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Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed

Mountainside Temple

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a part of Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed, by Tiko.

Mountainside Temple

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Mountainside Temple
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Mountainside Temple

Mountainside Temple

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Mountainside Temple is a part of Terra.


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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Tiko, Daimayo and Imehal)

North of Wing City - A temple at the base of the mountains

ImageIt had been several weeks since Kento had joined up under the Patronus' cause, and many weeks of hard work and persistence in getting him ready to face the trials ahead. The afternoon at the temple was pleasant enough, despite the chillingly cold weather and the light layering of snow over the ground. However the glare of the sunlight against the white covering left visibility painful at best. Rynhart was seated atop a large rocky outcrop at the edge of the steep hill, playing a catchy little tune on his flute, while the others engaged in more vigorous activities.
Image“Watch your footing,” came the rumbling growl of the dragonborn warrior, stepping forward with a powerful backhanded slash of her longsword towards Kento's midsection. Taima was seeking to use her larger size and strength to force Kento back across the treacherous terrain, slick with snow and ice, and littered with rocks. Kento was far from a beginner, but fighting on such icy ground was difficult for even veteran warriors.
ImageStepping back and trying to resist the urge to look at his feet, Kento didn't attempt to block the heavier blade, moving quickly out of reach of the swing... he'd been playing defensively for the entire sparring match, his outclassed ability with a blade and the feelings of intimidation that he couldn't resist letting control him every time he looked at Taima's larger frame keeping him from attacking.
ImageThe blacksmith had already almost fallen twice now, slipping on a sudden patch of ice, but each time Kento blocked the dragonborn's blade, the jarring sensation numbed his fingers a little bit more. Steeling himself, he sidestepped away from the side that she held her blade at, and lunged in an attempt to thrust his sword into the leather armour that she wore... he didn't want to be pressured into continuing to walk backwards, opting to circle and push her back with the stabbing of his blade.
ImageParlina had taken her place beside Rynhart, naturally assuming that the pleasant tune coming from his flute accurately reflected his temperament. Not that she was paying terribly much attention to him, as interesting a fellow he was, eyes were watching the slanted combat between Kento and Taima. There had been a few sessions like this already and she liked being present for more than one reason.
ImageLittle green spirits floated within a few feet of the combatants, not interfering but acting as her eyes and ears. Other than observation and gaining insight onto better cohesion for the group, the druidess was sitting on the sidelines just in case anything went wrong. When this had all first started she had felt constantly nervous for Kento, but now Parlina often just felt a sense of pride. He was not exactly fighting toe-to-toe with Taima but it was a vast improvement over the entirely defensive nature of previous sessions. Her smile was infectious, leaning forward with her chin in her hands.
ImageThe resounding clang of Kento's sword against Taima's shield echoed down over the rolling rocky hills, but Rynhart did not seem disturbed, his eyes closing as he became lost in his musical piece. The lively tune was almost invigorating as it seeped into the minds and souls of those that listened to the notes. It would be difficult to place whether the effects were magical in nature, or merely inspiring, but Kento's reservations against his larger opponent were a concern that would need to be addressed. His fear was keeping the courage Taima had witnessed previously locked away, and Rynhart subtly sought to coax that back to the surface. Not that anyone would be aware of what it was he was doing, as the clash of steel against steel continued to fill the air.
ImageKento barely noticed the tune, swept up in the fight now... Although he was focused on the sparring match, the young man couldn't help but feel some pride in how quickly he knew he was progressing in his training. Kento was still no match for his larger mentor, that much was sure... but he was also beginning to make a few attempts to attack. The thoughts elated him as he stepped forwards again, pressing the offense and unwilling to relent the momentary respite from dodging and sidestepping. Feeling his heart pounding, he swung his sword at the dragonborn... his hesitant attack growing slightly bolder. Kento began to smile as they sparred. The weeks of training were paying off.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Script and Tiko)

ImageThe crunching of booted feet on snow would become faintly audible as the battle progressed; an early sign of an approach. Before long Sylvire would come into view on the mountain path leading up to the temple, heavy cloak wrapped around her as protection against the wind and cold, a light dusting of snow covering it. She lowered her hood as she first spotted Rynhart and Parlina at the edge of the rocky outcrop on which Taima and Kento sparred, allowing her hair to blow free.
ImageUsing her staff to aid her approach, the sorceress made her way over to the group, calling out as she did so, "Hail!"
ImageThe sorceress was not familiar with those assembled here, barring Taima, though she had met Parlina once before. "I hope I find you all well." Sylvire inclined her head to the group.
Image"I am Sylvire Nasazura, to those of you who have not met me previously. I am sure that Taima has mentioned me before." she said, "I have come on Taima's recommendation to meet with the one named Kento."
ImageSylvire looked to Kento himself, "Which, I assume, is you?" she queried - the only other male present being, after all, an elf (at least in appearance) as opposed to human. "But before we skip straight to there, I would like to acquaint myself with all of you. A general is no use if she does not know her allies."
ImageAt Sylvire's arrival, Taima signaled a cease to the spar as she slipped out of her readied stance and offered a respectful bow of her head towards Sylvire. Even with the months she had spent in the sorceress's company at the library, Taima was never one to overlook formalities.
ImageThe pleasant notes drifting from Rynhart's flute ceased with the greetings and introductions, the small object vanishing beneath the folds of his heavy coat.
Image“It is an honor, as always. Sylvire Nasazura,” Taima said, her voice more of a throaty growl. “And indeed, he is,” she added, as Sylvire correctly picked Kento out of the group. “Parlina you have met," she continued, a gesture of her shield arm towards the druid seated beside Rynhart. "The other is Rynhart, and ah..." she paused, her tone shifting almost to one of exasperation. Though it would be difficult to tell for the newer additions to the group. For those that hadn't spent a great deal of time with the dragonborn warrior, the draconic visage and throaty growls could be a challenge to read. "That would be Alair," she finished, her gaze shifting above Sylvire towards the sky overhead, somewhere behind the sorceress's position.
ImageAt Taima's introduction of him, Rynhart offered a brief incline of his head, a subtle nod, towards Sylvire, though for the time being he was content to watch the happening events. The late arrival of his pupil Alair was met with a brief questioning arch of his eyebrow, though he was confident the half-breed would explain his late arrival soon enough.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by DemiKara)

ImageAlair landed sheepishly, seeing everyone was gathered already. He nodded to Kento, Taima, and Parlina and bowed sheepishly to Rynhart, clearly trying to look at least a little contrite. He failed, more than a little bit. "Forgive me, please. I was having a few minor wardrobe problems." By that he meant he couldn't possibly decide what on earth to wear to this, and so had spent about four hours in his walk-in closet before finally choosing an outfit... and then realizing he was late. But he was hoping not to have to explain that to Rynhart in detail.
ImageOf course, considering this was the oh so vain Alair, he was fooling no one. Though to be far he did come fully armed of course, with his broadsword strapped so it wouldn't inhibit flying. The half breed turned to face Sylvire and bowed shallowly to her too. "Please, forgive me my tardiness, Ma'am." He moved next to Rynhart's side, more than a little embarrassed. Well, at least he wasn't too late. It could have been much worse after all. His closet was the size of most people's bedroom and living room combined. He could have easily spent at least another two hours in there.
ImageThe halfbreed was extremely well put together in appearance, being nothing less than vanity itself. Everything from the oh so neatly tied back black long locks to the perfectly maintained nails spoke of this. Though those same nails made it clear he did work somewhat for a living. He smiled at everyone, especially Sylvire, hoping to put this behind them.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Daimayo)

ImageKento stopped sparring the moment that Taima gave the signal to cease, although he did not immediately see why. He heard Sylvire's greeting a moment after, and turned to the sorceress, bowing out of respect - he had never met the woman, but had heard enough about today and her description that he realized immediately who it must be: Sylvire, the one seen as the leader of the Patronus. As he listened to her introduction, the blacksmith respectfully sheathed his blade.
ImageKento was surprised at how quickly things were moving. The fight outside of the smithy still seemed like it had taken place only yesterday, and now already he was meeting the leader of their organization. He remembered arriving here weeks ago wearing both his blade and the green armour the he currently donned, carrying only food and his smithing materials - since then he'd been able to set up a small forge in the mountains, and although he had yet to be tasked with creating anything of real worth, the man could tell that he was being tested.
ImageHearing his name, Kento nodded to Sylvire, indicating the he was who she was looking for... eyes wide. She'd sought him out? He glanced at Taima, wondering what it was that his mentor had told the caster. Unclipping one of the shoulder guards of his armour, he watched as Alair landed, raising a hand in return to the other apprentice's greeting... but his mind was still focused on Sylvire. He'd been told that she was going to arrive, but not why... and her interest in him made him immensely more curious about the happenings of the day.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Imehal)

