At The Edge Of The World

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At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:44 pm

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The day was bright, though clouds lay heavy on the horizon, threatening rain to come as Crya swept easily over the thatched rooftops of the villages and towns below. Hunched over the Roc’s black-feathered neck, her wiry hands entwined deep into thick down beneath, Sol watched the landscape pass with a scrutinizing blue-green gaze that matched the piercing amber eyes of the beast she rode. Ahead lay the Great Lake, as it was simply known, and beyond, the twinkling snowy peaks of the mountain ring, Paragon’s Crest tall and imposing and a Citadel guard tower – its fire flickering red against the pale sky – prominent at its peak. To her back – where the sun shone as best as it was able through the ashen lacing of cloud – was the Citadel proper, though it was now invisible even to Crya’s keen eyes, and the home she had resided in for the last fifteen years.

Change didn’t suit Solstice Aibhilín, though many had told her it was an opportunity not worth missing, and the frown that settled rather too easily on her brow was more a sign of distaste than the dazzling glare from the skies. The Roc beneath her thighs seemed to share the same feeling, his muscles shifting subtly as he flexed and tensed his long, razor-sharp claws in agitation, a motion that Sol had long-since memorised and logged in her mind as one of his trigger movements. Clicking gently with her tongue upon the roof of her mouth, she released the grip of her right hand, sliding it upward slightly to scratch beneath the hollow that signified the bird’s ear. Turning his head to look at her with a single bright eye, Crya responded with a few sharp clicks of his own before beating his wings once more, spurring them onwards.

Within an hour, Roc and rider had passed over the far edge of the great lake. Plains passed below, at first clear of Teela influence and then slowly, signs of activity appearing: tents – small and large – of differing colours, and substantial areas of grassland fenced off, seemingly as paddocks. Slowly, a great, land-locked leviathan appeared, pale, straw-coloured sides gleaming in the afternoon light with a mirrored sheen that matched her own blades; Erythoril. It seemed like a glowing, golden Kraken without it’s tentacles, strange and menacing in its starkness, and it was big – far bigger than Sol had ever imagined.

But people were noticing her too now. Tensing her thigh muscles, Sol indicated for Crya to fly lower and, folding his wings slightly, he did, silvery talons sweeping mere feet above the tent-tops. A sunshine-yellow tent loomed into view, a flag displaying a single yellow star on a white field flapping noisily on its tip. Standing at its entrance was a small figure, his arms raised in her direction and indicating that she should land in substantial paddock beside. Frowning in irritation, she did, a twitch of a smile appearing as the few horses present scattered to the opposite side in panic when the predator settled his talons easily in the soft dirt, glaring disdain at everything around him. Swinging her leg over the Roc’s smooth-feathered shoulders, Sol slid with an easy grace to the ground, automatically checking her weapons as she rose from the crouch.

“Aibhilín,” came the call and Sol turned with a raised eyebrow to view the speaker, dislodging an errant lock of hair from her gaze with a flick of her head.

“Aye, that’s me,” she replied simply, striding towards the man stood on the other side of the paddock’s fence, ignoring the slight limp that always came from a long flight. He was short, she noted with the same disdain Crya so often displayed with things that were lower than his own eye-height – which was pretty much everything – and he didn’t seem to have laboured a day in his life. His hair was long and fine – a blonde tail that ran down to his waist and a neatly trimmed beard that had clearly been agonised over every morning of the man’s adult life – and his attire was made of a satin-silk that rippled delicately with the wind. His summer-blue eyes, however – an identical hue to the perfectly round spots that adorned his forehead like a coronet – were bright and shrewd and they locked onto Sol’s immediately.

“I know who you are,” he returned smoothly and Sol made a note to watch him carefully, for his eyes contained an intelligence that belied his dainty appearance, “I was merely getting your attention.” Sol made no reply, though the man didn’t seem to need one: his gaze settled upon Crya who was preening coolly among the clearly anxious horses. “Aren’t you going to tie it down?”

Bristling, Sol’s hands curled unconsciously into fists as the man’s startlingly intense eyes met hers once more. “He is not a ship,” she spat pointedly, “And he will fly as he pleases until I call him. I wouldn’t worry your pretty little head,” she continued with a deadly smile as the noble’s eyes narrowed slightly, “He won’t kill anything unless I ask him to.”

“Be sure it stays that way, Aibhilín,” came the equally tart retort as the man pursed his lips, “As I am the one who determines whether he stays or goes in this mission.”

Sol’s teal-coloured eyes flashed in anger. “I will not be going if he doesn’t sail with us,” she answered in a growl, “I made that clear from the start. So if you wish your guests to be protected in this ‘mission’ of yours, then you will let him on despite your personal preferences. Is that clear?”

The man opened his mouth indignantly to speak but Sol waved an irritated hand at him, brushing off his words impatiently. “I’ve been flying for six hours solid; do you have any hospitality around here?”

Seemingly realising that he would get no further with the woman, the man shook his head exasperately and indicated a huge midnight-blue tent a short distance away. “The Sapphire tent is serving as a tavern in the interim,” he replied with a sigh, “You can either find a pallet there for the night or have your own tent set up in the communal fields yonder. Tomorrow you will report to the conference tent behind me at midday for a briefing and to meet your charges. My name is Mikáele Tacita – Lord Mikáele. I will see you on the morrow.”

Barely acknowledging his words, Sol navigated the fence and made her way over to the blue tent, arms swinging easily at her side and her limp lessening as she stretched the muscles with walking. Pushing the flap aside, she was met with a plume of fragrant pipesmoke and the soft, underlying hint of ale, and settling herself at an empty table, she ordered a jug of ale from the busty barmaid. It would be a long, hard trip but, until then, she might as well enjoy herself.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Dio the Awesome on Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:24 pm

Every eye in the courtyard was staring at a single man. First of all, he was tall for a man, and stood several inches above most. The second thing people noticed, was his attire, which was made from every type of creature imaginable. The furs were very carefully groomed and cared for. The colors ranged from white to black, and seemed to be patterned and thatched intentionally, but this only added to the obscurity of the outfit. The third thing that stuck out, literally and figuratively, was the immense war axe slung over the mans back. It was chipped and clearly stained with blood in some places, but was still razor sharp. In addition, feathers, charms and teeth and claws hung off of the axe like trophies. The blade seemed to be made from the shoulder blades of some large animal, but not one could guess at what kind.

Though the biggest thing that drew attention, however, was the loud booming voice of the man, trying to talk calmly (and failing) to a man in a floppy red hat. Those within ear shot likely sympathized with the large man, who was only trying to get directions to the 'large roc which flies through the stars', while the smaller man seemed to try to pretend to be some sort of a nobleman.

"Excuse me. Sir." August Wind said through clenched teeth, with his fist following suit, "I know there is a group traveling through the stars. I need to speak with someone to book passage."

The man in the poncy read hat scoffed, "I have no need to inform a commoner such as yourself. Begone with you."

The tribesman had enough, "Thank you Lord." He said with no sincerity, and then bowed suddenly.

The two mens heads collided, knocking the hat off of the nobles head. A wave of snickers made it's way through he crowd as the man gripped his head in pain. August seemed concerned, however, and he clapped the man on the shoulder. This made the 'noble' wince in pain again.

"I am sorry sir." August exclaimed, and bent to grab the mans hat, "Here you are."

August quite firmly reattached the hat to the nobles head. Then he pretended to readjust and fix it up, "There you are sir. Can I help you further?"

"Try that blue tent over there. They may know what you mean." The noble said desperately, not wanting to be accosted any further.

This time August bowed more carefully, "Many thanks, friend."

---

A short while later, August found himself feeling very out of place. He stood just on the inside of the tent, and watched the people gathered there. Like in the streets, he received many odd gazes. August was not a very subtle man, so he decided not to waste time and get to the point. He cleared his throat.

"I am here to book passage on the large ship that flies through the stars." He said stiffly, "A free drink to the person who can help me."
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:09 am

It had been quite a long trip. With only a few informations as to how to get to the renowned 'Ship that sails the stars", it hadn't been easy to get there. When Stella tried to remember the names of all the ships she had taken to get there, and their captains, she realized that there were simply too many. Luckily for her, all these trips were paid by the Militant Guild. Otherwise, I'd be without any money, by now. Hopefully, at least, the day was bright, although it seemed that rain was to come, in a few hours.

Stella liked the rain, but not when she had nowhere to be safe from it. She had heard many stories about this 'Ship', but none of them came close to what it was in reality. "A huge golden ship, indeed, but a lot bigger than I had imagined." She wasn't even close to the zone where the ship was standing, and where people would be living, but she was able to see it, since it was so big, and with the bright sun, it was even painful to look at it, directly.

After some time, Stella finally made it. She began to see a few tents and, of course, the biggest ship of all. She realized she liked it; maybe it was because of the colour... and in fact, it was an all too colourful place, with many tents that were all different. Good way to tell the differences between their uses.

She walked in between the tents, until she heard a rough voice calling her. "Miss Oceane?" She turned around to face the voice, and saw a man wearing dark brown voyage attire. He had long blond hair, and his face was round, seemingly calm. "Yes, it's me." Stella answered, shifting her weight from her left foot to her right foot, feeling a bit awkward. She was surprised that she had met someone who knew her name so soon. "Who speaks?" Stella looked at the man, wondering who would it be. "I'm Kanaz, from the Militant Guild. I'm here to introduce you here to Lord Mikáele. It's not easy to talk to him, this days..." She was indeed supposed to meet with someone from the guild, but, meeting with someone, so soon? It was strange, at least.

Stella smiled faintly at that Kanaz man, she didn't know him, and he hadn't showed any proof that he belonged to the guild, but she decided to trust him, nonetheless. "Thank you, but I would prefer to have some rest, first. As you can guess, I come from afar, and it's better to present myself to him in my best state possible..."

Kanaz looked surprised, but reacted quickly to her explanation. "Ah, of course, head to the blue tent over there, it serves as a tavern, so you should find a place to sleep, there." he pointed her finger towards the right to where they were.

"Alright. I will meet you tomorrow, then, and excuse me for the trouble caused." She turned, and without looking back, she went to the right, searching for the blue tent she had been told. For a moment, she wondered if it could be a trap, but when she heard all the noise coming from a blue tent, she smiled, laughing at her own self, for not trusting the man, because it was obvious that it was some sort of tavern.

As she entered, she immediately noticed the heavy air inside the tent; an air that made it difficult for her to breathe. It was also full of people, drinking, talking really loud. She looked around, wondering who would she have to talk to, if she wanted a place for the night.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:41 am

Another cry of despair arose as dice rattled with a hollow clatter onto the table, displaying three identical images carved into the smooth cherry wood. Flicking a strand of hair from her face in a familiar motion, Sol removed her boots from the stool beside her own, leaning forward to collect the small pile of silver coins with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

“Braggers always lose, Aibhilín,” one of the men said gruffly, scratching at the dark stubble lining his jaw and fixing the woman with an amused muddy gaze, “Your luck won’t last forever.”

Laughing, Sol scooped the coins into her leather purse with an audible jangle, tucking it once more beneath her leather armour and meeting his brown eyes with her own. “Did you hear me speak, Walker?” she returned bluntly, cupping the dice once more in her palm and running her thumbs over them. Teal gaze sparkling, she tossed them to the man sat opposite who caught them deftly. “Check them if you will.”

Grunting in acknowledgement, Trey Walker shook his head, the corner of his lips turning upwards slightly as he set the small cubes carefully onto the table’s surface. “Lucky you may be, Aibhilín, but I know you’re no cheat. Buy me a tankard and I’ll forget my sorrows with you.”

“Buy your own.”

With a short laugh that was more like a bark, the man’s thick fingers withdrew from a pouch at his hip, a reddish-metalled coin in his grip as he rose from his stool. “You have eyes on you, lass, I’ll say that about you.”

“Aye,” Sol returned with a sigh and another smirk, resettling her booted heels upon the second seat once more and crossing them at the ankles, “And you’ve another pouch tucked beneath the lip of your boots. Call me lass once more and I’ll make sure you’re well-enough tongue-tied that you say nothing of the sort again.”

Shaking his head in amused despair, the man named Walker left the table for another, his companions following him and grumbling amicably. Jangling her purse in satisfaction, Sol brought her tankard to her lips just as a newcomer entered the tent, his height making him visible even from her position in the far corner. Gazing with curious eyes at him over the rim of her cup – for indeed his weapon seemed to be gaining just as much attention as the man himself – she watched him mill awkwardly for a few moments. He seemed relatively peaceable and already some of the rowdier lot were murmuring restlessly, wondering whether to challenge the stranger and test his skill with the formidable looking weapon.

Finishing her drink, Sol turned her attentions away, pouring another tankard from the jug at her elbow. On most other occasions, she would’ve been one of the first to offer such a contest – the man was either a fool or a liar to wander so unobtrusively into a tavern displaying his weapon so proudly – but today she simply wanted to drink, gamble and drop to exhaustion on a pallet at the night’s end.

The decision, however, was made for her as the man pitched his voice above the general noise of the tavern’s occupants. "I am here to book passage on the large ship that flies through the stars," he said pointedly, his dark eyes sweeping over each individual present as a smaller figure emerged from the tent’s entrance to stop nervously behind him, staring about her with wide cobalt-coloured eyes, "A free drink to the person who can help me."

