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The Opening Hand [Storyline]

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The Opening Hand [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:46 am



The Nightmare Child

To have seen the Countess there was unexpected.

Frankly, to be awake so late within the night was as much unexpected for the Demi-Human either, but in the immediate aftermath of the events that had just played out within her own dreams, perhaps the safest place for Vyra was here, tired as she may have been.

In truth, it was something that left her petrified, terrified at what stood to happen, at what was going to be the ramifications of what she encountered, if they were to get worse, if it was just her mind playing tricks on her. None of it was clear, certainly not enough that she had no reason to be fearful. Worse even, was the fact that the her other self, the dark persona, seemed to be there, having changed in not just her own appearance, but within her own sense of existence.

Though her memory was a bit foggy from when they had last encountered, the circumstances surrounding that being something that was far different, she could remember at least the other persona treating the two of them as a loose set of equals. Both necessary to the other in the warped way that she described it being, but that was not there this time.

The other her, she acted on her own. She treated Vyra as though she were disposable. That within that realm, despite it being Vyra’s own dream, it was her – not Vyra – that was in control.

It had been so long that she had seen hat persona in any facet, there had been a hope that things had calmed down, that perhaps she were gone, or that Vyra had gotten strong enough to suppress it. Having now seen her, she had begun to heavily doubt that.


A Soul Broken


The Opening Hand [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:48 am



The Nightmare Child

Pushing aside the reflections from witnessing the other Vyra, she looked to the Countess, having envisioned that only days prior would have been the very last time by which the two would ever see each other. And yet, now as fate would have it, the two of them were again united, though given the circumstances and the timing of this visit, as much as Vyra wanted to enjoy the woman’s company, she suspected that there was a much different reason for the Countess’s appearance.

Vyra didn’t recognize it at first, it seeming to be nothing more than just the lighting, but as she got closer she saw it for her own eyes. The reddened skin, the purples, browns, and a faint green blurred along the skin, the faint trail of blood that descended down upon her face. As the woman raised her head more assuredly towards Vyra, the Demi-Human could think of no response other than to look in awe and dismay.

“What happened!?” Vyra exclaimed, fearful for what happened. It was impossible for her to not to develop a sense of guilt over all of this, the Countess having stepped in to provide aid on behalf of Vyra, but to be met by that sort of reception, she found herself overwrought with guilt.

The Countess said nothing at first, simply sighing. It was apparent that she had told this before, both in the immediacy to the two Sisters whom comforted her, but also in the past. Though a revelation to the Demi-Human, a past occurrence to the pair of Sisters.

An unwelcome silence befell the five. Vyra, the two Sisters, the Countess, and her bodyguard whom at this point had watched over the four throughout, neither making a sound nor any noise for that matter. If not for his presence, one would have been easy to forget his existence.

“The Lord Barothy happened, as those within this region have come to know…” Sister Talia remarked, her words harsh, her hatred towards the old man apparent, perhaps the most venomous that Vyra had seen of the blinded Sister, even worse than how she described the Nightmare.

“That’s, her father?”

The Countess did not react immediately, only after a few moments nodding her head. “My father, if you would wish to call him that, has seen much over the years. Strife. Coups. Friends and rivals alike having fallen, yet the Barothy name has remained constant.” The way she spoke, one could have regarded the white-haired beauty’s remarks as a sense of pride, but similar to Sister Talia, they came with venom. Hatred. “It was through luck that he survived the first culling. He’s become blinded to the idea that it were through his leadership.”

“What was it then,” Vyra asked, to her own ignorance not recognizing that the questions she wondered as much came off similarly as ignorant.

Though neither Sister made a remark, the Countess did not seem to mind, almost chuckling at the question posed. “Barothy leadership, make no mistake. But not by the Lord’s hand,” she looked up and faced Vyra, her eyes shining with delight and similar confidence, “but by that of the Countess!”

The high regard for herself seemed to drift away though, leaving to the frustration that had been evident before. “And it’s time to stop pretending that the Lord has kept this land standing,” she paused as the Sisters both realized just the implications that the Countess was suggesting, Vyra still struggling a little to follow along. “It’s time I took my place upon the throne.”


