Closed Not All Is Gold That Glitters

A wild chase of pretty stones. (Izu pls)

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Estrellir Konrath on May 26th, 2016, 9:57 pm

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Spring 30, 516 AV
Sharai Peak



Estrellir was still green. And still unemployed. Whether those two things were related, she never thought to stop and contemplate. As far as she was concerned, both were endless nuisances that paled in the face of her explorations and discoveries around Lhavit. After her arrival, the Konti immediately began observing and learning everything she could about the Star of Kalea.

It felt like a holiday, to be honest, after the strenuous journey and years filled with detective work before that. She could sleep in, sample breakfast at one of numerous little restaurants overlooking dusted mountains and then follow the wind through the city, walking every nook and cranny. The Lhavitian habit of working in bursts and taking naps hadn’t taken hold yet, so she lived and worked like she always did, swiftly and tirelessly. Architecture, lifestyle, social structure and customs were things easily observed, but Estrellir was also interested in what lay under the surface, what drove and commanded Lhavitians at their core. That included anything and everything, but investigating strange rumors soon became a favorite pastime.

Rumors provided nothing useful per se, yet she ended up investigating more often than not. After all, Estrellir could never resist a good secret, however small it seemed at first, the way some people couldn’t resist a good old whiskey or hunting rare beasts or… magic. The thrill was beckoning, the unknown taunting her.

On the other hand, it might just be her fondness of trinkets and cute baubles. Either way, after hearing about a stream on Sharai Peak weeping beautiful stones, she decided to head out and see for herself. As usual, the Konti was dressed in all black and simple cuts, scarf and leather boots. Only the exquisite silk cloak caressing her small frame hinted at how familiar she was with luxury. Wavy ivory hair was cut too short to be tied, so the wind blew it into her face all the time.

She found Sharai Peak without asking for directions – a small and expected victory, considering how long she’d been in town. After some wandering, she found the stream too, a cheerful trickle of water straight from the mountains. Clear as skyglass. People were milling about between buildings that were mostly barns and storage. They were probably looking for the stones as was Estrellir was about to.
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Izuyanai on July 8th, 2016, 11:22 am

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Izuyanai stepped out into the gardens surrounding the Tower's Respite and tilted her head back as she took in the cool mountain air. The winds carried with them the slightest hint of rain, which she could detect with every breath. Predictably, the clouds hid the sun, but the winds were frequent and strong enough so that brief bursts of blue sky and bright light winked through the dull cover.

Long hours of pouring over the same book had done enough to make the Kelvic restless, convincing her that a break was well deserved. She had done away with her cloak and pack and was setting off as light as a feather when she caught the excited chatter of fellow residents. Izuyanai swung her head toward the sound and spotted the pair seated on a nearby bench with their heads bent over their cupped hands. For a moment, she was willing to dismiss it as a training exercise in magic. However, one of the rare rays of sunlight fell onto the objects and caused them to flash attractively.

Her attention captured, the raven slowed her pace as she walked past her preoccupied peers.

"We were lucky to get there so early," one of them remarked to her friend as she turned over what seemed to be a brightly colored pebble.

"I know! There's going to be a crowd later on. Do you think it's just the river by the Sharai? We could try to find more."

The other's visible reply was a shrug and the rest of their answer faded away as Izuyanai set her course to the Sharai Peak. So the rumor was that mysterious stones had materialised in the river by the Sharai. It wasn't everyday she overheard such useful information, and it would be a shame to let it come to nothing. This news would be worth investigating, and Izuyanai might take away a few precious stones from this as well. With eyes alight with expectation and perhaps a little greed for the sparkling objects, the raven wound her way down from the tiers to the clear waters flowing at the peak's base.

There certainly were a few more people down here than was usual. Undoubtedly, those lingering by the water's edge had heard the rumours and had come to investigate. The soft lull of activity mixed with the sound of running water made for a rather peaceful scene, Izuyanai thought.

Much like a real bird, she picked her way carefully across the uneven ground by the river. Occasionally, Izuyanai would lean ever so slightly over the water with her hands clasped behind her back, peering intently through the water at the riverbed for any signs of treasure. Luck wasn’t on her side. At least, not right away. Though there were places were dustings of green moss gleamed emerald, there were no other amazing discoveries to be made. Unless one were to count a small school of minnow like fish weaving along the current, this section of the river was very much empty, or had already been picked clean by other scavengers.

