Blood Rites

Terreille => Dena Nehele => Topic started by: Asimov Licht on Jul 01, 19, 03:51:26 AM

Title: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Asimov Licht on Jul 01, 19, 03:51:26 AM
Several weeks' gentle prodding about the edges of the Twisted Kingdom yielded nothing to explain why Asimov hadn't yet begun to walk the Kingdom in her dreams. She sensed it where it lurked, just out of the edges of her peripheral vision, but her mentors insisted that further training had to wait until she walked it herself. No weaving, no walking in the waking world, until her subconscious went to the Kingdom in her sleep. It didn't matter that she'd been having flashes of prescient visions or that her temper was sharpening; it only mattered that her subconscious wasn't ready.

Well, Asimov was ready. She knew she was. Her mother might have failed at this stage, but Asimov was more talented than Raziel, more talented even than Prince Keyes. She'd done the research, studied the Metaphysika Mysterium and read On the Oracular Order from cover to cover. The weaving she was going to attempt was simple enough, the sort of thing budding Black Widows did as a matter of course. She would simply call a future-dream to her, something easy: What will my Offering be? Simple. Yes, the weaving of a tangled web was dangerous; she could break, or go mad. But she wouldn't.

With Stela's misdirection--payback for Asimov's assistance with a Priestess ritual--she knew the only person in the vicinity of the southeastern Widow's workroom would be Prince Keyes. She'd been careful to obfuscate her intentions from the keen future-facing gaze of Claudia Genadie. No need to worry about an interruption throwing her off the path, no need to plan for someone trying to twist her weaving to some other purpose. One simple answer. Sapphire, Red, or Gray? If nothing else, she might get a date or a season for her Offering...

She started by laying out the pieces of the travel frame she'd gotten from her mother. Four equal lengths of blackwood looked back at her, each carved with a different symbol. "This one is fate," she murmured. "These are... crown, cloak, and choice." She picked up the three-pronged legs of the frame and set about assembling it; once each piece slotted into the other, it looked like a table. Asimov pulled the treated spidersilk out of her psychic cabinet; it smelled strong and sweet, almost tooth-rottingly sweet. Well, that was attraction oil. It wasn't nearly as medicinal as any other oil.

A vision of the future. She anchored her silk on the fate arm of the frame, and strung it over to the crown: her Self. From there, the Metaphysika Mysterium said the Darkness ought to show her the path, but the Darkness was silent. Asimov gritted her teeth and her grip on the spider-silk tightened. Claudia and Alexandra weren't right. She wouldn't let them be right. She wove the thread three times around the Self, and then the thought came to her, and she knotted it around the choices arm, back to Crown, down to Cloak. The pattern came easily to her then, as if she'd forced open a barred door in her mind. It flowed through her fingers like water, took up limpid shapes on the frame, until the working was complete--

but Asimov was not conscious to see it.
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Jeremiah Mercer on Jul 05, 19, 04:44:10 AM
Sleep was not an unknown concept to Jeremiah. The problem was that his sleep was often touched upon by the Twisted Kingdom. Few were the nights where he did not feel even the lightest of tugs upon his senses that something was there he should see.

With the warm weight of Lisichya at his side, it was most often the Healer's dreams that called to him. There had been a resurgence in nightmares in the aftermath of Makoto no Ariake. The Black Widow Warlord Prince was not exactly comfortable admitting how much widow's thread he could go through if he weaved his dream catching webs for the Healer. It was far more effective for him to let himself sink and follow the connection between them until he dealt with the nightmares in a more hands on manner.

Tonight, however, the Healer's dreams were quiet shapeless things. Jeremiah would not say they were necessarily happy but they were peaceful which was sometimes the best that could be had. Letting go, letting himself start to truly slip into true sleep, something flickered in the distance--the flash of a dream newly born. It was not a falling star, not some piece of the Twisted Kingdom joining with the ground once more. It was the descent of someone spiraling into parts unseen.

Jeremiah might have considered the fall a saunter, someone surveying everything that they could as they fell. Their speed was picking up, however, the freefall not controlled as they dove deep within the Twisted Kingdom. He was following after it, this perception of someone sinking into the Twisted Kingdom, before he even thought about doing so, a flaw of his if there ever was one.

At some point, the world shifted. Jeremiah was wrapped in his safe-ward, slipping easily from the place that one might call his to this deeper place of the Twisted Kingdom. Water flowed, not the Abyssal sea that he was familiar with, but instead some long-forgotten reservoir. Flowers floated along the surface of the water, a path carved out that he was able to follow. The blossoms glowed softly, providing a faint illumination that let him see that while the walls of this place stretched upward there was no ceiling that could be seen. There was only an endless darkness that greeted him.

