Logs:Savior - Prologue

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Savior - Prologue

"She ain't no witness, Preacher! She ain't mean no harm!" Part of the Savior plot.

Dramatis Personae

Jones as ST, Seraphine

22 August, 2016


Never open the card first.

Location

Casa de Swampwitch / Seraphine's Head


It's late. Well beyond the time for normal visitors; however, the life of a Voodoun Priestess is typically far from normal. There is a knock on the door that's delivered with the practiced cadence of a courier or delivery driver.



It's far from unusual, the swamp witch being called upon late at night. But the knocking, that is the part that stands out. She was draped over the couch, reading, researching. But now she is on her feet, bare soles padding across wooden floor until she can open the door, and see who is giving that practiced knock. One brow, already arched.


> Seraphine to Here <=================================================

   Rolled 2 Successes 
   < 2 2 3 3 6 7 10 10 >

======================================> Wits + Composure [No Flags] <

The air is cool and humid in a way that only Maine seems to pull off. There's a oily flavor in the air. Like brine and rotted meat. It fades almost as soon as the door opens. Laying on the welcome mat is a squat, round hat box. Rough twine cuts it into corners and is tied in the center with a simple bow. Pressed against the plain box is a hand-folded envelope with a messy wax seal the color of dried blood. Ink sweeps along the envelope in beautiful curves and points spelling out: "D'Amour".


It is not the first time that a strange package has shown up at her doorstep. But this is the first time that the handwriting on it is not any she recognizes. There is a moment of pursed lips, of wrinkled nose, as she pushes through that scent. Looks up, down the street as if seeking the one that might have left it there. Before picking it up, and bringing it inside - testing the weight of it, before putting it on the coffee table. Breaking that wax seal, to see what is inside the envelope, first.


The seal breaks with an audible *CRACK*.

Darkness, thick like the ink on the parchment, flows into the room. At first it is just a trickle, seeping in through vents, out of cabinets, through the cracks in doorways. The flow increases and it begins to flood the room. The viscous nothing clings to her feet and crawls up her legs.

The void feels -off-. It deprives Seraphine of each of her senses. The touch of her clothes against her skin is lost in the neutral embrace as it quickly smothers her. The sound of her breath escaping her lungs is snuffed out.

No direction. No control.

No.



Something pierces the veil surrounding the Priestess. A burst of light like star. It's bright enough to hurt.

A voice calls out: "PLEASE!"

*BANG* A report thumps Seraphine's eardrums.


This. This is what happens when you read the card first.

There's a flare of panic that runs through Seraphine, like a blade through the heart. Sharp, white-hot. Instinct, that has her pushing backwards. Trying to scramble away from the nothing that claims her legs, that smothers her senses. Her heart races in that moment of fear, and the fact that she can't hear it is...more than worrying.

And then, there's nothing. She can't tell which way is what. If she's even touching ground any more. So much blackness, so much nothing. And thne, light. That violent burst of light. Her eyes ache from it, and she tries to scramble again, to find anchor. To find direction.



There are feelings that people take for granted. Warmth. Cold. A draft of air across the back of a neck. The sound of an old floorboard creaking. Stillness, true stillness, is a myth. Except in this place. The concept of time loses meaning. Without feeling, so would the concept of self. The Swamp Witch searches for an anchor; however, in the absence of everything there is only freedom from any worldly fetter.

After what must feel like an eternity, another flash appears. Brighter than the last by far. Bright as the noontime sun. It pierces the nothing with hot rays that melt the darkness from Seraphine's flesh but do not harm her. It's difficult to tell if the light is shrinking, or growing more distant; however, it seems as tangible as the darkness is the opposite. As it moves, Seraphine feels it pull.

*BANG*


It's so, so quiet. Even the quiet of the grave is not like this, for the insects that squirm, the pressure of wood and dirt. The way that the earth shifts. But there is nothing, here. And the swamp witch cannot help but think of if this is what it it like to die unexpectedly. She floats without anchor, but not without purpose. Still seeking, trying. Refusing to give up hope. If she could hear her own voice, she'd know the prayers to Samedi and Legba that pass through her lips in rapid, musical tones. But she does not.

Light, again. Such bright light. Is it better than this nothingness? It has to be. She has to believe that it must be. It burns away the darkness that clings to her like tar, and she reaches a hand out. Feeling that pull. Starting to give to it. Distantly, she wonders, at that banging.


The light touches her hand. Grabs it. It coil around it like a snake and squeezes then pulls. She's yanked towards the light that had become but a pinprick. Her body squeezing through the opening in the gelatinous void until she's made whole.

