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ReachForStars

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ReachForStars last won the day on March 31

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  1. Laughter comes first from the older man, amused and hearty, and Dew relaxes. "This isn't one of your kin is it. I'm about to lean on it and don't wanna piss off your kind." Dew chuckles, shifting his weight from foot to foot, and shakes his head. “No,” he says. “I’m pretty sure there’s no other dryad around, at least not nearby.” He blinks. “And I’m… looking for adventure. Or something like that.” As he speaks, Ainsworth walks up to him to relieve him from the horse’s lead. Dew passes it over without a fuss, and smiles at his greeting. He seems nice, even if he does own a horse. At least the horse is well-behaved. And is thoroughly ignoring him. Nice. Then Torie, the big cat, welcomes him into the group with a smile and flickering eyes. Dew studies her curiously as he walks over to the fire Ainsworth is apparently responsible for. She’s big, and her pelt looks soft and fluffy. "Thank you for the sticks, if any were yours.” “Ah, none were mine, but the trees don’t mind.” He sits down near Torie, on the opposite side from Farkis, who seems strangely…sad, as he stares at the night sky. Even if neither his monotone nor his face reveal anything. He does say he is depressed, though. Dew eyes him with worry. He…doesn’t know where he is. That is. Uh. Well. He follows the man’s gaze up, but can’t see anything. “Um...What are you looking at?” Dew scratches his cheek, then answers Torie’s question. “Ah, yes. Half-dryad, actually. My dad’s human. It’s because of him that I wanted to go out and explore the world,” he admits, just a tad embarrassed. He tilts his head to one side, hums. “Salamander? No, I can’t say I have. I’ll have to try it sometime.” Maybe a tiny bit? Dew’s not eaten much human food in his life, since in his tree form he can sustain himself with a diet of water and sunlight, but he’s trying to be adventurous, and that includes trying new foods. He listens to Kreigstad’s reasons for being in the wild, then nods along his question to Torie. You are what you are, after all. How could you be more or less of yourself?
  2. @Venus Sprite 😂 he's a poorly-socialized baby plant taking his first steps in the wider world. I'm glad you like him! ❤️
  3. A third man appears, and this one has a horse! Dew can’t help the curling of his roots—just the very tip of them, buried deep enough in the ground that the movement should be invisible, undetectable. He knows, rationally, that he’s safe from being chewed on—laurel is poisonous to horses, after all—but it’s still a little nerve-wracking to have those teeth so close to his branches. And to make things worse, the man uses one of them to loop the beast’s lead! The horse ignores him, of course, and starts leisurely grazing from a smaller bush that won’t cause it an adverse reaction. That doesn’t stop Dew from metaphorically sweating. What to do, what to do. He can’t take it. It’s too much. Without thinking about it, Dew quickly retracts his roots and then shifts into his human form. The horse makes a high-pitched noise of surprise and distress as the tree he’d been standing by shrinks and turns into a long-limbed, wiry teenager of nineteen with olive skin and green-blond hair. His eyes are almond-shaped and wide, and of a vibrant green. He wears simple clothing: tan pants and a white long-sleeved shirt. No shoes. On his left hand, he holds the horse’s lead. “Ah.” Dew blinks owlishly at the gathered travelers, and offers them a sheepish grin. “I see you’ve managed to get that fire going. Um. Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Dew.” He waves awkwardly with his free hand. “I…was the tree,” he finishes lamely, cringing as he does. Wow, he's really nailed this interaction-thing, eh? The horse neighs.
