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  1. Kalmuli had decided it was time for a change to her training grounds. While tents and rickety shelters were good for survival training, a touch of luxury and calm was needed too. As an elf, she was quite used to parties and being able to be catered to by the nature around her. A fresh start would be good and a little sanctuary for some self care was good too. It would have the similar luxuries like she had in her usual estates but more designed for the natural diversity of the South Seas. No penny had been spared in it's construction. Built into the high cliffs on high wood stilts and made from the trees surrounding the Training Grounds, the sea-side cottage stood out if one paid attention. It was still plenty shaded and blended with the trees in the background while still managing to have uninterrupted views of the sea itself and the shore along it. Inside was plush with polished floors and bones of some aquatic creatures on display both native and foreign. With five bedrooms, there were plenty of rooms for guests with chambers dug out of the cliffs themselves for her...hobbies. Most including her peculiar tastes but also room for teaching about herbs and medical care. Down below on the shores were tents that could be used to lounging around on the beach or survival training, upgraded with bunks and better supplies than her first venture with fishing gear and small boats for heading out into deeper waters. From the shore, one could make out the wood railing of the balcony but the rest of the building itself was hidden in the trees and cliff. Deeper into the jungle itself were a enclave of hot springs for bathing since there wasn't any plumbing on the island. There was only one living creature that minded the luxurious sea-side estate of a creature that resembled a man with a sea-urchin of a head mostly that prowled the grounds looking for intruders, throwing venomous barbs at anyone who wasn't invited. For those who were welcome, it was a treat to behold and experience the South Seas in their uncrowded majesty.
  2. A familiar wasn't just a pet for the wizard, it was an important facet of their life that can be invaluable in their work. With a familiar at his side, Luis Uldwar would be one step closer to finally being a fully fledged wizard in Valucre. To make the one he wanted, however, he would have to go on a fairly difficult journey, one that could be as dangerous as it was amazing. Are you sure you can trust this guy? Luis assured the separate consciousness inside of him, the one that he called Nietzche, that this person could be trusted. With all the money he was offering him for it, he had a hard time thinking of how he could be considered untrustworthy. You can think of plenty of reasons as to why someone cannot be trusted. Take me for example. For the crime of simply existing, you didn't trust me. Recent memories of various spells backfiring due to Nietzche’s interference came to mind, detailing just why Luis was reluctant to fully trust him. Not my proudest moment, I’ll admit, but hey, we've come to be a good team, right? It was true that they seemed to do well together, but Luis still had his doubts about his motives. Having to be here on the docks was bad enough, and it didn't feel good that he was going to have to be on the sea for a while just to get where they needed to be. If he didn't blow most of the gold he had on hiring the professional companion maker, then he could easily just book a passage on an airship, but alas, he would have to go for the cheaper route. Out here in Port Mars, his last name at the very least got him a discounted trip to Last Chance, which he could then go from there to his true destination. No Man's Land. So have you said your prayers yet? “About a hundred times. I think Gaia might be sick of me by now.” I would too if I had to listen to you grovel all day long. @Rabbit
  3. [Warning: This thread contains excessive violence, suggestive themes and depictions of extreme torture and degradation. If you are uncomfortable with this please do not continue further. While nothing goes into explicit detail, it can still be considered disturbing to some audiences.] The waves are rocking back and forth, a gentle rhythm that lulls one to sleep, carrying them blissfully to the land of dreams and comfort. Beneath this gentle song of the sea lies the beginning of a tragic tale of woe, of pain, of unimaginable suffering wrought by the hands of pure evil itself. For the innocent Lady Merida, she will find no comfort in the slow and gentle motions of the water, for she was in the clutches of the Descartes twins, who had no intention of making her stay with them comfortable. In the darkness of her prison, Lady Merida has gone much of the day without food or water. Forced to lay in her own waste, she awaited that dreaded click of the lock. Muffled voices could be heard, voices of gruff men with ill intent just beyond the confines of the trunk she was forced into. One could only imagine the horrors that await her, once they are ready to begin the day's work in passing the time. Little did she know that things were far more devious than what her ears could perceive. A greater plot was afoot, one that was centered around the destruction of not just Lady Merida, but of an entire family altogether. “Rise and shine, little one. It's the first day of the rest of your life.” Throwing open the lid of the trunk, it was turned to it's side, dumping the blind teenager unceremoniously onto the floorboards of the small ship. Marcella savored this moment, looking at this helpless, stupid little thing, who would never know just who was really doing this to her. All she would know was what they wanted her to know. Circling around her prey, Ursula was quick to throw in her jabs as well. “Look at ‘er. Her hair's not so pretty anymore. Quite disgraceful for a proper Lady, eh Boris?” In order to further sell the facade, they had to ditch the dainty, posh dresses they preferred for something more rough and tumble. Rough spun tunics and breeches would give them the right feeling once they got up close and personal to their victim. “By Gaia she reeks, too. We better make her presentable for when the boss wants her.” “Yeah, can't put the seed in her belly if she's looking like a rat.” Such threats were always good for scaring little girls like Merida, and it served a dual purpose in placing a motive into her mind. Had they enough time or the right opportunity, they might have been able to actually pull off such a grand illusion, but alas, the threat of forced impregnation would simply have to do. First thing's first was to remove the gag in her mouth. Getting her clean would be useless if she drowned during the process. Both twins stifled giggles between themselves as they heard her whimpering and plea for mercy. Such a luxury was nowhere to be found for Merida however, as it was time now to get to work. “Let's see what we can do about that hair, eh?” Taking out a knife, Ursula began the process of brutally clutching her hair, sawing off whole clumps as she began to butcher her beautiful mane. “Shame, really. I quite fancy women with long hair.” “She ain't a women yet, Ivan.” Marcella so loved this little game. “True, but maybe we can fix that before Luis gets here, eh?” Ursula whispered the question into her ear, laughing in that rich bass of a voice from her squirming. If she was this entertaining at the beginning of, they could only imagine what it would be like for the rest of the week. @Witches Brew
