1. Amor has finally locked the doors as per the very sad [Closing Announcement]. You should still be able to read threads and conversations (just in case you are late to getting things saved) up until AUGUST 1st. All subscriptions have also been cancelled so no one is donation billed for a dead site!

WRITING Ramblings from a cluttered mind

Discussion in 'Galleria' started by Ree, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. I have written many collaborative stories over the last few decades. I have found my characters are variations on themes, but dang it. I just love the little bastards and that's why they get morphed and repeated.

    The basic concepts are usually:
    • "light-filled, loving, and wise"
    • empaths
    • musical talent
    • celtic stuff
    • magic
    • smexy ass demon lady
    • moral/ethical conflicts
    • sex. because why tf not?

    So, I'm going to drop some old posts here. I've removed character names and place names that aren't mine, to respect my original partner's content. And, let's be honest. Sometimes, the reason the RPs stopped was because of stupid human drama, mine or theirs, or both. So, this isn't an attempt to reconnect with older partners. What follows are strictly things I have written, sometimes preeeety badly, with the intent to share posts I enjoyed writing and the progression of skill. Hopefully. *fingers crossed*

    O M G the wordiness! the poncy-ness! the abuse of ellipses! HAHAHA! I notice I often repeated details in each post, possibly under the assumption the partner or another reader hadn't read prior threads or even prior posts. Oh, the redundancy!

    Ok, seriously. I tried to clean up some of it, but not all of it because... as embarrassing and as bad as the writing is, it's also pretty cringe worthily funny? Yeah, I thought so.
     
    #1 Ree, Feb 11, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  2. Circa 2004 - A journal entry for a character. References to place names and characters not my own are removed.
    ---
    I am Ailis --, Bardagh. Celt. Former resident of Tir Chonnall, a realm now closed to me, wife to -- and mother to ---, both of whom now appear to be lost to me. Strange things are afoot. I write this for you now, in hopes you will gain an understanding of what has transpired.

    Balance has been disrupted and must be restored. I appeal to those you who understand that there can be no overwhelming light or dark, law or chaos - the IS must be. Balance needs to be restored. A Drow woman took it upon herself to free the sword of ---. With this sword and the help of a powerful Drow magi, Chaos has been let loose in the Realm.

    I fear it will spread.

    I can feel it.

    Let their names be remembered as the criminals they are: --- --- and Tsabine O'lem'a'tha'zar.

    As Chaos shifts its bulk and surveys the Land with a wild and motley eye, one should consider the consequences of their actions.

    Usually, when a god enters a world of some kind, they must bring themselves down to a finite level. The reason for this is that gods are infinite in scope and in nature, which is very incompatible with a reality that has definition, shape, and the trappings of the finite.

    Thus, although Chaos exists in multiple planes, this representation in the Realm was only an avatar. In fact, Chaos' avatar represents the god's freedom from a cell so ancient the great Wyrms do not even remember it fully. Granted, the avatar is depreciated somewhat, but it has plenty of power to affect the world (or worlds) around it.

    In addition, this avatar does not belong to this realm. When an avatar is called into existence, arcane conduits and vessels are involved in such a transition - a transition, experienced firsthand by several residents of Realm. However, these conduits and vessels would not necessarily infer a smooth transference into this plane of existence.

    Chaos' mere presence has begun to deteriorate the immutable laws that govern all... and that is the terrible beauty of Chaos. There would be a rippling effect, inevitable, as when one drops a stone into a pond. The very fabric of reality would be disturbed by such an occurrence. It is not so much be the physical change it brings, be it through their armies of darkness or just their destructive power (or maybe both). Rather, the metaphysical change must be taken into effect as well. The avatar is the embodiment of Chaos.

    The change had begun slowly in far reaching corners, growing insidiously like a slow, creeping, deadly mold. Closer to the source, closer to Chaos, things change and warp on a more rapid basis. Ironically, closest to the Avatar, the change occurred so swiftly that in some ways the Realm did not seem to change at all.

