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[Amalia] Take One To Go

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Lucky For Me I Don't Believe In Luck


Exchanging the concrete jungle for a real one was easily the most cruel trick played on the frosty-haired rogue yet… and she’d already endured several rounds of ‘attitude adjusting corrective discipline’ with Ergo Tech to date. The board had mollified her rightful indignation this time with promises of open skies and fresh air, a sight dismally absent from the oppressive interior of Absalom’s hive, only to send her to the most humid, choking landmass she’d ever laid eyes on. Taking the environment in good humor was one thing when you were seeking something for your own edification. Here, she could only frown as beads of sweat slipped from the matting hair at her nape, and like skidding pearls of misery, snaked under her collar and down between her breasts in a never-ending trickle of discomfort.

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Already, she missed the refreshing sting of the sea air on her face, which had inexplicably vanished almost the exact moment her canted heels had trudged up out of the sodden strand. There was little in the way of beach here on the northeastern coast, even if Unity had wanted to indulge the little voice in her head that suggested sunbathing would be a better use of her time. Instead, the tangled mass of vegetation that formed the bulk of the island’s interior reached perilously close to the water’s edge, the most bold of which immediately died the moment their roots pushed into the salty stratum, and their browned, desiccated corpses lay strewn in a sort of warning bulwark along this entire bank. Nearby, her flat-keeled landing craft squatted pitifully among them, beached to prevent it from drifting away. The thief was presently removing several items from within, lashing them to her frame pack, and simultaneously considering where in the hell she was going to stash the rest.

Making a base camp seemed the immediate priority, but there was a small problem. Firstly, that the map she’d been given was about as helpful as a drawing by a five-year-old, lacking directions, distance scales, or really any useful information at all besides ‘here be Ulway’. Secondly, that she was decidedly alone. It was always going to be a good contract when every operative had to find their own way to the AO, and doubly so when the hired mundane help flatly refused to come ashore to assist. She stared wistfully back out towards the ocean, vainly hoping that another vessel would come into view past the masts of the fishing vessel she’d coerced into letting her aboard. Three days they would trawl these waters, and then head back to the mainland to sell the catch, and if she wasn’t aboard by then… well, it sucked to be her.

With no immediate sign of assistance forthcoming, the thief heaved another small sigh and took what was feasible from the boat, leaving the rest under a heavy tarpaulin and covering the silhouette of it in greasy, moldering palm fronds. A lingering touch drained away the olive coloring, desaturating it until it seemed but a deep shadow in the moldering plant husks, and with a final, memorizing glance, Unity turned her back to it and set her gaze to the task ahead. A cursory inspection of her gear - tightening the leather cords latticing her back and front that held on her snake-belly-like armor, adjusting the metal banded cuffs of her high, water-tight boots, and shifting the weight of her backpack until it centered properly between her shoulderblades. Dried food, plenty of water, rudimentary shelter and climbing equipment, bedding, and her folding crossbow were all double-checked, as well as a compass, chalk, and some other various odds and ends of her trade in small pouches at the waist. And, of course, her daggers, happily suspended from the metal rings on her thighs. All in all, it was a very rustic outfit, one that harkened back to simpler times when all she’d ever had to worry about was being caught.

 

~

 

Not seeing the forest for the trees was not simply an aphorism on over-attention to detail in a jungle like this. As Unity had feared, observing the tropical vegetation from the interior was even less helpful than the sight of the blanket of green visible from off-shore. At least there, the strange technological monoliths and central mountaintop were clearly discernable landmarks - but under the choking canopy one direction might as well have been any other save for the vague sense that everything gradually sloped towards Mt. Icthys. Various ocular filters didn’t help either - everything in the jungle was steaming hot. Supposedly, there was a river or large stream nearby that fed from the snows atop the great mountain, but in the din of insects, birds, and gods-knew-what-else, it was functionally absent unless the rogue were to accidentally overstep a root and tumble face-first into the drink.

 

Progress was thusly an understandably painstaking and slow process, wherein she skirted some areas and hacked brazenly through others, stopping often to simply listen, and seeking to make her passage known to someone looking for it, but not consistently enough to lay out a red carpet invitation to catching her off-guard. Hopefully her ‘assistance’ had the good sense to embark from where she had as well.

