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Fantasy City of Magi- Wait What?!

Sub Genres
Adventure, Multiverse, Romance

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
~To the Northlands~
background: Fantasy - ANDARUN - A World Reborn (wip)


Due to the nature of this RP, the details of the story differ slightly, depending on the Homeland and class of your character. For simplicity's sake, the default alignment of your character will be 'The Dominion of Arya'.


. . . . | . . . .​

It started in the most peculiar of ways, though perhaps not the most unusual, depending on how you see it. A border town, on the northmost reaches of the Dominion is visited by the decaying body of a soldier floating down the stream. Now, such floaters though rare, was not unheard of by villagers. The centuries of truce between the three kingdoms had opened up travel throughout the lands, providing the keys to errand adventurers to go out treasure and quest seeking. This floater would have simply been dismissed as another stupid hapless soul, running foul on luck, had 'he' (well, six out of ten of the border patrol wagered the overly decayed body was a male) been discovered by simple folk.

But as fate would have it, a particularly enthusiastic patrol captain and his men spotted the body as they were making their last rounds for the shift. Excited at the unusual sight (now, you must forgive him as patrolling borders can be really boring as of late; the most action a Dominion soldier would have these days would be to see their Bloodsworn counterparts and hurl insults at the pointy ears. Unless one were placed within Wretched infested territory, but that's besides the point). Now, upon recovering the body and searching it, our dear captain discovered a tattered map carefully rolled up in a worn but otherwise intact leather casing, effectively protecting it from the moist waters. Eyeballing the decayed and disgusting corpse, our dear astute Captain deduced that this man was no simple adventurer. Though very much faded, he could clearly see that the body wore the colours of an unknown uniform. He rightly surmised that the body belonged to a soldier (there were also other trinkets found on the body to confirm the suspicion). Though from which army was the question.

Fast forward a month or so (cause yours truly is really lazy at story-telling), the body and map had been brought within the walls of Midranthos, capital of the glorious Dominion. Ambassadors from the other two regions had all but confirmed that the soldier belonged to neither one of their armies. Embroiled within their own internal politics, the Vanharen and Aryan Lord was quite intent on dismissing the peculiar situation; that is until their Elvish counterpart remarked that the map depicted a region towards the north of his Kingdom. The Vanharen representative snorted the claim away and took his leave, all dramatic with his green smoke and eerie theatrics.

Now, one must understand, that the people of Andarun understand, that their world does not end beyond the Skyreach Mountains north of the Bloodsworn. One should also understand however, that it is extremely difficult and nigh impossible to cross said mountain range; as only a very small handful of people have ever done so. Reports of what lay beyond, was simply that of a winter wonderlan- I mean, desolate landscape, with nothing to offer.

Messengers were sent running and beards were pricked until finally, the Bloodsworn delegate declared that he happened to know of some relatives who had been across the mountain range, (oooh destiny! oooh convenient plotfixing! oooh!) and thought it would be interesting to see what they could find with the aid of the foreign map. The Aryan acting very much true to his stereotype, the haughty noble, did some complicated math in his head and realized that he stood a chance to gain from this conquest as well, with nothing much to lose. Hence, he declared that he too will send an emissary to the north.

You my friend will be playing this Aryan hero (picked by the Aryan noble, for whatever reason. You could be an annoying bastard child that nobody will miss but will bring honor to his name if he succeeded or some alluring p.o.s... well its up to you!) ^-^! You may also choose to play a character from The Bloodsworn. Try to tie in your character's background with how he/she will fit into the story. Don't hesitate to ask questions!

I will be playing your Bloodsworn guide *-*!

~The Map~




~Character Application~​

For this RP, you may choose any of the 'normal', 'special' or 'elite' classes. This is not a first come first served basis. So take care in writing out your application.


Just a basic character skelley will do, as below:


Name:
Age:
Gender:
Homeland: (The Bloodsworn, Arya. The Vanharen is offlimits)
Race:
Class:
Equipment: (Please be mindful of the limit one person can carry ^_^ ; )
Appearance: (at least 3 lines, include a picture if you have one. Otherwise, add more description to define your physical features)

Personality: (Optional, can be discovered through the story anyway ^^ but extra merit if you make the effort and come up with something "great")
Character Background: (Character background and history. Keep it.. uhh how shall I put it? Balanced? I mean there's no point being a super skilled legendary mythical warrior God who can fell a whole army with a sneeze! Andarun has extensive lore and background, use it to fit your character in! Try to relate your character to the story setting. You could be some minor noble seeking to bring honour to his family, a political nuisance that others want to be rid off, a nobody with nothing to lose hired by the ambassador to be loyal to his cause etc.)
 
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Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
. . . . | . . . .
~THE CHARACTERS~​

Name: Talyndra kaelas`Farandir

Age: 28

Gender: Female

Homeland: The Bloodsworn

Race: Anarhin (Sun Elf)

Class: Stormlord

Equipment: Silver bound spellbook, Heartwood dagger and Ghastwood elven longbow. Talyndra's ivory colored mage robes is embroidered with gold threads and woven onto an enchanted leather bodice to make it more resilient than ordinary robes. Compact slingpouch with usual traveling supplies. She also wears a slim black choker, inlaid with a swirling milky white gem.

Appearance:
Talyndra is blessed with high cheekbones, emerald green almond shaped eyes and small slightly upturned nose giving her a rather puckish look. Olive coloured skintone further solidifies her heritage as one of the anarhin. Luxurious amber coloured tresses falls to the small of her back, which she usually braids at the sides to keep in check. She stands at a towering 5 feet 6 inches, glorious! Talyndra possesses a petite body framework with just, only just, enough curves in the right places.

Personality: (Leaving this out for now)

Character Background: Talyndra, younger of only three children born to Lord Tasaldan Farandir, was what her people would call a larle`. In commons, bastard. Lord Tasaldan's only wife, had passed away giving birth to his first daughter. Talyndra's mother was a mere maidservant of the house, and was compensated in gold for her silence before being sent away shortly after Talyndra was born. Given the fact that she was the younger of two daughters, and an illegitimate child, Talyndra was fortunate that her father chose to acknowledge her; but only to the extent of providing for her needs and education. Despite his generosity, any sort of inheritance was entirely out of the question, not that Talyndra minded. Without the burden that usually comes with being a 'proper' child of a prominent elven lord, she was mostly left to her own devices. This gave her ample freedom to pursue art in all its forms, for she loved it; and would've spent all her days immersed in it if not for the fact that she was sent to Heartfire Academy to learn the ways of a Stormlord.


Right at the onset, Talyndra proved to be trouble, trouble of a different sort. Talyndra's powers were sporadic to say the least. One moment, they would fail her completely and the next, they would be blazing uncontrollably albeit powerfully; to the cost of damaged school property. Her mentors blamed her lack of concentration for such uncontrollable magic. Despite that, she managed to complete her studies and even work, at her father's behest (well, he didnt speak to her... he wrot- he bade one of his servants to pen a suggestion), as a tutor at the academy. Talyndra knew her father was slowly wiping his hands clean off her, gradually cutting her off in what he deemed was the most gentle way.


Talyndra's bow was given to her by Tanadris, her older sister and also Calenfari Captain. Also the only person in the whole House Farandir who didn't look at her askance. Tanadris taught her how to wield it, and though Talyndra's mastery of the elven longbow is fair, it is nowhere near as skilled as a regular elven Ranger.
 
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Wilder28

The Wild One
Name: Jason Forge


Age: 25


Gender: Male


Homeland: Telluria


Race: Human


Class: Hero?


Equipment: Well, he used to have a fair amount of things on him and a handy way of storing it all. But as of now, he's left with two main items:
  • The Battle Axe: A legendary weapon forged in ages past by Tellurian Dwarves, and one of the few Relics that have survived into the modern age. As the name suggests, it’s a simple, double-headed axe. However, unlike other weapons, this one is magically enchanted to increase the strength of the wielder, which adds to its already unmatched power and durability.

    It also doubles as an effective tool in a pinch.
  • The Hero Key: An ancient artifact in the form of a shining, golden key, with a capital H forming the handle. It seems much too large to fit into any lock - though unlocking things isn't exactly its purpose anyway.

    Basically, it grants Jason its power. For the most part, however, the powerset it grants is primarily unconscious in nature. While it can be actively used to gain a temporary boost in stamina, referred to as the ‘Heroic Second Wind’, it only passively grants abilities such as enhanced physical capabilities and, in more extreme cases, healing and barrier manipulation. This manifests in an empowered state known simply as ‘Valiance’, which is signified by a golden aura over the body, and it only comes about when Jason's intents are heroic - meaning, he has some strong desire to protect, aid, save, or avenge.

    However, this comes at a price: As with all others that Bore the Key before him, Jason's fated to die young, albeit heroically. As far as he's aware, there's no circumventing this. But hey, new world, new possibilities.

    At any rate, the Key itself is now bound to his person, as it has been since discovery and will be until death. This means that, no matter what happens to it, whether he accidentally leaves it somewhere or throws it into molten lava, it'll always return to him in the span of a few minutes. So there's definitely no losing it.
Appearance: Standing at a height of 6’1, Jason is a fairly tall man with a tanned complexion and a toned, athletic physique, attained via lots of combat, labor, and adventuring. His hair is dark brown and typically unkempt, while his eyes are a crystal blue; and though they usually seem to carry a note of innocence and amiability, at times they’ll instead take on a much steelier quality instead.

Additionally, as a result of getting into more fights than he can count, his body is marred with a number of scars, some more prominent than others. However, most of these are hidden by his clothing, which in this case consists of a crimson red tunic and a pair of woolen blue trousers.

Generally, though he can often come off as imposing or intimidating when he needs to be, Jason just exudes warmth and friendliness, and he almost always seems to carry himself with purpose and confidence.

Personality: When he had first set out to explore the world, Jason had been... something of a brat. While he was still known to be very friendly and outgoing, with a natural penchant for helping others, he also happened to be a fair bit self-absorbed, not to mention reckless and crass.

Nowadays, however, he is a far cry from the person he used to be, having been humbled and matured by the various hardships he’s faced on his journey. Once arrogant and somewhat naive, he has now grown to become quite cultured and down-to-earth as a result of traveling the world and encountering a variety of different peoples along the way.

Others also know him to be a man of impressive determination and resolve even under the direst of circumstances, and his mental and emotional resilience have proven to be at least on par with the physical. It is partly for this reason that he’s come to acquire the respect and admiration of others, though this is also owed to the general amiability, warmth, and humor that he exhibits when interacting with others. He’s polite and friendly to most, and he’s notably retained his natural charisma - which comes in handy whenever he steps up to take the lead in a situation, as he is wont to do when the need arises.

Most notable, though, is the strong sense of duty he’s gained. As the Bearer of the Hero Key, he feels that it is his purpose to help out others in whatever way he can, even if it means just providing aid in the simplest of tasks. Suffice to say, he takes this cause very seriously, having gone so far as to dedicate his life to it. And although he initially railed against the prospect of his impending doom, he’s since managed come to terms with his fate. Nowadays, he seems to approach it with a certain serenity, feeling that as long as he’s left the world in a better state, he'll be content to go when the time comes.

Character Background: Jason Forge was born and raised on the small, cozy town of Trial Island, where he and his twin sister Ashley had spent most of their earlier years living a rather quiet life. As their mother had passed shortly after giving birth, they were cared for primarily by their father, who was a well-known member of the community renowned for his skill in carpentry. Naturally, he had desired for his children to take up his mantle in the future, but as the twins grew, they found themselves gravitating towards different pursuits instead.

