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  #76  
Unread 6th of August, 2013, 23:17
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The skin on Rina's arms and back prickles suddenly, her excitement turned suddenly into fear for Bailey. With fluid silence, she opens the door a little wider and slips into the hall. Controlling her breathing, the acrobat sidles next to the doorway of the statue chamber and carefully peers inside, doing her best to remain out of view from those within.
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  #77  
Unread 7th of August, 2013, 14:53
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The sight that that Rina found when she peered into the room didn’t match the spectres the depths of her fear had conjured.

The woman stood in the middle of the room looking at Bailey, her hand clutched to her breast, her face flushed and the dropped candle rolling to a stop as the last echo of her scream faded.

“Goodness child, you scare half the life out of me. Are you one of them folks riding out the storm? Whatcha doing back here?”

Turning back from the entrance, Rina was in time to spot a tall figure making itself way towards her down the corridor. The features of the person were hard to make out in the dim light, beyond being tall and the outline of a great fur coat thrown over its shoulders, still dripping water accompanied by the strong scent of wet fur.
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  #78  
Unread 20th of August, 2013, 03:52
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Rina's heart settled into a more normal rhythm when she saw that it was only a serving woman. However, she didn't have time to do anything else as a second figure suddenly approached. There was something about it that made her uneasy, but she was certain the man could see her. Little now to do but play things out and hope for the best.

Instead of running, she smiles at the figure and approaches confidently. She thought briefly of Rutiles, stranded in the downpour, but banishes the thought quickly. They man had deserved a bit of humbling.

"Good evening, I was just stretching my legs a bit - I see that it is still raining without."
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  #79  
Unread 20th of October, 2013, 22:54
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The figure retreated as Rina approached it, his awkward gait acplified by the backwards movement. Due to this, the only extra detail Rina could make out was that he seemed to have a cloth hood drawn up over his head in addition to the fur coat.

“You were instructed to remain in east wing.” The man's voice was low. A rumbling growl that seemed to echo up through his chest. “What do you – why are you here?”
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  #80  
Unread 6th of November, 2013, 02:53
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Rina does not allow her consternation to show, instead smiling easily into his menace. It was rarely a good idea to show fear - predators could sense it, whereas confidence might give them pause. Not that this person was an animal, but his coat and demeanor certainly made the analogy appropriate.

"As I said, I felt a need to stretch my legs a little. The day's events have left me with an abundance of energy, making it hard to sleep."
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  #81  
Unread 15th of February, 2014, 20:53
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The figure withdrew further along the corridor and deeper into shadows, until only the voice came back, deep wet snarl.

"You are guests in my home, do not test my patience for I have none. Return to your wing and do not trespass again you will be thrown out, storm or no."

And then the figure was gone.
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  #82  
Unread 22nd of February, 2014, 12:51
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Bailey steps out of the statue room a moment later. She had soothed the maidservant's nerves as best she could, collected Treasure and stuffed him back in her pocket, and then taken one last look around at the strange array of statues.

"I call those statues very strange indeed," she says to Rina, back out in the hallway. "But I think I've had enough adventure for tonight. Let's turn in and get some sleep."
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  #83  
Unread 22nd of February, 2014, 20:28
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Bailey wondered through the carnival. Merchants lined the makeshift paths, hawking their ware from wood and canvas stalls. It was a dream, she knew that, but unlike any other dream she had ever had. The ground underfoot seemed solid, but when she turned her head the world shimmered and disappeared like a mirage coming from a hot summer's day.

Her wondering were interrupted when a man stepped into her path. Close cropped hair and beard, the weathering on his face told the tale of someone who had lived most of his life outdoors, it was his eyes, piecing yet kind drew her attention first. The man held a bundle of twine threads that led to a multitude of odd floating round things in every colour the imagination could conceive.

A gift, he said gesturing to the objects. For you, pick one.
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  #84  
Unread 26th of February, 2014, 08:48
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A world in black and white, grey and silver, edges fading away into shadow all around. Incandescent mist blanketed the ground, shutting out the stony flags beneath, parting in swirling eddies as she moved. All the trappings were familiar, she knew this place as she knew the sands of the Aranha, as she knew the tents of the Red Sails. Places and times far away and long ago, those, when she had been something other than she was now - something less, something mortal.

