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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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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eosi on December 8th, 2015, 5:27 am

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8th Day of Winter, 515 AV


"It's no trouble at all," Eosi said. "I'd be happy to help you, provided you tell me where to go."

The woman in question, an harried young Konti nodded with marked relief.

"Just let me write down where to go and I'll be right back," she said, sweeping into the domed structure. Eosi stood patiently, anticipating her return. She quietly reviewed the day's plans as she waited. It was still early. Under normal circumstances, she'd already be on her way to Gideon's Glory. But as she'd passed into the main gates earlier in the day, she came upon a young mother struggling to maintain her children while she scoured the ground for tiny scraps of kindling.

"Here," the woman said, handing Eosi a small scrap of paper. Her woodland eyes drank in the information for a few moments before she tucked it into her cloak. A few crag firs should do the trick, provided the cliffs hadn't been picked clean yet. With nary a word of farewell, she turned and began up the well-manicured path to the city, along the Bluevein and toward the beach.

Bodies hustled up and down the street, their hasty breath steaming in the air. While some meandered, Eosi walked a straight line to her destination, aware of but unconcerned with the buzz of chatter all around. Excitement put a bit more momentum in her step. It wasn't so much to help the family itself, but rather to engage in some meaningful task. Splitting firewood was a vigorous job and the prospect of spending her morning doing it put a genuine smile on her face. It was a great opportunity to get some thinking done.

The cliffs crept into sight. Her step slowed as she approached Rookery Park, trailing the tips of her fingers across the bare shrubs as she passed by. Eosi pursed her lips for a moment, suddenly taken in by a memory. Her eyes closed and she suddenly came to a halt. The street was inexplicably empty, where just moments before it'd been full.

The brine of the sea wafted through her. It elicited a soft sight. The sensation of the breeze was just the same as it had been that night, years earlier. Eosi lingered a moment like this, giving nostalgia its due. Warm hands, lips. Two lovers fitted snugly together in spite of the cold. Her heart ached for the months she'd spent with Leo Zaital. But such was Ivak's will and she would not deny him.

Seeing the futility of lingering further, Eosi disengaged from the feelings, though it required a moment or two. Later, she promised herself. There was happiness in the pain, comfort in the memory. But it'd be have to be felt later, in the quiet space of Godiva's Refuge.

As she turned, she noted the suddenly empty street was no longer empty.
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Last edited by Eosi on December 9th, 2015, 5:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eldrid on December 8th, 2015, 6:23 pm

Winter 8th 515 AV

Eldrid sat quietly in Rookery Park as she continued her quest for inspiration. She could not quite understand the appeal of the area. For her, the gulls were bland, despite their blue wings, and they were noisy beyond belief. She held her blank sketching book open on a clean page as she looked around for something to sketch other than the blue winged gulls.

It was halfway between deliberating whether she should leave or whether she should persevere the gull's sounds further that Eldrid found the wintry scene of bare bushes interrupted by a flash of autumn hues. The human hadn't seem to notice her just yet, but Eldrid could hardly miss the bright, almost forceful presence of Eosi in these surroundings. Silently cursing the speed with which Eosi moved Eldrid almost flagged her down before Eosi stopped.

Seizing the moment Eldrid set her charcoal to the page as she began drawing the scene. Light greys muted the sky of her drawing, suggesting an almost oppressive atmosphere which surrounded the lone figure on the empty path. The body was unremarkable as Eldrid had rushed through it, returning her attention to the half-formed face she had created. Eyes cast down, lips curved indifferent in their grey hue. It was a small amount of what she saw through her eyes and a bit more of what she imagined in her own idea of the scene that set the tone for the image. She had been unable to accurately capture the colour or untamed mane of hair before the subject began to move again, causing Eldrid to frantically sketch in arms to attend the body before she resigned the drawing to incompletion.

With a muted huff she stowed her charcoal and hastily tore the page out of her book before she took to the air in pursuit of the strange pondering wanderer. She flew slightly past Eosi, dropping down in front of her as she held out the page containing the sketch.
"And I was almost finished before you continued moving. . ."
She muttered aloud before adding some soft complaint under her breath concerning the locomotion of life or some such.
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eosi on December 9th, 2015, 8:05 am

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Eosi caught a flash in her peripheral vision, just enough to alert her to the sudden intrusion. She took a step back reflexively. There was an Akvatari suddenly in front of her, page in hand, muttering something being finished. Surprise registered on her face for just a moment before it was replaced by a polite mask. People rarely got the better of her.

