• Closed • [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

23rd of Ashan 721

A small island with an active volcano, Faldrass is the home to Saoire's school and to the Faldrass Induk.

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Nir'wei
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[Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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23rd of Ashan, 721.

Pulling the book from Traveller's saddlebag, he propped himself against a tree trunk and traced the cover with his fingertips once more. Though the moon was obscured by clouds and the light of nearby Hopetoun was feeble and flickering, Nir'weis eyes still saw, clear as day, his name inscribed upon the cover, and again upon the spine, in flowing golden lettering that felt unique under his fingertips. He'd already read the whole book from cover to cover. Multiple times. At that moment he was certain that he could close his eyes and recite every word, so deeply he'd drunk from its contents, and yet he could not stop himself turning back to it at every opportunity.

"You could be inside right now," Grey pointed out. His voice had grown deeper still since his ascension to an Alpha, and his words now seemed to carry a strange energy to them. Like when one lifted their palms close to a roaring flame and felt the intense heat that radiated from its surface, so too his voice now seemed to glow in his mind's eye, spoken directly into his head. "Getting to know people. Talking. Mingling."

"I've never been much of a people person," was his simple reply. "My place was always outdoors." For better or for worse, he'd always been drawn to animals. To forests and clearings and places of solitude and peace. Raucous laughter and people pressed closely together into cramped spaces... he could tolerate for a time, of course, but it never felt comfortable to him. "Besides. This is still taking some getting used to." He looked up to see Greyhide, looming overhead... but at the same time, he could see himself, through Greyhide's eyes, staring back up from an entirely different angle. "Speaking feels--"

"--strange, when there are so many mouths to do it with," Greyhide finished smoothly. Nir'wei nodded. "So many eyes, which ones do you look through." He nodded again. "You don't need to do that, I already know you agree with me." Oh, right. Their connection was complete, more complete than it had ever been before, and yet it still felt so awkward sometimes. Was this how all Mortalborn felt first coming into their powers for the first time?

Myrth snorted quietly from his side, nosing the edge of his book. "What a silly question." Because the answer was so clear, did she mean? "Because the answer does not matter." The soft laughter from the wolves that crowded around him briefly filled the small space they'd scouted out for themselves for the night, and Nir'wei gently shoved Myrth backwards to clear a little more room.

"Alright, alright. Settle down... we've got another long day tomorrow, so get your rest." He would join them in a moment. Just one more read wouldn't hurt before then, though.
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Re: [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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It's quite a read, isn't it?" the man said.

No preamble, no introduction. He was just there. Nir'wei recognised him - they all did. He looked at the scruffy-looking Sev'ryn and he smiled. "You look well, and remind me of your father," he said with a deep laugh. The Immortal of Travel greeted each animal individually, and by name. He did so respectfully, and there was an air of calm about him which was rare in his interactions with mortals.

"Darius tells me," he said to Nir'wei without any beating around the bush, "that you fought Maxine, when Smooglenuff manor was destroyed?" He looked at the Mortalborn man with a serious expression on his face. "And I would ask you, if you would, to tell me that tale." Cassion seemed ~ was ~ entirely serious. "Because there is a piece of this puzzle which I do not know, and I find myself intrigued."

Gesturing around expansively, he seemed to encompass the whole island as he did. "And frankly, I like it here. I don't want Chrien's anger to blind people, or Vhalar's Oath to bind them. But more than that," he admitted the truth to the man. "I want to know the full story. Right now, there is Shadow cast over too many things and I am concerned." He didn't speak so bluntly to most mortals. But Nir'wei had earned it. "And I believe there are tricks within tricks, plots within plans and deception following deception," he said. "So, I want to know it all, to make sure."

He gestured to the book in Nir'wei's hands. "I know you, I know your story. You deserve to hear the straight-up version. Somehow, things are being kept from me - and others of my kind. I believe Audrae is involved. Will you help me?" He asked. He offered nothing in return, gave no clause or plea.

He simply asked, and left it at that.
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Re: [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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His enhanced senses did not hear the footsteps of his approach, nor smell his presence nearby. That was alarming enough, if not for the fact that none of the wolves had sensed him either. All too quickly he pushed the book down and made to stand - but the warm face of Cassion looking down, focused upon the book and smiling in an oddly disarming fashion eased the hammering in his chest, at least a little bit. "Please," he interrupted as Cassion greeted each member of his pack in turn with an admirable memory, for how he addressed each in turn by name, "don't bring him up here." The less spoken about his father, the better. In fact, he rather thought Cassion would know better than most exactly why he'd feel this way, having written the book still pressed into Nir'weis lap... a book that contained within it his entire life from its beginnings to its many different ends, and yet containing not a single mention of his father.

