Quest Gilded Truths

For Estrellir, Colt, and Eithne.

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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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Gilded Truths

Postby Kaleidoscope on October 8th, 2016, 5:52 pm

10th Fall, 516 AV
At the Springwater Square
Roughly 13th Bell


It was a pretty day. The sun shone with the qualities of late summer, hanging heady and sweet in the sky. Down on the streets of Lhavit, folks chatted and went on their way merrily and without much disruption. Fall had only just recently come to Mizahar, but even so the leaves on the trees were gradually beginning to change, their dark green leaves catching the hints of russet and yellow on the tips.

At the Springwater Square however, the pleasant tinkling, rushing and splashing of the water failed to drown out the enthusiastic yelling of a man, dressed in an extravagantly flapping brown leather cape, wearing boots up to (and over) his knees, gesticulating wildly as he spoke. And talk he did, on and on and on, until those nearest to him wandered off into the still-warmth of the early-Fall day. Yet for those with an ear for it, the man's words, over-the-top as they were, would spark an interest. Whether it was the promise of gold in the river, or the confident way he held himself, tools at the ready... he struck an interesting figure, that was the truth.

To be honest, Coran Corith didn't know why people weren't interested in his proposition. All he wanted was a few pairs of hands to help him out, people who could see for themselves he was telling the truth. Maybe then the people of Lhavit would believe him. With another gusty bellow, the man started his propositioning again.

"All an' everyone! Follow me to find riches, to find gold beyond measure! I and only I know the whereabouts of a rich gold seam. Yes that's right, gold! You heard me, yes, you there. Follow me, come talk to me and I'll share my treasures with you."

It wasn't that he was overly strange. No, that wasn't it. Perhaps it was that everyone else were busy, or didn't have the free time. Yes, that must be the reason. He cast an eye over the crowd again, going quiet as he searched out some people who might be interested in what he had to say. The people who didn't seem to be going anywhere else...

Yes! In less than a chime, he had rounded up the three fellows he had earmarked as being people of interest. A woman, perhaps a Konti, with pretty blonde hair. A man, with grape-coloured eyes that immediately grasped his attention. And another woman, with curiously angular features. Speaking words of encouragement, or cajoling, or worry, he would congregate them all together before standing at the head of their loosely-shaped circle.

All he said was one, simple statement. "Do you three want some gold?"

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Postby Estrellir Konrath on October 8th, 2016, 7:53 pm

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When she came to Springwater Square, Estrellir was trying to decide between early lunch at the Sunrise Nook and more magic practice. Fall had marched into Lhavit and announced its presence – the residents didn’t seem worried, but Estrellir felt the chill earlier than most. She wasn’t used to it, neither Kenash nor Konti Isle was known for early frost and harsh winters, on the road she’d been moving, keeping her body warm through constant exertion. Now she’d settled in Lhavit and winter was coming. So when many still wore light jackets or layers of tunics, the Konti was already huddled into her warm cloak. A scarf was wrapped around her neck several times, trailing behind her, and gloves were stuck into pockets, ready to be used if necessary.

As she walked across the open space in Shinyama Peak, briskly and with stiff shoulders against the breeze, a voice began tingling in her ears. A strong, confident voice, luring and beckoning. Slowing her walk, Estrellir looked up and at the speaker. Just then, his gaze met hers and seemed to bore directly into her skull. He was addressing her… what would a human man know of a Konti’s wishes though?

Lips quirked and Estrellir stepped closer, more amused than anything else. As she listened, however, questions popped up and kept nagging at her. Gold, forgotten gold in the mountains… similar to the precious stones that had shown up in that stream two seasons ago. Did the man know about those, how nobody had solved the riddle of their origin?

And more questions: Where did his conviction come from? What had he seen or heard that he would plant himself so prominently in a square with his declaration? Why was he the first to do so (that she knew of)?

