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RP:Facing The Aftermath

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Summary: Lanara is believed to have been lost to insanity, and living in Corlonia, a land far away. However, the truth of the past is revealed, six months later. She wasn't crazy, or even murderess, as it was a shade that had entered her body when she was practicing astral projection! Thankfully, the spirit of Lana reenters her form, and with the help of others, she reclaims all that was lost. The witch hopes to again be loved by those she called kin, reclaim her status in the community, and to rectify all the wrongdoing that had happened.

Part of the Magic, Madness, and Mayhem Arc

The Beast

It was rather believable to consider the fact that the woodland witch, Lanara, had truly gone off the deep end. She had suffered severe loss in the past five years, all of which had led to the fracturing of her mind. Hunted by witch killers, leading to an abduction that would ascertain that she’d never dance again. Losing family and friends to death or unexplainable circumstances. Being left at the altar by a man she had wholeheartedly placed every ounce of trust in. Nature and nurture had teamed up and caused the congenial elf to turn homicidal. Depression, coupled with inner turmoil from her youth, had transformed the lovable brunette into the stuff of nightmares.

Lanara was a ticking time bomb, fully prepared to blow at any given moment, without warning. She was constantly on edge, continuously causing her co-workers and guild mates to question each of her actions. It was painful to be in the presence of her beloved sister, Talyara, as it was like looking into a mirror of brokenness. How could she bring Taly back from the depths of despair, when she could barely look after herself? She spent less time caring for the animals at the sanctuary, leaving it to the caretaker and volunteers, as though her heart was no longer in her life’s work. No place felt like home, and she was incapable of finding comfort in the arms of those that lent her a shoulder to cry upon. So… When her adopted brother, Scandal, offered her a place to escape the expectations of her existence, she eagerly made the trek to Venturil.

The lands in the west brought the woman little peace, and she found herself seeking the consolation of familiarity more and more. It was too soon to go back to her home in Sage Forest; she just wasn’t ready to be alone in that small cottage, looking over her shoulder and fearing that witch hunters lurked in the woods. She dared not to venture to Frostmaw and reside with her sister, as the pain of their abduction was still so raw, and she didn’t want to step on Krice’s toes as he worked to stabilize the younger witch. Cenril, a place she often enjoyed, no longer brought a smile to her fair face, as the memory of Elioyahazer’s betrayal was at each turn. Her heart was broken over the fact that their love had slipped through her fingers, much like the granules of sand that flowed into the ocean after each wave crashed against the shore. Gualon was out of the question, as she still hadn’t fully gotten over the fact that Largakh had died in the line of duty, just when their love was blossoming and things were getting serious. Rynvale held less than fond memories, as did Schezerade, both being wrought with drama. Larket was the center of all the hatred against those that practiced the craft, and all of the other lands had done little to sway her decision, as she didn’t know their stance against witches. Chartsend would be a welcome reprieve from Venturil, as it was neighboring the land, though she wasn’t up to new experiences. With nowhere else to go, she sulked indoors, pacing up and down the long halls of Scandal’s manor, at a complete loss of where to go with her life, and desperately in need of an outlet for her emotions.

The library at the Scrathulclaw estate was extensive, and before long, Lana found herself curled up with a thick tome, The Art of Astral Projection, which she had been interested in studying since her youth. The ability to reach a heightened state of meditation where one was able to leave their body behind, and send their spirit to another place appealed greatly to the woman, and she began practicing this technique every single night. It came to the point where Lanara spent more time in her private quarters, drifting from one land to the next, and sometimes entering the body of another that was doing the same. She was an excitable rabbit one evening, and a frolicking mare, the next. Animals were more likely to separate from their forms than people, and she never had the desire to slip into a stranger’s body. Every night she found herself in the land of Enchantment, drawn to the place of magic and mystery, the first place she felt that she belonged, in quite some time. She was mastering her abilities, though with great power comes an even greater responsibility, and had she known what would happen the next time she slipped from her skin, she would have stopped practicing entirely.

