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Arkana

"You think you can handle this? Just remember, I'm Top Cat around here."

0 · 444 views · located in Charmeil

a character in “Silence of Wings”, as played by Cheshire Kitten

Description

Name: Arkana, also known as Ark or Kitten

Physical Age: 17

Actual Age: 162 1/2

Height: 5' 9"

Weight: 115

Species: Feline

Appearance: Image

Personality/Bio : Kitten may look young but she's been around for quite some time and has developed a very deadly set of skills. She is a master knife thrower and never goes anywhere without at least 6 knives strapped to her person. She is a master of all forms of long range weaponry, including archery. Rumor has it she has bows and quivers hidden all over the world in case of emergency. She uses fire magic and is said to have trained in a volcano to raise her heat resistance. She also has a strange addiction to string and is very easily distracted by it.

Magic: Fire

So begins...

Arkana's Story

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Kitten prowled the rooftops of Wolvenport. They were her favorite place to be in the entire city. She was able to see the entire city and the surrounding country, the buildings were tall enough that the average canine couldn't reach her without being shot dead and they were close enough together that the could easily go from one to the other. Also the height let her get above the smell of canine that seemed to hang over the whole city. She didn't like being in the city but it was the safest place for her now and for the moment she could just enjoy scorching the little puppy dogs' tails.

That was until she saw it, an older canine was knitting but she couldn't be sure just what was being made because she was so focused on the ball of yarn. She climbed down the face of the building she had perched on, face first and walked straight towards the elderly canine, ignoring the low growls she got from other canine that saw her. She approached the knitter and said "Excuse me ma'am, but would you be able to part with that ball of yarn, I can pay you for it." She was so focused on the string that she barely heard the old woman's reaction. Something about if she wanted it, she could have it. Yes! The old woman was going to give it to her, at least that was what she thought until she saw her treasure go flying away! She immediately gave chase, focusing on nothing but the yarn, not even the canines that had started chasing her.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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  • AESKA VALAMIINUM

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aeska smiled as she breathed in the salty air. Her mind wandered to the news that had rocked her world. An Exulum, of all things. She had felt different, but looked the same as most Caniin. Now, though, she was an Exulum. Sent off to a remote camp where she'd probably learn a bunch of boring crap. Without even trying, Aeska morphed into her canine form. A large black wolf stood in place of the girl, and she barked excitedly.

Running down the crowded cobblestone street, she dashed face-first into a sprinting cat. She snarled in surprise and anger, and barked as a bunch of other dogs closed in. As they dashed off, Aeska sighed. She would miss her high position here. Most of the dogs paid attention to what she said, and a good portion of those respected her enough to obey.

She sat in front of the cat, waiting for some explanation. Morphing back into a human, she looked at the cat-like creature in front of her. "Don't even try to magic me, kitty." Aeska said, getting ready to defend herself with her own shadow magic if needed.

"Fire, I'm guessing? You look like a fire user." Aeska had an odd skill of telling what magic someone could use. She sat back and waited for a response from the cat. She picked up the ball of yarn the cat had been chasing. She smiled. A cat; chasing yarn through a city full of dogs.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Kitten dashed down the street, she could hear the dogs chasing after her but she paid them no mind, they would never catch her anyways. She darted in between various obstacles chasing the yarn wherever it went. She just barely had enough time to notice a strangely clad creature in her periphery that smelled strongly of the sea before she slammed headlong into something big, black, and with surprisingly soft fur. She sat on the ground, a bit dazed, her eyes searching for the yarn. When her vision finally cleared she found the ball in the hand of a Canine. (Great.) she thought to herself (Just what I needed, another dog.).

She brushed the dust off of her dress and sat back on her heels, using her tail for balance. She looked up and spoke to the girl that had stopped her though her eyes never left the yarn. "Me, magic you? I wouldn't dream of it, darling." She really hadn't been planning on using magic, she planned to use her superior speed and climbing ability to snatch the yarn and run but the girl didn't look like she was letting go of it without a fight so in the meantime she would just use her charm to get it. "You sure do have an eye for these things. You're right I am a fire user." She flicked her tail back and forth biding her time. Her ears were perked, listening to everything around her and she had noticed that the pack that was chasing her were gone. "Where did the puppies go? I thought they wanted to play with me."

