((I hope this is an acceptable place to post this. It didn't seem appropriate to make a post on the Faeblight server forum, so here we go...
I condensed the actual RP that occurred in-game quite a bit, mostly because I was silly and didn’t think to record the conversation. That said, I think I remembered all the primary points, and it’s not like Naunet was in the type of mental state to really be thinking about the exact words Daijeen was using anyway! I know there are things I left unexplained, particularly details regarding how our characters ended up in this situation in the first place, but that is perhaps for another time. For now, I just wanted to get the emotions down on paper while they were still fresh. Geronimo!))
She had pushed and struggled and done everything in her power to deny that woman what she wanted – had even fled like a coward when the opportunity arose – but no longer. A terrifying reality had settled over her eyes like a shroud and it would not let go. She hated it, hated herself and what she had become, hated the woman responsible for it all, hated the gods who had deemed this her fate despite her desperate attempts to refuse it. This hatred had fueled her rebellion, had kept her eyes locked on the goal of her freedom, but it had also changed her, twisted her into some bitter and nasty creature.
Naunet had fled to Stillmoore in hopes of reclaiming what she once had been: a hero, valiant and empathetic to others’ plights, someone who spent her life rescuing others from evil. It was ironic now that she could not even rescue herself.
The first signs of the change had worried her, but she had brushed them off, unwilling to recognize what they might mean. The wounds she had sustained – mostly light scratches, though there was one particularly deep gash along her collar bone from when she had been a bit too careless – while helping fight back the front of Regulos’s servants were not healing, not in any noticeable way. They remained as red and gaping as when she first felt their sting. Even this pain, however, was strangely dull. She had wrapped the worst of it, hiding the wounds from view with bandages and armor taken from the dead (she still could not forgive Daijeen for the humiliation of taking her clothing), and had continued stoically on.
The soldiers in Stillmoore had welcomed her assistance eagerly, especially when she had proven to have far greater stamina than even their best officers, but only two days into her service, she found her strength waning. A close call with one of the terrible worm-like horrors that infested the ground had left her shaken. The beast had sprung up without warning, which wouldn’t normally be much of a problem, but Naunet had found her reactions slowed and for a moment, her body had frozen as if sapped of all strength. It was only luck that another fighter had been nearby and managed to hold the monster back long enough for her to recover her faculties. She destroyed the minion of death with a ferocity that left the other soldier uneasy.
After the battle, Naunet had retreated to a corner of the camp and hid herself between piles of moss-covered rubble. It was there she finally allowed herself to take in what was happening to her body.
Trembling hands removed blood-splattered gauntlets to expose the greyish, skeletal forms beneath. Her skin suddenly felt taught about her body, her eyes heavy with an unbidden weight, and all she could do was stare in horror at limbs that had taken on the distinct shape of death.
“No…” The word emerged as more of a groan than speech, low and desolate. She had escaped! Daijeen held no sway over her at such great a distance – it could not possibly be! She remained doubled over, hidden and alone amidst the rubble for hours, her mind reeling in alternating blind panic and denial as she slowly became more aware of the terrible numbness creeping through her body.
I thought I was free!
The warm voice that finally pierced through her inward spiral struck like an arrow to her heart, leaving her breathless and cold. Caught up in her hysteria, she had run, stumbling through the camp blindly before curling up behind one of the large officer tents. She can’t be here!
But she was, and no amount of running would keep Daijeen from her goal. Twice Naunet fled from the necromancer’s presence, finally escaping the encampment altogether and heading into the surrounding hills. Wrapped up in her terror, she stumbled right into one of Regulos’s mindless minions, its giant, fleshy body and gaping, toothed maw turning on her with a sinister hiss. Instinct guided Naunet’s reactions as she struggled to fight off the monster, but her whirling thoughts distracted her enough that the beast managed to strike past her defenses, snapping viciously at one arm. She nearly dropped her axe as the thing’s razor-teeth dug into her skin, and though she managed to tear her limb from its grasp, it took several strips of flesh with it. The nightmare-beast reared back then, a gurgling roar building in its throat, but before it could complete its downward arc, a flash of sickly green-black crossed Naunet’s vision and the creature tumbled sideways to the ground, dead. Clutching her arm, Naunet turned her face up the hill and nearly cried out at the hooded form that stood there, waiting.
