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Out of darkness. Into Darkness
Topic Started: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:09 pm (489 Views)
Marie Thlydd
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The world was dark.

It held little if any light at all, only the strange glowing flora that clung to the ground, illuminating the way forward. The path ahead was already treacherous: dark skies holding no stars or sun, pitch black plants that tangled underfoot and dark hard dirt that gave way to cracking ice.

What was this place?

The lone figure staggering through the moss, vines and icy shores did not have the answer to this question. There was something both eerily familiar and frighteningly foreign about the strange swampland. Ahead several lamps were lining a pathway towards a village or outpost.

'It is something. And at least it is out of this damned water.' she thought to herself as she slowly trudged through, everything to halfway up her knee was near freezing from the times she had misstepped and ended up staggering out of a half-frozen shoreline. The tips of the sheaths where she kept her knives had small sheets of ice on them from this, freezing and thawing as they absorbed heat from her body.

The outpost was near freezing in temperature but not lifeless; people of various styles stood and moved around as if this was nothing. Likely, to them, this was your average winter as they were bundled. Looking down she noticed her leather armor was beaten up but still serviceable unless she decided to take on a dragon.

She stood, and stared out at the people and things around her. Her eyes seeing everything yet unfocused lingered here and there as she tried to pull herself out of her state of shock and try to remember what happened.

"Where am I?" She whispered to herself.
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That bastard was part of the reason she left and then had the nerve to track her like a beast to Balefire. Dian had hoped to get a moment's peace, to perhaps meet up with the Marquise for some tea, but now she just wanted to leave the globule of darkness before her brother could recover from the sleeping concoction that she had hit him and the rest of the lobby with. It would slow him down, but she still could not bring herself to end family, no matter who they were or how entitled they believed themselves to be.

Her pace was brisk, her bulky trunk she carried over her head like it was nothing, and she dared not look back behind her. She needed to keep her eyes fixed forward, especially as she neared the city's border. Once she was out into the darkness, she would just need to procure a bottle of Flashwater to act as a lantern until she reached the Gloomwood border. If she was lucky, a wagon or leaving caravan would take mercy on her predicament of hoofing it and give her a ride, but stayed focused.

The people she passed by were all standard, dressed either in warm clothes or whatever they pleased if the cold did not bother them. She, quite simply not so immune to the effects, was decked from toe to head in thick, warm clothing, topped with a flatbrim hat and the long-beaked birdlke mask on her face. She towered above most of the crowd save for some of the taller werewolves, flashing their faces at one another in the gently lit streets. Among these people a barbarian still stood out like a sore thumb, almost as much as somebody who simply did not belong.

All sorts came through Balefire, especially, even through caravan despite the scorchliner spikes keeping trade healthy between them and Cascadia. Most people knew to wear warm clothes if they could not handle the cold, and the rest tended to show no signs of the frost affecting them other than some buildup that they brushed off. Once in a while, though, somebody appeared who was clearly lost, cold, and confused. It was hard to miss them, but most people kept to themselves and did not worry about the fate of an underdressed stranger.

Dian, however, was not one of those people. She could, with enough willpower, force herself past this stranger with trunk in hand, leaving the woman to her fate much as anybody else might, yet with the culmination of recent events and the words she overheard, the barbarian stopped as if an invisible force were reaching up and placing a hand on her shoulder.

There was a very good reason for her beginning as an alchemist, and though she held no qualms with the reality of her work, after the events of Gallowstown and the Hangman's Noose, she felt like there was a karmic imbalance in the world. Maybe the war between Gloomwood and Norwood did little to phase her, even with the horrors of people caught in the crossfire, but there were people she could actually help.

Reluctantly, the barbarian set her heavy trunk gently on the ground before approaching the confused woman from behind and reaching a hand down to her shoulder, "Excuse me, are you lost? You're at Balefire, sweetie, no place else like it."
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Marie Thlydd
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The strange muffling sound started to dim as she blinked again, a sharp pain from her forehead caught her attention and she carefully pressed a hand to it, finding that there was matted blood she winced as a sharp pain came above her right eye. She held her head for a moment as the world began to spin.