When she was presented with a choice, it boiled down to those questions. Estrellir had never been able to turn down a good riddle, after all. The city had been too quiet, always too peaceful and serene for her tastes. That story sounded promising. So she found herself standing in a small circle with others, among them the woman from the Festival of Fellowship. A brief nod for Eithne. Turning back to the man and his rhetoric tricks, Estrellir grinned in reply. “Who doesn’t?”

If others weren’t curious or brave enough… their loss, wasn’t it?

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Gilded Truths

Postby Colt on October 8th, 2016, 10:31 pm

ImageLhavit was a city of contrasts. “Glass and starlight,” were the common words used to describe the place, and Colt could see why. The entire city was awash with different colors, all shifting and moving and glinting off one another until one could go blind just trying to look at them all; the colors were everywhere.

What Colt hadn’t been told, though, was just how loud Lhavit was. He didn’t think he’d ever seen so many people in one place; there was always a crowd out and about no matter what time it was. Night, day, it didn’t matter; it was always crowded wherever he went, and the crowds were the absolute noisiest he’d ever come across. The people of Lhavit were always talking, droning and endless, and it gave Colt a headache that never went away.

He’d only been in the city for ten days, and those ten days had been a painful back-and-forth between amazed wonder and exhausted frustration. Lhavit boasted sights the likes of which he had never imagined, but they came armed with people that never ended. Every day was a struggle to comprehend and endure and then navigate the tide of noise, leaving him numb and unfeeling by the time he stumbled back into the prison-like building that was serving as a home.

At least in this plaza, at the churning hub in the center of “Sartu Peak,” the huge backwards waterfall in the big stone bowl distracted him.

Colt hadn’t planned on spending more than a few chimes in Springwater Plaza. Like many things in Lhavit, it was too easy to stop and gawk and become overwhelmed by the sights and sounds around him. He’d been returning home from a sojourn to the Jugged Hare at a brisk pace, pausing in the plaze with the sole intention of drinking from the fountain and continuing on his way. His dog clung tightly to his side, as overstimulated as her master by the endless barrage of information around them.

He’d barely swallowed a single mouthful before shouting caught his attention.

The man was loud, even when compared to the people around him. He had a strange cape that flapped around him flamboyantly, and his boots looked far too high to be practical. The combination struck Colt as odd and pointless; the stranger was the sort that Colt went out of his way to ignore, were it not for a single word that rooted him to the spot: gold.

Gold. Colt knew that word better than all other Common words. It was the word the more often than not caused a Drykas to learn Common in the first place; the Sea of Grass had most anything that a person could need, but it did not have gold.

Colt braced calmly against the edge of the fountain, bid Snow to come close and listened.

The more complicated words flew past in a tangle of sounds, but the basics stood out. Gold. Where. Find. Follow me. Share. It took a great deal of effort to sort it all out and string it together in his head, but he understood. The man was looking for gold, and he wanted help.

The Drykas thought instinctively of mizas; that was what he had always associated with the word ‘gold.’ It took a moment for him to remember that Lhavit did not use mizas. Like Taloba, they used their own sort of currency. And unlike Taloba, trade and barter was not usually accepted.

Colt’s attentiveness was noticed, and seemed to be interpreted as encouragement; soon enough, the Drykas had been picked out alongside two others as individuals to speak to.

Did they want gold?

Of the other two---both women---it was the ivory-skinned one who spoke first. Her answer to the question summed up Colt’s own feelings perfectly; who didn’t want gold? It wasn’t the gold itself that was the question, it was the obstacles to getting it; Colt knew that such things did not come without some exchange. Perhaps the pale one’s response had been less of an answer, and more a display of interest and willingness.

If that were the case, it would be just as well if Colt did the same.

“Many want gold,” the Drykas said carefully, stringing together the simplest words he could. “You say of gold, we listen. What you ask from us, to find gold? Why you here now?”
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Gilded Truths

Postby Eithne on October 9th, 2016, 4:15 am

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Eithne glanced up at the clear blue sky just as the russet coloured leaves swayed in the incoming breeze. The day had started slow, but became somewhat eventful at the Basilika, where the maledictor was most often found. Two artists had gone into a rather colourful debate over the best techniques for watercolour, and while Eithne was intrigued, she soon found her stomach grumbling in protest. She'd spent enough time sitting in front of scultpures, portraits and pompous artists. It was time to go in search of food.

