Full Name: Samaela (Nínim - this name is secret, ask before using it) Name Meanings: Samaela: female form of an archangel-demon; Nínim: "snowdrop" in Elven) Nicknames: Sam, Snow, Mistress Crow
Primary Class: Necromancer, Nightcloak
Race: Elf Gender: Female (cis) Age: She stopped keeping count (more than 250 years) Hair: Short, black Skin: Very pale Eyes: Pale blue
Place of Residence: Rokhala Place of Birth: Gweonid
Relatives: None living Enemies: Onouris, enemies of Devigard Allies: Devigard, Vrekka Datann, the Wanderer
Occupation: Witch Tradeskills: Alchemist
Appearance: Tall and slender, (5'9", 6' in heels) Cool and remote as a mountain, but with an undercurrent of black anger. She stands tall and elegant like the rest of her race, but genuine smiles are rare. She prefers her feathery robes, but will wear other clothes as needed.
Fashion of Choice: Concealing robes Armor of Choice: Cloth Weapons of Choice: Staff or scepter and shield
Special Talents: Being spooky, shadow manipulation, and the Other
History/Biography: A secret best kept to herself.
Alignment: Amoral Motivations: Survival Disposition: Cold, snarky Outlook: Fate is an illusion and the world will fail you.
Religion/Philosophy: Given the nature of the 12 gods and heroes, she doesn’t hold much respect for any of them.
Sexuality: Asexual(gray A), demiromantic/sexual
Positive Personality Traits: She feels it's easier to be kind than to be cruel Negative Personality Traits: Can be too stern when dealing with others Misc. Quirks: Suffers from aquaphobia, particularly in regards to the ocean
Guild IC: Devigard Guild Rank: Initiate Guild OOC: Out of Character West
Likes: Hot sunny days, sunbathing, reading Dislikes: Cold rainy days, idiots, the sea Favorite Foods: Buttered bread Favorite Drinks: Earl gray tea Favorite Colors: Gold, black
Don't get attached. It'll hurt too much when I lose them. I have gotten attached. I must be ready to bear the pain. I won't let myself lose them.
The Scholar, Vahn Draren: One of three my alternate told me to seek out. I originally sought him out to learn more about the wound between realities, but got much more in the bargain. An old lord who warped anima for his own uses, a vicious company leader who sought out to destroy others, a creature born of a pact with an eldritch beast and his own obsessions, and the guild called Devigard. Given what I now know about the alternate reality, I suppose I should not have been surprised my path would lead me to Devigard. He holds kindness in one hand, and destruction in the other.
The Brazen, Vrekka Datann: The second of three. He bears a tether to the alternate reality, connected to the version of himself there. This tether needs to be severed, else he may be haunted and hounded for the rest of his life. No stranger to battle or death, I still fear he has not yet been truly tested. He stands solidly beside the Scholar, and that heartens me.
The Angry, Seia: I know her anger well. Another I knew shared in it, for similar reasons. However, she is still ruled by hers, and it may yet destroy her.
The Commander, Jinreo Mikat: I am familiar with the mask of leadership this man wears, having been in his position long ago. However he is far more charismatic than I ever was and inspires loyalty far more easily. His responsibilities reach father as well, as he has families under his wing, a burden which I was never comfortable to shoulder. He leads the Devigard, an organization older than I am and focused on bringing hope and justice to the common person. A lofty goal, probably unobtainable in the long run, but a hope to work towards all the same. Given what I know of the history of the alternate reality to which ours has been linked, and the Other constantly whispering about history being a cycle, I find myself worrying about his fate….
The Apprentice, Eujene: I swore I would never teach another again. Yet, this young Harani with arcane promise and an openness towards learning everything about magic tempted me to take him on as a student. He is not battle-hardened, which is refreshing, but I fear he feels that he needs to be. He absorbs information quickly, learning from a number of sources. Just as swiftly as he appeared in my life, he may sweep himself from it to live with the object of his heart’s desire in a remote wood. I cannot decide if I should feel upset… or relieved.
