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The Fire Heart

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  1. Glia, Glia, Glia. The place of women, men who turn into women or simple men. What was so special about it that the necklace was glowing right here? No, the question did not serve its purpose: Why would something from his family, or someone exist here? Did his father send it here? No, he is resting for eternity near his house. Was it found by someone and sent to a museum? Hell no, it's not a sort of relic, which would get so much attention from people. Nobody knew his family bloodline, the Sur. They were as invisible as the rest of the families in Erasmia: Mother, father, son.

    That was in Tolok's mind: trying to guess the uncertain future with wild assumptions, assumptions which would only cause enough pain for one to withstand. And he had absolutely no idea what kind of horrifying truths he will find. If it were for a prophet to tell him, the fiery man would sit in a corner, his face white like sheet, his eyes wandering into a sort of void created by the facts written in a book of his destiny. He looked up at Severa and his eyes brightened, as if she caused his cogs to work, once again. To think of something else than the future. If one had to understand his future, he would have to understand his past, beforehand.

    "You have told me so many secrets about Glia. I am sure everybody else would have already put me on a cross, drowned and then burned to ash if I were to be a spy. Not even being a spy, just knowing these kinds of secrets. If you put your trust not in me, but in Owend that she brought me here, I shall tell you something about this necklace." He worked his hand under the shirt, closing his eyes, as if he wanted to feel the light, the warmth, the materlial of the trinket, gift from his parents. After a while, he made it visible, he put it over his shirt, with a gentle, caring gesture, that only meant respect for the fallen... For his parents.
    "This was a gift from my parents, when I decided I shall explore the lands." The necklace was glowing as usual, but with a close look, it wasn't an usual light. The pendant representing a sun battered in pure silver was not glowing with yellow to orange fire, no... The pendant was coated in it. A second layer, materialized and protecting the pendant from any outside danger, wishing to corrupt its own, pure essence. The purity Tolok is asking for, a reminder to look for the best of the world and then of himself. 
    "It was gifted to me along with the sword and shield you have seen me use. They could have given me anything else, a wooden kite shield and a normal short sword but... It was as if they saw what will happen in the future. It is the last memory I have of them, or that's what I thought. It started glowing when Madon's party and I went closer and closer to Glia. I believe it started glowing because of something related to my family. Something which should probably glow, as well, waiting for the necklace and the said item to reunite." He sighed, looking down at the jewelry. "I have a feeling that... thing... will destroy every single thing I knew about my life."


  2. Tolok nodded slowly, while listening to Severa. Her explanation was detailed enough to make him realize she was not joking. Prophets? How are they made, how can they predict the future, see in front of it, if it doesn't... Exist yet? Isn't it just like dough? Made, changed, formed and broke apart in pieces... Malleable is the word for this. It can't be, right? Isn't everyone's future already set...? So many counter arguments to this argument he cannot think of exist, ready to strike.

    "I haven't met a prophet, that is true. I don't think my connections were good enough to meet someone who holds these kinds of powers..." His voice trailed off a bit, when thinking of those, so called prophets. "Knowing your future is frightening already, but I understand it is a last resort option for the selfless rulers, who wish to protect their lands. Commendable, indeed, but I couldn't live with the fact that I managed to find out what happens... It is unsettling when you think about it, who falls and who rises." He sighed and finished his drink after a pause. "War is cruel. I understand why it has to be done. Preparations for the future, safes and ways to make sure everything works out... But, wouldn't the future still be the same if one tells you what will happen? Since it takes time for each event to pile up and explode into the expected result, including the preparations... Wouldn't the future be the same, if one decides to run away from it and so, so want to change future, as if it is malleable? Even so, preparations are preparations... I don't suggest not doing them anymore, because such a suggestion would be foolish. No, sorry. I'll stop. I'm not a tactician." He stopped, truly. This future talk was already unsettling for him, since the necklace grew stronger, with each step closer to Glia. It was still glowing under his shirt, as a reminder he will face the ugly truths. Would he find what he was already expecting? Only future would tell, and that continued to scare him. He gulped, his anxiety growing larger with every single thought about this.

    "I believe Owend will take care of Glia and make sure it will rise higher than before, though." He spoke, after another long pause, and then bunkered in his own mind, not paying attention to anything else in the room.


  3. "I've heard enough." She said. It was as if the jury decided the fate of either Tolok, Owend or both of them. A swift strike of words, hitting Tolok's cheeks. Well, would he look at that. His honesty helped him here... Right?

    But he realized Owend was not in her best mood. She, apparently, drunk enough to get tipsy and to shroud her mind. Was the sweet taste of the drink enough to weaken Owend's state of mind at the moment? Taking the success they've had earlier as a failure, in the conditions when not a simple person, but her Princess, Severa, congratulated them for their victory. Was she really this stubborn now? Or was it because of the drink? "Oh well", he thought. "She said she was never hurt by any other knight than you, Owend. Every scratch one would lay on Severa, from what it seems, sounds like a victory to me. Don't think so low of yourself, you have enough potential if Severa thinks highly of you. You may be stronger than her at some point and she counts on that."