She should have known Daijeen would find her. She should have known running would be useless.
Daijeen was speaking then, in that calm, sweet voice she carried with her almost constantly, and circling around so that she stood before Naunet at the base of the hill; Hank loitered nearby, deaf and dumb to what was going on around him. The woman snarled, feeling the lock on her will slide heavily back into place – she was trapped.
And like a cornered beast, Naunet reacted in the only way she had left: with violence. She surged toward Daijeen, shield tucked close, axe raised in the start of a swing, and a desperate roar tearing across her vocal chords. The other woman, however, only stepped backwards and muttered a few words as Hank suddenly moved to block Naunet’s path. Something dark and wispy drew itself out of Naunet’s chest and into the green crystal atop Daijeen's staff. Her armor inexplicably heavy, the weight of her shield and weapon dragging her body down, Naunet nearly stumbled into Hank's skeletal body.
“No!” She screamed, raging against her sudden weakness. Her shield fell uselessly to the ground as she tried to lift her axe with both arms, her body trembling under its own weight. “What have you done?!” Drained, she fell to her knees with a solid thud, her hands losing their grip on her weapon to brace herself heavily against the ground. It took effort even to lift her head to glare at Daijeen’s pleasantly smiling face.
She was helpless as for the next several hours, Daijeen slowly whittled away at what little resistance she had left. She cajoled and tempted, and when her words showed no sign of breaking down Naunet’s walls, she turned to her most potent weapon: Hank. Poor, empty Hank. She demonstrated to Naunet her power, returning awareness to her armored, skeletal servant as though offering a favor, and then comforting the terrified creature with promises of “Only ten more years. You want that, right? Tell me you want it.”
From her position on the ground, Naunet tried frantically to convince the broken man to refuse. “Say no! Please, you don’t want this. Anything is better than losing your sense of self – say no!”
She begged, screamed, nearly cried as her words fell uselessly from her lips. But in the end, sturdy, devoted Hank accepted Daijeen’s offer and willingly returned to his mindless, enslaved state. She could feel her will crumbling, cracks in her resistance graduating to fissures and slowly shattering her resolve. Despair drained what little strength she had left. And then Daijeen offered Naunet her own deal.
“Just a few years, love, and then you can have a crystal of your own and do what you wish.” The crystal – Daijeen’s phylactery that held all the souls she had conquered, including her own. Naunet clung to this knowledge like a drowning man to driftwood.
“Let me up. Please.” Her voice was low, strained with the decision that gripped her heart in a painful fist. It was someone else, some Not-Naunet, who spoke as she agreed not to attack Daijeen should she return her strength, and the dislocation only increased as the cowed woman finally spoke the one word the necromancer had been waiting with baited breath to hear:
And just like that, she had sealed her fate. The battle she had been waging since the moment she discovered Daijeen’s work, the battle she had fought both in life and undeath, that had led to humiliating defeat and a nightmare of servitude – it all ended with a single word. Perhaps it had been stupid to resist; Daijeen had certainly never seemed to doubt her inevitable victory. The struggle had done nothing but exhaust her, to a point where she had barely even contemplated saying no, when the time came.
Daijeen, for her part, was ecstatic, bouncing around and enveloping the shattered woman in a giddy hug before hurrying off towards the camp.
“Burlap and a collar, I think.” She may have gotten everything she wanted, but Daijeen was not about to allow her pet's misdeeds to go unpunished. Naunet hardly had the heart to protest.
Face blank in resignation, she followed Daijeen back to the camp and out of Stillmoore, her body on autopilot while her mind focused on the single, tenuous light of hope she had left: the sparkling, green crystal sitting atop Daijeen’s staff.
That stone held both of their fates.