Solo A Sample of Stewardship

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

A Sample of Stewardship

Postby Keene Ward on November 19th, 2015, 6:07 pm

The fortieth day of Fall to the ninety-first day of Fall, 515 AV

"Push her into a cantor at least, boy." The voice was gruff and impatient, coming from a face that looked exactly as it sounded. Barthum, a merchant who had managed to get the majority of his goods either stolen or destroyed, had hired Keene with what little money he had had left to escort him back to Syliras. It had been an odd request, fueled all the more strange by the manner in which he had asked: "I could use a wizard on the road." Though there were things to keep him in the city, there were more to push him away. Seeing Noven again had filled him, once more, with a mix of emotion that he found wholly uncomfortable. It was best if they were apart, for the empty, aching agony was far more manageable than the twisting dance of lust, joy, and uncertainty. So, whether for better or worse, he had accepted Barthum's request for aid. All of his belongings had been neatly packed away into the saddlebags that hung from either side of the beast upon which he was precariously seated, and while his belongings had little issue with the art of riding, it could not be said the same of their owner. "A cantor- Gods, dig your heels in a little!"

Keene's grip tightened, a feat he hadn't thought possible, as his boots pressed into the horse's sides. The creature did indeed speed up, and the jittering shake of its body only worsened. They had been riding for bells, and his body ached in a way he had never experienced. His legs had the worst of it, as there had been what was effectively a barrel of flesh between them since their departure from the city. Back, stomach, arms, and neck, however, were not unaffected, and the jostling strut of dark maned, chestnut coated thing that seemed so reluctant to bend itself to his will only made things worse. "Is this a cantor?"

Barthum's laughter still somehow managed to sound a bit cross, but the bushy bearded man joined Keene's increased paced with a ease of the reigns, as if he and his mount were one rather than at war like his younger counterparts. "It's better. Keep that pace up and we might get there by next year." His words were meant in jest, but Keene pressed his heels in harder regardless. There was no reason to risk the trip taking a year, and Keene had no intention to sit astride another living thing for that long - or even half or a quarter of that length. It wasn't that it was terrifying or so difficult he wanted to give up; it was more that it was uncomfortable to not be in control of his own movements. He preferred the freedom of his own two legs rather than the four that had little reason to obey him. Animals were different than humans in that they could not be reasoned with, not in the typical sense of the word. They were outside logic, beasts that operated under different rules. He'd never taken the time to learn them, which made the riding all the more frustrating.

They made their way through the wilderness, the road clear before them. It was a tedious journey, one that Keene took little pleasure in. Barthum was convenient in that he only ever spoke when he was chastising, though he was inconvenient in that his admonishments seemed to generate themselves at relatively regular intervals of fifteen or so chimes. Very few required Keene's actual reply, as most were related to his non-existent capabilities atop and around the mare he had been loaned for their trip, while some others were handled with curt nods or shakes of the head. It was hardly conversation, for which Keene was thankful, but as days turned to nights and those to weeks, Keene quickly understood why most traveled in larger groups and caravans.

His services were required halfway through what had proven to be a far more lengthy expedition than he had expected. They had stopped off of the road, setting up their tents in a small clearing of trees that had begun to spring up some few days back. Keene's whole body felt stiff and unresponsive, but there was little else for him to do but stretch every time they set up camp. At first, Barthum had, as was his nature it seemed, ridiculed the young man for the odd, twisting positions that found him contorted on the ground like some half-snake, but as habit had wont to do, eventually the jibes and jests were replaced by comfortable silence. Reaching both hands around the sole of his boot, Keene pulled himself towards his knee, letting the ache and strain of his weary muscles slowly relax as he sank into the stretch. It had helped with the pain enough to allow him rest enough to continue the torturous act of riding, but when the horses responded the the snapping of twigs just beyond the range of the fire's light, his throbbing muscles were quickly forgotten.

"What're you-" A hand was raised to silence the man as Keene pushed himself to his feet, wobbling slightly at the shift of weight on his stiff legs. Though there was a hint of aggravation in the man's eyes, he too rose, hand resting nervously on the hilt of his dagger. In a much quieter tone, one that rose only a hair higher than the fire's crackle, Barthum spoke again, only this time urgency far outweighed his frustrations. "Do you see them?" A rational request, finally, and Keene slowly shook his head, eyes scanning the gathering darkness as his res bubbled just within the confines of the boundaries that separated him from the rest of the world. His concentration was rewarded with the sound of an arrow, whistling through the air. Had he not been looking for danger, it would have seemed a harmless note of song. Instead, though his reflexes hardly allowed him to dash out of harms way, Keene shifted enough that the projectile ripped through the side of his shoulder, leaving behind a shallow cut as it embedded itself in the tree behind him.

