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Time Stone: Acquiesce

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As the cambion and vampire made their way towards the ship’s stern, Arthur followed suit but stopped short on the quarterdeck. It was his first stop on his mission to sail the vessel out of the harbor, stepping around the helm and orienting the rudder away from the dock. Arthur watched as his companions disappeared into the cabin, pondering curiously as to how they knew each other. Xartia seemed to have many odd friends, though admittedly the black mage considered himself one of them. 

With the helm turned the opposite way, the mage continued with his duties and walked the length of the vessel until he was atop the forecastle at the front of the ship. As he walked past, the mutant began to cast tiny spells of prestidigitation, undoing the various knots that tied the ship to the dock. Arthur ignored the mechanism of the windlass at the front of the vessel, and grabbed hold of the anchor’s chains with both hands. The spellblade’s impressive musculature strained and tightened under his robes, pulling the anchor upwards and out of the water before it was attached to a hook on the ship’s hull. With the anchor secured and its chains in a neat coil, the ship began to slowly drift away from the dock. Carefully, Arthur navigated Xartia’s vessel out of the harbor, unfurling the sails on the main mast about a quarter of the way as they crossed into the open bay. The canvas sails picked up the wind, increasing the vessel’s speed by a fair amount. 

Arthur used ropes to tie the helm into place, knowing that they were expecting him in the cabin, but that he couldn’t leave the wheel unattended either. Soon, the vessel was on its way out into the open ocean, and Arthur opened the door that lead into the luxurious cabin where the others resided.

@Twitterpated @Etched In Stone

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iPxv5h8m.jpgArtamese had remained silent save for the introductions with Arthur. Her lips had twitched at his title, and she had remarked her door back home said, Artamese Prewitt: Scrivener, Archaeologist and Artificer—Beware of Dog.

She knew well enough that Xartia was practically family to Raveena. Vampires were common enough in Genesaris—still, she listened intently as she quietly set up her portable workshop. Artamese followed the men into the quarters and found a room she’d claim for herself before returning with her tool belt. It was meticulous work, but she checked every tool before fastening it on—its familiar weight was a comfort. Only when she was satisfied and sat did she pull a pair of reading glasses from within her shirt that dangled around neck and perch them on her nose. Tiny little gems and minerals decorated the dainty chain, each packed with its own flavor of power.

Rubbing her hands together, Artamese narrowed her eyes and focused before pulling her hands apart. The acrid stench of ozone was brief before twelve magic circles—some larger than others hung in the air between her palms. No two circles rotated at the same speed, and her brows furrowed as she peered around the room, inspecting the structure of Xartia’s craft out of sheer curiosity while the men conversed. When her curiosity was sated, Arty shook her hands and he Affinity dissipated into harmless sparks.

Tucking a loose curl behind her ear, she observed Xartia with a manner of fascination. His story was not a sunny one, and it certainly didn’t take an Empath to see there was a clear line of weariness that settled over the man. Still, he persevered.

“Simon,” Artamese leaned, speaking low and quiet to the hound at her feet, as not to disrupt the conversation, “Fetch the Antigone reports. All of them. Show them your seal and they will know I sent for them.”

Simon rose lazily—more leg than dog—and stretched before ambling for the door, nosing it open and disappearing outside. The nature of her Hell Hound made him convenient for correspondence. Most people didn’t care to approach the freakishly tall dog. 

Perhaps the detailed records of the Antigone Raid would be useful and give them a better idea of what was ahead of them.

@Twitterpated @Etched In Stone @Voldemort

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On 12/21/2019 at 2:34 PM, Twitterpated said:

"So you've been busy. I hate to break it to you, though you'll hardly experience asylum in my company. If anything you're on the fast track to becoming and international criminal. Unless of course we succeed, then perhaps there is a way to cover our tracks."

Leinhart felt the conflicting enchantment of magic that hovered over the door suppress his entering, before being granted access into the depths of the cabin along Xartia and the woman Artamese who spawned from out of nowhere seemingly, finding herself a quiet lodge rather swiftly . The Ancient vampire took this opportunity to tell the Pendragon the cream of the crop, the sour of the patches but try to give the Cambion also some space to feel the need to open up on a subject they've may or may not have touched upon. Seemed there was a lot that the others had known already, perhaps even prior to this day in meeting and it was the blame of the good old Magician if anything was to backfire later on any personal matters the progenitor revealed. 

"Did you desire I go around territories enacting favors or deeds for others in exchange for service, land, or an alliance? Has this bloody world only made you weaker?"

On 12/21/2019 at 2:34 PM, Twitterpated said:

"So, what are you working on anyway? What are you planning with these cities you're infesting? Surely it's deeper than mere expansion."

 

He had all the right to accuse a man who went under secrecy of hiding his identity to steal an artifact. Since bluntly honest was his given approach, the Supernatural felt proceeding statements needed just as much effort in their response from the Pendragon lord. In his seat across a tanned leather sofa Leinhart gazed around the lofty room, the Magician's talent with magic was nonetheless seemingly no sharper. Surely, there been enough quarters for the crew's personal space while maintaining decent room for public lounging and dinning. Even so, the longer he inclined himself to a staring his acute senses could perceive beyond the slightest inconsistency. His goldenrob bulbs briefly scanned the premise of the surroundings in the delight of it's hominess returning his angular countenance unto the man and commenting complacently. His hands folded together in his lap locking, he smiled cheaply brandishing a pair of toothy fangs from their crevice as he carried on his venomous words only the Pendragon knew were to be true. 

