CLOSED SIGNUPS WHALE FALL

Mglo

Whatever you do, do it with style.
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
  1. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
Genres
As long as the plot's good I'm in. That says nothing useful though... so I'll say: sci-fi, fantasy, I'm curious enough about horror to add it, aaaand action? yeah, ok, sure, action!


Chapter 1: Festival of Ambergris
dedea536d18ffce7084f0311e111d9cf.png
A puff in the distance dusted the sky, barrell fungi spores. The small vanishing cloud in her eyes was in reality a blanket that covered at least forty steps in length. Ninli sighed, one hand against her chest. Such little things, spores, and so many of them. Tiny dangers in the air that every now and then someone underestimates as something less fatal. She adjusted her mask though it was too late for her, and turned back to her work.

The walls were smooth, rough to the touch but smooth like she’d never seen them before. There were no growths to cut or spores to scrub. With sudden breath in her lungs she looked around to find the crew was gone. “What?,” she whispered, moving along the edge of Cadia until she arrived at the seams. She slipped through the transparent tents before them, taking the time, even in her rush, to comb through her hair and uniform before the spray. Clean of the outside, she passed through the seams, pulling off her mask as she ran in. There was nothing there. Cadia was hollow and even as she stared it began to dawn on her she was dreaming. As if on cue, she watched the ceiling walls thin and expand until she could see the outside sky and it was beautiful. Like spores in the breeze, the stars began to fall, softly dancing to the ground. They rained without weight, all around her little sponge-like shining things slipping through Cadia’s thinning skin!

She gasped as they got closer, reaching out a hand for them to fall on. But her hand was an oozing stalk, and her fingers spread out like the tendrils of a plant. Ninli’s first instinct was to step back but her legs were bound by the ground. She wanted the dream to stop. Her beautiful and terrifying dream morphed into nightmare as her shoulder expanded, bulging big and round. Tension built, until she felt it spread upwards through her neck and it made her want to scream but she knew that if she opened her mouth she would dust Cadia’s sky. She screamed anyway.

“Ninli, wake up!”

Ninli opened her eyes to the familiar cove of her bed. She turned to face Gain who despite being more asleep than awake, leaned in to check on her. “What’s with the nightmares lately?” he asked, “everything alright?”

They watched each other for a moment. “I dreamt your parents asked the builders to spare you for a decade so they could have you remodel their home… for the third time,” she said, not wanting him to worry.

“Shut up,” he laughed, “it’s just a few days I’ll be there and only because the record masters need the job rushed. I’m going back to sleep, and you’re going to be late.” Ninli hugged his back and kissed his forehead as she stepped out of the cove. She didn’t want to go but fifteen droplets of water later, she was out the front fold of their home.

The natural bioluminescence was still dim as she slipped into her gear alongside the crew. Early morning was the best cutting time; it was the lull of the land when hostility came only when provoked. Ninli tied the cap over her head and secured the mask over her face as the first of her crew trickled out through the Seam. She stepped through with the last few and into the transparent tents where her crewmates checked each other’s fitting one last time. Once outside, Ninli unsheathed her sickle.

“Not today kid, you’re gliding to the top,” Tora, the woman who taught Ninli everything about cutting, smiled at her through the mask, “tailside.”

“With Mister Erco? He makes me nervous, always fiddling with his talisman as if we’re in constant danger,” Ninli complained, but sheathed the sickle anyway and traded it for the cleaver.

“We are in constant danger,” Tora pointed up ahead, “antlions. They’re going to agitate the flora any day now if they haven’t already. It’ll reach us sooner or later. And it’s when Erco stops fiddling with his talisman on the glide that you should worry. The man’s good with the wind. ”

Ninli nodded, “Yes boss.” She took her cleaver and ran up to the gliders, hopping onto the back of one as it was put into motion. They rode the wind as it curved over the walls of Cadia, scanning the surface while they made their way to the tail. The glider slowed but Ninli pointed her cleaver before Erco moved to land on the walls. She’d seen a trail leading away from Cadia, and now he saw it too, they drifted down to ground. Ninli followed the trail, a light ridge over the earth, until she walked up to the thing that had rolled to a stop there.

“Ambergris!” Erco clapped his hands in elation. Another glider landed nearby, rushing to look at the block she was kneeling by.

“Ninli! Come on, we’re gliding up to collect the fragments!” From where she was kneeling, Ninli looked where Erco was pointing and saw the golden-brown etched on the wrinkled wall.

She was already stepping on the glider when she said, “shouldn’t we wait? I’ve only got a cleaver Mister Erco.”

“You’ve got your magic. Tie yourself to the rope!” he hovered expertly in a slow circle as Ninli lowered herself, dagling until she was against the wall.

With her hands against the skin, Ninli focused on her earrings, tracing with her mind the rune carved into each of them. She was not touching ambergris, but even so she felt the force of it. “Easy!,” Mister Erco called, “we don’t want to damage the wallskin, but be careful with the ambergris! Don’t channel your magic while touching it! Raw ambergris is too potent!”
Ninli wondered why the one with ambergris experience was not the one dangling from the rope, but she said nothing and maneuvered the cleaver with her gloved hand to dig into the edge of the golden-brown mass. Her other hand she kept gloveless over the wallskin, focusing her will to preserve it. Another cutter joined her, slowly crawling over the vertical stretch until he could chisel at the ambergris from the other side.

“Here, I’ll look after the wallskin and you carve it out. It’ll be faster,” she said, tying the cleaver to her belt and shoving the glove in her pouch. With both hands on the wallskin, she felt the energy of the ambergris flow through it and it was like nothing she’d ever done before. It was easy. It was strong magic. It made the wallskin feel like it was her own skin, and no matter how violent the chisel dug in, the surface never broke.

Something rippled from the inside. “Watch out!” the cutters warned as they moved away, but Ninli had been too focused to react and in an instant the tremor shifted the raw ambergris under her hand. The massive pulse of magic shock knocked her out, and as her limp body dangled from the rope, Erco watched from where they floated as the remaining ambergris was shaken off with the end of the tremor.

By the time Tora arrived with a cart, the ambergris and its fragments had been collected into a neat pile, ready to be loaded and transported. Meanwhile Erco had delivered Ninli to the healing unit, and even as he explained the succession of events, word of the unexpected harvest had begun to spread. And for as little as it took Ninli to convince them she was fine and it had just been a small fainting spell from the excitement, ambergris talk had reached the town center prompting various questions about procedure and tradition. For others, celebrations started early from older generations sharing their experience with those whose knowledge of ambergris was nil or with those whose knowledge came only from books.

Cadia had delivered a boon. Preparations for the Festival of Ambergris were already beginning to take shape.
 
Last edited:

Moby Dick

Edgebabby
Posting Speed
  1. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Nonbinary
Genres
Fantasy, Hight Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Sci-fi & Horror
Oscar Hartnell

Surrounded amongst a thick brush of flax-weed, Oscar sat joyfully at the edge of the Urani Lake. An expanse of water and a wellspring of life that had been dubbed by the fishermen and marine mammal enthusiasts as 'The Bowl.' Round and around his dexterous fingers threaded thin strands of fibre into one another as his gaze shifted back and forth onto the lake to admire its beauty. Rays of light beamed down through Cadia's skin, illuminating patches of water that shimmered and reflected on the scales of the fish that swam just below the surface to create a rainbow of ever shifting colour. It was to him, a moment of joy, colour and romance for nature that he held reverance like no other.

As breath taking as it was, unfortunately for Oscar the sun was in the wrong spots for him to be able to fish the quarry he desired to catch. In order to start fishing he would either need to compromise or wait for the trajectory of the light to change. If he was lucky, he could get some dark-sea fishing done before the festival for a tasty final catch.

Fish were a delicacy in Cadia. Due to their limited supply and how carefully the Marine Mammal Guild that managed, cultivated and bred much of the wildlife, fisherman were given a list of what they were able to fish during each season the year. The higher the fished rate that season, the less they could fish of it and more coveted it became. To whom the coveted fish went, also came the spoils. Fishing became a game and this season, the coveted fish was Fresh Water Jogumba, a long spindly freshwater fish with opaque skin, small white frills and beady black eyes. A tricky to catch for an inexperienced fisher, but when cooked it had a unique, tangy flavour to it that was popular and paired well with the crisp, juicy sweetness of the red Paple fruit.

Oscar dreamed of slow cooked Jogumba with some fresh Paple Gravy, Apricorns, Sautéed Onions, Celer Root and Cabaj. What a meal Oscar could have with such fish, with a fresh pint of beer given in return for fresh produce.

Hours passed before the dark-tides lined the lakeside with fortune, the moment was nigh. Oscar would have to set aside the mouth watering dreams of food to conquer this crucial battle. A melee of luck, wit and wisdom. It was as the sun began to cast its pain-stakingly long glance into different waters that he had to move. He had to be quick, Machak would be ready.

Machak was an older fisherman with a lithe bony frame, balding hair and gruff features hidden behind a long scraggily beard. Underestimated by many, Old Matt Machak was nothing to scoff at. He always caught the best fish every year and Oscar had taken to stalking him until he finally figured out the old coot's methods. The old hoot took advantage of him as well of course, Machak used Oscars's attention to detail to help determine the exact moment to move. When Oscar moved, Machak also moved.


"I'm going to beat you the time old man," the young, dusty haired fisherman yelled over to his older peer with challenging grin as he took his small rowboat from the shed and pushed it down the bank.


"You're sixty years too early, kid." Machak refuted and hopped into his own boat which was already on the water waiting for Oscar. The man was obsessed, he didn't miss a beat.


"I thought you were eighteen with fifty years of experience," the young man teased in return.

"You're only as old as you feel," Machak said cheerfully with a broken, toothy smile "I'll get more fish than you, boy."

"Not today!" Oscar exclaimed as he shoved his boat into the water and gracefully landed inside "I've learned a new trick."

Machak stopped to leer at Oscar and grumbled grumpily beneath his breath as he slowly started moving away with each slow stroke of his oar. It didn't matter that the old man was slow, what he lacked in speed he made up for in experience and technique.

Oscar reeled his boat in a similar direction, pushing ahead to the Jogumba fishing grounds. Though instead of his usual fishing spot away from the mush of greenery that lay at the surface of the water, he rowed into the thick of it.

"You're an idiot!" he could feel Machak's eyes in the back of his head as turned to watch the old man lower the hood of his lantern. This was usually an awful spot for catching Jogumba because the greenery was too for the nets to get through, but Oscar had an advantage. He had a bone enforced net that he designed himself.

Dark-tide fishing was a solitary affair that allowed very little in the way of light, the fish that swam in these waters were sensitive to it and it oft deterred them. With a great amount of care, Oscar tied a small-netted ball filled with a sensory-enhanced bait of wriggling white worms and lowered it into the water. He removed all source of light. This was his moment to shine, this was it, the final showdown. He was almost there, at the precipice of his career...

His career that was always a long drawn out waiting game.

He waited, no fish.
He waited, no fish again.
He waited some more, there were still not fish.

Light flickered in the corner of his eye and he turned, it was Machak. With three flashes of the old man's lantern Oscar knew his message. The flashes were the dark-tide fisherman's code for 'Hah! I already caught one.'

Blast!

The Anti-Climactic happenings of a severe lack of fish left Oscar devestated. In spite of all his efforts he had somehow still fallen short. He inhaled a deep breath, letting the air fill his lungs as he clasped his hands together to pray to whatever god that dictated the fate of fish that day, probably Cadia "Please, please, please don't let me lose this time. Please let this work, please let this work" he muttered beneath his breath.

Within the blink of an eye the heavy-handed tug of the fish appeared from out of no-where, snapping and biting at the trap. Seconds after the fisherman took ahold of the other side of the net and began to the lift the haul.

"Arrrrrgh!" Oscar screamed and heaved the net over his shoulder onto the boat. At last Cadia had been kind to him!

As it turned out, Cadia was in a rather rambunctious mood that day.

"Wait, No, no, no , no."

The net had fallen, the rope had slipped through his bloodied fingers and the signs of hope began to diminish. He fell into the vibrant array of needlessly sticky aquatic foliage, as reeds covered his freshly drenched frame. Hope began to drain from the young man's very soul as he starred back into the darkness, realising if he kept this up he'd never have a girlfriend. Oscar shook his head and snapped back into reality. He had no idea where his boat was, whether is had capsized or if the fish were still in it. There was one saving grace… Machak was nearby.

"MACHAK!" he screamed across the lake.