“You’ll want Aibhilín,” came the instant response and Sol’s teal-coloured gaze snapped up from her drink, fixing angrily upon Trey’s grinning face as he leant against what served as a bar. Returning his own mischievious gaze to the newcomer, Trey waved a hand in her direction, “Over there. Keep your balls close or she’ll bite them off.”

“Fuck you, Walker,” she responded tersely and the man made a lewd gesture in kind. Still, the damage was done and the strangely adorned newcomer was already making his way over, wading through the crowds with ease.

Rolling her eyes, Sol wet her lips with ale once more, settling her gaze upon his with an obvious derision. “What do you want?” she sighed and then indicated the slight form with a tilt of her head. “I wouldn’t leave your woman unattended if I were you – unless you want her mauled by the bears.”


Last edited by ShadowWake on Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Dio the Awesome on Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:09 am

August nodded towards the first voice which called out. "Many thanks, friend."

He made his way easily towards the table where Aibhilin sat. He undid the strap which held his great axe, and let the weapon hit noisily on the floor. He leaned the handle up against the table and then took a seat. He placed a hand gently on a passing server, "Two pints here please."

The woman clearly was not the most pleasant type, “What do you want? I wouldn’t leave your woman unattended if I were you – unless you want her mauled by the bears.”

August craned his neck in the direction indicated, and turned back. "That is not my woman. I have never seen her before today."

The drinks arrived and August quickly took a generous sip. He rumbled in approval, and set his tankard down. Then he began, "I will try to explain my task quickly, and you can decided to help me or not. My name is August Wind, of the Malini Tribe. I wish to get aboard the ship that will sail from this place. Of my people, I am our chiefs first son. I was sent on a mission to board that ship, and represent out tribes. I can not take no for an answer, or it would disgrace my family line. I can pay whatever amount is needed, my people have given me all the wealth they could spare."

As he spoke he produced a considerable look money pouch, and showed it to Sol. August was oblivious to the number of looks this action drew. He continued, "Can you help me?"
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:09 pm

Right after entering the tent, the first thing Stella noticed was the big man with the even bigger axe. Her body shook at the thought of the amount of damage the axe could deal. After that, she decided she would not want to think about it again.

As she realized that the man was drawing everyone’s attention, much to Stella’s relief, she walked slowly into the tent, and realized that she would have to approach the exuberant barmaid, who she thought she would draw as much attention as the tall man, usually. She laughed to herself at that thought. She heard a short argument going on, between a woman in a corner and a man with a mischievous look in his eyes. All this had been going on after the man surprisingly had asked to buy a passage into the ship. He offered a free drink to anyone who would help him. Stella thought that it wasn’t exactly an interesting offer, for she wasn’t paying anything with her money.

As she walked to the barmaid, and right when she was about to ask her about a place to sleep at, she heard the woman from the corner commenting on how the man shouldn’t let her woman unattended…

Woman…? What woman? There was no one… “Wait! I’m not…”

Right then, the man turned his head and stared at her. She was surprised when his eyes didn’t portray hatred, or anger, but just calm. That is not my woman. I have never seen her before today.

The barmaid excused herself as she went to take the drinks to the table, while Stella looked around, half annoyed, half scared. Great, now t hat they know I’m not ‘your woman’, I will be more noticed, and not exactly in a good manner…

And, indeed, she noticed quite a few pairs of eyes staring at her, piercing her body with their glares. She didn’t like that.

Fortunately, the money bag the tall man (his name seemed to be August Wind) exhibited was enough to draw the attention of a few eyes, but she still felt observed.

Stella shook her head. It was her duty to protect the ship, in fact, and this also included being careful with who was aboard, so she decided to walk to August.

“Ser Wind, I hope it would not be rude of me to ask for your business with that ship. Mayhap we could reach an agreement…” she stared curiously at the man, bigger than she had imagined that people could be, and the woman who was there before she arrived. She had reddish hair, and she looked to be not especially unfriendly, but she also looked somewhat tired, which could be a reason for her seeming that way.

“Sorry to intrude.”
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:18 pm

Sol eyed the jug of ale that was placed heavily on the scratched tabletop, lazily switching her teal-coloured gaze back to the man's as he spoke. He was determined, she would give him that. Opening her mouth to respond, she was interrupted by a heafty clink as August Wind settled a large bag of coin next to the flagon of ale before him. “Can you help me?”

“You’d do best not to listen to silver-tongues,” Sol murmured wryly in response, nudging at the bag of coin with the back of her hand, “Though I’d say you soured Walker’s milk pretty quickly with your little stunt.” Lifting her head from surveying the offer, the woman tipped it in the mentioned’s direction, raising a hand in mocking thanks. She puckered her lips in a kiss when the man scowled, returning her attentions to the stranger sat opposite her with a grin and a dismissing wave of her hand.

“I’m not your man, sir,” she replied with an almost apologetic sigh, taking another draught from her unfinished tankard, “So I will not take your drink. But I can-”

“Ser Wind,” came a small voice from the man’s broad elbow and Sol raised an eyebrow, closing her lips on her words. “I hope it would not be rude of me to ask for your business with that ship. Mayhap we could reach an agreement…” The slim woman came into view as the man shifted and Sol recognised the bright eyes of the slight stranger she had seen not a few moments previously. “Sorry to intrude.”

Settling back, Sol leaned her stool upon two legs, folding her arms behind her head with a sigh. “Intrude away. I am just a lowly soldier at arms, after all – not a Clan Chief’s eldest or a noble-woman seeking business. It’s not as if I was looking for privacy anyway...” Though sarcasm laced her words, it was said lightly for her mood was relatively easygoing with her win and since the younger woman’s arrival, her curiosity had peaked further.

“I am to assume then, you’re one of these ‘guests’ I’m supposed to be protecting,” she commented, her blunt words not quite belying her interest as she rocked back onto all four stool legs and rested her arms on the table. Not waiting for an answer – nor even expecting one – she turned her gaze back to August’s. “You’ll be wanting Lord What’s-his-face – Micháele – if you want to book passage on the Star-flight mission. You don’t get his say, you don’t get on – that’s just how it works. However, I’m sure-” she nodded in the young woman’s direction, reaching across to drain her tankard, “-Little Miss Pretty, here, will be helpful. If she’s got passage, she’s already in his good books. You don’t want to go referring me if you want in; we’ve had a few, uh... shall we say dealings in the past and he doesn’t like me much because of it. Besides, he doesn’t take kindly to the company I keep.”

“Still,” Sol sighed, stretching her arms above her head to loose the crick in her back and then bending to rub unselfconsciously at her aching left leg, “You won’t get anywhere ‘til morning. Man sleeps like a baby: to bed at sundown and rising at dawn. Needs a solid eight hours before he can function like any other man. I suggest you both grab yourself a pallet here and wander on over to that hideous yellow abomination on the morrow. We’re supposedly having a meeting but in my eyes, gatecrashers are always welcome.”

Grinning, Sol twisted to place her tankard on a barmaid’s empty tray before returning her gaze briefly to the pair before her. “Solstice Aibhilín,” she stated simply as she stood, gaze shifting again to train upon a figure she had been watching from the corner of her eye, “Excuse me while I deal with the gentleman who thinks it’s funny to take advantage of people when they’re talking.”

Taking two strides past the slim woman’s shoulder, Sol drew a small knife from the leather belt at her waist, twisted it hilt first and slammed it into the back of the neck of the man who had turned just a fraction too late in his attempt to evade her. Like drugged horse, the man crumpled to the floor, a large lump already beginning to swell at the base of his skull. His drinking companions eyed her with wary anger and Sol returned the stare cooly.

“Don’t grope what you can’t afford,” she stated brusquely, though a hint of danger laced her tone, “You’ll find the whores far less dangerous.” And turning on her heel, Sol sheathed her blade, striding back to the two newcomers.

“Speak to Ailsa,” she said to the woman with a wry smile, “She’ll be sure you get a pallet with at least a little privacy. But you, I’m afraid,” Sol continued, turning her teal eyes upon August’s brown, “will just have to keep your coin well hidden, now that everyone knows you’ve got it. Unless you want to get murdered in your sleep...”
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Dio the Awesome on Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:21 pm

August bowed to Sol, "Many thanks friend. I shall take your advice. I shall see you both tomorrow."

August left several crimson shillings on the table, hoping it would cover the cost of the drinks. He moved away quickly, and noticed several eyes followed him, and his purse, across the room. One man seemed to lean towards him from his chair. August simply slammed his large fist on the table, knocking drink and dice about.

The man put his arms up defensively, "Hey hey hey. Can't blame a guy for trying."

August frowned, "I can, and I do."

He gave the man a wider berth as he walked around him. It didn't take long to find the woman named Ailsa. He inquired about a room. She told him the price. He paid, and that was that.

He set him axe in the middle of the floor, and moved the the bedding. His room was the cheapest there, simple furs laying on the floor. He nestled his head into a sheet of wolves fur, he liked it best. The arrangement made him feel at home, in the mountains amongst the trees. He didn't know when he would get this feeling again. August went to sleep quickly, making sure that both his money, and his skinning knife were close at hand.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:18 pm

Stella realized she had really intruded somewhere she shouldn’t have, and felt sorry. It was, however, too late to apologize, so she thought better to forget about it. But Stella was rather amused by the woman’s comments. She, a noble-woman? Well, maybe she wasn’t that mistaken, but still, she wasn’t there as Miss Ocmare, but as Stella Oceane, a woman at the orders of the Militant guild. She couldn’t help but laugh a bit at the ‘Little Miss Pretty’ bit, even if she felt some sarcasm in the woman’s voice.

Stella waited until she had finished talking, and especially paid attention to the words about the Lord, who would only meet people from tomorrow. Apparently, it would be too late for the man, now.

“Excuse me, but maybe I should also be considered as a ‘lowly soldier’, since I am working for the Militant guild…” she turned her body to the side, a little bit, so her sword would be visible for the sitting woman. “Unless, of course, the members of my guild are not ‘lowly soldiers’, that is…” she smiled, kindly. “Of course, I meant that I can talk to Lord Mikáele, but only because I am part of the mission itself.”

After that, the woman spoke again. Solstice Aibhilín. Stella answered back. “Stella Oceane, I hope we get along well.”

As soon as she had said that, Sol excused herself, and hit a man, who was right behind Stella. Was the man going for her? And she hadn’t even realized? She wouldn’t be able to tell, because the man was lying on the ground, already.

“I’ll take the suggestion, Solstice, I wouldn’t want to be…let’s say ‘visited’ by anyone, during my sleep… Thank you for everything; I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.”

Stella turned around and walked calmly to the barmaid, and asked for Ailsa. Soon, she met her, and asked her for a place to sleep with a little privacy. ‘As much as possible privacy’ where the exact words Stella used. She found the place was a bit better than expected, and she was soon sleeping, since she was so exhausted. Right before falling asleep, she wondered what impressive things were waiting for her…
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:38 am

"Many thanks friend," the tribesman named Ausust said, smartly bowing at the waist, and Sol strode easily back to her seat, settling herself in it once more - legs this time tucked beneath the stool's short rungs, "I shall take your advice. I shall see you both tomorrow."

With a smile that was more like a smirk and a single raised eyebrow, Sol lifted a hand casually as he left, amused at the russet-coloured coins glinting dully upon the table-top. Picking one up, she ran it over her knuckles before tossing it with a flick of her thumb into the air and catching it deftly, lifting her gaze to meet the woman's as she spoke.

“Excuse me, but maybe I should also be considered as a ‘lowly soldier’, since I am working for the Militant guild…” she said, in a voice that was both confident and shy at once. She twisted slightly, displaying the hilt that peered out from beneath her pretty long locks. “Unless, of course, the members of my guild are not ‘lowly soldiers’, that is… Of course, I meant that I can talk to Lord Mikáele, but only because I am part of the mission itself.”

Sol raised another eyebrow, the corner of her mouth twisting slightly. She had recognised this woman - why had she not seen it before? Though of course, the girl with the deep blue eyes had entered the guild after her, but it was not uncommon to get used to faces even when not working in the same faction.

"Ye-es," Sol replied, narrowing her teal-coloured gaze slightly, "I've seen you around. Not my faction though... Cavalry? No, not with that get up..." She tilted her head on one side, surveying the woman's appearence intently, "Stealth. Yes, you have the build for it."

The woman smiled, her eyes crinkling in kindness, and Sol was suddenly hard-put not to grin herself in return. “Stella Oceane," she introduced herself politely, "I hope we get along well.”

Sol did grin then, still fingering the smooth sides of the shilling absently. "We'll see," she returned, though the sentiment was not intended as an insult, "You do, after all, come from a rival faction..."

The young spy's gaze flicked over to the man on the floor briefly before returning her cobalt eyes to Sol's. “I’ll take the suggestion, Solstice," she said with all seriousness, and Sol was pleased that the woman named Stella st least had some military sense and not just a noble-woman's, "I wouldn’t want to be…let’s say ‘visited’ by anyone, during my sleep… Thank you for everything; I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.”

Sol nodded, "On the morrow," as Stella turned smoothly on her heel and made her way over to the plump brunette the barmaid had directed her to. Similarly to August, they exchanged coin and Stella was led away. Sol watched her go with an intriguing expression, before turning her reef-coloured gaze upon the crimson shillings scattered on the old wood.

