The surrounding shadows stretch and writhe, coiling lovingly around Salome, riding a bizarre, grey crow, as she enters from the up.
A bizarre, grey crow enters from the up, flapping his wings.
She is shrouded in an aura of hazy mauve darkness, which bleeds the cloying, mesmerizing scents of wyrden flora and fungi, laced with the underlying aroma of stale air that hangs about her hovering form. She is no more than the size of a sprite, yet this does not deter her from appearing lithe and deft in motion. Her fluttering gait on her tiny, bare feet is soundless leaving little to notice of her save the features of her face and delicate wings. Her face is sharp and brutish for a female faeling, near the consistency of the bone-structure of a harpy with high cheekbones and regal brow that denotes some form of good breeding that marks her graceful expressions with her feathery silver, ashen eyebrows. Each eyebrow arching high above, their shapes accentuate the depths of her crystalline ameythst eyes that sustain in their piercing nature a cool regard for all things in observation. Her lips are full, but staunch, inclined to formality and less to what is considered unusually bright or content. A long curtain of silver-white hair trails down from a pointed widow's peak, soft curls lingering along her pointed ears and chiseled jaw whilst the rest is pulled back in a severe fashion. Moth-like wings hold splotchy patterns of gold and obsidian mixed with the grey strands of the veins within, sprouting from her back in an enigmatic shape which blurs every so often to reveal the use of her wings to be expert and deadly.
Utterly utilitarian, the ashen hair gathered into the warrior's plait at the centre of her crown is glossy, smooth, and severe in style. Painful grooming leaves no strand out of place, and the circular disc of runed silver that gathers what would fall down the back features clawed prongs that effectively trap the tail snugly against the skull.
She is a feathered trill shadowed demigoddess and is a demidivine of svelte grace, guised with shadowy beauty as a nigh embodiment of the reigning darkness itself, its ethereality reflected within every fluid movement. Skin paler and more perfect than fresh-fallen snow is brushed with vague indigo hues, eternally swathed in shadow and denying any attempt of the light to brush it. She stands half again taller than her mortal kin and with perfect poise, her countenance beautiful in its feminine refinement, surveying all with cool regard. The inky blackness of immense, ephemeral wings cascade down her back in a fall of otherworldly feathers, flowing ethereally about her form like an insubstantial, adumbral cloak shifting in the slightest breath of air. Silken, atrous plumage flows from the crest of her head as coalesced shadow; yet the ends move sinuously through the air, as though searching for something unseen within her aura, and bestowing upon her a vaguely unsettling, phantasmal air. Her aesthetically stoic countenance is beset with striking, lazuline-blue eyes, which while beautiful serve to enhance the frosted nature of her mien. A wintry shadowfire flickers entrancingly within their depths, intimating the traces of divine power within this daughter of Night's being.
Resting a delicate hand to her chest as she bows her head to Salome, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "Lady Weaver."
Salome Nightshade lightly steps from the stairs in graceful, serpentine movements that leave little effort in each turn of muscle and touch of winged shoes against the stone. She lifts her gaze in a soundless rustle of mercurial tendrils along her cheeks, their dull gleam matching the depth of her eyes upon Rancoura.
The statue's form has been crafted the deepest black marble, every contour and line of the statue seamless and perfect in its mimicry. Garbed in a flowing black robe, Mother Night's body lays hidden beneath the heavy fabric. Sparkling onyx stones rest at her bare feet, sprinkled over the stone to add a touch of power to the otherwise silent presence the statue portrays. Her face is hidden beneath a long and deep hood, save for her eyes that seem to stare into your deepest thoughts. Her hands, uplifted with palms facing towards the ceiling, have been crafted and smoothed until every line and wrinkle on the youthful hands can be seen.
It weighs about 3000 pounds.
It has the following aliases: statue.
Placing her fingers across her breast lightly, dipping a fluid curtsey, Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver says, "I am most pleased that the Princess could attend to me."
Rancoura stands near the statue of the beloved Dark Mother, the misty darkness of her wings nearly blending with the perfected marble of the masterpiece. She meets Salome's gaze with shadow-burning blue eyes, inclining her head to the gesture.
In shadowed tones, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "My Lady Seneschal. You need not flatter me so."
Her own voice rolling as the shadows reach from her form to grant Rancoura their secret caress, Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver says, "One can never be to careful to make the greatest impression first."
