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Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)

I suppose I was consumed by the fire...

0 · 1,256 views · located in Aires

a character in “Birthstone Spirits: The Great Escape”, as played by birthstone_spirits

Description

/I suppose I was consumed by the fire/
ImageImageImage

Katarina Bradley
(Imani Cabo)
|Distrusting|Silent|Coarse|Spear-Woman|Multi-Lingual|Great Fisher|Angry Demeanor|Skilled Fighter|Jewelry Maker|

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Age: 24
Nation: Nomansland
Height: 5'7
Eyes: Green-Brown
Hair: Deep Red
*Sometimes wears war paint
*Makes jewelry during her free time
*Naturally ginger; something that is uncommon where she's from
*Can speak two of the tribal languages of Nomansland and three other international languages

However wishy-washy the origins of Kat may be, she still sticks to the same story when asked about her history. She was born as Imani Cabo, the daughter of a tribal chief called Tu-Lan and a medicine woman. (Her mother died giving birth, so she never learned her name.) Chief Tu-Lan treated Kat with the kindness a daughter was due, however, he secretly blamed Kat for the death of his wife and often times subjected her to harmless but demeaning spiritual cleansing ceremonies.
He was also suspicious of her because of her odd appearance. Her lighter freckled skin, and red hair separated her from the average child in the area. He often considered the fact that his wife might have betrayed him with a member of the elusive Emej Tribe.

Kat claims that on her seventh birthday, a demigod came to claim her as his daughter, and that Chief Cabo and the tribe—fully believing the super powered man to be a god—willingly gave her up. The "Demigod" changed her name to Katarina Bradley or simply, Kat. He taught her how to fight, and trained her in the ways of the spear. It was from him that she learned that she too had a special power, and he revealed to her a past identity that would change her life forever.


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A woman of the trees

was quickly over taken,

by an empowering wildfire—

a real gentleman.








So begins...

Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)'s Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae Character Portrait: Mr. Vo
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Whether the stranger chose the travel with them or not, Haru had to keep going uphill no matter how much screaming came from behind. The hour seemed to go on forever for the cat guardian, but it wasn’t until the silhouette of two familiar figures dawned at the end of the path that the redhead found a sense of peace.

“Thank Goddess,” his voice was hardier, richer; he wanted them to hear him. And by Goddess if they didn’t, he was going to make them see him. It was good to see more guardians, even if one of them wasn’t necessarily a friend. And hey, he could turn their kids over to him, the less responsibility Haru was forced to take, the better.

“Lillian, thanks for sending Ryou and Dorian over by the way,” he said this to the woman before giving a sharp nod to the other redhead.

Tallyho, who had been walking a little ahead of the cart, studied the woman. Something about her was rather familiar, and it wasn’t just the fact that she was apparently the owl Haru sent to get Ryou and Dorian way back when. But there was no time for that. The blonde felt like her feet were about to lop off at the ankles.

When the entire group reached the end of the path and congested at the gated entrance Mr. Vo rose from his seat in the cart, a ring of keys orbiting around his wrist.

“Go on down the path,” he nodded to them as he pushed open the gate. Haru nodded and took the reins of his beasts, driving the cart inside of the property. Once everyone was safely inside, Mr. Vo closed the gate and locked it once more.

Before them was a sharp dirt path lined with gums of shrubbery and foliage. High trees billowed towards the sky and dropped their leaves and berries on the heads of the weary travelers.

Tallyho hated these berries. They smelled like literal shit.

The cart made its way down the rickety path, the brush began to dwindle away, and the dirt became infested with soft, white cobblestone. Tallyho kept her pace with the cart, grateful not to be riding in it because the way it jostled seemed painful. It promised chomped tongues and slammed molars.

Soon the green was pushed to the side and the group’s eyes were overtaken by a vision of white wood and red accents. The cobble stone seemed to stretch out far beyond the wall of trees that lingered on all sides. Before the group was a large, relatively square building and on either side of it longer, shorter buildings that created wings that lapped around the square campus and rested against the forest walls.

In the middle of the open space was a large, placid fountain with minimal movement of water. Next to the fountain were two figures. One was significantly shorter. It was a woman—she approached quietly but confidently. Relatively relaxed but also rather regal.

She smiled. Her dark hair pinned into an intricate up-do and laced with multiple golden ornaments. Luckily for her, they were just nice enough to escape being overkill.

Her dark eyes retained a look of deep knowledge, it was in the way she raised her brow and tilted her head. She knew a thing or two about the situation at hand.

And she was diplomatic—keeping her hands folded in front of her as she approached. The warriors were like a wounded coyote, easily threatened, ready to lash out. She knew this. Baroque rings rang as lovely fingers met in unconscious knocks. She wore layers of robes, a simple white under a thin pink that bore shallow floral prints. The cloth fell to the ground and covered her feet in a trail of powder.

“Now don’t tell me he is asleep at the back of that cart… ”
A lukewarm smile directed towards Ryou.

She then looked at the group and smiled, “Month warriors. We have been waiting for you. I was so excited I had to do a bit of dressing up… You’re a big deal, you know?” She said this matter-of-factly before looking back at the fountain.

“Katarina, won’t you introduce yourself? You haven’t even gotten to meet the teacher yet…”
The woman back at the fountain didn’t respond but she made a slow pace towards the cart.

Ji Na glanced in Ryou’s direction, “I hope you don’t mind if we picked up a new student while you were gone… She needed somewhere to stay and whatnot.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae
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Ji Na watched as one of the warriors went limp and unconscious. Surely the journey wasn't that hard? The academy students went up and down the mountain with little trouble. Some even walked...

Nonetheless, she had to do her job. She motioned for Kat to come quicker and Kat, unenthused, kept her natural pace.

She looked very different from Ji Na.

Stark auburn hair contrasted, no, perhaps even complimented her brown, freckled shoulders. These same freckles peppered her face and nose, drawing viewers to eyes that were defined by a sharp, sure set of brows. She didn't dress nearly as fabulously as Ji Na had. She was simple, her only article of clothing being a long cotton shirt, presumably belonging to a man, that ran all the way down to her knees. She was taller in stature but it did not funnel away her femininity. With broad shoulders and a small waist, this woman was somehow dainty and Amazonian simultaneously.

"Why don't you get the faint one to the infirmary? I can tell that the monk is in need of a bit of medical attention." Ji Na made her way to the back of the cart, encouraging any person in her way to get out. The interactions between the two women were pretty interesting. Ji Na obviously did all of the talking. However, Kat wasn't necessarily scrambling at her beck and call. But there seemed to be a civil understanding between the two of them, which was particularly interesting because according to Ji Na, the two just met while Ryou was away from the campus.

Kwasi was pretty surprised that she could tell that he was wounded when she couldn't even see his foot hidden behind the walls of the cart. By how comfortable she was acting, he imagined that she was the head nurse or something to that effect. And by the looks of things she was a master at what she was doing.

Ji Na smiled at the group, Kwasi's limp arm strewn and secured over her shoulder by the power of her small hands.

"We will catch up with you all for the tour!"

Kat didn't say much of anything. Instead, she took the grown man by his left arm and haphazardly hoisted him over her shoulder. She certainly didn't pick him up off of the ground but she had a good enough grip to drag him along.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
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No one was interested in the apple slices he offered, but that just meant he could have it all to himself. The apple was slightly bitter though, so even with surprisingly blessed silence, he didn't enjoy it that much. Maybe Kyle already started getting used to this 'Silent Planet,' or simply considered a quiet Harper peaceful. Being stuck in the cart all the way up this mountain numbed his legs and feet, and he squirmed occasionally just to keep his blood flowing. Squirming was the only way he could do so as it was so crowded, he couldn't change positions easily. He could tolerate that for now, but his peace didn't last.

All hell broke loose when a rider came alongside them, speaking of troubles. Harper had another bloody screaming meltdown, and Kyle automatically lashed out punching him in the gut. Unfortunately, the big baby threw up. At least it was over the side of the cart and luckily didn't hit anyone. Kyle flushed, thinking it was his fault, and withdrew from everyone as far as he could.