ImageThe fight had halted in the wake of Sylvire's approach, her little spirits dashing over from the spar to the new and relatively unfamiliar arrival. The druidess did not immediately rise, displeased by the ending of the tune although she appreciated the cause. After all, for all intents and purposes, Parlina was still not much more than a child despite her manners and experiences.
Image“Hello Lady Sylvire,” she returned with a wave after Taima had finished introductions, standing to curtsey politely to the woman who had cleansed her of the taint some many months past. Mostly, she did the greeting to avoid smiling outright.
ImageAlair was always late. Truth be told as long as he wasn't late for, you know, real situations she would continue to be amused to no end by it. The spirits bounded around Sylvire curiously for a few extra moments before their joy could be felt at her presence. Kento looked rather taken aback and her eyes lightened to a pale blue. This meant he was one of them now!
ImageHer silence was just about kept, squirming a little on her feet though she turned to beam up at Taima briefly before waiting for introductions to come to a close.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Script)

Image"It is a pleasure to meet you, Rynhart." Sylvire said as the elf male was introduced, inclining her head, "I will admit to being impressed by your music, when it caught my ears down the mountain path."
ImageA compliment was always a good way to begin a relationship, be it that of friend, or merely acquaintance. Even this far after Amarathia's fall, politics still flowed in Sylvire's veins. As Alair arrived, Sylvire nodded him too. "And equally a pleasure to meet you, Alair."
ImageThe sorceress smiled to Parlina before returning her attention to Kento. "I have matters to attend to, as you know, Taima, so I will move swiftly onwards. Kento, Taima has told me much of your training. She says you show great promise, and skill, but by no fault of your own you are lacking in the power necessary to go toe-to-toe with our more fearsome enemies. I am here to alleviate this."
ImageAs she spoke, Sylvire drew out from beneath her cloak a long metal pole, identifiable after it was fully revealed as a weapon-like javelin. Along its length, blue lightning crackled. "I wish to bestow upon you the Lightning Javelin, one of the artefacts that we are tasked to protect. It was previously in the care of a knight named Faris, but he disappeared, leaving it behind. I can only assume that this was because he was called away to a place where he could not fight for our cause, as he was an honourable man. It is a powerful weapon that will grant you the powers of lightning, and be bound to you. It will always return to you when you call it, so long as it is able."
ImageSylvire extended her hand to proffer the weapon to Kento. "May it serve you, and you it, well in the days to come."

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Imehal and Vejisama)

ImageIn amidst all the introductions that Sylvire's presence at the temple had prompted aside from the intended one between Kento and the leader herself, it seemed there was one more round to be made this day. Natalie's spell had carried both passenger and herself across the distance between the two locations in scarce moments. In the instant that they both began to shimmer into existence did she finally see the rather impressive number of Patronus and allies gathered just a little distance from where she knew was the entrance to Dallas' temple.
ImageThe moment that both had arrived, Ziel's eyes seemingly blinked for a second. Though he'd possessed the talent of 'transporting' himself much the way Natalie could, it still brought on a distorted sight once the traversing thus completed. His eyes slowly began to take in the sight before him, then fell upon what he could only assume as the Patronus. The numbers were great, and he found himself slightly confused as to why so many were present. It only made him debate on how terrible their enemies really were. Assumptions brought about the realization that perhaps they were more powerful than he'd first thought, but...in being who he was, it didn't dent his resolve in the least.
ImageThe frost and ice of late had introduced Natalie to a type of weather that she still wasn't entirely sure she approved of. Up here, it seemed to worsen still, the ground covered by a reasonable layer of snow, hiding the rocks and enviroment under its all-covering white blanket.
ImageHer composure did not seem affected, greeting Taima with a polite nod as she released the hand of Ziel's she had, bemused to find that luck had found Sylvire present as well. Her posture dipped into a bow appropriately, though there was a slight smile on her features as she straightened, gaze directed towards the group in general.
ImageAs his hand was released, he watched in silence as Natalie thusly bowed; doing so himself moments after... simply for the purposes of respect. A smile he too then chose to give, aquamarine eyes remaining solid upon the many before, and around him. The area in general, he'd noticed, was very secluded and rather dull, in its own beautiful way, he supposed. In the short moments he took this all in he then came to place his attention on Natalie, about to speak himself. But as he went to open his mouth to speak, he quickly shut it.
Image"Taima, Lady Nasazura, Rynhart and... everyone else, greetings," she chuckled lightly though there was a touch of annoyance to her expression briefly. "I do hope we're not intruding. For those of you who are not aware, my name is Natalie Oldburn and well, I think you can introduce yourself." Her gaze then turned to focus on whom none of them would recognise. "I don't think I need to explain why I brought him here, regardless."
ImageZiel had all but forgotten what he was about to say, perhaps infer... more than likely, as she set her gaze upon him. He was to introduce himself, but of course. All in proper, he knew that much. "Ah, yes. Hm, such staggering numbers, in a sense. I almost find myself tongue-tied. But, my name is Ziel Cepheus, and it is with great pleasure that I make all your acquaintances..." he states in a slightly mild tone to those he'd be speaking to. His aquamarine hues seemingly wavered for a moment, rather shy in a sense for some strange reason. Perhaps it was because he'd not expected just as many as he was now standing before. "I appreciate this opportunity..." He began before smiling softly. "I hadn't really expected this, actually. It seems this lovely lady here came to seek me out for a purpose in aiding you all, in which I openly accept and would love to do..." he softly finishes, eyes rather shimmering now. His resolve to protect was rather unending, infinite, in a sense.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Tiko)

ImageAlair's explanation for his tardiness didn't overly impress Taima, but she overlooked it. He was Rynhart's pupil after all.
ImageRynhart likewise, opted to address the matter at a later date, though he did offer a subtle smile to Sylvire's words, a rare expression on his normally passive face.
Image“A compliment from a lady of such notoriety, is a compliment well appreciated,” Rynhart replied pleasantly.
ImageWith the greetings resolved, and Sylvire's offer to Kento underway, Taima was in an unusual state of ease, her guard let down amongst allies, and Natalie and Ziel's abrupt arrival left her momentarily caught in a rare state of surprise. Though outwardly, she gave little to display such matters, it was a moment before she inclined her head once more.
Image“An unexpected visit, but you are welcome, as always. Natalie Oldburn. Ziel Cepheus,” she replied gruffly.
ImageThe growing group would be addressed with a simple offer. Though she did give pause, to await Kento's reaction and words to Sylvire's own offer. Such a moment would weight heavily on the young blacksmith, and until his reply was given, Taima would not speak further. Once concluded though, she would continue.
Image“Shall we reconvene inside and out of the cold?” she offered. “If you have nowhere pressing to be,” she added, her gaze falling on Sylvire.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by DemiKara)

ImageAlair looked more than a little eager to get inside. Despite the fact that his internal heating issues had begun to end, and he was much warmer than he otherwise would have been, he still preferred nice heated buildings to winter weather. The halfbreed looked to Natalie and Ziel somewhat curiously, mostly just glad that they were later than him so he couldn't be in even more trouble. Or at least, the attention was taken away from him and moved elsewhere. Rynhart likely was upset with his reasons, but really, he had been meeting someone important, so of course he was going to dress for the part.
ImageAt least Parlina was amused by his tardiness. The thought, of course, prompted him to send a flirtatious smile her way. She was a cute little thing, though too young for his tastes. Not that it would stop him from a little very light flirtation. So long as Rynhart didn't send him any heavily disapproving looks at least. Though he meant absolutely nothing by it, and no doubt she would know.
ImageThat Kento recieved a javelin from Sylvire surprised him slightly, but not enough to bother him at all. Kento would do better with any weapon, but especially one that would even the odds in his favor somewhat. The other apprentice was so different from him he didn't really connect but still, he worried somewhat. There was no need for him to get injured in the skirmishes that appeared to almost randomly happen.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Daimayo)

