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Skyguard: Rising

Etheria

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a part of Skyguard: Rising, by Elrith Eldwind.

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Elrith Eldwind holds sovereignty over Etheria, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

726 readers have been here.

Setting

Default Location for Skyguard: Rising
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Etheria

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Minimap

Etheria is a part of Skyguard: Rising.

18 Characters Here

Salazar Eskandi [15] "Who me? I'm the most honest liar you'll ever meet."
Eshe Summersong [14] "In the north, there is no 'trying.' You survive, or you die. I will not try. I will succeed, and so shall you."
Faelwen Irwin [13] "This is NOT a game, it is our duty, and with that comes great responsibility."
Kirill Sckarsgar [13] "White is more than simply a color; it is a cold, pale shade of nothingness that somehow appears pure and innocent"
Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor [11] 'Hey gorgeous, love that battle armor on you.' Loyal ally, dangerous enemy, harmless flirt.
Seriss Krahen [11] You could say her bark is worse than her bite. But her bite is even worse.
Feolan & Arabella [10] We are but who we allow ourselves to be. Why, then, would one ever allow oneself mediocrity?
The Sisters [9] "Never leave a wrong to ripen into evil." "Where life goes so, too, should you.
Tiberius Saine [8] "You don't touch my stuff and, well, I'll still probably insult you, call it a character flaw."
Rommel Kaiser [7] "People say I'm thoughtless, reckless is probably more appropriate considering what I can do."

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor Character Portrait: Lillian Erskine Character Portrait: Lukai Thanross Character Portrait: Tiberius Saine Character Portrait: Rommel Kaiser
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Lukai ‘Luke’ Thanross

“Kael, I hate to tell you this, but I think you’re suicidal,” Lukai chuckled, “Seriously, you’re in enough danger from the girls here, don’t start widening your horizons.”

In actuality he loved Kael’s flirtatious nature; it was hilarious watching the reactions other people gave. Lukai was open for a laugh, and he wasn’t stupid enough to tell him to back off when most of the girls would probably take offence. Then beat his head in.

“Seriously, I’d keep an eye on that Seriss, you’d be in trouble if someone does decide to off him,” Lukai continued, the he glance over at Rommel and grinned, “So, do you want to train or do you want to go watch these to attempt to be civil. Keeping in mind that you’ve still got a slice of toast in your hand.”

He laughed as Rommel looked down at the toast in mild surprise. He loved having such an easy going sentinel, not that there was anything wrong with the other sentinels, Rommel was just a good match for him. They’d pretty much gotten along since day one.

Lillian Erskine

Lillian watched the other’s chat as she waited for Tiberius. She was used to going unnoticed, and didn’t really mind, she just didn’t think about it all that much. She turned when she heard Tiberius come back into the room, she knew better than to give him an opportunity to sneak up on her. He took the lash he was holding out to her.

He tended to carry the lash when they were flying bareback, it meant that they still had it if needed but Lillian didn’t have to put up with making adjustments to her flight because of it. It also meant they could stop and put it on or take it off if needed. Though few other people noticed it was one of the things that showed that Tiberius did take other people into consideration.

“So, we going for the usual routine?” she asked him quietly, already readying herself for magic use. Tiberius smirked as he pulled out his swords, affirming her suspicion. With a small smile she called upon her magic, breathing evenly as she saw the room twist slightly. It was a side effect she didn’t talk about, the way thing took on a strange form when she used her illusions. The room soon straightened, though it was still off in a way that had unnerved her the first time she’d done this.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faelwen  Irwin Character Portrait: Eshe Summersong Character Portrait: Salazar Eskandi Character Portrait: Kirill Sckarsgar Character Portrait: Feolan & Arabella
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#, as written by Guest


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He wasn’t really sure what his partner’s deal was; normally, she was sickeningly enthusiastic at the prospect of training, especially against another team, but this morning, she didn’t seem to be feeling it. Normally, he didn’t ask her of she was okay or anything—it just wasn’t part of their conversational repertoire. This was partly because he preferred to talk of light things and frivolous things and things that didn’t matter, because it made people believe that he was light and frivolous and didn’t matter, and this was the way in which he preferred to be perceived.

It usually worked very well, and sometimes, he was certain even Faelwen was fooled by it. But there was another reason he behaved thus, and that was because he had faith in her strength. He would never have chosen to partner with a weak or useless person, despite what others might think, and he respected her enough for who and what she was to avoid prying into her business if she didn’t want to share. Theirs was not a partnership where each knew everything about the other, and there were things about himself that he didn’t want her to know, so he acted as he hoped she would, and let her have her secrets.

But if it was gnawing her enough to diminish her insatiable enthusiasm for self-improvement, a natural extension of her all-important duty, then maybe it was something he did need to ask about. But not now—now was for training, and she’d never forgive him if they lost, even though he preferred not to put effort into such affairs. Sighing inwardly to himself, he established a telepathic link with her for ease of communication, something they often did, but as usual, he linked only to the surface of her mind, so as to catch only those thoughts directed at him. It was just one more way in which he tried to leave her with as much privacy as possible.

Corkscrew, he informed her, playfully as always, and then engaged in precisely that maneuver, rolling out of the way of Bluebell’s initial attack, which had been more a play swipe than anything. He wasn’t stupid—he knew quite well that she was physically stronger than him and to engage at close-quarters was a bad idea. He, on the other hand, had a slight edge in speed, and a big edge in terms of magic. Which was why he spiraled higher into the air, seeing to put that speed of his to good use with powerful beats of his massive wings, and then hurled a darkly-burning ebon fireball right for her face. It was harmless, of course—if it hit, it wouldn’t actually burn, just leave a massive black mark where it would have burned if it hit. The goal wasn’t actually to kill each other, after all, and just like practice arrows were blunt and practice swords wrapped in leather, practice magic could be made nonlethal.



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Eshe sent her partner a flash of gentle amusement. His table manners left much to be desired to say the least, and it was so different from what she’d grown up with that it didn’t really seem to get old. Kirill had been so strange to her, when they first met. It was kind of funny, because everyone else had thought they were similar in just about every way—coloring, country of origin, a certain reticence in conversation with others, and an efficient, acrobatic verve about them that made them formidable in combat.

But these were surface things, and deeper down, they were actually quite different. Complimentary, but different, and she was glad of it. Being partnered with someone exactly like she was would have been easier, but she would have learned less as a result, grown less. She chewed over another bite and gave it some thought. Something tells me we’ll be called up soon, she admitted. Maybe today, even. It would be unwise to stray far, I think.

Not that the complex in which they’d lived and trained for years was exactly devoid of things to do, but she wasn’t quite sure what struck her fancy today. Usually, their day would be filled with a number of small tasks; sometimes they’d have to assist with the instruction of younger recruits, sometimes the flew practice rounds or actual missions with the fully-knighted Skyguard, sometimes a pair of the masters would ask for their help with some miscellaneous task or another, but all of that was suspended in the face of their upcoming trial. They were supposed to be ready whenever called, so it stood to reason that they couldn’t be busy doing something else.