When Tallyho climbed over him to get out, Kyle went after her, because he thought he needed to. They were supposed to be a team and all. He still had no idea how that would work with this rabble, but he was willing to try. Because of his numb feet and legs, he stumbled to his knees, wincing, but the boy got up without comment. Neither did he bother looking back to crybaby or anyone, which might not be the best idea, as Gwen was behind them and she was supposed to be part of this team also. Inside the cart, he was too miserable to notice her absence.

The final trek to their destination was painful and tiring, but he thought he should be able to handle it better than Tallyho. She was smaller than him in both height and build, and as far as he knew, she didn't have a habit of mountain climbing. He stayed behind her for the most part and helped her up if she stumbled, even if she acted grumpy about it. Considering his aggressive reaction to Harper, one might be surprised at his gentle handling of angry or irritable girls.

Eventually they came to a gate, and he smiled at the sight. "Finally," the boy rasped. Temporarily he also forgot what they were here for. With a sudden surge of energy, he raced through the gate as soon as the old man opened it. Kyle paused to admire the scenery and then the two ladies met them. He started as the fancy dressed one came forward. She smiled and called them month warriors. Didn't Haru say nobody was supposed to know that yet? He rubbed his neck, and looked back to the group in the cart. He noted idiot Harper passing out, and the ladies moving to help both him and the injured man.

Turning back to Tallyho, he thought she would be tired and asked, "Would you like to sit down for a while?" If she answered in the positive, he would help her sit somewhere away from the stinkberries and possibly closer to the fountain. If she answered in the negative, well he'd still try to help her away from the stinkberries, if nothing else.

After Tallyho was settled, he asked the two ladies, "Do you need help?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae
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#, as written by Linnea
The redheaded rider gave a curt nod back when he heard Haru, but did no more. He was tired, he was annoyed, and he just wanted to go home. He looked at the blonde girl on the path for a moment before deciding that it didn’t demand his attention. For as long as the ride up would be, he would just focus on the path ahead and try to ignore any irritants.

As Harper cried out, Autumn felt bad for not trying to calm him down in the first place. She bit her lip, not quite sure what to do in such a situation. She had helped crying friends before, but nothing of this magnitude. Before she could think of what to do, others were already helping. It put pressure off of her, but she was jealous in a way.

She managed to catch sight of Tallyho leaving the cart, and in doing so also saw the two strangers up ahead. Honestly, she understood why Tallyho might have wanted to leave the cart. Harper was still wailing most of the way up there. Autumn felt bad for him, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t annoyed by it.

Autumn might have enjoyed the path to the academy if it weren’t for the disgusting smell and constant slamming into other people. She bit her tongue at least three times.

The Academy itself was gorgeous, however. Perhaps it was the fountain that made her so fond if it, despite its lack of movement, or perhaps it was the thought that in such a large building she might have a room all to herself. Either way, it was impressive.
The riders who were ahead of them were already at the fountain, along with others. A woman in gorgeous robes spoke about them being a big deal and the woman with freckles approached at a slow pace. That was when Harper hit the ground.

Concerned as she was, Autumn had no idea what to do. All she could do was leave the cart and watch. Silently, she made a promise to visit Harper later.

The redheaded rider by the fountain shook his head in disapproval. “Shrieking children, what a treat.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae
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There were a few logistic issues Gwen hadn’t counted on when she’d decided to walk up the mountain herself, and these problems made the trip hell. The biggest obstacle was that her body seemed to be reaching some kind of limit. Nothing was stopping her mentally--she had a will made of iron--but it came with a small shock that she had underestimated her strength on this particular challenge. She felt certain that on a normal day back in the city, even one without food, the trip wouldn’t have been such a struggle.

The incline was something to reckon with. Though it didn’t necessarily appear that steep from any other angle, looking up from the bottom of the summit added a new perspective. And it just kept going. Sometimes it leveled out, gave a false sense of hope, but the incessant persistence of the ascent had Gwen out of breath within the first hour. Breathing, too, became a problem along the journey. It wasn’t until later in the trip that Gwen realized that the thin air was probably contributing to her exhaustion.

By the time Gwen stumbled through the gate, she had fallen a considerable distance behind the cart and those traveling with it. She kept her eyes trained doggedly forward, refusing to meet the cart driver’s gaze or even look at him. The scenery change passed over Gwen’s head, more or less. She noted that signs of civilization were increasing, but no details beyond that. All that was important was reaching the destination without her knees buckling, which she was certainly not going to allow. At least, as long as her body held up.

She caught up with the group in time to see Harper pass out. That poor man. There seemed to be no easy way out for him, unfortunately. Gwen had heard of exposure tactics, meant to cure phobias, that were similar to the situation Harper was being exposed to; perhaps, when he had been on the mountain for a time and nothing bad had happened, the phobia would lessen its hold on him.

Gwen, still determined to save face, leaned herself casually against a tree in order to give her body a rest. Her exhausted muscles trembled, making it difficult to look relaxed, but Gwen refused to allow herself to do as much as sit. She concentrated on catching her breath in the murderously thin air.

Gwen’s eyes narrowed as she observed the two characters who awaited them in the courtyard. The decorated woman somehow seemed especially distasteful to her; this woman seemed to have a pretentious nature about her that, to Gwen, almost bordered on grandoliquence. The way she looked at the group was mildly offensive to Gwen; she was glad she was still a distance away from everyone else.

Gwen’s glance wandered past the taller woman non-judgmentally. Gwen’s main interest in her was that she was, by the sound of it, a student at this academy. How many other people, “students,” would they be sharing this place with? Hopefully there wouldn’t be a lot of interaction.

So, this was where they would be staying. Rustic like the rest of Aires, with no obvious technology beyond whatever else they had seen in this world. The high altitude would take adjusting to, for some more than others. And there was a gate. Gwen wondered how far out the perimeter expanded. No doubt there were other natural barriers in place, cliffs and rock faces. How secure was the location? Were there any other ways off the mountain besides the way they had come? Was it possible to ascend higher up the mountain? If they were expected to go through some sort of physical training, Gwen expected there would be a plateau of land somewhere that would accommodate such activities. Depending on how much of the estate they were shown, these details would require some… investigating.

