Private Tales Their Eyes Were Watching God

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Solitude

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Cais Vihara | often known as the water temple | located southwest of the spine, at the base of the dark forest that surrounds the Eldyr Tree. Cais Vihara is a temple designated to offer tribute to the old Gods of the Vale and repent for the transgressions of man. The monks here know a bit of magic and are highly trained in martial arts. Kind to outsiders who adhere to their belief system that the race of man should seek redemption through prayer offerings and meditation.

A grave and horrifying discovery had been made by a young monk residing at Cais Vihara. Outside the temple’s intricate walls and canals and waterfalls and water gardens, at the cusp of where the dark forest rested, a mass grave was found. Or rather it was seen as a discard hole for the creatures and men alike in the gore pit. Livestock was found inside. Some of the missing monks were found as well, along with the few brave adventures who may have been heading on their journey to the Eldyr Tree. Wild beasts were found, monsters so vicious and cruel lay helpless in the pit. Women, children, the elderly were found as well— from where they came from no one could say.

The only thing for certain was that each and every being in this hole were missing their eyes.



Solitude stepped through the first stone gate of Cais Vihara. The sound of water could be heard all around. The temple was built into the base of a small mountain which houses many waterfalls that was the main water source of the forest. The temple had been constructed in such a way that the buildings would no interfere with the water’s natural course and instead alleviated any previous blockades. The temple had been standing now for centuries and the young assassin noted that multitude of monks, young and old, milling about.

Many were meditating, offering prayer, the hums and the chants creating a peaceful deep-bodied melody that matched the rhythm of the trickling water and rushing roar of the waterfalls. Birds were unafraid here and many flew past the monks and some even rested upon the monks as they braid. There were unlit stone lanterns that designated the allocated stone pathways for people to walk on; between the large river stones were an abundance of moss growing in between the spaces of the rounded stones.

Where do I go to find the main hall? Aravind?” Solitude asked one of the few monks that didn’t seem to be busy with meditating. He smiled kindly at her, the corners of his eyes wrinkling up. He gave her directions, pointing through the large courtyard, explaining the other many courtyards and gates to be found. Solitude nodded, thankful for her training. Otherwise there was no way she would remember all the lefts and turns and to look out for this tree or that symbol to know which way she was supposed to go. Time was of the essence here, and the woman knew that she may already be too late.

She hated when a large group was already assembled and she had to not only rush against whatever evil horror lay in wait but also having to rush because someone could beat her to the finish line.

As she traversed through the the large expanse of the temple, navigating her way between courtyards that each held a different theme— water, sand, forest, stone, et cetera— she was getting closer and closer to the largest building that the monastery coveted: it was on a single platform and raised high up above all walls and other buildings of the temple. Surrounded by crystal clear water with only a small path of stepping stones to it’s entrance, perfectly maintained lotus gardens that created symmetrical rings. Sol knew she had finally arrived at Aravind, the center of Cais Vihara.

Skipping over the stone she entered that stone building covered in mosaics and carved stone. She had no time to focus on pictures or the beauty of the place. Incense filled the air, smoke swirling around stone pillars. The taste of magic was in the air. And much to Sol’s disdain she saw about a dozen or so adventurers already here. She was late. Like a quiet alley cat she stepped up to the group and glanced around.

Everyone was waiting for someone to arrive. Probably someone who was going to explain the situation to everyone.
 
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Kyril

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A decade ago, Kyril would have been exactly the man to explain, to contrive a dozen different answers for the horror that presented itself in the Vale. He would have called upon ancient tomes and long lost scrolls, offered a dozen different explanations and then let everyone else pick up the pieces once done.

It would have been simple to him, not a mystery. Everything could be explained, everything could be equated to something that had already happened. The answer was always a simple one; magic.

That was what he had once believed. That was how he had approached every problem that had ever been presented to him. At home he had been praised for it, placed upon a pedestal even. His father had called him a savant, the Maestar's had hailed him as the next great genius.

All of that had simply lead him to ruin.

Kyril was a different man now, a hollow shadow of what he had once been.

His knowledge was still there. All the books, scrolls, and ancient tomes that he had once read. Yet his magic was threadbare, salvaged in trickles and drops only because of luck. Because one person had found him, and that person turned out to be exactly what he'd needed.

Neith had saved him, and through their trials and tribulations he had found his way here. Barely functioning magic, a dead father, and a mystery back home that required powers which he could no longer call upon.

