[A] Servitors of Lothar (Heavy RP)
Sometimes I must forge hard bargains with the world of men in order to gain what I wish; this is made altogether more difficult by being silent. It was far simpler, little book, to remain behind walls and act only upon the things given unto me by others: these records, that altar cloth, this list of dead men's names. On days like this I consider if things might have gone very differently had I chosen to remain in that life. I would have been held tightly -- cosseted by the walls which cloistered me -- for certain. I would have been a great deal less troubled (news usually spread slowly and with much distortion to the novitiate, one gossiping phrase at a time delivered as we walked in neat queues to the pews). I would have been at leisure to do something I enjoy doing, and in fact do very well: inscription.
But do all these things a life make? I have written afore now, little book, of how I have long known my life and my ascent would have to be made in the world of men and not in the rarefied and incense-perfumed air of the Cathedral Square. In truth, it was what I knew would not happen to me that led me to this conclusion:
Nobody would ever make a priestess such as myself a High Priestess. Certainly a bishopric office would have been even further out of my grasp; I, who came to the Church unwilling, a juvenile murderess, a subversive reticent, would be wholly unsuitable for being groomed.
So, in between my furtive pilgrimages to Hearthglen, in between my frenzied schemes to craft inflammatory pamphlets, I prayed fervently to be shown a way out. I prayed for choice.
My Da's words still reverberate in my mind. So does the vision I suffered the other night of Maikel's face, just as it was in the moment he told me of his need. When one prays for choice, little book, for freedom, one cannot then despise the horse it rides to get to you.
So I shall not.
Diraen had never before been beaten by one of the sayaad. He did not understand how a whip could be wielded so very precisely. His body ragdolled about, and even in the moments when the succubus wasn't actively opening another line in the neat basket-weave pattern upon his back, he writhed against the waves of pain, against the straps binding his thighs and the back of his neck to the board. He craved unconsciousness, but her craft had been perfected. She wouldn't even grant him that. Just the sound of his flesh being opened, just the sound of her voice, made ugly with anger and still uglier by the Eredun words. He didn't know what she said, but it didn't matter. The whip spoke in a language he did understand.
"You displease my master!" He heard the sudden hum in the air and knew her arm had drawn back. "You repay the riches you've been given with incompetence!" Snap. He imagined the curve of the braided length, like the path of an arrow arcing gracefully. "Do you know why I'm beating you?" The knotted and already crimsoned tip streaked toward his back. "It's because you don't merit him doing it himself!" And then he was dancing again, on fire, j.igging like a horse in harness. He thought of harnesses then, of leather, of the arc inscribed in the air. He tried to think of apogee and perigee, strove to focus on parabolae, to do anything he could to keep from screaming.
"You return empty-handed!" Snap. Pain.
"He needs subjects upon which to exercise his brilliance!" Snap. PAIN.
He tensed between each blow; he couldn't help himself. When the next didn't come he tried to think of himself as a bowstring instead. He did not relax when he heard the footsteps. Though he felt the first beginnings of shock, he tried to focus, tried -- despite knowing he would fail -- to turn his head toward the sound of his employer's entry.
"Marilladin'ae." A male voice addressed the demonic servant in Thalassian. "That is quite enough, my pet. Get this mess cleaned up. You shouldn't make so much noise. One of the others could hear you and there's no calming her down now." The sayaad pouted, capered closer to display her plump lower lip. The kidnapper, the bound man, could hear her shoes clickclickclick on the stone, could tether the hissing sound to that of the whip slithering across the floor. "Later," Diraen heard his employer say after a rustle of fabric and a throaty giggle. "Later."
The voice addressed him now. He tried to stay still. He pictured the curve of a crescent moon, plotted the angles out in his head.
"You've disappointed me. I can't have you repeating this performance, so I needed it to be memorable." Diraen felt a hand brush his shoulder, heard a disgusted sigh. "You took the gold. You gave them up for insurance. Until you finish with me there's the risk that I could do something to them. I chose not to." A fingertip probed a wound and he gasped, belly roiling. "I chose to take your failure out upon you and not your family. Remember that." The fingertip disappeared. Unconsciousness overtook him as he heard the footsteps recede, heard the door close.