ImageKento couldn't help but blush slightly when his lack of skill was mentioned by Sylvire... he knew that he couldn't go against many enemies that they had and win, and was still slightly embarrassed by the fact - he needed to train much more; of that he was sure.
ImageThe blacksmith's thoughts were interrupted as the Javelin was revealed, leaving him staring at the weapon openly. The magical nature of the throwing spear was clear as lightning crackled along the shaft... he knew of the artifacts. Taima had even shown hers to him, though she'd not let him touch it. Despite his small knowledge about their nature, he had never expected to possess one of his own - and certainly not so quickly. He knew that this was a responsibility that he now would bear for the rest of his life, but the young blacksmith knew that he would bear it happily. He was a true member of the Patronus now. Kento's gauntleted hand hesitated, but looking up at Sylvire he took the weapon carefully.
Image"It... tingles." He held it closer to himself, his gaze passing over the blade, drifting to the handle... It felt as though a current was running along the arm that held the Javelin, a current which threaded its way through his body, making him shiver mildly. It felt as though something was trying to feel him out... to familiarize itself with him. Slowly taking his eyes from the weapon he earnestly bowed to the woman who had given him the weapon. "This is an honour... thank you so much."
ImageHolding the javelin tightly, Kento barely noticed the arrival of the two newcomers - neither people were known by him, but their easy acceptance by the others was proof enough that they were allies. Looking at Taima when she spoke, he nodded wordlessly, listening to his mentor - He may be another bearer of an artifact, but that did not change the amount of respect he had for the Dragonborn.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Script)

ImageSylvire nodded, smiling to Kento as he received the weapon. "It is bonding with you." she explained, "And it will remain so until you willingly pass it on. I know that Taima has explained to you our mission, so I will not reel off a spiel on the importance of the duty this artefact bestows upon you."
ImageThe sorceress gave a wry smile to the dragonborn, "I am sure that Taima will make certain that you are well informed."
ImageAs Natalie and Ziel arrived, Sylvire turned to face them with a slightly raised eyebrow. So many new additions. She felt almost out of touch, but perhaps that was good. It was a sign that their number was expanding. A general could not know every soldier in her army, but she trusted the judgement of those she had chosen, and those who had joined her already.
ImageShe tilted her head respectfully towards the two new arrivals and smiled, "It is good to see you, Natalie." she said to the mage, before turning to Ziel, "And Ziel, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am Sylvire Nasazura. I thank you for lending your aid to our cause; we will need every hand we have in the days to come."
ImageAt Taima's offer, Sylvire nodded, "Very well. I will join you all for a short while, that I might become better acquainted with those I do not know, but I must depart before too long. I have left Aiedai to look after herself for a short while, and whilst she has a very calm and independent demeanour, I do not like to leave her for too long."
ImageWith that said, Sylvire would turn to follow the others inside.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Imehal and Vejisama)

ImageTaima was caught off-guard, and Parlina was trying so hard not to laugh. Her spirits were providing an excellent distraction, having no idea who to focus on first with their boundless curiosity. Parlina leaned forward to get a better look at the unfamiliar man who had arrived with the sorceress, beaming at Alair as she did so. The half-dragon and her had always had an easy rapport, even if she thought him a bit... well... ditzy.
Image"Hello Sir Ziel," she said cheerily, waving at him before observing the bonding of the artefact to Kento with undisguised awe. It was a feat to behold, and although the magics behind it escaped her, she enjoyed the visual show and the reaction it brought out in their newest member. That was what he had needed.
ImageZiel, in his watching, found himself being hailed in a sense. Turning, he spied Parlina waving. With a small laugh, his eyes flutter shut, raising his own hand to give a rather awkward wave in return. The gesture itself, was...somewhat foreign. He, as a Youkai, never really 'waved' to others. It was a human and Saiyan gesture though...one he hadn't but watched. "Hello, Miss. A pleasure..." He softly replied before turning back to the others.
ImageParlina bounced to her feet at Sylvire's agreement to go inside, almost skipping across the distance, the green spirits that were her constant companions hovering away from their interests to focus on the task at hand. It was a shame that the spar had ended but as always, Parlina looked beyond the disappointment at the good that would come next.
ImageLoneliness was something Natalie felt often, but to feel it so intensely was unnerving, causing her to look away from the friendly interactions as soon as both dragonborn and leader had made their greetings. Awkward, she wanted to leave almost as soon as she had arrived, but the sorceress followed the others inside the temple.
ImageZiel on the other hand happened to direct his attention toward Taima, a soft bowing of his head in response to her words. She seemed rather gruff in some aspects, but there was always need in such a type of being in this area. Already the male had begun to piece together what he saw as a minute army of sorts. This initially drew flashbacks into his mind of a waged war long ago in his youth. Though the circumstances were different, the base layout of everything remained. His silence though...was rather definite as he knew not what to say at the moment. Instead, his eyes remained trained upon them all, shifting softly from person to person.
ImageNatalie distracted her mind with Sylvire's bestowing of the javelin upon Kento, for whilst she was glad to have new allies, it surely boded ill for the knight who had once wielded it with pride. I owe him my life and he's... just gone. That was how things happened though was it not? In this war you could not afford to look back and wish what was.
Image"And you Lady Nasazura," she returned shortly but sincerely before walking towards the entrance. Her robes did a good job of keeping her warm but Taima was quite right; inside would be better and everyone could have informal introductions with Ziel. Then she could slip away once business was done.
ImageZiel at that moment, hearing Sylvire's words offered a mild smile, bowing most respectfully toward her yet again, before righting himself to part his lips. "...No, the pleasure is all mine. And I find myself content, and more than willing to offer my assistance. The cause is a righteous one, and I am more than honest in stating that I wish to help you all. Anything I can offer, you can have from me." He stated rather truthfully.
Image"...But I will say, I do wish to get to know all of you well," He began before smiling. "So that when we do go into combat, whenever it comes about, that I can be sure I will have all of your support, as will you have my unrelenting support." He finished, bowing one final time and then nodding at the invitation to head in.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Tiko)

ImageRynhart rose from his seat, with a nod of his head for Alair to join the others inside as he to made his own way towards the temple entrance, his heavy coat gusting open briefly from the chilly air.
ImageTaima on the other hand lingered behind for perhaps a moment as she watched the rest of the group filter inside. A lot weighed on the dragonborn's mind, but for now, things were good. Their numbers were growing, and as a group, those that resided here at the temple grew stronger and more unified with each passing day. To see them grow filled her with pride.
ImageAs the last of them entered the temple, Taima entered after them, descending into the inner sanctum along with them. There was a lot of catching up to do, and a few new faces for people to become acquainted with.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Tiko and Daimayo)

