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Time Stone: Acquiesce

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Artamese was no great mage.

In fact, one’d be hard pressed to call her a mage. She was nothing on the scale of Xartia in terms of power or execution. She was nothing like the dragon that had deposited the other lady before. Artamese was not a creature of grace, like her Queen Raveena. She ungracefully tripped over rope, which tangled itself around her legs, heavy and strong. Waves crashed against the vessel, her own voice drowned out by howling winds and torrential rainfall. She tasted salt on her lips, with icy temperatures that prickled at the skin and soaked to the bone.

She was not strong, nor powerful like the dragon. Artamese felt pain racking her body, cold that stunned her, and a certain kind of heaviness that came with being tossed the deck like a ragdoll. It was not that she intended to be out there. More or less, she had returned after the humiliating encounter with the naked man. The Artificer poured over Simon’s reports, her Hellhound quietly napping at her feet.

It had been Simon who alerted her to roiling waves that only got more violent as they bravely plowed through the storm. The unease of the ships swaying left her struggling to return to the room. Artamese used the hallway to steady herself. Simon trotting daintily behind her, his claws an instant indicator of where he was on the ship at all times as they tapped on the wood.

Somewhere on this cursed thing she had an oilskin container. Rolling the reports and stashing them away safely, Artamese slung the cylindrical container across her back. They were just returning to the main cabin when the door was pried open, almost viscerally ripped from the hinges by the wind of the storm. A thunderous crack, a fierce, jagged streak of lightning pierced the dark skin, and Artamese was thrown onto the deck with a cry.

“Si--!” She screamed for her companion but was drowned out by the storm. She recoiled in fear at the bright flashes, wheezed when she slammed into—what was that? Bloody Hell, it hurt! Artamese was losing sense of direction, of sense! Up was down and left was right and sideways and diagonal. She felt sick to her stomach, exhaustion from struggling to untangle herself. It was a delirious panic—mania? Every instinct in her body told her to flee, to get untangled or she would die. She writhed and shimmied, grunting and pulling at the endless tangle of ropes.

There was a moment of reprieve, and the drenched Scrivener gripped the side of the ship. As if the boat were gliding in the air. Artamese was breathing frantically, smearing her bangs from her eyes. Sprawled out on the deck, she thought for a moment they were on the cusp of the storm, escaping its wretched maws. Somewhere on the ship, Xartia bellowed—but she could barely make out his words.

Then she saw it. Saw it when more lightning tore across the darkness, as if trying to rip the sky apart. Her wide, grey eyes processing the colossal tidal wave that loomed over them, dwarfing the ship. She wanted to breathe but couldn’t yet find the air. Her lungs filled slowly; her eyes fixated on certain death.

 

Ratra, be merciful.

 

The titanic wave descended upon them, cresting wrathfully.

Artamese screamed for Simon.

 

She remembered falling over the edge of the ship and plunging into the sea.

She remembered the air knocked from her lungs as the ship all but disintegrated around her.

She remembered fearing for her life as she was yanked down by those dreadful ropes.

 

She remembered a warm and comforting embrace.

---

The warmth—at some point—became noticeably hot. Perhaps, too hot. Artamese squinted against the sun. Her face was hot—burnt from laying on the shores. Simon was parked over her, in a way only an unnaturally large dog could be.

She made a sound—a strange, strangled sound. Hoarse, with cracked lips that burned when salt touched them. Sand—wet sand. Wet and hot. Everything was uncomfortable. Everything was wrong. Artamese sucked in air, another ragged sound. Simon’s ears swiveled forward, vocal in his whining as he clumsily disengaged the woman he stood guard over—which was a merciful thing, he was all legs and of lesser grace than she.

“Good…good boy…” Through slurred words, she reached up and gratefully patted the Hellhound on the solid mass of shoulders. Simon had always been a remarkably large dog. Not quite Great Dane, not fully Doberman. He was neither one breed nor another, and yet somehow, he exuded the distinct idea that he was something else. He paced around her anxiously while she slowly gained her bearings and sat up. Her head throbbed; the daylight burned her eyes. She grunted while sitting with her head hung. Her body was weary.