    He then squinted his eyes at the flying bottle. He could have sworn this wasn't real. A princess throwing bottle like this over the balcony, as if nobody is down there? Hey, what about the fishes? Some sailor, a ma- woman? Is she just trying to look gracefully, but when someone would get to know her, the facade drops, becoming a graceless person? Now, this was... Quite an ugly thing for Tolok to witness, but he shrugged. It may have been for several reasons which he couldn't have known.

    He now listened. A smile on his face shone, realizing he thought right. He was pivotal in this discussion and he turned in the right way. He was now waiting for his fruits to ripe, watching over Owend and the graceless-behemoth Princess which had some kind of charm one would not really see through at first, but would get clear with time passing... Anyways, was he here to admire some Princess? Nah, he's here to help Owend and then... The necklace, which started glowing a bit stronger, all of a sudden. He was not quite content with this. Finding out the truth about his life, after Owend's life takes a turn towards a, hopefully, new, positive chapter of her life was frightening for him. Excitement, mixed with fear and anxiety? Yeah... That's his true fear.

    And he listened to Severa's monologue aimed at Owend. The flex of the muscles, somehow, caused her feminine side to fade out a bit. What she would look like was more of a fist fighter than a Princess who uses her weapons and strenght from some unbelievable source. Or maybe he is not used to women with toned, "demigod" muscles. Who knows, a simple man likes simple things.

    "Wait... You seem stronger than a lot of people i've seen in my life. How could you consider this unfortunate fate? Wait... Don't tell me you cheated Fate and now it is waiting in a shadow, creeping around and waiting for the right time to strike? I can't believe it. I've seen people who screwed Fate over and managed to live their lives happily ever after. Or... Is that what we would love to believe? Sweet lies flying through the air?" He frowned and became one with the seat.


  4. "Tch." Tolok sighed, realizing he did more bad than good. He was sitting in his chair and was slowly gripping the armrests stronger and stronger with every second that'd pass. His duty and loyalty being questioned; those kinds of long talks in the moonlight, that bring people close to eachother, improving their chemistry. But now, here, it proved to be fatal. Words are more powerful than any kinds of weapons: swords, dragonslaying crossbows or even Mason's boom boxes. No, those weapons would fade in comparison with the simple words a man can speak by mistake. Words decide the outcome of people. Words, which cause action. Assasinations, betrayals, friendships... Tolok was aware of that.
    And here he stood, freezing as if someone made an ice cube around him and that would be his graveyard until someone would find him... Dead or alive.

    "Then, I shall be honest here. And if honesty will bring me death, I shall drink a little in the name of truth." Tolok raised his hand to grab the bottle and Owend immediately gave it to him. He gently put it on the ground and picked a glass and filled a quarter of it. He hesitated, but drank a little after a while.
    "I apologize for coming off as a person whose objectives suit him and only him, and the regular responsabilities of a human being are just something I wouldn't even want to grasp. But since apologies are nothing but dust in the wind, useless, immesurable without a reason, I shall explain." He grit his teeth, due to the anxiety that Severa's presence would induce. He was adding the posibility of him being the tool Severa would want to use to destroy every single bit of cowardice she would have. Questioning him, until he shows fear, or until he says enough mistakes to force her to say the truth.
    "I understood duty after certain.. Events in my life, which still shroud my mind from time to time, when I think about it. Doubting people, hesitating, desire to be alone... All these don't matter anymore, but are a main reason as to why the development of my duty and loyalty were slower than average..." He touched the orange-glowing necklace which was behind his black shirt. "I must admit I know what duty means now, Princess. I understand she made some mistakes and that... She must be a prime example for those who would follow." He glanced quickly at her, but looked back at his glass, drinking a bit more. "And it is understandable why you call this act childish." He sighed. "It takes time for everyone to grasp this weight upon their shoulders, the title of a "Princess"... And I feel like she wants to prove her worth by these adventures she has." He sighed again... "And I know it is not the best way to do it but, as far as I can tell, she is probably preparing for her time to come and lead Glia, the Grey Knights to a better future... And to answer your question: yes, I do know what is at stake and her escapism might truly cause troubles if they are to increase in number over time. Loyalty and duty are important here, since you are not loyal for the person who is giving you the orders, but you are loyal for everyone in your charge and must be a bright example for others to follow." Long pause, he sipped.

    "If what you've wanted to do is what I thought about earlier, then you won, Princess, and I put a nail in my coffin."


  5. The man's grin slowly faded with the passageway showing itself. It was clear this won't be any kind of fight, but some sort of... cherry on top of what could be known as Severa's way to destroy the fear, cowardice and doubt of her subordinates. What he didn't know was that the place slowly turned unnerving for him: the long way to the destination, the almost-inaudible drops of water that would add to the restlessness, the purple lightning arc made, surprisingly, by the Princess herself - He would never expect a mammoth-disguised lady to also possess such an intricate, unstable element of the world. Last time he'd seen an electromancer, the person would have devastating outbursts, where lightning would fully control his body, - led the way towards the end, the purple feeling royal and fitting for her but, at the same time, it was something that made him self aware of this unnerving feeling that was related to this colour. Could it have been the arcs of lightning? He never knew.