Her opinion of the group was not improved by their reaction to Harper’s passing out. What was this, some kind of bystander effect or what the shit ever it was called? Even some of the people she would have expected to take action, or at least show emotion, did little more than stare with a bemused expression on their faces. Eventually his limp body was hauled away unceremoniously by the tall female student.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan
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Tallyho wasn’t that tired. Whether it was a physical advantage or a programmed resilience, the blonde got up that mountain. (At her own pace of course.) And because of the savvy time she chose to start walking and the very nature of her genetics she was able to get up with only a couple of stamina fuss ups. Movement was life. And her people weren’t the type to stay idle they walked a lot.
Nonetheless, everywhere she turned Kyle was there to assist and it was pretty strange to be honest. After watching their performance for the couple of weeks they’ve been on Aires, it seemed that the earthlings were the ones who needed the most help as far as acclimating themselves to the Arian way of life. And what ever happened to the usual routine of ignoring the Arian? Back on the other planet she distracted the cyclopean so that they could get away and she hardly heard a thank you. But maybe it couldn’t have been all that bad. She remembered when she threw up and a person or two felt concern… But then Harper practically took a piss right next to her face in the same night which might have a lot to do with Tallyho’s lack of concern for his current condition. If it were her dying on the pavement he would probably just step on, yes on her face without apology. She felt silly for thinking this but at the same time her fear outweighed her foolishness. She was genuinely beginning to believe that he would do such a thing without a second thought or a conscious.
When Kyle asked if she wanted to sit down she already had her sights on the nearest seat. With a curt nod of thanks she proceeded over to the fountain only to be stopped by a sudden announcement from the fancy one.
Ji Na first addressed Kyle, accepting his help. She didn’t feel comfortable crutching the monk on only one side. She then took a turn towards the entire group.
“You know… If the rest of you are feeling any ailments. I can have you fixed and ready to go well before the day is over. I want to give you the tour today and I don’t want anyone feeling sick.”
She specifically made eye contact with Gwen. It was eerie really. At least for Tallyho. In the woman’s eyes the blonde could see a sense of purpose. It was as if Ji Na knew who was hurting and where and why. Tallyho took a good look at Gwen and though she couldn’t see any apparent weakness it seemed to be in Gwen’s character to fake it. That, paired with the fact that Gwen walked up the mountain for a significant amount of time didn’t make her doubt that Ji Na’s gaze was pretty on point. The moment didn’t last long though.
Ji Na eventually entered the building with Kwasi and Harper in tow.
Mr. Vo fussed with his beard—the soft scratching sound resonating through the courtyard.
“Your friends are in the best care. Ji Na… She can do anything. I once had severe back aches and she gave me a little something to put me to sleep. When I woke up I felt as spry as I was in my twenties. And no time passed at all either. I say both of your friends should be good and well very soon.”
Haru was getting a little impatient at that point. Not because anyone was specifically doing anything wrong but he really wanted to go ahead and get things settled in. The sun looked like it was ready to start setting and the exercise Ryou told him he had prepared for the group would probably have to wait until tomorrow. Haru tapped his foot frantically as he waited for Ji Na and the tour. He always got the jitters when he had to wait for too long. Especially when he felt like there were so many things to get done.
He quickly dug into his pocket and pulled out a carton of cigarettes. It had to be the most familiar thing for the earth kids. The redhead was notorious for shamelessly travelling through the core for massive stock ups on the nicotine treats. Just a week before the warriors were sucked into Aires Haru was making his rounds at convenience stores with his best earth façade. And it wasn’t like he was the only one who could do it either. In the years that they aimlessly wandered around the guardians were free to live on earth for short increments of time. It was just that living on earth with that sort of immortality was a little more complicated with the census and other legal documents active. All Haru ever wanted was a smoke and if he wasn’t an immortal he’d be the deadest man in a ten mile radius. About thirty minutes later Ji Na came shuffling out of the main building.
“I have everything set up for them. Kat will stay behind to monitor their progress and greet them when they wake up. Ryou told me that a lot of you were from another planet. ‘Earth’ he said. I wonder how your medical practices differ from ours…Anyways, can I begin by learning your—“
“Hey! Hey—No sorry, no disrespect,” Haru threw his hands up in surrender. He had come on a little harsher than he anticipated. “Didn’t mean to raise my voice but um…” He paused, looking down at his leather shoes. His hands were still up and his lit cigarette was pressed tightly between his ring and middle finger. He wanted to find a way to phrase it without sounding rude.
“Can we… Walk and talk? I don’t mean to cut welcoming party short but…” he just wanted the day to end. It had been the longest one thus far.
Ji Na took Haru’s suggestion with grace. ”Very well. I understand that you are all very weary. Let’s start with the general things shall we? Everyone ready?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae
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For as terrible as Harper could be at times, Skylar really did feel bad for him. Brows knit together with worry as he heaved over the side of the cart, she eventually just let him ride it out on his own since it seemed like she wasn’t helping much anyway. There wasn’t much else she could do anyway.

She couldn’t help but let out a silent sigh of relief as they finally arrived at the Academy’s gates though, perking up slightly as she glanced around at their new surroundings.

Skylar nearly leapt out of the cart once they’d pulled to a stop, her legs nearly giving out from under her as she did so from lack of use. Straightening up, she stretched her arms out, grateful to finally have space to move about after being stuck in the cramped cart for so many hours. Never again would she complain about another long car ride with her family (if she would ever get to experience another one- she tried her best not to think about long term plans at this point or if she’d ever get to go back home one day).

She turned to see how Harper was doing only to watch him fall to the floor. Before she could do anything about it, Kat had already hoisted the larger male’s limp body up as she took him to the infirmary.

The sound of Ji Na attempting to get the group’s attention pulled her focus away from Harper, turning her gaze to the woman. She’d go check on him later.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika
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Harper came to slowly, like he was swimming through molasses. When he finally opened his eyes, he noted a strange, but entirely unpleasant calm over him. His stomach and head didn't hurt as they did before, and the frantic sense of panic was gone. However, some fear did linger, and grew stronger as he remembered where exactly he was.

Realizing he was still on the mountain prevented him from sitting up on his bed immediately. While he was still shaking, it wasn't as violent as before, and the visible symptoms of an oncoming panic attack were either dimmer, or non-existent. He was still sweaty, palms clammy, stomach knotting, throat dry, but he also felt...calmer...more relaxed...as if he was simply on a staircase without a banister or slats and an open view of the floor below, and not on a very tall mountain.

Breathing was easier to control, and after opening and closing his hands a few times, he slowly, painstakingly, pulled himself onto his elbows. The thin blanket slid off, and he realized he was shirtless. His mouth also didn't smell of vomit, and the acrid taste of bile was no longer on his tongue. He looked around the room, finding it completely unfamiliar, and for a second doubted whether he was still on the mountain after all.

Upon spotting a red-haired girl, he debated whether to ask, but was afraid of the answer. He recognized the injured man from the cart on the bed next to him, although the bleeding on his leg had stopped. Aside from those two, however, he was completely alone.

"Where did everyone go?" he finally croaked out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika Character Portrait: Ji Na Chae
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Kwasi was still a bit drowsy from his rest but despite this he (at the very least) acknowledged that Harper was speaking. Though it wasn’t like he would be of much help anyway. He hadn’t fallen into such a deep sleep before. The red-haired woman did hear his question. She moved from her place on the window and made her way to Harper’s resting place. Without a word she took a firm grip of the arm of his shirt and pulled him into an upright position. Eventually she urged him to stand on his own two feet. Her gesture was an indication of quiet strength. With a fast dust of his shoulder she nodded at the door.
“You may leave now. You don’t want to miss the tour. It’s very important.”
Then, without warning she slowly retreated back to the window.

