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Xioban Efialtis

"Purrfectly enchanting~"

0 · 324 views · located in Barberry, City of Guilds

a character in “Allevent, Realm of Caith”, as played by Igari

Description



The Summoner




Image
Name: Xioban Efialtis [Jii-Oh-Baa-Nn]

Age: 20

Sex: Female

Race: Xiphreim [Jii-Freh-Eem]
The race of Xiphreim's originates from the forest itself. The tribe has a long tradition of naming it's members beginning with the letter "X". As the land of Allevent slowly started to come to tangibility and these beings saw that the human influence spread widely throughout it, these creatures chose to emulate them closest in appearance. Their true forms are said to be a spectacle of nature, perceived in some myths as dryads, nymphs, or fae upon being seen in their natural state before transformation. Others classified them as youkai or animal spirits. These sightings were rare in number and it is doubtful any truly remember the time Xiphreim did not take on humanoid appearance. All members of this race can take on their original forms within the confines of their forest and it is considered a great honor if they allow one outside of their tribe to see it.

They are a peaceful race, for the most part, and many of this type of creature belong to a tribe that oversees a forest. They are separated throughout the land in such a manner to protect their natural habitats and as such, have a very strong bond with nature. Tribes are dictated on animal affinity, for instance felines will typically group together, canines will also form groups, reptiles, etc. Not all of these creatures have an animal affinity--only those that are elixers can tap into that rare division and at that, only those that wield Cuprum. Depending on which tribe resides in the forest will account of the increase of that animal type within the boundaries of it. For instance, if a wolf tribe takes residence in the forest, then there will be a large amount of wolves that linger around the area. The native animals are not to be feared, at least not by the Xiphreim's, who work hand-in-hand with what nature provides them.

The few members of Xiphreim's that are elixers generally are associated with two types of caith: Aurum and Cuprum. Those associated with Aurum typically have more spiritualistic healing abilities and, in some cultures, may be regarded as shaman or priests. Cuprum elixers have a much stronger affinity to nature and can literally "hear the call of the wild", but not in such a primitive sense as to lose themselves to it. They tend to stay away from those that don't naturally reside in their forest and can quickly sense intruders. These members become "summoners", who can call upon animal companions. The primary companion will go on to oversee them from birth, a kinship only adapted for Cuprum elixers within the tribe. The summon creatures will always appear on the night of the new moon to mark the new arrival and will form a soul bond with their future summoner. The primary summon will always be the Xiphreim's strongest and most loyal and it is very unheard of to be able to summon further.

Occupation: Summoner [Elixer]
Her alliance rests with the caith of Cuprum, which she can draw from it's free, natural state or from crystal form.


Appearance: The first thing that stands out is her rather... frail but flowery frame, covered in large amounts of lace, frills, and plant life. She has gray hair that is more black at the roots, bangs falling right above magenta eyes. Her hair is actually braided in the back into pigtails that fall a bit beyond her waist in length. The hat she wears is adorned with various things she found in the forest and thought were "cute" enough to accessorize her clothes. One would think that the cat ears are a part of the fabric of the hat and for the most part, she'll not lead one to believe otherwise. Up until the ear is tugged upon, to which she will let out a loud, surprised meow. The cloak she wears can be worn open or closed to shield her shoulders from any wind that may blow. She wears a loose-fitting corset decorated with a large bow and lace skirt. Her stockings rise to her thighs in length and she very rarely wears any shoes.

Personality: Possessing a somewhat "catty" way of speaking, Xioban is rife with feline puns when the mood suits her but certainly knows when it is time to get "furry serious". She has a playful sense of humor and is naturally curious, leading to an enjoyment of asking questions to somewhat sate her busy mind. She is not a cruel girl by any means but can appear a little distant due to her awkwardness around large groups of people. She has a rather vivid imagination and will create many fantastical tales for her own amusement as well as the amusement of others. Overall, she is good-natured and adores having friends nearby. At times, she can appear clingy to those she particularly likes and has a tendency to nuzzle up to them much as a cat would. It is a difficult task to dislike her, as she knows how to balance her childishness with more mature, womanly behavior. She can be a tad forgetful at times and it's a bit easy for her to get lost so it's always best never to leave her in a crowded area. Her partially sheltered life can work for her or against her. While she will not trust easily due to her ability to see someone's nature, she does not cope with betrayal very well. She also has a rather story-book idea of adventure and wishes to go on grand quests, but remains oblivious to the flip-side of this desire.

Skills

Strengths: She is very agile and graceful with her movements, however, it can be a bit difficult to get her to stay still. Her animal alliance rests within the feline family and she possess very sharp eyesight. When she wishes to see great distances, her pupils will turn into slits to allow her better vision. She is also quite sensitive to emotions and the scent of the soul, as she would classify it as. She has a wonderful mind of herbs and remedies and also has keen, acute senses. She can always tell when someone is lying to her or not revealing the full truth. She is good at piecing things together in her head and connecting the dots, so to speak, and can reach logical, rational conclusions very quickly. She is also skilled in multiple dialects and tongues, which gives her the capability to converse with many races, despite whatever region they may hail from. (And it also helps her sales, purr purr!)

Weaknesses: Physically, she does not have much aptitude and in a raw, combat fight, she would probably always lose. Her attacks do not have much strength behind them and it is easy for her to be over-powered. In fact, her physical combat skills are barely worth noting at all. She is a terrible diplomat because she rarely sees what the ultimate problem is and doesn't see why both sides can't automatically make a concession with one another. She is also very afraid of machines or anything that isn't of a natural origin that one would find in a forest. She will let out a hiss or mewl of terror at the sight and run off somewhere until it is out of her immediate vicinity. This makes city traveling very difficult for her and she'll rarely do it without several guides.

Equipment/Abilities: Her caith is that of Cuprum and allows her to summon animal companions to her aid. Though, at the moment, she is only really versed enough to summon a single entity to her in the form of a fox. She does not feel the need to expand on her summoning capabilities for the moment, as she has developed a strong bond with her fox companion. Potentially and with diligent practice, additional creatures summoned by her would be all nature-based and forest dwellers. She is also a semi-skilled alchemist on the side and has a wide, diverse knowledge of potions and the like. While she is not a top notch healer, she is good at making remedies or antidotes and can easily draw differences between plant types and other materials needed for the process. She always carries a small knife on her to grind or cut up ingredients for her concoctions.

Bio

Past: As all of the Xiphreim race, Xioban was born during the night on a new moon. She bears the trademark "X" as the beginning of her name--a quirk adapted by her race. She grew up within the boundaries of her forest and did not know much of the outside world at all--up until she worked up the nerve to travel beyond the edges of her trees at the age of 12. However, upon doing so, the first thing that nearly crashed into her was a caravan running on caith energy. This caused her to have a heightened fear of technology and machines in general and scared her away from venturing into the city until around 15. Over the years, she had been working on her herbal skills and was at the very beginner levels of alchemy. She wanted to try to use these abilities of hers to contribute and perhaps gain more materials from distant, foreign parts of the land.

Present: Currently, she runs a successful, small business that sells remedies and potions to anyone that comes to see her wares. She will travel to the city once a week to trade her products for materials found in distant parts of the land. She has a very good relationship with traders and is well-known at the ports/docks as she will always go there to get the latest catch of fish. It is common knowledge that the girl will only open her stall near the entrance or exit of the town to avoid the hustle and bustle of large groups. She has a good relationship with most of her customers.

Future: While her life is wonderful, it can get a bit repetitive. She can't help but wish that perhaps there was something to whisk her away on an adventure so that she could travel to see the land in all it's glory! She also aspires to perhaps become successful enough to sell her wares to the royals themselves and dreams of the day she may become a court alchemist. At least then, she'd get to travel and satiate her endless curiosity.

What other characters would know: This girl has a rather large appetite and will eat copious amounts without it seeming to affect her much. Xerxes is almost always in her presence (though does run off at times and disappear) and is usually resting at her feet or laying casually atop her head or shoulders.

What other characters wouldn't know: She has terrible nightmares which cause her not to sleep that often. She plays it off rather well with large amounts of energy and cheeriness but sometimes gets a melancholic look.




The Summon Creature




Image
Name: Xerxes

Sex: Male

Race: Fennec Fox

Personality: Mischievous to a fault, he can (at times) be regarded as the very opposite to his summoner. Whereupon she is straight forward, he will take someone in wily turns and by the end of it, there was really no information to be gained. He enjoys speaking in frustrating riddles to people and spinning them around in circles. He is coy and very cunning. He also has the habit of taking a portion of a person's hair in his mouth and gnawing on it for intervals. He has very sticky paws so try not to keep possession out around him as he will run off with them. He has an eye for things that are valuable and always knows what to steal. To most, he will appear as aloof and one to be wary around. However, he does display an astounding loyalty to Xioban, in fact, cross her and he will instantly rile up. He has no qualms about striking up a fight with another in defense of her. He will act where she will not, as he can display cruelty and will not hesitate to hurt another if there is good reasoning behind it. With him, if there has been a wrong/offense committed, there is no more need for talk. Only action.

Skills

Strengths: The small form he is in most of the time is misleading as he can grow to be at least five times that. With each tier of his true form, he will sprout more tails--nine tails being his strongest and most lethal form. Xioban has not yet gotten to the level to handle this form and at the moment, he can only go up to tier three. He is quite strong and has a sharp mind for battle, which leads him to often work independently from his summoner when he feels the need. He's also a better planner than his companion, so he can have a much clearer understandings of the workings of things than she can.

Weaknesses: He can have a short fuse and can be a bit easy to get angered. In this state, he rarely thinks rationally and can only be calmed down by his summoner. He is also hasty to rush on the offensive and will inaccurately remember things to better suit his personal opinions or bias. He cannot linger in any tier forms above his base one for as long as perhaps he would like, as that does drain his summoner.

So begins...

Xioban Efialtis's Story

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis
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#, as written by Igari


XIOBAN EFIALTIS




It was getting to be the later hours of the afternoon, the activity in the streets seeming to pick up as the minutes ticked by. For the city-dwellers of Barberry, this was the busiest time of the day--when vendors rushed to complete their sales, traders tried to strike up deals, and last-minute appointments made at the various guild houses. This time of the day was also one that brought discomfort for a particular young woman who stood behind her modest stall, trying to make barters for her wares. Her offerings were not showy in the slightest, simple containers holding liquids of different hues. Still, there was a flare to her modesty, enough to catch the eye of a passerby here and there. She had rested a small currency pouch on the stall table, the bag already moderately filled with her earnings. The young woman potentially could have ended her sales for the day already, having more than enough to sustain herself for the coming week. Yet she teetered on the edges of this decision; perhaps just a little longer and she'd be able to sell off the rest of her potions.

A small fox was perched casually on her shoulders, bushy tail wrapped around her neck. She didn't seem too preoccupied by the creature, however, as she tried to draw attention to her stall. There was a note of hesitation in her voice as she called out, as if a part of her feared the potential interaction with others. The fox only chuckled at her nervousness, pawing lazily at the strands of hair hanging by her cheek.

"Purrhaps this wasn't such a furntastic endeafur..." The girl trailed off as a person walked by her outstretched arm, pretending as if they hadn't seen her waving to them. Phew! Things were more difficult in the later hours of the afternoon, that was for sure... She had had a good haul for the day, but the lack of productivity was not having the best of effects on her confidence. She sighed as she adjusted her hat, ears twitching just slightly beneath the fabric as she did so.

"Mewbe we should head back to the furest...?" She directed her question at the fox who currently had her hair between his teeth. He was gnawing at the locks with a certain amount of enthusiasm, giving her a partially muffled response.

"If you think we have enough, hu hu hu," He laughed between his bites, causing his companion to tilt her head as she eyed him with a curious expression.

"Xerxes," She tried in her big-girl firm voice, "That doesn't answer the question, purr purr!" She put her hands on her hips as if to emphasize her point but only got another chuckle in response. "Meeeeewr...." Oh, she just couldn't stay mad at him though! With a giggle, she lifted the fox off of her shoulders and affectionately pressed him against her chest. Predictably, Xerxes tried to worm his way out of her grasp, but this only encouraged her to snuggle into him tighter with a purr. Mmm, so furry! He gave a disgruntled growl, nipping at her wrists to try to get her to release him. She complied, if only because she was (privately) afraid that he may gnaw off a bit too much of her hair when she was sleeping... And it would be a little sad to wake up bald--then she'd have one of those shiny heads that caught the sun at odd hours of the day and acted like a lantern in the middle of the night.

He landed on the ground, tail brushing up against her legs as he darted past her. "Nyah?!" She exclaimed as he ran around the corner of her stall and into the crowd of people. She blinked rapidly as she tried to figure out what had just happened.
"That's not furny!" She called out after him, hoping that he would return in a few seconds with that playful smirk he always wore. But the pause was too long; Xerxes apparently didn't have any plans to return within the next minute. When it came to her animal companion, there was never much time to sit idly by. She would have to chase after him before he moved too far away from her--the density of the populace in the city would make it hard to track him if that happened. She hastily grabbed the last remaining potions in her arms, stuffing them into her pouch and tying it shut with the drawstring. She tilted her chin upwards as she narrowed her eyes just a little bit, concentrating to sharpen her sight. Her pupils dilated to slits as she stared at into the crowd and wrinkled her nose as she caught whiff of his familiar scent. He had scampered off into one of the alleyways...

She wrapped the string of her pouch around her waist before chasing after Xerxes in a hurried manner, hoping that wherever he had run off to wasn't too crowded.

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel
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Icarus Saerin



Icarus walked down the greyish-brown cobblestone street. On both sides, merchants were peddling their wares, everything from small fire crystals for 20e to various caithness body parts they claimed to work as a panacea for the low price of 5M. Such things were a normalcy here on Merchant's row.