ImageSeveral days had passed since Sylvire's visit to the temple and Taima stood atop a rocky outcropping that overlooked a deep ravine. Given their mountainous surroundings, there was little chance of any notable damage being inflicted on the environment, or of fires being set.
ImageShe glanced overhead where dark clouds were gathering, rumbling with the distant roll of thunder. Holding her weapon aloft, Taima called down the heavens themselves, and with a deafening crack a bolt of lightning struck her halberd. The thunderous sound was enough to leave her momentarily deafened as she let the arcing weapon loose across the ravine. The halberd wasn't exactly designed to be thrown, but her size and strength granted her the leverage needed, and though it was far from accurate it had a wide area of effect. As the halberd struck its mark the lightning bolt was released, shattering the rock and leaving the surrounding area blackened.
Image“I cannot create lightning, but I can make use of it. What you possess is a powerful weapon, but one that must be wielded with care. That was one of my more powerful spells, and the javelin can do what it took me calling in a storm to do, in but a moment and without the energy investment of a spell,” she explained, her voice rough and gravely. “However, lightning is indiscriminate - it will harm friend and foe alike. Without precision, you are in just as much danger of striking down your allies as you are your enemies.” Despite the growling nature of her voice, once one spent enough time around the dragonborn warrior, it became apparent that there was an almost gentle patience to it.
ImageKento winced, having flinched at the noise of the thunderous crack against the halberd even though Taima had given him fair warning. Watching the damage that her spelled weapon had caused he stared, glancing at the artifact that he'd been given... the blacksmith could feel the power of the holy javelin coiling up and down his entire arm, but he still hesitated.
ImageHe'd never cast magic of any variety before - what if he was unable to? Sylvire had told him that the weapon was bound to him and despite his earlier awe at receiving the artifact, Kento couldn't help but feel a sudden rush of nervousness. He wanted to be a useful ally to the other Patronus members, and the thought of the artifact being bound to his life without him being able to actually use it made him more hesitant to try than he'd let on.
Image"Alright..." He swallowed, taking in her words. He'd be careful with the weapon - his own natural nervousness around the magic that was still so new to him would certainly help for the time being. Holding it out, he first tried to inwardly will the weapon to charge... he wanted to see if he could let it cast its lightning without making him throw it. After his first battle caught empty-handed, the idea of willingly letting go of his most powerful item was daunting.
ImageFeeling the power surge in the hilt of the javelin as it responded to his thoughts, Kento's grip tightened on it as he felt the pressure build in his palm... after a moment, his ears seemed to complain at the air pressure around him, an instant before a mighty lightning bolt leaped across the ravine with a loud thunderclap.
ImageSurpised, Kento fell onto his behind very suddenly. The magical lightning was unguided as it flew from the outcropping and struck the most natural course to the ground that was within its reach - Taima's halberd. Losing sight of the magic as he'd fallen, the blacksmith blinked, realizing that he'd been momentarily deafened. "Holy hell."
ImageTaima watched on stoically as the lightning struck the halberd. The weapon had been enchanted and imbued with the element of lightning, and even still it could not withstand the impact of the lightning bolt generated by the artifact in Kento's possession. All that remained of the weapon was a twisted molten mess of metal. At least she had replaced her more traditionally worn heavy plate armor, with the leather artifact armor she now wore. This might be more dangerous than she had thought. Fortunately for Kento, patience was something Taima had a great deal of, and the destruction of the weapon she had wielded since her youth was met with little more than a grunt.
Image“Focus,” she instructed. “Try again.”
ImageClimbing back to his feet, the young swordsman stared at the destruction he'd wrought against Taima's long-held halberd... he looked at her guiltily despite her nonchalance. "Um ... after this, I'll definitely get to work on fixing that."
ImageIt was the least he could do - and many of the materials that he'd been able to purify in the area that they were in would do an extremely good job in fixing her weapon - it'd be good as new after a few days. Sighing, he took the powerful weapon up in his hand again. At least he knew now that he could wield it.
Image“Perhaps I should try ... throwing it?” The man had a good arm with a stone, and knew the basics of spear throwing mostly from his own observations of others on his travels, but he knew that he was far from a professional. Hopefully the sheer force of the weapon would counteract that as he learned to be more accurate with its ranged ability.
ImageTaima inclined her head briefly, “It may assist with directing the lightning to your target, rather than aiming the lightning itself. Until you have more control anyways.” With that said, Taima moved back a pace to give Kento room.
ImageTaking a step back, Kento eyed a target - a boulder at the bottom of the ravine. It was far enough away that it would be a difficult throw for someone with his skill level, but still close enough that he knew he could reach it with the throw.
ImageInhaling slowly, he let the magic that was stored latent inside the javelin that he held flow around his palm, charging the weapon almost audibly. Within a few moments a very quiet humming noise could be heard in the quiet morning air, and Kento exhaled as he stepped and threw the javelin, his eye still on the boulder that he'd mentally marked.
ImageThe weapon flew true, much to his own surprise, and instead of chittering off of the rock like he'd half-expected, it sank into the stone for nearly half of the length of the weapon's blade. Moments later, a noise like a gunshot echoed across the ravine as the magic stored in the blade released, turning almost half of the boulder into rubble to burrow itself in the dirt surrounding the target.
ImageGiving a whoop, Kento clenched his fist victoriously... he was surprised at the damage that the stone had withstood, due to the electrical nature of the attack. It seemed that part of the force of the javelin was more than merely lightning, but kinetic as well - he looked down at his artifact... it still looked clean and unharmed despite the dusty cloud that it had created... he held his hand out to the weapon, staring at it from where it was thrown. Hadn't Sylvire mentioned being able to call it back to his hand...?
ImageThe weapon shimmered, and a moment later Kento's hand grasped the artifact again. The blacksmith looked at it with open surprise; he hadn't expected it to be that easy.
ImageTaima was more than pleased with Kento's progress, though she rarely showed it outside of brief and occasional words of encouragement. Doting and flattery were certainly not her style. And so the only implication of her pleasure that she gave was a brief incline of her head in a nod.
ImageShe stood a time in silence, pondering over her coming words. Kento, still so full of youth and vigor, was understandably experiencing the thrill of his new weapon. However, there was more than fun and games to the trials ahead and it was time to discuss more serious matters.
Image“I imagine it goes without saying, the weight of this burden you have taken. These artifacts, are more important than our lives. You quite literally took the world on your shoulders when you accepted this responsibility,” she began, her voice heavy with the weight of her words. “This is your moment to make a stand, for what is good and righteous in this world. To do your part to make sure that there is a world for the younger generations to look forward to. However, the time will come, that your moment passes. Our days in this world are fleeting. Always remember that, and never think yourself beyond falling. If you do, when you pass from this world, all that you have done will be lost to time, with no one to carry on for you.” There was a somberness to Taima's words, a weight that was perhaps a touch more heavy-hearted than it should have been, but it passed as she nodded her head back towards the mountain path in the distance. “Come, let us be on our way,” she instructed.
ImageGlancing at the boulder one more time, Kento nodded to her, breathing a tad heavily from a mixture of excitement and effort. He was getting stronger now, he could feel it... The blacksmith contemplated her sobering words... how old was Taima? She'd never told him, although her vast knowledge and clear experience was beginning to make him think that she was much older than he'd originally guessed.
ImageHe climbed down to collect the remaining pieces of her halberd so they could return to camp... and he could repair the weapon in between his practice with the dragonborn. Glancing at the skyline, he was surprised that it hadn't cleared up entirely from the magic that Taima had cast earlier... It gave the morning an almost ominous hue. Shivering from the cold, he shook his head. Kento's imagination had a way of getting away with him sometimes.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Daimayo and DemiKara)

