Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

It's a castle....and it's floating! :O

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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Victin on Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:20 am

”Is this it?” Morionem knocked on the wooden door, which responded accordingly. The loud, wooden sounds were all he could hear inside the building. Actually, even outside there was barely any noise of any kind - Save for the occasional ‘quack’ Morionem wasn’t sure was actually there or it was just his mind tricking him. And it was silent until the door creaked open, and a petite figure realized it was him on the other side.

"Um. It's you. Hi. Tamar isn't home." She kept the door barely open, speaking through the crack. “Neither am I,” she added as an afterthought.

If she could see the young man’s face, she’d have seen a smile, and shining eyes. “Oh, it’s you!” He said, remembering the cute little healer that had treated him yesterday. She was tiny, and had these fluffy ears and a tail. He just couldn’t stop patting the young girl, but looking back she seemed somewhat upset by it. That was probably why she was keeping the door so closely lidded. ”Maybe I should redeem myself somehow?” Morionem stared back at her, and decided to speak up. “Uh… Will he be back soon?”

"Soon, I don't know," came the muffled reply.

“Oh… Um…” He stopped. He wasn’t sure of what to say. The awkward silence quickly crawled to the surface through the cracks of the wood and filled the air. Deep, quiet silence, undisturbed due to the absence of people inside the building and outside in the streets. “Uh… So… Um… I guess… I… Should… Apologize for my behavior yesterday?”

"Yesterday, yesterday, damn well, you should," Zi muttered under her breath, then raised her voice. "It's o-okay. You were... ill."

“No! … Er… I mean… No, still I shouldn’t have treated you like… That.” The warrior flinched when he almost said “like a pet”, assuming she wouldn’t like to be compared to one.

Behind the door, Zi grimaced. She wasn't a pet! Why were people so irritating? "Pet.. I.. never mind."

Morionem pondered on that sentence for a second, trying to discover if she really meant what she had just said or not. Deciding to not take any chances, he went on. “No. I didn’t treat you well, and I want to redeem myself.”

Zi took a moment to think about it, then shook her head. Then she remembered that he couldn’t see her and decided to mumble indistinctly. She really didn’t want to let him in, but then again she hated to be rude.

“Please. Let me make it up for you. I… Uh… Can take you to eat some… Food. Or something.” He leaned forward, closer to the gap between the door and the wall, peeking at the girl inside. “Pleeeeaaaaaaseeee? I don’t want you to hate me.” The expression on his face seemed exaggerated, but was real nonetheless.

“Hate me, hate you, I don’t h-hate you,” Zi stammered miserably. “I.. urgh!”

With great reluctance, the door opened slowly and Zi stood there, biting her lip, gaze averted.

“Pleeeeaaaaaaseeee?” Morionem continued, leaning towards her until their eyes stood at the same height.

Involuntarily, Zi took a step back, flinching. “.. ease. I.. What are you.. what are you gonna do?” she asked warily.

Noticing the uncomfortableness of the girl, he stood upright and backed away. “Uh… I…Can take you to… Eat something. Or go somewhere. What do you like to do in your free time?”

“.. free time, I knit. Read. Weave bandages. Make salves. Anji uses them like, whoo,” Zi gestured awkwardly.

Morionem snapped his fingers, with a realization. “I think most of them you can do by yourself, but… I can take you to the Library? What do you say?” He grinned, happy at himself for having that idea.

“Say, er, um, I, uh,” Zi looked around panickedly but there was nobody to save her from this strange man. “I, er, I.. okay. B-But you must.. must keep quiet in the Library.” Behind her back, Zi began twirling fire about her fingers just in case he began to do something… something. Her ears twitched nervously.

His grin grew bigger than ever, and he pumped his fist in the air to celebrate. He even leaned towards her, but remembered she probably wouldn’t like the hug, so he twisted in his heels before hitting the door with his face and stepped forwards. Turning back to look at her, Morionem asked. “So, are you coming or not?”