    I worry that I will ever the bear the babe that I carry in my belly. My time was near when all of this began and although pangs sometimes wrack my body, no child comes forth. That is the power and disruption it brings.

    The finer points of power does level when it comes to the avatars of the gods in that they are far beyond the capacity of just about everyone. But, avatar can be defeated. The means, to do that, though, is the tricky thing. And this is where I think we can succeed.

    We must succeed.

    We must seal Chaos' avatar back to the cell from whence it was freed. Once we have done this, our work is not over for we must contend with the effects of Chaos upon a world with definition: some things will never be the same.

    The challenge is... how do we seal Chaos back?

    I pray some providence will help us... If we fail, then I hope this journal will provide, in some small way, clarity in a world without it.
    ---

    The bard’s pen scraped across the paper softly as she continued to write small thoughts and notes, tunes that came to mind.

    I have not allowed myself to grieve yet. I feel hope that my husband and son yet live. Wouldn't I have felt it had they been forcibly removed from this life? Wouldn't the blessed amulet have taken me to his side? Or is it possible that the Chaos beast interferes with magical things? Will he return in time for the babe's birth? I have decided to name her Emer. Emer Nuala ---.


    Ailis paused in her writing to look down at her swollen belly, her hand straying to stroke the rounded arc.

    "I love you, my wee babog...my Emer..." The baby stirred in response to her mother's soothing voice. Her husband used to speak to the baby, too. No... Ailis would not allow her spirits to sink into despair or grief. When and if they could find a way to restore the balance, she might give herself time for that. Ailis lifted her pen again and began to write once more.

    I have begun to notice small inconsistencies around the castle. Some of these inconsistencies are harmless and occasionally amusing; others are more dangerous. A group of people, led by the half-elf Metarie have formed a watch-group to keep an eye out for the random chaotic vortexes that appear. I wonder, do these occur in other Kingdoms, as well? I cannot imagine that they would not.


    Yesterday, it rained water, frogs, sausages, and daisies.... in the dungeon. There was also the appearance of a very startled giant sloth in the kitchens, and a two-headed wolf in the cloister. When the magic users attempted to subdue the creature, their spells were hit and miss: backfires, innocuous consequences, or intended consequences.


    A sharp rap on her door caused Ailis to pause her writings once again.

    --------

    “Make it stop, oh, please... make it stop!”

    Ruric’s voice was a desperate whisper. She lay on her bed with an arm thrown across her eyes. Her other hand was clenched on her stomach. Blood-sweat stood out in stark relief on her skin. Ruric had been ill; wracked with sharp pains in her stomach until she’d retched. There was the soft chink of glass upon the bedside table. When she felt able, Ruric sat up. Summoning up energy, a basic cantrip was uttered to clean the gore from her skin. The only thing amiss was the slight protrusion of her fangs and her pallor.

    Ruric shakily reached for the vial that lay upon the bedside table. The vial was filled with a viscous, red fluid. The scent of the fluid was enough to almost make her swoon. It was still warm, too, though not as hot as it would have been, but... Ruric clutched the vial to her chest and hunched over it as if it were the most precious thing in the world. Then, she tilted the glass to her lips and emptied the contents into her mouth. It did not take long for the effusive warmth and languor to fill her limbs; for the tingling, prickling sensation to rev every nerve and fiber of her being. The sharp queasiness and pain was at bay for a little while yet.

    There were two types of vampiri. First, there were the Vampyre. These were actually demon-based lifeforms; the history of which was clouded in mystery, though Ruric had her theories. The Vampyre could mate and breed, but typically did not reproduce another vampyre unless their mate were also a vampyre. Vampyres can only be born as such. Mixed bloods were common. The Vampyre could walk in the daylight and religious artifacts had no sway over them. Vampyre were not immortal, but were extremely long lived and not very easy to kill.

