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Fantasy The Great Games of Nye


Goliath opened his mouth to respond, only to be interrupted by the bribery and threat interjected from his teammate — all in the span of a second. He just sighed, watching the man bite the coin and proceed to call Adrain a woman, which did get a smirk out of him, but the redhead refrained from fighting to his surprise.

He raised a brow, catching the man’s glance, now turned to him again. He looked more alive than most, no, all, they had seen at that moment. Goliath scratched his head at the riddle. Blood. Crone. Teeth. And a bunch of other words. It made no sense. Probably because Goliath was not one for solving riddles. But to follow the blood circles, Goliath could do that.

Do you prefer..butterflies..and flowers?” He asked, glancing over his shoulder at Faraji. His expression not nearly as harsh for just a moment before rolling his eyes and turning back to the smiling man before him.

Goliath felt his stomach stir, staring at his teeth. It was all he could see being down at his level. His red eyes locked onto what was moving through the holes before he quickly stood again. ’Creepy son of a bitch,’ he thought to himself. Feeling his skin crawl.

He stuck his hand out when Adrian grabbed his sword, calling it a trap. It very well could be, but — “Enough. Yeah? The man spoke. Whether it’s the truth or not, he may not even know. You are so eager to attack, Tiger.” He whispered with a shrug, turning to Faraji.

Strange, isn’t it,” Goliath agreed, sticking his hands into his pocket. He hadn’t expected it to go well. It .. never went this well. But the stares were getting worse, closing in like a pack of animals. The closest man to the left, down a dimly lit alley, who hadn’t stopped looking at them since they got here. Not to mention the metal pipe in his hand.

Friend. I am doubtful. This isn’t the place for friends,” he chuckled. “But we have no other choice. We have to keep moving. Staying still for too long, in a place like this, is a death trap in itself. Follow the demonic blood circles. It’s as good of a lead as any.

Thanks,” Goliath turned, starting to progress down the road as the man had said. Noticing the eerie marks continuing every few buildings as he walked. “Hmm, do we want to make a bet on if it’s real blood,” he tried to joke. Mentally preparing himself for what was to come and wondering how the other half of their group was doing.

Jet Jet (Adrian) Arcanist Arcanist (Faraji)
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Her smile faltered and her arms lowered to her sides. It had been a while since the last person to break free of her siren spell had done so - but she hadn't lived this long without being unable to recognize the signs of one who had. She stared at Johan blankly. How was it possible? Did she remember this man wrong somehow? Hadn't he been just as thirsty for sexual attention as any other in her path? The ones who didn't care about consequences or tomorrow or any of those things - the ones who were weak and easy for the enthralling; those were always her targets. Johan had been a loose cannon, doing exactly what he pleased with whom he pleased and toeing the line of command where it fingered him for a job. Based on his profile, she'd known she could pull him along like a puppet on a string and so she'd used her ability on him and they had been together - at least until the job such as it was had pulled them apart. It was true it had been quite some time since she'd last seen him, but for him to have changed so drastically as to have found true love? Johan Koch? Impossible. Maybe she was confusing this guy in front of her for a very convincing duplicate? That seemed unlikely. Still, finding someone in this life that you wanted to share it with - wanted to be loyal to, all those things that together encompassed the concept of "true love" that was required for one to break free of her enchantment; all of that was even less likely for a man like Koch to have actually acquired in his black heart.

Could be a light user pretending to be someone they were not. That was a thing no matter where you went anymore. She raised a finger to her chin as she considered the obvious faker and smiled slowly. "You flatter me." She answered at last to his demands. "This big ol' shin dig ain't my style, you aught to have known that." She said, more and more confident that she was on the right track. "The dark hallway may have been me." She adds thoughtfully. "Ah ain't exactly got the best of tempers some days." She laughs with her fingers in front of her mouth in manner reminiscent of fine noble ladies. When she saw the terrified look he gave the others she blew a bit of a raspberry and laughed. "Oh go on, drop the act, I ken tell ya ain't the real Johan, so why don't ya just tell me who ya are and Ah'll just get back ta my interrogatin'." She sighs dejectedly. "Pity you're not really him, we could'a had some fun like the old days."

Finally, her attention shifts back to Ren and his comment. Her smile warms and her golden eyes twinkle, "Ah, so good of you to notice~." She hummed warmly, adjusting her stance to consider him now more than the impersonator. "Ah do like a game as much as the next gal. Ah admit Ah don't usually play with youngin's but Ah can always be persuaded..." She left the offer open indulgently. "Could show ya all kinds'a things y'ain't experienced yet."

Narzas simmered beside Johan and waited for her emotions to settle as the stand off dragged on with more conversation had back and forth. She noticed the way his eyes tried to warn them and tried to make herself as unassuming as possible. Maybe if this woman thought they weren't worth the effort she'd leave them alone.

She darted her eyes toward Ren nervously as he made such an inane comment about the woman's choice of dress, then felt silly as suddenly their adversary seemed utterly convinced Johan could not be himself. She blinked, curious as she studied the blond. Did she truly know Johan so well that something he'd said could have tipped her off to an imposter? Based on the fact they'd apparently not seen each other in a while - Narzas was willing to bet the woman just remembered a version of Johan that no longer existed. She didn't know the specifics, but she had heard it from him herself that he'd been an entirely different man not all that long ago... so she wasn't inclined to believe this man she knew and trusted was someone other than he claimed. Besides... there were some things you just couldn't fake even with amazing light-bending skill and all the prosthetics and make up in the world.

'Wrong time and place for those thoughts - pay attention.' She mentally admonished herself as her thoughts traveled down the road of distraction and her cheeks reddened slightly.

As the harpy's attention turned predatory on Ren, she moved to stand closer to the young man on instinct. Johan could take care of himself - probably... but Ren was barely more than a kid. His safety would be harder to guarantee.

Jet Jet , ZackStop ZackStop
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Anya flinched at the sight of his mutilated eyes, but somehow knew the panic filling her wasn’t hers. What was happening to Kallos? Nothing was clear beyond the demand she stay away. She tried to summon the bird, but either he resisted or the distance was too far. Perhaps both. She kept her focus on the man in front of her, trusting Kallos to be safe. If he wanted to stay, he wanted to be a warning. He’d come when she’d really need to panic.

Hannah was special? Of course she was to Anya, but what made her stand out from the dozens of other kids on the island? She had a mouth on her. She often talked herself into trouble, but always managed to get out of it with her words. Well, not always anymore.

Anya grit her teeth. She knew her strength, and that she was lacking compared to so many giants in this world. She would need to be smart to protect Hannah, and have strong friends. Did Johan and Narzas count?

She stayed silent as he spoke of wagers and bets. She was willing to give her life for Hannah, but no one could take her place. If she lost this bet, then Hannah would be lost too. Still she couldn’t help but declare, “I won’t turn away.

Having adjusted to the stillness, she flinched as the world began to move again. It was as if a painting had started to move. But the dice still stole her attention. She could see carvings of what looked like monsters on the sides as the cubes rolled toward her.

Snake eyes. The thought merged with his voice. The lowest number. Still, he seemed to take them as a good thing. She saw little when he snapped his fingers, but she wouldn’t surprised if he’d done magic that way too. Already he was more powerful than anything she’d ever heard of. But his directions didn’t make sense! “Wait! What do you mean?” She pushed against the crowd to get to him, but as it grew rowdier she knew her chances were slim. Instead, she ducked down and picked up the dice he left, ignoring when someone stepped on her hand.

Standing, she pocketed them and turned to Ava. “I have no idea.” She said, despair tinged her voice. “Maybe it’ll make sense later?” Shaking her head, she stepped away from the desperate crowd, which seemed to not have noticed the break in reality. “Something’s happening inside. Kallos is scared and prepping for a fight. We’ll need to be careful if we go in, we don’t want to distract our side.


Meanwhile, Kallos forced himself to move forward with Narzas as the fierce woman stepped in front of Johan. Now level with the man, he pretended to protect his flank, knowing he’d be useless if a battle truly came. If this woman was enough to scare the batman, then she was one that’d be best to avoid fighting. But he didn’t want her to realize he was someone else’s familiar. That someone else was there. So he pretended to be Narzas’, knowing hers was too small to see.

