The air smelled of salt from the nearby coastline, it pricked at her nose as she sat cross legged in tattered clothing, utterly bewitched into a game of cards with two much larger creatures amidst the busy streets. Caita was a merchant city, rich in life and economy. The docks were always a hub for comings and goings, all species and creatures coming to shore for a few days to make an easy profit. Travellers oftentimes found themselves wrapped up in the tides of people and it was easy for a little critter to get lost. Duskycloud, Dusk to friends, was one such lost critter. She had taken up residency after her coastal village was raided by strangers and her people, Gelfling, had come to this hotspot of wealth and life. She worked for a local sailor, through pity mostly.
Smart, blue eyes regarded the two men before her as she slammed her cards down with a victorious 'aha!'. They were considerably larger than her, great hulking beings and she was almost sure one of them was a city guardsmen. She drained her drink and dusted off her robes. [+blue "Lovely working with you gentlemen!"] She said with a flourished bow, a few stray hands fiery red hair caressing her face as she gave a cocky smirk to the begrudging losers. She tucked her winnings, a few silver coins, into her pouch and took her leave before things could get ugly. She ducked and dived between passing patrons and busy shop keepers, dodging a few stalls. She had learned the skills of not getting trodden on underfoot, being just short of four foot means she had been stood on and trampled a few times in the rush of the crowds.
Red hair was mostly braided back from her face, easier to manage that way and her clothing was nothing spectacular. Dusty blues that were worn with time and the odd scuff mark here and there. She found a familiar alleyway to take a moment of refuge in and flared her wings, a trait familiar to females whereas the males usually sprouted twig-like antlers. She kicked up from the ground and the moment her wings relaxed, the city bells started clanging and shouts erupted from the docks. Dusk squinted for a moment, trying to see what had caused commotion. Drawing into the dock with tall black masts were several large ships. That wasn't anything good, she was about to flutter on home when she dodged a fiery mass headed her way and she shot down to the ground, landing hard on her knees. The tower above her hit. Crumbling stone and rock cascaded like a shattered waterfall and Dusk rolled out of the way. She scrambled to her feet and looked wildly around, smoke billowing as more fiery spheres struck buildings.
The calls and screams were deafening, the crunches of force on stone hurt her ears and the city guard was trying to move people to safety. The old man would be at the docks, maybe his stall selling the fish and she looked back towards the docks. She couldn't abandon him, right? The docks were engulfed in flames, men in metal and brandishing swords spewing out of the ships and Dusk, for the first time, was glad she was small as she managed to take some refuge behind some barrels as some passed. She couldn't hear what they were shouting about but they cut down any man who stood in their away as if they were swatting a fly aside.
With a groan and a burp, Mawno found himself shaken loose from his resting place. His head was ringing as he rose to see what'd awoken him from last nights festivities. A grand quake shook the ground and threw him halfway from his bed.
"Oh hell, I'm up!" Looking around in his stupor he found no hide nor hair of who'd shaken him free of the bed. In all the inn room there was nobody but his own. Shaking his head he blinked and righted himself, sitting on the edge of the bed. Slightly clearer he inspected the room again. Still lost his ears twitched as he picked up on the screaming in the streets. Not the usual portside yelling, this screaming included the sound of steel clashing. Combat. An explosion sounded out in the distance.
"The port's being raided? Well so much for breakfast..." He moaned to himself, jumping to getting his clothed on. Strapping his gear to himself took him a scant few minutes in order to strap his earthy plates to himself and attempt to sneak out of the inn without clearing his tab. Much to his delight the place had cleared out. With a hop in his step he hopped the bar and stashed a small cask of rum in his bag before hopping back over the bar and making his way carefully to the doorway.
With a glance either way he could see the pirates marching down the street searching for their next victim. He decided it was as good a time as any to be as small as he was and scurried into a nearby alleyway. An alleyway he knew for a fact had a passage he could make use of. Looking back towards the street he rammed himself full force into a barrel in the alleyway. Falling onto his rear and pulling his tail up so it didn't get squished, he looked around to see what he'd run into. A shipment that must've arrived recently, and a gelfling, hiding from the carnage. Standing, he dusted himself off, his robes and earthen plates remaining quite dusty even after he'd finished.
"I got no time to ask who you are but you don't look like a pirate so I'll extend this courtesy once. I'm leaving and I suggest you follow me." Assuming a wide stance he whirled his hands in a circle, the ground in front of him revealing a hidden passage that resembled a carved stone slide. With a tip of his head he leapt forward with a howl of excitement, these things were the greatest. It would only be a few moments before that passage closed behind him.
This wasn’t looking great, everything was getting smoky and something took her attention. There was someone, something she supposed. She squinted for a moment, was he a rat? It still wasn’t the strangest thing she had seen today. There was another explosion overhead somewhere and she clinched. Pirates?! She huddled behind the barrels and swallowed, the stranger was being nice. She was conflicted for a moment, her keeper was back there. The old man, but she knew the likelihood was he was dead or burnt to ashes. She watched as a portal was opened up, where was he going?! Follow him?
She sighed out quietly, drawing in a deep breath. It was better than being caught in this place and by these pirates. She knew if she was caught then it would be a sordid death, slow and no doubt full of unmentionable things. She watched as the man hopped down, with an excited noise and she let her heartbeat pass for a moment before she heard one of the men yell that she had been spotted. [+blue “Oh no.”] She murmured before taking the literal leap of faith and closing her eyes. It didn’t feel like she was falling for very long and she landed hard on something. She got to her feet, groaning and realising it would have been safer to fan her wings out. Hindsight was a beautiful thing. She looked around the dark place, bewildered at how this thing had managed that. Where were they?
It looked like a tunnel and it smelled of damp earth. She wrinkled her nose and drew her hood up, mostly to keep her anxiety from showing. [+blue “Hey, thank you.”] She started and looked around, glancing to Mawno. He’d saved her whether he wanted to realise that or not. [+blue “Where are we?”] She asked. She couldn’t say she was all too familiar with his race. At least he wasn’t towering over her like everyone else. In fact, he was barely taller than her at all and she wondered why that was. He had a tail, ears.... He actually was a rat! Well, rat man. That was new.
Dusk brushed off some dirt but it seemed useless right then. She was nervous, it wasn’t that she didn’t trust this guy but she didn’t know him and the other date above would have been death by cutlass, rape, torture and probably some salty grave. [+blue “Dusk is the name, I worked for Old Man Ed at the docks.”] She didn’t think she had seen him around, she would have remembered. There was a twinge of guilt at leaving the city behind to be raided and burned, while they had gotten away safely.
Over an overall short ride, Mawno and his new companion found themselves in the thieves guild tunnels. These were a particularly well cared fore section, a small lantern above an archway lighting the small passage. Walking over to the doorway and leaping up, he snatched the lantern quickly from it's hook. By the time he had it his guest had gained her bearings. She bore her thanks first and foremost, but didn't introduce herself until after she'd asked her questions. Is this how her kind conducted conversation? Well she wasn't too far out of order so he'd overlook it for now.
"Yeah, the name's Mawno. Lytth Mawno." He nodded to her and began to walk his way through the tunnels. He was fairly certain that if he followed them north they spat out of a natural cave outside of the city. Shaking his head, he supported the weight of his mind in one hand for only a moment before walking along, gesturing for Dusk to follow. He rolled his head on his shoulders, still shaking off the stupor of sleep and alcohol.
"Old man Ed is good people, if I know him he ended up evacuating into these tunnels. They're Thieves' Guild property but they won't mind that we're down here so long as we pay the tax." He was whisper yelling over his shoulder. With any luck they wouldn't have to pay any tax and they could be on their merry way over to Hottleston, the port town a ways down the coast. Mawno had a boat to catch, but it seemed his boat wouldn't be stopping here.
"Hope you're not averse to a trek. We need to make it to Hottleston." He thought it might be courteous to make his plan known. He wanted her to stick around in the small chance that pirates had flooded these tunnels.
Thieves Guild? Evidently Dusk had lived a rather sheltered life under the watchful eyes of Ed, he never let her stray far. He had kept her like a daughter, protective and wise enough to know the sort of people who came to merchant towns and whatnot. Dusk had always heeded his words about who to stay away from and who it was safe to stick with. Mawno, strange name, seemed like the right sort and he knew about Old Ed so, that was a promising sign. She eyed over the tunnels and furrowed her brow. She had never left Caita, at least not since coming there the first time, and the last. She watched Mawno, hoping he was right about Ed managing to get out.
Hottleston it was then, she just shrugged at his words about a trek. A treak was better than waiting around and huddling in tunnels. [+blue "I don't think I've seen you around."] Dusk started, curiously. A nervous talker, it would seem because she was wary of these dark tunnels and they didn't know if the pirates had invaded down here but it all seemed quiet for now. She was sure she would have recognised them if they had crossed paths but she figured Caita was a big place and she spent most of her time down by the docks, helping out the old man.
There was voices up ahead and she frowned to herself. She drew back a little, not admitting she was afraid but also not daring enough to try and vanish from sight entirely. [+blue "What is the tax?"] She asked him, quietly. If it was money then she had a handful of silver buried in her pockets but if it was anything more precious then she would be right out of luck. This was going great, wasn't it? Dusk wasn't one to complain, she was rather partial to being laid back and letting whatever may happen, happen undisturbed. She had been taught it was always better to keep your nose clean and in your own business and it meant people around her didn't get into trouble because of her own foolish acts. [+blue "I have silver, but I don't have anything else on me, Mawno."] She said in a hushed tone, become ever so slightly anxious.
Mawno froze in his place as he heard the voices, large rodentine ears twitching as he tried to discern what they were saying. It wasn't wise to take shortcuts in the thieves' tunnels but if all this lass had was silver then he needed to think quick. Pulling his hands back toward himself a gust of wind blew past the two of them, the lanterns in the tunnels ahead going out as it passed. He sheltered his own lantern as the wind blew by. He set it down and quickly thrust his hands forward toward one of the walls, quickly making a tunnel that would spit them out into the natural caves. He'd pulled this trick once before and he hoped he remembered it. Snatching up his lantern he made his way inside.
