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By any other name ...

William the Bloody

Valaryion Dragonborn
Character
The hypocrisy of the Mandragora was spreading. The cult of the patrons like an infection. They decried slavery, yet made their subjects submissive to them. It was very counter productive. But only if the people questioned it, which they didn't. Especially not in a planet where slavery ran in the blood of the populace, every aspect of their culture having remnants of the outlawed practice. Which may have been part of the reason he had taken up residence upon the planet, Ryloth.

No need to break spirits when the people were born broken.

Yet the Confederacy upheld a law forbidding slavery with capital punishment. The man allowed his amusement to flicker across his lips at the ways he circumvented the very letter of the law. Owning a person was dangerous if you didn't keep a very careful eye, yet owning loyalty was a different animal. Over could call loyalty a type of slavery, allegiance, faithfulness, obedience, adherence, homage, devotion. It was quite pleasing to note how closely loyalty and slavery walked.

The speeder crossed the plasma bridge into the city of Lessu, one of the capital cities of Ryloth. A squad of Knight Hunters surrounded him, two to the fore and two to the aft, each upon speeder bikes. In the passenger seat sat the mangy pup, Doggo. Easily navigating the streets he made his was to the blue district and came to a stop parallel with an older adobe style building.

Climbing from the vehicle he leaned against the fender and waited for only moments before a green hued twi'lek male exited through the door. Forearms were crossed with scars, and his gaze was piercing. His size nearly dwarfed the young man who watched silently. "Our agreement, m'lord." He held out the small box that William reached out slowly and collected. His eyes didn't move from the other man's.

"Are we even Theron?"

The twi'lek swallowed as his lekku began writhing in a continuation of his words. "I will never be able to repay my debt. If you ever need anything more, I will answer. M'lord." With a bow of his head he turned back to the door as two children ran and leaped into his arms. Together the reunited family re-entered the house. The cold smile danced in his lips as he climbed back into the speeder.

Who needed slavery when you had loyalty?

In the speeder he opened the box and plugged the datachip into his comlink downloading the files that Theron gave him pertaining to his pact, Lylek. As the files were saved off site upon a secure server specifically for this download, he pocketed the chip. Starting the speeder he drove to the center of town and parked at the Reserve. As he walked into the protected habitat he let a low whistle escaped his lips as he partook of the sights.
 

Valgærd

Well-Known Member
Writer
Meet me at the habitat in the centre of the city of Lessu.

William’s instruction was still fresh in my mind as I wandered the garden. I had been surprised when I first arrived here how beautiful a place it was. The crime lord did not strike me as the type to select a place for its aesthetic appeal. Perhaps it had some strategic significance I was not aware of. Perhaps it was simply between him and another job. Perhaps… no, he wouldn’t have had me meet him here because it was nice. I was not his companion to be wooed, I was… something else. I bit my lip, glancing down at my shoes as my hand went to the scars on my shoulder. The pain had subsided already, but the reminder was still there.

Lylek was displeased.

I drew in a sharp breath, shoving the thoughts out of my mind for the time being. I would wrestle with the spirit and his opinion of me some other time. The sound of the speeder approaching was my priority now.

Taking a few moments to dust down my cloak and clothes, I walked along the path over towards where I saw William climbing out of the speeder, entering the sheltered park. A low whistle emanated form his lips as he entered. Walking up to him, I stopped just in front of the man, bowing my head.

“William.” I greeted him quietly, ignoring the pounding of my heart in my chest and the pang of excitement at seeing him.

He would likely see that one of my sleeves was now bare. Whether he recognised Lylek’s mark or not I didn’t know. Refusing the urge to touch the scars, I bit my lip. Keeping my head bowed was not easy. I wanted to look up into his eyes, to see where I stood, and definitely not because of the way they looked back at me.

“Did everything go smoothly?” I asked.


[member="William the Bloody"]
 

Er'in Tenel

W H I C H - W I T C H
Character
Er'in looked up from the Mirr, her mind awash with images and feelings.

Interesting.

"K7?" Er'in did not keep slaves, even her droids had never been memory wiped - which was leading to memorable incidents of several leaving, but K7 - her newest majordomo - seemed to enjoy working with her. She suspected he had a faulty logic chip.

"Yes ma'am?"

"Fetch my armour and my cloak, I have business to attend to."

