The Prosperos Quest

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Asmodeus, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. [​IMG]
    The Prosperos Quest


    It is known in every nation that the first book read by Princess Pandora was a tale of dragon-slaying. The damsel in the tower; the beast on guard; the knight approaching - these were standard fare in the literature of the old world. And the lessons in these stories were simple for a princess: remain where you are told and prepare yourself for wedlock. Yet to a shrewder girl there are darker inferences, and Pandora was the shrewdest of all. From the tale of the damsel she learned two devastating truths... that there are things as wondrous as dragons in the world beyond your prison... and that one must fight to win true love.

    So it was that the Cataclysm destroyed Elysia. We know this part too well. The princess ran away with her stable-boy and in this fugitive romance drew gods and nations into conflict. And all that we had known was lost as titans did battle and nature recoiled.

    We were destroyed... because of a fairy tale.

    And so it is little wonder that our story should begin, as her's did, with the slaying of a dragon...



    The city of Barval was free once more. Cheers rang through ice-carved halls, and banners unfurled across the cliffs. From the plains the victors could barely see the waving people, so tormented was the air above. The pale skies swirled with the wind of dissipating magics and death-scream smoke. It was the music of aftermath, and it was glorious.

    Across the plain, stretching from the mountain city, weapons and armour lay scattered and speckled with blood. Whole war machines and infantry squads had been trampled into ice, and now the snow was heaping hard on their remains. Yet this was nothing to the giant swathes of sickly green that crisscrossed all the field. It were as if a great painter had slashed his brush upon a canvas.

    Yet it was not alone the artistry of death that held this day. For on a foothill a mile from the city cliffs, where spoiling meats had been dropped as bait, a great white dragon lay slaughtered on the ice.

    And around it, like ants, the survivors of the battle clustered.

    Galain Medwick sat slumped against the dragon's claw, its chitinous surface the perfect rest for his back. His falchion lay at his side and his left hand was bloody around the five rings he wore. So much magic had been used that his skin had split. It gleamed in crimson like his officer's sash as he caught his breath.

    "Brilliant. Truly brilliant!" He was yelling at someone a short distance away. "No really. I shall recommend you immediately for an officer's commission. Such tactics! Such stratagem! Never since the days of Elysia have we been graced with such genius. A dragon the size of a village and you decide to grab its wing. Not even its tail, like a normal idiot-hero. But its wing! The part that flaps up and down! The least stable point of physical motion on the entire anatomy of a lethal cattle-swallowing monstrosity! And that's before we mention that a band of mages, led by YOURS TRULY, were in the process of shooting searing-hot mana at the damn thing during the precise moment you decided to do this!"

    He scowled and kicked off one of his boots, sending it flying towards Shardis, the current target of his sarcasm.

    "You know, I take it all back. Your parents never cared for me. I see now that they despised me, covertly, for all the years I served with them, and in secret devised a most terrible revenge. TO LUMBER ME WITH YOU! An assistant who can't take three steps without provoking the murderous concoctions of nature! A non-felicitous feline intent on the bumbling destruction of all Pegulis!"

    He kicked off his other boot then grimaced and clutched his leg. His old injury ached with a savage urgency, made sharper by the cold and his recent exertions. The pain was enough to pause his tirade and, slumping back on the dragon's claw, the mage rested his head and tried to calm himself.

    Behind him were all manner of scenes. Spearmen and archers were reclaiming ammunition from between the silver scales of the beast, while others stood atop its back to cheer. Another more subtle party were at the creature's belly and cutting it open to drag out the eggs it carried. There had been arguments over the last hour, and even scuffles. Some wanted to take the eggs back to Barval; others wanted to destroy them. But happily most within the President's army were too tired to contend the issue. Mages stood to one side and guzzled jugs of water, stemming the dehydration their spells had invoked, while clerics whispered prayers over the dead, reclaimed weapons, and painted warding sigils on the dragon's limbs. On every side of the fallen beast the post-battle dramas were playing out.

    There was a flutter of black wings as Medwick's aenigma dipped from the blizzard clouds. The crow flexed its claws and deposited a waterskin between its master's legs, before swooping to perch on the dragon's claw. From there it watched, with silent and unnerving stare, as Medwick snatched up the waterskin and chugged it down with relish. Icy water sloshed out across the mage's face and mixed with his blood and sweat. Yet still he guzzled, quenching the thirst that only magical exhaustion could engender.

    "Next time..." he shouted upon finishing the vessel, "You stay at the dig site. I'd rather fight with a blind wombat who has sworn a vow of pacifism!" He hurled the waterskin at Shardis then collapsed once more against his backrest.

    His rant was lost to the arctic wind, which sent snowflakes swirling around the dragon's corpse. And within the freezing mist few could see the one who had brought them victory this day. By the dragon's snout, now half-buried in the ice, the Blue President, Pahkné, stood with her advisors and discussed a matter most urgent.

    ... a matter that would end, a few minutes from now, in a call to adventure.

    #1 Asmodeus, Dec 21, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
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  2. After the battle Shar had flopped onto the ground face up panting hard to get her heart back in place and some life back into her limbs. She heard Galain's usual tirade start and new better than to interrupt him till he finished.

    Semi-real flapping wings to her left clued her in to the fact that Garth had returned from hiding somewhere while the battle had been going on. She knew why he had done so. A female dragon full of eggs had died today. Being a dragon, however translucent he may be, Garth couldn't bring himself to help kill her or even watch. It also explained why he was so quiet.

    The Felleon Sat up and took in a breath and was about to start to speak. Just then a boot hit her squarely between the eyes. By the reek of it, it had to be Medwick's. She looked down at it and sighed, then picked it up and slowly stood up. She felt every joint and every muscle, they screamed at her, yet she limped over to her companion, friend and spirit brother.

    There was a pause in the rant and she was about to speek again when he started up again.

    "Next time..." he shouted upon finishing the vessel, "You stay at the dig site. I'd rather fight with a blind wombat who has sworn a vow of pacifism!" He hurled the waterskin at Shardis then collapsed once more against his backrest.

    She dropped the boot to catch the skin, finding it empty she dropped it too. Her ears twitched back against her head then forward then out to the side then back forward. The ear-rings jingled sweetly then were still, she wasn't sure but she thought it was safe enough to speak now.

    "Fine with me, I'm getting tired of saving your but anyways, what do we do now?" She was sticking her head in her backpack and digging around. After finding the brush she pulled it out and began working on the snarls in her fur, starting with the arms first. There was dried blood all over her and she knew she would have to take a snow-bath soon or it would stain badly. For now though a good brushing was definitely in order.