After bidding her brother goodbye as he left Venturil for business, and assuring the staff that all of her needs were well met, she slipped from the manor and smiled as her flesh was bathed in the light of the full moon. It was a beautiful spring night and she wanted to allow her body to soak up the energy of the outdoors, while her spirit left to go and explore more of Enchantment. A harmless enough idea, though if she read the next chapter in the book, she’d see the fault in her little plan. If one were to leave their body unattended, or in the open, another rogue spirit could take possession, and the original wouldn’t be allowed back in, as a body was only meant to hold one being at a time.

The witch had lain upon the well manicured lawn, her back cushioned by the grass, as her eyelids drifted closed. Within minutes, she had slowed her breathing and focused intently on a location she desired to visit, a small stretch of woods that reminded her of her homeland. Effortlessly she eases out of the confines of her body, as a ghostlike formation hovers above her resting form, only to glide off into the night, headed towards Enchantment. As one spirit went off to peacefully reminisce of Kelvar, a dark spirit lurked not so far away, with nefarious intentions and a desire to wreak havoc across the lands. This rogue shade had been without a physical form for so long that it rapidly descended upon the innocent victim, a wicked grin splayed on those sangria stained lips, as Lana’s eyes open and she sits up. The sweet dream had now become a beautiful nightmare, as the being that takes over the petite woman’s form rises from the ground and enters the manor. The midnight hour strikes and the full moon is hidden behind clouds, as the Scrathulclaw estate is marked for murder and painted in crimson.

The overtaken form of Lanara fed on the memories of the witch that once occupied the body, and rather than seek out places she had yet to venture, it finds itself drawn to those which were most frequented. The next location that was targeted was one which the witch held closest to her heart, as it was created by her sister, with blood, sweat, tears, countless hours, and a plethora of gold coin. It was a gift that would keep on giving, an animal sanctuary, in Sage Forest. The ‘beast’ inside of Lana slaughtered a few of the docile beasts that roamed the perimeter of the establishment, as well as set fire to the barn which housed domesticated farm animals. Venin, the caretaker, arrived in time to put out the blaze and save the rest of the animals, arriving at the precise moment that the assailant turned to flee. She identified the attacker as none other than her manager, Lanara, the one who had sworn to protect the animals until her dying day. Over two dozen animals were lost that fateful night, and the embers glowed until dawn broke, and with it, the hearts of those that once idolized the witch.

Following the wake of the slaughtering in Venturil and the arson in Sage Forest, there were quite a few murders and disappearances stretching from the Xalious Mountains, all the way to Cenril. The shade that occupied Lana’s body reveled in darkness, never seemed to rest, and although the true spirit of Lana had been following her body, she’d been unsuccessful in regaining her form. The shade was much stronger than she had anticipated, and it would harm her own body, in an effort to cast her attempts at reclaim to the side. The body bore jagged scars of self harm, was in dire need of a shower, and wore clothing that was soiled in the blood of its victims. Local authorities were investigating each of these random occurrences, and rumors were in rapid circulation. Lanara had been positively identified by a few at the sanctuary, and though Venin tried to keep it low on the radar, her attempts were futile. The witch that everyone once loved and held in high regard, was now loathed by the communities that she had once been an active participant of, and it was breaking her heart into a million pieces.

The Backstreet Bard, Nick, wasn’t oblivious to the actions of the woman he claimed as his beloved, though in truth, Lana wanted nothing to do with the male. He was a nuisance, always making eyes at her and breaking into ballads that he hoped would win her affections. The blonde had been a bit of a stalker in the past, so it’s no wonder that he is also following the stolen form of the witch, watching in horror at each of her actions. This was –not- the woman he had ogled since arriving in the lands, she wasn’t capable of such monstrous deeds! And so, he convinces his younger brother, Alven, to commit equally awful deeds in areas that Lana hasn’t been frequenting, so the general public would have some doubt that she was truly behind all of this madness. His work slows the authorities as they considered the actions to be that of a serial killer at first, though now they are thinking it is some political hate group, working in tandem.

