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Time and Again; [P. Silnimare]
Topic Started: Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:44 am (236 Views)
The Faunamancer
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It was all gone.

The Faunamancer expected to see the village of the Acharith at the bottom of the tallest dune in the desert, because that was where it had always been. But instead he saw nothing. No homes. No wells. No people. No sign of a catastrophe. Not a trace. The Acharith were gone.

Boris trotted his camel down the hill then threw his feet in the sand; he sank to his ankles and trudged over to the spot where the old watering hole had been. He remembered fetching water for the Ronturans here when their supply ran low. He sat on the edge of the well with a beautiful brown girl named Chione, sharing stories and hot desert kisses for an hour before he returned to find his birthday rabbit dead from dehydration. Boris began to scoop sand up with his hands, grungy nails without merit. There was nothing to be found.

Boris received word that the Acharith were experiencing some strange happenings: the well water drying up, people vanishing without a trace, homes being reduced to a pile of building materials covered in a mound of sand. But he was not prepared for this.

Boris was certain the Acharith village existed. But today it was gone, and there was no sign of it. Something was amiss.
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Silnimare
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A redheaded woman, wearing a tribal-style wrap, with skin as light as the sand, walked through the desert. Her heavily-tattooed form cast no shadow, and her feet left no prints in the ever-shifting sea of heat. How long had she walked these sands?

Too. Gods-Cursed. Long.


She had traveled to this place at the request of one of the crew aboard her fleet of flying ships, but she had ordered them to drop her off several miles out. Given that the man had spoken of strange and terrible twists and curses, such as people disappearing, sudden aging or growing younger, and a myriad of other phenomena, it was a dangerous situation.

Too dangerous, in the strange captain's eyes; eyes which gazed unblinking, as white as the moon in a clear night sky. On her forehead was a prominent blood-red tattoo of a third eye, standing out against the pale flesh. Her lips were pursed, as she whistled a tune, reminiscent of an old sea shanty, though the melody was hard to place, even for those versed in such lore. But when she arrived at the location that the village should have been, there was nothing, save a lone figure.

He stood tall, towering over the woman, his physique hinting at his incredible strength, and his skin tanned, no doubt by environments like this. He had the look of an adventurer or warrior, shaped by a life of hardship and fighting. Something the slender captain understood, though she no longer showed the scars of her past. She approached him slowly, noting the swirling energy that surrounded the area, like a fog that refused to lift. She saw the world in ways that many tongues simply lacked the words to describe properly. Even her own skill at the spoken word often failed her in this regard. She stopped about fifty feet away from him, her blank, white eyes staring right past him.

"Where are they?"

Her voice was calm, and possessed an unnaturally lyrical, almost melodic tone, and sounded as though it was being spoken directly in front of him. Her expression was distant, as if she was barely present, mentally.

"The village. What happened?"
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The Faunamancer
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And soon there was a second figure, a woman wrapped in desert garb who did not appear sun-touched. She was mysterious, without a shadow or the touch of her footfalls. A goddess?

By Boris' account, she was beautiful. She existed above, outside his world. She was sweet music in a distant room, nothing short of mesmerizing, hair crackling electric atop a short and slender figure. Had Boris shared her three eye he would have four hearts and both halves of his face would share the same color.

But he choked down the butterflies when she spoke.

"Where are they?" It was sweet, sweet music. But it had stepped out into the parlor now, no longer so set apart. Yet she herself was so far away.

"The village. What happened?" Still her voice and her presence were apart, like two ships passing by night.

And soon Boris was bounding in hops through the sand towards her, arms raised for balance as he toppled from one shoe to the other.

"Milady," he said respectfully, bowing to her when he came close enough to be heard. "I came here to the Acharith on behalf of an old friend. I am told of missing persons and shallow wells, but as I understand it these details would benefit from embellishment. By your words I presume you are not responsible." He gave a sharp, quick note a whistle, and his camel began to make its way over. "Though I imagine you might solve this problem far sooner than I could."

The camel arrived at his side, and he put a hand to it, pulling it back to his wrist tattoo. It was one of the luckier ones. Boris saw now that the woman was much smaller than he was, though he expected nothing else of someone so celestial. Perhaps together...
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Silnimare
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Silnimare genuinely smirked, not wickedly or coldly, but warmly. She nodded, her eyes looking past him as the sun beat down upon them, the air waving from the heat like a reed in the ocean.

"I came upon similar reports. But please, do not bow for me. I am no one deserving such, merely a wanderer. To find such formalities of any kind in this place is... rare. As for culpability, you are correct: I bear no fault for whatever has come of this place, though I am not without responsibility. This place..."

Her head scanned around the area slowly, despite her eyes lacking iris or pupil. She stopped, turning her head, as if to look right at Boris.

"This place is strange. Waves roll and turn on themselves, cycles without beginning, end or middle. I have known... similar events, but nothing... nothing like this. This is something else entirely."

She faded from view, suddenly reappearing directly in front of Boris, with neither chant, invocation, or any sign of magic-weaving. She simply disappeared, and suddenly there she was, like a mirage. Her face was still aimed at his own, and her solid white eyes shifted, aquamarine irises forming with pupils, her eyes taking on a plainer, more human form. She held out her right hand, clad in black steel, with tattoos stretching from her wrist all the way up, eventually joining the others.

