The Monastery

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The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:50 pm

If it wasn't for the rain, the evening would be warm, even hot. There was no wind, and the raindrops fell downwards in straight, predetermined lines, forming a blanket of vertical, misty lines around the manor's windows. The smell of mould crawling from the cracks and cuts of the old building was eerie and suffocating. It had once been a sight to behold, probably spanning four or five storeys, the manor. What little of the yard had not been completely overtaken by wild marsh plants and nettles revealed some of its old grandeur. Now, however, it was mostly a heap of rotten wood and cracked tiles, only the first floor's innermost rooms left standing - this here had been a large kitchen that could produce enough food for parties that must've been a weekly occurance within these walls. You could still find rusty pans or a broken cooking knife somewhere in the rubble and the massive stone oven still clung to the stub of a chimney in fairly good condition.

He liked the mysterious, dreamlike feeling he got from the whole area, it was similar to a graveyard, where you could merely see a huge gravestone or the entrance to a mausoleum and imagine the lives buried under the dirt and rock. The last weeks had been like that constantly, walking through the ruins of this once beautiful, prosperous area, which was now a forest of decay. Timothy had advised the group to spend the night in the cellar, even though it was completely overtaken by rot and fungi - he said the remainders of the manor could collapse on the sleeping group if the wind picked up and brought a storm. Most had gone to bed already, while Monte had taken the first watch, mostly just to look at the ancient construct and imagine its days of glory. He now sat leaning to the stove and listened to the cool rain eating its way through the wood in a placid, constant drumming hum.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Solnath on Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:52 pm

Heyyenni couldn't sleep. It wasn't because she was too energetic or because the floor was quite uncomfortable even with a bedroll, but because it was physically impossible for a member of her species to lose conciousness. Usually, at night or whenever her group felt that it was time to sleep, she would lie down and relax, simply letting her thoughts drift to and fro. Being distracted was the closest her mind came to slumber and her crystalline body had no need for rest as it was in perpetual motion and exchange with itself.

Right now, she was lost in the unique melodies of the rain which mixed with the swelling pulse of the last embers fading in the stove. As always when she didn't pay attention to her fingers, they played with her blue hair that framed her lighter face in a shade so dark that it almost passed as black in the meagre light of the basement. Her eyes glistened as they caught and refracted the dying shine of their fire as her mind danced with the music she felt so attuned to and as a gust of wind brought a crescendo to the natural musical, a sigh escaped her lips as praise to the beauty that had enveloped her.

However, as always, now that she'd reached a climax, her mind was clear and focused once again and she looked around in search for something to occupy it. Although she could see well in the dark, she did not want to read her many books or write in her journal so as not to disturb her sleeping companions. Quietly, on her toes and armed with a smile, she crept to Monte whom she had noticed across the room by the stove, breathing a whisper of a playful tune as she danced between the sleeping ones.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:48 pm

"Oh hey Yen, you're up as well," Monte said with a faint smile. To him, and most of the others of the group, the strange elf was alien, aloof. He didn't mind her much, it wasn't as if he'd go to any lengths to avoid her, it was just that he seldom found anything to talk to her about. He guessed it was the same for everyone - she came with them, did her part, but she remained distant despite everything they went through together.

Monte stared through the large gap in the wall, trying to make out the humanoid figure in the thick rain. It was probably a statue standing in the yard, but right now, shrouded by the night and the sparying raindrops, it was an eerie visage. He would have loved to get closer and see it better.

"I don't think we'll have another storm tonight. I know Timothy was afraid of that," Monte said, not really being able to think of anything else to say.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Solnath on Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:23 pm

"Yes, I am, thank you very much for noticing," Yen replied without the slightest hint of sarcasm. As she was currently young once again and thus relatively inexperienced in social nuances, her choice of words often got her into some mess or another. "Are you enjoying staying up, Monte? The weather is not... appropriate for you, yes? I think that's why Timothy would be fearful of it though I must confess, it seems to me to be only rain and lightning."

As she crouched next to Monte, she noticed the figure outside and quickly covered her face with the mask she wore when in public, white with red symbols for her position in the Imperial Embassy. Pulling her hood up with one hand, she cautiously pointed at it and whispered to Monte: "Do you see him? I don't think he's one of us."


Last edited by Solnath on Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:05 pm

"It's a statue, or then he's one patient guy, standing on that pedestal for hours," Monte said, not sure if it would do anything to calm down the elf. He glanced at her quickly.
"I like being useful. And it's nice to listen to the rain. It's... yeah, it's just nice," he said clumsily in turn.