A week later, the shade that entered Lana’s figure heads to Gualon, intent on breaking into the orphanage and causing chaos at a place where Lana had volunteered for years. It was well known that the witch was incapable of having children after the cage fight with Talyara, as her organs had taken too much damage and Largakh’s grandfather was forced to remove one of her ovaries. She had adored reading to the little ones, bringing puppies and kittens for visits, and even gave them dance lessons in her spare time. On this particular night, however, the orphanage is a place where few would wish to spend their time, as a dozen kids were murdered as they slumbered in their beds. The villain slips out of a side window as the caretakers take in the destruction and identify the woman as one they believed could be trusted around children. However, the villain is taken into the arms of a hero, as Nick stands outside the building and whisks her off into the night.

In the arms of the bard, the shade that occupies Lana’s body grows frantic; not wanting to be carried around or held prisoner after it had sought to find a host for so long. Hands lift to claw at the male’s face, legs kick, and those dark hues narrow in suspicion. Was he going to hurl her off of a cliff? Turn her into the local guards? Hand her over to the care of Talyara, in Frostmaw? The shade decides it may be time to occupy a new host and shifts ever so slightly in the host’s body, not realizing that the true spirit of Lanara had been lingering at its side for all time, and chooses this moment to force her way back into her rightful body. The spirits collide, one desperately wanting back in and the other filled with a hatred that was merely deliberating whether or not to find a new host. Now it was a competition, as the evil shade wasn’t one to back down from a fight! An unseen battle occurs in the mind, as the body writhes in the arms of the lycan, who is thankfully strong enough to hold on through this ordeal. The result was unpredictable, as somehow, both the shade and the spirit of Lana, manage to both hold onto its host, and it’s all too much for the form to handle. The will to fight dwindles; her voice is not quite her own as the shade tries to regain use of her body, and Lana collapses, exhausted from all of her efforts to be the sole proprietor of her own figure.

The Broken

Nicolai Carter had brought Lanara to a clinic for the mentally unstable, in Corlonia, a secretive facility far away from the lands. His mother, Janine, managed the wellness clinic, and at the urge of her lovesick son, had agreed to take Lanara into her custody. Sadly, she wasn’t a desirable patient, as she held powerful magic in her veins and the will to murder anyone that came within a short distance. After the death of several guards, Janine moves the young witch into a magic silencing solitary confinement, decked out with padded walls, and equipped with around the clock guards. At his mother’s behest, Nick heads to Frostmaw, to fill in Talyara about all that had transpired in the past week.

The clinic did it’s best to tame the beast that resided in the form of Lanara, not once thinking that the woman was semi-possessed, or the fact that there were two beings merged into one body. Janine studies the woman closely, making sure that she gets enough nutrients and proper care, though even she is at a loss for words. Having managed the practice for hundreds of years, and being the best in her field, the lycan was beyond stumped. Thankfully, she’s distracted as she meets regularly with Talyara and Krice, and she visits her son, Nick, in the Cenril prison. The bard had gone against everyone’s advice to steer clear of the witch and to let her live her days out in the asylum… He was beyond reasoning with anyone, as he believed Lanara was innocent. He confesses to setting the sanctuary on fire and for slaughtering the children at the orphanage, though the attack in Venturil and others remain unsolved. He serves his sentence, which is reduced due to it being his ‘first’ crime and his celebrity status, and is released after ninety days.

Talyara takes control of the sanctuary, tending to the animals, and rebuilding the barn that had been burned down, as she knew that her sister would want her to oversee everything. As a token to their late mother, she renames the place, Kuruni’s Animal Sanctuary, and visits frequently to make sure that all is being handled with care. The orphanage has a large funeral for the lives lost, and finds that they are receiving hefty donations, courtesy of those that believed Lana’s innocence. Meri takes the position of leader in the Adventurer’s Guild, and several of Lana’s close friends adopt the animal companions she had raised over the years. Scandal hires a new staff to tend to the household needs of the manor, and the areas where the crimes remain unsolved, the cases soon grow cold and are filed away.