"Well," she told herself with a raised eyebrow, "There's no point letting good coin to go to waste."

----------

Sol woke to a strange blue glow, her head pounding dully and her mouth as dry as though she'd been chewing on wool all night. Groaning, she rolled into a sitting position, furs folding haphazardly around her half-dessed form, and scrubbed her face with her hands. There had been a bet, she remembered muzzily, but what the feat had been she could only guess at. Peering out of tired eyes, she surveyed her section of the tent carefully, breathing a quiet sigh of relief at finding all her posessions present.

Heaving herself into a standing position with both hands, Sol wandered over to the small clay bowl that lay in the corner, the clear water inside glinting in the blue light from the sun piercing the colourful sides of the tent. Lifting a handful of water she splashed her face with a grateful gasp and ran her wet hands through her hair as she stood from her crouch. Teasing out the majority of the tangles, Sol retrieved the leather thong from the floor and tied the long curls into a loose bun.

A faint panicked whinny came from the nearby paddock and Sol smiled as she pulled on her shirt; Cyra had returned from his hunting, it seemed. Within a few moments, Sol had emerged into the sunlight, twin swords hanging from her belt and crossbow strapped to her back. She'd be damned it she'd leave her arms behind, even if it was only supposed to be a peaceable discussion.

A man dressed head-to-toe in brown leather - very clearly from the militant guild - stood silently at the entrance of the tent as Sol wandered up, squinting as the bright morning sunlight reflected sharply off the luminous yellow sides. His mouth twitched, repressing a smile.

"Shut up," Sol muttered, glaring as best she could against the ache in her head - the pounding now down to a dull throb - and striding through the open tent flaps. Lord Micháele looked up as she entered, placing a piece of parchment to one side upon the long table he was sat at, standing.

"Aibhilin," he stated, with a pretence at pleasantries, indicating a seat opposite him with a lazy hand, "Please, sit."

Unstrapping her crossbow, Sol placed it in front of her upon the smooth table as she settled onto a chair between two others - noting, with a swell of pride, that Micháele's lip curled in distaste at the motion. He had clearly been told of both August and Stella's arrival - the extra pair of chairs as evidence, though how many more were actually on the mission, Sol had no idea. Certainly more than three...

Micháele seemed to read her mind. "We are waiting for two others to arrive this morning," he stated in a tone that suggested he was ignoring her initial slight, "One is already on your team-"

"My 'team'?" Sol snapped, "I've told you, I don't-"

"And the other," Micháele said loudly over the top of her, meeting her gaze angrily, "Seems he wants to join in too, so you will stay while we discuss his entry into the mission. I will have-" he continued, his voice overwhelming Sol's protests, "No objections. Unless, of course, you don't feel fit to serve?"

Glaring hatred, Sol snapped her mouth shut and Micháele nodded triumphantly, settling once more into his cushioned chair. "Good," he stated patronizingly, "We will wait."
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Dio the Awesome on Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:17 pm

August Wind was already awake. He sat with his legs crossed in his room. The smell of incense flowed around his large body, and clung to his hair and furs. He breathed in.

The bowl that sat in front of him was prepared with the most careful finesse. 19 drops of alcohol, distilled from a Gunji plant. Enough to clear the mind, but not to blur the senses. In the alcohol sat mint, rhular, and alovera. Herbs to cleanse the body. He breathed out.

He imagined his mind as a perfect shield. Polished to perfection, the light would glisten across its entire surface. The shield would protect his mind from intrusion, deceit and temptation. He breathed in.

He imagined his body, as a jagged stone. Rough and imperfect, but deadly as well. The stone was a dark obsidian, impervious to attacks, and sharper than diamond. It would protect him from physical harm, and defend others. He breathed out.

He imagined his spirit, as an inescapable mist. Infinite and invisible, the spirit exists in all things. The mist can not be seen, touched, or heard, but it is there, enveloping all creation. The mist is what holds the universe together, makes all peoples one. He breathed in.

August opened his eyes, and drank his liquid. He repeated his mantra, allowing the incense to fill his nostrils with each breath. At last he exited his room, in full gear, the large axe hanging over his shoulder. He noticed Solstice and another man. He decided to approach them, with the smell of holly still on his clothing.

"Good morrow friends." August began. "Sleep well?"
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:14 pm

That Solstice woman. She was interesting. Of course, their factions were rivals. Not that Stella actually believed in such rivalries, but still…

The night was calm, and it passed without any especial event taking place. She was not visited by anyone, nor did she hear anything strange outside her sleeping place. She was feeling uneasy, though, and kept waking up over and over. Even with that, when she finally woke up for the last time, she felt pretty good. She had been to bed early the day before, guessing this would happen, so in the end she had been able to rest, somehow.

She calmly took her time to set everything up, washing herself as much as possible, and checking on all her stuff. She was relieved to find out everything was there; nothing had been stolen. She saw the early light entering the place, a new dawn was born, and everything was ready for her to have a good day. ‘Hopefully’, she thought.

After everything was set, she took a last sight at her place, to make sure she didn’t leave anything there, and finally went outside. The breeze was light and the sun bright. It was definitely a good day, after all.

It didn’t take long for Stella to meet with the man from the day before, the one who had told her he’d take her to Lord Micháele. “Thank you. I’m rather lost at this place.” There wasn’t much more conversation between the two of them, for the man seemed troubled with something, although he wouldn’t say what was it. After the two of them said their farewell, Stella stepped into the tent where she was to meet with everyone.

Apparently she was late, or their came early, maybe both. She didn’t know. There were people in, already. She already knew two of them. Solstice and that August man, with his huge axe. There was a strange smell around him, but Stella couldn’t say what it was about. “I’m sorry; I wasn’t acquainted with this place, so it took me a bit longer to come here than expected. Hello, Ser August, Miss Solstice. Lord Micháele, it has been some time.” She waited a few moments before actually making her request, which she did after sitting down. “Lord, Ser August here wishes to join us. I would like to request allowance for him to do so. If there is any trouble I would assume complete responsibility over it. I do believe he would be a valuable asset for this mission, and I feel he can be trusted. I formally ask for him to come, as well.”

Little did Stella know that he was more or less already allowed to go with them. However, even if she was asking for that, she was wondering what kind of person he’d be. And, of course, Solstice, too. There were some interesting mission companions, after all. But all that was part of the World’s Grand Plan for her. She had a purpose; there was a reason for her to be there, even if she didn’t know it. That was one of her goals; to find out this reason.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:21 am

Sol barely glanced up as the tribesman August wandered in, trailing a faint floral scent that seemed to be underlying the harsh tang of smoke that permeated his furs. She was concentrating more upon reducing the dull ache to a bearable level, pressing her fingers firmly against her temples in an attempt to rub away the self-induced pain.

"Good morrow friends," he said genially, and Micháele inclined his head in a regal manner, "Sleep well?"

“Sufficient enough for the day’s toils, yes,” the nobleman replied, extending a hand courteously to indicate that the tall man should sit, “I assume your own has been pleasant enough?”

Sol rolled her eyes to herself, dryly amused, but she was saved any further gallant pleasantries by the appearance of the bright-eyed spy she had met the night before. “I’m sorry,” the young woman immediately apologised, taking their own presence as confirmation of her late arrival, “I wasn’t acquainted with this place, so it took me a bit longer to come here than expected. Hello, Ser August, Miss Solstice. Lord Micháele, it has been some time.”

Lord Micháele swiftly stood, striding the few swift steps over to her and grasping her hand, bending slightly at the waist. “No, no, my lady,” he returned with a winning smile, “Your arrival is most punctual, I assure you. But it has been some time indeed.” He waved an arm expansively, his eyes sliding swiftly past Sol’s, ignoring her disgusted glare, “Please, sit.”

Stella did so and glanced across at August before returning her gaze to Micháele’s as he sat on the other side of the wide table, facing the three of them. “Now,” he said pompously, shuffling the parchment before him and resting his clear blue eyes upon August and Stella alone – Sol seemed momentarily forgotten, which suited her rather nicely for the time being – “There are some other items that are to be discussed before we delve into the matter of the mission, am I correct?”

“Lord, Ser August here wishes to join us,” Stella said instantly in reply, and Micháele rested his bearded chin upon his steepled fingers as he regarded them each in turn, “I would like to request allowance for him to do so. If there is any trouble I would assume complete responsibility over it. I do believe he would be a valuable asset for this mission, and I feel he can be trusted. I formally ask for him to come, as well.”

For a few seconds, Micháele didn’t answer, though he surveyed August with open curiosity. Sol sighed audibly, settling back in her seat with arms folded and the stuck-up fool glared at her again, clearly delaying things on purpose. “And I suppose you have an objection to this, Aibhilín, considering you make a point to contend anything I am due to approve?”

Sol raised a single red eyebrow and waved her right hand nonchalantly. “Considering you’ve already approved this ‘team’ without even consulting me, Micháele, I would think that my opinion on this matters very little.”

The man’s lips thinned and she could see a muscle twitch in his jaw as Micháele clenched his teeth, but he maintained his composure and instead turned to August. “And you, August: what is your say on this matter? What is it that you-“ he indicated Stella with a quick tilt of his head, “and Miss Oceane here think you can provide on this trip? I have taken many things into consideration and I do not wish to employ extra hands if it is unnecessary…”
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Dio the Awesome on Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:13 pm

August nodded his large head formally, "Lord Micháele, my name is August Wind, I am the first son of the chief of the largest tribe in my homeland. It was the wishes of our tribal council, that I travel on this vessel, to represent the position of our people, should we meet new tribes."

He paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts, "But my intentions are not wholly personal. I offer my skills as a diplomat, should it be needed. I have brokered peace treaties with the most brutal savages, and provide a unique perspective should there be any... prejudices on board. In the cases where peace is not possible..." August adjusted his axe, "I offer my life to protect the passengers aboard. If money is a concern, my people have provided me with a considerable sum."

August went to reach for his gold pouch, before stopped himself on Sol's suggestion, he kept his money hidden.

"On behalf of the Kherigate people, I respectfully ask permission to... accompany you on your journey." August stumbled through, making it sound like he was trying to recite a speech.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:25 pm

Sol was impressed. The man named August was polite and precise, stating his interest in a few simple sentences and yet leaving an underlying sense of threat behind it. A diplomat certainly: how much chaos would this matter cause if Micháele refused to take on a member of one of the largest tribes in the region? Sol did not think it would be a simple matter of refusal and by the look that crossed the nobleman’s perfect features – a swift flash of annoyance and distaste – neither did he. Still, the snake smoothed over it well, shifting his steepled fingers so that they were interlaced in front of him on the table and leaning forwards slightly.

“You would be a good field man,” he surmised and then, with two tilts of his head, continued, “As Aibhilín and my lady Oceane are and will be. The diplomats I have hired thus far are...” he paused for a brief instant, yet Sol knew it was simply to make a show of it – he knew exactly what he thought of the diplomats, “...less experienced in the field.”

Sol snorted unbecomingly. “You mean that at the slightest hint of danger, they’ll pick up their skirts and use their skinny little legs to run as fast and as far away as they can from it.”

Micháele fixed his royal blue gaze on her with an expression of loathing at her quiet smirk. “Quite,” he spat in an impeccably precise tone, “As I said, they are not trained in the arts of combat-“ He turned his head to August with a strained smile. “Thus if any were to ever be caught in an... awkward... situation, they would become mere targets and would not necessarily be able to defend themselves. You, however, have been trained in both and thus solve an issue that need not arise.”

Taking a deep breath, the young lordling settled back into his seat. “And for that reason, I agree for you to join us in our quest-”

Sol sighed loudly, bursting into startled laughter as Micháele rose from his seat to round furiously on her, his pale ears colouring red. “Aibhilín, shut up for just one minute, won’t you??” he snarled, looking as though he’d like to tear his hair out, “Look, just- just... go and show our guests to the market, please...?” he finished with a desperate sigh, sinking back into his chair and pressing an exasperated two fingers to his temple. “And stay out of trouble, Aibhilín. I’d really rather not see you again today.”

With a grin, Sol unfolded her legs gracefully, sweeping her crossbow from the table and resting it upon her shoulder. “Right you are, m’Lord,” she chirped, adding an edge to the last word that was unmistakable, “And I suppose you’ll want me to show them their cabin aboard after, yes?”

“Yes, yes...” Micháele waved an airy hand, his frown irritable, “I will say you know best just to get you from my sight, soldier, now please leave.” Rising, he made a formal bow to Stella and August. “I apologise but, despite my words, she is capable enough to show you around in this instance. If you have need of someone more...” Sol glared but Micháele seemed as though he was trying to pretend she was no longer present, “More... refined, I am sure there will be someone aboard the vessel who will suit. I will send a messenger when it is time for us to go through the plans in full. I expect it to be around sundown so please feel free to explore the camp in the meantime, though I must ask you to avoid leaving. You will be paid from today, and these instalments you may collect from your benefactor on the ship once every seven days. Again, I thank you for your time.”

Sol figured that his second bow was probably a cue to leave and so she obeyed – more out of hate of the man than any respect of his authority. Stepping out of the tent, she took a deep breath of fresh mid-morning air and felt the throbbing in her head die slightly. What she would give to fly right now... Glancing reluctantly in the direction of her Roc, she decided the tactful option was best and gave a small sigh, turning to her new charges, her quirky grin at least half genuine. After all, she was being paid for this, wasn’t she?

