Everything you need to know about Monstroniverse (18+)
The quiet place
2nd Dec 2017, 4:19 PM
General setting information
Magic and curses
Geography and nations
The quiet place
Nara in the dorm
Taming a horm
The legend of Kolni
Inside the Tentawing lair
Monsters - P-type
Monsters - Predators
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2nd Aug 2019, 4:19 PM
Author - Darksh1ne
Location - Mirra, Tamir
Jeb would never forget that fateful day many years ago. A typical cold day in the end of winter, when the short-living snow already melted and the land was covered in patches of dead grass and piles of brown leaves. Deep grey clouds stretched across the entire sky, denying pass to even the tiniest ray of sunlight. A weak, cold, monotonous rain poured down on the grim city of Mirra. That was that type of days when you don’t want to do anything productive and don’t have any desire to go outside. In such days all kind of dark, existential thoughts have a habit to visit minds of people, and today Jeb’s head served as a ballroom for them.
Dressed in old armor, he was sitting on a balcony of a large mansion, built on a hill overlooking the city of Mirra. Sounds of city life never reached this isolated place. Surrounded by a tall rusted iron fence, which became home to countless vines, the mansion sank in the sea of dark pine trees. Jeb’s eyes were fixated at the horizon, where above the treetops lied clusters of tiny roofs of the large city and beyond them rose numerous masts of ships anchored at the docks. And even further lied vast grey ocean. Even in such gloomy day the sight was fantastic and Jeb enjoyed it many times before. But today was not a day of joy. In the next room behind him on a large bed rested a dead body.
This was a time when Jeb and his best friend Vortal did not yet meet Nara. He wasn’t even a mercenary and did not yet kill his first monster. Did not have his long messy hair that covered his eyes and the fuzz on his chin has not yet earned the right to be called a beard. He was only 19.
That day Jeb did not feel himself young at all. Just like the cloudy, rainy view ahead of him, his mind was not at ease. On this balcony he was waiting for a woman. Missis Luiri, who made her way to the city this morning, didn’t know that her employer had passed away. Now it was Jeb’s duty to tell her this grim news as soon as she returns. Nobody else would.
Jeb’s thoughts led him to a not so distant past, exactly one year ago, when he stepped into this house for the first time. Getting this job was surprisingly easy. A poster he stumbled upon in the market told about high payment, free food and a bed for a guardian of the lord Poten’s estate. To people like Jeb, in a highly populated Mirra, where the gap between the poor and the rich was the widest in all of the kingdom, getting a fair job with good payment was a dream. But there was a reason why already twelve pretenders who came here before Jeb left shortly after giving it a try. Some did not even pass the audition. What the poster didn’t tell was that the guard was supposed to live here at all times without shifts and weekends. This house had to become his own home, as only then he would protect it and its inhabitants with his own life and at any hour of day.
Jeb was invited to the audition as soon as he appeared before the gates with the poster in his hand. A tall light elf woman with beautiful long blonde hair invited him in, and led him to the main hall where lord Poten, an old human who owned the estate, spoke to him personally. That was a short conversation. The lord asked him about his origins, skills and if he was ready to disappear for the upcoming months or even years. Readily Jeb answered all questions honestly, not even hiding the fact that for many years he was a part of a street gang and partook in all kind of unlawful activities, such as theft, vandalism and smuggling. This was a difficult period in his own life and lives of his friends, when they grew up enough to decide their own fates. Unlike many of his former colleagues from the gang, Jeb desired to become a fair citizen, to leave the criminal past behind for good. He believed that this could only be achieved by speaking the truth… and this would probably be a terrible idea if he came to any other place seeking for a job, but this time, to Jeb’s own surprise, his candidacy has been accepted.
Once he has been presented with a new suit, an old armor that probably was older than Jeb’s parents, a fine sword and a heavy spear, he learnt the first of many hidden truths about this estate. Lord Poten, the owner, and the light elf lady, Missis Luiri, were the only inhabitants of this massive house.
Life in Poten’s estate was difficult to get used to. Until now Jeb could not even imagine that a place so quiet could exist. Behind the thick stone walls and ever closed windows, this place created an almost surreal atmosphere. Buzzing of flies, creaking of wooden floor under his feet and his own breath were the only sounds to remind Jeb that he was still somewhere in Tamir.