Following the fish at a leisurely pace, the raven had just been weighing her chances of catching one of them when she realised she was about to cross paths with another explorer. The striking contrast of the woman’s ivory hair and dark wardrobe stood out against the riverside and made Izuyanai’s eyes linger. She seemed pleasant, the Kelvic observed idly.
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Estrellir Konrath on July 28th, 2016, 1:01 pm

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OOCI'd like to point out that in this thread, the effects of the cursed fountain water are still on, meaning Estrellir has bright green skin. Also, sorry for the delay! As usual, life happened.


After descending the gentle rise towards the riverbed, Estrellir carefully positioned herself by the edge and took a moment to watch. The icy mountain water was trickling over stone, grass and moss like a soft song. When something glittered in the current, she leaned forward, but it was only a sleek silvery fish. A tick later, it darted away into the shadows. Several of the small fish seemed to populate the river, yet there was no sight of precious stones.

The Konti rose and carefully began her way upstream, away from the people milling about and towards a more secluded spot. As she climbed over moss and stone, holding on to gnarled tree trunks and branches for balance, something dawned on her. Where it ran through Lhavit, the river must have been thoroughly searched by previous scavengers. The farther she wandered upstream, however, the more precious stones would still be left. If she followed it all the way to its source in the mountains, she might even discover where the phenomenon itself originated. Not that a city girl like herself was keen on such a long and dangerous hike, but the idea delighted her nevertheless.

Slowly, but surely Estrellir was nearing the edge of Sharai Peak, at least the plateau claimed by settlers. Beyond, slender mountain peaks loomed and misty depths beckoned. The crowds had thinned considerably, but then she glimpsed a lone dark figure ahead. The person was navigating the rocky terrain with ease and more grace than Estrellir, as if used to wilderness. As they crossed paths, the silhouette took the form of a young woman, surprisingly short (meaning, about as short as the Konti herself). Dark hair was tied back, bright eyes on the water. She appeared to be human, yet her movements and the way she moved her head seemed inexplicably predatory.

“No luck?” Estrellir asked casually, using the unifying curiosity and thrill of the scavenger hunt to approach the stranger. As she didn’t see any reason to withhold information, she decided to speak freely. “I was thinking more stones might be discovered upstream, even hints about their origin. It’s hard to believe they simply grow out of the ground like grass, no?”
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Izuyanai on July 30th, 2016, 7:30 am

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The approaching figure seemed pleasant but certainly strange. Izuyanai had seen all kinds of people going about their business in Lhavit, yet striking green skin had to be new. Nonetheless, she managed to contain her intrigue to a slightly raised brow. Who was she to demand normality when she occasionally sprouted feathers and wings. Izuyanai was almost certain that wasn’t an everyday occurrence to humans at least.

“No luck as of yet,” Izuyanai replied with an airy smile as the woman joined her by the bank. The combined threat of their shadows falling on the water sent the silvery fish scattering for cover.

Tilting her head thoughtfully at the other’s suggestion, Izuyanai considered their situation.

“So you believe that the stones were pushed downstream by the current? That’s reasonable. And I doubt many people have gone so far. If you wanted to find more stones, it would certainly be easier where no one else has gotten to it first.”

There were still many problems if they wanted to go exploring up the river. She couldn’t be sure if the stones were actually coming from upstream. Someone could have easily scattered them in the vicinity for a prank. The stones could have just as easily appeared due to a faulty experiment by one of Lhavit’s magicians. Not to mention, exploring meant moving away from the immediate protection of the Shinya. The Kelvic had grown more wary after the attack at Wind Reach.

Izuyanai’s hand fluttered frustratedly at her left hip where her dagger usually would have been. She hadn’t been expecting on going on an excursion, but she still never should have left Aramis at home. Izuyanai also gave a quick glance over the stranger’s form and didn’t turn up any sort of weapon. The woman could be a magic user, as it wasn’t uncommon in Lhavit, but it looked like any sort of combat ability would fall to Izuyanai if they were faced with such a situation. That is if she were willing to save anything but her own skin.

The woman with ivory hair did have the right idea, however. Investigation was one of the reasons the Kelvic had ended up by the river bank in the first place and Izuyanai saw the glint of curiosity flicker out from within the deep color of the stranger’s eyes. Perhaps she had found a kin spirit in that aspect, if not with caution.

“Shall we?” Izuyanai asked politely, gesturing out toward the wilderness and away from the milling citizens. “I’d be happy to accompany you upstream if that’s what you wish.”