Jason in particular seemed to have a harder time deciding what it was he wanted to become. Ever since he’d learned to walk, he’d been an outgoing and sociable kid who was known for always playing a part in his local community, whether that be by helping his father with a bit of woodworking or lending a hand to the resident handyman whenever the need arose. While he did indeed learn carpentry from his father, even more so than his sister had, it was less out of any obligation to fill his shoes and more out of a simple desire to learn something new and hands-on, as he was wont to do during his adolescence.

By this point, he was known to practically everyone in town, in part for his general friendliness and public service, and in part for his occasional tendency to cause a bit of trouble. For while he did lead a quiet life, his impulsivity and sense of adventure would occasionally get him into hot water, which if nothing else would at least bring some excitement into the otherwise peaceful monotony of the town.

Eventually, though, as Jason grew older, he found himself yearning to leave the island and explore the world beyond. After all, there was only so much to see on Trial Island, and while it was quite homey, he nonetheless desired to see the wonders of Telluria at large. As of yet, he’d only been able to read of the distant lands beyond the sea, or hear of them from the sailors and traders that would periodically dock during market days - which in his opinion, were probably the most exciting days of the year.

One day, though, not long after Jason had finally reached adulthood, he finally happened upon an opportunity to finally go and explore the world as he’d been wanting. During a particularly productive market day, he had come to meet a young sailor while helping around on the harbor, and after some conversation, Jason found that he was entirely willing to ferry the man to the mainland, provided that he help out around the ship along on the way.

Needless to say, Jason took the opportunity in a heartbeat, and he spent the rest of that day preparing for his imminent journey. During that time, he went to convince a few others - his sister included - to join him on his travels, eager to share the experience. It took some convincing, but eventually, he got a small party of his own friends to go with him, and they set off the following day for the mainland.

Long story short, things didn't quite go as planned what ensued after was a wild ride involving magical artifacts and Ninjas and ghost pirates and living legends and a massive quest to take down an ancient evil that predates mortal civilization. Ask him about it, and he'll damn sure have some stories to tell.

As of now, in the light of his apparent destiny, Jason has decided to forgo settling down or returning home. Rather, he has instead chosen to take up a more nomadic lifestyle, drifting about the world and lending a hand to whoever may need it.
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
"Ed’ i’ear ar’ elenea! Saes'Felariel" A lone voice echoed across the snowy mountainside, nearly drowned out by the never-ending gale that crashed and swirled almost unnaturally above the tips of the small copse of pines.
TL: By the sea and the stars! Help me please Felariel!

An answering squawk like that of a very large bird sounded in reply.

It was just over a couple of hours after dawn. Anara's radiant illuminating rays, barely cresting the rocky ridges of the surrounding mountains. The dark grey rocks were a dismal sight to look at and seemed very much like some kind of natural prison locking in those foolish enough attempting to travel through. In other circumstances, snow-capped mountains that stretched for miles, so high their tips disappeared into the clouds might have held a picturesque charm. But anyone worth their salt would know that this very swath cutting through the northern highlands was anything but beautiful. It was a labyrinth of death.

The Swerdrun.

A twisting pass through the ominous Skyreach Highlands, the gatekeeper of the Northern Wilderness. Less than a score people in all of Andarun had ever attempted the crossing; those that made it out alive at least. The Skyreaches soared towards the heavens, too high for any Skyship to fly, leaving only a single twisting valley, lined by sharp unforgiving rocks and a perpetual gale that howled through the gap with a near-deafening wail. A torrent of primal winds that cascaded mercilessly out of the eternal wintry plains of the northern wastelands, they swirled in discordant chaotic currents. Shifting and changing on a whim. One had to have a special touch, to know and feel the elements such that they can find their way through the shifting winds. Even then, there were only four days out of the whole year where the winds calmed enough to allow such a delicate crossing; and by calm, it was still very much a whirling maelstrom. This particular day, was the first of the first two days of the year. The second 'lull' would be in a couple of months.

The way things were going, the young Stormmaiden was seriously considering turning back from her task. She didn't know when things had begun turning sour. Perhaps it was the moment the purported Aryan Dominion representative failed to turn up at the tavern. Also, it could be when she made the stupid decision to continue the expeditionary quest alone. She remembered when she told Elheim to take her north on his airship, the Anarthiren. But as Talyndra looked up to the craggy mountains and the way South, she could only see Tanadris' sympathetic face. As much as she loved her older sister and knew she would welcome her back with open arms, she loathed being that naive little sister. Sheltered and protected all her life. She could not bear to live in the shadow of her father's scorn any longer. This was her chance-

Talyndra snorted rather unladylike at the thought. It was ridiculous anyway. She was stuck here whether she liked it or not. She had nearly made it through the Swerdrun, with under an hour of flight left, an err in judgement caused her to stumble on her spellchanting, and she lost her grip on the windsprites. Which led to Elanti her hippogriff being smacked midair by an invisible wave of air so powerful she flipped right over. It was a miracle Talyndra hadn't been knocked clean off her mount. Another miracle that they managed to crash into the mountainside where a bunch of stout pine trees just happened to sprout. Coupled with a thick layer of snow, all in all, they had survived the crash.

A low self-pitying chuckle escaped her throat as she surveyed her current situation.

"Sut naa lle tyava Elanti?" She approached her chestnut brown mount that lay on her side in the snow. One of her wings bent at an odd angle with a large gash so deep she could see the bone. The elf winced.
TL: How are you feeling Elanti?

In unexpected response, the clearly injured hippogriff suddenly scrambled to its unsteady feet, feathers bristling. Startled, Talyndra had no time to ponder her mount's behavior before a chilling howl cut through the frigid air. One that was clearly not the wind. The start to her little expedition could not get any worse.

Eyes wide with fright, the Stormmaiden backed up until she was pressed against the flanks of Elanti. Emerald eyes darted this way and that as her elven ears picked up the soft thumps of paws digging through the snow. She was no seasoned adventurer, but even then, she knew wolves incapable of such weighted movements. Not the normal sized ones at least. Her mind whirred with possible incantations as she tried to grasp the begginings of her numerous spells. But each time she tried to come up with something, she felt the treaded sputter of magic on her fingertips. Even her magic decided to fail her. Heart pounding in her ears, she turned and fumbled for her bow at Elanti's saddle, barely notching a red feather arrow as another howl cut through the air, this time much much closer. It was soon picked up by two others.

Her throat was parched and Elanti had begun pawing at the ground with her talons, both equally nervous.

When the first of the four jet-black wolves broke through the trees, Talyndra nearly let out an involuntary scream. It was nearly the size of a pony.

"Felariel forgive me..." She let out the unwitting whisper, as three other mountain wolves broke from the cover of the trees. The elf and her mount were surrounded. Though the other wolves were just a bit smaller than the first, they were still much much larger than the average wild canine. They stalked their prey patiently, waiting for the right opportunity to pounce. Blood from Elanti's open wound dripped staining the cotton white drifts, but to the hippogriff's credit, her crouched stance and dagger lengthed talons were no less formidable. So much so that Talyndra worried she would be a burden to the hippogriff. Even wounded, the avians were savage brawlers. But with her mistress in such close vicinity, Elanti might very well curb her aggression; even at the cost of her life.

The elf licked her suddenly dry lips, drawing her bowstring taut. Then the wolves sprung. Talyndra wasn't quite sure what happened next. She remembered letting loose her arrow, but there had been a sudden brilliant flash of light. A loud crackling boom, so defeaning her eyes popped with static. When she looked up again, the wolves had retreated back to the perimeter. But it was another sight before her that left her mouth agape.

 

Wilder28

The Wild One
Jason Forge was no stranger to random occurrences and unusual situations. Indeed, during all his years of travel, quest, and adventure, he's encountered both more times than could ever count. It's gotten to such a point that, nowadays, he outright expects weird things to happen to him; it seems like it's just a staple of his life now.

But, even so, he never would've expected this.


Just a moment ago, Jason had been preparing to return home.

He didn't harbor any desire to stay, of course. Though he'd been wandering the lands for years on end, the young hero had no plans to stop for pretty much as long as he lived - which, he was quite certain, wasn't going to be much longer anyway. However, though he never intended to truly retire and settle down in that small, cozy town in which he once lived, he was never opposed to visiting. Because while he preferred the tough, unpredictable life he currently led, he also found that it always helped to take a break from it all every once in a while, and to just reconnect with his friends and his family while he still could.

Granted, it wasn't really something he did much; in fact, the more he thought about it, he figured should probably do it more. But as it was, he made sure to visit at least four times a year, if he could manage it - once per season. This was usually done by ship, especially if he were lucky enough to run into one of his old seafarer friends, but on occasion, he'd go by teleportation instead.

This had been one of those times. For the past few weeks, he had been hanging around the Old Kingdom - and his time there had been pretty eventful, to say the least. Between dealing with a few rogue magicians, fending off hordes of Dryads, and discussing a potential revival of the Fallen City, among other things, there was hardly a day where he could catch a break. Still, though, that beat the months he spent in the rest of the world prior to that. He'd gotten wrapped up in enough piracy and political intrigue in the East, he was 110% done with dealing with the sweltering heat of the South, and he was pretty sure he was afraid of airships now.

That being said, though, he at least got the opportunity to reunite with many of his old friends and allies along the way. He had a good time with Merith in Brasspoint despite nearly falling to his death, he thoroughly enjoyed his meditation with Kenji, and he even decided to stop by Aldrich's old tower to see how he and Scott were doing. As it turned out, though he was without a doubt the oldest person Jason knew, the elderly sage was still going strong. He figured practicing magic must have that effect on you.

But probably the most important of them was Darius, who had offered him the opportunity to teleport him home in the first place. It wasn't anywhere near his usual visiting time, but it wasn't often he ran into the explorer, so he figured that he should take him up on the offer and surprise Ashley.

Had everything gone to plan, Jason would have found himself at home, probably on the harbor or the local mountain. But clearly, something went wrong.


Once the light faded, Talyndra would be treated to the rather unusual (and somewhat comical) sight of this random man falling from above and landing unceremoniously in the snow before her. Fortunately for him, he hadn't been too high above the ground when he appeared, so it wasn't likely that he had sustained any major injuries from the landing. Nonetheless, though, when he rolled over a moment later, she would likely hear him groaning slightly and cursing under his breath; because while the snow beneath him may have effectively broken his fall, it did little to mitigate the pain that came with it.

But Jason was nothing if not resilient. It didn't take him long at all to recover, and with a few small grunts of exertion, he was back on his feet in less than half a minute. He staggered just slightly, clearly still a little dazed, but he ultimately managed to maintain his balance while he tried to get his bearings.

The first thing he saw was white; it seemed to be the sole color of the ground below. That, coupled with the freezing temperature, told him that clearly, it was cold and snowy. And that didn't strike him as particularly odd at first, because though it wasn't all that common, Trial Island did occasionally experience snow days during the winter.

...

Wait. Wasn't it the middle of summer?

The moment he came to this realization, Jason became slightly alarmed, and the feeling only grew as he lifted his gaze and took a gander at the surrounding environment. Sure enough, what he saw only confirmed his suspicion: He wasn't home. Far from it, in fact.