Zi nodded, face anything but enthusiastic and she followed with dragging footsteps.

~~~~

As they walked through the street, Morionem stared at the lifelessness that filled them, alongside a creeping silence. It unnerved him, and also made him feel bad, worrying about all the people who might’ve lost their belongings, or even worse, their lives, because of the earthquakes. Reminding himself that he did the most he could to help them made him feel better, but he still felt unnerved. “Was that a ‘quack’ just now?” Behind him, the little girl walked at a slow pace, eyes fixed steadily on the gleaming needle in her hand. “So… Uh… Nice needle.”

She scowled, and guiltily hid it behind her back. Confusedly, he kept on his tries to start a conversation. “I… I actually got this book from the Library about meditation a long time ago but I haven’t used it much. Do you know anything about meditation?”

Zi glanced at the invisible Numen, then back at Morionem. “.. tation. Yes. ‘Course I do. ‘m not stupid.”

“I tried it once. I got lost in a forest. I haven’t tried again since.” He frowned. “Do you think it’d help improve my magic skills? If it helps I can shock and heal.”

“Try not to move when meditating,” she suggested helpfully. “And if you can heal, why did I have to heal you yesterday?”

“Y’know the earthquakes? At first I went to the church to help healing other people, but then they called mages to help Lori keep up a city-wide shield. I went there and I spent all the magic I had. Then yesterday I still didn’t have much.” His eyes darted around, looking for any signs of people or even life at all. “Besides, I only know magical healing. Actual, physical doctor healing I don’t. And you do, that makes you better than me.”

Zi nodded, then grumbled. “Well, they stopped me from helping halfway. The church, I mean. Annoying. Urgh. Shut up! Um. Sorry. Not you.”

Morionem blinked, and then asked confusedly. “Why would they do that?”

“.. That.. it’s nothing,” she said quickly. “So, healing, huh? You can zap? Like this?” Taking aim at a suitably plain building, Zi casually threw an actinic bolt with a thunderous crack, leaving a black spot where the lightning struck, then flinched at how loud it was.

Morionem, on the other hand, was already used to the noise lightning made, but became steady as he didn’t expect the little girl to actually cast one, even more right now. “Y-Yes.” He said bluntly. Rising his hand, a small spark, of a bright white shine, danced between his sluggish moving fingers. The spark grew as it dance, and became a circle, and another, and another, three rings one inside the other. And then, within the second, it all collapsed with a blinding light, becoming a small sphere of silver-white with hints of azure, cackling loudly as the energy spun.

“What I like about lightning magic is that it behaves similarly to… Well, magic itself. It moves unceasable and tireless, running all around through the easiest paths, going in visible and sometimes predictable courses.” He glanced around, and stared for a few seconds in the general direction of Numen. “One can feel magic moving on its own all around the same way. It’s easier if the magic is stronger or if it’s focused on something. At least for me, I mean. I still can’t sense it perfectly.” The mage let the orb he had created float away from his hands a few more centimeters, and it spun faster and faster, until it coalesced, following by a rapid dissociation into multiple arcs of lightning, and each divided into more and more tendrils until all the energy had spread through the air and some even through Morionem himself.

Zi drew away from him as the light show progressed and muttered, “Show-off,” then cleared her throat and quoted, “Perfection is slow death. But then, I’m not a lightning mage. I don’t deal with it much myself.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to show off.” Morionem smirked. “I guess it’s kinda rare for me to meet a mage in a non-combat situation and talk about theory of magic.” I mean, since I left home. He thought to himself, but didn’t say it. “Anyhow, I don’t think I’m aiming at perfection. No one can be perfect, can they? I’m just aiming to improve, always, so I don’t stagnate and… Uh… Get left behind?” He was going to say ‘die’, but wasn’t sure it applied in this context.

Zi cocked her head to the side as if listening to someone, then nodded. An angelic halo of living vermillion crackled into being above her head, as did two encompassing wings of organic flames by her back. “I think fire is beautiful,” Zi said simply, then let the flames dissipate. “But more often than not, I have to tend to people who can beat up other people when they get beaten up by other people, so I don’t get the chance to burn people myself. And burning people is.. awful. Have you seen burn wounds? Though,” she added wistfully, “I wish I were half as capable as my sister. Maybe someday I’ll get to burn people.”

The warrior laughed, albeit quietly. “I hope you mean evil people. I myself tried fire once when I was younger. I burned myself and decided to learn how to heal myself. And to shift from fire to lightning. It moves, alright, but it’s less alive than fire. It doesn’t try to eat other living things - Unless it sets them on fire.” He paused for a second to let the information sink in. “Besides, how old are you? Twelve? Thirteen? You sister,” - He assumed she meant an older sister - ”had more time to train and learn how to burn people. She practiced way more than you. When you get to her age, then you will burn people as good as her or even better. I’m sure of it.” The young man turned to her and faced the petite pyromaniac with an encouraging smile.

“I’m fourteen!” Zi huffed, hands on her hips. “Or.. or fifteen. Or sixteen. I’m not.. too sure.. Shut up, you’re being annoying, you promised to stay quiet! Uh.. sorry. I mean, I don’t quite know my age. And my sister, you don’t know her?” she asked incredulously. “Anjali Torvantine? Guild leader of Severed Storm? And.. wait, so you could try magic types when you were starting? Huh.. Mine was.. is.. natural. It just.. came.”

“Uh… I said I’d be quiet in the Library.” Smirking, Morionem continued and attempted a joke. “But sorry. And I thinking here that all women liked to be thought of as younger.” Even then, he didn’t await for a reaction. “Besides, you’re still younger than your sister, who I haven’t met in person. I mean, I’ve met one or two guild leaders personally, which I consider unusual myself. Usually you only hear about them.” Thinking he had heard another ‘quack’, he glanced around, but it was in fact only a seller. “Someone. Finally!” He thought. “And... Yeah… I guess that differently from most people I’ve met… I didn’t actually have innate magic. I… I had to learn it myself.” Morionem noticed that, for the first time a while, the memories from his time learning magic came to him. Some painful, other cheery in hindsight, but nevertheless memories he didn’t think he’d resurface again. “Maybe for fear of the emotions they’d bring.” He tried to explain himself. “And to think my name would remind me of them… I guess I must’ve gotten used to it after all...” The silence had filled the air again, despite there being now someone else in the surroundings. The warrior came to himself again and resumed speaking. “I… Uh? Where are you?”

But Zi was already gone, slipping past the alleys as quickly as she could, ears bobbing up and down as she glanced back to make sure she’d lost him. That Morionem was a strange fellow, and mage or no mage- well, strange as it was, him being a mage made it that much more uncomfortable. Eliziya really didn’t want anyone else to know about.. anything. The voice growled its assent, for the first time in a long time, and she found herself buoyed by the knowledge that they finally agreed on something. Now, to get home and hide and wait for Tamar or Anji or heck, even Kevin to get back.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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Victin
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:17 pm
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:44 pm

Side Story: Big Damn Heroes

Anji unlocked the door to the apartment, quietly closing it behind her so as not to not disturb the toddler on her shoulder. Sighing, she lay him down on the couch, smiling as he curled up on the worn couch.

The guildleader stretched, unbuckling the fairy sword from her waist as she walked into the kitchen, stoking the cooking fire to roasting as she began cooking dinner. After it was mostly prepared, the young woman settled on the couch next to the boy, opening a notebook to begin making notations.

Some time later, the front door opened, and a young man walked in. He leaned his staff against the wall by the entrance, unloading himself from his work gear before going over to sit near his wife. “I’m gone one day and already you’ve found another man, hmm?”

Anji grinned widely, leaning over to hug him tightly, her lips pressed to his for a long moment. She pulled away and hugged him again. “Hi. I missed you, love. You okay?”

“All the better for seeing you, beautiful. Busy day?” He glanced meaningfully at the kid, a teasing light in his eyes.

“A bit.” Anji looked at the boy, and back to Kevin. “The orphanage was too full, and he was clinging to me. I can take him to the guildhouse if it bothers you.”

Kevin picked up the sleeping boy, bouncing him absently on one knee, his arms protectively steadying him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get you anything.”

Anji grinned, leaning over to kiss him quickly before walking into the kitchen. “Want to eat? Maybe we need to wake up the kid, too.” She poked her head back into the living room, eyes puzzled. “What do kids even eat, anyway?”

“They eat food, same as the rest of us,” Kevin told her, laughing. “What’s his name?”

“I dunno. Little bugger fell asleep before I could ask.” Anji looked up from the pan sharply, and began digging around the cabinets for a first aid kit. “Oh hey, love? Can you check his thumb and do that healer-thingy you’re always bragging about?”

“What happened to his thumb?” Kevin asked warily.

“I dunno, he fell asleep before I could ask.” Anji swept back into the room, tossing the kit onto the couch as she gently woke the toddler. “Hey buddy…. Come on, little guy, it’s time to wake up!”

The little boy shifted, eyes sliding open slowly to come to rest on Anji’s face. “Where’s my momma?” he asked tiredly, rubbing his eyes before saying, “Ow.”

Kevin glanced at Anji, before crouching down to look at the kid on his own level.

Anji bit her lip, looking pleadingly at her husband before leaving the room.

“Your ma had to go away for a while,” Kevin told the boy. “We’re going to keep you nice and toasty in the meantime. What can I call you, little man?”

The boy sat up, smiling as he said proudly, “Malakhi. I have a owie. Can you fix owies like Uncle Sam does?”

“Let’s take a look,” Kevin said, settling the boy on his lap. The boy proffered his thumb, and Kevin took it in his bigger hand, examining it with a serious expression. “I’m going to do a very special thing to fix your owie, Malakhi, exactly as my nurse used to fix them for me, all right?” Very deliberately, Kevin pressed his lips briefly against the boy’s thumb. “There. I kissed it better. Is that good now, Malakhi?”

The boy examined the small scrape, nodding sagely. “I think it’ll work. Thank you, mister.” He stood, and began exploring the small room.

“You can call me Kevin,” the man said with a smile, watching his young charge.

“Okay Kevin. You can call me Malakhi.” The boy walked up to him, offering his hand.

“Okay, Malakhi.” Kevin enveloped the boy’s hand in his own for a moment, looking directly into his dark eyes.

Anji popped her head back in, grin growing on her face. “You guys having fun?”

Malakhi nodded enthusiastically, with his hand still trapped in Kevin’s. “Thanks, lady.”

Anji laughed, and stepped into the room. “My name isn’t lady. You can call me Anji.”

Kevin twisted, meeting her eyes with his head sideways. “Can I call you lady?”

Anji struggled to keep a straight face, glaring unconvincingly at the man. She knelt, offering her hand. “Want to eat, Malakhi? I have some food, if you like.”

The boy pulled his hand away from Kevin’s, running to Anji. “I like food!”

Anji grasped his hand, turning back to stick her tongue out at Kevin. Kevin grinned back, and followed the two of them to the kitchen. She settled the boy down at the table, setting a plate in front of him. “All right, go on.”

The little boy dug in, eating half the plate before Anji had handed Kevin his. Halfway finished, the boy paused, and wrinkled his nose experimentally. “What is this?”

“Burgin.” Anji said simply, digging in.

“Oh.” Malachi paused, then grinned again, shoving his fork back into the food. “I like Burgin!”

Anji laughed, and looked at Kevin, eyes glinting. “Can we keep him for a bit?”

Kevin ruffled the boy’s hair affectionately. “Do we have to give him back?”

Anji yawned, running her fingers through her hair tiredly. “Orphanages are overrun. There’re 19 other kids in the guildhouse right now. Honorary members, I s’ppose.”

Kevin touched her arm gently. “I know,” he said softly. “One is enough to make a difference, love.”

“Is it?” Anji glanced back at the boy, and shook her head. “Later, Kev’.” She nudged the sleepy boy, smiling encouragingly. “Malakhi? You need a bath, little guy.”

“Baths are gross,” the boy complained.

“And so are you.” Anji responded. “You ought to get along famously.” She glanced at Kevin, and said, “You need help?”

“No!”

“I have an idea,” Kevin said, standing and putting his dishes in the sink. “I know just what you mean about baths being gross, but I think I can show you how to make it more fun. May I?”

“Will there be dinosaurs?”

“There just might be!”

“Big ones?”

“All sorts of sizes.”

The boy thought for a moment, and nodded, offering his hand regally. “Okay.”

Anji began clearing up, looking at Kevin with a wry grin. “I’ll clear up Zi’s room. Don’t think she’s been in lately.”

“She’s got somewhere to be?” Kevin asked, mild concern in his voice as he led the boy to the washroom.

“Been stayin’ with Tamar, I think.”

The man’s eyes widened. “She’s not-- they’re far too-- Sorry. Her decisions.”

Anji looked at him, sighing. “She’s just… She has no parents to tell her no, and her honor won’t be questioned regardless of her decisions.”

“It’s not my business,” Kevin said.

“Get the kid in bed, and we can talk, okay?”

Malakhi tugged on Kevin’s sleeve, asking, “Who’s Zi? What do you do? Are you magic?”

“I’m not magic,” Kevin told the boy. “But you know what is? The DINOSAUR that’s going to beat us to the bathtub if we don’t hurry!”

Anji watched them leave, quickly retying her hair into a fresh pony tail before disappearing into the extra bedroom, quickly cleaning it and freshening the bed. Once that was done, she moved on to the kitchen, quietly doing the dishes.

“...But then the DINOSAUR stole the soap and began to attack everyone with it!” Kevin splashed the laughing boy back as he sneakily began to scrub him.

“Ah!” The boy screamed, laughing. “Stop the dinosaur before it eats me!”

“I think I’m under attack, too,” Kevin said, as the boy splashed water in his direction.

“We gotta stop him!” The boy splashed water everywhere, giggling.

“Quick! You distract the dinosaur, I’ll try to drive him away.”

The little boy yelled at the window, trying to splash water up at it while Kevin wrestled the soapy foam onto the rest of the boy. Malakhi laughed and giggled. “That tickles! Stop! Not the dinosaur!”

Anji poked her head in, and looked at Kevin with her eyebrows raised. “Uh, love? You takin’ a bath too?”

He grinned up at her. “Saves time, don’t it, sweet?”

Anji rolled her eyes, and spoke to the toddler, “Hey, save some Kevin for me, you know.”

Malakhi looked at her somberly, nodding his head as he let Kevin rinse him off. Before allowing himself to be ushered into the spare bedroom, he asked, “Can I stay here?”

“Can’t stay in the bath,” Kevin told him with a smile. “You’ll shrivel up like an old man. We’ve got someplace much more comfy for you.”

“Oh, okay.” The boy became more serious, and was quiet as he was tucked into bed. He grabbed Kevin’s hand before the man could leave and asked, “You’ll be here later, right?”

“I’ll be here,” the blond man promised. “Anji and I sleep just one room over, behind that big door, so you can bang on the door if you need us.”

Malakhi nodded sleepily, closing his eyes.

Anji waited until Kevin was out of the room before speaking, her shoulders bent over a coffee table half-buried in papers. “I won’t shuffle him around like a lost puppy.”

“I thought that was the idea of us keeping him here,” Kevin said quietly. “He’s happy enough with us; why ever not?”

“It’s a lot of responsibility.” Anji rubbed her shoulder with one hand.

Kevin sat beside Anji, putting an arm around her. “Running a guild is a lot of responsibility,” he pointed out. “We can handle it. What would you do instead?”

Anji sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “I don’t know, Kevin.”

“Well, what do you want?”

“You.”

“‘m right here, beautiful.” Kevin gave her a kiss.

Anji leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder. “I’ll have to start working more. Pay for school and food and stuff.”

“You’re not alone, sweet. We’ll be able to take care of him together.”

“He’s already lost one set of parents, Kev’.”

“I’m the paperwork guy, remember?” Kevin grinned at his wife. “Lot of what I do, I can do as easily with a kid in my lap. I’ll take contract work from other organizations.”

Anji cuddled closer, “Sure?”

“Mmm. I can do it with a beautiful woman in my lap, too. Though you’re slightly more distracting.”

Anji grinned, and kissed him lightly. “He’s lucky to have you taking care of him.”

“He and I are both lucky to have you.”

“Psh.” Anji wrapped an arm lazily around him, sighing. “Did you have a long day?”

“Long enough,” Kevin said ruefully. “Your friend Oracon’s a real piece of work.”

“Were you nice?”

“I’m always nice!”

“You were being a stick, weren’t you?”

Kevin gave his wife a kiss. “The stickiest,” he said, complacently.

“I can talk to him, if you think it’s necessary.” Anji offered, closing the notebook.

Kevin chuckled. “He isn’t bullying me in the schoolyard, love. I don’t need to be friends with everyone.”

Anji looked at him knowingly, “Just some people, then, eh?”

“You’re the important one. Everyone else I can take or leave.”

Anji kissed him lightly, and stood, stretching stiff muscles. “Ready for bed?”

Kevin grinned, placing one hand firmly on her back. “I love you.”

“Love you too, Kevin.” Anji walked into the bedroom, smiling lightly. “Maybe next mission, we can do together?”
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:41 am

Timeline note: a few hours before the ball

Mirae wandered into the guild building, glancing around at the tables as she passed them. She spotted one in particular and wove her way toward it.

Leaning on the back of an empty chair, she pulled something out of her bag. Mirae played with the paper in her hand for a few moments before looking up at the man across from her. “Marcus? What’s a ball?”

Marcus looked at her with an amused expression on his face. “A ball is when royals and rich merchants call a festival dance that they throw whenever they want because they can afford it. I’ve never been to one but I gather that its all very nice and formal.”

The man pulled a sheet of paper out of his pocket. Is not nobility, nor has she been around them to a great degree, he scribbled down before looking back at her. “I have to be there and by that I mean that even if I wasn’t a guild member, I need to have a conversation with Anji about personal property. Would you like to go with me for the time I’m not doing that?”

Mirae smiled. “If it’s a dance, you’d probably find lots of other people there you could spend time with. But I’ll come.” She pulled out the chair and sat down, glancing down at his hands as she did. “What are you writing?” she asked curiously. Half-rising, she tried to get a closer look at the paper.

Marcus smiled and shrugged as he folded the paper. “You’re right there are most likely going to be plenty of people at the ball, who I could spend time with. However if it isn’t clear by now: I like spending my time with you,” he explained.

“And as for the paper, it certainly isn’t anything you need to worry about….” His eyes flashed mischievously. “Of course if you’re dying to know, you could always trade a letter to get a look.”

“Or I could just knock you out and take it from you.” Her eyes flicked around the room as she spoke. “You can’t stay in here all the time. And you have a dance to go to.” The corner of her mouth twitched.

“Also a possibility,” he conceded. “Of course there is at least one third option you haven’t thought of, despite it being easier than knocking me unconscious. Which is slightly worrying by the way….also telling,” the big man began scribbling again as he finished. Violence first option over manners.

Mirae shook her head, still smiling. “I wouldn’t actually…. Then I’d have to wait for you to wake up before going anywhere.” She tipped her head to one side. “But no, I might ask you first.”

Marcus sighed in concession. Then he held out the sheet to her. “Fine, if you really must see. I know I said I was sure you would tell me given enough time...but I must admit that I like figuring things out for myself if I can,” he explained sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head while he did so.

Mirae took the paper, mouth moving as she read the words. Her smile faded. She glanced up at Marcus, then back to the sheet, before mustering another smile. “I should go find my dress,” she said. Her cloak rustled as she stood up.

The soldier eyed her warily. “Uh-huh. And you are not planning on shocking me or anything of the like.”

She turned back and looked at him. “I was joking.” Mirae started making her way back toward the door.

Marcus got up and walked quickly to follow her. “Look Mir, I’m vaguely getting the sense that I’ve screwed up somehow but unless you explain this to me I’m just gonna spend the next month in confusion, since I am quite clearly not a mind reader.”

She paused for a moment, shoulders tense. Then her head turned just long enough to grab his hand, and she started out of the building, pulling him after her. The paper was still crumpled in her grip.

She didn’t look at him until they had gone through the gates and some way into the forest. Then she dropped Marcus’s hand and turned to face him.

Mirae opened her mouth to start speaking, closed it again, tried again. She dropped her gaze in frustration, staring at the sheet of paper as she rubbed it between her fingers. Unfolding it, she read over the scrawled letters, then looked back at Marcus.

“I’m not nobility,” Mirae said, trying to keep her voice level. “I’m not anything like noble.” She laughed shakily. “If I weren’t here, nobles” -- her voice hardened on the word -- “might be trying to kill me. Or they might have just let everyone else do it by now. I didn’t look into it.”

This statement drew raised eyebrows from Marcus. “Well….that’s….what exactly did you do to them that they’re so pissed off at you?” he asked as he moved forward a bit, reaching out gently so as not to scare her.

Mirae grimaced and turned away, walking a few steps deeper into the forest. “I was a lightning mage. And not one of their good, settled, citizen mages.” Her words were halting, like she was trying to figure out what to say in the middle of speaking.

“So they promised money for getting rid of me. Just like any other mage. Whoever didn’t keep their powers nice and quiet and safe.” She shrugged, the gesture partially hidden beneath her cloak and the trees’ shadows.

“Let me see if I can guess this next part,” Marcus interjected quietly. “A civil war?”

“Nothing so drastic. No one wants to be connected to a rogue mage, not even another mage. Just ordinary life. For most people.”

“That's what you meant when you said you weren’t used to people wanting you to be around,” Marcus said in understanding. He placed his hand gently on her shoulder. “You’re running, just like so many of the rest of us. How long has it been since you stopped to take a break, Mirae?”

“When for years, everyone I met might try to kill me in my sleep?” Mirae said, her voice flat. She jerked her head hard to the side, and pulled away from him again. She made a sound like she was about to speak, but instead raised a hand and let sparks run along it. The lightning crackled for a minute. “And then I come here, and I can do this.

“And you haven’t done anything, and you couldn’t get a reward for it here, and I know that, and I trust--” She clenched her hand into a fist. The lightning arced into the air, and she followed it with her eyes.

Marcus stepped forward and wrapped her in a hug, ignoring the tiny shocks he received from touching a charged mage. “You’re right of course. They aren’t here and I can’t get any reward. And even if they were I wouldn’t. The man I was before I came up here might have, under the right circumstances. But I won’t betray you Mirae,” the warrior let her out of the hugs but held onto her shoulders lightly. “We’ve both been running in fear from things for a long time, Mir. Maybe we should start running towards something?”

Mirae looked up at him, searching his face, glancing between normal eye and diamond. Then she let out a breath and hugged him in silence.

Marcus gently held the smaller mage and stroked her hair. “So I realize this may be a bit much to ask, given everything else that has happened today…..but do you still want to come to the ball with me? If so you need to find a dress and I need to get some gems cut so I can pay for nicer clothes.”

“Course I do,” Mirae said quietly. She fell silent, closing her eyes. When she opened them again, the lightning was gone. “I do have a dress,” she said, glancing up at him. “It’s for festivals, so it’s nothing much, but it’s fancy enough.” She shrugged, still holding him.

Marcus rolled his eyes. “I wish I had your luck. You manage to bring fancy clothes with you. My friends steal my coin pouch,” he paused. “Well I suppose I can’t be sure but Anji was the last thief I saw…..so.” He shrugged.

Mirae gave a short chuckle. “Well, you could always have her use your coin to pay for your clothes. Can’t have her guild underdressed at her own ball, right?”

“Well the problem is I haven’t proved she did it, or got her to admit it. Yet,” the big man replied. “So for now I’ll just have to use these,” He brought out a bag and opened it to reveal several uncut gems. “There was a small issue with trolls at the quarry, I pocketed these when no one was looking.”

“So, you can pay them back when you get the coin someone pocketed off of you back?”

“Sure, meet you outside the guildhall in a few hours?”

“See you then.” Mirae pulled out of his arms and began walking back to the city.

Marcus paused for a moment and stared down at the gems in his hand. Pay them back, pah! This is my compensation for almost having my eye eaten. Spiteful and petty thoughts floating around in his head, the warrior headed back to the city.
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Lordxana0 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:22 am

Vincent entered into his house and began to gather together his things. In a few days he would be moving into the Severed Storm guild base for a more permanent lodgings. But there was still business to take care of here. Speaking of which he really had to wonder when the person he had hired would get here. He knew people like her worked best at night but that was still no excuse for not leaving a note of some sort other then ‘I will be here tonight;.

The door creaked open to reveal a cloaked woman. She leaned against the door frame in a manner that suggested she thought her time was being wasted. “Can, we get on with this? I’m sure I have better things that I could be doing right now.”

“Quite sure moi cher” he grabbed a small leather bag and walked over to her, opening it up to reveal multiple vials of deadly poisons, acids, and of course the every popular smoke bombs. “As I am sure you know I wish to hire you and your group for a little project of mine, call it a mission of sorts if you must”

“Obviously,” she stated, walking around the room. “Honestly the only reason you’re dealing with me instead of one of the lower ranked members is because you’re going into Severed Storm. We’ve tried to infiltrate before but between the Torvatine woman and...and Oracon, we’ve been unsuccessful.”

He laughed a bit and shook his head. “You greatly misunderstand this interaction assassin” he offered her the bag. “I am hiring you for a job, your organization will complete the job, and then we will never interact again”

She took the bag from him. “If I had a silver for every time I’ve heard that I could stop killing and retire to a countryside mansion.” She shifted momentarily. “Not that I would you understand, I love my job.”

He shook his head. “Well that isn’t to say that you and I need never interact again” he gave the assassin a wink. “You are a rather beautiful gem”

“You cannot even see my face.”

“Aye but I can see the rest of you, and unless you are hiding two mouths under that covering I doubt that I will be too unattracted to the beautiful face under it” he leaned against the wall, falling easily into his routine.

“I’m not that pretty…..” The assassin let out a moan and clutched her head. “Oh...what in...seven hells….”

“Well I might agree with you to say you are probably not pretty” he thought about it for a moment. “Maybe beautiful is a better word, or angelic… stunning… no goddess like…” he nodded. “Yes that fits well enough…”

“Enough of your prattle.” She declared snarling as she recovered. “The payment is feasible for the task, if only barely.”

“I can always make more if needed, now then for the specifics of your job” he reached into his shirt and pulled free a small plain locket, opening it to reveal a small painting of a young girl. “Rather neat spell… bugger all if I can remember how it was done through…” he showed it to Hara. “This girl is my sister, trapped her for the better part of four months...prior to the event that brought everyone here” he offered her the locket. “Find her, bring her to me, and if anyone stands in your way… well you know why I hired an assassin”

The assassin stared at the picture. “Not the normal type of task we do but you are paying us. I do believe I may have seen this girl before, though I can not recall exactly. Perhaps in passing, maybe in one of the various crime dens I’ve been in recently. We will contact you again when we have more information.”

“Before you leave two things…” he continued gathering his things. “If someone has hurt her, or...anything… make their ends slow and painful” he looked at her. “I am guessing you are proficient at both?”

Hara shrugged. “We don’t really do slow. Its highly inefficient and leaves targets with too high of a survivability rate. I suppose I could torture them to death, but I’ll need to brush up on my skills.”

“Thats fine, the second is this” he stretched himself out before turning around. “I once killed two armies, two young kings, and blew up a diamond mine to keep her safe. If you try and double cross me for any reason I will burn this entire bleeding castle to the ground just to spite you and your boss”

Hara grinned an invisible grin. “The first threat is free but I would warn you not to do it again. We of the guild are expendable. However the Guildleader once tricked a king into killing himself and everyone in his capital into killing themselves just to gain his power. He has spent centuries perfecting his art. Declare war on him and you can either join or die.”

“I am an alchemist and a brother. Do your job and there will be no need for threats, I am just informing you of facts. I don’t do anything to harm you or your guild if you show good faith in your duty.” he shrugged his shoulders. “After all no reason we can’t be civil right?”

“Others can be civil. I am the blade of my master, I destroy what he wills.” She shrugged. “However these threat exchanges are pointless, the bargain is struck.” She turned to leave but stopped. “Oh and don’t let it slip to Marcus that you contracted us, he has a little bit of a vendetta against us. He finds out and we won’t have to betray you.”

“Didn’t plan on telling anyone cher, so no worries on that. But you know should you find yourself hungry and near feel free to find me and I can treat you to a meal, let it never be said that I would pass by the chance to entertain a beautiful young lady such as yourself”

“Pointless,” she muttered as she left and closed the door behind her. This action revealed the fuse burning down into a plate of flash powder Hara had inexplicably left behind.

Vincent quickly covered his eyes as it went off, blinking and trying to remove the spots in his vision. “Huh, always did like a lady who knew how to make an exit… now is this my hand or my foot?” once he regained full vision he finished packing the last object, ready now to make the move into the guild base and out of his little hovel.
Who you going to call? ME!
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby agoraoptera on Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:01 am

Same day as Morionem going to find Zi

Kevin came in, not really expecting to find Anjali home yet. A sudden noise made him turn, reaching for a weapon which he released when he saw what it was. “Oh, Eliziya. I hadn’t expected you. How are you doing?”

“Saints alive, Kevin, oh my goodness, oh Kevin there was someone weird and he was petting me or trying to pet me and then he wanted to take me out and and-” Zi grabbed the front of Kevin’s tunic, pressing against him distraughtly.

Kevin led her gently to the couch, sitting down. “Do you know the person’s name?” he asked, his blue eyes serious. “You’re going to be all right, Eliziya. But we should make sure this person won’t bother you again.”

“Morionem or something like that. Did you see him last night? T-Tamar brought him home and then he asked me to heal him, heal Morionem I mean, not T, and then when I was trying to heal him, he tried to pet me and then that was weird and then today he showed up and said he wanted to apologise and and and-” This time, Zi stopped for lack of breath, practically hyperventilating.

Kevin patted her tentatively on the back. “And he bothered you again today?”

“He showed up today and said he wanted to apologise for it. But then he wanted to apologise by bringing me out… That’s really weird…” Her ears wiggled in distress, inadvertently tickling Kevin’s chin.

Kevin nodded, frowning. “We can take him before Legias for harrassment for the way he’s treated you, Eliziya. Would you be comfortable with that?”

“I, uh.. I don’t know.. I think he’s Tamar’s friend.. I mean he’s just a bit weird but..”

“...But there’s a difference between acting a little quirky and making a young woman this upset with inappropriate behaviour,” Kevin finished quietly.

“What’ll happen to him?”

“Most likely?” the man said. “Legias will probably give him an order to stay away from you, or risk being jailed. Depending on how things go, it could be anything as severe as a day or two in lockup and paying you a fine, to as mild as telling him not to do it again.”

“Oh.. I see.. I don’t know where he is though; I sort of ran back here while he was trying to bring me to the Library..”

“That won’t be a problem,” Kevin assured her. “We would take our complaint to Legias; once she hears us, this man will receive an official summons from the Guard. They’re responsible for bringing him in if he doesn’t come. We could go to her right now, if you like.”

“I um… I don’t want to jail anyone,” she said miserably. “It was just kinda.. weird.”

“He doesn’t have to be jailed,” Kevin said soothingly. “We’ll just keep him away from you. It shouldn’t be let lie if you’re upset.”

“Okay.. I can do that, I think. As long as they don’t hurt anyone.” Zi nodded, trying to slow down her breathing.

Kevin nodded encouragingly, taking Zi’s hand. “Shall we wait for Anjali to come home, so she can stand with you? Or would you prefer to get it done now?”

“Eeh. Eeeeeh. I think.. I think it’s best Jie doesn’t know anything. She might.. hurt someone.”

“As you will, then,” Kevin said, smiling despite himself. “Let’s go.”
If you can make it better, don't make it sentient.

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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Lordxana0 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:50 pm

Journal Entry #1
My name is Vincent Malos, and I am the High Alchemist of Klois, born under the stars of a common man and trained by the former High Alchemist Neron. I serve under King Polias the fifth, young king of Klois who was recently appointed after his fathers death. I live in a secluded tower to the North along with fifty servants and twenty other alchemists... oh yes and of course my sister Leian. This journal shall be an account as my time as the High Alchemist of this kingdom.

Journal Entry #29
Experiments with the potions that would convert rat meat into a safe and delicious meal are still having troubles. Seems the mixture might need more ingrediants from a neighboring kingdom. In news outside of my labs my sister has recently started being courted by a noblemen from Ramarock. In turn I have decided to put him under a truth serum to find his intent, which I found not to my liking. He is now left without the ability to taste or smell anything. I find this punishment fitting. The rude glares I get from Leian are a small price to pay for her overall happiness. In other other news tensions between Klois and Shanadu have risen over a mine filled with precious jewels that lies directly on the boarders of both kingdoms. I am predicting a few more political debates before both kingdoms decided to just split the wealth of the mine. After all that is why we have diplomats isn't it?

Journal Entry # 52
My lab is now solely producing war potions for the upcoming battles between the kingdom of Klois and Shanadu. Its odd not to have my special projects running but I am left with little choice after receiving a direct order from the king. My mind and body are weary from the amount of work that has been asked of us, and it seems we will have no rest. Soon my people will be asked to join the main army to assist in the battles with our potion making skills. My heart is heavy going into a battle over something at petty as money and pride. Why Shanadu would kill our diplomat is beyond my knowledge, through our kingdom was no less as fault when we launched the first attack. This war will be bloody, I can tell that much now.

Journal Entry #64
Two more of my alchemy assistants were killed today trying to apply healing potions to men wounded on the battlefield. Of the fifteen men I brought with me only nine remain. They never expected to see the horror of wars, none of us did. After all what would potion makers do on a battlefield other then die to the enemies swords? I killed another fifty people today through the use of a potion that produces a gas that slowly melts the skin from the enemies bodies. Their screams will haunt me until the day I die, but there is nothing that can be done. At least my sister is safe back at the tower, away from all of this hell.

Journal Entry #70
I can no longer in good conscious support either side in this war. The actions of Shanadu have been aggressive but Klois is removing itself from the right in this war with each day. Innocent villagers killed and entire towns laid to waste. This new and more dark actions are being wrought by the king's adviser, insisting that it is needed to help end the war faster. But the attacks on their cities only make the enemies fight harder. I have deserted the main force along with my three remaining alchemists and a number of war weary soldiers to enact a plan to stop this war once and for all. My plan relies on luck and my silver tongue, both things I have put a lot of stock in throughout my life. I will summon the Queen of Demons, the Fox Spirit Kunaga and attempt to barter with her. Even if my soul doesn't survive this act at least I can die with a mind made clear of my sins.

Journal Entry #71
The summoning was a success. Kunaga was summoned and agreed to a deal. She would give me the materials for three of the most powerful potions I could ever make in exchange for my suffering. Fifty lashes with a whip covered in barbs and thorns. So long as no one made an attempt to heal my back then she would also offer complete safety for those involved in this little scheme of mine. I agreed and from there I only remember blood and screaming from my point of view. The pain was overwhelming, and each time I blacked out her magics brought me back to truly suffer each lash. My back is in constant pain, but it didn't stop me from producing the three potions with a fortnights work. This war ends. No matter what it means.

