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*Rise of the Guardians* The Chronicles

By darien

+Watch
Replies: 1614 / 5 years ago

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Allowed Users

  1. [Allowed] Bloody_eve
  2. [Allowed] Darien
  3. [Allowed] Kastanstyrax
  4. [Allowed] northernwolves


[center ***This is an original Plot, please do not steal, copy, or use anything from this rp for personal use or your own roleplay.***]


Land of Azera. Four Provinces at war fighting the Rule of one evil man...

Four wandering travelers find themselves in The Central City. It is a bustling and busy place, centered in the middle of the four provinces. It is also where The Self Proclaimed "King" Malik lives. It was once the Holy Land for the Four Provinces, where the fabled Priests and Priestesses of the Old Gods of Azeroth held sanctuary for all. That was… until King Malik. He ran the Holy Ones from their Holy Palace and took over not only the Central City, but the four provinces as well.

Legend has it that the Four Provinces once housed their own spirit guardians. These Guardians were kept in elaborate temples, with their own contingent of temple masters and maids to attend to them. During Malik’s rise to power, he attacked the temples and slaughtered the Temple Hands. It was by the brave sacrifices of Temple Masters and Maidens that they were able to send the Spirits away. For Centuries the Spirits had not claimed a host… but with the rise of Malik, the Guardians searched out their perfect Human Host, marking them and imbuing them with awesome powers to defeat evil and restore the balance.

The Province to the North was guarded by the Spirit of the Forest, and often seen in the shape of a Caribou. Filled with thick dense forests and beautiful mountain passes to the Northern most parts, and gently sloping hills further south where farming is aplenty. Winter, however, is never kind in the North. The summers are kind and fair and allow for the Northmen to travel south and barter their furs and goods for food stuffs they will need in the winter months. This is the Province known as Caledon. The people there are hearty and Strong. Known to produce fine warriors, and are often seen as warmongering, as the Caledon clans tend to fight against Malik’s border agents on a regular basis, and guard the Dark Forest’s creatures from venturing south. Caledon is considered the bread basket of Azera. It is reminiscent to what we would have considered Ancient Germania and Scandinavia. (powers would be earth based)

The Province in the South is guarded by the Fire Spirit often seen as a massive snake. Mostly Desert lands with the occasional watery oasis. Farming takes great engineering feats involving sophisticated irrigation, and travel is usually done on Camel. Most people live nomadic lives, but there are cities where water can be found, usually along the River Nine, named so for the way the main river forks out at nine different locations and leads to nine large grandiose cities of terracotta. All of it built on the back of a lucrative Slave Trade. Most of the people in what is referred to as [i The Wastelands] are considered barbaric by many, with their nomadic lifestyle and their staunch traditions to the Old Gods –namely their patron deity the Fire-Breathing Serpent (Ouk'nu), and ritual sacrifice. Snakes are considered holy and sacred to the Nomadic people of Abdhu’Jai. The Southernmost part is unpassable as the desert goes on for hundreds of miles with no water in sight. It is also rumored that Sand Wyrms live there and those who have tried to trek across it in hopes of exploring have never been heard from again. The Jai's are reminiscent of The Egyptians, & The Byzantine Era. (powers would be fire based)

To the East is where the Mountains climb higher than even those of Caledon. Here it is said the people of Volshiv live among the clouds and are protected by the Flying spirit of Wind often seen in the form of a Dove. On a still quiet day, if you stand on the Eastern border you can hear the whistling winds careen through the highest peaks in all of Azera. Very little is known about the Volshi. They are very reclusive and rarely travel West to the Central City. They are known to be fair of face and hair, willowy and spry and some of the last humans to retain some semblance of magical power. The Volshi were the only ones to escape the mad grip of Malik in the beginning –but it did not stop them from sending their Guardian to find a host as well. (air based powers)

To the West is the Province of Fenlyk. Guarded by the Water Spirit, known to take the form of a massive Koi Fish. The Region is mostly littered with waterways and wet lands, it is the fishing capital of all Azera. More fish is produced in Fenlyk than anywhere else in the Four Provinces. They trade frequently with Caledon and Abdhu’Jai. Aside from fish and watersports Fenlyk is known for its textile and fashion. It is the most modernized Province of the four, the wealthiest and one of the most influential. Their Navy is without rival, as it should be to protect the city from the Ocean's monsters that tend to capture vessels that wander too far from the mainland. They would be reminiscent of Ancient Greeks or Atlantis. (water based powers)

One woman is tasked to find the guardians, teach them and guide them to their glorious destiny. To find them she pulls from the ancient Prophecy, one that even involves her. Her name is Aria, a native of Volshiv who was taken from her home when she was no older than three. She doesn’t remember her home, or her birth parents. Only that she was marked by the Spirit Guardians –slated by the Gods to be their High Priestess. She was destined to be the most holy and powerful figure of her time, but Malik’s invasion from across the open sea and his march across the border lands of Abdhu’Jai and Fenlyk brought him to Central City and the beginning of his reign of terror. Of course when Malik invaded she was but a small child of six, training to be become The High Priestess. She escaped with the help of an Elder Priest who raised her in hiding, and continued her training so she could ensure the Guardians would find their way. A bounty is out for Aria’s head – though Malik has no real idea of who she is, he is aware of the markings that would and do adorn her body. She realizes he will discover her soon enough, and finding the Guardians has become imperative to free the city and provinces of the would-be Tyrant. Destroying Malik and returning peace to the four Provinces is also the only way to restore the Spirit Guardians back to their pantheons and peace to the land.

A traveler from each province finds themselves in Central City. Compelled to travel and see the world, or to simply get away from their old life. For any number of reasons, Fate brings them to the Central City. What they don’t realize is: they are chosen and marked as the host of their region’s Spirit Guardian. It lives within them and gives them power. It is a comforting, and yet frightening source for the four individuals -it just needs to be awakened in them, and that is where Aria comes in.

Aria feels it in her bones that the time has come. She’s been gifted visions of the travelers to come. She only sees them as their spirit so their faces remain shrouded in mystery. The Gods guide her to come out of hiding after hiding away for nearly twenty years. The raids took place when she was only six, and now she is twenty-seven. Time has passed and the people grow deeper into oppression. Most of the Tyranny is evident in the Central City. The outlying villages and townships of the Provinces are routinely raided, and it seems Malik is constantly fighting with the Caledons. The Fennish bow down to his reign their pacifism making them complacent and easy to dominate. The Nomads –Jais of the south are raided frequently and without mercy. The Volshi remain for the most part safe, but rumor has it they have amassed a huge army and are prepared to come down from their cities in the clouds to set Malik straight. Aria knows it will be too little too late. Malik has to be cut down at the source… from his False throne: The Holy Alter that should be hers.

Aria must find the Guardians, help them discover their own powers and talents, and if need be –sacrifice herself to help them cleanse the world and usher in a new peaceful Era. She must help the Guardians restore balance, but first… she has to find them and convince them.


[center [pic http://i63.tinypic.com/16kw9ci.jpg]]
[center Cast of Characters]

[center Caledon Guardian: TAKEN]

Username: Bloody_Eve
Name: Saraya
Guardian: Caledon guardian
Personality:guardian soft hearted, peaceful, adapts to surroundings and situations quickly, reserved
Bio & History:before being chosen, Saraya was a beautiful soul that loved children of her providence. she was married to a knight that protected the temple, and they were expecting their first born... Until the ambush. her husband was taken from her, and after that, her baby didn't surviv. With the passion she felt, she thought she would never survive... Until the spirit chose her.
Weapon of Choice: Double edge sword
Primary Special Power: Air Control (force-fields & shrouding scents)
Secondary Powers (limit 3): healing, invisibility, speed

[center Fenlyk Guardian: TAKEN]

Username: Arya
Name: Lara
Guardian: Fenlyk- fish tattoo on neck
Personality: quiet, shy, honest.
Bio & History: She was chosen as a guardian from birth, but neither her parents nor herself knew that at all. Her parents were simple fishers, her dad going out to sea for the daily haul and her mom selling whatever fish had been caught in the markets. Everything was pretty peaceful, until Malik took the ruling of everything under his hand. Since the region she lived bowed down peacefully, nothing really bad happened there. But something was up, which came in the form of her house being raided by Malik's forces. She managed to run off, while her parents were nailed to the door of what used to be her house. Now just walks around the provinces, hiding herself from Malik's grasp.
Weapon of Choice: Staff(not the magic kind)
Primary Special Power: Hydrokinesis
Secondary Powers (limit 3): Soundless steps
Weakness and limitations to your powers: Manipulating water requires some concentration. No concentration, no hydrokinesis.

[center Volshiv Guardian: TAKEN]

Username:Darien
Name:Adimar Aethon
Guardian: Volshiv Guardian
Personality:Witty, calculating, devious, pragmatic
Bio & History: Adimar hails from the high peaks of Volshiv. He has traveled the Sky Cities, and down in the Volishi Valleys where most Volshi tend to avoid due to the dense foliage and wild animals that haunt the forest beneath them. He is considered one of the best warriors of Volshi -bested only by the High Lord of Volshi. Having been marked a guardian since the day of his birth, at 32 Adimar is well versed in the landscape of politics and battle. He's had his skirmishes with King Malik's invading soldiers over the years. Adimar has spent his life preparing for battle against Malik -knowing his destiny from the very beginning and in order to save his people, he must go fight.