    Shardis was never angry with Galain Medwick, no matter how he ranted, roared or even exploded. She was substantially bigger than him, and at least twice as fast, when she needed to be. That's not to say he was slow or week though. He was, in her opinion, one of the more formidable humans she had ever known. She trusted him. That was an amazing thing. Felleons, the snow leopard variety mostly, usually were not so trusting. Not even with each other. It was an innate thing that kept the species alive for so long in the history of Sunnepheia.

    No, she had learned from experience that humans, especially this one, ranted from time to time and you just had to let them do it or they would make things miserable for everyone. After a large battle like this one, it was to be expected that Medwick would go off. She didn't much listen to what he ranted about though, it didn't make much sense... really, a blind wombat? Why would someone want to fight that creature? ...and everyone knows they don't talk, unless it's an aenigma and why would it swear? Nope, he was terribly confusing if you tried to understand ALL the things he said when angry.

    Leaning against a largish rock a few feet away she began rubbing some snow into her fur to get the worst of the blood out. She was starting to get hungry too and wondered if there would be a feast tonight.

  3. Kal had extensive experience with climbing buildings. How different could it be climbing up an angry dragon's neck? Strong heat radiated from blasts of mana from below. The scene almost seemed fit for a heroic tale sang in taverns across the lands. All Kal could think was that he needed to slice that dragon's eye. He used his two combat knives to climb and climb, thanking the heavens for the dragon's sturdy scales. After what seemed like hours of tormenting, exhausting climbing, Kal had reached the eye. He wasn't the only one aiming for the eyes, however. There were arrows and blasts of magic hitting all around the dragon's angry face.

    After making sure he had a good hold with his right hand, Kal jammed his other combat knife into the Dragon's watery eye multiple times, causing massive eyelids to close and consume one of his blades. Kal latched on to his remaining knife for dear life. The dragon seemed to be falling to the ground and it was only by the grace of the gods that Kal wasn't flattened under the dragon, but instead the dragon broke his fall.

    It was almost surreal, the battle with the dragon. Kal had never experienced anything like it in his entire life. How did he even get swept into the fray? Why didn't he just flee? These questions lingered in the back of his mind as he pulled one of his knives from between two slver scaled on the dragon's face. Somewhere in the trance of battle, Kal had found it suitable to aim for the dragon's eyes, a cheap shot he had taken against many a smaller foe. It was no easy feat, climbing up a dragon's neck to slash its eye, but somehow Kal managed it, even with the searing heat from the mage's mana.

    Now Kal rested against the dragon's massive maw, rattled from riding the dragon down to soil, as the pain from multiple burns started to harass his nerves. He could hear some sort of official chatter coming from not too far away. It almost sounded like the president, but maybe it was his shaken mind playing tricks. He was in no state to try and make out what they were saying, but his first instinct was to book it for the hills since he and officials never really got along. In a futile attempt to run, Kal almost made it to one of the dragon's claws before he collapsed against a rock, and into a felleon with blood stained white fur.

    "I beg...your pardon..." Kal said in a daze as he pressed his back against the rock, next to the felleon. "I think I've bruised my hurts to breath..." Kal wasn't addressing anyone in particular.

    "You're insane...all of this for what!?" An angry serpent slithered up next to the forest kin. "We could have died, fool!" It hissed angrily. The serpent was coiled up in a threatening position as it hissed.

    "I...don't know why I fought...I only meant to...loot...bodies..." Kal's throat sounded raspy as he struggled to talk. The heat had sucked from him what little moisture his body had in it. Kal's drinking habits hadn't been the best lately, contributing to his dehydration. "Dragon's...treasure..." left his lips before he closed his eyes.

    "Hey! Stay with me Kal! Felleon! Help him! We're going to die!" Sarrthas was half pleading, half demanding in a desperate hiss.
    #3 DrPepper, Jun 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
    The sour smell of battle, the sounds of people scurrying about their duties. Ethel breathed deeply, moving quickly among the clerics. The triage system was in effect, victims of the worst injuries lined up first. Ethel watched as the clerics sprinkled prayers over the dead, covering them with the white linens brought for burial. Ethel moved to the first of the injured, nodding to the mages who moved aside to give her room. She spread her palms over the man's body, closing her eyes. A myriad of colors swirled about her large, butterfly-shaped wings as they fluttered. Hues of blue and green filtered through her hands. A large gash ripped across the man's torso. The wound was too deep to heal at the moment, she concluded, she would be able to put him into stable condition. She bent over, leaning against his chest to listen to his breathing, reaching for his wrist to check his pulse. Once she felt that the man's breathing returned to regular intervals, she rose, blood staining her fingers, moving to the next man.

    Ethel had taken no part in the battle, but was called upon to aid the healing process. There weren't nearly enough doctors for the amount injured. In her mind, Ethel was already calculating her steps. She would stabilize the first triage, close up the wounds of the second, and drop recovery magic on those less injured. There was only so much she could do without tiring herself out. She gestured to a group of medics to move the first two patients to a doctor's tent and rose, taking another look around the battlefield. As absorbed as she was in her research, Ethel regretted not participating. The dragon was quite a creature, a massive beast of large proportions. She wondered if any of the warriors felt any relish or thrill while fighting.

    She looked down at her hands. Years of research and tinkering in the laboratories left no mark on her pale skin. No scars, no battle wounds. As she moved to another patient, healing a wound that would result in a jagged scar across the man's face, Ethel tried to imagine herself taking part in such a battle.

    She honestly couldn't.

  5. Shardis was tired, bone deep tired, but more than that she was hungry. First thing first though, she couldn't walk up to a table of food with people around it covered in blood as she was. Coupling her hunger with her exhaustion she had to really focus on what she was doing. Pick up fist full of snow, rub into fur, brush crumbs of dried blood out, repeat as needed. So it went for several minutes, she didn't even notice when Galain stalked off.

    Rub rub rub, lean over grab more snow, rub rub, brush brush. She leaned over again for another handful of snow when someone bumped into her from behind, catching her completely off guard. Shar stumbled two steps turned caught the young man by the shoulders with both hands before he hit dirt and lifted him up carefully, setting him down on the same claw that Medwick had just vacated.

