[Jim+Nightshade [size30 I don't imagine there will be much time left, everything is growing dark so quickly. Every ritual, every spell so far has failed; the three of them can only hold off our impending doom for so long.]]
[Jim+Nightshade [size30 The fight has certainly taken its toll on our most powerful, even the mage isn't as strong as he used to be. It won't be long now...until I see all those that have passed before me.]]
[Jim+Nightshade [size30 Godspeed to all of you, may the Goddess take mercy on your souls.]]
After looking through a box of her deceased father's things, ____ came across an old, nearly falling apart journal. The date of its creation was unknown, but obviously a few centuries old at the very least, leaving ___ curious as to what it contents pertain. Cracking the old book open and looking over is yellowed pages, she discovered the existence and possible destruction of an ancient, magical kingdom with vague directions to it written in the back of the old book. Wanting to see it for herself, ___ sets out to discover Evermore and learn of the dark secrets within its walls. Of course, unbeknownst to her, some of the spirits from that time and battle are still around, waiting for someone to come and help them and ultimately lift the curse that binds them to this world.
(X) The Girl with the Journal - I would prefer to be adventurous, obviously, with a bit of personality. Please keep in mind when designing your character that she is a modern day person. I would prefer this to be a girl but if you're hell-bent on making it a dude and can convince me of such, then it could happen.
(x)The Handler / The Guardsman - Was the person in charge of caring for the princess and making sure no harm came to her. Also is aware of every room in the castle as well as secret passages. Can perform basic/light magic.
(X) The Adviser - The most intellectual person of the kingdom. Can perform intermediate magic.
(x) The Mage - Has more magical skills than the rest but less hand to hand combat skills. Can perform advanced magic.
[b Personality:] Quirky and Adventurous, She is well mannered and has a tiny complex, he hugest flaw, when she starts talking, she doesn't pick up on the social cue for "Shut Up".
[b Short Bio:] Being born to the Cross family was a blessing she was loved by aunts and uncles, grandparents and family friends. She grew like any other girl, fast. To fast her mom would say. She had learned the flute, violin, and piano by the age of 9. She was doing concerts at 10 and 11 before middle school. Then her life turned upside down at 14... Her mother, her teacher was pregnant and this pregnancy was very troublesome. She fought hard. The doctor told her 1 week before the due date that the baby had no heart beat... crushed and heartbroken Amelia had to deliver anyway. The labor was 27 hours long and the heartbreak was to much for her... Amelia... Evelynn's mother had died moments later with her baby in her arms. This tragedy left only Evelynn and her father. The first few months were quiet as John. Her father worked up the strength mentally to clean the nursery out. It slowly became a spare room. 8th grade came up faster than expected and she was in band and of coarse first chair for the flute. She was humble about it though. Always nice and a bit nerdy thanks to her dad's love for all things Sci-fi and Fantasy. She went to her first dance and was happy a boy had asked her though she wasnt sure if it was meant as a romantic gesture. She dated him and then she was forced by self hate to leave him. Life was hard and she found out the hard way. No one knew not even her father, who's health declined slowly through depression and working to hard... She was raped by a "friend" and so her 2 year relationship with the boy she went to that dance with was ruined. She was the stupid damsels for a time and then throughout high school she spent more time at home with friends occasionally she tried to stay in band but flunked out for lack of trying. She handed her day the flute and never touched the piano or her mom's violin again. Her senior uear came around and her father had gotten so I'll that she had to switch to home school for the last semester to help care for him. She promised him all A's and that's what he got. Roughly one year later he declined so very rapidly and his final wishes were that everything was hers, and that she play him the lullaby... The same lullaby her mother had taught her that they hummed to her as a baby, and the baby in her mother's belly. Her eyes full of tears she asked home one question, "Which instrument Papa" he pointed to the flute near the window at the far side of his room. She smiled through tears and only nodded to him. She began to play...
A few days later she was looking through his things...
[b Preferred Weapon:] Due to drastic changes in her body structure, Annabelle possesses powerful front legs and sharp appendages on her back for crushing and mutilating respectively.
[b Personality:] Annabelle is irresponsible in the extreme. Annabelle shows very little initiative to do anything outside of what others will tell her to do, and will follow orders unquestioningly. However, once she begins she often pays little attention to the welfare of others and will single-mindedly pursue a goal that she is given. This generally entails her reading up on every single available piece of literature on the subject and thus has built up a sizable body of knowledge. Finds that obeying orders for every aspect of her life relieves her of any personal responsibility, something she almost compulsively seeks out. Extremely pliable personality hidden beneath easy-going and rather cheeky exterior. Extremely loyal.
[b Short Bio:] Annabelle never enjoyed her intelligence. She was born with an eidetic memory and a remarkable ability to accomplish anything put before her. Unfortunately, she was spoiled for it, and raised to be remarkably irresponsible and lazy. So when she dropped out of Evermore's most prestigious academy, it should have shocked no one. Unsurprisingly however, this baffled all of her instructors who found her to be affable, serious, and most of all, competent in every field. Unbeknownst to them, it was during her years at the Academy that she found that if she simply acceded to her classmate’s every whim - whether it be taking their chores, doing their homework, or writing their entire research paper for them - it was much less exhausting than constantly living up to the expectations that had been set upon her. So when a frustrated classmate told her to drop out, she did. However, directionless, she found herself soon in the king’s own employ, a measure both to save her family’s face and one that was highly recommended by the instructors at the academy, and she was glad to serve mindlessly once again. However, under the king, she found herself free of suffocating expectations for the first time, and began to develop a personality. However, above all, she developed a loyalty for what few friends she could find. Then the Evil blighted the land. The kingdom needed her multitude of talents to rally to her defense, and Annabelle was all too eager to oblige. Working in capacity as a mage, strategist, librarian, diplomat, adviser, and even as an occasional assassin, she was devoted to the cause. But alas, the kingdom’s defenses proved inadequate against the encroaching Evil. In a desperate measure, she underwent a ritual she had researched from an ancient cult that worshiped spiders in order to gain the power of their god, the Spider Mother. In an act of sacrilege before the Goddess, she sacrificed a numberless amount of children and elderly before the Spider Mother’s altar, and she was transformed. However, she greatly underestimated the effect that the Spider’s Blessing would have upon her. Horribly disfigured and transformed into a half-human, half-spider being, her sanity was nearly shattered and she could do no more than writhe in pain as the kingdom collapsed around her. With sheer will, she managed to wrest control and gain the curse's power, but awoke only to the ruins of her kingdom and the corruption of her humanity. An abomination, she now seeks to topple the Evil by any means, as a final act of fealty to her dead King.
[b Personality:] Owl is quiet and shy, though imposing stature and helmet make it seem more menacing than he really is. In reality he is more of a 'mother hen' figure and will do anything to protect those dear to him. When aggravated he becomes bossy and stubborn, often going on tirades about the rules being broken. While he has a love for rules and order, he does have a more playful side that can be brought out by giving him someone to care for in a non-dire situation.
[b Short Bio:] Tyreel wanted to be in the royal guard since he was a child. Being born into a noble family allowed him to fulfill this role, begging at a young age to begin sword fighting lessons. He was nowhere near a natural at it, but through hard work and determination became one of the best guards for his age. He settled comfortably once he became on of the guards in the castle. That is, until he saw the princess. He was instantly drawn to protect her, feeling like the magic in his body thrummed to life whenever he thought of being close to her. It wasn't love, he told himself, merely a desire to defend something so precious and important, to be not just some guard but the guardsman of the princess herself. So he continued to work.
Seasons passed and he trained his magic and physical prowess, determined to prove himself worthy to defend the royal court. He even earned himself the nickname of "The Morning Owl" due to his preference for light magic and his frequent midnight training. During this time, he took every chance he could to guard the royal chambers. Anything to be near one of the most important people in all the kingdom. Eventually he got his wish; he was to defend to Princess, to be at her every beck and call to protect her from any that wished her harm.
When the fighting started, he stayed by her side for as long as he could, determined to protect her. But the darkness was growing too quickly, and he was forced to abandon his post to fight alongside others, certain he would return to the princess when they were victorious. He fought until his very last breath was cut short with a massive head trauma. The next he awoke, his world was in ruins, and his purpose failed.
[b Preferred Weapon:] Carries a staff, infused with magic from the Goddess.
[b Personality:] Seth is a very shy individual at first, but warms up greatly once one gets to know him. He is always putting others needs ahead of his own and very intuitive about others feelings. He is not afraid to speak his mind, however can be quiet about it, and is always willing to help. Still, he is a fun-loving child and tends to be insecure around older officials about his young age. Seth carries around a worn, stuffed dog with him wherever he goes, a security measure from his early days in the kingdom that he never got rid of.
