Community Manager of TRGNetwork, site admin/developer.

The following is a transcription of Discord RP between myself, Raz (who does not have an active WoW subscription), and a surprise guest. This is what happens when you roll a Natural 1 on a Wisdom Check and 2 on Saving Throw. Don’t do what Idella did. ))

Trigger Warning: Eldritch-style horror and blood. ))

Idella withdraws to her own room at the end of the day. Whatever high spirits she’s kept up for outward appearance sake deflates when the door lock latches. After leaning against the closed door for a few moments to compose herself, she sets to work again: Pulling together reagents from her bottomless bag and setting up a proper ritual. She does a lot of guesswork and second-guessing, clearly unsure how to properly conjure what she’s intent on conjuring. But she continues.

Sitting at the epicenter of her work, she stills herself with careful breathing and concentrates. She focuses on the creature she felt when she and Zinn spoke to Claret. The idea chills her, interrupts the necessary breathing for such a conjuration. But after several tries to steady herself, she finally casts a proper spell, reaching out to the creature and inviting it for a visit.

A minute passes. Two minutes. Nothing. Silence. No terrifying creature, no sensation. It appears the spell failed. As Idella moves to clean up… the candle begins bleeding. The ritual circle she has drawn opens three eyes and two mouths, fanged and dripping green, oozing, venomous saliva. The walls of her room open their eyes, each one about three feet wide and one foot high. They have three pupils each, slitted like cat’s eye. Her door is covered in tentacles, spiked with bone like thorn growth. The wooden floor begins to pulse, th-thump, th-thump, a deep basso heart beat that paces in time with hers. If she looks up, the ceiling is gone. Distant, cold starlight and massive, non Euclidean towers of alien architecture stand in the distance.

Idella slowly sinks to her knees, staring at the ceiling in growing horror, “Oh gods,” she says, her voice barely above a whisper. “It can’t be real. It can’t be real…” she can’t move, she’s fixated on the spot, all she can do is stare in growing horror.

That hissing, politely toned whisper from behind her returns, all very proper Gilnean accent. “Your gods are not here. Your call was clumsy, and rude… but not without the requisite power.” Slithering thorned tentacles slide around her feet, knocking over the bleeding candle fire, which dribbles more dark red blood upon the ritual circle. “And this…. this is far more real than what you mortals have on your plane.”

Idella whirls her head around to locate the whisper, then back around as the candle falls over. Though still on her knees, she scuttles back from the red blood as it spreads on the floor then stops, paralyzed by the fleeting thought that it could drive her closer to whatever whispers behind her. Arrested in this fear, she stays put, her chest rising and falling in growing panic.

“I… I just wanted to talk,” she swallows, her voice is hoarse from her throat tightening from fear. “You and me. I… just wanted to know what you were. See you,” her words drop below a whisper as her eyes trail across the horrors of the room: The bleeding candle, the tentacles blocking the door, the endless expanse of the ceiling.

Another pause, and the mouths around her echo laughter, booming and mocking, cold amusement, as the blood spills and licks tiny flames around her feet. “Very few see me. It is in our nature, as part of this endless expanse of beauty and divine terror of the void. As for what We are, why did you not ask the Red Lady? It certainly would have been… less dangerous.” The slithering tentacles beneath her feet seem to dip into the blood, then begin slowly, slowly sliding up her shoes.

Idella tries not to scream. A hand covers her mouth even as her eyes widen and gasp escapes between her fingers, “I… I should have asked her,” she manages, fighting the urge to pull away, bat at, or otherwise touch or antagonize the creature. “I didn’t mean to… to insult. It… we met without a…” she swallows again, chills crawling up her spine as she watches it creep towards her. “Proper introduction,” she closes her eyes, squeezing them till they are shut tight. It’s all she can do to keep from screaming.

The tentacles, sharp and uncomfortable, pause at her knees. “Ah. Introductions. I suppose, out of respect for her, we should not eviscerate you and your mind over a century.” Another feeling of something heavy and rotten on her shoulder, now. “We are known by some as He Who Walks Behind, to put it in your crude mortal language. You are Idella, the Red Lady’s… brash student.”

