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An Adventurer's Calling: Pilgrimmage to Lanternway

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Aygis was actually fine when the Fountain's water didn't change color, and the gently rippling water retained its typical transparent blue tone. She reached down and touched the water gingerly, dipping a claw or two about half an inch below the surface of the pool before pulling them out, watching it drip back down into the fountain. The Fountain of Seeing was well-known to most sorcerers as a holy relic of sorts; the arcane properties of the Fountain reflected the identity of whoever gazed into it, and the waters changed color in response. As the kobold glanced at her reflection in the water, it was relieving to see that it didn't change color unexpectedly. To the fountain, 'blue' meant unassuming for the most part. It meant average, well-studied sorcery from the most general of sources; and while some might have found that in a place like Sunset Way, being normal was frowned upon, to Aygis the comforting blue reminded her that she was something. She was an accomplished sorceress, a strong magus with a heart for adventure, and that's all she could see in the waters now. She was an adventurer, even if only when she looked into the water here. Even if her last adventurer had left a bitter taste in her mouth and a blackened mark upon her dreams.

With a sigh, she pulled back from the Fountain's edge and looked around, watching people wander by. It was a cold afternoon in Sunset Way, and she was regretting leaving the comfort of the tavern in pursuit of this frivolous activity. In truth, she was starting to doubt her plan to come here in the first place. Aygis was not an uninitiated brat around here, of course; the kobold mage had been her multiple times in the past, and during all of her visits had gotten along well with the locals, picked up some new scrolls and even sold a few copies of her books. Yet in a place like this, she never really felt comfortable. Xenophobia was a genuine problem in Sunset Way, as was the overbearing sense of elitism here. In this small 'guardian city', there were kinds of sorcery one never even thought about, and concepts so unknown to the outside world that you'd think learning about them would be interesting. Yet, here all of that knowledge was commonplace, so you were obviously at a major disadvantage, no matter how learned you were in other magics. To that end, she made her stays here as brief as possible, which unfortunately wasn't the case today.

Today, Aygis had applied for an escort to the Cavern of Blades, and immediately regretted it. It wasn't just that she'd asked to undertake whatever trials they might have thrown at her, or that she'd be going to her death; Moreover, Aygis regretted her choice because it wasn't something she was comfortable with. Asking for people to walk you, or teleport you, to one of the few cities that the Whispernight had successfully destroyed, so that you can avoid all the danger and do the important stuff quickly? Aygis very shortly after making the request had realized the dubious nature of her decision, and had no means of backing out. Now, she waited for them to come back and tell her the bad news. Tell her that, in recognition of her talents and strengths, they'd help her get to the Cavern so she could test her mettle and claim a weapon for her own. The kobold eyed the gleaming orb atop her staff with a bemused expression as she thought about how grateful she'd need to pretend to be when they took her there, how she'd have to act as though she could never have made it on her own.

The truth was, Aygis missed adventure. Ever since the last work she'd done had resulted in a nightmarish hellscape of horrors that she'd been forced to crawl out of, she'd been in a genuine slump, unwilling to accept real work, and unwilling to join other quests, lest they end in some catastrophic, hellish glimpse into terror itself. Now that she'd made the petition to enter the Cavern of Blades, she'd realized that, perhaps, the best way to cure her sudden thirst for well-trodden roads and unknown lands, was to go it alone.

Speak of the devil, the retainer she'd spoken with returned to her quite quickly, with a polite bow and a formal, stiff smile.

"Thank you for being patient with us today, Aygis. I've passed on your petition, and I am here to inform you that your request has been denied, I'm afraid."

The kobold was stunned for several seconds, before eeking out a faraway response. "Sorry?"

The retainer looked embarrassed. "I apologize for wasting your time, but it seems that we just don't have the time--"

"No, no I understand, I just didn't hear properly..." Aygis shook her head before leaping to her feet, life flushing through her body. The retainer stumbled back as Aygis jumped for joy.

"I suppose I'll just make the trek myself, then! One kobold magus against the horror and wonders of Lanternway, fighting her way to the Cavern of Blades alone? It'll be dangerous, I might get in trouble!" She grinned, almost too wide. "I might die, but it'll be an adventure!"

Edited by Jotnotes

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Covering herself with her traveling cloak, Whispers walked around Sunset Way like a single ant trudging on a log, mostly undetected by the bare eye and sticking to walking at the sides and near walls. It was not like she was casing the area, not at all; everyone in the city was so occupied looking above their own noses that even a mediocre pickpocket could probably make a nice profit out of the common gentry, and someone of her skills could rob them blind by the time they decided to afford her an elitist look-down. Not that she hadn't considered it, after all, she was there looking to make some profit out of the loot found in the Lanternway and maybe, if her bravery didn't falter, risk the Cavern of Blades to find a suitable weapon. It was by the time she had reached the "Escort service" building that she had started to regret her decision. Every expeditionary group she saw around her was commanded by the same high-saddled guard-type, some even shooting unpleasant looks at her. Regardless of the reason, she was starting to think about facing the tribulations of the Lanternway by herself.