A Soul Broken


The Opening Hand [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:50 am



The Nightmare Child

“My Lady, you cannot be proposing what I think you may be,” Sister Mara began, as similarly caught off guard as her fellow Sister was. She knew much of the region, both how they viewed the Countess and how they viewed in contrast her father. One was beloved while the other, the older was reflective of a past era long overdue for change.

Change that she may have felt differently towards, but even as a Sister, particularly as a Sister within this region, she knew the sentiment of the people. Veronica, as ever an ambitious child as she may have been, knew this too about the people, knew that they would back her sooner than they would dare support the Lord Barothy. But that support would only go so far. Contempt was more than appropriate and warranted, but to stage a coup, there had been plenty of civil wars waged throughout the North over the past several years, even in recent times, but it would not be something that would easily unite the people.

The Countess did not immediately acknowledge the Sister’s remark, putting her backhand up to her lip and then rescinding, her eyes narrowing as she examined the blood, trying to gauge some sort of attribute through it. “Why not? The people remain loyal to the name Barothy not out of love, but out of fear. Fear not for the forces that still back him, but fear that one house standing against the Keep bears no chance for success, nor the house that follows or so forth.”

It was a long standing plight that had been faced, those whom may have spoken out against the Lord Barothy, especially in the wake of a Magic Guild having found great success in uniting the people until the ideology of a free North, it seemed that the slightest bit of uproar or any talks of incitement were met with aggressive – if not extreme – retribution. Thus, the sentiment growing remained, but was instead handled in the shadows, far from the paranoid eyes of the Lord Barothy.

“But,” the Countess began again, “Pair one house with another, with another, with another. Unite the people, my father may have once had people who follow him out of a sense of loyalty, but faced with the choice between him and their fellow countrymen banded together, there isn’t a soul in the region who would stand behind him.”

“That may be,” Sister Talia interjected, having been largely quiet throughout this as she absorbed information, “But to unite the people, even the idea of standing behind the beloved daughter would not wholly unite them. Many perhaps, but not all of them.”

Veronica Barothy nodded slightly, recognizing what the blinded Sister was saying, “By choice? Doubtful. But that’s why I intend to force their hands.”


A Soul Broken


The Opening Hand [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:52 am



The Nightmare Child

“You make a dangerous gamble, believing that they will provide aid to you,” Sister Mara said with a hint of dejection in her voice.

The conversation had lingered on for a time now, Veronica having laid out the beginning of a plan that would leave to the overthrowing of her father, the Lord Barothy. It hinged upon two key points, the first being the uniting of the people that lived within the Barothy lands under a singular banner, a banner carried not by the Lord, but rather instead by her. The second, was the catalyst nature that would force that unification. It would not be by choice that they unite under her, but with the right push, all of the people would stand against the current Lord.

“It is not them providing aid to me. It is about them seeing a chance to bring down my father. You know them better than most, how do they feel towards the Lord at present?” She asked in a condescending tone, the intent apparent; that she not only knew their contempt towards the Lord, and that she knew of them in the first place. “I only seek to talk, to give them a chance to remove what has been their bane for years.”

“Their hatred towards your father aside, to get them to trust you will be no easy feat,” Sister Talia calmly remarked. “To blindly believe the daughter will not repeat the sins of the father, they are not as gullible as you may come to believe.”

“I have no interest in simply making promises. I will do something much more for them,” At that point the Countess proceeded towards Vyra, having been quiet throughout much of the conversation. She had nothing to provide, her presence being the extent of what she were meaningfully able to contribute. Her eyes widened as she felt the white-haired woman take her hand in hers, placing something within it that she was not expecting.

A lengthy pole-object, wrapped in a number of blankets and clothes, hiding its identity.

But Vyra knew what it was. She had held it only a short time ago, after all.

“Their people died trying to get this,” Veronica Barothy said with an intensity as she looked Vyra in the eyes. “Make sure they know just how valuable it is.”


