Kelda Adler - Assorted Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

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Kelda Adler - Assorted Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:59 pm

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Current Description: Kelda Adler is of average height and build. She is thin, with a face that appears stern, mischievous, or warm-hearted at any given moment. Gone is the uncertainty inherent in her eyes and movements, though distraction still finds her easily. She often seems tired, but it does not seem to slow her down.

Old Description: Kelda Adler is of average height and build. She is thin, with a face that is pretty when it doesn't scowl or frown or any number of standard Ilmatari expressions. When she does not look stern, she looks distracted or uncertain, caught up in her own thoughts and forgetful of how that might look to others. Kindness and warmth do not come easily to her features, neither does she fake them often or with success. But they do come: poorly practiced and all the more genuine for it.

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Last edited by Poisonous on Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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Re: Kelda Adler - Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:59 pm

> After Edvard left

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Brother Ludovic's aching knees and freezing toes might have brought him a little closer to Ilmater, but damn if he couldn't do with them bringing him closer to his destination a bit more quickly as well. It wasn't an especially long trip to the Adler homestead--on a good day. But what in the village was a pleasantly light dusting of snow, here on the rocky wild path to the hunter's lodge became nothing but a gray and muddy mire. Nevermind that his cane kept getting stuck. So when he caught the old huntsman on his way out, he was already at the end of his wits.

"Fine day, Brother Ludovic," called Róbert Adler to the priest, his language friendly but a sour and dark mood hardening his tone. Boots crunched through the snow as he approached with horses and hunting dogs in tow. "Come to check on my girl? It's about fuckin' time."

Hitching his robes up out of the snow, revealing gangly and wrinkled old legs that kept warm thanks only to a thick and white layer of hair, Ludovic practically stomped his way up the path. Not to meet Adler, but to walk right past him up to the cabin. "Next month. As scheduled. Today, we talk. Inside." Ludovic had never been a man of many words.

"Look at me you old cunt--" spat the huntsman.

Ludovic stopped, gripping the handle of his cane just a little more tightly. He turned and jabbed a spindly finger at Adler's chest. He met the brute's eyes--Ludovic was a gangly man, the huntsman a bear of a man. Adler could have snapped his bones, wanted to snap his bones: Ludovic could see it in the way his face was strained with anger, red and veiny and teeth exposed. But who, then, would keep his child alive?

The anger cooled, though was never extinguished. Adler was deflated. Ludovic leaned his weight back onto his cane and finished his trek up to the house.

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They shared grog from steaming pewter cups that felt hot in his hands. Ludovic only sipped once at his, so when the mulled drink eventually ran out, Adler drank his guest's as well. And opened a fresh jug of ale to pour himself another. And then another.

Ludovic cleared his throat. He wondered how much longer the man would have drunk if he'd let him.

"Aye?" rumbled the huntsman, scratching at his furs.

The priest did not like to sit, so he stood. "Your daughter, Adler, she has potential. She'd do well in the church. She's smart, resourceful. I've seen the way she looks after her sister. I know she wants to learn to heal." And Ludovic was getting old. Someone was needed to eventually take his place, and soon. How many years did he have left? There were so few candidates to choose from in the village. The boy, Edvard, might have had potential. But he was gone, now. Who else? The baker's daughter, maybe?

Adler's mouth twisted in an ugly way. "Iris is needed at home. Someone's got to look af'er Kelda, an' with her brother run away and work needing done, got to be her. Won't have it, priest."

"Think about Iris' future, Adler. Her sister won't be around much long--"

The huntsman's hand slammed on the table. "I said no."
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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Re: Kelda Adler - Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:47 am

> Recently

Kelda doesn't like how damn comfortable her new home feels. It is not a sense of guilt, exactly, though that might be fitting for an Ilmatari priestess with a cozy home. No, the comfort leaves her with a sense of unease. Restlessness. She shouldn't stay in it too long. It is too easy to fall into, to be enveloped by, like a soft and warm bed when one has to be getting up in the morning. (Incidentally, she gets so little sleep that waking up and getting out of bed is a great struggle and the hardest part of the day, which is why she is convinced it is the best part!) The overwhelming comfort reminds her, she realizes today, of the happiest moments of her childhood. And that leaves a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.