"Dark dominion if you had yet found out, but if my purging cannot be enough to control the World under a single order. I will be the sole reason the lands remain contaminated and fouled. You see, then will the World seek to find an antidote or a cure to end the affliction and torment endured."

 

@Twitterpated@Voldemort@Malintzin

Edited by Etched In Stone

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SCENE: HIGH ABOVE THE PEREGRINE

LAYELIA ASTRAPÉ LEUCETIUS

As winds swept past, Layelia could taste the salt in the air. After being in Port Kyros for so long, she had become accustomed to the sea brine which left no corner of the city untouched. Still — to live by the ocean of all places. She had never pictured herself living on the coast. It was only by the suggestion of the City Ruler that both she and Fraenir ended up in The Port. If it weren’t for that fated meeting with The Countess, the young mage may have never escaped her pursuers — never found a place to call home — never reunited with her sworn-sister Vera. Thus, Layelia owed much to Raveena. With sealed letter in satchel, the young Leucetius would fulfill the request:

Watch over Artamese.

Thus, it was because of a single letter that the duo found themselves high above The Peregrine in the endless skies which overlooked the Great Northern Sea.

Hand running over the smooth, turquoise scales of her companion, Layelia looked out towards the ocean which peeked from below the sheet of white, cotton clouds. The shifting facets of the deep blue water shimmered with the final colors of the setting sun — a jewel pane of dancing flames and pristine sea. A masterpiece which lasted only a moment. A scene which Layelia could find herself staring at for eternity. And when that sun had finally crossed over the horizon, a sweet sigh escaped the girl’s lips. Gently, she rested her head on the dragon’s nape. There, she could feel the warmth which pulsed through Fraenir’s body — the steady beating of his heart.

Fraenir,” she began, words carried in on barely a whisper, “We really must do this more often.”

There was silence, but she did not expect a response. The dragon was fickle with his affections and was not the type for sentimentalities. Even though they had been traveling with each other for well over three years, Fraenir was hard of heart. Though their minds were linked, there was a part so deep, so tumultuous, that even through their connection, Layelia could not pry past its guards. Every time she dove, she choked — drowned — on something festering inside of him. It wasn’t just anger, nor was it just sadness. It was a deep, rooted loathing towards a target Layelia could not pin down. Despite her curiosity, she dared not bring it up for fear of inciting his wrath.

He hated humans, that part was for certain, but this loathing was towards a person.

True, they had been together for quite a while now, but...

The question was, was the one he hated her?

Then, to the girl’s surprise, he replied — voice soft, gentle, melancholy even. Four words more than anything she would have expected from the creature a year ago. “Yes — Yes we should.”

* * * * *

FRAENIR OF SIGURTHYR

Stars twinkled as dusted diamonds swept in the wind. An ocean’s night was clear — unpolluted by the artificial lights of magic which plagued Kyros. Out here, the dragon could bask in starlight, sea breeze, and the crescent moon’s emerging rays. It had taken so long for his scars to recover. He had almost forgotten what it was like to glide so high up — the air flowing between his scales, flowing onto his face. It was a freedom that only those with wings could truly experience: the liberation granted only through flight.

Dipping just below the clouds, he surveyed The Peregrine. Amber eyes went over the features of the ship, looking for any signs of movement. Now that the ship was heading out into open water, most passengers were inside, save for the one man — if he was even a man. It was the individual the dragon had seen from when he was high above the sea wall. The person’s limbs were long and features... unnatural. No human eyes were that shade of lurid orange. That man, robed in midnight, had been doing things with the ropes and sails and such for quite a while — things that Fraenir knew not. When the spindly man finally went back into the depths of the ship, the dragon knew that it was the best chance for them to go aboard the ship.

Layelia,” he began, “— Perhaps now is a better time than any to descend. I doubt it will take long for those on the ship to notice us flying above them — even with your witchcraft.” The people below seemed all capable in magic, and there was no chance of hiding themselves from Artamese.

Unexpectedly, there was a hiss followed by a tiny kick to the leading edge of his wing. Serpentine eyes narrowed.

Careful. You would not want to lose your shoe now — you know we did not pack any extras,” he crooned. “If it falls into the ocean, I am not fishing it out ~”

Stop obfuscating! I’ve told you that witchcraft is a barbaric, degrading term! The proper term is artificery — or perhaps even a common concealment. I’ve explained this to you countless times already. Have you no head for magic?”

Oh?”

At this comment, the dragon simply laughed. You didn’t need a head for magic. Only fools needed maths or science to harness it. True magic was feeling the flow of things — the weave which spanned this mortal world. If he wanted to hide himself, then he only need ask — twist the threads to his will. No need for mists, mirrors, or whatever Layelia concerned herself with to make the illusion. One only needed will and spirit for true magic. In the dragon’s opinion, the girl had talent, but wasted it on study. True magic came with practice — not research. The charm she had made to conceal them was no more than a painted veil which hung loosely around them — a falsity of fake sky and fake clouds. Any mage with their wits about them could see through it if they knew where to look.

Ah yes, unfortunately I do have a head, but if you would like, I could pretend I do not have one,” he mused. “I recall hearing from my sea-born brethren that a dive in the ocean at this time is most refreshing.”

He could feel the girl’s apprehension on his lips. Fantastic.

Feeling a bit nervous, are you not, Layelia? I am just going for a swim.” he said nonchalantly.

Fraenir... you best no—AHHHHHHHHHHT!”

And with that, he curled his wings in, dropped, and dove straight down like an arrow towards the sea.

By the gods, he loved teasing her.

