Quest Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Winter 517 Quest.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Regime on January 24th, 2018, 10:00 pm

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Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

Twenty Ninth Day of Winter, 517 A.V.
23rd Bell


For the first time in a long time, the population of Sunberth diverted their gaze from the island on the horizon save for a select few individuals. Be it for glory, for righteousness, for curiosity, for avarice, or for reasons yet unknown… those adventurous few sought this night to venture into the heart of Leywellin Manor.

Everyone who heard the call through whisper or rumor with intent to traverse to Lodestar Isle were guided by the Daggerhands to the docks of Baroque Bay. That alone was shocking in and of itself; the brutes of Sunberth acting with subtlety and cautious kindness. The Daggerhands guided everyone to wait at the bottom of a gangplank in preparation to board onto a rather infamous ship that roamed the waters of Sunberth.

The 'War Sprite' was a brigantine class ship which was hired by The Daggerhands to escort passengers to the Isle; for not even the Daggerhands ships captains wanted to make sail this night. And even with a crew of near one hundred sailors, all of the seamen stood in silence on deck with their eyes gazing up at the sky in awe.

The sounds of the Sebakem Ocean only seemed to grow impossibly louder within the silence as the only other sound able to break the tense silence was a cacophony of bloody murder... Or rather, a murder of crows.

The Skull Crows of Sunberth blanketed the sky en mass, subtly at first as the day went on, but now were everywhere wearing the skulls of their own dead as if in the midst of a morbid masquerade. They were the main reason why the cities nightlife had become effectively nonexistent as everyone feared for their lives. They were an ill omen of death, one that if not for the fact that the rats and vermin were not running away, the city would have abandoned their homes to find shelter in the mines in fear of another djed storm.

"Captain on deck!" The sounds of a young man announced causing all the sailors to turn towards a small woman wearing plain clothes and a tattered sea worn coat. "All on deck! Batten down the hatches, prepare to weigh anchor!" Captain Mariana Dullos called out as she walked to the top of the gangplank to look down at the ragtag group of people assembled. "Board fast. We've not got all night!"

Once every passenger had boarded, the captain quickly set sail to make the five mile journey northeast of Baroque Bay to Lodestar Isle. It left all those aboard a bell to get acquainted with each other, or linger about the ship in silence.

Thirtieth Day of Winter, 517 A.V.
1st


At exactly the time as stated by the priest, the ship docked at the port of ImageRobern's Sea Tarriff Keep. When the sailors lowered the gangplank, everyone could see the robed figure of a man standing there on the docks with a large war-scythe held in a weapons harness on their back with three skull crows perched along the top of the blade, all simply enjoying the presence of the hooded mans company. Calidus Mortem stood there in wait as he cast his eerily bright brown eye upon each of the people walking down the gangplank who would seek to follow him this night.

To the right of Calidus stood another rather serious looking man dressed in a closed long tailed black coat who's hand rested absently on the hilt of a longsword. The man had a Thorn-Encircled Dagger tattooed onto the side of his neck which pointed him out as a member of the Daggerhands. He also stood there eyeing over everyone who stepped off of the ship with a sneer.

"My name is Raynor. I am in charge of this fort, you will all state your names or be removed from Daggerhand territory!"

The swordsmen called out to the group, moving to settle his eyes onto the first man who exited the ship.

The first person was a man who stood tall at an impressive six foot five inches in height. He appeared to be a powerfully built man who wore a set of brigandine armor. And just like Raynor, he too had a longsword on his hip, but also carried a small steel shield, a quiver of arrows, and a short bow on his back. The black brigandine clad man eyed up the Daggerhand who questioned him, then flashed a brief smile. "You can call me Mat."

And with that, Raynor cast his gaze to the next person off the boat...


OOC: Anyone who's sent me a link to their characters hearing the rumor can respond to this thread and introduce themselves.
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Neras Frostfawn on January 26th, 2018, 11:59 pm


Looking up at the sky, the skull crows have taken over the skies over Sunberth. If he didn't promise the other recruits that he would tell them details. He wouldn't be outside tonight especially to meet a priest of the goddess of death. Everyone in Sunberth knew that skull crows were a omen for death, so if he was committed to the helping the Priest of Dira. He would have stayed in his room and under his bunk. However, he was committed, so he just adverted his eyes back to the dock and the dark water under it. While, he waited on the dock, the rogue checked his backpack saw that he packed his thieves' tools, a full water skin, flint and steal, and two days of iron rations. On his person, he wore his studded leather armor, strapped his short sword and scabbard, angle knife, and small metal shield with the Sun Birth symbol. He knew that he was going to Daggerhand territory, so he might as well represent his gang with pride. Besides, it will be fun to see the expressions on the thugs faces when a Sun Birth walks into their territory unmolested. Also, it will be a chance to get intelligence on the rival gang.

Neras looked at the large warship sitting at the dock, and he wondered how the Daggerhand found the money to hire such a large ship to ferry passengers to the island. He figured. It was a way for them to show their power because they could have easily got fisherman's boat for half the price. Anyways, it was a impressive ship, and looking at the condition of the ship, he wouldn't have to worry about sinking into the bay. As the gang plank came down and rested on the dock, Neras checked his leather shoulder guards and waited for the captain to let them on board. When the captained called the passengers on deck, he grabbed his backpack and waited in line to step a aboard the ship. The rogue walked on deck, and he decided to go to the other side of the ship and leaned up against the rail waiting for ship to depart. Besides, he didn't want anyone to see the nervous look on his face as he watched the crows fly over the ship towards the city.

When the ship departed Sunberth to the island, Neras was lost in thought about the reason for Daggerhands were hosting visitors to the island. He wondered if the Priest of Dira offered them something in return for their support and services. Regardless, he heard the rumor and took the opportunity to better himself. Petch his gang, and Petch Sunberth! Anyways, it was all about him in the end. It wasn't like he was ordered to come here by his superiors. The ship didn't sail through the water smoothly since it was so heavy when it hit a large wave. The spray of the broken wave could be felt where he was standing by the front of the ship. When the ship landed at the fort on the island, the passengers lined up to exit the large warship. Neras looked down at the people on the dock, and his eyes immediately went to the imposing figure with the large war-scythe standing on the wood planks of the dock. Immediately his grey eyes went to the three Skullcrows sitting on his war-scythe, and he wondered if the priest was responsible vast amount of Skullcrows flying of the city.

