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deadcasketburied

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  1. Charmaine opened her mouth to protest Christian’s suggestion, but there was something about his tone that stopped her short and left her with no choice but to nod in agreement. He disappeared upstairs, left her staring after his retreating shadow without so much as a backwards glance. The highborn girl considered retreating into her room to wipe the day’s journey off her body, but it seemed awfully rude to abandon Auberon without some introductory conversation. Though the two had met once before, the moment had been far too brief for either one to remember the many details that formed a person’s personality and history. She found him easily, offered him a bright smile that evoked the spirit of friendliness. “Auberon, it has been so long. That day we met, seems so long ago. I must admit I was hoping Christian would stay and sit with us to talk a while, but it seems he is preoccupied with something. Care to join us for a drink?” Atticus watched the boy through narrowed eyes, decided that he was no threat—at least for now. With Christian gone, the magical pet was secured in his position as the king of the establishment, and showcased his position by lounging about all over the inn. The other patrons that lingered by did not seem bothered, just intrigued and a bit confused by the display of power, which had reduced Charmaine to a state of endless giggles. After some time, she scooped the proud king off his perched throne and brought him close for snuggles as she motioned towards the dining area. “Forgive my pet, sometimes Atticus gets bigheaded. He is a great companion though, and I hardly can imagine I would have managed this long without him. Have you and Christian traveled together long?”
  2. Camila complied with Ezekiel’s request, took a moment to compose her memories, and constructed a well-paced, detailed, and complete recounting of her dreams. Despite repeating the terrifying details of what had transpired, the exercise helped calm her shaken spirit, as the tale ultimately turned a negative experience into a positive lead. Ezekiel listened patiently, interrupted only when necessary, and eased her fears about the darkness that lingered near the light of the lantern by promising the two could defeat it together, just as they had surmounted all other obstacles thus far. She stood in front of him, stared up those amber eyes, and believed every word he uttered. Nevertheless, the past couple of weeks had erased some of Camila’s naiveté, and she knew the wounds she had mended were far too tender for another difficult encounter; should they hope to succeed, they would have to rely on guile as opposed to brute strength. As the two prepared to continue forward, Camila noted Ezekiel’s slowed movements and stepped forward to assist in getting him dressed. “Here, let me.” She touched him intimately as she adjusted his armor, pressing her fingers against his battered body and letting the touch linger, the flush of her cheeks growing warmer. It had been some time, she mused as she fastened straps and tightened belts, since she had gotten the opportunity to admire him like this but alas, time, energy, and resources were short, and the time for persistent ogling would have to wait. She took possession of the satchel and the last of their resources, promising to safeguard them to the best of her abilities. The short rest, despite it being clouded by nightmares, had been enough to replenish her vigor, and out of the two she was the most able bodied at the moment. Her spirits circled around her, tightening against her in preparation for the last leg of the trek up the mountain. After a quick survey, Ezekiel deemed the area clear and allowed Camila to take lead. She did not hesitate, though she proceeded with caution and was only one or two steps in front of Ezekiel. “I was thinking,” she began as the pointed towards the direction they were meant to follow, “Once it is all over, may I…accompany you in your journey? I have learned so much in your company, and there is so much more to learn. I always thought that I could see and do were mere tricks—as my father called them—but after all this, I wonder. I want to know more.” Up ahead, the mountain split into hundreds of trails, all without any significant sign of importance. Following the visions of her dreams, Camila chose the middle left path, a narrowed ridge that required deft feet and a strong grip along the wall. That particular part did not last long, and soon the two came upon a steep hill that Camila promised would end with another cavern. “Once we reach the top, there should be a cave, where I saw the light and that shadow. We are almost upon it, Ezekiel. Do you require rest?” Preoccupied with his health, Camila scarcely noticed her own fatigue, though she thought it wise the two were fully prepared before completing the last climb of their journey.