* * * * *

LAYELIA ASTRAPÉ LEUCETIUS

That calm, pleasant night had all but vanished. Somehow, the young artificer had gone from relaxing, to scolding, to falling from the sky. Stands of flaxen hair flew wildly as the girl clung to the Fraenir’s neck for dear life. Her eyes squeezed shut as the piercing rush of air whistled along the dragon’s scales. Surely if the men below didn’t notice them then, they would now certainly hear the sound of a dragon hurtling towards their ship. If they didn’t, they were deaf idiots like Fraenir.

With a silent prayer to Zare, she just hoped that the dragon remembered that if she died, he himself would also die.

A rush of air — a sudden deceleration. Her own lilac eyes opened to survey the scene.

In her mind’s eye, she felt the dragon’s wolfish grin as if it were her own.

Without warning, the dragon spun, dropping her from the air, and out of the range of the common concealment.

Given the circumstances, it was only natural that Layelia let out a girlish scream.

By the gods, she hated Fraenir.

If she hadn’t fallen into netting of the ship’s shrouds, she would have died. At that point, the dragon's idiocy had been confirmed. Several loud thuds resounded on deck as bags filled with their stuff hit the main deck. The nerve! Didn’t Fraenir remember she had glassware on her?

The girl looked out towards the sea for the turquoise monstrosity, but to no avail. The shroud of magic which hid Fraenir from sight was her own work after all.

In the distance, she heard a loud splash. Then, every inch of her skin contracted with a freezing chill. By the gods, she could feel the icy waters passing through his scales as the damned lizard swam. Weren’t the oceans supposed to be warm in The North!? Really, she hated Fraenir. She also hated their sympathetic link. Their experiences were shared in some sense — the sensation of touch being the most in tune. No privacy. No nullification of its effects. What happened to him, happened to her, and vice-versa, which served the dragon's impish nature quite well.

Teeth chattering madly, Layelia untangled her splayed limbs from the ropes, and when she was free, she climbed down from the railing and onto the main deck.

Adrenaline pumping, she shakily picked up the bags that were so casually tossed onto the floor. Zare, she was cold. Surely the rooms inside would bring her some semblance of warmth. She needed a fire. Going to the most ornate door, she opened it, joining Xartia's entourage.

She was finally in the main cabin, but she was no warmer. Damn that dragon, she thought.

Then she froze.

After the fall, there was no telling how she looked. Sure, her long, beige, trench coat came out unscathed, but she could only imagine with horror what her face looked like at the moment. Her cheeks were probably erubescent while her fair skin was definitely flushed with sweat. Was her hair messed up from the fall? Lace-braided ponytail unraveled? Disheveled? It didn’t help that there was an inhuman with orange-eyes. She was already shivering like a fool — what more her knees quivering in fear? She had always been a coward at heart, and in the current state she was in, there was no hiding it.

Distractions. Layelia needed to distract herself.

Which one of them is Xartia? Need to give him the letter...

Her eyes darted between the three men inside the luxurious room, but who was the recipient of Raveena’s missive?

Standing there like an idiot, she fished the letter from her satchel.

Family. Pretty. Wealthy. Up to no good — The written word of Raveena in her cursory description of Xartia.

Wealthy.

The mage remembered the carriage with mares of flaming stride. Hands clammy, she shoved the letter into the pale-skinned man's chest.

La-Layelia,” she sputtered before turning back and out of the main cabin. There had to be other halls to wander that were away from people. She was too flustered to face anyone at that moment. She would have to brutally torture Fraenir later for this embarrassment.

On a separate note, the missive would describe what Xartia needed to know about her unexpected arrival on the ship. In short, the paragraphs contained the time and date of the ship’s departure, a four-word description of Xartia, and a section which stated that both Layelia and Fraenir would be joining the expedition in order to watch over Artamese. Of course, the words stipulated that the two would assist Xartia if need be. Xartia was like family to Raveena after all. Marking the letter as an official message from The Countess of Port Kyros, the bottom of the parchment had both Raveena's signature and seal.


 

On the front, the words ‘To Xartia Pendragon’ were penned in finest ink.

If only Layelia had given the letter to The Cambion and not The Vampire.

 

 

@Etched In Stone @Twitterpated @Malintzin @Voldemort

Edited by Artificer

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"Did you desire I go around territories enacting favors or deeds for others in exchange for service, land, or an alliance? Has this bloody world only made you weaker?"

The Vampires words were personal, more so than anyone present might have known or even suspected. The Cambion's eyes became half lidded, his gaze remaining with Lein's. Over the years, Xartia hadn't grown weaker by any means. Though with power and age came wisdom; Wisdom so deep that he could even understand both why the Vampire would commit himself in such a manner, as well as the fact that he could never succeed. His own son he was discussing with Arthur earlier, Koji, is similar in these regards. The major difference here being interpersonal relationships. Where Koji was a burden he had to bare the weight of, Lein was not. Where he and Koji were enemies, he and Lein were not. Not only did Lein know better than those present of Xartia's extremely bloody history, though he should personally remember not to mistake his lack of sin as weakness.

"Weaker? Need I remind you of the day you swore your fealty to me? Fortunately for you, your fealty was never of my desires. It shouldn't have to be said aloud, even if we haven't been around one another in long while...Even without my demonic mutations, do not ever look down your nose at me. Never mistake my restraint and patience for weakness."

He more or less spoke just loud enough for Lein to here. Not that he cared if the others heard his words, more so that he wasn't trying to get a rise out of his comrade. As the Vampire resumed his speech, the Cambion was affirmed of his assumptions. Old habits died hard indeed. As much as Xartia wished to blame himself for the Vampires dwelling on this world, he refused to knowing he had nothing to do with his arrival. Besides, Xartia had long forgiven himself of his past transgressions, and had risked his life enough times for any world across the multiverse enough not feel the necessities of playing the hero any longer. Unless of course it was on a more personal level with himself.

