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Loony BoB
04-26-2014, 11:59 AM
Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

This isn't only true of people - this is true of all kinds of things. In this case, it was a world. In many ways, Sedorra was a fairly ordinary world. In this world, people went about their everyday lives. They had festivals and they had kings and queens, they spent their days discussing the weather, the likelihood of dragons and on occasions they would discuss celebrity engineers who spoke of making machines capable of soaring through the skies and cannons that could fit in the palm of your hand. It was an age where wars were fought with swords, bows and cannons and people still traveled by carriage.

However, there were things that made this world a little notable. There was a magic in it. Now, this magic was not something that the people thought was abnormal. In fact, they didn't even know it as 'magic'. To them, a desert could exist immediately next to a snow-laden land and it was just the way things were. There was no science involved with spinning of the world and the angle of the planet and the way the sunrays hit the tropics. There were still sciences in this world, no doubt, but the world itself was most certainly magical, and the magic could bend the rules of the sciences (or even compliment them).

The people had not harnessed this magic because they did not see it as magic. They simply didn't know any different. Magic, to them, was a card up a sleeve and a rabbit in a hat. They of course had fantasies of manipulating fire, but none knew of ways to actually attune to it. Indeed, this world was not born great. This peoples of this world had not achieved greatness. No, Sedorra was about to have greatness thrust upon it.


~

Welcome to the world of Sedorra. This is going to be something said to many over time (well, assuming they are indeed welcome) as people from other worlds - soon to be labeled Outworlders - are about to begin spontaneously appearing here. Not too many - and rarely if ever will there be more than one from the same world - but enough to send shockwaves throughout the lands.

These Outworlders may remember their past world and past life completely or alternatively have some kind of amnesia effect - it's down to the person controlling them to decide. They are appearing in this world without any real announcement. Nobody - resident of this world or another - knows why it is happening (people will inevitably come up with their own theories, but who knows if any of them will ever be revealed to be true?).

Some may come from worlds with high technology (pity the souls who so rely on it) while others could be cavemen. Some could be human, some could be of another race of this world, some could be very alien indeed. Some could seek friends in their new world, some could seek power and control. On rare occasions, some might have arrived hand in hand with someone else from their world. Some (or many), of course, may come from worlds where people know how to harness magic. How do people react, from this world and from other worlds? How did this even happen in the first place?

And lo, the arrivals began. Greatness entered Sedorra.

Loony BoB
04-26-2014, 10:40 PM
At this point in time, for the sake of convenience to the storyline, there will be three different areas of entry: Lucrecia, a grand city-state, complete with castle. Naith, a small fishing village on the coast south of Lucrecia. Finally, the farmlands to the east of Lucrecia. All areas are different enough for the varying kinds of entrances to the world, yet close enough that people can travel from one area to the other without it being akin to traveling from the Shire to Mordor.

Loony BoB
04-29-2014, 01:07 PM
Aziish bit into an apple as he sat down on a bench just beyond the central markets. King's Square was bustling with activity. Akim traders had recently arrived and business was clearly booming for them as people from all around arrived to peruse their wares. Aziish smiled. When business was good for the Akim, business was good for him - after all, it was his set of stalls they rented whenever they popped by and he could sit around with all his money already in the bank. He waved towards one of them and they nodded and came over. "Hey, Jahred. Great day for sitting back and earning money by doing nothing, don't you think?"

Jahred grinned. "Every sunny day is a good day." He looked back to ensure his colleagues were coping well enough and sat down next to Aziish. His business was not in selling wares, after all. "So, what's new in Lucrecia?"

"Oh, you know, a bit of this, a bit of that. Peaceful as ever, really. Festival tonight. You going?"

"Ah, yes. Of course. It's why we're here, after all. I wouldn't miss it for the world." Jahred was not a massive fan of festivals but he was a massive fan of money and information, and the festival was a great source of both. People would be traveling from far and wide to celebrate the 50th year since the Queen took the throne after the death of her father. More notably, everyone would be wanting to buy new clothes to show off, and his carriage and the stalls were packed with them.

"So, what about you?" Aziish raised his eyebrows at his friend. "Any news from outside the walls?"

"Nothing in particular, it was a quiet journey for the most part. Although there was a man just beyond the gates, near a farm - peculiar fellow, didn't look from around here. Very odd fashion. I'll have to take a note to see if it's going to become a new thing. I asked him where it was from and he looked at me like he'd seen a ghost and just... ran."

"Weirdo." Aziish snorted a laugh.


--//--

Daniel was walking down Princes Street, Edinburgh when he blinked and suddenly fell to the ground, dizzy. But it wasn't concrete - it was... dirt. And then he was seeing things. Not just dirt, but fences. He figured he was hallucinatin, that he was sick, but everything was so real. The dizziness faded and suddenly he was there, on the side of a road, but not in Edinburgh. It was some country area, and there was farmland around him. In the distance he could see the walls of a city. It looked strangely old. There was a fresh smell in the air. Birds chirped. No cars. But... in the distance, he saw something. They came nearer, and he could barely believe his eyes. Two large animals - no, birds - ostrich like birds were pulling a cart towards him.

Daniel was in a panic. He jumped to the other side of the fence, thinking it would somehow protect him. There were a couple of men at the front of the cart, the birds were larger than ostrich and clearly much stronger. They were like giant, yellow moa, with huge beaks. His heart was thumping, this was crazy. Where was he? He could only watch as the huge birds pulled the cart to a stop near him. One of the men turned towards him. "You there, sir. Such strange clothing - where do you come from? Have you journeyed far?"

It was then that Daniel saw the face. It was like a mask, but definitely not a mask. He stepped back once, twice, nearly falling as his feet hit a rock. And then he turned. Ran. Ran like he could find his home once more. He wasn't home. He was no longer in Edinburgh. There were giant chickens pulling carts of strange alien men. He was on another world. Eventually, he fell to the ground, tears flowing from his eyes. Minutes passed. His heart wouldn't stop pounding, this was too much. It was crazy. He got back up, tried to seek out something - anything - that would be familiar. He stepped a few paces forward and that was when he saw the bear.

Once again, he ran for his life. He didn't stop, he didn't look back. Eventually he tripped on a rock, fell, hit his head on another rock in a rather unfortunate way and promptly died.

Miss Mae
04-29-2014, 03:51 PM
Cohen woke to the sound of loud voices. He didn't remember going to bed, so he was sure he had fallen asleep at his desk again. He opened his eyes, ready to chastise his brethren for disturbing the peace in his study, and realised he was outside.

He was sitting on the side of a busy street, not unlike those that surround the university, but he didn't recognise the buildings or any of the faces. The university had been his home for decades - he knew everybody who lived nearby - but he didn't know any of these people. And there weren't just people. Was that a bear?

Some of the passers-by were staring at him. He touched his face, wondering if maybe he had drooled on himself while he was sleeping. He seemed to be fine. Why were they staring? He shook his head and tried to ignore them.

I'm certain I fell asleep at my desk, but now I'm in the city, so I mustn't have, Cohen reasoned with himself. I must've gone out for a walk or something. Yes, I'm sure that's it. There's nothing to do now but get back to my work at the university.

He stood up, swayed and immediately sat down again. Hmm, or maybe I'll just sit here for awhile longer, he decided.

He granted himself the morning off work, passing the time by people-watching. He caught snippets of conversation. Apparently there was a festival on tonight. Nice of them to tell us, Cohen thought. They always forget that the High Priests need time to practice before we perform at the festivals. I'll have to tell the Order when I get back to the university.

Somebody else commented on Cohen's outfit. The disrespect of the youths these days, he thought. When I was young I would never have dared speak ill of a High Priest's robes.

Cohen didn't like relaxing, or wasting time as he referred to it, so as soon as his legs felt stable again, he stood to leave. He walked along the street for a minute before realising he still didn't recognise anything. He had no idea where he was.

Frowning, he turned to a man on the street beside him. 'Excuse me,' he said, 'but can you please tell me where I am?'

The man looked confused. 'Not from around here?' he asked.

'Oh no, I'm a local High Priest. I live at the university. I'm just not familiar with this street,' Cohen replied.

The man continued to look confused. 'The university? I'm not sure what you're talking about,' he said and he walked away.

But everyone knows the university, Cohen thought. It's the largest building in the city. All of the High Priests and scholars live there. The children long to see what is inside its walls. If this man doesn't know what the university is... Where am I?

Jinx
04-29-2014, 05:07 PM
Tala looked around at the busy streets and raised her nose to sniff the air. The scent of the city's inhabitants was overpowering, and the wares of the vendors cloyed her senses. She wasn't used to being down from the mountains, and certainly not in such a large city as Lucrecia. She hadn't particularly wanted to come here, but she knew she didn't really have much of a choice.

A week before she had read in the Stars that something big and momentous was about to happen to Sedorra. What, she didn't know. After telling the Elders of the Aelum and conferring with her fellow priestesses, it had been decided that she would be the one to leave the mountains to spread the news to the other Ursus and gather information to take back to Aelum. As she had been the one gifted with this revelation, the Elders believed the Sky had gifted her with this responsibility.

'If only the Stars were a little more revealing...'

As Tala wandered around Lucrecia, she noticed banners going up, and heard the crowd's murmurs of festival. Since she didn't have much experience with races other than her own, she stopped another Ursus, a brown Altus. "Excuse me, Sister, do you know what is going on here?" The brown Ursus, who had a matronly countenance, regarded her and replied, "Oh yes, I do believe the Humans are having a festival tonight...to celebrate their queen, it seems." Tala nodded her head in thanks.

'Well, I suppose I should be able to find out something with all of these people.'

Pumpkin
04-29-2014, 05:48 PM
When Kathvi awoke, she was curled up in a ball on the ground. The ground felt much warmer than she was used to, and she couldn't feel any fluffy snow against her face. She caressed her tail absentmindedly while debating if she should open her eyes or not. She felt disoriented and confused. She tried to grasp at any information her brain would cough up. Her name was Kathvi, she lived in the mountains, she could use ice magic, she.... ran a bakery? That last bit of information was a bit fuzzy and she wasn't sure if her brain was feeding her false information. She tried to think of the people, the place... she could remember the village in the snowy mountains, her home, she could picture it clear as day. But the people... she couldn't... picture any. Her head began to hurt, her ears narrowed, her eyes finally opened.

She could see the mountains behind her. But not her mountains. She was near a river. She stood up clumsily. She could hear people off in the distance. It was very loud and noisy. There was something going on...

Maybe they would be able to tell her how to get home. Or even where 'home' was.

Formalhaut
04-29-2014, 06:10 PM
Locke I


He was running, running faster than it has ever ran in his life. The surrounding trees and foliage but a blur as he sprinted from his pursuer. He doesn't know how long he has been running for, but it does not matter. Safety was not assured, and the thick under-brush made running difficult. The arrow stuck in his leg hampered him further, but the adrenalin coursing through his veins gave him a second wind. He was slowly beginning to lose his pursuer.

Hiding behind a large, fallen tree, all he could do was rest. For now, at least, he was safe. But he could not stay there for long. Careful not to make a sound, he briefly looked at his injury. It was a harsh wound and blood was visibly seeping through, though the arrow has managed to plug much of it. The chances of surviving such an injury was limited, at best, not least in the wilderness of the forest.

*Crack*

But now he had to flee. The adrenalin now was fading and the pain was expressively evident. Still, he ran, fearful of any noises that may be his pursuer. The woods seemed endless, and he did not know if he could last much longer under the pain. He limped on. And on. Suddenly, an arrow shot through the leaves. It connected into his neck, and with that, he collapsed. He could feel the warm, yet horrifying, sensation of the blood trickling down his body. In the last few moments of life, all he could do is stare blankly into his surroundings.

Now still, his pursuer inched closer, and carefully removed the arrows from his neck. His young face was equal parts fascination, equal parts horror. A second person closed in, and rested his hands on the boy.

"A good clean kill. Good job. You'd do your father proud you know?".

The boy looked up, smiled, and said "Thanks Locke".

Lonely Paper Star
04-29-2014, 07:09 PM
Southwest of Lake Arna, at the edge of the forest, by the fork in the river, all Camille could see were mountains and the lake itself. She still found it funny that she used to see so much more, when she was well-traveled and rich. But that was years ago, and now she struggled to make ends meet for her borrowed land and hungry chocobos.

The one next to her warked softly, like he was asking her a question. No doubt it was Takka, her eldest, tall and dandelion yellow. No one ever wanted to rent or buy him, and she didn't blame them. His speed was was pretty good, given his age, but his limp was noticeable, having been born with one leg longer than the other. Camille didn't mind, though; she grew attached to him.

"Nah, it's nothing, Takka-Takka," she said affectionately, rubbing the top of his beak when he lowered his head to her. "Same old, same old."

He cooed at her petting and she laughed.

"Something's going on in Lucrecia," she went on. "You know that? The queen's festival. But it's not important. Not to us."

The kingdom made her poor in the first place. But they had the right to. After what she did, what other option was there?

For a moment, her smiled wavered, and Takka noticed. He let out a loud wark. Camille jumped, shocked back into the present.

What was she doing? She didn't need the past. And the one thing that never changed was that chocobos were her life, even if she wasn't racing them now.

A chorus of kwehs and warks met her ears from behind the both of them, and Camille mock-frowned accusingly at Takka.

Just what she needed--another round of greens to quiet them all down again.

Kossage
04-29-2014, 07:24 PM
The ocean was calm, only a soft breeze in the wind indicated that any change was afoot. Haruko could smell it; she knew that this serene scene wouldn't last forever, somehow.

A woman with blazingly red, short hair sat on a rock on the beach and turned her to look at Haruko with her glowing eyes. "It won't be long now," she said, a hint of a mischievous yet at the same time somewhat sad smile on her face. "Soon I'll have to leave you, and you'll be on your own...until the day of the damned. But worry not; even if I'm not there with you, I'll keep you and them safe. I may be many things, but I always look after my interests."

"No, this wasn't what was supposed to happen. I thought we were going to face this together!" Haruko protested.

The once serene landscape changed rapidly. Dark clouds gathered above and unleashed a storm, making the ocean itself roar as if in pain.

"Even my powers have limits. But you will survive just like you always have. Believe in yourself, and understand your role in all of this, and no challenge will be too great to overcome for a cunning vixen such as yourself." The woman turned her eyes back to the ocean. "Sayonara, my Izanami-no-Mikoto. Never forget who you are..."

The landscape began disintegrating rapidly, replaced by an ever-growing nothingess. Haruko tried to run towards the woman but before she could reach her, the sand below her vanished, and she fell into the bottomless abyss...

~

Haruko opened her eyes and breathed heavily. What had just happened? She was still alive, right? Something echoed in her head...waves? No...it was more like...leaves in the wind. A forest? But hadn't she just seen a beach?

She held her head in her hands, feeling a terrible headache coming. "Them? Day of the damned? What does it mean...I remembered it just a moment ago. How..."

"Whoa, look! This stuff's pretty cool. That chick appeared out of thin air just now!" a slow voice chuckled.

"Man, I wanna see if I can make people appear with my mind too!" another voice responded in an even slower voice.

Haruko's eyes grew wide and she turned to the source of the voice, seeing two blissfully smiling men in dirty, ragged clothes sitting next to a wall and smoking something. Based on the looks of things, this was apparently an alley of some sort.

"Hey, that's a nice dress. I wanna touch it!" one of the men said and stood up shakily before attempting to reach for Haruko.

Her eyes grew wide. These men...were they after her? Had they brought hounds to track her down? She gritted her teeth. "No, you won't take me back! I've left him behind me!" she growled, feeling anger boiling within hear and mixing with fear. She pushed the man back, making him fall down, and ran for it before the other man could stand up.

Haruko looked around, worried. She left the alley, only to find herself in the middle of a busy street, hearing voices and smelling so many scents. She thanked her goddess in her mind that she was still in human form; these people would no doubt hunt her down in her true form.

But if she was in a city, did it mean she had returned to Barjassil? She heard someone mentioned some sort of festival...for the queen? Had the king chosen a bride? Or was this all related to the hunt? But this street didn't look familiar, and the people weren't dressed in the outfits worn by Barjassilian citizens even if they looked human. She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts, and continued running.

As she focused ahead, she nearly bumped into a cart which a man was pulling. She was ready to utter an apology, only to stop mid-sentence when she looked at the "man" and realized he was anything but. What she saw instead was a scarred creature with pointy ears and a large jawline.

"Oni!" Haruko gasped in terror at the sight of this monstrosity and continued running, hearing the creature attempt to curse him with some dark spell, no doubt.

She had to find a safe place, somewhere to rest and calm herself down so she could assess the situation. Whatever this city was, it wasn't the capital of Barjassil. But if demons lived in this city too, it meant there would be no safe place for her or her kind. As much as she wanted to turn into her true form for better mobility, she had to stay in this form a while longer so she could blend in and then disappear.

What Haruko wanted more than anything right now was to live through all of this and understand how she had ended up in such a scary location.

#

"Frickin' human, watch where you're going! Damn it, you people are always running to and fro like headless chickens!" Nargul growled when he almost bumped into a dark-haired woman who quickly fled from him. "Yeah, that's right, run from the scary monster! Sheesh, where are people's manners these days? Can't a simple doban work in peace these days?"

"Hey, keep moving, you dumb brute! We're on a tight schedule here! If we miss the festival, it'll be on your head!" an annoyed voice addressed Nargul from the rickshaw he was pulling.

"Yes, sir. Right away, sir!" Nargul grunted in response and began running again.

It was yet another day pulling rickshaws where these pampered nobles and rich merchants and guild masters were telling him where to go, how to behave and how to fit into some made up stereotype they had in their heads as far as the doban race was concerned.

This latest gig involved taking a married pair of nobles to where the Queen's Jubilee or whatever these citizens were celebrating today was to take place. And this pair in particular had been so rude to him ever since he'd picked them up, so much so that he had considered leaving the rickshaw where it stood and take satisfaction from the nobles' crying. But money was money, and he needed it right now, so he had no choice but to continue for now. If only he hadn't lost his cloak in a bet last night while in the nearest pub...

Nargul took a deep breath and forced a docile smile on his face. He had to remain calm even if the woman from before had thrown off his groove. Now he had to find peace of mind again in order to not tear his head off at the nobles' equally boring and offensive banter.

Once he'd gotten this pair to their destination, his shift would be over, and he could get himself a well earned drink. He knew he should probably save some of it for the cloak as per his original plan, but right now he felt like he could drink a whole mountain full of ale just to recover from all the idiocy he had witnessed today.

Well, if I'm lucky, the festival might actually offer free beer to participants...at least that's what the doban would do. Or maybe humans will be cheapskates, which wouldn't surprise me considering the sad excuses of tips that the nobles have given me, Nargul thought and continued pulling the cart while doing his best to ignore the nobles' derogatory remarks about how slow he was and how they'd never take a ride from a dumb doban ever again.

Jinx
04-29-2014, 08:52 PM
"Nothing ever happens," said Sigrid to Bates, the fisherman she was working for that day. "It's so boring here. I want to go out to sea with you all!" Bates laughed at her and decked her on the back, "Aye, missy, I'm sure you do. But the sea's no place for a lass, especially a little lass like yourself."

Sigrid made a face but continued to work on the net she was mending. More than ever recently, she was starting to feel restless. 'Little lass? I've just turned thirteen! I'm nearly a woman!' she thought to herself, smug at how 'adult' she was these days.

Over the years, as she cleaned, and cooked, and looked after the younger children in the orphanage, Sigrid dreamt of freedom. When Ms. Pan, the old woman who ran the home she lived in, told Sigrid she could go out to earn coin or food for the orphanage, she could hardly believe her luck. And being out by herself in the fishing town, going to the docks and feeling the ocean breeze on her face...it had been even more wonderful than she could think to describe.

As time went on, she had gotten to know many of the men who made their living from the sea, and had longed to go out with them. More than anything, she longed to have her own ship and explore the great unknown on her own. But that was just a dream. Here in Naithe nothing ever happened--at least not for a thirteen-year-old girl who still lived in an orphanage. Sigrid would never be content until she could stretch her sea-legs, but if anything interesting--ANYTHING--could happen, at least it would make waiting until she could strike out on her own a bit easier.

"Alright, girl, that's all I need from you today," Bates said, as he flicked a piece of silver in her direction. Sigrid caught it with a smirk and headed towards the orphanage. As she walked along the docks, she noticed a strange, blue creature in the water.

Tasura
04-29-2014, 09:09 PM
Xilkar slowly opened his eyes and looked around.

The water... is warmer? How can it be warmer? I was on my way to see a Deep Loquan about.. something? I ... I can't remember what I was doing. It's brighter too, far brighter than it should be. Something is wrong.

Xilkar began to slowly swim towards the surface noticing what he could only assume were differences between wherever he was now and where he vaguely remembered. As he approached the surface he reached for his surfacing knife, finding it where it was meant to be he gave a quick nod of satisfaction.

Well, at least I have that.

As Xilkar breached the surface he looked towards the land and he saw buildings?! He had never seen a building on land before, especially not made of wood, wood was a rare and precious thing in Linstra. There were also creatures he had never seen before milling about on the land, they were very pale, even paler than the palest High Loquan he had ever seen.

I am not home. Wherever I am, it is not home.

Clutching his knife for safety he began to walk towards shore, raising out of the water as he got closer to land.

Pant Leg Eater from the Bad World
04-29-2014, 11:55 PM
Jhera 1

Jhera winged away from Steel, the capitol of the Empire of Kur. Another day, another message. That was the life he had chosen to live now. But Gods was it boring at times. At least today should be somewhat interesting, he thought. Today Jhera was delivering a message from the Emperor himself. The emperor rarely sent out messages himself, usually preferring to leave his emissaries to carry out such duties. But this wasn't just a message, this was a threat; a statement to the men from the south who thought that they could fight against the might of the Empire.

For two days Jhera flew until he saw the encampment of men. Immediately Jhera knew the reports had been wrong. This wasn't just some upstart man trying to take the reign of power away from the kur, this was a real rebellion. One that had a chance to win such a war. Hundreds of thousands of men had grouped together to form a massive army, an army that was marching on Steel itself. The Emperor will want a proper report of the situation, thought Jhera. He flew overhead taking everything in, looking for the tell tale sign of leadership.

Ah, there it is. The largest tent, towards the front of the formation, but still well guarded behind the line. And a big green and golden flag emblazoned with a cobra. That must be the leader of this rebellion. Jhera angled in and landed on the flagpole. Holding on to the pole and puffing his chest out, Jhera announced himself to all nearby.

Stay yourselves and listen! The Emperor, his grace Shael the third of the line of Steel, requires your attention to this message. Jhera's telepathically broadcasted thoughts immediately caused waves of unsettlement throughout the camp.

You are hereby ordered to cease and desist in this silly rebellion. If you turn away from this nonsense now, you will be pardoned and this act of treason forgotten. But if you persist, you will be given no quarter. All men, women, and children will be destroyed. The full power of the Brigade of Wizardry will be sent forth and you will be burned alive. This is your only and final warning. Leave now and return to your homes in peace, or march on to your deaths.

Having finished his message, Jhera leapt off of the flagpole, leaving hundreds of men looked up to see his departure. He hoped that the message would be powerful enough to sway the tiny brains of the men below. The Wizard Lords of the Brigade wouldn't just destroy them, but everything around them as well. If war was to be had, it would be devastating for all.

As Jhera flew away from the camp there was a pulse through the air that knocked him from flight. Jhera was plummeting towards the barren plains below one moment, and the next he was falling directly at a building. Jhera threw his wings back open and caught the air, catching himself before he smashed into the building. He circled it twice, taking in his new surroundings. He was no longer in the south of Kur. He was in a city he had never seen before, which was saying something for such an accomplished messenger. He floated down to the building, finding a perch to look below at the locals.

The men must have had some sort of magic, Jhera thought to himself. How else could they have transported me to this strange new place. Below him the hustle and bustle of the city ran without taking notice of him. There were no Kur here, he noticed. Men were everywhere, along with other peoples whom he had never seen before. There were large, pointy eared peoples who lumbered about with their stout stature. And peoples who looked like a man/shuur without wings. And then there were the big animals that were peoples. Big and furry with dangerous looking claws on their paws. Two were right below him exchanging words.

Jhela didn't catch all of what they said, but he understood there was to be a festival of some sort to celebrate somebody.

Miss Mae
04-30-2014, 03:23 AM
Cohen wandered around the city blindly for a while, taking in the sights and trying to familiarise himself with this strange place. He saw more bears walking down the streets and nobody seemed to mind. There were other strange creatures - ones with peculiar skin pulling rickshaws and others who were tall and covered in yellow feathers. It was disconcerting to be surrounded by so many things he didn't recognise.

