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Allevent, Realm of Caith

Open Plains North of Barberry

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a part of Allevent, Realm of Caith, by Wrenn.

The plains north of Barberry, City of Guilds.

Wrenn holds sovereignty over Open Plains North of Barberry, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

286 readers have been here.

Setting

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The vast open grasslands between Barberry and the huldrefolk mountain range in the far north. The plains extend seemingly without end in any direction, but within the gentle hills and valleys are many hidden locations, from small communities to plunderable caverns and abandoned forts. The open plains are home to caithness of all sizes, from the small beasts that plague travelers with random encounters to the monstrous caithness that require the attention of seasoned, guild-affiliated hunters.
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Open Plains North of Barberry

The plains north of Barberry, City of Guilds.

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Open Plains North of Barberry is a part of Barberry, City of Guilds.

1 Characters Here

Lawrence Rivers [9] Not an assassin, the assassin.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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#, as written by Wrenn


MISSION #003




The airdocks in Barberry are situated far from the cliffed coast into which the city itself is built -- the constant updrafts there are too strong and unpredictable for safely maneuvering. Although still within the uppermost tier's protecting walls, the airdocks are far enough from the cliffs for the wind's fury to abate. Here on this wide-open dirt field, a few dozen crafts of varying sizes and shapes are anchored. The largest is a transport ship, which makes its weekly trip to far south Dorstone, for passengers who can afford the expense instead of the longer journey around the horn by sea. The smallest airships are little more than one-man pods that can rise and fall according to their stannum engine's pulse, but have no ability to maneuver in air. These are used for observations conducted by the more scientific guilds such as the Applicators. Airships of every purpose and design in between are anchored here.

Raruna's airship is nestled beside a sizeable military vessel known as a sloop-of-war, and a gleaming sun yacht that must surely belong to one of the city's moneyed elite. On the ground next to the hull, Dr. Serabel stands with a small clutch of workers, giving instructions about her cargo and its safe storage. Somewhat out of the way Grim lies against his heavy travel pack, apparently snoozing the morning away despite the work going on about him.

As stated the night before, the airship should be ready to depart by 09°30', provided that you are all in attendance. The various roles are made clear to each member of the expedition. Raruna is solely in charge of all aspects of the flight, as captain of the airship. Grim is revealed to be knowledgeable of the huldrefolk region, and so once the ship touches down for the expedition to continue on foot (some hours' south of the mountains to avoid attracting huldre eyes), he will take charge of the group. The others are to guard the caith harvester during Dr. Serabel's calibrations, from both any caithness drawn during its operation and from any huldrefolk who come across their experiment.

Once everyone arrives, the ship will depart.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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#, as written by Wrenn
One by one the group recollects the next morning -- some early, some on time and one preposterously late. The doctor greets each newcomer with her oddly stern manner, but seems grateful for each of theirs presence. When any of them ask her about Cortland or the locator, she asks for them to wait for everyone else to arrive so that she can speak to them all together.

"Thank you all for bringing this to my attention," she began once everyone arrived. "You were of course right to do so. Let me bring you all up to speed. I have no association with this Cortland, although I don't doubt that he is an Applicator. As I told you all yesterday evening, there are those in my guild who would gladly see this mission fail, or better yet take control of the artifice prototype for their own calibrations. Please, any of you who were approached by this Cortland, produce the locator. Keep the marks for yourselves if you took any."

As some members of the expedition had already brought the matter to the doctor's attention, she knows who to trust for their honesty, but any who have not yet acknowledged their conversation with Cortland, now is the time, as she turns to each of you one by one. Isengrim shrugged innocently. "No, I never saw this Cortland," he replied. "Wouldn't have minded an extra 500 marks though," he joked. Dr. Serabel hesitated before moving on from him, but she nodded thoughtfully.

Once everyone has shown the locator, she looks to each of the party members. "Now what do we do?" she asks them all.




