Soul Series: The Beginning.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Winter, Sep 27, 2016.

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    ~"We all have a beginning, It's up to us to ensure we have an end"~

    The wooden water barge slowly and smoothly sailed down the temple halls, passing smaller boats on which stood monks traveling to different areas of the large temple. Some of them regarded the barge as it sailed by them, curious interest demanding their attention as their eyes fell upon the passengers whom had been sent here on the order of Emperor Lectis Mura himself. Of course each of the temples staff and guard had been told ahead of time that they'd be making their arrival on this day, yet it wasn't every day you got to see some of Tel'nura's most regarded heroes.

    Upon the front of this barge stood an armored figure, her armor adorned with symbols and engravings that belonged to the Emperors army. Those whom knew their militant structure well would know this woman as Media Naxxis, a captain of the royal guard and a formidable combatant in her own right. She exhaled softly as she eyed the large halls ahead, knowing soon they'd arrive at the central chamber where the water dragon was said to be waiting for their arrival. She turned towards the gathered heroes, each of them sat within the barge awaiting it to reach it's destination.

    "Alright, we're almost here" she began as she stepped forwards, her tone hardy and telling of a woman built from war and combat. "Before we reach the central chamber there are details I've been told to pass to you before we arrive, so listen up" she said, her eyes moving steadily between each of them. "Each of you know why you're here but you've not fully been told what's expected. Bellow the temple runs the Harudan river where a ship is stationed that'll start you on your journey towards the Tel'anar mountains... but there's more".

    She briefly looked towards the barge attendants that operated the vessel, navigating it down the halls and between the other boats. It appeared this temple was unlike most that many would have seen or expected, using water as way of travel and as an additional way to connect with the element. Coy fish of beautiful color swam in the clear water, adding to the peaceful tranquility that lingered in the atmosphere. "The dragon is young and hasn't yet finished her training, hence why you're all here. It'll be up to you to assist her in her path in seeking knowledge and learning how to control her power".

    "It's why some of you were sent for by the Emperor specifically, he believes that you as a collective have the necessary skills in both protecting and to some degree, teaching. I hope this isn't going to be a problem" her armor shuffled as she moved, looking back to the approaching archway to the main chamber. "Once this ordeal has been dealt with and the cause of the other dragons deaths have been realized, you'll all be paid well for your assistance to Tel'nura" she said, taking another pause. She knew that not all of them were perhaps in it for the money, but never the less the Emperor would seek to compensate them well for their service.

    "Last thing to note is that the dragon has requested to meet you all before you set sail along Harudan, she has also asked that you not refer to her by title. Unlike our late fire dragon she doesn't care for her title above the formality when it's necessary" The captain once again exhaled, returning the nod to the attendant as he motioned that they had arrived at the main chamber, which was unlike most would have ever seen.

    The central chamber sat at the heart of the temple and the room itself was rotund with a moat that ran the perimeter of the room, other archways could be seen leading to what one would assume were other parts of the temple. Because of this architectural design the center of the chamber was an island, on which stood trees and flora, beautiful plant life and even animals such as birds of various colors, some of which made attempts at the coy swimming around in the moat. Above in the high domed ceiling was waterfall that fell onto rocks, rocks that would creature a water feature which allowed the water to run into the moat, which appeared to be what allowed the temple to sustain such a natural ecosystem. It was truly beautiful and it lead many to believe that the temple had been built around the waterfall and extended over many years.

    The barge slowed and began to dock, ropes tossed out and secured to the wooden posts to keep the barge still enough for the group to leave safely. Madia stepped off first, waiting for them to follow before she'd lead them down a tiled path into the center of the rooms island. Of course it wasn't a long walk, however they were given a few minutes to look upon the beauty and color that surrounded them. "Up ahead" the captain said in her hardy tone, her eyes set upon what appeared to be a woman sitting cross legged on a cushion with eight additional cushions laid out in a circle, a small table in the center with a rather large steaming pot. The woman noticed their approach and regarded them with a soft serene smile, her hands held neatly on her lap.

    For perhaps the first time since they met Madia, the guard captain pulled together a smile. "It's good to see you Naomi, I have with me your escort as per the Emperors orders" the young woman whom now had been named inclined her head gently in understanding, "Thank you captain" she said before her eyes moved to focus on each of them, lingering momentarily on each of them as if she were noting details. "It is a pleasure to meet you all, please" she motioned out with her hand for them to take a seat on one of the arranged cushions. Her tone was gentle, soft but held an edge of intelligence that one would normally find in an educator. She would await for them all to take their seats before she'd give a small smile.

    "I'd like to begin by voicing my gratitude for your services in these troubling times" she began, "While the Emperor has placed his trust in you, I feel it would be at the benefit of us all if we could take a moment to introduce ourselves formally". One of the attendants, a monk in robes of various blues began to place empty mugs before each of the heroes, of course it could be assumed this was for whatever was in the large streaming pot sat upon the tea table. "So if you could please introduce yourselves, I would be very grateful" she said, maintaining her soft smile.
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  2. When Wil reached the water temple he quickly noticed a feature that he expected but severely underestimated. There was a ton of water here. The whole thing was a series of waterways, and not shallow ones at that. It took him a little while to find the barge that was supposed to carry them deeper into the temple. There was no hesitation to board the barge though. He did his best to hide his eagerness. He was certain he would float on driftwood to the Dragon's residence if that's what it took. Fortunately nothing that drastic was needed.

    Wil watched with awe at the majesty of the water temple. It was probably three times larger than the shadow temple that was hidden in the jungle, but what really amazed him was the art and architectural wonders. The shadow temple was just dark and darker. It wasn't long before their guide Captain Naxxis really began to speak up. Despite her powerful aura, she was rather helpful and informative. Even though it was difficult, he did well to focus on listening rather than gawking at the temple. He took quick mental notes of everything and did his best to prepare for meeting the water dragon. He was rather nervous of the meeting. The water dragon was a very important person.

    They soon began to approach another wonder. A beautiful island was coming into view. It appeared that this was what sustained most of the temples beautiful ecosystem. Wil followed Captain Naxxis closely near the head of the group of heroes. Even though the island was beautiful, most of Wil's attention was focused on reaching the dragon. It didn't take long before the captain stated 'Up ahead' where Wil finally got to see one of the legendary dragons. 'She's gorgeous.' Was the first thing that ran through his mind. Her looks may have been exaggerated in his mind due to his excitement in meeting her. While some people may have seen the dragons as just people with powers, because of his temples teachings, they were like gods of the elements to him. With the other dragons gone, she was now probably the single most fascinating person in the world.