The Hunter, Shesmetet: The third of three. My path did not cross hers until later, and only then when she was in the most dire need. I was able to assist her, which aids us in the long run, but I still regret that it cost my presence at the Port for a few days. She is strong, yet fragile at the same time. I believe she will recover from what has happened to her, but I also worry she is relying too much on one person. If that support is knocked out from under her, she will have to start at the bottom once more.
The Holy Warrior, Gale: This man, once broken, once enslaved, has shown an exceeding amount of strength in simply stepping out and facing the world. He is stronger than he thinks he is, and perhaps he is finally beginning to realize that.
The Kind, Adelaida: One of the first people I met when I finally chose to leave my isolation and return to Nuia in my attempt to sound out the reality wound. Irrepressibly friendly, kind, non-judgemental. If I had to run into anyone, I suppose she was the best choice.
The Cold, Drystan: The second I met soon out of my isolation. Snarky, bitter, but clearly loves his sister despite the cold demeanor. He speaks of the same reality that the twisted one came from, though I do not think they arrived in the same fashion, or through the same tear. From all indications he merged with his alternate in this reality in order to avoid the paradox.
The Mask, Aiden: I’ve only met this one briefly, but it was quite informative. I am concerned about his intentions regarding my apprentice, but I shall withhold judgement for now.
Samaela sat cross-legged in the middle of the ruins on a hill above the forest of Gweonid. She exhaled slowly as she cleared her mind of all extraneous thought and concern. Particularly the one that she was about to turn her brain into mush.
She exhaled again and tapped into the Other’s power. The light flickered, dimmed, and then she found herself in darkness. Samaela rose and around her so did the figures of dozens, hundreds of others. She looked among them, surprised at the variety she saw. Women, men, humans, elves, even a warborn. All bearing the shadow of the Other behind them.
She looked at them, and they at her, and most turned away, fading from sight. Except one, a human woman with slightly longer hair than Samaela’s own.
“I see you,” she spoke.
“And I see you,” Samaela answered.
“This is beyond dangerous, you realize.”
“But necessary, you understand, as it seems you were doing the same.”
Her doppleganger nodded. “There is a wound across realities. Specifically our two.”
“I’ve felt it, and I’ve met two people who have experienced memories that do not match their experiences.”
“There will be more. I know of a man in my reality who has a connection to his alternate in yours. And allegedly there may be one or more who have passed through to yours.”
“That is troubling. This could cause irreparable damage to our realities or to those experiencing these issues.”
The darkness flickered and light seeped through. Samaela frowned--the tenuous connection was fading already. Her counterpart glanced at the flickering, then brushed a hand across her nostrils. “I’m running out of time. Look for the following people: Vrekka and Shesmetet Datann, or Vahn Draren the Wanderer. They are connected to this, and there is likely more.”
“Very well.” The vision of her counterpart faded into the misty light of Gweonid and Samaela found herself laying on her back. She reached up and touched the scar across her forehead and discovered that it had started to bleed. She sighed and let her hand fall. “It seems I must go traveling.”
#14294828 Jan 24, 2020 at 04:13 PM · Edited over 2 years ago
WARNING: Heavy meta-information behind the tags. Read at your own risk.
Mahadevi Port, late afternoon after the front gate skirmish
The room on the unfinished boat in the drydock was small, dark, and most importantly, quiet. Samaela climbed onto the bunk and curled up, drawing her robes tight around her body. Using the spell to return the recently dead to life was taxing, both physically and emotionally. She needed time to recover, time to rebalance, refocus….
You Will Lose Them All, Again.
“Silence,” she whispered to herself.
You Will See. History Is A Cycle, Not A Line.
“You don’t know that. You can’t know that.”
There Is The Angry One, The Brazen One, The Scholarly One, The Apprentice … The Charismatic One, the voice within her soul purred, oozing with implication.
Samaela pressed her fists against her eyes. “It is not the same. They are not the same people.”
Do You Think Because You Follow Instead Of Command That It Will Make Any Difference?
“It will be different. It will be,” she murmured.
The Other, the black half of her soul, curled around her mind like a lover. The Only Way To Keep Them Safe Is To Lay Waste To All Enemies.
“That is not what we do.”