OocDon't worry about it! I may not be able to reply immediately all the time as well. Thanks for reminding me about the curse, I didn't realise.
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Estrellir Konrath on August 2nd, 2016, 8:04 am

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Estrellir noticed the surprise in the way the woman turned towards her, the first time she looked at her. By then, she was used to the stares – as if her Konti nature wasn’t exotic enough – and had gotten some practice at ignoring them.

The distant smile intrigued her. Something in it didn’t seem entirely Lhavitian, but as a stranger, Estrellir couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Residents tended to be polite and friendly, the woman didn’t seem to pay her enough attention to her to fit the image. Simply indifferent or something more?

Once again, she was acutely reminded of differences between Lhavit and Kenash, most importantly social standing. Any Kenashian would’ve recognized her as a Konrath and taken her interest in precious stones as a mere pastime, a way to kill time. She certainly wasn’t after their monetary value, not even half a world away, all but cut off from fertile soil and treasure chests. Here, the woman assumed she was after the stones themselves. Estrellir shrugged, vaguely amused. “If I find some, that’d be splendid, but if not, I won’t mind. It’s the riddle itself that’s intriguing. Where did they come from, why now?”

To be fair, she strived to learn about the residents through gauging how they reacted to the phenomenon – wary, fascinated, greedy? So far she’d only seen displays of the latter and left those behind on her short hike upstream. Now, that woman seemed as unconcerned as herself. “But you have doubts, no? Do you think the stones originated somewhere else, through different means?”

It was true, Estrellir didn’t think about the imminent danger in the wilds. Although she’d crossed the Unforgiving, an ordeal even with traveling companions, Lhavit was elevated so far above most trails and caves and treacherous valleys that it seemed untouchable. The Konti couldn’t see as clearly where the city ended and mountain wilderness began, she’d never been off the beaten tracks too. But she sensed vague disquiet in the other woman and wanted to know.

Nevertheless, she agreed to follow upstream, so Estrellir slowly continued into the direction she was going before. While the sights were beautiful, the terrain remained rocky and slippery. Breaking or even twisting an ankle would mean serious setbacks for her business plans, it wasn’t worth it. Still, after some time she felt confident enough to pick up the conversation. “I’m Estrellir Konrath, by the way. Have you been in town long?”
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Izuyanai on August 3rd, 2016, 3:24 am

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"Not doubts, exactly," Izuyanai said, returning the shrug.

The strange woman didn't seem very interested at the prospect of the glittering stones Izuyanai had witnessed back at the Tower. Instead, she was more concerned with the mystery of it all.

Perfectly fine with experiencing the best of both worlds, treasure and answers, Izuyanai mused more to herself than to her audience, "Well, I'll agree with you. It's all very interesting. I had a theory that the stones might be some magical runoff from one of our mages. Lhavit has enough magic users running about that it's not unthinkable. Still, we won't be able to determine the facts without finding any samples, now will we?"

With that, Izuyanai turned and continued upstream. She carefully hopped from stone to stone, selecting and navigating to the route that seemed the safest. The light dusting of moss on the rocks made for a tricky landing, but Izuyanai managed it by cushioning her movements with bent knees and not sending her momentum in any direction other than down.

The stranger seemed to exercise more caution, and took extra time in crossing the terrain. Her movements weren't especially fast, but there was an unmistakable sort of grace about her person. The kind of grace people of high standing were born into. Every so often, Izuyanai paused on a stable rock and waited for her companion to draw up to her side. From her perch, she casually scanned the riverbank for unfriendly movement and flicked her eyes up at the strip of sky above them, just in case any airborne creature meant them harm. Thankfully, at the moment, the only discernible movements came from the flow of the river.

Her companion walked closer and Izuyanai took the opportunity to note the ivory hair once more, along with the delicate line of scales shining on the other woman's cheeks.

The silence between them broke with the other woman's introduction and Izuyanai's mouth quirked into a smile.

"I answer to Izuyanai, along with whatever else you think is appropriate. It's a pleasure to meet you. As for how long I've been here, that all depends on your perspective, doesn't it? Regardless, I've lived in Lhavit long enough." Waving a hand toward Estrellir, she continued. "Long enough to guess that you're not a native, anyway."

Izuyanai studied Estrellir carefully, though not with any malice behind her gaze. It had more to do with being unsure as to where she should place the newcomer. Aleah at the Scholar's Demise was a Konti during the day and Estrellir seemed to share many of the same features. Yet the green skin leapt out obviously at Izuyanai. A blatant flaw in her assumption. Afterall, weren't the Konti and their isle renown for their snowy appearance?