  4. Two years have passed, and nothing in the palace has truly changed. The walls are the same, the furniture is the same, nothing has been lost or broken or misplaced. Ophelia walks through the gardens and they are still beautifully maintained, the dozen and a half critters of varying races and sizes Lanius has saved and nurtured mingling and making noise when she takes some time to give them attention. She stops to pet a tiger-cat that meows loudly, demandingly, asking for scratches behind her ear, and Ophelia chuckles at the deep rumbling purr she receives in gratitude. Lanius would— The palace is cold. Nothing has changed, and yet everything has. Her hand stops the motions and the cat complains, but Ophelia ignores her. Almost involuntarily, she curls her fingers into a fist, nails digging sharply into the tender skin of her palm. A silky voice echoes in her mind, hated and tainted with betrayal. “Think about it. It would be for the best.” Ophelia snorts, scoffs. Turns sharply on her feet and stalks out of the gardens and into the royal wing. The Oathbreaker made good on his word back then, and she and her mother were not thrown into the deepest cells in their own palace. Sometimes, though, Ophelia wishes the invaders had. Seeing them prowling around her family’s home as if they owned it, taking down their banners and replacing their colors— She slams the door of her mother’s rooms, and receives a sharp reproving look from her mother’s face reflected in the giant mirror. Ophelia grimaces, too angry to actually be sorry, and Cornelia’s brows move, dipping into concern. “Come here,” she says, gesturing with the hand holding the hairbrush. “I’ve just finished myself, and your hair is a mess. Let me take care of it.” Ophelia sighs, but accepts her mother’s gesture for what it is. She walks to the vanity and sits on the plush seat Cornelia just vacated, then studies her own reflection. The grimace this time has little to do with her annoyance, and a lot to do with the fact that her mother is right. Her braided bun is half-undone, stray curls of reddish-brown hair having escaped it giving her a halo like a lion’s mane. Or a dandelion. For a couple of minutes, neither woman says anything. Cornelia gently undoes the bun, then the braid, and then carefully starts the process of brushing the long mane of hair from tips to root. It is a soothing ritual, a traditional part of their routine—a taste of normal in their current upturned lives. Two years they have been living as prisoners in their own home, two years without word or notice of either Adrya or Lanius, two years with only themselves as company. Ophelia has always been close to her mother, but now even more so. “Now,” Cornelia says after a while, once Ophelia’s shoulders unclench and relax, and her eyes lose the pinched look at the corners. She puts the brush down on top of the vanity with a soft clack, then drops both hands on Ophelia’s shoulders. “What is it, my dear? What has you bristling like a feral animal?” Sighing, Ophelia opens her eyes and finds her mother’s in the mirror. They’re the same icy blue as hers. As Adrya’s. As Cassius’. “Tiberius,” she says, cold rage seeping back into her soul. “That Oathbreaker, he—” A growl; her mother’s hands put a little more pressure on her shoulders. Ophelia takes a deep breath. “Can you believe he had the gall to propose a political marriage?” she spits the words out as if they taste vile. They do, in a sense. Cornelia’s expression frosts over. “I see,” she says, and her voice is low and measured and cutting. She rubs twice at the back of Ophelia’s neck with her thumbs, then brings her hands to her hair and starts braiding. “A proposition that I’m sure was thoroughly declined.” A scoff. “Of course. He’s lucky the last pair of cuffs work as well as they do,” she says, looking down at the bands circling her wrists. They are of simple design, but the runic work in them is good. It infuriates her. “Or I’d done much worse than punching him in the chin.” Cornelia makes a soft, amused noise. “In the chin, dear? Why not the nose? Or better, the eye? With a bruised ego like that, I’m sure he’d hide himself away for a time, at least.” Ophelia sniffs, but her own amusement shines through. “I’d have loved to, Mother, but I’m not Adrya. As much as I hate to admit it, the bastard is tall—and my right hook is not that great. The chin is the best I could do.” They laugh together, finding hilarity in the smallest of things. When they sober up, Cornelia finishes tying up Ophelia’s hair in her customary look, and they both feel a little lighter. “There, done.” She takes a step back and then goes to sit at the feet of the bed. Ophelia turns in her seat to face her. “Has there been any change? Any news?” Ophelia sighs, tapping the fingers of her left hand on her thigh. “Nothing concrete,” she says, a little frustrated. “Mostly rumors and hearsay, but—maybe.” That Lanius had escaped at the end of the Siege is common knowledge, and Ophelia is almost sure that her sister had done the same, but there has been no confirmation. Of the legionnaires that stayed—because some did, some stayed for her instead of following Lanius when the battle was lost—some if not all of them have come together in small resistance units, working with other citizens unhappy with the fall of their House. Slowly but stubbornly, they have managed to create a spreading network of spies that feed her and her mother information about what truly is going on outside of the palace walls. There have been rumors lately about Crowley and missing blades, and before that of Lanius being sighted in Thraece, but nothing concrete. Cornelia’s shoulders slump for a moment, but then she straightens and stands up, posture perfect and prideful. “Well, nothing to do but wait, then,” she says. “Our chance will come.” Ophelia inclines her head in agreement, eyes bright. “That it will. And once it does, the tides will turn red.” Sangui et Gloria. Ophelia will take them both.