When it was his turn to leave the ship, Neras walked down the gang plank onto the island. The first person in line was a man named Matt. He wore a impressive set of brigantine armor and on his hip was a long sword with a short bow and quiver on his back. Matt was a tall man, and he seemed to carry himself well in the armor. When Neras approached, the street punk gave the Daggerhand a wide smile and said with nod, “Pleasant night isn't it, Raynor. My name Jinx. I came to your fort because I heard you had a Priest of Dira in your mists, and I wanted to pay my respect to him while he was in the city. Since you know how dangerous and unpredictable Sunberth can be, it best for people like us to keep the Goddess of Death happy wouldn't you say..”

After he introduced himself, he took his place besides Matt and waited quietly for the next person to introduce themselves. He started to stretch out his muscles as the other passengers started to introduce them to the group. Neras eyes drifted back to the man with the war-scythe, and the skull crows perched on top of them. He smiled grimly to himself knowing that he was going to have a interesting night and a interesting tale to tell the other recruits when he returned to the Barracks.
Last edited by Neras Frostfawn on February 7th, 2018, 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Kelski on January 27th, 2018, 1:04 am

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She’d done it. The Jeweler had finished her projects, delivered them to Jaren that morning and he’d seemed pleased enough. Released for this day and given a free day for the next, she’d taken a nap then collected Darvin and ran by the Gold Lodge for them to get a bite of food. Kelski was fed vastly different than Darvin, but she didn’t mind. She’d started to enjoy the thin soup and old bread they always provided her with. Besides, in her spare time she often ratted in The Barracks and got most of her meat requirements that way. It was just that today she simply hadn’t had time. Darvin, on the other hand, got a thick beef stew and fresh bread smothered with butter and honey. Kelski never looked at his food as she ate. Instead she minded her own business and remembered to be grateful for what she was given.

Darvin had seemed keen to go as well. He’d been with her the day before when Mosa had told them the rumors and though he had seemed he wasn’t listening, he knew the Kelvic would be too curious by far to not answer the call. He knew the Daggerhands were dangerous, but this seemed like something of a special occasion and one where they really needed help. And he had a hankering for some of the treasure that was rumored. Kelski had sharp eyes and he didn’t mind keeping his little falcon or songbird or whatever she was on a tight leash to use her eyes. She’d spot any gleaming jewels, even in the dim, and would more than likely not complain when he took them from her. If, of course, there was any treasure at all and this wasn’t a Daggerhand trick.

It was most likely a trick.

Kelski didn’t care if it was or not. She simply wanted to get out of the filth ridden city and over to the island to get a look around. The keep seemed fascinating and what Mosa had told her spiked her interest. The slave had borrowed clothing – nothing fancy – just old worn black britches from someone around her size and a long sleeved black shirt that laced up the front. She wore one of her new skulls, the third one she’d tested out everything on, and it hung at her neck with its beak pointed down. It hadn’t been good enough to past muster for Jaren’s wish list, but she liked it and kept it, and thought it gleamed a pretty copper in the light. A black cloak covered the rest of her. She had no weapons or money on her, knowing Darvin had that sort of thing. He didn’t allow her much in the way of weapons anyhow, so it wasn’t an unusual thing.

Her head pounded a little from last night and the scene at The Slag Heap and whatever it was that Darvin slipped her to make her feel better. She’d floated for hours, crafting jewelry and finishing her work with no sense of time or sense of pain at all. Kelski was half tempted to ask him for more, but didn’t dare. He’d charge her and she had no way to pay him. But it had sure felt good while it lasted, and she wouldn’t mind more of it. Yesterday was a rough day. Today, she thought a sail would be a good thing, something she needed. And even if she couldn’t fly, a short trip to the island would be something better than staying on dry land.

She clung to the rail, enjoying the short trip as they went. It was too bad he wouldn’t linger, delay, or meander. He made straight to the island like a ferry and took them where they wanted to go. Kelski didn’t look too closely at the other passengers. Odds are she didn’t know them and kept her cloak up and concealing her face anyhow. When they docked, she quietly got in line behind almost everyone and filed down to study Raynor from the back of the crowd. When he introduced Mat, she noted both names and set them into her memory. She studied them closely looking for signs of what each was – human or other – and perhaps the purpose of this whole trip.

When she got to the bottom of the ramp and it was her turn, she stated her name and followed the others to linger until the next instruction was given. Darvin did the same, closely on her heels.
Last edited by Kelski on February 2nd, 2018, 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Meriann on January 27th, 2018, 9:03 pm

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"Speech"


Meriann had never seen skull crows before, although she had been to Sunberth on a few occasions in the past. She had barely heard anything of them either, maybe something in passing, but the tidbit of knowledge had fled her mind out of uselessness long ago. So when the skies of the dawn had gradually flooded with the black birds, she had been perplexed, and uneasy. That wasn't helped by the superstitious nature of the other Sunberthians she'd seen as she had taken a walk around the streets. The usual pickpockets and drunken louts were more reserved and apprehensive than was ordinary for the shyke-hole that was Sunberth. She'd asked one, a lanky, hoarse young man with a mop of yellow-brown hair, if he knew what was going on. All he'd said, after she had prompted him to divulge what he knew, was, "Them crows mean death. Death and mis-fortune, and I ain't gonna be catching any of that today!"

The Svefra had looked at the birds in a new light after that. The odd skulls they wore had taken on a fresh meaning, and paired with the upcoming adventure into the unknown, she was no longer sure that it would be treasure on the other end. Rather, the prospect of 'death and mis-fortune' seemed all the more likely. Still, the actual risk was unknown at that point, and petch it if she'd miss the opportunity to dive into a secret. That was what it was. Rumours had flown at an aggressive pace around the city, with word of one tone or another falling from what seemed like everyone's lips. But she doubted that many of those that spoke so willingly of the supposed fame and glory that awaited them on Lodestar Isle would take up the challenge, especially after the plague of crows. At the very least, Meriann would have a tale to tell at the end of it all. Even if she was just a little anxious about what the arrival of the crows meant.