[b Short Bio:] Granted an unusual talent to peek briefly into the past and the future, Seth found himself entering the kingdom of Evermore at the early age of 6. He began to study magic and gain a better handle on his gifts and quickly became the youngest person to hold such a position in the history of the kingdom. Seth tried hard to keep the castle and village peaceful, going out of his way to keep the kingdom harmonious and fair. It went well until the Evil Force began to destroy the kingdom and everyone in it. He and the two other powerful staff of the castle did everything in their power to stave off the darkness but, ultimately, failed. He still hopes that the help that they so desperately needed will come again, this time to lift the darkness from Evermore and restore its light.
+ The Roleplay will start with _____ discovering the actual castle. I imagine this to be the best starting point so everyone can be involved.
+ I am looking for literacy! I will start the character count at 1000, I believe this to be very reasonable for our kind of RP. Grammar skills are a must, nothing angers me more when I find the whole post "typd lik ths." This being said, I would also ask that you give me a small sample of your writing , preferably something rather recent in order for me to get a handle on your writing style.
+ I would prefer a post from each person at least once a week. I understand that everyone has lives and I am, in no way, any exception. If you're having problems coming up with something, please let me know. I don't want to have thought that you ditched or fell off the planet or something.
+ Do not join, post one entry or post for a week, then disappear. This drives me insane and, if you do it, you'll be booted out and your character up for grabs.
Evelynn watched for reactions from everyone, her announcement could have been taken a few ways. Not all were good. She was in luck though. Annabelle spoke up first after hearing the news, [+red “Oh yes, your grandfather knew us,”] she stated and then continued on with her thought. Evelynn noticed Owl staring at her, and Seth for that matter as well. She watched trying to listen to Annabelle go on about how her grandfather didn't get the last laugh? Something like that. Though Annabelle continued, Evelynn was lost in thoughts again. A memory warming in her brain. Though it hadn't completely come to her yet.
She listened to the best of her ability, and then Evelynn's attention turned to Owl as, suddenly he moved, though rhythmically with motions his soul seemed to have memorized. Owl drew his sword and knelt on one knee in front of Eve. He really was amazingly tall. Even knelt down Owl was still her height. He kept one hand on his hilt with the tip of the large blade on the ground. He began quietly, [b “In light and dark, amongst the laughs and the cries ... ”] he was saying something from memory of his heart, Eve could tell it, [b “You are my brother, your blood is mine, and my life shall be spilled out for those in your line ... ”] He continued with his head low and not looking at her at all. Then, he raised his head, and through the dented helmet a strong light shown and he was looking her in the eyes. [b “Welcome home, blood of my kin. Evermore has held its breath for you.”] his free hand raised to clasp a fist over the center of his chest plate, she felt chills rush through her body. It was a beautiful welcome. She didn't know which feeling was strongest at this point. Happiness, relief, needing to pee. It was all kinds of mixed up for her.
Annabelle spoke up sharply with warning of something else nearby, something not as friendly as the four currently present for this conversation. Owl stood, and as he was readying to leave with Anna he stopped and held out his hand towards Evelynn. She watched in awe as light swirled around his fingertips, weaving itself into an orb of light, soft and comforting, and now she knew, familiar. He took her hand and placed the orb there, it was warm, and so beautiful she looked like she may cry. Then, in the same moment he nodded to Seth and left off with Annabelle. Evelynn was so engrossed in what Owl was doing 'for' her that she had hardly heard Seth say something to Annabelle.
[p "Granpa." her small voice rang over the garden. "Yes dear, what is it?" he called out from the wheelchair he was barred to unwillingly, but he was used to it. "I can do it, look, look!" she ran around the corner with a small light in her hands. It had no shape, it was still uncontrolled and weak, but this poor girl wasn't even trying really. "Sing me a song and focus on that light sweet girl" Kano said with pride in his eyes and voice to the then eight year old. She looked at him and began to sing "Light up the dark, oh, the love in your heart is the brightest light you will ever know" she sang and the light grew brighter and had a light pink and blue that blended to purple in the center "so light up the dark, with all your love" she smiled to her grandfather and Kano smiled back to her, and grabbed her hands. "Our secret, right darling?" he asked the usually question. She smiled and hugged him tight and then he gave her a freshly watered flower, and she walked off. ]
[+grey "We're moving too?"] she asked mostly to herself since as soon as Owl turned away, Seth was at her side ready to lead her away from the hallway they had been in for what felt like at least an hour. She nodded in agreement, not much choice, though she was more comfortable with that now. Seth led the way down the hallway and to a room, he shot her an inspiriting smile, [+purple "Annabelle and Owl can handle it, you have nothing to worry about,"] he quietly added for Evelynn's comfort.[+purple "I'm sure this place will be more comfortable for you than standing out there."], he said as they made their way down and entered a mostly untouched room.
It felt like a different place, though the air was still the same. The windows were almost completely intact and the intricately made stained glass were full of stories, though she knew not what they were about. The colors were lovely though. Red velvet-like draperies were around her, and this dead and quiet place almost seemed alive for a second, but sure enough as Eve glanced over her shoulder the Hallway was still as quiet as before. [+grey "This is beautiful"] she said under her breath.
Seth wasn't expecting the words Evelynn spoke, explaining to them how the book had come to be in her possession and, just as important, her lineage. In all honestly, he imagined the book had been lost in the world outside and that Kano didn't make the trip. He was new to his job and hadn't gained the muscle mass that most of the other guards had nor did he have their knowledge of combat. It was surprising to see that he had survived, had a family, and finally completed his mission. The boy's violet eyes continued to watch their guest as he thought and listened to his comrade's words, taking in the structure of her face and frame. She was of small build, just as Kano was, and had the same deep but sparkling eyes. Her jawline wasn't as prominent, most likely due to gender differences, and her hair was two or three shades lighter. The closer he looked, though, he could see it. She was from Kano's lineage. She was one of them.
This meant she may have powers she was never even aware of.
His gaze shifted down to Evelynn's hands as she held out the tattered but treasured toy, offering it back to the boy. A small smile appeared on his lips at this, slowly taking it back and placing the book where Kimchi had previously been. Since she was Kano's family, she would need that book in order to keep her safe. Did she know how to use it? Seth tucked the toy dog back into his robe and out of sight, a hand moving up afterwards to push his bangs back from his eyes. If she didn't, he might be able to teach her a thing or two. They all probably could.
The air around them grew dense, a chill creeping up the boy's spine. Something was coming, he could feel the shift in the atmosphere..see it even. When he was living, Seth's uncanny ability for foresight easily gained him the position of mage, even at a very young age. As his predictions came true and his magic became immense, it was clear to Evermore that he was meant for that position. In death he retained some of those abilities, though it seemed that his premonitions had lessened some. Such was the case with this.
Mere seconds later, Annabelle announced the danger that the boy had felt, instructing Owl to accompany her while Seth stayed with Evelynn. If there was anyone who could keep her safe, it was the boy. While Owl turned his attention to the blonde girl for a moment, Seth shifted his gaze to Annabelle while quietly picking up his staff from where it rested against the wall nearby. [+purple "I'll take her further down the hall to what remains of the sanctuary,"] he told her quietly. Even if he didn't tell her their future location, he knew she could find them with ease. [+purple "Since most of it's still intact, she'll be safe there."] Very few places in Evermore's castle weren't touched by the darkness in some way, be it falling apart or destroyed completely, but a select few still remained in the condition they were in the day that the kingdom had fell. Seth had taken a few precautions once he caught wind of the horror, placing protection spells over them. He had planned to put another spell in place, protecting those souls that entered them from being harmed, however he was murdered before he could get that far. How unfortunate for them. At least now they had some semblance of the life they had before.
Once Owl had given her a light, Seth moved beside her for a moment to make sure she was ready before leading her down the end of the hall to the protected room. To reassure her, he gave her a small smile. [+purple "Annabelle and Owl can handle it, you have nothing to worry about,"] he told her quietly but in a soft tone. [+purple "I'm sure this place will be more comfortable for you than standing out there."]
Owl's eyes dimmed in sorrow as Seth explained the fall of the kingdom. He missed the beauty of their home, missed when the humming flowers would bloom around the training grounds, when he would sit in warm sunshine as he watched over the princess while she was tutored. Everything was all wrong now. He couldn't remember the feeling of sun on his face. He couldn't even remember what he looked like before this world fell. Sure, he'd found his own corpse before, but had never removed his helmet. Owl had even avoided that entire area since the first time he stumbled across his body. The one thing he'd taken was his ring. It was familiar to him, and helped him keep hold of what memories he retained.
He did remember Kano, to some extent. He remembered when he had first come to the royal guard not long before the fall. He was the newest recruit, after all. Owl had helped train him in his oaths and learning the paths of the castle, had been there with him when he'd sworn his loyalty to the princess and king.
The girl was silent for a moment before she spoke again. And when she did, he was confused before his eyes brightened. How had he not seen it before…? With her eyes no longer wide in terror, he could see the familiarity of her eyes. Kano had looked at him with the same wonder when Owl had first shown him the secret passageways.