Eshe polished off her breakfast and waited for Kirill to do the same, then shrugged. We could always take a run around the complex, I guess.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor Character Portrait: Lillian Erskine Character Portrait: Lukai Thanross Character Portrait: Tiberius Saine Character Portrait: Rommel Kaiser
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#, as written by Cheat
Tiberius Saine

Tiberius handed over the lash with ease, he’d never been particularly fussed with it, one way or the other but Lillian did need to be able to fly with it if necessary. Her dragon form was built for speed and aerodynamics, not passenger stability. He’d adapted to that, of course, but that was beside the point.

Pulling his blades Tiberius watched Lillian begin, watching as she stepped further away from him, though not too close to the other people in the room, allowing more room for the attack. This was a fairly common training method for them. Tiberius got to practise his fighting while Lillian got to work on her magic endurance, she practised holding her illusions for longer and also worked on their complexity, making sure they seemed real. She gave a nod to show she was ready and her turned away, with just one quick glance over his shoulder.

“Let’s go full strength today,” he commanded, “We’ll be called in before you know it.”

He got a nod from Lillian and could see the determined spark in her eyes that was so easy to miss, and amazingly reminiscent of her dragon self. Then she was gone, the training room replaced by a ragged plan, surround by cliffs but with very little cover. He could hear animals and feel the sun’s heat beating on him. He tightened his grip, she was really going full strength today.

“Ok, let’s see what you’ve got,” he breathed, and the first figure leapt out at him.

Rommel Kaiser

“Hmm,” Rommel said, swallowing the bite of toast she’d just taken, grinning, a little guiltily, “We should probably get a bit of training in, and Kael, you’re a great, but if you want to keep your arm you should move it.”

She smiled the whole way through this, as was her usual demeanour, then took another bite of toast. In all honesty she enjoyed hanging out with these two, Kael was cool once you got used to the constant flirting and Seriss was pretty awesome, assuming she was angry with you. She could do with a little lightening up sometimes, but she was still awesome. On the other hand, she might not mind the flirting, and ultimately she didn’t have much care for personal space either, but sometimes it was just fun to threaten people.

She caught Lukai holding back laughter from the corner of her eye, and he grinned when he saw her looking. She made a face at him before returning her attention to Kael, ignoring her Vangaurd’s snort of laughter.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eshe Summersong Character Portrait: Kirill Sckarsgar Character Portrait: Scipio Novius Character Portrait: Silveria Delphine
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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"Pio, it doesn't matter. Finish eating though." Scipio nodded around a mouth full of food and continued to eat, watching Silveria undress in front of him. He averted his eyes for a moment, but couldn't help but allow them to slid back to her thinly clothed body. She was beautiful, her flowing blue hair the most entrancing thing he had ever laid eyes on. Not only was it such a unique color, but it was soft, like tendrils of actual running water.

He loved to watch her transform. No mater how many times he saw it he was always entranced, amazed by the shifting between dragon and girl. As her form began to grow and shift, Scipio finished up the last of his toast and set his tray down, allowing her room to stretch out her wings. Then, she drung into the sky with one mighty push of her wings, soaring high before folding them in for a dive. He watched her plummet through the sky straight for the water, cutting into the liquid like a knife through paper. The resounding splash sent a wave over the bank, soaking him up to his knees. But he paid that no mind, already pulling his loose shirt over his head and removing his boots.

Silveria leapt from the water and landed along the bank, her beautiful scales shimmering millions of shades under the sun now that they were wet. Scipio smiled warmly at her, stepping forward just as she lowered her neck to him. He ran a hand over her smooth scales, watching as the colors shifted under his touch.

"I know I say this every time Silv, but wow. You're absolutely amazing" He mumbled, then ran his hand down to the light scles underneath her to rub at a spot that he knew she loved, "Alright then, into the water we go"

Scipio released her and grabbed the tendrils of loose scales that fell from her head, pulling himself up onto her slippery form. He tucked his legs safely against her shoulders, using the muscles asa foot hold. Once he felt secure, he leaned his body down against hers and grabbed the scales once more, "Alright, shall we see how fast you can go?"




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The white haired teen paid his partner no mind as he ate his meal with vigor. If there was one thing Kirill truly enjoyed, it was a plate full of meat. Eshe never really took part in his continues eating, but she did seem to understand that he needed it. Often, just for the fun of it, Kirill would go hunting in his dragon form. While is disgusted others, he actually enjoyed the taste of raw meet. Only as a dragon, of course, raw meat would make his current form sick.

He finished up the bacon and chanced a glance up at his partner as she answered his question. So soon? He pondered, taking a break from the food to stare at her, We will stay at the castle then. I am...nervous, to be honest. He glanced down at his food, poking at the pile of ham before ripping off a piece to eat.

Never would he ever admit that to anyone else, but with the link he shared with Eshe he did not doubt that she could not feel the tension leaking off him. He had spent his whole childhood ridiculed and only when he was brought here was he able to actually make something of himself. The trials, whenever they may be, would finally grant him that final moment of power, the moment where he could shove his accomplishments in every single Kalium residents face.

Before Eshe could comment of his moment of openness, Kirill deemed he had eaten enough. The ham, bacon, and half the sausages were gone, and he had no doubt he would eat more for lunch.

"Shall we fly?" He asked out loud, standing up from his seat, "Just near the citadel, nothing to far. I need to stretch my wings, and I would like you with me"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Azriel Kollure Character Portrait: Sephera Halsey Character Portrait: The Sisters
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<Azriel ^ Sephera>


Seph and Jerome were rushing out the door as the Sylvan sisters landed before them. Jerome was already morphing with Seph’s hand still in his as the twins landed. Seph noticed them and stopped however, releasing Jerome’s hand, “Hey!” she said to Say and Lowa. Sephera didn’t want to be rude so she stopped to talk to them for a moment. Or wanted too, “Morning, how are you doi-ING!” she screamed suddenly as a clawed grip caught her arm and pulled her away into the air, “Jerome! Cut it out!” she cried as the dragon hauled her off into the air, both laughing.

“Ah, more customers!” Sid cheered as he cleared away Azriel and Seph’s table and wiped it clean before returning to the counter.

As the two sentinels flew away and the sisters entered the Bakery the remaining two Vanguards smiled at them. “Why this is a most auspicious occasion, the Sylvan Sisters! How are you two today?” Rupert asked with a bright smile on his massive face. Azriel smiled and waved hello to them both and looked to them. Azriel had met them many times and was very impressed with their teamwork. The Vanguard, Say’Lyna, was a very ferocious warrior and he respected her ability. Then there was the softer spoken Lowa’Lyna, the sentinel of the duo, who was highly skilled with nature magic in a way few could ever hope to be.