"But that would be a little too complicated huh?" She whispered to herself, sitting by the Fountain. If there was something she didn't like, it was looking at self proclaimed blue-bloods talk about "Destinies" and "Worthiness", as if such titles and concepts could be dealt by a clerk sitting behind a desk.

For the moment, Whispers had decided to think about it over a snack, summoning a tasty looking apple from her backpack. If the citizens were going to look at her weird, might as well give them a reason to do so.

Opening her maw in an exagerated manner, she let her razor-sharp teeth gleam in the sunlight for a few seconds before quickly biting down on the fruit with an audible clack. Some people around her visibly flinched and moved away, the lizard girl chuckling gleefully at the reactions. "Small victories." She thought.

However, her quiet moment was cut short by a cheery voice not too far from her. A small draconic girl was jumping happily, garnering a wide eyed expression from Whispers.

"I suppose I'll just make the trek myself, then! One kobold magus against the horror and wonders of Lanternway, fighting her way to the Cavern of Blades alone? It'll be dangerous, I might get in trouble!" The girl said cheerfully.

That was certainly a sight so to see, someone so eagerly to put herself in danger.

"I might die, but it'll be an adventure!"

That last part certainly made Whispers raise her brow. The girl looked like a mage, but her diminutive stature wouldn't win her any battles. It was in that moment that she noticed the Kobold's blue eyes, sparkling with happiness and determination at the mere thought. The lizardgirl felt a certain... Captivation while looking into those large azure eyes. Compelled, Whispers approached the retainer, lowering her hood to present herself.

"Excuse me... My name is uh... Walks-In-Whispers. But just call me Whispers." She said to both the retainer and the kobold girl. "I was listening to your conversation. You said you were going to the Lanternway?"

"Yes..." The retainer responded. "But Ms. Aygis here was not approved to be escorted to the Lanternway by official channels. It is explicitly reserved for people who-"

"Are worthy, yes I've heard that before." Whispers interrupted the retainer before continuing. "That doesn't forbid her for making the trek herself right?"

"Well technically no-"

"Then I believe you have other stuff to attend to?" She interrupted once again.

The retainer huffed annoyingly, but remained polite.

"Well yes, but we are not responsible for whatever injuries she accrues while traveling alone in unsancti-"

"She won't be traveling alone. I'll go with her." She responded, cutting the man's words once again.

The Retainer finally gave up and turned around, leaving the premises and going back to his post. Whispers watched him walk back with a smirk on her face before turning to Aygis.

"I'm sorry you had to see that. I'm not good with authority figures." She said giggling. "My name is Whispers. I'm also planning on going to the Lanternway without uh... Official permissions. Maybe we can go together? That would probably raise our chance of... Not dying perhaps?"

As forward as she could, whispers didn't meditate over her words and just asked right away. Hopefully, her direct approach wouldn't frighten her possible companion. As for the reasons inside her mind, the only thing she could think about is that she had a hunch over this girl. She awaited her answer, asking herself just what exactly did these deep azure eyes were about to bring for her future.

 

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Aygis' minor dance of excitement was only slightly dampened when it was interrupted by an interloper, turning both of their heads. The kobold mage glanced at the speaker curiously as she dropped her hood, brows raising in surprise. The interloper was a somewhat taller, lithe-looking creature with soft-looking features, like the short horns atop her crown, those brilliant green and red scales, or those inquisitive, careful yellow eyes. There was no mistaking it; she wasn't a kobold, certainly, but if she was shorter she'd definitely pass for one in a few respects, except for, say, the way her body was shaped. It was trim and easy, her tail longer and certainly more flexible than any kobold's tail. Most of her body shape was hidden by her cloak, of course, much like Aygis, but the magus didn't care too much for that. 

She watched, amused, as the retainer and the interloper exchanged words, and each time the retainer tried to speak up, the woman--Whispers, she'd said her name was--would cut him off, much to the kobold's entertainment. Eventually, the retainer just walked off, obviously annoyed, and Aygis stifled a grin until the newcomer turned to her. She had to look down on Aygis, but it didn't seem like a chore for her. Rather, it looked more like Whisper was trying to see eye-to-eye with her, which felt nice. It was a pleasant change of pace, definitely, and she appreciated it greatly. 

8 hours ago, Maverick said:

"I'm sorry you had to see that. I'm not good with authority figures." She said giggling. "My name is Whispers. I'm also planning on going to the Lanternway without uh... Official permissions. Maybe we can go together? That would probably raise our chance of... Not dying perhaps?"

"To the point. I like that!" Aygis replied almost instantly, catching them both off-guard. The mage blinked in confusion at her own declaration before puzzling it out for herself.

"I meant to say that, yes, I'd love some company. In fact, most adventurers demand some company, don't you think?" She gave the woman a toothy grin. When the woman grinned back, it made her bristle a little with enthusiasm. Aygis rarely met others of her own species, or anything even close to them, for that matter. Kobolds were xenophobic and spent far too much time underground, digging and forging and waging wars against other subterranean species than they did exploring the world around them. She'd had her share of curious companions, but for the most part Aygis was always an oddity, a rarity. When she looked at Whispers, she didn't see any of that. She could easily see her equal in the woman, and everything about her made her want to ask questions upon questions about just who she was. It was a good feeling; good people brought out that feeling in her. She held the smile for another second before bouncing up in place for a second and thrusting her hand out.