Damn... what... happened.

She blinked away spots as she saw the cuts and scrapes on her body; she had been in a battle recently.

But with what? or Who?

She jerked from her thoughts as a hand reached out from behind her and she stared at the woman who eyed her over. She spoke something but it took longer than it should have to register. She pushed a blood-crusted lock of blue hair from her eyes as she stared then blinked as it finally sank in.

"Balefire." She repeated. The word was as unfamiliar as this place. "This is Balefire?" She asked confused. Why did nothing make sense? Was she concussed?

Edited by Marie Thlydd, Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:55 pm.
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Slow reaction, dazed look, bloody head. This was not good for a human woman wandering about Gloomwood without the proper clothing. Had she been mugged and was only now coming to? Even with the Taming, Karstoff could hardly eliminate all crime from a city filled with dark corners for criminals to hide in. If it had not been Dian present, then this stranger would have likely been in dire straits among the Balefire streets.

"Ah, this isn't good. Yes, this is Balefire. Here, I've got something that'll make you feel better." The alchemist offered quickly, pulling a vial of red liquid from an outer coat pocket and presenting it to the woman. The barbarian was not usually one to offer free samples, but she just told herself that she could always consider this an investment as much as a gamble, "This is a healing potion; drink it, center yourself, and then we can focus on how to help you, okay?"

First aid, simple enough being an alchemist, but then she would need to get this woman somewhere inside to warm up. It was too cold on even the warmest of days, and with this weather that blood could freeze if they were not quick about care.
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Marie Thlydd
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The woman watched her for a moment with a worried look on her face. Her eyes searched the face of the strange woman before her. She knew the woman's race, that was no issue, but the fact that she could not remember gave rise to a small fear that she herself was not well.

The woman pulled out a vial of liquid, it was red and swirled in the glass container. She had seen these before, hadn't she?

Carefully she took the vial and uncorked it, slowly drinking the liquid. At some point in time, she would likely berate herself for not thinking and merely taking something that had been given to her by a stranger but she was in no position to be capable of actual critical thought.

She downed half the bottle before she took a breath and closed her eyes.

"I... I think... I'm okay."
She opened her eyes and nodded. "Thank you." She replied as some sense came back to her mind but as clarity came so did the questions.

She finished off the draught and looked around.A swamp... A village in a swamp.. I'm... not sure.. how did I get into a swamp?

She looked up at the woman. "Thank you for your aid. I'm..." It took her a moment to snap her mind back to her name. "Marie. I am Marie Thlydd.
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Good, a fairly quick recovery. Despite the barbarian's confidence in her concoctions, it was always a relief to see them actually work. Still the woman was bloodied, but this was merely a beginning into proper recovery and acclimation to a clearly unfamiliar environment. Even with her head being healed, it seemed that there was a bit of confusion left over.

"A pleasure to meet you, Marie. My name is Dian, I'm an alchemist." She introduced herself, standing straight and taking a step back from the woman only when she was certain that she was feeling better. There was no point in boasting right now, maybe later as they talked, but her current concern was making sure that this stranger was well, "It's too cold for you to be out here like this. Come on, let's go get you some nice, warm food and drink at a tavern. My alchemy can only do so much good, and it would be a shame to heal you just for you to freeze. Don't worry, I'll pay."

The air was frigid and snow fell from the black winter sky, but fortunately enough most buildings along the main road into Balefire kept warm, especially the taverns. Provided that Marie put enough trust into this stranger than had stopped and chosen to help her, Dian would lead her to the nearest establishment. Once they were situated, with Dian's mighty trunk settled out of the way, she could be a bit more at ease with the situation.

"So, Marie, do you recall what happened to you? Gloomwood can be a dangerous place." The alchemist inquired as the worries of hypothermia left them behind. The red-haired woman felt an urge to help this woman get settled back in life, just a bit of peace of mind to be found in unsettling times.
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Marie Thlydd
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The woman called herself 'Dian'; a name unfamiliar in both face and form. The situation too was alien to her eyes, though it could be that she merely did not remember being here before in her addled mind.