“Gotta find Xartia…” She sighed, looking around. Who knew where they were? She reached—too quickly (and winced)—for the oilskin. It was there, but she felt the strap on the cusp of breaking. Simon’s whining did not lessen, as he nosed at her left foot. Artamese understood while she felt so terrible, as her foot was twisted queerly. Broken, she had no doubt, and hissed air between her teeth and cursed under her breath.

“…need something to, aaah! Curse it all! Simon, I need something substantial.” Carefully, with some measure of control she rolled onto her left knee, gritting her teeth before pushing up. Simon trotted off to meet her demands as she teetered and balanced on her right foot. She promptly wanted to collapse, and the grinding of teeth only served to give a worse headache. Simon had, in the way that Simon could, saved her.

“Shit day for a cruise if you ask me…”

@Malintzin @Zashiii @Dolor Aeternum @Artificer

Edited by Malintzin

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Dymid opened eyes opened up to a strange new world. His body ached  greatly and his stomach grumbled. Most of his possessions have drifted away from him after the previous storm harassed his tiny raft. His employer had been adamant with letting him cover the half mile travel to the island with said raft. Of course his employer could care less if a storm was brewing or if the old raft could even survive it. The large ship was already retreating before the man could even protest.

"Is this it?" he asked himself. "Antigone?"

The question was rhetorical as Antigone was his destined location. That and he had to sween the remaining few meters because his raft did break. At the very least, he still have his satchel with him, his clothes, the aged Blackspear coat, and the replica of Heaven's armor still clinging to his chest. Thankfully, the alien metal was just as heavy as his wet clothes, so his swimming was slightly impaired.

Despite his protesting body, Dymid willed himself to move. He needed to find food first then perhaps people later. His predecessor, Middy, had been here before and it was his purpose to follow in that person's footsteps even if he had to wear a male body. 

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Long before the ship wrecked Leinhart had settled his quarter after briefly, acquainting with the other four from the crew. While all he had visibly on person was the leather briefcase carrying a pair of the same attire he was wearing today for the following day. The dapper Nosferatu could store irreplaceable and substantial items or artifacts of priceless value in a small pocket dimension, thus this method of transport required him to pack with him very little things even on his journeys to far places. By raising a single arm in the air and thrusting it down the the room itself rippled, then warped with distorting white light that followed the moment the arm waved once over. In the wake of the opening, a rather elongate and ageless carved wooden coffin lie against the room floor that harnessed an ancient energy of arborration from it's peculiar intricacy. Engraved on it's lid was a vampire bat and behind it a moon. 5,000 years seemed an impossible lifetime for a human, the condition the coffin remained in over such a great distance of age spoke for itself. Beyond normal comprehension and ordinary composite. Ancient texts ridden along the side ribs and ends of the trim foretelling a time before man, a curse, and a new world order. Of course this was all folklore and believed to only been myths.

Running the obsidian nails on his fingers over the rim of the coffin's lid as the Master took to kneel he slid the heavy frame ajar ingesting it's stench of flowing lifeforce from his blessed victims, some of which he'd fed on while occupied in the casket. It reminded the dark lord of a time long from here, far from the troubles of this here day and age of man and their technological efforts. Where the world once seemed to fall under one sun, one moon, and a single Monarch. He'd slip himself into the toe end of the oak wood coffin, slowly sliding himself a leg after the other then, dipping the rest of his body into the head end, shutting the lid closed tight with his loose hand. He was off for a slumber until the ship had landed to be undisturbed by the waves, the tumbling and crashing of the Peregrine, nor the whereabouts of the rest of the crew once he awoke ... 

There was no telling how long he'd been asleep throughout the wreak. But only when the disturbance occur did he awake. A member from the resistance had been lucky to come across the floating unscathed coffin washed up by the coastline, he alerted the others and attempted to pry the lid from the box. To no avail another traveler walking with some type of metal crow-bar approached in which he latched to the sealed lid and with all the might he could afford, pried the son-of-a-stick 1/3rds open before unleashing a horde of Great Black wasps unto the frontier of what was assumed to finally be the Antigone Isles. While most of their bodies been protected by robes and shawls, it didn't guard them when the swarm shrouded at once from hundreds of angles, stinging these Natives not only, but infecting them with vampiric disease to decay and die instead of turn. 

