Illyria - Illyria Act 1 - Visions of Finality

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Description: Who in the realm today has choice of the easy road or the hard to tread? / and, much concerned for his own estate, would sell his soul to remain in the sun? / Let him depart nor look on our dead / our King asks nothing of any man more than our King has done. (Rudyard Kipling, "The Dead King")

When Elise left Kliff Undersn to 'handle her affairs,' the expedition to Illyria wasn't a real thing; it was more conceptual. A hope, a plan. By the time she returned from Japan, and the Novus Orbis Librarium had forced the Order's hand, the entire thing was considerably more nonsensical in scope. In a way, this was good; Elise had no real desire to work with the Order and even less so to work with the NOL. The more people were involved in this now almost farcically broad-ranged expedition, the easier it would be to act on her own. Exchanging her seer's garb for a more toned-down outfit in the Order's blue and white had been the icing on that cake. With Undersn apparently handling things at a distance, there were few in the Order base camp who recognized her or questioned her.

Which is good, because her dreams -- waking or sleeping -- were becoming increasingly troublesome.

Always, the woman with the raven hair. The looming sense of danger. But as is common enough with the gift of prophecy, visions are maddeningly short on useful *facts*. As she'd told Honoka, they are best as motivations to act, as things to encourage you to get out and live in the present. Living in the future or the past is impossible, after all. No matter how many vague pictures of the future might appear to her, the important thing is right now.

An overheard conversation at base camp was the answer. Apparently the expedition involved an archaeologist, Biyu Zhou, who had found an ancient burial site nearby. Considering that the Albanian part of the Alps is largely hills, winding roads, tiny rivers, and not much else, the presence of a burial site ancient enough to be buried but important enough to survive into the modern age suggests that there is something... special about this part of the world. Something that Elise can't sense on her own. Something that drew 'her' here.

And so, the Scot set off alone.

Her trip through the winding catacombs of the barrow had been surprisingly easy. In fact, *suspiciously* easy; almost as if her sixth sense were guiding her to the right doors, the right paths, the right choices. And the farther she went, the more Elise dwelled on the fact that burial places, as sites where the dead are laid to rest, have something in common with faerie circles: over time, the veil between worlds becomes ever so slightly weaker there, as a place where the transmigration of souls takes place.

The farther down you went in the barrow, the less certain you could be that 'here' is where you thought it was, anymore.

The trip eventually stops, however, here, in the vaulted final chamber. The heels of her boots make her footsteps seem unnaturally loud, as the witch walks from pillar to pillar, lighting torches with the lamp she'd used to guide her way here.

When the room is full of warm orange glow at last, she steps toward the sarcophagus at the center of the room. Not touching, barely approaching. Just looking.

"They say he was the last King of Illyria~"

The voice comes gently, so lightly. It was almost like the soft touch through the air, caressing with the love and care of a true mother. A firm, penetrating essence, a beginning of the invasion of the senses. A stench of turpentine was building around the interior of the tomb. More so was the malice, however, the presence of dread and terror, of hunger, of... a deeper consuming passion. The feel of predators lurking around. A trap? Guardians of the tomb? A light giggle comes, passing through the tomb, before settling in one place.

High above.

How long was she in the darkness? Did she follow Elise? How did she crawl in. Up high on a parapet, one of four overlooking the sarcophagus, sits a brown-skinned girl, kicking her legs playfully. The little girl is dressed in what could charitably described as burlap, wrapping around her form loosely in poorly dyed woad markings. A small satchel hags at her side, the strap hooked over her shoulder. Her hair was black and shiny in the dim torchlight, and a through the shadows you can see the pock-marked, freckled face. Her eyes are black, pure black, deep black pits. Her feet are bare, and somewhat twisted and gnarled, as if they were crippled at a young age. But a smile was on her lips, as she sits at the parapet. Her voice comes teasingly at the witch below her.

