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Voldemort

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  1. Arthur listened to Archibald closely, standing by his bulging rucksack as he considered the learned man's words. His interest was piqued when the older scholar mentioned that they'd been corresponding but suddenly went dark. Considering the conditions in Yh'mi, there was really only three ways to communicate with Inns'th during an expedition. The first involved magi-tech devices but Inns'th wasn't connected to Empire's power grid, and such communication devices added unwelcomed weight to an adventurer's pack. The other two ways involved sending a runner either half-way (meeting a runner from Inns'th itself) or the entire way to Yh'mi to deliver messages. In the latter case, the runner often came back with extra supplies from Yh'mi. Of course, sans technology, the messages were possible to deliver but incredibly dangerous, splitting off from the main group and treading the wasteland on their own. "That doesn't bode well for Dr. Heydrich, but perhaps only their runner has gone missing and they're prioritizing searching for them before contacting you," the black mage replied hopefully, though a sense of skepticism shrouded his words. The mutant wanted to hope for the best, but it wouldn't have been the first time he sought missing persons only to find them dead. Arthur maintained a confident look for Archibald's benefit as he reached out to take one of the sketches from the scholar's hands. "These don't look like anything in Yh'mi's bestiary that I've heard of," Arthur noted with some curiosity, studying the crude drawing and the notes written in the margins as Artanthos returned from the stables. Grabbing his massive rucksack, the mutant settled the straps over his broad shoulders when the erstwhile knight suggested they depart. "Agreed. None of us seem very tired and we have a lot of ground to cover before we reach Dr. Heydrich and the others." With that, the black mage began leading the way towards Inns'th's gate and the wasteland that lay beyond. @Spooky Mittens @Fierach @Phoebe @Damnatus @Tenkai Matsumoto
  2. Even without a solid impact along James’ side, a flash of pain erupted at the sight of impact and shot upwardly across the length of his arm and into his shoulder. Arthur pulled his arm back to its defensive position and gingerly rolled the painful joint. The mage regarded his opponent, who’d spun around to face him, with a confident look and grin of his own. “Not so bad yourself.” Without any more warning, the mutant burst into sudden action, taking a stride towards the master knight’s new position with his left leg. Arthur’s right leg followed suit. However, instead of switching to southpaw with another stride, the black mage lifted his right knee past his abdomen in the beginnings of a front kick. Swiftly, his right leg began to straighten out, aiming to slam the ball of his foot against the left side of his abdomen. But it was a feint! His leg would never straighten the full way, using the sudden movement to force the knight’s hands (which were near his neck) lower to defend the body kick. Instead, Arthur’s leg swiveled in a counter-clockwise half-circle, moving in a question mark-like trajectory from which the kick received its name. The front turned round kick swung towards the left side of James’ face, poised to acquaint the in-step of Arthur’s foot to the knight’s cheek. Hopefully, the possibility of continuing to be struck in the same compromised position would leave his opponent’s head open to attack. @Fierach
  3. The explosiveness that fueled the battle mage’s athleticism was on display as he returned to his feet, finding his opponent leaping towards him with the master knight’s knee poised to strike. Fortunately, it had been Arthur’s plan to circle off towards the right, moving to James’ left side and by virtue steering away from his right knee. Swiftly, Arthur side stepped with his right foot, and swung his left leg behind its partner. His footwork spun the mutant towards his left-hand side in a quarter turn, his body going narrow and creating the space for James to leap by without a collision. The rest was purely muscle memory. Of course, the mutant had already done it once before when the master knight had made the choice to lunge aggressively towards him. When Arthur circled to the left of the airborne knight, his right arm (still reverberating with pain) was in prime position for another check hook and the mage swung hard. He used the circling steps to twist his hips, empowering the strike as Arthur whirled his arm in a hook. Arthur aimed to impact James’ left flank as the knight passed by in his flying knee, knowing there was little the knight could do while airborne, and that he left his flanks open when he lifted his arms high. Naturally, Arthur would have wanted to throw his check hook at James’ head. However, his jumping knee placed the knight’s torso at a sufficient enough height. Despite the pain in his arm, the mutant put a substantial amount of force behind the punch. He wanted it to function as a force multiplier, following on the heels of the mage’s own knee strike to that same region of James’ body. If his punch landed, it would be a difficult thing to ignore. Meanwhile, the attempted strike came at a cost. Arthur would groan through gritted teeth as a flash of heat rushed up his entire limb, leaving the entire extremity tingling from his shoulder to his finger tips. @Fierach
