Part of the What You Leave Behind Arc
Part of the What Dreams May Come Arc
This is a Healer's Guild RP.
Summary: Lionel continues to see Valrae's spirit during a meeting with Emilia to discuss Healer's Guild involvement in the alliance against Kahran. This marks the third time he's seen her, and the first since the pair spoke deeply on the frigid far northern holy grounds where the Ouroboros were lain to rest. Lionel and Valrae discover an unexpectedly shared thrill for subterfuge after Emilia surprises them by revealing she can see the wayward spirit. Although they do not reveal Valrae's true identity to her, Emilia leaves with some semblance of appreciation for the situation and expresses gladness that the spirit she has witnessed may yet return to the mortal coil.
Frostmaw Fort: Lionel's Quarters
Lionel eases the tension on the bowstring, letting loose the arrow. It speeds through the night, its arc curving slightly when a gust forces it off the straight and narrow path toward the tree. Lionel feels the briefest moment’s disappointment, but then he -is- the arrow, and he’s thrilled to feel the air whipped up against him. He leaves behind the archer and their chosen target, free to go wherever arrows go. Only, he doesn’t stop; he never stops, nor slows down, but instead he zips into even greater frenzy, even faster pace, and the crisp cool breeze is his guide. A great castle, glistening and bold, comes into view with purpose. Its mammoth gates swing open to permit the arrow, which flies through the courtyard. Everything’s blurred with haste. Lionel opens his eyes, startled to realize he’s dozed off at his desk. He smacks his head and the arrow dream leaves him, but a vestige of it lingers longingly, anonymously. “Seven hells.” He reaches for his half-emptied wine goblet, peering into it curiously. Wine has never had this effect on him before, and he’d much prefer it not to start now. Behind him, the emerald-shaded crystal skull that Mulgrew gave him -- and that Uma believes may be a key to resurrecting Valrae -- pulses and glows. But Lionel, drinking the rest of his chosen poison, is none the wiser. Soon, an envoy from the Healer’s Guild will be forwarded to his quarters. Soon, they will see his spartan living space. Lionel shrugs back into his chair, easing a soreness in his neck. Somewhere deep inside him, he wishes to be free.
Emilia was escorted down the halls of the Fort by one of the giants. Standing next to the fellow the Genasi was beyond midget in size, barely reaching five feet counting the mess of tangled curls pulled back into a high pony tail to keep them from dragging on the ground. The woman was as white as the snow that covered the city of Frostmaw so much so that a few thought for a moment she was an animated ice statue. Official visit today had the tiny lady dressed in a gown of midnight blue hugging tight against her bony frame, concealing a mass amount of fresh silvery hued scars of which some were visible upon her exposed arms. Reaching the door Lionel's area the black hand of the woman curled into a fist before she knocked against it three times. The sound of that ice hand hitting the door echoing in the hall as if it was a battering ram over an appendage. “Lionel, It is Emilia,” her voice travel through the gap in the under space of the door, a whisper dancing on a gust of chilled wind right to Lionel directly, no one else would have heard her speak.
Valrae || The power of the skull pulsed over her, rolling in sick waves all around her spirit. Standing too near it made her feel too much. Like standing under the sun, looking up and up and up and wishing for just one glass of water. Her throat felt dry and this was odd because she had no throat. The dead had no business feeling thirsty or warm or desperate to run their hand over the shoulders of a sleeping steward but here she was… Standing behind Lionel’s sleeping form and feeling, wishing. Uselessly, the conjured image of her hand feathers through the man’s hair. It hardly stirs the air around him but he's sitting up all the same. Not long after, a chill arrives with a knocking on the door, that has nothing to do with her own presence. When the door is opened, perhaps Emilia could see the thin smoke-like image of a slender, startled woman in scarlet standing behind Lionel as she entered, but it would be gone in the span of a heartbeat. Her spirit moves away, spiraling toward a corner of the room.