    "Are you all right? Pardon me for saying so but you look like *%$#." She let her gaze wander over the fellows body from head to toe. He seemed young and rather frail and obviously hurt. The snow leopard feleon turned and yelled at a passing sherpa for water and a healer. The sherpa bobbed a quick acknowledgment and dashed off, returning in a moment with a hastily dressing healer. They were both carrying several skins of water and a bag of what she assumed was medicines and first aid things. "Here! Take care of this fellow, umm what is your name? Mine is Shardis." She gave a tentative smile and tilted her head, waiting for an answer.
    #5 lynzy, Jun 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
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    The battle was won. The fallen lay pressed into the welcoming snow, staining the brilliant white crimson, with the largest of the fallen leaving a great patch of poisonous green leaked out around its slowly steaming body. Each breath carried with it the heavy scent of death, a sharp bite of magic, and the acidic hint of smoke. Coupled with the already painfully cold air it made it almost unbearable to breath. But, to those who had survived each breath was a welcome respite.
    After the rush of adrenaline that had thundered through her veins it was all Caoimhe could to keep from collapsing face forward into the snow. She felt like her mind was lagging behind, having been unable to keep up with the swirl of battle as she had dodged and weaved sometimes only narrowly missing being crushed to death by one massive foot. Taking a couple steps forward her brain suddenly snapped back to the present and she gave a hearty wince. Perhaps she had gotten a little closer than even she had believed, a deep breath confirming several bruised ribs.
    "Caoihme! What are you doing you should be resting." A soft familiar voice brought a grim smile to the dark haired girl's face. Kneeling Caoihme greeted Galra, the small aenigma dragging a small leather pack behind her through the snow.

    "No, I check dragon first." Though the tiredness was quite clear in her voice there was a wary and determined edge. She had spent too many years in the wild to so readily trust that the dragon was truly felled. And at this point Galra knew that there was no point in arguing so she opted instead for clambering up to rest across Caoimhe's shoulder.

    It was hard getting near the carcass without having her own person space invaded by the swarm of soldiers all just milling around. But, after a few warning growls, and a few more deadly looks she managed to squeeze through the press to get within proximity of the great white dragon. At first being so close repelled against every rule she had learned to follow in the woods. Thankfully once she was close and saw that a group of soldiers were already at the dragon's belly cutting it open she felt much more comfortable about being this close. That was until she saw what they were pulling out of the belly. Even in the dead of winter Caoihme had never been very comfortable with the hunting and slaying of pregnant females. For a few moments she just watched as the group was split half insisting that they take the eggs with them and the other half wanted to destroy them then and there. Galra knew what Caoimhe was thinking before the thoughts had even fully formed themselves.

    "If you are not quick the eggs will freeze to death." That did it, mouth pressed in thin hard line Caoihme dodged forward and snatched one of the eggs just before it was to be placed into the snow. Three of the soldiers arguing for the eggs destruction pursued after her for a few steps. One of them even reached out as though to grab the egg, harsh words half way formed on his lips. That was until they caught sight of her display. A snarl curled her lip showing off each pointed tooth, her eyes had narrowed down until they were just slits flashing dangerously and daring the offenders to get any closer. Enough of their attention had been caught to stop them but, they still glanced down at the large egg clutched at her chest, almost completely hidden by the folds of her heavy, hide cloak. It was the final low primeval growl and the snap of her teeth crunching together that got them to back off and concentrate on a fight they could win, namely continuing to argue with the others in the group about what to do with the remaining eggs.

    Satisfied that no one was going too intruded into her personal bubble she retreated a ways away ending up near the dragon’s shoulder, wedged in behind a mage who was resting against one of the dragon’s massive claws. Leaning her back against the scaly hide she brought her knees up to her chest. Grabbing the corners of her cloak she brought it around her knees turning herself into a little ball. The heavy beaver skin mantel across her shoulders puffed out causing her to look like some overly disgruntled bird. The egg she let shift so that it was nestled comfortably in between her chest and her thighs. Pulling her head down she took a closer look at the large egg in her lap, carefully examining her chosen prize. Its base was the same pure white of its mother however it had large deep green speckles decorating the bottom. Leaning a bit closer Caoihme rested her head against the hard, smooth surface of the egg surprised at how warm it was. Sensing Galra moving around her neck Caoihme raised her head a few inches allowing the otter to slide into the warm bubble now surrounding the egg. For a few moments the only thing to be seen of the girl was a pair of dark grey eyes peeking out from under her hood and over her knees. Everything here was so strange to this girl; there were too many people, too much noise. Only three weeks after she had left her pack and now she longed for a good romp with her pack siblings or even just a good howl with her entire family.
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  7. Kana slumped down on the ground, ignoring the cold of the snow that would soon spread through her clothes, her heart still pounding in her chest after the battle, she may not have been very close but for her it was enough. Her arms still ached after her struggle to keep her grip on the ropes that tied the large dragon down, pulling off her gloves she grabbed some snow, letting the cold sooth the reddness in her skin, soon though the cold became too much and she quickly stuck her hands back into the gloves. All around her people milled about in the bloodstained snow, cries from the wounded who'd yet to recieve aid from the healers filled the air and soldiers and civilians alike were already starting to cut the dragon open, taking out the eggs. It was sad, for all those unborn to loose their life, and Kana wished they could be spared although her logical side knew they would be a problem if they grew up.

    A light flapping was heard and soon after Kana felt a light touch on her shoulder as Raeus landed, gripping her shoulder with semi-solid claws, "you really should have wings Kana," he said, flapping his wings once before folding them by his side. "The view is quite spectacular, if you remove the death and pain of course." The small gryphon disliked violence as much as his lopos did, but just as Kana had anticipated earlier Raeus had been captiviated by the large dragon in the end, he too facinated by the creature that they'd read so much about yet never dreamed of ever seeing. The sheer power of the beast had been enormous, as she'd struggled to keep hold of the rope together with so many others she had wondered if they would have had even a single chance had the dragon been in her full strength.

    Pushing back her hair with a gloved hand Kana pulled out her water skin with the other, almost surprised that the cold water hadn't frozen solid yet, a shiver ran down her spine forcing her to stand up, brushing some snow from her furlined coat as she set her sights on the body of the dead dragon. "Look at the claws Raeus," Kana said as she examined the front paw, the pale scales glistening in the sun contrasting against the darker claws. "It's so large up close. Could you imagine how interesting it would be to see the dragon's eggs hatch and see them grow." Shading her grey eyes against the light as she craned her neck Kana tried to examine the entire body.