Journal Entry #72
Its over. Damn me to the ends of the Earth it is over. Both armies had prepared a massive battle, ready for it to be the defining battle that would show who the victor would be. They clashed and the battle was almost even in every sense. This is where the first potion came into play. I threw it myself, I am the only one who should bare the blood on his hands. The potions effects were more then I could have ever imagined... it was an explosive with more power then I had ever thought... the destruction... thousands... tens of thousands... an uncountable number killed by my hands. All in a single flash of light. Needless to say that both armies went into full retreat. The second potion was used at the site of the mine. In converted every jewel in it to lead, useless and pointless to fight over. The third potion... the third potion was once again used by me. It was connected to all of the members of both courts, both Klois and Shanadu. The only ones that remain are the young rulers of both kingdoms, forced to make decisions by themselves. I have retreated to my tower, tomorrow I will take my notes, my sister, and all those that remain with me and sail away from this kingdom. But for now I need sleep.

Journal Entry #73
My sister is gone. I am taken prisoner by the united forces of both Klois and Shanadu, both who blame me for putting their advisers under my control and waging war to test my potions. Its a good lie, a rather solid one plenty will believe. My sister attempted to heal my back, I should have told her... but how do you look into the eyes of one so innocent and tell them that you have become a monster? She was only trying to help... but... damn me. As soon as my back was healed their forces stormed my tower, killing everyone inside. My sister had been wounded by a poisoned arrow... my only choice was to summon the Demon Queen once more. She made another deal with me, every other month I will suffer the same pain from the first deal, and when I die my soul will be claimed by her. I agreed, anything to save her. She... she cut my throat and bleed me into a potion flask to produce the anti venom, pouring it into the wound before spiriting my sister away. The wound on my neck was healed so I could be forced to live through a trial for my crimes. I can't yet speak, and if I can't speak then I will have no defense of myself. I suppose this is the price of my sins.

Journal Entry #74
My name is Vincent Malos, and I have been sentenced to death by burning and archery squad. I am the former High Alchemist of Klois, and I only hold three regrets in this life. 1) I never found love and I will leave the world without an heir. 2) I was forced to kill a town with young children in it. 3) I couldn't protect my sister. Today is the die I die.

Journal Entry #1
I find myself in a strange castle with no idea of why I am here. After hour of being surrounded by flames I was about to be executed by the arrows of the archery squads, but before I could be killed I found myself in this strange place. I have found a house that I can use to research this strange land. And one final note. The Demon Queen came to me for our little session and told me that my sister is somewhere in the Castle, and that if I had the ability I could find her. I will do anything in my power to keep my sister safe. Even if it means warring against every demon and monster in this castle.

My name is Vincent Malos, and I am a brother whose sister is in danger. And that is all that needs to be known of me.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:16 am

Vomit and Chocolate
Timelime Placement: Shortly after Special Event 6.

After Marcus and Mirae had left, Anji slipped quietly into the bedroom, changing slowly out of her dress. It was lovingly hung in the closet, and she bit her lip for a moment, contemplating the night. a noise, Kevin shifting on the bed, called her attention back, and she found a barely dirty nightshirt and pants before walking into the kitchen to put a kettle on the stove.

Kevin woke, an anvil pounding inside his skull. He glanced at the window to figure out what time it was and groaned, rolling away from the sharp light.

“Kev’?” Anji asked sleepily, walking into the room. “You feelin’ okay?”

“I go… jousting wi’ Ben an’ forget abou’ it?” Kevin mumbled. “Feel like I go’ trampled by a horse.”

“Well, you did have a lot to drink.” Anji said quietly, walking towards the window. “Want anything?”

“I din’t have more’n one drink!” Kevin objected. “What’re you on abou’?”

“Someone spiked the drinks, love.” A cool cloth laid itself on his head, covering his eyes. “You had quite a bit.”

Kevin reached up to grasp Anji’s arm. “Talking too loud.”

Anji winced and stopped talking, moving to pull her hand away. When he didn’t let go, she whispered, “I’ll leave you alone, let you sleep.”

“No,” Kevin urged, still not releasing her arm. “Love you. Stay?”

“You can love me when I’m in the other room, you know?” Anji sighed, and poked his shoulder. “Let’s get you into something that’s not so nice as your dress suit, okay?”

Kevin sighed deeply, surrendering. “Don’ rememember leavin’ the party. Somethin’ abou’ uglyman…” He breathed in sharply. “Did Marcus treat you badly?”

“I’m fine,” Anji tossed him a shirt. “Marcus and I had a disagreement. That’s all.”

Kevin began fumbling at the buttons on his shirt, his fingers feeling leaden. “I c’n fight him for you. After I sleep for a hundred years.”

Anji bit back a laugh, and disappeared into the kitchen, returning a few minutes later with a cup of tea. “Drink it.”

Kevin held the mug gingerly to his lips, sipping slowly. “‘s good. Thank you, love.” He smiled over at her through heavily lidded eyes as he gave up on his shirt. “I have the mos’ wonderful wife.”

Anji shook her head, eyeing her husband as she smiled mischievously. “I spiked the lemonade.”

Kevin started to say something, then smirked, and reached for her hand again, holding it tightly in his. “No, my sweet, comported, elegant wife would never do tha’. Mus’ be talking about someone else.”

Anji shook her head, “How about you get some sleep, okay? We can talk more when you can stand listening to sound again.”

“Alr’dy slept,” Kevin complained. “I’ll turn into a rock.”

“Good,” Anji pushed him gently back against the mattress. “Rock’ll be more manageable.”

Kevin pulled her closer, wrapping one arm around her side. “You’ll have t’be a rock too,” he murmured. “We go together. Pair o’ boulders in here.”

Anji giggled, and twisted to face him, gently playing with his hair.

“You feel nice,” he said quietly, laughing a little. “Only thin’ that feels nice.”

“I’m sorry, love.” Anji whispered, wrapping her arms around him. “Sleep, okay? I’ll be here in the morning.”

“Be here now too?” he asked vulnerably.

“Always,” Anji promised, holding him close.

-----------

Kevin rolled over, his arms still curled tightly around his wife. “Morning, beautiful.”

“Evening, Kevin.” Anji smiled. “Feeling better?”

“Got my Nova,” he said, kissing her softly. “‘Course I do.”

Anji sighed, kissing him back for a moment. “You can be angry with me, you know.”

“For marrying a dumb drunk?” Kevin asked lazily.

“You know what I mean.”

Kevin slowly sat up, looking Anji in the eye before speaking. “Please don’t do that again,” he conceded. “I’m probably as much at fault for being gullible, but I watch what I drink because I don’t enjoy being drunk, or hung over. But I think you’ve been through enough with dealing with me in this state; I don’t need to put you through a wringer for it, love.”

“Eh, I deserve it.” Anji smiled, pulling away. “Wring away.”

Kevin rolled his eyes, pulling her close again. “Not going to, silly. You’ve already been taking care of me for, what, a day? More? I think you wouldn’t want to give me alcohol poisoning again any more than I would at this point.”

Anji laughed, cuddling against him. “Just want you to be okay.”

Kevin leaned his head against hers. “Thought it would be funny, did you?” he smirked.

“It was! You should have heard the speech you gave. Swept me off my feet, it did.”

“Mmmyeah? What’d I say?”

Anji smirked, quoting, “We will do the impossible, vince the invincible… we will stare directly into the ineffable, and, by God, we will eff it.”

Kevin chuckled despite himself, bringing a hand up to cover his face. “So what you’re saying is when I get drunk, I turn into Ben?”

“A much more handsome version, yes.” Anji smirked.

“Good. Least I didn’t lose my amazing looks along with my wits.”

“Then you threatened to duel Marcus… That was interesting.” Anji looked up at him, smile playing on her face.

“Oh, God. I really did turn into Ben…” Kevin met Anji’s eyes. “You can still respect your poor husband after watching him get thrashed?”

“Didn’t get thrashed. I had Mirae knock you out, and then they helped me get you home.”

Kevin narrowed his eyes. “She didn’t look like much. What’d she have, a cudgel hidden in her skirt?”

“She has the unique ability to shock sense into silly people.”

He frowned. “Lightning magic?”

“Oh, first try. Good job there, lieutenant.”

Kevin rubbed his head lightly. “Ask me first next time?” he said wryly. “I feel a little… singed.”

“Well, I was trying to stop a brawl, but yeah, I will.”

“Only responsible thing to do.” Kevin nodded, then paused. “Why couldn’t you have him knocked out?”

“Because you were the one starting the fight. And, I owed him a favor.” Anji yawned, and pulled away, standing. “Want something to eat?”

“Food is probably a good idea.” Kevin scooted over to the edge of the bed, putting a leg down gingerly. “What was going on with you and him, anyway?”

“mm?” Anji walked into the next room, calling back. “What d’you mean?”

“I definitely remember he was doing something he shouldn’t have to you.” Kevin stood, weathering the moment of dizziness before he followed her. “I don’t start fights for nothing.”

“It got sorted, Kev’.” Anji handed him a banana before turning to the pantry.

Kevin paused at the entry to the kitchen, looking at Anji with a heavy gaze. “And you don’t want me to know.”

“Not if you’re just going to throw a fit and chase after him on some… misguided attempt at chivalry, no.”

Kevin stared at Anji for a long time. “I see. You’re entitled to your secrets, Anjali.” without another word, he disappeared back into the bedroom.

The small woman bit back a scream, turning back to the toast and oatmeal, beating the pan until everything was cooked. Dishing out a portion, she set it by the bedroom door, knocking twice before returning to the kitchen and curling up on the floor by a window.

Some time later, Kevin sat down across from Anji, balancing the bowl on his knee. “It’s good,” he said quietly. “But I didn’t marry you so that you’d cook me nice meals from time to time, Anjali.”

Anji snorted, wiping at her eyes. “Yeah well, you sure know how to pick ‘em.”

Kevin gave her an odd look, but continued, speaking in carefully measured tones. “If you don’t like the way I handle things, you should tell me; there’s no need to couch it in a needlessly-cruel remark. You’re my wife, Anjali. I trust you. Just as I’d hoped for a small measure of trust in return.”

“I do trust you.”

“You don’t.”

Anji made a face. “How do you know, then?”

Kevin looked away.”You don’t trust me enough to talk about something that clearly upset you. To your husband.”

“What, and I’d’ve told someone else?” Anji shook her head. “I didn’t want to tell you because you and Marcus are on the same team. I won’t give you another reason to hate each other.”

“And you don’t think I can handle myself.”

“Not after what I saw you do at the party. Looked like Charlie, you did. Didn’t know what you’d do.” Anji played with her hand, cracking a knuckle.

“You said yourself, that wasn’t me.” A tear escaped the corner of Kevin’s eye.

“I don’t know, okay?!” Anji curled up. “Just trying to juggle everything and you’re upset that I don’t trust you or something.”

“I’m not trying to level accusations,” Kevin said in a small voice. “But marriages are formed on trust, and, and love. If my actions when I was ill are enough to shake your trust in me, to make you feel like I’m… someone else, then maybe the other foundations weren’t so solid to begin with.”

“I do love you,” Anji cried, tears running down her cheeks. “I’m sorry, okay? I-Don’t leave. Please.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Kevin said, defeat in his voice. “Not in a fit of chivalry or anything else. I just don’t… I don’t understand, I guess.”

Anji bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I didn’t-I’m not… I’m an idiot. I don’t want you to think I don’t love you.”

Kevin took her hand, holding it loosely. “Not an idiot, sweetest. I just find it… difficult when you tell me I was drugged and then in the same breath base your complaints on what I don’t remember doing. I’m your Kevin, love. Always yours. If I mess things up, please tell me. I’ll try to fix it. Your trust is important to me.”

“I didn’t mean to upset you.” Anji frowned.

“I’m sorry, ‘njali,” Kevin said. “For… whatever I did at the ball.I apologize, and I regret it. And I want you to know that that isn’t who I am.”

“No, I’m sorry. I’m being unfair. Not your fault I’m so… untrusting.” Anji brushed a lock of his hair out of his face. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Kevin murmured, leaning his head against her shoulder. “This is just… a step along the way, okay, my Anji? Not your fault. We’ll both get better, longer we get used to being married. At trusting each other, and acting right. Love you so much.”

"Love you. Best friend." Anji curled up next to him. "We're okay?”

Kevin kissed her slowly, wrapping his arms around her torso. “Always.”
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Krika on Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:46 am

Research and Magic Theory

-----

The lines of the chalk design inscribed into the floor glowed every so slightly, barely even visible in the clear light of several crystals embedded into several small alcoves placed around the walls of the room. A few dozen crystals, each colored a slightly different shade, were placed at various intervening points around the design, glowed slightly with light as well. A moment later, and the light brightened, the lines starting to run with faint shimmering colors. The crystal’s glow increased as well, some of them noticeably starting to glow brighter than others. Moment’s later, the glow was increasing, the magic running through them becoming quite obvious to anyone with any sort of ability to sense it. The power started to settle, filling the design with a steady level of power, the faint shimmers in the glow starting to even out into a single shade.

The power had almost started to reach full capacity, filling the matrix, when a sudden discharge of power leaped between two vertices, shattering the balance. Other discharges fired, some connecting points on the design, others jumping to land against the ground, wall, or ceiling, while still others jumped to the connect with the crystals, sending them flying with the force of the impact. The bolts of power filled the room with crackling energy for a moment, before the energy dissipated into the air, sinking into the already slightly-charged environment of the area.

Fern frowned from where he had leaped back from the circle he had been slowly charging, reviewing the moments immediately before the first discharge had occurred. Fortunately, none of the discharges that had struck him had been strong enough to do anything more than give him a minor shock, and even then he was becoming used to feeling them from his experimentation. Fortunately for his supply of funds, the damage to the room had been limited to easily cleaned scorch marks in places, so that was reasonably simple to clean up. The design on the other hand…

It was mostly complete, but parts of it where discharges had emerged from, or had struck had the chalk distorted, some of it having been consumed entirely, and others simple been smudged by the energy that had flowed through them. The design itself was a complex circle about three feet across, the chalk arranged in complex lines and swirls, with several sets of runes placed at various points around it. An extremely complex diagram that few magic users would be able to understand at first glance. Fern, however, had spent most of his life learning these circles, and as a result was one of those few.

He walked over to a pack on the floor, around the backside of a pillar, and removed a notebook, inkwell, and pen from it. Seating himself on the floor, he opened it to a marked page, and began scribbling notes into it.

Testing of matrix structure D, combined with modulator R, channeler I, seventh iteration. Nodes A-C-1, B-R-4, and S-A-3 experienced abnormal fluctuation, causing cascade failure starting at point B-B-4.

He paused in his scribbles, nibbling the tip of the pen.

Modulator-channeler synchronization imperfect, leading to uneven load across the array connections. Fine-tuning required.

He sighed, and put the book down to let the ink dry, grabbing a set of cleaning materials and pulling himself up. As he walked over to the wrecked diagram onto the floor, he contemplated it.

Really, it was a pretty simple thing, all together. Receive power shoved into it, and channel it into the storage array. In general, an easy and simple thing to accomplish. He could pull something together in under ten minutes off of memory. Sure, it might not be as great as it would be if he could spend some time making it good, as opposed to merely functional, but it would work. What he was trying to do here, however….

With a shake of his head, he knelt down, and got to work carefully scrubbing the floor clean of everything that had been on it. Sure, the simple things were easy to do, but when you started trying to improve, boost, simplify, do all sorts of things to the originals, or even started trying to make your own from scratch, that was where things got complicated.

First of all, most basic arrays had a generous buffer to deal with excess power interference between the energy flows, but as the flows got progressively closer together, and more power flowed through them, the chance of energy discharges occurring, or the field interference being high increased, both of which would reduce the efficiency of the overall array. So, you had to shape the flows to reduce the interference as much as you could, while avoiding build-ups that could lead to discharges, and if you had the time and materials, you could build buffering materials into the design itself. And as he wanted something that didn’t take up expensive materials every time he had to use it, that was a route he couldn’t use, so he was stuck drawing and redrawing it to try and reduce the field interference.

The matrix as well...magical energy generally needed some form of prepared container, meaning that any ritual would either need a prepared component, or include some sort of storage matrix, assuming that any sort of long-term viability would be wanted. If no matrix were attached, then as soon as the ritual wasn’t powered, any effect it was producing would cease. And while he most certainly could try to build a Summon using a pre-existing matrix as the storage spell, that meant that he’d have to have an expensive component always on hand to summon it. Still….

He sat back onto his heels, carefully thinking that idea over for once. He couldn’t make it fully dependent on the container’s draw, he had to have some tie to him. Still, it wouldn’t be hard to make it draw off of the container primarily and only pull a trickle from him…

Yes, that would probably work best. The fact that various crystals were the easiest obtainable containers for magic would make the final product significantly more limited in what it could be, but this could easily provide a useful way to fulfill his goals here.

Though in the end, he would need to figure out how to optimize a storage matrix. It was part of his checklist, after all. Doing this...it would put off doing that, not solve the issue. He frowned, and went back to cleaning. He wouldn’t stop his current path, but testing the use of a storage unit was definitely something to add to his research plan.

With a frown, he finished washing off the area. Now he had to dry it off as best he could, and wait for it to finish on it’s own, before he moved onto the next test. The water would clear away any magical residue, but the few mixed-in materials that he had to assist that process would make any design unstable if any was still in the area. And besides, he needed a clean slate for each test anyway. Doing any less would ruin the point of this testing.

He sighed, thinking ahead to all the time this would take. It was time well spent, but even he admitted that it could get quite tedious at times, especially the waiting. Still, it was getting close to meal-time. Getting some food would fill the time spent waiting for the area to reset itself nicely.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby agoraoptera on Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:46 am

"He pulled her close," she read, "their lips touching lightly as they gazed into each others' eyes."

I don't comprehend this exchanging of saliva, nor this observation of each other's eyes.

"Don't pretend you don't know; you know everything I know. You lived me."

Zi shut the romance novel, laying her head on the table. It'd been a long day, she yawned, and she really ought to be going home soon. But reading was rewarding more often than not, and the chair and table was very comfy, and Papa- no, the voice was humming something that resonated from her past, something that she couldn't quite remember but it.. it sounded.. very.. soothing...

She jerked upright, turning from side to side; the humming had stopped.

"Father? You.. thing, why have you stopped humming?"

Desolate quiet answered her, and the only movement she could see was Numen's placid fluttering. She pushed the chair away and stood, wincing at the jarring screech of wood against wood. The Library had always been huge, but now, it almost felt like she were swallowed. In the stomach of a slumbering beast of wood and paper and ink, she stepped away from her table tentatively and peered round the corner of a bookcase.

There was nobody.

"Thing?"

Vague dread replaced her marrow and she gestured for Numen to follow. Zi started with slow, intentionally controlled paces, but as each subsequent turn revealed a complete absence of life, she began running fearfully.

"Anyone?" she called loudly, no longer caring that silence was to be observed in the Library. "Is anyone there?"

Her voice began to border on hysterical, and she ran down the corridor she knew would take her to the door.

Spiraling upwards into the ceiling, a crooked stairway stood where the door ought to have been. Touching the mahogany staircase gingerly, she swore. It hadn't been that long ago that she'd found herself in the Library somehow whilst in outside alleys; was this the Library's handiwork again?

A single ticket lay on the first step, but before she could pick it up, a chorus of menacing hisses arose from behind her. Zi had thought that after all she'd gone through, there was little that would make her fear again. Staring into the malicious black pearls that were the snakes' eyes churned her stomach and eradicated all conscious thought. Zi turned and ran up the rotting stairs, scarce perceiving the fact that the ticket was now diamond, barely hearing the screaming of the wood under each thunderous step, as long as she could get away, get out of reach from the horrible slithering swarm chasing after her, nipping at her heels with their venomous fangs and-

Reaching the end, she slammed the door open and burst out into a pavilion, temporarily blinded by the sudden sunlight. Since when did the Library have a roof? A low deep-throated growl sounded, but reverberated as if the dissonant vibrations were bouncing off walls and invading her ears like so slimy maggots writhing in. Zi swallowed nervously, clenching her sweaty fists. Then it landed in front of her and she barely stifled a small shriek.

It eyed her lecherously, three sets of crimson orbs with the gaze of an insatiable glutton. Sticky saliva dribbled down from three slavering muzzles into hellish black fur, matting the pelt together where the spittle dried. Iron claws like scimitars glinted cruelly in the collapsing sun's rays as it pawed the ground, leaving ragged gouges in the gazebo. The three-headed infernal hound, impossibly, smiled.

Zi..

Eliziya raised her hands, backing off slowly, and then it was over. The cerberus pounced; her ribs cracked, shattering under its immense weight- its talons shredded her heart, there was a flash of bright pain; the stars winked out one by one, the world shaking under the breathing of the hound, the shaking, the shaking..

Zi...

She shook herself awake, looking up blearily. Her tresses were dark with sweat, as was the grain of the wooden table. To her relief, she saw that the romance novel was dry.

My child? Zi had never heard it so concerned before, so worried.

"Yeah? I think I d-dozed off there for a moment.."

Are you alright?

"Yeah. Just... shaken. I think I had a bad dream."

I know, it said quietly. I had to shake you awake. Let's go home, my dear.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Victin on Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:10 pm

Present Day
Timelime Note: Takes place before Quest 63

Morionem wandered inside the inumerous walls of bookcases, creating endless corridors that turn and twist into themselves, covered on a web of staircases, a maze of multiple levels. The warrior never really understood why it was made this hard to navigate, ever since the first time he came here. He had fought a thief with the help of another thief, then fought that thief who helped him escape, got himself a book and had his lunch stolen. And that book was the reason that brought him here.

”I probably should get someone to put this book back in place for me… Okay, if I were Fern, where’d I be?” After deciding the answer would be in a cave, the man decided to shrug that off and simply wander around trying to find Fern, avoiding any other librarian.

After some time, he found the Loreknight sorting through a large stack of books, deeply intent on his task at hand. “Fern!” Morionem said, too loud. “I mean… Fern. How are you?”

Fern’s head jerked up to look at Morionem. “Oh! Oh, hello. I did not see you there, I am afraid.” He gestured to the pile of books. “I am doing well enough. Loreknight duties, and such things.”

“That’s cool.” He smiled. ”I came here to give back a book I borrowed a long time ago. Maybe borrow a new one if I find anything that interests me.”

Fern nodded. “I presume that you have the book that you wish to return on you?”

“Yes, yes.” Morionem took his backpack in his hands, and taking a familiar black cape from inside firstly, he then managed to get the book from inside. He put the mantle back inside and handed the book to Fern. “Here.”

Fern accepted it, looking the book over. He flipped it open, and scanned the first couple of pages, before inspecting the rest of the book. “It seems to be in good condition, and no identifying markers for any owner, so getting it into the collection should be simple enough.” He placed it down on the table he was working at. “On behalf of the Loreknights, I thank you for returning it after all this time.”

“No problem. Now, if I’m not troubling your work already, what do I need to do if I want to borrow another book?”

“Do you know what you would want to borrow, or would you need to look around?”

“Not really, I would need to look and see if any interests me.” Morionem let that sink for a moment, before saying jokingly. “At least one here must probably do it.”

Fern nodded. “With the wide subject matter collected here, it is incredibly unlikely that you could not find something to interest you. I can direct you toward specific sections if you have any areas you would be looking for.”

The warrior looked puzzled for a few seconds, trying to think of an answer. “Hum… Maybe something about… Knights? And mages? And… Dragons?”

“Stories, you mean?”

“Sure?”

Fern thought for a moment, before pointing. “In that direction you should find stairs leading downward. Take them down a floor, and then head straight across until you reach a large corridor moving perpendicular to your direction of travel. Turn left and follow it until you see stacks marked with a sleeping figure. That is the fiction section. When you find a book that you wish to check out, every Loreknight has a set of slips that can be filled out to record your borrowing of it, a copy of which you drop off at entrance when you leave. Anything else?”

“And afterwards I just take the book and leave?”

“Indeed. As long as you return it within a few weeks, of course.”

“No problem. Thanks, sorry for occupying your time.”

Fern shook his head. “It is nothing to apologize for, do not worry. Helping out guests is part of my duties after all.”

Morionem smiled. “Okay then. See’ya whenever.” As he walked away, the warrior stopped at the end of the corridor. “Oh hey, two times we haven’t met in a cave. We’re getting better at this.”

Fern nodded and sat back down at his books, picking up where he had left off.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby agoraoptera on Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:04 pm

With the low ceiling and tight walls, it almost felt like the Underground again. Outside, the sun covered the city in a cloak of warmth, but the drafts hurtling past Zi managed to chill her to the bone. She wrapped the hood closer to her face, pressing down her ears. Though small in stature, even she felt confined between the parallel stone walls. She held an orb of flame ahead of her as she walked, for not a single torch was present to provide light.

With every step, her sheathed longsword chafed against her back. It didn't make much sense to have the scabbard on the back, but it was too long- not that she was too short, it was the sword’s fault for being too long- to be buckled to her hip. On hindsight, she really ought to have filched- that is to say, borrowed- a short sword from Severed Storm’s armory instead.

Another draft wailed through the corridor, splashing the orb into her face. Zi jerked away from the fire, shaking off the embers that clung to her eyelashes and quickened her footsteps. Surely this was the place.

After another minute of walking, a door presented itself at the end of the tunnel and she exhaled slowly in relief. She swung the black iron knocker twice, then waited. Dull and heavy, the thuds echoed off into the distance, swallowed by the darkness. Air streamed by her ankles, slipping in through the bright gap under the door. Zi made to knock again, hesitated, and pulled the door open.

Sudden brightness poured into the tunnel and she squinted to see the blue sky overhead once more. Blinking away the afterimages, she stepped out of the corridor and into a rooftop garden, and immediately suffered a heavy blow to her head.

Caught off-guard, Eliziya staggered backwards with eyes tearing and arms flaming, blindly swiping in front of her in the hopes of striking her assailant. Mailed hands grabbed her wrists and threw her to the floor, pinning her down and further disorienting her. Her longsword remained useless in its scabbard on her back, pressing painfully against her spine. She writhed and struggled to slip free, eyes turning orange and mouth spitting fire, but the assailant clamped her jaw hard, nearly severing her tongue in two.

She was about to lash out with the full force of her magic and sear the man alive, but then he barked out a harsh “Stop!”. Zi was about to disregard him and continue anyway, until he took his weight off her body and stood. “Get up.”

He didn't need to tell her; the mage was already rolling away and scrambling to her feet. Breathing heavily, she finally got her first good look at the man. Wide-set eyes and a firm straight nose stared down at her, surprise evident in his otherwise saturnine features. Squat and robust, he bowed slightly, thick brows frowning.

“Who the hell are you?” Zi asked warily, head still smarting from his first blow.

“Your teacher,” he said austerely.

“You’re Aximand.”

“The same.”

“Why did you- Don’t ignore me!” Zi grabbed at his shirt as he turned away. In one fluid motion, he twisted her arm and thrust her to the floor.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” she snarled, more in anger than in pain. “I’m here to learn, not to get thrown about like some ragdoll!”

Aximand released her again, took a step back. “Your first lessons. Always be prepared; a fight is never over until your opponent can’t move.”

“Damn your platitudes!” she fumed, clenching her fists. “Don’t tell me these kind of meaningless words, I can come up with them as well as any!” With an effort of will, she extinguished her hair.

Aximand gave her a dry, mirthless smile. “It is enjoyable to have a student with such enthusiasm. I had not expected… had not expected one such as you, Miho. I was told to expect a young mage, not-”

“Miho?” Zi’s eyes narrowed.

“I beg your pardon. I do not mean to presume overmuch. Come with me, student.”

Eliziya followed him at a distance, tail stiff with misgivings. He led her to a side of the garden where weapons of every sort were arranged on wooden racks, from axes to swords, flails to sickles.

Aximand gestured at Zi. “I take it you are proficient with swords?”

She stopped, realising he was pointing at her scabbard. “No. Not at all. Why else did I come here?” she retorted.

“Draw,” he answered calmly. Zi slid the sword from its sheath clumsily, and before she could get it completely free of the scabbard, Aximand had already drawn a claymore from the rack and was swinging it at her.

She barely scraped the blade out in time to block the heavy blow on her blade’s edge. Aximand’s strike left a deep notch in her blade and caused it to ring painfully in her hands. Zi’s arms felt numbed by the single strike, but Aximand’s claymore was returning for an overhead attack. He beat down once, twice, thrice in quick succession and smashed into her guarding blade. On the third and final blow, the longsword snapped, fragmenting and flying apart under the immense stress. Metal slivers cut into her cheek as her useless arms dropped the equally useless hilt, and Aximand put his claymore above her skull, as though about to cleave her in two.

Zi’s lips quivered, then her legs crumpled beneath her and she sat on the grass, cradling her arms quietly. A thin line of red began covering her cheek in blood.

“Get up, student.”

“That was my sword.”

“It is a thin cut; you will be well. Stand.”

“That was my sword!”

Aximand grabbed her by her collar and hauled her to her feet, staring her in the eye in a not unkindly fashion.

“So it was,” he nodded. “Not anymore. It wasn't suited for you: too unwieldy for your height. Have a pick of your weapon,” the master-of-arms gestured to the racks.

“You shattered my blade!” she yelled, voice shrill.

Aximand raised an eyebrow. “What instruction have you picked up from the side? That your blade is your constant companion and your partner? Student, if you would learn from me, forget all that. That is romanticised nonsense.”

“Nons-”

“Yes. You found me, because you were searching for someone to teach you how to fight. I don’t teach the noble and gentlemanly art of fencing or any such thing with all its lovely limitations and rules against dishonourable acts. You,” he poked her forehead firmly, but in a friendly manner. “I’m teaching you how to kill men with a sword, and for that, your weapon is just a tool. A master of murder may use anything, even the most corroded blade to kill, because the power to kill is in him. Not the weapon.”

Zi sent a surge of healing warmth down her limbs, and the tingling shock of the blow began to fade away. “I wanted to learn how to fight,” she nodded reluctantly, the cut on her face closing.

“What I will teach you will be underhanded and brutal. Take advantage of anything and everything; go for the genitals, bite off the nose, spit in the eyes, everything. Though I doubt I have to teach you about biting,” he smiled humourlessly. “Take your pick of the weapons.”

“And have you strike me while I pick up a blade?” she muttered.

His smile grew wider. “It is good to know that you can identify patterns. Identify your foe’s patterns of attack and you identify the means to victory. But no, I will not strike you. Ditch your cloak. Take your time and test them all out on the woundman,” he pointed to a worn effigy. “You might have no training, but I would like to see if there’s anything in particular we can start from.”

The woundman was a leather dummy covered in rough cloth and stuffed full with straw in the shape of a man stuck atop an iron pole. Its ‘clothes’ were torn and tattered from countless wounds that no doubt would have killed a real man enough times to fill a mass grave.

Zi glossed over the more common set of daggers, knives, short swords, broadswords, longswords, bastard swords, sword-swords and other assorted swords. She picked up a flat metal ring, its diameter about the size of her head. It looked like someone had taken a sword and smelted it into a circle, then added hooks and curved blades in imitation of flames all over except for a hidebound handgrip.

“It’s a pair,” Aximand told her, and she picked up the second. They were comfortably light in her hands and she swung them in an arc. “Wind-and-fire wheels, they’re called. Good range, easy to disarm and parry with.”

Fire flowed from her fingertips, decorating the stylised blades with what they really represented. Holding them out, she spun a complete circle on the spot. She cut and laid into the woundman for several minutes, Aximand directing her approvingly.

“Don’t set my woundman on fire. Yes, that’s it, aim for the heart. No, higher, that’s the liver you’re sticking. Higher. Too high. Move into a fighter’s half-crouch, like this. It’ll be easier. Lower. Lower. That’s it. Strike. Again. Very nice.”

It felt wonderful, and it really fit her magic, but..

“I think I’d rather have one hand free,” she frowned. “Can’t cant any spell like this.”

“They’re much less effective with only one. Better try something else then.”

She let her gaze wander off across the selection of weapons again, looking for something to catch her eye. Picking up a hatchet, she strode over to the training dummy and hacked at it artlessly before deciding against it. It didn't have quite the same feel as the wind-and-fire wheels.

“Where’d you get all these weapons?” she asked conversationally, picking up a knife with an inwardly curved edge.

“You don’t get to be a master-of-arms without mastering arms,” he answered. “That’s a kukri knife, by the way. It’s more for chopping than stabbing, so please don’t stab my scarecrow.”

“Just testing it out,” she mumbled, picking up a slender blade.

“That’s a misericorde. Don’t bother; it’s meant for mercy killings. You could stab someone in the back if they’re distracted, but I’m here to teach you how to fight one on one. Or one of you on many enemies. I must admit, pupil,” Aximand leaned against the wall casually, arms folded. “I am honoured by your trust.”

“My trust? I don’t trust you at all,” Zi said darkly, picking up a glove with blades extending out from the knuckles.

“Tiger claws are light and easy to use. You came as you were,” Aximand shrugged. “You and yours rarely come as you are.”

“Your other pupils must be shy.” Zi put on the glove and ripped at the effigy’s face.

“Not at all; you are the first of your kind I've taught. The tiger claws ought to be used as a pair, or in tandem with a longer weapon since they have limited range.”

A slim metal rod caught her eye and she examined it. Ending in dull arrowheads on both ends, the arm-length rod had a small ring attached at the middle. Zi looked to Aximand in askance and he nodded.

“Emeici. Go on, slide your middle finger through the ring. The rod should be at your palm. Again, twinned weapon.”