 

@supernal @amenities @danzilla3

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As an impoverished child growing up on the streets of Cosanastre, Mal could never had imagined that he might one day have a job that entailed traveling around the world. Now, as a considerably more cynical grown man, the novelty of a globetrotting lifestyle had long since lost faded. Once you've seen enough of the world, seeing more of it just doesn't carry the same thrill, he supposed. Then again, maybe it was the fact that the kind of locals he tended to end up in weren't exactly the sort of places that would show up in a tourism advert. So far it seemed like Amalia would follow that trend. Guiding his small craft through the water with an experienced hand, he found it impossible to ignore the increasing humidity; the warm, moist air causing him to sweat more than the last time he'd tried to give up drinking. For a moment he even considered taking off his battered old olive drab military jacket, but then thought better of it. He just never felt right without it; even when it was as stupidly humid as it was now.

But he had long ago learned to, "embrace the suck," as they used to say in the military; and he would soldier on without complaint. Missions like this weren't glamourous, but they helped keep his skills sharp; and provided Aphelion with information on potential recruitment candidates. The existence of the black ops group was known only to three people outside the organization, so they couldn't just put out a, "help wanted," sign outside headquarters. No, the best way to find out if someone was a good fit for Aphelion was to see them in action.

So when the mercenary persona he used to attract such jobs got a hit, he had dutifully booked passage on a ship and made his way there. Unfortunately, the main ship couldn't get him closer than visual distance; so he'd taken his current vessel and motored the rest of the way. Now, as he came ashore, he lit up a cigarette as he took in his surroundings. 

"What a shithole," he sighed through a cloud of smoke.

Turning back to the business at hand, he knelt down and inspected his pack. Inside was all the requisite survival gear; water, MRE's, compass, map, climbing gear, pup tent, flashlight, flares, extra cigarettes. As soon as those were accounted for, he inspected his loadout; gun, spare gun, various assortment of sharp implements, flask of whiskey, flask of water with a band of red tape on it to distinguish it from the whiskey. Everything was in order, so he proceeded to walk inland.

A bit of searching revealed the path his colleague had cleared as they moved further into the island. Or at least he presumed it was his colleague; he couldn't imagine why anyone else would be in this godforsaken place. The fact that the way seemed to have been cleared with the intention of being found only by someone looking boded well. One trek through warm and damp jungle later, he found her. By that point he needed another cig, and lit one up as he greeted her.

"Sorry I'm late. Locals aren't exactly helpful when it comes to getting to this place."

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Maps


"Hey."

It was an implicit acknowledgment of his statement, laconically wrapped in a single word of greeting barely spoken above a whisper. The thief considered the new arrival for a half-second as an afterthought to her words, and then nodded to herself. The man wasn't an ultradense toddler wielding a crystal spear, and that much was enough to dispel a hint of the tension in her shoulders. Actual trust, on the other hand, was probably for another day.

She sighed, and pushed the sticky black and white mess of her bangs aside to show both of her red eyes. "Glad you could make it. Name's Unity. Let's catch you up to speed." Kicking aside an intrusive leafy plant, she unshouldered her pack and squatting on her heels above the loam, fished out folded piece of stiff paper and laid it out on the ground. She poked at it pointedly with a finger. "As drawn here by cartographer Dotty, age 5, you might have noticed on your way in that we're on the northwest section of the main island. It was the least populated part, according to Gauwill. With good reason I guess, as this part is the most wild." To punctuate the point, an absolutely massive spider dropped out of the canopy straight onto the map, and in the next moment found itself sailing along with it deep into the undergrowth.

"As I have no intention of being eaten alive by bugs, I'm heading for the mountain foothills. Then we can make camp and talk strats." Unity gave the merc a small smirk. "Or talk about girls and cars, whichever.

Unity pulled herself back to standing, and rolled her neck. Gods, the air was oppressive. "Let's go before a second spider lands in my hair, or worse..."

 

~

ravine-mist-trees-nature-forest-hd-wallp

Fortunately for the intrepid, the band of wilderness began to thin soon after, as they traveled inland. Or, to be more precise, it receded, the vegetation gradually transitioning from tangled jungle to semi-temperate forest. The same vines draped over towering trees, the same shrubs and ferns permeated throughout, but the ground underfoot was more firm, the view clearer, and generally gave the sense of occasional tending, like one might have expected from the medieval woods of the thief's long-forgotten home. The stream, which had previously run hidden in a mess of green, now proudly burbled to their left, swift and tumbling, with colorful tropical birds perched in low branches near its banks occasionally diving in for a snack or swim. An odd, clinging mist, not dense enough to be fog, swirled silently in the passing of the rogue's boots over root-channels and gullies, reluctantly falling away from the maroon risers like the lingering touch of a lover. It was a mystical, primeval scene, simultaneously in motion and yet stuck in time, an eternal present through which stubborn interlopers of the future passed and were immediately forgotten. It might have continued this way until the very rocky base of Icthys if it weren't for a sudden and immediate interruption.

