You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: Petals of the Amaranth  (Read 1070 times)

Maiyannah

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Petals of the Amaranth
« on: January 12, 2023, 12:29:39 PM »
This thread represents both backstory and ongoing story of Livu Dhendras as I play her.  Please leave it for me to post in!  If something is included you would rather me not, please PM me.  Most of this represents stuff that would not be known IC outside of specific knowledge or interactions with Livu, or having been there.
Thank you for your understanding.



"Mathrandan!"

The call pierced through the roaring sounds of the flame about her.

"Mathrandan!"  Again, it resounded.

Smoke and ash plagued Livu, the sensation causing her to gag and sputter.  As flames rose, so too did the sheet of blackened smoke, a blanket to confound her vision.

Strangled cry would be the reply: the sound of a struggle.  Livu moved through the broken timbers and furniture with some difficulty - restricted vision, burning lungs, and the weight of her parade armour all conspired to stifle her.  Nonetheless she was as a moth drawn to a flame, inexorably and unwaveringly floating towards her goal, despite that would thwart her.

Shoving one beam aside, she could see in the corner the object of her cry.

"Mathrandan!" she repeated, this time an emotional cry to see his state: pinned under another fallen timber from the collapsed roof, still aflame, rested on a battered form, clothes scorched and body burned.

"Mathrandan ..." comes again, quieter.  Subdued.  Sorrowful.

With even greater spur of purpose she moved then, climbing, pushing, needing to get to him.  Sweat beaded on her forehead and started its inexorable descent down her face as she moved, the heat almost intolerable, and the ash an even poorer companion.

Her friend gave a strangled cry, struggling in vain to extricate himself from the pin he was forced in.  Then plated hands arrived to assist, the sound of the woman crying in effort and pain to do so heard as resoundingly as she shouted his name prior issuing forth as they did.  Anguish.  Anguish for both her friends position and a searing pain that overcame her reason and restraint in grasping the burning lumber through the flames.

Strain ... effort, followed.  Resolved to her action, she groaned through lifting it and tossing the fallen wood to the side, enough that Livu might free him.  Mathrandan babbled in pain which drove him to the point of incoherence as she slung him over her shoulder, staggering through the remains of the burning in, coughing and crying all the while.

Outside, quite a gathering had formed.  Peasantry were handing bucket after bucket of water in a line from the nearby well.  Fires were not all that uncommon in Waterdeep, and people knew what to do, once the initial fear waned.  She slumped to the ground before one of her fellow Watchers, a priest that had presaged her coming and raised alarums.  She positioned the corpse before him, and threw off a red-hot gauntlet.

The other...
   ... the other wouldn't come off.

"Mathrandan.."
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

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Bloodied
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2023, 10:14:11 PM »
Clenched teeth were inadequete prison for the cry of pain.  Saw rent through chain, hauberk, and flesh underneath with indifferent alacrity, a quick, efficient, and deep drink into Livu's forearm.

A scream filled the air - filled with pure and unmitigated pain.

To her own embarrassment, it belonged to she, and it took Livu a moment to realize it.  She closed eyes, trying to find that quiet, the reserve, but her body would not permit it: no, it writhed in anguish.  She had to tense every muscle she could not to flinch.

The surgeon looked up.  Annoyance crept into his usually-clinical indifference.

"This will go quicker if you stay still," chided he, before he continued.

The sight of her own flesh rent so made the usually stoic woman lose some resolve.  She averted her eyes, tensing and trying to stay still.  The sounds of saw on flesh and bone - knowing it was her own - had her stomach do jumps in open revolt.  She steeled herself.  Girded herself.  She did her best.

Her best was not enough though, and she could feel queasiness start to win.  Just as it did though, the gauntlet seared solid to flesh was freed, leaving the bloody stump of an arm, and she was granted a gruesome reprieve.  Wasting not any time, the surgeon lifted the bloody and bleeding mess to cauterize the wound.

Renewed pain surged through that arm, and with it, she lost the contents of her stomach, so overcome by it she was.  The surgeon looked even less impressed than before at the new development, but a little less surprised. 

