Stream of Unconsciousness (Hypnovamp Hyperfixation Powerhours)

Discussion in 'Your Bijou Blogette' started by Lazarae, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    There wasn’t much to do for a few nights. Lexi had meant to leave Liadan on the couch and return to his office, but as soon as he got too far she had let out a horrible half-sob. When he looked he found her still deeply unconscious, but her brows were creased, her whole body curled tight and unhappy.

    When he lifted her he found her both lighter and heavier than he’d expected. Lean muscle made her denser than her features would suggest, but he’d had very little reason to use his strength as a vampire and it was the ease at which he could carry her that surprised him. She didn’t wake, but curled against him and began to relax once more. She had been like that during the day, he barely remembered. If he were capable of dreaming that’s what he would have thought it had been, but there had been evidence, slight as it was. The other side of the bed so slightly rumpled, a small smear of red left from the edge of a wound that had reopened.

    He brought her to the office, where he set her on the couch, picked up a book, and tried to drown out every thought in his head under the torrent of words. Her heart, audible from across the room like a voice on the other side of a wall, was even but a little quick. There was a sour sharpness to the air, and the steady draw of her breathing sometimes stopped short before resuming.

    It had been easier, last night when he’d had a goal. She’d only been injured, and Lexi was well fed enough her blood had barely been a distraction. Now she was healed but stressed, and it pressed against every one of his senses. Lexi had been dead ten years now, but he’d never had to hunt; Caelia had sent him donors from the start, and they were always more than willing. He had yet to be so close to someone so distressed, so afraid, so vulnerable in his presence. Something in his head was stirring, something that had lived there all along but never had a reason to wake and so he had never needed to control.

    He stepped out of the room very briefly, both to get her a blanket- he knew the shakes weren’t from cold but he hoped it would help anyway- and to escape the weight of that stress-scent, her heart, the frail little sounds she kept making in her sleep. It had been a mistake. He hadn’t been gone more than a minute and she was still asleep when he returned, but she had pressed herself into the back of the couch like a wounded animal seeking shelter. Her heart pounded in his ears, her hands gripped her arms tightly through her jacket, the sounds had escalated nearly to cries, her shakes to fullbody tremors. Once more it began to ease as soon as he was close again, and the only reason his own hands weren’t shaking as he settled the blanket over her was because that was a physical impossibility. Unconscious, she took such naked comfort in his presence, and he forced himself away to the other side of the room. He returned to the book, needing to reread the same lines over and over again in his inability to focus. The fact that she was calmed by him when he could so easily hurt or kill her was sandpaper on his nerves. The fact that some unfamiliar part of him did want to was burning holes in his mind that filled in with painful awareness of each breath, each heartbeat, each uncomfortable shift of her body.

    This was going to be a problem.
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  2. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    The book provided poor distraction, but enough to keep him from acting on any of his impulses. The teeth he sank into the meat of his own hand helped as well. His fangs didn't extend, but his human canines had grown sharp and he had applied more than enough pressure to break the skin. It was enough to displace some predatory instinct, but the bruising and blood beading up was causing its own problems. Lexi only ever drank exactly as much as he needed; he didn't use his psy beyond feeding, and never needed to heal injuries, so even that small amount had lasted him. It was possible for him to go days without risking hunger, though Caelia sent him a donor every night, and it remained possible so long as nothing changed.

    Fortunately he wasn't stuck in that battle of restraint for very long. He had managed to stumble through a short chapter when he heard Lia behind him shift and groan, heard the couch creak as she sat up. His hand had bled little with how quickly he healed, but he wiped it off on his pant leg anyway; when he turned to face her there was no trace of his struggle for control.

    Not that she would have noticed. Lia was sitting upright, hands flat on the cushion to either side of her, bent slightly forward with her gaze fixed on a spot on the floor a few inches from her feet. The blanket lay across her lap rather than her shoulders, and Lexi could see clearly the way her jacket had been displaced by the motion of her rising. It had a high collar that was meant to protect her neck; instead it hung open halfway off her shoulders, and he watched her throat work as she swallowed twice. Lia didn't notice his gaze but pulled the jacket up anyway, sparing him from the thoughts building in his head, the desire to feel the heat of her pulse under his tongue, to taste fear on her skin and in her blood.

