Open [Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Day one on the new land proves to be a challenge.

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Kelski on June 27th, 2019, 4:36 am

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Timestamp: 1st of Summer, 519 A.V.



Kelski stood on the deck of the ship looking towards the shore. Wind whipped her long ombre hair around her. The ship was pausing here before it hit Zeltiva to unload her portion of cargo. But it was difficult. They had no dock, and there was no trail from the piece of land she had decided to settle into the city proper itself. There were mountains anyhow, surrounding the city, and any sort of road would have to be carved into benches along the banks most likely by a Reimancer. That would take magic she didn’t have at the moment.

And the quandary of the matter was that the Waveraider was unwilling to go to Zeltiva, unload everything first then sail back here to unload her goods. They wanted to unload completely, reload, then set off back north. As a result, they had to ferry everything in to the beach from the ship. Most of what they brought was disassembled for ease of transporting – like their wagon – but there were troubled spots.

The horses and mule would have to be belly banded, hoisted, then released into the water to swim to the shore. Kelski was going to experiment with things to see if she could solidify the water, hardening it so the horses could walk across it instead of swim for it. She couldn’t do it for all the freight. She just wasn’t strong enough, but concentrating hard, with the horses all on deck and part of their freight already on the beach, she was willing to try. The Sea Eagle climbed in her human form down a set of netting draped over the side of the ship.

She waited while the sailors hooked up Moth – the calmest of the three mounts she’d brought and centered herself. She breathed in, released a breath, breathed out, and reached out to touch the water. Res filled the sea, connecting her power to the water and lighting up her first element. Kelski knew immediately that she wasn’t going to be strong enough. Frowning, she glanced up where the sailors were still hooking up Moth to the hoist. A voice interrupted her, whispering almost in her ear.

“Together djedaughter. Together.” Gilthas said, hanging onto the rope netting as well. Kelski hadn’t even heard or felt him climb down. He probably hadn’t. She glanced up at him, took courage from his confidence, and the two mages reached out to touch the water together. Kelski saw a path then, bright in her awareness, of water growing hard in her mind. A panicked whinny sounded overhead as grey hooves thrashed at the air as the horse was lifted up and over the side.

Kelski looked up to see they had blindfolded Moth, fully expecting him to panic. He was nervous, but she could see so far he wasn’t panicked. Kelski thought perhaps it was Maisa’s presence that prevented it. She wasn’t sure if Anja was going to bring his Strider ashore here or wait until Zeltiva, but regardless the mare was present and calming.

The hoist soon lowered the horse and when he got near the water, instead of his hooves dipping into it, they clapped down on it as if setting down on frozen ice. It was slick like ice too, and it took him a moment to find his footing. Kelski grabbed at his halter, left his blindfold on, and whispered softly to him all the while concentrating on the power she could feel beneath his feet. She helped Gilthas unhook one side of the belly band hoist, so the sailors could lift it back into the ship again, and then turned to lead the still-blindfolded horse across the solid water and past the gently lapping waves of the bay and onto the sand. She only unblindfolded him when she got him tethered to crates on the beach.

Then, as fast as she could, she went back for Shadow whom was lowered next, then Kizzy, breathless by the time the three horses were unloaded. Holding the water into a more solid state was difficult, but Gilthas’ power took part of the strain. It wasn’t an element gathering, a creation, or anything of the sort. It was a simple state change. Viscous to solid. It was the less straining sort of Reimancy, but a more showy thing for the ordinary sailors that now looked at Kelski and Gilthas as if they were dangerous and perhaps less than sane.

Unloading on a beach in the Wildlands would do that regardless as to whether they were mages or not.

Kelski had a great deal of freight on the ship, and it took more time to unload it than it had to load it. All the livestock took time too, though getting the goat herd onto the beach was far easier than it was getting the horses safe. The ship was riding higher and higher in the water the more possessions, animals and people the beach gathered. And when they were finally unloaded, all Kelski could do was look at a whole lifetime of hope resting just above the waterline of a strange beach in the middle of nowhere and realize things had drastically changed in her life.

There was so much to do. Getting everything off the Waveraider and onto the beach was just a start. They had to get the animals contained, put up a pavilion, and see about storing their things. Things like the piano, which was hand-carried across the solidified water, had to be sheltered from the elements. Kelski had an enormous sea cave in the outcropping of rock she’d decided to call Sea Eagle Point that she hoped would do for temporary animal shelter and storage to her possessions.

They’d have to defend it, but it was in a good defensible position already, having only two entrances, a fresh water source, and all their food supplies. Kelski wanted to protect the food at all cost. Some of the dried goods she’d brought from Sunberth would be the reason they lived or died over the next season or two.

They had to get crops in the ground, food put away for winter, and some sort of permanent shelter built before the snow flew… if it snowed at all here.

