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Rune, The Storyteller

Once upon a life, there was such a thing as death. Once upon a death, there was such a thing as life. They cannot live in sync in the same world. It is impossible to have both, for that we should be grateful.

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a character in “Cirque de la Lune”, originally authored by kjrated, as played by Raize

Personality

Image

Amid the festivities and beauty, the wondrous, magical atmosphere of the carnival, a black tent sits like a shadow, as if it wants to disappear, but cannot yet because the sun has not risen. But there is something about it that mystifies everyone who sees it. There is nothing interesting, or flashy about this tent, it is apparently simply a tent. Still. Anyone could tell, nothing is "simply" anything. The tent is always black, but if you stare hard enough, you see a flash of color, like a bird has flown across the darkness. Everybody calls it a trick of the light, but you never can be too sure.

There is a warm light emanating from a slit in the fabric of the tent. People passing by catch glimpses and glimmers of beaded, silken pillows, and candles that flicker and sway to an invisible wind. A warm breeze floats around the cave-like tent, they can smell the faintest scent of jasmine, honey suckle, and cinnamon combined. The air warms them to to their toes, and the scent makes them dizzy, their eyes blink, and as soon as they pass, they are fine again. Only certain people, who believe enough can truly notice the tent. But these people are not normal. These people have the power to dream, to understand that dreams have power, and that wishes are things that can come true.

Inside the tent, it is much bigger than it looks. It is cavernous, with the ground drowning in soft carpets, and pillows of vibrant hues flung around the room almost carelessly. Black bookshelves line the walls, and scroll upon scroll lines them as well. The pillows are beaded and embroidered with fantastic pictures, and some of the tent's walls are occupied with paintings that seem real, as though the pictures could jump out and live, even breath. There are a few people in the tent, but their eyes are focused on something different than books, paintings, or pillows. They are focused on her.

She sits on a cushion different from the others, gold is threaded into it, the gold glitters against a backdrop of brilliant raspberry red cloth that looks softer than silk. Seated in the middle of this cushion is a figure. The figure is clothed with things you would never know of, now. There are pictures, they shimmer in and out of the cloth, they are elusive, deceptive. One after another, after another. Nobody can keep up, nor look and understand the story that unfolds in the material of the cloth, nor does anyone know what the cloth is really made of. The cloth gleams with the light of the candles, their flames change to different colors every moment. Red, green, orange, blue, even purple.

There was no sign, announcing what this tent was. In fact it was by chance that anyone even noticed it. They wait quietly, some watch the shadows on the walls, fixated by the wavering flames that create the shadows. The air inside the tent should be heavy, but it is light, millions of candles burn throughout the tent, yet nobody is afraid that the tent will catch on fire. The patrons of the tent notice one more peculiar thing.

There is a tree in the corner of the tent. At first, it seems insignificant. But they soon realize this is not so. The tree's branches stretch out farther than any tree could, they cocoon and circle around the tent everywhere, and engraved upon them are words. You do not know what they say, but somehow you know that they are stories. Stories of other worlds, people like them, and things that are not. Some branches are crimson in color, others are a deeper blue than the sky, yet others sparkle with diamonds and gold... Others are pitch black, with blood dripping and drizzling over them. It adds to itself, shifting and changing ever more.

Who is she? She is the story teller. She usually does not go by any other name, but most who have the privilege of speaking to her outside of a story call her Rune. It is unlikely that she will ever leave her tent, for there is no one old enough except the ancients that have truly seen her move out of the tent. Nobody has seen her face, but they will often hear her speak, or read through the books of the world. She knows many things, she observes, and what she keeps secret stays secret until she dies. Her voice is the most beautiful thing you could ever hear, but unless you believe enough to hear it, you will hear nothing at all except the sounds of the night.

What does she do? She takes you to a land far away, full of dreams, wishes, and nothing except your own mind. She weaves things that will probe your imagination, and cause it to work into over drive. She has a way with words, she sees things in different colors than anyone else, she knows what we do not know, and she shares what she can... She is a craftsman of sorts, and a magicker all in her own. There are times when her stories seem to have deeper meaning than you would think, but in order to understand what she is trying to tell you, you must delve and unravel her words to form new ones, ones that you can understand. She is a fortune teller if you want her to be, but still a storyteller in another form.

What is she? She is a weaver of words. A sorceress of stories. She is a person, of course. Like you and me, but she is also something more than that. She is unique in the world, and she is at ease with that. She has words, pictures, and stories in her head, she needs nothing else except that. Nobody knows when she was born, nor when she joined the circus. They do not know how old she is, nor do they know how old she claims to be, for she has never spoken about it.