ImageA few days after Kento had accidentally destroyed Taima's halberd, Alair made his way to the smithy, to help out his other Master. It had been Rynhart's idea for him to learn from the other apprentice, but Alair hadn't fought too much; Rynhart was a bit scary for that. So instead he was here to train in a 'respectable' job field. He refused to tell Rynhart exactly what it was Alair used to do that let him laze about all day and still live his very rich lifestyle. That was his past and it was far behind him. Very far behind him.
ImageThe half-dragon knocked on the door of the smithy and looked in, entering right on time. And people said he could never manage that. "Kento?"
Image"Come in!" The yell came from the back of the makeshift smithy, a cough accompanying Kento's call for the other apprentice to enter... There was a hissing noise that drowned out any further invitation, the sound of scorching metal touching cool water.
ImageAlair headed to the back of the smithy, wincing at the sound of a cough. Kento better not be sick. The half-breed reveled in the heat of the building and the tension flowed out of his muscles. He may not enjoy the fact that he was essentially forced to do this, but he did enjoy the heat in the building, and the work was actually a bit relaxing.
ImageThe smithy itself was small, having been built in barely over a day by Kento, with Taima's occasional assistance. The building, though partially underground, opened up from the mountainside, offering an ideal location outside of the temple for the inevitable smoke and heat of the room to slowly billow out.
ImageThe inside had granite walls covered with weapons of various sizes, and several tables had been pulled into the makeshift smithy. Tools of the trade littered the majority of the surface, although they were clearly arranged in a manner, and on one table laid a long halberd, its metal twisted beyond the recognition of anyone who didn't already know what the weapon was.
ImageIn the midst of the organized chaos Kento stood, clearly less comfortable in the heat than Alair, stripped to the waist as he held thick tongs in a gloved hand, moving yet another dirk blade into the cooling vat of water beside the forge. The air near him rippled with heat, and smoke rose from the water with another loud hiss. "Hey, glad you could make it." The blacksmith grinned, wiping some perspiration from his brow as he looked at the half-dragon.
ImageAlair glanced around and spotted Kento heading to his side and smiling slightly. "Yeah. I'm here for my latest lesson. On time too." He said with a shrug. The half-dragon watched the other creating more weapons, and hoped the other side didn't have anything like Kento. He would like some sort of advantage at least. He well knew that they were out powered, though it wouldn't stop him from fighting.
ImageKento seemed less concerned with the balance of power between the Orsa and the Patronus, holding the tongs out towards Alair. "Here, I've got another one that has been drawn already, just take the blade in the tongs and use the hammer on the table to start shaping it. Let me just get you the gloves..." He began to take off the thick, heat-resistant gloves to give to the half dragon.
ImageAlair shook his head and simply took the blade in his bare hands. "Part dragon, remember? I can handle the heat." He pointed out, grinning. "There's a reason we only have one pair of gloves."
ImageThe halfbreed began to work, slower than Kento, but still managing to work before the metal cooled too much. Shaping the blade wasn't too hard, considering it had already been drawn to the correct length, all Alair really had to to was taper the edges. That he could handle well enough at least, though it occasionally took a bit before the blade was correctly tapered.
ImageKento nodded with satisfaction, although he'd been a bit shocked when Alair had taken the scalding steel with his bare fingers... The other apprentice had a knack for the work, and the blade didn't even have to be reheated before it was finished. The blacksmith nodded with satisfaction. "Excellent, that looks just fine. Just toss it into the vat and we can sharpen this batch later."
ImageKento wiped his brow clean again, inhaling a deep breath. He'd created the dirks as a secondary weapon to any in the Temple who required them, although the metal that the young man had used was hard enough that the creations could be used as a tool for other things as well.
Image"I know that I mentioned perhaps working on Taima's halberd while you were here, but it seems I'll need her here to lay down the enchantments as I forge the weapon itself, so..." He let the sentence trail off. They were running out of time, the ominous air couldn't help but give him that impression.
ImageAlair nodded solemnly. "I understand. In the meantime, I suppose I'll be making more dirks?" Dirks, dirks, and more dirks. They were almost as bad as the sheer number of nails he had made before being allowed to do anything else.
ImageHe was pretty certain that no one out there could possibly use half that many nails. After all, he had spent several days straight of doing nothing but making nails. At least, nothing else in his smithing lessons.
ImageHis fighting lessons were another matter entirely. The half-dragon dropped the dirk into the vat and watched as steam billowed upwards in response to the heated blade. It was always something that fascinated him.
Image"You will be making plenty more dirks where that came from." Kento couldn't help but chuckle... Alair was more than capable at this point to make something more complicated, but there were no requests by any of the Patronus for other creations. "Later, what you should do is talk to Master Rynhart and see if he can help us to learn enchantments. Taima has been busy lately... and more and more I'm learning that we're going to need something better than the simple physical weapons that I can make. If we could create simple enchantments, weapons and armour would become far more useful."
ImageHe'd truthfully prefer asking Taima to help, and was aware that the fact was likely because of his own preference to his master, but as little as he'd spoken to Rynhart, Kento liked him and was sure that Alair's master could lend his assistance.
ImageAlair nodded at that and made a mental note to talk to Rynhart about the possibility. There was no real telling what his Master would teach, or when. The halfbreed had long since discovered that.
Image"I'll ask him soon as possible then." He said quietly, thinking as he found the metal bar for the next dirk and set to work at heating it. He was looking for the perfect orange-yellow that indicated the metal was ripe for the shaping. "He may be willing to teach us. If nothing else for the cause." And wasn't that an awkward thing to say. For the cause. A cause he most certainly had not known about when he had begun to apprentice under Rynhart. But where the Master went, the student followed.
ImageThat sentence stuck with Kento, too. For the cause. Something that both of the apprentices had joined mere months ago and were already becoming rapidly more involved and dedicated to. It was becoming harder to have imagined his life going in any other direction than the path it had now taken. The blacksmith nodded, not needing to say anything in return.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Vejisama and Tiko)

ImageHidden within the temple's somewhat expansive library was Ziel. With nothing but seeking information on his mind, he'd spent some time browsing through the minute collection of old and dusty books with intent on finding information upon the group he'd thusly joined. Though he was more than happy to be with the group as they all seemed more than pure and righteous, he still did care for a bit of knowledge regarding their history, and what had all befell them within the countless years, or so he'd assumed, of their existence. His browsing took him from shelf to shelf, sifting through books and other texts that he had not a clue of what they spoke of...strangely enough, he was content with that. The world known as Terra was beyond foreign to him, and though some of it he could relate to and understand, there was a whole new world within these books that he was unfamiliar with.
ImageIt didn't take him as long as he thought before he found a rather large book, though the print upon the cover stood out well enough. Seemingly embroidered in a goldish hued tint, he plucked it from the shelf and began to scan page by page. His interest was immediately peaked as it happened to be what he was searching for. A glance around, and he spied a seat of sorts and nestled into it. Though it happened to be vague as he read, he still garnered a minute amount of knowledge and information. Its formation and actual construction all but a mystery, he came to learn that the organization as a whole had been around for much longer than he'd suspected, more than likely replenishing its members often whilst others either faded into obscurity, or...on the more negative side, perhaps perished in conflicts of sorts.
ImageWhat he did get a vague semblance of thought was a reference to holding 'objects' that seemingly posed as a safeguard to the protection of this world. His quick thought instantly shifted to his first initial meeting, and spying a young man whom held something akin to a staff. Its immaculate design being as such, he could only put two and two together, though...mayhap anyone less intellectually minded wouldn't even stumble upon such a possibility.
ImageA short while later, after digging up all the possible information he could from said book, he found himself nodding contentedly, and then gently closing the book and placing it beside him on a table surface. Now he simply remained quiet and began to reflect on what he'd read as well as contemplate on his possible contribution to the group as well as his true worth.
ImageTaima had come to stand in the doorway of the Library, her eyes on Ziel, as curious of him as he was of them no doubt. She stood that way for a time, not interrupting the man's studious nature. The temple barred access to any with malicious intentions, and so she was not greatly concerned that Ziel's heart was in the right place. However, only time would tell whether or not the man would prove to be reliable.
ImageAt last she stepped into the room, allowing the sounds of her movements to announce her present as she removed her helm, setting it atop the table along with her halberd. That she was armored up in such a manner, was a sign that she had likely only just returned to the temple grounds. In such a state, Taima could be an imposing individual, given her large stature and draconic vissage, but she inclined her head politely.
Image“Ziel Cepheus,” she greeted him, her voice a gravely growl. Her eyes shifted to the book resting atop the table before she continued. “We haven't had much opportunity to speak yet, but you seem to be finding yourself at home,” she said before pausing, as if contemplating her following words. “I imagine you have questions, given the state Natalie Oldburn arrived and departed in.”
ImageZiel suddenly found himself drawn from his contemplative demeanor as Taima arrived. How long she'd been there eluded him. On a typical occasion, he'd have known but in his heavy thoughts he'd been completely oblivious. Turning, his aquamarine hues seem to shine momentarily as he returns a bow of his own, albeit only his head.
Image"...Taima, if I remember correctly." He replied before offering a smile. "No, no we have not. A shame, but yes...I am adapting well. It is still a new setting, but it's nothing beyond that plague of a city, as I see it." He stated, a slight tone of condemnation in his voice...though it was moreso of regards to the hell hole that was Gambit's with its infestation of cruelty, lust, greed, and furthered traits of selfish, evil, and petty characters. "As for questions, they are not so much as inquiries as simple curious wondering. I was simply trying to research the 'Patronus' in a sense. I understand what has been explained to me, but...knowing the history and such does not hurt," He stated with a mild chuckle, and then held a hand out palm upward in simple gesture. "Correct?" He added with a smile.
ImageIf such an expression were possible with her draconic visage, Taima would have smiled at Ziel's words. “A scholar is always welcome within these halls, though it is warriors we are in need of at the moment,” she replied. “Finding both in one is a rare discovery. However, if it is knowledge of the Patronus you seek, this isn't the place I am afraid. While our Library is vast, it is with Sylvire Nasazura that such knowledge is contained,” she explained.
ImageZiel could only perk a brow at her statement regarding 'warriors'. Closing his eyes, he slowly finds himself righting to his feet. A soft brush of his hands down his sides to straighten his outfit, his deep eyes reopened with a smile upon his lips.
Image"A scholar, I can be. I hold plenty of knowledge, though not of Terra I will admit. But, you also see before you a more than talented warrior. It may be difficult to come across a being that carries both traits here, if that is what you say, but it is not impossible..." He stated with a mild bow, and a soft chuckle. Leaning back to his height, he tilted his head and placed a finger upon the corner of his mouth.
Image"Hn, perhaps I shall request to see such articles, if she allows it. My curiosity hasn't been peaked yet. Though I am mildly content with what I've read, there is still more to it, I am sure. Such as this opposing group known as...Orsa of Terminus? I believe that is what Natalie explained to me. The information is more than just for interests. Whereas I can be a very potential warrior, holding information on both sides whilst being a warrior can expound upon what I am initially, and craft me into an exceptionally knowledgeable warrior, one who holds the facts and the history. That...in its own can pave the way for what I, as a warrior, can expect." He finished with a nod.
ImageTaima merely inclined her head as she took in Ziel's words. Taima herself wasn't exactly a being of many words, but Ziel seemed to talk more than enough for the both of them. Not that she minded.
Image“Our knowledge of the enemy is unfortunately limited at the moment. Though they have till this point displayed one critical weakness. An inability to cooperate,” she explained. “Do you know what it is I seek to accomplish here?” she asked after a pause.
ImageZiel found himself blinking in absolute silence for a moment before then a small smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. "An inability to cooperate? Isn't that typical of such fiendish beings? I could have easily told you that without even knowing of them. All evil, no matter how 'jointed' it may be in a cause...always finds itself nipping at the heads of each other...much like that fiendish hell hound from...what is it? Earth's simple stories?" He began, severely butchering the planet's name...making it sound akin to that of the hearing device on most being's craniums. "That creature known as...Cerberus? The hound of hell that guarded the gates? Though it was one body it still, with its savage heads, attacked one another..." He explained, and than waved his hands dismissively. "I am sure you understand without explanation." He stated, offering a grin. Though she had him taken in a stupefied manner with her inquiry.
Image"...Pardon? Explain a bit further. I can list several possibilities for your presence. Of course, on being within the Patronus, you wish to protect this world. I see you as a mentor for that young one as well. There are several reasons. Though, your presence here in the Library can be for several things." He stated with a chuckle.
ImageTaima inclined her head once more at his words. “Indeed,” was all the reply she gave to his brief side-story. The dragonborn had a near infinite supply of patience, and was unhurried with the pace of the conversation. “I will not see us suffer the same failing as the Orsa of Terminus. Those you find here, share a common desire, and they are learning to work together and to trust in one another,” she explained, with a gesture of her hand towards the doorway she entered from, implying the temple as a whole. “To compliment our strengths, and to cover for each others' weaknesses. A formidable fighting unit.” she continued before pausing.
Image“We cannot know what the Orsa of Terminus has in store, but we do know that it won't be overcome alone. I seek warriors who fight smart, rather than relying on raw power. I have a feeling that Natalie was wise in bringing you to us. It will be dark soon, but tomorrow morning, we shall see what you are capable of, if you would oblige,” she finished as her eyes leveled on Ziel's own.
ImageZiel slowly found himself bowing once again in respect, before rising and giving a nod of his head to her words.
Image"Most definitely. I see much promise. I've kept my eyes open, and I've seen those whom have been here as wonderful assets, though I may not know them personally yet." He softly stated and then smiled. "I am glad that Natalie did choose to send me this way, I believe it is a new purpose now that my last has exhuasted." He softly added, and then nodded. "A new day, and a new set of tasks at hand. I am more than willing." He stated with a beaming smile.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Daimayo and Tiko)