    "There are plenty of other things that are both interesting and safe," Raeus pointed out with a swish of his tail, bending his head to preen his wing feathers. Kana mumbled an agreement, he was right and she agreed with that but that didn't mean she would always follow the safe road. Her hunger and the cold forgotten Kana lost herself with examining the dragon, comparing what she'd read and memorizing what was new, which was quite a lot.
  8. Dark hair, forehead and a pair of eyes slid into view around the dragon's shoulder. Medwick scowled at the odd-looking wild-girl who had huddled nearby with one of the dragon eggs. Was this a form of post-traumatic stress, or a looter with a bad follow-through? He had seen stranger things... most of them today.

    "Excuse me, young miss. That thing is covered with amniotic pheromones. You'd do well to..."

    "MASTER MEDWICK!" a powerful voice boomed in the distance, and the scholar turned to see an advisor beckoning. He waved an acknowledgement then gave one last frown at Caoihme before moving away. Striding quickly through the snow, breath misting as he panted, the scholar passed Shardis and Kal and dodged around Kana as he made his way to the mist-drenched rise a little beyond the dragon's head.

    There three silhouettes were waiting, stood like sentinels among the comings and goings of the soldiers. By her profile and posture he recognised the Blue President immediately. "My lady."

    She stood with her magewood staff and even in the blizzard its purple orb swirled with magics. Some said the woman could see the future, and by this wisdom had reclaimed Pegulis from the Cataclysm ice. But Medwick needed no rumours to garner respect. President Pahkné was everything he admired in a leader - a person of intellect and democracy - a person who believed in the power of good magic and wise statesmanship to unite men. Let the Red Land of Kausteira trust in warfare, and the Green Land of Zmaragdos trust in spirits; he would choose this freezing, ragtag collective of philosophers a thousand times over.

    "Are you hurt?" The President watched Medwick struggle to the top of the rise while clutching his thigh. The old injury was giving him hell in this cold.

    "No more than any man of the world."

    To her left was Marshall Kaol, the fair-haired and white-feathered Avian who led the sky patrols of Barval. He stood with his bat aenigma in one hand and had offered it his finger to bite and drink from. It was somewhat unsettling, but there were a million ways a soul manifested itself. Whatever a bat drinking your blood said about you, it was no one's business but your own. "We have found something, Medwick. Something troubling..."

    "More troubling than a dragon with a toddler-deficiency?"

    "It was in the beast's stomach." the other advisor was a Feleon, large and white-furred like Shardis. Chancellor Guvern handed over a length of bone that was bleached white and sharply curved. As Medwick took it the weight was surprising. It was like holding a piece of armour.

    "It's a bone, Chancellor."

    "I know it's a bone. But where did it come from?"

    Medwick exhaled and held up the object in the sunlight. "Looks like a rib-section. A marine creature by the look of the hypoplasic weathering. Fresh-water, definitely. And by the size it would need a rather hefty ecosystem." He lowered the bone. "I would say our dragon's been grazing in Lake Prosperos."

    The President's face curled in a smile. "I told you he was our best archaeologist."

    "You flatter me, Madame President. But I could have told the Marshall and the Chancellor that myself. Indeed, I have told them that myself on numerous funding applications to the High Council, and still they..."

    The woman cut him off mid-rant. "It is not the bone that interests me, Medwick. It is the thing inside it." Without another word she lowered her staff and touched the purple orb to the bone in Medwick's hand. There was a sharp spark of mana, then a crack, and like a twig the object snapped. Medwick stumbled a little, scowled at the president, then looked down at the two pieces of bone. He turned them, slowly, and his eyes went wide. For the first time in many winters... Medwick was lost for words.

    "See anything you recognise?" Kaol and his bat were watching the scholar intently.

    "That's impossible..." Medwick tossed one of the halves away and stared intently at the cross-section of the other. There were rings of silver around the marrow, little seams like metal that mixed and glimmered with the bone. "They look just like..."

    "Yes." The chancellor folded his massive, fur-lined arms. "The Shards of Libras."

    Medwick looked up at the President. "My lady, for the last 10 years you have commissioned me and Shardis to search for this ore. We have found but SLITHERS of it in mountains and lake beds. Why, Barval itself is built upon a seam no more than a half-mile across! And now you say this creature had the Shards of Libras in its bones!?!" Perplexed, he looked down at the artefact again. "I mean... for a creature this size to have it infused in its skeleton, it would have to have eaten a quantity in excess of..."

    "It would have to have eaten..." the President cut in again, "...the weapons of Libras himself."

    Like a dragon crashing on an ice plain, the weight of the revelation struck Medwick hard. He wandered off a little then turned and sat down hard on a nearby sled. His brow was knitted in a furrow that spoke volumes. His life's work, his passion - everything had been called into question now, and in the space a few words a world made small by his learning had suddenly become vast once more.

    The three politicians moved to stand around him again, with the Chancellor's wolf circling. The President had picked up the other piece of bone. "Marshall Kaol has confirmed it with the other scholars. This is the rib bone of a Sendris Whale. They are giant creatures that move along the sea-bed, with their jaws open to ingest smaller fish. For one to be attacked and eaten by a dragon, it would have to be near the surface, possibly stranded. We've had reports for some time that the Prosperos Sea is drying up. Now I think we have our proof."

    "And what's more..." added the Chancellor. "...we now know where the Lost God fell."

    It was a legend as old as the memories of man, from the first days that followed the Cataclysm. When the races were still struggling to come together in the post-apocalyptic wastes and recover magic and civilisation, they whispered of the Last Battle, the final conflict between the gods who warred over Princess Pandora's fate. When the land recoiled, when storms and floods and earthquakes cracked the land, the great gods dualed in the heavens and cast each other to earth. And among them all, the Smith God Libras, known as patron of the lands where Pegulis now stands, was driven wounded into exile. It was said that only he could restore the lands and lift the curse of ice and hardship.

    Finally, Medwick found the strength to speak. "If Libras fell into the Prosperos Sea, then his weapons fell with him. And the blades of the other gods that pierced him. We are speaking about an arsenal."

    "A divine armoury, about to be uncovered by the drying sea."

    The President knelt beside him, an act strangely humble for the ruler of a nation. In the purple light of her staff they regarded one another, and the woman kept her voice low. "War is coming, Medwick. The Red Nation marches eastward and will not rest till all of Sunnepheia is subjugated. And word reaches me that the Green Nation is uniting to heal the poisoned lands. We are moving towards conflict... a second Cataclysm even. Pegulis is the youngest of the nations; barely a handful of cities. If Kausteira and Zmaragdos rise... we will be caught between two giants... and we shall fall."