  4. Labelled for reuse Layout The galleon weighs 500 tons and is limited to water. It is 160 feet long with a 32-foot width. It can handle a crew ranging from 15 to 35 members, and has an additional capacity for 100-150 passengers, depending on the desired level of comfort. Forecastle: Upper deck, forward of the foremast. Beneath the forecastle are the kitchen, dining room, and restrooms for the crew. Main deck: The uppermost complete deck extending from bow to stern and the site of most daily activities. Astern of the main deck is the Noble area Noble area: Access to this part of the ship is restricted to the officers, the captain, and high-ranked passengers. It is the only area of the ship with private rooms Quarter deck: Hosts the Mizzen mast, the steering wheel, and the pilot cabin. This is the area from which the captain and officers make calculations and command the ship. Poop deck: Intended for officers, providing a vantage from which they could oversee all maneuvers on the ship. Gun deck: Houses the cannons as well as the accommodations for most of the crew, who primarily make use of crates for personal storage and hammocks within the shared space for sleeping quarters. Hold: Found beneath the gun deck and is used to stow loads, goods, and ship rations. Capabilities Here's where things get interesting. Phase: The ghost ship is capable of freely switching between being physically manifest or spectral. When physical the galleon operates like any other galleon, capable of shooting its cannons and of being struck by enemy fire. When spectral the ship is capable of phasing through other ships and letting ammunition pass through it – it can fire in this state but the ammunition is spectral also and will pass through any targets. Self-propulsion: The ghost ship is capable of self-propulsion, its sails filling out as if being buffeted by wind even when there is none. When physical, the galleon can move at approximately 9 MPH, a fair speed for a galleon. When in spectral form, unencumbered by inertia and momentum, the ship can travel up to 30 MPH; if turned physical before being allowed to settle, the crew are flung off the ship and the ship suffers damages. Claims A race to the finish To grab a ghost ship A number of methods
  5. LAVERNIA: The surface of the ocean water still. A pirate ship was anchored not far from an uninhabited tropical island. The pirates were debating whether a treasure map was trustworthy or not, and the crew seemed to be winning over the temporary captain. About every other day a new captain was chosen out of the twenty-four seamen and the latest one, Benny Rashwelts, now Captain Rashwelts, was the new one. He was built like a Boulder but he had a slow mind. Only his strength and size were of any use to him and everyone knew that. Still, they didn't want to be beaten to a pulp by this beast. "But captain," chimed a sweaty palmed pirate. "See here, the island looks nothing like what's on the map, we are off course." "What do you mean we," cried a sneaky pirate named Blakethorne. He had one eye, the other was rolling around somewhere on the ship, forgotten. "I'm sure that you were the one who was supposed to be on the look out. Weren't you in the cabins studying the crap like it was the last thing on Earth?" The sweaty pirate gave him a murderous look. "Ah, yes, while you were off rubbing yourself against the first captain's daughter." With that the first captain cried out in anger and there was a brief brandishing of swords before Captain Rashwelts growled at them to stop, since they were disturbing his Lookout. Almost no one noticed the young woman slide out of the water below and climb onto the ship quietly, sneaking around barrels and piles of ropes all the way to the door the led to the bottom layer of the large ship. The only person who noticed with the cabin boy and he gaped wide eyed at her until he noticed the curious looks he got from the other pirates. He just swallowed and pretended not to notice anything unusual. When the pirates forgot about him for a moment, he snuck away towards the cabindoors and went downstairs. He didn't turn around the corner before he found himself laying on the floor. He gasped and looked up into the eyes of a blond girl with a strange expression on her face. It was the first girl he'd seen in months on the ocean. "Are you a human boy? Where is your ship going? I'm coming along." The girl had a strange dialect and she seemed to make clicking sounds at the end of her sentences. He wanted to be nice to her and say that she could along but that would be dangerous for her. The cabin boy shook his head violently. " You must realize that this is a pirate ship, lady. If you stay on board, and you're not the first captain's daughter, you will be hurt or worse by the men on this ship." He picked himself up. "Why were you in the water?" "Ha, how do you expect me to answer your questions when you don't answer mine, silly? But anyway, I live sometimes in the water. It's like a second home to me." She got up from her crouch and headed towards the kitchen, where the cook was. He was too surprised to see a pretty young woman, with strange markings on her legs, come in, especially with the fourteen-year old cabin boy who couldn't stop staring at her. He finished mincing his vegetables and gave her a hard look. "You'd best leave before the captain of the day catches you. They should be down here any minute now, after their babbling about which way to go." He sighed to himself and took a long swig of whiskey from his drink. Lavernia stared at him in wonder before reaching out and snatching the drink. He cried out in alarm and reached for his cutlass but the cabin boy motioned for him to stop. He made a gesture that meant that she was very strange, besides. The fact that she literally came from nowhere, or at least in their opinion. She sipped from the cup cautiously. Immediately she spat it out. "Do humans love to drink poison, is that why your lives are so short?" The boy and the cook shared a look. Then the cabin boy turned to her and asked, "Where are you from? You climbed out of the water, but it's said that the island's been uninhabited for centuries." Lavernia scoffed. "I'm not from an island, I'm from under the sea. I think I've told you that; I'm a mermaid." They stood in silence for a moment. Then the cook roared in laughter. "You'd best get your drunken girlfriend outta here, lad, before she loses the rest of her mind." He went back to cooking but the girl still had a smile on her face. She looked at the boy. "I've lived in that volcano since I was born, but I'm leaving to discover new places and have adventures like my grandparents ways told me about." The boy guffawed loudly. "You expect me to believe you? I knew something was off about you." They look left the room together. While they were heading towards the bunks were they passed a door that the joy explained held prisoners fork their journeys. Lavernja noticed a extremely skinny and malnourished prisoner and she had a brief frown on her face. "Don't you feed them?" The cabin boy shrugged. "When there are scraps, which is rarely since the crew love food second to their own lives."
  6. @spacegy4 @ODSTDRAGON @Winter's Sorrow From his vantage point in the bridge, Cecil stared out into the misty skies. He was tense, everyone on the bridge was, and all eyes scanned the fog-choked horizons. The Aria was flying Terrenus' Southern Sea once again, though on business outside the norm. No raids today, no theft and plundering, no they were on a smuggling run. Traffic in the South Sea was in rough shape, and it had been ever since the crew of this very vessel had irritated a sky leviathan in the area. The large, serpent-like creature had been attacking any shipping vessels it found, see or air, and the military was out in force to hunt it down. Standard shipping was close to non-existent, and this sticky situation was making smuggling things into Casper incredibly profitable, though also incredibly dangerous. Hence the Aria's current course, hull laden with luxury goods and other supplies that would sell very well in the deprived city. They just had to dodge the angry sky-serpent and the Terran military. Hence the tension. Still, the mist was providing them good cover, and their navigator's calculations put them almost two-thirds of the way to their destination. Just one more hour of flying and they'd be making their delivery. Something stirred. The captain caught it out of the corner of his eye, but by the time he'd turned to look out that particular corner of the front windscreen, the movement had ceased. He called up to the crow's nest, trying to keep his voice calm. "Ms. Revauld, I do believe we're not alone in this mist. It might be our old friend, or maybe a patrol. Keep your eyes back and left, and we'll watch right and front." Instructions given, Cecil leaned forward in his chair, eyes scanning. Until he needed to give more orders, he was one of the most free members of the bridge crew, and he used it to keep his eyes roving across the windscreen. He really didn't want to be caught by surprise out here. "Signals, let's us know if the magi-tech display picks up on anything. This mist plays havoc with it, but it's better than nothing." Outside the Aria, unseen forces stalked through the mist, either knowingly or unknowingly on their way to a dramatic rendezvous with the pirate vessel.