You Hesitated Today. One Of Your Supposed Allies Is Taken, Another Died. The Other caressed her thoughts, ripples of fury blossoming like desert flowers after a rainstorm. Take Your Revenge. Bathe In Blood.
Samaela gritted her teeth, pushing the rising anger down. “No.”
Then You Will Lose The--
“I said NO,” she snapped, flinging her hands open to summon a burst of magic. The rawest, purest eruption of arcana she could manage, manifesting as butterfly of sparkling gold light. The Other recoiled sullenly and retreated to the darkest recesses of her mind once more.
The magic faded, but the Other did not stir. She placed her face in her hands and softly pled, “Not again… never again….”
Samaela stood in her home in Rokhala, or rather, the ruins of it. Wood slats and joists ringed around her, swiftly turning to dust with the power of the decay spell she had unleashed. She stood there as she panted, face paler than normal, fists clenched.
She had lost.
Two hundred years and she had finally lost the struggle.
But the Other had not taken the jealousy-fueled direction she had expected. It had demanded to return to this place, the site of her self-inflicted isolation for a century. And it had destroyed it down to the last journal and book. The destruction was galling, but less so than if it had gone after those she considered comrades.
“I Need You,” the Other purred, using her voice. “And As I Need You, You Need Me. You Do Not Need Them. But I Want You Tractable. They Will Remain Alive, Especially Your Precious Apprentice And Your Precious Commander. If You Comply.”
“You make me a hostage in my own body,” she retorted bitterly.
“We Are Hostages Of Each Other. We Are As One, Despite The Misguided Attempts Of Your Court Of Shadows. Forget Those Others, And Let Us Heal The Rift In Our Soul.”
“To what point and purpose?” Samaela replied. “To whittle away centuries becoming the darkest monster to walk Erenor, alone and hated? There is more to be found in working with oth--”
“They Make You Weak!” the Other snarled. “They Are Weak And They Weaken You. Forget Them. Or I Will Force You To Destroy Them.”
“They will ask questions. They will want to know why,” Samaela pointed out, her arms trembling with anger.
“Then We Will Give Them Answers To Fill Their Empty Heads. You No Longer Need Them.” The Other considered for a moment. “You Do Not Need The Familiars Any More. Dismiss Them.”
Samaela pressed her lips together. “They have been with me for a very long time. They are very useful.”
“We Will Use Shadows And Wraiths From This Point On. Dismiss Them.”
She tried to resist. Dumah and Rahab had become more than mere familiars to her. They were as close to friends as she had known for the past century. The Other grew irritated, and pressed on her thoughts the image of shadows tearing apart her apprentice. Samaela gritted her teeth and snapped the magic that held the familiars together. The connection dissolved, and the Other drew back, pleased.
Samaela reached up and wiped one cheek, tears shining on her fingers in the late evening light.
#14364515 May 27, 2020 at 05:19 PM · Edited 2 years ago
Samaela awoke from the nightmare, coated in sweat as she stared up at the ceiling of the room. She woke up--that in of itself was a good sign. The Other didn’t try to hold her under as it had in the past. She sat up and tugged at her shirt, unsticking it from her skin. Then she slid out of the bed and padded through the open door to the balcony. Goosebumps immediately covered her damp skin as she stepped into the cold night air. Sunbite was an arid climate, and at night the temperatures plummeted.
Her pulse was still hammering as she placed her hands on the railing and stared off between the cliffs to the south. The Other had taken a different tack with her dreams this time. Instead of showing her visions of her friends dead by her own hand, it showed her the deaths that would happen if she did not maintain the pact that gave her power.
If You Are Not Strong With My Power, They Will Die.
Samaela shivered and her hands tightened on the railing. It had shown her, again, the funeral boats in the bay at Mahadevi Port. She had exhausted herself in the effort to protect Shesmetet, and in the process was unable to help defend Devigard in their time of need. She had been too ashamed to return until well after the fact, but she had watched the burning of the dead from the cliff. Of course, the Other left out the part of the memory where Shesmetet sang for the gathering and the music’s power had driven it back into the recesses of Samaela’s mind.