That was why he was here, a favor for a favor.

The long way to the Spine had been filled with thoughts of his family, of Neith, of all that they had been through and would still have to go through. Things were far from done in Elbion, but if this succeeded, if he could learn what had happened here, then perhaps they would be a step closer.

As long as the Maester kept his word. "I am Kyril Va'Den, from Elbion. I have been sent by the College in order to...aid in your investigation of what has happened here."

He said in introduction to himself as he stepped before the crowd of those gathered.

There were a few hushed whispers, some people praising and others expressing their doubt. A frown pulled at Kyril's lips, but he slowly continued.

"I have a few theories from the reports I read. I must take a closer look, but the...incident...has a few similarities with past occurrences." Someone interrupted him as he spoke.

"Like what? What kind of monster would do this?!"​

Someone demanded, not one of the monks Kyril noted.

"There are several Rituals connected to the eyes. The Cult of Rucure took a thousand eyes to see beyond the Veil. The Priests of Arkot saw eyes as a way to view the past. The Sects of Thule believe with enough eyes they might be able to summon their god." He kept his voice neutral as he spoke, though it was clear the subject was more than upsetting to a few in the crowd. "These are just some possibilities..."

He glanced around the room. "But I will need to investigate further..."
 
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Solitude

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Solitude raised a brow the moment Kyril stepped forward. Upon hearing the news, many had gone out to investigate. Whether it was for fame or for other reasons like justice, Solitude only knew the reason why she was there. And it wasn’t because it was a monster. If that were the case then she wouldn’t have come in the first place. Listening to Kyril speak, she debated some of the possibilities he said and had to admit while she didn’t quite know who this man was, she understood that he was someone was extremely well learned.

So do you need a someone to protect you while you investigate?” She asked loudly, raising her hand up to grab the learned man’s attention— her mask usually muffled her voice so Sol was apt to shouting although she hoped she didn’t come off as too aggressive, too hopeful to be at this man’s side.

He was valuable. He would be the one to figure out if Sol’s reason for being here was valid or not. People turned to look at her, the majority all expressing all sorts of irritation. She ignored it, staring straight at Kyril, never bringing her red eyes away from him.

I think you’re right, no beast or monster would do such a thing. Whoever is behind is this has a motive. A plan. I don’t think they meant to get caught in the first place.” Her shadow rippled. Her shadowkin speaking to her, telling her what to do or not to do. Sol ignored them, as usual. Right now she felt a more forward approach was needed. If she fucked up then she fucked up. She’d do it on her own, the hard way. She wasn’t oppose to that option entirely in the first place.

I think you might find my skill set to be… very beneficial.” She added, red eyes gleaming with confidence at her last statement.

Kyril
 
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Kyril

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Kyril's gaze gravitated towards the voice that called out from the crowd. He frowned for a brief moment as he parsed through the people, then finally spotted Solitude as she spoke up once again. "I...uhh."

He didn't really have an answer for that.

A part of him hadn't even considered that this might be dangerous, or that someone might come try to harm him. Kyril was no fool of course, there was always something in these things that could kill you, but he'd been looking at the problem through an Academic eye.

Of course there was a danger here. People had been getting their eyes ripped out and their bodies dumped into a mass grave. "Yes."

He answered finally, much to the chagrin of some of those in the crowd. A few murmurs about how such a thing would invite danger itself, how outsiders were going to meddle. It was clear that more than a few were displeased about him even being here.

Eventually though, one of the monks stepped forward. There was nothing discernable about him that set the man apart from the others, but as he approached Kyril the crowd seemed to fall silent.

"Please, go with our blessing. Find out what is going on here. We beg you."​

Kyril nodded, then motioned to Solitude to follow him. The awkwardness of the room practically driving him out.
 
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Solitude

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One point for cheeky assassin lady, zero points for all the others who didn’t speak up fast enough. Solitude could feel a ripple in the shadow, a sigh that whispered through her. To be fair, it wasn’t time to celebrate just yet, but couldn’t Sol at least give herself a little praise for getting to be the one to accompany Kyril Va’Den on this? It was a step in the right direction, and maybe this direction would actually get her somewhere!

She sprinted up to where Kyril was, black hair swishing behind her, the clank of her sheathed sword muffled against the padding of her light armor. She knew others would come, either to help solve the mystery or to hide whatever information could be found. Time was important, and it just made so much more sense to her to let Kyril do the heavy thinking while she can do… well some thinking and hopefully some snooping.