    They could be harmed, mind, but their resilience was legendary. Too, they had the preternatural skills of speed, taking on the form of mist, and limited flight. These skills, though, required the Vampyre to feed regularly on the blood of humans and only the speed was the providence of even a young Vampyre. The others were available only to elders of the race. Second, there were vampires. These were revenants; undead creatures that fed on blood. Vampires were the result of an improper feeding. Really, Vampires were nothing more glorified ghouls. They possessed similar skills to the Vampyre, but the skills like the creatures are pale copies. Vampires cannot be born, they can only be made.

    Times change; however. Change is inevitable. Once, in the history of the Realms, the Vampyre’s were the ruling class and humans were nothing more than cattle. Now, the vampyre are still considered a noble class, but the mortals are predominant. There is still respect accorded the nobility, but the monarchies are tempered by parliaments and councils. Now, wanton feeding upon mortals was not considered polite or a entitlement, nor was it welcomed. That honor is dubious at best. Some are happy to make this their duty; but most do not.


    Ruric fell into the mixed blood category. Her father was a mutt of unknown demonic bloodlines. Her mother was a pure-blooded Vampyre. Four children resulted from that long and volatile union, of which Ruric was the last. Ruric’s early childhood was one of shadows and quiet. She was a prodigy when it came to magics. Her middle childhood and teenage years were best forgotten. What happened during them was started by treachery. Powerful challenges to the realms came forth. In one of these challenges, Ruric found herself pushed to the levels of her endurance and beyond them. She became more powerful, but she also manifested the latent legacy of her bloodline.

    Ruric came into her own as vampyre years after the legacy would normally be initiated. The needs and desires of the race were a constant conflict. To give in, meant to accept her lack of humanity and revel in the demon she truly was; to not give in, meant reduced physical strength, powers, and it meant pain. Repulsed and seduced by the desires, Ruric turned to fortifying herself with potions.

    Ruric veritably lived off of the healing potions. The habit was an expensive one, but it allowed her to maintain the veneer of her humanity. The longer she continued the habit; however, the less effective the potions became in staving off the need or the ill-effects not feeding would have on her; and, Ruric was not afforded the inherent perks of her bloodline.

    A few months prior, Ruric discovered the potions barely worked. She would have to feed or suffer. Ruric was not afraid to die, but her experiences had garnered in her a pathological desire to avoid pain. Oh, she could endure pain, but she emphatically did not want to... because pain is what terrified her. Especially, the thought of being wracked with pain for an eternity; because a Vampyre would not die from not feeding, oh no... They would live. They would live in tortured agony until blood was taken or given. Pain is what had pushed her over the edge to become a vampyre. Pain is what had unleashed that demonic beast within her and freed her.

    Pain...

    And blood made the pain stop. His blood.

    Ruric looked down at the vial.

    Blood made the pain stop.

    Ruric sat back down on the edge of her bed, staring pensively into nothing. The now empty vial was rolled against her fingers. The glass was smooth and cool to the touch now. The glass clinked upon the ring Ruric wore on her middle finger: A trinket earned as a spoil from her trials. For someone with briefly heightened senses, the feeling and sounds were sharp and almost consuming. A light knock on the door sounded like heavy thuds. The heartbeat of the person beyond it was as clear as a bell.

    The blood...

    “M’Lady, the Bard bids you come; it is time...”

    Ruric placed the vial upon the bed stand and stood up. Looking around, Ruric carefully put items into that wondrous pack of hers that could hold more than it appeared to do. Spell books, maps, changes of clothes, potions, nearly every personal article she could think of that she needed for this journey would be packed.

    When Ruric arrived, it seemed that Ailis had summoned all the hopefuls. the dragon shifter, ---, the displaced boy Ruric had saved from the crowd, a man who appeared to be a monk, and another mountain of a man. These were the key players. There was the army, of course, but this task did not require an army. It required a small unit of uniquely skilled, strong people.

