Private Tales Fragments of Imagination

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Wynne Oster

the performance of a lifetime
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There was an exciting trepidation when following a number of people and being undetected thus far.

Wynne didn't think her night off would bring her out this far from whatever town the troupe had traveled to. As soon as she had seen the three tall towers in the distance, she knew she would spend all night returning to her cot in the tents set up outside the town she had no recollection of learning.

"... say there is plenty of treasure to be found."

"There is not a soul there! They have all left!"

Wynne halted her breath, halfway through her exhalation as one of the men turned around and narrowly missed seeing her take refuge behind a tree trunk. "And in a hurry, I imagine! They would have left their possessions behind! We will fetch good prices there. Hurry it up, you lot. We are losing light."

She had heard them concoct a plan after the performance two nights ago; their hushed conversation overheard through the clothed wall to her dressing room. She had listened to them, curious of such a mysterious place left empty and available for exploration. Wynne was advertised at being the best illusionist, selling dreams to willing participants and showing them the life they could have. The life fabricated enough to earn their coin. She had potential to do more, but selling dreams was the quickest and surest way of getting payment to fund her love of shopping.

She did not need to lean on her talents when following the three men, not when they were not quiet and subtle as they reached the outskirts of the city. Wynne waited a few minutes before following them, now losing the cover of trees.

Now that they were here, she did not need to follow them. She was curious of the city, only wishing to see it with her eyes.

Wynne felt compelled to follow the men, unsure of this plan of looting the place.

And they had chosen a grand building to start.





 
Another failure, another piece of history that Orion had failed to safeguard.

The pain dragged slowly across his ribcage like a molten blade, ashen burns scarring his flesh as he charred another mark into his skin, the embers of the heated rock sizzling against his torso. Wind whipped against the fresh burns, making them sting all the more as he dropped his implement upon the floor of the balcony he watched them from, grimacing in agony, grinding his teeth as he dropped to one knee from up high upon one of the three towers.

The wall is no more!

The spells have faded!

Our days are numbered!

Kill them! Do not let them speak of our home!

Fingers clad in silver rings gripped tightly at unkempt raven locks as Orion bore witness to his last remaining defense being circumvented. The massive wall of stone surrounding Trastus had once been enchanted to prevent intruders from crossing or passing through without the presence of a specific sigil upon the body, and yet these ruffians, these animals, these reprobates! They scaled it with ease! climbed over and set their filthy feet upon his empty streets with nary a bead of sweat upon their flesh!

He blamed himself. Oh, how he'd tried to keep this city intact... he'd devoted every minute of every day to Trastus, to holding together the prison that he lived within. Alas he was but one, and his mind frayed further with every dawn and dusk. His ability to keep this place secure and safe was dying along with the rest of him, slowly but surely. It was enough to bring tears to his eyes, the cacophony of voices in his skull calling for the blood of the impudents.

SERPENT'S HEAD. INJECT VENOM.

MAKE THEM SEE, WATCH THEM WEEP
What are you doing?

This isn't you, Janus.

The rune he'd burned into his skin wasn't enough to temper his rage, his sorrow. The man atop the tower could feel the unbridled and unchecked magic ripping itself from his skin, forcing open his pores and clawing at his eyes. He could see the illusions of dragons and serpents forming around him perching upon the towers, coiling and slithering their way down the sides of each massive building the creatures of a nightmare, but he had not the control to stop them. They were his anger, his grief. To not set them free was to implode and perish.



Scaling the exterior wall of Trastus was easy enough, although anybody with a magical inclination would feel the fizzling remnants of a spell across their skin as they passed over it. Once inside the abandoned and forgotten city, one would be forgiven for wondering what such a wall was meant to defend anymore; The place was quite impressive in scale, but there were no inhabitants, not a soul to see. The loudest sound was the rushing of wind through hollowed buildings, the tumbling of loose rock across stone cobbled streets.

It was just as they had heard; a city in which everything had been dropped and left behind in the blink of an eye. Shops, homes, libraries, blacksmiths, apothecaries... there seemed several buildings for every trade and market one could ever fathom, full of items once belonging to those who'd lived here, ripe for the taking.