Slipping on the rings, the mage found that the rods swiveled easily; the ring was a pivot. The weight felt pleasant in her hands, almost natural. Not very heavy, but with just enough substance. Approaching the effigy again, she stabbed downward with one rod and penetrated its cloth shirt easily. Swinging it around, she gripped the rods between her fingers and punched, achieving much the same effect. Chopping at the woundman from both sides at once, she made the whole thing shudder. Murmuring mystic words, Zi found that she could move her fingers in the necessary passes comfortably, the rods rotating to accommodate her digits. With a growing grin, she began to stab and chop at the dummy, adding more marks of her own.

“You seem very comfortable with it, for a beginner,” Aximand commented.

On an impulse, she ran to a side, putting about five metres between herself and the effigy. With a click, she disengaged the rods from the rings. Hefting them to hold up one end, she lined up and threw, whipping one emeici end over end through the air with the full force of her arms, twisting hip and upper body. The rod sank in to about half its length in the woundman’s head where it held fast and set the dummy a-quiver.

“Oh my,” said Aximand. “My, yes, that will do nicely. There’s a foundation we can build upon.”
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:43 pm

”They Who Live In The Dark, on the one hundred seventeenth shelf of the fifth floor.” The book was set in its place, and the wheels of the cart creaked loudly, screaming for oil as they were pushed on the wooden floor. ”The Fox and the Carpenter, and Other Stories, on the one hundred twenty-first shelf of the fifth floor. Folklore and Fact, on the one hundred twenty-second shelf of the fifth floor.” The man sighed, and kept pushing the smallish iron frame of the cart while it hummed its worksong. He didn’t expect it to last very long, but he had the same perspective on his stay at this Castle and that was proven wrong. In the meantime, he had the work in the library, which wasn’t what he wanted most, although for now it had to do. He had always hated the office work, that’s why he always took archaeological and exploration expeditions whenever possible. ”But now you’re too old for that, aren’t you?”

“-He may have been beaten, but he’s obviously still here.”

“That’d make sense but there has to be places he can’t reach. When I asked, he confirmed he could only reach the time gem because I had brought it out of the temple, and it wasn’t the gem itself interfering with his power since he moved it right out of my hands…Mir, how would you like to go exploring a temple with me? Once its safe to leave that is.”

Plinny raised his head at the excerpt of conversation he had caught. Halting suddenly, he entered in the corridor between shelves one hundred twenty-two and one hundred twenty-three, and turned right. Walled by bookcases positioned as a square around a table, there stood one of the many reading “chambers” set randomly around the whole library. In the corner, Plinny noticed someone leaving, but didn’t arrive in time to see anything more than a blur. Still, someone stood reading at the table. “G-Good afternoon, mister. May I be of help?”

The other man eyed him warily. “Are you librarians finally free to help? I mean sure there was the whole earthquake and everything but I can’t imagine the Loremaster needed the help of all of you”

“All of us? All of us weren’t enough to help. We had people from outside the guild to help.” Plinny walked closer, leaning on the cart for support. “Most of the mages in the guild are but apprentices, with the exception of the Loremaster herself.” And he thought: ”You aren’t an apprentice, but you are old. You are as good as them, old man.”

The big man raised an eyebrow at this. “And all of you librarians are mages, there is not a single one of you that isn’t?” He crossed his arms over his chest. “I find that incredibly hard to believe.”

Plinny smiled under his beard. “With that madwoman in charge, you either learn something to protect yourself or you get some shot at you with her experiments.”

“Um….right. Look I have to get going soon, can you check out some of these books for me?”

“Sure I can.” He said, letting the cart in its place and walking towards the table to pick up the books. Suddenly, Plinny lost his balance, and then took one hand to his waist and another to the table. “S-Sorry.” He said, trying to hide the embarrassment in his voice. “Ever since that shielding spell I haven’t been on my best health.” A wooden cane appeared from within his robes, and he used it to support himself as he approached the table and, one by one, put the books on the cart.

“Obviously. Not that I can say I’m surprised. I’m no mage myself but that shield looks like it takes up a whole lot of power to maintain.”

“And yet you don’t believe the Loremaster needed the help of all of us.” This time, his smile could be seen behind his beard. “Ah, I apologize. I guess I’m turning into a cranky old man, aren’t I?”

“I also didn’t know all of you were mages before now,” the man pointed out. “So, no I thought there’d be some non-mage librarian free.”

“Didn’t you hear? That woman was taking non-mages as well because they could give out life force. Now that’s life-threatening.”

He shrugged. “Look I don’t even work for her and I know she hasn’t got her head on straight all the time. You sound positively surprised.”

“Surprised? I’m surprised people let that homicidal maniac run this guild.”

“Hey now! Homicide implies intent to kill.”

“Do you have any doubts about that?”

“No doubts. I’m merely saying I’m quite sure she has no plans to kill anyone on purpose.”

“Then you’re the optimist one here.” Plinny put the last book on the cart, or better, second-to-last book. “Are you still going to read that one?”

“They’re all necessary research. Can’t go into a fight against this new guy without plenty of information.”

“Yes, but you can’t take them all with you. If you want to take that one, just tell me and I’ll… Take you to someone willing to fill the paperwork.” Plinny looked to his sides, and then leaned towards the big man. “I overheard you talking about exploring a temple too. What exactly do you have in mind?”

“Look don’t worry about the paperwork, if Lori asks after the books just tell her Marcus talked you into it, she’ll come after me personally and you’ll be fine. Now as to the temple…” Marcus shifted his weight uneasily. “You know, its probably nothing that interesting. Its partially burned out, probably nothing there.”

“Well, I’ve done plenty of archaeological and exploration in my time, I could be of help. As long as you don’t want me to fight that is. I used to be able to at least handle myself, but nowadays I can… Barely walk.” Sadness escaped into his voice as he said that, and the bearded man also raised his walking cane for Marcus to see.

Marcus rubbed the back of his head. “Well you can come if you want but I’m not gonna lie and pretend it’ll be anything resembling safe. Hell the damn place might just collapse on us.”

“Last time an ancient building collapsed on me I ended up here. Which is to say, better than being dead, that crazy woman standing out.” He hit the floor with his cane, and turned to push the cart away. “But anyhow, I’m glad you accepted me into your venture. It’ll be nice if I can be of help, and not drag you behind.” He hit the wooden floor again, the solid thump resonating on the walls of the fake chamber. “Just tell me when you’ll go to the temple and I’ll be there.”

---

Present Day
(Timelime note: Takes place before Quest 63)

Mirae rushed down the stairs into the tavern’s common room, hastily sidestepping one of the patrons at the bottom. As she did so, she knocked into a table, sending a block of wood toppling to the ground. “Sorry,” she said, briefly glancing at the woman on the other side of the table before picking up the block. It was a rough carving of some sort, a strange fish with a round head on its abnormally long neck. She took a final look at its stub of a tail before placing it back on the table and moving on.

Just outside, she let the door close behind her and walked a short ways along the street. Every so often, she would pause to scan up and down the road. She spotted a familiar blond head and ran over. “Hey, Marcus.”

The warrior turned and greeted her with a quick kiss. “Hello there Mir. How are you doing today?”

“Stuck in the bottom of a giant bowl of a castle,” she said, kissing him back. “Yourself?”

“Not as hung up as you are about the whole bowl thing,” he replied with amusement. “Besides it’s not really a bowl. If one were to theoretically pour enough water to fill up this ‘bowl’ of your’s it would leak out because there’d be nothing to hold it in.” Marcus took a moment to stretch. “Besides what are you complaining about? You love exploring the castle, what difference does it’s shape make?”

“None at all.” Mirae grinned. “Other than the arguments you try to make about it. What if it’s a bowl full of holes, then?”

“Ah, but its not is it? Holes imply separate openings. Form what you told me the castle is just a big spiral now.”

“And you’ve never made a bowl out of one big spiral of clay?”

“I was never a potter. What about you?”

“Not me,” she said, stretching her arms above her head. “I watched a potter make one like that once, though. I think he was a potter, anyway.”

Marcus rolled his eyes at that. “I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this question but have you ever considered stopping and asking people if they actually do something for a living or just as a hobby?”

Mirae shrugged. “You could turn one into the other easily enough. So he might have been a potter once and had to move on.”

“So that’d be a ‘no’ then?”

“Well, I’ve never asked you, have I?” she replied, smiling broadly.

He rolled his eyes again before reaching over and taking her hand in his. “Getting a straight answer with you is like pulling teeth, you know that?”

Mirae squeezed his hand. “So, we’re off?”

“Not quite yet, I ran into this old librarian who wanted to come along.”

She blinked in surprise. “That’s… odd. Do you know him?”

“Not really but he has experience with these kind of places from what he told me.” He looked off to one side. “I also may not have had the heart to turn him down.”

She frowned as he started to speak, but jerked her head sharply soon after. “Of course you didn’t,” she said, laughing softly. “I’m just being… I don’t know, paranoid.”

Marcus smiled sadly at her before enveloping the tiny mage in a hug. “Hey, I promised I’d protect you didn’t I?”

“Mmph,” she said, mouth muffled by his shirt. Tilting her head back so she could speak, she continued, “I know. And you’re probably right about him.”

“And if I’m wrong it probably won’t turn out too badly.”

“Heh. Well, whatever happens, we can handle it.”

“Alright then.” He released his hold on her and stepped back. “Shall we go meet the man milady?” the soldier teased.

Mirae dropped a fake curtsey and looked up at him, corner of her mouth quirked in a smile. “You lead the way. Or I’d just find the nearest librarian and have done with it.”

---

“So, which way is it?”

“Once we get outside the city, it’s a ways into the forest.” Mirae jerked her head in the vague direction of the city gates. She kept her pace a couple of steps behind the old man, which was easy seeing as he slowly staggered as he walked, not using his walking cane.

“Well, then, shouldn’t one of you lead then?” Plinny smiled under his beard, glad he finally found an enjoyable distraction from the work at the Library.

Marcus shrugged as he replied. “Don’t let it bother you too much I’ll take point once we get out into the woods. Mir will keep bringing up the rear so she can zap anything that tries to jump us.”

She grinned and dropped her gaze to her left hand. A small pool of light formed in it, and began to ripple as she tried to shape it into a ball.

The bearded man nodded silently. “Ah yes, lightning magic. It flows through matter not unlike magic energy itself. Some scholars theorize electricity is the same kind of energy that powers any other kind of magic, albeit on a... Weaker scale. Or even that electricity is but one shade of the spectrum of magic energy.”

Mirae glanced up. “Wouldn’t lightning magic just be magic energy, though? Just some other form of it?” She looked at the librarian consideringly.

“Indeed, as I just said, that’s what some scholars theorize.” He turned behind to face both of them. “There are many, many theories on this topic. Maybe you could spend your whole life reading them and you’d still have more to read.” Plinny gave a light chuckle. “Understanding how it works and searching for practical uses are a more useful way to spend one’s time. Not that I’m saying you should read at least a few of those theories but… For the average magic user they don’t matter much, or do they matter for you?”

“I just meant like healing was a form of it as well.” She shrugged. “I didn’t know there were magic scholars. At least, none that spends much time on it. I can use magic without theory.”

“The first magic scholars were the most powerful archmages, looking for means to get even stronger. Nowadays, most magic scholars focus on the theoretical part of magic, but of course they at least know a few tricks. You don’t need the theory, but it can make you stronger without the need to use raw force.” He stood quiet for a moment. “Just like about everything else.” Smiling, he adjusted the glasses on his face.

Mirae tipped her head, thinking. She started to walk forward again in silence. Plinny too, followed quietly.

“Well,” Marcus interjected. “That’s all very...very….yeah, I’ve got no idea what you guys are going on about.”

Plinny chuckled in response, again. “Magic theory is indeed very complicated, even more when resumed to a single paragraph. Of course, you can always start on the subject not knowing anything about it.”

Marcus chuckled. “It isn’t that I know nothing about it. Just nearly nothing about it. Here’s the extent of my knowledge about magic: Mirae can call up lightning, somehow.”

“Well, it all starts...” He glanced over at Marcus. “I suppose that even if you wished to learn more, this wouldn’t be the best time, would it?”

Marcus shrugged. “We have a bit of a hike through the forest to get to the temple. I can think of worse ways to spend my time.”

“Well, it’s generally accepted in the academic circles that the manipulation of arcane energies begin at the very soul or core of a being, regardless of the definition you choose to use as explanation for ‘soul’.” Plinny started, and went on.

---

“Right, here it is,” Marcus declared as he walked up the steps to the burnt out temple. “Home, sweet hideout in its trashed glory.”

“... How did the fire spread so much if the temple is made out of stone?” Asked Plinny, talking his walking cane from within his Loremaster’s robes.

“Zi, our fire mage was having a little bit of trouble with her mental health then if I’m not mistaken. She’s much better now but she pulled a number on the temple before recovering.” Marcus explained pulling out a torch from his bag. “Mir, if you please?” He asked, holding out the tip towards her.

“Sure.” A spark jumped across the end of the wood, and it lit. Mirae stepped up to the remains of the doorway. “We can probably just give most of these rooms a quick look. There were enough people in and out before that not much would have been missed.”

The big man nodded. “Yea, you’re right. More than anything else we’re looking for something we missed.”

“Don’t be so sure of it. Too many people in an ancient place like this and they tend to change it to their whims, eventually overlooking anything that doesn’t matter to them, ergo most of the original details. Probably small details, but who knows?” While the bearded man said that, he quickly produced a seemingly wooden stick from a pocket inside his uniform, and it lit up as fast as he took it from inside the robe. The light didn’t burn nor shine as strong as a torch, rather it simply emanated a purple-tinted white glow. “You said people actually lived here recently, so we shouldn’t have to bother with any traps, is that correct?”

Mirae nodded. “They should have tripped all the closest ones, or disarmed them.”

“Very well.” Plinny stood still for a second, and then, raising his hand, he motioned his open palm towards the entrance of the temple once. “Hmm…” Afterwards, he entered the temple, walking slowly and close to one of the walls. He used the light from the stick to illuminate small sections of the walls and floors, looking at them carefully. Finally, Plinny found a trap embedded in the wall. “This trap… There’s less wearing in the carving in the stone to set up this trap than in the carving used to build the temple itself. Someone booby trapped this place after it was built.”

Marcus walked over and examined the indicated spot. “Now that is odd. I checked out one of the traps Anj had already disabled in here. A set of spears that came out of the wall if you stepped on a pressure plate. They sure as hell didn’t add that after the temple was built.”

“I didn’t mean to imply your group set up the traps. I meant to say that, between the building of the temple, and you inhabiting it, someone set up the traps. They are old, but they still are newer than the temple itself. That’s not totally uncommon - A society builds a temple for any reason, and if it still stands after the society fade away, another one might find it and attribute another use for it.”

“Whoever did it, they decided that the traps that were already here weren’t enough. It could have been someone who had already beaten their way past,” Mirae said.

“Now that is the question.” Plinny resumed analysis the entirety of this one trap. “Say, if you built a religious temple, would you booby trap it? Probably not if it is meant for cults or for honoring a deity. What I mean is that all of the traps could have been added by the same person or group, and if someone had the work to built traps into a place not built to receive them, they surely must have had a reason for it.”

“You’re over thinking it,” Marcus interjected. “Traps are only built for one reason: To protect something. What they protect can change but they’re meant kill the enemy or at least thin the numbers.”

“And that’s absolutely right. This temple is probably much safer than the forest around, and it’s also already here, so they wouldn’t need to build anything, just adapt it.” The bearded man stepped forwards, waiting for the main light source to move on. “But what is it keeping inside, and why do outsiders want it,” He turned to look over at Marcus and Mirae. “Those are the real questions.”

“If you already know what the question is, why are you waiting here?” Mirae asked. “Let’s go find it.”

“Because I can try to understand the meaning behind the carvings and the secrets behind the masonry, but if I can’t watch where I’m going them what’s the use of that?” Under the shifting light of the flame, Plinny smiled a little.

While he spoke, Mirae stepped up to Marcus and put a hand on his arm, facing away from Plinny so that the librarian wouldn’t hear. “I guess you were right. He seems like he knows what he’s doing. But he also seems like he could spend the rest of the year in just this room. Should we keep moving, see what he can tell while walking?”

Marcus grinned back at her. “Well I did have to be right eventually. But yes, we do need to keep moving. We won’t learn anything if we spend all our time standing in the doorway.” Speaking up loud enough for the old man to hear he spoke. “Okay let’s keep moving. I appreciate the info but we need to go further in if we’re gonna learn more about this place.”

And with that, they continued, albeit as Plinny took his time to rapidly study the carvings and the masonry of the temple, they moved slower than they’d have without him. They passed through several rooms without much comment, beyond the occasional exclamation from Plinny, carefully navigating the broken stone. As the outer rooms were cleared, they inched their way towards the temple’s center.

The chamber was rectangular, and was the largest room they had found in the temple so far. It had multiple corridors connecting it to all the other rooms. Plinny wandered to roughly the center of one of the wider walls, and after a few minutes, wandered over the other one. “Just like I thought. Well, as a resume from everything I gathered from the temple, it seems the walls are decorated with carvings detailing mostly information about the temple itself. I assumed someone used this as… A library, for example. Maybe with stone tablets instead of books, who knows? But of course, that means there isn’t much ornamentations in the temple’s stonework. Sans those little details I mentioned, I suppose they are there for thematic purposes, that is, the temple holding the information about itself, in a meta way.” The Loreknight took his free hand to the wall, and gently felt the cold surface of the stone. “There even used to have a map of the temple itself in here, I believe. I can feel the worn out carvings, but if there was anything else remaining in it that we could possibly see, the fire burned away.”

Marcus held up the torch to the wall hoping to catch a glimpse of the carvings the librarian was talking about. It was no use. “Oh well, looks like we’ll just have the head further in and hope that there’s another one of these maps.”

“I fear that we have been in all the chambers of this temple. Unless there’s a secret room in here, in which case we’d have to look for it.”

Marcus paused for a moment rubbing his hand over his eyes. Then he paused suddenly. “I have an idea but I need you two to give me as much light as you possibly can.” Mirae closed her eyes and started glowing, the light misting out above her skin. Plinny took a few crystals from within his robe, and quickly they started to illuminate the room.

Deciding that he had enough light Marcus closed his left eye and began scanning the room with his crystal eye. It took several minute but eventually he found an odd looking line in the wall. The warrior walked over to the wall and pulled out a dagger, jamming the tip into the small crevice he began leveraging the hidden door open. “Okay lightbugs, you can stop glowing and come help me now.”

Plinny deactivated the crystals and put them again inside on of the many pockets of his vest. “There’s… There’s something there behind that.”

Marcus nodded as he began sliding the door further open. “Well I certainly hope someone didn’t put a hidden door here just to mess with people”

The bearded man raised his open hand once again, and motioned it towards the hidden door. This time, the magic pulse was slightly stronger, and would be faintly visible weren’t the flame light. “No… Certainly not that. There’s a magic sink there.” He moved closer to Marcus and tried to help him move the door, though he didn’t add much strenght to the task. “Lady, would you be so kind as to produce some magic energy and project it towards whatever is behind this door when it’s open?”

“Here,” Mirae said, slipping past Plinny so that she could help shift the stone. It moved slightly faster. Once a gap had opened, she stepped away, getting a clear line into the space beyond. Glancing once at the librarian, she shot a bolt of lightning into the hidden room.

“Yes, just as I expected,” He peeked into the hidden room. “A magic sink.” He stared at it silently for a moment, taking his time to understand what he was seeing. “But not any magic sink. It… It is… I… This magic sink… It… I’ve never seen something like this. I mean, I’ve seen magic sinks before, but this one… It’s a masterwork. It seems to be expansive, I didn’t even know magic sinks could behave like that.” Astonished, Plinny gazed back at Marcus and Mirae. “I… Believe I should start with the basic: are you aware of what a magic sink is?”

“Not a clue,” Mirae said, shaking her head.

Not waiting for Marcus’ response, the Loreknight went on. “A magic sink is a metamagical phenomena that can either occur naturally or, as this is the case, be built by human hands. Magic sinks direct any and all arcane energy in a given area towards a specific point, an artifact or an entity. Powerful ones can drain all the magic energy of an area and leave casters powerless, though those are very, very rare.” He turned to face the hidden room. “This one… It does behave like any simple magic sink, and it seems to be linked with many other… Let’s say I believe any traps we find from now on will be powered by magic.”

A grin spread across the warrior’s face. “Something that absorbs magic? Sounds like a wonderful weapon to use against a powerful spirit.”

Mirae crossed her arms, frowning. “As long as we can control it. We have magic users on our side, as well, and we don’t know what he might have beyond magic.”

“I know, I know.” Marcus replied, his hands held up in a gesture of surrender. “I don’t want you without power, love. I just want to catapult the dangerous magic draining object directly in to that spider’s smug face.” Mirae laughed.

Staring back at them, Plinny stood silent for a few moments. “It doesn’t stop here. This sink seems to be able to… Increase its draining capabilities the more magic is present under its area of effect. The more magic you discharge in this area, the stronger the magic current will be directing your magic to the bottom of this sink. It even seems to direct said enormous amount of energy to a different point other than the magic powered traps we might find. Whomever built this not only knew what they were building, but also knew what they were facing.”

Marcus sighed. “So that’s a ‘no’ on taking this death trap and making it into an armament?”

“Magic sinks are rarely movable. You’d need to move this entire temple if you wished to do so.” Plinny scratched the side of his head. “Though I suppose… Its design could be copied, as with any other ritualistic diagram. But the amount of work needed only to discover all of its wiring and then transcribe it… Who knows how long it could take without seeing the actual diagram?”

Marcus nodded. “Okay so we’re probably not going to be able to use this, unless of course….” Marcus pulled out some paper and charcoal. Work on ways to turn temple into a bomb. Stowing the paper Marcus turned back to the other two. “Okay so how do we disable this thing so both of you can still work down there?”

“I believe the easiest and safest way to disarm it would be… Getting to its center. Given the sheer magnitude of this system damaging any wiring could be catastrophic.” Plinny raised his glowing wand. “Besides, our magic should only stop working if we get too close to the center, at which point there shouldn’t be any other magic traps. Even then, I can’t tell how effective our spells would work given we can’t be sure what we’ll find inside. The best thing we could have right now is a staff or pole of some kind, which I’m the only one who does.” He tapped the ground with his walking cane.

“So, we’re just the guard, then?” Despite her words, Mirae was grinning in anticipation.

The look on Plinny’s face was disturbed for a second, before he tried to hide it. “I… I believe so, unless one of you want to use the cane to test the ground, walls and air in front of us for traps instead of this old man.”

“I think we need a better way of testing this than a cane.” Marcus replied.

“We could always do it the usual way of walking in and reacting,” Mirae said.

“That’d be too dangerous. Better to use a cane than to use yourself.”

“And when it springs a trap that sends spears flying through the air? A cane’s not much better.”

“Oh come on, there’s already one trap that does that in the temple,” The warrior objected. “I can’t imagine they’d do it twice, your traps get less effective when they repeat.”

Plinny shook his head. “A cane gives you a few more centimeters to dodge, which is still better than nothing. A staff or pole would be more effective,” He shook his head again. “But we don’t have one, so we’re going to have to use the cane.”

Marcus held up his hand. “Well humor me for a second will you?” Without waiting for a response the soldier reached down to a pouch on his belt and pulled out a handful of walnuts. He cracked some of the shells in his and before throwing them across the floor in front of them. There was a slight “ping” as a dozen swords fell from the ceiling onto where the pressure plate had been.

Mirae walked over to the corner of the room and scooped up a handful of rubble before returning. “We may as well use the cane, too. We’re a bit heavier than walnuts,” she said, casting a glance at Marcus. “And it was an example.”

“That’s correct,” Plinny said, before wandering into the corridor. He shook his cane in the air a few times, then hit the wall and finally pressed it against the pressure plate. A sharp noise was heard, followed by another round of swords falling from the ceiling. “Rule number one: always carry something you can use to activate traps from a safe distance. Rule two: double tap, always.”

Marcus shook his head. “And yet they still employed the same trap twice. Looks like I was giving the trappers too much credit.”

“You had to be wrong eventually.” Mirae shot him a quick smile and walked cautiously after Plinny. “Come on, we should see what else they failed to do.”

Marcus’ expression darkened. “I can tell you one thing they failed to do, win”

“Well, if you had just thrown the walnuts and wandered in there, you’d have been hit by the second roll of swords. If you had wandered inside blindly you’d be hit by both at once.” The bearded man said, slightly frustrated at the other people’s carefree behavior.

Marcus rolled his eyes. "Yes and we're all impressed. However I can't help but notice that this trap has yet to be activated and the secret door hasn't been moved since it was sealed. How is this trap still working?"

“Either who set up the trap knew how to prevent it from being destroyed by the hands of time, set the trap not many years ago, or… As I said, the traps we find from now on probably are all magic in nature.” Plinny mused for a few seconds. “This one probably was only partially magical in nature, a simple spell to protect its components. Maybe even reset it if we’re unlucky.”

Mirae knelt down and ran her fingers over the stone where the floor met the wall. “Whoever it was, they tried to keep it clean, at least. Even if it was completely sealed, there should be some dust from when it was built.” She held up a clean hand.

Marcus nodded, “Okay this begs several questions. Such as why bother to keep this clean? How many of these traps are there? What the hell is even going on here?”

“I know an easy way to find out more,” Mirae said, nodding down the corridor.

“Right,” Marcus replied. “Grab some of the swords, they might come in handy for activating traps. And make sure their hilts aren’t trapped or something absurd like that.”

“I have to say I’m no good with swords. The closest I’ve ever gotten to swordfighting… That was when my son was learning it.” A smile came to Plinny’s face, though if it was a happy or a sad smile that was impossible to tell under the poor lighting.

“Just treat it like a pointy cane.” Mirae was strapping a spare onto her belt. “We have two people who can fight; I don’t think you’ll have to worry about it too much.”

The bearded man muttered something under his breath and took hold of a sword. He studied it for a few seconds, and kept it inside his robes. “I don’t detect any curses on these swords, unless they fade away and return to their place at some point in time.”

“We’ll just have to risk it.” The warrior commented as he slid a spare blade into his baldric. Holding a sword in one hand and keeping the other at eye level. “Okay let’s go and be careful.”

“Would you mind setting off the torch you are bringing with you?” Plinny’s hands brought to light three small crystals from within his robes. They started to glow lightly, until they reached a glow similar to that of the torch, but less shifty. “If this door closes while we are down there we might suffocate with the smoke.” Then, Plinny handed one to each of his companions, and kept one for himself.

Marcus shrugged and threw the torch onto the floor before sticking the crystal into his belt so his other hand was free. “Let’s go.” Before they had gone twenty feet, Marcus’ hand caught hold of something and he stood very still. Looking back at the other two he explain. “A noose trap, an empty hangman’s knot drops over the victim and is drawn upward to hang them,” moving carefully he stepped out and under from the rope. “The only way to avoid it is to keep your hand at eye level, five years of doing that and this is the first time its paid off. If you two would check for secondary traps?”

“I see you have knowledge about traps, or at least how to avoid them,” Plinny said, as he dodged the trap himself. Following Marcus’ instructions, he used his wand to channel a surge of arcane energy in the shape of light, beaming the darkness with purple. Quickly, the floor in front of them opened, revealing a deep pit. “Our first magic activated trap. Usually they are used together with a physical trap that forces a magic-user into casting a spell to defend himself. My guess would be that is what’s happening here, although I can’t tell for sure from here.”

“I’ve led an interesting life.” Marcus said, replying to the librarian’s implied question. “Let’s see, how to get over to that side…” Briefly he looked about the tunnel. “Ah, okay I have an idea,” then the soldier placed the sword in his hand inside the loop and tightened the rope, before pulling out the second sword and severing the rope at its highest point. “Behold, a grappling hook,” he said, holding it out to the other two with a flourish. “Now, all we need is an anchor point.”

“And what do you intend to use as an anchor point?”

Marcus glared. “Look I just made a grappling hook out of some old rope and a sword, you two meet me halfway here and suggest things we could use for the anchor point.”

“We could use whatever it was that rope was attached to in the first place?” Mirae replied.

“Well except we’re standing under what the rope was attached to,” Marcus pointed out as he pointed up.

“We could just turn off all of our arcane sources and run blindly over the chasm into another trap,” The bearded man said sarcastically.

“Yeah, let’s not,” Mirae said, her voice dry. “How about we just make the rope longer and try jumping over? It should act like we’re just swinging over the gap. And if it doesn’t, at least we’re not at the bottom of the hole.”

Marcus stopped looking around and blinked at the short mage. “Amazing, three intelligent people and it took us this long to come up with ‘get more rope’.”

“We could always just get some rubbish back at the temple and try to fill the hole.” Under his beard, Plinny smirked at himself.

Wordlessly Marcus handed the rope over to Mirae so she could add more on. She tugged the grappling hook out of his hand to reattach it, pulling out the sword as she did. Then Mirae pulled out a spare tunic from her bag and knotted it onto the end. She glanced at the pit, gauging the distance. “You have anything convenient we can add?”

Marcus pulled a coil of rope out of his pack before looking at the other two. “You two mean to tell me I’m the only one who thought to bring rope?”

Plinny rolled his eyes. “Of course not.” From under his robes, he produced some more rope. “These uniforms are actually very useful.” Mirae gave each of them a blank stare before taking the rope.

“All right,” she said a moment later, tugging the end of the cord to check her handiwork. “See you on the other side.” With a small grin, Mirae ran up to the lip of the pit and jumped off. The rope caught partway across, and she swung up, half-crashing into the wall on the other side before pulling herself up. The rope fell back to where the others stood.

“You okay over there Mir?” Marcus called over as he handed the rope to Plinny.

“I’m fine,” she shouted back. “Just try not to run into the rock. It hurts.”

“Duly noted”

Plinny stared at Marcus and offered him the rope. “After you?”

The big man rolled his eyes and attached the rope to himself before duplicating Mirae’s stunt, albeit without the crashing. After climbing up, he swung the rope back to the older man.

I’m too old for this. Was Plinny’s last thought before he jumped. The rope took him across, yet he hit the wall on the other side and nearly lost balance, grabbing the border at the last second. “Some help! Please?”

“Oh relax, you’ll be fine,” Marcus said as he easily pulled the librarian up and over the edge. The older man did a check-up on himself before breathing relieved. Mirae kept an eye on the two until he relaxed, then held up her crystal to check the path ahead.

For a few minutes, they walked for a single corridor that slowly turned more and more sinuous, until it became a staircase downwards after a sharp turn. The steps began wide and easy to navigate, but soon grew shallower. The light from the crystals occasionally threw them into shadow, forcing a halt while they shuffled to make the light clearer.

It was on one of these sections that the stair moved. Mirae had taken the front for now, tossing pieces of rubble ahead of them to trigger possible traps. She scooped up the rock on the next step to reuse. She moved forward, and nearly stumbled into the wall as the step dropped unexpectedly, pushing herself back to the one before. A rattle covered up the scrape of the pressure plate moving back into place.

Mirae held up her crystal, cupping it so that the light only went ahead. A series of chains tightly covered the gap ahead, only a few steps below the trapped one. Small blades glinted between the links. Turning carefully on the stair, she moved to see an identical wall a couple of steps behind the group.

Marcus observed the latest trap with ire. “Well isn’t that special. Okay so what do we do about this one? I assume we can’t just blast the walls with magic.”

Walking gingerly over the step, Mirae went down to the lower wall. “I don’t think just pushing our way through would be an option,” she said, moving her light up and down the obstacle. “I don’t like the look of those knives.”

“Well sure,” Marcus commented. “They’re probably poisoned, its what I would do if I was setting up this trap.”

With his cane, Plinny attempted to push one of the chains, testing its weight. “We’d have better chances attempting to move it with magic, but a single pulse of force won’t do.”

“Would you be able to do that? I can’t,” Mirae said, shrugging awkwardly. “It’s metal. If it were wood, I might be able to burn it, but….”

“An arcane pulse of force can move anything that’s movable. I suppose I can create a forcefield around us, and move it along, but I can’t be sure for how long it’ll hold.” Those last words came out sadly, but Plinny reminded himself of the arcane sink surrounding this place.

Mirae hesitated, studying the wall of chains once more, then turned to the librarian. “Any way I could help?”

“I…” The syllable hung in the air, and floated there innocuously. “I’m not sure I can do it by myself.” Plinny said with gloom, finally assuming his defeat. “The magic sink can drain the power I put into it, and it can do that faster than I can supply the forcefield. Even if it couldn’t, it’s safer to assume it can.”

“Can I give you some of my magic?”

“Certainly. But… Have you ever done that before?”

She shook her head silently.

“Well, given this supposed to be a mobile spell and you are inexperienced… The easiest way to share arcane energy is through physical contact, and this being a simple spell you’d be able to fuel it while I fuel and stabilize it.” The old man extended his hand forward. Mirae gave a brief nod and took it. “Now, whenever you want.”

Mirae imagined filling her hand with light, but directed it through the other’s hand. Immediately, she tensed; the pull felt as if the air was disappearing, emptying her chest. The magic sink down the corridor had only been a slight tug without using her magic, enough to be felt without being disorienting.

Now she could almost feel it bleeding off. Some dissipated into the temple. The rest was pulled away from her, twisting into Plinny’s magic without her direction, though she could still feel it being formed into the forcefield. Her free hand clenched. But she kept letting the magic flow out of her and out of her control. It arced in the air, slowly shaping a dome of energy around them. Without staring at the other man, Plinny said: “Marcus, could you please step forward?” Just when he said that, Marcus felt as if he had just bumped his head into a wall very lightly, except he didn’t fling himself towards it.

“Ow” Marcus commented rubbing his head lightly. “Good job the spell is working. AND YOU MANAGED TO LOCK ME OUTSIDE!!!”

“Just step inside. Halting the process until you got inside you’d be too much effort spent on barely nothing. And for your information I only was sure you were outside after I was halfway through it. I didn’t detect your magic print before I set up the spell.” With that said, he thought to himself. “But you probably should have sensed your surroundings first, old man.”