"Come on, quick." he whispered to Dusk. As she entered his tunnel, he shut it behind them, leaving a small hole at the roof to let air in. He continued clearing rock ahead of them to form a path they could walk, and poked a hole in the wall, allowing them to hear into the tunnel they were parallel to. The sounds of swearing and demands for light could be easily heard.
"Fortunately for you lass I don't plan on paying any thief tax. They call it a tax but it's a toll is what it is." The cieling of the hastily created tunnel let loose chips of stone as the siege above continued to rage. With a sigh Mawno continued his work of hewing rock to either side, making a path for the two of them. He counted himself fortunate that his new follower wasn't a human, a larger tunnel would wipe him out before he reached the caves.
"Before you ask, my magics embody the natural forces; Those being sky, earth, and water. Now if you don't mind holding this lantern, I'll keep us moving." He offered her the handle of the lantern, hoping it wouldn't be noticed through the minute holes he was punching out in order for air, and to hear the commotion.
Mawno was a creature of many talents it seemed and Dusk watched as he just moulded the earth in his own way. She followed him without question but with a definite look of awe as she stared at the tunnel and Mawno. This was rather strange and she was glad she wasn’t claustrophobic. Mawno had magic, earthly magic from what she could surmise. Gelfling has their own magic but Dusk kept that quiet for now. It would come in handy in future she supposed.
[+blue “Oh-“] She took the lantern and held it up, trying manoeuvre it so that they wouldn’t be spotted whilst needing air. She shuffled along behind Mawno, careful of her footing. [+blue “How do you know the thieves guild?”] She asked, quietly, avoiding some specks of dirt and soil that came down. It wouldn’t make a difference and she knew by the times they broke surface she would be covered in dirt. They had their lives though, that was the important part. There was muffled sounds of the tunnel, she could hear men shouting and crooning for respect and whatever else they wanted. What did they want exactly?
What was so worth cutting down people ruthlessly? She shuddered at the thought. Taking a life from someone was no easy thing, not that she would know the feeling. Mawno seemed more street smart than her, he was a quick thinker and an improviser and Dusk was inherently glad she had come across him to get her out of a sticky situation.
There was the clash of steel rung out and it seemed that conflict had broken out nearby. Dusk knew they were safe in this little nook Mawno had made and she listened, it sounded bloody and cruel and without mercy. She didn’t know what the scuffle was around but after a few minutes, the sounds died out and she looked to the holes Mawno had made for air which leaked in the sounds. There was muffled conversation then there was laughter and a few thuds, Dusk swallowed and squinted in the light to read Mawno’s expression.
[+blue “Now is a terrible time to tell you I’m scared of the dark.”] She said, feeling a little washed away, like she was caught in a tide that she couldn’t fight. Dusk tried to busy her mind on anything else, to distract from what had happened on the other side. Mawno had magic, they would be completely fine. She kept moving, following his instructions with the lantern.
"You run in the circles I run in, you meet the thieves' guild. I'm no paragon of the people lemme tell ya..." Mawno trailed as he continued shoving the rock in front of them out of the way. He could feel the minds of victims winking out around him. In the tunnels and on the streets above. Emotion and thought ceasing nearly instantly. These feelings weren't exact, but they were getting farther away. That was easy enough to gauge at least. With a grunt of effort he cleared a particularly heavy stone from their path.
The sounds in the tunnel next to them had all but ceased. Little patters of steps in the damp tunnels all that remained. Mawno grimaced, these tunnels didn't have running water. He snorted and continued about his work, focused on saving his own naked tail from the edge of some cutthroat's throatcutter. He shifted his bare feet across the smooth flooring he'd made in his path. They had to be getting close to the natural caves. Only a few more minutes.
"Well it's a good thing I snagged that lantern then." He quipped with great snark, losing his footing for just a moment, the earth around them rumbling in protest. With a practiced smoothness he fell back into his stance. The world around them no longer threatening to crush them, he continued moving along. His ears twitched at the absolute pall of silence from the tunnel alongside theirs. The only sound ringing against his sensitive rodentlike ears was the slight jingling of the lantern. With a final push, he felt the end of this leg of their journey.
"Cover your ears, they're about to pop." Mawno suggested as he gently pressed a hand against the wall of his tunnel and pushed forward. The pressure of the tunnel suddenly shifting to just behind Dusk let a mighty wind forth, blowing Mawno's flowing robes elegantly. "Here we are, the natural caves. These should lead to a secluded section of beach."
Dusk mulled over the rodent’s words. Okay, so he knew the thieves guild which meant he likely wasn’t a law abiding little critter, then? She was grateful for the lanterns warm light as she followed. There was a feeling of being a little useless, all things considered but she would rather be useless and alive than useful and dead. She shimmied along after him, trying to keep the lantern at a suitable height so that they would be able to see what was going on around them. Mawno seemed to know what he was doing by instinct alone and Dusk thought it better not to question his ways.
She cocked her head some when he mentioned covering her ears and did as he said, right as he broke into the next set of natural caves and tunnels. She felt the pressure change and it was an odd feeling but it passed as her ears adjusted and she stepped out of the little Mawno-made-tunnel and into the cave system. Well, now she was really lost and she had no idea which way Hottleston was. “What’s in Hottleston, anyway?” She was convinced that eventually the city guard would be able to reclaim the dock city and her home. Then again, it would be a bloody fight and Dusk quietened and figured that they were better off away from it. Hottleston was nice, so she heard.
The refugees would end up there until this mess could be cleared up. “So, what are you then? A thief?” She asked him curiously. It wasn’t like she could do anything about it. He was the best shot at getting out of this that she had. Besides, he hadn’t robbed her and left her for dead in a tunnel so she figured he wasn’t a criminal with bad intentions and no heart. Dusk really hoped she was right as she watched Mawno carefully.
Technically, she didn’t have anything on her worth stealing anyway. A handful of silver and that was about all that was of worth currency wise. She didn’t own opulent things, she was apprenticed to a fisherman who worked the docks. Jewellery and rich things weren’t for those sorts of people.
"A thief? Only part time. I'm a naturalist, I make sure the spirits are pleased with the way things are going." Mawno replied, making his way through the damp caves towards the shoreline. It wasn't a long walk now, maybe a half hour of tunnel to the open air. Hopefully there hadn't been any cave-in's caused by the siege. That'd just be another mess for him to clean up. "You know, little favors, pruning tress, keeping the ocean unpolluted, culling frenzied wildlife, stopping forest fires. In return..." With a stomp, the cave quaked around them briefly, then calmed.
"I get to do that, and much more..." He smirked to himself. He'd been in the favor of the elements for a long time, and they paid little heed to the laws of man. The only reason they knew about them was through his contract and communication. She raised a pertinent question in what would be in Hottleston.
"An open port. I was supposed to meet an Elder Shaman here who'd be arriving by boat, but seeing as it's under siege that's not much of an option." His drawl became thicker the longer he spoke, and in a sudden, jerking motion he grabbed his jaw and pushed it around, a sudden pop coming out.
"These quakes are a bitch on the bones though." He passively aggressively proclaimed, not that Dusk would be able to do anything about it. You spend enough time shaking the earth around, and it shakes you around in return. It was just the way of things. The only way he knew anyway, if he were one of those glorious goliaths his footing would be so much more sure.
The sound of the ocean could be heard echoing in the caves ahead, the briny smell of the salt sea air becoming thicker with each passing minute. The cave had finally begun to give way to reflected natural light. It was still light out, good.
A part time thief was it? As opposed to a full time one? Dusk eyed the man before her but said nothing, knowing better than to press about criminal behaviour but his words caught her by surprise. A naturalist, so he claimed. Dusk watched as the cave quakes and for a moment she thought it might collapse on her there and then but it didn’t thankfully and seemed to be from Mawno. She cocked her head. Her own powers were useless in these places, she actually was presuming because she had no need to test them. The light would have helped but she wanted to stay on guard around this stranger just in case. He seemed to grow uncomfortable and she watched his jaw, hearing the pop and cringing noticeably. She wanted to point out it likely wasn’t healthy but seemed resigned to her quiet amidst the darkness.
Darkness that turned brighter until she could see the exit. She squinted as her eyes adjusted to the birthed light and she used her prowess to extinguish the lantern, wordlessly and without a gesture and she did so without thinking. She hurried towards fresh air and freedom from the unforgiving darkness and broke out. It seemed to take even longer for her eyes to adjust. She shielded them for a minute and once it was safe to do so, let her gaze drink in what was around her. It almost didn’t seem like a cave they had come out of, perfectly camouflaged and she peered around to see a well used road. Mawno had declared that Hottleston was the next stop and she only hoped they wouldn’t run into much trouble on the roads. With any luck the piracy hadn’t spread yet.
Dusk figured they’d be drinking and thieving and probably ruining the city. Dusk realised that even out in the open, close to a road and in broad daylight, she didn’t know which direction Hottleston was. The old man had gone a few times on the odd errand but always left Dusk in charge of the shop but she had never much travelled. Her eyes went to Mawno, he looked clearer in the light and she realised he was rough around the edges sure and definitely had that roguish nature to him. She couldn’t place her finger on a word to describe him but it would come eventually.
[+blue “Do we just follow the road?”] She asked, starting to head down towards the road, her steps careful and now and then her wings flared to help her balance down the cliff. What was the worst that could happen? He wouldn’t fall to her death, her wings worked one. Although she wasn’t sure she could carry Mawno’s wait. He was small sure, not exactly much taller than her, maybe by an inch but he looked a little brawny and Dusk has the upper body strength of a seagull.