Lionel tenses to hear the visitor’s name. Already on-edge from the mad noise of the knock, the shock of Emilia’s identity almost compels him to reach for his sword. Three months ago, he might not have given it much thought, but that was before Kahran announced himself to the global stage and began his long-brewed war in earnest. Now, anything and anyone with any ties whatsoever to the Dark Immortals brings a fever to Lionel’s mind as if he is on the battlefield constantly. In a flurry, the Catalian registers how much pitiable open space there is in his room, which grants considerable motion but costs him any element of surprise he might need. His hand is on Hellfire’s hilt before reason returns: Emilia may be married to Xersom, but nothing ever came of his inquest into that man’s aims, and -- strangest of all -- there have been no known links between Xersom and Kahran to-date. What’s more, the Ice Genasi remains a valued member of the Healer’s Guild as per the alliance’s most recent reports. Yet for all his concern, he feels something soft, something tender, something genuine, and he’s certain it’s emanating from just beside him. His hair feels a touch, but he lifts his hand to find the culprit and it’s already gone. “It’s you, isn’t it?” His whisper is gentle and there’s a shimmer in his eyes as he searches. “Don’t go. Please don’t go.” Lionel exhales a breath he did not know he’d held, letting go of the hilt and standing upright swiftly. He opens the door to permit Emilia; he seems even thinner than the last time they’d met, which feels like an eternity and is likely at least a year. His stride is quick as he doubles back toward his chair. “Hey.” He peers to and fro, wondering if he might find a wayward spirit. Conscious of his distraction, he bites his lower lip and regards the guest he knew was coming. “Care for some tea? You drink tea? You look like a tea drinker. It’s good tea. Imported from… Rynvale, I think. Tell me, how goes the healing?”
Emilia had been touched with the sight of seeing those stuck between worlds when she carried a child that was born with the gift herself. Unlike her youngling, that she had not seen in nearly two years, the Genasi was not fully sighted, but the strong energy of Val's spirit was visible to the icy eyes of the healer when she entered the room. Untrained she couldn’t tell the difference at first between the dead and the living, perhaps if she trained the skill she would be know one from the other. It was the figure of the other woman at the meeting with Lionel that had caught her attention more so than the thinner figure of the man she met long ago. Curious eyes watched the corner where Val fled, “I mean no harm miss you do not have to hide…” A glare was shot Lionel's way, “I will only have tea if it is chilled and if you allow your scares little servant lady to join in a glass with us.” The healer had just mistaken Val's spirit for a living being. It was that dark untrained gift flowing in her icy body that Lionel feared showing itself. The woman was once married to Xersom, yet now widowed from him. This fact did not change the darkness that had settled into the once light woman, a toxic darkness that was slowly fading each day that she spent without the man she once called husband. Attention back upon Lionel as she walked with silent bare footed steps across the room to stand before him, offer a small half bow before shrugging, “Healing is a messy business as always. I have been sent to offer you my services at the request of a dear friend. So here I am, how may I assist you, Sir?”
Valrae feels the apprehension in Lionel and her spirit answers in kind, like the grinding of teeth. It doesn’t settle or leave her as it does him though, even as the spark of recognition flashes in his eyes and he addresses the air her spirit fills. I’m here, she answers without voice or sound. I’ll stay… But the agitation doesn’t leave her. With the suffocating pressure of the skull around her and the worming, nervous energy she’d pulled in, she felt confused and out of focus. Emilia’s recognition is like a cool rag on a fevered head. The image of her turns, shock clear on the mask of her face.. She looks from the stranger to Lionel, the only other living person who has shown her any recognition. She does not move from the corner. “Can you see me?” Her voice carries like a winter chill, inhuman and far away. But the strange, cold woman has moved on, as if seeing the suspended spirits of the restless dead were less interesting than the temperature of her tea, so Valrae moves from the corner without stirring the air.
