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The Archmage’s Advice – Off Mud RP

Samiyah enters the guild, her face pale and drawn, and simply sits on the floor across the room from you. Her body posture is hunched, arms wrapped around her knees. You can see the faint traces of scabs - in neat pairs - all over her arms. Some internal debate appears to be raging, but she seems content - for the moment - to simply sit and be and have company.

Belsambar raises an eyebrow in curiosity as he notes the posture and paired scabs. “So how is the Songbird doing today?”

She takes a long moment before she responds, idly scratching at one of the scabs, maintaining the closed, defensive posture. She starts to answer with a careful lie, her tone made polite, then simply closes her mouth and shakes her head.

After several long moments, she finally answers with a question. "You know that I have been... struggling... with my Bond with Wind? As he does not ever .. um.. Drink?"

He ponders the mannerisms and tones, hiding a smile at the way her voice 'squeaks' the slightest bit when she is asking questions about something she is not comfortable with. “Yes, I do...though. I am not certain it is...the drinking that you are craving, with that bond....but that is irrelevant...what is the problem, dear Songbird?”

She glances mutely down at her scabbed arms. "Since I went into the Spirit world and talked to Ybarra there, I have been trying to.. to " she stammers a little, her discomfort plain. ".. manage the aching and need that the bond brings." She tilts her wrist, glancing down at the faint scars there. "It is sometimes like I am on the lake within Gertek's tomb. It burns until I think I will go mad."

Now, the words come in a rush. "I talked to the Sayyida, and weeks ago, she had said that the bite of another vampire would break the bond. Which of course, I do not want. But last night, she said no... So I am trying to decide whether it would be wrong to seek out someone who can make it hurt less, or .. she said maybe you could work some magic to make it so.. I do not mean to be a coward, but... it has been ten months and I cannot bear it any more..."

A look of contemplation comes across his face. “Well....a magical solution could be cooked up, I'm sure....there is always one if you try hard enough...safety...well...that is not, uhhh...always the case. I don't think another would break the bond, so much as add to it...or shift it..”

Sami looks at you directly, her expression hollow. 'I have been doing everything I can, to endure it, but I'm almost to the point of asking Venom to bite me.' She turns her head, and murmurs, 'Surely, if it was him, I wouldn't like it. I couldn't bear to like it if it was him.'

He chuckles. “Is it the feelings you get when you are bitten that you are chasing, or being fed upon? They are two different things.”

She blinks, looking confused. 'I.. uh... I don't...' She glances at her wrist.

“Isn't it the same thing? Its.. it’s like... I am missing water or food or sleep. So I go to Sanguinna, and meditate, if that is the right word. Or I visit with Nicholai, and bear his Mark. Both of those things help, a tiny bit. Sometimes I go down into the catacombs and I provoke Vlad or Dracul or Lestat...'

She tilts her arms to display the bite marks. 'Being around one older Kindred helps, a bit, but two vampires, and it is too much. I don't understand why. When I was around both the Sayyida and Nicholai, I thought I would go mad. The need got so strong I had to bite my lip to keep from begging. I cannot ask Nicholai to do this. He does not like my blood, and it would.. He... he doesn't Drink, anyway, unless he's making a progeny.. and his friendship is too important, to trouble with this."

She colors. "The Sayyida said she would, but she is a woman and that would be ..." The embarrassment is too much and she cannot finish the thought. “Sparhawk is a child and that would be ... wrong. Venom is horrible and awful, so I was thinking that might be the best route, because then I wouldn't like it... I hope..”

Her voice faces at the end, troubled. "But I am hoping to do none of those things, and seek out some magic. I don't dare ask Nicholai, though he is the Eldest sorcerer I know, because.. well.. that would be uncomfortable... and Cresom doesn't understand... So... " She pauses, then tacks on lamely, and a touch defensively, "I have been trying to deal with it myself. But I don't know what to do any more."

Belsambar contemplates the options. “Well...the benefit to one degree of telling Venom you want him to bite you might just be he won't - because you want him to. As for Sparhawk...well. There would be...lots of complications, in the near future once I am done with him, regardless. There will be enough there alone. DarkClaw...might lose herself and go a bit more...Haraam?”

He stumbles slightly over the word, pronouncing it funny. “In the process than just drinking blood, if I know her proclivities...but you are right...there is always magic...even if it is not of...this plane, so to speak.”