  3. Ezekiel’s reassuring words twitched a small smile out of Camila’s lips, the warmth of his battered body lulling the young girl to a peaceful sleep. It did not take her long to emerge in the world of unconsciousness, where the mind was freed of its physical constraints and could wander as far and wide as it desired. In her dream, she visited the grand mansion that had served as the home of the Tuerva del Valle family for generations, each patriarch expanding its halls and ceilings as they continued to grow in power and influence. She meandered through the halls, greeted each servant by name, and made her way to the gardens, where her lovely mother and several of her siblings usually resided. The sweet scent of blooming flowers intoxicated her, the beaming sunlight warmed her, and the love of her family surrounded her. Struck by nostalgia, Camila lingered, laughed and shared her story, all the while oblivious to the shadows that slithered in the corners, steadily approaching. Camila. The voice called, strong and low, authoritarian. Before she could react, a hand snaked around her arm, gripped her tight enough to squeeze out a wince out of her. She glanced up, was surprised to meet the eyes of her father, though they were much darker than she remembered. Camila, do not be a fool. Return home at once. Cease your games, end your foolishness. Forsake all that has transpired, and He will spare you. He? Camila questioned as she attempted to fruitlessly free herself. He, who? Father, what are you--? How can this be? It was then she noticed the lick of shadows surrounding her completely, the faces of her family left expressionless as the dark tendrils engulfed them. Do you wish this upon us, Camila? Will you bring disaster to us? For what, a man without a country, without a true purpose? I command that you end this. Forget the lantern— No! She shouted as she summoned the spirits that always followed her—even in dreams. They were stronger in this realm, easily removed the shadow that resembled Camila’s father with a thrust, disintegrating the creature on the spot. Freed, Camila inched away from the growing darkness, unsure of how to proceed in such a situation. Her first thoughts went to Ezekiel, how they had met, what he had taught her, what he had done for her, and what they aimed to accomplish together. The lantern, the spirits whispered as they surrounded her, think of the lantern. Visualize it, feel its power, its light. As they commanded, Camila closed her eyes and focused her energy on the item that had started this whole journey. At first, she could only envision a rough outline of it, drawing from her memory of what lanterns typically looked like. As the light contained within it shifted and grew stronger, the image sharpened, took shape and appeared before her. Stunned, Camila watched as the light pushed all the shadows away, blinding her with its brilliance. When she could see again, the young noble was back in the cave where the two rested, one path to the side dimmed with light. She followed the path, climbed, crawled, struggled through the deep ascend of the mountain until she finally came to a carved opening on the side, a bright light emitting from inside. That’s enough. Camila jolted awake, sat right up and wildly looked about. Forgetting his injuries, she shook Ezekiel, desperate to share the information she had learned. “Ezekiel! Wake up! I saw it! The lantern…it is here, and close! There are many paths,” She took to her feet, pointed in the general direction she knew to follow. “But I know which one to follow now. It was the strangest thing—I was dreaming—and these shadows came, one looked like my father. It was warning me, telling me to turn back and…” She returned to his side, fear clouding her eyes. “Something else is out there, we might have to fight something again. I felt it…it was dark (like a nigga lol).”
  4. Valentina Based in Terrenus, Ignatz to be precise. Artificer, gunsmith (if you're into that).
  5. Basics: Full name: Valentina Alessandra Nexula Called name: Valentina Nexula Nickname: Val Gender: Female Age:Twenty-five Occupation: Master Artificer, Head of the Nexula Industries Specifics: Hair color: Brown Hair length/texture: Short, straight Eye color: Blue Height: 5’4 Weight: 135lbs Condition: Average Possessions/gear: Upperbody: Loose fitted, off the shoulder blouse, sky blue Lowerbody: Fitted and flexible dark pants Armor: Studded leather armor Weapons: Revolver, magical rounds available for use Skills/abilities: Proficient knowledge in the arcane arts Well versed in history of Terrenus Limited magical spells Expert gunsmith History: Daughter of Vass Nexula, inheritor of his craft. With the passing of her father, Valentina has taken over his role as master inventor and CEO of their massive business that expands all over Terrenus.