"Dark dominion if you had yet found out, but if my purging cannot be enough to control the World under a single order. I will be the sole reason the lands remain contaminated and fouled. You see, then will the World seek to find an antidote or a cure to end the affliction and torment endured."

"So long as those I treasure remain untouched by your ilk, you need not be concerned with my personal resistance. I won't verbally threaten you directly, but I'm sure you get th -BRACE YOURSELVES!!!"

The Cambion suddenly exclaimed as his right hand found the nearest wall. As a precaution, he metaphysically reinforced the presumed impact zone from the impending crash landing. How Xartia could've been so careless as to not notice the dragon and it's rider sooner was a mistake he couldn't afford to make again, especially during this quest. Judging by the landing as he perceived it, it was nothing of an assault, an accident at best. Fortunate for the rider as she made her way to his and Lein's company. Shoving an envelope into the Vampire's chest, his face grew puzzled. How many more humans had Lein been networking with, and how did this one know she could find him here? Her immediate choice to stroll away somewhat casually left him even more certain of his assumptions. Despite what he wanted to say, he bit his tongue and sufficed knowing that nobody was hurt in the crash landing, and that the vessel had sustained minimal damage that was virtually unnoticeable.

"Perhaps I stand corrected, looks like you just might be famous already." He mused, refreshing his trademark, Cheshire grin. This hadn't been the first time the two had been mistaken for one another, though without his demonic mutations, it would likely be the last time such a thing occurred. It really was a shame that he hadn't seen Raveena since ridding himself of his mutated appearance completely. 

@Voldemort @Etched In Stone @Malintzin @Artificer

 

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When Arthur entered the cabin, the mage unhooked the straps of his rucksack and tossed it onto a long sofa before joining it. The mutant stretched his long, muscular frame across the sofa, seating himself as comfortably as he would lounge in his own home. If he had one, that is. He yawned into his right palm, nestling into his new seat as he overheard snippets of Xartia and Leinhart’s conversation. Arthur made no comment, pretending as if he couldn’t hear them while his eyes closed in what he hoped would prove a nice nap. 

Fate had other plans, however, as Arthur’s eyes shot open in response to the sound of a nose-diving beast. His sensitive ears picked up the sound of a winged creature cutting through the air before something substantial crashed into the rigging and rat-lines and the deck below it. Preparing for a fight, the mutant sprang to his feet and reached into the folds of his half-robes. He rifled through a pouch of polymorphed weapons on his baldric, his fingers isolating the ones that would be too long for the cramped confines of the cabin before settling on the familiar miniaturized shape of his warhammer. Just long enough to be comfortably wielded in one hand and lethally effective at that. However, when Layelia nervously stepped into the cabin, the mage released the weapon and drew the drawstring of the pouch closed. 

Standing firmly in his place in case Layelia turned out to be a threat, he only needed to spare the newcomer a single glance to tell that she looked upon the mutant as if he were the source of a plague. Arthur rolled his inhuman eyes slightly and snorted in amusement, pulling off his robes as the woman jammed a letter into the vampire’s chest and ran off below deck.

”That wasn’t the least bit embarrassing, right?” The mage’s asked the others, just as rhetorically as his did sarcastically. Turning about, Arthur walked back towards the entrance of the cabin. “I’ll leave you two to figure that out. I’ll make sure she didn’t damage the rigging.” 

With that, the mage exited the room.

@Twitterpated @Etched In Stone @Artificer @Malintzin

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Artamese was leaned back in her chair, eyes resting when Xartia’s yelling startled her awake. She did the only thing that seemed illogical (for she wasn’t readily near a wall to reach out for) in that she clutched her chair and braced for whatever was coming. But nothing came—not in the manner she was expecting.

Instead the faint sound of someone screaming ended with several dull but concerning thuds outside the cabin. Much like Arthur had, Artamese reached for a sheathed dagger attached to her harness. Her glasses were still perched on her nose when the door was opened unceremoniously—and without knocking.

There stood a drenched and shaking woman, with all manner of luggage in tow. Artamese swore profusely with irritation—in Genesar, Terric and Vaadenian for good measure as she irritably sheathed the dagger and made herself useful with helping the poor sod with hauling their luggage inside while giving her a quick once-over from head to toe.

Satisfied but distrustful, she slipped around the woman who approached and peered outside and around. Where in bloody hell had this woman come from? Her glasses could detect the faint whisps of magical essence but not the usual "leftovers" she was used to seeing when magic was cast. So maybe she didn’t port in—but the thudding earlier suggests she may have fallen... Arthur was already on the move, chasing the tail end of her thoughts to check and see if there was any damage to the ship. She didn’t immediately close the door behind him. While she trusted Xartia’s magic and the company which she was with (else, why would Xartia call on them for such an arduous journey?), she didn’t trust being holed up in a cabin. If something happened right then and there, she wanted out.

Still, Artamese knew she had to bite down on the reflex to distrust even Raveena’s decisions. The Queen wouldn't give just any ship to Xartia. All the same, trust wasn’t something she had in spades these days.

“How nice of you to drop in.” She greeted dryly as she sank back into the chair with a sigh.

“Normally you join us before the ship disembarks.”

 

@Twitterpated @Etched In Stone @Voldemort @Artificer

 

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On 1/4/2020 at 6:37 PM, Twitterpated said:

"Weaker? Need I remind you of the day you swore your fealty to me? Fortunately for you, your fealty was never of my desires. It shouldn't have to be said aloud, even if we haven't been around one another in long while...Even without my demonic mutations, do not ever look down your nose at me. Never mistake my restraint and patience for weakness."

