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Birthstone Spirits: The Second Revival

Aires

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a part of Birthstone Spirits: The Second Revival, by birthstone_spirits.

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birthstone_spirits holds sovereignty over Aires, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Aires

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Aires is a part of Birthstone Spirits: The Second Revival.

17 Characters Here

Tallyho Abel [88] The Apathetic Amethyst
Heather Devereaux [86] The Tenacious Turquoise
Angela Taylor [77] The Cheerful Topaz
Ron Muller [66] The Reckless Garnet
Calliope Alexander [61] Perilous Peridot
Jules Fontaine [55] The Petulant Pearl
Dorian Steinsson [50] The Chilly Aquamarine
Haru Sinwood [46] The Guardian of February
Emerson Motlilio [40] WIP
Sorrell Hunt [36] Fateful Sapphire

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Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux
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(warning: serious allusions to violence)

The woman offered a light shrug, not particularly shocked at what felt like a tinge of defensiveness on Heather's part. She looked back out at the horizon, it's depths flattened by the fall of night. The cicaidas would start their songs soon.

"Maybe you should be scared. Nothing wrong with fear. When I got my cut, I felt more fear than you can ever imagine. There was me in this brothel, and this man took to my face with his dagger. Alcohol always makes men worse, you know. My job was always hard but I never had a client like that... So evil. Cut me deep too. I was in shock... Thought I was holding my face together while I was screaming."

Her undoubtedly traumatic anecdote trailed off into an airy chuckle, certainly a coping mechanism. She matched Heather's long gaze.

"You can only imagine how people saw me in the village. A fallen woman with a maimed face-- no brothel, or laundress or tavern wanted anything to do with me. And so my fear became something different. I was no longer scared of that spirited man, but of life itself. And thank Goddess I don't live that way anymore. I fear no one and nothing. I am stronger."

The sound of a tin bell came clanking from inside the house.

"I hope Haru gives you the answers you need. He is a good man you know, when I had nowhere left to go he opened his home to me. To all of us, really. He didn't care who we were, only that we strived to be better. It is okay to fear for now, but I hope, for your sake, that you can overcome that feeling soon. I suspect you will have a great adventure ahead of you."

The woman retreated from the porch. Warm candlelight lit the porch and dense savory smells wafted through the air as she pushed the door in. "Dinner is ready," she said. "I hope you've had enough time to refresh?"

(I'll probably be posting a second time tonight or tomorrow with tallyho getting food because tbh that's her calling.)

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Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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Tallyho spent the sunset wringing her hair dry. After her argument with the old farmer, she hadn’t had much of a reason to get all riled up. She was clean, she was alone, and there was the promise of hot food and a warm bed right on the other side of those sun-beaten walls. If you asked her, it was all so eerily pleasant, and strangely, she didn’t seem to mind it one bit. In fact, she wasn’t as scared of being on this farm as she was of being left behind on it. She briefly thought of the others, if they were huddled in their cots, plotting an escape.

The sound of tin rang across the farm, a promising sound that could get a rise out of the most exhausted farm hands. It was a common thing to do in Solace. Wood to tin means dinner’s in. It’s such a common practice across households that in many residential areas, families have to compose their own family chime so that children running home don’t confuse their neighbor’s dinner bell with their own. Tallyho had a faint memory of a dinner bell competition that happened in a smaller village the caravan was touring though. It was wholesome event: Enthusiastic families performed their (surprisingly elaborate) jingles in front of a judge panel of shop keepers (butchers, blacksmiths, tailors) and the family with the most impressive jingle won a huge ham.

Tallyho absolutely sucked at music, but if she had to choose her favorite instrument, it would undoubtedly be the dinner bell. And if not for the unique culture that developed around it, definitely for the fact that it meant food was just a few steps away. And so, Tallyho hadn’t hesitated when the dinner bell rang. She rose smoothly, almost like an apparition, and strode across the lawn and through the back door.

She’d say that the thick wafting smells hit her like a truck if she knew what a truck was. She was so hungry it felt like her stomach was spreading outward, stretching wide as if it were preparing to envelope her first bite into a huge congratulatory embrace.

The maid who rang the bell was still ringing it enthusiastically, leaning out of the dining room window in case there were a few stragglers finishing their baths in the back.

“Dinner! Dinner for our guests,” she called out, the dinner bell clutched tight her small pale hands.

The blonde slid her hands through her hair as she mounted a chair nearby one of the girls from the cyclopean attack. It looked to Tallyho like she had been sitting there for quite a while, sipping on water rigidly. The sun girl stole glances at her, though she never fully turned her way, especially since the other girl seemed to be looking intently at spaces where, as far as Tallyho could see, nothing was there. So if the way the other young woman’s eyes darted around the room in slight paranoia was any indication of this, it didn’t seem like everyone was settling into this situation as well as the Tallyho was.

As the bell ringing wound down, the blonde began the winding her damp hair into an imperfect twist of a bun high on the crown of her head. The dinner setup was intimate, wedged in a room not much bigger than the large wooden table that occupied it. Tallyho, as slender as she was, had to hike up her hips and shuffle behind the chairs on her tip toes just to seat herself in one of the tighter corners. The furniture itself was very simple. For a place that looked so grand on the outside, Haru seemed to have a taste for the rustic. No room was doted on with fine décor or accents. Every room seemed to have exactly what it needed, no more no less.

It hadn’t taken more than ten minutes for a couple of maids to start slinging food on the table. It was a small feast: Iron cast cauldrons were huddled lip to lip at the center of the table, steaming with an assortment of meats and starches. One pot was heavy with red potatoes, quartered and patiently roasted with oil, herbs and salt. Another had a dark beef tip stew with a flour-based broth, and the third carried a hearty vegetable stew with carrots, corn, onions and beans. At the end of the table there was a honey-glazed hen with light, flaky skin drawn back from the heat of the furnace, and next to that, a plate of warm golden rolls. To Tallyho’s delight there was even a bowl of Banya, a dish from Solace that bakes sweet corn, grain, eggs, cream and sugar together to make a sweet dessert casserole. She had a particular fondness for the dish, and made it her business to reach for a spoonful of it as soon as it hit the table. She pulled the bowl close, scooping a large glop of the delicacy onto her dish.

The maid who rang the bell sucked her teeth at the sight. How could the blonde have the audacity to start tearing the food apart even before her host had arrived? The older woman itched to chastise her, but held her tongue when Haru entered the room. It would have been easy to miss him since he moved into his seat at the head of the table with a cool calm. His hair was damp so one could tell that he’d just bathed even if his fresh set of clothes looked just as rough and worn as the ones he was working in earlier in the day. He took the cloth folded under his utensils with a coarseness and plotted it on his lap. He hadn’t even taken the time to smooth it out evenly over his pants so one could have wondered why he even bothered putting the napkin down on his lap in the first place. When Tallyho finally noticed him, her body was hunched over her meal and her arm swung around the circumference of her plate like she was a prisoner protecting her food from the thieves around her. Haru met her eyes with a coolness and she stiffened a bit, not sure if she should have been more polite or at least a little more graceful in her consumption of food.

“Please eat,” he said. The deepness and resolute nature of his booming voice was just as startling as it was the first time he spoke. “We have plenty of time to talk.” The redhead then reached for the hen, pulling a sizable portion off the bone and onto his own plate. He ate contently, occasionally brushing stray crumbs from his facial hair.

Tallyho, not wanting to strike up a conversation, dove back into her food, continuing to eat if only because she was nervous. She would continue to eat until everyone reached the table, and by the time he’d given them the same “eat now, talk later" spiel the petite girl was stuffed. But instead of looking at Haru, or even taking another serving, she chose to stare at everyone else’s plates as they scooped and scraped the food into their mouths.

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Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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Ron wandered around the house for a bit before stopping in the living room. The furniture was humble, meaning whoever their host was, he did not care for luxury. Then he found a bookshelf and began to look through them. Most books displayed were either something that complimented the host's interest or were popular enough to recognize. However he could not recognize any of them. Most had foreign titles that he had never heard of until he picked up one called 'Scrapes to Scabs'. He sat down and began to read.

When dinner was called, Ron was stilled buried in the book. It turned out to be an educational book, cataloging every plant and various diseases of an exotic continent. After sitting down out the table he took out a small planner he kept in his jacket pocket and began writing notes to go along with the book. Many of the supposed diseases were similar to malaria or cholera, which could be treated well enough. Though the book advised in this case to treat the subject with salves and potions. It felt more like a hospice care manual than an actual remedy book. Even the treatments were similar to low yield pain painkillers.

"Excuse me, Haru was it?" He addressed the host "Is this book from before the germ theory or is it a history book?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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#, as written by Linnea
"Totally! I'll see you later!" Angela waved goodbye, a sense of relief flooding her. She knew someone now. She didn't know her well, but she knew her. Her name, at least. In a situation like this, that was more than enough. Plus, Heather seemed nice. Definitely the kind of person Angela would want to be around.

Angela was quick to change into her new clothes. She didn't feel particularly safe in her shorts and somewhat revealing top. They certainly wouldn't protect her from the elements. Then there was the possibility of strange men. With no clue where she was, looking cute wasn't exactly a priority or even particularly wanted. Best to lay low.

The outfit given to her was simple. A dusty pink dress with a white apron. Perfect for the summer heat, but providing enough coverage so that her skin wasn't as vulnerable. It reminded Angela of pictures of pioneers she had seen in her schoolbooks.

Her bath was quick. She was a bit dirty, but there was no way she was going to spend a long amount of time naked in this place. So, instead, she waited in her room until she heard the dinner bell.

The smell was enough to nearly knock her dead. Metaphorically speaking. Since when did food smell that good? Was it only after some sort of trauma?

When she was finally able to eat, Angela was careful to take only a little of what she wanted. Some chicken, some stew, some of what she would later learn was called banya. Eating slowly as if she feared being poisoned. All the while, she couldn't help but steal glances around the room. Particularly at Haru. As great as food was, and good god was the food great, she would have preferred an explanation during dinner. Staying confused for this long was leaving her incredibly frustrated.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Aires - Haru's Farm
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Heather had a quick bath.

Normally, she could soak for an entire hour, feel the sudsy surface of her nearly scalding hot water glide across her skin silkily, softening it as she lay back until all but her head was submerged in it. But she knew it wouldn't be like those baths and swallowed down the discontent when she finally saddled into one of the tubs. Besides, she wasn't doing this for enjoyment, not really. Her host had offered it and Heather wasn't about to turn down his hospitality, carrying around the dress that had been offered for the evening. So, she hurried herself along and once done, she slipped into the dress. She took a moment to use the shea butter mixture on her skin; new place or not, if Heather control it, she wasn't going to allow herself to go anywhere with ashy skin. It just wasn't happening. Sliding back into her sandals, Heather released her faux locs from the bun she had styled it in that morning, slipping the scrunchie onto her wrist for safe keeping. Gathering her things, she headed back into the house, the woman with the scar's words still resonating in the back of her mind.

At the time, the woman's brief story had left Heather stunned, lips barely parted in a wordless apology as an expression of sympathy and awe that this woman could find a semblance of amusement in her reaction to what had happened to her. Heather didn't know what she would do in that situation. She would've probably tried to kill someone, honestly. But the point was that she didn't know if she would've had the strength inside of herself to relay the story to anyone else. Heather barely talked about the most mundane if they bothered her. And then to now not fear anyone? Heather liked to believe that she could be fearless, that she already was, in her own way. But then the memory of earlier - of her helplessness at the sight of that monster, of not really doing anything - added itself to the mix and she paused at the back door, frowning. She couldn't do that anymore. If they were going to be confronted with another one of those...things, she needed to be better. She had to be.