"Still thyself, you just make it worse," he muttered, cleaning the arm with warm cloths of the blood.

Throughout, the quiet eyes of the First Watcher surveyed the mess.  His subordinate had been brave, but foolish, and briefly he considered leaving her with the stump that she might carefully consider herself in the future, and not rush to such foolhardiness.  Yet, in his eyes, she had done no evil but recklessness, and her intentions were pure. 

"Kneel before me," bade the grizzled middle-aged man to Livu, prompting the surgeon, who'd removed her surcoat after her previous .. accident, to shuffle aside.  Livu would stagger to do so.  Pain made her every movement tremble.  It shoved its way through her mind and discipline with abandon.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Be still.  So she commanded herself.  She had moderate, but not shining success.

The First Watcher was not without sympathy for her pain, but his steely demeanour did not lapse, as the next command simply followed: "Show me the arm and thy other hand."  In truth, he would barely wait for her, and as she started to move her, he grasped both arms by the elbows.  A soft blue glow embraced the stump and badly-burned hand.

Another scream.  She ... did not expect the pain, as the healing conjuration replaced recently discarded flesh.  His grip tightened like an iron vice around both elbows.

"Do not move," came the man's command, as he continued.  Feeling returned where there was none - a searing, red-hot pain as if in memory of the flames that fused flesh, leather, and metal in the one so recently dismembered.

When it past, the woman just panted - winded from her own torment.  Looking down, both hands were mended - but rather than being whole again as one might expect, both were withered and charred.  Fully functioning, but as if they had not been healed at all in appearance.

Silence a moment.  Then, came gravely:

"Consider this a lesson in foresight, Third Watcher."
« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 08:33:35 AM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

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A Ring
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2023, 08:37:05 PM »
It is said, the thought dallied in Livu's head, that eyes are the window to the soul. What then, behind the eyes of a tiefling watcher that so often sought to have the wall duty from her?

Apprehension.  Uncertainty.  The constant turmoil of the blood that ran through her veins.  Yet her face betrayed it not - a placid vision of passive watch, ever vigilant - as a watcher should be.

In truth, Kelias - whom she often simply called Keli - migrated to the one who passed not judgement on her for her blood.

The ardent rays of setting sun cast over the City of Splendors, the thousands of buildings in sight from the vigil casting a shadow-play of darkness' fingers, the beauty of the coming night.  Keli's arrival was heralded by the clanking of the well-built woman's heavy plate as it move, boots crashing against unyielding stone of the Vigil's walls.

Awkward silence fell a moment.  The wind caught Livu's hair in a gentle embrace, caressing her face.  Then, Keli ventured: "...anything to report?"

Her voice always beckoned like a siren-song.  Beautiful and exotic.  In another life, the broody demonblood might have made quite a follower of Sune, it never failed to occur to Livu.

"Not unless thou doth want to include thyself," she answered Keli, eyes keeping her Vigil.

A flicker of a smile on the broad woman's lips appeared, not that Livu might notice with eyes on the goings-on in front of them - at least, not until she turned, and her fellow abruptly did her best to hide the emotion.  Cool.  Calm.  Placid.  We are watchers after all, thought she - we must be disciplined.  A faint tinge to Livu's own cheeks betrayed herself - but only for a moment.

"I take it thou'rt to relieve me from duty today," Livu observed, and a nod confirmed it.  Awkward pause, before Livu nodded in turn and, wordlessly, started to walk past, and back to the barracks.

"Livu," stopped her. "I .. "   A moment of desperation in her voice, before Keli drew herself back together.  Composed.  Watcher, remember!

"...Third Watcher, in the barracks I left a letter for thee," she finished after clearing her throat.  It was as much to get past the knot forming in it - and the butterflies in her stomach - than a motion of gathering composure.

"Oh?" Livu asked, interest piqued.  "I shall find it there, then."  Clank-clank-clank as she walked off, leaving in the same path, almost to the footfall, as Keli had.  Diligence and exacting step carried her away to letter fargone.

"... I hope thou doth," whispered.

If He or any other diety were watching, that wayward tiefling would be beseeching them with with every ounce of her being.