"Well, the sun sets in the east so..." Mawno trailed as he exited the well hidden cavern entrance, taking note of the now midday sun. "Hells." With a sigh he drew the small cask he'd stolen from his bag and popped the cork off of it, taking a drink of the dry, bitter draught within shivering visibly as he gulped it down.
"Hooh. That's even worse than I thought it'd be." recorking and putting away the cask he looked both ways down the road. Hopping to the mouth of the cavern he began sliding down the cliff face, slamming his hand into the rock and stopping himself so he could see further out. Smoke rose from one direction, and there was no smoke in the other.
"That way it is." Mawno spoke, pointing in the direction with less smoke. Seemed sensible enough to assume that they would be going the right way if they avoided the buccaneers and raiders. He took note of how Dusk daintily leapt her way down the sharp angled rock face. She might be more than she was letting on. Worth keeping her around for a while anyways. Releasing his hold on the rock face he continued sliding down, coming to a smooth landing as an outcrop of rock rose to meet him at the road, allowing him to dismount gracefully. Dusting himself he began walking.
"With any luck we can hop on a wagon that was on it's way out an hour or so ago." It would be better than walking anyway.
There was smoke that clued away danger on one side and Mawno echoed Dusk's thoughts that they should go the opposite way. Once she was near the bottom of the cliff face, she spread her wings and landed deftly and gracefully, looking up to watch Mawno and she contemplated him for a moment. He was dangerous, she knew that much and if her beloved keeper had been around then he would have branded him as one to be avoided. Peculiar because he didn’t seem outwardly dangerous, he certainly didn’t intimidate her because those rat ears were a little adorable in the right light. Dusk fixed her cloak and dusted off a little bit of this and that as she eyed the road. They had to get a ride? Well, that seemed easy given both of them were small beings who looked as if they posed no threat.
Dusk wandered to the side of the road and gave a friendly wave to the odd passers-by who were trundling to their next location. The bandits and rapscallions had raped and burnt the land beneath them, they had murdered and it was truly horrific. Dusk looked to Mawno and then back to the road as the sound of horses came upon her. An elderly man was hunched over reins, beneath a cloak and Dusk waved him down. The man slowed and eyed her. “Can we hitch a ride?” She asked and the man raised an brow at her. They couldn’t weigh much, realistically and he thought for a while. They didn’t look the troublesome type either. “Fine, for three silver each.” He grunted in response and Dusk thought for a while. She rifled through her pockets and satchel, eager to try and find her winnings. It would save their legs getting tired at the very least. She pushed the coin into the man’s palms and he jerked his head to the back of the cart.
Dusk clambered into the back of the cart. There was a lonely sheep in the back surrounded by flimsy boxes and materials. Dusk eyed the sheep that looked straight back at her. It was just as nervous and Dusk found a spot she could peek at the road. She wrapped her cloak around herself and thought for a while. This was the furthest she had been from her home, she had never really been anywhere else.
“Have you travelled a lot?” She asked Mawno, curiously and mostly to keep herself awake because the rocking of the cart was similar to a cot. She was comfortably for the most part, a little cramped maybe if she really thought about it but she stretched and closed her eyes, grumbling to herself. She wasn’t even sure what time of day it was, the attack had happened early morning and then they had been stuck in that cave for how long? Dusk opened her eyes and squinted at the dying sun. Question answered, she really ought to start paying more attention.
Mawno gazed at the people making their way down the road. Here on the Amber Coast this road might as well have been their life. It was written on their faces, exasperated by their stature. Their despair was plain, but their adjustment to it was what unnerved Mawno the most. They didn't care. Their home had been raided by pirates for the umpteenth time and they didn't care. They moved on, they made a new home.
Perhaps Mawno was right in his original assessment that the road was their home. He noticed Dusk speaking to a man with a carriage a little ways up the road. He picked up his pace, the soft grass mercifully comfortable to walk on compared to the stone he'd just had to traverse. Seems she'd secured a comfy cart ride as opposed to the long trek to Hottleston. He was certainly capable of such a journey, but a horse's legs were significantly longer than his own.
Nodding to the old wagon driver as Dusk finished her business with him. He climbed up into the wagon behind her, taking his seat opposite her. With a quick glance over at the sheep he gave it a gentle pat on the head. It's nerves were shot. The old man might've done this a lot but this poor ewe was on it's first trip.
"Yeah, I've been all over the Amber Coast, sorting out angry elementals and ensuring they don't rise from the ground itself to spill mortal blood for their transgressions against the world." He stopped and considered what he'd just said. It had been twenty years since he'd taken the mantle from his predecessor, an old orc who was at the end of his road. Na'oz was probably still buried beneath that tree.
"What about you? What's your deal? Not often we get halflings on the amber coast." He assumed she was a halfling. She might've had some elf in her, if that cheek structure was anything to go by. Ears were a little pointier than a halflings too, so that hypothesis probably held up.
Dusk watched Mawno as he spoke, not sure if he was being honest or not. Elemental's were strong beings and she had been fortunate to never really come across any, most of her life had been spent in the city, not really able to roam or anything. The old man liked to keep a close eye on her after all, she was a good worker and had a certain charm that lured customers in. Dusk eyed the male, but didn't question it. He looked like trouble and she supposed that's why she was always told to avoid his sort. She glanced to the road again and her brows knitted together when he mentioned her being a halfling.
"I'm a Gelfling." She said to him, gesturing to the wings on her back before realising they were hidden away under some layers and a cloak. "I moved to the city after some pirates took our coastal land, I was raised there. I learned to fish and such." She explained and smiled some at him with a shrug. Had he really never seen a Gelfling before? Then again Dusk knew Gelfling's liked to keep to their villages and areas, living in their close circles. They also avoided the troublesome type and she had a feeling that Mawno was a troublesome type. The old man always told her to avoid the shady underground life of the city and with good reason. People were dangerous, they could be safe but they could be deadly and it was hard to work out which was which.
"You took on Elemental's?" She asked him, tilting her head and not quite sure if she believed him or not. He was barely taller than her, little folk didn't go around and get into trouble or chaos because they often had some issues getting out of said trouble if it sneaked up on them. The sheep looked terrified despite it being a smooth and easy journey so far, the road wasn't that bumpy and it seemed their driver liked to keep his own company.
"Gelfling huh? Never heard of 'em. Guess they're solitary enough that there's not much common written knowledge about you lot." He hadn't ever heard of a Gelfling, but now he was looking at one. Not much more to process than she was a little shorter than himself and had wings. He perked up a little at the question of elementals.
"What like, fight full on forces of nature? No, that hasn't been necessary since...." He raised his head and thought back on the almost entirely verbal history of the order he belonged to. He looked over the side of the coast and out to sea. The last time a major elemental had come through to cause major havoc was ages ago.
"When Asurem the Water Embodiment was feeling fussy about a demon hole in the bottom of the ocean." That might have been an understatement. An understatement coming from someone who hadn't lived through The Calamity. Latest news was that the hole at the bottom of the ocean had only spat out minor demons recently. Little things looking for a quick laugh.
"No I quell angry sprites so that the land can be calm and productive." His job wasn't glamorous, but it did include a lot of travelling. He pat his thigh thinking of all the walking he had to do. A rumbling shook the cart and startled the sheep. Mawno shushed the poor animal, making motions for it to remain calm as the rumbling continued. The land below them was shifting. In protest or assent? Mawno knew immediately as rocks down the road began to shift and shape themselves into minor manifestations. Small masks on large bodies, embodiments of earthen rage.
"You'll get to see firsthand." Mawno leapt over the side of the cart and began sprinting towards the minor elementals, ready to perform his duty as an attuned elementalist.
Dusk looked a little appalled that this man hadn't heard of Gelfling and she frowned a little, "We live in big groups actually, raiders." She said with a dismissive hand as if waving away that sordid tale for another time. Mawno could tell stories very well, she had to admit. Although she did wonder how much was true and how much of it was fiction. Quelling angry spirits and keeping the lands safe, he was barely taller than her and Dusk knew fine well that little people like him and her, never did accomplish big things. All they could do was hope not to get trodden on by the tall knights and nobles and hunters as they went around doing their own heroics.
She opened her mouth to speak but a rumbling shook the cart and she reached up to hold the side, perplexed and for a split second she wondered if this was one of Mawno's jokes, he had done things down in the tunnels. She peered out and followed Mawno's gaze to the little creatures that seemed to just emerge from the earth, birthed into existence from dirt and rock. "See- Wait! Hey!" Dusk was not about to be left behind and she followed Mawno, landing on her feet neatly and eyeing the critters. As reaction, her wings flared behind her, she was ready for a fight that she wasn't sure was even going to happen as she stared at Mawno. Maybe this could be solved by talking, right?
Dusk was ready to take off skywards if anything happened, not that she was abandon Mawno to his fate, but she did much better in the air. There was a definite breeze picking up in the area, unnatural and the Gelfling was as calm as the air around her which was oddly still. At least on the surface she was calm, but this was new to her and unusual grounds so she was nervous. Mawno was in charge here.
"Hey, you uh, I'm guessing you can ask them politely to leave, right?" She piped up hopefully, really hoping for the best from this situation. She had a sinking feeling that this wouldn't end peacefully but she was curious about what Mawno could actually do, time to back the stories up with evidence she supposed. She was no good with weapons, but then she had never needed them and Mawno didn't look to have a lot of melee skill either but looks could be deceiving and she had seen more than one man draw a blade from seemingly thin air over a cards game before.
Mawno didn't have time to think about what the implications of a Gelfling being around were. He wasn't running anymore, letting the earth beneath him slide him towards his destination. With a an upward lift of his head, a spike of rock thrust him skyward before retreating back from whence it came. Spreading his arms wide he descended upon the first of the angry elementals. Earth Elementals thought they were tough, immutable, and so they kept their hearts in the center of their rocky mass.
