Closed Bloody Resemblance

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

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Yeva
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Bloody Resemblance

24 Ashan 721


Yeva's interest in Almund had revolved around seeking answers to her pursuing of Scalvoris history. She believed the town held its secrets close, but in every board of its construction, she could spy its influence. Dark, sea weathered wood from ships past stacked and overlapped, nailed in place to reconstruct something new. Near the docks, the men and women were hardened, familiar with the sea and Yeva thought if there was ever a place to learn about the Pirate Lords of Scalvoris, it would be here, where signs of their rule still lingered.

Walking the streets, she lurked by a sign post and smiled at an Element walking past. He nodded in respect, but there was suspicion in his eyes and Yeva noticed shortly after he had left, that there seemed to be more guards on patrol then she remembered. Brow furrowed, she observed the uniformed men and women and then continued to walk along the docks, listening to the shouting of sailors. Dressed down and without her Order cloak, she had been going for a more inconspicuous look, even going so far as to smear a bit of khol around her eyes. In slacks, a loose shirt and and leather boots, Yeva wore her hair in a messy braid and held the strap of her leather satchel as she walked. Her attempt at disguise, Yeva tried to appear busy in hopes no one would question just exactly where she belonged in the mess of bustling activity. Off to the side and out of the immediate way of those actually hefting cargo back and forth from ship to shore, Yeva's hands twisted a length of rope as she tried to recall her practice on the Libertalia, the day she had studied various sailor knots and received a wrestling lesson from a deckhand called Sketch.

Her fingers fumbled, but it was her ears doing most of the work.

Yeva kept her eyes downcast, unassuming as the sounds of Rakahi, shouted and whispered caught her ears. A language she was well versed in, she turned over every string of conversation she caught, hopeful that there were still those who were reminded of the old rule and felt the need to vocalize their superstitions and stories. Sailors, after all, were quite a vocal lot.

She thought she had begun to hear mentions of 'the lords' along with the curse 'king's piss' that must have alluded to the Pirate King himself. But just as she was plotting a way to strike up conversation with a pair of biqaj who were shirking their duties and taking a smoke, the sound of screaming further inland made her stand.

There were different types of screams.

The shrill delighted kind of playing children.

The fearful barking of someone bracing pain.

The deep singing of mutual pleasure.

The rich roar of anger.

And then something far, far worse. What rang through the streets was-

The screams of someone who knew they were bound for death and could not stop it.

Yeva jumped to her feet, trying to pinpoint the direction she heard the desperate sound. A man was screaming, shouting. Elements went running down the street and Yeva dropped her rope to follow, skidding to a stop and nearly falling onto the grimy cobblestone when she lost them through the growing crowd. Had they taken a turn? Cut through the alley?

The screaming was louder now and she could hear the voice of a man. Witch of Chrien! it screamed. Yeva ran faster, pushing through those on the street as other voices began to cry for a medic. Someone was hurt. Yeva came bounding around the corner in time to see a man brandishing a bloodied knife at the forming crowd.

"She's a witch of Chrien!" he roared, cutting through the air, "Witch! She's brought this on us! It's her fault!"

Others continued to scream for a medic, a woman discarded on the ground with multiple stab wounds from her chest pouring blood. The victim gasped and writhed, "Out of the way! I'm a medic!" Yeva answered, wishing desperately that she had her medical kit. She had left it back at the tavern before going on her reconnaissance and broke through the crowd to see one of the Elements begin to grab at the attacker.

Yeva broke free and dropped to the ground beside the dying woman and tried to stop the bleeding. The man had carved into her stomach and now a sea of red pooled around her, "No, no, no...." she gasped, trying to hold the woman's intestines inside but it was too late. Too much blood, the woman had already started to pale and the light in her eyes was fading. This wound would have required extensive surgery and was too jagged. There had been malice in this attack, "Oh, no, no."

The woman tried to speak, tears streaked her face, "I... I'm not... a witch."

The man and the Elements struggled until the attacker finally broke free. Yeva expected him to try to finish what he started but all she saw were the man's eyes as he lifted the blade... and sliced his own throat. Yeva gasped as blood sprayed and he collapsed to the ground, gurgling. His mouth moved, the final words hanging from parted lips. Witch.

The victim died shortly after.