"It smells divine in here," Heather exclaimed by way of announcing her presence, not really feeling it to just slip in without saying a word. Before she could sit down, however, her eyes fell on the figure huddled in the corner, eyes partially glazed. "Why is she - ?" Heather briefly glanced at the others in wonder - at Tallyho's ravenous disposition, Angela's somewhat cheerier, one of the other males and Haru - before stepping to the brunette, lowering herself gently without touching her. Heather tilted her head slightly, worried, as she inquired in a softer tone, "Hey...you with us?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Haru ate patiently, not paying too much attention to Tallyho who gobbled up her food ravenously, or Calliope who was clammed up in the corner. If anything he felt like his attention would have made their nervous behaviors worse, and so he focused on seeming as non-threatening as possible by just staying quiet and eating (not that that helped any.) He pinched away yet another dash of crumbs from his beard. Eventually, he thought, he would be due for a cut. But the days have been so long and preparations for this… interesting (?) group of warriors had taken up so much of his time that he didn’t get much of a chance to even think about personal grooming.

This group… They truly weren’t what he expected. Haru thought he would be given a cast of toned and well-weathered individuals ready for battle, especially considering what happened to the last ones. But instead he got a cast of, well, pretty people. The thought of training them made him want to snicker and a part of his soul buckled down for another century or two of waiting for the next cast of warriors because if this dinner scene told Haru anything, these kids might just die.

He hunched down for another snarl at his hen when one of the young men inquired about his book. Scrapes to Scabs… Haru hadn’t picked the thing up in ages and was a little surprised that it was still in the house. Even more surprised that this kid had the balls to touch anything in his house and talk about it.

“It’s… One of the first books of its kind I suppose. Written a long time by this man named Constance,” Haru paused, not sure how to continue talking about the book without telling everyone that they were in a completely different world. “Let me… Help explain what happened today.”

By the time Haru sat up to speak an adequate amount of time had passed for people to consume at least one serving.

“I wanted to let you eat first before getting into all of this,” he sighed. He wrung his callused hands on the table and leaned forward like a father preparing to firmly tell his child that Santa isn’t real and that the pet goldfish died last week. He didn’t speak in the most coddling tone, but he was straining to sound comforting.

“I’ll try to answer all of your questions best I can, but I ask that you let me explain a few things first... That monster you saw today, the one that was growling and snarling, snapping jaws at you… Most of you have not seen or read about anything like it. But I’m sorry to say that there are more of them. A lot more of them. And somehow, someway, maybe because we’re all just really unlucky, it’s our job to get rid of them before they destroy everything and everyone.

It’s weird to say, but you’re not on earth anymore. Today you are in Aires. And I wish that I could tell you it’s as simple as “being on another planet,” but it’s a little more complicated than that. Aires is nothing like earth. It doesn’t run on the same fabric of time or development. It has none of the technologies most of you are familiar with. It’s a different line of reality with a different set of physics, and when you crossed that path of stars back there you were dumped right into this universe.

While Aires is very different from Earth on a fundamental level. What you all witnessed back there wasn’t normal for your world or mine. These monsters have been appearing in small numbers across our world, and it looks like they’re about to infiltrate yours.

We call them cyclopean. They haven’t been seen in hundreds of years around here, and that was because we had a full line of defense against them. And at the top of this defense was an elite group of 12 warriors named for the months of the year. They were given special abilities that were activated by the gemstones they wore. And with those powers they were given the task of protecting humans from the cyclopean. They failed their mission and were all killed a very long time ago… And now, coincidentally, all of you are wearing their gemstones. Don’t ask me how they got to your world because I don’t have much of a clue… But they are lodged into the necklaces and bracelets and rings from your grandfathers, and fate brought them to you.

There’s a prophecy that says that the stones will find kindred souls to finish the work that the original warriors started, and as much as I’d like to tell you that you can simply give them away and walk away from this, I need to be frank: You are the next set of warriors and the powers that those stones possess, can only be unlocked by you and no one else. I’m sure you felt your stones burning in confirmation… It was the spirit in your gem telling you that you are chosen and that you are not alone. That the people you are meant to embark on this journey with all happened to be in the right place at the right time. I don’t know why any of you are chosen, in fact if I had the choice I would ask for a more… A stronger group to be generous. But you are who you are.”

Haru exhaled quietly. He realized how ridiculous it all sounded, and halfway through he had already committed himself to all the hell he was about to get for it. But if he was being fair, there was no other way for him to give such a complex explanation for “here’s why you’re at my dinner table” in a simpler way.

“Okay… Now you can ask questions,” the redhead grumbled before reaching over for another slice of hen. If he was going to be roasted by a bunch of super powered, baby-faced infants, he might as well reward himself with more food.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Image
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Aires - Haru's Farm
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Haru began speaking and although Heather was concerned about the brunette in the corner, she turned her head to gaze at the red-headed male as he continued. What wasn't surprising was the confirmation of her earlier thoughts, that they were far far away from home. And though she had already contended with that truth before the words had ever left her mouth, when she swallowed, it felt like something rancid had gone down Heather's dry throat. What she didn't do, though, was immediately head for the food yet. Instead, she took one of the cups of water off of one of the empty plate settings to drink. The cool drink did little to squelch the hunger Heather had been ignoring since leaving the restaurant some time ago - which now felt like an entire lifetime ago - but she needed to hear everything first.

When Haru intimated that the creatures were more than likely just starting to infiltrate their world - and fuck, wasn't that a concept? Their world? - her mind immediately went to her mother, not at all up to her standard of excellent health, still needing longer breaks in between what she normally would have never considered strenuous activity. Of her father whose favorite weapon was an aluminum bat and how puny it and he would look in the face of one of those creatures. And of her sister who had yet to tell anyone that she was dating, that she was happy and planning on moving out. It made something in Heather ache and she clutched the cup in her hand just a little tighter. As Haru continued, Heather couldn't help but glance down at her bracelets, particularly the turquoise one, as she recalled the burning from earlier. It had just been a gift. It was never supposed to be anything more than that, a thank you of sorts...except it was more. So much more. She even remembered when her mom gave it to her, how she had known that Heather preferred bangles and shades of brown, but for some reason, the turquoise just demanding that it be given to her. How right it had felt. A swirl of emotion hit her then and Heather drank the rest of the water in her cup, needing something to occupy her focus with. She almost wished she had drank more of the wine from earlier because clearly this moment required it.

What Heather could have done was call his bluff and walk the hell out of the room, just nope her way out of the situation. She still had half the mind to do it, to be quite honest. She should have demanded for the host of Punk'd to bring their asses out so she could tell them about themselves, and how they seriously need to work with HBO because their CGI had been absolutely believable. However, she found herself going to the exact plate setting from which she had received her cup and took the seat, taking a breath as she sat. "Okay," she was surprised by how steady her voice sounded, even though on the inside, she felt far less together. She felt wobbly and disoriented, to be exact. Like she clearly needed to lay down and go to sleep so that she could wake up and realize that it was all a dream. At the same time, Haru seemed too serious of a person to play games like this and the events of the earlier part of the day had been too tangible for her to deny their existence.

So, after setting her cup down, Heather reached for a leg of the hen, not knowing how the hell she was going to put anything on her stomach, but knowing that she needed to. In some weird way, food seemed like it was going to help hold her together. Or at least fill in the gaps in which she felt too malleable and not at all steady. While doing this - fixing a plate - her gaze stayed on Haru as she continued speaking, "so, say that we buckle down and do this - be this..." Heather had to clear her throat, pausing at scooping up some of the vegetable stew because regardless of how much she was giving this a chance, there was a note of ridiculousness to it all that her Earth-born brain could not ignore, "line of defense you speak of. What happens after that? Do any of us go home?" Because Heather could do this. It was crazy and she was crazy for saying that she could go with it - any of it. But she wouldn't walk away. There was nowhere to walk in the first place, especially after she herself had already come to terms with them not being anywhere near home. "Because while all of this sounds like a load of crap, at the end of the day, something had to be real in all the shit that we've seen and if these monsters are actually going to start affecting my home and my family, I'll be damned if I don't do something about it. I just need to know what the end result's gonna be if we all do this. Are stuck here indefinitely?" At the time, Heather didn't even know that there was an if to her surviving anything at all. Death just didn't seem like an option, not one she wanted to entertain at the moment, even without the knowledge of her powers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair Character Portrait: Emerson Motlilio
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Dorian and Jules followed behind their hostess, led along in their small group through the up the stairs and through the wooden halls of the great house. There was a certain relief that came with their entrance along with the woman’s brief explanation. It was a mental shrinking of this strange place they found themselves in to a much more manageable size. Homes, no matter how large, were far less disconcerting for the man born of ice and snow and another who’d grown up in a concrete jungle than the open fields and rolling hills cresting like grassy waves on the horizon. That was not to say that either man was comfortable, however.

Jules, for instance, insisted on walking with his bag clutched tightly to his chest, back hunched as he leaned protectively over it. It was like a child carrying a security blanket, especially given the way that the blonde was absently and anxiously toying with the shoulder strap, although Jules would insist that he was simply being practical. He didn’t know where he was or how long the hospitality would last. It was better to keep his possessions close at hand for a quick escape or at least to hit someone with if things went sour. Given the way some of the others in the group had acted thus far, it seemed like the smart thing to do.

Dorian had his own form of practicality, standing ramrod straight as his eyes darted around the halls. Each doorway, every nook and cranny was noted with a suspicious eye. This was unknown territory in a country that surely wasn’t his own. Anything was possible after what he’d experienced in the past eight or so hours, and he would not be caught off guard again. Short of the Goddess flying in through the roof, he was reasonably certain that he was prepared for anything.

The group was brought to a halt by the natural end of the hallway, three doors the only real disruption in the endless wood panels, as well as the scar-faced woman’s final words. These were to be their rooms. They could bathe, change clothes, wait for dinner, and something about that bothered Jules. Well, many things bothered Jules, especially right now, but that- that was especially not good. They were expected- the bulky ginger had said as much before, the twelve of them guests for their mysterious host. There was a quiet plot here, carrying on at least from the all-consuming light if not further before, and screw that. Jules wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of someone pulling his strings like a marionette, making him gambol and jape towards a destination unknown. His lips twisted into a scowl, and he clutched his bag closer to him.

With the woman gone without another word, the group began to scatter, wandering into rooms or to parts unknown. Some seemed at ease, taking this turn of events into stride, while others seemed harried or upset, tears pricking at eyes and deep breaths attempting to overcome all-consuming panic. They had an hour, maybe two before the light had faded sufficiently to herald the coming of a meal. Now it was all about how to spend that time.


Dorian Steinsson

The room at the end of the hall was filling up quickly, and Dorian found himself moving towards the one closest to the way they’d come. He’d rather be close to the exits should something happen, and if it didn’t, well, one room was as good as another. The rooms were sparsely furnished but almost clinically neat, the beds spread out precisely in a way that kept the room from feeling crowded. Perhaps a few others filtered in behind, so he wasn’t terribly surprised when the blonde person, the one who’d intervened in the fight just long enough to save the brunette girl’s life, wandered in as well, collapsing sulkily on the nearest bed, still cradling their bag.

Never one for breezy conversation, Dorian sat down heavily as well, finally taking the chance to give his person a once-over. The wounds were still gone, not even the crick in his neck from the watch he’d taken in Hales remaining. But the tear in his coat was still there, and dirt and blood, both his and the Cyclopean’s, still stained the fabric. He brushed his hand over the hole in his overcoat and was surprised when someone spoke.

“You want me to fix that?”

It was his blonde roommate-apparent. They hadn’t sat up yet, but their tired, kohl-smudged eyes were now turned on him instead of the ceiling. To their credit, they only flinched a little when Dorian turned fully towards them.

“Your coat-thing. I can, you know-“ He mimed a needle, stitching it through the air. “Fix it. Stitch it up. Whatever.”

Their Common was a little strange, tinged with an accent he couldn’t place, and their words were broken up, more abrupt than the flowing, flowery sentences used by diplomats or taught in school. It took a moment to adjust and piece together, and that was a moment too long for the blonde, apparently.

“Look, you know, I don’t have to. It’s fine. Just thought I’d offer, since, like, there’s nothing else to do-”

“Yes.” Dorian’s answer was as abrupt as the original question. He’d finally caught up with the other’s train of thought and found that he rather liked it. “You fix coat? Yes. Please.”

