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 Post subject: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:04 am 
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<Gaerlan_Cimo> It is some days into the journey when Gaerlan makes his way to speak to Arissa once more - after her pitiful display at the fall he's had little interest. Denied her holy symbols and under guard, she's a prisoner in fact if not name.

<Gaerlan_Cimo> The fact is further reinforced as he gives no knock or indication before walking in on her.

<Arissa> She kneels facing the wall of the cabin, forehead pressed to the rough wood, in either prayer or despair, or simple exhaustion. She gives no sign she is aware of his presence.

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "They can't hear you." His voice is as rough and coarse as the wood.

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "With the Fall of the Horn, death of those loyalists to the Horn, my own banishment, and the ruin of your holy symbols, you are now the last tenuous thread they have."

<Arissa> "Then I am sure they are listening all the harder."

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "That's why they speak to you, right?"

<Arissa> Her teeth and fists begin to clench, then relax, and her voice is almost as dulcet as ever when she replies. "I am sure that I am an easy target for mockery, Sir Cimo, and by any lights, you have earned that privilege."

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "The silence is deafening then."

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "I confess, I do miss their voices myself on occassion."

<Arissa> "I wonder what causes such treatment from them?"

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "Face me when you speak to me."

<Arissa> She glances over her shoulder at him. "Have we anything else to discuss?"

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "Your fate."

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "Which grows more bleak the longer you continue to test my patience."

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "Continue to act as a child and you'll be treated as one." He smiles cruelly, "You remember my children?"

<Arissa> "Oh really?" Arissa rises smoothly, more smoothly than she has normally managed in her new body, and turns to face him. In a casual, sultry voice totally at odds with her words, she says "Is that fate any more cruel than that you've already given me? Not once, but twice, you and your friends have stripped me down to nothing, Gaerlan, and then snatched away what you've promised. You think the third time will be the charm? What do I have left that you want?"

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "That's the question you should have been asking, instead of praying to your distant lords."

<Arissa> "My body, hideous though it now is? You have had that time and again. My help in your conquest? You could have had that freely, simply for not taking an act of spite. Or is it something more permanent?"

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "You are so naive. You think it was about you?"

<Gaerlan_Cimo> He laughs, "Of course you do."

<Arissa> "So then, you merely want another tool."

<Arissa> "Or... what, to bind the Horsemen to your cause through me?"

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "At least you're thinking."

<Gaerlan_Cimo> "The Horsemen though have removed themselves from relevance."

<Arissa> Suddenly, it seems as if her strings are cut. She collapses, bonelessly to sit, slouching forward, on the thin bunk. "You'll have to forgive me. I find I've rather lost my usual taste for wordplay of late, Gaerlan. I gather I'm only alive because you believe you haven't wrung the last drop of use from me yet, but I fear I'm beggared as to what else it may be. Nor can I dredge up much interest in the matter."

<Gaerlan> "Poor Arissa, twice abandoned by her gods, twice lost of faith. You're breaking my black little heart." His tone is mocking.

"You backed the wrong horse my dear. In fairness, so had I. I thought they would understand, would see the bigger picture. It was a rude surprise when they turned up their nose. All the same, here we are. They're gone, you're here, and the only question you should ask is whether their failure, and their weakness, is going to be your downfall. I think you have potential. Not just as a tool - I would have Puella simply enslave you if it were so - but as a leader. You've been given another chance at life. A strong, new, young body, and one more chance now, at faith. Come, as you are, not as you were, as they want you to be. Seeking not to exploit, seeking not to deceive, but to embrace. To be embraced. Submit to their will, and take your place by side." He extends a hand, framed by the light of the doorway behind him, "Come with me now."

Diplomacy 41.


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 Post subject: Re: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:41 pm 
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Arissa looks at him for a long moment. "You know..." She gazes up at him, almost in wonder... "Perhaps it is time to try something new..."

Her face twists into a sneer. "Time to stop being a *****. And a fool. You arrogant son of a *****. Do you really think I'm going to fall for the same trick twice? Do you really think you can offer me anything, and I'll believe it? That you even have anything I want? Everything about your philosophy, and your doctrine, disgusts me. Always simpering on about you're doing it all for your victims' own good, as if you're afraid to just admit to yourself it's all about you. I did back the wrong horse; I should have joined Ezra, and gutted you like a fish while you still trusted me."


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 Post subject: Re: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Gaerlan mouths a curse and slaps the sneer from her face hard enough to rattle teeth and follows up with two more lightning fast blows to her midsection that send blinding flashes of pain through her (52 nonlethal damage), "That's how whores are treated. It certainly has not been how I've treated you to date."

"You are right though, because you are a *****, and you'll always be one until you stop thinking only about how you can take advantage of someone. You're out to f.uck even your own gods, which is why the Nine turned you away like a begger on the street. Only my own grace and indulgence has kept you from the brothals, and my patience is now ended. Your stubbornness saw you once slain and thrice defeated. You think you've been so abused and lied to and manipulated, but you've only yourself to blame. I've never lied to you."

There is fury in his eyes as he looks down on her, "This is your last chance, and being the merciful Lord that I am, I shall give you the evening to think on it. You can either open your mind or get down to spreading your legs like the rest of the whores. Maybe after you've welped a few bastards someone will take pity on you and smother you with a pillow. Then again, perhaps not. I hear Puella has a very special place for stubborn hopeless cases like yourself. Either way, I will find a use for you. Think on it tonight." His mailed fist strikes her twice more and darkness overtakes her (34 nonlethal damage).

Technically she can make her own unarmed attacks in retaliation, but she can't hit Gaerlan's AC so he's going to shrug them off.