"SHUT UP!" the old man scowled in reply, though he could barely hear the other man in the distance.

"TURN YOUR LIGHT ON!"

"WHAT?!" the old man screamed back.

"TURN YOUR LIGHT ON!" Oscar repeated.

Machak angrily lifted the lantern over the pond, illuminating the feint outline of his little boat that was gradually drifting away from him.

"BASTARD!" he heard the old man swear at him in the distance.

"SHUT UP!" the young fisherman screamed back.

"YOU SHUT UP!" Machak began to steer his boat in Oscar's general direction and slowly began to get louder.

The two of them had at it like two five-year-olds bickering with each other as Oscar waded through the water. He wouldn't be able to get back on the boat, but maybe he could at least grab the rope at the end, lead it around the shoreline and get back by morning. Machak was the least of his problems.

"Can't even stay in your boat, Amateur! You chased the fish all the way across the bowl, what's wrong with you?" Machak was not going to let him off the hook.

A frown settled on Oscar's face "Sorry Machak." There was no honour in chasing away a man's catch to win a fishing competition. It was bad sportsmanship and Oscar knew he was in the wrong "I'll make sure you win next season."

Machak's eyes squinted at his younger peer and grunted "All right."

The reality of it all was Machak still had more than enough time, he'd easily find the fish again and then settle into his old routine. There was a reason why the old geezer came first almost every season.

The banter had lasted long enough that Oscar had finally made it to the rope and could finally reel his boat toward the lakeside. Eventually the water met its edge and the fool of a man reached the shore with his head held in shame as he grabbed his lantern, lit it and watched Machak fade into darkness.

"Word of advice kid, find a leaf and take of the murky clothes or you'll catch worse than a cold!" were the old man's final words before fully disappearing off into the lake.

Much to Oscar's later dismay, he did not take his advice. Adamant that he would be fine, the young fisherman wiped the greenery from his face and continued to walk around the lakeside, cold, wet, murky with the rope attached at the front of a small boat tied around his waistline and the ball of unkempt, aquatic foliage tangled in his net. In the water, out the water, in the water out the water. Half way through he met some new friends which he lovingly named Barnaby and Fred. They weren't very talkative little fellows but they decided to come along for the ride anyway and suck the blood from his legs while he was at it.

Step by awful, sludgy, sweltering step he got worse. The world began to wobble, as he shivered into a pit of cold, numb frustration. He couldn't decide if he was hot or cold and his sense of reality or drive to continue was all by the illusion he had set for himself of a nice warm serving of Jogumba that he had eventually convinced himself was real. Like a chicken to a cabaj he chased it, he wanted it so bad. Oscar even swore he could smell it but every time he thought it got closer, it got further away.

Something approached in the distance. Was it home? He continued a little longer with the boat floating behind him, taunting him to go faster like a dog for treats. Just a little bit more and it was over at last. He could make out someone rushing over to him. In this final, victorious and delirious moment Oscar yelled at the top of his lungs "FOR JOGUMBA!!!" and collapsed on the edge of the lake.

Unbeknownst to him this rushing stranger got help and eventually delivered him to the infirmary where he slept in a deep, heavy slumber. Barnaby and Fred were never to be seen again.
 
Last edited:

fatalrendezvous

Ever forward.
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
DONATING MEMBER
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
  1. Look for groups
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. One post per day
  3. Multiple posts per week
  4. 1-3 posts per week
  5. One post per week
  6. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
8 AM - 6 PM and 10 PM - 2 AM
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Prestige
  5. Douche
  6. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Futanari
  4. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy (High and Low), Sci-Fi, Modern Fantasy, Modern Realistic, Apocalypse, Drama, Romance... I have lots of interests!
Word traveled quickly in Cadia.

It was not long before news of the ambergris had fallen upon Elira's pointed ears, and she had risen before dawn to make preparations. An ambergris harvest was an exceedingly rare occasion, and despite being one of the few at the forefront of magical research in Cadia, she had yet to experience or handle the powerful material in person. For the ambitious young mage and magic researcher, this was her chance; the opportunity to make the kind of breakthrough that could save countless lives. Surely, the Council would grant her the use of some, even if only a small portion.

Elira was headstrong, and typically far too stubborn to lean on her aunt Kolmi's position within the Council to try to sway decisions her way, but, if by some circumstance her request for a sample of ambergris was denied, today might have to be the exception.

The ambitious young mage and magic researcher rifled through her arboric, built into the partially-hollowed trunk of a tree on the outskirts of the bustling city center. She stuffed vials, measuring instruments, tubes, and various other tools into her woven drawstring bag, her erratic movements rattling the normally pristine bookshelves and tables of her work area, putting a listless rustle into the parchment in her wake.

Even as she leaned close to the candlelit lantern by her door to put it out, she hesitated, retracing her steps and taking a third and fourth mental inventory of all the things she needed to bring. A staff was leaning against the wall by her front door, a long, gnarled, and knobby oak limb with twisting branches at the end that had been fashioned to hold a clear, multi-faceted crystal the size of a fist. Elira's slender fingers drummed idly upon the ridges of the wood, her eyes scanning over parts of her workshop for final confirmation that she had indeed remembered to pack everything.

With a nod, she wrapped her fingers around the staff, blew out the candle, and stepped out of her home. The hints of approaching lightfall greeted her; the silencing of crickets, the chirping of birds, and the soft glow of light on Cadia's surface above her. "I better hurry," she murmured, her boots carrying her down a well-practiced dirt path towards the city center.



Preparations were already underway as she arrived; townsfolk milled about setting up lanterns, stringing flower garlands between rooftops, clearing streets and thoroughfares to make room for the inevitable droves of people who would come out to attend and partake. Many of the Cadians offered their greetings to Elira as she passed, which she returned politely, if briefly. Most mornings she would find the time for small talk, but the residents could see in the pace of her stride that there would be no such idle chatter this day.

Elira's trek towards the Council chambers was cut short by the call of a young man, who ran up to her panting and out of breath. "Healer Elira? Oscar the fisherman had an incident while fishing in the lake. He's unconscious in the infirmary. I would have asked Neriya but she's still tending to her duties with the Patrol."

The healer's brows furrowed in a moment of deliberation. She cast a glance down the pathway that would lead her to the infirmary, then another up in the direction of the Council chambers. Surely, Oscar would be fine in the infirmary's capable hands, and Neriya was likely to return before long to tend to him. Her own task at hand, ensuring she could secure a portion of the ambergris to tinker with, could potentially lead to magic discoveries that would do far more good for Cadia than resuscitating one fisherman. And yet, she had a duty to her fellow townsfolk; resigning herself with a sigh, she offered the infirmary assistant a nod. "Take me to him."

After a brisk walk, Elira stepped in past the curtained drapes of the infirmary to the patient halls. Rows of cots were neatly arranged, most of them thankfully empty, the walls flecked with windows of translucent vellum that allowed the light to filter in with a hazy glow. Oscar's cot was a few beds down, his trousers rolled up to expose the leech bites in his legs still seeping crimson. Even as Elira's footsteps carried her to the unconscious fisherman's cot, she had already reached into her bag and uncorked a vial of refined whale oil, a viscous liquid with a pleasant honey-yellow tinge.

She carefully poured a small portion of it into her palm, replacing the cork in a practiced one-handed motion and replacing it in her bag. As she rubbed it into her palms it began to seep in, pushing a familiar, almost euphoric warmth coursing up her arms and into her body. Taking hold of her staff, Elira murmured an incantation, and the clear crystal mounted atop the staff pulsed aglow in the same honey-yellow. The runic words seemed to harmonize on themselves as they were spoken, swirling in the air like smoke instead of being lost once they left Elira's lips.

Oscar's bleeding slowed, then stopped as the open wounds scabbed over and gradually closed. His eyelids slowly opened, and he took in a short breath as he woke. "Jogum--" his gaze landed upon Elira and the clinic assistant, and he blinked a few times with realization before setting his head back on the pillow. "I was having a good dream," he half-protested.

Elira chuckled. "Welcome back. I'm afraid your fish dreams will have to wait, Oscar. The Ambergris Festival is starting in a few hours. You better hurry if you want to set up shop."
 
Last edited:

strangeatlas

Edgebabby
Coiran sits alone in a dark room. A soft maroon light emanates from a shaded lantern. He is focused on a small ball, thoroughly examining through a complex set of spectacles. A lump of gelatinous substance lays next to him on the desk. It has been carefully dissected, and a select piece of it was removed and now lies inside the ball in his attention.

The ball is bounded by a membrane, carefully reinforced by a fine metal brace, possibly platinum or similar. Countless thin plates of the same metal are encased in a circle one one side of the device, forming an aperture. The room is quiet as he applies a gentle pressure, and the plates slide silently apart in a graceful spiral motion. He sets the device down and lets out the breath he was holding. He places the device on a stand already holding another identical device. On a shelf nearby in the dark, hundreds of prototypes of similar shapes and various metals lay in neat rows, slowly collecting dust.

The relative quiet is broken by quick footsteps outside the door. “Papi?” a curious child’s voice wafts into the room, and the door lets in a cool draft. Coiran unhitches a strap and removes his spectacles.
“Yes, Gemmi?”
“What’re you doing?” she asks as she slowly plods across the room, avoiding obstacles in the dark. When she gets close to him, Coiran reaches out to her outstretched hands and she finds him. He hoists her to his lap.
“Working on your new eyes, sweetie”
“When do I get to use my new eyes?”
“Soon sweetie, I’m almost done. I just need to choose what color you want.”
“Color?”

Coiran sighs and observes her eyes. A soft grey color throughout, they stare dully forward into the dark. “Tell me, Gemmi, what is your favorite thing to eat in all Cadia?”
“Joyberries!” she answers instantly.
“How’d you like your eyes to be the same color as joyberries?”
Gemmi pauses to consider a moment, then asks, “what do joyberries look like?”
Coiran picks up and swirls a small vial of colored oil. He considers it as its contents churn. The color and texture was from a mix of fruits and roots in his garden which he specifically bred for this purpose. “Joyberries are azure blue with faint streaks of violet running top to bottom. They are very pretty, like you Gemmi.”
“Azure and violet?”
“Maybe they will be your favorite colors when you can see them.”
There is a brief pause before she exclaims, “Okay! I want the joyberry colors!”
“Okay sweetie, you got it.”

Gemmi shifts in his lap and nervously ventures, “maybe Uncle Tav from the city you can, um, maybe he can help find someone to help put my new eyes on.”
“Uncle Tav?” Coiran seems a bit confused momentarily. “How do you know Uncle Tav? Did Mami tell you to say this to me?”
Gemmi giggles, “maybe.”
“Did Mami also tell you not to say that Mami told you.”
Gemmi giggles a bit more, “yeah.”
“Well Papi is very happy that Gemmi is honest. Mami is very sneaky, isn’t she?”
Gemmi giggles a bit more as Coiran playfully squishes her in a hug. Catching her breath, she ventures again, “can you ask Uncle Tav from the city right now?”
Coiran sighs. “Well the city is a long way away, and Uncle Tav and Papi haven’t spoken in a long time.”
“But Uncle Tav from the city is in the living room now.”
“What?” A concerned look takes over Coiran’s face, “well, maybe you should go find your brothers and sisters and go play upstairs. I’ll go say hi to Uncle Tav.”

Tenna watches Coiran lead Gemmi out of his work studio and point her in the direction of upstairs. She says, gently, “You should give him a chance, Coiran.”
“Is he…”
“He’s sober, Coiran, you think I would have let him in if he wasn’t?” She looks imploringly at him. “He’s better now Coiran, you should give him a chance.”
Coiran relaxes slightly and leans against the wall across from her. He stares softly towards her. “You don’t know him like I do.”
“Tav and I went to school together, I know him pretty well too. He’s got a good heart, he just gets carried away sometimes. He can focus when he has a mind to do it.” She looks at him thoughtfully. “If you can’t accept him for that, then think of Gemmi. He knows his way around the city, and he’s got connections. Think of how important this is to Gemmi.”

Coiran breathes deep before replying calmly, “it's important to me too, Tenna.” He turns from her and stares down the hall, “I think it will be a simple matter to find someone with the skills we need, but when Tav is involved, I just can never predict what will happen.”
Tenna steps forward and embraces him slightly from behind. “Well just go see him yourself, and honey, try not to shut him out so fast. He’s your brother, after all. Don’t you think that means something?”

A few moments pass, and Coiran starts down the hallway without a response.
 