    "I know this." Medwick's pale face held her gaze. "Every child is taught this."

    She touched his shoulder. "Well, now we have a chance to tell a different story."

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  9. The cold gripped Kal's bones as his consciousness slipped somewhere in between sleep and awareness. If it hadn't been for the dressing healer, Kal might have not woken up from his next slumber. Water was the best remedy for Kal's situation, the intense heat having sapped him of hydration and the icy chill of the northern winds chilling his core to near hypothermia. The medicine would keep him from freezing to death, thankfully, and it was mostly thanks to this kind felleon for showing some sort of sympathy towards him. He hadn't received much in his lifetime.

    Choking the water down, Kal managed to come to, but he didn't want to move at all. "Thanks...I'm Kal. And I'd have to agree." Kal coughed on some more water before taking another swig. "With your assessment...s#$t is probably prettier than am, at the moment." The serpent slithered behind Kal's back and around to the his side closer to Shardis.

    "Oh and this fellow is Sarrthas, don't mind him. He is a greedy bastard who would see you burn, should it save his own hide." Kal scowled at the red serpent.

    "Oh and you're any different?!" Sarrthas hissed at Kal. "Don't let his silver tongue fool you, he's no different than..."

    Kal coughed loudly and interrupted Sarrthas. "Ok, Sarrthas, that's enough of your lies!" Kal attempted to push the serpent away. "He's a liar too...I mean he is a rotten snake after all." Kal laughed in an attempt to lighten the mood. He didn't really have much else to say, and his state was already piss poor as is, but should the felleon say anything to him, he would do his best to answer. He was stuck in this situation after all.


  10. At the exchange between the two Shar's ears flipped this way and that as her mind quickly processed For the time being, she decided, Shardis would ignore the words but keep an eye on them. She would not tolerate trouble makers in the camp. "Well, you are looking better now that you have received some care."

    The familiar flapping of wings came from behind her as Garth landed outside the tent. He stuck his head in through the tent flaps and made a silent snarl at the snake approaching his lapos. "GARTH! Best behavior, please. They are not our enemies."

    "I don't like the slithery one, he comes to close." His cat like eyes turned to the hurt young male and he sniffed then chuffed. "He doesn't smell too good ether."

    Mortified by Garthon's bad manners, the felleon's ears drooped and pointed to the side while her eyes closed and she took in a deep and... tolerant breath. "Is this the voice of experience talking then?" She turned and stared Garth down until he retreated from the tent with an angry puff of smoke. " I apologize for him, he can be over protective at times. Well, I should leave you to rest now. I believe we will be breaking camp soon, if I know my brother."
    #10 lynzy, Jun 17, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2013
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  11. Kal chuckled and smiled at the dragon as he left. "No harm done, I've been called worse." Glancing at Sarrthas, Kal continued, "but your friend was right to watch out for this one. I advise you to do the same."

    Sarrthas coiled up and glared at Kal without speaking a word. He was obviously not in the mood for Kal's jeers.

    "Thank you for your kindness, what was it? Shardis? You have my sincerest gratitude for not letting me wither away. Maybe someday we will meet again soon and we can share a hot meal or cold brew and talk of our history." Kal would nod his head to her in farewell as she left him to rest. He leaned against the rock and closed his eyes, resting while he had the chance.

  12. [​IMG]
    The Norsigal Steps

    The Norsigul was a name given by local Avians to the narrow, sweeping stretch of land east of Lake Kaikias. Hemmed between the sea and the oft-frozen lake, it stood as perhaps the coldest place in all Sunnapheia, battered by wind and ice storm. In the summer, if one could call it that, the thawing of the lake meant that most travel was river-born and the Norsigul was avoided altogether. It was for this very reason that some of the most proficient Avian tribes existed on the Norsigul stretch, far from where other races might venture. And it was also for this very reason that Medwick's archaeological team had chosen the Norsigul as the place to search for the fabled Shard of Libras. This was where they had been recalled from when the dragon attacked; and this is where they now returned as the Prosperos Quest began.

    For only somewhere this remote, this inhospitable, this unforgiving... could have hidden the footsteps of a god.

    And only Medwick, of all northerners, had been consistently described with the same three adjectives.

    The sage's life currently rested in the hands of two Avians who had flown to the summit of the Wuldun Cliff, a great wall of ice that formed the east face of Mount Dereskai. In a wooden harness dangling from two ropes they had lowered, Medwick stared through his eyeglass and scouted the way ahead. In his off-hand, a bracelet of gems was clutched and their edges gave off a faint heat which he used, now and then, to clean the lens of the seeing-glass. Medwick often theorised that the only reason for his promotion to Chief Archaelogist was the fact that he was among the few northerners who could enchant these thermic crystals. A larger version of those gemstones currently nestled against his back, in the folds of his clothes, and kept hypothermia at bay. And several more, hundreds of feet below, marked like lamps the convoy where the others waited.

    He wondered how many of the volunteers were watching him. Half praying for him to find something... the other half hoping the ropes would snap.

    Medwick gave a tug on the secondary cord and sent a signal to the two Avians at the top of the cliff. After a moment, the order was understood and the cradle lifted a few feet, taking the sage towards the ridge above.

    The Shards of Libras had represented, for Medwick, the most intriguing and feasible archaeological find in post-Cataclysm history. The legend went that the Lost God Libras did battle in the heavens with foes unknown, and with each clash shards of molten metal broke from his blade and fell to the world below. In the construction of Barval City they had uncovered certain tiny seams of a metal - a metal that could not have formed without proper bedrock - that seemed resilient to the freeze-thaw weathering and glacial pressure of the environment. Medwick's commission had been to find more of this ore... an ore which could one day revolutionize the techniques of insulation and construction in Pegulis.

    Of course... now he was on a mission of different kind... to seek the very source and progenitor of those shards.

    A life's work... eclipsed by a journey that might well kill him.

    His knee was aching. The cold always brought out the worst. When the cradle came to rest he gave another tug on the secondary cord. Seconds passed, his cradle swaying in the ice wind that howled along the cliff face. Then the seconds turned to minutes. He gave another tug, sharper this time, and squinted up to the cloud-smotherered peak. There was no response. Perhaps the Avians had fallen asleep... or more likely had gone chasing snow rabbits. They made no secret of their disdain for land-dwelling races, and Medwick had had more than a few problems with them already on this expedition. The Avians refused to carry ration packs, insisted on taking the high ground wherever they went, didn't eat chicken and had to sleep upwind from the huskies.