  7. The ever-persistent hum of the small magitech vessel made a soothing harmony with the winds that flew over the deck. They threw Red's hair around in the most ridiculous manner possible, creating tangles he knew would be a trifle to get out, but feeling the air on his face, in a way only strong winds caressed one's skin was a pleasantry he thought few enjoyed. Indeed, Cia Sha was below deck, likely in their shared room meditating or something of the like. The ship itself struck him as an odd choice for a trade ship, but as it had been explained to him, it had the engine of any larger ship, and since they carried such heavy cargo, they needed to save weight where they could. Being that he was hardly knowledgeable about magitech though, he hadn't learned much from the lecture. He was virtually alone on the deck; the whole ship was shaped like a seafaring sort, save for its lack of a mast or sails, and likely could serve as such. There was an area shielded with glass at the stern where the captain and the navigator were doing their work, and no one else was braving the winds. Granted, Red wouldn't even have dared opening his eyes for how quickly they'd dry out. Soris, who he missed as a mentor and traveling companion, had helped orchestrate a deal to have them take passage on the vessel. After finding the famous North-Western port city of Genesaris in ruins, they hadn't had much in terms of options. Making due, they'd traveled to Jordan City, South and mostly East and acquired their method of travel there. The man had trained him the whole way, though he'd spent more time retraining Red's footwork than actually teaching him techniques, which was well enough, since the techniques he'd helped him with mostly related to instruction of form. Less new, magical secrets of swordplay, and more telling him all the things he was doing wrong with what he already knew. He had practically begged the man to continue to accompany them, but he had said he had business far to the East in Port Caelum. He'd mentioned a festival and said he wasn't quite the right shade of red, which still didn't make sense to the former farm boy, but thinking of his place brought him down to the solemn truth of his part in returning to Terrenus. Cia Sha wanted to return to her master and train more, which was admirable, but he was dragging his tail back to the family that he had left. They needed him, he knew, with the farm suffering as it was, but he had lacked the strength to face the harsh reality of their otherwise mundane life there. He owed them everything, and needed to be there to do what he could as one of them, yet all he wanted to do was stay with Soris to continue his training. The man had even offered the chance, but he had known better than to follow the siren's call. Perhaps that made him more of a man, only... He still felt like he had made irreparable mistakes, and felt no joy in admitting them. . . . Far across the ocean, an old man sat in a similar position to the blind woman in her room on that same airship, shutting out the world around him to focus on that which was inside. However, high in altitude as he was, he was on the ground in a small wooden temple. He had memories of his mind untrained, with thoughts so often astray, when looking into the center of his power past his own thoughts and feelings was more difficult than grasping it. Now, things were much different. Even his innermost thoughts were at his command, and played no part as an obstacle in centering himself. Focus was easy. So easy, he forgot some of how it felt not to be in total control of himself and his power. He reached out, not in a direction. Not in any way that was analogous to the sheer distance that separated them, but mentally, to a soul that could just as well have been right beside him. And indeed, that soul was shocked, and gasped when she felt the connection he made. Child. Master Aerys sent to the blind girl. Are you heading West to return to me? Cia Sha jolted and she broke her posture, leaving the traditional position to clasp the cold surfaces surrounding her and pant in her shocked condition. Did I reach out to you? She responded as she had learned to respond to him. She had never been able to establish a telepathic connection, but he had gotten to some instruction of how to handle one with her. Amusement echoed in the tone of the thoughts transferred to her. No child. Then, She thought in her head, familiar and comfortable as thinking to herself was before realizing he would not hear such things, and sent her message over the telepathic connection her master had established. Then you reached out to me? Why? What have I done? Nothing... Or perhaps, everything but answer me. Right. I apologize. She focused, crossing her legs again and regulating her breath. Yes Master. Even with the things you taught me, I fear I'm not fit to travel on my own in this world. There was no immediate response, so she waited. I have enjoyed the absence of students. I've had much time to tend to my own concerns. Perhaps I do not wish for you to return. Only the thoughts, with no emotion attached, were sent over their link, and Cia Sha shivered. She was sure she made an open book of herself to him, and he had the mastery to remain so terribly ambiguous. Without him, she feared she would never become as capable as she wished to be... Or as safe. Likely, that feeling came with her sending, Please, I'm not ready for the outside world. You were right. Because Master Aerys's response was forgiving. I appreciate that you've come to understand that. He sent, and all at once, the sensation of the link, like a heavy mantle on her head and shoulders that suffused her with his will was gone, lifted as one might any grip. Cia Sha sighed and leaned back against the wall, uncrossing her legs and finding bodily comfort as she tried to focus on other things. Without sight to saturate her attention however, she reached out and went through exercises in sensing the world around her until she became tired and drifted to sleep. She slept until the door opened and she found herself startled once again, though this time by an immediate presence, and the din of the engine and the wind outside being so pleasantly broken by the sound of Red entering the room. "Hey there." He said, kneeling close to her. "Were you asleep?" She nodded, and he moved in a way that was hard to recognize. "I couldn't even tell. But... Ah, well, let's go get some food. It's about dinner time." Cia Sha nodded again and signed her thanks before taking his offered hand and allowing him to lead her to the dining room.
  8. @J. A. Horton@Winter's Sorrow Huge storm clouds billowed out in front of the Aria's bow. Intermittent lightning blasted through the darkened skies, and Cecil kept could smell the ozone from inside the Aria's bridge. The delicate instruments surrounding him were disagreeing heavily with their treatment, and the whole ship was groaning with complaint as they traversed the dark cloud. Rain pelted the front windscreen of the bridge, running in massive rivulets sideways along the composite glass. Cecil turned his attention to Duke, who was standing in front of the wheel at the fore of the bridge, and then up at Claire's position in the crow's nest. He hated risking both of them to a lightning strike, but if they were going to get through this he needed them up here. At least he'd been able to convince the rest of the bridge crew to head down to lower decks. They'd be able to take over if things took a turn for the worst. Things had already turned pretty bad this raid. Pursued by Terran ships, engines damaged, and the damn intercom wasn't working. Of course, they were still aloft, so things could certainly be worse. Not for the first time, Cecil was wondering if the Aria hadn't been better off challenging the opposing ships, not the storm, but he knew that in his head, if not the in some primal part of himself, that they all had better chances of weathering the, well, weather. He looked grimly into the gloom. At least, that's what he had to keep telling himself. The pull of the storm dragged the Aria sideways, and Cecil barked an order at Duke, "Correct us. If we flip it's the end of us." He needn't have said anything, the pilot knew exactly what to do and he was well-qualified, but Cecil couldn't help himself. The storm was fraying on his nerves. He knew how important it was to keep his cool, but it was all but impossible with the high winds buffeting his ship and the constant thread of electrocution looming. Still, bad as he had it, things were probably worse for Claire, up above. The crow's nest could be sealed from the elements, but there was really only room for one up there. At least there were two people in the bridge. "How're you holding on up there?" he called up to his lookout. "Make sure to warn us about anything from the rear or sides!" Unlike on the bridge, the crow's nest offered a full view of the Aria's surroundings. Again, Claire knew exactly what she was doing, and Cecil wasn't contributing anything with those particular orders, but he bellowed them out anyway. The compulsion to guide and lead drove him and he couldn't suppress it, nervous as he was. Hopefully the other two wouldn't notice his concern. It was important to appear self-assured, that much Cecil had learned early on in his career as a ship's captain. They had to believe he would bring them out of this. Now if only he believed it himself.