Last edited:

unanun

Child is born, with a heart of gold
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Writing Levels
  1. Adaptable
Genres
I'm wary of magic with lots of rules.
(hit play & read!)
A Town with an Ocean View


Ambergris,
ambergris,
what dreams might come true,
what heights might one soar to,
with ambergris?

Ambergris!
Ambergris!
all that is far will be brought near,
everything is more than it appears,
with ambergris!

"Grandpa!"

"Grandpa!!"

"Let's go, we're going to be late!"

Grandpa had just settled into a warm cone of light, and was shook from his reverie by Iman. His grandchild yanked and pinched at his fingers, and he had to crack open an eye to glare at him. What was there to be late for? Since he retired from the patrol and grew his beard long per tradition, his youth had rapidly faded. Maybe he could have taken up fishing, and whittled his days away with Machak in pursuit of jogumba, but the idea didn't appeal to him, and so he drifted into the warm twilight years with grandma and family.

"Ambergris, Grandpa, ambergris! Hurry!"

Oh! That word bubbled through his mind and his eyes shot open with memory. Of him, dressed in full ceremonial uniform, medals gleaming on his epaulets. Him, a veteran of countless patrols, gripping a wand of whalebone and ambergris between his teeth, arm wrestling ten of the town's strongest men. Yanking a horde of giggling girls, their feet furrowing the ground, across the finish line. Throwing a ball so far that the dogs beat up a dust storm as they ran out of sight.

"Hurry .. " his soul ground into action and he leapt from his chair. "Yes, Iman, let's go! My uniform .. my uniform!"

Grandpa thought he would never live to see another day, but Cadia had blessed him with a reminder just as he was ready to pass, and he couldn't turn it down. The uniform of the Long Range Patrol hung loosely on his bony frame, but he fixed his honours with ceremony and burst out the door with his family on the path to town. He wouldn't be remiss, and banged on Coiran's door as they passed; surely he wouldn't have missed the excitement? Into the outskirts they passed the arborics, and Grandpa sensed a great deal of activity. In fact, he waved to Elira, who had recently regenerated one of his grinding knees, but she hurried past him without a word!

It took three spores in front of his eyes for him to notice, and he stopped suddenly, yanking Iman back. All around him a gentle flurry of barrell fungi spores fell. He fumbled for his mask, but the pouch was empty, and grasped his throat. "Spore fa-" the cry faded as he frantically gazed upwards. His heart clutched, but it wasn't from panic, and tears welled in his eyes.

Above him flew the cutters without their gliders. Their laughter rang like music from the ceiling of Cadia, and small shards of ambergris were embedded in their mock vellum wings. From baskets they scattered enchanted puffs of dandelion that shimmered in the afternoon glow.

Oh, how beautiful! Oh, thank you Cadia!
 
Last edited:

fatalrendezvous

Ever forward.
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
DONATING MEMBER
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
  1. Look for groups
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. One post per day
  3. Multiple posts per week
  4. 1-3 posts per week
  5. One post per week
  6. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
8 AM - 6 PM and 10 PM - 2 AM
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Prestige
  5. Douche
  6. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Futanari
  4. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy (High and Low), Sci-Fi, Modern Fantasy, Modern Realistic, Apocalypse, Drama, Romance... I have lots of interests!
acvMcwh.jpg

"Oi? Tavern keep?"

A knock sounded against the heavy wooden door of What A Waist Tavern & Inn. The door was slightly ajar, but the tavern itself was empty save for the owner, Davreth, quietly milling about. He was bringing out casks of his best and most popular ales; he'd be needing quite a few of them today. The gruff, but well-kept man glanced over his shoulder at the familiar giant silhouette blocking the light at the door, rubbed at the gray scruff of his facial hair, and sighed.

"Not open yet, Gorhal."

The older man's voice rumbled with something akin to resignation, because Davreth's business hours had never seemed to stop the orc from making his way in anyway.

"...And-- you're here all the time. You know me by name. Just call me Davreth."

The hulking orc in the doorway chuckled as he crossed the threshold into the tavern, scratching sheepishly at the back of his head. "Right. Sorry, Davreth. I'm no good with names."

A wry smile crossed Davreth's features; he'd gotten the name right on the first try today, at least. With a big breath and a heave, he lifted up and mounted a cask of Daybranch Dark into the angled racks behind the bar, and hammered a turn valve into the wooden lid. By the time Gorhal had even approached the bar to sit, there were two wooden mugs poured and waiting on the counter.

"Two? For me?" The brutish orc beamed a big grin that showcased his protruding lower fangs. "You know me so well, Davett."

"No, you oaf," the barman shot back with a deep, hearty laugh. "One's for me." He lifted a mug and clunked it against the side of the other. "Cheers. To ambergris."

Both men drank deep; Gorhal, upon finally registering the taste of it after his first few gulps, tilted his mug back even higher and emptied it in one swoop before thunking it unceremoniously back onto the counter. "Hoo--" his sigh of contentment was interrupted by a belch. "Oooh, that's a gooood one," he complimented. "Oi, what's this, uh... Elbow Grease Festival I'm hearin' about, anyway? You hear about that one, Davin?"

"It's pronounced am-ber-gr-- you know what, never mind. It's powerful stuff. Rare. Only discovered once every few generations. The elders and the council are saying it's an indication of Cadia's good health, that it's a great boon for us."

A naughty smirk pulled at Gorhal's lips, a high-pitched almost-giggle bubbling from his throat. "I can certainly get behind any festival that's about some great poon."

Davreth was mid-drink and nearly choked on one of his most prized ales, coughing and pounding at his chest while the alcohol threatened to burn his nosehairs off from the inside. When the coughing fit subsided he shook his head. "A great boon, Gorhal. Like a blessing. The Cutters managed to find some, harvested it, and brought it back. The mages and the builders will no doubt find ways to make life better, improve magic, improve Cadia's health. I've heard it can give some people superhuman strength or even other unnatural abilities." Finally, he looked down at his ale, and, sensing that Gorhal was still processing his explanation and wasn't about to make another stupid remark right away, finished his Daybranch Dark. He refilled Gorhal's mug, and then returned to work.

"You know, you should really think about joining the Cutters, Gorhal. Or maybe the Patrol. I'm sure they could use a guy like you."

"Ehhh, I don't know. Don't like breathin' in that sour air from outside. Plus, too much walkin' around, not enough action. There's only three things I'm good at. Fightin', feastin', fuckin', and..." He glanced in the barkeep's direction, even though he had already disappeared off into a storage room to haul out more casks of ale. "Is there an F-word for 'drinkin'?"

Davreth groaned with exertion as he tried to move something heavy, his voice still audible from the back. "Frinking?"

Gorhal, impressed with his friend's linguistic prowess, pointed a finger in the direction of the tavern keeper's voice. "See, Davek, this is why I keep smart friends like you."
 
Last edited:

ItariChan

カンザキイオリ - 不器用な男
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
  3. Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Female
Genres
Horror, Scifi, Fantasy
Zuzen rolled the bone through his hands, shaping it into a long, thin strip. Then he carefully placed it onto the sculpture. Only a little left and it would be complete. It was his biggest yet, shaped into a large majestic ray. Several similar sculptures made of long, thin ribbons of bone, all in the shape of winged animals, were displayed around the workshop sitting on specially made stands or hanging from the ceiling.

"ZU!!" The door to the workshop exploded open, and Zuzen jumped, bumping into the work bench. He watched in horror as the delicate structure shook and then teetered to the side, crashing onto the table. The left wing shattered sending small shards of bone scattering onto the floor. Zuzen collapsed into his chair and stared at the mess, speechless. Months of hard work down the drain. "Oh, sorry. Anyway, did you hear? The cutters found Ambergris! The festival is already starting! Mom wants us to hurry and get a spot for her to set up!"

Zuzen sighed and started picking up the fallen shards. He squeezed them into a blob in his hand and dropped it dejectedly onto the desk. "Celia, how many times do I have to tell you? Knock before coming in here!"

Celia tossed an empty sack at him, "Are you deaf? It's ambergris! Am! Ber! Gris! Who cares about your dumb sculpture when there's ambergris. Now hurry up and get your shit ready to sell!"

Ten minutes later Celia had managed to drag him out of the workshop and into the streets. The two made their way towards the town center carrying bags of wares to be sold. He knew he should care more about the discovery of ambergris, but his thoughts kept wandering back to his destroyed project. What would be the best way to repair it? Even if half of it had survived, many of the pieces spanned the entire length of the structure and it wouldn't look as good if he just connected new strips to elongate the broken ones. Cecila chattered next to him. She was somehow always able to keep up with latest gossip "....got injured while collecting. And then Oscar the fisher was carried in this morning half dead..."

Zuzen abruptly stopped and turned to her, "What? Oscar? Did he catch anything?"

Celia rolled her eyes, "Didn't you hear me? I said he was brought in half dead this morning. Of course he didn't catch anything."

"Are you kidding? I slaved for weeks shaping bone shards for his damn net! Weeks!! And he comes back empty handed? Does he at least have the net still?" Yet another project ruined. To make matter's worse, since he had spent so much the past couple months making his ray he didn't have much to sell for the festival. Zuzen shoved his bag into his sister's arms and turned down another street. "I need a drink."

"Hey! Where are you going? How do you expect me to carry this all by myself! Zuzen!"

Zuzen ignored her and made his way to What A Waist Tavern & Inn. They weren't quite open yet but he could see Gorhal the orc inside. He pushed open the door and went straight to the bar, pulling up a seat next to the orc, and laid his forehead down on the counter, "Get me something strong. Hey Gorhal."
 
Last edited:

Moby Dick

Edgebabby
Posting Speed
  1. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Nonbinary
Genres
Fantasy, Hight Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Sci-fi & Horror
Neriya Venuatu

Faded tones of grey mist surrounded the dusty atmosphere that was littered with old bones, rich with the smell of decay. A morbid backdrop to the soft glow of bioluminescent spores whose light offered a deadly comfort. Beyond Cadia's walls was the welcome of a slow, painful death to any who ingested the thick, spore infested air. It was only for a select few crazy enough to try, that the outside world was a promise of adventure. Among these few, a young noble warrior named Neriya had joined the border patrol and was eager to escape the confines of a place that had become too small.

Hope had been their catalyst, and over time had all but diminished as death ravaged the men's foolish optimism. Neriya could remember their faces. She had watched the joyless pit of despair stir fear in the eyes of the dying as their bodies thrashed in futile rebellion against the spores that threatened to take hold till eventually, they laid limp and lifeless with mouths of frothing white liquid. She wished there had been more blood.

"Help me," the plea of her fiancé's final moments haunted her thoughts, he died alone and afraid. He was right to be afraid, they all did.

Neriya's attention returned to the passage ahead as they entered Cadia's mouth and trenched through the bloody esophagus of their host. Life in Cadia was simple. Simplicity led to monotony, those that chose it were satisfied for a world without change. Outside was something rawer, something more honest. An environment so demanding that you could do naught but respect it. Respect that followed you around every corner, as a constant companion that loomed over your shoulder, ready to infect you. The very thought sent a chill of excitement run down her spine. That feeling of being truly alive was what she lived for.

"We're finally here," the commander's voice distracted Neriya from her thoughts. For the first time in over twenty-four days that the warrior laid eyes on her homeland. Guards enthusiastically welcomed the squadron at the city gates with fresh news of the cutter's new bounty of Ambregis, it appeared they had returned just in time for a festival. At last, something to celebrate.

"Thank you for your hard work, Amon," Neriya offered as she removed the beak like mask that covered her visage and let down her long pink hair "We appreciate it."

Her squadron's weary eyes watched Neriya's feathered footfalls wandered away from them as they followed behind her. Even though their friendships were strong, their knowledge of Neriya was limited to her noble status, her relationship with Kaien, gentle touch, healing, blood magic and generosity.

"Neri. You are comin' wi' us t'night?" Skully's broken accent quizzed from behind her. Warmth lifted Neriya's features as she collected her hands in front of her and turned to face Skully with a look of recognition. Skully was a tall man with short blonde hair, tanned skin, blue eyes and an annoyingly attractive frame. There had been many nights they had spent in the outer rim, exploring the wastelands where the man teased her fragile habits. It was a shame he talked too much, about very little.

"Where are you going?" she asked, staying her steps to speak with him. The squad too stopped in their wake all to look at her.