But up above, amidst those imposing towers in the center of the walled city, deterrents began to arise. Gargantuan serpents, long and thick with emerald scales, wrapped themselves around the towers from nowhere, letting out deafening hisses of warning, baring fangs full of venom and teeth sharpened to rend and tear. Overhead, a massive winged beast let out a cry, casting a massive shadow over the city as it swooped down, threatening to gobble up any intruder into its incredible maw.

Of course, these weren't real.

But no common thief could know that, right?

Wynne Oster
 
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The gentle winds that blew into the night was not the only thing to take to the air this eve. A screech disturbed the peace, a sound so horrifying that Wynne cowered. She lifted her head, wishing to identify such a beast with terrifying song before thinking of the next course of action. It had not seen her, as that was all she needed to know before darting behind a door left ajar.

It was best to leave this place, to forget the men and their treasures they hunted.

Wynne went through the abandoned establishment, looking for a door that would lead her out the back, just shy from the kitchen. She peered from out the window, not seeing the foul sight of dragon and so she counted, timing the circling beast. From where she could see, she had about fifty paces between the door and the next spot to hide. Her heart beat with a trembling rhythm, working herself up to brave the open street.

Before her hand could turn, a sound she had written off as the dragon sounded again, this time multiplied. She froze, grey eyes widening with fear. Wynne could not see where these creatures may be, but she would not run the risk of being seen either.

Looking about the kitchen, she picked up a large knife and another smaller knife, arming herself to think of another plan. There was no going back on her path, needing to move forward to where they had entered. From there, she would figure out what next.

All she needed to do was survive, and not be caught by creature or the men she had followed here.


Orion
 
Wynne was, for one who had merely trailed behind a group of far more burly and hardened bodies, significantly more prepared for whatever consequences may come from this expedition than those she'd followed. The band of thieves were cocksure and armed to their teeth, but their spirits and wills were soft and malleable, weaned on easy prey and abandoned ruins devoid of threat to their wellbeing.

To see a dragon flying overhead, steam billowing from his nostrils and tongues of flame leaving from its mouth, how could one truly be prepared for such a sight? The leader of the brigand was quick to flee into the shadows, calling for his men to follow suit. Alas, he was the leader for a reason, one of his men turned and ran back towards the wall to flee entirely, one fell to the ground and curled into a ball and two of his companions merely stood in fearful shock as the massive red-horned dragon swooped low once more, belching a massive eruption of flame onto the lot.

The inferno baked the ground, washing over the brigands with a blast of searing heat. Screams pierced the quiet air, and the bodies of the would-be thieves ran about aimlessly, arms flailing as they fruitlessly attempted to fan themselves of the wicked chains of heat that wrapped around them like the fingers of death itself. To no avail; a dragon's flame would not be extinguished so easily.

From her vantage point, however, Wynne Oster would be revealed a most intriguing truth; looking out from where she hid in the shadows, knives drawn in a hopeless battle against a winged god of the sky, she would see that there were no flames. These men she'd tailed for so long now ran and flailed and screamed over nothing, falling and writhing in pain, their bodies sent into shock over what was not truly there.

Wynne Oster
 
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A strangeness...
A curiosity....
No...

How can that be?

Wynne stared a moment longer, watching as the men broke out in hysterics over something they could not see.

What Wynne could not see.

Her gasp came out loudly, dropping the knives to cover her mouth and maintain a steady breath. Could it be they were seeing illusions? The very thing she too could weave? Never in her life had she come across another illusion weaver. To construct a dragon and serpents to defend this deserted place? Well, Wynne had thought of the other Weaver to be a strong mind to keep such concentrations.

With a newfound bravery, she made her way to the street and stared down one of the serpents. Her jewelled ears shimmered in what light came from the moons above, catching the attention. She swallowed, keeping her stomach where it should be as the great beast slithered to where she was, and only as it turned the last corner did she put a wall of illusion between herself and imaginative beast. Wynne was no longer visible as the screen reflected an empty street, bar a door closing feet in front of Wynne.