A Soul Broken


The Opening Hand [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:52 am



The Nightmare Child

Vyra was not sure of what to expect by being involved in this. Or for that matter, why she was needed. Was it because she had seen the carnage firsthand, what had happened to the cultists who fought in trying to retrieve the staff? Was it because she was not from the North, the value of bringing an outsider to do negotiations? Because maybe she had nearly been put to death by Lord Barothy?

There were no shortage of reasons why the Countess may have found value in having Vyra be the emissary for the group whom she was trying to win favor towards, namely being a collection of the cultists whose bodies she had seen upon the battlefield what only had been a few days prior. Their presence, despite as far from one another, was reflective of a fact that few people wished to acknowledge; the idea that their splinter group or what had been perceived as one, was in fact a much larger and fuller organization. Having the resources and capabilities to engage for the treasured staff so far beyond where they this part of it was predominantly located only reflected that fact.

Still, it left Vyra leery about the whole thing, not only with her having in possession the staff which was the direct reasoning for so much death encountered only a short time earlier, but also given that she found herself venturing through completely unknown territory, maneuvering through backroads and non-travelled paths alongside Ser Gholston, the huge towering Knight that throughout their trip said nothing, making no indications whatsoever to anything save for some unexpected moments of chivalry towards Vyra, which while appreciated, still did not wholly calm the Demi-Human’s nerves.


A Soul Broken


The Opening Hand [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 11:54 am



The Nightmare Child

After what felt like a long while, eventually the duo had seemed to come to the end of civilization, or at least from within the refined manner that had existed in the area. A handful of hovels and broken down homes was all that was present, hardly reflective of a society that was existing well under the leadership of Lord Barothy and farm more reflective of how his daughter seemed to describe the situation.


In dire need of change, whether or not the people had come to appreciate that just yet.

Little time was allowed to focus on them though, as Vyra felt the gentle tug upon her bicep, realizing the guidance of Ser Gholston leading her towards one home in particular, one that seemed to be strangely set up to exist right against the a massive hill, not quite a mountain, but certainly large.

“Should we knock?” Vyra asked, genuinely worried for what may have awaited, but also realizing the foolishness in precisely what she was asking too.

Getting back no acknowledgement from the Knight that continued along, she followed him, realizing that the small home itself were nothing more than a disguise, hiding the reality of the massively dug out tunnel that led right into the heart of the hill.

After what felt like a long while travelling, they seemed to have some level of indication that they were going the right way, if only through the torches that were lit and scattered throughout the area, signaling out the lone path for them to take. A simple enough venture, Vyra reasoned, until the sounds of people moving about seemed to all come to focus for the first time, Vyra a bit cautious until she heard what could have only been the sounds of swords being drawn, her first instinct to run or otherwise cower behind Ser Gholston, still fearful of the carnage that was to come.

But a voice seemed to calm things down, “Stay your blades. There will be no violence here. Not right now. To who is there, come forward. You will be provided peace enough that we will not cut you down in the dark.”

Hardly a positive message, but one that at least afforded a little sense of safety, Vyra proceeded, Ser Gholston behind her with their hand upon the hilt of their blade if it came to it.

“An unexpected guest,” said a man with the same robes that Vyra had seen across the battlefield. And even in the company within the room, all seemed to adorn the same robes, “Your presence is neither welcome nor not. I know not whom you are or why you have brought the Countess’s dog, but I hope you have some reason to be here.”

A wave of doubt crept into her at first, but after a moment, she mustered the courage and reached out into her bag, pulling out the wrapped staff that Veronica had provided her.

Immediately, a wave of understanding seemed to flood the room as focus was set solely upon it by seemingly everyone save for Ser Gholston.

“The Staff…. You… She has brought it…. To us?” The man seemed at a lack of words, elated but also cautious of the nature of things. After a moment, he seemed to compose himself, at least enough where he was able to return to the careful persona he had for a moment illustrated, “Very well, what have you come to discuss?”


A Soul Broken

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