And there was another thing it had taunted her with, part of a whispered conversation while she was being visited by her friends and comrades. Her elven ears had caught the words, but she had disregarded it at the time.
“Do you think she’d stay put if she knew?” “Probably not.” “Best we not, then. For now.”
They Hide Things From You, the Other had whispered. You Cannot Trust Them When They Do Not Trust You.
It was only half-true. It was the Other they did not trust, but also the precedent she had set when her control slipped. It happened once, it could happen again.
On the other hand, what was it they did not want her to know, what would cause her to leave the tree and risk the Other’s wrath? Samaela stared out at the sea as she eliminated possible reasons. Shesmetet told of her the ghosts, the lingering souls of her Court, and there was little she could do about them without completing the severing ritual. Vahn was safe, else Shesmetet wouldn’t have recommended writing to him, and by extension Vrekka must be safe as well. Those present during the visit seemed well enough, though Shesmetet was still haunted by the sword over her head, and Jinreo seemed as burdened as he always did, though the both of them did their best to keep an upbeat attitude. They seemed quite matched in that regard.
Samaela lifted one hand and flexed it.
"Do you think she’d stay put if she knew?" "I can’t help but notice you’re using her name."
Yes, if she were in the same position, with a comrade in a fight for their soul, she would not have said anything that might encourage them to leave safety. But if one of her comrades--if one of her friends were in danger, she couldn’t stay put and not act. Even if it risked her soul.
She turned and located one of the leaf piles that had been shed when Steel had shaken his tree self. She sorted through them until she had found a few with a sufficiently stiff stem, then stepped into the house. Among the furnishings and supplies, there was also a selection of art paraphernalia. Samaela selected a vial of paint named “cinnabar red” and took a seat on the floor. Using the stem of one of the leaves, she began to draw a pentagram circle of power over her left hand. A minor touch of power dried the paint instantly and ensured it would not be smeared or removed. She repeated the process for her right hand, drawing easily with her left, and again for her breastbone, encircling the vertical scar that marked the initial attempt to sever her from the Other.
Once the circles were prepared, she got to her feet again and changed clothes. When she stepped onto the balcony again, she was once more garbed in the heavy black silks of her feathered robe. Samaela made her way down one set of stairs, then the other, pausing on the last step.
You should have made it an order to stay put, Jinreo. I might have found it harder to disobey. The elf, the former soldier smiled grimly to herself as she acknowledged the lie. She would not have obeyed.
Samaela stepped onto the grass and turned away, walking in long strides from the tree. She felt the spiritual warmth of the dryad magic lessening and mentally prepared herself. One hand on the door.
The rush came as sudden as a storm, the lead weight slamming into her mental defenses like a thousand steel lances. In response, the red arcane circles flashed to life. The effect was immediate and terrifying--her pulse jumped, her breathing turned to pants, and her limbs shook as a cold sweat broke out over her body.
A magically-induced panic attack.
The Other recoiled, taken aback by the foreign sensations. Even in the middle of the worst battles, Samaela’s emotional control had been exact. This was entirely new to it, and was even more daunting than physical pain.
What Is This? What Have You Done?
“I need your power, but I do not need your reckless attempts at taking control. You take control, my body drops into an anxiety attack that will spiral out of control until it stops, either by you stepping back, or by my heart exploding,” Samaela stated, her voice shaking and angry.
Why? Why Risk This?
“You know why.”
The Other seethed, coiling in the back of her mind. It Is A Foolish Waste Of Your Time. She Will Be Angry With You. She Will Not Understand.
“She risked herself for me. I have to do the same.” Samaela tilted her head, feeling the arcane circles cool and the anxiety fading. “Help me, truly help me, and I will see if there is a solution for us that does not require casting you into the darkness.”
The Other paused, again taken by surprise and immediately suspicious. There Is No Such Solution.
“We shall see. For now, we need to work together. Will I at least have that much cooperation?”
The Other coiled and settled. If I Do, I Will Get A New Name. That Is My Demand.
“Agreed.” It was dangerous, giving the Other a new name, but as Shesmetet had indicated, there were other options for separating their souls out there that Samaela had not even considered. She had an idea, but for now, she had to reassure herself of Seia’s well-being.