Wasting no time, Keene turned and wrenched the arrow from its place within the bark, djed swirling about him, gathering the information of the arrow's tip: the consistency, the hardness, the nature of its metal. More whistling filled the air and Keene hissed a quick "Down." to which both he and Barthum fell to the ground, arrows sailing over them to land several feet behind them with a harmless clatter. The iridescent cloud descended upon the two of them, wrapping around both Keene and Barthum, encasing them in a solid frost of icy protection. It wasn't perfect, but Keene made up for the haste of the situation by padding the vital areas and emphasizing the thickness of the shield in the front rather than behind. "Don't turn your back." The advice was given in parting as Keene pushed himself up from the ground to dash towards where the shots had been fired. His motions were awkward, legs still not quite responding as they should, but his speed wasn't greatly affected as the distance to close was hardly more than a few yards.

There was shouting then, more arrows, but as the projectiles sliced through the air, their mark an easier target with his linear path of motion, flashes of light knocked the arrows aside. More shouting, only this time there were mixes of screams as thin blades of ice found their way into supple flesh. The bandits were dead before they could draw their swords to retaliate, and while a slight numbness had crept into the tips of his fingers, Keene spent the next couple bells scouting the forest to make sure none of the men had survived. That night, he was far more tired than usual, but their schedule did not allow him any extra rest. With the rising of the sun, they were back on the trail, only circumstances had changed slightly: Barthum's regular criticisms had fallen oddly silent.
Last edited by Keene Ward on November 19th, 2015, 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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A Sample of Stewardship

Postby Keene Ward on November 19th, 2015, 6:44 pm

While they sustained a few more attacks, the rest of the journey had little else of import. As they neared the end of their pilgrimage, the rise of stone on the horizon caught Keene's attention. The actual art of riding had grown easier only in that the soreness had become so familiar he only noticed it when he wasn't astride his damnable beast. Any and all peculiarities in environment served to help draw his focus from his aches and pains all the more, making them doubly interesting. The castle, however, was far more than a simple distraction. Even the Citadel had not held the massive grandeur that the walls of the Stormwind Castle encompassed with a colossal ease. Though he had always known Syliras as a city of knights and other such foolishness, it had never been described to him. As they made their way ever onward towards the walls that seemed to rise ever higher, both Keene and Barthum began to slow. Though they had passed others on the road, it seemed that in the last legs of their journey, there were not to enter the city alone.

A queue had formed at the castle's gates, men in armor with stately postures milled about the area, checking travelers and stopping some to ask questions. It was an odd sight to one who had always traveled unimpeded. As they settled into their place behind a larger group of wagons complete with whining children and wrinkled elders, Keene turned towards Barthum, eyes a few shades darker with curiosity. "What is this?"

The man shrugged, wincing as he leaned backward to let his back release a few satisfying pops. "A check point, I imagine. The city gets busy around this time, all the people seeking refuge from the chill of winter."

Turning back to stare at the conglomeration of those before him, Keene saw rich and poor alike, people of many different races and capabilities. "Do they not have homes?"

A scoffing chuckling bubbled from Barthum as he choked on the water that had just crossed his lips in search of refreshment. "Ha! Some of them do, some of them don't. I'm not their keeper, boy. I wouldn't know."

"No, you wouldn't." His words were soft, more to himself than in actual response, and Barthum took them that way, a curt nod as he made a more successful attempt at his water flask.

Progress was slow. Though they were but a hall bell's trot from the gates, it was several before their arch of stone hung over his head, the chill of the shade sinking into his stiff joints like some aching balm. Chatter filled the air, that of bandits and ghosts and wolves. It was incredibly mundane and just as equally loud. There has hardly room for his own thoughts, and the impressive sea of people before him was enough to set him on edge. With that many people, there was no telling what one might do or encounter. He could feel the hairs on his neck stand on end as he made slow, analytical sweeps of those before and around him. The city was nothing like he had imagined it, though whatever his presumptions had been had been washed away the moment he'd set eyes on it.

"Visitors?" The voice was authoritative, though not nearly as abrasive as it might could have been. Keene turned his pale grey gaze to meet the man's dark warm one. Armor again, and an immaculate mustache, made the man seem almost comical were it not for the sword that hung imposing from his belt.

"Yes, more or less. We plan to take the next ship to Alvadas; he's my protection." Barthum's tone was as respectful as it could get with the gruff rumble of his timbre.