Tallyho would have been very impressed by the tour if she weren’t so tired. It seemed that the academy had a lot going for it though. Tallyho happened to notice that there weren’t many escalated rooms, or stairs on the campus. At least in the buildings Ji Na showed them. And it was hard to retain so much new information. Honestly, first they were being told that they were the month warriors then they were forced into school. Tallyho did manage to retain a few key details about that campus though.
In the east there was a narrow dirt trail that dwindled into the forest. There, Ji Na explained, was where a lot of the students did hiking in their free time.
The school congregated three times a day. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. The students sat in designated places organized by rank within the class. The quality of food seemed to be significantly affected by a student’s rank.
There were different types of students in the school. Some were trained for close combat, range, or medicine. But it didn’t seem like magic was very prevalent. Tallyho felt foolish for expecting such a thing. Even if she was a part of some magical prophecy.
By the end of the day Ji Na finally allowed them to rest.
“Boys live on the left wing. Girls on the right.”
She took the time to lead both groups to their respective buildings. Tallyho was a little disappointed that they didn’t get beds. Instead they were given very small rectangular sleeping stations. Had Tallyho been a very large woman she might have gotten stuck wall to wall. And those stupid walls—wood framed with rice paper panels. She was, however, impressed by the illusion of privacy the rooms offered. The illusion. With the right light her silhouette could be seen by her neighbors. Not only that but they could hear everything and she could hear everything. She wondered if the architect were a misogynist who gave the boys a better room set-up. But judging by the consistency of everything else she doubted it.
The first two weeks at the academy were about as ridiculous as the first two weeks of travelling. They hadn’t really learned anything about month warrior-ing and powers but they did a lot of walking. And running. And push-ups. They hadn’t even talked about using weapons yet. The blonde didn’t see much of Ryou, their alleged teacher. Instead Haru and Ji Na were escorting them all around campus.
Haru seemed more stressed than ever despite the fact that this was a chance to put the team in someone else’s hands. Maybe Haru was a control freak with serious reservations about letting go and forgetting. Nonetheless, he pushed them just has hard as he had before while Ji Na was a little more lenient. Surprisingly enough, Kat and Kwasi were forced to endure the same training. Tallyho was under the impression that Kat and Ji Na were longtime friends. But she remembered what Ji Na expressed to Ryou about Kat’s arrival. She was fresh meat. Just like the rest of them.
Today they made the teens run rocks up the mountain. Tallyho was finishing her fourth lap and her rosy knees were begging to give out.
“One more,” Haru said.
“I can’t.”
“You will.”
“I won’t.”
“Then you won’t eat until you do.”
Kat trudged up the mountainside. She had just finished her fifth lap. She dropped her bag of rocks and retreated to the campus square fountain without a word or anyone to stop her.
Tallyho grunted. She wanted nothing else than to sit in the dirt and starve until Haru took pity on her. Surely he wouldn’t let a warrior starve to death and die? She was going to challenge this—see if he would show some humanity. But she took one look at the cat guardian’s face and shriveled into herself.
“Kwasi,” Ji Na’s voice was soft and pleasant even when calling from a distance, “Wat are you doing?”
The monk was perched on the mountain trail with his legs crossed, head bowed, and fingers locked in prayer. His bag of rocks sat next to him undisturbed.
“Kwasi?”
The young monk looked up, startled.
“What?”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m praying, Miss.”
Ji Na paused.
“Why?”
“I am praying to the Goddess so that I may draw the strength to bring these rocks up the mountain and finish my final lap.”
A low chuckle was suppressed by Haru. He looked at Tallyho.
“Are you going to let him finish before you?”
Tallyho sighed and remounted the bag of rocks onto her back before fumbling down the mountain.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika
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Really, the sight of that table was ridiculously luxurious. It looked like a freaking last supper trope with Ryou as their jacked up Jesus figure. Haru also ate at the elite table. Placed between Ryou and Ji Na, he had to suffer Ryou’s games without accidentally elbowing Ji Na in the face. But it wasn’t like he was never used to this sort of behavior from his friend. Nonetheless, when Ryou tried to airplane feed him like a baby, Haru had to sock him in the throat. When was the last time that crazy monkey even went to earth to see an airplane?
Ji Na was a pretty neat eater. She sliced her meat in clean, small, vertical cuts before consuming them. With a controlled jaw she made chewing look like butter melting in her mouth. Occasionally she would cut pork for the loud obnoxious member of the table— little girl with pink hair. Pink hair! One might wonder if there was such thing as hair dye on Aires. But judging by the girl’s attitude it didn’t seem like it was really worth asking. When Ji Na finished cutting the meat the young girl stuck out her tongue, yelled, “you need more practice!” and lovingly threw herself under Ryou’s wing to make him redo it. Ji Na could be seen quietly gritting her teeth.
When Ryou and the scarecrow warrior approached the table, the little pink haired girl made it her business to join them. But not without a loaded plate that she intentionally ate in front of them.
It sort of worked on Tallyho and the kid knew it. As Ryou spoke of…whatever it was…Karma slowly stuffed a bacon-like dish into her mouth. And she was pretty gross about it too—slathering the grease all over the table with her tiny fingers.
When Ryou and the warrior finally finished their exchange, Tallyho tuned back in to the conversation. The most she caught was that they were doing something that night.
At a nearby table Kat and Kwasi sat. Kat dug into her meal prisoner’s style. She guarded her food—arm rested around the circumference of her bowl—her elbow in the air and utensil ferociously digging into its contents. Kawasi gave a nervous laugh. He didn’t really plan on sitting next to Kat but it didn’t make sense to start a new table for him. And after all, she was a new student too, right? Wouldn’t it make sense if the two non-warriors became friends? Kwasi and Kat didn’t attend the cyclopean demonstration simply because they weren’t warriors.
“So what do you think the Goddess has in store?”
Kat stopped. Her fork pursed into the meat of her fish. She looked up at the monk from a downturned faced. Kwasi sensed that she was deeply offended and tried to clarify himself.
“The event tonight. What do you think it is?”
The dark ginger muttered something that seemed to be in another language.
Kwasi responded instantly in the same tongue and Kat briefly popped her brows up in surprise.
“You know I speak the languages too. I was born in Nomansland,” he said.
“I’m surprised. You look watered down,” she said.
Their conversation ended there.
Tallyho didn’t really know what to do at this point. Her eyes drifted towards Dorian who sat in front of her. She stared at him for a while before fumbling with her plate. She probably seemed weird, but honestly what else was there to do?
Haru called from the other table. "Basically, meet us at the square by sunset.”
That was just enough direction for Tallyho who, without a word, pulled herself up from the table and made her way out the door.
Tallyho stood in front of the trail, studying the way the brown path winded and faded and speckled into the green. She took a step forward and didn’t look back.
This was peace. She was happy to see colors that didn’t belong to flesh. The blonde kept walking until she reached a clearing. In this clearing there was a small pond that looked very much like a puddle. She stepped in to wet her feet. The water found her ankles. Microscopic water beings nibbled at her soles. The bottom of the pond was smooth, unnaturally so, and she wondered why there were no twigs in the mud.
She dragged her feet at the bottom before scraping her foot on what felt like a sharp stone. She did not bleed but she cussed as she bent over to pick it up, the ends of her locks dipping into the water. This stone didn’t look too sharp. It was an orangey-gold and looked like a nugget of crystalized honey. She wondered if there were any more stones l like this in the pond and she padded her food around in search of more. And indeed she found them!
She began a collection by pulling up the skirt of her dress and making a hammock. There were honey stones the size of her fingerprint and the size of her palm. She was finding them in places she hadn’t seen them initially. It was like they were being dropped from the sky and her skirt was becoming heavy. There was a wetspot in her dress from where stones rolled down into the dimple of her hammock and the excess water splattered back into the pond.
“Where are these coming from?”
Tallyho’s collection of these stones was becoming an action of mania. She once picked them up because she was intrigued, but then she began to pick them up because somewhere in her gut she knew they weren’t supposed to be there. She took deep breaths and the stones continued to speckle the ground around her. This pond was so small! It was as long as Tallyho was tall and wasn’t even deep enough to water her knees.
Tallyho—fed up—dropped all of the stones she collected in her skirt. She looked down at the pile with disgust. She couldn’t see the earth of the pond floor anymore everything was orange. She heard a crackling noise around her.
The blonde’s brows furrowed and she turned around to see that the eastward trees surrounding the clearing were on fire. She turned to the west and those trees were on fire. She looked for the path leading back to the academy but she could not find it.
She could hear soft laughter coming from the trees. Her feet felt hot. The stones were burning her feet—they left a singed opening in the pond-stained part of her dress.
Tallyho clumsily backed away, too breathless to scream for help. Her green veins convulsed and her green eyes widened. She fell onto her back side, her feet still ankle deep in the warming pond and heard grass singeing behind her. Footsteps actually. She slowly turned her head and the sun blinded her. It was setting—everything was orange. She turned a bit more and saw the silhouetted legs of a man walking towards her slowly, leaving black grass at his heels. She did not dare to look any more. She looked forward again—
the fire was gone.
And it didn’t look like it had ever been there. She looked down into the pond and saw the dark earth. No honey stones in sight. She felt her dress and there was no longer a hole burnt through it. It was dry like she never touched the water. Tallyho gathered the courage to look back and see if the man was still there.
No, he wasn’t. But she could still smell the burning grass and the sun was still setting.
The blonde pulled herself onto her feet and without hesitation ran back down the path towards the academy.
She was greeted by the sight of Haru and the pink haired girl waiting around in the courtyard. Kat and Kwasi soon arrived. It seemed that it was time for the event. Tallyho attempted to regain her cool.
If anyone asked, nothing happened.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika
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Double Post

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
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The ragged rumble of a cart’s wheels and the hefty breathing of the ox that pulled it grew steadily closer on their heels, almost in perfect sync with the dying whale noises (that were vaguely human in origin supposedly) gradually fading off; made it rather hopelessly clear that her poor companion would obviously be eating his words soon enough, but woman remained refined and didn’t say a word about it nor let her mild amusement touch her eyes or even hint at regarding the matter. Until a hard, rich voice spoke up, wanting them to hear him: ”Thank Goddess.” The woman turned slightly in her seat upon her mount to look behind, tilting her head back slightly to allow her hood to fall gracefully off her head and bare her fair features to the ragtag group of wayward ‘sheepish’ teenagers and their ‘herders’. “Haru, the one be praised. You made better time than I expected.” She hummed lightly. Her lips parting slightly as a pale, faint smile rose on her lips in greeting.

