Author Topic: Anchorite of the Mists: the story of Emmanuelle  (Read 351 times)

Maiyannah

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Anchorite of the Mists: the story of Emmanuelle
« on: December 04, 2023, 06:51:47 AM »
This thread represents both backstory and ongoing story of Emmanuelle de le Foret 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 Emma, or having been there.
Thank you for your understanding



Blessed be Ezra, Our Guardian in the Mists.
She who sacrificed Herself to fill the Hollow.
Healer of the sick, protector of the weak, guide to the lost.
To You I pray.
Watch over me, one of Your people, take me under Your protection.
Show me the light when I am lost in darkness.
Defend me when the Legions draw near.
Lead us to my place in the Grand Scheme and deliver me through the night to the shelter of peace.

Amen



Light. The association that the past indeterminate time had given the young Dementlieuse woman had come to place on it was the moment before pain, or at least suffering.  Her Hazlani captors were anything but magnanimous.  In her cell there was precious little light permitted, merely a mild arcane light left to hang in its pallid blue at all times of the day - save when her her hosts visited.  Today was one of those times, and she was taken - barely clothed in anything but the patchwork of scars.

The visage of a bald, middling-aged mulan woman pierced the darkness, as Em's bleary eyes adjusted.

"It is time," she bade simply in vaasi.  "Come."

Reluctantly, Em drew up her emaciated form.  She knew to resist at this point would only starve herself further with withheld food - or worse, and so she shuffled, squinting in the light, lead along by this woman.

After what seemed like an eternity of a trek, though halls, and then fields, she was pushed into a large cage before a field, what looked like a list or tourney field.  Joining her in the cage soon were a motley crew of the low-lifes and unfortunates the Hazlani considered criminals: rebellious rashemi serfs, several caliban or half-orcs, a pair of dwarves, and, surprisingly, a mulan woman whom Em could only assume was some failed student of the academy.

Largely, she ignored them.  In pairs and such the stronger-appearing prisoners would be taken out, and told to fight for the entertainment of Lord Hazlik.  They were thrown into that fenced list with great beasts, and fought.  Emma, though?  She just prayed.  Litanies, in vaasi, for it was her world at the moment, pleading to Her Guardian for deliverance, for release ... or at least, for a good death.

These were interrupted by that same bald mulani prodding her.  She addressed the group, telling them to arm themselves, and fight.  The survivor would be granted Hazlik's favour.  Some of the caliban and half-orcs mused at the glorious possibilities of becoming Hazlik's favoured slave.  Emma merely shuffled on, lead to what would be a torturous sight in its own: she was given the mail and blade of Andre, the templar who died trying to protect her from the abduction she now suffered the wages.

A five fold sign, and knuckles white as snow.  She held that blade tight, and she hesitantly followed the others into the arena.

She barely remembered the fight, in all honesty.  She felt detatched, and inperceptive, making movements she didn't quite understand and strikes that didn't feel her own.

Em bled.  She cried in agony ... but ... as she squared off against the last standing half-orc, backpedalling away to comply with Hazlik's request to come closer ... she made a fateful thrust, and something inconcievable happened.

That woman, in the tattered green rainment of the Lawgiver's concubine did the impossible in that moment.

She won.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2024, 01:08:14 PM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Emmanuelle de le Foret - Ezrite escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Sarabeth d'Gagne - Ghastrian artist
Sabina Ennaies - Barovian road warden

Shelved:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm

Maiyannah

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Re: Anchorite of the Mists: the story of Emmanuelle
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2023, 04:06:09 PM »
Blessed be Ezra, Our Guardian in the Mists, to you I pray.
Show me the path to your Light, and open the door of mists, so that I may walk them.
Lead me to my place in the Grand Scheme, and deliver me to the place of Your bidding, with You, Our Guardian, as Guide.

Amen



It was a pittance she was given; precisely no less nor more than she needed to hire the vistani to take her to the Mist Camp.  She was swarmed for a time with the mulan after the victory.  Hazlik himself rose, and threw down to her from his perch an enchanted belt.  A champion's belt.  "Take this," he said, "and leave my country, never to return again."  And so they hassled her on.  One of them challenged her, and so she asserted she was doing only what their lord commanded.  They grumbled, and relented.  The same woman whom had come for her before, gave her an amount of coin, and ushered her on.

