Farewell by fire

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Farewell by fire

Post by Røse on Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:40 am

A bottle of Redpointe V&V whiskey glugged; the corners of the bottle sparkling in the bathroom’s electric lamp light as it was after midnight and all sources of electricity not standing autonomous were turned off via generators. Rich brown liquid sluiced around the bottle as the fluid level sank a full two ounces in one impressive pull.

Rose was currently in an enormous clawfoot bathtub on the top floor of the ranch house; holed up in a wood-paneled bathroom and nearly neck deep in milky water scented with cedarwood oil. She only wore her dousing cuff; the leather band never shrinking after getting wet and drying out and thus making it certain it never needed to be taken off under any circumstances. The ring of slightly irridescent white metal was currently inert and occasionally clinking against the ceramic coating on the bathtub when she needed another drink. So far, she’d been carrying this on for two hours, keeping a pace with the whiskey so as not to get too sloshed and filling the bathtub up with fresh hot water, milk and oil when needed.

What was the sentinel doing getting pruned in the bath tub for so long? Putting off the inevitable. It had been one month since she’d uncerimoneously been forced to decapitate Ciello Regalo via her 30.0.6; acting on instinct and endless training as she saw the woman raise a gun to her own daughter’s head and pull the trigger. While she had shot true and cleared everything north of Regalo’s collarbone with one of her self made Fleschette rounds, somehow, the body had still gotten the signal to pull the trigger. Meryl had been banged and blown through anyway— and somehow the kid had lived.

Those visions disturbed Rose. Meryl had been about the size Odine was currently; a few months shy of two, physically speaking. While she was pale where Odine was brown and her hair was dark where Odine’s was a strange heavily rose-tinged blond— they had similar springy curls. Sometimes Rose had nightmares where she herself was in place of Ciello; holding a Colt to Odine’s head and wearing a detached expression that didn’t even communicate malice.

And she’d jolt awake the moment she blew her own child’s head off. Every time she had this nightmare she was drawn to the basement where the cold storage was built in to its own permenantly engaged generator system and she’d fish the baggy of Regalo’s remains out of one of those stainless steel standing freezers and always quietly so as not to wake Sune’ere who rented a room a few doors down (especially on the nights she was climbing out of his bed) and would take a piece of bone out of the baggy and rotate it in her fingertips while trying to stave off some sort of panic attack.

Occasionally, she swore she could hear a still, small voice. Rose could never quite catch what it said.

Tonight, per tradition; it had been a month and change since the killing. It was the last night the bag of sparse remains: bits of bone, skin and a full lock of pale blond hair, would be in the freezer room for Rose to obsess over. They were taking the remains to a very important place deep in the Taiga— hundreds of miles from Redpointe and only accessible through a certain hard to locate anomoly in the coniferous woods down the path away from the compound. Stepping through it took them what they called “The Grounds”. A place where the conduits of power beneath their feet coalesced.

An hour later after Whinnie-Sloane had gotten fed up, knocked on the bathroom door and brought Rose out of her literal stewing session they were dressed for the deep cold. Spring was soon to arrive on the land and thus the deep freeze of the northern winter was lessening down in the evergreen valley and mountains but the snow pack had yet to pull back in the taiga. Rose hadn’t said a word to Whinnie— nothing cross or any complaining. She understood she couldnt put it off forever while the Blood Moon they needed hung huge in the night sky; its size amplified by the altitude of the land to look almost absurd and intimidating.

A blur in the trees where the trunks didnt line up was stepped through and Rose knew better than to try ‘pinching’ the door shut as it was one of the natural gates and not one she had created on her own. Immediately, they went from slightly chilled to frigid; all the dewey moisture on their faces immediately freezing solid.

Ahead, Lu and Gwenna were already present and waiting for the late pair. Still, no one complained...it was an auspicious event and required by a sort of law with the land itself. The North was owed something, a form of closure to a particularly important and powerful blood being spilled on the land. As soon as Rose pulled the trigger and saw the brain and blood splatter she knew this event would have to happen. She’d felt the rush of something.

“Are the corners ready?” From Rose. However, upon getting close to the makeshift sepulchur she saw that the four corners were indeed represented by a corresponding cairn, or carefully stacked river rocks. As soon as the Nepenthe stepped into it to deposit the plastic bag of remains upon the unlit pyre her dousing cuff roared to life; glowing blue and trying to yank her entire arm skyward by the cuff. The sentinels all seemed unphased— this happened every time they performed the sending off ritual.