"We're going to the pub," Cerina stepped forth, with a nervous plea "we managed to strong-arm the commander into comin' too. She lost a bet with us you see… we thought y'might want to come." Neriya blinked a few times as she listened to Cerina's plea, shocked by the frailty she demonstrated just to ask a question. She was usually so confident in herself. The squadron looked at Neriya expectantly.

"The drinks are on me," the blood mage responded with an air of authority to mask her confusion beneath the surface. How long had they been that nervous of her?

They all cheered and rushed forward. In a wave of moving bodies, Neriya was taken by surprise. Two large hands that belonged to her giant colleague Jimbo wrapped around her waist and lifted her tiny frame over his shoulder. Neriya panicked, she could not go anywhere like this! Her white leathers tunic were covered in blood and dust, her boots were all worn and her hair needed a fresh lavishing of scented oils. The only saving grace that had come from this was that she applied the rose scented perfume Cerina had gifted her before they had entered the city.

Although irrevocably painful the journey toward the What A Waist Tavern was surprisingly less cumbersome for Neriya than she had anticipated. Jimbo's fierce grip had her fastened to his shoulder all the way there, charging into everything right up until after the squadron went barreling through the door making a racket befitting of an ape.

"Please let me down," Neriya politely requested once the boisterous chanting had died down. It was finally over.

"Sorry," Jimbo gave a simple response and carefully slid the noble down from over his shoulder.

A moment of quiet passed. The rest of the squadron had finally identified the lack of other patrons bar a single orc, a human and the barman who watched them carefully as they entered.

"Good day, Davreth," Neriya greeted with slow steps toward the bar as her attention shifted to meet Davreth's steady gaze. Remorse flickered across her face. The barman had been more attractive in his youth. Time had changed him, but for what he lacked in smooth skin, young blood and inexperience Davreth now made up for with wit, charm, local knowledge and experience. His orcish companion on the other, whom she had the brief pleasure of meeting was about as charming to her as a vegetable to a carnivore. The last individual she had yet to formally meet. Too discomforted to sit, Neriya halted to lean against the edge of the bar to hold herself up, in a poor attempt to hide the ache that stung at her torso "Pardon my peers, they long for the desperate comfort of drink that swells at the bottom of your kegs," the tone of her voice was muted and soft "I'll give you whatever you need in return."
 
Last edited:

FrostedCaramel

God's in His Heaven, All's Right With the World.
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. 1-3 posts per week
Online Availability
Whenever you're asleep, thanks time zones.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Sci-Fi, Modern, and Horror.
Estra and Bur
The Ambergris Festival


“Ahhhh that can’t be right! I mean, well, no offense, right, Mister? But there’s no way this is worth eighty pieces,” Estra haggled as she hefted the solid chunk of iron from the merchant's table and tossed it lightly in her hand, “I mean come on have you ever looked at this thing? It’s porous right through, half the thing is air if you ask me, and not to mention whoever sold it to you did a number on the extraction process, you see this?” she pointed to a vein of rust as she held the iron uncomfortably close to the merchant’s face for inspection, “Probably messed with its resonance on top of all that with this half-wit job. And still, you expect me to fork up twenty for this? It’s not worth even a tenth of its weight in Ambergris if I’m being frank here,” she huffed, ignoring the sour look growing across the merchant's face as she continued to turn the iron round in her hand.

“Eighty, take it or leave it. I paid good for that iron, and I’ll get what it’s worth back, whether that be from you or someone other, it’s no matter to me,” the merchant began as he reached out to snatch the iron back. A moment before his hand could take back what was his a new hand intervened.

“The lady speaks true,” began the new holder of the iron with a voice that rang like poetry, “This ore is rotten, corruption runs deep. ” the stranger continued, his words flowing softly from his lips like the promise of a cool stream as he seemed preoccupied with the ore in his hand.

“Estarii,” the merchant greeted him with disdain as he placed his hand down on the table.

“Bur,” the new man spoke as he looked up from the iron in his grasp with a neutral smile.

“Bur?” Estra asked, her head cocked to the side in question as her gaze became locked on the newcomers' amber eyes.

“My name,” he affirmed as he placed the iron on the table, “Fair is thirty pieces, for the resonance I see here, that is generous.”

Estra turned her gaze back to the merchant, a smirk growing across her lips as she placed both hands on the table and leaned toward the man, “You heard the Seer, I’ll give thirty and throw in a small item of your choice from the sprue. ”

The merchant shifted uncomfortably under the dual gazes of Estra and Bur as he seemed to weigh his choices for a moment.

“Thirty, you make me a new drill bit, and you keep this Estarii’s appraisal from the ears of the rest of Atrium,” he countered with a hand held out to Estra in deference.

“Deal,” Estra grinned as she took the merchant's hand tightly in her own.


“Perfect delivery as always Bur,” Estra exclaimed as she fiddled with her newly acquired lump of iron, “I mean did you see his face? He started sweating moment your eyes turned up to appraise him!” she kept going as she pulled a small tool from the sash around her chest and began to prod at the ore.

“I am aware of the effect I have on others,” Bur agreed with his same listless air for the topic of conversation.

“I mean can you believe he actually believed you? Fell hook line and sinker for those flashy eyes of yours!” she leaned back as she laughed, clutching her hands to her chest as she did.

“He was over price considerably,” Bur agreed as he eyed Estra’s in her fit of laughter, “though I didn’t lowball him entirely. Merely made the agreement fair is all,” he stated without a hint of humor in his flowing words.

Estra stopped laughing almost instantly at this last comment, her gaze shooting directly to Bur as she pointed the small tool to him in a sorely unconvincing threat, “You don’t mean that right? I still paid less than it’s worth right?” she ventured as she stood and crossed the small space between them.

Bur shrugged, a sly grin pressing across his lips as Estra waggled the tiny pick in front of his face as if she were some well-trained member of the Patrol capable of extreme violence.

“Sure,” he offered, laughter rolling from his lips like the babbling of a brook.

Balling her hand into a fist, Estra pounded on Bur’s chest a few times before she turned away, “You’re as vile as they think you are Bur,” she sulked as she began to tinker with the iron once more.

“Simply evil,” Bur mocked as he began to meander out of the alley they had briefly stopped in.

“Now come, the festival won’t drink itself dry, and I know I saved you enough pieces to help with that task considerably,” he spoke, appealing to Estra’s more rash side. He didn’t need to look back to know she had begun to follow him, the hurried patter of her steps across the ground enough for him to know he was not leaving her behind angry and dejected in a random alley.

“I don’t much like other people, but I’ll give it a go,” she tried to justify the sudden reversal of her humors to Bur with a poorly feigned frown.

“You love other people Estra, that is one lie you will never get away with,” Bur smirked as he placed an arm around the red-haired woman and led her along in the wake of the exotic aromas of a recently returned Patrol.

Estra’s smile beamed as she turned to look up at the taller Bur, all hints of her sour mood completely forgotten as the call of the festival filled her mind, she slipped an arm around his midriff as they neared the front of What a Waist, “I do love other people.”
 
Last edited:

Mglo

Whatever you do, do it with style.
Original poster
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
  1. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Adept
  2. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Male
Genres
As long as the plot's good I'm in. That says nothing useful though... so I'll say: sci-fi, fantasy, I'm curious enough about horror to add it, aaaand action? yeah, ok, sure, action!
“Meneshi my boy, you can finish that another time. Go on home, cutters are already floating in the sky as antlions, can’t be long now.”

Meneshi’s clear eyes looked up from his writing and in them there was mild confusion, as if his mind were adjusting to the world around him after being plunged from the world from his writing. “I’m embarrassed by my first draft master keeper, your advice made me rethi-” a twitch of his ear and Meneshi turned to look out the window. His eyes followed the shape through the vellum for a moment before he asked, “why are the cutters doing that? They’re not supposed to glide over the town I thought. Isn’t dressing up as antlions in poor taste around this season master keeper?”

“Meneshi, Meneshi,” the record keeper shook her head, “just because we are the keepers of our past history does not mean we ought not to be aware of what is going on around our present.” She tapped her wand on his writing, “the Estarii tribe is not long dead, and they’ll be waiting tomorrow for you to fix your tone in that second draft.”

He looked at her, eyes wide and waiting, not understanding why they needed to wait.

“The Ambergris Festival Meneshi!”

With a start, Meneshi let himself be shooed away. Even in his rush he carefully and quietly padded through the shelves of tomes outside the keeper’s office. Outside the building he pulled up his hood and looked to the sky once before skittering away.

“Gain!” Meneshi had already passed him by but he turned around to speak to the man. “You came to work? Master keeper says the festival is today. I remember her complaining about it keeping you busy though,” Meneshi liked the builder. He’d done his best to work for the recordkeepers while also helping with festival arrangements, but it was his creation skill that Meneshi had been drawn by. Like building a story in a structure.

“Is your partner gliding up there? Looks scary, but then so is going outside. Did she tell you how they’re going to start it off? I’m supposed to go watch with the family later though I forgot, but with the little ones it’s a little tough to pay proper attention.”

Gain smiled at all his questions, “I’m not going to the festival so I came to work for a bit. You’ll have to give me a good description of it after. Truth is, Ninli’s not feeling so great so I want to get home as soon as I can. She would have been up there though, I’ll get you an autograph if you like.”

Meneshi knew Gain was teasing, but he still blushed and waved his hands. Gain laughed and waved goodbye as they reached a fork in the road.

“Oh good! You’re here! What took you so long? Help me get these two ready. I don't want to miss the start!”
Meneshi caught one of the two as they ran by, “Yes mom!”
“Ma! I can’t find my blue jacket!” came the voice from upstairs.
“Meshi lookit my dwaing”
“No! Mine Meshi!”
“Hold on you two. Let's get you into some clothes and then I’ll look at your drawings.”
“Meneshi pack their bags please, I don’t want to lose them in the cro-”
“Ma! It’s dirty! My blue jacket, what do I do?”
“Meshi Mine!”
“I don’t wanna go Meshi I wanna dwa”
“Honey I’m here! Let’s go, everyone! Meneshi, as usual, you’re the only one ready. Give me one of those.”
“Daddy lookit my dwaing”
“NO mine!”
“Let’s go, Let’s go, family! Out the door in five! Nice drawings my little ones but I’ll give you a sweet if you’re ready in FIVE… FOUR… THREE… TWO… ONE!”

Somehow they were all outside by the time the countdown was done. Meneshi carried one of the twins while his father carried the other, his mom pulled his little sister by the hand though she was scowling at her brown jacket. All of them picked up the pace, mother leading their little caravan until they reached a good spot on a little uphill.

As if the festival had been waiting to begin just for them, two antlion gliders floated past, making it rain a curtain of glowing bits as they crossed each other by. From the bioluminescent curtain sprung another antlion sliding upward and made the crowd gasp. “Look!” pointed one of the twins just as two figures jumped from the bodice. Meneshi reached for his mother’s arm, his stomach sinking as the figures fell to the ground and then they spread their arms and legs and were carried away in a semicircle back up to land on more gliders passing by.

“How did they do that ma?” Meneshi’s voice sounded shaky, his heart was still pounding. He wasn’t sure he wanted to watch more.

His mother knew her boy and said, “that would make a really good story no?”

“It’s magic,” his dad chimed in though he’d missed the fear in Meneshi’s question, “if you could channel Meneshi, you’d be an even better climber than you already are. Let’s say you get your hands on some ambergris, well then you could probably climb to the peak of our sky!”

Somersaults of multiple cutters jumping from and landing on moving antlion gliders decorated the airspace as all around them more dusted the surroundings with puffs of dandelion. Meneshi hadn’t even noticed the music until he felt his insides move to it the more complex the feats became. The juggling cleavers being thrown from creature glider to creature glider had Meneshi wish they’d not pass above them but the crowd wowed at their amazing accuracy. Then, from the bulbous bodies of flying spider clad gliders dropped white lines holding what looked like grubs. Except the grubs were making shapes in the air, climbing and twirling back down the white line, then wrapping themselves so that their bodies dangled demonstrating various shapes.

“Now that’s a start to a festival! Well done cutters! Well done!”
screamed and clapped a man Meneshi recognized as the baker from across the sweets shop the twins liked.
All around people stood to clap.

Meneshi liked the spectacle, and his mother was right, he could make a story out of it to bribe the twins into bed time. But stories were one thing, watching the risks real people took to amaze everyone was another. “Dad, I’m going to get something to drink,” he handed his little brother over while his mom and sister were still clapping. With his yellow hood pulled up and one hand clasped over his tense stomach, Meneshi slipped through the crowd looking for somewhere a little more quiet.
 
