What You Wish For

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Astaroth, Jan 5, 2014.

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  1. The doors to the Emerald Witch's tower were open.

    True to its mistress's name, the tower clung to a verdant decor, all viridian glass and chartreuse marble that fitted together so seamlessly that it could only have been crafted by sorcery. The intricate carvings of beasts and flowers that scrolled along every inch of the walls seemed to flicker and shift subtly in the light of the great central sconce that illuminated the antechamber; it was hard to say whether it was a trick of the dim witchlight or if it might in fact be some sort of enchantment.

    It was in this chamber that the guests of the Witch stood waiting.

    They had trickled in by ones and twos over the past three days. The Witch herself had not yet emerged from the upper floors. Instead, her guests found themselves presented with food and bedding by invisible servants, and a disembodied voice drifted in echoing whispers through the chamber:

    You must wait a little longer.

    Two of their number chose not to wait.

    The second day had brought more of the same for those who remained. Their bedding was made fresh, hot food was served, and so they cooled their heels in the antechamber at their hostess's pleasure. Any new arrivals quickly caught on to the circumstances, or at least accepted the whispered instructions.

    Wait just a little longer, the voice coaxed them, soft and shadowy like spider's silk.

    Some simply showed themselves the way out, braving once more the forest's perils rather than linger.

    On the third and final day- this very day- one last guest staggered across the threshold, and finally, there came a new message to those who had chosen the path of patience. It seemed that they were to be rewarded at last.

    I will come down to you now, the Witch's words caressed their ears. All are here. All shall be made known to you... Why I have called you, and how you shall be repaid...

    From above, the sounds of grinding metal drowned these sweet promises out, accompanied by a great shudder that ran through the core of the tower and left the floor trembling beneath their gathered feet.

    The Emerald Witch was descending upon them. There was no turning back.

  2. Green moths fluttered around Serik's head - the kind that could be seen congregating around toadstools in the deep of the forest and the dead of the night, or flocking to a cow carcass at the edge of the pasture with its belly bloated from eating a lethal amount of clover. And although he was fairly certain he was neither a mushroom nor rotting, these particular moths were very interested in Serik. He was perfectly unaware, or rather, he'd simply tuned them out over the course of his three-day visit. If there was ever a patient person it was him, though let's just say that this hadn't always been the case. His youth had gone a little something like what he was watching right now.

    The other "guests" paced and chatted and no doubt complained just a little. He was certain he could guess what was going through their minds at the moment but he wasn't one to snark or give his opinion without it first being requested. And besides, regardless of how many remained in the end, there would at least be one and that would be the one who truly mattered: himself. His goal, or now his "wish" as the invitation had put it, was a very important one. He wanted nothing more and nothing else. So wait he did, patiently.

    Considering the many years he'd already been waiting, what was a few more days? He'd come through a myriad of troublesome events just to arrive here at the witch's tower. He'd fought beasts encountered not since times he'd long forgotten, lost in the fog that hung over his mind. Seldom could Serik recall parts of his past and quite possibly even his writer could not wade her way through the wisping white where there should have been images and words and emotions laid out by colors. But there was nothing. A blank page with but illegible indents upon the surface as though at one point someone had been writing too hard on the page above it. And so quite often Serik refrained from looking over his shoulder, unless he absolutely had to, and instead kept his gaze forward and on occasion a memory would surface on its own.

    A moth landed upon his nose and for a moment he left it there, gazing at it with eyes crossed just to see it more clearly. It fluttered its wings and walked a circle before he gave a swift huff of air and blew it away. He must have sparked a chuckle or two - someone so serious looking going cross-eyed all of a sudden. A sigh left his lips and he lifting one gloved hand to push back his wild, black bangs and itch the shaved left side of his head. Subconsciously, the scratching lowered to his neck, just below the hairline where there were just a few tiny glyphs glowing softly blue on his skin, peeking out from under the hood he wasn't currently wearing.