He seemed to go a bit limp, staring at her. She was one of them, then. She was of Evermore blood, she was blood of his sword-kin. Which meant…
Owl drew his sword and dropped to one knee before her, still up to her shoulders even knelt with his head bowed, and kept one hand on his hilt with the top of the large sword on the ground.
[b “In light and dark, amongst the laughs and the cries…”] he started softly, reciting the oath of kinship shared with all royal guardsmen, [b “You are my brother, your blood is mine, and my life shall be spilled out for those in your line…”] Owl kept his eyes on the ground for a bit, dimmed to almost not even be lights. Then he looked back up to her, eyes a steady brightness within his helmet. [b “Welcome home, blood of my kin. Evermore has held its breath for you.”] his free hand raised to clasp a fist over the center of his chest plate.
No sooner had he recited his oath than Annabelle warned them of an intruder. He stood back to his full height, one hand holding his sword and the other moving to pull his shield off his back. Before grabbing it his hand paused, and he stretched it towards Evelyn with the palm up. Whisps of light bled out of his finger tips to coalesce into a small, solid orb of light. It was a light token, made so it would grow brighter when the holder's magic channeled through it so they could have light in dark places. He figured that surely she would know what it was, even an outsider should know this level of simple magic. He gently took her hand and placed it in her palm, the orb slightly warm to the touch, before he turned to his arachnid companion and grunted in agreement, giving Seth and the girl a final gentle look and nod before going after Annabelle.
He had been given a new purpose, and his stance showed it. There was someone new here, something in the doldrum of their existence. For the first time in what felt like forever, he felt like a guard again. On his way to defend the inhabitants from an unknown intruder. He could almost hear the clanking armor of his fellow guards around him and his footfalls came faster. He had someone new to protect now. He would not fail Kano, he would not fail the inhabitants of this land again.
Soon enough, he could hear it. It was fast, whatever it was. And it had magic. The pressure as they got closer was choking, the feeling of a vile, scavenging creature. And when they rounded the corner, he found he was right. The creature looked like an enormous leech, only with hooved legs like a horse and a thick curling tail. It took up half the width of the hallways, tearing at a wall with its toothy mouth as though looking for something. It hadn't seemed to notice them, continuing to grind away at the already crumbling wall. He raised his shield, sword held at the ready to fight the monster. He wracked his damaged mind to try and think of if he knew this creature or had seen it before.
[tab] Sitting still, Simone watched the exchange unfold between Seth and the new girl. The mage parted with the stuffed animal, but did it rather reluctantly. Seems that it meant quite a bit to them, and Annabelle realized that the boy was eleven years old when he was run through by a pack of barbarians. She felt a pang of regret. The Advisor made a mental note to make it up to him some time.
[tab] In the meantime however, he seemed to be quite content with his new prize. Something about Evelyn being an integral part of a defense. The big man had shifted behind the little mage, evidentially still not comfortable about the teen.
[tab] Seth seemed extremely vulnerable. Begging the girl not to leave - as if she had a choice in the matter - lamenting about the punishment that was put upon the trio, really cranking up the waterworks. Was it an act? More importantly to Annabelle, the girl mentioned a certain someone.
[tab] “He was my grandfather. My grandfather knew all of you." Like hell he did.
[tab] Kano. Of all the people to survive the fall of the kingdom, it was Kano. Annabelle agitatedly scratched one of her massive forelegs with a claw. Biggest, kindest, most lovable oaf in the whole castle, granted, but the boy couldn’t even beat Annabelle in a foot race, much less escape the malevolent Darkness that consumed Evermore’s best knights. If the princess could send that greenhorn out, why in the Spider Mother’s name would she send him and not someone more qualified?
[tab] Oh yes. Everybody else was dead.
[tab] Annabelle made a sour face. She realized she was throwing around some very accusatory words for someone that spent the Fall in a curse-laden coma. Best to shut one’s mouth while in the proverbial glass house.
[tab] The arachne did have opportunity to be marginally upset that the [i princess], had found a way to not only deliver a message out, but also contained hints on how to turn back the tide of Darkness while the half-spider “genius” found a grand total of nothing in the thousand years of waiting. She did eat a large amount of cockroaches though.
[tab] Past the modest disgruntlement, however, she felt almost glad - or approximating it; she hadn’t felt too chipper the last millennia or two - a knot of tension relaxing in her stomach.
[tab] She had looked around the castle when she woke up. Mostly she walked. It had been difficult to master her web-slinging abilities then, or to get used to being a literal nightmare given flesh. But she walked around the deserted hall. And looked for - she didn’t like to admit it, but also ate - bodies. She was hungry then.
[Tab] They filled the castle, knights, courtesans, nobles, slaughtered to the last. Some she knew. Annabelle tended to avoid eating the ones she knew.
[tab] But she never did find the three bodies she was looking for: the king’s, the princess’, and Kano’s. As the years turned to centuries, her hope diminished, but for living proof of at least one of them escaping invigorated her. While it probably would have been best to hear good news about the princess or the king, it helped that the cute one got away.
[tab] If Annabelle’s conscious were still there, she would reprimand herself for thinking that about someone who had kids and grandkids. She contented herself with a mental image of the king shaking his head disapprovingly.
[tab] Annabelle zipped up towards the ceiling on a string. She manipulated the silk until she hovered above the three, her hair hanging loosely down, barely above Evelyn’s head.
[tab] “Oh yes, your grandfather knew us,” the half-spider mused, “I tutored the boy. I believe the king instructed me to ‘make him regret opening his eyes every time he woke up.’ Or at least that’s what I heard.”
[tab] Annabelle hovered lower between the motley group and produced a black spider from her hand. She watched the creature crawl onto her finger, reminiscing.
[tab] “Once I filled his pillow with some of these handsome fellows and rigged it to blow open on my command. I did that on no sleep and before I turned into [i this.]” She looked fondly off in the distance, the spider escaping into some dark crevasse in Annabelle’s carapace. “It was an inappropriate relationship for a tutor and student, but he never told me to stop, so we had our fun.” She turned and grabbed Evelyn by the shoulders.
[tab] “So. Where did you come from? I want to know. I want to see the look on that sorry bastard Kano’s face when he sees me still alive. Then it will be my turn to call him old when he's all wrinkly and I look… like this…” Annabelle trailed off. She ascended slowly, grin fading from her face. The old guy wouldn’t want to see a reminder of his past. Especially one in a state like her own. He’s probably much happier living on his own without the knowledge that his personal tutor was now an overgrown spider.
[tab] “Also, there’s something in the castle,” she remarked aloud. The half-spider had felt something move. Long ago, she rigged the entire castle up with webbing so that if anything made so much of a twitch, she would know. Nothing had ever wandered into the castle besides mice and other vermin. Until now.
[tab] She felt ancient threads snap and felt her webs tremble. Her silk was as strong as steel. Whatever had wandered into the castle, it was big. And moving extremely fast.
[tab] “Seth, we’re going to need to postpone this touching reunion with the quarter-breed,” she said anxiously, “it appears that Evelyn has attracted some rather rude castle guests. Large and fast.” She paused, listening again. “Fours legs or eight legs,” she decided. It was ever so difficult to tell.
[tab] She swung down next to Owl, tapping him on the pauldron, “We should move, big guy. We don’t want Seth here blowing up the castle, so we should probably take care of whatever’s coming.” The floor was slightly rumbling now, no need for webs to hear it.
[tab] Annabelle turned to Evelyn and Seth, “Well, you two enjoy yourselves. Especially you, Kano’s dear granddaughter. I did make a bet with him.” The half spider bounded towards the entrance, tensing for a fight, a big smile plastered across her face.
[tab] If she could see Kano, she would be oh so happy. She remembered the bet that the two made when the Darkness first broke out. If one of them ever - somehow - had kids, then the other would look after the little children. She always knew Kano was going to be the one to get laid.
[tab] Time to carry out her duty. She turned back and called to the guardsman. “Come now Owl, let’s show our guests a good time!”
Evelynn sat there in silence as Owl asked the question. Why did she come, the book said all those awful things about what was happening and yet here she was. It was so old looking after all. She had hoped it wasn't as bad now. That they had defeated the omniscient darkness it spoke of. She was wrong, and apparently the opposite took place and the darkness defeated them? The mage spoke up and went on to explain why she was here for her.
[+purple "The Princess' words led her here,"] he said to his companions quietly, [+purple "When the chaos ensued and the darkness began to settle over Evermore, Her Majesty wrote this book as a plea for help. She described the terror that was happening here, included a map and directions for someone to find us from the outside world as well as some spells for a defense. She gave it to me after Owl's demise and told me to deliver it to Kano, her newest soldier, and instruct him through the secret passage to bypass the darkness."] she notice him clutching the book and assumed it was just because he was accustomed to having the dog. This made her stare at the dog as she thought of the name he just spoke, [+blue 'Kano, as in grandpa'] she couldn't believe he was from this place, but she had to wait to ask and be sure. In the back of her mind she began to remember a lot of things ...