  5. Shoko curiously observes as Lupin crushes a plump pepper under his heel, head tilted to one side as she tries to figure out what that gesture means. She’s so focused on that, and on his following words, that when the first noise comes she doesn’t really register it as unusual, as potentially dangerous. She’s already grinning, putting her handful of peppers inside the bag, when Lupin trails off, eyes distant and brows furrowed. A high-pitch sound of alarm blares in her mind at his glare, instincts taking over, senses expanding, focusing, searching— There. She turns at the same time Lupin does, towards the side of the mountain the sound of steps and heavily-armed men is coming from. Her left hand clutches at the bag with the peppers, but she quickly ties it up and stuffs it inside her fanny pack. Her hand lingers. Oh, how she misses her kimono’s wide sleeves right now. The man looks rough, and his words are mocking and lazy and full of himself. Shoko feels Lupin move at her side, but can sense no hostility from him at all. At least, not any directed at her. Shoko’s anger is easy to spark, and once it does, it burns until the source is been consumed. The easiest way to do this, of course, is by disrespecting her—which the mercenary does with careless delight as he calls her a little girl. The smile she offers him is poisonous-sweet; deceptively innocent. It hides her eyes, and thus her intent. She takes her fan out—a beautiful thing, delicate-looking and with a flower pattern—and snaps it open in front of her face. “When I hit, run,” she voices to Lupin, barely audible, then laughs out loud in affected nervousness. “Oh, sorry, no. No friends.” A shrug. “Just this little girl and her big brother.” She can’t be sure how many more people the group has, they’re pretty quiet. Well trained. Dangerous. But—they are not behind them, and they’re not surrounding them. It’s just them and this one guy in front. That’s good enough for her. “Can’t you let us go?” she asks, eyes wide. The man tilts his head back and laughs loudly. “Let you go? With part of our treasure? As if—” This small moment of distraction is all Shoko needs. She snaps her fan closed, twists her wrist, the lets go of the two senbon needles she’d hidden with it. One misses, but the other strikes true, right in the hollow of the man’s throat. It’s not fatal, but it surprises him enough to splutter and fall back. “Run!” she snaps, swiveling in place and replacing her tessen with her weighed chains as she starts to do just that. She hopes Lupin listens to her—he seems like a good man, and a competent one at that, but with the number of enemies, well. As she runs in the opposite direction, Shoko fervently hopes she’s pinned their vague location accurately. A bit of a head start will do them good; they’ll have the group hunting them down soon enough.
  6. Humans are…excitable. Loud. Always moving, speaking, doing things. He’s fascinated by them, but also utterly exhausted. And it’s only been around two weeks since he left home. Dew had thought he was prepared to do this adventuring thing. He'd thought his father’s personality and all the stories he’s shared with him since he was but a wee sapling had prepared him to confront and explore the world beyond his clearing and its many wonders. He’d been right…but also very, very wrong. Dew has a lot of theoretical knowledge. He knows how cities work, how money works (mostly) and he also knows how people interact and bond. In theory. Reality is a completely different kind of nut, though. As stated before, people are loud and always moving. For a half-dryad that has lived most of his younger years as a tree, the rhythm humans are accustomed to is bemusing; it rattles him and tires him out. How can they be in constant movement, living with only a handful of hours spent in quiet rest during the nights? Two weeks of trying and failing at keeping a relatively human-like schedule as he explores the city closest to his forest, and Dew is ready to escape to nature once again. Take a breather. Actually relax, for a change. Nobody takes notice of him as he wanders away and into the forest. It takes a while before he finds a good spot, but once he does, he stretches out the kinks on his back (human forms could be such a hassle!) and throws down roots. His body seamlessly shifts into a long but young-looking laurel tree, and when he is done, he gives his leaves a good rustle before falling quiet. He spends a couple of hours like that, in a state of peaceful existence, until movement in the clearing he’d chosen brings his mind back to the present. As a tree, Dew doesn’t have eyes to blink, but his trunk creaks a bit in curiosity as he observes the big cat—is it a cat? Dew isn’t sure—picking up fallen branches and then try to, presumably, lit up a fire. That’s…not normal cat behavior. Or is it? Dew didn’t have big cats in his forest, or if there were any, his father scared them away from his and his mother’s clearing. Then the cat speaks, and oh. Oh. She’s like him. She is people but not. His leaves rustle again when he's hit with the sudden need to shift back to human form and speak to her, but the appearance of another figure entering the clearing stops him. There’s something…there’s something weird about this new person, and all his instincts scream at Dew to stay where he is. But the man is polite once he sits down, gives his name, starts a conversation. Dew observes them for a while, still uncertain. Then another person makes an appearance, this time from behind him, and he startles so badly that his roots shift. He really hopes that nobody noticed that, and they might not—an excitable ball of gray fur yips and dashes forward towards the other two, an older man walking calmly behind it. This is…a lot more excitement than he was looking for when he decided to get out of the city. But Dew can’t deny his curiosity. He will observe the group some more and then, if he feels safe enough, he will change back and join their conversation. (That is, assuming they don’t take offense at his sudden appearance, of course.)