Before all this he had had all the confidence in the world. He loved people, was anxious to prove himself and never had a quiet moment. But with everything that had happened, he had found himself to be an empty bluff. He didn't really know much, only had one special skill and could not take care of himself. That one time, a year ago, flat on his back behind Timothy, who was standing between Monte and death, he'd realised his standing in the new world. He could make a fire and he could stand watch. So that's what he did. He didn't talk to anyone much anymore. Coming to a peaceful, strangely beautiful place such as this, he could at least relax.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Solnath on Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:39 pm

Yen nodded thoughtfully as she kept her gaze on the might-be statue. "I think it's one of the things that don't really change all that much. At least from what I've read in my library, the descriptions of it, say, a century ago are consistent with ones from a millennium ago." With a slight sigh, she continued, "Though I must admit, reading isn't the same as experiencing it, right? I wonder what it would be like to live through absolutely everything instead of just a slice of time." She played with her hair while the mask waxed into a meditative smile while she did what she had said.

It had been three years since Yen had left the Sanctuary. At first, the world outside being in stark contrast with her books frightened her more than it excited her, but she had long since realise that this was something New and while it was nice to sightsee places she knew about, it was thrilling to discover unexplored territories. As her mind wandered, she remembered something that gave her an idea.

"Maybe it's both!" she exclaimed as quietly as she could, her voice like silk on steel. "Perhaps it was some ancient knight who defied the fearsome witch mother of his bride-to-be and then got cursed and turned into stone. That would be really great."

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:08 pm

"I don't know. I think it'd be sad," he said, after a moment of pondering. He repositioned himself and avoided looking at the elf in the eye.
"Even if he could be, you know, unfrozen, he'd be lost. Everything's changed. He wouldn't know what to do," he said with a hushed mumble. He could now see the statue clear - focusing on it let him sense its shape. It wasn't a knight. It was just a woman, who'd lost her arms and her face. There seemed to be no point to be standing on the pedestal anymore without them.

A murmuring, distant thunder crawled across the horizon. He tried to listen to everybody - their breath, heartbeat - through the falling rain. The elf was the loudest living thing here. There were some small creatures, birds or small mammals living in the ruins. He decided to ask if they could stay a day or two.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Solnath on Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:34 pm

"He could do anything," Yen whispered, her eyes fixed in the distance as her mind ran across the scenario with leaps and bounds. "He would be completely free, unbound by his past and our present. That's why losing things is good for you; you can't rely on the past anymore and have to focus on the future. Think about it: if you could just drop anything and begin anew without a worry in the world, wouldn't you want to?"

Her smile waxed quixotic as she turned her face towards Monte and unleashed a barrage of questions. "Do you like lizards? I want one of the paradise lizards that live in the jungle kingdom up north. Have you ever seen them? I love their colouring and the sleekness of their bodies and their smooth and brilliantly shining scales and the way they can roll around without a care in the world," she said before inhaling in a strange way, somehow managing to incorporate a sigh into the action. "If I ever have free time, I hope I can become one of them."

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:08 pm

"I don't mind lizards," Monte answered monotonously. He wondered if the elf realised how different she was, how alone when compared to the others. He hadn't really thought about it, mostly he had thought of her a nuisance, this was the first time, Monte thought, he'd seen her like that - speaking like she didn't want to be here, or herself, or that she was afraid. Something like that. He had already decided to stop talking to her so she'd leave him to listen to the rain. Instead he turned to the elf and squinted his eyes a little.

He wish he had some way of sensing emotions. Faces only told so much, though at times, when he tried hard like this, he could see smaller expressions under the reugular ones, many so complicated he didn't really understand what he saw. He looked her intensly without a word for a moment.
"I never know what to say to you. You talk so much and don't say much. I don't know if you want to chit chat about lizards or if you want to tell me something," he said - probably the longest sentence he'd ever given her.
"Or whatever the fuck, you know," he added.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Solnath on Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:33 pm

Yen's head tilted as she listened to the man next to him. After he finished, she waited for a while silently in case he would continue and seeing that he didn't, she removed the mask to reveal a beaming smile. "First of all," she started, laying the long index finger of her free hand on the mask as if to count off a list. "I think it's really fantastic that someone, somewhere, is able to find such a perfect state of existence that they see no need to infringe on others but instead bring beauty and pleasure to their surroundings. I think people might be much happier if they just looked up to such behaviour and strived to be like paradise lizards, living in complete harmony with their surroundings."

Her middle finger landed on the mask. "Secondly, when I talk I say exactly what I'm thinking about. I think about so many things that sometimes my ideas bump into each other a bit too messily, but that's just unavoidable because I love life. Furthermore, if you don't think I'm saying anything, then you aren't listening to me as I don't merely spew noise from my mouth - I mean every single word that I say."

Her ring finger joined the other two. "Finally, you can say whatever you want to. It doesn't matter what it is, I'll cherish every word."

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:28 am

Monte stared blankly at her, trying to interpret her face. He recalled the times when her mother would tell him: "You better listen to your dad, he's got his angry face on." He remembered looking at that stone face and try to find any indication of the man's disdain. His father had been a silent authority, barely speaking at all, commanding a powerful respect from his family and peers despite never expressing his anger verbally or physically. Monte had always obeyed swiftly when his mother had said those words. Maybe he just was a shitty judge of character.