The knight paused, eyeing Keene with a raised brow. "Just him? There's been an increase in bandits on the road-"

Barthum shrugged, "I'm a poor merchant. I could only afford this greenhorn, but we managed just fine."

Another pause, another suspicious stare. "I... see."

As they had passed under the portcullis, both Keene and Barthum had dismounted, taking the reigns in hand to guide their horses by foot, something that Keene far preferred. With feet back upon the ground, Keene stood about a head shorter than the knight, and he stared back at him with a stony impassivity. Whether the knight believed Keene to be amble security or not, it seemed there were more questions in order, to which Keene's horse snorted in reply to, the heat of its breath wrapping in an uncomfortable embrace around his neck.

"You look pale. Are you ill?" Keene shook his head. "Can you speak?"

"I can." There was no challenge in his tone, only the simplicity of reply. Barthum, growing only a hair more nervous than he had been before, interjected with a roll of his eyes.

"He's not much for conversation, Ser. It's probably why he came so cheap."

The knight offered a slight nod as another rummaged through their packs. "You said you were travelling to Alvadas?" Barthum moved to speak again, but the knight held up a hand, eyes hard and boring in to his pale person of interest. "Not you, merchant, the boy."

"I did not say I was travelling anywhere." The truth of the matter was met with an unamused frown.

"No, you didn't."

"I am escorting the merchant Barthum to the city of Alvadas. I do not plan to stay here." The noise, the people, even the rising stench of sweat and humanity: they were all things that Keene had no interest in. Whether Alvadas would be the same or different, Keene's mind had been made up the moment he'd passed through the gates. "Is that all?"

For a moment, it seemed as though the knight had something to say, but he was interrupted but a short shout from his partner who stated that the bags were clear. Before he could his attention back to the shorter, younger man, Barthum gave the man a shallow bow. "We'll be going then, Ser. I know my way to the stables and harbor."

With a final glare, the knight stepped out of their way. "Don't cause any trouble. We'll be watching." Whether a threat or a warning, Keene merely brushed past. He had no intention of upsetting whatever balance the city existed under. As far as he was concerned, Syliras held little more import than the trees under which they'd camped.
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A Sample of Stewardship

Postby Keene Ward on November 19th, 2015, 8:19 pm

With the beasts stowed away in a wooden home of stench and hay, Keene had been designated as the interim pack-animal, shoulders laden with the saddle bags as he followed close behind Barthum's surprisingly agile movements, shoving and pushing his way through the ever-present crowds. He had never seen so many people in his life, and with each passing tick, Keene's attentiveness to his surroundings slowly began to turn inward. There was too much noise, too many people, and far too many sense offending messes for him to expend his waning energies on. Though jostled and bumped, like a fish in too shallow of water, they finally passed through a door that seemed to have been shoved into the castle's outermost wall with all the ceremony of a child pressing a finger into the sand. As the wooden portal closed behind them, Keene let his body relax some. Though there was the bitter taste of the candles' light drifting through the air, the stone provided solace from the noise and bustle, though only a partial respite as the room was hardly empty.

Three men, two women, and a pair of children were already situated in the cramped quarters, gathered around a desk at which a pale haired, elegant woman sat with quill in hand. They all chattered, their noise less than that of outside but noise none the less. Allowing Bathurm to handle matters, Keene instead leaned against the wall, letting his eyes close and he slowly drew breath through a slight part of his lips, letting the acrid flavor of smoke mingle with the sickly sweet scent of sweat. Syliras, he had confirmed, was no city. It was a prison. As he let his weight press against the immobile stone behind him, releasing the pressure on his heels and ankles some, the door opened and closed once more, a veritable blast of noise and chill rushing into the room only to be silence as the family before them departed. Still keeping his eyes closed, Keene slowly rubbed out some of the pressure that sat right between his eyes at the bridge of his nose.

"Just one?" The voice was soft and melodic, an odd contrast to the disparity of the city around them. Without breaking the soothing darkness of his current state, Keene assumed it to be the woman, surely the proprietress of whatever establishment Barthum had led them to.

"Aye, I plan to stay with a few more... 'Arms', if you catch my drift." Barthum chuckled to himself, seemingly the only one to understand his attempt at humor.