That out of the way, and as soon as he'd finished speaking in turn to each wolf, he began rather bluntly. "Maxine..." He wondered if Cassion knew that she was no longer alive. Perhaps that was why the Immortal had sought him out instead. "You know my story." He hefted the book as if proof of such a statement. "You've written it yourself, no detail spared. But she knew it too, Maxine did. Somehow." He could still not understand how, when every man and woman that had witnessed it had died at the hands of Vri, and had their souls consumed by Karem, so that not even their ghosts could whisper of what had befallen them. "She knew every horrible detail and as we prepared to travel to what we now know would have been the heart of the volcano, where Faldrass was imprisoned, she used that knowledge against me." Recalling it made Greyhide growl softly, the other wolves restless, Cold in particular standing and prowling on the spot as if especially agitated at that moment, though his quiet gnashing was distant to their conversation, only a background noise. "I was... all of us were angry." The same growl was beginning in his own throat. "Stranger and not-kin, howling like a wounded pup, and-- and she... when she left, when she was kicked out for drinking and taking drugs and acting the reckless fool, we followed. We just wanted to hurt her, like she had hurt us." He wasn't proud of that. Despite Saoire's kind words, thanking him for standing up to her, the truth was that she'd already been removed from the group, excised before she could cause any further damage and jeopardise the mission.

"Someone followed us outside. They didn't want to stop us from fighting, they wanted to single me out. I shot them between the eyes. Non-fatal, but I don't know what happened to them after that. Maxine and I fought, but she threw everything at me. Every trick she could employ, every power it seemed like - I hope that was everything, because it tore through her as much as it did me, and though I couldn't land a solid hit on her, she destroyed her own footing and caused a landslide after soaking the ground in a storm and then causing some sort of explosion inside herself." He didn't know when during his rendition he'd lowered his gaze, but he raised it again to meet Cassion square and level. "She killed herself that day. In her rage, and anger, and whatever else was going through her in that moment, she destroyed herself in her attempt to kill me." He still didn't know whether she'd genuinely intended to take him down with her, though considering the fact that she'd been entirely willing to explode if it meant catching him in it, he could only assume so. "I escaped on Traveller and flew above the landslide. She was caught in it, and the wreckage of the collapsing Smooglenuff Mansion. Buried underground somewhere and crushed. We never found her body. At this point, there's no point searching. The lava flows, the huge collapse... there's no telling what we're even looking for anymore, let alone where it might be."

Once his story was told, he sighed and sat back all of a sudden. "That's what happened that day. If Chrien chooses to be angry at me, for what Maxine did that day, she must... hah." He had to stop himself from saying what he really thought, but a glance to Cassion suggested he might not have to after all. "She's following some thread of logic far, far above mine. Everything that happened to Maxine that day, she brought upon herself. Her death was entirely at her own hands, and the fight, she started. Unprompted, almost without any reason. I'd never spoken to her directly before that day, I'd only ever been in the same room as her once before. But she wanted me. More than anyone else in that room, she wanted to goad me. With everything happening, it was almost like she wanted to sabotage the whole thing." He paused. "... Was she doing it intentionally? On Chrien's orders?" And had he somehow, unknowingly, thwarted what would have otherwise been an attempt to unleash a monster upon Scalvoris that would have ripped it into pieces and killed thousands more than it already had?
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Re: [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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When Nir'wei asked for Cassion not to bring up his father, Cassion looked at him with an expression which was difficult to decipher. "You are who you are, it is your story," his voice was rich and baritone as he spoke to Nir'wei. "Take strength and pride in that story, you have every right to be proud." It was true as far as the Immortal of the Road was concerned. Also, "And me, not speak a story? That would be ..... uncomfortable!" He grinned at Nir'wei.

But then, he listened. Listened to what Nir'wei said. First, and most importantly, he made something clear. "She is not dead." Cassion was certain of that. "There is no doubt of that, for the Lantern-bearer cursed her, for her part in the War against Ellasin, and her betrayal of your side. She lives, although the nature of that curse has changed." Cassion shrugged, although he seemed far from unconcerned.
"It is my nature to know people, their story. Maxine was bound to Kura by a collar, given by Famula as a curse. But she wears that no more, her curse is different now," he spoke without emotion, simply stating it how it was.