Using the wind to twist himself like a drill, he burst through the form of the elemental he would have landed on. He managed to snatch a sickly green core from the inside of the thing that had swung it's wide, rocky arms at him. As he landed on the other side, he held the stone skyward and suspended it there upon a cradle of air. He turned to the next angered sprite, and it was charging him, the earth around him churning with indecision and rage.
He was sinking by the second, but he contested the earthlings control of the ground beneath him, holding steady as it barreled towards him and swung it's mighty arm. Mawno had enough time to intercept it with a pocket of air that softened the blow, but sent him skyward once more. Shooting himself forward with a powerful gust, he charged through the third and final sprite, ignoring it's friend who'd closed the distance.
With finesse even greater than the first one, he plucked it's heart from it's rugged form, the rock shuddering back into the earth as he tossed it into the same air pocket as the other. Two sprites eliminated, one remaining. Then began the process of purifying the hearts, and returning them.
"Come on big man. Let's do this..." He muttered to himself, waiting for a moment to strike.
It seemed Mawno knew what he was doing after all and Dusk watched, impressed by his skills. He really wasn't lying when he said this was his job and she flinched a couple of times when the elementals got a little close and threatened to drop a blow on the Vir man. She fanned her wings out and took to the skies, using her summoned wind to lift her where she needed to be. It was a good vantage point to see what was going on and she chuckled a little. Mawno was rather good at making this look easy and she moved some of her red hair from her face as she figured she could show off ever so slightly.
One left. She rubbed her palms together and got her timing just right. When the last remaining elemental got close enough, she dove down, wings close and flat to her back as she angled herself perfectly to intercept between Mawno and the Elemental, wings fanning at the last second and a propulsion of air piercing the ground Elemental, causing it to shudder and quake as she landed nimbly on her feet a little way off and smirked to herself. It had been a while since she had been able to stretch her magic, and it showed. Previously, that blow would have been fatal but it had only slowed the Elemental down and she frowned at the creature. She hadn't had any need to train her powers and she knew better than to draw attention to herself in the city.
"Whoops." Well, it had bought him some time at least and Dusk had to admit she was more curious as to what he would do. His skills were admirable, his bravery was foolish but he could back it up with action and Dusk raised an eyebrow at him, she could intervene if it was needed, she wasn't sure how much help she would be and expelling her magic after not using it for so long, was exhausting and she had to be careful lest she pass out by accident.
Mawno was appreciative for the reprieve, though he was prepared for a Mawno a Mano fight with the amalgamation of rock and stone. He sprinted forward and dropped down, sliding past Dusk and under the buffeted elemental. He carried himself forward with a tailwind, the ground pushing him forward on his way. Then, with a shout and a sharp stab of his hand he pierced the hard exterior of his adversary and snatched from it's core it's corrupted heart.
With a grin on his face, the stone fell back to the earth, inaninmate. Rising to his feet by lifting a stone to push him forward he gathered the other two hearts from the air net he'd made earlier.
Three sickly green earth hearts were now in his possession. Poisoned and cranky with anger, he would begin the long process of letting their anger seep out of them and into the hearts of men once they reached Hottleston. He pulled a bag from his side and stashed them away. Turning back to dusk he donned an arrogant smirk.
"And that's what I do. It's not always this few, and they aren't always this small, but in matters of earth, sky and sea I am an arbitrator." The elementals wouldn't be happy about being separated from their home, but it was healthier for them that they lost their anger. With a stomp and a wave of his hands to either direction, the road cleared of excess rubble and was flattened. He let out a sharp breath and climbed into the back of the cart with not a word to the old driver. The sheep nervously chewed the grass in the back of the cart as Mawno sat back down.
Mawno made quick work of his respective job and she watched, head cocked as her wings disappeared beneath the veils of her cloak once more. She raised an eyebrow and looked to him when he sauntered back to the cart. The place looked a mess but Mawno even took care of that by moving some things around and she lost where she was for a second, standing in the open like a fool as her mind tried to catch up with everything going on. She blinked, coming back to reality and hopping back onto the back of the cart. She eyed the sheep and smiled a little at their woolly companion who was still better company than their bedraggled, silent driver.
"Sounds like hard work, can't say I've ever come across anything quite like you." She remarked. Then again, they had come from a relatively small and sleepy little port-town. Nothing ever happened there save for the odd bar fight or drunken nonsense. She reached out and sank her fingers into the sheep's wool, the creature looking bewildered but ultimately happy just to stuff its face with grass and she looked to Mawno, "What were you doing in the port, then?" She asked, before the attack of course. Maybe it was all connected somehow and she wasn't sure if she even wanted to know truly. It was likely to be some wild story and she did get a hint of arrogance from Mawno, he was sure of himself but again, it wasn't uncommon, especially in men.
Dusk leaned back and got herself somewhat comfortable. She had never been to Hottleston so she didn't know what to expect, her guardian had been a few times to get better prices for fish and such but she had always been forbidden to go.
[i "Life outside is dangerous, especially for small folk like you, Dee."] He probably wasn't wrong and his lessons had saved her life, she was sure. She hoped the old man had made it out alive, it wouldn't be out of character for him to play the brave fool and throw himself at some attackers to save others. She fixed her cloak and watched the road go by behind them, the odd rock or bump seemingly unnoticed.
"Well that's fair, you spend all your time at port, you won't see that many Elementalists." Mawno leaned back into the cart as it shuffled along. With a yawn Mawno leaned back into the cart and placed his hands behind his head, taking in the rays of the afternoon sun. Stretching out his chest, a small pop emitted from his chest as he did so. He let out a sigh at the noise, looking out over the cliffsides and toward the sea, pondering how best to answer Dusk's questions. No sense in embellishing anything.
"I was waiting for a grandmaster of my order. I think I was due for reassignment." A true elementalist grandmaster was to come in by boat, but since that port was pirate property for the moment, no boats would be stopping there unless they were some real tough bastards. The next port of call was Hottleston.
Mawno was just rationalizing it to himself. The grandmaster would sweep the fleet away with a grand sweeping of their hands and a few words about patience. He had hoped he was right that they would be docking at Hottleston, and beyond that he was hoping that Hottlston wasn't also being raided at the moment. He could just make out the outline of the massive port gates in the far distance. Fortunately it was a downhill ride along the coast. Should be a smooth ride, provided the elements remaind calm.
That would be too lucky for him, Mawno imagined.
"Keep your wits about you, no telling how those pirates are polluting the water or earth at this point..."
Dusk figured that this strange man liked to speak about himself, then again given his magical prowess, she would be the same if she was able to do that. She watched him as he spoke and tried to follow and understand. She just nodded a little, "The old man spoke about them being pollutive in nature. Said you could never reason with some people. Some people were just bad." She remarked thoughtfully before looking to him. He really didn't know anything about Gelfling, did he? She hummed for a while before adjusting her position and watching him.
"Gelfling live in forests, usually. In sort if... Clans, I suppose you could call them." She murmured to him, "My old home, my birthplace, was ransacked by raiders. We were driven out and the Old Man picked me up on his travels and put me to work." Two homes lost to callous evil doers and she sighed a bit. She really didn't have much luck with these things now that she thought about it. "But, everyone's taught to fight. I wasn't old enough to do much when I left and then Old Man never taught me much but I can catch fish and I know how to prepare them." She was street smart too, what she lacked in her racial education she made up for in her street smarts. Gelfking in cities was becoming slowly more common the more of the forests they lost to the folly of man or larger creatures causing problems. It wasn't unheard of but Dusk figured she hadn't seen many Gelfing in her time.
Dusk rubbed her eyes and eased back to get as comfortable as possible in the rickety old wagon. She figured Hottleston wasn't that far but she did know she wanted to grab some sleep as soon as she could. "Is it a long way to Hottleston?" She asked Mawno, he knew more than she did about these sorts of things and he seemed much more travelled than her. "You've been around I suppose." She remarked, a lazy smile on her face.
Mawno looked over the cart as she asked her question, then knocked on the boards he was leaning against.
"In this thing? Yeah it'll be a bit." He settled further into his spot, leaning back into his hands. Closing his eyes, he thought carefully about what to say in response to her previous statement. He was no wizened old grandmaster, but he was getting on in years, as the other Vir would say.
"They're pollutive but necessary. Contrary to popular belief, this world is a place of change, and without change it would stagnate." What stagnation meant was better left unspoken. He focused instead on these 'Gelflings'. He'd never heard of them prior to meeting one, and this one wasn't raised wholly by her own kind. Perhaps that was for the better. If she chose to continue travelling with him, she'd need to be a little different than what he'd heard so far. He looked back to her, she was drifting off into oblivion.
"Go ahead and get some sleep. I'll wake you up when we arrive in Hottleston." The bleating of the sheep next to him punctuated his sentence as he kept his eyes trained on the shoreline, waiting for the slightest reason to leap into action. Why had the pirates attacked today? Did they want resources? Land? Something greater? Perhaps they were just feeling rowdy. Whatever the case, it left Mawno with a stark sense of unease. It was all a little too coincidental for his liking.
Dusk watched Mawno with half-lidded eyes. She was tired and there was a soft stubbornness that she wanted to disagree and fight to stay up but Mawno was more equipped to this travelling lifestyle and Dusk just gave him a nod, settling down to be as comfortable as possible and get some sleep. She wasn't sure how long she was out, hustle and bustle woke her and shebpeered up at the clear skies. It was getting close to sunset and she grumbled a little as she sat up and stared at the sheep, perplexed. In her half awake state she barely seemed to register everything that had happened.
Her eyes travelled to Mawno and then around. Hottleston wasn't exactly a busy port city, but it was rather charming. Market stalls were being emptied from a day's trading and people were beginning to filter towards the Tavern. It was like a farming village, their port looked unused and forgotten about and Dusk squinted. Jagged rocks and fierce, white waves meant it would be almost impossible to sail out unless you were a skilled sailor. This place was surrounded in thick forest with open land for farms and she looked a little confused. This place didn't look dangerous but she supposed the journey here had been.
