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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

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Nighttime Mingle (Nomi)

Postby Artigan Crowley on April 11th, 2017, 12:39 am

37th of Spring 517

Artigan hadn’t meant to stay out late. It was originally just an outing for extra candles, but he could never help distractions when he was between projects; he’d taken Druva with him for the company, but then she’d climbed on top of a stray crate and he just had to drop everything to capture the moment.

Not that he would be able to draw the actual event, no; he was barely good enough for legible mechanical blueprints, and he knew it. What he wanted to capture was the flow of the picture; the way Druva’s legs aligned with her shoulders, the way her spine curved from her skull to her tail.

He didn’t try to make it look like a dog. He simply flipped open his book and sketched out a small circle for the head, another larger one for the chest, then added a swift “S” to connect them. No, it wasn’t a real animal at all, but the flow was right. A third circle was added for the hips, and he made a gentle arch to connect it to the chest. The front legs were simply four straight lines, as were the back.

When he was done, he decided that the proportions were all wrong. That didn’t matter right now, though; he could try again when he got back home, because he’d captured the flow well enough.

He looked up in satisfaction, and that was the moment he realized he was late.

The sun was halfway down already, painting the sky red and pink and throwing the entire city into sharp contrasts of light and darkness. Pretty, yes, but more than enough to make him nervous. He needed to start his way home now; he was useless at navigating the city after dark and would almost certainly get lost.

Stuffing his book and charcoal back into his bag, Artigan whistled for Druva to pay attention and picked up her leash. There was no time to be dignified; they needed to run.

Where Artigan puffed and panted barely two blocks after they’d begun, Druva sprinted along cheerfully; she didn’t seem to mind the exercise nearly as much as he did. The first canal they passed was empty of ravosalamen, and Artigan didn’t want to press their luck by waiting for one; every street they passed through saw the air grow darker.

Cursing softly, Artigan threw his bag to the other side of the canal. It was one of the narrow ones, and easy enough to cross.

He backed up and got a running start and cleared the thin canal with space to spare.

Druva stopped at the edge, barking anxiously when he reached the other side. Artigan cursed again and turned, patting his knees encouragingly.

“Come on!” he said back to her. “This way, girl! You jump better than me! It’s not far!”

Druva coiled up, stopped, pranced a few feet back and turned a circle before finally mustering the courage to follow. She slipped a bit on the landing but didn’t fall into the water, and ran to him with a worried whine. Artigan scratched her head, picked up her leash and pressed on.

He had come this way before, hadn’t he? He’d gotten into the Merchant’s Ring Plaza by ravosala and he’d come from the Nitrozian Plaza, so that meant if he went this way…

No, that wasn’t right. The sun was almost completely down, the sky fading from red to dark purple, and the pathways were being swallowed by shadow.

He doubled back, but didn’t want to jump the canal again if he couldn’t see what he was doing. So he just picked a direction and ran for a few more chimes until he was forced to admit that no, he couldn’t find his way back before dark, and yes, he was embarrassingly lost.

At least Druva seemed happier now that she didn’t have to jump anything.

Sighing in defeat, Artigan began walking forward again. If he could find a larger canal, perhaps he could flag a ravosalaman to get him to the Nitrozian District and hope to stumble his way home from there. He would probably be fine.
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Nighttime Mingle (Nomi)

Postby Nomi on April 15th, 2017, 2:28 am

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Probably in the Merchant's Plaza? Maybe? Oops.
Spring 37, 517 AV


Nomi was, most definitely and certainly not lost.

She couldn't be lost. She was an intelligent, capable woman and an aspiring investigator, and neither or those things ever became lost ever. Why, she'd been studying maps of the city! She'd been taking ravosala rides to familiarize herself with its layout! She'd been doing everything in her power to ensure that, not once, would she ever lose track of her surroundings. And yet...

Left. Right. Around another corner and, her mouth going dry, she cautiously admitted to herself that there was nothing around her that she recognized. Maybe it was due to the deep shadows draping themselves across the wooden buildings and the narrow alleyways. Maybe it was because she hadn't taken a ravosala through this part of town yet, or maybe it was simple, mortal forgetfulness, for as much as she tried to hone herself to perfection, she was still young and prone to error.

Still. It was a dangerous error to make for someone in her position. Oh, sure, she had papers... but it wasn't like something as flimsy as a scrap of pressed wood pulp could really protect her from everything. What would it take for a slaver to bribe the guard to look the other way concerning her? What would it take for someone to rip up them up, pretend she didn't have them? What would it take for someone to lie, say that they'd caught her committing a crime and thus rendering her citizenship null and void?

All concerns in the daytime, true, but at night - when the world was dark, when she was so alone, they became sharper. More palpable. As much as Nomi hated it, she had reasons to fear the murkiness of the night, and though she'd rather strangle those worries instead of give in, she knew that she had to exercise some degree of caution...

...Which meant getting herself reoriented as soon as possible.