He shucked his overcoat and walked it over just as the woman returned, a pile of thin, airy clothes clutched in her arms. She handed Dorian his set, neatly folded light brown pants and an off-white shirt, and hesitated momentarily with his roommate who looked suddenly thoughtful.

“Pants, please,” they said after a moment, collecting an outfit much like Dorian’s. The woman left after catering to whoever else may have been in the room. The clothes weren’t very appealing, too thin and lacking the sturdy craftsmanship of Halesian clothes, but they weren’t stained with blood or sweat and were therefore a bit of a better option. Well, after a bath, perhaps. He may not understand or trust the situation, but perhaps he’d feel more human again after washing off the stink of the last few hours and by avoiding dying of heat-stroke in his uniform.

He moved to leave before glancing back at the blonde who had already pulled out a thick, sharp needle from their pack along with an odd sort of thread. Their face was pinched into a look of pure concentration, ignoring the clothes scattered to their side.

“Thank you…?” Dorian said after a moment, trailing off with a slight questioning look.
“Jules,” The other replied after a moment, not bothering to look up. “Who’re you, then? Since we’re stuck together for the time being.”

“I am Dorian.”

“Alright, Dorian. I’ll take care of it.” Dorian caught the affirmative nod, as good a dismissal as any, and left for the baths.


Jules Fontaine

Jules fixed the hole after twenty minutes, most of that time spent examining the cloth itself. The overcoat felt like it was wool, but not a variety Jules had ever seen or heard of, almost too thick to pass even his sharpest needle through. It was a good challenge while it lasted, but not he was stuck with the reality of the situation. This place was all kinds of fucked up. Weird warriors with almost Russian accents, fabric that shouldn’t exist on Earth anymore or ever, and God knows what lurking just outside this room. It was really all too much, so you’d have to forgive him if the only thing that drew him out of his scowl and his room was a maid peeking in the doorway, urging him to follow her to dinner. Jules followed, however reluctantly, leaving the new clothes behind but dragging his bag along with him.

He wasn’t hungry, not even when the magnificent wave of smells came wafting into the hallway as they approached the dining room. Not when the spread, something stripped out of a fantasy film, was revealed, all mouth-watering morsels and tender bites the likes of which you simply didn’t get in New York without offering up a good chunk of change. Not even when others sat down to devour the feast, the warrior, Dorian (still damp from his bath and smelling a whole Hell of a lot better), perhaps most gruesomely of all, attacking the spread like a starving wolf. He certainly looked the part, the thin clothes exposing a lither frame than Jules had expected when they’d first met. Jules sat down next to him, having labeled the other man as “kind of safe the be around” or at least “he owes me a favor”, and sullenly picked apart one of the buttered rolls.

Everyone, or at least almost everyone, had taken their seat by the time Haru cleared his throat, attention drawn to him automatically. Here were the answers to their questions, a plot unveiled. And what a plot it was.


Dorian Steinsson

Month Warriors, Cyclopeans, magic- it was like the stories of old, albeit with the addition of apparently another planet being dragged into the legend.

Most people do not have simple decision making processes, simply because people are quite complex. Dorian was not an exception to that norm, but allow us a moment to briefly see what was going through his brain at that moment. It’s only a fraction of the million thoughts that surely ran through all of their heads, but this specific fraction does a decent job of simplifying it.

The idea of another planet, another world, was probably what convinced Dorian first. These people from Earth, these aliens, accepted that for a fact. Earth, a place Dorian had never heard of, was a real place to almost all of the surrounding group, and the very mention of Aires confounded them. That would explain the general confusion in regards to legends and their frankly bizarre and mildly embarrassing clothing. And wouldn’t that also explain the world he’d glimpsed only a short while ago? The land of giant metal buildings and people with glowing rectangles (glued? Attached?) to their hands. That wasn’t normal. That wasn’t Aires.

The monstrosity he’d fought was a second clue because that was a Cyclopean. It just was. Despite the fact that he’d very contentedly spent a good majority of his life assuming they were merely nightmarish stories to make children behave, he knew one when he saw one. It would be like if a centaur pranced in front of someone from Earth. You would know it to be a centaur from the horse bits combined with the person bits in a very certain way, and it would be impossible, of course, but there it was, eating a carrot right in front of you. That would be a centaur, and in the very same course of logic Dorian knew his mythical encounter was with a Cyclopean.

The magic was perhaps the most difficult thing to grasp, but already Dorian was posed to believe that more than his Earthling neighbors. For a person who’d seen Aires’ first attempt at a flashlight only six months ago, his mind simply wasn’t ready to propose anything like hallucinogenic drugs or perhaps advanced portal technologies. Magic was a much easier explanation for everything that had happened to him within the past day, something thoroughly engrained in even a more scientific culture like the great cities of Hales. Nothing else fit the puzzle quite right, and it was the last answer standing.

Dorian was a rational man, and sometimes the most rational explanation was also the one that you didn’t really want to believe. When you have managed to discount every other possibility, the only explanation left, no matter how fantastical, has to be the truth. Even if he wasn’t thoroughly convinced that he was the right person, he believed enough not to throw a fit or attempt anything rash.

His eyes darted wearily down to his shirt, the impression of his aquamarine necklace under the thin cloth now more ominous than comforting. Dorian didn’t like the idea that a myth was around his neck, dangling like a noose. He wasn’t fond of the fact that now everyone was in an uproar and his life was going to be changed no matter what he did. He certainly disliked the fact that he was miles and miles from home and his worldview had been tilted on its axis. And he hated, absolutely hated, that he had no questions to ask because all he wanted to know was when he could go back home. Home to his job, his family, his beloved country. His home, which was in danger because even if Dorian had rationalized away everything Haru had said, he knew that Cyclopeans were real now, that their attacks would likely increase. So the only question he could think to ask was the one he already knew the answer to; once the job is done.

All of these complex thoughts translated outwardly in this manner: Dorian’s eyes widened a bit, he nodded his head with a little grunt of agreement, and then he turned moodily back to his banya. Because he knew, he knew he couldn’t even think of leaving before he found out a way to bring a solution to the most pressing problem of evil monsters once again terrorizing the land back to Hales. This place, this man, was his best shot. And if it was fake, what had he done other than survived a strange encounter in a strange land? There really wasn’t much to lose

Jules Fontaine

Others did not take the revelation quite as well. Others who had thoughts that echoed Heather’s own initial desire to leave, which she’d squashed down for a more sensible attitude and questions that might actually get them somewhere. Others who did not feel the natural inclination to be mature about all this. Others like Jules.

“Nope.” The single word almost echoed in the initial silence before Haru could reply to Heather’s question, the “p” popping loudly. Jules was already standing up, almost knocking his chair over in his haste. His face had gone white as a sheet, his lips pressed together into a thin line. He was backing away from the table now, quick little steps leading him to the door as he shouldered his bag once again. “I'm gonna ..."
Jules stopped at the doorway, fingers tapping nervously on the door’s frame for a fraction of a moment as he surveyed the table, eyes flashing over everyone gathered together before landing on Haru. He took a shallow, shuddering breath.

“Excuse me. Just a minute." And with that announcement, Jules was gone leaving only the sound of his footsteps fading behind.

Where was he going? Jules really had no idea and was oddly comfortable with that fact. His present destination was “not here” or, alternatively, “far away from whatever the Hell was happening”. There was only so much a modern, reasonable human could be confronted with before his mind reverted into something a little simpler to help him cope.

As far as Jules was concerned, he’d already been subjected to a giant lizard monster, almost dying, what was maybe a pocket dimension straight out of a sci-fi novel, and with what he was beginning to expect was a dinner from maybe Game of Thrones. You would have to pardon him if being told he was on a different planet and had super powers he had to use to save the world was a bit too much. He didn’t have a better explanation, of course, but fever dream and an elaborate prank were at least possibilities he could accept, unlikely as they may be.

Jules wasn’t running as much as he was striding with determination. That is to say that he was going as fast as he could without actually running because he wasn't particularly desirous if a heel getting stuck in a gopher hole. He’d find a cab, eventually. Maybe a surrounding house that wasn’t completely batshit backwards like this place. With that pace he made it out the front door with no one to stop him and was halfway across the yard, headed towards the fields or the hills or wherever the Hell he was going when he noticed that something was off.

It was nighttime. That much was obvious. The blue skies had been traded for a blanket of darkness and stars twinkled overhead. That was fine. That was normal. It was just that there was a strange brightness about everything, the world a little less dark than it should have been, especially with no electric lights to be found. His gait faltered for a moment as he glanced upwards and found the moon. And the moon. There were two moons, both nearly full and glowing in the night sky. It was beautiful, it was fantastic, and it was horrifying all in one. That was it. There was no denying that this wasn’t Earth anymore. This was somewhere else completely, a world away from home.

Jules heard a little whimper as he fell backwards into the grass and was only slightly surprised to realize that it had come from him. He sat there, body still and eyes glued on the alien impossibility hanging overhead.

"Fuck,” Jules breathed, frustration, and the first notes of acceptance staining his words. He lingered for a moment, gazing at those impossible moons before getting to his feet. Well he might as well keep from dying for awhile longer. Somehow cowardice meant not running away, which was very disappointing. Running away tended to be much easier. Well, self preservation must win out in the end.

Jules made his way back inside, slower than his initial exit. If he was going to have to play the marionette, he was going to do it with all the reluctance he felt. No gambolling or japing included.

Jules returned to the dining room, although he refused to let any sheepishness or embarrassment bleed through.

"Yeah. Yep. Best option only option."

"They have two moons, you know," he said dryly as he sat, arms crossed. "Just in case you people were wondering. Jesus."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson
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He called her a Month Warrior. A reincarnation of a legend that was the bread and butter of her entire worldview, whether she chose to believe it wholeheartedly or not. She remembered spending her twelfth birthday packed in the school tent, wistfully reciting the elements of each stone while balancing an Old Thought tome on her crown. Her long, slender neck had enough trouble keeping that bobble head afloat on her narrow shoulders, let alone with the addition of such a thick collection of yellowed paper. The tome was bound in a back so old that the corners of the cover wiggled more her adolescent teeth. The Sun People were more apt to teach their children about the battles and homelands of mythical figures who felt more like dreamy superheroes than actual historical figures, and not basic things like math or science. In fact, the only reason Tallyho was able to learn how to read (and trust she’s not the best reader) was because her grandmother insisted on making her and her cousins read every verse of the Battle of the Gems before bedtime. It wouldn’t do, Baba always said, to believe anything you couldn’t discover for yourself.

While Baba’s words were intended to help her grandkids relish in the Airesian equivalent of the Holy Ghost, Tallyho used the lesson to justify her own disinterest in spirituality. Because after all, it wouldn’t due for her to believe in something like the month warriors or even the cyclopean if she hadn’t seen any proof with her own eyes. Just a day ago she could have cared less about the feats her birth warrior and yet here she was, newly saved from being eaten by a cyclopean and seated across from a man who gave her the biggest “jokes on you” moment of her 19 years of consciousness.

What an ironic turn of events. She didn’t see the proof because she was the proof.

The whole thing hit her like a tree collapsing. And she was stuck under it, reeling in disbelief, laughing in dark comedy. As heather pressed for questions and the ambiguous looking blonde trudged out of the room, Tallyho rolled her eyes to the ceiling and released a wheeze of a chuckle from her chest.

“You joking me, yes?” Her voice was firm and loud but when her eyes finally fell on Haru’s sincerely stoic mug she knew his answer. If that news wasn’t enough to help her catch a second wind after such a coma-inducing meal, then nothing would have. “You tell me I have power? Like what I just zap? Like that?”


