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Author Topic: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)  (Read 4042 times)

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Offline SainTopic starter

Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« on: November 14, 2014, 03:00:15 PM »


Somewhere, an unseen bird chirped to welcome a pale blue light of the morning that had only just begun rising to light up the world outside of the forest with a new day. But there, down on the forest floor, the long dark shadows still had a few moments as the leaves of the ageless woods lent their canopy to delay the approach of dawn. Only the earliest creatures of the day were beginning to rise up, but remained cautious and quiet in their nightly retreats. They could sense that the last few things of the night had yet to crawl into their everdark corners in the depths of the roots and earth, and these things they showed utmost fear and respect. Only the birds up high on their branches and small insectoid creepers knew they would run into none that would bother them. Everywhere, as if by command of the first note of the morning bird, the undulating slither and chitter of the night was slowly getting outshadowed by the calm melodic rippling of the forest stream, until eventually utterly disappearing.

More birds began cautiously testing their voices, disturbing the slumber of Astrid - a young girl - who had huddled up in a natureís own shelter formed in the crevice between a large moss topped boulder and thick roots. The stone was cold against the skin the moss on which she had slept had overnight shared its moistness with some of her clothes.

The awakening was alien compared the mornings she had lived in the village, and it was not just because the warmth of home was missing. Even in the woods around the village, there would have been that distant chatter coming from where the houses were and the ever present roar of the sacred waterfall that cut itís path between the cabins of the chief and the seer. But there was no laughter of people here and the trickle running through these woods was but a tiny fledgling compared to the stream back home. This was not home, and there was no one else, just the lonely girl with back her against untouched nature.



If the morning was like a dream, then the last night had been a nightmare.



Like so many other times, the games of that night had started as just an innocent game of dare between Astrid and her childhood friend Calden. When challenged, he had boldly ventured into the forbidden cave behind the last water curtain of the sacred waterfallís last step downhill. His grin and words had made light of the warnings of the moldy elders and legends as they had treaded into the narrow descending tunnel of wet slippery stones. The smile he had shown her before turning his back to her and heading in first could have been the last grin Astrid would see on his face.

Something had happened in that cave when Calden jumped on the stone slab that had been the only thing in the room which lied at the end of that tunnel. One moment he had been Calden, then suddenly a strangeness had descended upon the children. The cold air of the waterfall cave had become a musky breath of warmth in an instant without either of the children casting a spell on it. A wind that could not be felt by skin had made the light of the sphere hovering on Astridís palm flicker like it was a small candle flame facing a tempest. The shadows that the waxing light of the orb made had revealed flashes of a silhouette of some enormous creature, and with each flicker it had crept closer to Calden. In vain he had hopped off of the stone table and backed towards a corner, begging the shadow to halt. It took him nonetheless, jumping right from the walls into air where it was sucked into the boy's eyes and mouth. His screams had filled the cave, but before the whole shadow was gone inside Calden, a small part of it slapped Astrid's shoulder at the same moment that Calden fell silent and they both fell unconscious.

Astrid had awoken on the rock bed of the cave with intense pain on her shoulder, just to see Calden slowly walk outside the range of her light, out of the cave. When the boy stopped at the edge, the face that had glanced behind at her certainly certainly belonged to him, but the bright hopeful gleam of Caldenís eyes had been replaced with a chilling otherness. With perfectly smooth motion, the boy's head had turned away from Astrid. He ran.

They had went straight through the waterfall. Caldenís body hopped right along the river from one boulder to another like his body was a feather. Into the woods and straight for the forest the chase had led, blowing through a prickle thicket that had retarded Astridís advance, but seemed only to embrace and aid whatever it was that directed the boyís escape. She could still see his dark long hair flash between the trees when they had crossed the village border, running right past a knee high arrangement of stones with old marks carved in them. The wall that they had for so long respected for keeping danger out of the village went dismissed in the heat of the chase. She had ran, probably for hours, but he could not be caught.

When Astrid first had stopped in exhaustion the forest had swirled around her. Strange lights on the branches were as blurred as the darkness between the trees. The constant throbbing pain on her right shoulder had only gotten more agonizing.



The rest seemed to have taken the pain away. There were no signs of Calden now. Only more moss covered trunks of thick trees spread around in each direction for as long as the eye could see. Suddenly, a familiar voice interrupted the morning choir of birds and stream right below Astridís ear, as if someone was whispering from behind her. It was Calden! It returned louder with each word, with clear panic mixed in the still boyish tone of her friend. ďWhere am IÖ itís dark, I canít see anything!? Where is this? I canít move!! Astrid! Where are you? Help! Help!!! Someone help me! Astrid! HELP ME PLEASE I CANíT MOVE! Whatís happening?!Ē

Offline PennySludt

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2014, 04:46:59 PM »
  Astrid


It was the silence that woke her. The silence and the cold. Astrid stirred, feeling the damp penetrating her clothing and making her joints and muscles stiff. Her long, thick, dark lashes fluttered open slowly and she stared at the mossy rock directly in front of her dark gray eyes for a moment before her mind caught up and she realized where she was, and she sat bolt upright. "CALDEN!" she shouted in horror.

Getting to her hands and knees and poking her head out of the little shelter she had managed to find she looked around quickly, half checking for danger and half hoping she would magically find Calden standing right there. She sat back on her heels with a half sob and held her right hand over her mouth to hold it in. Moving her arm was painful and for a moment it confused her, until she remembered the thing from the cave hitting her shoulder. She clutched her upper arm at the memory, but it did seem to be less painful than it had been last night. A strand of her long dark brown hair had escaped her braid at some point and she tucked it back behind her ear.