But mid-day shopping was not his reason for being here. His true destination, the Ha'Penny Pie, was on Guilded avenue, the street that is the reason why Barberry earned it's name, the city of guilds. He was to meet an informant there. To see if there was anything new that might bring him closer to figuring out what the Or-

"Get off me!" Shouted a shrill voice. Icarus just kept walking. It was not rare for a particularly inebriated man to wander off from whatever tavern he was wasting his sense on, and get handsy with random maidens on the street. He turned toward toward the sound of the voice to see a red-robed woman shaking off what seemed to be a fox-fur boa that was caught on her sleeve. Upon closer inspection however, Icarus saw a flash of teeth, and noticed that the fur boa was alive. He walked quickly up to the woman in an attempt to help, but before he could reach her, she managed to grab onto the fox and tear it off of her arm, but not without it tearing off a piece of her sleeve along with it. Suddenly she became deathly still. Her faced paled and the was an expression of pure terror. He tried to see if the creature had drawn any blood, as some were like to get sickly at the sight of their own blood, or the blood of others.
But there was nothing. Her sleeve was dry, aside from a bit of saliva from the slinky rat that was latched onto it a second ago. All that he could see was a bit of yellow light on the inside of her sleeve. It reminded him of the lumen crystals on his gauntlets. Perhaps she had a similar gauntlet? But that wouldn't match the rest of her... He didn't know many, if any bow users who wore a metal gauntlet, as it was likely to snap the string on draw.

Whatever it was, her eyes continued flicking between it, and the crowd. Icarus caught on and stepped into the circle where the crowd had gathered.

"Alright people, the show is over, Just our newest entertainer trying out her new comedy act, you can see it, and more, at the Green Heron Inn&Tavern, in Port Garatt three days from now. Please enjoy the rest of your day, and we hope to see you there!" He announced, waving at the crowd. He positioned himself in front of the arm with the torn sleeve to avoid further exposure. The crowd mumbled and dispersed, a few chuckles of approval, a few grunts of annoyance, but before long, everything was back to the way it was. He turned back to the red-robed woman.

"There is a tailor not far from here, it's actually on the way to where I am going, so if you'd like I can take you to get that fixed." He offered. He turned his head to the rat, which turned out wasn't a rat, but a rather smug-looking fox. "We might want to have something done about that, however, lest it go on to attack more innocent bystanders."

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Jion Tane
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Barberry was the biggest city Jion had been to so far. His travels had brought him to many places, but none as big and busy as this one. All sorts of different races, shops, buildings, wares, and other interesting things were more saturated into this town than the entire forest he had spent his early life in. It was nearly overwhelming, but no, Jion didn't come this far to shy from the crowds. This was simply another thing that he would have to get used to.

Tail swishing from side to side slightly as he walked, Jion weaved through the multitude of people, eyes latching on to each new sight as if staring at it could ingrain it in his brain for the rest of his life. How much could a city hold? It wasn't that large. Nevertheless it continued to defy his expectations. Merchants yelled out advertisements for their wares, people haggled with each other over prices, performers danced, made music, and juggled... It was a true circus for the senses.

It was his wanderlust that had brought him here. That, and the small problem that he lacked a job at the moment. Due to a minor misunderstanding he had been released from his last contract. Wait, no. Released was too gentle of a word. Forced out would probably have been more apt. Hopefully, however, that wouldn't interfere with him getting a new job. He would take any kind of work he could get, preferably one that paid well and wasn't boring, but he wasn't too picky.

Despite his goal of finding a place to work the dyruma didn't seem to be looking in the right places. Perhaps it was that dyruma were a race who preferred the wilds, making it so the people in the city were uncomfortable in his presence. Jion knew that with his clawed hands and feet, tall height, tail, and feathers made him an unusual sight, but that didn't mean he was going to attack someone or something of the like. Maybe the way he was dressed didn't bode well with the people of the city? All he was wearing was some trousers made of tough cloth and a simple vest. Sure, he was carrying his bow and arrows, but surely someone with weapons wasn't uncommon.

Stomach rumbling, he bought a beef pastry at a stall, eating it while walking. A flicker of movement caught his eye. Curious, he ambled after it, finishing his pastry. The thing had looked like a small animal of some sorts. What would it be doing in the city? Soon after he saw a girl wearing a hat dashing in the same direction the animal had went. Could she be after it? Was it hers?

Jion slipped to the crowds so he would intercept her path. "Are you looking for something? Do you need help?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Aela Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel Character Portrait: Jion Tane
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#, as written by Igari


XIOBAN EFIALTIS




She had been trying to squeeze her way through the throng of people, fighting to get through the crowd to reach her companion. She was determined to "purrservere", however, as Xerxes had a tendency to get into copious amounts of trouble if left unwatched. As she pushed herself through the crowd, she faintly saw someone move out of the corner of her eye--cutting through the large group with ease. Before she could side-step them, the figure had already come to step into her path with almost too much ease. She let out a surprised mewl, already hastening back a few steps, wondering where on earth he had come from.

"Are you looking for something? Do you need help?" The words failed to process for a moment as she was more preoccupied at looking at this... being before her, colorful and rather vivid. It reminded her a little of the tropical forests she had visited once with her tribe but she remembered little of the journey. She bit her lip as she tried to look around him, narrowing her eyes a bit to see into the distance. The jolt of his appearance was steadily fading--becoming replaced by unease.

"M-Meeewr...." She didn't have time to waste on much conversation yet did not want to be rude about it. Shunning strangers who could potentially by buying her wares the next week would not do her business any good. She rubbed at her nose to try to keep Xerxes' scent fresh, as his was starting to creep into her senses. Being rude wasn't the optimal route but she did not have a choice. She was going to have to cut this interaction short--already, the feeling of tension was increasing in the pit of her stomach over what antics her animal companion could be getting into.

"I-I'm furry sorry!" Was all she managed before bending her knees and releasing her body into a pounce. Her feline alignment allowed her jump to arc over the stranger before landing gracefully on the other side of him. She did not pause, running in the direction Xerxes had scampered off to before there could be any more interruptions. She weaved through the crowd, rounding the corner just as her ears picked up a loud shriek. The young woman paused, turning to her right to see a dimming commotion of sorts. Almost immediately, she clammed up, face paling. She could very clearly see her fox, smugly in the arms of a tall, frail-looking woman. That in itself wasn't the problem. It was the amount of people around her animal companion that were causing her breath to hitch in her throat. So... so many...

She had never been good in such social settings but by the looks of things, she was going to have to step in to retrieve him. There was a primal looking girl positioned between the woman and a man with silver hair. Talking to the woman by herself wouldn't have presented an issue, she could already tell from a distance that she was an Elf. Naturally, she felt at ease around this race, given the kinship that was shared between them and her own tribes. But the other two in the equation were enough to push the summoner over the edge. She bit her bottom lip, almost inclined to turn on her heel. But there was that odd-looking stranger that she had left behind and she had no way of knowing if he would pursue after her (which was a disturbing thought). And there was no way she could leave Xerxes by himself, that was for sure. And what kind of Xiphreim would she be to leave her beloved summon behind?

Forcing the breath past her lips in a bit of a hiss, she made herself take slow steps forwards to approach the individuals. Xerxes had been waiting for her arrival, it seemed. As soon as he caught sight of her, he bounded out of the woman's arms, nonchalantly trotting over to her. He had a red piece of cloth between his teeth. She didn't take long to put it together in her mind. It was evident that this fabric had come from the woman who had just been holding him. He stopped a few inches from her feet and spat out the cloth on the ground, almost as if presenting her with some glorious catch. She frowned but there would be time to reprimand him later. She would have to make amends to that poor woman for the ruckus that he had caused.

Casting a stern gaze at Xerxes that she hoped explicitly told him to "stay purrt", she walked only several more steps so that she came to a halt some feet from the small gathering. Her face was already starting to heat up as she tried to get the words out, unable to focus on any one person in particular and settled for looking at the ground. "I apurrogize... fur any trouble my furmiliar caused you..." She trailed off weakly. How did one even make amends in the first place...? She glanced back at the fabric that was still on the ground near Xerxes, sliding her magenta orbs towards the woman. From the way she clutched at her arm, he had probably ripped a portion of her sleeve off (though she really couldn't think of how this had happened in the first place...). The only thing she could think to do was somehow pay for the repairs, maybe that would suffice? Reaching into her pouch, she took out two gold crescents and, for extra apologetic measure, also took out one of her potions.

Moving as quickly as she possibly could, she shoved the items into the hands of the woman and bowed to her, turning immediately and running from the entourage. She couldn't even manage any well-wishes, too tongue-tied and light-headed to think properly. Xerxes was fast on the uptake and darted after her as she ran blindly through the streets. She cared not for where she ended up, so long as she was far away from the group. After several minutes, she finally allowed herself to stop. She leaned against the wall, heaving out a large sigh. Her cheeks were flush with the embarrassment she felt and the nervousness that was slowly dissipating. Now that she was finally alone, she could feel the constriction in her chest beginning to loosen up. Xerxes padded around her ankles casually, yawning as he looked up at her almost innocently.

"Feeling better?" He asked her, the summoner nodding slowly as she furrowed her eyebrows.

"I think so...." She smiled a little shakily at him, unable to fully hide how uncertain she had felt during the prior interactions. She reached out her hands slightly, offering to lift her fox companion up on to her shoulders. Xerxes only wrinkled his nose but complied, jumping into her arms and settling on her shoulders. Surprisingly, he rubbed his cheek against hers, which caused the girl to smile. He always knew how to make her feel better, didn't he? Though now the next order of business was to figure out how exactly she was going to get home... She had no idea where she was in the city any longer, having run without any set destination in mind. And now she stood in what appeared to be a large plaza, blinking her wide eyes as she took in the surroundings. She heard a chuckle near her ear and turned her head a bit to the side to regard Xerxes.

"What is so amewsing?" She questioned, receiving only a motion towards the center of the plaza. She followed his directives, eyes coming to rest...

... Ffffffffnyah?!

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: I.S.S.A.C.
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I.S.S.A.C.




On the far side of Merchant's Row where the pristine buildings began to give way to the shadier dens of ill-repute and the docks, a crowd was gathering in a plaza. Hushed murmurs of excitement and confusion filled the air as the people continued to swarm around, paying no attention to the stalls on the perimeter. Even the shopkeepers, despite their lack of business, were too preoccupied with the commotion in the center of the plaza.

A tall bulky statue bathed the passersby in an eerie blue glow. Many did not quite know how to react to its presence, considering it had not been here for very long--in fact, it had quite literally lumbered in not even half an hour before and placed itself in the very center of the marketplace, not having moved an inch since. A few brave children had dared one another to go up and touch it, but they all eventually refused, not wanting to awaken it once again and have something run amok in the square. The last thing the people needed was something of that size wandering the streets on its own--the potential property damage costs would rise up to the tens of thousands of Emperors!

After a half-hour of mutterings and discussion from the crowd, the city guardsmen were called to help diffuse this situation. They, along with the aid of an alchemist, helped to settle the crowd and return them to their business. Most passersby, however, were still rather concerned with the unmoving statue in the center of the plaza. Many had no idea why it had wandered out into the market at all, let alone why it suddenly stopped moving.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please!" the alchemist raised his voice over that of the crowd. "There is no need to be alarmed--really, please, stop your frightened murmuring!" The short, stocky human raised his arms toward the statue. "As you may know, this is a golem--one of the most advanced pieces of man-made technology available in all of Allevent! For those that are knowledgeable in golemancy, they are assigned a quarry, whom they are to serve and guard to the fullest extent of their service. This golem must be a relatively new one, as it seems that it has a few... kinks in the system. I will attempt to find this particular golem's quarry and then assist the authorities in its safe and expedient return! There is no need for alarm, ladies and gentlemen! This matter will be solved posthaste!"

The short man began to examine the golem, searching in all the places that he would imagine to find its particular quarry. When the alchemist tapped on an exposed glowing crystal, however, his face began to contort. His brow furrowed as he attempted to repeat his actions; each further attempt was met with frustration.

"One moment, please, ladies and gentlemen! It seems that I've, ah... encountered some technical difficulties..." the alchemist chuckled as he wiped the sweat from his brow, his face red with a mixture of frustration and embarrassment.

"What seems to be the trouble?" a guard walked toward the alchemist, his voice hushed to avoid drawing any more attention to their current situation.

"Ah, well..." the alchemist smiled sheepishly, his eyes falling toward the guardsman's chestplate. "I'm no expert in golemancy myself, sir... I've dabbled in research, but I've never seen anything like this... Even my limited research has never prepared me for this possibility--"

The crowd grew quiet as the guard and the alchemist whispered to one another, trying to remain as secretive as possible. After a moment, the guard nodded and looked back up toward the people.

"Citizens of Barberry, there is no need for alarm," the guard's voice carried an air of authority with it. "The alchemist has informed me that this sort of accident occurs from time to time with golems--they apparently misplace their quarry, which is not unheard of with newly-created golems. If anyone knows of any information--"

A scream from the far corner of the plaza cut off the conversation from the guards. The source of the frightened noise was a young woman, who was staring at the golem with anxiously wide eyes. The animal on her shoulders cringed at the volume, pawing at its ears as if to block out the sounds. She seemed rooted to the spot, paralyzed by her terror.

The guards, taken aback by the sudden outcry, began to force their way through the crowd to find this young woman who would not stop screaming. The throngs of people in that general area began to thin to allow access to the armored men.

"Young lady, please! Calm down, there is nothing to be afraid of!" a guard with a thick moustache attempted to comfort the screaming woman, going so far as to place a hand on her shoulder. This only worked to agitate her even further and her screaming increased in volume, the woman franticaly looking over their shoulders at the golem.

The guards were too distracted by the outbursts of the woman with the beast across her shoulders to notice the sudden lack of people in the immediate area. No sooner had the girl intensified her cries of terror had the golem begun to stir--slowly at first, a few joints in its fingers, then an arm and a leg, but sure enough it was stumbling in the guards' general direction. Its movements looked clunky, as if it had not quite mastered walking or, caith forbid, running.

"Uh, halt!" the flustered alchemist called after the golem. "I command you to halt!" His eyes were wide with fear at the thought of losing control of the situation at hand. "Cease! Abort! Stop moving... please?"