To fight her restlessness, to fight her unease, she does as she has ever done. She keeps busy. She needs to, besides, there is so much to do! The turtles (Tvrtko and Stańczyk), the rabbits (Celith and Perry), the tarantula (Helga) must be fed. The mouse Edvard gifted her has mysteriously disappeared. She wakes early for this, well before morning can finish being considered night. Jerek must sleep at the barracks for his training, so the house is quiet and empty and hers. She makes herself porridge, she sleeps, she peeks at the turtles one last time (making kissing noises at them since no one is looking) and grumbles to herself at the various gifts her amorous 'roommate' has left around the house for her. And then before dawn: she is out the door and down the street, but not before spreading bird seed near the door.

Anything will do if it keeps her busy and useful and out of the house. She pesters Brother Garrmin for chores, snoops around the Sarshel docks looking for illnesses to cure, finds porridge to chew, dozes off outside the Abbott's office waiting for an audience. Follows strange men with swords into caves and faces down trolls and ghouls and giant spiders with them. She keeps busy.

But inevitably night comes and she must return to face the damnable comfort of her new home. Sleep offers no sanctuary because sleep never comes, not when she needs it, it never has. She tries all the usual things. There is a brew Brother Ludovic used to make for her, when the lack of sleep began to take a toll on her already failing health. She hates the way it tastes, so she makes more of it than she ought to. And cheats, if unintentionally, by washing it down with a tea that smells like an old friend--chamomile.

That is how she spends the whole day avoiding the overwhelming comfort of the house, only to end it nearly every night curled up with a book before the fireplace. Sometimes she picks a dictionary like she used to when she was a girl (fat lot of good that's done her). Sometimes an adventure book. Tonight, feeling a little homesick, she opens up the weathered old journal of the man who fixed her. Not her body--that had been another priest--but her head.

She flips to a random page, and it's about her. So many of them are.
Lazy, useless, spoiled rotten. I am at my wit's end with the girl and her father both. Adler insists on overindulging her, especially with the medicines, and I...
Kelda begins to snore.
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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Re: Kelda Adler - Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:18 am

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Kelda was twelve? There was dew on the field, warmth in the sunlight on her face, dirt on her knees. She wiggled her toes in the grass and leaves. Every flower was pink--or maybe it was the lazy late afternoon light that made everything seem honeyed and rosy. It felt so goddamn good to be outside.

The best part was the air. Gods, the air. She could breathe.

Father's hunting hounds barked and wagged their tails and licked her hands, and she was so delighted that she could not stop herself laughing. All-the-way laughs, too! Tatra was practically drooling with excitement (she thought it hilarious), poor sweet old Barklava whined with each hand lick, and Laika was hopping and galloping in circles around her.

Giggling, Kelda let the hounds tug on her sleeve and nudge her into the treeline ahead. They stepped into the shadow of the woods together, a crowd of four.

Her friends left her then, slipped past the trees and out of sight. Kelda hesitated at the edge of that murky pool of shadows before her, suddenly cold and aware of a familiar prickling along her spine. One of the hounds growled low ahead, but she told herself she was unafraid. She was twelve--no! Thirteen! Almost thirteen so may as well be thirteen!--and brave. She trembled.

"Laika?" she called out, in a voice she didn't recognize. "Tatra...?"

The growls of papa's hounds surrounded her, and she was suddenly unsure of herself.

Kelda didn't recall ever making the conscious choice to step into the woods. It took her by surprise, swallowed her whole without consent and without fanfare.

When she felt the hounds' teeth sinking into her spine, she woke with an aborted little scream halfway up her throat. She swallowed it down and sucked in a few breaths, groping for something familiar in the dark. Her fingers found old Barklava curled up beside her. Just a stupid nightmare, she told herself. Her heart still fluttered in her chest, but the splintery pain in her spine was familiar. Mundane. Nothing sinister about it--comforting, almost.