ImageKento’s gloved hands gripped the bellows firmly, the blacksmith giving a small noise of exertion as he began to heat the flames of the open forge further. The coals flared and fire leapt up, sparks occasionally escaping the furnace and landing on the man’s bare arms or chest, although they were ignored – his forge grew uncomfortably hot when he heated the special metal that was now slowly being softened amongst the coals, and he was used to the occasional fleck of fire attempting to interrupt the heating process.
ImageThe apprentice Patronus released the bellows, wiping his thick gloves on the tough trousers that he wore... he looked at the blade with satisfaction – it was beginning to glow a dull orange. Soon it’d be hot enough for Taima to begin to teach him.
ImageAs the blade in the blacksmith's hands grew hotter the coals around it grew cooler, almost as if the blade itself was drawing on the heat of its surroundings, glowing redder by the moment. With Taima's aid, not only could the metal be heated faster, the heat could be contained until she released it, unaffected by the cooling touch of the surrounding air.
ImageLooking at his master, and entirely aware of his own shirtless status, he laughed to himself. “You don’t look uncomfortable... and Alair could grip the metal of the blade with a bare hand and not feel too warm. I think that I am slightly jealous of the different varieties of dragon-blooded. It seems like it would make my job much easier.” The man grinned as he used a pair of heavy tongs to turn the blade over. “It should be hot enough, I think.”
ImageTaima stood at Kento's back, towering over the blacksmith as he worked, seemingly unfazed by the stifling heat of the room. "Mind over matter, nothing more," she replied gruffly as she ignored the building temperatures.
ImagePassing a piece of parchment to him, she moved to rest a hand on his shoulder, a firm reminder of the importance of the next task. “Not a line out of place,” she stated before moving back to give him room to work on the engravings. The air was thick not just with the heat and smoke of the blacksmith's work, but with the unmistakable charge of magic.
ImageKento took the parchment in his free hand, looking at it... He’d studied the runes somewhat before, but still could not glean the meaning of the parchment at a glance. Taking out his smallest carving tool, he held the metal needle close and took the hilt of his blade in hand, moving it away from the fire.
ImageFortunately Kento had some time before his prized weapon cooled, but he knew that even the slightest mistake would result in hours of work lost as he would be forced to re-layer and reform the entire section of the blade. Inhaling, he leaned over his weapon and began to slowly work.
ImageThe needle slid into the metal weapon with some difficulty, and Kento bit his lip habitually as he worked... His hand was steady, and slowly but surely the runes began to form vertically along the weapon, perfect copies of the parchment’s designs. Every so often the weaponsmith was forced to straighten, the heat of the metal blistering against the hand that he designed with, but his persistence was beginning to pay off.
ImageAs Kento worked, the low guttural growl of Taima's incantations filled the air. For all the effort and precision Kento was putting into the engravings, Taima likewise dedicated all of her abilities and focus into the delicate weaving of the spell that would infuse the runic carvings with the appropriate enchantments.
ImageMinutes bore on into hours and as each rune was etched into the blade, the words seemed to grow more fervent and heated. It was a rare moment for the dragonborn to display weariness, but the taxing nature of the sheer complexity of the enchantment left her taxed and her voice ragged.
ImageThe completed runes began to light up, one after the other as the spell progressed, until in almost flawless synchronization Kento struck the final blow and the last of the runes flared to life.
ImageThe heat would be near unbearable by this point, driving Kento back as the runes grew hotter. The heat from the blade seemed drawn to them until the thin red glow of the engravings etched across the blade were all that remained heated.
ImageSo many enchantments contained within one weapon was no easy feat, and if not for the final rune binding them into inactivity it likely would have resulted in a catastrophic clash of magic as they all lit up in synchronization. But as the magic was forced back into inactivity, the runes dulled, leaving the five enchantments suppressed and waiting to be unlocked.
ImageAs the last rune began to glow, Kento barely managed to keep from dropping the blade, setting it down and quickly stepping back as the heat grew too intense for him to even stand near the weapon. Looking at Taima, her outwardly calm nature reassured him that the immense heat was to be expected and he lowered his arms, glancing at the tool in his hand and finally tossed away the metal needle... He could tell that the magical heat had ruined the tool beyond repair.
ImageSlowly the runes began to dull, and the weaponsmith pulled his gloves more tightly on his hands as he approached while the heat reached levels that he could bear. Making a small noise of effort he lifted the blade, hands shaking slightly as he carefully set it into the vat of cool water, steam coiling around his arms and a sharp hissing noise drowning out the roar of the furnace.
ImageHalf an instant later Kento threw off the thick leather gloves and plunged his own hands into the vat with a second, more quiet hiss accompanying the action. Looking at his heavily scalded hands, he swallowed. “Ow.”
ImageUnderneath the water, the runes still glowed slightly as the blade cooled... he looked down at it through the clear liquid with a smile. They had done it. The realization that his weapon had become magically powerful filled him with pride, both at his own efforts, and the understanding of the trust that Taima was placing in him. He looked at his mentor with a wide smile. “Master Taima... I don’t know if I’ve thanked you for this.”
ImageHe wanted to take his hands from the vat, but the notion of letting them leave the water was daunting. “All of it. I know that I’ve entered a world far more dangerous than the one that I came from, but ... you know, I think that I want nothing more than to be able to serve the same cause as you. I’m very, very grateful.” Perhaps he was rambling, but the blacksmith didn’t mind the distraction from the reddened skin.
ImageTaima took a few raspy breaths, steadying herself as her strength began to return. Though it would be a time still before she recovered from the toll the past hours had taken on her. Stepping forward she took Kento's wrist in her grasp, to roll his hand over to get a look at it, though she kept it submerged as she did so. A brief grunt was the only sound she offered as she took note of his scalded skin.
ImageShe took in the rest of his words with a sort of detached stoicism, offering an incline of her head in acknowledgment, but little more. Such was the way with her lately. She spared occasional words of encouragement, but as time went on she seemed to grow more and more aloof from the rest of the group. Everything she did was with care and to prepare them for the coming trials, but she couldn't afford to allow them to become emotionally dependent on her.
Image“I need to recuperate, I will send Parlina to see to your hands,” she said as she moved back. Much as it had weeks ago when she took Kento to learn how to use the Hunter's Javelin, a heavy weight seemed to hang over Taima's words as she departed from the room.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Daimayo and Imehal)