As he continued on, he heard the voice of somebody else who seemed confused. A growling voice was asking what was happening in the city and why everything was so busy. Somebody else is unsure what is happening here! Cohen thought. Thank goodness for that. Maybe they are from my city too. Maybe I'll know who they are and we can stick together.

But upon turning around to see the source of the voice, it immediately became very clear that it did not originate from somebody Cohen recognised; the voice belonged to a large, beautiful bear.

There's a bear. In the city. And it's talking, Cohen thought in shock. He stared, blinking slowly, and then bowed his head, not wanting to be rude. As confused as he was to be in such unfamiliar surroundings, he couldn't help but be curious about what he was seeing; it was in his nature. Fascinating, he thought.

Ace Protorney
04-30-2014, 04:19 AM
It was a peaceful time to spend out while sailing in the Deeps. The winds were calm, the sun shone bright, and the waters were as calm as they could be. Just the other day, the Lost Soul had been rocking back and forth during a rough storm, so it was relaxing to have the following day be calm. Radley was taking in the sun's ray outside of the ship's cabin where he spent most of his time while sailing. He shielded his face from the sun as he peered ahead at the horizon. "Well, I'll be damned. Are we finally approaching land?" He asked his crewmate who was looking through a telescope.

"Aye!"

Radley grabbed the telescope and looked for himself. It was just as he had expected. A beach lined with a few small huts. That meant there were people. That also meant there's loot for the taking. This has been his life for as long as he could remember. He raised his free arm in the air and pointed ahead towards the site of the beach at the distance. "Set sail for land!"

His tiny crew of five immediately got to work and the small red colored ship known as Lost Soul began to set sail towards their destination, for they have been sailing the Deeps in the northern bay for several days. Their exact location may be unknown to Radley and his crew, but based on where Lost Soul was headed, he figured that they are near the group of islands north of Sedorra. His crewmates were rather excited as they worked hard. Especially knowing that they will be setting foot on land again after a week's worth out in the treacherous Deep, and most definitely grateful after the other day's storm that they just went through.

Pumpkin
04-30-2014, 05:54 AM
Kathvi had arrived in Lucrecia, a bustling city that had banners hanging up everywhere. It seemed like there was some kind of celebration. Thank the Gods that it wasn't too hot, heat made her all kinds of sick, and that was the last thing she needed right now.

She noticed the odd stares people were giving her. It made he quite self-conscious and she instinctively grabbed her large poofy white tail and hugged it in her arms. She had been doing it since she was a young girl, it made her feel... safe. She was trying to remember if she knew people like this where she was from. These... different looking people. These large yellow bird like creatures. Did they have them at home? She tried once again to grasp at any memories about her mountain village, about its inhabitants, but once again nothing would come. She let out a small whimper and looked at her feet as she walked through the city. She didn't know if there were people like them in her home town, but she could tell from the looks that there were not people like her here. She noticed a few large large beings, covered in fur, more fur than she herself had. They didn't seem to notice her and she didn't want to approach them, feeling as vulnerable as she did. But she needed to find some kind of information. She needed someone to talk to.

"....Excuse me, um..... miss?" said a reluctant voice behind her.

Citizen Bleys
04-30-2014, 05:55 AM
Desmond Arsibault positively glided up the path leading to the small home he shared with Janelle, feeling like he was bursting with energy.

It had been a good night, for Prime. It was late as all get-out, and there were still five more days in the working week, but that was something to worry about later. He was humming a new riff he and the lads had written tonight as he pulled out his jigger and pressed it against the door panel. It unlocked with a dull click and he strolled in.

Janelle was waiting for him, and she was not happy.

"Another all-nighter, Dez? When are you ever going to learn to be responsible?"

Desmond's mood crashed like any number of drunks he'd tossed out of the bar at work today. It was going to be one of those nights. Still, maybe he could head it off. "It was a productive night, lass. We put together a massively porking riff and it's sure to get the creds rolling in."

She wasn't having any of it. She'd heard the same tale before. "And high as ever."

"It's just a little Brill, babe. You know what I'm like."

"Yeah," she said, frowning. "I do."

"It gets the cre-ative juices flowing. Brilliance is what music is made of."

"Then why isn't every tramp on every street corner richer than Melek? You know what? Don't answer. I've heard it all before. I don't want to hear it again. You're destroying yourself, Dez. You need to get off the Brilliance and get a real job. I won't take care of you forever."

Desmond tried to brush past her. "We can talk about this in the morning, lass. I'm harped."

Janelle stood in his path. "We can talk about this now. I'm sick of you ignoring me. Either you promise to get off the Brilliance and do something with your life, or we're done. I hate seeing you like this."

Desmond's spirits sunk. She'd been on his case about the Brilliance before, but there'd never been an ultimatum. Where his music career had failed to take off, leaving him in a dead end job as a bartender, she'd gone into jigger app development right out of school and was rolling in creds. She held all of the high cards and they both knew it. He had to get in control of this argument somehow.

"You hate seein' me, do you? Well, then maybe I should just go."

"Maybe you should. Good-bye, Desmond." She closed the door in his face

* * *

Desmond crashed at the bar that night. He tried to ping Janelle in the morning, and she didn't respond. He told Jerry, the bar's owner, that his old girl had tossed him out, and Jerry agreed to rent him the spare room above the bar until things got sorted out, however long that took. Jerry was gold, that man was.

It was still most of the day before Desmond's shift started, and he was cranky that Janelle hadn't responded to his ping. He couldn't take this drek, he needed to take the edge off. He popped a tab of Brilliance and went to his house and started moving all of his drek out. Maybe when she saw it was all gone she'd realise he was serious and ping him.

She didn't.

Days passed, and then the weekend, and still no pings. He tried pinging her again at the end of the weekend and finally she responded, then cut the connection as soon as she realised he was high.

Another week passed, and then another, and still another. It finally started to sink in to Desmond that the rotting hen had really cut him loose for good. He stopped practicing his jigger before work altogether; he needed Brilliance more. He got sloppier and sloppier with taking care that the Brill had worn off before work started, and fatigued at the end of the nights, he started drinking after the bar closed.

And then before the bar closed.

Between the Brill and the booze, Desmond was struggling to make ends meet financially. And that's when Jerry reamed him out for being all drekked up at work. He warned Desmond that if he kept it up, he'd be out of a job and a home.

Desmond kept it up. Jerry, as it turned out, didn't have even as much patience as Janelle.

Now he had nowhere else to go. No family to turn to. No prospects. Janelle still wouldn't respond to his pings. His musician buddies didn't have their own houses, they were all mooching off of their significant others, bosses, and sometimes even parents.

It was over.

* * *

Jerry'd given Desmond a decent severence package, but no matter how often Desmond checked his credit balance on his jigger, it never added up to enough to live off of for very long. Not at the rate he was giving it back to Jerry by drinking it away. The new bartender was complete drek, too.

Now it was Desmond getting tossed bodily out of Jerry's when he'd had too much. He started keeping company with shadier and shadier characters. He started helping with small robberies to keep the creds flowing in.

This isn't me, thought Desmond. Now he couldn't even meet Janelle's eye when he saw her in town. He started ducking away and hiding from anyone he knew, unable to face them knowing that he'd become a small-time hood. But he needed the Brilliance, and the Boys weren't going to let him have it for free. Desmond sure as drek didn't want to borrow money from the Boys, he knew what happened to people who didn't pay on time.

It was time to put a stop to it. He managed to resist the temptation to do Brill for a whole day. It was a drek-soaked nightmare, but he managed it. He wanted a clear head when the decision was made. It was only bearable because he spent most of the day hooked into Nexus, feeling the worm orange glow of the world's lifepulse fill him. It was risky as drek with the swinging dicks cracking down on gang-related crimes, but he needed it. Drek, maybe being hooked in was what made the swinging dicks overlook him. They'd never expect a petty thug to be hooked in during a robbery.

He made it. As the day's work was done, he was clearheaded and Brilliance-free, and the swinging dicks hadn't tossed him in the clink.

"Hey Crossbones," he said to one of his lovely, salt-of-Nexus co-workers, "Drek's getting a bit harsh. There's just too many swinging dicks patrolling, and I don't want to be talkin' to them while I'm holding. I need some protection, catch?"

"Aye," replied Crossbones. Crossbones didn't talk much. "You got fifteen hun?"

1500 credits was a lot of money for a gun, but Desmond wouldn't be needing credits for too much longer. He beamed the money into Crossbones' jigger without comment and Crossbones produced the gun.

Shoving it in his pocket, Desmond realised that he really wouldn't need creds anymore. He flashed his balance at Crossbones. "How much Brill can you get me for the rest?"

Crossbones grunted. "A cent and seven."

"107 tabs?" expostulated Desmond, "That's highway robbery!"

Crossbones showed his teeth. "'m a robber."

It didn't matter. With 107 tabs, Desmond could be happy for a while, before the time came.

* * *

Decision made, Desmond took a day off; gang life was a 10 day a week job, but he could opt out any time he wanted by giving up his share of the spoils, and that wasn't going to matter anymore. He had 33 tabs of Brilliance left from before his last purchase, so he filled one cent-case with the old ones and 45 of the new ones and put the other 42 in a separate case, taking care to keep the oldest ones at the bottom. Brilliance got more potent with time.

Desmond hadn't been to the Temple in years. Every town on Nexus sprung up around its Temple, and every Temple around its Table. The Tables were the points at which the boundaries between worlds were the thinnest, and standing on one, you could sometimes sense those other worlds. He'd actually heard one through a Table before when he was a kid, but it might have been his imagination. It was said that when the boundaries became thin enough, one could even step through to another world. Everyone knew those other worlds were real, because once in a while, an alien phased in through one of the Tables There were even tales that an alien had managed to phase back out and go home, but it had taken over 200 years for the same world to synch with Nexus a second time and most people didn't live much past 120. 150 at the most. Given that the world he lived in had no charm left for Desmond, he found the Table extra appealing today.

Desmond hooked into Nexus on the way in. Most people hooked in when they went to the Temple; it was always cold around a Table, and the world's orange glow was warm. Desmond slipped a tab of Brilliance into his mouth, but didn't bite down. He didn't want anyone to see him taking at the Temple, there would be swinging dicks there. He had on his best leather jacket, jigger in one pocket and gun in the other. He kept the gun with him all of the time now.

Janelle was there. Desmond wondered if it wouldn't be a sign. He said hi to her, but she pointedly ignored him.

"Sorry, miss," he muttered loud enough to be heard, "I thought you were someone I used to know."

Even that didn't get a reaction. Right then, Desmond changed his plans. Smurf waiting until he'd taken all of the Brilliance. It was time. He'd walked in the temple gates, but he sure as drek wouldn't be walking out. He'd blow his smurfing brains out right there in front of her, let her see what she'd done to him. Let everyone see. Idly, he wondered if he'd have a funeral. Would she even care? Would she come? Maybe she'd wear that green number he'd always told her he liked. He didn't actually like it, he'd just been trying to get it onto the floor at the time, but he'd consistently stuck with the story over a year and a half and surely that's what she'd wear to his funeral.

There were several people already on the table, doing a walking meditation. He joined the queue. Thankfully the friars weren't singing today. They were drek at singing. Those sanctimonious skunds wouldn't know music if it bit them right in the drek-chute. Those not on the table were listening to some sort of bird-drek speechifying by the abbess, but Desmond had never liked her, or the abbot who had come before her. Skunds, the both of them.

Desmond waited until he was near the center of the table, and then deliberately unhooked from Nexus. Everyone who was hooked in felt it, of course. Hooking and unhooking inside the temple was frowned upon. Desmond gloried in the disapproval. He revelled in the fact that no doubt, dozens of the swinging dicks were paying attention to him now, while he was holding enough Brilliance to start dealing, and it didn't even matter. You can't touch me now, skunds. It's too late.

The chill of the temple seeped in as the orange glow of Nexus faded out. Desmond closed his eyes and bit down on the tab of Brilliance in his mouth. Immediately, the chill started to fade. Brilliance was so much better than being hooked in. He took one step, then two, as the euphoria built up. Five steps. Six. Seven. Ten. At the first Height, he slipped his hand into his pocket and drew his gun. With a flourish, he held it high in the air while the Brilliance filled him like the light of a thousand suns, and set it against his chin. It was time.

But wait...why wasn't anyone screaming? He was waving a gun around in a Temple, for drek's sake. At least the swinging dicks ought to be taking aim at him, shouting at him to drop the weapon, but the only sound Desmond heard was birdsong.

Birdsong? In the Temple?

He realised that he could feel a warm glow as if of sunlight on his face, and it wasn't the Brilliance. He opened his eyes.

The temple was gone. He stood in a grassy clearing in a forest, with the sun beaming down on him. In the middle of winter. There wasn't a soul in sight.

Astounded, Desmond slipped the gun back into his pocket. He'd done it! He'd travelled to another world! Outside of legends, no Nexan had ever managed to phase out. That had to be the secret -- being hooked in linked a person too strongly to Nexus to allow them to phase out. That's why aliens could do it, most of them never learned to hook in. Or maybe it was the Brilliance. That would be perfect! He could phase back in, share his secret, and become rich as drek! Janelle would regret tossing him out when he was rolling in creds from being the only Nexan ever to master the secret of phasing--and if Brilliance was the enabler, they'd have to legalise it!

Only minutes before, Desmond had been ready to kill himself, but now all of the cards were falling into place. He'd be a smurfing legend. Grinning, he turned around and walked a few more steps, feeling for that sense of thinness that would lead him back home, to take his place in the history of all of the worlds.

It was gone.

He was still high. The Brilliance was strong as ever, he should definitely be able to feel the thinness. It wasn't there.

Desperately, he tried to hook in, and immediately recoiled. The warm orange glow of Nexus wasn't there. It was...blue.

He took a deep breath and tried to hook in again. It was different, but still warm and comforting, and the bluest blue he could possibly imagine. He tried to use the alien blue glow of this world to locate his way home, but to no avail.

Just for a moment, this world and Nexus had come close enough for someone to phase through...but now it was gone, and Desmond would be an old man when it came again, even in the unlikely case he was alive to see it at all.

He was trapped here forever.

Loony BoB
04-30-2014, 11:05 AM
Jahred saw her first. He watched her for a moment as she . A furry person, with a pronounced snout and tail, but certainly no bear. Definitely nothing like what he had ever seen, and he had seen all known races of Sedorra. Nudging Aziish with his elbow, he whispered. "Look."

"What?" Aziish looked about in the direction Jahred faced, and immediately someone caught his eye. "...Woah, I've never seen an Ursus like that before..."

"Neither have I..." Jahred frowned.

"Incredible. A new tribe? I mean, I've never seen an Ursus with that kind of tail, either..."

"Neither have I." Jahred stood up and left his friend to watch as he slowly but carefully neared the newcomer. There was only one thing running through his mind. The peoples here may be confused as they are not so well travelled and might assume that this person is an Ursus, but Jahred did not feel this way at all. This was something new. Carefully and expertly, Jahred walked right past the individual and started up an idle conversation with a nearby guard, ensuring that the guard would be facing away from the individual. He intended on finding out about this new person and he did not want some meddling guard to interfere. With one ear open to the rather chatty guard and one eye on the newcomer, he began indulging his curiosity.

It was then that he spotted, further away, Aziish. Likewise, talking with a guard.

And pointing.

Oh, Aziish, you idiot.

And then, suddenly, loud bangs crackled around everyone's ears and high pitched yelling rained through the air. The festival entertainers had arrived in Lucrecia. Small fireworks crackled around on the ground, eccentrically dressed and dancers yipped and squealed as they ran into King's Square, painted fools rolling around on the ground behind them, and laughter and cheer shook through the square as Doban and Human citizens outside a nearby inn raised their glasses heartilly in approval.

Jahred had never been so thankful. The masks. Brilliant. He nodded to the guard, patting him on the back as he moved away. Quickly changing direction once the guard was clearly focusing on this distraction - he couldn't see Aziish or the other guard he was with - he darted behind the newcomer.

"Excuse me, um... miss?" The newcomer turned around and he saw that same wide eyed expression he had seen on the way to Lucrecia. He stared intently into the eyes of the newcomer, ensuring that she understood every word he meant. "I understand you are not from around here. Clearly, you must be one of the entertainers for the festival tonight. You have a most excellent mask and I love how you have added a tail to your costume. Perhaps we should speak somewhere a little more out of vision, we would want such excellent work to be a surprise for the masses tonight, after all. Now... where exactly does a unique individual like you hail from? Come. Walk with me."

Formalhaut
04-30-2014, 03:16 PM
Locke II


It was getting close to evening when Locke and the boy returned back home to the village. Some of the village-people were already outside, preparing the large fire for the feast that they have brought back. "It's a large deer!" shouted Locke from the distance, to the appreciation of the people. It has been several days since they have had a large, wholesome meal and this large deer was just the remedy.

While the women began preparing the deer for roasting, Locke went back into humble home to clean up. Hunting is a messy business, is one of his catchphrases. His home was a simple one, which was exactly how Locke wanted it. The exterior was a classic stone construction, a sturdy, protective design that would defend against the big bad wolf with ease. On the inside, candle-light illuminated his surroundings and glimmered with a soft, warm glow. Later, he heard the good cheer emanating from the outside and rejoined the village in their festivities.

By now, the deer was mostly cooked and the whole village (of about twenty people) were out to feast. Chort, a boy of about ten, was playing the lute and two of the villagers were already dancing the night away. The boy Locke hunted with approached him. "Um, Locke?" Locke turned and smiled. "Thanks for taking me on the trip. I really learned alot from the experience and I want to make my mum proud, so, thanks". The sweet boy was called Alistair. Him and his family were the first people who greeted Locke when he arrived in the village. Alistair's father died a year later, a tragedy which is neither fully explained and discussed in the village. To Alistair, Locke is sort of a father figure. Now twelve, he has been wrenched too soon out of childhood.

Locke did his best to be humble. Naturally, Alistair changed the subject almost immediately. "Hey Locke, did you hear? The Queen's Festival is building up in Lucrecia. Travellers at our inn couldn't stop talking about it". Locke immediately took attention. It has been several years since he has last seen his mother. He swore to never venture to that place again. Too many bad memories. "Queen's Festival? Bah, bunch of bloody posh bastards that's all it is" said one villager who overheard Alistair. "All they do is arse about in their high thrones eating fine foods and swanning about. What do they actually do for us?". The anti-Royal sentiment in the village has always been lukewarm, even if not everyone openly admits to it. The Queen's Festival simply strengthens opinion, one way or the other. For Locke, it is simply awkward.

While this villager is off berating the Royal family, one of them is sitting but a small distance away. In that instance, Locke knew what he had to do next.

Lonely Paper Star
04-30-2014, 10:26 PM
Camille counted them over and over again. Each time, the number of chocobos in the pen came up the same, but it wasn't the right number. How dumb of her to have left the stable door open and trust them all to not wander off.

"Okay!" she shouted out in annoyance, putting her hands on her hips. Most of them looked up at her, but the rest continued grazing. "Two of you snuck out while I wasn't looking. Where'd they go?"

Stupid, she thought to herself. As if they'll answer me. I really need to meet people.

Either way, she needed to search for the missing chocobos. She worked entirely too hard in raising Koko and Bristles, and there, they've gone and eloped. She giggled at the thought--wait, what was she doing? This wasn't funny! They were much needed money, especially Bristles, who was a less common color of blue.

If people stole them, then they must've headed to Lucrecia, Camille reasoned. But were these thieves well-versed with the Wylds? She knew she herself was. She has wandered through many times with various chocobos, to test them fit for travel. Most of them came out fine, but Koko and Bristles were among the younger batch, and have not completely finished training. They are probably scared in the Wylds. And the thieves won't last in those woods if they don't know their way.

Camille debated on which chocobo to take to go after them. Takka was her most trusted, and sometimes helped herd the others when they wanted to graze further away from the property, but he was not her fastest.

She gulped as she thought of her lone black chocobo, the one she used in races years ago. Prestissima, Song of the Night, she was called, as professional racing chocobos always had fancy names. Camille had not ridden her since her last race. It was superstitious of her, but she hated thinking about her past, and Stissi was a very, very prominent part of it.

But Camille found her feet moving already, past the main stables where she kept the chocobos at night while she slept, and toward the back one next to her cabin deeper in the safer southern forest.

She must hate me now, Camille thought glumly, but forced herself to meet Stissi's eyes. The black chocobo regarded her warily and kweh-ed with question.

"We're going to the Wylds, Stissi," she told her, and offered a smile. It was a little dark in the forest, but she was once told her smile was one of the brightest. "Your son and your niece are missing." She slid open the stable door.

Stissi did not move at first, and only did so when Camille held out a stalk of Sylkis Green. How far their relationship has fallen, when Stissi needed to be lured with food from her only rider rather than with simple trust. But at least she was obedient; that or she understood the situation. After circling around to warm up her legs, Stissi lowered herself to the ground to allow the much shorter Camille to climb up.

Nostalgia hit the breeder like lightning. Camille could already hear the crowd in her ears, cheering her on. She inhaled sharply and climbed upon the chocobo. Everything about this was too familiar, too reminiscent, but she had no time to waste on her burdens of the past.

They left for the outer pen, where the other chocobos still were. Takka gave her a curious look and warked. Camille herded everyone into the night stables. When all the necessary things were done, she pulled Stissi away and dipped her head to hers.

"Just like The Queen's Cup," she murmured.

Prestissima, Song of the Night darted out of the property in a flash and to the Bethereon Wylds, as fast as she has ever been. Camille almost smelled and felt the dirt of the tracks rise up around her, even if she was surrounded only by trees and grass.

Pumpkin
04-30-2014, 10:57 PM
Kathvi was lead from the bustling streets to a more remote area of the city. There were still people here, but fewer and most of them seemed too intoxicated to notice her. This made he feel a bit better. As the stranger led her away from the city, she was a bit scared, wondering if perhaps this was some kind of trap. She expected he knew she wasn't in costume, but whether he was trying to be polite and not draw attention to how... different she was, or whether she was being threatened, she couldn't tell. She sure hoped it was the former.

They stopped at a small bench on the sidewalk of a not so busy street and the stranger, who she noticed looked almost... reptilian, gestured for her to sit down. She sat, leaning to the side of the bench, facing as away as politely possible from the stranger who sat down after her. She then noticed herself picking at the fur in her tail, the tail which was now beginning to make her feel very self-concsious. She stopped and tucked her tail as behind her as she could.

"Where are you from?" he asked, looking deep in to her eyes. "S..somewhere in the mountains," she replied nervously. She was somewhat glad at this moment that she couldn't remember much. "The mountains, really?" he prodded. "I don't recall every seeing someone quite like you." She noticed that he was very carefully selecting his words. Was it for her comfort, or was it something else? "Are you here to see the festival?" he asked her, after noticing she wasn't responding to his previous comment. "I suppose you could say that," she told him. "What is the festival for?" He arched an eyebrow and gave her a slight look of amusement. "You don't know, really?" She looked at her feet in embarrassment. "Where did you say you were from? Which area of the mountains?" Kathvi stood up suddenly. "Look, I'm sorry, but I don't-" She suddenly felt a splash of something on her shirt. She turned around to notice a very intoxicated man had spilled some of her booze on her. He reeked, and Kathvi was surprised she hadn't smelt him coming. "Oh, I'm sorry there, lass. Seems I got some of me drink on yer pretty self. Might as well take that shirt of then, hey?" he chuckled at her.

"Oh, Gods," she sighed.

Loony BoB
04-30-2014, 11:14 PM
"Don't mind the drunks, they're excellent at what they do." Jahred flicked a coin over the head of the intoxicated man and let it ring on the ground behind him, and the drunkard was away to fetch himself his next drink. "Perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is Jahred. I am from Akimolm, but as a trader I have been fairly eveywhere and I have never seen your kind in all my years. You must forgive me for stealing you away from the masses, but... people were staring at you and I would not like to miss an opportunity to learn of something new. What can you tell me of what you remember about your home? Beyond the Wyld, perhaps? Ah, if you are struggling for thoughts, what do you see around here that you most certainly do not remember? Of course, you may ask me anything you wish. Better to talk to me than to talk to a prison guard."

Jahred paused, realising how awful that sounded, and slapped his face. "Apologies. I make that not as a threat, but as advice."