By nighttime she had riled herself up into high spirits, despite the horrible fluttering and flapping and shuffling of the myriad wings that danced over her precious ship. All evening she had prepared herself. She practised swinging her cutlass experimentally, sweeping left and right, feeling a worrying rustiness to her sword arm. She ate a hard crust of bread from the end of a loaf with a small drop of honey for the energy she hoped it would bring her in case there was a fight with unknown monsters. Anything was possible, after all. She paced the deck, shooing away skull crows and putting their abandoned bony crowns onto the dock where they would be out of the way and not cluttering up her neat deck, but keeping one for herself that slipped with barely a thought into a coil of rope for her to forget about later.

Finally, the time had come. Meriann was now feeling the chill of the evening, and reluctantly donned a cloak to fend off any inclement weather. She was ready.

Chimes later, she was approached by a stranger who guided her to the ship.

The ship in question that was carrying them to the shore was mightily impressive. Meriann couldn't help but eye it up in all its glory, and marvelled at the crew that worked together to man the many intricacies that made up the bulk of the ship's beautiful design. The bell of time spent travelling from Sunberth to the mystery that awaited them was more of a frustration to the woman, who now only dearly wanted to get on with the adventure at hand. There were other passengers, but for the most part they were quiet and seemingly introspective. Meriann felt like bombarding the one nearest her with questions and speculation, as it was not only her feet that would not still but her tongue also. However, as the island gradually swam into view in the gloomy darkness, even she fell still. She stood on the deck and felt the cold but refreshing air of the ocean sweep through her hair, and her dark eyes drank in the black vista that she could barely make out, even as much as she tried.

As they disembarked, Meriann first set eyes on the subject of a city's disquiet: the priest of Dira. He stood a formidable sight and she was not cowed but found herself in awe of the presence of the priest. She walked carefully along the gangplank until she was stood besides a man who introduced himself as Darvin. When it was her turn to answer who she was, she spoke up and answered without much fanfare, "I am Meriann, here t'see what happen fro' this."
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Erik Murphy on January 30th, 2018, 5:35 pm

A skull crow was an ill omen. As the light of pale moon was blotted out by the flock birds that seemingly emerged out of the horizon, Erik didn’t dare think of what this meant for their journey and fates. He stood alone on the deck, as far away as possible from anyone, he did not feel safe amongst these people. His weathered hand reached for the equally worn hilt of his kopis, resting on it for comfort and reassurance, the dagger tucked out of sight in his leather boot was simply as a last resort.

He watched the swarming mass of black birds with disdain as he puffed away on his pipe, the sour smoke mixed with foul sea air and rotting seaweed, a powerful concoction that made Erik rather nauseous as he struggled to remain steady on the deck, he was not a natural seaman. Their appearance was chilling, the sound of their rattling skulls was almost deafening, he longed for them to dip back down, under the horizon. For a time longer than a moment, Erik considered diving in the bay and swimming back to the shore, being wrapped up in Dead Man’s Grip at the bottom of the bay seemed better to him than what lay ahead.

The hours before he had boarded the ship had been one of internal conflict within the man’s mind. Stepping on Lodestar Isle would’ve been bad enough, he had no business with Daggerhands, he longed for the day that their existence would be wiped away from Sunberth. But this business with Skull Crows and priests, rumours of treasure and horrors, this was how stories began. And such stories in Sunberth always ending in bloody and gruesome fates, this was not a city that indulged in happy ever afters. But promise of treasure and glory, which had not be explicitly offered, was still pulling at the man and he had forced himself up the gangplank onto the ship. He dreaded to think what arguments would await for him at home, but that was if he ever returned.

He hadn’t said a word for the entire journey as the island rose into view, just continue to quietly smoke his pipe, calming his nerves as the slightly pale mercenary had stepped off onto land, still feeling slightly nauseous. The sight of the priest did not ease his worries, his eyes dancing between the moonlit scythe, the skull crows perfected upon it and the man who was far too comfortable with their presence. Erik, at heart, was a superstitious man.

When Raynor introduced himself though, his nerves turned to irritation. His remaining teeth ground against each other, his jaw clenching as he eyed up the size of the man, his armour, his weapons. Erik seemed the exact opposite. He was un-armoured, with his kopis and hidden dagger, and his clothes always seemed to hang unflatteringly off his lean figure. He kept a note of the names that were called out but he paid them very little attention to the actual people, he wasn’t planning on dying for any of them. Quite the opposite He thought as he eyed up the tattoo that was inked brazenly of Raynor’s neck.

“Name’s Erik”
He said simply through a mouthful of pipe smoke.

Gods help us all.
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“And you have your part to play, Erik. You will be fooled, like most, but you will survive. You might even benefit it all. Hold history close to your chest, young man. That’s my advice.”
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Avinasai on January 31st, 2018, 1:39 am

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Avinasai came with one of the escorts. She wanted to let the Daggerhands know that she was neutral among them, and the Sun Birth's, but didn't say anything about that
However, she simply replied to Captain Raynor's question; "my name is Thorne." The dark haired woman said to the man as she boarded the ship. She wondered though, how much money it would have costed to rent a ship such as this. Avinasai didn't have much coin on her, and the rumors of treasure and horrors, excited the dark haired poison crafter. Sunberth was a city filled with mystery, and it's unlawful ruling had made it even more eventful in this city.

Sunberth was not a pleasant city relatively speaking. Sunberth was built off of anarchy, however it was affiliated with gangs. Each gang controls it's own section or sections of the city. The Daggerhands, the Sun Birth's, and the Night Eye's. There are those major gangs who run most of the city, however a lot of it is the "No Man's Land," which also included Stumble Alley. Avinasai loved working at The Majestic because there was rarely any moments of activity. Not even rats run across the streets within Stumble Alley, it's just a strange (but good) sensation of quietness.

Avinasai had her pack with her, and her cloak. In her pack she had some rations just to snack on just in case, a vial of hand-made poison for emergencies, and her identification kit. She wanted to explore the Lodestar Isle, and hopefully find some of those treasures that are waiting for them there. She watched as some familiar people stepped on board on the ship.

Avinasai was not much of a ship person. She preferred to be on land and prayed that she'll be at the Lodestar Isle sooner rather than later. She didn't sleep through the day so that she could have nothing. If these rumors are false, and the Daggerhands just wanted escorts for something... Thorne would gladly poison them all.