    For once, Ruric was quiet, keeping her own counsel. When the consultation was over and the party members moved off to prepare themselves as best they could for the search that would be underway in the next two hours, Ruric finally spoke.

    “I’ll catch up with you on the trail. Marcus will be easy enough to spot from the shadow paths.”

    She needed to talk to Ailis. She watched the others leave from the corner of her eye, before turning her gaze fully on the Bard. So delicate, yet so strong...

    “Ailis... could I talk to you, please?”

    Ailis tilted her head a little.

    “Of course, Ruric, what may I do for you?”

    Ruric lifted a hand and ran it through her hair, sighing softly. Ruric crossed the room to Ailis. pulling the woman into a hug.

    “I... please forgive me...” Ruric’s voice caught in her throat and then she clamped Ailis tightly to her as sharp, sharp fangs pierced the delicate skin of the bard’s throat.

    Ruric’s emotions were riotous, but they had been for as long as Ailis had known the woman. Ailis ignored the emotional turmoil until Ruric clasped her tightly and sank her fangs into her. Ailis gasped and tried to push Ruric off, but Ruric’s hold was like stone.

    “No! Don’t do th-i--ple--”

    Ailis swooned and moaned as sharp bands of pain wracked her stomach. A gush of wet splashed against the floor and the woman's body crumpled. Ruric sank to the stones. The bard's blood held the taint of copper, but also something else. It was sweet, almost, and Ruric moaned as the fluid filled her mouth. She drank greedily until the bard's heart slowed to its last beats. Loose-limbed and completely vulnerable, Ailis' gaze dimmed drifting to stare sightlessly at a tapestry depicting some ancient story.

    Tears streamed unbidden from her eyes. Ailis felt herself sinking. Her heart labored as hard as her body, pumping blood. Ailis did not notice when Ruric had let her down to the floor. Ailis did not notice the four vials of high-x potion dropped onto her chest. Ailis did not feel the babe as it emerged from her body, pulled from it by inexpert hands. Blood that soaked the blue robe she wore and pooled around her hips and thighs. Ailis felt only numbness and creeping cold starting at her extremities. Vaguely, she could see a dark shape standing over her and then it was gone. The bundle in the vampire's arms cried out softly. Not a wail, but a shivery whimper.

    A light pulsed.

    “Emer...” Ailis’ voice was a soft sough of sound as she tried to reach up towards the dark shape from which the cry of her babe emerged. The light pulsed again and was suddenly blocked. A golden shape within formed. The gold was a nimbus and Ailis' smiled.

    He had finally come back to her...

    Her heart thudded in her chest. Once... Twice... The breath rattled in her throat, easing out on slow raspy exhale.

    Ruric emerged from the shadows, clutching Emer to her chest. Ruric’s specific instructions had left her just enough time to take the babe and leave. The child had stopped crying just a soon as Ruric began the shadow walk. It was almost as if the child knew the importance of not attracting the attention of the demons within the shadows. It was bad enough that the pair reeked of innocent blood.

    Ruric moved swiftly, fueled by the blood she had stolen. The paths were circuitous and required her to double back because of the damnable interference the Chaos avatar caused. Eventually, she arrived with guts churning and conscience burning. When she stepped out of the shadows, Ruric placed the baby on the bed and backed away until she was pressed against a shadowed wall. Shadows were where she belonged now anyhow...

    “There! It’s done! Now make it stop!”

    Ruric spoke to the robed figure sitting at a desk, who ignored her as it flipped through pages of codex and tomes. Blood covered her front, streaking her thighs, calves, and shoes. Splotches of blood, absorbed from the baby as it had been held to her chest, dotted the front of her snug, blue jacket and crisp, white shirt. There was even blood on her face: all of it Ailis’ blood; some from where she had fed on the woman, most from the blood the woman had lost birthing a child in sunch unnatural circumstances. A mirror reflected her image . Ruric squeezed her eyes shut. The color had changed from dark brown to red. Her image made her feel sick and dizzy; a combination of her sin and the gore of her reflection.