So when everything was finally unloaded, Kelski set about walking among the crates, reading her careful labels, and moving things around according to priority. She’d already located the pavilion, set its huge canvas bundles aside – it was a big one – the one she’d held the New Years Eve party at the first of spring. They’d need to get it up, the food in the sea cave well in the back above the high water marks, and settle the animals… and that was all before nightfall.

It was going to be a lot of work. And if they didn’t get started soon, they wouldn’t make their ‘darkness’ deadline.
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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Alexander Slade on June 27th, 2019, 11:18 pm

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It wouldn't be long until those boarding the ship would be off, departing from Sunberth to begin a new life in Zeltiva. From afar, Alexander's grey eyes were fixed onto the cargo being loaded into the hold of the ship, watching on with seething envy. He wished to be one of the people within the mass, eagerly waiting to be let onto the craft. He had missed his chance, and for once, it wasn't entirely his fault. The lovely Kelvic he had met- Kelski- embark on the trip with her and those moving with her. The memory of her elegant sea eagle, helping him learn to hunt down rich seal's meat, flashed in his mind. Besides the few people he had met, there was nothing for him here in Sunberth, an absolute nothing. Not long after that day he had met Kelski, the Kelvic had been robbed, the perpetrators (this time) getting away with it. They took everything; his money, his dagger. They left him with nothing but the clothes on his back.

That day, he had been in his tent. Caught off guard and knocked unconscious, as he faded in and out of blackness, he had caught a few keywords from the unfamiliar, masculine voices. Something about going back to Zeltiva. Revenge was something very satisfying to the young jaguar. Thanks to the thieves, he had nothing, surprised they didn't take the tent, itself. It was all the more reason to haul himself away from Sunberth and not to mention, Alexander had left a family in Zeltiva. But now that he was stripped of any money he had saved up, he couldn't pay for passage. This embarrassed him and there was no way he would ask anyone for help, either. Not that anyone would listen, much less care for some poor Kelvic boy.

Further torturing himself by onlooking, studying the ship and the men who were hauling crates and luggage onto it, a devious idea dared to creep into his mind. What if he could get onto the ship without having to pay anything? His heart soared with the idea- it seemed genius! Though, could he pull it off? Alexander exhaled sharply, conflicted for a good moment. It was worth a shot and a shot he needed to take now.

Creeping closer to the luggage, however, still keeping a safe distance, he paid close attention to how the crates held together. Nails and boards, surely there had to be one he could pry into without alerting someone. There would be no way he could fit into one comfortably in his jaguar form, so human would have to make due. The sailors carrying the cargo to and fro seemed to be in a trance. Nothing was slowing them down nor diverting their focus. It seemed hopeless until one of them yelled, catching the attention of others. Alexander couldn't make out what they were saying, but the one who had shouted was waving the others towards him. Not caring as to why Alexander took off before he could fully digest what was going on.

He crouched down, fingers wrapped around the top of one crate and gave a hefty pull. The wood shifted slightly but didn't pull loose. "Come on," Grumbled the boy, his heart beginning to flutter in his chest. He anxiously eyed the men who had yet to notice him. Quickly, he moved on to the second crate. His hands were clammy, beginning to tremble as adrenaline sparked through his veins like an electrical current. He tugged, over and over until it gave in. Alexander dove himself inside of the small crate, ducking his head as he settled down on his side, swiftly pulling the part he had ripped open closed. It looked relatively untouched unless one had an observant eye.

Hugging his knees against his chest, Alexander squeezed his eyes closed and tuned in to his surroundings. Underneath him, he felt the soft fabric of clothing and a distinct smell of someone else who wore them frequently. For a moment, he was curious as to who's items had he hijacked and what would happen if they had seen him? The Kelvic's throat went dry with the 'what ifs' that played through his mind like a broken record. So far, there was no protest. Only time would tell whether or not his sinister plan would be a success.

Soon enough, the men began to pack the ship up again, unaware of the Kelvic stowed away in one of the crates. All of a sudden, the ground shifted. Alexander's heart lurched in his chest, and he sucked in a deep breath, holding it. A strained grunt sounded right above him before the crate thudded to the ground again.

"Hey! I need a hand with this one!"

Once again, Alexander was lifted off of the ground, this time with the help of two people. It felt as though he had no joints in his body- stiffened, daring not to move a muscle in fear of the weak crate to fall apart under his weight. Grey eyes stared out of a small slit in the wood. He passed through darkness. The air around him suddenly became thicker with the odor of livestock. The crate was gently set down once more, and the sound of heavy footsteps faded away. Slowly releasing his clenched muscles, Alexander let out a shaky breath and gave a crooked smile. By Gods, he had made it! He was on the ship!