"It's good to meet you, Whispers! My name is Aygis. I'm a mage." She giggled, twirling the Nubstikk. "If you couldn't tell."

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Aygis was so full of enthusiasm Whispers couldn't help but to giggle and smile at the kobold girl. The lizard girl was very relieved to have someone closer to her species to join, specially with the amount of stares she had picked up on the way there. Perhaps with Aygis, she could act like herself instead of trying to blend into the group. Holding the smile, Whispers gave Aygis a firm handshake to seal their companionship for this quest. Upon her comment about being a mage, Whispers blushed slightly over how she failed to notice that before, being quite apparent because of her staff and her cloak.

"Ah... I'm sorry I didn't notice. Well that will come handy in our travels I'm sure." She added a bit shy.

"First we should check if we need anything for the journey... I believe I have enough food for both of us, and I can hunt something on the way if we get hungry for something more consistent..." She said, taking her cloak off for a moment to check in her backpack. Removing her cloak revealed Whisper's clothing under it, a comfortable fabric top overlayed by leather segments stopping just short of her mid-riff showing her defined abdominals, tight but flexible pants ending above her ankles followed by straps running down to her lizard-like talons, long fingerless gloves covering to her elbows and a jeweled tribal necklace adorning her neck. Her bow hanged across her chest, and her daggers were safely sheathed on her hips along with a quiver filled with arrows.

"I also have some rope and... Uh... I'm sorry." She apologized, looking at Aygis a little bashful. "I talk too much. I bet a mage needs very little of this mundane stuff right? I'm not... Very accustomed to this lands yet."

Whispers propped her cloak over her shoulders, enjoying the cool air for a moment before turning her attention back to her Kobold companion, carrying her backpack once again. She somehow felt comfortable with Aygis, not having to be the "weird tribal girl" anymore.

"I think I have all I need. What about you?"

Whispers began walking towards the gate with the Kobold girl. There was a small amount of vendors just before reaching the exit in case they needed to buy more supplies, otherwise they could carry on to the plains towards the Lanternway, hopefully without much issue. Whispers' wanderlust made her a bit anxious to explore, and she felt in her horns that this would be an interesting adventure no matter what they found in the caves.

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Whispers seemed an able and friendly companion if ever there was one, Aygis recognized. She was eager when it came to communication, but also incredibly cautious, which Aygis saw a lot of herself in. She went from open and eager and excited to suddenly quite embarrassed, as if she'd exposed a vital weak point, and not a part of her personality. That was understandable, too. They were strangers, still, more like acquaintances, and it was difficult to gauge each other based on this brief exchange. However, the magus had seen a great deal of the lizard woman's personality already, when she'd first approached and made herself known, and so far the kobold was pleased to say she liked what she'd seen in Walks-In-Whispers.

10 hours ago, Maverick said:

"First we should check if we need anything for the journey... I believe I have enough food for both of us, and I can..."

Aygis lost track of her words as the woman offed her cloak briefly to check her pack, and the kobold got a good look at her body. She'd imagined, of course, but she wasn't prepared to see what waited for her under the girl's clothes. She caught a full, proper glimpse up the woman's shapely, toned legs, hidden behind tight bands of leather right up until the ankles, where they were succeeded by tight-fitting pants. As she rummaged in her bag, Aygis could see her toned calves and legs moving subtly behind them, and she followed those right up to her supple, shapely thighs...

Aygis gave a meek sound of embarrassment, glancing away to grab her own kit as her cheeks burned red. While she didn't necessarily have a similar scale structure compared to Whispers, it was definitely possible to see when a kobold was excited, or flustered, or aroused. Aygis didn't want to reveal she'd been staring so blatantly, and made an effort not to eyeball her companion too much. She flipped open her kit and peered inside, pretending to be very interested in the contents until the lizard girl tried to talk to her again.

11 hours ago, Maverick said:

"I also have some rope and... Uh... I'm sorry." She apologized, looking at Aygis a little bashful. "I talk too much. I bet a mage needs very little of this mundane stuff right? I'm not... Very accustomed to this lands yet."

Aygis wanted to reassure her, feeling immediately guilty. Whispers more than likely thought she was much like the men and women of Sunset Way, uninterested in the mundane workings of the every man. She turned to look at the girl, flashing her a smile of acceptance.

"Well, actually, when I say 'mage', I mean 'waddling fireball dispenser.'" She chuckled softly, gazing up at Whispers, holding eye contact before she nodded her assent. "Between the two of us, we should be just fine for supplies. You have a bag full of supplies in case things go wrong; I have a bag full of rocks. We're pretty much set." As long as Aygis wanted to hold eye contact, they both naturally broke the stare after an awkward pause, and Aygis once again felt her eyes roam down Whispers' body quickly, down her shapely face and pale neck, to her slender shoulders, toned arms and defined abdominals...

Aygis found herself mesmerized by how gorgeous the girl was, though she did her best to hide her stares. She'd expected the woman to be wearing something unassuming underneath that cloak, perhaps full-length pants and a blouse, but even seeing her dressed like this felt...improper to the poor kobold's mind. She was showing off so much about her physique that the petite mage couldn't quite stand it, and color flooded her cheeks. She picked up her bag of rocks with a huff and gave Whispers one last look of approval.

