Announcements: Universe of the Month! » RPG: Season of Giving 2020 (WINNERS ANNOUNCED!) » Finding Universes to Join (and making yours more visible!) » Guide To Universes On RPG » Starter Locations & Prompts for Newbies » RPG Chat — the official app » USERNAME CHANGES » Suggestions & Requests: THE MASTER THREAD »

Latest Discussions: The Game of Life » Just War » Science and Philosophy » The Bible as Literature » Humans in the MV. Questions and thoughts. » Surviving the post-holiday apocalypse. » SL: 1097 Bestiary of Monsters » What latest tech excites me? » A question about 'hyperspace travel' and its use as a weapon » NaNoWriMo 2020 » A vacuum salesman in the Multiverse. » Being bored at work makes you do crazy things » Question here from the FNG » Recommendations of Reading material. » Do you "follow" characters to receive notifications? » My 2 Fav Poems! » Simple Vs. Detailed RPG Layouts » Warning About Communist-Inspired Upheaval and Revolution » The Best Sentence » The SCPF Wiki Project (not related to SCP Project in 2016) »

Players Wanted: New Realistic Roleplay - Small World Life ٩( ´・ш・)و » Mentors Wanted » MV Recruiting Drive: sci-fi players wanted! » Veilbrand: The Revolution » Gonna do this anyway. » Looking for Kamen Rider Players » Elysium » Looking for roleplayers for a dystopian past! » Revamping Fantasy Adventure RPG, need new players » Here, At the End of the World (supernatural mystery drama) » Seeking Role Players for a TOG Based RP » so I made a Stranger Things RP idk why not come join » LFP - New Roleplay » Gifted/Mutant individuals escaping the gov » Spaceship Zero! A retro horror sci fi RP with rayguns :D » mahou shoujo rp » Avolair: Academy For The Supernatural [NEW][OPEN] » Calling for adventurers to explore Xamoyos » roleplayers wanted for shifters world. » The UCF- a (soon to be) group in the MV »

User avatar

Kurokiku Administrator & member of RPG for 11 years

Beta Tester Contributor Author Promethean Conversation Starter Inspiration Conversationalist Novelist Millionaire Completionist Greeter Tipworthy Concierge Lifegiver Person of Interest

I hang out with a bunch of really cool people and we write stuff. It's the only thing in my life that's always awesome.
1,525,016 words written.
1,407 total posts.
1,084 words per post.
20 posts per roleplay.
137 average days in a roleplay.
71 universes joined.
98.00 INK received in tips.

Basic Information

Username:
Kurokiku
Location:
In the plots, fixing the holes and uncovering the twists. Or just making a mess of things.
Occupation:
If this were a fantasy novel, I'd be the Emperor's shady sorcerous spymaster. Or possibly long dead from my own idiocy. One of the two.
Interests:
Telling stories with dear friends. As often as possible.
Groups:
Began Role Playing:
25 Jul 2010
Game Master:
Yes
Favorite Setting:
I'll try anything once.

User statistics

Joined:
Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:35 pm
Last visited:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:26 pm
Medals:
15
Total posts:
Search user’s posts
(0.00% of all posts / 0.00 posts per day)

Contact Kurokiku

Elsewhere

Medals

Beta Tester

Beta Tester

This special medal grants the user special powers, including access to exclusive new features under development by RPG's design team. Remember: what happens in beta stays in beta!

Contributor

Contributor

This user has contributed in a major way to RPG, either through service or direct contribution.

Author

Author

Wrote your first piece in a universe!

Promethean

Promethean

Successfully created a universe for others.

Conversation Starter

Conversation Starter

Created your first topic!

Inspiration

Inspiration

Another user created a post in a universe you created!

Conversationalist

Conversationalist

Participated in 10 different conversations on the forum!

Novelist

Novelist

Wrote over 80,000 total words!

Millionaire

Millionaire

Has written over 1,000,000 words. That's a lot of content!

Completionist

Completionist

Helped write the story of a universe that survived until the end (marked as "Completed") and was published to the Library.

Greeter

Greeter

Responded to 10 different topics in the Welcome Forum.