His head tilted, pausing as he let himself get a better grasp on where dreamer might have gone. They were--she, he realized, was familiar. Someone he had sensed distantly over the past few weeks. Someone that was not content to grow into their power but pull it to themselves.


Jeremiah sighed, letting out a breath that he didn't need to in this place, and continued onward to find the wayward dreamer. They had gone deep, far too deep for someone that was not used to such things. Here, in the darkness of the place he traveled, it would be far too easy for someone to lose their way and never return.
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Asimov Licht on Jul 13, 19, 03:02:12 AM
The opaque black water came up to her knees. Pale lavender globes of light shimmered on the crests of the ripples that ran from pillar to wall to the weapons and skeleton trees that thrust upwards from its surface. Without thinking about it, she knew that if she moved and added her own little waves to the water that what she was looking at would change. Even looking around changed the patterns of the shuddering lights and reflections; sparks of white and purple caught on the shining stone walls and threw back their faceted refractions, mocking her and her inability to make sense of this space. It seemed to spin before her. One moment, upright. The next, up-side down. In each reflection, each light-mote, something sparkled. Some bit of knowledge that she craved.

I came here with a purpose. She'd come there for a reason. There had been a motivating question, a driving need, and she had come to seek its roots. Here she remembered nothing, neither wind nor wake. The water rippled and threw her images, and she could make sense of none of them. One orb was a blonde woman before a masked man, the next a young woman surrounded by the detritus of a broken machine. The one that lured her forward was a familiar face.

She knew that face. Her caution forgotten, she stumbled forward into the light of the waves, reaching out to the orb that glowed Opal-bright in her sight. What do you want to tell me, she asked, her words slow, soft and entranced. As she moved, her hair billowed and caught behind her, as if she were underwater. As she cupped the light-orb and its tantalizing image in her hands, she felt something join her in the low water. Its arrival ricocheted greater waves, white-capped waves, and she let the orb go without reaching within the vision it contained.

A stranger stood between her and the far wall. Before, it had been rippled, ridged, but ultimately featureless: now it boasted a door, and this stranger stood between her and the exit. "You oughtn't be here," she said flatly. "Who are you? This is my place."
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Jeremiah Mercer on Jul 13, 19, 04:47:08 AM
Within the Metaphysika Mysterium there had been many a warning. The one that came to mind now was the one that had said to be wary of the fall. It had spoken that the dive within the Twisted Kingdom was one thing but to fall--a freefall--could cause someone to lose themselves. Everything could be stripped away, lost until it was gathered up once more. What she had intended to be a dive had turned into her falling fast and deep, parts of her drifting away as she had sunk.

The blossoms floated onward, pushed along by the disturbance of the water created by his presence. Jeremiah caught sight of her, the way both her hair and form rippled as the water did, and frowned. The luminous blossoms had been all around her as if they were drawn by her existence, but his presence had scattered them. As the water flowed, the ripples slowing, the Black Widow Warlord Prince watched as they started to make their way back.

"You know me," said Jeremiah, "and I know you." A pause. "Or you did before you found yourself here." If he tilted his head just right, focused upon one of the lilac-hued flowers, he could glimpse foggy images. No, it was the light and not the flowers. Memories? Visions? Both were likely, given that she had lost as much as she had gained in coming here. It would return to her, that much he knew, but ...

"I have a way with being in places I shouldn't," the door behind him a testament to that, "and that helps me find where I'm meant to be." Did he just imply he was both supposed to be here and should not be here? Yes, he absolutely did.

"It might be best," he continued, "that you find that which you sought and instead brought you here to the deep." A hand flicked outward and though he did not touch the water, it rippled once more. When it flowed back to him, one of the blossoms brushed up against his calf. With a careful hand and too sharp nails, Jeremiah picked it up and cupped it. Bringing it to his lips, he blew air across it. The petals shivered but held, the glimmer of something visible within its core. It was familiar silver hair and strange blue-green eyes and a conversation shared over breakfast between them.

Jeremiah held it out to her. "It isn't what you're looking for but perhaps it might help you remember." Who he was, who she was. Either would be helpful. This, thought Jeremiah, was why he had run afoul both Arkadie and Claudia on the occasion for his dream wandering. Now he had control but he remembered the distant dream, the touch of Red waters, as he had floated not knowing himself until he had been called home. The difference here, however, was that he had already been predisposed and she, so far as he was aware, had only touched upon the surface.