Finally, she asked, "Do many Konti have green skin? Or is that an individual trait?"
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Estrellir Konrath on August 14th, 2016, 10:15 am

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Estrellir listened to the idea with barely contained interest. Of course, she wouldn’t have thought of magical fallout, Lhavit and its magic policy was still too foreign for her to consider such a thing. It also told her that the other woman was familiar with the city, magic or both, which in turn meant that she’d been a resident for quite some time. “That sounds reasonable. Does this sort of thing happen often here? Magic going wrong, influencing the city in strange and marvelous ways?”

As they continued upstream, it became obvious that her companion was no stranger to rocky terrain and untamed wilderness. While she navigated stones and slippery moss with easy grace, Estrellir took more care. She tested each and every stone for solidity before putting weight on her foot, arms vaguely stretched out for balance. In her attempts to find the easiest path, she often ended up following the other woman’s footsteps, but neither seemed to mind.

Estrellir took a while to get used to different pace and dynamic, but then she felt confident enough striking up a conversation and had no trouble following it. From time to time, she stopped to keep an eye on their surroundings, although she’d noticed Izuyanai looking around more often. Her name had an exotic lilt to it which intrigued the Konti. Her reply, however, prompted a mild sarcastic tone. “Curious. In my opinion, days and seasons are quite straightforward as far as measuring time goes.” She wasn’t criticizing, not really, and if Izuyanai didn’t elaborate, she wouldn’t prod. A mere nod signified that she could more or less answer the question herself.

As they continued, Estrellir felt her gaze prickling on her skin. She stopped for a tick to catch her breath and push wavy ivory strands out of her face, giving Izuyanai a better look at her scales and violet eyes. In turn, she snuck a long glance at her companion, noting once again how easily she moved. Savage grace, or something like it. Had the mountains bred it or had it been ingrained in her muscles since birth?

Then she laughed sharply. “You could say it is individual as well as temporary. At least I hope so… This abominable shade of green is merely an effect of the cursed fountain. What do they say, curiosity killed the cat? Considering you came to investigate the precious stones though, I’m sure you understand.”
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Izuyanai on August 16th, 2016, 8:32 am

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“Lhavit takes great care that magic does not go wrong,” Izuyanai replied. “But even the best of precautions can’t always ensure that every thing goes accordingly.”

Gradually, the pair reached a bend in the river. The current seemed to have carved a path throughout the ages, causing the waters toward the opposite bank to be deeper. The water’s darker shade of green confirmed this, as the sun didn’t quite pierce all the way through to the riverbed.

Izuyanai chuckled at Estrellir’s jab and amended herself, still managing to dodge the question. “Certainly, units have been devised to measure time. What I meant, was that Tanroa's river flows differently for each person."

After all, what were a few days to a creature that lived hundreds of years? What was a few days to the creature that only expected to live a few seasons?

Even after listening to the story of her companion's predicament, Izuyanai continued in her lighthearted manner. She had certainly heard rumors of this fountain in the Scholar's Demise, however, she had not yet gotten the chance to see for herself. Truthfully, the sight of Estrellir was giving her second thoughts about any investigations.

"I have heard of this fountain, but I wasn't made aware of all it's effects," Izuyanai said. She considered Estrellir once more before curling her lip in a mischievous smile. "Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back," she finished. "I'm sure that once the fountain and it's curse have been thoroughly explained, there will be a cure to your...condition. It's quite early to lose hope, though you seem to be doing fine.”

Izuyanai paused once more, eyes scanning the river upstream. “Should we try looking for the stones again? Or continue on? I don’t know how far this river goes.”

She doubted Estrellir was prepared for a hiking trip into the Unforgiving, but Izuyanai was still curious as to the source of the gems. If they found some here, it would do much to confirm that the source was further upstream. If not, the phenomenon was unique to Lhavit and its surrounding. Speculating this much, Izuyanai squinted into the water, raking her eyes across the mundane stones, trying to weed out a telling glint.
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Estrellir Konrath on August 19th, 2016, 6:10 pm

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What Izuyanai meant to say: They tried to control it, but accidents happened. Even with magic, balance was key. Estrellir was convinced that experiments led to development and enlightened wisdom, but risk was to be minimized whenever possible. Then something occurred to her. Considering the dangers of magic, the mages she’d met before had all seemed pretty healthy and fit. Unless, of course, its practice damaged the mind as much as the body, or more so. (Food for thought.)