[div A small Evelynn ran around a man in a wheel chair and played in a yard. "Granpa, granpa, look!" the little girl ran to give the man a flower that was blue and white and freshly bloomed, but not a full blossom "Eve my dear princess" he spoke to her quietly "My girl this flower is almost a pretty as you are." she remembered on of her fondest memories of a man whom her whole life had been in that chair. He always told eve she was the brightest light, and most beautiful girl he knew. She loved him very much and spent part of her life living with him. A war injury had left him paralyzed from the waist down. He never spoke of it, and every time it came up he ranted for days about failing his princess. At the time a young Eve thought it was her, he had meant, with how he couldn't play with her and do other things. Then she remembered the fantastic stories. Her grandfather always told them with such detail she believed them more than she did the life around her everyday. He spoke of a kingdom drowned in love and happiness, and full of overwhelming light. A King who was kind and knights that all protected the people and their princess with honor. He spoke of magic and of spells, all things a fairy-tale needed, only this wasn't. He said he was there, and he saw the princess more than once. She was very kind and beautiful and that was all he would say about her. His stories were indeed wondrous. She remembered him so fondly. The she recalled his final days, he was mad with rage and constantly crying. "I have failed." he would say over and over "My mission I couldn't" he would beat his legs and damn himself to hell. She remembered clearly that his legs where why he couldn't complete his most important mission. He had lost use of them and couldn't find who he was sent for. Of coarse ... It all started to fit together.]
[+purple "A long time ago, Evermore didn't look like this. It was vibrant...beautiful,"] the mage began to explain directly to Eve now which pulled her from her memories back to reality.[+purple "Her Majesty made sure all her subjects were thriving and happy, and it was our jobs to serve her and her Kingdom to the best of our abilities. But something happened...an evil fell over the Kingdom. We failed to protect our Princess and those who loved her. This is our punishment, I think, for failing so terribly when she needed us the most. My name is Seth, the guard is Owl, and you've briefly met Annabelle already."] he paused and then his face looked very sad and his words were quiet [+purple "Please....don't run away. We need you..."]
Eve didn't speak until the very end, [+grey "Here Seth,"] she said holding out the dog smiling. She hoped it would cheer him up, as she could now see he was not wanting to harm her. None of them were she assumed. [+grey "I know how I got that book"] she said pointing to it, and then speaking clearly again. [+grey "I can't believe this whole time I thought it was an elaborate bed time story."] Her blue-grey eyes started to swell ever so faintly with tears. [+grey "Kano, is a name I know well."] She looked to the group of people she thought were all just stories, [+grey "He was my Grandfather?"] she spoke almost questioning the title as it left her lips. She pick her left hand up from her side with a relieved sigh as all tension left her shoulders. She brushed the blonde hair back from her eyes and looked with a new sense of wonder at all of the people around her. She knew them, just differently than she saw them now. [+grey My grandfather knew all of you."]
Bright amethyst eyes looked at the dog a little while longer before he raised them to the blonde's face, feeling a comforting and heavy hand on his shoulder. Owl knew how important that toy was to Seth; in life he kept it close by and (usually) in easy reach. He took magnificent care of it, giving it a thorough washing weekly and repairing small tears that appeared from use. In death he became even more protective of the small creature, usually protecting it in his robe. It held up well through the many years it had seen and was still in pretty good shape despite the damage it had undergone. Letting it go were as if he were letting go of the Princess. He remembered the day she had given it to him, Seth nothing more than a scared child when he arrived at the Kingdom. Kimchi was in her arms when she greeted him at the gates, the woman even kneeling down to make herself closer to his height and offered her new mage this small comfort. Since that moment he had grown close to her and to Owl in the process, seeing as the male rarely ever left her side, and giving Kimchi away to another was like heartbreak. Still, this girl needed it more than he did, so he was willing to give it to her for a time.
The mage remained close to Owl, leaning against him a little, as he watched and listened to their new visitor give them a few answers. Evelynn still seemed afraid of her new surroundings and the three that still inhabited it though he didn't blame her. What a sight they must be! Vivid eyes looked down at the book that he still held in his arms once their guest mentioned where it came from. Where did her father get it, he wondered? When Kano left the kingdom with this book, what happened to him? Did he come across danger and it was taken from him or did he forget about his duty and move on with this life? A faint frown pulled at the boy's lips as he thought about these things, his arms tightening a bit around the old book.
[+purple "The Princess' words led her here,"] he informed Owl and Annabelle after a moment of silence. His voice was a bit quiet, even for the shy mage. [+purple "When the chaos ensued and the darkness began to settle over Evermore, Her Majesty wrote this book as a plea for help. She described the terror that was happening here, included a map and directions for someone to find us from the outside world as well as some spells for a defense. She gave it to me after Owl's demise and told me to deliver it to Kano, her newest soldier, and instruct him through the secret passage to bypass the darkness."]
His arms loosened a bit from around the book as he realized how tightly he was holding it and looked up at Evelynn. Perhaps if he informed her about their situation a little more, she could help them...somehow. [+purple "A long time ago, Evermore didn't look like this. It was vibrant...beautiful,"] he started softly. [+purple "Her Majesty made sure all her subjects were thriving and happy, and it was our jobs to serve her and her Kingdom to the best of our abilities. But something happened...an evil fell over the Kingdom. We failed to protect our Princess and those who loved her. This is our punishment, I think, for failing so terribly when she needed us the most. My name is Seth, the guard is Owl, and you've briefly met Annabelle already."]
He bit his lip faintly afterwards, pausing for a moment before speaking quietly again. [+purple "Please....don't run away. We need you..."]
Owl turned to Annabelle, a low growl sounding from somewhere in the helmet, fist falling with the piece of fabric still clenched in the fingers. He did not challenge her though. As much as his mind was muddled, he remembered that he respected the half-woman. Besides, she was right. And he hadn't seemed to make the girl do anything other than cry. A clever tactic to lower their defenses maybe? Was she really as innocent as her tears said? He eyed the flute on her back suspiciously. It was no sword or lance, but it could be some kind of magical conductor much like Seth's staff. With that in mind he kept his hand on the hilt of his sword.
He watched warily as Annabelle cleaned this girl up, keeping her squarely in his vision even as his head throbbed more painfully than usual. When Annabelle suggested that Seth give up his dog, Owl could do little more than look at the spider woman in his own version of shock. Nothing changed really, it was always more of a feeling or intensity from his lights.
Asking Seth to give up his dog was like asking Owl to take off his helmet! Surely it was impossible, Seth would never give up-
The shock grew stronger when Seth really did allow Kimchi to leave his hold. What in the kingdom could there be about this girl that made the little mage let his guard down like that? And Annabelle was generally relaxed and lazy, but a new person -a living person- should have gotten some other response, right? Had she been this laid back when she was alive? Owl tried to think back but the sharp pain in his head caused him to wince, hand leaving his sword to clutch the back of his caved helmet. He stopped thinking and it went away again to its usual dull ache.
Now with a quieter mind he looked to the book that Seth held. It was written in the Princess's hand, alright. He could pick it out anywhere. The way she swirled her 't's, how the tails of her 'g's always swept underneath the letters after them, the hard lines of her upper-case letters. He spotted some words in the faded lines. It was a book meant to get help, written during the time of the darkness. So that was why this girl was here... he didn't know when the princess had sent out that book, but here it was in the hands of a girl who looked like she'd expected to be home before nightfall.
He sighed and let his hand fall from the back of his head. Instead it went to Seth's shoulder, a comforting gesture. Owl knew how much the dog meant to him. It was a gift from the princess, just like his ring had been. And if Seth trusted this girl that much, then he would try to hear her out. If anything went wrong, there was a half spider woman, the most powerful mage in the kingdom, and the personal royal guard to stop her. With two of them already dead and one who may as well have been, she wouldn't get far.
That being said he was still quite nervous of the whole situation. [b "Seth, remain close to me"] the guard ordered as softly as he could, needing to have some control of the situation. If there was still a royal guard commander, he would have apprehended this girl and taken her to a holding room until it could be decided what her intentions were and what to do with her. But there was no commander, there wasn't even an army to be commander of. For a moment he thought he could see the hallways they stood in as it was, with bright lights and guards chatting with one another as they made their rounds. But his head throbbed and the memory faded to be replaced with the current situation. The dark hall with blood stained walls, the only living ones there being a stranger and a corrupted adviser.
He stepped forwards when the girl asked her question, looking down at her from his towering position. The question put him a bit at ease. If she had been searching for them, then she would not ask that question. It did seem as though she really had just found the book and followed its directions to this place. [b "Yes."]