“Right,” she stated, taking her crossbow down from her shoulder and twisting to tie it to her back once more, her teal-coloured eyes meeting each of theirs when she was finished. “What do you need? Weapons, armour, powders, potions... animals to sacrifice...” Sol gave a bark of laughter, grinning at their faces, “Ok, ok... I said I’d behave didn’t I? Come on,” she continued bluntly, “You can talk while we walk.”
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:59 pm

Without a doubt, a good diplomat. That was the impression Stella had about August, when he spoke to Micháele. Why hadn't she noticed before? He looked like a warrior, but his behaviour was far different. How was that possible...? She felt a bit at a loss; because she had failed at identifying him as a diplomat. But, leaving those matters aside, she had to admit he did look threatening, while polite. The tense expressions of their faces showed a moment of fake calm. Nevertheless, things straightened quite easily, for the lord didn't want to begin a conflict. Accepting August aboard was not something he could decide. He had to. Letting him here was not an option.

The lord's flattering towards the big man was no doutbt a mask, to hide his disgust, perhaps? Stella couldn't tell. Lord Micháele had always been sort of unreadable, for her. And as for his definition of the diplimats... well, she agreed more with Sol's definition. They thought they had a high reputation, as if they were noblemen, when in fact they were just a bunch on wanna-be's... that's why Stella didn't like diplomats, in general. They spoke way too much for her. Not that she wanted to fight, to resolve conflicts, but usually those diplomats used their abilities against their personal enemies, trying to make life better for them, egoistically. She couldn't stand people who were like that, diplimats or not.

Again, she was a witness to Sol and Micháele's antagonism, for she bursted out laughing while he was speaking, and he couldn't stand that. Of course, that man was doing nothing to earn their respect, and certainly, they sure had their relationship from the past. Actually, Stella didn't know the lord that well. He had met him in the past, for sure, but she did not know him very well. She probably wouldn't understand everything that was going on. Because of this, she decided not to say anything, until things were more calm.
And it was then, when Micháele treated Sol as someone who was not refined enough to meet his standards, when Stella finally decided to answer back.

"Lord Micháele, I don't think someone more... refined, as you put it, would be necessary. I've seen enough of Miss Aibhilín to know she's capable of that, and of far greater things. While I agree that manners are important, I do not believe that she should be treated this way. From now on we're comrades. It is imperative that we collaborate, that we work together, if we want this to be a success. And I believe we all want." Stella grinned cockily to Micháele, before softening her smile to Sol and August. She didn't want to seem a rebel, but she did believe that team-work was important, and the lord wasn't helping. At all. After the man bid farewell to the group, Stella followed Sol outside, and inhaled the fresh air again. The tent's air was certainly more dense. Partially because of the tense moments that happened inside, but also because it was a closed place. Stella thought about her home. She had always enjoyed open places, like forests, rivers, coasts... but she had to admit she always loved the rich houses, rooms, and places she used to be at, when she was younger. She always admired the aesthetic beauty of those places.

She stared with surprised at the offering of sacrificing an animal, but was a bit relieved, as she saw Sol was joking, or at least she thought it was just a joke... "Well... I have my sword, my basic equipment... I'd need potions, probably. I prefer mixing stuff than creating stuff... not that I can't do it, but... oh, and some powders would be nice, too." she decided not to mention she was a healer, although by her request it was probably obvious anyway.

"So, tell me, Miss Solstice... what is your story with that lord... I do dislike him, as well, but you seem particularly... how to put it... hostile, in a way." she smiled, trying not to sound annoying.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Dio the Awesome on Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:39 pm

"The sacrifice of an animal is only permitted in times of great need." August explained, missing the joke, "I do not think this counts. A simple offering of sage and rhular soaked in crai should be enough." He used the tribal name for alcohol.

August remain silent after that, taking in the sights and sounds of the busy market place. He noticed a number of shops selling goods that he did not recognize. He took a moment to analyze the items, but did not ask what they were for. He half listened to the two women discuss the 'finer' qualities of the Lord. It mattered little to the large man. He had pledged his sword (or axe, as it were) arm to the man, and he intended to carry out his vow.

As the sun rose, the heat from the street began to rise. This was the second time he had been in a proper city. The first time was with his father, he was just a child then. The city was still as large and imposing as ever. August marveled at the structures all around him, and the crushing waves of people. In the market place, he felt like he was in the middle of a battle field, except there were no sides. Each person had their own goals, moving in their own directions.

"Coarse stone." He announced quite suddenly. "Or an equivalent, to keep my blades sharp."
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Kestrel on Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:19 pm

As if her puffed cheeks their selves did not make the child look silly enough, the girl was almost perilously trying to increase the hilarity by turning the crystal into all angles and seeking for her most ridiculous reflection. The owner of the outlet however, was not nearly as amused as his young customer. "That's one expensive toy you're playing with lassie." He lectured the girl with a faint, but more importantly; fake, smile. "Put it back before you break it." The shimmer of yellow teeth and the disturbance contained in his dark green eyes were not getting through to the child. Without turning around, she bent her neck over her shoulder and looked at him suspiciously, inspecting him from top to bottom. It was as if this child was judging him.

"Hey whelp! Do as I say!"

She was clearly not of noble heritage. The simple clothes she wore had made that clear and this image was endorsed by the fact that she had come unescorted. But seemingly unimpressed and undisturbed, the girl returned to what she was doing. The storekeeper hesitated. A mere brat, was what she looked like, but when a child that looked as if she had barely entered her teens remained calm after a shout of his, it could only mean one thing; thief. Clearly she was confident that her legs could carry her faster than the shopkeeper could ever run. He grumbled. What she played like as a toy was a precious artifact worth much more than a couple of shillings. If she had eyed of high birth, the storekeeper would have gladly let her toy with the stone. But how could he retake his crystal now? Would she notice him, if he attempted to block her escape route? A gamble was worth his bet. At any moment the child could grow bored and make her escape, in which case all was lost. Nervously the man circled around the girl, who on her turn glanced at him and carefully kept her eyes focused on the move. Clenching the crystal tightly in her small hands and pressing it against her chest. But she did not move. Why did she not move? Had he thrown twelve eyes, or a mere two?

The floor squealed with every step the storekeeper took. While he kept his distance, the girl maintained her position. The man took a step towards her. In retrospect, she took two steps away. "Thief!" the storekeeper growled, now he was confident to have revealed the girl her intentions. Her eyelids clenched as tightly around her pupils as her hands around the crystal. But her lips remained sealed and her posture static. He took another step, she another two. The distance grew. But her back would soon meet a wall. He had to close in fast, before she could find the space to make a run for it. "You got nowhere to run- AH!"

Within split seconds he stared into the face of the owner of the hand he had felt on his shoulder. A man he had not heard coming in. Ignoring the potential customer and the shame that he had been unable to suffocate his scream, the shopkeeper turned around once again following the light sound of quick footsteps that had begun the moment he had turned his back on the girl. And his suspicion had come true, she was no longer there. Inwardly cursing the man started scanning around his outlet with false hopes of finding the thief. But the girl was nowhere to be found.

"Oh, I believe you are looking for Chanson, dear shopkeeper!" He found the now more familiar hand rested upon his shoulder once again. "You must have found her shy, but I can assure you she is plenty adventurous." The storekeeper stared the individual straight in the face. In contrast to the girl, who had been dressed in a simple single piece of cloth and a scarves wrapped around her hair, neck and waist, the red-haired stranger was equipped more formally. But it wasn't the dark travelling cape that piqued the storekeeper, nor his beautiful coat or his leather boots. No, it was the girl who had hidden her body behind that of the man.

"Would you not introduce yourself?" The man pressed. His smile was too gentle for such a sudden cold tone of voice. Was this man expecting an introduction and did he try to discipline the storekeeper when he did not receive one? Either way the stranger seemed to have no doubt whether or not his attempts would be defied. The storekeeper grumbled again, not liking nor trusting the situation one bit. The girl still had his possession in her hands. "Wilfred." He replied hastily when his eyes met those of the other man. But the stranger was not pleased, not satisfied and not hiding the slightest hint of those in his expression.

"I require your full name, if you please, Wilfred." The man stated after a short wait and an uncomfortable silence. "It would not be sincere of you to defy my family name, for when word travels further, so may your customers." That introduced the three to another.

"Wilfred Fronde." The storekeeper admitted, having too much difficulty to raise his attention from the threat of losing a single crystal to the one of the entirety of business. He did not recognize the self-proclaimed lord in front of him and the merchant raised eyebrows. He sold many treasures in many places. Surely he would have recognized a marking of high birth. But this man's were hidden in a collar. Whereas most noble families he had met could be recognized from patterns in more visual areas. Unmistakably however, this man carried a long, thin blade that bungled in its hold next to the fine-woven coat. A necklace encrypted with words Wilfred did not understand fell in front of the man's chest and rings with even more alien words engulfed the fingers of his gloves.

"Wilfred Fronde?" The stranger repeated. Wilfred nodded. "Why is it, Wilfred Fronde, that my Chanson hides from you?"

Now Wilfred had to carefully watch his words, the child was clearly under his protection. Stating his suspicions would do him little good. And yet, he did not fully believe the man his stated birth. "I beg your pardon, sir. I had no idea she was with you." But the stranger frowned and invaded further into the storekeeper's personal space. With his nose hovering but an inch away from Wilfred's, he repeated his question. Clearly the man insisted to have it answered. In spite of his shorter length, the red-headed stranger seemed to have no issue intimidating the living hell out any storekeeper. Wilfred could feel the man's breath on his chin and his eyes piercing those of his own. The grip on his shoulder had returned and tightened more than ever.

One again he repeated: "Why does she hide from you?" A hint of restrained viciousness was noticeable in his voice, hardly, but for the listener it was difficult to ignore. And that listener shook his head. He knew that he should not blame the girl. Thief or no thief.

"I am at fault, please, forgive me-"

But the stranger shook his head. "Is it so hard for the common man to answer a question?" He mumbled more to himself than to the shopkeeper and let go of the man's shoulder. "Chanson," he began with a considerably more friendly tone and smile as he turned and knelled to the girl, "Could you tell me why you hide from this man?"

"This man claims me a thief, Jean. He says I will break his crystal." The girl replied to the red-haired man, while she pointed her finger in the storekeeper's direction. "He then yelled. He then approached me. He would not inquire."

Jean returned his eyes to the figure of the storekeeper and slowly stood up. A short sigh escaped from his lips before he finally spoke again. "I understand you suspicions, Wilfred Fronde, my Chanson is adventurous, but shy. She is of course, but a child. However, we shall take no offence." Those words clearly relieved the storekeeper, who dropped and relaxed his tense shoulders and repositioned his shivering legs. "What I do take offence for, is your disrespect. One of your birth must know it is no less than proper to introduce himself and should not take my questions so lightly not to provide a satisfying answer. I shall leave with a warning, Wilfred Fronde. Heed it, for your next actions may be received by a man less forgiving."

"Oh, and Chanson. Would you kindly return Wilfred his merchandise? We are no thieves, are we?"

The girl nodded and put the crystal back where she had found it. Without deeming the storekeeper worthy of another look, Jean and Chanson swiftly left Wilfred's outlet. That left the man breathless and petrified in his own store. Only to be woken up by another unfamiliar voice minutes later, "Excuse me, how much do you charge for..."

--------------------

"I concur, my beloved Chanson." The child had hesitated to believe Jean's words. She would not accept if Jean would wish to introduce her to a stranger. But little did Jean-Baptiste care for her concerns and he continued, "She is not the woman I would hold for a mother, you must believe me, yes?" And he awaited a nod or any other form of confirmation. Chanson obliged. "I must admit her name escapes me, but she is not a woman easily forgotten. And what man would I be if I forgot about any who once flew under my wing? Certainly, you must be introduced."

Any argument about this matter with Jean was a lost cause, Chanson knew that better than any other and Jean knew Chanson better than any other. And hence the pair started moving through the busy market place in a rapid pace. Her hand clenched to Jean's tightly, who pulled her through the masses on this hot day. He put a little more strength to his grip when he felt that Chanson had started sweating. No wonder, on such a hot day. The tumultuous market moved in many directions and would occasionally slow them down. Their pace was unaffected however, as Jean would simply maneuver around or push through whenever he saw an opening. And while Chanson focused on the many legs that crossed and blocked paths and then on Jean's and then on the narrow moments she had time to calculate how not to bump into anyone, Jean himself studied the three persons ahead. Of course, there was the Sky Fighter whose name he could not remember. She was a loud, brutal woman. But no less than often she had been praised as a dependable comrade. Her two companions, Jean did not recognize. One of the two however, easily stood out. An incredibly large tribesman. Little men of Ista could compare to the sheer bulk that was bred in the tribes. Bred. As Jean's impressions were his father's. Barbarians, beasts even, that is how Émeric Montague had described their kin. It made Jean ponder, why would a barbarian be searching for in a place like this? Certainly not horses to eat.

The other companion, a small, well-dressed woman, Jean-Baptiste paid little attention to, as his time to, had been cut short. "It is truly magnificent to find another familiar face!" The man exclaimed! "It has been long since I have seen yours. How do you fare these days, my lady? Whispers tell many stories, of course, but these fall apart in the shadow of a first-hand tale!"