"Chrien is not angry at you," He seemed sure of that, too. "Chrien is angry because the manor was destroyed, because Faldrass was freed. Because all of this risks exposing Pyk once more, and because she despises mortals." he gave a chuckle at that. "So, I suppose she despises you. But not in a special place in her heart sort of way. For whatever that is worth."

Cassion frowned then, and shook his head. "There is more, I know there is. " Looking at Nir'wei, he shrugged - but this time, it was in obvious frustration. "I do not know how she knew so much of you," he said. "But I believe that yes - either she was deliberately sabotaging or she was being goaded into doing so, manipulated." His frown deepened. "The Warden of Slag's Deep, he was manipulated by the Mistress of Shadows, " he said. "Knowing that he was desperate, and powerful, she gave him the answers he so fervently sought. So much so that he did not stop and think. And from that one thing, this whole thing spiralled. But, in this, I feel that you and I have similar questions." He stopped then, and he turned to look at Nir'wei with a wide grin.

"Why did Maxine do what she did? What was driving her?" He gestured around, expansively. "The same question now, but for Audrae, all those centuries ago. What reason is there for the Mistress of Deception to be involved. And Maxine - she was betrayed by Audrae, too, in the war. Was she not?" He cast his mind back to the War of Death & Souls. These mortals and their wars. Cassion looked at Nir'wei then with an excited expression on his face. The Mistress of Shadows did nothing without reason, after all. "That is the story I would seek. What did Audrae gain by locking that girl away? And why is it that we are so keen to put a stop to what Audrae wanted?"

He stood then. "This is the story, the tale to discover. Why. Why did it happen. We know why he did what he did, but her? Plots and schemes within deception and mystery." He gestured to the water then. "Find out, Nir'wei. Find out why Audrae deceived him, what she gained from it. Find out if Chrien is right to be angry. Because while you do not know why it happened, any action ~ of peace or of war ~ they risk playing directly into her hands. Will you do that?"

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Re: [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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Cassion was free to his own opinion, of course. Nir'wei didn't agree with it, but he said nothing, choosing to stay respectfully silent despite the words of encouragement. He was proud of most of the things he'd done in his life, of how far he'd come since his humble beginnings and how he'd stuck to his ideals regardless of the pressures to bow to the whims of the world - however the absence of his father had nothing to do with that. His was a blank space in Nir'weis past and not even Ralaith could conceivably undo it; nor was it something he could really influence, so he did what little he could do, and ignored it, choosing to rise above his involvement with the Immortal. Was that really so bad?

Regardless, he finished his rendition of the story with Maxine, pausing for air, and-- "What." Before he could properly demand an explanation, the Immortal was already listing off his reasons, his suspicions and the underlying explanations for his conclusion. Some pieces sounded vaguely familiar, a leash made to keep her in check following the War, but now it made sense why nobody had raised queries into where she had run off to, if she was still under those laws. The curse had changed. Why? Under who's authority?

Though for the moment he needed to stop himself - or rather, he could feel one of his parts, Squeak, detaching himself from the tangle of interjecting voices that made his consciousness - and asking how he felt about Maxine being alive. Honestly? The first feelings brewing in his chest were not relief. The guilt he'd carried as a result of their fight was nothing to do with Maxine herself, and everything to do with the damage that had been caused as a result, the people caught up and even killed just for being misfortunate enough to be standing nearby. If only he'd finished her off sooner, if only he'd never have taken the bait in the first place. But guilt over Maxine's death? She'd brought it entirely upon herself, by being arrogant enough to attack him without expecting repercussions, and indeed by being so arrogant as to think her own powers could not possibly backfire upon herself in a critical moment. Search deeper, and while he didn't feel particularly interested in finishing the job and making sure she died for good... considering how much she'd put everyone else through, did she deserve to walk free now? Had she faced due punishment for her crimes? "Karem eat her," he muttered darkly.