A wide derisive grin stretched from his one side of the angular maw to the other scorning the demon for his exposure, he went all out in his expectancy of doing so. From a comforted posture against the softness of the cabin couch his feet placed to the ground and he straightened erect. Knowing Xartia found solace in what he failed to truly kept the vampire from sprawling onto him then, and sucking his body dry to a prune. Or even better, siring the man then he'd understand true loyalty and obedience. To've assume the Dark One soul-heartedly kneeled upon a lower pedestal than the Cambion in blood was preposterous even after these many years. However, he hadn't been entirely misleading. His resin encased rose meant a millennium of knowledge to it's drinker and sealed a portion of his vampiric lifeforce into several phylacteries one of which went entrusted to the hands of the Pendragon. The two brothering each other through ... What was it now a decade? The rose provided Xartia with an advantage against the Pureblood if he'd only known how to properly utilize his sources, but there had to be reason he'd notion the Count conspire against him. A series of applause came to follow striking itself rhythmically, one-two-three producing the gentle thump that resonated the space of the room. While mislead no one the Magician had a way to play with words brazenly, deserving full merit from an audience. Desiring to settle an score when the man left him little room to speak was foolish.

Quote

"So long as those I treasure remain untouched by your ilk, you need not be concerned with my personal resistance. I won't verbally threaten you directly, but I'm sure you get th -BRACE YOURSELVES!!!"

No further secrets held behind that unnaturally affected grin returning his lack of affection abroad compelling his sudden rage to a very dark place he'd shut off from his sentiment. The sea air wafted his nose despite possessing an undead nature he still was quite effected by the tingling similarly as related to an allergy. Xartia produced a wildly shout and that's when it struck him, that he had failed to realize the highspeed trajectory of the dragon soaring itself down to the ship's deck. Having been literally froze in response to imagine just what the cause of such creature could be possibly heading in their direction, or proving at the moment he cared less and was confident in his own survival to handle the situation as seen fit. Something great submerged itself into the depths of the water beneath and caused the ship to rock unsteadily against collisional waves. By the time the thuds hit the deck and a crash landing was made evident Leinhart hadn't moved an inch and instead, remained fixed at the surroundings accompanying his sight with an index finger from his right in his mouth he sat motionless gnawing at a claw. If somebody found a way to end his undead misery he welcomed them and did nothing. Once the sudden interrupting audibleness became at ease and the others of the company showed face concerned with weapon clenched alarmed and cautioned, the lithe woman entering through the cabin doors illustrated their hypothesis's were incorrect. Oddly than ever, she went looking directly at the Daywalker tired and shivering cold from her travels to the ship. However it was certain that she had not been frightened by his presence before her. As she shoved him the letter he looked upon it's fine addressing when it instantly struck him she was searching instead for the Cambion warlord. Looking up to find her face and address the mistake, sighing he noted she was already walking out the door.

Quote

"Perhaps I stand corrected, looks like you just might be famous already."

"Just when my hopes were high. How could they've mistaken us? You're far hideous, than I. It's for you."

A flick of the wrist as he cocked his hand slightly tilting it was all the envelope needed to find it's trajectory soaring towards the other side of the cabin for Xartia and into his lap if he couldn't catch. The Nosferatu gripped to return his hands over the arcs of the armrest, almost awaiting to hear the news behind the letter intruding with his goldenrod eyes from afar. All the while curious to know what exactly landed in the sea certain that Arthur was headed to find out and inform the lot of his discovery.

@Twitterpated@Artificer@Malintzin@Voldemort

 

Edited by Etched In Stone

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"Ah, you say such, and yet you beauty is merely imitation. Mine being authentic, natural. Stop feeding for a while and show us your true appearance as a California Raisin."

Those of this world wouldn't get why he mused such words and laughed beyond them whilst accepting the letter. However, Lein would catch the reference; Perhaps they could consider it an inside joke. Looking to the face of the envelope first, Xartia's face illumined with surprise. He knew her handwriting anywhere, this letter was from Raveena herself. Wasting no time opening the letter and exposing it's contents within, he read feverishly to ensure that this wasn't some sort of letter of dire import or emergency.  The calm was apparent in his face as his charming smirk returned, his eyes still digesting the page though he spoke to the Count once more. 

"So it appears she's more or less here to assist Artamese, though they're both here to assist us...Say, want to have a bit of fun to pass the time? The journey has just began, though we have quite a ways to go. Let's see how long it takes for the girl to realize you're not Xartia Pendragon."

His volume diminished as his smirk became menacing. His hand gestured in the direction she'd headed off in whilst he handed the letter back to Lein. A giggle escaped him just before they'd temporarily part ways. As the Vampire likely obliged the notion, Xartia trusted nothing bad could truly come from such an innocent trifle. In the meantime, Xartia allowed the enchanted wheel to more or less steer on autopilot as he too exited the cabin in search of the black mage. An act that was rather easy to accomplish. Out on the deck, he looked back and saw how far they were beginning to make it from the port, his Cheshire grin refreshing as he continued to approach the Mutant.

"So what's new with you, what have I missed. I had heard of your participation in that Reunion tournament, though you were gone for quite a while prior to those rumors."

A loaded question, one that the Cambion had no idea he didn't want answered. Even with Akako's return, and the three of them in the company of one another however briefly as the flower festival, he still hadn't learned of Akako's whereabouts of her absence. Obviously the case being the same for Arthur. As intelligent as the Magician was, not even he could've guessed they spent a stretch of that time together. 

