Private Tales I am Thee, and Thou Art Me...

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker quietly looked at the crossroads. Heavily trafficked in one way. The other beginning to be overgrown. He tilted his head as Orion dispelled the illusion to reveal a chest, and took a bottle of water for himself. He drank deeply, and examined one of the food packets. Ice?

“How do you keep the ice stable?” He asked, making sure to gently herd the ice cubes into the metal water bottle. Nothing wasted. There would be cool water when they returned. He ate the food inside, fastidiously, in order not to drop any of it. Volker was an efficient creature, even in travel. The leather pouch was a decent storage container.

He carefully made sure to empty out any crumbs, so as to not rot the leather, and looked around for things to fill it with. He found a small bush of berries, and filled the pouch with them. He packed grasses in as well, to keep the berries from being bruised.

He returned the leather satchel, now full of berries, to the chest. The water bottle, which was swiftly becoming meltwater, followed. He’d effectively replaced what he’d used.

“Thank you.” He told Orion.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion took some idle bites out of his own food, watching Volker with a curious eye. The behavior he was exhibiting was one that was all too common amongst slaves and servants; Wasting a single crumb of what little food you do get could be the difference between trying to sleep with a piercing stomach-ache and managing a much more minor hunger.

"Unfortunately, that part of this process is still unrefined. There's no reliable way to keep the ice in a sustainable condition. This stash is still doing well because I packed it on my way to Cerak At'Thul. Longer trips are much less practical. I have heard tale of scientific ways around this problem being explored in Volta, but I haven't been there to confirm it for myself.

He hadn't asked Volker to replace the food in the chest, but as he set about doing just that a smile crossed Orion's face. Who knew? Maybe some of Volker's behavior would rub off on him. There wasn't any reason to believe he was being anything but genuine in his desires for normalcy. Maybe Orion would learn such a desire in time.

He rose. For now, they needed to keep moving.

"No need for gratitude. You are, after all, helping me as well."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker nodded. “Even the Voltese method requires energy of some sort. A mage cools a salt water slurry until ice forms along the inside of the container. I do not understand it, but it does require a steward. That is why Voltese merchants travel with a mage.” He told him, and helped him repack everything. He was happy to keep moving.

Traveling with a companion hit differently. It was nice just to have another person next to him as they walked. There was company enough in his head; in-person company was a rarer treat. He liked Orion’s scent, and strayed closer to him than he might otherwise. He wanted contact. He gently butted Orion’s shoulder as they walked.

He was enjoying it. Slow travel, a beautiful companion. It felt relaxed and painfully normal. No game to hunt, no guards to flee from. Just one foot in front of the other.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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Orion would have objected to being described as beautiful in any sense. What was outer beauty when one's mind was ugly, twisted with blackness? Even now, his reasons for keeping Volker close to him were purely selfish. He helped dispel that other voice inside of him, the one who's thoughts threatened to tear him apart from the inside. Any emotions besides self-preservation were non-critical to Orion.

"I traveled to Volta only once. I was a guest instructor at their University for a week. It is a testament to what we could one day become, certainly. There is a dark shadow behind it though, and it is already rooted too deeply. Their Mayor and I never did get along too well, I don't think she liked the idea of an outsider working at her prized University. Her son, though... such talent. I do wonder how he's getting on."

Volker
 

Volker

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What had made him so mad, Volker wondered. Volker was mad as well. All the men in his head were mad. But he seemed to quiet Orion’s with his own. He liked feeling useful, and the mad ranting creature he’d first encountered seemed to have stabilized somewhat.

He listened as they walked, nodding. “I was led to Volta under false pretenses. Jonathan Bram hired me as protection and was being pressured by the University to examine my curse. Klaus seized control and killed four professors. Jonathan was able to help me and get us both out of the city. I do not like Volta, but I understand their pragmatism.” He said quietly. He reached for Orion’s hand as they walked, tentatively.

He wasn’t sure if the other man would accept the contact, but he desperately wanted the touch.

Orion
 

Orion

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Orion scoffed to himself at the notion of pressuring an alumni of one's own institution to perform your bidding. He would have never allowed such a thing at Trastus. Of course, such things did come up at his former place of occupation; Interesting opportunities were always at war with the ethics and morals one might have to shed to explore them, and Orion was only in command of one of the many departments of the academy.