  6. Deviating from the norm, Valentina did not pull Duncan along, choosing instead to take her place beside him, walking side by side. She considered letting go of his hand, both because she was blushing furiously at the mere touch and she imagined Max would not approve of the showcase of affection. She decided to change the location of her grip, choosing to entwine her arm around his much stronger one. “There are so many things I wanted to get at the market yesterday! Do you mind if we go back? We can grab some food there, there had so many stands.” Max stood guard by the door, reminded Valentina to be back by dinnertime, and coldly bid Duncan goodbye. Despite the early hours of the day, the marketplace was already pulsing with life, all kinds of shops open and a hundred people weaving in and out of all the stands. The air was pungent, a mixture of herbs, meats, flowers, human bodies all coming together to create a unique aroma that could only be created in such an environment. Valentina remembered the location of all the shops she wanted to visit, most of which sold little knickknacks she considered cute and prime candidates for her growing collection of all things imaginable. She also picked up some salvaged pieces of technological origin, other supposedly magical items, and stuffed them all in her seemingly bottomless bag. “It is a bag of holding,” she explained, shoving a broken geared apparatus inside of it. “It will hold anything we find here, and it isn’t too heavy…” For most, she added silently, adjusting the bag. “Now then, with shopping done, what to eat?” Particularly fond of breakfast, regardless of the time of day or if she had already consumed one, Valentina sought out a stand that could satisfy her whims. Despite the strong smells surrounded them, she discerned a sweet aroma, followed it to find an establishment that served waffles with an unlimited option of toppings. “THERE!” She shouted, tugging at Duncan’s arm, hastened her pace towards the place and likely would have reached it had a small, fuzzy little creature had not crossed her path. Immediately charmed, Valentina squatted down to more closely examine the little kitten, one of her fingers gingerly petting the unclaimed thing. “Duncan, look! A kitten!”
  7. Unfortunately for Duncan, it was Max who first greeted him, Valentina having gone upstairs to retrieve a couple of more items she felt were necessary for the day trip. The old butler, towering at the same height as the visitor, met Duncan’s eyes with a cold stare. “Ah, Mr. Duncan. Good morning. I see you had no trouble finding your way back. Won’t you come in and follow me into one of the study rooms? Valentina should be down any minute now.” Max directed Duncan towards one of the rooms used for entertaining guests, the Nexula way. As expected, there were bookcases filled with books, a set of luxurious and comfortable coaches strategically placed around a low glass table. The curtains had been drawn back, revealing the green fields behind the family home, dotted with beautiful shrubbery and magnificent trees. “Please sit.” Max waited for Duncan to pick a spot, his eyes forever locked onto the young man’s back. He stood where he was, silent and motionless. He had plenty of things to say, many warnings to issue, but preferred to keep them all to himself, at least until he could share his concerns with Vass. The old inventor was a good father, but did not involve himself much with Valentina’s rearing outside of her education as an artificer and businesswoman. Max felt it was his duty as a surrogate father to be suspicious of any creature that came sniffing around his little girl, who was pretty, smart, and extremely rich. “I trust you have a lovely day planned for Valentina, Mr. Duncan? She has seen and experienced so much, it would be difficult to surprise her. And her position in life has definitely colored her expectations; cheap wouldn’t do for her. Here, let me fetch her for you, I will return shortly.” With that, he was gone, hoping he had given Duncan something to think about. A few minutes later, Valentina came dashing in, a radiant smile on her face. “Hi! Sorry, I just wanted to make sure I had everything I need. Are we going back to the marketplace? Did you eat anything? This time, everything is on me. It is my turn to treat you.” She stretched out her hand for his, already a little bit of a blush forming. “Ready?”