"But what do you feel in him?~"

It's impossible for that kind of emotional miasma, that aura, to seep into a room entirely unnoticed. Perhaps some little insistent voice at the back of Elise's mind has been trying to warn her the entire time she's been in the room, but she hasn't been listening. Or maybe she's distracted by something else: the sounds of fighting, of lamentation; of a culling, put shortly. Of people who didn't die in this tomb, but whose souls perhaps sought out the person resting here, as if to find succor or demand answers.

This means the Scottish witch is ripe to fall at the sudden sound of an intruder, her eyes darting upward to the top of the pillar. But you do not get to be a dark hunter -- as the women in her line have been for centuries -- by relying on appearances alone. This is no mere little girl. And if she meant Elise immediate harm, she wouldn't be playing cheshire cat on top of some pillar. So for the moment, anyway, much of the fight or flight adrenaline drains out of Elise's body and she visibly relaxes. But mentally... mentally, she is wary.

"The dead feel nothing, lass," she says in response, turning back to the sarcophagus as she answers. "King or peasant it's all the same in the end. Death comes for everyone. "All we in the land of the living see is their memories, echoing on forever." Whether this is true or not might be impossible to tell. But for Elise, it's what she'd like to believe... that no soul exists in some awful limbo forever, with nothing to do but wail woes it has no hope of resolving into the ether in the hopes the living will pay attention.


Her knife hand itches. Something about the idea of hungry eyes in the dark. Some intuition. Maybe that inner voice was suppressed before, without her will, and is getting louder.

"But if I had to guess, I'd say regret." She turns her head up, looking at the newcomer with as piercing a gaze as she can manage in the gloom. "And what about you, eh, hen? What's he say to you?"

"Oh young child, only the blessed escape it."

The girl stares at Elise, head turned to the side a mark too far. Her legs kick back and forth, as she twists the neck the other way, her head tilting to the other shoulder. What 'it' was purposely not clear. And yet, Elise's instincts are mostly correct. This was no child. "Whose hands guide you into this tomb of death? Whose voices whisper within you, to avoid the traps and the wrong turns? They want something from you, child~" She coos, leaning over. Too far over.

The little girl drops from above.

She lands lightly upright, not even bouncing on impact... and with an audible crack. Her ankle is twisted nastily, landing the foot sideways. The stink of turpentine sharpens, as a black blood oozes from the breaking point. The young lady does not even look down. "My name is Eadni, child. I am a caretaker of life, of death, and of this world. And there is great danger here in this land, a great trouble rising... that I do not understand~" The little girl takes her seat on the sarcophagus, cross legged, looking to the Scottish witch coyly. She leans forward, her hollow eyes entrancing as her neck almost seems to distend towards her.

"But you are a special young lady, aren't you~"

She releases from the edge of the coffin, tracing the finger along the surface. "The essence of spiritual flow comes like the water. Some fall deep into the earth, to join with the great unity. Others stir, trapped between worlds in a cursed, gnawing state. Peasant, King, even Gods cannot truly escape this fate when it comes upon them. And the dead only speak in whispers, their essence only clinging to the mortal realms in great distress. Hate. Fear. Anger. Resentment. Vengeance. And even greater, yearning compulsions underneath." The tracings seem to burn with an emerald eldritch light upon the lid. A groan could be felt within the tomb. And yet, nothing else yet. "The end of Illyria was a traumatic event, terrifying beyond measure." She pauses a moment, caressing the back of her hand along the heavy stone fixture, around the sigil. She casts her gaze back up to Elise, the smile remains locked into her face as it has this entire time, a mask. "But what is Illyria, child?~"

"What is your connection to this place?"

'You're a special young lady, aren't you~'

More than the blood, the smell, the pressing feeling of both danger and disquieting spiritual presence, it's that statement that makes the fingers on Elise's right hand curl into a fist. Her blue eyes track Eadni during her descent and don't leave her afterwards. A 'special young lady'... that's one way to put it. Eadni speaks of Illyria's history, of the danger facing this land, and a trouble brewing she can't identify. Well, Elise thinks to herself, that makes two of us.

