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[P]  The Children Are Crying

Offline Iesha May 15 2020, 9:49 AM
#1
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 99
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Total Posts: 13
  • Played by: Isilzheha
265 Mana · View All Items?
People didn’t like the Unclaim. It smelled too sour, it felt too dry, there were eyes watching me in the darkness when I walked. Lamenting, crying, bitching, and moaning. That’s all they ever did and all they would ever do. Iesha liked it, personally, though she had been one of those foul wretches who looked down their noses at it. It was wild and untamable, and felt like home. Iesha couldn’t explain that feeling so well, and it ran parallel to the feeling she got when she returned to her Keep. When she shed her skin, so to speak, if she ever wore one at all. That was also home, but in a different way. It brought with it the waste from the Unclaim for her to clean and sort out, most of it ending up added to the collection. Iesha was never short of her collection, the hag’s refuge in the undercroft lined with the corpses of those who couldn’t take the Unclaim.

The vast expanses of wilderness also were rife with dangers far beyond anyone’s comprehension. Spirits walked their bound paths, twisted vagrants sought to steal your coin or simply wanted the thrill of the hunt. Even though there was no more cartilage to pull in the sounds around her they still beat against her eardrums, hidden in the canals that rest upon her skinless head. They came from everywhere and nowhere, the hag one of the many damned souls who wandered these forests along the highway. Iesha was far away from it now, had deviated in her intent before, and if she had been asked she would not have been able to say why. So she ambled instead, broken bones of her back leg clicking and tapping together as their fractured parts dragged over the ground. Shoulders bunched and rippling muscles bulged and squeaked with the strain upon them, Iesha’s head tilting to one side. Bulbous, lidless eyes scanned the darkness, the wolf not really caring which way she walked. She tripped and stumbled, hacking and wheezing along the way, until forest debris clung to her body.

Momma?

A haunting voice echoing in her skull, or maybe it was off of the dense trees around her? Iesha didn’t stop walking. Claws tore into the flesh of fallen trees as the hag dragged herself over them, jaws dripping with saliva. She left a mess in her wake, something she knew she had always done. The frigid air rattled in her lungs, and there was a silhouette deeper than the darkness that tore off deeper into the forest. Tiny, child-like, the figure’s smaller feet pitter-pattered through the vegetation. Iesha didn’t follow. She walked among them, the bastard ghosts and their always wagging tongues.

Momma! The fire,’ a different voice this time.

Orange flickered in the shadows, an explosion of color and roaring sound so vivid Iesha could feel the heat of it. The flames hissed and spat, coiling about the base of the trees as if it had a mind of its own. Iesha growled, a laughing gurgle of noise deep in her belly, and she slammed the side of her head against the nearest tree. The darkness returned. ‘It hurts,’ a deeper tone whined, tears in the words. Iesha felt nothing. Bitterness, maybe, hatred. For what? She couldn’t say. The dire twisted her neck, her skull at an almost impossible angle, and a single pink eye found a hovering face. So deep into the night and standing beneath the dense canopies she almost missed it. How could she miss those phantoms lingering at the corners of her vision? They could be so loud.

Blackness shrouded the rest of the body, but she could see the blistered skin of his face. Sores and boils stretched the skin taut, Iesha’s perpetual toothy grin mirrored by the seemingly disembodied head. His was soft and kind, whereas hers was mutated and harsh. Children’s laughter flanked her, but Iesha didn’t turn. Muscles popped and strained with the tilting of her head the other way, like a bird who just couldn’t see facing forward as her body followed suit. It was a step taken towards the standing figure, yet when she did she watched him fade away. Like a breeze had tugged his corporeal form from existence. Iesha recognized the face… and didn’t. She coughed, her entire body shivering with the exertion of it, though the beast continued on. Even as the laughter was accompanied by crying, weeping from different little voices. Together it rolled about in her mind, the hag hearing the kicking of legs every which way around her. They had no source now, coming from within or everywhere at once.

