[IaWA - IG] The Schwarzwald

edited October 2007 in In-Game
scene 1
Wanda and the Eater of Shadows

The Schwarzwald (a 'Black Forest' indeed) grows dark and foreboding as night falls, and night falls earlier as the winter grows deeper. The bushy firs and tall, black pines block what little light falls from the darkening sky, and shadows clot around their roots. Only here and there does moonlight and starlight brush the ground ... in small clearings, and in copses of skeletal deciduous trees, black against the sky.

In this black realm the furrier's daughter has become (or imagines herself become) a huntress, for she has learned, over time, that her chosen prey loathes the light of day. She has heard his name whispered by those she knows to be witches ... 'The Eater of Shadows', and it is in shadows that he dwells. She knows that her father will be absent from their hovel until late, in his cups at the inn, so there is time for her to be about her night-time hunt.
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  • Wanda held the bundle of pelts close to her face as she stepped over a small, quiet stream. The smell of expertly prepared mink and fox fur brought memories of her mother. She always remembered her mother wearing some nice, new fur. Her father liked to give gifts.

    The stolen bundle would easily afford her the things she needed.

    Deep in a gully, where the smell of rot and wet wood rested, Wanda picked her way between thin, thorn-favored limbs. The gully led to a small clearing. Around and around she paced the gray grove. Wanda whispered:

    "Wake up this night-morning
    I've brought a gift for you.

    Witch-mother, witch-woman
    I stole a gift for you."

    Wanda stopped and closed her eyes.
    She could hear the breathing. The witch stood close to her now. Wanda dared not open her eyes.

    "Beautiful girl, give me this gift." The witch-voice caused pain. Wanda took a deep breath and held out the bundle. Wanda felt the leather hands of the witch as she took the fox fur and mink. She then focused intently on her one desire: the Shadow Eater.

    "Ah, him. You want him."

    Wanda did not nod or speak. Her eyes stayed firmly shut.

    "A gift for a gift then -- if that is how you'll have it."

    The witch took Wanda's hand and there she placed a small, silver bell.

    "Its silver-ring shall hold the Shadow Eater still."

    Each forest had its witch, and the Schwarzwald witch did not like the look of human eyes. Wanda did not look at the bell. She feared to move until she no longer felt the moist breath of the witch. Then she opened her eyes, ready to run if she had misjudged. Evening had become night. The witch had left. Wanda made her way further north, nearer the old buildings, where she last saw him.

    While she hid in the light of the moon, certainly not in the shadows, Wanda saw the devil crawling about. Even the moonlight irritated this devil, and so he did not look nor turn as he walked past Wanda.

    The bell rang out like a scared baby's scream.

    The Devil froze in place. Wanda quickly pulled out her tools and went to work.
    Then the Devil began to scream.
  • edited October 2007
    The Eater of Shadows, like most devils, has many faces - this night he goes forth as a great goat with a pelt as black as the night, and with the eyes and hands of a man. He is not seen as a shape so much as a clot of darkness moving between shadows. His presence marked best by quiet ... the creatures of the forest sense his presence, and they wait with bated breath for him to pass.
    The Devil froze in place.
    The bell rang out, startlingly loud and sharp, shattering the silence ... but this only draws the devil's attention. She can't see much more than a shift in its dark silhouette, but the weight of its attention strikes her like a physical blow, and she freezes in her tracks - the huntress shown up to be, truly, prey. Unable to move or resist, she stands as rooted as any tree, every prayer she ever learned fleeing from her memory as the Eater approaches.

    For witches lie, and this one knew the Eater as a girl, long ago. She gave her chastity to him, and she used her own blood to write her name in his book, and such bonds hold far more weight than an exchange of gifts made with a child.
  • Asserting Self

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  • Skinning Devils (Art)

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  • Skinning Devils (Art) as Answerer vs. Challenger's Intent
    Intent he freezes in her tracks - the huntress shown up to be, truly, prey. Unable to move or resist, she stands as rooted as any tree, every prayer she ever learned fleeing from her memory as the Eater approaches.
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  • Wanda gives...

    The small silver bell slips from her fingers.
    Her trembling stops as the Devil approaches, his wreaths of shadow curl and lick around his new prey.
  • edited October 2007
    The devil reaches her, larger than she had thought he was when he was in the deceptive depths of shadow. Even when he is within an arm's length, she cannot decipher more than the black outline of his form, for his skin absorbs light like nothing born of nature ... to own such a pelt would be like wrapping oneself in the dark of night sky, or in the shadows that linger in the deep places of the earth.

    It is beautiful, as she knew it would be, and he is beautiful, in a terrible way. Something in the massing of his silhouette speaks to animal strength and potent masculinity, each of a fundamentally unalloyed, primitive extraction.

    The darkness fills her vision, enfolding her, then passes from her view. She senses the devil behind her, feels hot breath on the back of her neck, hears an intake of air, as if he is taking her scent. Something between a hand and a hoof touches her, reaching around to run up her body, cupping a breast.

    Speaking from just next to her ear, a voice rasps:

    "Who are you, lovely girl? It has been a long time since anyone like you came to me, bearing a witch's bell. What might you want of me?"

    There's something extraordinarily suggestive in his tone, and she flushes as heat rises in her loins, unbidden. Another hand touches her, brushing her hip ... it runs over the lengths of her skinning blades, then settles where it began, taking her in a forceful grip.

    "Ah. The skinner's daughter ... I admit that I have admired you, on occasion ..."
  • One warm summer Wanda's mother, Amalia, laughed so loud it woke her young daughter. It was not a dream. Wanda remembered that night because the candles were wrong. The light felt different on the skin and made her eyes water when she peered underneath her deerskin door.

    "They are simply marvelous, Ewald. What do these markings mean?" asked her mother.

    Wanda heard a voice, not her father's, but certainly a man's voice responded.

    "Some of them tell you what to say, others tell you how to hold them."

    "So, its not a label, they don't have a special name?"

    "No. Well, maybe. I still need to work on the translation. Until I figure it out I call them The Tools of an Exorcist."

    Wanda's mother laughed again. One of the candles flared and went out. Wanda jumped. The deerskin wrapped around her arm and shoulder which crumpled to the floor with her when she landed.

    "Wanda! Back to bed with you." Her mother smiled a deep, knowing smile as she tucked her daughter back in bed. "I'm not mad at you, my little rabbit. It's good for a woman to be curious, but just not tonight for you're still a child. One day, when you're a woman, I'll tell you everything you want to know. Ok?"

    As the devil drifted in and out of form, all Wanda could think about was why her mother never taught her. If her mother had stayed she would have known more. She would have held this devil and had his skin. But no-- her mother left without explaining anything. And now she was at the mercy of a devil and she was sure devils had no mercy.
  • “I’m Wanda, and you may admire, but please don’t touch.”

    With the skinning blade in hand and her reputation it was probably obvious what she wanted. But Wanda knew devils liked to bargain. Perhaps, even if they had the all power, they still needed to bargain as simply part of their nature. Or un-nature, as it was.

    “I wanted your skin, that’s all. Perhaps we can strike a deal?”
  • At her admonition, the more intrusive of the devil's hands relocates, the hoof-like tips of its fingers now digging into her shoulder (though the force is blunted by the layers of her winter clothes). He does not release her, though she surely would be unable to flee far if he did ... either an intimidation tactic, or a sign of his infernal lust.

    "A deal, woman? What might you have, that I would want?"

    Again, his voice, though clearly that of a beast, is somehow strikingly sensual, and her body reacts in ways that make her stomach twist in revulsion. In any case, it is clear what the devil has on his mind, as far as bargaining tools go.
  • "You let me go and I will fashion you a cloak, boots and gloves of the finest furs. So fine you could, if you played it right, pass as a humble hunter, a human hunter. Just think of all the things you could do with such a cloak."

    As soon as she said it, Wanda stifled a cringed. Only her father could make such a cloak. She wondered if the Devil sensed her misgivings. She hoped the devil took her meager offer. She hoped this Devil was not the imaginative type who would ask for a cloak made of human skin or some other horror. Her father would never do that.
  • His grip lightens, and she can somehow hear the smile in his voice as growls:

    "Hm? What value would clothing have to me, once you've taken my skin? It sounds an unfair deal. Perhaps if you were to propose a more even trade ... the skin of a man or woman in exchange for mine own, so that I need not go about with my vitals bare to the world ... but I see that my suggestion leaves you uncomfortable."

    He chuckles, lightly, the sound a cross between the laugh of a man and the bleat of a goat. She thrills at the sound, for a moment, a shiver running up and down her spine before she remembers herself.

    "Why is it, then, lovely girl, that you wish to take my hide? Admirable as it might be, there are not many who would dare ask such a thing. Tell me ... perhaps your circumstances will move me to sympathy?"
  • "Sympathy from a Devil. You must be a very special Devil indeed." Wanda forced a smile.

    "My father wastes his talent. He only hunts the natural. He's so kind; so good-natured. He chides me when I dream of what we could do with devilskin.

    With your skin I could show him his true calling. He could not possibly ignore the quality of your shadowy hide. Yet all he wants to do is visit the Innkeeper. She's a good lady, I like her. But she's wasting his time."

    So what do you say, let me take your skin and I'll do you one favor, anything you want as long as it doesn't hurt my family. Just ask of it. Do we have a deal?"

    The Eater of Shadows felt this was a perfectly good bargain and began to ponder just what he would ask of Wanda as she took her skinning blades and removed his skin.
  • Blink ... Give.
  • "Anything I wish, you say?"

    ... He says, as his paws stray rather intimately across Wanda's body. In moments, however, he desists and releases her, a pang of disappointment stirring in her stomach as he does so (though she would have to be pressed to admit such even to herself).

    "With an invitation like that, I would show you a revel tonight, dear girl, the memory of which would remain with you, hot and close, unto your old age. Never would you find joy in the arms of a man, for in comparison his flesh would seem empty, impotent ... alas, I have affairs to attend to this night, and so I must leave you, soon."

    "Nonetheless, we have a deal. Do your work swiftly, that I may be on my way. We shall settle up debts on another night."

    Finally daring to turn, Wanda discovers the devil back in a more fleshly form ... a great, black goat, set heavily with muscle, standing as high as her shoulder and bearing the eyes of a man. Even thus, his heady sensuality is undiluted, and she hesitates, if only for a moment, at the thought of coming into such intimate contact as the situation demands.
  • Overcoming her hesitation, Wanda begins to ply her blades, carefully cutting away the devil's black pelt. He stands, silent and unmoving, his human-like eyes fixed on her as she sets about her task. Even now, his sensual influence is not lacking, her loins filling with heat as she works ... within minutes, the sensation is such that she forgets to be ashamed of it.

    In time, she holds in her hands the folds of his pelt, so absorbent of light that it is a shapeless mass to her eyes, its dimensions only distinguishable by touch. As for the devil, he is transformed, muscle and bone melting into a gloomy fog as the flesh covering it was cut away. She feels his caress as the black mists twists around her, then drift away, leaving behind only a whisper:

    "Another night, lovely girl ..."

    She stands, gathering the devil's skin into a bundle, and she realizes that she is now covered in his scent: the heady odors of sex and animal musk.
  • scene 1
    Wanda, Sigismund, Bergen

    The trapper's cottage is alight from within, a fire set in the hearth, burning brightly on the extra fuel thrown into the flames when Bergan arrived home. The aging trapper is more disconcerted than he has been in some time, visions of foul acts dancing in his head. He knows them to be nothing more than the deceptions of devils, but his sureness is only now returning to him, in the familiarity of his home and the light of his fire.

    But even if the visions be deceptions, the bones littering the old mansion were not. There is a greater evil in these woods than he, or any, had ever expected, though all have heard the tales of devils and witches consorting in the nights.

    Wanda arrives, walking into the cottage's clearing and inwardly cursing to see that her father must be home. Ilsa must have sent him home earlier than usual, or her encounter with the devil took longer than she had thought. She might have hoped for a chance to prepare the skin, and certainly to clean herself of the devil's musk.
  • edited November 2007
    The ghost of Sigismund having followed Bergen to the cottage and seeing his path preceeded him. Here dwells that wretched woman and here dwells that willingly blind fool who raised her. His rage is overwhelming. The warmth he has absorbed, leaving cool air and mist in his wake as he passes, comes forth now. The unlit fire in the hearth sparks to life, moments before Bergen entered to throw more fuel on it.

    As Sigismund then senses Wanda closing, a reek of evil coming from her (he not knowing it is the skin), his anger builds again and as she enters the doorway, powered by his rage, the fire will explode as if a backdraft emerged from a sealed room in an inferno, burning both these miscreants alive, turning them into living torches.

    (Expecting some conflict over that, declaring murderous intent against Bergen and Wanda).
  • Bergen, Enduring Duress

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    The Eater of Shadows, Being a Devil

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  • Hearing the crackle of fire, Bergen reflexively leaps to protect his daughter, his great bulk shielding her from the flames. Sigismund exhausts himself, becoming cold and listless, unable to muster the passion necessary to take a direct hand in the world in the near future.
  • The roaring flames are faster than Bergen and strike both him and Wanda with lethal force, killing both.

    Grace - Defending Self

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  • Defending then from the Challenge above, so picking up and rerolling

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  • The d4 not working when I pass over, if it does for others, that's the roll if not try this (think it's the extra space before bracket)

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  • edited November 2007
    Was beaten and rolled less than half, suck it up and exhausted (dice lost to be chosen by victor), and so unable to take direct action, retreating to his cold bones in the ruined mansion to brood.

    [spoke too soon, made moot, really it was Wanda responded to, below]
  • Wanda - Defending self. d8 d6. - The roaring flames frighten, but do no real damage.

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  • (Corrected Post)
    Wanda – Enduring Duress. 1d10 1d4. Wanda jumps away from the flames, frustrating her hidden attacker.

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  • RusRus
    edited November 2007
    Sigismund has just been completely frustrated when Wanda avoided his attack, his ego crushed.

    What if,Sigismund, realizes this attempted murder means he is truly damned, concludes that his faith amounted to nothing, accepts that only those who practice the dark arts (such as this girl with a devil skin) win and vows to worship Wanda, believing her some wicked Goddess, becoming her guardian and dark disciple.

    He could even still believe she had him killed.
  • edited November 2007
    (very cool alternative)

    I would offer this version of that:

    Sigismund sees in the failure of every effort he has made to obtain justice that his faith in such in this world or the last (rather than "the next" given his current position) has been misplaced. The product of his shattered ghostly mind and its inability to reason properly, it does result in his attraction to Wanda "mutating" and he does become worshipful (as a lover would be not a religious believer) and devoted to guarding her as the only way of being with her. Ironically, he still wrongly believes her guilty of his murder, but now sees this only as similar to the 'challenges' courtly ladies set to would-be lovers to prove themselves. So, you claim to love me? Will you still if I kill you? He passes this test and is now her ghostly 'knight' defender.

    - accepting offer of narration -

    Before Bergen can leap to protect his daughter from the flames, she leaps to one side. Seeing her lit by the fire and how his efforts are so futile, how all his efforts for justice have been futile, Sigismund's ghostly mind cannot abide such failures to correct injustice and with Wanda before him, recalling his attraction, instead realizes it has all been a test. True love is stronger than death and how can love be shown true if this is not tested? She did not believe him earnest in his interest, she thought in a shallow wastrel. She set him this test, and if he were as she thought he would now only moulder in grave, but instead he is here to proclaim his love and to guard her against all harm. Doubtless there will be further tests whereby he may prove himself worthy of her love, but now he sees that she does not spurn him, she only demands he show himself worthy.

    Sigismond von Orn shall serve this lady and shall prove his worth, and woe betide any who disrespect or menace her. Ilsa is of no importance, a lesser creature, a mere instrument. His ghostly form is visible, kneeling, cap doffed, as he offers his service, though only a mind open to hearing the speech of the dead would understand in full what he offers.

    He then melts away into vapours and vanishes.
  • Bergen stands in the doorway, an axe in hand, snatched up out of reflexive need to guard something. Within is his blackened fireplace, surrounded by small fires burning on the most flammable of his cottage's contents. And outside stands his daughter, a ghostly apparition just now faded from her side, holding a bundle of what appears to be nothing so much as shadow itself. The haunting visions return to him now, and he catches himself wondering, his faith shaken by the madness of this night.

    The heavy pelt is like cord and silk where it touches Wanda's skin, and the heavy scent of the devil still clings to her. Its animal power is intoxicating, driving her to boldness and heady pride.
  • The ghost of the murdered traveler screamed in her mind. She did not understand what it, or they, wanted. She could not focus. She staggered stinking of sex and devils.

    Her father stood, staring at her with the eyes of despair. The smoke from her burned and burning home coughed and coiled around both of them. The devil skin seemed to drink in the shadows of the smoke.

    The ghosts began talking to her. They wanted to serve her. Or maybe it was just one ghost, or maybe, these ghosts could not distinguish among themselves any more. So many murdered souls. Suddenly, an image of the man: the one outside the inn: the one she scorned: Mr. Sigismund, dead and murdered; now her servant. He looked sad, defiant and loyal. Her father still stood unaware of the ghost or ghosts.

    This was all wrong.
    This was not how she wanted to show her father the power of the skins. Not now. Not this way. Why were these ghosts here, falling under her control? She needed time to think.

    Frustration grew inside Wanda. Her father, seeing her like this, would not listen to her now. It was all ruined.

    Wanda stepped up to her father. She looked into his kind, confused eyes.
    "Father. Make me a dress from this and I can show you real power."

    She threw the skin at his feet.

    "Make me the dress or I'll never come home."

    Ashamed, she turned and fled. She couldn't bear looking in his eyes. The disappointment was overwhelming. She wondered if he knew she was bluffing. She wondered if he even wanted her as a daughter after what she had done.

    The ghosts called her and she listened. She didn't know where to go or why. But they took her to their home-- the mansion. And it was there she wept.
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