I watch Norwill watch me. He's eager for it. Lean and hungry. "If you wish it," he says to me. He's said it thrice now. I'll have to find an opportunity soon to open a window for him so he can feel which way the wind blows. Today wasn't the day, but was a beginning.
"We do what we must, for power. The one time I complained about it, my former Lady-Marshal had me carry our dead, and our armor for miles. I nearly died. I stopped complaining."
No wonder he wanted to ask me of pilgrimage. My Guardian must have given him the tale of it. I'll have to remember to ask why, though I've a feeling I know exactly why. I know why I would, after all, and in this sort of thing my Guardian and I are frequently of the same mind, regardless of our differences in other areas.
"I suppose that's why you asked as to my ambition?"
"No. That's why I asked you to make me a cup of tea."
He laughed. It's good to know he knows how. My Guardian dropped by around then. We had tea and pie. This is good because I did not have to politely drink the remainder of what Norwill made; even he said it was bitter, and it was. I should have known a man like that would make a tea that tasted of regret.
Edit: Post #69 is mine!!
8/15 22:01:07.244 Merric rises suddenly, silhouetted against the sky as he comes to his knees in the floundering boat. He howls again and lights everything around him up. Uncanny mageflame burns, licking across the surface of the water, and then everything pulls inward.
8/15 22:02:14.485 Merric | It's like the world around him inhales, and then there are four wounded Meriwethers, all howling eerily as they simultaneously light everything up. Then there is an explosion.
8/15 22:02:49.348 Calleb watches the flames lick about the water's surface, swallowing hard, still clutching at Etharion in his arms. He takes a deep breath, looking down on him. "He was--" He listens to the explosion go off, his blue green eyes widening, watching it go off.
8/15 22:08:11.322 [Raid Warning] Hildan: The team falls back to a bizarre sight. The charred, broken remains of Meri's boat spin listlessly amid the cries and moans of wounded. Medics hastily chop away at seaweed - at last, no more is growing.
8/15 22:08:07.434 Prikka stands for a moment as the explosion subsides. She turns to Axasa.
8/15 22:08:11.821 Prikka says: We hold the ground.
Sevitors of Lothar: I Cannot Over-Emphasize How Amazing This Guild Is.
<transmission begins amidst a background wash of voices and random clinking of glass>
Thirty-first of fifth, 'tis. If it weren't clear I'm on the lash. Down at the Stonefire and nobody's paying me any mind. Got a table all to myself seeing as 'ow none of these dwarven types want to share one with a man whose legs get all in the way b'neath it.
I've been doing these 'speriments with rations. Light's mercy, but didn't that curried fish turn out to be the worst idea I'd e'er 'ad. O'erspiced, texture of sommat I wouldn't feed to a 'og.
Not sure 'ow I feel 'bout that Beyarma Woodrey. She acts like a bit of a toff but she isn't fooling anybody, not e'en 'erself. Twice or thrice now I'd 'ave sworn she was taking the piss but she keeps 'er eyes a certain way what tells me she isn't, despite the things what come out of 'er pie'ole. P'raps she's just strange 'round me. I dunno. Might think I'm as strange as a clockwork orange.
Suppose that's true enough.
Light's mercy, but aren't I pissed. Can't go 'ome this way. 'Ave to sleep it off in the barracks and get straightened right out 'fore lessons with my Greentree.
Right, right, so. Where was I? Better think it o'er whilst I do a refill.
<sound of wood scr.aping against stone, then receding footsteps; in the interval two unfamiliar voices start talking loudly>
Voice 1: OY! Look, and 'e left 'is cuuuute lil' pet rock 'ere on thae tabletop.
Voice 2: Heh heh. Let's leave 'im somethin' ter be rememb'rin' us by, eh?
Voice 1: Well, 'ere. A dwarf walks into thae pub an' orders a pint o' stout. 'E gulps it doon an' peeks into 'is shirt pocket. 'E orders a secon' an' a third pint, drinks 'em, an' does thae same thing. After thae sixth, 'e asks thae barkeep fer thae tab, pays, an' starts to walk oot.
Voice 2: Oonly six pints?! What a beardless bairn!