Lionel tilts his head sideways comically, pursing his lips and widening his eyes. Has Emilia been stricken with mental malady? Well, if so, she’ll be in good company today -- if nothing else, Lionel’s life has made him somewhat of an expert on misshapen cognizance. The cynical thought knocks him out of his stupor, forcing realization to dawn like a welcome yet blinding light. Emilia may be able to sense Valrae’s spirit. It’s confirmation that Valrae is here, but so much more; it’s immediately the center of the man’s attention, and if Emilia’s perception proves robust, she might be pivotal to his mission to resurrect her. Cenril would be saved from Kahran’s murderous spree and Valrae would be made whole again. Lionel is no longer certain which of these hopes feels more splendorous. “I don’t like servants,” he says quite suddenly. “I never have. I prefer equals, and the woman you just saw is at least my equal.” The witch’s voice, her winter chill, rushes over him. Lionel watches where her spectral image maneuvers, seeing her so clearly. “I’m sorry, but the tea here is hot as hell.” With great difficulty, he musters himself sideways to face Emilia instead. “The alliance against Kahran -- that’s what we’re calling ourselves, it’s very ragtag, it’s hardly officious -- needs all the help it can get.” Well, almost all the help it can get. There’s no sense echoing the raw malice he felt when Josleen offered Larketian aid. He said no, and he has confidence Hildegarde will do the same. Misplaced confidence, perhaps. “We have healers, but they’re from all walks of life, and there’s little organization between them. We’d benefit from your presence on missions. As well, we could really use your services at our camps. We’re strewn throughout Lithrydel because the enemy is as well. We can spare provisions, coinage, ale, whatever you need.” He really wants to turn toward Valrae again… so he does.
Emilia would acknowledge the voice she heard like a distant cold whisper, “Yes, of course I can see you Miss…” the words of the Genasi faded out into a hushed whisper, was she not supposed to see the woman so clearly present in the room with herself and Lionel? Not a servant, an equal in the room then why had she fled so fast when she arrived….so many questions. Turning her attention back to Lionel she listened to the man talk about the AAK and how spread out it was, how ragtag it seemed with organization of the healers aiding the cause. This caused a frown on those blue death chilled lips, “I am sorry to hear the mess this darkness is causing across the land. I will notify the guild to get some groups arranged and sent out to where you need them most and we can work from there. Rations would be best served for them…as I have no use for coin my ex left me with more gold than most have or ever will see in their life time…” an ancient dragon's hoard, how stinking rich the little woman of ice was made her sick. Eyes following those of Lionel back to his equal in the room, “Would you like a cup of tea, Miss?” she questioned her, still not having caught on she isn't a living being in the room. Piercing eyes never leaving Val she spoke at Lionel, “If you wish to watch me gargle on my own blood I will partake in your imported tea, otherwise I shall enjoy whatever it is that you have that is without heat…ice water perhaps?” She was a creature of winter leaving her weakened against heat and unable to ingest anything of a hot nature.
Valrae using the power that the emerald skull emanated felt like taking the first long, gulping drink of water she had been wishing for just moments before. Cool, life affirming, happening so quickly it could make a stomach hurt. But again, she had no stomach. The image she chooses now, for she could change them as similarly and as often as a living woman might change clothes, was one from her early life. Golden, wind tossed waves of hair tumbling around her as if she’d just rolled out of some very soft bed. Flashing emerald eyes lined sooty with khol, lips painted bold and bloody red and skin kissed dark from days of lazing on the beaches of Cenril. A lovely, wicked image to behold and cold, still in the way nothing living ever was. With her borrowed strength she stood before the two living beings in the room and appeared very much equal. A clever trick. As Emilia’s voice fills the space between them Valrae returns Lionel’s gaze steadily, her head tilting curiously. Sun-spun hair fans over her collar but reflects no light, would seem to absorb it instead. “Tea?” The spirit’s echoing voice repeats, suddenly drawn back to the woman. “No. It would suit me just as well as you, it would seem,” Her false red lips twitch into a smile. Her eyes flicker back to Lionel, gleaming with playful light, and seem to say, ‘Play along if you dare.’