  9. (Somewhere thirty miles off the coast of the South Ocean) Peaceful silence was broken by the screaming friction of atmosphere and asteroid. Hurtling towards the earth at incredible speeds, its landing caused a tremendous noise to shatter the serenity that once filled this place. Dirt, trees and animals all were either obliterated or thrown high into the air in the wake of the space rock making contact with the planet. Resting at around three hundred feet in radius, the object from the void lay dormant, with peace slowly returning. Deep within the pock marked stone, something began to stir, and there was noise coming from the inside. Such a great clatter it was, that the beasts pf the forest kept well away from it. Without warning, an opening is created in the rock as a square sized chunk of asteroid is violently ejected from the surface. Inside is what looks to be a complex system of living quarters fashioned from several different space faring vessels. "A'right boyz, time to see dis new world we just buggered up all violent like." A massive, muscled green arm shot out from the opening, pulling up the body of the deadly warboss Gremkar. With his second arm pulling him out the rest of the way, Gremkar took a look at the world of Valucre before him. "Ha! I bet dese humies got lots o'loot for me to plunda." He wore a collection of ramshackle armor, bits and pieces of steel plating painted in his colors, piss yellow and blood red, along with the skulls of his victims, dangling off his attire with twine and string. Painted on his bulging chest was the symbol of his tribe, an orc fist breaking through a wall. "Get out here you gits! I ain't got all day to wait around for ya!" Soon more orks began to exit the asteroid, more and more and more until a startling realization began to set in. This wasn't simply a normal raiding party. This was an invasion force. "Get started on making my new fortress, then we can get working on finding some humies to kill." With a snaggletoothed grin the twelve foot tall greenskin began walking into the forest, dual choppas in hand as his boyz began dismantling their ship in order to construct the fortress. "I sure could go for a fight..."
  10. @Sad Trumpet Noise @Holden A warm tropical breeze flowed over the ocean, up the beach, and through the gently swaying palm trees covering the island. Birdsong filtered through the overgrowth, lyrical and pleasant, yet not overbearing. The shade provided by the forest kept the oppressive sun and bay, and the sound of gently crashing waves was a comfort to the ear. All in all, the scene would have been perfectly idyllic were it not for the two sweaty men groaning with exertion as they labored away with at the ground with their shovels. Cecil through one more load of dirt out of the hole before he slammed his instrument into the ground such that it stood up and sat back against the low wall behind him. "Alright Eli, I don't think it's here. Let's pull out and head to the next spot." So-saying, the captain vaulted the edge of the hole and pulled his shovel along with him. He set it on the ground and pulled a map and a compass out of his pocket. He pored over the faithfully drawn copy of the original map still currently housed in the holds of his ship. Lydia had worked tirelessly to have five copies of the map ready for when they arrived on the island, and her effort had paid off. Five full parties of the Aria's crew combed the island concurrently, drastically shortening the time necessary to find their goal. Of course, none of this extra work would have been necessary if they creator of this wretched map had had any common courtesy. But no, the bastard had to go and draw not one, not two, but thirty different tiny red X's on the piece of parchment. The captain sighed as he scratched out the second X they were assigned too. Cecil and Eli had pulled the metaphorical lowest straw (pirates use dice to decide such things, not straws), and had the southeastern quadrant of the island. This meant that one of their X's was perched at the top of the islands only mountain. Not a particularly tall one, as mountains go, but still a pain to scale all the same. Cecil was really hoping someone would check in with results before they got around to that one. As he looked up from his map and compass, having figured out where they were going next, Cecil noticed Lobo out of the corner of his eye. The old captain smiled and patted the dog once on the head. Lobo was Eli and Cecil's recompense for having the worst route. The canine's boundless energy, affection, and care were already legendary among the crew, and he was quickly becoming almost everyone's favorite. The envy from the rest of the crew about the team assignments meant that none of the other crew members really felt all that bad about leaving the captain and the gunner with the mountain to climb. "Mutinous layabouts." Cecil muttered fondly under his breath. He stood waiting for his other human companion, and once Eli had gotten out of the hole and joined the pair on the forest floor, Cecil pointed to the direction of their third objective. "Alright gentleman," Cecil said, nodding to man and canine, "on to the next X."
  11. It had taken years for Emelesa to convince the infernal one, Castiel, that the lands of Valucre were a haven, a safe place where the troubles that had plagued them in the past could be put behind them, that they could start anew. No Kaori. No destruction. A true chance at peace and despite his innate skepticism he had taken to dipping his toes in the water, stirring the pond and finding that Red, a previous aggressor of his, was more than willing to accommodate Mel, Isbel and Castiel though the extent that Emelesa had spilled to the psychic woman was still unknown to him. However it was a peaceful place, relaxing even, the resort and the few shops that dotted the coastline aren't invasive but instead built of the lumbar and metals imported over to keep from having to hack down any of the native trees and possibly disturb the wildlife there. Every step taken had been optimal, thoughtful and it put him at a mild sense of ease every step he took on practically hallowed ground; The first of it's like he'd stepped on and not felt a phantom pain twisting up his insides. The weather was balmy, humid when at it's worst, the smell of storm wind swept across the beaches long before the clouds first broke rain. Everything was plain to the sight, water on all sides and nothing impeding the view. There was the sight of the sun rising and setting every day without fail or falter, nothing surprising but the natural beauty of a place that he could raise his family and call home. Solitude was his best friend and the island boasted many tall cliffs and low rivers to meditate by, the locals finding it better to avoid him and the others visitors at all costs less the company of Red was known or their association with her was an obvious detail. It crossed his mind time and again if these natives knew they were being... ruled. As being appointed the regent here Castiel would be in charge of the islands well being but if that included the residents and natives then did they know that his duties expressed that they too fell under his care and were involved in his decision making process? There would be time for those details to be hammered out when he made the active time to meet with the chiefs. The beaches shined like white gold and the way the layout plans for the VERY few novelty shops that were offered kept in line for his vision of this place. This peaceful slice where the heavens finally touched down. Red at least had an eye for aesthetics. In the thick of the crowds crowds it wasn't hard to spot the red headed devil, his signature kimono and the dark slacks, the aroma of sandal wood or his wolfish smile and striking features. With every hand he shook it felt like an anchor weighing him down, adding substance to his existence here, giving reason. Even as he smiled, smiled to the visitors, to Emelesa and Isbel, his finger caught in that tiny girl's even tinier hand. Somewhere though, somewhere in the back of his mind he felt it. The ever so subtle tug at something like an un-tuned string wrapped around his core. It made him look out across the ocean. Some feeling were just a little harder to shake than others. This was as close to elation and freedom any one person could get here.. at Medain Sari.