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Truthfully, Haru expected more difficult reactions. A mass retaliation, a slashed throat. Something a little more headache inducing. But this? Well he could kind of tolerate this. While a portion of the warriors seemed to gruffly accept what’s to come next (he quietly took note of who), another portion asked what would objectively be seen as reasonable questions. But don’t be fooled. A third portion seemed extremely happy to leave the premises immediately and never come back. But those problems tend to take care of themselves usually.
Haru remained quiet as the group came forth with their own questions and decisions. He waited patiently when Jules left, not very insecure about the teen’s likelihood of coming back. If the way the blonde clutched that bag was any indication of how disturbed they were was by this situation, Haru knew that they wouldn’t risk even one night out in the world alone. Jules hadn’t been gone for very long before they marched back to their seat at the table exasperated and, to say quite plainly, shook.

Haru sat up in his chair and the old wood whined and creaked against the pressure of his shifting weight.

“This is… not a joke I’m afraid. But I promise that when you finish this you will go home and everything and everyone will be just how you left them. But in order to secure your future you must sacrifice your time now. If you do not trust me, and you want to take your chances out there alone… Well you are adults and I cannot stop you. Please, walk through this door and do not look back. I can only warn that you are safer as a team than alone. But if you do trust me… Well, the sooner we win the war, the sooner you get home.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair
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As Ron sat through Haru's long explanation of their current situation, he could not help but let his emotions run rampant. On one hand he was now the main character of what was essentially an RPG/Manga plot. On the other hand he would never be able to finish that final season of Game of Thrones. Overall there were probably more pros then cons. In this world he would have superior technological knowledge and magic to boot. He could use his powers to place himself at the center stage of importance.

Ron began to run through all the scenario's in his head on how the shows placed the protagonist in power when they were sent to a new world. If he had an offensive power he could raise an army and use superior weapons and tactics to claim vast territory; If instead he gained a passive magic then he could gather a cult of personality. Earth was a violent, wicked place that he felt indifferent in, getting high with no clear purpose in life. However, in this world he could be the savior.

Feeling giddy as a school girl he decided to voice his thoughts. "Don't you guys see? This is a blessing in disguise! We'll have the knowledge and power to reshape this world as we see fit. I personally don't want to go back to being a gear in the cog like on Earth. However, I want a few things before signing on. First I want all the books on the history, culture, and geography of this world. Second I'd eventually like a keg of gunpowder. Third, I'm more of the gun for hire type so I'll need a payment up front or I'm sitting right here." Ron reached for the bottle of wine on the table and began to pour wine into his cup, before realizing the last question he would need to ask. "By the way, what's my power?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Sorrell Hunt Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair
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Tallyho felt a little flutter in her chest when the young man who had threatened (at least she supposed he had) the farmer from earlier spoke up. But it wasn’t a flattering kind of flutter — the kind that makes a person steal looks across the room between the warm rushes of blood swelling their cheeks. No it was the kind of flutter that signaled a bit of baffle and shock. Maybe a bit of disgust.

Reshape this place? Them? If she understood everything correctly, now these aliens were coming to change her world to how they saw fit? Tallyho wasn’t the smarted person, but she definitely wasn’t an idiot. If there was a moment where she was kind of on board with the month warrior thing, this new element of world domination really took her back to the drawing board. Especially when he had the audacity to ask for payment. And Goddess only knew what a gunpowder was…

Tallyho pressed her lips firmly together, stoic. The only expressive behaviors that gave away how turned off she was at the nerve of this man were the glances she stole across the table toward to the only two dinner guests who, by dress, she could assume were from Aires. The warrior and another blonde.
Then she looked to Haru.


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Haru wasn’t the most patient person, but he had will power.

“Well Ron,” he put an emphasis on his name as if to signal that he knew all of their names, and he did. “I can certainly get you the education you need. First lesson: There is no gun powder here. No guns even. This is the kind of world where men fight fist to fist and sword to sword, which might be honorable to some… I highly recommend you get trained in hand to hand combat, especially with the power you have… Which is why I’ll be talking everyone to a special academy north of here for training at the break of dawn. It will be your home for a little while. A hero’s journey begins with your ordinary world, a call to adventure, the refusal to said adventure and then a brush with a mentor. And I am your mentor, not your contractor. Therefore, I won’t be paying you. But you’re welcome to forego the journey. Sit here, run off, you’re welcome to take some food too. But if you choose not to cross the threshold of this adventure, then you ought not to know anything about your power, right? You’d be safer not knowing anything if you’re not committed to the cause. So go off if you’d like, or stay. But these are the terms.”

Haru stood up and his chair slid back with a heavy grunt. “For those of you who will be here tomorrow free of charge, be ready. When we get to the top of the academy, I’ll tell you your true potential. But for now, sleep. It will be a very long day.”
And with that, Haru left.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller Character Portrait: Aster Storm Character Portrait: Vegas Sinclair Character Portrait: James Labonair
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#, as written by Linnea
When Haru first spoke, Angela’s heart muddily skipped a beat. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Rather, it was one of inevitability finally arriving. Like test scores being revealed or checking your credit score. It didn’t help that he was an intimidating man. Though different than the soldier that slayed the beast and ate like a man condemned to death, Haru still had an air of power about him. Angela swallowed a bit of stew. For whatever reason, this didn’t seem like something to listen to with her mouth full.

And it really wasn’t, for she just might have done a dramatic spit take had she actually had anything in there when she heard the news. She could deal with the reality of monsters. The park had solidified her thoughts on that. But another world? Even she found that hard to believe. As he went on Angela stared wide eyed. It was a lot of information to digest.

Angela wasn’t exactly what one would call a sceptic. There comes a point where after buying multiple candles and going through so many seances (failed though they were) that one simply has to admit they might be a bit of an eccentric. Still, even Angela had her limits. Even she needed some shred of evidence. Some reason to believe. She brushed her fingers over her own gem, hoping it would burn as it did before. Any bit of confirmation would have been wonderful. However, it remained the same. So, she was left to think about this situation. Questions just couldn’t come to mind. She was too confused.

This was all unbelievable, but it had happened. A monster appeared in central park. A bridge of stars and oceans had led them somewhere. There weren’t any other explanations. At least, none that Angela liked. Drugs, kidnapping, these thoughts had been racing through her mind. But for some reason they seemed less believable. Maybe, the more she thought about it, the less she wanted to believe it. A reality where they were warriors and there was magic, that one was more palatable.

Others spoke up, and Angela found herself nodding in approval. She even had the brief thought of following the blond who left the building. But, she remained in her seat. Even if it was out of nothing but begrudging acceptance. She couldn’t stay skeptical for too long. It just wasn’t in her nature. So, fine. There were monsters, and other worlds, and warriors with magical stones. It was better to believe in this reality. In this reality, they had a fighting chance.

Maybe that’s why she stood up after the threatening man spoke, her face flushed with anger. Haru left, and had said his piece. Truthfully, Angela thought he said it well. He said it far better than she.

“You gotta be kidding, dude! Like, holy shit. Reshape? What, like a god or something? I mean, if this is all real, these are peoples lives we’re dealing with! Man! I know this is weird, but you don’t gotta be a creep about it!” The words tumbled out of her mouth, clumsy and awkward. She sank back into her seat sheepishly, refusing to make eye contact. But she continued to speak.

“If there are people in danger, in whatever world, and we can do something to stop that, then shouldn’t we? Do we even have a choice, like, as humans? It’s just the moral thing to do, right? Be good and helpful and stuff? So, I’m going along. If there’s any way I can help, I want to. And even if this is all just some dumb thing or drugs or whatever or who knows, at least I tried. I can be proud of myself for that.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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Tallyho let a wheeze escape her lungs as one of the foreigners (a blonde one, and boy were there a lot of them) boldly condemned the other man’s reasoning. Perhaps they wouldn’t be as much of a problem in that regard as she thought. It would be bad, but not that bad, she thought. And almost immediately she realized that she was already making concessions for a life she didn’t officially choose yet, accepting this task and the nakky personalities that came with it as reality. She was never that good at fighting back, always raising a voice but nary a finger. Her mind wasn’t racing with plans to escape. At the time she didn’t think of the door as much as she thought she would, and didn’t take the prospect of stealing a horse and galloping out into the night that seriously. She didn’t think about inciting a revolution where they collectively flipped the table and marched out. And to be quite honest, she wasn’t sure if she would have joined in on a rebellion like that anyway.

“I too, am staying,” she hummed. She wait to see who else was going to pledge their lives away to a cause they never knew existed. Instead, she made swift break for the door, marching up the stairs with a firm haste. Her hands were pale and clammy on the stair rails and her palms stuck to the wood as she went. The last they heard from Tallyho that night was the heavy thud of a door.

Tallyho had trouble sleeping that night. After all, she was petrified. This was the most important night of her life. Her presence on the farm by the break of dawn was her signature on a very serious contract. And this very night was her last moment to rip it to shreds before it was notarized. Yet, while she was scared of this metaphorical contract and all the terms and footnotes that came with it, she was more anxious about what would happen if she didn’t sign it.

She knew too much. Too much about the legend and the stakes of a mission like this. And now, too much about herself. Because unlike the warriors from earth who knew nothing about the legends of the gems, Tallyho knew who she was supposed to be. She clasped her stone between her fingers, and a look of wild panic crossed her face. Tallyho was born on February 17th, seventy five seasons ago*, during a thunderstorm. Her birth, as her mother always told it, consisted of her mother, father and a midwife from the Oni tribe, nestled on a bluff overlooking the coast of Freeland. Birthing a child on the face of the edge of the world. It was always a poetic scene by its own merit, but when the baby born of thunder and lightning becomes its conductor, it’s a completely different poem altogether.

She sat up in her bed, watching the window and the way the dark mountains only slightly traced the horizon. She imagined herself galloping northward on a dark horse, determined to be reunited with her nomadic family. But her trot would slow as she moved farther and farther away from the tiny farm, and then, with a face filled with stupor and regret, she would stop her horse completely. She would look back at Haru’s tiny farm, and wonder where on Aires she would go next. She would be alone.

It was this vision that made Tallyho give up on another alternative. She wasn’t going to find her family on her own. And as far as her mom knew, her daughter could have run away on her own merit to find something better. It was very unfortunate that Tallyho only now realized how little she seemed to enjoy her family. And with everything she ever knew lost somewhere on the continent, probably miles and miles away, she was missing them incredibly.

The blonde reclined back into her bed and blinked away a wave of tears. She breathed in, clearing her sinus of an impending gush of mucus. She, at least, hoped that her mother craft a more positive narrative around her disappearance. One where Tallyho ran away to find a passion that didn’t fit within her current reality. One where she fell in love and was off having fun and being free. Her mother would like to think that, even if she lost her child in a pursuit of happiness. More than anything she hoped that her mother didn’t have nightmares about her daughter face down in a river, or defiled by a man, or both. Tallyho wasn’t sure if she would be able to live with those images. And so, for the first time since she was an impressionable 8 year old, Tallyho prayed to the Goddess.

The last time Tallyho Abel fell asleep, she sunk into her blankets and woke up in another world. On this day, however, she woke up in Aires, to soft light from a dusty window, a bed head like a fuzzy halo, sore legs and her hands clasped and cramped from the fervor of nocturnal prayer.

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Every morning Haru would perch outside with a cigar and watch the dawn’s white sky turn blue. It was a ritual he rarely missed, and today was no different. The redhead was perched on the back of a cart, breezily blowing smoke into the air. One farm hand was perched on the driver’s stoop, and though the soles of his feet were pressed firmly against the footboard, his legs were so long that they folded dramatically to his chest like twin spires. He was bent over a jar, spooning a goopy starch into his mouth and shooing away persistent horse flies between bites. He was spooning up glops of warm biscuits and venison gravy that the maids prepared in the wee hours of the morning. Another farmhand was loading extra jars in the back corner of the wagon. They were wrapped in cloth and he was careful to stack the two dozen or so jars in such a way that they would not take up too much space. It was enough food for everyone to have a breakfast this morning and a lunch later. Anything after that would have to be bought from a village market on the way up north.

Haru took a long, deep inhale of his cigar as he waited for the warriors to come outside. They were going up the mountain for the first course of their journey, for training. Truthfully, he looked forward to this moment, interested in seeing who lasted the night. He didn’t think many of them would stick with the program so one could imagine his surprise when one out of the house was one of those shrimpy blonde kids.