Mister Va’Den.” She said, one step behind him, letting him lead. “What do you need to further investigate? Have you already been at the mass grave?” She had scoped it out from afar but didn’t risk coming in close. Not yet. She didn’t want to draw any sort of suspicions for her reasons in being here.

Kyril
 
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Kyril

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Kyril shook his head. "I have not yet seen it."

Upon his arrival to the city he had quickly been lead here. In fact he'd not even had the time to unpack his things from travel, but that could wait until later tonight. The faster he got this done, the faster he would be able to get back to Elbion.

Neith needed his help still, and the Cartel would not wait long.

"We shall do that first." He said with a nod of his head, shouldering his pack and quickly beginning to head out of the meeting hall. "Then I will need to speak to the families of some of the deceased."

He glanced at Solitude. "Find out if there is anything special linking the victims."

From the what he had been told that was most likely not the case, but it would pay to make sure.

As they stepped outside, a realization suddenly struck him. He stopped frowned for a brief moment and then turned to Solitude.

"Apologies, in my haste I forgot to ask your name." He stuck out a hand. "Please, just call me Kyril."
 

Solitude

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Sol nodded her head her black bangs swishing over her crimson eyes as she thought over what Kyril had said. First, perfect, she could go to the mass grave with him. Let him do the heavy lifting there while she could maybe find something more obscure. Or not do anything at all and let him figure out whatever there was to be figured out. Second, she couldn’t help but wonder about why on Arethil they would talk to the victim’s families.

I’m assuming just the human ones?” She said, with a bit of sarcasm. After all, a good majority of those in the pit weren’t human. But she shrugged it off. Whatever, let the smart people of the world do what smart people did: leave no stone unturned.

Sol.” Solitude answered, her shadow beneath her feet momentarily expanding as her shadowkin breathed out a sigh when she took Kyril’s hand. Despite being a young woman and even with the softness of worn leather gloves, her grip was still something fierce as she shook Kyril’s hand. “Looking forward to protecting you. While I’m around no creepy crawlies will get you or some psycho will try stabbing out your eyes.” She said, grinning, although her masked covered the cheeky smile.

So. Mass grave first?” Sol prompted, eager to get the show on the road.

Kyril
 
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Kyril

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"Much appreciated." Kyril said, glancing down briefly and noting the odd flicker of her shadow.

For just a second he considered, and then decided not to speak on it. Not yet anyway.

He was here to figure out who had done this, not dig into every mystery that he came across. His father had always told him to focus, to not get distracted. One thing at a time, otherwise nothing would get done in the end. "And."

The Mage clarified as he turned and began to walk. "Not just the human ones."

Oh he was well aware of the absurdity of that statement.

"The first step is to figure out the why." The how would be easy enough. "Which will lead us to the who. Things like this always have a reason, particularly when it is done in such a...manner"

His head shook. "In Elbion the Gendarme have hunted more than a few killers with...eccentric proclivities, but it is always more staged, showy than this. As I said back there, this feels more purposeful, less artistic. More...a means to an end, rather than an end itself."

It was all conjecture at this point, but Kyril often worked through problems best by running through them out loud.
 
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Solitude

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Solitude nodded along to what Kyril said, of course, feigning that she understood everything he was saying and trying to display. It often happened, more often than Sol liked to admit, that sometimes people who were exceptionally intelligently gifted that when they tried to explain what was going on in their mind, it was often lost on her. She understood sometimes things took many steps, but she had always been the type to go from a point a to point b and then from point b to point c.

Kyril sounded like he was going from point c to point m and point m was going to take them to point x and after repeating that song and dance a dozen times they would then find out the answer.

I thought you already had an idea who was causing this? Cult of Arkot and Sect of Veil and the priests of Racure Thule or whatever?” Sure, there were more possibilities. “I mean, if it was me, I’d just be questioning all those monks. No way they had a landfill filled to the brim with dead bodies in their backyard and didn’t notice until now. Unless the killings haven’t been going on that long.” Solitude shrugged continued to keep pace with Kyril.

But, don’t listen to me, my mentor always said the only smart thing about me was my self preservation and survival instincts.” Her eyes crinkled up as she grinned fondly. “Of course, he also said my chances of getting struck by lightening twice were higher than me surviving past the age of thirty.

