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Fantasy The Ark in Nothingness



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A figure rose from her crouched position, quite small against the sea of trees looming all around her, even those along the riverbank opposite where she'd paused to dip her hand into that flowing blue current. Water dripped from the hand she had used as her gaze instead turned to look downstream and away from the small lake resting more calmly a mere few yards behind her. There, amid so much nature, it wasn't just her size contrasting against the surrounding scene, but her outer layer of clothing also stood out, seeming bright when seen amid so much blue, brown, and green. Her dry hand came up pushing that side of her hood away from her ear, as she did a slight glimmer and gentle breeze hinted about the spell she had just used.

The Eavesdrop spell. It wasn't her first time using it since her grandfather sent her here, however, she had heard little other than leaves rustling as if caught in a breeze and the burbling sound of the river flowing at slowly increasing rapidness. Something that she assumed meant there must be a waterfall further away but as she listened right now, another sound caught her attention, making her gaze snap back toward the direction she'd come from. Toward the clearing where the portal had originally left her.

Day 1

No sun or moon hung in the sky above the clearing, there weren't even any stars. Nothing up there looked anything like what those-soon-to-be-arriving would recognize, it was just darkness overhead with the southern side of the open land likewise dropping away into that darkness. Yet a gentle illumination, brighter than fireflies but still little translucent globs of light rising from somewhere unknown, lit up the darkness making it possible to see far enough to notice other indistinct islands floating about in this void. The lack of sunlight didn't keep a pleasant warmth from filling the air though.

On the small plateau resting between the small, lower plains and high-rising mountains, there was a thrumming of magic power as a segment of the air blurred as the island's newest inhabitants were sent through.

Thanny Thanny Miria Miria purplemarble purplemarble

A crack of magic split the air like thunder and there lay a young lady in a sky, blue dress with pink hair, and beside her lay a broken tiara. Taking a minute of waking to her new surroundings, she saw what appeared to be a world of nightfall. Only the soft glow of orb-like things… beings? Gave its light far enough to view other floating islands around the rock she came to be on.

What is this place?” Still gazing in disbelief, she was not yet aware of anyone else was with her.

Sudden panic arose within her as she shot upright and rose to her feet. The last she remembers is being physically pushed and seeing her parent’s faces. Sad… and yet hopeful at the same time.

How could they…?

Her countenance fell in hopelessness and a knowing pitted itself in her stomach that she will never see them again.
With the thrum of powers beyond her ken, Quanna erupted from a tear in the fabric of existence falling forward. In her hands she held some of her items, including her shepherd crook, hoping to be prepared for anything. She did not expect the five-foot drop that awaited her, and she had to drop most things to catch herself gracelessly with an extended arm.

Pain surged through her wrist as she rose to her feet, but the world came first. With wide brown eyes, the green-skinned girl took in an alien sight of a yawning darkness only penetrated by strange lights and strange masses of floating rocks, steep cliffs and, beyond, stiff peaks of distant mountains. Locally, she seemed to be in a midnight field, with tall mountains of her very own, but it was not certain if there was water yet. Did it rain in this mysterious place? Was there any weather at all with the clear, fathomless gloom overhead?

What is this place?

Her ears twitched beneath her swirling hair, and she turned her head. Another person teleported into this strange existence. Was it by that same strange man promising ? Wait. Quanna recognised her. Wasn't she one of the travellers she had seen crossing the town? She looked familiar, for sure, but she thought she was accompanied by others. If that were so, where were the others? Quanna had so many questions, but now was not the time to answer them. She had to check in on the pink-haired girl.

"Hey! Are you all right?" she asked, wringing her pained left wrist as she approached with crook in hand before extending the hooked staff as if it were a helping hand. A worried frown occurred upon her face, reading the other woman's. She knew that human expression well, having worn it previously. "You seem to have taken a nasty spill."
Zeno fell out of the portal and yelped as he hit the ground. "Ugh..." he muttered, stretching his aching left shoulder (or shock absorber). Nothing serious, thankfully, but he'd have to mind it for a couple of days to avoid pulling anything else. By the looks of it, he would have to be in top shape in order to survive around here... The elf didn't know what was more unsettling between noise or the pure silence that reigned, as far as he could tell, in the middle of those woods. He found reassurance in the fact that he had a couple of weapons handy, although this was not the scenario in which he imagined he'd need them. And a pocket knife and smithing hammer wouldn't get him very far without food or water. He dusted himself off and fixed his thick leather apron and belts back in place. While he did so, Zeno felt a light item in his back pouch: a book he had just started a few days prior. Here's to hoping the book won't end up serving as fuel for a fire, he thought as he simultaneously resigned himself to the fact that this was not only a possibility, but a certitude.