  8. Camila listened to Ezekiel’s instructions, swiftly took action. The cavern, a much needed reprieve from the biting cold of the mountain, offered the remains of dried leaves and debris as well as loose stones that could be used to form a nest to contain the fire. The young noble, though fatigued and certain to fall into dream should she dare to close her eyes, gathered all of the items and arranged them near the wounded warrior, where she took a match from the satchel and brought a small fire to life. Despite the dire circumstances, Camila could not help the crack of her lips as the fire brighten and warmed the room, pleased to have mastered the skill she learned a few days ago. “I can see you better now, Ezekiel.” She commented as the fire gained strength, promised to hold its flame for them. She could see the signs of battle all over his body, his blood the currency paid for their victory. Camila held the dagger to the flame, watched the blade turn bright red, cleansed from disease and ready to seal Ezekiel’s wound. She positioned herself beside him, placed her free hand on his knee as a sign of support for them both. “Ready?” She did not wait for an answer, pressing the hot blade to his flesh and searing it close. The potent smell emitting from the sealing wound threatened to empty the contents of her stomach, but she did not flinch, stayed firm and in control until the task was done. “I’m sorry,” she murmured meekly, her ointment-covered fingertips lightly brushing against his tender flesh. She reached into the satchel for a needle and a bit of thread, passing the slender metal tool over the flame in preparation for the next step. Though she had received a lady’s training in stitching, Camila had never picked up on the intricacies of neat work, and feared her clumsy fingers would likely create a lasting scar on his body. “I will try my best…” Working from what little she remembered, back when she lived the pampered life of a noble’s daughter, Camila pierced Ezekiel’s skin with the needle, driving it across the other side of the wound to penetrate that side as well, drawing the two ends together with a firm tug. She continued the process, in a zig zag motion, until there was no more flesh that needed the rough treatment. She examined her work as she applied the bandages to finalize the ordeal, the bleeding stopped and the healing process hopefully underway. Once done, Camila dared to lift her tired eyes to meet Ezekiel’s dark ones, one of her free hands pressed against his cheek. “I am so happy that you are okay. I wish….if you’d let me, I can try to heal. The wound is closed, but I’m afraid I may not have been as neat. Please, allow me to try.” She meant to begin the ritual that would transform her energy into a healing aura, but with Ezekiel’s life no longer in danger, all that kept her sitting upright evaporated, the young noble falling over from her knees to rest her head on the warrior’s lap. “I can…try…in just a second.” She mumbled, her eyes barely open. “Ezekiel? Don’t go anywhere.”
  9. thank you!
  10. Charmaine stepped through the tavern doors, immediately caught the delicious aroma of roasting herbs and meat and felt her stomach rumble in response. The establishment, as others of its nature, exuded warmth and hospitality, the walls painted a light sand color and the furniture in the main area exhibiting signs of quality and comfort. The left of the room housed the reception area, where a polite young woman noted their names and assigned them their rooms, located on the second floor. To the right was the dining room and kitchen, she explained, where they were welcome to visit at any time during the appointed hours for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Key in one hand and magical pet in the other, Charmaine debated if she should freshen up or follow her basic primal needs and stuff her face silly right away. They had spent the morning and afternoon exploring the city, and after their encounter and escape from her brother, both could use a bit of time to smooth down their hair and have a change of clothes. The noble peered over to Christian, who once again had insisted to pay for their stay and was exchanging pleasantries with the receptionist. He always looked so calm and collected, the complete opposite of how she perceived herself. She knew something connected them to each other, something greater than their mortal existence, but she hoped that whatever it was she felt for him was not just a result of that inexplicable connection. Perhaps, should time and privacy allowed, the two could slip away into a corner of the tavern before the day was over and—if the mood was right—share the contents of their hearts. A pink blush spread over her cheeks at the thought, her arms tightening around her pet as she tried to think of something else, anything to erase the embarrassment she felt. Atticus, his eyes always glued to his master, noticed her reddening appearance and instantly concluded it was Christian that was to blame for that pretty pink color. He would not, under any circumstances, allow any more tomfoolery from that man; he was determined to firmly wedge himself between the two of them, regardless of consequences. As Christian ended his conversation and approached Charmaine, the sound of steps descending from the stairs caught her attention, shifting her eyes over to that direction. It had been some time, and the two had only spent a fraction of a minute together, but Charmaine recognized Auberon instantly; he carried that aura with him, similar to Christian, which demanded attention and respect. She touched a hand to Christian’s arm, directed his attention to the young man soon to join them. “Oh, look! Auberon is here!”