  7. Multitasking! Hope the food came out great 👍 I'm gonna read over your post and finish up mine, now 🙂
  8. Shoko’s amusement at the man’s reaction to the baring of her teeth is short-lived, swallowed up by the wave of confusion she feels as he walks closer and closer to her. Her shoulders tense up when he literally bends at the waist, leaving their faces bare inches away from touching. So improper! Shoko’s nose twitches. “What—?” she starts asking, but then the man starts speaking, introducing himself as he goes. Shoko pointedly takes a step back, the unease at his proximity lessening at the increased distance between them. Nobody in Japan would ever get so close without notice! Shameless! …but then again, he—Lupin, he said his name was—doesn’t seem like a bad person. Doesn’t seem to be anything but a little curious about her. There’s no disdain, no looking down on her, not after that first flash. It’s…refreshing. Good. She smiles then, still a bit sharp but without the edge of a threat this time, honest. “I like how you think, Mr Lupin.” She nods. “You’re alright, too.” Then Lupin gives his reasons for getting the peppers, and Shoko’s eyebrows shot up. She hasn’t really managed to get a proper handle between the various methods of payment she’s found in her short time in Lacrimosa, but at least she has a pretty solid clue of what an ounce of rhodium is worth. (The currency back home was Bakamatsu, and a complete disaster when she left. She’s glad things are easier here. Or at least appear to be so.) She looks down at the handful of peppers in her hand with a conflicted expression. “That they are rare, I knew,” she says, thinking back to the only seller in the market at Chesterfield. “But so valuable?” She shakes her head. A little bit more of cash would come in handy; Shoko basically hasn’t added any to the meagre supply she was given before leaving Hydra’s Heaven, and this seems like an easy way to do so, but… She scowls, though in her young-looking face it might seem like a pout. “Damn it. I really wanted to have them to eat, though.” And to make a few potions, but he doesn't need to know that. Oh. But didn't he just call her a sister? Shoko grins mischievously and looks at Lupin through her eyelashes, badly pretending to be coy, and shamelessly asks: “This little sister asks of you, can I have two handfuls instead of one?”
  9. Then I'll probably go after you, @Fennis Ursai
  10. 596 WTA – Noviria – The Great Palace The screams are loud. Rage, pain, determination, hate. The battlefield is an amalgamation of heated violence and exacerbated emotions, confusing and heightened and pervasive. Even she can feel it, from where she is perched atop the highest tower, the one that offers the best viewpoint for the battle. The walls echo with the loudness of violence and death. Ophelia ignores it all. Brows furrowed, hands entwined in front of her chest, she sweeps her eyes over her people and her enemies alike. Her mind is clear and focused on their troops’ movements, the Legion a well-oiled machine withstanding an overwhelming force. Thirteen of the mages under her direct command have taken to the battlefield and helped her brother repel the invading forces, but she does not know how many of them are still alive. Mages are powerful, but they are not invincible, and against an army like this— Sweat drips down from her hairline, an uncomfortable prickle that she pushes out of mind almost before she registers its existence. The floor under her feet vibrates, but at this point Ophelia cannot be sure if it is the marble being affected by actual tremors or if the movement is a response to the aggressive channeling of her magic. It would not surprise her if it was the last option; Ophelia has never used so much power before in her life, she has not had the need to. Her terracotta constructs are formidable. They feel no pain, no fear, no hunger. They can have an arm cut off and keep on fighting. If the situation was not so dire and she could devote more time and strength to each construct, Ophelia would regenerate their lost limbs in a matter of minutes, filling the enemies hacking away at her soldiers with despair, a taste of early defeat as morale dwindles in the face of such an opponent. But it is not the case. The Siege of Noviria has been going on for hours. Ophelia realized soon after it started that she could not default to her usual methods, not if she wanted a chance for victory. Victory, a