@Voldemort @Etched In Stone @Malintzin @Artificer

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LAYELIA ASTRAPÉ LEUCETIUS

Something about the ship just wasn’t right. Layelia had been wandering what she thought to be the periphery of the outer corridors, looking for a room for quite some time now. It hadn’t taken long for her eyes to pick up the discrepancies of the vehicle. If she had truly been walking along the inside of the walls which faced the outside world, she figured that things would be smaller — not bigger! She couldn’t help but take these subconscious measurements. It was just how her mind worked. How wide was this interior as opposed to the exterior — almost twice? If so, it would have taken an expert or two in spacial geometry and manipulation to achieve this feat — especially for a region which was not anchored to any point in particular. That inner scholar of hers began bursting with questions. When she got back from the journey, she would have to ask Lady Raveena for the name of the shipwright. There was much to learn from such a fellow. The maths and magic which went into such a spell was a true testament to his or her skill. What secrets could she glean from a master of their craft?

Yawn. Perhaps it was time to retire.

When she finally arrived at a suitable room — one not so far from the stairwell, but not too close either —, she twisted the brass knob and entered. She could use a nice bed to get some much needed rest. Despite her appearance, Layelia couldn’t help but feel the need to undress and relax. The dragon’s dip in the ocean left her feeling soaked even if there was no water clinging to her coat. The joys of sympathetic bonds.

Kicking off her boots, the woman plopped onto the large, luxurious mattress and closed her eyes. She didn’t even bother taking off her trench coat or thick slacks — the metaphorical lead weighing her body was far too heavy.

What a night.

 

FRAENIR OF SIGURTHYR

GASP — the dragon sucked in a large breath of air when he reemerged to the surface. Sea foam and waves assaulted him from all angles as he craned his neck high above the waters. He had been rather enjoying his time swimming. His cousins sure knew what they were talking about — even if he found them a bit dull. How free he felt when he plunged deep into those waves — into the waters on his own. Free to be on his own.

But a sudden fatigue alerted him of his distance from the ship, reminding him that he did not have such freedoms anymore. Those wings were clipped when he fell to Slaver’s Enclave.

Amber eyes scanned the horizon. He needed to find The Peregrine, and quickly. That tether between both him and the girl was drawing taut, and if the space between them widened... well he didn’t want to think about what would happen.

There it is, he thought, seeing the ship’s mast beneath the rising moon. A shame it was that he didn’t get to enjoy his time in the ocean...

... Then again, he wasn’t that tired.

Steadily he paddled in the direction of the ship. No need to fly this time — Fraenir would take his time swimming back. He’d let the girl introduce them to the rest of the crew.

*     *     *     *     *

When he finally arrived at the port beam of The Peregrine, he was thoroughly and utterly sore. He saw now why he was a land dragon and not a sea dragon — damned limbs. The webbed feet of his cousins must have been far more useful for such excursions as opposed to his long, clawed digits. Grabbing onto the boat’s side, he shifted back into his human form before hoisting himself up. He hated this form much, but Layelia had insisted on maintaining decorum in front of Lady Raveena’s associate’s companions. He chose short dark brown hair and a well-sculpted body to accompany his golden eyes this time, not willing to indulge in anymore modesty. He was already lowering himself to the appearance of such inferior creatures — why not choose something that was at least a tiny bit appealing? If he couldn’t rock the boat with his majestic, draconic visage, he would with beauty unparalleled.

That is, if one could even consider any human beautiful.

Up, up, and up — he climbed some loose netting which hung off the side.

Fraenir pulled himself up and over the side rails, bare feet leaving a wet puddle where he stood.

He saw the orange-eyed fellow once more, this time examining the rigging of the ship beneath the moonlight. Perhaps now would be as good a time as any to introduce himself.

Greetings, human!” he said with hand raised out. “Have you seen a short, blonde, awkward woman by any chance? I’m looking for her.”

The dragon smiled with a genial expression, not realizing that he himself was completely and utterly nude.

@Voldemort

Edited by Artificer

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She hadn’t even said a word! How rude. Artamese scoffed softly after the woman yawned and made her way to claim a cabin, shaking her head in disbelief. Show up late and disheveled and can’t even bother to say anything to anyone? She sighed and had just slouched in her chair when she heard familiar scratching at the door.

“You’re such a reliable fella when you aim to be useful, eh?” She chuckled when she opened the door to let him in, amused that he sat so obediently for once and came to kneel before the hound. It was true, Simon had a penchant for being a lazy hellhound but was remarkably sharp when he decided to make himself useful. She was just coming to stand when she heard a voice calling out—one that certainly wasn’t Arthur’s. Brows furrowing, she let Simon in while pulling her dagger back out and heading onto the deck.

“—onde, awkward woman by any chance? I’m looking for her.”

What that—, “Gods alive!” Artamese exclaimed when she realized there was a naked man standing there. She was so startled she dropped her dagger and whipped around to turn her back on the men, embarrassed. The Artificer stooped and picked it up ungracefully, fumbling to resheathe the dagger and furthering her embarrassment. Fine time to get butterfingers! Her hands clenched into fists and she squeezed her eyes shut looking heavenward. Bloody hell, what was it with these people?! Her ears were turning red, her cheeks pink.

“If you’ve lost your mind in the ocean, sir I implore you to go back from whence you came to find it! Or is decency a foreign concept around these parts?” She tried to retain some dignity with a less than kind remark. Clearly, he was looking for the rude mess of a girl who had arrived moments earlier.