"You should go."

Oh, that mulani was more correct than perhaps she knew.

The beleaguered redhead was bloody and bleeding - only some rudimentary care given her before she left.  Still in a considerable deal of pain, she went to go.  One man in considerable armour went with her.  To make sure she truly departed, he said.  Emma believed him, but they spoke no other words.  What words would she even have, for the blade of her once-captors?

Emerging from the wagon an indeterminate amount of time later, immediate apprehension took over her.  The Mist Camp was where she was taken, and while the emotional wounds may have healed somewhat, she was still scarred.  In every shadow as a knife, and she kept to the light.  After a very short time, she managed to find a group that was seeking Barovia, and allowing those to travel with them who wished.

Barovia.  It was a backwater, but there was the Church there.  She could ... find someone, or so she hoped.  And succor, at ... long, long last.  It seemed almost too good to be true.

Her travelling companions on the second ride spoke among each other, but not to her, and Emmanuelle found herself subdued enough - and tired enough - that she kept her silence.  In truth, given her injury, she was somewhat given to despondence, and the silence suited her.  They parted ways at the pool of the Dyad, and she went first to the Village of Barovia, but the shrine that was said to be there, while there, seemed like it had been abandoned for a long time.  Thus did she go past the mist wall - given an elixir to do so - and follow the winding road that finally lead her to Vallaki.

The Grey City it is called, and grey indeed it seemed, but it suited the sullen and beaten woman that was Emmanuelle in that moment.  In contrast then, came the Refuge of Fifth Light: a magnificent church of moderate size, resplendent in banners of emblematic green and colourful stained glass scenes of Ezra and the faith.  She could feel the eyes of the templar sentry on her, still in her fallen friends armour and greens, as she stumbled her way in.

She arrived on an occasion of mourning, the vespers on the fifth day honouring the passing of a local garda.  She spoke at some length with an elven woman whom called herself Naenia - and partner, apparently, of this local guard.  This surprised Emmanuelle, given everything she heard of ever backwater Barovia, but not in an unpleasant way.

The Toret would go to greet her when the two had their words said.  A moderately tall man of blonde hair and the kind of smile that could steal the hearts of many.  Matthew, he introduced himself, and there was another woman with him in the green, an Anchorite Emma would come to know later, but not in that evening.

He took her to a side room, and asked her to share her story.  And so share she did.  Fervently, anxiously, it all came out.  Speak all of it, she thought, all of that bloody spectacle.
 Perhaps then she might be rid of it from her mind.

At the end, the two only had sympathy for the wayward pilgrim, and they bade her get the arms and armour of the initiate.  Ezra could well use such a stalwart arm in Her Templar, the Toret said.

And so it seemed, wearing the white as she strode out to explore Vallaki at large, Emmanuelle took her first true steps on her path towards her place in the Grand Scheme.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2024, 01:08:00 PM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Emmanuelle de le Foret - Ezrite escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Sarabeth d'Gagne - Ghastrian artist
Sabina Ennaies - Barovian road warden

Shelved:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm

Maiyannah

  • First Watcher
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  • Courage is the soul of life.
Re: Anchorite of the Mists: the story of Emmanuelle
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2024, 03:18:35 PM »
O Blessed Ezra,
You are Our Guide, and in Your Light, we see the true faith.
Shine You the Light of Your Holy Knowledge on us, through Your Holy Revelations and Your Anchorites.
Give us, Your People, this living water of knowledge, and shine Your Light on our paths when we wander in darkness.
From now till we meet Your Final Embrace, may it be with You as our guide.

Amen



Light.  It's association changed, somewhat, the night following.  A half-elf, clad in middling armour had been talking with a dwarf.  She wandered over, blaring her lantern in Emma's face, asking if the wayward Em wished to join her and the dwarf on a venture to some forest temple.