    The walk continued. There was no sign of stopping any soon and he started analyzing some things. It is true that Tolok was never keen on learning the more complicated parts of geography. The little details, markings, resources, heights of a certain place in this land, but he was more than happy to learn the basics of the world: some notable rivers, effluents, mountains, cities and kingdoms... And learning how would a map work. Simple stuff that would be needed in his adventure, the rest could have been learned on the go, if it were for finding a resource, people or just buying another small map for certain adventures he's had way before he even had the chance to meet the Exarch and his crew. Phew, he thought; how lucky was he to meet these people? What would be the chances of him being picked by him? One percent? Two? Is his life written in a book by God and He decided who should he be and what kind of life should he have? Nobody knows and that's for sure... Otherwise, life wouldn't have as much mystery and will poured into each and every one of us,

    He shook his head and went back to analyzing everything around. His intuition told him he is heading out of the castle, as it should. It may be a long way which starts from the building, but it is enough, even for a child, to know they are moving away, away and away from it and closer, closer and closer to... an Aqueduct? For a second, he thought he was in the city center, but it was wrong. Seeing the sheet of water, he soon realized this place is even more surprising than he thought.

    And here they were, the trio had finally reached their destionation... Instead of bringing a warm feeling, a state of hope and... Temporary home, it felt more like an interogation room, at this moment. The place The Princesses would call home during a siege that would destroy their land, Glia, was now used not as a place to help, but to squish, destroy, decimate and brutally behead every single fear and nerve willing to fall. And because of that, tension grew stronger...

    He sheepishly turned his head to Severa and spoke, almost hesitating in the last moment. "Honestly, I barely thought about that. But to make up for it, now I shall think of something, if you may ask me..." He rubbed his chin, trying to find a logical idea, when he finally found one: "She looks like a truly adventurous kind. The kind of person whose wanderlust is only satiated by every single inch of land she would discover. Every notable place is caught in her sight and sorted after preference. Maybe she will find something useful later there, maybe it could serve as a safehouse, watchtower, resting place... Ever since I've met her, the decisions she made kept her group of Grey Knights alive. I don't think she'd lost one ever since I met her, which is truly, truly commendable."

    He made himself more comfortable on his seat and put one leg over the other and strecthed his battered shoulders. Sure, they hurt, but the sound of popping bones happened to flash a small smile on his face which faded immediately, going back to a more serious, mature expression on his face, while talking to Severa. "But every person has a drawback. Some are greedy, some are reckless, lazy, clowns, fools. You name it, there are many drawbacks one can have and discover, due to an important event in their lives. You may consider wanderlust a disadvantage in this given moment. Hell, you can call a good trait a disadvantage if something unfortunate happens due to it. But this is a double edged sword, Princess. Explorers have their own way to satiate their life. How do I know? I am here. I am no man under the name of a king, except Madon, the Exarch. You may call me knight, paladin, chevalier, but I am none. I am just an explorer whose wanderlust has to be satiated, like a drug. I guess you can consider this... Double edged sword when you look at Owend. Am I right when it comes to your answer? I don't know, my instinct forced me to say this." He started rubbing the edge of this seat, as if sweat was pouring through every single inch of the skin, waiting for the answer of the brute, silver tongued Princess, which would most likely aim to squirm every single act of fear she will spot in Owend.


  6. The end of the battle has been decided, once and for all. Tolok is, honestly, a knight others would look up to, if they were to consider his bravery. His bravery was something out of ordinary. So out of the ordinary, that the "ordinary" bravery would only be seen in the fairytale books about shiny knights in strong, heavy armors. Handsome, powerful, smart, but their most important attribute was bravery. The bravery that lead them to defeat demons, dragons, armies and save pretty princesses, the books ending with a happy ending for the forces of good and the forces of the dark would suffer in silence, behind the curtains, asking for help, as their pleas become more silent with every second that passes, until nobody hears them.

    And that was Tolok. His bravery was to be commended: fighting a very strong individual by himself, sacrificing himself in the name of the victory... His bravery could be mistaken for recklessness, but one was to be proud of doing something stupid enough to get him killed, without thinking it further and the other was to use your last card, the last resort, the surprise element and hanging by a thread, knowing your partner will help. And so it happened... The battered man picked the towel with his shaky hand and rubbed it on his face in a few rotations. He was so out of this world, with a stupid grin on his face, exhilarated by the victory, that he didn't realize he was not even rubbing his face anymore, but moving the towel in the air. He stood up, shakily, with the help of Severa and grimaced, as his temporary injuries started showing up. Lots of bruises, as a note for all the slams he took part in as he held her by the thigh. But he didn't care.