The moment hung there. She stood in silence, clearly sizing them up. Her autumn gaze trailed from tail to crown before settling on the Akvatari's hazel eyes, so very like her own. They were gentle, unassuming. Not yet touched by the grief of the world, she supposed. The flash of irritation she'd initially felt washed away as she peered at the young artist. There was just one problem.

She was still in the way.

"Is there something I can help you with?" She asked with just a hint of ice. Her eyes danced from the page in her hand to the girl's face, searching for a moment as if to divine her meaning. Was it poetry she was writing? No, in that case there'd be no need to intercept her. 'Not finished yet.' Did she mean.... Drawing her?

"Did you stop me because you were drawing me?" Annoyance crept into her tone, despite her best efforts. The Akvatari was standing between her and her chosen work. This type of diversion was chiefly the thing she'd been trying to avoid. People relished small talk in a way she found painful, at times. Likewise, she had zero designs on becoming an artistic subject. As if the matter were concluded, Eosi moved to walk past the young woman.

"Never you mind. If you'll excuse me, I have work to attend to."
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eldrid on December 9th, 2015, 8:46 am

Eldrid sighed as Eosi spoke with a slight dash of annoyance in her tone. She still held the torn out page in her hand as she spoke,
"Yes, I was drawing you. However I stopped you to give you the sketch. I have no use for incomplete works, it seems neither do you so I shall dispose of it." She stated curtly as she shifted aside, withdrawing the page. She couldn't help but sigh ever so slightly as the red-headed human mentioned work.
"Ah yes, work. I apologize for wasting your time." Eldrid said and turned towards the bench once more. A loud bout of gull cries caused her to wince and turn back to the human.
"I think I might accompany you for a moment . . . At least until I am away from these bothersome birds."
She stated before her fluttering wings carried her slightly further down the path.
"Do not worry. I shan't attempt to capture your likeness again."
The Akvatari replied with a weary edge to her voice.
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eosi on December 10th, 2015, 4:36 am

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At the mention of gulls, Eosi slowed to peer up at them. One in particular shrieked and simultaneously dropped excrement into the ferns below, mid-flight. Her lip curled into a disgusted sneer. Rats with wings, she thought contemptuously. Who wouldn't want to be rid of the terrible creatures?

It was much like watching a coin teeter on its side before it inevitably tipped and fell. Eosi wavered for a moment as if meaning to turn the girl away before she thought better of it. Her breath rushed out in a sigh.

"Fine, come along. I'm going to chop down a fir or two on the cliffs and split it into kindling." She pulled out a small hand-axe and brandished it with a fierce gleam in her eye. The corners of her mouth tightened grimly.

"If you can stay out of my way," she continued, "You can draw me if you like. It doesn't matter to me." Propelled onward by the power of definite decision, she continued on toward the cliffs. It was assumed that Eldrid would follow. The walk was short and Eosi was naturally tight-lipped but inevitably, curiosity got the better of her. As they carried on down the path, she glanced over beneath hooded eyes.

"I'm Eosi," she said. "I apologize if I was rude, before." Her lips twitched sheepishly. While it wasn't the warmest greeting, it would have to do. Eldrid had made the unfortunate mistake of startling her, that was all. She wasn't always so prickly with strangers.

"What is your name?" She asked politely. Not everything was going to go her way and that was fine. As a girl, she would've been far more caustic with the poor Akvatari. But over the years and with a bit of training, she developed the blessed virtue of patience....

Somewhat.
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eldrid on December 10th, 2015, 11:36 am

Eldrid followed behind Eosi, hovering in the air on her translucent grey wings. The change in Eosi's tone was unexpected, but not unwelcome for the Akvatari.
"I am Eldrid. It is a pleasure to meet you Eosi."
Eldrid replied, gathering her toga around herself. She remained silent for a little while before she spoke to the vibrantly dressed human again,
"How long have you been in Riverfall?"
She asked, wondering if this peculiar human could possibly assist her in her search for paintings to put on exhibition for the coming festival. It would be quite a bit of help if she could get hold of some artists outside of the institute. Of course there was a more than sufficient supply of pieces from eager students if she was unable to find any featuring pieces.
"Tis a strange city if I am entirely honest, not to mention the pranksters . . . "
She said, muttering the second part bitterly.
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eosi on December 12th, 2015, 4:35 am

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"Good to meet you, Eldrid."