Again, he moved with her as she shifted behind Johan. He kept himself bristled, trying to reflect the controlled anger she probably had. Or at least it was likely enough, hopefully Ms. Checkers would ignore it. Her focus was still on the batman, though she seemed convinced he wasn’t true. To be fair, neither Kallos nor Anya would have noticed the difference.

Though his attention was focused on the terrifying woman, he couldn’t resist looking at Ren incredulously when he actually spoke. Of course the boy would be focused on her generous chest. He was already moving to defend him as Narzas shifted, both knowing Johan (or whoever he was) was likely fine on his own. His feathers bristled at the innuendo. He and Anya had already learned the hard way that phrase was bad news.

Jet Jet Huntertabbysandshark3 Huntertabbysandshark3

Jet Jet ZackStop ZackStop rozukitsune rozukitsune
Brynwyr Protheroe

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Monbon Monbon
Disaster struck in mere minutes. Another ‘exciting’ matter of life or death that should have thrilled Brynwyr but sunk her in that terrifying pit of helplessness, just like at the arena.

The captain’s reassurances had done nothing to ease the dread that seeped into her. And yet, everyone watched with this great astonishment, this sense of awe as if they were tourists and whatever creature destroyed the forest below was some animal in a cage. Even as they were called over to the side of the ship to peer at it, Brynwyr did not rush over.

She watched the others on the ship. The boy, who started squirming, raving, insisting they would all die on this ship. Brynwyr could not help but grab Rhys’s wrist, who flinched and looked at her.

“Back,” she ordered, dragging him, “Rhys, I said get ba—”

The hull splintered and cracked, and while neither of the two got a clear view of what snapped through the ship, they caught a glimpse of the serpent that squirmed its way through the entire ship, as easily as a worm tunnelling through an apple. There was too much happening at once to take it all in. Fire, and banging, and screaming, perhaps their own at the shockwaves sent through the ship and their own bodies.

Brynwyr’s hand lost Rhys’s wrist. She wasn’t sure when, but all she knew was that she wasn’t holding onto it anymore as the ship was tipping backwards. Though the serpent loomed over them, a paragon of judgement, she feared losing Rhys more, despite its size and the fact this was no mere forest creature. Her eyes darted, trying to find the familiar tangle of black hair, and just as she thought she saw him, she felt a pair of arms wrap around her, only constricting her from reaching the falling boy.

“Shit, no!!” Brynwyr fought against the grip to get to Rhys, try as she might in such a hopeless situation. Whether they survived this or not, she at least wanted to be with them if they didn’t make it out, as if there was a chance in all of this anyway. Though, Esther had managed to pull Rhys closer to them and Brynwyr grabbed on, holding onto him for dear life.

It did not solve their problem of how they would land. Brynwyr breathed in, out, tried to calm herself and clear her mind to think of what the hell would even work in such a situation. Her eyes landed on a body of water nearby, not close enough for them to land in. Not unless she managed to propel them there, that was.

She could only but try it. If she could speed herself up, surely it had to work here? Brynwyr puffed out a few times, moving her legs before feeling a spark, currents run through her legs and to her feet, and she felt them accelerate toward that body of water. She held on tight as she brought the two of them with her, and she felt a forceful splash.

When Brynwyr came to, and tried to breathe, she felt her lungs fill, and she scrambled to the surface of the water. She broke through it with all the grace of a drowning dog, spluttering and coughing and gasping for breath, all the while shouting, “Rhys?!” She hacked, “Esther!” She did not care who or what she attracted to their spot, only if at least one companion survived, and Rhys. She demanded to all the gods she knew to ensure their lives were left intact. She would give anything for it.
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"Leon, listen mate... I'll be drinking you under the table." Mischa downed her glass like a sailor with a graying beard, well versed in getting wasted. "Wow that's—

Her mouth pursed like she was eating a lemon, closing her eyes as the fire reached her stomach. "Delicious... really hits... the spot." Mischa filled her glass once more. The bottle felt good in her hand, a reminder of when the world wasnt a mess. When her life wasn't hanging in the balance. It was a feeling she'd missed since the massacre at the arena. Like an old friend who always brightened her day.

"Rat, trust me, the first two drinks always suck," she said with a glimmer of happiness in her eyes, and her voice was much quieter, more content than usual. "You have to warm up is all, so when you think about it, I'm really doing you a favor!"

Mischa raised the glass above her head, closing her eyes as she resolutely decided, that tonight she would focus on the moment. The feeling of being young and happy, among friends she could count on. "Down the hatch she goes!"

Two hours later, she was bent over sideways clutching onto Leon... or was that Rat? Bracken? Fuck she couldn't tell. The room was spinning but there was laughter in the air, endless drinks and stories she found funny. It was a blur but she was happy in the moment, like a child without a care in the world.

"You... hey." Mischa patted the man next to her. Indeed it was Bracken after close examination. "Bracken listen— just— just listen Bracken."

Mischa blinked in the silence. The cogs were turning,


"Bracken you're not too—

"Not too baaaad man—

"Kinda stra— kinda weird but you know— we're all weird, people— people's weird you know?"

"I am weird," she tapped her chest three times. "He's weirder," she tapped Rat on the shoulder. "But fridge— freezer frog's weirdest."

Her rambling continued as the group drank through the night, but eventually it claimed the drunks. They retired to their small, cramped rooms... unless the floor seemed more comfortable at the time, and awoke to the morning whistle. Their centurion immediately scoured the ship and assembled the haggard, hungover group on the deck.

"What in the sweet, holy mother of God is this?" His voice was sharp and stern, growing louder with every word. "You people look so fucked up, you could be modern art masterpieces."

Dalton paced the deck as his familiar, a blue coyote with lightning imbued fur, walked behind him. "You better unfuck yourself QUICK!"

"Because we've got work to do." He stopped in front of Ilana. "And considering she's the only one who shouldn't be wearing a helmet, Ilana is second in command." He walked away and looked over the railing, peering at a flat-topped mountain in the desert. It was like an anvil jutting from the sandy ground, three thousand feet of orange rock with vertical fissures, and atop was an oasis with a settlement. "Outpost Zeta."

"Kade was based here."

The ship touched down besides the scrappy settlement, three buildings arranged in a circle around the oasis. It was enough for at least twenty people and yet, despite its size, nobody went to greet them. There were no signs of life. No lights or people. It was a ghost town. "What happened here?" Dalton said as he walked down the ramp, the group behind him as they reached the sandy ground. "Where the hell is everyone?"

"Fan out, check the buildings, something isn't right."

Goliath Goliath Fred Colon Fred Colon ZackStop ZackStop Emphoa Emphoa
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Charlie Redding
Everyone was muttering their own input and plans, well everyone saved for Kilderkin who was busy inquiring if she could get a fake beard. That did it, it was either an act, or she somehow ended partied up with the densest broad on this side of the hemisphere. And while she'd love to actually give that title to folks she knew in Macragge, if Kilderkin over there wasn't acting she had it. She won the award, badge, certificate, trophy, and even got the medal on the podium for 'dumbass of the century'. That was all supposing, of course, it wasn't an act. As she went out of her way to introduce everyone again those close to her could actually see Charlie's eye twitch ever so faintly, visions of how nice it'd feel to just connect her knuckles with the woman's jaw swimming in her mind's eye. It was a pet peeve, she wasn't a mute, an invalid, or crippled...she could speak for herself. A slow exhale escaped her as the captain made her way to leave, and thus Charlie didn't have a chance to ask her any clarifying questions...but they had a new face to speak with.