It was ripe with power.

“Time to do it? Lets get a move on.” she'd say; picking up the dry bundle of straw and sage entwined with hemp to make a long, makeshift torch for lighting the pyre. A wave of her hand the little bit of natural witch's talent earned from her mother, Sparrow, engaged the bundle and lit it with cool colored flame.
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Re: Farewell by fire

Post by Røse on Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:27 am




Meryl would find herself seemingly guided by more than a sentient shadow being. When she was upon the land it seemed to sing out to her. There was a certain yearning; as if every one of the evergreens knew her name. No wards activated upon her arrival that would have forced her to be deposited more than five miles from the gates of the compound. She was allowed in, encouraged to stay as if she had been born upon it and tethered to it as intimately as Rose was herself or any Jann, true or by diluted bloodline that came knocking.

The little girl was ‘family’ as far as the power under the Taiga deemed it.

And so, no dousing cuffs still on the land would light up. Terpsichore was currently patroling and was assisted either by Sune’ere, the newest lad to work for his keep within the Redpointe sanctuary or Dian; a trainee and personal friend of Whinnie-Sloane’s with the same affliction as she. All other sentinels were much deeper into the north.

The ground hummed when Meryl’s little feet traipsed over it and if she were keen of eye sight and other senses she would soon pass a bitterly cold patch of wind much more frigid than her current environment. And only ten paces her feet— a pure white fox had appeared. It sat as primly as a house cat; unafraid of the child and its dark eyes were trained on her with an intelligence even her young mind may well be able to pick up on. Should Meryl step closer it would rise, turn landuigly in a full circle with a lush, bushy tail coursing behind it only to bound a few more paces away.

And in the moonlight it seemed to glow.

If Meryl got the hint and followed it would perform the same little dance. Sitting, waiting and then leaping away from her; drawing her closer to the same anomaly the Sentinels had stepped through only ten minutes prior. Up until it would sit in front of the window at the perfect angle for the child to see something was amiss with the tree trunks and their breaks at impossible, acute angles.

On the land, the northern lights were faint and obscured by the snow capped mountains. But a different view of the sky showed through the window: the Aurora was screaming with power under that sky and showering the glittering snow in bright pink, orange, green and even electric blow. The fox bound through the window and vanished. It was a clear invitation.

On the other side it would be Lu that spotted the white creature bounding toward them. It had distracted her from watching Rose light the bundle of straw and sage; her actions not only bringing their cuffs to light outside of the cairn-guarded gates of the sepulchur and the pyre upon it with Ciello’s minuscule remains— but it had summoned the aurora above. She’d watched it tear through the sky as if it might sunder it irreparably. Unlike Whinnie and Gwenna, this was her first ritual.

“Time to give up tribute.” From Rose who looked somewhat detached. This particular sending away seemed different as if something was eating her alive. There was a certain hesitation to her actions and yet she did not stumble over any of the steps. She was indeed a Nepenthe, somewhere between and both a siren and a trueborn witch. When she stepped forward she nearly stumbled over three little bodies circling about her feet.

Three white foxes were weaving around her legs with speed and gusto.

“If y’ don’t get your little goddamn— come on....” She’d say; lifting a leg only to have one of the fluff’s paw at it so rapidly its little arms were a blur threatening to shred the nylon weave of her thick, padded coverall.

Whinnie and Gwenna smiled but didn’t chortle. They wouldn’d dare disrespect the energy. While watching the little bit of comedy they took their bowie knives from their belts and severed each a lock of hair and then pierced their palms. Lu swallowed hard while watching and eventually found the courage to follow suit. All three passed the cairn barrier and deposited their tributes onto the pyre.

If Meryl had come through she would see them none too far off from the window and the wisp-fire would easily guide her to the group of lady heathens.
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Re: Farewell by fire

Post by Røse on Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:34 am

Rose thought she heard a child’s voice.

How was that possible? She wanted to glance behind her, but her feet were still being circled by foxes and she did not have it in her to start kicking at them. Instead, the Sentinel awkwardly stumbled to the left and slightly away from the cairn corners and their power— immediately, they left her alone. There was no time for the reason they’d cut her loose to click as all the girls’ faces were turning to the position behind Rose where she had been standing and preparing to lead the ritual.