Yet...her breath stilled, hearing the other hounds growling in the dark. She squinted to see what had upset them. Her room was barely illuminated, the curtains closed and the moonlight hesitant to shine through.

Finally her eyes fell on her bedroom door. It was open, and in the doorway stood a real, honest-to-gods not-part-of-a-nightmare monster.

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"Uh...hullo," said the boy monster.

Kelda and the half-orc boy watched each other in mutual fear--in Kelda's case, perhaps terror was the better word--before either said anything further. For a full minute the only noises that passed between them were her short sharp breaths and the growling of Father's hounds.

"Um, girl--" he began, his fingers fiddling nervously with each other. He wore the simplest of brown robes.

"HELP! PAPA!" she shrieked at the top of her lungs. She was maybe not as brave as her dream-self.

The half-orc boy fled her doorway. Kelda cocked her head and listened for Father, heart pounding, but all she heard was the slapping of the orc-boy's sandals running down the hall and...faint snoring. That would be Father...

Wincing, she sat up in her bed and pulled the curtains open a little to let the night's light in. Her back was...she sucked in yet another sharp breath and grasped around on the nightstand for her medicine. The vial gleamed weakly when she held it up against the moonlight, disappointed--it was empty. She didn't remember finishing it. Maybe Father had been drunk and given her too much again--that would explain the frightening dream, as usual. And the--pain rose up her spine again, hot and quick like bile up the throat--and that freaky thing in the doorway. Sweat trickled down her forehead.

Kelda pushed the blankets away from herself and looked at her thin, pale legs. They looked less up to the task than usual.

Where is Iris when you need her? she thought grumpily, gripping the nightstand and shakily pulling herself up to a standing position. She opened her mouth to take in a breath, and...oh, she thought, just as the room began to swim. This isn't good.
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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Re: Kelda Adler - Assorted Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:12 am

>A few months after arriving in Impiltur

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Sir Hawklin pressed a finger to his lips as if to hide his growing, impish little grin. She watched it spread across his face, the way it made his cheeks crease and his blue eyes twinkle like a boy quarter his age. "Oh!," he said with almost a giggle, and leaned forward a little to whisper conspiratorially. "You are a little heretic, aren'tyou? I won't tell anyone, promise."

Kelda flushed, feeling like a fool for voicing her thoughts so freely--especially to a senior of the Triadic church. He watched her as she nibbled her lump of stale bread, and she watched him as he dined on wine and cheese and licked both from his fingertips. They must have both been thinking the same words, but she was the one who blurted it out. "How can you eat like that?" Both thinking it, perhaps, if for different reasons...

"Me?" His brows rose.

She checked herself, buying herself time by ripping off a little more bread and chewing on it. Sir Hawklin didn't seem fooled. She swallowed the bread and clarified, "I mean so indulgently."

Annoyance flickered over his face, and soon enough they were once again arguing well into the evening. He mocked her dedication to poverty, and she his reliance on fine clothes and dining. The argument began with the topic of charity and wasting coin, and somehow an hour or two later they were talking about his experiences fishing on the frontier and what was the best cheese he'd ever had. She eventually admitted somewhat sheepishly to having made some assumptions about him--a noble? who knew how to fish? There were no nobles in Thesk, and certainly none who could catch their own food--and perhaps he admitted the same in his own, more subtle ways. Thinking back on it a long time later, she was never sure.

"What you do not understand, Mother Kelda," (she always groaned internally when he called her this, though he insisted it was the proper term where he came from...nevermind she was half his age) "is that one can display poverty all they like. It looks virtuous, but at the end of the day everyone is still poor and dying." He paused to sip from his wine. Inside, she burned--he was misinterpreting her argument entirely, yet here she sat unable to speak the obvious rebuttal. Cotton in the mouth. Wasn't that the term for it?