The guards, knowing that "diplomacy" had failed in this situation, readied their weapons and surrounded the startled woman. "Everyone needs to find shelter immediately!" a guard roared. Even before the words left his mouth, the crowd had dispersed, leaving only a few curious souls watching from the alleyways as this golem continued to lurch toward the shrieking woman's defenders.

A few brave soldiers dared to assault the golem directly, but the rest watched in wide-eyed shock as their swords could not leave even the faintest mark of a scratch against the machine's armor. With a wave of an arm. the golem pushed the attacking guards aside, leaving them sprawled across the ground and completely disarmed.

The golem focused its attention back toward the guards surrounding the screaming figure. It could sense abnormal amounts of stress and fear coming from the latter, although it could not discern the cause as to why this figure was screaming in such a shrill manner. All it could do at this point would be to attempt to quiet the abnormal volume levels it could perceive. It extended an arm toward the guardsmen, who (in a last-ditch effort) struck at the exposed metal and were horrified to watch as their blades bounced harmlessly off with a loud clang. Another wave of its hand, and the guards were no longer threatening the safety of this screaming figure. Not quite knowing what else to do, the golem wrapped three fingers around the human and lifted it off the ground before lumbering off down the street--perhaps large, crowded areas in the middle of the city would not be the best place for this creature.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Aela Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel
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Icarus Saerin


Icarus was about to reach over when suddenly a barely dressed girl tossed herself in between he and the red-robed woman.

"Don't!" She shrieked, Icarus stopped his approach, but before he could even grab the fox. He turned to see a barely dressed child in leopard print clothes. She looked like one of the tribal children of the Eastern Jungles, however whether she was from there or from another it was hard to say. The most curious thing about her was the large axe tied to her back. It was clearly much to big for it to be used well -if at all- by someone of her stature, But he kept his curiousity to himself.

Icarus slowly pulled his hand away, careful not to trigger an adverse reaction from the girl or the fox, who was now squirming in the red-robed womans arms, more just for the sake of squirming than actually escaping. There was something about the foxes eyes that gave the impression that it was much or intelligent than just some wild animal, but Icarus could not quite pin the reason why.

The woman suddenly spoke. "I... I..." She said, fumbling for words. Icarus was about to suggest something, but stayed quiet, realizing the woman must have some introverted qualities, and suddenly being the center of attention must have been difficult for her. He waited for her as she collected herself, It was then that he realized she was actually a quite attractive woman. In the heat of the previous situation, he had not been able to get a very good look at her, but now he was able to take a moment to see the slender woman before him. Her skin was quite pale, almost to the point of the average Sylph maiden, if not at the point exactly. She also had green eyes that glittered with life, despite being so reserved. She had thin, dainty features, but not so much so that it robbed from her attractiveness. He took note of the long pointy ears, and suddenly realized another major component of her allure...

She was an elf. Elf women were notorious for their allure to human men, seeing as how almost all of them surpassed the beauty of human women at an extreme degree. Sylph were a sister-species to the humans, so naturally the effect would be the same.

He caught himself staring, and immediately looked off into the distance. She didn't seem to notice. He breathed a silent sigh of relief, knowing that had she noticed, she may have raised her walls again and that would have been the end of that.

She took a breath and tried again.
"...thank you..." She said, adjusting her sleeve to cover the tear in the smooth fabric. "...would you mind leading the way?" She said. Icarus nodded, and was about to ask what to do about the fox, when it suddenly leaped easily out of the woman's arm and walked over to another woman, this one a shorter girl with a cute cat-eared hat The ears looked so real he kind of wondered if they were cut off some animal, preserved, and stitched onto the hat as is, but he dismissed the thought. She looked nervous at first, glancing back and forth between everyone in the group, then suddenly regarded the fox, at first she remained with the confused expression, but that soon changed to an expression of realization as she noticed the small piece of red fabric the fox was brandishing proudly. She muttered something that sounded like an annoyed purr to the fox, and then nervously walked over.

"I apurrogize... fur any trouble my furmiliar caused you..." She said. Icarus raised a brow at her peculiar manner of speaking, but mentioned nothing about it. She looked around nervously, as if trying to find the right words or right actions to finish the situation as quickly as possible. Suddenly she reached into her pouch, pulled out two Crescents and a potion, and shoved them into the uninjured hand of the woman, bowed and as quickly as she came, she was gone.

"That was... odd... However, I believe that solves the problem of who will pay for the tailor. I was going to offer, but seeing as how she gave you that. Im sure that will be more than enough. You might even be able to buy yourself new, give or take a few silver monarchs" He said. He turned around to face the young girl once again.

"I'm sorry if you though I was going to hurt the fox by the way. I was simply going to give it to one of the guard, who would have brought it out of city limits, and released it to the wild." He said. Although he figured that a guard might find more use for it selling it to a fur clothing shop. But he didn't have the hear to tell her that. He turned towards the direction of the tailor, which was on the very corner of Merchant's Row and Guilded avenue.

He scratched his head for a second waiting in case some other unexpected turn of events decide to take place, when he figured it was safe, he "So, if that marks the end of the interruptions... Let's go" He said, offering a half smile.

He walked down the street, the woman following close behind. They weaved through the crowd, ignoring more peddlers and merchants, and after about two minutes of walking, the reached the corner. He pointed to the sign, it was a pair of Blue scissors and a golden spool, The spool on the sign was encrusted in small lumen crystals, giving it a soft glow that caught the eyes of those who passed by.

"Here it is, Geribali's Tailor&Clothes Shoppe. Pretty damn good at what they do, and for a decent cost. I'm sure they'll have you fixed up in no time." He said. He looked around the corner, into guilded avenue, He could see the Ha'Penny Pie, about four buildings down. "Would you like me to go in with you, you seem kind of nervous with crowds, however I'm sure there aren't more than three or four people in there, and most browsing clothes. The tailor is in the back on the left." He realized that she might realize she would either have to expose whatever she was hiding under her sleeve to get it fixed. "The can give you a temporary change of clothes, since it seems you don't have any, and you can wait in the changing room in the mean time. Just request it. Geribali is a reasonable man." He added quickly. Hoping to calm any fears she may have, should she choose to go in alone.

The setting changes from barberry-city-of-guilds to Allevent

Setting

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Aela Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel
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Lysandra Tereviel




As the woman attempted to step around the wild child, the fox managed to finally free itself from her arms and scamper off toward a young woman that had just appeared among the throngs of people going about their business in the market. She looked rather pale standing at the very edge of the group, her bright eyes growing wide underneath her eccentric hat with what appeared to be cat-ears sprouting from atop gray hair. Her cloak billowed slightly as she finally took a few tentative steps toward the gathering, her hands reaching into a pouch in a decent-sized bag as a look of bewilderment crossed her face.

"I apurrogize... fur any trouble my furmiliar caused you..." her voice was soft and hesitant, as if she was forcing herself to speak to the woman. The lisp caught the woman in red off-guard, and she was unsure as to whether this whole thing was a joke; if it were, it was completely unnecessary. The girl's eyes bore a semblance of panic as she pulled out a pair of golden coins and a vial of... some strange-colored liquid and literally shoved them into the elf's arms before running off in the opposite direction as quickly as possible, the fox--or familiar, as she called it--bounding at her heels.

That would explain the look it gave me... the elf thought to herself, trying to hold all of these new items in her arms while keeping the tear in her sleeve covered from prying eyes. She understood that the girl wanted to make amends, but she refused to accept charity. There was nothing worse, in her mind, than having someone feel that she should be pitied, especially if--

Her eyes grew wide. Had she noticed anything? Was that the real reason she had given these things to her? No, she couldn't accept them then! She had to give them back--

The girl with the cap was gone, lost among the crowd. There was no way to find her now...

"That was... odd... However, I believe that solves the problem of who will pay for the tailor. I was going to offer, but seeing as how she gave you that--" the woman in red stopped listening after the white-haired man ramble on about the events. Was he going to pay for her repairs? Why would a complete stranger offer to do this for her, especially after the commotion she caused? ...Was he doing this because he saw her arm? All sorts of thoughts buzzed around like a swarm of hornets in her head, but she was unsure of which to listen to and which to ignore.

"So, if that marks the end of the interruptions... Let's go," the stranger offered, leading the red-robed woman along. She adjusted her hand so she would be able to cover more of the tear in the fabric as she stepped around the young girl that had attempted to protect the fox, hoping that the shift would not draw any more attention to her bewildered look on her face. The potion was cradled in her arms, although she was trying to make sure that it did not fall to the cobblestones below and shatter--no use trying to return a broken flask to that girl with the cat-eared hat...

The white-haired man stood out against the bustling crowds of shoppers--how could he not with his armor? He pushed ahead, glancing back occasionally to make sure the woman in red was following. As much as she wanted to duck off into an alley and find the tailor's shop herself, she knew that she would most likely become lost in the hustle and bustle of the city. She knew she couldn't ask anyone else for directions either--what if they recognized her as the woman from the square that had been attacked by the fox? What if they saw her arm like this?

After a brief stroll, the armored man stopped in front of a shop. "Here it is--Geribali's Tailor and Clothes Shoppe. Pretty damn good at what they do, and for a decent cost. I'm sure they'll have you fixed up in no time." The man was speaking the truth: the displays showcased fine-tailored clothing made from seemingly-exotic materials with small advertisement displays such as "Starsilk: Designed for the heavenly look" and "Cuprum-weave: Revitalizes the body naturally". The woman in red didn't care for these sorts of fineries--her current robes were rather comfortable, but beyond that, they had billowing sleeves which helped to hide her arm.

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught the white-haired man looking up the street for a moment before turning his gaze back on her. She almost imagined him scanning her arm, looking through her hand to see what exactly she was hiding. Her face paled as she tried to readjust her arm to help facilitate the flask of liquid cradled between her arms, fearful that he would attempt to pry further.

"Would you like me to go in with you? You seem kind of nervous--"

"No!" she interrupted, surprised at how automatic her reply was. She could feel her eyes widen with shock and embarrassment just from the abrupt nature of her outburst. "I-I mean... no, thank you..." The woman turned her gaze to the ground as she hurried up the stairs and opened the door to the shop with her free hand, careful not to hit her bow against the building. As quick as lightning, she was gone inside the tailor's store.

"Welcome to Gerbali's!" an older gentleman called from behind a counter. "How can I--?" he paused when he saw the woman clutching her arm close to her body. "Oh, my... Are you hurt? Please, sit down!" he offered the woman a chair.

The elf shook her head, still holding the arm close to her body. "My sleeve has been torn, and I can't walk around in public with tattered robes," she explained. How easily it slid off of her tongue, even as she was panicking on the inside! "I'm looking for something similar to these robes--color does not necessarily matter, but I prefer... longer, billowing sleeves..." Her eyes scanned the wares, hoping to find something resembling what she had in mind.

"Oh, well why didn't you say so?" the shopkeeper breathed a sigh of relief before chuckling. "Perhaps I could repair your sleeve instead? It'll take an hour at the longest, but it will save you some money--"

"I would like new robes," the woman insisted firmly, never letting her hand off of the tear in her sleeve. She placed the coins on the counter using her free hand, sliding them across the wooden surface with delicate fingers. "What would I be able to get for this?"

The old man's eyes lit up at the sight of the money. "Well, it won't be enough for anything like we're displaying in front, I'm afraid... However, I think I've got something that might do the trick... Follow me, please!" The shopkeeper beckoned for the elf to follow. "I have this if you want something in the same color--" He displayed a mannequin with adorned with blood-red garments embroidered with golden embroidery close to the edges of the fabric. Most important were the sleeves--they were long and would help to hide her arm just as well as her old robes.

The elf nodded as she grabbed them with her free hand once more. "Is there a fitting room I may use?" she asked quietly, cautiously glancing around the store.

"Certainly, miss--let me show you."

The elf was led to a small stall with an open door and a mirror. "Take all the time you need, miss--if you require anything else, please don't hesitate to ask!" With that, the shopkeeper returned to his duties, leaving the elf alone with her new robes.

She quickly ducked into the stall and shut the door before finally grabbing the flask from her arm and placing it in a corner. Her heart felt as if it were about to burst from her chest at any moment, and she could feel sweat begin to bead across her forehead. She let her arms finally fall to her side again as the blood began to flow back into her right hand. Her left hand, however, had indents and creases from where it had held not skin but pale yellow crystals sprouting from her arm. The woman removed her torn robes and placed them in a pile on the floor.

The woman glanced down at her right arm, staring at the growths protruding from her skin. A sickening feeling began to brew in her stomach as she tried to recollect the events from the past few minutes and piece them back together. So much had happened--the fox biting her arm, the tear, the strange white-haired man and the girl with the cat-ear hat, and now this. She hated what her arm forced her to do! She hated the crystals, hated the care she had to take, hated the constant fear of being ostracized again...

She picked up the new robes and began to try them on, taking extra precaution to make sure that the crystals did not tear the fabric apart as she inserted her arm through the sleeve. The shopkeeper had chosen well--these robes were comfortable and soft and the sleeves were large enough to keep from arousing any suspicion from passersby. For a moment, everything seemed as it had been for decades: she felt normal again...

...until she saw the potion and her old robes sitting in a pile in the corner. She sighed, a forlorn look across her face and her reflection in the mirror. Although she had solved this problem, the elf had another to take care of: she had to find the girl who had given her the flask. She couldn't take that charity from her despite the fact that she just spent the money on these robes--there'd have to be some way to pay her back--

But what about your research? The reason you came here in the first place! You can't just abandon that now!

People saw the arm--they know and they're going to kick me out anyway...

You can't be sure!

Yes I can! Why else would they take pity on me?

You're already here--you might as well stay and do your research! Spend the night in the city--

Are you crazy!? Risk exposing myself to
more people!?

If you don't stay, then what was the point of coming at all!?