As they talked, they reached a bend where the water was darker, deeper. Even squinting, the Konti couldn’t see anything shiny in its depths. Here they were, at an actual river, and then Izuyanai mentioned Tanroa’s allegorical one. Lips quirked, how amusing to watch the other using her techniques of evasion. “True. The point I meant to make is, when we say ‘how long’, most people expect an answer in concrete measuring units. Days, moons. Seasons.” She shrugged. Prodding wouldn’t help as long as they were all but strangers, yet observations were filed away for later use.

While observing over the river, Estrellir pondered the other two things their exchange had revealed. One, Izuyanai most likely wasn’t Lhavitian by birth. She was too cool, too sceptic and not polite enough. Two, Izuyanai probably was one of those beings for which time flowed differently. Given that humans were used as standard almost everywhere, it meant that possibly she wasn’t human.

The Konti, inherently favored by Tanroa herself, slid both hands into her pockets, itching for her pipe. Somehow, it seemed wrong to smoke in a place surrounded by nature, and while that had never stopped her before, it did now. Something about the air?

She grinned in response. “I suppose I should be glad. Others have it much worse, I hear… A few have developed wild magic abilities they can’t control. Others have changed in personality.” Truth be told, she was surprised her companion had resisted the temptation of the fountain. It would’ve been interesting, figuring out how it affected her.

Attention was directed towards the river again. Estrellir scanned their surroundings: still in sight of, but farther away from the last buildings on the peak. “Is there another bridge upstream? It wouldn’t be wise to leave the city, unless one of us is a master combatant. I am not. But I’d like a better look at the deep spot over there. If something’s at the bottom, most people would’ve missed it. We could go back and wade through, I suppose…” Despite the suggestion, she seemed vaguely hesitant, looking down at her boots. Supple, good leather.
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Not All Is Gold That Glitters

Postby Izuyanai on August 21st, 2016, 1:25 pm

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Murmuring thoughtfully at Estrellir's information on the fountain, Izuyanai turned back to the matter at hand. The magic fountain would certainly be something to look into, but at another time.

"I don't recall another bridge," Izuyanai shook her head. "But I do agree, we should check that area over there. We might find something useful and we can plan from there. I'm not eager to leave the city limits, but the Shinya patrol should extend their arm around here as well. It's relatively safe compared to the rest of the Unforgiving."

Izuyanai wasn't about to blindly trust the Shinya with anything, but it was true that so far, they had lived up to their reputation. In addition, if it came to it, the raven had about two back up plans ready.

Though Estrellir didn't seem overly enthusiastic about her own plan, the Kelvic started unlacing her boots, finally kicking them off onto the bank. She hitched her pant legs up as far as they would go and gingerly waded into the cold water with bare feet. Izuyanai’s shoulders tensed momentarily at the temperature difference, but soon grew used to the refreshing waters and she began testing her footing by the shallow end of the river. The rocks weren’t too bad here and Izuyanai waded along, doing her best to sustain balance as the waters swirled around and above her ankles. Her cloak proved to be in the way and so she threw that over her shoulders, looping it around the back of her neck.

Izuyanai turned back to smile at Estrellir, wondering if the woman would join her. She then leaned down, looking through the water at the riverbed, trying to spot something out of place. Unlike her other attempts, this time, luck smiled upon her. A flash of pale color alerted the raven to a small and slightly different rock. Dipping her hand into the current, Izuyanai fished out the smooth stone, holding it up for examination.

The stone was slightly uneven in shape, however, the river seemed to have worn it down, causing the edges and points to be smoothed. The rock could not have been larger than a Kina, and delicate veins of pink and red ran through the otherwise milky stone. The sunlight revealed that there were small grains throughout the stone that sparkled even as the water dried away from its surface. Triumphant in her first find, Izuyanai turned back toward the bank, displaying her prize between her fingers. Now encouraged, Izuyanai continued her scavenging, wading deeper toward the darker waters.

She couldn’t swim. Though she wasn’t afraid of water, the prospect of being suspended helpless and drowning didn’t appeal at all. A slight unease fluttered in her heart as the water crept up to her knees, but she reasoned with herself. As long as she was steady on her feet and took enough care around the deeper end, there would be no cause for alarm.

Nudging aside a larger rock with her foot, Izuyanai discovered another beautiful stone. This time the find was a light blue with blushes of darker midnight blue. White material speckled the stone like stars, and though it did not sparkle as the first had, the stone was rounder and larger than the previous one.

By now, larger rocks lined the riverbed and sported a fuzzy covering of moss. The slippery and even slimy footing didn’t allow for much movement without somehow slipping. Not wanting to fall, Izuyanai braced herself against the current, opting to search without moving from her current spot.
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