He'd watched her intently as they argued and argued and argued--she knew he was challenging her to cross verbal swords with him. She had once asked him to help her with her speech troubles, and this was his way of helping. But her tongue felt thick and heavy in her mouth, and the words that ought to come easily to defend what she believed fell flat between them. She could be a disappointing student, and he'd been kind to give her so much practice. Now that they'd hit a lull in the conversation, he caressed the rim of his wine glass and did not speak for a short while.

So it surprised her when he began to speak of home.

--

"...Frankly, I avoided a lot of the bullshit intrigue because of it, at least, and I do not miss it. You can imagine I had no shortage of tutoring, and access to so many books at least, and I suppose..." he trailed off, the wine muddying his head a little and making him forget his train of thought.

Kelda's throat felt dry. "Does it--did it get better?"

"Did what get better?"

She was certain he knew what she meant, but she didn't want to clarify. She quieted and frowned, hoping he would understand. Her discipline was frayed, though, and she was eager for an answer. She stumbled over her own words more than usual in her anxiousness for one. "I--I know exactly what it's like. I mean to say that, uh. Me too. ...Did it ever get easier--I mean better?" She peeled pieces off her stale bread. Her heart was wild in her chest, excited at the revelation of a kindred spirit.

He never did answer her that. When the barkeep came to light the candles at their table and check in on them, no doubt hoping the wine-loving paladin would order another bottle, Sir Hawklin ordered two chamomile teas instead.

"Chamomile?" this time it was her brows that rose.

"Mother Kelda," he tsked," You ask me why I indulge. I tell you, I will die disemboweled in some godforsaken pit for my god. I aspire to taste the Upper Plane before I relocate there permanently," he answered dryly, darkly and wistfully all at once. He glanced up at her with a sad little smile. Her chest clenched a little, seeing the first hint back in those days that not all was well with the nobleman. She let him speak as he spread a little more soft cheese over his bread. He took a small bite and sighed his disappointment. "And since you northerners can't make proper bread...or wine...or cheese...tea will have to do. How do you all go on like this? In the cold?"

"We manage." Kelda fought a rising inclination to grin, and won barely. Instead she looked on, dour as ever.

She sniffed at the chamomile inquisitively when the waitress brought it to their table and Sir Hawklin pushed it towards her. "Enough of that, go on and try it," he told her as he pushed the mug of steaming liquid towards her. It smelled sweet and lovely, which made her wary. She pushed it back and he sighed.

"It smells indulgent," she protested. "You try it."

"It's not. I promise you'll like it--" she scowled, and he added, "--but not too much. It was a favorite in Cormyr. Please try it." He smiled, just a little.

She was beginning to reach for the mug when, as usual, someone burst into the tavern desperately in need of strangers to help them. Kelda and the paladin rose from their seats, he reaching for his sword and shield, she reaching for her bag of medicines.
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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Re: Kelda Adler - Assorted Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:16 am

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> Before Edvard left

Edvard was determined to wriggle and kick his way out of the old priest's, but Brother Ludovic was twice as stubborn and thrice as strong. Stronger than the boy had expected, certainly.

Boy!” snapped the priest, pulling Edvard by the ear into a seat. His patience already worn thin. “I said SIT. STILL--Agar! Stop hiding over there and set the table.” Damn it all, but did Adler discipline any of his children? Brats, all but Iris.

Edvard’s squirming came to a stop as he watched the half-orc child set the bread down, hunger in his eyes. He glanced up at Ludovic, asking for permission.

Eat, boy, but sit still.” Ludovic’s command was rumbling, grudgingly kind. The Adlers had fallen on hard times, and he would not bring their child into his home without the gift of a filled stomach. He made his wrinkled fingers into a tent and rested them against his lips as he watched Edvard dig into the loaf. After the boy had devoured a few bites, he cleared his throat and spoke. “You were fighting with the other boys again, Edvard.” The accusation was matter-of-fact.

No Oi wasn’t, uncle!

You were. Agar told me.” Ludovic’s perpetual frown deepened. "And you will call me by my title."