Chrien could eat shit, too. They'd never spoken, met together, or had any involvement in one-another as much as he knew, and she despised him for something he frankly had little to no real control over - and simply because he existed? The more Cassion talked about her, the more it felt like earning her ire was something more inevitable than accidental - and since she didn't sound like one for negotiations or bargains, perhaps it would be better to just meet violence with violence. They were already preparing for war, after all. "What a mess," he sighed at last, several different threads of thought and conversation running simultaneously under the surface of his scalp. There were a few common threads that he could pick out, though. Confront Chrien. Hunt down Maxine. Maybe give Maxine to Chrien. Maybe use Maxine to find Chrien. But if Audrae was behind it all... "I will try." It was an honest response, but he looked to Cassion's smiling face, very excited by what would surely make a brilliant story, and he found himself smiling a little back.

Cassion, in that moment, struck as quite an earnest and honest man. There was something slightly uncomfortable about how eager he was, considering the danger and misery that laid ahead... but what better way to face such horribly dreadful things than with a hopeful and happy heart? In his own way, he was just being his own torch. If he wanted, he could have his own brand of Lightning Knights, singing fine songs and spreading cheer in taverns across the world. "I will do everything in my power to uncover Audrae's story," he revised, his smile widening a little further. "I suppose who better to hunt her down than a wolf, after all?"
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Re: [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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Nir'wei considered what Cassion said and the Immortal of Story nodded as he saw Nir'wei's mind working carefully. "I suggest" Cassion said, softly, "That you speak to Kura about that. She had control of the leash, while the two of you were fighting." A part of the story which was for Nir'wei to uncover, that one. "So it's her fault?" He grinned at Nir'wei, obviously joking. Equally, if he was in Nir's shoes, he'd have some questions to ask of Karem's daughter, there was no doubt.

Cassion was quiet as Nir'wei worked it through in his mind, as he considered it. When Nir assessed it as a mess, Cassion nodded. However, messes were - to him, at least - opportunities. Chances to unearth something wonderful, exciting and to lead to new messes to find.

"Excellent!" Cassion exclaimed. "And who better, indeed!" he gave a chuckle at that. "It will be a tale of marvellous proportions, told by bards and sung by minstrels, I am sure!"

He grew more serious then, and he looked at Nir'wei for a moment. "If you wish it," he said, his voice more serious. "I can help you. I would offer you my mark, if it is your wish," he said. "I believe that your story will be great indeed!" And then, he added with a smile. "And it will be interesting to see what happens with your investigation of the Mistress of Shadows" He gestured around, expansively, as though he could see Nir's story unfolding around him. "Uncovering the reason for Audrae locking that girl away is a great adventure, is it not? "

And as for the other individual involved in this. "Maxine was linked to the Warden. Marked by Audrae and Chrien, although Famula's war changed that, at least in part." He shook his head. "It will be a wonderful adventure. What say you!?"

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Cassion has offered Nir'wei his mark. You may post again, or just let me know what Nir says / does. Up to you!
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Re: [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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Now it was beginning to feel like Cassion knew more than he was letting on. "Kura." The jest that she'd been responsible hit perhaps a little harder than Cassion might have intended. Why had Maxine ever been allowed to do everything that she'd done - harness the full extent of her powers at that moment in a clear attempt to kill someone? Perhaps he didn't understand the full limitations of the leash, but it certainly raised uncomfortable questions. If he knew so much about this, however, there was something else to ask. A little more unpleasant. "Do you know where Maxine is. Or how I can begin to track her." All he needed was a scrap of her belongings, perhaps even a bit of blood. He couldn't ask Kura, after all. She would know why - and she would know how he'd use them to find her.

Perhaps he'd have even more, though. "A great adventure," he echoed with a quiet and more thoughtful tone to his voice. "Yes, it would be. And I would gladly accept any help in whatever Audrae has done, and continues to do." His hand unthinkingly stretched out and found a wolf's head under his palm. "Your mark is more than that, though. Isn't it." If it was anything like Karem's, it would be something that he carried for the rest of his life. Something that shaped who he was as a person, one way or another. Something that would bind him to Cassion forever - though that part, he didn't really mind.