Idella nods, eyes still squeezed shut and hand over her mouth. She does her best to keep from flinching away from the pain from her knees or the rotted smell emanating from her shoulder. Slowly, she removes her hand, setting it on her lap, her knuckles white from how hard she’s clenching her fists to maintain some sliver of control, of decorum in presence of the “guest.”

“Yes,” she can’t get her voice any louder than a whisper. “Yes. That’s me. It…” it comes out awkward, considering the circumstances, but she does her best to be genuine. “Thanks for… thanks for letting me meet you. In person.” Her eyes are shut so tightly that one tear starts to fall.

There is more of the amused, cold laughter. “Now, that you requested introductions, and they have been given, what should we ask of you? Oh, the choices…” The tentacles begin wrapping around her once more, tightly, and the rotting thing on her shoulder grips tightly, painfully.

All the color pales from her face and words momentarily leave her. Now she can’t stop the gasps of pain as it starts to grip her tightly. Tears freely fall down her face. “We can… just go,” she whispers, her voice unsteady. “Go our… our ways,” it’s more a pleading than suggestion.

“Mmm…that would be the simplest, wouldn’t it? But not as enjoyable for us. Hmm. Ah, I have it. Tell us, do you enjoy flying?”

The many eyes all focus on Idella, despite her having her eyes closed.

Idella stills. Slowly, she shakes her head. “I… I don’t know what you mean,” she whispers back, her eyes peek open then widen when she sees all its focus on her.

The whispers echo, multiply, in her ears, in her head. “Do you. Enjoy. Flying?”

“Yes,” she whispers truthfully, her fear compelling her to do so, shutting her eyes tight again. “In a gryphon. The wind, my hair, it… feels… free.”

“Then you should truly enjoy this!” Gravity suddenly loses its power, and the tentacles throw, with surprising force, Idella into the void and starlight. She flies with surprising speed, past alien structures and horrifyingly beautiful creations and creatures at a dizzying pace. She has limited control, not for the speed but the direction she faces, for a minute… and in the distance, she is heading towards something, something difficult to make out…

Now she finally screams, unable to control her emotions or trajectory. She tries something, anything, to make it stop, to counter whatever hold the creature has in her, but everything fails. She careens toward whatever awaits in the distance in an uncontrolled freefall.

In normal Azerothian reality, Ida screams as well. Surrounded in her circle, she lies flat, unwaking as she screams. Her eyes are wide and open, but covered in milky film. Blood begins to pour from her eyes, her nose, and ears. Lacerations cover her lower legs, bleeding from dozens of light wounds.

In the Nightmare, she hurtles forward, faster and faster, towards grinding, circular mouth, enormous in scale and size, full of fangs, blood, and ichor, as it consumes stars and debris and buildings. She can’t stop, as wind and suction and mystical forces draw her into the Eternal Maw. It begins grinding away at her, slowly, inexorably, reducing a hand into pulverized gristle

There’s a flicker and flash, a burst of starlight vaguely in the shape of a .. it’s a sheep. Yup. That’s a sheep. A celestial sheep. From it hurtles a furry black-and white form, with two eyes of bright purple and one of burning orange. It.. she? flares suddenly into incandescence – and in the blinding brilliance of that sudden starlight, slams into Idella’s dream-form and wraps heavy arms around the girl. There’s a quiet – “Ha!” And then?

There’s an absolute sense of disorientation, of no direction at all, then a feeling of falling infinitely only to slam home into a body that seems alien for a moment.

Somehow, for a brief moment, there’s the scent of lavender and ozone.

During the height of the horror, Idella lost whatever remaining control she had on the spell that conjured the beast. This, along with her screams and fear, resulted in lashes of magic from her prone body on the floor. Mirrors crack, items clatter from their shelves, and window panes rattle from the force.

Then her body jolts once, like one would do dropped from a high height, and suddenly all is silent and still.

At some point a few minutes later, there’s a firm, wooden knock at the door. “… I know you’re in there. And I will totally blow this door off its hinges if you don’t open it in.. oh, the next minute or so?” The voice is a softly accented, very annoyed alto.

There’s a faint bleat. “Hush. I’m not going to be nice.”

