12/27/14

Sensate ~ The Morbid Princess

Previously ~ Blushing Bride

Fifteen Years Earlier

Ossia
It is said someone once asked a Dustman, "If we're all dead, why don't I remember dying?"  To which the Dustman replied, "If we're all alive, how come I don't remember being born?"

Such tales and riddles were the stuff of Ossia's early days at the Mortuary, where her father held an exulted role as an instructor and her family had their own apartments.  The rooms were spacious, each with a fireplace; the floors and walls were ancient stone.  Despite the austerity of a Dustman's residence there was elegance; despite the Spartan decor there was comfort.

There was a dark magic to Ossia's childhood; she recalled wandering the great stone halls of the Dustmen, where tall skeletons stood guard in magnificent armor, and zombies shuffled about running errands.

The smell of embalming fluid was among her first memories, along with the sight of men and women in dour robes, devoid of adornment or emotion.  Unlike with most people, neither ever troubled her.  There was such a stable tranquility in that haven of death which even at a young age she knew would never find anywhere else.  Her days were routine; rise at dawn, bathe, eat breakfast, reading and writing lessons with a novice until noon, lunch with her family until one (usually), lessons with a novice in numbers until two-thirty, and then free time until supper.

On her seventh birthday, there was an interment, and Ossia loved interments, especially when the deceased was highborn.  Lucky for her, the man who died was an old lord from the Lady's Ward, and his entire clan had arrived in Sigil just to bury him.

Sensate ~ Blushing Bride, a Prologue

Previously ~ Dramatis Personae

A/N ~ FYI...apparently there's a Torment forum seemingly run by POC who built their own online (Kemetic) Society of Sensation.  All seems quiet now, but I bet with some new blood, they'd be back in business.  So...shout out to them.

Ossia
After her tenure in the Brothel of Slating Intellectual Lusts, Ossia had asked her last lover, Lord Rothbeard, to book her a room in the Civic Festhall, the very beating heart of the Society of Sensation.

Aside for the Brothel, the Festhall was the most beautiful building she'd ever been in.  Despite being centuries old it was still elegant and sophisticated, with a giant circular dome like the Mortuary.   She could see why so many Sensates set up kip* here for months on end; it had countless chambers and several floors.  In the many rooms, there were lectures every day on various mysteries, classes on magic, the arts of war, and even thievery.  In addition, there were fabulous sensoriums of legend, where patrons could immerse themselves in the memories and sensations of others through magical sensory stones.

And the people...there were Sensates in every room, milling about in their finery, chatting with scribes, painters, governors, and advocates, not to mention the nobility from countless planes.  And the music...there was never silence in the Festhall, it seemed.  Instead, there was constant soft music in background, just behind the chorus of conversations and clinking of wine goblets.

Ossia's chambers were on the first floor with the VIP guests.  She'd hoped Rothbeard would get her the really big white marble suite with the wall of closets, tall pillars and sunlit patio, but apparently some nameless cutter** had it permanently booked.  Instead, Ossia got a darkened corner suite with no windows and no patio.  It was only half the size of the suite she wanted, with no pillars, and close space so miniscule she had to store the bulk of her belongings in dressers and chests.

Sensate ~ Dramatis Personae

Previously ~ Sensate (an introduction)

The House of Sathirin

Jhené Aiko as Ossia,
(formerly) the Silver Harlot of the Hive

Ossia Demuria Sathirin is currently a lady of leisure living in the affluent Clerks' Ward of Sigil. Having commandeered a considerable amount of jink* from various well-off paramours, she spends her days cultivating a proper image and reputation, and now, it's hooked her the son of a nobleman. But as their wedding date approaches, so do her haunting memories of surviving in the Hive.

Sensate

Emblem of the Sensates
As some of you know, Planescape: Torment is my favorite game of all time.  A "spiritual successor" is about to be released because the geniuses behind the original couldn't get the Planescape license to continue their brilliance. Which is a goddamn shame, 'cause if these guys could get back to doing what they were doing, they'd put all other gaming studios out of business.

I'd been thinking of doing a fanfic for a few years and now's a good a time as any (Torment just celebrated its 15th anniversary...Gods, I'm old).  After all, I can never do a novel; if the creators of Torment are experiencing licensing issues, where does that leave me and countless other fans?

Thus, I'm getting back into my fanfic roots.

Sensate takes place in the city of Sigil, the City of Doors.
Sigil is the hub of the Great Wheel at the center of the Outlands, the most balanced of neutral areas at the center of the planes. Also known as the "City of Doors" for the multitude of portals to other planes of existence, it is the setting for most of Planescape: Torment. (Source)

While the Lady of Pain is considered the ultimate ruler of the planar metropolis called Sigil, "the City of Doors", the Factions perform virtually all the actual administrative and practical functions of the city. They are the ones the people look to for authority; the Lady only gives edicts or appears personally under rare circumstances. Each of the Factions is based around one particular belief system; many of the Factions' beliefs make them enemies where their other goals and actions might have made them allies. All Factions hold many secrets from non-members and even their own members, for the fewer know a secret the more secret it is (and these are secrets of power, either wielded or potentially gained by the Faction's adversaries).