  4. “No, thanks. Save that jerky for what remains of our journey into the city tomorrow,” Arthur replied, waving away the offer with a gesture of his hand. It was an unnecessary snack considering he was getting prepared to cook the meal that he had invited Shalana to. Opening the top of his rucksack, the mutant began to retrieve a multitude of objects from within, both items that he needed to cook and ones that were simply in the way. His gaze was cast to the blonde woman as she twirled a pouch in her hands. “Like I said, I have enough ingredients to make us a nice stew.” With his things spread out, the black mage isolated the ones he needed, placing his wooden cutting board and market wallet in front of him. His cauldron was nearby but it wasn’t yet needed. His fire was going to have to burn a while longer before Arthur had charcoals to cook on. Arthur pulled bundles of wax paper from his market wallet, and idly went about the process of dicing some carrots and onions, then finely chopping some shallots and parsley. For the moment, the mutant didn’t seem to regard Shalana, placing his focus on food preparation. However, the blonde student began to rant about his being a wizard. Arthur’s brows rose in curiosity as he turned to study the woman. Things were starting to get strange. ”I would imagine that university has many wizards, both professors and students,” Arthur responded in a matter-of-fact manner, noting what seemed to be the obvious. Wizards, by definition, were wizened and studious. The worlds’ universities seemed like a mage’s natural habitat, at least it had been the case for Arthur some time ago. At that point, he didn’t believe that Shalana was nefarious, but it was apt to think that she wasn’t telling the whole truth. Was she even a student? Arthur watched the blonde with a pensive look; an annoyed expression beginning to take root on the edges of his handsome features. He couldn’t quite believe that she was still questioning his motives when she was the one lying directly to his face. “Are you still on about?” The mage asked, turning his attention back on the vegetables and herbs on his cutting board. “Am I good? Evil? I suppose that’s a question you’re going to have to figure out for yourself.” @Mickey Flash
  5. “I can think of a more worthy recipient of your share,” Arthur expressed with mock indignation, grinning despite himself under the black fur of his hood. He had expected as much from the monk, to be generous with his pay, but the alchemist hadn’t expected for Tenkai to have such a savior complex. The mutant didn’t know whether that was always or case, or a recently acquired sense from the hyper-militarized Order of knights the monk was a member of. Arthur chuckled before he spoke in a skeptical tone, “These aren’t helpless villagers begging for your help. Generally, the people of Inns’th are adventurers seeking fortune beyond the walls just like we are.” Arthur rolled his eyes and began to make his way to the meeting place with the others. Though not before he sent another expression of skepticism Tenkai’s way. “It’s a nearly two hundred kilometer wall that’s stood for centuries. You’re not replacing it with the proceeds from this job.” ——————————————————————————— The black mage watched with some measure of surprise as Archibald regraded his greeting in turn. Stepping forward, Arthur outstretched his right hand to shake the elderly researcher’s own in a reverential manner. “Yeah, I wish Dr. Heydrich were here as well then we could catch up properly.” Arthur cast his fiery gaze towards the greyish soil forlornly, unsure of what to say and now waiting for when the conversation would turn to the topic of his expulsion. Fortunately, Archibald didn’t bring it up so the mutant simply listened, and began to pack the essentials the elderly researcher was offering them. He pulled the straps of his rucksack off his shoulders and deposited the bag on the ground. Arthur hid his flare in one of the inner-lining pockets of his robes. He lashed the lantern with a long piece of cordage to the bottom of his rucksack. Then he emptied his bag of some of its contents, retrieving his market wallet and began to renew his depleted food stores. As he was finishing up, his comrades spoke up and the mutant lifted his gaze to respond as he worked the rucksack closed. “If I remember correctly, Archibald, Dr. Heydrich researched portals. I’d imagine he was observing the extra dimensional activity beyond the wall. Based on their last known location, the doctor and his party were on their way to the Spires or even possibly beyond them into the Undiscovered Territories. I don’t know if that gives us any indication of what befell them. After all, almost any of Yh’mi’s beasts could be responsible. But it does give us a place to begin looking.” The mutant lifted his bulging rucksack effortlessly, threading his arms under the straps as he settled the bag into his back once more. Arthur introduced himself just after Tenkai did, nodding his head towards the two strangers who answered the job request. “And I’m Arthur Uskglass. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.” @Tenkai Matsumoto @Damnatus @Phoebe @Spooky Mittens @Fierach