Adimar travels to the central city in hopes of finding his fellow Volshi, Aria, who was spirited away as a baby to be the next High Priestess. All in Volshiv know the name of Aria, and an army is amassed waiting to help her at the call to battle. Adimar intends to lead that army and reclaim the Holy Throne... but don't confuse his motives as one of honor -Adimar has plans of his own... to be free.
Weapon of Choice: Archer by trade, but also carries a sword of Volshi Steel passed down in his family for generations
Primary Special Power: Weather Manipulation, allows him to create any number of storms for up to eight hours. Lightning, tornado, rain etc...
Secondary Powers (limit 3):
1. Flight Assist: Allows him to use the wind to propel him upwards into the air for short bursts of time, or to surge him forward quickly.
2. Lashing Tailwind: The name of his attack where he kicks out a devastating blast of cold air to temporarily immobilize opponents.
3. Eagle Eye: Allows him to possess the body of any bird and see through it's eyes. He uses this skill a great deal for scouting.
Weakness and limitations to your powers: As with any magic user Adimar will eventually run out of Mana: or his magical stamina. He is very powerful, but the more power he uses, the more mana he uses. His powers are limited he can only make one storm a day, but can use his three minor attack powers intermittently as long as he has the mana to do so. Also, his other great weakness is a pretty woman. He does not hide his playboy like nature.

[center Adbhu'Jai Guardian: TAKEN]

Username: Kastanstyrax
Name: Rhuarc
Guardian: Adbhu'Jai Guardian, Mark is twin serpents, one branded into each wrist
Personality: Gruff, loyal, fierce, devoted,
Bio & History: Rhuarc is an extremely large man, standing tall at 6ft 10’ and weighing around 19st 12lbs he is an imposing physical specimen. Rhuarc is a muscled figure and very much represents the typical stereotype of a wasteland barbarian. His body is adorned with various, tattoos, brands and scars.
Born into the traditional nomadic life of the Abdhu’Jai people. At ten years old Rhuarc departed on the traditional journey to the sacred temple of Ouk'nu in the deep southern deserts, as all young men do in an effort to prove himself to his tribe and the great fire deity. It wasn't long before Rhuarc and his people grew used to the merciless raids of Malik and his forces, causing a deep distrust of anyone not from within the nomadic Jai. Rhuarc's father and brother were killed in one so called raid while his sister was taken presumably as a slave.
Weapon of Choice: A large, brutal looking great sword with a wicked looking serrated edge
Primary Special Power: Pyrokenisis
Secondary Powers (limit 3):
Increased reactions and agility (like that of a serpent)
Ability to communicate with serpents
Unaffected by poisons

[center High Preistess: TAKEN]

Username: Darien
Name: Aria Tolshiv
Guardian: Not a Guardian, but the High Priestess of the Guardians. She is their guide and mentor. She is marked with the symbols of every Guardian in a straight line down her spine -each marked in their prospective color.
Personality: Passionate devotion, motherly, calm gentle -but a tempest of fury if invoked. A Natural Born Ruler
Bio & History: Born in Volshiv, Aria was marked from the day of her Birth as the next High Priestess wielding the marks of all four Guardians. Then they were tiny dots of color, now a woman they have taken full shape down her spine weaving one another together. Her arrival was kept as secret as possible but her coming was foreseen by the Holy Ones who came and collected her. They took her still suckling at her mother's breast, taking her into Central City before she ever knew her mother's name.

When she was six the raids of Malik's wrath arrived. He had laid claim to the throne for many years, but upon word that the new High Priestess had been born he ordered the temples and monasteries burned and destroyed. He decreed that the Old Gods, or Guardians, were no more and that he was God. He lived an unnaturally long life -one none of the Holy Scholars could figure out. It was by the handiwork of Elder Rigby that Aria was smuggled out. Since then she was raised in seclusion with nothing but Elder Rigby to teach her, and her many tombs and scrolls from which she studied preparing for the day to take her birth right. The Holy Alter. It would make her more powerful than any king or Lord of the Four Provinces, but it is not for Power she wishes to take the Alter Throne back... it is for the people. She too has suffered by Malik's hand, she wishes it to end.
Weapon of Choice: She is often seen walking with a Staff, this is her bow staff, her weapon of choice. Meant to disarm and injure but not kill
Primary Special Power: Absolute Intuition -she has a knowing about her. It is unexplainable.
Secondary Powers (limit 3):
1. Ability to enter the spirit realm either while sleeping or through meditation
2. Can whisper thoughts into the minds of men - Persuasion
Weakness/limitations: Aria is not a fighter, that alone makes her weak physically. Mentally she is strong. Her powers of absolute intuition are more like a strong 6th sense -but not always available. When she enters the spirit realm, awake or asleep she is vulnerable to attack and needs to be guarded by someone she trusts. Her powers of persuasion can be ignored by a person with an iron will.

[center King Malik: Pending]

[center *** Side characters who travel with the Guardians are more than welcome to help make up the caravan***]

Rules:
1. All Standard ES rules apply
2. Have Fun
3. No insta-romance
4. This is a literate RP. I ask for a post on average of 800 words (not characters If I have to set a character limit I will)
5. Basic Grammar and Spelling please
6. PM Me with the title of the Rp: Rise of the Guardians, and a basic Character Skeleton.
7. You have ten (10) days to post. Failure to post within ten days forfeits your turn.

Please note: You may play more than one character, but you may only play one Guardian.

Your powers should not be so much that combined you are incredibly powerful and basically unstoppable. Please have ONE main power that does only a small handful of acceptable things, and up to three minor skills. All your power and all your skill -your character is still mortal and MUST HAVE A WEAKNESS. I don't want characters with god-like powers. Our group will face tasks where they are defeated, injured, or captured. No one should be capable of having fail-safes to constantly win.

Examples of powers:
Water Manipulation: can take water from the ground, the air, or even from a direct water source and create water funnels that attack, or a massive wave, or even turn that water to ice and create a spear with which to throw at enemies.

Healing: you can heal but not raise the dead -that is necromancy and would be considered a Primary power

Air Manipulation: Would be more like controlling the weather. Or maybe you can rush the air at an opponent flinging them back, take the air from them and let them choke.

Earth Manipulation: Use of the ground, make it shake, split open into chasms to swallow whole platoons, or maybe use the plant life around you, grow your own and use it to attack.

If you still have questions regarding your powers, please don't hesitate to PM me. I want these characters to be humble -not all powerful.

[center Basic Skeleton:]
[center Username:]
[center Name:]
[center Guardian: (are you a guardian, if so what does your marking look like?)]
[center Personality:]
[center Bio & History:]
[center Weapon of Choice:]
[center Primary Special Power:]
[center Secondary Powers (limit 3):]
[center Weakness and limitations to your powers]

Reply

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The mood on the airship seemed to be one of focus everyone realised that they were nearing the climax of their journey and was preparing suitably. Aria spent much of her time locked away receiving tuition from Vega while Rhuarc split his time between building up his physical strength and spiritual fortitude. Every day he would run through his sword forms, putting his body through its paces. The more his muscles ached and complained about the rigorous training the more he pushed himself and a sense of satisfaction always remained when he had finished his routine. Once his body could no longer take the workout that he was putting it through Rhuarc often meditated on the deck of the ship, finding that exhaustion often helped him slip into the calmness of mind that he needed to meditate effectively. he was still trying to find the elusive inner peace that he would need to control lightning. Once he would have worried that if he did not have that power then he would have failed as Jai'hash's chosen but those days had passed. He was the Guardian of Jai'hash and that was enough. Being able to channel lightning would come in time, he was sure of it. Sometimes Rhuarc watched the Holy Guard practice with their own weaponry, sometime offering a point or two, correcting footwork or a stance. When he was fit again Rhuarc would properly test them, blade to blade to see how much they had really learned. The Jai would look forward to that.

It seemed however that Rhuarc's own gruelling schedule was to be replaced by one of Vega's making as work on the Guardians arcane ability was to begin in earnest. Rhuarc was apprehensive about this, there was no doubt that his arcane abilities were the least developed of the groups by far. Rhuarc limped to the position that the old seer had designated for him and listened as she spoke. The Jai took a deep breath before he made his attempt to manifest his own power. He tried to block the images of Adimar and Saraya from his mind as they were both far more proficient than he in their task. In the past whenever he had need to produce fire he had used his blade as a focus, to help him channel his power within but that was not possible today. Despite the cool breeze blowing in the open air as the airship sailed through th sky a bead of sweat began to form on Rhuarc's brow. How could something so simple be beyond him? Back in Caledon he had used his power to summon lava from the earth's depths to save them from wraiths, but that had been instinct and reckless while this was different, it was control and discipline. With a shake of his head Rhuarc listened to Vega's words as she tried to aid him in his task. Rhuarc pictured the darkness in his eye, a black void devoid of anything and himself at the very centre of it all. He tried to picture what he hated most, for the briefest of moments his father's face emerged before his eyes before it shifted into the visage of the False King. It was not just the man that Rhuarc despised it was everything that he stood for, his attempt to wipe out his people and his culture, the killing of innocents and the lack of honour. There was no question of what he loved most, He saw Aria facing him, her the reflection of the flame flickering in her violet eyes, he saw Ayab behind her, a grin across his face. Gods how he missed his friend. As one they all disappeared into the flame, it felt odd willing Aria and Ayab to be consumed by the fire but he trusted the seer so he feed their images into the fire in his mind's eye. He took another breath sent that breath into the fire, feeding the flames. He could feel the power inside him, he extended his hands and drew from this new source of strength. Rhuarc pictured a small ball of fire in his hands, not wanting to stretch too far, and as he opened his eyes, he could see that very same fire that he pictured in his mind now in front of him in the material world, a satisfied look on Vega's face. The fire was still weak and threatened to go out at a moment's notice but Rhuarc had at least completed the very first task set for him...although he expected the other exercises that the seer had planned would make this one look like child's play if she really did plan on them becoming as proficient in the arcane arts as Adimar.