"Disguises are a fine idea, but I don't think I qualify, savvy? I wasn't in the wonderful games or whatever the hell it's called. Also not a local face to Nye, I'll be fine." Her gaze fell on their temporary guide, sizing her up slowly. "Oi, Gailene. Anythin' you care to share about the local populace about Xysma? Prison island, innit? Any gangs, factions, figures of influence? We've probably already seen one of the blokes, any other local celebrities?" As they got closer to the window and Kwame gave his public vows to protect them she glanced over to him. She wasn't a fan of Centurions, then again she wasn't a fan of anyone really save for a select few. But someone who was willing to take it on the chin for another, she could respect that. Whether the local 'Knight in shining armor' actually won her over or not remained to be seen, but he wasn't off to a bad start...like some people. She raised a fist in front of her chest, burying it into her palm as the audible crack of her knuckles could be heard, followed by the other fist as she flexed her fingers. In this kind of spot she was figuring to take a blow from any direction at any given time, and adrenaline was already coursing before the first swing was tossed for her. "Right then. Into the brink, I 'spose aye?" She made her way onto the platform made by Kwame and for the briefesst moment she pondered if anyone would judge her for 'accidentally' bumping Kildie over there over...nah, wasn't worth it. The smell of acrid smoke and the sounds of the burning city around them...smelled like a brawling pit she used to go to before she took up an actual profession. A few sniffs of the air then as the fire smelled...much closer...the disgusting smell of burning hair-

She looked over, catching sight of what Renn was up to. "Oi! One nutter's enough in this party! If ya need a fucken' haircut, ask for it," she hissed towards Renn. A hand buried itself into the pocket of her pants as she pulled something out...a little flash of matte black silver and a click as the small switchblade's edge came into view. Without much ceremony she reached over to Renn and cut off the split ends and burned hair. Rather than harsh tugs and yanks of hair than one might suspect from the woman she was surprisingly...attentive and quick in her work, avoiding quick and painful jerks. It was honestly rather surprising how quick she was to clean up Renn's messy hair cut (hair burn?) into a more proper bob. "Hell, burning yer hair off? I respect the gusto but there's a better way for a cut than that." Reaching into her pocket next she pulled out a roll of what appeared to be boxing tape, steadily beginning to wrap her knuckles. By the time they reached the ground she'd wrapped her fists appropriately, the tape stowed away again. "Don't suppose we've got permission for open carry?" It was a relatively simple question to ask...one one hand carrying weapons in full view might make them a bit conspicuous, but on the other hand it kept them prepared. She glanced up towards the surrounding rooftops, her familiar's head swiveling this way and that as it hopped on her shoulder. "Somethin's wrong. Remember cloak and dagger on the rooftops? Most are rioters and observers, it looks. But a few got professional grade equipment, stuff I don't 'spose you'd find round 'ere without the armory...or somethin' else. So...open carry, or naw?"

Fred Colon Fred Colon rozukitsune rozukitsune Emphoa Emphoa EldridSmith EldridSmith Lost Echo Lost Echo Jet Jet
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"I'll take that bet." Adrain examined the eerie red markings. He was almost sure they were drawn with blood. He could see flecks of gore where the lines seemed to bleed, clots where paint was applied unevenly. "Hundred says that's real blood, another fifty says it's human."

"Thats why I'm eager. I've no patience for these... people." He'd seen markings like this back home, dealt with cultists who worshipped monsters in the forest. He'd been around addicts and criminals, killers in slums like this one. He didn't have any tolerance left for their kind. "These people. They thrive on society's understanding, take advantage of it."

He noticed a laundry line crossing overhead; hundreds of teeth hung from the thread. "Follow the teeth eh?" He looked over at Faraji. "Our friend must be a dentist."

"Wonder how they know us though? Maybe they have a source in Nye? Could be a local crime lord with connections up top, uses religious iconography to cement his power." He shrugged and followed another set of markings. These ones were much older, scuffed and worn over the years. There were missing lines and some were defaced, scrawled over with black paint. There were more lines overhead now, some had ears along with the teeth they'd seen. They were brown like tanned leather, covered with rotten scabs and wrinkles.

"Nice," Adrian grunted as they approached an empty part of town, a wide open square without any buildings. It was a mile long and another mile wide, shrouded in complete darkness. There was a pathway leading into the blackness, made of stones wedged into the mud. The path was flanked by blue nightgrass, a plant that thrived in complete darkness, standing almost five feet tall.

There were narrow totems rising from the grass, covered with tribal markings and symbols of ancient gods. The skull of a king was the most common image among them, his crown was tilted down his face. There was another image that repeated over and over. The picture of a winged angel with a glowing sword, laying dead below a dark, shadowy figure.

"Hmm..." Adrian stopped before walking down the path. "Could improve their bedside manner, this one."

Goliath Goliath
Arcanist Arcanist
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a2e946aa82971421f4f461c1b369f785.jpgAs the group disappeared from the upper deck to indulge themselves with a copious amount of alcohol, Ilana felt like she could breathe again in solitude. She gazed off into the distance in all it's abundance, unmoving from her spot like a statue, exhausting as little energy she had as possible. It was like a theme for her at this point. Saving what she could until it was ready to let it loose, typically in the form of a fist. It was a weapon she was warned about, using it only when absolutely necessary, but those teachings of her master were long gone, fleeted with his soul. There was once a time when Ilana was at peace, but in the man's passing she was left only with hate.

The girl was often left with her thoughts and memories, and what once gave her great sorrow had been replaced by anger. She did not wish it but it's who she grew up to be, and with the even so violent familiar feeding off those negative emotions, she was bound to turn out that way. Among all the thoughts that float around in her head, never did Ilana wonder what she could have been in another life. Seeing her 'comrades' enjoying life like there wasn't a care in it did however beg the question how their life had to play out to make them so chipper. Especially after what they all experienced.

The sun slowly made it's way across the sky and behind the rocky horizon, Ilana stayed put. Luckily for her she brought her coat, the only nice piece of clothing she had. How she ended up with something like a well-kept leather coat was a story in itself, but all that mattered is that It kept her warm as the night turned cold.

Her eyes soon adjusted to the night's darkness as the black turned into a pleasant shade of blue attributed to the pale moonlight that casted it's rays onto the deck of the ship, as well as the land below. Ilana despised the look of it, but she figured in this lighting it wasn't so bad. He peace was only disrupted on occasion when the others got a little rowdy as their senses slipped away, and by this point even Dalton had retired, leaving the young woman totally alone. Because of that, it didn't take long for her to begin dozing off, as if the isolation now allowed her guard to lower.

Her moment of rest didn't last however, as consciousness went completely the vision of a black pool of water appeared once again. A reoccurring dream or vision of a vicious beast swimming around, biding it's time. Only now Ilana did not see herself in the pool with it, floating on the surface above an ambiguous depth, but instead far away. Distant, like eyes without a body but not nearly far enough, as the jaws of the beast sprung out at her. It forced her awake with a gasp while she looked around in a panic. It was still dark out, it couldn't have been more than a few minutes. She quickly patted down her stomach to find that the thick scales were still there to assure her that the merge was not broken. The last thing she wanted was another accident with a killer croc.

It was another restless night, and before long the sun had returned, as did the selected group for the mission. Truly Ilana could be a talented actress, despite her having essentially no sleep, she passed as a full functioning human being. Perhaps she was simply used to it or it was her drive that kept her going. Either way, she wasn't going to let her restlessness stop her, even with the occasional wave of nausea.

As she stood with the group, she could see Dalton's anger clearly before he even spoke a word. She held her arms crossed as the man began to yell, causing her to wince as the irritation to her ears was almost too much to bare with the added insomnia. Had the others shared her viewpoint they wouldn't be getting grilled right now. She wanted to curse, but there was no helping it now. At the very least, the shouting wasn't directed towards her, but the "fucked up" individuals, so she simply stood there and bit her tongue as he made his way over to her at the end of the line up. Dalton unceremoniously denouncing Ilana second in command before walked off toward the edge of the ship to enjoy the scenery.

"Damnit..." She said to herself, glancing over at the others. To think that she would be second in command of anything, let alone a group of half-drunks was baffling. "I better not have to babysit." She thought to herself with the most unpleasant expression. Needless to say she wasn't particularly thrilled, but being deemed second in command could have its perks. They might not give her too much grief like they had in the beginning.