They were both Sylvans, a tribe of nature worshippers who resided in the forest below, and were a rare sight even for the Skyguard. The Sylvans begin life as any other human but deep magical rituals they perform bond them with nature, even changing their physical appearance. Azriel had always thought them beautiful girls, and was impressed with their ability, but to say he had been close to one of them would be a stretch, he’d met them many times and knew them both well enough but he had yet to rely on them as one would with squad mates. This thought reminded him that any day now they very well could become his squadron mates and so he stood and offered them both the table he and Seph had occupied, of course cleared already. “Morning Lowa, Say, you both look well today.”

Azriel ran through the statistics of each as a member of a team, Say and Lowa were perfectly in synch with one another in a manner few teams could hope to be and as Sylvans their knowledge of flora far and away outreached his own. Having them in a squadron would add some very powerful hit and run capability to the unit. Lowa was swift and lean in the air, and Say was a juggernaut who had the ability to strike and stride getting good hits in with that unique crystal weapon of hers. Then there was magic, their signature being nature spells, though he had to admit that such spells would be most useful in the lush forests of Zepher or the highland crests of Eirea but would be less useful in the sparse landscapes of Lorthus or Kalium. Still they would be a most welcome part of any unit they were assigned to.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talyera Asimov Character Portrait: Altan Ganeshi
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"Again!" a husky voice cut the early morning air, followed by a series of fiery blasts and then the quick swoosh of water. The pattern repeated several times over the next hour until the final husky call, "Again!"

This time another voice answered, a bell-like voice. "No, Altan. We've been doing this since before dawn. It's time for a break."

"But, Lyra, the trials are coming up and we need to get everything right."

"Yes, the trials are coming up, and that's all the more reason to get plenty of food and rest, so we don't burn out. Now come on!" The owner of the second voice, a pale young woman with a waterfall of blond curls tumbling down her back, sprayed a final spurt of water into the face of an awkward-looking young fellow with a darker complexion and long black ponytail.

He spluttered and shook his wet head like a dog. "Hey!" The girl only gave a chuckle at the young man's lack of composure. He didn't look amused, but those who knew the young man understood he was never amused. That didn't mean he was of sour or grouchy disposition. Altan simply didn't understand humor. 'Well, I better not get sick before the trials. I'll blame you."

"I assure you, you won't get sick. I made it my job since we were partnered to prevent that. If it weren't for me, you may have killed yourself already. I'll never forget what happened four years ago."

The young man dropped his head and plastered his palm to his face. "You won't let me forget either," he mumbled.

Lyra sighed and reached up to touch his shoulder, since Altan was half a foot taller than her. "Really, Altan, calm down. No, I don't want you to forget, but not to make you all miserable. I want to keep it from happening again. Passing out wouldn't be any good in the trials either." She gave him a somewhat rough pat on the back and pulled away with a smile. "Soooo... I'll get you a towel and then we'll get something to eat." Altan sighed and gave her a nod back as he left the training ground and reached for the jacket left on the ground next to it. Even though it was summer in the mountains, he still felt a need to wear a jacket. Summer in the mountains didn't compare to summer in the desert he came from. Besides, his head was just doused with water, which isn't the best way to warm up.

The blond Lyra, actually Talyera, disappeared while he was pulling his jacket over the cloth tabard he preferred to wear while training, and reappeared a few minutes later with a plain white towel. She tossed it to him and he roughly dried his hair, before flipping the same towel over his broad shoulder. "Much obliged, so you ready?" Talyera nodded and started toward the dining hall on campus. She debated taking a trip into town, but decided against it after realizing she'd probably get too distracted with gadgets to find a place to eat. Unlike other students she was infatuated with Mermin technology and whenever she got a chance she would try to replicate or improve on what already existed in Skyguard Keep. She even invented some things herself, like a hand-cannon she built some time ago and was still trying to figure out a way to carry it in flight and keep the metal contraption from harming Altan, her Sentinel partner.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Sisters Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor Character Portrait: Lillian Erskine Character Portrait: Lukai Thanross Character Portrait: Tiberius Saine Character Portrait: Rommel Kaiser
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#, as written by Agent
As Kael abandoned the sparring session to greet Thanross and Kaiser Seriss shook the last tingling sensation of mana from her hands and stretched her arms over head. She watched as Saine returned to his partner Erskine’s side. She’d seen the two enter earlier, even while fighting, and now she observed their training. Saine drew his sword and Erskine seemed to ready herself, after a moment the Vanguard struck at the air with his blade, beginning a series of fighting movements. Seriss suspected what was going on but decided to test her own abilities. She concentrated and opened her senses, expending a small amount of mana, until she felt the hum. The surface of the stone floor was smooth and solid against the soles of her feet, the current of energy ran through her connection with this ‘ground’. She translated the sensation in her mind, imagining the pulses of light the extending from the Sentinel and influence both her own and even more, her partner’s, sight. An illusion. Seriss closed the links for the Earth Bound spell and returned her attention to the Vanguards in front of her.

Apparently Kael was being his usual self; his arm draped around the waist of Rommel Kaiser.

“Kael, I hate to tell you this, but I think you’re suicidal,” Thanross chuckled, “Seriously, you’re in enough danger from the girls here, don’t start widening your horizons.”

Seriss didn’t mind Lukai Thanross. He was an easy going guy who tended to put up with Kael’s antics with a smile and a quip. Kael considered him a good mate, and she didn’t have anything to argue about on that matter.

“Seriously, I’d keep an eye on that Seriss, you’d be in trouble if someone does decide to off him,” Thanross continued. Seriss had no doubt that Kael’s flirtatious nature would get him into trouble, it had before, but he was pretty talented when it came to talking himself out of trouble.

Kael invited the pair to eat with them and Thanross turned to consult Kaiser.

Rommel Kaiser was another easy-going Vanguard. Seriss wasn’t always sure how to interact with other girls. Delphine, for example, seemed so young and sweet, it annoyed her for no particular reason. Worse was Irwin whom Seriss had little tolerance for. She just couldn’t stand for the girliness, or the adamant duty and honour attitude. Kael often played the role of a buffer, and persuaded Seriss over the years to be more generous as to when she kept her mouth closed. So any outright conflict had been thus-far avoided.

Kaiser, on the other hand, was someone even Seriss she could get along with. Rommel with her slice of toast and Thanross at her side had declined lunch, or late breakfast in Seriss’ case, in favour of training. The other Sentinel added, “…and Kael, you’re a great, but if you want to keep your arm you should move it.”

Yes, Seriss thought Kaiser was alright. Kael grinned wider but quickly retracted his arm while Thanross struggled to supress his laugher.

“Silly boy,” she scolded with a smirk, jabbing him in the ribs. “What use to me is a one-armed vanguard?”

“Aw, Rommel wouldn’t hurt me,” he place a quick peck on the top of the other girls head before quickly moving away lest his brazenness provoked her to fulfil her threat. “Much.”

Seriss shook her head. “Come along, before you really get yourself in trouble. I’m going to make you pay for food.” She nodded a goodbye to Kaiser and Thanross then walked away, knowing Kael wouldn’t be far behind.