The elf sank to the floor, cradling her head in her hands. Tears began to wet her palms as she attempted to hold back quiet sobs. The woman was frustrated, agitated, disappointed, wary, paranoid, tired, utterly alone.

What am I supposed to do now?

~~~

((OOC: Disregard the location, it's in Barberry, not Allevent))

The setting changes from allevent to Barberry, City of Guilds

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: I.S.S.A.C.
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#, as written by Igari


XIOBAN EFIALTIS




She had no idea what was going on. One moment, she had been in the plaza, the next, being swept away by this horrid piece of technology that had a prince in shining armor complex. (Could machines even have such ideas? She wasn't sure but she was sticking to it.) She tried to shift within its grip but found that the mechanical hand held her a bit too tightly to allow for such movement. She felt almost as if she were in some sort of cage. She was too scared to even try swiping at the fingers, cringing at every step this abomination took. The pace was unsteady and ill-balanced, as if whatever was carrying her did not have a comprehension of walking. Yet, amidst all this, she still found enough energy to scream, which is precisely what she was sticking to doing. Her screams had not let up for the past several minutes and her voice was already starting to grow hoarse. She did not stop--perhaps the fear had forced her into a state of perpetual shock. But this seemed to have the opposite effect of what she wanted, for this metal creature just started moving faster! Didn't it comprehend she was afraid of it?

Xerxes was not remotely pleased by the amount of volume leaving his charge and she could hear his growls, barely audible when mingled with her screams. She didn't know how to stop, she didn't know if she could stop. She had the feeling that the people that had been on the streets were fleeing in terror of this machine because they weren't running into any resistance from passersby. She swiveled her large eyes on this thing that was quite literally kidnapping (or catnapping) her, pupils dilated into slits. If it could see her, it made no signs of it for it just continued moving on, impervious to her attentions. She released yet another scream; this was louder than all the rest.

"AAAAAAAAH!!" She let out frantically. This time, however, there seemed to be a reaction. The mechanical creature slowed down just a bit, the cross on its face seemed to glow just a bit more. She heard a faint whirring sound before something completely unexpected happened.

"A... A... Aaaaaaaah." The machine mimicked her scream with a voice that grated against her ears--for it sounded strained, as if unused for a long period of time. The voice had no hint of emotion and merely came out monotone, but this only worked to frighten the girl more. She mewled louder, horrified that it would even think to copy her.

"AAAAAAAH!!"

"Aaaaaaaah."

"AAAAAAAAH!!"

"Aaaaaaaah."

How many times was it going to repeat after her?! It seemed that this was the last straw for Xerxes. She felt him shift on her shoulders before the familiar feeling of his claws briefly digging into her back as he pounced off of her. She watched with a slackening jaw as he landed on the ground with disturbing ease and she struggled even more. Without her guardian, she would have no protection at all!

"Xerxes!" She called after him anxiously. "D-Don't leave me!" She cried, nearly bursting into tears as she did so and reaching out her hand as if to grab him. He just tilted up his nose defiantly at her, as if he had no intentions of even listening to her requests. Her sense of panic rose as the mechanical creature made that same whirring noise, a little louder than before. Now what was going on?!

"X... Xe..." W-Was it trying to...? "Xerxes." I-It did! But it didn't seem to want to stop there, its head following the girl's outstretched arm to look down at the small fox. "Xerxes. Xerxes. Xerxes." It chanted as it started to slowly change its direction, turning with that same strained movement. She quite literally didn't know how to react, her screams had stretched into silence as she had finally run out of air. The machine clanked after the fox, mirroring her motions and also outstretching its arm. However, unlike her, it started to make wild swiping movements that knocked against several buildings and homes.

With its left hand, it smashed into the wall of an unsuspecting man, who looked as if he had just gotten back from some commotion. He stared up for a moment with a blank face before his expression contorted into absolute terror and confusion as he saw the machine. "My... my house! Golem!" He shouted, using that strange term she was unfamiliar with. "You, you come back here--repair my house...!" He started to trail off, realizing that the machine was already lumbering away from the damage site. "C-Come back here! Come... p... please?" He stammered out but he was already forgotten as the mechanical creature bounded after Xerxes, who was putting up a good chase.

"Xerxes. Xerxes. Xerxes. Aaaaaaaah." Despite everything that was happening, this somehow proved to be enough to break past her shock barriers.

"Ffffffffnyah?!" She stammered out, glancing between the machine and her fox guardian. Her kidnapper whirred again and this time, caught her totally off guard.

"... ffffffffnyah."

She blinked several times, her breath hitching. Maybe it was due to her fear finally boiling over or perhaps it was really due to the ridiculousness of what she just heard. Either way, the girl couldn't help it. Laughter bubbled to the surface and escaped her lips, a bit more high-pitched than it would've been ordinarily. There was a jolt and she nearly lurched forward out of its hand as the machine came to a very sudden halt. Unsure, she shivered just a bit, her smile frozen on her face. Why had it stopped abruptly? She dared not move, unsure if it would just tighten its grip if she tried. So she stayed put, feeling too worn out to try glaring at Xerxes for leaping off of her shoulders.

So... purrplexing.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Arto Kelmt Character Portrait: I.S.S.A.C.
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The ground shook with every colossal step of the Caithness, the strikes of its clawed arms and the whipping motions of its thrashing tail bringing forth a calamity of screams from the hunting party surrounding it. Even outnumbered this giant with precious Caith crystals jutting out of its armored shell still seemed invincible as opposed to the hunters that were being thrown around like rag-dolls. Their swords broke, their shields bent and shattered, their hammers fell without hindering the beast in the slightest, their arrows and bullets plinked pathetically against the monster’s hide – a complete waste of ammo. One of the few hunters still able to get up from the ground stood still, though his legs clad in armored greaves were shaking.

“D… Damn it… Isn't there anyone of us who could stop that beast…?” He asked, addressing no one in particular as he watched the Caithness rage. And yet, unexpectedly, his question was answered…

“Step back.” A simple phrase was uttered as a youth stepped forth, dressed in an adventurer’s garb, goggles shimmering on his eyes with a strange gun in hand. As though sensing an overly confident opponent approach, the beast turned, snarling as the reckless boy’s image reflected in the orbs of its eyes. At this moment its muzzle contorted to a strange semblance of a grimace. What could this one boy with his gun do? The beast had defeated hunters that were taller, stronger and armed with far bigger weapons than he! With a lumbering step it began its advance towards the boy.

“Arto!” Someone called out the boy’s name as the beast’s clawed arm came crashing down, raising a cloud of dust and rocky debris. Surely the boy perished… Yet as the smoke cleared the youth was standing… He was right on top of the clawed arm of the beast and before anyone in the area including the Caithness could get over their surprise, he rushed up its limb to its shoulder. Perhaps realizing the mistake of giving the boy leverage the beast tried to draw back its arm and shake him off. Yet the boy outran the monster and with a single jump propelled himself into the air before its maw. Surely there he would meet the end in its teeth…?

The hand with the strange firearm holding a visible Lumen core clicked, several round lenses sliding up from the side of the gun-frame and aligning themselves in front of the small crystal. And then, with the push of the trigger a golden light grew in a blinding flash, engulfing the beast in a burst so bright it rivaled the sun. The men and women who saw it took time to rub their eyes and manage to view their surroundings normally. The boy looked like a living saint, standing there holstering his gun while still surrounded in shimmering light. And upon him rained Caith that had been cast out of the beast he’d slain single-handed with his gun. Arto grinned, catching a few small crystals in his free hand as they fell, the hunters around him beginning to cheer for the great victor-…

***

“Here’s your order! Sorry, we have so many visitors today. The pie’s still warm though!” An enthusiastic waitress chirped to him happily. She’d set the plate with his order in front of him rather loudly, the plate and the bottom of the cup both landing pretty audibly on the table in front of him. But then, with his head against the table as it was most any object landing on it would wake him up.

“Are you alright, our dear customer?” The waitress asked as the boy slowly turned his head. Still, she was called off before she could be incinerated by his murderous glare. If the trade-off of finally getting his order was being robbed of his glory then he’d rather she ate the damn pie herself! Although he’d probably still not share the cup of Ha’Penny’s famous punch with her. Still, Arto the currently unemployed Caithness hunter woke up, groaning and sitting up. The smell of food in front of him was inviting - a sort of proof that perhaps returning to the waking world wasn't ENTIRELY bad. Still, this place was pretty noisy and there were so many people around. Whatever this job he was told about was it would take forever to get scouted.

“Sheesh. Damn troublesome…” He uttered as he crammed a large piece of spiced meat pie into his mouth and chewed somewhat nonchalantly. He didn't have anyone at the table to watch his manners for. The procedure was taking too damn long. If he’d gone to the board and just taken a regular assignment off there he’d have probably had time to go handle that then return here and get his reward. And he’d STILL get to get scouted for this phantom job that was supposedly there for him to have. It would've certainly been better than hearing all this noise. The bustling of the crowd, the guffaw of Caithness Hunters sharing the stories of their daring escapades, those guards and an alchemist saying they needed a job posted for someone to bring back a loose Golem…

Wait a minute…

He listened a bit closer this time. A Golem was loose, apparently kidnapping a citizen to boot and the guards demanded to post a job for the Hunters to handle. The barkeeper, who could have told the owner responsible for authorizing a job, did his best to explain that one couldn't just walk in and say they need something done for the whole roster of Guild-affiliated and Guildless hunters to rush on ahead and carry it out for them. Yeah, right. Try explaining that to someone who feels that their business is urgent. Still, the guards and even the somewhat distraught-looking alchemist weren't having much luck speeding up their request’s posting. The barkeep and the guards were in a stalemate and the time they spent arguing fruitlessly was just enough for Arto to hastily finish off his meal, patting his stomach with an arm and getting up wiping his mouth on the way.

“Hey. If I bring the Golem, I get paid?” He confirmed from one of the guards, who agreed.

“Yes… Yes-yes! You bring him, you’ll get money. You’re a hunter, yes? Uhm… Young… Well! No time for us to be picky! Just uh… yeah, well, that Golem is… probably… Well just think of something!” The alchemist was obviously trying to create an impression he was still the professional and had most of the situation under his supervision. His muddled speech though didn't help make his status apparent.

“Fine. I don’t need an official warrant for that. Just be ready to pay in First Grade Lumen and Emperors.”

And so, having taken directions from the two guards and the alchemist, who all tried to talk to him at once, he rushed out of Ha’Penny Pie, not without paying the barkeep for the meal on the run. Sure it would've been reassuring to have a contract, but a Golem would probably be no less convincing than a piece of paper with a seal on it once he brought it back. And how hard could that be? Easy Caith and Emperors were going to be his in no time!

The setting changes from barberry-city-of-guilds to Allevent

Setting

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: I.S.S.A.C.
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I.S.S.A.C.




The creature in its hand was making the strangest noise as it trundled down the now-empty street. There were others like it minding their own business, but they were communicating with one another with similar shrill sounds before stepping out of the way, leaving it to forge ahead on this path by itself. Still this creature would not stop the noise! Perhaps it was trying to communicate with it directly?

A whirring noise as it processed the information around it--the loud noises coming from this creature, the seemingly erratic patterns the beings on the ground were moving in; as little sense as it made to it, it began to pick up on a pattern. Slowly, the whirring grew in volume until a single sound broadcast from its head, a soft blue glow emitting from an inverted cross as it scanned the creature in its hand, almost as if looking for approval.

"A... A... Aaaaaaaah." It repeated the noise, hoping to decipher more of this strange speech patterns. The creature stared up at it, wide-eyed and repeating its previous statement, this time with what appeared to be an increased level of stress.

"Ahhhhhh!"

Not knowing what else to do, hoping for some other sort of sense of communication, it merely repeated this statement.

"Aaaaaaaah."

"Ahhhhhhh!"

"Aaaaaaaah."

It was unsure as to how long this "conversation" would go on--perhaps this creature was extremely talkative and had a lot to say... or maybe this was something unexpected? In a flash, another creature, this one brown with stubby legs and a tail, leapt from the shoulders of the creature creating the loud noises, running off on its own volition.

""Xerxes! D-Don't leave me!" The creature outstretched an arm toward the one that had reached the ground. When it ignored its beckoner, a new sound filled the air, this one with a blubbering tone with short sporadic gasps of breath between a soft low-pitched whine. It could tell that the creature's stress levels were higher than even before--perhaps retrieving this other creature would help to lower them once more?

Another whirring noise, this time slightly louder than before, and then--

"X... Xe... Xerxes." It repeated the name, stretching its arm out in the same direction as the creature in its occupied hand. "Xerxes. Xerxes. Xerxes." It chanted the word, stumbling after the brown creature running along the ground and reaching its arm in an awkward manner, hoping to grab it much like this other creature it was trying to placate.

Without any warning whatsoever, its arm smashed into a structure, tearing a hole in the facade of the building. Another one of these creatures, similar to the one in its hand but a bit pudgier and without the things on its head, Its stress levels were also extremely high and it also communicated in the same sort of shrill tone as it had heard before, but this was much more articulate.

"My... my house! Golem! You, you come back here--repair my house...!" Despite the fact that it--the golem, as it now was referred to--had indeed heard and sensed the levels of discomfort and stress that this new creature was experiencing, the overall stress of the one in its hand far outweighed the need to repair the house, as the new creature referred to it.

"Xerxes. Xerxes. Xerxes. Aaaaaaaah." Almost as if to attempt to indicate why it could not stop to help this other creature with its house, the golem "spoke" these two things over and over again, chasing after the creature with the tail along the ground.

A new noise from the creature in its hand, this one slightly less stressed than before but still with hints of apprehension. "Ffffffffnyah?!" Was it calming down? It appeared so, despite the fact that the stress was still in its voice. Almost out of a necessity to attempt to reassure it that it was going to be safe in its care, it recreated the sound as best as it could with the technology available ot it.

"... ffffffffnyah."

Another new sound, this time softer and higher-pitched. For watever reason, it seemed to simultaneously lower and raise her stress levels, although the new noise helped to settle them at a lower level. Almost instinctively, it stopped in its tracks, pausing for a moment to assess the situation. The stress of this creature was about to rise again, but it seemed to have a bizarre look plastered across its face, something between utter fear and admiration.

Sensing no other life in the immediate vicinity, the golem lowered its hand toward the ground and gently set the creature on the ground. While doing this, it saw a glimpse of brown daring down another street; seeing as this creature appeared to be another source of stress, it realized that it must retrieve the fleeing beast in order to calm the being that had until this point in time been trapped in its hand.