What greeted Livu first in the package, when she unsealed the letter with her knife, wasn't the writing.

It was the ring.

An elegant thing, though simple: made of gleaming mithril, of thick walls and a simple knotwork pattern.  On the face, an enameled symbol of Helm.  Livu's heart leaped into her throat.  The implication was, of course obvious, even if the writing would lay it bare.  Money was spared neither in the materials of construction, nor in the care of the hand which crafted it.

"Ser Livu," began letter, written in a slanting, elegant hand.  Time and care taken in the writing, as if every letter were in and of itself of grave importance, placed with care.

"I am not a woman of great eloquence, so I would, as you would doubtless as me to do, simply state myself plainly.  So often, you said unto me that I cannot deny the passions of the blood, and that the importance was instead to place them to a matter of great importance.  Our Vigil.  My thoughts turn again and again to thee.  Where others spurned me for a birthright I had no choice in, you were simply diligent in thy duties.  A teacher.  A mentor.  And a friend.

I would join mine Vigil to thine.  I pray to Him that thy gaze falls upon me.

- Kelias Nacrea"

Heart wrenched.
      Eyes watered.
         ...A ring...
« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 08:33:55 AM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

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Blood Dues (pt I)
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2023, 07:45:47 AM »
Darkness.

That was always the chief feature of this room.

A lone candle, held aloft in her mother's own hand, provided the only illumination, as she and Livu beheld another.  He was a miserable sight: malnourished and gibbering with madness.  Wild brown eyes looked desperately for escape or release, but he had little strength to offer challenge as the elder of house Dhendras looked down upon him.

"Doth thou understand, dear, dear Livu, why this man is here?"

Her mother's way of speaking was always a mix of condenscending and unbridled malice, somewheres amidst a cloying veneer of noble sensibility.  Livu could feel a familiar darkness of her own arise as she listened.  Anger.  Fury, indeed.  She already knew where this was going - and the Watcher in her hated every bit of it.

A caress over her jaw broke her out of a quiet silence.  Her mother's way of drawing attention ... and it worked.

"No," came simple and direct response.

She could see the scowl in her mother's eyes, even as her face remained that same, familiar mask without much emotion.  Everything was practiced - a performance to an audience; and today, the audience was her wayward daughter.

"Oh, my dear thing," came an overwrought lament, "they have made thee soft in that 'Vigil' of theirs, haven't they?"

Jaw clenched and lips turned into a thin line as she clammed up at this.  Fists balled unseen in their relative safety of darkness.  Tense as a tightly-wound wire as she tried to resist the wrath built inside her.  Canting her head to the side, her mother grabbed at her jaw and turned her face to behold the man.

"You see, this man has failed to give his rightful mistress her proper due, and well, thou know all about that, don't thee?"

Her stomach did flips. Her body recoiled. She knew where this was going.

"I won't let you!  I .. I won't!" screamed Livu in growing horror at the torture she knew her mother was going to visit on the poor soul.

Rather than anger at the insubordination, an unseemly, self-satisfied smile settled on her mother's features.  Malice.  It was malice.

"But my dear... it is not me that shall do this..."

Eyes went wide.

"... it is thee."
« Last Edit: January 30, 2023, 11:07:57 AM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

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Blood Dues (Part II)
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2023, 10:43:03 AM »
She knew what her mother was trying to do, of course; Livu was not ignorant.  The blood of her mother ran through her as well, a dread heritage of deals made with infernal powers.  One was seeking a spark to the flame ... in ample, waiting kindling.

She drew herself up.  Not like this.  Not this one.  Not today.

"...I won't" came her defiance, though it did not provoke the immediate reaction she expected.  Strained, as she gave effort to keep herself under wraps.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

"You won't then, will you?" asked mother, tapping at her daughter's chin as she released that jaw.  "Well, that is dreadfully inconvinent for thee now, isn't it?'

Confusion crossed Livu's features for a moment, betraying her - something that broke her wicked mother's face into a malign smile.

"You don't understand then?" mother asked, and then she shook her head at herself, adding: "No of course thou doth not.  Thy Watchers for all thy vigilance never would understand such a thing, though it does confuse me much.  Thou would think that understanding the burden of protecting someone would be best understood by that dreadful bore of a church."