Idella’s eyes flutter open at the knock but she doesn’t react. Her eyes track unseen things about the room, but still remain glazed over. Distant. The lashes on her legs and arms still bleed but are not life-threatening. Painful? Yes. The red that seeped from her eyes no longer flows, all that flows now are the occasional tears. 

There’s a faint pandaren mutter. Another soft bleat. A grumble. “FINE. Okay, I’m counting to ten. One. Two, three…” A pause. “… Oh come on.” Then a grumble.. then. “Please open the door. There, is that better?”

Idella finally comes about, but barely. She stirs, managing to roll herself over till she can gather into a pained huddle. Her voice is hoarse, wavering, confused, “…who?”

Patiently. “Not him. If that’s a help. Door please?”

“Him…” Idella breathes, her eyes going distant again. With a faint gesture of her right hand, the door lock unlatches.

The door opens to reveal .. well. Petal.

Petal of Night’s Flower has always been a bit of a mess – today’s no different. Her hair’s all over, though pulled back into a ponytail that goes back to mid-waist, and she has a sort of just-slept look that has her yawning and a little unkempt… and she’s dressed in a sort of ratty robe that is obviously tossed over a silken sleeping-tunic and pants. That silly sheep-staff is in her hand, however.

What’s most striking is .. her, though. Those kind, jade-green eyes are there.. but to Ida’s sight, at the corners of her vision? The pandaren carries a third, burning orange eye, floating just above her brow. Never when looked at directly, of course.. and harder and harder to see as time goes on.

She breezes in, eying the room, and the girl – “Idella..” She sighs. “Why.”

Idella double takes at Petal, her eyes fastening on the third eye immediately. But as she squints, tries to focus on it more, the harder it is to see. Her brow knits in confusion. In answer to Petal, she starts to hyperventilate, all the emotion she tried to clamp down during the encounter running freely. “I’m… I’m sorry it… I didn’t know that would happen. I didn’t know… I didn’t know what it was!”

“When you don’t know, you don’t jump in with both feet, as tempting as that is.” Petal sighs, and leaves her staff by the door, turning to close it behind her. The staff .. just stays there, upright, somehow, the painted, wooden face of the sheep watching Ida curiously. “You were lucky. Luckier than I was – so take it for what it is. A lesson learned. Hopefully, he won’t stay very interested in you.”

“Luckier than…” Idella glances again at Petal’s forehead, but whatever glimpse she had of the third eye is gone. She covers her mouth, “Oh, gods…”

Petal gives her the oddest look. “… I know I’m a mess- you woke me up. But I’m not that bad.” She sniffs. “I bathed yesterday1”

Idella doesn’t reply. Mutely, she manages to rise to her feet, her robe in tatters where she was attacked. Her movement is pained, feeling the sting of the lashes over her skin, but she doesn’t limp as she makes it to a dresser and splashes water on her face. When the water is tinged red from washing the red tears, she gasps and stops, staring at her hands.

It takes a while for her to recover and reply, “So you… dove in, as you said. And got… consumed,” she stares at her left hand in particular, the one that was ground away in the nightmare vision.

“Not exactly.” Petal settles on the edge of the bed – it creaks under her weight. “I was studying in the great library under Dalaran when he took a notice of me. That wasn’t the nicest moment, let me tell you. Then? There were lots of dreams, and very little rest – for a very long time. Cael keeps them away, mostly – I like to think it’s love, but it could just be that sword of hers. It doesn’t like him at all. Then there was some weirdness with the naga north of Boralus… and that got even stranger for a while. In a very convoluted series of events, I met myself and told myself about what was going on – and .. it helped. When the dreamscapes started showing up on Azeroth, I started understanding what they are. How they work. Not well, at all, but enough. And all of that doesn’t matter.”

She mutters something – then tries, “This is going to sound insane, because it actually is. Things like… things.. they’re not real. They very, very much want to be, however. Every time they convince someone else that they are real, they get a little closer to being real. Eventually, they get enough ‘real’ that they show up here, in the real world.” She points at Ida’s legs. “Like that. Or what’s going on in the Vale.”