The shops and stalls in the street were open and busy by this time of the day. People went about their work bustling and talking. There was movement, and sound and smells everywhere. But this was nothing compared the markets back in the desert city Seriss had grown up in. She wasn’t a people-person but she could deal with traders like a pro. She navigated the square with easy and Kael hurried to catch up with her. The calls of silk merchants and jewellers were ignored as she made a beeline for a hot food vendor. She hesitated in her mission when passing one particular stall.

“Tea?” Kael asked, looking over her shoulder.

“Yeah,” Seriss replied absently, looking over the stock.

“Shrivelled leaves in hot water?” he teased. She ignored him so he continued. “I much prefer the words ‘hot’ and ‘leaves’ when talking about a particular pair of lovely Skyguard sisters.”

Without looking up Seriss smacked his arm. “If you’re not careful you’ll be the one in hot water.”

She started haggling with the vendor when his breath tickled her neck. “Are you inviting me to help conserve water next time you take a nice hot bath?” he whispered into her ear.

Seriss jerked away, knocking over a cup of hot water and scrambling to right it while the vendor quickly moved to mop up the spill before it into the dries leaves. He handed over her purchase in a paper bag, and Seriss made sure to pay a little more than needed for the trouble. She then promptly stalked away from the stall not waiting to see if Kael could keep up.

Of course he could. Stupid tall person. “Come on, Seriss! You know I was joking.”

He laughed. She punched his arm.

“Buy me food and I’ll consider forgiving you,” she grumbled.

“Then spend my hard-earned money I shall!”

“Hard-earned, my foot!” she laughed. “Family money and Skyguard allowance!”

“Nevermind that, what would you like to spend it on?”

“Meat. Some idiot had me sparring on an empty stomach. Hungry dragon wants meat, Kael.”

“As you wish.”

And they went in search of food.

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GM Post

Another nine relatively uneventful mornings would pass for the young members of the Academies latest crop before anything would come of their worries. Three other teams had been sent on their trials in that time and the remaining number of members was growing thin. There were now only two Prefect teams (those given the right of veto) left in the school awaiting their orders, not that most of the class knew that as only the Prefect knew who else had been granted the power of Veto until the mission was announced. In these nine months the world had spun on much as it always did: with Zepher remaining steadfast in its supremacy, Kalium ignoring the rest of the world and dealing with its people as it always had, Eirea going through some rather turbulent times as the people and the government slipped further into disagreement, Gal Nim remaining nan enigma, and Lorthus finding another soon to be world famous sculpture amongst its ranks. Yes not much had changed, yet, however as the young members of the Skyguard went about their morning routines the hour drew near for their seals to begin to glow and everyone held them close, eagerly awaiting the Master’s call… It came that morning at 8:45, as the remaining teams were having breakfast. Heir seals finally began to burn with heat as they were all summoned. All the remaining teams summoned at once.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor
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#, as written by Agent
The gold, silver and platinum seal pressed firmly against the skin of her palm as Seriss clutched the heated metal, light spilling between her fingers. Her eyes searched the hall with a sudden edge of desperation as she sought her vanguard among the others. For once most of the remaining Skyguard seemed to have decided to have breakfast at regular hours and within the keep, so it was a moment before her eyes fell upon the familiar figure. Kaeleb’s gaze was already on her, his hand rested over his heart where she knew he had his seal pinned to his shirt; the girl beside him that he’d been talking to a moment earlier suddenly forgotten.

They were finally being summoned.



His Skyguard seal was hot against his chest. Kael mumbled some apology to Clarisse as he left the girl to make his way across the hall; he’s eyes not leaving his partner who at a table with a plate of food forgotten in front of her. He could sense the wave of similar movement around him as conversations faltered in response to the summoning.

Seriss stood as he reached her side, “We need to go to the Knight Master’s court.”

“Yes,” he smiled; it was rare to see Seriss’ usual offhand demeanour replaced with excitement. And nervousness. “We do.”

He was a little nervous himself. He had faith in his partner’s abilities and his own, but this wasn’t going to be training anymore, this was the real deal, what they’d worked all these years to get to. Seriss wasn’t driven by the sense of responsibility and honour that some Skyguard were, but he didn’t doubt her loyalty. He’d joined because he’d grown up dreaming of being a Vanguard having listened to the tales of Skyguard heroes since he was a boy. She’d joined because she needed it. She might have authority issues but she’d recognised her need for discipline, training, and security; safety and understanding. Being part of the Skyguard meant different things to each of them but it was important to them both. Now they faced their final trial and there was that tiny nugget of doubt, fear of failure.

“Let’s go show them what we’re made of,” he said putting a comforting hand on her shoulder.

She graced him with a brief soft smile of gratitude before putting on a more confident expression. “You mean what I’m made of. Don’t worry I’ll make you look good, just stand there and look pretty like usual,” she teased, refusing to acknowledge her fear any further.

“You think I’m pretty?” he teased back, pinching her.

She smacked at his hand, and they shared a tense laugh as they headed out of the hall towards the Knight Master’s court.

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Character Portrait: Talyera Asimov Character Portrait: Altan Ganeshi
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As time passed, the Keep emptied out until there were only a few teams left of their own age group. There were some younger students who weren't ready for trials yet, and Altan thought they all looked incredibly young and even fragile. He couldn't remember when he or Talyera looked like that. Speaking of Talyera, lately she's been practically force-feeding him. Every time he saw another of his classmates leave, he grew more anxious for his own trials and he even had nightmares for a few nights. When he was anxious, he was even more prone to forget his necessary needs.

This morning his Vanguard broke a honey roll in two and stuffed one half of it into his hand. Honey rolls with sesame seeds were one of his favorite things and she knew it. He gave her a tired smile and took a bite, when he spied the light of his Seal on the collar of his light turtleneck. "It's time..." he hissed in a husky whisper, and almost choked on his roll. Talyera stood up to pat his back, and noticed her own Seal as well. Today the green cloth she used for convenience of keeping track of it was tied around her waist over a plain tunic.

She nodded wordlessly, still holding onto her half of the roll. With her free hand, she reached for his. Altan could feel her hand shaking and he glanced down to that hand. He always thought she was so sure of herself, despite how often he thought that over-confidence got her into trouble. "We shouldn't keep the Knight Masters' waiting." Altan jumped and started running, practically dragging her with him. She pulled back and called after him. "Don't run anyone over either, you crazy lizard!"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Lillian Erskine Character Portrait: Lukai Thanross Character Portrait: Tiberius Saine Character Portrait: Rommel Kaiser
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Lukai ‘Luke’ Thanross
and
Rommel Kaiser

Lukai’s laughter cut off as he felt his seal heat up, he glance over at Rommel, who was clutching the seal pinned to her shirt. Together the pair stood up, Rommel grabbing a final piece of toast, and started out of the room.