However, Avinasai was surprised when she noticed Kelski and her bodyguard friend come to the 'party.' Darvin was the man's name, and Avinasai had a feeling that he doesn't like her that much. Although, Avinasai was more than happy to see Kelski, and she was dressed with all dark clothes, and what appeared to be britches that are a little too big for her. Kelski looked like Avinasai's size, and perhaps Avinasai could buy her some clean clothes with the treasures that are valuable? Since Kelski made Avinasai the nice glass necklace that's around her neck and hangs down to her breasts.

"Oh my Gods! Kelski is that you!?" Avinasai said with a tone of surprise and confronted her as she clung to the side of the ship. It seemed like forever since Avinasai had seen her, but it's been four days. "How you've been?" Avinasai said as she was leaning against the rail. Her stomach continued to flow with the rocking motion of the ship, and hoped that her last meal won't be hurled out. She wasn't really good with traveling at sea. She hoped that talking to someone that's been so nice to her would get her mind off of the rocking.
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby K'irr Darkwater on February 1st, 2018, 8:39 am

K'irr was of the mind that Sunberth was nothing but shyke, mud, desperation and violence and he was slowly coming to terms with the fact that, all in all, this was alright with him. He felt an odd kinship with these rough locals and, although he had yet to really figure the city out, he understood their superstitious nature since he had plenty of his own. When he had heard more about this priest from Cira, he couldn't help the pull he felt to find out more about this man and this island he sought to convene upon. There was something ominous and mystical about it all with a healthy undercurrent of danger and her words had drawn him in - the potential treasure certainly didn't hurt. When she had drawn that black card from his deck - a card he later identified as the three of spades, the bartender had thought it an ill omen but he had only seen it as a sign, a sign that he was meant to go and see what this was all about. Her worry hadn't dissuaded him; if anything, his confidence was buoyed by the result and he let her keep the card, as if doing so might somehow act as a protective ward.

The next handful of days had seen the Svefra try and gain as much information about this priest of Dira as he could, paying extra attention to the grumblings of locals and transients, alike. He learned little more than what Cira had spoken of, her words reshaped and exaggerated yet the meaning was all the same: the priest meant death and was an unwelcome presence. K'irr couldn't help find this a bit humorous for a city where people were just as likely to give you a nod as they were to stab you in the neck so they could strip you of everything you owned.

The day of rendezvous finally came and K'irr made sure to try and ready himself for whatever he might face out on Lodestar Island. He dressed in his usual salt-stained linen shirt and pants, layering his wool tunic over the top. His belt was fastened on next, his cutlass resting in its scabbard on his left hip and compass, bone dice and tin of Kline tobacco tucked into his belt pouch. He stuffed his tent, blanket, first aid kit, rations, knife and hammer into his pack along with his pipe, candles and flint and steel. He swung the pack onto his back, tugged his knit cap on in his typical haphazard fashion and then plucked up his moth-eaten coat before finally emerging from the warmth of his cabin.

The cool night air nipped at his cheeks but he paid it little mind, his focus elsewhere as he collected a roll of rope and a single harpoon bolt as he passed them. Tugging his coat from its place around his neck, he laid it upon the fore of the deck and then set the harpoon bolt upon it, rolling it up within before securing the bundle with the rope. He had no idea what this trip may hold so he felt it best to be as prepared as he could - and here in Sunberth, that meant being armed to the teeth. Satisfied, he fixed the bundle to the top of his pack using a series of knots to fasten the two together and then, at last, he straightened and shifted the pack back onto his shoulders.

He was a step away from leaving his casinor when he paused and glanced stern-side, vibrant hues taking in the glittering dark water beyond as the moonlight danced upon the surface. He sniffed and then knuckled at his nose, deliberating before heading off towards the rear of his ship. He then tugged out a single gold coin and held it out, keeping to his own traditions. "Laviku, God of the Sea.." his husky voice trailed off slightly before rising once more, "I ask you bless my travels this night. I seek a priest of Dira, a follower of Death, but know that my belief in you will never sway. I'm of the sea and, if I'm to die, it is to You that I will return.." His words tapered off, then, and, with a flick of his thumb, he sent the miza sailing out into the dark waters. He remained silent until he heard the sound as it hit the water and then spoke once more, "Please accept this humble token and, if it be your will, favour me with kind seas."

Finishing with his meagre sacrifice, he finally strolled over the the particular pier where a crowd had gathered, judging it to be where boarding would occur. His gaze wandered those loitering about around him, taking in their illuminated forms before they paused, catching sight of a familiar head of two-toned hair. His dark brows furrowing as the corners of his lips pulled into the beginnings of an incredulous grin. He hadn't expected to ever see the Kelvic slave again... and yet here she was, caught up in this mess this priest had caused. His mind was starting to mull over how on earth she managed to be here when a number of thuggish looking individuals closed in and began herding the group towards the docks. It was then he lost her in throng of bodies, gaze turning to take in those that ringed the crowd.

He had heard of the Daggerhands, had heard they were one of the big three that ran the city, and he followed suit. The night suddenly grew darker as the sounds of heavy wings beating and shrill 'kwoks' filled his ears, drawing his attention away and up to the sky. The sight of the creatures - and the sheer number of them - sent a chill down his spine. K'irr knew little of Skull Crows yet, in this setting, he found their abundance particularly eerie, setting the tone for what was to come.

Again, his attention swayed at the announcement of the captain. Although in Common, he understood the words and paused to listen. Taking in the order, he followed the crowd as it was herded on to the ship. An old brigantine, and a nice one at that, and K'irr found his mood shift the moment he stepped on deck, appreciating the sizeable vessel and marvelling over the scale of her crew. He moved towards the starboard side and sought a spot near the railing while remaining mostly out of the way of the crew and ran and hand along it like one might over a prized horse.

The trip was uneventful yet the tension and unease of the masses was palpable. K'irr worked to keep his own at bay, turning his focus to the movement of the ship, eyes turning towards the bow before lifting upwards to seek the moon. He then glanced back over his shoulder port-side towards the docks and worked to try and figure out the direction, calculating it in his mind. His eyes also took in what he could see of the approaching coastline of what he believed to be Lodestar Isle. The distraction was a welcome one and tied him over until they dropped anchor.

Another order was issued and the crowd once more moved as one, disembarking one at a time. The Svefra did his best to try and take in what was said, only catching the loud boom of Raynor's voice while others got snatched away by the wind or the sound of the ocean. He did managed to catch the name of the local-looking fellow before him. Erik, he had called himself.