    "I can see you took note of my pride and endless hope... I am proud. No. I am happy I aided Owend in the battle. I was sure she wouldn't miss her target and she didn't manage to disappoint." He gave a warm smile to Owend, being proud of her. Of course he would after this victory, like anyone would be for their partner, friend, lover and so on. "What is this music you mentioned, Princess Severa?" He struggled to walk after his sword and shield, but managed to pick them up and put his beloved sword in the scabbard that would let the weapon rest until its help was needed. He just kept the shield on his left hand, as a decoration, a sign of pride related to his father, his family. The place where he came from and where he turned from a boy to a man.

    He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, preparing for whatever had to come. He knew this would not be easier than this fight, it would probably turn out to be even more difficult and even more dangerous than this fight. "If that is the case, I would gladly help her become better, with every step she has to take." He drank a bit of water from the flagon, before giving it back to one of the ladies which offered him. "Even with a limp hand and these injuries, I will continue fighting. I honestly don't care anymore about these wounds, for I want to get done with this." He now followed Severa, keeping an eye on everything they would walk along the halls she would redirect the party to. He was either excited, nervous, unsure, prideful or all of the above. You couldn't tell from his face's expression.


  7. It was quite a shameful first approach for the duo. Both of them knew the fight will take long enough, since the Princess Severa... Princess? Is she even a Princess with the raw, sheer strength she beholds? She might have a used, beaten polearm, but as it is known usually about melee weapons of all kinds, a skilled man with a rusty sword can beat an armored knight with good equipment. It all comes down to the flow of battle and who controls it. Unfortunately, Tolok and Owend were struggling to keep up against their opposant, who put them in place so easily, as if they were ragdolls.

    Tolok suffered a heavy blow, as he has to surrender his sword, somehow his main hand suffered a sprain, due to the force she pulled his hand and kept in place to force him to do something. She was something else than a woman and he regretted underestimating her. He breathed in heavily, trying to stand up after the kick which sent him flying towards the other side of the ring. "What is this strength and how... The fuck is she so strong? Do I see a behemoth in disguise or what?"
    Owend comes right after Tolok, rolling backwards and towards him and gave him a long look, since he spoke the obvious: "You spongebrain, that's why she is the leader!" She noticed his limp arm taking a few pendulum movements instead of holding it firmly, with the sword in hand. "...Bollocks! How are you going to fight like this, Tolok?! We barely had a slim chance to fight her and now you lost your sword! We don't have any chance, you realize that?" Her voice spoke true concern and fear, seeing the effects of Severa on her assumed lover.
    He stood up, taking a few more breaths before speaking. "Well, we do actually. You see, Owend, Her Majesty knows how to fight really well and her strength aids her well, but..." He came in to whisper into her ear and Owend jolted her head backwards, but she quickly replied, "Are you insane now?! Tolok, this is dirty!"
    Tolok had a smirk on his face. Even though he knew using magic in a sword fight was dumb, he wasn't planning on hitting her with fire, but to disrupt her vision. "Hey, a fight is a fight, during war you don't fair play and give roses to your opponent."

    He then focuses on Severa and his mouth opens: "I am far from dead weight, Princess. I will be rendered useless once I will lay my last breath. Until then, I will fight even with a severed hand, as long as I can fight to protect the party and myself. I don't give up that easily."

    Owend sighs, but she quickly claims her position, but she soon hears the specific word, ringing through her ears and entering her bones, cuasing her to shake as a jelly for a moment. "No, Tolok is right." She mutters to herself, "I can't let her words control my movements.".
    Tolok follows soon after, holding his shield up in the left hand, his eyes focusing on Severa and her pole again, . He snaps his left fingers five times and finishes with a push in the air, an opaque wall of fire formed in front of Severa, restricting her vision. Of course the fiery man had a scummy plan like this, but he knew Severa was stronger than both of them together and to tip the scale, one, has to think out of the box. Owend began her rush towards the wall and at half the distance between Tolok and the firewall, she jumps high up in the air with the lance up, thanks to her speed. Tolok followed and gained enough force to throw his shield like a frisbee, aiming to have it below Owend's feet. He wasn't a mathematician, physicist or whatever, but he follows his instinct and strength to lead him to a potential victory; and now, the shield was flying right below Owend's feet. At the right time when she was above the firewall, her descent began and the shield came up expectedly, laying her feet on it. Now, Severa had to face a falling shield of metal with Owend on it and a lance which will aim to hit her at high speed, considering the whole situation. Will Owend be able to lay the winning blow and draw Severa's blood? She was sure she could do it. This time, it really felt different.


  8. Tolok kept his silence after his monologue, which was supposed to defend Owend. With every second that passed, every step Severa took and every vowel she would speak, it felt like eternity. He knew he tried his best and was slightly proud of standing up for the green haired lady, who would slowly regain the same courage that she has in the battles, when both of them rode the same Pegasi, to fight their current opponents, the Byrn troops. The fiery man nodded when Severa looked at him. A node of approval for the word she'd spoken: "Different". He slowly went down the stairs, lessening the grip on her shoulder, but let it there, to calm her down. "Everything will be fine..." He thought. With the new approach of Severa, he realized she is not just some brute, that acts like other power-hungry heroes, enslaving the friends, subordinates, people, in consuming shackles of power and fame. No... Her head was on the shoulders, conscious of everyone's feelings around, when she gets told. Perhaps she may not be that bad as he first thought, at all.

