Birthstone Spirits: The Second Revival

Birthstone Spirits: The Second Revival

The fate of a world lies in the hands of twelve young people who are just trying to figure life out. What happens next is a test of growth, luck and magic.

11,194 readers have visited this universe since birthstone_spirits created it.



Welcome to Birthstone Spirits, a fantasy role play that I’ve been GMing for quite some time. It is a plot-driven game (not sandbox style) with a highly developed world that I hope will foster a long-term journey for all players involved. Please enjoy the details below, read the rules and if you’re so inclined, join! If you want to learn more details about the world before joining, or if you're interested in playing one of the few characters from Aires check out this ongoing world building project (; the password is monthwarriors) I’ve been working on the help give players more context. Enjoy!


In all aspects of Airesian myth, from the ancient scrolls of legends past, to the modern religions of today, the paramount of darkness and mystery is conveyed through the legend of the Cyclopean. It’s a figure that every Airesian child knows by warning: Whispered stories before bed and urban legends about people so tortured that, even after death, their souls are forced into a second existence of deformity. High monks say that in times of old they ravaged the world at night, driven by promise of human blood and flesh. Others say that they exist only in response to the folly and sin of man.

The Cyclopean are a species from nightmares--statuesque, lizard-like beings with no eyes or noses. When they flex and crack their jaws one can all but ignore their their many rows of long, jagged teeth. They do not have eyes, but they are very sensitive to movement and vibrations in the space around them. Like humans, they stand up-right, with long hands and feet outfitted with claws best suited for picking their meals apart. When day breaks they flee, and the thing that (very lucky) surviving witnesses will bear to remember, is the whip of the scaly beasts’ long, tapering tail as it disappears into the fog of dawn.

Behold, the boogeymen of Aires for centuries, a figure entrenched in religious and cultural folklore across space and time. They haven’t been seen in centuries and many people on Aires think of the figures as silly stories parents tell their children to make them behave. Monks of the Old Thought, a religion that wholly believes in the existence of cyclopean, say that the only protection against the beasts is the good-will of the Mother (or Goddess), a religious figure to which more than half the population on the planet prays. The Goddess brought them water, and the Goddess brought them light. But the most valuable gift the Goddess bestowed upon her people was protection against the cyclopean from the Month Warriors, 12 valiant fighters carved from the gemstones of the month and bound in human flesh. These were her demigods and the last line of defense between humanity and chaos.

When powerful evil began to consume Aires by way of The King of the Void, the father of cyclopean, the Month Warriors gave their lives in one final showdown. As the king of darkness lay dying (so they thought), the warriors were met with surprising curse. Their souls were suddenly consumed by the gemstones they wore, confining their spirits to a cluster of diamonds, rubies and emeralds on a cave floor.

Legend has it that the powers of the month warriors can only be activated if the stone is worn by the right spirit. Worried that the stones would be destroyed and her children would be lost, The Goddess gathered them into her arms and scattered them across another planet far away from the King (Earth) in hopes that the next generation of warriors will find them. Although, a few stones still remain on Aires.

But let’s be real, this is only one of the many fantastic falsities that grandmothers tell their grandchildren. Airesian people today rarely think of the Goddess, the myths or the monsters. They are far too entrenched in matters of trade and war to even notice recent reports and accounts of strange statuesque beasts attacking farmers and travelers. Only gullible people, the elderly and monks believe in the beasts from story books written hundreds of years ago. But over the horizon, a darkness stirs.


A new chapter in the history and mythos of Aires is about to begin. The fate of this world lies in the hands of twelve young people (17-21) who have somehow come into possession of the cursed stones through jewelry pieces. By fate, the gems have chosen who will wield them, and the spirits will eventually outfit their chosen warriors with fantastical powers. But for now, their hosts are oblivious to these abilities, living simple lives as they try to navigate growing up.

The new chapter in the Month Warrior Saga begins not on Aires but in New York City’s own Central Park. Something about today, a sunny day in the middle of summer, has drawn them unwittingly together. Some are New Yorkers partaking in their own natural oasis in the midst of a concrete jungle. Others have had circumstances draw them to the Big Apple from across the country or, indeed, the world.

Then there are those unlucky few from Aires whose destinies have been right under their noses. All twelve have been brought together to witness a fantastical and life changing event. Unaware of their own destinies, the new Month Warriors, linked only by an old myth, some pieces of jewelry and their growing pains, are forced to embark on a dynamic coming of age journey filled with magic, adventure and friendship.


  • January (Garnet)
    The stone of life itself. Healing, and in extreme cases, mass revival.
  • February (Amethyst)
    The stone of thunderstorms. Electricity, occasional technopathy.
  • March (Aquamarine)
    The stone of wind. Power over air and storms.
  • April (Diamond)
    The stone of water. Manipulation of water.
  • May (Emerald)
    The stone of nature. Manipulation of plants, rocks and soil.
  • June (Pearl)
    The stone of protection. Conjurer of shields and force fields.
  • July (Ruby)
    The stone of fire. Manipulation of flame and heat.
  • August (Peridot)
    A stone of illusions. Mirages and dopplegangers.
  • September (Sapphire)
    The stone of the mind. Telepathy, brief, limited visions into the future.
  • October (Opal)
    Second stone of illusions. Shape shifting into other people.
  • November (Citrine/Topaz)
    The stone of the spirit. Connections to the spiritual realm and communications with the deceased.
  • December (Turquoise)
    The stone of frost. Manipulation and creation of ice and snow.


  • January: Ron Muller
  • February: Tallyho Abel
  • March: Dorian Steinsson
  • April: Keiran Wakefield
  • May: Aster Storm
  • June: Jules Fontaine
  • July: Emerson Motlilio
  • August: Calliope Alexander
  • September: Sorrell Hunt
  • October: Vegas Sinclair
  • November: Angela Taylor
  • December: Heather Devereaux


Important Amendments to the Map

  • Nomansland is now called Mansland:
    I didn’t feel right calling it nomansland, especially since the large abundant island is chock-full of fantastic Airesian culture and history.
  • The Hales continent and the Sacred temple island have switched places:
    When I made this map it didn't occur to me how strange it would be to have an extremely hot, desert continent right next to a mountainous snowy one. Let alone have the count continent in the south!
  • Land bridge connecting the Solace and Constance added:
    I don’t want every country to be an island.


Key Terms
The Mother/The Light: Terms that references The Goddess, the most popular religious figure in Aires.

The Great Fight/ Battle of the Gems: Refers to the battle between the original month warriors and the king of the cyclopean.

Revivals/Moon dances: Large ceremonies that the highly religious Sun People (nomadic group) participates in to honor the Goddess. They happen every full moon and during them the tribes reenact the battle of the gems through dance and song.

Porters: Common name that references pirates who sail on the waters surrounding The Trading Islands.

Savages/Fanatics/Witchfolk: Interchangeable derogatory terms that refer to the three nomadic tribes (The Sun People, the Oni and the Salt Folk.)

King of the Void: Refers to the King of Cyclopean

Westmen: Term used by people from Mansland, Eastern Isle and Ira to refer to people from the western hemisphere.

Viish: Insulting slang from the Rose Kingdom. Refers to someone who is an outsider.

Weeds: People within the Rose Kingdom who are troublesome or are otherwise undesirable. Criminals, fools, etc.

Nakk: General curse word in common.

Icemen: Outsiders say this to refer to people from Hales, but people who are actually from Hales use this to refer to the Salt Folk--people on the continent who live out in the mountains and are not indoctrinated into the capital’s technological and political advancements.

Old Thought: A term used in reference to the beliefs and legends surrounding the Goddess, Month Warriors and the King of the Void.

A hen: A western common-speak term that refers to an attractive woman.

A frog: A common-speak term that refers to someone who is not loyal to their country or superiors. Often used to describe wanderers and travelers. Can also mean someone whose loyalty can be easily won or bought.

A toad: Someone so loyal to someone or something that it becomes annoying. A bit of an insult, but a lighthearted one.

A blight: A western common-speak term that refers to a bastard.


Most Ariesians claim the Old Thought (legend of the Goddess and the Month Warriors) as their spiritual base because it’s convenient and ingrained into the traditions and practices of many governments. However, many modern followers of Old Thought are not extremely devout and find the belief system, which thinks of man as flawed, but ultimately good, to be rather antiquated. They question the truthfulness of the legend and their cynicism may be due to the world’s political and economic chaos and the lack of divine intervention. While some simply identify as atheists, the state of the world has fostered the rise of 2 more prominent offshoots of spiritual belief:

  • Heraldists
    Heraldists believe that the legend of the Month Warriors occurred, but that after The Great Fight the Goddess abandoned Aires completely. Therefore they don’t think that the Month Warriors will ever return.