Formalhaut
05-01-2014, 05:58 PM
Locke III

It was a New Moon, and down below, Locke was preparing to leave for Lucrecia. "Locke, why are you leaving for Lucrecia?". Poor Alistair looked like he was about to keel over with worry. Locke put a reassuring hand on his shoulder and said "listen, its only for a little while. I'll try to be back by the time the moon turns full". He pointed to the absent Moon, and Alistair traced its direction. "See there, Ali? When that moon reappears, I should be back, okay? So don't worry." "But what if you don't come back? What if... if...". Locke knew what was to come next. "What if you'll just be like Daddy?". With this, he ran off back up to his room. The slamming door resounded through Locke's body.

Locke remembered. Alistair's father left on an outside visit. He never came back. Now that Alistair looks up to Locke as one looks up to his father, the emotions flood back. In a way, Locke blames himself. Maybe he got too close to Alistair? His mother, Serrine, walked in. "You worry too much Locke", she said in a reassuring tone. "But Serrine, the boy looks up to me too much." She served him a cup of wyldleaf tea, a strong black tea. "Locke, you've really helped this family along after Benton's dea-, disappearance." She breathed in, and continued. "You have helped us with hunting, with maintenance on this home, with giving Alistair a male figure he can look up to again. You rescued this family when we were on the brink. Don't feel bad. Alistair will survive. He is a boy of twelve, and he needs to grow up." Locke countered, "don't you think you're being too harsh. The boy has lost so much. I don't need to remind you just how much he hated his dad for months when he disappeared. Then that hate turned to sadness. I know he is getting of age, but given his life so far, I think he's coped pretty damn well". Serrine looked deep in thought. After a long pause, she simply stated to him to not let Alistair down. He simply nodded.

It was getting late. Locke was to depart for Lucrecia tomorrow morn. Saying his goodbyes to both Serrine and Alistair, he walked back home. He tried to sleep, but couldn't. He had too many things on his mind. In the end, all he could do was stare at the empty Moon.

Citizen Bleys
05-01-2014, 06:05 PM
As the Brilliance started to wear off, Desmond's thoughts began to crystalise.

OK, so I'm here forever. I need to take stock. I haven't got a home to go back to, I haven't got any food, and I haven't got any money. I've got to get established here.

The best plan for finding his way out of the forest was a straight line, but he remembered that blindfolded people tended to walk in a circle, so he needed a way to make sure he wasn't changing direction. He pulled out his jigger and hit the positioning app.

It failed to load.

Of course! No Department of Environment here. Linking apps aren't going to work with no other jiggers to link to.

On Nexus, the moss always grew on the same side of trees. He couldn't remember what direction that was, but as long as basic physics were the same here, he should be able to use that to get out of the forest. With any luck he'd find a habitation or a road that could lead him to other people.

Then he realised that finding other people might only be the start of his problems. People who came through the table often took years to learn Nexan, depending on how far away they were from. Nexan was a based on the language of the Ancients, so there were often common threads, but Desmond might have difficulty communicating. He'd failed Ancient in school.

He needed time to ponder this. He found a comfortable spot and built a fire pit. He started to pull out his jigger to look up how to build a fire, but then remembered there were no links. Some Nexans could build a fire by hooking into Nexus and drawing on that energy, but Desmond had never been able to do that. He'd just have to rub sticks together.

Thirty minutes later, Desmond concluded that rubbing sticks together was a load of crap.

Local vegetation could be poisonous, there was no way he would risk eating it. He'd have to make due with raw meat.

There were rabbits all over the forest. He hooked into the world's blue energy. He might not be able to use most of the functionality of his jigger, but he could still use it as a musical instrument. He'd always been good at Bardsong, sometimes able to achieve up to four simultaneous effects for a short time. He started to play, and focused this world's blue worldpulse in the familiar configuration that would initialise a Bardsong effect. He Spiked lethargy...

...and the skund-rutting bunny bloody well attacked him!

"Drek!" he cursed as the bunny bit into his calf, drawing blood. "You drek-rotting piece of drek!"

Desmond really needed to work on his swearing.

Ace Protorney
05-01-2014, 11:03 PM
The Lost Soul was docked at a sandy beach, a few of the ship's crew stayed put to protect the ship while the rest, including Radley went off to explore the nearby village. The village was rather small. There were only a few huts, with each inhabited by a local, who were mostly fishermen. Radley had his small crossbow out and carried it with a single hand as he went for the largest hut. There was a woman with a child inside, and both were frightened when Radley barged inside as he broke down the straw door. "Don't hurt us." the woman begged as she hid her child out of Radley's sight.

He waved his crossbow in the air before pointing at the woman. "I won't hurt you and your child," Radley promised, "But you will give me what I want, and I want some of your loot."

"W-w-we don't have any loot for y-you..." the woman stuttered as she backed away into another room of the hut.

Radley looked around the room he was in, and smirked. "Actually, I do think you have some loot," he said as he came across a chest.

He pointed at it with his weapon and demanded the woman open the chest. She hesitantly complied and walked to the chest to do so. She was unable to after several attempts. "I-i-it needs a key to open..." she said as she fell down to her knees in vain.

Radley looked back and faced the child cowering behind a chair. He pointed his crossbow at the child and said in a commanding voice, "You there. Go look for the key!"

The child nodded at Radley, and rushed inside another room in hopes to immediately find the missing key. Frustrated with how long this would take, he put his attention back to the woman. He aimed his crossbow at her as he walked towards her and the chest. "You better hope your kid finds that key," he said as he placed the tip of the loaded arrow against her cheek. "I wouldn't want to have your pretty face ruined."

She began to shiver in fear with the cold hard steel of the arrow-tip carefully brushing against her face. One could tell that Radley was slowly, but surely, losing his patience. As he placed his finger over the trigger of his weapon, the child just returned. "Found it!"

He released the trigger and faced the child who held onto a key for the chest. It was rather large, and silver in color. He motioned for the young child to hand him the keys, which was shortly done. With the silver key in hand, he placed it inside the keyhole of the chest and turned it to unlock it. The chest opened up and Radley was rather surprised to see the contents inside. It wasn't full of coins, as he had expected, but there was something else. A couple golden goblets, some jewelry, a handful of coins, and several daggers and knives. It was not much, but it was definitely worth something.

Tasura
05-02-2014, 12:01 AM
As Xilkar approached the shore curiosity subdued caution and he forgot all about being wary of the creatures on land. As he reached the beach he approached the short creature and began to ask rapid fire questions.

"What sort of creature are you? Why are you on land? Why are you so pale? What's this?" He reached out and gently grasped some hair. "Why is it not green? Why aren't you underwater? Wait, where are your gills? Why are your eyes not black?" He grabbed her hand and looked closely between the fingers. "Where is your webbing? Have you been cast out? No, that's wrong, there was never any webbing to start, how could you swim with no webbing?" His eyes become large and he looks around furtively and whispers. "How many of you are there?"

Xilkar slowly backed away looking around, his once forgotten caution came back stronger than before.

Pumpkin
05-02-2014, 04:02 AM
Kathvi wasn't sure if she could trust Jahred, but she was warming up to him. Besides, what other option did she have? She didn't know where she was, she had gaps in her memory, and he was the only one not staring at her like she was a mutant.

"My name is Kathvi. I would like to tell you more about who I am," she said reluctantly, "Or where I'm from. But the truth is... I don't know. All I remember is a mountain and a bakery. There was always snow and it felt so nice on my skin and my fur. I baked things for... others..." Her ears flattened, "But that's where I get stuck. I can't remember anyone else. I don't know if there's anyone else... like me."

Jahred sat looking at her, digesting the information. She became very embarrassed with herself, and her first instinct was to flee. But she stayed. She stayed because maybe he could tell her something about herself that she didn't know. Maybe he could tell her if there were others out there like her. But mostly she stayed because she was alone, and she was afraid.

Attempting to lighten the mood after the heaviness of all everything, she perked up and said "I'll tell you one thing I do remember. Ice cream," she winked. "Do you guys have some of that here?"

*Devore*
05-02-2014, 05:30 AM
Azelin I

Wind rushed past Azelin as he silently tracked his target from the precarious rooftops of the shanty town, Hy'Ton. The target, a Beastman from the Northern Isles, had just robbed his fifth storage facility which belonged to very influential people. The Beastman was marked for death and there was nowhere for him to hide that the young assassin could not reach. He sharpely turned a corner and stopped to catch his breath, Azelin also stopped and leaned over the roofs edge to see his soon to be victim directly below. The streets were uncharacteristically silent, Azelin smiled as he thought The quiet before the thunderous storm that will be your scream of death. Kunai drawn, he steps over the precipice and falls towards the clueless target when he is suddenly assaulted by the sound of laughter, cheering, jeering, bangs and whistles. This is soon followed by Azelin slamming into the ground far sooner than he should have.

He found himself face down on the ground, surrounded by people, sounds and smells which were not previously there just a moment ago. Many around looked drunk and a few were looking at him with puzzlement and amazement while others were whispering and pointing in his direction.He groaned slightly as his left hand twisted under his body, allowing him to spring back up to his feet but was almost sent flying to the ground again by a large drunk man. "Watch it boy!?". He began to say something else but Azelin ignored the man who he could barely understand, pulled his hood over his head and pushed his way into the crowd.

Confusion ran through the boys mind, The Beastmen were not capable of teleportation magics and a spell that can move me like that requires an activation sequence unless...was it a trap? He continued to walk with the flow of crowd as this thought arose and the realisation that someone maybe here to ambush him. It was at this point that Azelin began to rapidly take in his surrounding gripping the kunai, that was still in his right hand, tightly as there was less and less that he recognised. The majority here look like Hyu'Mans, but they're a weird colour. And I've never seen those tall ones before. Where in Izlar am I? It was while he was looking upon the tall lizard like beings that his eyes glanced upwards and saw the sky, panic swept through to the depths of his soul as the perpetual storm that has raged throughout the entire world since time immemorial was missing, replaced by a deep blue colour and what looked like far off fireflies flickering in the sky. It was beautiful. Without realising, the boy had stopped walking and his hood fell from his head as he stared up at the sky with tears welling up in his eyes. But it wasn't happiness that he felt but deep sadness and lose. For the third time in his life, the boy began to cry. "This isn't Vil'Deamon" he meekly mutters "Where am I?"

Jinx
05-02-2014, 02:57 PM
At least Tala had an idea of what was going on now. Despite her discomfort with the large throngs of people, she was bound to find what she was seeking. 'Where to start, though...' She really was no closer to finding what she was looking for...whatever that was.

Tala noticed a Human in strange clothes observing her. She wasn't used to interacting with the other races of Sedorra, but she knew they didn't stare at the Ursus...even a secluded Aelum such as herself.

Tala continued to stare at the stranger. He bowed his head at her, which she took to be a sign of respect. She bowed her head in return. 'Strange Human.' she thought to herself. Of the Humans she had met, none of them had shown such an interest in her. 'What is he looking at?'

As she contemplated the human, a slight breeze kicked up. The Human's scent reached her. It was unmistakably Human, but there was something about the scent that was...other.

Loony BoB
05-02-2014, 05:35 PM
Jahred chuckled to himself. "Yes, er, we do have ice cream... I'm not a very big fan of ice-cold foods but I'm sure we can get something for you somewhere. Perhaps not the best idea just yet, though. It's as you said, I fear I have never seen someone quite like you before, or anything like you for that matter. This means I have no idea how the masses would react to someone so unusual. I mean, there's the Ursus, but they don't have such long tails... in fact, no race here really has any tail of such length. It's quite shocking, you see, for some people to see such things."

Kathvi's head sunk. "Oh..." she whispered, clearly upset. Jahred mentally slapped his face once more and started to think over his words a little more carefully.

"I personally find this all rather exciting - a new race!" He smiled widely, spreading his arms wide in as welcoming a posture as he could. "Such things are enough to encourage one to explore every nook and cranny of this world! I would suggest we speak to an Aelum... they are a tribe of the Ursus that live in the mountains. I can only imagine that if anyone knows of a race in a snowy mountain that they would be your best bet. Come, let us seek one out. Hopefully with the festival entertainers out and about, less people will question your appearance. And by all means, do your best to enjoy yourself during the festival!"

Jahred thought to himself carefully. She best do so, I'm not sure there is any other day that she could look so outlandish and get away with it. He walked back towards King's Square, ensuring Kathvi remained close by, chatting to her about the festival in order to help her blend in and avoid any suspicion. Thankfully, Ursus stand out in a crowd fairly easily. It wasn't long before he spotted an Aelum sniffing at the air.

Pant Leg Eater from the Bad World
05-02-2014, 09:51 PM
Ja'ak 1

Ja'ak picked up his makeshift bag and slung it over his head. The sun had risen and it was time to start the day. His journey towards Lucrecia was going fairly well so far. There had been no troubles, no fellow travelers on that path, and no vagabonds trying to thieve from the large bear. Ja'ak knew he was making good time, by the trees, he was over halfway to Naithe! Following the coastline so closely was serving him well, indeed.

Wading into the water, Ja'ak walked along the shoreline until he came across a crab that was nearly the size of his forepaw. Swiping at the crab, Ja'ak pulled it clear out of the water and sent it to the shore, where it smashed into a rock and ceased moving.
Ah, breakfast, he thought to himself.

He was sucking the meat from the last leg of the crab when he heard the quiet meow. He turned his head and there was Linksie, with a dead rabbit at her feet. She gave him a look, as if to say that she wouldn't be left behind, and promptly began eating her kill.

"Silly cat," he said. "You were supposed to stay behind and guard the forest. Now who knows how many precious trees those pesky men will take for their lumber by the time we return." Linksie pointedly ignored his tender scolding and neatly jumped onto his back, curling up into a ball between his massive shoulder blades.

Ja'ak wasn't truly upset. He loved having the mischievous cat around, she kept him on the tip of his paws. And so he continued his journey, lumbering on towards Naithe.

Kossage
05-03-2014, 12:05 AM
Haruko stopped running after she had reached the safety of another alley, out of sight from the people in the busy street. She looked back to see if the monster had followed her and was happy to see that it was nowhere to be found. However, as she observed the street a bit longer from the comfort of the alley, she suddenly saw many more creatures like the one she had seen before: some of those monsters were pulling strange, small carts which carried people, and others just walked about and talked seemingly casually.

This cannot be Barjassil...and yet I can understand what these people are saying? Is this perhaps a vassal state, in the far corners of the kingdom? But that still doesn't explain those pointy eared monsters. If they're demons, why are they working alongside humans instead of scheming against them or slaughtering them? Or have the high priestess's teachings been wrong all along? she thought, puzzled.

She saw a man stopping near the alley. He hadn't noticed her, so she had the upper hand. In order for her to figure out what was going on, she had to make the move and be bold. She just hoped these people understood her as easily as she seemed to understand them.

"Excuse me, but may I ask you something?" Haruko began carefully and gained more confidence when the man turned to her. "I was wondering what was going on in here with all these people. Looks like some sort of...celebration, almost?"

"Well, aren't you something. I don't think I've ever seen that kind of fashion in these parts before," the man replied as his eyes studied Haruko. "You must not be from around here...from the countryside, perhaps? Odd that you haven't heard about the Queen's Festival, though. It's going to be something great. Just look at all those entertainers headed for King's Square!"

Haruko looked at the street and saw what the man meant. There were several entertainers in the crowd indeed...bards and harlequins, most likely. They brought with them a festive mood, making people laugh with excitement and happiness as they passed them. The music that had begun playing made Haruko feel at ease; although she felt like a stranger in this unfamiliar city, music was a language everyone understood, and to her people music was everything...as important as telling tales.

Feeling even more emboldened by all of this, she decided to take a more active approach. "The queen, you say? I wasn't aware that King Anshar had a wife...and why would you name that place the King's Square when this is not even the capital of our kingdom?"

The man frowned. "Uh...this is the capital where our fair Queen resides. Lucrecia, the Jewel of the World. And who did you say the king was again? Never heard of any Anshar."

Haruko blinked. Was the man jesting? "King Anshar of Barjassil, ruler of the south. He and King Kagetsu of Maar Sul are known throughout the world."

"South? All I know about the south is that there's some dangerous wildland called the Betheron Wylds over there as well as a grand city in the middle of a lake or some such. Never visited it myself, but I've heard stories. The kings you mentioned don't ring a bell, though. Never heard of any Barjassil or Maar Sul," the man said.

"Well...thank you for your time, anyway," Haruko muttered. She saw that the man seemed to be willing to continue the conversation, but she wasn't in the mood even though her mind was now full of questions. Where exactly had she ended up in if these people didn't even know the names of two of the greatest kingdoms in the world?

As she pondered this, her eyes happened to notice bears walking down the street and...talking? What kind of city was this Lucrecia, really? And since when did bears know how to talk in Common?

She had to get out of here, to clear her mind, so she left the man behind without even saying goodbye and headed into the crowd. She didn't think hiding in alleys would work at the moment, especially if she ran into more monsters who were somehow living among humans, the most prejudiced people of all, without anyone batting an eye.

Maybe this was all a dream, and she had yet to wake up...

#

Nargul reached his destination: the King's Square. After the rickshaw had stopped, he hurried to help the pair down, but the nobleman simply swatted the doban's hand aside and snorted before leaving with the lady.

"A tip, sir?" Nargul asked when he realized the man was about to leave just like that.

"We'll be late, dear," the lady said urgently to her so-called gentleman escort. "We should be going."

"Indeed we should," the man grunted and dropped a coin down without even bothering to look at Nargul. "Here's your payment. It's more than a beast like you deserves for such an awful ride." He snorted again and left while Nargul stood still.

"Thank you, sir. Have a good day, sir," Nargul muttered, barely avoiding gritting his teeth, before he knelt down to pick up the coin which the nobleman had tossed. Then, as he had learned to do over the years, he put it between his teeth and bit it...which quickly made him realize that the noblemans coin wasn't worth anything at all. It had been a clear insult, as if Nargul had needed any more reminder from such a horrible client.

Frickin' racist cheapskates...or should it be speciesist? Whatever, this is still horrendous! I'm going to file a complaint about injustice and corruption among nobles, that's for sure, the doban thought.

Nargul's foul mood was swept in the back of his mind when he heard cheers and music as the entertainers arrived in King's Square. At least something good would happen today...and he knew just the way to forget this annoying incident with a miser of a noble.

The doban knew he should take the rickshaw back to his employer now that his shift had ended, but on the other hand he was in a foul mood and had to become cheerful again. What better way to achieve that than to taste cold, quality Lucrecian ale...not some pissy excuse of a lager but real ale.

Nargul considered going to the Quiet Lobster but quickly dismissed the thought. His last time there hadn't ended happily, and the bouncer had thrown him out for "beastly behaviour," whatever that meant, and told him not to show his sorry face again until he'd be more civilized. Clearly some humans here were racist, not knowing of the civilized nature of the doban people. No, this doban would choose another pub this time around, one where he wasn't that well known just so there would be no misunderstandings. And he knew just the place.

The doban pulled the rickshaw to the entrance of the Ceiling Cat and left it there. Taking the rickshaw back to his boss could wait. Right now he wanted to get in a festive mood, and he had just enough money with him to do exactly that. He would show Lucrecia how festive a people doban could really be!

Miss Mae
05-03-2014, 01:58 AM
Cohen glanced back up and realised that the large, white bear was looking at him. Oh dear, he thought. It knows I was staring at it. He took a step backwards, ready to run if the bear started to approach him. He'd never seen a bear of this colour before, but where he was from the black bears would eat a human without a second thought.

The bear didn't approach him. In fact, it seemed to tilt its head at him out of what might have been curiosity. Maybe it was domesticated? He did just hear it talking, after all. He wondered if maybe the bear could understand him.

'Hello,' he said. 'My name is Cohen. I'm sorry for staring - I've just never seen a white bear before. Or a bear in a city. Or that can talk.' As he said the words he realised just how strange this situation really was.

'What's your name?' Cohen continued. Does it even have a name? he wondered.

Pumpkin
05-03-2014, 04:28 AM
Jahred walked Kathvi towards King's Square, ensuring Kathvi remained close by, chatting to her about the festival in order to help her blend in and avoid any suspicion.

"I'm sorry about the ice cream," she said, nervously. "Everything has just been so serious and I just wanted..." Bute before she could finish her sentence, she noticed Jahred staring straight ahead. She looked over and noticed a... big, white... creature. It looked similar to her in that it had white fur, but the rest was most certainly different. The hair on the end of her tail pricked up and she stood frozen for a moment, staring at this creature.

"Kathvi, I think we found who we need to talk to," Jahred said happily, one step closer to figuring out more about this new race. He grabbed her arm to guide her to the Ursus, when he noticed she wasn't moving. "Kathvi?" he asked, turning back to her.

'What is that?!" Kathvi exclaimed, almost yelping.

Citizen Bleys
05-03-2014, 06:24 AM
Desmond picked up the pace after practicing with bardsong enough he could execute some basic Spikes on himself without feeling sick. He still had no idea what direction he was travelling in, but he kept moving in the direction the moss was pointing until he encountered a road.

Roads are good. Roads lead to civilisation.

He'd managed to bag a couple of bunnies. Raw meat wasn't enjoyable fare, but it didn't make him feel sick. He supposed that was one good thing about his heritage. Instincts long shunned in polite society were coming in incredibly useful in the wilderness.

As Desmond passed through a section of road overshadowed by foliage, a voice rang out behind him.

"Hold, sir. Your money or your life!"

Desmond turned around slowly, hands in his coat pocket. One hand closed around his gun, and the other around his jigger.

A youth stood there with a crossbow trained on him. Desmond's pace quickened.

He's just a kid. He doesn't want to fire that thing. I've just got to calm him down...

Desmond hooked into the deep blue and began to hum softly, trying to make it sound like a nervous habit, as he started up accompaniment on his jigger at low volume. As he felt the energy build up he broke off humming.

"I've no money, son. I'm not from around these parts. I'm just an itinerant minstrel looking to make his way."

"Everybody's got something," grunted the kid. "I'll have it or I'll have your hide. Your choice."

The robber sounded doubtful. Devoid of confidence. Just the sort of mindset receptive to emotional manipulation. Carefully, ready to leap if it didn't work, Desmond tried to Spike the kid's lethargy.

The kid yelped in alarm and pulled the trigger. The Song made his movement just sluggish enough that the bolt missed Desmond, slicing open a gash in his cheek as it whizzed by.

Desmond touched his face in shock. As he looked at his own blood on his fingers, long-suppressed instincts surged to the fore as, for the first time in his life, Desmond went Feral.

Gun forgotten, Desmond leaped at the kid who was now laboriously trying to reload his crossbow. Snarling, he closed his fingers around the would-be robber's neck, squeezing with all his might. His fingertips tingled as buried instincts tried to extend claws that Desmond didn't have, claws that had been surgically removed during infancy for his own safety.

"Kn'thrak take you!" growled Desmond as he throttled the now-limp body of a boy of no more than sixteen. "You and all of your harakh-eating kin!"

Desmond had never killed a man before. In the back of his mind, the voice of reason wailed in dismay. It was like he'd lost control of his own body to a creature that reveled in blood.

But only for a short time. As the boy's corpse slid to the ground, the bloodlust faded and Desmond's mind returned to normal.

Holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek holy drek

Well, sort of normal.

Desmond knew his time was limited. He sure as drek didn't want to get caught by the swinging dicks hovering over a dead body while holding this much Brilliance. Quickly, he searched the lad's corpse and nicked a tiny bag of odd looking coins and some dried meat, and then headed back into the woods. He walked for about a half hour in the direction opposite the moss growth, then took a course perpendicular to it. He hoped that the moss would point out the way back to the road at a juncture far enough away from the boy's corpse that he wouldn't be associated with it when it was found.

Once he felt he was far enough away from the corpse, he slumped at the base of a tree, exhausted and shaking with reaction. He needed Brilliance more than ever. He took a tab and closed his eyes.

It wasn't until just before he fell asleep that Desmond thought to wonder why the boy from this world had looked and spoken perfect Nexan.

Madonna
05-03-2014, 07:55 PM
Blackie checked the straps which tethered his trade goods to the cargo chocobos and satisfied himself that the straps were definitely, definitely good and tight. Wherein the devils were them boyos?

His sellers were late, and the meeting had not happened. Were the doban a younger race or a younger man, he might have been more upset and more prone to running from fears of being found. After all, this was an off-the-books venture, and he knew less than jack about the two men his contact in Arna put him with in trade. Maybe they were the King's men, and he would have to be quick in response. Maybe they were arrested or dead, either situation being the same one to him, and he would never meet them again. Maybe they were plain late, with issues stemming from a botched or poorly-planned job, and he had to be patient and forgiving. All of these ideas crossed Blackie's mind while he checked, double-checked, and re-affirmed that his end of the deal was solid. A good deal is a good life, as his father always said.