Samiyah sighs softly. 'This is not something I should do in haste. I need to think it through. But... do I understand that yes, you would be willing to explore the options of magic, once you have finished your task with Sparhawk, should that be the route I choose?"

He shrugs. “Before, after, during...the timing relation matters less there than when it be done when you decide you need or want to do it.”

Her brows draw down slightly, and Sami asks, 'What did you mean, about..' She gestures a little vaguely. "feelings when bitten, or being fed upon? Are they different things?"

Bels chuckles. “Some actually like the act of the bloodletting and feeding a vampire in and of itself... however...rather much like any other beautiful, yet dangerous, predator, they do have ways to... enrapture their 'prey'...namely, a bite from a true and powerful kindred can be quite pleasurable to the victim much in the same ways as the act of...er...'making love,' so to speak.”

He chuckles again. “I imagine this is why you feel letting Star do it to be 'Haraam'.” He again pronounces it...not right.

She shifts uncomfortably, then blurts, 'I thought one caused the other.. I mean.. yes... it did feel...'

She fades into quiet blushes, looking away. "But it is... it ... by the gods, I am a bard and I cannot find the words. It was.. it felt ... like.. like when Seraph would draw out my soul and hold it cupped in his hands. Like I was a part of Wind. But... Intimate and close and .. and needed.. and a part of him.”

She goes quiet again, then says softly, "Nicholai told me that vampires that feed from humans don't see them as people any more. That's the biggest reason I will never, EVER ask him to. I don't ever want to just become food to Nicholai. He's too important. But.. Wind never saw me.. or treated me.. that way. Venom would - I think - so that would make it easier to bear. He hates me and I hate him already, so there is no loss.”

"The Sayyida... yes. That would be... to feel that way from Her... yes. That would be haraam."

Again he chuckles. "Well...some quite enjoy that particular 'Haraam,'" his pronunciation a little closer to correct this time. "I do not think all vampires feel that way, although I can see how it might potentially be a problem after a few thousand years. I admittedly have a hard time seeing people as people, but that's a -completely- different issue. I do know, Ghaz is a special amongst the Kindred...he is not quite like anyone else, Kindred or non, nor will he ever be. He would be doing it out of love, or with, which vastly changes the equation, as well...but I wouldn't try Venom. Something about that, with your two's past....seems about as wrong as an ogre coupling with a fairy for a night's tryst. That and the emotional difference between you two already is not likely to give you the sensations you are desiring out of this."

Samiyah looks.. not resolved, but as if your words actually shored up her inner thinkings. "I don't want to .. like it.. I want to make it so horribly unpleasant that I stop thinking about it all the time. I want to stop wanting it."

She pauses, then adds quietly, "I just want the pain to go away."

He shakes his head, his own sorrows playing through from his past in the gesture. "Sometimes....these pains don't go away Songbird...you just eventually...learn to live with them...or to move on. I don't think it is the bite you seek, but the connection...and there is no substitute for such a connection but another connection of like kind."

Belsambar sighs, "and even substitution is not the same...but this is the sort of thing that stupid phrase 'time heals all wounds' is meant to cover."

She looks up, eyes fixed on yours. "I do NOT want any connection with Venom. It is the bite that my whole body screams for. That is why I go among the vampires of Sanguinna. The LAST person I'd want intimacy with is Venom... He's just so utterly wretched I know there won't be any of that, thankfully, and I can get enough of what I need to continue on, but not be bound or connected or enamored or anything... Nor damage a friendship, which is what would happen if I asked Nicholai."

She quiets a touch, then adds softly, "I know how to be alone, Bels. That isn't what this is. I.. it's like the sand sickness, or the poor drunk who cannot drink enough... It is a craving I have battled for almost a year. I am bonded and yet I am not slaking Thirst. My whole being needs it. Not my heart. Not my spirit. Flesh." She glares down at the bite marks on her arms. "Weak, stupid, craving flesh."

He nods sagely. "I do understand....and yes, this is where we would need to switch to an alchemical or magical combination...or perhaps some confluence of the two," He ponders.

The bard coughs, and tilts her head, hearing the pop of an opening portal nearby. “..That would be Nicholai returning. I must go… but if we could talk of this more, another time?” At the Archmage’s nod, she slips away.

Ghazkull's Messenger

Your little furred friend arrives, entirely visible, but seemingly agitated and has some small injury to its side, as if its trip here was fraught with peril. A bit of parchment is clutched in his paws, and it is sealed with a bit of wax, bearing Samiyah's wizard mark. The seal has been broken. Unrolling it, you read the shaky script, in rather worse Elven than usual. The letters are jagged, as if the hand that penned it was shaking.