Voice 1: OY! Ye're interooptin' meh! Now where was I? Heh. Heh. Righ'. Curiosity gets thae better o' thae barkeep an' 'e sez to thae dwarf, "'Scuse meh, but I noticed that every time yeh drank, yeh looked into yer pocket. I was wonderin' what's in yer pocket?" Well, then thae dwarf slurs, "Well, I've a phottergram o' meh wife in meh pocket. I keep drinkin' 'til she starts ter look good."
<both unfamiliar voices dissolve into big 'har har' laughter; soon thereafter it's replaced by scuffling sounds, followed by Meri's voice again>
Light's mercy, but I ne'er should've left this 'ere. No clue what those gents've been on 'bout. Best to put it away. There's drinking to be done.
Servitors of Lothar: We Share the Love
The moment the three girls are out of sight, Axasa turns toward the kitchen itself. The pots and pans hanging, the dishes... the spice rack, where he'd carefully kept her vinegar. That was the first casualty - obliterated in a sizzling puff of pungence and smoke, the sound of the electricity and flame barely enough to cover her scream of anguish.
Meriwether's Ghost attempts communication. He manages only a sad little hiss of a whisper, mostly but not completely covered by the Axasa's noisemaking.
Axasa hears nothing and feels everything, but this is no time for spiritual consciousness and harmony with the realm between. This is an angry drunk !@#$% who doesn't believe in 'not your fault', and the next thing that vanishes in fire are the knives in the block, bursting from their flaming wooden tomb and embedding in the barrel or shattering into pieces against the stone.
Meriwether's Ghost is beside himself, not that anyone sees this. He tries to get a hand on the flaming knife block but he manages in altering its trajectory in only the most minor of fashions.
Axasa cracks the icebox open with a fearful yank - the cold stones holding in place popping like a broken spine and tumbling to the floor. Milk jugs shatter on the wreckage, cheese wheels go rolling off. "How could you do this to me?" she rails, swaying perilously, tears streaming down her face. "It's not bloody fair!"
Meriwether's Ghost whispers, "Maaaadam."
Axasa shakes her head, tendrils flailing with the fervor of her denial. "No, ^-*! you, Meri. You don't get a pretty kitchen any more. You killed your aunt's house. Everything went right!" Lightning arcs from her splayed fingertips, dragging a black fingertip across the wall and leaving ashen spiderwebs in its wake.
Meriwether's Ghost doesn't know what to do, so he tries to push all the broken glass into a corner. Shards shiver and skip across the floor, some only rocking, wobbling back and forth instead of moving. There's a ripple in the milk puddle.
Axasa aims a finger at the milk puddle, and the milk rises into the air in an angry, wobbly sphere. "Get away!" she sobs, flinging the milk across the mess, where it splashes on the table. "You aren't allowed anymore! You went and ruined everything!"
Meriwether's Ghost tries again. "Lissssssten."
Axasa sinks a hole in the stone floor, giving it the appearance of an extremely heavy weight being dropped into it. Milk and other icebox liquids seep into the puddle. "No, YOU listen! No one ever listens! You didn't listen on the beach, so you listen! I SAID TO GET DOWN, YOU DIDN'T FOLLOW MY ORDERS!"
Meriwether's Ghost sighs and a napkin flutters. Empowered by the attention he's being paid, he causes it to slide off the counter. "Sorry," the napkin seems to mutter as it flaps to the floor.
Axasa incinerates the napkin. "You're ALWAYS sorry! You were always sorry, it was always sorry madam, sorry sir, I'm sorry for existing, I'm sorry I'm in your space, and all anyone ever did was love your stupid @#$! WHY ARE YOU SORRY FOR BEING LOVED?!"
Meriwether's Ghost realizes this isn't the best way to go about things. He tries again to push the glass into a pile, and is far more successful than his last attempt.
Axasa is angry enough to actually bind Meri's ghost, but there is nowhere near enough concentration in her soul to do the deed. So instead, she bursts the glass, lifts the sand particles, and embeds the whole mess in the poor barrel. "Stop it! You're ruining your kitchen!" She takes a skillet off its hook, and throws it in the general direction of the ghost, but of course she has no idea where that is, so it just goes clanking off into the room.
Meriwether's Ghost actually winces at this. He pats himself down, upset now, trying to decide what to do. He settles for closing the mostly-broken door to the coldbox.