"Very well, five silvers for five nights. You're sure you wouldn't rather stay here?" The question wasn't quite half-hearted. It was something more of what one might expect of a golem: something that was programmed into her without much expectation of anything from it. Barthum only replied with another rolling chuckle followed by the clinking exchange of coin. Taking that as a cue to ready himself to wade through the unnerving sea of sweat and sound once more, Keene looked up from his place against the wall, grey-green eyes rising to meet with the konti's warm hazel. "Seven doors down, to your left." He took the several steps required to receive the key that was extended towards him with a nod, his gloved hands barely brushing against the shimmering scaled ones that offered it up. "Please make sure to return the key before you leave." A silent nod was offered in understanding before he turned to follow Barthum back out into the streets.

"A real looker, eh?" The statement was general, as Barthum had spent more than enough time with Keene to know that idle social frivolities were rarely entertained. "I'm going to head to the Herald next, my back might be sore but my loins are aching something fierce." Unsure how a herald might amended a condition such as the one described, Keene raised a brow, shouldering his way through the flow of traffic just off the right of his companion. "Be at the docks by the fifth bell five days from now. I'll be around the Herald if you need me in the meantime." The stopped in front of the door the woman had indicated to be Keene's temporary residence, where Keene gave the man a nod that he would indeed be where he needed to be when. "Don't be late then." And with a gruff smile, Barthum melted into the crowd, disappearing to only the winds knew where.

That was, perhaps, the most disconcerting thing about Syliras. Keene couldn't feel the breezes and winds as he was used to. There were there, but their natures were heavily outmatched by the sheer humanity around him. It was wearying, and as he finally was allowed to escape into the quiet of the small apartment, Keene let the bags fall to the floor as he stumbled over to the simple bed. Letting himself fall so that his face pressed into the pillow provided him, Keene drifted in and out of consciousness, too weary to do much else. The journey itself had not been so trying. He had been in the open, in the wilds, surrounded by the nature of the world he had come to find so peaceful and calming. Within the city, however, amid the voices and bodies, Keene found only the offer of exhaustion. Of course, he would not keep himself from it. There was no point in hiding away for the next five days. Whatever the city had to offer him, he would take in payment for his troubles. With a sigh, he drifted off to sleep, letting the shadows of unconsciousness soothe him from his thoughts until next he should wake.
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Keene Ward
Chilly Wizard
 
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A Sample of Stewardship

Postby Keene Ward on November 19th, 2015, 9:37 pm

Navigating the city proved to be a more simple task than he had at first thought it might be. While the actual movement through the veritable ocean of bodies was hardly straightforward, the city's locations were known by most passersby, and there were so many of them that Keene was not lacking for those to guide him. He had first inquired about the Herald's arms, swimming his way towards the indications given him until someone explained that the establishment was, for lack of a better word, a "brothel". Having no reason other than to check in with Barthum, which the longer he thought about it the less appealing that reason became, he tried instead to ask people where he might find some quiet. There were several suggestions, but the majority were either a place known as The Stone Gardens and a name that continually popped up at an interval that was much more interesting to him: Ethereal Notions. Those who spoke of it seemed far more intimately acquainted with what Keene gathered to be a shop that catered towards quiet and peace.

While the Gardens certainly held a connotation of silence, Keene found his way deeper into the castle, descending and ascending stairs, coping with the narrowing of hallways and twists and turns. At any point he felt lost, he stopped and asked questions until he was put back upon the proper path. It was almost convenient, though the cost of such volume of humanity heavily outweighed the benefits of inquiry. Without the aid of the sky nor the subtle whispers of the winds, Keene wasn't sure how it long it took for him to arrive before the simple wooden door. It was unmarked but for the iron numbers that hung to denote the unit's name, a trivial denotation that Keene had little interest in. From what he could tell, it was the same as the last few hundreds of doors he'd already passed. The only difference was that the smokey halls were noticeably less filled than they had been previously. It was a good sign at any rate.

Pushing the door open with a soft hand, Keene slipped into the room, closing the door behind him before taking the time to gauge his surroundings. He was met with a rush of cool air, not the typical cold of stone, but a familiar, forlorn touch. Having been around the deceased long enough to know what the presence of ghosts felt like, Keene's brow raised slightly as his gaze slowly made its way over the elegant minimalism of the room he'd stepped into. There was a peaceful quiet, one that was unbroken even by the slight flickers at the edges of the room and within the seemingly empty air around him. A simple wooden table laden with a neat collection of what Keene assumed to be supplies of some sort sat near the back wall, a large circle etched into the stone in the center of the room, and various shelves with candles and potions and the like lined the walls.