"I won't deny some force is at work here, lass," Elise says, in that too-measured voice that suggests someone trying to keep their emotions and instincts in check. "But if the Illyrian dead want something from me, they'd best come out and say it. Vague hints about how sad or angry they are don't help me, or them." A pause, and a tilt of the head. "Unless of course, you're their mouthpiece? That's certainly believable."

Eadni's question, however, is more telling than Elise might have imagined at first. Why would the spirits of the dead bring her in particular here, when it's obvious that the Order and the NOL have others here they could have brought. No, she's here for a specific reason, and she has the growing suspicion that it's not her visions that are why. Rather, it's...

Well, she's not going to tell Eadni that.

"I'm no one special, actually," she says to Eadni, trying to sound blithe. "But I have knowledge of those who've invaded. More knowledge than most of the fools that have come on this supposed crusade."

"Invasion, how charming~"

Eadni twirls a thin finger around the eldritch seal. The shapes of faces fade in and out of the light, an ethereal fog keeping within it. Eadni toys with the spiritual essence that twists and writhes in the seal. "I am no mouthpiece, not like that idiotic shadow man that's crept in between. No, no, I am simply an enabler, and need to learn why these whispers plead for help. And having more knowledge than fools makes you a special young lady indeed~" Her voice was still playful and sweet, with just a hint of venom in it. "Perhaps you even have more knowledge than me." She clenches the spirit in, as the sigil suddenly disappears. There is a scream, as a murmuring builds in the tomb. There is a tapping sound within the coffin, as the torches begin to dim. Dark forces were becoming angered, as the child keeps her fist clenched.

"Tell me child, why do you consider them invaders?"
%Eadni was facing Elise now, poised on her hands and knees as she leans forward. Her head was twisting, twisting too far, as her lips curl back into a tooth-filled smile. There, the fangs peer out, a jagged maw of splinters, rows and rows of them like a shark as she opens wide. "Who has right to this land? The dead? The living? When does the rights of invaders supersede the rights of men? Who deserves this place, young lady?" There is a cracking sound as her neck breaks, her head nearly turned upside down in it's turning. She unwinds it, recoiling back. "You are a very clever girl, and should be treated as such~" She lifts up the clenched fist, the specks of iron poking between her razor sharp teeth.

"Answer correctly, and I will grant a token reward for your cleverness~"

There is about only so much most people can take. Someone like Elise, who was raised with knowledge of monsters and the dark, likely has a higher threshhold than most when it comes to the overtly creepy. But setting aside the physical manifestations of Eadni's behavior, there is something Very Wrong with this situation, and Elise's face twisting from disgust to resolute annoyance is all too evident proof of her feelings on the matter.

Though a part of Elise's mind not dedicated to dealing with the body horror in front of her asks, quietly: maybe that feeling of being watched, or hunted, wasn't from *her* to *you*.

The witch steps backwards, and in a smooth motion raises her right arm, extending it fully; having appeared seemingly from nowhere, an ornate silver dagger follows the line of her arm, point toward Eadni. She makes no farther aggressive move than that, but given the role of silver weapons in abjurations and protections of all kinds in the world of mysticism, the gesture is enough: Stay Away From Me.

"I can't say anything about 'the land'," Elise answers slowly, and the fingerquotes are audible indeed at the last. "But I call them invaders because they have a world of their own. They've gone to a lot of trouble to *make* it their own, separate from humans, unless they come to hunt. I don't know who 'deserves' this, or any, place. Maybe humans don't belong in this world after all."

The blue eyes narrow. "But since *I* am human, I'll use whatever power I have to keep the beasties at bay. Not because I care all that much, but because a good hunter knows you can't let things run wild that are dangerous. And they ARE dangerous. They will take and take and take until there's nothing left, and they have nothing to give in return."

The child giggles, as the athame comes out.