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Kitten was confused, very confused. There was something...different about this Canine and she wanted to know more. " Those puppies wouldn't hurt me, mostly because thy'd all be ashes if they tried." Ark stood up just in time to hear the Canine say something about mange, steaks, and pipes before she threw the ball of yarn to her. Ark caught it without a second thought and immediately began twining it around her hands. She loved nothing more than the feel of yarn on her skin. The Canine walked away and Arkana followed. "Good day to you as well but I hope you don't think I'll be going away that easily. And it's Kitten not kitty, Kitten." Ark could feel the warmth steadily increasing around her and could tell where the Canine was headed without even looking. It was the only warm buliding in this whole freezer of a city, the Pavillion.

Since Ark was not an Exulum, or at least she hoped she wasn't, she waited outside and played with her yarn while the Canine went and got her scaly thingy. When she came back out she was carrying a little silver scaly thingy on her shoulder. "Ooh, what a cutiie, you sure do know how to pick 'em that's for sure. I've seen some scaly thingies in my day and boy were they uh-gly, but yours what a looker and such lovely scales." She leaned in and took a whiff of the dragon but instantly recoiled. "Too bad he already smells like dog. No offense."

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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#, as written by Pazeem
Whatever replies the Caniin, he had asked about equipment and clothing for an ocean voyage gave, were ignored with the strange black Caniin and the Feline had their brief exchange and then the black Caniin headed for the Pavillion.
The cloaked person moved slightly to track the movements of the black Caniin and slowly followed. The figure still kept its distance, though.

When the Caniin went inside the looming building, the figure moved to the side of the street and stopped, facing directly towards the Pavillion. When the two emerged from within, the figure approached at a determined, brisk pace. About ten feet away, the figure stopped. There was a wet gurgle and the veil covering the face grew damp.

"You. Looks like you are pathed to leave this place. Do you have the means to do so? I wish to leave. I need the means," the unnatural voice stated matter of factly, with the clear subtext that the robed figure expected nothing to stand in the way of a joint venture away from Wolvenport.

The Feline was completely ignored.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Ark grinned, she had been hoping for an adventure and this Exulum looked like she was going to have an interesting life ahead of her. Her last adventure had been when she was only a child, barely 60 years old. Even if by some miracle the Exulum wasn't going on an adventure she was sure that the spirit they were traveling with had some interesting tales to tell. Kitten's senses were highly tuned to the living and the dead and she was so sure that the strangely robed figure accompanying them was a spirit she'd stake her nine lives on it. She strolled happily towards the pier, yarn swinging freely "I would love to come to Virentia with a pair of cuties like you." She looked back at the strange figure and wondered just how she was going to get him to tell his stories, namely the story of just where did he find that body? She smiled at him "My mistake, I meant a trio of cuties like you."

When they arrived at the ship she began twirling the yarn. She let out a whistle "Boy, you sure do know how to pick a ship" When she saw the sailors running about on deck she couldn't help but tease them "If you boys make sure everything's nice and sturdy up there I'm sure I can find some way to reward you." She grinned and gave a small twirl making her dress billow gently.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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#, as written by Pazeem
"I have what I need. My shape... is what it is. I will accompany you," the figure replied to the Exulum's offer. It wasn't a question. It wasn't a request. It was a statement of fact.
And accompany them, the figure did. Each footstep still made a slightly wet squishy sound, though the wetness and the volume decreased, the more they walked.
When they reached the ship, the figure also paused and evidently appraised the ship.
A limp-wristed hand rose to draw the veil back for a second, once more revealing the face of what was looking more and more like a recently drowned person, rather than anything that should be moving about on its own.
When opportunity presented itself, the figure would board the ship, find a quiet corner out of the way and go limp.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Kitten walked about on deck, ducking in between the sailors as the ran about their business. She gave some of them an occasional smile and laughed to herself as their faces turned red as beets. The crew seemed to be made up of mostly Canines and humans but she had yet to see the captain. It didn't bother her though the crew all seemed like good, honest men and once again she was happy with the Exulum's choice of ship. She walked to the front of the ship and stared at the sea, already bored with her little game and thought to herself (The Exulum, I should probably learn her name, I can't keep calling her that forever. She knows my nickname but I should tell her and the Spirit my real name. Speaking of the Spirit I should get his name too, and his stories.) She began looking for the Spirit in between the sailor but she couldn't see him. She saw the dragon scamper by and run off somewhere but she didn't pay him much attention.