Livu blinked.  Was she...?

"It's simple, my dear Livu Marianna.  If thou'rt not going to mete justice on this man for not paying the due he dutifully owes, then thou can suffer in his stead."

Livu stepped back, recoiling from what her mother suggested and the rancor in her voice and eyes.  It availed her not, as a hand grabbed her by the forearm, and drew Livu close.

A whisper hissed in her ear:
    "Thou wilt accept the gifts given unto thee... or others shall suffer for thy blindness."

The same blood that mother dearest would have Livu call upon recoiled in her veins, a revulsion that expelled an adamant repetition: "I won't!  .. I .. cannot!"

"Then, my darling, I have but one commandment for thee..." she said, drawing her even closer.  She could feel magic press onto her person through that touch, and body froze.

         "...bleed."
« Last Edit: February 07, 2023, 10:48:41 AM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

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Premonition
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2023, 01:08:02 PM »
It was a welcome reprieve, in a sense, when the letter came.

To Livu, it felt like much of her life up until this point had been hardship, the little victories and moments of contentment the exception to the constant dark cloud that was her ever-loving mother's influence.  When she received the letter of acceptance, it felt like everything was coming together.  The wedding.  The return to the Vigil after she parted ways with the Everwatch.  It felt as if life was returning to normal, even if normal was not something Livu had much of a concept of.  Even.  Steady.  Something she could find contentment in.

The wedding would be tomorrow, and so she was frantic in her preparations.  Even as she had dutifully seen to anything, the anxiousness of the moment saw her checking her things and her vows a hundredth time.  Helm rewards preparedness, after all, and Livu would not want to be found wanting, neither by He nor by the woman whom had, in truth, been her anchor through so much difficulty.

When she went to rest that night, she was exhausted, but it was not a restful sleep she found.

No, Livu's sleep was restless and troubled.

She was visited by a vision.  An unquieting one at that.  As the mind's eye adjusted to what was no doubt Divine Guidance, she came to see an image of the Vigilant One, standing amidst an almost impenetrable fog, standing, with hand aloft in it's signature gesture, towards some evil unseen.  Movement came in the periphery of vision, never fully to the forefront, never distinct.

For hours she languished in this vision, a struggle of sorts: trying to perceive that which was beyond the scope of the dream, this unknown threat no doubt warned against.

It availed her nothing.  When she awoke, it was not in her nightclothes, but in her parade armour - surrounded by longsword and shield, and some basic provisions.  The quiet chirping of birds pierced a cool morning breeze. 

Questioned plagued her mind:
   What happened?
      Where was she?
   What became of Kelias, who she slept beside?

But the land she found herself in was indifferent, and provided few answers.
Livu would have to find them on her own.
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

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  • Courage is the soul of life.
A Struggle
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2023, 01:47:21 PM »
Blood.

The sight and smell of it both were a constant companion to Livu before long in this place, knee deep in the dead  - and sometimes undead - as she often was.  Yet never did she quite come to terms with it, come to find it familiar, or comfortable.

There was more than enough of it here, in this crypt.  Defying warnings not to enter, her and Tasha had ventured forth, seeking adventure, and seeking experience.  Joined them were some others - a scraggly halfling trapsmith, and some manner of gnome too small for Livu to be entirely convinced she was real, even when she stood before her and cast her wards.

The blood they were anointed in was not that of anyone but themselves, in this moment, however.  While broken and shattered bones surrounded them, so too had perfectly-whole, animated skeletons, and the unliving abominations had proven more than the party's equal.

Companions had fled.  Her only company was her fellow Tormite paladin's corpse, itself as much at risk of becoming one of the accursed undead bound to this place as many of the splintered skeletons around her.

With a momumental effort she managed a little further.  An involuntary grunt of pain escaped her, and consciousness threatened to do the same, and yet she managed to keep her tenuous hold upon the latter.  A little bit - perhaps not much more than a hands width - before she slumped again, panting greedy gulps of air which provided little in the way of relief for the stress and exhaustion her body felt.  If not for the adrenaline, she would have been overcome by sheer agony what seemed like an eternity ago.