The more time slipped by, the warmer Alexander grew. Every so often, cargo would be dropped off around him. Even though he knew it was unlikely, the fear of being caught plagued his conscience. What if they saw a few of the nails had come loose? What if they sensed him? What if they could somehow see him? Being on edge made him frustrated and restless, not to mention beads of sweat formed a band across his forehead and rolled down his back. Whoever owned these clothes most likely wouldn't want them back now that Alexander contaminated them with his jungle-cat stench.

It was hard to tell how much time actually passed when one was stuffed inside a crate and basked in darkness. He had grown used to the sound of wood and luggage hitting the ground around him and the gruff voices of those who moved them. The air was thick, and his legs were itching to stretch out and run, but Alexander managed to drift into a warm, fuzzy state of being half-asleep. Occasionally, he brought the back of his wrist up and flicked the sweat-free from his face. Hopefully, soon, he would be able to creep out and see what was around him...

The hold was stockpiled full of belongings. Alexander was a crate in a sea of crates. Though restive and agitated, Alexander waited until footsteps were a far thing of the past. He wouldn't take a chance of escaping his small den until he was positive that no one was around, and finally, he declared it was time. Moist hands lightly fidgeting with the same side he had thrown himself into the crate through, there was a pop as it came loose once more. His feline eyes quickly adjusted to the warm, dense darkness that encased him. He could see the outline of luggage and boxes, as well as the stables animals, were kept inside of. Horses, mules, donkeys... They seemed to have already sensed a predator's presence. Or, perhaps, they were merely wary due to the new environment and groans of the ship. Either way, Alexander couldn't blame them as he dumped himself out onto the wooden planks of the hold.

Alexander expected the rocking and swaying but never predicted intense nausea, which wriggled and coiled deep within his gut. Boiling and sweating underneath his clothing, as well as seasick, the Kelvic was slumped against the sticky wall, trying to keep down his meal. He was undeniably miserable and- quite frankly- questioning his decision. He briefly wondered how everyone was doing up above with the fantastic view of the sleek water and breath of fresh, salty air. A frown was carved into Alexander's face upon the thought but decided not to get too caught up on it.

Of course, Alexander put two-and-two together. If animals were to be kept down here, someone would need to feed, water, and clean up after them. Therefore, he took it upon himself to slide the clothing box into the darkest corner he could find, having it pried open so he could quickly push into it again if somewhere were to climb down the latter. This proved to be a decent tactic. As days began to pass by, Alexander noticed a very young boy would occasionally descend down into the cargo hold and clean out the stalls. Each time, the Kelvic would be safely tucked into his crate, waiting for the session to pass over so he could suffer in a more open place.

Alexander quickly faced a bigger problem. He was beginning to starve, beginning to thirst to death. There was nothing around him that would have served to have good nutrient or nutrient at all unless he dared to take down one of the livestock...

He had been smart, knowing his jaguar form was much more durable than his measly human form. So, before he grew too weak and pitiful, he had shifted into his cat form and stared down the horses and mules. His mouth would salivate at the thought of tearing through their skin, right into their rich muscles and fat. Prey was so close, so easy... But that was before he met the cabin boy.

Alexander had been too weak to bring down a strong, sturdy horse anyway. The jaguar barely possessed enough strength to move, resorting to lying helplessly on his side. The hunger had begun as an ache, a gnawing. His throat grew dry, his insides seemed to be shriveled up and dying. It would have been clear to see that the big cat had given up, now unaware as the same cabin boy began his rounds of cleaning out the stalls.

Zeric Albright was his name. He was a 13-year-old boy whose older brother was a Linesman. Being a younger member of the crew, the older sailors often bullied him, his brother included. He felt uncomfortable and out of place around them. Instead, despite having to clean up manure, Zeric very much enjoyed the company of the beautiful animals, especially the goats.

This time, something had caught his eye; a black mass in the corner. He furrowed his eyebrows and turned to stare, seeing a massive, padded paw illuminated by a sliver of light from a crack in the wooden slabs above. He set down his lantern, excitement bubbled up inside of him, carefully approaching what he thought to be a large dog. He knelt down beside the beast and laid a hand on its side. He quickly realized just by its ribs protruded from its skin that this animal was... Dead.

Zeric's throat tightened a bit at the thought, "I'm sorry," He murmured, pulling his hand back when all of a sudden the animal twitched. A deep grunt rumbled from its throat, and the black jaguar weakly lifted its head to meet the eyes of the cabin boy. "Wow, you're a big cat," The young, brown-haired boy grinned ear-to-ear, "I bet you're hungry too, I'll be right back." The jaguar huffed and rested his head back down. Zeric scrambled back up the steps to retrieve something for the sickly cat.

Later on, Alexander's grey eyes peeled back open. His padded, dry nose twitched a few times as the overwhelming scent of food flooded his senses. He lit up, quickly rising to sit on his haunches and wolfed down the slab of dried pork, lapping up the bowl of water right after. It wasn't long until Alexander could feel strength returning back into his limbs, all thanks to the young, foolish cabin boy who obviously had no idea that he wasn't just some overgrown house cat.