Sure, Emma figured.  Why not?  It's not as if she felt like she had much greater value, or other things to do.

In truth, with the shock and adrenaline of the Day or Re-emergence passed, Emma had fallen into somewhat of a depression.  She could not help but look at her hands, and see the blood of so much innocence spilled upon it.  They were other prisoners.  Some of them were criminals, but many of them were just like her: unfortunates, taken from teir previous life by force and thrown into a pit to fight for the amusement of the malign Lawgivers.  And she played along.  How could she not?  If she refused the suffering would only be greater but that blood was on her hands.  She shed it.  She bled it.  She killed him, to gain her freedom.  And as with any other thing, it had been a choice.  The Second Revelation reminded us: redemption is always a choice.

Had she chosen wisely?

To hear Matthew put it, all had it's place in the Grand Scheme, and she should consider herself blessed that hers was to live.  There was truth to this.  Objectively, in her mind, she knew that the Grand Scheme was a design that a mere mortal such as herself could not grasp the fullness of - not even close.  Yet, still she wondered, still she was uncertain, and thus, ultimately, she despaired.

Along their way through the forest, the two introduced themselves: the dwarf called himself Trygve, and he resided in the nearby Dvergeheim, the half-elf, Talis Skyshard, of Toril.
 She seemed so very new: full of wild and incorrect ideas of how things worked.  Em did her best to appeal to her, to teach her the dangers of the Legion of the Night, often reinforced by the dwarf's assurances that the night was indeed deadly in the Core, but she was rather obstinate: Talis was sure of her understanding.

This lead to trouble in the temple that they sojourned to, replete with the stealer of breath that it was: undead, largely incorporeal, which the half-elf seemed unprepared for.
 Talis had not been an unkind, merely obstinate, and in truth she had been amiable enough.  Something in Emmanuelle found a need to protect this hopelessly nave woman regardless, and so she did her best to follow the example of guardianship the faith that inspired her.  Perhaps if words would not convince Talis of her cause, deeds might.  Indeed, it seemed to impress her that Emmanuelle was unrelenting, though Em could not quite discern what they had thought of it other than perhaps some degree of respect.  She was reserved.  Aloof.

The dwarf Trygve, on the other hand, provided a stalwart, and resilient companion.  Emmanuelle noted in him a discipline that came from either military training or a hard life, but irrespective of sort, he was goodly of it, and she thankful.  The venture ended in success, if at the cost of a few dents in her now-white Initiate's armour.

Perhaps not so bad a foot started off on, thought Em.

That half-elf though what of her?  Could she show her Ezra's love?  That question captivated and drove the woman, and for at least a moment, the clouds of the depression seemed brighter, if not gone.
Currently:
Emmanuelle de le Foret - Ezrite escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Sarabeth d'Gagne - Ghastrian artist
Sabina Ennaies - Barovian road warden

Shelved:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm

Maiyannah

  • First Watcher
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 1245
  • Courage is the soul of life.
Re: Anchorite of the Mists: the story of Emmanuelle
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2024, 02:09:22 PM »
O blessed Ezra, whom has been my guide, please help me to think of You, so that I may know peace.
Cast Your Light to fill the darkness of anxiety and depression in my heart, as it expands to fill all the hollow.
Guide my wavering heart to Your Truth, through Your Most Holy Revelations, that I may know certitude again.
From now and forevermore may Your Light be my guide.

Amen.



It is said that for one person to love another, that is the greatest task; the ultimate last test and proof, that one carries Ezra's Light.  To let go of our mortal judgement, and allow ourselves to trust in the Grand Scheme as it unfolds, to bring those to Her Light we may, and cast down those that we may not.  Yet, what then of Emmanuelle, whom had a hard enough time loving herself?

The Fourth Revelation speaks of the evil in the hearts of man, and as she struggled in these early few days, Emma came to know the truth of this: for all the undead she fought, with that half-elf Talis, or that Kelemvorite Benoyce, or others, the worst Legion she could meet stared back at her every morning upon rising, in the mirror-glass.  That cloud weighed heavy on her, a poor rainment, and yet clung it did.  The depression lay in wait for herself in the quiet moments between full stops, the moments of loneliness after ventures, and ever did it greet her with its grim visage.

