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It's the day before Alement's grand opening and history comes calling on a pair of dreamers.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Postby Caelum on March 10th, 2014, 10:45 pm

I've been the leader, I've been the follower
I've been the dreamer, I've been the wallower
I'll take the high road, I'll take the low road
Then right to the top
When you hear me coming you can hear a pin drop.

- katie miller-heidke -


Timestamp: 26 Spring 514 AV

It was a picture straight out of his dreams.

Colored light puddled and streaked over the floor. It poured in through the series of floor to ceiling windows cutting down two of the stone walls and shimmered due to the musical spill of the waterfall. The cavernous real estate was located on the bottom tier of the falls and boasted of a wide patio with an attached dock more than large enough for four distinct moorings. There were three separate ways in and out, but the main entrance was the only one at once obvious and currently in use. The same stained glass that created sun-cycle patterns in the windows overlooking the water was echoed in paneling at the door that Caelum had propped open with a ballast stone. This was for easy access as he hauled kegs of ale from the Dreamcatcher, Kavala's catamaran, and into the tavern space.

The grand opening of Alements was tomorrow. This was the last haul of supplies and once the last pair of kegs were stored behind the bar, Caelum was going to settle into arranging and rearranging everything from wine bottles to glassware to tables and chairs. It wasn't that anything was dirty or not set up.

It was, in the end, that not everything was exactly where it had been in a very vivid and foreboding dream when winter was still on the ground. In the dream as well as in today's reality, copper shined to a mirror gloss was behind the curving spill of a marble topped bar. The marble was creamy white and veined with sparks of gold and ivory. Thick rugs of varying designs but connecting color patterns spilled beneath an array of cherry wood tables and chairs as well as several cozy sitting areas outfitted with low divans deep cushioned armchairs. Bright greenery spilled over the heights of the windows from recessed bins, an array of flowering herbs such as those that were ultimately used in many of his concoctions.

The air was lit with the scent of green things and salt water and, at the moment, cleaning solution.

Shouldering through the swinging door that led out of the well stocked kitchen, Caelum scrubbed long fingers through hair that had lightened to the brass and cornflower hues of spring and paused to catch his breath. Soon, the courier who was a relatively recent addition to the Sanctuary family, was going to arrive with the horse cart and the last crates of wine they would need to unload and store. Caelum was glad for the help with Xira had volunteered, and knew that tomorrow Elise would be here with the sunrise going over everything all over again.

For now, however, the tavern was empty save for Caelum and the ghosts that an infant Akontak had tracked with old soul eyes. As a man who wore the skin of the long dead every moon rise, Caelum was not usually uncomfortable with spirits. He'd just rather keep his own history well buried.
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Postby Xira Hezmek on March 11th, 2014, 5:26 am

While the young courier had some experience riding a horse, he had never drove a cart.At least with riding he had done so with his drykas mentor and now with his own horse. Driving a cart was a whole different animal. In theory, it was not all that different. He had reins to steer and a lot of the gear was fairly similar. Bit, bridle, harness. The overall set up lacked a saddle, which did not matter since he was riding in a cart laden with wine and drink. The horse he was given to drive the cart was at least even temperament and responded to his movements. Snow was not trained for this work and neither was he.

He discovered quickly that turning was difficult. He was far to used to the quick and easy movements of riding that he almost toppled the cart in a too sharp of a turn. Luckily horse knew more about what it was doing then he did and placidly corrected itself as it trundled along. The next turn was taken with great care and Xira felt proud that he didn't cause a disaster. That would be just what he needed.

This particular work was unusual for Xira, but not dissimilar to his typical tasks. He was in essence taking a parcel, a very large parcel, from one point to another. If there was nothing else he was good at, he could at least say he did that job well. He was eager to do the work too, especially since it meant he would be pulling his own weight. It was natural enough for him to desire to work. Those who did not work in Syliras got put out of the city walls which often meant certain death. Old habits died hard.

As the even tempered work house brought them down to the bottom tier of the city Xira thought back to the dream he had the night before. It was bizarrely vivid; most dreams he had faded like Riverfall's morning mist. This one clung to him and blanketed him like winter's snow.