Unity stopped abruptly, half-perched on a moss-furred boulder, and held up a hand signaling a halt. Wordlessly, she pointed ahead, and downward.

There, with no warning of its existence, yawned a dizzying ravine, whose bottom was lost in the stubborn mists, stretching off out of sight in both directions. Even more perplexingly, the vegetation spilled over its sides as if the barrier weren't even there, the visible trees and shrubs happily growing near-perpendicularly out of the sides between dew-moistened crags. But most worrying of all, was the fact that the happy stream to their left emerged out of the ravine vertically upwards in some kind of bizarre reverse waterfall to mirror its descent on the far side. Neither Unity nor the chip in her brain was able to make the slightest sense of what she was seeing, and in place of words, her pink lips simply opened and closed several times like that of a beached fish.

...

What?!?


@danzilla3

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A giant spider may not have been the worst thing that could have dropped out of the trees at that moment; but it was certainly high on the list. If Unity had been a little slower to react he would have stomped the eight-legged interloper all the way into the water table. The loss of the map was no real setback; as well he wished no offense to Dotty, age 5, the document had left something to be desired in terms of useful information. Given how cagey the locals had been about this place, Mal was slightly impressed that Unity had managed to get even that small kernel of intel. In the end though, it looked like they would be doing things the old fashioned way, just like he had thought.

"Sounds like a plan. Names Mal by the way," he grinned, "Don't know much about cars, or women if I'm being honest. Maybe you can give me some pointers.

Which subject he would be receiving said pointers on was left to the imagination as they got underway.


As they moved deeper into the island Mal found his appraisal of the island gradually shift from tropical hell, to almost-scenic forest. No longer forced to pay most of his attention to the placement of his steps, he was finally able to appreciate the scenery. This was the kind of forest that Mal might take a walk in to clear his head after a long day of sorting through threat assessments. It was still a bit on the warm side, but no longer the unbearable humidity that felt like being thrown into a sauna from which there was no escape. Had things continued on this way, he might have even started to think the locals were misguided in their ominous appraisal of the place.

That was when they ran smack into a giant crevice that looked like some being from on-high had carelessly gouged this canyon into the landscape.

While Unity struggled to make sense of what she was seeing, Mal approached the dividing line. Truthfully he was just as confused as her, but he had seen enough weird shit in his day that he had developed a sort of plan to avoid freezing up. Step one was to analyze the phenomenon, try to learn more about it to dispel the air of mystery that came with such things. Moving right up to the edge, he took a drag off his cigarette before flicking the butt into the disturbance and watch it float upwards.

"Well ain't that something," he remarked, "Reversed gravity? But then why hasn't everything on the other side of the crack floated away? Maybe a barrier of some kind... but what are they keeping out?"

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Maps


"I... I don't think that's it." The thief's voice returned in low timbre, her expression still slightly wide-eyed but substantially less frozen than a moment before. The spirit of problem-solving had been swallowed in a moment of disbelief, but in the context of the way the very biome had shifted during their trek, something approaching a workable explanation was starting to coalesce in her mind. The strange monoliths piercing out of the treetops, the shimmering coat of crystal from the slopes of the mountain, this overgrown canyon that was more canal-like than a natural formation had a right to be... these things had been built... nay, shaped by a sophisticated mind. Unity wondered if the Ulway themselves might be capable of such engineering, or as was more likely, they simply lived in the ruins of something far more grand. She didn't hold out hope that they had as yet mastered bridge-building either. 

"Look." A long slender beam of yellow light shimmered out from her hands, several meters long, where it appeared to have solidified into a tangible object. She waved it back and forth over the nearest edge of the chasm, but little seemed to perturb its movement. "There's definitely some kind of strong air movement or... dense gas? But nothing is pushing on the lightpole except me." Dispelling the construct, she carefully balanced herself at the very edge of the cut, and dipped her arm in, waving it around to test her theory. "I can't really tell from here. What I can tell, is that we need to find a way around it."

Straightening, she weighed the options available, the HUD in her right eye helpfully calculating the exact distance across. 72.80 meters. Her motorized grappling hook had a maximum extension of about half that. "Unless you have a football field's worth of rope hidden somewhere on you, I don't think going across is an option."