She smiled at that, full lips parting around the smooth solidity of her gleaming teeth. White, very white, in this shaded place where night was king. So many years gone by, but as she moved she felt once again the vigor of youth in her step, the easy flexing of supple muscle, the surety of balance that graced only the finest of physical specimens. It had always been so for her, and she had made it so it always would be.

Again the recognition - the contours, the shapes, the way the mist flowed just so. All remembered, remembered and yet still not entirely the same. She frowned then, dark lips down-turned but still undeniably alluring, as the missing element dawned up on her. The fear, the ever present fear, was gone and she was left only with the thrill that ran through her. Before it had been the thrill of life in the face of danger, of risk and reward. Now it was something else, something that set her mind tingling but with an urgency unlike anything before.

Rina moved forward, a study in feline grace, a lioness restlessly prowling. She turned a dark corner eyes knifing through the dark effortlessly, down a narrow alleyway. A thrumming sounded in her ears, so low she could barely detect it even with her superb senses, and it drew her on for reasons she could not explain. The excitement within her rose, but even as it did her movements became more precise, more stealthy, more deadly.

The sound rose, throbbing, as she advanced and with each sounding she felt her own energy pulse higher, a nascent expectation growing within her. Deep down then, in the pit of her being, something else rose in horrific answer and as it crawled into the stark red light of her mind she almost recoiled. Almost, but not, for now it was simply a part of her, a part that made her what she was, a part that could not be denied.

It was the hunger.
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  #85  
Unread 9th of March, 2014, 00:40
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Bailey's eyes shone and her mouth formed a little 'O' of wonder as she looked up at the tethered, levitating globes of intense color.

"What magic is this?" she cooed excitedly. Treasure squirmed about her wrist, a slight fluttering, but stayed where he was.

"And I may have one?" she asked, smiling at the man. She was completely charmed, her usual caution at being approached by a stranger (at a carnival, of all places!) allayed by the kindness in his eyes. Besides, she knew this was a dream.

How to choose? Sapphire blue... jade green... golden yellow. The colors were exceptional, unlike anything she'd seen outside of a treasure room. But that one there... bobbing hypnotically just out of reach... rich-ruby-red against the summer-blue sky.

"I want that one."

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  #86  
Unread 11th of March, 2014, 22:55
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The dream was the same as it had always been, the mist flowing like fairy water around her feet. The moonlight, as faint as it was through the overhanging clouds, lit the alley to her eyes like the midday sun. She waited against the walls like a stone herself, immoveable, unyielding, with the patience born of an immortal, until her prey arrived

The woman – small and dark haired – moved with the sure footed grace of an acrobat, on feet so silent that few humans could match it, sliding through shadows that faded into nothing before the vampire's supernatural vision. With cool detachment Rina moved deeper into the alley, cloaked in the silence of the grave, movements so careful that even the mist was undisturbed by her passing, waiting until she was behind her prey before allowing her presence to be felt.

The woman spun and Rina found herself looking on her own face.
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  #87  
Unread 12th of March, 2014, 21:05
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The round object tugged on the end of the twine Bailey held, lifting her up into the air. The festival and people in it soon grew small as they dropped away, like looking down at the vista from a great mountaintop. Soon even that was one as Bailey was envelopes by a cloud, and everything disappeared into a thick mist.

Sometime later the mist cleared and the bard found herself hovering above a small room occupied by two young men Both possessed the pallid appearance of dedicated scholars, and while the taller of the two's clothing was made from finer material, he wore it with a haphazard disregard equal to his partner's own more common clothes. The room was just as out of focus and abstract as the rest of her dream had been so far, only popping into place as she focused on it.

The conversation, already in progress, drifted up to where she hovered.

"You don't mean that," The shorter, poorer of the was saying.

"You don't know what I mean," the taller was retorted, stepping away from the other man.

"I don't? Dale, don't try to tell me that I don't mean anything to you, that we don't mean anything. I know damn well better than that."

"You don't understand, Kaine with my father dead, the people back home would never … I have a duty."