voice scoffs in her mind. If victory was possible, you wouldn't have made the suggestion that one of them should leave. If it was possible, Adrya would be down there, in the thick of things, fighting and raining blood down on our enemies. As with all previous distractions, Ophelia pushes the thought away. She cannot afford to dwell on it, cannot afford to contemplate the truth of it, or she will falter. And that would be a mistake far too costly to make. The Centuri in the east flank is being overwhelmed. Martia was with them, but even though Ophelia cannot see clearly, she knows she has fallen. Legionnaires of white and red are being pushed back, quickly, and Ophelia rushes to their aid with a new horde of terracotta constructs. For a moment, things seem to stall, neither side advancing. Then, carmine warriors start pushing back. A short thrill of triumph burst down her spine, and she turns her eyes away, looks to another point in the battlefield— “OPHELIA!” Everything happens too fast. The scream behind her startles Ophelia out of her focus with a jolt, but when she turns, alarmed and confused and alert, it is just in time to catch Cassius’ body as he falls in front of her. She falls to her knees, cradling him as best as she can with her arms. In the back of her mind, she is aware that the constructs down in the battlefield are crumbling away, but she cannot care much about that because her beloved brother is smiling up at her with blood on his teeth and a gaping hole in his chest, eyes vacant. Her mind is slow as molasses, unable to comprehend the scene in front of her eyes. What is her brother doing here? He was with Mother! And his guards—her guards— “Oh, dear.” Amalia is slumped against the wall, not moving. There is a pool of red beneath her, similar to the one forming beneath her and Cassius. Ophelia’s heartbeat is loud in her ears. “That didn’t go quite to plan.” Tiberius sighs. Shakes his hands. Ophelia distantly realizes they are covered in blood. Amalia’s blood. Cassius’ blood. “Tiberius?” She does not recognize her own voice. The man grimaces down at her. His white toga is splattered in red. “I’m sorry, Ophelia. It’s nothing personal, really. Just a matter of survival.” Two guards enter the room with Cornelia between them, one of them holding a sword to her throat. Her mother’s eyes burn with icy rage, but when they fall on Cassius’ body, they fill with grief. Ophelia is numb. “Give yourself up. Swear an oath.” Tiberius crouches in front of her, seeking her gaze with warm brown eyes. Ophelia had trusted him. She had trusted him with her life and he betrayed her—betrayed her House, her family, murdered her brother—! “Ophelia. I don’t want to kill you. I don’t want to kill anyone,” he says, and he even sounds sincere. Like he believes in what he is saying, and wants her to believe him, too. As if the truth of the matter is not lying dead in her lap, staring right at her with empty blue eyes. Ophelia laughs, bitter. “Shut up, Oathbreaker.” Tiberius flinches back as if her words actually hurt. What a great actor. “Ophelia,” he says, pained. “Please. It’s either you surrender to us or be killed. I don’t want you to die. Or your mother. There's much you can still do for Noviria.” Were you not about to do just that? Ophelia thinks dully. When Cassius screamed, when he shielded me. Were you not about to kill me? And then: He saved me. I don’t want to die. She purses her lips so tightly that her jaw hurts. Looks down at the murdered brother in her lap. She thinks of her missing sister, of the half-brother that is still fighting. What must have Lanius thought, when Ophelia’s constructs stopped moving and started breaking down? “Fine,” she says, channeling the ice in her veins through her voice, sharp. Adrya is her sister, but she is also her Dominus, and she believes in her. She is gone, but Ophelia knows with a certainty that goes beyond trust that she will be back to reclaim their home. Lanius will find her. They will come back, and once they do, Ophelia will be ready to help them. Fine. She will give herself up; she will surrender today in order to fight tomorrow. With blazing eyes and steel in her soul, Ophelia lifts her chin, catches Tiberiu’s gaze, and swears an unbreakable oath. And if he and his fellow traitors are too relieved to listen too closely, too high on their victory to hear the loophole carefully created by her wording, well. That is not Ophelia’s problem, is it?
