This post has the following content warnings:
warden catherine foundling becomes a planeswalker
Permalink

She's exploring one of Neshamah's old labs that the drow discovered near Keter. More than once she'd had to put down a Named who rightly thought the keys to godhood could be found in Keter's vaults, but who couldn't or wouldn't control what they unleashed. Now when she can take the time away from Cardinal she does for this. The centerpiece is a monolith of black stone, thrumming with High Arcana, and all she can See of it is an unending distance, a vast black void impossible to cross.

She spares a glare at the rock for being so inconsiderately enigmatic, then starts to look through the rest of the room. She'll probably have to drag Zeze all the way out here to deal with it, and won't that be a fun task. Given how much the Dead King had loved to litter everywhere he ruled with vicious traps, she's not quite caught by surprise when sorcery blooms behind her. A shell of Night forms around her with a thought, but it wasn't a direct attack. A sudden wind howls and she is thrown towards the stele a split-second too fast to anchor herself with tendrils of Night. The moment she touches it, she is somewhere else.

Total: 22
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

She is in a black void surrounded by stars, or at least that's how her eyes choose to parse an impossible space; there is no ground or air or other firmament of any sort; perhaps stranger still, there is no story here - it is not, to her Sight, an place of inescapable death or dramatic last-second escape; there is not even a story here of her taking another breath or continuing to exist in any way into the coming moments, in blatant contradiction with the fact that she has not ceased to exist. The saliva is boiling on her tongue. Night did not come with her. 

Permalink

What the bloody fucking Hells. What kind of Godsforsaken dimension did Neshamah craft or find that doesn't even have stories. She wastes a second reaching out for the Crows to no response. She clamps her mouth shut and holds her breath and tells her saliva to stay where it is and reaches out with her Name senses, trying to find a boundary or a gate or anything that is not void.

Permalink

Under her scrutiny her own soul is thrown into sharp relief with the fundamental non-existence of the space she has found herself in; she can discern aspects of her own metaphysiology which were entirely opaque to her under conditions of a world which contained things that would drown it out, like air, or narrative, or the abstract potential to sustain life. Beneath the mantle of her Name, her soul is alive with threads of power in five dizzying synaesthetic colours that have started to thrash and spin wild into the void. 

After another moment, her senses cast outwards start to reveal the nature of the distant stars to her; each is, in some way, a representation of a place, each absurdly far and absurdly strange. A world full of crystals and lightning in place of grass and trees; a sea of mercury as far as the eye can see; a crumbling tower large enough to fit all of Cardinal within a single floor, it's foundation choked with vines that glow with unearthly fire, and then, something almost familiar - a small rural village where a story is about to begin.

She is starting to feel faint, and something is terribly wrong with her lungs beyond just the lack of air. 

Permalink

Hopefully her soul is fine; there's not really time to look at it closely. Crystals, lightning, and mercury are rather unwelcoming, especially without Night. The tower looks like Gigantes or even Titan work, which would be intriguing if it wasn't so ominous. The village is probably a trap but at least with a story she'd have something to work with. She coughs involuntarily and blood wets her lips. She reaches out towards the village star and tries to bridge the distance, wrapping her self and soul in her Name and pushing it through the void. If she's lucky she can figure out how this place works before it kills her. 

Permalink

As she wills it, her Name and soul reach out into the void and propel her forward; the five-fold energies in her soul rise with her will in this. 

Permalink

What happens next is not so much a transition as an inversion; the impression becomes reality and the void becomes the impression, lurking somewhere in what seems to have settled down as an entirely new sense that's here to stay. 

She is in a fallow field near a small village. There is air and sunlight and other things essential for human life. There are also several sheep, watching proceedings with concern. No humans are in the immediate vicinity. 

Permalink

She gasps in a breath of air and spits out some blood and draws her sword and stares down one of the sheep. Her leg hurts but she stays ready for something to jump her. Without Night, she's swiveling back and forth to try and watch everything with one eye.

Permalink

Nobody is going to leap out and attack her here, for now. That's not the story, here. 

She seems to have strained her soul, somehow. It is aching in an entirely new sort of way, more like the pains of injuring yourself by working out too intensely than her previous pains of intrusive spiritual field surgery. 

Permalink

Always so much fun to discover an entirely new source of pain. She's forging new frontiers every day. 

Now that she's here and not immediately fighting for her life, what can she See of the birth of this story? Also a high priority, if she follows her connection to the Sisters, what does she feel?

Permalink

The stories most dominant around here are rather odd ones; up in the hills rings out a story about a shepard, the fine sort of shepard who never loses a lamb, who can keep working tirelessly through wind and rain and who is a perfectly pious soul no matter how many church services they end up missing because sheep don't conform to a liturgical calender. In almost the other direction, where rising smoke indicates the presence of houses, there is a story spinning up about how this collection of teenage girls is particularly cool and pretty and lucky in love, so life ought to go well for them, right? There are other stories sunk deeper into the fabric of this place, including the potential she sensed (itself located in the village somewhere), but those are the ones the fabric of the narrative is currently choosing to emphasise. 

Her connection to the crow-goddesses is dormant. Not severed, but it just trails off into infinity. Or possibly connects to nothing. Either way, she's not getting a response.

Permalink

That's bullshit. She doesn't have anything against shepherds, but they don't tend to carve their lives into Creation. And the girls - she's seen a pair of Names before, but never such a group. 