The Jai guardian was concentrating fiercely upon hi little handful of fire, trying to keep it from spluttering out, it seemed that the work that Rhuarc had been doing on his endurance lately was going to come in handy for his arcane training as well. That was perhaps one thing that could make up for his lack of arcane ability, his will to endure and push his body as far as it could go had to be worth something. Rhuarc thought about what questions he had for Vega and his mind went back to Astoria, when he had stolen Adimar's mana for himself to use and channelled his power through the Volshi mage. Perhaps Vega had some insight on that? [ Elder Vega, during the Battle for Astoria Adimar had summoned a great storm to destroy Shade-stealer's fleet but during the battle I managed to seize control of his own magic to both and channel my own power and control his as a conduit. I did not realise that this was possible. Is this something that we could use in the future as a weapon or is the risk to great? After he had struck The Fade with Adimar's lightning the creature had looked wounded, to Rhuarc's memory it had been the only thing to harm the abomination thus far. Rhuarc needed to know if this could kill the Fade. [b " I struck the Fade with lightning summoned by Adimar and the beast recoiled in pain. Is this magic how we can finally kill it?"] While Rhuarc was talking his concentration obviously lapsed and his fire almost extinguished and Rhuard had to fight in order to keep that little ball of fire alive. If this was just the first task then it was going to be a long day...
Kastanstyrax / 1d ago
Adimar chuckled warmly at Lara’s cheeky response. “So what happens now?” That was the question she had for him, but before he could formulate a response she was already making comments about planning a wedding and rambling as she had a tendency to do about Carrick and Saraya. He only smiled contently, eyes on the sky ahead and relishing in her presence and warmth at his side.

He felt her head resting against his shoulder, and his arm moved to wrap around her back. [#20b2aa “There’s no need to plan a wedding just yet, I still haven’t asked you formally. Besides, I want to enjoy the time we have now. We can worry about wedding details after we defeat Malik,”] he promised pressing a quick kiss to her head.

Her final question left him laughing, and denying her curiosity. She’d just have to find out for herself, and he supposed it was about time. He’d gone easy on her in the past, but perhaps that was no longer necessary. They lingered up in the crow’s nest a little while longer until they grew hungry and it was time to go down.

Very little happened over the course of the following days. Most of them kept to their own routines, same as they had done on the previous treks with the ship. Aria walked her laps, met with the Captain, and spent a hefty amount of time in Vega’s presence and under going her own mental training since she could not practice her archery. Adimar usually spent his time in the mornings with Rhuarc, helping his friend regain his strength. They weren’t the only ones busy training through the day, Aria’s guards were using the time to clean up their own skills and learn to work better as a unit now that they had three new members. Aria and Adimar had also resumed their research into Azeroth’s history, and any magic they could use that would help them take down Malik.

While everyone seemed to be taking it easy and at their own pace, Aria seemed to be busier than ever. Vega was a vigorous instructor, pushing Aria to her own limits. A great deal of Aria’s powers turned out to be powered by pure spiritual and mental energy, something Aria had failed to exercise over the years and was now trying to play catch-up. The one good thing about Vega’s training was it had left Aria completely exhausted that she slept soundly at night. The runes done by Vega and Ruscal helped too, they helped give Aria a peace of mind to relax, even if just a little bit.

It was on the third day that Vega decided to give Aria a reprieve and instead focused her knowledge on the Guardians. Aria was left to blissfully sleep late into the morning under the watchful eye of Max, while Vega summoned the Guardians to join her on the deck. She was pleased to see they had come to meet her and she held her cane with both hands atop the pommel, leaning her weight against it as she surveyed the four of them. She pointed in four directions around her, instructing them were to take a stance by setting Saraya to the northern direction, Rhuarc to the south, Lara to the west, and Adimar to the east.
[+green “Now then, thank you all for coming. I wanted to take a day to speak with you all about your powers. There are those of you in this group more adept than others, and some of you who have just begun to reach for your potential. I want to see what you’re all capable of, then I will break you into pairs and run exercises. I have a goal for each you today, provided you pass this cursory exam.”]

She stood center of them all and opened her own palm, which quickly began to coalesce a swirling glowing orb of her own power. Like any power user, her magic had its own color, and Vega’s was yellow. [+green “All magic comes with a price. The gifts bestowed on you by your Deities are no exception. If you are not strong with arcane energy, the price you will pay may cost you your life. To start, I want each of you to focus your powers as I have. Bring your power under your control and give it form. Lord Adimar, as I’m certain you’re capable of this, we shall start with you,”] she said turning to face him.

Adimar opened his hand and with very little effort he produced a swirling ball of air between his hand. The sounds of pops could be heard as air snapped in bursts of pressure from the amount Adimar had brought under his disciplined control, and it gave way eventually to show a bluish-grey color as his raw power swirled in a sphere in his hands. Vega gave a satisfied nod of her head and looked at the others. [+green “I want you all to try this now. Each of you have powers you have not yet unlocked, so once you have culminated your powers, you will hold that form until I say you may release it,”] She said pacing from each Guardian to the next, watching them in their attempts to match Adimar’s display.

She saw a look of concentration settle into Adimar’s face, and he locked his focus on his swirling power between his hands. She took this time to impart warning on them. [+green “Malik would prefer it, if you were all unable to master your skills. This is why he has systematically destroyed as many temples and convents across the four provinces as he could in the beginning of his reign: to prohibit you all from obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills to defeat him. I aim to correct this lack in your education. Before you all leave this ship, it is my goal for you all to have the same level of control in this exercise as Adimar, and before you face off with Malik you will all obtain your full power.”] she had made a full loop and had come to stand before Saraya who was bringing hers into form. [+green “For some of you, it is within grasp. Adimar, you especially should learn to control the air around you to such a degree that you can become weightless and take flight like a bird.”] A spark of excitement entered Adimar’s gaze and he nearly lost his sphere of power.
[#20b2aa “That would be awesome…”] he murmured, none the less, and returned his focus.
[+green “Lady Saraya, you should learn to manipulate the earth under your feet to make paths or barriers, weapons, and sense coming danger. You should all try to see your goal in your mind’s eye and make it so.”] Vega watched Saraya’s display of control and power come to fruition and gave an approving nod of her head.

She moved again, shuffling towards her next target, the little water Guardian. [+green “Lara you must learn to pull water from any source you can. You are at the greatest disadvantage in traveling to the deserts of Abdhu’jai. Water is scarce there, so in training you now, you can avoid being unable to use your power. Humans are made of water, you can use what is within you, but with caution. Remember… the price…”] Vega warned, but her gaze was hopeful to see Lara manage to bring her own sphere together in a managed display of her blooming power. Finally her gaze settled on Rhuarc as he struggled to create his own orb of fire and power.

She watched the frustration on his face, and his valiant attempt to focus his mind. He needed the most guidance, at least Lara had the advantage of working closely with Adimar to gain Arcane skills. [+green “Clear your mind, [I Batosai]. Imagine all around you is darkness, and in the center of the darkness there is you. Where there is darkness you provide light, where there is cold, you bring warmth. Fire is more than just passion and wrath, it is more than destruction. Fire is an integral part in the balance of the world. You are the flame, your very spirit, your heart and the convictions you stand by… they feed the power behind your flame. Focus on the thing you hate most, then picture that which you love most. Once you have them, feed them into your fire, feel it burn in your belly, and draw it out of you! You are the master of Jai’hash’s flame.”]

Once they all managed to accomplish her request and maintain it, she would move them to her next lesson. They all continued to hold the spheres, all of them coming to realize how much concentration and mana it took. Adimar seemed to be the only one not entirely fatigued. He of course realized that to preform this task should not cost any mana, but to recycle it and flow it through one’s body, the trick came in concentrating on that task. Vega wanted to see how long they could hold their spheres before growing tired, and perhaps Rhuarc was the only one who might realize she might make them hold those forms for a long while.

He would have been right. She did not let them release their spheres, but instead offered to answer any questions they had so far.
darien / 3d ago
[pic https://pic8.co/sh/WDInLt.jpeg]

What happened next, the feeling was unique for Lara. While the position that occurred was not new, her parents having held her like that, the who and intent of the who was changed. While she had also hugged Balden, never had it felt so safe, so protective, so loving as the one Adimar gave her now. Lara already trusted Adimar with protecting her physically. With those words and this gesture, she now entrusted her heart, both literally and figuratively, as well.

Despite the chilliness surrounding them up high, this tight hugging allowed body heat to be shared between each other. Lara had experienced many forms of magic. But just as with the gesture and intent, this magic of trusting love was new to Lara. She could finally begin to understand what Saraya and Carrick felt towards each other. But Lara knew that her journey with this loving relationship would be different from Saraya's and Carrick's, and that was perfectly alright. This journey was between her and Adimar. It was no one else's journey, which meant that their chooses, unless they affected the others, would be their own.

The first such choice was Adimar's fingers flowing through her hair. Lara slowly rotated her head to gaze at Adimar, a light red flushing the whiteness from her face. Then an even darker shade of red chased away the light red the moment Adimar lowered his face to hers. While the face had been increasing in warmth from the blushing, Lara only felt the spike of warmth across the entirety of her face when Adimar touched his nose to hers. Ridge against ridge and tip against tip, she could now hear his breathing as well. An even deeper well of peaceful comfort was dug out.

Lara's heart bumped the moment their lips connected. It was not shock, but the suddenness made it seem as time slowed down. She did start off as an observer to the kiss. It was her first time kissing someone who wasn't her parents in such an intimate fashion. But the more seconds that passed by, Lara leaned more and more into the kiss. Such tightness between their lips caused a flare of warmth, which added warmth to the already red-filled face.

While the disengaging from the kiss was fast, it was not sudden. No ripping, jarring motion. As if their lips moved from from right to left, one inch at a time.

Lara raised her eyebrows. If not for the acknowledgement of each other's feelings, Adimar's statement would have come across as creepy. But as it was, whether Adimar was being comedic or not, Lara slightly understood how love could bring out certain fantasies.

