It was in the early hours of the morning, on the outskirts of Noria's sprawling streets. Soldiers and guardsmen were rousing from their sleep, getting ready for their day of endless tedium watching for bandits or training for the upcoming battles between Lords, and merchants were getting shops and stalls ready for another round of business with the peasants and the occasional tramp or noble. In the days following the second surge of the Myst some had been afraid to leave their homes, but the fortitude of the Empire's citizens as a whole had held firm, and the daily grind went on. Still, this wasn't to mean that they did not have their fair share of strange events since then, such as this very morning, when the early birds were getting up and ready for their day, only to all stop and stare in confusion at the white horse trotting along the streets.
A Headless White Horse.
It clipped and clopped it's way along the dirt and cobblestone pathways until it came to an area with a fair amount of people, mainly guards and merchants as mentioned, before rearing up and letting out one last pained howl before dropping dead on the floor, crimson droplets of blood slinking into the cracks and crevices of the road. Strange enough on it's own, but then there was the matter of the woman riding the horse, slumped against it's back like a human saddle until it's dying breath, only sliding from it when the mare stopped and finally died after who knew how long.
Kharia and Allei had been on a lot of adventures together, the White steed of the White Witch, she liked to say. Now they lay together, in the dirt, Kharia half dead and drenched in blood, and Allei...well, dead. The only sound that could be heard from the woman was a strained hiss, a quivering hand reaching out to feel her friend's fur one last time before all life seemingly left her. Even though she was still alive, she looked as dead as her horse as her body collapsed into a mound, surrounded by blood and confused onlookers.
Iskar had just arrived in Noria after he had to be moved to another ship as the one he was first on board started taking on water. The man was just trying to navigate hi way through the crowded streets. The Archipelago was not this crowded. Now he wished that he either stayed there or took a different ship that would have taken him directly back to Gemiralth. But as the man reminded himself there was no knowing that there was going to be such a severe storm nor that he would wind up on a rescue ship that wouldn't take him home.
As much as it left the mutated man frustrated he had to roll with the punches so to speak.
So here he is pushing his way through the crowded streets that for an unknown reason started to become excited about something. Curiosity got the better of him as he pushed his way in the direction that was causing the excitement. When he finally got to the front of the crowd was when he saw the reason why.
He recognized the woman straight away. It is Kharia.
Gasping with concern at the sight of her Iskar rushed over to the woman, "Kharia. What happened to you?" The Magi asked as he took off his cloak and using it to cover her up. He was visibly shaken up by the state of her.
Kharia let out a heavy breath as she collapsed, the growing light of Noria's morning fading into muddy blacks and greys. She wasn't going to complain though, it was comforting, reminded her of going to bed each night as a kid. Mother would come to her bedside and douse the candle, kiss her on the head, and tuck her in like one of the baker's little buns. She could feel the warmth drape over her now, nice and snug and soft. Her head felt so heavy now thinking of that. Maybe just sleep a little while...
"Kharia, what happened to you??"
Kharia's eyes snapped open, inhaling sharply as she bolted upright into Iskar's arms, adrenaline searing through her wailing brain. Her head rolled around for a moment, struggling to focus on something as she blinked and squinted over and over, blurred images slowly coming into focus. Something was different, everything looked weird. It kind of looked like she had one...one eye closed. She reached up to her face and fumbled around her left eye, touching the waxed and leathery skin surrounding the milky white eye, the familiar sense of dread settling back into it's perch. She couldn't see through one eye, it was gone, how?? "Iskar, where's my eye? I can- I can't- I can't see out of it," She slurred shakily, still fighting just to keep her head upright. The one eye she had could still see perfectly well, enough to catch a tuft of white fur in the mud.
She turned and felt heavy in her chest, one eye locked on her friend. Even though she was still struggling to stay awake, she scrambled out of Iskar's arms and crawled madly over to her horse, draping herself on top of it as she fought back tears. "Allei!? Allei!!!" She screamed, shaking the corpse as she futilely tried to bring back her horse. Shaking hands rose up and tried so hard to call on the powers of the Myst, but all she could manage was a few stray sparks before all pretense of her still having any magic vanished, the last wisps of lightning leaving her body as the Myst closed itself to her, small streaks of silver hair fading to a dull brown. All she could do was stare at her bloodied hands and the red stump where Allei's head used to be, the will to fight finally leaving her as tears started to flow from her.
All Kharia could do was hold her friend's cold corpse, sobbing, until, again, she grew still and passed out.
OOC: Sorry it didn't involve you more Nommie , this just kind of came to me.
