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Kelski teams up with Vasin to do a little Recon.

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

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As Above So Below

Postby Vasin on February 1st, 2019, 3:26 pm

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[Vasin tried to visualize in his mind what Kelski was describing and despite both remembering and not remembering she did a very good job at describing the realms outside their own. This realm called Chevana, it sounded like a place like no other. He was captivated by her words as he listened and imagined. This world of silver lines with all of their lives and histories entangled upon them. Twisted together in spots as if threads of destiny that ran through a black void. Did he wonder if maybe the stars above were those threads shining through to their solid realm? Not only that, but she had apparently been there, and he was convinced she was with how she described the place. Vasin now knew, that not only had she been to the edge of their world, but beyond it into other worlds. He wasn't sure how one might reach a place, and even she didn't seem entirely sure. But he believed her none the less and would quietly nod."Tangled..." he said quietly."Indeed, I am sure our Chavi would be tangled. I wonder for how far? For how long? How many times?" he pondered wondering how many more times their cords would come together."You are both an explorer of this world and the next it seems." he said with a nod."Certainly more experience at exploring then I." he added knowing his career as an explorer had just started. Maybe someday he would see this world, and see his Chavi.

As he had been looking over the key, examining it he had noticed it's a faint glow but did not dare to turn off his light to get a better look. It was like trying to squint at something in the far distance. But then something else caught his attention, another glow as his eyes would come up to meet Kelski's own which glowed like liquid mercury. He blinked surprised and nearly took a step back, and tensed up a little having not expected this. He remained silent but alert as she moved from examining him to examining the key which he had not bothered to retract. Vasin looked to her curiously as she spoke, now more interested in her then the key. His eyes never leaving her for even a split moment as she spoke. The words rolled through his mind but barely stuck his attention on her. Then Kelski realized what she had done and asked if her being a mage was a problem. At first, Vasin did not respond keeping that same investigative and almost critical expression as he thought over his response. Then after a tense moment he sighed and let his own guard down and his muscles relaxed."No." he responded."But you are full of surprises, you know that?" he said with a half smile."You know..." he said as if coming to a realization."For all the talk of how evil mages are up above, you are all right." he said letting himself come to his own conclusion."Interesting..." he said thinking for a moment before shaking his head."What was to glowy eye thing for?" he asked letting his curiosity take over once more.

Vasin would tug at his beard for a moment thinking about her proposition."Well, any friend of yours is an acquaintance of mine I say." he would say simply before looking to the Mule."Plus I wouldn't want our new friend here in their condition to be put in harm's way." he said has taken a liking to the Mule."But yeah, you go get your friend and I'll wait with the Mule by the entrance." he reconfirmed with Kelski. Following Kelski back through the tunnels and tracing their steps they would make their way back towards the entrance. Vasin leading the mule by the lead as they would eventually make to the crumbled basement."A rough map?" he smirked thinking back to the path they had taken."Yeah, I think I can do that." he nodded as he would take out his notebook and a writing utensil. He would as Kelski left to get started on the map for when they returned. Vasin thought back, the way they had gone picturing it in his mind was a little difficult. But he recalled the landmarks and the bends they had taken. So he drew a top-down view of the tunnel. It was simple, two lines to represent it on his piece of paper. It was rough, it was simple, and not entirely accurate. But considering they had only gone one way it was good enough he figured. Once his utensil slipped so he had to start over. But soon enough he had a rough map up ready with landmarks wrote in. Instead of trying to draw them he just put down the words for them. Minecart, mine tracks, dead Brat, and a corpse. He would rather not leave it up to interpretation. The lines were a bit shaky as he had not braced the pad when drawing it out.

After finishing Vasin would sit there for some time with the Mule. Occasionally throwing out a word of encouragement to his new friend. But when up above he heard hooves, and then Kelski's familiar voice he would get up and take the lead of the Mule. Navigating the both of them up the stairs was a little difficult at first, but the Mule followed regardless. Vasin would lead the mule out of the crumbled house and into the outside air. When Kelski introduced him to Anja and Anja to him he nodded putting out his hand for a shake."Nice to meet ya." he said in pleasantries before watching Anja interact with the Mule. Their wounds were much more visible out in daylight, and it was obvious to Vasin at least that they had not had a very good time down there in the dark. Before they left Vasin would take out the rough map he had made."Here, before you go. Made this for ya." Vasin said handing them the piece of paper with the crude map drawn onto it.
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As Above So Below

Postby Kelski on February 23rd, 2019, 3:36 pm

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With the mule safely in Anja’s hands, Vasin and Kelski were free to pursue the rest of their exploration. Kelski felt better with Anja having a copy of the map in his hands in case they didn’t return promptly when she suggested they’d be back. Underground exploration was difficult. It required preparation and counter measures against accidents. Kelski was eager to get to the area beneath both where the Midnight Gem rested and below where she wanted to build the new business. She was interested in seeing what was beneath these regions, if anything, and what there was to worry about there. However, the key itself and the dead miner posed a mystery that would be hard pressed to pass up.

She was glad Vasin and Anja got to meet, however briefly, because she knew Vasin was in the same situation as Kelski and regardless of who kept the mule, they’d need Anja’s help with it. Kelski wasn’t about to turn the animal out on its own… not after her experiences with her own horse Moth and how horrible people in Sunberth could be.