    And now... it seemed... they had bored of manning the climbing ropes. Cursing, Medwick stowed his eyeglass and twisted in his cradle to flatten himself to the cliff face. The ledge was a few feet above. He would climb up the hard way then check the cord... maybe even yell up at the Avians if it wouldn't cause an avalanche. Grunting, the archaeologist worked out the handholds then hauled his weight off the cradle. He climbed a few feet with the wind howling in his ears then got both hands on the lip of the ledge. His legs swung out, his red marker sash trailing, and he dangled from the overhang while working up the strength to haul himself to safety.

    Then something landed on his hand.

    Medwick looked up at Carval.

    Carval settled his talons and stared back.

    Medwick blinked.

    Carval preened its feathers and stared back.

    "Can I help you?" the dangling archaeologist said at last, through the muff of his coat hood.

    The crow blinked. Then, at length, it answered in a quiet, tiresome murmur. "The convoy is getting impatient."

    "Are they really? That is fascinating."

    Something landed on his other hand.

    Medwick looked across at the snow white owl.

    The owl stared back.

    There was silence. Medwick dangled from the ledge and looked through his goggles at the two birds, wind and ice howling around him. "Well... this is nice..."

    "Stooooorm!" the Owl hissed, its voice hoarse and cracked with age. No doubt the messenger aenigma of one of the Elders who had volunteered for the quest. "It cooooomes westwaaaard, from the seeeeeea..."

    Medwick scowled. "I suppose that's why my Avians vanished."

    "A sheeeeeelter must be fooooound. Huuuurry!" The owl squawked then spread its wings, almost startling Medwick's grip as it swooped back towards the camp below.

    "Perfect!" the sage muttered, "One day into the quest and we're about to be turned into icicles!"

    "It's warm in the next valley." Carval stated. There was a hollowness in the crow's stare - an emptiness that each time made you wonder, if just for a moment, whether he was an aenigma at all or just some well-trained pet. It was as if all that was estoeric and unnerving in Galain Medwick had been drawn, vortex-like, into this sinister bird.

    Medwick glared at his aenigma. "Make yourself useful, you! Return to the convoy and tell Shardis to take the west incline.."

    Without another word, his crow alighted and circled, like some dark angel, to the foothills below. And as he departed Medwick hauled himself up onto the ledge.

    "How does the President expect any kind of progress when the worst storms in history are about to uhrr mghrr rhrr nurghr..."
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  13. Tegol watched as the scholar continued his way up the cliff side, his teeth chattered slightly with each blast of freezing wind. He’d live in the northern territories all his life been through chilling winds and devastating blizzards but no matter how long he lived here he could never get accustomed to wind. Each blast was like a swipe of death’s own hand slowly draining the energy from your body, he moved back towards the other members of the convoy huddling amongst its number for warmth. Next to him stood Lyall his aenigmae, she was quiet as usual her bright aura offered a little light in the snow blown haze that surrounded them.

    Like turkey’s most of the convoy’s member stared blankly into the sky watching as the scholar swayed in the wind betting on whether he’d make it to the top of fall from his harness. Growing tired of the biting wind Tegol retreated to one of the nearby wagons, and laid against the side hoping that it would provide enough cover for him to remain some of the lost body heat.

    “G-G-God’s be damned it’s freezing out here, h-h-h how much longer must we wait for him.” He grumbled to no one in particular.

    This was not what he’d expected when he was volunteered for this, of course it was his duty as one of the president’s personal guards to do as she said, “Protect Medwick with your life.” But this was ridiculous fighting off bandits and marauders was one thing but slowly freezing to death was a completely different story. He continued grumbling for another few minutes before he simply gave up on it and watched like the rest as the tiny figure continued to sway in the wind.
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  14. The winds howled and seemed to be grabbing at her fur and rattling the flaps on her pack as if trying to say something to Shar. She held her head high and sniffed, then chuffed and then assumed the flehmen position. The information she received from doing so confirmed her original thoughts, it was going to be a monster of a storm. She pinned her ears down flat and cursed some of her favorite swearwords and then signaled to the nearest shurpa. "We have to get to some better shelter than this. Give the signal to pack up and follow me to the west incline, it should lead us to..."

    Just then Medwick's crow, Carval, came gliding in to land on her raised arm. "Go to the west incline." He said flatly.

    "I already am, where is Galain? Is he alright? Does he need help?" The bird blinked once and with a rustle of feathery wings it flew off with out an answer to her queries.

    "&#@ @*+%! I HATE that F%$#@ crow!" With her eyes narrowed and a snarling growl about to erupt, she turned on the hapless sherpa and began giving directions. The man looked like he needed a new pair of pants as, wide eyed, he nodded quickly and ran off to tell the others.
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  15. What is it? The grey she husky asked again tilting her head and gently nudging at the pack that was resting snuggly on Caoihme's knee and elbow. Sighing heavily Caoihme wriggled around so that she was resting on her mother side so that she was no longer back to back with the dog. This caused a few half hearted barks from the two other huskies that were sharing the small hollowed out den with them. It was a bit of a tight squeeze, Caoihme and the three huskies had only just dug it to get out of the vicious wind that whipped through this narrow pass. Already they entrance to the snow den was completely covered over with snow but, at least that meant that the wind could no longer reach them.

    Is pup. Caoihme replied simply. It had taken her a few days to get used to the dogs form of speech. Yes, it was similar to wolf but, it was much more simplified and so it was a bit of a struggle to choose her words so that the dogs would get it. Like right now, the dogs could smell the dragon egg that she was keeping so closely nestled to her chest. In wolf she could have given them a more detailed decription as to what kind of pup, a different pup. But, with dogs there were only four pups, their own pups, the pups of their two legged masters, the pups of their prey, and the pups of their enemies. And she worried that if she put the egg into its proper category that the dogs would try and dispose of it.

    It not smell of pup, it no move. The husky insisted turning her head to the side and whining gently, very confused.

    It my pup. That got the dog to back off. Having already established herself among the dogs, Caoihme knew that if she put a claim on the egg that the dogs would respect it as something they were not allowed to mess with. The female husky, one the rest called Runner, the sherpas called her Villeen but, that was not something you could easily translate into canine, settled back down curling up into a small ball, with her back towards her two legged companion. Caoihme herself sat up a little, holding her pack in one arm and using the other to straighten out her cloak, which she had spread out underneath herself to keep the chill of the snow from creeping up through her body. Not that she had to worry about that to much, she was wearing a heavy hide winter jacket, the outside carefully water proofed and the inside lined with rabbit fur. That accompanied by heavy boots, a fur lined hood, and mittens had served her well over the years. There was also the crystal that someone had sewn into the back of her jacket. She did not understand how a rock could provide such warmth but, she had been surprised enough that she had grabbed a second one. Which was currently wrapped up in her sleeping bag, at the bottom of which sat the egg.