She followed behind everyone else after they had touched down, hesitating at first to take a step off the ramp. The thought of it made her vision blur like someone deathly afraid of heights peering off a cliff, but she quickly shook her head and snapped out of it. Ilana took another second or two before taking her first step into No Man's Land. She looked down and shifted her feet in the desert sand. "Home, sweet home." She mumbled before catching up with the others, her tail swaying as she walked.

Then the question of where everyone went was brought up by Dalton, to which Ilana responded with a half witty comment. "They probably got ransacked by some natives." She said it bluntly with a hint of snark, but deep down it was a sincere hypothesis. She squatted down as she spoke, scooping up some sand that gently fell out between her fingertips. It was something she wasn't quiet experienced with, but being an Earth type she'd make do. She stayed like that for a moment, scanning the area for any footprints fresh or not, as well as feeling the ground below her. Then upon Dalton's order, Ilana chose the tallest building with the intent to get on the roof for a better view point.

Jet Jet Emphoa Emphoa Goliath Goliath ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles
Adamaris' lips were pursed together as they trailed alongside Elriel, quiet throughout the interaction with the guards at the gate. Their eyebrows furrowed ever so slightly, but not surprised at their desire for money for their entry. They sighed out a little bit at the thought before they glanced back to Elriel and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Do not worry, friend, they were going to get whatever they could from us lot anyway." They assured him quietly before they looked back up ahead. Dipping their head to the others as they split away from their paths and they looked back up front at Darius.

"We wouldn't dream of it, we are aware of how to act." Adamaris reminded the centurion as they looked back up ahead, their eyebrows furrowed ever so slightly as they approached- greeted rudely, however. Though, they supposed if they had unwelcome visitors come by they would be a little miffed as well. There was no use in it- no use in helping it, either. They clasped their hands together, letting Elriel take the lead as he had such an aura of grace and nobility- unlike Adamaris who hadn't been a noble in a long time, but still- at the very least, had some proper manners and the understanding of how to act when with other nobility.

"It is true, apologies for disrupting your time, it is of the upmost importance." They spoke, dipping their head to the lord before they looked back towards Elriel, their eyebrows briefly knitted together before they gave a dip of their head. He was right, it would be more important to be able to get information while they had this moment alone. They slipped their hand into their pocket, briefly brushing their thumb over the crystal before they took it out and held it up. "We were seeking out information on this. It was given to me- and I'm sure others, and we wished to know their origins." They stated, and they gave a look towards Darius- feeling somewhat bad to hide it, but they didn't know a good time to bring it up without the slew of others to see it as well.

Goliath Goliath Jet Jet
Evaline kept quiet for the moment, her eyebrows knitted together as she listened to the group and she made her way after them. Taking heed of Kawme's words of a final say in letting them turn back to Nye. She pursed her lips together, and she glanced back the way they had come, briefly, before thinking of Leon. She needed to do this- to know why this was done. She pursed her lips at the thought before she looked back at the others and made her way after them. She took up her cloak and slipped it on carefully while she moved, lifting up her head now as she looked back at Kwame. "I know you are confident, but anything can happen in an unforgiving place like this." She stated simply, searching his expression briefly before her eyes flitted back up towards their guide and she briefly brightened up at the thought of seeing a blacksmith.

It wasn't often she would be able to speak to others of her own craft, but she knew this was not a time for merely speaking on such matters. They had to keep moving and stay vigilant... she just hoped that they would truly be able to trust this person. Her eyes flitted back towards Renn and Charlie, frowning but relieved that Charlie was there to look out for the young woman. She truly seemed to be out of her element, and she kept a note to keep an eye out for her- for any of their group, she didn't want anything to happen to them.

She looked back up ahead and she frowned at Zulan. "Do not speak as though he will lose his temper, I think out of the lot of us- Kwame is the one who will be able to keep level headed through out this matter." She puffed out a little bit at the thought, and she brushed her hair back with her fingers as she moved carefully. "Your connection- you're sure he is trustworthy?" She then asked Gailene, cocking her head ever so slightly to the side while her eyebrows furrowed once more. "Not that I am doubting you, of course, we're new to this place."

With that, then, she fell quiet once more, the farm hand and blacksmith looking over the chaos wrought city with an unreadable expression. It truly, almost, reminded her of wild animals. Like they would have to be tamed- quieted down in some way shape or form... But she knew this wasn't her home, her place to handle it or say what she thought. She looked away from the sight, and tried to ignore the smell in the air as she covered her face with the cloak.

ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles Jet Jet Lost Echo Lost Echo EldridSmith EldridSmith Fred Colon Fred Colon rozukitsune rozukitsune
Rat puffed out a little bit as he looked at Bracken and he offered up a little grin. "Good to know I'm not wrong." He stated, and he looked at the little glass in his hand, hesitant. Admittedly, he didn't like the idea of alcohol before- the idea that maybe he would do things while not in his right mind was something he fretted over a few times. To get too loose or say things he didn't want to. He enjoyed the company here, but he was a far way from wanting to open up to them willingly. His eyes flitted back up and he brightened when he noticed Bracken letting out his familiar. "That's the spirit." The free spirited boy puffed out, and he looked back at Leon with his grin.

"That's two- I think we could say she definitely is." He snorted out, giving Leon a little nudge as he listened to him further and he gave a little smile. "Maybe- I don't think I'll be exploring too much." He stated with a light shrug of his shoulders, but he was excited to be able to... let loose and relax with them for the time being, anyhow. He was quiet, watching Leon and Mischa interacting while his expression softened. It was nice, really, it wasn't like he was able to enjoy time like this with friends back at the few homes he had had all this time. Not to mention he was always more fixated on his magitech than socializing before, anyway.

He couldn't help but laugh at the woman, shaking his head. "You're really convincing me here." He teased her, rolling his eyes a little bit. "I think all of the drinks might suck- you're just too drunk to care or notice." He puffed out at her, before he finally downed the shot- grimacing a little bit at the taste and scrunching his nose. "Fuck- dude, that's gross." He snorted out a little bit, and Remy sniffed at the now empty glass, making a little face of disgust of his own. Rat laughing quietly and scratching the top of his head. "Right? It's pretty bad." He whispered to his little friend, his eyes twinkling lightly. Before he softened, setting down the glass and scrunching his nose again at the after taste still sitting on his tongue from the drink.

This would be an interesting night.

When everyone had been drinking the night away- Rat still wasn't so inclined, he didn't drink much, just enough to really get a buzz as he wanted to make sure the others were not too unruly in the night. His eyes trailed over towards Mischa while she was with Bracken- snorting out at her and covering his mouth before he looked back at Leon and gave the other man a little nudge. "How are you holding up over here?" He puffed out at the red head, Remy was sniffing about between the pair of them, lifting his head up when he heard Rat speak up before he skittered about once more.

He found it easier to avoid giving into their drinking habits once they were more fucked up- especially since half of the time he would end up giving them the drinks they gave him at some point. The engineeer couldn't help but chuckle a little bit as he sat back on his hands. "Maybe we should be getting you guys some water." He ended up stating, and lightly patted Leon's shoulder with a little grin before he paid attention to the other two once more.

Tomorrow would... be interesting.

And indeed it was. He wasn't teetering on the edge of being sick or having a massive head ache like the others were. If anything, he was definitely tired, and blinking away the sleep from his eyes. Not to mention a little bit of an ache in the back of his head from the little bit of drinks he did have, but nothing serious. Leon and Mischa, however...

The boy grimaced from the loud shouting and anger from Dalton- not that he was necessarily fucked up he would say he wasn't as his best, so he supposed he wasn't excluded from the ranting as he placed his hands onto his hips. But grimaced when Ilana was made second in command, and he hoped that she wouldn't be so snippy with them because of it. He moved forward, carefully, as they started to make their way into the settlement. Yet... things felt so oddly silent, he couldn't quite understand why that would be until Dalton seemed to be unsettled as well and his eyebrows furrowed.

"Right." He stated, and he looked at the others, uncertain whether the splitting up was too much of a good idea with the state they were currently in. His eyes trailed after Ilana when she made her own guess- and started heading off on her own. He hesitated before he looked back at the others. "We should stick together, I think, I don't think it's safe to be out on our own if there's anything left here to give us trouble." The engineer stated, his eyebrows furrowed as he looked back towards Ilana. "Or at least, there should be two groups of us to make sure we don't head into any trouble."