The Chapel Alliance wasn’t keen on menfolk and spent their time raising strong, female magi. In all her years, Artamese had never been exposed to many men in her life beyond her father—particularly having two other sisters. She had never indulged in a relationship or even been kissed. She certainly had never seen a man naked before. It seemed today was her lucky day to bypass the normal stages of these things and go straight for the goods.

Who swims around naked in these monster infested waters?!

She was beginning to understand why the Chapel Alliance steered her away from them.

@Artificer

Spoiler

(( This shouldn't directly interfere with order. I know Jon is waitin' but I'mma go ahead and get this out since it was requested.))

 

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And just like that, the Black Mage was gone. He sort of just seemed to vanish when Xartia pressed him for casual conversation. Was it something he said? Perhaps it was something of import that whisked him away so swiftly. Regardless, as far as the Cambion was concerned, it appeared that Arthur would no longer be joining them on their voyage. With a sigh of some annoyance, he fished from his pocket a soft pack of cigarettes; LongStride 100s. Shaking the pack he applied a slight grip on the pack, leaving a single filter tip exposed. Taking it twixt his lips, he plucked it free from the pack and proceeded to take a reassuring drag as he pocketed the pack. Miraculously, the opposing end seemingly lit into the perfect cherry all of its own accord. His hand shortly returned to pluck the fag from his lips as the opposing hand found and rested in its respective pant pocket. Inhaling deeply, he exhaled slowly as he allowed his gaze to settle upon the horizon. He couldn't see anything yet, nor feel anything for that matter. Though he was certain they were headed in the right direction. As he stood and smoked his mind raced, re-evaluated the plan he'd already been formulating. And settled on the loss of a great mind in their company, a great warrior at that. His loss wouldn't hinder them necessarily, though it certainly made the job that much more difficult for each of them to get through without taking losses along the way. Not that any of those present would be a loss to him. Especially not that damned Vampire. A smirk graced his lips once more at the thought of getting the chance to use Leinhart rose to resurrect him this time around should he fall. A blessing and a curse such an act would be.

@Etched In Stone @Malintzin @Artificer

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Minutes turned to hours as the Peregrine traversed the oceanic waters for the illustrious Antigone Isles. The current crew of four had largely had a quiet trip unhindered. However, that was all soon to change. Over half way to their destination, but with a stretch still remaining before reaching their destination, a storm appeared to be brewing. While it wasn't of the Magestorm variety, a storm could still serve as a problem for them depending on just how turbulent it made the waters for the small vessel. With out much verbalizing, the Magician hurried about the cabin and made way for the deck where he made quick work of manipulating the either around them. Taking the sails with his arcane prowess, he coated them in a protective layer as to keep them from tearing while daring to continue onward. Hail cried from the heavens as thunder growled on the horizon. Flashes among the clouds could be seen occasionally, though there had yet to be a bolt seen streaking from them. There had yet to be a proper boom of thunder. Retreating back to the cabin, the Cambion stood with a grimace worn on his face. His emerald eyes narrowed in distaste as he continued to evaluate their situation at hand. As the boat began to rock more violently with the passing moments, the remainder of the crew would become aware of their situation if they hadn't already. 

@Etched In Stone @Malintzin @Artificer

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When the storm finally hit, Xartia had taken to countermeasures to ensure the ship endured the trials it was currently being put through. Perhaps he should have better prepared for the potential of a storm when he selected such a small vessel to traverse such a great distance with much mystery surrounding it. This was no magestorm, of that much he was certain. However, it was an extreme in it's own nature; It continued to prove itself with each passing moment, the closer they drew towards their destination, the more intense the effects grew. Either the Cambion was not well enough versed in the natural storms that occurred on this world despite his studies, or this storm wasn't necessarily as it seemed to be. Regardless of such thoughts, the threat was very real. He gripped the wheel harshly, though not to stabilize the boat. No, this was to keep himself as stable as possible as the boat violently shook, rocked, and jumped with gale force wind and a myriad of savage waves. With his eyes closed, he focused his mind on keeping the ship upright, only focusing on repairs within his detection as they arose with certain severity. Alone this was a fools gamble, though perhaps with some assistance, they could manage to pull through until this terrible weather passed, or they found themselves on land; Hopefully at their destination.

The noise outside changed little, though it seemed the that water had found a momentary calm. Was the boat still? No, not only was it moving laterally, it was pivoting however subtle it felt from inside. Though the darkness of the sea beneath a blanket of clouds was hardly parted by the petty lights hosted by the small vessel. Though Xartia could nearly see perfectly though the boat and the darkness itself, through The Great Aether. They had entered a swell that he feverishly tried now with hands and mind to steer out of, but it was much too late to correct course. By his calculations, they had five, maybe seven seconds at best to brace themselves before a titanic wave came violently crashing down on the boat in a more or less sideways and overhead manner. Mentally, he warned his crew to brace themselves before giving his undivided attention to the task of constructing a barrier around the ship. 

""EVERYONE! IMPACT IS IMMINENT! BRACE YOURSELVES!!!""

He felt the ship began to tilt as the base of the wave as it rose to find it's apex well beyond 50 feet before the peak came crashing down into the ship just as his barrier completed around the vessel. While he kept the boat from being damaged beyond repair, and from threatening the magic that was it's interior, Xartia was not physically capable of keeping himself still enough without the fortification of his mind to accommodate for the series of unfortunate events that were about to occur. First he violently jerked forward, smacking his forehead against a peg on the wheel and cracking it before his grip slipped and he was thrown up....back, away for any matter. The last thing he remembered was the wind being knocked out of his as his back slammed into all he could assume was a wall before the back of his skull too collided into the same solid surface, knocking him completely unconscious as the barrier failed nigh instantaneously, leaving the vessel to capsize in his wake. Thankfully, the planar distortion within the vessel would buy those inside some generous time before having to endure the pain of drowning on a sinking vessel. 