The serpent gave chase, as the Real Wynne slowly backed away with gentle footfalls. She remembered the warnings as a child, to be still when faced with a snake and not to move as it could sense through the earth where to strike. Illusion or not, the psychological damage that could be inflicted was a weapon in itself.


Orion
 
The weaver of the horrors watched as his creations expelled the would-be thieves from his home. There was no joy or pride in his eyes as they screamed and ran, those more unfortunate falling unconscious over their imaginary pain. There wasn't a thing to be proud of; he'd hurt once more, brought pain where he'd swore such a thing would never leave his hands again. In keeping his oath of protection, once more Orion had shattered his vow of peace.

Through the unkempt mane of black hair, he looked upon his failure with tearful eyes. There was but one that remained, wise enough to avoid the Dragon's wrath and now being tested by the agility of his serpentine sentinels. From his perch on high, the Illusionist could see the shimmer of her jewelry, and the fire in her eyes as she stood before him fearless, without hesitation.

She was no fool, Orion saw it the moment he laid eyes on her. The invisible hands that clawed at his skin, that ripped his mind asunder and reduced him to the pitiful being of constant self-torture and pain that he was now, they too hovered over her, still in her control, not yet free of the chains she placed on them. His mouth hung agape as he witnessed her weaving an illusion meant to trick his guardian, a display of technical prowess he would have lauded in days long past.

The sperents vanished, the dragon evaporated into thin air. Dispelled by their master.

This one was different.

This one was like him.

Perhaps, he hoped... She could put a stop to him.

His voice boomed as though it were thunder, surrounding her as he called down from the looming towers.

"You may enter."

Wynne Oster
 
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The shaking of the world at her feet caused Wynne to startle, not quite the same magicks that made an illusion. This was a real voice, a real invitation, although reluctant after this long, and Wynne froze in the street. Her grey eyes searched high and low for the owner of the voice, falling upon him as if their magicks sung together.

She did not know what puppeteer put one foot in front of the other and advanced her position, moving to the grand building she had previously hid in the shadows of. Wynne pushed the door wider, it being shut closed as the group of men fled earlier.

Once inside, the Weaver wandered far enough inside before coming to the foot of a staircase.

"Hello?"

Orion
 
The entrance hall that greeted Wynne had seen better days: It was a large domed room, with walls of chiseled gray stone brick, with a circular table placed in the center. Lanterns that seemed to glow with bright light without fire hung from the walls, activating in response to their presence. Bookshelves sat against the walls disheveled, books strewn about the floor and the table. Tattered banners hung from the roof, and the air around them was dead silent.

In addition to various small passageways snaking out in several other directions, there were three doors out of this main area behind said table, each spread a distance apart enough to make one assume they each led to one of the three towers.

Passing through one of these doors, Wynne would come to a tall, winding staircase that ran the length of the tower, with all manner of classrooms, laboratory, storage, and more offshooting from this central shaft. Dim magelight still illuminated the walls, and this tower seemed a deal tidier than the main hall.

Descending that staircase was a tall figure, clad in a black robe with ebony hair cascading down his shoulders and back. His pale skin stood out amongst the dim light of the tower, and his eyes were set upon her from the moment she entered.

"For what purpose did you come? To steal? To explore? I care not for curiosity nor greed. Both are very quick paths to death in this place."

Wynne Oster
 
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Wynne pressed her back against the wall as the man descended into view. His shadow casted a long shape behind him, taking up the entirety of the staircase and stole a breath from her. She stilled, in fear, for she had not been here to steal, but felt as if she had been caught committing such a crime.

"I have seen these towers for days now." She started to explain. "I travel a lot with my troupe, and I had overheard those men talk about coming here... that a tragedy happened here. I admit, I... was curious." Admitting it felt as if she signed her name, that the ink was still fresh as she took another shaky breath.


"I followed the men here thinking if something were to happen, it would happen to them. I... have my own way of keeping out of sight." She was a well of honesty despite what she did for money, making crowds believe she could change anything they could think of.