When she awakens later she finds she has been stripped nude, bound, gagged, and left under observation. Everything hurts, and the ropes bite tightly into her flesh. Hours pass. She's not permitted to relieve herself and given neither food nor water. Eventually she soils herself. She cannot say how long it is before the next face she recognizes arrives, but it is not who she expects. Irulen the Red looks down at the bound, gagged, stripped orc as laying in her own filth and all but turns up her nose. A seat is brought in, and then the two are left alone.

"You've truly angered him you know. He was off half a mind to murder you himself when he got back." The lithe woman runs a nailed finger over Arissa's skin, across her chest, her breasts, and up to her collar bone. "Not that he would, not anymore. He's changed. I think the absence of the Horsemen's influence has been good for him. It's made him more practical in many ways. More controlled." She smiles, "All the same, he did ask me to look in on you. To see whether or not you would be suitable for the same operation we did on that troublesome Daemon." The hand runs over Arissa's left arm, bound though it is. "It'll be interesting, but I'm confident that I can keep you both alive and awake through it. I don't think it would meaingfully interfer with your ability to serve as a *** slave, or your ability to welp children. Not as though you'll need to hold them or even see them. Hum... I wonder if he would let me have your eyes as well. Those wonderful orbs that can see even in the dark." Another smile, "Well, I must be off. I thought you should know."

She cannot say how long it is before Gaerlan appears over her once more, this time with Puella in tow, but it feels like hours, or even days. Her throat is parched and dry, and her stomach growls with hunger despite the filth she lays in. The gag is removed and the Blackguard looks down at her. "Have you made your choice?" In spite of herself she cannot help but feel her skin prickle with fear this close to him. Will save DC 21 (-4 on save) vs. shaken


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 Post subject: Re: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:59 am 
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<Arissa> "It... it is not within me to worship the Lords of Hell. All came from chaos, and to chaos, all must return. But the Horsemen... the depths of despair have opened my ears to their voices once again. They will permit me to wield their powers in your service once more. If you permit it, I shall not repeat Ezra's treason."

<Gaerlan> His lip curls into a sneer, "And why should I permit such service?"

<Gaerlan> "Why should I want it?"

<Arissa> "For the same reasons you always did. A willing servant, who can call upon the powers of Abbadon in your aid, is far more use than one more toy. I can provide aid that the dwarven coin-counter never would, no matter what bargain he signs. I will no longer even pretend to be anything other than a servant, until you say otherwise. And because it was never the Horsemen who betrayed you, but only one of the least of their servants, who even now suffers for his mistakes."

<Gaerlan> Gaerlan takes her jaw in his hand, "I don't need another servant. Nor another slave."


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 Post subject: Re: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:01 pm 
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"Then tell me what you want, and I shall be it," she says, almost desperate. "If I can. Even now... I am what you have made of me, Gaerlan. Molded by you and your friends, body and mind. If I serve the Horsemen still... can you truly say that no part of you still cleaves to them? That you do not do their work, even if it be done in Hell's name? Would you discard all that first made you strong? Let me be your reward from them, even if you no longer honor them in any other way."


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 Post subject: Re: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:34 pm 
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Gaerlan's fist explodes into the decking beside her head hard enough to splinter wood, and sludgy black blood runs from the torn flesh of his knuckles. "If this is what I have made you, then I have been a failure." The words come out in a low growl, seething with barely contained fury. "Better than last time. Better than an insolent self indulgent child throwing a tantrum, but still as blind as the rest."

He withdraws the hand, leaving behind only ruin and blood. "Why can't I make you understand? Your whole life, every step, you've been following some other path or reacting. You served your first master because it was easy. You served the Horsemen because it was necessary. Now you would serve me because to do otherwise is to be destroyed. Where does that path take you? Broaden your gaze and tell me where you would be when Talingarde has been conquered? What do you want out of life, other than to go on living? Tell me your full ambitions. Tell me your deepest desires. Tell me your needs. What do you want Arissa?"


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 Post subject: Re: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:53 pm 
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Arissa seems stunned, perhaps by the outburst, perhaps by the very question; in all her life, no one has ever sincerely asked her that question before. She can't quite believe what's she's hearing, or that Gaerlan isn't playing her, but she hardly has much left to lose at this point, either; regardless, it startles her into some measure of honesty.

"I... I want... I want to be desired and feared by all that look upon me! I want my son back, and my real face back, and that little flame-haired wench get burned for reaching beyond herself! I want luxury and wealth, beyond the dreams of emperors! I want to live forever, and I want to embrace death again as a lover long-missed! More than anything, I want to be my own master, beholden to no man and never chained again!"

She stops herself with sudden horror, realizing that this answer, while what he asked for, is hardly calculated to please... in a real sense, by speaking truth to power, Arissa has just betrayed every principle she's lived by since childhood. Then, she collapses against her bonds, drained by the cathartic rant.


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 Post subject: Re: Reach out and Touch Faith (now with Arissa!)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:13 pm 
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The blackguard heaves a deep sigh, as though preparing to take on a great burden. He runs one hand though his perfect hair, bringing it to rest on the back of his neck, where it curls into a fist, nails scraping furrows across his skin along the way. After a long moment he lowers the hand and looks around, as though reassuring himself of who he is with. Gone is his fury, his pride, and his charm, along with his swagger and his patience. He looks, more than anything else, disappointed, almost to the point of defeat. Moments stretch on, and still he stands, still as death. At last he looks to Puella. Is that a glint of a tear in his eyes, or simply how the light is catching them?

"Do what you will." He rumbles bitterly, quietly. "I would not be disturbed for the rest of the night."


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