Yeva tried to do what she could but it was in vain. Even if she had all the supplies in the world and was able to mend the damage, it would be likely infection would take the woman anyway. It had all happened so fast. In shock, she struggled to process it all, even as the Elements demanded others disperse. They called for carts to be brought so that the bodies could be taken away and identified. They asked her questions. Yeva could tell them very little and they soon dismissed her.

Pier and Pre will be judging them soon she thought... Then Vri would come. What would he say?

Even after the people shuffled onward, Yeva lingered, unsure where to go. What to do. She understood nothing.

Covered in blood that was not her own, the Hero of Faldrass looked at her red hands and ruined clothes and wandered down the street, numb.
Last edited by Yeva on Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1055
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Re: Bloody Resemblance

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The clouds darkened overhead as the woman bled out in Yeva's arms.

The storm built in its intensity as the man who had killed the "witch" lifted the blade to his own throat.

Waves pounded against the shoreline, water pouring into every available place, just as the blood poured down the man's chest, his arms. Over Yeva's hands, her forearms. Water would wash it away, of course, but would the stain ever be gone?

She heard the whispers, as she stumbled away from the scene of slaughter. Caked in blood and awash with memories, she walked down the street. And she felt the first drop of rain splash against her face. Not a smattering or drizzle, this, large droplets splashing against anything solid. The rain began to wash away the blood.

And down the street she walked.

"Spare some change?" the beggar said. Looking at Yeva with the full expectation that Yeva would not see her, the woman was old and wizened. Missing teeth left gaps next to the blackened and rotted ones which remained. Her hair was dark once, but now it was grey and white and filthy. Skin hung on her like an ill-fitting dress, but her eyes were bright blue like cornflowers. "Spare some change for old Grizelda?" She laughed, looking at the blood on Yeva, ignoring the rain. "Did he kill the witch?" Her laughter lessened to a chuckle. "Black as tar, black as pitch, Chrien is a foul old bitch, eh?" Grizelda spat a large globule of phlegm and spit, yellow and black and very little in the way of clear gloop landed on the floor for just a second before the now-pouring rain washed it, too, away.

"Spare some change?"

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~~Red in hoof and claw... ~~


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Re: Bloody Resemblance

24 Ashan 720


The rain fell.

Yeva, silenced by grief for a woman she had never known, did not remember walking down the street. She moved only from memory and practice, staring at her hands while the whispers echoed behind her. Red turned to pink, diluted and washed away. The signs of life trickled from her fingers like lost dreams. Shethought she might walk forever. Moving, searching for answers. Afraid to stop and face the feelings that assaulted her like a knife in her belly. Like the knife that sliced his throat. Like the knife.

Her lips trembled. The words choked her.

And then a voice, wizened and cruel called to her. Spare some change?

Yeva slowed, reaching for her pocket. She looked towards the sky, at the grey clouds and the pouring rain that drenched her. The streets began to clear, its residents seeking shelter from the building storm.

Spare some change for old Grizelda?

Her blouse clung to her chest, water invaded her boots. Face twisting in distress, Yeva began to claw at her clothing, trying to scrub away the blood stains, to rid herself of the final moments. Yeva could see hear him screaming... When she closed her eyes, she could feel the fading heart beat of the woman. She could picture the knife pulling across the skin, opening up to cut the corded muscle to spew his blood like a venom from a snake.

Yeva scrubbed harder, wishing to claw it all away. She dug her nails into her arms, scratching red rivets into the pale underbelly, Wash it away, she begged. Make it go away.

The voice rang again, crystal clear.

"Did he kill the witch?"

Yeva looked over at the beggar with the sapphire eyes, holding a coin inside her fist. The woman's face was lined by old age, but there was a cruelty to her smile. The beggar laughed and the sound was so haunting, it crept inside the redhead, strumming a bitter, fearful song inside her soul. Yeva's chest heaved, suddenly the air around her too thick to breathe, "He... He killed her."

Why?

"Black as tar, black as pitch, Chrien is a foul old bitch, eh?"