Orion
 
Orion's upper lip curled into a silent snarl. Curious, she claimed. Even through the mist of insanity, he saw through such a vague word. It did a poor job of hiding ill intent, even if she hadn't known this place to be inhabited by anyone. Paranoia, amplified by years of isolation and self-torment.

The man brought his hands to the railing, looming over it like a vulture over carrion. The glimmers of silver in his ears and the pale shine of his eyes were the only things that pierced the black veil of his hair. "I saw what you did. Altered the fabric of reality with your mind alone, changed what I saw with your thoughts." Orion sneered down, as though she were lesser for the act. "An illusionist, with no idea the power she wields, or what it will bring about."

He knew what it had brought him. Nothing but sorrow and pain. Even still the power coursed through him, ripping at his mind and clawing its way through his veins day in and day out. Once, he had considered it a blessing, but now it was a damned curse. "Heed my words, young lady. Find a new specialty. Do not-- Nngh..."

But before he could rage at her further, he dropped to his knees, his head colliding with the railing and sending him into a slump over the edge of the staircase, his breath slowing to a crawl and his skin paling slightly.

Wynne Oster
 
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Fear had Wynne pressing against the stone wall behind her, trying to get as much distance between them but her body betrayed her as her frame shook in fright. She was frozen, cowering beneath the cold stare of the man. So he knew what it was she could do? Her party tricks and sleight of hand collectively called illusion, but she was no true artist.

Her mouth opened multiple times, but no word filtered from them.

Wynne could not help but flinch as he collapsed. Scared, trembling, afraid. But after a moment of silence and his breath become ragged, she turned to dare look upon him.

Fear became an afterthought as she crossed the distance and knelt upon the stairs, moving the male to lay on his back. "What do I do? What do I do?!" She pleaded to herself. Illusions could not heal! Her hands could not stitch wounds. Her mind could not put together a reasonable examination of what was happening to his after hitting his head.

"Sir! Please, sir! Wake up!" No no no no no no no....

She could leave, but that same fear kept her rooted to the spot. Wynne could feel his subconscious, that pull slowly closing to nothing before her illusions took hold.

"Follow the bird." She murmured, placing a hand at his neck to check his pulse. "A small, black bird. With the orange beak. Follow that one, and you will be home."

Orion
 
Orion was limp in Wynne's grip, but his skin was warm and his chest still rose and fell with breath. As she turned him onto his back, his hair would fall away from his forehead and the place he'd made contact with the railing would reveal itself. The wound seemed minor, a small reddened bump between his eyes and slightly broken skin. Nevertheless, Oster's attempts to rouse him were in vain.

On closer inspection, however, it would become apparent that the bump was far from the only wound upon Orion's face, though it was the only fresh one. Cuts, marks, and bruises littered his visage, and it appeared as though his nose had been broken at some point and never properly set. Whatever had happened to this strange man she now desperately pled with, it seemed to be a semi-common occurrence.

Her finger laid upon his neck and his heart still beat. That was Orion's curse, to live such a tormented existence, unable to die no matter how far he slipped into the depths of madness and poor health. He should have been in the prime of his life, and no matter how he wished to wither, the body of what was once a healthy man resisted such an end.

Wynne's magic would attempt to guide Orion back to the waking world, but it would be met with stark resistance. It would feel as though a barrier blocked her from his mind, staunch and unmoving against her efforts. As her magic combined with that invisible barricade, however, it did cause him to turn his head and mumble incoherently.

Wynne Oster
 
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What was she to do?

She had not mean to stare at the stranger's face, but it told a history of injuries seen and passed. Was this a usual occurrence for him? To fall so suddenly?

Wynne shrugged off her woolen coat and folded it beneath his head after assessing he was only unconscious and not terribly injured. She waited for what seemed like hours, but she could not tell truly until she saw the light outside filtering in with a soft blue. Dawn approached, and still the man she say beside had not stirred.

He had let out undecipherable mutterings but not for long that she could work out what he could possible say.


"The sun will rise soon, my sleeping friend. Will you wake then?"