Coughing a bit, he covers his mouth with the hand Volker reached for, before withdrawing it into his robe. "Being pragmatic is all well and good, but not if you aren't able to temper your reasoning with the potential consequences of your actions. Eventually, behavior like those in Volta exhibit will come back to punish them. It's sad, but proven."

He was living proof of that, he supposed. His own lack of care for the consequences of his actions had brought him to where he now was, passing landmarks that told him of just how close they were getting to his home.

Volker
 

Volker

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Volker felt him pull away, and fell silent. That settled it then. He folded his arms across his chest, and took a deep breath. “Yes, I suppose sooner or later it will.” He answered in response to Volta. He couldn’t help but feel a little hurt, but he understood. He was far past his prime, and not the best conversationalist. Still, the reality that he might be getting free too late...he shook his head and the idea out of it. There was no sense in mourning what he had never had.

“Did you ever teach at the College of Eternum? Was it the same, Illusion magic?” He asked, not wanting the silence to spread out between them.

Orion
 

Orion

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They were nearing their destination, and any disappointment in Volker's voice was unheard by the cloaked man. Even in his current state, there was a wash of peace that flowed through him when he neared the place he called home, even if many considered it nothing more than a cursed shell now. "I had no interest in such a place, though the offer was made to me."

Off in the distance tucked against a mountain side, and surrounded by a tall wall composed of an odd, dull brown material, stood three tall towers of stone with their bases hidden by said wall. They reached up high into the sky, pointed tips adorned with cerulean blue flags. Judging by how far out the wall was from the only visible structures inside of it, one could assume it was the size of a small town or village.

Orion stopped to look at it from where they stood. His pale, cold eyes softened in recognition as he was so immediately confronted with the onslaught of emotion that attacked him every time he saw this place. It was home. It had been home for so long, to so many like him.

And Orion had ruined that. What he looked at now was nothing but a corpse of Trastus, one that he festered in like a maggot.

"Trastus was built as a settlement for aspiring mages, founded by Leorn Trastus in 348. It's crowning achievement, the Trastus Academy for Magic, was non-profit. It instructed any who were willing to adhere to it's rules, and who demonstrated some level of talent. The last heads of the Academy were Seralina Trastus, Regulus Earningway, and Janus Carrux. The Academy and city of Trastus were abandoned after a terrible accident a few years ago, and travel to either location is strongly advised against."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker steeled himself as they walked. He’d miscalculated and allowed himself to get lured along by a pretty face. It was better than slavery, and he would much rather be walking towards a ruin than dealing with a hungover wraith. His heart still ached for human contact, of any sort, but he quashed that need as he always had. Whatever had driven him to try and reach for Orion’s hand, it ended now.

“As long as there is shelter and beds still standing.” Volker told him. He didn’t mind the run down nature of Trastus. He could say he had stayed in objectively worse places than a town reclaimed by nature. He wanted to bathe and rest, and get something more substantial to eat. Perhaps there was game nearby?

Orion
 

Orion

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Orion merely shook his head at the words. It may have been standing physically, but what it stood for, what it had meant... was all but gone now. He leads him closer to the walls, the path ending once they reached them. The walls themselves were a dark brown, ridged and valleyed. They resembled the trunk of a tree quite heavily. There did not seem to be a door to speak of, but Orion moved a pale hand from his cloak and placed it flat against the strange material of the wall, speaking softly to it as one would an old friend.

"Light the path we love, so that we may forge the future."


A soft golden shimmer extends from between his fingers out across the wall, and the oak-like barrier splits apart, dark tendrils releasing their grasp on each other to pull open space for the two of them to walk through. This time, Orion extends a hand to Volker himself. There was a smile on his face, but it couldn't hide the immeasurable sadness this place brought to the mage. He spoke, but not to Volker. To the air itself he proclaimed:

"Now comes another, joined in hands with me. Seeking refuge from a world that does not want him, that can not understand him. Let our city greet him, and warm his soul with it's embrace."

