Private Tales Roses and Rust

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Gannis

Venari
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"I'm Gannis," he replied bluntly.

There was quite the collection of bits and pieces around the house. He'd never had an eye for artefacts and books, not like some of the older Venari who trained the new.

"You have some interesting works on your collection," he said.

Despite not having a great eye, he had spotted something quite rare on the shelves. Something quite valuable. A treatise on forest demons of which just a few remained. Gannis wondered whether the man knew its value too.

Useful to know before negotiating the specifics of the contract and their fees.

"I think we need to know a bit more...a lot more...about what happened here," Gannis said. He looked around and, not seeing anywhete tidy enough to sit, remained where he stood.
 

Larka

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“Why yes I know you’re Gannis,” Florian chuckled before pausing and then looking at Gannis with innocent playfulness. “Although I suppose you could be Larka. Interesting names the two of you had! I’ve been on many travels and excursions and I must say you are the first ‘larka’ or ‘Gannis’ that I have met.” As Gannis spoke Florian meandered to his desk and began pulling out loose pieces of paper, looking them over and then placing them back in a different place completely.

“Well I agree with that. You see, I’ve gone a very long time. Well. Not true. I’ve come back here and there during my travels, you see, and, oh not this one, where is it?” Florian muttered, continuing to search his messy office.

Larka looked over at Gannis, giving him a confused look. There was no way their employer could possibly be a man like Florian who was so scatterbrained he couldn’t even find what he wanted to show them.

“Aha! I knew I could find it. Now, look, see,” he turned around, waving a paper that held a sketch of a girl, a bush, a rose and sloppily scribbled notes in a ink that had been diluted in water. Everything on that page was slightly smudged. “Ten years ago, our village began to have a curious affliction. But you see, I believe it to center around a child who had just turned one at the time. This girl.” Larka looked over at the picture of the girl, blinking.

“Her name is Mirren. She’s eleven now. She’s the only one the rust hasn’t infected.”

Gannis
 
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Gannis

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"Mirren," Gannis repeated slowly. He didn't always pick up names quickly, so he let that sink in.

The man and his people had suffered enough; Gannis wasn't going to try and con him out of anything. However, he would certainly broach the topic of whether there was anything in his collection to be used as part payment later.

"Her family still around?" Gannis asked. "Have any quarrels? Any enemies? Powerful ones. Whatever magic this is, proper fucked a ward I tried to put together out in the woods." He jabbed his thumb over his shoulder to roughly indicate where they had come from.
 
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Larka

Fun Size Foster
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Florian was quiet for a moment, it was an unusual thing, even in the extremely brief time that Larka had known the man, which couldn’t have been more than ten minutes, she understood that melancholy was not something he actively displayed.

“Well, her family is technically still around, yes, I suppose you can say that.” Florian murmured before sighing deeply. “They’re alive but somewhat unresponsive. You see, her mother and father, they’re completely covered in rust. The only thing they can do is breathe, eat, drink, and well,” he glanced at Larka, “forgive my language young lady, but surely you understand that if they can eat and drink then they’re able to—“

Shit and piss?” Larka offered brightly, causing Florian to choke and cough in surprise. His face grew beet red and it took him a moment to collect himself. Larka merely grinned.

“Ah, well, that’s one way to phrase it.” He then looked over to Gannis and cleared his throat once more. “They were well-liked. Even though the town wants to well, claim the daughter is a witch, I really don’t believe it’s anything she has done. At least, not purposefully.” Larka’s ears pricked up at this. A strange statement to make, she looked over at Gannis excitedly.

So she did it on accident?” Larka pressed, which only caused Florian to sigh.

“Find her, take her far away from our town, and have her sing. And you’ll see what happens when she does.”

Gannis
 
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Gannis

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Gannis was starting to wish that a real expert in curses had been available. He knew the books and the lore. What he lacked was at real appreciation of the subtlety of magic and how to trace and manipulate it.