“If you’re still eating that when we get to the Knight Master’s court I’m going to throw you out a window,” Lukai informed her, she merely grinned back at him.
“Which you know would do absolutely nothing,” she replied lightly, “Wings are a fabulous gift.”
“Not nervous?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I have toast. How can one be nervous when she has toast?”
“Same here,” Lukai smiled, a real, companionable one, and clapped her one the shoulder, “I’ll make sure to keep toast on hand during the trial.”
“Good to see you pulling your wait,” Rommel grinned back, and gave him a wink as she tore another bite off toast off, “Besides, it’s not like you have to carry me.

Lillian Erskine
and
Tiberius Saine

Lillian quickly pulled up from her morning flight, hovering in place for a moment before she took off towards the ground. She managed to hit the ground and take off at a run, easily weaving past the few people wandering around thanks to her small stature. She ran her hand through her hair, gently brushing past her seal as she continued down the hall, heart pumping from the exercise of flying and running.

Tiberius paused, food part way to his mouth, and raised his hand to his necklace. He wrapped his hand around his seal and silently cursed himself for not keeping better track of Lillian. He quickly threw a few slices of bacon onto a slice of toast, put another slice on top of that and turned out of the room. As soon as he left the room he caught sight of his Sentinal’s small figure.

“Lillian!” he called, watching as she quickly turned on the spot at the sound of her voice. Even without using her magic she was impressively fast for someone with such tiny legs.

“Sorry,” she panted, though there was an excited grin in place that told him she’d only just stopped flying.
“Eat, let’s move,” Tiberius commanded, Lillian nodded and gratefully took the bacon sandwich he offered. The two began down the hall, not running, but not quite slow enough to be a walk either.

“Thanks,” Lillian said, munching gratefully on the food. Tiberius just nodded, not even glancing at her. Lillian ate in silence, not being someone who felt the need to fill tense silences, particularly with her Vangaurd. She trusted him to know when they needed to talk.

OOC note; this is a joint post with Cheat

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Character Portrait: Faelwen  Irwin Character Portrait: Salazar Eskandi
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#, as written by Guest


Salazar Eskandi



On this particular morning, Salazar was woken in the blackout darkness of his room by the soft glow of his Skyguard seal. The Sentinel was a man who could, he liked to think, fall asleep just about anywhere, but unfortunately, he was also a very light sleeper. The desert had made him this way, with its dangers for the unwary and harsh conditions, and he didn’t, sadly, foresee this fact about himself changing anytime soon.

So the pale glow was enough to wake him, even though he couldn’t feel the warmth of it on his person. Blinking just once to clear his eyes, he sat up immediately, frighteningly awake, and reached over to grasp for it. Pure metals only, so it didn’t burn like a brand when he did. Turning it over in his hands, he sighed. Despite many an attempt to get people to believe the opposite, he wasn’t a stupid man, and what this meant was obvious.

They must be the laggards though—basically everyone else had gone already. Salazar didn’t mind being in the last group, didn’t mind being underestimated, but on this score, he knew he and his partner were very different beings indeed. He wondered if it bothered her; if theirs had been the kind of relationship where they asked personal questions, he would have… and he would have said something about the dark circles under her eyes lightly. But the balance that existed between he and Faelwen was always a bit… on the edge, and he didn’t want to ruin everything with his big mouth, so he maintained a surprisingly-sensitive silence about such things. But suddenly, he wondered if maybe he should have crossed that line. There was a chance they were in very real danger, or would be in their trial, and… all feigned cockiness to the contrary, Salazar wasn’t entirely confident in his ability to keep her safe, as a good Sentinel should.

Pushing a gust of air out through his nose, the Lorthusian threw on some clothes (because he didn’t sleep in them unless he had to), and buckled his seal to his belt, deftly typing his lash into place around his waist as well. There was no point in lingering on possibilities. What was was, and he’d simply have to deal with whatever came of it. Dragonhearted, was what the tribes called him, called people like him, and he’d adapted to look and act like someone who might deserve that name. What he was underneath wasn’t important. He wasn’t important, just what he could do. And honestly, he was damn good at it, too.

He met Faelwen outside her room, flashing her a too-big grin. “And would you look at that? It’s finally time, eh? They’ll be calling you Faelwen the Mighty in no time, and I’ll just be the lucky idiot that gets to fly with you. Let’s go see what this is all about.” With light steps, Salazar led the way to the courtyard, noting that several other teams were already milling around, as expected. They weren’t late though—he was pretty sure Faelwen was never late, and he did his part to make sure the pair of them were where they needed to be when they needed to be there.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Faelwen  Irwin Character Portrait: Eshe Summersong Character Portrait: Salazar Eskandi Character Portrait: Kirill Sckarsgar
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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Kirill cut through the clouds with his serpentine like body, then pumped his wings to gain more speed. Eshe was safely nestled in the junction of his wings and neck, leaning with his movements as they soared above the Citadel. He had convinced her the day before that an early morning fly was in order, and thankfully she had accepted. Kirill could easily do this himself, but flying with his partner seemed to allow him to gain more speed and agility then without. The Sentinel did like to show off.

THe giant white dragon banked harshly and twisted his body to the right, pointing his noes down into a tight dive. The air rushed by him, ruffling the fur on his neck and catching in his leathery wings. He tucked them close, giving his body a streamline affect as they rushed towards the Earth.

Kirill, Eshe called to him, cutting through the moment of exhilaration brought on by the sky dive, We have been called, my seal is glowing

Kirill grinned, showing off a rather massive set of shark like teeth. He let loose a massive jet off ice white frost, white cascaded around the fling duo like snow as the passed through it. He glanced back at Eshe and gave her a nod to show her he heard.

I'll head back to the Citadel then. They took long enough to call us! He whispered back to her through their mind link. Kirill wound his body in a circle, spinning Eshe upside down in the process, and headed back to there home quickly. He focused his mind on the light breeze around him and called to it, calling forth a strong wind to fill his wings with air and allow them to reach the Citadel faster. Kirill spread his wings wide, catching the harsh wind before pumping his wings to reach a higher speed.

The partners reached the Citadel just as the final call came out at 8:45am. Kirill could feel the burning of the seal even through his dragon skin just as he touched down on the landing pad in front of the main building. He transformed with little flourish, simply allowed the glow to encompass his body and then revel the tall white haired teen underneath. He looked as Eshe and let a wide smirk spread across his face, pointing towards the badge, "Shall we then?" He asked allowed, then headed towards the courtyard.

