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The Past's Warmth; [p] ogi
Topic Started: Sat Jan 6, 2018 10:28 am (263 Views)
Sebastian
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For the first time in as long as he could remember, warmth felt pleasant to Sebastian. As Leyire stood triumphantly before the newly lit hearth, hands outstretched, he took her side on the floor, relishing the sensation of two years' worth of ice melting away. He let out a long, self-indulgent sigh as he allowed color to return to his flesh. The inside of Saint Iridia's shrine was more like a rustic cabin. While outside a solemn altar stood half-buried in ice, the refuge inside felt like a cozy chalet in comparison.

"Hey, I thought you were going to make tea," the hunter said, still holding her hands mere inches from the flame.

"Huh?" Sebastian stirred from his reverie and looked up at the woman. "Oh, right." Without another word, the revenant, more alive than he'd looked in years, stood up and got to work.

"You're not Rimeheart, are you?" Leyire finally said, as Sebastian returned with a kettle. He was taken aback, nearly dropped the kettle. Instead, he thrust it into her hands and didn't respond, taking a seat moodily at the table in the center of the cabin. He examined the decor -- fur rugs and heavy blankets lovingly arranged among scattered furniture pieces. Who had built this place? Was it really to honor his mother?

"Considering I saved your life you're being awfully rude," Leyire said, turning away from the fire to confront him. Her face was weary. He sighed.

"If you're tired you should get some sleep. The winds feel wrong tonight. Might be a storm coming." The woman froze and halted her approach, scowling. But Sebastian spoke before she could open her mouth. "And no. I'm not Rimeheart."

"Okay, next question: what the hell is that thing and why are you still holding it?" Leyire gestured toward the frozen black skull in Sebastian's hand. He'd forgotten he was holding it.

"Look, it's hard to expl-," he started, but he was interrupted.

"Well, we've got all night. Better get explaining, or you're out in the cold." Leyire advanced a few steps toward Sebastian. He shrunk.
Edited by Sebastian, Sat Jan 6, 2018 10:30 am.
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Logan
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The cold was nowhere near as bad as the wind settling in, working beneath the rim of the werewolf's gambler and trying to flip the hat from his head with every gust, forcing him to keep one hand on his head at all times. His booted paws crunched through the snow with each step, sinking into the accumulated mass just trying to slow him down but failing under the might of sheer tenacity. The goggles between the rim of his hat and his frost-nipped snout guided him based on the information he had with a minor tweak of focus to any viable shelter. Ruins, a shack, a cave, a hole in the ground or a tree, anything to hide away in, because despite how unpleasant the current weather was, he knew it was only going to be growing worse before long.

A primal roar that sounded like shattering ice tore its way through the howling winds, asserting its power before being followed by a series baritone yips and grunts so loud that they sounded like a rumbling of thunder rather than belonging to any beasts, but they were troubling creatures all the same. Yetis worshiping a wendigo as their leader or their god, something along those lines, and none of them pleasant. Abyss, Logan would hardly be surprised if he found that the current weather was the cause of that icy monster, but for now he could not fight them at the prime of that thing's power, especially not out in the open, but he would be damned if he was letting that treasure escape his clutches.

Through the thick snow he still saw clearly, golden eyes settling on the sight of what was unmistakably a structure being steadily buried in snow, but the door stood a testament to hope. Spurred on by a target rather than wandering clueless through the frozen wasteland, Logan hurried his way to the entrance, downshifting from his half-wolven form to his original human self, golden eyes darkening to a deep forest green, the fur from around his body vanishing to give way for smooth skin save for his long hair getting tossed about by the air.

Now his boots were uncomfortable, not primed for shifting or human feet, but still good enough against the snow that he could deal with it for a moment more. There was no point in risking the reaction of somebody in the far North to seeing a large bipedal wolf knocking at their front door. Of course if nobody was there, or at least did not answer, then could he be blamed for busting down the door and taking his place inside? That would have to be seen, but for now he tried the simple and considerably more polite method.

Logan slammed the gloved fist of his free hand against the door several times, powerful and quick so that nobody could deny that a sapient was knocking, "Anybody home?!"
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Sebastian
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With some hesitation, Sebastian explained to Leyire that the skull was him, or at least a part of him anyway. He explained how he had died, incinerated by the blazing hellfire conjured by some self-righteous elf, how the dark powers resting there had chosen to breathe undeath into his smoldering corpse, how the frozen skull had been shackled to his body, trapping his own spirit inside. He explained how he had tried to take his own life, following a miserable failure to claim revenge against those who had made him what he was. Leyire was polite, and she listened to the man's tale, but when he finished, her response surprised him.