She closed her eyes when Adimar spun her, the cold air chewing at her eyes. Such a rotation made her giddy, a childish giggle the moment Adimar landed her back besides him.

To his question, Lara shook her head. Lara could not help but squeeze tighter against Adimar's side the more he answered his question. Even her squeezing was not enough to prevent Adimar from raising her head via his fingers on her chin, prompting a blushing chuckle from Lara.

[+purple "And I intend to make you my husband"], stated in a cheeky tone before burying her face in Adimar's side. She stood like this for a good minute, allowing some of the passion built up to dissipate. Lara's breathing matched Adimar's, her heart slowing down to Adimar's heartbeat as well.

Eventually Lara turned her head upwards, her chin glued against Adimar. [+purple "So what happens now?"] Slowly starting to disentangle herself from Adimar, shaking her arms lightly because of the continual giddy feeling still traveling through her body. [+purple "Can't plan a wedding right before our final goal."] Lara stood side-by-side with Adimar, looking out into the open expanse before them. [+purple "Saraya and Carrick would have advice, but I want this to be our journey."] Lara cocked her head opposite from Adimar, and then cocked it so the side and top of her head was against Adimar. [+purple "I guess that means you can go harder against me in training?"]
ARIA observed Saraya’s body language as she described her struggle to settle on the ship. Aria could understand, she had sympathy. If it hadn’t been for Saraya’s quick thinking and brave actions, Egos would have killed Aria and feasted on her heart. The mere memory made Aria’s chest clench in pain, a sensation of the echo of having Egos’ hand in her chest, fingers wrapped about her heart, squeezing tightly in a threat to crush it.

Aria quietly reached out to take Saraya’s hand in a comforting manner, while Carrick debriefed her on the events at the Jail house. Luther hadn’t broken himself out, he’d taken an opportunity of the cell being open, but the details of his attacks left Aria feeling cold. For some reason, she hadn’t thought Luther capable of such gruesome actions. He’d not just attacked those guards, he’d committed murder. It was an offense Aria could never forgive.

They suspected The Fade was an accomplice to Luther, and Aria had to agree. Luther had met with Malik before, and so it was no great stretch to think that he might also be working with the Fade, per Malik’s commands.

[I "I have warned everyone he was not to be trusted... When he was in your custody, Aria, were there words spoken about Malik? Has he told you of the reason why he disappeared the first time?”]

Aria felt bad at Saraya’s tone. She had warned them all she did not trust Luther, but Aria had tried to see the good in him. Perhaps that is where she had gone wrong. Saraya’s tone was also reminiscent of Rhuarc’s tone with her in Tanaka when she failed to return directly to the guest house. She could only shake her head at Saraya’s question, feeling rather foolish, and stupid to have let someone so dangerous so close.
[+pink “He didn’t say anything, only that he was taken against his will to meet Malik the first time. However, when we questioned Vega after the battle, she had much to say about Malik’s desired reasons for acquiring me. I know that they were, or rather, are brothers, and so I can only imagine Malik wants him by his side for some purpose or another.”]

Saraya nodded her head, and produced a locket. Admitting she had a placed a charm similar to the whispering stone Luther had possessed, on him. Aria had never been fond of the idea of spying, but this was war and she might have to do such things. She was stopped however as Saraya was suddenly very close and looking her over with a look of rage. It gave Aria a chill
[i"Did he visit you? Malik?”]
-[I [+pink “Wow, Saraya can be really scary when she’s mad…]]- Aria thought with a quick nervous laugh, her face turning red with embarrassment. Saraya looked like an angry mother ready to scold their child.
[+pink “It was no big deal! He’s done it every time I’ve left a temple. I should have been prepared for it. Besides, the good news is Ruscal’s and Vega’s runes helped to push him away. He wasn’t able to maintain his connection for more than a moment. You really don’t have to worry, I’m okay! Truly.”] Aria tried to convince her with another final smile, hoping to play it off with a brave face.

Thankfully Saraya could tell that Aria didn’t wish to talk of the topic too much, and let it go. Carrick left them to tend to their quarters and Aria shifted the map in her arm to the other and reached out for Saraya. They walked to a place where they did not have to be on the deck, and took to the galley where at least the smell of food made for a cozy and calming atmosphere. Aria sat down holding the map close and looked down at her lap.
[+pink “I know Malik’s visits to me have caused you worry and stress during our travels. I’m sorry. I don’t know how to explain it, but Malik and I seem to share a type of bond. It connects us, and that is how he’s able to speak with me. He can never see where I am, and I’m able to keep him from reading my mind.”] She offered Saraya a final smile. [+pink “Thank you for being my friend, Saraya. Thank you for worrying about me, but I’m afraid there’s not much to be done about Malik’s visits. I’ll just have to stay strong and keep fighting back. If it’s ever too much, I promise I’ll come to you.”]

Aria sat a moment longer with Saraya before standing up. She could see that Saraya was uncomfortable on the ship, and wished she could have protected them all better from the attack that happened on their last trip. Tucking the rolled map under an arm, she reached out with a hand to place it over Saraya’s. [+pink “I am here if ever you should need me, Saraya. I’ll let you go to your room and rest, Carrick is probably waiting for you.”] She gave Saraya’s hand a final squeeze and then left her in search of Rhuarc.

She crept upon Vega’s room, but found the old woman fast asleep. That meant Rhuarc had left her council. All the rooms were empty, so it was obvious he was not in his room. She wondered if he’d gone topside. Setting the map into her room, she curiously started up the steps to the deck, and spotted him quickly, not that he was easy to miss.

A happy smile slowly spread on her face, and she had no idea it had even come to life. Watching him slowly work his way through the movements of his sword practice, brought Aria comfort. His movements were jerky, and strained, but his eyes were fierce with determination and focus. She dared not interrupt that. He’d been content the night before, but there had been something off in his eyes. It seemed that now it had returned. Was it from his conversation with Vega?

She didn’t really mind how it returned, only that it had. She could feel the flame inside of him growing back to life with each completed movement his body made. Soon that little flame would become an inferno… and that belief gave her courage. She looked around further to see if Adimar and Lara were still around, but they were very much out of sight, and Aria couldn’t begin to figure out where they might have gone, or what they were doing. The air was still cold, but her cloak was warm and she quietly began walking a lap around the deck. From there she could observe Rhuarc, the crew, the passing clouds, and the ground below. She thought to try and find some peace in the restlessness of traveling by walking. It only helped with her thoughts on Malik and proceeding into the Wastelands, but those thoughts did not bring her peace.

She came to the bow of the ship and looked out at the narrow deck that connected the deck to the bowsprit. The wind felt strongest here, and sent her hair to flow behind her in silver tendrils. Looking out at the coming horizon, Aria reached up and grabbed a nearby rope to help herself up onto the narrow deck and sat down. She hadn’t meditated lately, and the only way she could get stronger would be if she learned to harness her own gifts, and the best way to do that was by meditation. The wind made everything behind her seem to melt away. The deck was just large enough for her to sit cross legged. Her eyes looked sharply ahead, and she made a quiet promise to herself to get as strong as possible to defeat Malik. She folded her hands and with a breath, closed her eyes allowed herself to drift.

[fin…]
darien / 17d ago
Adimar watched emotions play out over Lara’s face, before she finally motioned towards the crow’s nest. His gaze turned to follow and he recognized quickly what it was she sought out. Privacy. He gave a small smile stepping back to let her lead the way, and followed her up the rigging to the outlook.

From here the view was incredible. Even Adimar could remember the first time he got to stand in a Crow’s Nest. He’d been a young boy of twelve on his first tour of the Volshi Empire with his uncle. Here is was quiet, and all of the world could be seen below. He inhaled a deep scent of the crisp cool air and reminisced. Allowing Lara a moment still to gather herself. She was young, no doubt she wanted to make sure she didn’t trip over her words.

He had to stifle a grin at how adorable she looked, nervously gathering herself. Did she know she was blushing? When she had the courage to speak, she faced him and pulled down the hood of her cloak. He observed the wind tousling her hair gently, and listened patiently. She admitted her feelings were her own and not Fenlyk’s. That was a relief to know. She looked confident with her words, taking his hands and showing a brave face.

Adimar wasn’t expecting her to make a physical move. She wrapped herself around him in a tight hug and confessed that she loved him. Adimar smiled and dropped his face towards the top of her head, his hair falling forward obscured the full expression of his happiness.

He said nothing, simply dropped his face against her hair, and held her back, tightly and fiercely, without any intention of ever letting her go. He doubted she’d said anything like that to Balden, and he was vaguely away of her loneliness after the loss of her parents. Knowing she trusted him that much, enough to give him her heart? He had’t known he could feel so humble. Holding her this way made him realize how small she was, and his desire to protect her grew. His raised a hand to brush his fingers through her hair and coax her face away from his chest. When she was finally looking at him, he smiled at her. His hands held her against him, and her face as he then lowered his own towards hers. He hesitated for only a moment, their noses touching, and took in the sight of her eyes and flushed cheeks. His own face had turned a touch red as well, his ears showing the most of it as the tips had turned a rosy color.

They passed through a thick cloud and the haze left them completely obscured from any prying eyes. The cold mist dampened their hair and selves, but the chill didn’t seem to bother either of them.
[#20b2aa “I will love you, always…”] He sealed that promise between them by finally planting his lips against hers in a supremely affection kiss. Adimar would take this moment with him for all his days. For weeks he had agonized over his desire to kiss her. Every night he bid her sweet dreams, or said goodbye, any lingering moment, he’d been compelled to sweep her up. Now that he had her in his arms, and had her kiss, he was much inclined to steal as many as he could from that moment on, and was bound to delight in embarrassing Lara with flirtatious affections.

