Private Tales Into the Woods

Skylar

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Through the calmness of brooks and hills entangled as one and the grounds of earth and roots that skipped and danced over and under each other, one could almost forget the hassle of the bigger villages. The sounds of a town preparing to end their work for the day was little more than a faint whisper at this point as the sun began to set on the horizon. Elongated shadows spread a darkness across the lands and with that travel grew more and more difficult.

One could have argued that Skylar should have stayed in the village for the night, but the looks of the few still outweighed the many. Horror and disgust was easier to read than marvel and curiosity. Not many had seen a woman that glowed pass through their village. For what little that Skylar’s travels had taught her already, such was the case with nearly all villages around. It made her miss home, but then she also knew that she could not go home either. Not because she didn’t want to but because it no longer existed, which was not to mention the task she had been sent on by her goddess.

Maybe with luck, she figured, this small and slightly worn path would have taken her somewhere safe. It was a longshot but Skylar also wasn’t a stranger to sleeping in the woods. Wild animals were dangerous, but so were jealous hearts of humans and elves. The sound of animals grew hard not to notice, but so did the road’s visibility. Skylar closed her eyes for a second to expand a dim light around herself to allow herself a moment to see what was in front of her feet.

As the road continued it would seem that despite the thickness of the forest there was an abundance of plantlife to be seen. It was not one that Skylar would have expected, but found joy in seeing nonetheless. But few things compared to the joy as the small spot of brightness up ahead. There was a clearing, and although the dark had started to make it increasingly hard to see anything, from the periphery of her squinted eyes Skylar made out the shape of a small hut. It seemed worn from the years. Improper construction seemed to have bent it crooked or left it as such from the start. There was a garden outside that spoke of someone having been here recently.

Skylar let her magic light spread just a little further before she began to approach the home.

“Hello?” She called out through, what was to her, complete darkness. “Is anyone home?”

Into the clearing had stepped one glowing woman. White clothes covered in a leather chest piece and with a teal cloak on her shoulders. A sword hung by her hip. She seemed lost.
 
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Asuego Kiamast

Cutter-Witch of the Lagend bog
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There seemed to be little movement in the home, with only the dim of the flickering fire passing through the windows.
with a long moment of silence, the door swooped open with no aide of human hand as if magical. The heat of the interior soon began to sweep out past the doorframes. The warm light inviting the waderer inside.
 
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Skylar

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Apprehension. Skylar looked at the door that opened and the traces of light from a fireplace. No one was in the door frame but it opened regardless. She was not one to let the kindness of strangers go unrewarded, but the lack of anyone standing there surprised her to no small amount.

With one step before the other Skylar placed herself just inside the door to see if she could see anyone…
 
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Asuego Kiamast

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The cieling of the house was very low and covered in beams, from them hang a myriad of fetishes and twine, hair, twig and rope poppets, some of which had faces, others not. But many gleefuly stared at the glowing woman, even though they were innanimate objects that rotated in the sudden draft of cold air.
The walls were covered in carpets, herbs and shelves which held many a thing. Books layered upon books, grimoires and piles of paper. The floor was of stone, but between seams in the middle of the room, traces of ages old blood all dried up were still to be seen. One could wonder from what all it could be...

On the left from the door lay a coathanger, on it lay a white hat and a black cloak of raven feathers...it was imbued with magic. On the right of the door however lay a rocking chair tilted away from the fire. On it swayed a woman, appearing rather sleepy and tired with her groggy voice.
»Ardomma, visitrs again? Dear traveler, please dim your lights...« The woman groaned lightly, she was as pale as snow, with her hair curly, pearlescent and down to the floor.

»BUT -... THAT'S IT, SHE'S AWAKE, SORRY DARLING.« Suddenly a voice roared from out the stove that lay in the left corner of the house.
 
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Skylar

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How peculiar, Skylar thought. There were items everywhere meant to have some function or the other. Faces looked at her and Skylar gave them each a glance trying to discern whether or not they were actually looking at her or if it was an illusion. Her focus was broken however as the homeowner asked her to dim the lights.

“Oh, of course.” Skylar said and let the spell of light go. Yet despite the lack of light it was still hard to miss the blonde woman’s bright silhouette. A vague light seemed to come from her, and where her skin was the light would shine just ever so slightly brighter.

“Evening,” She said and turned to look at the stove. “Evening to you too.”

A talking oven. The demonic presence was hard to not notice. A tinge of worry spread across Skylar’s face as she turned to look at the witch in her seat.

“Do you mind if I sit?” She asked and pointed in no particular spot on the floor. “Been a long road.”
 
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Asuego Kiamast

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»Help yourself, darling, « softly spoke the witch as she waved her hand towards one of the many suitable sitting locations like the bench or chairs by the table.