Few people would handle such strange existence of silent stillness. Jeb always was a loner type, preferring solitude to loud companies. He did not enjoy and even often avoided conversations with anyone who were not among people he knew and trusted. But even for him the silence of this house was maddening. All changed when he found a hobby that made staying here bearable. Reading. Almost every room had at least one book shelf, not to mention the mansion’s own sizeable library. Even the poorest people in Mirra had basic education, that taught them simple math, history and how to read. But here, in this house, before Jeb lied knowledge he didn’t even dream to come across.
During the first days when he only began serving his duty Missis Luiri caught him with an open book in his hands and grew angry, threatening to throw him out. That changed a few days later when a daring thief decided to sneak into the house. Unfortunately for him, the silence of this house made successful sneaking an almost impossible task. Memorizing at that moment that Missis Luiri and lord Poten were both at the second floor, and the footsteps came from the first, Jeb easily calculated where the thief was and prepared a trap.
A quick strike to the chin with the spear handle from around a corner knocked the poor bastard out cold for a long time. And after city guards collected the unfortunate burglar, Missis Luiri no longer minded Jeb reading during his duty. After all, it didn’t matter what he occupied himself with for as long as he was ready to protect the house from any new would-be trespassers.
His favorite books were about nature, monstrology, geography and culture. Lord Poten’s collection of books contained information not only about Tamir but from all over Karandia. He read not only to kill time but to use the acquired knowledge once he would leave this place. He even tried to read some of the books about magic. But while he more or less grasped the concept of spell-casting, he couldn’t produce a single spell. He realized clearly that not everything could be learnt from books alone. Some skills demanded example and practice with someone who already possessed them.
From the first moment Jeb met missis Luiri, she made an impression of a strict, direct person. Despite her stunning appearance, he hasn’t seen her smiling even once for the entire year. First he thought she didn’t like him specifically, but the longer he observed her, the more confident he became that missis Luiri indiscriminately disliked everything and everyone around her. Even lord Poten himself… In fact, from events that would happen later, Jeb came to realization that she wholeheartedly hated him.
This fact did not stop her from performing her duties well. She cleaned the entire mansion by herself and cooked for both Lord Poten and Jeb every day. She also was the only person to regularly leave the mansion to buy products and goods on the markets. During his first days Jeb made several attempts to befriend her through typical conversations about weather and food, but each time the way she responded left a sour taste in his mouth. She was simply not interested in him as anything other than another servant that he was. Jeb was not that type of person who would keep trying to solve the unsolvable. He gave up his attempts and just let her be. After all, the mansion was large enough for both of them to exist without stepping on each other’s toes. Most of the time at least.
Lord Poten also wasn’t very fond of conversations but he made a much better impression than missis Luiri did. He didn’t do any work around the house not only because of his status but also because of his age and health condition. He was so old that he could barely walk. White-haired, wrinkled, with bags under his dull eyes, he resembled a skeleton. He had a kind, innocent face and often smiled to Jeb when they happened to meet in the mansion. But for some reason, even when he smiled, lord Poten’s eyes were filled with some deep sorrow. He spent most of the time either in his bed or sitting by the fireplace of the main hall, reading books or simply staring at the wall.
Anyone hearing such description would think that this man did nothing productive in his entire life. Such thought came to Jeb too at first, especially considering what a bad reputation the rich had among the majority of Mirra’s population. But the longer Jeb lived in this house, the longer he walked its decorated halls, the more this impression changed. Endless bookshelves, trophies, awards, banners and all kind of interesting trinkets filled the mansion from the main hall to the most distant rooms. All these items belonged to lord Poten and a good portion of them originated from beyond Tamir shores. Through them Jeb studied the life of this old man without talking to him directly and managed to get the idea of what he was like when he was younger.
Numerous medals and letters of gratitude carrying the royal seal and dates indicated that he served the crown for more than three decades. Foreign trinkets and jewelry told about adventures away from Tamir. An ornamented dagger with a name of a Dornian officer could give a clue that some of these trips carried diplomatic meanings. Parts of various monsters on the walls of the corridors and large halls, some of which could not be met in Tamir, told stories of great and dangerous hunts. Some items hinted on a connection to The Royal scientific society and various local and foreign schools of magic. At some point Jeb even learned that lord Poten was a mage himself.
