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Slank44

A key to Any Door

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Malik is awake before the agreed meeting time. He is tidying up his campsite and packing his bedroll and other supplies. the gryphon is sitting next to the extinguished fire observing the activity with very little interest. Malik is humming very out of tune.

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Elisa showed up. Dressed down from the heavy and ceremonial armor she had been wearing the night before. Comfort and sensibility took first place when going into the forest surrounding the capital city of Orisia. A pair of brown breeches, a white blouse, a leather tunic, and a satchel thrown across her shoulder. There was also a thick belt around her waist, from which hung her black-bladed sword, Nightmare.

 

“I see you were serious about this little adventure,” she says by way of greeting, stopping to examine the gryphon from a safe distance. While Orisia was full of magical creatures, she didn’t quite trust any of them.


“So shall we begin?”

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"At your leisure my lady. You need not worry about my young friend, the only thing that truly annoys him, other than an empty belly, is a half truth." He paused in his packing and smiled at her, "and I promise, his belly is full." He finished his packing and put his pack on his back. He held out his arm to the young gryphon, which hopped onto his arm, climbed onto his shoulder and perched there similarly to a cat. Grabbing a walking stick, a very basic trimmed branch, and bowed, carefully so as not to disturb his passenger, and said "if you will be so kind as to lead the way?"

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Elisa watched as the seemingly young man got ready to undertake their journey. She was calm through this all, and patient, but her mind wandered. She still couldn't quite get a handle on this individual, on his reason for doing what he was doing. It all seemed strange, but then again, she had never questioned the motives behind why any of the other adventures had tried to find the key. Perhaps she was projecting, and she was more concerned with her own motives. With the queen recently deceased and her son taking up the throne, Elisa felt a dis-balance that she couldn't quite wrap her head around. Perhaps this adventure would help...

 

"If you will be so kind as to lead the way?"

 

"I hope you're ready for a lot of walking," she replied as she took the lead and began to move. Oddly enough she broke off the well-worn path and headed right into the thicket of the forest. "Maybe we should have gotten some horses," she said aloud, thinking it more than saying it to him directly. However, she didn't really think it was a good idea. Sure, horses would have made cut the travel time in half, but at what risk? She knew what happened to animals when they perished among the poppies.

 

"So what's your friends name?" She asked, deciding it was better to make conversation than remain silent throughout their journey.

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"He has not chosen his name, he's not old enough yet. His species doesn't choose a name until they have matured enough to communicate with their mind voice. I call him Little Princeling, or just Princeling, though. He thinks it an appropriate nickname." He responded as they walked. "He can be a bit of a glutton, but he also hunts small game for himself, so we get along fine."

After a short pause he said, "If you would like a faster travel method, I may have something that will work. I'm just figuring out how to bring you along, as I have not attempted this method of travel with someone without my abilities before, and I assume you would prefer to not be carried"

While Malik had been speaking Princeling had jumped from his shoulder to the top of Malik's pack. He then curled up, in a very catlike manner, and settled into the top of the pack. For a few minutes he played with Malik's hair, swiping it back and forth, then he briefly glanced at Elisa and settled down into a cat nap.

Edited by Slank44

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She perked an eyebrow at the mention that the animal had not yet named itself. But the man, Malik, went on to explain the particular issues surrounding the important task of a gryphon coming by its name and she felt that she understood a little better. Still, she gave Princeling a curious glance, just as he too seemed to take her measure. It seemed both tiny beast and gallant knight decided not to think much of each other, and he -- the little beast -- went to sleep, and she -- the gallant knight -- turned her attention to the road ahead.

 

“If you would like a faster travel method, I may have something that will work. I’m just figuring out how to bring you along, as I have not attempted this method of travel with someone without my abilities before, and I assume you would prefer to not be carried.”

 

“Your assumption would be correct,” she replied. “It’s better to take the long way. I can tell you everything I know about the Key and how to find it. I don’t want you coming along and being blindsided by what you’re going to see and experience. My main goal is to keep you, and little Princeling, alive -- hopefully.”

 

She continued to walk, knowing that her words would rouse curiosity. He would expect a story now -- an explanation of the events that led to the loss of the key. It made her sigh. She preferred being alone to this type of idle chit-chat, but then again it was important information.


“Let’s just get a little bit farther from the main road, and I’ll tell you all about it.”