Grumbling to himself Marcus walked forward and was temporarily slowed as he walked through the forcefield before breaking through. After his entrance, Plinny finished the barrier. It was… Mostly invisible to the untrained eye, but its presence was clear for the old man.

“I’ll start moving now. Marcus, try to not stay behind or I won’t hesitate to push you.”

“Really? Because I was thinking of building a house here in this corridor. It has everything I love what with the disappearing floor and the lack of light and the horrifying death traps,” Marcus shot back.

Plinny considered giving a scornful glance at Marcus, but he disregarded his comment. “Onwards!” The group moved, and the rattling of the chains resonated loudly as the barrier pushed them. They grinded as they were dragged along by the forcefield, and when the group was halfway through it, the chains surrounded them as if they had fallen inside a bush full of thorns or the tentacles of a mighty kraken. The appendages constricted around the shield, and scratched it with its barbs. The sight was terrifying, as there was nothing there to be seen standing between the trap and the explorers.

Once on the other side, the last of the chains was left behind, slightly shaking and rattling, slowly stopping to move. The barrier was undone, although unlike the common fading it popped, like a bubble, the arcane power absorbed by the floor, walls and ceiling, flowing towards the end of the corridor. The glow producing crystals they wore shone their last light, and darkened at once. Plinny retrieved his wand and created a beam of light, sucked straight to the end of the corridor. “At least we can see the path ahead.” He muttered, trying to ease their current situation.

Mirae released Plinny’s hand, looking back at the chains with unease. “Whoever wants to drain intruders’ magic, their plan seems to be working.”

Marcus looked down the way and spotted a door. “Well, lets find out who was so desperate. Shall we?” He asked, gesturing.

Mirae put a hand on the knob and turned it, waiting for a trap that didn’t spring. As soon as the door was opened, the light from Plinny’s wand flickered out. “Hm. That’s the end of magic,” Mirae said, voice quiet. She took another step forward.

A dim light started up above them, then gradually brightened, revealing the room. The walls, ceiling and floor were covered in carvings, through which the magic current was strong enough to protect the carvings from the damage caused by the eons or by intruders. Plinny, astonished, touched one of the engravings with the tip of his cane, and it was repealed and burnt by an explosion of light and sound where contact had happened.

At the center of the room stood a platform, possibly an altar, and a massive kneeling humanoid of iron, copper, gold, silver and many other metals known and unknown by alchemists. Perhaps humanoid would be too kind - An armor, forged to be as sturdy as magnificent, would be a better term.

“That’s… I have no words to describe it.”

A faint glow came from the slits at the helm, from two unseen crystal orbs behind the steel visor, inside a cage of legendary alloys, adorned by a small golden owl with its open wings passing as the visage of a horned demon.

“I think alive works.”

Noise of grinding metal came from its innards, and it stood up. First the legs straightened up - Then the torso, the arms and the head. It was as tall as the chamber’s ceiling would allow, and the arms were almost long enough to touch the floor while he stood upright. Its fingers clenched and then opened, and its whole body clicked multiple times. Finally, it stared at the trio, and then spoke with a voice that reverberated like thunder. “Who?”

Mirae stared up at its eyes, behind lines of silver and bronze and pale electrum. It remained impassive. She gave a small shrug, and called up to it, her voice echoing oddly off the metal structures. “Adventurers.”

It clicked, but stood immobile. “Why?”

The old man glared dumbfounded, the words died in his throat before he could think of anything coherent.

“Information,” Marcus replied. “No offense but there’s really no other reason to come all the way down here.”

“Information.” It repeated in a monotone voice. “Specify.”

Marcus’ gaze hardened. “Shardreach,” he spat out. “Tell me something I can use against him, this is the one place he couldn’t seem to go. Why is that?”

It clicked again, and more metallic sounds came from inside it as it raise a leg and stepped towards the group. “Shardreach. Servant of the King.” Its legs were long; its steps, longer. “Genus loci. Enforces the King’s will.” The entity was already a step of distance from the group, and it raised its hand and pointed at them. “Enemy of my Mistress. Prove your innocence.”

“Of what charge?” Marcus asked glaring back at the creature unfazed.

“Working for Shardreach.”

Marcus cackled at that. “Working for him? The only thing I would do Shard is speed his passage to the next life.”

The insides of the entity clicked, this time very loudly and deafening due to proximity. “Prove.”

“I have nothing beyond my word that I want him to know fear before he dies.” Marcus replied.

It just stood there, silent for a few minutes. “Very well. The information regarding destroying, killing, overcoming, imprisoning, - alongside others - Shardreach are both known by him and by me. Therefore, whether you are or not a servant of him, handing him the information possessed by me will not allow him to empower himself further nor damage or destroy the home of my Mistress.”

“Then there’s no reason to keep it secret from us,” Mirae said. “It can only help to destroy him.” Her mouth twisted in a grim smile.

Gears grinded and it raised its hand to the back of its head, and after a few seconds it took its hand back to the group, holding a tiny disk of bronze.

At last, the old man spoke. “What’s that?”

“The information you need.”

“Can’t you… Write it down or something?”

“After countless years the wood, the leather and the paper have rot. Only I and the temple remain.”

Plinny stared, thoughtfully. “Do you mean this place used to hold information like a library?”

“Correct. Differently from the actual library tower of this floor, this one was a personal information keep for my Mistress and her guests.”

“Your Mistress… What… What is your function?”

It stood, clicking, unresponsive.

“Why do you exist?”

“I keep, and protect, my Mistress’ home, the data within and her memory after she found her final rest.”

There was a long moment of quietness by the entire group present there. The old man finally took hold of the bronze disk, and hid it in his pockets. “Then... You’re not so different from the Loreknights after all.”

“Lore. Knights.” The colossus pronounced the words in monotone, but it was a question.

“Yes. We guard and keep the library tower, and we research to attain more and more knowledge.”

“Lore. Knights. Another group of humans using the library tower.”

“Speaking of which,” Marcus interjected. “You should take that straight to Lori. That was the deal I made with her. Information for information.”

Turning to face the bulky man, Plinny seemed surprised by what he had just said. “So you talked to Lori about this? I thought you were keeping this… A secret mission, if you will.” He adjusted his glasses and resumed talking. “Although, even if she is a madwoman, she’s the one in charge of the Loreknights and can talk to Legias on behalf of the guild, besides being a skilled spellcaster.” The old man stopped for a second trying to believe he had actually said that. “This information is quintessential in order to prevent the Genus loci from attacking us again.”

“Yes, it is. However the only way to stop him is to kill or imprison him.” The warrior replied. “We’ll need everyone to take him, whatever the end goal is. That’s part of why I went to Lori because she is powerful. I also went to her because if anyone would have information on Shard it’d be her.”

Plinny simply nodded. “Assuming the knowledge contained in this disk is true and that there is in fact information stored here, all we need to do is to decipher it. By the way,” he turned to face the walking suit of armor. “How do we decipher the disk?”

“Classified information. You have not begotten proof of your innocence.”

“I see. That was… Expected, I suppose.” Sighing, Plinny turned to the other two people. “How do we… How do we get out now?”

Mirae chuckled. She turned to the construct. “I don’t suppose there’s a back way out? Or at least resetting the traps.”

“No, there’s no way our luck is that good,” Marcus commented.

The titan watched unresponsive.

“...Fine. We can go back out,” Mirae grumbled. “Could you at least tone down the sink for a few minutes?”

“Negative.”

“My legs are going to hurt for days after this. In fact my whole body probably will.” Plinny said, frowning.

“I don’t think you’re going to persuade it,” Mirae said, looking at him. “We should probably get moving. At least we know a safe path.” She took a few steps, waiting for them in the doorway. Plinny followed, quickly standing next to her.

Marcus took a step towards the door before turning to look back at the guardian. “In your time fighting him, did you ever see Shard bleed?”

The giant remained motionless. After several long moments, its deep voice came again from behind its burnished exterior. “No.” Its rumbling ceased, but restarted before the echoes could fully die away. “The damage did not include bleeding. Further information will not be requested.”

Marcus turned and walked back to the others with a smile. No bleeding but there was damage. That’s the most important thing I could of learned. He walked over the other two and they started making their way out of the temple.

“Oh, before I forget…” The old man said, as they entered the dark corridor and approached the section with the chains. “Don’t tell anyone anything I said about Lori. I don’t want people to think I agree with her homicide behavior.”

Marcus shrugged. “Honestly old man I don’t think anyone agrees with her behavior, just tolerates it because she’s invaluable.” Plinny simply sighed as a reply.

“From what I hear, she sounds like fun.” Mirae noticed them looking at her. “Okay, maybe she goes a bit far,” she said as they began climbing the stairs, “but still.”

“I just think she needs to keep her experiment room a bit better locked up.” Marcus replied in annoyed. “I mean is it too much to ask so a random person does not get mutated by mystic energies?”

“Exactly. If she were that brilliant, how can she not prevent other people from obtaining such adverse effects by taking safety measures?”

“I mean don’t get me wrong there are benefits to the diamond eye but I was very attached to my old eye.”

"I think we can say we're lucky for no major incident have happened so far."

“How does my eye being replaced not count as a major incident?”

“You at least got a new one,” Mirae broke in.

"I meant death or permanent injury of a person or more," he dodged the question.

Marcus crossed his arms and grumbled to himself as the group stepped out of the temple and into the sunlight. Rolling her eyes, Mirae knocked into him lightly. Turning to Plinny, she said, “Tell Lori to hurry, if she could. Shard’s been quiet for too long. I don’t like it.”

“I’m certain we’ll do our best to decipher the message as soon as possible. I’ll... Talk to Lori herself.” Plinny stood there, gazing at the couple.

Marcus nodded. “Well I’m sure everyone here would appreciate that.” Then there was a low growl as a large, tan cat walked out of the woods and into the clearing. That would have been odd enough but it was also wearing saddlebags.

“Oh, hey Thomas. Why are you here?” Marcus said to the beast. In response the cougar walked up alongside the big man and motioned to the bag. Marcus reached in and pulled out a letter which he read. “Oh, I see. Hey Tom how does the message agency explain this to the clients that don’t know you’re a were-cat?”

The predator growled and stalked off into the woods. “Fine, then! Be an ass about it!” The big man called after the retreating cat. Then he turned to Mirae. “Sorry Dear, Anj wants me back for something. But after that I promise I’ll get you up to twenty, okay?”

“Sure.” She hugged him quickly. “I have someone I should be tracking down, anyway. A favor a farmer asked me to do a while ago.”

“Alright then,” he gave her a quick kiss. “I’ll see you soon then.” Marcus turned and nodded at Plinny. “Been a pleasure having you along.” Then Marcus turned and began heading toward the guildhall.

Mirae started walking toward the city wall, then paused. “Will you get back to the Library all right?” she asked Plinny.

“Yes, I will. Don’t worry,” he lied. “May we meet again soon and well. Try to not get yourself injured before we decipher the disk.”

“Oh, I’ll be there.” Her eyes glittered. “He’ll see we’re not as weak as he thinks we are.” She nodded to the librarian, then set off.
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Tohrinha on Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:25 pm

The tree was large and fairly comfortable, if half-dead. A blight, or a burrower -- whatever it was, it was recent. The withered leaves were only now beginning to drop, the breeze doing little more than coaxing them off their perches. The tall horse standing beneath paid them little heed as he foraged.

Mirae brushed one out of her face as she leaned back against the tree trunk, legs straddling a branch. Her feet dangled a short length above the forest floor. A dark cloak was draped carelessly over the lowest bough. Where it trailed on the ground, the tip of a knife glinted where it had come loose from its sheath.

Humming tonelessly, Mirae pulled her hand back in front of her, filling it with light. The pool’s edges rose easily this time, melding at the top. The glowing sphere sat in her hand.

She stared at it. Come on. “You can’t be that fond of me,” she murmured. It stayed resolutely still.

Come on.

The ball broke free of her skin, shooting a hand’s breadth into the air before returning to hover gently just above her palm. A delighted grin broke out on Mirae’s face. She rolled the light onto her other hand. Moving them apart slightly, she focused again. The ball bobbed above her hand, slowly drifting across the gap, slowly...

A leaf blew into her eyes, breaking her concentration. “Damned…” She let the curse trail off while she waved it away from her, blinking rapidly in the dust. The ball had disappeared. Sighing, Mirae dropped her hands, leaning her head against the tree. The sun had moved; it was now almost directly between the thinning foliage and the healthy branches. She closed an eye against it, staring lazily through the greenery with the other.

Rustling off to her right made her sit up. Watching the cluster of pines it seemed to be coming from, Mirae pulled herself slowly to a standing position. She eased close to the trunk, fingers working into the cracks in the bark.

A horse trotted into view out of the conifers. Relaxing, Mirae sat down again, kicking her feet idly in the air. “Oh.” She watched it continue deeper into the woods. Odd, that it had a saddle but no rider. No one else emerged from the pines.

Chet neighed from behind her. She half-turned, startled, as her horse trotted under her branch and called out again. The other horse veered from its course, heading directly toward them.

Mirae recognized the newcomer as he came nearer. “Hey, Binky.” Where’s Marcus? Ignoring her, the other horse greeted Chet. They turned and began walking back to the city.

“Hey, where are you going?” Mirae swung off her branch, hanging from it by her arms before letting go. She scooped her cloak off its branch, tossing it over her shoulder as she ran to catch up to the horses. Chet only stopped when she had drawn even with him, and then only long enough for her to scramble into the saddle.

She stayed confused until the first square in the city. A trail of demolished stands and splintered wood wove through the area. A man stood wearily next to his smashed storefront, bits of metal and broken clock mixed in with the rubble. She’d turned away by the time he slid down the side of the stone building beside his, resting his head in one hand.

The horses picked their way closer to the damage. It continued up one street and down another, the destruction on both sides. From what Mirae could see, it wasn’t deep, though she couldn’t see into any of the damaged buildings.

“Guildhouse.” He’ll be at the guildhouse, or will be. She tugged on Chet’s reins, and they sped down an undamaged road.
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Tohrinha
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:52 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby JackAlsworth on Thu May 08, 2014 10:09 pm

Recovery

Timeline Note: a few days after the tauros boss fight

Jenny heard the door open and raised her head slightly to see who had entered. “If something else attacked, I’m afraid I can't help at the moment.” She managed a short laugh before another coughing fit overtook her and forced her back to the bed.

“The only thing dangerous here so far is the food, so I think you’ll be fine.” Hector chuckled before giving a polite wave to his new friend. Compared to Jenny, his injuries seemed surprisingly sparse; a few bandages here and there, but he looked like he just got into a little scrape. “Sorry for barging in; just thought I’d check up on the person who helped with that tauros. Figured I’d at least thank her for the assistance.”

Jenny smiled weakly. “I think I should be thanking you more. Only reason I’m alive is ‘cause…” She coughed again. “Anyway, we’re alive. That’s what matters.”

Hector nodded his head slowly, though he was reminded of the one casualty suffered during the fight. He decided however, to keep it to himself. “Hmm. You’re pretty skilled, I was surprised to see someone keep up with that creature for so long. Hard to believe though that in all that confusion we never even really introduced one another.” He shrugged absent mindedly. “My name is Hector.”

“Hector Erastus, I know.” Jenny paused. She couldn’t think of a good way to say I saw a mob out for your blood, so she went with, “I’m friends with Ben. My name’s Jenny Hunter.”

“Is that last name real?” He laughed, scratching the back of his head innocently. “Sounds made up, just a little too perfect for someone who uses a bow if you ask me.”

Jenny gave a startled laugh that was interrupted by yet another cough. “My papa taught me,” she said when she’d recovered. “Guess he wanted us to live up to the name.”

“Either way, nice to meet you, Jenny.” He looked around the cramped room, raising an eyebrow slowly. “You alright in here? Do you need anything?”

Jenny shook her head - or rather, she rolled her head from side to side on her pillow. “No, thanks. I’ll be all right. The healers are keeping me here while my ribs set, but it doesn’t hurt if I don’t move around too - ” She winced and stopped moving.

“Yeah they told me to sit still too,” He sighed, leaning up against one of the nearby walls. “I hate sitting around. If I could I probably would have already left, although I’m not quite that naive. I recognize that I’m injured; it doesn’t make me any less impatient. ...You’ll be fine though, if you listen to them.” He grinned wryly. “So you know Ben? Are you from Lamada?”

Jenny shook her head again. “We both help at the forge. That’s how we met.”

“I see, and he...” He cleared his throat, “Sorry, I mean she, has talked about me? Guess I don’t blame her considering that... whole mess.”

“Well…” Jenny looked slightly embarrassed. “It’s more like… she tries really hard not to talk about you. Your name will come up in conversation and she’ll either change the subject or leave.”

“That isn’t surprising.” He stated simply, “I... betrayed her trust, among other things.” He lifted his arm and rubbed a sore spot on his neck. “Enough about that, though, I was just curious. If you’re not from Lamada where are ya from?”

“Small town in Valerth border country. Quiet. Peaceful.” She smiled wanly. “Nothing like here.”

“Is that regret?”

“You mean do I regret coming to the castle?” She shrugged, or tried to; her shoulder twitched upward slightly. “Maybe. I don’t know.”

“Well,” He peered over to her with his good eye, “If you hadn’t, I would not have been able to handle that thing by myself. So thanks for that.”

There was a knock at the door, and a head of short red hair poked itself in. “Jenny, I heard you-- Oh.” Ben stopped short, flushing. “I guess it isn’t a good time.”

Hector looked back in moment of surprise, but relaxed pretty quickly. He looked between the two, then back to Ben. There was a rather awkward pause between the three for a good couple of seconds until finally Hector finally spoke up. “Hey Ben,” He waved, politely.

“Erastus.” Ben nodded distractedly, then dumped something on a side table. “I brought you some tea. Feel better, Jenny. I guess I’ll see you around.”

Jenny fought off a giggle, unfortunately causing more coughing. “No, stay, please. I don’t mind.”

“O… kay.” Ben picked up the package again, taking it over to Jenny’s stovetop. “Sorry, I didn’t bring any tea for Hector. Didn’t know he’d be here.”

“I’d rather have ale anyway, so it’s fine.” Hector chuckled.

The tea smelled delicious to Jenny. “Thank you, Ben.”

Ben smiled wryly as she carried a mug over to her friend. “What, you couldn’t keep yourself in one piece again, either?”

Jenny grasped the mug carefully and sipped. “I don’t think the castle likes us in one piece.”

“I don’t give a good goddamn what it likes.”

Jenny continued to drink slowly. She realized she was trembling, and tried to smile. "Heh. Looks like you get to take care of me this time."

Ben glanced toward Hector, startled, then sipped from her own tea to conceal her face.

Jenny chuckled. "Don't worry about us, we'll be fine." She set down her mug and leaned back onto the bed. “You were right, you know,” she said abruptly.

“About what?” Ben asked, startled.

“Everyone’s a fighter here. Even when they don’t want to be.” Jenny looked over at Ben, her expression serious. “I want to learn how to swordfight. I'd be grateful if you gave me lessons.”

Ben looked at Hector for a moment, trying to determine some unwritten message in his stance. “Of course,” she said at last. “I can probably steal Kevin’s sword for you to use, he hardly ever needs it.”

Jenny nodded. “Thanks,” she said softly.

“I’ll wait until you’re up and about,” Ben said with a wry grin. Shifting uncomfortably, she cast a glance at the huge man before offering another smile to Jenny. “I should probably give you two some space now… I haven’t forgotten how you kept my spirits up, Jenny. I’ll come visit again when you’re alone, okay?”

Jenny smiled slightly. “I’d like that.”

The redhead made a face, then smiled again and stood, leaning over to give Jenny a careful half-hug. She stopped on her way to the door, red-faced, to offer a quick handshake to Hector, who quietly accepted it, then hurried out.
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JackAlsworth
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:40 pm
Location: Western Washington State

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Lordxana0 on Fri May 09, 2014 8:21 pm

“Gabnath, do you have the damn door open yet?”

The larger assassin ground his teeth and whirled on his compatriot. “Maybe you would like to do it Darim?”

“Amatuer,” Darim commented as he moved past the younger assassin. He examined the lock for a moment before tapping the keyhole with his left forefinger, immediately freezing the mechanism. The assassin then kicked the mechanism shattering it internally. He then worked the door back and forth several times before forcing it open. “A tad loud perhaps but it is better than being stuck out here all night. We are after all on a schedule.”

Gabnath growled and followed the other man inside the building. “Where is the target going to be?”

Darim considered for a moment. “I believe he is most likely in the center of the building given that the contract states other hired help has failed to eliminate him in the past. A smart target would allow himself room to breathe no matter what insertion method we chose.”

“Fine, stairs will be over here,” Gabnath said as he opened up a nearby door.

Darim simply smiled and shook his head. How a builder had ended up as part of the guild he would never understand.

As the assassins explored around they eventually came to a large dining room, where a group of people were sitting around a large table, heads bowed in what appeared to be prayer. After a few moments one of them finally made a noise. “La, la la la, la la, la la la la,” the rest of the people around the table began to make the same noise, harmonizing with each other and finally breaking out into high pitched laughter. The figures began to rise from the table, revealing brightly painted faces that seemed frozen in a permanent smile. They all held weapons, ranging from short swords to maces, and all eyes were instantly on the assassins.

“What is going on here?” Gabnath asked as he drew a battleaxe from his cloak.

“These must be the servants of the Dark Carnival we were told about.” Darim replied. “How interesting, one of them must be a talented agent to be able to fool us to taking on a contract for them. We will have to upgrade security after this.”

“Should we call in the recruits?” The big man asked.

Darim readjusted his glasses before throwing a small fireball directly at the nearest enemy. “I believe that to be unnecessary, they are after all only clowns.”
“Awwww none of you are the masked lady person” a childish voice rang out from behind them as Comedy stepped out of a portal made out of darkness into the building. She now used a massive war hammer in one hand, and was dressed in a pretty pink dress which complimented the unmasked half of her face’s rosy complexion. “I was hoping I would get to cut off one of her arms...or maybe her legs… you know to keep it around” the young girl pointed the hammer at the two and sent a massive gust of wind energy at them.

Both men were blown off their feet...only for them to perform identical handsprings and easily recover. “It appears that this “Cloth” person still underestimates us” Darim observed with what might have been a hint of irritation. “Based on Hara’s report I should handle the child, can you take the clowns on your own?”

Gabnath rolled his shoulders. “Of course I can, I only asked about the recruits because the Guildmaster keeps lecturing me about asking my seniors for advice.”

Comedy shook her head in disappointment. “Well if you are going to ‘handle me’ you should do it soon. Because if you don’t a really scary person is going to show up, and then you two will be all gobbled up” the young girl laughed and jumped forward, striking at the man who had claimed her as an opponent, the rest of the clowns moving into attack as well.

Darim snapped his fingers and suddenly there was a ten pound block of ice around the head of the child’s warhammer. Nonetheless he moved back just in case she could salvage her swing. In the meantime Gabnath was swing his axe around furiously and dismembering clowns as he went.

Comedy felt the head of her hammer freeze and laughed. “Thats not gonna help silly!” she used her control over the wind to recorrect her swing, continuing the assault with the frozen hammer. “I told you that you need to hurry before the scary one comes and eats you up!”

“Yes you did mention.” Drim noted blandly as he added more ice to the warhammer and threw some icicles at Comedy. “However Hara’s report said that you often babble nonsense so you’ll forgive me if I think of you as nothing but a child out of her depth.”

“Hey I am not a child” Comedy stopped her assault and huffed at the man. “I will have you know I’m…” she leaned her hammer against the wall and began to count on her fingers. “This many” she held up both hands with each finger raised, closing them once and then holding up four fingers. “Yeah, so take that!” she crossed her arms, as if saying her age had in fact hurt the assassin in some way.

Darim merely blinked at her once. “You do not look fourteen, and even if you are that still makes you a child as far as I am concerned.” He then froze her hammer to the wall.
“Well I t…” before she could finish Comedy looked into the air. “Uh oh… times up” another dark portal opened in the air above them and she smiled. “Sorry that you are gonna die, maybe Cloth can bring you back as a puppet for the next show…” a sudden chill came over the room, like something on the other side of the portal was destroying all sense of warmth in the room. All at once a heavy cloud of pure despair fell down, even cleaning the smile from Comedy’s face as she held back tears of pure terror. “The one that gobbles you up is here…”

Darim found himself frightened. “What this? Afraid before the enemy even appears and I have assessed their capabilities? Must be some form of emotional manipulation. I must study this “scary one” of your’s child”

Gabnath had fallen to his knees. Darim turned around and glared. “You imbecile, pick yourself up off the ground, you have been trained to resist psychic attacks.”

Gabnath nodded and struggled to his feet. “Sorry, was expecting that much power behind it, maybe I should ask for more lessons from the Guildmaster.”

Darim nodded in satisfaction. So he can learn, good man.

After a few moments a figure finally descended from the portal… and then quickly fell down, landing face first on the floor. “Ow ow ow why would someone put a portal at the top of a building” the figure stood up and dusted himself off. The thing that had fallen out of the portal was a man who wore a white travelers coat and wore a pair of thin glasses over his eyes, he was also rather scrawny, and it appeared like there wasn’t a single muscle on his body. He ran a hand through his unkept and messy hair and smiled at the two assassins. “Sorry about all that, you never know when our Portal masters sense of humor will come to play, ya’know?”

“Pardon me” Darim interjected. “Would you happen to have a number somewhere on your body?”

The man shook his head and shrugged. “Sorry, but I am not like those other guys you have fought” he tilted his head. “I am their perfect version” he snapped his fingers and Comedy stood up, nodding her head and running out of the building. “Sorry, but whats about to happen isn’t something a child should see, even one like her”

Darim shrugged. “Even their perfect version must have a locus of power somewhere about his person, if indeed you were made via the same process for the same purpose.” The assassin raised his right hand and turned a ring he was wearing three times. Your next trial begins now. Hold off the clowns. A moment later several men burst into the building and charged the clowns as Gabnath stepped up alongside Darim.

The man observed the group and the two men before raising a hand. “Before we start I am suppose to leave someone alive to run back and tell what happened here today, so pick a person so I don’t kill them for me could yah?”

Darim let out a high-pitched laugh. “Well I would be a fool to pass up such an obvious advantage.” Ice and cold surged toward the man in the white coat. “Let’s see if you’re even worthy of seeing my full power.”

The man jumped back from the attack and sighed. “So I can’t kill you, thats a hassle but whatever” he reached under his coat and pulled out a scalpel. “Before we start through, did you feel weird before I arrived?”

“Oh how interesting, another intelligent man. I can tell. Fear not my good man, when you are dead I will dissect your corpse in the pursuit of knowledge.” Darim said as several icicles shot down from the roof to impale the opponent.

“You talk far too much” the icicles impaled the man and he simply tilted his head to the side. “Have you taken notice of the walls?” he pointed toward them and something odd began to happen. Small cracks and chips began to appear, and from them thin streams of ruby red blood started to come out. The smell of copper and death seized the room as a whole, removing all other smells from it. “I wonder, what will be the last thoughts of your friends before they die?” the blood began to slowly move toward the fallen clowns, and when it did it encased them, making them rise once more in their undead state. Now when they fought they didn’t use weapons, but their own bones and dismembered body parts, brutally counter attacking the assassins.

Darim rolled his eyes. “Oh for the love of….Gabnath, use your skills while I deal with this. It will surely become a nuisance if I don’t handle it now.”

Gabnath simply nodded as he pulled out a second battleaxe and took off his cloak to reveal a baldric lined with wooden rage medallions. He tapped one at the center and suddenly there was the feeling of a sudden shift in his aura. Where he had struggled to hold the twin axes before he now lifted them with ease, before he had seemed controlled now his stance was more wild, like a wild animal about to leap.

“Hm… oh you believe that will help you.” the man shook his head and smiled. “You see the thing is that this world is really dishonest isn’t it?” he disappeared from view, and when his voice spoke again it seemed to come from everywhere. “People invent lies to comfort themselves, things like happiness, life, love, stuff like that.” he reappeared all around the room. “Why would people lie like that, especially when the truth is so obvious…” he tilted his head and looked into Darim’s eyes. “Do you know what the truth is?”

“I know that I am very tired of having would-be philosophers as my opposition.” Darim said before slamming his previously unused right hand to the floor sending lines of fire racing towards any enemies in the room, burning the undead clowns to ash in a moment and attempting to burn the man in the white coat.

The man clapped his hands as the world began to change. The enemy clowns became assassins and vice versa. “I wonder which one’s you actually burned to death, after all when you can’t see the truth, don’t lies become just as important?” he laughed as his body collapsed into thousands of spiders.

“Oh and he’s an illusionist. The only thing I hate more than would-be philosophers. And I know exactly which ones I burned to death. Do you really think someone as intelligent as I am wouldn’t have a memory that couldn’t account for simple target identification?” Darim asked the irritation in his voice growing more pronounced. He twisted the ring again. Hold positions, are enemy is trying to trick us.

You’re wrong though, I don’t create illusions the man appeared in front of him again. “Illusions are just another form of lying, everything you see in front of your eyes is honesty. Or at least, how I view the world in its perfect form” the ground under them began to pool with the blood off the walls, making it sticky and hard to move through.

“It is irrelevant whether you are merely illusionist or have greater power. Though for the record you are lying about not being an illusionist. If you had the power to warp reality than you would not be working for someone. Either way it makes no difference. I am the most valued asset here. if I happen to kill everyone else to get you, I will still be rewarded when I return.”

“I work for the destruction of illusions, now than I grow bored of this game” he raised his hand. “As an assassin you have killed plenty of people, or aided in their deaths. Have you ever wondered the true sorrow your actions brought about?” the man snapped and all light in the room vanished, along with the sound. What replaced everything was instead scream and cries of pain and agony. Children, women, men, animals, all howling in despair. “The voices of all the pain you caused in your life, of course I am guessing even this is white noise, how would you like the experience all of the pain… but have it be yours” the man tilted his head to the side. “I wonder if the ‘you’ in front of me could survive that”

Darim yawned. “I have experimented with enjoying the reception of pain as I have with many things, do you happen to have a point besides what I do when I’m not working?”

He reached forward and tapped the mans head. “Live” all at once memories washed over the mans brain, all of the pain and suffering he caused from a first point view, all of the emotions and feelings carried by the people stuffed into his mind in a way that was both unnatural and wrong. Seeing a multitude of painful and horrid lives from a view that was both his own view and not.

The white coated man saw Darren fall unconscious but several minutes later the assassin woke and stood nonetheless. “How full of tricks you are. I apologize for rudely fainting but the physical pain briefly overwhelmed me. However I hope you weren’t hoping to affect me with that emotional drivel. I don’t care about what any of my subjects feel beyond how it can increase my knowledge.” Darim formed a whip of flame in his right hand while crystals swirled around his left. “Such an interesting being you are. I must capture you! I must study you! I’ll hunt you to the edge of reality if I have to!!!” A mad light danced in the assassin’s eye

The man raised a finger. “Before you do I think there is a question you should ask, if I am doing this to you, what do you think the rest of your team might be facing, and are they all at your level of coldness?” he tsked a bit. “Good help is so hard to find”

Darim let out a mad giggle again. “What makes you think I care? The grubs? They’re expendable! Gabnath? If he fails I’ll simply try the rage experiment with another! Although this time I’ll have to use stronger magicks than the amulets musn’t forget that.”

“How dull” the man snapped and the room reverted back to normal, albeit all of the dead bodies on the floor. Some had fallen from battle, other from self inflicted wounds. “You are a boring and sad little man, but it was fun to pick your brain”

“Please you call that picking my brains? All you did was look at the collateral damage instead of my achievements. Quite frankly as an innovator I’m insulted. Your almost as bad as Hara! I mean I gave her such an amazing ability and she refuses to use it!”

“Hm, I will take pleasure in the fact that I already killed you a number of times and leave it at that” the man put away the scalpel and smiled. “You see I played this same game over and over in my head, trying to pick out the best way to complete my mission. Everyone else broke under the weight of my attack, you just always ended up dying in one way or the other.” he snapped and a portal opened. “Take joy in the fact that someone else ended up using you as the test rat this time”

Darim’s eyes widened. Then he took out a journal and a self-supplying quill and began scribbling at an absurd speed. Must record the experience, can’t let anything go to waste.

The man tossed out a small card before disappearing, landing it directly on the man’s journal.

Those of you of the Assassins Guild have been invited to a war with those of the Dark Carnival. You are allowed as many allies as you want, because in the end it won’t really matter. Lets enjoy the death together, okay?

Darim snapped his head up. “You simpleton! Think ink wasn’t dry yet!” The madman let out a sigh before taking the card and leaving.

Assassin’s guild hall

“So this...man for lack of a better term claims to have killed you several times?” The Guildmaster asked with some interest.

“Yes, master. Though it is my opinion he likely just an extraordinarily talented illusionist who has merely pushed his magic past the previously recorded limit.” Darim replied from his kneeling position.

“Mayhap, mayhap not. His abilities do sound familiar to something I killed once…” The Guildmaster paused, unmoving as a statue. “Darim I must consult my memory and I will let you know if any pertinent information is found. In the meantime I want you to take control of our combat forces once you’ve found someone to replace Gabnath. Make sure to fight the enemy in public and visible places, make sure they create collateral damage while we do none. Given enough events the guilds will intervene and smash them. With any luck wearing themselves out in the process.”

Darim looked up. “Why me instead of Hara?”

The cloaked figure returned to his throne. “She is preparing another catspaw for me at the moment. Dismissed.”

Darim bowed and left.

Dark Carnival Big Top

“So the mission was successful?” Cloth rested her chin on top of her fist and looked toward the man.