Bleeding head and all, his body tossed about the cabin like a rag doll as the vessel continued to endure turbulence. It was nearly upside down, though that was no recourse for this storm to show mercy unto them. The violent waves continued to twist, turn, flip, and break The Peregrine for another 30 or so minutes, though to those not incapacitated it likely served as an eternity. The final crash of the Vessel was the hardest, in which the ship was violently cast unto a wall of jagged stones that more or less caught it, but completely broke it's use and magic in the same instance. The winds continued to whip occasionally along to the cadence of rumbling thunder and hail stones the size of marbles crescendo upon the ruined vessel. Miraculously, the Cambion was more or less going to be sore when he awoke. Though none of his injuries would suffice to slow him down on what was one of the greatest quests of his life. It was gonna take more than a couple of broken ribs and a concussion to stop him from succeeding. 

Face down on rock covered in sand, his parted lips were noticeably dry. Upon closer inspection he was breathing. In the wake of the storm, it seemed that a few rather dirty people dressed in tattered fabrics, shrouded by make shift hoods and cloak with no more than half of their faces exposed. they investigated the body of the Magician where he lay as one of their scouts went to tell the others of their discovery. Any keen mind would assume as much, and assume that reinforcements were likely being sent to search the rest of the wreckage for anything they could find. Anything to indicate whom the Magician was, where he came from, and if he was currently alone or not. Once the pair overlooking Xartia had determined his back and neck weren't broken, they worked together to lift him from the stone beach of the isles and carry him to a more suitable location for all of them. A checkpoint at best. Surely They too took note of a vessel wrecking on shore, bringing this stranger directly to their base of operations was something they couldn't yet afford. Not just because he was a stranger or an outsider, but there was no reason to assume that they weren't already being tracked.

@Malintzin @Zashiii @Dolor Aeternum @Artificer(?)

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That same storm attempted to vituperate a wayward vessel searching for opportunity, as if the fickle seas of Genesaris meant to repay the orc captain for his role in rousing a monstrosity that affected the ever shifting balance of magic these lands had. This valiant attempt failed however as the forceful winds and unforgiving waves passed directly through the spectral vessel that was one of his most prized possessions. Though ‘Blob Boss’ made it clear that its use be prioritized for the advancement of their cause, he couldn’t help but feel this vessel was his own and he could do with it as he saw fit. As the ghost crew managed their duties, unhindered by the dangerous weather, Xavier Thoro’kan narrowed his eyes as he peered through the veil of rain and swells of water to see glimpses of the Peregrine.

“Head toward that ship men!”

The orc didn’t actually need to shout out the order given the crew’s actions spawned from Xavier’s own desires but if ever he acquired some more ‘corporeal’ crewmember he had to learn how to play the part right? Right. So as they headed toward the ship, he wondered what sort of spoils he could find that they would throw overboard or when it succumbed to the natural force that pelted it. Any trinket he could find and bring back to the boss for some more praise he could lord over that puny little fairy would be worth the trouble. The Peregrine would elude him for a while, disappearing behind the veil of undulating waves for the rest of that night.

~~~~~~~Next day~~~~~~~~

Xavier executed a wide search for whatever remained of the Peregrine, hoping that some valuables managed to remain afloat. Debris was found and anything Xavier (as well as his clandestine partner) considered shiny or worth some value was brought aboard. After hours of scavenging, the isles of Antigone came into view, with some scattered debri creating a floating trail that urged the orc to try his hand at some land exploration for whatever might have washed ashore.

“I’ll be back crew.”

Muscles became taut before Xavier leaped off of his vessel several feet forward, thrusting himself into the water where he swam the rest of the way to shore. Clad in fully black leather armor with a spiked helm and large spiked gauntlets, his massive frame trudged through the sand until he came across a group of cloaked figures rummaging through some of the wreckage. With blinding speed he came up on them, the sudden sight of his massive frame closing the distance causing some to stumble while others prepared to defend themselves.

“Anything good?”

A meaty fist pointed toward the wreckage, Xavier’s movement causing some trepidation before they ultimately decided to humor the stranger.

“We do not know. But anything magical we find is ours…”

The orc was astute enough to know that meant they could appraise such things or thought they could. Their tattered clothes suggested they weren’t the most fortunate souls either. What was that thing that Blob Boss said that one time? Oh right...

‘Those without power are the downtrodden ones who will suffer until they claim power for themselves’

The transactional mindset that had been formulated over his voyages was triggered now.

“Should you share your findings I can make sure those magical items can be returned to you tenfold.”

The robed individuals looked at him, wondering what sort of orc cared to barter when he could simply employ force to attempt to get what he desired. Most of them turned to continue collecting and begin their trek back to their home though they were met with someone with some news.

“They found someone. Likely a survivor of the shipwreck. We are going to take him to the camp nearby.”

Survivor? Perhaps that person could provide some appraisal with some generous coaxing.

“Take me there. We can negotiate further there. I am sure my connections can aid you in surviving whatever you all seem to be hiding from…”

The deduction or stretch that the orc just made was bold enough to warrant a quick gathering of the cloaked figures as they began discussing things.

“Very well. We will let the liberated decide that…follow us.”

Xavier did as they suggested and it wouldn’t be long before groups converged and he found himself near the shipwrecked Xartia as they made their way to the camp. The orc didn’t outright recognize the man but he felt enough familiarity that he made it a point to keep near and see how these people decided to play this out.

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