Tipworthy

Tipworthy

Awarded for receiving your first tip from another user!

Concierge

Concierge

Responded to 25 different topics in the Welcome Forum.

Lifegiver

Lifegiver

Created a character in an RPG universe.

Person of Interest

Person of Interest

Created a character that was later followed by another user!

Universes

3 created.
0 active.
3 inactive.
3 completed.

Completed Stories

Assassin's Pledge Completed

Balance and Corruption conflict with the turning of a new era as the Assassin once known as the Red-Eyed Demon leads a band of unlikely heroes into the yet untold future of a continent and all its people.

Revelation: The City in the Sky Completed

[Complete] The floating city of Revelation houses all that remains of the human population, drifting above a charred earth. Not all is well on the lofted landmass, however, and political upheaval threatens to overturn your very way of life.

The Gift: Chapter Two Completed

[COMPLETE] With the gods dead and dragons slowly spreading their dominion over the land, will you fight for something? Or die with nothing?

Insurrection Completed

[Closed] In a futuristic world where megacities are run by corporations with private police forces, crime runs rampant in the streets. Superpowered humans gather together, some to fight organized crime, others to take down the enigmatic MortixCorp.

Revelation: The Cure Completed

[Complete] A year after the assassination of one of its most prominent politicians, the city in the sky teeters on the brink of revolution. Those with foresight will do what they can to stop it, but will anything be enough?

The Gift: Chapter Three Completed

With gods long dead, dragons razing the earth, and mortals turning on one another at every opportunity, you must help shape the destiny of this dying world.

Skyrim: The Mentor & The Sellswords Completed

{Completed} After their Mentor disappears, a group of deeply troubled individuals working as mercenaries sets out to find him, only to be drawn into a deadly game run by forces beyond any of them.

Dragon Age: The Undoing Completed

The year is 1:95 Divine, and the second Blight has been raging for nearly a century. Pushed to desperation, the Grey Wardens assemble a team for a suicidal mission. None were prepared for what they would discover.

The City of Chains Completed

{Completed} These are the stories of nine lives in the city of Kirkwall, intertwined in the midst of magic, prejudice, war, and strife.

Avalon's Dawn Completed

<Arc One Complete> The king is a good man gone too far. The wizard has an agenda. The world could use a little saving. The members of Avalon's Dawn are nobody's noble knights in shining armor. But maybe they don't have to be.

The Canticle of Fate Completed

{Completed} This is the song of those that would stand against the chaos. The song of the Inquisition.

Most Tipped Posts

1.00 INK received for post #1444477, located in Norr:

The Jurial Plains

Faera followed the distinct light tread of the halfling named Sid, mindful not to bump into anyone by accident. This was considerably easier than one might expect, when you could hear the minute sounds of breaths and rustling clothing and distinguish one set from another. She couldn't quite imagine what it would be like to be a blind human- without her species's enhanced sensory apparatuses, she would truly be afraid of making a serious nuisance of herself.

There wasn't that much talking going on. In her case at least, that was because there was a fair amount too much marching. Her feet were sore, and the reverberations of each step seemed to climb her legs and send their aftershocks up her spine. It was, quite frankly, a miserable experience, but one that she'd have to get used to. This sentiment was precisely the reason she'd chosen not to ease the ache, but to endure it, in the hope that in a few weeks or months, she wouldn't even notice it anymore.

She was, needless to say, unspeakably relieved when they all stopped moving, and she listened intently to the instructions she was given. She really didn't have any idea what she was doing; this was Tala's world, not hers. But Faera knew that, too, had to change. The fact of the matter was, she frequently worried herself sick when her sister was away fighting, and this was the best way she knew to do something about that.

Still... none of it sounded very pleasant. The Captain and Lieutenant Sid both had interesting voices, she decided, but the words themselves were discouraging at best. Don't speak unless spoken to, don't use anything but titles with them, your life belongs to Norr... it was all a bit harsh. Did Tala really deal with things like this all the time?