    When they were offered a seat, Wil took the spot farthest to his right, and sat to the left of Naomi. "Thank you. It is a pleasure to meet you too." Once they were all sitting, she asked for them to introduce themselves. He certainly wasn't going to make her wait, so in a timely manner he stood up in front of his cushion and removed his mask. "Hello, my name is Wilhelm Shadow. I'm very excited to meet all of you. My skills lie primarily in my tonfas and in manipulation of my shadow." As he mentioned his ability, his shadow rose from the spot it naturally lied on the ground and waved to everyone. After it's wave, it returned to it's place on the ground and he leaned down to pour himself some tea. He didn't share much about himself as she only asked for an introduction, and he was eager to hear about everyone else.
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  3. Saying that the past few weeks had been difficult for Ronne would have been an understatement. When he first heard of the dragon murders, he had been on the other side of the continent, searching for information on an old mage to add to the Chronicles. He was in the middle of a conversation with a young boy when an eagle appeared with a letter attached to its leg. After reading the tragic news, he travelled as quickly as he could to the Fire temple to attend the funerals of the fallen and begin compiling their stories. The losses were tough for everyone, but particularly for him. As Ronne wrote down their stories in the Chronicles, he remembered the times he met the dragons, back when he was with Lady Cane. He recalled the stories they told, the lessons they taught, and kindness they showed him. For three days he wrote their tales, and when he finally finished, Ronne immediately made his way to the Water temple, to join the Emperors escorts as he had promised.

    Now Ronne found himself floating down the giant halls of the Water temple. Surrounding him were mostly unfamiliar faces, the only one he recognized being the captain of the guard, Madia. As the boat gently floated down the hall, he gazed in awe at the wonder that was the Water temple. The clear water combined with the stunning architecture still amazed him, despite the number of times he visited. Silently in the back of the boat, he watched as the world gently moved with the current towards the center of the temple. Once on the island, he used his staff to steady himself as he disembarked. Following behind Madia, Ronne slowly approached a table with a familiar waiting occupant. Removing his hat from his head, Ronne gave a low and courteous bow as he greeted her. "Lady Naomi, a pleasure to see you again," he said as he rose from the bow. Despite what Madia had said about addressing Naomi, Ronne felt obligated to address her courteously.

    Taking a seat at the table across from the dragon, Ronne listened as Naomi addressed the group. Even with all the turmoil surrounding the dragons, he was still amazed at her ability to bring warmth and happiness. When she opened the group for introductions, Ronne waited for the one named Wilhelm to speak first before introducing himself. With a soft and solemn tone, he briefly spoke to the group, "Greetings. I am Ronne Beloa, the current Inheritor of Stories. It is sad that we have to meet under these circumstances." Once he finished, he sat patiently listening to the others as they spoke.
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  4. It would be dishonest to say the journey to the Water Temple was pleasant. The trip went without a single problem along the way, and was actually reasonably comfortable. First by coach from the Fire Temple to the shore, then by ship to the Water Temple harbour, where he exchanged for a smaller vessel that was fit to navigate the famous waterways the Temple used instead of... well, ways. Sitting here on a boat while the rest of the Order is doing something actually useful. Yay. He tried to keep his spirits up, but these were troubling times. He looked around at the other passengers on the small boat that was taking them to the last surviving Dragon. Well, if nothing else, this motley circus of characters will be amusing to stay around. One could definitely get worse ensemble of companions.

    Water Temple was quite breathtaking thing to witness, too. Arcturus was used to the heavy, fortified gothic citadel of the Fire Temple. Building it partially sunken into a volcano simply required sturdy, and more importantly, well insulating granite walls, and while the grand halls were impressive in their own, somewhat oppressive way, the Water temple was the direct opposite of that. The architecture was light and open spaced. There was no excessive mass that was not absolutely necessary to be used, and every crevice and corner housed some sort of artistic element, be it a plastic, bas-relief or a small statue. That, and the air was smelling pleasant and cool, smelling of water lily, quite unlike the cinders and sulphur one could simply not avoid at the Fire Temple.

    His first step on the small island was followed by soft chiming as all the weapons and tools on his person clinked and clanked against each other. When the small mobile armoury that was Arcturus left the boat, the vessel lifted noticeably, almost bounced on the water surface. Such was the life of Hunter, a weapon for every occasion, or rather, a pair of them, in case the first one got ripped from your hand and devoured by whatever you were chasing. More to the point, the Water Dragon was just as different from the late Fire Dragon as were their respective temples. The Fire Dragon was all brimstone and peat, aggressively charismatic and intoxicating presence. The Water Dragon was much more subtle and elegant, a sweet light liqueur to the Fire Dragon's rye strong enough to wake a dead man.

    The Hunter pressed his closed fist over his heart and made a curt nod with his head. "An absolute pleasure on my side," he answered to the woman's greeting. To take the seat, especially on a pillow, was a somewhat complicated process for Arcturus, however, and while everyone else was getting seated, he carefully moved every firearm, sword and sharp thing on his person to both permit him to sit down, and not cut the probably expensive pillow to slightly less, but still, expensive ribbons. "I'm some Arcturus Whatsworth, pleasure to make everyone's acquaintance. Hunter by trade, though my travelling museum of cutlery probably told you this much already. We're good at killing stuff and writing whiny, sad poetry. For some reason, our fame lies more in the former, rather than latter. People in these troubled times are more interested in people who provide services of the extermination kind, rather than publishers of good wiping material." He sat down with a heavy thump, and realized he couldn't with all the equipment on his person, reach the low table in front of him. Damn it all. First the Fire Dragon gets murdered, and now I have to face lack of decent sized chairs and tables. Truly interesting time.
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  5. Raina trailed near the back of the group, allowing herself to be largely unnoticed, as was her custom. Although this group as a whole seemed more serious, Raina had declined to join in even the slight polite chatter that had taken place outside the magnificent stone gates her mind still miles north where days before she'd been in the woods, learning the ways of illusory magic that ran so thickly in her blood and Raina was finding herself longing for quiet. She did not fear the woods anymore, but the night noises coupled with her mother's endless chanting could be unnerving. The temple in contrast, with it's gentle waters and walls like regal sentinels, seemed almost a salve to her frazzled mind. It's water's providing anchor to a soul aching, in that moment, to tear away from the reality of the world.