I am in a swamp; did I pass a swamp getting there? Wait, where is there?

She twitched her nose as something cold touched her face pulling her from her thoughts. Looking up she found that small white flakes were softly falling from the sky in a silent measure. The woman spoke of how cold it was, she agreed with a nod as she felt herself starting to shiver.

She paused slightly as the woman offered to pay, though she was in no place to argue she had yet to find a price for the potion either.

After I get my bearings I'll be able to think of something. I might have some money to give back, and if not I can always offer to help her find components to use in her potions if she is an alchemist
. she thought to herself.

She followed Dian as she picked up the case she had been carrying, it looked heavy.

I wonder what is in it to make it need to be so large?

Passing the thought from her mind she followed the woman to a building, looking at the sign she considered what the woman had asked. What could she remember?

"A fight. I was fighting..." She turned back to look down the path she had come from. "Someone? No... Things... I was fighting something." She said with more certainty than she believed she could have. "We, I think I was with someone else. We had been fighting and then an explosion? I remember a light and then darkness and... Fragments of wandering around."

She shook her head. "I can't remember. But... I woke up alone. No one else was there, I'm sure of that. I looked. So did they go elsewhere? Or was I fighting alone truly?" She wondered, her mind flowing elsewhere as she continued inside.

She followed her into the tavern as they spoke on. The people inside seemed to be a shady sort indeed, yet it was not too unfamiliar.

"Gloomwood. The more I say that name the more I feel as if I should know it. But I do not. I don't remember this place beforehand. Perhaps I came by a different path initially. Tell me, Dian, is it always so dark and cold here?"
She asked confused, "It seems to unnatural to be simply night time."

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That made at least some sense to Dian, given Marie's appearance. She looked like she took a walk through the Abyss, with the blood and damage still on her. The alchemist had definitely heard no explosion recently, and if anybody else had they would surely be keeping quiet about things that did not concern them. Still, whatever damage that this woman had suffered would need time to heal, so all the barbarian could really do was help her get back on her feet before taking her leave.

"Natural is relative, Marie. Here in Gloomwood, no light from the sky can be seen, and so it's both very dark and very cold all year round, but some days are warm enough for it to rain." It felt odd to Dian to be explaining this simple nature of the ever-dark place, making her nostalgic for her first days in the backswamps when life was a different mixture of simple and complicated, but she continued, "Gloomwood's a strange place, where many strange things happen. I don't know what to say about your fight, but I think any fight you survive is a blessing. Your memories should clear up in time, but right now it seems you've come from a near-death experience, and those almost always leave the mind a bit hazy.

"I advise not worrying about those specifics. If somebody was hunting you, they would've caught up to you in your state, and even now they'd be fools to go after somebody in Balefire accompanied by an alchemist such as myself. Right now, just make sure of everything before then, of who you are, where you're from, and what you do. You remember your name, and that's a very good start!"

Though Dian's experience was more of a result of the side-effects of some elixirs and mixtures, it still seemed safe to assume that the effects of mental recovery were similar. The healing potion would do its work, but psychological trauma could run deeper than the average healing potion could cure, and the alchemist would be remiss to consider the thought of trying one of her mind-altering substances on a woman she had just met in the middle of the street at the edge of the city.
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Marie Thlydd
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She nodded at the explanation.

Gloomwood: Why did that name bring a chill to her mind? What was it that was there? She pushed the thought from her mind.

"Yes, I know. I don't think I was being followed."
She replied as she felt the warmth begin to return to her as they sat down. "Near-death maybe..." she trailed as she considered the prospect. From what she knew her weapon was several feet away from her, which meant either she or her weapon had been carried a distance.

Enough force to at least disarm her would most certainly be enough to addle her brain for a bit.

"The basics. Those I do know."
she mused as most of her mind found the answers to Dian's statements, she took it as a blessing and didn't pay much attention to the feeling that the answers did not come as fast as she would have liked.

"I am Marie Thlydd, I come from a village called Tellsaba, it's in the mountains. What I do?"
she furrowed her brow. "I guess I adventurer. I travel and fight monsters. I'm not really a mercenary but at the same time it's not like I don't take money for jobs." she laughed then winced. "That hurt."