Blackie's camp stood inside the Betheron Wylds, down a narrow and overgrown path which twisted in ways to leave even travelers of the path lost if they quit paying attention. He had marked it by dropping Mimett blossoms at points down it, so he was comfortable in thinking he did his part, and all he had to do was wait for the hammer to drop. The chocobos squawked, eager to move, but Blackie shushed the three of them and settled on a fallen log. He drew his axe and settled it happily in his lap. Confident in the caution he took, he reached into a pack to extract a notebook, a quill, and a vial of squid-ink, and began to sketch. He was ready for anything.

*Devore*
05-03-2014, 08:02 PM
Azelin II
As if in a trance, Azelin stared up at the sky while tears trickled down his face. The steady stream of people that passed by him began to speed up, slowly at first but quickly reached the point that it looked like they were running. Azelin stumbled forward as a middle aged women slammed into him from behind, trance broken. As his speed began to return to normal, everyone around him began to slow down and anger swept him. Anger over someone walking into him, anger over letting his powers backfire but mainly anger over losing control of his emotions. He put away his kunai for while killing this person may have helped him with his stress, violence in public always ends badly. And keeping it in his hand would have made it too tempting.

"Oh! I'm sorry young Doban. Are you ok?" the women asked with a touch of conserns. Azelin rubbed his face with his sleeve and before turned to face her. She was a plump Hyu'Man women with a kind face and colourful dress which pooly hide her round figure. Azelin could only partially understand the women, it was like listening to an infant who has a very small vocabulary. "Where are your parent?"

"I'm not sure he's a Doban, Maggie". An equally plump and colourfully dressed women said, stepping closer to the boy for a better look."He looks weird". Azelin noted that her face and overall presence was far less kind than Maggies'.

"Of course he's a Doban, look at the ears. He does look very thin though and I'm not sure if I've ever seen one with light blue hair before. Maybe he's sick...?"

"Why do they keep refereeing to me as a Doban?" Azelin thought "I need to find out more about this place, but these two don't look like they're the sharpest blades in the armory". Hoping that they could understand him, he asks "Can you direct me towards a Yu'hon or maybe a Gau'hon?"

"Sorry dear, did you say Gahon? I'm not sure what that is?" Maggie replied, both of the ladies were looking a bit more confused.

"He doesn't even know the common tongue, just leave him" the other lady interjected.

"They don't know. The Hyu'mans do have a different word for it...what was it again". Maggie was just about to respond when the words came back to him and he cut in "I mean, can you direct me to a library or a bookstore?"

It took Maggie a few seconds to process what he said, she was clearly having the same issue when it came to understanding him. "Oh, I'm sorry but it's the Queens Festival so they'll both be closed right now. But I'll take you...whats that tavern were all those Doban go to called again?" The last part was directed at her friend.

"It's the Ceiling Cat. A disgustingly filthy place if you ask me".

"It's not that bad, we used to go all the ti-"

"And you remember how that ended" The less kind women cut in, her face twisting slightly as she remembered something.

"Oh Heather. That was a long time ago, you need to let things go" Heather didn't respond but before Maggie could add anything else onto the topic, Azelin coughed and brought her attention back to him. She reached out for him and his right hand instinctively darted for one of the Kunai's strapped to his leg, but he stopped himself when he couldn't detect any malice or evil intent. Just a kind smile. She placed a hand on his shoulder "I'm Maggie and this is Heather. What's your name little Doban?"

"Azelin" the boy responded.

"Nice to meet you Azelin" She spun him around as she replied and began to lead him down the street with a hand still on his shoulder. "The Ceiling Cat isn't too far from here. We're on our way to the King's Square, so we'll drop you off on the way".

"Ok" Azelin replied. He doubted whether he would gain any useful information from drunks in a tavern but it's worked in the past and was better than nothing.

Formalhaut
05-04-2014, 03:52 AM
Locke IV


Dawn broke in Sedorra, and Locke got up, completing his usual morning routine. But this was not going to be a usual day for Locke. This was the day he would set off, bound to Lucrecia. The city he swore he would never set foot in again.

It was about an hour later that he gave one last visit to Serrine's house. The mood in that house solemn. A sullen looking Alistair eating his morning porridge.

"So, it's that time then?" mused Serrine. "Don't worry about us. We'll be able to cope fine by ourselves. We have more than enough to last us.". She smiled, "I mean, we won't be feasting on luxurious roasted game, but somehow, I'll think we'll survive."

"What about him?" Locke nodded in the direction of Alistair. The boy now seemed content in watching porridge slop to his bowl from his spoon over and over.

"I'll have to find some sort of way to distract him. He really seemed to enjoy that hunting he did with you. Hanar knows some archery," she said. The boy scarcely looked up from his bowl, Locke noted.

Far from allaying his fears, the visit made Locke more nervous than ever.

The sun was still young when Locke set off. Serrine waved him goodbye, though Locke noticed the conspicuous absence of Alistair.


------ Some Time Later ------


The sun was beginning to set. Locke covered some serious ground using the O'Hare Highroad, the main artery connecting Lucrecia to the Farmlands. The journey was insufferably boring, however. Locke passed the time by counting the number of mile markers along the path.

It was now time to set up camp for the evening. Clearly, he thought to himself, it'd be foolish to set camp up on the path. The Highroad was mostly safe, but Locke knew the dangers of travelling.

Locke came prepared for the journey. He deftly constructed a pop-up tent, some way from the Highroad. This way, he would be away from most dangers, although Locke knew that even this was not ideal territory. The verdant Farmlands are mostly flat, giving a clear line of sight to would be thieves and bandits. Locke was relying on the cover of the rapidly approaching darkness to shield him.

The Lucrecian fireflies dazzled the fading sky, and Locke was just in awe of nature's bounty. This is why I left that wretched place, all those years ago, he thought. He gazed off into the landscape, totally in awe. If only I didn't slack off in painting classes, he chuckled to himself.

The sharp sound of a twig broke his daydreaming. Locke strained his ears as his eyes did their part, surveying the dim horizon for any signs of danger. *Crack*. There it was again. He could feel his blood pumping. He carefully loaded his pistols. Never thought I'd be using these things, he cursed to himself. He loathed to use them, a reminder of his royal past. He only kept them because of their practical use. It gave him the edge in a world where such technology is still in relative infancy. Pistols cocked, he waited.

The voice of a child softened the atmosphere. In an instant, he holstered his pistols. He knew who it was. Damn it!

"Why, ugh, why..." Alistair panted out. His cheeks were flush, like Rosebud tomatoes. "Why do you walk so fast!". He was doubled over, hands on knees, drawing for breath. When he finally rose, he had the most innocent smile on his face, like this was the most natural thing in the world, Locke thought to himself.

He was speechless. How did he let a child track him down? The O'Hare Highroad is mostly straight, but Locke was unsure whether to applaud or admonish Alistair for his endurance.

"Ali," Locke finally spoke. "Why have you followed me?". His voice shook. He could scarcely believe Alistair travelled by himself.

"Well, you see, I didn't want you to die. So I thought that I'd protect you. Look, I brought this along!" At that moment, Alistair gleefully unveiled his practise bow, complete with a set of rubber tipped arrows. Those arrows could hardly kill a fly, let alone a wild bear, Locke thought whilst shaking his head. Nonetheless, he appreciated the sentiment.

"That's... great. But Ali, You simply cannot come with me. I imagine Serrine is worried sick about you. I need to take you home." Locke tried to sound as gentle as he could manage. Alistair just looked disapprovingly at him.

"But it's fine. I wrote a note and everything," he responded back, defiantly putting his hands on his hips.

"I don't think a note is going to cut it, frankly. Do you know how dangerous it was, wandering off onto the Highroad for hours? It's dangerous enough for a grown man by himself, let alone a child." Locke's tone grew more serious.

"I managed just fine Locke!"

"That isn't the point, Ali!". Goddamn it Locke, you're arguing with a child. "Just listen, for a moment" Alistair just crossed his arms. Great, now, think of something. Nothing came to him. Alistair watched, eagerly anticipating his next action. Damn! Nothing's springing to mind.

"Um, is Locke still there?"

"Just hold on, I'm thinking". Locke appeared deep in thought. He furrowed his brow. Seconds later, a thought popped into his head. It was a risk, but Locke knew it was the only compromise he could think of.

"I'm taking you to Lucrecia, I've decided. Maybe now is the time you'll learn for yourself what being an adult is like. How rough it can be outside of our small village. It won't be easy. And if I tell you to do something, you will do as you are told, okay?"

The boy could barely contain his happiness. Locke forced a smile. While he appeared cheerful, inside, he was sick to his stomach. He was fearful that something would go wrong. His trip to Lucrecia already made him nervous. Now, he has another pile of worry heaped on to him.

Locke sighed, deeply.

Ace Protorney
05-06-2014, 04:20 AM
- Ziad -
The Akim named Ziad had just recently arrived to the grand city-state of Lucrecia after traveling from his home at the Akimolm Desert from the far west of Sedorra. Despite looking weary in appearance from his long travel, he felt rejuvenated to finally reach his latest destination. He took in a very deep breath of air in a relaxing manner. Doing so attracted the attention of a nearby stranger. "First time in Lucrecia?"

Ziad smiled and responded back. "It's always the first time for me every visit."

"Well then, welcome back friend!" the stranger said jovially as he patted Ziad's back. "Just in time of the Queen's Festival!"

Oh it's the Queen's Festival already? Ziad smiled back. "Yes, of course." he said. "I will be staying for awhile for this festival. Thank you."

"Looking for a place to stay?" The stranger asked as he quickly retrieved a map from his jacket pocket. "There's a nearby inn where you can stay for a cheap price. I really recommend it!"

Ziad held his hand out to stop the stranger. "That would be unnecessary. I already have a place to stay. I thank you for trying to help out."

"Are you visiting a friend?"

"Not necessarily, but I would be lucky if I do end up meeting a friend."

"I like your view in life," the stranger said cheerfully. "It's been a pleasure friend. I'll see you later."

"Likewise."

~*~*~

- Radley -
Back on the Lost Soul currently docked at the beach with the loot and food that were stolen from the villagers, Radley and his crew were preparing to set sail back to the Deeps. The plan was to sail for the opposite end of the bay from their current location. The trip across would take at least a week long, and they have scavenged enough food from the locals to last that long while out on the Deeps.

The crew were all grouped together near a table in the main cabin of the small ship. Radley had laid out a map of Sedorra that one of his crew had stolen from the village. He pointed at the group of islands near at the northeastern corner of the map. "Alright mateys, it looks like our current location is here." He moved his finger westward from the islands all the way across the bay to the other side. "We set sail to the west until we reach land, if my calculations are correct, we will land just east of Lucrecia. This is a no-fail plan I have just thought up of! Any questions?"

One crew mate raised his hand in the air. "Aye! What should we do about the storms?"

"We've survived storms, so they should be of no concern to us!" Radley said confidently. "I say, bring 'em on!"

Another mate asked another question. "What if we run of food, Cap'n?"

"Ain't gunna happen."

"What if we get lost in the Deeps?"

"What are you? A scallywag?" Radley shouted as he slammed down on the table. "We're going out there and we're going to sail to the west. We have everything we need to make this successful."

He held up the map angrily. "We have this map for damn reason, don't we?" He later took out a compass from his pocket and tossed it to the crew mate that had asked about getting lost. "And this compass will make sure we're going to right direction! That's the two main things we will need for this. I better damn hope you all get it in yer thick skulls to not forget this. We set sail first thing in the morning."

Lonely Paper Star
05-06-2014, 06:12 AM
"Where are they?" Camille sighed, she and Stissi practically flying over the fields, in hopes of a yellow or blue blur. The runaways couldn't have been so fast that they already made it into the forest, could they? Blue-feathered Bristles, perhaps, being Stissi's offspring, but Koko?

The field south of the Wylds were flat and quiet. Sometimes herds of plant-eating animals grazed here, the peaceful kinds that didn't stand out or make loud noises. So surely, two chocobos should not be hard to find.

What if I'm completely wrong? she wondered. What if they went east after all, or northeast to Lake Arna? To the lake itself or the mountains by it? I'd be spending Stissi's endurance for nothing.

"What if we went back?" Camille asked the chocobo. "It'd make more sense if—"

But Stissi sped up even faster, ignoring her except for the stubborn grunt that escaped her.

"Hey!" The breeder pulled at the reins, but Stissi, again, didn't listen. She seemed pretty intent on finding the younger birds. Camille wondered if there was some familial instinct involved; an intuition that only animal kin would understand. "Stissi!"

Without warning, Stissi rushed forth in an impatient burst of speed. Camille found herself falling backwards and crashing onto her back. Pain shot through her body, especially her back, but it didn't seem like anything was broken.

Beyond, she heard the shuffle of Stissi continuing without her, not once looking back.

“Stissi,” she groaned, forcing herself to sit up. She found the chocobo ahead, her distance steadily increasing. “Stissi!”

Nothing. Anger she did not recognize started to burn, firing every limb. Not only because of Stissi's disobedience, but from her current situation, the runaway chocobos, the pain in her body. She was tired. Tired. She wanted her old life back without the guilt, or a new one far away. She wanted something, but she wasn't about to get a thing at all with one bitch of a chocobo and a long journey ahead.

“PRESTISSIMA GET THE HELL BACK HERE!” she screeched.

That caught the chocobo's attention. She froze mid-run, in a tense way that indicated her unwillingness to obey.

Then, she bent down. Just like at the stables, just like all the times when they raced together. Whether she did it from routine or not, Camille couldn't tell, but a reluctant compliance was better than none.

Camille hitched a breath, bearing the pain—and cursing herself for not bringing any potions—and made her way to her. She mounted, a bit gingerly this time, and let Stissi start dashing across the field again. Both rider and chocobo were tense, but as quiet as the grazing animals around them.

Better this way, she thought, forcing older, happier, more loving memories away. We need to concentrate on Koko and Bristles.


- } { -

Camille finally burst through the fringes of the forest, re-familiarizing herself with its shade and sounds. Stissi slowed to a trot, veering rather expertly down one path without her rider's prompting.

“You already know,” Camille said, more questioningly than intended. She was stating the obvious, surely, but despite the number of times she has been in the Wylds, it still makes her ramble with nerves.

Stissi warked curtly.

Camille briefly looked up at the trees above her head, at the small peek of sunlight through the thick blanket of leaves. The Betheron Wylds, she thought with a sigh. The notorious Betheron Wylds.

Like every time she has gone in, and despite her expertise... she prayed for nothing troublesome while she was there.

Formalhaut
05-06-2014, 09:07 PM
Locke V


Locke and Alistair arrived to Lucrecia to the sounds of trumpets blaring. They traveled through the remainder of the O'Hare Highroad in the morning, and arrived to Lucrecia just past noon.

The main gate to the walled city of Lucrecia was open, though guards were an obvious fixture to keep order and peace: their pikes glistening in the sun.

"Wow, Locke have you seen some of the performers! They're incredible!" said an excited Alistair. They were walking through the Pilgrim's Passage, a long stretch of street which funneled people from the main gate through to the Royal Square, at the very heart of the city. Throughout, opportunistic performers played their part in creating a festival atmosphere, cheered on by both child and adult alike.

"They, truly are something aren't they?" said a coy sounding Locke as he observed a contortionist in quite the compromising pose. Locke could not share the boy's enthusiasm. He knew that for all the pageantry, there was a far sadder underbelly of this city. The far north of the city is where the slums are located. There are no guards there: what was the point of policing such people? These people could not enjoy the festival. Locke felt ashamed to be walking through. "Hey, Ali, over here!". Locke beckoned Alistair over to a side street, away from the main channel. The boy complied, gloomily, tearing himself away from a fire dancer.

"We can watch the shows later, okay? For now, we need to locate ourselves an inn". There was one inn he remembered from his past, The Carbuncle's Cave, which was purported to be rather good. They headed west, through the western wards and into the Sleeper's Corner, the unofficial name for the southwest of the city. It is known for the high concentration of inns, and is usually the first stop for the tired traveler. Even here, the sounds of the Queen's Festival were carried across the wind. Will I be able to sleep to this, thought Locke.
The inn was indeed still open, and Locke and Alistair entered into the reception.

"Ah, welcome, welcome! I trust you'll be needing two rooms?" spoke the overly positive owner, gleefully rubbing his together while grinning ear to ear. This guy needs to work on smiling less, thought Locke.

"Um, yes, two rooms, please. The sign outside said that children under ten could lodge for free, is that offer still on?" said Locke, motioning to the outdoor sign. Alistair's face could scarcely believe what Locke just said.

"Hey, wai-" was all Alistair could mumble before Locke put his hand over his mouth.

"Sorry about him, he's feeling quite poorly. You see, we were travelling a long distance. The boy gets quite impatient!". Locke chuckled to himself, trying to keep the charade going.

The owner looked on, slightly confused by the shenanigans going on in front of him. Scratching his head, he said "Well, yes, it is indeed. I take it you're asking because of this boy?".

"I am, yes" said Locke, over the muffled surprise coming from Alistair.

"Right..." The owner thought about it for a few seconds. "Well, so that will be two rooms, with one of the rooms free. The rate is 200 gil per night, is that alright with you?"

"Yes, yes, that is great. Fantastic, even! Thanks" said Locke, hastily.

"Good. Payment will be done after your last night. Here are your keys, you are number 03 and 04, just head upstairs. Thank you for your custom." The owner was still grinning as Locke and Alistair went up the stairs.

"And just WHAT was that all about Locke!" said an impressively upset Alistair. He was finally allowed to speak after entering room 03.

Locke shrugged. "Saving me some money, that's what. I'm impressed I managed to keep that going for so long".

"But, I'm not ten, I'm twelve!". Alistair was indignant.

"I know that! But if I said you were twelve, I'd be paying 400 gil per night. I'd be paying double. It's only a small lie. Stop worrying!" Locke reassured Alistair by patting him on the shoulder. "Why don't you go to your room and get acquainted with it? I need to go and freshen up, and so should you."

Alistair left the room, still shocked at Locke's dishonest behavior.

*Devore*
05-07-2014, 03:15 AM
Azelin III


The trio walked down the busy street, the plump ladies casually chatting irritated Azelin. Maggies' hand was still on his shoulder, gently guiding him. This also irritated him but he ignored it although he would have preferred if she just gave him directions.


Azelin took in as much as he could, the Hyu'mans of his world were found everywhere, they embedded themselves into all other cultures but were never found in such numbers and did not have a city of their own like they seem to here. They lost their right to rule themselves after their rebellion at O'tomi and their eventual lose of the Fy'Lom war. They were always starting wars, always hungry for power. They knew they were physically and magically weaker than the other races and in a way, that made them far more cunning and far more dangerous than all of them. Maybe these Hyu'mans aren't as aggressive as their Vil'Deamon counterparts the boy thought.


He spotted a couple of short, pointed eared men who were loudly chatting and laughing. Doban, he presumed because at a glace or to the ignorant, they and the boy looked like they could be of the same race. But on closer inspection, all be it from afar and while walking past, the differences became more clear. The Doban were only a few inches taller than Azelin and their facial hair suggested they were both well out of their youths. And yet, they were a lot larger, sturdier and stronger looking than the boy or even the many Hyu'mans around them.


Only one of them was grey while all Yuzol were of varying shades of grey. Yuzol hair colour comes in shades of blue, reds, purples and green, never brown or orange but occassionally white. Azelin also felt that they were uglier than his own race, the features on their faces seemed more angular and sharp but it may have just been these two.


"Oh, there it is, The Ceiling Cat" Maggie said fondly "Just looking at it brings back memories". Azelin cleared his throat, she looked down at him "Sorry dear, you probably can't see past all these people" the plump lady bent down slightly and leaned towards him "If you walk straight ahead then you'll be walking through the doors in about twenty seconds" She pointed in the direction straight behind him, he glanced over his should but couldn't see it through the swarming crowds all around him.

"Big building, you can't miss it" Heather added, not even looking in the boys direction.


"While we'll be having a merry old time in the King's Square" she pointed in the direction that the majority of the crowd was moving in.


"Thanks for the help" Azelin said dryly, his own politeness irritated him as they haven't been particularly useful. The boy wasn't even sure what he would do once he got there, but his manner were beaten into him during his many years of training. His teachers insisted that being polite kept your allies friendly and your enemies fooled but the young assassin had never been on a mission were he had to put this to the test.


"It was no trouble. Would you like us to walk you to the door?" Maggie asked. Azelin could see Heather glaring at him from the corner of his eyes, she clearly thought that he had wasted enough of their time and did not want to be held up any longer. The boy has removed peoples eyes in the past for glaring at him like that but now is not the time for violence.


"No, that's ok. I'll be fine from here" He replied, turning in the direction of the Ceiling Cat Inn "Have a good night". Maggie gave him farewell in reply as he blended into the crowd.

Jiro
05-08-2014, 03:48 PM
Kris let her legs drift about in the water as her father checked the crab pot. Today had been a slow day. Their nets had barely caught anything, and quite a few of the pots had been empty. The weather had been welcoming though, and from here Naithe seemed to sparkle with all the reflecting light. Scenery was just about the only worthwhile thing on days like this, but good views didn't put food on the table.

"Maybe you should've taken the day off," Kris said.

"Aye, maybe I should have," her father responded. "I dare say you've got the run of things by now. Maybe I could help your mother with the sewing."

A hint of laughter disappeared as Kris heard the pot splash back into the water. Her father grunted. Another empty pot. Not the greatest haul. These spots were usually the best; Kris and her father had spent many years testing the waters around Naithe, and every fisherman in the village was careful not to overfish their greatest asset. Perhaps something was scaring them off.

"I'm sure your Ursus paws would easily master the intricacies," Kris teased. She swung her legs back into the boat and picked up an oar. "Call it a day?"

Her father sat beside her and picked up the other oar. "I'm heading back, whether you're ready or not."

As they rowed back towards the village, Kris looked out at the sunset. The sky faded from crimson to purple. It looked more like a painting, but it wasn't an unfamiliar sight. Naithe often saw beautiful sunsets and sunrises, the vibrant colours reflecting on the sea water. Legend was that the more striking the sunset, the more promising tomorrow would be. Kris hoped tomorrow would be more successful. Perhaps I should tell Father to stay home,​ she thought, stealing a glance at him. He looked... tired. The disappointment of today was getting to him, she could see it. Maybe a day off, a day to relax, would do him some good.

"What do you think we're eating?" her father asked.

She grinned. "Probably not fish."

http://blog.travelandleisureasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/13.-The-famous-purple-sunset-over-Dalutan-Island-533x400.jpg

Miss Mae
05-08-2014, 04:05 PM
Jacques sat on the veranda in front of his house, swinging his legs off the side. The cool breeze nipped at the space between his boots and the bottom of his slacks. He loved this time of day. The sky was painted with unnatural candy colours. Hmm... candy... he thought. He was starving.

He had to wait for his dad for dinner, and he wasn't back from the water yet. Every day his dad has off work, he goes down to the coast and throws his line in the water. Jacques was thankful - his dad taking the day off meant that he didn't have to work either. He'd spent most of the afternoon whittling on the veranda, but now it was too dark to see.

Jacques watched two dark shapes, silhouetted by the sunset, walking back up towards the houses. 'Kris!' he called out, beaming, as soon as he recognised one of them. He put the offcut of wood he'd been carving and his small knife to one side, and jumped to his feet.

Jinx
05-08-2014, 11:01 PM
Tala stood and watched the strange pacing uncomfortably. Whatever was going on in his head, he finally resolved and began to approach her. He stopped in front of her and began babbling.

Hello,' he said. 'My name is Cohen. I'm sorry for staring - I've just never seen a white bear before. Or a bear in a city. Or that can talk.'
Tala watched this strange creature with apprehension.

"What's your name?," he asked.

"My name is Tala Aurora," she replied.

The man's face showed a flash of different emotions: fear, shock, before settling on excitement. Whatever misgivings he had about speaking to an Ursus, Tala could say that the new experience was much more important to him.

"And your name, Human?"

Miss Mae
05-09-2014, 02:37 AM
'My name is Cohen,' he said, smiling at the large bear. She could obviously understand him, and that was terribly exciting. 'It's great to meet you, Tala.' Cohen contemplated extending a hand to shake Tala's paw, but he wasn't sure how that would work so he decided against it.

Cohen wanted to ask so many questions, but he wasn't sure how to phrase them. Eventually he settled on, 'This might sound strange, but I don't know where I am. Could you tell me the name of this city?'