"Every blessing becomes a curse in time, young lady, and every curse becomes a blessing~" The child says softly, her hollow eyes not breaking from Elise. And yet, she keeps her distance. Her posture still holds the air of a wolf ready to pounce, after all. Recoiling backwards, she slips off the coffin, falling on the far side of the sarcophagi.

"An impressive answer, if not entirely perfect."

The child takes an air of lecturing, peering behind the coffin coyly, knocking her fist lightly on the lid. "You hunters are always so fascinating~, seeking to protect the world. If you only didn't have an unfortunate bias to humanity, and you would be so clear in protecting this fragile planet. Still, you have just enough contempt for humans, maybe you can be made useful." She pulls herself up over the coffin, suddenly growing a foot, her features... distorting as she distends. She raises the fist at Elise. "I will accept that answer... and grant you your gift~" For a moment, she opens her clenched fist.

And she slams her palm into the coffin.

The lid shatters in half, as crimson energy boils from the coffin. The torches blow out at the sudden wind, as the spiritual energy is suddenly unlocked. Wailing spirit shriek as they're twisting visages fly through the air. Skeletal forms of long dead spirits try to mob around Elise harmlessly, trying to cling to her useless to plead to her, to speak to her in tongues long forgotten and yet so personal. Eadni delicately reaches into the sarcophagus as the chaos unfolds around. And there, she takes the position of a caretaker, as a skeletal arm reaches up, clad in bracers and the tattered remains of long lost garbs. Eadni eases up the royal figure, still clad in a death mask, into an upright sit. The figure turns it's head, clawing weakly at it's golden mask. Eadni nods her head. "The dead will speak with you now, Elise of the Harkness Clan"

"And you can now listen to your heart's content.

She's being toyed with, and Elise knows it. Despite the goings on around her, the witch knows that the real focal point she needs to consider is Eadni. Not necessarily because she seems threatening -- she rather doesn't, in fact; the strange woman is clearly dangerous, but that isn't the same as threatening -- but because her motivations are an unknown, and her cryptic way of speaking reveals little indeed. She called herself an 'enabler', but balked at 'mouthpiece'. Not a medium, then, but trafficking with the dead appears to be in her wheelhouse regardless.

All things considered, the silver dagger remains drawn, the Scot clearly ready to defend herself at a moment's notice.

"I've no interest in protecting the world, hen," Elise says languidly, eyes darting briefly over to the sarcophagus before turning back to Eadni's toothy visage. "Nor necessarily in protecting humans, either. But I won't be subject to some beastly thing's whims because they think humans are beneath them... and I don't hold with humans who do the same." 'Protecting' anything sounds too much like the Harkness clan creed, the history of dark hunters that she literally ran away with the circus to avoid. The freedom to do as she wished with her life was all she wanted, and it's all she's ever fought for... clan history and mandate be damned.

A fact that is now biting her in the ass, metaphorically speaking.

The light show in the crypt draws her attention, but she will not -- cannot -- show fear. Dealing with souls, with the dead, requires an iron will. Without a solid understanding of yourself and where you fit in the universe, it's easy to get lost in a sea of thoughts and emotions that aren't yours. To become subject to maddening whispers until you cannot tell yourself apart from them.

When she speaks, the witch's voice is loud and formal, her cadence antiquated. "Speak, o king! If you would have your wish known to the living, then speak you must. Else, return to your slumber eternal and harry the living no more."

Eadni toyed with both prey and plucky heroine, as was her nature.

And yet, Eadni falls silent, her form rising so steadily, as the spirits swirl around Elise. There is no laughter at the response from the defiant young lady, but the gaze does not break. Her motivations were concealed, as was her style. Her purpose was in tugging and pulling at the manipulations, for the ultimate outcome. Was it as she said, to protect the world? Or was it something more sinister? Could this all be an illusion? In any case, she guides out the bony figure.

The king wished for his audience.