  12. It was already past the sunniest part of the day, still, the afternoon sun kept casting its light down on the hilly landscape that lay before the feet of the students, clinging to its former glory. The angle of the rays made every piece of vegetation and rock sport an illuminated contour, it masked everything in vibrant gold. Wind was blowing through the leaves and branches, animating the shadows drawn along the roadside. It also carried the scent of the distinctive flora of the region, the salt of the ocean and the humming of a hundred cicadas. The dusty road was lined by waist-height stone walls and oil tree gardens, with white crags occasionally protruding from the soil. It was a rather repetitive, but enjoyable course leading through the rural landscape. One could only rarely spot a building that was not a shack or a tiny silo. Lisbet gave the man a last wave before he left for the nearest village on his carriage. Even though her bottom was aching from the trip, she was glad that they had at least managed to find someone willing to transport them to the other side the island, let alone, this close to their long awaited destination. Standing on her own again was always a pleasant feeling after a lengthy ride. "Thank you, kind sir! Now we will reach the estate before dusk." - She proclaimed into the distance, tipping her beret in a courtly manner a last time. The driver didn't even bat an eye. A strange fellow, that one. Thought Lisbet to herself before turning towards Nathaniel. Motioning him to follow, she continued the trip on foot, the bottom of her long coat fluttering in the headwind. It had not been long before the wind rose and they had to double the pace to reach the house before some storm would set in. The intensifying gale paired with the strongly yellow lights had made the scenery even more unique, with the windswept cypresses around the edges of the cliffs fitting in just perfectly. Of course, the foundation of this great symphony was the ocean, ever battering this limestone-fortress of an island with dark waves. It was exactly like in her memories. For how long had she been away? Four years? She could not wait to take a nap in her own bed again. "Nathaniel...," - Lisbet generally did not use nicknames, and uttered all names in a rather monotone voice. It was a bad habit she could not quit. This occasion was no different. - "...does this place remind you of your home?" - She gave him a quick look before re-focusing her gaze on the waves once more. @Florin {Semi-closed}
  13. The dreary, barren, dark college holds little fruit for the vibrant life mage. Wisegem would find it wanting in how aesthetic or neat it was, and, with how dark and moody it was, he'd think it was a hideout for the demons he fought. But none dwell here but books, codgers, and a lone female Scholar Knight whom was already dispatched by the time Trevor arrived. The boarded up windows and dim gloamstone lamps made it a habit for one to watch the floor as they stepped, but the aged wanderers of its halls know each inch, and can wall through it, even with eyes closed. Presently, to Trevor, he can see multiple, tall wooden chairs, of different eras and carving styles, and wood types. He is sat in a stool, while the scholars themselves have yet to arrive in the circular lounge room, that acts as an insulated, warm lobby from the rest of the massive structure. Why not look at some of the shelved tomes near the mantle? (And, as expected, rather than fire, furnaces here are furnished with friendly gloamstone 'hives', that, smell irregular, but provide safe cold light.) @Trevor Wisegem
  14. @Holden @Yīwěi The musty halls of the archives are dark, lit only by the rank gloamstones, and the little white spots of moonlight that peek through boarded windows, little lunar teeth on the lounge wall. Rather than there being a neat, visible floor, merely paths are created where one can walk without trampling documents. Codexes, treatises, diagrams and index cabinets are wild plant life, sprawled, and increasing in number by the day, as the tireless hand of Scholar Knight Ultima Xaxiel scribbles at a canvas sized parchment, supported by two massive, hard covers that secure the paper in place. He seems to be writing a copy of Terrenus law...at least, the law as it was 470 years ago. The codger, in his robes, faded of color, toils away, transcribing the old laws without reference, as he has read each piece of text to ever enter the library, and only has to read it once to copy it a thousand times. Christopher, the dark robed Scholar Knight, leads the two volunteers into the lounge, as almost every other Scholar Knight, save the currently embarked Cure Aisling, suddenly steps into view, putting down whatever they were reading, and sitting in their assigned armchair. You two volunteers are made to stand, and listen. "The implications..." Xaxiel begins, not looking up from his manuscript, "...of accepting auxiliary help...from non-Scholar Knights, would shame our once plentiful membership...But the old pass away...and devotion wavers...I have heard of your excitement to become Scholar Knights, but our conditions are this...Screedius!" A burly, mustached Scholar Knight, with a usually jovial expression, approaches both of the volunteers, the towering academic handing both of them a priceless item in Scholar Knight worlds: An empty book. "Record your findings, and be sure to make diagrams, no matter how artistically challenged you may believe yourself to be...if you devote yourself even to doing what you are no good at, you have a place here as a worthy Academic Squire. If your reports are bare, in-descriptive, you will never show your faces on our island again." Screedius is deadly serious. These two being the first new candidates for knights the college has seen in quite a while. "Too long..." sighs Xaxiel, "...has it been since our halls have witnessed a squire." Phineas rocks in his chair slowly, and opens his mouth to speak. "Consult Richard. He awaits you in the dorms, and as the custodian, owns his own copy of the cellar map that we deign to distribute. See to it that you heed his words, and orders well...the man is clever, perhaps maliciously so, and the hungry man is as frequent a flyer, as our Outrider, Cure Aisling. We would send her with you, but she is deep mainland, in Yh'mi." Quintinius approaches, the man almost as ancient as Xaxiel himself...and bestows upon the two volunteers a rolled up scroll for each of them. "If you find yourself in mortal peril, and no chance of escape, read these aloud. Oh, wait...have I given you the right ones? No, yes, this is the one..." Quintinius passes around the scrolls again, attempting to recall whose scroll was whose, and eventually confirms whose was whose (somehow?) The meeting with the Scholar Knights was brief, curt, and a little hasty. Though, they are all busy men, and have no extra time to spend with visitors who've volunteered to take expeditions into the open door beneath the college.