”Lillian, thanks for sending Ryou and Dorian over by the way.” Lillian, now named, took the varying reactions to her appearance and the wheel’s turning in everyone’s heads that she was apparently the owl Haru had sent to get Ryou and Dorian ages past, with a certain amount of grace and indifference. She idly met everyone’s eyes, most without challenge and categorized them away in her mind for future reference, but she obviously held more affection in their depths for – Haru, Ryou, and even the grounds-keeper and ox-cart driver of Ryou’s Academy, Mr. Vo. And one young child who’d been walking a little ahead of the cart, studied and stared a little past the formal limit usually kept by most strangers. And Lillian seemed to give her a longer span of attention than most, with an odd sort of familiar curiosity glinted in her eyes, before moving on with a blink to the next.

“It was no problem. Ryou had an errand for me to run as well, so I apologize for not returning sooner. “ She finally responded, with a soft sigh and good natured coyish eye-roll in the direction of the other red-headed rider beside her astride his own mount. The more she spoke, her odd accent had an airy, breathless quality to it, simply singing a song as it were, even if just plain English. Lillian resumed focusing on the path ahead, guiding her mount up what was left of the trail to the gates.

...

Falke in the midst of ignoring Harper’s outburst, had not been able to successfully fallen back asleep like he’d planned. But felt like he’d woken up even more. If that was even possible? It wasn’t that he’d ever felt a nervous air before, and maybe it was just the thinner air of the high mountains and his fading temperament because of traveling in a messed up timeline in a bothersome 'new' world in general, he could blame it on. He felt annoyed of course, but, oddly, very much wide awake. It was probably just the realization, that he was really stuck in this for good, or even that he necessarily had to be more aware - just to keep his head attached, and the possibility of going home one day once this was all done? Oh who bloody knew or, or cared...

When they finally arrived, and were told to get off the cart. Falke was downright giddy, internally of course without letting it show unto his facial features. His legs screamed relief, or well, at the very least felt very light and almost ticklish, because of the rush of blood flowing through them to relieve agonized, sore muscles. And his stomach gurgled one last thought of possibly rejecting the meager bit of breakfast he’d gotten into his system hours earlier, before falling silent, eager as well seemingly to be over the faint motion sickness that had plagued him throughout the ride and back on his own two feet.

He stood, warily, much like even else around him, but seemed to be relieved enough to be alive and standing that he didn’t feel much of the need to work out any left-over aches and pains from the trip. Eyes wide, sightlessly surveying their surroundings with an interested, if rather honestly cautious air. He could not see the natural beauty of the place, but he could certainly smell the sharp, almost sweet, scent in the air of many different plants (except for this shit-smelling berry trees from the path into the main campus, of course), and fresher air than he’d ever really had to breathe before in general.

“Now don’t tell me he is asleep at the back of that cart… ” Falke turned toward the voice, not quite realizing he’d been facing in mostly the wrong direction most of the time since getting out of the cart, but able enough to lock on the sound a voice and turn himself toward it so that he vaguely looked like he was giving anyone his full attention. However, as she afforded each month warrior a moment’s worth of eye contact, it wasn’t really certain if they actually meet eyes at all, Falke’s were likely to high or too low or just plain not able to focus – not his intent of course, but being blind, that sort of thing happened pretty regularly.

And the following conversation, her words, and others, oh... And Harper, finally, apparently fainting. Well... None of it made much sense at all right now, as of yet, but he supposed they'd be answered soon enough, or later, if later. But for now, they apparently had a tour to take.

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The next two weeks were an absolute terror, and nothing short of it. His lack of gracefulness, coordination, and lack of knowing exactly where he was going by sight; played a part in sometimes not being able to finish the tasks they'd been given at times or mostly just finishing them barely (after running into things, or tripping and falling a great many times, excreta). Falke's bones and muscles ached and had constant throbbing accompanying his every movement. At night he was plagued by headaches from physical and emotion exhaustion and whispering nightmares.

Today was, again, no different during the exercise of going up and down the sadistic mountain trail five laps with a sack of rocks to carry along the way. Falke always finished last. Unless by chance the monk, Kwasi, had taken to long to pray for strength to complete the exercise, or someone was just feeling a little slower that day. Only the past few days he'd gained enough will to attempt jogging, slowly, up the mountain. Down the mountain, he walked, period. Both ways he hugged the edge furthest away from the cliff, like Harper, but not with fear driving him but only the general concern that he was indeed blind - one step, well, you can guess what would happen.

His arms were a maze of cuts and blotches of bruises from when he tripped and the mountain terrain was less than forgiving, and covered in blood and grime or he'd managed to wipe it all off over his shirt accidentally. His jeans were ragged and ripped at the knees, and no doubt his knees were extremely sore. When given the momentary break to cool off between the next lesson, after he finished his final lap and dropped the pile of stones alongside everyone else's. He made is way over and sat down wordlessly next to Tallyho on the fountain's rim, to splash the cold water unto his arms. Falke winced slightly at the change of temperature against his skin and the stinging sensation that accompanied cleaning his 'wounds'.

Falke hadn't expected a Cyclopean as the next lesson, however... He focused intently at the rattling of the cage bars and the snarlings of the trapped beast as much (or potentially more so, all things considered) as Haru's explanations of the creatures. He held an odd sense of morbid curiosity about the beasts, because they certainly didn't sound all to pleasant company - but without sight to actually confirm if it looked about as bad as it sounded, or smelled for that matter, he didn't have a clue. However, he understood the primal flight or fight running through his veins now, and yes - he'd try to kill it before it could kill him no doubt. But, how would he even know where the heart was, where to 'aim'? And, of course, it did not seem likely that Haru or his unknown guardian for that matter would go back to Earth to tell his parents that sorry your son died fighting some alien war, especially if there was still 'work' to be done. So, eh? Well, whatever for now, it was just food for thought later (or nightmares)...

Even though their meals were always pretty basic and of small portions, but Falke was particularly hungry this late afternoon. He had considered the notion of heading back to the rooms for some extra shut-eye, but the heat exhaustion, and his muscles screaming for extra protein or sugars, chased the notion away quickly. He followed everyone into the dining hall, passing the tantalizing smells of the high table, before plopping down silently at one of the four-seater beginner tables - where he believed the girl called Autumn sat across from him? But he didn't really have a clue, or care about the matter on actually finding out. Lunch was a piece of bread, a thin slab of fish, a small bowl of water and a small bowl of milk. He ate the bread, and drank the small bowl of water; he managed to bite a bit of the fish, but no more, and the milk was left untouched.

When Ryou and the elite, Dae Grimm, finished their exchange, and Haru pipped in to be ready by sunset, it certainly didn't leave Falke much of a chance to do anything in his elected free time. He likely found a place outside in the shade in the outer rim of the courtyard; resting quietly twiddling his thumbs with his wandering thoughts, and resisting the urge not the itch the newly forming scabs on either of his arms that were threatening to drive him mad. Until, over a time, he heard others begin to arrive with their varying footsteps, and got up from his place stiffly to make his own way over to join them slowly but surely - stopping cautiously on the outside of the collected group.

...

Lillian wasn't seen much of the course of the few weeks since the group had arrived to the Academy, but nor did she disappear like Ryou seemed to have. But it was truthful that she didn't seem to be as deeply involved in the training as other guardians, or at the very least had sense to give Haru his space (despite this being his chance to shove the other guardians respective kids' training for them alone to handle, he liked the control) and Ji Na had an important steady presence there, Kit was useful in egging on his warrior, Autumn.