"Sounds like you've got a real chip on your shoulder to me. And it sounds like you owe a lot of people apologies." Sebastian was silent after that, and so was she. They drank peppermint tea by the fire, and they were silent.

Then there was a knock at the door: "Anybody home!?" an unfamiliar voice called out through the sturdy front door. Sebastian noted the howl of the wind outside. If this was another mortal, they wouldn't last long out there.

"Come in!" Leyire called before Sebastian could reply. "We've got a fire and tea and I was just about to put on some stew!"
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Logan
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Person, definitely somebody inside, and a sympathetic soul to the weary traveler caught by the elements in the middle of nowhere. Things were already boding well for the adventurer, and by the invitation it sounded like the door was unlocked. Of course, how many people would somebody have to worry about in the middle of nowhere? It was Logan's own odd nature that brought him this far.

"Thanks! Thanks a lot!" Logan said perhaps a bit louder than was needed, getting the door open and hastily shutting it behind him. It took a moment of fumbling at the door to get the deadbolt on the door locked before finally turning around to address his semi-saviors. Plural. Man and a woman in a private cabin in the middle of nowhere. It left Logan feeling a little awkward, but he threw his thumb behind him at the door to at least say something, "Sorry to-- uh, barge in like this, I--I, uh, I tripped across a cave of angry yetis a while ago. Your cabin's pretty much snowed over and hidden, but I don't want to risk them and doors."

Not a total lie, but being the subject of ire for a bunch of frosty beasts was hardly unheard of for going North, at least by survivors. There was no point in worrying some strangers about a wendigo if it was not going to pursue, hopefully leaving it to be the adventurer's problem alone in the long run.

"Oh, uh, my name's Logan, by the way." He introduced himself, removing his hat from his head to reveal himself as a human, with nippy ears, normal human features, and a few streams of steam lifting off of him as snow melted rapidly off of his skin, "Again, thanks for the save. Looks like a storm's brewing, and it sucks getting stuck in blizzards."
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Sebastian
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Sebastian, certainly not taking the lead in hospitality, gave the stranger a polite nod and returned to his tea after spending a couple moments sizing him up. He didn't strike him as particularly threatening. In fact, he found himself wondering how this stranger wound up out in the cold this far from any town or village. In any case, if there really were yetis out there, the stranger was lucky to be indoors.

"Oh, this isn't our cabin! This is the shrine of Saint Iridia, the Woman Who Tamed the Winds, and my name is Leyire," the hunter said cheerfully, relishing the chance at conversation with anybody but Sebastian.

"The Woman Who Tamed the Winds? She seduced the winds, you mean," Sebastian corrected her. Leyire chose to ignore this, but her glare betrayed her. "Sebastian, by the way."

Tying her thick brown hair back, Leyire opened up her pack to retrieve a small cast iron pot. "Should be plenty for the three of us here," she said, hanging the pot above the fire to warm up. She found herself glancing nervously at the window more than once. What if Logan was followed? What if the shrine were destroyed? What if she never saw Talta again?
Edited by Sebastian, Sat Jan 6, 2018 12:06 pm.
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Logan
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Oh, lovely, not a shrine and he was not interrupting anything. It seemed they were a couple of mostly friendly religious types, a nice change of pace from the Cult of Aquarius, but rather they seemed to be Followers of Iridia, whoever that was. Whatever their beliefs were, it sounded very sensual, at least coming from the man who introduced himself as Sebastian.

"Shrine? This is the coziest shrine I've seen in years!" Logan could not help but gawk, taking another look at the interior of the building as he removed the goggles from over his eyes. Maybe it was so cozy because of the man's correction of the saint's title. Given the winds outside, it might have been that the Winds was just another nickname for somebody or something else.

When he was done admiring the feng shui of the interior, his eyes settled on the somewhat nervous gaze of Leyire, who kept looking to the window as if something was going to immediately come knocking looking for their newest guest. Logan found himself turning to look, too, a bit worried of that very possibility, himself. They might have set on a primal alarm for him, but there was nothing but the wind making noise outside, and yetis were far from stealthy creatures despite their fur.