A sinking feeling soon settled in. He had no way of telling for sure, but somehow Zeno felt that he ended up in a predicament he wouldn't be able to weasel his way out of. Did that just actually happen, or am I dreaming...? This place was unfamiliar, unlike anything he had seen before; one didn't need to be the sharpest tool in the shed, however, to understand that something was very wrong.

There was neither sun nor moon to rely on for orientation and time, or a single hint of a sky that Zeno could see for that matter, robbing him of the opportunity to seek comfort in the same amplitude that filled his lover's bright blue eyes. Even the stars were absent in the darkness above him, nourishing an already overwhelming sense of unease. Aenya... Will I ever see you again? I...

His thoughts were interrupted by a couple of voices some distance away, unconsciously picked up by his exceedingly sharp ear. They didn't sound threatening, so Zeno went in the sound's general direction until he met up with the two young women. He shouted a cautious "Hello!" from afar to signal his presence early on: I mean, they could be armed, scared or both. "Do you need some help?" he asked while shifting his gaze back and forth between the two women as he approached them. He perceived no hostility in their demeanor, which prompted him to continue. "Are you from around here? I'm... lost," he added, unsure if it was a good idea to reveal the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his arrival. His survival instincts made a strong case: some people died for saying far milder things than "an old man pushed me through a hole that sent me here and closed back up" in the past. "And I'm afraid I don't know how to find my way back home just yet."
There was a sound whispering across the stretch of land below the plateau, but that burbling gave away the presence of water to the north would be even quieter to the 3 who had just appeared there. Especially when they began to speak to each other and their voices also drowned out the sound. And the burbling itself was enough to drown out the sound of footsteps approaching from somewhere within that forest, coming from the same direction as the water sound. Each step slowly got louder, so after another few moments, they were actually louder than the burbling.

Elcea strode with timid, faltering steps toward the open land, fingers clenched around her staff under the weight of her nerves. Passing another line of trees brought the actual edge of the treeline into her view.
In the distance lay a noise, the call of Zeno's greeting alerting her to another person's presence. Quanna shifted her head, surprised and curious, but not alarmed. She was pondering in the back of her mind if anyone else was here in the shadowed midnight landscape, whether they were newcomers like herself and her comrade or people who passed through the strange rip in existence days earlier. Whoever the caller was had an nonthreatening air about him, a sense of confusion like herself written on his hard-to-see features. Could it be that he was freshly pushed in as well? She may have seen him before, but she was uncertain. She could only remember so many faces, and it was hard for her to denote colour in the darkness.

Helping her nearest neighbor up if desired, she would turn to the male newcomer (Zeno) only to hear another coming through the treeline (Elcea), again a curious-looking individual. Smiling reassuringly toward Sakura, she attempted to answer his questions.

"Hello!" she called out as she closed the distance to Zeno, her voice now showing a little more of her rustic background. Her shepherd's staff plopped into the soft ground, used as a crutch. "We just arrived ourselves. I'm assuming you were brought here under the same circumstances? Older gentleman? A strange hole? Running from a god so zealous in its war path it gobbles the land to make it ocean?"

She glanced back toward Elcea, unsure of her motives in all of this. She did not look too armed, so perhaps she was harmless.

"Might I ask your names? Uh, I shall start." She bowed. "My name is Quanna. It's a pleasure to meet you."

((Edited quotes to a colour selection.))
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"Hey! Are you alright? You seem to have taken a nasty spill."

Turning her head in the direction of the voice which spoke to her, Sakura's dark brown eyes lay upon a lady standing before her; a staff reaching toward her like a helping hand. Even though the new world they arrived in shunned sunlight, an orb found its way wandering over her offering its ethereal light.
Sakura didn’t know if it was just the luminescence from the floating sphere, but her skin was like mint green and her hair, a deep sea green. Her brown eyes which reflected another shade of green were the most captivating. They reminded her of child-like curiosity.