"Some call me Silnimare, others the Blind Bard. A pleasure to meet someone else looking into the matter. Might I have the pleasure of your name?"

It was quite a sight, the little woman holding a hand out to the giant of a man, her head craned back to meet his gaze, unfazed by his intimidating stature. Indeed, she seemed unaffected by much at all, her demeanor calm, and filled with an easygoing confidence.
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The Faunamancer
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She smiled a warm smile and confirmed Boris' suspicions: magic was at work here. Then, she vanished like a mirage. Boris glanced around, though he felt the shift in the air as she reappeared right before him. Though this would often be cause for concern, Boris was not bothered in the least. Here in this moment, with ease came ease.

She offered her black steely fingers and introduced herself, "Some call me Silnimare, others the Blind Bard. A pleasure to meet someone else looking into the matter. Might I have the pleasure of your name?"

The Faunamancer took the hand and said, "I am Boris." He chose to withhold his title not out of dishonesty but out of concern. Many who knew of him could be put off by his lifestyle. It never bothered him before. But this one seemed worth maintaining peace with, even if it meant betraying the power his renown suggested.

He instead told her, "I once lived close to this place. My father was Ronturan. I knew the Acharith. When word came to me I felt the need to offer my assistance. I regret that I arrived much too late. Do you suppose this damage can be mended?"
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Silnimare
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Silnimare looked over the desert, her hands on her hips.

"Well, to be blunt, I'm not entirely sure what the damage is./ This is something wholly new to me, a strange sensation, unique in almost every facet. Without knowing that, it's difficult to say if it can be fixed. I would almost say it has something to do with time, but that's impossible. No mage has grasped true time magic, much less mastered it to this degree, that I have ever heard of."

She turned back to face the tower of a man.

"So, 'Boris', any ideas?"
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The Faunamancer
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Boris crossed his arms, listened to her words, and nodded.

"Chronomancy," he said. "That would explain why there are no remains." He stopped to consider for a second. Chronomancy. Boris went for the timeless leather-bound book that hung from his belt. He tore open the front cover and flipped to a page he has consulted a few times.

"Alas Chaon weeps, for the Lotus cannae reign should the new gods rise || the measure tears asunder when the timebender turns."

It seemed that the words that followed the caesura were indeed prophetic, as he had suspected. Boris was dealing with a chronomancer, one whose decisions would affect the 'plan' for history.

"I have a theory," Boris said. "This book is attuned to me, not only as I am but as I will be. 'The measure tears asunder when the timebender turns.' I've considered these words for weeks. They imply a 'measure.' My belief is that the 'measure' is the way that history itself is intended to run. Should the timebender's gifts alter the measure, he bears the contempt of the divine."

He took a moment to think. A moment was the weapon of the chronomancer, much to Boris' unavoidable annoyance with himself. His timebender would be thinking in an additional dimension, with regularity; Boris rarely considered it. The very act of using time magic seemed so terribly strategic. For that, there was a strategic motive behind undoing a village. Boris slapped his palm against the book with realization.

"Our timebender is instigating," he suggested. "You and I came here in response to rumors and found there is more to it. I do not know your history. Perhaps this timebinder knows of you, even if you have yet to meet. But I imagine, should we seek, we should find our culprit with little effort on our part. And this is a path I must walk, for I stay the course of divine measure."

Though an invitation to Silnimare to join him in the hunt, perhaps offering up her more appropriate tracking tactics, the words were cut into by the piercing metallic roar that shook the earth. Sands shifted and tumbled down onto them, and Boris quickly found himself shin deep in sand. He eased his way out, following the noise with his eyes as he did. Flying low was a blue dragon adorned in shining quicksilver plating, rocketing off toward the cliffs in the southwestern desert. It was painfully obvious that Boris was not wrong. Someone was hoping to be noticed.
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Silnimare
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Silnimare was deeply disturbed by the revelation of Chronomancy. It had long been nothing but a folk tale, a legend told around a tavern table. But the way that Boris spoke of it, he seemed quite certain of the possibility. He spoke of the entire affair being bait. Silnimare scowled,

"Lives are not bait, Boris. It's a lesson I'll be only too happy to teach this individual. Personally."

Before she could say any more, there was a rather sudden and strange interruption. A strange draconic beast, with a metallic sheen. She smiled, breaking her stoic demeanor. She looked towards Boris.

"Well, I've never been one to keep an audience waiting. Shall we be off, then, good sir?"

With that, she began making her way towards the cliff, her steps unsinking, and her shadow nonexistent.
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The Faunamancer
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She had said to him, "Lives are not bait, Boris. It's a lesson I'll be only too happy to teach this individual. Personally." In this moment she seemed so greatly aware of all that he was.

But when the dragon came, this much seemed forgotten. She was not so offended. Rather, she smiled.

"Well, I've never been one to keep an audience waiting. Shall we be off, then, good sir?"

Boris nodded, watched as she went with no shadow, stepping across the sand with such control that it couldn't take her. The Faunamancer was so very unsure. Was she a goddess? A ghost? How did she seem so apart and yet so present?

Not to be outdone, Boris channeled a spell and rose a few feet off the ground. He brushed his shoulders, a somatic measure to call a cantrip that shook the sand from his clothes. Then he floated ahead to catch up to her.

"Did you see the armor that dragon was wearing?" he asked her. "Who do you suppose built it?"
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