ImageIt had not taken long for the dragonborn warrior to find the cheerful druid for she had been in a usual place, spying Taima's advance from her beautiful oak tree's branches. Her smile did not waiver even when informed that Kento needed healing, beginning to clamber down the branches until she could drop to the snow-covered floor, waving at their leader before disappearing off to the smithy with a second glance back when she thought the dragonborn was not looking.
ImageParlina's breathing was a little short on account of the swift pace she had set, pushing open the door with a cheerful shove. Though clearly not expecting the intense heat behind the smithy's door, she overcame her surprise quickly, looking rueful as she finally saw Kento beside the little vat of water, waving needlessly.
Image“Sir Kento, what have you done to yourself this time?” she teased, spirits taking form around her as she made her way over to him. It was rare to be tending to one of her allies outside of training and thus she was intrigued to what they had been doing, silently being told of the residual magic as she approached.
ImageThe young blacksmith looked rather embarassed, his hands still deep inside the relatively cool waters of the vat as he glanced back at the druidess. "Oh, you know. My hands were a bit cold so I decided to warm them up. The usual." He'd tried, after Taima had left, to take his hands out at least long enough to put a shirt back on for Parlina's sake, but even twitching the now-red fingers had been enough to keep him where he was. It was probably for the best anyway; the forge was still extremely hot, the air making it slightly difficult to breathe at times.
ImageShifting to the side Kento raised his hands slightly out of the water, looking at Parlina. "Maybe we should do this out in the cool air, where I can keep these out of the water for long enough?" Not to mention that it'd be more comfortable for both of them.
ImageA thin sheen of sweat had already begun to settle across Parlina's skin, clothed in furs and leather that in here made her feel rather stifled, chuckling at Kento's attempt at an explanation. "Was that before or after you did magical stuff with Sir Taima?" she replied smoothly, reaching out her fingers to press against his scalded palms, spirits settling around the injuries, urging them to take the edge of the pain away.
Image"I agree, the heat will do them no good. Come on then!" Parlina said, wrapping a little hand around one of his wrists to pull Kento towards the door without waiting for permission. The shift from oppressive heat into sub zero temperatures was a shock to all beings, Parlina being no exception to this, scattering snow all across the floor as her feet tapped against stone floor, weaving through the little corridors until they came into the main area of the temple.
ImageIt was cool enough in here to mean that Kento's hands would not feel discomfort and that he would not freeze to death with no shirt on outside in the snow. Parlina grinned across at him as she gestured for him to take a seat on the floor, crossing her legs as she sat beside him and holding out her hands - palms facing upwards - for Kento to place his upon.
Image"I'll fix you up in no time, but you'll need to be careful with your hands afterwards. They'll still be tender to touch," Parlina advised, tone cheerful as always. All within the temple knew that she never really adopted a serious outlook unless the omni-present happiness was driven right out of her.
ImageSmiling as the pain in his hands momentarily left him, Kento let the eager druidess lead him outside, willingly following her into the cool air. As he looked around outside, the blacksmith was surprised at how late it had gotten. The sun was beginning to dip dangerously close to the horizon... had he really been working with Taima on his sword for that long? In the effort to get the enchantments finished he'd not realized how much time had passed. Shaking his head, Kento focused on Parlina again as she talked.
ImageNodding at her warning Kento sat in front of her, feeling his skin start to cool down in the cool air... he knew that if he stayed outside for too long he'd quickly grow cold, but for now it was a far better option than the heat of the forge. Hesitating for only a second, Kento placed his hands on hers, feeling her cooler skin touching the sensitive burns; despite the contact, it didn't hurt. The man was comfortable while she started to work her magic on him.
ImageSpirits appeared around their joined hands and Parlina smiled throughout as they deftly worked to heal the damaged skin, restoring Kento's hands fully with instruction from the druid, who herself was watching the blacksmith with a startling intensity. It seemed like all that mattered in the world in those seconds was him and healing. Only when the spirits retreated and the glow had faded completely did she relax her gaze, pleased.
ImageParlina turned over Kento's hands carefully to reveal freshly healed skin where there had only been seared flesh before. Fingers closed around his palms, glancing up at him with relief and trepidation. A time would soon come where she would be healing her allies in less comfortable surroundings and these moments would become rarer. Aquamarine eyes flashed peridot, revealing her discomfort but she said nothing of it; those thoughts were not for moments like this, pushing Kento's hands back towards him.
Image"... I... What were you making with Sir Taima, Sir Kento?" Parlina asked as she leant forward so that there was only a little space between their faces. Her interest was genuine despite her troublesome thoughts, hands firmly planted on her knees to balance herself.
ImageKento leaned slightly back as she moved forward, the young man feeling his cheeks flush yet again. Parlina had a way of making him like that... awkward, as if he were a lot younger than he was. Trying not to stammer, the young blacksmith replied, "Er.. we .. were just working on my sword. It's got a few magical properties now." The sword itself was still cooling underwater, so he couldn't show it to her. Perhaps another time. "Since I can't cast any magic like you can, I needed Taima to help me work magic into the sword itself." Kento smiled. "Otherwise I can't really contend with you guys, can I?"
ImageThe entire time that he talked Kento was aware of the pain in his hands rapidly diminishing, until all the man felt was a slight amount of tightness with the newly-knit skin. The blacksmith flexed his hands; They felt good... He should think of a way to repay Parlina for all of the times she'd healed him - Kento was noticing a disturbing trend of his, to get injured in any practice or skirmish that he was involved with. He hoped that the trend wouldn't continue when they finally joined the battle, or there may not be much left for the druidess to heal one day.
Image"Parlina, uh..." He bit his tongue. Just ask her. What are you, a child again? "Sometime, I'd like to visit you in your tree. You've healed me so many times, but I don't know much about you, do I? It's not a great way to thank you, but I wouldn't mind being able to see you one of these times without it involving you needing to magic me back into wellness."
Image"What do you mean you can't contend with us? I need to get you a mirror or something so you can see yourself fight against Sir Alair and everyone!" Parlina chided, passing off his flush as a reaction to the colder temperature. Her eyes were bright and staring straight at his, meaning every word she was uttering. "You're good Kento and that sword will just make you better prepared to do what we're training for."
ImageKento's opinion of his abilities because of his lack of magic often made Parlina huff and puff, just as she was doing now, opening her mouth to deflect away from that matter and ask what they had done to improve the sword when her name was spoken. Curiosity shifted from weapon to man, impatiently waiting until he continued and gave her reason to pause.
ImageIf he ever thought he had to repay her for anything she had ever done to help him get stronger... Silly Kento, Parlina thought, grinning though it seemed hollow; more forced. No one else had asked about her. The others were concerned with her philosophies, good nature and abilities, and that suited Parlina just fine. This request, whilst a pleasant idea, made her unsure of herself in a manner that she did not like.
Image"... I..." Divine, now she was stumbling over her words! Besides, this was Kento; he was her friend and most certainly not... a spy. Though, if Parlina thought about it, he'd make a fantastic spy. No one would think twice about...
Image"You're rambling child."
ImageOh. So she was. Parlina blinked, stunned before beaming up at Kento, preparing to ask a question that she had not dared ask anyone here yet. "I... I can trust you, can't I? Not that I don't of course, but..."
ImageThe druid laughed nervously, waving away her words as if they were spoken in a fit of madness. Please let him not press. "He will." "What do you want to know, Kento?" The dropping of the 'sir' was rare, but not uncommon. "And just so you know, you can come visit me whenever you like!"
ImageThe blacksmith laughed in response. "Hah, I'll keep that in mind. As to what I'd like to know..." The man paused, considering what he'd wanted to know about the girl the most. "Well, maybe for starters - how did you get involved in the Patronus? Did Taima find you too? I know that you are aware of how I joined - heck, you were there - but I keep getting the impression that you're almost as new to the group as I am. Are you?"
ImageKento adjusted to get more comfortable, curious about her wondering if she could trust him; there was more to the druidess than met the eye. "You can trust me you know. Or just not answer... I've just wondered about you, because .. er." He hesitated. "Well, you're pretty fantastic, in my opinion." Oh gods. You're like a teenager.
ImageParlina let comfortable silence fall, her smile returning at his laughter as anxiousness faded away. Whilst her presence made Kento act awkwardly, he seemed to only exacerbate any giddy joy that the druid held within her, which served to make the blacksmith worse. It was a bizarre little circle they travelled in obliviously.
ImageHis compliment brought a grin to her lips, clearly flattered and pleased. "Thank you. You're quite brilliant yourself!" Her tirade earlier about just how wonderful he was had not quite covered all that Parlina thought about Kento. Best to leave some things in silence, especially after that talk with Taima.
ImageNo matter had happened in the past, those that numbered Parlina's allies these days were so much more than that. Friends and loyal ones to boot. Aliana had nothing to say to that, and so Parlina turned her attention back to the questions.
Image"Have I really never talked about that?" she questioned softly, bemused. "How new I am entirely depends on perspective. There were others before me, Lady Dallas - whom Sir Taima is still very fond of - who was a lovely lady... indeed, the one who first introduced me to our leader. I passed that off as pleasant coincedence until Sir Taima came across me again in the mountains; I don't like cities very much, you see. Then she said we were sure to meet again. At the time, I just took the words to be that of someone of whom I would cross paths in terms of preferred surroundings. Of course, I was quite wrong!"
ImageParlina was happily going to talk off Kento's ear unless interrupted, clearly very into the swing of telling this expansive tale.
ImageKento nodded with a grin as he began to listen to the druidess' tale. It would be some time before the pair would stop chatting to one another, and the walk home for the blacksmith would be by moonlight when the two finally realized what time it had become.