  6. The black mage grinned wider, listening as pale-haired woman expressed her displeasure with some pained humor. Arthur had seen many, and had experienced many hangovers, so he knew that Delaney was undergoing quite the bout of suffering. “It’s yours,” Arthur extended his choice of idiom graciously, a glint of mirth reaching his fiery eyes. The mutant met the Seeker’s gaze with a slight bow of his head. He returned Delaney’s small smile with a broad, toothy smirk, displaying (whether mistake or deliberate) what seemed like a sharpened row of teeth at first, but morphed into perfectly human teeth when the woman’s eyes focused further. Perhaps Delaney would take it as a trick of the light, especially in her haggard state, but perhaps she’d take note of the mutant’s constantly shifting nature. Before the Seeker could speak again, the waitress entered the common room again. The black mage’s nose followed the bowl of soup from where presumably the kitchen was to the table where Delaney sat. After a sea voyage, Arthur would have preferred something more substantial for his first meal, but even soup would have set off the mutant’s voracious appetite. After all, anything was better than sailor rations. Knocking on the wood of the bar top, he grabbed the waitress’ attention as he slid coins across the bar. The mage still carried coin from when he aided Duchess Karradeen with the recovery of a curious artifact. The coins were minted in Ursa Madeum. “Another bowl of that,” Arthur requested, gesturing towards the bowl Delaney was given before the waitress gathered the coins and departed. “The beast is actually watching his figure. After all, I have carry him everywhere on my back,” Arthur joked, pulling out one the stools and taking a comfortable seat. The mage faced away from the bar, using the barrier as a back and elbow rest while he regarded the pale-haired woman. “But I’ll take it if you don’t want it. I predict you need the sustenance more than I. But I’m not your guardian, just a hungry traveler.” Arthur looked over his shoulder towards the bar and the sad state of its visible shelves when the woman asked about his sudden arrival in Ylia. The Seeker wasn’t rude when she asked, however, and it wasn’t an unfair query to make anyways. The mutant still mulled over his response for a moment, even choosing to not respond until Delaney made her quip about the inn’s lack of food. He chuckled his amusement as he decided on honesty. “I’m looking to make Ursa Madeum my home,” Arthur responded plainly, leaving out the divination that helped the black mage make his decision, but the reply was honest enough. “And because of that, I’m seeking a House worthy of my services.” The mutant didn’t know if Delaney could help him in such a task. Nonetheless, he felt no need to hide his intentions or his identity, for that matter. “I’m Arthur Uskglass. And you are?” @Aleksei
  7. Arthur served as guide, escorting Shalana over the rolling hills between the mountain ridge lines. The short trek had been a safe one with no sign that there any other travelers in the area. The mutant had seen no tracks, nor had smelled any person or heard scuttling in the woodlands. They were alone which made it safe to draw the hatchet that was lashed to the side of his rucksack. As they walked, the mage struck out at dead standing trees and dried limbs. He gathered the bundle of timber in his other muscled arm; the pile of wood getting larger and harder to carry as they drew closer to their final destination. By the time they arrived at the small mouth of the cave, Arthur had used some cordage to tie his gathered firewood together. The kindling like bark and twigs were stored in an empty, reagent bag on his harness. He often stored freshly picked herbs before drying for his potion stores. The black mage pushed his belongings into the cave after Shalana had entered, and Arthur followed in a crawl before standing within the natural cave. “You’re welcome to sleep outside,” Arthur replied with an amused smirk curling his lip on the right side of his face. The mutant settled his luggage in another corner of their new camp, retrieving only the items he needed before sitting around the cave’s fireplace. “Oh, yes. The wizard, Arthur Uskglass, carries matches,” the mage joked, chuckling as he rolled his eyes in the low-light of the cave. Even then, the sky was darkening outside. Arthur undid the lashing of cordage around the firewood, and arranged a small portion of the longer sticks inside the fire pit. Producing kindling from his herbs bag, he whispered an incantation under his breath and blew air onto the handful of kindling. Power swelled and embers were expelled from between Arthur’s lips, starting a small fire along the surface of the bark in the mage’s hand. He placed the kindling within the mass of firewood, continuing to breath oxygen and sparks until the fire pit erupted into a controlled inferno. @Mickey Flash
  8. Arthur breathed in the salt air as the sea breeze flowed through the deck of the large barge. The mage had never visited the lands of Ursa Madeum but internally began to regret the decision while he was enjoying the warm weather in the region, which frankly barely existed in the mainland, even along the Barnstable coast. The tarot had told him to travel south, that he would find his future as a wizard there, and he realized the truth of the augury as the ship he’d booked passage on sailed through the seas towards its final destination. Ursa Madeum would make for a fine home, it seemed. The vessel the mutant travelled in was fifty feet long with a team of twenty oarsman. A square-rigged sail of red-dyed canvas hung from the ship’s sole mast. The sailors used both man and wind power as the shining, seaside city of Ylia came into view over the