So, when Anja and Maisa were safely on their way back to The Midnight Gem with the new mule in tow, Kelski got back with Vasin and smiled. She wore her hair loose now, partially to conceal a pair of ornate ear cuffs she had slipped onto her ear lobes to assist their newest endeavor. Empress Rynenia's Silver Cuffs had been a gift from Gilthas when she’d gained her second element. They would assist her ability to track the miner’s wanderings below ground until they could find the origin of the cat skeleton and some of the other things they’d found in the mule’s pack. And while she didn’t exactly mention such things to Vasin, as their friendship developed, Kelski felt like she’d open up to him more and more about magic and all it could do for a person. Until then though… she’d wait, quietly using what she had to aid what she could on their joint endeavor.

The Kelvic was in a good mood now. They’d managed to rescue an animal, discovered a mystery, and were in the process of trying to solve it. “Keep up.” Kelski said with a grin to Vasin, and took off at a slow easy jog back through the basement, into the tunnels, and back the way they’d traversed twice now. She led them back through the marked trail they’d taken to where they’d found the miner and mule… pausing only to light the lanterns on their helmets and her hand lantern as they’d passed from the light to the darkness.

“I feel better with the mule taken care of… I feel like we are freer to explore the rest of this. I really want to see what’s beneath my business but finding out what this man was up too might be more important. Do you have any idea what sort of thing that key fits?” Kelski asked, curious. They had walked on, back through the tunnels, until they got to the spot they found the mule. That was where Kelski’s ear cuffs came in and she started scouting around. Not truly used to tracking, the woman spread out and circled the cavern, stepping over agates as she did so until she found what she could clearly tell were tracks. There was one set of each… human and mule. The man had been leading the mule, but there was blood splots and sign all along the way so whatever he’d been hurt from it hadn’t been from the cavern he’d been found in. It had been from deeper in.

“Lets leave him… and follow the tracks.” Kelski pointed out, gesturing off the way the mule and miner had come. She had no interest in burying the man. He wasn’t her friend and she had no idea what type of person he had been in life. Dead was dead and leaving him for the brats to eat was no different a fate that awaited anyone who found misfortune here. If Vasin agreed, Kelski would follow the trail deeper into the caverns, making sure she made marks when they took branches or turned off the main trail. She even marked the tunnels in their lengths partway, knowing sometimes branches and side shoots were easy to miss.

They continued walking for a long time, the tracks clearer to her than they would have been without the ear cuffs, until the whole trail took a seep turn in a wide cavern and they ended up at a huge set of double metal doors. The doors were ornate, scrolled with iron, and read “Dunstan’s Biological Collection” in wrought iron. Kelski couldn’t see into the darkness very far, for it was truly very very dark, but she turned to Vasin. “What in the world?!?” She asked, then tried to open the gates. They were well preserved and looked like they could open easily with a light touch… just like they had been in their younger day. But the one problem as that they were locked.

“Do you still have that key, Vasin?” She asked curiously… knowing this was more than likely wehre the miner had found his trouble. The tracks lead straight out of the gate, beneath the locked mechanism, though there were scrapes in the stoen that indicated the gates had been swung open and closed recently. Kelski stopped and waited for Vasin, wondering what in the world this place was. “Any clue what a biological collection is?” She said, wondering if it was a human thing.
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As Above So Below

Postby Vasin on February 26th, 2019, 8:57 pm

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Vasin was glad they had gotten the Mule to safety and was glad that they had decided to not press on with it. Poor creature wouldn't have lasted too much longer down there. Not to mention their plans did not involve a mule, so their preparations would have been diminished in a way. So all in all this was the best possible solution Vasin thought. He watched as Anja and the Mule left before he would look back to Kelski ready to move forward. Their encounter with the Mule and their dead master had raised a number of questions and mysteries. He was more than a little curious himself to find out what had transpired down there. To find and discover what led to the scene they had happened upon. It was more then he had come to expect, that was for certain.

Upon looking to Kelski he noticed how now she wore her hair loose. They took note of those ornate ear cuffs she had slipped on. He wondered what they were, as he had not seen them before."What are those?" he asked in a curious tone. Vasin wondered what use they could have? Were they magical? Some sort of device? No way to know unless she told him he figured. With the reveal that she was a mage, there were suddenly a lot more questions that swam around in his head. But he figured that in all due time he would be able to ask her. Though the fact that she was a mage answered why she had been so insistent before talking about them in the library. It made sense, and in retrospect maybe it was obvious? She had said they could be right under everyone noses. Vasin pondered how true of a statement that could really be.

"Yeah, I'm glad that mule is taken care of as well. I don't think we prepared for a last moment addition to our adventuring party." Vasin said just feeling better now that he knew their new friend was safe and with someone nice."Plus, there could be places we could fit but they wouldn't be able to." Vasin added on thinking it had been a good idea."As for what they key could fit..." Vasin said with a pause thinking about it."Well given the circumstances it must go to something important right? Otherwise, it would be a normal one." Vasin said with a nod thinking that made sense."Maybe it goes to a lockbox or a door with something important inside?" he asked though mainly thinking out loud. Vasin would follow along keeping close as they traced their steps. Eventually, they found their way to the point in which they had found the mule and the body. He would watch from where he stood as Kelski seemingly circled the area as if searching for something.

Vasin looked the way the Man and the Mule had come from before looking back to Kelski."Sounds good." he said having no qualms with leaving the body."I'd say he is berried enough anyways." Vasin said gesturing to the ceiling. They were underground, and burying him any deeper could be both a waste of time and dangerous. At that Vasin would join her in following the tracks keeping an eye out as they went. Whatever had killed that man still had to be down here. Or maybe it could of escape somewhere else? But where? Who knew! Well, they would know for certain if they found it. Regardless, Vasin stayed on his toes so to speak.