"Right, off with ya. My horse is tired." The old man up front grunted and Dusk had almost forgotten he was there. She managed to squeak out a thanks of gratitude for the ride and she watched the sheep, she really did hope the poor beast wasn't being taken to be slaughtered. She gave its head a pat for good measure and stood in what she assumed was the market square. Dusk was not a girl who knew the ins and outs of towns but this place seemed.... Nice? There didn't seem to be any seedy underground but she supposed Mawno would know if there was.
"Dya think the pirates will make it this far?" She asked Mawno quietly, everyone seemed to be on high alert and Hottleston had obviously heard about what had gone on. City guards were plentiful and watchful and Dusk rubbed the back of her head. A cart was no a comfortable sleeping arrangement at all, her back was sore but she guessed she would have to get used to it until she found another place to call home. She wasn't a child anymore, either. She was old enough to work and look after herself. "I have some silver left, should we get some food?" She jerked her chin in the direction of the Tavern, it didn't look like anything luxurious but Dusk was pretty hungry and she was sure Mawno must have worked up an appetite.
"Right, right." Mawno grumbled as he clambered over the side of the cart, landing with a small tremor. The hard cobbles beneath his feet shook around as he waggled his head back and forth. With a quick snort he took in the lazy port town. Quite idyllic, if he were a man. Sadly Men often went untried and unfulfilled. He had no such issue. With the port down the way burning by now, the ship carrying the order grandmaster would either stop here, or not at all.
The Gelfling had suggested food, and he rocked his head from side to side, weighing the fog in his mind from the long ride. It was still light outside, though for how much longer was speculative. It could be minutes or an hour from the rising of the moons. He looked to the establishment she was suggesting, but he knew a better place.
"No, we'd know if they were here. And I intend to learn if they're on their way. Follow me, we're going somewhere better than the tavern." With a wave of his hand signalling that Dusk should follow him, Mawno began making his way into the city. He shot his gaze to either side as he continued along his way, stopping and turning almost on the spot after he'd found what he was looking for.
"Ah, there it is." With an almost imperceptible flick of his wrist a stone in the alley was moved aside, revealing a small trapdoor which Mawn ducked into while gesturing for Dusk to follow. As soon as she'd entered, he shut the door behind them, and the sound of the stone above could be heard creaking back into place. Torches lit the way forward into what appeared to be an old mineshaft.
"Old Vir tunnels. We just walk sraight and we'll hit 'La Noterie'. Think of it as a locus of information in the area, also a bar." He began making his way through the damp tunnel, hoping more than anything that the information he needed was available.
Dusk rather had her heart set on the Tavern, it was quaint and small, homely almost but Mawno had a different idea. Dusk followed him, looking perplexed and confused for the most part but she stifled any complaints or protests. That was, until she saw the tunnels and she raised an eyebrow at him. More tunnels and underground things. Gelflings were not built for the underground or the darkness and Dusk just sighed out, "You know, I probably forgot to mention that my kind aren't built for the underground." She pointed out in passing but she obliged the man as she headed down into the tunnel.
Mawno obviously knew this place fairly well, well enough to know the name of the underground establishment and Dusk supposed so long as she got a drink and a seat that was more comfortable than a wagon, it was better than nothing. She kept walking straight, like Mawno said and she was surprised when the tunnel just sort of opened up. There were chairs and tables, chattering of people and Dusk could scarcely believe such a thing existed right under Hottleston, almost unnoticed. She looked to Mawno, okay, he was full of surprises then and she figured this place was almost like any other Tavern, despite there being no sunlight. The red head moved out of the way of some people coming by and looked again to Mawno. "How'd you know about this place?" She asked him, curious as to how this Elemental Guardian or whatever he was knew of such things. This was likely a shady place but it didn't really strike the Gelfling as that bad, mostly due to her wonderment of the situation. Gelflings and curiosity, a terrible and deadly mix for the most part.
"Well, first, let's get a drink at least." She had some silver still jingling in that pouch and she rummaged down, peering over the counter as a man looked down upon her, chuckling slightly at her appearance. "Uh, two um..." She didn't actually know what they served here and it was horribly evident she was new to this place and she looked to Mawno for some sort of help. She would pay, of course, but she just wasn't sure what this place offered. Was it even regular drinks and food for a good price or was it some weird code speak place where asking for a steak was actually just asking for a hit out on some unsuspecting victim?
Mawno quickly rolled up behind her and hopped up into a seat at the bar, dragging Dusk up and into her own seat. With a smirk he turned back to the bartender, leaning over it and speaking low enough that only the tender and Dusk would be able to hear him.
"Mawno and Dusk, elementalist and traveler two of the house special." The bartender had long leaned over to listen to the two of them, the chatter of the room behind them a good cover for their speech. The tender brushed his upper lip and spoke before leaving for their drinks.
"Astol, welcome to La Noterie." Mawno leaned towards Dusk and waited for the bartender to busy himself before speaking again.
"This is La Noterie, an information hub of sorts. Gold is worth it's weight here, but information is worth even more." He quickly explained, darting his gaze around the room to make sure no one was sneaking a listen on their conversation.
"Use your words wisely here, as for how I know about it..." The bartender dropped two mugs in front of the two of them. Mawno shooed him away and he tipped his small cap to them before moving to the other side of the bar. "Any place worth visiting has 'La Noterie' underneath it on the Amber Coast."
Mawno took up his mug and tapped it against Dusk's before greedily gulping down the house special, a harsh tasting brew that burned on the way down and left you thirstier than you started.
Dusk pulled a face at his comment, she sounded so boring beside him. Mawno was over here introducing himself as an Elementalist and she was just a traveller. She really needed to get some reputation or a nifty job or something to make herself appear a bit cooler. She looked to Mawno as he handled everything expertly. It was almost sickening how easy he made it look and she just watched the bartender sort their drinks as she listened to Mawno. She cohld follow those rules, watch what she said. She followed him to a different seat and eyed the concoction before her.
It burned on the way down and left a fiery aftertaste in her mouth and she pulled a face. This wasn't the watered down stuff they served at home. She wheezed a little and coughed, "That's... I mean, it's good." She said, and it was good but she knew that was strong but she figured it was a bar. She figured it warmed her up and she took another drink, pulling a face to ignore the burn and she looked to Mawno, keeping her voice low. "What're we looking for here?" She asked him. She kept drinking, despite the burn in her chest because she found she was still thirsty. After some time, Dusk had leaned back in the chair she was sat in, propped up and her wings even looked as lopsided as the grin plastered on her face.
She kept her gaze on Mawno and the other patrons. She wasn't hurting anyone and she hiccuped now and then, her lips didn't seem to want to formulate sentences either and that was probably for the best. "Well, you're a new face." A man said as he invited himself to sit beside her and Dusk narrowed her eyes to focus them on the man, bewildered. "Eevian." He introduced and Dusk furrowed her brow, "D-" She scowled at herself, catching herself and sitting up, "Dusk." She replied and a hiccup punctuated her sentence. "Out alone?" Eevian asked and Dusk just giggled, shaking her head.
"Nope. You know I made a friend with a sheep today?" Her words were almost slurring together but she thought it was rather important this new found man knew she had made a friend in a wooly coat. The man was only amusing her for pleasantries sake. She was pretty and dainty, an easy catch in his opinion. His eyes flashed for a moment and Dusk smirked at him, "What're you- uh, doing here?" She asked him, clumsily.
Mawno nodded to Dusk and he considered his answer. There was only one true reason to come to La Noterie and it was to gather information, yet when he looked back to dusk he saw her extremely deep in her cup.
'Well, can't say that's too surprising.' she did mention she had been raised by a fairly cautious sailor, and that she basically never left the docks. She must not have visited many bars, much less many with spirits this powerful. Mawno leaned over the bar to greet the man that had introduced himself.
"Good day Eevian. I'm Mawno, an elementalist." Mawno drank another large gulp of the liquid fire in his mug, the man across from him gazing down at him with the eyes of a hawk. He seemed to be staring Mawno down, gaining an understanding of just whether or not he was being truthful. Mawno tapped a medallion made of bronze hung around his neck and the man scowled. With a chuckle, Mawno knew he had no choice but to take him on his word.
"No doubt you've heard of the raiding just down the way. Have you heard if this is the next port of call for passenger ships?" A simple question, tendered with information that might already be possessed. Deevian would get his payment in information, if he had any to give.
Fortunately Dusk was forming a rather pretty buffer between the two of them, and might end up being the one to get them the information he wanted.
Eevian surveyed the two, a strange pairing and it seemed the little Gelfling was a tad merry. His eyes moved to Mawno, raising an eyebrow but he shook his hand regardless. Dusk just watched the two, looking totally lost but smiling anyways. She wasn't drunk but she was as content as she had been for the last few days as she listened idly. "Aye, I heard about the raids. Sordid sorts them pirates." Eevian remarked and watched Mawno over the rim of his cup, thinking for a while. "I heard the next passenger ship is leaving our port tomorrow morning, sharp at first light." He was looser thanks to his own intake of alcohol and Dusk furrowed her brow in a rather animated fashion.
"We're going on a boat?" She asked him with an excited giggle. It was stifled momentarily by a rather haughty hiccup and Dusk figured she was better off being quiet and Eevian smirked, "She yours?" He asked and jerked a thumb at the red head, expectantly. He wasn't about to take advantage but she was a cute little thing.
Dusk seemed to have sated her thirst and she was half tempted to go wandering around but she was stuck in the middle of two men who were eyeing each other up over information. "No." She remarked sternly to Eevian's question, not quite offended because Mawno was that roguish adventurer type and she had no doubts many a woman would be flattered at the notion but Dusk wasn't really that sort. She wanted to be the strong adventurer all by herself, respected and renowned and wandering from here to there and she figured men were always just problems. Didn't stop her enjoying the view though.