"Oh, them? I got a good headstart. I'm pretty sure I lost them, but if I'm wrong, I'll clean up my own mess." Logan said, a bit calmer with the prospect of fighting, though he did not move from the door. Even with years of adventuring, going into a place where people actually were always felt weird to him. He was already intruding enough just coming in from the cold with word of danger, so it seemed best to stay by the door, "I'm an adventurer. I'm good in a fight, especially against bigger groups, but when the weather started picking up I had to book it. There's only so much a guy can do by himself, y'know?"
Edited by Logan, Mon Jan 8, 2018 6:51 am.
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Sebastian
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Leyire smiled. "The shrine started as a grave-marker for Iridia," she said, addressing its coziness. "Over time, visitors added the shelter and eventually furnished it. When I was a young girl, it was pretty much just a wooden lean-to." Sebastian silently wished Leyire would stop talking about Iridia as if she knew her, and maybe the woman caught him glaring.

As Logan explained his predicament, the revenant seemed to soften a little."Good call. A storm like that isn't safe for humans," Sebastian said. Behind his back, Leyire rolled her eyes.

"Stew's ready," she said, spooning the salty slop out of the cast iron pot, into small wooden bowls. It was left-over from her previous evening with Talta, and the smell in the room was making her exceptionally home-sick. "It's venison," she said, sliding a bowl in front of Logan, and then Sebastian.

Sebastian took a few bites of the stew and silently nodded his approval. It was spicy and hearty, and he relished the uncomfortable feeling of heat in his belly like it was wine. "You're a good cook, Leyire," he muttered, and it caught the woman off-guard.

"Thanks." Sebastian returned to silence. Outside, the wind howled.

"So, Logan, what's your story? You don't look Stribergan," Leyire said, finally taking a seat with her own stew.
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Logan
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A shrine in the loosest sense, more of a grave that people just decided to start building over. Actually not a bad idea at all for getting people to stop by and visit the dead, even if it was for some strangers to get in from the cold. Maybe it could use a plaque with a blurb about her to start off some curiosity into chasing the legend that is Iridia, but the adventurer kept those thoughts to himself.

Venison, tough, was definitely enough to tempt him away from the door. The call of an actually warm meal of cooked meat rather than the dried rations he took with him just so he could avoid portaling back and leaving his stuff unattended. Even with a normal humanoid sniffer, the smell was tantalizing. Logan kicked his digitigrade-friendly boots off by the door to not track in snow or have them flopping around awkwardly, left his cumbersome pack and tent roll on top of those, and made his way to the spot open for him on the table. It might have originally been planned for somebody to get seconds, but his intrusion must have disrupted that plan in a rather minimal way.

Tentatively at first, Logan took a few bites. It was spicy, but warm, and tasty. Normally Logan was no fan of spicy things, but his lack of cooking skills meant long voyage treks were pretty bland and samey. He started to dig in, enthusiastically digging in to the warming meal, breaking only to state, "This definitely beats the salted rations I had by far! Thank you!"

After that, it would not be much longer before he wolfed down the remaining food in his dish. By his standards of consumption, not much, but he also had a transformation and regenerative healing to fuel. At least for the time being it would tide him over, but he would probably be snacking on rations later. Still, he did not complain, instead just enjoying the feeling of the warmth in his belly.

"South Tarasian, but up from Cascadia. Guessin' y'all're more local?" Logan replied to the inquiry to his origins. For as pale as he might've been in his human form compared to some of the more sun-exposed people from both of those places, compared to his company he looked pretty tan.

"Gotta say, it's kind of a funny coincidence I've tripped across a place dedicated to a local saint who has a strong connection with wind." He noted, sitting up in the provided seat as he snaked a couple of gloved fingers beneath his thick coat's collar before pinching and bringing up the magical amulet of his, "Y'all don't seem like Tempaeris, so it should be safe sharing this with ya. This used to belong to someone similar, named Aquarius. She was more into rain and storms than the winds. I've been trying to learn how to use it better, including wind control."
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Sebastian
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Leyire and Sebastian both nodded when Logan asked if they were locals. "Skagen, small village about an hour from here. Most people haven't heard of it," Leyire said, filling pauses with mouthfuls of stew. Table manners weren't her strong suit. Talta had made her painfully aware of that, in front of her whole family, no less. But in Skagen, you get used to eating on the run. Her daydream was cut short when she noticed Sebastian staring at her oddly. She glared back.