Jet Jet Fred Colon Fred Colon ZackStop ZackStop Goliath Goliath

Marching through a forest was bad under normal circumstances, but with a huge cut on her side? Her steps were slower than snails in molasses, and breathing hurt like a bitch. Her legs wobbled and her bloody face, pretty and perfect, was turning a nasty shade of white. "Not a problem—

"Nope," she said; winded like a runner. "Not even—

"Not even a little." She planted her foot on the bottom of a hill, driving herself towards the top. The pain was immediate and truly immense, but she was a centurion. They dealt in the impossible, did what others could only dream of. That didn't include being a bitch. "Who's the best eh?"

"Who's the strongest?" She pulled a small mirror from her pocket, flipping open its metal case. She pointed at the mirror and put on her best warface. "You are! You are a fucking beast, a sexy fucking beast. Even if you're a bit..."

"Pale," she frowned at the appearance of her skin. It seemed there was internal bleeding afoot, even if the cut was already patched. "Shit."

Tessia stopped on the hilltop, scouring the forest with her hands on her hips. It was hard to see anything through the densely packed trees. The hanging vines and lush grass. There was some light shining through the canopy, but it was like water trickling from a pipe. Hardly enough to see clearly. It would be impossible to spot anyone in such a place.

"Nice... guess it's time to invite the snake for dessert." Tessia cupped her hands around her mouth. "HELLOOOOO!"


"AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO MADE IT?" The centurion wouldn't be surprised if they were all dead; rookies weren't equipped for this place. "ARE YOU ALL TOO WEAK TO SURVIVE!"

"CAUSE I'M KINDA FUCKED UP!" She awkwardly cleared her throat, swiveling around in the silence. "I KNOW UH... IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE I'M INJURED! IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE BUT SERIOUSLY, I'VE GOT A LITTLE—

Tessia checked the gash on her side. It was six inches across and one inch deep. "A LITTLE SCRATCH!"

"Just a—

Her voice cracked as she leaned against a tree, sliding to the ground with a thump. "Please," she said through gritted teeth, closing her eyes as pain wracked her stomach. "Please—

"Someone be out there, anyone."

Her voice would carry enough for two people to hear, Baryn and Euclaire. If they wanted to, they could help the centurion hobble through the forest.

Monbon Monbon EldridSmith EldridSmith

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This was the academy all over again, with a class clown saying the dumbest things possible. Johan was a complete moron back in those days; every quip made him laugh and the punishments he received — lord were they legendary. He'd swept sunshine from the sidewalk for twelve hours straight, mopped water from the beach until his feet were bleeding, sprinted ten miles with a rucksack on his back. It was brutal stuff, but apparently he learned nothing. He was still a moron and the one liner, a fucking quip about chess, made him snicker at the worst time.

Right when Marje was answering him.

"Oh um... yeah chess." Johan suppressed a smile as his mouth twitched, forcing a scowl that was so obviously fake, not even the blind would be fooled. "That's not funny Ren!"

"Don't play too much with this one," he said before clearing his throat, shifting his collar as his amusement died down. His heart quickly filled with a mixture of red emotions, anger and annoyance were the most prominent among them, but also disgust. The way she flirted with Ren to manipulate his young heart; it was low even by her standards.

"You're the only one with an act, and you should drop it, stop flirting with a kid and maybe — you know, explain what the hell you're doing here?" He narrowed his tired eyes. "I know this isn't your style but still, you know how this looks, so give me something to work with."

"And please lose the captive while you're at it, not gonna let you kill the poor bastard." He leaned back against a desk, sitting on it with a grunt. "Once you do that, maybe we can relax a little, have a sit down and sort out this shit, but until then?"

His hand glowed a little brighter, pulsing with enough energy to pierce steel. "If not, I'll prove I'm not a clone when I merge with my familiar."

His scowel dissappeared as he looked at Narzas, slightly smiling at the redness on her face. He could only guess what she was blushing for, but he wasn't going to ask with Marje watching. Instead he gave her a small nod of approval, happy she protected Ren. The boy wasn't old enough for manipulative games with a damn maniac, nor the battle it could produce.

Johan was worried about something else though. The nonsense Marje could sell to Narzas at any moment. The stories she'd tell to destroy the group. He could already see it in motion; how she'd smother Ren with attention and compliments. Toss her hair and give him side eye. The kind of thing young men loved. Then she'd create a division between Johan and Narzas, maybe a few stories about her time with him? The kind of scandalous shit that nuked relationships.

It would be one hell of a fracture, but Johan had a plan. He summoned a line of light that spread into a message, facing Narzas to his side. It wouldn't be visible from a front position, like a piece of paper viewed from the side, so Marje would be nonethewiser.

She might be the best manipulator in the world, take everything she says with three pounds of salt. I'm with you now and always.

He snuffed out the message two seconds later. "That sound good to you?" He was looking at Marje but his words had double meaning, meant for both women in the room.

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Yua Smith

Beneath a firm and caring guiding hand, Yua was escorted back down the street. At one shoulder was Isaac, trying to offer some solace to the understandably shaken teen, and at the other shoulder was her butler. Her breathing came in little starts and stops, nervous shakes still running through her body as she tried to relax. What was she thinking, coming all the way out west to try to do some service, do some good? She could have been helpful anywhere in the world? What did she stand to prove? Why here of all places? Those doubts were stifled by a single thought, much more firm and resolute than the rest... Because any other doctor or nurse could be anywhere else in the world, but none would head west. As far as anyone was concerned, save for a few, the only reason you should head west was to kill whatever lived there...and it was people like that which caused these messes to begin with.

Bright blue eyes looked up to Isaac as he affirmed his trust in her, wet with tears she wouldn't let fall. "I...I promise...I'm not going to run off with my tail between my legs. I came here to help, that's what I'm going to do..." "As to the firewood, Mister Isaac, I will tend to that at your request." Yua looked over, a little nod to the butler as if confirming he had the permission to do so...or to say thank you for offering so freely, perhaps. As they made their way into the household, Yua jumped just a bit in surprise as Isaac rose his voice to call to...someone in the house, was it the housemate she was told to ignore at all costs? But no, that wouldn't be right. Isaac had said that person was out at the time...so whoever this was had been here already, and wasn't the housemate in question. Looking up to the top of the stairs Yua paused, eyes straining into the darkness...it was a boy, younger than her she suspected.

With that said, he spoke with as much of a shadow to his voice as she used to have, and seemed just as shy as she had once been. Hell, just as shy as she still was in the right circumstances. Taking a deep breath, a hand of flesh and bone rose to her eyes to wipe them dry before she took a deep breath. She had to be friendly...she had to put on a strong face, first impressions mattered. Her other hand, white metal with ivory inlay and gold, raised up in greeting with a little wave side to side. A little smile came to rest on her features, her own voice only two octaves louder than the boy. "Nice to meet you, Tawny. I'm Yua...and this is Felix. We're very glad to make your acquaintance." She felt...off with the entire situation. Isaac seemed to be at ease, but this boy...there was something wrong. His breathing was growing faster...was he having an anxiety attack? Panic for some reason? Was he psyching himself up to lunge at them? Yua shifted from foot to foot, nervous energy apparent as she slowly lowered her prosthetic arm, resting it at her side as the other hand reached around her front to clutch at her forearm. "I...ahem, I came to try to help out around the village."

Jet Jet

Zak smirked at how the centurion squirmed; the prick was getting exactly what he deserved. He was a grumpy freak who hated everyone — and everything besides war. The kind of man who'd wear armor to a house party. It was quite satisfying to see another pouch leave his hand, knowing the lass would soon charge him double.

"Aces," Zak chimed as they walked down the street; rain doused his face and drenched his long dreads. He shook his head like a dog to clear some from his hair, but it was a token gesture. He was soaked to the bone.