Who does she trust? She trusts no one but herself, yet. She knows of the other performers, she welcomes the people into her tent. But she has yet to find someone with a soul that will fit hers.

What is her story? Rune, do you hear them? They are asking for your story. Will you tell them?

"What they need to know and what they ask for do not always become the same thing." She speaks in a voice softer than the clouds, yet harder than a diamond. It summons the beauty of a nightingale, and the sharpness of a knife. "But... I will tell them what I believe they need to know anyway." ... The voice seems to lull you into a state, but your ears are clear as she begins to speak once more...

"Once upon a time, a star looked down on earth and saw that many of earth's creatures had children. Beneath the star's light, she saw that the children were happy. This star wished that she could have her own child, but she knew that stars could not. One night, she went to the moon, which hovered in the sky every night, happy to be there. The star poured out her desires and tears to the moon, and the moon comforted the star.

"Dearest star, do you really want a child?" The moon whispered to the star. The star nodded in reply, and the moon sighed softly. "I will try for you, dear star, but you will have to give your life for your child." The star was shocked at this, but she agreed to do what the moon asked.

"Yes! Yes, I'll do anything to have a child." The star cried, tears of joy streamed from her, changing to bits of sparkling ice. The moon laughed softly, but there was a sadness to its laugh. It waved the star away so it could think, and the star went happily. The star came back the following night, and asked if the moon had figured out what it could do to have a child.

"I do. You must go to the center of the universe, and you must as the Enchantress of Night for a child." The moon said gravely. The star was quiet for a moment, but she agreed to trek across the universe in search of the Enchantress. She started her journey then, bidding the moon farewell. The moon smiled at her and handed her a single seed, that looked much like a pearl. The star thanked the moon for its guidance, and headed on her way.

The star searched for many years, she had grown tired, and still she wanted to a child. One night, the star was so tired, that she fell into a deep slumber. Without realizing it, she started to fall towards earth, a great streak of white that flew across the sky, lending its star dust to fairies all over the world. The star woke next night, and found that the pearl she had kept from the moon had begun to grow into something more. She planted it into the soil of the sky, and watered it with moon beams.

It took a millenium to grow, and the star had grown old. Her light barely twinkled, and she missed the times when she had shined nearly as bright as the sun. The small plant that had grown out of the white pearl had turned into a flower, and tonight was the night that it would open its petals. The old star waited patiently for the flower to bloom, and it did not disappoint.

In the midst of the petals, there lay a tiny, white baby girl. The star was overjoyed, and shed sparks of happiness that caught in the light and sent a rainbow across the universe. She jumped and danced across the sky, but she fell far too close to the earth. She went back to the plant, and found that the baby had begun to crawl across the diamond path to earth. The star knew that this was a sign, and she let the baby find its way down to the softened ground of earth. The star blew a kiss to the baby, and winked out of sight. The moon sighed contentedly as the star returned to it, blinking faintly in the sky... I do not know what happened to that star, but the child lives on today. Somewhere here, in this place..." Rune finished her story, her eyes hidden by a veil of gossamer cloth colored black. But you could see the sparkle in her eyes, even if you could not see her eyes themselves. "That is part of my story."


Does she ever leave her tent? Nobody would know if she did. But she does... Nobody has seen her face, and her body is hidden in clothes of beauty, of mystery. She is forever cloaked in mischief, magic, mystery, and hope. But there is also a veil of darkness on her, at times her stories will not make sense, and only she will understand the deeper meaning behind them. But when she does speak, listen closely, because you might learn something about yourself that you never knew before. Some say that she can turn invisible using words. Others say that she shape shifts with her own stories as well, using her magic. Yet, even more people say that she is simply gifted and can manipulate shadows... Who knows.

So begins...

Rune, The Storyteller's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rune, The Storyteller Character Portrait: Fellini, the Bizarrist

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Fellini and Rune
The Bizarrist and The Storyteller
~A collaborative post~



Through the haze of cigarette smoke, he had fallen in love all over again. But this was brief.

He saw the purest of bliss in that sea of faces, the grace of their mistress and the family at her back. All was great, all was well. He watched the world safely from behind squared lenses, nestled under the shadow cast by the brim of his hat. Mystique had not yet gone with the wind; the cape remained draped round his shoulders, still tattered beyond repair, still evidence of a show gone terribly, terribly right. Blood dried his upper lip. Hands were steadied, but his feet dared to move. His eyes drifted across each and every member, observing. And his heart left with the exhaust fumes as the crowd dispersed, leaving the Cirque and its merry band to get intoxicated from another round of success―and Fellini had lingered there after his peers, too, had gone, and the ghosts, now alone with their master, took the opportunity to tug at his back, always so restless.