"So you're an alchemist? I know a bit myself. If you need I can replace the reagents you used in that potion you gave me. I don't want you to lose out."
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"An adventurer? Ah, your kind make good clients, always needing potions for something or another." Dian said appreciatively, getting a lot of legitimate commissions from adventurers wanting to take healing and curative mixtures with them into the thick of whatever madness they were hunting. Those who made sure to get enough or use her potions rightly made for not only great repeat customers, but tended to spread the word about her skill with alchemy and recommend her works to others, and the alchemist never felt overwhelmed by having a lot of work, "Don't worry about the healing potion, consider it a free sample. Besides, that was only minor healing potion that I keep on-hand for slight injuries, the ingredients are easy to get and cheap to buy. Head injuries can feel severe and definitely mess with your head, but while over-treating might not do any harm, it doesn't really do any good, either."

Well, at least this woman was not a total amnesiac. She could recall enough of herself to know who she was and where she was from, but the moments before becoming lost in Gloomwood was lost, likely as a result of the trauma to her head. There was still no telling how she wound up in such an auspicious place, but she could recover and be back on her feet in little time.

"Few things beat rest, though. Some food, drink, and a good night's rest, and you'll be back to getting into trouble in no time at all!" The barbarian said with a chipper tone and a reassuring smile on her face, "Do you have any money left on you? I can give you a loan if you need it, enough to keep you going for about a week, maybe show you to the adventurer's hall here in Balefire if you need it."
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Marie Thlydd
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Dian, in her memory, reminded Marie of someone she had once met. An older man, she had known him for some time as a child before he fell to the passing of time. Like the Half-orc, he too was kind and eager to help and pass off his assistance as a larger gambit for something more.

She wondered if Dian was serious or if, like him, she was all talk.

Part of her went to the former, Dian was obviously very business minded between their dealings and she felt that she had done the right thing by helping someone who likely would buy from her later. And truth be told, Marie could feel like she understood why. Marie now had first-hand experience of how potent her potions were.

Not that she couldn't make them herself, but if she couldn't then Dian would be a good second bet. It wasn't anything against Dian, even she probably understood that most adventurers preferred their own potions to another. It was a weird thing that no one could ever explain.

Dian inquired about money, and Marie looked to the bag strapped to her left leg where she kept her spare coins. It took her a moment to find the tear in the lining where she could slip them out and she pulled out a small handful.

She nodded, Yes. It's enough to cover a few days worth at least. After I get my feet under me I could probably get a few more with some merchants heading out.

She paused as her mind caught up with her, "Or maybe considering where we are that might be a bad idea. Either way... " she trailed off in consideration
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It seemed that Marie was doing better, that she was getting her thoughts together and finally able to start making plans. It also appeared that she had some coin left over from whatever ordeal she had been through, and given her reaction it might have been enough to get by on. It gave the alchemist at least some peace of mind to consider, though it also appeared this woman was the sort to let her thoughts bleed out into the world without realizing it.

"Well, if you don't need anything else." Dian sat back in her seat, smiling contentedly at the good way things were looking, "If you want to get back to the mountains, you can take a scorchliner from Balefire to Cascadia and probably take an airship from there to the nearest mountain dock. Gwiklith should be affordable, unless you're from Dragonspine which might be a bit pricier given. . . y'know, dragons."

There had just been too much death recently for Dian's taste. She had yet to shake the sight and effects of the Noose plague, but she felt like the world could use some karmic balance. Besides, she was a damn fine alchemist and made enough coin from her work to be able to afford sparing some notes and coin to somebody who could use them. Marie would still need some warmer clothes, but at least she would make it alright unless whoever she was fighting found her again.

"Well, if you don't mind me asking, what's your plan going forward?" Dian inquired, leaning forward in her seat expectantly.
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Marie Thlydd
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The clanking and clanging of flatware, cups and trays gave a comforting ambiance as she felt her mind slowly return to her senses. Things, small things, were opening their way to larger things in her mind. The experiences she had and couldn't remember were slowly flowing together, a soft scab over a wound.