The creature on her shoulder shifted, perhaps sensing her discomfort, and she absently laid a hand on his scaly back as the first half were sorted. There was a low trill in her right ear, and Faera smiled. The Captain was getting closer, though, and so she shushed her friend and waited, not wanting to be the only person who already couldn't follow instructions.

She felt the disturbance in the air as a hand was waved in front of her, and she tilted her head slightly, waiting patiently. Many people did this sort of thing, and she didn't much mind. Blindness was an uncommon disability, since generally it wasn't good for your shot at survival these days, but Faera had always managed it all right. She was assigned to the same group as her sister, and let out a breath she hadn't quite realized she'd been holding. That much was a relief, anyway; it would be unfortunate to face her first battle with only strangers.

When they were dismissed, Fae bowed shallowly, unsure if that was what she was supposed to do but erring on the side of courtesy anyway, and followed the chime of Tala's movement, an easy sound to pick out even in a milieu of them. Sometimes, she suspected that was the reason for her sister's odd choice in hairstyle, but she never asked about it. The older Shanir sibling was likely to deny it even if it were true.

"Tala... where are we going?"

-=-
Laeral

Gods, could this swill taste any worse? Neira tilted the ceramic mug to get a better look at the so-called alcohol within. She might have inquired after it (rather rudely, she might add), from the owner, but she wasn't really in the mood to argue with idiots today.

What she was was bored, and she scanned the room with inhuman eyes, seeking out something to entertain herself. The long digits of her left hand, encased in smooth, hard exoskeleton, tapped a lazy rhythm on the bar, and noted from her peripherals that the man next to her was giving them a look of horrified fascination, apparently just having come to the correct conclusion: those were not gauntlets. That could be interesting.

Slowly, she turned her head to face him, and she had no doubt her eyes confirmed what her hands had suggested. Neira watched with a half-lidded, almost bored expression as he tried to figure out exactly what he was looking at. The hooded cloak she wore concealed her translucent wings well enough that it might remain a mystery for a bit. Watching the gears crank in a half-intoxicated mind was one of those things that was always mildly amusing.

The spread of her trademark sadist's grin was slow, but he seemed to recognize that it boded badly for him, and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "It's rude to stare, you know," she said, and she knew her high, almost childlike pitch confused him a bit. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered if Nightmarians really were still so rare a sight; it did not seem that he'd understood just yet. Mmm... small town. I had rather forgotten that little detail.

Not two minutes later, the man had hastily paid for his drink and left, making his excuses to the barman, who shot her a mildly-reproachful look, which she returned with a flat stare. Neira resisted the urge to sigh. Now she was bored again, and this whiskey wasn't even good enough to get drunk on. she hoped something interesting showed up soon; she'd been rather bereft of amusement for too long if she was taunting barroom oafs.


0.50 INK received for post #2771474, located in The Basement:

Tess Tor shrugs, squinting through the darkness of the basement. "Spacetime distortion, probably."


0.25 INK received for post #1471762, located in Norr:

Faera was rather caught off-guard by the questions, and she fumbled to come up with even one answer. Truthfully, she knew next to nothing of what kind of mage she might be, or even if that was the right way to describe what she did. Still, there was at least one point on which she could answer. She was opening her moth to say that her so-called "combat" magic was merely alteration spells and therefore not actually antithetical to the concept of healing, and so was her "healing," in the sense that it prodded the body to do the work on it's own with energy already present, only at an accelerated rate and with a bit of her own assistance (because she was fairly certain that was how it worked), but before she could force any of it past her tongue, Beezles stepped in and saved her the trouble.

Of course, this brought a rather different sort of questioning about, and Faera smiled brightly at the warlock's rather belated revelation. "I am indeed without sight," she replied, more entertained by the nature of the exclamation than offended. It wasn't as though blind mercenaries were just walking around all over the place, after all, and she had expected a certain degree of surprise or caution when it came to her.

"She's right about one thing, though..." Fae continued with a troubled frown. "I honestly don't know anything about magic apart from how to use it." She had never had a formal teacher, exactly, just picked up spells here or there from people who used them, and sometimes had Talae read aloud to her from books with further information. Specialization had never been a concern; when she found she couldn't preform a particular technique, she had simply thought it beyond her power and left it at that. She'd learned what she needed to learn, that both she and her sister would survive, and the underpinnings were completely unknown to her in this respect. She called herself a mage simply because she didn't know a better word.