Holding onto the wooden staff with a gentle hand as the green lady helped her to her feet, Sakura thanked her. “Thank you. Though, I think I’m fine.” Swaying right to left, she checked herself over to be sure she wasn’t cut anywhere.
Although something caught her senses, something was off. Not Sakura, but a twinge of pain emanating from the mysterious, green lady who helped her. “Are you hurt? I can heal if you need it.

Hello!” Another voice called out from the darkness and came into view. This one sounds deeper, but not alarming. “Are you from around here? I’m… lost?
An Elf. She can tell by the pointy ears. Either he was just as bewildered as herself and the lady who was with her, or he was not certain about if he was lost at all.
Sakura raised an eyebrow, unsure how to answer his questionable question.

The green lady greeted him and began asking him a whole thread of questions. It took Sakura a moment to understand her barrage of questions, but she realized they can all be summed up into one which now made sense and spoke up.
That’s what happened! Or…” Still unsure of what exactly happened to her world, she continued. “Is happening to my world…” She trailed off looking confused. “I remember fighting against something beyond our understanding.” She quivered at the memory of her previous world.

Did we fall into the future? Or is this a different world entirely?

So many questions now running rampant through her mind. Turning while flipping through pages in her memory, Sakura gasped upon seeing another person. Her hand rose to her chest to calm her rapid heartbeat. This one she almost didn’t see had it not been for those ball of lights, revealing a staff with a giant jewel and robes of high standing - like Sakura.

Is she of a Royal line as well?, She thought, keeping the question as a note to herself for the future.

Though the green lady doesn’t seem to be shaken whatsoever, she asked for their names and introduced herself with a bow. “My name is Quanna. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

From the smooth rock they stood upon Sakura saw something glittering from her peripheral view on the ground.
It was her tiara, now broken into two. Picking up the sparkling pieces she felt a wave of sadness, and yet a ray of hope of a new life in this strange new world. With the broken pieces she fashioned them into her long, wavy pink hair, keeping most of her hair down and away from her face.

She introduced herself by giving a Royal Fairy curtsy and a slight bow which revealed her white wings. “I am Sakura Blossom Cerae, Princess of the Dawn,” She stood up straight and rethought her introduction. “Or, rather… I was. Now that I am here, I don’t know what I am.” She shook her head and tried again. “All that besides, it is so good to see your faces! I’m sure we can figure this out together.” Her pink lips curved into a small smile, though her face was still wracked with worry.
It was partially a relief but mostly a concern to see they were all in the same predicament. Zeno looked stoic on the outside, but internally, he was freaking out. He knew it would be bad for morale, so he did his best to dissimulate his actual feelings. So this is really it... There's no turning back, at least for now... Suddenly he came back to his senses. "Forgive my manners - my confusion made me forget them. I am Zeno Lathlaeril Veritas, son of Onvyr The Strong, from a long line of the finest blacksmiths on the continent. It is a pleasure to meet you despite the circumstances, ladies. If I may add, I feel privileged to be in the presence of royalty. Had I carried the right tools before being pushed through that portal, I could most certainly have fixed it," he added while looking at Sakura's tiara. He took a courteous bow. "May Lady Luck be on our side on this journey."

Zeno had been trying to catch a fragrance of anything sweet that could potentially be edible as he went on his way towards the girls, to no avail. They would grow hungry soon, so they had to act fast. "Well," he said, "we need to establish some sort of camp before long. I don't know what kind of weather awaits us, so the sooner we settle, the better. The forest is rather dense around here... We can try to find a clearing on its outskirts, and ideally, a water source nearby. I'll take care of the fire once we find a good spot." He was also unconsciously hoping to convince himself along with the others. Exploration was just about the only thing they could do, and Zeno wished for it to be sufficiently distracting to avoid thinking of Aenya and his family.