Kirill and Eshe reached the area just as the other teams were arriving. They paid them little mind, silently making their way into the courtyard. Kirill keeping close to Eshe with the appearance of other Sentinels and Vanguards. It wasn't as if he didn't know she could handle herself...but he did not fully trust the others. Even after the years sharing the Citadel with them, Kirill only truly trusted Eshe. So maybe he was remaining close to her because he didn't want to be near the others, either way he choose a spot farther away from the res of the group for him and Eshe to wait until everyone had arrived.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eshe Summersong Character Portrait: Salazar Eskandi Character Portrait: Kirill Sckarsgar Character Portrait: Azriel Kollure Character Portrait: Sephera Halsey Character Portrait: The Sisters Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor Character Portrait: Tiberius Saine Character Portrait: Talyera Asimov Character Portrait: Altan Ganeshi
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Azriel <^> Kollure




Waking up that morning Arziel stretched as per his routine. He did some slight exercises, pushups and the like, and finally headed over to his window to pull open the curtains. The outside air was cool and refreshing and the sun glistened on the horizon. Looking down at the town he spied Sid placing a sign outside hi shop and was transported back to the day Jerome and Rupert had left. Say and Lowa had arrived at the bakery that morning as well and shortly after they had entered the nonchalant and rather cheerful atmosphere turned.

As the Sylvan sisters had entered the bakery a small cough escaped behind Sid. His daughter Alicia had snuck from bed and come down the stairs. She was pale and wheezing with gasping breaths as she entered the bakery. “Daddy?” she barely squeaked out as she leaned against the wall for support. Sid went to her but before he could get any answers form her she collapsed. Her body was feverish, her face pale, and as they all gathered around her the tiny child let out a rasping and broken cough. The sound of it still echoed in Azriel’s ears.

Alicia’s cough brought Azriel back to his own childhood, in the western farmlands of Zepher. In that place there was a rare illness that afflicted the young called Rattling Cough. It was a truly dreadful plague that almost always resulted in death for those stricken by it. Unfortunately the only known cure for the illness was a rare herb found only in the north, far away from the west of Zepher where the illness existed.

It was his younger sister, Elizabeth, who was afflicted by this illness in his youth. He still remembered her fragile body shaking against the chills and how she was so hot to the touch he almost recoiled, but worst was that cough, the rasping and wheezing cough that would forever haunt his memory. The doctors said that even with their best medicines she would only last a few days at the most. He remembered the despair in his mother’s eyes when she heard this. But there was something else in his memory as well; a fire, a fire that was lit in his Father’s eyes. He’d rushed form their home immediately, taking a horse to the nearest city. It was another three days before his father returned, this time astride a flying beast. He’d rushed to the neatest city and found an old friend, a Sentinel he’d known inthe Skyguard, then they had flown nonstop to the north to find the herb. They’d arrived just in time to save his younger sister and to this day Azriel remembered both the sound of that terrible cough, and the name of that magical plant that saved his sister.

“Kath-thorn…” Azriel had whispered to the others as Rupert rushed to get a doctor. Knowing that the sisters were well learned in herb lore Azriel asked the Sylvan sisters if they knew of where they could find this herb. He only knew of the far north of Zepher, near the border with Kalium, and it would take far too long to mobalize a team to gather such and herb at this point. He almost despaired as his mother had, but as Say looked to him he found a familiar fire in another’s eyes. The Garden within the Keep was home to a rich stock of nearly every herb in the world, from the most common of weeds to the rarest of flowers.

When he heard this Azriel moved swiftly asking Lowa for a lift to the Keep’s garden while requesting Say to what she could for the young child with the herbs that Sid had in the shop. No doubt Say wasn’t exactly happy with the arrangement of duties he had suggested but it was the best way, as they needed Lowa’s speed to reach the garden swiftly. Alicia had far less time than Elizabeth had had. The Sylvan dragon burst from the shop and shot into the air with Azriel astride, rushing to the garden. It was Lowa who had found the Herb and when they returned the doctor and Rupert had arrived. It did not take long once the cure was admitted for the child’s fever to lower and her breathing to ease. Sid’s gratitude could not be understated, and he was not along in that. It was their first major triumph as a team and the fact that the Sylvan sisters were still not yet deployed gave Azriel slight hope they might work with him and Seph on the Trial.

As he had said that morning, “I’d gladly fight with either of you any day, if you need anything just ask.”

Nine days passed since that morning with no word from the Knight Masters, which had Azriel and She on edge. There were now only two Prefect Teams Left, Eshe and Kirill and of course Sephera and himself. It was strange to think that the remaining teams would be split in two, a fact only he and the other Prefects were aware of, and sent off sooner than many probably thought. There were Nine teams left of the senior class, and soon another four or five would no doubt be gone. It was a sobering fact, and perhaps that was what had driven Azriel to take more to socializing than he already did. He wondered the Keep at all hours, speaking with everyone he met, aiding the younger teams of which there were around sixty or so in training and giving pointers to a group of rather rambunctious young third year Vanguards a few sword lessons to pass the time.

Damn it all, I’m getting restless waiting.

Of course maybe this new found flightiness was actually due more to Sephera’s demeanor as of late than his own personal concerns. Sephera was almost always found in the grand hall now, where they ate their meals every morning noon and night instead of circling around the city for fun, and she always sat with her face to one wall, the Living Wall. The wall is called Living because it changed daily as it had a shield placed upon it for every team deployed at that time, including those on Trials, and should communication be lost with a team a red cloth would be draped over their shield with the red being change to black if they were confirmed lost. Of the twelve shields embroidered with silver indicating they were of young teams on their trials four had her constant attention now. She had her books and was often surrounded by younger students and to most seemed as normal as could be, still lively and friendly, always ready to aid another, but to those who had known her for years they knew that something was off, and Azriel knew better than anyone.

As they sat there that morning eating breakfast her eyes were often glide up to the shield wall, staying focused on the display for several seconds longer than she normally would before returning to her meal. He knew exactly why and as she once again glanced up at the wall Azriel gave in and turned around himself, knowing full well what she was looking at. Four shields at the bottom right were covered in red cloth. He could not see the inscribed names upon them but he knew whose they were, he had watched them when they were hung first. Jerome and Rupert’s team had yet to check in.

He let out a held breath and turned to Seph again, determined to pull his partner form this funk, “Seph…Seph?” he paused before trying again, “Sephera….hello, yoohoo!...” he snapped his fingers once trying to draw her gaze to no avail, “Seph!...SEPHERA!” he asserted far more harshly, causing her to jump and shake her head suddenly aware how she had spaced, “You okay?”



Sephera <^> Halsey




Seph’s mind was a blank slate right now. All she could do was remember days past, when Jerome had held her, when they’d gone flying, even their fights and arguments were fondly recalled now. She was rubbing her own hands together she stroking the back of one with another’s thumb, like he had always done. She’d taken to sleeping with one of his tunics too, ever since he’d left for his trial. Looking up from the table where she’d hardly touched her food she gazed intently at the second Shield from the bottom right, the red cloth seeming more like a cloaking of blood than a simple woven tapestry. In the back of her mind she heard a whisper against the increasing din of the buzzing in her heard, “-eph…Se-”

She didn’t reply though, all her thought was focused on that sea of cold red that was so little and yet meant so much. Questioned fluttered in her brain; What could have stopped them reporting? What was the true purpose of their Trial? What could be so dangerous about retrieving a few heirlooms? “Se-era…-yooho-” that voice echoed in her mind again. No doubt it was the memory of Jerome’s voice, calling to her in her distant state. But as she desired less to think of the red and more to remember his voice she found the drone in her head receding and finally heard the voice in Earnest, “Seph?...” yes, that strong willed voice must be-“ SEPHERA!”