    "Well," she started in the growling croak of someone who wasn't fully awake yet, "that fucking sucked."
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  3. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    OK so finally getting around to this. Starting with souls:

    What is a soul? Who the fuck even knows. Every human has one, fae probably have one though they're different, vampires technically have one or rather the remains of one. They are in some way linked to psy, and presumably to magic as well, but the specifics are unknown. Vampires have their soul mangled by the turn, their psy changes to pure trance unless they're a dreamwalker; there are some mages who somehow 'lose' their soul and their magic changes, though magic is typically unaltered by vampirism. Souls are known to be a power source for both magic and psy, and the reason a soul is destroyed when a vampire is turned is because it's burned up for fuel for the change.

    It's more than just a fancy battery though. People who have 'lost' their souls are fundamentally altered by the experience, and most (like vampires) can no longer be considered human. Loss of a soul also removes the ability to dream, with the exception of dreamwalkers. Even they can't form their own dreams, only visit those of others. A soul is also used as an anchor point for oaths; while an oathbound mortal is completely bound by their oath, a vampire is... less so. They can't break it completely without help, but they can push against it much easier than a mortal could.

    Oaths and life debts aren't quite magic, though mages do have an easier time with them. Anyone can create a binding oath as long as they have some idea of what they're doing, and life debts don't even need that.

    The hunters' oath is unique in that it's been... codified, I suppose, over the centuries. An oath is typically a single thing, made when needed, and while there is a verbal component to it the words typically write themselves on the spot; the binder and bound immediately 'know' what to say as they say it, rather than writing a script. The hunters' oath has been spoken so many times it's become scripted, unchanging.

    Any oath is absolutely binding, though not all last a lifetime; most are for a single act or service, though outside of the hunters they're uncommon. Most people don't want to handle something that powerful unless absolutely necessary.

    Life debts are even more binding, and just about the only thing that can break an oath completely. It is possible to be both indebted and oathbound, as long as the debt and the oath aren't in conflict, but if they are then the debt will always take precedence.

    The circumstances that allow for a life debt aren't exactly common, but they're not as rare as people think. But a debt has to be 'called;' that is, the debt has to be acknowledged and formalized within a window; a debt cannot be called years after the fact, for instance, unless it was acknowledged and left open.

    An oath typically covers a singular service, though that service (as with the hunters) may be very long-term, even an entire lifetime. A life debt, on the other hand, is all-encompassing. Terms may be set between the debt holder and the indebted, but that is an arrangement entirely external to the debt itself; the debt holder can change the terms at any time, and the force of the debt will follow. A person in a life debt is effective owned by the one they are indebted to, their lives and their deaths; a Command given under vampiric trance won't work if it causes immediate harm to the person Commanded, but the same doesn't apply to an order given under a debt holder's authority.

    Oaths and life debts both imprint on a person's soul; a person beholden to multiple oaths, or both an oath and a debt may find themselves under heavy strain if those oaths and debts don't conflict. A life debt which overwrites an oath, however, is more than a strain. The part of the soul that carries the oath is briefly severed and consumed by the debt, which takes it back into the indebted. None of the soul is lost, but it is effectively broken down and reshaped. One typically doesn't want to be conscious for this process. It kind of fucking sucks.
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  4. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Ah, very nearly forgot:

    Damage or heavy alteration to a soul usually results in some slight amnesia; the memory isn't gone, but it's typically like trying to remember a dissociative episode. Vampires typically don't remember the turn, the exact specifics of oaths are typically forgotten, and while some argument could be made that the circumstances around a life debt (nearly dying) is inherently traumatic enough to cause the same effect, it being called in is similarly blurred in memory.
  5. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    AUs I'm Definitely Not Writing:


    Fae court
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  6. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    -lays on floor but like. happy-

    So I haven't been doing a screm here because I've been doing the screm elsewhere but: I have a girlfriend (sort of as of two weeks ago. There was a Liminal Date Space involved because we are Trauma and wanted to make sure we could both handle it and could leave without it being a Thing Undone)

    and she got first look at Serene/Obscene's first.... not a chapter. Section I guess. It's 10k words it's too fucking big to be a chapter.

    I got live commentary.

    Doc remains largely unedited because it's gotta sit a bit, if I try to edit now my brain will autofill and I'll miss things, but a link will be distributed to the usual suspects tomorrow. (If you're not a usual suspect but you've been following along and wanna read then PM me. I just don't wanna put it Out There Out There until it's been slightly edited, which is at least a month away.)

    This is, I think, the farthest I've ever gotten on a project even in my most hyperfocused hazes. Thank y'all for being along for the ride and feeding my horrible writebrain. Please feel free to continue sending questions and prompts and shit.

    Now I just gotta figure out what all the cws this monstrosity is going to need for just the first part, because uh. Fuck.
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  7. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Because it came up in the Rave + chat: more on souls + ghosts, mediums and necromancers.