The answer was short and stern, though far softer and less threatening than before. He turned his head to look make sure Seth was still behind him, likely exposing his head wound to the girl, then looked back. [b "Why are you here? We have not seen an outsider in..."] he tried to think of how long it had been. When had they woken in this state? His head throbbed and he sighed. [b "A very long time, I think."]
Evelynn chocked back tears as she watched the things around her progress. The spider woman [+red "Annabelle"] removed her binding silk from her arms. Seconds after being freed Eve watched the large man become even more intimidating. His back straightened, and he moved one hand to the hilt of his sword while simultaneously squaring his posture. The ghostly figures in front of her saw the book. It was as thugh the large one had lost all sanity, and his eyes brightened intensely. He sounded so angry and Eve's stomach turned as he lifted her up by the front of her blouse ferociously. Her feet were off the ground and she was peering into a helmet of glowing orbs that were in place of eyes. She closed her eyes tight. Fear made her mind run away from this place and she simply cried. He asked her a question, or maybe two. She couldn't think straight with all of the pressure around her. She was feeling sick again and still quietly sobbing. The Spider woman stepped forward and spoke in a tone that sounded ... interfering?
She cut away the cloth of Evelynn's shirt that the large spirit had, and she fell into the spiders grip. She was moved up and away from him; things were happening to fast for her to keep up. [+red I’ll be borrowing this now"] She heard the woman say, as she waved to [+green 'Owl'] and shot him an apologetic look. Eve could hardly make sense of up or down at this point. [+red “I see you didn't take to the webway too well then,”] Annabelle spoke softly to a terrified girl. The spider stood there her eyes looking Eve up and down and then she pulled her arms from under her robes. She removed the silk from Evelynn's face and anywhere else it stayed attached. Everything happened quickly and a bit roughly; eyes, face, mouth, all were cleaned with silk cloths. Even the inside got a strange and involuntary scrubbing. The taste of whatever she spat was somewhat minty. [+blue 'Thank you'] Eve thought appreciating the change. [+blue 'Much better than vomit'].
Evelynn was on her own set of shaking legs and being supported by this, now, not so menacing arachnid. Annabelle spoke [+red "You poor girl ... one must at the very least take into consideration their destination when preparing for a journey."] Anna looked to the flute on her back and then the tear in her shirt that she made when setting her free from, [+blue 'Owl']. She just realized now they all had their respective names, and as she did, she relaxed a bit. She was wrapped up in Annabelle's entirely too large for Eve, tent of a robe. It was soft though. She appreciated the warmth it gave most. She was asked again where she got the book. By the red haired boy this time. She took deep breaths trying to take everything in. [+red "... Let her play with that dog that I know you have."] Evelynn heard only the last part of the thought escape Annabelle's mouth. She was zoning out still. The boy stepped forward, after a notably long moment, and offered her a small stuffed animal, recognizably a dog from his robe. [+purple "This is Kimchi, he's my favorite,"] he told her comfortingly. [+purple "You ... can borrow him for a little while, if you like. Please take good care of him."] and so she accepted the dog and waited with it there in her hands ... She looked to each of them, [+blue 'I must be in shock'] she thought as her mind began to clear a bit from the haze it had been in caused by overwhelming fear. [+red “Welcome to [+blue Evermore]. I hope you're enjoying your stay.”] She said and Evelynn tried not to seem confused by a strangely out of place greeting giving all that had happened. [+grey "This is really it then"] she whispered softly to herself.
Finally she spoke up a tiny bit. She may as well answer the questions in order, to the best of her stressed memories ability. [+grey "... My name Evelynn"] she spoke quietly, but clearly, [+grey "I found the book in my father's belongings after ..."] she trailed off, but only for a second, [+grey "After his passing."] she didn't know where he had gotten it, and she knew they may ask. The small puppy was looking exceptionally inviting, despite it's tattered appearance. [+grey "I will be very careful, if you are sure.."] She said carefully caressing the dog. [+grey "Is this really [+blue Evermore?]"] she asked quietly. Looking to those around her. [+blue 'Seth, Annabelle, and Owl ...'] she made a mental note; [+blue 'not as bad as they appear, I hope.'] She forced a weak smile and awaited answers to her own two questions. She held the dog close and glanced momentarily down to her hands where it did lay. Though obviously old, you could tell it was made wonderfully. In addition to being taken care of. She thought of her own favorite stuffed animal at home and she felt tears warm the back of her eyes. [+blue 'Home'] she thought the singular word.
A small hand continued to flip through the ancient and yellowed pages, carefully looking over every page as he did so. So much information had been documented, things the girl who brought it here no doubt didn't understand. Included in this literature piece were notes on how the darkness had been growing, lists of those who had been influenced by it and those were remained true to the cause, detailed maps of both the castle and its grounds, a few spells and customary practices and, finally, an elaborate map and detailed instructions on how to reach the kingdom from any direction in a hundred mile radius. Her Majesty really had thought about everything when it came to finding someone to help them but obviously didn't plan on their savior arriving so late.
The boy's head lifted a bit as he heard Owl approach the girl, demanding to know how she came across this book. It was a good question, one Seth wondered as well. Still, he knew how intimidating the guard could be, especially in his full armor set, and knew they wouldn't get much out of her if she were scared of them. Carefully closing the book and tucking it into the crook of his arm, he slowly moved over to stand between Owl and Annabelle while watching the spider woman clean and (somewhat) care for their frightened visitor. He remembered when he was in a similar position to her, new to a giant world with frightening faces, not knowing what would be around the next corner. Luckily for him, he had the Princess to guide and nurture him through his stay at Evermore while making friends with those as powerful as him. Not in magic, of course. The small frame held enough magic in it to easily bring down an entire kingdom. The others, though, were powerful in other ways.
[+purple "Please, tell us where you've gotten this book,"] Seth asked their visitor quietly. The mage's voice matched his form: petite and soft. Very rarely was it ever raised and, when it was, some kind of harm was about to come to someone. Despite that, he was a somewhat shy and sensitive boy with childish tendencies.
The air was quiet for a bit, the once living staff seeming to eagerly await her answers before the adviser to the King had spoken. [+“Seth, she seems a tad afraid. I think it's because she’s lacking a stuffed animal or something. Let her play with that dog that I know you have.”] Amethyst eyes flickered over to her quickly while defensively shying closer to Owl. She wanted him to give up Kimchi?! Had she lost her mind?! A small hand raised while continued to stare at her in silence, resting over the tattered animal cradled beneath his robes protectively. The toy had been a present from the Princess upon his arrival and he treasured it as if it were made of diamonds. To him, it was. It was the last connection he had to the kindest woman in his life, the one who looked out for him and defended him against his own demons. Seth saw her briefly when he looked at those popped threads and ripped fabric and the thought of giving his beloved treasure to someone else, even for a moment, was enough to make him panic internally.
But was that how Her Majesty would want him to behave? He could just imagine the words she would say, how she expected him to be inviting of all guests within these castle walls. She would want him to show this stranger kindness. A quiet sigh of defeat fell from his small chest, a matching hand reaching inside the fold of his robe and carefully pulling out the torn toy. He looked down at it for a few moments before lifting his eyes to the blonde and moving closer to her. Gently he lay the dog in her hands, biting his lip faintly afterwards.
[+purple "This is Kimchi, he's my favorite,"] he told her softly. [+purple "You...can borrow him for a little while, if you like. Please take good care of him."]
[tab] Annabelle glanced at Seth and Owl. The two were dead, so far as she could tell, with their respective mortal wounds in plain sight.
[tab] So was she, in a sense. Her heart still beat on occasion, but there was no soul. No direction. For Owl, his direction was the princess. For her, it was the king.
[tab] His final command - more of a prayer, really - had been to protect the kingdom. Annabelle liked to believe that what she did had been following those orders. However, she [i knew] that the king would have been disgusted. He would have given her that look that would flash on his face whenever she took to something unsavory without a moment's hesitation. For just a fraction of a second, where he furrowed his brow and curled the corner of his lip. He tried to hide it, of course, but Annabelle caught it every time. It was a plea. He was begging Annabelle to stop, to not murder another innocent priest who was preaching that the end times had come, to not kidnap and sacrifice more innocents to fulfill a ritual to allow his soldiers to fight just for an hour longer. Begging her not to allow herself to do them because the king [i had] no choice but to order it. Maybe he’d wanted Annabelle to spare them both.
[tab] Annabelle never did disobey. And when she finally took it upon herself to do something of her own accord, she wasn’t even able to do much more than rock and weep as the castle fell.
[tab] But that was a long time ago. Others had died and moved on. Not her. She had read countless scraps, stolen and killed for anything that would have given her information on the Evil. Nothing.