(She wasn't lost, she insisted to herself. Just a little turned around.)

It was as she was thinking this that she heard something strange; a shout, the sound of claws scrabbling on the street, and then footfalls accompanied by the panting of a dog.

Curious, Nomi peeked out of the alley she'd decided to (perhaps unwisely) cut through in search of a larger canal. A man's back faced her, venturing down the street in the company of a sleek, pretty hound that Nomi couldn't help but admire. Not particularly tall, not particularly burly, well-dressed and leading his companion along with affection rather than force... Nomi immediately pegged him as non-threatening, an impression that only solidified when he doubled back, looked around in clear puzzlement, and started running off aimlessly in search of... something. Was he lost too? His posture and behavior pattern certainly indicated some sort of distress, particularly after he stopped sprinting after a brief period, slumped his shoulders, and continued walking.

Oh. Perhaps he'd lost track of something?

Regardless, he was probably the least intimidating person she'd encounter all night, and he had a dog, which - if Nomi were a more honest person - she'd admit she desperately wanted to pet. She was not, unfortunately, that good at deep self-analysis, but she did automatically feel more comfortable around anyone who liked animals. There was some common ground there, and besides... People with pets tended to be a little more empathetic than those without.

Cheered slightly by this thought, she stepped out of her alleyway and walked at a brisk pace to catch up to the man. "Excuse me!" She called out, her accent easily placed as foreign, though it'd be difficult for most to correctly identify it, considering. "Excuse me, where are you headed to, if I might ask?" She was easily perceptible now on the street, given how pale and light her features were. In fact, combined with her dark, leather garments, she almost looked like a spectre, although her height certainly made her look less than intimidating.

Closing the distance with a purposeful stride, Nomi continued, her voice...
perhaps a bit too professional and blunt for friendly conversation, but still not hostile nor particularly unfriendly. Just - distant. "I was wondering, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, if I could walk with you for a while? It's dark, and I'd like to get home without being... hassled."

Nomi could, of course, just ask for directions... but why would she do that if she wasn't lost?
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Nighttime Mingle (Nomi)

Postby Artigan Crowley on April 15th, 2017, 9:54 pm

Artigan had never had to flag a ravosalaman at night. He didn’t know if he’d even be able to find one. What if they didn’t work at night? He couldn’t just stand around here waiting forever.

The next bell. If he hadn’t caught sight of a ravosala by the tie the next bell rang, he wouldn’t wait. He’d just… well, he didn’t know what he’d do, but he’d think of something. Setting his mouth in a thin line of determination, Artigan stepped to the edge of the canal where he would be most visible and settled in to wait.

When, suddenly:

“Excuse me!”

Artigan turned, nearly falling into the canal at the sight of the wraith heading toward him. He’d met pale men and women before, but never had he seen someone actually… luminescent. He blinked in surprise, but couldn’t bring himself to be actually frightened; despite her curious shade, she wasn’t ghostly. She was somewhat small, yes, but in a very real sort of way, with a distinct confidence in her gait that made the lack of physical stature seem almost inconsequential. She approached him with footsteps as heavy as anyone else, face as warm and tense as any person might be if they’d been caught outside when the sun went down.

“No trouble at all!” Artigan replied. “I’m just walking by the canals, nowhere in particular. Except toward the nearest ravosala. Or bridge.”

The presence of a second person made him feel less uneasy with the circumstances, but in turn made his embarrassment rise.

“Not that I don’t know where I’m going,” he said, in that high pitched way that meant he really didn’t have any idea at all. “I do. I was raised in Ravok, you see, so, really I know it like the back of my hand. I just, ah, need to go north, where I live. Which is that way. Unless it’s that way. Or––no, wait…”

He stopped talking, praying to Rhysol that the darkness would cover up the blood rushing to his cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “That was a fine mess of words that didn’t help either of us. Let me start over.”

He held out a hand for her to shake.

“Hello miss, my name is Artigan Crowley. It’d be no trouble at all if you joined me; in fact, I’d be more than pleased. I’m just trying to get home, and if you’re doing the same, I’d be happy to keep you un-hassled to the very best of my ability. I’m, ah, not used to finding my way by night; most of my work is during the day, so if you do with to walk with me, be aware that the route might end up being… interpretive.”

Druva tugged at her leash, tail wagging. She wanted to meet this new person who glowed in the dark, but Artigan didn’t want to distress his sudden company any more than she already was.
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Nighttime Mingle (Nomi)

Postby Nomi on April 20th, 2017, 9:15 pm

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“No trouble at all! I’m just walking by the canals, nowhere in particular. Except toward the nearest ravosala. Or bridge. Not that I don’t know where I’m going, I do. I was raised in Ravok, you see, so, really I know it like the back of my hand. I just, ah, need to go north, where I live. Which is that way. Unless it’s that way. Or––no, wait…”

Hah! He spoke in an uneasy tumble of words, and Nomi couldn't contain her smirk at the nervous chinks cut into his voice. Knows where he's going, he says! And he was from this city. What excuse did he have for losing his way in the dark? He was a boy who wore his heart on his sleeve, Nomi could tell that from just a glance at his demeanor. Or - no. Perhaps he just wanted her to think that? She should be a bit more wary about first impressions, particularly when she the dim street could easily disguise the tells of some dire perversion lying within an initially charming facade.