  15. The dreary, barren island of Carraig an Scoláire, or in Terrenian, Rock of the Scholar, juts out of the ocean just high enough to stay 'bove the tides and turmoil. The outpost seems like a grisly port for sailors and spirits, where ghost stories pour from, and adventurers plunder for secrets and trinkets...but, none of these types flock to Carraig an Scoláire. The rotund building, constructed of stormstained masonry, arches heavenly in perfection, stained windows boarded and nailed shut, candlelight lamps forming a path, as if a solemn vigil walked up the winding path into the great structure each day and night...the hermit's paradise, where learning of both knowledge infinitely old and knowledge infinitely plain, this quaint place of study, silence, and low light makes it a bucket-list destination for the aged and scholarly, who mostly cannot devote their lives to the archives as the few Scholar Knights here have, simply donate what knowledge they have, and some coin so the codgers and coots can have a bite to eat (when it crosses their mind they're hungry.) Tomes of obsolete, or already improved spells, ancient, complicated methods capable only of mustering the meekest magic, histories and tales, spliced fact and fiction, where a heroic tale can be a villainous account in a different nation's recollection of the event. One is self-taught here, unless they enlist to be a Scholar Knight, for which is there little benefit, and vast responsibility. The dark island features exactly a dozen pines, which, of all their tallness and elegance, have plain and boring stories, planted here by one of the visitors who took up botany, and wanted to study pine growth on island soil. The wildlife on the island consists of a guard dog named Chop Chop (That's a first name and last name.) and seagulls who need to rest. Sealife include the ever confounding hagfish, a massive fish, about the size of a sturgeon, with 'pretend limbs' and hair longer than its body growing out of its face. Many have confused its corpses for stalking sea-banshees, or for dead mermaids. The purpose of a hagfish's limbs and hair is unknown, and when the hair is parted, a comical, toothy grin awaits, wiping away the fear upon setting your eyes upon one, or, exacerbating it. No live hagfish has been observed, and its 'pretend limbs' seem to be completely nonfunctional. These creatures are found about Carraig an Scoláire, once a blue moon. The dark halls, lit by rank gloamstones, as lighting a flame inside the libraries, caked with dust, papers, reports, and tomes strewn about the offices and shelves, with decades worth of work sitting on a console table next to a gentleman who has only moved from his spot to use the toilet, would ruin eons (it feels) of work and history. The Rock of the Scholar has the official population of 10, up from 1 last year. The following live here, from oldest to youngest: Xaxiel Podicius, Scholar Knight Ultima, Regaler of Ages Past Quintinius Arborious, Scholar Knight Penultima, Lo and Behold Poetry in Pails Screedius Tollinix, Retired Outrider Scholar Knight, Swordsmanship and Sicknesses Collumnie Corinthall, Bedridden Scholar Knight, Geography, Cartography, Astrography, Futurography. Phineas Sortax, Scholar Knight, Mathematics, Archtitecture, Psychology, Owner of Chop Chop Christopher Just, Scholar Knight, Religion is my Middle Name, I think Richard Bonjovi, Janitor(?), Suspicious Character, Mysterioso, May be stealing the romance novels, makes a good gumbo Cure Aisling, Acting Outrider Scholar Knight, A dainty thing. Medicines, Apprentice for Screedius, Studier of Medical Practices in Military Each of importance, and of assistance, should you be able to augur their will to assist. Assistance in Accessories: It's a hobby for most of the Scholar Knights here to appraise or help travelers prepare Accessories, or wearables with bewitched qualities. If you need an example, imagine a hat you can shove objects inside, akin to a Bag of Holding. Completing quests can be used to gain one of these, though, the quest can also BE gaining the Accessory. The Scholar Knights: An order of protectors, once plentiful and young, with starry eyes and a love for knowledge, the founder, Patricius Queen's Sacrin, who lived ages ago, whose last name is nothing intelligible, as all biographies of him are lost. Consistent archaelogical evidence (statuettes, plaques, horribly faded scrolls.) name him the founder of the Scholar Knights, and that he declared all knowledge sacred, and to be protected on the island. Treasure is forgone and sent away, to discourage plunderers and villains. Still, one must remain vigilant for their post, and so many have trained themselves, mind and body, to hold off any intruder. Even the most ancient of men, lying still in their chairs, have the strategy and mind to remove an intruder without so much as making a leaf of parchment tremble. Legends say, that the hollow suits of the retired Scholar Knights' can dance and destroy when roused to battle. The Outrider Scholar Knights are a lonely few that depart from the college, stay in touch with the island through mail, and scour the outside world for new knowledge, to bring back on fateful days, or Anniversary Feast. Why come to Carraig an Scoláire? Become a Scholar Knight: Train to become an Academic Squire, and work your mind and body to become a Knight. Outriders get reign outside the college, and normal Scholars are both important PCs and NPCs! Complete Quests for Loot or Your Place in the Canon: Honors and recognition bestowed to those who contribute to the canon. Completing quests can get you through the ranks faster if you are training. Accessories: Complete quests or threads to receive one of your own creation, with certification it came from Carraig an Scoláire. Tradition: Keep civilization alive, and hoard culture and texts, to be used to rebuild a nation after crisis. Mysteries Beneath: (TBA) QUESTS: The Charnel House of Sir Queen's Sacrin: Only one quest for now--the door in the deep recesses of the college's cellars, which are labyrinthine enough, has opened at the command of the sorcered words of Patricius Queen's Sacrin: "Part them, and write the power on your flesh..." (Quests for Carraig an Scoláire must be marked with [Quest for Scoláire]. Threads on the island, but aren't quests, can just be marked with [Scoláire].)
  16. Medain Sari Island The Scarlet Region’s exotic paradise. Regent: James Eredas Contact: Fierach Geography Topography Medain Sari is located west of Terrenus, approximately 950 miles from the Coast, closest cities including Altissium Bay and then Marlboro Keep some 1,000 miles inland of Altissuim. Medain is roughly x,xxx miles to the east of Lo’bre, Elendaron which is the destination after Medain. The majority of the Island, roughly 80% is still forestry. The Port where the Submarines dock is where the single resort is located, from there paths and small roads have been created for those wanting to explore the city to see the exotic free roaming species that are only native to Medain. Cityscape There was never a large population of humanoid species that inhabited the Island, it was majorly populated by species of animal and beast that the likes of Valucre has never seen. The Scarlet Queen’s Gryphon, Nxyau, is a native of the Island and was the sole reason the Island was ever discovered and repurposed beneath the Scarlet Region. There is now a rather large resort at the northernmost tip of Medain, where guests aboard the Submarines can say for their 24 hour stay along the passenger cruise. The resort is heavily designed after the forest in order to not disrupt the animal life, much of the buildings and hotels made into tree houses that require one to scale a rope ladder in order to reach. For people unable to climb ladders, there is a handicap available suite closer to the port. Climate Due to its location in the high sea, Medain Sari Island boasts of warm weather almost all year, safe for the short three months in which they’re plagued by constant storms. During the days, it is not uncommon for the weather to fluctuate between 80-85 degrees but for it to feel warmer due to the constant humidity brought forth by the sea breeze. Although generally always sunny, the days where Medain Sari finds itself under rain, it is a constant torrential downpour. Flora and Fauna The Flora and Fauna in Medain Sari is extremely vast compared to it's sister Islands and cities. The Exotic animals that can be seen in Altissium and Baaj Island are native to Medain, along with a plethora of other animals that are still mostly a mystery to those who inhabit the land mass. Flora consists of dense forest like areas throughout the