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Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:14 pm
Ain't no home like an empty stage.
The amphitheater's huge, bigger than most. It's home to all sorts of entertainments, from plays to demonstrations to old wise men selling their version of snake oil to a new generation. By daybreak, the people will start trickling in. Half of 'em won't even know what they're there for, it's just a place to be and the lure of something to distract them from their mundane lives. Right now it's quiet, though. The only light's the gray haze of false dawn, and it'll be an hour yet before the blood of the sun spills over the horizon.
Don't know what stories it'll tell today. Right now, it's nothing but a setting. The seats are as empty as the stage, and the silence gets itself broken with a set of footsteps that echoes out through the arena and the drag of steel against the ground that makes the whole world a whetstone.
Never a dull moment.
Ariana Folletti stood in the center of the stage, listening to the silence that filtered through the story of the sword in her hand. The dewdrops sparkled a cadence, and the haze of night's fog wove a harmony through the emptiness. Her breathing was slow and even, the sort that drew in confidence and prepared to return it to the world. Sometimes she dreamed about a place like this, the seats filled with the rustle of people that added little afterbeats between the measures, eyes filled with awe and appreciation.
Once, I had a dream...
It was only a dream, though. Maybe, had things gone differently, it could have been a reality. A future for the person she had been, but not for the person she was now. Or maybe it had always been only a dream. Her eyes fell closed, and into the silence she decanted a melody, just a hum, the opening notes of a song in her soul, a dream that couldn't be captured, couldn't be bound.
"Come and share...
...this painting with me..."
Her hand reached down, caressing the crosspiece of the blade at her side, and lightning sparked around her fingertips.
Of course it don't hurt. I'd never hurt her. Time swells with her song, and even the stars in their blanket behind the gray haze slow down to listen. All the sky above her, as vast an audience as anyone could ever get. She calls to 'em, and some nights I think one of 'em might just drop down to see whether she can give 'em back a little piece of heaven. I won't let 'em have her though. Ain't nothing on heaven nor earth that's gonna take her away from me. Lightning courses through her, and the stars in her eyes change to sparks.
Like I said, I won't let 'em have her. I dare say I'm strong enough to take down the heavens united.
Ariana opened her eyes again, blue like the unbound lightning, weaving the emptiness into harmony.
"Slow, love, slow...
Only the weak
...Are not lonely."
Re: Spellbound (Semi-Open, ask to join)
Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:16 pm
Vael's practice regimen was daily, it was brutal, it pushed the human body to its limit and beyond. Her partially clothed body, swathed in clothing much tighter and more revealing than her traditional wear, was drenched in sweat. She had been at this for multilple hours and each time she thought she had reached a wall she pushed through it, forced herself to move faster and faster. Now the bo staff that had been at her side since she was old enough to wield the full length weapon moved as little more than a blur of grey metal, streaks of power followed by after ghosts of the bo staff. Exercise helped her focus her mind. Exercise helped her torment the emotional pain of being deposited into a new world out of her body. It helped her forget her husband.
It was all disrupted by the sound of music. She slowed her workout, then brought it to a complete halt. The words were quiet, barely audible from the terrace she was working out on...but they were there. They were...words of power. She could feel arcane energy of the world ripple and react like water to a tossed stone. The waves lapped at her senses. It had been a long time since she'd felt arcane energy react to anything but her own will. She focused on the sensation. It wasn't arcane power of a sense she was used to, if it was arcane power at all, it was just something causing the energy of the world to respond.
Vael closed her eyes, spun her bo staff and walked into the noble home that she had purchased upon arrival to this city. When she emerged from her bedroom, her crest displayed proudly on the wall at the end of the hall, she walked with renewed purpose. There was finally something worth looking into on this gods forsaken world.
She arrived at the theater in moments and walked with hands clasped regally in front of her down the steps towards the occupied stage. Her eyes gleamed in the strange light of before sun and a smile slithered across her beautiful face. The music was interesting, but the lyrics are what captured her attention. Vael was tormented by loneliness. She had lost her family, her sister (forget how much they fought) and her husband...indeed, she'd lost everything but her abilities. She had been yanked through the void, not for the first time and probably not for the last. She had deluded herself once into thinking The Void would never touch her again, would never seek to radiate her in the energies it had cascaded through her body as a young girl.
The Void always claimed its own. Why it wanted her here, she had no idea. At least now something spoke to her. She did not interrupt the song, that would have been rude. Instead she stood silently before the stage, a monarch without a throne, a woman without a family. Her bo-staff was strapped to her back and there it remained, despite the obvious sword. That was an interesting matter all its own. Vael could feel its power, feel the arcane energy in the area responding to its mere presence. She looked at the girl, then at the sword and back again and her smile grew.