    But of course that wasn't possible.

    It was the news of the air dragon's death that reached her ears first. It was dawn before a messenger arrived, but Raina had sensed the forest's unrest even the night before. Something disastrous. Something to cause mourning. She'd vowed to visit her friend, a serene silver haired man who had offered her safe haven so long ago, but before she'd even made it out of the forest a second message. She was to go to the water dragon's temple without delay, where a party would be forming to escort the young dragon to safety. Raina had traveled mostly by night, avoiding the main roads and stopping only once to refill her supplies.

    As the young dragon invited them around the table, Raina found herself looking for the first time at the faces that surrounded her. The first to speak appeared to be one of the younger in the group, a shadow caster with a friendly face. Raina looked on with interest as his shadow waved at the group. The second man was of slim build and looked familiar, possibly Raina had seen him around a dragon's temple earlier in her life, if only in passing. A story keeper, it seemed, to chronicle their grand adventures or conversely their untimely demises. The last man was at least familiar in post, a Hunter by trade. Loyal to the fire dragon now in its opposite's temple. Raina wondered briefly if that felt odd for the man, Arcturus, before realizing that logically she was the next one to speak.

    "Though I wish to not have met you under such dire circumstances, dear Naomi, it is nevertheless a pleasure to be here before you. I am Raina, child of the endless forest, creature of the shadows. My skills lie primarily in diversion of the senses, in hiding things that are precious, and in disguise." In an instant, Raina had shifted her appearance into that of the dragon's but she held this form for only a moment, shifting quickly back into her own dark features. "I offer you the best of my skills and abilities."
    #5 Lackadaisical, Sep 30, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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  6. Xaon sat silently on the wooden barge, wearing a dark green feather cloak and an ivory mask covering his face. He was concealed like the Druids of old and with staff sword propped up beside him as everyone looked around the Water Temple. While everyone was in awe about the architecture of the Water Temple, the events of the Druid's past meeting with the Order replayed in his head again.

    There he stood in the ancient halls of the Druid Order, a grand oak door in front of him. The door cracked open as he entered, and inside was a large round table, carved into the ground itself from the tree the Druid's secret base of operations was. Only ten Druids, including Xaon, stood around the table as the meeting had started. "Another Dragon has been killed. We have sat inside our walls for too long, we need to act. Tel'Nura needs the Druids once more." A Druid, Aalon, spoke up and soon the room buzzed with chatter agreeing with Aalon or speaking against it. A cane was slapped into the ground three times, stopping the chatter and they all focused on the Head Druid, the leader of their Order. Marx, Head Druid, was over three hundred years old but didn't look a day over forty. "The Emperor is requesting the aid of the Druids, to protect the Water Dragon." Marx spoke to his disciples.

    "We can't send everyone. It would be suicide for our Order. We know nothing of what is killing these Dragons." Xaon spoke, wanting to keep them in consideration that they were as blind to the murders as the rest of the World was. "That is true. Then Xaon, you shall appear at the Emperor's Court, and the rest of the Order will investigate the cause of these murders and who...or what may be behind it." Xaon wasn't volunteering to be the one that went to the Water Temple, but it appeared that he had no choice in the matter and he wouldn't be arguing against the Head Druid's choice on the matter.

    Now he was here, sitting on the wooden barge after going to the Emperor's Palace and meeting with the Emperor and the rest of the group that had traveled with them to the Water Temple. He was broken from concentration as the barge came to a halt and Media Naxxis spoke up about meeting with the young Dragon, and to use her name and not her Title. The Dragon invited them to the small table and for a cup of tea, customs of the majority of Tel'Nura and Xaon took a seat on one of the pillows with his legs underneath him. He sat in the proper position before pulling off his mask and pulling down his hood.

    Others began to introduce themselves as Xaon rested his weapon down on the ground behind him. He grabbed the steaming tea pot and poured his porcelain mug full of the warm tea before setting the pot back down in the middle for the others. When the young female from the Endless Forests finished speaking, Xaon took a sip from his mug before addressing Naomi and the rest of the group. "Greetings Naomi. It is quite unfortunate that we meet under these circumstances, but Tel'Nura is in trouble. My name is Xaon, and I am a member of the Druid Order." He was given permission from Marx to let Naomi and the group he would be travelling with that he was a Druid. The Emperor knew who he was, and it was a simpler and more efficient route to tell the truth on his background rather than coming up with some elaborate story and saying he was a monk or some warrior.

    "I have mastered the art of the staff sword, the use of Elemental Magic and even Arcane Magic." He gave a bit of a background on himself and his abilities and prowess.
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  7. Tallulah Woren​

    It had been a long trip from Telasova and Tallulah Woren could still feel the ache in her calves, the saddle sores that were finally healing, and the blisters -now calluses- that lined her league-worn feet. Yet, as she glanced down into the crystalline waters and up at the architectural wonders of the Water Temple, Tali knew all the pain was worth it. Beautiful koi (she had asked one of the barge handlers for their name) swam beneath her, and it took a certain kind of self control to resist slipping into their scales to see the wonders underneath the water. Instead, she appeased her need and shared Keeva’s eyes, who was soaring high above the wooden barge. The crow accepted her presence gracefully and together they soared. Even amongst the arches, the architecture was wonderful and well crafted. From somewhere down below, Tali heard a woman’s voice, rugged and authoritative. She urged Keeva into a dive, enjoying the rush of the fall, and caught a brief glimpse of her own face before the crow landed on her shoulder. Only then did she release her hold and reenter herself.

    “— below the temple runs the Harudan River where a ship is stationed that’ll start you on your journey towards the Tel’anar mountains… but there’s more.”