She had no idea what was happening in that park, only that it was important, and that she needed to know. It was strange, she'd decried the Knights Obsidian when she first heard about them, but now as she stepped into the armour and pulled the weave of her cloak about her, shrouding her from the Force and from sight it felt... strangely right.

"K7?"

"Yes ma'am?"

"Don't wait up." She snapped the visor down, becoming the faceless took of justice that a Knight was supposed to be... pity she didn't believe in justice in quite the same way as everyone else, but the job had its perks. And she very badly wanted to know why the dark side thought something was going down in an uninteresting little park.

[member="William the Bloody"] [member="Umai"]
 

William the Bloody

Valaryion Dragonborn
Character
It was the last piece of the puzzle he had needed. He had already acquired the other files and as he walked the gardens of the reserve he waited patiently for the program to run. Jart, Doashim, and finally Lylek. The Pacts named after the patrons of the Mandragora. Each had a key hidden, keys he had sought. Ciphers that he needed. Which he had obtained. Loyalty earned, bought, or manipulated. And each kind gave him the necessary leverage to collect what he had desired. Love, life, and memory .... These were the currency of the day. These were the bonds of slavery accepted with nary a word.

Pausing near a rose bush he glanced at the petals of one, lost in memory. The calling of the night as the Mandragora gathered. Each had come forward and touched the grimoire upon the altar. Compulsion. He was no different. He had moved to the fore and reached out, but he stayed his hand. He had felt the call, the desire to accept. Almost a need in his bones. He recognized the symptoms of slavery. And he had clenched his fist in denial. Though he had moved away, turning from the offer, a single word in an ancient voice had brushed his spirit.


Jart
He had resisted. And in doing so, he had gained a different perspective of the Witches of Ryloth. One that rivaled his own plans of becoming the top of the food chain upon the planet. And as with any rival, he began to look for the patrons strengths and weaknesses. And what he found was interesting and disturbing.

Blinking back to the present he turned at the presence that had tickled the back of his mind. [member="Umai"], his little slave. Though the word had lost some of it's meaning with recent events, the flavor of his witch was still pleasant upon his tongue. Her adherence to their established roles was made known with her obedient bow of greeting. Yet no expression flickered upon his face, even when she addressed him by his first name.

The sleeve of her shirt was torn, a fresh design scouring her flesh. If she had glanced up at him in the moment she would have seen neither flicker or recognition nor worry. His visage was a cold mask devoid of emotion. Yet her eyes remained downcast. Nodding slightly he began walking, his voice low which would mean she would either fall behind and miss hearing his words, or speed up close to his heels to listen. It was her choice and he would not repeat himself.

"Rarely do things go smoothly. However, everything goes according to my will. And how was your outing my pet?"

Eyes empty of life glanced to where she was. His feet carried them to a little drawbridge that led over the pond at the center of the garden to a small islet at the middle of the water. A single tree swayed in the light breeze, gnarled and ancient. Throughout the garden the plant life was vivid with life, but here, the grass turned to dust beneath feet and the tree seemed sickly. Glancing around his eyes scanned for any other visitors before turning back to Umai.

[member="Erin Tenel"]
 

Valgærd

Well-Known Member
Writer
I tried in vain to bury the guilt I felt as I stood before William… my Master.

Not because of how he’d made me his pet, not even because of how neutral his voice was, how little regard he seemed to have from me. No, it was the words of [member="Asher Mossa"] that caused my cheeks to burn and make me bite my lip. He’d said I didn’t have to go back. Or… if I did… I didn’t have to tell my Master the truth. I didn’t have to let him own me.

William began walking, his pace swift and his steps faltering for no one. I hurried to walk with him, keeping my steps in time with him, staying at his side. His words pulled me from my thoughts. His question drawing a pang of anticipation from my gut. It was time to decide: obey my Master… or obey Lylek.

At the memory, my free hand moved to touch the still-healing scars on my arm.

“I met a Mandragora… Asher.” I began, “he brought me to meet the spirit himself. Lylek… does not approve of my being your pet.”

I gritted my teeth, still wrestling with the prospect myself. But… the cloak was still on my shoulders, mother’s garment laying around me as a constant reminder of why I was here. It had nothing to do with the sense of purpose I’d begun to notice, nothing at all…

We came to a stop by the centre of the garden. Out in the water on a tiny mound of land stood a single tree. It caught my eye, standing alone as the breeze rolled through it. No doubt that was what Lylek had expected of me, to stand on my own, to break free from William’s service. Setting aside the question as to whether I even could… I couldn’t help but think that the tree looked… lonely.