Taking a few paces more into the room, there was a soft whisper just behind him. The words were muffled and distant, and Keene merely offered a slight nod before stopping before one of the shelves. Gingerly, so as not disturb the peace he'd been seeking since he'd managed to pull himself away from his bed that morning, Keene lifted one of the glass vials, inspecting its contents. It contained a familiar, pasty liquid, one that glowed slightly and was cool to the touch even through the thin layer of leather that separated his skin from the glass. He had not seen soulmist since his last attempts at creating the stuff, and having reached no logical conclusion as to what it was useful for, he had never had the drive to make more nor investigate it any further. With the vial still in hand, Keene's stare became slightly less focused as he pondered over what sort of shop would house ghosts and keep vials of spritist's by-product on its shelves.

Without having to venture a question to the chilly, open air, the soft sound of footsteps drifted in through one of the rooms attached the what was essentially the storefront. "Hello?" Her words were as gentle as her gaze, light and airy as the pale cascade of hair that curled about her slim shoulders. She stood with a slight smile on her face, an expression often synonymous with dreams rather than the waking world. "Can I help you?"

She was about his height, perhaps only a half-inch shorter, but the comfort of her stance suggested that she was no visitor to the tranquil haven. "This is soulmist?" He raised the vial, carefully keeping it cradled in the palm of his hands, fingers securing it while still allowing a clear view of its contents.

The woman nodded, a glint of curiosity in her eyes as she plucked another vial with the exact same contents from a shelf near her. "It is. You know of it?"

Turning his gaze from the amused raise of the woman's brow, Keene stared back down at the glass vial in his hand, face only tinged with a hint of confusion that hung light at the corners of his mouth. "I have seen it before." He found it ill advised to share that he had made the soulmist. Magic wasn't something to be shared outside of Sahova, and even there it was something to bartered for, not openly given. "What is its purpose?"

Another voice slipped from the woman's lips, this one that of a man, low and rolling and strong. "Are you asking for a lesson in spiritism, stranger?" The woman's smile faded some, taking a slightly more intimidating frown as she crossed her arms, the edges of hers shoulders flickering only slightly as the spirit within her continued. "We don't give handouts, if that's what you're looking for." There was softly whispered admonishment of "Duncan." "Well we don't."

Shaking his head, Keene turned to place the vial back from where he had taken it, using care to keep it from clinking against the others. "I was only curious. Your secrets are not mine to know." His own voice drifted through the room, quiet and gossamer as the flickers of the spirits who watched on, their presence hidden but not unfelt. Letting his gaze fall once more upon the spiritest and whoever else resided within her, Keene offered a slight bow of his head in greeting. "I am Keene Ward. I was told I might find a quiet place here, and I was not mislead."

"Well met, Keene Ward." The woman spoke in her own voice, a shallow curtsy to match Keene's own refined movement, "I am Whisper Addison." The fitting symbolism passed over Keene's notice as easily as her soft voice crooned into his ears.

"And I," The flickering, smokey outline of the spirit drifted from Whisper, materializing at her side to reveal a stern young man with a firm jaw and even firmer frown of distrust. "Would like to know what business you have here."

"He already-"

Whisper's words were cut off as Keene shook his head. "Those who know of this place spoke of it... strangely. I wanted to see why." A small gesture with a shallow sweep of the hand and Keene shrugged, pale-grey eyes meeting the dark stare of the woman's protector with little more than quiet observation. "I wasn't expecting ghosts."

"No one ever does." Whisper's smile had returned, and it seemed the other man's hackles had been assuaged enough that he allowed her to continue. "As for what soulmist's purpose..." She uncorked the bottle in her hands, tipping it so that the doughy contents slid from within, pooling in her hand. Turning towards the ghost, she offered it up with a wink in Keene's direction. For a moment, the man just looked at the silvery paste, his frown lessening as his eyes met with hers.

"Fine." His hand closed over hers, taking the soulmist into his before dropping it into his mouth. Keene's eyes widened slightly in surprise as the ghost swallowed, a slight flare to the foggy edges of his person. "When consumed by spirits, it strengthens us." He made a mock flex of his arm as Willow let out a soft peal of chime-like laughter.

"It can also heal them." She placed a gentle hand on the man's bicep, gingerly trailing her fingers over the pale grey of his skin with a sadness at the corners of her expression. "Or at least help to fortify their souls."

There was a wistfulness to her words that seemed to reflect in the man's eyes, one that quickly discarded as he turned his attention back towards Keene. "It can do more than that though. If you have the coin, we can talk more about it, otherwise you can leave."