With some strain she gazed at the girl but even then, the glow upon her was odd, she almost expected a blue lamp or light, but what would she know, it was all a very odd blurr to her. She hated light, she hated light too strong. Even Ardomma's blaze was at times too much.

As her gaze crossed, it seemed to become apaprent why she was overly sensetive to the light, any light. Her eyes were a dark mass with the iris atrophied beyond reckognition.

»Not from Laggend, a drifter I see. Tell me, where do you hail from?«
 
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Skylar

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“Skymother Temple.” Skylar answered the woman’s question with an increasingly warm smile. “Though it has since been abandoned.”

The glowing woman continued to look around the room as she took a seat on a nearby bench. As she came to rest she finally found it possible to see again. Skylar’s eyes met with the elf’s worn eyes. She appeared blind almost, or so one could have assumed.

“Thank you, I won’t be long.”
Skylar said and glanced around the room. “Your hospitality is appreciated.”
 
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Asuego Kiamast

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»All mortal creations fall to ruin... So... I am being graced with the pressence of a priestess?« The witch waved her hand lightly while tilting her head and leaning it against the other wrist.
»I am Asuego, the white witch. - The baby-cutter of Laggend. « She finally introduced herself.
 
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Skylar

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What the witch said was true. All that was created withered and died at some point, even Skylar would suffer the same fate with time. Though the woman before Skylar was most likely far more aware of this than Skylar herself was.

For a second Skylar narrowed her eyes, the glow dimmed with the blink of an eye at the mention of being a self-proclaimed baby-cutter. The idea to stay might prove hazardous. If the idea was to scare the priestess then it was certainly working.

“I am a priestess of Astra, yes.”
Skylar said with a suspicious glance at the woman. Asuego didn’t seem very dangerous, but even someone like Skylar knew that appearances were deceiving. To that end she could find some solace in knowing that she was not without help. Astra would not have led her here if it meant she would die from it.

Just the thought alone was enough to lift a weight off of her shoulders. Her squinted eyes opened wide and a new smile spread upon her lips as the glow returned to normal. It wasn’t good to hold malice or unwarranted suspicion at heart. Such thoughts of what could never be proven right or wrong until it happened had corrupted greater minds than Skylar many times before.

“I’d like to think she guided me here,” Skylar said and began to look around the room again. “How long have you lived here?”
 
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Asuego Kiamast

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»Ah, Astra...« Asuego's expression soured. Her people had an odd relationship with the celestials. She in particular wasn't keenly opinionated on any gods that were not from the earthen womb of Arethil. In fact she found them rather deceitful...

»I've stopped counting ages ago. I've seen many turnovers of generations. Daughter to mother...Child to elder...«
The with murmured, pleasantly closing her eyes.

»IT'S ALL THE SAME, YEAR TO YEAR«
 

Skylar

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Part of Skylar had to wonder if she would suffer the same fate. Living for a longer while than those around her due to who and what she was. Part of her childhood had been spent wondering about the possibility. Mother usually told her not to, the answer would show itself when she was old enough.

A curious glance set at the oven.

“Who is it, exactly, that is inside of the stove?”
Skylar’s attention lingered on the talking oven. “This is the first time I have seen anything like it.”
 
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Asuego Kiamast

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Asuego leaned back, tilting her head aside as the stove flared up in fire.
»I AM THE MOST FEARSOME, POWERFUL FIRE DEMON, ARDOMMA! «

The witch had a deserving smile on her face, closing her ayes and tilting her head downward and relaxing on her rocking chair.
»Ardomma is my stove demon, a...very powerful demon to that. «
»THAT IS, I AM THE GREATEST FIRE DEMON OF THE PITS «
 

Skylar

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Demons did have that tendency to make Skylar uncomfortable. Perhaps they wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t.

“Interesting.” Skylar said and turned back to look at the witch. “And you just… Keep a demon in your stove?”
 
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Skylar

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The blonde woman rubbed at the back of her neck. She wanted to say hell. In fact, she wanted to say hell really bad. Yet at the same time... That wouldn't be very guest-like, would it? There was a creature in that very stove that had the power to kill Skylar quicker than most, and yet...

"I suppose I do not know." She said and let her attention shift back to the stove. "So do you work for it, or it for you?"

Demons were rarely ones to be bound to a thing without a good deal for it after all, right? Or was that just the books?
 
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Asuego Kiamast

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»The fire elemental is under my command,« she nodded.
»Ardomma is awfully loud today... I suppose you've never dealt with demons?«
 
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Skylar

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“Not personally, no. Unless having worked with figurative ones count.” Skylar said and looked over at the old woman again. “But why keep a demon in the stove? Why not, say, a fireplace?”
 
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Asuego Kiamast

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Asuego shook her head a little before leaning back and crossing over her arms, »I could.«
»Enough about Ardomma, do you plan to go far?«