Iesha groaned and crooned, tongue starting to loll out of her mouth which hung open as if she couldn’t keep it shut any longer. Insects swarmed inside, collecting on the muscle therein, crawling down her throat with skittering legs and buzzing wings. She tasted them and didn’t care, and eventually the buzzing just added in to the other cluster of vibrations in the air. Fire crackled in the distance, screams and shouts laid beneath the head-splitting laughter. Iesha stopped beside a tree, shoulder pressed against it, as her sides heaved with her unneeded breath. It was a cacophony, rising into a crescendo that refused to cease. The skinless hag hit her head against the tree. Laughter continued. Another time she bashed her skull into the thick of it. The crying warbled like a broken song. Another, another, another

Then it stopped.

Iesha laughed, raspy and punchy. Someone was here, she could smell them. Taste them on the air. Some soft, warm, and fleshy thing. A woman, a human. “Can you hear them, girl?” she hissed, tongue starting to creep around the circumference of the tree trunk now bloodied and splintered. “The children? Their laughter, yes? Their sorrow.” Her voice was low and husky, some of the pustules along her slowly stretching tongue popping with the friction of the bark. Whoever had joined her stood on the other side of the tree, Iesha’s head dipping low as she wheezed in her creeping crawl to peer at the woman. “Tell me, wench, what happens after a forest fire? Is your pretty face all you have to offer, or are there some brains in there?” she growled out, letting her arrhythmic steps drag the length of her body across the tree.
Offline Branwen May 17 2020, 7:43 PM
#2
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 36
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Archer
  • Total Posts: 26
  • Played by: Rosie
145 Mana · View All Items?
Night-time made a usual time for sleeping, but she could hardly rest in a place like this. Something stubborn in her spurned her on for a few more hours, and some more still as the edges of her vision deteriorated swiftly in the dark. There was only the stars out here that could help light the way now and the work of her own pupils as she drew further, making sure she took care with her surroundings until she could not justify the walking or moving any further. And when rest wouldn’t take her when she couldn’t find any place that felt overly safe, as she heard something thumping loudly amongst tree trunks, she supposed she could at least count it as rest if she stayed still though she had walked already anyway, soundlessly as someone with soft feet, always used to the running and hiding, before the thump that came was unreasonably close.

As she hears laughing, she freezes. Her heart catches in her chest at the preciseness when the voice says the word ’girl. She fathoms saying nothing. Besides not wanting to think herself discovered in case there was any doubt in the stranger, she does not know what at all the figure means they hear. It is no use to hold onto the hope she sees though as something starts to greet her on the other side as the lark backs up, though curiously tilting her head. Was that a tongue? The question now at least better defined.

“What children?” Branwen asks back quickly, defensive in the way the wind rushes between teeth. She supposes her mad, or someone that has lost them, but there is no sympathy she wears as she steels herself for the unknown. Albeit, such a thing at night. There is nothing that she hears but the cold chilly breeze in the winds, and the steps of a predator, one that supposes had been responsible for the loud noises in the night.

As the pustules along the tongue pop brows furrow at the lack of understanding of why the, she supposes dire, continues in this dance if it is causing herself harm. Madness, she distances herself a few steps further but does not continue to move once the creature shows its head. Do not run, do not make yourself look like prey, she tells herself. At least it is what she hears about bears. She is less aware of what her instinct should be as she sees the pink eyes and head that greet her. Before lips can part either in a full gasp, or out of instinct ask some variation if the raw bloody dire is somehow okay before its’ jaw snaps again.

The lark head reels a little in confusion, although eyes appear nothing but fixated on the mass of meat and muscles that starts moving towards her. Forest fire? She has not heard of one here recently. But she's at least seen fire before. Knows the destruction it leaves the things in its' wake, though the woods had always been nearer the villages that first seen the torch. "Green grows up the charred trees," she says cryptically, methodically. Seemingly thinking the words as she speaks them, or of something different as well.

“All creatures have brains,” she somehow feels the need to say. That thought unclear to her, how anyone ever assumes otherwise.“Except jellyfish.”