“Yes, the amount of dark energy I was able to pull from their minds should be enough to start working on our final plan. Also they will most likely try to draw us into fights in the city, so our agents should lay a bit lower than normal until we are ready to enter war with the guilds and the assassins” the man craned his neck both ways, summoning a number of pops from it.

“I see…” Cloth laughed a bit. “Do as you will, the sorrow we still need to create the final plan isn’t too much, and with the current way things are going I see a dark future arriving soon, don’t you Sun?”

The man called Sun bowed his head. “Of course, mi lord”
Who you going to call? ME!
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Lordxana0
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:36 pm
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Krika on Wed May 21, 2014 12:36 am

Fluffy ears peeked over the table, followed by a large round watermelon. Zi shifted the fruit forward in front of Fern, eyes darting from side to side.

"Do you like watermelons? Of course you do, I got you a watermelon. Have a watermelon. Hi Fern."

Fern looked up from the book he was copying information out of. “Why hello there, Eliziya was it? Might I ask why you are offering me a watermelon?”

"I want to know everything about what you know about me. What I am."

He carefully slotted his quill into its inkstand. “Referring to being a yokai, or some similar spirit, I presume?”

"If that is what it's called, yes." Eliziya's expression was at a midpoint between gravity and solemnity.

Fern pursed his lips, thinking. “Well, there are a fairly large number of different varieties of yokai, and you did say that you had no memory that would indicate anything that might assist in the identification of the group to which you are a member.” He grinned broadly. “Which of course means that we could look for characteristics that make various varieties unique and see if you fit any of them, and then see where that gets us!”

Zi began listing. "Ears, tail. I can revert- I can change to a- a human... human form. Fire magic, restorative magic."

Fern nodded, standing up with a stretch. “I believe that finding a few works on various spirit beings should not be hard to find, so you could wait here, or you could come with me, I can not really stop you either way.”

"I can help. Just tell me what to look out for."

“Well then, when we get to where they would be, please look for..” he listed several titles. “Those should contain the necessary information we will need!” With a grin, he walked off down an aisle, Zi padding behind.

It didn't take long for them to retrieve the tomes. They settled back down at the table, Fern skimming through the index of one of the books.

“Hmm...Shapeshifting is a fairly common trait among spirits of many demeanors, so that is not precisely helpful in most regards…” He looked up at Zi. “You mentioned that you only could shift into the form of a human, at least to your knowledge?”

"I don't know. I only learned I could yesterday. Might be more. I don't know how. Say, Fern," Zi hesitated, "when you say 'spirit', does that mean I'm not flesh and blood?"

“It is ambiguous - much of what is known about yokai and similar beings is collated from first-hand testimony of the few who see them, or rather see them and are aware of their true nature, and from cross-referencing myths and stories. There is the theory that they would be pure spirits who happen to be able to take on physical bodies, but other evidence suggests that they simply happen to be creatures whose…..spirits, for lack of a better word, are of the natural world more so than a typical human.” He looked up from his book. “Really, you would be the one to know better than I about that.”

"I wish I knew... I found out yesterday I wasn't human. Spirit, huh?" Eliziya rubbed her arms. "That might explain some things... Anything in the books?"

Fern paused, slowly looking up Eliziya again. “You only found out about this yesterday?”

"Only for sure yesterday. I'd thought it was an accident... but then... but I'm..." Eliziya took a long breath. "I didn't know for certain, and I'm sorry that I seemed that way the last time we met."

He nodded slowly. “Alright. Um, Ok. Right, right, right, looking through the books.” He poked his head back into the books, continuing to scan through the index. “Really, a lot of what you expressed is fairly common, although from what I can remember, I would have to double check to be certain, the fact that you can take a true human form without any animal characteristics might be the biggest hint, since most yokai are purportedly unable to hid their true nature completely, retaining one or two characteristics even when shifted into otherwise human form, similar to your current shape.”

"Hmm... What about the animal type? Maybe we could narrow down to the vulpine sort? Besides, foxes are creatures of flame, so I think the connection there's stronger."

“That does help somewhat……” His finger stopped on a spot, and he started flipping through the book, looking for a specific page. “Especially since most only can take the form of a singular animal….” He found the page he was looking for, and began to read it. “Hmm. Maybe?” He slipped a small ribbon in between the pages before turning back to the index and continuing to scan. Zi peered over his shoulder, trying to make sense of the book.

"Those woodcuts remind me of home somehow," Zi murmured. "Not that I ever had one."

“Well, home is sorta a place where you choose it to be. At least, that is how I view it, since if you call the place you were born home, I do not really remember mine, but I do not think of that as home, so I do not mind. Still, a sense of familiarity is a good sign, I think.”

"I suppose so." Zi struggled to fight off a sudden wave of panic, swallowing. "Do.. were spirits... are spirits even born?"

“Well, again there are no particularly clear consensus due to conflicting information. While some spirits and yokai can be the incarnation of a particular location or thing, say a tree or a hill or similar, in which case they technically come into existence as soon as the object comes into existence, others as I mentioned earlier are thought to be simply beings whose spirits are those of nature or something similar, in which case it would be logical to assume that they would reproduce as…well, as most creatures do.” He looked up at Zi. “I think it is safe to say that the answer to your question is yes, although the particulars of ‘born’ might vary.”

"I see... I see." Shaking her head as if to clear her thoughts, she returned her attention to the tome. "There. There's something about a human form. Does it say...?"

Fern glanced at Zi, frowning slightly before returning to the book. “Yes...I think that might be another possible candidate…” He flipped the book to the appropriate page, and added another marker before returning to scanning the index. “If, um, if you do not mind me asking, um...does anyone else know?”

"About me not being a human? No. I don't- hang on. This word here. 'Miho'. It's... Aximand called me that. What in the pits? Does he know? I think one person might. He might have recognised me before I did myself. But... no. Nobody else. Nobody else knows."

“Aximand? If you do not mind me asking, who is that?”

"My teacher in fighting. Don't know much about him, except that now he teaches people how to fight. The first time I met him... He said he was honoured that I trusted him enough to show myself. Was that what he meant?" she wondered.

“I do not think I could speculate on the meaning behind something said by a person that I have never met and have only just heard of, but perhaps showing one’s true identity could be considered a sign of trust, especially for creatures who are so secretive?” He tilted his head to the side slightly, turning to the page indicated. “I suppose it is another possibility to add to the list.”

"I must ask him soon.. So, is there anything definite?"

“Well…..I think…” He read down the indicated entry, frowning. “Well, most of these are vague enough that I do not think we would be able to get anything solid beyond possibilities.”

"So there's no way to confirm?" Zi's ears drooped with her hollow voice. "No way to be certain what I am?"

“Well…..” Fern glanced between the book, Zi, and his right arm. “Umm. I might have another way that could provide further information more directly. Maybe.”

"Go on." Zi's eyes radiated intensity as she stared at him.

Fern ducked his head slightly, speaking hesitantly, body tensing up. “Well, ah. I think that I might be able to before a ritual that would, um...allow me to, ah, I suppose read is the best word, yes, read or get a sense directly of your, um, spirit. Which might help?”

"What does it require?" she asked quietly.

“Well…..you. Sorta. I think you would either just have to sit in the center, or, um, maybe you might just need to, um, contribute blood or similar…?” He trailed off before something occurred to him. “It would not be anything permanently damaging no, it would not have any adverse effects on you at all, do not worry about that!”

It was clear that she'd made her mind up from the first, no matter the cost. "I'll do it. Just tell me whatever you need. Anything."

Fern nodded slowly, still tense. “I will need time to work it out...this is sort-of a theoretical idea, and I would want to check to make sure that it would do what it should do, so, um..right now, just give me time to work it out?”

"Alright." As an afterthought, Zi added, "I helped Anji regain her memories back when she thought she was Nova; if there's anything I can help with, just ask. I'll sit here and... wait."

Tension started to leak out of his body. “Yes, you were part of Nova’s guild. Umm, how about this: I know where her guild is, so when I have it read, I can pass a message to you through her?”

"That long?" A tinge of desperation broke through her words. "I... I can wait. But not through her. Nova is- was- is my sister, you see," she explained, giving Fern a pained smile. "I can't let her know..." Her voice became almost inaudible. "... can't let her know I was a lie all along." Raising her voice, Zi forced a note of gaiety. "It wouldn't be good to worry her, especially since she's still recovering from that nasty business with the tauros. How about I just check back everyday?"

Various emotions quickly flickered across Fern’s face. “I...I was unaware of your relationship with her, I do not think it has come up in any conversations we have had. But, if you want...that would be fine. I will...I will try to get it done quickly.” He ducked his head, not quite looking directly at Zi. “I...I would not want this to go wrong.”

She laughed, high and hysterical, her anxiety leaving her in an exodus of mirth. "Fern, I made up that ritual for Nova and I botched it up. My soul was at risk and now I have a Beast cohabiting in my mind. What's the worst that could happen?"

Fern was staring at her with more than a hint of panic and worry in his expression. “Umm. Right. Ok. Umm…..”

"I'll go now then, shan't disturb you. I'm deeply indebted to you, Fern. Thank you for helping me." Eliziya bowed formally.

Fern jerked slightly, bobbing his head quickly. “Right, uh, alright. I will try to be as fast as possible with it.”

After Zi had left, Fern stared at the couple of books on the table that they had gathered, carefully controlling his breathing. He buried his head in his slightly shaking hands for a moment, before leaning back in his chair. “Just had to do it…”

---

It was the fourth day in a row that Zi was going to pester Fern. She steeled herself for disappointment and more waiting, mouthed a short prayer, then approached him, this time with a pineapple in hand.

"Fern! Uh... I don't suppose it's done?"

The young man jumped slightly at her voice, turning around to look at her. “Oh, uh hello. I...umm.” He gave her a careful look. “You are certain you are alright with this?”

"It's done? I'm certain; I have to know. I must, at all costs."

Fern pursed his lips, and gave a quick nod. “Right, then. Come with me.” He walked off, checking to make sure that Zi was able to keep up with him. The two of them threaded their way deeper into the library, and down several flights of stairs to reach a series of isolated underground rooms. Stopping at one of the doors, Fern pushed it open and gestured Zi inside, before slipping in himself and firmly shutting it.

Inside was a medium-large room, consisting of sheer stone walls with inset glowing crystals providing illumination. Inside, the room felt….inert, almost. On the floor was inscribed a ritual circle, with a complex larger circle and a smaller one attached to it.

Fern gestured to the circles hesitantly. “This...this is it.”

Zi stepped inside with more than a little trepidation. "You said you needed my blood?"

“Well….ummm...no, actually. I tried to make it work with a substitute or a vessel, but I do not think any sort of reading that might be gotten from it would be as accurate. This...you are going to be sitting in the middle of it.”

"Alright. Just as long as you don't sacrifice me to a demon or some such," she joked in a half-hearted attempt to ease the tense atmosphere.

Fern jerked away from her for a moment, tensing up slightly. “Nonononono, I would not do anything like that at all, I do not even know how I would go about doing such a thing, I am not doing that..” he trailed off, shaking his head. “Umm. Right, umm. Not doing that, no.”

"Sorry, must have touched a raw nerve. You're doing fine, Fern. Carry on." Zi sat cross-legged, deliberately relaxing her entire body and she tucked her tail closer to keep it in the inner circle.

He nodded and closed his eyes for a moment, breathing in and out a few times. When he opened his eyes again, he was calm. “If you have anything on you that could interfere, I would take them off. Anything potentially magical, or just something that might interfere with the flow of the magic could mess things up, so if you are wearing anything of that sort, please take it off.”

A bracer, two shoes, a simple choker, travelling cloak and weapons were promptly flung unceremoniously out of the circle. "Right, carry on. Now's a good time to rob me."

He did the same, forming a small pile near one wall with his own things. Ignoring Zi’s comment, he sat down in the side circle, kneeling. “I would like you to try and focus inward, try to get a sense and an idea of what you are feeling, of who you are at this moment, some idea of who the you right now is. Can you do that?”

"No, but I suppose I'll have to try." Zi frowned and clenched her eyes shut. Amidst the anticipation and fear, she could barely force herself into an appropriate state of tranquility.

A few moments later, Fern spoke up. “Oh, and let me know when you are done with that so that we can proceed.”

She held a long breath, and exhaled slowly. "Carry on."

“The first thing I am going to do is activate this. It will not do anything yet, but power will start flowing through it. Let me know if you start to feel uncomfortable, or if you think that something disruptive is about to happen.” He looked to her for confirmation.

"Would my Tutelary affect anything? It's passive."

He shook his head. “As long as it remains passive and does not act, then its presences should not matter. Anything else?”

"I'll go on a limb and say the Beast in my head won't change things. Not that I can do anything about it either. I think we can proceed."

Fern nodded, uncertainty flickering across his face for a split second before settling back into calm. He knelt down, placing each hand onto the inner sides of the circle he was in, and closed his eyes. A moment later, magic pulsed from his hands into the circle, starting to circulate through the entire ritual. It slowly grew in intensity, and after about a minute, the lines inscribed into the floor started to glow ever so slightly to the naked eye. Another minute more, and the feeling of magic through and around the two of them settled into steady, constant flow, no longer increasing or decrease.

“Are things doing fine?” Fern asked, not moving from his kneeling position.

"It's tingly," Zi reported. "Feels alright."

Fern nodded. “This next part…..it might hurt, and it will certainly feel very strange and maybe wrong. When I start this, it is going to feel like something is trying to drain at you, pull you, your magic out of yourself. Do not fight that. It is just...reading you. Do you understand?”

Zi licked her lips. "I think so. I'll try not to fight back.."

Fern nodded. “Are you ready?”

"Go."

Fern nodded, and bowed his head, falling back into concentration. He started muttering under his breath, and a moment later a quick pulse went through the circles. Many of the runes around where Zi sat started glowing much brighter, shimmering with light. Another quick pulse ran through the circles, and suddenly the magic, previously just existing to both circulate and remain still began to act.

Eliziya felt a sensation of pricking, of something needling at her skin, trying to get in. After a moment's instinctual resistance, she consciously curbed the urge and felt the sensation sink into her skin, starting to reach around inside her. It was searching, questing trying to find something, something that was both inside her and of her. What seemed like a few moments later, and it found what it was looking for.

She suddenly felt a pulling, the sensation of something from deep inside of her being dragged out. Her body started to tingle, whatever it was being slowly dragged up from deep inside of her. As it got closer to the surface, the strangeness of the feeling started to increase, the tugging starting to feel like it was pulling at her, like it was trying to pull at her, and not just something inside of her. The sensation was growing stronger by the moment, the tugging pulling at it….at her, almost, becoming stronger by the moment. It pulled, and after what could have just been a moment, but could have been multiple minutes, the tugging pulled right out of body.

The sensation was….strange. It didn’t hurt, exactly, but Zi whimpered in response. It reminded her too much of the temporal junction she'd bridged into with Anji's mind. It felt almost like she was missing something small, something important that wasn’t quite there anymore. She could still feel it, still tell that it existed, but it wasn’t with her anymore. It was…..elsewhere, somewhere in the web of magic that she sat in. It was a struggle to not rush out of the circle and search for it. The part that wasn’t there seemed to be pressed into something she could almost feel it being manipulated, pushed into and against something empty, that molded itself to the missing. The piece and the mold fit together like two puzzle pieces, fitting each other perfectly.

They stayed this way for what seemed a long moment, before the missing thing was pulled away from the mold. It felt like it was trying to cling, to stay where it had molded, but it was dragged away, irresistibly. The tugging became a push, the missing being shoved toward her, and then into her. The feeling was….whole. It felt like she was suddenly whole again after not knowing that she had been missing anything, and it felt natural, right, wholesome. The pushing gently increased, pushing the...her...whatever had been removed back into her body, pushing it until it started sinking back into her of it’s own accord.

The feeling of magic surrounding her started to lessen, the pressure easing off until it vanished entirely, leaving just the feeling of flowing magic surrounding her. Even that started to diminish, the glow of the circles fading away as the magic seemed to flow out of the ritual. Before it could fade entirely, Zi attempted to draw a little into her in an effort to stabilise herself. A little flowed into her, most of it resisting her efforts to change the flow, and a minute later it had faded entirely.

She stood shakily. "Fern? You okay?"

He sat up, staying in a kneeling position for the moment, the calm focus still on his face. “One more thing. If it is possible, I would like for you to repeat the getting a sense of your current state as I asked you to do before the ritual.”

"Alright..." Eliziya began focusing again, trying to still her off-tempo breathing. "Yeah. And?"

“I would like you to compare how you were before to how you are now, if it is the same.”

"I don't think there's any difference. Why?"

Fern seemed to sag, some of the tension flowing out of his body as he clambered to his feet. “Just...just checking in another way to make sure everything went alright with the ritual. I felt a little unexpected fluctuations at the very end, but that was after it had finished, so it did not affect it in the slightest.”

"Good, good... so... Well? What... what am I?" Zi's gaze was steady but a tic in her voice gave away her anxiety.

Fern shakily moved to a spot approximately on the other side of the larger circle from where the one he had been sitting in was, and with trembling hands a small crystal, a few inches long and maybe an inch wide from where it had been resting. “Well….umm, it was not something that this could determine directly...ah, the various spirits that you could be of all are distinct enough in what they are, which would presumab-"

"Just tell me what you think!" Frustration spilled out from her, and she stared at him with wide desperate eyes. "So I'm a spirit. What spirit?"

He opened his mouth, and then closed it. He held out the crystal to her. “Feel this, and tell me what it feels like. Then I will be able to tell you.”

Zi nearly snatched it out of his hand. "It's warm. Alternating dry warm and humid warm. I feel... green. The leaves overhead are shrouding me from the sun. It's cooling in the shade. At night there's no heat. At night I see the mice. I see them in the burrows. How they squeal, how they-" Zi half-jerked away from the prism but maintained her grip. "Fur. Warm orange. Soothing orange. The scent of home. Noses twitch. Something's wrong. Change. I change. Four-legs to two-legs, two-legs riding on four-legs with fire in their hands. But I am fire. I am the firelight that leads them astray. My marshkin are called will'o'wisps. They call us foxfires. The light that guides you false. Fire, all bright, but we can't stop them, we can't stop- we stop. Peace. Humans and I. I-" Zi closed her glazed eyes and concentrated on reality. "Fern, what is this?"

While Zi had been speaking, Fern had walked over to where his possessions had been piled, and had grabbed a notebook, flipping it open. Now, however, he was staring at Zi with mixed fear and worry across his face, body shaking a little as he leaned against a pillar to steady himself. “It...it is..” he swallowed, clearing his throat. “It is the reading I said this ritual would do. Reading….umm…” He took a deep breath, as if the words were having difficulty being said. “Reading….you. That is you.”

"Me," she repeated faintly, slowly putting down the crystal. "Me. So I am..."

“Umm…” Fern took a deep breath, and pulled his gaze away from her to the book in his shaking hands. It took him a minute to focus on words, and he slid down with a thump to sit on the floor, letting the book rest against his now more steady legs. “Hengeyokai. With whatever certainty I can give you, I would say that you are a hengeyokai.”

"I'm a lie," she said softly. "A living lie. Foxfire. Saints alive. I'm a lie." A hysterical laugh bubbled from within, flames blossoming from her body. "I'm a lie!" Within moments, her unhinged laughter transmuted into inconsolable sobbing. "Hengeyokai," she forced out. "What does that mean?"

“Forest spirits. They are said to protect and defend forests, and other areas.” Fern tried to stand, and barely managed it, leaning against the pillar to steady himself, trying to lean back slightly from the now blazing girl.

"I'm not from the Castle. What was I supposed to protect? Where is it?" Zi's voice rose again, pitching high. For one crazed moment, she looked as though she might hurl herself at Fern, fire and all. Then it passed and the flames extinguished. "I'm sorry. It's not your fault." Zi took several tentative steps towards the Loreknight. "Are... are you alright?"

Fern chuckled, hysteria starting to leak into his voice a little. “I….I do not know. Just….it is not you, just…..things. And you, and…” He waved his hand vaguely around. “...things.” He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down. “I..I just did not really know what to expect…”

Zi put a hand on his shoulder, soothing warmth coursing into him despite the initial flinch at her touch. "Thank you, Fern. T-Take it easy. I think we just... need some time to... think."

Fern nodded slowly, breathing starting to calm down. “Yes….yes...time to think would be extremely helpful.”

Eliziya sat back against the wall, tired despite her lack of physical activity. She combed her fingers through her tail slowly, feeling its soft fur. "Of all the things, I don't think I ever expected this. I don't think I know what to do now."

Fern remained standing, leaning against the pillar as if it was the only thing keeping him up. “Well...I do not know what you could do. I...I do not know anything that I think could help you with that.”

"You've done enough, Fern, and I'm grateful. I won't forget it. Hah, in stories with grateful spirits, I ought to give you, I don't know, a lock of hair or fur or something and then proclaim that you can use it to call on me whenever. I don't know that I can do that," she managed a wry smile.

He managed an almost-smile back as well, though his was a bit wider than perhaps it should be. “That is how some stories are, though who knows if stories and reality were corresponding at all. I…” He paused, swallowing. “I can help you find some books about hengeyokai, if you like? In case they might be useful to you?”

"That would be wonderful. No rush, though. I still have to take care of... my... sister..." Zi murmured an oath. "She and I weren't blood sisters in the first place, but... this changes things. This changes everything. Tamar. Saints, no!" Zi moaned helplessly at the thought. "Things have changed." A grave note entered her words. "Fern, will you promise to keep this between us? Don't tell my sister. Please."

Fern nodded. “I will. I will not tell anyone else about what has happened here, nor of anything related to these events.” He managed a grin that could actually be called wry this time. “I know how to keep a secret.”
Krika
>Narra has tiny jerk people in her socks.
>We are affirming our collective jerkhood by committing genocide on them.
Guyshane
>I'm going to read the logs and pray that that sentence makes more sense in context
>No
>No it does not
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Krika
 
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:07 am
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Thu May 22, 2014 10:30 pm

Hunt for the child. part 1

Timelime note: Takes place shortly after the ball ends

Rachel walked along happily in the late night. The ball had gone wonderfully for the most part. Marcus got in a fight, who would have thought? Its almost like he can't avoid them. She thought to herself, happily soaking in her internal sarcasm.

“Have a lovely evening!” She commented to a passing cloaked figure. The hood seemed to shift towards her for a moment before resuming it's previous heading and passing by her with nary a whisper. The bard shrugged, Oh well, none of my business what you're doing out here mysterious person. Suddenly the figure stumbled and leaned against the wall, moaning. Rachel turned and hurried over. Alas! Irony, thou art a fickle beast. “Excuse me, are you okay?” The other woman moaned and held a hand against her head. Rachel leaned in and reached for the figure's arm. “Here, let me help you.” However as she went to help the brunette was forced to jump back as the cloaked woman lashed out with her arm in a wide sweep. Next Rachel was forced to block a knife from her assailant with her lute. The attacker jumped back and dropped a small, round object which promptly exploded into a smoke cloud.

Rachel stumbled around blindly, coughing. When she eventually stumbled her way out of the smoke the bard looked down to find her attacker's knife still buried in her lute. Okay, now it's personal.

----------

Hara fled from the attack her head pounding in pain. She had simply been on the way to the first stop of her investigation but that woman's voice had triggered something. Shortly after hearing her the assassin had seen the image of the bard seated across a table from her....

Rachel lifter her glass in toast. “Here's to you getting my banishment revoked K!”

Kira rolled her eyes in exasperation and dutifully clinked her own drink against her old friend's. “Are you really going to keep calling me that Rachel? We aren't kids anymore.”

“I don't see how that's relevant.”

“Yes, somehow that doesn't surprise me in the slightest,” Kira lightly pinched the bridge of her nose. “You aren't going to cause trouble now that you're back in town are you?”

Rachel grinned mischievously. “Well I won't cause any trouble that isn't a whole lot of fun for everyone involved.”

Kira put her face into her palms.

Rachel leaned back, her smile lessening. “Besides, its not like I'll be around for very long. Don't think I'm not grateful to be able to come back home because I am. But I love my job, I love traveling.”

Kira looked at her friend in amusement. “You think you'll ever lose that wanderlust of your's?”

The bard shrugged. “Eventually. Maybe. If I do its no guarantee I won't settle down at the guild so that I can teach the next generation of bards,” she took a pull from her drink. “But it is very nice to be able to come home again.”

Kira leaned forward. “And I'm glad you both can come home. Speaking of both, do you think Marcus will come home anytime soon?”

Rachel shook her head. “He's still holding the whole thing against his father. Shockingly enough our friend is being stubborn.”

“B-but he works in the army! He has to take orders!”

Rachel nodded. “i don't understand it either.”

Kira just shook her head. “Well anyway, think you can stay for the week? My opponents on the council would have a harder time complaining about letting you two back if a guild-trained bard were to play at the festival.”

“I take it these opponents were also involved in the initial banishment?”

“Most of them.”

Rachel smiled evilly. “More than good enough for me. It'll be a pleasure.”

----------

Hara shook her head again as she moved through the back alleys. These visions....memories have been happening more and more often since that whole mess with Cloth. Her expression darkened. I will have to pay Cloth a visit soon and repay her for the kindness shown. I'm most....grateful

As the assassin trudged down the alley toward her first target it started to rain. Hara went up to the door and knocked. A slat in the door opened so a thug could glare out.

“Tell your boss that Hara is here to see him.”

The slat closed again. After a few minutes the door opened up and the thug gestured towards the back room. Hara nodded as she walked into the drug den, moving past men and women with glazed over eyes and in some cases drool leaking out of their mouths. As well as a bar that was serving some of the rougher looking occupants of the castle.

When she arrived in the back of the lair a large shape moved on the back wall. A booming voice spoke up.

“Ahh, if it isn't our esteemed contact with the guild! What can I do for you today my dear? Hallucinogenics? Something to knock your target unconscious? Perhaps a little something for yourself?”

Hara sneered invisibly. “No, no and not in a million years. I've told you before not to treat me as your normal fare of customer Dubrane.”

The veritable giant of the man stood up from his chair leaning heavily on his cane which on closer examination was actually a modified battleaxe. “Now, now. No reason to get all twisted up. I am merely making a friendly offer. Selling is all about knowing your customer, you obviously are not the customer in the first place.”

“I'm glad we understand each other,” the assassin held out a recreation drawing of the picture Vincent had shown her. “I have been hired to find this girl, has their been any slave or the like that have looked like her recently?”

The crime boss took the picture and examined it closely. “I cannot say that I recognize her. But let me give this to my top men. I will have them take a look at it and if none of them recognize the girl I can at least point you to where one such as she might have been sold.”

Hara nodded in agreement and the two sat down to wait.

----------

Rachel stepped into the alley and stared at the nondescript door at the far end. Ahh, the Bent Blade Cantina...Criminals really have no sense of wordplay or they would have gone with the alliteration. Uncultured morons.

The bard swept softly through the alley, now dressed in her traveling gear. If she was going to find her attacker this would be the best place to start. She knocked on the door and the slat opened again. Rachel gave the doorman a charming smile.

“What does a girl have to do to get a drink around here?” She asked as she walked a gold coin across her knuckles.

The thug opened the door and Rachel handed him the coin before walking over to the bar and elbowing some drunk off of his stool. “Whiskey and information.” She said to the bartender, slapping down a small pile of coins. The barkeep gave her a glass of amber liquid before speaking.

“What do you want to know?”

“Someone in a hood and a mask tried to stab me before using a smoke bomb to escape. Sound familiar?”

The bartender looked over to the corner where Hara was sitting with Dubrane. Rachel followed his gaze and downed her drink before heading towards the pair.

----------

“Well? What is the news?” Dubrane asked of the man who returned with the news.

“Well actually I have seen her but it doesn't matter to you two.” The man replied, just before stabbing forward with a knife in each hand. Hara used both her hidden blades, one stabbing the elbow and the other his wrist forcing the man to drop the knife. Dubrane merely caught his subordinates' hand and crushed it in his grip, the bones audibly grinding and cracking. Dubrane stood dragging the man off balance. Any joviality or patience was gone from the criminal's face.

“Who do you work for traitor?” He growled menacingly.

“N-No one. I simply thought to become the leader and establish my repu-” the man was cut off as the grip on his hand tightened and more creaking was heard. Dubrane took the knife and stabbed his former lieutenant in the elbow before slowly turning it.

“Wrong answer.”

“N-n-n-not for, making alliance with the Carnival. They promised me power.” Dubrane slugged him in the face. “Hara my dear. I have a friend to entertain currently, my associate at the door will provide you a list of potential sellers the clowns could be looking to purchase a girl from. If he tells me anything else about your target I will send word.”

Hara nodded and headed out, picking up a piece of paper with the list on it as she exited. Before she had made it all the way down the alley she heard a voice behind her.

“Hey, you. We have a bit of a score to settle between us.” Rachel called out, her saber drawn.

“Following me is an unwise decision.”

“Yes well attempted murder leads me to take rash actions. Now come with me to the guards nice and easy and I won't have to leave you bleeding to death in this alley.”

She would make a good assassin. Hara thought to herself as she drew her jian and faced the bard. “Allow me to indulge your rash action.” Hara thrust and was parried by Rachel before she had to fall back from a three stab counterattack from the bard. The assassin whipped her blade around her head and sent it singing towards her opponent who ducked it and stabbed forward almost impaling Hara who dodged it at the last moment.

Rachel followed the stab with an upward slash. Hara blocked the blow but the sword continued on, slicing through her cloth mask. Rachel got a good look at her opponents face and froze before uttering a single word.

“Kira?”

Hara stopped. “That name, you people keep calling me that. Why? WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING ME THAT?!?” The assassin screamed, tears flowing down her face for a reason she didn't understand.

Rachel leapt forward and wrapped the assassin in a hug before Hara could do anything. “Kira, K. I-I thought...Marcus told me he didn't find any survivors. But you're alive! You're alive!” There were tears of joy flowing down the bard's face.

Hara's instincts screamed at her to do something. Kidnap her to use as leverage, stab her in the back, something. But the assassin just stood there unmoving as the flow of memories took hold again.

----------

“Well, lets see them ban me again after that performance!” Rachel declared triumphantly.

Kira smiled and looked back at the town. The square was still covered in confetti and other party refuse still littered the town square. Also littering the square were some of the village people who had drank more than was healthy and were currently sleeping off the effects.

“It was nice to have entertainment who knew what they were doing for once.” Kira looked at Rachel “And more importantly it was nice to have my friend back.” She added.

Rachel broke into a matching grin “Well, you'll be seeing a bit more of me now. At the bare minimum I'll try to make it back each year for the festival. But first I have to bring the idiot back for a visit.”

“Promise you'll be back?”

Rachel stepped forward and hugged her friend. “Promise.”

----------

“Ra-Rachel?” Hara stuttered out.

“You remember!”

Hara shook her head. “I-I've been getting flashes. Who am I?”

“Your my friend Kira. And our friend Marcus is here in the castle too. And by the looks of things you've been getting yourself involved in some...illicit activities.”

“Assassination.” Hara commented absent mindedly. “Although right now I'm trying to save a girl..wait Oracon is my friend?”

Rachel paled at first but gained some of her color back as Hara continued speaking. “Umm...Yea Marcus is our friend.”

Hara noted the bard's nervousness. “I should go.” She turned on her heel and began striding away. The assassin paused. “I...wouldn't mind talking to you more. We're friends right?”

Rachel heard the fear in Hara's voice. “Yea, of course we are.”

Hara nodded. “I'll be in touch.” And then she was gone
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby JackAlsworth on Fri May 23, 2014 11:49 am

(S)wordplay

Timeline Note: A few days after Quest 70

“Jenny!” Ben watched the rock bounce off her friend’s window. “You ready to start hitting each other with sticks or what?”

The window opened slowly. “Can’t this wait until morning?” called Jenny sleepily.

“It IS morning! Soon the sun will be up and then we’ll have practically wasted the whole day!”

A loud, dramatic sigh emanated from Jenny’s room, but she appeared in the doorway thirty seconds later, pulling on her vest and yawning. “I guess it was my fault, getting used to sleeping in.”

Ben nodded absently. “Getting injured will make you soft if you’re not careful.” She shoved a broadsword into Jenny’s hand, instructing, “Keep a firm grip on your weapon.”

Jenny, naturally, almost dropped it. “Sorry,” she said hurriedly, adjusting her grip on the handle. “I wasn’t expecting the weight.”

“There’s a lot of weapon to handle there,” Ben said, holding back a snicker. “So, you and Erastus?” She asked the question casually, glancing away.

Jenny blinked. “Me and Erastus what?”

“You know.” Ben smirked, gesturing with her sword. “Handling each other’s weaponry. Dancing the two-man tango. Hanging around in each other’s bedrooms at all hours?” She winked.

“Ben, what are you talking about?”

“I’m sorry, what you two do behind closed doors is none of my business, of course.”

Jenny still wore a bemused expression. “We don’t do anything behind closed doors. I mean, we sleep -”

“Damn right you do,” Ben said, with another, more obvious wink. “Big guy like Hector, I’m sure you have all the fun you can stand… sleeping.”

Finally a light of understanding came into Jenny's eyes, and she laughed. “We sleep in separate rooms. We're just resting, Ben. There’s nothing going on.”

Ben met Jenny’s eyes, about to wink again, then blushed crimson. “I’m sorry. Forget I brought it up, Jen.”

“All right,” said Jenny, still smiling slightly as she held the sword up in front of her. “Is this right?” She tried to mimic the way she had seen Ben holding hers.

Ben looked her up and down slowly before nodding. “We’re probably going to spend today on learning how to hold and stand, anyway. First rule is keep your hands away from the prick.”

Jenny nodded. “Don't touch sharp end. Seems easy enough.”