Her reply was more out of courtesy than genuine interest, though it wasn't totally insincere. As they walked along, the gulls continued to circle overhead, though they were further off. A stiff ocean breeze tousled her hair and caressed the Akvatari's wings.

"I have been in Riverfall for a goodly while, though I come and I go." The two years she'd spent at the Antiquities Society kept her in and out of the Sea of Grass. She didn't feel the need to reveal any further. At the mention of pranksters however, she smiled somewhat mysteriously. The season's events almost reminded her of the City of Illusions.

"You wouldn't much care for Alvadas then," she carried on conversationally. "I've been there once before. It is a city that is constantly in motion." For a moment, the notion seemed to capture her imagination. Eosi wore a tiny smile of remembrance, for hers had been a pleasant experience. Apparently, it was not that way for everyone.

Before long, they were at the rocks. There was a smattering of sparse trees a few dozen yards away. Eosi smiled in earnest at the sight of them. She drew her hatchet and without any further dalliance, sought to go fell the first one she got her hands on. It gave Eldrid plenty of time to draw her or not.
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eldrid on December 12th, 2015, 9:23 pm

Eldrid sighed and shook her head as the ocean breeze gently caressed her deceptively delicately looking wings. She flitted across the rocky landscape to a cascading pair of rocks where she brought herself down gently.

"I doubt Alvadas is the only place filled with illusions. . . We have a tendency to surround ourselves with them."
Eldrid said quietly as she put her backpack down amidst the folds of her toga. "At least, when we find it more convenient than the truth. It appears to be something people cling to when things don't go there way. Comforts them I guess." She continued with a small roll of her eyes. She reached into her backpack and withdrew her book along with her charcoal sticks. She opened to a blank page and began drawing, flinching slightly as Eosi's hatchet made contact with the gnarled trunk of the cliff-bound pine.

Eldrid let out a long sigh and inhaled deeply before she began drawing. With gentle strokes of grey she gave the slightly angled cliffs definition, inserting one or two curved lines to disrupt the flat appearance of the rocks. Her strokes of coaldust then grew with inelegant, contorted curves to form the tree which was currently under attack. From there she went up, developing the branches with equally twisted strokes. The hatchet followed the unpleasant looking tree, buried in the empty space that had been left in the trunk of the tree.

Finally Eldrid began work on the figure of Eosi. She always hated drawing moving figures. It made finding the right shape for them a constant struggle for the learning artist. She sketched what she could in the moments when Eosi's pose matched what she had in her minds eye, not entirely trusting her memory with the task on its own. The grey form of Eosi began to take shape with some variations in shade where Eldrid had managed to control the charcoal properly.

She wrapped up the drawing with a grey, wintry sky, much like the one she had used in her first sketch of Eosi. All in all the drawing was a decent effort on the artists behalf, but it still had the odd smudge or out of form line which showed it to be the work of a novice, not yet exceptionally experienced in their field. Eldrid sat back and released the breath she had held while she drew, appraising her piece silently. Mentally she could still spot every little imperfection in the drawing, something which she found haunted every artistic endeavour of hers. Putting her book aside she turned back to the human she had followed to the cliffs.
"I don't suppose you've come across any other artists during your stay? I'm actually in the process of organising an exhibition . . . And art is needed for said exhibition. Unless you have some spare masterpieces stowed beneath that autumnal ensemble of yours." She said while stretching her elegant hands out and dusting the charcoal off her fingertips as best as she was able.
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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Wikus on December 14th, 2015, 3:28 pm

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There were people on the cliffs. Be it coincidence the spot he wished to occupy was exactly where the two individuals stood, or a mere whim of his subconscious to seek company, there still was the fact that two beings stood there. Wikus’ lips twisted up in rage, angry that his luck was missing these last days, frustrated that the few objectives he proposed for himself were denied one way or another. Even so, when moments ago he believed to be alone in his destination, it was only the work of a true sadist to present two beings in the spot considered a metaphorical peak. The figures were vague, unidentified by the distance that stood between him and them.

His bare feet were, ironically, burning from the cold. Yes, he liked moving around with light clothes if dressed at all, but that didn’t meant he was immune to the cold. Many seasons ago he found himself resistant to disease, ever since defying the weather by showing flesh when others flashed leathers and cloaks in attempts of hiding from illness. It worked, certainly, but his flesh still feels the apparently bladed cold breeze or the simply aching cold stone that composed Riverfall’s roads. Perhaps the worst of it was how the rest stared in awe or in critique, envious of his impunity towards sickness, being the main reason he hesitated towards joining the two unknown figures in the cliffs.