    The pain hit her suddenly. Ruric doubled over spewing freshly consumed blood across the floor, as pure as it was before it was consumed. Bloody tears leaked from her eyes and bloody sweat dotted her skin. Ruric started to shake as she slid down the wall, pressing her back against it. Ruric drew her knees up and buried her head into her arms. A groan left her. This time, the words were a plea not a demand, muffled and soft.

    Pain... the blood makes the pain stop... his blood...

    “Make it stop! Oh, Please!”
    ---

    "Lady Ailis! Guards!" A sudden eruption of warm, living green light would envelope Ailis, keeping her poised on the brink of life and death. Ironically, balanced between them. Strong, hard hands would jerk the man from Ailis’ side. Though he was her husband, he had been gone long enough that these soldiers did not know who he was.


    He seemed to be the reason for the bard’s death. So he was granted no kindness or quarter. The man was slammed harshly against a stone wall. Helmed heads turned towards the fire-haired bard, jaws tight with concern. It was their watch. How, how had that happened. Hard eyes would glare from the man to the bard.

    The healer was busy trying to return Ailis' body back to its original condition, but the magics weren’t working. Two apprentices arrived amidst the chaos accompanied, bearing the accoutrements of birthing. Clean linens, draughts, sterile instruments, herb-treated water. The women gasped.

    "By the Gods, what happened? Wait, if you heal her before I do what needs to be done she will never bear another child. Where is the babe? Gods...." The healer and midwife, Alanna, knelt beside Ailis and placed a hand on her stomach.


    "She should not have borne the babe normally. The child was too big... "

    It was now the woman would notice the guards and the man they had pinned to the wall.


    "What are you doing? That is the Lady's husband, let him go! Fathir, see to him, he looks unwell. There are high-x potions here... " Another mystery.

    "Take two of these, give them to him. They will help. Get the guards out of here, they do not need to see what needs to be done. This is a private matter. We will need more help... someone will have to keep her with us. When he is able, he needs to come speak with her. His voice will ground her."

    Alanna fixed the bard’s husband with a steady gaze. "Listen man, if you want to keep your wife alive. Start talking. Tell her anything. Just let her hear your voice. Call to her. Keep her here. Do you understand?!! She was already weakened before this. It will take all of our experience to keep her alive."

    Alanna resumed her work. The internal damage was dire. To do it incorrectly would guarantee there would be no further children. As it was the odds were slim, even with this. The bard had lost so much blood.

    A touch brushed --- on his cheek, and as if couched in love and golden light - something invisible to all the others - Ailis' goddess, Ceridwyn, the Mother, would give him strength, infusing him with a push of ... love... hope.


    Ailis was the goddess’ chosen.. There was the soft scent of spring flowers. At Ailis' head, --- would see a woman of indescribable beauty. She was red-haired, yet golden. Flowers were woven within her hair and a diaphanous, white dress moved in a breeze that was not there. . Her eyes were timeless and she smiled at the grieving man. Ailis would be enfolded in the woman's arms. With but one word, Ailis would remain.

    On the floor, Ailis' chest heaved in that final breath. The question would remain, would the exhalation be one of death or life?
    "Lady Ailis! Guards!" A sudden eruption of warm, living green light would envelope Ailis, keeping her poised on the brink of life and death. Ironically, balanced between them. Strong, hard hands would jerk the man from Ailis’ side. Though he was her husband, he had been gone long enough that these soldiers did not know who he was.


    He seemed to be the reason for the bard’s death. So he was granted no kindness or quarter. The man was slammed harshly against a stone wall. Helmed heads turned towards the fire-haired bard, jaws tight with concern. It was their watch. How, how had that happened. Hard eyes would glare from the man to the bard.