When the Exulum came out of the cabin Ark called to her. "Hey! I don't think we were ever formally introduced." She offered a perfectly manicured hand wrapped in string. "My name's Arkana, or Ark for short but most people just call me Kitten. Have you seen the thrid member of our party? I kind of lost track of him after we boarded." She continued to twirl the string around her tail but she no longer chewed on it. It had been splashed with seawater when she was boarding and it tasted like salt now. She didn't like the ocean much but she loved to travel and besides being on dragon-back a boat was the fastest way. Her tail flicked back and forth like it always did when she thought about traveling. Whatever the future held in store for her and her companions she was ready for it.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Ark strode around on deck, walking comfortably even though the ship was moving. She used her claws to dig in to the wood with every step, keeping her safely anchored no matter how badly the ship rocked. She stepped out of the way as some crates slid by, lost in thought. (Aeska Valaminum, she was sure she had heard that name somewhere before but she couldn't quite place it at the moment.) The little dragon scuttled by, he seemed to be enjoying his time on the ship. She smiled as he passed by and she turned her attention back to the task at hand. Finding her strange friend and introducing herself. She wished she had learned his name before because now she just sounded silly when she called out "Helloo, Mysterious Stranger where are you? I need to talk to you for just a moment, I promise it won't take long...Hello?" She got no response to her call and he was still nowhere to be found. (He couldn't have gone too far, he's got to be somewhere on this boat.)

Since she couldn't locate him anywhere on deck she decided to search below. She chose to start from the bottom of the ship and work her way up. When she finally got down to the cargo hold it was dark, cold, and stank of the sea; to her it seemed like the perfect place for the mysterious stranger to hide. He didn't seem like much of a social butterfly and this was probably the most solitary place on the ship. She got on top of the nearest crate and called again "Yoo hoo! Anybody down here? I just want to talk to you, swearsies." When she again got no reply she sat down on the crate and pouted. (What would it take to get him to come out? She had tried being cute and charming and that obviously wasn't working. Intimidation only worked when the person was right in front of you and she didn't even have the first clue as to where he was.) She sat there and thought, and thought, and thought...until she got tired of thinking so she played with her string some more.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil
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#, as written by Pazeem
The corpse that had been slumped on the floor twitched. Behind the veil of the body that had been limp on the deck planks, like a discarded stack of clothes, the one good eye snapped open once more. The other eye had been nibbled on by fish at some earlier point in time and wasn't really working. Hence his attempt to locate another, more suitable vessel. Unfortunately, he hadn't been able to detect any available corpses aboard the ship. It would come. Sea voyages usually claimed a percentage of the crew. Clever captains used to calculate this loss, when hiring.
There had been a couple of deceased rats in the bilge, but he didn't feel like being a rodent again. Especially not with a cat on board. Getting eaten was a traumatic experience. Even if you 'survived' it.
As far as he remembered, his present state and its advanced age should enable possession of even living bodies, but he hadn't been able to so far. Perhaps it would manifest later.

The figure stirred from its collapsed position and rose to its feet. The one called Ark had been calling.
There was a raspy sputter as the last of the sea water from several fathoms below the floating city was expelled.
"Over here," the unnatural voice called out, just as he turned in the general direction of where the Feline had sat down.