    Instead they believe that a great herald will blow his horn to announce the end of days and the final battle between man and his demons. They don’t have a keen prediction on which side will win, but they do believe that when the cyclopean come it is the responsibility of the people to fight for themselves without any divine intervention.
  • Elementalists
    Elementalists have existed since the beginning of the third Aires and believe in multiple gods that embody the elements of fire, water, rock, etc. They are known to practice witchcraft and sacrificial ceremonies to honor their deities.

    Elementalists, during the Great Fight, believed that the month warriors were possessed by the elemental Gods. Elementalists see God in everything, and believe that the world is meant to be chaotic. They don’t think that man is good or evil. Elementalists also tend to split into factions that favor one God over the others. Ex: The Cult of the Fire v. The Cult of the Air.

  • Military
    While specific military advancements might depend on the nation in question, armies around Aires have mastered the production of steel products such as swords, spears, daggers, crossbows etc. Certain militaries have access to catapults that launch barrels full of rocks. In the Eastern Isle soldiers have used “Fire Lances” for centuries--a spear-like weapon that emits a firework charge from the end of the spear head. The charge ejects small projectiles (arrows, pebbles) in the direction of the enemy. Guns, as we know them, are unheard of on Aires but recently the Hales military began researching more about projectile weaponry. They call their rudimentary version of guns “hand cannons,” and keep them secret. No one, outside of high-ranking military officials has any idea about the development, and the world's only, and relatively small stock of official gun accessories (parts, bullets, etc) is hidden away in Koratev, the capital city of Hales.

  • Medical
    Aires is still a world that relies on natural medicine. They often use tea and variations of salve-- a thick sticky mixture of crushed herbs, plants and beeswax. When patients have life threatening diseases, doctors are more focused on making them comfortable than curing them.

  • Agriculture
    There are no industrialized farming techniques on Aires so many large farms rely on the labor of serfs who are paid very little or owe a debt to landlords. Most people in the western word of Aires are farm hands with the rest of the population being tradesmen, merchants and nobles.

  • Communication
    For communication within villages a message carrier on horseback delivers scrolls. For long-distance communication people send news through a complex bird delivery system where pigeons travel to and from strategically placed birdhouses across the world.

  • Daily Living
    Candles are used for light. Fabric is carved from animal hide. Most shoes are made of leather. Clothes made out of cloth, thread and yarn are spun at home on the loom. Most makeup is made from crushed egg shells, flowers, berries, oils and wax. Baths are drawn from mixing cool and boiled water. Most toilets come by way of outhouses with pans that are emptied twice a day by maids, business owners, or household members. For transportation people use horse & oxen, carriages & carts and wooden ships & boats for the water.

  • City Planning
    Aires has irrigation and aqueduct systems. There are coliseums for sport and tall walls to protect capitals. While most nations have taken to constructing their buildings closer to the ground, generations of ambitious architects have gone the extra mile to build the tallest pyramids and temples in Ira. Other developments: Eastern Isle was the first nation to use a city grid system and the RK is the only nation with an underground sewage system in its capital.

Toggle Rules

1.Be Respectful and mature. All criticisms should be constructive. If things get messy take it to PM.
2.Posts written are expected to be at least one paragraph long, no one-liners.
3.No god playing. Do not move or put a character you don't own in a situation without express permission from its player.
4.Be thoughtful about your characters and be realistic. This is a game where characters are supposed to grow and develop over time.
5.***Do not steal this game plot and post somewhere else.
6.Nice writing is expected, but mistakes can be forgiven. I just want to see some effort and willingness to try.
7.If you want to make a character from Aires please consult me and read the guide I linked in the introduction. (I will only allow a few) If you don't have a firm understanding of the world then I'd prefer you make a character from earth instead. :)
8. This game is meant to be a long term commitment. The goal is to post once a week but I know that life happens. However, it is not preferable to disappear for two weeks at a time without a heads up.
9. If you are interested in a position, please make your intentions known in OOC and put your best character sheet forward. There is no guarantee that you will get what you applied for but generally there is plenty of space.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 12 authors


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander

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[Calliope Alexander] - [#551a8b] - [Mood]
While the others seemed to have been listening attentively to the small child Cali had simply found her to be an irritating little sprog. Once her bedding was finished and smoothed out she set about finishing up the bed nearest one of the few rough windows in the barn. Setting down her backpack on the far side she carefully took out a bundle of solar panels which she affixed to the window, muttering slightly about the pitiful levels of light. It’d be enough for what she wanted but it wasn’t entirely great but would hopefully improve with a bit of time since the day was already fading. Either way the charging pack would at least be usable in a day or so.

Turning back to the room at large she had to muffle her laughter at the sight of the others all but breaking into full out war. She half expected one of them to try and smash a bottle to use as a knife; well if they had a bottle in the first place. As she lounged on her makeshift bed she thought about trying to intervene but while she was weighing the sides of the escalating conflict a few of the others had already jumped in the try and make peace. She raised her eyebrow when the gun-toting idiot handed his weapon to the native girl who hid it, supposedly safely, under her pillow.

”Hopefully you’ll both be good little children now that teacher’s confiscated your ‘toy’. I’d ask if you’re compensating but the answer can’t be anything else given how much of a blowhard you’ve already been.”

Satisfied with her barb she plugged her earphones in, flicking her music on before frowning as she saw the battery blink down to 18%. Despite her dwindling musical options she certainly found it amusing to watch as they sat down to share a joint, or at least he appeared to be offering to a girl who had been at his throat moments before.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander

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_____T H EXA R T I S T_____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Aires - Daniel Military Academy
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012

Heather's eyes were trained on Ron when he practically waved a loaded weapon around, narrowed into slits already when she had glanced back to see his smirk. Tallyho jumping had been a welcome source of aid and Angela coming right in afterwards softened her face, but the tension in her body didn't dissipate even when Ron said he would give a "gesture of good will." He had already gotten himself labeled as someone she really didn't want to waste her time pretending to like. If Ron really wanted to be cordial, then that was fine. But it wouldn't be turning into anything deeper than that and Heather was resolute about it even when she heard someone approaching her bed. Calliope's comment made her roll her eyes a bit, but considering everyone's mood back on the cart, Heather wasn't about to turn her already aggravated mood into something more on someone who hadn't done anything to her. Especially when the last hint of a dig at Ron made her want to laugh, even if she couldn't.

She did look up, though, when Ron was near and eyed him and the joint speculatively. Contray to whatever beliefs people had about Heather and her artist friends, she was not at all a part of the majority of artists who smoked and got high in order to achieve some sort of artistic drive. Nor had she ever used it to mellow her out. She had too many doctors in her head when she was young who told her how the strain of marijuana kids her age used wasn't the same as what it was before, and of the various toxins used within. Plus, it had never really appealed to her. "Thanks...but no thanks," she said, pleasantly surprised that her voice didn't hold any edge to it. Even though she didn't trust Ron's one-eighty in any way, shape or form. "Appreciate it, but...I don't smoke."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Kibi

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If you were wondering what had happened with Jules and Dorian within the past day’s journey, the answer would be a resounding “nothing”. Jules had woken with a stiff back, a headache, and the revelation that his dark roots were beginning to show and he had no way to stop them, which is to say that he had woken up to a bad mood. It was only perpetuated by the subsequent cramped cart ride, unpleasant tour of a less than cozy training academy where he would be spending the rest of forever, and the current interpersonal chaos that was this group and all they came into contact with.

He’d filled his mattress first, glad for once that he’d played set crew for a director that had demanded accuracy for a piece that took place in the middle ages (“If they cannot feel the straw, how are they supposed to feel the people who sleep on it? I ask you!), and was it, pale face twisted somewhere between a scowl and a pout.

Dorian was currently grimacing on his bed, although maybe that was just his face. He’d given up on filling his mattress halfway through, muttering something dark and unnerving* before simply setting the half-filled lining on his bed frame. He was currently running over the blade of his sword with a sharpening stone, the soft whick, whick noise of stone against steel lost in the surrounding cacophony of people. Somehow this was less concerning than the emptied gun Tallyho had tucked into her mattress. Jules wasn’t sure if that was because Ron was just that unnerving or if everyone was just comfortable with the thought that if Dorian went rogue, they were all screwed anyways.