    The hood was black and soft, warm material and a part of the tunic he wore under the brown with black-and-silver strapped jerkin that spanned his athletic chest. For his age, he was remarkably in shape, though he supposed if compared to an Elf, he would lose in all categories accept the ability to survive dire odds. There was blue in his outfit, because he found that old habits die hard and he could not part with his uniform. Blue fabric covered two-thirds of his torso from the left and tucked under a bind at the waist of the same color and material and continued down to stop at his knee. The bind was decorated with two silver belts and a flat ornament with three tassels. The blue over his chest was a banner of a sorts, though the tradition had long since been lost to these younger generations. The same blue was the focus of his wrist guards and greaves. His boots and breeches black. On his hip Serik carried a dagger and resting against the smooth, cold marble wall near his feet was his bow with arrows and his sword in its sheath, Ismirmur. Vibrant amber eyes watched the others while they went about their business, the dark beneath them telling of a tiredness that only few ever really felt.

    But above being tired, he was wary. They were in the house of the witch and if experience was any service to him at all, witches were not to be trusted. In his twenty odd years as a Postman, he'd never once received a letter addressed to himself and yet there it had been, as clear as day when he'd opened up his pack to retrieve a message. The green ink alone had raised warning flags and upon reading the message thoroughly, Serik had been very...curious. Fate was serving him something particularly foul this time, he was certain of it. But he would follow it through nonetheless. It is what it is. You can't change the past. You can only just keep moving forward and work with the hand Fate dealt you. And Fate had dealt him a potential way to reach his goal.

    Soft words floated their way into his attention now like a grand thought just upon waking in the morning. These words were smooth and silky and he felt perfectly violated because he wasn't hearing them with his ears but with his mind. He had no time at all to erase the thought that witches could not be trusted and wondered if it would anger her. Serik tried to determine whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps bad, judging on how the ground now shook with ferocity. Stooping to pick up Ismirmur, the quiet Postman stood straight again and turned his attention toward the entrance he assumed the witch would arrive from.

    Would she be beautiful? Hideous? It mattered not. As long as she upheld her end of the bargain, he would remain and listen to her proposal.
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  3. A soft cool wind blew across the grass and through the open door of the tower causing leaves and tufts of dandelion seed to tumble with it around the feet of the waiting. This was the third day this wind had been in this place, unusual because winds do not usually wait. They tumble to and fro across the earth bringing with them soft breezes, gentle rains, and terrifying storms. But wait this wind did. Blowing around the tower’s antechamber or through the yard, sometimes coming to rest and sit nearly invisible in a patch of flowers or upon its assigned bedding.

    This wind was unlike most winds most travelers would have met. This wind was the type that could stop if it liked to say hello, though it was mostly ignored. This wind blew where it willed, and right now it willed to be at the witch’s house, waiting with the others.

    It had taken a long time to get there by most traveler’s reckoning, for the wind did not naturally travel as the crow flies, but as the wind currents sail. Hopping from one current to the next always in the same general direction, but taking a sail to the side or back again for every two or three moves forward. But it had made it. Through the territories of the other winds, past storms, and gales, through dark mountains, and over abandoned plains until it had reached the perilous woods. It was here things got dangerous. Here things lived that could harm even the wind.

    Perhaps there were things like that elsewhere in the world. With this one trip’s exception it had kept in the northern iced lands all its life. A place of snow and very few villages. There were many things that could exist in the unknown world, things that could harm the wind. The wind did not know. It was not the wind’s job to participate. Hopefully that would soon change.

    That’s why the wind was waiting. It had been an observer so long that a few days more hardly mattered.

    So it waited, and sailed about to relieve its boredom, occasionally hovering to listen to the conversation of the others that were present, but no one talked to the wind. No one ever thinks to talk to the wind, even when the wind has a name.

    Eira, daughter of the north.
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  4. Inalu was keeping to himself. He sat in front of a campfire he made for himself when he first arrived. His cloak was big enough to hide his entire body, which was sitting cross legged under the heavy fabric. The skull helmet spared lookers the horror of seeing his face. Though, he wasn't always scaring people. Sometimes they laughed at him instead.

    Nothing of him was revealed really, except for part of his right arm. Furry fingers were wrapped tightly around his sacred staff, keeping it standing upright so that the skull ornament pointed at the sky. Even though his other hand looked more 'normal', this one could stay warm more easily.

    Every so often, the shaman would have a pipe in his lips. He would move the helmet up his head a little, just to make enough room to smoke. There were varying scents of different herbs and homemade products that he would inhale. The aromas were for the most part pleasing, and the smoke was safe to breathe in. He hated to be the cause of an embarrassingly bad odor, or a toxic smoke.

    Smoke filtered through his lips and nostrils while he pondered on the reason for him being where he was. This was a question not even he could answer. Usually, the spirits had all the answers. Or they at least nudged him in the right direction, so he could find his own answers. This one time, their voices were mute.