"I don't care about your father or your bloody duty. None of that matters, what matters is us!"

Dale twisted away so the other man couldn't see his face, which twisted with painful emotions. Despite that when he spoke the words came calm and even.

"You never mattered, you never meant anything to me." Bailey could see shock was over Kaine's face, before he shook it off.

"You're lying."

"You actually thought I was in love with you? You're a joke, everyone's been laughing at you all this time."

Pain, grief and rage battled naked across Kaine's expression while tears welled up in Dale's eyes, each unable to see the effect the words were having on the other.

"Why are you doing this?" Kaine pleaded, as the tears broke free and slid, silent and unseen down Dale's face.

"Because you're pathetic," came the reply, cold and harsh. "Go away, leave me alone."

Fury won the struggle for supremacy and settled across Kaine's features as red lights gathered around the man, glimmering while his eyes took on an inhuman glow, sending Treasure into an intense fit of squirming.

"You don't know what you've done,
Break my heart and you'll have none,
All you left was ruined pain,
Such will be your fated reign.

Foul within, without a beast,
None the peace of the deceased
Grow ye a single rose
To show your lasting woes.

Until the truth you can face,
Lost to any waking grace,
Take back the stolen heart,
So the healing can then start."

Kaine's voice echoes across the dream, rattling Bailey teeth as everything flashed a blinding red. When the bard could see again, she found herself back at the dream carnival, facing the bearded man solemn eyes. The many colours of the floating objects he held were gone, now they were a uniform ruby red, looking like nothing so much as a cluster of inverted bloody drops.

"A sad fate, but if any can change such things, it is not I. Would you like to try another?"
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  #88  
Unread 20th of March, 2014, 04:10
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As their eyes met, the air between them crackled with unseen energies. Rina felt it thrill through her limbs and then it was gone, leaving only the ever present throbbing. It was like staring into distorted mirror, and the mortal shell that stared back was certainly a less perfect version of herself - not as flawlessly beautiful, sinuously graceful, or strikingly powerful as the predator that had snared her so easily. But for all her obvious superiority, this flawed version was somehow more vibrant, more alluring, more vital - filled with a certain fire and daring that transcended the physical.

The thrumming sounded again, deep, even, and as vibrant as the image before her. It dawned on her then what it was, a sound that was once her own but no longer - the beating of a living heart. With it came thoughts of hot, red blood - the blood that flowed through the veins of her twin, blood she needed to survive. As if beckoning her, the vein that up the side of that slim neck pulsed in time with the sound. She was at once attracted and repelled, which was in itself confusing. Such matters of conscience should have been purged with any vestige of her humanity, Karthes had surely seen to that. She could feel both the hunger and indecision in her eyes, could see that her prey saw it too in the hope that suddenly glistened in the others dark eyes, the way her muscles tensed, pulse quickened.

As if in slow motion, though it was lightning fast for a mortal, her quarry feinted left and back before twisting impossibly in the opposite direction, her body whipping around, muscles snapping to life. Rina waited, revulsion gripping her hunger tight, until the last possible instant when it surged free. Quicker than thought she was there, snatching up her impotent twin in an unyielding embrace. Somewhere in her, she felt the urge to weep but instead she smiled, fangs bared wide to the night and lowered her head with a growl. They slipped through skin, releasing a sudden crimson tide - her mouth fastened tightly and hot blood rushed in, and for an instant her doubt disappeared in that ecstatic red tide.
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  #89  
Unread 27th of March, 2014, 12:26
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"Try another?" Bailey asked, looking up at the garish red globes with regret. "But they're all the same now. What happened?"

But she knew. It all meant something, it was a message of some kind. A puzzle that she had to figure out. The red floaty-things. The two men, both scholars, one wealthy, the other... betrayed. Rubies.

Who sent the message, the dream?

She looked at the man with the strange hair-cut and the kind eyes.

"Who are you?"
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  #90  
Unread 1st of April, 2014, 23:09
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"My name is Biate," he man said with a smile. "Don't worry, I don't expect it to be a name you know. But I'm here to help. If I still can."

