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To Nereus

Post by TennyoCeres84 »

How's life been so far now that you're no longer on the lam, able to be with Meris, and are able to experience life without Chambers influencing everything?
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Post by IamLEAM1983 »

"It's exhausting, in the best possible sense of the term!

Before, I used to have to stick to a predetermined schedule as per Renewal's stated routine, I had to keep up the charade and find the occasional five or six minutes I could use to genuinely help someone - it made direct action something that was difficult to undertake, and there were many days where I'd sense I was better off biding my time. On the one hand, I'd coined dozens of books on personal growth and self-help and more than certainly knew my way around a Yoga practice, and on the other, the tools that should've alleviated my anxiety were part of the charade I had to construct. I'd made them marketable, but not personal.

Now, almost literally everything has to be built up: this new stage in my relationship with Meris, my freedom, my practice, my personal goals or wider aims for the community we serve and the friends we have - everything, right down to my new job and my physical health. The first few weeks were mostly spent with my drinking it all in and grinning like an idiot, then collapsing into bed. I barely even tried to grow closer to Meris in the evenings, as tired and grateful as I was. I just - passed out, feeling safe at her side, feeling like a week or two of this would heal me of the brunt of the last few centuries' worth of mental and physical abuse.

In a way, I imagine it did. I ate like a whale and couldn't stand in place, so I didn't really put on weight. I deepened my spiritual practice seeing as it had always been genuine - just doctored. I tore through books almost as fast as Rhadamantus, earned myself comments from less-accustomed people like Mathers or Wyvern's own Spearhead, seeing as I gave the impression of lazing about and finding spots to nap whenever I could, when the fact of the matter was I built vaults in the Darkhallow, packed with everything I'd absorbed. Five minutes in the waking world could be days down there, and I knew I'd need to become as useful as possible as quickly as possible. Police procedure, psychotherapy, criminology, forensics - everything my nature gave me some insight into, I tried to deepen using mundane means, compressed using the Darkhallow."

He chuckles.

"In practice, this means I spent about a month snoozing around Holden Hall and waking up even more tired than before my five-minute naps - the difference being that depression played no part in it. I spent weeks running my mind ragged and was happy to do so - up until the point where I could follow along my wife's and her friends' observations and provide my own while being confident I could be asked to testify to my own findings. Going from a New Age guru to a sort of Ad-Hoc specialist in Void Weaver rites and criminology meant I had to marry everything I'd learned as an Augur with up-to-date police procedure. I also had to grow accustomed to the fact that at any moment, someone from Vienna could call me forth to testify as to findings relating to new cult cells or new underground movements. The leader of a cult doesn't need to deal in factual details, but a consultant has to."

He works his neck.

"Then there's the training, the stamina-building, the dieting... Fight training isn't as hard as I thought it'd be, not with Shamus realizing I'd be better served with techniques that actually utilize my weight and developing muscle mass. I thought I'd always be slow, but I'm getting a little faster each day, realizing that being built to be physically hefty doesn't mean you're stuck lumbering around. Cuthbert's thrown me in a few Hapkido locks and by God, he's fast. It might be the years of abuse from Harrogath and the Chamberlain, but Bucky and Cuthbert both found out my vagus nerve is really hard to properly trigger. Turns out I'm surprisingly good at shrugging off liver and gut punches, and good at parsing pain from valuable tactical info. Aidan's started calling me The Kingpin jokingly, seeing as I'm more the type to let two burly men whale on me for a few minutes while I wait for the perfect opener, instead of a more active grappler.

Running is still hard, but I'm up to three complete circuits around the mansion grounds if I jog at a steady clip. I mentioned how I didn't really have it in me to get close with Meris at bedtime - but it's mostly shifted to mornings. We've built ourselves a jumbo-sized shower stall, and sometimes spend a few tender moments together under the mixed fresh- and saltwater jets. It's, erm, it's earned me a few positive comments about my improving cardio... We've also tried exercising my now-stimulated and formerly-vestigial gills on the shores off of Pickman's Sound; and I finally got to hug Meris while she was in her seal form. We were a few feet underwater and I knew she'd need to keep moving to avoid drowning, but I still pressed my cheek against hers, still ran my forearms along her streamlined form, sort of etched a hug by letting my arms touch her while she swam past.

I couldn't possibly hope to keep up with her naturally, but that's what the Speech is for, thankfully. All I need is to conjure lances of force pushing me in the same direction as her and with equal speed, and I turn into one particularly fat, unsightly and tentacle-laden torpedo - one that can keep up with a selkie no matter how hard she tries to bank either way."

A sigh leaves him.

"Eating - that's my one lasting bugbear... Harrogath knows it, too. He knows I Spoke for Him for centuries, knows how genuinely I love a good table, how comforting even the simplest meals still feel to me. I may have sworn Them off, burning all bridges doesn't mean you don't hear Them screaming on the other side, when the winds are right. Meris knows I can't yet be trusted with a service plate on the table, because if one's there, I'll go for seconds and thirds and fourths. I won't even notice it, either. I'll be happily chatting away with Meris or Archie or Marius, and any one of them stops me because I didn't notice how I forked over the rest of the braized steak we were supposed to share. If nobody notices, I'll wolf it down while talking and only realize what happened much too late.

Night cravings are still there on occasion, and there's moments where those winds I mentioned are agonizingly perfect. It's gotten rarer overall, but Meris found me downstairs in the dead of night at least once before, holding the fridge's door open with my eyes unfocused and drool slipping along my tendrils. A few seconds longer and I would've gorged like in the old days - and I don't know if Meris would've been able to stop me without seriously restraining me...

It's gotten easier, lately, though. Delmar and Jubal are coaching me, and what used to be Harrogath being silent for months and suddenly howling for attention now is a sort of constant bargaining ritual. Instead of binge eating for Him, I mentally offer up my first few bites of any given meal, knowing that I'm giving Him a trickle of power with which to thwart the other Two."
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