ďWhere am IÖ itís dark, I canít see anything!? Where is this? I canít move!! Astrid! Where are you? Help! Help!!! Someone help me! Astrid! HELP ME PLEASE I CANíT MOVE! Whatís happening?!Ē

The petite girl jumped with fright and fell down on her butt as she spun around quickly to look for her best friend. "CALDEN!?" she shouted, frantically looking around. Crawling out of the little space and stumbling to her feet, catching them on the hem of her dress, she whirled around searching in every direction. "CALDENNNNNNNN!" Her voice echoed back at her from the rock and disappeared around her into the still, thick forest. Another sob broke from her chest as she stood still waiting, listening, hoping. She KNEW she had heard him! She was SURE of it! She had heard that voice a million times and that had been him!
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 06:13:27 AM by PennySludt »

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2014, 01:38:10 PM »
The lush moss mat sploshed under Astrid's movement as she stumbled from under the stone and into the small opening between the tall oaks. Calden was awoken then as he felt his whole world shaking as she moved, and recognized the sensation of a gentle touch when her hand brushed at the shoulder area. Suddenly an immense panic took over him when he tried to move and nothing responded. Then, the yells. He could hear the sounds he was making, but could not feel his breath or mouth. Again, the darkness that his world now was shook violently when Astrid stumbled from the spook.

He stopped when her voice called for him. He knew it came from very close though he could not see from where yet. He could feel the world spinning around as she turned around, looking at him from the wrong direction. He felt a moment of dizziness that delayed his reply. When her calls began turning into sobs, he could sense the rhythmic tremors running all across him; the rhythm was very familiar. The fear was still present in his voice, but he tried to give it a hopeful mask when he yelled back. "Hey. HEY! Astrid you're there?! Stop moving please! I'm right here! Somewhere close, it's alright, please don't cry. It's alright! I can't see anything, it's dark and I'm stuck on something; can't move a thing. You've got to calm down and help me Astrid. I must be stuck in some cave or something, but it's shaking so please don't move around so much." His own reasoning was starting to sound solid to Calden and it helped calm his currently claustrophobic nerves, but he dared not to think too hard on the holes in the logic. Whatever he was in felt nothing like a cave aside from the darkness, he could not breathe and worst of all there was this haunting memory from last night...

Calden's words shook with an anxious note. "Just follow my voice Astrid. I've got to really near. Right here! Dig me out I think I might've broken something..."

Offline PennySludt

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2014, 04:29:27 PM »
Astrid completely stopped moving when she heard Calden's voice again.

"Stop moving please! I'm right here! Somewhere close, it's alright, please don't cry."

Her heart was pounding in her throat as she tried to look around without moving. He HAD to be close! She could hear him right there beside her! Or...behind her....? She tried to turn her head as much as possible without turning her body. There was nowhere around her that would be dark and spinning that Calden would sound so close if he was there. "Calden!?" She tried to steady her voice, and lifted her hands to wipe her eyes of tears as she took some deep breaths to think.

He had said he couldn't see...that it was dark...that he couldn't move...that it was shaking, presumably when she moved...That didn't make much sense at all!? He thought he might have broken something? What? "Calden? Calden, can you still hear me?" She was speaking more normally now, not shouting. If he was close, he should be able to hear her. "I'm going to move. You're right next to me. I can't see where you could be though...there's only trees and rocks...What do you think you broke? Does it hurt?"

Very slowly and carefully she began to turn to her right, trying not to make anything move too much. She didn't understand how her movements would be affecting him wherever he was...He said to dig him out...perhaps he was underground and her footsteps where what was moving him. Shaking the ground maybe? She tried to turn on the balls of her feet without picking up and moving them to test this theory. "Calden?"

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2014, 03:05:10 PM »
Despite how ridiculously queer his situation was, hearing Astrid calm her tone and suddenly feeling the world still again helped Calden. He sighed mentally, forgetting for a moment the fact that his body didn't seem to sigh with him. He kept focusing on her voice and in replying to her. The distance between their voices was still somehow unsettling, it was as if her voice boomed from all around his location in addition to being from above.

"Just carefully okay? Rocks and trees? Where are we- You know never mind, just find me first. I'm... not hurting anywhere, but I can't move. So maybe it's my back or something."

When she began moving again, his world shook. Even the subtle changes in her posture translated to wherever it was that he was trapped in being thrown around like boat in a storm. A nauseating thought began crawling into Calden's thoughts and not just because of all the unpredictable movements. Had he not been unable to breathe, the panic would have been clear in his voice when he replied. His tone was calm, but it hid a certain fearful undertone that only grew more obvious as he went on. "It's still shaking. Everything is shaking. I can...     I can feel your movements. I..." He focused on the noise that had been there all along, it had now come more stable and though it was like a loud wind to him, he could now recognize it as breathing. Astrid's breathing. Furthermore, hidden behind that gushing sound of wind visiting the lungs was a smaller voice; her heartbeat.

The tremble of his voice was obvious now when he continued. It soon bordered panic and broke into sobs at times. "I can feel your heartbeat Astrid. I can hear your heartbeat. Where am I?! Please help me where am I! I can't move or feel a thing, I can't see, so why! Please! Quickly I'm scared, am I dead?!"

Offline PennySludt

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 04:12:18 PM »
Instantly freezing when he said everything was still shaking, Astrid listened as intently as she could, trying to place where his voice was coming from. She looked down, in case she was standing on some kind of loose ground or something, but it seemed exactly like all the ground around her, solid and hard. "You can feel my movements? How much?" She slowly turned just her head, looking to the right slightly. "Can you feel this?"

When she heard the tremble in his voice she began to feel the tears stinging her eyes again and her heart started racing at his next words.

"I can feel your heartbeat Astrid. I can hear your heartbeat."

"I...I don't know, Calden....I don't know!? I can't see you!" She was beginning to panic now, just as much as Calden seemed to be doing. And her shoulder was starting to burn with pain now. She lifted her left hand to clutch at it automatically, wincing. What had that thing done to her!? What had it done to Calden!? Maybe he was a ghost....and that was why she couldn't see him...but that didn't explain why he felt everything move when she moved, or why he said he could hear her heartbeat. "I don't KNOW!" she shouted as she began to cry again.