    The man let out a slight smile when he checked the room they had entered. The ring, the showcased training weapons, the bags and mannequins, a training room for knights. Tolok was delighted to see a room where training would be performed efficiently, since he had never entered one of those in his life. He learned how to fight through all his adventures fighting bandits, finding dangerous jobs and everything in between. He took off his greaves and gauntlets and laid them gently near the ring, since those were the only heavier things Tolok would wear, aside from a chainmail which he got used to and could no longer feel its weight (not that it was heavy, anyways). He stepped in the ring and turned his sight towards a mannequin, as he saw Severa undressing, until she was fully nude. If anyone would ask him why he doesn't look at the Princess his response would most likely be "I have been taught not to look at undressed women, unless I am allowed to. Doesn't matter where I may be, I do that all the time.", followed by a sigh, reminding himself oh his mother, long gone. He might have probably forgot to take off his backpack as well, and quickly did so and put it right next to his pairs of armor.

    He turned his sight back at Severa, who was now dressed and nodded. "I shall fight." He kept his orange kite shield and the one hand sword, made with respect, sweat and pride by his father. He could not, at any point, give his sword to anyone else or being disarmed off it, unless those that would try were masochists who would enjoy Tolok's berserk. Same with his kite shield that served him for years. 

    Spoiler

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    He turned his gaze at Owend and a smile came on his face. "Are you ready?" He asked on a warm tone, as he unsheathed his sword from the scabbard and held his shield, a smile creeping on his face. He would be mindful not to hurt Severa in such way her wounds would need intensive care, but he wasn't keen on hitting her with his weapons, as if they were pillows.

    Owends nods and both of them focus on Severa, who is armed with the pole. 

    Tolok makes his first move, he steps forward and slashes with his sword on her left side side. Since Severa would probably be focused on Tolok's sword, Owend strenghtens the grip on her lance, Blinkstrike and lunges forward towards her back, aiming to finish the battle as soon as possible.

    If Severa were to counterattack his sword swing, Tolok will raise his shield and aim to push her and the polearm, leaving Owend a clear window to strike and to block the next blow coming from Severa, if she somehow parries her hit.


  9. "With all due respect, Princess..." Tolok stopped, as he felt her sudden order, as if it reverberated in his bones. The talk between Owend and Severa was alright. He didn't mind the gossips, as long as the lieutenant of the Grey Knights was feeling comfortable in the place she would call home, before she left Glia. But with the sudden change of tone that didn't leave Owend any choice to take a deep breath, regain her feelings and move forward, knowing everything would be fine. But this time, the Princess screwed up her emotions.

    He put a hand on Owend's shoulder and a whisper followed: "It's okay. Take a few deep breaths and think of something which makes you happy. Everything will be fine soon enough."

    He turned his gaze at Severa, a frown forming on his face: "...I don't think the sudden change of tone helps any of us in this situation. I understand that you are a commander, a leader of the wyvern riders in Glia and that is a honorary title to be respected. But Owend was happy when she saw you. She was happy, because she met someone who would look up to when times would be rough for her, something rare for their soldiers, even higher ranked individuals to feel comfortable with. She must have worked a lot for the rank she has, a lieutenant. She must be proud of it, but it is all in vain, if the work she poured does not grant het anything but a cosmetic title. I know there is a strong camaraderie between you both and I base myself on that, knowingly you can let her take a few precious minutes to feel better and be encouraged to take a step into the unknown and not being forced to do it upon an order. After all, courage is gained by facing a fear by her own, free will and not being forced to do it. So I ask you, for the benefit of us here, on a staircase which leads us somewhere of importance, if you could help her... Not by forcing her to take the steps, but to show her the way, to grab a torch and light the path, so that she knows there is nothing to fear. I might have had quite a tongue earlier, but I did it because of some clear stress which shrouded my mind, but I will not let the stress pour into the words that I wish to help my lover with. If you really felt love, which I am sure you did, you know how you would want to protect that special someone, knowing you feel the same way, as if there is an emotional rope that transfers the emotions one feels through another. "


  10. The supposed boyfriend-husband-whatever of Owend was walking next to her in pure silence. Even though he said what he felt could be... True, with the bad and ugly side of it, he probably went overboard a bit, according to his pride and bad tongue. His confusion grew with the talk of the two ladies next to him, having their ladies talk about men. True, Tolok wasn't the best out of the existing men, but the comparison was what confused him the most and kept his mouth shut, not wanting to add fuel to the fire, especially after the Exarch's scolding. Instead, he let out a soft "mhm" which only Owend could hear after the two were done talking, as a reply to the comparison.

    "Now, what in the fuck was that green glow coming from the necklace? What caused it? Will it happen again or something, at the worst timing possible? Please don't, because I am tired of any other unfortunate moments." His attention was, instead, focused on the necklace which was still glowing a bright orange, visible behind the black shirt. "Can my necklace do other things I am unaware of? Blergh, dunno. Might as well not happen during Owend's problems she has to solve. Otherwise, both of us will have to suffer."