"There are other adventures to come after this one, you know," he said at last, tussling Grey behind one ear before rolling up his sleeve. "There are problems left unsolved and questions unanswered that eat at my head whenever I sit to breathe. To some of them... this nonsense with Audrae and Chrien feels petty in comparison. I don't know what will happen, or where it will lead me, or... or what I might do when it comes down to the moment. And I'm not saying this because I want to sound ungrateful," he clarified quickly, "or Karem above, unworthy!" Was he actually getting a little flustered? Trying to get the next sentence out took a few honest attempts, each one overlapping or trailing off before he steadied himself with a deep breath. "I just want to be honest. There are bad things to come, and worse to follow. Where it ends, I couldn't say. But if the offer is still there, I'd happily have you with me for it." He offered his upturned arm to the Immortal as some sort of offering and braced himself. Come what may.
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Re: [Hopetoun] A Bedtime Story.

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Your Review
Nir'wei

Overview

Nir'wei is just so well-written, it's hard to put it into words. He's emotional, flawed, stubborn, determined and he is absolutely wonderful as a pc. He's got real depth and I really can't imagine any other PC saying 'you sure, bro?' to Cassion. I love how very true to him you are - and I can only say that I admire your writing of this complex and intriguing PC. I hope you enjoy your rewards!

Points

XP: 20
Renown: 15

Loot

IC:
Sojourn: When Cassion tells him that, no, he has no idea where Maxine is, and offers to mark him, he then listens to Nir'wei's answer. With a laugh, the Immortal of Story clasps Nir's offered hand and, as he does that, Nir'wei is marked by Cassion, and granted the first three powers.
Blood Son
The first ability in Sojourn comes with the blood that is shared of Cassion. The marked is forever changed, transformed a small measure divine by the Immortal’s own blood and commitment. The blooded of Cassion find they are no longer satiated by stagnancy. To be a chosen of Cassion is to have your home always on the horizon. Staying longer than a single Arc in any one city will impart a thorough sense of lethargy and sap the health of the Sojourner until they have finally moved on. They must be away from the location longer than they stayed in order to build a tolerance once more. The Blooded of Cassion are vibrant people flowing with life. Each is gifted with enormous appetites and the ability to subsist on substandard food. So long as it is edible, they can thrive upon it. Each one heals half again as fast as another member of their race and can often push the limits of the endurance that a member of their species might have. By virtue of their divine nature, Sojourners can always recognize each other on sight and any object or person touched by Cassion.

Journey's Meal
A Sojourner must prepare many meals on the road between adventures. Most often, they are accompanied by others. This ability can only be used once a trial but allows any meal prepared for a Sojourner to satiate both themselves and their companions, no matter how little there was to prepare in the first place. In order to work, the Sojourner must do their best to make the meal as appetizing and filling as they have the material to provide. This Meal can feed the Sojourner and up to three other companions (including animals). Those who eat the meal will find the taste vastly improved, so long as the Sojourner explains either the origin or the process of making such food available as they are enjoying it.

Traveler's Skills I
The character is granted an extra three skill points which may be spent only on the following skills:Discipline, Fieldcraft, Sailing, Storytelling, Cooking, or Navigation. Any skill points granted by this Mark can break the 250 (or 100 if fast track) point cap on skills. Within these skills, the points may be spent how the pc chooses.

I have updated your Character Wiki to reflect this.
OOC:
Medals Awarded:
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He's a Great Listener - for telling Cassion a story!
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For fantastic plots!
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Me Gooseta - for haunting, beautiful writing

Knowledge

Detection: With all the senses in the world, people can still sneak up on you!
Detection: Even memory has details to spot
Discipline: Focus is exponentially harder.
Discipline: Shock news
Discipline: Recognising your emotions.
Discipline: Not showing your surprise when you're snuck up on!
Discipline: Dealing with regrets.
Discipline: Force yourself not to descend into despair
Discipline: Finding out that it is personal
Investigation: Explaining what seems out of place
Investigation: Questioning why someone knows something they should not
Investigation: Consider motives for behaviour
Investigation: Interrogate the actions of people who seem insignificant to the story
Investigation: Bare basics needed to track
Logistics: Working out where your focus is best sent.
Negotiation: Best to up front - especially with an Immortal.
Negotiation: State your weaknesses and strengths
Negotiation: Be clear of your bottom line.
Storytelling: The story of the demise of Smooglenuff
Storytelling: The best stories are filled with emotion
Storytelling: Details are important
Storytelling: Telling the truth can be telling a story.
Tactics: Recognizing when you've put everything into a combat
Tactics: Meet violence with violence
Tactics: Sometimes individuals just can't be reasoned with.
Tactics: Look at relationships



If you have any questions or concerns regarding this review - drop me a PM.
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