She stepped out onto the streets of Tenten peak, and made her way, albeit slowly, toward Shinyama. A good tankard of ale and a nice meal on the side was something she would thoroughly be looking forward to, but the half breed was also content to enjoy the view on the way.

The chill of the breeze was felt even through the fabric of her long coat. Eithne was never accustomed to the cold weather by virtue of serpentine heritage. It made her disgruntled on a good day, but for now, the fall winds were manageable if she remembered to bundle up that day.

But as she drifted closer to the Springwater Plaza, Eithne peered beyond the dispersing crowd, toward a curious man bellowing his claims of gold and riches. A sheer glance was enough to tell the maledictor that many if not all of these passerby's were unconvinced by his proclamations... save for two. A man and a woman, whom she recognized as the konti woman she'd met during the Festival, stood before the man just as Eithne stepped forward. She was intrigued, if anything else by the prospect of a mystery. She was not at all deterred by the characteristice strangeness that oozed from the man; Eyris knows she'd dealt with plenty of those in her hometown.

The man's question was met with a raised brow by the half-breed. "I suspect this gold comes with a catch?"

Her eyes wandered toward the man who appeared to be culturally different in some way, judging by his simple words and strange accent. And to Estrellir, she offered a knowing smile.

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Postby Kaleidoscope on October 27th, 2016, 9:12 pm

"No, no no! There's no catch." The man smiled, disarmingly, firmly shaking the hands of those present before returning to a more statesman-like appearance. "I've merely gathered you to act as my witnesses, for there is nothing better than to share in the glories of discovery with friends, am I not correct? And I do hope we can be friends. Or, at least, partners in this undertaking. You two at least seem to already know each other." He gestured grandly towards Est and Eithne, a wry smile of amusement on his face. "What a coincidence, that that should be the case! I hope perhaps that you are not enemies, but the gold we will shortly discover will surely be enough to put a smile on your faces, even if that is the case."

The man's voice was pleasant enough, and if it weren't for the palpable excitement, barely hidden in the undertones of his voice, they might think he was merely having a regular conversation between friends. As it was, the man buzzed with energy, and was almost bouncing on the balls of his feet in an effort to keep himself from running off there and then to show them his find. Like an eager child, the only thing Coran wanted was to show his new friends the shiny things he'd found.

However, he hadn't been brought up an imbecile. "Before we go, we should introduce ourselves! I, am Coran Corith, gold prospector, general entrepreneur and friend of Lhavit and it's people. And you are..?" He gestured gracefully towards Eithne, curious of her most of all. Once all the introductions had been made, the man clapped his hands enthusiastically and told them all to, "Follow me!", before veritably marching off in the direction he had pointed at just ticks ago.

With frequent checks over his shoulder, the man lead them all through the streets of Lhavit, through the busy bustle of the Shinyama Peak, over the dizzying bridge towards the Sharai Peak, and up a steep path that gradually faded into nothing and the gentle wilderness that was the edge of the Okomo Estates. It took them a bell or more to find the exact destination. Coran dithered and wondered backwards and forwards seemingly searching for something for at least half a bell as he left the others to wonder what he was doing, before talking and gesturing them over again as he found a minute trail.

Another half bell was passed before they finally reached a small, sunshine-glittering stream that tinkled merrily down towards the Amaranthine River somewhere behind the mountainous landscape. It was barely a stream, at that, more of a trickle. The water however was bitingly cold and fresh, should one choose to sample it, with tangs of iron. Nearby lay the beginnings of some serious undergrowth, with overgrown bushes and low, stooping trees that looked like old women bent over. It was a calm, quiet, peaceful place, protected from wind or weather on three sides by vegetation and heavy, moss-covered boulders.