Yeva's face twisted and for a moment she thought she might be sick. She doubled over as if to retch but what came out of her mouth was a long and mournful note of pain, a lamentation chorused by the steady pour of rain. It hurt. That murder was a warning. A reminder. A promise of life's uncertainty and its spite; how easily everything could be taken away in an instant. Yeva cried loudly, tears diluted as fast as they came until the redhead could hardly stand, "He just..." the hand that held the nel weakly moved forward in repeated movement, the miming of a stabbing blade, "and then... h-he... he..." Yeva touched her throat, gasping for air. Despite the lack of cold, Yeva shook violently.

She clenched her fists so tight, the coin bit into her palm. With blurred vision, she stared at the mass of black and yellowed mucus and tried to push back the limp curls that clutched her face and stuck to the corners of her mouth, "Why.... Why is Chrien angry? Why..." Yeva's voice cracked as she held the gold nel towards Grizelda, "Why.... Why would hurt her?"

Why would he kill himself?


"I-I don't understand."
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"Why are you crying, he didn't hurt you!" Grizelda looked at Yeva with an expression of confusion.

"Or did you try to help? Can't stand against the storm, child, no point to try." He laughter cackled and cornflower-blue eyes gazed at Yeva almost kindly. It was a strange juxtaposition. "The storm rages and people get caught up in it. Caught up in it so they don't see, all the debris stops them." She spat again, black tobacco mixed with phlegm and dark yellow pus. "Chrien is angry at Linca, because he pissed on Lisirra, and she was keepin' balance" Grizelda shrugged.

"Or maybe she's annoyed because it was one of her own who destroyed that mansion on Faldrass," Grizelda shrugged. "And now, people are looking and exploring and asking questions. Poking their nose into what's not their business, desecrating the memory of what was." Grizelda stood up, her form somehow more ... whole, more together - less decayed. Her eyes shone brightly as she looked at the sodden, bedraggled woman in front on her.

"There's more important questions here, child," Grizelda said.

The storm whipped around them and sent the beggar woman's hair flying about wildly ~ leaves and debris seemed to be swirling in an eddy around her too. "Who are you trying to help?" Grizelda asked. "Whose side are you on, when sides are chosen?" She pointed to the storm which raged above them. "Hers?"

Blue eyes regarded her. "Or someone else's? When you have to stand together against a common foe, where do you stand?"

She smiled, and Yeva saw that her teeth were much better than they had been. Still not perfect. But better. "Will you stand against the storm, child?"
word count: 291
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Re: Bloody Resemblance

24 Ashan 720


Was she getting caught up in the storm?

The elderly woman had Yeva's attention now and although she cried, the young medic listened closely, never interrupting but hugging her arms tighter with every breath. She shook her head, struggling to understand the stranger's cryptic speech while her feelings were so raw, "See what?" she stared into endless blue eyes, bright as an electric summer sky, "What balance?" And why couldn't the balance be fixed?

The redhead turned, opening her arms to motion towards the grey street and its crooked, salt worn boards.What did balance look like in a place like this? The cobblestone roads were blackened by grit and smoke and now the gobs of filth that had been hacked from Grizelda's lungs began to stretch and distort beneath the steady downpour. Yeva wiped water from her eyes, "If I don't understand, teach me!" she pleaded. Nothing made sense anymore. People were murdering others and killing themselves. Was this about the war? Faldrass? The chalice in the ruins? "You say they desecrate what once was - You must mean Faldrass..." That hadn't been the catalyst for the war, Yeva did not see any connection that had with Linca... yet. Surely the woman didn't refer to Smooglenuff, the land, the people? "Or... something older?" Yeva knew very little about land she frequented. It made sense if it was the volcanic region: Faldrass was being rebuilt, it had the most hands on it, poking and prodding. Tio had aided her with information, but now she wished she had asked for more. How could someone so direct be so difficult to understand? It was just like on Mt. Ornthus.

It seemed an impossible question, but one that fell from her lips before she could catch it, "Something of a different plane? Something intangible?"

Yeva had been to the Beneath. She was familiar with the hierarchy of spirits and of ghosts. But she also knew many things could be defiled. Memories. Morals. Promises. History. How she wished Truth was there to talk to.

Maybe then her head would stop spinning.

"I side with the people - with those on Scalvoris; And in Rharne,"
Along with anyone and anywhere else she wanted, "I have no qualms with any Immortals, but I stand against those who stand against me!"

