With temperatures rising over 143°C (289.40°F) in most areas, the only relief is during the nights when it is much cooler. All travelers are advised to keep to the local towns on the desert's outskirts and avoid traveling too far from civilization. (+3 Endurance, +2 Defense)

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Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/28/2017 8:54 PM

Image


Of all the places Dante thought he'd end up, a desert definitely wasn't one of them.

To be fair, he hadn't really thought about traveling for most of his life. He'd dreamt of it when he was a kid, sure, but back then he hadn't thought he'd ever be able to leave his father's castle, much less see the world. He also hadn't known what the world would look like. It had just been one pipe dream in a bushel of pipe dreams. Even later, when he'd gotten out and Blue took him in, it just hadn't seemed realistic. Blue was a recluse, and his reasons sounded pretty good at the time.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:32 AM

People didn’t like vampires, and he had enemies, and it was so much easier to reinforce one earthen lair. Blue had no interest in running any sort of coven, though he was old enough and strong enough to do it. Dante, for his part, had only really wanted to study healing.

He imagined he would go somewhere someday with his mentor to practice, but he hadn’t the slightest clue where that might be. Perhaps they would end up in a small town, or a big bustling city, though Kenric had never cared for crowds. Perhaps it would be in a foreign country, but not very likely. In the meantime he could read about places in books, though fantasy and reality often looked very much alike to him.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:32 AM

Then the war happened, and things hadn’t gone anything like he’d expected. He’d run away from Kenric, met Skitter, and seen all sorts of ghastly things. He had thought, for a while, that he would die there, but he hadn’t. There were times he wished he had. The nightmares hadn’t stopped; from what the old, grizzled soldiers told him, it was possible they never would.

But he was learning to live with it. He was tired, and Skitter was gone, but he could bear it a little better than he could before. It didn’t feel so strange anymore to roll into some new town and ask where the inns were, where he could find some work.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:33 AM

It used to make him terribly uncomfortable, nervous as if he’d been stripped bare, but now it was merely procedure. Some towns were kind and some weren’t. If it was good, he’d stay on a while. If it wasn’t, he’d move on.

He wasn’t wandering aimlessly, despite appearances. It was hard to remember sometimes, especially when things seemed bleak, but he had a purpose. He was looking for his mother--- for anything he could find about her. She was dead, of course. She’d been dead for a long time. Even if she hadn’t died of childbirth, which was the most likely scenario, there was no way a human woman could stay alive for so long.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:33 AM

That was... what he’d thought, anyway. For a while, it really seemed to be the case too. Or, to put it another way, it wasn’t that he’d had word of her confirmed death, but more as if she had up and vanished altogether, without a trace.

It didn’t really surprise him that his search was so fruitless. All he had to go on was a name, shouted at him in his father’s confused rages; and a tattered, vague description pieced together from anecdotes he’d collected through the years. Have they heard of a woman named Elle, perhaps, about so tall, blonde and slender, with a delicate face? She would have been memorable, he thought. Everyone always described her as so beautiful.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:35 AM

But maybe they always did that, when it was your mother, who was dead. Maybe they always did that with the strange witch who drove your father to madness. She had to have been beautiful, to capture the heart of a monster. It was a convention, not of the real world, but of fairy tales. And perhaps of distant memories too.

No one knew her. There were Elles, sometimes. The name wasn’t so terribly uncommon that no one else would have it. Sometimes an old man in a caravan or a village remembered a delicate willowy blonde woman too, though more often her name would be something else, like Olive, or Amelie.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:35 AM

He tried not to let his hope get the best of him each time. His mother might have used aliases, but there were other delicate blonde women too. And sooner or later it would turn out that she died quietly in her sleep at the age of ninety, having never set foot outside the village, or something like that. It was never that she disappeared, abducted by forces unknown, or even by known vampires--- or else some other detail would be strange, would be wrong.

One would think, considering how little he had to go on, he would have found someone who fit by now. He certainly thought so, when the despair was particularly keen. It didn’t even really have to be his mother, he thought, when he was desperate. Anyone would do, if they were close enough to half convince him. He only wanted to lay his doubts to rest and move on. Anyone would do.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:36 AM

­In the meantime, however, there were jobs to work and food to find, and all the other small and laborious tasks that came with the need to keep on living. They were tedious, but they kept him going, better perhaps than his lofty purpose. It was just as well that they did keep him moving too. As he passed through the towns, he didn’t find any more promising leads on his mother, but he would hear about vampires, here and there.