Wherever he was, it was no island - it didn't even seem to be on the coastline. Instead, Jason found himself in what looked to be a mountain range, and certainly not one he'd encountered before. The largest mountains in Telluria were the Fyrhald, where the dwarves resided, but even the grandest of them could hardly compare to the sheer size and majesty of those that lay before him. Their peaks seemed to stretch into the sky and pierce the heavens, causing Jason to wonder for a moment if they actually did breach the Creator's realm.

He didn't linger on that thought for long, though, nor did he get much time to gape at the picturesque landscape, for something else drew his attention soon enough. Catching sight of some movement in the corner of his eye, he turned in that direction and found himself standing face to face with... an elf? His eyes widened a bit upon seeing her, though judging by the expression she wore on her face, she was much more surprised to see him. Which, considering that he'd apparently just fallen out of the sky, was pretty understandable.

Studying her for a moment, it was very clear to him that this was indeed an elf, although he had yet to see one with red hair. Her outfit seemed a little unusual for her people, too, but considering that they weren't anywhere near the elves' woodlands, he figured that was a given. It wasn't like woven leaves would do much to keep you warm in temperatures like this.

That was hardly the most surprising part, though. What really drew his attention was the beast behind her. Was that a hippogriff?

After a second, Jason made to speak - but before he could even get a word out, he heard a low, menacing growl from behind him. Almost immediately, he whipped around to face the source of the sound, and before him, he saw a pack of what were easily the largest, darkest wolves he'd ever come across. Equally distant from him as the elf was, most of them regarded him with a similar surprise or curiosity; but as the one began to grow hostile, so too did the others.

They began to draw closer, prompting Jason to take a step back in response. For a moment, he glanced back over his shoulder at the people behind them, and took note of a few small details that had previously escaped him. For one, the hippogriff was very clearly injured, and the elf - presumably its master, or mistress as the case may be - had in her hands a bow, with an arrow already nocked. It didn't take him long to figure out what had been going on before he'd literally dropped in: They were in danger. And while he wasn't quite aware of the true extent of their abilities, he wasn't quite sure if a wounded hippogriff and a lone elf archer would do much against beasts like these.

So Jason determined at that moment, without hesitation, that he had to help.

He didn't know where he was or who she was or what had even happened to bring him this far from home, and initially, that showed. But now, as he turned back to face the wolves, he seemed to switch gears. All of his confusion melted away, and he no longer looked to be very disoriented. Now, he stood tall and confident, staring down what he assumed was the lead wolf as he held his arms out to the side and called his titanium weapons to his hand. A sword in one, and a shield in the other.

...

A few seconds passed. Nothing happened. The wolves began to draw closer.

Now Jason began to grow worried. He was no magician, but surely even he couldn't screw up a simple storage spell? Unless...

He came to yet another unfortunate realization, and this time he had to refrain from groaning in frustration. This again. He didn't know who or what brought him here - Darius sure didn't - but they'd better have a damn good reason to strand him out in the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on his back and the ever-present Hero Key in his pocket. He wasn't even in danger this time! He was put into it!

Letting out a measured sigh, Jason lowered his arms and quickly went about revising his plan of action. As he did, his body began to take on a soft, golden glow that grew stronger by the second, and he felt a gradual surge of energy and an increase in strength as Valiance began to take effect. With him being unarmed and unarmored, it was about the only thing that would allow him to survive this counter. And even then, that was debatable; he'd be able to go toe-to-toe with an Orc or a Werewolf or a horde Goblins any day in this state, and he'd be able to hold his own against even a Troll Chief. But a pack of overgrown hounds like this would definitely require more than just his bare hands if he was going to take them on in a straight fight. He could maybe wrestle one to the ground and come out alive, but four was three two many, even if he had a bit of backup.

Despite this, though, he didn't waver, nor did he back down. Jason simply stood his ground, getting into a fighting stance as he shielded those behind him.

And it was at that moment that he spotted something nearby. A glint of light in the snow. Glancing down at it, it didn't take him long to realize what it was: The shining blade of his Battle Axe. The Battle Axe. It must've landed here beside him, and he wound up missing it in his initial daze. Moving quickly, he stepped towards it and kicked it up into his hands in one smooth, practiced movement. As he gripped the haft and brandished the dual-bladed weapon at the approaching wolves, he allowed himself a grin. Apparently he was a little luckier than last time after all.
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
She had to blink once. Then twice. Just to be sure she wasn't hallucinating. She risked a quick glance skyward. No faint beating hum of a Skyship's Solian Engines, which was obvious considering literally only two Skyships in all Andarun had the slim chance of making it through the Swerdrun. There was no screech of hippogriff, nor even the roar of the Dominion's gryphons. Not a peak, except for the confounded howling gale.

Or maybe Felariel was answering her prayers? Or perhaps it was Eweca? She seemed the kind to have a sense of humour, especially with the way the edan tumbled to the ground from the top edge of her vision. It reminded her of one of her ragdolls when she used to toss them around out of boredom. It was quite the sight, the flopping, and would've surely made her giggle were it not for the fact that she was still on the breakfast menu. Then again, why'd it have to be an edan? And from the looks of it, quite clearly non-Bloodsworn as she couldn't recognize his choice of fashion. Not that it was garishly different. It was just different. But it was funny she was considering this as she was, at the same time, quite perplexed about the whole nature of his sudden arrival that she stood there with a bewildered look on her face and mouth slightly agape.

The young elf experienced what could only be described as the whole spectrum of emotions. Kind of like when she watched Anwynne smoke the Whimsyweed which she had obtained from 'just someone she knew'. Her friend's face had gone through an interesting array of emotions all in a span of a couple of moments. By the end of it, Talyndra had to convince Anwynne she was not a squirrel and that she had not stolen and sold her stash of acorns to a Mirani Necromancer in exchange for rolled-up sniffing parchments of her grandfather's ashes.

At the end of the day, seeing a bipedal humanoid even if it was an edan from the Empire was miles better than coming across another wild beast; or any of the horrible Wretched for sure.

Elanti let out a threatening squawk, shaking Talyndra from her stupor as she watched the edan clamber to his feet and slowly assess the situation. She half expected him to bolt and run at the sight of the wolves, but to his credit, the man stood his ground. His hands were flung out wide in what appeared to be a taunting stance. Or perhaps some kind of attempt to make himself look larger to the predators. Whatever the case she was somewhat surprised at his boldness and the confident set of his shoulders, especially since he had no visible weap--

The man nonchalantly bent to retrieve a gleaming battleaxe from the ground. Talyndra's almond-shaped eyes narrowed in a mixture of incredulity and confusion. But before she could react, she caught a sudden burst of movement as the wolves charged. She certainly wasn't experienced in dealing with wild threats, but the presence of the man did much to strengthen her resolve and so she reacted with the practised ease of one who had gone over a similar scenario a hundred times over. Only this time, there was no ranger sister and the wolves weren't sacks of hay.

"Auta elanti, auta!" The hippogriff charged forward at her command, coming out over to the left of the man. Frenzied raking talons and sharp beak clashed with one of the smaller wolves. So savage was the avian's attacks that it drew another of the wolves to try to help its kin. Even two on one and with one wing injured, the fearsome avian trained and bred by one of the best rangers of the Bloodsworn would get the upper hand before long; but the wolves were smart, darting in and out from different angles to prolong the fight. That left the other two wolves.

With the human now before her, the largest of the pack and the remaining Skyreach Wolf bounded after the human. Until an arrow grazed the flanks of the smaller one, barely missing its mark. Letting out a snarl, the wolf turned and charged the hapless elf.

One more shot? It's too fast!! Talyndra fumbled with her bowstring, fingers numb and clumsy though it was not from the cold. Her mind was slowly becoming a mess as panic had begun to set in. I wouldn't have time to draw my dagger if I miss. Should I draw and wait? Should I--? Then the wolf was upon her and she let out a surprised yelp, loosing her arrow and stumbling backwards at the same time. She heard a pained whine, at the same time her foot caught in the packed snow and then a mass of dark fur knocked her over into a flurry of powdery white.

The shock combined with the sudden coldness at her back knocked the wind clear of her lungs and she gasped, thrashing about as she tried to regain her feet. Clumps of snow churned in the drifts as savage snarls filled her ears. Finally managing to right herself, she came face to face with the salivating canines of the wild beast. Its eyes shone red with bloodlust, as even the arrow protruding from its side did nothing to slow it down. Talyndra crouched low, as if a sudden movement like standing up would trigger an attack. A hand slowly dropped to her thigh, to the long dagger strapped close. She felt the smoothness of the Heartwood grain. Then the wolf launched itself at her, jaws snapping.

A startled cry burst from her lips as she instinctively flung her arms in front of her to protect herself. A pattern flashed through her mind and her eyes glinted with a burst of azure light. The snarl turned into a choked yelp as this time, the wolf crashed solidly against her petite frame. For the second time that morning, Talyndra found herself buried deep into the frozen chill. The dark mass thrashed about her, paws swiping at the powdery snow and it took all she had to shield her face and prevent herself from getting trampled to death. A stinging knock on her shoulder and then the wolf toppled to the ground and was silent; a long crystalline shard of ice piercing it clean through the neck.

Heart pounding a mile a minute and with the dead wolf's burdensome mass pinning her chest to the snowy ground, Talyndra wondered if the other wolves would drop by and finish her off.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
The moment the wolves surged forward, so did Jason.

Right away, he made a beeline for the one in front, hefting his axe with apparent ease as he prepared to take a swing at it. Such a forward maneuver may have seemed unwise to most, all things considered, especially as he still lacked any sort of armor. However, Jason himself wasn't worried, for Valiance toughened his own skin until it was akin to iron in toughness; and while the effect wasn't impenetrable, it certainly provided adequate defense in a pinch. Chances are, though, he wouldn't much need it, as his speed and reflexes were also significantly enhanced, and his strength was such that a few good hits would be more than enough to put down even the largest of these beasts.

As he went, he soon took notice of the unintelligible cry of the elven woman behind him, and a moment later, her hippogriff companion shot past him on his left. Though he was wholly willing to take on the entire pack alone, he definitely appreciated the help. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the (semi?)avian quickly become engaged in a duel of her own. He wasn't able to see much more than that, though, for he was forced to turn his attention back to his own side of the fight as the wolf was nearly upon him. It lunged, its jaws opening wide and revealing rows of yellowed, knife-like fangs. He had no doubt that if this thing were to successfully bite him, it would still manage to deal quite a heavy amount of damage even with Valiance.

But he didn't let it reach that point. In fact, he'd actually been preparing for it. As the creature approached, he swung his axe upward, and it struck precisely where he had intended it to: Right in the center of its lower jaw. The blade cut through its flesh like nothing, and Jason heard a gurgling cry of pain sound out in response. He then yelled in exertion as he practically hurled the beast overhead, making use of both his magnified strength and its own momentum. The wolf landed hard in the snow as a result, with Jason holding its head down with a single foot and yanking the blade of his axe free while it writhed in pain. Then, while it was still down, he took the opportunity to strike again, raising his weapon before swiftly bringing it down. Without ceremony, the wolf was decapitated, the axe blade again slicing cleanly through flesh and bone as easily as it would cloth or paper.