He paused, and took his final steps and then waited for Chanson's. The girl was panting, but regardless her ever-observant and suspicious eyes accompanied her blossomed cheeks. But Jean remained cheerful and smiled. "Please, do us the favour of introducing us to your companions."
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:44 pm

"The sacrifice of an animal is only permitted in times of great need," the great man beside them mentioned in his calm tone, "I do not think this counts. A simple offering of sage and rhular soaked in crai should be enough."

Sol inwardly cackled with glee – outwardly showing a poorly smothered grin – and gave August a friendly slap on the tall, fur-covered curve that was his shoulder. “I do believe you’re correct, my friend,” she replied, inclining her head with a smirk, “Excuse my ignorance.”

Stella merely looked relieved, clearly understanding the tease for what it was. Sol grinned fully. She didn’t think it’d be so bad having a ‘team’ anymore; sure, she would’ve preferred to have been able to disappear off on her own and get some good exploring in, but as parties go, this wasn’t a bad one. Not like the wyrm, Micháele...

"Well...” started Stella, continuing the conversation off from where it had begun and Sol turned her attentions once more to the dirt paths, leading them to the edge of the city proper. So... fanatical... about this ship these people were, the city had scarce enough resources to hold everyone – hence the myriad of tents erected upon the plains that fringed the city. The small group picked their way through the labyrinth of bright cloth and tripping guy-ropes, finally entering the town proper, leather soles slapping against rounded cobbles. “I have my sword, my basic equipment... I'd need potions, probably. I prefer mixing stuff than creating stuff... not that I can't do it, but... oh, and some powders would be nice, too."

“That’ll be this way, then,” Sol responded, swivelling on her heel and taking a sharp right turn into an alleyway full of canopied stalls. Already the scent of bread and cooked meat wafted upon the breeze, causing the sky-fighter’s stomach to growl. First the apothecary’s stand, she mused to herself as they walked, mentally mapping their route through the marketplace, then the Three Ships to break our fast... then the smithy, she finished, idly wrapping her hands around the hilts of her blades. She would need a new whetstone and oiling cloth – the last, she remembered wryly, had been soaked by the storm they had flown through three nights ago.

So absorbed she was in her mental planning, that Sol almost missed Stella’s question. Restraining the want to spit, her face moulded itself into an expression of distaste instead. “He is a coward and a traitor, and not fit to serve his position,” she spat, “He will never admit to it, but he once entertained the idea of serving a period in the Military Guild-”

They had reached the apothecary stand and Sol stepped to one side, allowing Stella to see the tradeswoman’s goods. “Long story short: he bought his way in, lost his nerve at a crucial point and blamed an incident on one of his comrades. In return, he got a promotion.” The Sky-fighter studied the spy as she eyed each herb and potion, putting a few to one side to purchase. Sol remembered her vaguely – though she had been absent so much recently from the guild that it was hard to say how long the other woman had been there. “You know the code,” she said fiercely, turning to assess the crowds with her eyes narrowed, “You don’t bail out on each other.”

"Coarse stone," came the deep voice from beside her and, turning to look at the speaker, Sol raised an eyebrow. "Or an equivalent, to keep my blades sharp."

“A whetstone,” she answered him, “I have need of one myself. We’ll go there next.” Her stomach could wait: if Micháele wanted them outfitted, then she would do so – more for the logic in it than respect for the man. If they were to travel with her, she would see them outfitted with all the supplies they could carry – all the better to help keep them alive...

She was just about to continue – for she wouldn’t go without mentioning the meal at least – when a loud voice made itself heard over the incessant buzz that was the busy marketplace. "It is truly magnificent to find another familiar face!”

Turning with a frown to see who was being spoken to, her turquoise eyes lit upon a distant and at once familiar face. Her brows lifted as she raised an eyebrow, a small smile twitching at the corner of her lips. “Well, if it isn’t old Jean...” she murmured in amusement, taking a step forward as he continued to stride towards her, a small child trotting along behind him, palm caught in his large hand.

The man fair beamed. “It has been long since I have seen yours,” he said amicably, still a few paces away. Sol folded her arms and watched him approach. “How do you fare these days, my lady? Whispers tell many stories, of course, but these fall apart in the shadow of a first-hand tale!” He drew up in front of them, the girl jogging the last few steps to catch up. “Please, do us the favour of introducing us to your companions."

“I fare as well as I always have, Jean,” Sol answered, inclining her head with her usual quirked smile and ignoring the title he gave her. Jean-Baptiste was a nobleman at heart and as such – in Sol’s eyes at least – his strange mannerisms had to be expected. “Though you look more burdened than when I saw you last.” Sol gave a nod in the direction of the small teela that glared suspiciously at her from the soldier’s side. Jean had always been a strange one – for a soldier... Sol hadn’t known him on a personal level – mind you, she didn’t know anyone on a personal level but Crya – so indeed it was possible he’d had a family. As to why he was here with a child of all things was another matter entirely.

“This,” she continued, standing aside to allow her two companions into the conversation, “is Stella Oceane and August Wind – a healer-spy and a warrior-diplomat – that I am charged to ward in this grand mission to the stars. Guys, this is Jean-Baptiste Montague. He was my Wing Commander a few years past; we’d best hope he’s come to join and not hinder this mission – he’s got the most silver of tongues I know...”

"Anyway." Sol turned her gaze back to Jean's, raising her palms, "Stella's just picking up some ingredients and August and I need to find the smithy. We shan't be long and then I plan on a visit to the Three Ships; you're free to join us if you will?"
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:06 pm

As they walked between the numerous tents, looking for a place to buy the stuff Stella needed, she realized how similar this place looked like those food markets back home. Those she saw from her room. So many bright colors, so much people wandering around, without a specific direction, ... it was then, that she noticed one thing she would never have from her room. It was the scent of many things; bread, meat, and a lot more things. Of course, she had been to a few places like that, but it never ceased to amaze her...

Right then, Sol answered her question, about the lord. He is a coward and a traitor, and not fit to serve his position. He will never admit to it, but he once entertained the idea of serving a period in the Military Guild- she seemed strangely absentminded, when they entered the apothecary's stand. Long story short: he bought his way in, lost his nerve at a crucial point and blamed an incident on one of his comrades. In return, he got a promotion. Stella eyed each and every herb and potion on the place, as exhaustive as she was, she would want to have as many supplies as possible. After all, it's not as if they knew where they were going... she put a few things aside, and handed them to the woman taking care of the store. "This will do. How much is it?"

She turned to Sol. "I can't believe we're using the title 'lord' with such a... worm. Wait, nevermind that. It would be insulting worms, actually. Are you serious about what he did, anyway? I can't believe it... that's... well, just as you said, that's terribly coward. And coward people are never fit to serve a high ranking position." she realized for a moment that she was speaking like her father, and this thought made her shudder. "Not that I know what someone should to when being that important, but I'm sure being a coward weakling can never help, for sure. And also, especially, if he's ready to place blame on anyone else just to save his behind."

You know the code, you don’t bail out on each other. And Sol was right. Of course you'd never do that. Not in the Militant guild. Of course, the groups weren't exactly allied, but their basics remained the same. "I know... people like him make this world the wretched place it is, today..." she smiled at Sol. "I do share your opinion on him. I admit I have never known him that much, but still thought I'd have to show some respect... I might have to re-think that. Right?"

Stella finally turned to the woman on the store, and gave her a few shillings. "Thank you". And turned to Sol and August, who were now talking about weapon-stuff. And then, all of a sudden, someone greeted Sol. Someone that knew her, it seemed... and when Stella faced the man... surprise.

She let the two of them talk for a bit, until, finally Sol introduced her to the man. Not a specially tall man, but he sure looked strong. Red hair, brown eyes. She did remember him. Probably he wouldn't know her, though, or maybe he would? "Well, well... look who's here... Montague, hm!" she smiled faintly, mildly sure that he wouldn't recognize her. "I'm done with my stuff. I'll follow to wherever you guys are going."

She looked at the little girl with some curiosity. She didn't look like a noble child, of course, which was intriguing...
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Dio the Awesome on Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:31 pm

August eyed the newcomer. His hand briefly went to his axe handle, but he lowered it when Sol acknowledged the man. He stayed for the brief introductions, and found this colorful man confused him with his quick speech and long words. While the three discussed things he knew little about, August excused himself with a short grunt, and moved to the smithy's area, looking for this 'whetstone' Sol had spoken of.

August approached a man who's face was smeared with smoke and sweat. He was bent over a forge, and straightened suddenly when August hailed him. "Seerah." August called to him, using his native tongue for the word Forger. "I would like some help."

The Smith pulled out a rag, and whipped the soot off of his hands, "What can I do for you sir?"

"I am looking for something called 'whetstone'. Do you know where I can find some?" The large man asked.

The Smith gave him an odd look, "Sure, I can sell you a whetstone myself. How many do you need?"

August seemed to think about this for a moment, then drew his axe. He set it down with a thud, and showed the blades to the Smith. "How long would one keep this weapon sharp for?"

"Hmmmm..." he said with a appraising look, "I suppose it would last for several months at least, depending on how often you use the weapon."

"Then you best give me two, no, three. I do not know how long I shall be gone for."

The blacksmith moved about his stall, handing August several whetstones. August rummaged in his money pouch to pay the man. After handing over far too much tender, August wordlessly turned and set out to find the group. He nodded to Sol as he returned to the group, and held up his spoils.

"Whetstone." He said with a grin.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Kestrel on Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:21 pm

Two words identified the woman to anyone in a heartbeat. Sol's name instantly returned to Jean as she nodded towards Chanson; "Though you look more burdened than when I saw you last."

"Manners, Aibhilín."

But Solstice paid no attention, or did not hear them, as she continued introducing her two companions to Jean, tripped in a sneaky sarcasm about the voyage and made her previous wing commander known to Stella and August. Of which the latter quickly left after the exchange of names. Not to Jean's surprise, he was a barbarian after all. A rough grunt was his substitute for a note of absence? Jean's father's words made more sense to him now he could witness one of the tribesmen in person. Previously Jean had barely been able to relate the tales to the people. But swiftly, his attention was redistributed over Chanson's tightening grip on his hand and Solstice' words. "We shan't be long and then I plan on a visit to the Three Ships; you're free to join us if you will?"

Stella Oceane quickly replied to her fearless leader and the nobleman did not take any hesitation with his either; "Why I would love to, Solstice. But you must agree; I could not possibly take my Chanson to a drinkery!" Jean laughed as he raised an eyebrow of his own. "Speaking of whom, lady Oceane seems to have her interest piqued! How magnificent!" A playful grin played on his lips with the passion any father would have with the chance to introduce a newborn child. Except that Jean's excitement had never truly subdued and showcased itself every opportunity it would receive.

"Be not afraid, my Chanson! Surely no member of the guild would mean us any harm." Jean smiled gently at his adopted daughter. He pulled her forwards into the vision of the two women. Chanson almost tripped when she tried to resist the sudden swing, but having caught her balance did not mean having caught her dignity, which had fell and broke on the ground beneath her feet and she stared at the shards while Jean did the talking.

"May I introduce you to my Chanson? Her shyness colours her, you must agree. One would not believe it at sight, but she possesses a most enchanting voice. Why, the name I gave her is the word for 'song' in my language. If you only knew how truly befitting it is of her..." A sigh escaped Jean's mouth with his last phrase, visibly saddened by Chanson's shivering posture. She didn't even look up for a mere second. "Chanson, this is Solstice Aibhilín," Jean continued. "She is a fine warrior whose service I previously enjoyed. I believe she has already introduced us to Miss Oceane." But it made no difference.

"Whetstone." A voice boomed. It had come from the tribesman August. He had returned and his face was beaming. The man had purchased what he needed, Stella Oceane had mentioned her expenses were covered and the three would now head to the Three Ships. Jean nodded to the party in acknowledgement to the situation and Chanson saw her cue to hide her small body behind Jean's.

"It has been of great pleasure to speak to you, Miss Aibhilín. It has gracious been to make acquaintances with your companions also. No matter how short it may have been. However, I must beg your leave. I am certain we shall meet again before the ship sails." And with another nod or two, to Stella and August respectively, Jean made his leave, once again with Chanson trailing behind him in their two-bodied parade, making their way through the tumultuous market crowds, heading for Ciel and Gaia-know-where.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:24 pm

“May I introduce you to my Chanson?” the nobleman enquired – in a tone that wouldn’t take no for an answer nonetheless, “Her shyness colours her, you must agree. One would not believe it at sight, but she possesses a most enchanting voice. Why, the name I gave her is the word for 'song' in my language. If you only knew how truly befitting it is of her..."

Sol surveyed the small figure trembling beside him with her bright gaze, raising a subtly disbelieving eyebrow. She had enough respect for the man not to speak outright, but the child’s posture bore no trace of the picture he painted. Certainly, this could be no daughter of his; if she was, then she must’ve taken all her traits from her mother, for there was hardly a sign of the bubbly leader beside her – both in her appearance and mannerisms.

"Chanson,” Jean said to the girl, seemingly ignoring the swordswoman’s silence, “this is Solstice Aibhilín. She is a fine warrior whose service I previously enjoyed. I believe she has already introduced us to Miss Oceane.” Sol made a soft humph of scepticism, turning her raised brows upon the man as her lips quirked. Enjoyed? As far as she knew, no one enjoyed her service... appreciated, yes, but enjoyed...?