-=-

Neira shook her head. She should have bloody well expected as much. "Well, shit, Captain," she said sarcastically. "There's a difference between expendable and useless, but I guess who ever runs this gods-awful parody of an army doesn't know that." Rolling her eyes, she complied when it was made obvious she should leave just as bereft of answers as she had entered. Whatever. It wasn't like she was fooled. He'd been damned angry earlier, and that meant he wasn't nearly as accepting of this situation as he pretended to be.

She hadn't missed the hitch in his breathing either, and contemplated the rather entertaining possibility that he was literally allergic to her on her way out, giving no acknowledgement to those who entered, though she did take note of them. Unless she was very much mistaken, the Captain had important friends. Expendable, indeed. Soft-skins made for terrible liars.

Now of course, she was presently unsure of what to do. She was feeling rather like killing something might be a good idea, but then killing things was always a pretty good idea as far as Neira was concerned. Maybe she should go for an alternative approach. making nice with the other soldiers was out. Even if she'd been inclined to, now was hardly the time, this hardly the place, and she hardly capable. Ah, parallelism.

So she opted for the middle ground- hitting the bar. It was already occupied, by a fellow Nightmarian, no less. Now there was an odd sight. The spider seemed to be knocking them back like it was going out of style, and for some reason, that seemed like a bloody good idea. "I'll have what she's having," Neira told the bartender. "Just... slower."


0.25 INK received for post #1495471, located in Norr:

After Laila had died in the last battle, Faera never had acquired a new partner, so the fact that she was able to control a construct was an enormous relief to her. There was another one in the general area which appeared to be assisting her also, but she did not know to whom it belonged. At any rate, having melee fighters around when one relied completely on magic was very useful, and they made so much noise that she didn’t have to worry about hitting them by accident, so she utilized them somewhat like moving, hitting walls, ducking between and around them, firing spells when she saw the opportunity.

Presently, she was perched on one’s shoulder (she climbed no less well than any of the other members of her species, after all), still conducting the orchestra of winds, so to speak. The infernal shriek halted her in her movements, however, and for a moment Faera was frozen in place by a fear almost older than her memory. It was almost too bad that it wasn’t in fact, because the memories themselves were much worse then the fear alone.

Ashes, smoke, and dust. Nobody within the small village could give voice to why the dragon had attacked in all its shrieking, flame-spewing, terrible glory, only that it had. Black as night, they had not seen it coming until half the small settlement was razed, most of the occupants dead or presumed to be, their remains so far beyond charred as to be indistinguishable from the cremated houses they had once lived in.

But why? Why would such a being deign to attack such a tiny dark elven settlement? They were nowhere near the capital, nor the royal family, nor anywhere associated in any but the loosest fashion with the Legion. None of it made sense.

Faera could not see the death and destruction, but she could smell it, the bitter scent of charred earth filled her nose till it ran out of space and filled her mind too. The only sounds in the unwelcome silence were the occasional wail of a grieving mother or the sound of Talae’s boots on the ground, slogging through the ashes with a merciless determination that no child of sixteen should ever have to possess.

Her sister’s hand was a wrought-iron grip on her wrist, but Fae did not struggle against it, only followed helplessly as their steps carried them further and further from the destruction. “Tala, where are we going?” The young girl flinched. Her voice sounded weak, tremulous, even to her own ears.

“Away from here,” was the terse reply, as though that explained everything. Nothing more was offered, and Fae asked no more questions, perhaps sensing that she would not like the answers. Maybe she was simply too much a coward, or too willing to allow her sibling to bear the knowledge alone. Maybe she was simply a scared little girl placing her trust the one place it had always belonged.