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2014, 03:50:24 PM »
Calden felt the pressure all over him when Astrid's hand went over him. In that dark confinement there was no escape from his still growing confused fear and hearing his only remaining link to reality beginning to cry as if to express emotion he couldn't only worsened the feeling. Worst of all was the ghostly tingling when his body didn't respond to the whirlwind of emotion roiling inside him. There was no tightness in his chest, no cold sweat on his skin, only this empty darkness and the seemingly nonsensical stimuli that came from Astrid's movements. Quite gradually, he was beginning to feel angry at the situation. His inability to feel or act all the while his friend was lost somewhere.

Some of his anger got loaded into his words without Calden realizing when he shouted over his friends sobs. "Don't cry! Astrid please don't cry now! You are alright aren't you, you can't start crying now! Come on! Just follow my voice and find me already, please." The volume and hostility of his voice began to face off after he had yelled out a few words and realized who he was being angry at. She wasn't at fault. What happened in the first place? Calden's thoughts suddenly switched to wonder why or how he had gotten himself here in the first place. He recalled yesterday, at least he hoped it was yesterday. The sensation of his slightly cold numb fingers dirtied by stumbling down on the dirt inside waterfall passage was still clear in his memory. He had stood there, on the ancient pedestal that the old ones had told them not to disturb and laughed, but then...   an eerie chill washed over Calden's mind, replacing the immediate anxiety with a horror that gripped his soul much deeper.

For the moment he fell silent and Astrid's words, though heard went right past his attention as if she was behind a window. The shadow took all the room there was in his mind when he focused on it. It had advanced along the stone walls - creeping towards him - and then there was nothing. At least not until this morning. He took the mental equivalent of a deep breath before talking to Astrid again, trying to keep his voice as steady as he could.

"What happened. What happened Astrid? Where are yo- I mean where are we? Did we get away from that shadow thing?"

After calming a little, Calden noticed something tingle in his field of view or perhaps it was inside his head. Although it was dark, he thought that for a moment he saw a faint blue light twingle in and out of existence.


The forest around Astrid kept calm as morning continued its slow rise. Strangeness of night had all disappeared and the shadows were brightening. Birds and other little critters avoided from being spotted by the girl, but made their presence known by all sorts of chirps and chitters. It was almost a crime to have such an oddly disturbing crisis in this place.

Offline PennySludt

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2014, 04:38:43 PM »
Astrid tried to calm her breathing when she heard Calden yelling angrily at her. Her fingers squeezed around her arm as she attempted to gain control of herself again. "I...I'm sorry, Calden...I'm sorry! Yes...." she squeezed her shoulder slightly more for a moment as she thought about his question...WAS she alright? "Yes...I'm alright. Okay, I'm coming, Calden. I'll find you. I promise!" She turned to her right again, trying to follow the sound of his voice.

"What happened. What happened Astrid? Where are yo- I mean where are we? Did we get away from that shadow thing?"

Astrid stopped turning for a moment with a confused expression on her narrow face. "What do you mean, 'what happened'? What happened when?" She looked around thinking she had missed something he could see from wherever he was. "I...I THINK we got away...I mean...I don't see it...do you?" Then she remembered he had said he couldn't see ANYTHING and blushed slightly. "I mean...I don't think it's near us. Keep talking, Calden. I can hear you SO CLOSE next to me everywhere I turn! Bu I can't see you anywhere." Her voice was trembling slightly, but she managed to keep herself from crying again at the thought.

She listened carefully around her, hoping to hear something that would guide her to her friend. She HAD to be close. She HAD to be! "Calden..." she whispered, thinking of another trick to try and locate him, "Can you hear me now...? Where does my voice sound like it's coming from...?" She knew HIS voice was coming from somewhere to her right, very near, but no matter where she turned he was ALWAYS on her right...So she hoped that having him listen for the direction SHE was in would give them a meeting point to find him in.

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2014, 01:05:44 PM »
Right after hearing Astrid's reaction to his outburst, Calden's voice turned apologetic and he felt an instant pang of quilt. "No, no I'm sorry Astrid. It's not your fault..." He didn't even really notice the accidental jab at his blindness, he kept tried to just focus now and talk to let Astrid find the direction and keep her from getting more upset. "I'm hearing you somewhere from above left too, from really close. I must be there somewhere. I feel like wherever I am is moving every now and then though, swinging around or wobbling even. We got away eh? Good, good, whatever that thing was I don't think we would have been safe if we stayed in the cave. I can't really remember any of it though...  did you carry me all the way here or something? Geez Astrid I didn't know you were so buff, have you just let me win every arm wrestle and tumble on purpose until now? Hehe, we'll have to take a rematch when you find me again. My manly pride can't let you be both stronger witch and athlete."


The moss right under Astrid had gotten stomped by her turning about on her heels trying to find the direction. A small pool of water had formed in the middle part that was pushed down the furthest. Slowly the water was starting to seep through the shoe bottoms and chilling the girl's feet. It was really quiet with the morning chirps growing more distant now that she moved more and nearby birds had probably fluttered to rest some distance away. Only the constant rush of the small stream was loud enough to not be forgotten as just a faint background noise, but even it wasn't enough to hinder Astrid's search.

Offline PennySludt

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2014, 02:17:02 PM »
Above and to the left he had said...That was where he heard her...She looked down at the ground to her right, but saw nothing but the soft moss, the small puddle, some fallen leaves and bits of brush and her cold wet feet. Where else could he be that would move every so often...somewhere where her voice came from above and to the left...She froze, a sickening thought beginning to form in her mind. She squeezed her fingers on her upper right arm, a place that had been burning ever since she woke up and began talking to Calden. A place the thing had touched right before they ran away. She didn't hear the rest of his babble as her mind began to work overtime, forming a picture of what might have happened.

