/~/ A Note /~/
You do not need to read each part of this chapter, but reading the diary, the fortunes, and the history of the town will help!
/~/ The Restaurant /~/
With ease, Lexi lights the tip of a branch on fire, then hands the makeshift torch to Venus. They all take a deep breath before entering the restaurant.
The flickering light reveals a more frightening scene than Aelar could describe before. Blood. Everywhere. Plates shattered by bloodied hands. Broken chairs adorned with pearls of blood like a twisted necklace. Nobody can imagine what created such a massive splatter. Everybody can agree the horrific site reeks of death itself.
Lexi is the first to step through the doorway, preparing to whip out her lance, followed by Venus, gripping the torch tightly, then Aelar, scanning the interior for anything more out of the ordinary than what is now ordinary. They make their way to the back wall across sharp fragments of glass and warped wood in a cruel game of hopscotch.
“It… it looks fairly recent,” Aelar remarks as the three circle around the dried pool of blood where the corpse was found. Venus wrinkles her nose in reaction to the stench.
“She’s not lying, then, about the death.” Lexi mutters, her grip tightening on the lance.
Suddenly, a cold gust of wind thieves the trio of their light, knocking Venus’s torch to the ground and extinguishing it! The tropical humidity that was so relaxing becomes only a memory, and a haunting melody sung by a melancholic voice begins:
“Oh, wrap me in my kingdom’s flag,
And lay me in the cold blue sea.
Let the roaring of the waves
My solemn requiem be.
And I shall sleep a pleasant sleep,
While storms above their vigils keep.”
“It’s a ghost.” Aelar murmurs, glancing around wildly, waiting for them to reveal themself.
“You know the lore, what are they singing?” Lexi whispers to Venus.
“I- I don’t know. It’s a shanty, that’s for sure.”
With an sudden thud, an invisible force hurls a small, withered book in front of the group! The chill disappears, and broken lanterns lining the walls are lit up.
“The ghost, it’s gone.” Lexi says slowly.
After Aelar feels no magical presence in the book, Venus scoops it up. Besides the book, it looks like there are no other objects of interest in the room, so the three leave the building quickly.
Sitting down on the rickety wooden staircase, Venus begins flipping through the water worn book. It seems to be a diary.
“How do I know where to look?” She asks nervously.
“Go to the most recent passage,” Aelar suggests.
/~/ The Diary /~/
The Last Passage
“Ok, this is the last one they wrote,” Venus says, before reading:
"I thought after I ended things, after I told L my love for N is true, she would stop. But after she visited me last night, L disguised herself and stopped N on the beach and demanded answers to questions about me. I’m so scared, it seems like L’s warriors are preparing for battle… something she promised me they wouldn’t do again. Hopefully if N and I just keep our heads down, she’ll leave us alone. As long as L never finds out N and I are engaged.
“Warriors?” Lexi exclaims. “And what battle?”
The Previous Passage
“Here, I’ll read the entry before it,” Venus says quickly. “Maybe that’ll explain the last one?”
“N looks so beautiful tonight. I closed the restaurant and cooked us dinner. As the sun set, we climbed onto the small porch overlooking the ocean. All of the oranges and pinks reflected into the still water like a painting, and when I looked back at N she was down on her knee! I’m so happy I can barely manage to write this without giggling with joy. The ring is simple, it’s silver with a small pearl, but N travelled so far to find a blacksmith she could afford, it means so much to me. But as I watch N sleeping soundly, I remember N with guilt, and how she was when I left her… even though we’ve grown apart I have go to her and tell her I can’t be with her.
“N could be Nulara.” Aelar thinks aloud, tracing patterns in the sand around his boots with his staff.
“And N could also be her sister, Nephis.” Lexi counters.
Before either could argue, they notice the sun disappearing behind the ocean. With haste, the trio jumps to their feet and hurries to the inn.
/~/ The Tavern /~/
“All we have to do is gather information, then leave,” Kainda murmurs, eyes focused on the well-lit tavern in front of her.
“…And a couple of drinks won’t hurt, right?” Medsashi asks playfully.
A silence answers his question.
“Ok, ok, I get it, strictly business,” Medashi says, tone matching Kainda’s
As they grow closer, they hear rowdy voices and drunken songs, along with off-key lute music. Kainda attempts to step through the doorway but Medsashi tugs her aside. Instinctually, Kainda tears his hands off of her and crosses her arms.