horizon. Enthusiastically, the oarsman became energized by the knowledge that their long voyage was nearing its end, doubling their efforts as their oars slapped the rolling waves in vigorous fashion. The drummer kept the team paddling in unison, directing their quickened pace expertly. Arthur wasn’t among their number. The mage sat at the stern of the flat-bottomed vessel, at war with his hygiene kit as the ship rocked with the rhythm of the waves. It made his soap bowl and scrying basin (filled with warm water) teeter precariously upon the bench in front of the mage along with the rest of his shaving tools. He had to reposition them constantly. The mutant grabbed his bristle brush with one hand while the other retrieved the bar of grey soap from the bowl. Dipping the soap into the warm water a few times, Arthur swirled his brush rapidly on its surface until it lathered heavily with white foam. He placed the soap back in its bowl and began to apply the shaving soap across the mage’s face and neck. Next, the black mage took up the wooden handle of his obsidian-bladed razor and began the process of scraping away the entirety of his beard growth. By the time the vessel had entered Ylia’s bay, making its way to the northern tip of Egron, the mutant had reapplied the shaving foam a second time, ensuring the closest possible shave as he took up his razor once more. He had to look presentable. He couldn’t augur why. But it would be significant. —————————————————————— Once the ship had landed alongside Egron’s docks, the mutant had paid the rest of his fare and tipped the oarsman from his Trueblade winnings. With his luggage in tow, composed of a large, bulging rucksack and bedroll, Arthur walked to the Cursed Sword. The inn the sailors had recommended before he departed, though only after he’d been generous with his coin, of course. Arthur stepped over the threshold of the inn and the jovial crowd paused to study him. He had read that the people of Ursa Madeum weren’t wholly trusting of sorcerers, though he also knew that exceptions existed among the population, which was why Arthur had chosen Ylia City as his first stop in his southern adventure. Nonetheless, Arthur wasn’t exactly like most mages, so the Cursed Sword’s crowd stared somewhat suspiciously. The mage’s wild, jet black locks were slicked back and flattened against his scalp by oil; it kept everything save a tendril or two of hair away from his eyes as the mutant stared back into the inn’s common room. He had a mutant’s eyes. Orange and wolflike with irises large enough to obscure the whites of his eyes. Two dots of obsidian sat within those twin seas of luminescent orange, which now surveyed his surroundings as Arthur made his way towards the bar. In an attempt to make a good impression with whomever he was supposed to meet, Arthur was dressed in a doublet of soft velvet, the color of dried rose petals or blood if one was a pessimist. He wore it over his cotton shirt and above gray breeches that tucked into his black boots and dark red gaiters. His robes were draped over his broad shoulders, seemingly like a cape. They were constructed of a shimmering, black fabric and rimmed with the fur of a black dire wolf. It was short and coat-like, reaching the mage’s hamstrings, but still voluminous enough to obscure his upper body and his occult vestments strapped to the belt harness on his hips. The garment’s mantle was formed by the pelt of the dire wolf, its head forming the robe’s hood though the mage wasn’t wearing it at the moment. The fur still gathered around his head like the mane of a lion as he moved. Further adding to the black mage’s menace, Arthur’s arms were slotted through slits in the garment’s shoulders, allowing the mage to wear his robes like a coat while leaving the voluminous sleeves of it empty at his sides. It gave the mage the look of a four-armed beast, inhuman and reeking of sorcerous power. Reaching the bar, Arthur slipped his heavy pack off his shoulders and leaned it and the lashed bedroll against a stool. The mutant followed and leaned against the bar as he awaited the innkeeper. Meanwhile, his animalistic eyes scanned the room, spotting the pale-haired woman from a distance. She was laying her head on the table, signaling that she was at some juncture in the recovery period after overindulging. She was, nonetheless, the most notable person in the common room. A hint of a smirk tugged at the lips of the intimidating figure as he regarded Delaney, “Looks like you’re in the midst of a grape depression.” @Aleksei
  9. Arthur scanned the encampment of Inns’th with his inhuman eyes, shining a luminescent orange in the dark as he familiarized himself with the frontier town at the edge of the world. Beyond the massive wall that were erected from one end of the valley to the other, a land existed wholly at odds with the rest of Lagrimosa, if not the rest of Valucre. It was dangerous and mysterious, crawling with creatures that stalked the wasteland opportunistically. Today, an adventurer would suffice as a meal. In the future, if the efforts of those who lived in Inns’th failed, those beasts would travel across Lagrimosa in a feast without end. The alchemist had waited a long time to explore Yh’mi’s wastes, to put his own skills and knowledge to the test. Now, dubbed the Trueblade, Arthur believed it was time to engage with these dark lands, using his power to penetrate deeper into its mysteries than ever before. A grin spread across his obscured features as he regarded