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Tiko and Imehal)

ImageTaima stood overlooking a rocky ravine. As she often found herself these days, the dragonborn warrior was lost in thought. Visions of the future plagued her mind, but they were too shadowed in uncertainty to be discernable. The future was an ever changing place, and even the stone of visions could not bring clarity to what lay ahead.
ImageIt was with a heavy heart that Taima had summoned Parlina to her. The druid was still so very young to be entrusted with the weight of such a burden. However, she herself had been hardly older than Parlina when she first took up arms in pursuit of a greater path, and she had not had the guidance and support that Parlina had in her companions. Taima had faith in the decision she was making this day. And so she waited.
ImageA few paces from Taima rested the Nature's Guardian; the artifact that the priestess, Dallas Reiger, had entrusted into her care. It was an unusual circumstance to see her outside of the temple without it on her person, but for the moment the leather suit of armor rested neatly atop a large rock.
ImageTheir leader had been growing steadily more distant of late, and it had become so obvious that even Alair had noted the peculiar behaviour. Parlina had told him not to fret about it. Hypocrite, she admonished silently. Surely the dragonborn should be getting more involved as time went on, rather than less? The Divine had never let her down; it was infallible where people were not. Even those she idolised - Taima, Joseph - could fall prey to fault. Which meant although she tried to put the extended absences down to needing space from the rest of the group, Parlina knew that things were never that simple.
ImageAnd then there was the summons. The implications were impossible to discern; the spirits could tell her nothing useful, for although they were old beings, they knew nothing of foresight. It was only as Parlina arrived at the place where Taima waited that worst fears came to the forefront, colouring the druid's eyes aquamarine in an instant.
ImageThe artefact was sitting on a rock, away from the dragonborn. Parlina felt her ability to resist the urge to panic wane, as little green sparks flitted over to Taima. "You're not going away are you?" she said, fear making her voice a whisper in the silence.
ImageTurning to face Parlina, Taima would have smiled upon seeing the young druid's expression, had such a thing been possible with her draconic visage. The intention did reach her eyes however.
Image“Be at ease, I'm not going anywhere,” Taima instructed. “But there comes a time when our burdens must be passed to younger generations to carry on in our stead.” She paused a moment to give Parlina time to process the implication.
ImageParlina remembered this speech well, but forced herself to ask the necessary questions. Understanding did not come from stubborn denial; it came only from satisfying curiosity, even if that meant asking the difficult questions. "I see. Why now?" Pausing to wrap her fingers around her pendant, Parlina realised that whilst she had asked the right question, the most important had yet to be spoken. "Why me?"
ImageTaima listened somberly to Parlina's questions before replying. “Do you remember the day we sought out Kento?" Taima asked. "I'm no longer in my prime, and this task we have been entrusted with is far too important to risk. But you, you're just entering yours. You're young, but your heart is strong and I know it will carry you far in this world.”
ImageHow could she ever forget? It had been one of the first times that Parlina had seen the dragonborn wounded in combat. Before then she had viewed Taima as infallible, though that was an impossibility. Thereafter Parlina worried after her often, even when there was no need.
ImageParlina thought of arguing the cases of Ziel or Rynhart; their suitability for this mantle clearer than her own. Her age was a factor, surely? Morality often overrruled logic in her judgements. Taima could not force her to accept she knew, but was refusal an option, given that all she had sought was recognition from the dragonborn? There was no higher show of trust from Taima than this.
Image"So instead of the able hands of an older, but veteran warrior you place it in the hands of a young, inexperienced child?" There was no heat or truth to the words. Parlina was a child in age, but hardly inexperienced. Barely into adulthood, she had endured much and come out stronger. "I don't want to let you down. I might!"
ImageTaima moved to lay her hands on Parlina's shoulders, looking down at her. “I have faith in your abilities, and we fight together. When the time comes, I will be there at your side, as I was for the priestess. We all will be. But in war, hard choices have to be made. And these artifacts, they are more important than any of our lives. Should that time come, it is the young ones that need to survive to carry on the war. Never forget that. The day will arrive when you too will have to bow to the weight of time.”
ImageParlina felt most like a child at times like these. They had fought alongside each other, trusting and bringing victory. In some ways she was equal, yet there were years between them, both in age and experience. "I only hope that when I have to pass it down that I can choose as wisely as you." That was as close as Parlina was going to get to verbal acceptance. The artefact was a great boon to her abilities; not having to worry about pointed steel would be reassuring.
Image"I worry I'll make the wrong choices or worse that I'll make the right ones and I won't forgive myself," Parlina explained softly, looking upwards at the one whom she regarded as a parent. Guidance was what she sought now. "I... I'm not great with responsibility."
ImageTaima's heart went out to the young druid, to be put in such a position. But she knew Parlina had it in her to find the strength for the tasks ahead. “Trust in your heart, and look to the future. You will choose wisely I'm sure.”
Image“You will face hardships, and you will face loss, that is inevitable. Just remember, we all share a common goal and every one of us is willing to make whatever sacrifices must be made to reach that goal. Do not let doubts stop you from doing what is necessary to see that our cause will survive to fight another day.”
ImageTrust in the future had brought Parlina here to a life that felt right; that felt hers. People had once wanted to stifle her natural abilities, but here she flourished - here was home. And so it was not with arrogance that Parlina believed every word that Taima spoke was truth, but experience. This felt right; terrifying but right. To try and never regret the choices made had been a hard lesson for a fifteen year old to learn but one she had understood over time.
ImageAnd so she would trust her allies and in promises made that they would succeed. The alternative was unacceptable. "I will. I mean, I will do what needs to be done. Hardship and loss... They try and break you, but as long as you can stand up, battered and bruised though you maybe, and walk away, you can fight another day."
ImageTaima inclined her head in a brief nod. "Come. I'll teach you how to use it,” she offered with a nod of her head towards the armor as she let her hands fall away from Parlina's shoulders. With the serious and somber moment past, it was time to see to the present.

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#, as written by Tiko
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