"Unless anyone objects, I think we should get moving while we still have the energy to do so. I don't hear any water flowing right now... Has anyone come across a stream of any kind?"
The lady of green cocked her head with a smile as if her vision would improve by doing so, or perhaps to some as if she were baffled. Sakura was kind and conscientious, gladdening her. In this deep darkness, she would make a fine companion until daybreak . . . if there even was a daybreak in such a place. In a place of no stars and bountiful moons, would there be a sun, the last visible celestial body she could think of? Moreover, she said she could heal. Did this mean she possessed magic, and healing magic at that?

"I thank you, kind lady, but I am fine. My hand had been hurt from the fall earlier. If I had fallen from any greater height I might take you up on that." Quanna snickered, completing the laugh with one of her snorts.

She listened in politely as the others revealed their names, eyes finally gracing the tiara that had fallen and was reclaimed. Her green-flecked muddy eyes went wide. A princess? Perhaps she should have thought about the potential of royals being sent here, and not just commoners such as herself. Locked in a thought process that might have otherwise engulfed her, Quanna glanced over to the craftsman and made a stiff, unpracticed bow trying to mirror Zeno, who had much better manners than herself. A nervous smile wove onto her face as she awaited her turn to speak.

"I don't know about water, but I would adore finding out. One cannot live long without water, especially me. You heard water, and a stream? That means this place can sustain us with drink, and possibly crops and livestock if we find them! That is a relief." Quanna looked over her new companions, feeling a little self-conscious. Between a princess healer, a craftsman, and the mysterious person she assumed to be a mage, she probably could offer the least. "Please, let's go to where you were, Master Zeno, unless our companion here has some information for us?"

She looked over again to the individual in red, eyes piercing through the gloom a bit more. A girl, and a cute girl at that, with a red frock and an air of elegance from her head to the tips of her toes. She blushed in shame of her own commoner attire.
The voices became clear to her first. While she did catch most of their introductions, she had a sinking feeling that her Grandfather must've also sent them here which made her reluctant, keeping her gaze skirting around them shyly until the mention of looking for water. Elcea shyly cleared her throat to get their attention, giving her a bit of time to gather her courage first before she spoke. "Um...excuse me but there is a lake and river nearby." She moved her left hand to point back where she had come from, back amid the veil of trees. "I wouldn't recommend going too far along the river. The current gets stronger the further it gets away from the lake."

Though self-conscious over the fact that she was the only one who hadn't given their name, she still bit at her lower lip hesitantly. "I'm Elcea..." There was a pause as her hesitance to be connected with her grandfather and her otherwise prideful outlook on her own family clashed over her surname. Still the tattered remnants of pride seemingly won out. "Of the Morngette family."
Sakura Blossom Cerae

Sakura Blossom Cerae 1.jpeg
Credit to: Midjourney
There was something odd about the Green Lady, Quanna. Her eyes wide open, taking in the vast world and people within.
Like a curious child, Sakura thought.
But there was something else she couldn’t quite put her finger on. She didn’t dare ask in case she take the question as an offense and ruin the hope of pulling one another together through this strange world they arrived in. Nevertheless, Quanna thanked Sakura for her kindness and declined her offer of healing her hand. She nodded, that’s a fair assessment.

Hmm. That reminds me of what my teacher said,” Making a hand gesture like a teacher, imitating her. “’Make sure to use healing magic wisely and heal more egregious wounds rather than the small ones. This way you don’t underuse or overuse your magic.’
Sakura laughed along with Quanna’s snort.

After Zeno introduced himself to the small group, Sakura was rather surprised to see a stranger warm up to someone with royal blood, and a Fairy no less. To many, Fairies were generalized and lumped into the same mix as Pixies. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Abashed, she looked away with rosy cheeks. Just mentioning if he had the right tools he could fix her tiara was a crushing blow in her gut, given their circumstances. Although, she sensed he meant well.

Oh, thank you so much, Zeno. However,” Sakura’s earthy eyes drifted along the dim expanse to the plain below them. She could see rocky terrain, mountains and a forest. There might be a meadow somewhere in those dense woods, but she couldn’t be sure in this new world. Her eyes found Zeno again and continued. “… I don’t think my tiara will be necessary here. As far as we all know, we are the only ones here. For now, my broken in two tiara do look pretty as berets.” She said with a smile, though deep down the pain of losing her family hit her hard. Certainly it’s the same for them all. It is all she could do to keep her spirit up in hopes to be a shining light in the vast darkness and ethereal lights for each of them.