[member="William the Bloody"] | [member="Erin Tenel"]
 

William the Bloody

Valaryion Dragonborn
Character
Slowly he moved around the tree. It was gnarled, ancient, empty of an innate touch of nature. He felt a certain affinity to the aberration. Eyes turned to [member="Umai"] who traced her new scars with her fingers, almost seemingly without thought. She had touched the Mandragora, had bonded with a patron. And in doing so had chosen to serve two masters. He knew the old saying, you can't serve two masters. It was either one or the other. He could force her, bend her, break her, take from her that which gave her independence. It would be easy, as he had done it before to others. Yet he stayed his hand.

His mind swept out, the intimate knowledge of his pet granting him a modicum of insight into her. Memories flashed upon her subconscious. A man, a name. Asher. Suddenly he knew why she had not returned in the night. The restlessness that had kept him watching from the balcony of the Spire, awaiting the return of his slave for his own amusement had been soiled. Rage flickered through his form at the thought.

Her words of Lylek's disapproval made him search deeper. And what he found had him withdrawing. She had not only been marked by the Patron, but had been bonded to this man. Cold eyes devoid of life turned to her as he placed his hands on the trunk of the tree. She wished for her freedom, was willing to hide her new truth from him. His voice came out in a cruel rasp.

"You have your trinkets. You wish to leave, then do so. I need no slave that wishes to break trust with me. You have my permission to go, for that is your desire."

Yes, he had taken something from her, yet in the moment he had offered something of himself, perhaps the last vestige or goodness that had resided within. And the gift of repayment had become a decaying scent in his nostrils. The lesson once driven into him, was willfully ignored. And this was the price. Betrayal. It was what he had deserved. Turning his back on the woman he knelt and surveyed the ground where the roots stood prominent. Lightly he ran his fingers through the soft soil, etching the mark of each Pact upon the earth. He paused a moment as he glanced at her mark of Lylek, before finishing the third symbol equally spaced upon the ground.

[member="Erin Tenel"]
 

Valgærd

Well-Known Member
Writer
I watched as William moved towards the tree.

Of course, this was William the Bloody. He hadn’t simply walked us here to admire the scenery. There was… something else. Something significant. Much as I would have pondered and studied him for his reason for coming here, I instead felt him reaching out, searching my mind. At first, I let out a gasp. I might have known it wasn’t worth keeping anything from him. I let my breath out in a low sigh, opening my mind to him, so he could see all he wished.

He was cold when he withdrew, leaving me with an uncomfortable pang in my gut. I’d disappointed him. Why did I care? Why did it sting that I had apparently displeased him? I swallowed, finding myself unable to meet his eyes as he placed his hands on the trunk of the tree and spoke. His words stung, flung viciously at me like cold sleet.

At first, I didn’t answer, instead biting my lip and squeezing my eyes shut for a moment as he turned his back on me and knelt by the tree, drawing patterns in the soil. I recognised the mark of Lylek, the last one he drew, before stepping up behind him and reaching to place my hand gently upon his back.

“If my ‘trinkets’ were all I was after, Sihse, I would have stolen away into the night the first chance I got.”

I let my hand fall from his back, before taking a knee beside him, careful not to disturb the markings in the dirt as I spoke again, keeping my tone quiet, but rumbling with the growl of a woman scorned,

“Even besides the answers you have, even without… what you took, what I took… I gave you my word. Do you think so little of women that you think our word means nothing? Or is it just witches you don’t trust?”

My hands rested on my thighs, balling into fists as my cloak fell about my shoulders.

“If you’re angry with me, Sihse, then do what you need to do. Strike me, yell at me, ignore me, whatever; I don't care. But don’t you dare cast my word aside so easily. I'm going nowhere.


[member="William the Bloody"] | [member="Erin Tenel"]
 

Er'in Tenel

W H I C H - W I T C H
Character
Late to the party is late to the party.

But it's still at the party, Er'in reflected. Even if fashionably late isn't exactly a thing in intelligence. Or the Force.

The night provided ample cover, such as she needed it - although in truth she simply stood in the eaves of a tree, relying on her cloak to keep her from detection. A faceless figure in a specialised variant of the Knights Obsidian armour - handmade in her workshop. Hapan nightblindness was compensated for by electronics and with the Force - rendering the world a wash of greys and shimmering movement, almost like she imagined echolocation might look like.

