Shadows In The Cave

The stories and lives of the Grim. ((Roleplaying Stories and In Character Interactions))
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Araun
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Shadows In The Cave

Unread post by Araun » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:32 am

{{ Courtesy of Aquizit linking me this. }}

The only light in the cave is a faint blue glimmer from the circle of runes on the floor, which does little except outline the damp stone walls and the distant, bulky shapes of the boulders filling the room's only exit. Collapsed in the middle of the runes is an almost skeletal elven figure, his long limbs sticklike and his dry hair draped over his pale body in a matted mess. Ribs show plain through his skin with each shallow breath he takes, and otherwise he doesn't move - at least, not until a faint breeze stirs his hair, and his eyes flicker open.

No light shines from within them, the elf so drained of energy that his eyes are simple green irises, like some beast. He tries to lift his head, but fails, just making a dry gasp instead.

Pebbles crunch nearby, footfalls approaching him, and the elf - defeated - just waits until they stop at the edge of the rune circle. There's a moment of silence, and then the voice of the Araun speaks, his silver tones as pleasant and teasing as ever, "Look at you, still hanging on. Should I feel proud? Are we still close enough to being the same person that I get to take credit for your achievements?"

One eye rolls upwards, looking pleadingly up at Araun, and the Messenger sighs. The light of the runes only seemed to illuminate a part of him at a time - the cascade of his blond hair, his resplendent white robes, a grin that curves like a sacrificial knife. Araun opens his arms theatrically as he laments, "Oh, fine. You know, you used to love conversation. Talk is all we did, wasn't it? But now all you ever think about is not dying. It's so tiresome, Kaelduin."

Araun lifts a hand, and his palm fills with a shining, bluish light that briefly reveals his face: a mirror of the fallen elf's, but flush with health instead. He turns his hand and the light pours down onto Kaelduin, sinking into his skin and leaving a faint trace of runes that glimmer for a moment before fading out. A blue-white fire ignites in his eyes and he rolls onto his back, sighing with relief. It does nothing to relieve his emaciated state, but at least his breaths start to come more easily. He licks his lips, and asks slowly, "What's happening up there?"

"You haven't heard?" Araun asks mockingly. He spins around slowly, arms outstretched as he tells a melodramatic tale, "Why, the world is saved! The Legion broken, Argus dead, and Sargeras brought before the Titans to face Illidan." He turns back, clapping his hands gleefully, and all that Kaelduin can see of his face is the Araun's wide, mad smile, "Ah, but the Titans are broken too, and a sword pierces the heart of Azeroth, who slowly dies. The gods are slain, and the shadow - so patient, always waiting - reaches out to claim the dead and dying. It is a time for the carrion-birds to descend on the corpse of our world, and we shall be a feast for the crows."

"The old gods," the fallen elf says thickly.

"Yes, the old gods!" Araun crows triumphantly, "The decay that consumes the dead! Now is their time to flourish. The Dreamer In The Well will finally wake, as we always knew he would. As you were shown. The revelation that made you a turncoat, O Blasphemer."

"This was always coming." The elf closes his eyes, looking pained, "Nothing I did mattered."

"Oh dear," Araun says with a mocking pout, settling on his haunches and moving to pat the other elf on the head. His hand passes through Kaelduin's forehead, his fingers briefly dissolving into mist and then reforming. "Don't give up yet. Ours is a soul that feeds on rebellion, I hate to think what happens when we meet something we cannot defy."

The elf rolls onto his side, and there's a sullen silence for some time. Finally he says, "Have we figured out what will happen when I die?"

"No," Araun says coldly, standing up, his playfulness vanishing in an instant. "It still seems it will claim us both. Can a shadow be cast with nothing to cast it? I don't know."

"Qabian?"

"I can't make him care, and if he finds out he will simply use it against us. If I could make him curious instead of..." Araun trails off, shaking his head. "He is too much like us to be manipulated."

Kaelduin closes his eyes, saying, "Then find another who will dance on your strings. Or this place gets to be your tomb, O Shadow."

The Araun scowls, then steps back into the darkness, dissolving into it and vanishing. The cavern returns to silence.
vbhh, m mkl, m k bni bng'vvvvc
AKA: Araun, the.

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Araun
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Re: Shadows In The Cave

Unread post by Araun » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:43 pm

The Araun stood in the cave again, looking down on the elf curled on the floor. Shallow half-breaths made the sunken spaces between the elf's ribs deepen for a moment, the breaths coming with fevered speed. But Araun knew the body at his feet was cool, and getting colder.

He poured another handful of stolen magic down, watched it soak into the elf's skin - and nothing, no change. He knew it must be working, the elf was still alive after all, but there was no moment of relief anymore. No chance to speak. Just another extension of this gasping, clinging life.

Frustration prickled along his nerves, and he hissed through clenched teeth, "Get up."

The body at his feet continued panting for breath, staring straight ahead into nothing.

"Get up!" he repeated again, louder. "Get UP!" he shouted, swinging a kick that just passed through the elf like a shadow. Off-balance, he stumbled back and landed solidly on the ground, looking directly into the elf's empty face. He watched it, waiting for something - a flick of the eyes, a twitch, anything at all. "Don't die here," he whispered, pleading instead of commanding. The elf did nothing.

"I don't want to die. I'm not finished yet. I'm supposed to watch the world end. That's how fate is supposed to torture me, by showing me the end and then laughing while I try to change it. That's my destiny. Not... this."

Breath rattled in the elf's throat.

"The decayed blood of the world burbling through its abcessed flesh. Black spires of the Dreamer's empire erupting from the earth like teeth from the retreating gums of a corpse. I've already seen it, I can't not be there for it, that's not..."

A cough, and a wheezing gasp, then shallow, regular breaths.

"If you'd been able to trust Qabian, just for a moment. Or trust yourself that you'd be able to get out of whatever he twisted this opportunity into..."

A deeper, wheezing rattle - a brief, panicked twitch of the fingers, eyes widening slightly.

Araun sighed and raked his hands through his hair, taking a moment to compose himself. "There is still a way out of this. There must be." A pause as he considered, and then a sly smile picked at the corner of his mouth, "They say that warlock has something planned, what if -"

The breathing stopped.

The cave was silent. The light from the circle of runes slowly faded to nothing, and a darkness as heavy as the silence descended. The Araun was gone, because you cannot have a shadow with nothing to cast it.
vbhh, m mkl, m k bni bng'vvvvc
AKA: Araun, the.

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