Tallyho was bracing herself against the cool air of dawn. The early mornings were getting colder and colder, a sign that summer was ending. Haru squinted his eyes and chuckled dryly.

“Well… Hello my savior. At least there’s one of you.” As she got closer Haru could tell that she wasn’t very amused. The farmer flattened his lips into a tight, awkward smile. He wasn’t the best at jokes he supposed. “Hop on in the cart and get a good seat. There are jars for food back there, some water tins too. I’ll have them pack some blankets. The ride is going to be a day or two.”

Tallyho nodded dejectedly and rummaged through the jars, and although they all had the same amount of food she selected one that she thought felt the heaviest in her hand. The jar screwed open with a wheeze and a pop and the blonde proceeded to push her biscuit down into the thick gravy with the wooden spoons Haru provided. The taste was warm and hearty.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Aires - Haru's Farm
Dialogue Color ✦ #8A4E62
Thought Color ✧ #3A0012



Heather had felt her heart flutter when Haru stated that the sooner that they won the war, they could all go home. That was her motivation. There was no glory in the battle that she knew of, no adrenaline at the thought of fighting and swords clashing (because she was seriously envisioning one of them on some excalibur type shit at the moment) and possibly getting hurt. Heather could definitely do without that last part. She'd seen enough fantasy shows and films to know that guts on the ground and all that gore wasn't exactly the kind of life she was about. At the same time, experiencing all of that could lead to going home and unlike Ron, Heather wasn't ecstatic about being away from the life that she had known. She didn't hate her world as much as he apparently did. So, she had already made up her mind, yes, that she was going to do it. But Haru confirming that home could very well be an option only solidified her resolve.

Ron speaking, however, made Heather cut her eyes at him, even as she wanted to apologize to Haru like a mother for the sake of her irrational and disrespectful child. Except had it been Heather's mom, said child would've gotten their butts spanked in front of the company they disrespected while being expected to apologize afterwards or even during. Such a thought, even paired with the memories of a younger version of herself being crazy hurt over being hit for something she had done, sent a pang of longing to Heather's heart that she stuffed with a mouthful of bread. Nevertheless, she almost choked on said bread when Haru threw what Heather was definitely going to classify as shade before dipping out, leaving just them. The Month Warriors. Definitely gonna take some getting used to, she thought as she poured some wine into her cup. Heather had really not wanted to do it, but after the kind of talk they had all had, it was needed. No point in denying herself that. She had half the mind to leave the Ron situation alone; Angela had handled it in her own way. But Heather couldn't help but feel insulted in Haru's place, especially after all of his hospitality. More than that, though, Ron sounding like a complete ass made it an excuse for Heather to unleash some kind of venom from her mind. She had let everything roll over her today and other than a brief moment of weakness that she thought only one person had seen, she didn't want to let this roll over her. Plus, they were all going to be together for a good amount of time. They were going to have to get used to each other anyway, and that included getting used to her mouth.

"And gun for hire type , dude? Really?" She demanded incredulously. "You're honestly lucky he wasn't an ass for hire type who told your dumb butt to go follow the yellow brick road off a goddamn cliff for even demanding some shit like that after helping us like he did today, with your wannabe Joffrey Lannister lookin' ass." She sneered, mocking Ron's tone, "'I'll need a payment upfront.' You better hope your newfound god complex don't make your payment me Olenna Tyrell-ing your ass on this road 'cause I might not know much here, but my parents are doctors and I learn fast." It occurred to Heather, only after the fact, that Ron was the only one with a gun and that he could therefore pose as a threat to her for her to be issuing threats of her own. But this entire day had been a threat to Heather - to everything she has ever known - and that made her unflinching in her anger and disgust as she glared at the man. Before long, though, Heather was exiting the room herself with nothing more to say to him nor anyone else at the table, leaving behind her half-finished stew and nearly gone piece of hen. She took the cup of wine with her, though.


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By the time Heather made it past the front door, she was back in her clothing from yesterday and was in the process of tying her hair up into an updo. The cool breeze that greeted her made her almost rethink the idea, but then her hair was fully up and Heather just didn't have it in her to let it back down. Besides, she figured she would need to get used to it. They were supposed to be training or something like that; she had to accustom herself to having the hair out of her way. She had even debated just using the night before to take out all of the locs, but opted against it. While the thought had been a good distraction and something to focus on other than second thoughts about her decision to stick with Haru, Heather thought it smarter to deal with a protective style for as long as she could before having to deal with her own natural hair, especially with limited options as there were. Eventually, though, she was going to have to deal with the fact that none of them were really going to be able to do much about looking cute or switching up like she was used to. So, for now, this would have to do.

"Morning," she greeted with a thin smile as she climbed into the cart, distantly trying to tell her mind to not worry about the cool weather. Heather was used to telling her mom that she could handle the cooler weather just a little while longer, opting plenty of times to wear lighter sweaters or jackets than the ones her mother had always wanted for her. She ran warmer, she would always remind the woman, warming her mother's hands with her own when her thin gloves did very little for her. At this point, though, Heather almost wished she had a sweater then and there. It wasn't unbearable and she would adjust soon. Hopefully, anyway.

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Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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Haru resolved that this would be a long ride, and boy it was. If it wasn’t the way his jaw tickled as the cart piqued and dipped sharply against the crude country roads, it was his attempt to explain to the group that yes, they would need to squat behind some trees during pit stops.

Though the weathered man preferred his silence and solitude, he did try to engage them during the ride. His first attempt at trying to seem like a people person was a corny icebreaker, with an introduction that seemed more fun and lighthearted in his head than it did coming out of his mouth.

“Did you guys introduce yourselves to each other?” He asked gruffly. Surely they weren’t so socially inept that they didn’t at least trade some names by now? “After surviving a cyclopean you’re practically bonded by blood.”

He peered at Tallyho who was perched next to him in the corner of the cart. The blonde was compact, knees drawn to her chest. “You start,” he said with an inflection so clear that Tallyho couldn’t have mistaken the fact that he was talking directly to her. “Your name? Your birth month?”

She appraised the group, words were slow, apprehensive and the thickness of her nomadic accent highlighted.

“I am Tallyho. Born February.”

Her eyes reluctantly shifted onto Haru, an innocent request for a confirmation that she did it right.

It wasn’t the best start, Haru thought, and it definitely felt more awkward than he intended. But one has to commit to things they start. “Okay great,” he said before gesturing toward the next person. He went on like this for the next half hour, pushing them to share their names and promising that when they got to the top of the mountain, he would tell them the power of their month.

The introductions withered down and the cart fell back into patches of silence. After a couple more hours and a few failed attempts at nodding off, Haru decided to engage in tour guide mode, another socially-oriented activity that he wasn’t the most adequate at.

“So… This is the country Solace. Most people are either landlords, sharecroppers or tradesmen in these parts. They’ve got good blacksmiths in the north… ”

Haru paused, unsure of what more to say than that. He wasn’t much of a scholar after all. But he was a simple man who, at the end of the day, knew his limits and eventually he gave up on smalltalk. Unsurprisingly, when he alleviated himself of the burden of trying to get a bunch of teenagers to bond in a hay cart, he finally dozed off. It was a deep sleep, actually. His limbs were spread about (as much as they could be in the crowded cart) with both arms propped comfortably off the cart’s edge. An unfortunate position for whichever warriors lucky enough to be in direct contact with his armpit hair. He was also a very apparent snorer and remained asleep for a good portion of the ride. He only woke up around the ninth hour to help the driver build a fire so that they could set up camp by a river. By then they weren’t too far from the capital city Malboro, but it was only right that the horses got a more finite break instead of the little water pauses they’d make.


When they started moving again it was the next morning. Only this time they only rode for a couple more hours before they reached the capital city.

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Malboro is a very visible pocket of civilization that thrives in the middle a fertile plain. The stone wall surrounding the city makes it very hard to miss, and it has a circumference so wide that its borders contain, not only the condensed collection of inns, taverns, feasting halls and the market bazaar, but the farmlands as well. The wall, some say, is one of the most notable architectural feats to this day. Its foundations were started by Halesian defects who, after forfeiting Solace, helped new settlers from the Rose Kingdom erect Malboro as the capital. Of course, this was in exchange for protection from the territory’s Oni natives. The construction of the wall was slow-going, but it wasn’t until the incubating years of The War of Ten Thousand Horses, which occurred between the Oni and the northern settlers, that the wall was completed in a fantastic feat of time. The thing that makes the wall so amazing, some scholars say, is the speed at which it was built. Every man, woman and child in the settlement was given a stone, a spade and put to work on the wall. The result? It was completed and functional it in less than a season. So it’s unsurprising that one type of person might view the wall as a symbol of unity, of citizenship, of triumph against the debauchery and delinquency of “wild men.” But another type of person may look at the wall and see a legacy built on a load of horse shit.

And that’s exactly what Tallyho saw when they came wobbling up to the great door. She never quite liked the city of Malboro, always finding the streets too messy and the people too ignorant. Audiences from the walled city were of a special breed: They often liked to sneak into shows for free and there has been many a time where Tallyho caught a faux patron jigging with all the rest. Ironically, the ones who cheer the loudest, are often the ones who don’t pay at all. It was almost as if they thought their gratification alone was more than enough reward for a lowly caravan, and that money was just an added bonus.

Usually when the caravan comes to town, the guards at the door of the wall are very scrutinizing. They ask them questions about where they had been previously, sometimes checking their carts for weapons, and sometimes confiscating belongings as unoffered bribes to buy them passage beyond the wall. The way they scrutinized outsiders though, really depended on which lord the capital was contracting a militia from. Solace doesn’t have an official military, only a collection of privately-owned militia who constantly duel for who’s the best. Some lords expect their men to be more upstanding and represent their house accordingly, and others let militia do what they please with the only stipulation being that they are killing machines in the times that matter most.

This time, however, things seemed a little bit easier. Sure, they definitely stared down Heather who, looked the most out of place in this particular part of the globe. And they did a once overs on all the blondes in the group just to see if they were the “good kind of blonde” or the lazy, debaucherously sing-songy kind (which to be honest there’s very little that physically distinguishes a courts man in the RK from a flute player in the Caravan of the Sun.) But somehow Haru’s casual assertion that this specially curated cart of attractive young people was just a load new farm labor was enough for these men to just let them through without so much of a question.

When entering the walls of Malboro, the first thing one sees is an expanse of tilled farmland and a scattered suburb of cabins they call the Spras Acres. This is where the farm families live and where most of the city’s food is grown. The farmers do most of their business in Sanguine Square, the large flea market in the heart of the city. But whatever they don’t sell there, they sell (or sometimes forcibly give) to militia men who sell their goods in other cities.

The borders of what constitutes Sanguine Square from the other central parts of the city are so blurry that its name evokes, not just the literal market, but all of the businesses and residential lots in its immediate (and not so immediate) vicinity. And so, Sanguine Square is where all the other townspeople live: Craftsmen, merchants, inn and tavern keepers, the royal family and its highest subjects.

Tallyho never felt more ready to start walking again and she curled her toes in anticipation, wincing at the uncomfortable tingling sensation emanating from her waking foot. The road into Sanguine Square was bumpier than the roads beyond the city. The road was cobbled with stones from the same material as the wall, and the jagged bumps in the cart’s trudge forward intensified from the gentle shudder of jawbones to the jagged clash of molars. And finally, at Haru’s instruction, they stopped just before the road became too dense with the bodies of busy townspeople to continue forward. The redhead hopped out the cart, motioning for the others to follow along. And as they unloaded, he provided the cart driver with directions to the nearest communal stable.

Tallyho wasn’t as intrigued by the sights as much as others might have been. The congested streets, and the enthusiastic shopkeepers… She had seen it all before, though from a slightly different lens. And the things the people wore weren’t much different than what Haru provided them a few day ago.