Also,” Placing an index finger on her chin, thinking about what Zeno said and the lady of luck. “Who is Lady Luck?

A quiet voice spoke up and came from the flame-like mage. It was her eyes and red hair that reminded her of a passionate blaze. She mentioned a lake and a river nearby. She’s been quiet this whole time, but Sakura felt better someone knew where to go in this place. Introducing herself as Elcea Morngette.

The Morngette!?

Wait, do you mean to say you are related to that old man who was standing by my parents!?” Sakura’s eyes were wide in astonishment. She never would have guessed in her longevity years she would be related to that sage. Perhaps she was just gullible in her Fairy, adolescent-like years.

Realizing her outburst and spoke without thinking, again. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you, if I had. Perhaps you could show us the way to the lake? We would be grateful for your kindness." Sakura bowed, almost like a dancer before her exit. Graceful and with purpose. "As Zeno stated earlier we can make camp there, rest and in the morning," She emphasized morning as a question, given the unknowns of this world. "Or when we are refreshed we can figure out what our next move is."
Sakura's remark about her teacher extended Quanna's snorts and chuckles. Having someone teach the arts of healing sounded both wonderful and terrifying, wonderful because one can be so much better with a good tutor and terrifying because of potential for horrid sights. She had never seen an egregious wound like Sakura had mentioned, and she hoped that she would never in her life, sticking instead to curing small ailments and boo-boos.

Elcea's comment next enthralled her. A lake, and a river too! After such a long time she dreamed of swimming again in cool, clear waters, but she had to remind herself that she was not alone. This was a longing that would have to wait, though that did not hold back her wistful, lackadaisical comment of "A lake sounds wonderful."

Moreover, there was further importance on her surname. Morn- . . . -get? Curious name, potentially meaning to collect the dawn or something similar. It sounded amazing to her until Sakura's bombshell of information startled her. Morngette was the last name of the old man who thrust her through the portal and potentially everyone else.

She stared moon-eyed at Elcea. She certainly did seem like a magus like her relative of unknown nature. Perhaps that was the only trait they shared besides blood . . . and a portal and the clothing and their current situation. Wow. Crazy!

Not one to hold grudges and, in fact, quite willing to trust, she seconded what the others had commented on with a beaming smile and a nod of assent.

"I am with you all. Maybe there we can get our full bearings and figure out what to do. When there or along the way I can gather supplies."

Already she was contemplating firewood, tents, lean-tos -- the most rudimentary of structures for survival in the elements. The woods were ripe places for firewood and raw materials, and the craftsman can help with the bigger, better structures. Perhaps if fish were in the water and berries in the forest she could help gather food as well. Her smile bolstered.

"Lead the way, please!"
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The elf found Quanna's clumsy demeanor quite adorable. He recognized her nervousness around formalities, much like his when his mother started to teach him about etiquette in different circumstances when he was still a child. He joined Sakura in laughter after hearing Quanna's snorts. They sure seemed like a lively bunch, much to Zeno's satisfaction; a positive and lighthearted attitude was their safest bet in these uncertain times. "I know a tad bit of magic as well, though I never got the chance to finetune and develop it. It usually works best for minor things such as scratches or surface-level bruises, like the ones I get at times when I'm working."

He noticed the glint of sadness in her eye once they talked about the tiara. Surely it reminded her of her world, the kingdom she left behind, now that Zeno thought about it. Acknowledging the sensitivity of the topic, he simply agreed with her. "They do look great," he said softly in an attempt to comfort her indirectly.

"Haha..." Zeno chuckled. "She's a good friend of mine, and she's usually quite kind to me," he jested about Sakura's confusion at the expression concerning luck. "I guess we'll just have to see if that's still true."

Zeno's expression shifted at the same time as his companions'. The Morngette family... sounds familiar, he thought to himself, unsure of where he'd heard the name before. Sakura sure did seem like she knew exactly who the girl was, though. He didn't think it proper to prod right this moment, as they had more important things to do and he knew better than to bombard someone with questions while they were all lost and confused enough already. "We would be grateful indeed, Miss Morngette. Let us waste no more time idly standing by, and be on our way. While there seems to be no immediate threat, we would do well to remain on guard in case this turns out to be false."
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