She was often gone for a few hours or half a day at most as a time, and returned to speak briefly with Haru - sad and sweet was the sound of her voice in the cool clear mountain air - or was seen during meal times at the end of the high table - eating with refined grace, impeccable manors, and didn't seem bothered by the antics going on further down the table. Sometimes after Lillian would stay watching for a time the warrior's struggle in their training with her eyes that were as cold as frost in the stars. Always silent. Always judging.

In a rare appearance of showing for the 'party' on time, Lillian walked into the courtyard a beat after Tallyho and Autumn, and took her place beside Haru with quiet footsteps. She was dressed as she always was, in a dress and/or tunic-dress of fine, home-spun silk. Today, the white color made her pale skin glow with a healthier sheen, and the faint golden accents tied in nicely with her golden arched brows and the hair on her head trapped in a messy bun; and the slits in the fabric on either side, allowed full, free movement of both her legs.

...

The dining hall of the Academy wasn't a large room by any means. But it had enough space to have dozens of low rising tables and pillow scattered across the floor for every butt that happened to call the Academy home at any given time. It was no different, for a rather ruggedly built man - tall, wide chested, and of a hefty poundage, similar to a bear in fact - sitting haphazardly perched on a comfortably lumpy green pillow at the table at the head of the hall. He was a regular face at that table, and had always sat beside Ji Na and a pink-haired little girl. However, no one of the month warriors knew his name, title, or even saw him anywhere at the Academy but at meal times when he seemed to hold brief conversations with his counterparts while they ate.

His dark hair and slanted eyes, doubled with a startling resemblance to Ji Na and Mr. Vo, hailed his birth place to be from the Eastern Isles likely. His clothes where dirtied and soiled from the happenings of the morning and afternoon but of a high quality fabric colored in dark colors of hunter green and forest earthy tones. A giant blackened war bow, rested in a leather harness across his back, while the bundle of gray feather fledged arrows rested in a quiver attached to a brown belt at his hip and out of his full range of movement. He looked powerful, dangerous even, except for the kind, familial glint in his eyes.

His mouth parted as a wolfish grin tickled unto his maw, apparently amused at the antics going on further down the table, even as he used it to hide a silently pained expression. "Patience, Ji Na…" He rumbled softly in reminder, with a touch of mild but shared exasperation flavoring his tone at the antics of their obnoxious ‘sibling in arms’. His accent was soft, elegant, and polished, with a deep, rich 'growling' sound to it that made it all his own. “I’ll take what she doesn’t want.” He added pleasantly. He touched her shoulder briefly as he politely reached around her to grasp the smaller plate with the meat that hadn't been cut 'correctly' for the little girl before dumping it unto his own, wasting nothing but in turn having the plate now clear for Ryou to have a place to put his 'properly' cut meat for the annoying midge.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika
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Tallyho eyed the newer new-comers. She still wasn’t that used to seeing Dae around and the new faces only made her more confused. Though, the most pressing inquiry she has was about why Ryou had such… colorful children hanging around. Did no one else notice how strange the Mori boy’s pallet was? And Karma was just mean enough to make people accept the way she looked without much question.
“Nope. Nope. Waaaait a minute. Karma. Goes. First!”
Though nobody was really in front of her, Karma made it her business to push pairs of legs away from the cliff’s edge for the dramatic effect.
“Karma. Always. Goes. First!”
She waved her finger as she proudly marched towards the cliff. Haru shared a glance with Ryou. He hadn’t really gotten the opportunity to sit down and chat with his old friend but he really had been wondering where in the world he dug Karma up from.
The little girl flexed briefly before sprinting over the cliff’s edge. Her screams were more like hoots and hollers as she belly-flopped into the water below. Karma actually made it look fun at least until the person she fooled realized that she was at high risk of growing up to be a psychopath. Haru peered over the cliff’s edge just to see if she made it. Karma was already marching to shore with her head held high. One could hear her chant “losers” from the island below. Charming.
Tallyho couldn’t believe any of it. And it wasn’t that her face conveyed a form of traditional disbelief. It was more like a purée of disbelief, confusion, and the aftertaste of witnessing sheer stupidity. Not only were they going to be forced down this cliff but they would have to be teased because an child was more willing to dive in before they were.
Then came Kat. She hadn’t said much of anything since they began the walk to the cliff. She brushed past Tallyho with a cool breeze before pushing herself into a jog, a sprint, and then a freeform. Despite her brutish demeanor she was actually very graceful, and barely made a peep as she strained jump as far out from the cliff’s edge as possible. Her toned body did not leave limbs out for the air to splay at its will. She kept her hands pointed in prayer towards the water. And like a rock she fell into a stable nosedive, sporting the splash of a pebble skipped across a pond.
Kwasi pressed his lips into a thin line. It was sinful for a monk to feel prideful. But Kat’s comments about him being “watered down” really took a stake to his heart.
“My tribe loves nature… We are the water people, right? Or was it fire?” The pensive monk thought to himself. He felt shame and deiced that he’d pray on it.
After a few minutes of bowing his head in silence he decided to make the leap though his wasn’t nearly as well-crafted as Kat’s. He went down with a crack in his voice—the yelp of a prepubescent boy—before landing in the water with his heels above his head and a huge splash. His robes didn’t make it any easier getting out. They became very heavy and he was winded before he even reached the shore. Karma was still doing a creative victory dance on the shoreline and Kat was leaning against a tree, unamused by just about everything. Kwasi rolled onto the sand like a walrus, offering a meek wave to the dry-folk from below.
“I-It was nothing!” he assured. His voice was still cracking.
Tallyho was pretty much done at that point. Kat’s flawless completion of this test and Kwasi’s eager but embarrassing flawed attempt pretty much assured Tallyho that she wasn’t going down. The blonde stood up from her seat at the tree and turned to leave—her face slightly red and breath short.
Haru pulled her back by the shoulder.
“I’ll push you if you can’t do it yourself,” he said.
That had to be the most uncomforting thing ever.
Ji Na piped in, “Remember, your friends can help too.”
Tallyho chuckled. The earthlings? She still wanted to think that they would laugh at her drowning but because of certain acts of kindness she couldn’t necessarily say that about them. But that didn’t mean she thought they liked her enough to drag her flailing and likely dangerous body out of deep waters.
“Fat chance,” she hummed as she shrugged Haru’s hand off of her shoulder. There was a sudden crash in the brush and Tallyho caught a glimpse of Harper’s feet scampering away. Haru shook his head and glanced at Ryou before going after to boy. And boy was he grateful for being the cat guardian, speed being an asset in this situation. It didn't take long for Haru to catch up. It was grabbing him that was the problem. He didn't hesitate in attempting to physically restrain Harper.
“I might need some help here,” he called through the green. It seemed that the only way to get Harper in was to catch him and toss him like a fish.
Tallyho was starting to think Harper had the right idea though.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Karma Chu
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Tallyho was just about done. Harper went down the cliff like a roach being traumatically knocked off of a wall—his hairy legs wriggling with desperation and antennae zooming about in counter rotations as he rolled around on his back desperate to find his footing. Then he went limp. Then he wasn’t coming up.
She and Dorian were perched at the cliff side and between the two of them Dorian was more than likely going to be the one to save him. In fact, he had to be the one to go save him because even if Tallyho could swim, she probably wouldn’t.
Maybe she was overreacting. Maybe she was just selfish. But Tallyho actually got someone to help her with this on their own free will and Harper…. basically stole her ticket down the falls. Not only was the June month warrior drowning, but he had the audacity to drown after countless mornings hogging the central fountain for “swims”.
Then Dorian just jumped. Tallyho understood why, but she couldn’t help but feel more than a little peeved. With the March warrior gone, Tallyho wordlessly stepped away from the cliff and went back to her tree. There was bad news and good news.
If she had to be pushed she’d have to spend the night in the woods with the others regardless. But! If she had to be pushed she’d more than likely just drown and die, which, for her headache’s sake, sounded like a pretty good deal.
“What am I doing?” she hummed. She was disgusted. Disgusted by the churning in her stomach. By Harper. Her newfound reliance on others. Where did it all come from anyway? She didn’t need them. She could do it on her own, right? Right?
The jump was far, but not that far. And Tallyho wasn’t going to let a little girl jump in without being harmed yet come out with her own scars. Emotional or not. Tallyho thought quietly. She dragged her finger in the dirt and drew pictures.
Haru wouldn’t just let her die. Even if she couldn’t swim. She glanced over at the redhead. He didn’t really seem like he was in that big of a rush to throw people overboard. He just stood around silently, waiting for someone else to take the plate.
The blonde stood up, her downcast expression seeming more pensive than depressed, or angry, or whatever. She began a slow pace towards the cliff but she hoped that someone else would opt in to take the dive before her so that she would have a chance to reconsider and change her mind. Alas she was already at the cliff side. Note, not close enough to where her toes were dangling over the edge like Ryou’s but just damn close enough for her not to have a heart attack.
She was unsure of what to do with her body. She began by pinching her nose. She stopped when she remembered that none of the others had gone in that way. Perhaps it was a bad practice? She pivoted back and forth from one foot to the other trying to imagine herself jumping. She concluded that she would never make a jump as long as Kat’s. She wondered if she could keep her body in control so that she wouldn’t be tossed any old way by the incoming wind intensity. She had lean muscle but she wasn’t strong enough to do that. She turned her back to the water and wondered if falling backwards would get her killed. It might but she couldn’t find any other way to successfully jump in without being hyper conscious about how far out she was jumping, etc.
She briefly made eye contact with Haru who popped his brows up for a brief second. He was asking if she was going to go down that way. She pressed her lips thin and adverted her eyes as she relaxed her posture. She was telling him yes.
This wasn’t the place for Haru to instruct her on her form. The fact that she was going in alone was a miracle. But he felt that it would have done her good to know that falling face first would have been better. But it facing the other way was what it took for her to take the leap? Well… that was good enough for him. Before he knew it she was over the edge. Her fall probably seemed the least dramatic. She was stiff and looked like a mannequin who had simply been tipped over by a careless shopper in New York. She was silent too.
But that certainly wasn’t by choice. Tallyho would have preferred to scream just to remind herself that she was still alive. But in the midst of her fall she ended up turning over so that she was face up instead of upside down. Now she was facing the cliff’s wall and the red rocks were plummeting past her. She couldn’t scream because so much air wanted to find its way into her body. It was trying to make up for every breath she missed upstairs on the edge. Then there was water. A sudden burning sensation ran into her nose and by then she learned to stop inhaling. She swung her arms and legs but it wasn’t very coordinated. She wasn’t kicking hard enough or parting her arms fast enough. She thought of failed swimming lessons from her childhood. The white blonde of mother’s hair and the way her underskirt stuck to her white, white thighs and hips as she pulled herself out of the ocean.
Tallyho kicked harder. She didn’t need saving because she was going to save herself. She could feel her body pushing forward in the water! She was teaching herself how to swim. She could not feel her fingers. Her eyes were still closed; she did not dare open them for fear that she might sink like a stone. And she did feel like a stone—like she was being pulled up by a stone. Or maybe down. She did not know. She did not dare open her eyes.
From behind her eyelids she could see that light was approaching. Everything was bright red like her mother’s lips. Swimming was becoming easier. It was nothing really—just lightly waving arms and legs until she felt safe again. Everything became cold and she could feel the sand in her toes, someone’s arm latched to her waist, and fingers laced into her’s. She was still being pulled forward. She thought she was still swimming kept her legs limp, her shins dreamily skidding into seashell encrusted mud. Suddenly she was settled on something dry and hot.
“Open your eyes,” a voice said. And Tallyho did. She knew that she was safe now. It was Kat kneeling next to her with her unchanging expression.
“Did I swim?” Tallyho asked her voice was hoarse and throat sore.
“No.” Kat said.
Tallyho let out a soft defeated grunt and she did not try to get up. Instead she laid there with her head turned, fingers, toes and right cheek stuffed in the sand with her back exposed to the sun.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
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They were jumping off a cliff after all.