"Xerxes. Xerxes. You come back here--repair my house. Aaaaaaaah. Xerxes. Xerxes. Fffffffffnyah." It lumbered after this creature--the brown bushy-tailed thing that the one now on the ground had referred to as Xerxes--with outstretched arms, oblivious to the extra damage it caused as it knocked off bricks and shingles.

This Xerxes creature was leading the golem on a chase through the streets, through the winding passageways and corridors until everything seemed to open up. No more buildings, no more cobbled streets. Everything seemed so... free. There was, however, no sign of Xerxes, and the golem could not even fathom how to find a creature that small in this sea of of... not-city. Not knowing what exactly to do, the golem stopped moving, finding a spot and gathering information about the surrounding landscape as it called out.

"Xerxes. Xerxes. You come back here--Aaaaaaaah. Xerxes. Xerxes."

The setting changes from allevent to Barberry, City of Guilds

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Character Portrait: Adion Volf Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Aela Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel
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Lysandra Tereviel




The elf buried her face into a tome, attempting to absorb the information from the literature. Even if it had nothing to do with anything that she wanted to research, she felt strangely at home in the archives--there was an eerie sense of calm that she felt when she could isolate herself from the rest of the world. Whether out in the wild or lost in a book, pushing herself away from any potential... mishaps was the best way to go.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone walking toward her wearing thick wolf pelts--something that seemed rather out of place in a library. The elf ignored this newcomer, assuming that he would be doing his own research as she was; minding one's own business was the norm in a library, so why was he so intent on sitting close to her?

And then, the strangest thing--she saw this newcomer reach into his bag and pull out a small glowing crystal before setting it on the table next to her. She froze, feeling the skin grow cold as her face paled. What was the purpose of this particular action? Did he know about her condition? Could he have seen something at all? Were these new sleeves not nearly as opaque as she had thought? The elf looked down at the fabric of her new robes, a look of panic in her eyes as she found that her clothing was completely opaque. There was no way he could have seen anything, so why did he place a crystal on the table as if he did? The elf cautiously turned toward the newcomer, recognizing the race. She had seen a few of his kind wandering the forests before she began travelling the land in search of answers.

"Hello. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about you and your people?" the vere asked. The woman in red remembered that the few that had come to their tribe were also wanderers--archivists for their race, they called themselves. They asked all sorts of questions to the various tribesmembers--everything from culture to crafting, from hunting to dancing. She had no idea why the elder members were so open to them in the first place, but she could not imagine what had happened to the information that these past vere had gathered from their tribe. Had they onlynow realized that their information was possibly outdated, or did they perhaps lose their entire record on the elves? In any case, she was in little mood to do any talking, especially to nosy archivists that she thought knew too much already.

"...is this what your kind does?" she asked, avoiding eye contact and trying to keep her voice down as to not draw further attention to herself. This was proving to be somewhat difficult, as a few wandering eyes had followed the wolf-creature for the sheer novelty. She did her best to attempt to keep her voice steady but was finding it more and more difficult to hold back her apprehension. Did she sense fear in her tone now? "Do you always go around asking random passersby for their life stories? What if--"

A loud noise interrupted her train of thought as her attention snapped toward a young girl sitting on the ground, surrounded by a pile of books. After getting a glimpse of the interrupting force, the elf had a sickening revelation: this was the same girl from the market who had thrown herself in front of her to save the familiar that had torn her sleeve! What was she doing here in the archives? Was she spying on her? Had she suspected something and followed her here? If she had been attempting to remain hidden, she had obviously failed; however, how long could she have spent studying her from afar?

Shutting her book and placing it on the table, the elf hastily grabbed the flask from the floor and stood up from table, quickly making use of the distraction created by the fallen girl and ducking around a bookcase out of view of the vere and other onlookers. She could feel her heart pounding in her throat as she ducked out of the archive, frustrated and disappointed that she could not be left alone to her own devices. Why did everyone seem to be so interested in her on this particular day? Why had the fates conspired to make her feel more alone than ever before?

The streets were eerily empty outside the Archive, almost as if something had chased the masses away. The elf did not seem to mind nearly as much, despite the fact that her nerves were still spiraling out of control. She had to keep her cool, though--she couldn't let anyone see her falling apart like this: not here, not now. Once she was outside the city, it wouldn't matter anymore. She would be away from these people and she could get away from this awful place; away from prying eyes and curious noses trying to force themselves into private matters.

You knew this would be a bad idea... Why did you decide to go back when that girl followed you in?

How was I supposed to know that she would want to follow me? What if she wasn't there because of me at all? Maybe she wants to do her own research...

How can you be sure? What about the vere asking questions? Don't you think he was a little bit
too eager to get your story?

I was never planning on divulging sensitive information, especially when I don't even know myself... It's not the right time...

Don't you see? It will
never be the right time to tell anyone, least of all a vere with no sense of personal space!

...perhaps I
was too harsh... If it's what they do--

Does it matter if it's what they do? If they find out about your condition, they'll never leave you alone... No one will ever leave you alone after they find out...


The elf appeared visibly stressed, her face still pale and her pace quickening as she barreled down the empty street. She was so focused on trying to avoid any potential route where people could be hiding. Would it be better to stay out in the open? At least there she would be able to find her way out of the city, but she would draw attention to herself being the only one out and about right now. On the other hand, if she were to duck into an alleyway, she could maintain an element of stealth at the expense of being utterly and hopelessly lost...

Before she could make that decision, she noticed a figure sitting alone in the plaza, the setting sun outlining the silhouette. The most striking feature she noticed were the two cat-like ears atop her head poking out from a cap. She stopped, recognizing this figure from before as the owner of the familiar that had torn the sleeve from her old robes. The elf was about to walk in the opposite direction when she remembered the weight in her hand. The flask! This girl had forced it into her arms after apologizing for the foxarms after apologizing for the fox's behavior! Unfortunate that she had no extra money on her, otherwise the elf would have relinquished the sum given to her.

Slowly, cautiously, the elf made her way toward the girl, keeping her bad arm behind her back and holding the potion with her other. She felt ridiculous, willingly approaching someone that might have actually seen something she shouldn't have. In fact, it had been her ineptitude that caused her to panic in the first place! Shaking aside the negative thoughts, the elf finally approached the girl, unsure of whether she had actually noticed her approach.

"...I believe this belongs to you..." she finally broke the silence, placing the flask on the cobblestone ground next to the frazzled-looking girl.

If she says anything about your arm--

She was too busy trying to run after her familiar!

How can you be too sure? Perhaps she's more observant than you think!

If she has, then I merely turn around and walk away...

You know it's never that simple, right?

Nothing is ever simple anymore...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel
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#, as written by Igari


XIOBAN EFIALTIS




She was on her knees, seated somewhat helplessly on the ground as she looked around her current position. Her eyebrows were furrowed, lower lip jutting out and trembling slightly as she fought back some tears. She was alone. In a city. Alone--city. These were two words that did not belong in the same thought pattern. Being in a large city such as Barberry was troubling enough and took much courage from the summoner to even bear to walk its streets for a single day of the week. But at least then, she had Xerxes by her side. Even if he was a snarky piece of work, her familiar was her familiar and brought the comfort of home with him. Now that he had left his usual place upon her shoulders, she felt almost abandoned and most certainly lost. She was doing her best to keep herself together but her composure was slipping.

She had spent an hour or so fruitlessly searching around to try and locate Xerxes after he had scampered off. The destruction left behind by the large metal creature was far too disorderly for her to make heads or tails out of and there was no scent for her to follow. And unfortunately, the pandemonium and disjointed movement by the city-goers had marred the scent she perhaps could've hoped to pick up on. All of this compounded with the fact that she had, just until recently, been carried by that... thing... had stacked up and now here she was, on the ground and mewling like a small kitten.

"Murr..." She sniffled, wiping her nose and sighing deeply. A few pattering footsteps from over her shoulder made her tense and she fought the urge to straighten her ears upright in fright. Who was approaching her now? Somewhere in her mind, she could almost see Xerxes having that smug look on his face, reprimanding her for her lack of courage. It was not that she was scared, just... social situations really weren't her thing! And after the invasive looks she had been receiving as she had searched, she couldn't say she was all that eager to try conversing with another.

She saw the edges of the approaching figure's shadow overlap her own, contorting a bit as the person seemed to lean down. "...I believe this belongs to you..." The voice that greeted her ears was low, a bit hardened but definitely a woman's. There was a light clink as she saw a flask being put on the ground out of the corner of her eye. The color of the potion was instantly familiar to her--this was one of hers.

Instantly, she swiveled her eyes to meet the stranger's to see who was going about returning her merchandise. Had she not sold it effectively enough? No one had ever returned anything before...

Yet the woman that fell into her line of vision was most certainly not one of her regulars. She frowned a little as she gazed at the other, trying to place them. Her eyes flickered over the red robes and the long blond hair--yet it was the pointed ears that brought it all together. This was the elf! A bit of color returned to her cheeks as she processed this, chest feeling a bit less constricted. She was alright with elves, elves were kindred spirits. And the posture this woman had wasn't threatening so it would be alright to relax... a little bit.

She looked between her potion bottle and the woman, trying her best to get on her feet. She was proud of her wares and was a bit embarrassed to be caught in the position she was in. Even if she was feeling desolate, she had to do her best to be polite.
"Mew, I'm sorry--I didn't mean to be so rude earlier." She said slowly, raising her eyes to match the gaze of the elf. Judging by the condition of the woman's sleeve, it was evident that her money had gone to good use for repairs. She decided not to bring that up--best to leave that in the past. Xerxes was always causing so much trouble.

She went to take another breath, about to apologize again and take her potion back from off the ground when she was interrupted by... clanking metal. But it was not like the clunks from earlier made by the large metal creature--it sounded different... Yet still off-putting. She looked a bit past the elf with narrowed eyes, pupils dilating into slits once more for more efficient eyesight. She caught sight of guards, still a safe distance from them but they were wandering into the area. She tensed up--why wouldn't they leave her alone? She had done her best to avoid them and they still followed after her!

She slid her eyes back to the elf, unsure of how to proceed without seeming too panicked. "E-Erm..." She stumbled. There wasn't a lot of time and now that she thought on it, staying in one area wasn't that smart either. She still had a fox to find. Mustering up her strength the best she could, she tried to speak to the woman again. There would be no point in trying to think of a lie and besides, those felt tart on her tongue. The elf seemed to be a little flustered herself; perhaps they had something in common--at least for the time being.

The elf noticed the panicked look in the girl's eyes--stranger still how the dilated like a cat's, but she thought better than to bring it up at this time. The clanking grew louder and louder behind her, and she turned her head behind for a brief second to catch a glance of half a dozen armor-clad guardsmen heading in their direction. Her face paled--this day was getting more and more exciting, which was the exact opposite of what she wanted. Had someone alerted the guard about her condition? Did they think she was dangerous? If the vere did notice something... She let out a hurried breath, looking back toward the girl with the cat-eared hat atop her head... although... she shook the thought from her mind; there were more important things that were happening around her, whether or not she wanted them to directly involve her.

"Purrhaps we have a common point of interest?" She suggested the best she could, gesturing towards one of the alleyways. "I do not normally mewr... travel in the streets directly." She didn't want to be too presumptuous, but lingering wouldn't be good for either of them, it seemed. She bent down quickly, depositing her potion into her pouch and taking a few steps forward. She looked over her shoulder to signal to the other woman but again tried her best not to specifically direct. Elves were an independent race, much like her own, and one of the only reasons they had been able live side by side for so long was mutual respect. She squeezed into the alley carefully, working her way around a sharper turn and into a back area of the city.

Still, ducking around behind the scenes... She already knew her weakness for getting lost, especially when she was stressed. She looked behind her again to make sure the elf was still following her and stopped gradually, regarding the woman.

"You don't... happen to mind fur, do you?" She asked shyly, trying not to scare the woman off too much with the question. With as touchy as things were, the wrong combination of words would be enough to make either of them feel distinctly uncomfortable. She closed her eyes, focusing on the feel of her familiar and reaching out towards Xerxes.

Hopefully he would be able to sense her plea for assistance. She really didn't want to be here any longer.

The setting changes from barberry-city-of-guilds to Allevent

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: I.S.S.A.C. Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia
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#, as written by Igari


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Yuskreviv na'aim... na'aim... raflhej?!

There had been a loud crash from up above, a tumbling of a large crate, and now she was sprawled out on the ground. She blinked, the wall did look odd from her upside down position. Her hair was messily spread out over her body, some books laying on top of her chest. She blew a bit of her hair away from her eyes, jutting out her bottom lip in a pout. Hejrill eksha nadrem? The last she could recall, she had been around.... around... Her mind was drawing up literal blanks though a part of her did feel the slightest bit of familiarity from her surroundings. The girl was unable to place them properly however. Perhaps trying to remember where she was currently was a bit too difficult--maybe she could try something easier? A few letters moved across her irises, jumbled--uncoordinated. A trait that all of her race shared when attempting to recall pieces of information.

Hmm, she did faintly remember a bar... yes, there had been a group of sailors, they had a map in their back pocket! And the map had led to treasure! Oh!

She attempted to sit up but her current position only made her falll backwards once more. She tried a few more times, eventually having to use her hands as support to prop herself up. She had that map, right? It had looked so enticing, so mouth-wateringly delicious... She began to pat herself down, reaching into all of her available pockets. As she reached her back pocket underneath the folds of her sash, she felt the firm outline of parchment. Ah ha! Yes, she most certainly still had the map. But it was a bit too early to be snacking so maybe she would save that until later...

