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redeyedtreefr0g
redeyedtreefr0g
Posts: 110
Joined: March 25th, 2014, 7:35 pm
redeyedtreefr0g

Descent (a Kerala story)

Postby redeyedtreefr0g » May 10th, 2014, 10:34 pm

(an IC reason for an extended RL absence)

Kerala stared at the arching doorway with a sense of unease. The stone curved high, yawning open on a large circular room lit brightly by the sun above where a hole was cut in the ceiling. The light filtered down in a visible column, dust swirling like glitter. The rest of the room fell in a deep gloom by comparison. Dark shadows slowly made themselves known as heavy drapes lining the walls, covered in dust and cobwebs, relics of a time long past, if not forgotten.

Kerala stood in the doorway, the strength of her resolve beginning to crumble. Surely this mistake could be solved some other way. Why did the Forsaken have to embrace the aspects of deathly existence so wholeheartedly that they lived underground? For all they professed to hate their curse of undeath, they sure seemed to revel in it!

Kerala stepped through the doorway, eyes drawn increasingly upwards to the faraway promise of light and air above her. Her stomach flopped oddly.

Directly before her now rose a stone chair with a four steps surrounding it. To either side was a smaller human-sized archway. Uncertain, Kerala habitually steered to the right, hand reaching out for a wall. She was momentarily surprised when she encountered none. This was a large room, not a tunnel! She took a deep breath, suddenly aware that she'd been breathing too fast.

She took another slow deep breath, made herself take steps toward the chosen doorway.

The banker had been adamant. There was no way for him to meet her outside Undercity, not even in the courtyard. The Kor'Kron were too restrictive in their overseeing. The necessary paperwork was kept in the vaults. There were other reasons, but Kerala only really remembered that this was the only way.
The amount missing was staggering. The Horns would be bankrupt now if she had not replaced the funds with her own, and it had taken over half of what she had. Not that she needed it. Kerala lived simply, mined gems and shaped them for pleasure. She had no real need for money. But that someone should TAKE it from her...

Irritation quickened her steps, distracted her enough to step through the doorway and down the small ramp without really paying attention to what she was doing. She came to a stone coffin surrounded with tall pillar candles and turned right into the first tunnel without thought.

She blinked, suddenly aware of the gloom. She was surrounded by stone. Weak flames flickered on torches flanking the small tunnel behind and before her, where two Kor'kron overseers gazed at her. Their expressions were unreadable, hidden behind the narrow slits of visored helmets. Large spiked pauldrons covered their shoulders and each held an ax ready in hands that flexed on the hafts.

A soft grinding noise as the stone door between the orcs slowly slid up. The elevator beyond had three large lanterns that burned brightly from a fixture decorated with skulls. A circular green carpet covered the floor. Discomfitted more by the stare she felt from behind the visors than from the dimly lit tunnel, Kerala stepped between the orcs and into the elevator shaft, which seemed inviting by comparison. The stone door slid slowly down with the same soft sound of stone against stone. The elevator ground slowly into motion. She was relieved to be away from the orcs and on her way to hopefully solving the bank issue.

The small circular chamber grew dim as the floor slowly fell away from the bright light of the lanterns fixed not to the chamber of the elevator, but the ceiling of the shaft itself.

Kerala panicked.

Suddenly unbalanced, she staggering against the jagged spikes ringing the chamber like the ribs of some great beast that had swallowed her. A violent trembling overtook her. She was trapped! She fell to the carpet, gasping. She clawed at her neck, confused when there was nothing there to rip away, nothing strangling her. Her chest began to burn, her heart pounding and her lungs crying for air. She tried to call for help, not sure if she made a sound or not. Confused, certain that she was dying, she did the only other thing she could think of. Then there was no more thought.
Last edited by redeyedtreefr0g on July 30th, 2014, 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
FroggyCows#1399
Tauren: Lomani, Kerala, Anura, Coqui, Chanchu, Pipapipa, Heget
Undead: Aziris

redeyedtreefr0g
redeyedtreefr0g
Posts: 110
Joined: March 25th, 2014, 7:35 pm
redeyedtreefr0g

Re: Descent (a Kerala story)

Postby redeyedtreefr0g » May 10th, 2014, 11:19 pm

Aziris descended the tunnel to the apothecarium, nodding her hood at the Kor'kron she passed as if they were guests she had invited to lunch. As usual, she could see them tense and tighten hands on their weapons. She imagined the glowers they made behind their helmets and smiled.