Yeva's nose was red and stuffy. She sniffled, soaked to the bone and stepped closer, realizing the coin she still held in her hand and then seemed to notice the subtle change of the woman's appearance. How the teeth had straightened, whitened, "I only came here to learn! About the history of this place, about the Pirate Kings, about the lives I swore to protect and I end up with a woman dead in my arms and blood on my hands!" Some storms were far worse than bad weather and now Yeva raged, her voice cutting at the thick air as her pain crackled like lightening, "All around me, the world falls apart, everyone is picking sides, and yet no one seems to know anything! It's always something!"

The Ether Storms of Rharne.
The Plague in Athart.
The Fall of Faldrass.
The Siege of Storm's Edge.
The War of Slags Deep,
The Crisis in Havardr.

Not to mention her death and resurrection.

Yeva was one woman. She was tired. So tired. The mask she had been wearing since her return cracked again and the redhead half laughed, half sobbed. It was a weak, bitter sound. She had nothing else to give as she sighed into the wind, "At this point, I don't know if I'm standing in the storm, or chasing it."
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"If you don't understand, child, learn!" Grizelda was firm. Bordering on a mother telling off her child. "Stop crying and learn!" She gestured up to the sky where the storm raged. Hailstones pounded against both Yeva and the beggar-woman. "Your blood has mingled with the Sojourner, has it not? Learn! While you stand and sniff, you grumble about livin'. You, of all people, should know better!" She looked at Yeva, levelly. "You involve yourself, child. And of course it's always something! What would you do? Sit on your rocker and forget to live? You're living!" Grizelda stood, eye to eye with Yeva and she told her off.

But, there was never a sense of anything other than maternal concern. When Yeva said she didn't know if she was standing in the storm or chasing it, Grizelda smiled. "Perhaps, child, you are a storm all of your own." She looked at Yeva kindly. "It's hard, I know. Life. But it's better than death, is it not?" The storm continued to rage, the beggar woman's hair kept on flying about wildly in it ~ and now, those leaves and debris which had seemed to be swirling around her were caught in her hair.

"If you have no more to give, child" Grizelda said, quietly. "Rest. But if you rest, then do so. Don't involve yourself. But if you involve yourself, then do so" No half-measures, it seemed, for whoever Grizelda was.

Blue eyes gazed on Yeva with a stern kindness. The storm raged and flew, hailstones stung against their skin. "It hurts, this storm, but if I scream and shout, I don't change it. I only expend my own energy. And it only hurts enough to tell me I'm alive and it is powerless against me."

Somehow, there was a truth to it. Grizelda stood and the winds whipped and bless and the hailstones pelted. But they didn't bother her, because ... well, because they didn't bother her. "Tell me what you've learned about Linca, child?"
word count: 347
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Re: Bloody Resemblance

24 Ashan 720


Reprimanded in public, Yeva's face burned in shame. Whoever this woman was, she was fierce and firm, bellowing at the medic to make her choice. Act or rest. Choose.

Yeva winced against the whirling storm, but looked up to see the intensity in the strangers eyes. Since her resurrection, so many had treated her delicately, a thing to be protected.. But not Grizelda. Whoever the old woman was, she knew of the redhead. She knew about the death. And she knew about Linca. You're living, the words paused the medic's distress, stunted it.

Yes... Yes I am.
she thought. She stepped back, eyes suddenly distant. The bite of tiny hailstones seemed to punctuate her revelation, 'Everyone's treated me like glass, I had started to believe that was what I was made of.'

But... "A storm of my own?"

Yeva had never thought of herself as such. Never believed that she was anything more than a silly girl with silly dreams. But there was a power in hoping she could be someone stronger, fiercer, a force to be reckoned with. "Forgive me," she whispered, shocked with a flash of self disgust, "You... You're right...." She was the pacifist and it had turned her passive. She could do more. Be more. And all this time she had let her doubts loom over her like a dark cloud.

She had fretted and fussed. She had cried and whined like a child with a scraped knee, "Life is hard.. Death was harder and here I stand. I have been so caught up in mourning, I..."

All the time I've wasted worrying when I could have been acting.
Life was better than death. It hurt, but that was the cost of Idalos.