Lionel tries not to let his countenance betray his stupor when Emilia speaks so bluntly to the spirit in his room. He decides the best course of action is to keep his eyes wayward of the Genasi and periodically hmm and haw in accordance with her answers, but his fragile sanity starts to slip anew when residual images of an arrow zipping through a castle abruptly drift through him. He has no conscious idea what it means and does not recall dreaming of it either. Absurdly, he feels pangs of embarrassment; not only is a woman on business discussing imperative matters, but the restless spirit of another woman -- someone to whom he feels he owes the world -- is flitting about like a seesaw in his peripheral. And here he is, pondering what it would be like to be the arrow that guides the way to a glistening castle. The sheer absurdity of it all almost overwhelms him. Lionel fumbles at the latch on his mahogany ice box when that spectral peripheral woman seems to shift, beautifully, equally, achingly distractingly. He catches Valrae’s playful flicker and very nearly breaks the lock on the ice box. Why is everything in this room so damned cold except his flushed forehead? “Rations,” he blurts, edging himself to think -rationally.- “That can be arranged. We’re deeply indebted to you for your help. Aren’t we, uh, Earlav?” He needed to think of a name for Valrae that wouldn’t draw immediate suspicion from anyone with even passing knowledge of the heroic witch, because he needed to guard her identity in case she’d prefer it remain unknown. He needed something fast and he said her name backwards. Only now, mere perilous seconds after hearing his frantic pronunciation, does he begin to regret his technique. “This is Madam Earlav, from… uh… Frakheckistan.” He clears his throat, pouring two glasses of ice water into goblets that recently housed wine instead. “Frakheckistan is wrought. It’s intense… um, it’s fraught? Kahran must have done them in before availing himself here to fair Lithrydel.” Isn’t she beautiful? He doesn’t ask the question, but silently he’s thinking it. Lionel hands Emilia one glass and lets the other linger by his hip in case Madam Earlav has a neat trick for drinking it. Otherwise, he’ll just casually sip it himself, all-the-while wishing his pinot grigio had left him in a more drunken state.
Emilia watched the way in which Lionel seemed to panic through his sudden acceptance of the once shy now attention seeking woman in the room with them. What an odd night this was turned out to be. The glass of water was accepted from Lionel, the natural aura of her cold rushing over his hand while it remained near to her for those fleeting moments before taking his hand away. The glass beneath her fingers began to frost over with a thin layer of ice, slowly thickening the longer it stayed in her hold. Lifting it to her lips the woman sipped at the now partly frozen water shared with her while listening to his tale of this oddly named lady from a even stranger named city while his heart skipped a beat during his story telling. She was a deadly monster standing there in the room with a poor liar and a something most surely not from make believe land he was stumbling words about. Setting down the now fully frozen over glass, only minutes had passed, on his desk causing it to made a solid thunk, “I would like you to remember dear Sir that as much as I am a healer gifting my services to you at request of a dear friend that I am also a monster of winter. Telling lies to me will cost you the aide given so freely.” It was a harsh warning and reminder of just who…what he had standing in his room. Eyes back on the blonde, “All is well tea isn't very well served cold. Nor is trapping someone between the realms of the living and the dead. The mind goes mental the longer one resides trapped. I suggest you either set it free beyond the gate or return it back to the living before it becomes the next chaos of madness attacking this fair land,” Em spoke half toward both spirit and man having belatedly put the pieces together that the blonde was a spirt, a strong lively one at that or she would have never been able to interact with her.