    The healer was busy trying to return Ailis' body back to its original condition, but the magics weren’t working. Two apprentices arrived amidst the chaos accompanied, bearing the accoutrements of birthing. Clean linens, draughts, sterile instruments, herb-treated water. The women gasped.

    "By the Gods, what happened? Wait, if you heal her before I do what needs to be done she will never bear another child. Where is the babe? Gods...." The healer and midwife, Alanna, knelt beside Ailis and placed a hand on her stomach.


    "She should not have borne the babe normally. The child was too big... "

    It was now the woman would notice the guards and the man they had pinned to the wall.


    "What are you doing? That is the Lady's husband, let him go! Fathir, see to him, he looks unwell. There are high-x potions here... " Another mystery.


    "Take two of these, give them to him. They will help. Get the guards out of here, they do not need to see what needs to be done. This is a private matter. We will need more help... someone will have to keep her with us. When he is able, he needs to come speak with her. His voice will ground her."


    Alanna fixed the bard’s husband with a steady gaze. "Listen man, if you want to keep your wife alive. Start talking. Tell her anything. Just let her hear your voice. Call to her. Keep her here. Do you understand?!! She was already weakened before this. It will take all of our experience to keep her alive."

    Alanna resumed her work. The internal damage was dire. To do it incorrectly would guarantee there would be no further children. As it was the odds were slim, even with this. The bard had lost so much blood.

    A touch brushed --- on his cheek, and as if couched in love and golden light - something invisible to all the others - Ailis' goddess, Ceridwyn, the Mother, would give him strength, infusing him with a push of ... love... hope.


    Ailis was the goddess’ chosen.. There was the soft scent of spring flowers. At Ailis' head, --- would see a woman of indescribable beauty. She was red-haired, yet golden. Flowers were woven within her hair and a diaphanous, white dress moved in a breeze that was not there. . Her eyes were timeless and she smiled at the grieving man. Ailis would be enfolded in the woman's arms. With but one word, Ailis would remain.

    On the floor, Ailis' chest heaved in that final breath. The question would remain, would the exhalation be one of death or life?
    "Lady Ailis! Guards!" A sudden eruption of warm, living green light would envelope Ailis, keeping her poised on the brink of life and death. Ironically, balanced between them. Strong, hard hands would jerk the man from Ailis’ side. Though he was her husband, he had been gone long enough that these soldiers did not know who he was.


    He seemed to be the reason for the bard’s death. So he was granted no kindness or quarter. The man was slammed harshly against a stone wall. Helmed heads turned towards the fire-haired bard, jaws tight with concern. It was their watch. How, how had that happened. Hard eyes would glare from the man to the bard.

    The healer was busy trying to return Ailis' body back to its original condition, but the magics weren’t working. Two apprentices arrived amidst the chaos accompanied, bearing the accoutrements of birthing. Clean linens, draughts, sterile instruments, herb-treated water. The women gasped.

    "By the Gods, what happened? Wait, if you heal her before I do what needs to be done she will never bear another child. Where is the babe? Gods...." The healer and midwife, Alanna, knelt beside Ailis and placed a hand on her stomach.


    "She should not have borne the babe normally. The child was too big... "

    It was now the woman would notice the guards and the man they had pinned to the wall.


    "What are you doing? That is the Lady's husband, let him go! Fathir, see to him, he looks unwell. There are high-x potions here... " Another mystery.


    "Take two of these, give them to him. They will help. Get the guards out of here, they do not need to see what needs to be done. This is a private matter. We will need more help... someone will have to keep her with us. When he is able, he needs to come speak with her. His voice will ground her."


    Alanna fixed the bard’s husband with a steady gaze. "Listen man, if you want to keep your wife alive. Start talking. Tell her anything. Just let her hear your voice. Call to her. Keep her here. Do you understand?!! She was already weakened before this. It will take all of our experience to keep her alive."

    Alanna resumed her work. The internal damage was dire. To do it incorrectly would guarantee there would be no further children. As it was the odds were slim, even with this. The bard had lost so much blood.