    Of course there’s more, Tali thought to herself, there’s always more. She didn’t voice her opinions however, and instead gave her full attention to the Captain of the Royal Guard. Her armor was worn, but meticulously taken care of, and it was obvious to Tali that this woman had bathed in battle and blood. Naxxis’ appearance demanded respect and Tali, who had been raised in the Monastery of the Savants, was all to ready to give what was deserved. Yet, what she was saying made her stomach knot with worry. She glanced around the bow of the barge and wondered why such diverse persons were summoned to protect, and apparently teach the Lady of Water. Tali tried to discern the teachers from the protectors, but it was hard to tell on first impressions only. She called to Morova internally, the wave so strong she felt it in both Keeva perched on her shoulder and Synn who was curled up in the hood of her leather jerkin.

    Her snowcat prowled up to her, eyes quizzical and untrustful of the swaying barge. Morova’s discomfort shadowed her psyche, covered her like a second skin and only constant soothing eased the shadow-tension. Though she had tried to release the she-beast before her departure, Tali had soon realized that it was no use. It was as difficult and as mad as trying to release a part of her soul. It was clear that the snowcat, like her crow and beloved ferret, would be coming along too. It went against all her better senses and brought back painful memories of the three Imprinted she had lost, but having them there with her was comforting. She laid a hand against Morova’s soft fur and felt as though she had a piece of her mountain home with her.

    As the barge slowed to dock, Tali kept all three of her Imprinted close and waited until the rest of her companions were safely off before departing with her snowcat. Her relief was palpable and Tali’s surroundings had never been more tranquil than upon the small moated island in the center of the Water Temple. She breathed in deeply and gaped at the amount of wildlife surging through her, at the waterfall high above them and the plush flora ensnaring the temple’s center. Not wanting to appear wonderstruck, though the temple was simply the most breathtaking sight she’d ever witnessed, Tallulah Woren followed her fellowship led by Captain Naxxis across the tiled pathway.

    Tali was one of the lasts to take a seat upon one of the soft-looking cushions that formed a circlet around the wooden table. No sooner did she sit and call her Imprinted closer, did an attendant garbed in hues of blue place an empty tea mug in front of her. Only then did she notice the steaming pot upon its center. The Lady of Water was much younger than she originally expected, and Tali wondered, with a glance around those seated, if they were enough to keep Tel’nura’s last hope alive. Tali listened with open ears as the others introduced themselves, and committed each of their names to memory. The shadow-caster Wilhelm. Ronne the current Inheritor of Stories. The Hunter named Arcturus. Raina, the only other woman in their fellowship, a child of the Endless Forest. And Xaon, a Druid, who most thought were only but fables. Only he and the Inheritor, through overhearing Savant whisperings of his Order and the Chroniclers, could Tali identify. The rest were just words to her mountain knowledge.

    She poured herself a mugful after Xaon, sipped the offered tea and waited until it would be too rude to wait any longer. Tali bowed her head gracefully, her forehead almost touching her crossed legs.

    “Lady Naomi,” Tali said in her throaty rasp, “It is my pleasure to be of service.” She hesitated, unsure of what to say. “I’m but a Snowkissed mountain warg, my Lady of Water, able to enter the minds of all fauna. I would like to introduce you to my Imprinted,” Tali nodded at the snowcat before her. “Morova of the western mountains of Telasova.” She lifted her shoulder and looked up at her diligent crow. “Keeva, my faithful friend, fond of counting the shiny objects he finds.” And reaching into her hood and retrieving her only true pet, “And please be acquainted with the most mischievous ferret, Synn.”
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  8. To be honest, when I heard the news of the Dragons' deaths, it gave me a small measure of comfort. However, it's most unfortunate that I am now unable to exact my vengeance. I should have seen this coming. . . My life is riddled with failure and disappointment.

    What a shame that they let only one Dragon alive. In my opinion, even one is too many for this world.

    Every time I scan the temple's architecture, I find it difficult to imagine the tremendous amount of time and effort that was wasted here. This colossal, unnatural structure was erected in this waterway just to please a Dragon and the sycophants that worshiped it. And it was the same with all the Dragons. One day all of this will be reduced to dust and the rule of Dragons will end, forever.

    Media Naxxis. I know that name. There was a time in my life when I wanted to be like her. Now I want to hate her and anyone that sympathizes with the Dragons.

    I don't let it show that I'm uneasy in this environment since heavy armor and water don't go well together. I would have removed my gear if I had known the journey to the central chamber was going to take this long. I'm surprised they didn't ask us to part with our weapons. The people of this temple are either idiots or they want their Dragon dead . . . but my gut feeling tells me that, barring Naxxis, the water here is more of a threat to me than the individuals on this barge.

    I notice that some of the other “heroes'”, as Media keeps calling us, are carrying ranged weapons of different sorts. How laughable. I wonder how they plan on protecting the only remaining Dragon when the enemy gets to close to it? Still, it wouldn't be wise for me to underestimate them.

    It's ironic that I'm even here. If they knew my past, I don't think they would let me within twelve feet of the Dragon.

    Thanks to Naxxis, I'm informed that the Dragon hasn't completed her training yet. Thank you, for that information Naxxis. That should make things easier. . .

    As the barge nears our destination, I gaze at the scene with incredulous curiosity. Are we really to sit on cushions round in circle? There's also a table in the middle with a steaming pot. I don't drink tea, and I don't plan on starting any time soon.

    When the barge docks, everyone including myself disembarks as per Naxxis' instructions.

    The Dragon speaks, telling us sit down, to introduce ourselves and to have a drink. The Dragon either forgets to introduce itself or it simply doesn't care to. I'm thinking it's the latter. I know its name is Naomi through Naxxis.

    The first in our group to introduce himself is a masked individual who goes by the name Wilhelm Shadow. He starts by removing his mask. We all have something to hide, a mask just makes it more obvious to everyone that something is being hidden.

    Shadow's weapons look impractical to me; however, he says he can manipulate shadows. Coincidence? Proof of his ability to manipulate shadows is put on display for everyone.

    Ronne Belloa, the Inheritor of Stories, is next to speak. He makes it clear that this isn't his first meeting with the Dragon. Belloa doesn't have the appearance of a warrior. I know better than to judge a book by its cover.

    From the corner of my eyes, I observe the Hunter, Arcturus Whatsworth, begin to reach for his weapons during his introduction. My hand instinctively goes to the pommel of my bastard sword. I was half expecting that he would draw his ranged weapons. I would think, as a hunter, they would have taught him that the mind is the greatest tool. If the Hunter had understood this, he probably wouldn't be weighing himself down and reducing his mobility with an inordinate amount of weapons.