When everything is ready for launch, the doctor notifies Raruna, who is quick to get her craft airborne. With a controlled yaw and roll the airship rises free of the other craft, ascending far too quickly for some of the more sensitive members of the crew, namely Isengrim and Jedas. A surge of power from the large stannum crystal embedded in the heart of the engine room kicks the ship forward with a lurch, and soon the airship is cutting across the landscape toward the northern horizon.

Although the plains north of Barberry are not known to be especially hostile to travelers as far as caithness go, the skies are another matter. Airships are among the newest and certainly rarest of the major artifices of Allevent, and whereas caithness hunters on land and sea have somewhat stemmed the tide of caithness around the more civilized areas, in the air the party finds itself subjected to a steady stream of these random encounters.

The first fight outbreaks when a clutch of Arrowhawks swoop from the cloud cover to land on the deck, giving their piercing scream as they launch themselves at nearby party members with slashing talons and their wicked hooked beaks. Not expecting the assault, each party member is caught unawares and has to fight alone. For himself, Isengrim took a vicious wound to the leg before countering with a crushing blow from his iron totem that reduced the beast to a stream of released caith that dissipated quickly, like the last breath of an extinguished campfire. A paltry few stannum crystals showered the deck at his feet, glittering orange in the morning light. When Isengrim released a small amount of the aurum in his reserves, the other elixers of the party would see a few golden butterflies flutter about him before landing on his wounded leg, disappearing with a flash of golden sunbeams that healed his wound.

From then on the party is on alert, taking on the new random encounters in small rotating groups. Each member plays to his or her strengths. For his own part, Grim eagerly takes on any caithness with attacks that are too strong for the others to risk -- such as Spinetails or Butcherbirds -- using his bountiful reserves of aurum to nullify their attacks while dishing out his own. Conversely the large northlander swaps out with another party member whenever a particularly evasive caithness approaches -- such as Lightningales or Horned Screamers -- as his own attacks are too lumbering to be effective. The one caithness that he always fights is the Goldcrest, which is likely to release precious aurum upon its defeat, with which Grim refills his reserves. The one caithness from which he always retreats is the Nightjar, an argentum-type Caithness that often casts confusion spells to which Grim is particularly susceptible. Not wanting to turn his heavy iron rod against his own party members in a daze, Grim wisely takes cover whenever one is spotted.

In this fashion, the airship skims along the clouds on its journey north.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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#, as written by Siryn
Her mouth was full of food, the table set with utensils and the food that she'd cooked up. Upon hearing footsteps across her deck, Runa leapt up from her small dining table and took the stairs two at a time. She reached her deck in no time and set her eyes upon the group. Swallowing the bread that she'd been munching on she grinned at them and looked them over. Runa began making preparations as they waited for the rest of the group to reach her ship.

One of which was terribly late, the tall man mumbled something about a man having to have his rest as he boarded. Runa heard his call for food and she smiled at him, "Down below if you're hungry!" She hollered as she was making sure her sails were tied down. She didn't look to see if he went to eat, figuring that he was smart enough to figure out where the food was. The pirate was moving about the deck as she finished securing items when Dr. Serabel spoke up.

"Thank you all for bringing this to my attention. You were of course right to do so. Let me bring you all up to speed. I have no association with this Cortland, although I don't doubt that he is an Applicator. As I told you all yesterday evening, there are those in my guild who would gladly see this mission fail, or better yet take control of the artifice prototype for their own calibrations. Please, any of you who were approached by this Cortland, produce the locator. Keep the marks for yourselves if you took any."

Turning, she eyed the woman carefully. So, she hadn't known this 'Cortland'... how interesting. Runa figured that she would give Serabel the locator device later as she was busy at that moment.

"No, I never saw this Cortland. Wouldn't have minded an extra 500 marks though," Grim replied to Serabel as she turned to him. Runa raised an eyebrow as she watched the exchange. How strange for Grim to have not been approached when it seemed that most of them had already been. Well, whatever, maybe this Cortland man didn't get to all of them. It would make sense, it was only one man anyway. A person can't be in more than one place at any given time.