Grizelda rose to her feet and the storm raged. Yeva yelped as a hailstone clipped her back but the elder was unfazed. A crown of debris was starting to form in her hair and the gnarled beggar suddenly struck the medic with a sense of regal presence that hadn't been there before. Grizelda's blue eyes felt kind, but her question held weight.

What did she know of Linca?

"You are no beggar," Yeva acknowledged, although there was no betrayal in her voice. The storms, the murder, the advice. If this was Chrien, she was nothing like any of the stories Yeva had heard, "But, you're different than I thought you'd be."

Grizelda could be an enemy, seeking information. Yeva clutched her arms to her chest. How could she know much and not this? If this was a test, it could bring with it is own storm. A storm that she was now confident enough to be willing to face whether the winds blew in her favor or not. Grizelda had at least given her this much and for that, Yeva was willing to roll the dice.

All or nothing, "Linca has been cursed by the one you say he's pissed upon," Lisirra.

The redhead was careful in her use of the Immortal's name, "He was looking into something. Whatever's thrown off the balance, maybe," Yeva hadn't learned all the details, but Tio's answer to her call had pointed her in a new direction and those in Havardr were invaluable in the snippets they had revealed, "Ever since the chalice in the ruins. Do you know of this?"

She searched the woman's face, at the teeth that had straightened, "I believe this is on Immortal's Tongue. By Moseke's temple, maybe," Tio had claimed an expedition to the location and Yeva, little by little, had been planning for her trip. She had hoped to learn more before she went, "I want to go there and find out what has happened. If the balance can be restored... I intend fix it."

Yeva had already revealed her intentions to side with those on the island. She would fix Linca. But when?

"Havardr is in crisis. I came here because... I wondered..."

Yeva wiped more water from her eyes, washing her red face and squinted through the sheets of rain. Her shirt was marred pink and blotched crimson, the blood had entirely fallen away from her skin and all that remained were the stains, "-if it was all connected... If there was a deeper story." Was she too, poking and prodding things better left alone?

The mortal woman once again held up the coin she had been asked for. Yeva moved closer towards Grizelda, water pooling in her palm as she held up the glint of money, "Please, accept this," Gruesome circumstances and trauma aside, Yeva had learned a valuable lesson about herself. About who she wanted to be. That desire helped her stand a little straighter against the hail and debris that clipped her, "I hope what you've said is true; That I'm a storm of my own." Yeva confessed, her cheeks stung from the whipping of her hair, "It certainly beats the alternative."
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"You are no beggar" Yeva said, and Grizelda smiled.

""Ever since the chalice in the ruins. Do you know of this?" She did not answer, but Grizelda nodded, her eyes trained on Yeva.

As Yeva searched the woman's face, as she gazed at the teeth that had straightened, Grizelda's eyes were bright and beautiful and almost young. Yet, impossibly old.

"I believe this is on Immortal's Tongue. By Moseke's temple, maybe," Grizelda smiled.

"If the balance can be restored... I intend fix it."

And then, Yeva held out some money - the spare change which Grizelda had been asking for and the disguise slipped away, and the woman in front of Yeva was beautiful as she reached out a hand and closed Yeva's fingers over the coin she offered.

And in that moment, Yeva knew.

In that moment, there was no doubting it, after all.
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She knew who it was who stood here. "Welcome home, Yeva the Living," No more need for her to be harsh or firm, Moseke's voice was gentle. The coins in Yeva's hands felt warm. Comfortable. Comforting.

"It has been so hard, and I am so proud of you, child." It was important to acknowledge that she understood that. "But now, there is more to do." Gently, but firmly, she held Yeva's hand in her own. Her other hand opened Yeva's fingers and, as she spoke, she touched a coin. Each time, it was different one of the ones Yeva had held.

First, a silver nel. "Put this in the hand of any cursed soul, and pray to me. Speak my name and I will cure the curse." She moved her long finger then, pointing to the next coin, a copper. "Hold this in your hand, and whisper the name of the place you wish to go. Just once, and it will take you there. When you are done, whisper to it again, and it will take you somewhere else. Two uses, two destinations." Finally, a gold nel held in Yeva's hand, "This one, this one will call me. Should you need it."

She moved her hand then, so Yeva was clutching the coins and Moseke placed her hand on the woman's cheek. "It has been so hard, and I am so proud of you, child." She repeated her words. "To heal others, while you hurt, it is a true devotion to life." She smiled, then. "If you will wear it, I would give you my blessing, Yeva the Living." Moseke watched her, considered her. And, of course, she waited patiently for her answer.