This carried on for days. Zeric would eagerly slide the stolen portion of meat and water over the Jaguar, watching the Kelvic rip into it with a ferocity, simply not phased by his massive claws and teeth. Soon enough, Alexander was back to his old self, strong enough to shift back into his human form to thank Zeric next time he returned to feed him.

Obviously, Alexander did not wholly think his plan through, though. Zeric approached the dark corner with his lantern, calling the expected Jaguar with a few clicks of the tongue. Though, when his light revealed an unclothed human, he nearly stumbled backward, dropping the dishes within his hands.

"What- How?" The boy stuttered, "Where did the cat go?"

"I am the cat, and that cat is a jaguar," Alexander replied smoothly, rising to his feet and taking a step towards the boy, "My name is Alexander, I'm a Kelvic."

"A Kelvic..." The boy echoed, "Oh... I... I had no idea. My name is Zeric."

"I just wanted to thank you for bringing me food and water. You've been good to me, Zeric, but listen. You haven't told anyone about me, have you?"

The cabin boy shook his head, "No..."

"Good, don't. I was robbed, so I didn't have enough money to actually pay and get on this ship. I had to sneak on here, but I won't disturb anything. You can keep a secret, right?"

Zeric vigorous nodded, "Yes, but under one condition...."

"What?"

"You have to be my friend."

And they did. Alexander and Zeric ate their meals together and told stories. They laughed and joked, and because of this, Zeric kept the food and drinks coming. Up until the last days. Alexander was taking a nap when he felt a sudden jolt. This was much different than the rocking of the boat, a much different noise than the ominous groaning and creaking the ship made. Startling the Kelvic out of his sleep, he knew there was only one explanation; they had struck land.

Sheer bliss ran its course inside of him, causing butterflies to invade his stomach. He slipped his clothing back on, seeing someone descending down the stairs with a lantern. He had grown so used to it being Zeric that only the different, much heavier footsteps tossed him back into reality. He needed to hide, he needed to get back inside of his crate. With a sudden movement, Alexander went to squeeze himself into his safe spot when he bumped into something, causing it to clamber to the ground.

"What was that?"

"Oh Gods," Alexander whispered to himself, freezing. It was already too late.

Two men had caught him, throwing questions at him that he refused to answer, and each time, they made sure to rough him up. Not after long, those men escorted Alexander out of the hold, practically dragging him. The Kelvic wore a busted lip, a bruised cheek, and manacles bounding his wrists as he surfaced. The light outside was blinding yet brilliant, cool against his grimy skin. He had almost forgotten the throbbing of his wounds and the stares he was getting as he took in a deep breath of fresh air. Gazing around at the beach, he caught the eye of Zeric. The kid stared at him with large, rounded eyes. Alexander's heart sank, he would miss him, the innocent little boy he was. Before he grew out of sight of the cabin boy, he nodded his thanks before turning his sight to the sand.

And that was where he was tossed. After being escorted over the hardened water- which, Alex was much too wired to really question- the men shoved him to their feet. Obtaining a mouthful of sand, Alexander sputtered and rolled to his side, right as one of the angry sailors planted a boot into his stomach.

"You'll wait here for the guards, you imbecile."

Groaning in pain, Alexander mustered up the rest of his strength to push himself to sit on his rear. His dark hair was matted, now speckled with sand. Tired eyes watched in defeat as people passed by. Nothing felt worse than to think that the entire trip would just end in him being arrested. A stone sunk to the bottom of his stomach, there was really no avoiding this one. All of a sudden, his grey eyes were glued to someone familiar, someone who made his heart leap for joy.

"Kelski!" The pitiful boy called with shame written all over his face, "Over here!"


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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Kelski on June 30th, 2019, 12:27 am

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Kelski was busy tying up the horses to a highline system she’d set up between two trees. It consisted of a sturdy rope wrapped around the tree limbs about eight feet up and stretched tight between the trunks. Then, each horse was tied off by a halter and lead to the line, given some grain in a pan on the ground to snack from, and she was in the process of finishing her second run of filling water buckets for them. The horses wanted to move around, but Kelski wasn’t dumb enough to turn them loose and they had no corral or pen to lock them up in yet.

That was one of the first things they needed built after they got the pavilion erected. She knew the layout of the pavilion and because it had two octagonal ends off one long main tent run, she planned on shortcutting a goat and chicken pen between the two octagonal portions to keep the goats at bay. It was her hope they wouldn’t eat the tough canvas and find their way inside. The horses she could hobble, though she didn’t want too, not at least until she walked around and determined what predators were about.