[tab] Not them. Even if she were still alive, by the most strained technicality, the dead appeared to be kept by sheer force of will. Seth walked around with his tattered stuffed dog mumbling to himself occasionally. From what Annabelle picked out, he was planning. And then Owl. She envied the two of them. They were here because of their desire to end the Evil. She was here because of a forgotten god and an order from a monarch of a crumbling kingdom.
[tab] Perhaps they were all stuck in the past. Except the new girl.
[tab] Which brought her to the present. Almost as soon as the arachne had neatly delivered her payload, Seth and Owl were immediately upon the wriggling girl. Seth, for his part, pickpocketed the little girl and immediately began flipping through what presumably had to be a diary that belonged to the teen. Classy.
[tab] "Let her up, Annabelle," Seth said, nose buried inside the decrepit smelling book. It smelled familiar, though the Adviser couldn’t quite pin it down. She shrugged. Either way, she had been told to do something, and do it she would.
[tab] Annabelle turned to skitter towards Evelyn, noting for the first time the rather conspicuous flute on her back. Then Owl tromped over to the prone teenager and grabbed her by the collar, hoisting her up several feet in the air.
[tab] "Where did you get that book?" Owl thundered, his menacing tones ringing the half-spider’s sensitive ears. He seemed angry. And surprisingly protective of his company which consisted of a mage with enough juice in him to wipe out a city and an avatar of a Spider God. What a big softie. However, as much as Annabelle loved the big guy, the guard was interfering with her job.
[tab] “Owl, my good man, how fruitful can you expect an interrogation to be when the girl’s mouth is clamped shut?” Annabelle asked briskly, strolling towards the two on her six legs. “Here, Seth said I should have her, so let me- ah!” She reached up and slashed through the fabric in Owl’s grip, dropping the girl into Annabelle’s waiting grip.
[tab] “I’ll be borrowing this now,” she said, waving away the knight with one of her four arms. She shot him an apologetic look before turning back to the teen.
[tab] Annabelle stopped, locking eyes with the girl. She looked terrible. Her disheveled yellow hair parted to reveal a face with teary, bloodshot eyes with vomit trickling down her nose and leaking through the silk taped over her mouth.
[tab] “I see you didn’t take to the webway too well then,” she murmured. Annabelle’s scrunched her brow looking at the girl. She wondered if she should do anything else for the girl. All Seth said was to put her up. Prop her up against a crumbling pillar maybe? She stared at the vomit caked face once more. What would the king have told her to do?
[tab] Immediately, her arms withdrew from underneath her robes and with efficiently stripped Evelyn of any silk. No sooner did the black strands come off of her mouth did Annabelle produce another black handkerchief and began wiping off the vomit and tears from her face. Finally, as a final touch, the arachne spat a glob of clear venom onto another handkerchief thrust it into the girl’s mouth. She swabbed it thoroughly, swishing it around several times before retrieving the silk, leaving a minty residue in Evelyn’s mouth. Finished with her washing, Annabelle set her down, supporting the unsteady girl. Compared to the knight and her, it looked like a stiff breeze would be enough to topple the teen.
[tab] “You poor girl,” she shook her head, “one must at the very least take into consideration their destination when preparing for a journey.” She cast a meaningful look Evelyn’s flute and recently torn up shirt.
[tab] She sighed, taking off her robe. Annabelle was wearing the thing when she underwent the ritual and it was similarly changed. Before, it was a rather austere red robe with gold trim. Now it was a thick red silk garment layered with heavy slices of carapace all around it. Unreasonably armored and rather warm at times.
[tab] Taking the robe, she draped it over Evelyn’s shoulders. It stood on its own and looked like a tipi. With a girls head sticking out.
[tab] Annabelle looked away from the girl, satisfied she was warm. She glanced at Seth, ever the bookworm he was, and called out to him.
[tab] “Seth, she seems a tad afraid. I think it's because she’s lacking a stuffed animal or something. Let her play with that dog that I know you have.” She turned back at Evelyn.
[tab] “Welcome to Evermore. I hope you’re enjoying your stay.”
[tab] It wasn’t much, but at least she knew that kindness was something the king always approved of.
Owl looked down at the tiny hand that held his, the eye lights becoming a little less warm, giving off a sad feeling despite not moving a centimeter. He sighed. [b "She can't be gone, I know she'll be back. We just have to wait a little while longer for her to return"] he insisted quietly. Owl gave the small hand a light squeeze, comforting himself a bit. The idea that the princess was gone forever was one that he could not accept. He'd already lost his fellow guards, his friends, his family, his life... he could not lose his hope as well. All that he had left was Seth, Annabelle, and the hope that the princess was okay. She had to be okay.
The Princess would return, he knew it. She had run away when the darkness had come and the castle had fallen, she had gone somewhere safe after Owl had fallen. One of these days she would come back. She would return and Owl would be there to protect her. To protect all of them. He had failed his task before but he would make it up to them, he had to make it up to them for failing in his one job.
When Annabelle appeared, he hardly even flinched. He had grown used to her form in the past while, along with her sudden appearances. At first he had tried to attack her when he'd woken up, but ceased immediately when he realized it was her and not one of the ones who had taken the kingdom away from them.
She dropped something on the ground, and his eyes went to it immediately. It was moving and squirming...
While Seth talked with Annabelle he kept his head tilted, staring at her with his unblinking 'eyes'. It was a... human? It was hard to tell with the black silk binding it, but the hair and eyes made it fairly obvious that at least the head was that of a human. Seeing a new person had him on guard immediately once it registered, his back straightening so he stood even taller, shoulders squared and free hand resting on the hilt of his sword.
He wouldn't attack just yet, but he was prepared to if the intruder even thought of harming either the mage or adviser.
The hand on his sword gripped the hilt when Seth drew nearer. They were already dead and so could not die again, but who knew what magic this thing had? It may be one from the wretched army sent to finish them off at last before the princess could return to them.
Seth, however, didn't seem concerned, instead grabbing a book from the girl's back. His eyes seemed to grow a bit brighter -his form of widening eyes now- at the sight of familiar handwriting on the front. The name of the kingdom written in the faded hand of the princess.
The moment that Annabelle released the girl he was upon her, one gloved hand reaching down to grip her by the front of her odd-looking tunic and hoist her up to his eye level as though she weighed little more than a doll. [b "Where did you get that book?"] Owl asked in his deep, threatening rumble. This girl had something of the princess's but she was not the princess. Had she stolen the book from Her Highness? Had she hurt her? The thought of that made him more upset, cold hand clenching tighter around the cloth until the metal creaked in protest.
His eyes bored into hers, the light cold and unwavering. If this girl was here to harm the last two people under his protection, he would cut her down without a second thought. He would do anything to protect the two of them against further harm from the darkness that had swallowed the kingdom whole.
The air around was thick with the smell of dry blood, pungent and all around her. Evelynn looked around; her steely blue eyes wide and beginning to water from fear and sadndess. Her golden blonde hair fell into her face and she shakily brushed it back behind the left ear. For the first time she noticed the blood stains. They were old, brown, and all around her. Her eyes were adjusting slowly to her surrounding scenery. Ruins, it was like she was in castle ruins, though mostly intact. Some epic battle of sorts. The kind from stories and movies had taken place here. With skelletons and weapons laying near them. Some where on top of one another. Upon the realization her shoulders slumped and she shivered. She wasn't cold she was terrified. Where was she? She took a deep breath and trained her eyes to focusing. She had to look around, find some place to hide or at least something to grab. She was an idiot. Her flute and the book; that was nearly all she had. Eve's father insisted on fashioning a strap for her flute so that it could sit over her shoulder, and her father had the flute specially made. She never separated the sections of the flute. Never put it in a case. She took it everywhere since that day. Her father's last day.
Her mind was losing focus again thinking of her father ... She shook her head lightly to regain her composure, and looked around. In a liytwr of hopeless thoughts she added far to optimistically, [+blue 'Surely someone had to be nearby'], but as she had the thought the worse happened.
Being scared enough already just wasn't what the universe wanted for Evelynn. Just her luck. The noise from behind made her jump and she turned around. She didn't get even one word out as a pair of strange black blades flew at her, and she was wrapped up in a ball of silk faster than lightning could have stuck. [+grey "Eeek!! By God a spider lady! What did I get myself into this time, I don't wanna die...?!"] Evelynn had no time to react at all when she saw the thing. She simply squeaked, or squealed. Either way she was two steps from cardiac arrest, she almost thought she would piss herself. Though she did not.
The spider woman was equal parts intimidating and beautiful. The black silk she spun Eve up in was strong, and she couldn't even move, Hell it was hard to breathe. [+grey "Please don't eat me, if you eat people,"] She tried to speak, but bloody hell was it hard too. That didn't stop Eve from pleading to the Spider woman.