For a first test, there was no way she was willing to push herself closer - or her senses closer, so she made do with body language, lip reading (a skill learned early in the courts of Hapes) and the words that her enhanced hearing could pick up.

Curiouser and curioser. The temptation to unveil and simply walk over was, for a moment, almost overwhelming. The spark of anger at the clear word 'slave' was dangerous - let her emotions run free and this cloak would be as useful as a screen door on an airlock if either were Force Sensitive, which the woman clearly was.

She remembered the man now - from her vision - had it been a vision? She... didn't know. Her teacher spoke of the flow. But she didn't understand what the alien had been trying to communciate. But one way or another, she had witnessed the Nightmothers ascension. He - like her - had been the only one not to swear themselves into slavery to the spirits.

And slavery it was. She was free.

[member="Umai"] [member="William the Bloody"]
 

William the Bloody

Valaryion Dragonborn
Character
As he finished his marks upon the ground he slowly stood dusting the loose dirt from his hands as he listened to [member="Umai"]'s words. No flicker of expression crossed his face. In fact it seemed as though he had not heard a word she had said, so little reaction or attention even given to her. Continuing his paused circling of the tree he deftly maneuvered around where she knelt, as if she was a mere protruding aspect of the garden to be circumvented.

Eyes narrowed as he looked from the tree into the distance of the gardens, in an attempt to ascertain some precise point he was loathe to reveal to his audience just yet. Once more he circled slowly, glancing into the heavens several times before stopping with a finality that spoke of his certainty that he had found whatever it was he was looking for. Eyes traveled over the gnarled tree like a lover's caress as he finally spoke to his pet.

"I never so carelessly allow what is mine to flee. So in your attempt you would have failed. I do nothing without knowing the outcome."

His eyes turned to hers, the pixelating flicker of his pupil a familiar oddity to the witch now. As was the cold expression and cruel lips.

"Perhaps is neither women, nor witch, who's word I cast aside as worthless."

The slight lift of the corner of his mouth revealed the thrust of his verbage squarely back upon her. Turning his attention once more to the tree he ran a hand across the trunk lightly, as if sensing something that was unseen. While his right was upon the tree, his left slowly curled into a fist near his own thigh.

Slowly Umai would feel a slight pressure around her wrists, her ankles, her throat. A powerful grip that slowly tightened becoming noticeable in it's unshakable strength. Yet it didn't grow enough to choke or bruise her, not yet. He contemplated leaving marks upon her body for his pet to remember just who she spoke to, but he had marked her well enough already. The memory of the blood from her neck upon his tongue and the rent of her flesh, enough of a reminder to them both, that he had already made her his.

His fist loosened once more, the telekinetic bonds slipping into non-existence. His eyes flicked to hers once more.

"By your own admittance, you are going no where. So why would I find it necessary to enforce my will, when you are already willingly in my service? And if I felt you had tried to withhold the identity of Asher Mossa, then you would have seen just what it means when I say enforce my will."

Fully turned back to the tree he wondered mildly if his pet would realize that he had called the Mandragora male by his full name. As he had stated, he rarely unanticipated events. And having eyes everywhere that answered to him have him more power by the knowledge he attained from them. Slavery was vile, bit loyalty was divine. And he had the young witch's loyalty.

The Knight Hunters circled the small isle while the Doggo curled up on the bridge.

Both hands pressed against the tree and he felt the faint echo within that answered his questing mind. The symbols around the tree began to glow, power flickering from the center of the tree and to the earth the marks were etched in. Slowly a tempo of power radiated outward as something began to build, an ancient expression that would take several minutes to peak.

Easing backwards he watched the slow growing light.

[member="Erin Tenel"]
 

Valgærd

Well-Known Member
Writer
I could feel my heart in my throat.

William said nothing, his face remained blank, his attention on the tree, on his work. He was ignoring me. My blood pounded in my ears, my hands balling into fists on my thighs as I waited. I gritted my teeth. Why? Why so frustratingly quiet? Why let me stew?

I knew, of course. This was my punishment, for not returning as I should have last night. Attention, in any form, would be something I could latch onto, focus on, perhaps even use to gain insight into him. We both knew this. We were the same in that regard, our battle of wits had proved as much. No, to punish some like William or I, the most effective method was to simply ignore; to shut down, to give precisely nothing. I grimaced, hating how effective it was.