    When Whatsworth is done shifting around his weapons and finally takes a seat, I release my hand from the pommel of my sword -my hand being there to begin with has garnered the attention of some. I should sit down and introduce myself soon so as to not appear wary. I squat down, taking a seat on my haunches instead of sitting on the pillow.

    I don't introduce myself just yet.

    The next one to have a go with the Dragon is a woman that calls herself Raina, Child of the Endless Forest. She has an interesting title. More interesting than her title is her ability to change shape.

    Xaon -another masked man. He pulls down his hood after he takes his mask off. Why he sits the way he does escapes me. I've heard of druids before -thought they were only legends. Apparently, he's one of them. And he's a master with his weapon, elemental magic, and arcane magic. If what Xaon says is true, he's one of the strongest here.

    The last one, this Mountain Woman, she seems the most out of place. I hold back my smirk when she starts introducing the Dragon to her little pets. What's more amusing is the fact that she hasn't introduced herself by name. Mountain Woman will have to do.

    My turn is up. I gaze at the dragon intensely. My eyes are locked with hers. "I am Mathias. I'm here because I heard a hatchling dragon needed watching over, and it pays well.” Although the words came from a place of bitterness, my voice is deep and sincere.
    #8 Rai'Athar, Oct 1, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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  9. The dragon remained quiet as each of them introduced themselves, maintaining a serene and relaxed composure as she gave her attention to each of them individually as they spoke. For them to have introduced themselves was not required, but she did feel it was to the benefit of them all to know whom it was they would be traveling with. And even if that wasn't the case, she did find a small amount of pleasure in learning from people she newly met, whether it was gleaning a part of a culture or witnessing an ability she'd not seen before. This time she'd had the pleasure of witnessing both and it quickly became apparent just how diversely different everyone was who had answered the call of the emperor.

    First to introduce himself was a man called Wilhelm Shadow, a man who she immedietly found tugging at her curiousity and not only because he'd arrived behind a mask that reminded her of the demons told in the many books she'd read throughout the years. His choice in outfit furthered her curiosity, boasting rich colors over a background of white and accompanied with two large tonfa's. Her interest was furthered when he gave a small demonstration of his ability to manipulate shadows. She had to admit she felt some what uneasy, however the soft smile that lay beneath the mask was enough to put her at ease. When he was finished she gave a polite inclination of her head to silently convey her thanks before looking to the next person who spoke up.

    Ronne Beloa was a name she'd already recognize from her younger years and while some here might not know of the kind of work he was involved with, she'd had the privilege of being taught about the Keepers of History. They were a truly respectable and noteworthy group, known far and wide across Tel'nura even though many would live a life time and not have looked upon a person belonging to the Keepers. Naomi smiled and like before, inclined her head gently in his direction. "I'm grateful you're here, the Keepers have always been a great friend to the dragons" she spoke softly with sincerity, "Thank you" she smiled, comforted that among this group was yet another face she'd recognize, even if it had been a long time since their last meeting.

    The next to speak was a gentlemen whom look familiar, though not due to his features... but rather the attire he wore. She vaguely recalled on a group that remained close by to the fire dragon, although she really couldn't say for sure. Perhaps she was thinking of his guards. In any case this man who introduced himself as Arcturus appeared to carry some what of a sense of humor among all his armor and weaponry, something she found quite refreshing from the hunters she'd met in the past. Usually they were the dark and brooding type, though this one seemed different.

    If Naomi had at any point thought she couldn't be surprised by someone's gift in ability, she was just proven wrong. Perhaps the youngest among them, the young woman whom introduced herself as Raina seemingly shifted in appearance so fast and with such detail that she could have thought she was looking in a mirror for a moment. Naomi's features expressed her delight and awe at witnessing such ability and she allowed herself to smile slightly wider before bringing her hands together in a few small claps. "What a wonderful gift you have Raina, and here in my ignorance I thought the world had shown me everything" she looked briefly back to Wilhelm, "The same applies to you".

    Another masked man made his introduction as Xaon, the man having removed his mask and his hood prior to taking his seat. His introduction was short and to the point, although the mention of being a member of The Druids carried the weight of an introduction few could match, herself included. Naomi tipped her head curtly, "It is an honor to have the support of The Druids, thank you for coming to our aid" she said respectfully.

    The other woman to have answered the call of the Emperor, a woman with white hair and dressed in furs that spoke of a life among the cold, perhaps the mountains if she had to make a guess. Naomi listened as the woman introduced the animals she traveled with, the water dragon having some what of a soft spot for animals in general. "It's wonderful to meet you, although I would hope to learn your name" she said with a reassuring smile. Naomi took the moment to reach and take a sparing sip of tea, the cup still steaming which suggested the warmth of the water,

    Finally and lastly, a man whom would fit the type of person she expected to find in a hunter. He was very short and direct, his stare almost invasive and uncomfortable, yet his words never broke to suggest anything other than sincerity. Naomi gave a respectful nod, although she gently smiled to reply to what he'd said during his introduction. "To have learned so much and to only be a hatchling bodes well for my future, you pay me quite a compliment" she replied. She had an idea of how it might have been meant, which is why she applied a small degree of wit to her words, though she chose to believe it was meant well. Still though, there was something different in him compared to the others, something hidden just beyond the iris' of his eyes.

    Naomi looked to address the group, "Thank you all for your introductions" she began, "I feel like introducing myself appears some what redundant given the reason we're all here, although for the sake of etiquette, my full name is Naomi Kaiya Veritas" she looked between them to regard them all in kind as she spoke, "I do not answer to the title of dragon, the title is not one I care for and I'll use it only as a formality to certain audiences" her expression softened, "Besides I have yet to sprout wings and grow scales" there was humor in her words. "To lose three of Tel'nura's dragons is a tragic loss, but I feel I must press upon you the severity of the situation" her expression changed as she began to explain the effect they had upon the world.

    "For those of you who may not know, when a dragon dies their power is passed to a newborn brought into our world. The power we inherited leaves our bodies our souls continue to the afterlife before returning to the next newborn to begin the next cycle. We call this The Infinity Element and it represents the never ending cycle of a dragon" Naomi paused for a moment to allow that information to sink in, "With three dragons murdered three newborns should have inherited the start of the next cycle.... this hasn't happened" her tone became more grave as she continued, "With the absence of three elemental dragons, their natural elements have became.... more aggressive, uncontrolled as if they lack a master or as some have said, a parent" she sighed, "This is a serious problem, while not yet realm destroying there are many whom believe that the death of four dragons and the end of The Infinity Cycle means the world essentially destroys itself. Tsunami's, Tornado's, Earthquakes and Volcanos".