"You know what," Zak covered his brow with his hands, making a visor to keep rain from his eyes. "How about we ditch this count Dracula's mansion, dark and stormy night shit? We could head down south, find a nice beach with bikini girls, have a few—

He shivered as wind pierced his clothes. His teeth chattered and he couldn't feel his nose, nor his cheeks and ears. He could almost smell the freezing cold, taste it on his tongue. The damp chill of the north. "I'm—

His teeth chattered like rattling bones. "I'm serious—


"H-How do you—

"L-Live here."

"It is known," the woman said. Her accent was ancient norse, melodic and harsh like a war ballad. "The cold takes what you can live without, makes stronger what remains." She stopped before a small round hut, made of grey stones and mortar. It had a small chimney made from the same stone blocks, spewing smoke into the night sky. "I am Arnheid, daughter of Elgard, fourth sword of Jarl Magnus — and a damn good knitter."

Arnheid slammed open the door with her big hands, like bear paws wrapped in leather. "After me," she said, walking into the room as she unbuttoned her heavy coat, revealing a rough tunic made of wool. Her shoulders were wide, strong but still feminine, beautiful like the mountains in the distance.

"Wait a tick," Zak said. "Buy me a drink first will ya?"

"Me?" Arnheid smirked in amusement. "With you?" Her smile widened as she leaned back her head, laughing as she opened crate. "Why have you come, outlanders? There is nothing for you but misery."

"Well um," Zak paused a moment, reviewing the mission in his head. "We got these crystal things yeah? Like ice but glowin."

"Crystals?" Arnheid spun around on her heels, eyes wide as she rushed over to them. "What is the meaning of this? You must not have such a thing!"



"Aye, you'd best not stay, bit cold for southern swine." The lord smiled and leaned back on the table, half sitting as he stroked his beard. He narrowed his dark brown eyes, framed by a heavy brow and round cheeks. Like a Neanderthal who survived extinction. "You there," he said to Darius. "I know your face."

"Indeed, fought beside you at Kynwit."

"Under Theseus?"


"Then you have a place at my hearth." The lord gestured at his table. "I am Magnus of Helendi, ruler of the highlands. The mountains and Fjords. The stone islands and—

"I am too drunk for the whole list." He glanced at the whispering duo, raising his brow as Adamaris began to speak, and his men, warriors and advisors alike, stood from their seats. They drew their swords halfway to show their intent.

"Hold!" Magnus said. "We will let them speak."

Darius took a step back to the door, his familiar at the ready. "What is the meaning of this?"

Magnus approached Adamaris slowly, with heavy steps like an avalanche. "I ask you the same, for what you hold is no trinket!" He wrapped his hand around the crystal, gently taking it for himself. "There is nothing more powerful, nor sacred."

"It comes from the edge of the world, beyond the savage sea and frozen mists, a place where the old gods yet live."

"Our greatest warriors, the swords of the Fjoll take this pilgrimage. With blood and sweat they claim these for themselves." He lowered his collar and there, around his neck was another crystal. "Yet here you have one, outlanders with our most prized possession."

"Tell me, how did you come of this?

"Measure your words carefully, may you speak fair and true. Lie and you will not leave here alive."

ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles EldridSmith EldridSmith Emphoa Emphoa Goliath Goliath


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Faraji Aguta

Mentions: Goliath Goliath Jet Jet

Faraji frowned, then hummed at Goliath’s words. He almost thought of saying he would take his chances with death, but it wasn’t so long ago that he had a brush with it. He edged around the same man Goliath stepped over.

Faraji caught Goliath’s look, accompanied by a genuine question for just amoment, before he rolled his eyes. “I much prefer them to blood and guts as anexterior decorating choice,” he scoffed. He doubted anyone did before he sawhow it was used so creatively down here. But with a lack of leads, it was allthey had, and so follow the blood circles they must, no matter how sick lookingat them made Faraji feel. That, or stay in the one place, which Goliath advisedagainst. Faraji didn’t even want to take his chances with staying still. Godknew what was stalking in the dark down those alleyways.

Even Goliath seemed uneasy beside him. Wary, perhaps, cautious. Faraji wasmuch more cowardly than that. But even the most stalwart of men could not brushoff such things.

Adrian, maybe. He seemed to be taking it in his stride. But then these weren’t his first monsters. He agreed with Goliath on it being real blood, maybe evenspecs of human flesh. Faraji kept silent, feeling the burning nausea risewithin him. He didn’t think he was so squeamish. But to speak so casually aboutit...he swallowed back that nausea and fear, hoping he would not reveal such disgustand cowardice to the two men.

Adrian pointed out the teeth to him. A whole line, hung out to dry. Airingyour dirty laundry took on a whole new meaning. Faraji felt his teeth shriek asif they were the ones being pulled. “Glad he isn’t my dentist...” He clenchedhis jaw, willing the sudden awareness of his teeth to fade.

“It wouldn’t be unusual,” Faraji agreed with Adrian on the connections uptop. "The noble and wealthy have their hands in the dirtiest of honeypots. And religion is the easiest to use to get the people onboard. You wonderwhy so many of that part of society so ‘pious’.” Faraji hadn’t said this withmuch disgust. Moreso in that casual tone of conversation, that it was to beexpected of these kind of people, this kind of life. He turned a blind eye to it, while trying to stay out of the worst of things like that, arguably just asbad as being the one involved. But that got harder the further you climbed the ladder.

Perhaps he’d be given a nice cushy place in Nye and told to keep his noseout of things. Fine by him. He wouldn’t complain.

He just had to deal with the here and now, hethought, as he took in more of the markings, worn and discoloured with time. He was slowly getting used to the stench, though, still very much aware of howpungent it was.

They approached a wide square, empty and desolate. Faraji lingered behind, his chest tightening. Anyone could have been waitinghere, waiting to grab them, tear out their throats, cut off their ears, pullout their teeth. Men were not afraid of the dark, but what was in it, and Farajiwas rather afraid of the real possibility. He flinched as the blue nightgrassbrushed against his leg as they passed, and he breathlessly remarked, “Oh,look. Flowers. I guess that’s nice...” He exhaled.

Faraji noticed the totems rising from the groundin the darkness. He tried to recall if he saw the markings and symbols anywherebefore from his wide travels, but his mind was too preoccupied, too focused onsurvival to come to much of a conclusion. He stared at the crowned skull for along while, tempted to lift it, but decided against it. He even considered the wingedangel, slain under the shadow figure.

“Maybe even their hospitality too,” Farajitried to joke like the others had earlier, but he felt his tone fall flat. “Noteven greeted by our friend. Even to turn on some lights around here...”

Elriel swallowed slightly, fighting the urge to grab his weapon from his hip when all the people stood. But he knew better. Instead, he reached out his arm, guarding Adamaris as his eyes narrowed. Cold as the ice he used. He hadn’t expected this kind of reaction. But it had to be asked. That was the purpose of their mission.

He didn’t relax even when Magnus commanded them to stop. While their own Centurion was no better with his outburst. Yes, he felt a twinge of guilt for their deception, though it wasn’t like Darius had made himself very available. Not to mention that the small ship didn’t lend itself to private conversations.

Elriel knew well that it wasn’t some trinket, not only from the hum of power that filled the room. They had watched how it behaved that horrid day, surfacing memories he didn’t want to relive, though now wasn’t the time for such things.

The noble listened to the story of its origin, where they came from, and the struggles those here went through to get one of their own. As well as seeing Magnus’s. It was no wonder for the sudden hostility. The foreign group must believe they’d killed someone to have gotten one or something else along those lines.

Have you heard about the atrocity that occurred in Nye? The massacre that befell a stadium full of people. Familiars ripped from host? This crystal. We were sent here to gather information because they started glowing. Vibrating. It reacted to the sphere.” He paused.

Sir. We have nothing to hide nor any reason to lie,” Elriel spoke as he looked up at the large man and then turned. His purple eyes moving to look down at his friend, much more softly, in case he’d lost his nerve from the threat of losing their lives.

Do not worry. Speak our truth. We did nothing wrong.” He reassured, waiting for Adamaris to recant the same story they’d told him that day, the details about who’d given it to them and what had been said. Both for Magnus and the rest of the room.