"Basta! Ma ora basta!" he whispered, the accent rolling smoothly from his tongue. He need not face the specters to emphasize his words. They quelled almost instantly in the fairgrounds, now one with the growing silence. A dozen of the ghoulish figures hovered about him, not yet ready to come down from the highs of the night, but it was nothing new. Stars need no rest, they said; they completed his act, and they deserved to mingle among the extraordinary folk. Fellini tensed. The cigarette was thrown away, crushed under the loafer sole. Stalking from his cast, he knew no further disputes were needed. Sans their weeping, he would not hear word of them nor catch sight of them until they were summoned once again, and he silently prayed that they would learn their place.

So it went. A breeze carried remnants of the hours gone by, and the buzz in the air was not far behind. It was infectious, this feeling of another victory. He could look skyward and become lost in starlight. The performers were gathered ahead, and he heard the last of Zalvema's announcement as he reached the celebration. To him, it did not matter how long they stayed here. It simply was.

Signora Delilah, of course, was likely the first to get shit-faced. The lioness had perched with Xavier, whose ability to waste alcohol was in top form, and whose eyeliner grew more garish by the second.  

Fellini intervened, tossing the cape over his shoulder with a lackadaisical flair. "Monsieur, you must learn how to hold your liquor," he said in earnest, and, motioning toward where the wine had vanished mere moments before, somehow brought the bottle back into its humble existence. A trick of shadows, that. He poured them both an even amount, then set aside the wine, tipped his hat, and added, "Delilah, you were exquisite tonight. But it seems as if your cat is becoming harder to tame. Perhaps you should consider this next time before you take to the stage."

And he was off and away. Not feeling particularly enthused for drink tonight, he would not laugh, nor would he dance. He would seek the sole member of Cirque de la Lune who, outside the confines of her sanctuary, did not flaunt, prance, leap, strut. He would seek Rune.

Eastward, the black tent loomed above him like a blemish on the earth, and for the countless times he ventured to this oddity, it never failed to draw hesitance from him at the entrance. So stoic, so otherwise unmoved in the face of everyone else, Fellini then shrunk in its presence. His breath hitched. Immense forces of magic beckoned him forward, and yet, for each second that he did not act, he felt the urge to retreat, to cower. He stepped once, twice. Unsure at first, then quickly gaining confidence, he walked into the darkness once more.

The shifting pictures did not faze him. The warped, bloodied tree, once an acute source of interest, only sparked faint curiosity. No, he had seen what this mystical space had to offer, and what drew his attention was the goddess at her center. Although she was featureless for now, something about her spoke to him with infinite beauty―the fragility with which he held herself, and the balance that threatened to creak in an interval; the fabrics that surrounded her, eerily pristine in spite of their supposed age; the candles, thousands of them, that illuminated her form, and, through her powers, would burn brightly for ages to come. She was comfort; she was fear. She was the pinnacle he sought to reach, though he knew that getting there would be nigh impossible. In her realm, shadows billowed about him, weakened and hushed by the light.

What did the words matter if she did not respond?

"I suppose you've no affinity for drink." His voice held a hint of contempt, though it certainly was not aimed at the storyteller. "If only you could have seen them tonight. According to my audience, I might have performed my best. So tell me, Rune, why must I be such a bother to you? We know you have no answers, and if you do, then you're doing your damnedest to keep them away from me."

As usual, it was akin to speaking with an ancient wall. Still, he persisted, and his voice elevated with each breath, and he slipped, though unaware, into his native language. If it sparked no reaction, there was nothing much else to be done.

He concluded: "Rune, I need guidance. I need my magic to inspire again."

No words of wisdom passed through her lips and fell upon his ears after he finished speaking to the quiet shadow in the center of the tent. The veil she wore this night was the color of onyx, starless in its obscuring beauty. The fabric's stillness was broken as it began to ripple, as though tickled by an imaginary breeze that coiled around Rune playfully. Even after several seconds that seemed like years of silence, she still did not speak.

She was the epiphany of solitude and peace. Cloaked in darkness, masked within an obsidian wasteland yet still burning with vibrant shades of the world's true colors. Silver bells gleamed and hung from the edges of her veil, but despite the movement, they did not ring. It looked as though she had not acknowledged his presence, but indeed she had. From the slightest shift in her stance, to the way the shadows differed in their subtle dance.