Kyril
 
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Kyril

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"Those are theories." Entirely based off of no evidence at all.

Kyril had more academic knowledge than...well, probably most anyone in this city. He knew what and where things happened, but that didn't mean he could claim to know what was happening now. The past was an indicator, but not always an exact pointer.

He knew that he had to dig to the bottom of what was happening here. The actual facts, and not just guesses that he could throw out. "There are a hundred possibilities. We just have to find the one that is fact. The Monks might have done this, but I doubt it."

Kyril told Solitude as they walked. "Otherwise they never would have sent for me."

He said with a shake of his head.

Just a few seconds later a small chuckle escaped him as she offered a jest. "Perhaps he didn't know lightning well enough."

He said with a shake of his head.

"After all, one little rune and you could throw it anywhere you like." The mage chuckled as he spoke, the two of them crossing the bounds of the city. Up ahead he could already smell the mass grave, rotting corpses and old flesh filling the air with a distinctly unpleasant scent.
 
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Solitude

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Solitude considered Kyril’s words. Well, he was right, she supposed. And sometimes the most obvious answers weren’t the correct ones. She was rather curious though what all those other possibilities could be. Really, she only had the monk one. Detective work was something she struggled with, and it was also why her higher ups had lately placed her on tasks that involved her using her brain a bit more.

She hoped that if she was successful with this mission that perhaps they would then let her having something that was more up her alley.

He didn’t know that sort of magic well enough, yes,” Sol agreed, using her hands to enact an explosion that was then completed with jazz hands. “His talents lie elsewhere. But if it’s just as easy as ‘one little rune’ then it sounds like you’re agreeing him.” She teased, giving a playful scoff. “I’ll have you know I just need to survive eight more years to prove him wrong.” Eight more years. Kyril wouldn’t know it but that was quite a feat to claim in Solitude’s profession.

The smell of the mass grave took awhile to bother Sol, her mask was thick and often kept her from smelling any sort of unpleasant smell that resulted from her blood magic. But when she could smell it, she couldn’t stop noticing that putrid sweetness of rotting flesh? And then soon enough, the buzzing of flies could be heard and the call of carnivorous birds. She grimaced thinking of the fact that these corpses must be covered in maggots and a raven was probably pecking out someone’s rotting nose.

Yuck. It never mattered how much death she caused, she never had to stand around and see it decay.

And the sight was somehow worse than she had imagined. Flesh had rotted and melted from the sun, a pool of viscera made of mushy bodily fluids and slug-like pieces of skin were the main contributors to the smell. The black birds were having a field day, gorging themselves on purple tongues that they tore through the papery cheeks of the human corpses. She caught sight of wriggling, white dots burrowing their way into the snout of a boar to only pop out between the dark bristles of it’s ear.

Oouugghh yuck.” Sol mumbled, using her forefinger and thumb to plug up her nose. But breathing through her mouth was worse! Her shadow undulated in agreement and Sol rolled her eyes, hearing the shadon in her head, accompanied by her sister’s broken sentences, and having a brief mental conversation with each of them. “Yeah, I know, gross.” She said aloud, a bad habit she was trying to rid herself of.
 
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Kyril

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Kyril mused for a moment. "Eight years is a lot of time. Perhaps in that time you should learn to ward yourself against lightning."

He jested as they continued to make their way through the city.

Eventually the smell began to enter his nose, and not wearing a mask it reached him sooner than it did Solitude. His nose crinkled as they approached, fingers reaching I to his coat pocket where he pulled out a small handkerchief. He folded it, producing a bottle from his pack and opening it up.

The folded kerchief was dabbed with some of what was in the bottle, and then Kyril placed it over his nose. The effect hardly made the experience more pleasant, but at least he wouldn't be vomiting at the side of the mass grave. Though the sight that befell them almost made him do so anyway.

He had expected a gruesome sight, sickening even, and yet what greeted them was past even that horror. The bodies, mutilated and broken as they were had begun to decompose. Their putrid stench reaching up high enough that it nearly made him sick through even the cloth. "An understatement, I think."

Kyril said as Sol dubbed the sight 'gross'.

"They'll need to burn this soon, or risk the spread of disease." as he spoke Kyril lifted his hand.

Solitude would a soft glow of light run over the tattoos on Kyrils body. Dozens of Intricate marked lines rupturing in a gentle blue light. The trickle of magic flowed through what little circuitry had regrown in his body, and his eyes swept with the same soft light. He focused a moment, and then the glow went away.