"I got one too, the man seemed mighty keen on figuring out my ships location. I'll give it to you once we get airborne, doc. However, this is my ship and I won't tolerate anyone giving out her position," Runa said loudly as Serabel turned to her. Runa made sure that everyone could hear her. She was dead serious about the locator thing, she didn't want anyone knowing where they were. That would be invading her privacy! No one wants to be a moving target, least of all Runa and her ship.

"Now what do we do?"

"We get airborne!! That's what we do!" Runa answered. Her voice was loud and energetic as she bounced around her deck making sure everything was locked down. Then she moved from one end of the ship to the other, tossing off the docking ropes that were hooked into the sides of her ship to keep it upright upon landing. The sky pirate leapt over a crate with ease and rushed up the stairs to the upper deck where her stern was. Pulling down her hat tighter on her head, she grinned wildly as her hands grasped the wheel. Her fingers brushed the levers of her controls and she began powering the crystals along the hull of the ship.

At first she siphoned the power slowly, warming the crystals. The moment the ship started to lift off the ground, she pushed the levers forward all the way and the airship lurched upwards at a fast speed. Adjusting a couple of the levers, the bow of the ship tilted upwards and they were shooting over the wall of the city of guilds in a matter of seconds. The wind whipped past her face as she maneuvered the vessel.

She got the ship up towards the clouds, the mast just barely skimming the low blowing mist of white. Locking her wheel with a clamp, she leapt down to the deck and began unfurling the sails. Pulling the rope that tied them up, they each fell down, unraveling neatly. The wind immediately caught them and the ship shook, lurching forward from the air current that caught them. With her sails taking them, Runa went back to her helm and turned down the crystals at the back of the ship, the ones that were propelling them forward. It saved on energy and also preserved the crystals.

Unhooking her wheel, she guided the ship easily through the wind, heading north to their destination. Her body was relaxed as she stood there. Her heart was light and her smile didn't fade away. Runa's eyes were glittering with their usual mischief, excitement at the journey ahead. She was determined to prove herself to this powerful guild.




Raruna had been steering her ship smoothly through the air, her mind wandering in fantasy of how she was going to handle certain situations, her reputation rising with each problem that she cooked up in her own mind. She imagined herself winning the fancy of the top guild that she was escorting and then her dream of joining the Free Lancers coming true. All of her fantasy dreams were shattered at the sound of a high pitched cry above them. Runa's head shot upwards as her eyes searched the billowing white cloud above them.

The moment she spotted a flash of wings her heart leapt into a frenzy, adrenaline pumping through her. Her hand released the wheel, the other tying it down, locking it securely in place. She turned then and drew her sword. The first of several birds descended down upon her ship and screamed their defiance against them. Runa sidestepped the swipe of an enormously large claw as one of the birds targeted her. Her blade came down as she moved, cutting into the things foot. With a screech, it took off, just barely scratching her deck where she stood.

However, that wasn't the end of it. It circled then came back down at her. Raruna raised her sword a second time and slashed at it as it came closer. The tip of her blade just barely cut into its chest, causing the bird to become infuriated. The creatures face shot forward as it pecked at her with its razor sharp beak. Runa ducked, barely missing the attack. A burn coursed along her shoulder and shoulder blade.

"Damn," she cursed as she came back up, turning around and slashing her sword across its extended wing. Another cut from her blade had the creature hopping towards the edge of the ship, its wing hanging limply from the damage she'd done to it. Drawing her long curved knife from her sheath, she threw the weapon at the bird. It shot through the air, covering the distance between her and the creature and buried itself into the back of the birds neck. It didn't make a noise as it crumpled, hanging half over the edge of her ship.