Maybe she was more tipsy than she first supposed.
"You should write to me while you're at sea, little redhead." Eevian said and Dusk raised an eyebrow, perplexed but Eevian was quicker as he slid over an envelope with his writing address already scrawled on it. There was just one problem...
Dusk couldn't write or read but she took it anyway, out if politeness. "Hey, Mawno? I think I want to go to sleep." She remarked, voice low and quiet.
"Aye we'll be going on a ship. Perhaps even before you're awake." Mawno nodded to Eevian as he passed a scrap of paper to Dusk. With a steady hand he guided Dusk to the ground as he tossed a single shiny gold piece onto the counter, which the bartender snatched up.
"First right down the hall." Mawno grunted in affirmation. Shouldering Dusk, he made his way towards the only hallway near the bar, which could be hard to infer if this was your first time. Fortunately for Dusk, Mawno was not a first timer. He would be moving a lot faster if not for the drowzy, drunken gelfling currently leaning against him. Amidst her ramblings he found the space to fit in a 'Yep.' and a few 'Uh huh.'s.
The finally reached the door that Astol had mentioned, and throwing it wide, he left Dusk to her own balance, hoping she could fall her way into the only bed in the room. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but it was clean.
"Get comfortable little lady. We've got a bright and early morning ahead of us." With a wave of his hands a chair formed out of the stone which Mawno simply fell into after it had finished forming.
Dusk had been having a rather good time actually, relaxed and loose for a change and this place wasn't like 'home'. Bleary eyed, she made her way down the corridors, with Mawno helping her along, guiding her and doing a rather good job of escorting her so she didn't just slouch over and call the floor her bed for the night. The bed looked like an oasis in the desert and Dusk swayed for a moment, humming a little at the mammoth task set before her. She grumbled slightly to herself as she heard Mawno articulate about an early morning that seemed miles away.
"The floor's not doin' what I wan' it to." She managed to chew out slowly, the room was doing a great job of tilting and she mumbled something incoherent to herself before managing to find the edge of the bed. She squinted over at Mawno who had a stone chair, yeah, that looked like it would be comfortable. She tutted and she might have asked him to take the bed instead given she was pretty sure she could sleep anywhere right that moment but she couldn't formulate the words properly. Instead, the fell into the blankets and if the bed wasn't comfortable then she didn't notice as she stilled her wings and hugged a blanket around herself, plumping a pillow clumsily.
Dawn came all too soon and Dusk begrudgingly opened her eyes against the dim light, her head hurt, it throbbed with a hangover and she was just grateful she hadn't been sick through the night as she pushed herself up. She looked just as bad as she felt and she found a basin of water in the room, rinsing her face in the cold. It woke her up at least and helped her feel a little more alive. Early morning, right. They were going on a ship, that seemed to perk her up at the thought of exploring oceans. She hadn't got out much. "Mawno, hey! Come on!" She still felt lousy but excitement for what was to come clouded that over and with any luck she could grab some extra sleep on the ship and stave off the worst of this horrid feeling.
This wasn't Mawno's first rodeo with someone who couldn't tangle with their spirits. He made sure that for every inch that Dusk managed to wobble, he counteracted her heavy steps with the earth beneath her. She managed to navigate to the bed and Mawno let out a sigh of relief. As she haggardly sprawled across the bedding, Mawno shut his eyes and crossed his legs the earthen chair supporting him softening as his mind drifted. He wasn't quite asleep, but neither could he claim to be awake.
The living world around him pervaded his senses as he faded further into the background, an observer of himself and the life around him. Every drop of water, every hard lived vine that penetrated the rocks, every breath he and Dusk released in their unconsciousness bloomed into perfect feeling. A sense beyond sight or sound echoed within his mind as he fell infinitely further into the background. He was shorn from the world around himself in an instant as a stray ray of sunlight came to rest upon his eye. Dusk was urging him to wake up. So he did, standing on his own as his chair vanished into the floor.
"Right, time to find our boat. We'll take the fast way out of here. Head down the hallway and go behind the tapestry there." Mawno stood and shook his head, still readjusting to his own body, such as it was. His consciousness was still becoming reaccustomed to feeling through only one set of senses.
Dusk was in much quieter spirits, despite practically fizzing with excitement over what was going on. She had never really been on a ship, she had seen plenty come and go and always wondered what awaited then. She stared at where the chair had once been and looked to Mawno. He was feeling much better than him, likely because he could handle his alcohol much better than the fancy Fey following him.
Down the hallway and past the tapestry, right of course. He seemed a little off actually now that she watched him with keen eyes. "Aren't you excited, even a little?" She asked him, eyes bright as she followed his directions and came across a rather grand tapestry that looked as though it had stood the test if time rather well. She relaxed a little as they walked, the opening from behind the tapestry was a staircase, secreted away and Dusk figured that was pretty common, secret passages and entrances and exits. How exciting! Mawno just treated it like a regular day though and it made her more and more curious about him with each passing moment.
Up the stairs and they came out just across from the docks where men shouted and sails were erected. It wasn't as busy as her home, but this wasn't a fishing Dock, this was traders and adventurers! The next unsung heroes setting out on their adventures to vanquish down bandits and pirates. Dusk looked to Mawno, a smile firmly fixed in place. Her excitement was evident and she felt as though she couldn't wait.
Which boat was it?
Each one was unique, different names scrawled along the thick wood of the bow, each crewed with strong people. It was a wonder! "Which one?" She asked him, almost bouncing on the spot. She was going to pay with a delayed hangover later on if she didn't take it easy now. There was a handful of men ushering on passengers just down the way. Sails caught in the breeze and the tide was in, ready to take them as Dusk scurried along, not exactly being careful about it as she made her way along the docks and to the passenger ship. It was quiet, nothing overly fancy or bright but it was a ship! "Where are you off to, little lady?" A man gruffly spoke and Dusk stared up at him. "We're going on a ship, to... uhm." She looked to Mawno, maybe she wasn't as good as this as she thought.
"Of course I'm excited, I'm just worried in equal measure..." Mawno muttered the latter half of his thought, eager to get to the docks. It wasn't every day that a grandmaster of his order left the very recesses of the primal world in order to give orders. He'd be able to feel her by the ripples on the wind or in the earth when they reached the docks however, and he could make up his plan from there.
He silently followed Dusk up the stairs which spit out rather close to the docks. A hop, a skip and a leap then they were they, about the morning's busy happenings in the docks. Mawno let Dusk take in her eye's fill as he focused on his center, feeling for the disturbances in the nearby area that would identify a grandmaster order. His search began calmly, but quickly became frantic. As his senses flung out across the wind and the water, he felt nothing. He was once again dragged from his trance by Dusk. Which boat was it? None of them apparently. They'd have to charter one to cross the channel where the grandmaster would have left from.
"We need to get a ride across the channel." He said, just in time for a rather burly human to approach. He must've just barely heard Mawno speaking after he'd addressed Dusk.
"'Cross the Channel you say? The Salt Shore's been treacherous of late. Only one port 'o call..." the grizzled man ran his massive hand underneath his chin and scratched the scruff of his beard, looking into the sun, his bald head reflecting light into Mawno's eyes. He looked back down and his eyes widened as he saw Mawno's attire.
"Ay! Yer one of them Elementalists! You want across the channel, I'll take 'ye there if you'll keep the seas calm!" Mawno fell back a ways at the suggestion. The Baerid jungle was his grandmaster's home, and it was beyond the salt shore. If this man was offering a ride for his services, he had little choice but to accept. Mawno threw his hand out to the man.
"You've got a deal. I take it you're the captain?" The man nodded and roughly shook Mawno's hand, leaving it more than a little sore. Donning a mighty tricorned hat, the man nodded.
"Aye thas' right. Captain 'o me own merchant ship! The Marianne! Ne'er a faster skipper on fair seas!"
Mawno was a total marvel with people, it seemed. People took to him so easily and Dusk had to suppose it was his standing. She watched the exchange and looked to the Captain, his ship the Marianne behind him and Dusk smiled. The Captain gave a flick of his tricorn hat towards Dusk who nodded to him in greeting.
The Marianne was a beautiful vessel, nothing overly fancy given it was a merchant ship but Dusk was absolutely star struck as the Captain lead them up the plank. "I'll see to it yer given a decent room or uh, rooms?" He remarked and eyed the two over, chuckling slightly and Dusk seemed in a world of her own as she leaned over one of the bannisters, overlooking the horizon. They hadn't even left the docks yet and she was still completely bewildered. The air was different and she looked to Mawno with a bright smile. Whatever lingering hangover had been present was quelled by sheer excitement.
"You act like you've ne'er seen the ocean, Miss." The Captain said and smirked a little, "I've never sailed on it." Dusk responded and the Captain grinned, "She's a fierce maiden, beautiful and calm but the slightest thing could have us in a watery grave. Luckily fer us, we've got an Elementalist." He said and clapped Mawno on the back before he started to go and bark orders at some of the crew.
Dusk watched Mawno for a moment before looking back at the ocean, eyes bright. "You've done this before, right?" Maybe it was the first sign of nerves bubbling to the surface, disguised slightly by excitement. Things started to clank and bang, the plank lifted and the anchor raised as the sails swept open. The win favoured them and they began to move out of the docks.
Dusk watched as the water was sliced as they moved and she leaned over, not enough to fall in because wet wings made for very heavy burdens when swimming. It wasn't like they had many belongings and they wouldn't take up much space wherever their room was but she supposed that was for later. The ship was busy, men going here and there, pulling timber and moving barrels of stock. Dusk enjoyed the spot she had found, watching the water below in the endless blue towards the horizon. It was beautiful, she had seen it so often from land and maybe the odd little crab boat on very quiet days but nothing like this.