They broke their kiss, Adimar’s heart hammering away in his chest, and his body warm from holding Lara so close. He suddenly painted a look of comical relief on his face. [#20b2aa “Oh thank goodness… I’ve been dying to kiss you for weeks,”] he laughed, his arms wrapping around her tight enough to lift her off her feet and gave her a spin before planting her feet back on the floor. [#20b2aa “You know what this means now, yes?”] He asked a mischievous grin on his face. [#20b2aa “You’ve admitted your feelings for me, naturally now I will be unable to help myself from stealing a kiss or two when I desire,”] he said taking her chin between two fingers and looking down at her with an almost wicked expression. [#20b2aa “You blush, and I quite enjoy the look of it. You said I was your partner, so I aim to be just that. I do not love lightly, Lara, and I have never loved before you… this means: I fully intend to make you my wife one day.”]

[continued…]
darien / 18d ago
Carrick hadn't said anything at first. He had let her take her time, muster the bravery to focus her mind. Things had been haunting her. This must've been a curse he hadn't acknowledged in his own life, yet still exists. The curse of remembering the pain and trauma can break any normal human. For Saraya, it was something that driven her. She wanted to keep fighting because of it. That feeling radiated off of her.

A pair of familiar footsteps had made Carrick turn and acknowledge Aria, who seemed a bit out of sorts. "Aria?" Carrick asked, her name catching his wife's attention.

“Saraya, Carrick, I’m sorry to interrupt." She started. Saraya had shaken her head. "It is alright. I invite it... It is better a distraction than this ship" she said softly. "I wanted to see how you’re doing. Make sure you were settling in alright." Aria had shown true concern; Saraya appreciated it greatly. "It could be better..." She sighed before looking along the deck, the flashes commencing. "I can still see it... I can still smell him... Hear his horrible laugh..." She closed her eyes and turned away for a moment before the flashes would end, then turned to Aria once more. "It is not important, i should guess..." She brushed off the issue. She took a deep breath before nodding. "What can we do for you, Aria?"

"Carrick, I heard you went to the jailhouse. Can you tell me what happened? No one seems to want to tell me what Luther actually did in the jail when he broke out. I think Rhurac is ready for his blood, and don’t blame him. Please tell me what you know,”

Carrick furrowed his brows at first, looking to Saraya before nodding. "The scene seems to point towards a number of things... The cage wasn't forced open. The lock that kept it closed seemed to still be intact. It was laying next to his cage. There were guards. One had chain marks around his neck. The chains were unlocked and discarded nearby, closer to the wall. The second guard, she had been stabbed through the chest with excessive force. The blood splatter in the earth reaches to the far left. She was near the door. The third guard at the door had been silenced, and stabbed in his spine. It was broken in twain, and after such a stab, he tried crawling towards the alarm bell... He didn't make it to the rope. He bled out just feet away from his post, there was a blood trail in the earth. It seems that Luther was being moved, and he acted upon an opportunity. The interesting thing was what was inside the jail..." He cleared his throat. "At first sight, it looks like excrement, but it couldn't be. It smelled of sulfur, of metal... Like blood. I remembered that Egos' head still spills black blood... It is of the same substance within his cell... Which would mean..." Saraya looked to him, furrowing her brows. "Someone was inside the cell with him."

Carrick nodded. "It had to have been The Fade. He had come to make a deal with Luther... It seems we know his answer" Saraya sighed, shaking her head. "I have warned everyone he was not to be trusted... When he was in your custody, Aria, were there words spoken about Malik? Has he told you of the reason why he disappeared the first time?" Saraya asked as Star and Sky trotted onto the ship, nervous, but mustering the courage to climb into the strange contraption.

As she listened for the answer, Carrick had been making sure that their conversation was private, finally getting some pieces and figuring out Luther's narrative.

Saraya, after Aria explained, nodded. So that's why he agreed... She looked to Aria. "He is desperate... He believes you won't trust him... Malik must've used that to his advantage" She looked to Carrick. "So it is safe to say that i know where he is. It is a good thing i have left a little gift on him..." She looked to Aria before turning her hand over, revealing a little locket. "I didn't trust him, so i planted something on him when he was in my tent... I hadn't activated it purposely. I wanted him to believe that no one was watching. We will be able to see and hear any and all conversations with this locket. We need only to open it. Do you want to hold-"

Something had stopped her. That smell... The familiar smell... Saraya turned completely to Aria. "Did he visit you? Malik?" It sounded like a growl coming from her throat. She neared her and looked her over. She couldn't mistake the vile stench of the aura surrounding her. But, she managed to keep it quiet, so not to make anyone else feel on edge. As Rhuarc and the Jai Seer made their way onboard, Saraya had sighed as she straightened up. "I understand, Aria..." She nodded before offering the locket to her. "We shall only eavesdrop on your command" she said before settling the trinket into her palms.

Carrick watched as Lara and Adimar trailed onboard. Saraya had kept her attention on Aria. "If i am to be your advisor, we must talk about these conjugal visits Malik seems to be doing... I can see... I am not naïve." Carrick had turned his attention toward the ladies. "I shall set up our quarters, Saraya. You and Aria can speak privately. You need only call" he said before kissing her cheek, and making his way below deck.

Saraya, already feeling the anxiety of being on the deck of the ship again, made her way to an area where she could breathe and not have to look on to the deck. She needed to gather her bearings.
Bloody_Eve / 19d ago
Rhuarc could see conflict in Vega’s eyes, she was at war within herself, she wanted to extend her hand and take the heavy sword that was within her grasp but she was fighting against her own instinct. There was a deference that the seer had towards that sword, which was understandable as myth had it that it had belonged to Jai'hash himself. She was entranced by the power on offer and yet Vega managed to steel herself against her desires. Rhuarc remembered the vision that she described vividly. A boy was a fair term for him, he could not have been more than sixteen but even then he had already been fighting against Shade-stealer's army for almost approaching a year. Despite his age he still towered over many of his fellow warriors, he was not yet the tower of muscles he was today but anyone could see the physique that Rhuarc was developing. The Jai remembered that battle, thinking back he could feel the sting in his shoulder where an arrow had hit him and he could hear Ayab's uneven footsteps as he limped because of a curved wound on his thigh. He remembered the briefest glint of sun reflecting off metal and the urge to follow it in his bones. He could smell the corpses that he shifted in order to follow the yearning he felt, he could feel the heat of the sand slipping through his fingers as he began digging to find whatever had captured his attention, and he remembered the awe he felt when he saw the weapon. It was special, even back then Ruarc had known that, although just quite how special he had no idea. Rhuarc could feel the strength of the sword in his fingers, it was unlike any other weapon he had ever held, even though he had never used a great sword before it was like an extension of his arm. Having the sword in his grasp made him feel bolder, it was hard to describe just how right that weapon felt in his grasp and hearing Vega describe her vision brought all of that back to Rhuarc. As the Seer's hand moved away from the blade he instead felt her touch on his wrist as her fingers traced the snake shaped burn on his wrist. [i [+green “You have always known who you are… deep down, I think you have always known."]] Vega was right. Rhuarc had always felt he was destined for glory, every Jai dreamed of winning honour and glory but Rhuarc always knew it would come, reminiscing about finding his sword had brought that moment into focus. He had not always known that he was the Torchbearer, Jai'hash's chosen but he knew that he was meant for greatness.

Rhuarc listened to her words and she was right, he had forgotten who and what he was. He was Rhuarc of the Farlan Jai, a proud Jai warrior. He was becoming a prisoner of his own thoughts, making excuses and doubting himself. No more.

He would not become what he hated most, he would not become his father.

That he had even been at the beginning of that path sickened him. Ever since his duel with Malik the fire of Jai'hash within him had been reduced to an ember, struggling to keep burning but that would change. Rhuarc could feel that flame roaring into life once more. [b " They shall see me injured but never defeated. There is no shame in being bested by a better warrior. How one faces defeat is far more important than the outcome of a battle. They shall see me as I am. A proud Jai. An honourable Jai. A fierce Jai. A Jai worthy of being their Guardian."]

Vega spoke cryptically about the mercurial nature of the future and Rhuarc was starting to really understand that. During his Trial of Desire in Kil'heed Rhuarc had felt like what he experienced was real. He was staring to think that this was one of the possible branches of the future that Vega could see. Rhuarc could understand why seeing something like that could be addictive; seeing himself win a lifetime of glory by slaying Malik and having Aria lay the marriage wreath at his feet was something he had often thought about in quiet moments of reflection. If he knew that vision was a possibility...Rhaurc had to admit that he would probably do whatever he could to influence actions in order to turn that possibility into reality. Yes, knowledge of the future could be dangerous and both Vega and Aria were right in their distrust and caution in trying to exploit such knowledge.

[b "Thank you, Elder Vega. Your council has been most enlightening."] Rhuarc thanked the seer as she waved him out of her quarters. The Jai made his way to the deck of the ship , Vega's words still ringing in his mind. Rhuarc felt the wind in his hair and took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air on the deck of the ship. Rhuarc unbuckled the sword from his back and set it on the wood of the deck. The Jai moved his feet and his body in a slow, slightly cumbersome way, trying to put his body through the various sword forms that he so often practised. Trying these forms with his weighty sword would be too much for him but he tried to put his body through them nonetheless. He needed to find his rhythm again, like he said to Vega, his people may see him injured but they would not see him bent or broken. He had time to regain his strength somewhat on the journey to his homeland. The various wounds across his body protested angrily at his movements, the ache in his muscles evidence of their recent disuse but the Jai continued pushing through the pain. He thought about the path he had almost started walking down, one of indecision, doubt, forgetting who and what he was. He would have shamed his friends and himself but he would not let that happen. vega had reminded him that of all the battles that Rhuarc would face in this war there was one which above all else he could not lose; the battle against himself.
Kastanstyrax / 19d ago
[pic https://pic8.co/sh/WDInLt.jpeg]

While the task of walking had been dedicated to the subconscious, the walking had become such a fluid moment that any sudden dam would cause Lara to stumble.