Vasin blinked when they turned the corner to be faced with a set of ornate metal doors. That wasn't the sort of thing he would expect to find down here. But then again, he had not expected a mule or a key. Vasin would read the lettering understanding the name well enough. It was common to declare ownership in such a way. But the latter half was a sort of head-scratcher for him."Yeah exactly!" he said staring at it after Kelski had turned to him."I suppose we came down here to make discoveries. Here is a discovery..." Vasin said as he watched Kelski approach the door and try it. Well, it was locked and wouldn't budge."Looks practically new..." Vasin quietly commented.

A sudden moment of realization hit Vasin when Kelski had asked if he had the key. It made perfect sense! "Of course! One moment..." Vasin said as he would reach for the key looking through his bag."No clue. It's some sort of collection thats for sure. Could be treasure?" Vasin asked as he brought out the key."Wait for a second..." Vasin said thinking back as he handed her the key."Could it have to do with that skull?" he asked her.
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As Above So Below

Postby Kelski on February 27th, 2019, 3:00 am

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Kelski smiled at Vasin. “My mentor gave them to me for earning my second element at Reimancy.” She said softly, her eyes whimsical. “Reimancy deals with elements... earth air fire and water. When you get inducted you start with one element. It’s always something of a surprise, nothing you pick up. But when you advance through your studies, you gain a second and a third as you progress. I’m on my second element. I have Air and then Water. Gilthas gave them to me upon earning my second element. He likes giving gifts and honestly, I love receiving them. I… spent a long time as a slave and never owned a single thing. Everything I have I’ve earned and because of not having anything… I really appreciate it when things are given in love or appreciation. Like your climbing gear. I was happy to give you that. Anyhow.. when I earned water, he gifted me with these ear cuffs. They are indeed magical. They help me track things. I am not a tracker by nature.. though I am learning. But they make it very easy. Would you like to try them? Either now or working our way out? You can see what I mean. Things become so much clearer. I was hoping you wouldn’t notice them… they are rather ornate and not to my taste, but they work very well.” Kelski said softly, conversationally. “They used to belong to an Alahean Empress.” She added, giving him a grin.

She continued on a few steps, standing before the gates of the collection now, and glanced at him. “It really doesn’t bother you, does it? About me being a mage?” She said gently. “You know, I had hoped if it didn’t, we could study morphing together so you could learn to grow wings and we could take some of those trips you want to take in the air, scouting the sky as eagles. I know someone who knows how to fly that could teach you…” She threw it out there with a sly almost flirty grin, knowing Vasin would be an excellent person for the mage guild in Sunberth that Gilthas had planned. He had a helping heart, a gentle soul, and was driven by the need to explore. But she wanted to introduce him to things carefully, slowly, giving him time to think. He was smart, driven, and she didn’t have to tell him everything for him to put pieces together. She’d seen that in him the first time they’d met.

She nodded at what he was saying about the mule, the miner being buried, and them being here to make discoveries. After all, they were exploring their world, getting to know it better, and making progress. Kelski just hadn’t expected to find a mule, a dead minor, a huge fanged cat skull, and a key all in the dirt of the saddle packs. She was still puzzling over dirt. What in the world caused the dirt?

“Yea.. it does look fairly used. I wonder if someone lives here?” Kelski said cautiously. Her eyesight wasn’t the best in the lowlight. She was a diurnal creature, one living by day and sleeping by night in her animal form, so she wasn’t well versed in night vision. “I really need to study the structure of eyes that have infravision and nightvision and try to replicate them. Wouldn’t that be handy to use to morph your eyes so you can see down here without light?” She said whimsically.

When the key came up in conversation, Kelski shook her head. “It looks too big for that. I’m thinking maybe a building key or something similar.” She said until the gates came into view. “Or maybe gates…” She said with a grin at him. That was then she realized exactly what the key probably led too. Kelski stood staring up at the massive wrought iron gates with their writing and shook her head. “You never know what you’ll find down here. What exactly is a biological collection? Is that like a garden?” She had no ideas herself, never having seen or heard of a zoo before

When he offered her the key, she held out her hand, refusing it. “You do it. Let me guard your back as you do.” She said, concentrating on tapping her well and bringing up her magesight. Djed pooled in her eyes and in her nose, filling her senses and she looked with both, getting better with auristics. The aura of the place lit up and she saw no evidence of shielding or other magics, though there were faint whisps of smells that showed up in her heightened senses as living normal creatures. One scent was very heavy, musky, almost like a reptile. Kelski blinked. “Do you smell that?” She asked, cautiously and curiously. “It smells heavily of… .of….” She tried to pinpoint the smell, but she was failing until she realized where she’d smelled it before… in the poison shop a woman had worked in she’d met in her first season in Sunberth. Poisons… from snakes.

“It smells like snake around here.” She said suddenly, feeling the musky scents light up in her vision as she scanned around. She studied the ground, finding it too smooth to leave tracks. That’s when she saw it.. .bits of scale, smooth worn marks in the stone… places it looked like a large creature was passing under the wrought iron or through decorative sections. She paced back and forth across the gates that covered the cavern opening and saw even more signs. There were bones… quite a few off to the side… that looked like they’d been eaten once already. They were worn smooth, like something had tried to digest them. Kelski didn’t like the look at it at all, but she wasn’t sure voicing her fear to Vasin was a smart thing.

“It could be living here or it could be long gone, but it looks like some sort of really big snake has been around… I don’t know how long ago. I’m not sure how to tell how fresh things are.” she said, finding the ear cuffs no help in that at all.

“I still think you should try the gate.” She said, standing away from it to give Vasin room. This was his moment, his victory… he was the one that found the key. Kelski kept scanning the background, picking through auras and scent signatures that the auristics could detect. Nothing… nothing…. nothing….