Last edited:

Moby Dick

Edgebabby
Posting Speed
  1. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Nonbinary
Genres
Fantasy, Hight Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Sci-fi & Horror
Oscar Hartnell

Oscar relished in a gentle dream, a dream of his Mother and one other. Back and forth she rocked and swayed gently, with a small package in his arms as she smiled, and another female figure spoke up. A figure whom in his head he knew was his wife, though her name was a haze to him. Elyr- Ellena? No. Elisha? Alysia. For a moment his heart skipped a beat and joy filled his soul as Alysia turned to him. Gorgeous, finely combed brown hair fell across her shoulders, highlighting her soft azure tinted hues that reminded him of the lake.

"What are you going to cook me?" his thoughts gave her a gentle voice that was like music to his ears.

"Jogum—" the dream faded and so too did his excitement. Blinking back into reality his eyes settled on a different woman, one that was much more real.

"I was having a good dream," he remarked, resting his head back onto the pillow.

"-You better hurry if you want to set up shop."

Oscar's world suddenly stopped, his eyes widened and he jolted up from the bed. Where was he? Why was he in the infirmary? What had happened? Where were Fred and Barnaby… WHO were Fred and Barnaby? Were they the ones that took him here? He looked at Elira. Immediately he gently placed his hands either side of her shoulders and held her "Elira, I don't have time. Who carried me here? Was it Machak? Do you know what happened to my boat?" the fisherman pleaded with a lost look in his eyes.

Elira shook her head softly. "I'm sorry, Oscar, I don't know. I was on my way to run an errand when this young man stopped me and brought me to you." She gestured to the clinic assistant. "You were already lying here unconscious when I arrived."

No, no, no! It couldn't end like this. Zuzen would kill him. The specially made net he had asked for was supposed to supply the man with a Jogumba fish! He'd sat there and watched the man make it, helped even! Everything was going all wrong, he couldn't go to the festival with no haul. Just to put icing on the freshly baked bun, he had made a deal to supply the What A Waist Tavern with fish this season. How would he be paid?! It took for Elira to respond before he realized he was far to close. "I- uh- yeah, oops." Oscar awkwardly unhanded Elira and gingerly retreated a step away "I better go. Thank you! for everything! I'll pay you back later! See you soon!" He ran, his cries slowly growing more distant as he sped off through the infrimary doors, determined and covered in filth. His journey with Jogumba had not yet ended, this was only the beginning.

Heartbeat by rapid, beating heartbeat, the young fisherman ran across the city. The sweet, succulent promises of Joguma were far too precious to just idly sit around and do nothing for. Though as fast as he ran, his body caught up to him. From time to time he had to stop, panting like a mad dog.

"Oh hey Oscar! How's it-" a familiar voice echoed through the streets.

"Not today, fair friend! Jogumba is on the line!" before he could continue with any kind of conversation or greeting, the young man jogged at the best pace he could to get to Machak's in the hope that the old geezer was home. The inevitable consquences of time and fast movement saw Oscar to the door of Machak's abode.

"Machak!!!" Oscar screamed, banging on the door, "Are you in?!?! Machak!" Oscars heart was racing. For the love of Cadia he hoped the old man was home.

"Quit your whining boy!" he could hear Machak's voice from behind him "I told you, ya damn fool!"

Oscar pivoted on the spot and rushed over, a look of delight on his face when he realised that Machak was just across the street, talking to his neighbour. "Look, I am so sorry. You're right I am a fool. Do you know where my boat went, and my net?"

Machak was silent for a moment, angrily peering at Oscar with distaste before he just moved past the boy toward his home without saying so much as a word.

"Machak please!" Oscar begged, following him.

Upon arriving back at the door, Machak grumbled "Amateurs get to wait outside," and closed the door behind him. The younger fisherman blinked and did what he was told.

Seconds passed... minutes passed... five minutes passed... ten minutes passed... fifteen. Just when Oscar was about to give up leave, the old man swung the door back open.

"What took you so long and what's that?" Oscar quizzed, puzzled by the large, lided basket at the old man's side.

"Oh, I put the kettle on and retrieved your stupid fish," Machak threw the basket at Oscar's face.

Water welled up in the young fisherman's eyes as the impact of the heavy basket flew into his arms sent him falling to the floor. He opened it. Everything was there, it was all there! Dozen of fresh Jogumba, carefully preserved in ice. Even the net was there. "Thank you," Oscar sniveled from the floor, hugging the basket. Salty, wet tears streamed down his face as he looked up at his senior filled with gratitude.

Machak scowled "Get up boy. Happy Ambergris Festival."

Warmth filled Oscar's heart, appreciation filled his thoughts and laughter filled his lungs. Machak was the same as always. Wordless, he set aside the basket, picked himself up from floor, wandered over to Machak and wrapped the old man in a grateful a hug.

"Your boat is at the dock. Now get lost or nobody will be eating them fish." Machak shook Oscar off, flickered him a grin and closed the door in his face "Blasted kids."

Relief settled over the young man's heavy beating heart. Without so much as a second thought, he picked up the basket and slung it over his shoulder. One day he would make Machak proud. A smile lit up his face as he laughed briefly to himself and started to stroll casually toward the tavern, singing with boyish glee. Soft sparkles of light filled the sky and Oscar looked on with wonder. He watched children playing in the streets, looking up at the sky as they proded their parents with excitement. For once in a long time, everywhere there was life. With the turn of every corner he could see the warmth, the joy, the dress, the art. Ambergris was here! Davreth would get his fish, Oscar would get his beer and Jogumba was back on the menu!
 
Last edited:

strangeatlas

Edgebabby
Some time after the Festival of Ambergris concluded:

“Mr. Tavolt Arou? You may call me Captain. You should know that I represent the interests of the Council, and therefore, all the people of Cadia. Although you will remain restrained for now, you need not be harmed if you can be…cooperative.

“The Council has tasked me to get to the absolute truth of your role in the events leading up to and during the incident. Action and intent are important. The degree and severity of your punishment depends critically on how you explain the circumstances behind your behavior. Choose your words carefully.”

“Thanks for giving me a chance to explain this misunderstanding, Captain. It is, after all, just a misunderstanding. I didn’t mean to do anything wrong. I still don’t understand what happened, exactly. I think if I can explain my state of mind, you can see I never intended to try and hurt anyone. Especially not anyone in the Council. Let me start a few nights before the festival started, maybe two? Three?

“I’d just got back from my brother's house. He lives way far from town, far enough that you wouldn’t be surprised if his back door took you right into a cloud of barrell spores. It's a long journey from the Atrium, most of the day, but my brother, well, he likes it like that: all to himself and the toys he fiddles with. I caught up with Tenna—that’s my sister in law—and met a few of my little nieces and nephews. They are absolutely adorable. Let me tell you, her mother introduced me as ‘Uncle Tav from the city’ and now she thinks that’s my name!

“Ok, ok to the point, got it. Well Coiran, my brother, he’s not exactly fond of me, and well, hasn’t been for maybe six? seven years? Since another incident as you might call it. I’d just apologized for the hundred and eleventh time, but he just sits there and gives me his frozen glare, insisting I’m not sincere. Well, I’d had enough at that point. That was the last apology in my quarrel, and I was down to broadswords, so to speak. Hey, I’m not proud of my temper, but I’m also not about to part with it. I went all the way back to the Atrium that night, just fuming the whole way.

“So I get there and my buddy, Fretty, is outside ‘What a Waist,’ abandoning his dinner. ‘It was that time a’night,’ he shrugged. He’s exactly who I wanted to see. You see, Fretty is my magical effects supervisor, and I was wondering how our last showing was. The Midnight Hour is what it’s called. It’s been a major success, by any measure. Anyway, we’d also petitioned for a spot in the festival to perform a little teaser scene from the play, and moreover, for a little ambergris to make it a spectacle. Then Fretty informed me the petition was denied, not only the ambergris, but we wouldn’t even get a spot. Not even a spot! It was unforgivable! I was shocked, at first.

“Then I realized why: Madam Roussa. She owns the gem of the downtown, the theater, The Red Specter. Its interior is like a fountain of rich red vellum, framed in gold embroidery, under a sky of silver light. Anyone who is anyone has been there.

“Half the town must know this by now, but me and the ‘Madam’ have a bit of a history. I was about nineteen when she picked me up out of the gutter. Back then I was basically rolling in my own filth, begging for loose coin. She must have liked my performance, because she plucked me up and gave me a spot in the theater, mostly background work.

“By the gods and Cadia, I loved her back then. She was a towering pinnacle of style, majesty, and beauty. She was disciplined, exacting. She knew what she wanted, and she got it. Then one night, she wanted me. Maybe it was wrong, I mean, she was my mistress, about thirty years older than me, although an elf, if that matters. That first year was all furtive glances, whispers in the ear, and stolen moments. Then the rumors started, and that only made things more fun. For the first time in my life, I thought I was happy.

“Suddenly, I found myself ascending the ranks: lead actor, writer, and finally lead writer and director. That’s when I realized this was me. This was who I am. That’s also when The Red Specter made its name. Her connections, discipline, and iron grip over the talent, combined with my wild ideas, overflowing with a lust for danger and experimentation. Together, we were acid and castersalt: fuming, bubbling, steaming hot, the hottest couple in town, or so I liked to believe.

“It wasn’t long before that curtain came crashing down on top of me. A stage hand, as you might expect, almost half my age. I confronted her immediately, of course. She had the gall to say that she needed a man with ‘a bit more youthful stamina.’ I flew into a rage, said some things I regret. Said I was leaving The Specter to run my own theater. Called her a blood-sucking leech who bled me out and got fat off my youth and talent. She laughed in my face, said I was nothing but gutterscum without her. She said, ‘No one is going to so much as spit on you when my word goes out.’

“She was right, of course. She had that power over everyone, everyone in the business, that is. So I stumbled back to my origins, into the back alleys I used to haunt. Desperate vagabonds and useless creatures hooked on silksmoke or majigas or both. I reinvented an abandoned clearinghouse into a proper stage, and promised to pay my people once things got going. The Seray Manor is what we call it. That was years ago, and today, Seray sells out every premiere. It’s nothing compared to The Specter, of course, not yet.

“I knew immediately it was Madam Roussa who was behind our banishment from the festival. I poured my soul, my identity, my very essence of being into the Seray, and the festival was the one chance to step up to The Specter’s level. I wanted to prove to the Madam, my brother, and everyone else looking down on me that I am not someone worth forgetting.

“Anyways, back to ‘What a Waist’, I was a few ales in, ruminating on the humor of that name and my predicament, and silksmoke lay heavy in the bar that night. A plan for revenge and redemption came whistling out of my steaming mind. We would steal the Madam’s spot, sneak in with everything we could carry, and make such a spectacle as no one could ever forget.

“Fretty, my magical effects supervisor, listened faithfully, and dutifully reported that my ambitions were impossible with our current setup. Just so happens I heard some of the Council had been hoarding a cut of the ambergris for personal use. I also knew just the people who could nab it.

“Needless to say, the plan didn’t exactly work out as I expected. What I mean to say is, I had nothing to do with what actually happened. The plan was to make a statement, that’s all. There’s only so much mockery and chastisement a man can take before he acts out. What happened later…well, I am nothing but a misunderstood victim of fate, really. Been that my whole life.”
 
Last edited:

unanun

Child is born, with a heart of gold
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Writing Levels
  1. Adaptable
Genres
I'm wary of magic with lots of rules.
Ouch!

That would not do, if Iman were to learn that he could get his attention like that. Grandpa smothered the boy's hands as he took a halting breath. Taber had said that the air tasted sweet. His bones were likely still out there.

They slowed to take in the festival as the noise from Atrium grew brighter than the daylight through Cadia's dome. Iman pried himself free and dashed into the crowd, but Grandpa didn't mind. Most of the people around would know his grandchild's face.

"Davreth, one .. oh." Grandpa paused in the doorway. Next to the squad, fresh from their patrol and loudly quaffing ale, he was certainly a touch gaudy. But both Grandpa and the squad scanned each other's badges, counting the notches, counting the number of patrols. Some cups were tilted, some gazes bowed, some heads lowered a fraction of an inch. The din quieted just enough for Grandpa to wave Davreth over.

"Stop, stop! No more! I'm going to lock the door until we are-"

"Eeeeey, it's Abra!"