Around him, in his dream, great forms of crystal rose from the ground like trees reaching up to Syna's love through the mist, that light filtering through the shroud. He walked among the crystal trees, enjoying it as if he were in some park. The beautiful crystal formation closest to him grew a thick crack in its trunk, each fissure widening like ice did underfoot. Deep resounding booms that could be felt in the bones with every new spidery crack. It fell and the translucent crystal went dark, as did Syna's light. But the formation did not shatter, it sank into the solid ground as if it were water. It bobbed, as if floating, and then was gone.

Xira did not understand the dream. It could have easily been a dream of nonsense. If it was, why did he remember the dream so vividly? Why did he feel such sorrow when he woke? His dreams troubled him and he did his best to do what he did with all his problems. Bury them until he could figure out what to do.

They were almost to the new tavern. His thoughts were pushed onto the owner of the place. Such a strange man. Xira had met him briefly, and thus Xira knew next to nothing about him. His name was Caelum and he was not human. Such things are obvious when one is sporting a set of regal crystal horns. He found it impolite to ask, "What are you" but it ached on his lips to do just that. Not to mention the feelings the man made him feel. He was gorgeous in ways that he did not think possible for a man. It made him somewhat uncomfortable and nervous to think such thoughts.

At last the horse had made it to the new tavern. It sat next to a dock and one of the posts made a perfect place to tie the horse up. Hopping from the cart he patted the horse's neck, "You did a good job, thanks for not giving me any trouble." The horse tossed its head and nibbled his bit in response, peering at him with liquid eyes.

"'Ello, you in there, Caelum?" He called to the man, crate in hand as he poked his head into the open door. Inside the tavern there was naught but furniture and the man he was looking for. "Ah. There you are." He smiled and prepared his typically saying. It was something he found humorous to say, a joke for himself that no one had yet figure out. "Greetings M'lord, I come bearing gifts." He said cheerfully.



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Postby Caelum on March 13th, 2014, 11:51 pm

A rare grin crawled across Caelum's face with Xira's words. It lit him up from within at least as much as the daylight did on the outside, utterly and completely unfair. It dimmed down, however, because no grin from him was much in the habit of lasting; and the physician rolled forward on an eager pace to clasp a hand to Xira's shoulder in gratitude even as he slipped past.

"There was a man I knew who would call me horselord or sunlord depending on the time of day. It's been a long while since anyone's tried to ennoble me."

A self deprecating note sounded in his words, carrying them over his shoulder before he spilled out the front door and onto the sweep of the patio. The waxed wooden tables and their formatted benches and chairs were already arranged and in place, allowing Caelum to aisle right through them and towards the familiar horse and his ponycart oh-so-happily filled with wine.

"Fantastic," Caelum muttered on a breath, peering down at the neatly lined up crates of Bluevein Vineyard wine. "This is fantastic, Xira. There are even --" And summoning up the appropriate number from his order sheets to mind, he performed a swift count of the crates and then broke the numbers apart. "The correct number. Lend me a hand getting them inside? I can start taking account of their type then, make sure I've gotten all the different varieties I requested."

He paused, half turning back to look at the courier when he realized his error. Apology writ itself into his expression. "Shit, sorry. You just got here. Want a drink first?"

Before Caelum put the man to more work.
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Postby Xira Hezmek on March 16th, 2014, 7:53 am

Caelum's approach tugged at the knot of desires he usually kept buried. It truly was an unnerving feeling to be struck by the beauty of another man. The sight, the sense, the touch of gratitude on his shoulder left him with a blank mind until he recovered his composure. "Sunlord? Does that make you a worshipper of Syna?" He asked in a bit of a rush, as if to recover from speechlessness was to blurt his words out as quickly as possible. The poor man had never encountered an Ethaefal before. He had never even heard of one. To him the world was a strange place with all sorts of men and men-like creatures.

He then registered that Caelum had asked him a question. "Oh no. I came here to work Master Caelum. But I would be more than happy to partake after I help you move these" He gestured to the crates "Inside. Just tell me where to put them." He smiled, making himself cheerful like he was moments ago.

Perhaps his denial to drink at once was the feelings of being flustered that caused Xira to be so interested in working. On the other hand Xira had always felt that drinking on the job made the job harder and the work shoddy. Wouldn't one enjoy drinking so much more if they had didn't have responsibilities to deal with anyways? Yes definitely the latter, though his cheeks were flushed.

He followed behind Caelum looking over the crates as well. He had no idea what they were looking over, but he felt that maintaining interest would be polite. The young courier realized then that he still had his hat on. He hastily doffed the hat, and then his gloves and coat before rolling up his shirt sleeves. He laid his coat over the back of a chair, hung his hat on one side and set the gloves on the seat. He was ready to work.