    "Each one of us doesn't just represent an element, we also represent balance in the realm. Without balance, there is only chaos, and the natural disasters I mentioned are only the tip of the ice berg should all four of us be killed without our cycles continuing" she continued to look between them. "You see why this is a serious issue. Although if I'm entirely honest the thought of running from my home in light of what may be seeking my end does not appeal to me. If I'm truly honest I would like to pursue this murder case myself... " she paused for a moment. "It is imperative I not die... at least not until we know why the next cycles have not yet begun or who is behind these murders. If I do, there is a chance we will all find out ends" she allowed the last sentence to sink in.

    Madia who had been listening silently for a while now finally spoke up. "If any of you have anymore questions now is the time to ask them. Otherwise I need to get you all on the ship and on your way along the Harudan river" she looked to Naomi to silently convey that they needed to start wrapping it up. Naomi gave a small nod of understanding before looking towards one of the monks standing by, motioning politely for him to ensure the ship bellow was ready to sail out as soon as they boarded.
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  10. Arctutus scratched at the back of his neck. If nothing else, there definitely was one specific question to be asked. "Well, your-" He stopped dead in his tracks. He had no idea how to actually address a dragon. The old fire dragon, Roderiq, liked to call himself The Fire Incarnate, or simply Incarnate for short. Everyone around him saw it as a fitting title. Not only was he the fire dragon, which by itself would be enough to justify the title, but the man could raise fire, in soul and in the physical world. When he spoke, even the stones of the Fire Temple listened, such was his skill as an orator, such was the strength of his charm and charisma.

    Aw, what the hell. Worst come worse, I'll swim. "Well, Naomi, there is one part of the puzzle I am missing, and that is, who all knows about this plan? I mean, just looking around, and no offense meant to you guys," he said to the monks around them. They all collectively shrugged. "But any person here could be working with whomever is behind this series of heinous acts. Everyone present knows about the river, and that then we'll be heading for the Tel'nuras, likely for the Castle Coldheart, I reckon. Do we have any idea how deep this conspiracy runs?"

    He took a sip of his tea. It was good, the taste enhanced by all the struggle and effort he had to exert to acquire the cup. Bloody small tables. There were forests everywhere around the Water Temple, so wood shortage was no damned excuse. Fora moment he wondered if the same deranged designer mind made the boat they were about to use for their escape. He made a short prayer to the fire it did not. "It would be possible to message the Hunters to provide additional help along the way, if the Empire's garrisons along the way are unable to assist." He took another sip. "In short, how bad do we know it is? Ignoring the fact that three quarters of what is holding the world together are dead, of course."
    #10 Arcadius, Oct 4, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
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  11. Wil listened as everyone introduced themselves. Most were very respectful, as they should, but some were not so much. Xoan seemed kind, but rather indifferent as well. If he really was a Druid though then that was slightly understandable. Even though they were thought to be legend, they were an entity nearly as important as the dragons. Ronne seemed to already know her, but of course he would, he was an Inheritor of Stories! He knew all about the dragons and their powers and every other Great throughout the history of Tel'nuras. Wil was certainly jealous of his position. The others gave brief insights to their backgrounds as well. Things like being from the Endless Forest or probably Mount Telasova to being a part of the Hunters that were so closely tied to the fire dragon. All he had ties to was the Oduun Jungle which held the rumored hidden Dark Temple. Which was only known for it's dealings with the crime world of Tel'nuras. He was mostly ashamed and slightly afraid his link to them would be found out. The only important link people needed to know about was with his mercenary guild the Lantern Bearers. Which one member greatly reminded him of Mathias. This guy mostly called himself a bounty hunter and had no care for anyone. Mathias seemed cold and aloof just like him. Did he not know who he was talking to? Wil tried to shake the thought of Mathias possibly being a total sellout as the bounty hunter was.

    Wil listened intently as Lady Naomi spoke, absorbing and meditating on everything she said. He laughed a bit at her humor. She wasn't that funny, but Wil always laughed as much at peoples attempts as he did at quality. Her tone changed very quickly though. With her explanation he realized just how much responsibility they took. Her existence was a key to keeping balance amongst the physical world and it's systems. She could never entertain any selfish thoughts. Even the idea of death was decided for her as she had to live for the rest of the world. She said she wanted to investigate, but Wil wondered if that was a show of courage, as he would have wanted to just hide in a dark hole with that sort of pressure. He didn't feel any wavering in her tone, so maybe she really was that brave.

    After she finished, Arcturus brought up a valid point. It did seem a lot of people were involved in preparing for this journey. With so many people involved, accountability measures could run thin. The monks that worked here, closest to the water dragon, had probably been with the temple for years, but with newer people the suspicion rose. A chill ran down his spine as he thought of this. Of course he was loyal to the water dragon, but with his background would people believe him? He began to look around the group and realize that anyone of them could have ulterior motives. "Arcturus has a good point, and I'm sure we all have several ways we can help the situation, but I'm sure the Emperor and Captain Madia have thought of an adequate plan to keep Lady Naomi safe. Unless anyone has any relevant decisive information right now, we may need to just do our best and well... trust." Wil was hoping he could turn the aura from that of despairing to a more hopeful one. "Besides, when things do happen, we can make executive decisions then. If Xaon is a Druid then I am sure he is much older than he looks and probably holds some invaluable wisdom." He finished his tea with a few swigs and stood up at his spot. "I personally am ready to go, once everyone is." Wil knew the danger was real, but he didn't feel now was the time to bring up doubt among their ranks.
  12. . . .You may have learned much, Dragon, but knowledge without wisdom is useless -the death of the Three should stand as a testament to this. Do not forget that we are here because you need us.