"So! Next stop, Lanternway! It shouldn't be more than a day's hike, if we go by foot. What do you think, Whispers?"

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As they walked, Whispers could have sworn Aygis was staring at her for some reason, her eyes roaming down her shape for a second before looking away. Not only that, but the Kobold girl's cheeks began to turn red, like she was embarrased or... Perhaps she found her attractive?. Whispers felt a fluster herself rushing through her body and giggled shyly at the possibility, trying to pay no mind to it and keeping with their walk towards the gate. She found Aygis bag of rocks a strange quirk, but she figured she had seen stranger things in her time at the tribe. In any case, she would be able to provide enough supplies for both.

On 2/2/2018 at 5:20 AM, Jotnotes said:

"So! Next stop, Lanternway! It shouldn't be more than a day's hike, if we go by foot. What do you think, Whispers?"

Whispers nodded, stepping out of the gate and into what was now the wilderness of Whispernight.

"Hopefully we get there without problems. I guess we just have to find a good place to camp for tonight and we'll get there by tomorrow morning." She said to her companion, looking up to the sky to gauge the time of day. "Noon at the latest..."

The road they were taking was slightly damp, rain most likely the culprit of such a state, making their steps a bit slower than normal. Luckily, Whisper's reptilian feet were specially useful for this kind of terrain and she doubted Aygis had any problems either. The first few miles of the trek where mostly mottled with idle chit chat and some obstacle traversing, a quite relaxing travel for the lizard girl, albeit a bit boring. The sun crossed the sky as the day progressed, and the farther they traveled from Sunset Way, the more difficult the path became, adding more forestry and hills until the marked path had completely dissapeared, leaving them only with a map of the are Whispers had picked up before meeting Aygis.

The sun had begun to set by the time they had reached the heavily cliff-addled stone paths near the Lanternway. There was still about an hour of light available and the archs of the ruins began to appear in their way, Whispers marveling at their construction and studiness, still standing even though they were almost completely overtaken by nature. However, Whispers also began to notice certain, small patterns along the way. Broken shrubbery, strips of leather and animal bones were crudely hidden under patches of dirt and leaves. Some of the soil looked trudged upon and irregular, and the sound of birds and other animals were oddly absent. Whispers looked at Aygis with a concerned expression.

"Aygis... Look around the pathway. Maybe you already noticed, but the place is too silent... If my tracking skills are not wrong, this path has been already walked on before, but not by humanoids. I'm not sure what could it be, but be on your guard." She whispered to the kobold girl.

Whispers began to walk slowly and more cautiously, making sure to stay close to the kobold mage in case something happened. It was barely a few minutes passed when the pair of lizard-girls unwittingly stepped on a weird patch of twigs. The cracking of the small branches seemed to reverberate all over the place. Whispers stopped in her tracks immediately with a wide eyed expression, her feet picking a small rumbling under their feet...

"Watch out!"

Whispers screamed as, from the soil beneath them, a pair of giant spiders shot up from the ground with their front legs and fangs bared, pouncing the pair in an effort to make them their next meal. The lizard girl instinctively grabbed Aygis from the waist and pulling her out of the way of the attack, falling on her back. She moved Aygis out of the way and quickly retrieved her daggers from her waist as one of the spiders pounced her without waiting, the creature meeting with a pair of sharpened steel weapons striking it's underbelly before being kicked back in defense. The spider reeled back and stood before it's partner as they circled their prey.

Panting, Whispers prepared to attack at Aygis' side, sheathing her daggers and now grabbing her bow instead.

"You take one and I'll take the other! Be careful!"

Whispers shot an arrow directly to a spider, hitting it on one of the eyes and making it screech in pain. The creature frenzied and pounced once again, the lizard girl deftly dodging the spider and firing a point blank shot to another of the creature's eyes before climbing on the creature's back. A desperately struggle ensued as Whispers began to stab the creature on the back repeteadly while the spider tried to shake her off on top of it, giving Aygis a perfect opportunity to hit the enemy with an attack of her own. In turn, Whispers used her bow and shot a couple of arrows towards the other spider in an effort to aid her companion make more damage.

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The road out of Sunset Way and towards Lanternway was nothing terribly remarkable, but Aygis enjoyed it nonetheless. Very little happened on their hike out into the world, and the duo chatted mindlessly all the while. While neither of the girls shared anything of import, it felt good to be on the road again, swapping random funny stories, cracking jokes and bragging about previous conquests. During their trip, Aygis found that Whispers was a talkative and friendly woman, and she eagerly supplied the gaps in their conversations with quips and jokes that, ultimately, the kobold couldn't help but be enamored by. Having such a strong personality was attractive in most species, and from what the kobold had seen from her few shy stares at the woman, she was obviously attractive in other aspects, as well. What's more, whenever she caught Aygis staring, she only shot back an embarassed and toothy grin, obviously flattered by the attention but unsure on how to broach the topic. That certainly made two of them, then. The kobold mage really was at a loss for words when it came to her new company. She was, of course, perfect in just about every inflection of the word. Yet Aygis had only just met the girl, just begun to hear about her life. You couldn't just jump into the waiting arms of the first cute girl you came across, could you?