  11. Duncan’s sincere reaction to her gifts relieved Valentina of her buyer’s guilt, the young girl quite aware she had gone overboard and had failed to take into consideration where he was going to store all those things. As they unwrapped more gifts, she suggested he could always leave the items in the Nexula home, free to come at any time to retrieve anything he wanted out of the stash. She doubted Max would be thrilled by the idea, but she knew the old butler would never refuse her request and would comply with her instructions. Duncan did not comment on the matter as they lost themselves in opening boxes, Valentina yapping away about all the wonderful places and things she often got to see during her journeys alongside her father. Time just slipped away whenever the two were together, and soon enough Duncan announced his need to return to the Temple. “Ah, right….Adrien said you had to be back for dinner.” Valentina ushered Duncan all the way to the main gate of the mansion, a little pout on her mouth. Behind them, standing by the wide doors, stood a stoic Max, his dark eyes locked onto Duncan with an unreadable expression. “Oh sure, we can do that. Like I said before, you could always leave them here and visit anytime you want, even if we aren’t home.” She instantly smiled the second he proposed they spent the next day together, eagerly nodded in agreement. “Of course we can hang out! Besides, my father did invite you to dinner sometime, it’d be rude not to take him up on it. I’ll make sure we have chicken!” “Valentina,” Max called out in a reserved tone, “it is about time you let your guest return to where he belongs. Come along now, I made one of your favorite desserts.” Excited at the prospect of eating something sweet, Valentina waved Duncan goodbye, heading back inside the home the moment she could no longer make out his retreating shadow. Another day together, she thought with a dreamy smile, another opportunity to make some wonderful memories. -- The following day, Valentina was up at the crack of dawn, was dressed in a knee-length dress the color of vibrant green, had devoured a quick breakfast consisting of eggs and ham, and was anxiously waiting for Duncan to show up. Max watched his little girl fret over the impending “date” of sorts, and couldn’t help but frown. He did not like what he saw, not one bit.
  12. When you decide that you can wear heels, but only to stand because they hurt, but goddamn calves on 10.
  13. Valentina stared at Duncan, dumbfounded. She had only meant to tease him, yet he did not falter in voice or attitude, and it was she who ended up with a belly full of dancing butterflies and a meek smile. Certain she would stutter like an idiot if she answered right away, she only nodded, deliberately waiting a couple of seconds before trying to form some words. “Sure, I’m sure Max would appreciate that!” She was not entirely sure about that, but rather than finding out, she took advantage of their already joined hands to pull him towards the door before either Max or her father had a chance to interrupt their plans. “Come on, let’s go! The presents can wait!” They escaped easily, finding their way to the market area without running into any trouble. The chicken stand, just as Duncan promised, delivered on its main product, the addition of brown sugar to the simple protein somehow producing a dish directly sent from heaven. Because there was no one to stop her, Valentina indulged in two plates of the delicious bites, earning herself a slight stomachache and an inability to walk too quickly, otherwise she ran the risk of barfing and collapsing. It didn’t take her long to recover and beg Duncan to show her around, as it had been quite a long time since she had last visited the Ignatz marketplace. Valentina loved observing, analyzing, touching, and questioning everything she saw—what should have taken them only a few hours lasted all afternoon, and still she wanted to look more. “Aw, you think we should head back already? She pouted, her eyes darting back at some of the stands she had visited and some of the items she had wanted to buy. “I suppose it is getting kind of late, and you are supposed to be back in the Temple for dinner no? Oh, your gifts! I keep talking about them, you gotta see them!” The walk back was just as uneventful, the two slipping back into the mansion and up the stairs to reach her private rooms. She pushed the double doors opened to reveal a gigantic bed right in the middle of the room, the sheets and comforter colored a deep blue. To the left stood another big oak desk, filled with scattered notebooks, drawings, and smeared with thousands of pens and pencils. On the right side there was another doorway, leading to where she stored her clothing, shoes, and various personal items. “This one isn’t as bad, since I’m not here often,” she commented as she moved toward the adjoining room, expecting him to follow. “Okay, let’s see…” The warning of the mess proved to be exactly as she had mentioned, with clothes thrown everywhere, hangers on the ground, shoes flung everywhere. Valentina beamed line toward a corner of the room, where a tower of boxes stood, and she began to dig and unload some of the items. “Ah, this one I found in Patia! Look, they’re supposedly pieces of devils processed with amber! And here, this,” She took out a pile of books, set them down. “History books on towns and areas from Terrenus; I thought you’d like that. And this one! More books on magic. OH, and this one! It is stories about angels. I am unsure how accurate, but I thought the drawings were pretty.” She spilled the contents of one box, just filled with what appeared to be keychains of all possible things imaginable. “Look at this one, isn’t it cute? It’s a dragon! They say they still exist, you know, in some far away land called Genesaris.” She was only halfway through the boxes, laughed a little sheepishly. “Too much already?”