Mawno found himself staggering forward as the captain clapped him on the back. He caught himself with a few loose stones, regaining his footing. Dusk was excited but Mawno was filled with trepidation. The Order almost never sent mail, and they absolutely never went back on their word. So the fact that he'd gotten a letter and it's promises were left undelivered. He was drawn from his stupor once more by the gentle sea breeze. An omen of things to come.
"Yes, I've done this a few times. A storm is coming, but we should be able to get through it untouched." He whispered to Dusk. No sense in alarming the captain. His talents were more than this captain knew. "The name's Mawno, Captain. What's yours?" The captain scratched his chin and rubbed his scruff at the small man on his deck.
"My name's Alaric. Captain works fine by me though." He noted, nodding down at the diminutive pair. With a little nod to his side he continued. "Ye'll meet the crew soon enough, once they swagger in from whatever tavern they've commandeered. Now."
He pointed to dusk and grinned, wide and toothy.
"What's yer name lass?" While the captain awaited her response, Mawno took stock of his surroundings. A skipper indeed. This boat was light and fast, while still boasting a robust frame that could haul a fair amount of cargo without affecting its speed. Mawno was as ready as anyone to get on their way, but the captain's crew wasn't accounted for it seemed.
Dusk was completely captured by everything going on around her. The thought of setting sail on the open ocean was so enticing she could barely keep her excitement down. She looked to Mawno and rolled her eyes, "Loosen up, will ya?" She said with a cheeky smile and she looked to the Captain, Alaric. Alaric the Captain. Dusk smiled at him, "Dusk is fine." She assured him as her namesake, "And I'll help where I can." She explained to him. She could earn her keep and she had very outlandish and fantasy ideas of what a crew was actually like. She didn't seem to recognise the dangers of a storm at sea, either.
"Lovely to meet ya both. We'll be leavin' soon, so get yourselves settled." Alaric remarked with a chuckle. Dusk looked to the harbour as people started to filter in and she narrowed her eyes. Mawno seemed on edge all the time, she supposed that came with his Elemental nature and being a protector or whatever it was he did. Now that everything had gone quiet and she was simply waiting around, last night's alcohol was starting to catch up to her and she slouched in a chair. Maybe she shouldn't have drank so much because she was certainly starting to feel a little miserable now.
Her eyes lifted to see Mawno, curious. "How did you become an Elemental? Was it something you were just born into?" She asked him, anything to try and distract the dull headache that was forming in the background of her headspace. Sleep sounded really good right then, sleep and a darkened room but she was as stubborn as she was determined. She wanted to see the open ocean, properly for the first time. Mawno proved enough entertainment right then, enough of a distraction to keep her awake and she was really curious about his origins. Gelfling were born with their powers, a very rare few were incredibly powerful but they usually went on to become Maudras of the tribes and clans. None were quite as powerful as an Elemental however and Dusk especially, was nowhere close to powerful enough to do half the things he did. She had never really accosted her powers or her magic, she hadn't been around her own kind in a long while to receive lessons as she might have. She didn't begrudge the old man who looked after her and kept her safe and gave her a home and a job, but she often missed the teachings of her own kind.
Mawno was ingrained into the feeling of the waves and the breeze when Dusk addressed him. He had subconsciously been chewing on one of his claws, his large nail slowly snaking in and out of his forefinger. He jumped as he realized Dusk was expecting a response. He quickly thought about it for a moment.
"For most people, joining the order requires a lifetime of devotion in the elements. Most Vir already fit this description." He'd lived underground for most of his life, finding fresh air, moving stones without causing cave-ins and avoiding massive pockets of water had all been part of his daily life once upon a time. Mawno settled himself alongside Dusk, looking over the edge of the ship to see the cerulean sea of the Amber Coast. They would soon see it shift to the light green of the Salt Strand, and hopefully the elements were all they had to worry about. He shook his head, clearing his mind of his worries.
"And what about you girlie? I had scarcely heard of Gelflings before some hours ago. How did you end up so separated from your kind. Feyfolken I hear." He was extremely curious about her, the little lady was an oddity of her own, as those of the fey were elusive, if not outright hostile at times.
Mawno felt footsteps upon the dock heralding the first crew members returning. These were light, small. About his weight actually. A halfling perhaps? What came up the boarding ramp was decidedly more green than a halfling however. A gruff looking goblin was staring him down, bright, cream colored eyes sizing him up.
"Whaddya you lookin' at?" Mawno raised his hands and turned back to the ocean, dodging the question.
Dusk watched Mawno as he spoke and she cocked her head to the side, it made sense then. A lifetime to become as strong as he was. She looked out to the ocean and watched the great expanse pass by. Perhaps she underestimated him, or maybe she simply didn't comprehend what he was capable of. It wasn't something she had ever been surrounded by. His question about Gelfling made her shrug. "My little village was attacked when I was young. We got driven out, bandits and pirates. Nothing to go back to, story of every traveller ever." She said with a soft smile and she gazed at him, thoughtfully.
"Yeah, Feyfolken. Not so much anymore, we're scattered everywhere." She remarked to him and glanced over at the exchange and she chuckled a little. "The old man used to say that sailors and men of the sea enjoy playing games. Or beating each other up." She remarked and sighed out. Mawno had backed down, Dusk wasn't the sort to do that and she grinned a little as everything settled down and she watched the mouthpiece sit with his comrades around a barrel and start dealing cards. "Oi, deal me in." Dusk said and winked to Mawno, sitting down and she knew the game well enough.
"Do you even have anything to bet, girly?" One of them crooned at her and she smiled softly to him, all innocence apparently. She rummaged around and put a few coins on the centre of the table. "Alright then." The man muttered and Dusk swept up her cards and eyed them over, face unreadable as she eyed her hand and looked to the others. She had played this many times and the game proceeded. There was some deliberation, some minor arguing and Dusk just raised an eyebrow. Two of them folded and the other had a challenge in his eyes that Dusk met with equality.
"Show, then." She prompted him and he set down his cards, laughing and reaching for the gold in the centre and Dusk was quick to stop him as she set down her cards, sweeping the gold off the table. "Pleasure doing business, boys." She said and the men chuckled a little at being outdone by the woman and she dropped the gold into Mawno's hand, "Easy." She murmured and went to find a decent viewpoint to watch the ocean rolling by.
Mawno supposed she'd lost a lot, more than she'd realized. More than he had. He'd somehow managed to attune to the elements through the course of his life, and ended up an elementalist. A title rarely heard and even less rarely earned. Hopefully he'd find the one he was looking for soon, but he knew firsthand how hard it was to find those of his order. He was dragged from this thought mid game, watching Dusk stare down the surly pirates under the boiling midday sun.
He put a fist over his mouth, watching her confidently shark the sea men. Not that it had to be hard, they were always playing each other, not Dusk. At least she was carrying coin, all Mawno was carrying was a few gallons of alcohol he'd snatched and his road rations. Speaking of...
The sounds of drinking was quickly filling the air, that warm sea air stinging against Mawno's reddening cheeks as he lowered the small barrel back into his satchel. He was impressed with her ability to socialize with these rough men of the sea, despite her relatively sheltered life. He sighed and watched as more crew members shuffled on board, each one with more cargo. He could feel the fresh water as it was carried on. That was good, Mawno hadn't brought any. He laughed to himself as midday slowly shifted to the afternoon the captain finally swaggered up to the wheel and bellowed over his ship.
"Right boys and lady, get ready to sail, the far shores are waitin' on these goods and we've got calm seas for certain!" The crew sped up their activities under a sea of curses and groans, and before Mawno could get his bearings, they'd shifted off to the sea. It was a month's journey on a fast ship and calm seas, and Mawno was there to supply the second half. He went onto the upper deck to address the captain.
"There's a storm in our path, but it's a week out, make sure I'm awake then." Mawno could feel the patter of a building tsunami many miles away. He was talking silently, letting the waves wash out his voice to everyone but the captain and anyone directly around them.
"Woah, you can tell tha' all the way here in the bay? You elementals are somethin' else. Very well though, me crew's the best, and we'll remember to use ye services." Mawno nodded and made his way back to Dusk's side.
"Of that I have no doubt." He patted Dusk on the back and let out a sigh of relief.
Dusk was rather pleased with herself, incredibly so actually. She chuckled a little and nodded to Mawno, leaning on the bannister and looking out to sea. A storm at sea! She had heard of such things but never witnessed them and she supposed they were incredibly dangerous. Many a soul had been lost to a watery grave to storms and Dusk hummed a little to herself, watching as Mawno was spoken to by the Captain. His magic gave him respect, she noticed. They were somewhat of celebrities in a way, Dusk had figured out. She supposed they were powerful creatures, it made sense.
"It's wonderful." She said to Mawno softly, "I watched so many boats and fishers go out to sea, but I was always landlocked. I never imagined it would be this big." She murmured, trying to explain how vast she found this entire thing. It was strange she had come across Mawno like this, despite everything. He seemed more more tune with the world around him than Dusk was, whatever magic she could potentially have had been smudged given she hadn teen raised around her own kin.
"I could live like this." Dusk remarked to him, "At sea, everything is so busy and so endless, it's nice don't you think?" She asked him. Maybe she sounded stupid to him and she hoped it didn't. This was new and exciting to her, it was beautiful and she could breathe in the salted air and think clearly for the first time in her life. She loved it and the people were as salted at the seas around them, they lived so simply too. She smiled a little, half embarrassed about her words, she was starting to sound soft and this was hardly the time for it.
"It's nice, I guess you've travelled more than me." She explained with a shrug of her shoulders. Mawno had probably been to places she had never even dreamed of or heard of. He must have lived such an exciting life for things like this to be second nature to him.