Eventually he learned to offer information about his father too, when he searched. He had to be careful--- nothing that would give away his true identity, and hopefully not enough to capture the interest of his father’s coven. Vampires, old established vampires, tended to become properly paranoid as a matter of fact. Those who didn’t eventually died, after all, and a strange youth offering tidbits about your coven was sometimes suspicious enough.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:37 AM

He kept things vague, phrased it as rumors, stuck to things that were well-known in the area surrounding his father’s physical base. They were out far enough that some of this was still new and interesting. He was careful to pitch it as idle gossip, or at most the conjecture of someone with a mild and morbid fascination. It didn’t often yield anything of use, but more often than when he had asked after his mother’s description.

What he found led him here, to the desert. Or, well, it had led him into a bit of strange research at first, which may or may not have been conducted by, or for vampires. One was never sure about these things. Considering the secrecy that old, established vampires preferred, odds were as good as anything that the rumors had a bit of truth to them.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 2:39 AM

The research was certainly strange enough: accounts and sightings of mirage men, or entire hidden villages in remote locations. And there, in the pages of an old and dusty notebook, were the words that made his heart stop: a towering old-growth forest mere miles from his father’s home.

He remembered the way his father spoke of the woods. Which woods, Dante hadn’t known, but sometimes he would mention meeting her there. It could have been nothing, but it could have been her. And how had Dante gotten where he was? By following hearsay and possibilities. Nothing had been concrete in a very long time. This was as good a lead as he had, and it had been time to move on anyway. There was no reason not to follow up on it.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 3:07 AM

Of course, he wasn’t about to try and find the forest in question. He would have liked to. It would have made a lot of things simpler. There was just the very small problem of his father’s men, and the fact that they all wanted him dead.

In fact, he’d been lucky not to run into any vampires thus far, really, especially when he’d asked after them as he had. That would have been very bad news. The grudges of any vampire he met here likely wouldn’t have been personal, but full-bloods always killed dhampyrs as soon as they recognized them.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 3:07 AM

What he did do was try to find the other locations. Many were inaccessible to him, sometimes by virtue of being much too far, and at other times because they were simply situated in places that were too hard to reach. He was stronger than a human, but by less than one would think, given the strength that vampires themselves could bring to bear. Worse, he paid for it through a voracious appetite, such that he really did need civilization to survive. If he had to scavenge for himself in the wilderness, he would sooner starve to death than accomplish anything of note.

There was one place, just one, that was both sufficiently near and sufficiently accessible. It was better than he'd hoped, actually. He had been almost certain there would be none.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 3:09 AM

Rumors existed, the notebook said, of a mirage village out in the desert. However, there had also been just as many dismissals of this being no more than heat-addled hallucination. Such things were common in the desert, sometimes even when one was experienced. The shimmering waves of heat upon the sand had a tendency to play tricks on the eye. But then, the writer had offered, wasn’t that the perfect premise upon which to build a truly well-hidden establishment? It would have been like hiding in plain sight. And if these people really did have the strange magics sometimes attributed to them through tales...

It was enough for Dante. What did he have to lose?




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 3:10 AM

As it turned out, however, the desert was... rather more than he had bargained for. He had read about the conditions, of course, and thought himself prepared enough. He was wrong on that account. The heat was like nothing he had ever encountered before, even as far south as he had been. In the south, too, there hadn’t been such a pervasive dryness. Here, the air seemed to suck the very moisture from his breath, as if with every exhale he was losing ever more of this battle.

The sun, however, was by far the worst of it. He had never been fond of the sun, though it was fortunate for him that it was only a mild irritation, and not a fatal allergy as his father’s kind would have.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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Re: Rosewater Rain [self]

Postby crow » 03/31/2017 3:12 AM

When he was a child he burned sometimes, if he wasn’t careful, and more easily than other boys. He learned to clothe as much of himself as he could, and to stay in the shade, and not to go out for very long at a time. The fact that his guardian was nocturnal helped. He spent months, years sometimes, outside the sun’s influence altogether. It had been convenient, but it hadn’t helped prepare him for anything like this.

The desert sun seemed to bore through his clothes in much the same way that the air bore through his nose to his parched and aching throat. Worse, it ate at him like an itch, and not always strictly in a physical sense. The longer he stayed in it, the more he felt as if his grip on his own thoughts was growing steadily more tenuous.




I'm only honest when it rains.
If I time it right, the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth.
I want to love you but I don't know how.





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