Axasa is just about out of gas at this point, but she gives it a last effort. She slaps all of the pots off the stove, off their hooks, and scrawls another scorchmark on the broken icebox door, before running toward the shattered stone and sinking down against the door fragments, wetting them with her tears. "Why didn't you listen to me. No one ever listens to me. You always did this. Pushin' people away. How come you didn't listen?"
Meriwether's Ghost does his best to give Axasa a croissant. As he can no longer conjure, he has to compromise; a napkin slides across the floor toward Axasa.
Axasa scoops up the napkin, and blows her nose in it. Her armor dragging on the heavy rocks, she sinks down to her knees and then her butt, sobbing so hard that the hiccups come. "You w-were s-so l-l-loved! Why d-didn't you luh-luh-listen to meeeeeeee..."
Axasa clutches at herself and the snotty scrap of napkin, rocking back and forth, unable to stop the tears from pouring from her dimly glowing eyes. "Nononono no no no-ho-ho-ho why? Why? Meri, why? Look at what happened! Look! Look at what happened!"
Meriwether's Ghost invisibly hangs his head. He sits down on that poor barrel and it wobbles ever-so-slightly.
Meriwether's Ghost says: You're 'ere.
Axasa watches the barrel through tear-blurred eyes, all of her tentacle-limbs flailing. "You should be here. Why aren't you here? Everyone's so sad! We have to bury your things because YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE A BODY ANYMORE!" Shrieking the last bit, she conjures up a handful of molten rock, and flings it at the beleagured barrel.
Meriwether's Ghost looks down as the molten rock passes through his legs. He flinches before he remembers. "Don't," he whispers. "Pleeeease."
Axasa turns away, rocking back and forth. All the mana was finally drained from her poor, addled body, and she was exhausted and sad, panting on the floor, sniffing loudly and shaking her head. "Shoulda listened to me. Shoulda listened."
Meriwether's Ghost passes into the pantry. "Nonono," he mutters again, and then he's gone, having run out of strength to interact with anything.
Axasa remains there on the floor, rocking back and forth, mumbling to herself, until she physically feels the room change with the departure of the spirit. Eventually, she hauls herself up, wanders off, and falls asleep on someone else's bunk in full armor.
VII. Life On Base
The Servitor will be directed, at conclusion of interview process, to report to home base. This is currently Aerie Peak, Hinterlands. There are four main buildings at the Peak, each one with its own specific functions.
<Maps of Keep interior and Aerie Peak overview will go here.>
a) Wildhammer Keep - Serves as barracks, mess, and mechanized weaponry storage. The heavy siege doors are only opened in time of greatest need; otherwise traffic is funneled through the single front entry and down two hallways to the wings.
Features - On ground level is the mess hall; the opposite wing houses an aleroom which is run by Truk Wildbeard. Between the two wings is a joint tinkers' hall and mechanized weaponry hangar. The second floor houses the barracks and extra engineering spaces (which open to the hanger bay), and the officers' workspaces. The belowground level is one large informal meeting hall. Scattered throughout the keep are various storage rooms with arms and armor staged in case of an attack.
Other Information - Though many Servitors choose to stay at the Keep not longer than overnight, the keep is stocked well enough that many (if not all) of the Servitors as well as those Wildhammers that live at the Peak would be comfortable for at least a few months without needing supplies.
b) The Guard Tower - Serves as a lookout post. The requisitions office is also located in this building.
Features - The first floor of the building is made of a small open lounge and requisitions office. The second contains more working spaces as well as some general seating. The third consists only of a ledge overlooking the other two floors, and acts as a lookout tower. It is complete with gun mounts and commands a view of not only the entrance to the Keep but the surrounding environment.
Other Information - Typically gear and items needed by the Servitor are stored in the rooms beneath the tower itself, of which only the order's Quartermaster possesses unlimited access. This building contains munitions caches as well, secreted around the floors.
c) The Forge - Serves as a working space for the crafting of arms and armor. The outer ring doubles as a gathering area for the order, especially in the chill winter months.
Features - This building is only one story and is partially built into the mountainside; the entire structure is centered around a smithy. Around the forge itself sit anvils and other necessary tools such as molds, tongs, and forms.