Xabier enjoyed swimming. Obviously not as much as Harper though, since the guy never seemed to leave the water. The others had lept off with varying rates of success.
The monk had stumbled, the kid had yelped with delight while Harper went down screaming. He had screamed so loud that Xabier was surprised when it suddenly got quiet.
Weird.
One by one the others made their journey down.

He'd have to do it. He'd have to jump.
Xabier would just have to pretend that it was back in the good old days, before he got burned so badly that he was unwilling to show his back.

He was almost too caught up in his fears of revealing his back to notice the friendly exchange between Dorian and Tallyho. Almost.

Then his thoughts flitted back to the whole topless issue.
Dorian suddenly broke away and dived off leaving Tallyho alone.
Xabier knew he could dive better.
He braced himself and took off towards the edge.

His feet pushed through the rough grass and hit the smooth warm rocks, still racing to the end of the rocks; his last foot slowly and gracefully leaves the edge of the rock. He was soaring. It was like cliff diving with his siblings and his friends in the summer time.

He missed home. Sometimes when he heard the high voice of that little pink haired girl, he was transported back to a warmer place in a better time. The times they'd dare each to dive off higher ledges into perilous depths of the turquoise water below.
Always holding his brother Aitzan's hand and his best friend Inke's in the other, he'd lose his senses and jump.

Falling, this time he was on his own. No one surrounded him, just air and a view of forever. His shadow on the ground. Its arms wide open mimicking his own, as if they were welcoming him into a sweet embrace. A promise of transporting him back to the past.

His head was pounding.
It's too reckless! Think it through!

His thoughts were pounding.
Stupid! Stupid Idiot! You are going to die!

His heart was pounding.
He never felt so alive.

He peeked down at the water.
Trying to time his last deep, desperate gasp of air, He tried not to think of anything.
His dilemma with his shirt long forgotten.

He felt the butterflies fluttering throughout his body. He took in the last source of air. Suddenly, the touch of the water that had been waiting for patiently, strikes him.

The deep water gently consumed his body and the darkness behind his eyelids was almost comforting.
It was as if the water had transported him home. No, not the water exactly. But the quiet split second when he was truly alone but didn't feel lonely.

Nothing but water surrounded his body.

He swam up through the bitter water to the surface. His eyes opened wide taking in the surroundings.
He rose from the water quietly gasping for air, breathing heavily with adrenaline. He just conquered the cliff. “Again!” He shouted, exhilarated. His hair had slicked off of his face and his mouth was turned up with glee.

And then he noticed that no one seemed to have seen. They were gathered near the shore clustered around something or someone.

He was surrounded with people but felt lonely. For the first time in a long while, he felt numb.

And then horror, he realised that the thing that everyone had focused on was actually a person. Harper to be exact. He must have drowned when he was busy enjoying himself.
Xabier swam as fast as he could towards the shore where Harper lay. The water was dragging his already tired muscles down. Like it was calling him.
"Come back down to the dark, it is safe and warm," it seemed to call.
He pushed on.

He had nearly reached where Harper was on the shore, when a rock snagged his shirt.

He couldn't help anyone without ripping his shirt. Precious seconds ticked by like hours.

They'd all see his scars.
But if he didn't move, Harper could die.

Xabier couldn't stand the thought of either scenario.

He knew he was being selfish, first with showing off and then assuming that everything was about him while Harper drowned.
He couldn't be selfish anymore.

And then it just kind of happened without thinking.

He pulled at his shirt and reached the shore at what felt like a painstakingly slow pace. His clothes dragged down to the sand.

"Is he breathing? Does he have a pulse?" He asked pushing past Dorian to check for himself.
Harper didn't seem to be breathing.

Shit.

He couldn't die. As much as he was annoying and didn't seem to know when to stop talking, Harper HAD to live. Xabier checked for his pulse, it was there but only barely. He turned him over onto his back and began to pump down on his chest rhythmically with the heels of his hands.

It was at times like these that he worried about every move he was making.

Pushing down. 10, 20, 30 times.
And then he tilted Harper's head back and lifted his chin to free the airway.
Pinching his nose, he began CPR. He stopped after two breaths and checked to see if his chest was rising. He heard some exclamations from behind him. Someone else had almost drowned too.