"They we're killed with mundane means." He remarked, taking a deep breath through the cloth and putting it down. Then he pulled out a notebook, quickly joined by a pencil as he began to sketch the gruesome sight before them. Taking particular care in the details surrounding the closest body.
 
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Solitude

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Ward myself against lightning.” Sol echoed. Well. It was a fair point. And really, she did know a few magic spells that did help to lessen elemental magic and the damage it could wrought on her body. Nothing major as if she had studied at the college. “If you know a good way to do so, perhaps I can convince you to fill me in on it?” She asked, rather genuine, despite her shadow rippling slightly in a moment of distaste.

Sol was quiet, letting Kyril do— oh that was interesting. She tilted her head at how Those tattoos of his glow. Runes? Or something else? She had no idea. She frowned, still working hard not to breathe the putrid air in. Maybe she did need to focus a little more on her magic abilities? At least enough to recognize whether something was runic or just aesthetic in nature.

How do you know?” She asked, intrigued despite already putting together that he had use magic based on the glow of his tattoos and the same blue glow from his eyes. She leaned over as he sketched the scene and raised a dark brow.

You know, for some regular human you got guts of steel.” She commented, a compliment really. She then looked over at the sea of mangled corpses filled with flies and carnivorous birds and maggots. She blinked. She could help him perhaps, although what she was about to offer she wasn’t quite sure if it was useful. “Do you want to see the first victim of this bloody cesspool?” Sol asked Kyril.

Kyril
 
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Kyril

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"I used to be a little more than a regular human." Kyril commented dryly as he continued to draw. Though he'd never seen anything quite like this. There had been a few studies back at Elbion that had been...close enough.

Kyril stared at the grave for a few more moments, studying those within as he finished the last touches of his drawings. "Rune Magic could help you, if it's just the weather you're worried about."

The Runes were an ancient, old sort of magecraft. Many theorized that it was the first, and Kyril happened to agree with them. Their study was common enough, though not fully understood even now. Using them to guard against the weather was easy enough, more complex magics?

"Either way though, I can show you when we're done here." Though it would take time. would take time.

He penciled a small annotation next to the drawing, then pulled himself up to his full height. "All magic leaves residue. Sometimes an echo, sometimes a ripple within the aether. It's always there, as long as you know to look for it."

Kyril glanced down at the grave.

"And it's not here." The Mage frowned for a moment, and then looked to Solitude. "Yes, I would."

He said with a nod. "And then we'll need to go to the Library."

Another frown creased his lips, and then he added. "How long have you been here?"
 
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Solitude

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Sol listened, nodding her head along Kyril’s words. Yes. It made sense, he had to be more than some big wig from the college. She just always thought that Elbion was soft, in all the best and worst ways.

I might like to see how Lady Luck regards me in a thunder storm.” Sol said with a cheeky grin that could only be revealing by her eyes crinkling up. “I tend to be a favorite of hers so I may do just fine.” Looking at the pool of death and decay, she was surprised to know that magic wasn’t used. And it was impressive because, well, there were predators in here, bears and wolves and monsters. They had somehow been prey to whatever force was doing this.

And if they did it without magic? Well, they must be one hell of a bastard.

Right-o, rune master,” Sol said before focusing her attention on the blood. A deep breath that she held deep within her stomach, she held her hands out and over towards the mass grave, her fingers twitching almost like she were about to play the piano. Mumbling, words from a time of old, muffled by her mask were spoken out loud.

ʀʊ-ֆɦǟռ ɛʀ ʏǟ ȶօʊ ʏɨɮɨռ ʏǟռ’ǟռ.” Sol’s eyes were focused on the pool of red, and the blood, it spoke to her in a way that was indescribable. Even now Sol didn’t like to use blood magic, it was never her forte to begin with. She couldn’t do what many in her order could, even now at this age she saw some of the new disciples many years younger than her accomplishing this feat as if it were breathing.

Hopefully she didn’t mess up. And she didn’t. A body. The first. She knew it had bled her first and she commanded the blood to carry it up further and further, closer and closer, nearer and nearer.

A small babe was held up, nothing up bones with pieces of flesh sticking to it. By it’s size and structure it wasn’t human, but close enough to appear like one.