Slowly, deliberately, fearfully, she removed her hand from her arm and pulled down the neckline of her dress, uncovering her right shoulder. There, on her upper arm, was the reason for her pain, and...she feared...the place where Calden was stuck. A bright blue swirled pattern in her skin, like a tattoo...almost looking like it was glowing, with a single eye in the middle of the design. An eye that almost seemed to be moving slightly...

"C...Calden..." She whispered towards her shoulder. "C...can you h...hear me...? Can you f...feel this...?" She gave her arm a gentle swing back and forth, her stomach in a tight knot of terror and dread.

She could hardly feel the cold in her feet now. Her whole body was ice cold with panic that no amount of warmth would have dissipated. She knew...even before he answered, she knew...she HAD carried him out of the cave...

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2014, 03:01:15 PM »
Calden stopped talking when Astrid's hand pressed against him. It was not painful but the pressure he felt was akin to a sensation of lying under heavy unmovable rubble. Although, the squeeze felt to him now many times stronger than before, he realized then an unquestionable familiarity with it and the touch of his friend. He knew he had been found, but dared not ask her or himself why Astrid's fingers seemed like heavy logs of timber. As they rose, Calden's mind held breath in expectation of what was to come next. He could hear the hand now that he recognized the small sounds of shuffling and moving had to be Astrid moving around and the hand was beginning to ruffle the layers that covered him and obscured his sight.

A flash of brightness covered Calden's entire world when Astrid let a beam through the trees cast it's light on her shoulder. Calden squinted reflexively, though to the girl it looked like the queer eye in middle of the tattoo just tightened it's pupil which was fixated on looking up at her. The adaptation did not last long though, and Calden could see his new world. That which was once a petite looking smooth skinned slope of a young girls neck leading up to her still somewhat childishly featured face was now in his view an enormous cliff belonging to a gigantic girl. Calden's black round pupil widened and the glowing streams leading to it brightened as he traced his unblinking gaze along Astrid's features down from her shoulder. Despite the strangeness that gripped the back of his mind Calden felt grateful to be able to see her again, even if fear was robbing her of the smile at the moment. He was all too preoccupied with the little positive thing to fully realize his current position and what it meant.

With the covers pushed aside her whispers rang to him as cloud as speech. When Calden answered some of the dark markings on Astrid's shoulder beat to the rhythm of his voice with faint increases and decreases of blue glow. "Yes. It's me. I can see you! I can feel that. I'm swinging. You can stop that now. Astrid...  why are you looking at me like that?" The bright blue eyeball took a glimpse at where it was attached to as the pupil rolled to one side and almost touched the skin. Calden saw the strange lines too as they disappeared from his view to the dark foldings beneath the cloth covered skin, but he couldn't really comprehend what they were yet. He turned around and looked in every direction as the cog wheels in his mind worked to get the answer. He could sense the feel good of finding Astrid fading as puzzlement kicked in and began to be slowly pushed away by the return of deep panic and fear. Calden swirled around wildly in his shoulder socket. Both the lines connecting to the eye and the eye itself lost their light and began turning darker blue. The eye returned to gaze up at Astrid and fixated on her. "Astrid. What is this?" He tried moving but only the eye would twitch to his will and even it unable to do more than turn about. "I can't move. What is this? Why am I not in my body...  Get me our of here Astrid. Please. Do something!"

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2014, 03:58:13 PM »
The blood drained from the young girl's face when he answered her questions. Yes...she had certainly carried him out of that fateful cave..."Y...you can s...see me...? You can see me looking at you...?" She watched the blue patterns on her arm shimmering from light to dark, hovering between fascination and horror. In answer to his question, "I...I can't Calden....I....you're....That...THING took your body I think...I don't....I mean...you're...on my arm, Calden. You're a mark on my shoulder...that thing touched me there. It burned me right after it....it did...whatever it did...it hit my arm. I think....I think it put you...the you that's makes you, you...I think it put you in the mark on my arm...It's like a blue sort of swirl and there's a...an image of an eye....that...that moves..."

She moved her left arm to hold her hand just above the mark, then began to slowly move it up and down along the line of her arm. "Calden...can you see that...?" She couldn't even begin to fathom what kind of magic had placed him there, but she was sure now, that Calden was somehow in the mark on her shoulder...and she had no idea how to fix it. If that thing had stolen his body...where would he go even if she could find a way to undo the spell?

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2014, 01:33:58 PM »
"What thing? The- from the cave? I'm where?!" The eye looked around again, though now Calden focused his gaze on his surroundings for a longer while instead of just quickly glancing over them. He could only see so much from the fixed location, but there was no mistaking it now that Astrid had said it aloud. "What? My body! Where is my body? Yes, I can see your hand! Tell me where is my body? Astrid?! Why are we here and not in the cave? We've got to go back, to my body! Astrid quickly, maybe if it's still there the village elders can do something about this. Please... I'm feeling sick, there is..." Calden's eye looked past Astrid at the leafy ceiling above them while taking quick glances at her. There was that disturbing light again that he had seen so faintly. It was on and inside Astrid, fluctuating in a melodic rhythm like waves in a small pond. The trees were a lake, not as deep as her but vast. "Magic...  I can see magic." He blubbered while still staring up in a trance like state of awe.

Just then, for a very short moment, Calden's eye got fixed at a point in the distance far behind a pair of old moss covered trees around Astrid's right that blocked the view to horizon. A faint wind washed across the leaves at that instant, moving over her head like a wave viewed from underwater. It carried a very quiet sound, a soul piercing cry of pain from something very old. It left the forest silent, quieting even the distant birds and the rustling of leaves as if they were holding their breath to confirm if what they just heard was real. A cloud must have had wandered over the rising sun behind the canopy as the light seeping through leaves began to slowly grow weaker and with it the air just became slightly chillier.