    All he could do was wait.

    As he cleaned the ashes from his pipe so he could return it to his survival bag, the voice of a woman caught his attention. The time had come? Everyone was where they belonged?

    Inalu sat on his knees in front of his fire so he could silently pray. As the seconds ticked by, the fire shrunk until it was nothing at all. The smoke collecting above the fire pit twisted into the shape of a gazelle that pranced around until the wind blew it away.

    With that all taken care of, he got up to his feet. Inalu held his staff in both hands this time, his eyes watching through his mask where he expected to see this mysterious witch.
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  5. The story of Nichon's past (open)
    Nichon, the locksmith's daughter had lived in the villa of the Demarcus for just about all her life. Her earliest memories were playing in the gardens there. Her parents had been brought into the employment of the lord when she was still in her swaddling cloth. At the bottom of the hill from the villa was the port city of Cammus. It was there that the exotics from around the world would come to their small part of the world.

    The reason that Nichon's family had been brought to the villa, which was a much larger estate then the term might have implied, was not because of her father, though he was a talented artesian who the lord put to work immediately, but because of Nichon's mother, who came from a long line of button makers. Between the in house arts and crafts and the imports, the Demarcus was making a lasting name for itself.

    This name could have been cut short when the lord and his lady were brutally killed upon the country road. Robbery gone awry or assassination it mattered not, they were dead and left their young son to keep their legacy going.

    Nichon had been there for the son, named David, as both a friend, for they grew up together, and an advisor. For while she had not the inclination to follow in either of her parents' foot steps, she had been carving her own niche in the household, first assisting and then running the villa library.

    Her kindness, her organizational skills, and her knowledge of the household made her the ideal person in David's mind to be in charge of the household, just as his mother had been. It was generally acknowledged she was but a place holder until David married.

    Eventually David did marry, though it was many years later and everyone was quite use to how the villa was run. The marriage had been political, though David did not enter into it without at least liking his bride and if there was not love there was fondness, attraction and respect. By all accounts a good start for a marriage.

    The end of the honeymoon meant the end of life as Nichon knew it. Her possition was unneeded she could see. David had married a woman more then capable of running the household and Nichon had given over the keys without protest. She was even allowed to continue doing certain tasks, though it felt more like busy work. To make matters worse the servants and even villagers were still coming to her, not David's bride Emily, for assorted household matters.

    Emily and Nichon were not rivals, but they were carefully circling each other, threatened by the other woman's position. It seemed very likely things would go badly as an unintended slight might give rise to a true reason for enmity.

    One day, not long ago, Nichon was at her desk in the library. It was normally tighty, but somehow over the last week minor correspondences had gotten ahead of her. She then saw a letter addressed to her, but in the most bizzar manner. Not to Nichon locksmith's daughter, but rather Buttondaughter. It was not something she discussed, but Nichon had little fondness of her father for her was an abusive drunkard. Becoming David's key holder had become a protection against his behavior, but not for her mother. That is until his drunkardness got him killed.

    Nichon opened the letter. It was not very long, but she stared at it for a good twenty minutes or more. The question why was at the forefront of her mind, but she couldn't fathom the reason. She finally gave up on the question for a more productive one. Could she go?

    There was nothing really holding her back. Her mother would protest though. David might too. She felt trapped. If she asked him and he said no, then what?

    There was someone else she could ask, and her answer had more weight then even David's for it was directly related to what she managed, the household. Nichon sought out Emily.

    "Let me see if I understand you correctly," Emily said as she paced, the letter from the Emerald Witch being tapped on her chin. "You are asking my permission to leave?"

    "Yes m'lady. If you do not feel you are ready to relinquish me from my services, I understand, but..."

    "Honestly. Nichon I have been trying to find a way to get you out from underfoot! Do not misunderstand me, I understand your worth here, but I am not getting the respect I deserve because of you. Oh don't make that face I know it's not your intention, but you must admit I am often an afterthought when decisions need to be made in house. No, you leaving for a short time will be helpful."

    Nichon felt relieved. Emily was being honest with her it seemed and her opinion was not as bad as Nichon feared it might be.

    "I am worried though, this request, it may not be something you wish to do, despite the obvious payoff. I shan't ask what you would want, but I will ask you this, if the price is too large, and you do say no, do not come home right away."