Tala frowned. 'We're in Lucrecia,' she said. When no recognition dawned on Cohen's face, she continued, 'In Sedorra.'

'Sedorra?'

'The name of our world, human!' Tala was growing impatient. She was a clever Ursus, and so if she was going to speak to a human she liked it if they were clever too; this man was obviously a little slow. 'How did you get here if you don't know where you are? And what are you wearing?' she snapped.

'When I woke up I was sitting on a bench here, but I was sure I fell asleep in my study at the university...' Cohen trailed off. 'I'm wearing the robes of the Order, the robes of a High Priest! Why does nobody here recognise them?'

'University? High Priest?' Tala asked. 'I didn't know the humans had universities or High Priests.'

'They do where I come from,' Cohen replied.

Tala's mood was beginning to shift from impatient to curious. 'You don't know what Sedorra is,' she pondered, 'so you must be from a different world.' The words sounded absurd, but as Tala regarded Cohen's strange outfit and thought on his obvious confusion about Lucrecia, Sedorra and the presence of Ursus in the city, she knew that it was true.

'I'm beginning to think you might be right,' Cohen replied.

There was a strange silence as the pair thought about the peculiar situation they had encountered, both curious to solve the mystery but neither knowing where to start. The silence broke when Cohen noticed a pair of strangers hovering nearby, one confident and smiling, the other shyly gazing at the ground.

'Are they looking at us?' Cohen asked Tala.

Tasura
05-09-2014, 04:34 AM
Derk slowly walked towards The Cornerstone Inn, steam still rising from his apron after a long day at his forge. As he walked he tossed a bright blue material from one hand to the other while humming to himself.

As he entered the Inn he removed his Night Eyes and breathed in deeply the lovely smells of ale and roasting meat. "Ahhh, nothing better after a hard days work then a good nights drink."

Derk sauntered up to the bar and dropped the blue material on the bar with a loud clunk. "Here's some cobalt for ya Ger, I'll have the usual, with a little extra pepper."

Jiro
05-09-2014, 05:11 AM
Gerhard sat on his stool, feet up on the bar. He'd already chased two of those filthy human scavengers off today, so he was in high spirits. The door opened and in walked one of his favourite customers: Derk Kizban. He was a raging alcoholic, which was good for Gerhard's coin purse, but he was a talented smith as well. They'd scrapped once or twice in the past -- ancient history now -- before Derk realised that the customer wasn't always right; Cornerstone belonged to Gerhard, and he wasn't afraid to enforce that.

Derk stopped and took a deep breath. "Ahhh, nothing better after a hard days work then a good nights drink."

As Derk approached, Gerhard swung his legs down and stood. Before Derk had even finished speaking, Gerhard was setting about getting his order.

"Here's some cobalt for ya Ger, I'll have the usual, with a little extra pepper," Derk said.

"Cobalt, eh? Nice find," Gerhard said as he handed Derk a large mug. He tossed the stone under his counter and went about fixing some meat for his customer. "Don't suppose you want change out of this?"

Derk grinned. "Put it on my tab."

Whether he took it now or later, Gerhard knew he'd pour enough ales this evening to cover that cobalt, maybe more. Tabs weren't common practice in the Cornerstone. Gerhard didn't like the idea. He liked to feel his money. He spent enough time roughing up the customers that did pay; he didn't want to chase down the ones that hadn't.

"So, how's that mine of yours going?" Gerhard asked. Success for Derk meant ale. Failure meant ale too, but with less upfront payment. Gerhard poured himself an ale and took a seat.

http://www.yurdigital.com/system/files/imagecache/product_full/product/3248/detailed/Tavern1.jpg

Ace Protorney
05-09-2014, 05:28 AM
- Ziad -
Ziad had been in Lucrecia for not very long, and yet he still found himself very out of place for an Akim. He was best use to the outdoorswhere there were not many roads to travel down, nor were there people to get in your way. He was not used to dealing with people himself, but he could adapt if he needed to. As he walked, he came across an Inn named the Carbuncle's Cave.

What a strange name. Ziad thought as he headed towards the Inn while adjusting his headscarf. Let me check it out.

Jiro
05-09-2014, 05:40 AM
Kris and her father had left the docks and were heading home when she heard a shout.

"Kris!" came the voice of Jacques.

"I'll meet you at home," her father said. Jacques was one to talk a person's ear off. He knew this could take a while and he didn't care to wait around in the dark. "Try not to be home late."

Kris jogged over to speak with Jacques.

"Good day?" he asked, beaming. Even in the dark, his brilliant white teeth seemed to shine. Too bad he had such a dorky grin.

Kris shrugged. "Not really. Fish weren't biting. Bit of a strange day."

"That's a shame," Jacques said. "I'm sure tomorrow will be better. Hey, did you happen to see my dad down by the docks? He's usually back by now."

Kris thought for a moment before shaking her head. "Maybe he went looking for a bite further along the coast. I don't think anybody had much luck today."

Jacques clutched his stomach and crouched. "But I'm so hungry!"

Kris laughed and patted him on the back. "Hang in there, kiddo. I'm sure he'll be back soon enough."

Jacques pouted which made her smile even wider.

"How about this," Kris said. "If he's not back in an hour and you're moments from death, you can come round and eat whatever we're having."

"And then we can go looking for him?"

"Your dad isn't missing, Jacques," Kris said. "Don't be so melodramatic!"

"Well I hope he comes back soon," he said. "I really am starving."

Kris adjusted her satchel. "Just remember: dirt is always an option. See you tomorrow, Jacques."

"Good night!" he said, watching her walk along the path to her house.

http://www.gjsentinel.com/blogs/images/Hut_20at_20Night.jpg

Miss Mae
05-09-2014, 06:03 AM
Jacques shook his head as he watched Kris leave. Dirt? he thought. This is no joking matter - I'm starving to death here! Jacques was sure that if he didn't get some food soon, his stomach would start eating itself.

The bright colours of the sunset were beginning to fade and night was falling. It used to be quite common for Jacques' dad to stay out after dark, back when Jacques' mum died, but that was years ago now; it's rare for his dad to stay out this late nowadays.

No need to worry, he tried to convince himself as he gathered his piece of wood and his knife from the veranda. He can look after himself.

Jacques headed inside the house. He looked through the cupboards, trying to find something he could eat. There was half a loaf of stale bread, some salted meat and a few apples from the nearby orchard. He grabbed one of the apples and bit into it. It was soft and a little floury, but he was so hungry that it tasted like heaven.

He took a seat at the dining table, putting his feet up on the surface that had been so carefully crafted by his dad. He was tempted to start whittling at the edges - he was sure he could make a lovely plaited pattern stretch around the tabletop's perimeter - but he decided against it; he was sure his dad wouldn't like it.

Where is he? he thought, looking out at the dim light and slowly working his way around the apple. When he was done, he stood again and opened the door, ready to toss the core out into the night. He nearly threw it directly at his dad's face.

He stepped aside for his dad to enter the house before chucking the core into the garden and closing the door behind them. 'Where'd you get to, Dad?' Jacques asked.

'Just up the coast; nowhere special,' his dad replied.

'But it's really late - did you bring back a big catch?'

Jacques' dad showed Jacques a pair of dirty, empty hands. 'Does it look like I brought back a big catch?' he spat. He passed Jacques, opened a cupboard in the kitchen and found a bottle of old whiskey. He poured himself a glass, downed it, and poured himself another.

Jacques eyed his whittling, which he had left on the table. He knew his father would not approve of how he spent his day, so as subtly as possible he shuffled to the table and hid the items behind his back.

'I'm sorry you didn't have a good day, Dad,' Jacques said. 'I'm exhausted. I think I might head to bed.'

Without waiting for a reply, Jacques quickly retreated to his bedroom and shut the door. It was still early, but he didn't want to get on his dad's bad side, particularly if he was going to start drinking, and just being in the same room as his dad meant that he was on his bad side. They never did get along.

Jacques put his whittling in a box that he kept beneath his bed before lying on the bedspread. He stared at the ceiling, thinking about the stories his mother used to tell him. Knights riding Chocobos across the countryside, solidiers fighting wars in the mountains, and pirates exploring the seas. As the night drew on, the sound of his father pacing back and forth across the floorboards gave the house a steady heartbeat that lulled him into sleep.

Tasura
05-09-2014, 05:18 PM
"So, how's that mine of yours going?" Gerhard asked as he poured himself an ale and sat down.

"Bah, you know how those driggers are" Derk said as he took a large swig of his ale "some days they find you handfuls of precious gems, some days they barely find enough coal to keep the forge burning." Derk finished his ale in one swallow and belched loudly. "But today was a good day, ol' Fisk found me a big vein of Cobalt, should keep in the drink for a few days. In business too I suppose."

Derk started to eat his meat with gusto as Gerhard poured him another ale. "Get this, some lady came in today and asked me to make her some silver earrings for the festival, and I says 'Look here lady, this is a smithy not a jeweler. I can make you a pickax or a sword, but not stinkin' earrings.' you shoulda seen the look on her face Ger, bright as a Ruby she was and left in a huff." Derk laughed loudly as he took a large drink from his newly poured ale.

"So, how's business been treating you eh? What with the festival and all."

Loony BoB
05-09-2014, 10:58 PM
Sadly, it was mere seconds after Jahred noticed the Aelum that another person had greeted with her. Drat. He ushered Kathvi in the general direction while a couple of dancers marvelled at her incredible 'costume'. Nodding to them impatiently as Kathvi smiled and returned pleasantries regarding their own attire, he noticed one of them peering at her a little too closely. He glanced towards the Aelum and her friend who happened to look his way. Beaming with delight, he all but pushed Kathvi away from the inquisitive dancer.

Come, Kathvi! he thought. I fear we may not have a better opportunity! Trotting up to the great white Ursus, he bowed deeply. "My sincere apologies for intruding on your discsussions. I am Jahred, a trader, and I have stumbled across a new friend who is, well, very new to this area indeed. This is Kathvi." He looked to the once again very shy looking girl to his right. "She, uh, seems to have lost her memory, you see... I would not intrude if there were another Aelum around. I was hoping that you might be able to advise on whether you have stumbled across, uh..."

Jahred glanced at the man to the right of the Ursus. He seemed to be entertained by each of the three people, constantly glancing at them as if he intended to study even the finest details of each face. Jahred stalled on his words uncomfortably. He almost felt as if the man were wanting to simply reach out and touch him. It was an awkward feeling. Yet, more curious than anything, the man looked at Kathvi no more or less strangely than he looked at the Aelum or Jahred himself, an Akim.

"...sorry, that is, I was wondering if you have ever seen anyone of Kathvi's... appearance before. She recalls living in the mountains, so I felt you were the only one I could ask. She seems to have some kind of amnesia." continued where he left off, refocusing on the Aelum with sincerity. He always held the Ursus in high esteem - they had helped guide him during his early days traveling across the continent. He respectfully bowed his head once more, and awaited a reply.

Madonna
05-11-2014, 04:26 AM
Blackie Ganister's fine-tuned ears were expecting the crunch of mast to give away the presence of others. He had not expected the shouting, the warking, and the violent thrashing of the underbrush, but he heard all of it, and he was less than thrilled. This, this is unacceptable. I don't need to put up with this crap.

With a long heaving sigh, he let everything rest on his lap, and he sidled a hand beneath the mess for comfort. Yes, his hand lightly stroked a length of hardwood.

A man crashed through the final screen of low hanging branches and waist-high bushes. He was young, he was big, and if Blackie's expectations were to be met, he was dumb. Leathered and belted, the man's waist sported a longsword.The man hollered upon spying the hat-topped doban. Loudly.

"Hey, you're Blackie, right," the human shouted. "Blackie the trader? You take things and sell them in Lucrecia?" His voice carried through the hum of the forest, and the doban cringed at every loud note. This man was clearly a shoopuf if he ever saw one.

"Yeah, that's him, he's got the red hat and everything," confirmed a second human, as it spilled its way out of the trees. This one was a little smaller, darker, and reminded Blackie of a weasel, and so that is what he became. This small man wore commoner's garb, but the way his shirt fell, one could see the bulky outlines of knives studding his torso. Weasel was tugging on a pair of reins, willing something obstinate to bend to his will, and clearly this was a long battle he was fighting, and poorly at that. "C'mon, you dumb birds, listen when I say!"

To the doban's seconds-lasting horror, Weasel successfully tugged two chocobos into the clearing. A young blue and an older yellow, both looked exhausted and abused. No trust or cooperation gleamed in their eyes, only fear. Saddles sat on the two chocobos backs, and Blackie worried whether Shoopuf had ridden upon the blue.

Perhaps realizing he was close enough for normal-volume conversation, Shoopuf's talk took a lower register. "Blackie, thanks for meeting us. Me and my bro, we've been looking to sell our chocobos, and people say you buy and sell near anything. You don't ask questions, they say," said Shoopuf, and let out an oof as his companion elbowed him.

"These birds are our pride and joy," said Weasel, "And it's breaking out hearts to have to sell them. Times've been tough though, so we got to let Bluey and Yelly go." He tried to pat the yellow's beak; it shied its head and avoided contact. "Ha ha, he's just so shy and scared to be out in the Wylds. I don't disagree; finding here was hard enough, and getting out would be hard if we hadn't left the greens blossoms. Why'dja set up the meeting in the woods? I heard from--wha, why the frown?"

Blackie had been growing a frown on his face since the moment Shoopuf came into view, and it had grown with each spoken syllable. He grabbed the axe from his lap and stood up, letting the other items fall from his lap. The doban used it as emphasis with his speech. "What. is. this. bulltrout?" The axe waved. "Chocobos? What in the Deeps am I to do with smurfing chocobos out here?! You wanted to sell me something good, as I hears it from me mate, and he hooks you up, and you bring me smurfing chocobos? You could have brought uncut gems, fancy lords' fencing swords, heiress jewelry, packs and sacks of grain, tobacco, salt, or casks of Arna's finest!" The axe chopped into the log. Wiggle, wiggle, came free. "All of that loads on me birds, no problem, and I can be on me way! But animals? Not just animals, but chocobos! And you got a blue one, and an underage at that! You know birds and colors means papers, right?" The log split with the next hit, and the axeblade dug into the earth. "And I know you don't have papers, boyos, because you ain't that high-class, eh, you sewer-sucking idiots!? You didn't do your prep, and you're shafting me with a hot bird, and you think that's a deal! You're daft, and. you. left. the. Mimett. greens." Now the axe waggled directly at the Weasel, who seemed to understand Blackie's words. "You should've brought your own birds for riding and ate the greens on your way here! You should've either gotten papers or passed word I needed them! You should have been quiet on your way here, instead of alerting the whole smurfing Wylds! You boyos deserve a good axing for a lot of things, and at the top of the list is thinking I'm a criminal. No, I am a businessman, and you're making business bad."

By the first strike at the log, Shoopuf and Weasel already had hands on weapons, and at the end of Blackie's rant, they had drawn their blades. Blackie laughed, and slung his axe into his belt. "Now, you might deserve an axing, but I'm a businessman, not a murderer! So I'll cut you a business deal, despite your shady, sub-par goods. Now, these chocobos look run ragged, one is a youth, and both are very, very illegal, so I am thinking of something in the order of...a hundred-thirty Arnan coin."

"What," sputtered Shoopuf, "A hundred-thirty Arnan? We could fetch that much for the yellow!"

Weasel shook his head, "That's a low ball if I ever heard one. One-thirty, each."

"One-thirty each?" queried Blackie. "How about one-twenty?"

"Whaaat, that's lower!" was Weasel's response.

"One-ten," Blackie offered.

Shoopuf shook his sword and said, "No, one-thirty. We could kill you."

"One. Final offer."

"It's two versus one," argued Shoopuf.

Blackie Ganister nodded in acceptance. "Deal; two versus one."

Formalhaut
05-11-2014, 11:52 PM
Locke VI


It was about an hour later. Locke and Alistair had finished acquainting themselves with the inn facilities. The Carbuncle Inn's upstairs consisted primarily of rooms and restrooms. Meanwhile, the downstairs consisted of the reception, and a large cosy lounge, complete with a darts board and other amenities such as a drinks bar for patrons. Locke made sure that it was worth the money.

The two were just walking down the stairs, when they came across the innkeeper haggling with a man.

"So, then... what was your name again? Ziard?" said the innkeeper, stumbling over his words.

"That's not quite right, friend. It's Zi-ad." The man who spoke seemed pleasant, and appeared somewhat used to this question, as if he was repeating a stock answer. He must get that a lot, Locke thought to himself.

The innkeeper trembled. "Oh I am so, so, so sorry! I didn't mean to offend you at all, sir! I hope you can forgive my apology! Here is your key, rooms are up the stairs" The man named Ziad simply waved him away, smiling all the while.

"Ah, it is alright. Humans always seem to mispronounce my name, it is of no consequence." It was at this point that Ziad noticed Locke and Alistair as they moved down the stairs. Ziad nodded an acknowledgement, and Locke nodded back.

Locke spent this brief time to get a proper look at this man. Well, he's clearly an Akim, thought Locke, the trademark leathered skin would tell you that. Locke also noticed the relative dishevelment of the Akim. His head-scarf appeared dusty and worn, as if it had seen many a journey. His eyes were friendly, yet nonetheless displayed the telltale signs of a traveler. Locke knew what to look for.

"You're an explorer aren't you?" Locke inquired.

"Why yes, I am, thank you asking. How could you tell?" Ziad inquired back, intrigued by this stranger.

"Oh, I have my ways. Locke Cromwell, it's a pleasure to meet you Ziad." Locke made sure to pronounce his name properly, an effort that visibly impressed the Akim.

"It is a pleasure to meet you as well, honestly you are one of the few humans here to be able to correctly pronounce my name. And who is this child?" Ziad gestured over to Alistair, who has so far been content with looking at this strange man with obvious amazement. They moved into the inn's lounge, a better location to converse. Locke poured Ziad and himself a drink.

"This is Alistair, he's the son of one of my close friends. I'm, well..., I'm taking him to see the Queen's Festival. He's always wanted to see it."

"Yes, someone told me about the Queen's Festival when I arrived here earlier today. It is a truly fascinating event." Ziad could not help but notice Alistair's gaze. Speaking more quietly, "I cannot help but notice your friend's son is... glaring at me. Did I offend him?"

Locke responded immediately. "Alistair, stop gazing at the poor man." The boy did as he was told, and began leafing through the embarrassingly book collection the innkeeper displayed on a bookshelf. Locke turned his attention back to Ziad. "Don't mind him. Where he lives, he has hardly ever seen an Akim before. He's just curious."

Ziad seemed content with the response. They continued talking for several minutes, moving through the small talk people inevitably engage with when they meet someone for the first time. However, it flowed smoothly, both Locke and Ziad happy with the flow of the conversation. This Ziad fellow has some amazing adventuring stories, Locke thought.

Ziad pointed at the darts board. "What say you and me throw a few darts?"

"I like your style, Ziad," Locke said casually.

Game on.​

Ace Protorney
05-12-2014, 04:51 PM
-Ziad-
Ziad and Locke continued to play a round of darts in the lounge of the inn. Playing had reminded the Akim of his childhood while living at the Akimolm Desert. He threw a dart at the board, but missed his intended target by a large margin. "Playing this game has reminded me of my childhood..." He said calmly, as he stepped back to let Locke take his turn.

"How so, Ziad?" Locke asked as he took his turn to throw.

"When I was a young Akim I used to play with my friends, and there was a game we played that's very similar to this one," the Akim recalled, "On the calm, windless days of the desert, we would draw targets in the sand and then we would toss rocks at them. Anyone who hits the target will earn points. Anyone who hits the exact center usually wins the game."

"That fascinating," Locke said, "Is there a name for this game?"

The Akim shook his head. "I'm afraid there is no actual name for this game. My friends and I just called it the sand target game. It's a simple name for a simple game."

The two continued to play while Alistair watched on while he read a book.

Jinx
05-16-2014, 01:52 PM
'Are they looking at us?' Cohen asked Tala.

Tala looked from this new, strange human to a couple: an Akim with his arm protectively wrapped around a...well, Tala wasn't sure what she was. A snow fox? Tala hunted them in the mountains, but this one was standing on hind legs and looking around...almost like it was part human. She'd never seen or heard of anything like this creature.

This is turning into a very strange day, indeed. I don't think even the Stars could've predicted this.

The Akim seemed to take Tala's look as permission to approach her. Her led the fox-creature towards her and bowed in respect.

"My sincere apologies for intruding on your discussions. I am Jahred, a trader, and I have stumbled across a new friend who is, well, very new to this area indeed. This is Kathvi. She, uh, seems to have lost her memory, you see... I would not intrude if there were another Aelum around. I was hoping that you might be able to advise on whether you have stumbled across, uh..."

The Akim glanced at the Human, Cohen, and seemed to be a bit puzzled, as Cohen was seemed to be enjoying himself despite being frazzled.

"...sorry, that is, I was wondering if you have ever seen anyone of Kathvi's... appearance before. She recalls living in the mountains, so I felt you were the only one I could ask. She seems to have some kind of amnesia." He looked at Tala questioningly before bowing his head.

This Akim thinks I have answers for him...I don't even have answers for myself!

Tala remained silent for a moment before replying, "The only time I've seen anything like her is when I'm having my dinner."

*****

The blue creature Sigrid saw began to come out of the water. It was a fish-like man, unlike anything she'd ever seen. He saw her looking at him and rushed over to her and began spitting out questions.


"What sort of creature are you? Why are you on land? Why are you so pale? What's this?" He reached out and gently grasped some hair. "Why is it not green? Why aren't you underwater? Wait, where are your gills? Why are your eyes not black?" He grabbed her hand and looked closely between the fingers. "Where is your webbing? Have you been cast out? No, that's wrong, there was never any webbing to start, how could you swim with no webbing? How many of you are there?"


He then backed away from her, with wide eyes. Sigrid could see this creature was becoming nervous, but she herself only felt excited and curious. Her own questions bubbled up inside of her and opened her and responded rapidly.


"What sort of creature are YOU? I'm a human, of course! I'm on land because that's where all humans live! Why did you come out of the ocean? And why are you blue? I've only ever seen other humans! I've heard of Akim, but you don't LOOK like an Akim! What is that knife for? Oh, and I don't know how many of us there are...probably thousands! Millions! Who knows?"

Sigrid took a deep breath when she was finished, looking up at the blue man. She smiled in expectation.

Jiro
05-16-2014, 03:55 PM
Derk complained about his unreliable driggers. It was ironic, in a way: Derk himself could be unreliable at times. But when push came to shove, Gerhard knew Derk would figure something out. His driggers... not so much.

"But today was a good day, ol' Fisk found me a big vein of Cobalt, should keep in the drink for a few days. In business too I suppose," Derk said, before tearing into his food. Gerhard refilled his mug and mentally added it to the tab.

"Get this," Derk started. "Some lady came in today and asked me to make her some silver earrings for the festival, and I says 'Look here lady, this is a smithy not a jeweler. I can make you a pickax or a sword, but not stinkin' earrings.'" Derk laughed a deep, bellowing laugh. "You shoulda seen the look on her face Ger, bright as a Ruby she was and left in a huff."

Gerhard grinned. A man after his own heart. Other innkeeps, shopmasters, and stall owners swear by a rule: the customer is always right. Gerhard firmly believed the opposite, and Derk did too. They offered a particular service; if you didn't like it, piss off. Indeed, Gerhard's belief ensured he had cultivated regular patrons that would give generously and cause few problems. Loyalty was an important quality and it served him well here in Old Arms.

"So, how's business been treating you eh? What with the festival and all," Derk asked.

"Bah, don't remind me," Gerhard said. "I get enough bothersome customers as it is. Those Ursus are alright; they eat their fill and don't cause too much of a scene. But these blasted humans... They think they own the show. Just 'cause they're everywhere; rabbits is what they is, rodents and pests. I only got time for about a half dozen of them, a few regulars who were lucky enough not to get their heads punched in."

He stretched his arms upwards, his sizeable biceps flexing. There was a crack-crack-crack as his back adjusted.

"I don't trust those Akim either. Fishy folks. But I let a few of 'em in the past week or so. They pay the bill. All sorts of strange folk in town for the festival though. Wonder what Queen What'sherface wants with all these weirdos. Give me a sturdy Lucrecian Doban any day of the week. Or any Doban!"

At that moment, a group of three humans walked in, smirks across their faces. Gerhard didn't like the look of them, and it wasn't just their race.

"You need something, pirralhos?" he asked.

The middle man stepped forward; he was clearly the dominant of the three. "Heard this place makes a mean stew. We want food and ale and beds."