“Wait, wait, wait-” Medsashi quickly explains “-are you forgetting your gigantic crossbow? You think those fishermen will welcome in a crazy ranger girl with a 20 pound crossbow?”
“…Good point,” Kainda replies, removing the crossbow from her back. “But you have to remove your scimitar.”
“Well, it’s pretty small, I don’t think-”
Kainda’s cold stare cuts him off, and he quickly removes the weapon, nestling it in the bush next to her crossbow.
“I love the whole super-scary-silent thing you’ve got going on, but maybe you shouldn’t… do that,” Medsashi whispers as they enter the tavern, greeted with a cacophony of music and talking.
She rolls her eyes in reply and forces a fake smile. Medsashi’s eyes widen in surprise.
“Don’t say anything,” Kainda whispers through her teeth. It takes a lot of effort for Medsashi not to laugh.
The two seat themselves somewhat distanced from the large crowd of fishermen, but before they can settle in, a group of three gypsies beckon them over. Intrigued, Medsashi stands up and notices a deck of tarot cards laid out on the table in front of the gypsies.
The gypsy sitting in the middle, dressed in red, smiles at him and whispers something into the gypsy in blue on the left’s ear, her jewelry jingling as she leans over.
The third gypsy in green stands up and walks over to Medsashi and Kainda, who watches intently from a bar stool.
“Hmm, what are you two doing here?” She asks slowly, fingering a small crystal attached to one of many necklaces draped across her chest.
“We could ask the same of you; you’re not exactly a normal bar patron either,” Kainda replies, standing from her stool.
“No need to worry, Kainda.” The gypsy drawls coolly, “We know who you are, although we didn’t expect you to arrive at this time.”
The gypsy touches Kainda’s shoulder to lead her to the table, and Kainda stiffens in response, but obliges in shock.
“Don’t think we forgot about you, Medsashi,” the gypsy in red calls. “There are five seats at this table, after all.”
Though usually Medsashi would have a witty retort ready, their knowledge of him and Kainda makes him speechless.
“Ask a question, both of you, before we proceed,” The red gypsy murmurs.
/~/ The Fortunes /~/
“Ok, um, what am I like in the future?” Medsashi asks.
The gypsy in red stretches out a slender hand embellished with colorful crystal rings and shimmering metal bracelets to push the deck over to Medashi. “Cut the deck.”
He does as told, and she takes four cards from the deck then spreads them onto the wooden table in the shape of a diamond. She flips the cards over in one fluid motion, her jewelry clinking together:
The Hanged Man, The Devil, The Tower, The Judgement
“The Hanged Man,” she announces, gesturing grandly, “you will always be ready to make sacrifice. Like the Devil, you shall want something in return for these sacrifices. The Tower means disaster, which can only be expected. What is a sacrifice with reward? And finally, the Judgement: when disaster strikes, you must do what the situation calls for, even becoming a martyr, something you fear.”
Before Medsashi can react, the gypsy in blue sweeps the four cards into the deck and shuffles them smoothly.
“Your turn, Kainda,” the red gypsy smiles, revealing crooked teeth behind pink lips.
“Ask any question.”
“Fine, what am I like in the future?”
Reluctantly, Kainda removes the top half of the cards, and the gypsy begins laying out her diamond of cards then flipping them over as she did for Medsashi.
The Hermit, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Wheel of Fortune
“The Hermit,” she begins, eyes wide with excitement, “quite self-explanatory; you will avoid interfering in the lives of others, perhaps to protect yourself, though it may become a fault. Similar to the High Priestess, you see what others do not, and because of your nature, those who should take your advice may refuse to. Your approach is unconventional, like the Magician, but do not rely on this as routine. Lastly, the Wheel of Fortune, meaning you may risk too much in the future, know that it may not be worth it.”
The blue gypsy glances outside, then signs something to the others. They stand up and gather the cards, and the one in green explains they are retiring to the inn as the sun begins disappearing behind the horizon.
Several drunken patrons begin singing as they leave in a mess of shouts as the bard chimes in with his lute:
“Oh leave her, Johnny, leave her! Oh leave her, Johnny, leave her!”
As a barmaid comes over to clean Medsashi and Kainda’s table, they stop and begin crooning another song:
“Oh, wrap me in my kingdom’s flag,
And lay me in the cold blue sea-”
They burst into laughter as one tumbles off the stairs and stumble back to their homes.