Smiling despite herself, the woman noticed August returning almost silently to their side, holding up his spoils and positively beaming. “Whetstone,” he stated proudly in his deep, calm voice and unable to help herself, Sol grinned at him in return, shaking her head in amusement.

“Good for you,” she replied with a nod and readjusting her crossbow on her back, she turned back to the nobleman, intending to get an answer from him. Her stomach was positively growling by now – especially since the fuzz in her head had faded – and she was determined to get a meal in before something else distracted them. However, Jean beat her to it.

"It has been of great pleasure to speak to you, Miss Aibhilín,” he stated formally, finally allowing the girl Chanson her wish to tuck herself out of the strangers’ sight, “It has gracious been to make acquaintances with your companions also. No matter how short it may have been. However, I must beg your leave. I am certain we shall meet again before the ship sails."

“I’m pretty sure if Micháele gets his way we will, at least,” Sol muttered, but she inclined her head in a short bow anyway, adding, “Until then, then.” And with that, the strange pair began to weave their way back through the cobbled streets.

Watching them go, the sky-fighter’s stomach gave another audible rumble, and she turned to meet Stella and August’s gaze. “Right,” she said decisively, “Let’s--”

Sol frowned in mid-sentence, small squeals of pain and indignation filtering through the morning cacophony of the crowd to her sensitive ears. The sounds were coming nearer, building in intensity as whatever caused the commotion hit the main bulk of the throng and barrelled through it, heading in their direction. Automatically, Sol slid out one of her swords, holding it in a loose grip at her side and turning fully to face the alleyway’s open entrance. She could see people scattering – either running to get out of the way or simply leaping to one side – and suddenly, the source of the outcry became clear.

Sparks skittered across the stone as a fine chestnut bay skidded around the street corner, iron-shod hooves ringing upon the smooth pebbles. Lathered and blown, the exhausted beast rolled it’s eyes to show the whites as the rider drew in the reigns at the sight of Sol, his own gaze wide in panic. Gripping the worn hilt of her blade in readiness, the sky-fighter glared – preparing for a fight – but instead of approaching, the man kept a wary distance, attempting to keep his mount still as it danced across the cobbles in agitation.

“Soldier!” he called breathlessly, tugging at the reigns to wheel about before them, and just as the stranger had recognised her garb, her eyes caught at the silver guild emblem emblazoned on his cloak, “An army approaches!”

Sheathing her sword in one swift motion, Sol strode forwards, grasping at the horse’s bridle to hold it still as she turned her attentions on the man. “From where?” she enquired sharply with a frown, “And for what purpose?”

Still catching his breath, the rider pointed in the general direction of the great lake. “They’ve come to stop the mission,” he gasped, lowering his hand to wipe the sweat from his brow. Sol could see small, irregular, burnt-orange markings at the outer corners of his brown eyes; he seemed to be a runner and no more, yet he knew enough to know the gravity of the situation, for fear made his face pale, despite his exertions.

Making a split second decision, Sol released the runner’s steed. “Go find Micháele,” she ordered and before the soldier could answer, she had slapped the chestnut on the rump, sending it galloping off into the streets once more. Spinning on her heel, she ran back to Stella and August, giving each a slap on the shoulder as she passed. “Let’s go! Jean?” Without checking to see if he had even heard – let alone followed – them, the sky-fighter wound her way around the crowds, out of the constricting alleyways and on to the plains, leading the way through the tents towards the distant shimmer of the lake. Already she could see two low, black smudges at the water’s distant edges – far right and far left – where the army had trudged around the lake’s shoreline and were now beginning to regroup again. Stilling at the outer edge of the encampment, her companions coming to rest alongside her with the myriad of multicoloured tents at their backs, Sol glared at the gathering mass – virtually out of sight as they were – and made a low noise in her throat. “Great.

Putting her fingers to her lips, the sky-fighter whistled sharply. “A few hours away, I reckon,” she said then to the group at large, lowering her hand to rest it upon the pommel of the sword at her hip, “He must’ve continued through the night without stopping, the fool.”

Listening to the steady beat of wings, Sol barely blinked as a huge black shape landed to her right, a single ebony feather floating past her gaze as Crya landed softly upon the cool grass. Sunlight glinted gold upon his steely beak and piercing dark eyes as the woman moved over, digging a hand deep into his thick feathers while the Roc pecked reproachfully at her hair. He was right: she usually called him earlier than this... Still, she had her contract to consider and overseeing the needs and safety of Stella and August was her primary concern.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Sol turned a wry smile upon her companions and charges. “Best wait for Micháele, then, eh?” she told them regretfully, “He is the man in charge, after all...”
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Kestrel on Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:32 am

The heartbeat of panic was like the rhythm an upbeat drum. With every slam, step or yell, something moved. The tumultuous market had grown more restless, not knowing the details of the event but regardless the people anticipated something was coming. The prelude of the unknown had taken shape of a runner spreading chaotic words throughout the streets and leaving anxiety in his awe.

With the girl on his shoulder, Jean maneuvered his body through the crowds more forcefully than before, trying to find someone who had heard what the fuss was all about. “I demand to know what this uproar is!” Jean announced loudly after two, less blunt but also less successful attempts. He grabbed a crying woman by the shoulder and looked her straight in the face. Her upset eyes told the ex-military man she knew more of the situation, but when her lips moved her voice would not rise above the noise of the market.

“An army is gathering at the gates.” Chanson spoke in Jean’s ear, before the man could ask his question again. He let go of the woman, who vanished within the masses within the blink of an eye. An army had come? But for what purpose would anyone order to attack? And who could have given the order for that manner?

Jean cursed Micháele’s name. What or who had he brought upon these people? He might not have shared Solstice her exact sentiments when it came to the man, but Jean had enough reason of his own not to trust him. And everyone who had previously been under Jean’s wing and was not worthy of his trust, had experienced a very uncomfortable career in the guild. Micháele, however, had been a few notches too high for Jean to decide for. And now he was further out of his reach than ever.

A lone, brave shadow soared over the heads of Chanson and Jean. “Aibhilín.” The latter murmured. The roc’s figure would lead him to Solstice, who was without a doubt already preparing to engage. But first he had to hide Chanson. A thought that had become harder to realize as the masses grew more aware and wilder by the second. Taking her to the field was out of the question, but leaving an unmarked girl in an urban wilderness did not ease his mind either. His own indecision frustrated the nobleman.

“You! Soldier!” Jean’s voice boomed at the first sight of the guild’s emblem and colors. The soldier turned around but did not get the chance to reply to the shouting Jean, who pushed the girl to the man’s chest and pressed a handful of coins in his palm. “Take this and keep her safe.” Jean pressured before wavering the astonished soldier away with his hand. “Don’t you recognize an order when you receive one?” The ex-commander roared, fully aware but ignoring that he no longer held this authority, or that orders never came alongside bribes. “Go, go, go!”

To set power to his demands, Jean did not wait for a reaction, but turned around and adapted a rapid pace in the trail of the giant bird, expecting that his simplistic directions were going to be followed. With two fingers between his lips, Jean blew a whistle. Then the nobleman drew his blade, raised it in the air and began shouting at everyone on his path to make way for him. Jean sealed the sword when he made his way through the alleys and onto the plains. He could already see the trio, or rather the enormous roc, in the distance. They were waiting, conversing perhaps? Jean could not tell. But as far as he was concerned, Micháele had not given any orders yet, for they were the only four.

The shadow Hercule’s wingspan threw was as grotesque as ever. The roc had answered the call and announced its landing with a low cry. Loose particles of the surface flew upwards as they made acquaintance with the last beats of the roc’s enormous wings. In sheer contrast to its impressive size and strength however, the bird was as calm as it could be. The rush didn’t seem to affect Hercule’s docile nature at all. Almost nothing could disturb the roc.

And Hercule’s landing did not disturb Jean’s pace either. His hand sought for quick contact with the bird, but instantly slid away from the brown-feathered coat with his next step.

“What is upon us?” Jean demanded, more than inquired, as soon as he believed to be within hearing distance. He sped his pace further and ran to cover the final ground in-between him and the trio. “Have you received your orders?” He asked, in spite of having already predicted the answer. The vague and unknown did not suit the straight-forward thinking Jean at all.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:01 pm

Sol frowned deeply, glaring at the distant hazy smudge on the horizon, the lake’s brighter shimmer flashing at the oncoming enemy’s back. Eyes focussing as much as she was able – it would’ve been so much easier from the air! – the woman attempted to count the opposition, finding it impossible. A black line in a field of blue and green. Quite picturesque, actually...

“What is upon us?” came the familiar call from behind and Sol had neither the need nor the desire to turn to see the man’s face, so she didn’t. In a flurry of dust and feathers, Hercule settled down at a respectable distance away from her ebony roc, who eyed his brethren but made no other sign of acknowledgement. Rocs after all, were primarily solitary creatures.

“Trouble,” she answered abruptly, “A significant amount of it, by the look of it.”

The more experienced soldier drew alongside them, winded only slightly from his run. Sky-fighters did not let age take hold so easily. Not that the man was much older than her... “Have you received your orders?” he enquired, no less bluntly. You didn’t fancy with words at the edge of battle – any soldier learnt it quickly enough, or paid a deadly price.

Sol snorted. “Clearly not. Do you believe I would stand here otherwise?” Luckily, she was saved a retort, for at that moment a rider trotted to their side, turning his horse sideways so as to better see them all.

“Hai, you three,” he said, twitching the reigns in their direction and turning his gaze to meet Sol’s. A single royal-blue diamond lay in the centre of his forehead, marking him as likely one of Michaele’s personal guards, and so she merely raised her eyebrows. It hadn’t been a surprise – in fact Sol had expected it – but she wasn’t one to go without a fight.

“Why?” she asked him cryptically, knowing that he saw she knew his task already, “Can he not bear to see our enemy? Or does he merely think himself important enough to be killed on sight?”

Well trained as he was, the man still blanched in anger, his leather-gloved grip tightening on the reigns, mount dancing beneath him with his agitation. “I am to bring you to Lord Micháele,” the guard hissed through gritted teeth, “Now. It is an order.”

“Oh! Well,” Sol smiled darkly, “if it is an order, then I guess we should attend to his wish...”

Glaring, the man swivelled his dark gaze to Jean’s. “And you,” he said, eyes roving Jean’s face and attire for any sign of rank, clearly noticing the man’s visible lack of facial markings and at last deciding to go for the more tactful option – just in case – “...Sir. I think you should come too.” He nodded once at the two rocs, who were watching him as placidly as though he were a mere insect. “You obviously have experience in these matters and I believe Micháele would be grateful for any extra help.”

Given no other option, Sol shrugged, glancing briefly at her companions for confirmation. “Fine,” she said, raising her palms skyward in exasperation. Pausing only long enough to await Jean’s answer – the guard had clearly labelled him the most senior of the group – the man turned his horse and led them the wider path back around the outskirts of the tents, towards the hideous lemon abomination that signified the council tent. Behind them, Crya took off with the dull thud of heavy wingbeats, heading for the higher vantage-point of the clear skies. He would watch her and follow.

The Lord’s guard dismounted once they neared the yellow canvas box, handing his horse’s reigns to a nearby stable-lad and striding purposefully into the tent’s confines. Trailing lazily behind, Sol stepped in behind him, wincing at the bright citrus glow that suffused the space before allowing her narrowed gaze to settle on Micháele.

“Aibhilín,” he said dryly, with no little irony, “I’m glad you decide to join us. Sir August... My Lady...” Micháele’s bright blue eyes surveyed Jean. “I know you... You commanded Aibhilín’s legion once. Montague, yes?” He nodded, blonde braid flopping over one shoulder; he’d had time to do his hair, it seemed... “Good. We have need of your expertise. If you haven’t noticed, our mission is under attack-”

“...Already...” Sol muttered under her breath, folding her arms with a raised, russet-coloured brow.

Micháele continued, either ignoring her or just deaf to her jibes. “We believe them to be from an island several hundred miles across the sea to our East."

“Overseas?” Straightening, Sol frowned at the lordling, astonished and disbelieving. “How were they not seen before now? We live in a ring of mountains, for pity’s sake! An army that size should’ve been seen weeks ago!” More to the point, she thought privately, I would’ve seen them on my flight here...

There was no doubt now that Micháele was ignoring her. He slid a piece of parchment across the table, the newly cracked wax seal flaking onto the notched wood and the curled black script contrasting starkly with the intense light of the sun through the coloured canvas around them. Sol picked up the old paper and gave it a mere glance, immediately handing it over to Jean-Baptise. Born a nobleman, he had an innate understanding of the flamboyant language used for such parleys. “A letter,” she stated to Micháele, her eyebrows back in their usual position of amused derision.

The Lord surveyed her calmly, his earlier mistake seemingly remembered. “They say our mission is blasphemous,” he returned, “And that we are meddling in the affairs of the Gods. They say that we will bring their wrath down upon the world and all those who dwell within it. They also say they have five thousand men and the most renowned mages of the region to their name. And that they will persuade us by force if necessary.” Micháele mirrored her expression, pale eyebrow rising.

Sol made a low note of disbelief in the back of her throat. “They can try.”