Dian seemed to like this and approve of her recovery.

She mused over the new concepts of what she had learned of this place.

Balefire, a name unknown to her. But this place in and of itself was unknown. A new world she had discovered. The issue was had the explosion happened before or after? Shaking her head she rubbed her eyes as food arrived.

"I suppose anything I want to remember will have to wait. Food will be welcome enough for the momet." she replied to herself as the duo began to eat.

Dian seemed to be pleased about this entire situation. She relayed to her about how to leave and return to the mountains. The names she gave were also unfamiliar. A new place.

She smiled inwardly as she dismissed the mysteries for the moment. Before or after, the shock and scolding. She would figure it all out later, maybe when she was recovered she would return to where she had come from and discover the truth.

For now, she would enjoy her company with the newly acquainted Dian.

"No, fortunately I am not from Dragonspine. I do believe the issue with dragons would be something that I think I would grow up remembering no matter what.
" she laughed heartedly.

Dian sked where she planned on going from here. She mused for a moment.

"I'm not sure. I feel better a little and I know I should get some rest before I go back out hiking to the village. At the same time I feel like I should get moving soon. I suppose I was never one to stay in one place." she replied.

"Speaking of making tracks, weren't you leaving the city when you ran into me?"
she asked.
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The food was alright. Dian knew that she could cook better, but cooking was essentially alchemy. Get the right ingredients, the better the ingredients the better the food, but the real trick was in the preparation. Heat the right pieces for the right amount of time at the right temperature, add and mix other ingredients as required, pair accordingly to maximize effect, and you were left with not only a working product but a delicious one. Consumable magic for the tongue.

It was clear that Marie was feeling better, and that in turn made Dian feel better. Of course the alchemist had full confidence in her work, but there was nothing quite like seeing the effects in action, for better or worse. Unfortunately though, the woman managed to pick just the right thing to ask about to get Dian to stop mid-bite.

"Of course you were lucid enough to remember that." The barbarian said with a swallow, taking a moment to consider how best to answer that question while the fork's prongs were caught between her lips. She really did not want to think too much about it, but it was likely to come up soon, anyway, "I first got into alchemy to help people. I've grown up since then, but I guess it's still in there, somewhere. I only run away when I have to, either when I can't handle something by myself, or when I don't want to hurt what I'm running from, and I can handle everything native to Gloomwood in one way or the other."

Dian took the utensil from her mouth and rested it on her plate gently, taking a moment to sit herself upright properly in her sight before continuing.

"My brother will probably find me in here before too long. I don't like him, but I've got to admit he's one abyssal of a tracker." She continued with the explanation, pausing only once to sigh with exasperation, "Our. . . His village's alchemist died. Well, more of a medicine man, really. I'm not going back and that's that, but he's almost as stubborn as I am. I was going to start off by putting some distance between him and I, had a whole complicated plan and everything that would have worked, but I saw you and know that most people in Balefire wouldn't help. Not because they're cruel, but everybody's used to looking out for themselves."
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Marie Thlydd
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Marie admired the food here; it was alright but she was almost sure it was made with some sort of fungal thing.

She never was much for any sort of mushroom or the like. She thought back to the explosion and pondered something. Had it happened before or after her planeswalk?

If it happened before it might be why she ended up here, although she did just do a simple blind walk. Anywhere but here, while a dangerous thing to wish for can also be helpful in some situations.

If it happened after, what did she walk into? A trap? A fight? Who knew. Maybe when she regained her strength she would go look and find out.

Her question seemed to be the wrong one though, Dian paused for a moment longer than was comfortable. Likey for both of them.

She explained the situation and Marie felt a tinge of guilt suddenly.

Because of her appearance, Dian was off to a late start.

There was a bit of quiet as she took several more bites and nodded. "Well if you have a complicated plan let's hear it. I've held you up, and I think I'm alright enough to move after we finish here. So," She smiled. "To repay yoru kindness for helping a stranger said stranger will help you in turn. What's the plan for getting out of here without being followed?"
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