Offline PennySludt

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2014, 03:36:18 PM »
Astrid was trying to calm herself down, even as Calden was winding up more and more. "Calden...Calden, calm down. I need to think! I need to...figure out what we're going to do..." She sat down where she was, crossing her legs and putting her head in her hands, her eyes shut as she tried to quell the horrible thoughts running through her head. "Calden...we can't go back to the cave. Whatever that...THING was...it's long gone. That's why we're here. I was following it...him...you...your body I mean. It ran away, into the forest, and I tried to chase it. I tried, Calden...I tried...", she trailed off as tears of defeat came to her eyes again. She took some calming breaths, she didn't need to get worked up again. "I think you're right though...If we can get your body back, maybe there's something that can be done to...you know...put you back in it, or something."

"Magic...  I can see magic."

Astrid lifted her head slowly, looking down toward her shoulder. "You can see...what? What do you mean? You can see magic? How? What does it look like? How do you know? Where?" She was talking very fast, trying to understand what he meant. "Why do you feel sick, Calde-" She broke off instantly as the forest around her seemed to pulse, and a faraway scream echoed in her ears. The sound seemed to pierce her heart, hurting her to the core with it's agony. She straightened up quickly and looked in the direction the wave of force and the cry had come from. She sat frozen for a moment, uncertain about what to do. She turned to ask Calden, then remembered he wasn't actually there to look at and looked back in the direction of the sound. "C..Calden...did you hear that...? It sounded like something....bad...like something was hurt..." She waited a moment to see if she could hear anything else and to give him a chance to answer. "We should go see if it's okay...it might need our help. If it's hurt, it might not be able to survive. Something might hurt it more. We need to help it."

Without waiting for him to tell her not to be so stupid, she was up on her feet and tramping through the damp forest in the direction of the cry. It was much harder going than she had remembered the night before. Maybe because she hadn't been paying attention to where she was going then. Now, she was listening to hear any further sounds, but she also wasn't focused on chasing something in front of her. She was beginning to breathe harder after about an hour of walking through soft, foamy earth, puddles of cold rainwater, climbing over fallen logs and pushing through thick hanging vines. If she hadn't been so upset about Calden, and worried about the creature that had been hurt, she would normally have been bathing in the beauty of the scenery. She always loved being out of doors, feeling the connection with the earth and the life around her.

After about three hours of walking she broke through the thick darkness of the trees to a breathtakingly beautiful little glade. The trees seemed to be leaning toward the little circle of moss and flowers. There was a ring of moss covered, broken tree trunks, surrounded by more lush green moss patched here and there with tiny, delicate pink, purple and white flowers scattered along a little babbling brook, tripping over a miniature waterfall. It seemed to almost emanate magic, as if they had walked through a veil and were now in a puddle of it. Astrid was certain that this was where the cry had come from.

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2014, 10:26:09 AM »
Calden answered softly as if unconsciously avoiding to disturb whatever had made the sound. "I think it's magic. I see it all around you and...  a flash from where that sound came. It just looks weird, makes my head spin a little, but I'll be fine, I just need a moment to wrap my hea-   I don't know I just need some time." A small hopeful undertone seeped into his voice when he responded to Astrid's idea of going to help this thing, Calden would have smiled if he could have at how she could already think of helping others despite what troubles they were in. "Yes. That's probably for the best." Soon enough Calden fell more quiet as the soft rocking motion of Astrid's walking through the woods calmed the last of his nerves. He was going to be stuck for now, that much he could understand, and there was nothing they could do about it right now. He went on and off sleep, taking short naps and only occasionally responding to Astrid's queries of whether or not he was still there with a drowsy yes.

However, as they got closer to the secret glade, Calden began to stir awake again. The sounds of forest that had not been with them in their morning had gotten more intense here. The tree branches above their heads were thick with birds, even some deers spied at them from not too far away with little fear for the human girl. The ground too, was brimming with insects, though they parted to make way for Astrid's steps even without her looking down at them. The yell for aid had clearly been heard and more than just the human were answering the call. The amount of wildlife got thicker and thicker as they approached the last leafy veil that barred vision to the glade.

As she stepped inside, the chitter and chirps once more were muffled as if by some spell. Instead there was the soft sploshing of the tiny waterfall and a low strange beating bass sound of a heart, but it was out of rhythm, dying. Along with the sounds there was a strange pervasive pine scent that hid under it the fainter scents of forest flowers and everything else, but it was not altogether unpleasant. The source wasn't obvious at first, but soon both kids saw it. It looked like a moss covered trunk at the first glance, but a second look revealed that it was moving; breathing.

The creature was a mythical thing from the legends that the kids had been told of in their childhood by those old half demented elders; it was a forest lion, creature that was said to guard old forests by keeping all the predators out. The sight of it still held some forlorn sense of wonder, even in its current state where it's normally soft moss covered skin was losing large patches and revealing rotten bark underneath and its once thick leafy mane was now dark and flaccid. The creature had its huge head resting on the flower bed with its amber colored eyes barely visible behind the droopy green leaf like eyelids. Cause for its misery was just as clearly visible as the rest of it. It's belly which was resting half submerged in a wide puddle beside the small brook was an open hole. Moss and bark had been ripped open violently and thick dark wooden branches stuck out like a rib cage. Green vine like gatherings of veins had been cut off when something that they all connected to had been ripped out of the lion. A slow steady stream of golden sap like liquid with a strong odor was flowing out of the cut off veins and mixing in long slow swirls with the forest stream. Animals that had gathered around the opening seemed to be keeping a their distance and as soon as new birds flew in, ready to chirp in to ask what was going on, they too fell into solemn silence and hopped a few branches back.

The forest lion acknowledged Astrid's presence as its eyes widened slightly to reveal a black slit pupil that seemed to be having hard time keeping focus on the little girl. It made a brief jump from her to her shoulder, then the eyes fell nearly shut again. The lion's chest expanded as it drew in a cumbersome breath to speak. Its voice was throaty and filled with a sense of condolence, but it could not suppress the pain from affecting its speech. "Do not fear little human, I may have been the king of these woods once, but even if I was walking I would not seek to harm innocent children." It took a brief pause, and gathered strength before drawing in another breath. "I am Eidolon. Are you lost, child?"