"Why, what happened in your fire?" the woman soon asks, eyes scrutinizing the other as she moves away to keep some distance between them as the one that remains strange and unknown continues to walk towards her, while she hopes it does not count as some kind of weaknesses as green eyes remain on the pink ones.
Offline Iesha Sep 8 2020, 5:49 PM
#3
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 99
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Total Posts: 13
  • Played by: Isilzheha
265 Mana · View All Items?
What bitter sorrow to not feel the pain in the ways she used to, or the sobering effects it could bring. Although the crying stopped, the crackling ceased, and the whispers vanished the Dire felt them lingering nearby. Just out of reach of her perception, like a spot in the corner of the eye that disappears when you turn to look at it. Iesha almost would have welcomed it over what greeted her around the trunk of the tree, the woman who stood there so seemingly weak and feeble. Everyone looked that way to one who had weathered their own death. Iesha could hear her heartbeat, fluttering wildly when her presence was finally noticed, or maybe that was her own. It was difficult to tell over the heaving breaths and rattling, watery coughs that never seemed to clear whatever infection affected the wolf. Forsaken by the Gods, some of her kind might say, left in purgatory for the atrocities she had committed. But what of the humans? Like the one who stood here now, right as rain in the dark of the forest. In the Unclaim looking lost while insects burrowed into the musculature of the Dire’s body.

She didn’t hear them. Iesha scoffed; a hiss of putrid breath between her overgrown teeth that caught in her throat. Slowly she slid around the tree as her tongue tasted the air, stepping away from it as the woman stepped back. What children she asks as if she doesn’t know, didn’t hear them whimpering and lamenting. No brains, then, just the pretty face that covered her skull. She thinks she used to be pretty once…

The children, idiot girl,” she growls, although it wasn’t with the conviction of before. Moving on, as they did, as everyone did. “They are everywhere, yes, in this forest.” Her voice tapered off as her head tilted from one side to the other, tongue no longer slithering through the air between them and instead wiping across her eyeballs. “Green grows over black, it does, everything goes back the way it was before. Better, even, oh it does,” she hissed, teeth clipping together with a sudden vehemence. Somehow the muscles around her mouth flexed and curved, pulling inwards to broaden the grin she already wore. Iesha felt the knot between her shoulder blades and how it tensed, pain radiating from its center to send tingles down her limbs. “Then, girl, you bury your dead. If you can find what’s left of them, ha!

Iesha didn’t notice at first how the woman retreated, trying to match her pace and stand confident in the face of whatever she thought she was facing. ‘All creatures have brains. Except jellyfish.’ The hag stopped when she’d finished speaking, a moment of pause between them until it was shattered with the spluttering guffaw. Iesha started to move again, only this time it was as her body started to change.

The muscles rippled and started to expand, flattening out, sliding across her body in a way that defied reality. For their kind they shifted in a multitude of different ways, but it was a lot like shedding multiple skins for the hag. Had she one to shed it certainly would have sloughed off as she pushed herself up, limbs cracking and contorting in gruesome ways. Graceless and without tact, at times Iesha jerked with sharp movements whenever the skeleton would tug. Still she kept moving, walking, body still skinless and teeth still jagged as they framed her mouth where lips should have been. Even with only one truly functioning limb in this state she moved quickly towards the human, hedging her in with precise steps until one of the trees was at her back.

It was because of the question that followed her bold statement, or it could have been a lapse of judgment. Iesha considerably lacked in that, or the desire to even cater to it. “What happened in my fire,” she parroted, standing taller than the girl now. Her head tilted to the side with an aggressive twitch, tongue starting to poke through between her teeth as she crowded in with a limping step. “What happens during the fire, girl?” The words were spat, low and gurgling, as lidless eyes were fixated upon the human. Her chest heaved and the maggots were detaching with the jarring movements. “Ah, they burn. They scorch, their skin blisters and peels. Smoke fills their lungs and steals their screams, but oh how they cry still.” For her, for the Gods, for anyone who would listen and give a damn. A clawed hand lifted to firmly crush the heel of it against her temple. Similar as she’d done with her head against the tree. Like she was trying to knock something loose.

You say all creatures have a brain, yes,” she hummed, thoughtful and endearing, as unnaturally long fingers started to fold towards the human, “perhaps I should see for myself.” Then her hands went to snatch her up, one by the throat and the other the front of her clothing as her tongue began to extend outwards from an open and grinning mouth of teeth.