A second one dove down at her from behind, barely giving the pirate a chance to prepare. She felt claws dig into her shoulders as it gripped her and began lifting her from the ship. Runa twisted and turned in it's grip, struggling to free herself. Slamming her sword into the wood of the deck, she managed to lodge the blade just enough to keep from being pulled away from her vessel. Quickly, she reached with her other hand and drew out yet another knife. Her hand shot upwards and stabbed furiously into the beasts foot, hot blood streamed down and covered her jacket and shirt as she did so.

The bird released her with an angry cry and Runa dropped to the deck flat on her back. Standing up, she quickly unhooked the wheel and began pulling some of the levers down. They were too high and at that rate, they were going to be continually attacked by the arrowhawks. So, the ship descended quickly, loosing the attacking birds within a few minutes. Whatever stragglers remained were taken care of by the group, which Raruna was thankful for. That meant less damage to her ship, though it was a cover-up for her worry to her passengers.

Sheathing her sword, Runa guided her ship onwards, pushing the levers back up to gain more power. She had them back up in the air and away from the arrowhawks, but a bit lower than before just in case the bastards decided to descend upon them a second time. Runa ignored the scratch along her shoulder and back, it was small enough to not bother with, so she stayed at the helm and continued to keep an eye out for any more troublesome creatures.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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#, as written by Wrenn
Fully healed save for the rip in his heavy leggings and the receding memory of pain, Isengrim turned to survey the others at work. True to his instincts, they'd so far proven to be capable of handling themselves in a fight. Even the teamwork, which didn't always take hold in a new group dynamic, was already starting to come together as the group slowly began working to recover from the attack. The huge northlander saw Icarus and the pirate captain conversing, and he moved to join them. He passed by the one-eyed grim reaper, who was busy showering the landscape below with the remnants of his breakfast, and Grim gave the man a sympathetic pat on the shoulder as he passed. Luckily Isengrim's equilibrium was stable as a table, and he never had to worry about seasickness, or airsickness in this case. No, for him the discomfort with airships was wholly mental, not physical. He just felt completely at the mercy of the winds and the will of the captain -- and that level of dependency disturbed the loner in him.

"Still alive," he greeted as he loomed near the other two beside the captain's wheel, seeing Raruna hand off her healing crystal to the white-haired mercenary. "Well done." A sturdy oaken support beam groaned in protest as he leaned against it, wrapping one arm about a column for balance. He squinted across the deck to Lawrence, whose injury seemed significant but not severe. No doubt the captain's healing artifice would tend to her quickly. Unfortunately, despite being an aurum elixer himself, Isengrim had no ability to heal any injuries but his own. Still, if he needed to he could try to infuse the artifice with his own aurum if it were to run low, so that the others could continue to be healed throughout the journey north. It seemed likely they would need it, as the skies no doubt still swarmed with caithness. Once they reached the mountain passes and continued on foot, there would likely be trouble with the huldrefolk to boot.

As the airship continued peacefully on its way, Isengrim eventually took his watchful eye from the sky and looked about the deck around him. Seeing Icarus, Grim made his way over to the man, careful to keep within quick reach of a harness or rigging in case of any sudden dips or rolls in the air. Reaching the rail, he kept an eye out for any caithness breaking from the cloud cover as he spoke. "So, you guild-affiliated at all?" he asked casually. Figuring the man was probably a mercenary, it was a good bet that he'd belonged to any number of guilds throughout Allevent. Isengrim had done a lot of traveling over the years, and as a caithness hunter he'd come across many dozens of guilds of varying rank and renown. Finding out any guilds that another man belonged to, or had worked with previously, was a good way of establishing character. Work with the Free Lancers, say, was basically a stamp of approval that would open many doors unavailable to those without such a lofty recommendation to their name. Which was part of the reason that Isengrim had taken on work with the Applicators, although he expected no official guild membership forthcoming - just informal contracting.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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Lawrence watched as Icarus and Grim approached, catching the last part of their conversation. No guild affiliation? She assumed he would be - he just seemed like the type. However, she wasn't part of any guild either. The assassin worked in the shadows on self made fame and reputation, no guild was needed.