The decrepit bones were nearly dust. And yet, the faint burning of green energy showed Eadni's blessing. The sea of souls wash around Elise, but his becomes the rock that quells them. The spirits fall silent as he reaches his full height, escorted from his tomb by Eadni as he steps gingerly on the stone floor. The king turns to Elise, bound into a withered corporeal form. A green light fills those sockets, a cursed flame. And a haunting rattle croaks from the depths of the old bones.

"She... calls for us..."

A finger extends at Elise, as the king takes a haggered step, away from Eadni's guiding hand. "The Court... compels... we cannot rest... we are cursed into the court..." The mind of the king thrusts at Elise, as his body steps closer and closer. "The night... the cold... to find you... to take you... we cannot stop the fire upon the knot... she wants you... you must... fulfill the pact..." The boney hands reach for Elise, those hollow sockets staring emptily, as the jaw distends. "You cannot... leave... Illyria..."

"... She must... have you..."

Elise was prepared for almost anything. Rasping voices of the dead don't faze her; Eadni's dark pomp and splendor is darkly fascinating, but not terrifying. Even the risen form of the king is grim, but not *terrifying*. After all, the legends of her homeland are full of kings in burial grounds, waiting to rise and deliver such prophecy to the living. But what he says... what he *says*...

Blue eyes widen. The fingers holding the silver athame slacken ever so slightly, the straight line of her extended arm drops a fractional amount. Her breath sticks in her throat.

"Never!" The word is an explosion of vehemence, of anger, of fear and pain, her face betraying them all without any attempt to hide or disguise it. The sound of blood rushing in her ears, the surge of adrenaline from her response to this, is primal and immediate. "That cannae be all she wants! And as for her bloody _pact_, she can--"

The sentence cuts off with a vaguely strangled noise. Words clearly lining up in her head die unsaid. The alternative is... a shake of the head, as she tries to put it out of her mind. "This cannae be all for me, o king," she grinds out, trying to master her emotions. "I can't be all she wants. There must be something else. Why *here*? Why *now*?"

The explosion of emotion flows both ways.

The spirits nearly snuff out by the sudden lashing. The spirits and even the king seems stunned. But Eadni, oh Eadni, as her features continue to twist and age, hunching over like an old woman, seems to delight in peeling away the layers of the young lady, and seeing the true child within. And when Elise asks her questions?


Eadni whispers, a finger to her cracked lips, a shushing that only twists the knife in this horrific tomb. "You asked for the dead to speak to you, child~. Not whispers or innuendo, but what they truly desire. Please, old king, answer the precious child~" The corpse actually struggles against it now, something drowning the magic, the essence. It stumbles, it's mind drifting. And Eadni reaches out, clenches the creature by its spine. Eldritch energy flows in, as the will of the witch dominates, the strength pulling him straight before Elise. And it almost comes as a -hiss- as the witch sing-songs.

"~Damnable spirit of eons old~"
"~when you are asked, do what you're told~"

The bones rattle, as the hollow faced witch turns back to Elise, lifting the skeleton off its feet. "Again we ask."

"Why here?~"

"Why now?~"

"The fire... the fire... the St. Elmo's Fire..." The ranting words come pouring out from the king, who writhes in Eadni's grasp. "The time has come... the end of man... the endless cold and darkness... the court will come and descend upon the world... the cycle will be finally broken.... but her body is weakening... dying... the dreams... she had to find you... the whispers..." The spirit falls silent. Eadni repeats the words, with a grandmotherly air. "The whispers...?~" The king shudders, a puppet pulled on it's strings. But not Eadni pulling the strings; who? "... The whispers... she... she knew the daughters... never could resist... too curious... once the whispers came... you would come... you couldn't resist your own curiosity...."

"And you... came... right... within... her... grasp..."