Haru led the large group into an inn where he promptly fished into his coin purse and presented a few choice pieces of metal that made the older innkeeper do a bit of a double take. He squinted intensely at the offering, probably more so because he needed glasses and glasses were a luxury in these parts.

“Howmanny ye want?” he asked? His diction slurred and slippery.

“Two beds per room?” Haru confirmed.

“Ye, two!”

It didn’t take long for the innkeeper to collect the keys on the wall and present them to Haru with their appropriate room numbers. And with their numbers, the group almost cleared out the entire wall of keys. Haru passed them out at random, leaving the team to figure out their roommate situations.

“There’s going to be two of you and one key.” Which was his way of saying be considerate to your roommate, whoever they were.

Tallyho, who was given a key at random, immediately looked to Heather. After all, that was the person she was most familiar with.

“You’re free to explore tonight,” Haru explained as he fished into his coin purse and began dropping a few into each of their hands. “Try not to leave central parts of the city. This should be enough money to get you a good meal with a little to spare… Just seem confident and I’m sure they’ll give you the right amount of change. And keep your identities to yourself. Don’t mention your business. Everyone isn’t your friend. This is your home base tonight, so don’t get lost. We’re going to leave here tomorrow morning and start moving up the mountain.”

Tallyho clutched the coins tightly in her hands before looking to Heather. “Food?” she asked. Although she said it loudly enough so that it could have been an invitation for any of them. She wearily scanned the group, looking for any takers.

OOC: *** Folks can start going their separate ways for their side events! To the tavern, to the heart of Sanguine Square, etc. I'll probably have Tallyho start off with the group witnessing the play before she breaks off into her thing.

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Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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Ron found the trip to be fine enough, although he could do for more blankets and less of Haru's snoring. He mostly either slept or read the Scrapes to Scabs along with the other maps. He learned quite a bit about the world from that book. Medicine was virtually nonexistent as the remedies mentioned were just for easing pain. It read more like a guide to how to work in hospice care rather than an actual doctor. It also gave a list of herbs and drugs that were very similar to the ones on earth, though slightly different in appearance. The diseases were also somewhat similar. Some had similarities to small pox or Bubonic, while others looked like something from GOT. Throughout the journey Haru started acting unusually friendly and started to point out spots like they were on a tour. At that point Ron would just light one up, ignoring anyone else who disliked the smell of tobacco.

Eventually they reached Malboro. Ron first laughed when Haru said that was the name of the capital, mostly because it sounded like a city ran by big tobacco. Still the town was pretty enough. Although the population was probably small compared to Earth, it still did not stop the city from looking like Troy over from the distance. The walls were strong and impressive, like they could hold out near any attack. Soon they got off and went into a small inn. So instead of getting food with the group's bumpkin, he decided to go out and get a strong drink.

After wondering around a bit, Ron walked into a tavern that looked cleaner on the outside. Inside it was dark wood and their were loads of pipe smokers. He came up to the barkeep and ordered a beer. What he got tasted like watered down bud-light, it would have to do. Ron eyed around the bar until he spotted a middle age man in the corner of the room. He wore an eye patch like a pirate and kept blowing on a candle that just refused to go out. So he downed his ale, bought two better ones, and brought the pints over to the man's table. There he placed the extra pint in front of the stranger before asking, "May I sit here?"

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Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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‎The Whiskey and the Candle


At the back of this smoky tavern sat a swarthy man watching the candle with a quiet pleasure of content. He blew at the flame occasionally, watching as it bowed back and billowed up with calm resolve. The steady flame warmed his face in the darkness of the liquor hall, seamlessly peeling the shadows from every crater and angle of his rough mug like a thin black veil removed. His left eye was covered, and though the general purpose of an eyepatch is to deflect from the specific details of a one eyed man’s misfortune, the three long trails of scar tissue that rolled from underneath the patch’s cover and swelled like yeast down his rosy cheek, seemed to compel more questions about his incident than contentment to leave the matter be. All things considered, he was striking. Not in the sense that he was beautiful in any regard of the concept, but he was certainly memorable. His slick, greasy hair lopped and curled in into a rusty brown mane that settled just past his shoulders. His mustache-beard combo was just as gnarly as the hair on his head, maybe even more so if one considered about how easy it would be for crumbs and ale to get lost in his chin’s wavy tresses.

He was swaddled in black head to toe, from the lightly padded shoulders of his black under armor (which puckered and glistened like burnt leather) to his worn boots which were dull as soot.

When an uninvited stranger came sauntering to his table, inviting himself to drink along, the older man, who looked to be in his mid-40s, welcomed the newcomer with a casual calm. With crossed arms he sat back in his chair, still staring at his candle with a sense of wonder, and turned a brown eye to his new tablemate.

“Boy,” he said, with an accent that sounded of the region but was neither posh nor as slippery as many of the accents chattering around them. “You blow that out.” His eye lit up with a bit of enthusiasm as he emphatically pointed at the candle. While he waited for Ron to try, he called over to two rounds of “the good stuff” (imported Pyre water), before deferring their costs to his tab. “Put that ale down. It’s not the good shit,” the man said as he downed his shot like a fresh glass of juice. (And if you never tried Pyre water, it’s the Everclear of Aires, but worse…) He waited to see if the young man could do it. And he knew it wouldn’t be possible, it was the nature of flames like these, but he’d give him time to try. Every gust of wind that fell upon it only made it stronger, and it would waver and slip back up like a stubborn hair no matter how hard he blew. Whether Ron chose to partake in his challenge or not, the man waited for a while, watching the flame and ordering more shots of Pyre water. Eventually he spoke again, eye trained on the flame.

“People used to worship fire. Blood sacrifice and all. They’d pray to it, dance to it, and make it their God. There are still those who do it today you know… And I think… It’s a load of horse shit.” He glanced at Ron, a stern expression crossing his face. “You believe in that horse shit, boy?” His questioned seemed both earnest are interrogating, but when a leather clad man with and eyepatch asks you if you believe in horse shit, you wouldn’t be blamed for feeling at least a little on edge.

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Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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Ron would be lying if he were to say that the man in front of him looked too out of the ordinary. Hell most farmers where he grew up were dirty and rough looking, minus the eye patch. Though he could understand the lack of glass eyes in this world. When the man asked him to blow out the candle he furrowed his brow out of confusion. He had seen the man play with the candle earlier, putting it out to no avail. Before he got the chance to try the man began to order drinks to the table and to Ron's surprise they were shots. He smiled and took one as bar etiquette said that it would be rude otherwise. The taste was awful; It was as if everclear and cheap tequila had a kid. Still he took the whole shot while the man in front of him downed them as they came. He had originally thought that the liquor in this world would be tasteless and weak, fortunately that was not the case.

After the first few shots the man began to go off on old religions of worshiping deities that represented fire, commenting on them as if they were inferior to his own beliefs. Then the man asked for confirmation in his claims, as if to make Ron agree through sheer discomfort. "No. I don't think that's horseshit. I think that everybody should be free to worship as they please, so long as they don't harm others. I believe in a God of my own, so what right do I have to judge others for their beliefs." That kind of thinking really pissed him off. It was that mentality that brought conflict, instead of just letting others worship as they saw fit. He then took a look at the candle in front of him, moving it to the edge of the table. Instead of blowing air at it, he instead sent a lob of spit at the flame to extinguish it. When he was a kid there were not very many things to do so he and the other neighborhood boys would make games to occupy time. One was always a spitting contest to emulate some of the dads who chewed. As a result Ron became rather accurate with the useless skill. It landed and the flame went out, to which in his fairness he did technically use his breath to do that.

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Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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‎The Whiskey and the Candle


One could think that a man in a tavern in Malboro wouldn't do anything less than react angrily to such a move of bad sportsmanship. He might have questioned why the youngblood didn't just play along with his game of candles. Could have threatened his life even. But this particular man, in an even more unsettling display, laughed quietly as the flame's lasting breath, now a wheezing string of smoke that bunched up in the air like tulle, vanished. He had listened to Ron's ethical lecture. It was earnest enough, he thought. Free will, freedom to worship the whole package. But when he spit out the fire he only laughed and spoke again.

"All of it, horse shit. The fire dancers, the..." He paused, raising a brow to Ron. It was the kind of pause that made it hard to tell if he actually knew Ron's identity or if it was simply a well-timed coincidence. "The Month warriors. The mysticism is real, but the intentions behind it aren't what they seem. Our world is lost I think. Because we trust in Gods that aren't trusting in us, and we trust in Gods that don't serve the purposes they should." As he spoke, he drew a finger in the direction of the candle where the flame was slowly rippling awake, cracking its back and standing straight and steady as it had been before Ron had reached the table.

"Boy... Man cannot trust in Gods," he said. "Only in the power of other men."

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Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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‎The Whiskey and the Candle


After Ron gave his opinion and put out the candle, the other man simply went on insulting the fire dancers again. Then he mentioned the month warriors after a long pause. Haru had mentioned it in the beginning along with some of the literature that he brought for the trip. All he knew was that there were a group of young warriors who banded together to fight monsters like the one in central park. If it was not a confirmed event in history, possibly even being a myth, Ron was not very comfortable in sharing the idea that he was possibly one of them. He nodded as he took another drink of his ale.

"Well, this conversation is getting a tad too intense for me. How about we just agree to disagree?" He drank the last bit of his beer in one large gulp. "By the way, I never got your name." Ron held out his hand for a handshake. It would be impolite to leave without exchanging names and he did intend to leave soon. Theological debates were never really his style as the two parties rarely came to see eye to eye. After their exchanging of names he planned on leaving the tavern in search of the market.

"The names Ron." He said with a polite smile.

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Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Calliope Alexander Character Portrait: Angela Taylor Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Haru Sinwood Character Portrait: Dorian Steinsson Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

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



While Heather couldn't genuinely say that the ride to Marlboro was the most unpleasant one she had ever been on - while notably different, the journey was definitely similar to Megabus rides and road trips that offered little room and sometimes an inability to stop an actual restroom to use the bathroom - she was ecstatic upon learning that they were arriving in a place where they could freely stop for a little bit of comfort. She had held her tongue when they first arrived in front of the guards, staring the men down when their gazes seemed to linger on her for far too long. Great. I get trapped in the Seven Kingdoms and racism is everywhere, she thought sourly, sending the guards one final cold look as they passed through without trouble. Soon, though, Heather was distracted by the throng of people and honestly this picturesque visage of life in the city. It didn't matter that this wasn't a city as she had learned to know them, but it was one reminiscent to the depictions in museums and text books of the past when she had to study different time periods. Her hands ached, once more, to paint this, to bring it to life on canvas. Yet and still, Heather had no such materials and pouted inwardly as she followed Haru to where they would be staying.

"Yes, definitely," Heather replied immediately upon Tallyho wanting to know if they were getting something to eat. In fact, Heather had only readily nodded when Tallyho turned her gaze to her in question of who everyone who room with. It seemed only natural that Heather would go with the blonde. At the moment, though the only person she truly seemed to have any issues with was Ron even with his unexpected show of excitement during the day, it was only between Tallyho and Angela that Heather would choose to be in a room with. Them or that Dorian guy. He was somewhat frigid, sure, but Heather wasn't going to deny to herself when someone was attractive. Not the time, she had tell herself, shaking her head before going with Tallyho and the others to find food. Eventually, they did and it was definitely more delicious than the biscuits and gravy, though that might have something to do with satisfying the sweet tooth Heather had with what she learned the other night had been banya. Eventually, though, they had all finished their food and began to wander about, taking in the sights of this land none of them were familiar with. It must've been the artist in her - the one who had helped with set design during her freshman year for a play over on Morehouse's campus - that was drawn to a tent where she heard loud laughter.

"Hey, guys, let's go over here," she called out loud enough for them to hear her, already steps ahead as she bound over, not even paying attention to who followed her or not. She couldn't help it; she was intrigued and upon seeing that it was a play, Heather couldn't help but be interested. She remembered reading about how playwrights like Shakespeare wrote about the political issues of the age in jesting manners, oftentimes hiding negative opinions by colorful words and exaggerated actions from his various characters. And considering the large amount of people within the tent, watching raptly, Heather couldn't help but become one of them, unaware of having needed to pay before entering.