Icarus stopped just in front her, examining the wound. It really wasn't that bad, but Lawrence wasn't about to ask the man not to heal her. That'd be a bit ridiculous. She examined the crystal for a moment, finding the pulsing, warm glow pleasing. After finishing what he was saying to Grim, Icarus placed the crystal just an inch from her neck. Lawrence stiffened, her fingers twitching as if reaching for a weapon. When someone's hands were near her neck, it was never for a good reason; and old habits die hard.

"Better?" Icarus asked, removing the crystal that seemed a little dimmer than it had before.

Lawrence felt a nice, relaxing feeling where the pain had been, and rubbed her fingers across it. There were no bumps or scratches, only smooth skin. She experimentally stretched her neck to the right and left, and found that it was only a little sore. "Much. Thank you."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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Lawrence stretched her limbs, making sure everything was in working order. She knew all too well how one torn muscle could put you at a vast disadvantage. Fortunately, she felt fine; invigorated really. Fighting usually had that effect on her. In her line of work, she disposed of people quickly, quietly and with no fuss. She never had any opportunity really fight, to allow muscle memory take over and not think of anything but her opponent.

Taking a quick look around her, Lawrence decided there was enough people on deck for her to leave for a few minutes. She went below deck, searching around until she found their drinking water. The assassin unhooked her canteen and submerged it into the cool water. Once it was full, she gulped some of it down, enjoying the feeling of it sliding down her throat. She then poured it over hand and wiped the blood off her neck.

Filling the container once more, she placed it back on her belt and went to find her bag. Before the caithness attack, she'd quickly stowed it on top of a high shelf that held random other things she didn't quite understand. Pulling it down, Lawrence shoved aside her clothing, her arrows, an extra pair of boots until she found her sword. Lawrence swung it across her back, buckling it against her chest. After putting the bag back on the shelf, she made her way back up stairs.

"You lot seeing that!?" She'd barely made it back on deck before she heard Grim shout.

Quickly moving to his side, she saw what had caught his attention; a ship. It was moving very quickly, heading right in their direction. "Are they okay?" Lawrence asked, leaning against the side of the ship, trying to see them more clearly. Hearing a thud, she looked over at the One-Eyed Grim Reaper, who had fallen to his knees and was vomiting whatever he'd had for breakfast into the sky. Her lips twitched into a closed-lipped smile, finding it amusing that the son of bitch, after all his talk, couldn't even stand without the help of the ship's railing.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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#, as written by Wrenn
Grim positioned himself beside Icarus to take advantage of the elixer's handy air lens, looking in on the magnified image. "Looks like a runner," he guessed, seeing the small vessel's sleek profile and raked fore-and-aft rig. Stubby wings provided minimal stabilization, and the bulk of the craft's mass was in the rear, where it housed a tooled up engine that looked like it belonged on a much larger craft. The design was new, as far as Grim knew at least, and supposedly the fastest form of travel available on Allevent.

"Yah, bring up that channel," he requested, waiting for Icarus to establish communications. When he was given the affirmative, Grim spoke up, his gruff voice oddly hesitant as this was the first time he'd ever spoken over a distance, using either an elixer or an artifice.

"Hailing southbound vessel!" he called. As captain of the ship Raruna no doubt would want to address any sister airship in the sky, but until he knew there was anyone to talk to at all, Grim supposed she wouldn't mind his imposition. "Ahoy, southbound!" he tried, closing his eyes and turning an ear toward the wind chamber as he waited for a response. "Any visual on the deck?" he asked the others, the younger of whom no doubt possessed eyesight superior to his own.