She mulled over that as they walked and chattered, only briefly recognizing the changing environment as they slowly worked their way off the beaten paths. Aygis took notice as the more open environs of Genesaris gave way to sloping hills and tightly-bound bunches of trees. Together, the duo worked their way up a wooded hill, using saplings to keep their grip as the slope grew steep, until they both came to a crest atop the hill. Ahead of them, the looming ruins of what was once Lanternway presented itself to the duo, and the magus found herself looking over it fondly. The city was dead and broken, filled with monsters. Trying to push through it alone was not going to do them any favors, and for a moment Aygis recalled when she'd declared that she might die if she went alone. While no such danger had presented itself up til now, she was grateful again for Whisper's company. Together, they still wouldn't be as formidable a force as the situation would demand, but at least they stood a fighting chance this way. With a few ginger hops, they made their way back down from the crest and walked around it, striking out for the lost city of Lanternway.

By the time they'd drawn close to the crumbling ruins, the sun was beginning to fade. It casted long, perilous shadows over the environment, hiding much of the greyed, cracked stone in a sheet of darkness. It made for good hiding spots, Aygis noted mildly as they continued to move through the ruins. This far out of Lanternway, these tall ruins were certainly part of  some older part of the building effort. Yet, it was silent, eerily silent. The magus twirled the Nubstik cautiously, staff ready to dispense a stream of fire the moment they needed it.

Whispers took her aside, affirming her suspiscions.

17 hours ago, Maverick said:

"Aygis... Look around the pathway. Maybe you already noticed, but the place is too silent... If my tracking skills are not wrong, this path has been already walked on before, but not by humanoids. I'm not sure what could it be, but be on your guard." She whispered to the kobold girl.

The kobold nodded up to her, and took the lead. The Nubstikk watched menacingly as she inched forward, step after step, listening for the shifting of rocks, the shuffling of feet, the telltale signs of nearby enemies.

17 hours ago, Maverick said:

Whispers began to walk slowly and more cautiously, making sure to stay close to the kobold mage in case something happened. It was barely a few minutes passed when the pair of lizard-girls unwittingly stepped on a weird patch of twigs. The cracking of the small branches seemed to reverberate all over the place. Whispers stopped in her tracks immediately with a wide eyed expression, her feet picking a small rumbling under their feet...

"Watch out!"

Whispers screamed as, from the soil beneath them, a pair of giant spiders shot up from the ground with their front legs and fangs bared, pouncing the pair in an effort to make them their next meal. The lizard girl instinctively grabbed Aygis from the waist and pulling her out of the way of the attack, falling on her back. She moved Aygis out of the way and quickly retrieved her daggers from her waist as one of the spiders pounced her without waiting, the creature meeting with a pair of sharpened steel weapons striking it's underbelly before being kicked back in defense. The spider reeled back and stood before it's partner as they circled their prey.

Panting, Whispers prepared to attack at Aygis' side, sheathing her daggers and now grabbing her bow instead.

"You take one and I'll take the other! Be careful!"

Aygis scrambled to her feet, staff at the ready once she'd recovered from being pulled back. Already, Whispers was in fighting form and Aygis watched her leap upon the other spider's back after pelting it with arrows, gracefully landing atop the spider before slashing and stabbing at it with great abandon. This gave Aygis an opening, and she pulled a taloned hand back into a fist. Brimstone formed in her hands from nothingness, scorching the scent of the air around her. The fireball great in size until she could no longer hold it in her palm and with a draconic shout of fury, she let loose the bolt, aiming at the other spider once Whispers had its attention. The chittering arachnid screeched in shock as the fireball struck it on the side of the head, forcing it to recoil in pain as Aygis pulled her hand back again, smoke curling from within her closed fist. 

"That's good! Keep them disctracted while we have time! I'll deal with this!" Aygis' shout was easily heard, and with another draconic shout she hurled the fireball at the second beasty again. This once struck its legs, and while it forced the monster to do a little dance it wasn't nearly as effective as the first shot.

As the magus prepared to cast another spell, the nubstikk quickly glowed an incandescent white and just like that her spell was ready, and tossed without effort, This ball slammed into the ground only a few inches from the spider. Now that it'd caught on to her, the fight was going to grow more difficult, as it tried to dodge and weave around her spells. It gave a seething cry, and tried to rush the mage.

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Aygis had turned the tables quite nicely for the pair, with an onslaught of fireballs that made her quip of being a fire dispenser a welcome truth. The spiders would take more than that, however, and continued their onslaught with hungry zeal. Skittering along, the spider holding Whispers on it’s back had sustained so much damage that the young hunter had already run out of places to stab, desperately flailing around in an effort to throw the girl out until it resorted to throwing itself against the nearby columns. Whispers tried to hold on, but to no avail, eventually being thrown towards the pillar forcefully.

