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Interactive Quest  - a sacrifice of blood

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Played by Offline Staff [PM] Posts: 266 — Threads: 123
Signos: 984,590
Official Novus Account

a nightmare become reality

Something pulses in the gulch today, bright and alive - the Elatus Canyon has only one true desire on this day.

Seraphina, the world seems to call.

The canyon path is narrow and uncivilized as a spritely gazelle bounds through it. Arid-dwelling plants grow in every which way, leaving minimal room for the path itself. The dirt trail snakes around ancient, withering trees, with sandstone flanks towering on either side and loose stones littering the ground. There is a beauty to it - raw and barren - even with the grainy wind and tumultuous heat as the nimble creature moves with a dedicated pace and dexterity through it.

The gazelle is no conventional creation. She is ethereal and immortal - a heavenly entity with refined excellence greater than all that surrounds her. Her twin horns are wrapped with ivy and white blooming clematis while her body seems to glow and sparkle in the pale sunlight. The creature is atypical of her kind - her color more pastel and build more delicate than her well-known sisters and brothers. The only thought on her mind is powerful and overwhelming as her cloven hooves carry her to the one known as Seraphina.

It is not by chance that Seraphina will discover the gazelle, for the lithe creature has waited with bated breath for the day she is able to bestow her gift on another worthy enough for it, for the day Solis promised. To the mare, she may appear to be nothing but a mirage at first, some sort of delusion - but the wonder and doubt will fade quickly as the creature approaches, her body defining itself as a reality in the process.

Come, the gazelle will say, her voice so magnificently enchanting that Seraphina will find it essentially futile to resist the request. The creature will answer no questions and offer no comfort as she tries to lead the mare to something greater than what she has ever previously witnessed. It is a thick crack in the wall - a splendid alcove. Should Seraphina look for the gazelle now, she will notice that the creature has all but stayed, vanished as quickly as she appeared. 

It matters not if it is curiosity, worry, determination or something else which leads the mare into the cave, for if she has made it to this point there is no turning back. At first, it is dark in the cavern, but after a moment flaming torches spark along the walls and bathe the area in a flickering orange glow that reveal a myriad of cave drawings and runes that have existed long before Seraphina was born. She will notice only one scene on the wall in particular, something peculiar and not exactly right. It is a series of runes that circle a vague depiction of a sun, a vulture, and a grey mare spilling her own blood. With the horrible whip of realization, she will know what it asks of her as she decodes the runes and grows to understand the image.

To gain what she seeks the most, Seraphina will have no choice but to bleed beyond what is natural.

At her feet, she will see a stone bowl carved with a depiction of the sun. Beside it is a sharp blade.

The choice is her’s. She knows what to do.

(Somewhere, Solis is laughing.)

@Seraphina alone will see the gazelle. And when the gazelle sees her, and calls to her to follow, she will be unable to resist. Through the canyon they go, following a path Seraphina undoubtedly has followed before, only this time there is something different, the expectation of something great to follow.

And in that small alcove is a scene inherently familiar to her. She knows what is being asked of her - the only question is, is she prepared to make the sacrifice? 

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This quest was written by the lovely @kealie.


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Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 318 — Threads: 54
Signos: 3,495
Day Court Outcast
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 498 Spring] // 16 hh // Hth: 17 — Atk: 23 — Exp: 66 // Active Magic: Greater Telekinesis // Bonded: Ereshkigal (Demonic Vulture)

☼ s e r a p h i n a ☼

shivering and wakeful, // the blood-smell // of a dream full of teeth, //
hungry but not yet desperate

Ereshkigal is a distant blotch in the afternoon sky, a singular speck of darkness to disturb the otherwise pristine blue. Today is the first hot day of the year, really hot – there have been warm days before, but not like this, with the kind of rasping heat that rakes its fingernails down the walls of your throat and wets your entire body with a thick sheen of sweat and sand, the kind of heat that burns like perpetual flame against the skin. She wonders, somehow, as she walks the serpentine pathways of the canyon, if today is so hot for a reason; the world seems to her to be buzzing, as if with anticipation, but perhaps that is just the mirage-haze that bright light and heat instill upon distant features.

She has, of course, walked these winding paths many times before.

They should not feel any different today. The air is dry and sandy; there is a thin sheen of sand coating every inch of her sweat-slick skin. A slight breeze stirs sand into her already-tangled hair, and she knows that it will mat if she doesn’t find the time to wash it soon. (She has neglected it enough, lately, rarely even performing enough maintenance to pull it into braids in the morning. If she isn’t careful, she’ll have to shave it off – the thought summons the image of Viceroy with a razor, cutting off lock after lock of her long, long white hair. When she was a girl, she thought her mother had loved to braid it, or something like that, so she’d always left it long. It had taken years to grow back out. Of course, it had also taken years to rebuild a kingdom. What did it matter? What did any of it matter?) The near-dead foliage, still sprouting persistently from cracks in the dry earth and small outcroppings on the canyon walls, is the same as usual. Each stone is the same as usual. Those withered, coiled trees, residue from a time long past, are familiar. The lizards that dash across the great stones scattered here and there in the labyrinthian passages of the canyon – not unusual.

With a flutter of feathers, Ereshkigal lights on her shoulders. This is the point where the open sky gives way to overarching cavern, where the sun is largely concealed by outcroppings of stone -

And it is here that she sees the gazelle.