"Raruna!" he barked after the prolonged silence, turning away from Icarus and allowing the lad to close the channel if he wished. "I want to intercept that craft - can you bring us around?" Obviously the runner flew too quickly to be boarded if they flew in opposite directions, but if they circled back south and sped their own vessel as quick as they could, the speed difference between the two would be greatly lessened. It was dangerous, of course -- going full burn themselves was inherently risky, not to mention the possible damage were the ships to collide. "We've got to get aboard and disable that stannum engine before critical degradation," he announced. The runner housed a crystal no doubt significantly larger than their own, and if not disabled could release a caithness that could wreak havoc on the small towns of the countryside before a guild or militia was able to respond.

"You, you and... you," he said, pointing to Icarus, Raruna and then Zherynnia. "You'll be the ones to go aboard." The white-haired mercenary was an obvious choice as the group's stannum elixer, and the sky captain and the book-eater were likely the most knowledgeable about an airship's engines, and the best to disable it safely. The hulking northlander turned back toward the rapidly approaching runner, its slim hull skimming along on vibrant orange starbursts as the stannum crystals continued their full burn. Still minutes away despite its terrific pace, and perhaps ready to release its caith at any moment.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas
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#, as written by Igari


Image




The woman in front of her seemed to be frustrated, was she not explaining things properly? The book-eater frowned and went to make an amendment to her statement but was cut off by a call from behind her. She started, the pirate woman moving quickly towards the direction of the voice. Zherynnia shot a look from underneath her lashes towards the man that was scowling in the direction of the captain before following after the other timidly. At the moment when her memory was still rather fuzzy, it would be best to stick close to someone that she recognized as familiar to her. The older man seemed irked by an object that was steadily approaching them, his gruff voice sounding above them all.

"Hailing southbound vessel! Ahoy, southbound! Any visual on the deck?" She followed the direction of his gestures, catching sight of another aircraft. The girl tilted her head--that... that design looked like something that she had eaten at some point... Urgh. Her stomach gave a heave as she thought of eating and she fought back the reflex to empty the content of her stomach on the decks of the ship. She must've over-eaten or something earlier, not that she remembered even doing such a thing. The others continued on, oblivious to her discomfort.

"Raruna! I want to intercept that craft - can you bring us around? We've got to get aboard and disable that stannum engine before critical degradation," The man barked at the pirate woman. Raruna grinned in response and was quick on the uptake as she grabbed the steering wheel.

"I thought you would never ask! Of course I can do that! My ship may be small, but I've enough power to catch that lump of metal," And with that, the airship gave a lurch as Raruna increased the speed to catch up with the other vessel. Zherynnia lurched forwards on to the hard wood of the deck, unable to keep her balance. What on earth was wrong with her? She didn't like what was happening--she just wanted some treasure...

Treasure...?

The word brought with it a brief flash of a memory, an office, a scientist, and there were others... Yes, just like the others that were on this aircraft. Had she conversed with them earlier? She furrowed her brows. Now obviously wasn't the time to be thinking of this, not with what was transpiring. She forced herself to stand up straight, grabbing onto a nearby edge of a crate to keep herself steady. Raruna brought them parallel against the other craft and already, the old man was speaking again.

"You, you and... you, you'll be the ones to go aboard," He pointed to her, the man with white hair, and the pirate woman. She grimaced, why her? She was an unwilling participant in these events, besides, she was kidnapped, she recalled with a bit of unease. This was so annoying! This always happened when she over-ate, she had these horrid blackouts and she couldn't remember anything or tell left from right. It wasn't that she was broken, she wasn't! She just couldn't place... what... Oh, there was no point in even completing the thought! The book-eater glumly nodded her head in consent, a flash of a pout crossing over her features. She was going to be dragged along whether she liked it or not and abandoning ship wasn't exactly an option. But the next chance she got, she was going to bolt for it.

Raruna was already moving ahead of them, calling orders for ropes and planks to be set up. Zherynnia didn't see a point in trying to wait for the other man and only nodded in his direction before following after the captain. She was quick to dart across them--the planks were unsteady enough as it was and boarding another vessel was tricky enough business. As she cautiously boarded the other aircraft, the first thing she noticed was that it was devoid of people... in fact, there was no one running the sihp at all. Now that was odd, wasn't it? Where was the crew? And for that... agh. Her head was hurting.