The other reason was no other than the one he held in a hand: a small hessian sack that was completely full of fish guts, having been leaking some kind of gelatinous ooze that now crafted a translucent film outside the fabric. The reek was almost unbearable, thankfully the cold breeze occasionally aiding in hiding it from his nose. He had taken notice of the gulls that plagued the city’s skies, and how voracious they were at times. While their diet was unknown to him, as not many of those birds were to be found in the Sea of Grass, he did quite believe they would be easily satisfied with pretty much anything they found, similarly to pigeons. And pigeons were a delicious meal that existed in large quantities. Gulls were, however, bigger, therefore making it a more precious catch for him. Considering the large amount of feathers a bird had, plus the removal of guts and head, the final product was poor in quantity – reason why he came ready this day. Fish guts were easily acquired wherever fish was sold, and since they were free, it would be a good way to find out what those delicious-looking birds preferred as bait.

But bait needs to be visible, and the gulls liked that cliff. If he planted the sack at the top, they could practically smell their breakfast and come in great numbers. He also needed space, his weapon of hunt being his whip as he knew nothing else but still valid due to the weapon’s versatility. And finally, he needed intimacy from the curious eyes, especially those of the colorful giants that roamed the city.

He waited for a few chimes, staring into the distance, watching the silhouettes that stood on the cliff. He waited and waited, whatever the task they were doing taking some time – some time that he spent smelling the stench that escaped the sack. His impatience finally took the best of him, sending his cold feet onward towards the cliffs, promising that this time he wouldn’t bother to give any heed to whomever he encountered up there. Immediately he regretted not bringing a shirt.

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Warm Hearths, Warm Hearts

Postby Eosi on December 15th, 2015, 9:29 pm

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That she found agreeable. People often preferred to believe what they wanted, what felt best, rather than what really was. She offered Eldrid a small smile as they parted ways, turning her attentions to one tree in particular, bent double against the screaming wind. Her thumb traced loving circles into the squat handle of her axe as her eyes roved from the top to trunk, assessing where best to start.

Fir trees were softwoods and thank Ivak for that. Eosi appreciated a challenge, but she didn't plan on being there all day. Next, she considered which was the tree would fall. This was an easy mistake to make and typically, had disastrous consequences. She'd actually seen a man break his arm with such a error and it'd cost him a whole season as a result. Luckily, this was a tiny tree. Pursing her lips, she looked at the twisted shape of the thing with marked distaste; it was tough to tell with the little bugger.

It was then that the smell reached her. ''Fish guts,' she thought with disgust. Where was it coming from? Just a whiff was enough to irritate her. Were there kids playing on the cliffs, somewhere nearby? Overhead, she could hear the circling gulls' gleeful cries, no doubt attracted by the odor. The vein in her temple pulsed.

Eosi carved a notch into the side of the wood at about waist height on the side counter to the prevailing winds. She figured that regardless of shape, the breeze was so strong that it'd surely topple it to this side. Then she did the same on the other end, creating a sort of "hinge" that would hold the tree until it was good and ready to fall. That way, she wouldn't be getting any nasty surprises.

As she moved to the other side to begin the actual felling however, the stench become truly overpowering. Eosi looked up with narrowed eyes to find a man, half dressed and bearing a sack of what could only be rotting fish entrails. Her stomach flipped. It was unbearable. Worse even, the gulls all took the cue and down they came on tilted wings, much to her extreme frustration. With every last cry, she found her temper rising.

"No," she replied offhand, obviously focused on the approaching figure. "I can't help you with that I'm afraid." Anger colored her tone, but it was clear that this anger was not directed toward the Akvatari. Gulls began to actually settle near her, hopping about and squawking loudly.

With all the force she could manage, she laid into the tree. Anger was a prevalent emotion and she found that physical exertion always helped to siphon some of it away. Between the smell, the gulls and the unwanted company, nothing had gone according to plan. Which all that knew her could tell you: that was not the business for Eosi. Jaw clenched, she unleashed a hail of strikes against the wizened fir until one in particular wrenched her arm, causing her to recoil. The axe remained in the wood.

"Petch," she muttered, rolling her shoulder.
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