“You’d be surprised the trouble some people have with it,” the redhead muttered. “That’s a handy sword right now; for now, you can keep both hands on the grip because you’re not used to it. Once you’ve had some practice, you’ll find thrusting is easier one-handed. Let’s talk about your legs.”

Jenny looked down. “What about them?”

Ben smiled faintly. “Hmm. You’ll want a more balanced stance so you don’t go tumbling after the first thrust. Try spreading your legs to be shoulder width apart.”

Jenny fixed her stance. “Like this?”

“Yeah, that’s good.” Ben sheathed her sword and placed her hands on Jenny’s shoulders, putting a gentle pressure on them. “You’re too tense. You need to be loose in order to do this well.”

“Yes, that makes sense.” Jenny had a set of exercises her father had taught her to keep her arms and shoulders loose, but several weeks of bedrest had thrown her schedule off. And Ben was... eerily good at finding the knots in her back.

“You’ve got good instincts,” Ben murmured. “Like your body knows the motions to go through.”

Jenny chuckled. “Archery helps.”

Ben grinned. “I’ll admit, you sure can bend a bow.”

“Thank you.” Jenny rolled her shoulders experimentally, then set her stance again. "So what next?"

“Next… you should probably go back to bed. Sun’s coming up,” she nodded to the sky. “Same time tomorrow?”

"All right. Thank you, Ben."

“The pleasure was all mine.”
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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:40 pm
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby agoraoptera on Mon May 26, 2014 2:20 am

Zi shuffled to the pantry, hair a tangled mess. She felt about as awake as a zombie, but the sun shining in through the windows of the guildhall seemed to treat her like a vampire.

She rifled through the cupboards, then heaved out a brown sack. Sitting herself on the table, she plucked out an apple from the sack and began munching on it.

Vincent entered into the kitchen with a sigh, reading over a scroll in his hands and trying to wrap his mind around the information, before realizing that at the moment it would be pointless to look into. So he rolled up the scroll and stored it inside of his jacket, entering the pantry and grabbing himself a loaf of bread, only noticing Zi as he was exiting. “You look like hell,” he said plainly.

"You don't look much better, pretty-face," Zi attempted to retort, but life failed to flow back into her demeanour. "'m tired."

The alchemist frowned as he realized that the normal banter that he shared with the younger girl wasn’t coming out. “Hm… good!” he walked over and put a hand on her shoulder. “Alchemy lesson time!”

She mumbled something that sounded like the wretched offspring of two vulgarities, neither of which particularly pleasant to begin with.

“You can come easily or I could spill a potion of levitation on you and float you into my room,” he crossed his arms and looked down at her.

"'m light enough. Don't need a potion." Zi took another crunch of the apple, then put half the entire fruit in her mouth. With one solid bite, she snapped the core in two, and proceeded to devour the entire thing. "Wah chu 'eaching?" She tried to say through her full mouth.

“I ate yesterday, not really up for eating today” he put the bread on his shoulder and waved so that she would follow him, not feeling like getting into an argument with the young woman about his eating habits.

Zi followed, finishing her munching. She swallowed and began again. "What're you teaching?"

“I am going to teach you how to make a potion of happiness, bottled joy,” he opened the door to his room. “Beautiful women first.”

She snorted, entering. "Sounds like something I could really use right now."

He smirked a bit. “With that attitude I would say so,” he walked into his room/lab and shut the door behind him, walking over to one of his tables and pushing everything off it, than dropping an acid potion that melted everything he had dropped but left the floor spotless. “Ready?”

"Eh... can we not destroy everything next time? Such a waste."

“I was using those to test out a disease potion, you can’t contaminate this potion with equipment used from the last one,” he walked over to the small cage he kept rats in and pulled one out. “First thing we need is the liver of a fast talking rat.”

“Aye what do you think you are doin, I never did nothin to nobody,” the rat spoke as it tried to break free of Vincent’s grasp.

"Can't we use you instead? You're a fast-talking rat, Vincent." Zi suggested, holding the rat. "Where do you even get talking animals?

“Who you callin an animal?” the rat tried to break free of Zi’s hold, obviously annoyed. “I was just goin about my business and this guy grabs me up like he is some sorta big boss guy.”

Vincent rolled his eyes. “I found him trying to eat the grain in the pantry, I gave it a potion of minor intelligence for use in alchemy experiments.”

“I’ll show you minor intelligence,” the rat grumbled.

"I'm not sure I want happiness that comes from a rat's liver."

“Oh cause your liver is so full of sunshine and joy ain’t it, yah rotten piece of cheese,” the rat attempted to bite her hand.

"Adorable," Zi observed dryly. "Well and truly adorable. How did you say we go about taking its liver again?"

Vincent reached for a scalpel and the rat began to freak out. “Now lets just hold on a bit, maybe I was a little fast with my words but I was just jokin, come on you can take a joke can’t yah girlie?”

"I can take jokes, rodent," Zi smiled unpleasantly. "Can you?"

Vincent grabbed the rat and put it on the table, putting tiny clamps around its body and dropping a drop of sleeping potion on its head, knocking it out and handing her the scalpel. “Cut its stomach down the middle, not too deep”

"The last time I operated, it was a human under my knife and I wasn't trying to kill him," remarked Zi, making the incision.

Vincent grabbed a pair of tiny clamps in order to keep the cut open, handing her a pair of tiny tweezers and taking the knife. “Thats the liver,” he pointed at it with the scalpel. “When I cut it out you are going to grip it lightly and pull it out.”

"Right." She angled the tweezers in. "Waiting on you."

He quickly made the cuts and allowed her to pull the liver out, closing the rat up and grabbing some needle and thread, closing it up and placing it among the other rats. “Done”

"I'd heal the little prick, but then it is a little prick after all," Zi said, setting the liver aside gently.

“It will be a normal rat again in about an hour” Vincent grabbed a few colorful liquids, naming them for Zi and showing in what order they should be mixed. “Tell me about a happy memory”

"Tamar, of c-" she paused, expression darkening. "I... give me a moment. Happy memory. Ah, when I got Anji back alive, got her memories back. That was... tense. But happy. I was glad it worked. And then she and Kevin got together. The ball. Yeah. The ball we met, remember? That was fun."

“Good, those will work” Vincent dropped the rat liver into the vial and put her hand on top of it. “Think of all of the good times, all of the smiles you have had, and the ones you will have. Your friends, the people you care about, the people you haven’t met that you will care about. Think of them and really focus on that”

"That's a hard thing to do right now," she said without much conviction, but closed her eyes anyway.

“Sometimes it does help to focus in on something easy, like the taste of a food you like, and let the rest build off that” Vincent sat on his bed and watched her.

"Mmm... apples." Her tail began swishing from side to side languidly as her grip tightened on the vial. "So, I just keep thinking?"

The liquid began to glow gently. “Yes, just let your mind flow free with the joy that comes to your mind”

Zi snickered at his description. "Yes, the joy. Fun times. Remember when I doused you with frogs? Boy, that was fun."

He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, smirking a bit. “Oh yeah so much fun” he watched it. “Just a little bit more”

"Remember when we spiked the punch? That was hilarious. Especially when my sister tried to kill you."

Vincent grabbed the vial and smirked a bit. “Yeah yeah yeah.” the liquid inside of it was now a light orange color, the same as a sunrise. “Its done”

"Cool." Zi opened her eyes, smiling slightly. "Well, if nothing, that made me feel a bit better. Now what?"

He tossed the potion up and down a few times, in thought. “Tell me Zi, you are going through a hard time now right?” he waved his hand before she answered. “You don’t need to tell me why, but just be honest”

"Hard time's one way of putting it," she mumbled.

“But you have been through hard times before right?” he motioned for her to sit in one of the chairs around the room.

"Yeah," she admitted, taking a seat. "Tough times."

“But you have found happiness between those times, am I right?” Vincent asked, keeping eye contact with her.

"Sort of," she muttered, looking away. "Sort of."

He nodded and tossed her the potion. “The potions name is Sunrise Return, can you guess why?”

"Saints, no, I can't even begin to guess," she said. "Must be some kind of potion that makes one sad and depressive, hey?"

He smirked at her and shook his head. “No, its called that because no matter how dark the night is, or how bad things get” he clapped his hands. “The sun will always shine on a better day eventually”

"Sounds like something out of a book I read," her cheeks flared. "So, you drinking it?"

“No, you take half the vial before bed and it gives you pleasant dreams, best you could ever wish for.” he smiled at her. “Just remember that despite how you feel now things are going to get better, and you won’t ever be alone”

"Vincent, are you okay?" Zi peered at him in concern. "You don't seem... yourself."

He shook his head, not wanting to reveal his current sorrows. “Its nothing, just didn’t sleep well last night”

"Hah..." Zi rubbed her eyes. "Looks like we all have our troubles."

“True enough” he stood up and walked over to his desk, looking at the various tools on it. “Things will be okay, after all…. sun will have to rise tomorrow”

"You want the other half?" She indicated the potion. "Might do you some good."

He waved his hand. “No thank you, I really couldn’t. I…” he scratched the back of his head. “I don’t dream anymore”

Zi hesitated. "Anymore- I... might be able to help. Too tense? I've got this spell, it'll ease just about anyone."

“Or maybe you could just give me a backrub” he winked at her, putting on his joking attitude again.

"I could do both at the same time," she said, taking his suggestion seriously. "It's a simple spell."

He blinked, once again shocked by the apparent naivety or next level of humor. “I uh… don’t think your significant other would like that too much”

"Tamar wouldn't mind... Vincent, I'd like to know your opinion on something."

He shrugged a bit. “If you would like to know all you need to do is ask”

"Let's just say there's a... let's say there's this person, okay, hypothetically speaking. So this person is... in a relationship with another, right? But then one day this person finds out that she's not... well, say they were both goblins to begin with, but then one day she finds out she was actually a... human. Actually a human, but there was some kind of mess and so she appears a goblin. So... they can't exactly stay together, can they? Hypothetically speaking."

He bit his lip, thinking about the question for a moment. “Do they love each other?”

"Sort of, sure. The human-turn-goblin might be too young to know what love really is."

“Does what she is really matter though?” he rested his cheek on his fist and looked at her. “I mean sure, it might be strange but if they care about each other what does it matter what they are called?”

"Okay, maybe not human. Think as wide a gap as possible, like... elves and jellyfish. Something along those lines. Completely off, you know?"

“You mean a thinking creature and a creature without a mind like a fish?” he was confused about the link.

"Nonono, pretend the jellyfish is perfectly capable of thinking and feeling and isn't just a tasty blob." She made a face. "Okay, so maybe that wasn't the best of analogies. Just two people, as far removed as possible in terms of... race."

He tapped his fingers together. “There was once a story from my homeland about a man who fell in love with a tree, would you like to hear it?”

"Sure."

He took a deep breath. “There was once a brave warrior from a small village, a strong and powerful man who was unrivaled on the battlefield. He had been through countless battles and stained his sword red with the blood of hundreds of enemies. Yet he could never find any sort of peace in the world. One day he came to sit under a tree, resting his sword to the side and looking up at the sky. What he saw as he looked up where the beautiful leaves, turned almost golden” he smiled a bit, obviously enjoying this story. “In that moment the man fell in love with the tree, enjoying the peace that it gave him and the rest that came with it. He would visit it every day, feeding it with water and making sure none would come near it. When it came time that he needed shelter he would gather the branches that had died and used them, and made blankets from the leaves that fell. When the warrior finally died his body was buried next to the tree, and legend has it that overnight a new tree grew, wrapping around the other one, eternally bound together”

"Oh. Wow. That's... romantic." Zi sighed wistfully. "But say, hypothetically speaking, what if the tree was a sorta young lady, and the master swordsman was just a sorta young guy, and it's only later that she finds out she really was a tree?"

He blinked a bit. “If the young man still likes the tree as a tree, what does it matter?”

"I have no idea," she answered truthfully. "That's what I want to find out, because it seems like there is, somewhere, somehow."

“I suppose the tree would have to ask the man than. And if he decided he didn’t love the tree as a tree than that would be that. But…” he stood up and walked over, putting a hand on her shoulder. “That wouldn’t mean the tree couldn’t still enjoy being a tree, don’t you think?”

"I'm just afraid the tree and the man don't really know what they want."

“The answer to that one is simple through” he chuckled a bit. “They want to be happy”

Zi managed a smile. "Right. Sounds easy enough. Just gotta be happy. But what if the tree didn't know if it liked being a tree? It's only realised it was a tree for a couple of days."

“The tree should probably learn to be happy with itself, but also realize that being a tree doesn’t really mean anything in the long run” he pointed toward himself. “I was a Kloisian, a member of their royal court. But how does that make me any different from another person?”

"Wait, you're royalty?" Zi blinked, mouth open in surprise.

“A bit, the royal alchemist is the one who would take over in the event that the royal line where killed. So I was pretty much one step from the throne to be honest” he shrugged modestly. “Not really a big deal.”

"Not really a big deal?! By the saints, what's a royal like you doing here then? Wait, " Zi smacked her forehead, "it's not like you're the first. Why are there so many royalties here, and why are they all in Severed Storm?!"

“Well not anymore, after I was tried as a war criminal and about to be executed I imagine they canceled out my royalty” he walked over to his potions and got a few of the liquids, looking at them.

Eliziya winced. "I'm, uh, sorry. War crimes... well, at least you're not the first wanted person up around here... uhm... I take it you don't want to talk about it?"

He laughed a bit. “I made a deal with a demon to stop a war and ended up killing a lot of people who would have died anyway” he spoke the words rather bitterly. “I saved a lot of innocent people from dying… and for it I lost my sister and my life. But hey” he turned around. “The sun will always shine down on a better day right?”

“I… I guess so. I’m so sorry, Vincent. If there’s ever something I can do to help…”

He went over and kissed the top of her head from behind. “Find a reason to smile and try to be happy, thats all someone like me needs.”

Giving him a quick hug, Zi channeled her healing energy into him, suffusing him with soothing warmth and easing away his tension. “Thanks, Vincent. I hope you’ve found a better place than where you came from.”

He nodded his head and gently hugged Zi. “I have, and thank you” he broke the hug and looked at her. “Now, I think a certain tree should go reveal its beautiful leaves to a certain young man, don’t you?”

Zi stared at him, horrified. “No, I mean, what are you talking about? It was purely hypothetical, okay? Don’t… don’t get some weird ideas in your head or, or anything. I was just curious!”

“Of course it was” he rolled his eyes and smirked. “So want to learn how to make acid that can eat through metal?”

“Uh… sure… look, don’t go round telling anyone what I asked, okay? Keep it to yourself.” Under her breath, Vincent could just barely hear, “saints alive, he knows, he knows he knows he knows oh shit he knows.”

“Zi its not my job to go around and babble about other peoples business,” he turned around with a smirk. “It is however my job to tell you that this potion” he picked up a small bottle. “Is a substance that will turn your entire body ticklish, and you should probably run before I test it on you”

“Oh nonono, I’ll tell you when the time comes, okay, don’t use that on me, don’t look at me like that! Stay away, stay away,” Zi backed off panickedly, picking up a pair of wooden tongs to fend him off.

“First rule of being an Alchemist, learn to run as fast as you can from insane people with tickle potions” he smirked and raised back his arms, obvious humor in his eyes and stance. Zi turned and bolted anyway, tossing the tongs back at him as she fled. Vincent laughed and gave a small chase, just enough to keep up the game. And the Sun would rise again.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Victin on Thu May 29, 2014 8:32 pm

Plinny stopped in front of the large oak door and leaned on his walking stick, to prepare himself both mentally and physically to face that madwoman. He’d ask himself why does her main lab has to be on the higher floors of the library but the answer would certainly be to keep everyone else away. With a long sigh, his left hand motioned and his forefinger pushed the glasses back the length of his nose, and then he straightened himself as well as he could. The cold touch of the metallic doorknob might as well as have been the cold hand of death, if it were for Lori’s experiments. The old man stopped himself, though, knocked on the door and then entered her lab.

It was nearly as messy as his own, but even then he was sure everything here was ten times deadlier than anything he could have. Some oils and chemicals rested inside flasks of glass and amber on the nearby shelves, while a myriad of clay pots held another myriad of variable ingredients, ranging from the rare amaranth to the common narcissus. Plinny decided to disregard any and all sightseeing and to be straight to the point. “Loremaster Lori, are you here?”

“Yes?” Lori’s voice filtered across the room, originating from the corner. “What is it?”

“It is me, Loreknight Plinny and I have a subject of extreme importance to present to you.”

“Well, hold on.” The Lorekeeper’s head popped up from behind a large stack of books, and she gingerly stepped over them to greet the elderly gentleman. “What is so important, Plank?”

He shook his head as he exhaled a frustrated sigh, but otherwise ignored the fact she didn’t say his actual name. “I believe you already know an individual known as Marcus Oracon, from the Severed Storm guild, and his research on how to defeat the Genius loci of this castle, correct?”

“Intimately. What of it?”

“With my help, and that of a fellow mage named Mirae, we entered the abandoned temple in the forest of this very floor and advanced to its very bottom, where besides finding a working automaton we retrieved this,” he took a white cloth from within his robes, that surrounded a small copper disk. “This, Lori, supposedly contains information that’ll allow us to defeat said Genius loci, if we can decipher it.”

“Ooh that’s interesting. May I see it?” Lori held out a hand, the other occupied with an open book.

“Yes. Just be… Careful.” Plinny handed the disk to the woman, his hand only slightly shaking as he did so.

Lori gave the disk a cursory examination, and handed it back. “I’d like to know what information is on this. I’ll give you thre-no, four days. Crack it, please.”

“F-Four days? I don’t believe I c-” His sentence was halted by Lori’s glare. This wasn’t a taunt to him, it was simply an order, an order that she actually expected to be fulfilled. Plinny glanced back at the disk. “It doesn’t seem to contain any magic whatsoever, so the information must be contained physically. The surface of the disk is smooth only in one side, so we know which side has the information engraved. I’ll need the equipment to read such small inscriptions without damaging it and time to discover the language or code it’s written. Would you know if we have such equipment in the Library, or would I have to search or even build one myself?”

“Search the uppermost floor, I believe we may have some equipment to help you. Do you require anything else, Plank?”

“An assistant, and only three days.” He put the disk inside the white cloth and then into one of his robe’s pocket. “I’ll… Begin working on it right now.” Plinny nodded to her, and walked out through the same corridor he had entered.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Sat May 31, 2014 12:24 am

The Outpost

Binky stared at the water and whinnied.

Marcus turned to look at his loyal steed. “Yes, I realize there's probably something in the water. But I need to set up the base with some resources and the river probably won't run dry.”

The horse huffed.

Marcus sighed and lifted the torch up as he headed into the cave. The warrior was up on floor twenty constructing a forward base for the guild. He had realized there was no way that Severed Storm could continuously operate solely from the first floor and that they needed some way to support long-range patrols and exploration of the castle.

Lucky that no one besides Mir ever asks where I'm going. Someone might have tried to talk me out of this or some similar nonsense.

Moving deeper into the cave Marcus found to his delight that there were glowing crystals that naturally illuminated the cavern. From what his diamond eye could see they gave off faint energy signatures but nothing that looked deadly. These will do wonderfully. For starters it means that there won’t be any need to light fires except for warmth, so we have stealth covered. It also means I don't need to find a way to get rid of the smoke from fires. Not immediately anyway.

Marcus’ train of thought was interrupted by a loud growling from outside. The warrior ran towards the entrance only to find Binky backed into the cave with a behemoth prowling around outside. Oh great.

When the predator saw the man there with the horse it threw itself at the cave entrance. Marcus and Binky both moved back quickly but the behemoth stopped part way in. It growled and tried to move back only to find it couldn’t. The big man realized what was going on and unlimbered his mace.

“You’ve royally screwed up you son of a bitch.”

----------

After a nasty beatdown, a lot of pushing and a hurried bath. Marcus finished filling up Binky’s saddlebags with a list of construction materials and a request for help.
“Alright buddy, get to the Severed Storm headquarters and get the attention of someone you recognize. Make sure they bring you back.”

Binky neighed back and began walking.

----------

Anji rested outside, laying back gently on a bench outside the Severed Storm headquarters. The sun was out, and it warmed her face, scars shining silver.

Then her sun was blocked by a sudden shadow and there was an animal snort. She opened her eyes, smiling crookedly. “Binky? What’re you doin’ out here alone? Where’s Marcus?”

The horse snorted again and turned to display the full saddlebags. Anji rifled through them until she found the message, and nodded, gently patting the horse’s shoulder. “All right then.”

She stood, somewhat shakily, and grabbed Binky’s mane. “Mind if I use you for balance?”

The horse snorted in a way that seemed reminiscent of the snark of his rider. Anji smiled, and walked with the horse to the market, quickly procuring the necessary supplies: planks of wood, a pickaxe, furs and various other items. Once she had paid for the goods, she eyed the horse. “Mind waiting for me to get my sword?”

Another snort, and Anji sighed. “You’re a piece of work, you know that?”

Without waiting for a reply, Anji turned into the building, returning a few minutes later with a small, if loaded backpack, and a sword, sheathed over her shoulder. She limped up to the horse, and offered a sugar cube. “Ready ta go?”

Binky took the sugar cube before lowering slightly to help the small woman get on his back. Anji smiled, and clambered on. “Never rode a horse before.”

The horse neighed in irritation and began walking.

----------

Marcus finished setting the sharpened bones of the Behemoth into the ground as spiked embankment when he heard the sound of horse hoofs. Finally.

Anji was grinning, holding tightly to the horse’s mane.

Marcus’ eyes widened in surprise. “Well, there’s a face I wasn’t expecting to see.” He called out to the thief.

Anji’s smile fell a notch, and she tilted her head. “Should I go back?”

“Boss, voicing my surprise is not the same thing as saying I don’t want you here.”

Anji’s grin returned, and she patted Binky’s side. “He’s a really cool horse.”

“He’s also far smarter than he should be. Surprised he hasn’t figured out how to talk yet.” Binky threw his head gently to one side.

“....or maybe he just isn’t physically capable.”

“Probably the latter… Can I have a hand down?” Anji asked quietly, biting her lip.

“Yea sure.” The big man responded before lifting his friend down. “How’s the paperwork business been?”

Anji shrugged her backpack off, leaving the sword in its scabbard on her back. “Boring. How’s running off without telling anyone?”

Marcus put a hand to his chest mockingly. “Your words wound me. I am the guild’s vanguard.”

Anji grinned despite herself, and surveyed the floor. “Looks all… uh, deadly.”

“What? No! Just because I beat a monster to death and made its bones into a defense? It’s really quite homey when you get right down to it.” Marcus snarked back.

Anji poked him with her elbow, and fished another sugar cube out of her pocket, offering it out to the horse.

Binky took the sugar cube. Marcus began leading the horse up the one path without spikes. “Come on, I’ll show you what I’ve got so far.”

Anji nodded, and limped next to the horse, on the opposite side of Binky. “I love the decor.”

“Trust me it’ll come in handy later. Hell, they would of come in handy earlier. There’s a giant mutant population, something lurking in the river and the undead raiders still have yet to put on a reappearance.”

“Why did you pick this floor for an outpost, then?”

Marcus paused, seemingly confused. “I-I...don’t know...something, It just felt like it was the right place. I can’t quite explain it.”

Anji nodded, and surveyed the area. “Best to get a few up here to clear that fortress, it’d be a better stronghold than a pile of bones.”

“What fortress?”

“Over there,” Anji motioned to the horizon. “Three knuckles west of that dead tree.”

“Huh…” Marcus strained the vision in his crystal eye and caught the shape of what she was talking about. “I never noticed that before, guess I was always too busy focusing on what was right in front of me.” The fortress was oddly obscured. “I think there might be some kind of magic or something coming off of it.”

Anji shook her head sharply, seeming to decide not to question her suddenly uncanny sight, and turned her attention back to Binky. “Who’s a good horse?” She smiled widely, a bribe of a third sugar cube in her hand.

Binky threw back his head and snorted as if saying “Suck up.” before darting his head back down to snatch the sugar cube from her hand. Anji beamed at him, and scratched his nose. “So, super intelligent horse, and you never give him treats?”

“He was hiding his intelligence to that whole thing with the bull monster.” Marcus replied absent mindedly. Anji frowned, and petted Binky more gently.

“I can feel your frown.” The warrior commented blandly. “Look I know that wasn’t the best day for us but we all survived, that’s what counts.” They arrived at the cave entrance. Anji said nothing, examining the cave with one hand still clutching Binky’s mane.

Marcus lead her inside to where the glowing crystals were. “So this cave was a pretty good find, figured I’d expand this area a bit, maybe figure out a way to put in a door on the entrance, put down some furs to make the place a bit more livable in general. We need a place closer than the first floor for us to rest after we’re done exploring.”

Anji nodded, and turned to Binky’s packs. “Let’s get him unloaded, then.”

Marcus nodded and they got to work unloading them. “You know, there’s been weirder stuff than normal going on. I mean maybe its just me but it feels like its more in general.”

Anji hefted a pack of perishables to the ground and paused, breathing deeply. “How do you mean?”

“Well a couple things like the reason I chose this floor despite the fact that its exceedingly dangerous. And I swear there are the little tremors, like everywhere I go.”

“Tremors?”

“You know like earthquakes but smaller?”

“Oh… Huh.” Anji chewed on her lip, and backed away from Binky. “Weird things have happened to me, too.”

Marcus raised an eyebrow, his right eye glittering in the low light. “Do tell.”

Anji unbuckled the scabbard of her sword, and offered it to him. “Try using it.”

Marcus took it and hefted the blade. “I’m no expert on swords but this seems to be off balance to me. And heavier than someone with your build should be using.”

“It’s also green.” Anji held out a hand. “Can I have it back, please?”

Marcus returned the blade to his friend. “Okay so what’s weird about the impractical blade?”

A low hum filled the cave as Anji grasped the hilt of a sword that was, for all intents and purposes, now silver. She shrugged, and balanced the blade on the hilt with a finger. “It’s like this for me.”

“Well at least your weirdness is useful. All I got was a dangerous base and shaking.” Marcus growled, irritated.

“I know,” Anji smirked. “It’s almost like you’re being controlled or something. Like, by an outside force.”

“This coming from the woman with the living weapon.”

The hum ceased as Anji eased the sword into its holder. “I should probably name it. That’d be Hector’s advice.”

Marcus shrugged. “Personally I always found doing that a bit pointless but then I never had a weapon that was specifically tuned to me.”

“I’ll keep you informed about the relationship between me and the sword.” Anji put the scabbard back on her back and nuzzled the horse for the umpteenth time.

“I’m not joking about the tuning thing by the way. The energy of the sword was radiating out but some of it was definitely wrapping around you. Seriously the field looked like it was hugging you or something.”

Anji frowned pensively. “Strange.”

“Yea well…” He was cut off as the cave started shaking. “Oh piss off!” He shouted. The shaking did not stop, in fact it seemed to increase before subsiding.

“Maybe a cave isn’t your best bet, Marcus.” Anji narrowed her eyes at the smooth stone.

“Its been doing that all week. It’ll be fine. At least until I finish setting up.”

Anji frowned. “I’ll stay up here and help.”

“Don’t know how long it’ll take. You sure you can stay up here that long without Kevin thinking I’ve kidnapped you or something?” The soldier teased.

Anji frowned. “He’ll be okay if I’m gone for a bit.”

“Well then I guess-” There was the sound of horse hooves echoing from the entrance. “Oh look, the neighbors decided to visit.”

A low hum filled the cave. “Let’s say hello, then.”

The two walked out to find four regular undead soldier and a knight entirely covered in ancient steel armor.

Marcus examined the leader curiously. “Well that’s new.”

“Oi!” Anji called out. “Who are you, then?”

“Servants.” The knight replied in a dusty voice. “Of the ruler of this land.”

“I suppose we can’t just agree to not bother one another?”

“My lord was commanded to detain you both.” The knight moved a step closer. “I know not the details but it seems you irk Sir Shard to some degree.”

“Oh, Sir Shard?” Marcus looked over to Anji. “Apparently he’s Sir Shard now.”

Anji nodded. “I don’t really want to hurt you, or your men. You can turn back now, or join with us. No harm will befall you.”

The knight flipped up his visor to reveal nothing inside. “Even if I wished to join this man’s forces.” He indicated Marcus. “I am bound to my Lord and could not.

“You know she’s the one in charge.” Marcus pointed out.

The knight looked at him steadily. “That jest was overplayed.”

Anji scowled, “If that is the case, good knight, I could send you and your men to a more peaceful rest.”

The leader turned back to her. “Wench, I served my lord in life and I will do so in death. And my ‘men’ as you call them are naught but animate puppets.”

Anji glowered. “Don’t call me a wench, you clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk!” Each word was emphasized as she limped up to him, face as red as her hair. “I am Princess Anjali Aqaba of Orono, born Anjali Torvan of Askinov. I’ve fought coves whose heads were fatter’n yours, you poor excuse for a pisspot. You wanna go, eh? Then fight like the damn knight you’re supposed to be.”

Marcus stepped forward, stretching and grinning. “I’m Sergeant Marcus Oracon formerly of the Carna national army and current vanguard for the guild Severed Storm. And I professionally do not give a damn about authority.”

Anji paused, glaring dangerously at him.

Marcus pulled his mace free and shrugged. “What? Its not like that’s new news.”

Anji grumbled. “Least you can do is not make the undead knight of… Wait,” She turned to the knight. “How old are you?”

“I have been serving my Lord since the fall of Lakasu.”

Marcus stared at the knight. “Anj, do you have...any context for that? Because I don’t”

“Let’s just say he belongs in a museum or something… Think Lori’d like him as a specimen?”

“I wouldn’t wish being Lori’s lab rat on my worst enemy….well, maybe on Shard.”

Anji rolled her eyes. “Yo, Gran’pa! You comin’...? Or do I need to assist you on the way?”

The knight drew a wicked looking sword and collected a heavy shield from one of the lesser undead. “Let us see if you are even worth fighting. Take them” The lesser undead charged.

Marcus stepped forward. “You know I am so tired of this crap. I mean really, I have to deal with mutants and amnesiacs and assassins and you bastards everywhere I go.” The ground had started shaking again. “And I really wish you would all just PISS OFF.” At the last two words the ground in front of him lashed out in a wave that smashed the skeletal warriors apart. The big man fell to the ground exhausted. “Anji. Last one is all yours.”

Anji boggled at him for a moment. “You did that?”

“I don’t know...I..” He fell to the dirt and passed out.

Anji glared at him for a moment longer, before yelping and ducking away from a blade’s edge. “Oi! Bad form there, Gramps.” She rocked to her feet, and backed a few paces away. “Hey, Binky? Think you can get brave and fearless over there out of the way?”

Binky snorted, trotted over, and dragged Marcus away by one of his armor straps. Anji slid in between the knight’s shield, slicing down at his sword arm.

The knight merely stared at the sword where it was embedded in one of his armored joints. “Was that supposed to do something Lady Wench?”

A well-placed punch sent the helmet flying, and Anji smirked. “Don’t call me that.”

The Knight was staggered but recovered. “You have no power here, Princess” The last was said with an audible sneer.

Anji growled, and the sword’s hum grew louder, silver glinting dangerously. She pulled away, and began pummeling the knight’s shield.

The shield and the arm behind it were gradually sliced away by the sword attacks. The knight growled and thrust back at her.

Anji skidded back, narrowly missing a sharp bone spike. Straightening, she leapt at him, diving past the sword to stab at his breastplate, right above his heart.

The armor stood for a moment with the sword in it’s chest before collapsing into a pile of relics. Anji panted, and backed away shakily. She limped over to the horse, patting him on the nose. The horse snorted and nudged the unconscious Marcus. Anji kicked him with her foot. “Wake up, dumbass.”

Marcus did not wake up. Stubbornly sleeping on.
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Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby RussetDivinity on Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:29 pm

Likovya woke with a gasp, clenching the silk sheet between her fingers. Her heart was pounding, and she couldn’t catch her breath. Something was wrong, very wrong, and she couldn’t remember what. Someone was in danger -- no, she was in danger -- no, it was her friends, people she was responsible for, and she couldn’t save them…

Beside her, her husband rolled onto his side and slipped a hand over her waist. She relaxed against him, pressing her fingers over his. “Bad dream?” he murmured.

“Yes.” The details were fuzzy, but she remembered a castle, and a group of fighters, and mountains.

“The same as before?”

“Yes.”

Fitzroy kissed the back of her neck, pushing aside her long hair to reach her skin. “Are you all right?”

“I am now.” She rolled onto her side and kissed him. It was a lazy, early morning kiss, and she took a moment to realize just how young they were. Ever since finding Fitzroy’s father and being granted some land and a title, he was just about the youngest person she saw every day. Some of her servants were a few years older than they were, and now that their daughter was born, they had someone who would consistently be younger than them. “I’m just still not used to this place, I suppose.”

“I’m still not used to it, and I was born for this,” Fitzroy said with a laugh. “I never slept in a proper house until now. It was always either in a wagon or in a barn. Master Weston never wanted to pay for an inn.”

“Don’t forget outside.” Likovya sat up and stretched. She doubted she would be getting any more sleep this morning.

“Who could forget that? They call me the Vagabond Marquis.” He climbed out of bed, pausing only to kiss her again. “Stay here, my Lady of Knives. I’ll see if our queen-to-be is awake yet.” He slipped into the adjoining room, leaving Likovya to stay wrapped up in the blankets. Fitzroy wasn’t as focused on being a prince as he had been for a while -- being accepted by his father and granted nobility for the both of them seemed to be enough -- but he wanted his daughter to go onto the throne, even though she was the child of a bastard and a performer.

Fitzroy returned a moment later, carrying a small bundle, which Likovya gladly accepted. Her daughter was still asleep, so she simply held her as Fitzroy sat on the bed beside them. “Good morning, Mara,” she whispered. The little girl had her mother’s dark hair and eyes, but her skin was a light shade of brown, no doubt from her father.

“You never told me where you got that name,” Fitzroy said. “We never met anyone named Tamara. Out of all the names you could have chosen, why that one?”

“I’m not sure.” The name had come to her when her daughter was first born. She had been advised to consider names of nobility to endear herself to them, but when she first held the little girl, she had thought of the name Tamara. It was the name of someone she could care about, someone she would want to protect but also someone who was strong and capable.

“Is it too soon to ask about having more children?”

Likovya laughed. Fitzroy had been eager to be a father, and on her worst days had been thrilled, thoug not to the point where he was willing to accept the pregnancy from her. He had been with her through the birth, even at the points where she was swearing at him for constantly asking if there was anything he could do. He couldn’t bring himself to hold Mara for a week because he was afraid he would drop her. “Maybe once Mara’s old enough to sleep through the night in her own room.”

“I suppose I can bring myself to wait.” He touched his daughter’s thick, dark hair. “Have you got any more name surprises?”