Emphoa Emphoa (Adamaris) Jet Jet (Darius)
Adamaris felt their heart skip a beat at the reactions from the entirety of the room once they pulled out the crystal and asked about it. Their eyes briefly flicking towards Elriel as if looking for a sort of reassurance before they looked back at the noble in front of them. Giving Darius an apologetic look before they looked to meet with the lord's gaze. They did not keep the crystal from the lord, letting him take it as they didn't want to ruffle anymore feathers if it was something they could help. Their eyes unwavering as they searched the man's own eyes, and they let Elriel start their conversation.

They let out a breath, dipping their head a moment after. "What Elriel says is true, it was the very thing that warned me about the destruction that was to come." They admitted, before their eyes flitted back up to the lord as they held their ground. "During the games, I had an opponent- I believe his name was Audin. Once I bested him in battle he... tossed the crystal my way- saying he believed my heart was pure? Or something of the sort." They stated, and their eyebrows knitted together as they recalled the event themselves, and they looked back up with a small frown on their expression.

"We came here for answers, to see... what might be the reason these crystals reacted- or even why I'd be given one." They stated, and they looked back at Elriel, relieved that he was there with him before he looked back at the others. "My intentions are not to bring trouble or to take something that doesn't belong to me." They assured, and Nueto cocked his head, crouching on their shoulder as they clasped their hands together. They only hoped that they would see reason- and well...

Their eyes flitted towards the guards and warriors at the ready to take their heads, a hostility they were not sure was warranted for them when they came peacefully. "If you do not believe me, then you must leave Elriel and Darius out of this, after all I'm the one who held the crystal."

Jet Jet Goliath Goliath

Goliath did not like the teeth hanging above..or the joke about the dentist, truthfully. But he felt that was a normal response. What sane person liked dentists?!? And his mind was having fun imagining a psychotic man with a large pair of pliers, running his tongue over his teeth subconsciously as he kept moving.

He listened to them discuss using religion, in agreement with his group. That was what the Byzantine's did to force the common-people not to use their powers. “It’s not a bad thought that they got information from above,” he paused.

But I didn’t compete in the silly games, and I am not from Nye. So there is virtually no information on me or scared boy over here.” He spoke, shrugging as well. It wasn’t like it really mattered. Their destination was the same regardless.

There were fewer people around than there had been at the beginning. And these markings seemed to have aged awhile, meaning this was not some new trap set up for them either. Unable not to wonder if the artist had been killed once he noticed the black spray paint. Goliath chose to spare only a glance at the ears joining the mix as if it wasn’t gross enough. But they were close to destination ‘X’ if the riddle was correct.

And just as soon as he formed the thought, the area opened up in front of them, removing any would be assailant's previous element of surprise without the buildings..now replaced with grass. “Something to do with senses? Teeth and ears? Now sight?” He mumbled to himself, still thinking about the riddle and if their was hidden meaning as they approached.

But Goliath noticed Faraji hesitating, placing a large hand on his back. “Come on,” he whispered.

When the male started talking about flowers again..he opened his mouth for a snarky comment but decided against it. “That’s the spirit you got your wish,” he hummed, stepping on the first stone to test it before they entered into the tall grass. Thankful again for his height advantage in the overgrowth.

He was at a loss with the totem markings, though. A king with a crown over it's face. An angel with a glowing sword killed by a dark 'thing' ? Why did any of this matter?

Goliath couldn’t help but smirk at Faraji’s attempt to make a joke; they all three had the same way of managing stressful situations it seemed. “Someone really needs a new lawn mower,” he added too.

Though he agreed, the lack of visibility was less than ideal. “Adrian could use his fire if he keeps it high, I’d rather stumble in the dark than be trapped in a grass fire inferno,” Goliath spoke. “But do you want to meet our host Faraji?

The group kept walking. And eventually — they arrived at a small, rundown cabin. The screen on the windows ripped and moth-eaten, with creeping vines reaching up the roof. It gave Goliath the heebie-jeebies, not that he’d let his weakness show.

Well. Guess we should knock?” He shrugged continuing up the broken wooden steps to do just that.

Jet Jet (Adrian) Arcanist Arcanist (Faraji)

Tawny crept downstairs like a small timid cat, before hoisting his leg over the banister. He slid on the beam and then jumped from the side, silently landing on the floor. He walked behind Isaac and peaked from behind him, and his eyes were narrow and suspicious, watching the strangers like a hawk. He knew they couldn't be trusted no matter what. Their faces looked nice but that was true for so many people, so many killers who caught flies with honey. Hatred hidden behind a smile.

"Make them leave," Tawny whispered. "Please make them leave. What if they're here to take me?"

Isaac smiled and squeezed his shoulder. "I told you before, all those men are long gone. You've nothing to fear anymore."

"How do you know?"

"Well I—

Isaac gritted his teeth. His cheeks flexed as he kneeled beside the boy. "I saw with my own eyes. They were defeated by a—

"A great warrior." He knew the boy would never be fine, would never trust people the same way again, but something had to give. "How about this, you acquaint yourself with Yua! Just look at her! She's probably more nervous than you are!"

"I'll discuss things with Felix, and Antov will join us when he returns!"

"But," Tawny said, looking down at the floor. "What if she's a liar?"

"Hmm..." Isaac bit his cheek. "Then I'll never ask you to meet another stranger."

Tawny said nothing as he awkwardly stood in place, hiding behind Isaac as he pondered what to do. He looked at the girl and saw the way she was nervous, the way she was friendly and cared about the village. There was no hatred in her eyes. Isaac was there and Antov would return soon, so even if she was a bad person, even if they were planning to capture him, he would have someone to protect him. "Okay," he whispered before creeping around Isaac, lowering his head a little.

"Want to um... see something cool?" He looked at one of the side rooms. The door was open by a hair. There was a table inside covered with little machine parts, metal scraps and wiring. "You look like you—

"You like machine stuff." His mouth raised on the edges, a passing breeze of a smile. "I can do something cool with them." He crept to the door and slowly pushed it open, checking the room before he entered.

"You're a miracle worker!" Isaac patted Yua's back. "And he doesn't bite, even if he's a bit rough around the edges."

"That boy's been through more than most can imagine. He was exploited for his power, something even I've never seen before. It goes beyond our magic of the elements."

He took a seat besides the dining table, roughly hewn made of dark wood. There was a silver amulet left on the table, a necklace with a small kraken symbol. Isaac regarded it for a moment, before looking back at the butler. "Antov saved him a couple years ago, but there's no telling where he came from, or what exactly he is."

ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles
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They were gonna die. All these people were going to die, right in front of her. As the guards drew their weapons and their familiars shifted to attack, all Vivian could think of was how each one of them was going to die. They may have been intimidating, but the heat of Bean’s flames, the memory of his crazy eyes told her who would win in this.

Grabbing Nyaal’s arm, she backed them away, pulling with all her might if her drunk friend resisted. The boy was already angry. Rightfully so, based on the story of his past. It made Viv’s heart clench. But the vitriol the guards were spewing kept her thoughts on the situation.

Then some brave fool pushed through the crowd. Her fingers dug into Nihal’s arm, not trusting the basic greeting. The man seemed to not care about the tension, commanding the guards then walking straight to Bean. Viv held her breath as he spoke, flinching as he identified her. She waited for the centurion to not care, to release the violence so tightly held on the intruder as well.

But then the fire vanished. Her sigh was heavy enough to make her sag some against Nihal. Looking up at him, she gave him a tremulous smile before letting go to follow. She didn’t want them to be left behind with the guards, who were likely disgruntled with the loss of their prey.

Vixie listened silently, her ears up in alert as she glanced around the town they were entering. It was pretty, but something made the back of her neck twitch in anticipation. The spiel didn’t intrigue her, as she absorbed it. She had no money with her. And therefore it only emphasized how powerless she was.

Still, as she watched all those masked on the street, she couldn’t help but wonder aloud, “Should we have masks too?” She didn't want to stand out any more than they already were.