his companions and their skepticism. As always, no vision. No desire to seek opportunity beyond another obstacle to cleave with a blade. A chuckle passed the mutant’s lips from underneath the confines of the black wolf pelt that functioned as his robe’s mantle and hood. Undoubtedly, those robes gave the mage a menacing look. “We won’t be discovering any treasure rooms, Artanthos, but venture beyond those walls and you’ll earn yourself a mercenary’s purse,” Arthur replied to the fallen knight, admitting to himself that it was certainly true that Inns’th didn’t exactly inspire confidence. And yet, the encampment remained, standing strong against the onslaught of the wasteland beyond. He hadn’t told his companions the stories, but the black mage was well-versed in the lore of Yh’mi (as much as any scholar could be without venturing beyond Inns’th’s walls) and knew that the small frontier town had survived an attack from a host of the beasts beyond. There was more hope than either of his companions could see. Arthur kept the look of contemplation off his features, however, sticking his tongue out slightly in jest as he regarded Tenkai and his words. “Then you’ll have no issue handing over your share of the proceeds then, monk.” The mutant followed his companions to the notice board, surveying the offered work until one of the parchments caught his inhuman eye. It had been a long time but Arthur would have never forgotten Alstofo Heydrich. When the alchemist was working towards his advanced degree at the Gaian University, the work assigned by Dr. Heydrich had kept Arthur awake in the dead of night many times. The black mage kept his acknowledgement a secret, choosing only to express his interest in the job. Fortunately, there was no protest and Arthur didn’t need to disclose his secrets. Soon after, they had walked towards where the professor, his assistant, and the other mercenaries awaited other interested parties. Arthur came to a halt before them, appearing like the quintessential wizard of battle. He stood at six feet and one inch and was thick with muscle, their violent lines hidden underneath the fabric of his clothing. On that rainy day, the mutant was sporting a black doublet of wool over his cotton shirt, its lapels tied together by toggles and its high collar rounded the circumference of his neck and head. If he wanted to, he could hide much of his facial features under that collar. Below, Arthur wore a sleet grey pair of pants, tucked into his brown leather boots and held up by his harness of leather belts. The harness was lined with small pouches, occult charms, holsters, and larger bags at his hips which formed the core of his occult vestments. This included the tubed scroll that was strapped to the small of his back, and contained the spells needed to conjure his arsenal of weapons. On top of his outfit, the mage wore his black robes. A symbol of his position among the mages of the Ouread, and a warning to stay the fuck away lest you be tricked by the black mage. The garment was black velvet, cascading shortly to his hamstring and trimmed with black fur from a dire wolf. The mantle of the robes, as aforementioned, was formed from the pelt of a black wolf, giving the impression that Arthur’s shoulders were even broader than they already were. The wolf’s head functioned as Arthur’s hood, from which he obscured his features and protected himself from the rain. At his sides, the robes’ voluminous sleeves hung empty; his arms passing through slits in the garment’s shoulders, which kept the robes on him like an open coat, but also gave the mutant the appearance of a four-armed beast of a man. No armor was visible but it didn’t matter to the mage. If he needed protection, he would invoke his daemon beyond his auric egg, creating the black mage’s nimbus. A cloak of his an-Nar, black and white flames that offered the mage protection. For now, Arthur worked no such magery as he stepped up beside Artanthos as the exiled knight greeted their new employer and new travel companions. The mutant wanted to follow up with a quip of his own. But he only stared in surprise when he set his gaze on the professor underneath the umbrella. His bulging rucksack and bedroll slipped to the ground and the mage lowered his hood, accepting the sprinkling of the rain without any concern. His mutant eyes settled on the professor. “Archibald..” Arthur spoke reverently. The old man wouldn’t recognize the mage’s Changes, but the rest of him was very much an older Arthur Uskglass. “Is that you?” @Spooky Mittens @Damnatus @Fierach @Tenkai Matsumoto @Phoebe
  10. The mutant’s knee collided with his opponent’s left flank in a solid blow; James having crouched into the incoming blow as the mage seemingly took the advantage in their war of strikes. Arthur grinned savagely, enjoying himself tremendously while the battle unfolded with their constant back and forth. His wolfish eyes watched the master knight closely while his offending leg returned to its original position, observing his opponent as the other man continued his turning crouch which swiftly transformed into a sweeping kick that undoubtedly meant to knock the mage off his feet. Arthur reacted quickly, the muscles of his impressive legs tensing before he made to leap into the air. The black mage sought to jump over James’ sweeping strike, but only managed to save his calves and shins when the master knight’s sweep clipped the bottom of Arthur’s shoes and sent the mutant hurtling towards the stone platform on his right side. In midair, Arthur began to invert as he landed on his right shoulder, rolling through in a sidelong motion that allowed the mage to spread the impact of the fall across both his shoulders and neck. Coming out of his roll, the black mage sprang to his feet and began to immediately circle towards his right. He aimed to walk around James, then towards the center of the platform. Arthur had managed to absorb much of force of the sweep, but falling on a stone platform was different from the mats the mage often trained on. His shoulder and arm flashed with an intense heat as tingles spread across the entire length of his limb. As he circled, the mutant gripped his shoulder with his left hand, rotating his right arm in an attempt to loosen his damaged shoulder. @Fierach