Gorhal slapped the air out of Abraham, who puffed his chest to suck it back in. That earned him the special kind of accommodating compassion, reserved for seniors, from Davreth as he slid over a half mug. "Say, isn't this your third festival? It'll be my second. You've seen it all, eh?"

"Of course not!" Grandpa sketched the air, spilling a bit of ale. "Have you seen the cutters flying around? They were so .. so graceful! We've come such a long way now, why, I don't think they had waystations when I was in the patrol ... oh," he took just a sip, "but I should see what Iman is up to."

"When was the last time he talked about the patrol?"

"Must be in good mood, with all that poon."

Grandpa found Iman utterly transfixed at The Specter, where there was some sort of pre-show. A sculptor held a brush with a piece of ambergris, and ink flowed nonstop from the tip as he traced the air. In his hands the paintbrush sculpted Cadia herself.

"Behold! A never before living art of ... Cadia!!" Cadia's head, baleen, fins, dorsal, body, and tail took shape as the artist ran from one of the stage to the other. He made a big show of flicking paint from one side of Cadia to the other, the blobs of ink undulating and stretching into thick strokes of calligraphy that settled onto Cadia in the form of bumps, barnacles, and skin texture. Cadia took shape in all of her blue majesty, settling into the depression that brought her mouth level with the ground for the patrol to enter.

"I have many friends in the patrol, many friends!" The artist sucked up a mouthful of grey, metallic paint and spat it over Cadia, where it floated suspended as barrell fungi spores, and sketched in antlions and fungus where appropriate. "This how they describe the outside, a constant slow shower of spores, filled with creatures beyond imagination whose domain stretches beyond our ability to scout!" He threw brown acrylic all around Cadia, where it formed earth and mud, solid close to the whale but fading into the air with distance. "Beyond here .. what lurks? Hic sunt insectum!"

Faugh! Nonsense! Abraham tried to calm his heart. His hand grasped at his hip where the hilt of a sword was absent, as he also stared, transfixed, at the absolute border of knowledge where the ground faded to nothing.
 
Last edited:

ItariChan

カンザキイオリ - 不器用な男
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. One post per week
  3. Slow As Molasses
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Primarily Prefer Female
Genres
Horror, Scifi, Fantasy
Those who knew either of the twins well would take one look at Celia and move out of her way. She pushed everyone else out of her path and made her way straight to Zuzen. He was halfway into his second mug now. In his hands he held a chunk of bone, molding it into various shapes and animals. It was a something he brought with him to keep his hands busy, after getting in trouble one too many times for warping the furniture whenever he went out. Zuzen saw her coming and attempted to escape. He had never been a strong drinker though and was already quite drunk. He stumbled, scrambling to get his bone piece backin his pocket and tripped on his chair and fell to the floor. Celia pulled him by the back of his shirt. "Get up!" She ignored his cries of protest, grabbed him by his ear and dragged him out of the building. "How dare you! Do you know how hard it was to carry everything by myself? Mom even got you approved to do a live sculpting event and you're here drinking! The sun's barely even up! How can you be already be drunk!"

"Ow, ow, ow... Celia! Please! You'll tear it off!"

They ran into Oscar on the way to the stall, who had been on his way to deliver his jogumba. Zuzen managed to escape his sister's grasp and drunkenly stumbled up to him. He clasped the taller man on his shoulders. "Oscar. I don't care about the fish." He sniffled slightly, "Please tell me you have the net at least."

The low tones of humming suddenly stopped as laughter bellowed from Oscar’s belly “Always the charmer, Zuzen.” With open arms, Oscar took a step forward to embrace his beloved friend “It’s good to see you.”

Celia took one look at the large basket on Oscar’s back and pushed Zuzen out of the way, taking one of his hands in hers, "Oscar, I heard you got hurt this morning. Are you feeling better?" She looked up, eyes fluttering, doing her best to show off her breasts, a slight blush on her cheeks "It looks like you caught a lot of fish. You're not giving all of that to Davreth are you? You know I love fish."

In the face of seduction, Oscar blinked and observed Celia’s display with avid curiosity. Was she usually this pushy? “I’m fine. Thank you for the concern,” he raised her hand to his lips and offered her a kiss in greeting “It’s a pleasure to see you again too, Lady Celia.” His eyes darted briefly to Zuzen for reassurance “I’ve a fish or two that I could spare to trade.”

Zuzen looked between Celia and Oscar with a confused expression, "Wait, I thought you were into Ca- oof!" A quick punch to the gut was all that was needed to shut him up and drop him into a pained squat. Zuzen clung to Oscar's pants, "Oscar, she's not in a good mood. Be careful."

Celia gave Oscar a wink and his hand a squeeze and once again picked her brother up from the ground, "Perfect! Zuzen's gotta work now, but bring some fish over later, okay?"

Zuzen stared blearily at the large piece of bone in front of him. Celia had beaten him sober, but his head was still pounding. A tiny piece of ambergris had been sewn onto the back of his glove. He had no idea how his mother had gotten ahold of it, but he had learned by now not to question the women in his family. It seemed the theme of this festival was antillions, so Zuzen went to work sculpting one. He couldn't hide his shock at how easily and quickly the bone warped under his fingers. In fact, it felt like he barely had to do any work at all. The bone was practically shaping itself. The antilion was finished in less than an hour. Zuzen took a short break, letting people admire the finished work, before starting to shape it into something else. This time he made a jogumba. He grinned. If only sculpting was always this easy.



The festivities were in full swing by now, which meant nobody noticed the small figure weaving through the crowd. A long red rope hung around their neck, the ends stealthily snaking into peoples' pockets and dropping various trinkets into Sekani's small, waiting hands. A set of keys. A handful of Bales. Some jewlery. Most of the items were dropped on the ground. The few that they found interesting were tucked into a pouch hidden in their robes. Someone attentive might have noticed the trail of dropped items behind Sekani but almost everyone was distracted by the performances and Sekani took full advantage of it.

The previous patrol squad had just returned. Normally, this would mean Sekani's squad would be preparing to leave. However, their departure had been delayed due to the festival. It was Sekani's first Ambergris festival, though they had heard of them before from the Elder Faceless. They were still deciding if it was worth having to delay their patrol for. Nothing could beat the thrill of being on the outside after all. They stopped at a stall to get some food. The rope around their neck shaped itself into a bowl. Food?

"Hold on just a second. I got just the stuff for you Faceless." The stall owner turned to a bubbling pot of stew, laddled it into a tall cup and then handed it to Sekani, who was waiting with a straw. "I keep this batch boiling longer just for you folk. Everything should be soft enough to drink right up." The rope shaped itself into a heart and Sekani handed the stall keeper a few Bales. Drinkable food in hand, Sekani made their way through the festival, keeping an eye out for any of their squadmates. The festival was interesting, but they only need to glance at each performance once to be satisfied. They didn't see the point of standing and staring at people making the same moves over and over. Maybe they could convince everyone to leave early.
 
Last edited:

Kuno

Django Jane
SITE SUPPORT LEAD
SITE SUPPORT
DONATING MEMBER
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. One post per day
  2. 1-3 posts per week
  3. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Prestige
  5. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, Sci fi, Romance, Historical, Modern, Supernatural
Xola
⬤ ⭘
Interactions
none
Cadia
everywhere
⭘ ⬤
Humans were not so very different from insects. Where moths drew near to flickering flames, so, too, did the skin-footed creatures crave so dearly the hub of life, warmth, and light that Cadia’s center had become. The ambergris had drawn them in inconceivable numbers. There they swelled in the taverns, in the shops, on the streets and by the lakes. One couldn’t take a step without threatening to crush a body underfoot.

A blessing, then, that Xola was large in renown only.

Some distance away from the center of festivities, on a street scattered with merchant stalls, the gentle clopping of hooves followed behind footsteps. The Patrol woman drew more than a few curious eyes, recognition flashing in some. A regrettable outcome, despite her desire to stay largely unnoticed. But she knew to strive to remain anonymous was to chase after the wind.

A hood would have done no good. The satyr’s horns were as elongated as they were unmistakably pallid in color, much like the rest of her muted, washed out exterior. The woman was nearly translucent in the waves of colors passing by her; there was no hiding Xola in a bustling crowd.

“Hail, Xola. Welcome.”

The accessory merchant was a large bear of a man, with a shaggy, bristling black beard sprouting from his chin. He looked to be the sort of man who had grown one just for the sake of having it. Rough and coarse, he was entirely at odds with his delicate wares. And delicate, they were - pretty, too. They shimmered across the man’s humble stand: rings, bracelets, and shining headpieces, their jewels and enchanted lights beckoning silently to Xola with whispers of gaudy beauty. Xola stepped closer, and the man grinned, clearly pleased that the recluse had answered his call.

“For someone as beautiful as ambergris, why not a necklace to match?” He continued, lifting a jeweled piece surely worth more than the both of them combined. “Or a silver ring for the silver mistress herself. Ah! Or perhaps my lady desires gilded ribbons to adorn such lovely horns?”

The honeyed words fell upon deaf ears. The satyr’s eyes had fixated on a sparkling wire headpiece of sorts, one that she was quick to tear her eyes away from.

But like a fish, the shopkeep was quick to latch on.

“Care to try it on?” He offered. It glimmered beneath Cadia’s light as he lifted it, like a finely spun strand of gold.

She gave him an unreadable look. “How much?” She asked. Her voice was soft as a lullaby.

“For you, I halve the fee. A festival’s guarantee.”

Xola hadn’t ventured out of her home for pretty baubles. But oh, how the metal called to her, how the light danced across its gilded surface like tiny stars in the night sky. She was a woman driven by frugality; still, the seed of vanity festered in her, pining for what she would surely lose use of quickly in the waning hours. A waste of money, to be sure. And yet…

Her defeat was eked out in a few baleens in his waiting palm. The satyr drew more stares as she moved along down the street, but now it was towards the shimmer reflected between the strands of her hair. Xola hurried along, trying her best to tamp down the childish swell of happiness in her.

This must have been what the humans called “festival spirit.”
Coded by Ardent
 
Last edited:

Oxymoron

A Pale Reflection of the Sun
Invitation Status
  1. Look for groups
  2. Looking for partners
There was a witch in the woods, so the children said. A tall woman who stood on hooves with pearly white hair that was so long it dragged along the ground below her as she trotted around from place to place. She carried with her a cane – no, a broom. – that she rode on whenever she wanted to come into town to steal away their sweets. The children spoke in whispers about how if you’re naughty she’d hex you, transforming the poor kid into a sheep to join her ever-growing flock. Around her neck hung a key that the kids rumored would go to unlocking a box that contained all of Cadia’s evil. Truly, she was a scourge upon the land. From this little whisper sprung forth a game in the nearby village where a designated “Witch,” would chase down her unfortunate victims across the streets.

Of course, none of this was true. Even the kids knew that to an extent. The witch's name was Minnow and she was a far cry from any spellcaster. A reserved Faunus living so far tailward that most wouldn’t even fathom the idea of visiting her exclusively for the inconvenience of having to travel so far. Those who had bothered to cited her being an overall gentle woman with an unfortunately fragile heart and an even more unfortunate stutter. Most only knew her because of her father. Thomas Matthews was, once, a respected member of the council. He simply grew too old to continue his duties and retired tail-side to a life of animal herding and farming. Thomas frequented the nearby villages with produce and wools to offer them. Despite his kind demeanor many could notice that he wasn’t quite satisfied with his life. He was lonely. Far too old to play bachelor either.

As such many of them could cite the exact day his attitude changed. It was the same day he introduced Minnow to the village. Only an infant at the time, wrapped up neatly in a pale-yellow blanket and cradled in a basket. In an instant he was happy. He knew not where this child came from, perhaps a gift from Cadia, but she had renewed his decreasing vigor. Thomas grew a lot more talkative. The charismatic man they knew from his time as a council member had returned in full swing. For a while everything looked all the brighter in this little side of Cadia.

The day Thomas died was a tragedy. Everyone knew that he wasn’t long for the world but he had pushed long past healthy years, living well past ninety. How could someone so full of life possibly become weak? For but a moment he seemed immortal. Up until he wasn’t. He died peacefully in his bed. News only reached the villagers when they had noticed he hadn’t come in this week with the promise of a record-breaking harvest. Concerned villagers went to go check on him only to find Minnow curled up asleep by her deceased father’s side. The village wanted to bury him with all the honors they could afford. Some even attempted to petition raising a memorial for him but others rightfully argued that he wouldn’t have wanted such a thing. Something humbler was decided on instead. A single gravestone under a blooming tree within walking distance of his home.