Maybe flattery? Dad always said being nice is best, [+grey "I promise I won't taste good, you are magnificent and be--".] Black silk shot from the spider's hands and over Evelynn's mouth. [+grey "Dammit I am dead! I am so dead!!"] She mumbled mostly to herself now; seeing as she couldn't speak clearly anymore. [+blue 'You just had to be loud, you idiot'] Eve thought recounted how she had just waltzed into a completely foreign land and then again a strange creepy castle. [+grey "Lovely"] she said sardonically.
[div Some strange flash and then darkness. It felt cold, but more than that it had a stench to it. It was dead smelling and like a place covered in filth. Evelynn could see the dead things all around her, and she could feel the air moving like the place, the void she was in, It was breathing. Her stomach twisted so tightly she was sure it had ruptured or simply exploded inside her body. The nausea, [+grey "Oh God ..."] Eve was going to vomit.]
Suddenly her surroundings had completely changed. She was trying so hard not to puke, but the pain in her stomach had overwhelmed her. She vomited in her mouth and with the gag in place meant to keep her quiet or at least to muffle her noises she couldn't release the puke from her mouth. She had to swallow as much as she could. [+blue 'GOD IT BURNS... '] she took deep breaths quietly and slow.. [+blue 'I will take being dead now'], she thought as the burning in her throat and nose made her eyes bloodshot and full of hot tears. Finally, through blurry eyes she looked around again.
A corridor, a hallway; definitely a hallway. [+grey "Mmmphh".] She was tossed to the ground and had to wriggle around so she could see. She was in front of a young boy, very young. He looked like a ghost, dressed in a robe and with a staff that looked a bit big for him. He had red hair almost like a hot fire and eyes like a violet sunset, very beautiful. Though it didn't matter much. The scariest around her was still the spider, her robe heavy looking, and fitting her perfectly, and if you only looked at the top of her she seemed not so bad ... The legs and thorax of a spider was all Eve could seem to really notice at first. Though honestly she didn't expect to live much longer anyway. However, the large man in the room wasn't looking like a Jolly Fellow either. He appeared a ghost of sorts as well, she wasn't sure, but neither of the two seemed like they were physically there, what had happened...? The man stood some seven feet tall Evelynn thought, [+blue 'At least'.] he was in full armor with a sword sheathed and a shield too. His head though, the helmet was all dented up and it was dark underneath. Save for his eyes, if they were eyes at all. They glowed in a menacing way that made her face go white. Then, the boy said something to the she-spider.
[+purple "Let her up, Annabelle,"] she heard the boy, but her thoughts muffled his words, [+grey 'This thing has an NAME!]?? She had to be in the wrong place. The [+blue 'Evermore'] from the tattered book was in danger sure, but it still didn't seem like this. This place seemed like it was the danger. [+grey "What have I done,"] She paused [+grey "damn me and my overly curious self."] She cursed herself unknowingly aloud, though thankfully the silk muffled her words. She never could quite keep her mouth shut ... The boy seemed to look at something on Eve's back, the flute?? Instead though, he came forward and though he looked ghostly he had no trouble grabbing that book. The one that started it all. He looked sad at first and then he smiled. Did he know the book? The boy seemed almost lost. Was this spider gonna let her out? If she was let loose from her cocoon like binds she would face a choice. Run, Fight, or Figure this place out. Not much of a choice to make since she had already made it. Even scared as she was, she was always more curious.
Seth couldn't help but smile a bit at the soft rumble that sounded from within the battered helmet. He had always liked Owl, even from before the kingdom had succumbed to the darkness, despite his fearful appearance. The male towered over him , the small mage only reaching his abdomen, but not in a menacing way. It never was. Owl was someone he could look to for protection and reassurance; that was his job. Even though it was only in his job description to protect Her Majesty and watch over her, Seth knew back then that he would never allow anything to happen to the young red head as long as he could prevent it. They were friends.
Amethyst eyes watched as Owl's hand moved to touch the back of his helmet for a moment before letting it fall down to his side, listening to the same words he had heard many times before. Many memories and thoughts seemed to have escaped the guardsman though Seth knew it wasn't his fault. The grave injury he sustained during the final battle of the kingdom took that from him and caused the mage to wonder what else he had forgotten and hadn't voiced yet. Did Owl remember how he came upon that injury? Did he remember the final moments or were they simply a blank slate? Seth sometimes wished he could forget, the terrifying events burned into his mind. He remembered standing by the Princess' side, watching in horror at the events of Owl's demise and knowing that fate was in store for all of them. He remembered how he ran into the sanctuary and searched through every book he could get his hands on for an answer....no, for a miracle. He remembered the panic he felt in his small frame as he heard the door behind him splinter and break, his executors rushing in. Finally, he remembered the smell of blood and the excruciating pain from his stomach and abdomen, looking down to see the point of a sword protruding from it. Just as Owl did, Seth still retained the wound that killed him, blood staining the front and back of his once pristine white robe.
A small hand reached out, taking hold of Owl's gently, and shook his head at the man's question. [+purple "She's gone, Owl,"] he answered softly. Even though this was a question he heard many times, he still delivered his answer as gently as he could. [+purple "She's not coming back. You know that...."]
A sound behind him, a soft thud really, caused the boy to turn while keeping a lose hold of Owl's hand. Before them stood Annabelle carrying a bundle of....something. She was the other one stuck with them in this unending darkness, though her actions had left her permanently disfigured. When he first learned of her fall, what she had done in an attempt to rectify the situation on her own, the boy was angry. He felt as if she had turned her back on all of them and what they believed. How could she? Perhaps her new form was a punishment from the Goddess, to remind her that she was still there even if she couldn't help them anymore.
Maybe one day they would have all of those answers.
Violet eyes narrowed a bit as the bundle moved, soft noises coming from it. They instantly widened when he realized what it was, seconds before the adviser informed them. It had been so long since he had seen a living person that he simply stared at her for a few moments. How on earth did she find this place? All this time not once had someone ever stepped foot in Evermore! What brought her here?
[+purple "Let her up, Annabelle,"] he told the arachnid woman, looking between her and her captive. As he continued to watch them, his eyes fell on the girl's back and noticed something poking out from the top of it: a book. Not just any book, [i that] book. Releasing Owl's hand and carefully laying his staff down, he moved over and pulled it out. Just how long [i had] they been in this state? The pages were so yellowed and brittle now, it had to have been quite some time. A small hand slowly moved over the damaged cover before opening it slowly, smiling faintly at the familiar, faded handwriting. This was as close as he would ever be to the Princess again. More importantly, their plea for help really had made it out into the world, and this girl was their answer.
[+fuchsia "We don't have much time."]
Seth looked down at the book that was placed in his hands, then up to the Princess who had given it to him. [+purple "How am I supposed to send this out?"] Seth's voice was rather quiet, though a bit shaky. He supposed it would be, he had just witnessed the murder of the best guard in the kingdom. [+purple "They'll notice and slaughter me before I even reach the gate."]
The darkness from the Evil Force was growing, infecting the Kingdom and allowing more enemies to flourish within their peaceful castle. There were so many now that he doubted he wouldn't even make it out of the castle walls, let alone down to the gates.
[+fuchsia "I've consulted with Kano earlier this morning; Owl spoke well of him. Give him that book and instruct him through the secret passage; he's agreed to give us help. He's our only hope."]
Seth held it close as he watched her move over to a nearby window in order to view the growing darkness. Screams of the fallen filled the air around them, growing in intensity and number with each passing minute. It wouldn't be long now.
[+fuchsia "I know you've tried your best and I don't blame you for this. I blame myself mostly. If I would have destroyed that book a long time ago, that...[i monster] never would have completed his mission and I wouldn't be saying goodbye to all of those that I love. I've failed everyone."]
The monster...Seth knew well who she was referring to. The King's most trusted. Her Majesty had confided in the young mage a few times about this man, the two working on a plan to thwart his objective of destroying the kingdom and claiming it for himself. Seth discovered he had found a book written long ago, describing how he could join the dark forces against the Goddess and achieve his goal, but didn't have an opportunity to destroy the literature. She wasn't the only one who failed, they all did.
[+fuchsia "Now go, before it's too late. I hope to see you again."]
He did as instructed, not knowing the fate that lay before him and that it was the last time he would see his beloved princess again.
[tab] Annabelle crawled up towards the ramparts of a crumbling tower. She pondered the stonework even as she made her way up the sheer walls with her six legs. The tower had once been beautiful, with delicate stonework and squat, yet graceful gargoyles, all built by an architect that even the Adviser admired. She suspected the rest of the castle had been built by him as well. However, Annabelle herself had only built siege towers, so she regarded her architectural critique as leaving something to be desired. She briefly considered studying up on the topic. As she reached the top of the tower and clambered over heavily, she discarded the thought. Learning about another field was too much work. Nobody told her to build anything, so ignorant of the topic she would remain.