"I am here," he added, stating the obvious, which rather annoyed him, but he remembered how the trappings of polite interaction called for that, from time to time.

"You are Ark, Arkana. Called Kitten. And you wish to talk. Valid theory is that you wish to know what to call me, besides 'mysterious stranger'. You may call me Penny. It's not my name, but it is very likely that someone like you would garble my name into the aforementioned appellation. I see no need to delay that process."

The robed figure starting picking the bits of cloth apart. Several of them were fresh from the laundry. In fact, most of them had been pilfered from clothes lines along his path from the waterfront to where he had encountered his two new companions.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil
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Just as Kitten was about to give up and head back on deck she heard a familiar, raspy voice call out. She grinned and turned to where the voice had come from and saw her strange companion standing just a short walk away. Instead of walking around all the cargo she decided to take a more direct route. Ark stood and began leaping from crate to crate, landing ever so lightly before springing off again. When she reached the final crate she landed gracefully in a seated position, string falling all around her. She sat and thought for a moment before addressing her new companion. "Penny huh? Well Penny it's very nice to be finally introduced to you and I am very sorry. You see, I thought you were a boy this whole time but now I'm wondering, do Spirits have genders? Since you can inhabit the body of any corpse you can be either male or female. Or do you choose to keep the sex you had when you were alive?"

She didn't wait for an answer, she was rambling now and once she started there was almost nothing that could stop her. "Another thing, can you tell if another spirit is in a corpse or do you see them as just another person and can you take a corpse when another spirit is in it or do you guys have to share? Or do you have to fight the other spirit for control of the body? Last question, when and how did you die?" She sat and twirled the yarn around her fingers and waited for her answers. It never once occurred to her that she might have been speaking too fast for anyone to keep up with.

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#, as written by Pazeem
The disrobing figure, for indeed, it was slowly removing most of the clothes that covered what became apparant was the corpse of someone drowned less than a handful of days ago. Mostly, you could tell by the low degree of bloating. The left eye had been damaged somehow. Actually, fish had begun to eat it, but had been scared off, when the corpse twitched into motion. The right eye was slightly lopsided, but managed to fixate on Kitten.

"I believe I was male, when I died. As far, as I can ascertain from the current almanac, it was around seven hundred years ago, when the spell of a rival killed me. Back then, I had gained some notoriety for conceiving a ward that would turn any magic used against me back on its origin, no later than three moons later. It didn't quite work against the spell that slew me. The net effect being, my spirit was preserved, my body failed. Since then, gender has become no more than a feature to me. Some are blonde, some are ginger, some are male, some are female. I have encountered very few other Spirits in coming here and have never had to contest with one for control of a body. So far, I can only take possession of deceased bodies. That, however, is a power I've had for almost all of my spirit existance. From experience, I have some measure of the ability to recognize the presence of another spirit. It is less than perfect, though."

While speaking, the corpse had disrobed to a loincloth only and once it fell silent, it started to pick out the articles of clothing with more consideration than they had been slapped on, earlier. Getting dressed again, was proving slightly challenging, as the left wrist was broken. The body was male too.

"Now, tell me. When did the Dragons return?"

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Kitten sat silently as the figure spoke and undressed. The more clothes it removed the stronger the scent of death and worse, the ocean, became. She tried not to look nauseous but became harder and harder as the smell grew stronger, she would have to find him a new corpse to inhabit but none of the crew seemed like they deserved to die yet. Maybe they would encounter some pirates and she could get one of their bodies. But that would have to wait, she turned her attention back to the spirit. He was a 'he' but his name was Penny, she would have to inquire about that later. Right now all she could focus on was his age. Over seven hundred years old, and Ark thought she was old. He was almost a millennium old and she hadn't even crossed three centuries yet. She continued to listen as he answered her questions, one by one. His answers were satisfying enough and she nodded as he spoke. He was now almost completely naked and she could see that the body he controlled was newly dead. It had been alive less than a week ago and was only just starting to show signs of decay.