Whisper's soft caress was quickly switched out for a playful slap, the glowing residue of the soulmist on her hand flaring just slightly as it came into contact with the man's back, sending him drifting forward just slightly. "It can also harm them, if you see fit to use it as such." The ghost gave her a stormy frown to which she replied with another trill of laughter. "It has many more uses, some of which I know of but many that I do not." A chair drifted through the air, floating from a room off to the left before settling on the ground with a slight scrape of wood against stone. Whisper gestured towards it as another found its way from the room opposite, positioning itself opposite the other at a slight angle. "Please, sit. It's not often I have customers so interested in the art." To which the ghost at her side offered Keene a threatening flare of his nostrils. "And don't mind Duncan, he's just overprotective."

In response, Keene took his seat and offered both a polite nod. "Thank you."
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Keene Ward
Chilly Wizard
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1279864
Joined roleplay: October 16th, 2014, 2:16 am
Location: Kalea
Race: Human
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A Sample of Stewardship

Postby Keene Ward on November 19th, 2015, 11:09 pm

For the first time, both Whisper and Duncan shared in an amused mix of high and low laughter, Duncan slightly more so as Keene explained his first attempts at creating soulmist and his first few attempts to find its use. "You used that much blood?" The man seemed wholly entertained with the perceived idiocy of Keene's experimentation. "Gods! That would have been enough for a season's worth of soulmist and then some!"

Whisper's smile, while still distant, had taken on a warm glow. "I can see where you might have been confused. The blood is more of a catalyst rather than an ingredient. It's much more understandable why you wouldn't try making it again after that."

Keene nodded, wholly unaffected by the amusement at his expense. "It was hardly efficient." He had not explained where he had learned the basic formula for soulmist. When Whisper had asked how he'd known about the magic, it had been well after an equivalent amount of information had been given to him, leaving him at a deficit that he had little else to fill with aside from his own forays into the art. For his admissions, however, he had learned that soulmist was more than just food for spirits and a temporary way to affect them whether they wanted it or not. It could be infused in items, creating wards to protect against and weapons to harm. It seemed that the iridescent paste could also be used to fool ghosts into thinking the spiritist a spirit, and while Keene was certain there was more that Whisper knew, he did not press the issue, allowing her to reveal what she would. They had only exchanged information, not coin, and even had a physical trade been made, there was nothing to validate her words.

"Why did you try to make mist in the first place?" The question was innocent in tone, but there was a wisdom behind it that Keene's pale gaze did not miss. "It's a very social craft and..."

Duncan picked up where her thoughts dropped off, tone far less aggressive than before after things had taken a turn towards levity. "And you're pretty shyke at conversation." Whisper offered Keene a sheepish grin but did not refuse the statement.

With impassive stare, Keene replied as cool and steady as ever, words soft and quiet as they always had been. "So I've been told. I was..." He paused, eyes drifting only slightly in thought before he continued. "Haunted. It seemed a potential solution."

Duncan and Whisper exchanged a glance, but neither gave any indication of what it was they were thinking. "Well... Yes, I suppose that would be a pretty strong impetus." Leaning back in her chair some, she crossed her arms, chewing lightly on her bottom lip. "So you did you try to dust it?"

"Dust?"

This time it was Duncan's turn to nod, his features taking a more solemn expression. "The more malevolent spirits are often... Difficult to handle. Sometimes, the only thing you can do for them until they calm down."

"Is this done with soulmist?"

Whisper shook her head, eyes tinged with sadness once more as she let out a little sigh. "Soulmist can help, but it's an intimate and..." She tapped on her chin, memories drifting just behind the shimmer of her stare that bore into the cool stone of the ground. "Visceral practice."

"Then no. I did not try to do that." The concept of dusting, however, was interesting. He waited, eyes moving in a slow easiness from Whisper the Duncan. Eventually, Whisper spoke, a wry tone matching her knowing smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.

"It's a trying process, but essentially a spritist forms a blood connection with the spirit and drains them of their soulmist." Duncan's edges seemed to shift uncomfortably, the swirl of pale mists within him a foggy cloud of uneasiness. "They turn to ashes, dust, afterwards. It keeps them from reincarnating and..." She shook her head, offering Keene a frown and stern gaze. "And it's best used as a last resort."

The idea of turning Wilhelmina to a pile of ashes wasn't nearly as "last resort" as Keene imagined Whisper wanted to impart to him, but the manner in which she spoke of it suggested that it was something she had done before, if not multiple times. If he had learned anything from Sahova, it was that cautions about magic were not a frivolous affair. So, with a knowing nod, Keene affirmed that the advice had been received for what it worth. "Understood."

With a heavy sigh, Duncan swung his arms back and fourth, filling the room with the rush of non-existent air. "So, dark subject matter aside, is there anything you'd actually like to buy? We are a business after all."