*In Halesian, it translated to, “What a waste. Don’t they have goats to feed? At market you could sell this for…”

The two weren’t friends, per say, but they were certainly joined together in their division from the general hubbub. That and both had been bonded by the fact that they’d spent over twenty-four hours directly in each other’s presence and had not decided to kill or hate the other yet, which was a good track record among the group.

So, their conversation unfolded as such:

It’s like we’re in Hell,” Jules said when a new Month Warrior appeared out of the blue and Ron started waving around a joint. It was an appealing sight, but Jules wasn’t quite desperate enough to ask anything of their resident psychopath.

Dorian grunted in response, although he wasn’t certain what Jules was talking about. In the days they’d known each other, Dorian had come to accept that most of the Earthers’ idioms and sayings were going to be lost on him. It didn’t make getting back into the swing of Common any easier, but one must be patient with aliens, he supposed.

No, I mean it. There’s straw digging into my everything, we’ve had twenty fights in the last three seconds, I haven’t bathed in God knows how long, and… God, everyone’s awful,” Jules said, which wasn’t true, but that had never stopped him from complaining before.

Little girl is good,” Dorian corrected with a shrug. “Bold. Strong character, yes?”

You’re right. It is a good quality. She’s rather delightful,” came the reply, but it wasn’t from Jules who froze mid scoff. The voice was far too deep and warm, not slightly higher than usual and bitter. Both men abruptly turned their heads to the stranger in their midst.

A man was standing a little ways away from them, beaming in the direction of Kibi and Alina. He was a handsome man and a little older than anyone standing in the room, even Haru. His thick black hair and scruffy beard was flecked and peppered with gray and smile lines were evident on his dark face. Still, there was something about him that made his age hard to place, too much youth in his smile, too much energy in his body. He was not a large man, more lean and lithe, wiry muscles hinted at underneath his almost baggy training clothes. He was warmth personified, although there was something harder there, under the surface.

Before either could do much more than blink, the man was crossing the room and scooping Kibi up into his arms, swinging her high into the air with ease before pulling the child into his arms for a bear hug.

Kibi, my darling, my dear, have you been playing hostess?” He said as he set her down in a smooth motion before grinning at Alina. “Or co-hostess with our lovely Alina, yes? Charming our new students, I’m sure.” The tone was strange, not quite doting adoration but not quite a tease.

Somewhere in the midst of all that motion, both Jules and Dorian realized who he was. For Dorian, it was from watching him walk to Kibi, all powerful stride and loose but precise movements. Jules picked it up around the time he dared to coo at Alina, ignoring her detached manner.

When the man turned to the majority of the group, it was only to confirm their suspicions.

Hello and good evening. My name is Ryou Zerrin, the owner of this humble academy. Please forgive my lateness. I’m afraid that certain matters detained me.” He bowed deeply, although the motion lost any sort of seriousness the moment he straightened, delight spreading across his comely features.

So, which one’s mine? Where’s my March?” Ryou appeared eager, a broad grin spread across his face, but his eyes were surprisingly focused, scanning over each warrior with an appraising eye. They were being judged for some quality, and some were clearly found wanting. His eyes skipped over Dorian automatically, lingered only briefly on Jules and most of the others, and merely brushed over Ron before landing on Angela.

It’s her, right?” He said, asking Haru , who he had yet to officially greet, rather than the girl herself before turning back to her. “Has to be. Look at that sweet-faced smile.”

Jules, who remembered very little about whose month was whose but was quite certain that Angela had something to do with the Autumn, glanced over at Dorian and realized that Dorian had not been grimacing before. If he had been, there was no other word to describe the look of pure discomfort on his face when Ryou began his search for the March warrior, the realization that none of this was going to end well setting in quickly and forcefully. Well, that settled who March was.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Kibi

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#, as written by Linnea
Angela would be lying if she said she wasn't at least somewhat fearful of Dorian. Everything about him was intimidating. From his voice, his mannerisms, the fact that he seemed to be casually sharpening his sword as if preparing for combat. All of it spelled out an individual who wasn't someone she was comfortable with. However, comparing that to the man with drugs and a gun (unloaded and stowed away, it was still a threat to her) he didn't seem so bad. Well, that and she felt that she could at least talk to Ron. She had no idea where to begin with Dorian.

Now that Ron seemed to be pacified, however, the grating of metal began to concern her. Maybe I should say something. She thought to herself. Taking a deep breath, Angela let a smile spread on her face. No use talking to someone with a frown. Before she could, though, another man walked in.

He had a different air than the rest. Dignified, warm though he was. So this was the long awaited Ryou. She waved at first, plenty eager to introduce herself, but lowered her hand as he spoke.

"Oh, um, actually... I was born in November." She chuckled sheepishly. She was little flustered by the complement, though she was of course very pleased by it. More than that, however, the actual March warrior was about as different from her as could be. "Uh, Dorian is March."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Kibi

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Well it was comforting that the gun was out of the picture. If they were all dead who would save this world. Was Kei even sure he could trust these mad people. He looked over to Angela when she spoke. Honestly she seemed like the only sane one here. She pegged him as that one cheerleader type he saw around his campus. Then again he didn't judge a book by it's cover, she could've been a medical major for all he knew. "I agree, death is bad." he hummed, what good would a bunch of dead kids? He for one wanted to get home alive.

What was he in for? He wanted to joke and say a life sentence but he chose to be serious for now. "I'm told I'm the April Month Warrior, if that's what you mean?" he answered honestly. "I'm Keiran Wakefield you can call me Kei if you want. it's nice to meet you Angela!" He grinned. The grin left his face when another walked in. Oh, that was Ryou. He met him when he first got here. He had explained everything he needed to know. He guessed the man did anyways.

He was rather joyful and happy, exclaiming something about his March. He must've meant the March Warrior. He just had to snicker very quietly at the fact that he had gotten it wrong. So Angela was the November Warrior, or did it not work that way? He just sighed and layed back on his bed. Hay didn't offer that much of softness and he missed his bed back home. He missed home.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield

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XXHaru SinwoodX
Haru Sinwood

Haru, who had briefly departed to pee in a bush, came back into the barrack following closely behind Ryou. He missed the altercation between Ron and Heather, but it goes without saying that he would have certainly been disappointed or, at the very least, annoyed by their behavior.

When Ryou immediately gravitated to Angela, Haru nary lifted a finger to correct him. It was time, he thought, for the warriors to start owning these new titles. Defending them, even. Although he was a little surprised by a new young man who identified himself as April. It was a little embarrassing that Haru hadn’t managed to secure the boy himself, but he was nonetheless grateful that Ryou was able to get him to speed.

He looked at the young man, sizing him up. Another blonde. (Blonde as ever was this team.) He didn’t look like much of a fighter either. As the cold man mentally situated Kei into his rankings of preferred warriors (Dorian easily situated at the top of this list) he moved to address him.

“Welcome to the team. I am Haru. Like Ryou I am a guardian.”

Haru neglected to mention his specific title as the guardian of February. With so many warriors and so few active guardians (he wasn’t sure where on Aires the others were) it was best to assert that he was a guardian for all.

“Ryou,” he began gruffly. “Do you have any initiations for them?”

Certainly there had to be something the March guardian had planned to kick off the beginning of their training? No good school went without an orientation.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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Alina remained silent, during Haru’ brief disappearing intermission, to bear witness the month warriors ongoing idle chattering, various arguments and vicious commentary, and the subsequent attempt at making up one such argument. It was all very… Disappointing, yes. Annoying, almost certainly. Though her detached manner did not fade at face value, she couldn’t help the stab of uncertainty deep down that these children – as simple-minded, hormonal, youthful animals was much more of a mouthful – would ever amount to much as warriors (much less their destiny at hand). Time would most certainly tell nevertheless.

You’re right. It is a good quality. She’s rather delightful,” Came a reply that brought so much relief to the tension held in her shoulders, Alina suddenly relaxed to look downright pleasant, welcoming even – as not only Haru returned to help wrangle his month warrior crew, but the man that had been mentioned far too many times as the Leader of this Academy had finally arrived – Ryou, greeting first Kibi and herself, before introducing himself verbally to the whole of the party (if they already had not already guessed who he was when he had appeared and walked over to love on his daughter, and coo towards herself), before searching for his precious March warrior. Throughout the continued chittering’s, Alina aloof disinterest returned, though she remained attentive in her presence at Ryou’s side. “Ryou, Do you have any initiations for them?DING DING-DING DING… An enthusiastic dinner chime abruptly rang out right after Haru’s gruff question, interrupting whatever Ryou would have immediately responded with; and the shuffles of movement from a fair amount of students began, most of the traffic seemed to be going around o/s the building towards the third building the tour hadn’t touched in their brief halt for bed-making exercise; but a fair amount of students opened the groaning heavy doors of the barn, slipping between rows to their own sleeping spaces to drop of gear and personal weaponry, before heading out the opposite door.