She reached the end of the tunnel and continued into a large room buzzing with electricity. She took a hard right, avoiding the apprentice on the center landing who would try to stop her and flirt, or fish for the latest advancements in order to further his own work. The air was filled with crackling sounds, the wet squelching of flesh and blood as new abominations were shoved and stitched together, electrocuted into the caricature of life. And of course there was the faint crying and screeching from the room that was her goal.

Aziris turned right into the back room where Keever worked with animals and humanoid captives to test the various products of the apothecaries. Partly mad, he was nevertheless diligent in the task and took extensive and detailed notes of the results. His laboratory was lined with wrought iron cages of various types. A steady supply of subjects entered this room alive and departed decidedly not so. There was one large cage that held a few humans, the preferable victims. Today there were no dwarves mixed in with them. Rabbits filled smaller cages, as well as a worg, a few bats, one darkhound. On the other side were the toads, various insects, a scruffy storm crow, and numerous rats. One of the cages near the doorway held not a living being or corpse, but stacks of folders.

Aziris did not wait for Keever to begin work on a rabbit that he was currently facing. “Keever, I need those results now.” She hated the screams of rabbits.

“Apothecary!” he gushed, immediately releasing the creature, shutting the cage and turning into a deferential bow.

Aziris waved at him, urging him up from the groveling as if impatient. “Now, Keever. Which folder is it, I'll get it myself.” She stepped toward the records as if she'd retrieve the notes herself.

Keever gasped and lunged at the cage, unwilling to let her disturb his careful organization, unwilling to allow her access to the notes of rival chemists. He hunched before the cage, blocking it with his body, rifling through the folders. He muttered to himself, nonsense that was not intelligible Gutterspeak, nor any other known language. Finally he selected the documents and turned, shoving them at her. He knew better than to actually touch her, though.

Aziris accepted the documents without a word and turned to leave. She stopped in the doorway, though, uncertain what made her do so. Keever had returned to the rabbit, and it's cry sent a shiver through her as she scrutinized the room, wondering what it was that had made her pause. Her glowing eyes swept from cage to cage, finally settling on the storm crow. She stared at it, wondering why it drew her attention. She glanced to the other animals, to Keever's back. He was absorbed again in his work, pushing the contently of some serum into the rabbit's body.

The storm crow stood on the floor of the cage unmoving. It stared straight ahead, not squawking, not watching Keever in fear. It just stood, it's body shaking slightly with tremors. Not sure why, Aziris opened the cage door. The crow did not move for freedom. It didn't react at all. Aziris reached into the cage and thrust her hand against the bird's chest. The creature tilted back a bit, then reflexively flapped wings to balance and the talons grabbed onto her hand.

“This subject is mine,” Aziris told Keever. Absorbed in the rabbit's reaction, Keever lifted a hand at her without looking back.

Aziris left the lower levels of the apothecarium with a folder in one arm and a storm crow clamped on her other hand.
FroggyCows#1399
Tauren: Lomani, Kerala, Anura, Coqui, Chanchu, Pipapipa, Heget
Undead: Aziris

redeyedtreefr0g
redeyedtreefr0g
Posts: 110
Joined: March 25th, 2014, 7:35 pm
redeyedtreefr0g

Re: Descent (a Kerala story)

Postby redeyedtreefr0g » July 30th, 2014, 4:52 pm

The stupid bird wasn't eating.

It stood on the chair back where it had been placed, staring straight ahead. It's scruffy brown feathers shifted occasionally as a tiny tremor passed through it. Aziris swiveled on the small stool, turning away from the distillation equipment on her workbench. The problem of the bird nagged her. She stood and walked over to it. A slight bend put her face level with it.

The storm crow reminded her of a druid friend lost in Northrend, who had enjoyed flying, and drawing maps for Aziris. Or, perhaps it was her pet, a large biletoad, which gave her sympathy for the thing. The breed of frog was famous for attacking when it felt threatened, rubbing a toxic slime on would-be predators. Similar to a bee that stings, the toads usually killed themselves in the process. Jubjub was the first creature Aziris had actually healed with the Light. She'd had a tendency to care for small animals as well as people ever since. She looked fondly at a large stone bowl in the corner, where her pet toad was halfway submerged in the warm sandy pool she'd made for him.

This crow was no pet. Animals, she was fairly certain, did not get struck catatonic- that was a thing for shocked minds, and the instincts of animals seemed too basic to be troubled with things like shock. Mental trauma was for a higher intellect, which meant that this creature WAS a druid.

Shadow magics were never something that Aziris excelled at, but the powers of a brain were rooted in darkness. Light never touched the living organ, but it was riddle with deep crevices of gloom, so why shouldn't it be in Shadow's domain? She peered into the druid's vacant eyes, her mind probing outward.