  14. Valentina sighed, picked out the cucumbers from the sandwiches, her favorite vegetable, and quickly devoured them before resuming their conversation. “A healthy mind needs a healthy body! Or so my father will say, sometimes a variation of it. I like sweets too much,” She admitted with a laugh, dropping down on the lounging couch and rolling on her side so she could maintain their eye contact. “I’m also not very big on cleaning, and I’m expected to be tidy buuuuuuut….well sometimes things just happen!” She decided not to bring up the state of her private rooms, also known as a “pig’s den”, if one were to borrow Max’s vocabulary. She preferred to think of her “mess” as an unusual but effective organizational method that worked for her; she knew where every single one of her items was stored, and considered it unnecessary to arrange things neatly when she was just going to shuffle things around next time she was going to use said item. Her father tried for years to correct her behavior, but relented on this aspect of her behavior, so long as she promised to be tidy and precise in any shared work space she used. The conversation moved on to true and delicious food, with chicken as the highlighted consumable item. She listened to Duncan go on and on about chicken, the many ways to prepare it, the best way to eat it, and the promise to take her to a little place that made a delicious version of it. “Ohhh?” She rolled off the couch, amused by his enthusiasm over chicken. “You want to take me there? Why, that sounds like a date. Are you taking me out on a date Duncan?” It had been a long time since she had last teased him like that, often much too flustered in his presence to even make jokes of that nature. She was surprised by her sudden courage, tried her best to keep on a casual smile on her lips as her heart started a quick tap dancing lesson in her chest. “M—Max makes this amazing garlic and lemon chicken dish! You wouldn’t have to take me out anywhere that way…”
  15. Camila maintained her relentless psychic range attacks, flinging dreads off the edge of the mountain, their numbers slowly dwindling down to change the outcome of the battle from fatal to hopeful. She ignored the pulsing headache that came from the overuse of her abilities, her overzealous desire to aid the rider pushing her to limits she could have never dreamed of ever exploring. Despite her best efforts, her youth and inexperience left her without much stamina, and the intensity of her powers decreased from disposing of tens of enemies at once to one or two, if she focused hard enough. She sank to her knees once more, exhausted, defenseless, and worst of all—useless. The spirits that guarded and encouraged the young noble begged her to move to higher ground, where she was less likely to be struck by a fiend or similar creature, but Camila would heard none of it. She was confident that she could continue her onslaught soon enough, but feared her attack range would be limited if she moved any farther away from the battle; thus, she chose to remain dangerously close, with only the dagger Ezekiel had given her as her primary source of protection. Her guardians vibrated around her, informing her of the impending danger heading straight to her in the form of two ragged and decaying dread monstrosities. One was closer than the other, and the two were slow and quickly fallen apart, having barely survived one of Cortana’s sweeping attacks. Nevertheless, they sensed her life, envied it, and were driven by instinct to try and extinguish it. Her protective barrier would hold for a short amount of time, her spirits explained, perhaps long enough for Ezekiel to reach her and save her, but that was the extent of their ability to help. Driven by the instinct to survive, Camila took to her feet, dagger clasp tightly in both hands. She recalled the brief lesson she had received about how to use the weapon, readied herself to strike for the throat, decapitating the monsters and ending their suffering once and for all. The first dread reached her, its only arm reaching to grab her, which was blocked by the invisible aura that protected her. She took the opportunity to strike, awkwardly but forcefully slashing the dagger across the neck of the bread, instantly killing it and releasing its soul to the next world. She used the same strategy on the other enemy, this time her attack much more cleaner but just as effective at ending the creature’s existence. The momentum caused by her very first experience with close combat gave her enough energy to move forward quickly towards Ezekiel, her eyes full of tears the closer she got, until she reached him and collapsed right into his battered arms. “You’re okay….you’re hurt…bleeding…but alive…” She knew he hurt and that her touch likely worsen his symptoms, but she could not bear to let him go. “Please, how can I help? Ezekiel, I need you.”