Wind -

I miss you. I miss your laugh and your presence, the cool moonlight shape of you. The fall of your hair against my cheek. I miss the way you make me feel by your mere presence, where words do not need to be spoken. The safety of your embrace. I have been struggling without you - not just because you are one who I care for and I am not whole without you here... but because of our Bond. I have not known how to speak of this, so I have avoided the truth of it, speaking aslant and sidelong, rather than directly. To avoid a truth is trickery, as the Sayyida would say, and I would have none of that between us. So.. forgive my fumbling, for in this, I have no poetry or wisdom of words.

As my blood in your veins has faded over time, my body has ached for that communion more and more intensely. The scars on my wrist burn and throb, a constant reminder that what flows in my veins kindles life in yours. Separate from the unspeakable pleasures that your bite gives me, heart and soul.. and body, if I am honest - there is a second need - craving - hunger - to be .. consumed. Devoured. Overwhelmed and... This is so very hard to speak of....

I can think of no eloquent way to say this, so I will just blunder on with it. I need to be bitten, or I need to seek out some sort of magical means of lessening the intensity of this need. Need is such a small word, and it does not encompass the agony I feel every day, but I do not wish to sound like some hysterical flailing thing. I have avoided speaking of it, because of the shame and because I do not want you to feel any guilt at the Outrealm keeping you away. I have not wanted to admit that I cannot control this. I have not wanted to consider what might be needful to quench it. But it has gotten worse and worse, with every passing day. I have been strong, and fought it, but it is even harder than resisting the Phylactery was.

I have spoken with the Archmage, Belsambar, and he said that magic might be a possibility, but was not without its risks. Since he talked about Sparhawk exploding and getting turned inside out with the spell he is working on currently, or becoming a raving blood-fiend, the idea of magery as a solution gives me some severe pause.

I have tried to salve this craving by spending time among other Kindred, reminding myself I am more than simply food like a mantra to stave off madness. No predator respects or likes prey, Nicholai has told me - though you have never treated me that way - and I would not lose the esteem that he has for me. (That, and he does not like my blood and has said so. And he does not Thirst, except when he makes progeny, it seems.) So I walk, visible and unarmored, amongst the Kindred of Sanguinna, and let them bite as they will, even seeking out Dracul and Vlad and Lestat, for their fierceness... but it does not erase the pain, only ebbs it for a few moments. I sleep on the cold stones of N'Kai, hoping their ice will cool this burning. I obtain Nicholai's mark, imbued with his vampiric magic, as the tiny bit of salve it is. (Though, it is maintained upon my shoulder, and never upon my wrist, where yours lives. I don't know why that is so important to me, but it is. That is _yours_ and no other's.)

I laugh to even write the words, but ... without you, I am in a haze of hurt ...and angering Venom to the point of rage and attack -somehow- seems the safest course. He has stated his desire for my blood for some alchemy, and I know there would be no pleasure in his bite, for I hate him so. (.. at least, I hope it is so. I could not bear it otherwise. It is strange to say, but I hope it sickens me enough to quell this hunger forever, save from you. The worse the pain of his fangs, the greater the penance for countenancing such a thing.) Sayyida DarkClaw tells me that should it be only the once, it would not break our bond, only tear away some of this flame and ash from my wretched, betraying flesh that craves the piercing of fangs with such intensity. That it will help me endure until I can see you again.

Do you see another way? Tell me what I should do. I am bereft and lost and sickened at my own thoughts and I need your strength and counsel.


Message Interception:

Venom sits alone in the darkest corner of the room, invisible to all via the powers of his Goddess. Quietly he watches the donation pit, waiting for any potential victims to retrieve the various unidentified objects he has placed there as bait. Carefully hidden wizard marks tucked inside saddlebags and travel lanterns provide an excellent means for surprise attacks on any who risk carrying items from the pit. Suddenly, and with a curious urgency, a small furry familiar scurries into the room and darts about as if looking for someone, only to return back the way it came. Not to be one to fail to notice opportunity, Venom slowly closes his eyes and murmurs the incantations necessary to merge with his own familiar. The demonic creature, normally coiled around the throat, serves as a defense against thieves, but, today it would serve as a spy. When next Venom opens his eyes, he does so from inside the body of the demonling. Looking through the eyes of a familiar can be dangerous. Although the body acts like a puppet, death in this form can often spell death for both host and wizard.