Valrae nearly chokes to hear the name Lionel has given her. Her hand moves to cover her mouth, the curl of her lips and the quick sound of her laughter. Inhuman, it echoed in the room with the sound of wind through winter bare trees. “Grace Earlav,” With the cut of her eyes to the steward, her hands fist in the ghostly crimson skirts she wears and she dips into a curtsy. There was no sound, no rustle of skirts or satin on skin. Her movements were cold grace, unfaltering or marred with human error. “Deeply,” She draws the word out as she repeats the sentiment, “Indebted. Frakheckistan might have stood better chance against it’s devils if we’d had such generosities shown… Before it was too late,” She watches Lionel pour the water and leaves it untouched, afraid to spoil the falsity of her presence. Emilia was ill-content with the hastily uttered story they’d conjured though. Her harsh tone had the mask the witch’s spirit wore frowning. “He has no hold over me,” She answers quickly, though unsure of the words truth. They hang in the air between the three of them and crouch. The agitation she’d pulled in from Lionel earlier rises with her own. “You’d do a great and foolish disservice to deny aid to the only force standing between this land and its destruction… All for an honest man’s wish to keep another’s secret.” Her eyes move from Emilia to Lionel, the cold annoyance replaced with apology. “I’m no force to be tethered, summoned, or moved.” Her image shifts, moving like smoke. Emilia’s words fall like a warning and so she shakes her head. “No, no. There is more waiting for me here.” Her eyes move to Lionel.
Lionel, despite himself, smirks unabashedly as Valrae works with the cover story he’s provided her. A surge of revelry sparks upon his skin like static ecstasy. Just hearing her mouth ‘Frakheckistan’ makes him feel like the arrow vaulting through the air and castle courtyard. But when Emilia denies their fable, revelry’s replaced with a current of frustration that vibrates down his spine, compelling him to stand more rigidly and face their accuser head-on. His lithe body twists and his azure eyes widen. “She isn’t trapped,” he speaks brazenly, but for reasons unknown he flinches to hear her say he has no hold over her. It’s an eminent contradiction; he files it away for the time being and quiets himself to let Valrae continue, running his fingers alongside the rim of his glass for coolness. Lionel smiles, perhaps awkwardly, to hear her protective tone. He’s humbled but bumbles through the spirit’s fierce lawyer-like refrain. When her eyes move to him anew, he meets them with renewed intent, and there’s something truly composed about his tone thereafter. “On this you have my word: she’ll be back among the living. Soon.” It’s spoken like a promise and delivered directly to the witch. Emilia will have to be content with this -- or else she won’t be, but there’s nothing more he’ll say on the matter. The Healer’s Guild operates out of Larket regularly. As glad as he is for their assistance, he can’t ascertain the political leanings of its individual membership. If rumor of Valrae clinging to this plane reaches the wrong ears, the alliance’s enemies could multiply overnight, and Cenril could go up in blazes as a result. Again, the thought of an arrow free in the air reverberates within him, but now it’s a welcome thing, and one he’s attributing to Valrae’s presence. At last he regards the Ice Genasi again. “I’ll sign the papers and ensure you decent lodging if you’re staying in town overnight. Watch the roads, please. Monster of winter you may be, and I don’t doubt your prowess for it, but Kahran’s battalions make mockeries of us all if we leave unprepared.”
Emilia turned to face the woman not of this world any longer, “A honest man has no wrongs in keeping the secret of another, Miss. Though for one to safely keep it a better well practiced story should be worked out prior, but then it is not everyday you run into one with the sight either.” There was a pause as the eyes of the Genasi drifted to Lionel, “I am most pleased to hear you will have this life brought back across the bridge into this world and your secret of a spirit hiding in your room will be kept by me for it does me no good either way. My job in this world is to heal those in need of it, to aide those that need help, and to keep balance in this world ever against my nature as it is. I will be staying here in Frostmaw, but your coin is not needed for I have a place of my own I this city too.” Ah, yes the Genasi and her numerous homes across the land. She was dedicated to no one city any longer, a drifter for the cause so opposite of what she was, monster. If only Kahran got his hands on the Genasi would the true darkness of the creature be revealed. Shaking her head, “I appreciate your offer though, thank you. I shall be at the greenhouse north of the mines for a few days for rest before I travel to Cenril to begin discussion to expand the Healer's Guild by seeking permission to build a healing center within the city. Ara runs well itself in Larket, but I don't like the feeling Larket gives any longer. I hope you both find some rest this eve. It was a pleasure meeting with you, Lionel and Grace. I suggest you practice your story to make it more believable for the next person.” With that the lady was standing readying herself to depart the meeting with Lionel, still leaving him with the services of her Guild.