A changeling.” Sol answered. “This is the first victim.” She blinked, and her concentration broke, the body falling back down into the grave and sinking in within all the others. “Ah. Sorry.” She said lightly but really, she didn’t like having to look at something as pitiful as that more than she needed to. Plus it gave her plenty of excuse to ignore his last and final question.

Kyril
 
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Kyril

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Kyril should have been horrified.

The sight that Solitude summoned was truly a terrifying visage, something that no one should have seen. Yet instead of balking, looking away, Kyril only stared in utter fascination. He knew exactly what she was doing, how she was doing it.

Such a craft was banned in Elbion, the Gendarme would lock you up for simply asking the how of it. Yet he knew it anyway.

Most of his peers had dabbled, looked, and Kyril was no different than them. Small touches, experiments, that was all it had been before he shied away. Yet even now the craft was somehow morbidly interesting, something he could not quite pull his eyes away from.

Lips thinned as he watched what Solitude showed him, nodding his head as she explained. "Yes."

He told her with a nod.

"A changeling." Kyril breathed quietly, frowning as he considered the implication."A rare folk. Very rare."

They had pieces. Three of them now. Not enough to put the puzzle back together, but enough to form a corner at the very least. "We'd be fools to think it a coincidence."
 
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Solitude

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The cursed fae. It was always the fae. Or was it? Sol took a deep breath, hands limply going back to her sides and she did her best not to taste the rot and decay in the air. Yeah, you know what? Today is a great day to blame the fae and all their schmancy-fancy faerie bullshit. Of course, if it was fae, this meant that whether for better or for worse, Sol was on the right track. And Kyril was going to keep her on the right track.

The shadow briefly undulated in agreement to Sol’s thoughts.

Can we get going? You said you wanted to go to the library still, right?” She did her best not to show much more discomfort from the smell but even being in the vincinity for a good while now and she still couldn’t adjust to the stench. She paused. “Do the monks have a good library? I thought they just made lines in the sand and hummed all day.” A lame joke meant to hide Sol’s ignorance and disbelief. At least, when she had walked through Cais Vihara she didn’t see any sort of person holding a tome underneath their arm.

Kyril
 
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Kyril slowly pulled himself up, considering what this could mean. Changelings were rare, and valuable. Their blood, their flesh, and yes their eyes could be used for powerful magics.

Most of them dark.

"Hm?" Kyril said as he turned his head back towards Solitude. A frown touched his lips for a brief moment, and then he nodded his head. "Yes. The Library."

There had to be a reason this was happening here of all places. Kyril had seen too much of the world to believe this could be some sort of coincidence. Things like this tended to be deliberate. A reason behind everything that was done.

Stuffing the notebook back in his satchel Kyril began to head towards the library. "They have an exceptional library."

He explained as the two made their way.

"Most Orders such as theirs pride themselves on preserving and gathering knowledge." The knowledge tended to differ from sect to sect, but it was always there. "We just have to hope we find something that will actually help."

A frown touched his lips. "With the addition of a changeling we can rule out some of my theories, but...that leaves us with less than we had before."

Just means, no motive. But there had to be more.
 
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Solitude

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Sol was more than happy when they could begin walking away from the mass grave, and with each step they took, the scent of death and decay became less and less. Although, the moment Sol thought about it, that sickly sweet smell would invade her senses all over again.

Huh. Bookish monks. Some do say the pen is stronger than the sword.” Sol said lightly, trying to keep her mind from wandering back to the previous horrors. Maybe the library would actually be a good change of pace, something that could distract her for a moment more.

Warning you now, I’m not much of a book person.” She shrugged. “You may find my reading level to be lacking.” The way she said this indicated that she didn’t much care if she was well-read or not, and if anything, it was clear she found reading to be a bother.

Maybe it’s something to do with Eldyr Tree? Those old spooky stories about gods running around and doing whatever they wanted, I mean, that’s what Cais Vihara dedicates itself to: to groveling at some imaginary beings.” A lie. She had looked to the left as she spoke, then looked up and looked down, her brain working as she was speaking. If not for the mask covering half her face, one could have seen the slight twitch in her lips as she spoke the last six words.

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Kyril

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"Those same people probably create spell-scrolls." Kyril commented with a wry grin as they continued to make their way through the streets.

"That's alright." He told her, hardly expecting Sol to do the very thing he had been called here to do. She could fight, and if things came down to it that would be what he needed her for the most. His magic had returned in fits and starts, but in a battle?