"Curious. Ha!" Elise's voice is as bitter as it is angry, resentful as it is furious. Before, the blue eyes were glassy with shock and surprise; now, they flare with indignant anger, barely-suppressed fury. "She brought a dragon here. A *dragon*! You don't use a dragon to make someone curious. You use a dragon to flatten the countryside!" The rest of it -- Eadni's apparent marionette-like control, the accusation that Elise walked into a trap, all of it left by the wayside. Auburn eyebrows narrow. "I'm not so inhuman that I'd turn my back on the world with a dragon loose in it!"

So far, only Kliff was privy to that particular piece of information. And now, Eadni as well. For her part, the Scottish witch is too flustered to care who hears that particular piece of information. In truth, everyone will find out eventually. You can't keep a dragon under wraps for long.

When the skeletal puppet finally subsides, however, the heightened state of tension and awareness takes its toll on Elise, who slowly brings down the arm holding the knife, though it remains tightly clutched in her hand. "If her body is dying," she says, voice thick and harsh, "then there's naught I need to do, now is there? Other than leave her be to a fate she quite likely deserves, pact or no pact." Her free hand comes up to her face, however, hovering over her mouth as she considers the other words spoken here. "Saint Elmo's Fire... he can't mean the 'normal' kind. Is there some other..." She trails off, then sighs, looking at the king's remains, then to Eadni. "He wouldn't know. Sleep now, o king, thy well-earned rest."

"Rest is not his to decide anymore, child~"

There is a rattling, and the bones fall away, the form of the king worried into bones. Dropping the remains, Eadni begins to delicately pick them up again. One by one, plucked off the stone ground to be tucked away in the strength leather satchel. The form of the child was completely gone now, a hunched woman in it's place. The spirits... begin to fade. Not gone forever, but a kind of apprehensive fear is over them.

As their spirit essence is drawn into the sack as well.

"See how the dead can loosen the lips of the living?" The witch idles, as she collects her payment. "It's clear that killing you won't stop this from coming. A Dragon, and St. Elmo's Fire... is something I am unfamiliar with in my old age. It must be a regional ritual, and one kept in closed matters. I would need to find more of the dead to find that answer." Was she on her side, after all. "But a dragon... that is much more troubling and specific...." Her voice trails off, before she twists her head, looking over her shoulder at Elise. Her mask is still a soulless smile with hollow eyes. But her voice takes a penetrating tone, as it strives to pierce Elise.

"You wouldn't happen to have the name of our enemy, would you child?"

Stealing the remains of the dead? The Scot finds it... distasteful, certainly, but not enough to bother trying to get in Eadni's way. After all, her exhortation to the king to enjoy his slumber is largely symbolic; in her eyes, he long ago passed beyond any realm where the need for rest was a concern. Still, there is something about the casual plundering of the grave that gets under the witch's skin regardless. Perhaps it's just that she doesn't like seeing others used against their will when they're helpless, which is absolutely what happened in this barrow. Convincing someone, persuading or cajoling them, that's one thing. But puppetry...

It leaves a foul taste.

When the crone asks for the name of the looming threat, however, Elise cannot help but give a sharp little laugh. "Ah, it's 'our' enemy now, is it, hen?" she throws back in return, raising an eyebrow. "I don't see how it's any concern of yours that you haven't made so yourself, and I've enough on my plate without involving a wild card the likes of you. No, I think I'll keep that information to myself, if it's all the same to you."

Suddenly, the hilt of the knife she's holding feels reassuring in her hand. She doesn't want this to come to blows... but she's prepared if it does. And for the first time since she came down here, Elise wonders what would have happened had this curious creature not shown up, not intervened. Would the dead still have deigned to speak with her? Visions are always low on facts and specifics. Perhaps she was simply fated to meet Eadni here.

But the vision said nothing about HELPING her.

The dead was only the beginning of what she wanted.

Eadni was not like that crude brute Makai, the idiotic upstart who drew the power within him. You let the spiritual essence flow, bargain instead of compel. Souls and spirits were not meant to be consumed, least they consume you. Besides, flesh was ready and simpler to acquire. Eadni's trying and twisting magic was well within her consideration of 'consent,' at least compared to other mystics who had more compelling seals. She considered herself gentle and kind as a mother. So when Elise rejects her?