She had a few more questions that she would've liked to ask him but before she could he asked her a question. He asked about the dragons, about their return. She thought it was an odd question, she wasn't around when the dragons disappeared and if her math was correct neither was he but she did remember when she saw her first dragon.

"Well that's kind of a hard question to answer. I can't tell you exactly when the dragons returned, I don't think anyone can but I can tell you when I saw my first dragon. It was a hundred and twenty years ago. I was only forty-two but I remember it like I was eighty-five. I was at the top of this volcano trying to harness my fire magic when suddenly it got hot. Hotter than usual, and I looked up and there was this giant dragon less than forty yards away belching a tongue of flames in my direction. I managed to deflect it with my own magic but I off balanced and fell straight into the volcano. I closed my eyes, expecting death but instead I felt my face hit something soft and I could feel a smooth, warm surface against my right hand and left leg. I opened my eyes to find myself sitting in the dragon's nest, surrounded by eggs. The dragon sat on a rocky outcrop, eyeing me carefully. She didn't]dare breathe fire at me and risk burning her unborn. I took up a-" She blushed and stopped. "Sorry, I was rambling. Anyways as far as I know the dragons came back around a hundred and thirty years or so ago. Why do you want to know?"

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#, as written by Pazeem
Now fully dressed, though actually dressed and not just wearing articles of clothing heaped on haphazardly, he took a moment to look around, staring at the ceiling in the general direction of the stern castle.

"Dragons disappearing was a rather portentous event, according to every source I've ever perused on the subject matter. Their return ought to gain the same attention. I don't recall ever having encountered a live one, when I lived. I had the opportunity to study remains a few times. I think it hardly compares," the odd buzzing of the unnatural voice went on. To anyone paying the slightest attention to the corpse apparantly speaking, the lips were out of sync with the words.

The figure that had identified itself to Kitten as Penny, smoothed a crease in the slightly oversized shirt it was now wearing, adjusted the belt of the tight-fitting pants and took up a cloak and pulled the hood down hard over his face, when the clasp had been fastened.

The corpse looked down on its left wrist and sighed.

"If someone aboard had the means to heal dead bones, it would be of great service to me," the voice muttered, though mostly for the spirit's own benefit.

Turning his attention back to Kitten, Penny tilted his head slightly.

"You took up a...? Please, go on."

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Kitten smiled at Penny, happy to continue her story. He looked much better now that he had properly dressed although by the was he spoke and how he never used his left hand led her to believe that it was broken. She wondered how one would even fix dead bones, do they heal like normal bones because there is a life inside of the body or do they stay dead because the original life was ended. She tucked the question away in her mind and resolved to ask him about it later. For now she continued her story.

"Right, I took up a strategic position in between two of the eggs and tried to reason with the dragon. I'm sorry I fell into your nest, Mrs. Dragon. I didn't know it was down here and I was only trying to practice my magic on the rim of the volcano, not burn your babies. Well the dragon just sat there and stared at me for what seemed like forever and then, she laughed. It was a deep, smooth sound and even though it was pleasant to hear at that time I was scared out of my mind. The dragon said to me Feline, I have looked into your hear and seen that you speak the truth. However I have also seen your skills with fire magic and they are weak. You will never be a great fire mage with skills like those. When she said that, I got upset. I mean, who gave her the right to criticize my magic, if she hadn't interrupted my practice I would've been improving it. But before I could tell her any of that she said This is why I had decided to make you my apprentice. You shall learn all the ways of dragon fire and I shall make you the greatest fire mage that has ever lived. That is, if you so choose to join me. Of course I accepted her offer and I spent the next thirty years studying fire magic and when her eggs hatched they trained with me too until I knew all the secrets of dragon fire."

When she had finished her tale she hopped off of the crate and set fire to her string. It burned brightly, illuminating the cargo hold but she continued to twirl it around her hands, ears and tail not bothered one bit by the flames. "The end. So that's one of my backstories, wanna come with me and hear Aeska's? I'm sure she has some interesting tales to tell."