“I swear if I hear that song one more time-” the barmaid grumbles, picking sticky beer mugs off the floor.
“What song?” Medsashi asks, lifting his pack from the floor.
“A Dying Sailor to his Shipmates.” She replies tiredly. “We sing it at the funerals of sailors an’ their families. Some sorta drunken tradition, I guess, singin’ the sad songs as they leave the tavern. S’posed to be a sad song, they come in and ruin it for us ev’ry time.”
After gathering their weapons stashed in the nearby bush, Medsashi and Kainda quickly make their way back to the inn.
/~/ The Town Center /~/
“This way,” Nulara says, gesturing Sanson and Ash through the town center’s lavishly decorated doorway. She excuses herself for a minute, then returns to lead the two of them into a large room. In the middle of the grand room is an equally grand table, at the end of which sits the town leader, a tall man with curly black hair tied back. Sanson and Ash seat themselves at the table.
“Welcome, Nulara seems to think you could help us with our… problem,” the man says, voice loud and booming. “Is this true?”
“Well, we’re not quite sure what the problem is… exactly.” Sanson replies.
“Before I explain, let me introduce myself. I am Ehput-Ki Sepret, leader of Lurelin. I assume you’ve noticed the murals on the side of this building?”
Sanson and Ash nod.
“Good. Nulara, please stay inside.”
“But dad, I can help-” Nulara interjects.
“I am not losing you too, you will stay inside until the sun rises, understood?!” He thunders, almost making Sanson and Ash jump.
With a defeated sigh, Nulara exits through a doorway on the left to her room.
/~/ The History of Lurelin /~/
As told by a Ehput-Ki and a mural:
Ehput-Ki begins showing the two around the town center before they arrive in front of the murals, where he gestures to the timeline and begins:
“In our early days, Lurelin was still the same fishing village it is today, but fishermen disappeared nightly, making it difficult for us to catch certain fish. At first we dismissed it but then…”
He points to the next painting: a man left dead in eerily still water.
“The sirens came to us. It was then that my ancestors created the curfew for all villagers, for our own safety.”
The subsequent picture depicts what is undoubtedly a siren, surrounded by skulls and gold.
“Recently the curfew was dismissed and ignored by a young woman who believed it a simple bedtime story to keep children inside, but ever since, the sirens have been coming back at night, stealing whatever is left outside, except, of course, the boats.”
“I’m sure Nulara has already discussed the situation with Nephis?”
Ash nods, “Your daughter, right?”
“Correct,” Ehput-Ki answers, voice faltering for just a second. “And Nulara’s sister. She’s gone missing, apparently she left to find some cave rumored to be home to the sirens.”
He turns to face them, pain in his voice. “I know this is asking a lot of you, but I cannot afford to lose any more of my warriors, we need them in case the sirens attack once again. All I can offer is a portion of my town’s gold but it’s not much, considering we are not very wealthy.”
Before Sanson can say yes, Ash interrupts: “We’ll have to discuss this with the other members of our group before making a decision.”
Ehput-Ki nods. “I hope you decide to help us,” he says solemnly, “and please head to the inn, you must stay safe,” he adds before retiring inside.
As Sanson and Ash turn to leave, Nulara rushes in front of them.
“Wait! Before you leave-“ Nulara begins sheepishly “- I should tell you, about Arizima. She… we…”
“It’s ok, take your time,” Sanson reassures her. Nulara nods and takes a deep breath-
“We were engaged. I proposed a few days before she died, if that helps you at all. But- nobody knows except Nephis! You- you can’t tell anyone, I’m not exactly… out yet. My father thought we were friends, if he knew… he wouldn’t speak to me, ever again.”
“That does help,” Ash says, glancing at Sanson, “And if it means anything, we’ve been in similar situations, if you uh, know what I mean.”
With a weak smile, Nulara nods. “Here, uh, I’ll show you to the inn.”
/~/ Character Relationship Form /~/
Wow, that was a long chapter. Now, please fill out this form on relationships with other characters. You have one week, or until Tuesday, August 21, to complete the form.
You are encouraged to coordinate relationships with the other characters (that way, romances and friendships will go a lot smoother haha). Also, I want to say thank you for reading and participating! And one more thing: if you feel like I’ve portrayed your character incorrectly or want different weapons than the ones I’ve given you, please let me know right away!
@mage158 @CrazyCaliope @Mimi0829 @Madilnel @Etherwalker @hey.twilla @Tellyg47