He scratches at his beard, eyes narrowing as he contemplated her, the movement causing the floating objects he carried to jitter and bounce off each other.

"I have to tell you something, it's important. You may find this hard to understand, but please try."

Leaning forward, he drew a breath and spoke in a low, earnest voice.

"This is a dream."
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  #91  
Unread 11th of April, 2014, 04:34
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Biate. Contrary to the man's assumption, it was a name that Bailey knew. She had heard Rina mention it quite recently. And if all Rina said was true, he wasn't a man. He was... something else.

So what? It's just a dream. Play along.

"You're here to help?" Bailey questioned. "Help who? And how?"

Another thought came to her - Why? - but she didn't voice it.
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  #92  
Unread 11th of April, 2014, 09:05
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"To help as many people as I can, in anyway I can. But right now? To help you. I don't know how much longer the dream will last, and I won't be able to do this again for some time," Biate said, gesturing to the floating blood rubies above him.

"There is something you should see, please pick one."
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  #93  
Unread 11th of April, 2014, 11:32
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As she bit down Rina’s mind flowed into the woman and the world changed. Gone was the alley and mist, replaced by stone walls she couldn’t place for all they were achingly familiar. As everything came into focus, the bard became aware of an uneasy pressure in her neck, and something cold and hard as ice pressed against her body. The sensations defeated her sense of time, so it was an unknown amount of it later when the thing holding her moved away and it’s face appeared.

It was a she knew, Baron Sanguis, the vampire she had faced so long ago in Tolatakiva. This felt different to earlier, more solid, more real. For all that it felt real, Rina was unable to struggle free, the Baron’s eyes held her, his power enveloped her, keeping her still, keeping her compliant.

In tormenting slow motion the Baron raised a write to his strained mouth, tore it open and held the wound over Rina. Droplets of bloody, ruby red feel onto her face, ran across her lips, dribbled into her mouth, then burn into her soul.

Through it all the creature’s eyes held her, drilling a single command into her mind, over and over.

Forget. Forget. Forget.
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Unread 12th of April, 2014, 06:43
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Trapped within her dream, Rina's heart freezes, the Baron's icy gaze drawing her back instantly, across the miles and the days, to Tolatakiva. In her dreams there, the Baron had come to her much like this, only then it turned out to be no dream but rather living nightmare. And this, this had indeed lost all the trappings of dream and it dawned on her then that he was feasting on her blood once more. Heart hammering in her chest, Rina thrashed beneath her sheets, swimming through a sleepy haze thick as pea soup.

The blood spattered across her face, burning hotter than boiling bisque. Even as his last commands rang and faded inside her skull, the sudden pain jolted her into wakefulness. With a harsh, stifled cry she leaped upright atop the mattress, fists balled for a fight, no doubt waking Bailey in the process. The dark, however, seemed to hold no enemies; in the chill air her sweat soaked body quickly cooled. She shivered once, and then finally relaxed as Treasure chittered at her for her foolishness.
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  #95  
Unread 18th of April, 2014, 04:27
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Exasperated, Bailey sighed. She didn't like being rushed, even in a dream, and she had more questions she wanted to ask the man (god). About the last scene she had just witnessed within her dream. About the real manor and its lord and the shadow she'd seen earlier. And about the story that Rutiles had told. (Rubies...)

But she was equally curious to see what Biate wanted her to see, so she reached up and chose another of the magic globes, this time more or less at random.

She felt herself being lifted up as before, her feet dangling in the air as she rose higher and higher, and she soon found herself enveloped in a dense, clammy fog. It was a strange sensation, floating in the grey. She didn't know if she was still rising, and wondered how high it was possible for a person to go. To the moon? She thought she could sense a cold, white light shining from somewhere above. She looked up but saw nothing, not even the ruby-red globe that held her aloft. It too was lost in the grey.

Bailey was just starting to think that Biate was one of those trickster gods from old stories and that this was his idea of a joke. Oh yes, I really needed to see all this grey fog! But then her toes touched something solid and she realized that she was now back on the ground. Still she could see nothing, until a chill breeze began to blow, and the fog or the mist or whatever it was began to blow away in tatters.