“They will succeed.” His voice was blunt. “We have a mere two-thousand men trained to arms available and few mages specialised in combat. We must try a more... tactical option. And unfortunately, Aibhilín, your little party is the best for the job.” Sol remained silent, not deigning him with an answer, knowing that he was merely goading her as she had done. In any other circumstance, she would’ve welcomed the fight but Micháele’s cowardice once again was his downfall. He had assigned her the job, thinking the danger would scare – or at the least inconvenience – her, but she was a fighter at heart and being at the forefront of the battle was more of a reward than a punishment.

Of course, Micháele didn’t need to know that...

“Aibhilín,” he continued smugly, “You – and Jean-Baptise, if he will acquiesce – will take your birds and scout out the enemy: work out what defences they have and any weaknesses we may exploit. In the meantime, my Lady Oceane will accompany Mister Wind as he serves to offer the Bellanese a parley – an offer that will likely claim their High Priest’s full attention...”

“A distraction.”

“Yes.” Micháele fixed her with a significant look. “I judge the time available will be enough for you to accomplish this task?”

Sol bared her teeth at him in a smile that didn’t quite reach her dark, teal-coloured gaze. “Ample,” she told him, sparing a glance for Stella and August, “As long as you can guarantee my charges will be in no danger – though I believe they could do far more damage than your guards could inflict in a fight...”

“They will be accompanied,” the Lord responded smoothly, raising a single hand to stay the furious lunge of his guard, “By the traditional contingent of arms for a parley. It is unwise to do anything otherwise.” Leaning back, Micháele surveyed those in the room in general. “What say you all?”
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Kestrel on Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:54 pm

"Clearly not." That was all he needed to hear for now. The lord had given no command. Was the horseman honestly the first messenger? It felt unlikely, by the sight of an enemy so large. Now Jean stood amidst the trio, he too could see the numbers rising from the horizon.

'Impossible.'

Not that any could gawk or gaze at these lines of offence any longer, as the man whose word had been anxiously awaited, had decided to send a mounted messenger. The lord's personal guard, no less; Micháele needed them. Solstice had noticed so without a doubt and engaged the man with more cynicism than the situation called for. Bothersome, but the rider would not be provoked.

"And you... Sir. I think you should come too." Jean looked the messenger straight in the eyes, more calmly than he felt, for every battle could be the edge of the world. It was something any commander learned through the years of service. Never show fear or doubt, but to reply every action with confidence. Micháele's guard disengaged his eyes from Jean's piercing and nodded at Crya and Hercule. "You obviously have experience in these matters and I believe Micháele would be grateful for any extra help."

"I assume he would." Jean replied calmly and nodded back, restraining from eagerly jumping at the puppeteer's strings just to be tangled, but also from a judgment Solstice had been so notorious for. Clearly the rider could not place him very well.

The foursome was escorted back towards the city, accompanied by a steady beat of Crya's wings, while the less concerned Hercule did not take flight. It was unusual for a Roc, but Hercule's hearing had always been better than his sight and Jean knew little could make his trusted companion anxious enough to follow him with more than just his ears.

They stopped at a yellow tent, from which soon, Micháele would enter their sight. The nobleman was not practical, a trait Jean-Baptiste looked down upon. Of course he had been raised with these mannerisms, which pressured the man’s stature, but when it came to battle, they were a waste of time. As was the flick of his forehead, a second that could have cost him his neck in a direr situation… Of course, Micháele had never truly gone to war, so one could not expect too much.

To momentarily silence Sol, Jean-Baptiste grabbed her shoulder and held her back, so that Micháele could finish. In his other, he accepted the letter handed to him, splitting his attention over the words written and those spoken. But both came down to the same; an enemy had gathered to swipe them of Gaia’s surface, were they not to abandon the mission.

But Jean’s control on the woman did not last very long; "They can try." She scowled, but to Jean, Micháele's numbers made more sense than Solstice' morale. Surrender was not a favorable option, but the meaningless death of twothousand men and women at arms even less so. At least Micháele had a plan...

"Aibhilin, you - and Jean-Baptise, if he will acquiesce - will take your birds and scout out the enemy: work out what defences they have and any weaknesses we may exploit. In the meantime, my Lady Oceane will accompany Mister Wind as he serves to offer the Bellanese a parley - an offer that will likely claim their High Priest’s full attention."

Never had Jean-Baptiste liked anything different from a match of skill and morale when it came to the battlefield, but never had an enemy or higher officer cared for such sentiments. The lord's words did make sense; a head-on charge would be suicide - especially if the claims about battlemages were to be true - so the next best option to avoid instant surrender would be scouting and postpone the decision. But Jean was doubtful at best; after all; Roc's did not go unnoticed so easily - the High-Priest was not the only man with eyes after all - and to reach the heights required to avoid full sight, would mean Solstice and he would clim to skies that were deemed perilous. Often they would not provide a sky-fighter with enough breath to last. They'd have to alter height to hide and to survive respectively.

And Micháele would comfortably sit in his chair while others risked their necks and conciousness for his mission. His inexperience in anything but rough tactics showed. The lord made himself comfortable and leaned back... "What say you all?"

To prevent Sol from taking the first word, the ex-commander scraped his throat - buying precious time he required to spell out his answer in his head. "Lord Micháele, given our options, your proposal would seem..." Jean carefully weighed his words, "Favorable." He waited for the satisfaction to settle in, before he continued.

"However; time will be as ample as our breath. A -" Jean struggled at visualizing the idea of August offering a parlay, after all, not only would he appear a barbarian, unfavorable at best in this world, but his short and to the point speech would give Sol and him less space than the flamboyant wordplay of a usual parlay. "- diplomat and a streak alone will not suffice. I do, see a chance of success to this mission, were we given more time. The only way we can be assured of this however-"

The nobleman took another pause for his words to settle in and build up Micháele's anxiety. For he would not easily agree this option, although Solstice most definitely would, and had to be pressured this was their only chance of winning the battle. "- Would be if you were to accompany the party of parlay."

Inevitably, a third break between his phrases commenced as the heaviest shock so far had to settle in. But before Micháele could abruptly refuse - in fact, Jean-Baptiste interrupted the suspected upcoming protest - "The High Priest cannot ignore the command of the mission. With all due respect, but inevitable defeat or surrender will take place were you to refuse, Lord. I trust you are aware of the consequences."

And to a man like Micháele, the consequences were obvious. Defeat would lead to death, imprisonment or demotion, whereas surrender would lead to the latter - Jean-Baptiste would make sure of that. "We have no other option, my Lord. All of us in this room are willing to risk our necks for the cause. It would be most unsettling for the morale of the troops, were you, the head of the mission, to refuse..."

"My lord does put trust in his guard, does he not?" Jean added, pressuring Micháele further to not stand up to him. After all, denying faith in the loyalty and ability of his very own men in front of their very faces could be a grave mistake. "At least you will be accompanied. It is lonely up there you know, in the sky..."
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:41 pm

An army approaches! words like daggers on Stella's body. An army? There? That was not only bad news... it was terrible news!!
To stop the mission, that was their goal. Stella was definitely not planning on allowing them to do that! Not while she was there, and alive!

Everything happened so fast, though. At one second they were waiting for Micháele's orders, and the next one they were being scouted to him. He requested for their meeting, specifically. She didn't like him, for sure. He was not clean with his actions... and then, about Sol had said about him...

Aibhilín, I’m glad you decide to join us. Sir August... My Lady... His eyes swiftly moved to Jean. I know you... You commanded Aibhilín’s legion once. Montague, yes? Good. We have need of your expertise. If you haven’t noticed, our mission is under attack-. It was Sol who interrupted him. Of course she ought to do that. They were under attack, and this man was talking way too much. However, the next information left Stella more than surprised.

We believe them to be from an island several hundred miles across the sea to our East.. "Wait! From an island? That simply is not possible! Sol would have seen them, if they had come with ships...! And.... it should have been spotted... it simply... is not possible... unless they're using some kind of...camouflage, or magic camouflage... I know it's possible, but I'm not sure if it can be done with such a huge army."

She listened carefully to the explanation of what was written in the letter. She would have had no problems with reading it, with the kind of language they would probably use, but if she showed such knowledge, then she would reveal herself as the noble-birth girl she was. But then, Lord Micháele had been addressing her as 'my lady' every now and then, which made Stella feel a bit uneasy. Did he know who she was? Did he feel, or guess, she was a noblewoman? As far as he knew, she was not of higher birth than Sol, and yet the way he spoke to each was so different... she decided she would have to talk with the Lord, at some point, the two of them, if only for the sake of her own information.

"Heh, as long as we're here, they're not ending with this mission. And I might not be a renowned mage of the region, but... I do know some tricks..." as Micháele kept speaking, the tension between Sol and him was getting more and more clear.

"Hear me! I don't want to see this going on! We're absolutely outnumbered, we must work together, closely. So no matter who we like and who we hate, we're on this together. Whether we die or live, we're all on the same boat." she knew it wasn't right for her to speak like this, to someone like Micháele. She wondered if her heritage was something she could have used for her advantage in such a situation. If anything, she would only use it as a last resort.

Aibhilín, you – and Jean-Baptise, if he will acquiesce – will take your birds and scout out the enemy: work out what defences they have and any weaknesses we may exploit. In the meantime, my Lady Oceane will accompany Mister Wind as he serves to offer the Bellanese a parley – an offer that will likely claim their High Priest’s full attention.... Sol had said what they all thought. It was clearly a distraction.

I judge the time available will be enough for you to accomplish this task the Lord spoke, and was answered by a confident Solstice. Ample, As long as you can guarantee my charges will be in no danger – though I believe they could do far more damage than your guards could inflict in a fight...

"I do think we could deal a good damage... but if that's the plan, we will do it the best we can. I honestly can't say I have a better plan. And August's a diplomat, after all."

Jean spoke first, quickly, after clearing his throat.

Lord Micháele, given our options, your proposal would seem...Favorable. However; time will be as ample as our breath. A diplomat and a streak alone will not suffice. I do, see a chance of success to this mission, were we given more time. The only way we can be assured of this however- he stopped for a moment, seemingly weighing his words, carefully. Would be if you were to accompany the party of parlay.

Stella, who was looking around the room while listening, suddenly stared at Jean, then at Micháele. His expression didn't show any emotion, yet. Probably because of the surprise this meant.

Jean continued. The High Priest cannot ignore the command of the mission. With all due respect, but inevitable defeat or surrender will take place were you to refuse, Lord. I trust you are aware of the consequences. And he was right. Besides, having Micháele with them meant they would be taken seriously, which was important. We have no other option, my Lord. All of us in this room are willing to risk our necks for the cause. It would be most unsettling for the morale of the troops, were you, the head of the mission, to refuse... My lord does put trust in his guard, does he not? At least you will be accompanied. It is lonely up there you know, in the sky...

Wonderfully spoken. Noble speech in all its magnificence. He had cornered the Lord to act in a matter of minutes.
"My lord, with all due respect, but I completely agree with Sir Montague here. His words do hold the truth. It is very important for you to show up with us. The fact that we have come up with this strategy must mean they have thought of this possibility, as well. Mages wouldn't be known for their stupidity. If you were to come with us -do not worry, I'm fast, you would be safe if I was around-, that would definitely surprise them, and this would give us the edge. At least at the beggining. Of course, in order for this mission to succeed, we need trust to be something common to each and every of us. We are trusting in your plan, and I have absolute faith in my companions; Solstice, August, and -if he will allow me to call him companion-, Sir Montague. We need you to put your trust on us, to put your trust on your guards, on your people. All our lives depend on that matter."

Not waiting for his reaction, trying to corner him further, Stella turned to Jean and Sol. "I have an idea about the Roc's camouflage... I don't know if it's something you should do, or if they would be allowed to be touched by other hands, but..." seeing it was better if she explained, she decided to go for it.

"You see... our -yours- only problem is being seen by the people below... this gives us an advantage. You wouldn't be flying exactly at 2 feet from the floor, so I came up with a small strategy... we have a market, here! We should be able to find blue pigment. Someone bring that pigment, and water, and we can 'paint' the lower part of the Roc's wings with it. Then, it would be nearly impossible for them to see you, up in the sky... they would only see blue. Of course, a mage would probably know, but I believe it is sure to say that the vast majority of people are not mages, but soldiers. That gives us a little advantage, right?"

She examined Sol's and Jean's face, hoping to have had convinced them. She was sure the idea was worth a try, especially because it was not something that took a lot of time to do. The only problem she had was that she didn't know if the Roc's would allow someone other than their companion to touch them. If that was the case, Jean and Sol would have to do it themselves, which would slow the process a little bit. And it was true, they didn't have that much time available.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by ShadowWake on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:49 pm

Solstice fairly crowed with laughter at her companions’ responses to the yellow-bellied toad but she held her tongue: Jean’s large hand remained upon her shoulder, steeling her to silence as much as Stella’s assured words, but it was amusing enough to watch the nobleman’s features and so the fighter said nothing. Expressions flashed swiftly across Micháele’s features, a virtual forest-fire of unsaid sentiment that the man was unable to hide with his usual stoic arrogance. Lips quirking, she watched the blonde’s skin blanch at Jean’s words, becoming as sweaty and grey as a garden slug as the noble sky-fighter brushed away his stuttering protests with carefully selected words.