Vael knew power when she felt it, and when she saw it. She also felt a sense of something else, though it was hard to put her finger on it. Rather than try she let it go, it would come to her again if it mattered and if it didn't, it would not. Trying to grasp an idea that lingered at the edge of the conscious mind by force was like trying hold water in your hands by tightening your grip. The Void Terror stood respectfully, one did not disrupt art. That didn't mean though that she wasn't studying the girl and the blade. Her sharp mind considered a variety of ideas and theories as to both and wondered at what power might linger within the sword.
Weapons were artifacts of power in their own right, or they certainly could be. Most of the time people had no idea what they were dealing with. A weapon long held by a single individual would gather to it some of that individual's resonance and vice versa. This is why blades found in old tombs always seemed stronger...because they were, infused with the power of the dead, with the power of memory. They might not produce bolts of lightning but their steel was harder, their edges sharper...not because of the potent abilities of some forgotten smith, but because memory was power and often there was just enough left in such weapons to remember being proud.
Other weapons...well...those were the ones that held real power. Like a sword producing lighting at a touch. Many such weapons were ancient beyond common understanding, crafted by powers since forgotten, imbued with the aura of a by gone age. Some of them...
She shifted her eyes to the girl's face for a moment and then back at the sword.
Re: Spellbound (Open)
Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:36 pm
Ariana noticed, of course, when the Lady walked in. She was definitely a lady. It wasn't the clothing - anyone could dress up in finery. It was something else. Poise, she thought. She didn't falter, though, nor stop her song. She wasn't singing in an empty auditorium because she wanted an audience. She was singing for herself. She let the woman watch her, though. Sometimes, Ariana's songs had a way of drawing people in. She never quite knew what the result was going to be, or who it would be, or why. It was merely something that happened.
She let the last notes trail off, then stepped away from the emptiness of the stage, finally allowing her eyes to rest on the woman. The blade followed her, as it always did, and she changed her grip to swing it up to rest on her shoulder. The edge touched the side of her neck for a moment, but didn't so much as break the skin. The sword would never hurt her. She offered a smile and an inclination of her head in greeting, but no words.
Words were... challenging, for Ariana. The music tamed them, kept their effects reasonably controlled. Without the music, the words sometimes caused difficulties. She rarely spoke... and usually, she only sang when she was alone. It was easier that way. Harder. Both. The effects Ariana could have on people could be difficult, but at the same time there was difficulty in the isolation she caused herself. Life was a series of casual encounters. They weren't without meaning, but at the same time, they weren't a complete opus, either. Every movement a different score. The only constant was the blade beside her. She turned her head slightly, resting her cheek against the chill of the metal.
Things had been different before the sword. It gave her strength. Enough strength to set her apart.
Re: Spellbound (Open)
Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:40 am
Vael smiled. "You have a beautiful voice. You and your sword play well together." She approached, though kept some distance between them still and held her hands together in front of her. It was meant as both a disarming gesture and it was simply a habit of hers. Some nobility liked to wear dozens of rings and other decorative pieces of expensive jewelry but not Vael. She wore one ring, a single ring who's entire existence had been cut from solid diamond. It was worth...well...a small nation. Perhaps two. If someone wanted it though, they'd have to take it off her cold dead hand.
Vael's eyes caught the lack of a cut along the girl's neck and she noted that as additional evidence for the artifact nature of the blade. She did not, however, make any overt attempts to discuss the weapon. In her experience people with such blades tended to be defensive about them. "Forgive me, I forget my manners. My name is Vael." There was a distinctive and purposeful lack of a surname. "I am new here, I have come from a far off land and just begun to settle in this beautiful city of yours. I had not given this amphitheater a second thought until I heard the lovely sounds coming from within. I found myself walking here." She made an opened arm gesture to the building around them. There was no note of disingenuous thoughts in her voice, not a single tone of mockery or dishonesty.
"I hope my arrival did not cut short your performance. I further hope that we might bond in a way, perhaps associate mildly with one another. This city is, as I said, new to me and my list of associations is so short I have yet to purchase the parchment needed to write it down and I could inscribe the words with no ink at all. I have always enjoyed making associations with artists."
Re: Spellbound (Open)
Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:16 pm
Ariana nodded a little bit at the introduction. She wasn't from the city either, but there wasn't a good way to say that, not without words. This Lady Vael seemed to have enough words for the two of them put together, though. Ariana smiled a little at the thought, and shrugged the shoulder that didn't bear the sword at the implied inquiry. She touched a finger to her lips, tapping it once, then extending the hand in a gesture implying helplessness. She certainly wasn't helpless, of course, but usually the motion was enough to carry the reason for her lack of conversation.