The last part was the most shocking discovery. Jeb heard all kind of rumors and stories about mages and their abilities but never crossed paths with any of them before. Some told about them being able to defy earthly needs and troubles, even aging. Yet here he was, a frail old man with one foot in a grave. Yet another shattered childhood illusion.
The more Jeb learned about lord Poten, the more he grew to like and even admire him. The image about this man’s life that he created in his head led to birth of his own ambitions. This house was lord Poten’s legacy, created through decades of great deeds and adventures. No longer Jeb wanted to be a simple citizen of Tamir. Now he wanted to create his own legacy, to leave behind something that would make other people to remember him too. May be in a week or two, when this place would bore him to death, he would quit this job and offer his few friends some options of how they could achieve something like that. But as weeks turned into months, Jeb was still here, carrying his duty in the silent mansion, reading books and observing the people he shared the roof with.
To this fateful day Jeb could not understand Missis Luiri’s heart. She worked for lord Poten, yet she never showed a sign of affection or even respect for him. Her interactions with the lord were brief and rare, mostly when she brought him food or cleaned in the room he occupied during those instances. It was a rare occasion when all three of them happened to be in the same place, but that’s when Jeb witnessed the strangest exchanges between these two.
Sometimes they just looked at each other for a long period of time, stopping whatever they were doing and producing no sound at all. During these weird moments Missis’ Luiri’s face often took an even meaner, sometimes hostile expression, while lord Poten’s on the contrary, got sad and miserable. Sometimes Jeb even noticed tears running from his eyes and one time he wept after such interaction. Witnessing this for the first time shocked Jeb to the core and he followed Luiri to ask her about what had happened. Instead of an answer he only got told that it was not his business and that he should never ask such things again.
With time Missis Luiri turned in Jeb’s eyes from just a person who was difficult to deal with to an outright villain. He could not grasp how a simple housekeeper could be so cruel and insensitive to her employer. What could have happened between these two? Could it be that she abused lord Poten’s loneliness and weakness to control him? Jeb did not know how but he wanted to help the noble man. Once after lord’s silent exchange with miss Luiri, Jeb waited for her to leave the house and then approached the old man to ask him about this situation and how he could help. To his greatest disappointment he received a familiar answer – it was not his business.
The winter has come and passed. Memories of this long and strange year finally led Jeb to that grey rainy day. In the early morning missis Luiri made her way to the city market. Jeb found the smoking plate of freshly cooked mashed potatoes and beef in the kitchen, where he always had his meal. But before he could finish it, the unexpected happened. A bell rang.
This bell hung in lord Poten’s bedroom. The sound of this tiny object could be heard everywhere in the mansion. It was used by the lord rarely and only to call missis Luiri for all kind of urgent matters. But the fact was that he never used it when missis Luiri was away from home. Was this a mistake and he forgot that she was supposed to leave today? Jeb thought it would still be best to give the lord a visit. He left the half finished dish behind and made his way through the corridors, up the large stairway and then to the right, towards milord’s bedroom.
Even before he reached the door and had a chance to knock, he heard the weak elderly voice saying “Come in”. The silence of the mansion was a servant by itself
Jeb found lord Poten lying in his bed, covered by a large blanket. The tiny head turned and the sad dull eyes met with Jeb’s face. “Come closer…” he whispered weakly. Hearing his voice, Jeb’s heart sank, as he already knew what was the matter. The voice and breathing of the old man were worse than ever.
“You served us well… Now your duty is coming to an end” whispered the old man through struggle “I can feel the cold grip of death around my neck. Today… maybe tomorrow, I will leave this world. But…” His dull eyes looked up at Jeb with a strange desperation in them. “I wish to ask you… about one more favor”
Jeb nodded. He was ready to do anything for this kind old man, especially now, at the final moments of his life.
“Pass that to Luiri…” Poten’s eyes slowly moved to the left, there on the other side of the bed stood a night table, with a sealed letter on it. “And… after I die, please, don’t abandon her. Help her in… whatever she asks.”
Jeb looked at the old man with surprise and moved his eyes away. He wished to protest and ask why would he do that. Poten noticed that “I know what you’re thinking. You think she does not deserve that. That she treated me badly. Am I right?”
Jeb nodded again.