Once that was done, Jason gripped the haft tightly as he lifted his gaze and promptly took stock of the situation. To one side, he spotted the hippogriff taking on two wolves at once, and despite its wounds, it seemed to be holding its own rather well. As he watched, though, it quickly became apparent to him that it was being steadily worn down, with both of its adversaries cooperating to draw out the fight for as long as possible. Immediately, Jason resolved to join - but before he would, he shifted his attention to the creature's elven companion to see how she was during.

His eyes widened, and it instantly became apparent who he was going to aid first.

He burst into a full-on sprint, covering ground far more quickly than any human probably should as he made to charge straight into the wolf's size. It was smaller than the one he had just dealt with, but it was pretty clear to him that it had pounced upon the elf, and he wasn't quite sure how long she'd be able to hold out before getting torn apart. Again, he roared as he made to swing his axe - only to for it to quickly die out as he saw the beast become impaled in the neck by a large icicle. By this point, he was going a bit to fast to just slow down, so he was forced to leap over the creature's corpse and land on the other side, before turning back to face it.

How the woman had done that was beyond him, though he simply chalked it up to magic. Whatever the case, now wasn't the time to sit and wonder about it. Instead, he focused on slipping his arms beneath the body and hefting it up, before heaving it off to the side and facing the now-unpinned elf. It took only a second for him to look her over and see that she was indeed still alive, and he extended a hand out to her afterward. "Here. I've got you."

As he stood there, one hand armed and the other extended, wreathed in soft golden light and exuding an air of confidence and compassion, it truly did seem like he was some hero sent from above.
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
Talyndra was no frail little thing. Considerably fit, with a good lung capacity for a scroll muncher who supposedly spent all her waking hours up in a tower going through reams of parchments and leather-bound books etched with assignments. Having a doting sister amongst the famed Calenfari pretty much ensured that she was never allowed to decay into a slobberworm. And so she braced her arms against the dark mass of fur and heaved with all her stupendous might.

The carcass barely budged.

"Feuyaer..." The noblewoman muttered eloquently. Her choice of word would've surely made the Highborn dames back home choke on their flower-scented wine.
TL - &@*A

Then without warning, the huge burden was lifted unceremoniously off her. An unexpected golden glow emanated from the offered hand, and she couldn't help but gape at the human male bending down to aid her like one of the celestial attendants sent by Lady of the Dawn herself. His eyes shone with kind compassion and the strength of confidence that straightened his shoulders would've surely ignited the fires on even the coldest night of the Skyreach Highlands. Perhaps her breath might've been stolen away, as both seem to pause in a moment of time. Or perhaps that was the narrator's wishful thinking.

Talyndra blinked once, then clambered to her feet and scampered away in a rush, leaving the poor outstretched hand cold in the chilly gale.

"Elanti!" The Stormaiden immediately caught sight of her mount, bucking and screeching in the direction of a furiously retreating wolf. The torn and mangled corpse of its packmate lay tangled and trampled under the hippogriff's talons. It took a second call before the enraged avian calmed down. As the elf rushed over, she passed by the decapitated corpse of the largest Skyreach Wolf, surprised in that moment at the clean cut and the strength that would've gone into such a feat. But the moment passed and she was more concerned with the welfare of her pet, rushing over to hug its the blood spattered feathery chest.

"Naa lle quel, Elanti?" Talyndra inquired, riffling through the beast's feathers and fur to check if the crimson stains were more than only the dead wolf's.
TL - Are you alright, Elanti?

The resounding squawk brought relief to her heart and the elf allowed herself a moment for the adrenaline of the moment to dissipate. She took her time, until the nagging dragon in the airgeddit?BAHA began to trouble her brow. Turning around to face the stranger, she regarded him with narrowed emerald irises (or walked over to him if Jason did not approach). Talyndra seemed to hesitate for a moment, her mouth opening several times as if to ask a question, but huffing to herself and seemingly getting increasingly frustrated by the moment. He spoke to her in commons, one that was far from the accent of the edans back in Aran`Fadrasil. So he must be Dominion.

Why would a Dominion human be here of all places though? Was he the missing emissary she had been waiting for? If the Empire could send a human all the way to this point, which was impossible by all accounts, why did they request the help of the Bloodsworn in the first place?

A myriad of questions fluttered vexingly through her mind, like fat ducks messing up the parchments at her desk (no reason for this comparison other than the fact that this particular imagery is arguably one of the most annoying things that could happen to the Stormaiden). She decided not to presume too much, though the poor woman probably still did.

"Who are you?" She began warily, though she could not hide the lilting speech of one more versed to speaking the language of the Elves. Before he could answer, another question came flying, "how is a human of the Empire so far north?" Then another. "How did you get here!?" And another, if he hadn't begun to speak already, "where's your..." she waved vaguely in the air, trying to find the proper word, "gryphon??" And if he still remained dumb as a duck (yes, ducks again), "speak! Or do you not understand common?" Her eyes would widen piercingly had she already been allowed to reach this stage.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
Jason just blinked once as the elf woman scrambled away, leaving him with his hand extended towards empty space.

"... Alright, then," he murmured to himself, withdrawing his hand and taking hold of the Axe's haft once more. If he was bothered by her reaction, he didn't show it; if anything, he thought it understandable, seeing as how her concern had shifted almost immediately to her avian-equine companion. And, upon remembering the creature's predicament, his did too, and he promptly turned and faced the direction where he'd seen the two beasts clash. As he did so, he again hefted his Axe, preparing to leap into the fray if necessary. After only a second of looking, though, it became quite apparent that it wasn't. Already, it seemed the hippogriff had the remaining wolf on the run, its companion having apparently been brutally dispatched, if the mangled corpse of the ground was any indication. Apparently, even despite being wounded, this hippogriff wasn't something to be trifled with.

For a moment, he watched as the elf approached and reunited with her pet, before deciding to just let them have their moment while he turned his focus toward his current predicament. Now, he lowered his weapon, and as he examined the blood-stained blade, he descended into deep thought.

Just a few minutes earlier, he'd made the rather unpleasant discovery that he couldn't withdraw anything from his own magical storage. Not his weapons, nor his armor, his tools, or any of the various Artifacts he'd collected over the years. Even his tools and supplies were inaccessible, meaning he was effectively stranded out in some treacherous mountain range with nothing but an Axe and a fancy Key. And while both would prove to be more than helpful in terms of self-defense, they wouldn't exactly make up for his other mortal needs...

This really made him wish he'd just taken Darius' advice and picked up a more practical means of carrying his stuff.

At any rate, it was alright. He'd been in worse situations before, and so far he'd always managed to make it out alive. Maybe it was just pure, dumb luck, or maybe not; either way, he was certain he could find his way out of this as well.

But first, he needed to get out of this mountain range. And without his Ten-League Boots to help him just leap around the peaks and his Shield Badge to mitigate the consequences of any harmful mistake he'd make in doing so, he had no choice but to just go by foot. And if that was the way he had to go, he definitely did not want to lug this thing around the entire way - especially now, as his golden glow faded, and his renewed strength and energy ebbed with it. Even if it did boost his strength, making it easier to lift, he still liked having both hands open when out and about. So naturally, this meant that he needed to deposit it within his storage, which shouldn't be an issue without anything cramming it up.

Gripping his blade, he shut his eyes and concentrated on dismissing the Axe, attempting to draw upon his internal creative power in order to do so. With any luck, the Axe would simply disappear, and he could take pleasure in the fact that he at least still had that going for him.

Unfortunately, luck wasn't exactly on his side. He could feel the weapon remain solidly in his hands, unmoving even despite his efforts. Eventually, he just gave up and accepted that it wouldn't work. Because of course it wouldn't. It should have been a simple endeavor for any magician, even one as poor as him, and yet apparently, he couldn't even pull it off anymore. He didn't know how; maybe he was just cut off, or it had simply disappeared entirely. In which case, what happened to everything he had in there? Did it all just disappear? Or was it all still back at home somewhere? And if it was the latter, what were the chances some random hobo would happen upon all of those neat Relics and Artifacts he'd left behind?

He shuddered at the thought. That would be quite an issue.

Finally, he wondered what had caused this - and the answer to that actually came quite quickly to him. Clearly, the only beings with the power to do this sort of thing were those of supernal nature - the Angels, the Creator's First, and the Creator himself. Why they would do such a thing was far beyond him, as it always was. And while he usually was content to go with the flow with whatever they had planned for him, this time he couldn't help but cast a frustrated look at the sky above, his grip on his weapon tightening. He had half a mind to just-

"Who are you?"

Jason blinked a few times in surprise, before looking back down and finding himself face to face with the elf from before. He'd been so engrossed in his thoughts that he hadn't even noticed her approach. For a moment, he simply gazed at her as she spoke, listening to her questions as they seemed to just tumble out of her. Clearly, she spoke the Common Tongue - though, he couldn't quite pinpoint her accent. Which, to him, should've been rather perplexing, as he'd travel all over the world and heard virtually every accent there was to hear. And hers sounded like none of them, though it did vaguely resemble some of the many elven dialects he'd encountered. In fact, though it was almost nothing like Zaos' oddly elegant drawl, it was actually rather similar to Merith's more melodic manner of speech, at least before she'd gotten acquainted with the Brassers and their eccentricities.

Jason knew that there was no real relation, though, as even though he'd only been here for what had to have been a few minutes, he was quite certain at this point that he was nowhere near home. Probably not even in his world anymore. And her questions only seemed to further confirm this; after all, he only know of one Empire - Hinode, in the East - and he looked and sounded almost nothing like the people found there. And they certainly didn't ride gryphons as badass as that would be.

It took him a moment to actually respond to her, though. Usually, he was pretty quick to act and respond, even after he'd gotten his youthful impulsivity under control. But right now, he was disoriented, confused, and a little tired, and it showed, both on his face and in his posture. After she urged him to speak, though, he sighed, and as he lifted his Axe and set the haft on his shoulder, he managed to muster up a small, but friendly smile.

"My name is Jason Forge," he told her. There was no flair in his tone or manner, no hint of grandiosity in his terse introduction. "And allow me to just say that wherever you think I came from, I probably didn't. And as for how I got here..." He again raised his gaze to the heavens. "I'm not too sure either, if I'm being honest. But I have a few theories." After a second of borderline death glaring at the heavens, he returned his attention to her. "Anyway. What about you? What's a lone elf doing in a place like this?" He gestured with his free hand to the mountains around them. "I would assume you're not just here to sightsee."
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
Now that everything had calmed down, she had a moment to study the stranger carefully. There were many humans in the Bloodsworn Kingdom, but from what she'd heard, those of the Dominion looked far different. They were large and hairy, with a perpetual smug that made it seem like a stave was permanently shoved up their arse. She wasn't so naive as to believe the generalizations of course, but she had to admit that she'd been expecting something rather... different. On second glance, the man before her appeared younger than she initially thought; the worry and fatigue he bore on his face perhaps adding some years to his apparent age. Under different circumstances, she might have found his features rather pleasing. Her attention was brought back to his clear blue eyes as he began to answer her queries.

Her eyes narrowed at his paltry explanation and his subsequent inquiry of her presence here. She tugged on the hood of her Payne's grey cloak, not so much out of the cold but out a growing annoyance that she was in this perplexing situation and wasn't anywhere nearer to figuring it out. Was she here on official Kingdom business? You could say that. Did she trust this... Jason Forge to tell him why she was here or if she was really alone? She studied the calm innocence of his features, and of the assuredness with which he carried himself. She'd never been 'adventuring' as her sister put it before, but she'd heard all about the various bandits that would rather prey on their own people than fight the Wretched. If she had to bet, the human standing before her wasn't one. He didn't fit the bill of what she'd heard. But it did nothing to quell her wariness. Why did he dodge her questions? And if he were indeed from the Aryan Dominion, why the need to go through all this trouble when they could've turned up days ago at the appointed meeting spot? All these thoughts and more flitted through her head in just a moment, no more than a blink of her emerald green eyes.