  11. Hello, hello! 🙂 I'm actually down for any of those, though depending what we end up doing I'll either throw in Kaila into the mix or my lil plant-boy that hasn't been introduced yet to Val. If I had to choose though, ehhh... chance encounter in the wilderness (which could be mixed up with the caravan - some characters meet before, planned, and then find others)? But as I said first any of these sound great! EDIT: oh as for your characters, I've read all their info and they are all great, but I confess Torie won my heart :'D
  12. Jumpy, Shoko thinks as the man swirls around and takes out a short sword out immediately after hearing her speak. Amusement and curiosity swirl and mix together in her chest as she carefully observes his movements, but offense bubbles up once she can see him taking her in—and dismissing her as a threat. Partly, at least. His face doesn’t reveal much, but she can tell. It’s in the tensing at corner of his eyes. Shoko bristles internally at the assumption, but it’s useful, so she takes a deep breath and tells herself to settle, especially since he actually capitulates to her wishes without protest. Though she does narrow her eyes at the slight emphasis on the word handful. “Yes, a handful,” she says, because it’s the truth. As much as she’d like to take a whole plant, she doesn’t have the means to carry it or even a place to plant it once she’s down the mountain. Travelling the land does not invite her to have more than she can carry, and a garden is certainly out of that list. She can fill up a bag, though. She raises an eyebrow at his dismissive words towards her safety, but then she snorts at his honesty. “Fair.” Shoko looks at the patch the man shows her, then nods and walks up to it. She plucks a yellow-orange pepper and brings it close to her nose, sniffs at it. Fresh. “Do not call me missy. Shoko, I’m called. And I don’t need an, uh, escort down the mountain.” She grins at the man, a show of teeth and a warning both. Perhaps she doesn't cut a particularly impressive figure, especially when there are no weapons to be seen, but Shoko dislikes being thought of as helpless. “Can take care of myself. But,” she adds then, humming a little as she plucks two more peppers, “as you said, company is good. Say, you will eat all that?” She gestures to the peppers around him with her chin, as her hands are busy. Those are a lot of plants. “Must love chili.”
  13. Hi! I'd be up to something low stress, if you'd have me 🙂
  14. Vaddok is as enthusiastic and friendly as the day before, his good humor contagious. Kaila smiles broadly, victorious, and lets the man congratulate her and guide her around to the back entrance of the kitchens, where she meets the cook. She gives Ghallen the praise his food deserves and he grins at her, happy with the recognition, before he strikes a conversation with Mr Fabro; they are obviously good friends. She leaves them to it when Vaddok ushers her inside again, to get away from the cold. Kaila says her goodbyes to Mr Fabro and enjoys a cup of hot chocolate while she contemplates her future path. She needs to let her shoulder heal first, but later she actually has to make the trip to Valucre proper; to begin the search for her brother even if she doesn’t have the smallest clue as to where to start. What are you whining for? A voice that sounds suspiciously like Rohnan echoes in her mind. It’s not like you had much of a clue before, either. You didn’t let that stop you. And she won’t let it stop her now, either. Her hands clutch the cup, inviting warmth seeping through her fingers, and her resolve strengthens. Vaddok comes back with her new cloak before Kaila knows it. It’s impressive—magic must be involved, somehow, because less than an hour to complete such a job is incomprehensible otherwise. Kaila touches the soft pelt with reverence, admiring the details. When she tries it on, it fits her like a glove. "You'll feel no cold while wearing this -- warm from your fingers, toes, even to the tip of your nose." “I don’t doubt it,” she answers, already feeling the effect. Kaila has to take the cloak off or she’ll overheat inside the warm Tavern. She hides a pleased smile at his words by ducking her head, then she realizes that she doesn’t need to and looks back up. “Thank you, Mr Vaddok. I think I’m going to stay until I heal, and then I’ll ask you to send me through into Valucre.” The man nods. “Of course, of course.” It takes her a little more than a week—regular consumption of healing croissants and other selected foods coupled with rest and light exercise can create wonders—before she’s ready, but when she is, she packs up all her things, gives a heartfelt goodbye to all the people (and beings, because Z is a seven feet tall dragon-kin and quite obviously not human) she met and made friends with, and then takes the Gateway into the unknown. [END QUEST]
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