He tracked beasts by sight and scent, that was his true skill.

If the parents were alive, then they could be made to talk. It was a matter of risk and cost. He could fetch a tonic that would make their lives burn brighter for a time but it could make them burn out if they were weak. Their were communication encantations, but such things were always a short hop away from necromancy.

"We're here, so let's get on with it. Where is the girl?"
 

Larka

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Florian nodded his head gravely at Gannis’ questions before uttering, “The house completely covered in rust on the east side of town. Trust me, unfortunately, you can’t miss it.” He said. A slight pause. “I’ll be waiting here.” He added, almost timidly. Larka looked over at Gannis and then at Florian.

I think it’s best if you don’t come.” She offered and saw Florian release a breath that he had been holding, his shoulders slumping into a more relaxed state. “We’ll be back if we have any other questions,” Larka added and with that, Florian led the venari out of his office back to the front door, staying inside his home as the venari left.

Larka began to walk to the east of town, and as they got closer to the destination it was ever so apparent that the worst of the rust was in this location. Less people were outside, no animals could be found, and it was eerily quiet. True to Florian’s words, it was completely covered in rust, so much so that layers of rust were growing on previous layers, causing the home to a particularly rounded and misshapen look to it.

Sitting on what was once a front porch but now looked like lazy waves rolling along a rusty-platform was a young girl without a mask. She was the only person that Larka had seen that had no sort of rust on her.

Gannis
 

Gannis

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Gannis let his eyes trace the outline of the house before falling upon the lone girl.

It was amazing that it was still standing. The rust had built in layers. They were peeling away from one another and he could imagine that if he tugged they would crumble away. It was a lot of weight for the wooden beams of the house to bear.

It was also remarkable that the girl was still alive. Village folk like these tended to lash out in any direction when subject to something like a curse. Someone would shout "burn the witch-looking spinster to lift it" and people often agreed.

"Mirren," he called out. "Do you know why we're here?"

Gannis was not - by appearance or demeanour - Well suited to negotiating with children.
 
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Larka

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The girl was silent. She continued to sit as the two venari approached her. She looked up at them and there was a sort of dull caution in her eyes. Seconds passed before Mirren would answer Gannis with a slow, small shake of her head. Larka took on a different approach than the older venari and smiled warmly at the young girl.

Mirren, you can’t speak right now, can you?” Larka said softly, stepping a bit closer to the girl and then holding out her hand. Mirren nodded. She only stared at Larka’s hand. “Come with us, we’d like to speak to you. Out in the fields, away from everyone else.” It was only after that Larka had said those words that Mirren took her hand. The foster looked back at the venari with a beaming look of triumph.

Then they headed off to the fields, walking and walking further and further away from the village. When Mirren stopped, so did Larka.

The foster wasn’t prepared for what would happen when Mirren would finally speak. The girl’s voice was incredibly deep yet hoarse as if she had spent days upon days screaming, but the way it echoed around them like a heavy drum…

ȟ£ȽȽ¤.

Larka gritted her teeth, hands covering her ears as wild, vicious part of her began to awaken. She had only experienced this hidden, dormant part during the time when she was forced to turn with everyone else. A deep, resounding ringing went through her ears. Suddenly, without warning, Larka fell down to her hands and knees and retched onto the ground, her stomach a pile of corded knots.

Gannis
 
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Gannis

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It started at the nape of his neck and wormed its way down his spine. It hurt. Gannis bared his teeth at a small child without even thinking about it.

He didn't reach for his swordinstinct entire bypassed such logical thoughts. His right hand opened, fingernails growing to claws. The pain of the shift was almost a barrier against whatever her voice did to him.

He managed to remain on his feet and kept the contents of his stomach down. He regained control. His right hand, which had started to extend and darken, returned to being just a human hand.

"Hello Mirren," he replied. "Larka, you might want to head down the other end of the field. I can deal with this."