  11. Arthur took Shalana’s hand and gave it a firm shake, though his grip remained gentle. The mutant thought nothing of the woman’s gesture, or even the tactile feel of the calloused upon her fingertips. They weren’t quite as harsh or rough as the mutant’s own sword-calloused hands, and callouses formed due to a variety of reasons including roughing it out across uncivilized lands. If the blonde elf hoped that she evaded the mutant’s suspicions, then it was safe to say that she had succeeded. The black mage grinned when Shalana finally introduced herself. It wasn’t the sort of name that Arthur had been expecting. For one, he had thought her name would be less exotic. That said, it was a pretty name nonetheless. “The pleasure is all mine, I’m sure,” Arthur responded with a smirk, releasing the blonde’s hand before adding, “I’m just glad that I was around when you needed help.” Afterwards, Arthur was focused on tracking his erstwhile opponents. The bandits had been careful in covering their tracks, but the mutant was an expert in following tracks and it was impossible (except through magic) not to leave some trace as one walked across the landscape. He found scuffed stone here, depressions in patches of grass. Not to mention their body odors which he followed without issue. It wasn’t long before they came upon the bandits’ camp, and the mage watched attentively from afar as Shalana ran ahead. Arthur didn’t follow, choosing to remain alert and survey his surroundings with hawk like eyes. He’d be damned if they were ambushed here. “I told you I’d find your things,” Arthur replied with a renewed smirk when Shalana returned with a handful of items. By then, the mage was satisfied that they weren’t being watched and saw no harm in partaking in the blonde’s joy. “Let’s find that cave then..” @Mickey Flash
  12. The mutant’s eyes blinked blearily as he regained consciousness. The sun shone brightly from on high, forcing his eyelids open by virtue of its sheer luminosity. It didn’t help that waves were continuously crashing against the shoreline, washing over his nearly drowned form in cruel perpetuity. As his senses returned, Arthur leaped to his feet in a sudden burst of adrenaline. In a confused and startled state, he lifted his hands into guard positions as if he’d been surrounded by enemies in his sleep. However, the mutant found no enemies to battle. He was alone, standing upon the wet grains of a white sand beach with the waves continuously rolling in. The black mage blinked dumbly, trying to wrap his mind around his radically different surroundings. His disheveled state, painful migraine, and dry and burnt flesh didn’t help matters. The memories came eventually and when they did; the mutant found himself staggering away from the shoreline and falling to his knees. Merlin, the ship! He had been on the ship with Xartia and the rest of their motley crew of companions. He remembered the woman cushioning her fall on the rigging that Arthur had expertly tied, then recalled the man climbing aboard in the nude. It was too much bullshit to put up with; the mage’s patience limited to say the least. Arthur disappeared below deck and found an empty room to rest in. Some time later, the mutant recalled, the ship began to rock violently as the sea churned with the power of a storm and he grabbed his rucksack before running up to the main deck to aid his allies. The giant wave struck the ship hard as Arthur exited onto the open deck; the mass of water pushed the mage across the wooden flooring and hurled him over the railing. In real time, Arthur shut his eyes as he remembered his body being at the mercy of the wild current. The storm carried him away from the ship, forcing him below the surface for extended periods of time. He was surprised that he didn’t suffocate. Within the chaos, the mutant had managed to cast two distinct spells. The first fused the wax canvas of his rucksack to the cloth of his button-up shirt. Even then, on the shore, his soaked bag was still fused to the front of his shirt. The second spell caused the mutant to inflate like a balloon, allowing his body to float upon the waves even as they buffeted him with the full force of nature. Through his quick thinking, he had survived the night. “But where the hell am I?” Arthur asked himself, his throat impossibly dry. Nature was a cruel bitch. Imagine being surrounded by water, and yet his body felt as if devoid of moisture. The black mage scanned his surroundings, wondering where he managed to become shipwrecked. If he was lucky, he was on Antigone. However, considering he saw no sign of the ship or any of his companions, he could have easily washed up on the northern tip of the Genesarian