Perhaps it was a lingering mark of her father's ceaseless fretting, but she couldn't really afford to trust... anything entirely at face value.

Rather like a machine being turned off, jiggled around a bit, and then restarted, the man before her cut himself off, took a moment to recollect himself, and then extended his hand out to her in a polite gesture of greeting. "I'm sorry, that was a fine mess of words that didn't help either of us. Let me start over."

Nomi took it, her slender, small leather-clad hand wrapping around his much bigger one as she met his gaze. Artigan Crowley, hmn? She could see something in those tawny-brown eyes crinkled by a warm, still somewhat embarrassed expression as he looked down at her. The waters of her homeland had imbued her with a special sort of gift, the ability to see the worth, the passions - the abilities of those who faces she had a chance to scrutinize. The eyes were the windows to the soul, or so some poet or another had said, and for Mister Crowley, his soul bore marks of magic. How intriguing. She idly listened to him accept her request as she lost herself in contemplating the nuances of his features. What was this feeling, hmn? Transformation, transcendence... Alchemy, she thought, along with some other interest, but she realized that, in her distraction, she'd held onto his hand for a bit too long than was comfortable, and so she filed away those scraps of instinctual knowledge to examine later.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mister Crowley. My name is Nomi," the konti woman said smoothly, her distant, misty contemplation sharpening into intent focus as she folded her hands behind her back. A smirk slit its way across her features once more, though it wasn't a cruel expression. More... if this was Artigan's true personality, he might be someone she'd be inclined to befriend, and oh did she derive much amusement from teasing her friends. "Interpretive, hmn? I've interpreted many things in my time - cards, tea leaves, stones - but I suppose it'll be an interesting adventure to interpret the road. Hopefully, our fortune will be a good one."

Her soft chuckle filled the air between them, and she finally admitted what she'd been trying to deny to herself. "I'm a little bit turned around myself, so I can't particularly blame you... though I, at least, have the excuse of only having resided here for a few weeks. Where is it you live, precisely? I'm very well acquainted with the area around Tarsin's Boarding House, so if it's anywhere near there, I'm sure we'll be fine. Though, if it's not, don't trouble yourself with escorting me too far. Once I see something I recognize, I'll be fine."

The whip-whooping sound of Mister Crowley's companion's tail wagging up a storm caught Nomi's eye, and finally, she couldn't restrain herself anymore. Keeping that earnest delight at seeing a dog off her features as much as possible, she stepped forward a pace, offering her gloved fingers out for her to sniff. "I've heard your name, but I haven't heard this one's. It belongs to you, I presume?"
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Nighttime Mingle (Nomi)

Postby Artigan Crowley on June 1st, 2017, 6:33 pm

She took his hand gracefully, searching his face for… something. Perhaps a reason to trust him. Artigan couldn’t blame her, considering the circumstances of their meeting; strangers met by moonlight were well advised to be cautious. He let her hang on to his hand for as long as she needed, even as the seconds stretched a tad too long.

Whatever she was looking for, she seemed to find it. Dropping hand suddenly, her searching gaze turned warm and she introduced herself politely.

“Nomi,” Artigan repeated. “A pleasure to meet you as well.”

The conversation turned toward the road. She was teasing him, but not cruelly; Artigan’s embarrassment had been more obvious than he’d thought, and it was no surprise that she took advantage of it. Artigan blushed even more fiercely, but managed to hold her gaze without retreating.

It was easier to bear when she admitted that she, too, was lost, and Artigan sighed in relief.

“Ah, yes, I live in the Nitrozian Plaza, in the apartments. Same district as the Boarding House, I believe; we’ll both get to where we need to go.”

Finding himself relaxing at the convenience, Artigan looked over his shoulder to glance at the canal – while Nomi’s eye caught on the third member of the party.

“Hmm? Oh, yes; pardon me. This is Druva, and she’s been mine for several years. Isn’t that right, girl?”

Druva perked up at the sound of her name, happy for the attention and eager to greet the stranger. Artigan loosened up the leash to let her lean forward and lick Nomi’s hands experimentally, then nose around in search of affection.

“Oh,” the young gadgeteer chuckled. “Someone wants attention. Don’t be rude, Druva.”

Then––yes!––the sound of displaced water. Artigan turned excitedly at the sound of a ravosala gliding through the canal, stepping to the edge to wave.

“Excuse me!” he shouted. “Down here! Do you have a vacancy?”

“One moment, young man, let me get over there.”

As the ravosalaman came their way, Artigan turned to Nomi triumphantyl.

“Our saviour has arrived.”
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