"Surprisingly, my travels haven't taken me beyond the lands I was born in more than once. For my initiation." He grinned and looked away, speaking no more of the process. He made his way over to the railing of the ship, slowly siphoning some spirits away from his little cask. He let out a loud gasp as his senses dulled, the world peeling away, his eyes allowing him to look out over the remnants of sunlight that hung just over the horizon. Soon the sky would shift to purple, and they'd be well on their way.
The captain barked orders behind him as he acknowledged the elements less and less and his own senses more and more. "Yeah Dusk, the world is endless on the sea. Goes all the way 'round even." he chuckled to himself and pushed his weight against the rail, as much as he could, but the wood didn't complain against his small physique.
"I'm sure you'll get to experience that firsthand on this little trip." Mawno stopped drinking for a split second to ponder while his sense were his own. He shook his cask a little bit and unwrapped his headband, letting his hair hang free in the building breeze.
"I'm sort of wondering why you've followed me. You're welcome along but you aren't exactly obligated to follow me on my search."
Dusk watched Mawno with curious eyes, looking back out to the ocean and thinking about his question. Why had she followed him? She was quiet for a short amount of time, letting the breeze of the salted air play absently with the loose strands of hair around her face. "Where else was I supposed to go?" She asked him and gave a half-hearted smile, "If I had stayed, I would have been murdered, or worse." They were pirates after all. Dusk didn't fancy her wings being clipped by them and then being sued as a plaything.
"I'm not... As experienced in the wilds as you are. The pirates took my home village when I was just a childling, it was luck the old man found me. I suppose it's the same luck that had you spot me back in the city." She remarked to him with a shrug. Her luck would run out one day and she ought to find somewhere to settle, somewhere she could call home but that hadn't been working out very well for her as of late. Every time she thought she had somewhere, something happened and she supposed if she kept on travelling then eventually trouble would stop finding her. Or maybe she would come to expect it more often.
"Besides, you could have shaken me off at any point." She added with a wry smile, he hadn't told her to leave and he hadn't abandoned her at the Inn when he very well could have if he didn't want her around. He was a kind soul, that much was obvious to her, otherwise he would have robbed her for what little she had and left her in a ditch somewhere for dead. She also would never have seen half of what she had seen if she had simply managed to hide away from everything going on back at the city. She had never been on the ocean like this and whatever happened, at least she had grabbed that experience.
"So, why haven't you just left me to my devices, Mawno? I'm not much use to you, your magic exceeds mine and it's not as though I'm a traveller or star reader." She remarked. She couldn't tell north from south, the most amount of talent she had was living from the land and using her gelfling nature to be at one with the wilderness around her, hardly useful to someone like Mawno who seemed to simply sweep it up in his stead with ease.
Mawno rocked his head back and forth, stretching his cheeks out with his tongue as his turn to consider an answer came about. After mere moments he shrugged his shoulders and leaned further into the railing.
"Didn't see any reason to chase you off. There still isn't one. 'Sides, I need someone to wake me up or I just might not one day." He chuckled darkly, looking out over the setting sun with his eyes and feeling the murky blue beneath them with his spirit. The time would come soon enough that he would need to use the abilities he'd honed to a bleeding edge. Merely a week out, a powerful storm.
"Not uncommon at sea I guess..." He said, next to himself. He pushed himself off the ship railing and made his way to one of the doors leading below the deck. With an easy pull and slight stagger he righted himself on the back of the heel. "I'm going to catch and early night. Maybe that storm will go away by morning." He waved at Dusk and went to find himself a cozy corner to curl up in.
Comfort wasn't any gripe of his, he had slept on a stone slab just the night before, though his back complained for it. He'd need to visit one of those special massueuses again and get that straightened out after he got to the bottom of his mystery. Perhaps Dusk would find a better reason to stick around, or perhaps he'd find a reason to leave her behind. He hoped the elementals would be fine back home while he took this time to investigate. There might be hell to pay otherwise.
Well at least the answer hadn't been something sordid or upsetting and Dusk eyed Mawno. He needed someone to wake him up? She didn't understand and she kept quiet as he went to go and find somewhere to sleep for the night. He was a curious creature, Dusk couldn't quite put her finger on it. He was a mystery and she sighed out a little and looked back out to the vast expanse of blue seas. At least she had good company, even if it was a mystery to her and she didn't quite understand Mawno and his ways. She would extend patience because after all, she wasn't sure she would be entirely able to look after herself if she didn't have his streetwise ways around. He was intelligent and Dusk was brave and bold, but it would get her killed one day because she didn't have the brains to think it through.
She grinned a little and figured she ought to get some sleep too. She didn't want to crowd Mawno so she found a cosy spot on the upper decks where she had a great view of the ocean around them. She had never felt more alive, she draped her cloak around her and nestled down to make herself comfortable and watched the waves lap and move as gulls swooped down on unsuspecting fish. Sleep came easily with the lullaby of the sea.
Something woke her, she didn't know what and she furrowed her brow. A splat on her nose, and then her cheek, and then her ear. She realised it was starting to rain and she quickly got to her feet and dove under some cover before looking out and realising the storm had advanced. It wasn't terrible yet but the rain was just starting and the crew seemed to know that this would soon be a full blown storm as they began to move barrels and boxes below deck and strap them in. Dusk drew up her hood and looked towards where they were heading, scrambling on deck and seeing the clouds get darker and the waves in the distance were choppy. There was a twinge of fear in her stomach, being thrown from a ship was not a pleasant way to go and her wings would be slightly useless, it had been a while since she had needed to fly in high winds and it always took a great amount of effort to work out the undercurrents and not be bowled over.
[b "Looks like your friend is going to come in handy."] A man grunted beside Dusk and she looked up to see a man, he looked tense and worried about the storm they were approaching and Dusk tilted her head. If the sailors were worried, she ought to be too.
Mawno was lost in the dreamscape, the tides of the ocean swirled their way into his sensations as he rocked in his hammock. The early night had left him time to attune to the flow of energy the sea produced. His mind leveled out, the storm around him raged forth, but the landscape around him was placid. He could see through the eye towards his goal, the faraway coast, where the storm was only more intense. Was this what awaited him?
The lightning that shot up his spine when he was awoken left him stunned and breathing heavily. He looked to the source of his newfound consciousness. The Captain awaited him there.
"Lad. The storms almost atop us. It's brewing like a dwarven fort out there." Mawno nodded and made his way to the top deck with the captain. The lightning ahead of their vessel lit the ocean against the stark darkness of the world around them. With a worried look he was steadied by the rough palm of the Captain. "Now's the time!" He shouted above the growing squall. He made his way to the center of the ship and sat down, leaning against the main mast. With an exhale he shouted back to the captain.
"I'm beginning! Make sure the crew is ready!" The captain nodded and continued barking orders as he had before. Mawno focused himself and felt the boat underneath and around him. The wind began to calm itself immediately around the vessel, and the rain began to cease. Mawno was focusing intently on keeping the storm from colliding with the ship, but the gale was very much still audible, screaming winds and powerful waves crashing against an invisible bubble around them.
"Alright lads! Switch to oars! We're not gettin' any winds this way!" Several men began rushing below deck to continue propelling the ship, at their captains command. "Absolutely remarkable this lad..."
Dusk must have fallen asleep at some point because the next thing she knew, everything was washing into action with shouts and yells and she furrowed her brow. She stretched her arms out and climbed off her perch, she had found a hammock to reside in and it offered a floating feeling. She landed deftly on the decking of the ship and looked around as people scurried back and forth and she clambered up to see what was going on. There was no storm, no winds, no rain. She paused for a moment and took a moment. It was only around the ship though, she could see wild waves but they didn't get close and was almost sure that wasn't normal.
Her eyes trailed the ship before they landed on Mawno. He looked to be in a trance and Dusk was confused for a moment before it dawned on her that this was Mawno's doing, he was protecting the ship. "Go keep an eye up top lass." One of the men gestured to the Crow's Nest, he mostly didn't want her in the way. She nodded, thinking she had some lovely, important job and her wings flared into action as she took off and in the wind, she might have been dragged away and ended up in a watery death but Mawno was keeping the air still. She could only imagine how powerful that must make him and she landed in the Crow's Nest. All around them, the waves battered everything but the ship and she couldn't quite believe what she was witnessing.
Oars were pushed and pulled into the water, causing them to glide along and Dusk had to admit, it was an impressive feat by anyone's standards to be able to use magic so readily and without any sort of issue. Then again, what did she now? This whole thing could be awful on him and she turned her keen eyesight to make sure nothing else would cause any problems. Fish has sought refuge under the boat, no doubt other things might as well, not so friendly things.
Mawno's mind was at peace. The wind around them was calm, the ocean placid, and yet something was amiss. The sea far below churned, more violently than Mawno believed possible. He squirmed and the waters around them began to wave and carry the boat forward with the oars rowing. A rush of lightning flew up his spine as words escaped his mouth unbidden.
"They're climbing the side of the boat!" Not a moment after he'd spoken, inky black tentacles, as thick as a man's arm burst over the sides of the ship and wrapped around the railing, dragging horrific denizens of the deep up and onto the deck. Mawno maintained his focus and kept the wind and rain at bay. The creature was shambling it's way towards him, and one of it's thick tentacles lashed out at him. He could feel the wood of the mast behind him complain as the thick tentacle plunged between it's ears, shoved upwards by a silhouette only one person could fill. It was the barrel chested form of the captain, his sword drawn and shoving the appendage upward.
"I'll keep ye safe lad, just keep this mighty gale at bay. COME ON YE SWABS! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!" The sound of steel clashing against something hard rung out across the deck, causing Mawno to wince and lose his focus, a strong wind gusting by before subsiding quickly. He was using all he had to keep nature itself at bay, and these denizens of the deep didn't seem like they planned on leaving peacably. He tried to make the waves drag them under, but his power was occupied.
The fighting was growing more intense around him, and he kept the ship stable. One mistake would result in his death, and the death of everyone else.
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