The sight of her freezes Seraphina in place. She is a strange, crystalline creature, coated in pastels – her presence, so pale as to be luminous, seems like a lantern in the shadowed cavern. She is beautiful, even celestial, and far too beautiful for a place like Solterra. Ivy and some kind of flower that Seraphina does not recognize – coil around her horns -, and there is more life present in that small space than she has seen in days of scrounging the desert. Her frame is delicate and lithe, her hooves cloven, and she can’t help but wonder how she has survived in such a predatory, bloodthirsty land. She seems too dainty for it, too fragile.

She would have thought her an illusion – the product of a tired, fragmented mind – did she not speak. Come. It is a single word, spoken in a light voice, like tinkling bells, but somehow Seraphina cannot refuse her, though the reasonable part of her mind insists that she should approach with caution. Instead, she runs, with the heat scraping at the inside of her throat with each heaving breath and elongated stride; she runs, so she does not lose sight of the gazelle, and there is no time for questions, desperate as she is to ask them. Where are you taking me? What are you? Who are you? Why are you taking me there? Why me?

And, finally -

Finally, they stand before a massive crack in the wall. Her questions still burning on the tip of her tongue, Seraphina turns to the gazelle, prepared to ask-

But she is gone. As usual, she is asked to press forward without answers, without knowing a thing.

Ereshkigal shifts on her shoulder, staring into the black, gaping hole of the crack in the wall with something that is not quite apprehension; her emotions do not allow for it. Rather, Seraphina thinks that it is more like anticipation, and that sends a chill running up her spine. Ereshkigal is strikingly patient, rarely eager, or rarely willing to let her eagerness show.

Still – she steps forward, and into the dark.

Once she is inside, she fumbles through a small and dark stretch of cavern, which seems to spill out into somewhere larger - but she cannot see, and is about to pull out Alshamtueur, when, abruptly, there is light. A series of torches – lining the walls – burst into flame, one after another, with no obvious catalyst; she shifts uncomfortably, weight resting on one hoof and then another, and grimaces. Some sort of magic? She has never seen anything like it before, or the gazelle, but perhaps there is some fire-mage around-

And then, she sees the paintings. All of her apprehension is forgotten in the face of wonder.

Seraphina is a child of Solterra, a child of the sun – her father might be from distant lands, but her mother’s blood runs deep, speaks of generations. (This is one of the few things she remembers of her childhood. She has an ancestry. She has a history, and it stretches hundreds of years beyond her own.) These paintings feel to her like that history, some relic of ancient Solterra that has gone previously unseen, and, her caution lost, she draws close to the wall.

It is then that she sees it. It draws her gaze like gravity pulls a planet into orbit, so intense that it is difficult to so much as try to focus on the myriad of other symbols and drawings on the wall. Seraphina gasps audibly, taking a step back.

She is on the wall.

It is impossible to deny, much as she wants to deny it – that is the same steel-grey of her coat, which dips to charcoal along her face in legs. Those white stripes and long tangles of white hair are her own. Even the eye – golden – and the stretch of scars across her face – golden – are hers. (Ereshkigal, a red-and-black shadow, lingers like a specter over her form, her eyes small blots of red paint that seem even more unnerving in the picture than they do in reality.) And…

Most horrific – the blood that drips from her chest, the sun-

There are some fundamental truths Seraphina knows about the world. Nothing is free; everything comes with expectations. If you don’t know what you’re getting before you give something up for it, you very well might regret what you’ve lost. And she has never, ever had a fate. If she did, she thinks it was to die – once, twice, however many times. As a girl, under that tree, about to be found by Viceroy. On the battlefield. By the will of the gods. When Raum left her for dead. What she knows is that she is not some chosen one, nor some great leader who rose forth from humble beginnings – she is a failure, whose first mistake was thinking that she was enough to change her homeland. No matter how she loves it, it has never loved her.

Still – who is she to argue with the will of the sun?

Oh, this could be a trap, but this cave, the gazelle…they are so unnatural. It is then that her gaze flits to the bowl, ornate sun carved into its baze, and the knife. She grimaces. Sheds her armor. Ereshkigal does not laugh, but, rather, leaps off her shoulders and lands atop the pile, her head inclined, but saying nothing. She seems to be waiting. Observing. Her stare is a question - what will you do, Seraphina? Have you learned your lesson yet?

She takes the knife, and bows down towards the bowl, steeling herself. She slices a gash across her chest, above the heart – watches the blood drip a thick, sticky river down into the carved stone, her jaw drawn into a firm line, unflinching.

It seems to take an excruciating amount of time to fill the bowl.

The blood loss goes to her head; her vision blurs, and she stumbles, her breath coming out in stumbling gasps. Black around the edges. She can’t see straight-

The bowl is full. She collapses. It is dark for some while.

It must have taken hours for her to wake up. She is outside of the crack when she does, and armored; there is no gash on her chest. Ereshkigal is somewhere above her, circling. There is no crack in the canyon wall at all.

She inclines her head. Stumbles to her hooves. Noses the wall, as though she expects it to give in to her fumbling touches; it doesn’t. The cavern is gone, or closed up, or…

But she knows it happened. She knows that she was there – she feels different somehow. Her skin is burning with a tension that she cannot name; the air tastes different in her lungs. She feels older, or younger, or something else entirely.

She does not know what it means yet, but she will.

@ || ah, this was a fun reply <3


and there's no way to escape the violence of a girl against herself

please tag Sera! contact is encouraged, short of violence


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