Magic did not work as this was cleared specifically by Xartia, these wasps were in fact tangible once-living beings comparative to vampire in their current state. Hundreds of them were released into the air, attacking the island's resistance within the radius of the coffin and any whom continued to approach. While it was wise to assume Xartia had already been taken hostage by the time the coffin had washed up to the shore, the rest of the Antigone natives were looking out for extra stranglers and just so happened to come across the wrong box. The scent of fresh turning blood surfaced the area around Leinhart, that despite it's horrid dying state it was concentrated enough to alert and wake the Choisel vampire from his rough two hour or so nap. A firm pale hand slowly removed the rest of the wooden lid as the frenchman's visage of rich goldenrod eyes exposed from the casket, peaking out his ashen black tresses and fair feminely features from his angular face. The aromas of blood and death fascinated the primordial 's very senses, yet as he gazed further in bewilderment across the bright beachy shore to his surroundings, did he realize he was no longer on the Peregrine ship with the crew and Xartia. But, somewhere that seemed a very far ways from their destination.

"Oh my. What has happened to everyone and where am I?"

@Twitterpated

 

 

Edited by Etched In Stone

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As he came to, his sense of hearing was the first to return to him. It sounded like people talking, but he couldn't make out precise voices or words. Still, he could tell it wasn't anyone familiar unto himself. It was apparent without even opening his eyes that he'd likely moved from where he was found, though how far he was uncertain. How much loss had they suffered before even arriving on this godforsaken island? Directly without moving more than his mind, he worked to assess his own condition, and to try and account for what was and was not on his person. His jewelry was largely unaffected it felt like, as was his clothing other than being soaked. There was several people about his proximity, though not immediate to him. Approximately half a dozen. As the panicked cries and shouts of the unfortunate souls to happen across the Him of Crows prior to a familiar face gained the immediate attention of all of these people except one. One stayed behind to monitor this unconscious stranger on their lands. Anyone else seeking survivors was likely also diverted towards the cries of their allies. As the man watching the Magician came nearer to check his vitals, he began with seeking a pulse. When he reached from the Cambion's neck, Xartia's hand suddenly struck like a pit viper, snatching up the appendage at the wrist as his eyes shot open. He stared at the man's face, though he couldn't see so clearly without his eyes adjusting.

"Who are you, where am I?"

"Clearly a long way from wherever you call home, " the man spoke nervously while being scrutinized by the Cambion's narrowed, Emerald gaze. "Your vessel wrecked here from what we can tell."

"I'll ask you one more time, " he spoke as he forced himself to sit up slowly, releasing the man's arm begrudgingly in the process in order to support himself properly. "Where am I?"

As his senses cleared up, Xartia was beginning to be able to feel the disturbance that afflicted the pained cries in the distance. The men nearest what quickly became known to them as Pandora's box writhed in pain as they frantically fought to escape the swarm of wasps. The men frantically scattered for the oceanic waters, one almost immediately doubling over before dropping to the ground. He rolled around profusely as he flapped himself repeatedly to no avail. Where ever these critters stung of bi their victims, it wasn't taking long before the results of such were shown as anything but normal, even by the standards of a people born into a world of absurd normal compared to the more mundane ones,

"Antigone, You are at the cusp of the Antigone Isles. Please, we're just trying to help, don't kill us! We didn't risk exposing ourselves to bring any harm unto you. It's not safe here much longer, we really should go before they get here."

So these people were natives? Yet devoid of magitech on the island where they were rumored to have the most advanced tech in the world? Immediately it dawned on Xartia that these people were some sort of refugees, perhaps a resistance. Regardless, these weren't potential enemies, nor a threat in Xartia's book. Which meant he had to call Him off of those whom could still be spared his wrath. ""These locals are not our enemy, though the enemy is approaching. See if you can see any of the others and rendezvous at my approximate location, I'll gather as much intelligence as possible."" He spoke directly to the Ancient Vampire, from one mind to the other. Without skipping a beat however, he proceed to question the man for as long as he could before they absolutely had to move.

"They?"