She huffed in pain as she crashed against the worn but still sturdy stone, stunning her enough for the creature to regain it’s footing and attack her with renewed sense. Disadvantaged, Whispers merely blocked the attacks with her daggers as fast as her reflexes allowed, the creatures fangs coming closer and closer to her until suddenly, strength failed her. The spider’s fangs clasped down on her defending arm, making the hunter release a muted cry of pain. The spider thrashed around, attempting to rip Whispers arm with brute force. However, almost instinctively, Whispers spotted an opening and drove down her dagger down on the creature’s skull right in the middle of it’s six eyes. Either by pain or a lucky hit to the brain, the spider eased it’s grip on her arm, giving enough time for her to stab her second dagger right next to the first one.

The creature trembled and struggled for a few seconds, squealing a few pained cries before finally crashing into it’s side, it’s many legs twitching and curling towards it’s thorax.

Exhausted, Whispers tried to catch her breath, examining her arm to see the extend of the wound. The spider’s fangs had torn some scales on the area, piercing her skin and making her bleed slightly. Thankfully, it was her scales that also saved her arm from being completely pierced, adding to the fact that this type of spider was not poisonous.

Now turning her attention to her companion, Whispers prepared her bow, aiming towards the chasing spider. With a knock, the arrow took flight with great speed, hitting the spider right in the joint between it’s back leg and it’s body. Hopefully, the hit would cripple said leg, slowing the monster down and giving Aygis the opportunity to strike back.

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Crack! 

The sound of the Nubstikk connecting with the spider's fangs was more audible than connecting with anything else, and Aygis quickly readied the staff for action as the blow made her a little room. The wolf spider, dazed by her strike, didn't react too quickly as Aygis contemplated her actions. Conjuring fire was the best way to go about putting them both down, but the spells were also slow moving. Instead, she focused her efforts into conjuring another spell--and quickly the air around her and her staff plummeted quickly, the hot air and her breath condensing around her into visible clouds. Aygis shivered, but maintained her efforts while the spider slowly recovered from being struck at last. By the time it tried to rush her again, however, it was too late. Ice formed in the air an inch from the staff, and began funnelling into the shape of a long, pointed javelin.

Only, her attention was stolen when Whispers cried out in shock, and Aygis dropped her focus to look at the lizard girl as the spider took a bite of her wrist. 

"Whispers!" Aygis yelped in alarm, before casting the lance towards her. It went wide, unfortunately, and Aygis could only watch in dismay at first,as the other girl struggled with her foe before she thankfully pulled her knife and stabbed at the beast again, finally killing it. 

One of them down, the kobold magus looked back towards the other spider and her heart leapt into her throat as it lunged at her, chittering wildly. She didn't have time to react offensively, and instead dove to one side, still clutching her staff as she scrambled to her feet, turning around again. She began conjuring another ice lance, but it was too quick for her. She wouldn't have a lot of time to aim this time around. Thankfully, she wasn't alone however, and before the giant spider could make another lunge at her another arrow pierced its side, causing it to flinch. The cry of pain and its sudden surprise were all Aygis needed, and with another draconian hiss she hurled the ice bolt true. The sub-zero projectile flew straight between its many eyes and through much of its insides before pulling the beast back and pinning it to a rock, where the fragile bolt shattered into shards of quickly melting ice.

Aygis lowered her staff as the spider's last rueful death rattles escaped it, and with that she dashed over to Whispers, quick to play the doctor.

"Let me see your wounds!" Aygis yelped apprehensively. It was too early for either of them to be injured; Whispers needed some kind of treatment fast. As the wound was shown off for her, however, the kobold could only sigh in relief.

"Well, we got a lot luckier than some people do." She chuckled coarsely. "They could've been poisonous, right?"

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The sun was already setting by the time the last of the spiders gave it's last breath, the trees projecting vast shadows across the landscape as they last minutes of light slowly passed. Whispers merely leaned against a nearby tree, giving a small effort to rest her tired muscles before deciding what else to do. Aygis broke her concentration with her wild sprint towards, her eyes full of worry. The kobold girl examined her wounds exhasperated, her care found endearing to the lizard girl and answered with a small smile and a light chuckle.

On 2/7/2018 at 10:51 PM, Jotnotes said:

"Well, we got a lot luckier than some people do." She chuckled coarsely. "They could've been poisonous, right?"

"Yeah. Lucky for us I guess." She said giggling. "Ambushes are not exactly easy to deal with, at least I was lucky to have such a skilled mage with me!"

Whispers looked up to the sky, the clouds reflecting beautiful shades of red and purple with last bits of sunlight. The Lizard girl took a moment to enjoy the view before gazing back to Aygis.

"Well... It's too late to continue right now. Maybe we should set up camp here. The rest of the animals must have known this area was the spider's, so I bet that they will leave us alone until they realize they are dead. What do you say?"

Of course that last question was mostly rethorical. Braving the ruins at night would be much more dangerous, as even with the lizard's natural night vision they would be at a disadvantage against the magically enhanced undead revenants inside the Lanternway. Whispers had not been there before, but her instincts would tell her that camping and waiting for the next morning was the best choice they could make right then.

With some combined effort, Whispers would gather some firewood and fuel for a campfire, while she would leave the logistics of lighting it up to her fire-dispensing companion. While building the campsite, Whispers would engage in some idle chit chat, giving some information about her life in the tribes and how things were back then.