    Nichon looked at Emily in shock.

    "Like I said before I've been looking for a way to get you out from under foot. Two months, or three. You can visit the capital or sail to where your mother's family is from. I care not, but I will give you wages enough to ensure you travel as an important member of this household should. You must send us a letter though to let us know your intention. David is going to be upset you left without saying good bye, if he doesn't know where you've gone off to, well you know better then I what might happen."

    Nichon finally found her voice. "You're too generous..."

    "I am not, and I shall tell you why. Your position is yours to reclaim, so long as you return before I give birth."


    "Yes, but you are not going to tell a soul. You are going to pack and then leave at dawn."

    Since this had been what Nichon had hoped to do anyways she only nodded.

    And that was how Nichon left home. Emily wasn't wanting to get rid of Nichon out of malice, just necessity and she had a place to come back to (if she wanted). At dawn, upon a grey mare, Nichon headed off the the Emerald Witch's tower. That was a most amazing adventure. She helped a leprechaun recover his gold. Played the pipes for a troop of dancing pixies and even got to pet one of the fabled unicorns and in it's eyes she saw reflected the whole of the world, both the beautiful and the gruesome and it was with tears in her eyes that she arrived at the tower.
  6. I would sell my soul to dream you.

    They say be careful what you wish for. That what you desire can become bittersweet. What could be worth the price of a soul? A love wild and without constraints. Molten amber eyes and honeyed promises. For what seems to be unreal, impossible, too amazing to be true... it is. Pretty lies spun by a master wordsmith.

    True love wins all, but when the true love isn't yours to claim a soul for a wish no longer seems to be a good deal.

    And when the wish has been granted, it's too late. There is no going back.

    Nikella Candereu stood away from the others, arms folded delicately over snow white fabric. She could have easily been mistaken for a queen, draped in shimmering silk and lace, black hair piled on top her head and pined in place with pearls. Her posture was regal, stiff, authoritative. She did not smile, nor did she speak. In fact, this woman had not spoken since the moment she arrived. Those that dared to approach her received a cold stare and nothing more.

    Her journey to this strange tower was not perilous. Perhaps it was wrought with dangers, death and blood. Nikella noticed none of it. She had no fear, she had no feeling. The things she saw in the forest did not shock her, nor move her to tears. There was but one moment that gave her pause. Thinking about it now had her fingers tightening around her arms.

    Nikella's arrival to the witch's abode came without ceremony. On the first day and even the second, she had entertained the thought of leaving. Walking away and forgetting about the strange invitation. A wish was a powerful thing. A thing that could be twisted and turned. But a wish was also irresistible. With the right words a wish could fix anything, be anything. A witch with a request would repay you with something special. That alone was what made her stay. If should could have a wish from a witch...

    After all, Nikella already sold her soul. There was nothing else she could lose.
  7. The journey to the Witch's tower had been a particularly taxing one, but not because of the distance. No, if it had only been that, then Gilbert would have slaved through it, then he would have broken through the forests, the mountains, the deserts and the hills using only good steel and the curse of a gift that he got so many years ago. Before him, even the steepest staircases were nothing, even the hottest deserts were pools of cool water. Not one element could stand in his way, because he had his princess to protect, the fair maiden to whom he pledged his life. Hardships meant nothing if his cause was clear, if his goal shined before him like the morning star. But now? When Blodwen was getting worse despite all the remedies that he has discovered, all the wise men he visited? Gilbert was losing hope, but he still desperately clung to the goal that he claimed as his.

    However, even so, Gilbert could have easily made the journey alone. The problem was that he was not alone, and that was not meant in a good sense. Though he still had the companionship of his princess, the king has finally caught on to his movements, sending his royal guards after the one who supposedly kidnapped the princess who had such a bright future in front of her. Or at least that was what her parents kept telling themselves, that was why they wanted her back at all costs, that was why they sent their greatest soldiers after them. Each town that the two fugitives fled through was swarming with knights loyal to the country, people whom Gilbert respected, but people against whom his hand was forced should they spot them. It was a game of hide-and-seek, a nerve-wracking version of cat-and-mouse that grinded against Gilbert's soul at every opportunity.