Then, he spoke.

My stomach dropped into my shoes, my heart stopping its wild beating for a single moment. Of course, I should have known. My stay with the mandragora, however brief, had dulled my mind somewhat, lulled me to how sharp the man’s wit truly was. He knew I wouldn’t have left when he gave me the offer. He knew I’d return, even if it had been late. He knew everything that I would do.

I chanced raising my head, meeting his eyes when he turned to look at me. Even though I had seen that predatory flicker before, it still gave me chills. Suppressing a shiver, I listened as he spoke. His words stung, causing me to bite my lip and drop my gaze, not before, however, I saw the subtlest hint of a smirk.

However, I couldn’t focus on his scathing reply as suddenly, where I kneeled, I began to feel a pressure, a tightness, around my wrists, my ankles, and my throat. It was subtle at first but growing and becoming unmistakable in its threat. I remained still, fighting the urge to reach for my throat and gasp. I swallowed, feeling my heart racing in my chest.

His point made, he then released his telekinetic grip on me. A sigh of relief uncoiled from my chest, and I avoided his gaze as he spoke again.

Asher Mossa.

I hadn’t told him the man’s last name. My eyes widened as the full extent of his reach became apparent. I turned my gaze up to his, awestruck eyes on his form.

“You… knew?”

I watched as William began to perform his ritual, the world responding to him as some tempo of power began to steadily build and radiate from this old, gnarled tree. He eased himself back, watching as I did as a light began to grow and spread. For a few moments, I said nothing, merely watching. Finally, the curiosity got the better of me.

“What are you doing?”


[member="William the Bloody"] | [member="Erin Tenel"]
 

Er'in Tenel

W H I C H - W I T C H
Character
Er'in watched with a combination of confusion and fascination as the two talked. Her jaw growing tight as [member="Umai"] dropped her gaze.

Why was the woman not angry? Everything was playing out as it should - as it had - but she saw no rage there at all.

She sensed more than saw the telekinesis, raising a hand to her own throat in sympathetic reflex, almost surprised to feel flexweave there rather than bare skin. Blood pounded in her ears like thunder.

You will learn fear. You will inherit my mantle.

Metus' words brought a tremble to her legs, but it was the first rush of adrenalin. She swallowed the coppery, hot taste of rage and bit her lip hard enough to draw blood.

Control Er'in, control. She's not you. He is not Metus. You gain nothing from rushing in.

Still... she remembered practically throwing herself at Metus, she'd been desperate and he'd offered her everything, the fact he'd turned her down. The... method of her apprenticeship. She wondered if any Sith liked their masters? But these two were not Sith, witches certainly - but not Sith Sorcerors. The man knew much of the Art, without being pacted. That alone was worth her time and her attention.

Now if only she could avoid getting caught up in the show. And... reflecting too much on why she might get caught up.

She bit harder, swallowing back the blood from her lip and using the pain to focus her attention on the working the [member="William the Bloody"] was performing, because like the woman, she was quite curious. Professionally speaking.

[member="Umai"] | [member="William the Bloody"]
 

William the Bloody

Valaryion Dragonborn
Character
He heard her questions and chose not to respond. Let her ponder his power, uncertain just how far his reach extended. Merely in the camp, or perhaps through tent walls to a hidden interior of what transpired. He allowed his jaw to clench and his jaw to bulge to assist the ideal of what he may or may not know. But for now he watched the tree.

The light flickered upon hidden seams, growling with a hidden power that creaked the very trunk. Impatient at the slow roll of the build up within, William once more pressed his hands to the tree trunk, his hands hissing as flesh seared onto heat. A snarl etched on his face at the pain, though he was not one to be cowed by power, especially fire. The blood in his veins may pump cold, but there was flame within him, flames of his ancestors. A low growl emanating from his his pupils elogonated once more as he drew the force to himself.

Feeding the power summoned, fire flickered from his hands and engulfed the tree and his form. The light grew exponentially as the Nexus of energy circled round about, the marks etched into the earth glowing, a beacon seemingly echoing from the source alerting those of the Mandragora who listened to the call of the patrons of something occuring.