And then… out of the darkness on the other side of the gate, the biggest snake Kelski had ever seen in her life eased into view. It’s thick tongue flicked out and in, as if it were tasting the air and seeing them with the appendage. Kelski stared at it on the far side of the gate, knowing full well it could pass through easily enough.

“Uh… Vasin… do you see it?” She asked quietly, not sure how far along he was in the whole ‘attempting to unlock the gate’ situation.
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As Above So Below

Postby Vasin on March 3rd, 2019, 8:11 pm

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Mentor? Vasin thought but immediately realized that yeah of course. No doubt magic was like any skill, and to truly master it one needed not just practice, but a mentor as well. It was something he had not really ever even thought about before. But there was something else she said, Reimacy which Kelski quickly went on to explain. Vasin was not versed in the terminology of the schools of magic, not even a little. So this was all a bit new to him, though the results of learning it sounded familiar based on what he had been told of magic. Vasin nodded quietly as she continued explaining how you earned each element and the reason why she had come to appreciate genuine gifts so much. Without a doubt, those meant a lot to her, and her connection to magic meant a lot to her as well."Even with how things started out for me here in Sunberth, I cannot begin to imagine what that must of been like. Instead of owning things, to be owned..." Vasin said with a shake of his head. For all of his time in Sunberth, he had at least never been deprived of such freedoms. Kelski had clawed her way to where is now, from sheer force of will."So, I do very much appreciate the climbing gear." Vasin said reinforcing his earlier stated gratitude with a glimpse of Kelskis past in mind."But yes, that sounds like a great gift from your mentor." he said a nod and a pause as he eyed the cuffs once more."I would very much like to try them out on the way out." Vasin said though pausing at the last part she had said."Alahean huh?" Vasin said not sounding too sure if he was familiar with or not, and indeed he was not in the least bit."Weren't they the ones that made the deep tunnels?" he asked not entirely sure if that was them or others.

"Well, since I know you I don't have an issue with it." Vasin said trying to explain his reaction to it."Your a good person, so what they say can't be all true right?" Vasin said referring to the superstitious people of Sunberth."I'm sure there are reasons behind it. But those reasons can't apply to every person." Vasin said with an assured shake of his head."I like to try and form my own opinions when I can." Vasin added on though seemed very intrigued by the proposition she had put out there."Wings?" Vasin said extremely interested in such a notion."I would be very interested in meeting this person. I'm sure it would make map making easier." he said wanting to sound serious when in all true fact, he just found the idea of flying to be extremely fun. This perhaps could be read. "Just hope I have a mind for it." Vasin said tapping the side of his head. He wasn't entirely sure if he had what it took to learn such things. After all, if magic was easy then everyone in the world would utilize it. Had to be a catch somewhere right?

"I wouldn't doubt it. This would be an amazing hideout." Vasin said though made a consideration."Though what kind of person would live down here?" he said wondering if maybe it was a gang hideout? Or maybe the operation of someone who preferred to operate away from peering eyes."Infravision?" Vasin asked sounding the word out a little. Yet another word Vasin was not entirely familiar with."If it can help you see without light I'm sure it would be very useful. Not just for seeing either." Vasin said pointing to his headlamp."But also for not being seen. In this city, I believe whether above or below ground it is better to not draw attention to oneself." Vasin reasoned to her liking it for both those reasons.

Vasin agreed to go ahead and unlock the door himself and would approach it in a curious manner."All right, let's hope this is the right key..." Vasin mumbled as he would then insert it into the keyhole. Vasin would start to turn the key when he heard Kelski begin to speak up."Smell what?" he asked before giving an experimental sniff the air. He picked up the strong rich scent of dirt and dust."A snake?" Vasin questioned as he thought back to the time he had seen a rather small snake, kinda like a gardener snake. Nothing too dangerous, though he had always been told some small snakes had really dangerous venom. But that wouldn't be a big deal if they just watched where they stepped right? Vasin reasoned this to himself having paused at the gate for some time now.

"A big snake? Well, I'm sure it can't be around here anymore." Vasin said though he had no real scale of size for how large a snake could truly get."All right, time to see what is behind this gate." Vasin said as he turned the key, the telltale click of the lock disengaging could be heard. Vasin then pushed the gate open with a smirk."Ah! It worked!" Vasin said rather pleased with the result of what they had found. He was about to take a step as he looked to Kelski."See wh--" Vasin said looking to the now opened gate and froze. He did not speak for an instant."Yes, I think I see it!" Vasin said very surprisedly indeed by what he saw at the edge of the light. Quickly he drew his sword in an almost panic bringing the long sword up defensively."It is massive!" Vasin exclaimed as he took one and then two steps back.

The snake was sensing them, tasting them, and hearing them it's head moving back and forth between the two of them. The massive snake slithered forward perhaps a foot or two more towards them before it stopped, it's head pointed directly at Kelski. Tasting the air once more with that forked tongue of it's before it seemingly started to pull back a little. It seemed to be... rearing back? coiling up a little it's neck if you could call it that slowly forming an s pattern. Then, with the stored up energy it lunged forward at Kelski! Mouth open and fanged beared as it went for her leg. The massive snake hurled itself through the air rather quickly wanting to get a hold of her.
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As Above So Below

Postby Kelski on March 17th, 2019, 5:14 pm

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Kelski swallowed hard and bowed her head slightly. “It is not something I am proud of… my past as a slave.” Many people would have looked down on her for her origins. Many people wouldn’t have understood. She didn’t know how Vasin was going to react. He seemed to gloss over it though, like it was not important to him and she was glad for it. And she was also happy he liked her gift to him. No one had ever given her any gear. Everything she had she’d earned in her own way, so she knew what those sorts of things meant to people.