She rubbed her temples as she dizzily walked around past the steering wheel and the captain's quarters. Raruna was already there, kneeling on the ground and leaning forward. The woman released a sigh, remarking as soon as Zherynnia made her approach. "Well, lets get started shall we? Can't have you destroying my ship now can we?" This was wrong, something was... this seemed so out of place. Why did she have such a headache? Agh... some stray letters and numbers moved across her pupils as she stared at the contraption--this looked familiar, she knew this, she knew what this was. This wasn't right, something...

The captain went to reach out to touch the device and then it hit her. "Treklhe!" She exclaimed before diving into the woman before her fingers brushed on to the glowing contraptions. The two fell to the ground but Zherynnia was already straightening up, taking her bow off of her shoulders and notching an arrow. "Don't touch that!" She hissed as her sharp eyes caught movement from above them. No, there was no one on deck because they weren't on the deck at all. She fired a warning shot into one of the upper watch platforms aboard the ship and there was the faint scuffle of movement from up above. She gritted her teeth as she readied another arrow, shifting in front of the device.

Like it always had, her knowledge base began to kick in when she needed it most. Her insecurity faded away just slightly as she allowed the cool, knowledge to sweep over her, granting her confidence. A device like that wouldn't have been left out in the open with such levels of instability. There had to be a core somewhere to null the effects in case of any interference--in this case, she was almost certain there was another switch somewhere. "We need to deactivate the core before we touch the device," She said quietly, narrowing her eyes as she continued to stare up above them. Somehow she had a feeling that they hadn't been the targets at all. If whoever was manning this ship was hiding from them, why hadn't they tried to stop them when the group had boarded the ship...? She bit her lip, keeping her arrow at the ready. Nothing was ever that easy.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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#, as written by Wrenn
Aboard Raruna's airship, Isengrim stood beside the boarding ramp, eyes on the runner's deck while trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Seemingly out of nowhere the book-eater had launched herself at Raruna, tackling her to the ground before rapidly launching an arrow at an unseen target. "What the hell?" he muttered, craning his head to get a view of whatever target Zherynnia had seen. Meanwhile, Icarus disappeared around the back of the stannum engine, obscured by the large metal encasing and various conduits. "Icarus, status-" he requested, unsure if the man had been able to keep open that wind channel for communications.

"What the hell's going on over there?" he shouted across the ships, but Raruna had disappeared along with Icarus somehow.

Dr. Serabel joined the others on the deck, coming up from her quarters below. "Why have we changed course?" she asked, but then quieted when she saw the ship they'd docked with. "What has happened?" she asked hurriedly, moving over to stand behind Grim. "Is that engine on full burn?" she asked, seeing the telltale orange glow emanating from the stannum crystal. "We need to cut free before critical degredation!" she declared, pulling on Grim's arm to turn him toward her.

"Can't - I sent Raruna, Icarus and the book-eater to shut it down. We can't cut free until they return."

"You sent our captain and our map onto a vessel that is going to be dropping from the sky any moment," she asked incredulously, moving to position herself in front of him to force eye contact. "And you lashed our own ship to it? What happens when that engine fails?" she questioned. When Grim didn't respond, Dr. Serabel turned to Lawrence and Jedas. "You two - prepare to sever our ties," she ordered, pointing to the fastenings that bound the ships together.