Idella finally takes notice of her legs. “O-oh,” is all she is able to say. She fumbles around for her bag, looking for something to clean the wounds, but her motions are clumsy, especially with her left hand. She stops and stares at it, moving her fingers. “I… I can’t feel it,” her observation is equally numb. She altogether seems to be in a mild state of shock.

Turning back towards Petal, “Can… is it because she’s a worgen? Not just the sword? Cael, I mean.”

“It could be. I don’t know – Cael’s got.. sort of another thing in her head with her already, and it doesn’t like intruders.” Petal glowers. “No more. None of.. this whatever you did.” SHe waves at the room. “Every time you give it attention, magic, interest – it gets a little stronger. You make it more real. Stay out of the shadows, okay? THere’s worse things than dying.”

“Yeah,” she says shakily. “I… I won’t. I won’t do it again,” looks back up at Petal. “And you…? Will you always be… are you his?”

“Ha! No. Of course not.” Petal makes a face. “I’m Cael’s, not his. Eww. NO. Gross. He wants me to fight something at some point. Everything’s supposed to be about that – some kind of grand game. I’m not interested, and he can …. go.. jump.. off of something really high. Or something. I’m not particularly inclined to just follow along. Besides – between me and Cael? We can handle anything.”

“Wants you to fight something…” Idella blinks. “That’s… what’s what my old teacher wants me to do. Claret. She… I don’t think her and… and him are friends.”

Idella sees, behind Petal… a mass of teeth, and tentacles the color of rusted steel cable. Thorns of dried blood and screaming, gnashing maws, more massive and yet still fitting in the room. It is not massiveness, but metaphysical depth of this… vision. And tentacles caress petal, and echoing silent laughter resounds in Idella’s mind. And then It is gone.

Idella stares directly into the abyss that appears then disappears behind Petal. Her face now is stone, as if that’s all she can give after so much shock and horror. “They are not friends,” she repeats, as if confirming it for herself.

“Well. SHe’s probably got the right of that. But.. Idella, trust me. You don’t poke this one, okay? If there’s a side to be on, it isn’t his – and you do not want to poke around in dreams. If you want to do that, just.. go fight on Azeroth for a while.”

“Y-yeah,” she says, shakily. Finding a clean cloth and a tincture among her things, she somewhat effectually dabs the cuts on her legs. “I um. Need to go for a walk,” she starts to leave then stops, looking back at Petal. “Thank you. I think… that was you, wasn’t it?” She repeats, looking directly at Petal’s eyes. Her two regular, normal eyes. “Thank you.”

“Eh. You’d probably have done the same thing. You probably won’t sleep for a while – maybe go do something fun? That helps.” Petal stands, and reaches out for her staff.. which bounces over obediently.

Idella actually manages a smile as she watches what would normally be a delightful bit of magic. But the usual color in her face is gone and her gaze is still distant. The shock is still too close. “I um, promise. I won’t poke at it again.” She tries to head out the door.

Petal doesn’t stop her – in fact, she heads out after the witch, making an odd sound – “Do I really look that bad, though?”

Idella is caught off-guard by the question, like she was asked something about astrophysics or what a specific ingredient was needed for baking, “A um, what? Uhh — n-no, just the eye. Thing.” She gestures vaguely at her own forehead, but her back is still turned to Petal and she keeps walking. She’s quite the sight, herself: Robe tattered below the knees, legs cut, no shoes, and pale as a ghost.

“Wait. What eye thing?” Petal blinks. “Idella… what eye thing?”

Petal follows her, gathering that sleeping-robe around herself.

Idella turns back around, making the same vague gesture again. “The eye… thing. The third one. Right here,” she points to her own forehead then Petals. Her hand is shaking but her voice, at least, is clear. “Thing. Right there. Gone now.”

“… uh. Well. That’s new.” Petal sort of crosses her eyes and looks up – as if that would help. She feels around her own forehead. “Maybe just part of the dream? I mean… I don’t see anything.”

“Y-yeah. It could be. Part of the dream,” her sentences are a little more fragmented now, her pace is quicker. She seems to just want to get outside and away from the room as quick as possible.

Author Ari
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