Getting them settled had been easy. Hauling the cages of goats and chickens up the beach was harder. She stationed them by the horses, though she didn’t let them out either. They would have to come after the pavilion, but probably before the horses. Kelski understood that part of her ability to survive out here was keeping everyone alive, and that meant food, water, and above all shelter. The shelter would keep them warm and dry and relatively safe against predators. So on the checklist she had in her mind, hauling the pavilion up to the land Vasin was busy clearing was critical. And she was secretly watching for the pieces of the huge structure as all the freight was offloaded. When she spotted one, she’d intervene – dropping what she was doing – and dragging it aside until she had a huge pile of pavilion components they’d need to assemble before nightfall.

She’d just finished sitting down the last bucket, when she heard her name called. Kelski glanced up, alarmed at the sound of Alex’s half panicked voice, and started towards him at a brisk walk. The Kelvic was surprised to see the other Kelvic among the freight, all but prisoner between two sailors. She broke into a jog, stopped in front of one of the men, and asked curtely… .”What is this?” She said, glancing between Alexander and the sailors.

“They haven’t hurt you have they?” She said, looking him over carefully and trying to remain calm. It sure looked like they were treating him like a piece of meat and not a person, though she hadn’t been directly looking at the trio before Alexander had cried out.

“Stow Away….” The sailor reported, giving Alexander a swift annoyed kick with his boot. “We found him among your cargo.” He added, giving the boy a sneer and all but laying his hand on the cutlass at his side.

“He’s part of my group.” Kelski said abruptly. “But he’s young and kelvic so he probably didn’t understand he could ride above with the rest of us. He was to guard the livestock, since he has a really big set of teeth and claws when provoked.” She causally mentioned, noting the two men stepped back. “I didn’t count him because I thought he’d missed the ship. It would have been easy enough for him to come overland. I’ll gladly pay his fare now. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.” She said, glancing at Alexander.

Normally she’d let him talk, but Kelski wasn’t sure what was going on and she wanted to talk to the other young Kelvic alone before he said or did something that might provoke the sailors further. Kelski knew Alexander was big and strong enough to defend himself If mad… she’d seen him in action… but she didn’t want to isolate the sailors that they might depend on for regular supplies in the future.

Digging into her belt pouch, Kelski counted out 18 gold miza’s and handed them over to the closest sailor. “For his passage. Thank you for finding him for me…. I had no idea he had followed through on his guard duty details like that.” She said, smiling pleasantly, but walking forward to reach out a hand to Alexander to help him up at the same time.

“Come on… you don’t get to laze around in the sand while everyone’s unpacking. Have you eaten? Eat something and you can help me put up the pavilion.” She said, gesturing to the huge piles of poles, canvas, and what looked like miles and miles of coiled guard rope.

Kelski would lead Alexander away – if he’d come – and stop out of earshot. “Are you okay? What in the world happened? I had no idea you were on the ship! You should have told someone…. Eighteen days is a long time to stay out of sight.” She said, looking him over, as if checking out if he was alright or not.
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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Alexander Slade on June 30th, 2019, 9:06 pm

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Alexander had no idea how Kelski would react when she set her eyes upon the sight. If he had other options to choose from, he would have left her unprovoked so she could finish getting everything unloaded and organized. But this time, she was his only hope. Never had he expected to be caught; being tied up and settled between two aggravated sailors was the last thing he thought would happen. Alexander had gotten onto the ship so easily that the worry of being found when he got off didn't quite register in his mind. During the trip, he never really trailed too far away from the original clothing box, mostly because the livestock would become spooked and raise alarm. He thought he would have plenty of time before the crew started unloading things. Either way, he had become so used to the stuffy, cluttered storage hold that he forgot they would even be stopping somewhere to get off.

The closest Alexander had been to being retrained and carried away was the day he and Kelski were attacked by slavers on the beach. He wasn't quite sure which was more terrifying; being enslaved or hauled off to jail. With this in mind, Alexander's grey eyes pooled with desperation as they locked onto Kelski's. It was clear to see how taken aback the female Kelvic was- Alexander couldn't blame her, he would have been as well.

The boy grunted at the kick but didn't dare to move nor fight back. His body was beginning to ache, his head throbbing and not to mention he wasn't yet adjusted to the outside world- the light, the sounds. He was happy to have his feet planted on land again but this was not how he had imagined it to go down.

That was when Kelski raised the question as to what was going on. The jaguar-boy opened his mouth to reply but one of the burly sailors beat him to it. The word 'stow-away' stuck into Alexander's mind, making him want to suddenly dissolve into the sand, away from sight. Around the small group, people stole glances, curious as to what was going on. The Kelvic wanted to snap at them, telling them to mind their own business but he was in no position to do anything that would make himself seem hostile or uneasy. He needed these sailors to let him go. He needed to be freed.