"Oh child, child, you are quite a rude one~"

Eadni's tone was teasing, but her presence was far from it. The spirits quell even further, as a new spiritual essence begins to muster from within the witch. Souls, spirits, bound ghosts, all as the call comes out. "Naughty children need to learn that they are not alone~" She coos, her words stroking Elise upon her cheeks. Eadni doesn't strike, because Elise was aware of her. A hostile witch, simply interested in saving the world, no matter how many lives are taken. "Still, you've accepted my gift, and there is no hurry to collect my payment, child." Payment. Eadni shakes a long, gnarled finger at the Scottish lass. "You may keep your secrets now, but not forever. I will pull them out sooner than later. You may feel safe now, with the army you hold is so much contempt. But I have seen your kind a hundred times. You will find yourself very alone too soon, as naughty children do." And there is a chill that fills the tomb, as a rumbling builds so deep.

"And Mother is always most inviting when little girls are lost and afraid~"

There is a groaning sound, as a wooden hut twists itself on the far side of the open grave. The stones do not turn, the earth does not move. But the space obeys what the witch wills. She gives a delicate pat on the face on the stachel, cured flesh binding it, as the last of the bones enter it. She turns towards the hut, as a pale, scrawny raven-haired teenager, younger than Elise, opens the door. She too clutches her own knife, though hers was mottled and rotted with rust. Eadni shuffles forward, moving so slowly back towards it, "You would be fortunate to die here, child, if you are expected to finish the pacts of those who deal with dragons." Eadni lets the mute teenager girl extend her hand, to help the elderly witch within. Eadni pauses at the doorframe. "But if it is truly old and truly powerful magic?"

"Perhaps death would be the only escape worth seeking~"

This last, showiest bit of theatrics from Eadni gets a laugh from Elise, though her grip tightens on the hilt of the dagger reflexively anyway. "I've played the Macbeth witch for enough people to recognize his song and dance, hen," she says to Eadni, voice as sharp as the blade in her hand. Talk of payments, and portentious futures, and 'hoho I'll come get you when you least expect it'... to the Scot, it is all theatre. After all, she grew up trained as a witch herself. Half of it is pure psychology. This is why, when she left home and took up a less legal and more prosaic line of work, she was very good at it.

Make people think you're a scary witch, and you've got them in the palm of your hand already.

Of course, the appearance of the hut does get an eyebrow quirked. Psychology or not, that's something you don't see every day. But the girl with the knife... something about it makes Elise's eyes narrow, her emotional control slip. It might be TOO much. "Get out, old woman," the Scot bites out, practically a bark, despite Eadni's slippage in her physical form once more. "You'll have to do more than a few tricks with bones and hints and vague implications to convince me I've been given anything, here, that you weren't seeking for yourself as well. Perhaps I'll be the one collecting my payment before long."

The psychology of witches.

Eadni's psychology had stretched over eons, before some of the most ancient evils in recorded history. Children was in their youth wrapped around their spiritual cores, who live and die and return to the essence of the earth. Eadni was a guardian of life and death in this hollow world. It was almost easy to forget that Eadni was human, just as human as every other.

The difference being, she was a monster.

"There are no illusions, child, only make-believe and pretend in a frightening fairytale land. Services rendered, child; the dead spoke, and you listened." Eadni shakes her head so gently. "But if you need more proof, then I will remember you, Elise of the Harkness Clan. And I will collect. But if you wish to collect from me first."

"I will wait for you~"

The raven haired teenager shuts the door behind Eadni, as the old woman creeps in. The house shudders a moment, before sinking deep within the tomb earth. For a moment, the flames are dimmed. And steady, the lights return, Elise's magic growing dominant once more.

Only the broken coffin and defiled remains as evidence of her passing.

Log created on 12:45:27 03/21/2018 by Elise, and last modified on 13:27:23 03/27/2018.