Rune. Ah, how simple the life of a storyteller is. To sit upon the ground each night and tell what few people that find their way into her tent, stories of the world that even the ancient gods in the heavens have forgotten. She creates art, painting a picture before their very eyes without a brush. Using words instead of color, but words are color in their own way. 

It would seem almost as though she were not listening to his words as he confided in her. He could not see beyond the inky veil that hid her closed eyes, and the face beneath the mask of the storyteller. As the silence finally settled and became still, her eyes opened. The shadows jumped and danced across the walls of the tent, and the tree of words shifted above their heads, stretching its branches, leaving it engraved with story upon story rustled with soft laughter as the shadows continued to gracefully sway to their own rhythm. The candle light flickered in thousands of different colors, causing the air in the tent to pulse with the beat of the shadows.

And then, the silence was broken. The fragile bridge, more fragile than a snowflake to the world of silence was shattered at the sound of tinkling bells. It was like hearing the first laugh of an infant, the sigh of the world as the sun crooks its golden fingers and first touches the ground, and the sound of the stars singing above you in the night. The bells continued to ring for a split second more. There was only one meaning to this: the storyteller had come alive once again.

She had shifted. She had altered the very fabrication of reality itself. No longer was the tent darkened, and dim. No longer were they both surrounded by flickering candles, and dancing shadows. The tree had disappeared, and all that surrounded them was darkness. An ebony abyss that was filled with the echos of the bells. A different kind of light would illuminate the tent, and slowly, they began to twinkle, to fill the empty space between Rune, and Fellini. They flickered like a thousand white candles, burning with a beauty like no other. They gleamed like the full harvest moon, careless and free. They sparkled like the last smile of a person of this world, happiness and joy emanating around them. The stars bobbed and hovered around Rune like bits of ice, dazzlingly bright, yet dim in comparison to a pale, silver disk that hovered just behind the storyteller herself. A streak of light stretched across the tent's far wall, disappearing as soon as it had appeared.

Even if he could not see past the veil, he would know that her eyes were open, and that she was looking at him. Truly, staring past him into his own mind. Her eyes were the color of the stars, a dark grey. Deep, but transparent. Simple, but complex in their own way. Never before had the galaxies, nor the universe spread itself before a viewer within Rune's tent. But there was a first for everything. Perhaps she was the only one who could fathom, and envision it within her own mind.

She was a master of illusions. Her words fooled reality itself into thinking it was whatever she wished it to be. And now, it was theirs, and theirs alone to remember, and to forget. 

“Darkness and light weave themselves together to create the fabric of the universe. Apart, they are useless and immaterial. Together, they become what was, what is, and what always will be.” A voice, a voice like no other vibrates through the tent. There is a sweetness to the voice, a silvery sincerity that is weaved into it with a sharpness that suggests complete confidence in what is being said. It is almost as if they are both submerged beneath the waves of moonlight as the chiming tones of the storyteller fade completely. She says no more, for there is nothing more to explain, there is nothing more to say.

As soon as the vision of peace, and the symphony of wonder appears, it fades with the voice as well. The stars fly back to their places in the sky, and the moon that hung without a cloud in the sky dissipates into silver smoke. The candles flicker innocently, and the shadows are still for a moment, before they resume their intricate dance. And Rune? Rune is silent once more, it is almost as though she never spoke. Perhaps he imagined it all. It all depends on how much he believes.

Fellini believed. He believed as if she spoke the only truths in the world, as if her message was gospel, divine and almighty. Had he merely imagined it, it was a dirty, cruel trick of the mind. Had he merely imagined it, the natural world made him despondent, and he soon yearned for that sensation of light and sky. It was so surreal, it would have sent Dali into a coma.

He did not understand, however and, realizing this, he struck out aimlessly, hoping to grasp onto even the smallest amount of her energy. It did not come. They had driven on a roundabout, only to stop at the very beginning. The tent, for all the rhythm that ebbed and flowed throughout, now paled in comparison to her brief display, but the vigor was unmistakable. She was resurrected, after all, albeit for a sweet, short time, and he would be in denial if he ignored the change that ate away at him.

His skin tingled, electric. His weary face was fraught with awe, irritation. "Please... will you speak again?" he asked of her, at a loss, lacking the conviction that made him whole. He felt so meek before her. As he left in uncertainty, he knew the response: there was to be none.

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