“My lord does put trust in his guard, does he not?” Jean said then in feigned concern. Unable to help her herself Sol grinned, as Micháele flashed a nervous look at his guard’s furious demeanor.

“Well... I mean, of course I...” he flustered, spots of pink embarrassment flushing high on his cheekbones. Behind him, the soldier’s glare became deeper and Sol was pleased to see that not everyone enjoyed being in the Lord’s service.

“At least you will be accompanied,” Jean continued pointedly, saving him from further awkwardness, “It is lonely up there you know, in the sky...”

“Yes, well, I’m sure...” Micháele muttered almost meekly, and against her better judgement, Sol’s grin became wider. A mistake, for the Lord fixed her with his summer-blue gaze, seizing on the familiar antagonist to his plans. “Aibhilín,” he growled, and her face instantly shifted into a snarl of dislike, matching his own, “If this is your way of humiliating me...”

"My lord,” Stella interrupted Sol’s retort in a strong tone that was at once beseeching and unarguable, “with all due respect, but I completely agree with Sir Montague here. His words do hold the truth. It is very important for you to show up with us.”

Giving Solstice one last glowering look, Micháele – with what looked like a humungous effort – composed himself and indicated for the mage to continue. “The fact that we have come up with this strategy must mean they have thought of this possibility, as well,” she told him sensibly and the Lord’s reluctant expression showed he could see her logic was sound. “Mages wouldn't be known for their stupidity. If you were to come with us - do not worry, I'm fast, you would be safe if I was around - that would definitely surprise them, and this would give us the edge. At least at the beginning.”

“Of course,” she said then softly, with a slyness Sol found herself appreciating – indeed it seemed all of her travelling companions had enough intelligence to manipulate the less-than-willing nobleman, “in order for this mission to succeed, we need trust to be something common to each and every of us. We are trusting in your plan, and I have absolute faith in my companions; Solstice-” Sol raised her eyebrow at the astounded Micháele, a small proud smile curling the corner of her mouth, “-August, and - if he will allow me to call him companion - Sir Montague. We need you to put your trust on us, to put your trust on your guards, on your people. All our lives depend on that matter."

Shaking himself, Micháele opened his mouth to reply with a frown, eyes trained disbelievingly on the red-head grinning at him. “You trust-?” he began, but Stella had pre-empted his reply and was already turning to other matters. Her cobalt gaze lingered over Sol’s dull teal, shifting them to look up at the taller Jean’s.

"I have an idea about the Roc's camouflage...” she said uncertainly to the sky-fighter pair, “I don't know if it's something you should do, or if they would be allowed to be touched by other hands, but... You see... our – your - only problem is being seen by the people below... this gives us an advantage. You wouldn't be flying exactly at 2 feet from the floor, so I came up with a small strategy...”

Behind her, Micháele was whispering rapidly with his guard, barely audible, and frowning Sol pulled her gaze away from the muted conversation to concentrate on the woman’s words. “We have a market, here!” Stella explained enthusiastically, “We should be able to find blue pigment. Someone bring that pigment, and water, and we can 'paint' the lower part of the Roc's wings with it. Then, it would be nearly impossible for them to see you, up in the sky... they would only see blue. Of course, a mage would probably know, but I believe it is sure to say that the vast majority of people are not mages, but soldiers. That gives us a little advantage, right?"

Biting her top lip in thought, Sol’s brow furrowed in her indecision. Crya was a stubborn bird – and a proud one too – and he did not like too many people other than his rider; sometimes not even her. Dropping her gaze to the floor, the solider rubbed at her old leg wound unconsciously. Should she risk bringing her charge and Roc into such close contact with each other? As Teela, Sol knew that Stella would be doing no harm but in Crya’s view, the world was often painted in black and white: anyone who approached him was either an enemy, or not worth his attention at all. And yet Stella’s plan was sound – and it was the best option they had. Switching her gaze to frown at the bright canvas roof of the tent, the woman could only hope that the Roc’s mood currently allowed the latter reaction...

“He will be fine I think,” she answered eventually, turning to face Stella once more, “As long as I am there with you.”

“Don’t be a fool!” Sol’s head swivelled rapidly to look at Micháele in pure hatred as he stared at them all, mouth open in the tail-end of a disbelieving laugh, “That creature is more evil than the Eben-wolves! Have you even seen what it did to it’s rider after she tamed it?” He shot an amused glance at the sky-fighter’s furious features, gesturing with an airy hand. “My Lady, if this woman does not trust you enough to tell you her mount is barely under her control...”

The Rocs,” Solstice spat, finding herself restrained once more by Jean’s strong grip as one of her blades found its way into her fist, “are not animals to be controlled-” The Lord snorted, and Sol nearly threw Jean’s hand off in her rage, struggling to reach the nobleman who was now stood stiffly, his guard moving to his side in an unobtrusive manner. “Crya is a brave, talented, loyal bird-” she snarled furiously but Micháele interrupted again, seemingly enjoying his upper-hand for once.

“Loyal enough to nearly tear out your spine...?”

He would never abandon his ally on the battlefield,” Sol hissed, pointing her sword at the nobleman’s face, and it was his turn to purple, “He would rather die than-”

“Enough!”

Micháele’s eye were blazing and, in any other circumstance, Sol might have smirked at it but he had taken his insult too far. Her Roc was her sole companion and she knew – as well as she knew the sun would rise each morning – that the bird would do anything for her, despite his fierce temper. That the Lord had even dared call him...

“It seems,” Micháele stated coldly, composing himself rather more than the sky-fighter was able to, “that Sir Montague and my lady Oceane’s plan is the best we have. You will go to the market and procure whatever you need to ensure this strategy succeeds, then you will meet me at the city gates in thirty minutes. Aibhilín,” he finished, “If your bird harms either of your charges, I will personally ensure he is euthanized. Is that clear?”

Stony-faced, Sol sheathed her right sword, shrugging off Jean’s cautionary fingers. “Perfectly,” she snarled, letting her hands rest upon the pommels of his twin blades lest the man forget her skills, “I can assure you Stella and August will be unharmed – after all, it’s only rats that feel Crya’s cruelty...”

Micháele’s bright eyes narrowed. “I suggest you leave, Aibhilín,” he murmured softly, “Before I decide to have you arrested as a threat to your charges’ safety. You will meet me at the gates in half an hour.”

Spinning on her heel, Sol strode angrily from the tent, heading back towards the stone buildings behind the city walls. After a short while, the others fell into step around her, but the soldier made no comment, deigning to glare at the city walls instead. She didn’t care where she went as long as it was far away from Micháele, though part of her hoped that one of her companions at least knew where to find the market again.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Kestrel on Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:13 am

Stella's confirmation was most pleasing to the nobleman. Her youthful enthusiasm added strength to his words and the young woman proved hers not to be taken too lightly either. Jean nodded to confirm his status as companion and let Stella speak. Her head been working remarkably quick and she had forged an ingenious idea that might just give them the edge...

"Camouflage?" Jean murmured. "Fascinating..." Painting a roc's feathers and expecting it to stay still was unheard of amongst most of these birds. After all, as predators they were born and as predators they would die. Their hooked beaks were meant to tear flesh and their strong talons to kill and carry; these were the tools and trademark of a roc. Even amongst the sky-fighters, not everyone fully trusted their winged mounts. Some birds were considered just as fearsome as foes as they were as companions. Regardless, Stella's strategy remained sound on paper and even Solstice seemed to have put faith in her newfound ally's tactics; enough faith to allow her near Crya - which was a foreign privilege to most.

"Don't be a fool!"

It was the lord who had erupted. Finally having seen his chance to unleash his discontent, Micháele broke the silence with a verbal assault - his target was the sky-fighter. Solstice bleached in anger at his words as Micháele continued to assault her feathered companion. Jean felt the woman trembling under his palm - struggling with her own emotion. His fingers pushed into the woman's shoulder-blades, reinforcing her to calm down. But to Solstice' temper, Micháele's words were stronger than her ex-commander's grip and her hand drew to the blade’s handle. A single exchange of words followed, and then the steel flashed near the lord's nose.

"Enough!" With a single movement, Jean-Baptiste pulled Solstice' sword-arm out of Micháele's face. Sol then tore her shoulder from his grip, but to Jean's relief the woman managed to find the wisdom and strength to sheathe her weapon. Yet her hands rested on the grips, ready to strike at any given time and remained there until the foursome left the tent. Jean turned around before he took his leave and faced Micháele; "We shall begin our preparations immediately. It would be wise if you would do the same." He shot a look at the guard that had grumbled in discontent before, and then added without turning his head away from the man, "I am certain your men will assist you to the best of their ability. We of the mission all put our trust in you, my lord." And with that and a nod, Jean was off, leaving Lord Micháele with naught but pressure in his awe.

Jean had to run a short sprint to catch up with the others. Hopefully Micháele was left in unease and had none of his arrogance to waver him from paying attention to anything but his contribution; which was now more expected than ever. At the same time, it was not merely the lord’s faults that had cost the entire army treasured minutes. What danger these futile conflicts put hundreds of soldiers in at the edge of a greater battle. Jean empathized with Sol's sentiments, but empathy alone would not undo events or bring back lost time.

When Micháele's ears could no longer reach the party, Jean had decided. Although it took him effort to scramble enough assurance in his tone to convince his own mind, the moment he caught up with her, Jean spoke to she who had paced furiously forward,

"Aibhilín." the nobleman stated abruptly; demanding her attention. "Micháele has cost us enough time without provocation. Restrain yourself." He was completely aware that without his former function, the nobleman had nothing but his title - a far from reliable medium - to rely on. Jean could no longer command or sanction any sky-fighter. Instead he hoped that she thought highly enough of her ex-commander to listen, that her memory failed her, or Solstice’ thoughts would stray away from pride and anger. "As a sky-fighter above all, my lady, you must know our time is precious. It must not be spilled."

His gaze went from Stella to August, then back to Solstice. They had but little time. The rocs better not make this too difficult. Jean trusted Hercule - the gentle giant among its kind. Too confident of its own strength, Hercule believed that its posture alone provided plentiful intimidation. But Jean could not let Stella near without supervision in case she would not recognize an unlikely warning. Crya, however, was a more spirited bird; much like its rider. It was Solstice' mount that Jean feared for. In spite of his blunt and arrogant words, Micháele had voiced the thoughts in the back of the ex-commander's head. Yet he had to remember; there had been but one woman able to tame this roc.

"Lady Aibhilín, lady Oceane, head towards the city gate. Lady Aibhilín, I entrust both birds to you. Give them some time and assurance with lady Oceane." And by 'both birds' and 'them', Jean meant Crya. Although mere minutes of quality-time with the roc would barely make a difference, all the small bits contributed to the final goal. "August and I shall head towards the market and return swiftly." The barbarian certainly looked like he would have no problem carrying his fair share of the pigment and water after all - in spite of Jean's ever-present distrust of the tribesmen; August had to be relied on. After all, Jean might not be able to return quickly if he had to carry it all by himself...

"We must treasure every moment that is given to us. Proceed, quickly." And with that, the nobleman found his path towards the market; leaving the women nothing more but a trail of dust and orders that were everything but official.
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

Post by Hedya on Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:29 pm

Stella smiled gently at Sol, seeing how the latter seemed to agree with her idea as long as she was there, to ensure nothing bad happened. Stella was glad her idea seemed good, and Sol's face apparently confirmed so. Even though she was really curious about getting to the bird's side, she now wondered if it was really safe to do so.

Stella knew that Micháele's words were not to be trusted, but in a way, she couldn't help to be worried by them. She tried to shake thouse thoughts off her head, as she heard then Micháele talking to her. Jean held Solstice, as Stella started getting nervous. The situation got even more tense when Sol and the lord started argueing. Was all of this because of her idea?

"I trust Solstice, and I trust Cyra, my lord. I am well aware of the nature of the Rocs, but I do not fear for my life, not in this time, in our dire situation we mustn't fear!"

With this, she turned around and breathed calmly as she heard Sol sheathing her sword. She walked outside, and turned around her head to lord Micháele. "I won't be hurt. And if I was..." the last words were only muttered, low enough so that Micháele wouldn't hear. "I will personally ensure the Roc is not harmed".

Once outside, Stella followed Sol, until she saw Jean walking forward to talk to the still infuriated Solstice. She decided to wait and not walk to them, since they were probably debating things that were better left alone. If there was something she had to know, she was sure she'd be correctly informed, so there was nothing to worry about.

In the end, Jean and August left to get the materials they needed, while Sol and herself would go with the Rocs, so that she could spend some time to get used to being around them, and also so that they would accept her presence, too.

"Sol... I don't want to cause trouble, for you or for Cyra. If you think it's not possible for me to get near him... We'll try of another way. Also, if you wish to continue with the current plan, please tell me how can I earn his trust, if you do know of a way, that is..."

After saying this, she followed Sol again, who would lead the way until they made it to the birds. As they got there, the sight impressed Stella. How magnificent those two Rocs looked like! Now that they were sort of closer to them, she was able to see how wonderful, graceful and noble they did look like.

Her first reaction was to swiftly get in front of them, and bow quite a lot, paying her respect to both. She hoped they would understand what she meant by that. She respected them and would never want to harm them. Actually, if it could be avoided, she would never want to bother them, knowing contact with humans was, except with their partner, something with they probably didn't enjoy. Or so she had been told...
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Re: At The Edge Of The World

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