 

Spoiler

OOC Note: I had an "East?! I though you said Weest! moment in my last post: we are on the North EAST part of the main island. I swear I am not senile.

 

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 "Unless you have a football field's worth of rope hidden somewhere on you, I don't think going across is an option."

Mal patted himself down, then snapped his fingers, "Damn, knew I forgot something. Thought I left the stove on."

It was telling how accustomed Mal had become to dealing with weird shit that when presented with something unknown, that was what he turned to for an explanation. Not that what he was looking at now was normal, but right now the air current or whatever wasn't the most pressing issue. Rather, it was the enormous chasm that kept them from progressing any further inward. Climbing down one side and then back up the other would likely take just as much time as going around; with the added bonus of being twice as dangerous. Much as the idea made his legs ache just thinking about it; the most sensible path would be to take the long way.

"Guess we best get a move on then," he sighed, "We can still cover a bit of ground before sunset."

Once the sun went down, Mal was setting up camp regardless of whether Unity wanted to make camp or not. Traveling through the jungle was dangerous enough when you could see all the things trying to kill you. Moving at night was asking for death.

 

 

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Well I Would Walk 500 Miles


Well, there was certainly time to cover a bit of ground, and maybe then some, as the shapely thief's initially brisk pace crashed through the cool rapids of the inverted creek, and then practically jogged along the edge of the artificial chasm, only slowing down here and there to maintain a general sense of direction. Partly urgency, partly showing off, and partly to get some air movement across the blessedly cool droplets of clear spring water that clung to her body. Eventually though, realizing that the impassive scar wasn't disappearing from their right flank anytime soon, she fell back into step with the mercenary to pass the time with a bit of small talk.

"So... are you moonlighting? You're two for two on the dad jokes earlier, but..." She glanced briefly at the top of his head. "...you're missing the combover." Unity carefully avoided stepping into a pile of dead leaves that smelled like a seeping dung pit, skirting delicately around it before continuing.

"Mal, mysterious man, doesn't know about cars or women. What does he do for fun?" The thief gave him a playful smirk. "You know, besides maroon himself on a tropical island with single minded tribal pygmies?"

 

Spoiler

@danzilla3 I have an idea planned of the upcoming topography, if you want to just humor me with a little bit of character interaction before they get to the meat of the matter.

 

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"My jokes are hilarious!" he laughed, "And while I confess to not being very knowledgeable about cars, I do know a thing or two about women. Case in point, I managed to get myself trapped on an island with single minded tribal pygmies AND a beautiful woman."

Mal thought for a second before continuing, "But yeah, I guess you could look at this as a something of a side gig... albeit one sanctioned by my main job. I like to get out in the field, keep my skills sharp."

There was another brief pause as Mal stepped around the same pile of leaves Unity had.

"As for fun... I like whiskey and poetry. Reading in general really, but especially poetry."

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Well I Would Walk 500 Miles


"Thanks for noticing." the white haired woman teased. "For me, it's my main job. The procurement, not being pretty." Her clarification came with a winsome smirk but eyes that lacked the same mirth. "Not like I had a choice in either."

"But if whiskey is the fun, and not the method, dear God I do not want to test my liver against you. Certainly didn't take you for a poet either. Maybe you can recite a favorite verse?" She glanced away from him, scanning the boles with the sort of relaxed wariness that gradually set in when you began to be more comfortable with your surroundings. And it was not a moment too soon. "Actually, save it for the campfire..." she hissed, and abruptly drove herself shoulder-first into Mal, toppling them both into a nearby 'defilade' as the military types liked to call it, with a muted 'phwumph'. Amidst the sprightly fronds of nearby ferns, the rogue gingerly peeked over the edge of the berm, happily ignoring the fact that she was basically kneeling atop his chest to do so.

"It's the man-babies." Unity whispered helpfully, and took a long pause to watch them. There were a dozen, maybe a handful more, all trundling through the bush on the far side of the chasm with crystalline spears en pointe. They moved with neither haste nor especial caution, but rather a purposeful gait towards some unknown objective, though Unity had a decent idea that it might be to investigate the ships off-shore. It reminded her of the bits of biology class she'd retained about the immune system - like a host of white blood cells the Ulway were traveling the forest byways to seek and destroy.

They did not appear to have noticed the supine duo yet, and the thief slunk back down into the ditch for a moment, mercifully replacing her knees with the considerably softer expanse of her rear to sit atop the mercenary. Her right pupil narrowed, and projected a brief re-enactment in holographic crimson across Mal's chin. "Like fourteen of them or so. All armed. Gonna wait and see what they do - maybe they know a way across."