Faera was rudely awoken from her half-willing musings when a stray arrow struck her in the shoulder, embedding itself deep in the flesh there. With a strangled cry, she lost her grip on the construct and fell, landing in a heap on her back. For a moment, the agony was dizzying, and she couldn’t move. She could hear her construct beating back several soldiers who sought to take advantage of this, but it only dimly registered as she tried to fight her way past the agony and into clarity again. A small healing spell numbed the pain, but it would take a lot more time and concentration than a battlefield could afford her in order to do much more than that, so she left the arrow where it was, knowing enough to say that removing it and allowing the bleeding to proceed unimpeded was a very bad idea.

With the arm not connected to her injured shoulder, Faera pushed herself to her feet, ignoring her body’s rather violent protests to the very suggestion. She wasn’t ready to roll over and take it, not yet.




Neira felt a slight tug in the back of her mind, but had little time to puzzle over it before a red-robed figure appeared in front of her. Psionics… interesting. She grinned when the figure threw his hood back, revealing a rather grotesque visage and the glassy gaze of one who perhaps spent more time within than without.

“Oo-oh, you must be one of those poor bastards I’ve heard about. What do they call you? The Silent?” She knew perfectly well what they were called, of course, but it scarcely concerned her. What was important was that this disfigured dark elf probably qualified as an opponent she could sink her teeth into… perhaps literally, if he was a good little abomination.

The Fog was nothing new, and it didn’t much matter for the moment, for that was not going to be where the fight was truly decided. No, this was going to be an entirely different kind of confrontation, one she had not indulged in for quite some time. “Let’s see what goes on inside that ugly little head of yours, mime.”

Neira was lanced with agony that began in her head and psychosomatically spread down her limbs, causing a visible shudder down her spine. The Nightmarian chuckled darkly. “Ah ah ah,” she admonished lightly. “I think this would be much more fun if we took a moment to enjoy it, don’t you?” This time it was her Power that lashed out, sinking mental hooks deep into the Silenced’s consciousness, and thus mutually connected, slowly their perception of the world around the peeled away until they were both almost completely absorbed in the mental link.

Their minds perceiving what their senses never could, both were thrown into something of a vertigo as they both fought for control of what would follow. Within the consciousness, only that which is acknowledged was real, and so it was as much a contest to force the other to accept constructs of their own minds than anything else. The Silenced went for a realm of creeping darkness, dank chills, and bottomless despair. Neira scoffed. Such are the nightmares of human children. Horror looks more like this.

In so saying, she let down one of the mental barriers in her own mind and flooded the other with sensations. A darkened forest, in the centre of which stands the great Hive-city, monument to the sheer enduring obedience of those who built it. Endless labor accomplishes what even ingenuity cannot, slavery what a free man would not lower himself to endure. The ants march back and forth in endless trudging lines, doomed to live out their short, pathetic lifespans doing naught else, at the insistence of a will greater than any individual could ever hope to be. It is all linked to Her, for Her, the Queen, but even She is bound to it too strongly for anyone to break her chains.

Everything is peaceful, everything is orderly, and nothing matters but the rote motions of hands and feet and wings. The Power Within is painfully suppressed by the great droning in the back of her head, every almost-independent thought crushed by that overbearing weight. She is an automaton, just another faceless pair of hands and feet and this close to the center of it all, how can she be otherwise? She cannot feel, scarcely think, and she knows not whether even the minor rebellions she entertains are fed to her by the overarching Mind. She exists, she is, all because the Hive says it must be.

This is my nightmare. You think that after enduring this that a little bit of pain will bend me to your will when at last I am free of it? Do not make me laugh, fool.

The Silenced switches tactics, and now it is a more subtle contest, an invasion of thoughts, memories, feelings, anything to dredge up old weaknesses. For those that are so sternly gripped by ironclad resolve now were not always so, and he seeks to find that which will undo her resistance. He comes too close, and Neira lashes back, burying herself in every one of the Silenced’s most treasured memories, stored away far enough that he need not remember them while doing the bidding of his Dragon masters.

She opens what must have been Pandora’s Box: his name was once Xeron, he has lived for a good two hundred years at least. His parents were nobility- Neira sorts mercilessly through the information, tossing aside with callus disregard most everything that does not seem to be useful, until at last she stumbles upon it. His wife and child, dead at the hands of Legionnaires in a siege much like this one. So it is a recent burn, then. All the better.