whole island, only small localized villages can be found on what many call the fenceless-zoo. Demographics Culture Being that there was very little human like population to begin with on the island, what locals there are were less than civilized when the Island was first discovered by the Scarlet Queen. Although not vilent, the local tribes were more shy and took several days before they would allow her entrance. Since then they have opened their arms, but their tribe mentality is still much the same in the villages that can be found deeper into the island. Economy The only economy on the island has been brought over thanks to the Scarlet Region, small gift shops and diners can be found within the few more populated destinations built within Medain, and they use any type of currency localized to Valucre. It is not a rich economy, considering the maon attraction to the land is the exotic animals. Notable Locations Without a lot of buildings, the only real locations to be considered notable is the main road that travels through the island, and many of the smaller ones that branch off into the forests. Gift shops, diners, and hotels are all within the treehouses built to keep the island as natural as possible without disturbing the wild life. Government Local Government The Scarlet Region: The Scarlet Region is comprised of Port Caelum and the waters surrounding ten miles, Predators Keep in Terrenus, Altissium Bay in Terrenus, Baaj Island within the Sea of Regrets, and Medain Sari within Varheit Sea. These territories are run beneath the rule of Red Yusuke, Queen of the Region. The Keep military forces have relocated a small number, adding 500 military to the Port as a local police force. Education There is no education on Medain Sari at this point. The local tribes teach their young, but in no formal direction. Transportation The main way people get around in on their own two feet, but one special mode is by way of giant indigenous goats. They stand as tall as your normal horse with dense fur and curled horns. They are tame beasts, and when needed they are fierce protectors. Each can fit two bodies, and are fitted with stable saddles with packs on each side. Notable Residents Scarlet Queen: The once Baroness of Predators Keep, now formally known as the Queen of the Scarlet Region. Castiel Lecroix: The regent of the land, Castiel is an Incubus related to Red by way of his wife, Emelesa. Emelesa Lecriox: Wife of the Regent, this Demoness plays a decent hand in the politics concerning Medain Sari, often mentioned being the right hand of the Regent. To Be Determined:
  17. Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled; Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world... Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth: And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth. -Milton "Come on, Hiira, there's nothing out there but seaweed and silly little jellies. It's fine, see?" Amy flicked her tail and drifted out of the cave and into the open, then turned upside down to laugh at her timid companion. Reluctantly, the little dolphin emerged as well, turning in a sleek circle as he looked around. I don't know, Amai'imei. I can't quite place it, but... Something's not right here. We should just go back to Tethys. This isn't a good day for it. At least, that was the gist of the series of thoughts the dolphin conveyed. He couldn't actually speak, but Amy had a bit of a talent at overhearing thoughts (just one of the many unanswerable questions about the young mermaid's nature), and she understood his meaning well enough. * * * I should have listened. Why couldn't I just listen to you, Hiira? I'm so sorry. * * * "It's a beautiful day, and you know it. Don't you want to try to find our families?" Well, yeah, but... "Great, so let's go!" And with that, Amy was off, spinning corkscrews for the sheer delight of feeling the currents against her sensitive skin. She knew she was being reckless, but they'd never reach a Sea Angel shoal if they crawled along the floor like scared little slugs the whole way. They didn't know where they were going, not really. All they had to go on was that the shoals usually followed the great ocean currents that made vast roads up and down the world. And sometimes, the dolphin pods did, too. And there was one such current somewhere northeast of the city, so that's the direction they were headed. * * * We were such fools. Such hopeful, hopeless fools. * * * After a few miles, they left the kelp forest behind, and entered the wasteland: a wide expanse of open sea, not very deep, but with nothing but sand and the occasional urchin or starfish to mark the passing of the miles beneath them. Hiira needed to breathe air at least a few times every hour, so it was simplest for them to travel near the surface, even though it was more exposed. But on the bright side, at least they'd be able to see anything coming from a long way off. Or, more accurately, hear it. Click. Click. Click. Click. "Would you stop that, Hiira?" Amy sighed at last. Every few seconds, her friend was sending out sonar pulses, checking the nearby waters for any threats. "You're putting me on edge. There's no one out here but us." Sorry. The clicking gave way to blessed silence, broken only by the hushed murmur of the lapping waves above them. * * * The last words I ever said to you were unkind. * * * Another halfhour passed by unremarked, and then she felt it. A crawling shudder passing over her skin and making her fins twitch. Amy stopped and looked around. Did you feel that? Yeah. Something's following us. Suddenly, the wide open spaces looked less friendly. Amy looked around frantically for shelter as another warning tremor shook her. The nearest forest was leagues away, now, but the ground had become rocky and uneven. There were probably caves. Come on. They dove down towards a nearby hillside, and not a moment too soon. A dark shape was heading through the murky water towards them at a terrible speed. "Hurry!" she wailed as they raced for shelter. It grew larger as it approached, and the outline resolved into a terror of the seas: a yuuja. It was only a young one, but already far larger than Amy and Hiira put together. Their only chance would be to reach shelter and hope it lost interest in them before Hiira ran out of breath.
  18. Aria rocked with the raging storm just outside her walls, leaving just the pilot, captain and Claire high up in the crow's nest. Lydia was furious with her captain for sending her below deck, she was the one person who could help navigate this beast of a ship through this storm! Although she fully trusted his decision, she was irritated more when she felt the pull of the ship more on one side with a propeller going out. Down deep within the massive room that looked like a library, Lydia worked to secure the shelves of books, and the masses of rolled maps. Goddess forbid if anything happened to this room, her fury would be felt! Securing the chairs that surrounded the massive drawing table, she pulled a clear tablet from her belt, the climbers hook giving way with the squeeze of her fingers. Holding the clear tablet in her left hand, the right activating the magitek power of the tablet. Linked to the navigational devices of the ship, Lydia could watch from below deck what was happening to the ship herself. Swiping through her tablet, she let out another sigh of frustration. Hooking the tablet to her belt once more, she decided to do what she could about the propeller being damaged. Leaving the map room, she went deeper into the ship towards the engine room, finding the locker room the engineers and mechanics used to store their gear. Finding her cubby that held her old tan Air Corp coveralls, the shoulders still donning the patches of her past unit and insignia, she pulls it free from the small space. Sliding her body into her coveralls, she decided to aide in any maintenance since the ship was currently damaged by the fleet that had attacked them. Walking into the engine room, she would find a window just big enough to stick her face in to see the side of the ship where the propellers were no longer functioning. Smoke trailed from the propeller that took damage, frowning she would stare at it a moment longer. Leaning her hand against the metal of the wall,she would use her hand to push herself back from the window. There wasn’t much she could do about the propeller on the outside of the ship, prompting Lydia to pull the tablet from her waist she would start to reroute the power from the propeller that no longer moved. Shutting down that part of the ship to keep it from starting a fire, she would reattach the tablet so she could find the engineers.