"If they're not back by the time that engine blows, we're leaving them," the doctor announced. "This mission is more important than any of its members."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas Character Portrait: Lawrence Rivers
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#, as written by Wrenn
After being latched to another ship that had hurtled powerlessly toward the ground below, it was a wonder to behold when Raruna was able to stabilize their own vessel, after Jedas rescued the outboard party and severed the ties that bound them to the falling airship. As they powered away, Grim leaned over the deck to watch the runner smash into the ground -- his elixer's eyes noticing the flash of stannum that emanated outward in an orange shockwave. No doubt the caithness spawned by such a cataclysmic engine failure would be a truly monstrous creature -- the northlander couldn't help but wonder about the fate of anyone unlucky enough to cross its path. With many years as a guilded caithness hunter, Grim almost felt compelled to have the ship brought back around to investigate the crash and the subsequently spawned caithness, but with Dr. Serabel dedicated solely to the mission, there seemed little chance of that. Perhaps on the way back from the huldrefolk territories he could convince the others to scout it out with him.

"You should get some rest if you need," he advised to the three who'd gone aboard the runner, and to Jedas as well. "It should be smooth sailing from here." Although they sounded dangerously like famous last words, in time his prediction was borne out, as the airship made good time for the rest of its journey north. For his part, Grim idly circumnavigated the deck several dozen times, gladly speaking to any of the others should they engage him in conversation, but not seeking them out himself. Each time he reached the prow of the ship, the expansive mountainous region of the huldrefolk drew a little closer, as though sneaking toward them each time Grim turned his back.

"Get ready to bring her down, Raruna," he requested. Although not in the mountains proper, the ship flew over the gently sloping foothills that were home to the northmost human settlements. Scattered throughout the landscape on either side of the airship, Grim could see a small settlement here and there, with lone watchtowers interspersed among them. As they slowly made their descent, small clutches of caithness could be seen roaming the open hills. Spawned not by a large, refined caith crystal but by random fluctuations in the ambient atmosphere, these caithness were small, meager things hardly worth the time to hunt. Farther north there would be even fewer encountered, as the huldrefolk had systematically cleared their mountain homes of virtually all caithness over the countless ages of their ancestors.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raruna (Runa) Leautia Character Portrait: Isengrim Lupul Character Portrait: Icarus Saerin Character Portrait: Zherynnia Analorum Character Portrait: Derithiue Qre Jedas
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#, as written by Wrenn
The hulking northlander, hands on his hips with unconscious satisfaction, surveyed the land about them. The sun wreathed the features of the hillside in tones of rose and honey, giving the landscape the appearance of an impressionist's painting. Maybe it was just homesickness that made him see it so -- no doubt the others saw just dust and shrubbery. "We're just south of Sweetmary," he answered. "A small mining town, Sweetmary. Mostly humans, although a few of the forest races make their homes here." True, though their numbers were low, the elves' interest in caith crystals and artificing extended to an interest in metals, ores and minerals, making a mining camp a fitting home for the more rugged elves. "They mine some alumen crystals from the mountains farther north, but it's cheaper and safer to get elsewhere, so they don't supply it much farther than Barberry. Rich nickel deposits are where the real marks are," he continued, obviously enjoying the edification even if the others had lost interest. "But those are well into huldrefolk territory." He gestured with a nod toward the mountain passes, beyond which the realm of man ended.

"All set?" he inquired of the doctor, who had two fellow Applicators -- initiates, most likely -- carry her caith artifice in its wooden crate, offloading it from the airship. "Yes, shall we press on?" With a nod, Grim turned to the north and set a moderate pace forward. Still south of Sweetmary, the last encampment in this area, they weren't in much danger from passing huldrefolk unless a raiding party came south of the mountains, but that didn't mean the party was safe entirely. Living was hard in the hills south of the huldrefolk mountains, and alongside the caithness that were randomly spawned throughout the land, the mining money to be made here attracted bandits and brigands like flies to honey.

There was no road as such, at least until they reached the mining town proper, but even then the road was little more than two ruts for wagon wheels, with grass growing around and between. The hills saw flash floods in the spring as the winter ice thawed from the mountains, which meant that the buildings -- if these ramshackle structures could be called that -- were all erected on a walkway of logs that rose a good pace above the dried mud floor. Men and women walked among the haphazard walkways as though born to it, and when Grim climbed up the ramp, his frame moved with obvious ease over the creaking, groaning timber.