    Souls typically don't stick around long after a body dies, and the presence of a soul is kind of key to whether a person is alive or not; if a person is Dead dead their soul is no longer inhabiting their body. This is why vampires are dead; they still have shreds of a soul, but not enough to be alive. A soul needs an anchor or else it dissipates, and the act of dying by its nature causes the body to no longer be an anchor. A very determined soul can can anchor itself, either back to their body or to some other object, but this is incredibly rare. Slightly less rarely, a mage who's learned necromancy will be able to anchor a soul, again either to their body or to some object.

    A particularly determined soul might last a year or two without anchoring, and might be able to anchor in that time, but most will fade within a few days, typically less. Most long-term hauntings either aren't actually hauntings or are mage-assisted, because most souls won't anchor on its own. A bodiless (but not necessary unanchored) soul is a ghost. A ghost that's anchored to its own body, either intentionally or because of a mage, is still a ghost and not revived; zombie types typically don't happen, what you get is more the kind of 'dispose of the bones to get rid of the ghost' kind of haunting. There's a very small window where a soul can be put back into the body and the person revives, but that's more similar to resuscitation than anything else. It's also the main thing necromancers do; it's easy as far as necromancy goes, and has the most practical applications. Most necromancers are basically magic EMTs whose job is to go "no, you don't get to die yet."

    Mediums are a type of psychic, and because of how quickly ghosts fade they're often considered one of the most useless types of psy, which is very rude. A powerful and talented medium can however see the state of any soul, including those of the living, and their aura sense is often even better than that of telepaths. Hunters class them as a sensor type, but no hunter family specializes in mediums, and any outsider mediums who join are typically stuck as watchers instead of receiving any real training.

    Necromancy is a form of magic, and is very advanced magic at that; it's a combination of kinetic (which deals with the physical) and thaumaturgic (which deals with the... not...), which can be difficult to learn. It typically takes decades of study to even get up to 'magic EMT' level skill, and it's very rarely mastered in a mage's lifetime. Most skilled necromancers are actually vampires, especially Raphael's line, as they have multiple lifetimes to learn. A very skilled necromancer can do the opposite of forcing a soul back into a dying body, and force a soul to unanchor from a living body, This is a very nasty way of killing someone; the body typically doesn't immediately die after the soul is removed (see: vampires.) Instead the person enters a vegetative state, as their body continues to live without a soul. Without medical intervention they'll eventually starve, but put on life support they can live indefinitely without a soul, they're just not waking up any time soon. Or ever, really.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
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  8. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    [Eats this]

    As a comparidion point of sorts (?) summoningverse necromancers can absolutely kill people, and are in fact considered your best choice if you want something otherwise immortal to go down and stay down.
    But they do that because most of them can cast a killing curse that will render the corpse magically inert to any magic but that of the caster. It's a very salted-earth approach but a necro with enough juice to run the curse off, and enough conviction about the necessity can kill minor Outside entities, things that don't even know what mortality is.
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  9. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    Does lia ever dress up off her onw bat, not bc Caelia dressed her, and if so hows that look?
  10. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    A little! Mostly like, nice pants with designs on them, and some nicer shirts; things that are a lot more practical and less showy. Before, she honestly couldn't show a lot of skin because of her scars, since she mostly dressed up for vampire parties and showing up to one of them with scars visible is basically announcing that you're a hunter. So she tended to favor less skimpy clothes and more covering-but-formfitting when she wanted to dress up, with maybe a little cleavage, and if she wore skirts at all it was with opaque tights.
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  11. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Not sharing the entirety of this scene until the whole thing is done, on account of Caelia. But! A couple lines and snippets

    They watched each other, each when they thought the other wasn’t looking. Lexi was infuriatingly opaque, and not just in the way that her telempathy couldn’t ‘see’ him; she had learned to limit her own abilities, and was used to flying psychically blind. She had learned to read faces and bodies, using her telempathy as a sort of decoding key to help her way. It was simply that Lexi didn’t emote much. When he knew he was being observed he was pleasant but reserved, distant. When they were alone and she wasn’t actively watching him he switched off almost completely; she learned to read the barest hints of emotion in the minute crease of his brow, or the twitch at the corner of his mouth that never quite became a smile.

    After not quite a week Caelia arrived at their door, and Lia saw Lexi turn off entirely. There was still that automatic politeness, but before there had always been a trace of something real hidden in his eyes. Now they belonged very much to the dead thing he was.