Okay… that last one didn’t sound anything like Jerome…

Startled Seph jumped a bit in her seat as she left her space subconscious state she had unknowingly entered and looked about her surroundings. Right! The Grand Hall… of course… how could I forget I was in the Grand Hall? she asked herself internally as she gathered herself, sweeping her fallen bangs behind her ears. She vaguely heard a question come from across the table. But as with her name being called she didn’t really hear it. who called my name again?

“Seph!” Azriel asserted one final time, finally drawing her eyes.

“Huh?” she questioned almost startled to see him there, “oh, right, sorry…uh… what were you saying?”

Azriel steadied his breathing as he looked at his partner, “I was asking if you were alright…. But since I know you’re not I’ll forgo your dismissive response.” He commented as he eaned further in towards her, “It’s alright Seph. Our contact network in Kalium is just really sparse, it only makes since that it would take them longer than expected to check in; look, which team scored higher in all events than anyone else our year?”

Seph let out a held breath, of course he knew, hell everyone probably does and is just too polite to mention it, and gave him a smile as she seemingly considered his words, “Yeah… you’re right… they probably just got held up.”

Azriel ground his teeth quietly for a moment as his jaw set, [iShe’s being bloody dismissive again![/i] but rather than push her yet he reached his hand across the tabel to take on of hers. His hands were rough, calloused and marked form all his training, while hers were supple and soft. It was the way of the Skyguard, if not by their dress you could tell a person’s job by their hands. She’d always liked how soft Jerome’s hands were, how their comforted her when he cupped her face. And yet Azriel’s hands provided just as much comfort to her now. Perhaps it was just their training and her ingrained trust in her Vanguard. No, it’s not ingrained trust in the system, it’s trust in him she thought.

Yet at that moment, just when she was about to break and come clean about her despairing worry both of their eyes were drawn to Azriel’s wrist. And to the shimmering seal that was located there. Looking up at each other all their prior conversation halted as both went into pure Guard mode, they stood as one with Azriel grabbing his bastard sword and claymore he’d had by his side for sword practice later and Sephera shoving her books into her pack. Standing up several of the younger teams watched them with admiration but they weren’t what the duo was looking for. Both Azriel and Sephera were scanning the Grand hall, trying to see which other teams had received the summons; there was the team of Seriss and Kael, then Talyera and Altan as well.

Azriel though, just how many will be joining us? as he glanced about to see who else had been summoned. Luke and Rommel, Lillian and Tiberius, and then there were others too. All told it looked as if every senior in the room had gotten a summons right them. Instinctually both Sephera and Azriel headed from the Grand Hall with purpose, though as they pass the Living Wall Azriel noted a stuttering step that Seph took near the right edge of the shields. He’d leave it for now though. Looking to those nearby who were moving to the courtyard he thought back to the Hall. He had seen Eshe and Kirill at some point that morning but now that he thought about it they had left the Hall earlier, probably for a flight or something. Too bad, I’d have liked to talk to Eshe before leaving. Maybe I’ll see her around before we take off though…

Leaving the Grand Hall with those that were also there in mass the duo headed to the courtyard at the central gate, the boundary between the Academy and the Skyguard Keep. It was very rare for anyone not in their senior year to enter these gates and the Keep beyond. Seph still recalled her first time through the gates when she was in her fifth year. Once at the courtyard they saw that this was already an odd calling before ever they entered the Court. Standing with them before the massive gates was a most unexpected sight, Eshe and Kirill, the only remaining Prefects; meaning that the remaining members of their year must also have been called. Azriel’s first thought was, why would they send all of us at once on one mission? but as Seph had already reasoned in her own mind and now was whispering to her partner, “They must be dividing us into two squads at once.” Azriel nodded.

“I guess they want all of us… should we wait for the others?” he asked those currently assembled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eshe Summersong Character Portrait: Salazar Eskandi Character Portrait: Kirill Sckarsgar Character Portrait: Azriel Kollure Character Portrait: Sephera Halsey Character Portrait: Scipio Novius Character Portrait: The Sisters Character Portrait: Silveria Delphine Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor Character Portrait: Tiberius Saine Character Portrait: Talyera Asimov Character Portrait: Altan Ganeshi
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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Scipio never woke up on time.

He was a late riser, he loved sleeping, and therefor his body never rose when the sun did. Usually, he had to rely on Silveria to wake him, but today with little imp of a girl did not appear like normal. He awoke instead to a bright, glowing light right near his face. Thinking it was the sun streaming in through his open window, Scipio rolled over with a grunt and burried his face into his goose feather pillow.

But wait...hadn't he closed the window last night for this exact reason? He hated waking up to the sun in his face, so he had drawn the black out curtains and....

Scipio shot out of bed, his eyes immediately landing on his glowing seal. With a string of curses he rushed around his room, throwing on his usual loose white shirt and dark leather breeches tucked into leather boots. He fell, twice, in the process, his mind in a frenzy as he realized they were finally being called.

Where the hell was Silveria?

Scipio took a moment in front of the mirror to fix his bed head, hoping to calm it down somewhat so he didn't look like such a mess when he showed up a tad late. But, the locks seemed to not want to agree with him today, so he just ruffled them more (hoping it looked like he was going for that look) and rushed out the door. Halfway down the hall he realized he had forgotten his damned Seal and ran back, snatching the heated badge quickly before exiting once again.

He reached the open courtyard just behind Sephera and Azriel, glad that he wasn't actually late but on time. If he arrived behind a prefect, surely he was fine....meaning now he had to worry about Silveria. The little Sentinel usually did what she was told, but sometimes she had to be corralled in if she was off doing her thing. Just as he was about to turn and head back into the Citadel to look for her, Silveria popped up by his elbow.

Scipio gave a startled jump and glared down at the Sentinel, but at her cheesy grin his face relaxed into a grateful smile. Damned girl was going to be the death of him someday.

Silveria and Scipio stood next to each other as they awaited information on the gathering, Scipios eyes wandering towards the direction of the lake and Silveria twirling her light blue hair excitedly.

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender
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GM Post

The other members of the senior class eventually found their way to the courtyard. Every single remaining member of the class was there; nine teams in all were standing before the gate before the great doors creaked open. Their seals at last quieted as the doors grew agape before them. Beyond was a sight few of them had seen, and still left those how had in awe.

Here was the Keeps grand entrance, a massive hall that stretched to the sky above with vaulted ceiling higher than any the Students had seen. The long walls were clearly meant to be adorned by tapestries or art, to be used by those living here to show their wealth and prestige. The Architect must not have known his clients very well. However prestige was still displayed, in a manner, for this grand hall had been turned to suit the needs of the Skyguard. No more was it an empty expanse but instead it was now the both the core of their defense and the greatest show of their force.