That sudden, stumbling causing dam appeared in the form Adimar. The stopping itself was not as sudden, but the swerving to face directly Adimar made Lara startle; Adimar's hands on her arms prevented the stumbling portion. Her face froze, similar to a deer when it suddenly confronted a bright light source directed at it. Lara's face was stuck in the uncertain expression. However, the reason changed. Instead of her hazed theory, now it was due to Adimar's actions. Adimar had this intense look in his eyes. Such intensity could be any action, although Lara knew Adimar would not hurt her willingly.

Lara relaxed as Adimar went into his monologue, but the ease was only temporary. She had felt that feeling the night of the party. Adimar's feelings for her and her Adimar's feelings for him. In fact, both of them had understood the presence of those feelings. But feeling them was one thing. Having enough courage to say them out loud? That was what scared Lara. She was aware of her inability in explaining anything well. If given at least an hours, then yes, but explaining her feelings for Adimar for an hour would make for an awkward conversation. That might even kill off the feelings they had for each other.

Her body had entered the stage of heavy breathing but with no heartbeat. The heart and its movements were still in the chest, but the impression of breathing overshadowed the for now quiet thumping.

Lara's mind already beagn constructing various sentences to say. But stuck in Adimar's grip while processing his monologue, the words would not even begin traveling to the lips. Lara had receded back into her mind, resulting in a dead stare, before slowly coming back into the present. Her breathing become more animated, her chest making bigger than usual movements, and the sensation of heavy thumping originating from where her heart was. She looked around, confirming that Adimar was still in fact holding her and gazing at her. Lara became more nervous. But it was not because of Adimar. Her nervousness stemmed from speaking aloud, and to Adimar's face, the words which had first begun forming last night.

Extracting herself from Adimar's grip, Lara slid her arm up so her hand caught Adimar's hand. She pointed up at one the crow's nest with her free hand, a light jerk on Adimar's hand, accompanied by a head nod in the direction of the pointing, to signify she wanted to go up there. The choice of a crow's nest was not some randomly chosen spot for Lara. There was of course the obvious symbolism for being higher up in the air, but Lara had a more personal reason as well. Her first flight ever onboard an airship Lara had climbed up and into a crow's nest. It had left an impression on her. Up there, even though you knew you were traveling through the air, there was a calming quiet that one had to experience.

Adimar was definitely confused, not knowing her intentions of dragging him so suddenly upwards. Lara did enjoy scurrying up the ropes. But this time she climbed besides Adimar, making sure he got up there safely.

Once up there, Lara let Adimar experience that calming quiet for a few moments. In truth, she was building up courage to say the words. The words had already departed the brain and sat at the back of the tongue. All they needed was for the tongue and lips to begin moving so they could fly out and be heard by Adimar.

Lara shifted around herself, nervous foot shuffles, to face Adimar. Her face pointed downwards as she took a sigh, smoothly and at a slow rate rotating upwards to face Adimar. Her arms snaked towards the top of her hood, pulling it off and letting her dyed red hair tumble just above her shoulders. At that moment, an understanding hit Lara. That spirit theory she had been spurting, that had only been a delaying action. So afraid of saying the words Adimar had been brave enough to speak out, she'd went down some hypothetical rabbit-hole.

She sucked air in, her gaze steadying as her mouth opened. Lara's hands reached out towards Adimar's hands. They rested on top, nearly weightless. [+purple "I'm not good with talking about this..."] Her gaze wandered, never looking at Adimar's face for too long. Lara tensed up, forcing her eyes to stare into Adimar's eyes. [+purple "To your questions, I can now positively say yes. My feelings to you are both mine own and without the influence of Fenlyck."] She slowly squeezed her hands, using the grip on Adimar's hands to slowly pull herself into his. [+purple "You are not just a teacher, an advisor, or a friend to me."] Lara's body began molding into Adimar's body, her hands dropping Adimar's hands to slip around behind him to connect and form a hug. [+purple "You are my partner. I, I love you."] Lara squeezed herself tighter against Adimar in the silence on top, somewhere no one could see.
ADIMAR closed his fingers around Lara’s hand once she took it, her other arm snaking around his until she was nestled against his side and they began to walk the deck. She had a theory about his dream, and even her own. He was a little surprised to hear she too had a similar dream, but from Fenlyk’s perspective perhaps? Adimar let her speak her peace, her hand squeezing his intermittently. Was she nervous? Anxious?

She thought it had something to do with their spirits, and she seemed pretty confident about that, but his dream was honestly the first time Volshi had ever shown him anything, if it was Volshi even showing it. Adimar wasn’t certain how to interpret what this meant. Regardless, he disagreed with Lara. He didn’t think it had anything to do with his spirit.

She wanted to know if he thought Volshi didn’t want him to fail in protecting Fenlyk, and at that Adimar had to stop her. It might have been a little strong handed, but he wouldn’t let her take another step, and tugged her around towards him, his hands settling on her arms. Why did she have to look up at him that way? It made his stomach clench.
[#20b2aa “Lara, I don’t know what Volshi was trying to tell me. The feelings I had last night when I danced with you, the nights I’ve walked with you, that I have now looking at you; they are mine, not Volshi’s. I’ve been fighting them long enough to know that if they were just the projected emotions of my guardian spirit, I would not feel them this intensely.”] His gaze was smoldering and intense, and he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He couldn’t keep it contained any longer. He had to be honest with her.

Adimar moved a hand from her arm to her face, where he cupped her cheek gently so he could get a glimpse into her eyes. [#20b2aa “In my dream, I was Volshi. I wasn’t an observer, I was him and he was me. I knew everything there was about him, but I was also myself… It’s hard to explain, and maybe Fenlyk and Volshi did manage to connect last night. I don’t really care, to be honest. What I do care about, is if you have feelings that are your own and not Fenlyk’s.”] Adimar was older than Lara by several years, not to mention he was Volshi royalty, their crown prince and next in line to be king. He had his own worries, he feared her rejection, the judgement of others against him for having feelings for someone so young, and he didn’t want to be a way of mending any heartache she still had over Balden. He let his hand fall away from her face and let her go. He didn’t want to make her feel like he was pressuring her. His own expression looked a little lost, and maybe he was. He’d never felt this way before, and this was all very new for him. [#20b2aa “I don’t expect an answer from you today, I don’t even need it tomorrow. If anything, my dream brought me clarity within its warning. I care about you, and I find myself treasuring the time I spend with you. And I’ll continue to treasure whatever you grace me with, and I’ll protect you regardless if you return my feelings or not.”]

[fin]
darien / 25d ago
ARIA descended down to the cabins and started for her room. She knew she found her room by the lonely guard standing at the door. She opened the door and looked around. It may have been a new ship, but whatever belongings they left on the previous ship had been moved to this new ship.

She quietly sat down on the edge of her cot and took her journal from her bag. As she opened the book she could hear voices coming from the hallway. She looked over at her open door and listened curiously. From the sounds of it, Rhuarc and Vega were speaking. Aria couldn’t understand a word, not that she needed to, it wasn’t her business.

Hearing their language spoken so fluidly between them only reinforced the upcoming portion of their mission. She would be a liar if she said she wasn’t nervous. From the moment she had met Rhuarc he had stressed the importance of her first impressions to the Jai people. She would not be able to waiver, or show any ounce of hesitation or fear. She would have to exude confidence, but not so much as to be considered arrogant. Even Vega had stressed that the Jai would not accept Aria if she did not know herself. It was painfully obvious they did not think she would be able to relate to the Jai and bolster their support.

She turned her attention back on her journal, and decided to write instead about leaving Caledon, her fears for Abdhu’jai, and Luther’s escape. She wrote her concerns about her companions, and her hopes for them. This journal had become her chronicle of their journey, and was one of her few rare possessions. It was the outlet she needed that no one could provide her, except maybe Vega. In the end she finished her entry with her happiness for last night, how pretty she had found the paper lanterns, and the joy at getting to see everyone smile. She had a feeling it would be the last time for a long time.

Aria felt something else as well…

She snapped the journal shut and focused on a point at the far wall, barricading her mind. [+purple “You’re leaving earlier than I expected…”] Aria did not look back or acknowledge him. He chuckled darkly as his presence began to shift about the room. Whatever connected them was at play again now that Aria had left the sanctuary of Caledon’s temple and the barrier it created over the whole of the city. Now that she was past it, Malik could reach her once again. She had a feeling the runes Vega and Ruscal had put on the Volshi airship were just enough to keep him from being able to materialize into an illusion and terrorize her. She could tell he was struggling as it was just to make this connection.

[+purple “It’s cute how it takes everything you have to keep me out of your mind. It’s alright, my dear, I don’t have to see into your mind. I know where you are heading. I have every intention of getting you. I hope you are ready, my dear.”] his voice echoed in Aria’s head, but it felt like a breath at her neck, and she felt her stomach turn.

She turned around and suddenly threw her journal right through where she thought he might be standing, but it simply hit the wall and fell to the floor, his laugher fading on an echo around her. As quickly as he had come, he left. Ruscal’s and Vega’s enchantments had done their job and forced Malik away. Her guard was none the wiser. She should have expected this, anytime she made a move to a new region he had contacted her. He’d all but warned her he had a plan to stop her. Now she had to figure out what he was up to this time before it was too late.

She wasn’t sure who to turn to in this moment, and thought back to the Captain’s treatment to her. He had looked to her, the men on this ship had been sent to support her, to follow her orders. If she was to lead… Her head lifted to spy her reflection in the mirror bolted to the wall, she would have to look to herself, and start leading. What a terrifying thought. She was still fighting it, when she needed to accept it.