Liquid embers of shadow swirling within her eyes, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "Yet we are well-acquainted, my Lady, and such impressions have been long past established. I am intrigued by the formality of this meeting, however. For what purpose do we convene this night?"
It is now the 18th of Estar, 424 years after the Coming of Estarra.
With a slight toss of her head, sending loose severe curls to tumble from the disc at her nape, Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver says, "Sweetest shadows embrace me, and I feel that 'white' is no longer becoming. For even the subtlest of shades can dissuade the touch and awareness of Night's hand."
Her piercing eyes moving over Salome's form, examining her closely, Rancoura tilts her head at Salome's words but remains silent, allowing her to continue.
Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver says, "I come to my Princess to christen me anew. For the Wyrd changes, and there is no need for my veil no longer."
Silvery strands of spider webbing weave like shadow across Salome's form, haunting in their eerie luminescence.
Subtle curiosity seeping into her fluid words, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "You wish to beseech the Dark Mother to remake your body anew, my Lady?"
Her lavender eyes dispassionate, Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver says, "One must sacrifice for change, and one must give to receive - Is that not so, my Princess?"
The ghost of a smile passes fleetingly across Rancoura's lips.
After a moment, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "Truth resounds within those words, Lady Weaver."
Her lips slightly askew as the phloxen gaze turns to the face of the statue of Mother Night, Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver intones, "I shall be a Weaver no longer. Not so visibly."
[some things redacted because secrecy is our realm after all]
Her words silken, seemingly emanating from the shadows themselves, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "My essence is bound in part to our sublime Mother. I do not walk with such hubris as Lady Rowena, claiming to be Night Herself, but... I am more than Her mere servant."
Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "With the fanning of my divine spark, and a rite performed as deep in Her embrace as I was able to reach, I have changed, my delicate Lady. I am not as I was, and the Night has given me eyes anew. As I offered myself to Her, She remade me."
Smoothly, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers, "Are you prepared to allow the Night to remake you anew?"
Her voice prickling with a coolness that darkens her tone in a dusk of bells, Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver says, "I await it. I humble myself before you, and our Mother. But She may only grant me renewal, if She sees it fit."
Rancoura steps away from the statue, drifting like an apparition of shadow to stand between the figure and Salome. With an elegant gesture, she whispers to Salome, "Then stand before Her, and we shall begin."
Salome beats her wings upwards, allowing the tips of her shoes to quietly 'slick-slick,' across the stone as she comes to rest before the statue.
Dipping your hand into a shadow cauldron, Rancoura pulls out a long shadow and releases it into the air. The room darkens with the churning darkness.
Stepping to Salome's side once the space has been filled with chilled, thick darkness, Rancoura turns to the exquisite depiction of the Great Spirit which they both hold so dear. Gazing at the Mother's face with darkened, phantasmal blue eyes, she whispers, "One comes before you this night, Dark Mother. One who seeks Your aid, and is willing to give what You wish in return."
Salome inclines her head to the feet of the chiseled marble statue, her athame loose within her hands that are folded in front of her.
Eerily, the eyes set within the statue seem to shift, to rest upon Salome's face, as though Mother Night truly inhabited it. Rancoura tilts her head, noticing the subtle change, and glances at Salome before continuing. "She has been Your child for decades. She has served You, and she has served Your Dark Forest. Take what You will from her."
Rancoura closes her eyes, a quiver running through her body as a chill runs through it at drop in temperature that occurs, the shadows deepening with the presence of the Night.
With a coolness to match the crispness of the dense shadows, Lady Rancoura So'hthae, Adumbriata Incarnate whispers to Salome, "What shall you offer to Her, child of Night?"
Salome exhales slowly as with a rigid snap of her neck that her body moves without her command behind it, her eyes rolling up into the back of her head as the whites of her eyes shimmer with the obsidian shadow clinging all around her form. With a short tremble, her eyelids move rapidly back and forth. With a short gasp, she voices, "I offer my life, my loyalty for the rest of my days. In the Dreaming, and in my sleeping."
Remaining silent, Rancoura turns her gaze to the statue, awaiting some sign from the dark presence that would indicate the Dark Mother's acceptance of Salome's offer. Moments pass in silence, as though the offer were being considered.
Finally, there is a gradual movement in the shadows, a stirring as they drift slowly towards Salome. Rancoura gracefully takes a step backwards as Salome's aura congeals with adumbration, the cool air causing Salome's breath to mist before her. The darkness grows, blotting out any light, rendering Salome's vision useless, encompassing her in an impenetrable shroud with naught but the sound of her breathing to accompany her.