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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#, as written by Pazeem
He had been listening, though to all outwards appearances, he had tuned her out almost immediately. When she finished her tale with her display of fire magic, the one good eye focused on her with obvious intent, analyzing what happened before it. Both eyes moved rapidly, denoting fierce mental activity.

"I believe you were very fortunate. Most Dragons I have read about have been less inclined to give any aid to people they found in their nest, other than an expedient end. I would very much like to observe your magic further, though not aboard a wooden vessel, upon which we are dependent in the foreseeable future. At some point after disembarking, then."

Once again, he looked up, as if he was trying to see through the planks.

"I will accompany you. I am very keen to hear more about the Dragon, and what Aeska knows about a nest inside a city of Canines."

He grapped a few more shirts and some leggings from the pile and tucked them under the clothes he wore, puffing himself up a bit, to appear more bulky, than he was. He raised his right hand and formed a claw with the fingers. After a few moments of intense staring at them, the head shook lightly, and he simply followed Kitten up on deck.

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Kitten smiled and continued to play with the fiery string. As she walked towards the stairs leading to the upper decks she continued to talk with Penny. "I think I was really lucky too, dragons aren't the most helpful lot, especially to people that threaten their nests but I think that Inara, that was the mother dragon's name by the way, I think she took a liking to me because when I landed in her nest I rubbed against the eggs and I think I started to smell like an egg to her so she went easy on me. Also, I would be more than happy to demonstrate my magic for you Penny, it's been a while since I've had a good reason to use my magic anyways."

As soon as Ark found her way up to the main deck and the smell of seawater hit her nose she became instanlty queasy. She tried to hide it as she scanned the deck for Aeska but now that they were out in open waters it was almost too much for her to bear. Th deck was much less crowded than it had been when they had left the harbor but there were still a few sailors here and there, some were just socializing while others were making sure everything stayed secure. She eventually spotted Aeska not too far off but she couldn't call out, she couldn't even run over there she was feeling so seasick. So she just did her best to gesture to Penny and walk towards Aeska without throwing up. When she reached Aeska's side she gripped the ship's railing and leaned over the side doing her best to speak. "Aeska...stories...dragons...spirits and..and...oh God I hate the ocean." She wrapped the flaming string around her face and tried to breathe the smoke instead of the ocean air.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Ark couldn't stand the smell of the ocean, it wouldn't be so bad if it didn't smell so horribly. She was laying on the Exulum's bed now. Fiery yarn still wrapped around her face, she turned towards the window and instantly regretted it. She retched but managed to keep from vomiting. She mumbled something and put out the fire, it obviously wasn't helping. She turned away from the window and towards Aeska, when she began to feel a bit less...green she removed the yarn from around her face and tried to speak. "Hey Aeska, guess what? I found him." She smiled and attempted to sit up but when her stomach began to protest she lay back down again and decided to just stay there. "Aeska, Penny and I were trading stories and I..." She gagged. "...I was wondering if you had any good ones to tell?" She closed her eyes and tried to focus on the Exulum's voice instead of the churning waters outside.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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Ark passed her tail over her eyes in an effort to block out the swaying motion of the ship. She couldn't dig her claws into Aeska bed to steady herself so she just tried to ignore the movement as much as possible. She kept her ears tuned to the sound of Aeska's voice, she wanted to hear her story about the odd looking bead but she was also trying to keep the sound of water crashing against the hull of the boat out of her ears. Why had she wanted to come on this trip so badly? She couldn't remember at the moment. The ship was so much fun when it was in port, nice and steady. But out here on the waves it was like a nightmare. She wished badly for her home, it was always warm, dry, and best of all immobile.

Thinking about home allowed her a small reprieve from the seasickness and as she was just dreaming about making her favorite lava cake she heard a knock on Aeska's door and a familiar, raspy voice ask for permission to enter. "Let him in, that'll be Penny. I kind of lost him when the seasickness hit but it looks like he found us." She smiled, still covering her eyes with her tail but now instead of daydreaming, she waited for Aeska to begin her story.