There was indeed a little girl.

“....Meryl?” But, it couldn’t possibly be her. The last time Rose had laid eyes on the little one she’d not been too much older or bigger than Odine. In fact, the two toddlers had been akin to partners in crime; constantly screaming at or rather with each other, toddling around the house and knocking things over and babbling while slamming dolls together and playing goddess-knows-what. The child she’d turned her eyes to looked somewhere around five or six— and it had most certainly not been that much time since Rose’s nightmare in the forest.

Just as she meant to say something else the pyre behind the cairn barrier burst into flames. Or rather, not just the pyre but every square inch inside of the cairn’s barrier erupted into a columb of flame; it’s shape caged into a perfect square that shot several stories into the air. The sudden burst of power caused Rose’s dousing cuff to glow white hot as if she had her own personal neutron star attached to her wrist.

As for the barrier it wasn’t simple decoration as was obvious by now but a true act of sorcery. It was one of the few skills to date Rose had learned from her natural power and she was sure her mother, Sparrow, was somewhere out there in the world able to do the same thing with power hundreds of times more potent. And for the sake of potency, Rose would need to rise and sustain the barrier before Ciello’s post mortem psionic rage managed to break down the simple psycho-kinetic inertial barrier; which used her Servitor as it’s catalyst and the conduits throughout the planet as an engine. Inexperience made things complicated as always.

And there was another problem; the psychic attack could not be completely stopped by the cairn barrier and some of it; horrible images flooded her mind. It was more backwash from Ciello tunneling through her brain. Under the rage was disgust, disillusionment, nihilism….loneliness. Rose could not describe the rest of the emotions— they were not human, not recognizable.

“God, what the hell is wrong wit’ you!” bellowed Rose who seemed unaware that she was also wailing in agony herself, along with parts of what the dead woman had sent out she was reacting strongly to the wash of what made Ciello who she was...and for a moment she thought she understood why she harbored such loathing for her child. Or did she? It was gone as soon as it had come. Meryl would be unharmed unless she saw fit to try and force her way past the stacked rocks and the Nepenthe’s power. The latter had tumbled back onto the deep snow and was, for lack of a better word, ugly crying. Rose also tore at her coverall and seemed to be trying to rip her clothes away.

“It’s hot, it’s fuckin’ hot-” would be all the discernible words the other panicking femmes could hear from Rose. Whinnie had taken it upon herself to run to Meryl and, if allowed, pick the girl up and shield her eyes from the flaming column and what Rose’s breakdown. Gwenna seemed frozen in place after approaching the writhing, twisting woman in the snow— she didnt understand why Rose insisted it was hot. She did was not on fire, steaming or anything of the like. In fact, she was shivering and soon sobbing while the pale blond sentry spread and hovered hands over her without the slightest idea how to help.

Lu took it upon herself to be dutiful and summon her own Servitor; a many angled sigil that burned violet inches above her palm where it floated and did not have “other sides” — the strange design looked the same and two dimensional from every angle. She was a descendant of the Maarid bloodline and a half Djinn species herself known as the “Teuredour”. Effectively, she was the only other one present capable of holding the barrier. It would continue to roar high into the sky until Ciello’s will to harm ran out, or, she became uninspired.

What a mess.

“Don’t look, kiddo. We’re gonna stand back ‘ere, okay?” From Whinnie-Sloane who, while backing away with Meryl if she’d been allowed to pick her up;  looked on in horror; completely confused as to how everything had so suddenly become a damned madhouse in the Taiga. As for the foxes? They were nowhere in sight, strangely enough. Had they fled due to the sudden violence?
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Re: Farewell by fire

Post by Røse on Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:21 pm

“Oh, fuck you…we’ll see about your goddamn fruit. I’m her sworn protector now,” from Rose who was finally calming down and made her weighty declaration. She could just barely hear Lu say “Christ…” as Ciello’s remains gave one final, horrible burst of white hot fire and then the heat died in a flash. Lu didn’t even have to be asked; she kept the servitor active and the barrier intact, moving around the outside of the cairn corner’s to pick up the hair which had been dropped by Whinnie-Sloane, Gwenna and Rose. After, the dark skinned girl stepped carefully into the barrier with a wary express and searched the ashes for even a fragment of bone. If there was nothing left, she’d have to make due and tangle the hair and drying blood into the ash before lighting the pyre again with nothing else but a hand gesture.