    Caelia had been stunning before, in that relatively simple dress. Tonight she was something fae and terrifying and absolutely, horribly gorgeous. She wore a blue pointed heart corset patterned with thorned vines that rose up into silk stalks and roses on the left bottom and top right, as if growing out, short off the shoulder sleeves patterned like butterfly wings, and a little silk skirt that barely came to her mid thigh in front and not even to her knee in back, which displayed the length of her statuesque legs. Blue heels wrapped in gold, thorny vines brought her up to Lia's height, but Lia felt small, overshadowed looking at her. She had put her hair half up in a partially braided bun, and decorated it with a flutter of little blue butterflies as if they had briefly landed there. She looked less like the urban predator she was and more like something that appeared at the edges of the forest, leading fools off the path.

    "Caelia." Honestly, she had almost forgot Lexi was there, but his voice cut through, cold and welcome as a blade.
  12. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    So how does religion in Vampverse work? Is christianity even a thing? Is something else?
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  13. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Man I wish I fucking knew.

    All of our world's religions exist, with a few changes to practices to account for a couple things, like magic Very Definitely Existing. The existence of god-or-gods remains unclear; there are stories that they used to come down and fuck around with mortals back when, but no one who was actually around back then can really confirm. Especially because there were both more mages and more powerful mages back then, it's possible a lot of them had their acts attributed to gods after the fact. Christianity got its footing in this world at least partially because it has a much stronger line against using magic to fuck around on such a large scale, but it never completely pushed out the older religions the way it did in ours. A lot of the oldest mage enclaves were also at least partially religious, and preserved a great deal of knowledge, tradition, and practice.

    In modern times the monotheistic religions are still the most common in the western world, but polytheism is more common than in ours, and a lot of older religions modernized and mixed with Christian cultural influence.

    (only tangentially related but "wait, why were mages more powerful back then?" Because they were assholes. There are a lot of very immoral ways to boost power as a mage, which is why a slapfight between powerful mages frequently had nation-ending consequences. Most of the mages who withdrew from the world formed something of a magical Geneva Convention between their enclaves, where they agreed not to be massive assbastards for power. Not all of them signed on, though, and some signed on but figured since they're isolated no one would know. Raphael and his line police the signatories in exchange for blood, but he's been known to look the other way on occasion for various reasons.)
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  14. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    (I am also still Always taking questions and/or prompts, especially outside the Lia/Lexi bubble. Love the dorks but. Big world)
  15. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    How are the mage enclaves organized?
  16. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    That depends on the enclave! Some of them are run by councils, some have a single leader. In some the councils are all heads of families, or the most skilled in certain schools of magic, or earn the seat through bullshit politics. Similarly a single leader might inherit the role, or be the biggest badass on the block, or be elected. Almost every enclave does things differently.

    below leadership the 'ranks' are pretty consistent, though how one advances might vary. Novices are absolute beginners, and these days with enclaves they're usually literal children. Apprentices have started to specialize, and in several enclaves they're directly mentored. Next are adepts, who are usually firmly specialized (though may have knowledge of magic outside their specialization, especially if it's relevant. But most mages will try to keep at least apprentice-level knowledge of most schools just because they're huge nerds it's useful.) Sometimes there's an 'expert' tier, where someone's recognized as a really good mage, but not as having mastered their craft. Last are masters, who might not know everything but are pretty damn close, and have stopped learning about their specialization and are geared more towards experimenting with it. If leadership is skill-based in an enclave, the leader(s) is/are Masters. Masters tend to be pretty old, too, outside of the mage lines. (They're still old then, they just don't look it.)
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  17. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    What was Magelet tutors *issue* Causing him to be such a dick?
  18. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Partially that just being his default state, partially Yesenia's enclave is... in a bit of a Situation right now. Most enclaves keep contact with a couple of others to prevent the problem hers is having right now, where basically everyone is related. But the enclaves hers was in contact with have been cutting contact for various reasons, so hers has been growing increasingly isolated and it's. Not going well for anyone, especially as numbers dwindle. So her cousin isn't even sharing a specialty, wasn't planned to mentor anyone, and is actually only slightly older/more advanced than she is. They're basically expected to mentor each other in their respective specialties in a sort of "learn by teaching" sort of thing until real mentors are available.

    It's going really well, as you can see. /s

    He was already a little bit of a dick, he had this dropped on him, he's sliiightly more involved with the inner workings of the enclave, just enough to know that things are actually a lot more dire than they're telling the kiddos, and he's expected to take time out of his own learning to teach his little cousin.
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  19. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    People being nice about my writing like

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  20. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Me, writing ahead to a scene that will probably be cut anyway:

    Why does Lia exist, if not to whump?
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