  11. "Money and thrill." Tolok answered in a suspiciously calm tone, as he analyzed the surroundings, with the electric stick on his back and holding the sword's hilt, the weapon resting in the leather scabbard. "Wanderers like myself are looking for work like this, so they can earn the coins and... Have more stories to tell at the next local bar that will be visited. After all, wanderlust is an addiction, if you can call it like this."

    He raised an eyebrow at Isaac and took him a few seconds to smug at the rifleman's response. It was a rather unwise thing to comment about his words, seeming he would only talk when he has to or when he is asked questions. Best not to ruin his mood right at the beginning of the journey. What else was there to say, other than ruining possible, essential chemistry between his workmates?... Nothing. Pure nothingness, in such way the silence becomes its own music. This is how it felt like after he finished his sentence and waited for the lady named Danica.

    In the meantime though, his gaze was starting to fix on the hills that would uncover in his line of sight. His small thing to do, as a way to pass some time, was suddenly obstructed by a crackling sound. The wanderer thought he stepped on some rock that was smashed to bits, probably being eroded by time and wind, but it was... Something else, a sudden, morbid twist, as he looked down. Those were... bones...

    He quickly made a grimace, which aggravated with every inch closing in between his hand and another bone laying on the ground. "Guys..." He wasn't able to finish his sentence, as his focus was all spent on the bone. "This does not look like a human bone... It's a small wildlife's bone." He held it in three fingers, towards the sky, to notice some more features. "Doesn't look too old and.... The way it is laid around and being seriously chipped, along with looking questionably clean, it's something unnatural that caused this." He muttered a curse word and laid it on the ground gently, as if he was paying his respects to the bone of an unknown animal.


  12. Tolok's necklace grew a stronger glow, signifying that he was getting closer to the source that fuels it, now being visible behind the shirt. He snorted a bit quietly, hearing the idiocy coming from the supposed princess... Princess of clowns maybe. 

    "I read a book before about a man with severe growth developments, who would have some really small wings and shoot heart shaped arrows towards the hearts of two people he'd think they would make a good love story. I thought it was a dumb thing to read, until I heard of your plan to gain Madon's heart, which trumped that book in a few words. Hey, I understand things might be different in Glia and love confessions might be sorted in a "It's either Love or Death" fashion, but it does not justify bringing one assasin to kill his companions and some guards, probably increasing the chance of him being murdered in a swift strike, or being captured and tortured to death by his opposants..." The necklace suddenly flashed, changing its glow to an intense green, as if something triggered the necklace's magic and made it act like that. Due to it, Tolok's voice changed to a grim, disgusted tone, as he was finishing the sentence.  "...On his land." The necklace went back to normal a few seconds after he was done, but it was already enough to catch the attention of some people. Not even Tolok was able to understand what was wrong with his sudden action, which might probably put him on some sort of 'Watch list of shady men in Glia.'

    (This is how Tolok looks like)

    Spoiler

    -.jpg

     


  13. Tolok gave a warm smile to Madon being like a mini father to him and looked up at his hand. "I won't disappoint you, Madon. If we get to find who we truly are, we might as well go forth and face it." The necklace's glow could be seen behind the shirt, (Note that he has no plate, just a chain mail that would cover his grey shirt. [I also have to find an image for Tolok, gonna do that soon]) the fiery glow signifying something greater than he would have thought, with every word that would be spoken about their fates. "...It must be important. Anyways, what might you expect there, except meeting the people you were in trouble with? I suppose they are the kinds of people to hold grudges?" As he said the last word he took a quick look at his sword and shield, to make sure they are in place and still in good use.


  14. "Hmm... Old truths, you say?" He sighs heavily. "That's the best and worst part of this journey, then. Facing my past... And what happened." He looked down to his feet, frowning. "If that is true... Everything I know about myself might change, for good... Or worse..." He started fidgeting with the chain of the necklace, making a grimace as he was thinking of what could possibly go wrong. "Yeah. Instead of fearing this, I should face it, even though it's one mystery that I might not digest, once it gets revealed." 


  15. "...Oh. The necklace?" He sighed, hearing the question coming from Madon. "It was a gift from my father, along with the sword and the shield. It is said, as a legend, that the sun gives us the flames which exist in our blood..." He lifted the glowy necklace, which had an orange outline now. "...And that there is only one necklace that is around, being passed from man to man in our family. Now... They never told me about a specific glow. And why would it glow here, near Glia? I don't know, but I have a chill running down my spine when thinking about it, despite the necklace being warm to touch." 

    He sighed again, hiding the necklace behind the shirt. "Do you think something or someone is waiting for me, Exarch? Or is it just an odd coincidence?" He is now startled, having no idea what to expect now. More information about his parents? Who killed them? If the necklace glows... It must be someone related to them nearby.


  16. Tolok was eating his food, as well, taking into account the tips coming from Madon. After taking everything into account, he decided that sticking with Owend and playing the two lovers in a honeymoon would be a better choice than sticking with the whole group. He ate his food slowly and in silence, as the cogs in his brain were moving. 