Lu could be heard softly chanting “I bind you Cien- ...Ciello Regalo, from harm toward us and harm to your heart” over and over again. Who knew if a simple entry level tethering would work— Lu, while being a true Jann just as Rose was didn't have half a natural bloodline belonging to a sorceress even if she was adept at a bit of the metaphysical.

“Watch ou-” As, meanwhile, Gwenna had finally ceased to panic and was trying to help Rose sit up only to be partially warned before the other sentinel heaved to her opposing side and vomited nothing much more than whiskey into the snow. In the background Whinnie-Sloane grimaced; trying to soothe Meryl with one of the songs of her people, the Nannahute tribe, where she originated. The entire group slowly coalesced around the circle again and Rose, shakily, got to her feet and even almost stumbled once.

“Hey, Baby Girl…” she’d say; wiping her red eyes and finally seeing Meryl up close. Rose was a mess with tangled hair now powdered with snow and the moisture in it freezing rapidly. To say she was a touch bedraggled was an understatement. “Y’ got big, didn’t ya? Keep it up and we’re gonna have you on a Helion with a cuff on y’ wrist in a year.” and she allowed herself to laugh a bit. Better than crying.

“Miss Mom knows how to throw a fuckin’ party even in death, I tell you what.” Trying to stifle her sniffling,she tightened her coverall and fastened velcro and zipped any seams she might have loosened in what felt somehow like a heat stroke. But it had come from inside of her body...no way to cool that down by losing a few layers. All the girls seemed nonplussed by Meryl’s skin tone. They’d seen something like it before anyhow and Rose herself had witnessed the effect on that infamous day. “Y’ can let her down, Whinnie.”

If she did, Rose would drop to a knee with her forearms loosely crossed over it; eyes still moist and waiting for the little one to approach at her own pace. If she did, she couldnt help but get a bit motherly with her; straightening her brown curls and wiping her Meryl’s with her palm and the pad of her thumb. It did occur to her how uncharacteristic it was for her to be more than professional with a child that wasn’t hers, but, there was now an undeniable connection with Meryl. Could have been trauma bonding...or something entirely different and metaphysical. Only time would tell.

“Meant what I said. I don’t know how y’ got here an’ I aint gonna ask. But the land knows you. An’ I protect the land.’
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Re: Farewell by fire

Post by Røse on Thu May 12, 2016 5:05 am

Whinnie-Sloan seemed unbothered by the child turning black and boasting those eyes. Being a Redpoint sentinel, or hell— just a cognitive native of Sanctum in general— meant one constantly saw all sorts of strange things and they all got filed away into the new ‘normal’. Thus, there would be no flinching or disruption of her song when her face was pawed by small, hot hands. She’d let Meryl down without a fight and watched her toddle over to Rose before gesturing for the other girls to leave the pyre behind and follow her back toward the gate.

“Yes, darlin’...a pony. You seen ‘em before...big pretty black ones?” from Rose who was still trying to recover before Meryl, sweet little thing that she was decided she was going to clean her face as a favor. The sentinel let it happened and even offered the young one a crooked, wan smile. “A fox, kiddo. Those are white foxes. Aren’t they cute?” even though they hadnt been all that adorable when they were tangling around Rose’s legs and trying to topple her.

“C’mon, up-up. Lets get back an’ you can have all the time with Odie an’ the Aminals you want once the sun’s up.” She’d gather Meryl onto her hip before standing again, admitting silently to herself that she found the child’s presence comforting even though the image she presented was likely protective and matronly as usual. The pair would follow several paces behind the rest of the crew.

“You have a bow? Is ‘at right? How’s your shootin’, mama? You stay over tonight I’ll take y’ out to the Redpointe pier and we’ll fire some off together. I ain’t as good with a bow as Khooey was, but I’m decent. An’ you ought to learn how to slap your own arrows together.”

The journey back to the house would involve more cute conference time with Meryl Zerephan. She really had somehow managed to become bonded with the girls and quickly at that. However, Rose wouldnt miss Lu consistently gazing back at them with obvious wariness in her eyes.

Lu had every reason to be suspicious and worried. She was a sharp one, she’d heard the voice in the ashes and she’d felt the power, the hatred...and the triumph.


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