"Yes, our governing body has elected for a many years now to be the driving force in advanced tech. Though it's all in the name of suppressing magic and anything relative to. They fear magic, what it has done, what it can do. Your arrival was assuredly a beacon, not to mention the other vessels that have happened to cross our waters recently. Traffic has been too high, and even I could feel the magic emitting from your broken vessel."

"I can't sense anyone coming, perhaps we're safe for the moment. How long would you say we have? I have many more questions though it seems they'll have to wait."

"It's hard to guess, we typically avoid interaction and conflict with them. If we wanted to die we would have just remained in the city."

@Etched In Stone @Malintzin @Dolor Aeternum @Zashiii

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Xavier traveled with several escorts without a care in the world despite all of their hesitation with bringing a being of his massive size toward their camp. The alternative, however, seemed far more dangerous so as the orc seemed to lean toward the aloof instead of the imposing they opted to roll the dice and hope that his claims rang true. The orc was browsing the items that had been brought back from the wreckage just outside the area where Xartia awakened but was too busy with appraisal to bother eavesdropping. Instead, one could hear the orc sniffing and tapping several items through the makeshift trove of treasure.

Still that did not make Xavier oblivious to the sense of urgency around him. He watched as several people frantically prepared themselves for travel or was it war? The orc wasn’t quite sure as some decided to grab weapons while others gathered their belongings and children. This wasn’t exactly the best situation for negotiations…that much he knew from what his sister always taught him. For an orc, Xavier seemed to have an unexpected aversion to the prospect of conflict as his eyes darted around to soak in as much detail as he could before he just got fed up and voiced concern.

“What is going on?”

They are coming”

“Who?”

Attention toward the orc was set aside in favor of self-preservation. Luckily the sight of a large dog distracted Xavier from any offense. Amidst the frantic shuffling of those around them, Artemis and Simon gained the whole of the orc’s attention. The woman’s gait triggered an ounce of sympathy and she would find the massive orc approaching her to help her. Xavier knew that Xartia was in the tent nearby resting and recovering thanks to having hovered over him in his sleep while talking to some of these refugees earlier though was oblivious to the fact the man had awakened just recently. Nevertheless any mention of Xartia’s name uttered by anyone near the way would catalyze his opportunity to approach and offer up the man’s location.

“The fancy man is in the tent recovering.”

A meaty hand pointed in that direction while he shifted in earnest to either help Artemis or pet Simon, whichever seemed like the easier ask.

@Malintzin @Twitterpated

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Against her better judgement, Artamese stubbornly made her way to the tree line of the coast.

Simon fetched her a walking stick and—with a great deal of grit—painstakingly maneuvered through the sand dunes to sturdier ground. Enormous tree palms loomed overhead, inviting a sort of savage beauty—as if testing her mettle to explore what was beyond the beach.

And so, she went.

It was for shade and cover—and rest, perhaps. Arty knew she had been in the sun for far too long. Even with her slow, awkward lumbering, humidity clung to her like a stifling veil of fuckery she wanted no part of. The island life was often lauded as being a perfect get away. There was no denying it was lovely-looking in theory, but she was convinced the only safe place was the sanctity of her shop and the Lore Spire of Patia. Her skin was hot to the touch, likely burned from however long was she was—yet not so long that she hadn’t died of her injuries.

Greenery swam into view everywhere. There was no clear path—no way to see anything without being smacked in the face by the local flora. She paused once, to rest by a tree—she was certain it took longer to put herself in a comfortable position to be unseen—yet not so uncomfortable that she couldn’t move faster than her Gran would if needed. Simon was quiet in her wake, which always made her nervous. It’s not that he was talkative—far from it. More often than naught, Simon whined and complained the way a dog would. That he was quiet meant he was serious—and that always made the Artificer wary. After so long with working with a Hell Hound with an interesting personality (one that would not—could not, be described as ‘serious’), seriousness posed a certain risk. It wasn’t that Artamese didn’t take the acquisition of the Time Stone seriously (she was, in truth, very much against anyone having it), but that the seriousness of their situation was cresting on her harder than the tsunami wave that stranded them here.