    A touch brushed --- on his cheek, and as if couched in love and golden light - something invisible to all the others - Ailis' goddess, Ceridwyn, the Mother, would give him strength, infusing him with a push of ... love... hope.


    Ailis was the goddess’ chosen.. There was the soft scent of spring flowers. At Ailis' head, --- would see a woman of indescribable beauty. She was red-haired, yet golden. Flowers were woven within her hair and a diaphanous, white dress moved in a breeze that was not there. . Her eyes were timeless and she smiled at the grieving man. Ailis would be enfolded in the woman's arms. With but one word, Ailis would remain.

    On the floor, Ailis' chest heaved in that final breath. The question would remain, would the exhalation be one of death or life?

    From within the warm embrace of her goddess, Ailis’ gaze turned to the golden-haired, former angel that had once been her husband. Something tugged within her heart so strongly that a wish was granted before it was even uttered. Those eyes, filled with depth, would turn to look upon her husband with such a look of love, that the love exceeded the shape that her soul form maintained.

    Where she lay upon the floor, the silver feather in Ailis’ grasp flared silver-white suddenly in so bright a flash that even Ceridwyn was taken aback. The goddess’ grasp upon Ailis tightened as she protected this beautiful soul, but then the grasp loosened. The goddess nodded.

    “I see Daughter... because you are favored, I will allow this wish. Wishes can be dangerous things, when asked without thought to the consequences of the granting of them especially in such chaotic times.”


    Ceridwyn released Ailis’ soul from her comforting grasp and watched as the woman returned to the mortal world. Ceridwyn turned then and moved to look upon Ailis’ body. With a wave of her hand, Ailis’ body faded away. In the Hall of the Faery, Ailis’ body would lie in state, the effects of the natural world and time temporarily belayed.

    --- Saving the Bard - Plot backstory---
    Ailis had wished to remain ever by her husband’s side, and so, magic granted her dying wish. She would remain, but in spirit only.

    Ceridwyn had removed Ailis’ physical form to a place that would allow her body to be preserved and impacted little by the passage of time. Ailis’ body would not age naturally. For those of stout heart, the quest to return the bard's soul to her body would be a challenging one.

    Ceridwyn would look to the bard's husband, her voice as sweet as, or possibly sweeter even than, Ailis’.

    “A wish has been made with love, but it was not formed with thought. Ailis is not truly dead; I will not allow that to happen, because the skeins of fate have been tampered with by the upstart avatar’s arrival.

    Ailis will remain by your side as she wished, but only you and those possessed of the ability to see spirits will see her. Though, I suspect Others may sense her, at times. Her spirits is strong after all.”

    The goddess would smile upon Ailis like a doting mother. A feeling of love poured from Ailis as she basked in the benevolent love of her goddess. Now, her husband would see the bard, though the touch upon his form be a fleeting on again, off again feeling; not as solid as if she were there in the flesh.

    “In your dreams you will be able to hold her and hear her. In the physical world not as much. With practice, though, she may learn how affect the physical in her spirit form. To that end, I will give her the ability to intervene by the power of her Voice. When she uses it, all will hear her songs, but her abilities will be limited. She will retain a Bard’s gifts: the gifts to encourage and provide strength when there is none, to heal grievous wounds, and to give a sonic defense should it become necessary.

    But, you or another will need to allow her use of your body for her to use her gifts. She will borrow a portion of your corporeal nature, but it will take practice. The first time may be very draining. Unless she is within a body, Ailis will be mute. You will feel her emotions, though. An interesting twist, I should think, for you will now understand, your wife's gift of empathy. Fortunately for you, others emotions will be unknown to you unless she is within your body.

    This sharing is a dangerous thing, for when a soul has no home within the flesh; it sometimes seeks to say within the flesh, to be whole. I do not think Ailis would willingly steal your body...”

    --- would feel something akin to dismay and denial from Ailis. She would not do such a thing. Would she?

