Summary:Varanim journeys to Letheon in pursuit of a new, more constructive form of necromancy.


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`Varanim After the latest round of immediately pressing business, Varanim announces that she's going to sleep for a day. She instead finds a clean shirt with no buttons, takes up her walking stick and her work bag, and steps over into Lethe as soon as she's outside the city limits. There, she leans on her stick and begins to ponder the nature of obligation.

`Berwyn Varanim finds herself on what appears to be a cubicuboctahedron assembled -- quite literally -- of smoke and mirrors, sliced in half and turned to provide a convenient sitting surface amidst the vast panoply of odd geometric shapes that float through the turquoise-green sky in this corner of Lethe.

`Varanim With a weary sigh for the necessary symbology of it all--Varanim hates metaphorical alternate states of being--she crouches, wiping her hand across a mirrored surface to see how she reflects in it.

`Berwyn Varanim looks weary, haggard, and relatively arm-light in comparison to what one might consider her "usual" appearance, but assuming that's all accurate, the mirror seems to reflect fairly correctly only what is actually present.

`Varanim Resting elbow on knee and chin in hand, she carefully recollects all she remembers of the Lethe spirit she summoned. Then, with great irritation, she lets go most of the details and holds on to only the emotional essence of it, remembering great arms turning anew over blighted hills. After several minutes, she closes her eyes and turns her face in the direction of the sweetest breeze.

`Berwyn She finds herself turning almost halfway around, until finally she feels a cool, pleasantly gusty wind sweeping over her in gentle fits and starts, each bearing with it the slightest perfumed scent that changes infintesimally from the scent carried on the gust before.

`Varanim Seating herself cross-legged to face the wind, Varanim lets it sweep over and through her. Like rainwater filling a bucket, she allows her sense of an unfulfilled debt to brim up, drawing her toward the source of the wind with an irresistible gravity.

`Berwyn At first Varanim isn't even sure if it's working -- she feels exactly like she did before, no matter how much "filling up" she tells herself to do.

`Berwyn But then, there's a moment where she seems to cross some invisible threshold, and smoothly, almost imperceptibly at first, her half-cubicuboctahedron begins gently floating through the air in the direction of the wind.

`Varanim knows precisely the price of the spell she modified--two hearts, one living and one dead, to rip one of the dreams of the Neverborn from their sleeping mind and pull it into the world. The corresponding reach into Letheon is new territory, but she knows the magnitude of the obligation to be discharged. She waits until she can feel that depth in the wind before she opens her eyes.

The wind continues to blow over Varanim, its intensity growing stronger -- yet no less gentle -- as she navigates by feel alone through the vast semiotic wilderness of the rebirth plane. When she finally opens her eyes, she finds herself far, far away from where she began.

Here, the greenish-blue air has changed to deep purple, with humorously large stars glittering like rhinestones in the distance, and some sort of bluish-black false horizon floating off on the edge of sight down somewhere far below.

In the air around where she floats are other things, elements of the strange plane's existence: here, small rocks, tiny trees, and odd free-floating spheres of water that dot the air at irregular intervals. What has drawn Varanim here, though, is a familiar presence that floats between them.

Here, freed from the restrictions of stolid Netheos manifestation, the unborn being needs no water to contain its form -- and so it hangs, amidst the detritus of a thousand yet-unformed beings, an amorphous shape of faintest light that seems to carve out the darkness around it merely by existing, and which yet seems to have so little weight that Varanim is sure she could put her hand through it and feel nothing.

The amorphous being floats there, the gentle breeze wafting off of it as it bobs slowly up and down in the air, and it does nothing.

`Varanim scowls a bit, not sure exactly how to proceed from here. Normally there's a manual with diagrams about organ removal and proper channeling of blood flow into unspeakable sigils. After a minute, she climbs a little creakily to her feet, looking at the nameless spark in front of her. "I'm here to pay my bill," she offers, in a fair approximation of her usual cranky impatience.