Something told her that eating right now wouldn't benefit her. Her stomach seemed to be on a revolt against the very thought even, for it threatened to overturn on her at the idea of feeding herself. She tapped her chin with a few digits. That memory still didn't tell her anything though... Maybe there had been something afterwards? Yes, there had been... a woman. That was right! She had been distracted by possible treasure and a woman with brown hair had come up and... thrown a sack over her head. Her eyebrows furrowed even deeper as she attempted to replay what had happened next but her memories seemed to end just as her vision had blacked out as well.

The girl stood up unsteadily with her palms pressed against the walls for support. The texts rolled off of her as she did so, scattering on the ground. She wasn't so preoccupied with it--somehow she felt she had already eaten those for some reason. She walked towards the stairs, clutching the railing on her way up. Why was it so difficult to walk straight? And why did it feel like there was rocking of some kind? There was what looked to be a hatch at the top of the stairs. She grasped the latch, turning it to the side and pushing upwards. The door clamored open and she poked her head out of the opening. The fresh air hit her face sharply. It was whirring by a bit too quickly for... ah?

That was sky. Sie daishi. Sie sie daishi! There was a flash of nervousness that hit her as she forced herself to ascend all the way to the surface, not bothering to close the door behind her. Large eyes skimmed over the people that were standing around on the deck (Maybe? She really wasn't sure...), not a single face bringing up any recognition. There was an older man--jeez, those were some deep frown lines! He could use one of those... those.... oh, she'd remember that later! She puffed up her cheeks with air as she took in each person--a man with white hair, a slender woman, another man who wore a disinterested expression on his face and--a face she could recognize!

She caught sight of a woman exiting the helm who was walking back to the steering wheel. That woman had the same brown hair she remembered from the bar and the same demeanor. It had to be the same person. She tightened her sash with a bit of hesitation as she approached the woman.

"Um..." She began, soon pausing afterwards. What exactly was she going to say? "Yuseif tarwn maji..." She trailed off, a blank stare in response meeting her words. What was she saying wrong? Maybe she was expressing herself too quickly? "Yu-se-if ta-r-wn ma-ji...?" She tried more slowly, putting emphasis on each part of her question. There was no response and the girl's frown returned on her face. "Washu rein, you look familiar?" She stated, unconsciously switching dialects in the middle of her speech. She looked over her shoulder, feeling uncomfortable with that older, grim-looking fellow standing some feet from her. She shifted so that she was on the other side of the woman before continuing.

"Could you... maybe tell me where I am right now? I can't seem to remember anything before our encounter in the bar." She didn't like this--she hated not being able to get a bearing on what and where she was. And more importantly how she had come to reside there. This had seemed to be a recurring theme, but moreso whenever she... That must've been it! She got an internal ping, snapping her fingers at the realization. She always blacked out the most when she accidentally ate too much in one sitting. That would explain why she had been in a crate full of books... Though still left much to be desired in terms of everything else.

Hopefully she would be able to figure it all out soon.



Image




Xerxes had been running in circles in the fields directly outside of Barberry. The large creature, a golem if he was not mistaken, didn't seem to comprehending the situation correctly. It continued its chants, jumbles of words taken from things shouted in the city. It called after him, chasing after the familiar with metallic clanks following in its wake. He wasn't the least bit worried about being caught; their difference in speed was very apparent. And it was humorous to see it unable to quite catch him, yet seemingly so determined to do just that. A boy's voice caused him to halt for a second though the animal didn't stay in place too long, he wasn't going to be caught that easily.

“You there, Golem! What are you doing?” Huehuehue, a perfect distraction. He darted out from the faintly indented earth, pouncing on to the boy's unsuspecting face. He left a scratch mark on the human's cheeks as he jumped off of him, the boy toppling to the ground. From the thunk that occurred, it seemed a safe assumption that the boy had been knocked out cold by the impact. With a flick of his tail and an infamous smirk, Xerxes was bounding back into the city. He heard the shifting of gears as the golem undoubtedly turned behind him. A persistent machine~ It wouldn't do to be chased down the main streets, though.

He darted into one of the side alleys, hopping over one of the barrels that had been overturned in the earlier commotion. There was a rough grating sound from behind him. The golem was attempting to wedge itself in between the walls to enter the thin space. Its hand swiped at thin air, hitting against the buildings as it continued its efforts. He would have to give it points for tenacity.

"Xerxes. Aaaaaaaah. Xerxes." It called loudly. Xerxes only flashed it a devious grin before scampering through the space, turning the corner into the back-alleys of Barberry. It did not take him long at all to locate his charge. Yes, just as he had suspected: wide-eyed with a trembling bottom lip. Just as helpless as always. He casually lept upon her shoulders, the girl starting in surprise.

"Xerxes!" She exclaimed. Why was she so shocked? She was the one that had called out for him after all. He rolled his eyes, not indulging a response. He pawed at one of the dangling ribbons from her hairpiece. She tried her best to be firm with him, cheeks flooding with a reddish tinge as she attempted a glare. "Xerxes, don't you ignore me!"

"Huehuehue~" She gave an exasperated sigh, pinching the bridge of her nose and looking back over at the elvish woman.

"I'm sorry fur this..." Her voice came out a bit more meekly as she addressed her new companion. Xerxes tended to make nearly anyone uncomfortable, so perhaps she shouldn't be surprised at the slight edginess she sensed from the woman at his arrival. But at least with him here, they'd finally be able to get out of the city! She always got lost on her own. She looked to Xerxes, raising her eyebrows at him. Her fox yawned lazily before stretching, pawing one last time at her before jumping on to the ground.

Her familiar was choosing to be more difficult today, keeping that smirk on his face yet not uttering a word. He trotted down the alleyway at a moderate pace, the girl gesturing apologetically to the other woman before following him. She hoped that the elf wouldn't be so put-off and would accept Xerxes' guidance--at least until they crossed outside of the city boundaries.

The setting changes from allevent to Barberry, City of Guilds

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel Character Portrait: Arto Kelmt Character Portrait: I.S.S.A.C.
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The girl with the cat-eared hat turned toward the elf with the realization that her potion was being returned to her. She stared at the elf, scanning her figure and immediately making her feel slightly uneasy. She instinctively retracted her right arm behind her back despite the sleeve covering her... growths. It was more of a force of habit now than anything else, but especially so now because this was the person with the fox; even though it was missing for now, she had no idea where or when it would strike next...

"Mew, I'm sorry--I didn't mean to be so rude earlier." She said slowly, raising her eyes to match the gaze of the elf. Despite her harried expression from before in the marketplace, she seemed rather... lucid now. Perhaps it was just the fact that the square they were in was rather devoid of people, but it was eerily comforting that she did not have to look over her back every few seconds--

The vere--was he following her? He had been so interested in finding out about her history, and she had been rather standoffish in her approach, which was a faux pas on her part, she admitted, but still! Had she not been clear in the archive? What did she need to do to make it clear to him that she did not want to be bothered, especially when he was prying for details as he was?

Instead of the wolf, however, the sound of clanking metal rang through the air as the elf spied a few guards heading in their direction. Her face paled--this day was getting more and more exciting, which was the exact opposite of what she wanted. Had someone alerted the guard about her condition? Did they think she was dangerous? If the vere did notice something... She let out a hurried breath, looking back toward the girl with the cat-eared hat atop her head... although... she shook the thought from her mind; there were more important things that were happening around her, whether or not she wanted them to directly involve her.

"Purrhaps we have a common point of interest?" the cat-eared girl offered, seeing the rather concerned wide-eyed expression collecting on her face. "I do not normally mewr... travel in the streets directly." She gestured toward the back alleys before taking a few steps out toward the sidestreets.

The elf was hesitant at first, as well she should have been. She was an outsider to the city, someone that stuck out like a sore thumb as it was. This girl, who she had never met before earlier in the day, was now offering to take her into the dark alleys where she would undoubtedly be lost in the labyrinthine backstreets of the city. Still, it was better than potentially being stopped by the guards for fates-know-what--if they wanted to bring her in for analysis... she shuddered at the thought. With nowhere else to go, she reluctantly followed after the girl into a more... desperate part of town.

She ran after the young woman, ducking around the corner of a building and out of the sight of the pursuing guards. Around another corner, and another, another still--where was this girl taking her? Did she actually know where she was going? What if they got lost in the streets and the guards still ended up capturing them? Suddenly, the elf had a very uneasy feeling about following after a complete stranger down a dark alley despite the alternative solution...

After another few minutes of ducking around corners and navigating the maze of streets and alleys, the girl with the cap finally stopped. The elf was most definitely out of breath--she could feel her heart pounding in her throat, both out of fatigue and out of fear that someone would still be able to navigate the path they had taken. She could feel her right arm throbbing slightly; a quick glance at the sleeve betrayed no outward signs of protruding crystal growths nor any textural abnormalities, so there was that, at least... If this other girl had not seen anything before (although she was doubtful of this), she certainly could not see anything now.

...but if she had seen something, why wasn't she trying to verify what she thought she saw in the marketplace?

"You don't... happen to mind fur, do you?" the girl asked somewhat hesitantly. What sort of question was that to an elf? Her people hunted for food and used the skins of their prey as clothing; however, they did try to create as harmonious of a relationship as they could with their forest. She respected the life that sprang from the loins of the earth and only thought the best of them--well, her familiar was an exception to the rule, now that she stopped to think about it...

And then she remembered--on top of everything else, she owed this girl money for her new robes! The elf cursed her luck as she realized that she had little need for currency anyway, living mostly outside of the city. When she did force herself to go into the city, she normally was able to get by without it, but now... Now she had to repay her somehow, but with what? She was unable to get a job anywhere without risk of exposing her deformity, and even if she could find such a line of work, she was not willing to forego all of her research in order to live with a bit of coin to her name...

Suddenly, a brown blur skimmed across the ground and leapt onto the girl's shoulders, pawing at her hair. "Xerxes!" she cried out, evidently surprised at the creature's sudden appearance. "Xerxes, don't you ignore me!" The elf immediately noticed that this was the creature that had bit down on her sleeve and had torn her old robes. Even more unsettling was the fact that it seemed more intelligent than she had given it credit for from earlier--

And then it hit her: this 'Xerxes' fox had bitten down on a crystal. Would it think to tell the girl about what was different about her compared to every other being it had ever encountered? Would the cat-eared girl just abandon her in the backalley if she found out?

"Xerxes. Aaaaaaaah. Xerxes." A metallic voice cut through her thoughts, followed by the sound of something solid rubbing against... brick or stone? The color drained immediately from the elf's face--what was this... this thing that was coming after her familiar? What did it want from it? Had she in fact been used by the girl and her familiar? Of course everything that she had tried to do today had been flipped on its head and been thrown back in her face almost as if to spite her--why not this too?

"I'm sorry fur this..." the girl meekly stated as she attempted to get the fox off from around her shoulders. The elf's eyes grew wide as she tried to take in all of these stimuli--the fox, the girl, the back alley, the... thing trying to come after them--yet even through all of these things that were potential dangers... the girl's tone was genuine. Despite the misgivings she had about the fox she "controlled", the girl herself... maybe she was not out to put her away at all; maybe she had not seen anything after all...

The fox had finally leapt from the girl's shoulders, bounding down the street they currently occupied toward the unknown. Turning around for a brief second, the elf was bekoned to by the girl as she followed the familiar almost blindly. Of course, the woman in red was not ready to trust her well-being to this person she had barely even met and was only relying on for these direst of circumstances, but... The threat of being cornered by what sounded like a huge creature that was coming after the girl's familiar was right in front of her. She could stay put in the hopes that it would go away in case it saw 'Xerxes' running away, but that was a lot to hope for--what if it didn't see either figure and assumed they still stayed back with her? And then what of her situation after they left? She would still be lost in the city with guards trying to find her...

No other options to go with, she bit her tongue and ran after the fleeing girl and the fox. This went against everything that she had been just worrying about mentally, but... there was no other reason for her to stay...

Another scraping sound against the stones that held these buildings together, another outcry of "Xerxes. Aaaaaaaah. Xerxes. Fffffffffnyah." The voice sent a chill down the elf's spine, and she suddenly felt the urge to run after the fleeing figures. Around one corner, then another and another--seconds turned into minutes as their footfalls echoed through the empty walkways, the beating of her heart pulsing in her ears.

Make sure that you keep the sleeve covered! Don't get careless now!

It is! Besides, there's no one else around now, what with that thing chasing after the fox--

And you're trusting this person, the one whose familiar got you into this panic in the first place?

Should I trust the guards instead? Would that be better for me?

...If she ends up betraying you, you only have yourself to blame...


After a few minutes more of running, the buildings thinned out--there it was! The plains were within her reach, and she continued sprinting ahead, closing in on the positions of the girl and her familiar. Never before had she been so relieved to see a sea of grasses before! She threatened to keep up with even the fox as she felt the plants brushing against her legs. For the first time all day, she felt relatively calmer. Anything to get away form the city would best for her--

What had caused the grasses to flatten? Someone--or something--had been stomping around in the fields, perhaps as a prank. The massive footprints, though, disturbed the elf slightly, as nothing human or human-like would be able to do anything nearly as destructive as this on their own--

What was the girl doing now?

The nekomimi girl masked her hesitance rather well--she had not fully expected the elf to follow after her. Or at least at such a close distance. She paused as they approached the flattened grass, noticing an indent some meters away. It looked almost like... She walked a little closer, slowly leaning forwards. She caught sight of a boy, black hair messily strewn across his face. He was clearly knocked out for the count and... were those claw marks on his cheeks? Xerxes had caused so much trouble today! She reached into her pouch, digging around in it until she was able to produce a green vial. She garnered they wouldn't have much time to stop and she wasn't all that eager to want to bring him along with them to begin with, but she felt she would at least have to make it up to him somehow. His wounds were partially her fault.

The two female figures ran for about another minute or two before the elf realized that she was running very low on breath. She took a bit of time to pause, feeling the sweat drip across her forehead. She never thought that she would have had to run so fast just to get out of a city before, let alone with a complete stranger that had an animal that had spontaneously decided to attack her and ruin her clothing. The things she did when there were so many people that might be coming after her! What did they want from her, anyway?