Sebastian's attention snapped abruptly from the name of his hometown to the amulet, as Logan rather casually flashed it at the two strangers. Wind control might have been something Sebastian could have helped the adventurer with a few years ago. In fact, he had spent nearly a year disguised as a weather mage in Cascadia, while meanwhile Mr. Grives casually ferried bodies from morgues and cemeteries to the twisting bowels beneath the floating city. Since waking, he had felt an odd dissociation from his magic, as if years of frost and rime had utterly clogged his bloodstream, halting the flow of mana through his body. Now, there was little practical assistance he could offer Logan, so he stayed silent on the matter.

"It's quite beautiful!" Leyire said. Admittedly, she had very little familiarity with sorcery or magical items, but she could recognize the aesthetic qualities of the amulet at least. "Iridia actually had no magic powers of her own, which is why her history is so important to my people," she explained. "She was a human woman, from my very village, and when an evil elemental spirit of wind and ice came to Skagen in the shape of a human, she showed him the virtues of humanity, and taught him compassion and mercy."

"You have no idea what you're talking about," Sebastian suddenly interjected, and Leyire's jaw dropped. Who the hell did this guy think he was?
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Logan
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Skagen. Small village, hour away, far North so it must have been fairly isolated and largely unknown to the world. Maybe a few traders dared out that far North, but at least Logan could feel halfway okay with not having heard of their home being so close to it.

It was actually very interesting to learn that Iridia had no magic. Perhaps Logan could find no real education on magical applications from this area, but picking up on some local lore was still enough to tickle his intrigue. Part of the fun of adventuring was wandering around and seeing what sorts of random tidbits of knowledge could be picked up, but now it was sounding like the woman this shrine was devoted to was the sort that stories of romance and the origins of great heroes were based on.

Though, while Leyire showed a more romanticized favoritism to the ideas of this person's stories, Sebastian seemed to sharply cut with an air of a definitive superiority complex. The interest that Logan was finding in the passion of her explanations kept feeling like a scorchliner despiking and grinding to an abrupt halt every time the man spoke, but it was at that that Logan had to wonder exactly why that was, and one idea in particular sprung to mind.

"Are you their kid?" Logan could not help himself but half chuckle as he turned his attention to Sebastian, "Iridia's and the elemental's? I mean. . . Nah, screw it, I'll be rude; Whenever Leyire says something about Iridia, you shoot it down like you've got firsthand knowledge."
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Sebastian
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In unison, Sebastian and Leyire both dropped their wooden bowls with a clatter, the revenant suppressing a snarl while Leyire simply gawked dumbly at Logan. The wind outside screamed against the single-paned window, which rattled dangerously under its force. When some of the blood returned to Leyire's head, and she had almost thought of a reply, Sebastian spoke first. "Yes, Saint Iridia was my mother, and Rimeheart, terror of the north, was my father. Skagen is also my birthplace, but I suppose I was conveniently written out of Saint Iridia's biography, wasn't I?" The more Sebastian spoke, the more the color drained from Leyire's face. She struggled to speak, but her throat was dry, and her voice came as a croak. Hot tears welled in her eyes, and she felt her cheeks turn red.

Finally, her head spinning, she managed to whisper a single question, and it shot out of her like an arrow: "You monster, how can you be so selfish?" The blizzard outside battered the cabin relentlessly, and Sebastian's face twisted with fury, his glowing eyes now tiny blue infernos. He rose to his feet, and slammed his hand against the table. Leyire did not shrink from him, and stood to meet his rage.

"You stupid humans," he growled, his steely voice eerily calm, given the physical rage that rattled his entire body. "You build shrines to gods you could not possibly understand. You could never understand her legacy." How could they understand the monster Saint Iridia had born? The monster he was?

Leyire, a pillar of flame, would not back down.
Edited by Sebastian, Tue Jan 9, 2018 9:49 am.
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Logan
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Logan had not expected what he said to carry that much impact on his hosts. It was meant to be more of a subtle jab than a shock, but there they were both staring at the adventurer, one seeming dumbstruck and the other like he just smelled a particularly offensive fart. Logan, meanwhile, had to suppress some manic chuckling as he had no idea what else to do in that situation, and laughing at problems, for as many more as it tended to cause, was also his normal response to trouble. Instead, the adventurer sat there with a half-grin baked onto his face and a look like he got a little too close to the cookie jar plastered onto his face.