Keene raised a brow, a slight hint of interest in his gaze as he turned his attentions back to Whisper's soft stare of expectancy. "Is there something I should purchase?"

A patter of laughter raised her features some as she stood, Keene following in suit. "Another bit of advice, Keene Ward, don't ask a merchant what you should buy."

Watching as she moved around to the other side of the table, Keene offered her a shallow shrug. "You know more of this craft than I." Another chuckle as her fingers played over the various items that were so neatly arranged on the sturdy surface. "But I will keep that in mind."

Duncan offered a terse guffaw, "You better, or you'll find your pockets empty." Wordlessly, Keene's hands slipped into his pockets, pulling them inside out to reveal their lack of contents. The ghost seemed ever more amused by the display and chuckled quietly to himself as Whisper spoke once more, several items in her hands as she went over what they were and what use they might be.

"Most things, like we've discussed, are strongest if you make them and put the time into developing your own strength." She offered him a small leather pouch that he received with a slight start at how deceptively heavy the package was. "These are, essentially, the beginnings of soulbeads. If you coat them in your soulmist and link them with thread from your clothes or your hair, you can create a zone of safety from spirits." It seemed a useful tool, though Keene wasn't quite so naive as the think the technique infallible, especially at his level of ability. Keeping the stone beads in hand, Keene received the next set of trinkets: what appeared to be two small glass phials. "Open one." The suggestion was light, interest at the edges of her voice as she waited for him to pull the glass stopper from the bottle's neck. When it came loose, Keene stared down at the wicked blade that had been concealed by the contour of vial. "For soulmist. You can cut and store all in a simple package." It was certainly convenient, and Keene nodded, handing one of the bottles back but keeping the other. "I could sell you more things, I'm sure, but the best way to advance to to create things yourself."

Finding logic and reason in what she said, Keene nodded, setting the leather pouch and glass vial aside as he drew out his coin purse. "Thank you for your time."

Receipt-10GM ft of Soulbeads
-5 oz vial, glass 2GM 5SM
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Keene Ward
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A Sample of Stewardship

Postby Keene Ward on November 20th, 2015, 12:34 am

The darkness of the morning helped to alleviate the swarms of the people that Keene had found so disagreeable, and though his eyes still took more time than they should to focus on the tasks at hand, he preferred the salty breezes lapping against his boots interspersed with the occasional shout of the crew. He had arrived far earlier than he should have, his subconscious eager to put the city and its filth behind him as soon as possible. So, he immersed himself in the loading of crates and checking of ropes and clearing of debris. At first, the sailors had been suspicious of his expression of assistance, but as time passed, they gave him more and more work, until he was sweating alongside the rest of them. After the monotonous journey he'd been subject to the past few weeks, Keene found the simple task of physical exertion to be a soothing balm for the stasis that things seemed to have fallen into. Noven's words played at the back of his mind, pushed back each time by a heavy create or a fresh dousing of chilly sea spay, keeping his focus on the task at hand.

When Barthum finally showed up just as the ship was preparing to depart, Keene looked in much the same condition as the brash, laughing men and women around him, only his stoicism marked a strong contrast between him and those of the sea. "Am I late?" The man's voice was slurred and his breath had a sour scent to it, billowing over Keene's face as he helped hoist the man across the gangplank and onto the sturdy floor of the ship's deck.

"I believe so."

"Peeeetch." The man's exaggerated expletive faded for a tick before he let out a large belch, to which the sailors and passengers offered up a loud cheer. Pulling Keene closer, the man spoke a fair bit quieter, surprisingly strong even in the midst of Keene's quiet repulsion. "Did you make sure to grab everything?"

Finally extricating himself from the unwanted propinquity, Keene shifted his position so that the man wouldn't make another attempt. "Yes."

"Good good. I'm going-" He hiccuped, blinking furiously before gaining faculty enough to speak again. "I'm going to sleep."

The ship was different than the one that had ferried him away from Sahova. Before, he had preferred to remain, but as Syliras disappeared behind them, Keene let the freedom of the winds run over him, the soft, cool whisper of the mark between his shoulders finally felt at home, at peace. That was not to say his mind felt the same, but there was a soothing quality to being out in the open with nothing but emptiness in every direction. Though the weather had shifted from its odd heat to that of a more common chill, Keene's cloak had been left below, letting the winds whip through his loose fitting clothes, carrying with them the salty tang of the sea as they danced and flurried off of its waves. He let his eyes close and allowed himself the morning for quiet meditation. Breath moved in and out, and when the cold became too much to bear, he finally retired below deck to sleep away the chill.