Other Information - Most promotions and official passdown ceremonies occur here; the Servitor summoned to these proceedings is always expected to be in uniform. The forge is a visible reminder of the heat and toil which go into the forging of the bonds between swordbrethren.
d) The Aerie - Serves as both a roost for local- and privately-owned gryphons; also houses crafters' spaces.[/indent]
Features - The Aerie itself is the largest building. The gryphons are able to roost and sleep inside the gryphon statue where they are also bred and born. A Gryphon Master is on hand in order to lend commissioned gryphons to fly a person from place to place. Beneath the winding stairs to the Keep proper are two large alcoves. The one closest to the forge (relatively) houses an Alchemy workshop, herb racks, and a small tannery. The opposite alcove houses a rack for drying, smoking, and salting meats of all kinds in addition to a greatloom.
Other Information - There remains ample space available for the Servitor who wishes to pursue other crafts, and use of already present equipment is considered acceptable usage of the order's resources.
For more information regarding safehouses, see Addendum 6-A.
For more information regarding Fray Island, see Addendum 2-C.
<Appears to be a continuation of the previous entry.>
I'm writing this by the remains of Aunt Lurleina's house. There's a crater; the house is matchsticks and debris. Now we know where the portal went, and where the infernal came out.
For a long time I just stared at the still-smoking crater, the exploded wreckage. Then I screamed, and kept screaming until I had no voice left.
Now there's only my pen, and this journal, and what words I can put to paper.
This is where he lived, after his parents sent him away to save him from starvation. This is where his Aunt named him Greentree. This is where he would lie in bed and watch the ships in the harbor, through his window with the curtains. This is where he worked the nets and drew his pay and drank at the pub. This is where he threw himself down the stairs and broke his nose, to avoid the advances of a woman named Snydah. This is where he wandered the moors and forests and dreamed of a life in Dalaran, where he could be "a real mage." This is where he saved up money to make that dream real, and then lost it all in one night of gambling so he wouldn't have to risk failure. This is where his Aunt died, after telling him to run for the ships and save himself. This is where the life he knew ended, and a new one began.
This is where he returned to give his Aunt a proper burial and set her spirit to rest, offering to her as a grave token the proof that he was loved and cherished, and that her Greentree would thrive.
This is where he brought me--the alien, exotic creature he'd come to love--and showed me these things. This is where we made love all through the night in his old, creaking bed, and the walls shook so hard it knocked Aunt Lurleina's picture sideways, and we laughed ourselves dizzy.
His name was Meriwether Ambrose Verric. He was tall and lean and strong, his body made hard by years of physical labor. He had a crooked nose and a generous mouth and exactly four-hundred-twenty freckles on his left arm. He wore his russet hair in braids most of the time. He was thirty-six. He was a chef, a fisherman, a mage, a leywalker, an archaeologist, a lover, a father, a teacher, and a Servitor of Lothar.
This journal tells the story of my own journey from loss to love and loss again, but it tells a small piece of his story as well. I just sat here and read it through from the beginning. I wish I'd started writing in it sooner--chronicled how we met, those early fumbles--but in a way I'm glad it begins where it did. It begins at the point where I knew this was more than an affair--that we had a chance to try and build something to last.
I've shaved off my beard and eyebrows, along with most of the hair on my head. Let my grief be seen by all. I wore black around the Keep, after the human fashion--but now, as I set out on this quest, I wear white, white as the roses he gave me when I became an officer (because the florist was out of red, so he had to make do).
Essilte has Meri's wand now. Sila is with her, and the other Servitors know to look out for her while I'm gone.
Dusty will stay home from now on. He will be fat and happy and I will never put him in danger again.
In a week I will return to the Keep and the Servitors will gather to remember our Meri. I have that much time to try to begin to put him to rest in my own heart, so that I can return to duty and function. This journal will be the first offering, but not the last.
<There are marks of tears now, blurring the ink where they dropped on the page.>
We do not have his body to bury. So I will bury offerings, and hope they make do.
Additionally, if you see my Alternate Universe priesty walking around, Philomène, that is indeed the same char, just what her unlife might have been like had she died at Fenris during a battle about eight months ago.
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