OOCXira is not homosexual btw, not even repressedly so. Cael is just a very beautiful man. ;)

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Postby Caelum on April 8th, 2014, 1:15 pm

The ethaefal considered Xira interestedly, watching him grow flustered and calm himself within a matter of moments; and if there was humor hinting in Caelum’s regard, it was without judgment and absolutely veined with irony.

“Yes, I’m a worshipper of Syna,” he confirmed. His mouth quirked to one side, evidence of thought, and he ducked down to boost one of the wine crates into his arms with a soft grunt. Fully expecting the courier to follow his lead, Caelum turned about to carry his load to Alement’s front door and through the tavern proper to the back.

“I’m an ethaefal,” he explained as they walked. “Those who have spent lifetimes in service to the gods of the sun and the moon are often transcended into their conjoined realms. I was one such, and passed half a millennia in the Goldenlands. During the Valterrian, something happened, though its details are known. The most common theory is that a rift was torn through the Ukalas and the ethaefal just…” He carefully dropped the wine crate in the storage closet against the left hand wall. “Slipped through.”

Straightening, he stretched out his shoulders to blink at Xira, the expression on his face somewhat strange. There was a collection of dead housed in his eyes, layered alongside the wisdom of altogether too many lifetimes.

“You see me by night, you’ll think I’m a stranger in the skin of a Drykas.” He inclined his head towards the windows, the thin, transparent stone Kavala had crafted that looked very much like stained glass. The colored material was patterned with the cycle of the sun, each window etched with one of the four elements. “I’m both, ultimately.”

He inclined his head at the storage closet and gestured. “Right side is dry goods, left side is wine. We’ll stack the crates there.”

That said he headed back out to the ponycart to heft another crate and repeat the process.
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Postby Xira Hezmek on April 10th, 2014, 11:51 pm

And so they got to work. Caelum's expectations were not found wanting; the courier came up behind the attractive man and took a crate himself. Then together they went into the tavern with their burdens. Caelum expanded on the question Xira posed. He explained that he was an ethaefal and what that meant. That he lived in service to the gods. He then spoke about things that the simple courier did not quite understand. A place called the Goldenlands and something called Ukalas that had a hole in it? And that he slipped through it, obviously from this Goldenlands, but to where? Here, in Riverfall?

The courier was not raised as the noble children of Syliras were. He was taught things that all peasant children were thought to ought to know. Things such as reading and writing, naturally, one's numbers and the locally revered gods. But theology and metaphysics? That was a topic for priests and clergymen. Words like realms and transcendence were foreign to him. He did not even know all the races of the world, clearly.

Xira remained silent, thinking as he set down the crate and looked back into the other man's eyes. He had seen eyes like those, or something similar. They were the eyes of a man who had lost. His own were like that when he let his guard down, but far milder. Caelum was a man who had lost much. The intensity of those eyes made that clear.

The world was such a strange and wondrous place. He had met Chaktawe, Kelvic, Konti, Akalak and so many tribes of humans. What was one more race to the diversity of so many? Such a creature was one way by day and another by night, but he was both. He then explained the organization of the storage cloest and headed off. Xira stood there a moment in thought before he ran to catch up with the Ethaefel.

He filed in behind the man, waited his turn and hefted another crate. Together they worked in silence a moment, bringing in crates of wine and barrels of ale. "Um... Caelum?" He asked tentatively as they worked, "What is Ukalas? Is that some place near where you lived? I mean by the Goldenlands." In Xira's mind, the places were like Riverfall or Syliras, another city on the map. He gave the man a perplexed look while he settled another crate down and they headed back to retrieve another.


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Postby Caelum on June 16th, 2014, 7:56 pm

OOC :
I’m sorry for the delay! With any luck you’re still interested in continuing, but please don’t hesitate to contact me if there are any concerns.



The courier was blinked at as Caelum realized that he had a potential pupil on his hands. One hand rose, rubbing a little at the side of his nose, and he dropped down to haul up yet another wine crate. He shifted his balance, being sure to lift with his legs rather than his back, and then trod his way back into the tavern trailed by the blue-eyed Xira. It was dull work, this piece of it, menial labor of hauling and arranging that worked the body but left the mind to waste.