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“Your assumption would be correct,” she replied. “It’s better to take the long way. I can tell you everything I know about the Key and how to find it. I don’t want you coming along and being blindsided by what you’re going to see and experience. My main goal is to keep you, and little Princeling, alive -- hopefully. let’s just get a little bit farther from the main road, and I’ll tell you all about it.” ”

"Hm?" he said, seeming slightly distracted "oh, it's an overland travel method. Slightly faster than a horse, but no living creature involved. It makes quite a bit of noise though, so I will at least wait until you have told me what I need to know. Either way, I would want to stop at least a day's walk away from the forest so I can make preparations for the flower's pollen."

As he walked along he pulled a chunk of dried meat from his bag. After a failed attempt to tempt Princeling with a morsel he tore off a chunk and offered a piece to Elisa. "Would you like some? I find it makes excellent walking food. The chewing distracts from aching feet and similar ailments of the walking traveler..."

As his comment trailed off Princeling abruptly sat up and chirped. Malik glanced at him with curiosity, but comprehension swiftly replaced it. "Calm my friend, there is naught you can do about it." he thought to his young friend, the only visual evidence of the conversation being Malik's eyes briefly slipping out of focus.

Edited by Slank44

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“Isn’t it a little early in our travels to be breaking into your supply? I would think you’d care to save your dried meat for when your feet are aching,” Elisa smiled and shook her head at his kind offer. She had breakfast she explained, but said no more on the matter. So they walked together in silence for some time, and she pondered at what had transpired between the strange man and his strange pet. Of course she had noticed the animals sudden activity and his chirp and more importantly, she saw the way Malik turned his head ever so slightly and how the wrinkles along his forehead gathered for just a moment as if he were speaking without moving his lips.

 

It was a curious sight.


“What you need to know about the flowers is that every single one of them is all that’s left of the body and soul of a victim that fell to the undead curse. This is the reason the flowers have not simply been eradicated, burned away, cut and dried.” The woman frowned and tugged on the straps of her bag. “No one really knows what became of the souls -- if they’re trapped there or not, within the petals of the flowers. The assumption is that they were. The priests felt things, strong things, and therefore, we treat the fields of poppies like a sort of graveyard. We leave them alone. You can imagine how much more difficult it’s going to make it to have to get to the heart of one of these graveyards without so much as bruising any of the flowers. Not a single petal.”

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1 hour ago, Pasion Pasiva said:

Isn’t it a little early in our travels to be breaking into your supply? I would think you’d care to save your dried meat for when your feet are aching.

Eh, I'm very used to the walking by now, plus I always seem able to get ahold of more. If it really comes down to it, I can always use my abilities to perform some form of public service and get my meals that way. For example, this bit if jerky, if I recall correctly, came from a farmer who's barn had caught fire with the livestock inside it. As disastrous as that would have been for him, it as a simple matter for me to put the fire out," here he flicked a small fire into existence on his palm and, just as quickly, made it vanish. "He was so grateful, he offered me half the livestock I had saved." he said with a chuckle, "instead I asked for a week's provisions. Either he eats a lot more than I do, or he decided a week wasn't enough. I've been surviving of those supplies for well over a month now."

1 hour ago, Pasion Pasiva said:

We leave them alone. You can imagine how much more difficult it’s going to make it to have to get to the heart of one of these graveyards without so much as bruising any of the flowers. Not a single petal.

"Indeed, especially as I imagine there are higher concentrations of the flowers in various places in the forest. I imagine the key is in one of these more densely populated areas?" He paused for a minute or two as the two of them walked on. "Even if I work out our breathing issue, which I believe I have, this will not be easy." As they continued on in what was, for Malik, a companionable silence, he continued to nibble on his jerky. "I believe I have worked out the transportation issues, if you are willing to give a rather... unconventional method a try."

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“It sounds like he was very grateful,” replied Ella, as the man finished up his story about the farmer, the cows, and the burning barn. She was impressed by his odd use of the element, but kept it to herself. There were many magic users in Orisia, most of them elemental in nature -- but she had never seen one up close, and never heard of one who could conjure the elements without some sort of aid. For example, fire users needed to have a flame present already before they could manipulate it.