The gangly green youth bared his fangs at Edvard in what was meant to be an apologetic, if awkward, smile. Edvard gave the other boy an unpleasant look. “Agger’s a tat-tle-tale.

He is training to be a paladin someday, Edvard,” explained Ludovic with more patience than he realized he could muster. “He is not going to be letting you hit the other children, do you understand?

In the corner, Agar’s green cheeks turned a mottled pinkish-red, and he stood a little straighter. Prouder.

For his part, Edvard didn’t answer. He chewed his bread.

Brother Ludovic sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose. He leveled his weary gaze at the boy. “Why are you getting in fights, Edvard?

Edvard kept chewing, leveling his own stubborn glare at the priest.

Do you want me to take you up the hill to your father, and you can explain there?

That did it. Edvard dropped the loaf and cowered like a frightened pup. He started talking, quickly. “Oi’ll talk! Oi’ll talk! It were just, the boys were making fun of sister and…

Brother Ludovic nodded along, breaking apart his own loaf of bread and inviting Agar to the table with a gesture of the hand. He was only half listening: the answer wasn’t the important thing here, but rather, the confession. He would let the boy come to the conclusion that fighting was wrong on his own. In his own time.

...and then his tooth went flyin’ out an’ Oi told him not ter ever talk about Kelda an’ Iris loik that again!

Ludovic choked on his bread.

You dislodged a TOOTH?

--

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> After Father left

Ludovic only frowned down his nose at the body when they laid Robert Adler out before him. He felt little for the man who had made a wife and mother out of his sister--disgust, vitriol, and no pity. Not very Ilmateri of him, he supposed. But we can't all be perfect all of the time.

The door behind him creaked as he dressed the body and prepared it to be sent for burial. He did not have to look behind him to know. "Kelda, wait until I'm finished." His voice was firm, but he felt his brows pressing together and worry tugging at his heart. She didn't need to see this.

Pieces of the bolt were still lodged in the old trapper's chest. He quietly fished them out, and threw a cloth over their remains before she might see. Stubborn as she was, he was not surprised to hear her tiptoeing closer. Firmly, he repeated himself. "Kelda. Go help Agar with his chores, I said."

"I want to see," she protested. She came around him from behind and peered at the mountain of gore and fat and furs that had been Robert Adler. He was reminded of how children would look at newborns, but for the wet making her eyes shine. He stopped his dressing of the corpse and looked at her, giving her his attention.

"Why do you want to see, Kelda?" This was how he taught. Ask a question, let her think.

She thought about her answer very carefully, her eyes never leaving the grisly sight. "I don't want to. So I want to," she answered.

"You mean that you must," he corrected. She was echoing his most important lesson, albeit in her usual vague and poorly worded way. There were a great many things she had refused to do in the years since she'd come to the temple begging to be taught.

"Should I help...? ...I don't want to." She turned her head to look at the tools.

He considered. "Go help Agar with the chores. You've done well enough." He felt perhaps a little guilty, at having convinced her that seeing this would be good for her. But he was proud, that she was trying. Still a bit of a brat, though.

She gave her father one long last look before shuffling out.
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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Re: Kelda Adler - Assorted Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:53 am

> 2 years ago

What shred of dignity she'd held on to at Christophe's makeshift funeral now unraveled. Kelda choked on tears that flowed freely and clawed with her fingernails through what was left of his grave. Some grief-maddened part of her expected to find his whole and unsleeping face suddenly beside her and laughing that she'd fallen for his joke. The little girl in her imagined kissing his brow, his cheeks, his eyelids, his lips, and finding him alive somehow. Rahul had been in on it. Surely. It was all a joke.

The empty grave's dirt only gave way to bits of torn purple cloth and splinters of bone and rotted meat. She let out a horrified cry when she realized what she was digging into and turned away to gag.