Maybe it was for that reason Caelum decided to answer in the fashion he did. There were a number of people who, upon questioning the ethaefal on topics he found to be inherently sore, might receive a cold rebuff and be silenced with alacrity. The healer could be viciously aloof when it served his purposes, and it often did when the need to protect himself increased with a crowd. This, however, was different. Not only was Xira going out of his way to assist Caelum, but he had also been welcomed at the Sanctuary. To Caelum, that was akin to a holy writ of hospitality. He possessed the utmost respect for his home and the woman who had built it. Besides, this was a degree of ignorance on the divine that could be practically dangerous if Xira intended to spend any real amount of time lingering at the Sanctuary and in Riverfall that was overseen by Akajia and Wysar, divine parents to the whole of the Akalak race.

“The Ukalas is the home of the gods,” he explained while giving the wine crate a shove with his boot to align it properly with its neighboring box. That satisfied, he ducked right back out to grab one of the last crates to unload, pausing only long enough for Xira to similarly relieve himself of his burden. “It’s a tapestry of power that connects all things. Threads of energy bind all of us, and all things. There are gods who have personal domains in the Ukalas and Syna and Leth’s are adjacent to one another. Syna’s is known as the Goldenlands and that is where I came from.”

Wine bottles rattled musically as he kicked the ballast stone out of the way where it held open the door. The crate was cradled in his arms and he waited, holding the door for Xira to pass through with the last of the cart’s load, before stepping after him and allowing the door to swing shut behind them both.

“You’ve heard of gnosis powers? The marks granted by the gods to people.” Still crouched from where he set his crate down in the dry storage closet, Caelum raised his right hand to flash the golden opal light of Rak’keli’s mark on the back of his palm. “Like this, which is Rak’keli’s. The gods use these strands of energy to empower their marks, both the good ones and the bad.”

He considered Xira in the dim of the closet for a moment, weighing to see how much his miniature lesson was well received.

“Are there any gods you worship in particular?”

The gods a person favored often said much about who they were.
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Postby Xira Hezmek on June 24th, 2014, 10:06 am

The work at hand was completely forgotten with the conversation going on at hand. He supposed that any sort of menial work was prone to conversations or introspection, but this one in particular was fascinating. Sure, he was not exactly sure what to make of this man, Caelum, but his ties with the divine made him very interesting. Intellectually speaking anyways, any other sort of interest was... incidental. In either case he was hanging on the man's words and found somewhat distracted from work by them.

With his crate settled, he jogged to catch up with the Ethafel and nodded to the man's words to show he was listening and was attentive. Ukalas, the home of the gods, the realm of the divine and a place of power. Gods lived in their personal domains and it was from Syna that this man was from. It was a strange mix of information. Some of it he grasped easily, it sounded a lot like the words a priest might say. Some of it not so much. The idea that the gods lived in a tapestry of power made of threads that bind everything... did not make sense. He his mind was not yet equipped to understand it, though he committed them to memory.

The last crate was in Xira's hands and he settled it down in the backroom. He was thinking on the nature of the divine realm when Cael's question came up. "Um. I have heard stories of miracles and those blest by gods, just like everyone else. But I have never..." He trailed off as he looked at the mark on the Ethafel's hand, "Oh! I have seen one of those before. When I first arrived, Lyn'nice showed me her mark. I didn't know that was how they worked. So that means those marked with a god's gnosis can use her power? directly I mean." He asked, genuinely curious.

He looked up into Caelum's eyes for a moment then shyly looked away. "I... well, know of the gods that are revered in Syliras, my home. But I don't particularly... worship any of them. Sure I'll give homage to Tyveth, Syna or Leth once in awhile, but who doesn't?" He raked his hand through his hair self consciously, realizing that he was in a whole different world. They might not even worship the gods he knew in Syliras. "If I were to worship anyone, I suppose I would worship Aquiras, the god of Travels or maybe Eyris, the goddess of wisdom. I am just not sure, I know so little about either of them."

Caelum was a tall man. He towered over Xira, who was about a head shorter than him. He seemed to practically glow in the dark, but seemed the sort to have an inner darkness. A fascinating contradiction. Xira was made all the more aware that he was alone with this man, in the dark supply room and it made his heart race. Those eyes were penetrating and he felt as if this man knew all of his thoughts and secrets. It was of course just a feeling, but an unnerving one nonetheless.