The power created a loop, feeding and empowering William simultaneously. Something dark yet light was trying to escape. With his head thrown back, a roar escaped from his mouth before everything went dark, the power seemingly gone. Disconnected from the fkow he fell back landing several feet away.but even as he sat up he watched as the tree began shaking as if it was about to implode upon itself.

Quickly he sprang to his feet and held a hand out to [member="Umai"] without glancing at her.

"My pet, I believe we should retreat for a moment."

It wasn't a request. They would fall back to the center of the bridge while the tree grew in power.

[member="Erin Tenel"]
 

Valgærd

Well-Known Member
Writer
William left my questions unanswered.

A shiver raced down my spine. Ignoring it, I bit back a sigh and watched as he continued to deny me any attention and focus all his effort on the tree. It didn’t take long to see why he was focusing on it so much. Soon, shafts of light began to flicker and erupt from the bark, illuminating some hidden markings of some kind.

I watched in awe, but apparently this spectacle did not impress the UnderLord. He placed his hands on the trunk, immediately his fingers curled a little as steam erupted with a hiss and his skin apparently burned. I saw the grimace twisted onto his face, clearly whatever he was doing was causing him some discomfort. At first I couldn't help but let the tiniest hint of a smile begin to tug at the corners of my mouth, a mote of satisfaction bubbling up in my chest. After what he'd done, there was something about watching that smirk wiped from his face.

However, it didn't last long.

Whatever he was doing, it was affecting the tree. He growled as the energy continued to build. When the flames erupted, engulfing him, I let slip an involuntary yelp, wincing and hurriedly jumping to my feet. I hastily dusted down my cloak, taking one timid step back as whatever was happening continued to grow and brew. My muscles tensed as I began to sense the rising power. It was big, it was growing, it was hungry.

"What are you--?"

I asked again, cut off as suddenly William threw his head back and roared. It was more than just a cry of pain, but seemingly an explosion of the raw power he had summoned and was now coursing through him. I raised my hands defensively at the sound, magic tingling and swirling through my fingertips, ready to cast it defensively. William was thrown back, the tree shaking and trembling as if it had tossed him off like an unwelcome insect.

He sprang to his feet as I turned to glance at him, nodding at his words.

Ducking low, I dashed back towards the centre of the bridge, crouching by the railing, watching the tree with mixed fear and awe as whatever William had done began to take hold.

[member="William the Bloody"] | [member="Erin Tenel"]
 

William the Bloody

Valaryion Dragonborn
Character
On the bridge they stood as light illuminated the grove, the tree shining near as bright as the noon day sun. Squinting at the ferocity of the tree's splendor he felt the echo in the force grow in power into what seemed akin to a scream. Yet whatever else the tree was, it was still a tree. The power that engulfed the small island had reached a critical point and with a flash of light and the sound of a sonic boom, it exploded.

As he created a barrier between his pretty and himself from the fury of the explosion something curious occurred. The flying shards slowed and paused in the air, embers of flame that had been birthed in the fiery catalyst become frozen in time. From the wellspring of chaos a presence flared and a deep, rolling voice flowed across the gardens, afflicting all within.


From slumber I wake,
From darkness I rise,
My chains you shall break,
I offer power to the wise.

The path grows cold,
Fallen patrons within,
Death you will hold,
A game you must win.
The words seemed to reverberate within the guests. Just as the final line finished it's echoing word, time began to reverse. The flames and embers slowly retreated back into the tree as it was reformed. Yet not as it once was. A transformation occurred as the center of the trunk was left open, a hole standing at the core. As the power vanished and night once more fell upon the garden, William looked over to [member="Umai"] words unspoken from his lips.

Turning to the island he made his way across the bridge once more and approached the tree. Once within the shadows of it's branches he paused and looked into the hole that now existed. The top of a stair could just be made out in the darkness. Raising his left hand he fueled the force through his body and fire leapt to life in his palm as he allowed a grimace to cross his face. He disliked open revelation of his own power, yet this instance he felt the need outweighed his desire for anonymity.

Moving to the stairs he looked down, a moist, fetid breeze rising from the depths like an exhale from a corpse. Something was down there and waiting. And he was going to find out if it was what he had been seeking. William began descending by the light of his flames.

[member="Erin Tenel"]
 

Valgærd

Well-Known Member
Writer
The tree exploded.