After watching the girl set the flask down by the fallen man she had failed to notice before, the elf realized that she should be a bit more thankful. She did, after all, owe her something for the gold she had been given, even though she was not entirely to blame for her earlier predicament, but what did she have to offer in return? Certainly not her bow--the ashen-gray weapon slung across her back was most definitely off of the table.

Mustering up her courage, she took a few tentative steps toward the cat-eared girl. "...thank you..." she spoke quietly but sincerely, partly because of her breathlessness. "I feel... I feel I must repay you somehow, but I lack the funds to do so..."

The setting changes from barberry-city-of-guilds to Allevent

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia
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She was completely out of breath, clutching her sides as she attempted to get a hold of herself. They had been running for a generous amount of time and that was enough to wear her out. Of course, it wasn't as if she was out of shape but running like that would wear anyone out. She took a few minutes to relax, bent over slightly and readjusting her hands so that she was supporting her weight with them against her knees. Xerxes padded around her ankles, flicking his tail against her legs but seemingly unaffected by the day's activities. She would really need to reprimand him later, for now, recuperation.

Her legs trembled a bit and the girl released a very deep sigh. She was going to have to sit down... She looked over her shoulder, noting they were a safe distance away from the boy she had caught sight of in the grass. Nodding to herself, she plopped down on the ground with a faint purr of relief. Out of the city at last! She glanced upwards as a rustling nearby told her that her companion was approaching her. The blond-haired elf looked just as worn as the summoner felt.

"...thank you... I feel... I feel I must repay you somehow, but I lack the funds to do so..." There was an airiness to the tone, perhaps breathlessness? The girl patted the ground next to her with a tired smile, trying her best to be friendly. She had never had any qualms about like-kin and honestly, after what happened in the city? It was comforting to be around another forest-dweller.

"No need!" She managed with a light laugh. "But if you really want to repay me..." She paused and partially extended her hand out towards the elf. "Purrhaps you can tell me your name? Mine is Xioban," She offered first. Elves were secluded creatures, much like her own kin, but hopefully asking after a name wouldn't be regarded as too intrusive. She gestured with her outstretched hand towards Xerxes, who was pawing at a lone flower playfully. "And my furend is Xerxes, though it mewbe more accurate to say he is my furmiliar." Xerxes didn't even look up when his name was mentioned and pounced on the flower, taking the stem into his mouth as he did so.

She patted the ground again when she noticed the woman still had not taken her up on her offer. "I don't bite! And I purromise Xerxes won't either; he knows he's been a bad fox." Xioban wrinkled her nose at Xerxes purposely, who slyly grinned at her before biting into the stem. He always had an odd way of showing his approval for others and she knew it would be difficult to explain that his seemingly violent acts were really shows of affection. It took her awhile to get used to it herself. She smiled a bit at the memory. Her guardian had caused her much confusion and discomfort when she first discovered his unfortunate habit of gnawing on hair.

Since then, of course, she had gotten used to such odd displays. She adjusted her position, wrapping her arms around her legs and leaning forwards so that her chin was on top of her knees. What could she say here? She felt bad about the circumstances she had met the elf under but was certain that, at least, not everything could've been her fault. Hopefully...

Oh! Idea! Her ears straightened underneath her hat, though the movement was barely noticeable given the looseness of the fabric. "I don't know if you planned to go back to the city but if you'd like, I know a safe place fur us to stay that isn't too far fur..." She cleared her throat. "From here." She didn't make any sudden movements and didn't bother to get up quite yet. The elf was still ill at ease around her, that much was obvious. And Xerxes wasn't really making things better, what with his pantomiming of biting and using the flower stem as an example. Still, she had always been taught to show hospitality when it was needed and better that she offered something than nothing at all.



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She still had her arrow notched as the white-haired man moved around her and the captain, heading towards the device with an inquisitive light in his eyes. She didn't take her eyes off her target though she saw his movement out of the corner of her eyes. He seemed to be observing something near to the device and she heard what seemed to be a latch opening or something of the sort. She couldn't see what happened after that, only heard the man's statement of having located something and with a casual remark of going to investigate, he was gone. The pirate woman swore when he left, calling after him.

"Wait! Icarus! Don't just go doing random things!" The yell was unanswered--it didn't seem that he would be returning immediately. Raruna swore again, loudly at that, and angrily paced back and forth on the deck. Her sword was already in her hand as she looked between Zherynnia and where the white-haired man had disappeared to. A low growl sounded from beneath the book-eater's feed but she didn't spare a glance downwards. The target could move while her attentions were diverted.

"Stay here!" Raruna called and she, just like the man, descended into the gods knew where and in a matter of seconds, she was the only one standing near the device. She took a few hesitant steps to the side to get a better view of what was above her. Whoever was up there was apparently good at hiding because she couldn't hear any sounds, save for the rush of wind and the faint yells from the other airship. She was going to have to force whoever it was out--and possibly others who may have been lurking about.

She reached into the quiver on her back, taking out another type of arrow. She flicked the tip against the wood quickly, causing a small flame to catch onto the arrow. Notching it on her bow, she aimed it towards the crow's nest again. The arrow made contact and a few of the flames spread--a figure suddenly straightened. Their face was shrouded in cloth so she couldn't make out any features. Zherynnia did not pause, striking more arrowheads aflame and aiming them at all the high platforms on the airship. Had the whole crew been above them the entire time?

One of the men above her swung a rope with a claw attached to the end of it and secured a line to the side of the airship, using it to make his descent down to the decks. She was tempted to cut it to impair his landing but she had no way of knowing if that would literally throw him off the sides of the ship. She was one for knowledge after all and that would be a good waste of finding out precisely what was going on. She didn't move from in front of the device as several more figures descended, the group moving to try and surround her. The book-eater wasn't put off in the slightest though--she had faced worse odds... None that she could remember at the moment but she was sure that she had.

One of the men lunged forward, knife at the ready and the steel blade aimed towards her stomach. She jumped back, letting an arrow loose. He side-stepped but the metal sliced against his shin. He gasped and fell to one knee--while he was incapacitated, she quickly fired another one at his weapon to disarm him. The others did not wait, all of them darting forwards at once. She quickly assessed the weaponry--axes, daggers, and a pole-arm. And all of them had their faces covered--whoever they were, they didn't want anyone else having a wager at it.

Zherynnia bent her knees and slid to the deck of the ship as one of them swiped at her, turning over and using the momentum to fire another arrow at her attackers. Tch, this wouldn't do--she was at too close of a range! But Raruna had told her to stay near the device, if she moved away--but if she didn't, then she wouldn't be able to win this fight. She got up and decided it would be best to look after herself in the immediate moment. She ran towards the center of the airship, the sound of pursuing footsteps told her that, at least, her attackers were too distracted by her to consider messing with the device.

As she ran, she took out a few arrows and dragged them along the wood to set them on fire before releasing them at the fabric around one of the men's ankles. The cloth lit on fire and he screamed, dropping his weapon and trying to put out the flame. So long as she stayed at a distance, she would be ok--wait, where was the...

Her question was answered as a sharp blow to her back caused her to falter a few steps forward and a few more blows to her wrists caused her to drop her weapons. She rubbed at her skin, sidestepping as she looked behind her. Of course, the one with the pole-arm... She glanced down at her bow but he already kicked it to the side.

"Nowhere else to run, girl... and looks like you're without a weapon now," His other companions began to walk slowly towards her, weapons held up and at the ready. She flicked her gaze between each of them quickly--she might've been cornered... no, it only looked like that. Her arrows would still hurt. She took some out of her quiver and before her opponents could react, she dove forwards and sliced at their legs with the arrows she held in her hands. She whirled, driving an arrowhead into the chest of one of the men. A look of surprise flashed in his eyes as he fell forwards on the ground, dead before he hit it.

She had no time to grab the arrow from his chest and rolled onto the ground, grabbing her bow in the process. She now stood between her assailants and the device once more, arrow notched against her bowstring and a firm expression on her face.

"Washu ek iregyn masiit ehl." She said with a calculating smile. She wasn't going down that easy.

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel
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The cat-eared girl, despite her fatigue, actually looked up to the elf and smiled. She seemed somewhat relieved to be out of the city, away from the bustling crowds and the... thing that had apparently been chasing them. The elf, however, was rather concerned with the fox creature that was playing in the grasses around her feet. Since the market incident, she had become rather... wary seemed to be best word for how she felt, especially after she watched it begin to chew on the stem of a nearby flower. How could this girl not feel ill at ease with such an uncontrolled creature at her side?

"No need!" The cat-eared girl managed with a light laugh. "But if you really want to repay me..." The elf watched as her incidental companion extended a hand, reaching out for some sort of common ground that they could both stand on. "Purrhaps you can tell me your name? Mine is Xioban..." The girl turned to the fox now playing with another flower off to the side. "And my furend is Xerxes, though it mewbe more accurate to say he is my furmiliar." The animal did not even seem to recognize his name being called, instead occupying himself with attacking this new flower. Why did watching his creature play make the elf feel so uneasy?

The girl--Xioban, she had called herself--patted the ground next to her, almost as an invitation to sit down and catch their breaths together. "I don't bite! And I purromise Xerxes won't either; he knows he's been a bad fox." At the mention of the word 'bite', the elf flinched a little, feeling her left hand almost instinctively reach up for the same spot on her right sleeve that had been torn open earlier that day. Her eyes grew slightly wider as if someone had taken a hammer to her chest and knocked the breath out of her, but she felt the overwhelming urge to sit down, if only to get the building pain out of her now-fatigued legs. The elf took a seat across from the cat-eared girl, making sure that she was able to keep an eye on both her and her pet--moreso the latter than the former, but still...

Why was this girl so interested in knowing about her? The elf attempted to avoid all sorts of eye contact with Xioban, instead focusing on the familiar as it gnawed on the stem of the newest flower he had found. It had a... fondness for biting things, she noticed. As it turned back toward the other girl, carrying a flower in its mouth, the elf reached for her sleeve again, keeping her arm close to her body... just in case. Even as the other girl seemed to smile and giggle at this newfound docile nature he displayed, the elf was on edge--then again, when she was around people that wanted to get to know her, she normally pulled herself in tighter anyway; it was what she did, especially since she had left the confines of her tribe in the forest years ago...

The cat-eared girl's eyes seemed to widen with some sort of sudden realization. "I don't know if you planned to go back to the city but if you'd like, I know a safe place fur us to stay that isn't too far fur..." She cleared her throat. "From here." Was she serious? She had only known of her existence for a few hours, and now after their whole debacle, she was offering the elf a place to stay? The woman in red had no idea how to respond to this sudden shift in mood.

What do you do now? Do you go or do you say no?

...I have no idea what to do. She seems nice enough, but--

What if she wants to examine the wound that familiar inflicted? Don't you think that would be problematic?

But if she hasn't said anything by now, then perhaps she never noticed at all--I mean, she was rather focused on other things in the market...

And the fox? What if it decides to try again?

Why would it do that? If it wanted to, I imagine it would have tried to do so by now...

You're playing too recklessly now--if this girl finds out anything...


The elf inhaled deeply, closing her eyes to clear her thoughts before speaking. She hated the conflicting ideas bouncing around in her mind, but she had been duelling with them for years at this point--they were just as much a part as the growths on her arm...

"...I..." the elf began, her voice hitching slightly before she cleared her throat. "I don't understand why you would offer me a place to stay..." she kept her voice quiet and soft as she looked to the ground, almost as if she were ashamed and confused at the cat-eared girl's generosity. "...you barely know me, yet you treat me as kin... give me money for new clothes, which I will repay... eventually..." her voice trailed off as she felt a slight chill run across her body; must have been the wind. Yes, it must have been.

"...forgive my hesitance... It's just in my nature... I am not used to such generosity..." Her voice reflected the stifled confusion that racked her mind. Just who was this girl, and what did she want from her? Was she just like the vere from the library, who wanted information about her past? The elf could feel her heart pounding up in her throat at this point, but she dared not show her fear to this girl in case she could capitalize on it in this moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia
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The young woman tilted her head--she had heard that elves were reserved creatures but this woman certainly was setting an all-time record. She waited politely as the woman seemed to have an internal debate of sorts. Her introduction seemingly went unheeded, she was at a bit of a loss as to whether or not it was rude to re-ask for someone's name. Xioban reached out a few fingers to brush them against Xerxes' cheek, scratching behind one of his ears. He continued to gnaw on his plant stem though she was sure she heard a content growl. The elf sucked in her breath, displaying very obvious signs of discomfort and distance.

"...I... I don't understand why you would offer me a place to stay... you barely know me, yet you treat me as kin... give me money for new clothes, which I will repay... eventually..." The summoner was about to interject--she had just said there was no need to worry about that! Money wasn't much of an object to her; she only needed minimal amounts to afford foreign herbs and spices. The rest, she had no idea what to do with. She held in her thoughts, it seemed the elf was not finished quite yet.

"...forgive my hesitance... It's just in my nature... I am not used to such generosity..." Ah, she wondered if she had over-stepped her boundaries. But they were both children of the forest so why shouldn't the elf be treated as kin? Unless things had changed between their two tribes... Xioban briefly considered that perhaps the woman was unable to identify her--well, that wouldn't be the first time and people normally wouldn't be able to differentiate her from a human. Still.... had this woman never been shown kindness? The elf acted as if it were a foreign thing--strange and confusing.

Before she could respond or think of a way to ease her companion into the idea, she heard prickling laughter from the ground as Xerxes finally removed the stem from between his teeth. "Huehuehue," As always, his laugh carried with it its amused sarcasm as the fox stretched, tail flicking casually. "If the stupid woman does not want hospitality when it is offered, then she isn't worth the time."

"Xerxes!" Xioban frowned, crossing her arms. "That's a furry mean thing to say, purr." To demonstrate her distaste for his behavior, she only made one purr as opposed to two. Her familiar paid no mind to the disapproval as he padded a few feet away.