K'irr gave the straps of his pack an exaggerated tug as if to emphasise his words awhen it came his time to give his own name, his accent distinctly Svefran, "K'irr Darkwater." Like the others before him, he felt the need to keep things brief. He made sure to taken in the sight of Calidus, the priest, noting his scythe and how those creatures were more than happy to roost upon it. His eyes then turned to the man, Raynor, as another man gave his bag a quick look through, and he finally caught sight of what he believed to be the Daggerhand mark on the side of his neck - a dagger encircled by thorns. Perhaps if he were a local he'd be more curious about the connection between the gang and the priest of Dira but, as mere interloper, it never occurred to him to dwell.

Once his pack was returned to him, he couldn't help feel the pull to head towards the Kelvic. He sized up the grizzly grey-haired man at her flank, pegging him as her handler, and then turned his gaze on Kelski, working to gain her attention. Ignoring the other woman in her presence - and the man, for that matter, he cocked his head ever so slightly to the side while lifting his chin, peering down at her, "The master allow bird to leave its golden cage." The words failed to be as smooth as if they had been spoken properly and in Fratava and were just above a whisper, but the meaning remained, punctuated by something akin to a lazy, although impressed, half-smirk.

Notes -1gm, sacrifice to Laviku


-----Fratava ---------Common
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Regime on February 5th, 2018, 10:08 pm

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The night was still young as Calidus allowed the Daggerhand's to proceed in their territorial frivolities. The priest begun to speak, not caring if anyone heard him or not. "Each one of you are strangers whom I would one day hope to call friends. And tonight, you will need friends..." The pale man then started to raise a finger to point at three individuals.

The first of which was the slave, Kelski. The skull crows responded to this by cawing in unison before one of them took to the air in flight. The black bird circled the skies over her head for the briefest of moments before it saw fit to land perched upon the Slave's shoulder. His hand motioned next to Meriann, the curious sea woman. The second Skull crow that sat perched upon his scythe emulated the actions of the first crow, flying over the Meriann's head before landing onto her shoulder.

And the last of the crows was motioned into action by the pointed gesture of a finger aimed at the recently docked ship...

Captain Mariana Dullos of the War Sprite stood on the edge of her ship watching the scene taking place on the docks below. She was a plain looking woman in her own rights, but one who saw glory by sailing the sea. And so when the finger of the priest aimed at her, she went wide eyed.

The third crow flew from its perch on Calidus's scythe to circle the ship before landing on the deck of it. The black bird peered through the eye sockets of the skull it wore to look at

Avinasai who, of her own accord, had not exited from the ship to state her name was now surrounded by a crew of superstitious sailors who each backed away in from the crow like frightened cockroaches. "Cap'n! She'll bring death to us all!" The cacophony of voices each started to yell at their captain to order them to do something. Captain Dullos looked over at Avinasai then lifted a hand that instantly silenced all the sailors under her command.

"Throw her over board. If we are to meet death, it will be on the sea from the embrace of Laviku... to the sea the curse will return." Avinasai was then instantly jumped on by fifteen sailors who each managed to lift her weight with easy from a lifetime of pulling sails. And just as Captain Dullos had ordered, Avinasai was thrown overboard into ocean into the gap between the boat and the dock which was connected by the gangplank; should no one want to aid her, there was a mooring line hanging from the side of the dock that barely touched the top of the waters surface for people to climb out of the water.

The skull crow that was assigned to Avinasai simply returned to perch on Calidus's scythe. And almost as if nothing had happened, Calidus turned his focus to Raynor. "Shall we be off to the manor?" The Daggerhand couldn't stop laughing at the sight of a woman being thrown over the side of a ship. It made him not even care that there were two members of the Sun's Birth within Daggerhand territory. "Hahaha! Jinx & Darvin. Hahhaha, if you both manage to make it out alive, you've earned a free pass back to the mainland with the others."

Raynor had to take a moment to compose himself before shaking his head a the stupidity of the group willingly wanting to go into Leywellin Manor. "Welcome to Lodestar." The man said with a last huff of childish giggling. "My job is to lead you to the courtyard, from there on you are all on your own."

Leywellin Manor was not just some simple building, no. Calling it a simple building did those masterful pre-valterran minds who erected it a grand disservice. It was a massive structure that overtook the entire horizon beyond the Sea Tariff Keep. It was only a manor by architecture, but in size it was comparable to a might castle that stretched all over the isle itself; although nowhere near Syliras in size.

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Raynor, flanked along sized a group of ten other Daggerhands each escorted the brave adventurers passed the keep to a tall open portcullis that led into the main garden courtyard beyond. It was a mighty gate of pre-valterran craft that showed its age even in the moonlight as the heraldry of its ancient family decorated the tops of the entrance.

To those looking beyond it, the path winds through a garden of dead tree without a definite direction. In between each of the trees are dense thickets of hedges that once held green vegetation, but now they formed massive hedge branch walls in between the trees that formed a grim looking hedge maze where the walls were ten feet in height and the paths ten feet in width. On the ground leading past the portcullis ran a path of dark stone, seemingly the correct path to follow that would lead towards the Manors gates.

To those who practiced the arts of Djed, those mages could tell that there was magics here. They could sense it's palpable longing to be found.

Calidus reached back to draw his syth from its harness, causing the Skull crow perched onto it to fly into the sky to go circle the airs over Avinasai. The priest then started to use his weapon as a walking stick as he stared up at the heraldry. He then started to read the words etched into the portcullis on top of the heraldry, he spoke in a the ancient language of Nader-canoch. "Glig Pechi Zapatlas."

After reading, Calidus took his first step past the threshold to walk the stone path leading into the hedge maze, heading to the right. Calidus decided to ignore the dirt paths leading forward or to the left.


OOC :
The adventure is now in full swing. The first task: Geting to the manor... follow the path, explore, or follow your own path.

To those who have a Skull Crow, the birds will act as well trained companions who may or may not listen to you.


Post order:
This round of posting will decide the post order. If you are able to post swiftly, you are free to respond.

**Quest Etiquette by Gossamer** :
Quest Etiquette
The Player Section


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Quest Etiquette can be a real make or break thing in terms of a quest. Players sin and moderators sin. Sometimes I wonder if its because players have no idea what true quest etiquette is? Do moderators? From years of D&D tabletop I've formed what MY OPINION of quest etiquette is. I go by it now on Mizahar. Be sure you review this if your in one of my quests and try to adhere to the basic premise of this post. If your a moderator, make sure you are trying to enforce these things in your quests. Otherwise, your quest party is full of douchebags and you should just run their horses off a cliff and end the bad behavior once and for all.