This was the Armory and Training hall for the main force. Any invading force would break through the gates to find the bulk of the most skilled warriors right their waiting for them, with weaponry glinting on every wall and armor set in strategic locations about the place the hall was a fortress within a fortress. Even coming from near naked out of bowels of the castle the defenders could be caught by surprise at the gates and yet by the time the enemy was within the defenders couldn’t be more armed.

Of course it was never empty as dozens of knights were within, training, at any given time. Now was no different. At various points along the outer wall as the teams walked through they could see a display of what full-fledged and experience Knights could do. Vanguards dueled one another in sparring matches of extreme skill as Sentinels fired advanced spells into targets that formed and moved from a pile of enchanted sand. Beyond the Training Hall was yet another set of doors, these guarded by two teams of experienced knights. They stood by in full battle regalia by the doors, awaiting the young Knights.

As they would approach the Guards broke their silence, as those training stopped their battles to gather behind the youngling with amused looks on their faces, “Well, you lot have been Patient. Are you all ready to see the Masters?”


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Eshe Summersong Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor
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#, as written by Agent
Well, you lot have been Patient. Are you all ready to see the Masters?

“Yes!” breathed Seriss through gritted teeth.

Kael chuckled, and he was not the only one, “Patient is not quite the word I would use.”



Some sat, some stood, some paced. Kael leant against the wall with his fingers laced over his flat stomach; flirting with the present company only served as a worthwhile pastime for so long before they eventually told him to bug off, or he got bored. Seriss was sitting against the wall beside him picking dirt from under her nails with a small carved wooden blade she’d had in her boot. Why the girl deigned to carry a weapon was beyond him when she could unleash talons and fangs on a whim. At least she was wearing boots today. Something about the crispness of the morning and heating the air being a waste of mana and heating the skin making the cold worse like a having a fever.

“Do you think we will have to make formal introduction when we report?” Kael asked no one in particular as they all milled about in the courtyard.

“Like what?” Seriss inquired.

“Like, Kaeleb of the house of Balor, son of Enrick son of Dermir, heir to Westmount Hall…”

“Didn’t you renounce your claim to the inheritance when you joined the Guard?”

“Not really. I may not be my father’s only child but I am his only son. He was disgruntled by my leaving the household but deemed a position in the guard honourable enough a vocation not to disinherit me. If I do not return to make my claim the hall would fall either to my little sister, or to my father’s brother’s son, my cousin. Or I can appoint a reagent and still claim ownership while remaining in the service of the Guard.” Kaeleb slid down the took a seat next to his partner."

“Huh. Sounds complicated to me.” The volume of her voice dropped, “My introduction would be, Seriss of the house of that-tiny-little-apothecary-in-that-city-in-Lorthus, natural daughter of Meganna. Heir to nothing.”

“Wouldn’t it be Serissa…?” he teased, avoiding the more painful topics in her statement.

“Shut it. On every page of paper I have ever signed since I could write my name has been Seriss.”

“What of your father’s fortune?”

“Who?”

“Sorry, yes, I forgot. Step-father’s?”

“Alas for elder step-brothers. First to inherit by blood and age and gender.”

“Not everyone holds to the old rules of inheritance.”

“I will not rely on inheritance. I have survived without riches thus far, and can continue to do so. I will live ‘til I die upon the generosity of the Guard, and upon the rewards of my own labour. Or until I get bored, abandon my human skin for good and fly as far as my wings will carry me.”

They remained silent for a while.

“I don’t think formal introduction will be necessary, we’ve been here seven years after all.” Kaleb murmured. Seriss got to her feet, tucking her knife back in her boot.

“How long are they going to keep us waiting?” she was back on the defensive. Nothing made her more grouching than feeling like she’d revealed some vulnerability, even to him after all these years. To one of few she had revealed her history to before.

“I mean, we could be training, or resting. Do I have time to fetch a book or something, or do you think we will actually be let in some time soon? If they weren’t ready to receive us they shouldn’t have called us. Or if they’re waiting for all of us to all be present, they should have just let us in when we first arrived and let the late-comers reap the consequences of their tardiness.”

“Firstly, take care how speak, little bird. Secondly, you can’t talk of tardiness, remember that first year when you overslept and then got lost despite your ‘keen dragon sense of direction’ and ended up arriving to that lesson as we were being dismissed to lunch.”

She waved a hand dismissively but her complaining ceased and she continued to pace in silence. Kaeleb sighed.

“Hey Eshe dear,” he called turning his attention to one of the other occupants of the courtyard. “Have I said how ravishing you’re looking today?”




“Patient is not the word I would use.”

Seriss scowled briefly at her partner and at the amused older knights but then turned her attention forward. Having them at her back made her edgy, and she tried to keep a sense of where they stood and moved, but the doors were before her now and the Masters were just beyond them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seriss Krahen Character Portrait: Kaeleb 'Kael' Balor Character Portrait: Talyera Asimov Character Portrait: Altan Ganeshi
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Fortunately Altan didn't run anyone over, but he did trip on his feet once during the undignified rush through the halls. Talyera caught up to him then and sighed. She probably shouldn't have stirred him up with the comment on being late. Of course they weren't late, because they answered the call immediately. "I'm sorry," she whispered and offered a hand to help him up. He didn't really need it, though. Almost as soon as he went down, he got back to his feet and kept going without a word.

Only once he reached the gate did the awkward Lorthian stop and look back to his partner. Her face was a little pink only from the effort of keeping up with his longer stride and the fact he'd been running straight out the whole time it took to get here. Altan flushed a little himself realizing it. What if...? No! He couldn't think of that. She did always warn him to be careful and he didn't always listen. He didn't listen this time, but she also took the risk of wearing herself down by chasing him at speed. It might make the trial harder, but they could do it. They HAD to. This is the reason he was born and she chose to accompany him in that destiny.

Talyera put her hand on his arm. Both took deep breaths and straightened up as the gates creaked open. Beyond the gate, her green eyes bounced all around the room and she let go of Altan, who also seemed to be trying to take everything in. Her fingers twitched, but she used that restlessness to smooth out non-existent wrinkles or wipe invisible specks of dust off her clothing. She couldn't allow herself to be distracted right now. Altan also did preening of his own as they walked to the inner doors.

They stopped and stood at attention in front of the guards as the elder knights around them grew silent and converged on the students. That was uncomfortable and Talyera certainly couldn't blame Seriss for being a little agitated, even if it wasn't the best face to show the Masters. The Masters! They were finally going to see the Masters!

Despite her nerves, Lyra did chuckle a little at Kael's remark, though she remained at attention. Even if she didn't spend a lot of time with Seriss and Kaeleb, she could imagine what he referred to, since Altan fell in the same category. Was it a Lorthian thing or a Sentinel thing?

Altan ignored Kaeleb's comment completely. He was paying attention to the guard's question and gave him a respectful salute and nod. This is truly what he was born for, and he was definitely ready.