She could not - would not - abandon Nytassia to this place, however, and that single determination found the focus of every part of her still able to function.  Dragging, pushing, pulling the unfortunate woman's lifeless body as she may.  The corridors seemed to stretch on forever, as did the minutes, and each one she bore fear that another skeleton would arise.  Livu fought what ones did appear off with exhausted, sweeping strikes, and thankfully the mindless nature of her foes proved to her benefit, as they could take little advantage of her poor form.

She dragged...

   She pulled...

      She pushed...

Anything, everything, to spare Tasha this fate.

Eventually, she found herself disoriented - grabbed by a great bloom that exploded and stole from her vision.

One simple, exalted thing: The sun, and its light.

As if to greet it, consciousness fled her.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2023, 01:51:58 PM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

  • First Watcher
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  • Posts: 1505
  • Courage is the soul of life.
"Hellrider"
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2023, 10:39:19 AM »
"Hellrider"

The legends of this unit of primarialy Helm's followers had reached as far as the City of Splendors, and it was often used as a model for those in the Waterdeep Vigil as the ideal to strive to.  The Riders of Elturel had a well-earned reputation, for even when hell itself beset the town, theirs, like their patron, had been the shield against which all was turned aside.  And at grave cost - said to be riding deep into the Nine Hells themselves to quench the menance to home and hearth.  Given Elturel lived in relative prosperity now, that seemed proof enough of their success.

In retrospect, Livu did not know what she would have expected out of actually meeting one of them - the meeting alone would seem a chance thing in her youth: Elturel would be far removed from Waterdeep.  Yet the designs of the mists brought her into meeting just such a mythical figure, Atuar of Omu, whom upon her return from her sojourn to Krezk, rapidly saw to her being properly outfitted.

"It was his sacred duty," her fellow Helmite insisted.

In some ways, it was intimidating, for such association with great deeds bespoke a person of tremendous character, and no doubt Helm's favour.  But in others, it was comforting.  For so long she had been alone in her Vigil in this benighted place, save perhaps the company of her Tormite beloved, now lost to her.  And yet here was another, and not some mere acolyte either - no, a man whose unit and background were a thing of legend and tale.

For a rare moment, the storm abated.  Hope, once more, shone.

The vigil, meanwhile, continued all the same.  Bolstered as it was, by better armanents and allies.
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer

Maiyannah

  • First Watcher
  • Dark Power
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  • Posts: 1505
  • Courage is the soul of life.
Tepestani Tempest
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2023, 01:00:48 AM »
Aurelia had been missing.

It had been months since Livu saw the fellow Helmite she had fast fallen in love with. While she was troubled by her own nature in some ways, and others troubled her even more greatly, it bothered not Livu, and the two had with some reluctance on Livu's part after the fate of her past love, hit it off.

But after one particularly nasty spat of this, the woman had said that she would solve the problem herself - and left.  To where, Livu could not say, but she needed to find why.  She had sworn an oath, if nothing else - one to protect her with her life, and as a paladin Livu's life was lived by those oaths.  And yet, she could not find her.  Perhaps the mists took her back to Faerun.  Perhaps she wandered far across the Core, or beyond the Sea of Sorrows.  Perhaps ... though Livu did not like to entertain the thought ... she had died.

She could not be faulted for not protecting someone who foresook her care, but still Livu felt a depth of regret.  The Helmite in her felt unprepared for what came.  She should have had something more, done somethign more, that better would have granted that beloved woman succor.  But .. regardless of such feelings ... Livu had not.  And she was gone.

And it was so, that staring out at the vistani camps lake, she contemplated this.  Beside her, a beautiful redhead of a tepestani inquisitor.  Should she be thinking of such things?  Her beauty?  Her smile?  Demeanour?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  It had been six months.

Was that enough?

Was it too little?

Livu was torn.

But when she looked in that gentle woman's eyes, there was one thing she knew, and one truth which became apparent.  That ... that she would defend.
Currently:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm
Emmanuelle Skyshard - Ezran escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Renee le Serrurier - scholar and adventurer