Coran stood, triumphant, over the stream. "Here, friends. Take a look for yourselves." He handed out his equipment, but the gold was apparent without the need for it. Lying in the stream were fragments of some gleaming, glittering material. It looks a great deal like the very gold Coran had brought them here to see.
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Postby Estrellir Konrath on October 28th, 2016, 9:59 am

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Estrellir let him shake her hand, noting his touch. It brimmed with the same exciting vibration in his voice, his tone, the way his hands never stilled as he talked. Friends, partners. Still, there had to be a reason why he was approaching strangers. As the man addressed her familiarity with Eithne, the Konti shot another quick glance at her. Brows rose slightly as if to ask: Do we trust him?

Of course, Estrellir would decide for herself. If they pretended to be friends rather than superficial acquaintances, the man might think twice about tricking them. If he was thinking about it at all. Which seemed less and less likely the longer she was observing him. Either he was truly excited or an extremely proficient actor.

There was no harm in giving a name, she supposed, when he offered his. It didn’t ring a bell – just like hers wasn’t known at all outside Kenash. As they introduced themselves one by one, Estrellir let her gaze slide over to the other man who’d joined their little group. Toned and rugged in a way that suggested a physical lifestyle. Yet as she looked closer (narrowing violet eyes slightly), she detected an eerie glow in his eyes. It whispered secrets, so in that instant she decided to keep an eye on him too. To memorize his name and anything else she could glean. When it was her turn, Estrellir bowed her head in a mock bow. “I’m Estrellir Konrath, investigator. This is an interesting meeting indeed.”

And then they followed Coran through Lhavit, to its outskirts near Okomo Estates. At least the Konti had perfected her internal map enough to know where they were going, how to orient herself if necessary. If they ventured any farther into the wilderness, however, she was lost – and would have to determine if the risk was worth it before then.

For the moment, she watched with mild surprise as their guide went back and forth, mumbling to himself, and finally led them to a small stream. Not unlike the one she’d taken a refreshing bath in two seasons ago, this one had glittering material hidden between its stones and weeds too. Striding towards the edge, making sure she had a solid foothold, Estrellir crouched and squinted into the water. Was it really gold? If so, it couldn’t be worth much until there was a lot of it in the entire stream. Born into a Kenashian Dynasty, she wasn’t particularly impressed with small glitter. Idly she wondered what her Auristic sight would reveal, instead she looked up at Coran. “How did you find this? Have you taken some out for yourself, examined it? This looks awfully similar to the precious stones that appeared in another stream around here, two seasons ago. There could be a connection, no?”

Looking back into the stream, she carefully dipped two fingers into the water. Still, she hesitated to reach for the glittering stuff, wondering if it would enchant her like the water of that cursed spring. Auristics was a better idea, but she didn’t trust her ability to detect what she wanted to know (not yet) and also didn’t want to exhaust herself too soon.

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Gilded Truths

Postby Colt on October 28th, 2016, 6:22 pm

When the man made to shake hands, Colt tensed in alarm and stepped back. He crossed his arms and kept out of the man’s reach, trying to make it clear that he’d have none of that; he brought Snow to his side, who fixed an alert eye upon the handsy stranger and would hopefully serve as a buffer.

The man’s enthusiasm was unquenchable, however; he fluttered on to the other two with more speedy words that Colt had to pick through one by one. It was easier when the topic of conversation went back to gold.

Introductions, at least, were easy enough to infer. The excited man called himself Coran Corith Gold Prospector General Entrepren… the only thing Colt would remember would be “Coran.”

The pale woman was next. Estrellir Konrath Investigator. Those were easier sounds to commit to memory.

It seemed to be his turn next, so he dipped his head formally. I am “Colt.” And that was all he had to say.

When all were introduced, Coran bid them all to follow and skipped off, presumably for wherever the gold might be found. After a moment, the Drykas followed after.