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Busy running through his favorite passages in his head, Mal felt rather than saw Unity take him to the ground; though he did have the presence of mind to keep quiet. Silence was rather hard to maintain though, when he felt the sharp angles of her knees dig into his rib cage. He was about to whisper in protest when he realized that the thief's position atop him afforded a rather pleasant view which he forced himself to look away from; cheeks tinted light red. Not that he was shy or anything; but as busy as work kept him, this was the closest he had gotten to any kind of action in a long time. Mentally, he uttered a silent prayer that his partner didn't look below the waist...

Even if Unity hadn't told him it was the Pygmies that were approaching, he would have heavily suspected it. Who else but them, Mal and Unity would be on this island? The holographic projection the thief played for him confirmed his suspicion. When the pressure on his chest became much softer, he looked up, then laid his head back down on the damp ground once again.

Please don't look down.

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Forerunner Frontier


Attractive women had a sixth sense for the male gaze; Unity gave the man a quizzical glance, only to realize his distraction almost immediately afterward. She smacked him out of principle, but it was really more like a brief tap on the cheek with her fingers. "Behave." she chided, and having recognized her own complicity in the predicament, did her best to shimmy off to the side and flip over onto her stomach. to face away and back towards the threat. This was no better than before, visually speaking, but it did at least lessen the tension just a hair. Digging in her elbows, she carefully hiked herself high enough to see over the sod once again, leaving just about enough space for Mal to flop alongside.

"You're gonna want to see this..." she added belatedly, as the Ulway had paused now, and demonstrated a connection to the land that gave the thief legitimate pause. Brilliant helices of light struck forth from four lances, the crystalline foci awakening some hidden node or receiver at their termination, and as they bled their power, the strange engineering of the ravine made itself known. Pillars of brilliant white, grooved stone, perfectly squared, rose gradually from the depth, the tops still festooned in the greenery of the life-giving silt capping them whilst the sides glistened with cleanliness. Shuddering to a halt as they drew level with the edges of the canal, the pillars shifted and tessellated, sliding apart into an unbroken land-bridge spanning the gap such that a dozen men might walk it abreast. The masked stone-men seemed little impressed with their own handiwork, and promptly moved to cross with the same single-minded purpose as before.

This was their chance to cross, undoubtedly - but the time window was nebulous. How long until the bridge receded? Immediately upon cessation of the Ulway tenders? Minutes, hours? The rogue tensed up ever so slightly. Were the tribal Ulway just the last creation of whatever hand had shaped this land?

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It felt somewhat unfair to Mal that he should be punished for enjoying a view that he had gone out of his way not to enjoy; but he understood. A woman like Unity probably had men lusting after her all the time; and probably no small amount of women either. He could sort out whether the new tension between them was hostile or otherwise. Besides, her reproach had been gentle; and they had more important things to worry about right at this second. Quickly moving to lay alongside his companion; which had the added bonus of putting her figure out his view.

The sight of the locals summoning a crystalline bridge from the depths of the canyon at the locals command. He couldn't even begin to fathom hos the apparatus worked other than the vague and unhelpful answer of, "Magic." Now there was a way across, but who knew how long it would remain? 

Glancing over at Unity, he whispered, "Your call, stay or go?"

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Gas, Gas, Gas!!!


"Oh, we're going."

The question was when, and that depended on two things. Firstly, how long the bridge would stay up now that the four key-spears had hastened to rejoin their brethren, and secondly, how close they were to picking up the trail of the duo's footprints. Admittedly, wedges didn't leave quite the sort of indent that a normal booted footfall would have, but their placement and accompanying tracks of the more conventionally shod Mal meant that even the most amateur tracker would likely figure out their meaning and direction of travel sooner rather than later. Unity's processor made a rough estimation of the nearer limit, and her legs pulled up in preparation involuntarily, digging into the earth with her toes for a proper springboard. Half a second later, a shot of adrenaline directly into her aorta opened her eyes into hyper-focused crimson beads. She practically teleported in her first leap, her silhouette bleeding contrast and saturation like a shed cloak behind.

The thief became a phantom blur, a gust of wind, a shudder of undergrowth, each footfall a narrow furrow yards ahead of the previous step. In the blink of an eye she was already on the far side, perched into the cover of a moss-laden tree overlooking the span, and she hung there, expectant and chest heaving, her camera eyes whirling about in a fury of data collection.

Mal would have to find his own way across - her advantages were not of the sharing sort.