"And I want better driggers," Derk snorted.

"Maybe you should hire better driggers then," the man retorted. "So. Is our coin welcome here?"

Gerhard got up off his stool. "I got beds," he said. "I got ale. And I make the best maldido stew in the whole of Lucrecia. But I got nothing for you."

The men looked stunned. "What? But the rest of the city is booked up. There are no beds anywhere!"

"And I got no beds for you either, pirralho. Get out of my inn."

The three men stood there, swapping confused looks that slowly transitioned into anger. Clearly, they did not expect to be refused service.

But Gerhard was not going to waste any more time with them. He certainly didn't quite feel like going a few rounds with them. They were going to leave. Now.

He grabbed his stool with one arm and hurled it across the room. His handful of other patrons ducked, almost instinctively, as the stool flew over their heads and smashed on the wall beside the door. The humans, startled and alarmed at Gerhard's aggression and reckless regard for his own property, gave one last look of anger and despair before fleeing. Maybe one day they would come back with more friends. Gerhard figured they would clear out after the festival.

"You missed," Derk said, his attention still firmly fixed on his food. "Losing your touch, maybe?"

"Didn't feel like mopping up the blood," Gerhard offered.

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Jiro
05-16-2014, 04:56 PM
Kris rose with the sun. She bathed, ate breakfast with her father, and then left on her own. Today, she was in charge. It was the first time she had ever gone fishing without her father, but she thought it was time. Besides, yesterday had been a slow day and today would likely be the same. If she was lucky, it would be tough; the fish would be biting and the crabs caught in their pots. Otherwise, it was simply an opportunity to prove she could handle it. Female fishermen were extremely rare, even in Naithe; it was time she proved that she was worth just as much as any of the men.

She cast off from the docks, rowing against the gentle tide. She waved and smiled at the other fishermen starting their days, many of whom regarded her with confusion. Where was Duran Douglas? What was his daughter doing alone, rowing his boat out to sea? She would show them.


***

It was, as expected, a slow day. Her loose lines had caught a stray here and there, but the fish were avoiding the nets. The pots yielded a better haul, which balanced the day. Kris could feel her arms burning, from both the sun and the from rowing. She had only ever rowed half of their fishing boat; her father had always been her partner and had taken his half of the work. She could understand why he had wanted her out on the boats with him.

As she finished checking the last of the pots, Kris decided to take a detour. There was an inlet to the west, where the river met the coast, that she had once explored with her father on one of their first trips. Something -- an unknown force -- compelled her to check. Perhaps Kris felt the place had a certain significance; returning there on the day she succeeded on her first solo fishing trip would be a worthy marker of a journey come full circle.

So she rowed her boat, with one careful eye on her storage chests, along the coast line. The same brilliant sunset was starting to appear, spurring her onwards. Although the haul was average at best, Kris's day had lived up to the sunset's promise.

And then, out of the corner of her eye, she spied something unexpected. A small boat, smaller than hers by at least half, was run aground by the river mouth. A single oar lay beside it, split into halves.

"By the gods of the sun and the sea..."

As fast as her tired arms would let her, Kris rowed over to the wreck. She dropped anchor on the beach and leapt out onto the shore, ready to investigate. There were no signs of footprints anywhere nearby, but they could have been washed away with the tide. Kris approached the boat cautiously. As she neared, she realised that there was somebody lying inside, seemingly unconscious.

"Hello?" she said. "Are you okay?"

Nothing.

The person inside -- it looked like a man, but she wasn't terribly sure -- was wearing a long, dark coat and breeches in a style she had never seen before. Their light, almost white hair was wet, and matted to their face. Kris couldn't see any signs of breathing, so she braced herself to climb into the boat. There was every chance this mysterious stranger was already dead, but if she could save them...

She had one leg in the boat when the figure sat bolt upright, scaring her half to death. Kris, involuntarily, screamed and fell backwards onto the damp sand.

Before she could get up, a hand was reaching down to help her.

"Bless," the voice said. "I did not mean to startle you. Are you injured?"

Kris accepted the help and brushed the sand off her pants. "I'm okay," she said. "I just... I was worried you were dead. I didn't expect you to jump so suddenly."

The stranger smiled. It was a warm, comforting smile, one that showed too much. Kris felt herself relax; this person was not dangerous. Not to her, at least.

"I am alive and unharmed," he -- Kris still wasn't sure -- said. "But unfortunately, I do not know where I am."

"You're near Naithe," Kris said. "My name's Kris, by the way. What's yours?"

"I am the one known as Ceres."

"Pleasure to meet you, Ceres," Kris said, extending a hand. Ceres regarded it curiously for a moment before taking hold. It was clear he didn't know what a handshake was.

"Where are you from?" Kris asked. "Your clothing is unfamiliar. Are you from Lucrecia? Further afield?"

Ceres shook his head. "These names are unfamiliar to me. I know where I am from, though I suspect I am far from there. You are unlikely to know it."

Confused, but not entirely shaken, Kris simply nodded. "Well, I don't think you should stay out here tonight," she said. "And your boat doesn't look in any shape to sail again. Why don't you come with me? You can stay with my family tonight, and perhaps my parents can help you find your way home."

"My gratitude, Kris. Please, lead the way," Ceres said with a flourish of his hand.

Kris turned for her boat. Today had been a special kind of day after all.

https://img1.etsystatic.com/024/1/5980019/il_340x270.523860639_g8os.jpg

Miss Mae
05-17-2014, 05:31 AM
Jacques rolled over to face the window. It was still dark out. He sighed - he fell asleep so early that he'd woken before sunrise again.

He lay there awhile, staring at the dark sky, which was almost indistinguishable from the dark sand. He tried to get a couple more hours of sleep. When he didn't have any luck, he decided to go for a walk.

He got out of bed, crept through the house and slipped out the front door. He crossed the veranda, the wooden boards smooth and cold against his bare feet. The stairs creaked, but hopefully not loudly enough to wake his dad.

Jacques wandered down to the beach. By the time he was on the sand, the sky was beginning to lighten slightly. He dipped his toes in the water and watched the fishermen as they rose in time with the sun. They appeared from their houses intermittantly, walking down to the dock, jumping into their boats and rowing out into the Deeps.

Among them, Jacques saw Kris. She walked down to the docks alone, hopped into her boat with happy enthusiasm and began heaving the oars through the water. I wonder where her dad is, Jacques thought as Kris rowed out with all of the men.

Now that the sun had fully risen, Jacques decided it was time to return home. He had to work with his dad today, which was never fun, and he didn't want to make that experience worse by not being home when his dad got out of bed.

Jacques walked through the front door and saw his dad rinsing a bowl in the sink. Jacques' face went pale. 'Hi, Dad,' he said.

'Where have you been?' his dad asked.

'I woke up early - I just went for a walk,' Jacques replied.

'If you woke up early, you should've continued working on that table for Ms Pan, you lazy merda,' his dad spat.

'I'll get to work on it as soon as I have breakfast,' Jacques said, walking into the kitchen.

'No, you had your chance to have breakfast and you didn't take it. You will get to work now. Come.'

Jacques' dad left and expected Jacques to follow. They walked together across the veranda, down the steps and into the workshop that was attached to the house. Inside were assorted lengths of wood, projects in varied stages of completion and tools scattered across a workbench.

Stomach rumbling, Jacques worked with his dad until mid afternoon.

Loony BoB
05-17-2014, 03:08 PM
Kathvi notably winced at the words as they were spoken by the Ursus. For Jahred, though, it was all he needed. If an Aelum did not recognise Kathvi's kind, then she was foreign indeed. He wasn't sure if the words spoken by the Aelum were intended as threatening - it was certainly not the kind of thing he was used to in his interactions with the Ursus - but they did carry a rather uninviting tone for certain. He bowed his head once more, thanked the two for their time and quickly ushered Kathvi away.

"It appears you are not from around here, or anywhere, Kathvi. Perhaps this is a good time for rest. The sun will set shortly, the festival will swing into full flow. Let us rest until then in an inn, gather our thoughts and then perhaps show you the festival if you wish. I believe after the festival people will not look at you as simply a person in costume, or someone from a remote area out of town." Jahred's mind raced. It was definitely a time for a gathering of thoughts.

Jahred took Kathvi to a nearby inn where he had a room booked. After settling her in, he quickly excused himself to help his men close up the stall. Preparations were clearly already in full flow. The dancers and tricksters had for the most part excused themselves, probably to rest before the big event. In their place were various people of various races pointing this way and that, setting up all kinds of art. A pair of chocobos pulled a wagon in with a bunch of Doban men, who quickly set about lighting the back of their wagon on fire. It seemed to be fairly controlled, and they rode it around to the center of the square and threw a couple of items into the bonfire which crackled in all kinds of manners. The sciences of the Doban were admirable indeed.

He nodded to his men who had moved their wares away and advised them to enjoy the evening, that he would be busy for the coming days and that one of the men should return the wagon to Akimolm whenever they were ready in a couple of days - their families would be expecting them. Jahred took his share of the earnings and looked back at the inn, concerned. Today was a strange day indeed. He couldn't shake the feeling that it would keep getting stranger. He shook his head and looked back at the masses of people around King's Square. Still, he thought, at least it's a merry mood and a good festival can always lift spirits.

He headed back to the inn and sat down on a chair. "So, Kathvi. Tell me anything else you can about where you're from. Close your eyes and try to remember... is there anything you did, any people you remember? Have you ever seen any of the kind that you see around here before? Humans? Akim? Doban? Ursus? What was it like in your mountains?"

Miss Mae
05-18-2014, 04:37 AM
The man and the fox-lady - Jahred and Kathvi - looked uneasy at Tala's remark. Jahred quickly excused himself and the pair walked away. First a talking bear, and now a fox-lady? Cohen wondered. This world is very curious, indeed!

'It seems I'm not the only one trying to find my home,' Cohen said. 'She looked lost too.'

Cohen looked around the street. There were people of various races he'd never encountered before, and others who looked human but who were dressed in strange outfits he didn't recognise. He was fascinated, but also terrified. And exhausted.

'Is there somewhere we can go and sit down? This has all been very draining,' Cohen asked.

Pumpkin
05-18-2014, 04:42 AM
Kathvi lay in the bed, trying to calm herself. She felt scared and threatened. Was she a freak? What would become of her? Where was her home. Just then, the door to her room opened and Jahred walked in. He sat down on a chair. "So, Kathvi. Tell me anything else you can about where you're from. Close your eyes and try to remember... is there anything you did, any people you remember? Have you ever seen any of the kind that you see around here before? Humans? Akim? Doban? Ursus? What was it like in your mountains?"

Kathvi closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. Concentrate on any thought she could gather. "I remember..." she began, "I remember a snowy mountain. There were others... like me," she winced slightly. Her head seemed to be rejecting her memories and it was a fight to pull anything forth. "There were... humans. Humans along with my kind. And other kinds. All kinds of beings. I lived on the mountains but there were... others who lived elsewhere. Lizard like beings in the desert and," she struggled and could feel her heart pounding. "And I.... I don't know!" she screamed suddenly.

"It's okay, Kathvi. Just breathe and try to relax. Think about how you got here."

Kathvi let out a small whimper and tried again. She took a deep breath, and focused once more. "Okay, I was taking bread out of the oven. I don't like the oven, it's too hot. But I like the smell of the bread when it's fresh," this was one memory she could remember very clearly and fondly. "Then I brought it out, I was bringing it to... to..."

"Don't worry about that part, Kathvi," Jahred told her. "Just focus on what happened next."

"Okay, I was bringing the bread and I tripped. On a... stone or something. I fell and then there should have been ground but..."

"But...?" asked Jahred, now on the edge of his seat.

"I don't know!" she screamed. "I don't know and my head hurts and I can't think. I can't breathe!" she sat up abruptly. Jahred was disappointed but realized he couldn't keep pressing her. He didn't know what to do, and he didn't want to risk Kathvi being seen, but she obviously needed some way to calm down. He felt like they'd already pressed their luck enough for one day. He let out a big sigh.

"Let's go outside, get a bit of air," he suggested, hoping he wouldn't come to regret that decision.

Jinx
05-18-2014, 04:52 AM
Tala couldn't really fathom what all was going on around her. She had come down from the mountains looking for answers of the events that the Stars had warned, but she hadn't expected to experience all she had in such a short amount of time. First a Human obviously from a place other than Sedorra, then a girl with a face of a fox? What was going on?

The Akim bowed and led the fox girl away.

'Is there somewhere we can go and sit down? This has all been very draining,' Cohen asked.

"Well, I'm not really familiar with these parts, Human," replied Tala, "but I've heard of a popular bar named the Quiet Lobster. I'm sure you could find fare there...I've heard they have raw meats for the Ursus as well. I'm not particularly fond or familiar of this city, but even I know where the Quiet Lobster is. Follow me."

Tala bounded off, and the Human took one last look of the market before tripping over his feet and following her. He seemed to be taking in the whole city. Despite knowing he wasn't a native of Lucrecia, Tala wasn't sure why such a city should be so fascinating to him.

Tala and Cohen passed through the streets of Lucrecia. Merchants sold their wares and smells wafted from food carts. Citizens donned festive masks in celebrations of the Queen's reign. Tala paid little attention while Cohen took in all the sights around him. While Tala hadn't had much interaction with Humans, she'd never met a Human who seemed so curious and inquisitive of happenings around him.

As they arrived at the Quiet Lobster, Tala turned to Cohen.

"This is the Quiet Lobster. Let us continue our conversation here, Human."

Miss Mae
05-18-2014, 05:16 AM
Tala looked down at Cohen and noticed that he wasn't even looking at the Quiet Lobster; he was gazing across the road at a smaller, much seedier-looking inn.

'What is it, Human?' Tala asked.

'Can you smell that?' Cohen answered her question with another question.

Tala sniffed the air. 'Human food,' she said.

'It smells delicious. I've never smelt anything like it,' Cohen said.

'Fine, we'll go there instead then,' Tala said, exasperated.

The pair crossed the road. As they entered the inn, Cohen looked up at the sign. The Cornerstone Inn, the sign said.

The room was nearly empty. It smells even more delicious now that we're inside, Cohen thought. Why is there no one eating here? His stomach rumbled. He was starving.

The man behind the bar eyed the pair of them suspiciously, but stayed silent. Something about his gaze made Cohen uncomfortable. Cohen looked down at the ground instead to avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Tala led Cohen to a larger table against the wall, so she would have enough space to stand. Cohen sat down on a bar stool awkwardly. He'd never been in a bar before in his life - High Priests were not permitted to drink alcohol - and he felt like he was breaking a rule of the Order simply by being in a bar.

You have to eat though, he thought, trying to make himself feel better. And whatever they're cooking here smells amazing.

He thought about talking to the man behind the bar to order some food, but when he glanced over the man still looked remarkably unapproachable, so Cohen decided to sit with his rumbling stomach for a little longer. He turned to Tala. 'I know your name is Tala, and I know you are a talking bear, or an Ursus, or...' he thought back to the conversation he'd overheard earlier, '...or an Aelum - that's what they called you, isn't it? But what does all of that mean? Who are you?'

Jinx
05-18-2014, 05:38 AM
Tala followed the Human to The Cornerstone Inn.

This human is awfully demanding, thought Tala. If he were an Aelum, he'd be told to appreciate what he got!

The Human chose a table in the corner.

Well, at least he's respectful enough to choose a place where I can fit!

The Human looked longingly towards the barkeep. Tala knew he must be longing for food. Painfully, he turned himself towards her instead.

"I know your name is Tala, and I know you are a talking bear, or an Ursus, or...or an Aelum-that's what they called you, isn't it? But what does it all mean? Who are you?"

Tala stared blankly at this Human--Cohen--before her. She'd been a leader to the Aelum for quite some time; she wasn't unfamiliar with being a teacher. But this poor Human was so ignorant, it almost hurt.

"Well, Human. I am an Aelum. That is, I am an Ursus of the mountains. I am a High Priestess amongst my kind. Obviously you are a Human, but what are you? I don't claim to have known many of your kind, but I have never met one such as you."

Miss Mae
05-18-2014, 05:51 AM
'A High Priestess?' Cohen asked happily. 'Like I said earlier - I'm a High Priest! I live at the university and I...' Suddenly Cohen felt a little homesick, talking about his university. What if he never got to see it again?

He looked out the window and saw that the sky was starting to get darker. If he couldn't find the university... Where am I going to sleep tonight? he wondered, frowning. I don't have anywhere to stay. None of my things. No change of clothes. Nothing. And I'm still incredibly hungry.

Cohen shook his head, clearing it. It doesn't matter if you have no where to sleep tonight, he thought. This is an incredible opportunity to discover a new world - somewhere none of the High Priests have ever been before, or at least as far as I know. I need to focus and continue asking questions.

'Sorry,' he said. 'If you are a High Priestess, do you communicate with the Gods? Do you have a meditation hall I could use? Maybe if I could speak to the Gods I could be granted guidance.'

Tasura
05-18-2014, 06:17 AM
Derk listened to Gerhard talk about all the customers he's had because of the upcoming festival, the good and the bad. Usually one would take what they could get, but Derk is of the same mind when it comes to Humans.

As Derk mulled over the many reasons he didn't like humans and drank his ale her heard 3 sets of footsteps enter the inn. Not heavy enough to be Ursus, no shouts for ale so not Doban, I don't smell sand so not Akim. Must be humans. Bah. Just then Gerhard spoke up.

"You need something, pirralhos?" Gerhard asked the humans.

"Heard this place makes a mean stew. We want food and ale and beds." One of the humans asked.

"And I want better driggers," Derk snorted and took a large bite out of his meat.

"Maybe you should hire better driggers then," the man retorted. "So. Is our coin welcome here?"

Maybe you should find better manners before old Ger here shows you why you don't talk back to a Doban in his own place of business Derk thought as he took a big swig of his ale and moved a little to the left, just in case.

Derk tuned out of the conversation and continued to eat his meat, but kept an eye on Ger, looking for any signs there may be a fight. Derk ducked down slightly when he saw Gerhard reach for a stool and smirked.

"You missed," Derk said, still eating. "Losing your touch, maybe?"

"Didn't feel like mopping up the blood," Gerhard offered.

"Well, perhaps you should have winged them anyway, eh? Humans are like young driggers, the only way to teach em is to smack every once and awhile." Derk reached into one of his many apron pockets and tossed a small gold nugget at Ger. "This is for the stool, and for entertaining me, even if it didn't end in a fight. Also, for another ale, this one.s empty." Derk empties his ale in one large swig.

Just then a large Ursus and a human in weird clothes walked into the Inn. Derk sighed and went back to eating, hoping this pair wouldn't cause any trouble.



************************************


Xilkar backed to the water until the waves lapped at his heels and stared cautiously at the small creature as it began to answers his questions and ask some of it's own.

"What sort of creature are YOU? I'm a human, of course! I'm on land because that's where all humans live! Why did you come out of the ocean? And why are you blue? I've only ever seen other humans! I've heard of Akim, but you don't LOOK like an Akim! What is that knife for? Oh, and I don't know how many of us there are...probably thousands! Millions! Who knows?"

Xilkar stands straighter as questions begin to be asked of him. "I'm a Loquan. A human you say? I've never heard of your kind before. I came out of the ocean for the same reason you're on land, that's where I live. But this ocean is not my ocean. This knife" Xilkar holds up his surfacing knife. "is for hunting land whales... and protection." Xilkar gasped at the number the little human said. Millions, there are millions of them, and Iv'e never seen them? This is wrong. this is so so very wrong.

Xilkar quickly turned and dove into the water and swam out to a depth where just his eyes were floating above the water, sill looking at the little human on the shore.

Jinx
05-18-2014, 06:21 AM
"A High Prietess?" the Human exclaimed. "Like I said earlier - I'm a High Priest! I live at the university and I..." the Human trailed in a moment of reflection. Tala felt pity--a surprising emotion--for this Human. Obviously he was conflicted.

Tala watched the stranger, and suddenly he started speaking again.


"Sorry. If you are a HIgh Priestess, do you communicate with the Gods? Do you have a meditation hall I could use? Maybe if I could speak to the Gods I could be granted guidance."


He is a surprisingly adept Human...for a Human.


"Well, Human...Cohen, was it? I do not know the Gods you worship, but I do converse the with the Stars. What hall does one need other than the open Sky? They will provide you with the guidance you need, I am sure."


The Human looked both expectant and forlorn. Depsite herself, Tala felt a sympathy for this strange Human. She wanted to explain herself.


"If it is any consolation, I too, am seeking answers. The Stars...they tell all, but most do not understand. I am a High Priestess, but I humble myself enough to know that I know nothing, Human. The Stars tell what they want to tell. Do you understand? I have no answers for you, really. But perhaps we can discover the answers we seek together."

Miss Mae
05-18-2014, 06:28 AM
'At home, in the university, there is a hall - a quiet space - where my brothers and I sit and listen to the words of our Gods. You pray to the Stars here? That's so... different.' Cohen couldn't contain his curiosity, even though he was disappointed that he would not be able to meditate here. Perhaps he could find a room that was similar to a hall? Still, it wouldn't be the same without his brothers to help guide him.

Cohen was disappointed that this creature did not have the answers he sought, but all the while he was pleased to have a companion. 'I would be happy to stay with you awhile. Maybe we could help one another, somehow,' he said.

He eyed the man behind the bar again and realised he couldn't go without food for much longer. 'I need to eat,' he said. 'But I only have a purse of gold from my world - does that work as currency here?' he asked Tala.

Jinx
05-18-2014, 06:47 AM
"At home, in the university, there is a hall - a quiet space - where my brothers and I sit and listen to the words of our Gods. You pray to the Stars here? That's so... different."

As Tala was coming to expect, this Human Cohen showed both sadness and curiosity with his statement. She hadn't expected such emotion in a Human. Only Ursus understood the depth of feelings.

"I would be happy to stay with you awhile. Maybe we could help one another, somehow,"he said.

Tala regarded this Human. She could tell he was a learned man, but he was obviously placing trust in her hand. She was used to responsibility, though not of the babysitting variety.

Still, the Stars would not have led me here if this is not where I am meant to be.

"I need to eat," he said. "But I only have a purse of gold from my world - does that work as currency here?" he asked Tala.

Tala let out a growling laugh.

"Oh, Human. You have much to learn. Gold is good anywhere."

Miss Mae
05-18-2014, 06:56 AM
Cohen smiled. 'I'll be right back, then,' he said. 'Do you want me to get you anything?'

Jinx
05-18-2014, 07:05 AM
Tala smiled in her beary way. She was actually starting to warm to this Human!

"Get me the rarest slab of meat you can find, Priest. The less done the better."

She flashed him her pointed teeth.

Miss Mae
05-18-2014, 07:22 AM
Cohen smiled, turned and approached the bar. The man behind it frowned at him and Cohen felt incredibly judged. He was reminded that he had never been in a bar before and it made him nervous - do you speak to a barkeep just like any other shopkeeper?

'Umm... hello?' Cohen said nervously. 'I would just like some food please. Whatever's cooking smells lovely - is that stew? A serve of that would be nice and... my Aelum friend would like some steak. The rarest you've got. I hope that's not too much trouble.'

Cohen fidgeted with his coin purse, hoping he had enough.

Loony BoB
05-18-2014, 10:59 AM
Jahred followed Kathvi out of the room and back to King's Square, where fewer people seemed to pay her attention beyond that of any performer walking around. Interesting, he thought to himself, to watch such a foreign person roam through the streets so easily. This festi-- Before he could continue, loud trumpets from all around the city powered a noise through the air. With many still finishing their meals, it seemed that the festival was officially beginning. A large number of fireworks boomed from the bonfire in the centre of the square, and a silence spread as people listened to the clamour created from the mixture of such organised and chaotic noises.

No sooner than the announcement concluded, a huge cheer shook through the city as people delighted at the beginning of an evening of entertainment. Children were running around the merry Doban near the bonfire, who themselves were dancing to tunes played by a band on a recently constructed main stage. Human, Akim and Doban all were clinking glasses and putting arms around each other, it was truly a sight to behold. Outside of Lake Arna, almost every city was dominated by one race or another - in Lucrecia's case, it was a human city - but during such festivities as this all were welcome. He smiled to himself, forgetting all around him for a moment.

"Look," he said to Kathvi. "Here they come!" He pointed towards a large street that headed North towards the River Lissee. As many looked towards the famous road that lead to the Palace, they saw a number of people heading towards the city. Another of the Doban bonfire wagons was surrounded by cartwheeling humans. Fireworks flew upward in a steady rhythm, exploding into all kinds of shapes high in the sky. As they entered the King's Square, another cheer rang out. Dancers twirled their way in from all angles, encouraging those around them to join them near the band. Drunk people of all races readily joined the entertainment as the fools began to stumble their way in - it was hard to establish if they were genuinely drunk off their face or just playing the role!