By Felariel... The lack of answers to her questions was going to kill her faster than any Skyreach Wolf.

"It is not easy to traverse the Swerdrun... Jasun Forge.." the unfamiliar name rolled off her tongue a little oddly, but she didn't care if it would offend him. "Not many would make it this far without being flung against the jagged rocks." She waved her hands upwards, towards the unforgiving dark ridges that lined the narrow valley all around them. "If you think you did not come from where I thought you did, then by Felariel... where exactly have you come from... and how did you get here?" She reiterated her questions again, blatantly ignoring his own querries.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
Jason just gazed at her as he awaited an answer. After noticing the narrowing of her eyes, though, he quickly figured that his answers didn't do much to satisfy her curiosity. Which, thinking on it, only made sense; he had been rather vague, much more so than he usually was. But then, that was more or less out of a desire to avoid going into what would undoubtedly have to be some lengthy explanation of his origins, as he was currently in no mood to do such a thing. That was usually something he left to his sister, really; she'd always had more patience for it.

That being said, though, it also did occur to him that this girl, whoever she was, probably deserved a better response than what she was given, especially considering that, from her point of view, he quite literally just fell out of the sky a few moments ago. He himself certainly would've desired something more, had he been in her shoes. But as it were, between the two of them, he was clearly the stranger here. It was only fitting that he identify himself first.

Once she finally did speak, he listened. And if he was at all annoyed or offended by her mispronouncing his name, he didn't show it. If anything, he was used to it by now, having heard every possible variation and then some during his myriad travels. It was more so her mention of what he assumed to be the name of these mountains that caught his attention, and for a moment, he turned his gaze upwards to regard the jagged crags above as she gestured to them. True to her word, they looked to be near-impossible to traverse by foot; and judging by the constant howling of what must have been exceedingly powerful winds, he could believe that attempting to just fly through would result in being flung around like a ragdoll. That could've well been the reason for the hippogriff's injury, he realized, for he doubted she'd have gotten this far herself through any other means.

As he thought this, he glanced at the creature in question, noting the laceration it sported on its back, before focusing once again on its owner as she went on to repeat her inquiries - and dodge his own in doing so.

In response, Jason couldn't help but let out a small sigh, shutting his eyes and setting his free hand to his forehead while he considered his answer. He didn't keep her waiting for long, though, for he soon lowered his arm and spoke, meeting her gaze once again. "I come from the world of Telluria. More specifically, Antiqua, the human Old Kingdom of the West. My intention was to return to my home town of Trial Island by way of teleportation, but apparently, something interfered with the process and had me redirected here instead." He gestured up to the sky as he added, "I don't know exactly how it happened, but if I had to guess, I'd say that some celestial being is responsible for it.

"Don't ask me why; I don't know. I don't know where I am, where to go, or how to get back. All I know is that this place is not where I'm supposed to be, and that I've more or less been left stranded in some treacherous mountain range with only an axe to work with. I have no food, no supplies, no way to keep warm, and absolutely no way of returning home." As he said this, some of his internal frustration seemed to shine through, as evident in his increasingly embittered tone and his somewhat wild gesticulations toward this foreign world that surrounded him. However, none of it seemed to be aimed toward her specifically, even as he turned back to face her. "So please, do not think I came here of my own volition. Trust me, I have just as many questions about all of this as you do, if not more."

He then seemed to relax a little as he momentarily fell silent, taking a few seconds to regain his composure before continuing.

"And I promise you I will try and answer any that you have about me. Fully. I'd just... like a moment to process everything first." It wasn't something he often needed or asked for - not in recent times, at least - but in this case, he felt that given his predicament, it was entirely justified. He then glanced again at her wounded mount, and added, "And after all of that, it seems like some rest might benefit you two, too."
 
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Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
The human clutched a free hand to his forehead letting out what appeared to be a long-suffering sigh before he began to speak. This time, it sounded as if he were making a better effort to answer her questions. Why better effort? For one, he spoke of so many perplexing words and names and places she wasn't sure he was still speaking commons; or that her command of the language was struggling to keep up. Telluria where? Human kingdom out West? There was another human kingdom even further West than the Bloodsworn? Out by the Wretched infested Blightreun? Further than that? And what was this tel-port-shun? The more he spoke, he appeared to grow genuinely more frustrated at his predicament, or at least it was how it appeared to the elf. She tightened her lips and subconsciously drew back as he went on a tirade to no one but the impassive gods up in their heavens above.

And it was at that moment that Talyndra found herself suddenly believing... Well, believing that he wasn't some errant vagabond or weird spy. His exasperated tones and animated gestures seemed to come from a real sense of concern. It reminded herself of those times she across those poor senile seniors who would occasionally find themselves lost in the busy streets of the capital without any clue of where they were wandering in the first place. Perhaps Jason might've been a very convincing actor, but such a possibility never occurred to the elf. In fact, she was starting to worry - in as much as she could given the prejudices of her culture - that the human might've landed a little hard on his head.

He did, however, regain his composure and suggested that they take a little rest.

They?

"I..." She began, though she faltered, not quite sure what to say. He hadn't said it explicitly of course but the suggestion was there. The thought that she now had a travel companion even if only temporary caught the elf off guard. What was she supposed to do? Was this some unwritten custom of adventurers? To just bump across each other on the road and then immediately decide to share the warmth of a fire? But he was an edan! One not of the Bloodsworn no less, that much was clear.

"Alright." She stood there, dumbfounded at her own acquiescence. She couldn't believe it. But almost immediately some voice of hers was beginning a defence. A rest was definitely in order. She was lucky to have survived her crash nearly unscathed, but that was only due to beloved Elanti. The beast had cushioned her fall, taking the brunt of the lashings and bumps against the treetops as they tumbled out of the sky. She owed the hippogriff. She turned to glance at the bird obediently preening her feathers by the side. Elanti wasn't the most friendly creature to strangers but had somehow already decided that this human wasn't a threat. It'll only be for a while.

"Alright..." She repeated again, somewhat dumbly not realizing she was just standing there almost in a daze.

"Rest..." Her gaze drifted to the snowy wilderness, then back to the human who clearly wasn't properly dressed for the weather. In all honesty, the cloak she currently wore wasn't particularly up to the task either. But being a Stormaiden, even if she weren't a particularly adept one did have its perks. Her eyes widened as if realizing just how bitter the cold must be, especially to the human.

"A fire! A fire yes?" She exclaimed, finally snapping out of her stupor. Even Elanti paused to tilt her head questioningly at her mistress.

What followed was perhaps an odd scene of Talyndra clumsily walking all over the place, from finding a suitable spot by one of the thick pines, to checking Elanti's saddlebags for supplies, to realizing that said supplies had been scattered about the small clearing either from their crash or the fight. All the while, she mumbled to herself the next course of action.

"Tree.. yes... tree... wood? No... no need... stones? Elemental stones? Where? Elanti! Wait... they're not here... where did? I packed didn't I? How? Wait... oh...!"

Finally, after an amount of time which surely could've been noticeably shorter the elf had managed to build a little campfire of sorts, sheltered from most of the bracing gale within a tight copse of pines. A stack of red hot pebbles crackled and burned in a little depression in the cottony snow, where they dug out a little clearing. Runes etched into the surface of the palm-sized red crystals glowed as their stored magic was released.

She was already beginning to tire from the events of the morning, but Elanti's wound needed taking care of. Rummaging into her packs, she retrieved some unguents wrapped in leaves and some bandages before setting about tending to the hippogriff's wounds.

They hadn't spoken much since Talyndra began setting up camp, the elf appearing to actively avoid any unnecessary interaction. No doubt he might've helped with the tasks as well.

"If you need a cloak, there's one in the green pack." The elf uttered suddenly, without looking at him. In truth, she couldn't stand the awkward silence anymore and had decided to break it.

The cloak in question was thicker than the one she wore, in similar Payne's grey but with fur lining the edges. Delicate runes had been embroidered all along the hem in silver thread. It fit her perfectly and would be serviceable if a little small for the larger human.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
Jason just watched as the young elf seemed to process his suggestion, seeming almost dazed as she stood and stared. Apparently, he figured, she was still a bit out of it. But then, given the ordeal that she had just been through, having likely crash-landed just recently before being assaulted by a pack of absurdly large wolves, he supposed he couldn't blame her. Still, he was prompted to ask if she was alright, and he had just opened his mouth to do so when she suddenly spoke again, apparently having decided on starting a fire.

And as cold as he was - for she had been correct in her assessment, as he was borderline freezing without the warmth of Valiance flowing through his veins any longer - he couldn't deny that the prospect of starting a fire appealed to him quite a bit. Had he been able to, he'd have just whipped out his lighter and got to it right then and there; but as it was, it looked like he would instead have to do it the old-fashioned way. Which he wasn't exactly keen on, but if it meant getting a bit of warmth, he supposed he had no choice but to just deal with it.

However, while he normally would've just went on and got to work on gathering some firewood, for this wasn't exactly the first time he'd been stranded in the wilderness, he was a bit more concerned about his new companion, who began to less-than-gracefully make her way around the clearing. Though she seemed disjointed, however, he could see that she at least had some vague idea of what she intended to do, and after a moment, he decided to leave her to it. Lowering his axe, he turned and headed towards the treeline with the intention to gather some wood.

He then paused as he realized that that probably wouldn't be necessary, as he had just caught her mentioning that there would be no need for it. Apparently, she'd had an alternative in store - elemental stones, if he'd heard correctly. For a moment, he recalled her fatally spearing one of the wolves with an icicle, and he concluded that if she was indeed a mage as she'd assumed, then she of course had more magical means available to her. Which meant that wood would indeed be unnecessary.

As he considered this, he turned toward the elf in question, watching as she got situated. Surely enough, after some time, she pulled out what looked to be a collection of small, bright red crystals, and with them she started a small fire. How handy.

Seeing this, he blinked once, before deciding to forgo his previous plan and just join her within the copse of pine trees. Upon arriving, he gazed into the flame for a moment, before lifting his gaze and watching as the elf attended to her mount. Seeing her tend to its wound, it suddenly occurred to him that he could actually try and heal the creature himself. While he wasn't knowledgeable of the extent of her medical skills, he figured that using his own abilities would be quicker and much more effective. When he made to suggest this, however, the words died in his throat before they could even be spoke, as he found himself faced with a few doubts.

During the short time he spent in this new world so far, he'd come to find that he was lacking even the most basic supplies. This fact gave rise to the theory that, though Valiance had operated well enough thus far, he may not have access to the full range of his abilities. This thought let him to shut his mouth once again and reconsider the idea. Eventually, he decided to test it out first, and he went on to shut his eyes and try to draw out Valiance from within. Not directly, of course; it wasn't a manual ability, so any attempt to call upon it consciously was doomed to failure. Rather, he attempted to do so by allowing it to detect and identify his desire to heal the creature, for he knew well enough by now that his Key drew primarily upon the subconscious mind to operate to its fullest.

A few seconds passed, and nothing happened. There was no rush of energy, no boost in strength, no surge of warmth. Just bitter cold.