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Jules and Dorian both sat eerily still when Haru spoke, voice calm against the storm of emotions each young person seated around the table were currently caught in. The soldier of the two was used to it, taking in orders and information with barely a blink. The further instructions meant little to Dorian, the promise of a return to another world hollow. He could leave anytime, in the grand scheme of things. The trek wouldn’t be pleasant, but Dorian rarely shied away from hard work on behalf of his duty. Perhaps the others, the two girls seated around the table who were less foreign than the others, could leave as well. But, again, they really couldn’t. If the Earthers* were constrained by their desire to return home, the Airesians in the party were caught by fate and history, a desire to keep themselves and those that they loved alive for as long as possible.

*A good enough name for them, in Dorian’s mind. Much better than the unpleasant ones that would surely follow when he actually started to get to know some of them.

Jules’ stillness was rooted in an attempt to cover his own chagrin, putting on a disguise of serene nonchalance after his escape attempt that wasn’t. As if Haru’s words weren’t as good as a prison sentence in this fever dream turned reality. As if there weren’t two goddamn moons lighting up the night sky.

If there had been any lingering fear on Jules’s part regarding some sort of consequence for his prior actions*, it was quickly wiped away the moment that the boy now known as Ron opened his mouth. Because what in the name of God was this guy? Jules didn’t bother to fight back a snicker, half shocked at the sheer balls on this guy and half delighting in the delicious act of schadenfreude. It wasn’t that he liked to see people suffer, it was just… God what even was happening?

*He hadn’t been worried.**
** He’d been very worried.


It was a swagger filled with colonialism and more than a pinch of egomania and a bizarre God complex. Delightfully awful. But there was a brief moment there, a flickering of something unpleasant after he spoke that would serve to dampen Jules’s joy while the party took turns giving him a verbal beat down. This guy was supposed to help them fight some great evil, and even now, before more than a minute amount of information had been presented to them, he was reaching out with greedy hands for more, more, more. How many others in this group were like him? How many others would jeopardize their one shot to get home, if Haru was to be believed, for some hidden (or blatant and bizarre like Ron’s) priority? One was bad enough, but… His laugh petered out. Jesus Christ, now he was getting paranoid.


Dorian was taking Ron’s proclamation refreshingly well, sipping at his wine as if the other had never spoken. Or maybe not. Upon closer inspection, his right hand was tapping an idle pattern on the hilt of his sword, the weapon having never left his person. And his gray eyes, harsh even here in the warmth of the dining room and away from the battlefield, were trained entirely on Ron. Apparently the soldier wasn’t a big fan of Ron’s plans for his world. Who would have thought?

Dorian didn’t say anything, which was just as well. Words apparently had little impact on Ron as Haru dismissed his declaration with a patient return to reality and left, as one of the blondes denounced him in disgust, as the girl who’d let them into the house laid a beautifully crafted tongue lashing before swanning out of the room with a cup full of wine. The man didn’t react, even as others began to speak up, declaring that they would be staying, would be joining the fight they’d only just learned about. As if there really was a choice, despite what Haru said and Ron clearly thought.

“And my axe,” Jules snorted as the last person stated their intention to go and others began filtering out of the dining room. He sighed dramatically before standing to his feet, legs a little wobbly as the shock from earlier began to fade into dull, disgruntled acceptance.

“No food?” Jules whirled around to the speaker. It was Dorian, still seated. His face still looked like he was contemplating murder, but Jules was beginning to think that it always looked like that.

“What?”

“No food.” Dorian nodded towards Jules’s plate, still filled with a now cold dinner that had been picked apart in his earlier anxiety but not actually eaten. “Eat, yes? Tomorrow not good- Not easy.”

Jules eyed him for a moment, lips pursed into a thin line. The desire to not do as he was told battled with common sense before he reluctantly scooped up his plate.

“What, are you worried about me?” Jules grumbled as Dorian stood as well, the two adults (just barely, like the rest of them. They were all so terribly young) exiting the room together, joined by their same destination.

“Worried… Ah, yes, worry. I worry you slow me down.” Jules let out an indignant squawk, but Dorian only met his reaction with a patient nod. Oh, God. He meant it and not even in a mean way. Did their trip in the weird-ass time portal destroy everyone’s manners too?

Maybe it was a different culture thing, and, really, Jules shouldn’t get upset, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t be petty about it. He picked up a piece of roll and popped it into his mouth, chewing it slowly with exaggerated care. He swallowed and gave Dorian a smile devoid of any sort of sincerity.

“Happy?”

“Yes,” Dorian agreed with a sharp nod, the sarcasm dripping from Jules’s simple proclamation completely lost on him. Jules rolled his eyes towards the ceiling. What even was his life?




The next morning came far too soon, the sun (only one, much to Jules’s general relief), rising with an accompanying rooster’s crow. Dorian and Jules exited the home together, this time both dressed in the garb the scarred woman had given them, although neither seemed terribly pleased by it. Dorian’s sword was still by his side, and he steadfastly ignored anyone’s questioning or, more likely, judgmental eyes. Jules looked particularly sour-faced, hair tied into a low ponytail and face missing even a speck of make-up. Jules wasn’t an idiot and had survived long enough in New York to know the right scenarios to express himself and when to fold beneath the weight of societal expectations. Right now he could only assume that typical Fantasy world rules applied and that his particular brand of style would be less than welcomed by the locals. Still, they climbed into the cart without complaint and accepted their breakfasts with varying enthusiasm. Dorian swallowed his in a manner that would have made the high ladies of the Rose Kingdom society faint in dismay, and Jules ate his slowly and reluctantly. The food was good, sure, but the initial stench of farm was offending his delicate sensibilities* before they’d set off.

*Well, not so delicate, but at least there was a certain relief in New York about the anonymity of bad smells. Here he could look over the trundling cart and, oh, there that was. Literal bullshit, which was metaphorical bullshit.

The countryside passed by serenely, even if the rural path they took added a few more bumps and jarring shakes than many of the Earthlings would be used to. The group was quiet at first, sleepiness from the early morning start mingling with anxiety and apprehension. It was only when Haru spoke, all but demanding they introduce themselves, that the mutual vow of awkward silence was broken.

The first to speak introduced herself as Tallyho, an accent that Jules tried to place (Turkish? Or something?) staining her words. Which was interesting, really, because he’d half expected all of them to have British accents a la Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings. Jules shifted uncomfortably. S***, this was a real world, wasn’t it? With real people and real cultures and everything.

“Steinsson Dorian*. March,” Dorian’s introduction was clipped and blunt, although it sparked a certain thought once the words had come out. What did he remember about March’s powers in his grandmother’s old stories? Was that how it worked- you were the Month Warrior that represented your birth month? He decided not to dwell on it, already more than convinced that his sword would be a better weapon against Cyclopeans than magic tricks.

“Jules. I was born in June, so, yeah,” Jules mumbled a moment later, although he was taking note of those around him. Putting a name to a face was helpful or at least better than mentally calling them “one of the other blondes” or “not Dorian”.




The sight of Marlboro’s high stone walls was a welcome one and an interesting one all in one. For the Earthlings, this was their first site of real Airesian civilization, a stark, gray wall among the acres of countryside and greenery. If Jules had been in a better mood, he would have enjoyed the site like the tourist he reluctantly was, but he’d spent a good deal of the trip sandwiched between a sleeping Dorian (who had either fallen asleep during the day after judging it to be safer to stay awake at night or had simply been so bored by the green landscape that he’d fallen asleep to spite it) and a snoring Haru. Dorian, who was feeling rather fresh after his own rest, was able to enjoy it, at least a little. He knew the history of the wall as well as anyone in Hales and was torn between the relief of sweet civilization and an ingrained disgust at the Halesian defectors who had built it.

The city itself was a culture shock for many involved, something stripped out of a medieval themed theme park or a fantasy novel. Farmland with sparse homes morphed gradually into a bustling town center, the paths eventually too small and crowded for the cart to venture any further. Dorian climbed out with ease, stretching the moment his feet hit the cobblestones (the townspeople, perhaps unconsciously, gave him enough space to do so without much grumbling), and Jules scrambled out with the rest, legs sore but eager to be used.



Tallyho’s offer to get food, to stretch their legs in Marlboro’s cobbled streets, was too tempting for Jules to ignore. He hadn’t spoken with anyone in that specific group yet, but, then again, the only person he really had spoken to had opted to stay behind at the inn with Haru.

“Am not adventurer,” Dorian had grunted by means of explanation. “I stay and rest.” The soldier didn’t need to mention the inherent dangers of an unknown city. The implication was always there, heavy with the weight of the world that they’d been thrust into.

So Jules followed behind, and although he didn’t like the odd stares that fell on the group and he didn’t speak much to the others, he was ultimately glad that he had. The food in Marlboro was delicious, mouthwatering after their repeat meals of biscuits and gravy. It was enough to satiate his mood, something that should have been impossible given his stubborn determination to not enjoy any part of this trip at all.

His fate was sealed the moment Heather let them to the tent however, laughter and applause filling the air like a siren’s song. Even if she hadn’t beckoned them over, hadn’t wandered into the tent, Jules would have found it anyways. It was primitive compared to the grand theatres of New York, but the essence here was the same. It was a home away from home, and he could feel his tense muscles relax and didn’t even bother to suppress the look of contentment that spread over his face as he settled into the crowd to watch.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Ron Muller
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The Whiskey and the Candle

The man in black would have shaken Ron’s hand with a callused palm and a firm grip. Finished his shot with a seamless tip of the chin. Offered a name, maybe not his own, but something to help the boy remember. But alas this man was too far gone to have such an interaction. In the time it took the young man to down the last drops of his beer the man disappeared without a sound, leaving behind the scent of burning leather and the candle burning brighter than ever.

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The Last Daughter


Tallyho was quaking with excitement at the idea of having money in her possession. And of course all she wanted was food, something that had been Haru’s suggestion in the first place.

The hodgepodge of shops, taverns and street merchants packed onto the narrow streets of Sanguine Square didn’t always make for the most pleasant of morning walks. It was like New York in a way, where locals barreled and squirmed through the swarms of people with very little regard for those around them. But for some, the sheer density of people in the city was a favorable quality, and it wasn’t uncommon for someone to head out to the market only to reach their destination with empty pockets.
It was because of this that Tallyho clutched her coins tightly in her fist until they finally settled on a place to eat. And after a fulfilling meal of meats, gravies and starches, the group was drawn to a tent billowing with laughter. Heather wasn’t the only one whose interest was piqued by a rumble of applause in the distance. Tallyho was so taken aback by it that she froze in her tracks at first. There were only two things that made people in Solace applaud, a good brawl and a good show. And considering the fact that the clapping in distance was accompanied by a chorus of joyous laughter, Tallyho figured that this was no fight. And maybe, by a strange turn of luck, it was something being put on by the caravan.

The thought of seeing her family and ending this strange journey before it started made her heart race. And so the blonde trudged into the tent after Heather and Jules, slipping and sliding between the waves of bodies in hopes of hearing the tried and true jokes of the caravan’s wiry haired host.

But she was, unsurprisingly, disappointed by what she found: On the stage a hodgepodge cast of actors made great fun of kings and leaders from Hales and the RK. It was an homage to the House of Harald, the country’s royal family. But this particular play is a classic for travelling troupes. Tallyho recognized it as a rotational piece called “The Three Kings,” which could be performed in Solace, Hales or the RK. The catch was that the cast would make fun of the two countries they weren’t performing in, uplifting their host country and appealing to their political views in exchange for generous tips. It was an easy cop out that appealed to vanity and kept people abreast of current events in the most irresponsible way possible.

While she didn’t always like her community, she didn’t think many people could compete with their talent. Disappointed and mentally kicking herself for even conceiving an escape back to her old life, the blonde bid a temporary farewell to the others, letting them know that she’d be waiting for them outside of the tent.