The Kelvic didn’t know how to respond to his question. “I don’t know who made the tunnels, Vasin. I’m not certain anyone alive did. When the Valterrian happened, I don’t think there was such a thing as Suvan or Alahean anymore. I think people were either alive or dead and that was the one important thing.” She mused, wishing she knew more history, but knowing there wasn’t really a way here to learn.

To his utter acceptance, she simply said “Thank you.” It was a gift of sorts in return… a way of making things easier between them because she wouldn’t have to lie to him and their friendship could definitely grow. “I’m not always a good person though. I try to be. Maybe that’s what counts the most?” She said, thinking of all the blood on her hands and how many times she’d cut down someone for just trying to hurt her or hurt others. Kelski didn’t like being a judge and jury, or in turn being judged and tried by others as well. But Sunberth had no justice system save for who was stronger on the streets, and that caused a problem more often than not, forcing people into such roles.

“I’ll introduce you. Maybe on our way back from the explore, I can show you the way to his place. It’s rather easy to find from beneath The Midnight Gem.” She said, knowing Gilthas would like the drop in company. “And as for you having a mind for it… I don’t know, Vasin. I think it has to do with how much you can visualize something in your mind. I know as I walk these tunnels, they form a sort of dimensional map in my mind – something living and breathing and I can learn their ways by following that mental map. If that’s what happens in your mind, then I think you’ll take to magic just fine. If its harder and you have to refer to what you have written in your notebook, then it might take more practice. I know a way for me to help hon those skills were looking at pictures and playing a game.” Kelski explained.

“If I have a picture… a sketch, I fold it in half and try to build the other half of the picture in my mind including all the details… then unfold the picture and see how well I remembered. The other game I play – with my family – is to have them assemble a bunch of different things on a table. The table might hold a book, a dagger, a piece of string or rope, a cup, some paper with words written on it, a bit of plant or leaves… just a ton of stuff. Then I have them make a list of everything that is on the table and cover it with a blanket. Then, without having seen the table first, I have them lift the blanket for a full chime while I look. Then I try and write down everything I remember seeing and see how much of the list I can see.” She said.

Kelski added. “Details are hard to remember but its an important practice exercise for sharpening your observation and ability to remember things. When we exercise our muscles, they bulk up and grow stronger. When you exercise your mind, the same thing happens. Such exercises need to flex your mind as well. That’s why mages have true power. They are thinkers, explorers and they question the reality around them.” Kelski responded, almost wistfully.

The Sea Eagle nodded at all of Vasin’s insights. He was a smart man, she decided and not for the first time, putting pieces together and deciding things she only fringly thought about. She nodded to his thoughts on hideouts and infravision, then froze when the snake smell filled the area. It was snake but not, tinged with a metallic flavor that Kelski was unfamiliar with.

Kelski narrowed her eyes, looking before she moved further in. Vasin had successfully opened the gate, and that had seemed to set the snake into motion. It wasn’t a normal snake though. There was something odd about it. She peered deeper, sharpening her eagles vision in the near darkness backed by her Night Stalker favored gifts. Metal slid against stone…. Metal? Kelski tilted her head, and slowly it dawned on her what was looking at. The snake had metal scales! Kelski’s jaw almost dropped. She hunted snakes quite a bit, finding them delicious, but this was something she’d never seen.

The big creature lunged suddenly, probably recognizing her as food, and bared its heavily toothed mouth as it did so. Kelski leapt to the side, trying to get out of its way, and skidded to a halt in time to draw a dagger and throw it. She hissed in frustration as her dagger slammed into it directly between the eyes and the metal snake scale bounced right off. “My daggers won’t penetrate it!” She called to Vasin, watching her blade skitter off into the darkness… useless.

The snake blinked and she realized suddenly she had to target its eyes or even where the metal plating wasn’t covering vital things. But where? She honestly couldn’t see a place the plating didn’t cover. “Be careful Vasin… I don’t know how well your sword will do against it either. It has lots of teeth, not long fangs, so I think it’s a constrictor. It may not be poisonous. But I’m not sure.” She said, backing up, trying to get a bearing on what she needed to do. If Vasin dove in, that might give her time to put together her crossbow and see if her bolts could penetrate the metal skin easier.
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As Above So Below

Postby Vasin on March 19th, 2019, 2:54 pm

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"It wasn't something you could control." Vasin said in response with a pause."One wrong step, one wrong turn, or a bad day is all that separates someone from becoming a slave." he said looking over to her."Even I could wind up in the blood pits fighting for my life if I was unlucky." he said with a slight shrug."In a city that its people praise for its freedom, it sure has a lot of unfree people." he said in a rather cynical way."While many in Sunberth may view one another are either predator or prey, the slavers view people as livestock. Any freedom in the former is stripped by the latter." Vasin reasoned out to Kelski though sighed a little."Something about the slavers here in Sunberth feels more sinister to me than the mugger who wants to empty my pockets of coin." he said with a pause."Monster men they are." Vasin would say in conclusion.

"I suppose so." Vasin would say thinking about it a little."I also suppose that is part of the reason we are down here?" he added but would further speak."To learn more about the tunnels. Whoever, or whatever created them must have left some clues yeah? Even if natural." Vasin said though considered something further."But by now, the origins of the tunnel are no doubt covered up. At least this far up. Depending on how deep it goes... We could perhaps find places that are undisturbed?" Vasin said though not entirely sure."Sure it's the same thing, with the world outside of this city. Lots waiting to be uncovered that has not been touched by people in generations." Vasin said optimistically to Kelski.