"Yeah, my tribe is mostly composed of artisans. We have warriors of course, but it's a small militia of fine warriors instead of a full army. Lucky for us, the marsh tends to help us fend off invaders rather well..." She explained, finally sitting by the bonfire and settling up into resting. She unpacked a couple of leaf-wrapped bundles, each contaning a nice morsel of salted boar meat from her hunts. Arming a makeshift spit roast, she would put the meat by the fire to cook.

"I guess we could eat some of the spider's meat if we are still hungry... Had never tasted spider meat though." She said, sitting closer to Aygis in order to stay warmer as the night grew colder.

"I'm sorry if I speak too much... I have hardly let you say anything..." She apologized. "Tell me, what makes the great kobold magus click?"

Whispers smiled warmly towards Aygis, putting her arms under her own cloak.

Edited by Maverick

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Setting up base camp had been much faster than Aygis was used to, to her great delight. Whispers was not only an accomplished warrior with a bow and blade, but also a talented survivalist. Between the two of them, they'd made short work of putting together a small, cozy bonfire, backs against an old, but very much alive, if well-scarred great oak tree. It made for a good back rest, and the ground around it had eroded so much that if they so chose they could even take cover beneath its roots. Aygis had slept beneath a tree once, and though it was essentially like slumbering in a hole in the ground it was also very comfy. A little arcane ignition, and the fire soon grew to a grand height and warmth that was perfect for the two, much to Aygis' glee.

Together, the duo settled down around the fire and shared some meager rations. Aygis would have been fine with cooking the spiders, but Whispers had insisted they dine instead on the soft, salted pork she'd kept wrapped up for such an occasion. It promised to take a little while to cook, of course, and to Aygis the anticipation was probably more delicious than the pork itself. With nothing left to do but wait, they sat huddled together under a bear pelt blanket, keeping the worst of the encroaching cold out with it. It was a fine way to wait out the time until their meat was ready.

Until then, Walks-In-Whispers kept her occupied with small chatter nonstop. Between the two of them, there was still leagues to talk about, and Aygis listened in silence as Whispers prattled along eagerly about everything that came to mind. It was a pleasant way to fill the time, and more importantly it showed that Aygis' companion was still in good health and almost surely in high spirits. That itself was good; adventuring demanded a good attitude and an optimistic outlook. Otherwise, you were liable to fall victim to the weight of the cruel, cruel world. 

6 hours ago, Maverick said:

"I'm sorry if I speak too much... I have hardly let you say anything..." She apologized. "Tell me, what makes the great kobold magus click?"

"Oh, you don't need to worry about me." Aygis replied comfortably, shuffling a bit to sit closer to the lizard woman. "I could keep you up for hours talking about who I am and what I've done, so I think I'll talk about me tomorrow, on our way into Latnernway." She shuffled a bit more, eventually reaching underneath the bear pelt to pull it tighter around them. 

"But I do have some questions for you, Whispers. Is your wound feeling well, now?"

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The fire fluttered cozily in front of the two girls as they talked, the sound of the sizzling pork accentuating the crackling of the flames consuming the wood. For a lot others, the campfire would just look like a temporary respite, a measure to stave off the cold and survive another night in the wilderness, but for Whispers this was like a bonfire at home, the only thing missing being her brothers' laughter and joking around the fire. She missed them quite a lot, but she was not in bad company. Aygis sat at her side, close enough for the 2 girls to be sitting arm to arm under the bear skin blanket, the comfort settling in on her weary body.

Just now, Jotnotes said:

"But I do have some questions for you, Whispers. Is your wound feeling well, now?"

"Oh, ah... Yes, it's nothing serious." She said, raising her arm slightly to show her cloth-wrapped wound. It still stung a bit and the red, slightly swollen bite was still visible under her broken scales, but the pain had already subsided to almost nothing. "It's mostly just a little pain by now, but it will pass."

Giggling, Whispers gave the kobold a reassuring pat in the arm, her body so relaxed she accidentally let her fingers linger softly on Aygis scales. Noticing it, she blushed a small bit as if it had been a grand gesture of affection, choosing to poke the still-cooking meat.

"So anyways, you can ask me whatever you want. I'll try to ask as best as I can."

Whispers smiled and chuckled softly, if anything leaning slightly towards the kobold girl in a comfy, relaxed way.

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Aygis let her eyes linger on the bandages, and couldn't help but feel a bit helpless. She really should have learned some kind of sorcery to help with this sort of situation, even if it was just something simple. She supposed it couldn't be helped now, however, and instead of lingering on the subject allowed herself to give Whispers a satisfied smile. Her blood was still pumping even now, and it felt good. They were well on their way into an adventure, having slain the first of many foes and stopped to take a very casual, very familiar rest around a fire. It was simple moments like this one that had drawn her to the life of adventure in the first place. It was a cozy rest and good company after a harrowing situation, exactly the sort of thing she didn't have at home.

Whispers patted her back reassuringly, and Aygis could plainly feel how her hands lingered on the kobold's back. She was wearing her cloak, of course, yet she could almost feel her companion trying to feel her scales. It granted a small amount of warmth to blossom in the kobold's cheeks, and beneath the pelt they shared she felt her tail curl reflexively in response to the stimulus.