And above them, the storm raged.
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Re: Bloody Resemblance

24 Ashan 720


The woman before her was beautiful.

The facade of old age, impoverishment and illness faded away to reveal Moseke, the Mother of Life, Stone and Earth, smiling. Proud. Yeva's mouth dropped; she had expected something more, but not this. Not her. The medic tried to speak but found herself too stunned by the transformation. A warm hand touched her own and Yeva inhaled sharply, watching as Moseke coaxed her fingers open like a spring flower. One by one, the Immortal touched the coins that had intended to be an offering and explained their new purpose.

"You're here," Yeva managed, eyes dropping as the coins. Welcome home, Yeva the Living.

This was real? Not a strange dream?

"You're really here."

the Living.

Laughter bubbled from her that and she shook her head to rid herself of the disbelief. A man had murdered another and the beggar who had scolded her in the midst of a storm was the Great Earth Mother herself. What a trial! And to add on top of it all, Moseke was proud of her! The hailstones lost their bite.

How often had the other members of the Order praised and prayed to the very one who stood before her? How many times had she heard acts done in Moseke's name?

Yeva resealed her fist and held it against her heart. Gifts! GIFTS FROM THE STONE MAIDEN.

"Thank you!"
The initial shock slipping away, Yeva wiped rivets of pouring water from her brow and began to look down the puddled street. If she used these to get to Havardr... Or even Immortal's Tongue...

Which one first? And then the offer of a blessing?

"I-I would be honored!" Should she do anything, say anything? "Do you..." Do you need to cut me open? she almost asked, thinking back to Cassion's offer. How had her life gone from simple to drawing so much attention from the divine? In just over an arc, she had met more Immortal's than most in their entire lifetime, "Can... Can I hug you, or-? Is that allowed? Is that alright?"

Her mind was racing, connecting dots and opportunities, "I need to go to Linca," she decided, more to herself than anything. She looked skyward, at the black, vicious clouds and debated if it would be possible to fight the storm by mount, or use her boon. If she did so: Once to Havardr. Once to the ruins. She'd have to find her own way back... If that was possible with such choppy waters.

But, If she fixed Linca, that would help Havardr as a whole. She could stop worrying about the prophecy. Maybe she could ask him questions, gain insight as to what she was dealing with. If he could be convinced to share with her what he had been working on, the puzzle would have one more piece. That would give her knowledge on how to fix the balance. Then...

The chalice in the ruins?

"Moseke, please," she asked, suddenly breathless, "The ruins - what were they for? Is there anything you can tell me about them? I... I-I-I have to do this right. I-" Yeva winced, wishing she could stop her next words but the road called, "I should go before it's too late."
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As Yeva asked the question, she felt the All-Mother's arms wrap around her. It was not a hug of affection or warmth - but it was so much more than that. It was life, it was every mother who had ever held a hurt child. It was, simply, an embrace from the Immortal of Life. As Yeva felt it, she felt the warmth in her chest and, should she look she would see the mark there. "Accept my blessing, Yeva the Living," She smiled, and then held Yeva by the shoulders, looking at her. Finally, she nodded.

"The ruins are about balance," Moseke said. "Balance between me and my sisters. Shrouded in Audrae's mist, they were filled with souls once - wisps. Two buildings, one for me, one for Lisirra. Both of them a trap and filled with spiders." All of the children of Cierel - all represented. All balanced.

But, no more. "To put it right, you need the blood of one touched by me, one touched by Lisirra," She smiled slightly at Yeva. "Blessed or cursed." Lowering her hand, then, Moseke touched the coin which would teleport her. "It will take you - and one other."

Moseke frowned, thinking about what was ahead for Yeva. "Go to Linca. Give him some of this," She handed over a small amount of moss. "It grows there, too, and it will allow him to wake up. Walk. But he will be weak." She looked at the young woman "It will be dangerous. You should have a bodyguard. I will send one with you." Moseke looked at her and asked, "Is there anyone you'd specifically like me to ask? If not," she was quick to reassure. "I'll ask a ... friend of mine."

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~~Red in hoof and claw... ~~


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