Before long, he just gave up. He knew well enough by now that if it were going to activate, it'd have done so already. As it hadn't, he was now confident that he could add his healing abilities to the list of valuable assets he'd evidently been stripped of. His shoulders slumped as he let out a resigned sigh, and he finally decided to just take a seat right there, in close proximity to the fire. As he did, he set his axe down beside him, before crossing his arms in a vain effort to keep them warm.

Though he took some solace in the heat of the campfire, it proved to be insufficient in keeping away of the cold. Even despite being almost exceedingly close to it, he couldn't help but shiver, drawing his arms in tighter in order to make it at least a little more bearable. He bowed his head as he did, gazing down the snow and reminiscing about the last time hie'd been in a region such as this. Perhaps the coldest places he'd been to were the peaks of the Fyrhald, or the boreal regions of the Old Kingdom. But neither experience compared to this one, for he'd been properly equipped during those times, and he had no need to stay in either for very long at any rate. Quite frankly, just thinking about it made him realized that, while he certainly wasn't too fond of the intense heat of, say, the Southern Wastes or the Upper Underworld, he at least much preferred it to the cold.

Though, he'd still take a place like this over any Underworld any day.

Eventually, he raised his gaze and affixed on the crackling blaze before him, and as he stared into it, his thoughts went to his home. Despite the... miserableness of his predicament, he couldn't help but be reminded of those chilly winter nights at home on Trial Island, when he and his sister would huddle by the flame with their friends and exchange all sorts of stories, from fun anecdotes to funny ghost tales to interesting experiences - at least, as interesting an experience one could have back then. A small, melancholy smile formed at the memory, even as it occurred to him that he would probably never get to experience such a reunion again; and even if he could, after all that's happened, it wouldn't be the same as it used to be.

These thoughts soon turned to the present, or what it could've been. Right now, at this very moment, he could've well had reunited with his sister and friends - or at least, those who had chosen to remain on the Island. He had plan to surprise them, and then maybe head to the tavern and catch up. After his time in the Old Kingdom, he sure did have a few new stories to tell; and he did recall that Kenji had requested him to send his regards. No matter what she said, he was dead certain that Ashley had a thing for the guy - not that she could blame him, because it wasn't exactly often you got to bond with a Ninja.

As it were, though, he wouldn't be able to relay the message anytime soon. He could just imagine Darius arriving on the Island, as he had planned to after transporting Jason himself, only to find that the young hero had outright disappeared into thin air. No doubt everyone would worry once the news got out. He wondered how long it would be until he was eventually presumed dead.

He supposed it was almost funny when he thought about it. Before leaving, he'd once joked that it was a bit too early for him to be getting a break so soon. Apparently, whatever celestials had been watching him had agreed.

So deep he had been in his musings that, when the woman finally spoke, he nearly jumped in surprise. He was usually a rather affable and conversational person, but under these current circumstances, he was less than inclined to speak much. Nonetheless, he put his thoughts aside in favor of listening to what she'd said, and his eyes widened a little at the sudden offer. After a moment, he got up and headed over to the bag she had mentioned. Sure enough, when he peered inside, he caught sight of a cloak. Without hesitation, he took the garment and, after a brief second spent studying it, put it on with surprising quickness.

It had clearly been tailored for the elf, or at least someone of her stature, so it naturally didn't fit him as well as he'd have liked, but he was grateful regardless. He wasn't the biggest of men, at least; he was glad he wasn't as much like Marshall as he'd desired in the past, a giant of a man he was. Though he also probably wouldn't need a cloak in the first place, bearing the power of the sun and all.

As he made his way back to the campfire, he made sure to make his gratefulness known. "Thank you. I'd have probably frozen solid without this," he told her with some good humor. As he took a seat, it occurred to him that he probably looked something like the Northerners of the Old Kingdom, with all their nice fur coats and such. Though, the last time he personally had worn any kind of cloak was during his first foray into the South, when he had taken it from a Djinn he'd slain. But that one had served more as protection from the sandstorms and the bright sunlight than anything. If he recalled correctly, he still had it lying around in his storage somewhere.

Or, at least, he had.

Eventually, after slipping his arms into his cloak and crossing his arms yet again, he decided to finally disregard and turn his focus outwards. He'd never really liked sitting and dreaming of wishes and possibilities, when he could just immerse himself in the present and actually work towards something better. At the moment, though, there wasn't really much for him to do, so he settled on the one thing he could.

"... I don't believe you ever told me your name," he piped up after a moment, finally sitting up and gazing over at the elf across the fire. He was aware that she'd outright ignored him the first time he'd ask, but considering the situation, he supposed he couldn't blame her. Now, however, he figured/hoped she'd be willing to actually respond to it this time. He didn't see why she wouldn't, unless she was simply the unfriendly type.
 
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Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
She gave no indication to acknowledge him when his attempt at jest, focusing instead on applying the unguent of crushed herbal paste to Elanti's lacerated flesh. The wound was deep, but they were lucky to not be left with any broken bones. The paste was a special blend from the Nektara Sylvans, and would surely aid to speed up the healing process. With good rest, the hippogriff may even be able to fly within a full day; without a rider at least.

Talyndra had to once again, thank her sister who made sure she left prepared. Nevertheless, the thought that she had to rely on others irked her like an itch beneath the skin. Well, that was why she had decided to come alone right? She finished her work with a roll of protective bandages and gave the beast's head a pat. Elanti had been a real warrior, barely any complaints despite the severity of her injury. It was to be expected when she had been bred by one of the best rangers in the Kingdom. The elf looked at her feathery companion and noticed that its attention was fixed to somewhere else. Behind her.

Ah, the edan.

He was a conundrum that Talyndra felt may not be resolved soon. The same questions that she had asked him earlier, though he'd replied in earnest did nothing to settle her simmering curiosity. If he lied, then he was a good liar. But whatever it was, she had a feeling that he bore no ill intention towards her. Letting out a sigh, she stretched forward to rummage in one of Elanti's saddlebags, taking out some sort of packed fruit meal wrapped in leaves and a slim black satin-like cord inlaid with a milky white gem.

Cord in hand, she turned back around to face the human, reaching behind to toss her hood back and fix the clasp, placing the gem at the hollow at the base of her neck. The gem glimmered for a brief moment, before returning to a more subdued glow.

"... I don't believe you ever told me your name,"

She took a moment, carefully unwrapping the leaves of her meal pack before finally looking up at Jayson and fixing him with her emerald gaze.

"Talyndra." She said simply, looking away briefly but then decided to add, "of House Farandir." The latter bit was said with little or no emotion, which wasn't all that rare though uncommon as one usually would announce family names with a little more pride. Her eyes shifted to regard the human's meagre belongings. A barely perceptible sigh escaped her. Breaking the slab of dried fruit and some sort of sticky paste, she offered one half to the man.

"I've been told that the edans of the Dominion are all uncouth, smelly, hairy and cannot walk through a forest without waking every living creature for ten miles." She fixed him with her gaze again, before taking a bite of her food. "The corpse-walkers, on the other hand, are supposed to creep you out so much that your skin literally peeled off your hands without you doing anything about it." She took another bite, which was more like a nibble.

"You are neither smelly, hairy nor make my skin peel... I guess you must come from a city I have never read about... Telluria?" She cocked her head to one side as if tasting the sound of the word on her lips. "It is a nice name."

"What will you do now?"

ooc: feel free to slot in Jayson's replies in between.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
Jason had watched with some interest as the elf went and placed the gem onto her neck, noting that it apparently seemed to be glowing. Being no stranger to enchanted jewelry, he figured it must've had some magical properties to it. Maybe he'd ask about it later. He also couldn't help but eye the meal pack she had brought out. It had been a while since he'd last eaten, and originally, his plan had been to solve this by visiting the Tavern with his sister when he'd gotten back home. But clearly, that didn't work out, and now he was cold and hungry. What a day.

Seeing her look at him for what was probably the first time since she'd gone to make the fire, Jason's gaze almost immediately snapped up to meet hers, and he watched her somewhat curiously as she finally introduced himself. "... Hm. Talyndra. That's a nice name," he murmured, repeating the moniker as if to get familiarize himself with its pronunciation. Naturally, as he didn't share her accent, and couldn't properly imitate any accent to save his life, his pronunciation of it was a bit off. But it nonetheless seemed like he tried to get it as close as he could.

And though he didn't comment on it, the announcement of her family name also caught his attention, eliciting a slight raising of his brows. So she was of the nobility, then. In hindsight, he supposed it was rather apparent, what with the way she spoke and carried herself. But it did raise the question of what someone of such high status was doing virtually alone in a place like this. He was inclined to ask again, and perhaps would have - but when she offered him that piece of her meal, his entire train of thought went off track.

Jason was a polite man, so he didn't outright snatch it. But he also didn't make much of an effort to contain his eagerness, perking up and taking the food with an upbeat "Thanks!" He didn't waste any time in taking a bite, even as she began to speak. Obviously, it wasn't exactly a feast worthy of kings, but he'd long learned to make do with less. So as she addressed him, he simply sat up and trained his focus on her while he chewed. As he listened to her go on about edans and corpse-walkers - humans and undead, he presumed, judging by the context - he couldn't help but raise a brow in slight skepticism. Either people here were stranger than he'd expected, or she had been reading some pretty questionable books.

As his primary focus was currently to eat, he didn't actually speak until after half of the meal was gone, which was not long after she had finished speaking. Satisfied for the moment, he sighed and lowered his hands, gripping what was left of the food he'd been given as he set them in his lap. He then trained his gaze on the campfire as he pondered her question, staring at the mystic crystals at the base of the flame. "... What I've always done," he answered eventually. "Get up, press on, find a way out of this mess. And save whoever I can along the way."

He then looked up at her as he continued. "As for how I'm going to do that, I'm... not really sure yet. But I have a knack for figuring things out along the way." Pulling his cloak in tighter, he then added, "And Telluria's not a city. It's a world. A different one. Different people, different magic, different kingdoms. All of that." He figured it may have been a confusing concept to introduce, but in all honesty, it was the most viable thing he could come up with. Had a place like this, with entire civilizations, existed alongside Telluria, he'd have known about it, he was sure. Darius would've written about such a place at the very least, even in theory. But the concept of other worlds wasn't new to him. Though he'd only been to one so far, many believed that there were still others out there, forged by the Creator after he left the people of Telluria to their own devices. He could only assume this was one of them.

Though what business he had here was still far beyond him.
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
She blinked when he repeated her name, mouth opening slightly as if making an attempt to correct the utter butchering of her beloved calling card. But she shut her lips just as quickly, realizing that his mispronunciation wasn't from callous disregard. Instead, she chose to listen with rapt attention as he made known his intents, and from where exactly he came from; which upon hearing, sparked a glint of emerald in her eyes, despite the frown on her brow

"And Telluria's not a city. It's a world. A different one. Different people, different magic, different kingdoms. All of that."

"Different world? You mean to say... it's like the Emerald Realm of the Saelas?" Her eyes brightened as if excited she finally could make sense of his ramblings, instead of thinking she was having conversation with someone who had badly smashed their head. She frowned, casting her eyes to the side in thought.

"So you're like an elemental.. of sorts?" She looked back at him. "Elementals could come in any form afterall... just didn't think they would look so... normal." She pondered the thought for a moment, nibbling on her snack as her gaze went up to the swirling eddies of snow and streaks of chaotic Flow which only her trained mages' eye could grasp.