The band picked up the pace of their music as people began to twirl around one another, while a foreign Doban on the far side of the square told stories to the children of the dangerous travels they took, spooking and exciting the young'ns. Tales of the Alticum deep tunnels, Lake Arna in full frost, the dangers of the Danere and a fight with wolves in the Wylds where they were saved by a sleeping giant. Jahred grinned to himself, the Doban always had a talent for the extroadinary. The children were rapt.

It would not be long before the Queen came to make her appearance. He could see the guards building up near the same northern road the entertainment had come from. Soon, the Royal Palace Chariot would enter, lead by six immaculate golden chocobo. The Queen was due to make a speech blessing the city, he understood from his innkeep.

He smiled and worried at the same time as a few children ran up to Kathvi.

"Come, why aren't you dancing!?" a little girl shouted, jumping up and down. "Dance with us!"

Lonely Paper Star
05-18-2014, 07:18 PM
Camille must be hearing things. The cries—the chocobo cries—were too distant. Perhaps her ears were playing tricks on her.

But Stissi was more sure than she was. Her head had snapped to one direction. The breeder held on tight this time as the chocobo surged down a small path she didn't even notice at first, not with all the hanging vines in the way.

The cries weren't good ones. Even from where she was, Camille could hear the distress, along with some other noises that indicated struggle. She contemplated all sorts of terrible scenarios. Did something in here attack them? Did the thieves abuse them? Were they stuck somewhere?

The forests were dark, but the chocobo seemed to know her way. She moved fluidly without much noise, without other wildlife noticing; as if she blended into the shadows of the Wylds.

About half an hour passed before the two finally heard something again. Stissi instantly stilled, so sudden that she nearly threw Camille off again, but she managed to stay on, holding in a breath as she listened.

“Hey, you're Blackie, right? Blackie the trader? You take things and sell them in Lucrecia?”

A trader in the Wylds? Camille thought curiously. In all her travels into the woods, this was the first she heard of this Blackie.

“C'mon, you dumb birds, listen to what I say! Blackie, thanks for meeting us. Me and my bro, we've been looking to sell our chocobos—”

Both chocobo and rider tensed.

Stissi turned to eye an area off the path and moved, sauntering through some brush and a few trees. The conversation with the unknown strangers continued on without notice.

Camille could tell that her chocobo was raring to burst in and interrupt the conversation.

“Not yet,” Camille hissed to her, attempting to pull her back some when they reached the last group of trees. They didn't know what will await them on the other side. "Stay still."

"It's two versus one."

"Deal; two versus one."

Like in the fields, Stissi did not obey. She let out a loud wark and ran through. They arrived into a clearing; someone's camp, to be exact, but the first things Camille really saw were her two chocobos, ragged and scared. She wanted to cry. They were almost as big as adults, but still young and green. How could anyone do this?

“Koko! Bristles!” she couldn't help but shout, momentarily forgetting the situation she had just gotten herself into.

“Who the hell are you?!”

Camille glanced over and spotted a thin, wiry human, standing a bit in front of a bulkier human and a Doban standing across from them. They were all very shady-looking, and dangerous--the Doban with his axe, the big human with his brute, and the thin human with rows of knives at his torso. They were obscured by his clothing but still easy to see.

Oh no, was she armed? Camille often removed her back holster for her shortsword, whether for comfort's sake or lack of danger in her neck of the woods.

Camille reached behind her for the hilt of her weapon, which was thankfully there, but did not unsheathe.

“We're doin' business, sweetheart," he continued on with a sneer. "Best if you move along and tell none what you saw.”

Her heart raced. God, what do I do? What if they try to kill me? How do I talk to people like th—wait, I'm a businesswoman! Just pretend it's some bullheaded customer.

She gripped her hilt harder, its ridges digging into her palm. She really hoped that she didn't need to take it out.

Somewhere beyond her line of sight, the two young chocobos kweh-ed pathetically. The poor things just wanted to go home.

“If you have chocobo business,” she started in a bold tone, hoping her nerves didn't show, “you all speak to me." Koko and Bristles are mine, after all.”

"Oy, waitaminnit," boomed the voice of the larger human. "Bro." He didn't seem to hear her words.

Like everyone else, it seems, she thought sourly.

He nudged the thin man, a mocking smile on his face. "I remember this kid."

Camille froze in her seat.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"That girl. What is it, Veritas and the Lullaby of the Night? We were at that queen's race! She won the damn thing!"

Camille Veritas and Prestissima, Song of the Night, she corrected silently, not liking this. Really, out of all the people to recognize her...

The thin man's eyes lit up with recognition. "Ah! The racer who quit fame to be a poor, little--"

"Chocobo breeder," Camille finished for him, and steered the conversation back. "Now give me back what you took from me. No--pay me for the abuse you caused Koko and Bristles."

*Devore*
05-20-2014, 02:31 AM
Azelin IV

The young assassin emerged from the crowd to find a contingent of Hyu'mans and Dobans merrily cheering and laughing to one another outside The Ceiling Cat, they were all too drunk to be of any assistances to him. The establishment was indeed a large building like the plump ladies had said but like everywhere here, it looked dingy and dirty.

Azelin walked into the tavern, it was loud and the people within were rowdy and cheerful. The in interior was surprisingly bright as there were many candles scattered around the premise and hanging from the chandelier that looked like it was made from a cart wheel.

The place reeked of ale, sweat and there was a thick layer of smoke that hung in the air. It swirled and bellowed around people as they moved to and fro. The smell made him nauseous.

A young female Hyu’man was playing an instrument in the corner, she was surround by men who were drunkenly singing along to her tune. A few were passionately singing to her but she just smiled or winked at them.

A chill swept up Azelin’s spine, he tensed and looks at the far corner of the tavern. Hidden in a slight shadow, an old Doban with a long white beard watched him. The young assassin could feel the old Doban’s eyes upon him as he walked through the crowd.

“Are you old enough to drink, boy?” a man much closer to him called out.

“Of course I am” He snapped, looking up to the man. In his own world, he was not yet of age but he didn’t know how the laws worked here so for all he knew, he could be. Although judging by the people he had seen so far, Azelin could presume that he wasn’t.

“Didn’t mean to offend” he chuckled “I’ve never been good at judging your kinds age and your face look particularly young”

Azelin stared up at the man, he was swaying slightly and had a large, dopey grin on his face. I’d rather not talk to someone drunk he thought, taking a glance at the man’s friends. Some were paying attention to the interaction, most weren’t. They look no better. Azelin starts to walk away when the man puts his arm in the way to block him.

“Where’s the rush, friend. Drink with us”

“No thank”

“Come on! Everyone should drink and be merry on the Queens Day” he replies, still grinning.

“I’m looking for someone” he lied. A hand slammed down on the boys shoulder, but not that of the man in front of him.

“And you’ve found him” the owner of the hand replied, his voice gruff. The assassin glanced back, hands twitching towards his hidden blades, and saw the old Doban that had been staring at him earlier. He briefly pondered whether the Doban’s timing was a coincident or planned.

“I guess I have”

*Devore*
05-21-2014, 02:57 AM
Azelin V

The drunk Hyu’man looked taken aback. “I’ll guess I’ll leave you to it” He turned back to his friends as the old Doban spoken.

“There’s a lot of weird ones appearing today”

Is he talking about me or the drunkard? The boy thought. “What do you want” He responded, brushing the old gray hand off of his shoulder and turning to face him.

“Just to…talk” a small grin crept onto the old Doban’s face.

That pause was creepy, but he’s probably my best option. Or at least he’s the only one here not drunk. And if it came to it, I’m sure I could kill him. The young assassin thought. “Ok”

His eyes studied the boy before he replied “This place is too rowdy and I don’t want to miss the Queens appearance. So we’ll go to King’s Square”

“Lead the way” He gestures with his hand towards the door, the old Doban nodes, turns and walks outside. Azelin following right behind him a grimace on his face.

Back in the sea of people and slowly heading to King’s Square, the old Doban spoke “I’m Dirus”.

“Azelin” the boy replied

“I saw you enter, you looked kind of lost”

“I’ve never been to this city before”

“You definitely haven’t been here before” Azelin didn’t like the way he stressed the word ‘here’ and contemplated killing him. The last thing he wanted was to be found out so soon.

The assassin places a hand on the grip of one of the many kunai strapped to his body. Hidden under his cloak and walking slightly behind him, the assassin could sever his spine then sheath the blade and blend into the crowd before the man even hit the ground. But rash moves like that would get him nowhere, so instead he responded “To be honest, I’ve never been to this continent. So everything is very new to me”

“Is that so. You’re not the first out of…continent person I’ve seen today. How curious” He glanced back with a questioning look as if he wanted a response. When he didn’t get one, he carried on “Today is the Queen’s Festival, one of the few day were a commoner like myself will be able to look upon the beauty of the queen”

This guy is too nosy Azelin thought as the King’s Square came into view Maybe I should just kill him. But I wonder…”What do you want from me?”

“What? Nothing”. He paused for a second, glancing back at the assassin “I’ve lived for a very long time, seen many strange and spectacular things. So when I see something new, I just have to investigate. But I’m too old for adventures now, too old and frail” He sighed slightly at the end.

Azelin let go of his kunai “No, I need your help. One more adventure”

“Involving what?” He asked, a smile creeping along his face.

A grin appeared on the boy’s face as his darted around the crowd before him “Help me find the other foreigners”. As he looked back to Dirus trumpets blow and fireworks exploded with a rainbow of light and a cacophony of noise. The festival had started.

Madonna
05-21-2014, 01:56 PM
Crap, Blackie thought. Add another perso--no, add the celebrity owner to the mix. His course of action became decidedly less easy with the additional person here, and he wished she had been anywhere but. While the scum pair focused on Veritas, he took a step forward. They paid him no mind.

"These're your chocobos, eh," grinned Weasel. "Then you'll be paying the finder's fee, not us paying you. You're lucky we found 'em."

"Yeah, we thought this guy was the owner," the bulkier human gestured backward, "but if you're paying, y'look like the owner to me." Shoopuf looked pleased with the smaller man's sudden play as the good guys, though the woman atop of the black looked incredulous and furious. Her grip on her hilt tightened, but anger only came out in her words, not from out her sheath.

"Pay you, for stealing Koko and Bristles? No," she said, her voice almost cracking, "You pay me for your treatment of my chocobos, for mishandling goods, and I might confuse you for bad businessmen and send you on your way, instead of lousy thieves." If Blackie had been a betting man, he would say Veritas and her bird were teetering between tears and murder, and probably were going to take the middle option if this went much further. He included the bird in his assessment because it seemed a window of her emotions, perhaps with more honestly, as it scratched furrows as the former champion tugged the reins. Blackie mentally raced toward a solution.

"Didja hear that, bro? She called us lousy thieves," rumbled Shoopuf. "No, we're getting paid, and we're ta--" He was cut off suddenly as the doban marketeer let out a loud, long bellow of sound, all noise and fury. The two humans spun around, sword drawn and hands ready to flick knives. The doban was less than ten paces away, and he looked ready to charge.

"Two versus one; that was the agreement, boyos! Don't go worrying about a woman and money if yer life is in trouble!" He wagged his axe and said, "Unless, of course, you don't wanna fight and are thinking to strike a new deal." This was it, the defusal, if he could sell it.

Weasel eyed him warily, his body turned so he could pivot and attack either Blackie or Veritas. "What kind of new deal? Two versus two?" His fingers never left the knife handles.

Blackie laughed. "No, the deal of walking away square and even. Did you hear the woman? She wants payment. Yourself? Wants payment. Solution? Your debts cancel each other, no one gets hurt, business is settled, and we can all walk away." The thieves passed each other a look, the kind where almost psychic communication happens, while the lass Veritas and her bird looked as if they were possibly easing off the coil set to burst.

Shoopuf tried to keep the situation armed, out of confusion. "Whaddaya get then, Blackie? You're not getting chocobos this way."

"I don't want them; paying for them and papers screws me in the pouch. I also don't have to bleed or dig ditches for anyone, which is more the point. I mean, I always could, but that's your decision, lads, and yours, lass." He slowly lowered his axe and shifted his grip to something more neutral. Come on, I'm no threat. Take it, take it.

Everyone was quiet, and moments passed. I need to oil this some more; crap.

"Tell you what, boyos: I got a flask of Xanderdraught to yer name if you walk away. Veritas, was it? I have greens I can share with yer birds and we can take a look at them here if you're staying."

Citizen Bleys
05-21-2014, 04:32 PM
Desmond hid out in the woods for three days until he was sure there wouldn't be any swinging dicks milling about looking for the bandit lad's killer. He found hunting easier now; perhaps having his grandmother's heritage reassert itself in a moment of stress had awakened his long-buried hunting instincts. It would have been frowned upon back home, he was sure, but Desmond was no longer certain that the people back home were right. It felt...natural to hunt in the woods. It felt good. Perhaps he should have listened to Drak'Sivar more, even though he was one of the Cats. Perhaps the Cats weren't so bad.

As he approached the distant city, he was carrying several hares with him. Perhaps he could sell them in town to make enough money to buy some real knives to replace the makeshift bone daggers he'd fashioned, they were utter debs. Of course, maybe the lad's coins were worth something...it wasn't likely, or he wouldn't have been robbing, but Desmond allowed himself a brief fantasy of being rich.

As he approached the city, he activated his jigger and hummed softly, Sinking the guards' suspicion. He seemed to be getting the hang of it, they looked nothing more than bored as he passed through.

"Pardon me," he said, attempting to sound as urbane as possible. "I am a stranger in this land. What is the name of this city?"

The guard briefly looked surprised before the Song reasserted its influence. "Lucrecia," he muttered, stifling a yawn. "Be on your way."

Desmond entered the city, scanning the streets for any signs of a butcher shop or tannery that would buy his hare carcasses, or an inn where he could find work and possibly a drink.

He was down to 100 tabs of Brilliance. It still felt like a lot, but as he popped one, he worried about where he would get more if this was truly an alien land.

Ace Protorney
05-21-2014, 06:44 PM
- Radley -
It's been well over a week since the Lost Soul has set sail into the Deeps from the Northern Isles. Radley and his crew have barely managed to survive the cruel tests of the nasty weather they had endured out in the Deeps, but everyone had not gone overboard, nor did any of the loot they stole were missing. The only sole victim of their journey was his First Mate's favorite pair of glasses falling into the water. Terrible luck for the First Mate, but losing a pair of glasses was of no concern to Radley. Perhaps they will find him a new pair one of these days.

"Cap'n!" shouted a crewmate who was looking into a telescope from the ship's mast. "Land sighting confirmed!"

"Aye!" Radley shouted back in response. "Good to know we're finally approaching land. Be on the lookout for a port to dock."

Several crew mates approached the captain as he prepared to walk into his cabin. "Captain! What should we do when we land?" they asked, not knowing what Radley had planned after all this time.

"Listen chums," Radley said to them, "It makes no matter to me what the rest of you do when we land. From the moment we step off this ship, me First Mate shall be taking over as captain of this ship. I've done all I can for this fine crew, ye be the best crew I've ever had, but it's time to be on me own. There's treasure out there, and I'll probably find me another crew! Until we dock this ship, I am still captain! Understood?"

Everyone saluted in response as they understood their captain loud and clear.

Loony BoB
05-22-2014, 04:40 PM
Damon's guard duties in King's Square were going fairly well, but he was on high alert. It was normal for a high alert to be set up during events where royalty was on show, of course, but there were already mutterings amongst the guards that some unusual people had entered the city. He'd already had a man named Aziish talk to him about someone earlier that day, but he'd lost the suspicious person amongst the festivities. There was certainly a lot going on, either way. But that face stuck in his mind. It wasn't Ursus, and it certainly was too good to be a mask. Likea fox.

He did as he was instructed and did it well - don't focus on the entertainers, focus on those who are not entertaining. The entertainers have enough eyes on them for the public to alert guards of any wrongdoing on their end. So far the worst he'd had to do was settle a drunk scuffle - the two men he split up were now drinking merrily together as if nothing had happened at all. Still, he would have words with them the next day. He knew them both as citizens of Lucrecia, and one of them as a friend, too. Thankfully on days such as this, it was a fairly straight forward issue to deal with.

Passing through the crowd swiftly and effectively, he watched for the shadows on the sides and saw that unfamiliar sight once more. An intricate fox mask. Two children were pulling at the unusual clothes and egging the dancer to join them in a dance by the fire. But she did not. What is this? Why would someone dress as such and be so much to themselves? He had to find out, of course. And that mask. That mask. The tail, too! It moved so truly, like one would expect of a real tail. This was more than trickery.

He carefully walked around and then, as the children were ushered away by her Akim friend, he quickly moved his hand out and grabbed her by the wrist. "Excuse me, I must speak to you. Could you please remove your mask. He stared at the eyes and they were not human, nor that of Akim. Absent mindedly, he stepped backwards in surprise. "What..."

He released her wrist, instinctively moving his hand instead to the hilt of his sword.

Pumpkin
05-22-2014, 06:03 PM
Kathvi felt extremely threatened by the guard, but she hated hurting people and she didn't want to cause a fuss. Her tail and stopped it's playful swaying and become very still. Her whole body had become very alert. Without noticing, Kathvi released a small growl.

The guard took this as an opportunity. He brought his sword out and pointed it in front of her face in warning. "That's enough," he told her, "You'll come with me. We have some business with you."

Kathvi's instincts kicked in. She put her hand around the edge of the sword as she maintained eye contact with the guard. The sword and her hand began to glow an odd shade of whitish-blue. He was too mesmerized to make a move, he'd never seen anything like it. then he saw it, some kind of weird growth coming from where she was touching his sword. No, it wasn't a growth it was... ice? It let off a small steam as it started to grwo around his sword. "Stop this!" he shouted. "Stop this at once"! Despite his warning, Kathvi didn't move. Not sure what to do, he pulled on his sword to free it from her grasp. He stood back, sword held in attack position, ready to charge at her. But a closer look made him notice something. He looked from her hand to his sword, back to his hand. The edge of the sword had been broken off by the ice. Kathvi dropped the hunk of frozen steel to the ground. The guard, frustrated and upset, decided it was time to withdraw. I'll find some backup. I won't stand for this, he thought. He left, backing away to watch her carefully as he went.

Katvi stood with her head down. She hated doing it but... Now she'd shown just how different she was. She looked over to Jahred, wanting to see how he was looking at her. Would he cast her aside now?

Loony BoB
05-22-2014, 07:54 PM
Like the people around who had witnessed this, Jahred was in shock. Unlike them, he didn't back off. It was just the two of them now, and although the band still played on oblivious to what had gone on, the drop in volume was notable around the Square. After what seemed an age, Kathvi looked over to him. Jahred snapped back into reality. He looked about, then back to her.

He quickly headed towards the gates. "Come," he stated. "Kathvi, I have no idea what you just did but around this place that is not normal in any way whatsoever. Keep your head low. We have to..." He trailed off upon realising he had no clue whatsoever exactly what it was that they had to do.

The people quickly made way for them as they exited, eventually re-entering a crowd. Jahred had no clue where he was heading, he needed a moment to think. He entered the first rowdy bar he could find and slammed slightly too much gold down on the counter. "Two ales, please." He looked to the door, worried.

I am happy for this to be the same bar/inn/tavern/whatever as any other characters are currently.

Citizen Bleys
05-22-2014, 08:57 PM
Desmond stalked the pair who'd caused the ruckus like a predator. He didn't know what he'd just seen, but there had been a sort of resonance in the deep blue that he didn't understand. It shouldn't have been possible to manipulate the deep blue without being hooked in, but he'd sensed it just as clearly as he'd been able to sense other people hooking in back home. He wasn't aware of the predatory grin that came over his face as he shadowed them into a pub.

The hunter's itch in his fingertips had grown stronger and stronger, to the point it became a fierce, sharp pain, but he forced down his awareness of that, and focused on his quarry. Perhaps he was not the only person to come here from another world? Experimentally, he began to hum and Spiked the stranger's strength, looking for a reaction.

"Um, excuse me," a voice came from his side.

It was a barmaid of some sort. Desmond ignored it.

"Excuse me, sir," the barmaid insisted, "Are you OK? You're bleeding."

Desmond looked down at his hands, dropping his Song in shock. His fingers were, indeed, bleeding. Emerging from each of his fingertips was a small, but unmistakeable, claw.

It couldn't be. Unless...perhaps the surgery performed on him as an infant made use of Nexus's orange world pulse, and it wasn't functioning in this alien land?

Desmond's instincts were good. He'd never learned how to manage his feral side, but instinctively he knew how to retract his yet pitiful claws. The pain receded, and he grinned even wider.

To the barmaid, he said "Yes, I'm OK. I'm better than OK. I'm better than I've ever been!"

Desmond threw back his head and laughed a harsh, rasping laugh.

It was a sign. He was free of the old societal bonds that had held him. He was free to embrace both sides of his heritage. Perhaps...perhaps he'd even use his other, unspoken name. Not today, but here, he needn't be an outcast because of his grandmother's bloodlines. Here, he could be his true self.

*Devore*
05-23-2014, 02:55 AM
“Oh, this is interesting” Dirus mutters, his sharp eyes fixed on the crowd of the King’s Square. He was standing on a bench to better see across the sea of people, Azelin, with his hood up, was on the same bench but looking in the opposite direction. He spun around at his words. “Over there” Dirus pointed to a guard confronting two people in the crowd, an Akim and an unknown.

“I’m guessing ears like that isn’t normal for humanoids here” Azelin asked, his keen eyes locked on the scene.

“Definitely not…” He trailed off as his eyes widened. “What is that!?” He exclaimed, the foxed eared being had grabbed the guards’ sword and her hand was glowing with a faint whitish-blue light.

“She wields magic” he replied “Ice magic if I am correct”. Ice was creeping across the guards sword I don’t recognise her species…I guess magic exists on other worlds as well. Although it is a fundamental force, it would-

“It can control ice?” Dirus chimed in, disrupting Azelins’ chain of thought.

“Yes. And it looks like it’s a pretty powerful wielder as well”. The end of the guards’ sword had snapped off.

“Is it from your…continent?” Dirus asked, putting stress on the last word. Azelin glanced at him then back to the scene.

“No, I don’t recognise it”. The Akim was leading the unknown into a pub. Azelin made to follow then stopped. “Do you see that?” He asked.

“Yeah. That human was following them, but there was something off about him”

“He had a malicious look upon his face, he seeks to hurt them” Azelin responded “We need to hurry” Dirus nodded and the two dropped from the bench and disappeared into the crowd.

Loony BoB
05-26-2014, 11:19 AM
Damon dropped what he still retained of the sword on the floor of the barracks, the clanging against stone rang through and heads turned immediately. "She froze my sword! She froze it and snapped it in half!" He was still half in shock, eyes wide and staring at the blade's hilt. A few fellow guards moved over. One touched the blade - it was still frozen - and his finger flicked back at the chill. The other off duty guards all began talking at once.

"What in the blazes..." the angry, gruff voice of Commander Galrad could be heard before he even opened his door. "Who's making all this racket? What's going on?" The tall, strong man ducked his head as he entered the main barracks hall.

"Sir! I have been..." Damon seemed a bit lost for words. He shook his head to gather his thoughts. He was confused and annoyed at stumbling on his words in front of the commander. "A strange woman, foreign to this land, froze my sword with her very hand and then snapped it in two. Sir."

The commander stared right at Damon and checked his eyes. The previous shock in his eyes was replaced with the eyes he knew far better - Damon was always a good, loyal soldier who took his job seriously and loved the city. He was never known for antics. "Damon, you lead three men out there and you apprehend this woman."

"Sir!" Damon quickly pointed towards three friends he had amongst the barracks and they quickly gathered their gear.

Just as they were about to head out, Galrad spoke once more. "And Damon..." The dark, muscular man picked up the blade by it's frozen end. "You find out how this trickery came about and you report to me immediately." Damon nodded in reply and ran back towards King's Square.

Commander Galrad, like all the guards present, had seen fire weapons before. Never ice. He stared at the blade intently and then his head shot up. "Someone get the Queen back to the palace right now!" The command roared through the barracks and two men near the doors claimed responsibility by grabbing their blades and running out the door. "The rest of you, head out and increase patrols. I don't want any strangers ruining this night!"