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One second Mal's distractingly beautiful companion was laying on the damp jungle floor beside him, and the next she had practically vanished only to reappear on the other side of the canyon. It was a neat trick, but didn't do much to help him out. But then again, he had never intended to rely on Unity to shepherd him through this miserable jungle. He wouldn't turn down any aid that was offered, and would help her if he could, but he was more than capable of taking care of himself. 

First decision that had to be made was the painful, but tactically sound choice to leave his pack on this side of the bridge. While the supplies stored in the bag would have made his life a whole lot easier; he had been trained to make due with less, and at least had the gear he could carry on his person. Once that was decided he was off, sprinting as fast as he could to get to the bridge. Once his feet his the crystal structure, it began to shift, and he poured on the speed. As the pillars began to recede into the earth, he slid over the edge of the other side of the gap on his back, where he lay gasping for breath.

"That... sucked," he panted, "But hey... least I stole home base."

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The alchemist grimaced, staring down at the timepiece strapped to his wrist momentarily before paddling away from the fishing vessel. Gritting his teeth, Arthur navigated his kayak towards the beach on Amalia’s northeastern coastline, grumbling in annoyance with every powerful motion of his paddle. The idea of being so late for a job made his gut wrench, and the embarrassment fueled his dour mood. He had no one to blame but himself either, unable to turn his ire on the crew of the fishing vessel that had ferried him to the strange island. Arthur had been the one buying the rounds at the tavern after hiring the fisherman, and those raucous festivities had left the mutant and his new friends so indisposed when the next morning came that they didn’t depart for Amalia until late afternoon. It was the black mage who had erred and his mistake became only clearer when he paddled his kayak ashore.

Arthur lifted the borrowed kayak and hid it along with the paddle amongst the vegetation of the dense treeline. Frowning, the mutant took a moment to explore the shoreline, utilizing his preternatural senses to find the small vessels that his allies had used to come ashore. Catching the scent of the others and finding the beginnings of a trail had been easy, and it wasn’t long before Arthur returned to his kayak to grab his gear. The alchemist was dressed in a black shirt-sleeved button up and matching board shorts, a pair of bright yellow trail runners strapped to his feet. He retrieved leather harnesses from amongst his gear, adjusting the system of belts across his muscular frame so that a myriad of small packs, holsters, and pouches could be attached which carried his reagents and other occult vestments. A metallic scroll tube hung from the back of the torso harness, the magical tool level with the mage’s lumbar spine.

Arthur retrieved his wizard’s robes next, a heavy coat (patterned with overlapping black and yellow diamond shapes), which the mage draped over his broad shoulders, leaving the sleeves to billow limply in the ocean breeze. Without a chain or buttons to loop around his neck, it was only through the miracle of magic that the garment clung to the mutant’s body like a cape. Lastly, before setting off, the alchemist took up his pack. A cylindrical bag that bulged with the last of Arthur’s gear. It included a hammock and tarp, climbing gear and just over two hundred feet of rope, two waterskins, his market wallet filled with food, extra clothes, and limited cooking gear and alchemy equipment. The timepiece on his wrist doubled as a compass, which the mutant consulted before beginning his trek. 

Grabbing the long drawstring of the pack with his right hand, the mutant slung the back over his shoulder as he ventured into the jungle proper. He pushed away his embarrassment and allowed his animal instincts to kick in, following the tracks that his soon-to-be companions had left behind. Following the trail had proven simple albeit long process, as he relied either on the tracks that Mal’s shoes made or on the various scents that remained of their passage. At points, he followed the residual smell of tobacco. At others, he used the smell of their sweat as they brushed along the dense foliage.

Meanwhile, his eyes and ears were on high alert while the mutant stalked the jungle like a tiger. A fortunate thing as it allowed Arthur to avoid the Ulway, walking around the hunting party as they undoubtedly continued to search for the intruders. Avoiding detection, the mutant didn’t stop to think as he continued along his path, stopping only to kneel over the area the others had laid prone in moments before. Not long ago at all, the mutant soon realized as he inspected further.

That was when Arthur first spotted the impressive canal and the reverse waterfall. The mage gasped in surprise, though he managed to control his volume, and watched as the magical bridge that offered safe passage to opposite side of the ravine disappear suddenly. His inhuman eyes scanned the other side of the gorge where the bridge had been connected, spotting two figures that couldn’t have been Ulway. 

Arthur sighed in relief and began to concentrate his will, a series or arcane formulae crossing his vision. 
 

@Sigil Warden @danzilla3

Edited by Voldemort

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