    Just about to settle back down for a nap when she heard someone call out in rage. This was closely followed by the scampering off feet as the sherpas dodged this way and that, doing something. Knowing that she was not going to get much sleep between the heavy crunch of peoples' foot steps and the howl of the wind Caoihme carefully shifted her pack onto her back and then securely tied her cloak around her neck. After taking a second to pull her hood into place and make sure that her muff was no going to get blown off she crawled towards the far end of the den and began to dig her way out. There was slightly more snow build up than she had expected, and it took her a minute to make her way through the three feet of snow. Once she was out of the protection of the den she almost wished that she was back inside. The wind had picked up and it looked like a storm was brewing. Glancing around she felt one of her eye brows raise as she spotted a flash of red on the cliffs high above. It was that man again, the mage who they had sent on ahead, he was going to have to get down fast if he wanted to make it through the storm.

    One of the sherpas waded through the snow towards where she had emerged from the snow. This was a little out of of the way as Caoihme had helped the dogs choose a spot a far distance from the rest of the people. She could still not get over the fact that everyone had insisted on bringing so much stuff with them, and with a group of fifty plus, it looked to Caoihme like they were a small mobile town. He shouted something at her but, between the wind and her own weak grasp of the language she had no idea what he said. Eventually he got closer and said slowly and clearly.
    "We are going. Get dogs." That was something Caoihme could understand. Turning she looked at the large patch of snow behind her, it was dotted heavily with little hillocks each marking where a husky lay curled up. Taking a deep breath she let out an explosive bark that cut clearly through the air. For a second or two there was no response but, then the snow erupted. Dogs emerging from here and there answering Caoihme's bark with ones of their own. Once free of the snow the dogs were quickly divided up and harnessed into their sled groups.

    Seeing that she was not needed Caoihme said a small good bye to Runner and made her way towards the main group of people. Circling around the edge she kept a far distance between herself and everyone else. Though she made sure to be within ear shot incase anything interesting happened. Just because she liked her personal space didn't mean she wanted to miss out on anything important.
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  16. тнe ғαe [​IMG]єтнєℓ ℓуѕαη∂єя

    "I'm beginning to think this is similar to cryogenesis," Ethel murmured to Keyvnor. The hummingbird was fluttering around her shoulders incredibly fast. All she saw was a honey-green blur. It calmed her eyes a bit. Keyvnor laughed, a tinkling chuckle that made Ethel's insides feel warmed. It almost let her forget the bitter cold, "You're a silly one, El. You're just freezing."

    "It's not just," Ethel blinked. He laughed again, so she turned her eyes away, batting her frozen eyelashes up at the sky, where Medwick's small form was clinging onto an icy ledge. She held her breath, worried. It was a dangerous situation to be in for a man his age. As she watched, her aenigma flew off.

    Keyvnor flew along the convoy's designated area, curving along the wind gusts and over to Shardis, hovering about when Medwick's aenigma, Carval landed. The crow gave brief instructions about the west incline. Keyvnor watched him curiously. Carval was a strange aenigma, he gave Keyvnor the shivers. After listening to Shar's amusing string of curses, Keynvor returned to Ethel.

    "It's rude to go prying." She told him. Keynvor didn't respond to the scold, instead, he followed her line of vision to the skies. "Shar spoke of shelter. Must be a storm. Won't be any good for you to keep freezing about." Saying this, he looked over at his lopos. The girl was already half-frozen, her pale skin nearly translucent and her eyes glowing. Fortunately, due to the remainders of daylight, he could see some energy swirling among the blue and green hues of her wings. Maybe enough to keep traveling for a half night's worth of darkness, but with the cold, Keyvnor couldn't be sure. He perched himself onto her shoulder, pecking her cheek with his beak. "Are you listening to me, El?"

    She jumped. Tearing her eyes away from the view of Medwick, she laid them upon Keyvnor. "You're being worrisome. There are more important things." As the sherpa announced a new set of movements, Ethel walked over to the rest of the group, kneeling to put her hands close to the warmth of one of Medwick's thermic crystals. She closed her eyes for a moment. Remember this warmth, Ethel told herself, it might only get colder from here.

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  17. "Oh, I like it here. The air is very...very...very...what's the word?"

    "Not poisonous?"

    Aerie rolled her eyes. "You're just in a bad mood for the cold. Which you can't even feel."

    "It's the principle of the thing," Pyre answered tersely. It was their custom to stay out of the heat of battle, so to speak, and so they, possibly alone in the crowd of survivors, could hang easily above the steaming corpse, filling their air with the crisp air of Aerie's ancestors.

    "Crisp!" she cried suddenly, her great brown and white wings buffeting the air around her. If Pyre had been solid, he'd have been knocked out of the air. As it were, he merely squawked in protest and nipped her wing. Uselessly.

    "Crisp," the young Avian went on, oblivious, as per usual. "That's the word. I was thinking 'crunchy'."

    "A scholar, this one," came the acerbic response, but Aerie only laughed. it was the best way to get under her pheonix aenigma's feathers.

    "I'll have you know I just saved a people and slayed--wait...slew? Slewn? Slow?--killed a dragon."

    "Oh? By yourself, was it?"

    "May as well have been." There had been others on the ground who would call themselves warriors, mages, saviors. They didn't know what she knew. How could they? What possible perspective could earth offer when the heavens reigned above? Short-sighted, the lot of them. An angry bunch who prefered to dive into war because they could not, quite litterally, see the forest for the trees.

    That Aerie had been exiled from her village for these precise reasons conveniently slipped her mind.

    "What could they know about beasts of the sky? It was me--um...I--I alone who went above and around and slashed at the beasts wings. Try to see the wretch fly with those."

    "'s dead."

    "Yes, because I cut off its only source of true joy. Honestly, Pyre, people so often confuse you for the bright one, I start to believe them." Aerie giggled as she began as lackadaisical decent to the snowy plains below. "Silly me."

    "Silly indeed."

    "What was that?"

    "I said, 'Where's the mead?'"

    "We really are of the same mind, my feathered friend. Come. Let us join the celebration so that we might snicker behind our hands at those who think they slew...slayed...killed the beast."