[i Know yourself…]

Standing up, Aria walked out of the room and back out to the deck, making a direct path to the helm and the ship’s Captain. He was in conversation with his First Officer, but upon her arrival they both stopped and turned to face her. It was always a relief to see faces like hers, ears like hers, and the pale fair features like hers.
[+pink “Captain, I have reason to believe that Malik will be preparing an attack for us. I’d like to go over maps with you, and learn of the route you plan to take us on.”] The Captain, blinked, a little startled by her sudden request. They both knew it wasn’t a request, but a veiled command, she was just too polite to directly order it out of him. Regardless, something about her stance convinced him, and he led her through a door under the helm deck, and into his Captain’s suite.

It was a well decorated room with a desk and cabinet, through a small doorway was a curtained bed. Being Captain clearly had its perks, but this space was clearly used frequently by his men as well. He pulled a chair out for her at his desk and walked over to take his own seat.
“What is this about an attack?” He asked her. Aria folded her hands into her lap and did her best to keep a stoic face.
[+pink “What is your name, Captain?”] He grinned at her question and leaned back in his seat.
“My name is Ulric of House Vash.”
[+pink “Captain Vash, I have visited Three of the four major temples of Azera. This should be common knowledge, so it is no great mystery where I am heading.”] Captain Vash nodded his head, before reaching up to run a hand through his equally pale hair. His dark blue eyes turned to look out the windows that covered the back of the ship and his room showing the clouds they left in their wake. Aria got the feeling the Captain was feeling put out by the conversation.
“Yes, I’ve heard you’re going to try and reach the Temple of Jai’Hash. You should know, I only plan to take you as far as the southern most city at the end of the River Nine. Beyond that, you’re on your own.”
[+pink “That is agreeable. I do not wish to reach the temple by air as it is. I must walk it.”] Aria informed Vash. He seemed to think that was a chore by the way his eyes bulged and the expression he made.
“Well if we are to discuss our route and any strategy, don’t you want your General here? I heard you have one.” Aria nodded, her gaze still hard on the Captain and unwavering.
[+pink “Yes, my General is Rhuarc of the Farlan Jai. However, he is preoccupied with more pressing matters. I will speak with him later about this issue, when he is available, and when I have come to a decision. The False King has the ability and resources to prepare an attack for us, and I do not want to be unprepared. Myself and members of my group have been attacked onboard an airship before, so it is not an impossible feat. I do not intend for it to happen ever again either.”]

Aria had managed to capture Captain Vash’s attention, and maybe a modicum of his respect. He seemed to agree because he pulled out his map and began to show her their current chart, but warned her of certain storms they might experience as they traveled south and marked the locations of known camps, and battalion positions for Malik’s men, and even Volshi regiment locations on their borders.
“I want to steer as far and clear from Central City as possible.” Malik would be expecting that, but Aria stayed silent, letting the Captain tell her his plan. He wanted them to travel hugging the Volshi border, since they were already leaving from this side of Central City to begin with. He openly admitted that they would be traveling over one of Malik’s regiments, but he planned to cross that section at night as to not be seen. His route would have them go the long way around, making their trip last multiple weeks. Aria knew they could easily shave time on their trip if they actually started to cut south and to the east… if they dared to take the gamble and skirt around Central City. Malik would not expect her to do something that bold. She wouldn’t give her final order until she spoke with Rhuarc, but at least for now she was taking an active step in stopping Malik from doing whatever he was planning to do… she just hoped it would be enough, and that she could figure it out in time.

At the end of their conversation, Aria stood up and the captain followed suit.
[+pink “Thank you for speaking with me. Maintain your current course for now, I’ll be back with my decision for our route. I do not have a month to sacrifice to travel there.”] the Captain didn’t look happy with her comment, he actually looked rather sour. Aria began to roll up the map to take it with her, when his hand reached out to stop the paper roll rolling further. Aria spared a moment to stare at his hand over hers and her eyes slowly moved up the length of his arm to his face. His gaze was ice cold, and almost a warning. For a moment Aria felt a pinch of fear, but she quickly squelched it knowing that even though she didn’t have a guard in the room with her she was still entirely protected on this ship. Her face was one of promised retribution. In that moment she realized she did not like to be touched by any she did not give permission to. In a way, she felt offended he felt entitled enough to take such an action against her.

If looks could kill, they’d probably both be dead.

Why did he remind her so suddenly of Luther?

“I’m taking you on the safest route, not the fastest and most insane route there is. This is still my ship, and I’m not going to let some girl who doesn’t know the first thing about sailing, or war tell me what I’m going to do with my ship.” Aria stared back, steeling her emotions from revealing anything. Captain Vash was proving to be good practice for her, and he certainly had a sour attitude. It was hard to believe that Adimar knew this man and got along with him. She pulled the map and her wrist out of his hands, rolling it up and gave the Captain a look she didn’t know she was capable of.
[+pink “Do not ever lay a hand on me again, and do not underestimate me. Please trust me. Work with me. I want the same thing you do,”]
“And what do I want? To defeat Malik?” The captain asked, folding his arms across his chest.
[+pink “Of course you do, because then we can have peace, Captain Vash. To unite the Four Provinces once more. Together we are stronger.”] Aria said as if it should have been obvious.
“And you plan to gather all the Jai clans, tribes… whatever they’re called, and get them to agree to follow you? They don’t even get along with themselves.” Aria was finding it very hard to not get frustrated.
[+Pink “And yet somehow I have managed to gain the allegiance of the Fenlyk People, the Caledons, and your own king pledged aid and support, otherwise you would not be here. If you won’t follow me, follow him. Either way, Malik will not be defeated unless I defeat him, and the only way for me to do that, is to unite the provinces. If there was another way, an easier way… I would take it, trust me, but there isn’t one. If I decide to move this ship closer to Central City, I need to know you’ll follow me.”]

Aria and the captain stared at the other for a long moment, before the Captain seemed to relax.
“You really are as determined as they say you are. You truly believe you can do it?”
[+pink “I have to. There is no one else. Some people spend their whole lives wondering what their purpose is. I know mine. I will see it done.”] The captain gave a wan smile and began nodding his head. He walked over towards her and stopped just before her and put his hand out.
“Then I will help you.” Aria looked at his hand and then his face, where she finally settled her hand in his and he gave it a firm shake. She made sure to hold his hand just as tightly. “I’m sorry, Priestess. I had to be certain you were genuine in your goals.” They broke their shake and Aria gave one final look at him, finding him to be a rather shrewd character. Seft the room without further delay, imparting a rushed thank you, and headed downstairs to try and find Saraya.

Aria hadn’t spoke with Saraya since the party, and she hoped Carrick might be with her. She found them quickly enough and approached with the map still tucked under her arm.
[+pink “Saraya, Carrick, I’m sorry to interrupt. I wanted to see how you’re doing. Make sure you were settling in alright. Also Carrick, I heard you went to the jailhouse. Can you tell me what happened? No one seems to want to tell me what Luther actually did in the jail when he broke out. I think Rhurac is ready for his blood, and don’t blame him. Please tell me what you know,”] Aria asked of them.

[continued…]
darien / 27d ago
The Black Sword of Jaihash, was a mythical weapon of legend, and a sacred talisman of the Jai People. There was only one artistic depiction of it in the Temple of Ok’nu, and there were even people who believed it to be kept in the Temple of Jai’hash. Many who had travelled to the temple were in search of the weapon, but of course none returned. Vega had only ever seen it in visions, but when it was finally before her a look of pure awe filled her face. The steel was as pitch as night and a shaking weathered hand reached out to touch it, just once.

She could feel the power rolling off of it, and items like this could affect her own powers, and here he was offering it to her. [+green “You Honor me. The first time I saw this blade, I had a vision of a boy standing in a field of corpses. I saw that boy raise the sword out of the sand and on the inside of his wrist I saw his mark.”] She never did touch the blade as she knew she could not lift it, and she had felt the heat coming off the blade. Instead she reached out to take his hand and turn his wrist over to pull on the fabric and looked at the snake symbol that seemed like a burn in his skin. [+green “You have always known who you are… deep down, I think you have always known.”] Vega released him and looked from his marking to his eyes, her own gaze unwavering. [+green “So it is important, that you never forget who you are: Rhuarc of the Farlan; because Malik is afraid of what you can become. He wants you weak when you return to our people… he wants the other Jai to see you injured and defeated, as you are now before me. He wants them to see you, and turn away; because he knows the Priestess will gain no favor with the Jai, no matter how hard she tries, if they do not accept you as their Guardian first.”]

Vega had said something Rhuarc no doubt had worried about himself. The Jai could be fickle, and Vega knew that, but she still had faith in her people to see what stood before them. She let him sheath his sword before speaking again, and finally circled back to his original question. [+green “I have learned, where The Priestess is concerned, sometimes it is best to do nothing. The more you meddle, the more the timelines fracture, and the harder it gets to keep up with it. You know the Jai to be fickle, but the future is more so. Things are about to be rather difficult, so rest while you can, and keep faith, it will not be long before you are needed to fight again. Tomorrow I wish to start your training, and do not thank me for this. I consider it part of my Toh.”]

She gave him a wave of her hand, to send him off. [+green “Go my dear boy, for I am old and grow weary.”] she set her cane to the side of her bed and prepared herself to lay down, as there was nothing to truly do now but rest.

[continued…]
darien / 28d ago
It was apparent that everyone were coming into themselves, much to her delight. She saw that Rhuarc had been speaking to the seer, and Adimar and Lara had been conversing amongst one another. Aria had been preparing for the trip, too. She could speak with everyone, see how everyone had been, see if there were anything she could do. She held back, though. She had done enough. She now had to stand back and not interfere.