mainland. “Reminder to never go boating with Xartia or any of his friends ever again...” Focusing his will, Arthur cast a spell that undid the fused fabrics, allowing him to lower his heavy rucksack to the sand. Even while constructed from wax canvas, his bag was soaked through and certainly there was nothing that could be done for his papers, journal, and his copy of Dr. Martin Pale’s De Tractatu Magicarum Linguarum. A lamentable thought considering how expensive and rare the book was. The rest of his equipment was salvageable though. The mage’s next spell siphoned the water from his rucksack until an undulating mass of water floated in the air in front of him. He cast the blob back into the ocean and strapped his rucksack to his back once more. Arthur didn’t know it now but he managed to wash up a few miles west of where the ship and his companions had wrecked. It left the mutant alone but not washing up along with the ship had lent his infiltration some stealth. No one knew he was here. And there was opportunity in that. As Arthur began his trek down the coast, the distinct sound of an airship traveled across the wind and reached the mutant’s sensitive ears. The mutant leaped into action, sprinting into the tree line for additional cover as he made his approach. Arthur was a long ways away, but even drained, the mage was a stellar runner. After all, he trained everyday for moments exactly like this. @Twitterpated @The Hound @Malintzin @Dolor Aeternum @Zashiii
  13. “I’m sure your school wants to help very much, but I doubt there’s much they can do. Take it from me, I practice necromancy. These people are beyond death, and the only thing we can do is put them all to rest,” Arthur instructed, his mind drifting to the view of Port City from the ledge earlier, and the information he had gathered in town. The seaside town was only good for stripping. Perhaps once adventurers killed off all the undead, and the energies from the Whispernight dissipated, then people would return to the region. Until then, it would remain a stomping ground for adventurers like him. “But I doubt they wanted you to be the one to do it either. If you’re doing poorly in school, then study more. You could have thrown your life away and for naught.” The mutant was reprimanding the blonde woman, casting his fiery gaze upon the ‘student’ in a judgmental fashion. Perhaps Arthur was being too harsh with the woman. However, it was true that she was in over her head, and could have gotten herself hurt. The mage intended to continue but he kept quiet when the woman declared that she wasn’t a weakling. Sighing, Arthur ceased the hostilities and found himself feeling quite sympathetic for the mysterious woman. When he looked upwards at Shalana, the mutant managed a smile from his crouched position. “I have to admit,” Arthur replied in a calmer tone, his eyes softening as he continued to stare up at the blonde elf, “You’re pretty brave for coming here, and I am impressed that you managed to get this far.” His gaze darted back to the map and he stroked his finger along the surface of the document. The mage’s calloused fingertip stopped upon a marking drawn in ink, indicating a possible campsite that someone in town had suggested to the mutant. Folding the map, Arthur deposited the document and fastened his rucksack closed. He stood up straight and lifted his bag, looping his arms through the straps and allowing the robust pack to settle against his back. As he worked, he listened as the woman spoke, his heart warming as the blonde elf told him that she didn’t desire to be alone. “We’ll do it before. I’d rather find your possessions before it gets dark out,” Arthur responded, turning around and making his way back to where they had first met. “I was told about a cave nearby. We can make camp and cook dinner there after we’ve scoured the mountainside for your things.” When they returned to the sight of Shalana’s attack, the mutant began to scan the ground, looking for the signs of the bandits’ passing. He sniffed at the droplets of blood that one of the bandits had left behind, and noted some scuff marks upon the stone of the mountain. “I found a trail. Let’s retrace their steps,” Arthur came out of his crouch and turned back to regard the ‘student’ and extended his hand in a friendly gesture of introduction, “I’m Arthur Uskglass, by the way. And you are?” @Mickey Flash
  14. The mutant cast his wolfish glance over his broad right shoulder, regarding the mystery woman as she admitted to a general lack of skill with her dagger. It didn’t need to be said and Arthur found himself chuckling under his breath. Of course, something did tug at his senses deep within the recesses of his mind. They were both quite a ways away from civilization, and he couldn’t imagine how the woman had gotten so far without the requisite skills of survival which included martial ability. Perhaps she’d been lucky, evading contact as she traveled linearly through large swaths or area. Either way, the black mage’s curiosity was mounting as he continued on the ledge towards where he had left his rucksack. However, Arthur’s attention returned to the woman when she finally noted the obvious. Indeed, if he wanted to harm her, he would have already. Arthur chuckled a bit more audibly, glancing back at the blonde elf once more. “Ding, ding, ding,” Arthur replied with an amused grin, indicating that she had answered correctly. He nodded when she took him up on her offer, turning his head back towards