By moonlight she found the trail, where the body had been dragged from its pit and into the grass. When the track became nearly invisible, she followed still and was undeterred. Her hands were fists at her side. I am a godsdamned Adler, she thought. She could track. She would find him and return him. Surely, though, she was losing her mind. It had been a talking crow that had brought her here. In a sleep-deprived daze she'd followed it from Garrmin's, up the river and through the trees. The sight of his disturbed grave had left an emptiness in her stomach and a panicked fluttering in her chest.

Kelda stopped when her foot hit something soft and firm. A dark crumpled figure, just poking out of a crevice in the cliff behind the tall grass. Her heart ached. She crouched and pushed aside the grass, and forever regretted it.

Christophe's eyes had always had that piercing quality of truly perceptive men. They were eyes that had made her breath catch and her cheeks flush, had made her reconsider this or that foolish thing she'd blurted out. She had loved those eyes. Now the backs of of his empty sockets caught the moonlight and glistened, wet with blood and churning with maggots. It tricked her heart for a moment into thinking she'd seen life. But the eyes were gone. And his left arm. And his right leg. His clothing, all of that finery; his scalp and along with it the skin of much of his face. His naked body was laid out bare and stripped of dignity before her, his impish smile twisted into something decaying and wretched and rotting.

She got on her hands and knees and cradled his defaced head and wept, and wept, and wept, and then she wiped at the tears and dribble on her face with her sleeve. She took from her satchel a spare set of Ilmateri robes--her good ones, that she never wore--and draped it over him like a shroud.

Kelda slipped her hands under him and grunted as she lifted him, bridal-style. She was possessed of a pathetic sum of strength, but whoever had stolen him from his grave had left him as light as a child. She staggered to the city gates, alone.

--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao86ErZEtZI

--

Edvard taught her to carve. They held the lesson beneath an oak tree not far from Outentown, a little too close to the spiders' nest for her comfort. She didn't pay enough attention to where the knife was in relation to her finger and by the end of the lesson she had a bloodstained sitting wooden dog to show for it. It was crude, but she liked the way its eyes looked. Loyal. Waiting for someone to come home. She told her brother it was for Rose. But when she and the latest band of self-proclaimed-adventurers passed by the stream with Christophe's grave, she asked them to go on ahead without her and snuck back to leave the statuette atop the empty mound.

She had replaced the dirt. Planted flowers. No one ought to know what had been done to him.

Kelda was lost in her own thoughts as they all marched back together to town. She hadn't even taken much notice of who she was with until the feeling of fingers around her wrist jerked her out of her daze. She bared her teeth and yanked at her hand automatically, looking up to see that it was the so-called 'paladin' of Sune.

"Let go," she hissed. Her body was stiff, tense. The stranger was overstepping.

"I saw what you did," he said very softly. His lids were a little low--the lashes were long, thick, like a woman's. She stared at them and tried to think of something insulting to say about them, but he went on. "I could see you cared about them a lot...your loved one."

She snatched her hand away and rubbed at her wrist. She noticed the dirt still under her fingernails and shoved her hands into her pockets, her fingers brushing against Christophe's necklace within. "Who said anything about love?" she muttered. "Shove off."

Jerek watched her, bowed his head just slightly, and let her be. Moody and bitter as she felt, she was a little disappointed by it.

--
Autopsy Report
Christophe de Hawklin
Performed by: Sister Kelda Adler
First impressions: Stripped of clothing. Missing eyes, scalp, right leg, left arm. 1-2 days decomposition. Preexisting wounds of acid (partially melted face), four wounds from large stingers.

Further details: Arm and leg removed roughly and crudely, perhaps in a hurry or without skill. Scalp removed in a way that required skill, practice, medical tools, time, and care. Eye sockets crushed before removal of eyes, presumably to prevent damage to eyes on removal.