Instead, she focused on fortifying the ship's security. She still had anxiety and an acute form of PTSD according to her ordeals. One of which was the ship. Much to her dismay, she want given time to deal with the trauma... But she understood that she had no time to coddle her scars. What she could do is attempt to temporarily dull it until she could properly address it. One of which was to keep the security up to standard.

Even though Egos was no longer alive, The Fade could find cracks in security, which she had learned through experience. Ruscal had applied her magic as a extra measure to the already strong shield off the Volshi Vessel. Kier, Owl and Crow has been putting medicines and provisions of both Carrick and hers and even theirs onboard and below deck. Mogar stood with his Queen, upon Carrick's orders. "My Lady, we will be leaving soon. Don't you want to see the young prince before leaving?"

Saraya shook her head, looking down. "If i do that, it'll be harder for me to do what is in me to do... I must brave this and continue to fight. We are needed." Her voice was soft, almost as if the volume was turned too low on a television.

She had been trying not to remember, but as she looked along the deck, she saw flashes... Flashes of the pain she endured. The clean and pristine deck suddenly flashed into the vast demonic scene of splintered surface and the dark rubiness of blood. This blood was everywhere, and if she looked directly onto the surface she could still see where the puddles rested. Tears welled up, and she closed her eyes. She could've died here. Egos could've killed her, but she kept fighting. But, the memory made her turn away as she began feeling herself hyperventilate. She made her way to the front of the ship to calm herself, trying to take in as much fresh air as she could. She refused to look back. She couldn't. Just looking again would make her hyperventilate. She was doing that as Carrick boarded. He hasn't spoken to anyone yet about the evidence, but he figured it wasn't the time. When Mogar saw him, he bowed. "My Lord, she had been this way since she had gotten on this vessel" he reported. Carrick immediately understood why. He'd dare not speak about it. He simply nodded. "May you and Ruscal prepare your sleeping quarters? I shall speak with my Queen" Mogar nodded and slunked away.

Carrick had approached and took her hand, making her jump. A glimpse of his face and she sighed in relief. He didn't need to say anything. She was dealing with unresolved trauma, and she was bearing it only because the fight wasn't over. All he could did was stand with her, hugging her from behind, preventing her to see what would kickstart her anxiety. He'd have to wait until everyone boarded so to help her descend below deck, but for now, she was to stay right here, with him, and remain calm.
Bloody_Eve / 29d ago
[pic https://pic8.co/sh/WDInLt.jpeg]

Lara followed Aria with her usual quiet footsteps closer to the railing. Seeing the snow felt comforting, as that much snow meant a huge reserve of water Lara could call upon in an emergency. And while the cold air bit every time skin was exposed, breathing such cold air in and out helped keep the bind alert.

Before she could answer Aria's question, a loud burst of laughter emerged from somewhere behind. A mere gaze in the direction revealed a troupe, one of the members being Adimar. Lara looked at Adimar before quickly turning away once he looked at her. Again, that happy feeling and that familiar face from the night before.

Adimar had a dream? Lara did not know what to do with this information. She hadn't been alone in dreaming, and Lara assumed that Adimar had had a dream that was related in some way to hers. Otherwise it would not have made sense for Aria to bring that information up.

Lara attempted to explain her thoughts in a coherent manner, but after her monologue Aria fell silent. Lara herself stood silent, expecting a question to restate her thoughts. She wouldn't be surprised if Aria asked her that. Lara knew her extreme unknowing of this heavily contributed to opinions which did not make any sense. But it was better to state them than not. Otherwise, they would forever stuck in a frozen quagmire.

She was left stunned. All the pieces by themselves revealed nothing useful. But together, together they pieced themselves into the solution of this unique puzzle. A puzzle which intertwined herself and Adimar. Perhaps Adimar had not yet fully understood, perhaps he only understood a little part of it, but Lara understood that pained, feared look in Adimar's eyes. While perhaps she fully did not know the details of Adimar's dream, she knew the big event.

Lara lifted her hand to Adimar's, snaking it around his arm and pulling it close to his side. [+purple "I think I know now what happened."] She began taking a step, gently tugging on Adimar's arm so he knew to start walking. Lara's face was solemn, trying to hide any pain and fear from her eyes and her voice. [+purple "It's only a theory, I'm no master at understanding the spirits. But...."] Lara gulped, moistening her lips due to the cold drying them up. [+purple "We connected last night. It wasn't a mere surface connection, and not just a romantic connection."] Lara had begun pressing herself against Adimar, but not from the cold. [+purple "What happened yesternight, was the deepest of connections. That of our guardian spirits."] Lara forced herself to continue walking. [+purple "For the first time since they died, Volshi and Fenlyck managed to somehow connect to each other. I don't know how or why, but they must have."] Lara quietly gasped, the fish tattoo on her neck barely warming up. [+purple "That would explain why Volshi decided to share with you what he saw in his final moments. Your own feelings and the fear about me superimposed by face over Fenlyck's face, just as my own feelings and fears superimposed your face over Volshi's."]

She squeezed Adimar's hand several times at random intervals in the silence. [+purple "This is but a theory, but to continue this hypothetical metaphysical rabbit hole...."] Lara drew in a deep breath, a very heavy one. [+purple "What if Volshi still suffers because of his failure? What if he promised to protect Fenlyck, and that one night failed? And what if, if.... if he didn't want you to fail?"] Lara begun to look up Adimar, an uncertain look in her face and eyes.
Vega greeted Rhuarc in turn also in their native tongue, using a curious honorific. Rhuarc was familiar with the title but did not fully grasp the connotations that came with it, as far as Rhuarc knew it was just another name for the Guardian of Jai'hash, the deeper lore of that title was lost on him. Rhuarc heard a slight scolding in Vega's words regarding is request for prophecy, he had heard tales of the danger of receiving glimpses of the future. In his homeland there were wise women who sometimes received visions through dreams and they were very strict about sharing this information. [b "I am not surprised to hear that, she is far wiser than I."] Of course Aria would refuse Vega's gift, she would know the dangers of relying on Vega's words, knowledge like that could consume a person, twisting them into a figure who would be unable to make the simplest decision without consulting Vega for an answer. If Malik had succumbed to that particular vice then it was no wonder that Aria treated with extreme caution at the very least.

Vega's demeanor changed and her gaze looked as if stone would wither under its scrutiny, it was an uncomfortable feeling, her eyes fixed on him without reprise. [i On some level she believes you do not think she can do it. She doesn’t think she can do it. Is she wrong? Or do you lack such faith in our people to not see what she means for us all? It has to be one or the other. ”] In this point at least Rhuarc's faith was absolute. [b "I would follow her to the end, without question. Understand that I do not think our people fools but we can be shortsighted. There have been false claimants to her title before,our people will test her and if she proves herself worthy she will have the unquestioning loyalty of a nation. I do not doubt our people will see her for what she truly is but I fear they may not see it until it is too late."] Rhuarc's faith in Aria was absolute and he did not think it was because of her station. Rhuarc would have followed any true High Priestess but he could not help but be swept up in Aria's personality, she inspired confidence and loyalty in a quiet but powerful way. That is why it was such a shock to hear that perhaps she was not to be the one to unite the Jai. The insinuation that someone other than Aria would unite his people was not lost on him but he dared not believe it, it would be a great honour but Rhuarc could not let thoughts of personal glory distract him, he had to be Aria's general before all else. He would put such thoughts from his mind for the time being.

Perhaps it was just Rhuarc's imagination but as the conversation turned to Malik the wound on the Jai warrior's side seemed to ache just a wee bit more. Rhuarc understood the tactics of psychological warfare, in many ways the Jai employed those same tactics against Malik's own soldiers. The Jai homeland was vast, sand as far as the eye could see in any any direction, bare and often featureless it was despairing for an invading force. How could they possibly conquer so much land with the relentless sun ahead draining them of energy while their enemy knew the location of the water supplies and were used to living and fighting in the harsh conditions. The daunting prospect of invading was enough to give pause to Malik's most fanatical followers. Vega was right, ever since he had been cut down Rhuarc had believed it impossible to beat Malik, the False King had done more damage to his pride than to his body but no more. Rhuarc would recover, he would heal, he would train and he would return stronger than before. He could not allow Shade-Stealer to prevail, however, it seemed it was not just his martial prowess that Rhuarc would need to improve, his arcane ability needed considerable improvement as Vega was about to tell him.

[i "Your flame is undisciplined, and I aim to change that. While I have you all on this ship I’m going to help each of you unlock a new part of your powers. You most of all are lacking in your ability."] That was the truth, all of the other Guardians had experimented with their arcane abilities, Adimar was already a practiced mage, Saraya had come on in leaps and bounds and in many cases had shown off her considerable skill and Lara had used her magic to subdue wraiths. The most that Rhuarc could reliably achieve was setting his sword aflame, there had been a few moments of desperation in Astoria and again with the wraiths and the lava but he couldn't do that again if he wanted to, he still had not even managed to produce lightning intentionally. [b "I would appreciate that very much. This is an area where I am ignorant, I never had the means to study it when I was younger, and I have not given it as much attention as I should have on this journey. I would be honoured if you would aid me."] The seer asked to see Rhuarc's sword, and the Jai happily obliged, it seemed important to her. With another twinge of pain from his side Rhuarc drew his midnight black blade and offered it to Vega. The sword always felt warm in his grasp, not the heat of a flame but more like it had been left out in the sun all day. It was a familiar, comforting warmth and it reinforced the idea that the sword was meant for him. Rhuarc idly wondered if Vega also felt the warmth of the sword or if that was for his touch alone. [b "They say that this was the blade of Jai'hash himself. Shade-stealer had a similar blade, the style was different but the metal was the same, of that I am sure."] Rhuarc held the hilt of the sword out to Vega, his hands poised to grab it should the not inconsiderable weight of the blade prove to be too much for the decrepit seer.
Rhuarc / Kastanstyrax / 30d ago

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