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Character Portrait: Arkana Character Portrait: Pendwil Character Portrait: Aeska Valamiinum
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{OOC: No, sorry, I've been away for a week. I'm sorry, again, but hope that you'll still stay on board with this. Now, a story for you!}
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  • AESKA VALAMIINUM
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Aeska nodded and opened the door, letting the figure in. Penny... an odd name for an odd person. Sitting back down, Aeska rubbed the gem with her fingers, recalling the tale. She began to speak in her best storytelling voice, recounting the adventure.

"I had gone to Mount Dioji, the mountain that lies to the north of Wolvenport. There, I had been told lie a great treasure guarded by a beast. However, these were rumors, and only small items like this were proof of anything. They could possibly be from anywhere, so not many believed this.

"I was an adventurer, so I set out to find out if this was true. It took a few days, but I finally reached the giant mountain. The looming peaks didn't seem like much of an easy task, but I began to climb and when I reached the tops, I was rewarded. A large, gaping hole lay in the middle of one of the mountain peaks, and so I traveled to the other peak. Lava bubbled deep below as I gazed down into the supposed treasure trove. Frustrated, I explored the whole mountain and as the twelfth night fell, I came to a small cave in the mountain. I was tired and weary, so I camped inside. The next morning, I lit a torch and explored some of the tunnels at the rear of the cave. Once or twice I hit a gas pocket and my torch exploded, but I went on. Twenty-five torches were used in my search, and the last one burned out just as I found the end to the last tunnel. I didn't light another; there was no need. A golden light flooded the tunnel, but it didn't reach around the bend. I assumed magic, so I treaded more carefully. I stepped towards the opening with bated breath, and I finally saw what rumors had only suggested. A huge pile of treasures lay, light from the lava reflecting down. A huge magical dome kept the lava from pouring in, like glass. Gems and coins of all nations lay in the mountain, proving that there was indeed wealth in the volcano. I looked around and I finally saw the beast. It looked like an elf, any elf you'd seen, except it was quite large. About twelve feet, but I was surprised to see it was more when it turned into some sort of beast. I guessed this was what had killed all of the explorers. The elf's torso was attached to a great python, many feet long, long enough to encircle the Pavilion in Wolvenport twice. Its scales looked like dried, bleached bone. The python unwrapped from the pile, clinking coins falling at my feet. I wondered how fast this thing could kill me. I simply stepped back, hoping that the creature spoke a tongue I understood. It spoke in a rasping voice once it decided to speak.
"You have come to my lair. Many others have done the same, and I have not been kind to them. However, I sense a difference about you, something new. A Caniin, I assume. You have gazed upon my treasure, but you are yet to see the greatest." At this, a large portal opened behind the creature. It was black, darker than any dyed color you will ever see. I floated over, my body controlled by the serpent-elf. I was sucked through and came out upon a large field. It was beautiful, like a garden. Fountains flowed everywhere, natural and not man-made. The grass was lush and soft, and trees grew in abundance. Then I saw them. Dragons, dragons everywhere. I could not see the beast, but the dragons began to encircle me. A giant black dragon approached me and sat on the grass. My body returned to me, and I bowed. The dragon bowed as well, quite amusing now. I was terrified, however, but the dragon's mind touched mine and I calmed. The dragon looked at me, and I could see thousands of years in her giant silver eyes. "Welcome, little one, to the land of the Dragons. You seem to be worthy for the Gatekeeper." Then, she leaned her giant head towards me and touched my forehead. I felt an odd sensation, like tingling, run through me. I looked at the other dragons and knew that I had been given a gift.
"Dragontongue.
"To this day, I've kept it a secret. I know where the dragons live, and some of the memories I was given show me that most of the dragons reside elsewhere. I have not attempted to visit that place, but I think I will someday."


Aeska finished her story with a sigh and lay down. "Good night." Then she fell asleep to the rocking of the ship.