Calden was keeping quiet for now, he looked up at Astrid and back at the lion. The whole tattoo was glowing with light blue anticipation as he whispered to her, hoping that no one else would hear. "That, thing is too bright. What is it?"

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2014, 10:43:28 AM »
Astrid felt her breath catch in her chest at the heartbreaking sight of the once magnificent creature before her. She had to admit that a flash of fear had passed over her momentarily when she had first realized what it was, but in it's current state, and after it's introduction, she was no longer afraid of the poor thing. Instead, she felt the overwhelming need to help this magical beast. Not answering Calden at first, she asked, "A...Are you a....Forest Lion....?" She took a slow step forward, her eyes running across the broken form of the creature, tears pricking her eyes at the devastating sight. "What...did this to you...?" Astrid took a few more steps toward the center of the glade, dropping slowly to her knees in front of his head. "Calden...he's hurt...", she whispered to him. To the lion she said, "Hello, Eidolon...I'm Astrid....I'm...well...I am lost, but I'm looking for something and I can't go back until I find it. But how did you get so hurt, Eidolon? Can I help you? I must help you!"

Very slowly she reached out her right hand to touch the soft moss along his side, looking at the broken bark and twigs, and the dripping sap. Her mind was racing. How did one help a creature such as this? Perhaps there was a spell she knew...? 'Don't be silly, Astrid. No spells YOU know could help a magical creature like him! You can barely control your light orb! How can you help a magnificent thing like Eidolon?' she thought to herself. But she had to try. She couldn't just shake her head and give up. He needed help, and she would help as much as she could, even if it meant just staying with him until....well...she hoped it wouldn't come to that.

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2014, 03:57:32 PM »
The droopy eyes of the beast followed Astrid's advance in serene anticipation that only the already dead could muster. It let the girl speak, waiting for her to finish and get up close by until drawing in another painful breath to give her an answer. From a step away it was clearly audible how the ribs and barks snapped inside the expanding chest. A small patch of the green moss also fell off of the bark and sploshed into the stream. It bounced back to the surface all wet and began flowing down the trickle like a small island boat. As if to save its strength, the lion spoke with a lower and quieter tone now that his voice did not have to carry as far. "Yes, you are a clever little girl to know us Astrid." Its eyes flickered on the girl's shoulder when she spoke to Calden, but they returned to the girl as she laid her hand on its drying mossy fur. As it continued, the lion's words might have been intimidating, but the tone they carried was so tired and zen that their hostility was completely washed out. "Brave too, on a good day I would not have received a human like you with a strange thing like that with you in such friendly manner. It stinks... same foul stench as the wandering god. I pity you though girl, to have to carry something so twisted with you despite being so young and kind...  I cannot help you find anything now, and I fear that you cannot help me either. A vessel of a maddened just awoken God trod past and plucked my heart out when I roared it to turn back."

Calden was quieted by the creature's attitude towards him, and seemed to be still having hard time keeping his eye on the lion. Some parts of the tattoo creeped over the blue lens to squint at whatever light he was seeing. The lion stopped talking as it's voice began to grow too throaty to continue. It caught a sudden fit of cough that made some of the glistening sweet resin spill from its mouth on a wide radius. For a moment the outflow from its veins was hastened too and a large floating slick of golden fluid was formed on the surface of the water from the outburst. The veins were still spewing out the golden liquid, but slower now, yet, the creature had once been strong and didn't seem to be dead just yet.

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2014, 05:02:15 PM »
Astrid had begun to cry softly, glistening tears trickling over her cheeks, rosy from her walk. It hurt her so much to see this magnificent creature in a state like this. His words about Calden also hurt her. She wanted to explain, but wasn't sure how or even if she should. She herself wasn't even sure what had happened. How could she explain it to someone else? Though he may know more about it than she did.

"I...do you mean...on my shoulder...? He's my friend, Eidolon. My dearest friend..." She bit her lip, trying to quell the sob that threatened before she continued. "That..thing...that...God? You said he smells like it did...? I think that God stole Calden's body...He...he touched me...and I tried to chase him, I really tried, but he was too fast...and...and I followed him into the forest as far as I could. Then I found this mark," she showed him her shoulder, pulling down her dress's neckline to let him see the blue pattern on her skin, "And I could...hear Calden...talking to me from it. He's not evil, I promise. That...that...God that took his body..." She didn't know what else to say about it. She didn't feel comfortable disrespecting a God, even if it HAD stolen a body and had probably murdered a magical creature.

"Eidolon...isn't there SOME way to help you...something I can do, or get that will save you...? There must be something...isn't there?" The tears fell more heavily as she looked on the pathetic sight before her. "Eidolon...did you...did you know the God...that did this...? Who was it? Do you know if there's a way to undo this magic? Maybe if we catch him...?"

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2014, 04:15:53 PM »
The lion's heavy eyelids seemed to lower when it noticed tears appear in the eyes of the human child. It let out a small regretful puff of a sigh, already thinking that it might have been better off just keeping quiet about her problem. Meanwhile, Calden had turned to look at Astrid from his perch down below her chin. He was beginning to grow accustomed to whatever sight had kept him quiet at first, and could not keep quiet when Astrid's breaking voice spoke of him. His words came out as more of a sobby whisper as being so close to his friends emotions seemed to be overwhelming the boy too. "Thank you... Thank you Astrid, you mean the world to me too." However, they weren't too quiet for the lion's ears, but it listened patiently for the girl to finish before trying to answer.