Alina took a sudden side-step away from Ryou and Kibi in the general hub-bub, gracefully bounding up to balance precariously on the foot rails of another nearby empty bed. Her eyes sharp, hunting for something (or someone), because, for all her impressive high-and-mighty attitude, it was rather apparent she was not a particularly tall individual. Her scowl lightened as she focused on whom she’d been looking for, and called a brief, accent-garbling, name, “Bellator,” as she jumped from the frame and strode purposefully through the clearing path. She finally stopped in front of a younger man just making his way into the building, who had halted abruptly the moment his name had been called out and waited patiently for whomever had been attempting to get his attention. His dark hair and eyes, and comely features for a male, were potentially recognizable at that distance to a couple of the month warriors who had an adventure of sorts the night previously (if the name called out hadn’t done so already); and more so after he finished whatever conversation of short duration the two had, before Alina had turned on her heel – steps light and purposeful – and the man followed behind – with his own steps far more cautious, and aided by a wooden walking stave tapping along the way.

Follow them.” Alina murmured softly behind her, without waiting for any further acknowledgement; before looking to Ryou and conveying more in a simple glance than words ever could. It would be best after-all to get all of the ‘fresh-meats’ orientation out of the way, and including the warriors, there was only one other new student that arrived that morning. And she needed to get the supplies for all of them in turn. The conversation ended with a simple blink, as she turned away, graceful and jewelry jingling, to disappear out the second main door in the direction of the mess hall alone.

Leaving behind 'Bellator' that had offered her an affirmative nod in Alina's direction at her ordered commentary, as he rolled to a slow stop on the outskirts of the group in an "at ease" position with his feet spread comfortable apart for balance, and the free hand swinging at his side idly moved back to rest against the small of his back with the palm exposed. Remaining quiet, patiently waiting to follow along; and up close, he-Septimus did looked a little different from the night before for those that had met him -- Without the shadows and candlelight warmth to aid, he looked far more youthful, even with a openly polite if passive face (for the time being) void of the crooked grins and laughter under each breath; and yet older (or well-worn frankly) in turn, by the glossy, red, irritated pale skin splattered across his cheekbones, intentionally downcast eyes, and beginning to exhibit an exhausted set of his shoulders. The clothes seemed to be the same, or similar make of cloth and thread and leather, but well worn from a long day (and evening before) and unworn coat hanging over the shoulder. However, the roughed scraped knuckles and a blossoming bruise creeping up to be seen just above his shirt collar, were certainly newer additions to the look the former thespian had the evening previously.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor

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After Heather turned down the weed, Ron simply shrugged and walked outside the barn to smoke alone. He understood at that point that most, if not all of the month warriors hated him. He could not blame them even if he tried as he would probably not like himself either if in their shoes. After Ryou came and inspected Dorian, he decided to split rather than stay. He found no point in staying around the others when all of the attention was on someone else. The library would be a better place to go. After a few minutes of walking he heard a bell that sounded like the dinner alarm. However, after days of doing nothing but eating and sleeping, his appetite had all but left him. The only books he had read were the few that Haru had at the farm, which had only a bit of information on the world. What he was going to need was much more extensive than that.

Eventually Ron came to the library, or at least what looked like a library. It was not like he was expecting a Congressional layout, but there was a surprise in him to see a few scrolls on the shelves. He began to search through any materials that referenced the Month Warriors and the magic of the world. The goal that he had set for the night would be to find any information on the last January warrior and reference to their power. What Ron wanted to do with the information was to find a way to accelerate any training that he would need to take and he would spend days researching before his guardian came to the academy. Ron then put out his joint and started reading what he had picked out.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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Ryou’s eyes widened fractionally at Angela’s sheepish admission, and his grin shrank by a few molars. Those were the only signs he let on that he was surprised, quite the feat for a man so confident in his earlier assertion.

“Many pardons, Miss November. Maybe I am getting on in years, looking for familiar faces in pretty new ones,” warm laughter bubbled up again as he glanced over to Kibi. “It looks like I owe you an apology, Kibi. It looks like I am getting old.”

He was taking his error quite well, turning to the rest of the assembled group. Jules thought he noticed Ron slinking off to God-knows-where in the midst of the commotion, although Ryou didn’t move to stop him. Either he hadn’t noticed or the academy’s owner had that all-seeing, all-knowing teacher thing going on.

“And Dorian is… ah!” Ryou stopped, directly facing Dorian. While one could hope that he would have figured it out eventually (Dorian was such a typical Halesian name), the way Jules was pointing at him certainly helped speed up the process. The two may have been almost-friends, but Jules sure as fuck wasn’t about to risk being mistaken for the March Warrior first. He didn’t need to be the next victim of Ryou’s charm. The man was like a glitter whirlwind, all flash and enthusiasm, and Jules did not have the patience for that right now.

Dorian glanced at Jules sharply. Betrayal…!

And then the room was silent, Ryou observing the soldier with a slightly tilted head and an uncomfortably intense gaze and Dorian staring back, vaguely wishing, as he so often did these days, that it was a little cooler.

“Not to be rude, but you’re not exactly the March type. Are we sure?” said Ryou after a moment.

And Dorian knew at least that fact to be true. The stories of March that his grandmother had told him painted an enthusiastic figure, bursting with vivacity and sunlight. Their mood was flippant and inconstant, just like their month. Here sweet and warm like a lamb, there a roaring lion, passionate and bold. Dorian, on the other hand, appeared to be what would happen if March had an evil or at least lesser twin, the cold night to that warm day. All icy, still waters to March’s tumultuous, joyous waves.

“Yes,” Dorian finally said, and because it was the only thing he knew to do, he fished the aquamarine pendant out from under his shirt and held it aloft.

What happened next was a blur of movement as Ryou surged towards, now standing a bit too close for any normal person’s comfort (this meant, of course, that he was infinitely too close for Dorian’s). Jules flinched to one side while Dorian’s hand twitched towards his empty sword sheath on instinct.

The sudden movement was over as soon as it began because with fingers hovering over the pendant cradled in Dorian’s hand, he stilled, not even breathing. There was a moment of silence before Ryou’s fingertips wavered and he pulled his hand back to his chest as if the very proximity to the pendant had left him burnt.

“Yes. Yes, I see that now. What is your full name?”

“Steinsson Dorian.” It was like a switch had been flipped. Ryou was suddenly back to his original state, a grin settling on his face.

“Steinsson? Oh, I suppose we have another big buff Halesian here. Whatever am I to do?” He laughed, the sound booming and warm and rich. It didn’t quite reach his eyes, and Jules, who knew a thing or two about acting (and even more about escaping an emotional moment while surrounded by large, judgmental crowds of people), noticed.

But they were apparently wasting no time with Haru stepping forward, no doubt returned from doing something incredibly important like ensuring that the Month Warriors would survive another day. Jules didn’t bother to suppress a groan when Haru mentioned an initiation. Dorian was just relieved that Ryou’s attention was off of him again, now turned on their red-headed guardian.

“Really, Haru? Are you trying to rush me in my own home?” Ryou scoffed, although the false-indignation was shattered with another laugh. “But you are right, as always. I’m afraid all of you have some time to go before you can settle in for the evening. If you would- ah!”

He paused, eyes flickering in a new direction. Jules followed his gaze to see Alina’s retreating back (maybe she’d finally grown tired of them) and someone that, to his surprise, he actually recognized.

“You!” Jules spluttered. It was Septimus, the hero of the hour for both Jules and Heather. Of course he’d be there now because apparently nothing was ever pure coincidence in Jules’s life. In the light of the day, he seemed almost like an average person, not the humble yet noble figure he’d encountered the night before. Just human, and… Jules winced. Injured. It wasn’t like he was bleeding everywhere, but he’d been clearly roughed up. Something akin the guilt welled up in Jules’s stomach. Had that been his fault after he and Heather unintentionally started the fight?

But he pushed that and the lingering embarrassment of randomly shouting out down, although his face did flush an interesting shade of red.

“You’re here. I… Are you…?”

Ryou seemed to take pity on him.

“You know each other? A lovely coincidence,” Ryou hummed as he began to move forward and out of the barn. “Septimus, follow, please. I seem to recall that these are not my only new students who have yet to enjoy my initiation.”