Although neither he nor Snow knew the others personally, there was a routine to moving in a group that Colt had memorized before he had even learned to talk. Habit drew him to the outskirts of the cluster, close enough that he could remain hyperaware of the others’ movements and locations but far enough that he could serve as vanguard against potential danger––even though he knew well enough that Lhavit, despite its noisiness, was probably the single least dangerous place he had ever come across.

Coran led them through the city, across the glass bridges and to the quietest of all the mountains. The buildings faded away into wilderness, and that wilderness forced Colt to relax. Trees and grass and rocks were familiar things. He could deal with them far more readily than people.

Snow stuck close, although did occasionally swing out warily when they passed an overhang or natural hideaway that she decided she didn’t like. When they finally came to their apparent destination––a closed-in glen cut in half by a thin stream––Colt allowed himself to focus back on the people themselves.

At the proclamation of gold, Estrellir Konrath Investigator took a stand on the edge of the stream. She eyed the contents with some interest, and after a few moments Colt made his way over to join her. While he certainly wasn’t a skilled prospector, even he could see the glittering from the bottom of the streambed.

The pale woman stuck two fingers in the water. When nothing happened to those fingers, Colt shuffled off to a nonthreatening distance, knelt, reached into the water and grasped a handful of rocks, sand and shiny golden things. He brought it into the open air and opened his palm, half-curious, and poked around at what might be found there.
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Postby Eithne on November 16th, 2016, 11:49 pm

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There were many indicators that led her to incredulousness, though in the grand scheme of things, she'd met many odd and curious folks in her relatively short years to warrant a minor interest in what the man was selling. With a glance toward the ivory woman, Eithne shared a moment of unspoken skepticism, her face stoic.

"I suppose that's true," she supplied when he spoke of discovery among peers. Not many would immediately believe an outrageous claim such as a rich gold seam unless it was spoken on the lips of more than one person.

Eventually the prospector introduced himself, followed by the Konti acquaintance of hers and the strange, quiet man who looked to Eithne like he could snap at any moment. Coran's interest in her took her off guard, though she found it no different than any other man or woman who found her serpentine features intriguing.

"My name is Eithne," she offered with a minor glance from one person to the next. There was no hesitance putting a name forward; it was always and will always be interchangeable to the mage. There was no substance in titles, only in the tangible.

They were left to follow shortly after the introductions. Eithne trailed after them quietly, her slitted gaze boring into the back of Coran Corith as he engaged in a hunt that seemingly had no direction. Maybe he is a little insane after all, she frowned. She couldn't say that she was an expert on the layout of Lhavit or its subsequent secrets, but she could at least appreciate the dedication Coran displayed in his search for the promise of gold.

When they finally by a tranquil stream and Coran proclaimed his discovery, Eithne watched Estrellir crouch and dip her fingers into the glimmering water with questions of her own. The man, Colt, shuffled off in silence toward a spot where he, too, could examine the suspected 'gold'.

Well I guess since everyone's doing it. Eithne shrugged and knelt by the stream near Estrellir, reaching with one hand into the water to grasp at the soft earth below. The curse of the Fountain still rang in her veins like an intrusive illness, but so far there was no signs of an unpredictable outburst on her hands. Instead, the wizard focused on her gift from Eyris as her fingers toyed with the small, glimmering minerals that looked so much like gold. She didn't know if her mark would have any effect, nor if it would give any insight on if this was truly a marvel of gold that Corin spoke of, but it was worth a shot.

"Has this always been here?" She asked, glancing at the prospector. "I suppose I find it surprising that no one ever wandered down here to spot something so substantial, nor that they wouldn't believe you to even take a look?"

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Postby Kaleidoscope on November 20th, 2016, 3:20 pm

As the adventurous souls that accompanied him took a look at the stream, Coran joined them, offering conversation to each in turn as he browsed between them like a teacher proudly inspecting his schoolchildren's work. Estrellir, the pale haired woman, was the nearest to him. He sauntered forwards and squatted next to her. "Estrellir, wasn't it." He nodded sagely at her mention of precious stones, but let a frown grow naturally across his face. "No no, there's no similarity, at least not that I know of. These flakes and flecks of gold, look here" he held some floating in his hand, "Are of a different ilk to those stones. These look like fragments chipping off from somewhere." He gently deposited them back in the stream. "They have come from somewhere upstream, is my verdict." With that, he straightened up again and left Estrellir looking at the waters.