"Well... we're indeed in a big mess..." There was no way they could attempt to fly, not with Elanti's wounded wing. Even taking off was a highly dangerous task were the hippogriff uninjured. Down where they were, sheltered in an alcove within the narrow jagged valley, the wind was blustery but no unmanageable. A score of feet up told a different story.

"In case you're unaware... we're in what our people call the Swerdrun. It has many other names... Sword Path, The Knife.... and in the tongue of my people, Ngw'kuruni.... Which you would call Witches' Howl." She let her voice fade away for the moment, allowing the silence to heighten the keening wail of the blizzard. "No one gets through the Swerdrun. Not alive. Unless you know the way, and whisper to the Spirits of Zephyr for guidance... But they are fickle sprites." The elf's shoulders heaved a sigh.

"I wasn't meant to stop here..." Talyndra continued, not sure why she felt the need to explain her entire story to this human elemental or why it was so easy to do so in the first place. The prejudices of her people against the edan ran deep. Some of the older Tel`Quessir even took offence at the edans within the Bloodsworn lands. Thus, it was a little disconcerting when she had been told by society all her life that she should hate... but out here alone, hate was the last thing on her mind. Annoyance perhaps. Wariness too. But that seemed normal in light of seeing a stranger. Her gaze went northwards, and towards the distant sky where the jagged valley opened into the Northlands.

She was so close... If she had lasted a fraction of the hour longer, she might've made it.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
As the elf made her response, Jason gazed up at her, at first nodding in agreement with what she said... and then slowly coming to a stop as his open expression became one of confusion. He didn't know what the Emerald Realm was, nor did he know anything about these Saelas she spoke of, but he chose not to worry about that for now; it was par for the course considering that he was an entirely new world, and if anything, he could always ask about it later. What he was really focused on was her somehow coming to the conclusion that he was an elemental. "... Actually, no. I'm afraid you're off the mark with that. I'm entirely human. Not elemental in any way," he clarified after a moment, even spreading his hands as if to emphasize his point. "I'm just not a human from here."

If nothing else, though, he certainly did agree with what she said next. He'd been in more than a few unpleasant or unfortunate situations, and while this one was far from the most dangerous or the most hopeless, it was without a doubt one of the most confusing. Following Talyndra's line of sight for a moment, he turned his gaze upwards and beheld the raging winds that seemed to buffet the surrounding peaks without end, made visible only by the frost and snow they carried. What a place this was to randomly wind up.

It wasn't until the mage finally began to explain their whereabouts that he looked away, now affixing her with a look of slight curiosity as he once again picked up the food package. Taking another bite of it, he listened closely to what she said. And as she went on, his brows furrowed a little. Not just because of the last of the alternative names she mentioned, which he knew he had zero hope of pronouncing even on his best day, but also because of how dangerous she'd stated it to be. So it seems that this wasn't just any treacherous mountain range he'd been tossed into; it was also notorious for being virtually impassable. Go figure.

He refrained from commenting just yet, though, instead choosing to take another bite while she went on a little about her own situation. Apparently, even despite the reputation this region of the world likely possessed, she had made an attempt to pass through - and as far as he could tell, she had actually made quite a bit of progress. This was made particularly evident as he turned to see where her gaze was directed now, and found himself looking upon hat seemed to be a distant valley at the edge of the range. He raised his brows a little, and as he turned back to face her, he couldn't help but feel an increase in respect for the diminutive elf before him.

Once he swallowed this last morsel, he sighed, then spoke again. "Well, you won't have to. There's likely to be a way out of here somewhere. and if there isn't, I'm sure we can figure something out," he told her. He seemed rather confident, though not overly so, and despite his situation, his general demeanor had actually become rather relaxed now. He'd been to hell and back, literally. This situation had him a little uncomfortable at most, aside from the bitterness he still felt over being robbed of his opportunity to return home. "I don't know why I was dropped here, but I get the feeling that it's no coincidence I wound up with you." He shrugged. "Maybe I'm supposed to help you through. Do you know what's on the other side?"
 
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Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
"... Actually, no. I'm afraid you're off the mark with that. I'm entirely human. Not elemental in any way," he clarified after a moment, even spreading his hands as if to emphasise his point. "I'm just not a human from here."

Talyndra's brows furrowed for a moment, perhaps mildly annoyed that she was no closer to understanding the peculiar reality of her new companion. Nonetheless, she saw no need to press the matter further other than to satisfy a simmering curiosity. The hippogriff seemed quite inclined to have him around and she'd trust Elanti more than her own relatively unproven gut feeling.

"Well, you won't have to. There's likely to be a way out of here somewhere. and if there isn't, I'm sure we can figure something out,"

"You seem rather confident about that... for someone who literally has no clue where he was." She remarked though she did not voice out her latter thought. Talyndra was somewhat baffled at his bright eyed optimism. Indeed, she as a little taken aback at the conviction that sparked in his crystal blue eyes and the way he looked at her. All the early hints of stress in his demeanour had all but faded, as if evaporated into the blustery cold.

"I don't know why I was dropped here, but I get the feeling that it's no coincidence I wound up with you." He shrugged. "Maybe I'm supposed to help you through. Do you know what's on the other side?"

Funny you're saying that. I was literally praying to the Woodland Lady just before you dropped by.

"Mai`Ilmen. A lake so large you would mistake it for the oceans... and at twilight, it is so calm it reflects the stars far above the heavens. It is the mirror of the gods..." Her emerald fixed his eyes with an intensity as if she could project her thoughts into his own, "a most wondrous sight, as you come out of this wretched jagged pass..." she continued, "shimmering like a jewel in the distance, you'd almost forget that you nearly died passing through the Swerdrun."

"Or in our case, could still die." The elf said flatly, her tone sobering up. "I have been past this place into the Northlands once before. With my sister. There is nothing else there but endless cold. A harsh place, nothing could live there but wild beasts." Her gaze lowered to the half eaten flakes of dried fruit meal in her hands.

"You would come with me, to such a place?" She asked after a moment of silence, though the way she said it did not seem to be directed to him in particular; it sounded like a rhetoric.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
In response to her remark on his confidence, Jason simply shrugged. "Better confident than not." He could see why she may have doubted him. After all, he knew very, very little about this new world he'd been thrown into, let alone this one single mountain range. But even so, this was far from the first predicament he'd ever found himself in, and if any of his previous experiences had taught him anything, it was that doubt and pessimism would only hold him back. Every problem he'd come across had a solution, and he wouldn't have been put here if this one were any different.

Listening as she spoke of the lake, he blinked a few times upon first hearing its name, concluding right away that he should absolutely avoid trying to say it himself lest he absolutely butcher the pronunciation. That aside, though, it sounded to him like quite a wondrous location, with her mention of the stars automatically bringing to mind his sister. He pushed that thought aside the moment it came up, though, sensing that lingering on it would only bring his internal bitterness to resurface.

Hearing what she said next, he raised one of his brows just slightly. Then, regardless of whether or not her question was actually rhetorical, he answered. "Sure." His response was surprisingly conversational in tone, as if he'd only been asked to accompany her to the market. "I've been to worse places. Maybe not as cold, but I'll be damned if I let that stop me." He paused, glancing again at the distant valley before looking back to meet her gaze. "Though hearing that does make me wonder why you've made such an effort to get through this pass if that's all you're going to find. Are you just looking to visit the lake?" Though it may sound silly to some, such an intention didn't really seem particularly out of place to him. For all he knew, the lake she'd mentioned could've well been supernatural, or even divine in nature. And if that were the case, it only made sense that someone would go out of their way to revisit it.

And if it turned out that weren't the case, then he wouldn't have been at all surprised if there turned out to be more to this region than either of them knew.
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
"Hmm..." Talyndra pressed her lips together, a thoughtful hum reverberating in her throat upon hearing Jason's affirmation. An odd expression briefly flickered across her face. It had the look of someone who had just been told that there was a simple solution to a particular problem. Or more precisely, that there was no problem in the first place. The Tel`Quessir do not weigh camp with the metal barbarians, let alone decide to just work together without so much as a simple offer of assistance. That had always been the way, even after the many centuries that had passed since the three Kingdoms declared a ceasefire.

Perhaps, this was what Tanadris meant by going out an experiencing the world for herself? To take it all in and to decide on her own.

"Though hearing that does make me wonder why you've made such an effort to get through this pass if that's all you're going to find. Are you just looking to visit the lake?"

"Huh?" She uttered somewhat distractedly.

Jason's query interrupted her thoughts and brought her eyes back to gaze at his weathered face. It was the first time since they met that she really looked, and the vividness of his azure irises stole her attention. Against the tan of his skin, they stood out like Flowgems. It would've given the young man a rather intense austerity if not for the amicable set of his face. It was easy to glimpse the slow-burning fires of one who had seen far more than any of his age, especially when he'd appeared in a particularly dire moment. But now that he was set casually by a burning fire, the elf found herself intrigued by the unseen memories that reflected in his eyes. She cleared her throat and looked away, suddenly realizing that she was staring.

"Yes... no. I mean no." She stuttered. "We... I..." This is incredibly complicated. She suddenly wasn't sure how much she could tell him. It wasn't anything top secret by any means. In fact, the whole idea of an expedition had started from the Aryans. They had simply requested for help; on the promise of a rather large compensation. A compensation which they didn't quite need, at least as far as Talyndra was concerned. Perhaps the elven lord thought it a good idea to have someone owe him a favour in the Empire; such things were surely common among politicians. Her older sister , on the other hand, probably thought this a convenient opportunity for a certain sibling to grow her own wings. Which... she'd agreed to before she had time to properly think about it. And despite all that, the aforementioned Aryan failed to turn up and the rest was history.

"We found a lost map of the Northern Wilderness..." She reached over to Elanti's saddlebags and pulled up a small leather case. Popping the cap, she unfurled a stained and torn map which she placed on her lap so that Jason could see if he wished. "We thought it a good idea to well... take a look and see if it's accurate." The elf shrugged.

"Or at least... I was hire- volunteered to assist someone in taking a look." She frowned at her own choice of words. Both seemed to imply that she had willingly put herself in this situation; it wasn't an untruth per se.

"That someone... didn't turn up. But I decided to come anyway." She finished deadpan.

Glancing down, her eyes traced over the etched drawings before looking up to glance at her surroundings. Nay, there was no use. Wherever they are, it wasn't on the map.

"Anyway... I obviously wasn't supposed to crash here... but-" Her voice faltered as a thought furrowed her brow. If she didn't crash here, Jason would've ended up alone. Or was it because she crashed, that Jason ended up here from wherever he came from? Or was his peculiar presence here an indirect cause of her crash? The endless possibilities made her head hurt.

"Nevermind that." She batted at the air as if swiping a stray thought away. "We need to find a way out of here before nightfall... Or even I would be frozen solid."
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
"Are you just crossing these mountains to visit the lake?" He repeated, seeing that he'd caught her off guard with his inquiry. When she didn't immediately respond, he just kind of sat and stared back, waiting patiently for an answer. In doing so, he took the opportunity to study her more closely now that he didn't have such issues as hunger or the cold to worry over.