    "What of the Felleon who struck at its wings?" Pyre spat suddenly, just because he was quite finished with his Avian's preening. As expected, Aerie narrowed her storm gray eyes.

    "Yes, take the side of the giant cat," she mused. "I'm sure she'll love you. Assuming she doesn't choke on your feathers. And I don't even--"

    "Aerie, quiet. Look."

    She looked, because she knew that tone of voice. It tended to mean Pyre was about to get all serious and boring. In Pyre terms, it meant danger was near. But for Aerie, it meant adventure.

    At the crest of a cliff not so far off, she could see two Avians, those who would consider themselves more pureblood than she, by virtue of their birdlike appearance. Where her down was soft and nearly invisible save to the person who stood almost atop her, the Owl and spoke from a beak-like appendageand handled quarry with its talons. Just now, its 'quarry' appeared to be a human male, and while he was too far to hear, especially through the rising winds, any human that managed the attention of two full Avians was likely a human with an exciting story.

    And if not, she could at least gain access to the mysterious Avians. Ask why on earth they liked their weather so bloody inhospitable. It certainly kept the southern Avians well away.

    With the wind (and Pyre's protests) at her back, Aerie reached the human male's ledge in short time. The storm was screaming up around them, and even she was beginning to feel the chill in her wings.

    "Hi there," she called down amiably. Pyre studied his Crow distrustingly. "I don't suppose you know where those Avian fellows went? I have a few questions. Also," she added casually, glancing around her as the wind threatened to tear the wings from her back. "I do believe a storm is rising. This seems an inconvenient place to whether it." A pause. "Ha! Whether? Get it?"

    She looked at Pyre. "Do you think he got it?"
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  18. "...SHUT...." Medwick gripped a rock between Aerie's feet.


    Medwick hauled himself off the ledge and onto the slope beside the Avian. And there he remained on his back while clutching his leg and panting for breath. The ropes he had climbed dangled over the precipice, icing up and swaying in the first winds of the coming storm.

    Then his crow landed beside him and stared intently at Aerie. And when at last the mage stirred again it was with a flailing hand that pawed the girl's leg. "Less wordplay! More water!"

    He propped himself up on the slope as Aerie handed him a canteen, then guzzled heartily. She had heard about mages needing lots of water... especially half-crippled mages who had climbed ice cliffs. A short way away, the rest of the convoy was ascending the west incline and coming to the path that would run right past them.

    "There's a slate cavern over the next rise," he said between breaths and gulps. And he spoke as if Aerie was somehow involved in the management decisions of the quest. He hadn't even looked at her yet. "We'll camp for the night and let the storm pass. The Shield Mages will have to take shifts on the thermic orbs, and..."

    He pulled back his hood and squinted at her wings. "So where's your friend, you rambunctious, thrice-cursed sham of a winged lizard?!" Then he hurled his spyglass at her... very clumsily.... and it thudded into the snow next to Pyre.

    The lead scouts of the convoy reached their position and Medwick waved them on towards the cave system further up the mountain. Huskies barked as they dragged supply sleds, and all manner of aenigmas criss-crossed over sky and snow. It was like an exodus of creatures, and among them he could see Shar directing the sherpas. He waved at her lazily then pulled off a boot and used it to gesture at Aerie.

    "Next time, when a personal envoy of the Blue President tugs a rope that you are holding, consider it the hand of the nation tugging your very soul. Or better yet, consider it the hangman's noose that you indisciplined gaggle rightly deserve!"

    An icicle dropped from his boot and plummetted over the cliff edge. It fell against a backdrop of greying, swirling sky. A storm was closing from the distant ocean and whipping up snow and dirt along the coast. Few had seen a storm move as fast, and fewer still one so large. It were as if the gods themselves had mustered a curse upon the quest... within its very first day.


  19. Shardis spent most of the next hour running on all fours back-and-forth yelling and growling orders, pushing the accursedly slow caravan of assorted peoples, dogs and gods only know what else towards the goal. Honestly she didn't like the looks of this. The %#@& procession was way too big and because of it, was super slow. Why, if one could make the flying aenigmaes alone solid and one were able to get them to somehow fly beside each other in a very tight formation the wind would be completely blocked!
    Stopping to take a breath and a drink of water, the felleon looked up and over the skin at the ledge Medwick had been at the last she had seen him. He waved at her and then promptly took his boot off and and pointed it at a, Shar squinted, yes...that was an Avian not an aenigmae. It wasn't one of theirs ether, she made it a point now to know who was on his basket now ever since the last time. Shardis' protective instincts kicked into overdrive and she dropped the skin and grabbed a shurpa running past, maybe a bit too hard, he yelped. Frowning she gave him orders to pass on the info to keep the 'parade' moving as quickly as possible to the caves ahead. She dropped to all fours again and started off at full speed towards the ledge Galaind was sitting on.
    #19 lynzy, Jun 19, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  20. Aerie sized up the impudent mage. He was taller than she, but battered and exhausted, if his current condition was anything to go by. Also, he couldn't fly. That, she supposed, was reason enough for pity.

    Still, he was an ass, and she had some serious concerns that maybe no one had ever told him as much before.

    "Right," she said, raising an eyebrow. Her eyes followed his gesture over the ridge and easily detected the Felleon who Pyre claimed had glommed onto her 'get it in the wing' idea. Wonderful. Big cats were her favorite thing.

    "So," Aerie added, turning back to the human as though she weren't perturbed by the thing coming through the snow. "Do humans always shout and proclaim as much as you do? Or do you feel the need to overcompensate for the crippled-ness?"

    Even so, she handed him has canteen. He was a pompous and potentially xenophobic ass, but she had nothing personal against him, or anyone really. Not yet, anyway. But, gods, did he talk a lot. She faded in and out, watching the Felleon's approach, half hearing something about 'thermic orbs' and 'Blue Presidents'. What he was going on about, she hadn't the slightest.

    "When you're done," she said, speaking over the wind, and maybe a little bit over him, "stroking your ego, or whatever it is you're doing, maybe answer my question? Thanks, human. You're a godsend, truly."

    Meanwhile, she ought to get off the ground--far off the ground--because the Felleon was fast. And big.

    "Oh, look, it's your guard kitty," she muttered to no one in particular. Pyre took up by her shoulder, his own powerful wings beating (in an ethereal sense) against the gaining winds of the storm. Aerie hoped the Great White Whale cat wasn't too violent. She'd have to land soon or risk being ripped away. That, she though, would please the human. And that she did not want.