Of course, since she had just been singing a song, she didn't know if that was going to work with Vael. How was she to explain that the songs were all that she had?
Maybe the best way to explain was by doing. She wasn't going to risk a word, not when she didn't know what it was likely to do. She drew a breath, though, and hummed an undertone, the beginning of a melody. Only a few measures, but the power reverberated through the song, demanding attention, demanding focus. Insistent magic, carried within her. The song contained it, though. It wouldn't be too bad... Ariana didn't think the pull would go beyond the empty amphitheater.
Re: Spellbound (Open)
Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:19 pm
"I..." Vael was about to speak, having concluded the apparent from the other woman's motions when she began to hum. Vael's eyes flashed blazing gold for a moment as her body reacted to the sudden change in the flow of arcane energy that coursed through the world like blood through veins. Vael moved her hand, flexing and manipulating her fingers through the air as if she were running her hand through a flowing stream. Vael could see and feel the arcane energy that swirled in the direction of the musician and she played her fingers through its invisible streams. She smiled and returned her gaze to the Arcane Musician who didn't know she was.
"Arcane energy responds to your will in musical ways." Vael said with a nod in her direction. "I think it likes you. So it grants you a form of speech through music, a touch of arcane genius to brighten an individual left otherwise without speech. Of course, this is all informal assumptions, I would need to do significantly greater research to determine their voracity." She added. She considered their communication for a moment with a slight inclination of her head. "What about...are you willing to speak telepathically? It might make communicating easier, though I am certainly willing to do so verbally if that is your preference."
Re: Spellbound (Open)
Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:12 pm
Someone's always an analyst, aren't they, Spark?
Ariana had to grin at that, hiding a silent laugh. She'd only been with the blade a year, and already she couldn't count the number of people who had theories about how it worked or why it worked or what it was really doing. A lot of them were completely outlandish. Ariana never corrected them, though. It only encouraged them.
She was a bit wary about that significantly greater research clause. Vael would not be the first who wanted to lock Ariana up somewhere so she could be properly studied. Ariana was not at all interested in being a research subject, especially when so many of the studious types couldn't take "no" for an answer.
The question about telepathy got an expression of extreme disgust, and a violent shake of the head. Ariana had enough chatter in her head without adding anyone else's, thank you very much.
Don't worry, I'm not gonna let anyone else start talking in your head. There's hardly enough space for me in here anyway. She can play charades like the rest of 'em. Besides, I always like seeing how long it takes these theoretically bright people to figure out that they could just ask yes or no questions.
The sword had a good point about that.
The sword had the best point.
Oh, shut up.
Re: Spellbound (Open)
Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 2:54 pm
Vael...smiled. It was an honest smile, not the smile of deception, but of both understanding and respect. Her offer had been a simple offer of convienence and nothing more, she would respect the decision. "I understand." she offered. "That is no matter, communication is sometimes simply about patience and respect and I will observe both. Tell me, instead I'd you would be so kind, would you consider a joint venture? New to the city though I am I have developing interests here and those include areas surrounding the city, older places left alone for some time but those without the clarity of thought and vision to see what they offer. I would like to investigate and a well armed, well sung companion would be a welcome addition to my own company."
Vael had considered the region's geography since her arrival and determined that knowledge was critical to her desire and ability to be more than a footnote. If she were to live on this world she would do so with wealth and power, as the last representative of her Noble blood line save for her missing and argumentative sister. She could not likely do it without support however and here was someone of both ability and intellect who might make for a perfect Ally in an imperfect situation.
Re: Spellbound (Open)
Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 5:21 pm
Ariana shifted the sword again, taking it off her shoulder and resting it point-down on the ground in front of her. A joint venture was an interesting idea - she didn't know much about the city herself, but she was equally interested in finding her way around. Seeing if she could fit in for a while, before everything inevitably ended up going wrong.
Wrong ain't inevitable. Just... likely. Can't help feeling that things would go a bit better if the girl would be a little more selective about who she hangs out with. Give her a choice and she'll pick a loser every time.
That's how she ended up with a sword talking in her head, after all.
... Ain't funny if the girl talks about herself in third person.
Ariana laughed. It was definitely funny, if only because of the aura of generalized annoyance. And she'd actually managed to get the sword to shut up for once, which was probably the first time she'd ever done that. She returned her attention to the woman who'd come across them. A little too much arcane for Ariana's tastes - magicky people tended to have strong opinions about a lot of things that Ariana would rather they not have strong opinions about. Still... maybe for a while. She shrugged, then nodded assent.
Here we go again.