He glanced back at the group, merely slowing his pace rather than stopping. “If all of you will join me? Keiran, this is the event I was telling you about. I’m sure you’ll be excited to finally take part.”

And then he was out the door, expecting them to keep up. Dorian followed swiftly, leaving Jules to linger for a moment before hurrying behind. Things happened here either at an achingly slow pace or all at once, and he wasn’t quite sure which this particular venture was going to be. Also, where had Ron wandered off to?


Before we can answer that particular question, we must pause and answer one posed earlier. Why, indeed, had Ryou not seen fit to stop Ron from meandering out of the modified barn? The answer is simply that he didn’t have to.

The library Ron reached was an interesting building, more solidly built than perhaps any other structure on the small campus, save for the armory. The room he wandered into was lined with neat shelves containing scrolls and papers, most loose and relatively new in terms of creation. This was the reading room, a place for the more casual scholar within the academy. Here you could find basic answers regarding Aires. They were the text books, if you will, of the basics one must know before being flung into the midst of the various countries and conflicts. It was a plain room and, indeed, no match for the great libraries of Earth.

Look closer, however, and you might note a strange patch on the floor, located in a far corner and nearly pinned in by low shelves. That patch let out a creak a little louder than expected when stepped on and was paired with several indentations, including a small hole. A key hole.

Ryou was many things, including (on occasions featuring particularly lovely people) a fool, but one does not become successful by placing one’s most valuable possessions out for every snot-nosed brat and belching warrior to put their hands on. Hidden below this particular room was the real literary treasure trove of the academy; ancient scrolls stored neatly next to leather tomes and bound manuscripts older than almost anyone could imagine. Only those with express permission from Ryou (or Alina if Ryou couldn’t be found) were allowed in that ancient library. These were the scholars of the Academy.

Two such scholars (or, in reality, one scholar and one helper) suddenly rose from the trapdoor, the tiny hinges moving silently. The first person to climb out was a boy, even younger than the youngest Month Warrior. He had sharp features, a hawkish nose, and his skin and hair were the color of freshly fallen snow. He was followed by a tall scarecrow of a person, lanky and tall with untamable black curls for hair. A single sharp scar stretched from cheek to cheek, crossing over the bridge of their nose.

It was only after the door had been shut and safely locked that the two seemed to notice Ron.

“Sorry, what are you doing here?” It was the scarecrow person, voice rough but surprisingly high. Their gender wasn’t immediately apparent, and they seemed pleasant enough. “Don’t mean to be rude. I don’t recognize you is all.”

The white-haired boy jerked at the older person’s sleeve to get their attention, moving his hands in a flurry of quick signs. The older nodded in understanding.

“I got ya’. Whole bunch of new ones these days, eh? Right, then.” They turned to Ron once again. "Sorry, but you’re not allowed to be off on your own yet, being new and all.”

The boy signed something again, nose wrinkled, and his companion laughed.

“And not smelling of skunk weed as you are! Good point, Mori,” The other snickered. The young boy, now known as Mori, looked smug as the scarecrow person gave Ron a crooked grin.

“So, I suppose I’ll be escorting you out then, if you don’t mind?”

End Interlude

Even if Ron did mind, the duo swiftly, courteously, and effectively escorted him out of the library and back to the group.

There was nothing that needed to be done about Ron, apparently, because Ryou’s students were as efficient as Haru had hinted at earlier when telling them about the academy.

“Dae and Mori,” Ryou offered by way of explanation to the group as he waved the pair away to go enjoy their dinner. “My students are very conscientious, as you can tell. Now that we’re all here…”

They walked for maybe twenty minutes, the neat area of the academy slowly transforming into thick woods filled with trees and ferns. It was colder for a time, the canopy growing overhead blocking out the sun’s last rays as it began its descent. Ryou walked on purposefully, unheeding of tree roots and ferns that threatened to trip up the unwary traveler. It was only when he took a sudden left that the daylight was returned to them.

He’d brought them to a clearing on top of a cliff, plush green grass thriving under the warm sun. From here they could see other densely forested mountaintops as far as the eye could see. At the bottom of the cliff was a large body of water, clear and blue and deep, lined by the cliff walls apart from a patch of land some ways off. It was the only way that led back to the surrounding forest.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Ryou. Dorian had to agree, if only because he’d never seen moving water that clean or quiet.

Ryou made his way to the cliff’s edge, pirouetting to face them as he reached the lip.

“This, my students, is your initiation. It is a ritual all of my students have completed. Consider it a learning experience. All you have to do is take a leap of faith into the waters below-“

“Nope!” Jules was pale with fear or rage or both. “No thanks. I’ve done a lot of weird shit in the past few days, but I’ve drawing a big, fat line at jumping off a cliff.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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_____T H EXA R T I S T_____

Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012

Heather's gaze lingered on Ron's form until he was out of sight and literally out of the barn, and only then did she feel the tension truly leave her body. She didn't know when she was going to officially not distrust him, but for now, it was the main feeling she had towards the man and she didn't see herself letting it go for awhile. Luckily, she didn't have to focus on that for too long. The elusive Ryou Haru had kept mentioning finally appeared and Heather didn't even hide her surprise that the person they had been waiting to see was the father of the little girl who had literally sprung up out of nowhere earlier. She didn't vocalize that surprise; just her eyebrows raising almost as high as her hair line.

She watched as Ryou eyed them all speculatively, even with the liveliness he had presented, in search of his month warrior. The scrutiny felt only slightly invasive and Heather shifted on her feet, folding her arms over her chest. It made her smirk, then, to see Ryou confuse month warriors, believing for a moment that Angela was his as opposed to Dorian. Heather bit her lower lip to hold back a giggle at Jules very pointedly gesturing to Dorian when Ryou looked for him, but all mirth disappeared from her face when Septimus appeared.

Just like Jules, Heather was shocked but her "What the - " was more under her breath than loud enough for any of the others to hear. Haru, though, decided to mention an initiation that Heather could have done without having mentioned, and so instead of actually really delving into her curiosity over Septimus' presence, she tossed Haru an unappreciative glare that more than likely went unnoticed in light of Ryou acknowledging that there was an initiation ritual of some kind. Great, she thought dryly, but followed the group nonetheless.

If it wasn't for the fact that Heather's dress was made of sturdy material, a thick enough fabric where thin branches and the like couldn't really penetrate it, she'd probably be glaring at Ryou's back. Well, she actually still was since she was pretty sure she had tripped twice and the branches had poked at her through the dress as they - along with two extras and Ron - followed him through the cold expanse of woods. She rubbed at her arms uselessly, trying to make the friction provide more warmth despite knowing that it clearly wasn't going to happen for her. Finally, they reached a cliff overlooking deep water. An eyebrow instinctively twitched upwards at the sight and Ryou twirling to face them, and Heather...well, she was too frustrated with the overall lack of food, real sleep, and just foolishness that came with being inserted in what anyone else would consider a fantastical dream. It was a reality, she knew, considering the fact that she had yet to have awaken in the real world for it to have ever just been a dream, but it didn't stop it from feeling very much like some weird fantasy realm someone conjured up on some internet forum.

Because of that, when the unenthusiastic "Sure, let's do this!" literally reached her ears out of nowhere, Heather was viscerally surprised to realize that they had come from her own mouth. She dryly swallowed her own bubbling reservations and took a few steps forward, something itching underneath her skin in anxious ripples of nerves and something else clawing its way up her throat. Heather knew enough about herself to know that she could be brave; she also was aware of that many times her bravery had been called impulsive. At the end of the day, they had been led to a cliff and instructed to jump, and honestly, it was a refreshing thing - literally, considering they would be jumping into water - in comparison to having been in a wagon for five days. And it didn't feel too wrong, not when - as she pointed out to the others, "It can't be as bad as a whole ass monster in the middle of New York." She gazed at Ryou when she reached where he was at the lip, eyebrow still raised as she questioned, "Just jump, right? No crazy monsters in the water that we should know about, right?"


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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XXTallyho AbelX

XXHaru SinwoodX

Here they were, in this rustic academy where they were to learn how to fight and survive on their own. Truthfully, Tallyho wasn’t too confident in her ability to acclimate to a place like this. She suspected that there were far too many rules and procedures, things that she wouldn’t typically find the energy to invest in. But for the moment that insecurity didn’t matter. When she heard what sounded like a dinner bell she rightfully assumed that it was time to eat. She was especially excited because, well, eating was truly the only thing she could be passionate about these days.

