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xSourGrapesx » Den » Resheph
Level 1
Spiral Female
Jan 03, 2019 (1 year)
Stats Growth
PrimaryUmber Metallic
SecondaryClay Eye Spots
TertiarySoil Ghost
Eye TypeLight Uncommon
Energy: 50 / 50
Apparel & Skins
References wrote:
heavylobster wrote:
In the trickling byways between, and far below, you encroach upon holy land with the reluctant blessings of its congregation. Few would accept such a delicate contract, but you're as desperate as your employers to reclaim some peace. Your escort's antennae twitch with claustrophobia; this far underground, any dragon regardless of his faith would be upset, but most especially a skydancer, and you can admit you admire his perseverance.

"It's not much further," he assures you - assures himself - as the pair of you descend the brittle stone steps to Dragonhome's central aquifer, Grief, so named for the Earthshaker's sunken tears. Its innumerable branches bubble to the surface in spring, the season of hope, as unpredictable as survival, never mind hospitality, often is in this environment.

"Tell me again when it started," you say.

The priest is visibly relieved. You note the silence seems to resent his chatter.

"Well, we noticed the sound first - like someone was grinding coffee above the water table, then the chips in the wall. Grief has always flowed here, always washed the rockface to a pebble's fineness. It shouldn't have fractures unless it's been broken, and we don't break Grief for anything. It rises and falls in its own time, but still we come to water..."

The priest's voice becomes as sonorous and as steady as the groundwater his people revere, and you're glad he's more interested now in his homily than in furtively glancing at your wing-stumps. It's why you're good at this kind of thing - spelunking - and why this superstitious clan hired you. You haven't flown in decades because you can't, but some Earthshaker zealots have been known to - to de-wing themselves, as a demonstration of their loyalty to groundedness and to eternal constancy. Your limitations are hushedly lauded in these circles, but you feel nothing - nothing you wish to examine anyway, not now and not later.

At the base of the stairs, you find Grief in the near-abyssal black. It is loud today, roaring and surely white with rapids. The priest observes, puzzled, that you cast long shadows. They disappear to meet the distant rockface opposite you, and blink in and out as the lightsource telegraphs your movements.

You whirl and intercept your attacker mid-air, but its bite oxidizes the bracer you raise to guard your throat. It rebounds with a small, sad thump. The priest crows with triumph as his hastily-lit lamp exposes the identity of your mark.

"Maggot," he spits at the dazed spiral - a Ringwyrm, and a Decay at that. Its presence here is blasphemous and furthermore truly, potentially destructive. Ringwyrms dealt with the dead and the dying, and they could easily contaminate groundwater with disease. They're a practical concern for you, a religious one for your employers.

You advance at the priest's back and draw your sword. With a single strike, it's over.

You catch the body, at least, when he topples, and crouch before the spiral. She squints brightly, blindingly, at you - then spits a tooth. It pings off your armor.

"It'll grow back," you chide. "You're a long way from home, princess."

"Becaussse you chassse," she hisses. "You chassse me. Why?"

You tell her: tales of her ability to diagnose the most malignant diseases have reached as far as the Southern Icefields; tales of a she-leech who tastes and sees the ugliest truths, swallows them, cauterizes them; tales of the capricious twins who shadow and sometimes spurn, sometimes support her, one deaf to her arguments and one ever-yielding: together they see, hear, and speak of all evils; together, perhaps, they would speak of your own and banish them from your traitorous body.

"No," she pouts. "You tassste terrible. It isss your sssoul. It will poissson you sssstill. Pointlessss."

"It is not pointless," you smile serenely and lever your blade.

Her eyes flutter and flicker, making your own smart with their indomitable, sacred light. Then bloody-mouthed, she grins back.

"I'm glad we understand each other," you say.

And then you sheathe your sword, for the last time.

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