Not that he really had a leg to stand on given how much he tended to dive right on in but that was not the point. The point was that she needed to be brought back. To gather herself and be guided back home but without the answer to what she sought, he thought it would go poorly.
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Asimov Licht on Jul 14, 19, 03:51:01 AM
She sneered. Arrogant, said the unthinking part of her, you presume I have forgotten you? Nonsense. I forget nothing. Her mouth said something different: "I've always been here." Her eyes, Green and blue, watched the stranger in her mind as they narrowed to slits. I am she who remembers. I cannot forget. Her blonde hair billowed around her as she turned her back on the stranger, reaching one hand out for one of the glimmers of light and memory. Not the one he offered her: She had no interest in the offerings of the stranger, not when he so grievously insulted her and her abilities. All of them were like that, weren't they? Holding her back from the potential that ought to be hers.

Beware discipline, for it is not designed to liberate but to limit, whispered the her-that-spoke-without-thought. He wants you chained and constrained like they do. A collar around your throat and manacles around your wrists. He'll bolt you to the rock and leave you to be picked apart!  "I know," she told the other herself as the lights swam closer to her hands. "I know, I know." There was another voice, too, lower, almost a baritone, that wove through the unthinking-words all sinuous like a snake, like an unwelcome caress. The girl who remembered shuddered, but her attention remained firmly upon the globe that came into her hands.

Within the orb, the vision was constrained by the rounded corners of its conveyance. She could see no details of the space, only hear with some sense other than her ears the negotiation. It won't be difficult, she read-heard. There are no guards. There is a night nurse, but she is Yellow Jeweled and easily dealt with. She knew the one who scripted those words. Her heart thundered in her chest, and a ghost lingered outside her bedroom, blood pooling at her back. She knew the name on her lips but couldn't push them out into the world. Each syllable leaked from her mouth in glyphs and gabs.

Li. Or. A.

The orb burned through the water, steaming and hissing as it sank beneath the black waves and burned against her skin. Diediediediediediedie. She laughed, little and light and long. "So much knowledge," said the seeker, holding out her hand for another orb. "All mine."
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Jeremiah Mercer on Jul 15, 19, 07:37:54 AM
Whether the dismissal was expected or not, Jeremiah's eyes narrowed upon her as she turned her back to him. Though words did not leave her lips, some of them simply not able to, the Black Widow Warlord Prince knew them all the same. The lure of the phantom that lurked in this place. It was there, in the water, a reflection of her Self.

Her mouth moved, both in the reflection and not, and he watched still as she plucked yet another orb from the darkened air.

A name reverberated in the air unsaid. It did not need to be. Was that what she had sought? No, he thought, that had not been it consciously. Subconsciously, perhaps? Did it really matter at the moment? That it was a pain they had, perhaps, not truly recognized as the deep hurt it was?

The voice that he heard was hers and not-hers, a shadow self that had been nurtured and grown within. Jeremiah only watched for another heartbeat, the air smelling of blood and viscera as the orb burned the water. She was darker than him, yes, but Jeremiah trusted in what he had been taught. The skills and talents that he had learned not only from his mentor but from the twin sister of his soul.

Jeremiah snapped forward, one breath not near her and another right there next to her. The flowers in the water flowed away from them, the orb she had been reaching for still hovering closer as it brushed along his bicep. As it did it made his form ripple and shudder, a brief glimpse of what was within.

"All of this knowledge is yours, yes," said Jeremiah, "but it will take you if you continue like this. Devour you and leave nothing else but knowledge." He did not reach for her, instead snatching the orb himself. It buffeted against his own senses, a distance flash of images and more that were not immediately decipherable.

It was not held away from her, instead offered. It was a risky gambit. "If this is what end you seek, so be it, but the Asimov," he named her then, called to who she truly was, "I know would not let herself be owned. Not by anyone, let alone a specter of knowledge." Not this strange other presence, the one that echoed within her own voice, or anything else for that matter. "What good is all the knowledge here if you can never put it to use? If you are nothing but knowledge?"
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Asimov Licht on Aug 01, 19, 04:01:51 AM
The baritone whisper caressed the back of her neck as that silver-haired stranger darted forward, invading her space. Her footsteps stuttered, skip-frame, as she lurched aside. I've been polite! raged the seeker. I have let you interfere! I will do so no longer if you continue to test me. Did he not see what she was doing? Here, in the place with all this knowledge, this omphalos point where all the futures and destinies wove together, she could make a difference. She could see the future and she could change it, warp it to what it needed to be. No more sadness or sorrow or loneliness, only knowledge and control. She could break the tyranny of time and turn the world to what it should be, the world as it should be.