"Take my hand, Volker. It will make you an official citizen of Trastus."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker looked at the ruins, and the wall surrounding them. He had to commend Orion on a wall with no gate, that bent to his command. It would provide good security should Oor come looking for him. It helped him feel safe, and he didn’t have as strong of a connection to this place as Orion clearly did. Ruins could be good places to live, at least for the time being, and he was an industrious man.

Volker looked at the offered hand. He didn’t understand why Orion spoke to a dead city, or what stepping through that barrier would mean. But he did want to hold the man’s hand. He stepped forward and grasped Orion’s hand in his. He wanted to be nearer to him. He stepped through easily, avoiding looking at the man’s face. His thumb brushed the back of Orion’s hand.

Did the mage know how much that meant to him?

Orion
 

Orion

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Orion grasped the hand firmly. He could understand the hesitation, but he took a moment to assure Volker. "Though my city may be dead, I uphold it's customs. Newcomers must be officially welcomed in before entry, and full citizenship can only be granted by certain individuals. I am the only one left with such privileges." Pulling Volker through the gap in the wall, it sewed itself back shut behind them as they looked upon Trastus itself...

To call the city 'ruins' would be a disservice. Abandoned though it was, Trastus was almost completely intact. Subtle signs of disrepair did show through; Overgrown vegetation and and an abundance of wildlife seemed to inhabit some of the more open air buildings. Aside from that however, it looked like a perfectly good town that everybody had packed up and left behind without a second thought.

They stood on the end of a long road, one that seemed to stretch the entire length of the city. The rest of the small town split off to either side from this central road. Buildings littered the right and left of the road, with other streets breaking off in-between them. It was quite compact. In the distance, the towers of the Academy loomed over them, connected at the base to what was easily the largest structure in Trastus.

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker looked at the city. It was empty, and eerie, like an abandoned house. Nature would reclaim it in time, but for now...it seemed alright. At least the buildings weren’t in danger of collapsing in on themselves. Even the towers looked relatively preserved. Volker didn’t want to let go of Orion’s hand. “At least there will be places to sleep. What happened here...exactly? You are the last man left in this city, you spoke of an accident. If everyone left, but there is no obvious danger...why is travel advised against here?” Volker asked quietly.

He still wasn’t meeting Orion’s eyes. In a way he was terrified that Orion could see his defenses weakening if he did. He knew it was foolish. Orion had already made it quite clear he had no interests in that way. The effect the man had on him was undeniable, however.

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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In Orion's eyes, there was a memory replaying itself over and over again, never ceasing to repeat the cause of this place's abandonment. Even so, hearing Volker ask what it was proved a difficult request for him to fulfill. He gently released Volker's hand, setting off down the main road towards the Academy. It was where he stayed, and he had plenty of room in the old school. Perhaps Volker would find their amenities quite pleasing.

"A class of freshman students were slaughtered by their instructor. The Academy provided funding for the entire town, and as the Academy was forced to close it's doors, so too was the city itself. The perpetrator of that atrocity proved too difficult to make submit to incarceration, and he remained in the city. Travel is advised against because of this individual."

His hands slid back into his robes as he closed his eyes. He didn't really hide who that individual was. It should have been quite obvious. Still, the part of him that denied to believe that he committed such a crime forced him to word it the way he had.

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker kept ahold of Orion’s hand for a moment, then let him go. He followed him down the main road toward the Academy, listening to him. He felt...strangely comforted here. Where there were once crowds to avoid there was nothing. Where there would have been dogs and horses who hated him, silence. No noise, no crowds, no guards. Peace and silence like he wanted his head to be. He decided he liked Trastus, at least for now.

Volker didn’t so much as blink an eye at the tale. “Why kill them? It is far too much to consume even if you preserved them.” He told him, no judgement against the man for committing such a crime. He had done similar and more, on command. On his own he hunted man if it was convenient game, and never took more than he could use.

“I do not think less of you, whatever happened. I only think it foolish that they allowed the death of a city over it.” He commented.

Orion
 

Orion

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He tilted his head to the side, letting his hair fall down over his eyes as he pondered Volker's words. Did Trastus need to be abandoned as a result of his actions? It was true that the issue was confined to the Academy, but without the Academy, there was no Trastus. Even beyond that, Orion hadn't been in his right mind. He would likely have threatened the integrity of the entire city if it remained inhabited...