Missing body parts, when found, turned to ash upon destruction of rune below, carved into undead body.
A sketch of a rune ends the page.
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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Re: Kelda Adler - Assorted Stories of Brother Ludovic & the Wrong Sister

Postby Poisonous » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:52 am

Agar spit blood to one side, just missing Kelda's battered face. She breathed with great difficulty, and knew that one or more of her ribs had been cracked during the fight. He stood over her now, drenched in sweat and both their blood. The Moon Hound which Ilmater had granted her lie panting a few paces behind him, struggling still to pick itself back up. Beyond it she could hear the sounds of her strange allies fighting their own battles--some of their cries victories, some little more than death rattles. Agar gripped his axe all the tighter and stared down at her: a moment's hesitation before he lifted the heavy thing over his head. It's fall seemed like minutes.

Once she would have gladly died a martyr; once she would have gladly given her life so that the monster she'd called friend would live. Guilt and adoration of her own beloved Martyr might have driven her not to fight until the bitter end.

But she had good reason to live, now, and she'd put aside her petty desires for martyrdom. A month's loneliness had given her much time to think. Jerek had remarked once upon how different her life now seemed from the short one she'd envisioned; indeed, she was ready for it to go on long and well.

So she wrenched herself to the side and rolled with the last of her strength, tapped into reserves that existed only out of determination. Pain, white and hot, shot through through her shoulder, down into her core, fizzled and sparkled in her vision. She might have screamed--she was only human, after all--as she felt around for her trusty Martyr's morningstar with her left arm. She took advantage of his surprise, his hesitance, what was still human in him, and swung the morningstar to his face.

Once-Sir Agar of Ilmater wasn't so easily vanquished. He lunged at her and they wrestled in the dirt and blood. He was so much stronger than she. She clawed at his hands that wrung around her neck, and croaked a frantic prayer to her god.

Light, blinding white, drenched the both of them. Agar's eyes fled into the back of their sockets and he slumped atop her, heavy and limp. She heaved with what little strength she had left and rolled him off her, pushing herself up. Swiftly she murmured a prayer of healing for her Moon Hound, and then herself, and she stood over him now as he slowly recovered from his daze. She lowered her morningstar onto his chest; her Moon Hound gently but firmly placed its teeth around her old friend's neck.

Rape, murder, countless acts of greed and cruelty--he was guilty of them all. Ilmater compelled mercy, but what of those who'd known His mercy and turned away? There was no law left out here in the wildest parts of Thesk, her homeland. Mercy she could grant him, but not life. Tears threatened to drench her eyes but she held them back, ground her teeth against one another. As his daze lifted, their eyes met. There was little of the boy left in him.

It was a cruelty to drag this out. She knelt beside him and touched his cheek gently with her left hand--her right arm now hanging limply and blood-drenched to one side, barely attached--to soothe him. She took her father's hunting knife and did the deed, quick and painless as she could manage, and held his hand as he gurgled and thrashed in those last moments. When he had passed, she picked herself up and turned to the others--she could mourn later, but her allies had need of her now.

* * *

The mother was buried that evening, after they found her waterlogged and face-down in the river. Kelda said the rites, filled with a terrible guilt so ripe and sharp it left her numb. Perhaps she should have lied, promised to drown the child as the woman wanted. Perhaps she should have done a thousand other things differently. When the ceremony was complete she crept into the midwife's tent to see Agar's daughter--out of how many, she wondered?

The girl was unpleasant to look at, though no monster. Kelda murmured her thanks and carefully took the babe, recalling her brief lesson on how to hold infants. Black eyes haloed by an ugly face blinked up at her, and her numb heart ached very suddenly. She remembered studying the mirror once, studying her then-twisted body and frail form--concluding that none but Ilmater could love one such as she. She pressed the babe to her chest and left out a shuddering breath. The decision was made somehow without her ever thinking it, and now she worried over what Jerek might think, say, feel. Would he be willing to take a stranger's child in as his own? She closed her eyes and kissed the girl's head. The girl was her responsibility now, and she was surprised to find she didn't mind that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y52ONQ8bsmY
Mother Kelda Adler, high priestess of The Crying God. Found in Kelda's Clinic & Sarshel City South.
Hedwithien Le'lewaluin, wanderer. Found in ???
Larkka Kowalczyk , hedge witch. Found in ???
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DM Poisonous - Currently on hiatus.


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