The creature bobs up and down in front of her for a long moment, its nearly-intangible bulk seeming almost not to react at all to Varanim's awkward declaration. Then, after this long pause, it extends a single pseudopod of light slowly outwards, until it reaches about half the distance from its body to where Varanim's half-cubicuboctahedron floats.

`Varanim starts to shift her staff to her other hand, just barely catches it from falling when that arm isn't there. After a cough she lays it at her feet, straightens, and then reaches across the space to touch limbs with only a slight grimace.

Unexpectedly, Varanim does feel it when her finger touches the creature -- a shock of warmth and energetic buzzing, like standing a little too close to an essence reactor. The feeling seems to take hold in her arm first, then begin to migrate into the rest of her body, warming and energizing her as it does. The being holds there for a long stretch, at the moment content to do nothing but touch extremities with Varanim.

`Varanim "I... think you should know that I don't speak tingle." Varanim's hand slowly relaxes and stretches further forward, as the first contact with her fingertips proves refreshingly non-amputory.

Varanim feels the tingling grow subtly stronger as the pseudopod mirrors her action, moving to envelop more, until finally her arm is overlapping the light tendril up to a little past the wrist.

Her previous statement to the contrary, after the sensory input grows strong enough it almost starts to feel a bit insistently communicative -- as if it's looking for a real commitment from Varanim, above and beyond her nominal interest in repayment.

`Varanim frowns, then after a moment her hand turns palm-up, fingers spreading in an air of inquiry. What does that mean?

The creature seems to thrum in place for a moment. Then, after some agitated energy-field shifts, it extends and rapidly manipulates several more pseudopods, until finally, hanging close by in front of Varanim are two more light-limbs that each hold a small sphere, perhaps half a foot in diameter: one is milky white and filled with some sort of slowly-swirling liquid, while the other is almost perfectly clear.

`Varanim Varanim's jaw tightens briefly, what will soon be recognizable as what happens when she tries to reach for something with the wrong arm. After a second she lifts her hand, drawing close to each of the spheres in turn--but not yet making contact--to see if proximity brings any impression of their purpose.

The overall feeling Varanim gets from each is largely the same -- nascence, unreadiness -- though the subtleties of feeling between the two are present under the surface: the one is almost bursting with fullness, while the other is almost so thin as to be empty...

`Varanim Still frowning, she reaches her hand the rest of the way to touch the empty one.

It's incredibly smooth and slightly cool to the touch.

`Varanim moves her hand underneath, supporting its weight on her palm though not yet pulling it toward herself. "You... want me to take this? Or I need to want to take it."

The creature seems to release its grip on the clear sphere, though the pseudopod in question stays nearby, and the second pseudopod holding the milky sphere does not retract away.

`Varanim pulls the thin sphere away, trying to understand what she's taking by doing so.

It's hard to translate back into words even for herself, but Varanim can almost tell that there's something about the sphere -- some unharnessed potential innate within it.

`Varanim With a shrug, she pulls it to herself entirely, cradling it in her arm. "I'll take it, though I still don't understand."

The creature scintillates with seeming appreciation, though it continues to hold out the second sphere in her direction.

`Varanim With a little bit of balancing and the tip of her tongue sticking out of her mouth, she rolls the first sphere a bit further back on her wrist, and navigates her arm under the other one to hold both.

The second sphere is much heavier, like it's filled with dense liquid, and it's warm to the touch, and a bit uneven and rough on the surface, though it seems to hold a similar feeling of potential to the first, thin sphere.

As she takes the second sphere, the creature withdraws its tendrils, floating backwards about a foot or so.

`Varanim "Uh... good talk?"

The creature seems to nod, almost, and the wind blowing off of its strange, lightform shape grows stronger.

`Varanim "Well... stay fresh." Still not sure whether she got the short end of the stick, or whether sticks are even an appropriate metaphor, she sidles back to hopefully sail her little ship back to the borderlands.


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Page last modified on April 25, 2011, at 08:14 PM