  19. Name: Pailou Population: Alot (™) Geography: The sea shelf the city sits is relatively flat across, with a coral and sea-stone reefs about its foundation. The land outside the city is untamed by normal human perception, numerous dark crags and caves abound, home to all manner of water creature and beast that treat the murky depths as home. The city itself lies roughly 1.5km below the surface off the coast of West Terrenus past the Scudder Forest, about 5km from the cliffs. Climate: Warm current waft through almost year round, keeping the waters a balmy 35 degrees Celsius near the surface, but at it depths nearing the city, it hovers at 20 degrees Celsius. As not too much light reaches that far, the temperature is very constant almost year round, aside from when the occasional northern current brings a chill. Cityscape: The city, barely more than a keep, is made of basalt and granite buildings, built up around a seaworn castle. It is divided between market and residential quarters, with proper streets and avenues for citizens to travel on foot if they did not swim freely, but even the swimming traffic is metered to keep it orderly. Surrounding all of Pailou is a physical dome of a plastic, metals, and glass, a construction to protect the buildings, and more importantly, humans, from the unsafe pressures of the deep. A dedicated team of mages devised a way to convert the water within the dome into a LBM (liquid breathing medium) to facilitate visitors while not segregating the city from its own residents. Flora & Fauna: The ocean holds a plethora of enchanting blooms and even the base forms of some plants the surfacefolk would know of, primarily the Photas family of seaweed. This plant grows abundantly, and is commonly used as a natural lighting source. Some merchants within the city even use the natural luminescence in their crafts from custom lighting effects or even as a makeup. Economy: As of now, the city works on a mostly barter system. The caves and ocean floor hold a bevy of buried treasure and ore vein, ranging from precious metals like gold and silver, to craft metals like cobalt and nickel. Various craftsmen work the metals into wares, weapons, and tools. Culture: The world is preparing to open for the city, who after a long existence of seclusion is moving to join the surface world. A technologically deprived, but socially accepting people, they seek more to learn than anything else, to expand their own pools. Government: A constitutional monarchy. Gisella Choe, Princess of the Deep sits at the head, with a council of of upper ranked citizens to back her decisions. Education: As the city is very secluded, proper education beyond what is needed for day to day is rare, but not restricted. Literacy and math skills are taught at young ages, and intercommunication amongst the different aquatic races is taught as well to create a centralized community in the city. Transportation: Various sea-based ferries run from surface to the city’s main gate, as well throughout the city, but most citizens use their own ability to swim through the city. Official ways to accommodate surfacefolk are still in the works.
  20. Kit groaned and opened her sticky eyes; the light from the noonday sun brutally stabbed the tender orbs, and she blinked rapidly to try and ward off the unprovoked assault. Her body was aching, her throat was parched, and her clothes and skin were covered in a thin sheen of salt; evidence that she had at one point recently been drenched in ocean water, which had since evaporated. A beautiful white-sand beach stretched endlessly to her left and her right, marred only by a hefty amount of sopping wreckage scattered from one end to the other, and more debris staked it claim on the formerly prime real estate with every breaking wave. Behind her by about a hundred feet, a thick jungle loomed, exuding exotic smells and sounds from a variety of unfamiliar flora and fauna. It was enough to make her want to go back to banditry. Her luck just hadn't recovered from the decision to go straight. She'd had her mind scrambled around by an evil Obelisk, watched a half dozen friends die, had lost, then found, then lost again, a beautiful relationship, and was now shipwrecked on a deserted island. She searched her mind for the sequence of events that had let her to this point. She had boarded the airship in Last Chance, its final stop of many before making the trek across the South Sea to Tellus Mater, in the hopes of leaving behind the awful memories of the last few months and drowning her sorrows in alcohol and mindless mercenary work for the scheming political elites of Alterion. Apparently, she'd just about ended up literally drowning her sorrows. Wouldn't that have been ironic. The sky pirates had attacked right at the midpoint of the journey, where neither continent was close enough to be of assistance, and the sights and sounds of the pitched battle could not alert anyone willing to or capable of providing aid. It was fast, and brutal, and would have been a routine board-and-loot operation (of the sort Kit was familiar with, from the other side of things) if the captain of the passenger ship hadn't panicked. He had rammed the pirate vessel broadside on the starboard, tangling the ships and critically injuring the delicate mechanisms that enabled them to stay aloft. Kit's last firm memory was staring at the ocean's surface as the distance between her and it rapidly decreased; she probably said something sardonic at that moment, but she couldn't remember - it was just an easy assumption to make, playing the odds of her personality. She shook off the troubling recollection, likely to cause her many evenings worth of nightmares in the years to come, and struggled to sit up on the sandy beach. It was a miracle that she didn't appear to be badly injured; beyond a multitude of scrapes, cuts, bruises, and burns, she had no wounds that would require any sort of medical attention. Nothing broken, nothing bleeding profusely, all limbs in their appropriate places and attached securely. The same could not be said for some of the unfortunates washing up with the tide. Kit grimaced at a disembodied leg bobbing in the surf, laboriously fleeing a school of small, brightly-colored tropical fish that were quite literally nipping at its heel. Now that she had a slightly higher vantage point, she could see other bodies dotting the shore; some had sustained obviously life-ending injuries, but others were inconclusively whole, or partially covered in rubble. There could be more survivors. She carefully clambered to her feet, and fought off a wave of dizziness. There was no telling how long she'd been unconscious, or how long she had before lack of water or food rendered her such again, but her legs for the moment remained sound, for which she was quite grateful. A quick assessment of her gear further reinforced the notion that her situation was dire; her clothes were little more than sodden rags, ripped in ways that challenged modesty by the churning flotsam of the last segment of her trip. Most of her alchemical concoctions had been left behind, as airship rules didn't allow volatile substances to get airborne, and Kit was trying to be as law-abiding as possible. What few components she still had on her person were soaked and probably ruined, though a few less reactive reagents might be able to dry out. Fortunately, the magical bracelet she'd won from Blairville's invading Spire was still on her wrist, she still had her throwing knives securely fastened in the quickdraw sheathes up her sleeves, and her stiletto was still safely ensconced in her boot. Thank the dead gods for small favors; from knives come pointy sticks, and from pointy sticks comes better odds of survival. Lots of things you could do with an armload of pointy sticks. "Hello?" she called out, looking both ways down the beach. "Is anyone out there? Is anyone hurt? Hello?" Kit pondered for a split second, then made a snap decision and turned left, walking northwards down the beach, searching for survivors.
  21. Blossom sat there, in the cool sand, face in her palms, tears running down her face. She made a soft weep that got carried away into the breeze as she thought of what she lost. Blossom was wearing short cut jeans and a pink shirt that didn't cover her belly-button. She was slim, not chunky and not skinny, a smooth stomach and a cute face. She had long, thick hair that was dyed a light blue with a small flower on the side of her head running behind her ear. She was traveling with her boyfriend, to see all scenery and have a little romance. Of course this was Blossom's idea, since her boyfriend (now ex) was very stubborn and kind of a jerk. While sleeping by the ocean together, Garreth (the ex-boyfriend) left leaving a note behind. Thinking about the note herself, Blossom picked it up again to re-read it. It read; "Blossom, I have loved you. But some things are more important to me than love. For me to get into The Secret Brotherhood of Alchemists I had to abandon you for my initiation. You are not where we camped out to sleep, so don't try leaving because you are just going to get lost and get into more trouble. Blossom, you didn't deserve me. I am dearly sorry I had to leave you this was as a farewell. Farewell" Another tear fell from Blossom's face, hitting the paper right aside the Farewell. Then, sadness and heartbrokenness turned into hatred and betrayal. She felt the need to get herself home and find Garreth and make him feel as hurt as he made her. A reflection struck Blossom in the eye, coming in the direction from the ocean. She turned her pale face to the right to see a green car coming on the gravel path. She stood up and ran toward it to try to wave down and get help, maybe even get a new partner in the process.
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