  • Acknowledge the other people in a quest. Note their actions in your post by reacting to them even if its just a brief line or two. Don’t ignore their presence. It’s rude beyond belief to come into a quest and solo it without paying attention to the others in the party. The same thing is true if people break into subgroups and ignore the other subgroups. Subgroups are fine as long as everyone is a part of one and they note each other’s actions and include each other and everyone else in their posts.


  • Acknowledge the actions of others in the quest. You aren’t in a solo moderated thread. Note others actions as part of your response and put some opinion of the action in there. Do you approve? Are they being stupid? Make that part of your post. Argue with their action if you disagree or try to block it. That’s all part of the fun. Agree with it? Help them do the action! Step up and say great idea and lend a hand. The biggest crime in a quest thread is to ignore a fellow quester.


  • Establish what your PC is wearing/wielding/and has on their person. Magically appearing gear is annoying in any sort of quest. That goes double for the whole ‘its in my bag at all times things’. Please make sure in your initial post to establish to yourself and the others what your PC is wearing, holding, and carrying for the duration of the quest. If your allowed to take the time to ‘gear up’ then go get your full gear and re-establish what you have in a post following a ‘gear up’ session. That way one can avoid the magical bag of ‘everything even the kitchen sink is in here’ and yet your pc moves unencumbered through the quest.


  • Don’t poach information. If one character learns of something by their actions, its up to them to share that information with the party. If they don’t then you don’t know it. So long as they are paying attention to you and acknowledging your actions, its perfectly fine to withhold information.


  • Stick to the posting order. This goes along with information poaching. Try very hard to post in the order the original postings were made. This gives everyone an equal chance to post and react in the order they carried out actions and learned things. Skipping posting order is only okay if a moderator says it is or the moderator is tired of waiting for one slow poster to post.


  • Don’t stand and do nothing. No one likes a PC who’s in a quest just to observe. This is a huge waste of time too. Don’t do nothing and don’t actually join a quest thread if you think all you are going to do on your first post is observe. Moderators hate that and might get spiteful towards your PC if all you are doing is lookilooing the whole time. Perform actions, ask questions, and think heavily about what might be going on.


  • Do things you can do. Don’t do things you can’t do. Are you a fighter? Fight then. Are you a wizard? Perform magic. Healers can heal. Everyone can look and observe for things. But if your unskilled at something like say disarming traps, don’t try to disarm traps. You’re going to get your stupid ass killed and probably those around you. Quest parties form organically and come together in a way where everyone has a role. Play your role. Don’t suddenly think your superman when you’re a three inch pycon. Those roles don’t work. Play roles that work.


  • Make quest posting a priority. If you are in a moderated thread, post to that FIRST before you post to your solos or socials. They are important to the moderators and the players so be sure you make it a priority to yourself as well.


  • Keep information organized in your mind. Understand and keep it straight in your mind what is ‘general’ information that everyone learns and what is ‘private’ information that someone finds out. You can act on general information but not on private information unless it is private information you earned.


  • Know your character limits. What is your characters size and strength? Can you lift that? Can you wield that? Does your character know what that thing is even if you do? Make sure you are aware of your lores and your skills. If you don’t have say a huge physical presence, don’t think you can lift a knight in full body armor as an average female and carry him out of a burning building. That probably won’t happen. You probably can’t even roll him over.


  • Be aware of YOUR location and the locations of the rest of the group members. Describe where exactly you are standing carefully in the scene in relation to fixed objects or things that are the focal point of a scene. Are you right next to another group member? Are you standing behind the group ready to heal them? Are you kneeling in front examining something? Be specific. Remember, let everyone know where you are. Don’t stomp on anyone in making an action. Slide around someone if they are in front of you and what you want to do. This goes back to acknowledging someone is somewhere doing something. Acknowledge them.


  • Just ask and you’ll know. Sounds like a simple thing right? But don’t assume anything. If you want to know more about something specifically examine it in your response. Ask in your post. “John Smith wondered how the man had managed to carry enough water to traverse the desert without dehydration. He should have been dehydrated right? So John decided to check his gear and see if there was any evidence as to how it was done.” Boom. You’ve just asked the Mod how something happened and made it clear you were looking for the answer. Now it’s the mods turn to do their job and tell you in their response to your actions. “After a few minutes of searching, John found a bag of holding that had five hundred canteens, most of which were still full, all stuffed inside it.” Don’t assume. Ask!


  • Let the Moderator know how you’re feeling about their quest. Are you bored? Have your PC yawn in boredom. Are you feeling left out or ignored? Write about that. It’s their job as a moderator for everyone to have fun as they tell a story to you. If you’re not having fun or there’s nothing for your PC in the quest so far, let them know by writing about it. They can and will adjust the story accordingly. Though remember, there are two types of quests. One is a sign up quest where a story should be tailored to every PC that signs up. And there are random posted quests you join. The random posted quests are the luck of who shows up first and its less about the PCs and more about the story in that case.


  • Don't criticize the moderator. They are doing it for your fun and their own enjoyment. Go easy on them. Understand that a good moderator might be flexible with the rules to preserve pacing or flow and add an element of the fantastical to the story. This goes for undermining the narrative, too. “This seems straight out of last months' Letters to Penthouse, Jen. What's the deal?” NoteYou know I'm just throwing this in there as a humorous reward for reading this far right? That might not be cool to point out. Just go with it. A good mod will change the ending or the middle and if you hate the quest you can not opt in on another one of theirs later down the line. Also, if you’re noticing inconsistencies, and can’t help it, try phrasing it in the form of a question. E.g., Is this the same begger we met in the last scene? If so, why is his peg leg on the right now instead of the left? Is that really necessary to point out? Probably not. The whole point is that hes a peg-leg dude and leave it at that. It might even be intentional. Is he an illusion that has changed over time? The changes might be hidden clues.