"I have to know," she said. It wouldn't be so bad to be consumed by, buried in, knowledge. They'd spent so long keeping her away from it, refusing to let her take the journey she knew she needed to take, that she couldn't conceive of tearing herself away. If she were to die, this would be how, surrounded on all sides by the answers to all of her questions. "I have to know why she died!"

Around them, the memory slammed into place. Dark water roared away in a sudden circular tidal wave, rushing towards a shore it would never find. In the room, the seeker saw herself at her table, working with an unseen mechanism. An outsider's perspective showed her what her place inside her body had not. A glimmer of Green, a spider swinging on its web, a moment of premonition. A ghostly body behind her, blonde hair pushed back in careless curls. Lili, the voice murmured, Lili, where did you go?...

There was a dribble of blood from the woman's mouth as she stood in the room/outside the door/as her body lay cooling on a flat gray table and a dark-skinned woman carved her apart.

Another image: tall. Bright blue eyes, twisted with gray. It will be very easy. I don't care if you use an apprentice to do it. But see it done. The woman, her features unrecognizable to anyone but the seeker, sneered. If he wants to take my child from me...

The voice that spoke without thoughts shrieked with rage. The seeker screamed. Not for me! Not for me! She didn't do it for me!
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Jeremiah Mercer on Oct 21, 19, 01:48:53 AM
This what they had worried about with him. When Claudia had created the token that had kept him from wandering until Arkadie had taught him to make his safe-ward. Asimov would be devoured within this place, consumed by the knowledge she believed she needed above all else.

Everything clicked into place as she spoke. The words reverberated around them, the emptiness taking shape, and suddenly he knew that while this was about her need to know, to gather all the knowledge she could, it was not truly about that.

What would Jeremiah give to have the absolute knowledge of his mother's death? How far had he already sunk himself to try and grasp at flickers of the elusive threads that always slipped away from him?

Asimov had come under one pretense but the seeker had another. The images snapped forward--different for him, just as they were when Claudia and himself looked upon a vision--and the truth within them was both heartbreaking and infuriating.


And yet it also did not matter because there was only one result if this spiral continued. The seeker would call more and more, descend deeper and deeper--even now to him, it looked as if she were sinking--until she became stuck. Jeremiah could see it: a ghostly image that pulled itself away from her; a wail of anger and fury that would pervade the Twisted Kingdom that would never find solace; a Green broken, dull and split.

There was no tell, no sign of what he was about to do. There was not even an apology (and even if he thought it would have helped, the seeker would have been spared). What happened was this: the water rushed back in and Jeremiah surged forward with it. The seeker--Asimov--was taken ahold of, the force of the water lending strength to it as he dragged them back out of the depths.

For one brief moment they were upon a shore, the water lapped at their feet as eerie light filtered down on them.

Then Jeremiah looking at her, his eyes impossibly bright and fixed.

Then she was being grabbed, like an angry wet kitten, and summarily throw out.

The path to knowledge, for this night, closed.
Title: Re: Just want to learn about the truth
Post by: Asimov Licht on Oct 24, 19, 01:12:49 PM
The stranger threw her out of the omphalos point, and she howled in rage even as she surfaced from the depths of the dream. She woke screaming, the scent of ash and herbs heady in her nose, leaving her dizzy even as she rolled onto her side and curled with the force of her anger. How dare he! How dare he! Her clawed fingers cracked and splintered as she scraped them across the floor, pausing not even for breath. The tendons of her throat popped into high relief with her rage, until finally her body gave out and she had to stop for breath. Her shoulders, her stomach, her hands heaved as she caught her breath.

How dare he, whispered the seeker in the back of her mind. Awake now, awakened now, her soul seizing in her chest where only the Night Mother could hear it. How dare he, how dare he, just like the other, just like her. It was an undertow, a current angling to pull her down, but the comforting metronome of the syllables steadied her breathing. Her body relaxed and her odd eyes unfocused as she followed the throbbing call of the seeker, parsing the information that she had stolen from the Twisted Kingdom.

Shakily, she pressed a palm to the floor, pushing herself to her knees. The weaving on the top of the counter was warped, twisted and burned. A failure, but it'd shown her what she needed to know, hadn't it? Not the stupid question about her Offering, but the thing she'd really, really wanted an answer to. Why had Liora died? She had her answer. Her suspicions had only grown, and now she knew, now she knew why it was her sister was dead.

She just needed proof. She needed confirmation that she hadn't interpreted it wrong.

Asimov went to rise, but stood too fast. Her stomach rolled, and she vomited pure salt water.