Once more, the drying moss covered trunk gnarled to draw breath and the creature spoke in that low tired growl of its. "I'm sorry. I did not see that the curse involved another child too. You must understand. We are sometimes rash we lions." It broke into a brief coughing chuckle, but suppressed it soon after realizing how painful it was and continued. "I welcome you too Calden and must apologize again. If I was a sapling still I would have rallied the whole forest to chase that cursed God for what it did to you. Stealing innocent human bodies. Unforgivable." The lion took its eyes off of the girl and gazed into some far distant direction. A flash of anger appeared into its eyes just as the last few words had been said with a strong flavor of pent up frustration and hate, but it only flickered for so long before returning to that serene drowsy state of near death. It looked upon Astrid with all the gentleness when she desperately asked for ways to save its life. "I don't know...  I have never seen another of my kin die. Until now, I believed I was some sort of immortal God too...  silly thoughts they were. Can you make me a new heart? A pumping heart of the forest? Maybe then you can save me. That thing though... it was a real God. I haven't seen him ever before, no, but he looked old and somehow out of touch. Maybe he had been sealed for centuries before my time and grew bitter and twisted in his prison, or he was like that already before the slumber. That magic he laid on you is too potent for me. I've only ever fled from something of that sort, if it broke free it could consume the whole forest, if it was that sort of spell... It's a fools quest to chase that thing and expect anything but calamity to follow. If I was sapling I would help, but I'm growing stiff; my bark hardens; my moss dries." The lion's voice was beginning to fade into a faint whisper.

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2014, 05:45:14 PM »
The young girl tried to wipe away the tears running over her face as she looked at Eidolon. "A heart of the forest...? There must be some way to get that...couldn't we all," she gestured around her at the creatures gathering at the edges of the glade, 'do something together? If we all...I don't know...put our hearts together or something...if we willed you to live...? Surely something must be able to be done to save you, Eidolon!?" She had begun to sob desperately now. She had never been able to tolerate the death of the good or innocent. Countless times she had nursed the tiniest animals back to health, and saved a great many dying plants and trees with her kind touch and gentle heart.

It was hurting her greatly to see something like this. Her soul was crying with despair at being unable to help. The child knelt in front of the great beast, running her hands softly along his drying bark and moss, as if she were petting a kitten. Somehow she had to help him, even if it merely meant offering a soothing touch or a caring presence.

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2014, 02:41:46 PM »
"If...    was...    sapling..." The lion's speech faded with it's last breath and the wood of it's jaw grew stiff. The only sounds that answered the girl's questions were the constant and incoherent babbling of the stream and ruffling leaves in the background. However, forest the lion did not move again. The soft green lush mossy fur that had covered it began to wither rapidly until it was brittle and took an ugly colour between grey and dark green. The leaves of the lion's once great mane crisped; they drained of colour until reaching yellowish hues of autumn and beginning falling onto the ground. As the mane thinned of leaves beneath was revealed a thorny skeleton of a brush that had held that majestic crown together. The transformation from a mythical forest creature to just another piece of dead wood reached completion as the last few drops of that shining golden dew drippled from the open veins of the creature's abdomen and mixed with the water. In mere moments the body had lost much of the resemblance to those noble animals of prairie and turned into just another tree trunk by the stream. Only a careful long look or knowledge of what the trunk had been could lead an onlooker to spot the faint curves of liony face and tell the twisted limbs apart from simple dead branches. Most of the animals that had answered the roar had now begun to slowly disperse one by one as they pushed their face through the wall of trees surrounding the opening and confirmed the tragedy with their own eyes. It was as if whatever force that had compelled these simple creatures to gather around the glade had vanished, or perhaps the woodland creatures moved to take their grieve elsewhere, letting the weeping human girl stay with the corpse.

It was a very empty moment. The early noon sun that had come out to take a peek through the tattered blanket of clouds was warming. It had in all unnoticed subtlety dried the droplets of dew that had been spilled on the flowers as it helped dry Astrid's clothes, but the warmth of sun was a small comfort. Calden too was very quiet. His internal confusion showed on the tattoo pattern in the colours switching between deep blue and darker tones as depressing thoughts coursed through his mind. He didn't like animals dying any bit more than Astrid and had often been just as down when they had brought some small dying bird to a village elder and been told that there was nothing to be done. This time though, watching the creature turn into an un-moving and dead husk was not the worst. Before he had always been there with her, letting her grasp at his tunic and rest her weeping head against his shoulder while he suppressed his own tears and ruffled her hair, coming up with whatever the silliest reasons for why it was alright; why everything would be alright. Now, he was without a body, a faceless mark on her shoulder. From his fixed prison he could only stare up at the tears flowing down from Astrid's eyes, and slowly the frustration and feeling of helplessness began again seeping in to fill his soul.

Calden tried to offer a comforting word, but the act of speaking it without actually being able to be there for her felt somehow awkward, and made him sound somewhat more hesitant and distant than usual. "Hey. Astrid. It's okay. It-" His voice began to tremble and broke into sobbing as well, and even Calden wasn't sure why. After a few attempts where his voice came out as too muffled by emotions to spout out full words, the boy managed to continue. "Astrid, what do we do?"

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2014, 03:04:43 PM »
The sounds of her crying were all that Astrid was aware of for a long time. She merely sat, curled up next to the remnants of the once great creature and sobbed her heart out.

Eventually, her tears began to slow, and her sobbing diminished until it was mere sniffles. She seemed to have spent the whole day crying. Calden's gentle words began to sink through her sorrow,

"Astrid, what do we do?"

The girl shook her head slowly, wiping the tears from her cheeks, "I....I don't know, Calden..." She sniffed quietly as she looked up and took in her surroundings for the first time. She had no idea where they were, but the lion had looked over his shoulder when he mentioned the God. "Maybe....Maybe we should try to...", she shook her head, trying to think clearly, remembering what the lion had said,

"...That magic he laid on you is too potent for me. I've only ever fled from something of that sort, if it broke free it could consume the whole forest, if it was that sort of spell... It's a fools quest to chase that thing and expect anything but calamity to follow..."

"I thought...if we went after your bod-...the God...We might be able to find a way to put you back somehow. Maybe....Maybe one of the elders would know the kind of magic it was...", she trailed off. How could they go back to the village, even if they knew the way from here? They had disobeyed the laws, they had entered a forbidden cavern, and they had paid the price dearly. How could they go back to the village and ask the elders to help them when they so obviously didn't deserve the help?