"That is all one can do." Vasin said thinking back to the debtor who had run."Is try." he would say knowing that it was hard to be good in a city like Sunberth."In Sunberth that is all one can do. Usually, it eats people up who try to do too much good." Vasin said knowing that was the reason why hero types did not last that long here."Plus..." Vasin said with a very short pause."I'm sure that even some of the greatest heroes of history have skeletons in their closest. So you are all right by my books." he said believing that no one could be perfect. It would be insane to try and be perfect. One can only do what they are capable of.

"Dimensional map huh?" he asked not entirely sure what she meant by that."Like being able to see it in fullness rather than flatly?" he asked further."I think I can sort of do that. I sometimes do it when I am walking the streets up above." Vasin said making a short gesture upwards."But..." he said trailing off a little."I don't always do it. Sort of difficult to conjure up in my mind." he said before moving on a little."I'm sure though with some effort I can hone it in, and do it naturally. Maybe those pictures and games would help me as well?" he asked Kelski curiously."What sort of games are they?" he added on in addition to his previous question.

Soon enough Kelski was answering his questions about it, and in a way, it made sense to him. It was like exercising a muscle as she had said."Yeah, those two ways of practicing seem like they would help with details." Vasin said and then as an experiment tried to visualize the inside of his tent. There was the bedroll in the center. His chest to the right-hand side when he entered. But, some of it was blurry. Like how had he left the bedroll? Wait, did he leave his chest open or not? It appeared sort of flat in his mind as well. He had a general memory of what the inside of his tent looked like. But it was something he did not pay much attention to. He carried the vast majority of his belongings on him to try and make sure they were not looted while he was gone."I'll have to try both. See how it goes from there. Just tried to recall what the inside of my tent home looked like." he said perhaps a tad embarrassed."Didn't recall all of the details." he admitted.

The way the snake had suddenly lunged so quickly, and then the way Kelski had so skillfully lept out of the way. It had been hard to keep track of down here in the dark with the only light being lantern and torch. Her daggers won't penetrate? What did Kelski mean they won't? He turned himself to face the massive snake his sword in a high guard. Though he felt the tip of his sword bump the top of the tunnel. So instead he just merely pointed the sword towards the snake."This thing is tough huh?" Vasin questioned out loud his eyes locked on the metallic creature."Will need to avoid letting it get a hold of me then." Vasin said in response upon hearing it was a constrictor. However, at this point not only had Vasin locked his eyes on the snake, but it had locked eyes on him. It began to rear back, making an s shape out of its body. Here it comes! Vasin realized this after recalling how it had lunged at Kelski.

Pink and open mouth baring its fangs the iron scaled snake lunged forward with a hefty weight! Vasin seeing this decided to try and drive his sword right into the open maw of the snake! In a blur between him and the snake he thrust forward trying his best to aim for the mouth. While his thrust was indeed fast and precise, it would seem it was not enough! The tip of his blade nicked the corner of its open mouth and then slid along its face and tube-like body! For the briefest of moments, sparks erupted and his blade rasped against the metal scales of the snake! Barely able to shout out in surprise the massive snake was going for his upper leg. The moment his blade had started to skid over the body of the snake seemed like ages. As this happened in utter shock and surprise Vasin began to move his body to avoid the bite. With the power in his legs which felt like anvils, he pushed himself into a side step. Nearly stumbling over as he did so the snake rocketed past his leg and landed. It came to a stop half behind him, and a half in front of him.

Vasin began to turn to face the snake, but it had already begun to make its move as he did so. In an instant, its tail came around his right ankle while its front came around the left side. Vasin attempted to throw it off with a kick, however, the metal clad form of the snake was quick to reassert itself. It started to wrap itself around Vasin's legs! Slowly climbing up and increasing pressure to try and drive his feet together and force him to fall over."No, you don't!" Vasin practically shouted as he would bring his sword up and then bring it swinging down! The blade smashed against the tube like a form of the massive snake, and while it did not cut, it did seem to stun the creature!
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As Above So Below

Postby Kelski on April 14th, 2019, 5:55 pm

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Kelski thought about what Vasin said and nodded. “You know, I thought it was something I couldn’t control either. But since I’ve been free, I have honestly come to realize you control more of your life than you realize. Part of slavery is controlling the person you own by pain or fear. You wrap chains around their mind, not just physical restraints. You relieve them of all their hope and willpower. That’s how you control them. And once you let that stuff stop controlling so much of your life when captured… the fear and pain I mean… you find more inner strength a sort of power … so much more… and that allows you to find ways to move, to be free, to separate yourself from situations that don’t favor you.” Kelski said softly, but with conviction. She was starting to really like Vasin – to be more open with him – and this was vulnerable territory for her. But she told him anyhow, because it was a truth she stood by.

“I agree… but I think its more than that, Vasin. You can’t just try. You have to find a way and ‘do’.” Kelski said adamantly. “Sometimes its not about comfort or investment. Sometimes its just life and death. And that’s when try has to become do. You just have to get it done, however you have to… the miner we found was a good example. He tried. And he died. He should be alive now… there’s no in between in many things in Sunberth. Maybe in a softer more beautiful less cursed city that would not be true. But here, it is.” Kelski said passionately. She watched Vasin too, wanting him to truthfully understand.

When he assured her that being a slave meant nothing to him in her past, she offered him a smile. “Thank you. So many people would not feel that way. That’s why I don’t say much about it. Those were dark times. Slaves have no power because they are not taught to gather any. They are subjected to long hours of work, no rest, and in my case the person supposed to guard me made sure I tested his drugs he cooked up… I was often sick or out of it.” She admitted.