Kelski had already done enough for Alexander Slade. After all, she had helped him fight off some nasty slavers (who got what they deserved), fixed up his wounds, and offered him a place to stay. The jungle cat was slowly beginning to wish he had kept his mouth shut and kept the girl out of it. But then what? That long, long trip would have been in vain. The fact he almost starved and thirsted to death, the fact he had met a little cabin boy and made a new friend, the fact he was counting on making a new life in the city of Zeltiva. The trip over the water would have just landed him in confinement. As each tick passed by, the more Alexander grew frustrated until he was nearly seething with self-loath. Despite the emotion, his outward façade remained calm and level-headed.

"He's part of my group."

Alexander rose his dark eyebrows in surprise. He gazed upwards as the two sailors created a bit more distance between themselves and him when Kelski admitted he was a fierce-looking Kelvic in animal form. Out of anything the girl could have done, the last thing Alexander expected her to do was take responsibility for him in such a touching way. The angry flare growing inside of him was snuffed out when Kelski offered to pay for him. His heart sank in his chest. He had nothing entitled to him, how would he ever pay her back?

Once his passage was paid off, Alexander's binds were removed. He allowed Kelski to help him up, dusting the sand off of his clothing and eventually out of his dark hair. Sending one last glance over his shoulder at the sailors who spoke among themselves, watching the two walk off, he followed the Kelvic over to her pile of different materials.

"I haven't eaten today, no," Alexander muttered, scratching dried blood off of his lip, "I-I'm okay for now."

"Kelski, I... I really would have paid my own way if I could have. Trust me, I didn't want to be down there the entire time but that seemed to be my only option. You see, I was robbed. They took everything from me, all my money and belongings. I have nothing at Sunberth except a higher chance of getting... attacked or something," Alexander sighed softly, "You're right, you're right. I know I should have told someone but I didn't know how they would react. I went a long time without anything to eat or drink but then I met the cabin boy. His name is Zeric. He's a lot like me... Doesn't really have much..." The Kelvic gazed longingly at the ship before back to Kelski, "Thank you, seriously, for paying the sailors off for me. I don't have any money but I'll owe you, I can work for it."

Now that he was no longer in threat of being taken away, things were beginning to lighten up. After all, he had finally made it. Another lungful of fresh air reminded him of this. Still, the worry of paying Kelski back weighed heavy. His eyes landed on the pavilion she had yet to put up. He would start there.

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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Kelski on July 1st, 2019, 7:41 pm

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She nodded, knowing that Kelvics had pride. Kelski was pissed and wanted to beat the living shit out of the sailors, but gutting them from gizzard to their gonads wasn’t going to get her stuff off the ship. In a few bells they wouldn’t be even seeing the sailors again. And truthfully, she wanted to hug Alexander and tell him how happy she was that he was okay. She’d been so worried about him, leaving Sunberth without the half-feral Kelvic on the ship. She was always afraid he’d end up at the blood pits or sold in the slave pens for entertainment. Instead, she just gripped his shoulder gently, laid her forehead on it a moment, and whispered back. “I’m so glad you are okay.” She said softly, glancing up the hill.

“I have coin enough for all of us. And frankly, coin can’t buy the good kind of help you can give me if you stick around a while and help us get set up or even stay here a bit. Between you and Ebon, if we get big cat scent all over this place, the local predators are going to hit the road and leave us alone. Ebon finds it offensive to pee around the boarders of the property, and I’m going to have to bully him into it. But I suspect you won’t have any problems clawing trees, leaving your chin gland scent on them, and marking territory with urine to chase away the bears and cougars that I know are here.” She whispered back fiercely. “There are so many vulnerable animals with us. But I know I can trust you with their safety. IF you were in the belly of that ship eighteen days and I still have all my chickens and goats – though I wouldn’t begrudge you a meal if you’d needed it – that’s more than enough to set my mind at ease.” She said, leading him up the slope to where some of the goods that were more perishable had been already carried.

She walked around the freight, looking for a specific crate, and found it. Finding it nailed shut, she grumbled, looked around for their tools, and spotted a pry bar not very far away. “Help me?” She asked, wedging the pry bar into the edge of the crate where two ends met, and trying to pull one panel of the cube off to reveal the inside stores. If the two worked together, they could get the panel off and the contents revealed. Once that happened, Kelski would grin.

“It’s not fresh, but jerky rations should fix you up. I bought a stock of a hundred of them before we left along with our other staples for hunger emergencies. This qualifies. Eat your fill, then meet me down by that pile of poles. I’ll be carrying them up the hill to where Vasin has a site cleared for our Pavilion. It’s a big thing, so it will take lots of trips.” Kelski said, then paused.

“Was your cabin boy that skinny little barefoot human that looked like he hadn’t eaten at all for a while?” Kelski asked, concerned. Then she gestured to the ration bars packed in the crate. “Take him some as thanks. Maybe a stash of them. He doesn’t look like he eats very well on the ship at all, and we’ll be hunting for fresh meat soon enough here. But I know he was taking care of the goats while we were sailing. I slipped him a few coins to be extra watchful even though we fed them daily and made sure they had water. I never went down there and found their buckets dry.. .nor the chickens either. Either that was you or him responsible. I’m not sure which… but I’m grateful.” Kelski said, giving Alexander another quick hug.