Sure enough, he hit the nail on the head. He curtailed a chuckle by coughing into the sleeve of his arm, a trick he picked up from sitting in on lectures. Nobody thought twice about coughing as they did with laughing. Leyire mostly seemed annoyed that a part of her religious beliefs was not only kept from her, but literally sitting at the same table while doing nothing more than getting angry every time she got something wrong based on what she was taught.

"You're half us humans, so why not reconsider before using that word like an insult?" Logan said, his tone not only confrontational, but with his uncontrollable amusement with the situation, carrying a tinge of condescension with it. It was unintentional, but with the stories the adventurer had under his belt, he very well could have backed it up, "Congratulations, Sebastian! You've got a golden opportunity here, don't you? So if Skagen got a lot wrong, now seems the perfect time to tell it how the kid knows it, right?"
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Sebastian
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"Yes, Sebastian," Leyire growled, "grace us with your wisdom, won't you?" Sarcasm dripped like venom from the hunter's mouth. Nonetheless, Sebastian crossed him arms and took a seat, his expression cooling rapidly. Leyire followed suit, but continued to eye the revenant contemptuously.

Logan was right. Sebastian was half-human, even if he had mutilated and disfigured his humanity to the best of his ability. "I didn't know my mother very well," Sebastian confessed. "Rimeheart sacrificed his immortality to have a child with her." Sacrificed his life so their legacy could live through Sebastian, and this is how he had repaid him? "After my birth, Iridia disappeared to Striberg and left me with the academy. She died there, but this shrine was built when she left Skagen, not when she died." The fire in his eyes had died, and his posture had slackened.

Leyire's knuckles were still clenched, but she felt something like pity welling up in her throat. She didn't like him. But at least she understood where he was coming from. "Next time, instead of the patronizing, try opening with that," she said, expecting a glare in response. Instead, Sebastian just nodded.
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Logan
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It seemed that Sebastian and Leyire had swapped their demeanors suddenly, with the half-elemental growing rather somber and the human woman showing her aggravation with the situation. It seemed she was none too pleased with going on to the subject of Sebastian, but Logan was definitely happier to get conversation away from himself. At least with more information, things seemed to be leveling out within the shrine, nerves calming and things becoming understood with information.

"Yeah, flies and honey." Logan added, his own tone coming to a neutrality bordering on sympathetic. He was definitely interested in hearing it from the literal mouth of the babe of the two characters in this romance, but it seemed almost awkwardly personal for his tastes, "How does that work, though? A lot of elementals sire or birth without going mortal, so how did that happen to Rimeheart? Could Iridia have been going to Striberg to try finding answers with the Academy?"

Especially following the events of Daisan, an elemental-heavy city, and getting some words with particularly potent elementals, it might be prudent to convey information to the Academies and try mapping out possible prolonged regional effects on magical beings. If the Northern Reaches were regularly sporting low mana yields from the leylines, especially after the surge some years back, it could be a clue to unique and predictable magically-related events in the region.
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Sebastian
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Was that possible? Admittedly, most of what Sebastian knew of elementals came from what his mother had told him, and his education at the Academy. He knew that the magical world's understanding of elementals was changing. Maybe there was something his mother knew that he didn't. Maybe there was something the Academy knew now that he didn't; after all, he had been shut away from the world for over two years. Then again, he had visited his father's tomb, had felt the incredible power resting there.

"The Academy told me my mother was dead," Sebastian said, sighing. "If she had been looking for answers, she couldn't have got very far." Yet, something urgent prodded the back of his mind. What if his mother hadn't died in Striberg? What if what he thought he knew, what he'd based his identity on, was false? Then he'd have to reconcile the fact that she'd abandoned him. He wasn't sure which was worse.

His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden slam against the cabin's wooden door, the hinges buckling against some unseen force on the other side. Leyire immediately lept to her feet. "What was that?" she demanded.

"It wasn't the wind," Sebastian snarled, instinctively reaching toward a sword that wasn't there. Dammit. He braced himself, anticipating the next blow to the door, but one didn't come. Instead, the wind screamed into the night sky, blowing snow against the dark window.
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