He was older, it was his responsibility. And if he thought Mirren really was the source and he had to do the difficult thing, then that was his responsibility too.
 
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Larka

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One word. One word was all it took for Larka to turn into some quivering pup. She looked up, looked at Mirren, glaring at her. But it was hard to maintain a venomous look because Mirren didn’t look happy. She looked worried, scared. The foster frowned, and slowly stood up, feeling a bit bashful for her display of weakness.

She looked at Gannis, chewing hesitantly on her lower lip.

I want to stay. I need to stay.” She said softly but determined nonetheless. “It’s my duty right now to learn.” She added. Larka looked back at Mirren, the same melancholy look on her face. “If only she knew how to write. Can you write?” The young woman said. Mirren shook her head. Of course, the majority of the town was most likely illiterate, Florian the only one who could read and write decently enough.

Larka was about to say something more, another half-hearted suggestion, but paused. She squinted, looking off into the field. Coming towards them, slowly moving, was “rust.” Moving along much like a giant, flat slug on the ground, heading straight towards Mirren.

Gannis
 
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Gannis

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"Stay then," Gannis replied.

There was teaching a younger Venari through giving them orders, and there was teaching them by letting them make their own choices.

Gannis tended to lean towards the latter method. Especially when he could barely concentrate on keeping his own self under control.

When he saw the mass of rusted metal convulsing and crawling across the field towards them his hand reached for the sword rather than the beast within.

His hand didn't quite reach the hilt of his sword, stopping above his shoulder. What was he even going to fight?

Gannis braced himself. He ground his back teeth together and tensed from head to toe.


"Why is it following you?" he asked Mirren.
 

Larka

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Larka steeled herself, prepared to prove not only to Gannis but also to that inner voice inside her that she could handle whatever foulness was coming their way. Or at least survive it. The shifting rust was a sight to behold her, a moment of sublime awe going through her head as she tried to make sense of it. It was as bizarre as seeing rust on humans and those humans still able to move.

Mirren, with a perplexed looked down at her feet. Her hands were in tight fists, gripping her dress so hard that her knuckles were white. She looked behind her, seeing that same wave of red crawling over. The movement was slowing down as each second passed by. Not long after, it came to a complete and total stop.

The girl looked back at Gannis and pointed at her throat, and opened her mouth as if she were to speak but shook her head. She paused then, looking at the two venari in front of her before glancing away.

How can a voice draw rust to it?” Larka asked Gannis. It seemed Florian had assumed as much and why he wouldn’t go with them and had even instructed them to have her sing far away from the town. But with one word she had commanded the rust to come. “Do… we have her sing?” Larka asked tentatively.

Gannis
 
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Gannis

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Gannis reached over his shoulder and drew his sword. It wasn't a slender, fanciful thing. No golf or filagree or jewels. It was a heavy, single edged blade that would not have looked out of place in an abattoir. It did not sing as it was drawn. It had one function and the only noise it made was to whisper of death to come.

"Not yet," he said bluntly.

Gannis took a few steps towards to motionless rust. He didn't know if it had come close enough to the girl to stop or because her voice and its magic only lasted for so long.

"I'm going to poke that with a stick and see what happens," he explained.
 
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Larka

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Larka blanched at what Gannis last said. Poke it with a stick? Surely not! She was certain that if Gannis did such a thing it would be as if he had poked a sleeping bear. A very hungry, irascible sleeping bear.

I’m sure you’ll only make the rust angry!” Larka exclaimed following along after Gannis. “What if you get covered in the rust, too? I may be stronger than I look but I’ll still struggle to carry you back all the way to the Conclave.” She insisted, skipping past Mirren who gave both the venari a unconcerned look.

When Gannis would prod at the rust, it wouldn’t move. If anything, the stick would actually scrape the rust off of whatever item it was on, whether it was grass or a rock or even the trail of ants it had covered over.

Gannis