  • Don't engage in non-rewarding conflict or squabbling. Everyone knows that fighting among party members can be hugely distracting. try to limit this type of conflict to those instances which are dramatically rewarding. Contribute to the narrative as a PC rather than distract from it. This game is a social cooperative one. Players forget that. They like to grandstand defiance under the banner of staying true to a character concept. That's bullshit and everyone including themselves know it. The exception to this rule comes when tension or opposition within the party results in dramatic role-playing rewards. In order for the latter to work, remember, all PC’s need to be on the same page and it needs to be fully IC. OOC contempt for another players actions can't creep into the overall narrative or you're violating this rule.

  • Understand your role in a quest as a party member. Your PCs presence in a quest should be to strengthen the bond of the party, support each other player’s character-concept in game, weave your story alongside the other characters’, and finally work together towards your goals. That's it! Everything else like comedic humor or superfluous knowledge is icing on the cake.



    And finally…


  • Don’t void the social contract of quest fellowship! Remember, when you are joining a quest, you are agreeing to join a group and work towards a common goal for the benefit and fun of all the player and the characters in the group. This is a social contract! Avoid slavish behavior meaning a character acting in a way that makes no attempt at originality, constructive interpretation, or development. We all know the pc types. There’s always that pc who won’t go with the party even though the player has joined the quest because they don’t know the others, don’t trust the others, and can see no benefit in it for them. It’s your job as a player to suspend disbelief and find a reason to go and help and be in that group. It’s not the moderator’s job. It’s your job and your social contract of RP QUESTING that you signed. Follow through.
Last edited by Regime on February 6th, 2018, 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Erik Murphy on February 6th, 2018, 6:28 am

Thick, curling smoke rolled out of Erik’s nostrils as he heard the woman hit the water meanwhile he tried to hold back his laughter amongst the skull crows, Priest of Dira, and dark foreboding night sky that loomed above them. But he couldn’t, his eyes crinkled up and his head lent backwards and soon his surprisingly warm, gravelly laughter was filling the air as he slapped his belly raucously at the sound of the woman’s attempt to swim and the gaggle of sailors on the deck of the War Sprite that looked down at the water, still talking of ill omens. After a few moments, deep breaths and resurrections of his chuckling, he walked over to the docks and grabbed the loose mooring rope.

“’ere love, grab the bleedin' rope and I’ll yank you up” He declared, still chuckling softly to himself as he began to pull the line of old rope upwards, feeding it behind him. He assumed she had Avinasai had grabbed it, judging by the weight, otherwise he had managed to reel in quite a large fish without knowing it. “We should be glad Morwen ain’t walkin’ amongst us this winter, she’d be freezin’ to death otherwise” He joked, turning to the rest of group, not waiting for their response as he burst out into more laughter, almost losing his grip on the rope as his watered slightly from his own jokes. “I’m thinkin’ the water’s added a bit of weight to the bird, or maybe she's a heavy lass. Either way, give us a hand one of you” He stated weakly through his laughter, gesturing to the length of rope he had already pulled up,

Erik didn’t wait to see if he had landed a human sized fish or soaked to the bone woman as he reached the rope and dragged whatever he had caught onto the docks with little grace. Instead he turned around quickly, still sniggering to himself, and began to follow after Raynor. His temporarily elated mood began to die down with the embers of his pipe as he marched wordlessly along.

To man such as Erik, he felt very insignificant when his eyes first drifted over the mighty gate. He knew nothing of its origins, nothing of its history, he did not know whether to be in awe or to be terrified. Perhaps, the intention of such craftsmanship was to make men like Erik, men of little means and limited education, feel both such emotions in equal measure. He couldn’t think of a single thing he had seen in his life that even compared, the Rotting Mansion in its heyday looked poverty stricken compared to this, perhaps the Temple of the Unknown, but where that brought peace to Erik, this roused nothing but fear, paranoia and insignificance.

Part of him was actually unhappy to see the Daggerhands refuse to go beyond the gate, into the courtyard, as they continued onwards where Daggerhands feared to tread. Even Erik knew the old adage of safety in numbers and we would’ve preferred to have seen more experienced fighters among the group, not that he knew anyone here or that abilities, the old prick just simply preferred to work with old men then get to know anyone new.

He followed Calidus to the stone path on the right. Erik had no intention of going off on his own in this place, safety in numbers very much applied, and whatever hung in the air made him feel like an unwelcome guest. He stepped along quickly, not too keen to get close to the priest but not far enough to risk losing him as Skull Crow flew circles around in the air, the rattling of its skull irritating the mercenary immensely, he was very glad one had not taking a liking to him, he might’ve lashed out at it and he doubted the priest would’ve taken kindly to such an act.

“Y’know, it would be bloody nice if you told us why we we’re here and what you want us to do?” Erik asked, directing the question at the priest bluntly though he still kept out of reach of that wicked looking scythe.
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“And you have your part to play, Erik. You will be fooled, like most, but you will survive. You might even benefit it all. Hold history close to your chest, young man. That’s my advice.”
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Riven, Sundered, and Lost.

Postby Kelski on February 7th, 2018, 2:35 am

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Kelski paid attention to everyone that came off the boat and what their names were, as they gave them, when they stated them. Neras she knew. The Kelvic wasn’t sure he’d spotted her yet, though he probably had spotted Darvin who was big and unmistakable in his visage. Plus he’d immediately went over, made nice with some of the sailors, and had been quietly discussing gods knew what with them as they made the short trip. Had the trip been longer he’d probably have been peddling them drugs or dicing with those that weren’t immediately needed to sail the boat.

Departing reluctantly, Kelski studied the woman who called herself Meriann and mulled over her accent. It wasn’t one she recognized. But then again the Kelvic was not well traveled. She’d lived only here, Alvadas, and Lhavit. The words were strange and it took the Kelvic a moment to understand what the woman was actually saying. Here to see what was happening? Yea… Kelski could relate. She was here to get out of The Barracks and be Darvin’s eyes. Whatever else there was, be it dangerous or not, was worth the time away on the sea and the half-wild island.

The Kelvic stuck close to her escort, having no delusions that he was her guard. She was his tool, nothing more, and sticking by him made her safer. The other man, Erik, looked older. He seemed grizzled, hardened, but there was nothing about him that particularly intimidated her. She wanted to walk up to him in the way certain people drew little kids, and the Kelvic had long followed her instinct. She felt safer around him, even though he’d not spared her a glance. Sunberth was filled with people that had hard outer shells. She’d learned that quickly and the lesson had stuck.