He couldn't focus on anything other than helping the one who was in immediate danger: Harper.

Pumping his heart again, he leaned back down to try CPR again when he saw a flicker of life in Harper's face.
It was working.
Harper would live, and Xabier's shirt was ruined.

"I thought you could swim, idiot." He sighed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
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Haru watched the scene from below with a confused expression. Part of him really wanted understand Harper’s effect on other people but the larger (and probably better) part of him genuinely found that not caring was the best protocol. Xabier might as well have just dived into Harper’s person as far as Haru was concerned. Did he even check to see if Harper needed CPR beforehand? Nonetheless, between the gnarly expression on Harper’s face and Dorian’s deed being upstaged by Xabier’s ripped clothes (and don’t act like they didn’t steal the show) the entire exchange was more than a little hilarious.
The redhead turned to the others.
“Welp… Who’s next?”

Tallyho rested in the sand for a few more minutes before deciding to stand. She and Kat were perched farther off on the shoreline, nearer to the forest brush. The blonde glanced at the tribal woman before beginning the chore of dusting white sand off of her face. She licked a piece of her dress to get a sizable amount of grains off of her tongue and ran her palms down her arms.
“Thanks or that,” she said.
Kat only nodded.
“Was I at least sort of swimming?” Tallyho asked. She was hesitant to start a conversation with the quiet character but she was curious.
“I guess… If you meant to swim downwards.”
There was a long pause.
“Did I look stupid?” Tallyho asked.
Kat did not answer. This probably meant yes.

The blonde made her way to the water’s edge and rinsed the sand out of her hair.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika
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Tallyho chuckled softly at the group, just as she expected, they congregated over to Harper who was, in all cases, the star of every hour. She listened to some congratulate his saviors and looked over at Kat again. Though the woman seemed disinterested for the most part, Tallyho was still a little put off by her lack of recognition in almost everything she did in the weeks the warriors knew her.
"I'm sorry to say you chose to save the wrong person. Had you gone to that fool you'd be the hero of the hour."
Not that Kat saving Harper would be any better. Tallyho would bet a lot of liquor that Harper didn't thank a soul after he had his last fainting spell. And she had a feeling that Kat was used to being under-praised. Though admittedly, it didn't seem to bother the woman much.
"You were the best diver you know?"
"Thanks was enough,"Kat said sharply. She pulled herself onto her feet and started towards the forest.
"Where are you going?"
"Fire wood."
Tallyho forgot that they were sleeping outside tonight and figured that she should start preparing for the night too. It wasn't like she had anything better to do.
"Do you need help?" Tallyho asked.
Kat said no and soon she was gone.
The February warrior pressed her lips into a thin line before deciding to find another way to help, anything to get away from the earthlings. She caught sight of Kwasi wringing his robes dry form the corner of the shore line.
"You," Tallyho said. "Come help me find useful things."
"Useful things?"Kwasi asked. He wasn't quite sure what she meant but he was willing to help either way.
He followed Tallyho into the forest.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo) Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika
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Tallyho hated this. She made a point of going over to Kat because the others were on the opposite side of the beach and they made a point of coming over, invading her space and acting like the drowning—or at least her drowning never happened. Tallyho grunted and made a slow, subtle scoot towards the end of her log. The Autumn girl started talking about Californias and wildfires. Tallyho frowned, remembering her odd experience from earlier. The other blonde kept chatter boxing on until Harper, (Goddess forbid) decided to chip into the conversation. He started talking about how his giant apple wasn’t really an apple and Bostons. Tallyho sighed when both of them commented on how they liked the color blue. She felt tempted to find a new favorite color and before she knew it Harper was finishing his introduction. Of course he finished it by saying “I'm sure no one here really cares about me” which really pissed Tallyho off given the past few hours. She eyed the other end of the beach which was significantly darker. She was pretty okay with sleeping there for the night so long as someone could hear her screaming if something happened.
Kwasi began his introduction because he was intrigued by the earthling’s game.
“I’m not necessarily a part of your team but I’ll play along!” He said.
Kat rolled her eyes. They could come over and play a game but they couldn’t bring the rations over before they did? They could have very well been eaten by wild animals—they might as well have given them to the animals. She left to go retrieve the bag and Tallyho was envious that she hadn’t noticed it first.
“My name is Kwasi and… I’m a monk!” He paused, not quite sure what to say after that. But he sounded damn optimistic when he announced it.
“People like me… live in simplicity and virtue. We usually do a lot of begging too!”
He honestly felt kind of silly, really. He wasn’t really talking about himself so much as monks in general.
“I like eating assorted nuts…?”
Okay. It was time for Kwasi to shut up now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
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Tallyho grew ridged when she heard a sudden “hey” jab into her head. It wasn’t like he was really that loud, but at that point every word spoken was beginning to sound like low womp womp womps at the bottom of her head and it was the first lick of real language she caught since Harper spoke.
She glanced back to see a jittery Xabier who looked like he wanted to flee. But his need to run was generally more urgent (and actually way more unexplained) that Tallyho’s. He just helped saved the person; he was a hero for tonight. So why was he trying to leave his party?
When he asked how she was feeling Tallyho awkwardly sat up and crossed her arms. Did she really look that pissed off?
She played and replayed her response in her head.
“I’m fine!” she wanted to exclaim before clicking her heels and dancing around the fire.
“I’m just dandy,” she wanted to yell before doing back flips up and down the shoreline.

“I’m fine…” she actually said, her tone flatter than she intended. She crossed her arms tighter and sat up straighter to make up for her lackluster answer. She wasn’t going to talk about her feelings so that Autumn could sing about peace, Kwasi could tell everyone to “pray about it” and Harper could just not listen.
“Do you want to have a walk?”
Tallyho’s immediate question was why. There were more than 12 other people on this beach and suddenly he wanted to walk with her? Since when do they walk? Though… It did make some sense. Xabier looked like he was about to pee his pants from anxiety (too soon?) and apparently Tallyho looked like she didn’t want to be there anyway—which was true. In that respect they were almost two peas in a pod.
“Okay…” Her acceptance came out more like a question than a statement though. Without warning she glided off of her log and towards the water with her arms crossed.

Kat offered an unceremonious gesture towards the rest of the group.
“Are you people going to eat or not?” she asked sternly as she ravaged through the rations bag with a mouth full of unchewed bread in her mouth.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
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Kyle lay in the sand for a while to catch his breath and make sure Falke was okay. He seemed to be, and assuming the other boy didn't really like company, Kyle stood up and fruitlessly brushed off his wet pants. He stepped away to give Falke his space, but he didn't go too far before he stopped to look around.

Karma and Dae left to his disappointment. He didn't miss the brat Karma, but he thought he would have more chance to talk to Dae. It may be better this way though. Getting too buddy-buddy with a teacher might make things difficult in the long run, even if one night won't be enough to go from strangers to friends. Autumn seemed to have a different idea with her get to know you game. After two maybe three weeks, he thought they would be past that. If he thought about it, he realized they actually haven't much downtime in those weeks. During their academy free time, most of them went off on their own, including him. He sighed. Even though he wanted to be a team player, he didn't always act on it. This business was harder than he thought.

A growling in his stomach broke Kyle out of his gloomy thoughts. He chuckled to himself. It took him until now to realize he refused lunch. "There's a campfire straight ahead and to your right, where the majority of our group is doing some getting to know you stuff. It would be a chance to warm up and dry off but pretty crowded. Or we could join the quieter company of Kat, who also is carrying all our food supplies." Kyle frowned but there remained a light in his stormy grey eyes. "If we don't hurry, she might eat it all. I don't know about you, but I won't let her." His wet clothes flapped behind him and water-filled shoes sloshed while he half-jogged over to the freckled woman. "I'll have some of that. Thanks for offering." He claimed the bag she held out and peeked inside.
Plain bread and dried meat? The light in his eyes faded a little, but he did pull out one of the rolls and pass the bag around. "So... um... where did you grow up? What are some of your hobbies?" He did decide to participate, and admittedly, he was curious about Kat.