    He rose his head after he had finished with picking one of the two and squinted a bit at the vulgar Amber. He would swear he never heard Amber having such an outburst, all of a sudden, in front of the group and stuffed his nose into the food, trying to hide his surprise.

    "Why would she outburst all of a sudden like tha-" He gave a side-look to Orsola, as if someone hit him with a hammer in the head and caused him to get an idea and looked back at his plate. "Oh. Timelines... If she wants to lead us to the good timeline... Or whatever it is... Then why is Amber doing the exact opposite and, probably, ruining our world? Sheesh... Why do I even ask these questions if I do not know their true intentions? Maybe she really got angry over a random comment coming from Deadeye? But... This looked really fake." He rolled his eyes in his mind after being done with his thoughts and finished the plate.

    "I'll be with you until everything is alright, Madon." he said to the Exarch. He wanted to add something more to it, but he felt a warm glow under his shirt and, confused enough, revealed a necklace that resembled a silvery sun which would glow faintly in a fiery orange. "What." He muttered to himself, as he looked at it for a good minute, holding it in his hand.


  17. The fiery man's rest was good. After the harsh secondary effects he suffered in the desert, it now seemed like it never happened... At all. He got up from his bed and went towards the main deck. The half tired Tolok was doing small, slow steps towards the main deck, as he was rubbing his eyes on the stairs, clumsily.

    After his slow march to the deck, he quietly listened to the briefing, including the protests of Wymp and Owend. After he gave Amber and Mason enough time to finish their lecturing about the correct name of the lands of "Gila". He made an inaudible yawn, before making one step forward and blinked a few times to wake up in his own way.
    "Soooo... I guess we are a magnet for trouble wherever we go..." He shrugged, "I say there is no other choice if we really have to respect this... Timeline. I agree with Deadeye, I have this bad feeling, as well. It's almost as if it is shaking me to the core." He turned his head at Madon. "What else can we expect there, except your... Friends..." He let out an accidental grimace as he spoke the last word, knowing the party will probably level the whole city if everything goes south.


  18. Tolok was not paying any attention to the duel between the Exarch and Sand. Even though it would look like one unique show, Tolok couldn't be arsed to keep his head up and spectate. His blood was turning against him, during the time being, turning hotter, since he used his powers for so long. 

    Every single second felt like a minute passing for him. Even though one would get used to pain, over time, Tolok's "gift" was a double edged sword. He can use his powers for longer than other mages, which have their own mana core, that would sometimes sap into their stamina, but overusing would be much more severe than for the mage users. A cruel tradeoff, for a battlemage like Tolok.

    Quite some time had passed and the lain started to fade away, slowly. It was a torture that the fiery man wouldn't wish, not even to his worst enemy. With difficulty, he stood up on the dunes, as the warm wind whipped his face and the sun was greeting his now pale skin. He took a few steps in the sand, watching Madon going back to his airship. He then started his march, exhausted, towards the airship. All he wanted was a good rest and food now.


  19. Tolok was caught off guard by the bolt which hit his platform, causing him to fall. He was able to create another one, but he feared he would break his legs if he made one to land on. He had to create diagonally, so he will ease hid landing slowly and surely. With the upcoming two bolts, right behind his tail, he tried reaching the ground faster, only to block them with two other walls or by evading them. He could feel his power was lessening with each and every platform he'd make while sliding down, but as long as they could be made, he was fine.

    Unfortunately though, as he was just about to slow down, one of the bolts hit the platform before the one he was sliding on. With a frustrated look, he leaned further to speed up, but the last bolt crushed into the fiery wall, causing him to fall in the sand, with the head right in it. Angered by this, he quickly pulled his head out and started coughing out all the sand he would have swallowed. It didn't help he was near the circle of bandits, a few turning towards him and chuckling, as if he is there to act just like a buffoon.

    "Seems like I am struck by luck." He spit out more sand, as he was cleaning himself with both his hands, "I will need a shower, once we are out of this desert. But, why is everyone here?" He went closer to the circle, making way to see what is happening, until the adrenaline vanished and he started feeling cramps and a horrifying pain, as if his muscles would contract and relax, all over again, in a brutal torture. He left the circle and kneeled down, trying to endure all this.

    "Shouldn't have pushed my magic like this. Now my blood, which holds my fire magic, is going crazy!"


  20. Tolok's work was working fairly well, considering he drew attention to himself and only himself... His pride was growing, with every step and breath taken, but looking up and spotting the black wyvern... "That was too much chaos, shit."
    ...He had realized he attracted the worst out of them all... Hell, the Ebon Knight looks like Death from afar, resembling the sight one would see moments before one's soul would depart his body.