Coran was a man who enjoyed talking, and as such he blossomed under the friendships of others that did not have the same amount of conversational tendencies. Because of this, he crouched down next to Colt, perhaps not realising that the stranger was not as proficient with his words as Coran thought he was. "Aah, she's a nice dog you've got there! Here pup." He extended his hand to stroke Snow's head, if she would let him. It was obvious he had a like for the dog, as his eyes kept straying to her as he spoke to the man, and to Eithne who lurked nearby. "There's no need to be cautious, friends. I've dipped my hands many a time into this stream, and I'm not affected!"

His eyes darkened briefly however as Eithne posed her question. "People thought me mad, I suppose. But I am sure there is gold to be found! The people of Lhavit didn't want to hear me out, but you generous folks did. So you shall reap the generous rewards, as befitting your trust and kindness. As for the length of time this has been known about? Well, I discovered it after the stones and that cursed fountain that everyone was talking about. As neither affected me, I took to exploring nearabouts. It's a hobby of sorts. After I found this gold, I learnt as much as I could about prospecting and gold mining, and now I, now we can realise my goal."

He stood, and clapped his hands together, the sound vibrating in the close space of the enclosure. "Right, friends! You have seen the proof, you know I don't lie. Now it is time to find it's source. This gold is indicative of a larger reserve, somewhere up stream. We must find it, discover it, claim it as our own and make a fortune. Are you all with me still?"
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Postby Estrellir Konrath on November 27th, 2016, 10:11 am

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Estrellir nodded along as Coran joined her to answer. He had a point, the tiny pieces glittering in his hand didn’t remind her of the precious stones she’d found in a different stream. Of all people, she’d know best, having investigated that phenomenon as well. It looked like he spoke true, this couldn’t be another piece of the same puzzle. A true treasure hunt, perhaps.

Both Colt and Eithne picked up some of the gold and stayed exactly as they were – as far as the Konti could see anyway. When Coran affirmed once more that the gold wasn’t magical in the slightest (although whether he was affected or not, as he called it, she still couldn’t say), she finally swooped up a handful of river pebbles and algae to separate a few tiny gold chips from the rest. Repeating the motion, she tried to find bigger and rounder pieces, rinsing them in the clear water as well as she could.

In the meantime, Coran had started talking once more. Hidden agenda or not, he’d worn his amiable face for so long that she was inclined to believe in its authenticity. Why he’d recruited strangers instead of sharing with friends or taking it all for himself, now that was a question she’d keep in mind for later. It didn’t mean she trusted him, not by a long shot, but for the time being she could only play along.

As for the magic that was knocking softly against her will, like an itch at the back of her hand, Estrellir pushed it down and kept it down. Knowing herself, she’d likely burn herself out reading the colors of a sentient being anyway – and way too early.

While the prospector was finishing his little speech, the Konti stood and examined the slightly bigger gold chunks in her palm. Then she slipped them into an inside pocket of her cloak, taking a while to find a reasonably empty one where they wouldn’t disappear between other trinkets (or through tiny holes). “It is generous of you indeed. I know nothing of mining, but I’m willing to help. As an expert, what do you suggest? I suppose we’ll have to find out where this stream originates first, no?”

The thing was, even as a Dynast Estrellir wasn’t entirely immune to the promise of gold. Back in Kenash, she would’ve weighed risk and benefit coolly. In Lhavit, however, the name Konrath didn’t entitle her to anything. At the same time, there were things she wanted and needed, things that cost a lot, in the long run. The sight of true gold shimmering up from the water had all but convinced her that it was worth the doubts and risk. She’d still be careful, possibly more so than the others.

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