Seraphine stands on a platform of rough-hewn timber. Beside her is a hooded man. His coaldark skin is blistered and cut where exposed by the tears in the coarse smock he wears for clothing. She sees his hands bound before him. His feet bare and bleeding. She sees the hangman place a rope with thirteen loops over his head. She sees the noose tighten and his neck *SNAP* when the hangman shoves him from the gallows.

The hangman grabs her by the shoulders. His hands clamp down like jaws threatening to shatter bone.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"



The light pulls her out of the Nothing, and the sensations return to her. She's at least mostly herself once again, and there's thanks in that - until she sees where she is.

The timbers are beneath bare feet, and the woman lets herself anchor in that feeling for a moment, before her eyes lift to the hooded man. To the dark skin, is bleeding feet. Her own dark eyes look to his face, but it does not last long before she, instead, watches the rope twine around his neck. Fuck. Fuck. She takes a step back, or at least tries to, once the man's body starts to swing. But those hands on her shoulders are painfully strong, and she cannot help but crane her head back, to look at him. "Witnessing," she hazards. "Maybe lost." Heart pounding, once more. At least the banging stopped.



"No." The hangman's voice is like gravel in a tin can. "No. NO." His cries are piercing. He shoves her backwards and the gallows' frame groans from the impact. The hangman doesn't let her be for long. He's over her in an instant. So fast it's as if he hadn't moved at all. He points at her with his left hand, the fingers are withered and decrepit like the rest of his polio-stricken arm. "NOOOOO!" His cries grow louder as he steps between the witch and the sun, cutting a silhouette of a man enraged.

Was it him that blocked the sun or was it the suffocating hood Seraphine suddenly feels tight around her head. Slivers of light pierce the loose weave and through them she sees a figure the size and shape of a child rushing towards the Hangman.

"She ain't no witness, Preacher! She ain't mean no harm!" A childs voice weeps.

"HELLFIRE SHE AINT!" The hangman's voice.

"I swear!" The child cries again but is cut short. Seraphine sees a flash of steel then feels the blast of gunfire concuss her chest followed by a damp warmth that could only be blood.

"AIN'T NO WITNESS GO'N SAVE A SORRY SOUL IN RICEVILLE, Y'HEAR! I'M THE SAVIOR HERE!" The Hangman shouts and then... dark.

Seraphine hears the familiar sounds of her old Victorian home. Smells the leftover scents of what she'd had for dinner. She's home.


Seraphine doesn't have time to react, before she's pushed backwards, shoved. For a moment, she worries that the gallows might collapse under her. For a moment, she wonders if that might be best. Maybe she should have stayed in the dark. But she's always been pretty good at bad choices. He blocks the sun, and she's just starting to look up at him with those wide, dark eyes, a curse silent on her lips...

And then the hood comes over her head. Panic. Real, true panic sets in there as she's finding it harder to breathe. It's different, than that strict absence of sensation. Knowing she -needs- to breathe. That it's vital. Her hands raise up, and she tries to claw the hood off to no avail. She is no wolf, with claws. Her nails are sharp, but not nearly enough so. She tries to scramble backwards, as if she might escape. But then there's impact. The feel of bullets, going through her chest. She's no stranger to the feel of bleeding. And the fear that follows is not just for herself. Not now. She's not ready to sit at Samedi's table, just yet.

It all goes black. And she claws towards consciousness with the desperation of a woman drowning. Towards familiar scents, sounds. Please, don't let her wake up just a ghost.


The world is just as Seraphine left it. Any clock would show barely a minute has passed. What felt like eternity was only an instant. There's an echo of the dream still ringing in the witch's ears. It whispers, "Save us." in a childs voice.

The envelope with the broken seal contains a telegram dated 1902. It reads: 'M. D AMOUR. STOP. TOWN LOST. STOP. REQUEST AID. STOP. BROTHER HANGED. STOP.'

The box, should one dare to open it, contains six feet of oile hemp rope and four black burlap bags. Just the right size for a head.


Seraphine's breath are panting things, and when she fully pulls from the dream-vision, she's clawing at her throat, her face, as if still trying to get off that hood. It takes a few moments for her to regain herself, her wits, enough to move past that echoed plea for help. To read the telegram. She holds it between two fingers, studies it. And then, well.

In for a penny, in for a pound. The box is opened, and one end of the hemp rope pulled out slightly. "Oh, fuck me," she breathes, and lets both fall from her hands. Riceville. It's a name, a place to start. And she will.