She bombards him with all of it, the images, the sounds, the smell of his family’s lifeblood flowing onto the street, trying to stoke a fire of reckless rage, to build in the Silenced enough anger to circumvent his caution, to allow her to break the stalemate of paralysis that stops their bodies from moving from Without.

Too late does she realize her mistake. The Silenced at last breaks his muteness in their shared headspace and laughs, a sickening sensation that just makes her grit her teeth unconsciously. How sweet of you, my dear. You assumed that of all the things you saw there, I would actually care about my wife and son. It is rather unfortunate for you that I do not. But it does tell me something important about you, now doesn’t it?

The Silenced homes in on the memory she was hiding, and Neira braces herself to see it play once more. There is only one decision she has ever made which she still struggles with occasionally, no matter how often she manages to convince herself that it was all worth it, that regret is meaningless. Still, she retains her bravado. oh, is it your turn to try breaking me now? Have fun.

Still, he is confident that he has found it, the way to weaken her will, and he says nothing in response, merely flinging the first of the images into her brainspace while Neira works on something else entirely.

The room is dark, a few flickering candles the only light provided. A body, too indistinct to be identified, lays sprawled on the floor some distance from a standing figure. The flame-haired Nightmarian girl is examining her own arm with a fascinated curiosity, turning it this way and that, watching as the drops of blood hit the stone floor beneath as though she has never seen something quite so enthralling in all her life.

At length, the arm lowers, and red eyes flick to the crumpled pile of carapace and flesh before her. Her head tilts to the side, regarding the corpse with the same interest for a few moments. Something inscrutable passes over the dusky features, and the girl’s shoulders begin to shake.


Clearly, the Silenced thinks he has stumbled upon something important here, and Neira permits him to think so, disguising her true objective as a desire to ‘see’ as little of the image as possible. It will not be long now.

For all the world, she might be sobbing, except if one looks at her face, one would see the first of many terrifying grins beginning a slow, near-hesitant spread across her face. The eerie silence is shattered by a peal of girlish laughter, just a giggle at first, but increasing in volume and taking on a manic edge. Suddenly, it stops, and the smile vanishes, replaced with a scowl. She laughs because something in her has broken at last, and frowns because she is finally free.

With one final disdainful glance at the corpse, the Neria of memory turns on her heel in a swish of black robes, and marches straight out the door.


It was clear to the Silenced that his opponent was not the only one to make a mistake. Frantically, he tried to figure out what she’d actually been doing when pretending to squirm under his mental onslaught, and found his question answered rather painfully when a chitinous hand wrapped around his throat and he was lifted off the ground. How had she-?

“Sometimes, it pays to spend some time Without,” she informed him smugly, grinning an echo of the disturbing image from her own head. “I already told you- I freed myself from my nightmare. You didn’t think it was a simple thing, did you?”

Without giving him a chance to answer, Neira crushed his windpipe, dropping him unceremoniously upon the ground. Shaking her head and shoving her damned memories back into oblivion where they belonged, she realized only a few moments of actual time had passed, and that each of the dragons had chosen a target already. Shame.


0.25 INK received for post #1520282, located in Norr:

Faera awoke the next morning with a pounding headache that threatened to split her skull at the seams. A pungent smell alerted her to the presence of something herbal beside her bed, and she correctly assumed both that Tala had left it there for her and she was to drink it. Fumbling around until she found it, Fae just managed to avoid spilling the contents on the ground and sat up, pulling the cup closer towards herself and tucking her knees to her chest. Every motion was a little more painful than she figured it should be, on account of the fact that moving her head at all tended to set it off.

Still, she braved the agony and tossed her head back, downing the foul-scented contents in the space of two swallows. It tasted slightly acrid, and she wondered for a moment why her sister would ever concoct such a brew, because there was no way she enjoyed it either. Just as with everything else, a dark elf's taste-sense was especially acute, and there was no mistaking that this was something Fae would rather not drink again if she could avoid it.