Minnow had been only twelve when Thomas died. Ten more winters had passed since then. For the first two she was subject to regular visits from the villagers who wished to pay their respects or were concerned for her safety. Now, most know her only as a distant memory. An echo of someone who used to be. They didn’t hate her and she didn’t hate them. In fact, she enjoyed their company. Minnow simply just wasn’t much for conversation. Quiet by nature, they found themselves constantly needing to ask her to speak up or repeat herself because they couldn’t understand her past her stutter. When the villagers stopped showing up she thought it for the best, thinking them irritated by her. She didn’t mind the quiet life. In fact, she liked the monotony. There was comfort to be found in a routine. When everything’s always the same she didn’t have to worry about the unknown that frightened her so. She didn’t even need to go into town for supplies either. The land was bountiful enough to provide for her and her animals with plenty to spare. It was always just her, her flock, and her plants.

And, occasionally, Nathaniel. He was the only villager that still visited her consistently. Talkative and energetic, Nathan was everything she was not. He worked as a courier and messenger for all of Cadia. Once, he was a passionate adventurer who was eager to prove himself as a scout. image_2022-03-07_194039.png He would go on to be one of the youngest scouts to ever make it onto a team. His ambition would outpace his ability when, on his very first patrol outside of Cadia, his recklessness cost him vision in his right eye and nearly cost his team their lives. Their lives were thankfully all spared but he resigned himself after that lesson, deciding that he had to temper his eagerness and live a far humbler life until he can one day prove himself ready to be relied on.

Nathan always kept his fuzzy ear to the ground. When news of the ambergris began to spread he was among the first to hear of it. In an instant he recognized an opportunity to maybe get Minnow to break out of her shell for once. A festival like this would be hard for even someone as sheepish as Minnow to pass up.

She had been sitting by her window with her hoof on the pedal to her spinning wheel when Nathan arrived. Her sheep had all been sheared that morning and now she was just processing it into a useable yarn. This would have been her whole day if she hadn’t heard the rhythmic knocking of Nathan on her window. Immediately she tensed at the sound, a quiet yelp even escaped her and the whole spinning wheel rattled at her sudden movement. A loud sigh of relief escaped her when she saw who it was standing on the other side. She stood from her seat and pulled the window open, hunching down to stick her head out and addressing the smiling courier.

“Y-Y-You scared me Nathan. . .” Minnow whispered, her voice barely audible.

“Heh! Sorry, I’m just a bit excited.” Nathan chuckled loudly in response. “I bring good news today! Great news! Ambergris was spotted and harvested earlier today, there’s going to be a festival!”

“A-A-A festival. . ?” She tilted her head to a side. “I-I hope you have fun. . .”

“I hope you do too, ‘cause I’m bringing you with me. And I won’t take no for answer!” The courier insisted. “C’mon! Everyone will be there! I think it’s a good time to maybe hawk some of your wares too!”

The wares he was referring to was the increasing heap of knitted items that was simply piling up in Minnows closet. She was completely self-sustaining out here, as such she didn’t need funds. The only reason she kept making these items was because she didn’t want all the harvested wool to pile up. That, and a sense of responsibility. She had vivid memories of making sweaters and blankets with her father. A part of her wanted to deny his invitation. Its been years since she spoke to anyone other then him. Going straight to haggling felt like skipping a few important steps. Yet she simply didn’t have the heart to deny him. So, reluctantly, she replied:

“I-I-If you think it’s a good idea. . .” She held her own arm. “G-Gimmie a second to gather my things, p-please. . . I’ll be out soon. . .”

“I brought Willy if that makes you feel better!” Nathan suddenly crouched down to pick up something too low for Minnow to see from the window. Willy was Nathan’s own goat, one provided to him by his employers to carry any heavy parcels. He picked up Willy and lifted him to the window sill, where he proceeded to bleat angrily at the sky for cursing him with the inability to escape. This managed to tease a cheerful giggle out of Minnow, who left to gather her items shortly after.

By the end of the hour the three of them had loaded Willy up with various knitted goods, gave Minnow a very brief lesson in business, and left for the atrium. They arrived too late to witness many of the performances but just in time to catch a wave of villagers all gathering around the several hawkers shouting about how their product was the best one in all of Cadia. The three of them shuffled to an empty stall where they scrambled to put Minnow's wares on display. Sweaters, blankets, mittens, and warmers of all kinds. All were a stainless shade of white but easily dyeable at home. Minnow took a seat behind the table where she began to nervously braid her hair, A habit she had since she was a kid. Nathaniel, however, did not sit with her. Instead he stood across the table, checking the contents of Willy's bags.

"Crap!" He swore, digging up two letters. "Sorry Minnow, I gotta run for a minute! I missed some letters. They're close, I won't be gone long. Think you'll be okay on your own?"

She didn't. Just the idea of being alone in a growing crowd of people was making her heart race. She stood out like a sore thumb. Despite her sheepish nature she was quite tall, just an inch shy of six feet, and the exorbitant length of her white hair meant that many eyes rested on her. Willy was the only one drawing more eyes than her. Yet despite her doubts she only nodded her head in response, to which Nathan responded by not wasting any time and taking off to deliver the last of the letters.

So, there Minnow sat. Hair braided and hands on her lap while staying as still as a statue. She decided she'd just stay perfectly unmoving in this exact spot until Nathan returned to avoid drawing too much attention to herself. What's the worst that could happen?
 
Last edited:

FrostedCaramel

God's in His Heaven, All's Right With the World.
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per day
  2. 1-3 posts per week
Online Availability
Whenever you're asleep, thanks time zones.
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
Genres
Sci-Fi, Modern, and Horror.
The air was charged with excitement as the people of Cadia gathered en masse to celebrate. Much to Bur’s irritation, Estra was no exception to this contagious mood. She had gone on and on giddily about how an Ambergris Festival was a once or twice in a lifetime experience; if you were lucky. She’d run ahead and fell behind as she talked his ear off for hours while they trekked through Cadia from far out Tailward. She’d told beaming tales she’d heard of prior festivals from dim-eyed elders from all across Cadia, vivid images of Cadia’s jubilees experienced long ago in their prime. Estra’s descriptions, as animated and colorful as they were, didn’t seem to hold a candle to the real thing.

The sheer number of people showing out for the festival was a memory that Bur would never forget. The streets were packed to the brim with people. Vendors peddled their goods to any who passed, couples sauntered from sight to sight, parents chased errant children between the gaps in the crowd, and every so often the drunk and disorderly made their way past with the tang of alcohol and bouts of raucous laughter.

Bur thought it a bit too early for such displays of boozing, after all the festival had only just gotten started, but he couldn’t stand by his conviction for long as he lifted a mug to his lips.

“—you know Bur?” Estra finished whatever it was she had been on about as she lifted her own mug to her lips beside him. She lowered the cup as she turned to Bur, a frothy mustache of beer adorning her upper lip as she scowled at him, “You weren't listening to me, were you?” she added in disappointment.

Bur smirked as he lowered his own cup and continued winding his way through the crowd.

“Of course I was.”

“Liar,” Estra snapped.

“You hurt me, Estra. I could never ignore a word from your lips,” he consoled the woman as he took another drink.

“Uh-huh,” she began as she mimicked him, “Then what was I on about huh? What did I say?”

A smug smile grew across Bur’s lips as he began to pantomime Estra’s lively gestures.

“Well you started on about the cutters and their gliders,” he traced the path of a cutter through the sky with his mug as he spoke, a splash of beer slipping over the rim and down his fingers as he did, “I think it was… ‘How beautiful it must be to look down on Cadia from up there,’ or something like that.”

He turned to Estra in time to catch her cheeks filling in a rosy blush as he repeated her words.

“Anyone could have guessed as much,” she pointed out as she quickly brought her mug to her lips.

“Oh I’m sure,” Bur agreed with a nod.

There was a lull of silence between them as they passed onto a new street, a fresh but familiar view of the crowded pathway before them greeting the pair as they continued their back and forth.

“Then it was all about how I, apparently, ripped you off.”

“Apparently!” Estra sputtered from within her mug, “You did, you little bastard!”

“I don’t seem to recall doing such,” he plucked at her hair as they walked, emphasizing his height over her with the simple gesture, “And I know I’m not the little one here.”

“Of course, you wouldn’t,” Estra answered as she swatted at Bur’s hand, “You can do no harm of course,” she mocked as Bur relinquished his pestering.

“I’m glad we’re in agreement then.”

Estra looked about to protest but instead simply sighed and retreated into the comfort of the beer in her hand.

“You really are as vile as they say you are, Bur,” she murmured from within the mug.

“Simply evil,” he agreed with a smile, an arm pulling Estra close as they continued their ambling toward a large stage ahead of them.

“What do you think the show will be?” he asked curiously, hoping to change the subject as Estra was still engrossed in the liquid at the bottom of her mug.

The mug came down in a flash, nothing but froth remaining in it as Estra strained to catch a glimpse of the main stage over the crowd.

“Something spectacular I’m sure,” she began with a wistful look spreading across her features, “Something I can’t see,” she motioned at the crowd before them in something similar to despair before turning her blue eyes on Bur.

There was no need for her to voice her thoughts, the request obvious to Bur as he chuckled like the gentle rolling of a stream.

“I thought I was the ‘little’ one?” he teased as he bent down.

“I take it back!” Estra exclaimed gleefully as she jumped up onto Bur’s shoulders.

“Do you now?” Bur said as he looked up and over himself at Estra’s smiling face looking down at his.

“Yes yes, now come on, I’m trying to see the stage!” she encouraged him to lift her higher with a light kick from her heels.

Bur smiled as he stood back up, the rambunctious blacksmith laughing victoriously as she easily cleared the crowd on her new perch.

Content in Estra’s delight, Bur brought his own mug back to his lips and took in only a small sip of its contents before it was plucked from his fingers.

“Thanks!” Estra laughed as she leaned back up with his drink.

“I never offered that,” Bur protested as he halfheartedly reached up to take back his drink.

“Of course you did, ladies first or something,” Estra countered with her beaming smile as she brought the drink to her own lips.

Bur sighed in defeat as he brought his hand back down to hold onto Estra at his shoulders. He began to push a little further toward the stage as Estra began to exclaim loudly about some magician puppeteering a horrid creature.

“You’re lucky you paid for that,” he murmured.
 
Last edited:

Kuno

Django Jane
SITE SUPPORT LEAD
SITE SUPPORT
DONATING MEMBER
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Posting Speed
  1. One post per day
  2. 1-3 posts per week
  3. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
  4. Prestige
  5. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, Sci fi, Romance, Historical, Modern, Supernatural
Xola
⬤ ⭘
Collab with
Cadia
everywhere
⭘ ⬤
The closer Xola drew to Cadia’s center, the stronger the swell of their sheltered community became. Magnetic, the push and pull of the bodies around her beckoned her forward. The cutters flew above, raining down starshine on the awed masses, and the satyr glanced upwards, taking in the stars shining from Cadia’s translucent sky.

She didn’t know how long she wandered like this. The sparkling lights in her hair had rendered her a part of the festivities, if only physically, and Xola passed a bit ethereally down the streets, taking in all the sights and sounds so different from home. It was near a food stall that her eyes alighted on a familiar hooded figure drifting through in a manner akin to her, their face an enduring enigma…

Sekani.

Xola came alongside them, steps quiet as a whisper.

“Have you eaten?” She asked in lieu of greeting. She’d never been one for pleasantries, not even with her fellow Patrol members.

Sekani was tailing an old man walking around the festival with his grandson. The pair stopped to look at a stall selling bone sculptures and textiles, and a young woman began enthusiastically selling a toy to the child. The grandpa refused to buy it at first, but with some extra pushing, the saleswoman soon had the young boy in tears begging to get the “one of a kind" item. As the grandpa leaned down to wipe his tears, Sekani ran past on quick feet, their rope smoothly pulling a medal off the old man's shirt as they passed. They were admiring their prize when Xola's sudden appearance made them jump. Their ribbon shaped itself into Xola’s horns, and then a heart. Xola! <3 In response to her question Sekani showed her the cup they held in their hands. Then they held out their medal to her. Look!

Xola eyed her unconventional friend. The medal glinted, too pristine for any ordinary Cadian or patrol member – patrol being the key word.

She frowned slightly.

"Very nice. But…where did you get this?"

Sekani slipped the medal into their robe and put it away. They pointed in the direction towards the stage with one end of their rope and tugged on Xola’s hand with the other, purposefully ignoring her question, Let’s go look.