 

“The key is in the heart of La Cierra -- are you familiar?” She asked, looking at him, watching him nibble on his food. She glanced at the gryphon who remained contentedly asleep. “It was overrun by the dead, it was the only village that we lost -- and now it remains as a ghost town, covered in the deadly flowers. It will be very hard indeed.”

 

When he mentioned his transportation method again, she frowned but decided to at least listen to what he had to say.


“Tell me about this unconventional method before I agree to it.”

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"Well, for me it will be simple. I will sink my feet into the ground and then shift that patch of ground in the direction that I need to go. For you, on the other had, it would be a little more complex. I could not intentionally harm you, but it would be easy to do so on accident. I would need you to sit on a boulder that I would then shape into a secure seat for you. Then I would shift the earth around both the boulder and my feet so that we would move in the direction we need to travel. It would certainly be faster than a walk, not that I don't enjoy having company on the road, but, well, I am sure you have official duties back at your city, and I would not want you to be gone too long. Plus," he said with a bit of a smile, "I get to show off closer to the true extent of my abilities to a not-unattractive lady." He paused for a moment, considering something. "Speaking of my abilities, remind me when we set up camp this afternoon to explain some of the limits of my abilities. There are some important things you need to know before we end up in a confrontation. Some things that would come as a very nasty surprise if you didn't know about them beforehand."

 

(ooc at least I assume she is attractive.... I couldn't find a character sheet.)

Edited by Slank44

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The nearly fifty year old woman, an older member of the Black Heart Knights, stood there staring at the young man who complimented her good looks. She might have scoffed at him, if her ego was not in fact properly complimented. She had been a great beauty in her youth, and now in her decline, she retained portions of what had made her so very lovely once upon a time. Her hair was still colored golden blond, and although there were wrinkles here and there, her skin was still quite healthy and smooth. But what made her unique was the shade of sapphire blue in her eyes, which now looked at him curiously.


“That doesn’t seem too undignified. I suppose we could give it a try...if it doesn’t work, then nothing will be lost, but if you are successful, then we will save lots of time. Very well,” she nodded, “I will try -- tell me what you need me to do.”

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With just a touch of concentration, Malik caused a chunk of rock to rise u out of the earth. After removing the dirt from it, he said, with a clumsy bow and gesture to the boulder, "If you would be so kind as to take a seat madam?" Once she sat, he carefully shaped the seat around her so that, even though it was made of rock, it would be as comfortable as possible for her during the trip. He also made sure that, if needs be, she could get out of the seat in a hurry. Then he sank his hand into the boulder, ad his feet into the ground, and off they went!

The low rumble of travel cause the young Princling to wake up and, though he did not panic, as he had experienced this method of travel before, he did promptly walk down Malik's arm and, with a typical feline certainty, situated himself in Elisa's lap. Noticing this, Malick said, in a slightly louder than normal tone in order to be heard above the rumble, "He want's you to pet him, as well as the occasional scratch between the shoulders."

As the day went on, though Malik did not slow the pace, he did seem to begin to experience some strain, as evidenced by tightening shoulders and gritted teeth. Nevertheless, he did not stop, except for brief rest breaks for food or when he or his companion needed to perform necessary bodily functions, until the sun began it's descent and it was time to set up camp for the evening.

Edited by Slank44

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Beyond simply impressed, perhaps a tiny bit frightened -- though she would never admit it -- Elisa watched as the young man pulled from the very earth a boulder that was surely twice as large as him. She stood there, mouth ajar, as he urged her to take a seat. Perplexed, but unwilling to become a coward, she shifted her cloak over her shoulders and climbed the large rock until she was sitting on top of it.

 

“Like this?” she asked, peering down at the man. When the rock began to move she screamed, a high pitched, and womanly scream, the kind of sound you wouldn’t expect from such a sharp looking creature as Elisa. She sank as the rock formed a seat for her, and finally, she settled in a cradle like seat.

 

She would never say it, but she was infinitely grateful that the tiny gryphon had decided to take a seat upon her lap. The shape, size, and texture of the little animal gave her instant comfort. She was very much a cat-person, and he was just like a cat. Both her hands settled on his back, and she petted him to calm her own nerves.

 

“He want’s you to pet him, as well as the occasional scratch between the shoulders…”

 

They were moving, and she just nodded her head.

 

“Yes, yes...you concentrate on driving this damn thing!” Dutifully, she scratched between Princling’s shoulders.

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