And so she did find herself feeling put off when, instead of eating, they were led on some twisting walk of nature through a shedding forest. They came to the mount of aclearing: A cliff full of berry bushels and grass overlooking a still body of water. And off the shore of the pond was —oh Goddess. Did Ryou just ask them to jump?

“No,” the blonde replied curtly. The reaction came instantly with no time to process. At first she wasn’t sure if she had said it or if Jules had because they declined the offer in the same second. She waited for a moment, listening to the full extent of Jules’ retort before adding in her own.

“I can’t swim. I go there, I drown.” She wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to admit such a thing. Swimming was something that not many girls in the caravan had time to do since they were too busy doing chores for the commune.
“And what happens even? We get there and then? Walk back to camp? For what?”

Haru watched the group with crossed arms as they unfolded into a spectrum of apprehension and eagerness over jumping off of the cliff. He then glanced at Ryou knowingly. This was going to be a long ride for everyone, but especially the guardians. Ron already broke open the seal of the straggling trend, something that Haru anticipated would happen quite often with this group. He could only imagine what would come out of an activity like this. But at least not all of them were as hesitant to make this work. Heather seemed to be making their jobs a little easier.

The gruff Halesian stayed silent, looking to Ryou to see how he would respond to the group’s growing discomfort.

Kibi, having been preoccupied with her father’s entrance, didn’t read very well the concern present in this moment. And instead of remaining silent, she proceeded to taunt the group playfully, as if jumping off of a cliff was just a small bit of a game to be played. She curled her hands toward her wrists and tucked them into her armpits, floundering her elbows frantically as she jumped up and down.

“You’re not gonna jump because all of you are all chiiickeens!”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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Just as Ron had found a page talking about the previous January warrior, two librarians had sprang up from a floorboard. He found it odd that the library was not open for public use, as if non state related knowledge was something to guard from their students. He quickly took a photo of the page before joining them on the way back to the barn. As they walked he read that page on his phone. When it revealed his power was healing, his eyebrows shot up. It was a power that would be great to help the bulk of people in a middle aged society, sure, but he wondered if it could also be used quickly on himself. If that was the case then he could become a Wolverine like fighter, without the claws.

He returned to the group and they were led by Ryou to a cliff overlooking a lake. Though it was not a dangerously tall cliff, like 100 feet, it was still tall to say the least. After their future headmaster requested a leap of faith, Ron's memories shot back to his childhood. He and his friends would often take camping trips to the Black Hills when they were younger and swim in the lakes once they were there. The lakes were always filled with rocky cliff sides, so they and the local children would spend their hours cliff jumping. However, his friend John spent months in the hospital after he forgot to jump, instead choosing just to walk off.

As the group began to make worrisome comments and excuses for not going in, Ron took off his jacket and stuffed his phone inside. "You guys don't want to live forever do you?!" He exclaimed. Then he took a sprinting start before jumping off the cliff. As he fell through the air, his legs curled into his arms to form a cannonball and after a few seconds his skin made the nostalgic shock of the water impact that he was expecting, a feeling that really made one feel alive. Ron began to swim around before calling out to Tallyho.

"If you can't swim, then just wait for all of us to get in. No reason for us to just watch you drown!"


Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

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#, as written by Linnea
Angela blinked and smiled, a bit flustered by the compliment. The added title of November was a surprise, too. She certainly hadn’t expected it and wasn’t sure how she felt about being called such.

“Ah, oh, um, it’s fine.” She managed to stutter out.

Ron’s absence was a welcome reprieve for Angela. The air in the room felt different to her, and she felt far more at ease than before. The mention of initiation, however, quickly squashed that. In a foreign world with unknown rules, anything was a threat. For all she knew an initiation could involve chasing bears or fighting dragons. Furthermore, they’d hardly had any rest let alone a bite to eat. Still, she followed with the rest of the group since she couldn’t find any way to get out of it.

Angela gasped at the sight. It really was beautiful. And, though she wasn’t a daredevil, she was no stranger to water. That was one of the great things about California. No matter where you went, there was some sort of water to play in. With the exception of rain, that is. It felt nice to finally be knowledgeable about something in this strange world.

“A dive like this shouldn’t be too bad!” She said excitedly. Her thoughts were soon confirmed by Ron. This didn’t feel nice. Still, she remained excited.

“I’ll help out!” She turned to Tallyho, her smile wide. “We can jump together and I’ll help you swim! It’ll be no prob!”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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_____T H EXA R T I S T_____

Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012

Ron didn't even bother asking questions about what he was jumping in to, which was brave. That much Heather could give to him. She was going to do the same, anyway. At the last minute, she had had to ask if there was anything in the water to be aware of since that was normal human behavior. It was against her normal 'shoot first, ask questions later' mentality, but this entire situation - all that they had experienced - was starting to change her tactics. It also could have been the fact that real, honest-to-God sleep had yet to hit her and she was hungry, so she wasn't really all the way there. Heather didn't have it in her figure out which it might be.

"Yeah, do what they said," she told Tallyho when she took a few steps back from the lip, done with observing the deep blue expanse. "Jump with Angela and I'll wait for you at the bottom to make sure you're alright. You won't drown." It felt good to be able to tell someone something she was actually sure about; that she could provide. The realization was the thing that haunted Heather when, after those words had gotten out of her mouth, she sprinted towards the cliff and took that leap. Gravity yanked her downwards and the water rushed up to her, enveloping her from all sides as she sunk into its cold depths. Heather distantly remembered her father's disdain with people jumping into cold water without letting their bodies adjust to the temperature. For those with risk to heart disease, the blood vessels in the heart can constrict, leading to chest pains like angina or a heart attack. Desperately, the person tries to breathe and pull in more oxygen, muscles getting cold and instantly paralyzed by the hyperventilation. Heather let herself sink for just a moment, even as her lungs demanded immediate relief.

A few seconds later and she was clawing back to the surface, pushing herself with measured kicks until her head broke the surface. It wasn't that long for her to have been under water, but it was enough for her to solidify what she wanted. She had known it to some degree, but it was solidified when all she could see was the practically empty world beneath the water's surface. She wanted that security. This was still a world she didn't know and she wanted to know it, wanted to be able to know that she could survive in it. Thrive, even. And if it meant that they had to be here with Ryou and do what he said (though she knew she'd probably challenge him at some point if something seemed ridiculously illogical), then so be it. She wanted the security she assured Tallyho would have once the blonde jumped. And she would get it. "Not as bad as I thought it would be," she said aloud, and maybe it was to Ron but she didn't expect a response. The next time she opened her mouth, though her throat burned due to the cold, it was a yell to the others still on the cliff, "Come on and jump. You'll be fine."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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When someone randomly shouts out in exclamation towards another, it is often more than reasonable to react to in kind; or one might respond instead, rather than react, by – keeping distance, listening without commentating, and waiting until calm rules over the interaction. Septimus favored the latter method, remaining cautiously meek until Jules’ continued stammering eventually caused the solemn expression to shift into a familiarly crooked smile of remembrance. Septimus’ lips parted as if to respond in kind, however, Ryou was quicker to interject and take pity on the other; taking his own bleary attention away, though the kind smile remained. “Yes sir.” He briefly mused, voice rough with a thick Constantine accent – more proper than many of the slippery tones of the Solacians they’d heard so far, and more posh than most of the varied accents of the group standing before him.

Ryou continued into the lull of conversation, asking them to follow him towards an initiation event. “After you, Acquaintance.” He twittered cheerfully warm as the group in mass began filing out of the barn and followed after the March Guardian on their venture, motioning for Jules to hurry along after his momentarily pause. Septimus brought up the rear of the party, occasionally with an uneasy but quietly inconspicuous hisses rattled through clenched teeth (rather resembling a whistling tea kettle) in annoyance, when the trail’s bumps and flora activity bothered his traction and feet finding themselves reliably. He collected himself each time, however, wordlessly and without any further expression as his charming features fell back into a patient yet polite mask, and continued onward.

Arriving at their destination, Septimus wasn’t obviously wowed by the no doubt impressive scenery, but appreciated the moments respite to catch his breath and listen to what was to be their combined group’s initiation. The description of a ‘leap of faith’ of a cliff into a body of water, however, was cause for some alarm for many and for others were excited for the chance… Septimus blinked. What? He want them to, ahh… What he personally felt was not easily found upon his stoic facial features, nor in the depths of his eyes; but he was still clearly hesitant, as he cautiously stood on the outskirts of the group, though he didn’t say much of anything. He listened to the varying reactions of the others; many were heighted by fear, two – one of the pair, by the sound and fullness of her voice, caused another flick of remembrance, the ‘manslander’ that had been accompanied by Jules’ ‘acquaintance’ – controlled it enough (or didn’t have any in the first place perhaps?) to jump under their own power, and others were attempting to convince the more fearful ones that they would help them along.