Scarred hands were hers, as she looked down upon them.  Clean, perhaps, but she could never not see them with the blood of Hazlan on them, and never did it ever wash out.  The prisoners - some were brutes or uncouth, and easy to leave unmourned - but many others were merely unfortunates like her.  Why did she deserve to draw breath where they fell?  Why could she go free while they bled and died?  What made her worthy of this?  What made them unworthy of continued life?  Why could she not bring Her Succor to these unfortunate souls?

There was no sufficient answer for this, and so in her heart of hearts she looked in that mirror, and saw, ultimately, an enemy.  A heretic to herself, a witch, a fool, a doubter - she was all these things in her own eyes, for what good is an Ezran whom cannot proffer Her Succor or Her Redemption?

Her path would needs take her past that, and past her ever-possessive devils, and yet in the moment that found her she was bound: bound by herself, bound by a past that would not, perhaps could not, let her go.

And so she despaired.

Ever did she seek to protect others, in the image of beloved Ezra, but even that she had fallen short on, leaving Talis and her both bloodied, and ultimately it was the latter that extricated the two of them.  Talis was angry and she was hurt and Emma could but see her failure - and that past.  What hope would she have of redemption if her attempts to find it only brought further calamity?  There is little redemption to be found in the tragedy and hurt of those she sought to protect, to cultivate into Ezra's blessed embrace.

And so she despaired.

She withdrew herself into herself.  Where is she going, the others asked, to which the answer was quite simple: "Away."  Largely uncaring, they let her on.  After all, why would one have care for a broken and discarded tool?  This only made her grip all the tighter at the covering of dispirit she held ever close, and ever more did she withdraw.  Left with none but her own thoughts, all one could do is lay the cold facts at one's own feet, a broken puzzle of indifferent cruelty as her foundering was reflected back at her.

And so she despaired.

It was thus brooding, writing her proverbs of dereliction in her own blood, that Talis found her.  She gathered her, and reassured her, told her that the goddess would not abandon her, that her faith shone even if deeds did not.  Perhaps ... perhaps a part of Emmanuelle even believed it.  She wanted to after all, at least, a part of her did.  A part of her would not abandon hope so easily.  And yet to look up to that Torilite half-elf and see still the healing scars - a reminder that for all her bravery and courage, if they could be called those things that which she possessed, her friend still bled, for her failings.

And so she despaired.

Emma charged too quickly, and sought to skip steps - something no stair would forgive her, and no would life.  Lessons it still had to teach, and a lesson was being taught indeed as thin hands took her forearms, a look of further hurt in those blue eyes.  Something in Emma broke, and where words bungled and failed just as her sword arm had before, they were washed away in the tears of an emotion that could no longer be held back.  And so she wept, and Talis in that moment held her, and held her as closely as Emma might hold closely the warm comfort of her own mediocrity.

Emmanuelle would sleep on the floor that evening, close but not that close.  Why would that woman gather Emmanuelle close so broken, when she failed her?  It was in that moment her faith in Ezra betrayed that she would rather have faith in herself, the hubris of a mortal woman struggling with ego.  She sought to overcome a past that could not be unwound, and with love overcome jealousy and envy of the woman whom surrounded herself with many other outlanders, whom already looked up to her.  That selfish search for her own faith was her bertayer in the end, and she realized, in a moment of revelation, we attack and make ourselves enemies ... so that we can hide that we are vulnerable.

Talis saw through that.  Saw to her.  The woman beneath, huddled furitive and vulnerable within the shadows of her own doubt.

Words hung in the air:

"You have to let me be angry."

.. and then, she knew peace.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2024, 02:16:04 PM by Maiyannah »
Currently:
Emmanuelle de le Foret - Ezrite escapee from Hazlan

Also:
Sarabeth d'Gagne - Ghastrian artist
Sabina Ennaies - Barovian road warden

Shelved:
Livu Olmstead - First Watcher of Helm