"Leave her, Xioban. We have things to do." His tone was firm, yes, she could hear it. She released a low hiss from between clenched teeth--she didn't like it when he spoke like that. Because when he used that tone of voice, that meant it was an order. And she wasn't in any position to disobey nor could she, even if she dared. She sent him a frown, the fox chuckling in response. "Don't give me that look, she obviously does not understand kindness so there is no point in wasting it."

"Xerxes, what if--"

"There are stupider, less uptight people to befriend, huehuehue." The summoner looked back over at the elf, lips pursed as she felt a flare of embarrassment. The residents of the forest weren't stupid! He was just too smart for them. "We're going home. I think I've had my fair share of sight-seeing for the week." There was nothing else to be done, Xioban was going to have to follow him. Her ears dropped just a little under her hat as she straightened, dusting off the seat of her skirt.

She muttered an apology under her breath, glancing at the elf once more. "Mewr..... I apurrogize.... but if you are still in the city, I always open my stall once a week." An intentionally loud growl from over her shoulder told the young woman that their chat time was over. She quickly bowed before turning on her heel, hurrying after Xerxes. She hoped the woman would be able to find her--ah, she had forgotten to get the elf's name! Oh well... she hadn't had the time anyway, no thanks to her familiar. Hopefully the elf wouldn't think too poorly of her after all of that.


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Fraujln, fraujln! Nasamet lariik mahl!!

One moment, she had been facing a group of armed men, the floor beneath her opening up to reveal the figures of the sky pirate and the white-haired man. And now in the next, she suddenly found herself being lifted up by something ethereal and tossed roughly on to the deck of the airship! The poor book-eater had no idea how to make heads or tails of the situation or, frankly, how to even react to it in the first place. The first thing that went through her head, however, was not "what on earth was going on". She was more preoccupied with the loss of knowledge that was occurring. The knowledge that was being whisked away from her that was still on the deck of the enemy ship!

The girl could do nothing and was in no position to fight the urgings of the man that had summoned the hand in the first place. All she could do was lament over the men that were surely going to perish and the fact that they had no idea why the ship had wanted to impede their progress. She rubbed her tushie (for she had fallen on it quite hard) and stood up unsteadily. The girl's shoulders were shaking and she ground her teeth together as she turned to regard the man that was now hurling over the side of the ship. Zherynnia didn't care that he was sick, she didn't feel bad that he just could not cope with air travel. No, he had committed a great disservice to her in his actions and she wasn't about to let that go by.

With a bit of red coating her cheeks in her anger, she stomped right over to him--hands balled up into fists. "Redraklyin!" She hissed at him, a slur used by her people much as swearing would be used in common tongue. "Do you have any idea what was lost on that ship?!" Her voice came out almost whiny in its anger but she didn't care. Her eyes flashed in irritation and she drew back her fist, hitting him over the top of his head before turning on her heel.

Ugh! How could he not see what precious things were lost due to his selfishness?! She had the situation under control and she had had another plan. Her stomach gave a disappointed growl, her body just realizing that it wouldn't be snacking on anything new. She didn't even turn her head to regard any of the others as the girl kicked open the door to below-decks and walked down the stairs. How could that mafrei jhaner ek anii omerijn?!

Her mind was finding it difficult to tell languages apart in her frustration and with a deep sigh, she promptly threw herself on to one of the beds in a free room. She buried her face into the pillow, breathing into it as she gave a big huff. It was officially decided. She wasn't going to go back up there until they landed and she was never going to talk to that redraklyin for the rest of the trip. Not until he learned the precious value of information and how much of it he had so casually gotten rid of.
In her childish fit of rage, the book-eater couldn't have possibly noticed that all the information hadn't been lost and paid no attention to the figure that walked the halls behind her towards the cargo hold.

The setting changes from allevent to Barberry, City of Guilds

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Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Lysandra Teraviel
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"Huehuehue..." the fox snickered as the elf watched on in surprise and confusion. Did that fox just laugh at her? It should not have been surprising in the least, considering the girl--Xioban, she had said her name was--had told her that the animal was a familiar, something much more intelligent than its appearance belied; she was just not expecting it to come across with such a caustic first impression: "If the stupid woman does not want hospitality when it is offered, then she isn't worth the time."

It was not the fact that hospitality was being offered that bothered her, although that in and of itself was strange enough for the elf--no, it was the unexpected openness that which she had been offered asylum in... well, wherever the girl in the cat-eared cap had offered to take her, she could not remember. That, coupled with her unease around the familiar--who continued to only assume the negative about her--caused her to remain silent and slightly bashful. If it continued ot think this poorly of her, it was no longer a question of if it let something potentially slip about what it bit down on in the marketplace, but when.

"Xerxes! That's a furry mean thing to say, purr." The elf took notice of the strange lisps that the girl was prone to letting slip every so often. There were a lot of things that did not quite add up about her--if she was peddling wares in Barberry, did she not have a home in the city? Perhaps she had come from Adelost--but why would she herself come to Barberry to peddle her wares when an entire city at her disposal could have found use for the vials of liquid she was selling? Where was she from if she left the city and was in no way thinking about returning? And the familiar--how in caith did one manage to stumble across one of those just willy-nilly? Only the most wealthy could have afforded such a luxury, and even then, familiars were few and far between to be sold; most would not agree to be viewed as such property, so how did this girl manage to befriend such a blasphemous creature?

...unless... Could she be--

"There are stupider, less uptight people to befriend, huehuehue." the fox's corrosive tone cut through the elf's thoughts one last time. "We're going home. I think I've had my fair share of sight-seeing for the week." With that last statement, the girl stood up, her lips pursed in slight embarrassment at the whole situation.

"Mewr..... I apurrogize.... but if you are still in the city, I always open my stall once a week." Another low growl from the familiar snapped the girl's attention back toward the impatient and inconsiderate fox, and she began to walk away from the direction of both Barberry and Adelost--

"Where is your stall?" the elf called after the departing girl, hoping to get the information before two of them left her sight. Either her question had gone unheard or ignored, for she received no answer in response.

The nerve of that familiar! Not only had it caused the entire catastrophic chain of events in Barberry to unfold, but it had the audacity to call her uptight! If only it knew the panic and paranoia its little stunt pulled, it might have been a bit more apologetic, but as it stood, there was nothing more she could do. There was, however, still the matter of how much it actually knew from biting down on her arm...

You're going to let that rat get away and blather to that girl about your deformity?

What am I going to do about it now?

You could follow them...

And what would that do, exactly? It would only make things worse between what little relationship the girl believes us to have--not that I'm looking to improve it, but--

Do you realize what that girl is!? She is
selde taure!

...if such a thing exists, then better to hide my deformity from the entirety of nature than pursue the matter further...

You know that as soon as one knows, they will tell the others...


The elf shuddered at the thought of all of nature knowing about her condition--what would they do if they realized that there was one among their forest-dwelling brethren was contaminated? How would they react? How could they react if they had ever met again and she--or any of the selde taure, if they did exist, for that matter--asked about what happened to her...

...could that have been the reason why the familiar ripped part of her sleeve? As a reaction to something it may have sensed?

No, stop your worry... They are gone--keep them out of your mind for now...

Yet she could not bring herself to do so--she had a debt to repay, whether the cat-eared girl had told her that it was unnecessary to return her money or not. Even though the elf herself had no need for money--despite the fact she required it to replace her robes that should not have been ruined in the first place--she knew that she had to repay this Xioban character... even if it meant having to deal with that upstart familiar again...

...but where to come into coin? The elf would not dare to even think about venturing back to Barberry at this point--she had caused enough of a commotion between the marketplace and the tailor's shop and the library, not to mention the... thing that had been chasing after the familiar and cornered them in an alley. Besides that, the guards surely must have been looking for her after someone caught a glimpse of her arm, and she did not want to have to deal with any sort of interrogation or exposure that could shame her or her race further.

How to earn money... She knew that people required chores to be done around their homes and farmsteads--cooking, cleaning, physical labor and the like. While she knew something about cooking and cleaning, she involuntarily shook her head at the thought of menial physical labor. The fact of the matter was that she had never been too strong, even for elven standards, and what she carried on her back now was nearing her maximum comfort level. Even if she was in fact strong enough to perform these tasks for extended periods of time, the growths on her arm would make this labor more than uncomfortable; even worse, she risked exposure to random citizens--how would they react after seeing something like that?

There was an alternative... Another city a day's walk away, one with white walls and another large archive to boot. It had been a while since she had visited... Perhaps she could inquire about a temporary job sorting books--that would work out rather well; sorting books was not very labor-intensive, exposed her to more potential leads and tidbits of information, and most importantly allowed her to keep as much cover on her arm as possible without exposing it to too many random scholars. What did they care about an assistant like her, anyway?

The elf sighed as she trudged in the direction of Adelost, following the signposts along the darkening trails to find her way. Of course, she had no money to her name at this point, as it all belonged to the girl with the cat-eared hat in her mind; she would be forced to sleep outside the city gates, which was no bother to her at all... Of course, that problem would be addressed before she arrived there in the first place...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xioban Efialtis Character Portrait: Arto Kelmt Character Portrait: I.S.S.A.C.
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The evolution of this particular assignment’s level of difficulty continued rapidly, not without the influence of the creature known as Xerxes whom Arto had yet to identify. With his attention mostly focused on the large Golem, it’s no wonder he missed the approach of something far smaller towards him. A sort of change of vector had occurred in the creature’s movement before it dashed through the grass and leapt into the air. Having an unknown furry creature jump right into his face would definitely startle Arto at least at first, a jump-scare of sorts. A much bigger problem was the resulting loss of balance. And then an even bigger problem was the flat surface of a rock, that just so happened to be squarely at the point where the back of Arto’s head ended up. What was the result of the impact? A convenient unconsciousness…

The time spent in a state of blackout had Arto miss a few events and passersby, the true events replaced by darkness that was not even generous enough to give him another dream of astonishing success. Following what must’ve been hours passing, the young man groaned and sat up. The Golem clearly wasn’t there by now, to which Arto was almost ready to say “good riddance” at the moment. The headache was still splitting, scratches stung on his cheeks and the benefit of returning to the waking world seemed questionable at best. There probably wasn’t any lasting damage though. With one hand on the back of his head and the other on the ground, he seemingly found something. Some kind soul had left him what seemed to be a vial with some sort of medicine. Why, that is almost as helpful as not forcing him to spend nobody knows how much time in the grass outside the city borders. Anyway, this was not the time to be capricious. For Arto the times of being capricious weren’t even that abundant in the first place.

Soon he was up, having applied the contents of the vial to the annoying scratches on his face. What now? He had little to no idea where the Golem was, had no plan, was running a little low on cash. One way or other, staying here was anything but productive, so he turned towards the city, causing another pulse of pain to pass through his head. Was it because he turned too fast, or was the thought of the city alone enough to give him a headache by now? No point finding out, so the rather sour-faced young man headed back towards the gates. No one asked questions, no one paused by him. He purposely chose to walk a different road from the one along which he’d followed the Golem. Maybe he could just go back to the bar. Maybe he still had a chance of enlisting for a REAL job. Maybe he could just forget about this whole “Sure, let’s go find a Golem, what could go wrong?” kind of job. Maybe he wouldn’t even have to hear anothe-…

"Xerxes. Aaaaaaaah. Xerxes. Fffffffffnyah."

Arto paused, standing still in the middle of the street as the already familiar chanting of the metallic voice reached his ears. He let out another groan similar to one he had uttered when rising from the tall grass he’d been left in earlier. Wouldn’t it be alright to just head on along? Couldn’t he just be on his way and not trying find the Golem? He was hesitant to say the least, far from eager to go looking for more sources of annoyance, more fuel for his headache. But perhaps this would go better this time? Perhaps he could work it out now? There were at least no thundering footsteps accompanying the Golem’s ridiculous banter. This much he could understand as he began moving to the source of the voice. Was the Golem still…?

As he soon found out – indeed it was. Still and trying to reach into an alleyway it was clearly not small enough to fit into. Thankfully it at least wasn’t trying to charge through the buildings. It had caused enough damage as it was. Onlookers were certainly here as well, including a couple of guards largely unprepared for such an event. The citizens were asking each other if the Golem was broken, what a Xerxes was, where the alchemists were looking and other such things. To be fair, the question concerning the alchemist was on Arto’s mind as well, albeit in slightly different terms and with emphasis on slightly more qualities of the alchemist. Most of them far from admirable.

“You, didn’t they hire you to…” Began one of the guards, but Arto stopped him.

“Yeah-yeah. Can’t you see I’ve got this under control? Just let me…” Arto paused since he didn’t quite know what exactly he needed the guards to let him do. Suspicious glances from said guards urged him to finish his phrase faster. “…talk to it or something. You go fetch that… alchemist.”

The guards glanced from the Golem and back to the boy, then back to the Golem. Well they certainly did need that alchemist, which was reason enough to move away from the scene, conveniently persuading most of the onlookers to disperse on their way. Yes, most convenient indeed for another awkward cross-species communication attempt by Arto.

“Shut up!” Such were the opening words of his negotiation. “Do you hear me? Be quiet for a few minutes and listen to me, Golem!” A pause followed. Arto needed to make sure the Golem was paying attention to him and not trying to run off elsewhere.

“Repair my house? Xerxes? What in the world are you even saying? What’s Xerxes? If it’s that thing that had jumped me it’s not even here anymore! Must’ve run off into the forest again while you were stuck here by this alleyway!” Another pause commenced, but this time not because he needed to confirm the Golem’s attention or lack of it. Perhaps he got a little carried away and said too much? Did it even understand the meaning of half of what he had said?

“Don’t. Even… Think. About. Moving from here.” He accentuated nearly every word, stepping away to avoid more possible injury. Still, him and his big mouth probably had an effect quite different from the desired one.

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