Salome bows her head, as the tendrils of shadow pull and snatch at her hair - seeping within the locks as wild serpents that twist and turn viciously. And all at once, the shadows reach for the faeling and consume her whole. There is no scream, no sense of struggle. But a ponderous silence, that roils across the blackened form that she takes upon her skin in onyx and usurped stars swallowed upon by Mother Night's wrathful grace. An ominous presence weighs around her as the distortion of shadows conceals and stretches her, as her hands appear to claw at the stone beneath her.
As the shadows alternately caress Salome's skin like the intimate stroke of a lover's touch, and claw at her flesh like a feral beast, Rancoura whispers a soft prayer into the darkness, her words inaudible in the thick of the dark. Seeping into Salome's flesh, the shadow chills her heart, warmth seeping from it, the frigid touch of darkness dispersing through her veins.
With undulation of the void that rends apart what light is left within the shades of feathery darkness, the body of Salome writhes throughout the inert mass of Night and Her great presence renewing, manipulating the chilled form of the creature now revealed within the tendrils of dark, razor-like shadows. Her bare form is as skyclad as the rest of her as the phantom face of Mother Night presses against her lips one last time, the strange, talon'd hands caressing the last of her sallow cheeks. The faeling, with rapturous mien, is betwixt agony and renewal as all that is in her chest has been torn in twain, revealing a beating, shadowed heart as black as sin.
Rancoura delicately approaches and kneels by Salome's side as the shadow-wrought tomb withdraws from her, thorned tendrils of shadow clinging to Salome's flesh even as they are drawn away. Lifting the faeling's trembling chin as Salome lies upon the ground, body wracked with spasms of both pain and pleasure, the shadowed trill demigoddess gazes into her eyes, searching them for wholeness, for any life that has survived the onslaught of the Dark Mother's gift.
Salome Nightshade lifts a bone-white hand, its paleness nearly grey as it shackles against Rancoura's wrist as if the grip were a vice of burning ice. As her fully stygian eyes flicker open with complete awareness as if awoken from a clandestine dream, her whole body seems to jolt back into awareness. With a draw of breath, each rise and fall of the living faeling exudes shadow, and takes them inwards unto herself.
Gazing into Rancoura;s eyes, as if seeing her anew for the first time, Salome Nightshade, the White Weaver whispers, "Rancoura..."
A susurration brushes the edge of your hearing as Nivn'falsia, the ephemeral umbravian turns her attention to Salome, her lazuline gaze piercing as a melodic voice emanates from the darkness, "She walks silently in the Night. Seek her in shadow."
Rancoura delicately raises Salome into a sitting position, meeting her eyes with her own, entrancingly smouldering with dark power. Taking Salome's other hand, she squeezes it, almost painfully, willing sensation back into her limbs. "You are remade, by the grace and fortitude of Night," she whispers, her
words ethereal as they echo around the space. "You are truly Her child. You are Her Sublime Aphotia."
Salome will now be known as Salome Nightshade, the Sublime Aphotia.
Salome Nightshade nods slowly even as she turns her eyes to the shadows filling and fleeing about her hands with a dainty turn of her hands. She stands with sudden vigor, the tendrils of her silver black-streaked hair churning in an endless gale as she smiles with cold, cruel bliss. "At last," she voices imperiously, her own voice cool and sacchrine. "Her will shall be done! For the Wyrd, for Glomdoring!" she cries out, drawing Rancoura's hand to her own.
Salome Nightshade brushes her lips to Rancoura's own slender fingers, the embrace devoid of any warmth - all but glacial burning fire. "Her purpose for us shall carry us far, now I see the world, now I see what shall and will be done," she whispers softly even as the great gap within her bare chest knits with blooming snakes of shadow.
The shadows stir, lengthening and reaching, becoming the winds of unseen birds, the talons of murders twigs beneath. A conspiratorial cackle eddies down from the canopy of the Forest.
Rancoura presses her free hand briefly to Salome's brow, brushing against the ebon-streaked silver locks. "Then walk into Her Forest and do Her bidding, beautiful child of Night," she breathes, her words silken upon the air. "Do not waste Her gifts." With that, she releases Salome's hand and rises, gracefully disappearing into the shadows.