“Don’t think so, Jeb. The truth is… I deserved that. I was the one to wrong her. I… lied to her… I did horrible things and I paid for them” An excruciating sight escaped the old man’s lips. “If you want to know, you can ask her about my sins… You will not hear that from me. I am too ashamed to admit what I did. But… you shouldn’t really bother yourself with any of this. You have your own life ahead. A long, honest life. But if I may… I want to give you an advice. The advice I wish someone gave to me when I was younger...”
Jeb nodded and leaned closer as what the lord was about to say seemed to be very important. Minutes later the lord’s breath stopped. With heavy heart Jeb covered the old man’s eyes to close them and left the room. The circle of memory was complete and he was once again back to the moment in of its beginning. The rainy, grey day when a man who changed Jeb’s perspective on life died.
“Only deeds matter” Jeb whispered to himself the final words of the old man. He had only a vague idea of what that was supposed to mean. He had enough time to think about possible meanings, but one stood out among the rest. Most likely lord Poten tried to tell him that the image that Jeb created about him did not match the truth. All these trophies and awards did not tell the full story about the man’s life. If everything was as Jeb thought, the old man wouldn’t be in such deep state of misery the whole time. He wouldn’t talk about terrible deeds and sins, wouldn’t call himself a liar. There was something else, something that Jeb didn’t know yet, but desperately wished to find out.
He raised his eyes when heard the creaking of the iron gate far below. Missis Luiri has returned.
Dressed into a soaked cloak, with a heavy basket in her hand, Missis Luiri stepped into the main hall of the mansion and saw Jeb right ahead of her, without his spear and with grim expression on his face. That instant she knew that something had happened and gave him a long gaze, as if asking the obvious question.
“He passed away” reported Jeb, clenching the letter in his hand. Calmly Missis Luiri took her cloak to hang it on the wall and put the basket on the floor. Jeb noticed how the corners of her lips spread into a weak smile as she said “Finally”.
“How… how can you say that?” asked Jeb with a shivering voice. He expected her to take this news coldly, but this reaction was too much for him to bear. Her eyes met with his and her face took a curious expression.
“What is it?” she asked “Why are you so agitated all of a sudden?”
“Because. I can’t understand why you…”
“Why I am so angry at him?” Missis Luiri interrupted him and lowered her eyes at the letter that he held “I suppose he summoned you to talk before his end. Didn’t he tell you anything at all? He didn’t mention that I was his wife?”
Jeb’s eyes widened and a chill ran down his spine. She… was his wife? Missis Luiri smirked and picked up the basket. “Come, I can see that curiosity torment your heart. I’ll tell you everything you want to know. But know that I still think this is not your business. I will quench your curiosity only because unlike him, you served your duty well and deserve my respect.”
Jeb nodded and followed her to the kitchen. There she began unloading the basket, as if nothing serious happened. On the contrary, her posture, her face and her eyes – all spoke of relief. Bread went into the wooden box, fruits into the basket under the table. Butter and a jug of milk into the enchanted cold cupboard. The plate with half-eaten breakfast still stood where Jeb left it.
Jeb sat on the chair and put the latter on the table “This is… from him. You guessed right, he summoned me.”
Missis Luiri did not rush to open it. Once she was done with placing things where they belonged, she picked a bottle of wine and opened it, filling two cups. “I met him many years ago. Decades. He was a charming young man, full of ambitions and life.” The cup of wine was placed in front of Jeb as Luiri sat in front of him and picked up the letter to carefully tear its side “He was also a patriot. That kind, you know… who would do anything for his beloved kingdom. He became a court mage and at some point joined some kind of special secret unit.”
Jeb took a sip and listened to her closely. Whatever she was about to tell – he would believe anything. She did not have any reasons to lie.
“He was an assassin who dispatched enemies of the crown.” As she said that the light in her eyes faded, void of any passion and life.
“Assassin…?” He whispered, hardly believing what she just said.
“Yes. People who could be a threat to the authority and rule of the Tamirian king. Both in Tamir and outside of it many perished by his hands. For three long decades that we lived together… he never told me. Perhaps he was forbidden to open the true nature of his service to me, or perhaps he did it because he wished to keep the image of a kind man to me, I don’t know. He lied to me, and that’s what truly matters.” She took a long sip from the cup before continuing “This business took a toll on him. I watched him growing more and more distant and grim as years passed by. Until one day he broke. He confessed his deeds to me, crying like a child and begging forgiveness.”