Orion
 
At some point during that long wait, as Wynne waited so anxiously to see if he would return to the world of the waking or sink into his subconscious forever, Orion's comatose condition turned to that of simple sleep. Sometimes, such episodes were the only way that his body could convince him to rest, and after casting such massive and powerful illusions as he had against the bandits outside it was little wonder he was exhausted.

It was the first rays of the morning sun upon his brow that had awoken him, yet he so stubbornly refused to open his eyes and confront that he'd yet again survived when he'd wished to be taken. Perhaps, he prayed, if he lay here in silence and allowed himself to waste away for the day, the reaper would realize it had missed him, he would return, and correct this mistake.

The reaper, though, did not like company. Company was something that Orion didn't realize he'd had until he heard the woman's voice beside him, light and gentle against the empty echoes of the tower.

"The sun will rise soon, my sleeping friend. Will you wake then?"

Orion's eyes finally opened, and he stared up at the winding staircase that snaked along the wall above him. The voice was not unfamiliar; he remembered it from last night, the woman who'd found him right before he'd again lost himself to the ether.

"You stayed here? The entire time?"

Finally, his head turned to look over at his guest.

"Why?"

Wynne Oster
 
Quietly, she got to her feet and descended the few steps, now looking up at him. "I..." Her gaze fell, head still held up high. "Thought if you had passed, at least you would not be alone if it happened."

She shrugged, slowly backing away now as she tried to move and leave. "You appear better now, so I should take my leave."

Wynne turned around, only to pivot back and lift a finger up as if to say 'not quite yet.'


"You asked me about... what it was that I did last night. Do you remember?"

Orion
 
If only this strange visitor he'd been granted knew what a gift she'd tried to give him. If last night was to have been his final act, it would have been fitting for it to be alone, without a soul to see him off. Still, that last vestige of his sanity within him wished for company, to be seen and heard by another.

That part of Orion, at the very least, was grateful for Wynne's efforts.

That did not mean he was going to stop her from leaving, that he wouldn't forget about her the moment she departed and return to his downward spiral of pain and misery. Though her gesture was kind, she could not save him. No one could.

"You asked me about... what it was that I did last night. Do you remember?"

Orion's brow furrowed as she stopped her descent and turned to him once more. Much of the previous night was... blurry. He remembered scaring off the would-be thieves, and confronting this woman in the stairwell... but what was said? It escaped him. He could assume that he'd taken issue with her illusions, however.

"You're like me." He replied. "You can bend the minds of others at your will." He knew what he'd seen, and he knew why it had enraged him so, in his exhausted delirium. "It ruined me, stranger. Do not let it ruin you."

Wynne Oster
 
Wynne frowned, unaware of any dangers her mind would be to any ruination of her illusions.

"And how has it ruined you? What if I am nothing more than just the trick of the eye?" She countered. If they were alike in power, then he wielded tremendous creations of the mind, powerful depictions so lifelike, Wynn's had wondered what sort of scope she would work with.

Lingering now, she stepped towards the man and held out a hand to help him up from where he laid against the stairs. "I merely trick the mind to think I perform miracles. I travel with a troupe, you see..."

Orion
 
Orion stared up at Wynne for a moment, his sunken gaze running down the length of her arm to her offered hand as he processed what she'd just told him. A sensation built in his chest, something light and foreign that bubbled up into his throat and came out in a huff.

For the first time in years, Orion laughed, if only for a moment.

"You're a circus performer?" He asked incredulously, reaching up and grasping her hand to pull himself up. His grip was powerful, his fingers smooth but palms scarred and rough. This woman... she was using the very tools that had driven him mad to entertain and provide idle whimsy to the masses. "I suppose I can't fault you for being overqualified."

Much of the blind anger that possessed him the previous night seemed to have abated, and while Orion still seemed far from stable or even sane, the hostile aura that had surrounded him was gone. He found his footing, then turned from Wynne, and began to ascend the staircase, waving two fingers for her to follow him.

"Do you have any idea what this place is? What was done here?"


Wynne Oster
 
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