I let out a shriek as William created a barrier to protect the two of us from the blast. I reflexively turned inwards, tucking myself close to his chest. It was so fast that I hadn’t even noticed that’s what I’d done at first. But as I tucked up against his chest, the fiery destruction stopped. Turning my head out from William, I watched in awe as the flying debris stopped mid-flight, flames trapped mid-flicker, everything hanging in eerie silence for a moment.

As everything hung in eerie stillness, the air rumbled with a deep voice that enveloped everything around it. Instinctively, as it spoke, I pulled away from William and grabbed the first thing within reach; mother’s tome. Flicking open to a blank page (eerily, there had always seemed to be one whenever I needed, no matter how many I used), and scribbled down the verses as they were spoken.

Just as I finished scribbling the last word, I glanced up to see that the explosion had begun to reverse itself. With a gasp, I watched in awe as the explosion undid itself, flames dying down and debris returning the structure from which it came. In a moment it was over, and William glanced over to me. I returned his gaze, holding it for a moment before he turned towards the island.

I followed him over the bridge, remaining a step or two behind the man. The tree looked much as it had before, although as I came up behind William I saw that there was now a hole descending into darkness. He raised a hand with a grimace, a fire springing to life on his palm. I flinched, glancing at it briefly before noting the expression on his face. Much of William’s power was a mystery to me, and it seemed that he’d wanted to keep it that way.

As he began to descend, I waited just a moment before following after him. As I did, I pulled the hood of my cloak up and activated it through the force. If he’d been sensing me, my signature would suddenly disappear, so I reached out a hand to lightly caress his back as he walked ahead of me, just to let him know I was behind him, no matter what lay ahead.


[member="William the Bloody"] | [member="Erin Tenel"]
 

William the Bloody

Valaryion Dragonborn
Character
The first step caused a chill to run along his spine. There was a presence that greeted them as they broke the threshold. His jaw clenched slightly. He would not be cowed nor bent, he was no one's playtoy. As they moved through the stairs, each step bringing them deeper into the oily darkness. The atmosphere grew thicker the deeper into the bowels they travelled. Almost light a great weight began to weigh upon his chest.

A snarl began to twist his lips at the audacity of anything that would try to exert influence over him. Before he acted on his rage he felt the soft touch from [member="Umai"] upon his back. The light caress caused him to pause on the next step as her presence filled him with clarity that the fog had clouded his memory. While her presence was not able to be sensed nor even the miniscule sound of her steps , William knew she was there.

His head turned as his eyes closed. Breathing in through his nose he caught the subtle scent of citrus, a peaceful smile touching the corners of his lips. Umai was with him. The expression was wiped from his countenance as his eyes opened and he continued down the stairs, his mind calmed once again.

It was both amusing and disturbing. The fact that he would destroy any that had the audacity to try to affect, control, or influence his free will was a known truth. Yet this woman had a subtle authority that affected him. And oddly enough he didn't rebel at the thought. Perhaps it was do to their union, of taking and giving. Perhaps he still offered her this as an allowance for his actions. It was something he would contemplate later.

After nearly ten minutes of descent the stairway finally ended in a long stone hallway. His breath frosting in the air. From the illumination of the flames in his hand the obstacle blocking their passage. Chains criss crossed the hall, over a dozen halting their journey as they neared the temperature dropped even more, the moist air crystalizing on the walls and floor.

"The path grows cold, like the words spoken. Is this a warning of what's to come, my pet?"

Letting the flames in his hand to grow, the heat combated the frigid air. Yet as the display of the Force strengthened runes began to appear upon the chains, glowing in the presence of the Force. Turning his head once more he looked over to the empty space next to him where he smelled Umai.

"Chains to break? Do you recognize the inscriptions?"

A sly smile was allowed to grace his face as he looked back to the chains. He did not reveal if he knew what it meant. However his words were a challenge to see if Umai had the necessary knowledge to unlock the meaning of the inscription and the chains. So he waited with the slight smirk upon his face.
 
Like Lightning
Character
Mandragora. A religion based upon the worship of beings that existed in a different realm. While I myself did not truely believe in them, as I myself was one such being. Born in a different world, different realm, and brought to this to lead my people, there was one reason why I was here. To learn. Learning was a process which took a very long time to accomplish. One that required a dedication to the cause. While I did have the symbol of the Doashim upon my shoulder, I also had the brand of the Moross Crusade upon my body. While hidden from eyes of many, the symbol was hidden for the purpose of keeping my identity in tact. Very few knew of my real purpose.