But of course things couldn’t have been as simple as that.

"I ain' like the rest of em!”

A woman yelled in a loud, slurred fluster. It came booming out from a butcher shop not far from the tent, and out came a young woman hobbling out the shop’s door in tears. Her large round cheeks were highlighted by the rosy flush of her face. Her size and stature was the first thing Tallyho and anyone else witnessing the scene might have noticed. She was pale girl with a full figure: Wide bosom, hips and thighs, and arms plump all the way down to her wrists. This wasn’t an uncommon body type for a woman living in the city of Malboro, the catch was that this particular woman may or may not have been more than six feet tall. And to be quite honest it was pretty visually striking to see a wailing woman of such physical presence bursting out onto the streets with such speed. But the most striking thing about this woman, if you asked Tallyho, was her ability to clear a path of bodies in the midst of a tearful escape. And by bodies, Tallyho meant her body, which was unfortunately occupying the wrong place at the wrong time. One minute she was peacefully exiting a play in Sanguine Square and the next she was bearing down in the dirt with the wind knocked out of her.

The wailing woman paused briefly at the scene of collapse, posing an open palm above Tallyho’s fallen body as if to apologize. But as more people stopped to watch the scene, no words could escape her lips. She gargled them over and over, trying to spit something out. And when that didn’t work she recoiled unspoken shame, physically straining to lighten the weight of her hurried steps and folding her arms firmly over chest and stomach as if to stop them from shaking and jiggling as she went.
A few folks in the crowd began to snicker, men looking up at her mockingly with their snaggle-teeth beaming in the sun while women leaned on their friends and whispered in cupped palms. Every eye in the square seemed to follow the giantess as she leaped through a crowd that curiously parted a path for her (something they don’t even do for drivers.)

An older man came wondering out of the shop, looking on with a furrowed brown. His expression could be read as worry, or maybe hurt, as he watched the woman disappear in to the crowd. By this point Tallyho somehow felt like she had unwittingly contributed to something terribly wrong, even if she had very little control over what had just happened. And without much thinking she weaseled through whatever walking space remained of the spectacle of her exit—a hurried pursuit of the woman. (To be continued in another post.)

**I’m splitting my events into multiple posts and getting something out now because this weekend I’ll be fairly busy with my birthday.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor
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SUNDAY MATINEE

It was not the grand, stone-halls of art-minded Constance that echoed the roar of applause, laughter, and dull chatter, to such an extent it seemed much warmer than cool humid-wet weather generally called for most seasons; but a rather simple tent, of heavy tooled cloth that blocked out most the fading sun of the evening, made cozy warm by the sparse supporting pillars that allowed the cloth to dip in uneven folds and quaint seating arrangements that clustered people together (not unlike ancestors of the not so distant past, all-knowing elders speaking around campfires and youth listening on in silence). Without sunlight, candles had been placed in strategic locations that allowed for one to see their own feet and their nearest neighbors in order to keep them from trampling upon if they were to leave; a greater amount of candles brightened up the stage itself where the thespians were charismatically gyrating upon, while a low-burning fire trench curved around the stage and behind to give the appearance of greater definition / depth (and allowed for a smoke-like, hazing effect if the occasion called for it, as all one had to do was pour a little water atop the hot coals).

The on-going play itself was a rotational piece called “The Three Kings” set within Ve Marie and Koratev depending on the dress – nowhere near exact matches of what those countries occupants truly wore (but the fur coats looked real enough, everyone seemed to have a proper sort of decoration in their hair at the very least, a little make-up here or there, and the occasional glitter of fine-yet-fake jewelry) – of the hodgepodge cast of thespians at the time they resided on the stage. It was a classic of traveling groups, that was well adored by the local crowd as they hooted away the jesting manner at the opportunity to snub not only one but both of the world’s current imperial superpowers (and learn of the current and ongoing charged political events of their world in a round-about way). To the men and woman from another world, it would most likely look all very Shakespearian to them and of all his grand plays, or-… The Airian version of them. Considerably dafter in its proportions and allegations, and bloodier (all those deaths at some point had to be exaggerated, right?). But still something to past the time never the less!

As the play drew to an end, many of the thespians disappeared into the back for a quick respite before the next demonstration for the evening… {OOC: Word document froze on me, and I’ve got to run to work shortly before I can have the time to add in another paragraph or so detailing the voluminous greedy-drunk playwright kicking out Jules, Heather, (and any others that happened to show up). I will be coming back later to finish this, but I wanted to at least post what I had so far this morning that I’ve already rewritten to better reflect the posts that came before it, so others would have a chance to respond this weekend. Thank you!}

Easy, Horace, easy.” Came a voice rough with a thick accent purring soft amusement, far more posh and proper than most of the slippery voices they had heard so far of Solace. A hand shifted the heavy fabric that served as the door to the tent, stepping out of the warm tent light into the darkened square was one of the thespians that acted in and narrated some of the previous play. Dark of hair and eye, but a fair complexion and noble mien that was potently different than many natives of the area (except for the few certain Guards – mercenaries – that resembled a kinship somewhat). Grinning an all to knowing, but kind enough smile towards the two ‘ruffians’. “Belletor, this heathen Manslander and whatever the hell you are,” Horace now named, pointed dramatically to Jules (who didn’t look enough like the right blond to call him a Sun-child, but different enough not to be readily considered a local Solacian by any means). He continued, “-haven’t paid for their entry into the show! How dare-…” “Oh dear! Poor, lost lambs. War orphans undoubtedly?” “Why you-“ “Tragic, yes. But I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson not to walk into any play-tent as they please, they’ll remember to pay plenty for the next one they wish to see? The sched-…” “SHUT UP INVALID!” The vein that had the potential threat of bursting under the strain of anger, seemed dangerously close to bursting now by the red flush and sticky sweat drippling across his head. Horace continued his tirade, ignoring the two behind him for the moment to flip upon the charismatic young man with vile curses aplenty.

And charismatic may be becoming an overused term, but over the time the play had occurred it seemed to come up frequently how one would describe the young man with easy, genuinely playful smile upon his maw. He obviously hit it off so well from stage-work a character or two, to narrating for parts – and this was done most often in another language(s) at that flitted off a silver tongue, reminiscent in diction to the Oni of Aires (and Native Americans of Earth) – that consistently seemed one of the thespians people wanted to visit with and touch as he passed through the aisles. It seemed too good to be true that he’d came out of the tent, when everyone else seemed to more keen to avoid any trouble with the ill-tempered play wright, in an attempt to defuse the situation with these out-of-towners in good humor.

Alas, it could be considered a certain wisdom if one knew and accepted that the most dangerous people were always clever, compelling, and charismatic. Thus it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise: In a subtle shift of tension from merely accepting the verbal abuse from his employer, his eyes blearily rose sharply with a flicker of vindictive anger in their depths – so faint, most wouldn’t have been able to tell it had been there at all, or, er, well… If he hadn’t suddenly dropped nearly to his knees, as one leg bent for balance and the other flashed out to knock the top-heavier man’s knees out from under him, and his hand clenching the walking staff flicking his wrist upwards to smack with abrupt force to the temple and causing the man to crumple in upon himself, hopelessly unconscious, before he even hit the ground.

Nakk.” The stranger cursed softly under breath, as he crouched lower beside the Horace’s prone form. A hand briefly lent across the pulse in the neck, assuring that he’d stopped short of killing the other / though that damn headache in the morn’ would be nothing to scoff at, before idly tracing down to rummage in just the right pocket and pluck the hefty jingling purse (it would enough of a final farewell payment). It had happened all in a matter of selective moments, before he rose again - the coins disappearing in a pocket and walking staff grinding thoughtfully in the gritty walkway – and he observed the pair of out-of-towners with a new interest, w/out any of the abrupt ‘silly’ kindness as before. The expression soured with annoyance shortly, as he seemed focused beyond the two of them towards the bystanding gawkers of either gender (men with hungry eyes and chipped teeth from already long days in the field and longer drinking nights still, and woman bundled in their quaint gossiping groups that included the better part; already lingering about in the busy square from an earlier excitement due to butcher’s misfortune with his giantess of a daughter taking off).

Haven’t you ever seen a clumsy invalid tripping over a drunken fool, no?” He snapped, a short snarl of authoritative power, which caused the closest people to look at their feet immediately chastised. As much as the people of Solace enjoyed watching a good brawl or good show, those that looked on for their own amusement often weren’t fond of starting something themselves. Before anyone had the opportunity make an amendment to the general rule, he flicked his head over his shoulder towards a distant side-street (that would then lead to more confusingly twisted residential alleys, but away from attention), and clipped softly to the two in front of him, “Manslander, and-… Acquaintance,” The brief pause allowed an aura of amusement to return tickling his words again (because he wasn’t going to echo Horarce’s earlier words’ of whatever the hell you are). “Apologies and Thanks are in order I suppose. I recommend best be scare before the defective puppies raised in rose gardens make their rounds. Yes?” He turned on his heels at that, walking stick make a threatening click that parted the crowd enough to push through easily. Leaving the out-of-towners up to their own devices and choice of whether or not they followed, went another direction entirely, or let the Guards catch them; making it clear it was up to their own choice(s).

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Heather Devereaux Character Portrait: Jules Fontaine Character Portrait: Septimus Belletor
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H E A T H E RXD E V E R E U X
_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

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



Heather had honestly loved the show. It was primitive, not at all what she was used to, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Or maybe it was the simplicity of seeing an audience enjoy a show that they would understand on a much more profound level than she would, that made it such an enjoyable experience. She couldn't even really begin to decipher which was the case. All that she knew was that any remaining bits of glee that she felt at the conclusion of the play were immediately snatched by the very unattractive, very rude man named Horace.

"Wait, who the hell are you calling a - ?" In all honesty, which is why Heather cut herself off at the first sign of her temper, aside from the fact that the helpful actor came to charm them out of trouble, because her initial reaction was to being called a Manslander, when she knew she still had terms to go over. She hadn't really paid much attention to Ron during the trip, though she had noted medicinal herbs and stuff that she recognized from her grandparents. They did a lot of natural remedies for sicknesses and the like, and it had been comforting to note more similarities between these two worlds. If Ron had begun to discuss all of the differences between the people of Aires, Heather might have drowned him out or fallen asleep since there was little more than that to do. But still, the way Horace practically spat that she was whatever the hell a Manslander was - and not even trying to acknowledge Jules' at least being a fucking human - made Heather's hackles rise.

Nevertheless, Heather had to contend with not being able to do much, especially when there was someone trying to help them. At least...he had been before Horace completely turned on him and Heather watched in horror as the man really went off. It all happened at once then and Heather couldn't even pretend to keep in the gasp/shriek of "Oh my God!" when the ranting man fell to the floor - one hand instantly hovering over her mouth and her other arm stretching out in front of Jules, almost instinctively as if she could protect him, though she wouldn't be able to say what she was actually protecting him from. The body that dropped to the ground or the man - their savior - who had put it there? "Is he dead?" Heather pondered aloud, peering over the stranger to see about the unconscious male. She didn't necessarily care about him, but the idea of having witnessed somebody die in a simple place as this didn't sit well in her stomach. Whether their savior heard her inquiry or not Heather did not know as her voice had not been that loud, but his fingers swiped over where the pulse point would be and there must've been some satisfactory result from it because he didn't immediately bolt. Death would've made anyone bolt, regardless of which world one belonged in.

A big part of Heather wanted to leave when she was instructed to and go back in the direction of the inn they were staying at. She had remembered the way; made a note to track all of the buildings and landmarks that would help get them back. And she had every reason to because she was warned that detectives of some sort would be coming to figure out what happened. And yet, as she watched the man disappear into the crowd, Heather couldn't fathom returning to the inn just yet, not now. "We should follow him," she said instinctively, knowing damn well that back home, her sister's (and really anyone else that she knew) first priority would be getting the hell out of here. But Heather was fascinated by the flawless execution of the young man's moves, the swiftness, his kindness - the entire situation really - and she was already moving in the direction that he had.