"So... Looks like that was the last of the crates. What else could I do for you M'lor- I mean, Sir?" He asked lamely, just to fill the silence though it was a perfectly legitimate question.


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Postby Caelum on July 20th, 2014, 11:45 pm

Three gnosis marks strung Caelum together, but only one of them was both visible and not a carefully guarded secret. Of all his gods, Rak'keli was his most obvious after Syna (there being no escaping the daylit glory of the sun's favor writ as it was in every detail of his changing form). Nysel's mark was hidden by the tumble of his hair, visible only by the intimate sweep of a hand back through his hair to glimpse the fractal design emblazoned on his scalp. Nikali's gnosis was concealed at present by his clothing where it hooked over the jut of his hip and twined down on either side. The winged snakes, Rak'keli's rakinivas, however were depicted on the back of his right hand and it was that hand he reached out with to close firmly about Xira's upper arm.

"When you're marked by a god, you are given a portion of their power on loan," he explained. The healing gnosis flared with light in the dim of the storage closet, rivaling the puddle of sunlight stretching in from the tavern through the open door.

Xira wanted to know. He wanted friendship and knowledge, desired a mentor and answers to all of the questions his heart formed but his mind did not yet quite understand. He wanted a family, and all the things that having a real family meant.

Caelum smiled a little as healing power rose up out of the holy deep inside of him, buoyed by Rak'keli's breath, and slid into the courier like a sweet sigh. It eased through Xira's limbs, designed to disperse foul blood from bruises and reduce the swelling and irritation caused by the alien climate components threatening mild allergies to the courier's system. He restored energy to weary muscles and gave life, pure and free, as generous a gift as any family member or friend might offer another.

"That is gift from Rak'keli," he told Xira as the grace ebbed, its duty done. His eyes searched his face. "You seem a dreamer to me. A seeker and a doer. Tell me what you want?" With his words, he meant, because he wanted to understand their details and he knew that the act of putting them to words, talking about them, could very well help the courier.

And Caelum would listen. And then he would advise and help too if he could, if Xira allowed him to. If he wanted him.

Slowly, his hand slid away. "How about that drink?" He suggested. "We can take a quick break before moving on to the next task on the to-do list."
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Postby Xira Hezmek on September 16th, 2014, 8:51 pm

The horned man's grip was like a vice not completely turned, it had the potential for great strength, but was merely firm. The act startled him and it was only by putting his hand against the wall of the room. He looked down at the hand, peering at the mark. It was like a tattoo of sorts... or at least appeared to be. Any illusions of it being a mere tattoo was shattered by a sudden flash of light. He could feel things alter inside him.

Soreness, bruises, pain all melted away. His hands felt more hale despite lifting heavy barrels and crates and the tightness of breath from a lingering cold eased and he breathed better. It was wondrous and terrifying. Something he had no control of- he was under the power of an agent of a god. Sure the god was benevolent, but it was a power he could not fully understand.

The Sunlord's power caused this transfer to happen quickly and Xira was stronger for it. "That... Wow." He breathed in heavily, not in exhaustion but in exhilaration. He peered up into that searching face, that tone drew from him as if he had no control over his own words, "I... as you say, seek. I wish to see, and know and experience. I..." He blushed as the words that often were hid behind a shell of self control were extracted, "wish to belong." He did not understand why he said that. He could not rationalize it, but he could perhaps play it off like he didn't mean it. That it was a frivolous joke. But he didn't. He turned to silence instead, a ponderous silence indeed. In truth, he wanted to open up to this attractive man. He felt that he could too, someday, maybe this day.

He looked down, "Sure Caelum, I would enjoy a drink. What do you have available? I admit that I am not much of a drinker. A glass of wine or a mug of an ale everyone now and then." He followed Caelum to the bar and smiled, "So then, lets turn the question around: Are there any gods you worship in particular? Clearly Rak'keli, that much is obvious to me" Xira chuckled to himself, "If it is not too personal to ask. I know for some, one's relationship with their god is very intimate. Even if its just prayer and wishing."

He took a seat and settled his hat on the bar. He smiled and watched the Ethafel appreciatively. There was just something about that man. His grace, his serious expression, that aura of... something. It made him think thoughts of Caelum that he often had of women he fancied. That would have disturbed him more if the man didn't put him at such ease. If Cael looked his way and caught him staring, Xira would have turned his head and pretend to be looking at something oh-so-interesting in on the wall.


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