There are fifteen Factions in total, per decree of the Lady of Pain; any additional factions emerging would be subject to her wrath (unless they destroy one of the current 15). At one point there were many more Factions, but after a war referred to as the Great Upheaval amongst the factions, the Lady of Pain decreed that they had two weeks to get the number down to 15 or she would kill them all.
(Source)
Named after the faction known as the Society of Sensation, Sensate follows the life of Ossia, a woman engaged to a slightly younger nobleman from the plane of Ithar.  As their wedding draws close, Ossia allows herself to remember her rise to a lady from being the Silver Harlot of Sigil's slum, the Hive.

Next ~ Dramatis Personae

12/21/14

Oumar ~ The Cleaner

Previously ~ Never Go Home

Anh Sinh Oumar
Oumar felt his knees threaten to buckle.  Unable to keep looking at the slumped over corpse in the living room, he went to sit on the couch and steadily kept his gaze away.  Patrick noticed this and snorted.

"You might as well deal," he chuckled.  "The Cleaner has a thing for opera.  He's not coming here until the intermission."

Oumar worked to keep his voice from shaking.  "And does this 'Cleaner' have a name?"

Patrick gave that snort of his again.  Something told Oumar that now the cat was out of the bag, he was going to be hearing that noise an awful lot.

"Cleaners work with hunters, but the two don't fraternize," Patrick explained, vigorously polishing his short blade.  He seemed to determined to remove every last drop of blood.

Patrick Mai
"And why is that?"

"Well, we need a body taken care of and the guy I contacted won't let that fact interrupt his evening at the opera.  So for starters...there's that."

Patrick was about to give another reason as to why hunters and cleaners generally didn't socialize when there was a brisk nod on the door.  The hunter sighed loudly, "Finally," before rising to go open the door.

A young man stood on the other side in a very charming suit.  He had pitch black hair and dark eyes that twinkled mischievously.

It was immediately apparent that he and Patrick had had this conversation many times before.

"Dude," the Cleaner nodded in greeting.

"Dude," Patrick replied.

"Body?"

"Body," Patrick pointed to the corpse, still gagged and strapped to the chair.
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12/7/14

Oumar ~ Never Go Home

Previously ~ The Kill, Pt. 2

Ami Oumar
Oumar looked at Patrick, blinking as though to clear his eyes.  The knife glinted between them with such a cold menace that he couldn't bear to look down at it.

"This is your prey," Patrick reiterated.  "You have to make the kill."

"I can't," Oumar replied, and his voice seeming to be coming from someone else.  "I'm not a killer."

And that's when it happened.

From the moment they'd met, Oumar had known right away something was off about Patrick.  He'd known that the hunter wasn't a naturally emotionless man, and that he'd probably only adopted the stoic routine recently.

He was right.  The moment the words came out of his mouth, the look in Patrick's eyes changed. The hunter gave a slow but distinctly derisive snort, and his lips finally gave into the smirk that had been teasing for days.

"Jesus, Oumar," Patrick rolled his eyes.

"You're supposed to be a demon hunter," Oumar rasped.  "This is a man."

"What did you expect us to hunt first?" Patrick exclaimed.  "Something with scales?  Something with horns?  I told you: a demon is a being.  A being like any other, but what sets it apart is that it chooses to do harm to others - senseless, unnecessary harm.

Patrick Mai
"This 'man' showered you in a hail of bullets without cause or justification, left you to rot on the sidewalk like you were garbage, and the moment his actions came under fire, what did he do?  Did he answer to the public, who had a right to know the truth about what happened?  No.  Did he man up and accept the consequences of his choices?  Of course not.  The great, big, strong 'man' who was big and brave enough to murder an unarmed college kid ran and hid!  Hid behind his badge, his uniform, his white male privilege - Trunchbull was sitting quietly and collecting a paycheck in peace while your parents were saddled with funeral costs for their son, Oumar."

With that Patrick whirled on his heels and swept over to the bound policeman who writhed against his bonds.  It was like watching a seasoned hawk swooped down on its prey; Oumar's stomach twisted to hear officer's gagged protests.  Patrick, however, wasn't even remotely swayed.  Mercilessly, he yanked back the officer's head, then slit his throat swiftly, effortlessly, slicing through the carotid artery and dropping his head, leaving him to bleed out.

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Oumar ~ The Kill, Pt. 2

A/N ~ I'm sorry again, guys! Didn't mean to take this long!!!

Previously ~ The Kill, Pt. 1

Patrick Mai
During his lunch break, Patrick Mai checked his phone for the hundredth time.  He was certain he'd get a text from Ami by now; she'd assured him today was the day.  He'd made a point of buying food from a different restaurant today and bringing it to the break room to eat in full view of his coworkers.

Damn it, Ami.  I can't pull this off every day.

Finally, it came.

Confirmed.

For a hunter, there was no more beautiful word.  To see it there, in black print against white screen...it got his blood pumping, his skin warming, his heart singing.

Finally...a hunt.

Which cued him to initiate Phase Two.  Feigning sickness, Patrick suddenly rose and ran to the men's bathroom where he forced himself to vomit.  After that, it didn't take much for his manager to send him on account of food poisoning.

One of the first rules of hunters was to have a day job. The second rule was to keep said day job at all costs.

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