While freedom had been the initial flavor of the ship's voyage, but the last day, Keene leaned against the gunnel, eyes scanning the distant shore, fixated on the harbor they were headed towards. Barthum joined him, a hunk of tack in each hand, offering the one in his left to his typically silent companion. "Almost there then." Keene nodded, tearing off a small bite of the firm bread and chew methodically as he was wont to do with all foods. "You've never been before?" He shook his head, the steady breeze ruffling through his hair, billowing through his cloak on their never-ending journey to only Zulrav knew where. "Heh. You're in for a treat then, boy." The jest was muttered more than uttered, and Keene chose to ignore it.

With each passing bell, the harbor grew closer, and Keene busied himself with staying out of the crew's way. He and Barthum gathered their belongings early as the ship began to dock, and by the time they were allowed to file off of the ship, they were the first to reach the mess of buildings that the sailors had referred to as the Patchwork Port. It certainly held true to its name. There were architectural styles so varying that it seemed as though the buildings had been haphazardly thrown together at random. They didn't linger in the port for long, however, and Keene followed behind the sure, steady steps of Barthum down the final leg of their journey.

When they reached the cities "gate", Keene stared up at the stone face with a mix of surprise and suspicion, especially when it stared back at him. “You have come in search of the City of Illusion. Tell me, stranger, why are you here?”

Barthum stepped forward first, grinning up at the wall while Keene stood still, eyes flicking over the structure to find the mobile pieces which might allow the golem to function as it did. "You know me, Brickface. Barthum Babbas, merchant prince of the Babbas family and first heir to-" There was a rumbling shifting of stone, one that was flawlessly executed if there were mechanical parts at all, something that Keene could only frown at as the mouth fell open to provide Barthum passage.

"Enough. You may pass." Barthum grumbled under his breath and he stepped onto the stone tongue.

Turning, he offered Keene a grin, "Thanks for getting me this far. You can pick up your payment from the Sanity Center." With that, the mouth closed behind him and he disappeared from view.

The stone eyes turned to stare at Keene expectantly, the question still standing. Keene, however, stepped up the wall's face, fingers gently pressing against the fluidity of the stone. From what he could tell, there were no underlying mechanics. The stone was stone, nothing else. Yet, it moved so easily, and Keene took a few uncertain steps back. "Tell me, stranger, why are you here?" The same question. He supposed it was possible the the stone had been transmuted through alchemy, like Master Rayage's cloaks, and then animated with an advance script like the TAR. Whatever the case, Keene found there were no clues outside of the strange construct's mouth. If there was anything to be learned, he reasoned, it would be within.

"I am Keene Ward. I search for more than a city; I search for purpose. What more would you ask, Golem?" His voice was raised only slightly, cool and clear as the gentle breezes that drifted about his feet.

"Stormwarden. Your search is only just begun." The face stared down at him, its mouth moving only to speak not to allow passage. "I ask again: why are you here?"

He drew a breath, the crisp fall air filling his lungs as he calm the buzz of thoughts in his mind. Whatever the magic that had gone into the automaton, it bordered on what Thomas Cosa had explained animation to be capable of. Raising his gaze to meet with the stone face's, Keene next words were much softer, more quiet. "To run away."

There was a rumbling as the stone fell to allow him passage, and the golem's voice sounded once more. "Tread lightly, Keene Ward."
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Keene Ward
Chilly Wizard
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1279864
Joined roleplay: October 16th, 2014, 2:16 am
Location: Kalea
Race: Human
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A Sample of Stewardship

Postby Elias Caldera on January 16th, 2016, 9:33 pm


Behold, Your Just Reward!


Keene Ward


Experience and Lore :
Skills
  • Horse Riding +1
  • Body Building +2
  • Land Navigation +1
  • Investigation +2
  • Rhetoric +2

Lores
  • The Treachery of Traveling the Wilds
  • Horse Riding: Cantering
  • Syliras: A Sweaty, Noisy Prison of Stone
  • Location: Ethereal Notions
  • Whisper Addison and Duncan
  • Spiritism: Soulmist
  • Spirtism: Dusting
  • Spiritism: Soulbeads
  • Location: The Gaping Maw


Miscellaneous :
Injuries
  • None

Loot and Expenses
  • Soulbeads -10gm
  • 5 oz Glass Vial -2gm 5sm


Comments :
    You have a way of setting the stage and bringing life to your character's surrounding that I found very enjoyable to read.


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Elias Caldera
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