Septimus sighed softly, muttering something unintelligible under breath (a prayer perhaps?), slipping on his coat before brushing past the others to stand at the cliff’s edge for a momentary pause as his eyes fruitlessly scanned the watery depths below. He bent down slightly to drop the walking stave upon the ground at his feet, before taking a strained leap (before he could convince himself logically against such an action otherwise) as far from the Stoney face as possible – limps tucked neatly and fell into a stable nosedive that left a reasonable sized splash, alone, on his own, and by his own choice.

Then came the pain of the impact, and while water might have been better than bone-breaking ground or rock at such an impressive height, but it still hurt. The cool temperature of the water as he plunged into it shocked him enough to take in a startled breath of the same water surrounding him, and after a brief moment of struggle, finding that if he kicked his legs just right he moved, and by luck, he found the surface. He gasped laboriously a breath of fresh, mountain air, spitting out the water from the first failed breath, and nearly sunk under again. He kicked his legs a little more strongly to keep above the water level, but it was such a disorienting struggle. Could he do this? Maybe. Now where was the shore? How about forward? That sounded good.


شيق” Came a melodious throaty purr, as Alina returned to the party noting something (or someone) interesting in her native tongue. Hauling a heavy bag over her shoulders, even though wrapped tightly and stuffed with edibles – the smell alone coming from the bundle could attract the hungry, not unlike capturing flies off raw meat. Stopping along the edge beside Ryou, eyes sharp and taking note of the three jumpers so far down below (two seemed the be treading water near the cliff face, awaiting for the others; and the last, was already struggling towards the shoreline in a meandering but valiant effort). “Even the invalid had heart to jump before most of them.” She commented thoughtfully, as if it were only the weather she’d described was happening and not the blinded young man making an attempt all on his own; nor was it by any means favorable praise.

Before with a shake of her long, braided hair – a visible form of her own nerves or exhilaration perhaps – Alina leapt from the cliff, with dinner in tow, and entered the water with a controlled dive of experience. She reappeared above the water momentarily for a breath of fresh air among Heather and Ron, who she spared no attention too save for quick appraising glances, before diving under again to swim strongly towards the shoreline. She soon easily out-swam the floundering Septimus, who in turn corrected his own swimming direction to follow the physical evidence of another swimmer headed for the distant shoreline, even with the load upon her back and water-laden tunic dress and jewelry.


Camp here, food has been provided in this pack for all – survive for the night, prove your worthy of training, and we’ll return for you in the ‘morrow.” Alina spouted off shortly, and whether or not there was anyone else (save the gagging Constantine boy) that had made it to land yet to hear the orders themselves. She quickly disappeared into the underbrush and trees, quiet and efficient in her travel that only the most foolhardy would follow (or think they could) her nonexistent tracks.

Septimus barely heard her exasperated orders, because he was out of breath, not terribly so, but enough that he hacked and coughed for minutes after being out of the swimming-level water and could stand hesitantly on shaking limbs to walk the reminder of the distant to the silty shoreline. However, he still gave Alina a nod of acceptance before she went and disappeared again, as the coughs left him and he focused on breathing slowly for the moment as he sat down in the fine, grainy sand. Though the smell of the food in the pack beside him was wonderful no doubt (if slightly tainted by the unsavory lake water scent), he didn’t have much of the appetite as of yet feeling rather soggy inside and out. Alas, for the meantime Septimus decided it’d be best to wait for more of the others to complete their own journey, and arrive. Raising a hand to wearily wipe away the streaming rivets of water off his face, and then moving on to ruffle though his hopelessly tangled, and very wet, hair in attempt to make his hair fall down somewhat normally (and down, more or less) and squished out some of the water. And then rubbed down the slick tough leather of his coat (only made gritty in places by the sand and slit clinging to it) on his arms, in an idle attempt of resisting the urge not to itch the softened scabs on his knuckles threatening to drive him mad and bring frictional warmth (and dryness) while he waited.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Jules said, lips pulled into a thin, displeased line.

It wasn’t shocking that Ron had taken the first opportunity to jump- whether that was due to a confident nature or poor impulse control, Jules couldn’t say. But then Heather joined him in the water, followed by Septimus’ clumsy dog paddle and Alina’s reappearance turned Olympic worthy strokes towards the island. Now even Tallyho seemed to be considering the “leap of faith”, Angela and Heather promising to help her.

Could they even do that? Keep someone who couldn’t swim from drowning when they jumped off a cliff? Not that it really mattered to him. Not because he knew how to swim but because he definitely wasn’t going in that water, no matter what the little gremlin dancing in the background had to say.

Only Dorian remained unmoved, it seemed, hard eyes leveled on Ryou. Or maybe patient eyes. It was hard to tell.

The teacher himself had crossed his arms, lips pursed in displeasure as one after another the students tumbled off the cliff. When Septimus and then Alina hit the water, however, he let out a loud, put-upon sigh and moved closer to the cliff’s edge, leaning over to address the waterlogged warriors.

“I see patience and prudence will have to be my first lesson,” Ryou called out, a look of disappointment deepening the creases in the corners of his eyes. In any other situation, Jules would have been impressed by his ability to project. Ryou’s voice echoed throughout the cove, reaching those below as easily as the stragglers on the cliff’s edge.

“And perhaps as a reminder for you, Alina! You are never too old to learn something.”

With an accompanying laugh, his smile returned, although less bold than before.

“As I was saying, our initiation involves leaping into my little oasis and ending up on that island in whatever way best suits you. I would recommend leaving your possessions here with me, but perhaps that is a belated warning.” He quirked an eyebrow at the waterlogged warriors, who appeared to have jumped in fully clothed and without emptying their pockets.

“No use in soaking your possessions, yes? Or being dragged down by heavier things.” Ryou said, glancing meaningfully at Dorian’s sword and Jules’ heavy purple bag. “They will be brought to you before the sun has set. I swear this on my honor as a teacher.”

“But perhaps more importantly to note is that you will be staying on our little island tonight. Alina has brought your supplies, as you can see. It will be a camping adventure!”

“And a word of warning, if you will.” The chill emanating from Ryou’s tone now made the late afternoon air seem even colder. “A Cyclopean has been spotted in the surrounding woods. I am a Guardian, but I will not train people so incompetent that they cannot, as a group, defeat a single Cyclopean. If you survive the night, I will train you. If not…” He quirked his head to one side, considering. “I suppose it doesn’t matter.”

While Jules was treating Ryou with a look of abject horror, Dorian was already folding his outer clothes with a military precision. He was left in his small clothes; light britches and a thin sleeveless shirt that exposed the sprawling scars decorating his arms and shoulders. His grandmother might have chided him on his lack of layers, especially in front of women, but years of shared living quarters with other Halesian soldiers* won out over Hales’ prudish cultural norm. Besides, the air here was so warm in comparison to home, and he had no desire to sit around in wet clothes for the rest of the evening.

*Male and female, as it so happened. While it was rare to see a female soldier in the front lines of Hales’ wilderness, they were a relatively common sight in the larger cities, marching side by side with their male counterparts.

The mission ahead of him was not unreasonable, Dorian thought as he slid his small bundle of supplies and his sword neatly on top of his clothes. Follow orders, put yourself in danger, survive. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Dorian made his way to the cliff’s edge next to Ryou.


A pleased smile crossed Ryou’s face. At least one of them was already in the habit of listening to orders. He couldn’t imagine what Haru had gone through by himself, dealing with this group.

“Yes. You may jump.”

And so Dorian did. The water was refreshingly cool as it swallowed him, a chill he’d missed. Still, he didn’t linger. Dorian kicked towards the service, shaking off the initial sting of entry, his form slow but sure. One did not exactly go swimming for fun in Hales, but anyone required to be around the frigid lakes and rivers had to learn how to swim by necessity, hopefully moving fast enough before the ice began to encroach on those bitter winter days.

“I don’t have a choice, do I?” Jules said as he watched the March Warrior make his steady way towards the island, following in Alina and Septimus’s wake.

“Well, you do,” Ryou offered with a shrug, smiling pleasantly. “I said you may choose your method. But, no. You must jump or you cannot be trained. Easy.”

“That’s literally not-“ Jules cut himself off with an exasperated sound.