Her leg twinges, because her old ache doesn't want to let the new ones have all the fun. Is there a tree around here she can cut a walking stick from?

Permalink

While she is a Name and therefore it would be incorrect to say that the multiverse does not care a whit for her opinions on how it ought to function, her understanding of the current situation as bullshit does nothing to change it. Neither story is quite at the level of a proper Name, at least. Closer to that of a weakish claimant, so at least in terms of narrative weight she's the heftiest thing for miles around by a long shot. 

There is a hedge nearby, maybe a hundred metres away, mostly consisting of blackthorn too dense for sheep to have a go at it, and with a row of pollarded trees growing out of it, the sort present in every small town in Callow. Plenty of walking stick material if she's willing to brave a few thorns. 

Permalink

In that case, Cat will head towards the village with a few scratches and a new staff. She still has no idea what happened in the lab, but she's not going to figure it out by standing in this field. She'll be able to read more from that potential when she's closer and has more context. 

Permalink

It takes a little time to find a gate through the hedge to the lane on the other side, and from there it is a short walk to an idyllic small town of the sort which optimistic nobles who haven't ever left the big city might like to think their subjects live in; the people she passes are mostly busy with their days but they seem well-fed and healthy in a way most peasants can only aspire to. They mostly ignore her with the studious inattention of people who don't want to be the one who addresses the trouble. 

The village green is again, much like any other, a stone manor (carved extensively with the images of men and women in high regalia and abstract knotwork) and a couple of long rows along the path of a pleasant little creek, green and idyllic. Here, she can see that a little story clings to everyone here - nobody here is just themselves, instead all having lingering traces of past stories about their health and success, and in the middle of the village green the girls she's been looking for sit in a circle, doing each other's hair (long and pitch black and dead straight and nice enough to be the envy of many noble ladies back home) in elaborate braids while singing a song of complicated looping melody and elegant tongue-twisting meter, and despite it being in a language she's never heard of before, Catherine can understand every word. 

(It's a love song where every happy ending feeds into the setup for the next romance, the new couple meeting at a wedding or one of them buying something essential from a newly opened store or so on.) 

Permalink

This place is looking less and less like something Neshamah cooked up. It reminds her of Arcadia - it doesn't have the same polish, but the way bits of narrative are tied to everyone is dead on. If that's anywhere near right she needs a story of her own - and conveniently there's one just about to start, in a crumbling little hovel down the road. It's a little too cute. She's being set up to steal a page from Tariq's book, act the wise mentor with mysterious knowledge and power. 

She had more than enough of being puppeted like that when the Bard was around. Instead, Cat saunters into the square near the girls, pulls out her pipe, and starts packing it with wakeleaf.

Permalink

As she does so, another story starts to spin up, over in the manor of the town - there is a man, you see, a youth old enough to fight but not old enough to replace his father, a dutiful young man, in regalia of red and gold and faithful family signs, and this young man has a duty and the ability to stand against threats to his home and property.

This young man is walking out of his house right now, as we narrate, sword in it's sheathe and brightly-coloured aflutter in the breeze. 

"Hail, stranger! I do not recognise your role, and by the artlessness of your outfit I see you must be a master beyond compare nonetheless. What brings such a foreigner to my village? What role do you play?" 

Permalink

She finishes packing her pipe and then scowls at the lack of Night to light it with. 

“Haven’t decided yet,” she says in Lower Miezan. She can understand what he’s saying, is the reverse true?

Permalink

Nope, whatever language she just used, that wasn't Lower Meizan. He can understand it, though. 

"Honoured stranger." He says. 'please do not blatantly lie to me' he does not say, but it comes through in his tone. He nervously shifts through a set of poses, each of which clearly long-drilled and each cutting a "heroic" silhouette. He is a dutiful and wise heir, after all. 

Permalink

The youthful scion protects his land? Seems workable. 
How about -

“I am a traveler from a distant land, passing through and grateful for aid. Can you spare a light?”

She leans on her staff and slightly lowers her shoulders. The Mantle of Woe drapes around her a bit more tightly, more warm cloak than conquering standard, for the moment. 

Permalink

He relaxes slightly. "Of course, honoured traveller. You are welcome to the hospitality of my hearth, and the use of its fire to light your tobacco." 

He cannot quite resist peering at her cloak; it's quite visible after all. What he makes of it, he choses not to say.

He will gesture in the direction of the manor, and lead the way if she seems inclined to follow. 

Permalink

Yes, she’ll go along. 

“Thanks for the warm welcome. Will you tell me about your home?”

Permalink

"What is there to say about us that could not be said about the last ten villages you must have walked through to get here? We are fortunate enough that my father is still fit to fight, and a better artist than I, so the war hasn't left us entirely undefended from wandering artists - no offence intended." He appends hurriedly. "Beyond that, we aspire to an excellent grade of melon cordial." 

His house is the house of a petty landed knight; she doesn't recognise every tool but she recognises the home of a man who makes a living owning agricultural capital and having other people do the work. The wall carvings continue inside, and it's clear this place knows it's master - inside, by their side, his story, his very form, seems that much stronger. At the great hearth, whose stones bear the oldest carvings, he offers her a seat, plainly but comfortably upholstered, and will light a taper for her and bid the young woman minding the stew to bring them drinks. 

Total: 22
Posts Per Page: