Saving Cirth

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Notes: The log begins mid-story: Previously, Cirth had entered the Room of Recall, where DarkClaw and Cordir were discussing her daughter, Mireya. DarkClaw told the Ebon Bard of the strange affliction which had come over the Kindred Scribe of late - a coldness, an icy demeanor that translated into attacking his fellow Kindred, or disregarding them as if they were not there. Concerned, Cordir spoke at length with Cirth, though he did not respond. Determined to find out what was wrong, she told him that there was naught he could do to dissuade him, that as a friend, she would stand by him and find out what was wrong. He fled the chamber, loosing Cordir in the area outside the Guild.
(This is a storified mud-log, not writing back and forth as are some of the stories here.)

Cordir tells DarkClaw, 'he went into Midguard. I cannot follow there. I wind up in the South, in Kuroth.'

DarkClaw tells Cordir, '*frown*'.

Cordir swiftly gains admittance to the swirling, grey Vortex, and uses it to reach the Northern Continent in safety. Appearing by the docks, she heads for the great human city of Miguard. There she finds that the Kindred she seeks has already departed it.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'I know you can hear me, my friend. I know not what binds you, but I will not stand unresisting while my last friend is imprisoned within himself.'

Pausing for a moment on the road, the witch thinks a moment, then an internal whisper guides her steps. . . Cordir tells DarkClaw, 'I am going to N'Kai... something tells me he might be there.'

DarkClaw tells Cordir, 'He's not in Midgaard...he's not in Peaceful Glade area... He will attack you, Cordir...please be on guard.'

Eot gossips, 'HAIL TRIAT the black star in the sky, HAIL WEAVER the lone voice in the dark, HAIL WYRM and HAIL WYLD'.

As the witch hurries through the Citadel, and passes through the Altar to the hidden hallway above, she tells Cirth, 'Do you recall the first time you walked the muraled halls above the Citadel?'.

Cordir tells Eot, 'That more than fulfills my requirement. I will return shortly to enchant your weapon, but need to aid a friend - can you give me a moment?'.

Myronides gossips, 'Now there is a long dead religion'.

Cordir tells Cirth, 'Do you remember your wonder as your fingers traced the portraits there,' as her own fingers trace the images of the Dwarves fight.

Cordir gossips, 'So long as one person remembers, adheres, and rejoices in it, no faith is dead, Myronides.'

DarkClaw gossips, 'I would have to agree with Cordir.'

Cordir gossips, 'And by my own soul, I swear that the Triat is remembered, adhered to, and rejoiced in.'

Myronides gossips, 'More likely people just wont' admite it's dead'.

The witch steps down from the corridor, and bows before the great Seal set upon the stone floor. Closing her eyes, she passes through the seal. A few short steps brings her to a ledge, blasted by the air that swirls around the huge cavern she has entered. Cordir tells Cirth, 'Remember the first time you knelt in the Caves of N'Kai, the Hurricane before you, and felt its strength? I kneel there now. Come, join me.'

Cirth tells Cordir in a high-pitched voice, 'He Cannot hear you. He is far beyond your powers, little Witch. Turn your attention elsewhere, or I might seek you out.

Cordir tells Cirth softly, resolutely, 'His soul, to mine, is bound in friendship and blood shared. I will not be denied. And, if you wish, come and slay me. I am in N'Kai, before the Hurricane. If you - and he - can bring yourself to slay me, then do so. I have died before. I will die again. I would die willingly now, if it would touch my friend's soul, with its passing.'

Cordir kneels in silence upon the ledge, smiling as the powerful winds buffet her slight form. The chamber is filled with the sound of the polyps inhuman cries and the roar of the hurricane.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'By the Weaver, Cirth.... I beg you - untangle that which binds you - only you can, my friend... But know that here I stand, ready to aid if I can... You are NOT alone, my friend. No matter what binds, no matter what controls, no matter what consumes you. . . you are not alone. I am here, and now I know of this thing, and I will do all in my power to help you become unbound.'

There is only silence in reply.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'I am sorry - I should have wizard marked your form, so that when your . .. parasite ... I can call it nothing else... took you through Midguard, I could have followed'.

Cirth arrives from the south.

Cordir takes Cirth's hand and lays it over her heart, murmuring, Here is my heart. Rip it out, if you must.'

L Cirth:
Weary grey eyes clouded with thought, he doesn't notice you. Pale, almost deadly white, from dwelling in darkness too long. The first thing that strikes you is the stark contrast of his skin against his otherwise dark figure. The short, roughly cut, jet black hair looks as if it was ruffled sometime long ago and he hasn't bothered to untangle it. Heavy robes streaked with road-dust covers his thin body. Once black, they have faded towards grey. At first impression, you estimated him to be rather young, but now, you're not so sure. Maybe it's just the old-fashioned design of his clothes and their worn appearance. His wrists are encircled by red scars. The robes hang in rags from his shoulders and his eyes are as empty and vacant as the sea. There is something awkward in his way of standing.

Cirth utters the words, 'stone skin,' and yells in a high-pitched voice, 'This is your ending, White Witch!'

Cirth utters the words, 'lightning bolt'. Cirth's lightning bolt injures Cordir. Cirth's crush injures Cordir.

The witch stands her ground, and calls no arcane force to aid her. Cordir says, 'I will not fight you, Cirth.'

Cirth murmurs an arcane phrase, and the woman before him is struck blind. The battle continues, with the possessed Kindred striking again and again at Cordir, who's only response is to kneel at his feet, unresisting. As bolt after bolt of lightning singes her, finally, only through instinct, she moves, blindly stumbling from the chamber. The Kindred pursues her, backing her against the walls of the tunnel. Cordir says, 'I will not fight you,' and steps through a portal to escape for a moment and gather her strength and wits.

Unfortunately, the gateway opens up to an area unexpected by the Witch... finding herself upon dangerous shores, unknowing of her position, she tries once more to reach the place of safety she had marked for her retreat. Again, her weakness corrupts the spell, and stepping through the portal, finds herself upon the shore of Lake Stillwater. Blinking, Cordir looks around herself, and, realizing where she is, a smile crosses her face. The hand of Fate itself has brought her to a place equally appropriate for dealing with this spell. . .

She swiftly heads along the riverways, to a small, dark patch of woods. Upon reaching it, she takes a moment to reassure her friend: 'Have no fear, Cirth. I am fine. That which holds you did not harm me. Though I am sorry instinct would not let me stay longer... For know this - I would gladly let it slay me, if it would allow me to speak to you soul to soul, in that brief moment'.

She waits a moment, but again, receives no response . . . only the sense that her hunter has not ceased to follow her trail.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'If N'Kai could not stir your soul.... perhaps Sanguinna can. I will await you there.'

She steps lightly onto the darkened path, and leaves sigils of warning for his approach. Continuing along under the canopy of tree limbs, over fallen logs, and evading the sight and grasp of the ghouls which walk the forest, she makes her way towards the Kindred's ancestral home.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'Walk with me under the trees, where the light of the sun does not reach. The mist can be frightening - and indeed, it hides horrors - but it can be beautiful as well... The spiders have been busy. Their webs fill the trees with a soft grey. Almost a mist of their own.'

Travelling swiftly, the witch reaches the outskirts of the town. There, a disheveled child with wild eyes careens past her, unseeing. Her own eyes fill with sorrow, which she shares with her friend: 'There is a lost child here. . . I wish that I could help him, but he is caught up in the siren call of the mists. Much as I wish that I could help you.'

As she passes through the shattered gates, details leap to her attention, and she shares them with Cirth: The ward before Sanguinna always reminds me of the Sigil Odegra. Did that parallel ever occur to you, as well?'. Reaching the small hill to the south-east of the great manor-house, she pauses a moment, then again tries to reach out to Cirth's imprisoned self with words of encouragement: 'I stand on the Hill of Lost Souls - but yours is not among them. We will find your way free, my friend.'

But still, there is only silence.

A few steps further, and she reaches the shade of an ancient oak. Bowing deeply before the shimmering spirit of the Lady Ybarra and her Guardian, Cordir kneels and picks some of the violets growing there. Inhaling their scent, she calms herself, and readies her spells for the conflict she knows is ahead.

L: A gnarled ancient oak towers above the ground here. Several thousand years old and glowing with a soft white aura its width is that of at least four men standing side by side. You feel the presence of a great peace here, and of powerful spirits. A tombstone lies here next to an unblemished sardonyx altar. The sky is rainy and a cold northern gust blows.
Some wild flowers grow here, untouched by mortal hands.
(Glowing) The altar glows brightly beside the tombstone.
The tombstone of the Dark Mother lies here, surrounded by flowers.
(White Aura) Ybarra's shade floats dimly before you.
A small black cat sits here purring next to the old man.
(White Aura) An old man sits in the corner smiling to himself.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'Lady Ybarra is here with me. . . The Mother of all Kindred . . the mother of your lord. Her presence comforts me, as I hope it will comfort you. This place - while I know it's the Kindred homeland, and so is important to my Kindred friends and my lover - has always frightened me. I've died here, on Lestat's fangs, thrice - fitting, as things seem to come to me in threes.'

The silence of the grave sit is shattered by the sound of a magical alarm. Warned, Cordir nods silently, and checks the readiness of her spells. Again, out of the fog, an alarm is raised by the Kindred's silent passage.

Knowing where he is, she murmurs, 'Don't break the webs... Those spiders wove long to craft their home.' She follows his path in her mind's eye, and waiting until he reaches the shattered gates of his Order's homeland, asks mind to mind, 'Have you been here, to Sanguinna, since that which binds you took you? Or did it know, instinctively, somehow, to avoid this place which is so essential to what the Kindred are?

A shrill voice answers, shrieking in a voice as chill as the fog that swirls about the hill:
'I utter nine times nine names and I sing three times three songs.
I hold a raven's feather in my hand and I beckon you to come.
I hold iron and pain and I take the hands from your wrists to serve me.
I trace a circle of blood in which you stand
And I give you a coin I made out of stone.
I tie your tongue with bitterness and I pierce your heart with fear.
I imprison you with silver and I give you a name and it is Lost'.

Cordir tells Cirth, 'You know where to find me, my friend. Again, I will not raise my hand willingly against you. The sun is set, Cirth. This is your time of strength... use it now... break free from what binds you'.

The night has begun.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'You are in a Kindred's place of power... the night has begun. Wake. Rise. Shatter that which binds you.'

Her only answer is another alarm, this time set at the Hill of Lost Souls. Close.

Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'In the name of Alak-Nascha, She who is the only binder and weaver of souls... break free.'

With a whisper of movement, the Kindred steps out of the dark mist, and appears, malevolent, silent.

Cordir hands the small bouquet of violets to Cirth, murmuring, 'Violets... the flower of remembrance.'

Cirth's face twitches.

Cordir says, 'Cirth, my friend, remember who you are. Cast off this intruder who binds you. You are Cirth the Pale, Scribe, friend, and compatriot, and I will not step aside and let some . . . thing. . . have you hag-ridden against your will.'

Cirth sneers (in a high-pitched voice), 'You heard the power of my enchantment over him. He is mine'

Cordir says, 'But Blood cannot bind Cirth - his blood is bound to one greater than thee. And silver cannot Bind Cirth - for it is a coin freely spent.'

Cirth throws back his head and cackles with insane glee!

Cordir says, 'And stone cannot Bind Cirth - for it is the essence of all we stand upon, and cannot hold that which is free. And his Name is his own, and cannot be taken from him.'

Lightning flashes in the sky.

Cordir whispers softly, 'And that which is Lost can ALWAYS be found . . by one determined.' The witch reaches out and takes Cirth's cold, pale hand, and murmurs, 'Consider yourself found, Cirth.'

With a gesture and whispered phrase, the sorceress fills the grave site with balls of light, flooding it with brilliance to as to dispel the shadows. In response, the vampire shudders and his friend can finally see something behind the madness in his eyes. Then moonlight glints in the heavy silver chain around his neck.

Cordir whispers softly, 'Cirth, my friend. . . you have been missed. Come, speak with me. Cirth, you must be tired, hungry . . . sit, rest, eat with me. Talk to me. Come back to those who care for you - shrug off this intruder....'

Cordir leans slightly forward, gazing deeply into Cirth's eyes. Moves swiftly, her blade flashing in the moonlight, she cuts at the silver chain locked around his throat. He stumbles backward as she cries, 'By the Weaver, I would unbind this spell!'.

The Kindred regains his balance, and slowly lifts his head, his eyes glittering in the light. A twisted smile creeps over his lips, and he cackles. The chain is unharmed.

The determined woman before him smiles, a touch ruefully, murmuring, 'A first sally, only.' The smile becomes determined. 'But. . . this battle is not ended. I will not let you have Cirth any longer. I will do what I must, though I like it not. . . as has been done for me, so shall I do... Cirth, forgive me.'

Cirth cackles, 'You cannot stop me!'

Suddenly, from the shadows, another figure emerges into the light. Recognizing him, the witch whispers harshly, 'Nicholai, leave Cirth and I alone. There is danger here.'

Cirth cackles,'The white witch and the Sorcerer.'

Nicholai says, 'what is going on?'.

Cordir says quietly, 'I know not what you are, creature, who has Taken my friend. I have heard your spell and your sorcery. But I know Three names that are stronger than the Nine you have called upon. And I speak them now - Alak-Nascha. Shan-Regoth. Dar-Golmeth'.

Great winds blow from the west in answer to the Ebon Mage's words.

Cirth yells (in a high-pitched voice),'Know your enemy, and know that I am Baba Yaga. And I reject your gods!

Cirth retreats a few steps.

Cordir holds the Golden Quill of Word-Craft in her right hand and draws the Ebon Sigil Odegra in the air before the Kindred's face.

The sigil Odegra glows red.

Cirth shudders, sweat breaking from his forehead.

Cordir draws the Sapphire Glyph, Argedo in the air, leaving an indigo tracery upon the wind.

The Sapphire Glyph glows indigo and gives off heat.

Nicholai says, 'If you claim to be stronger than the Gods, Baba Yaga, then what do you need the body of this vampire for? Show your true self. Leave him'.

With a glance of wordless communication to the other Kindred, Cordir chants:
'That which has been bound, shall now be freed
Freed by blood, by love and need
Spells to be shattered, not by loathing or hate
But revoked by Kindred, by friendship unmade
Cirth, our friend, unbound, be free
As I do will, SO MOTE IT BE!'

Lighting shatters the sky above!

A silvery chain glows brightly.

With that, the battle for a soul begins. . . With spell and weapon, the four battle, the cursed hag within Cirth's soul using his own skills to her defense. But the witch and the vampire beside her overcome her, for in this, they will not be stopped. . . Finally, the Scribe's pale form slumps to the ground, unmoving.

As Nicholai steps forward instinctively, the woman beside him screams a warning: 'DO NOT TOUCH THE BODY! The silver chain upon him is accursed!'

The corpse of Cirth moves slightly.

Cordir says, 'I suggest we get it off, NOW'. She tries to use her blade to lift the chain from Cirth's neck, and frowns when it does not come off.

As from a great distance, the witch hears a voice in her mind: 'I thank you Cordir'.
Cordir tells Cirth with a smile, 'Welcome back, friend.'

Nicholai says, 'how do we remove it?'.

With difficulty, the two work together to remove all of their friend's belongings, careful not to touch the accursed silver chain about his throat.

Cirth tells Cordir, 'I stand in eternal debt to you'.
Cordir softly whispers in Cirth's mind: 'Nay. There is no debt between friends.'
Cirth tells Cordir, 'Do not touch the chain of silver!'.

Cordir says, 'we need to sacrifice the chain before Cirth's soul gets back to his body, and the enchantment takes him over again'.

Nicholai nods, and steps away from the grave site for a moment, disappearing into the shadows. Upon his return, he says, 'I darkened a the pathway... in case anyone else should come.'

The witch nods, then kneels beside the body of her friend. Laying her hand just above the accursed chain, she summons the spirits of the gods, and sacrifices the artifact to them. With a triumphant laugh, she yells, 'BABA YAGA, the chain is broken, the bound is freed!'.

As if heralded by that cry, the wavering form of Cirth's spirit returns, and re-inhabits his bruised body.

With a smile, the witch murmurs, 'Welcome back, Cirth,' and lays a cloak around the frail, bare shoulders of her friend.

He smiles, looking very tired and hungry, but unusually happy, then carefully bows first to his Kindred fellow, and then to the witch beside him, saying, 'I thank you both'.

Nicholai says, 'Cirth, take this, it may help you.' Then hands a scroll to his friend. 'It contains Ybarra's love'.

Reading the words contained therein, the Scribe drops to his knees as his body fills with a warm feeling of healing and purification.

Cordir says, 'My friend - I would offer this to none but my beloved, and your Lord, before today, but. . . '. She holds up her crystal goblet, and slashes her wrist with a dark obsidian blade, allowing the blood to fill the goblet, then offers it to the vampire. 'Drink. Renew your strength.' She kneels beside him and wraps one arm around his shoulders, supporting him.

With a remorseful glance at her, he starts to drink.

Cordir watches silently, then nods as he finishes the goblet of warm blood.

Cirth leans back, his gaze wandering over his companion's faces.

Cordir says, 'How long were you bound, Cirth?'.

Cirth says, 'I... I do not know'.

Cordir unconsciously rubs the manacle scars that forever have left their mark on her own wrists, then takes Cirth's cold hands into her warm ones.

Cirth says, 'I bad portalled to outside.. her.. hut. Then I cannot remember clearly'.

Cordir squeezes Cirth's hands, to provide a physical anchor and give wordless support.

Nicholai whispers harshly, 'I've been there. I could feel a strong presence in the hut, so I did not venture further'.

Cordir nods silently. 'Baba Yaga is to be feared. I would not wish to face her, especially not alone. Cirth, do you feel renewed enough to garb yourself?'.

He nods weakly, and replies, 'Yes, I think so'.

Handing the vampire several containers, Cordir says, 'Your belongings are inside these'

Cirth says, 'I apologize for attacking you, Cordir, and Nicholai to you for attempting to kill your lady DarkClaw'.

Nicholai nods.

Cordir smiles quietly, her sapphire eyes shadowed, saying, 'It was not you. Your hands hold no blood-taint, Cirth. Yours was not the will that made the decision.. Only the poor flesh that was the device that carried out the dictates of an ancient, evil force. I hold you blameless, Cirth.'

Cirth gives her a pale smile.

Cordir tells Nicholai, 'Is Cirth still in the Kindred?'.
Nicholai tells Cordir, '*nod* he screamed a death cry over ftell'.
Cordir tells Nicholai, '*nods* Good. I am glad Khore understood what was going on, and did not cast him out.'

Cirth snickers softly.
Cordir arches an eyebrow, inquiring, 'What makes you laugh so?'.
Cirth says, 'I don't know. I feel... at ease,' and exhales deeply.

The woman at his side smiles warmly, whispering, 'I'm glad,' then chuckles self-consciously, tucking one lock of silver hair behind her ear. 'I never thought that my mule-headed level of stubbornness would be an aid to you, someday, Cirth.'

Cirth smiles warmly in response.

Cordir again squeezes the pale hand she holds between her own and murmurs softly, 'Welcome back, again. Thrice welcome.'

Cirth touches Cordir's cheek with affection.

As a thought occurs to her, Cordir frowns, saying, 'Did the spell destroy the raven feather quill I gifted you with? If so, I shall have to fetch you another, clear of any taint.' Her tone becomes mock-angry, and she mutters, 'How dare that old crone make light of my gifts to you!!' then chuckles softly, and winks at her friend.

Cirth says, 'I think not, but let me see'. The scribe begins rummaging through his various containers and pouches, sorting out which are his own, and which belong to the witch.

Cordir stands, and offers Cirth her hand to help him rise, asking, 'Shall we bring you home, my friend?'.

He stands up, and in a quiet, happy tone, answers, 'Yes, please'.

Turning onto the path, she asks, 'Would you all like me to lead, or do you wish to make your own way back, Nicholai?'

All agree, and she leads them swiftly back to the Cave of the Kindred.

Khore's Cave
Shadows fall around you, like hunters stalking prey. The vastness of this chamber is indescribable. In all directions, the limits of your vision are met before the physical boundaries of the cave. Eerie glowing shapes flitter about the chamber: spheres of white in the dense fog, providing the only light
in this otherwise inky blackness. The floor is sand, and your raspy breathing is dulled against it... but the resultant echo takes on an unworldly essence...

The murmur and chitter of a thousand voices wafts gently down from overhead. Twin alabaster pillars loom and tower above you into the vast darkness above. You feel a sense of insignificance and smallness in comparison. The flittering lights move toward the far north wall and the semblance of tapestries can be seen billowing in an unholy wind. To the east and west, the lights illuminate similar decorations. Somewhere, high above, the sound of screeching is suddenly stilled. You feel watched... and protected.
An ornate wooden box pulsates with a dim red glow.

Cordir says, 'Home.'

The Scribe bows deeply before both his companions, and murmurs, 'Thank you... again...'

Cordir smiles warmly, and murmurs, 'I'll not say it was nothing... but it was something I was glad to do.' Her gaze then strays out the cave entrance, and a rueful smile flashes across her features.
She says, 'I should go. May the Weaver guide your Path and the Darkness enfold and keep you safe always, Cirth.'

Cirth says, 'I am glad that you decided to come here on this day. I have not seen you in so long'

Cordir says, 'Something told me... or perhaps Some One told me... that my presence was needed.'
So saying, she smiles quietly, and lays a hand on Cirth's chest. 'I'm glad. I'm glad I heeded that voice and came.'

Cirth says, 'I will accompany you to the guild. I too need my rest'.

Both the Witch and the Kindred bow to the third member of the troupe, which Nicholai returns. Cordir says, 'Give my regards to your Lady, though I saw her earlier,' then leads the Scribe to the great Ceremonial Chamber in the Guild.

Cordir says, 'Take care, my friend.'

Cirth says, 'You too'.

Cordir smiles playfully, laughter in her eyes, and says, 'No snooping about in ancient witch's huts.'

Cirth snickers, and murmurs, 'I will. Cordir. . . I hope that our paths will intertwine again'.

Cordir says, 'They will.'

Cirth smiles warmly.

Cordir says, 'Now I have an enchant to finish - the youngling paid for it, but I departed with you, before I completed the spell'.

Cordir looks at the wound on her wrist, then smiles, a touch of sorrow in her eyes.

Cirth smiles sadly.

Cordir says, 'You are one of three Kindred who I have ever fed. I feel no shame or upset at that...'

Cirth says, 'I am honored'.

Cordir says, 'What sorrowed me is the length of time since I saw the other two.'

The air crackles around Cordir.

Cordir says, 'Khore. . . ' Then her voice falls to a whisper, which holds echoes of loss and loneliness and sorrow. '... and Deamhan.' Silently, she binds the wound on her wrist.

Cirth says, 'I really must go'.

Cordir says, 'Please. . . give my honored regards to Lord Khore. Fare thee well, Cirth.'

Cirth hesitates and then gives Cordir a light hug.

Cordir hugs Cirth back firmly.

Cirth says, 'Farewell Cordir, my friend', and bows.

Cordir sighs, smiles, and departs as well.