He was as good as the next paper target. "You can leave the reading to me."

Kyril said as they turned a corner.

In the distance one could start to make out a grand building of stone and vine. Crafted with dozens of statues, each depicting one of the gods that had once been home to these lands. Kyril looked up at them, just as Sol spoke of the Eldyr tree.

"Could be." He contended. "There is much magic still in this place. Left behind, or simply forgotten about."

A glance at Solitude. "There is good evidence the Gods once wandered the vale, even beyond. Some of my Professor's think they were likely Sor-"

As he was speaking, something launched itself from within the shadows. It moved like a blur, bounding from between two of the buildings and darting forward directly at the two outlanders. The glint of a knife appeared with the darkness, flickering for just a breath as it sailed at Kyril's throat.
 
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Solitude

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Sol hardly glanced at the statures, not caring much for the idea of gods. Any of the religions she had rejected long ago, the moment she was incited into the church. And despite the religious vocabulary commonly used within that shadowy sanctum, it was anything from teaching others to believe into a teaching that was meant to revolve around figures that were nothing more than a bunch of stories. Who cared about the great feats of the past? Sol only cared about the now and maybe a little about the future.

Before Sol could interject about how feasible it was for gods to be roaming the land and leave little proof— at least, little proof to someone like Sol who had to see things to believe it—a blur of a thing appeared. Instinct took over and Sol moved into action.

She pushed Kyril off to the side, meeting the blade with one of her own. Kyril would feel a chill encompass over his form, would feel the press of fingers tugging on his clothes, urging him to move back. A ice-cold whisper of encouragement to get closer to the shadows on the wall, although the words must have been indistinguishable to him at the time.

Meanwhile, Sol was locked in combat. The unknown attacker was fast, light on their feet but still aggressive with their attacks. For awhile Sol felt as if she could only react and defend or evade instead of offering a counter-strike. However, Sol had more up her sleeve than just to fight with blades and her hands and feet.

She tossed a smoke bomb at the attacker’s feet, but didn’t go into the smoke cloud. She remained outside, but one could see that her shadow had been stretched like some sort of taut string, and Solitude waited. The smoke clear and the attacker was currently immobile. Or rather, they couldn’t move their feet. A soon to be win. Solitude stepped forward, blade still poised to strike but before she could get a meter within the attacker, a circlet of light appeared, a dozen balls of explosive light radiating around Sol.

The young assassin cursed, releasing her shadow hold on the transgressor, leaping up to avoid the first shiny orb that flew at her. It touched the ground, and with a scream, burst open in a large pop and roar of flame. The closest orb to it also unleashed it’s pent up energy, which affected the arcane bomb next to it and series of explosive reactions took place.

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Kyril

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Kyril was entirely sure that if it hadn't been for Solitude's timely intervention he would have been dead. Her hand grasped at his shoulder and instantly pushed him out of the way, a spark of clashing blades flickering to life seconds later.

His eyes popped open.

Even at his greatest strength, when Lyrum had been pumping through his veins, Kyril had never been a warrior. He was a scholar, through and through. Sure his magic could be used in destructive way, to harm and obliterate but...well he wasn't meant for a fight.

Not really.

A whisper rushed down his spine, A voice that made his flesh raise in goosebumps.

He glanced back, but did as the voice bade him. Quick steps took him into the shadows against the wall. His eyes darting to the opponent, to Solitude, and then only finally to their surroundings as he tried to spot any other attack.

By the time he noticed no others had appeared the odd pulsing blue orbs scattered around the ground. A curse echoed from his lips as he recognized the magic. "Than'al Druin!"

Kyril's voice shattered the air just as the arcane explosions ruptured outward. A shimmer of light flickered around Solitude first, and then the Academic a second later. Explosions ruptured through the narrow corridor, tearing at the earthen cobbles, scorching walls, and burning away vines that had long grown over stone.

The fire washed over the light around the two outlanders, flowing as though they were rocks in a river.
 

Solitude

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The moment Kyril was washed in the shade of the wall, a coolness far greater than any shade could produce. Moments later, like a curtain dropping down on a stage, a blanket of transparent black would fold over Kyril. While he could see through the screen like it was nothing more than a dirty window, his form would be a blur of darkness. Someone with keen eyes like Solitude or those who were looking exactly at that spot would see a shakiness that shouldn’t be there, but for the most part, it hid Kyril.