In the battle of purposeful ignorance, the satyr was a tough opponent.

"Did you take that from someone?" Xola asked. The tug of her hand went ignored, her hooves planting themselves firmly in place.

She wasn't budging.

Sekani stopped pulling and walked over to Xola, their head hanging as if in shame. Then they reached into their robe and very solemnly put an intricately carved house key into Xola’s hands. It was their second favorite item they had picked up that day (after the medal), stolen from a young man making sculptures. It was their way of saying “You can have this, so let's keep quiet about the medal.”

A soft sigh escaped her. The key raised another issue of theft; indeed, Xola was quite certain that the key didn't belong to any residence Sekani stayed in. And yet the jubilant spirit of both Cadia and her teammate buoyed her mood, softening some of her edges.

"Alright," She finally relented, tucking the key into her robe. She made a mental note to find the owner of the key later. "C'mon, then. Let's see this…'show.'"

Coded by Ardent
 

strangeatlas

Edgebabby
“Mr. Arou, I have plenty on your motives. I need to know more about the details of the incident itself. Start in the evening, two days ago, at The Red Specter, at the show.”

“Yes, of course Captain, excuse my mind’s wanderings. Let me see, yes, that evening, our plans seemed to more or less be coming into place. I’d substituted myself in for the role of ‘the herald of Cadia,’ which has a complete head-to-toe costume and only one part at the end of intermission. Fretty was to show up in a kind of magical apparatus for which I’d given him detailed instructions. Then, I’d have my joke.

“The theater top was drawn back to reveal the beautifully lighted roof of the Atrium itself. Peeking out the curtain, I saw dancers leaping across the stage, sending streaks of light that wound round shimmering Cadian baleen, bones, and barnacles. Cadia and her people joined together in symbiotic harmony, on stage for all to see. The dancers suddenly froze and became indistinguishable from the Cadian landscape of the stage. The audience burst into cheers and applause. The rich red vellum curtains closed the scene gracefully.

The Specter was packed, wall to wall. The front row was filled with most of the Council members, and near the center of the first row, the only pair of eyes that mattered to me: the Madam Roussa. Next to her sat her irritatingly tall and chisel-faced lover, dressed in a suit he clearly didn’t pick out for himself.

“I’d been waiting for Fretty to show his idiot face, but he was late. Really late. I’d have to get started, and hopefully Fretty would make his presence known in time.

“‘Beyond Cadia’s loving embrace lies the dark of the abyss. But, far from empty is this abyss, for it is full of jealous creatures, hungry for a taste of our Mother’s denied affections!’ my voice rang out, amplified by a shoutspell. The murmur in the crowd died. I let a moment of silence build before sweeping out from the rich, translucent red vellum curtains which gave The Red Specter its name. The Madam was in the front row. She clearly recognized my voice and perceived what was going on. She had her hand placed delicately over her brow, feigning embarrassment. In my mind, a hidden smile also graced her lips. I smirked as I heard a deep tremor behind the stage followed by distant shorts of alarm. ‘Wild and contemptuous! You ignore them at your—”

“I was interrupted by an explosion of splintering wood and clattering planks behind the curtain. A few shouts and a general excited murmur rang though the auditorium as a silhouette eclipsed the translucent curtains. The shadow crept over me into the front few rows of the audience. ‘Damn, Fretty, you really have outdone yourself,’ I naively thought to myself.

Drawing a deep breath, I continued, ‘These spurned creatures clamor and will be denied…NO LONGER!,’ dragging the last words as the curtains burst apart.

“A massive bulbous body waggled side to side as it walked, irreverently knocking down the backdrop and superstructures supporting the stage pieces. Wood, rope, and paper were showering down. Clawed feet crushed the colorful props representing the beauty of Cadia. In front, mandibles running half the length of its body were clacking as it’s beady eyes surveyed the suddenly open space of the theater.

“The Madam wasn’t likely to forgive this much destruction, so I tried to reel things in a bit, “The heroes of the petrol–” but my line was cut off by a loud rip when the creature approached the beautiful vellum curtains and effortlessly tore them from their supports. It subsequently began to mince them in its secondary mandibles, dripping saliva I saw hissing as it burned the invaluable realwood stage.

“Trying to signal Fretty to cut it out, I grabbed a prop sword laying nearby, shouting uncertainly, ‘I will, um, vanquish you now! Ayaa!’ and I swatted one of the nearby legs. My enemy didn’t notice the sword, but its head swiveled at my shout, and its gaze was fixed squarely towards the Madam.

“It was that moment that I saw Fretty in the back, with the whites of his eyes blazing in the stage lighting, dressed in the sorriest excuse for an antlion costume that I ever could have imagined. The creature suddenly rotated toward the Madam, drawing ‘oohs’ and applause from the crowd. It reacted to the sudden cheer by emitting a piercing squeal, and shaking its head threateningly. I knew I needed to do something before it plunged into the oblivious audience, still cheering with delight.

“Now, I’m not a good singer, not by far, but I have a strong voice and I know Kupartha’s Song of Spring by heart, so I cut loose with the final reprise, and heard my voice reverberate in the auditorium. The antlion must have known Song of Spring as well, because between two of my racing heartbeats, it came barreling down on the source of blasphemy with a strength of hatred even my usual critics would envy. At this point in my life, I know my way around hostile projectiles while on stage, and so my reaction, whatever it was, probably saved my life.

“The next thing I remember, my teeth were crunching on splinters and grains of something, my left side felt disturbingly warm and wet, and in my ears, a loud ringing slowly faded into screaming. The crowd was jamming through bottlenecks at the exits and the Madam was nowhere to be seen. I was utterly abandoned. A crater in the realwood on the far side of the stage marked my location moments earlier, while my enemy, just succeeding in dislodging its mandibles, was orienting itself for a second attempt.

“My legs, unfortunately, had quite enough of my ideas, and in fact, my left was occupying a position that can only be described as utterly ingenious. All my thoughts turned to death.

“Then Fretty, that loyal and honorable fool, in his ridiculous costume, stepped out and started dancing about the stage. ‘No…Fretty…’ is what I wanted to say, but instead a soft gurgling sound rose to my ears as a bloody bubble popped in my face.

‘Kiss me, my sweet lover, I’m a pretty little antlion!’ he said, wobbling salaciously across the stage. The antlion turned and approached curiously. I strained to get up, but I’d lost too much blood. I collapsed, and my head spun.

“Time seemed to drift without meaning. Screams, snapping wood, ringing steel, and the squealing creature blended into a chorus of violence. As I lay, I could finally behold the full ruin of The Specter: the chewed up curtains on the splintered stage, the shattered remnants of props of Cadia, and the auditorium, whose elegant chairs and carpets were ripped apart and trampled in panic.

“My thoughts drifted. I only remember that I contemplated the death of beauty, ruined so quickly and effortlessly by a moment of violence from our ambassador of the abyss. Tears clouded my eyes, and soon all the world descended into dreams of darkness.”
 
Last edited:

E.T.

The one in the boat
LURKER MEMBER
FOLKLORE MEMBER
Genres
Fantasy, Scifi, Future, Past/Medeival, Realistic role plays not centered around romance.
A festival, that was the word that rang through the streets. It carried through the air, lifted high by Cadia’s very breath. With it went the spirits of the people, celebrating the blessing, this boon of their home. In it’s shifting the air brought it’s tidings to the highest reaches of the council holdings, circling its way around the towers, crossing balconies of polished bone, and coming to rest in the heart of Adelheid.

Maybe it was simply her time in the patrol finally getting to her, but to her it carried like a spore. Settling itself in her heart, it’s roots spread deep. Strangling, consuming.

Feathers danced in the corners of her vision as dark, and scaled hands tied her gambeson shut round her throat. The heavy press of gilded armor barely registered as it was lowered over her head. Without thought she lifted her arms and twisted this way and that to allow her young page to slowly lace her into the cage of scales. It weighed against her shoulders and pressed close to her throat.

A voice and the prick of a hairpin against her skull brought Adelheid from her musings.
“Hmm?” She glanced towards Ren, annoyance wrinkling the bridge of his nose. Yet his tufted ears were splayed to the side, betraying more concern than his face showed. He stepped down from his stool, finished pinning a headdress of silver and bloodamber gems to her halo of meticulously braided hair.
“Should I accompany you?” He asked again, turning to fetch her cloak, and she could not hide the wry smile at his hesitation. As he came to hang the cloak of split and woven baleen she shooed away his hands and finished pinning the bone white cloak up under the high collar of her armor.
“Why are you worrying? Aren't you going to be an extra in that play tonight?” she said, ignoring it as Ren pouted, muttering under his breath as he went to fetch her gauntlets.
“I’m not the one worrying.”

“We’re not outside on patrol, Ren. You don’t need to be scouting for me all the time, and I’ve already given you leave - take it and enjoy the festival. I know how much you care about the play.”

— — —

“Come on lads! Dig in!” The shouts of encouragement rose to a near fever pitch as the ten strapping Cadians threw their weight against the rope. The Captain had been a last minute, if welcome, addition to the game. Seen walking by, it had not taken much convincing to pull her from the crowd for a true demonstration of the potency of ambergris. With the rope in one hand and a piece of ambergris in the other she did not leave her adversaries to suffer for long. Clenching to the stone she effortlessly dragged them across the middle line. With a final whoop the other contestants were deposited in a heap, panting and laughing at the display. Perhaps an unnecessary boast, but it did well to remind all exactly of the boon they’d been granted.

With difficulty she detached herself from the crowd, she was already late. She and the rest of the council have been invited by the Madam Roussa, and what’s more Ren was set to make an appearance. It was not something she saw as particularly constructive for a prospective Patrolmen, but it seemed harmless enough, and Ren enjoyed it.

A distant scream came first. Though Adelheid would have been hard pressed to say exactly what it was about the sound that gave her pause. The festival rang with joyous cries and the delighted screams of children. Such a singular sound should have blended into the rest, but it didn’t. It brought her to a halt, cutting eyes scanning the edges of the crowd as her heart pumped cold.

Next came the messenger.

It started as a distant burst of flame. A red shape moving in from around the street corner though guided by fate itself. The hurtling comet sent ripples of curses and gasps through the crowd as feathers knocked hats from heads, and a rush of wind sent the lightest of wares scattering from their tables. With the course of an arrow it shot along the street straight towards the Commander. More cries rang out as the shape dipped low. Cadians dodging for the shelter of the nearby shops to avoid the inevitable crash until it was Adelheid alone who stood as a mountain before the oncoming projectile.

With one hand to her sword her eyes followed the shape as it hurtled ever closer. “Watch out!!” What a useless thought, as all remained rooted to cover. She ignored the pleas, and none came to move her. Most doubted they even could. Surely she could stop it.

As brisk as a cutter the shape dipped, broad wings bringing the comet down, a shower of feathers like sparks in its wake, until it reached her at last and crumbled into the shape of a boy at her feet.

Leaping from his crouched position her page unfolded himself from beneath the storm of crimson feathers. Wings, far longer than he was tall, snapped out to their full length, sending nearby Cadians scattering, before tucking them neatly against his personage.

Adelheid did not need to see the flicker of panic in his candle eyes to know something was amiss. The pleuris were poor liars, their feathers giving rise at the slightest discomfort or provocation, and Ren’s head seemed in danger of disappearing altogether if his ruff rose any higher.

“There’s…it’s…fast…!” Ren said, words falling into time with his nervous dance, long, black talons leaving shallow ruts in the ground.

“Ren, post.” The command came with clipped precision. The words brought the boy to heel and his nervous dancing to a halt. Heels together, arms to his sides, back straight, chin level, the very picture of patroller composure. Well, almost. The bright silks and bold lines of stage makeup did not exactly compliment a disciplined figure.

“Report.” Again the voice was calm and smooth. Adelheid could already see the ripples of unrest in the surrounding crowd, it would not do to send even more people into a panic if there was something truly wrong.

“Um…” Ren flicked his yellow gaze about the crowd. The hesitation was uncharacteristic of him, even more so was him breaking rank. He rushed to her side, straining up on talon-toe to try and bring his mouth level with her ear. “Insect at the theater.”

There was only a moment of disbelief before Adelheid fished the ambergris from her pocket.

“Bite on this.” She said pressing it into Ren’s hand. A shiver rattled Ren down to the tips of his feathers, and she watched as his talons flexed and tense as he got a hand on the surge of magic. She only afforded him a moment. “Move out!”