She shook her head again, "No...I don't think we can go back to the village without your...body...We can't show our faces there ever again unless we get this fixed. I don't know what to do, Calden. I don't know. All I can think of is to just keep following the God. Maybe something will come along to help us when we need it. You know, maybe one of the Gods will take pity on us? Maybe destiny will reveal the path if we keep going...?"

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2014, 05:07:12 PM »
Mention of the home village sent strange thoughts through Calden too. He had at first thought that returning would be the obvious choice. He thought that of course they should return to ask elders of help, but Astrid's words brought the harsh doubt to that idea. They had indeed disobeyed. They had ventured into the forbidden cave and broken every rule ever taught to them. He had even jumped on the sealed stone. He had disturbed that thing. He had set it free and how was losing a body any price to pay for that? Calden's eye flickered to the trunk of the forest lion, but only for a moment as he couldn't quite bear to stare upon those twisted still features of a once noble creature. He felt a crazy guilt burn from the inside. That had been his fault too, and much more would be if someone didn't do something - if they didn't do something.

His tone began humbled, but gained some small measure of confidence as he went on. For a moment there Calden sounded almost like the brave though foolish young man he had been. "Uhm...   uhhuh. I know. I did something terrible, and even if they let you return I don't know what would happen when I'm still stuck to your shoulder. I think we've got to do something too. The lion's dead because of me, who knows what else that God will do? But...  Astrid you'll be in danger. It's all my fault but I can't really do anything for you. I'm so..." There, Calden had already lost the hopeful spark and began trailing off into more despairing thoughts as he went on. "...powerless, I can't do anything, not even a speck of magic. I'm just a useless ugly stain on you. A curse. I'm just distracting you and, and probably doing some bad stuff to you. The lion said that I was a bad thing, remember? How can we chase after that thing the way we are? Why am I even thinking that you should come too. We need to find a way to save you from me and then you can go back safely to the village and I take care of my mess, alone."

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Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2014, 04:35:02 PM »
Astrid shook her head and wiped her face with the back of her hand. "No, Calden. I'm just as much to blame as you. We went in there together. We both did it.  I'm not trying to be 'rid' of you."

The young girl sat still for a long while. She was lost, in more than just the physical sense. She had no idea how to proceed or even what she wanted. She had thought that catching up to Calden's body would solve all their problems. Now she realized that was a foolish and childish idea. The lion had said it would be terrible. And what had she really expected anyway? That the God would willingly hand over the body and go back to being...what? She had no idea what it had been before it took his body, but she doubted it would willingly go back to whatever existence it had had in that rock.

She shuddered. A small part of her felt sorry for the God, being trapped as nothing for all eternity, entombed in a stone deep in a forbidden cave...she wondered what it had done to deserve that and who had trapped it like that. But when she glanced at the remnants of the lion in front of her the pity disappeared and a hatred began to burn. She had never known hatred, not even against those who teased her for her magic back in the village. But here, now, for some reason, a deep seated hate began to settle in her heart. She hated that thing for what it had done to Calden, to her, to Eidolon.

Whether that hatred was part of the curse placed on them by the God, a sort of 'piece' of him that was trapped when he trapped Calden on her arm, or whether it was purely from Astrid herself in response to the death of such a creature as Eidolon, was impossible for anyone to know at this point.

Offline SainTopic starter

Re: Bound by curse (Sain and PennySludt)
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2014, 11:55:24 AM »
Calden paused for a moment after hearing the reply, for a brief moment he allowed himself to feel comfort in the notion that Astrid felt like they were in this together, but then the insecurity returned to bang the door on the back of his mind. No, he thought, it was all his fault after all. He had disturbed the sealed God. He wanted so bad to jump out and go find a way to fix things, but for now there was nothing to do. All he could do was to comply with Astrid and believe in her. Calden too had been staring at the motionless husk of the lion, but turned his eye back to look up at Astrid as he was about to ask her something.

The words got stuck before any could be said when he saw a strange, unfamiliar expression on his old friend. Seeing the pretty face of a gentle girl wear rage like that for the first time in his life was downright eerie. Furthermore, from his lowered point of view it was not the furious face of a little girl but that of an angered giantess. Calden blinked a couple of times. It took him several moments to snap out of it and put it in a perspective that he used to have. He glanced back to the dead forest lion, and knew that he should be able relate to Astrid's thoughts. He knew that by all rights he too should be angry, screaming curses that both of them wanted - needed - to hear. Yet the guilt that had began gnawing at him was by far the dominating emotion now, and on top of that heavy guilt wagon was just now added another burden; Astrid's rage. Something had to be done about this God, but Calden did not even dare imagine what would happen if Astrid were to now be consumed by her rage and begin an utterly lunatic chase through the wilds. He had to try and say something to soothe her.

Calden could not shake the tremble of emotion from his tone, but perhaps that just made it all the more calming as the worry in it was clear. "Astrid. I know what you must feel. I- I feel just as bad. We need to stop that thing, and fix this, but...   you can't chase him now. Who knows, maybe it would do whatever it did to me and curse you to share body of some frog or worse."


That said, there was something in the glade that both of the kids could notice now that their eyes began to wander from the already dead lion. The flowers on the spots where that golden dew had spilled when the lion had coughed had all grown in size and strength and attained an unnaturally bright bloom. Same was the case with the moss that covered the stones at the shore and bottom of the brook; the moss had grown thick and fluffy. Most visible of all the vigorously grown plants though were two bushes that formed parts of the foresty wall around that glade. It looked like a large splat of that vigor enhancing liquid would have been spilled at the veil of leaves there. Although, the path that way looked like it was filled with life and hope due to the plants, both of the kids could imagine what sort of horrid events had led to so much of the dew spilling on that opening to the glade.