A moment of sniffing about and he was quickly on the trail, tracking the smaller familiar beyond the portal of the guild hall and out into the realm. The realm is a large place for a pair of familiars, but magic and knowledge can certainly make it smaller. Venom knew it would not be long before his target found whatever it was looking for and so the race against the proverbial hourglass had begun. Several days passed when his hunt once again became fruitful,. Patience is truly the virtue of a talented villain. The small furry prey had taken slumber beneath a thorn bush just south of the thicket, presumably for safety sake. Nearly lying flat out upon his own belly with his claws barely breaking the soil below, Venom crept upon the sleeping vermin. Not one to rush, he noticed something unexpected in the slightly shaded silhouette of the unassuming target. It held in its grasp a small note bearing a wax seal, the mark upon it quite recognizable as belonging to Samiyah. With great care not to wake the tiny beast, he stole the note and broke the seal. Back near the gods-given safety of the pit, the seemingly lifeless, invisible body lay in the corner, eyes blankly staring off into nothing. The inanimate body of Venom lay still as his consciousness remained in his familiar, reading over a letter clearly meant for another. They say some things lie so deeply rooted in us that they are governed by the subconscious mind, and the proof lies written across the grinning face of a lifeless Kindred.

Back in the brush, the small furry familiar stirred from its nap to find its cargo missing. Sure enough, off to the side of the bush, another familiar sat intently studying the loot. An unexpected attack gave the would-be messenger just the advantage it needed to retake its property and flee for its life, albeit with an injury upon its side to serve as a reminder to greater vigilance.

Interception Observed:

Something unknown to most known dimensions and realms is how the connection between familiars and their bonded works in a 'physical' travel path of energy. It winds through dimensions and realities, between and through them, and often crossing the dreamscape. It is not a 'tangible' connection, but the energetic bond is ever there.

The Suicide Mage, however, is well aware of these connections, as well as how they relate to astral projection, and other forms of connection that travel through planes and realities in an 'instantaneous' manner. It is rare that one of these connections is something worth watching for anything beyond entertainment value, but ever is life on the Dreamscape...it is ever flowing, ever shifting, and is constantly altered and shaped by the forces of the dreamers and dreaming in the 'physical' planes...which is why Belsambar loves it so. It is never the same place more than twice, and things are often far more interesting...after all, where else in all of planar reality can you buy ice cream from an Ancient Red Dragon in a clown suit?

Licking his ice-cream cone, the wandering magen notices a thread of connection winding through the skurries nearby. Having been centered in that specific plane for so many years, he is often drawn to dreams and connections that come through from said realm (Final Challenge). Careful so as not to affect the connection, for he neither wants to be known to be watching, nor does he want to necessarily affect whoever's connection is there (for indeed, Oneiros himself has specifically asked him NOT to mess with the Dreaming, for concern of how it can corrupt the dreamscape). It is with no small amusement that he recognizes the energetic bond as Venom's and his familiar's...the connection itself leaves a slightly sickening, metallic taste in his mouth, which he ignores and takes another bite of his ice-cream to dispel as he watches.

He watches clawed 'hands' unroll a parchment, seal already broken. The words on the parchment do not register well as he watches from the dreamscape, but the images are filed away in his memory for reviewing later when he is on a tangible plane. What he DOES notice, is the feelings of bloodlust emanating from the connection betwixt kindred and familiar, and catches a rather familiar looking fuzzy creature asleep from the corner of the demonic creature's eyes as it reads.

He looks about. Off in the near distance, he sees the little ferret, busily playing with a bright ball of light on the dreamscape, with litter-siblings, though most of them are but portions of dreamscape themselves. He walks up to the small group of fuzzy things as they swarm the ball, each trying to take it and run off with it, and finds the appropriate one who is yet dreaming on the physical plane...he stops it and whispers 'It might be wise to wake up now little one...there is time for dreams later, but you have work at hand...' before stepping back from the dream, and fading back into the mists of the skerries.

He does not get a chance to see what transpires through the connection between bonded and familiar, as the connection is closed as the kindred retreats to his form as he finds it again, and the connection tether fades from the Suicide Mage's view. The Arch-mage shrugs, and returns to eating his ice cream (which has become popcorn while he wasn't looking) as he notes a sleeping hill giant's dream involving two mermaids and a sea-serpent, and plops down to watch it play out, as it looks most interesting...