She was alone in an alley, tendrils of grey mist curling about her feet and billowing at the edges of her vision. Veiled moonlight shone from above, dimly lighting the empty space.

A muffled sound behind her. Was she truly alone? Where was Biate? She felt a cold breath of wind and her heart quickened its beat. Suddenly, a cry...

Bailey sat up straight in bed with a gasp.
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  #96  
Unread 19th of April, 2014, 00:28
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Rina's head snaps to Bailey as the other woman also bursts from sleep with a startled cry. Exhaling slowly, Rina makes a conscious effort to relax as she lowers her fists and steps gracefully to the ground. Running her fingers through her hair she shivers once before lighting several candles, then dons a sleeveless tunic and her heavy cloak.

"We are both beset by nightmares, it seems. I wonder how Yavan fares."
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  #97  
Unread 14th of May, 2014, 04:01
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Bailey takes a minute to slow her breathing and remember where she is. A strange bedroom, soft linens balled up in her tightly clenched fists, rain pattering against window glass.

Ah, the manor house. And it's raining still?

"A nightmare... well yes, I guess it was," she replies to the woman's voice in the dark. (It is Rina, of course.) "But it didn't start out that way. I was having an interesting conversation with that god of yours, Biate. He wanted to show me some things." She thinks about the scene between the two men, wondering if it is at all relevant to their current situation. It had seemed to make perfect sense to her, in the dream. So she relates what she remembers of it to Rina.

"Then all the magic globes were red, and Biate said there was something I should see, and I floated away with one of the globes, and..." Here Bailey can almost feel again the clamminess of the mist as it had closed around her. "And I ended up in a dark back-alley, the-god-knows-where, and I knew suddenly that I wasn't alone."

Unsettling. But dreams were like that. Bailey knows that she will soon shake it off.

"Is it morning yet? I need a hot cup of klava! I wonder if we'll see Rutiles - or Colonel Muntab - today."
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  #98  
Unread 15th of May, 2014, 22:53
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Rina sniffs suspiciously, then pads silently to the doorway and peers beneath it where a thin crack lets dim light in. After a moment she opens the door, ignoring the tray on the floor and looks up and down the hall. With nobody apparent, she retrieves the tray - which inexplicably contains exactly what Bailey had just voiced - and brings it into the room, closing the door behind her.

"It seems someone is very interested in your wishes. Based on the lack of sun, I see they were unable to make it morning and I am not sure klava in the middle of this night is what we need. I was thinking more sleep would be better."
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Unread 20th of May, 2014, 12:04
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"I thought it must be morning by now," Bailey says simply. She does not relish the thought of more sleep... and more strange dreams.

"Is that really klava?" She takes the tray from Rina's hands and sets it on the bed, frowning. The aroma wafting from the cup is unmistakable and completely inexplicable. If it is still the middle of the night, why would someone leave a cup of klava outside the door?

Maybe I am still dreaming, she thinks, pushing the tray away from her without touching the cup. And from there it is very easy to flop back down on the pillows and drift away into deep sleep again.
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Unread 20th of May, 2014, 22:16
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The mist coiled around Bailey's ankles, and for a moment she fancied it was a cat, purring as it rubbed against her. The fancy passed as the scholar tried to peer through the gloom clad alley. She had been walking past on her way to ... on her way to ... the memory fled as she tried to focus on it, and her thoughts flittered away.

She had been walking past the entrance when she heard a cry - or thought she did, and ventured in to investigate. The alley, all grey stone was empty as she came to the end, a massive wall that stretched out an impossible distance in all direction. The night had been clear before, stars dancing in the sky above, the fog had appeared as she stepped into the stone passage ... or had it always been there?

With a heroic act of will, Bailey seized control of her thoughts. She had been walking past the alley, the evening fog having rolled in early, when she heard a voice calling out. Stepping into the alley she found it to be empty. Yes, that was it.

A breath of air brushed the back of her neck, and Bailey spun, heart beating hard enough to make her head spin. But there was nothing there, she was alone. And yet an animal voice whispered at the back of her mind, she wasn't. There was something else in there with her, someone dark, something dangerous.

Something hungry.
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