    But was that the end for Tolok? Of course not, he knew his plan worked, but he didn't have any backup plan to flee the place, as the Knight had said, trying to taunt him with his unoriginal one liner, which he heard way too many times before. With the help of his physique, he managed to dodge the incoming energy shot narrowly, but he was forced to dash, using his flames, in order to get away from the incoming blow. He took his breath for the single moment he had free and looked at the black warrior, in his crimson eyes, keeping a neutral expression.
    "Mister Black, but I heard so many tales about you and all of them caught my interest! I know I look like a mere minion to you, but that doesn't mean I'll leave just like that! You know, overkilling sounds fun, but wouldn't a fair battle on foot be more... Fair?" He stood his ground, waiting for a response from the man who represents Death in flesh and bone.


  21. Tolok's fireball was the grand sign for the bloody battle. After he launched it high in the sky, he charged at the Byrn troops, making his way through the ranks, with every single blow of his sword and shield, engulfed in his magical flames. Now, the battle seemed like a massive, one to one battle, no formations being around, ensuring complete chaos.

    "Well, with how many people are here..." He smacked a shield in somebody's face and finished him off with a swing of the sword, "This will take a while." He made sure there was a clear way in front of him and blasted a fireball at opposing troops having their own fight. He rolled his eyes and made a platform for himself, going above everyone's heads, trying to find an opponent at his level. After all, he also had to pay attention at the wyvern riders charging at him, but he trusted Wymp with that. "Maybe this will prove interesting, but I expect one dumbass to fight me." And here it happened, few arrows flew towards him and he had to fall on the ground to take cover behind the troops. He kept destroying the enemy troops, one by one, in utter chaotic flames, just so he could get the attention of the stronger enemies and waste their time fighting him, throwing fireball after fireball, with flaming swings, going through several enemies and rending them useless. "I mean, they will notice me that I am eating their troops alive easily and will have to bring somebody strong enough to stop me. Until then, I will do my work." He chuckled, slightly manically, as he finished and kept blowing up the unlucky troops.


  22. "Hm... What if the Byrn forces and the bandits come in to join the fight at the castle? Bandits will have a clear advantage if we just decide to siege them, Byrn will enter the gates, as well." He glanced around, rubbing his chin. "What if we could make a truce with the bandits, so we can get those Byrn off them? The enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all. But now... This would be very, very difficult to pull off. " He pulled out his sword and made a rectangle in the sand, crossing it in the middle. "If we want to make him talk to us, we might as well have our moment and help him with those bastards. I can make a large wall of fire and they would be forced to destroy it to get through, so I can give you enough time for diplomacy. If he offers to give us the shard thing we want, that would be great news, but unlikely." He slammed his shield into the rectangle, as if the plan could go south if anything goes wrong. "Two to one sounds better than a free for all, honestly, even though we have... That." He pointed with his palm open at the tank. "I may not be the best at ideas, but I don't want to end up risking because Byrn already would have the possibility to take the shard from them and we would just wait at the bandits' base."


  23. "Oy, Owend!" He channeled more energy into his shield and the sword after they left the pillar. He took a look at the paper she held and blinked a few times and made a grimace, "What in the fuck, I write better than him!" He straightened his voice, "Anyways, should we group up or..." Tolok was caught off guard by the loud bang, something which was even louder than the few "boom bricks" that were used back when they ambushed the caravan. "What in the fucking fuck is that?!" He pointed at the box of steel, who would deliver death on large scales. They were high in the sky, and could see the three people inside, Tolok's face showing one, extremely shocked expression.  "Are those... Deadeye, Amber and Eve? What are they doing in that green box with that... Stick in front? Why does it have stars? Ugh...We don't have time for these kinds of questions. We should meet Madon's group and... Deadeye's toy..."


  24. With the landing back on the dunes and the quick relocation to the entrance, he wished Owend a good luck and extended his shield, blocking off the entrance completely. He sighed as bit, as he was staying inside, bored.

    "You know..." He muttered, "I hope none of these Byrn scummies will come in with a battering ram or something. I may have a huge shield, god dammit, but I am a mere human! Actually, add wind magic or however the hell it's called. I don't want a hurricane to come in and smash my skull open with a shield. Blergh, i bring too much bad luck just by speaking. These guys will say I have a bard's tongue if I keep uttering nonsense which comes up as true." He rolled his eyes and yawned, keeping his hands up, along with the shield, to keep entrance sealed off.


  25. It was Tolok's time to shine, being the asshole (or the clown) he is to the enemies. Seeing the bandits fighting the Byrn made it look like they were just some spectators, who could eat scorpions on a stick and rest on a sand chair... If they had those. He looked at the pretty pillar Owend pointed to and looked back at her, who landed next to him. He nodded with a grin and jumped on Nodite.

    "Well, I have a good feeling about it, as well, when I look at it. Except the fact that it's risky... Scrap that, I love risking. Let's go!" He glanced back at the pillar and then at the bandits. "They will probably see us if they have a bad habit of looking up. Want me to extend my shield?" With that said, he took his shield in both hands and waited for her to say the special word, while making sure none of the pesky fighters would start nocking arrows to aim at them. "What's the plan? Get in there, one protects and one finds? If so, the shield offer is still standing." He chuckled, his pride being a bit obvious. Tolok might be a good person, but you never get the pride out of a clown with fire magic.

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