The diagnosis for Lanara is pretty grim, as nine personalities seem to have come out to play, and Janine marks the woman as having a fractured mind. In reality, the shade that occupied the body and committed those horrible acts was once an evilly aligned individual, with schizophrenia. Eight of the ‘personalities’ belonged to the shade, while the angered yet innocent one, was entirely that of the witch. It’s confusing for all involved parties, be they family, friends, or medical technicians. Most of all, it’s confusing for Lanara… Even though it wasn’t her that rampantly spread mayhem, the blood of the victims was still very much on her hands. Life for the witch was now spent in a straight jacket, chained to a chair, unable to use magic, and confined to a padded room for twenty-four hours a day.

Somehow, Lanara refuses to accept that this is the end, that she would spend the rest of her days isolated in a mental facility, when she had so many things left to do, places to explore, and people to meet. Each evening, after she mentally battles the spirit to the point of near exhaustion, she feels her soul slip further into her body. In time, she hopes to fully reclaim her skin, but she’s not strong enough to do it on her own. Meanwhile, Nick and Janine research all leads that that led to the downfall of the witch, they –finally- come to the tome that had created this disaster. Gathering the materials necessary for a cleansing ritual, which would expel the shade from the body, in a semi-exorcism fashion, the healers move with haste. The added support of an archmage, a paladin, three witches, and a handful of bards, completes the circle necessary to cleanse the woman. The procedure lasts three days, and it proves rewarding, as the shade vanishes and Lanara reclaims her body and mind. The road to healing would be a long one, however, and she remains at the clinic for another month, until she’s well enough to face the world again. The nightmare was truly over, though facing the aftermath would be equally as difficult.

The Baggage

Over time the self harm wounds turn into barely noticeable scars, the glossy sheen returns to her chestnut locks, she maintains a healthy weight, and the severed achilles tendon is repaired. She would never teach dance again, and if she walks long distances or in uncomfortable shoes, her limp will be obvious, but it’s a small price to pay, considering that she nearly died of blood loss during the abduction. Lana is relieved when Nick is released from jail, their bond unbreakable, though she still friend zones the poor guy. The witch vows to one day clear his name, as he wasn’t responsible for anything that had happened, and she doesn’t want to soil his career. She keeps her recovery silent from Talyara, as she isn’t sure that her little sister would fully understand all that happened, nor does she want her dabbling in astral projection. The witch does write letters to her siblings, even doodling some humorous drawings for them to hang in their homes, so they know they’re thought of often. The pentacle is again worn about Lana’s slender neck, and she prays to the Goddess every night for guidance.

Lanara returns to the lands, determined to prove her innocence, rebuild all that was lost, and to hopefully have a new start. She is shunned from the tavern in Kelay, as those that refused to believe her innocence tossed bottles of ale her way and called her horrible names. At every turn she’s met with a glare, unkind words, or violent actions. All she wants is to fit in once again, but she knows she will have to climb mountains to make a complete comeback. She’s still dealing with a magnitude of mixed emotions, and is working on emotionally mending all the broken parts of her mind and heart. Not knowing who to trust or where to reside, she finds Enchantment to be a safe haven, as magic was the one constant in her life. Lanara’s magic was always unique, as it’s a combination of druidic and arcane, and it didn’t judge or abandon the woman in her time of need.

The committee in charge of Enchantment takes a vote and offers protection to the witch, so long as she remains on their grounds, and volunteers her services in the area, whatever they may be. It’s a start, and the witch readily accepts the offer, as she knew she’d need a place to call home, while gathering enough evidence to prove to the lands that she was wrongfully accused of wrongdoing and reclaim her status. The past isn’t likely to be erased any time in the near future, and she knows that getting to that point of being trustworthy and accepted by the community will be a long road. But she won’t give up, because she is Lanara, the woodland witch, and she is resilient.