To fight for my people, I needed to learn, to become stronger. Setting out to do so, I made a few friends along the way. [member="Srina Talon"] who happened to be one of the few due to her higher stature. While we rarely ever spoke or even worked together due to our different schedules and ability to work as one, she was still someone I could trust. She was different from the rest of the people here. The same went for the young child who I had taken as my apprentice.

Umai.

Oh my dear child. Someone who I had entrusted much with. Walking upon Ryloth, I only decided that today would be the one day where I could go out into the city. Run my errands and in general, not have to worry about work, studies, or otherwise watching over the woman who I had shared a bond with. I knew of some of her travels. Mostly due to the symbol she was attempting to get. I knew she was going to aquire one of the marks, I wasn't sure which one though.

Nodding my head to the man who held out towards me a rather fine looking set of boots, I handed over some credits and thought about wearing them. Considering the boots I wore now were worn down through the soles and were essentially leather socks, I changed into them as soon as I got close to one of the public trashcans. Throwing away my older ones. However, as I did so, I could feel something... strange.

The force welled up a bit of a distance from me. It felt like the time I escaped the Netherworld. While you could not use the force, the tears in space were filled to the brim with it. I could feel the same power here. Massive amount of build up. My eyes widened when I realized that it continued to do so. This was wrong. It would not stop. Shoving the creditchip into my pocket, I turned around the corner and began to run. Following this well within the force, It suddenly left as soon as it started.

Yet, I could feel the waves of the force. Rippling and leaving from an epicenter. I had to move faster. As a trained by Neth, and Aatrox, I had learned one of the rarest abilities to those who mastered the art of Telekiesis. Flight.

Running as quick as I could, I pushed off the ground and then lashing out with my entire body, it zoomed past others in such a speed, that the wind tore at my clothing. Finding a barren signature within the force, I closed the distance to find a crater within the ground. Blackened, and smoking from an explosion of some kind, It only seemed different... wasn't a tree here before? I was sure that... there was a tree here before. Shaking my head. I let my feet touch the ground again and slowly peered into the darkness of the opening.

It was deep and dark. I hated this feeling. It reminded me too much of Manpha and the Sith Generator. Shaking my head, I drew my sword from it's sheath, and took a step into the darkness.

[member="William the Bloody"], [member="Erin Tenel"], [member="Umai"],
 

Valgærd

Well-Known Member
Writer
It was cold.

Not just cold physically, but I could feel some kind of foul energy in the air. My entire body was on edge, the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. This place was wrong, it was dark. For a moment I considered the warning from [member="Ember Farseer"] back on Dathomir. Don’t give in to the dark side. I grimaced as I followed William down into the depths of the hole. Give in? No way, but there was no saying whether we’d be overwhelmed down here.

This bizarre staircase seemed to go one for ages. I guessed it must have been almost nine or 10 minutes we walked further and further down into the depths of the hole. I heard William subtly inhale as he walked, the man seeming to relax after a moment, at least a little. Soon we came to some stone hallway. I wasn’t sure what I had expected, but I don’t think a manmade structure was it. We were so far underground now, I was grateful for the flame in his hand. To be plunged into complete darkness now would be more than horrific; particularly with the chains crisscrossing the path ahead of us.

A quick glance around revealed that we seemed to be alone, so I lifted my hands and lowered the hood of my cloak, deactivating it through the force.

I glanced up to William as he spoke, nodding thoughtfully,

“At the very least, I wouldn’t disregard it.” I replied.

To my own surprise, I could myself standing closer to him as he increased the size of the flames upon his palm. I told myself it was just the warmth and light from the fire that caused me to move towards him, and definitely not being called his pet. He spoke again, smiling slyly as he asked if I recognised the inscription.

I pursed my lips, another test, perhaps. I glanced from William to the chains, before taking a step towards them and reaching out to touch the likely ancient metal. After a moment, I reached down within my cloak and pulled out mother’s tome, flipping to the page where I’d written down the strange riddle.

“Holding death… must win a game… power to the wise…” I mumbled, “Would wisdom be not breaking these chains? Unless… there are other chains further in, perhaps not physical ones.”

I turned my attention to the air around us, my own breath coming out in misty puffs like the Underlord’s did,

“Are we sure we want to free whatever is down here?”



[member="Kalee Bladesworn"] | [member="William the Bloody"]
 
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