[tab] Annabelle felt the wind worm its way through her heavy robes. The cold gales should have been biting being this high up, but as a half-spider, she rarely cared too much for the temperature. That wasn’t the only change that she had undergone after suffering the Spider’s Blessing. She scanned the ruined village below her. Ignoring the bloodstains and refuse littering the burned hovels, she spotted a solitary cockroach. It was the size of a wolf. Annabelle was still vaguely unnerved by her enhanced senses. Even from her vantage point nearly a mile away, she could see its antennae waving idly, notice the tufts of dried weeds waving beneath it, and smell its pungent, delicious aroma with crisp clarity.
[tab] The spider briefly considered turning away from it. Humans should not find an insect like that appetizing. Instinct won out. Tethering a strand of her jet black silk to a firm piece of stonework, she tensed herself and jumped.
[tab] Her powerful legs catapulted her into a wide arc towards the unaware cockroach. She gracefully arced through the sky, silent save the muted sounds of wind howling through her billowing scarlet robes. Nearing the insect, she tensed the strand to slow her descent. Expecting the old stone brick to hold, she was mildly surprised to hear the stonework groan. She felt the ancient ramparts crumble under the pressure of her frame, the released silk racing back towards her like elastic. Annabelle chided herself for her miscalculation and silently sprouted two wickedly sharp appendages from her back. A crackling ball of shadow erupted from between them and a dark purple barrier surrounded the arachne.
[tab] The barrier violently slowed her descent, and Annabelle momentarily felt as if she had immensely grown in weight. Her joints complained and nearly buckled, but her legs held. Satisfied, she dusted herself off with the claws on her back and examined her surroundings for her quarry. She found it in the same place as before, still. It hadn’t seemed to noticed her. Perfect. Her thread then snapped back and rudely smacked her in the abdomen. Almost perfect.
[tab] Without a second of hesitation, she dissipated the orb and leapt behind the cockroach. With unnatural silence unbefitting her size, she landed behind the insect. Before the cockroach could do so much as twitch, her claws came down and eviscerated the creature, neatly quartering it. Satisfied, Annabelle knelt and grabbed ahold of the cockroach’s four dismembered parts, one for each arm, and messily devoured them. It was crunchy. And quite good.
[tab] Annabelle laughed softly, an edge of bitterness in her voice as she let her gore coated smile drop from her face. The arachne hung still over her arachnid half, her back hunched in dejection as she stared blankly at the ground. She missed the King. She missed his daughter. She stared at her hands, now more claws than anything. Annabelle missed the Adviser.
[tab] The arachne’s ears suddenly perked up. She cocked her head to the side to locate the sound. It sounded like running. And breathing hard. It was the voice of a young girl, and one that smelled offendingly foreign. And her voice was annoying.
[tab] Annabelle moved towards a dilapidated hut but stopped short. If she climbed the rickety structure she would in all likelihood collapse the thing. Then so much for surprise. She didn’t mind. There were other ways to reach a target.
[tab] She honed in on the sound, which was not particularly difficult to do. The pitter-patter of small feet running and heavy breathing. Also talking to herself. Kind of loudly. Then, as suddenly as it began, it stopped. Annabelle was puzzled, but unworried. She had already pinpointed where her quarry would be. Calculating the coordinates in her head, she pinpointed a spot just behind where the sound and smell had come from. Then she felt herself enveloped in a misty black cocoon and a pressure in her gut. She felt hollow, drained of all her weight, vaguely feeling disembodied, with her real self floating in the spot she indicated. Then nothing.
[tab] And then everything. She appeared on the main stone brick road. Before her was a small girl, dressed wholly inappropriate for her surroundings. Not a speck of armor. And she was shivering. Probably not from the cold, as the spider could smell the sweat on her body as well as see her fanning herself with her shirt.
[tab] Annabelle wondered if she should kill her.
[tab] “Too much work,” she sighed. The girl whipped around just in time to see Annabelle’s blades shoot out towards her and ensnare her in glossy black spider silk. She started mumbling fearfully, and Annabelle could understand the fear. After all, a foreigner to this land would not generally be used to the sight of a massive half-spider, half-human creature appear behind them and bind them in silk. It was odd for there to be visitors. Annabelle decided to drop off the girl to the knight and the mage back at the castle and let them deal with it. She started weaving a spell and then suddenly stopped dead.
[tab] The girl was whining. Loudly, shrilly. Annoying. Annabelle turned to regard the squirming girl, and thrust out a hand from beneath her thick robes. A bolt of black silk shot from her hand, clamping the girl’s mouth shut. Much better. Annabelle still heard the girl try speaking, but the petite blonde had little success.
[tab] Quickly locating the scent of the mage, she teleported to their location, the magical cocoon depositing her before the two. Unceremoniously, she grasped the girl with her back appendages and threw her onto the cracked tiles before them.
[tab] She looked expectantly at her colleagues.
[tab] “I found a visitor,” she chirped.
[i My head hurts]
That had been his first thought when the darkness lifted but the fog remained.
[i Where is the princess?]
That had been his second thought.
Both thoughts still swirled in his head, a constant background throb to accompany the haziness of the world. Nothing felt right anymore. Today (Tonight?), he wandered the halls of the castle as he had many times before, pausing every once in a while to stare down corridors and into vast rooms. He remembered light. In the ballroom now faded and gray, he remembered skirts and suits swaying about accompanied by music and chattering. An orchestra strumming their instruments on the raised platform on one side of the room, the royal family sitting in their thrones. But every time he focused on recalling their faces, they were all blurry and changing. A sigh echoed out from underneath his helmet. Guess he wouldn't remember that today either.
In the next room he walked around instead of standing in the doorway. This had been the instructing room for her. For the princess. He recalled many times watching her as she played her instruments, back to her guard as she learned how to bend the notes to her whim. What color had her hair been? He couldn't remember.
More places passed by him in the same way. He would look down or into it, staring for how long he did not know before shaking his head and continuing on his path.
One of his armored hands reached up to rub at the back of his helmet. Owl jolted when his fingers brushed a sensitive spot where the metal caved in, dented and broken edges cracked into his head. Every time, he forgot about the wound. One time he had held a few mirrors to look at the back of his head. It looked like he had either been attacked from behind or fell directly on his head from a great height. The concave metal warped inwards, past the point where his skull should have started, some fractures showing a glowing white underneath that seemed to leak out in gray-tinted whisps. Owl thought it was his magic, but he couldn't be certain. He'd never been dead before and attempts to remove his helmet had proven both painful and fruitless, so he wasn't sure.
The behemoth of a man lumbered down every hallway he found himself at, pauses becoming more frequent now. His legs were growing weary from the weight of his armor and weapons. What was the point of this? Why were they still here? Where was the princess?
That last thought plagued the man. He was meant to protect her, to defend the future ruler of the kingdom. But he had failed. Now he had no idea where she was, only that he was not able to protect her. The darkness had taken the kingdom, had taken her, had taken almost all of them with it. All but three of them. The advisor, himself, and the mage.
Speaking of the gifted child, a familiar jingling echoed through the halls. Owl’s shoulders relaxed a bit from their worried state. He thought of Seth as a younger brother. Despite the fact that there was no longer anything that they needed protection from, Owl still felt calmer knowing where the other two were. His calling in life was to protect, and it seemed that death had not changed it. He continued staring down the hallway, listening to the soft jingles growing nearer, and reached up to prod at the back of his head again. It still hurt. After all this time, the headache hadn’t faded and his memories hadn’t returned to how they were. His index finger dipped a little too deeply into one of the cracks and he let out a low grunt of pain before pulling his hand back out. He needed to stop doing that.
When the staff’s sounds stopped, Owl turned to look at Seth. Two round, small light peered out from the darkness under his helmet in place of eyes -Owl assumed that his face had suffered much the fate as the back of his head from the impact of whatever killed him- at Seth. The light was warm though, soft. Caring. The guard straightened his back from habit even after all these years and dipped his head in a greeting while a rumbling [b “Hello”] echoed from beneath the armor. He stood quite a bit taller than the mage. Hell, Owl stood much taller than just about everyone else in the kingdom, when there had been a kingdom at all.
A few heavy footsteps brought him in front of Seth, the warm lights looking down from the menacing slits of the helmet’s eyes. [b “Have you seen the princess? I still can’t seem to find her, and I’m quite worried.”]
Most of him knew that it was hopeless to ask. He’d asked the same question ever since waking up in this dead version of their world, and every time the answer was the same. But he still wanted to ask. Wanted to know. Some part of him still clung to the hope that she was out there somewhere, wandering about and would somehow find her way back home where he could watch over her. Even though he knew that it was useless to hope. The index finger on his right hand twitched, just enough for a soft [i clink] to come from the gauntlet where a small metal ring hit it. The ring had been given to him by the princess once when he was ill, and he hadn't removed it since. Hearing the soft click of it comforted him in some way, more than a shield on his arm and a sword in his hand ever could.
His other hand subconsciously drifted back up to prod at his wound before, once again, he winced and dropped it back to his side. Yes, he really needed to stop doing that.
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