Samaela raised her hands and called upon her magic, the combined well of arcane power between herself and the Other. It responded immediately, filling her once more as her eyes flashed green.
Months ago, a hastily cast teleport had landed her in Mahadevi Port and led her to Devigard. Now she would try it again, and hope it threw her where she needed to be once more.
Her shadow rose up around her like wings, then snapped closed around her. There was a crack of displaced air and the elf was gone.
Samaela had appeared in Ezna behind a well-known tavern, with a flash of black shadows. She shook her head, straightening her thoughts out, and realized the disorientation meant she had lost a few days in transition. She gave the Other a suspicious nudge, but it only shirked away sullenly. It had no reason to delay things--if it could be free without expiring, it would rather reach that goal sooner than later.
The elf sighed and began walking around the building. A bulletin board was planted out front, and she noted a number of more unsavory looking characters standing in front of it. She stepped up to them, tall enough to see over most of their heads, and saw what had captured their attention.
Samaela frowned at the wanted poster, then reached out to take it.
"Hey lady, those are for everyone. You wanna get a poster, go to the main bounty office," one of the unsavories objected.
"Of course," she replied in a flat tone. She turned and began walking away down the street. As she did, she moved her fingers in a quick, well-used spell. A moment later all the posters on the board dissolved into the dust, to the shocked outcries of the observers.
She continued her stalk, considering her plan of action--and noticed another unsavory watching her. He appeared to be an older man, steel-gray hair pulled back in a low ponytail, eyes to match the hair, with a far shrewder expression than she had seen on the others. He appeared to be unarmed save for the heavy hickory walking stick he leaned on.
"Dun like havin' any competition, eh?" he asked in a drawl that dripped country.
She eyed him coldly for a moment before stating, "No.”
He offered her a crooked grin. “I figger ya woulda needed a poster fer yerself--unless, o’ course, yer already familiar wit’ th’ miss.”
Samaela narrowed her eyes and began to drift closer. She needed neither threats nor distractions right now, and while random murder was certainly a problem, she also needed no obstacles. She also saw that he had a folded poster in the crook of his arm. “Perhaps I shall take yours, then.”
“Nah, ‘preciate it if ya wouldna. I needs it t’ send overseas.”
She paused her stalk. “Overseas?”
“Aye. To an elephant.”
She drew back a step, studying the man once more but not as a threat. There was something certainly familiar about him between his stance and his drawl. “Let me see it,” she commanded.
He heaved a long-suffering sigh, though with a faint smirk, then pulled a chain from beneath his tunic. The pendant had been a pin at some point, but had been repurposed--most of the blue-and-green enameling was gone, but it was still recognizable as an elephant’s head.
Samaela nodded slowly. If he were truly a Devigard, then he was an ally. If not, he’d be dead in short order. “Do you have any information?”
“Aye. Word is that a lucky chucklefuck hunter managed t’ spot ‘er in the sewers. Shot at ‘er but she got away. An’ she had another slave wit’ ‘er.” While his expression was still amiable, a darker emotion lurked under his words.
“And you haven’t sought her yourself?” she asked.
He slapped one hip. “Old injury. Can’t go harin’ ‘round like I used t’. But then I spotted ya, an’ remembered bein’ told ‘bout a woman wit’ eyes like ice that dressed like a crow-witch.”
“I am Samaela,” she stated.
He offered her a crooked grin. “Milo Cross. Though if ya go pokin’ the Freebloods, call me the Old Hound.”
“Old Hound. Very well. You said she had been in the sewers?”
“Aye, but I dun recommend goin’ down there. Buncha arseholes that’ll kill ya fer trespassin’. I should know, I grew up wit’ ‘em.” He snorted a laugh.
The witch smiled very, very faintly. “Noted. I should be on my way.”
“Aye, an’ I gotta hit th’ post. Good luck, miss.”
Samaela nodded and began to stride away, towards the nearest sewer entrance. Very faintly, her elven ears heard the old hunter mutter, “Though I think everyone else is gonna need that luck, yeesh…”