    It shows on my face that I am uninterested in and grow weary of the contrived nonsense the Dragon spouts concerning the end of some infinite cycle that would ultimately herald the destruction of this world. It's all lies. I will never believe it, especially if it comes from the mouth of a Dragon. I am fully convinced that we do not need the Dragons. We were only made to think that we need them. In this world, there was only one thing I ever needed. The Dragons took that away from me. When she was gone, the nightmares and the dreadful lucid visions in my waking hours had returned. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Dragons are the cause of my suffering and the suffering of this world. In anger, my jaw clenches and my brows furrow. I am careful in that I avert my gaze from the Dragon before the full onset of the expression that is on my face. It is an expression that could betray an intention to commit violence. Instead, I had lowered my head and my eyes had found a focus on the space between my feet.

    I have witnessed first hand the might of a fully grown Dragon. Were it not for this strange power within me that had suddenly manifested itself, I would not be sitting here. Our enemy, or rather the enemy of the last remaining Dragon must be a truly remarkable foe if it had bested a Dragon in single combat. Of course, the possibility of there being more than one assailant cannot be discounted which makes Whatsworths concern a valid one; however, I would wager if there really was an issue of a threat from within the Water Temple, I don't believe the Water Dragon would be sitting before us at this very moment. As for us, we could not have been summoned here on some blind whim. A great deal of thought had to have gone into selecting the persons who were to escort the remaining Dragon. I was somewhat taken aback to learn that the messenger who was sent for me knew so much of my past exploits. I did not know until then that my reputation had preceded me. Mathias, The Iron Wolf. Fitting.

    This Shadow character, his idle rambling tells me that he doesn't understand the severity of the situation. It's possible that he's overly enthusiastic. Regardless, he should leave the answering of questions to the people who have the answers. When Shadow is finished wasting his breath, I take that moment to ask a question that has been on my mind since the beginning. My countenance changes to display an air of relative equanimity before I bring my eyes back to bare on the Dragon. I'm going to enjoy asking this question.

    “Tell me, Veritas. How did the other Dragons die?” I ask. “Spare no detail.”
    #12 Rai'Athar, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  13. Xaon nodded his head towards Naomi when she thanked him and the support of the Druids, more or less she had the support of the Druids. They were only supporting because it suited the interest of Tel'Nura and rather the Druids would have stayed back and done nothing if the Dragons weren't important to the safety of Tel'Nura and the environment. Some of the group was rather questionable and young, especially the final one that introduced themselves. Mathias was one to watch after and make sure the man didn't bring harm to Naomi. Xaon had to watch everyone, but with Mathias's speech and questioning of the vivid details of the other Dragon's death, it brought more attention to him.

    Finishing his mug of tea, the Druid placed the empty mug on the table and folded his hands into his lap. His posture seemed relaxed, but it was just his training on showing a lowered guard to any assassin without actually being off guard. He didn't believe Mathias was an assassin, but it is possible that someone in the group was, or a worker at the Temple was one in disguise. The world was no longer safe, and trusting people was out of the question. Only a handful of people Xaon could trust and not a single one was in this group.

    The comment on Xaon having invaluable wisdom did not fall on deaf ears, but he found no reason to properly respond to that. "I is best if we leave as soon as possible, and not sit around discussing the other Dragon's unfortunate demise in detail. We can discuss all of that later, when Naomi's in a safer area and her location unknown to others." Clearly the first place to look for the Water Dragon would be at the Temple itself, and the surrounding areas. Once the group makes it out of the surrounding areas, then it would be harder to track--as long as the group knows how to cover their tracks.
  14. Ronne listened attentively as the rest of the group introduced themselves. There were a few oddities such as the Hunter and the man who could control shadows. But there were two who really caught his attention. The first was the young woman, Raina. She seemed normal at first until she changed her appearance to that of the Air dragon. His form was something Ronne didn't think he would ever see. Ronne made a mental note to speak with her when they had a chance. It seemed they had much to discuss. The other was Druid Xoan. Druids were a rare sight, even the Keepers rarely interacted with the Order. To see one in publicly announcing himself meant that the situation was more dire than Ronne ever imagined.

    Ronne flinched when Mathias brought up the murders. While he only arrived at the temple after the incidents, the still bodies during the funerals continued to disturb him. Before he could respond, the druid interjected. Nodding at his words, Ronne added, "I agree. There will be moments to chat later." He turned his focus to Matthias. "The demise of the dragons is too fresh for some. It would be inappropriate to bring up such topics in such a setting." Taking another sip from his tea, he waited for the others. Personally he wanted to leave as soon as possible. As seen with the other deaths, even the temples were no longer safe. It would be best if the group moved along to safety.
  15. Raina

    Raina listened intently to Naomi, her mind drifting back to her knowledge of the dragon's as she did. The air dragon, of course, was whom she was most familiar with but the others she had known by their temples, by their lands, and by the hearts of their followers who she'd met along her travels. As the young water dragon asked the group to voice any questions, Raina stayed silent. The situation, though dire, seemed at the moment shadowey and muddled and although questions danced in her mind she doubted the anyone else would have the answers to them.

    As Arcturus spoke, Raina suppressed the slightest glimmer of a smile. The man's tone was easy, typical for a hunter, but his asking of the difficult question suggested someone used to being watchful. And truly Raina couldn't blame him, they were a ramshackle group with most seeming to have powers related to things dark and deceiving. Less like a dragon's guard, the group would have looked more at home as part of a band of thieves or perhaps even sitting round table drinking dark ale and whispering secrets. To suspect a conspiracy, then, seemed only fitting and still Raina doubted it. Her experience led her to believe that dragon's had ears in more places than the common man was aware of. While she wouldn't discount the idea of someone in the group double crossing them, her sentiments did not lead her in that direction.

    The shadow worker, Wilhelm, seemed to agree with these sentiments, urging the group to focus on the task at hand but the knight in black armor, Mathias, had a question of his own. Rather than bristle at the idea of discussing the dragon's death's Raina only tilted her head curiously. It did seem appropriate that the group should know how the other's had passed, if only to better understand how to defend themselves but as the Druid spoke the question faded.

    "I too believe we should be on our way. We have each answered this call, and I expect destiny shall unfold around us quite soon."
  16. The water dragon listened as each of them stressed their concerns, her eyes moving gently between them to regard them individually as they spoke. As serene as she was in how she projected herself, her expression slightly faded when she was asked about the deaths of the other dragons. Probably unbeknownst to most, but being a dragon limited the amount of friends you could have and so to a degree she considered them her only friends, perhaps even family or kin. To lose them all was a weight on her soul, and never before had she been made to feel so alone as a result of their deaths. Not even these beautiful stone walls could replicate the feeling.