"You guys all like that? Elves," he asked curtly.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Tshern on Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:43 pm

The nightly discussion between Monte and Yen had continued only a while before it was interrupted by the sound of someone's steps echoing in the gloomy room. It was not difficult to guess whose steps those were, the only possibility was Gavin, who had disappeared three days ago to the lush forest like he had done so many times before. However, he would always come back unharmed and usually with some new information or even food. Everyone stopped asking him about his odd habit after a few times and even before that Gavin would only explain he saw something interesting, wanted to scout the area or give just about any imaginable reason. His answers sounded like feeble excuses at best, but for reasons uknown no-one in the group had urged him to tell his true motives. For an outsider this would smell of willful ignorance and, to an extent, that is accurate, but a closer inspection would quickly reveal why Gavin's behaviour has been tolerated: So far his trips have been extremely beneficial to the party. Perhaps deep inside everyone's mind they feared Gavin's positive attitude would fade away if someone would suddenly start questioning him.

Seconds later Gavin's tall figure entered the room and torch light revealed the face of a middle-aged man with supernaturally glowing yellow eyes. His body often looked translucent, another mystery he had yet to explain, but now his very presence alone seemed to make the entire room that much more tangible, tough and sturdy.

Gavin rarely started any discussions, but this time he let out a whisper, although it was as if he was communicating with the room rather than Yen and Monte. "You two are not letting a beautiful night like this to go to waste either?"

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:13 pm

"Oh hey. Welcome back," Monte said and nodded. Even if there was something surreal about the older man, he had always seemed a lot more compatible with everyone than the elf, and like everyone else, Monte liked him. When it came to usefulness or value, Gavin was incomparable, something of a utility. It had been none other than Gavin, who'd dragged him out of the ruins of that old bar and presented him to Timothy.

"Found anything, man?" Monte asked him casually.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Tshern on Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:25 pm

Before answering Gavin walked right next to Monte leaving a trail of water from his wet clothes and sat down. "Some of the birds are moving and I managed to hunt down a few and I tried to draw a map of the surroundings of this mansion."

The second of silence before Gavin continued his speech was filled with anticipation, even yearning. Usually he briefly described his adventure and his speech was captivating like a high quality book or play, but this time he merely pointed to his bag he left next to the staircase and said "One of the birds is already prepared and it's edible although you might want to warm it up a bit. Dig in if you are hungry."

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Reverend Red on Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:32 pm

"Let's save it for everyone. Unless Yen wants it," he said, almost disregarding her presence in the kitchen. Monte looked at Gavin with keen interest, he was surprisingly easy to read, his expressions and body language were extremely familiar somehow.

Monte remembered his premonition from the other night suddenly. He never really discussed his visions or foresight, and this was one of those he hadn't said anything about.
"Did you see anyone? Like, a person?" he asked, wondering if Gavin's behaviour could be related to meeting someone.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Tshern on Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:58 pm

"The past few days have been foggy, I so I can't say anything for sure. Last night I saw two primate figures moving on the other side of the river, but tracking them would've been a futile effort. Their stride was quite human-like, none of the wavering of gorillas and the like. As said, the visibility was poor, but this is what my instincts tell me. Why do you ask?"

Gavin was always interested in hearing the thoughts, opinions and stories of the others and he was often able to provide more insight or a new perspective to almost any dilemma. His train of thought was impossible to follow, but the results spoke for themselves.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Solnath on Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:53 pm

Yen shook her head and patted her robes slightly to signify that her leather pack of revitalising crystals almost half-full. Reminded by the notion of food, however, she released the clasps binding her left glove to the sleeve and, raising her arm against the light, saw that she was indeed growing mildly transparent. Double-checking, she peered inside her robe, and saw that she was already radiating an extremely faint golden light on the cloth. Taking out a single brown crystal from the pack, she placed it in her mouth and swallowed. Nigh instantly a crisp and cool feeling spread through her body as if she were a woman-shaped pool being filled with ice water.

Having thus avoided the very annoying, though not explicitly dangerous, consequences of not eating, Yen turned her full attention to the other two as she covered herself again, suckling on the bittersweet aftertaste in her mouth while she quietly listened to their ongoing discussion. Although she loved being involved in conversations, if more people were participating, she preferred to take a more passive role, speaking only when spoken to unless it became imperative for her to address some issue that had come up. After all, she had a long time ahead of her to spend talking while most others, being much more mortal than she was, had to hurry to express theirselves in what she considered to be a brief stint in the world of the living. It was merely good manners to give such people a chance to live, even if only for such a mournfully short period.

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Re: The Monastery

Post by Tshern on Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:46 pm

Gavin waited for Monte's answer, but apparently he was too deep in his thoughts and speculations to do so quickly enough and in a few seconds Gavin had already moved away closer to the wall. It must have been the darkness that engulfed him, but he seemed to disappear the instant he opened the bedroll. Yet both Monte and Yen knew he was there and the illumination of the torch still created a shadow clearly visible on the wall.

Once more did Gavin's face become visible, when he said "I think I could have some sleep. The others will wake in a few hours, but that should be enough for me too. Unless you, of course, have anything to ask."

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