A hand clamped on her shoulder as she started to step towards the stranger named Erik, and Darvin dragged her back planting her next to him firmly. “No flying away, little bird.” She used to hate him calling her that, but her big companion honestly had no idea what kind of bird she was. Jaren never ever let her fly. And that lack of freedom, of connection to her wings, was grating on her in a seriously hard way. But she let him draw her back without a fight, bowing her head forward so her cloak hood slid off and revealed the mass of her ombre hair caught up in a thick plait down her back.

Kelski half jumped out of her skin when Thorne recognized her and said her name. She flinched knowing she was revealed to Neras now, a boy she still was recovering from knowing this season. Things had happened between the two of them, things that resulted in her multiple piercings across her face that would preclude her from shifting even if she weren’t collared… and Kelski was still trying to decide about the whole thing, even though she was drugged for the majority of it. The Kelvic glanced at her keeper, angry all over again. She lifted her hands, making a stopping gesture at Thorne. With the way Darvin had been lately, it was best the woman didn’t hang out tonight. He was here for a profit, and wouldn’t be letting her socialize.

She opened her mouth to answer Thorne, offering her a smile, when Darvin snorted and gripped her shoulder harder. The Kelvic might as well have had a leash on. “Thorne… my pretty.” He started out, smiling brightly but in a mean way. “Kelski and I are working tonight. This is serious business, not a social hour. Please excuse us. I can arrange a play date for you two later.” He said coldly, causing the Kelvic to flinch. Kelski started to say something, to answer, when her eyes fell on another figure.

He’d come after, not from their ship at all, unless she’d missed him standing quietly somewhere. It was quite possible. The Svefra was uncanny on the sea and quiet in a dark and solitary way. He was used to his own company and not social by nature unless they had taken to a port briefly or had gathered with others of his kind. Kelski reached for her hood, self-conscious of what Jaren had ordered done for her, but it was too late to pull it across her face and conceal her features. She heard him and looked up at him to where he studied her. Kelski had dropped weight, a lot of it, and her features were full of piercings. The ruin of her face – the piercings Jaren had ordered in her ears, nose, and even chest - gleamed in the dim light as heavy to her as the thick ornate slave collar around her neck. A red flush washed across her features as she studied the Svefra who had once owned her and sold her.

“K’irr” She said softly, meeting his gaze fiercely. “You look well.” The smaller woman said, shifting restlessly under Darvin’s grip on her shoulder. There was no place to hide from his gaze, to not feel the anger that bubbled up at his actions. She’d behaved for him, been a hard worker and a good hunter. But it hadn’t been enough. Humans had taught her hard lessons and continued to teach her harder ones. In that moment, home sickness for Lhavit coursed through her. Sunberth wasn’t her home because there was no one here that made her feel the need to roost. And even though she was born on the sea among the Svefra, her steel grey eyes precluded her from belonging to or among them. Alvadas had been just a stopover, a place to be sold and owned. In Lhavit she’d been free. Here, she was just a tool, a decoration, and nothing more. Yesterday, Jarens tool. Tonight, Darvin’s. The Sea Eagle in her wanted to scream her outrage. The person Kelski was just tried to remain calm.

Kelski looked like she wanted to say something more, ask him perhaps if his boat got fixed or if he was doing well, but she could see for herself he seemed fine and was here, perhaps to make some coin. So instead she just lowered her eyelashes over her wide eyes and said nothing more. His half-smirk told her all she needed to know. He was no shelter in life’s storm. None of them was.

And by that time the Daggerhand was speaking and caught the crowd’s attention. Then the priest took over. She froze when he pointed at her, and started to back away. Darvin’s firm hand on her shoulder prevented her from taking a step backwards. She felt the weight of the bird land on her opposite shoulder and Kelski turned to meet its gaze through the curious skull it wore. Unlike others in the crowd, she wasn’t creeped out or scared or unnerved by the crows. She actually liked them. To the one on her shoulder she trilled quietly too, switching out to a language only birds could understand. It was not an eagle like she was, but it was something small and fierce and highly intelligent anyhow. And she greeted it as kin, reaching up to finger the copper skull hanging from her neck. It was perhaps heavier than the bone one the bird wore, but by the end of the night she would try and convince it to take the skull with it, perhaps gift it to one of theirs that had no skull to wear. She didn’t want the memories she thought the skull contained lost because none of the crows were now wearing it because Darvin had killed its previous owner.

Her thoughts were distracted from memories and the skull crow on her shoulder as Thorne was tossed unceremoniously overboard. Distracted, she didn’t know why the woman was ejected nor was she surprised that it was Erik that rescued her. Darvin grinned at Raynor and saluted him with…. a flask he was quietly taking a pull from. Kelski wanted to rush to the side of the ship, but between Darvin and the Crow and the fact that Thorne was being fished out, there was nothing she could do.

Her keeper turned her, following Raynor, obviously going with him to the Courtyard. Kelski didn’t know what Darvin’s plans were from there. And she could not help but dragging her heels until she knew Thorne was safely rescued. She avoided looking at K’irr. Though he was responsible for her being where she was, at least in part, it embarrassed her to be there with him, for him to see her full of holes and every aspect of her life controlled by the large older guard who seemed he was getting quietly drunk. Liquid courage.

The Kelvic paused at Erik’s question, thinking that was something she wanted to know as well. Darvin, however, took another pull on his flask and looked at the hedge maze and then at Kelski’s crow. He wasn’t a particularly outdoorsy person, but If someone wanted to hide something, a maze was a good place to start. Besides, that’s where the most powerful seeming person in the group was going. He didn’t want to be left behind.

He’d wait for someone to answer Erik’s question, then he’d turn to Kelski. “Kelski. See if the crow can lead us to the center of the maze from the air.” The Kelvic nodded and reached up quietly to stroke the Crow’s breast. She wasn’t sure the bird would understand spoken commands, and her in the language of birds asking a bird something as complicated as being a guide was probably not going to be happening. But she tried. If the bird would not, the shadows in the maze probably could if they could be persuaded or seduced. “He wants to go to the center of the maze… to walk it. I want to go where he goes. Can you lead us through it?” She asked carefully in common, then tried again in the language of birds… the concept of center was difficult. So instead she asked to follow it into the hedge, the place of twists and turns, to its core… to the good parts of it. Relating task to food was always a boon when dealing with something as smart as a crow.

She only hoped it understood.
They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
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