Iskar did his best to look over Kharia to get a judgement of her injuries without being too invasive. But with them being out in the open well it is hard to do. The Magi will have to take Kharia elsewhere to take a proper look at her injuries so he can tell if he will need to do a combination of potions and healing spells to mend her up. Judging from what he has seen so far she will need some down time to rest and heal. Magic and potions can only do so much in this case with how badly she is hurt.
"I can't tell right now what has happened to your eye. But I can see you have gone blind." Iskar told his friend when she asked. If she asked how the man will not be able to tell her until he has had a proper look.
The Magi could only watch as Kharia went into panic mode as she fought her way out of his hold; crawling over to the dead horse. Iskar felt his heart break watching Kharia mourn for her deceased animal. He could tell the horse meant alot to the woman. The man moved over to be next to the woman, stopping a crowd of people from approaching with a quick gust of wind magic. When he was sure no one would approach Kharia had passed out once more.
That was when a man approached, I will take care of the horse. There is a tavern right down the road. I will bring the horse's ashes to you when it is done." The man told Iskar.
The Magi thought about it for a minute or two before nodding, "Alright. Tell the tavern owner you are looking for Iskar. I will pay you of course." He then stood up and carefully picked Kharia up. The walk to the tavern the stranger pointed out was not that far of a walk at all. Well it wouldn't have been if there weren't people standing in the middle of the street gawking instead of politely moving out of the way. Well either way Iskar got to the tavern.
The tavern owner immediately showed Iskar to a room saying he can pay for the room later. Placing Kharia on the table in the middle of the large room Iskar breath heavily as he ran his fingers through his hair. Placing his things down Iskar dug out a variety of herbs and vials of other things to put into the potions he is planning to make to help Kharia get on the road to recovery. The first on his list to do though is to heal the wounds with the healing spell first. The first being the injuries to her face that appeared to be burn wounds, placing his hands over her face the magi concentrated cancelling out the noises of the world as he focused on performing the spell. Most of the wounds on her face healed but it was obvious that the spell will do nothing for her eye.
Alistair walked past the gates of noria his hood, the guards distracted by a crowd which seemed to be crowding a dead horse it appeared they were moving the body put off the street to allow for wagons to pass. The tavern he was looking for wasn't far from the body the one he had to agree to meet Iskar at.
Entering he saw the back of Iskar first before his eyes drifted down to the table he was working at.
"Kharia?" he quietly asked himself allowed, unsure if it was her, she had been missing for some time and she was near unrecognisable.
"Iskar, what happened to her" he asked approaching from behind Iskar with concern in his voice as he now saw the full extent of the damage to her face. Pulling some bandages out of haversack and handkerchief from his pocket. "I'm going to bandage her eye, you keep doing whatever you're doing" He said glancing at Iskar's herbs and vials as he placed his folded handkerchief over her eye and Began to wrap bandages around her to hold it place. for the moment that's all he could do.
The hours crawled on, Kharia's body settling and looking a little healthier after the tender care of her friends. It wasn't long before the Norian citizens began to go about their daily business, only talking in idle gossip of the strange woman that collapsed in the street - they had far more urgent things to worry about, after all. The sun towered over the port city by the time a knock was heard at the door and the man from earlier reappeared, handing off Allei's ashes in a medium-sized wooden pot. "Apologies for the wait, decided to look around the outskirts of town, see if the head couldn't be found, nowt i'm afraid," He informed them, taking a draw of the beer he bought while making his way up here. "Seen many a strange sight, an 'eadless horse takes the biscuit though, what's the story th- agh!" The man recoiled from the doorframe he had gone to lean against, small droplets of blood decorating the aging wood around a nail that was poking out of the frame slightly. He was about to ask for a bandage when Kharia let out a soft groan, stirring in the bed as she inhaled deeply.
Slowly, her head turned in the direction of the stranger, sniffing and licking the air like some bloodhound as her features contorted in pain, another groan forcing itself from her. She shook her head vigorously, throwing herself around so she faced the wall as she tried to sleep, but she couldn't anymore. It had been days since she...since...
Since she fed.
Kharia's eyes snapped open and her head heaved itself upward, licking the air again and swaying back around toward her compatriots, sitting upright and staring at the stranger from under sunken eyelids, her lips parting to bare fanged teeth, desperation etched into her features as she half pleaded, half moaned.
Iskar stopped what he was doing as he heard a voice that he recognized as the one belonging to the noble he spoke to not too long ago. The Magi looked back to Alistair, "That is what I am trying to figure out. I can say what has happened to her eye. But everything else is a mystery to me as much as it is to you." He will tell Alistair before nodding as he was told to get back to what he was doing before in regards to the herbs and potions.