the path before adding encouragingly, “Thats my girl.” As they approached the portion of ledge that the mutant had left his belongings on, the keen-eyed mutant listened to Shalana’s story carefully. Arthur was, at once, both careful to watch for any signs of persons other than themselves, and to listen to the words of the woman’s story. He listened with some sympathy, recalling earlier days when his travels had begun. The mage had been robbed and swindled then as well. But at least then, Arthur was capable of defending himself in a physical altercation. Whereas, considering how he found the woman, he had no confidence in her ability to hold her own against monster and bandits alike. “Perhaps I could track down your things for you. If you think those men did it, then your belongings mustn’t be far off,” Arthur noted, offering his tracking skills. He couldn’t directly locate her things, but he could follow the tracks of the bandits back to where ever they’d been. Where ever they decided to leave behind their own luggage. As he spoke, the mage’s wax canvas rucksack appeared behind a jutting stone. Stepping around the protruding rock, Arthur knelt beside his bag, pulled the front flap out of the way, and widened the opening of the main compartment with his hands. The mage rifled through the bag, retrieving a folded map from an internal pocket. Unfolding the document, the mage listened skeptically as the woman continued her story. It wasn’t that she didn’t speak convincingly. However, the mutant had been an academic, had spent time pursuing an advanced degree within academia. Her story wasn’t adding up in his mind. “I don’t believe that for a second,” Arthur replied with a skeptical look over his shoulder at the woman. He didn’t disbelieve that she was a student. On the contrary, he believed she was. But he also believed that the woman was operating outside of the mandate from her institution. “Please, universities don’t just send off unprepared students to their deaths. Pretty girls like you are invaluable as teaching assistants. Who would fund such an expedition if their researcher was bound to die on the road? They gave you no bodyguards? Is that really what happened? Or did your school forbid you from making the trip and you decided to come anyway?” @Mickey Flash
  15. Arthur watched the woman curiously in the aftermath of the short battle. As far as he was concerned, the elf’s reaction wasn’t entirely unexpected, nor did he suspect some ulterior motive behind her choice of action. The mage knew that the mysterious woman had just undergone a traumatic experience, and knew that he was never in a question answering mood after being presented with particular hardships. He was a stranger and Shalana owed him nothing, even for saving her life he reckoned. After all, people didn’t always save people out of the goodness of their hearts. The blonde woman had no clue what the mutant wanted in return for the deed, even if it was indeed nothing. “I suppose you can’t know whether you’re safe or not,” the black mage replied with a skeptical tone, his animalistic eyes settling on the dangerous blade of her dagger. He didn’t think that she would attack him, but he had no desire to test that theory. Turning towards the corpse of the last bandit, Arthur went about the necessary process of ridding the mountain of the hazardous corpse. Under normal circumstances, the bodies of climbers served as landmarks and warnings on the mountainside. However, with the Port City and the cursed effects of the Whispernight so near, the risk of the corpse reanimating was high. The last thing he needed was for an unexpected zombie to prowl around where he was expecting to spend the night. The mutant seized the corpse with both hands under the armpits, dragging the body near the edge before tossing it over the edge like so much luggage. Breathing slightly more audibly with the effort of his recent exertions, Arthur turned back towards Shalana and took a step forward. A step too far it seemed as the woman immediately lashed out at the air, swinging her dagger in an unconvincing fashion. He supposed she was incredibly lucky that he had no actual intention of harming her. Taking a step back, the mage lifted his hands in a disarming gesture, though he couldn’t wipe the amused look from his handsome features. “Maybe you should have shown those three your moves,” Arthur replied with obvious mock sincerity. He put on a face of false fear as he continued to retreat from the woman, “They’d be as petrified as I am, I’m sure.” Arthur turned around and made to depart for the rucksack he had left behind. He didn’t want to leave the innocent woman by herself, especially when he still knew nothing about her. If she knew nothing of survival, the mage would be leaving her to her death. That said, the mutant had no desire to keep testing her boundaries in direct fashion. He already did his duty as a good traveler in wresting her from the harm that would have befallen her. If she didn’t want him nearby afterwards, he didn’t have to be. Yet, Arthur voiced his invitation nonetheless. “Have it your way but it isn’t lost on me that you don’t seemed to be stocked on much provisions,” Arthur replied, making his way across the natural ledge against the cliffside with careful steps, “I’m backtracking for my belongings but if we’re going to camp for the night on the same mountain ridge then you might as well join me for stew.” @Mickey Flash
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