What was he supposed to do? Beg those in the water to help him too? Hope that some sort of survival instinct kicked in when he dropped so that he wouldn’t drown? Not that they could let him drown. They needed him right? He glanced at Ryou and Haru. Yeah. They did need him.

An almost serene, thoughtful look replaced his scowl. It was a dangerous look. The look of a person who’d just had an idea.

“That’s fine.” The June Warrior placed his bag reluctantly on the ground. He’d barely parted with it for more than an hour or two for the entirety of his stay on Aires, but he couldn’t afford to get it wet. He’d have to deal with the wet clothes, though. Unlike Wildman Dorian, he wasn’t about to start stripping in front of people he barely knew. “Can I choose how I get down there now?”

Ryou treated him with a curious look before glancing back at Haru. Was this one prone to mood swings?

“Of course.”

“Great." Jules looked almost cheerful. "Then I want help getting to the island. From you.” He levelled a finger at Ryou.

It was a pretty plan, in Jules's mind. If he had to risk his life jumping off a cliff and then further put himself in danger by camping in monster infested woods, why not make Ryou suffer along with him? Except that, wait… Ryou looked delighted by the offer, all approving. Jesus, he hadn't expected optimism and a desire to help. Nope. Jules was not dealing with that right now. Time for Plan B.

“Ugh, no, never mind,” Jules scoffed before turning to the other Guardian. “Haru's going to help me.”

The crestfallen pout on Ryou’s face was absolutely worth whatever retribution Haru sent his way. It was the ginger’s fault for bringing them here, anyways. Sweet, petty revenge.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor

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After hearing Ryou's speech, Ron began to swim his way to the island at a moderate pace as to not be too tired on his arrival. Upon reaching land he surveyed his surroundings. There was a pack next to Septimus and a grouping of Aspens off to the distance. So Ron searched through the pack to see what was in there. Pans, food, and tools; the works. He took a hatchet along with some flint & steel and made his way over to the Aspens. He began to chop notches into the trees and when he was finishes, cut down young trees in order to match them according to the notches. There were then two makeshift railings that were created from the grouping. Next came digging a large shallow pit in between the rails with his hand. Though Ron learned how to do this from time to time in the Eagle Scouts, he still detested it as his fingernails would backed up with dirt for the next week. The next step was placing rocks around the pit as well as leaves and twigs inside. He then used the flint and steel until he got a small flame, to which it was fed until it became large.

"If you you want to dry your clothes, you can put them on these racks by the fire. Just be sure to strain them before you put them on or they might break. Ron called out to Septimus, Heather, and any others who had jumped. He began to strip down to his underwear, straining the water out from them away from the fire, and hung them on the rack closest to him. If they were going to spend the night, the least they could do is spend it wearing dry clothes. As Ron waited for the others to come and get dry, he huddled as close as he could to the fire without getting burnt, making sure to feed it as time went on.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Alina Tavaria Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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XXTallyho AbelX

XXHaru SinwoodX
Tallyho Abel

Tallyho watched the others with a sideways glance as, one by one they toppled off of the cliff with a foolish eagerness. When Angela offered help to Tallyho, smiling and chirping that this dive wouldn’t be “so bad,” she appraised the blonde with wide eyes, flickering with disbelief.

“You? Help me?” She asked. Her tone was interrogating, but less in the spirit of ‘I can’t believe you’re helping me,’ and more in the spirit of ‘I can’t believe you think you could help me.’ Perhaps this was Tallyho’s biases getting the best of her, but Angela seemed like such a little flower that Tallyho found it hard to imagine her lugging another heaving human across a body of water. Not that Tallyho was much stronger, she couldn’t imagine herself doing the same thing. But she didn’t find the idea of Angela doing this any less ridiculous.

When Heather of all people suggested they jump, Tallyho was reeling. Were they all under some drunken hypnotism that Tallyho was being left out of? She hadn’t been able to process her shock before Heather went tumbling off of the cliff, straight down like a rock being thrown in a pond. Tallyho shook her head and took a step back, looking at Angela.

“No, I don’t think so.” She resolved. Her tone was cold and it honestly could have been very easy for her rejection to be taken as a personal attack. But Tallyho figured that it was for the best. If they went down together, she thought, they’d both surely drown.
A few others went on and Tallyho stayed put. It happened very quickly and before she knew it she was alone with Jules, Angela and their now very questionable guardians. Jules managed to hash out some sort of deal with Ryou, which would give them the option of jumping on their own terms, dragging Haru along with them.

Haru Sinwood

Haru, being the block of the man he was, didn’t actually mind the idea. But he supposed the reason that Jules chose him was because they thought the burly man would be completely appalled by the prospect of getting wet. Unbeknownst to them, Haru was not appalled — that was just the natural state of his face. And without much of a confirmation, Haru took Jules by the arm and marched them to the cliffs’ edge. With a short heave he pushed Jules forward and over the edge, jumping after them not long after to see to it that they makes it ashore.

Tallyho still stood there, arms crossed. She halfway wanted to ask Ryou for his assistance over the edge, but resisted as she feared he might reenact Haru’s way of throwing Jules into the fray. With a shallow sigh she turned to Angela, defeated.

“Okay,” she said. “Make sure I don’t die.”

And with a hand wrung tightly around Angela’s arm she jumped too.


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#, as written by Linnea
Angela was giddy. She bounced on her toes, stretched a bit, and grinned at Tallyho.

“Alright then! Let’s go!” She wasted no time jumping into the water, hooting and cheering as they dove.

She hit with a large splash and immediately began kicking her legs, propelling her and Tallyho to the surface at a reasonable speed. It was slower than she expected, swimming with someone else in tow, and a lot more difficult than she had anticipated. But she knew what she was doing. Swimming was just part of growing up on the California coastline. That combined with the strength from cheerleading gave her all the muscle she needed.

The technique was a bit lacking, though. As she breached the surface, arms firmly wrapped around Tallyho, she found it difficult to steer. Still, she was beaming with delight.

“And we’re afloat! Don’t worry about your legs, I’ll do all the kicking!”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor Character Portrait: Keiran Wakefield Character Portrait: Kibi Character Portrait: Ryou Zerrin

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After the hacking fits subsided and tense breaths eased, Septimus relaxed his stiffened posture and ceased rubbing his arms for frictional warmth - holding himself with a remarkably purposeful stillness, waiting patiently for the spastic arrival of the others. He wasn't waiting long before the splashes of the disturbed shoreline announced the arrival of one or two (and more on their way) and perhaps... No, it was definitely the Constantine roots in him that expected at the very least a terse greeting before anyone happened to step into his space - a warning as it was, would have been appreciated. Septimus' jaw locked as he remained silent hiding away his immediate annoyance, blearily observing Ron's continuing flurry of busy blusterous movements setting up the camp (thank the Goddess for that) with a cautious - due to a lifetime of necessity - unblinking eye. "If you want to dry your clothes-..." Septimus declined with a rueful shake of his head to Ron's commentary upon finishing clothing drying racks and feeding the growing fire. Instead he took the time to avert his wandering gaze to the partially ransacked pack the advanced student Alina had left behind for them: One part because stripping and hanging his coat to dry would ruin the integrity of it's water-sheering properties, and he was certainly much dryer / warmer where it had been fastened tightly before their leap of fate and swim to the patch of sand they currently resided upon; the next --- even invalid, with the other stripping down to near nothing by the sound of it (even with girls / woman about no less!), it was rude to stare. Septimus brought the pack closer with a hesitant stretch of his fingers, finding: The 'pots' Ron had noted within were little more than roughly hewn wood and old ceramic bowels. Dinner (as far as he was concerned by smell) was likely a grain-based (corn, oats, etc) soup with the faint possibility of a minimal amount of red meat (pork, beef, deer) chunks sloshing within the cooking stomach (likely from a small bear) satchel; accompanied by quaint pieces of another common Solacian grain-bread, similar to corn bread of Earth - though slightly damp and contaminated by lake water. He shifted closer momentarily to the crackling flames to set down the soup laden stomach just inside the ring of stones of 'cooling' ash and embers to rewarm properly before consumption, and to set the soggy bread in one of the ceramic bowels right beside the stones to aid warming and drying them off as well. By the time everyone had finished wading up from their eventful initiation exercise, dinner would be ready. "Soon." He hummed, with a breathe of otherwise unwarranted amusement flavoring his voice. Septimus was a softly spoken individual, but from his exhibited (if limited) speech so far with his careful articulation and his charming intonation were anything to note - it was obvious he was a friendly enough, charismatic individual.

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