It will take his entire stock but what he was able to do with the herbs will help Kharia through some of the healing. But her body will have to do the rest on it's own. If it can. He has done all he can do.
Iskar's attention was turned to the man he had spoken to on the street in regards to Khari's horse. Well what there was of it. The Magi placed a small pouch of coins in the man's hand after the Urn containing the horse's ashes were placed on the table next to the door. The Magi was about to have a bit more of a conversation with the man when he recoiled after cutting himself on a nail. That usually didn't mean anything but with Kharia reacting to the scent of..
The magi quickly cut the man off, "Quickly get yourself downstairs!" he will tell him before closing the door. Bmhe had only been around one vampire who was able to maintain control of herself. But he has no idea if Kharia will be able to maintain control with the scent of blood lingering in her nose. Iskar held his breath, cautiously keeping himself in front of the door incase Kharia made a mad dash for it, "Since when were you a vampire Kharia? What happened?" Iskar asked in an attempt to shift her focus from the smell of blood to the conversation he is trying to engage her in. He glanced over to Alistair not knowing if the noble has had experience with vampires or not, "I suggest you get away from her. There is no telling what she is going to do. You're too close to put up a defense if she attacks." He will point out.
As much as he wanted to trust Kharia he couldn't since with Kharia reaction to the man cutting himself saying it may have been a while since she fed.
Alistair stepped back as she called of blood, he'd never dealt with a vampire before, he knew of two kinds after short study when his father was attacked by one last year, Ritual and Regular both were dangerous, the ritual kind was more. so he hoped her being starved blood would make her easier to deal with, much like any starving creature.
"Do you have any kind of blood in your bags, Iskar? she might able to drink animal blood" he honestly didn't know if animal blood would work but it was worth shot. not matter what happened here, no one was going to die, Alistair would make sure of that.
The corners of Kharia's vision blurred red and orange, a low hum splitting her ears apart as every fiber screamed to feed, pumping energy into a failing body slowly moving toward it's death throes. It had been a week and a half now, she thought - time was getting blurry - and she couldn't go much longer without blood. Her body sagged and buzzed with lethargy and energy all at once, a wildfire burning in her mind as she tried to fight back. She focused on Alistair and Iskar's faces, thinking back through the fog to the memories of them together; her Dragon training, the talks with Alistair about the court politics while hemming his trousers because the bastard refused to fucking toss them for some reason. She let out a low howl, falling to her knees from the bed, tears falling from her eyes as she balled her fists and slammed them against the floorboards in helpless rage, the wood cracking and splintering under the blow...and revealing a rat scurrying beneath the floor.
She was already face-deep in the floor, sucking the animal dry when Iskar had blood requested of him, groaning softly amidst sucking and squeaking noises. Slowly, the pounding in her head began to fade to a dull ache and the thrum in her eardrums receded, leaving cold sobering ache all over as Kharia let her body relax, burying her head in her arms. "...it's weird, you know...not being able to hear your own...heart beating." She muttered sadly, exhaling before heaving herself back up, leaning against her legs and staring at her friends, brushing the tears from her eyes. "...how long have I been missing?"
Kharia grabbed the bedside and pulled herself back up onto the sheets, collapsing against them with a grunt. "Sorry about that, I would have preferred to...well, you know...the Volturas, in Volkarna, they did it to me...after they did this." She felt her dead eye, removing the bandages with little more than a tug. "It's permanent now, the body and soul become frozen in time, they said...and if it hasn't healed after 6 months, well...was Volkarna destroyed in the surge? I saw the whole place collapse when Allei...when she came back for me."
OOC: I know Volkarna was deleted, Jim said I could have it said that it was essentially collapsed and erased by the second surge to be replaced by another kingdom, like a multiversal overlap.
Iskar shook his head, "I am afraid I do not have any blood in my bags. But I may be able to.. come up with a solution." He said slowly as Kharia tore apart the floor boards as she went after.. a rat? The Magi had a compromise in mind. The same he used for another vampire but it now appeared that may not be needed. Well maybe. If she starts acting like she needs to feed again the Magi will try to bring it up before Khaira does any more damage to the floor or some other part of the room to get to an animal..
"You have been missing for quite some time Kharia.. so it was people at Volkarna that did this to you?" He mentioned as she removed the bandages that covered her dead eye, "I am honestly not sure what has become of Volkarna as a result of the surge." Iskar will admit since he has not been up to the northern provinces he is unsure of which have been destroyed or untouched from the surge.