So far, Jason has had his blue-eyed gazed likened to all manner of things - mainly by Zaos, who had more of a fondness for poetry than anyone else he'd ever met. Once, when he was younger, his elven friend had equated them to lakes, as pure and clear as those found in the forests of his homeland. And another time, not long after, they were instead compared to the sky, ever so open and inspiring. Then, more recently, someone had described them to be more like diamonds: bright, captivating, and almost innocent in times of relaxation, and every bit as hard and unyielding when under duress.

Of course, as he wasn't exactly a poet himself, Jason never really thought much of these analogies. Now, though, as he gazed at the woman across from him, he felt as if he now truly understood just what his old friend was getting at. With her vibrant red locks, olive skin tone, and eyes the color of polished Greenstone, she looked like no other elf he'd ever seen. This was especially apparent when he considered not just her outfit, but her general demeanor; most other elves he'd seen were really zen and informal, like Zaos, or cheery and whimsical, like Merith, or even meek and passive, like certain others he'd encountered. And almost all he had met were soft and gentle in at least some way.

As far as he could tell, Talyndra was none of the above. She spoke to him with a formality only seen in the likes of the aristocracy - which the elves at home notably lacked - and a certain fierceness and youthful impatience that he'd expect to see in a human like himself. In a way, he supposed she lacked that sense of age, wisdom, and general mysticism he'd come to expect from people of her kind. But then, this wasn't exactly Telluria, so he supposed all expectations are moot in this case.

Once she started speaking, he blinked once, as if surprised he'd zoned out himself, and quickly averted his gaze to stare into the fire, feeling reasonably awkward. Maybe some of his more poetically-inclined friends had rubbed off on him after all.

Hearing her begin to explain her mission, Jason looked up again, and his eyes fell upon the map that she had just now taken out and set on her lap. He hesitated for a moment, then got up and walked around the campfire, kneeling down fairly close to her and kneeling to get a better look at it. As she continued, he inspected it curiously, taking in every apparent detail. Assuming it was accurate - which he had no real reason do doubt - then there evidently was quite a bit more to this part of the world than even she knew.

After a moment, he then glanced aside at her, raising a brow slightly as she told him how she'd essentially been stood up. He supposed he could see why, assuming her intended partner had been aware of the dangers of this region as she had, but it was still pretty indecent in his eyes. At the same time, though, he also recognized that proceeding to go through with this expedition on her own probably wasn't the smartest idea, especially considering what would've transpired had he not literally dropped in just now.

That being said, he'd have possibly done the same in her shoes, so he decided not to judge her for it.

Now, he stood up, looking around at their environment while she spoke of finding a way out. When he thought about it, he supposed it was possible that whatever higher forces that governed this realm intended for her to crash in this alpine tundra, even if she hadn't. And whether or not that was true, he was outright certain that one of those celestials from back at home had decided to throw him into this world to accompany Talyndra on this expedition of hers, because nothing like this happened by sheer coincidence. They'd allowed him to keep his axe, even at the expense of everything else, so clearly he wasn't just tossed into this world to die.

Whatever the case was, he knew for a fact that he didn't want to be here. But, seeing that he hardly had a choice, and that this woman clearly needed a bit of aid, he figured it was all he could do to press on and do what he could to help her. Then, once he saw this through to the end, maybe he could find a way back home.

"... I'm going to go and inspect the rims of this... valley," he announced eventually, walking over to his former spot and picking up his axe. "You can come with me if you want." Setting the haft on his shoulder, he set out to see if he could find an exit to this little enclosure they found themselves in. "If not, I'll let you know if I find anything.
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
Almond-shaped eyes widened in mild surprise when the young warrior suddenly drew to his feet. He was tall, though not overtly so but nevertheless his sturdy frame towered over her. Jayson had drawn closer to take a look at the tattered map, so when he made to move away, a cold void was left in his wake.

"Wait!" She bit back her words, annoyed at the wanting whine of her tone. She smoothened out her travelling robes and brushed some of the icy flakes from her auburn hair. "I'll come with you." She added cooly after a bit, feeling sheepish for no apparent reason. Perhaps, she was just taken aback at how smoothly the human transitioned from dallying about to actually doing something about their current situation.

"Just give me a while to pack things up. It wouldn't make sense to return to this place even if we do not find anything." She tried to sound assured like a seasoned veteran would when speaking of unknown situations. Like Tanadris. She probably failed in that regard, seeing how her voice fell flat in the latter part. Nonetheless, the elf quickly set about dismantling their temporary camp which wasn't all that difficult considering she just had to snuff out the Emberocks with a whispered word (or two, in Talyndra's case) and stuff back all her belongings back into Elanti's saddlebags. After a final check on the gauze wrap on the hippogriff's wing, she was ready to go.

"Alright... lead the way Jaisun." She glanced at Jason as she tucked her slate-blue hood back over her head and was suddenly thankful to whatever fate that dumped him in her path. They'd only just met but she was surprised by how quickly she'd gotten used to her presence. The thought that perhaps she was a little too naive flitted in her mind, but she swatted it away, a hint of an amused smile tugging at the corners of her lips.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
Hearing her call out to him, Jason came a stop and turned to face his new companion, watching as she got to her feet and gazing curiously at her to see what it was she wanted. Once she announced her intention to accompany him, he just gave her a smile and nodded as she requested a moment to pack up. "Alright, no problem. I'll just wait here, then," he told her, leaning against the nearest tree. He'd have lent her a hand in packing up, but there really didn't seem to be much, and it was all hers anyway. So it was all he could do just stand by, staring off into the distance as he recalled prior adventures in places like this. Once upon a time, when he was only just beginning his travels, he'd have probably just waited a minute or so, then went off without her anyway. It was a testament to his acquired patience that he didn't even think of doing so now.

Before long, the sound of her voice pulled him from his thoughts once again, and he looked to see that she was now dressed up and ready to go. Giving her a friendly smile, he nodded and pushed himself off the trunk he'd been leaning upon, pulling his own hood on with his free hand before gesturing for her to follow. "Alright, this way," he told her, starting again on his path to the walls of the enclosure. From there, he planned to just walk along the edge until he found some kind of opening that they could escape through. It was a pretty simple plan, and he had no reason to believe it wouldn't work.

Of course, on the off chance that there was no way out, Jason was determined to just make one... somehow. He preferred not to ponder over the details until he had to.

As he trekked through the forest and observed the surrounding scenery, it quickly became apparent to him that there was very little in the way of wildlife. Which made sense, he supposed, considering that a place like this was hardly likely to be a verdant paradise; as far as he could tell, only the toughest of creatures could thrive here, like those overgrown wolves he'd faced earlier. And he was willing to bet that they weren't entirely natural, either.

Whatever the case may have been, he didn't linger on that thought for long. Once the rocky barrier that circled this valley came into view, Jason turned and began to walk along its length, studying it closely for any sign of a way out. He went on in silence for what must've been a few minutes, before finally speaking up. "So, Talyndra, where are you from?" It was a simple question, meant to spark a bit of conversation to pass the time while he searched. It also held a note of interest, though, for Jason was more than a little curious about this woman and the world she lived in. He may not have asked for this, but he figured that he may as well take the time to learn about this place while he was here.
 

Lekiel

Two Thousand Club
Supporter
She'd been so engrossed with following in her taller companion's wake and looking out for anything noteworthy that she'd missed his question at first. She stopped suddenly, looking up at him with pinkish cheeks from the cold. She felt a light bump at her back followed by the rustle of feathers as Elanti protested the abrupt stop. She blinked once, wandering if the frigid highlands and howling whistle made it seem like a voice had spoken. But she saw his expression waiting for an answer and thought otherwise.

"I come from Aran`Fadrasil, capital of the Bloodsworn Kingdoms," she studied his face for a moment before tucking at the clasp of her cloak and trudging on. "About six days flight to the southeast of here... But only if you sat on the fastest Skyship." She added, breath coming out in puffs of vapour.

To one side, the steep rise of hard mountainside stone. On the other, the plateau extended perhaps thirty or so yards before the drop. Looking the place over, this time from right at its core she'd suddenly had a thought. They called this place Swerdrun. On the map, it was The Knife. Everyone had presumed this was because of the jagged razor-edged rocks that spelt doom for anyone foolish enough to pass. Perhaps, that wasn't the reason?

"It looks like a sword cut, doesn't it?" She'd spoken her thoughts aloud, pausing as she turned to gaze at the wailing pass. One could practically see how fast the frozen winds billowed, even without elemental sight. The near-constant gusts scraping off crystalline snow in streaks of glimmer and gossamer. Talyndra mimicked swinging a sword in a low cut as if she were some gargantuan god cutting a swathe through the monolithic ceiling of the land. The whimsical thought that this might've been the battleground of some ancient race of giant gods both awed shook the elf.

"Sorry- Let's move on." She'd said sheepishly, aware that this was probably not the time to be entertaining random musings. Nonetheless, that was Talyndra the airhead for you. She turned back and made to move away.
 

Wilder28

The Wild One
As Jason walked, he more or less continued to face forward, focusing part of his attention on finding a way out even as he kept his ears open for her answer. After the brief moment of silence that followed, though, he threw back a curious glance over his shoulder, wondering if she'd heard him. The look the elf was giving him told him that she had indeed, and he just figured that maybe she hadn't heard him clearly enough. Or maybe she just figured the answer to his question to be so obvious that his asking it caught her by surprise.

Either way, he found himself not needing to ask again, as her answer came just as he considered doing so. And since he wasn't expecting her to be from any place he was familiar with at this point, her response elicited no surprise. Only curiosity and intrigue, which made itself apparent on his expression. He'd been to elven cities before, and he often found them to be quite enjoyable, between the relative abundance of magic, the eye-catching nature-based aesthetic, and the creative, laid-back temperament of their inhabitants; but the prospect of an entirely new one also really sparked in interest within himself, and he couldn't help but wonder if it was anything like what he was already seen, or if it would be a completely different experience. He supposed that if it produced elves like Talyndra, then the latter was a bit more likely.

The mention of skyships only seemed to solidify this theory, as he didn't know any nation at home to even have the things aside from Brasspoint - and they really didn't even have that many yet. He wasn't sure if he was willing to ride another one so soon after that last experience he had, but that adventurous side of him seemed more than a little eager to do so.

Before he could think on it any further, Jason's thoughts were cut short as the sound of Takyndra's voice drew him back to the present. Blinking a few times, he glanced back at her once again, then followed her gaze and came to a brief stop as well. For a moment, he gazed at the pass, admiring the beauty of the sight while also taking into consideration her observation. "... Heh, it kind of does, doesn't it?" He said in agreement, chuckling a little as he watched her mime a sword stroke. Then, perhaps to her surprising, he did the same, taking his acts and swinging it downwards a little, as if he were cutting the mountains open himself. He imagined that, had this place existed in his word, people would've interpreted to be the work of the Demigod Ikeyr, cloven in two by the very axe he wielded during some legendary duel with the Forsaken.

It did occur to him that this was probably a little silly, and he knew that had Darius been here, he'd have probably been a tad bit annoyed, but he honestly didn't mind. As much as he wanted to get out of here, he wasn't in such a rush that they couldn't have a small bit of fun.

Flashing a grin at the girl, he returned his axe to his usual spot on his shoulder and turned to continue on his way. "So, this... Aran`Fadrasil," he began, practically mangling the name despite his attempt to pronounce it correctly, "What's it like?" It was a simple question, but one that really conveyed the interest he had in her and her homeland. He also knew from experience that people tended to enjoy talking about themselves and their home whenever they were away from it. It was a nice way to try and build common ground.
 

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