“In the end, I killed him though. It was not as satisfying as I thought it would be. I killed him because after I was free he came after me and hurt me.” Kelski said softly. “The biggest lesson I have from that is that death is not the end. Now he still haunts me.. but as a ghost.” Kelski admitted, knowing Darvin was out there somewhere and he could strike again at any time. They’d drained him of strength but he was immortal now, as he was, and there’d be no true killing him.

“I think its easier for flying creatures. But if you ever learn magic and gain wings, you will have to think dimensionally, Vasin. We just don’t have straight lines radiating from set points – meaning us – when you have wings. You have up down, and all around. It’s the same with sea creatures that swim. That’s why when I map make or think of a map in my head, I often build a ceiling or stretch it downward in my mind, because even caves can loop back beneath or over the top of themselves and you won’t actually know where you are going unless you know a cavern drops and doubles back under itself.” She added, looking thoughtful. Kelski often made sure she did things – remembered things – in terms as if she could fly or if she had to walk.

She smiled. If he wanted to play the memory games, she could set a few up for him. She thought perhaps because of his attention to detail he’d do well with them. It might be a challenge for her to, finding things that were so non-descript he wouldn’t rightly remember them. Time would tell, but she made a note to remember to remind him and to play.

Then there was the snake.

Kelski had never seen anything like it. It was huge, metallic, and had seemingly no vulnerabilities to its scales. She tried fighting it, but had very little luck until she stepped back as Vasin acted and let him at it. He had as much trouble as she did – which truthfully made her feel better – but it also worried her that they might be out of their league. She learned from watching that it was fast, maneuverable, and wasn’t hindered by the fact it seemed to be supernatural. It had Vasin in a moment of inattention or just simply in a moment where the man didn’t know what to do… and wrapped around his legs. Vasin brought the blade down on the snakes body hard, but it didn’t cut. Kelski flinched at the reverberation that coursed through the creature’s body and winced at how much that should have hurt Vasin’s arm as well.

She moved in to act then, unwilling to let her friend be coiled in a snake’s grip and probably eaten alive. Drawing her spare dagger to add to the grip she already had on Pitch, Kelski swiftly drew up behind Vasin. She used his body for cover, since he was already acting as some sort of climbing tree for the huge beast, and noted where the snakes head was. Then she twisted around him to the right, and nailed the snake directly in the left eye, driving the blade deeply. Darting back, even as the snake reared back, she twisted around Vasin’s left side and drove pitch into its right eye. She kept her grips on the daggers, twisting them deeply as they entered the pupils one at a time, and pulling them out a mangled mess of eyeball and brain. Kelski hissed in Vasin’s ear as she fought, not wanting him to get bit and trying to prevent herself from being bit as well. The blades were long enough to destroy much of the snakes brain and it started twitching even as it went limp and released Vasin, its coils falling to the ground with a large metallic clang.

Kelski sheathed her daggers, grabbed Vasin’s shoulders, and physically hauled him back while steadying him so he didn’t trip over the coils around his legs. She moved back a great deal, wanting distance from the thing in case it wasn’t dead. When she deemed it safe, she released him, slipped in front of him, and studied his expression intently.

“Did it bite you? Are you okay? What in the world was that thing? Snakes aren’t metal are they?” She demanded, as if he had answers she didn’t have. Kelski looked scared. Her skin was paler than normal and her silver eyes were mercurial and wide. She didn’t look on the verge of flight, just under the rush of fear and battle.

“Do you think there are any more?” She said suddenly, her head darting around to see what she could see.
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As Above So Below

Postby Vasin on April 21st, 2019, 6:31 pm

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Vasin considered what Kelski had said about what slavery means and what it means to be a slave. He nodded, knowing that out of the two of them there she was the one with more knowledge on the subject."It makes sense really." he said with a slight pause."As you said, they wrap chains around the mind as well as physical ones. They try and eliminate the very idea of escape as a possibility. Not so much luck as it is conditioning." he would say with a nod."It seems that they wish to destroy the willpower of their slaves so that their own can dominate them." Vasin said having not exactly thought much about it in that way before."It fits in with how they treat people like livestock. But more then that, they try and rip away what makes people... well people..." Vasin would say finding that notion rather disturbing. Take my purse, take my valuables, but those Slavers wish to take something more than that from you. To see how Kelski, in the end, managed to hold onto that or rip it back from them, well it was inspiring. He wasn't sure how he would have fared in such a situation.

"I suppose in a city like Sunberth there really isn't a in between, at least in the eyes of people for certain." Vasin said with a brief shrug."You are either good, or you are bad. You are either quick..." he said gesturing back to the miner."Or you are dead." Vasin added on."But, I think if vigilantes are considered good, and those knights on that road far from here are good, then you are definitely a good person by my books. Especially with what I have seen of you so far." he said complimenting her."In Sunberth sometimes you are not given a real choice between good or bad, you can try to make a good choice, but it often doesn't end up the way you wanted." he said hoping she understood what he meant."But yeah, there have been lots of times where it has been do or die for me. There is no thinking about it in those situations, there is no trying as you said, there is only do." Vasin said thinking he had an understanding of what Kelski had been explaining before.

"A ghost?" Vasin questioned with a raised eyebrow."That certainly does not sound good at all, but it seems to match the kind of person he must have been. Vengeful to the core no doubt." Vasin said having heard some time ago ghosts hold grudges and they will harm to living to complete whatever unfinished business they have."Regardless, if he comes around again I'll lend a hand." he said pointing a thumb at himself."No one should have to be subjected to what they put you through. But is there a way to... force them to move on?" he asked though lacking an understanding of how ghosts worked exactly. A ghost that tormented Kelski in life that wished to torment her now, that was not good news. It was creepy that someone so horrid would hate life with such a passion that their hatred would keep them in this world.