    "... but souls have a basic instinct and a desire for the flesh - to be whole... and your body is well-known to this soul. Do not give up possession completely. You will have to learn to work together in this. Remember, balance is key.

    There are things feed upon souls. Shadowy, hollow things that seek to fill emptiness within them. Ailis soul is light-filled. These things will be drawn to her and all in the vicinity will be endangered. Because this quest to restore the balance is so important and the ability of other Gods to interfere is limited, I am allowed to grant a few additonal gifts.

    Place this token upon each person’s blade or weapon of choice,” Within the Goddess' palm, finely wrought, silver chain would appear only to disappear and reappear upon ----s wrist. There were 5 in total.

    “When you encounter these creatures, these should provide a better chance of striking them. Though, with the Chaos avatar here, how well is yet to be seen. Ailis should try to send the creatures to their final rest. ”

    Ceridwyn moved forward, gliding across the stone floor. Stars seemed to twinkle in her wake. The Goddess knelt down to one knee, so that could look the man in the eyes. Leaning forward, she pressed her lips to --- forehead. The kiss was gentle and burned in equal measure. A map was suddenly imprinted into his memory.

    “There is one last thing, Ailis’ body is kept safe within the Hall of Fey Ones. They do this as a boon to me and in favor of her. They often sought to keep her within their realm. This is the only place a mortal body can go and not be ravaged by effects of natural laws immediately. Time flows differently there.

    When this quest is done, if you would have your wife live out her days with you, you must get Ailis' soul back to her body. If it is not returned within a sufficient length of time, it will never be able to resume that body again. Because of her wish, if she does not resume her body, when her body finally succumbs to time, her soul will not move on. When you leave this mortal coil, she will be condemned to become a shadow creatures. I am sure you would not want that for her.

    Ailis’ soul can help you find her body, but the way will not be easy. The realm of the Fey Folk is an intoxicating one for mortals. Many have been lost to its wiles and the Wilds. It is easy to forget one’s purpose there. It is easy to go mad, or be seduced, even for a spirit without a body. Remember, the Fey Folk would keep her as one their own. Their blood runs in her .

    There is an order there, but it is also chaotic. Although you may restore the balance here, the chaos that is the Wilds will remain and you will need to find a way to traverse it. Choose your companions wisely. Along this current quest, a key will be provided in a form you will not expect. This is my final and last gift. I will give back to you what was stolen, when the time is right.”

    Joy and love would emanate from Ailis . Their daughter would be returned to them! Ceridwyn reached out a hand and touched ---- upon his forehead. Healing warmth would rejuvenate his wracked body and he would be restored. The mark of the goddess would ever be imprinted between his brows, now; the mark that shone upon Ailis’ brow, as well: a curved crescent moon, turned horns upward. Within the curve of the horns a circle of intertwined lines, never broken was also visible.

    The goddess held out her hands and two items appeared: an ancient looking hourglass, carved with delicate and beautiful Celtic scroll work and a solid, wood box. The lid of the box was also engraved with Ceridwyn’s mark. The Goddess placed the hourglass within it. Eldritch light coursed scrolling designs, ending in a soft flare of light at the lock. These items, along with the key to the box were handed to the bard's husband.

    “Keep it safe. If it breaks, she will be lost to your senses. I have slowed it down as long as I am allowed. Should the sands run out ... she will become one of the Lost. Now, go. Help the others. The Unbalancer’s eye turns in my direction and I am not as strong here as I am within Tir. I do not wish his eye to fall upon our gentle realm just yet.”

    Ceridwyn moved forward quickly, passing through the pair as she returned from whence she had come.

    “Protect it! Tir is your responsibility now!”

    Upon ----'s body, other marks would appear. Knotwork and Ogham marks upon his upper arms, like sleeves, and across his back, marking him as a protector of Tir. When he traveled again to that realm and within the realm of the Fae.... IF he traveled there again... the import of these marks would be revealed.