She began to understand within a few minutes of consumption, though, as the fuzz slowly cleared from her mind and she was able to move without shooting pain at least. She wondered what exactly she had done to earn this sort of unpleasantness, but all she had were vague recollections of the night before that mostly involved music, Beelzes pushing something at her, and possibly a conversation with Duran? She could not remember about what, and of everything she remembered, this seemed the most likely to be fabricated, since she had never had particular occasion to speak to the druid before.

Troubled by the fact that she could not figure out just what had happened, Fae dressed and did what she always did when she was uncertain about something: she sought out her sister. It wasn't hard this morning; she needed only to follow her nose. As it turned out, Tala wasn't too far outside the tent, looking after a pot of the same stuff, and apparently handing it out to random passers-by. The wisdom of this was lost on Fae. Though she had known her older sibling to use this concoction before, she was until today unaware of its effects. Did many other people awake with headaches this morning also?

She offered Tala a small smile before settling down close to her sole living relative, close enough that she could feel the mild radiation of body heat from the latter. If her sister had not been actively moving, Fae probably would have leaned against her shoulder, but she didn't want to impede whatever she was doing. Instead, the blind elf listened intently to the talking going on not too far from them. She was a bit late to the conversation, but was able to figure it out for the most part. The news surprised her, but the larger implications were for the most part lost on her. She did not quite yet understand things like morale and what spies said about security. Obviously, to have one was bad, but if she was gone, wasn't the problem mostly solved? She hadn't known Iriana much at all, and Talae had told her that often, spies were supposed to be people who didn't seem like spies, so she didn't know if how people had felt about her honestly made much of a difference.

Still, it was a bit unsettling to think about, somehow.




She had dreamed of Ecclavaria the previous night. To say that Neira was unsettled by this would perhaps be an overstatement, but she knew that it was not a simple coincidence. She had not had that part of her life invade her subconscious mind in a while, at least not enough to manifest on the plane of sleep. She knew it was because she was in the process of essentially restructuring her mind, and a few things were bound to slip through the cracks, at least at first.

She had located what Xeron left there, but she was presently working around it. She wasn't going to deal with that until she was damn ready to. In the meantime, she threw on her leathers and then her robes. A bit warm for this time of year, perhaps, but she preferred the slight obscurity of movement provided by the loose garments. That and she didn't much feel like parading around in skintight leather all day. If she wanted the sort of attention that tended to garner, she'd find some other, more entertaining way to get it.

Neira made sure all her things were in order before stepping outside into the sun. She was up a bit earlier than most, but a few people were muttering of the traitor that had been discovered the previous night. Frankly, she thought, a dead traitor was the least of their problems, but she wasn't going to bother correcting anyone if they chose to dwell on something she could not bring herself to care about.

Instead, she sought out the solitude of a clearing away from the majority of camp. When she set her mind on something, Neira was nearly single-track in its pursuit, and right now, she needed to be stronger in just about every way. It was not a desire that found her often; most of the time even the dangerous battles were not enough to ignite it, but being so thoroughly done in on an individual level had triggered the personality traits that made her self-classification actually more appropriate than it would seem. Monk: one with absolute devotion to the betterment of body and mind. Weapons were extraneous and unnecessary. All she needed was her own strength, her own will. She was a weapon, she required only a target.

The old sage's words rang clear as day in her mind as she began with the standard physical exercises. Strength, flexibility, fluidity, speed, balance. The fundaments only grew more important as time wore on. She had grown arrogant and lax in the past few years, and she knew it. There were many things her teacher's doctrine, and her own, would allow her to be. Self-interested was one of them, as was self-assured; hell, even disdainful if she truly wished it. Arrogant was not. The line between it and confidence was one she had to be mindful of.

The emerging sun warmed Neira's joints and assisted in their loosening, so by the time she finished her opening round of stretches, she was feeling quite ready for the exercises in strength and precision that would follow. Just as well; she needed to exhaust herself and push her limits, now and every day in the future. She would not lose a second time.


Signature

The Canticle of Fate: Silver Lion Stanza
Image
"Though I am flesh, Your Light is ever present,
And those I have called, they remember,
And they shall endure."