"Killing them... It was an accident." His voice cracked a bit as he plead his innocence. "It was supposed to be a simple demonstration, but... I lost control. I began to see things that weren't there. I heard voices in my ears, felt threats that didn't exist. I don't know exactly what happened.... I didn't kill them myself though. My illusions... my illusions drove them mad. Mad enough to kill each other."

He shakes his head, stopping and leaning on a building to catch his breath. Hells, he still couldn't repeat the entire story. It was mortifying. "Volker, I still am not in control. My devotion to my craft has doomed me, and magic tears at my very being..."

Volker
 

Volker

The Man of a Thousand Souls
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Volker frowned, and stepped beside Orion as he leaned against a building to catch his breath. He listened, and felt a surprising familiarity in those words. Voices in his head. Going mad. Losing control. He put a hand on Orion’s back. Orion was dying, as he was. One torn apart by magic and the other by old age and an old curse. He didn’t know what to do or how to comfort him. He ran his hand up and down Orion’s back, looking at the ground. “We are both dying then.” He said quietly. “But I know how you feel more than you know. I have woken up in cities I have never set foot in, to scenes I would have never created. I have been in that same situation, watching my body do things against my will.”

He took a deep breath. “But it is how you spend your time before you go. You may yet get control of this. But perhaps it is finding a line between what is illusion and what is truth.” He rubbed his shoulder. “Come, let us get something real to eat, and some rest.”

Orion
 

Orion

A Living Illusion
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The man was rarely willing to let his own emotions leak through, especially when they exposed his weakness. Volker could have judged him, but instead he felt the man's hand on his back, his voice offering comforting words. He could relate? Yes, Orion had supposed he possibly could. It was one of the things that had drawn him to his decision to bring him along. They were, in many ways, cut from the same cloth. They shared similar origins.

Straightening his posture, he clears his throat and straightens his cloak. The expression on his face fights it's way back to neutral, and he nods towards the Academy.

"I have personal quarters in the Academy. I was one of it's heads, after all. You will have full access to Trastus Academy's remaining stock of magical supplies, as well as it's library. There is much knowledge to be gained within the walls, and I keep it well supplied with all it needs to sustain me. Follow."

Volker
 

Volker

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Volker saw it. Something he would have done. Straightening up, clamping down on emotions. He didn’t question it, it was how Orion retained his dignity and he didn’t want to take that from him. He followed him, shaking his head. “An academy will be useless to me. I do not perform magic of any kind to prevent interference with the Well. It is massively unpleasant the way it reacts to other spells, or performing spells. As for the books in the library...I cannot read.” He said frankly.

Volker cleared his throat. “And where will
I be sleeping?” He asked. He didn’t want to presume he’d be sharing Orion’s quarters.

Orion
 

Orion

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Orion actually offers a smirk to his outright dismissal of the Academy's usefulness to him. Perhaps, in Volker's distaste for magic, he was thinking too hastily? "Studying and understanding is not the same as performing, Volker. While I understand your reservation about doing anything that may tamper with your Well, could it not be useful to better understand the effects it could theoretically have on you? Knowledge, my friend, is power."

He extended a hand, patting him on the shoulder reassuringly and motioning for him to follow as he led them father up to the doors of the academy. They stood tall, two ebony black doors with handles curled in serpentine fashion. Looking up, one could see the towers that reached out over the barrier they'd passed through, seeming to touch the clouds themselves.

He reached out and curled his hands around the handles, pulling the doors open. After he tugged them a small bit, the began to open on their own. The entrance hall of the old Academy had seen better days; It was a large domed room, with walls of dull gray with a circular platform raised in it's center. Lights that seemed to glow without fire hung from the walls, activating in response to their presence. Bookshelves sat against the walls disheveled, 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 directiosn, there were three doors out of this main area behind said platform, each spread a distance apart enough from each other to make one assume they each led to one of the three towers.

"The three towers are entered here, through the Hall of Reflection. Each of the three towers was under the instruction of one of the three Heads of Trastus. My tower, the Tower of Orion, is the left most tower. There is plenty of room within it's halls for both of us, unless you'd prefer to sleep in the student quarters."