She had been resting, perhaps dreaming—dreaming of the crystal sun and its ethereal corona. It’s faceted beauty and its pale, silvery light. This time, it flickered; teetering on the brink of exposing more of its mystery to her. Artamese felt something but was invested—she wanted to know more! Her dream had always been the same for years, always! And now, finally, something was happening and—.

Simon’s piercing bark startled her awake. She felt it then; A strangeness on her skin that made her skin crawl and her breathing hitched. She was covered with ants. She felt them on her face, in her hair. Reason abandoned her, and she shrieked wildly. They bit into her viciously as she swatted them off, squashing them as viciously as she could. Adrenaline had a funny way of drowning out pain as she came to kneel and pushed herself to stand. She was stripping parts of her uniform off and beating it against a tree to knock ant of them off. She hoped they’d die a thousand deaths! She cursed them with pox and rot, she cursed them to the pits of Hell (no offense to Simon, of course).

They trekked parallel to the shore. She was tired, hungry, injured. Her any bites were itching fiercely. Stick in hand, dog to lead the way, they traversed through the jungle foliage. There was a time, when the itching was so unbearable, Artamese felt no choice but to stop. This time, she thought to choose more wisely and found instead a giant rock that jutted out of the ground.  It was mossy and far from cool, but she hovered near it and saw no more of the vicious ant pets. Taking the time to inspect her wound further through the magic of her glasses, the injury was certainly irritated by the bites. She scratched and they bled while the itched. Artamese finally sprawled with her back on the rock and exhaled slowly. Simon attempted magic but very little came of it. She pondered, then, if Antigone functioned like Kadia with its prejudice against magic and the awesome suppressors she had seen utilized. Exhausting pestered her—it pestered and badgered and swatted at her until she gave in and slept. There was no room for caution and reason—only the body’s need to rest.

When she woke to find a snake leisurely making its way across her chest—she was certain Simon had trapped her in some Hell. Had she forgotten to feed him? Brush his coat? Was he bored? Certainly, she had offended her companion in such a way as to end up in this situation. Every nerve was intense, every fear of dying in the jungle mounting as the serpent slithered. It was large around as she was tall, as her mother would say, and easily twice her size. Artamese knew nothing about snakes and whether it was poisonous or the kind that would eat wild animals.

She didn’t want to find out.

When it vanished into the underbrush, Artamese collected stick, dog and wits and began to make way back to the coast. Some unfortunate part of her had hoped it’d be safer on the outskirts of the island. And yet, in the past however long they had been there, some creature tried to eat her. Back to the same rough sand. Back to the same agony and heat of a relentless sun. They wandered up the coast, aimless and hopeless before shapes appeared on the horizon. Something large made its way for her. Simon was preoccupied with a crab, huffing and digging after it as it tried to escape him. “Simon…” Artamese murmured a warning, her eyes on the fixed on the stranger approaching. There was more, she realized, as she saw beyond. A whole encampment?!

The stranger who came closer was growing larger—and it became clear it was certainly not human. Simon was digging furiously now, clearly districted, “S-Simon.” She pressed urgently, before she—as he had earlier—practically barked at him, “SIMON!” She snapped. His head whipped up to see the approaching orc. He made no move, nor a sound. Artamese was too scared to. The orc was more mountain than person. Was something else going to try and eat her today?

“The fancy man is in the tent recovering.”

That was it? That was all? Artamese felt the air rushing from her lungs that she hadn’t realized she was holding. She was staring, of course—and it was hard not to. He moved to pet Simon but she interjected, “I-I wouldn’t. He’s…he’s crankier than I am—ah!” She hissed at the pain in her foot, and he instead came to her assistance—another shocking turn of events from the day’s schedule of murder, terror and agony. Magical beings attracted other magical creatures. It was natural to want to pet Simon. She wasn’t sure that Simon returned the sentiment, but he had been known to surprise her. He seemed neither bothered nor aggressive towards the orc. “Some guard dog…” She muttered as she allowed the stranger to assist her to camp. There was no doubt she looked utterly pitiful. Wild, frizzy hair in a bun utterly disheveled. Sun burnt, bitten, bloody and limping.

“...fancy man…” She couldn’t help but chuckle. That was definitely Xartia.

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