Didn’t make him soundless nor did it protect him. The blasts would have reached him if he hadn’t acted. The blasts also would have blown Sol away if it weren’t for the strange protective shield that Kyril had uttered.

Solitude had moved back, away from whoever had set the trap and made her way to the wall that Kyril was at. The shadows enveloped her and Sol’s eyes were watering from such heat and the brightness of the blasts.

We’re going to wait and hide,” She whispered to the man, and within the shadows depths two other voices could be heard. One that was childlike, the one that had instructed Kyril to go back into the shadows. Another with a voice that was tinny and like a screech on the wind, speaking only in shadon. Sol was nodding her head rapidly, eyes darling about.

You can’t move or make a sound.” A arm reached out and over, pinning Kyril firmly against the wall. Slow mutterings came from Sol and the darkness around them grew deeper and deeper. A fox and a cat would appear beneath their feet. She held her breath, especially as the light of the of the explosions began to reduce. The fire along the place flickered about, hungrily grabbing at flora wherever it could.

No sounds could be heard. Before Sol could relax, the quiet steps could be heard from the corridor the duo was about to enter. The cloaked figure was unscathed, not even their cloak fraying, and in both hands were two long daggers. Solitude held back a curse and slowly her free hand reached into her vest to pull out a small throwing knife.

Kyril
 
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Kyril

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As soon as Sol pinned him against the wall and whispered her quiet words Kyril nodded his head.

A part of his mind was utterly fixated on his surroundings, the unique little dwelling that the woman had seemingly pulled him into. It reminded him of pocket-planes. The idea that one could create a small piece of reality to store things in.

The idea had been prospect-

His head shook, why in the fuck was he thinking about that at a time like this?

There were men just a few steps away that wanted him dead, them dead. Now was hardly the time to think about all the academic mysteries that were surrounding him. His lips thinned, and instead of pocket-dimensions he began to list spells in his mind.

Anything and everything that would be useful, something that he could manage to actually do. Eventually he settled on one, glancing down at Sol as she pulled out a small throwing knife. Gently he tapped her on the shoulder, gesturing to the knife, and then to his palm.

An odd red glow radiated from one of the marks there, and he motioned for her to touch the blade to the glowing tattoo.

If she did, the blade would take on that same odd glow, and would mark whomever it touched. Allowing Kyril to track them. Something he wished he could have communicated to her in that moment.
 
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Solitude

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Sol’s crimson eyes glanced over at Kyril when he tapped her shoulder, watching his hand gesture at her blade to that strange glowing red hand of his. Seconds passed as she debated whatever it was he was possibly suggesting. She wanted to ask why, normally she would have, but whatever enemies were out there were on high alert. She couldn’t risk it. With a deep breath, she tapped the untarnished blade against his palm, a dark brow quirking up as it glowed red. Interesting. Was she supposed to just throw it at their enemy now?

Would it kill them instantly or do something else, such as stunning them? Or maybe it would make them lose their eyesight or put them to sleep? Magic could encompass so many things, and Sol was hardly a scholar. She exhaled the breath she had been holding in as she thought of all the possibilities, and then threw the blade at the lone figure when his back was turned as he faced another. A much, much larger person.

There was no way someone of that size and stature would have been walking around so unannounced, with a garnering any sort of attention. The knife struck the first enemy, a curse could be heard. Sol looked over at Kyril, a firm hand on his collar as the larger opponent turned their head to their location in the shadows. Their hideout was compromised.

But Sol actually had a plan for once.

Run!” She hissed and the veil of shadows dispersed the moment they stepped out from the shade, the shadow cat and fox merging down into the assassin’s shadow once again. And then to someone in particular, with a hint of that strange shadon language from before, Sol ordered, “ģέţ ţħέм!” Seemingly appearing from Sol’s shadow was a grotesque humanoid creature, made out of bone and shadow and black-matter muscle.

A child-like scream of glee emitted from the strange creature, massive claws and teeth ready to tear up the enemies’ flesh; and it surged towards the enemies, allowing Solitude to take Kyril and escape. Worry was etched clearly along her eyes as she ran, the shadow fox being her eyes from her back.

You don’t think they have any sort of offensive holy or radiant attacks?” She asked, forcing Kyril to keep up with her neck-break pace. They had to get to the open. Solitude knew in the open, they would be safe— or rather, somewhat safe.

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