Jeb rubbed the cup in his hands nervously. He didn’t have words to express his shock. Could it be that… most trophies kept in the mansion, that once belonged to someone else, have been taken from their cold hands? They were no gifts at all, as Jeb first believed.
“Before confessing to me, he faked his death and fled the organization. His accumulated wealth was enough to start a new life, in a quiet place away from the capitol. Needless to say that made me a fugitive too.” Luiri looked at Jeb with a sour smile “The names that you use to call us are not the ones we were born with. The fear of royal assassins finding out who we were and coming after us did not leave us for a single day. How do you think I should feel about this?”
“I understand that must’ve been hard… but you’re still here. You didn’t abandon him” said Jeb, hoping to hear a heartwarming confession about unbreakable bond between the spouses.
“I was going to leave. I was so mad at him, so angry, so… ruined. But he convinced me to stay. I was the only person he could trust, the only one who knew the truth. I never forgave him for lying to me and for taking lives of people whose only crime was to think the wrong way.
Instead, we struck a deal.”
“He asked me to stay by his side until his death. And for that I’d inherit all of his wealth.” She smirked and looked around the kitchen and into the corridor that led to the large hall. “He probably hoped I would kill him in his sleep. That I, driven by anger and lust for his wealth, would end his misery with my own hands.” She noticed how pale Jeb became from the realization of that “But it would be too easy for him. I am an elf. I’ve got much more time to spare, so I decided to let his sins torture him a little longer.”
Jeb swallowed heavily. This woman that sat before him was indeed evil. But now, while knowing the truth of their relation, he understood her decision. All the strange hateful gazes thrown at the old man, his tears of regret and torment for his own deeds. All of it now made sense. Jeb even realized why he managed to get this job, considering how self-destructing were his confessions during the audition. People who live under fake names and wish to never be found would rather believe someone like him, than to someone with pristine reputation.
Luiri unfolded the letter and read it silently. She nodded to herself and threw it on the table. “He asks… asked me to give you a solid reward for your good service. I can’t argue with that. Once you get it, you are free to go. The rest of the letter is full of his tired apologizes and regrets.”
Jeb rubbed his neck nervously “Actually, missis Luiri… it probably isn’t in the letter but he asked me of one favor… he asked me to help you.”
“I don’t need your help” She said calmly to Jeb’s face. “Consider your duty fulfilled.” She stood up and finished the wine in one long sip. As she put the cup on the table she went out of the kitchen, beckoning him to follow “Come, I’ll give you the reward.”
“What will you do now?” – asked Jeb while following her.
She shrugged “Start a new life I suppose. Once again. But this time I’ll leave Tamir for good. This kingdom is forever tied with memories of my scumbag husband and his horrible past. But before that I’ll get rid this junk” She waved her hand at lord Poten’s trophies “It will be difficult to sell this house with all of this still inside. And I did not wait all these long years to leave empty-handed.”
“Get rid of…? How?” asked Jeb, concerned for the lord’s legacy. A legacy he now fully realized was soaked in blood, yet still for some reason wished to preserve.
“Burn it probably.” She said calmly. “Selling them would be too much trouble.”
“I… can help” mumbled Jeb and stopped as she turned at him.
“Yes. You probably remember how I told you about the gang I was a part of…” he spoke unsurely “There is a man who buys stolen foreign goods, to sell them later for higher price to collectors. If his taste didn’t change, I’m sure he would buy half of things inside the mansion right away. Plus, he would send people to carry them out.”
Luiri rubbed her chin, pondering about the offer “I admit, that would be comfortable. But I doubt you’d suggest this just from the kindness of your heart. Want a share?”
“Well, actually, I had a different kind of favor in mind.” Jeb smiled seeing that Luiri did not outright dismiss him. Maybe he had a chance. “I remember seeing you and lord Poten exchanging long gazes together. Then when I read one of the books about magic, I noticed a paragraph that told about the ability to send “mental messages”. As if speaking without words or body signs. So I was wondering if that was what you two were doing?”
Missi Luiri smiled for the first time he had ever seen. Then, to his surprise and delight, he heard her voice inside his head, while her lips did not move “You are observant. Although we did not hide that too well. So then, what is this favor you wished to ask from me?”
“Teach me. That’s all I want.”