Instantly her vision shifted to show herself, staring forward intently. She briefly noted her appearance, not quite in keeping with her own standards. Her long hair was sneaking out from the twist that held it, and her makeup was smudged, ruining the mature facade. She'd have to practice again the stern stare that adult Forsaken did so well, make sure she still did it right. Perhaps she should take out some of the bra stuffing, make the breasts smaller? No, it must be the lack of shoes making the proportion off. Aziris liked to work barefoot, and the lack of height from the heeled platform boots made her look funny.

Aziris cast her mind further into the druid, then gasped as she snapped back to herself, stepping backwards. Even with her new skeleton, she was lucky for ingrained habits. A slight flare in a constant pain indicated that her Shield prevented physical harm. She would not have liked to repair a broken toe after all the money she'd spent recently for these bones.

The bird stared sightlessly, trembling, as Aziris frowned at it. It's mind was a swirling chaos overlaid by a single overwhelming sense of... smothering? Aziris wasn't certain what to make of it. Shadow was not where she excelled.

She took a deep breath, despite the uselessness of the gesture, and cast a healing spell on the bird. Familiar feeling, a powerful agony, flared within her as she released the Light. The bird sat there unchanged. She unleashed a barrage of spells and the burn within her was exquisite.

The crow sat there.

Frustrated, she whispered a shadow word to the druid. The bird trembled slightly more, but was otherwise nonreactive. Aziris sighed, at a loss. She did not have the time it would take to unravel this mystery. As an Apothecary, she was already well-known for her strict discipline to see a project through to success or failure. The one she was involved in now could not wait, especially for such a silly reason.

Aziris walked over to her boots and stepped into them, then found a mirror and carefully reapplied make-up. She stuck her tongue out at herself, then adopted the blank, yet slightly stern expression that she thought of as “adult”. Raising the hood that was favored by the Royal Apothecary society, her unkempt hair was hidden. It was a taller, more serious Forsaken that stared back from the mirror.

She turned away from the strange woman in the glass and gently prodded the druid with her hand. As it had done before, the bird did nothing until her gentle pressure would have knocked it from the perch. It reflexively grasped onto her fingers rather than fall.

Aziris unbolted the large metal mechanism securing the door to her private quarters and stepped out. It did not take long to locate a courier, for they were required often by her peers. She gave her instructions to the man as she rolled her wrist gently from beneath avian claws, depositing the bird onto the courier's arm. He saluted her with one arm as she turned away, dismissing him as quickly as Apothecaries were expected to.

He would deliver the bird to Thunder Bluff.

Aziris retreated to her quarters and bolted the door. Here was a place where she could relax her guard, rest, and stop pretending. Jubjub had left the pool when she'd exited the room. He usually followed her everywhere. He chirped at her as she kicked off her shoes again and lowered the hood. She walked over to her equipment and stoppered the bottle of concentrate that had resulted. She labeled it neatly and added it to her shelves. She'd clean the apparatus tomorrow.

Jubjub watched her as she changed clothes to a simple white nightgown. She didn't often sleep anymore as the habit gradually left her, but tonight she wanted to lie still and curl up with her pet. She washed her face, and let down her very long hair. She combed it carefully, amazed still that it was holding up so well in undeath. So many other undead had bald heads or ugly patches where it had fallen out. Aziris enjoyed the nightly ritual of combing out her knee-length tresses. It was the only time she let it down, for in a bun the hair did not call attention to herself.

Finished, she regarded the reflection in the mirror now. Here was the child she knew. Ghostly pale skin, round yellow glows for eyes. Her hair had been dyed properly black. Without artificial height and padding, the small reflected child still looked frail, but Aziris was no longer uncertain and afraid. She'd learned to hide, to adapt.

Aziris turned away toward the simple coffin lined with cushions that was her bed. Jubjub chirped and beat her there. He liked being held. Aziris stepped carefully over the coffin wall and sank down to sit among the squishy stuffing and voluminous folds of the nightgown. They would be soft, she knew. She pulled Jubjub into her lap and hugged him tight, sighing. Then she held him in the crook of her arm as she turned sideways in the large space and drew up her knees. She laid down with Jubjub, the giant toad more than enough for little a undead girl to fill her arms with.

She hoped the bird would be alright, but she could not afford to bring attention to herself. In the many years it had been since her death, Aziris had not once heard of another child with the discipline to survive in the world they found themselves in. She was disciplined. She was a survivor, so to speak.

She hugged her froggy tight, and let herself drift off into what passed for sleep.
FroggyCows#1399
Tauren: Lomani, Kerala, Anura, Coqui, Chanchu, Pipapipa, Heget
Undead: Aziris

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