---

Vasin's arm reverberated as his sword did as well, he nearly dropped his sword as he winced. Not a good idea! His hard swing had not just temporarily stunned the snake, but it hurt his arm a bid a well! Vasin breathed out his arm in that instant hurt, nothing broke, but that was going to be sore for a little while at the very least. His sword had not even chipped the scales of the snake in that attack. They were going to have to get clever to defeat this thing, which was in the process of trying to coil itself up around him. Luckily for Vasin, who was a bit dazed from his own attack Kelski had swiftly moved in for the kill so to say. He had not been paying attention to her, but when he came up right behind him he kinda saw her from the corner of his eyes and felt her presence in a way. Though at the moment he was concentrating on staying upright and not being taken down by the snake. She struck swiftly, barely noticing her movement as she stabbed at the snake right in the eye! It began to rear back letting out a pained hiss of anger! The eye she had struck popped and bled leaving it blind on one side. Then she struck again swiftly driving her blade into the eye socket of the metal scaled snake.

Her blade had punctured through the orbital socket of the eye and into its brained killed the creature mid-hiss. Though it's hiss was quickly taken over by Kelski's own right next to Vasin's ear. Vasin breathed out just now catching up as Kelski let out that victorious sound. He had aided more as cover then in actually fighting the serpent it would seem. The snake's body giving a spasm, a twitch, and then going limp like rope it was still coiled around him but as dead weight. He nearly fell over, and kind of flailed his arms to maintain balance before Kelski came to help him out of the mass of dead metallic snake. Pulling one leg out at a time as she helped him up over the coils Vasin breathed catching his breath and steadied himself against the wall. His eyes locked on the dead snake not trusting that it was dead yet either."I-I don't think so..." Vasin said unsure as he began to check his legs. But shook his head not seeing anything."I have no idea myself... I didn't think it was possible for such things to... to... well exist? It is a snake right?" he was trying to wrap his mind around this one but was pulling up blanks."I don't think... I don't think something that big could really share food and survive? I don't know..." when she would dart around the corner she would not see anything else immediately. Seems there were only one of these creatures here... for now... Though from where she was no doubt she could see the silhouette of cages and enclosures. Perhaps a desk at the far end with a stack of... something? "You really..." he said rolling his right arm which was a bit sore."Went to town on that thing."
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As Above So Below

Postby Kelski on April 25th, 2019, 3:18 am

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They shared a quiet moment for a chime, each looking at one another realizing they were both equally shaken and scared. The snake was not normal, not natural, and something Kelski hadn’t suspected they’d run across. When Vasin was steady, Kelski released him and carefully went to retrieve her daggers. She cleaned them neatly and re-sheathed them staying alert to what was going on. “I… I think it’s a snake, but its metallic. Its… a metal snake? I don’t understand.” She said again, confused and looking at him for direction.

Surely this was something a human knew about. It wasn’t part of the natural world. “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to. But when it grabbed you. I didn’t… I didn’t want you eaten. You….” Kelski looked at him quietly from where she was eyeing the dead snake and halfway tempted to skin it.

“You are my friend. Who else would I go exploring with if a snake ate you?” She asked carefully, certain that she wouldn’t have nearly as much fun with anyone else. It was more than she cared to admit, but Kelski liked Vasin and didn’t want anything to happen to him. In him, she saw a kindred soul. He didn’t have her experience with slavery, nor was he a craftsman. But they both loved exploring the unknown. And that was a powerful commonality between the two of them.

“I don’t like humans… almost ever. But you are different. We… share things. We both have a burning inside us to see the unseen and to know the unknown. When you talk of exploring upriver or inland or sketching the coastline making maps, I long to fly with you and see what I haven’t seen. My work ties me to a shop, but smaller trips… I could come with you. Sometimes.” She said, offering him a smile, then gently prodding the large snake with a toe.

“I think its good and dead. Should we try and skin it? No one would believe the story if we don’t preserve the snakeskin.” She said thoughtfully. Because the scales were metal, she’d love to test to see what sort of metal they were. “I wonder if this creature wasn’t magical or somehow crafted by ancients? It might have been alive a long time or maybe just its kind are common down here but unknown on the surface.” Kelski speculated.

She knelt next to the snake and turned it various ways until she had it stretched out on its back and a dagger shoved up its vent, slitting open its belly from tail to nose. Then she carefully skinned the animal’s skin back to reveal a metal skeleton over flesh. It was like nothing she’d ever seen before. “Come help me!” She requested, peeling the metallic skin away carefully, exposing more and more of the creature’s internal skeletal system and flesh. “I wish there was a way to take this back to Gilthas. He’d know what this was…” Kelski said, groaning and wishing she had something to wrap the meat and bones in to slide into her backpack.

“Do you want to explore further?” She asked when they were done and the skin was rolled up and stowed neatly in her backpack and the corpse set aside. The gates revealed what looked like an open courtyard full of the cages and enclosures that Vasin already identified… and some sort of office looking area with indeed a desk. Kelski wanted to poke around as long as there weren’t more snakes about. She wasn’t sure, however… and wanted to be certain it was even safe.

The snake, for all it was partially metal, had bled.

“Will the blood attract more predators or scavengers that are dangerous?” She asked, peering at Vasin and wondering how he felt about staying and exploring or moving on to explore elsewhere.

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