Whispers giggled afterward, likely seeing Aygis blush in response and if anything that only made the kobold squirm a little more, obviously embarrassed to be teased like so.

Aygis huddled into the bear pelt, listening to the evening lull of insects and nocturnal animals, and the gentle swaying of the trees.

13 hours ago, Maverick said:

"So anyways, you can ask me whatever you want. I'll try to answer as best as I can."

Whispers was leaning into her, perhaps as a sign of trust, or perhaps as...a subtle hint that the magus was supposed to respond to? She couldn't really tell, but in the tender flame of the bonfire, she had no issue leaning back a little, grateful for the company. She could feel the woman breathing next to her, feel the back of her chest move with each easy inhale and exhale. It was comforting to be so close, at least as far as the mage was concerned. She didn't say a word for several minutes, just enjoying the company, mulling over what to ask about. She had questions of course, but they were all over the place, and she wasn't sure exactly what Whispers wanted from her. Well, she was starting to believe she knew what the lizard woman wanted from her, but approaching such a topic...defied the kobold's courage outright.

"Well, what do you know about the Whispernight?" Aygis asked curiously. It was a good question, a genuine question. She had to remember that Whispers had agreed to come with her without so much as a second thought, so she surely knew something beyond the name alone.

 

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On 2/13/2018 at 4:05 PM, Jotnotes said:

"Well, what do you know about the Whispernight?" Aygis asked curiously. It was a good question, a genuine question. She had to remember that Whispers had agreed to come with her without so much as a second thought, so she surely knew something beyond the name alone.

"Not much, mostly what the traders told us when our people went to the towns near Bloodstone Marsh..." Whispers says, finally taking the food out of the fire and offering Aygis her share. She blew on it slightly before taking a big bite, her reptile teeth easily ripping the tender meat from the bone. "... There used to be great cities and towns here, full of life, magic and relics beyond knowledge. Even where we are resting now was supposedly busy with people, even at night. Then, it... Fell. Father never told us what happened, said it was bad luck to talk about such things."

Whispers couldn't avoid but to reminisce about the past in that moment. The 7 children of her family, huddled up around a small fire sharing stories, rumors, legends...

"My brothers and I used to tell stories about the lands outside of the tribe. The Lanternway was among them, really. At first it was about what kind of relics and people walked around the streets, what kind of animals they hunted. Then, in our late teens, I remember talking about the spirits with my eldest brother. He is a warrior smith you see, and he always talked about how so many marvels of metalwork were lost when the Whispernight happened. I never knew what he meant until I read about the Cavern of Blades. He said the rumors told about specters and ghosts haunting the formerly hallowed streets... So I figured that someday I would return with a weapon from the Cavern for my brother."

Whispers stared at the fire for a few seconds before resuming her eating.

"I miss my brothers..." She said, biting into the meat once again. She gazed back at Aygis and gave her a melancholic smile, as much as a lizard could give anyways. "What about you? Is not every day someone is eager to face death in some gods-forsaken ruins. What brought you here Aygis?"

Edited by Maverick

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Aygis' expression softened, hearing about the lizard woman's family. Of course, it was to be expected that many adventurers, or at least people who dream of adventuring, experience homesickness at some point. It was difficult to leave home in search of wealth and glory, knowing full well that only danger lays along the road you've chosen. It had a certain risk-reward to it: ahead of you laid the possibility of riches and fame, but at the cost of everything you may have ever known. Aygis herself was quite fortunate. Kobolds tended to be less family-oriented. She'd said her goodbyes and left quietly one day, and most of her kin had merely accepted it. They were xenophobic, of course; they likely thought for a fact that Aygis had gone to her death.

"Well, I'm certain we'll find something of value for your brother, Whispers." She gave the girl's arm a reassuring squeeze. She turned her attention back to her meat not long after and took a good look at it. It was well-cooked, and she could hear what fat remained dribbling out of it, sizzling as it did so. Between the smell and sound, her mouth was watering, and now that she had it in her hands she could barely wait. Aygis took a generous bite of her portion, and almost immediately replied with a happy growl of excitement. The meat was delicious! Though it was merely preserved rations, something about the saltiness of the portion and the way it tenderized over the fire made it melt-in-the mouth good, and better still it came off in strips. The succulent morsel was promptly consumed, and in no time at all Aygis was lying back against Whispers, wholly satisfied.

"I wish I could eat that forever," She confessed to Whispers. "It's probably the greatest thing I've eaten since..." She shrugged, unable to come up with a fitting way to end that comment.

She sat in silence for a while after that. She didn't have to consider Whispers' question too hard; she already had her answer and everything. What she didn't want to break, however, was the comfortable scene. Her belly was full of meat, the fire before them was warm and inviting, the ambience was soothing and Whispers...Whispers was a magnificient pillow. The way she breathed, how her muscles flexed and relaxed behind Aygis' back, it was all so comforting to Aygis that for a long time she'd forgotten they were strangers. Eventually, however, she stirred and answered the question, stretching a bit.

"Actually, I've been there before. Lanternway, I mean." Aygis replied cheerfully. "It didn't kill me last time, so I'm eager to see how it does this time!"

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