    Building after building, the man that used to be one of the best royal guards had to shake people down, duck into alleyways, or try to disappear in a crowd of people. Night after night, Gilbert could not sleep because even the slightest noise woke him, even if it was as much as a mouse walking on the floor. Yet regardless of all that, he kept going without resting, without stopping or without looking back. Whenever he would start to lose his resolve, he just thought of the smiling face of Blodwen, recalled the old memories that were in the back of his mind. He remembered the sweet childhood that the sickly princess had, then he remembered the day that the disease took her and he renewed his promise to her.

    But despite all that, when Gilbert Dunst finally arrived at the tower of the Witch, he was exhausted. His legs felt like lead weights, his eyes had big purple bags under them, his posture was nothing short of devastated and his consciousness was hazy. He could barely throw open the door that lead into the great chamber where everyone waited, because his arms had lost their strength a long time ago and when he finally could sit down, he just collapsed. But his body kept moving. Regardless of the exhaustion in his limbs, the royal guard knew that he had to release the seal on the Atlas Shield lest Blodwen become permanently bounded to it, so his fingers worked the mechanism. With a click, the strange plates in the centre of his shield-covered forearm rotated into position, thus the spell was completed. The gem lit up, then the process started.

    Gilbert did not see when thin strands of light started to reach out from the strange machinery, feeling aroud for empty air that they could fill, nor could he see when these strands started to come together into thin fabric, because he had long passed out from exhaustion then. He did not see how the thin fabric slowly blossomed into a shape over the course of many minutes, nor did he see how this shape took upon the contours and then the colours of Blodwen Yates, the crown princess of Volnaa, the one person for whom everyone in the country prayed so that she may get better.

    To Blodwen, the sight before her was a nightmare. She did not know what was happening around her while she was in the Atlas Shield, so she only was aware that Gilbert went to seek out something else, a tower of a famous Witch who promised to grant their wish. She really did not expect to see the collapsed man in front of her, sprawled out as if he was poisoned or killed, but she forced the fear down her throat. With trembling hands, the princess pressed her fingers to the neck of the guard as she was taught to, then she felt that he was still alive. A wave of relief flooded over her at that, but then she steeled her nerves again, realising that this was not the end of it. Gathering her strength, the princess forced herself to search the limp body of Gilbert for food and water.

    After all, even though she was sick, she was still the princess of her people, one who would eventually ascend into a queen. She had to take care of her people. Even if that meant being feverish for a day. Even if that meant meeting Gilbert's death glare when he woke up and she was washing his face. Even if that meant wrapping Gilbert in the blanket that helped to relieve her pain and enduring the pain until it was given back to her.
  8. He was one of the first to arrive, not by virtue of his strength (of which he possessed enough.) or his persistance (which he could not live without.) but simply by virtue of living closer to the witch than most of the other individuals present. As such, he situated himself in a corner from where he barely moved except to eat or sleep, and even so usually was back before anyone could have presumed him missing. The message had found him through the sounds of the forest, the ears and mouths of the woodland creatures had carried it from the tower to his lair on the outskirts of the woods. It had not contained any words, ofcourse. Regular animals were not capable of such feats. not REGULAR animals.

    He had understood the message though. The mystical summons that, though he was not obligated, drew him to the tower like a moth to flame. Surprisingly, there had been people there when he arrived, though none of them spoke to the animal that had sauntered in, eyes looking at them with an intellect far superior to what one would expect out of a bear. Not even the plate-armor, forged by a terrified armor smith to the custom specifications of it's wearer, raised any eyebrows in his present company. Could be that they were all exhausted from their trip, though it could also be they had seen stranger things on their way to the tower or were expecting very strange things to happen AT the tower. It covered the bear from shoulder to toes, though his claws were free to do as he wished with them, and the protection of his neck was left to supple ring mail. This armor, unlike most plate-armors, could also bend at the waist. Allowing the bear to walk on all fours should it be desired.

    His seven and a half feet were impressive for a bear, though not by far the biggest bear people had witnessed, so once one was accustomed to the bear in armor THAT was no surprise. However, the grim look on that all too human looking bearhead might give some people pause. He was not here to socialise with all these fortune seekers, these other individuals who had been caught in the web of promise the witch had spun. He was here to do the thing the witch wanted from him and get his desire, his only desire ever since his concsiousness had started taking the current form. Ever since his mouth and throat had learned how to speak the tongues of man and elf. And ever since he had started studying what lived just beyond his own domain.

    So as the witch announced her arrival, he stepped out of the shadows of his corner and crossed his arms over his chest. Things were finally getting interesting.
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