Jet Jet Anne Boolean Anne Boolean
Yua Smith

The only noise that escaped Yua as Tawny sized her up was the soft sound of her breathing, shifting to slightly erratic 'jitters' as she worked through the flood of experiences she'd had. Not even ten minutes ago she'd been promised her own death, and now she was playing house guest. It was the kind of whiplash that might snap one's neck if they weren't careful. Felix seemed to be taking it all well enough, she guessed at least, but she'd never seen her butler lose his cool anyways... She didn't want to interrupt Isaac and Tawny as they spoke, but her attention did snap towards Isaac as she was tossed under the bus. More nervous than Tawny!?...Well yes, but he didn't have to say the quiet part out loud! But the way Isaac picked through his words slowly...what men were they talking about? And what great warrior was he speaking about, why did he pause to consider that?

Yua cleared her throat as she was finally addressed outright, a small smile on her lips. How old was this boy? He looked young...then again, maybe people from the West had a different sort of way of showing age? Maybe he was older than he looked? She couldn't be certain. "Something cool? Sure! Machine stuff? Oh I uhm-" She looked towards her prosthetic, an awkward smile on her lips. She wasn't self-conscious about it, but saying she was 'interested' in machine stuff may have been a bit of a stretch. Or...then again, maybe not? She wanted to be a doctor, study biomechanics and the likes...that included machines. So she supposed she did, yes! "I like machines, yes...lead on!" Yua followed after Tawny with a quick glance over her shoulder towards Felix before disappearing into the room behind him.

With Yua gone, Felix was left alone with Isaac as he settled into a seat at the table beside him. Folding his hands atop the table in front of him, Felix looked towards Isaac as he addressed him, "I see. I shall not ask to know more than you are willing to tell either myself or Ms. Smith. If you wll indulge my curiosity at least, what do you mean when you say you don't know what he is? Am I to presume you don't suspect him human, or more so to the nature of his magics as you mentioned?...Ah, forgive me, I forget myself." Felix reached out, a hand offered towards Isaac, "I hadn't spoken much while Ms. Smith was present, but I would see fit to formally introduce myself. I am Felix Abdon. You have my thanks for standing with Ms. Smith when she spoke her mind, and for giving us a warm reception."
Jet Jet

"Hah!" Magnus leaned back and smiled. "Audin? The little shit made it both ways!" He looked back at his stone-faced friends, clearly they weren't amused. There was an aura of anger hovering over the room, like clouds waiting to release lightning. "He was a troubled fool, spoke of dreams from the great beyond. Rambling in tongues like his sister!"

"Death and damnation they said!" He grinned at his advisors. "They were right in the end! Made fools of us all!"

"He was a thief!" said a warrior with blonde dreads, his face was covered in deep scars. "Had no right taking a gem, no right taking my ship!"

"He reached the tree," said Magnus. "Makes him as much a man as you!"

"Now for what this gem did." He ponderously paced the room, glancing at an advisor in a robe. He was slimmer than the rest of them, better dressed and clean shaven. He was bald and framing his old wrinkled face, was a pair of finely rimmed glasses.

"What say you?" Magnus asked him. "Earn your keep Edmund."

"Very well, my lord." Edmund was from Albion based on his accent, and not from the back country. He handled himself with the grace of a courtly man, one who'd spent years around nobles. "Such a thing — how curious indeed. It's never been confirmed in official reports, but in certain cases, obfuscated in rumor and superstition—

"So many words," Magnus said. "Useful as a fifth wheel on a wagon."

"Then I will be brief my lord. There are stories of gems glowing in response to witchcraft."

"Witchery?" The lord balked. "Peasant tales to keep small ones in bed!"

Darius shook his head in response. "Perhaps, but these men speak true. The gems glowed before the attack, and whatever the hell that sphere was, witchery could exolain it."

"And is this all you seek?" Magnus suspiciously narrowed his eyes. "Scraps of rumor? Whispering tales from the savage nords!"

"No, we require more gems. To help warn against future attacks, and as Adamaris said, we want to know why he was chosen. Why they came to Nye and gave us a gem. What Audin dreamed too, perhaps"

There was a wave of murmuring in the room. The lord leaned back on the table once more, crossing his arms as he deeply inhaled. He scanned the men arrayed before him. Their clean faces and fine clothes, even the way they carried themselves. They weren't ready for what they asked.

"More?" Magnus smirked at the centurion. "Is your skull thick? Do you know what I have said?"

"The gems must not be given, but earned." He glanced at the two nobles, a grim look was on his face. He'd known many brave warriors who traveled to the harsh north, confident and strong as they stood on a longship. Their chests puffed as they smiled at the sea. In that moment they were like heroes of old, demigods embarking on an epic quest, but so many would never return.

And those were sons and daughters of the storm, not tourists from another land. "You would do best to return whence you came, to preserve yourselves for a better death."

"I say this not to threaten you, for you've proven yourself fair and true." He nodded at Adamaris. "But there is nothing but pain for you in the north, outlanders."

Goliath Goliath Emphoa Emphoa
Esther was not a fighter. When the knight started to fight her, she nearly dropped her. Cursing, she wrapped her arms around the b*tch’s ribs, letting her struggle. It reminded her of the foolish battle with Kilderkin. Hummingbirds did not carry anything; her wings were meant to support her weight and no more, so they were still dropping.

If you stop fighting, we can reach your boytoy!” Esther screamed, risking one arm to reach out and try the vacuuming ability. It worked, somehow, but that didn’t solve the problem that they were still falling, still accelerating, even with Esther’s wind surrounding the three in an updraft. Esther was preparing to make a cushion for the three to land on, when the knight did something. Her legs started to spark, causing Esther to pull hers away from them, “Warning Please!” She snapped, unsure what the girl wanted to do. In short order she realized what she was aiming for.

RUCK” She screamed as they neared the water. Letting go of them once they were over the water, she darted across the water, using the wind to catch herself from falling in. Once the momentum ran out, she turned back, to return to the two. They’d moved further down the river, so they were closer than before. Letting the bitc-knight sort herself out (one fight was more than enough) she hovered over Rhys, reaching down and dragging him to the shore. “We’re here!” She called back in return to the knight’s shouts. Dragging him out of the water, Esther laid him out, leaning over to check his pulse.

ZackStop ZackStop Arcanist Arcanist
hair (3) (1).png"H-huh? What not funny...?" His voice trailed off, looking over at Johan as the man chuckled but clearly was trying not to. He felt he had something dumb dwindling his confidence as the finger that pointed at the woman sunk to his side. It soon occurred to Ren that his impulse to say and do strange things seems unparalleled when put into a tense situation, perhaps as a defense mechanism to counter stress. The psychoanalysis aside, Ren's face reddened with embarrassment as he tried to brush it off, but it only seemed to worsen as he thought a bit harder about what the woman said.

"She's not talking about games at all! She's really not to be messed with..." He said to himself, a little disappointed too. The boy was hoping to play some board games. He managed to shake away the hot feeling in his cheeks and went back to a serious demeanor. He glanced down at one of his pockets and could feel underneath the leather of his pants that there was a screwdriver, a last resort weapon if need be. He looked back at the woman as he prepared for anything, but not before realizing Anya's bird. "Huh? Kallos? Was it? That was your name right?" He said with a little whisper.

At the sight of the secretary bird, Ren couldn't help but wonder what was going on outside with the girls, hoping they were alright. Not that they couldn't handle themselves, they both entered the games after all, but with all the chaos going on outside there's no telling what could happen. Peered at the woman's body language and the way Johan was behaving, it wasn't lost on Ren that he and his allies had their own problems to deal with. He took note of everyone's position, they were trying to protect him. He found it kind of strange, but he was the youngest in the room, the only one unarmed too.

He looked at the woman once more, finally focused, watching her closely. He knew absolutely nothing about her, she probably didn't even play chess! But knowing as little as he did was dangerous so he stood back for now. Phalanx stepped forward next to Kallos and waited for something to happen. Good or bad. Ren waited for Johan to finish explaining his proposition before asking her his own question. "Just who are you anyway?"

Jet Jet rozukitsune rozukitsune Lost Echo Lost Echo Huntertabbysandshark3 Huntertabbysandshark3

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