“Jenny,” she said. Fitzroy raised his eyebrows, and even she was surprised. Jenny and Tamara sounded like they would belong to different families, and tossing in the names Likovya and Fitzroy would make things even worse. Still, it felt right. The name Jenny was a name she would want to protect, but it was also a name that could be strong.

“Jenny Kerenskaya,” Fitzroy said, and he frowned. “It doesn’t have the same ring as Tamara Kerenskaya. And what if we have a boy next?”

“I’ll let you name the boy,” she said. They had had this discussion -- or ones like it -- several times before. So far it had been decided that he would take care of teaching their children how to read and write, along with how to behave like proper nobility, and she would teach them how to throw knives and how to defend themselves. She had also decided that she would teach them pride. Even if they were children of a bastard and a circus performer, her daughters would hold their heads up high. They would certainly have cause to: Fitzroy’s father, Dospekhi of Westergard, had granted them not only lands and a title but their own house name and motto. Both were emblazoned above their front door.

House Kerenskaya: We Cast a Thousand Shadows

“Perhaps she’ll be an admiral,” Fitzroy said, smiling. Likovya wasn’t sure how long he had been talking about Mara, but she acted as though she had been listening. She didn’t want him to realize that time had been slipping away from her; he would only worry, and there was likely nothing to be done about it. “Admiral Tamara Kerenskaya.”

“Westergard is landlocked,” Likovya reminded her husband. He didn’t seem at all put out by that reminder, though he did jump guiltily when Mara stirred and began to whine. “It’s about time you woke up, love,” she said, pulling the shoulder of her nightgown down to feed her daughter. As Fitzroy turned away, she laughed. “What are you doing?”

“I thought I’d give you some privacy.”

“First off, there’s nothing embarrassing about feeding a baby. Secondly, you’ve seen my breasts before. They’re not any different this morning.”

Fitzroy blushed a little and sat beside her again. “She could be a general, then.”

Someone knocked on the door, cutting off the rest of their speculation. Fitzroy got up, presumably to tell them to come back later, but before he got more than three steps to the door, Likovya called, “Come in.”

The door swung open, and Arietta, captain of the guard, entered. She had been working for House Kerenskaya ever since Likovya forgave her an assassination charge and spared her life on the condition that she serve their family as best she could. Both Likovya and Fitzroy were more than proficient with a sword, and if their worst enemies met mysterious deaths, they weren’t about to complain. Arietta bowed with a small flourish. “My lady, I have the morning’s news.”

“Excellent.” Likovya sat up a little straighter, propping herself on the pillows.

Arietta stood straight, looking almost like the rapier that hung at her side. “There has still been no success in tracking down the arsonist Lasair Argall, and we believe he may have left our domain with the poisoner Tsilia Prozorovna.”

“Have you sent word to Dospekhi?”

“Yes, and to Ilmatar. It’s possible they may be trying to enter her duchy.”

“Excellent. Is there anything else?”

“There are nine supplicants today. They are waiting in your audience chamber and have been provided with breakfast. Most are simple disputes, but a few are more complicated.”

“I’ll see to them as soon as Mara’s finished eating.” Likovya lifted her daughter to her shoulder and began patting her back. “Is there anything to report from Isidor?” The captain of her personal guard was a good man, though he could sometimes be a bit overzealous when protecting her and often saw threats either where none existed or that she could handle easily herself.

“Not today, Lady Kerenskaya.”

“Thank you, Arietta. You may go about your duties.”

Arietta nodded sharply and left. Fitzroy, who had been sitting on the edge of the bed during the exchanged, turned to Likovya and gave her a strange smile. “You never cease to amaze me,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“Most women wouldn’t dream of running anything while feeding their baby. But you…” His voice trailed off, and he leaned forward to kiss her.

As he pulled back, Likovya asked, “Well, what else am I going to do? Some rulers might let their lands run themselves, but I’m not going to abandon my responsibilities.” Shifting Mara to her other breast, she added, “Could you pick out some clothes for me? If there are nine supplicants today, I’d like to get down to the hall as soon as I can.”

“Of course. I’ll have Anir prepare some breakfast so you can eat on the way there.” Fitzroy sprang to his feet and laughed. “I think we may be the only royalty who regularly eat off of trenchers.”

“Go,” Likovya said. “We’ll have time to talk later.”

As Fitzroy hurried into the hall, Likovya’s thoughts returned to her dream. She didn’t remember it very well, but she was almost positive Arietta had been in it.

---

The supplicants were the usual sort she had to deal with: people who had been wronged or thought they had, people trying to argue against laws they saw as unjust, people who thought that appealing to royalty was the only way to solve their problems. She did her best to help them as calmly and rationally as she could, but a few were just so ridiculous that she started shouting at anyone who came close to her. The people were mostly used to this, and she suspected it was why several of the supplicants stayed behind after their problems had been solved: they were rather fond of having a mercurial marchioness.

Her temper seemed to be worse today, however. She could usually keep her cool or at least mask her anger, but today she had less patience than normal. Once or twice she would flick her wrist, half-expecting a knife to spring out of her sleeve and into her hand. She rushed through the last three supplicants and hurried from the audience hall to find Fitzroy.

He was in the garden, sitting with Mara and singing one of the ballads he had learned in the circus. Where’s your sword, little one? she wondered. Where’s your sword, and the fire in your eyes?

She didn’t want Fitzroy to see her like this, so distracted and distraught. He would only worry, and she didn’t want to see the happiness slip out of his face. She hadn’t seen him happy in so long that she only wanted to stand behind the chicory tree and watch him smiling down at their daughter. It had been about three years… but no, three years ago they had been together, laughing by the fireside. There had been a celebration because Master Weston had finally found a fortune teller who could tell proper fortunes, or so she claimed. Really, she just said things that sounded mystical but meant nothing. Fitzroy was apparently the son of a king but had been fathered by no king, and Likovya could cast a thousand shadows. They had both gone off after hearing their fortunes and laughed together about how strange they sounded.

If it was such a happy memory, why did it make her feel hollow inside?

Likovya turned away and left the garden. There was nothing else for her to do that day; an ambassador who had been due to come get her signature for a treaty had been delayed, and times were remarkably peaceful, with the exceptions of Lasair and Tsilia, and they had vanished. She ought to go back and spend time with her family. She would hold hold Mara and kiss her husband, and that night they would conceive Jenny Kerenskaya. When the treaty finally came, everything would work out perfectly, and the only problem would be that each night she would dream about that strange, floating castle.

She didn’t know how she knew that it would happen, only that it was as certain as she knew her own name. There was a castle in her dreams, and she didn’t know why it haunted her.

“Because, my lady of the thousand shadows, it is something that you will strive for and never achieve.”

Likovya whirled, reaching for a knife that wasn’t there, and saw a familiar woman sitting by the pond. It took her a moment to realize that the woman was the fortune teller Master Weston had brought to the circus three years ago.

“Or perhaps it is something you must find. Perhaps you ought to go on a quest to seek this castle.”

“What are you doing here?” Likovya asked. She didn’t approach the fortune teller, but she clenched her hands into fists and wished that she had her belt full of knives and her sword, even though she hadn’t touched her knives since leaving the circus and only used a sword during her training with Arietta. “What do you want?”

“To remind you of one thing: be sure that you have not become your own shadow.”

With that, the fortune teller was gone, leaving Likovya alone and shaken. She still remembered the night Master Weston had brought the fortune teller to the circus. She and Fitzroy had gone up to her to have their fortunes told. Fitzroy had heard that he was the son of a king but had been fathered by no king; Likovya had heard that she cast a thousand shadows. They had both laughed and wondered what sorts of country folk would pay to hear such cryptic remarks. A week later, they had decided to leave the circus and find Fitzroy’s father. Master Weston had reluctantly agreed, and they left with his blessing on their futures and their marriage.

But she had first heard about the fortune teller’s cryptic remarks from Fitzroy, when he ran up to her and told her that he was the son of a king but fathered by no king. She had laughed and gone to find the fortune teller. Standing amid the fires, far enough that no one else could hear the woman’s low voice, she had heard that she could cast a thousand shadows, and a shiver ran through her core. Every role she had played, every different persona she had put on, was a shadow of herself, and she wondered whether she would be able to tell what was shadow and what was real. Terrified, she had taken her knives and fled that night, scratching out her family name from the box Master Weston had given her to store her costumes. She didn’t know why she had done that, only that perhaps if she left behind everything she had been, she would be able to live life as something more than just a shadow.

Behind her, a tree burst into flame.

Three years wandering. Three years fighting for her life. Three years, and then she had found herself in a city with people from all across the world. She had made friends, and enemies, and she had been traveling in the mountains above the city (but how could there be mountains above a city?) only they had no longer been above…

The pond begain to roil and steam.

Her first month away from the circus, she had killed a man. In the wastes, it was kill or be killed, especially when you were a girl of sixteen and alone. She had been attacked while bathing, and only the fact that her knives were so close had kept her alive. She still remembered his hot blood on her hands, and how she had only stayed by the river long enough to clean it off before dressing and running. She also remembered that she and Fitzroy had traveled in safety before coming to Westergard, and she hadn’t even bothered to bring her knives with her.

Farther off, someone was screaming.

“Kovyasha! Kovyasha, where are you?”
“Fitzroy?” Her voice sounded hollow and far away, and when she took a step, it felt as though her body didn’t belong to her.

“Kovyasha!” Fitzroy burst out of the trees and ran to her side, panting. His clothes were torn and in disarray, and a gash on his forehead dripped blood over his face. “Are you all right? I couldn’t find you, and I was so worried.”

“Why were you worried?” she asked. He was pale and bleeding, and she knew she ought to be more worried, but everything just felt so distant. “Where’s Mara?”

“Isidor has her. He’ll be taking her somewhere safe.” Fitzroy grabbed her hand and started to pull her toward the garden. “Come on. He and Arietta are waiting for us. They’ve got horses, and we should be able to convince Ilmatar to help us.”

Likovya stumbled after him. “What happened? Is it Lasair?” But Lasair was loyal to her and had sworn to follow her. But no, he was a dangerous arsonist who needed to be thrown in the dungeon and never allowed out.

Smoke and fire were everywhere now, and though they burned her throat and eyes, she could still breathe. “I don’t know what’s happening,” Fitzroy said, and for the first time Likovya could remember, he sounded scared. “It isn’t Lasair. There are lots of them, and they all look like shadows.”

Lady of a thousand shadows. Likovya wanted to scream.

Instead, she stopped. Fitzroy stumbled a few more steps before turning back and looking at her. “Kovyasha? What’s wrong?”

“This isn’t real.”

“What do you mean? Of course it’s real.”

“No, it isn’t. Look around you at all the smoke. We should be choking, but instead we can breathe and talk normally. You don’t look like you’re in any pain from your wound.” She reached up to touch his forehead, and the blood on her fingers didn’t feel like the blood of the man she had killed. “This place isn’t real. It’s like a dream, or an illusion.” Or a shadow. “And the dreams I had of the castle… that’s real. I was there. Maybe I still am.” As she said it, the world shook. “I know I am,” she insisted, grabbing Fitzroy’s other hand. If this world was going to fall apart around her, she would at least make sure she said good-bye properly. “I’m on a castle somewhere in the sky, but I’ll try to find my way out.”

“I’ll find you,” Fitzroy began, but she pressed her lips against his until he fell silent.

“No. It’s too dangerous. Get somewhere safe, and I’ll find you.” She kissed him again, and he wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. He felt real; his hearbeat and smell were familiar.

“What about Mara?” he asked. “Was she just a dream, too?”

“It all was,” Likovya said, and she wished it wasn’t, just so she could hold onto Fitzroy for a little longer before her world shredded itself into oblivion.

---

Alexander Curtiss sighed and sat down heavily on a boulder. “Y’know, guys,” he muttered, one eye twitching imperceptibly, “when the detector mage people pointed me here, this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting to find.”

Two meters away from him, the cave wall languished beneath a thick blanket of scarlet vines, the tendrils slowly shifting in the dim glow of the scout’s lantern. The plants seemed to grow out of the stone floor itself and moved with an unnerving smoothness that suggested autonomy. Lining the tendrils were rows upon rows of barely-visible dendritic growths; most of these were occupied with securing themselves to other vines or the cave wall, whereas the rest had sunk themselves just beneath the flesh of the five figures entangled within their coils.

“Way to go, guys. I leave you alone for a few days- or weeks, or whatever the hell time it’s been- and this happens. Congratulations.”

“...Curtiss…?”

Curtiss blinked and straightened up. “Hm?”

One of the trapped figures moved its head slightly, mumbling, “...is thamphfapasjdfl…”

Jumping to his feet, Curtiss strode over to his incapacitated teammate. “...Likovya? You’re awake?”

Likovya grumbled something that sounded vaguely like “hrmphmffafrmmmmmmmh”.

Curtiss blinked. “Um, I’m just gonna interpret that as a ‘just cut me free, you idiot.’ Right?”

Likovya groaned. Curtiss decided that was a yes.

A few minutes of careful hacking and partially comatose bodies hitting the floor later, the other five Sky Chasers were free, if not quite in peak condition. Likovya was moaning and holding her head; the others were only barely conscious. Behind them, the stumps and severed pieces of their former captors quivered, some tendrils retreating slightly into the ground, others pressing into the cave wall. One or two slowly crept closer to Arietta’s prone form; Curtiss spared them a momentary glare before blasting them out of sight with a gust from his wind charm.

“How long were we there?” Likovya asked, glaring at the retreating tendrils. A knife flicked into her hand, but she didn’t go after the plant. “How long did that thing keep us trapped?”

“No clue,” Curtiss said. “Only just got here myself. I figure it couldn’t have been too long, though, considering you’re still alive and all. For that matter- since I’m not the greatest judge of this kind of thing, you feeling alright? I mean, considering you were being eaten by a plant just now and stuff. Like, you think you need a healer? I figure you should go to see one just in case, but do you feel like you need a healer?”

“I’m fine,” Likovya said. “I’m just… oh, I wish I could burn that plant until nothing was left!”

Curtiss shrugged. “You sound pretty stressed to me, but if you say so… Also, we do have an arsonist on the team, y’know. Maybe you can bug him when he wakes up?”

“You don’t know what it was like,” she said, tucking away her knife. “It showed me… it doesn’t matter what it showed me. It was a lie, and that’s all.”

“...’showed you’, you say?” Curtiss raised an eyebrow. “Okay, maybe it doesn’t matter much to you, but I, on the other hand, happen to be rather interested now.”

“It made me think I was somewhere else. Something in my past had changed, and I was living the life I’d always wanted. Only, I remembered the castle, and I knew it wasn’t real. Then it started falling apart…” She shook her head and got to her feet. “Arietta was there, too. And Isidor, and Lasair and Tsilia were somewhere.”

“Hm.” Curtiss idly scratched at his neck. “I, uh… yeah, not sure what to say to that. Kinda wish I could relate, but to tell the truth, I don’t even know what I want out of life myself yet. So, um. Yeah. I don’t.” He frowned. “Sorry, this isn’t helping, is it? I’m not really good at this sort of thing, I guess.”

“It’s fine,” she said, moving to tend to the other Sky Chasers. When she set her hand on Tsilia’s shoulder, the woman stirred and opened her eyes.

“I knew I recognized it,” she said, using Likovya’s arm to haul herself up. “The Dreamers’ Net, we call it in my land. It reaches into people’s minds and brings them to whatever they most wish for. Strange, though.” Her voice dropped a bit, and she sounded as though she wasn’t so much trying to pass on information as thinking aloud. “From what I remember, Arietta was some kind of servant.”

“She was the captain of my guard,” Likovya said.

“I would have thought Lasair and I would have been able to take charge. The more people there are who share the same desire normally manage to warp the dream. It’s shared between all the minds connected by the net.”

Likovya grabbed Tsilia’s shoulders, nearly shaking her. “Is it possible for the net to connect people who are very far away?”

“Of course. It’s some kind of magic, so --”

Likovya laughed, wrapping her arms around Tsilia. “He’s alive!” she said. “He’s alive and he remembers me!”
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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RussetDivinity
 
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:56 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:47 pm

Lori made a careful mixture in a steaming pot. The smell was horrendous, but she kept at it, slowly adding ingredients. “Hello, Oracon.”

Marcus inclined his head. “Loremaster. I cannot believe you’ve had me sitting here for an hour just so you could wait for tea.”

“It’s not just tea,” the mage complained. “Besides, you needed time to calm down, anyway.”

Marcus blinked and tilted his head in confusion. “I-I made an appointment. I even stopped at the desk and let your secretary let me in. Honestly compared to all the times you’ve previously seen me this is pretty damn tranquil.”

“Exactly!” Lori beamed. “So, what did you want to talk to me about? Do you want some of this tea? It’s sure to make your paramore happy. Or really anyone you care to deal with in such a manner… Tannaeon or that Aqaba girl, perhaps?”

“I’ll pass, not that I don’t trust your experiments…” He stopped to run a finger down the right side of his face. “No, wait that’s exactly it. But we’re getting off topic. I’m here to talk to you about Earth magic.”

“What about it?”

“Limitations, risks, potential uses. Anything you could tell me given you’re quite a powerful one yourself.”

Lori frowned. “Why?-Wait, don’t answer that.” She reached over and quickly flicked his forehead with a finger.

Marcus rubbed his face. “What was that for?”

“I wanted to whack you on the head,” Lori replied. “Your chi is different.”

“Is that what you call those energy fields? Because if so ‘different’ is pretty damn accurate for yours as well. Most people just have circular blobs. Mages…uh...chi tends to take after their main element from what I can tell. Yours is...interesting. Looks uniform at first but you look close at the edges and there are...bits, like shifting sand or pieces of gravel.”

She nodded. “Be careful with your second sight. Too much exposure is scarring, to say the least.”

Marcus nodded in return. “Oh you don’t have to tell me, not long after it started working all the energy fields started blending together into this mess until I got it under control.”

“What do you know of your abilities?”

“I had tremors following me around for about a month and then during my last fight I got angry and smashed some skeletons to bits with it.”

“Any spoken commands? You collapsed afterward, didn’t you? Did you see any animals following you?”

“Lets see...I believe I yelled at the enemy to ‘piss off’. I did pass out, magical exhaustion if I’m not mistaken. And I’ve had no animals following me unless you count my horse that I found when I first got up here.”

Lori tapped her fingers on her mug, pausing to take a sip, grimacing. Setting it down, she mumbled something about spirit horses, and went back to studying the man. “Follow me.”

She stood, and walked through a wall directly behind her desk.

Marcus blinked slowly. “What the hell?” Even with my eye I didn’t see anything. He stood and gently put his hand on the wall.

Lori’s hand reached through, grabbing his wrist, and pulling him into a large sparring area, unseen from outside.

“Well, this is nice and cozy,” Marcus commented sarcastically.

“It is not meant to be cozy, Oracon. It is a sparring room. Are you daft?”
“You literally own a whole library. Isn’t there a single book on sarcasm here?”

“I do not own the library, I merely guard it, as per my agreement.” Lori moved opposite of the large man, grabbing a slim halberd. “Cast.”

“I don’t even know how I did it the first time.”

“Humor me.”

Marcus took a deep breath and began trying to find what he had used to cast the first time. After about five minutes he felt as though he had a hold on some kind of energy. Well, might as well try… The warrior set the energy loose. There were a few small spikes that rose up, the ground cracked a little. “What in the seven hells? I’ve heard of magic control problems but not this.”

“This being?”

“Well it isn’t a whole lot is it?” Marcus pointed out gesturing to the small amount of damage.

“Well, you only just started, for one. For another, you’re trying to do it the hard way. Try using a spoken command. It doesn’t have to mean anything in particular, just put your will into it.” The woman moved to sit on the ground in front of him, halberd still at the ready.

“What’s the significance of the halberd?” Marcus asked, despite a feeling he would regret learning the answer.

“If you spike, and risk damaging the library or either of us, I’ll need to contain it.”

Okay ‘contain’ likely means ‘kill’ in this situation. No wait she’s not the kind to put things gently. On the other hand she is also more than willing to lie…

The woman sighed, and stood again. “Sit, Oracon. I’ll show you what my magic is for.”

Marcus sat, still at the ready to defend himself if needed. Lori took a deep breath, and made a series of signs, before slamming the end of the halberd into the ground, causing a crack to appear and widen in the middle of the room. She made eye contact with the blonde mage, and made another several signs, the thud of the weapon now causing the floor to repair itself.

“See?”

“Saw it. Not sure what I was supposed to glean from that.”

“I learned to cast through a series of signs. Others I know of can intuit what they want, and their magic listens. Earth, though, is more stubborn, from what I’ve seen. Try again.”

Marcus breathed deeply and searched for the power again, finding it faster this time. I have fought assassins, mutants, the undead and beat a trickster’s game. I’m not being beaten by rocks. “Move you thrice-damned dirt.” This time the earth shuddered and cracked more but brought up a stone to slightly beneath waist height. The warrior walked over and sat. I’ll have to work on the technique. Its not quite as comfortable as some other rocks I’ve found.

Lori snorted. “Good job, Oracon. Now put it back.”

He stood and raised an eyebrow at Lori. “You sure you want me to be the one doing that?”

“You broke it. Fix it.”

Marcus shrugged. “All right. It is after all, your library. What could possibly go wrong?”

Lori glared at him, and slammed the halberd down, a blue sheen covering the walls.

“Keep your smallclothes on, I’m doing it.” The process was simpler now but by no means easier. Marcus could already feel fatigue beginning to set in. “Back to where you came from.” He growled at the rock. The ground moaned and shook but eventually the rock was gone from view. The big man was breathing hard and covered in sweat.

“Good job.” Lori praised, before handing him a piece of bread and a thermos. “Eat.”

Marcus tore into the bread. “So exactly how rare is earth magic? I’d heard stories before but I hadn’t seen any proof until that whole business during the Civil War.”

“One in every thousand have the ability to cast magic. One in every thousand of those have the ability to manipulate earth.” Lori stretched. “I would like to continue tutoring you in your abilities, Oracon.”

Marcus had a flash of insight. “I’m the first earth mage you’ve seen since whoever taught you aren’t I?”

“I taught myself.” Lori set the halberd in its place, and walked out of the sparring area.

I really hope I don’t need her to get through that wall.
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eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Victin on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:41 pm

Timeline Placement: Three days after this sidestory.

The old man opened the door of the Guildhouse and rushed inside. Despite the rain, it was hot beneath his own guild’s robes and a the leather cloak he wore above it to avoid getting too wet. Once inside, he cleaned the mud off his boots and walking cane on a shaggy rug in front of the door. Luckily for him, the man he was looking for was just coming in his direction.

“Marcus Oracon, we need to talk.”

Marcus shook his head. “Can it wait? Its been a long day.” The warrior replied warily, covered in sweat and dust. He looked outside. And of course its raining, why wouldn’t it be?

Putting back his hood, the man went on. “Well, that’s up to you.” Plinny approached him and lowered his voice. “But the subject I want to talk about is the Genius loci of this very castle. Specifically, me and my… Assistant, figured it out.”

Marcus waved a hand in surrender. “Fine, fine. Just make it quick.”

Plinny looked around. “Are you sure we should discuss it here, in public?”

“Look Plinny there’s theoretically nowhere in this whole damn castle Shard can’t notice for certain except for that temple. I’d wager with all the defensive measures Lori has put up this is a close second for safest place to discuss it. Certainly I’m not going out to that temple just to hear what you found out,” Marcus explained.

“That… May not be totally true. At this moment I’m more worried about people who could be working for the Genius loci on their own volition than the entity itself. It’ll make more sense when I explain myself. Could we… At least go to your private room, if you have one?”

The big man snorted in derision. “Yes, lets go to my private room in the Storm headquarters. Shard would never keep any eye on the building where a large concentration of his enemies are.”

“... Wise.” Plinny smiled and walked to the side. “Let’s at least sit down, shall we?”

Marcus walked over and sat heavily in the chair. “Okay, so what did you find out?”

The old man leaned over the table, and begun his explanation. “As you know, Shardreach is a Genius loci, a spirit that embodies a specific place. In this case, the castle. Depending on the size of the place the spirit personificates it might be nigh impossible to an outsider to interact with it.” He made a brief pause. “But the castle is divided in floors. Shard is tied to each of these floors. Individually. Furthermore, he has the ability to give a small portion of his power to other beings willingly. One for each floor.”

“The entity tied to each floor is a Guardian, and being given power by the Genius loci himself, it belongs to them. They are free to give it to someone else, to turn against Shard or… To have the power taken by someone else. Though the method is… To put it bluntly, death.” Plinny made another pause.

Marcus shrugged. “Kill the monsters, steal the power. Sounds simple enough.”

“That’s assuming only monsters are willing to work for him… But, back to the topic, once his power is taken, the Genius loci is not a Genius loci anymore, is he? He becomes unable to access or influence the floor in question. The person who stole it… Well, is stronger when in the floor they are tied to. The question now becomes: have we met any of said Guardians? Perhaps someone could have already faced one. Identifying the Guardians themselves and, when relevant, which of us should have its power. Or… which of us has its power.” He leaned back into his chair, trying to rest his back comfortably. “I know you understand the implications. I just want to know what you are going to do with this information… And what I should do with it. Currently only three people are aware of that, the temple automaton not among those.”

“Well...I know the first thing I’m gonna do.” Marcus replied. “Pretty sure I know where to find one of these bastards.”

“You’re not going on a hunt to arrange a fight with a possible Guardian, are you?”

Marcus snorted again. “Please. ‘Hunt’ implies I don’t know where exactly he is. And arranging a fight for me means stacking the odds in my favor.”

The old man tried to adjust the glasses on his face even if he didn’t need to. “Don’t… Don’t just go and get yourself killed. Tell… I don’t know, your guildleader, Legias or… Heck, even Lori, would work, but don’t go on a suicide mission, specially… Look, I don’t know if this information should be kept public, or otherwise who should know it. I’m not even sure what to do with it. Gather an army, and send it to hunt each Guardian? What happens if someone kills a Guardian and betrays us? What will be Shard’s reaction when he discovers?” Plinny realized his nervousness as he had to stood up, leaning on the table and stared deeply at Marcus’ eyes.

“First of all, this isn’t a suicide mission. I wouldn’t need roughly ten barrels full of black powder to commit suicide. Although I will need it to bring down a building. And furthermore I will tell my friends because I trust them and quite frankly if they were going to betray me they would have done it already and I would be dead. And Shard would expect an army.” Marcus had not broken his stare while he spoke. “Do give me some credit here. I may not be the greatest tactician ever but I have a fair amount of talent.”

“That’s why I want you to tell me what to do. I’ve read hundreds of of books on theory of magic, but I’ve never been to... War.” Plinny sat back slowly, and shrunk on his seat.

“This isn’t war. This is just the calm before the storm.” Marcus replied evenly.

“Then why don’t I feel any calmer?”

“No one feels calm when their ass is about to be in the fire.”

The old man sighed deeply. “Any advice on what I should do? So far I told my assistant to keep it a secret, but if you have specific people in mind that should know I could look for them.”

Marcus shrugged. “For now just let Lori know. She’s not disappearing over to the other side. At least, not anytime soon.”

Plinny nodded, and stood up. “Very well. Ah, my assistant’s name is Fern, in case you ever need to talk to him. I’ll return to the Library now. Farewell.”

“Goodbye.” Marcus said, walking out into the storm.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby narrativedilettante on Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:07 pm

Vincent entered into the pub with a smile on his face and quickly took an empty table for himself, waving over his current drinking partner. “So do you drink often, or are you more new to this sort of thing?”

Giselle laughed. “Too often, depending on who you ask.”

“Fantastic!” he waved over one of the many servers to their table. “Give us two of your biggest cups of ale, one bottle of whiskey, and some of that stuff that is suppose to make you pass out and wake up in strange places” the server nodded and went over toward the bar to get their drinks. “Think that will be good to start out?”

“I should hope so,” said Giselle. “You certainly don’t mess around when it comes to alcohol, do you?”

He laughed at that. “I find that life tends to be short for people like us, what's the point of moderation if you might not wake up tomorrow?” their drinks were brought over to them and Vincent raised his ale. “To waking up tomorrow”

“To waking.” Giselle raised her own mug and swallowed a great deal of the contents in one go.

He did about the same before putting it down. “So how are you handling the whole ‘became partial ruler of a floor of infinite darkness’ thing?”

She shrugged. “Denial, mostly. I don’t really feel different, even when I hold the orb. It’s… kind of too much to take in. How are you dealing with it?”

He lifted the mug of ale and gave her a tiny smile. “Well that should seem rather obvious don’t you think?”

“The comfort of oblivion. No wonder the taverns here have all been flourishing lately.”

He laughed at that. “So who were you before you got sent to this hell?” he raised a hand to stop her response. “Let me guess… princess? No much to lovely for a member of royalty… thief? No No…” he drummed his fingers on the table. “Wait I have got it. You were a farmer”

“You came closest with ‘thief,’” said Giselle with a smirk. “I was an orphan, and a hunter, and I had a habit of staying out of sight and taking things that would be useful to me.”

“Sounds like an interesting life” he grabbed two smaller glasses and poured whiskey into both, slipping one over to her. “And now you are a hero to the people and explorer of a death castle”

“When you put it that way it almost sounds like I’ve accomplished something.” Giselle took the glass Vincent had pushed toward her and held it up to clink with his.

He clicked it against hers. “To moving up in the world” he slammed back the shot of whiskey and put the glass down on the table, enjoying the sting as the liquid made its way down his throat. “So what are your plans after we finish drinking?”

“Oh, I might track down a card game. Do you gamble at all? Other than with your life, I mean.”

“Depends on the game and what we would be gambling on.” he shrugged. “I am fairly good at them, better when I am drunk”

Giselle picked up her mug of ale once more. “It’s a difficult balance, isn’t it? Drinking enough to loosen up and trust your instincts without going overboard and losing your ability to count.”

He nodded. “Drinking is actually still a rather new thing to me, I only really started after my sister disappeared.” he poured another shot of whiskey but seemed to think better of it, and just sat it aside.

“And when was that? If you don’t mind my prying,” asked Giselle.

“Time was easily passed after I lost her, the days started to...blur…” he looked at the glass bottle that held the whiskey. “I did something that basically ruined my life in order to protect my country, and as a result of my actions my sister was spirited away by someone and I was thrown into a prison awaiting execution. The guards would occasionally give those of us stuck in their alcohol in order to pass the time. And then one day I was here” he waved his hand around.

Giselle made a low whistle. “Well. I’d say you deserve a drink after that ordeal. It sounds… difficult doesn’t seem like a big enough word.”

“Life is a horror we all live through” he laughed a bit. “So you mentioned something about cards I believe?”

“I know of a few games we could try. The distraction would be good for us, I think.”

He waved over a server and requested a deck of cards, which was quickly brought over. “Whats the name of the game?” he asked as he started to shuffle the deck.

“We could start out with blackjack, if you want to ease into it.” Giselle watched carefully as Vincent shuffled, looking for any false moves.

He put the deck down and nodded. “Want me to start as dealer for it?”

“If you know how, go ahead,” said Giselle, waving a hand at the table.

Vincent nodded and put two cards down in front of her, and then two cards face down in front of him. “What's the stakes?” he looked at the whiskey. “Loser takes a shot?”

Giselle took her cards, saying “Sounds like a plan” before she looked at them.

The two played quite a few rounds of the game, winning and losing until both of them had drained the whisky bottle empty. “I...think we are out” Vincent said with a small hiccup.

“Prob’ly a good time to call it a night, then,” said Giselle.

“Yep.” Vincent put the extra bottle of booze into his coat and stood up. “I’ill escort you ‘ome”

Giselle grabbed her knapsack as she got up from her chair. “Sure you don’t need an escort of your own?”

“I’m not drunk, you are drunk and thus need an escort” he said with bright tinted cheeks, showing that he was obviously well past intoxicated. “To our places of sleepin”

“Can’t argue with that, I guess,” admitted Giselle. As they left the building she signalled a young man she recognized from the PTA. “I need you to make sure my friend gets home all right, ‘kay?” She whispered, slipping a coin into his hand while Vincent was distracted.

Vincent yawned and reached under his coat and handed her a small pink vial. “Thats for the hangover tomorrow”

Giselle raised an eyebrow, looking at the vial skeptically. “Thanks, Vincent.” She tucked it in her bag, wondering if she’d be desperate enough in the morning to use it.

“Now than, lets get you home so I can get to my home and pass out for a day” he began to walk in a random direction.

For a moment Giselle wavered, unsure if she should let him continue as he was or say something. Honesty won out. “Vincent!” She pointed in a different direction. “It’s this way.”

He blinked and turned around. “Right, that was a test to make sure that… naw I was goin the wrong way” he laughed at himself and walked in the direction she was pointing.

“You’ve gotta be careful,” chided Giselle. “People see you wandering like that, they get tempted to try stuff. You need…” she searched for the phrase. “A support structure.”

His mood sobered for a moment. “I live to find my sister, to that goal my own life doesn’t matter much” he looked up at the false stars in the sky. “We drink because we need something that helps us forget for awhile, and than we return to reality to face the monsters” he sighed a bit. “I must sound like an old man, which is unflattering for a young man like myself” he laughed a bit. “Are you going to be okay?”

Giselle laughed even as she wiped a tear away from her eye, turning to try to avoid Vincent seeing. “I’ll be fine, as long as you will.”

He put his arms around her in a small hug. “Hey, I told you I am not going down until I find my sister.” he turned her around and put a smile on his face again. “Lets try doing this again sometime, but lets drink to happy things next time, aye?”

“Gold, jewels, and being a hero?” Giselle speculated.

“Who knows what joys may come?” he broke the hug and put a hand on her shoulder. “There is at least one good thing that has come from this castle”

“Oh?” Said Giselle. “And what would that be?”

“For myself two benefits” he held up two fingers. “The first being that its nice, not being alone anymore” a grin came over his face as his good mood came back. “And the second being I do believe there is a higher number of beautiful women on this castle than anywhere else in the world, so you know, benefits and drawbacks”

Giselle grinned back at him. “Maybe you’re right. Let’s not overlook the little things.” She put a hand on his shoulder before turning away to the inn she called home here. “Goodnight, Vincent.”

He gave her a small bow. “And goodnight to you Giselle, pleasant dreams.” He turned around and began to slowly walk away.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.
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