    "I believe it is best we save such conversations for our journey, forgive me" she paused only slightly, appearing in momentary thought as she looked down before reaffirming her composure, "The loss of the other dragons is indeed a fresh wound, it is... difficult to speak of at this time" Naomi exhaled a short breath before slowly raising from her seated position, giving a nod towards Madia who appeared to be on the verge of stressing more about their strict departure time. Naomi raised her hand in a motion that prompted them to follow her, offering a sincere smile as she turned to lead them away from the seated area.

    Through a path that lead on from the central courtyard of the island, she took them to the edge of the moat where two monks were already waiting for them. In perfect synchronization they lifted their arms, fluid motions following as their bodies worked in tandem to move the water. It parted for a moment before they both clenched their fists and thrust their arms forwards, an icy path forming before them which appeared to lead to a set of thick metal doors covered in some kind of extravagant mural. "Thank you" she said to her monks, inclining her head politely before walking the icy path. The doors appeared thick and heavy, far too heavy to be moved by a person, however this particular door had a very unique functionality.

    As they approached, water began to leak from holes located in the mural, spouting like a fountain into the moat that lay beneath them on both sides of the icy bridge created by the monks. It was as if the passage beyond was being drained, which frankly was pretty much exactly what was happening. The pressure built and eventually the doors were pushed open, spewing with it what looked like a wave which was about to wash over them. Naomi remained silent and still as the wave split and formed two streams in mid ear, draining into the moat. Should one of them look over their shoulder they would see the two monks working the water once more to ensure they remained dry.

    Once they passed beyond the passageway they would find themselves at the top of a very large stone staircase down inside of what appeared to be a giant open cave. "This is the Harudan River" Naomi mentioned as they began to descend, "The water that fed the moat in the room before is a part of the river, draining through the temple and into what you're seeing before you. In a way this makes the Temple a natural part of the river, it was believed to be the first dragons will that the river not be disturbed and so the temple was built around the river, through the cave system" she went on to elaborate on a apart of the temples history. She wished she could have told them more but unfortunately there was just not much time.

    On the river at the bottom of the seemingly endless descent, a large ship awaited them, its sails beautiful and the ship itself engraved with all manor of symbols and patterns. The flags had been removed and replaced with less recognizable replacements and the colors that would usually be an oceanic blue were replaced with variations of wood browns. Of course the vessel remained beautiful, but it wasn't dressed to the usual standard. "Ok you lot, climb aboard and we'll get you sailing" Madia said as she signaled the dock crew to prepare the ship for cast off. "This is also where I leave you. Emperor's orders are to have myself stationed here and set up an ambush in case the murderer... or murderers try to target the temple" Madia looked between them as she spoke.

    Once everyone was on board the sails were dropped and the vessel would begin to shift in the waters. After a few exchanged goodbyes Madia waved them off, waiting for the ship to break past the open cave entrance where the current pulled harder. Sunlight broke across the wood of the ship and a few minutes latter they were officially sailing off down the Harudan river. Naomi whom had been some what quiet took a moment to enjoy the fresh air brought in by the sailing draft. "And here it begins" she commented, standing at the bow of the ship as it moved further down river. In a couple hours they would have sight of the ocean, but for now they'd be left to enjoy the beautify of the rich flora that existed locally around the water temple.
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  17. He really did not like the idea of an ice bridge, doubly so in a warm day, and triply so above a body of water of unknown depth. It was slippery, and he felt he'd rather trust an arch made from proper stone bricks than pair of monks who were willingly accepting the short table terror. The bridge was followed by the waterlock doors, which, while definitely leaving lasting impression, left the impression of somewhat reckless approach to form over function. But that's how things are here, are they not? And exactly how it was not back home... Roderiq always said the more effective our work was, the less time it would take for our toil to be done. Heeeeh... as if that was ever our fate.

    The stairs that followed were, mercilessly, not made out of ice, merely damp and slippery and long. Just as he was to commend that the architects could have saved everyone's time and installed a slide, the path opened into a large cavern, their path leading them to a dock build on the underground river that ran through the cave. Initially, He assumed they would take some kind of a large boat, through a wild river full of sharp rocks jutting everywhere from the water surface, white foaming waterfalls and... ah well. There was a large ship moored at the jetty. Arguably, it was to be expected. If nothing else, it allowed them to travel a good deal of the journey in relative safety, and comfort.

    "Well, then. That seems like a decently assassination proof method of transport. After all, assassins can't catch you if you are in the middle of a large body of water," he remarked at half voice. The echo in the cave carried, though, and within short moment, the cave was filled with:


    A short, completely guiltless look around assured everybody he had no stake in the event. "There might be assassins about. We best keep our eyes open, and not let our guard down."

    Later on the ship, he approached the dragon, standing on the ship's bow. "Naomi?" he said softly, not wanting to break the moment. After all, they might just have set out on a journey that could very well get them all killed for a noble cause. A moment of recollection and meditation was in order. "I hate to be this kill-joy-ish already, but you, standing like this in the open, is just asking for a quiver or a bolt from someone waiting for us behind the next river bend. You'd best stay belowdecks the whole journey, for your safety. And the whole world's, of course, but those are one and the same."
  18. Wilhelm was glad that the dragon was moving on to the ship. It would be nice to know how the others had died, but that should wait. The temple was probably the most dangerous place at the moment for Naomi, and asking her to stay and explain their deaths was downright dangerous and irresponsible.

    The passageway to the ship was nothing short of a spectacle. He was in awe at the grandeur that was used to travel from one place to the next. It made sense if only water users were supposed to be able to freely move through the area to make it so only water users could freely move through the area. They came to the and Wil quickly boarded with the rest of the group. It wasn't long before the ship took off.

    He leaned on the edge of the ship, taking in the beautiful sights before it was all lost to open empty ocean. As boring as it sounded, it probably would be one of the safer places. He kept a sharp eye out for anything that seemed out of place as they passed through the temple, occasionally glancing back to see what the rest of the crew was doing. Arc was having some words with Naomi about who knows what. The front of the bow was a good distance away and the gentle waves rolling against the ship made just enough background noise to cancel out a lot of other sounds. He was content though. He was going to make this a grand adventure, even if it were seemingly boring.
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