Then she turned away, starting to head down the hill before she paused. “Alex? If he wants to stay, tell him there’s room and he’s welcome. Not many of us will have time to watch the goats full time while we are trying to get this homestead up and running. If he can do that, he can stay and eat and be safer.” Kelski added. She didn’t promise safe. They were in the wildlands, after all, and nothing was guaranteed, especially not safety. But they could all be decidedly safer here than in Sunberth, and she knew Alexander understood that.

“I’ll see you back at the pile.” She said, leaving the panther to satiate his hunger and see to his small companions’ comfort if he could. While he was eating, she’d began hauling the poles up the hill. She’d need to leave the rolls of canvas for another pair of hands, because they were heavy and were often a team lift.
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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Alexander Slade on July 3rd, 2019, 2:52 pm

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Jaguars were creatures who preferred peace and quiet. In the wild, they roamed in their territories with no one but themselves, only crossing paths to mate. Part of Alexander did enjoy being alone, not having anyone but himself to worry about. Too many people, too many voices, and too many scents easily overwhelmed him, made him protective and ready to defend himself. Perhaps why he had left his family the moment he could. He yearned for a life of relative solitude.

It was great for awhile but quickly grew lonely. As a Kelvic, he still needed a bondmate and the more tamed side of him still needed companions. Life had cheated him out of these two things, until he met Kelski, to which quickly became his friend. Alexander finally realized this when she gently rested her forehead onto his shoulder. The feeling that arose from this gesture was foreign; the warmth that grew inside of his chest and belly. He felt cared for and for once; not forgotten. His grey eyes were softened as they gazed down at Kelski.

"That's no problem, I can mark where ever you need me to." Alexander gave a careless shrug. The Kelvic remembered the Night Lion, as well as the other residents who helped care for and heal the both of them. The jaguar wasn't very informed on how lions operated, though, he did know they were enormous in size. Female jaguars weren't too fierce about protecting their territory, sometimes even overlapping with each other. However, male jaguars were the exact opposite. They defended their land tooth-and-nail from rival males or predators like in Kelski's situation. Therefore, it just made sense to Alexander to let those mountain lions and bears know who's in charge.

Alexander sent a look over at the Kelvic's livestock. He remembered the immense hunger that gripped his stomach, followed by the profuse temptation to shred right into the farm animals. But he didn't, he overcame it with the help of the cabin boy.

He trailed right behind Kelski, up the slope and gazed at the supplies. He quickly nodded and aided the Kelvic in getting the crate open, having gripped the prybar and heaved. Upon sight of the jerky, Alexander's mouth began watering. "Fresh or not, a few hours ago, I would have been perfectly fine eating rat meat," He admitted.

"That was him, that was all him. Zeric, I guess, has a thing for animals. That is how he started taking care of me, when I was in my Jaguar form..." As he began to fill his stomach with jerky, snapping into it and chewing gratefully, he nodded, "I'll be sure to tell him that. I'll see you in a bit."

Alexander snatched a handful of jerky and headed towards the ship where he knew Zeric was hiding somewhere. As he grew closer, sailors seemed to perk up and watch him with evil stares. The Kelvic guessed word of a stowaway got around and this time, they were determined not to let that happen again. The brown-haired boy appeared on the ship, peering over and into the water lapping against the side. Alexander waved his hand, calling the boy. When Zeric caught sight of the Kelvic he began make his way towards the shore with an eagerness.

"Alex," The cabin boy seemed ecstatic, "I thought you had left!"

"No, not yet. I found someone I know and I'm with her now. I brought you something to eat, courtesy of my friend."

Zeric took the jerky, staring at it like it was wrapped in gold, "Thank you. I'm going to miss you."

"Maybe you won't have to. My friend's name is Kelski. She has plenty of room for you to stay and you can help take care of the goats. You'll be better off with us, better than that ship and sailors," Alexander explained, hoping to convince rather than pressure the young boy.

Zeric paused for a second to think the offer over. His rounded, brown eyes darted back and forth before back up to the Kelvic, "I'm supposed to leave the boat and go stay with... Some family here."

"Oh, do you know the family?"

"No."

"But you know me..."
Alexander shifted his weight to one foot.

"I'll be right back," Zeric turned to board the ship once more. Alexander waited in silence for him to get back and it wasn't long before he did. The cabin boy had a big grin stretched across his face as he approached, "Alright, I can go with you."

Alexander met Kelski on top of the hill, within the clear spot. Both he and Zeric had a bundle of polls clutched in their arms, to which they set down.