Volker
 

Volker

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Volker listened, and nodded. “You would like Nestor. He has been studying the spell ever since he died. My education was limited, even with the spell on me.” He said quietly. Maybe he would do well to study his curse. He enjoyed the touch, the pat on his shoulder. He touched where Orion’s hand had, stepping into the main room. He looked around the large dome, flaring his nostrils a bit. No one had been here for a very long time.

He wasn’t surprised to hear Orion had his own tower. He cleared his throat. “I would rather stay close to you. I do not know this place, and my experience with magic colleges...has not been good.” He said quietly. He couldn’t help himself. He was working up the courage to propose they sleep in the same bed. Or at the very least, the same room. He was utterly enchanted by this man, and the more he spent time with him the braver he felt.

Orion
 

Orion

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He nodded. Volker's logic was sound regardless of his intention. Orion didn't need to ask what past experience Volker spoke of; He knew quite well. He circled the platform in the center of the room, heading towards the door to the left tower. The Tower of Orion was not named after Orion, rather it was what Janus rechristened himself after when he decided he would remain here alone in Trastus. He waved for Volker to follow, and entered the Tower Of Orion.

Behind it's door was a room very similar to the circular dome that they had just left, on a much smaller scale. The walls were lined carefully with a staircase that ran up the length of the tower, and one could make out doors at several points along the way up. Reaching out and placing his hand on the railing, he began to ascend.

"The tower has several classrooms, my personal library, a laboratory, and my personal chambers." He spoke as if he was on automatic; just another tour to give to a new arrival. He bit his lower lip at the thought. This was wrong, all wrong. Bringing Volker here was promising the man something he could not have. For in Trastus, with Orion, there was no normalcy.

They neared the top, but he began to slow as he spoke. "A time will come in the near future that will test your willingness to remain here. Your Well stabilized me for some time, but it will not last. When I begin to slip, this place could very well become a living nightmare. I will not be able to help you when that happens."

Volker
 

Volker

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Volker ascended the tower carefully, behind Orion. He noted the doors; the aforementioned classrooms and personal laboratory no doubt. At the top...Orion’s personal chambers. He felt nervous, his stomach twisting for the first time in decades. He had faced down creatures that made men’s guts turn to water. He’d dealt with over six hundred relatives in his head. He’d been a slave since birth. Here he was, nervous to go toward a bedroom.

“We will stabilize you again.” Volker told him encouragingly. He laid his hand on top of Orion’s on the banister. “The same warning goes for you as well. There will always be a man who hated you up here.” He indicated his head with the tap of a finger. “I do not fear your madness, not after living with this.”

Orion
 

Orion

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Orion appreciated the assurance, but he knew it wouldn't be that simple. Nevertheless, he was quite curious to see what having another living being here in the city would do to his psyche, however fleeting his stay might be. "Madness has a funny way of changing one's outlook on certain things, wouldn't you say?"

To call the room the entered into a bedroom would be underselling the enormity of the room. His chambers were about the size of a small home in and of itself, which made sense if one took into account that he was living here. It was well kept, much more neat and clean than the rest of the tower. There was a small oven, cupboards that looked to be well stocked, and a small table on one side of the room the entered. The other side was largely barren, with a circular rug placed down over the floor, odd black marks scuffed across some parts of the stone beneath it. The walls around the rug were lined with even more bookshelves, although these in far less disrepair.

There was no sign of a bed, although the presence of another door in the room seemed to suggest there was more to be seen.

Volker
 

Volker

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Volker hadn’t expected the room to look so...homey. He approved of the utilitarian use of the room, the oven and creature comforts. It was neat and clean, which was a relief given the disrepair of the rest of the tower, and Volker slowly walked around the room. He avoided the rug, giving it a suspicious look. Instead he looked at the bookshelves, full of books he couldn’t even begin to read. He felt...stupid, and self-conscious, and nervous. He rubbed the back of his neck.

“Where are we sleeping?” He asked. He could have cut his tongue off. We? He was being presumptuous. He looked down, avoiding Orion’s gaze, and fiddled with a book on the shelf.

Orion