Citizen Bleys
05-27-2014, 04:33 AM
Desmond wiped the blood off his fingers with a napkin. He tried to push his claws out further, but they still just barely broke the skin and it hurt like drek so he stopped and wiped his fingers again. The bleeding stopped rapidly, but he knew from the teachings of Drak'Sivar that his claws would eventually reach an octoyar in length.

that is about 16cm

Desmond popped a tab of Brill. It was time to make his first social contact in this world. He hadn't got high since his arrival in Lucrecia, so he still had 77 more tabs left.

His reflection in the mirror above the bar caught his attention.

Ja'hlu vrax?

His beard was coming in... and it was orange.

Looking more closely, the roots of his hair also looked orange and he was more hirsute than he remembered. More strikingly, his fangs were drekmucketly huge. Probably nobody else would notice, but they weren't far from poking out of his mouth. If he continued to go this way, he'd soon look like Drak'Sivar.

good.

Now where had that thought come from?

Desmond mentally shook his head and put the distraction from his mind. He approached the table seating the pair from the incident outside, and without so much as a by-your-leave, plopped his arse down beside them.

"Hello, " he began. "I believe we have something in common. I am Desmond..."

Here he hesitated.

"I am Desmond Redclaw. I hail from another world, called the Galactic Nexus. There is a certain ability we share which I do not believe is indigenous to this land. "

Desmond paused. The Brill was making him talk like a debs-blasted har'dor.

"Perhaps we should remain combine efforts to remain safe until we know what our status here will be."

Yep. Total drek-hawk talk.

*Devore*
05-30-2014, 03:50 PM
Alezin VI
"Was that magic some kind of gift from the gods? Dirus asks as the the pair weave and sidestep their way through the crowd.

"There is only one god. It's name is Aeon and it brings nothing but death" Azelin responded. Dirus wanted to interject but the young assassin continued. "Magic is a fundamental force in the universe which seems to only serve the purpose of disrupting, manipulating or outright breaking all other fundamental forces. Many beings, sentient or not are able to wield it at various levels but there are just as many or even more that can't" he finished as if that made any sense to someone who has never seen magic before.

"What's a fundamental force?" Dirus asked, hoping for a easy explanation.

"Really?" Azelin said with a sigh, glancing back at the old Doban. "I'm not going to teach you basic science right now" He added and spoke no more as if the matter was settled. Dirus never considered himself a particularly smart Doban but nor was he an idiot, so someone speaking to him like he was a child urked him slightly, but there was more important things st hand.

As the were closing in on the pub where the magic user had entered, Dirus asks "Can you wield magic?"

Azelin pondered briefly about whether he should tell him or not, giving away information about yourself was always considered a failure by his fellow assassins. But he didn't know hoe the Doban would react if his magic started affecting him. "Yes" he finally said. Better he knows now than in the middle of a fight. "My people can haste or slow the body of ourselves or others around us at will.....I'm not that good at it though" The young assassin forced himself to stare straight ahead and not look back at the Doban. He had seats been ashamed at how much his magic was lacking. He was ridiculed by his peers for it, more so than others because his other skills excelled so much. Thinking about it angered him so he pushed it from his mind.

They had reached the door and Dirus was about to ask something else but Alezin cut him off, not want to talk about magic anymore "We're just going to observe the ice wielder for now and maybe keep an eye on that weird Hyu'man".

"Ok, you go find us somewhere to sit. I'll buy us some drinks so we blend in better" Dirus added.

"Lets do this" Azelin said with a smile. They nodded to each other an pushed the double doors open.

Jinx
05-31-2014, 05:26 AM
Sigrid eyed the strange creature. What WAS he? It didn't really matter; she knew he was different. She just wanted to get to know him. Why was he running away?

The blue man submerged himself until just his eyes peeked from the water. Sigrid stood some paces away from him, and couldn't contain he starting. He was unlike anything she'd ever seen, and she wasn't afraid. I'm not afraid of anything! But what IS he? I've never seen anything like him. Is he a merman?

Sigrid stared in contemplation at this strange creature. She didn't notice the wave that was approaching the shore. She ventured a tentative smiled, but before she could think, the tide was pulling her under. She struggled and pulled towards the sun, but she couldn't break the waves. No matter how much she swam, she couldn't break surface...everything was going a dull black...

Jiro
06-03-2014, 09:14 AM
Gerhard watched as his patrons went about their business, undisturbed by his outburst. They were used to the odd broken stool here and there; it was the owner's particular way of keeping the peace. Or at least enforcing his demands.

"Perhaps you should have winged them anyway, eh?" Derk said. "Humans are like young driggers, the only way to teach em is to smack every once and awhile."

Derk reached into one of his many apron pockets and tossed a small gold nugget at Gerhard. "This is for the stool, and for entertaining me, even if it didn't end in a fight. Also, for another ale, this one's empty," he said, emptying his ale in one swig.

As Gerhard was refilling the mug, the doors opened. He paused, concerned the humans had returned. Instead, in walked an unlikely pair: an Ursus and a human. They stood in the doorway, talking to one another for a moment.

Curious, Gerhard thought to himself. He decided to let them in. Didn't see many Ursus and human duos, especially ones that looked like this.

He watched as they finished talking and the human approached the bar. I guess he's not a snack, Gerhard thought.

"Umm... hello?" the human said. "I would just like some food please. Whatever's cooking smells lovely - is that stew? A serve of that would be nice and... my Aelum friend would like some steak. The rarest you've got. I hope that's not too much trouble."

He fumbled about with a coin purse before dropping some unfamiliar coins onto the bar. They weren't any currency he'd ever seen before, but they weren't fakes. Gold and silver coins... Gerhard snatched a couple up and wore a grin; he'd sell them to some collector as rarities and make a quiet profit.

"I'll bring your food round in a bit," Gerhard said. "Grab yourselves a table. Just have your Ursus friend be careful; some of the chairs aren't as sturdy."

The human nodded sheepishly and turned to sit.

"Oh," Gerhard interrupted. "Anything to drink?"

The human turned back. "A pitcher of water, if you have any."

Gerhard laughed. Water? "Sure. Whatever you say, pal."

https://img1.etsystatic.com/031/0/8528552/il_340x270.591507013_2oiw.jpg

Værn
06-05-2014, 01:11 AM
Flying swiftly through the sky on the back of a great bird in pursuit of the one who had first betrayed him, Luke raised his staff and commanded lightning to strike his foe. The sky crackled at his command, instantly slaying both his target and the wyvern that she was riding.

This was the dream of one of Vabyriaur's great sorcerers as he slept that night. But nothing more. With his skill, Luke was able to fire a lance of electricity a full three meters even without the help of his staff, an impressive feat in his world. But even with his staff, regardless of the quality of the faerlstone that its head was carved from, such extravagant feats as calling lightning from the sky were simply the stuff of fantasy.

Just as this thought crossed Luke's mind – that he was not powerful enough to command the skies - the storm turned on him, striking him and his bird with a deafening thunderbolt. The bird vanished in the flash of light, and he was left falling alone...

He turned to what should have been the ground, expecting to see the teal plains and violet-tinted seas of the Crescent Isle below, but there was nothing. He flipped around to look back at the sky, but the clouds had vanished. There was nothing. He was falling through a bleak gray void – that is, until something hard struck his back. A branch. And another. Ow. Ow!

This pain was not a part of his dream. The third bough to strike him brought Luke soundly back to the waking world, where he found himself falling through the canopy of a dense forest. He dropped unceremoniously to the ground below, slowed only by the branches on the way down. His landing was accompanied by a sharp crack as the head of his staff struck a rock, mere inches from where his head now rested.

Winded by the crash-landing, it took several seconds for him to draw breath. He could tell almost immediately that something was off. These trees shouldn't be such deep green, should they? Where am I? How did I get here?

He tried to think back, to remember... but he could remember only his dream, as far back as the wyvern and a shadowy figure falling from his sight after being struck by lightning, and nothing before that. He replayed the each thought that passed through his mind during the dream, lest he forget: Vabyriaur. The Crescent Isle. Did it really look so different from this, or were my dreams playing tricks on me? My name was... is... Lucas Warmwater...

Once he was able to pull himself to his feet, Luke looked around the area and found that he was near the forest's edge. Through a gap in the trees, not far to the northwest, he saw a village along the shoreline of whatever strange land this was that he had awoken in – a small fishing village, most likely. It would be best for now, he thought, to find a place to rest. Aided heavily by his staff, he hobbled into Naithe to seek an inn as quickly as the pain in his back would allow him.

Formalhaut
06-07-2014, 10:13 PM
Locke VII


The hours rolled by, both Locke and Ziad engrossed in their darts and the good ol' stories they shared intriguing both of them. Alistair, meanwhile, went up to his room to nap. It was eventide when two weary travelers entered the inn. Just festival goers, Locke surmised, and continued with his darts game. He wasn't doing well.

"My, what a crazy day eh?" said one of the travelers, nudging the other's side in a jokey fashion.

"Please, I just want to forget what I saw", replied the other. He stared into his hands, "how could anyone do that? What that... thing did with her hands, that's unlike anything I have seen before." What's this, thought Locke. Not much would phase a traveler, it must have been quite the sight, whatever it was.

"Hey, Ziad, give me a second will you? I just need to talk to these two quickly." Nodding in acknowledgement, Ziad began pouring himself a drink from the cabinet.

Walking out of the lounge, Locke re-entered the reception. "Hey, you two, what was that you were saying?"

"Huh? Oh me, right. Sorry. What did you want?"

"Just a small thing. You said something about this thing and her hands, care to share, friend?"

"What, you haven't heard? Sheesh! This strange creature was in King's Square just now, looking like a snow fox. That was weird enough. Then this guard approached her, and this crazy light appeared. Next thing you know, the guard's sword is snapped off, turned into ice. No word of a lie."

Locke examined the traveler's face. He didn't really think he was lying. "Well, that's certainly interesting. Thanks for telling me this." Exchanging pleasantries, he left the two travelers to register a room, and went back to Ziad. When he re-entered the lounge, Ziad was close to the door having clearly listened in.

"You heard everything, I guess?" said Locke. Ziad nodded.

"Yes, I have. You think this man is telling the truth?"

"I think so. It was so wild a story, I don't think you could make it up. But Ziad, what do you think? Have you heard of a species, humanoid in stature, with features of a snow fox?" inquired Locke. Ziad crossed his arms.

"I can't say I have. Certainly, that it seems humanoid in nature suggests that it isn't completely far removed from Humans, Akims and even Dobans. Not all of Sedorra has been charted either. That there are new species out there wouldn't surprise me."

"I agree, but Ziad, it isn't her appearance that astounds me. It's what she's supposedly done. Foreign or not, what do you make of her powers?"

"Now that, is a very good question, my friend." The Akim tilted his head upwards, as if he thinking.

"What are you thinking about?"

"It's... nothing. Just an old story I heard from the Akim elders in my village. It was so long ago now, I'm struggling remembering all of it."

"Well, we've been telling stories all day Ziad. What's one more to the pile?" joked Locke.

Ziad gestured for Locke to sit down.

*Devore*
06-23-2014, 10:59 PM
Commander Galrad

The Commander stood over a table in his office by the barracks, studying a map of Lucrecia. The map had icons that indicated stationary guards that were positioned throughout the city as well as a web of coloured sting which indicated the path of the patrolling guards. He was in the process of increasing the number of patrols to help locate the foreigner with the strange power when a new recruit came running in.

“Sir” he said loudly, breathing heavily but still managed a firm salute “I Have a message from the Queen”

“At ease and speak lad” Galrad responded, looking up from the map.

The young man relaxed a bit but was still breathing heavily “The Queen said she thanks you for your concern but she trusts that you can handle any threat to hers and the peoples life. And the blessing is too important to everyone for her to forgo it. The King would not leave either, he would not leave his wife in danger by herself” the young recruit told him. Galrad groaned but knew deep down that Queen would not miss her speech, she loved her people too much and it was why they loved her so much.

“What of the Prince and Princess?” he asked

“They are being taken back to the palace as we speak”

“Some good news at least” Galrad said mainly to himself. He pondered his next course of action, looking briefly at the broken sword that sat next to the map on his table. It still had frost on it but his warm office was quickly melting it. “I need you to go to the outer barracks and send ten guards to meet me at the stage in King’s Square. Then head to Rivers market and bring five more and yourself to me as well. The Queens speech is not long off so have haste” The Commander ordered

“Yes Sir!” the young recruit responded

“And if old Cridus complains just tell him to simmer down, I’ll send his men back after the speech” He said light heartedly. “Dismissed” The guard nodded with a slight smile, turned on his heel and marched off. Galrad watched the boy leave before walking to his long sword, picking it up and strapping it on. He hoped that tonight would be another night were his blade would not taste blood.

Miss Mae
06-24-2014, 07:37 AM
Cohen smiled in thanks and returned to the table with the pitcher of water in one hand and two deep chalices in the other. He wasn't sure if Tala's paws would allow her to grasp the thin stem of a chalice, but he thought it would be rude not to offer.

He placed the items down on the table and sat. He wasn't sure what to say to Tala, so mostly they sat in silence. Cohen could hear trumpets calling into the night. He'd heard people muttering about this festival all day and it appeared to have finally arrived.

The man behind the counter didn't seem the type to wait tables, but he brought Cohen and Tala's dinner to them, as he said he would. 'Thank you very much,' Cohen said as the plates were laid on the wooden surface.

'Sure you don't want something stronger to wash it down with?' the man asked.

Cohen pondered the water that he had poured into his chalice, remembering his vows to the Order. He'd promised many things, including sobriety; alcohol clouded the mind and prevented the clarity needed to commune with the Gods.

But your Gods aren't here, a voice in his mind reminded him. Cohen ignored the voice and, mostly out of habit, refused. 'I'm happy with water, thank you.'

Noticing that Tala had already started on her food, Cohen dipped a spoon into his stew and brought the warm broth to his lips. The smell was heavenly and the taste didn't disappoint. He ate a few spoonfuls in silence, at a loss for conversation. It had been a long day.

The trumpets grew louder and other instruments joined in the song, as well as the shouts of excited city folk. Cohen swallowed and looked up. 'When we've finish eating, should we return to the square and see what all the fuss is about?' he asked Tala.

Formalhaut
06-25-2014, 01:36 PM
Locke VIII


"It is more of a cryptic warning. The elders rarely tell it; many of them think it a myth anyway." Ziad pondered what followed next. "The story goes that the Akim revel in the fire of the desert. The heat, the burning sands. But it is said that when the pale blue frost spreads over the Akimolm desert, the sands become naught but brittle husks of what they once were." Ziad's face was hard to read.

Locke leaned over, listened intently on his every word. "Ziad, that... that is some story." The Akim laughed heartily.

"You appear so serious Locke! You do not believe this I hope!" Ziad slapped Locke on the back. "It is some old story the elders tell. I tell you, they tell many stories - guess how many come true?" With this, Ziad grinned widely.

"Ziad, what do you think about this ice-wielding creature?" Locke quickly turned the subject back to the mater at hand.

"Oh, yes. Well, we do not know much, and I don't know about you, but I would like to meet this creature in person. What do you say?" Ziad gestured to the door. Locke equally glanced towards Alistair, who was walking down the stairs. He couldn't leave him by himself, but yet, he didn't want to expose him to any danger. Ziad sensed Locke's unease.

"You are worried about the boy, aren't you? Locke, there will come a time when everyone is exposed to the adult world. My, when I was his age, I was already hunting out in the desert."

When I was his age, I was in Lucrecia Castle, eating fine foods and getting an education. Locke thought about it for a while longer. Eventually, he turned to Alistair.

"Hey, we've not even explored much of Lucrecia today have we? How does Kings Square sound? We may also be able to catch the Queen's blessing of the city!" Locke said with a convincingly happy intonation. Inside, he was anything but.

"Kings Square was where it was last seen. We should start there." Ziad said.

Gripping Alistair's hand tightly, Locke, together with Ziad left the inn and began travelling to Kings Square.

Lonely Paper Star
06-25-2014, 09:52 PM
Camille scowled. Cancel each other? When the chocobos looked and felt like that? She wanted to yell, no way!, but seeing that everyone was armed, she didn't have time to get into fight over it. Koko and Bristles needed to go home—no, somewhere near where they can get some rest from their truama.

She glanced at the thieves. They were quieter now, exchanging communicative looks with each other.

"Whaddaya get then, Blackie?” asked the big one. “You're not getting chocobos this way."

"I don't want them; paying for them and papers screws me in the pouch,” replied the Doban. “I also don't have to bleed or dig ditches for anyone, which is more the point. I mean, I always could, but that's your decision, lads, and yours, lass."

Yeah, right, Camille thought with a snort, turning her head away, to look at the younger chocobos, who had huddled against each other at the draw of all the weapons.

There had to be a catch. The Doban was strong and smart for his size and age. She didn't imagine him nice enough to strike a deal like that and not get anything out of it.

"Tell you what, boyos: I got a flask of Xanderdraught to yer name if you walk away. Veritas, was it?”

She gave him a single nod, and was secretly relieved that there was one person in Sedorra who didn't know who she was.

“I have greens I can share with yer birds and we can take a look at them here if you're staying."

“Stay?” she repeated, almost with doubt. “Stay here?”

Blackie lifted his palm and half-shrugged. “Do you have somethin' better, lass?”

Well, it's much closer than having to travel to Lucrecia. And she would rather not deal with idiotic thieves any longer than necessary. They were rotten people, and on top of that, they smelled.

“I don't,” she said plainly. “Show me the greens. If they're good, I may agree to stay.” She was still hesitant about trusting this stranger, but she wasn't completely against it. “Pull anything stupid on me you get chocobos trampling your face, Doban.” She turned to glare daggers at the two thieves, silently warning them that she would do the same to them.

*Devore*
06-26-2014, 02:22 AM
The Kings Guard

A large precession of 20 knights, marching in pairs, entered King's Square from the north. Every other knight carried a torched which illuminated their highly polished gold and skyblue armour. These men and women were the kings guard and are amongst the best in Lucrecia and are hand picked to guard the royal family by the king and the commander.

As they marched they cut a path through the crowd and the ones at the front surrounded the stage that sat in the north end of the Square. A voice in the distance called out a command and the remaining knights that were lined up turned to face the crowd and then took three steps each.

The crowd started to go wild as the kings bannermem began marching down the newly created pathway, distant trumpets signalled the imminent arrival of the king and Queen.

Damon and his two fellow guards had arrived in King's Square by the East and immediately began asking the crowd if they had seen someone in a Fox costume running around with an Akim. Nervous about what would happen if they did find it, they had decided to stay within 5 paces from each other for safety.

*Devore*
06-27-2014, 12:56 AM
Alezin VIi
Pushing open the door, the two men were both shocked when they saw the crazed human sitting at the same table as the fox featured humaniod and the Akim. To the hyoung assasin the man looked happy, the Akim looked anxious while the foreigner didn't seem concerned at all. Although Alezin has never claimed to be able to read animals. "Well this changes things slightly" Dirus said, rubbing his chin.

"Follow my lead" Alezin replied as he walked over to the table next to the trio's. It was occupied by a rowdy group of Dobans and humans. "Guys, I cant believe its been a year already" He said to the men, some looked confused.

"Have we met-" one of the men began to say.

"It's us, Diren and Delek. This time last year we were drinking to the Queens good health" Dirus cut in "And you" he pointed to one of the humans "You got so drunk that I didnt think you'd make it home" he laughed as he spoke and some of the men joined in.

"You do always get bladdered, Ian" A Doban added. "You end up looking like a chocobo thats forgot thst it has legs" at that the rest of the men started to laughing, Alezin and Dirus joined in but neither found it funny.

"Next round is on me" Dirus said as he headed to the bar. The men cheered and allowed Alezin into there group.

"So, any good stories? The ladies were all over you last year" Alezin directed his question to an average looking man who had a lipstick mark on his neck. Just to the left of this man was a clear view to the fox like humaniod and her table.

The Commander
Galrad had reached King's Square, his size made him an imposing man and many in the crowd moved out of the way as he marched towards the stage. The Kings guard were in position so the royal family would be arriving soon. He hoped that the men he asked for would arrive soon but hoped more that nothing would happen.

As he drew closer to the stage he noticed that some of the guards began to salute as they spotted him, he waved a hand to put them at ease. "Sir! We weren't expecting you" a female kings guard shouted so she could be heard over the cheering crowd "Is something wrong?"

"There talk of some strange folk running around, I'm bring over some extra men just to ease my mind" he boomed back. Looking up at the stage he could see the two bannermen standing proud on each side, holding the flag that held the emblem of the royal family on it. He step past the human wall of kings guard, turned his back on the stage and faced the sea of people.

*Devore*
06-27-2014, 11:37 PM
The Jewel of Lucrecia

Glistening in torch light, six golden armoured chocobos entered King’s Square from the North, staying in between the row of kings guard that led to the stage. The chocobos were lined up in pairs and pulling a carriage that was an eccentric mix of gold, blue velvet and gems. A man sat on the front of the carriage and controlled the chocobos. He was wearing fine blue cotton that had a gold trim.

The chocobos pulled up to the stage and came to a halt. The king, tall and distinguished, stepped out of the carriage and waved to his people. He was wearing a series of overlapping blue and gold silk that flowed around him like smoke. We was an attractive man even now that he was well into middle age with hair containing flecks of silver and wrinkles around his eyes. His eyes were a piercing blue, a trademark of his bloodline. He raised a hand which the Queen took and helped her out of the carriage.

The Queen was a beautiful and elegant women who wore a dress of blue and gold silk that rippled like water has she walked. She had long brown hair, emerald green eyes and looked like she was still in her early twenties when her actual age is 48. The pair walked up the stairs of the stage to the applause and cheers of the crowd. Once at the top, the King kissed his wife on the cheek and walked to the side as she walked to the front of the stage.

“Thank you all for coming” she addressed the crowd, her voice was almost musical “It’s been another prosperous year for Lucrecia and may the next year bless us all for the year to come. But there has been a few bumps in the road”.

Alezin

The cheers from outside grew louder and the doors burst open “They’re here” a man called in to the crowded tavern then rushed back out again. People began to rush out or pull open the windows so the could see. One of the Dobans in the group put his arm around Alezin and began to lead him out of the tavern.

“Come on guys, lets get a better view” he called out. Alezin looked at the bar but couldn’t see Dirus.

Outside, Alezin could see the Queen making her way to the front of the stage.

Formalhaut
06-29-2014, 09:27 PM
Locke IX


The joyous mood Locke and Alistair encountered when they arrived in Lucrecia in the morning has disappeared. The trumpets still played, and the dancers still danced, but Locke sensed unease. He sensed it in the guards, he sensed it in the young children, he sensed it in the air he breathed. King's Square was not far away now, but they walked in silence. Even Alistair, who would normally be manic at such excitement, knew something was up.

Armored knights entered King's Square from the northern entrance. Locke, Alistair and Ziad could barely see them from over the shoulders of other people, but one glimpse was enough - the torches they held only made their armor glisten and shine.

"Who are those people, Locke?" asked Alistair. All of this was new to him.

"They are the King's Guard. They are sworn to protect the King and the Royal Family. You could call them bodyguards, perhaps," Locke explained.

"Their presence is hardly surprising given the civilian reports" mused Ziad. Locke nodded in agreement. Having attended many Royal speeches over his formative years, Locke knew the standard procedure. A speech during the nighttime was unusual, but not unheard of and certainly after recent events in Lucrecia, allaying public fears would be the Queen's utmost priority.

"Is this your first Queen's festival, Ziad?" Locke asked.

"No, I have seen two before." Ziad shrugged his shoulders. "I am a traveler. Lucrecia is great for supplies, it was mere coincidence that I saw those".

"When is the Queen speaking?" piped Alistair.

"Soon, now, soon." Locke could not hide the anxiety in his voice any longer. Ziad picked up on this, and moved closer to him.

"What's wrong?" Ziad whispered into his ear. Locke sighed.

"I don't know, really. I just have a bad feeling about all this." Locke looked furtively around. It was during this that he noticed the Commander of the Lucrecian Guards, Commander Galrad, present and taking up position. From previous experience, Locke knew this was highly unusual. The Commander always orchestrated security during these events, but never has Locke ever seen him in an active role. This revelation only made Locke more uneasy.

Something is up.

"Hey, look!" Alistair pointed towards the northern entrance to King's Square. Excited, the boy pushed past the crowd to get a better view. Locke had no choice but to follow suit, repeating apologies all the while. When he got out to the front, he spotted Alistair. His face was glued to the Chocobos. Locke has never seen him so happy. It was almost perplexing. ​

The speech was about to begin, thought Locke.