of telling whether ether was being expended. Add to that, Woe was only barely competent at defending himself without a weapon, and his whip was nowhere to be found and wasn’t confident that he could overpower the mage in his own lair.

So he breathed deeply, and calmed himself and his inner sparks.

The mage arrived, to the renewed squeals and whimpers of the other victim that’d been abducted to the chamber.

As the man approached, he took a moment to stand beside Woe where he lay on the ground, the cold stones chilling his arms and chest. Without thinking, without preprations, Woe's could taste his ether urging forth from his pores in atavistic reaction. They concealed and scarmbled and hid several notes that might give him away as a potential loose cannon to this captor. First, the static veiled his Empathy ether and spark. It felt like a cold rush of water passing over him, as he was stripped of awareness of the magic in which he possessed the most expertise. It didn't quite neutralize it's ability to express itself, yet it hid the Empathy as it tried to establish a foothold on Woe's mounting desire to take control of what was happening.

So the attunement spark hid his nature from the strange magus, like a cold blanket over his most prominent spark.

The man spoke then. Woe looked up into his eyes as he did so. They were cold, hard, and unforgiving. "Name's Stoll Moritan. I'll be your boarder for the time being." He said. Woe thought it odd that he felt the compulsion to identify himself. Perhaps this was a tactic meant to intimidate him, to give him the impression that Stoll had no intention of sparing his life lest he identify him. Yet Woe maintained his focus in the face of his careless sharing of a name.

Woe held his tongue for the time being, not wishing to provoke an escalation just yet, not before he knew more about who and what he was dealing with, and why he was lying in a filthy cell with a young woman and this mishapen mage.

Instead, Woe allowed his attunement spark to layer its application of static over the Empathy spark that coursed through him in stinging venoms and soothing honeys. Yet, from that base of static, the Attunement spark was not satisfied to cling to the surface of Woe's tangle, concealing it's arcane potential from Stoll. It reached out in thin tendrils of ether, to listen, to taste the notes and signals given off by this strange mage.

For a moment Stoll appeared not aware of what was happening. Instead, he walked over toward the girl, whose breathing and whimpering intensified with every step he took toward her. Nonchalantly, Stoll brought a hot poker out of the fire. This poker's brand appeared to show a five pointed star at the end of it. Woe wondered at its significance. Was it supposed to be in mockery to some sort of mark, or...

Without telegraphing, without missing a moment, Stoll very matter of factly brought the brand to the woman's forehead, and scorched a five-pointed star on her temple. She shrieked with agony as the flesh sizzled and misted against the air. Woe coughed at the scent of burning flesh, nearly giving up his gruel where he lay.

While Stoll was occupied with this task, however, Woe had gathered some notes and information. Much of which he was unfamiliar with. There was a note, a particularly tense one, tight as a drum one might say. Woe supposed this might be the magic he used to use air as a shield. Perhaps some form of elemental magic, or shielding. Further probing revealed something entirely unfamiliar in design, yet the taste of the ether lingered on his body, as it'd been associated with the trap he experienced earlier. It left him with an impression of sharp incisions and inscriptions, yet more than that, a cloying and groping darkness like fresh ink spreading on the paleness of a linen sheet.

He didn't know what else to make of it, however, and withdrew the tendrils of his attunement spark, before the mage detected their groping presence over his frequency. As quickly as that, Woe discarded his attunement to the strange mage's frequency. Hopefully he hadn't detected his intrusion.

The woman was still whimpering and pleading behind her gag as Stoll removed the iron from her flesh, and placed it back in the fire. With a long, bony finger he pointed at her, and looked at Woe, "She is a seeker of Audnev, come to the Undercity to try and suss out where the Shadow Maiden's shrine might lie."

His mouth twisted, curved upward. Yet Woe didn't recognize any signs of mirth or enjoyment out of that expression. It resembled far more a tightening of the jaw, as if that 'smile' was mere happenstance. A puppet's hands tugged by the errant strings of a novice puppeteer.

He let his finger lower point at the ground, until it curled and formed a fist. He dropped his arms at his side stiffly, and began striding toward Woe's resting place. "What be you seeking then? What fresh blasphemies shall I find out of your soul?"

Stoll knelt before Woe, and looked him over. Woe remained silent only a moment more, before speaking his attempt at deception, "I come for much the same reasons as you, brother. To suss out these heretical cretins and would-be cultists before they take root."

Stoll sniffed the air, looking from Woe back toward the young audnev wannabe. He stared at her, the liner of her eyes beginning to run over her cheeks. Then he turned back to Woe, "That so."

Woe had only moments to react. This time, he conjured and strummed a sense of credulity from deep within his own tangle, to lace it with haphazardly with his words. It was difficult to use the magic while concealing it was static, and he didn't know yet if it'd become evident that he was an Empath merely by breaking through the static. Or if the simple act of attunement was enough to scramble just enough, so that Moritan wouldn't know that he was using magic.

"I heard of spinners in the Underground." Woe uttered shakily, then he cleared his throat, swallowing the phlegm gathering there. "I thought to investigate."

"Spinners, aye. Got some." Stoll was beginning to show signs of opening up. Or Woe thought he could sense it upon his tangle. Perhaps trust looked different to a torturous kidnapper. Yet Woe felt he had enough in common with this man, that he could tell it when he tasted it on the ether.

"I didn't expect to find another inquisitor here..."

"Ain't no inquisitor, no knee-scrapin' Imm-chasin fool. Just a man looking to make a difference."

Woe nodded, not daring to smile, as his words poured out with the full venom of his empathic intent. "Isn't that how it is with magic? We work our wonders upon the world to make a difference? Just as the spark changes us..."

Within moments, Stoll was taking Woe out of his irons. And yet the night was still young, and they were not alone.
word count: 1607
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Re: II. Chamber of Anguish




[*]Attunement: Static: Concealing an Empathy spark.
[*]Attunement: Static: Attempting to conceal one's spark while utilizing its magic.
[*]Attunement: Frequency: Stoll Moritan, a mishapen magus.
[*]Deception: Lie about your purpose.
[*]Deception: Lying only in part, to make the deception more convincing.
[*]Tactics: Using words to get the advantage.


[*]Mark: Audnev: Mark of a Dark, Five-Pointed Star
[*]Immortal: Audrae: Shadow Maiden is one of her names.
[*]Immortal: Audrae: Worshipped mainly by females.

Loot: -1 shackles.
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 5
Magic XP: Yes, for Attunement.
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I enjoyed the way that you set the scene at the beginning of this solo and described the space that Woe found himself in. It was quite detailed. I can’t help but wonder how exactly your PC ended up in this place with a blindfold over his eyes and shackled to the wall though.

You incorporated the use of magic well. Woe’s panic at finding himself in such a situation was obvious.

I might have added “Deception” to the list of skills you used, by the way, as Woe made an attempt at Deception when Stoll knelt before him and asked him what he was seeking.

Either way, this was a very well-written and atmospheric thread. I wonder what happens after Stoll takes Woe out of his irons. Will there be a sequel? I certainly hope so!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 240





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