"Zeric, I'd like for you to meet Kelski. Kelski, this is Zeric. He'll be coming along with us now."


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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 3rd, 2019, 6:30 pm

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Maisa had been ready to leave the ship days ago. Even if Anja had wanted to unload in Zeltiva, he was fairly sure that his Strider would not have allowed it. When the other horses began to be unloaded, especially Moth, she raised such a cacophony that the sailors began shouting at Anja to calm her down. Not even Morte or the pups could soothe her. One of the sailors offered Anja a halter, and at the brisk shake of his head the sailor looked at Anja like he was insane. Anja ignored the man and opened the stall where she was contained, gesturing 'calm' and 'patient' to her in Pavi. Maisa didn't quite tear out of the cargo hold and onto the deck of the ship, but it was a very near thing. Much to his surprise, she tolerated the belly band and being lowered to the frozen water below, and stepped delicately across the ice without Anja's intervention. The moment she hit the sand she was off like a lightning bolt.

"Your horse is getting away," one of the sailors said, aghast.

"She'll be back," Anja replied with a dismissive wave of his hand.

Morte went scouting along the beach at his own accord, occasionally landing on the sand and examining something before taking off again to go look at something else. Morte was naturally curious, but Anja had a sense he was also using his Pathfinding to check the trails winding up and down the beach. He wasn't sure how much his skull crow friend could tell from the tracks leading across the sand, but even a hint at what dangers might lurk around here could help. While Morte set to work with that, Anja went with a group of sailors moving a small cargo of freight in a dinghie, his two dogs set under either arm. When they reached the beach, Anja let them go. Although perhaps not as claustrophobic as Maisa, the pair had been badly bored during the trip. Anja watched to make sure they weren't running far, then left them to their devices. A little while later Maisa came trotting back up the beach and shoved her head against Anja's chest.

"Find anything interesting?" Anja asked. His eyes roamed his mare's frame briefly to make sure she hadn't picked up any stones or anything during her romp across the beach. Maisa snorted into Anja's chest, then trotted towards the group of horses to greet each of them in turn. Anja followed and took a few minutes to examine them, poking and prodding muscles and lifting hooves to check for potential damage taken during the trip to shore. Everyone looked fine, as far as the Drykas could tell, if a bit stressed. But once they had a proper place to stay, they would feel better.

'Protect,' Anja gestured to Maisa in Pavi. The strider snorted, as if to say Ah well, obviously and settled in beside her herdmates. Anja saw a flash of black and white, and Morte alighted on Anja's shoulder. The crow's black feathered figure was contrasted by a stark white bird skull worn on his head, that was covered in strange symbols that glowed a faint blue.

"What's the news Morte?" Anja asked. He was still becoming used to Morte's sentience and ability to speak.

"Not sure, Chief," Morte admitted. "Think there's been some animals here and there. Maybe even a few big ones. But what kinds? I dunno. Still figuring all this out, same as you Chief." Anja nodded. He was fairly convinced that Morte was better at Pathfinding than he was, and having a look himself probably wouldn't serve the cause any. Anja scanned the beach and spotted Kelski heaving the Pavillion poles up the hill. He offered a hand, telling Kelski what he had learned as they worked.

"Maisa is keeping an eye on the horses, she should let us know if anything dangerous gets too close. Morte noticed some Pathfinding trails around the beach, but he's not certain what they are. Could be predators so we'll have to keep a close eye out."

When the two reached the top of the hill, Anja wiped the sweat from his eyes and looked curiously at the young man who had approached with a boy in tow. Anja wasn't familiar with either of them, but the older of the two spoke with familiarity to Kelski. He couldn't remember having seen him on the ship. Come to think of it, he was awfully thin. "Hello," Anja greeted the stranger. "I don't think we've met?" Anja felt Morte's beak stick in his ear. "Smells like predator," Morte said in a whisper. Anja examined the young man a moment more. Probably a kelvic, he decided.
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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Kelski on July 4th, 2019, 9:50 pm

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Kelski was quickly learning that as good of shape as she thought she was in, hauling long poles up a gentle slope to the land Vasin had cleared wasn’t easy. The Pavilion was a big thing, large enough for The Midnight Gem to house the large New Years Eve party she’d thrown back on the last day of winter. And as a result it needed rib after rib that consisted of multiple poles that were fastened together cleverly with various hardware. Those ribs were then linked together with other ribs by guide ropes that held the canvas taught that would shelter them for the time to come.

It was tough work, brutal work, and though others joined in the job of moving the pieces of the Pavilion uphill, Kelski knew without her pitching in her share of the work, things would not get done. She could haul a bundle at a time, consisting of two complete rib arches and no more. She easily found that out on the first trip when she’d had to leave half her burden halfway up the hill when she realized she was overloaded. She’d left her first bunch at the top and had went halfway back for the other half. Then on the third trip she’d taken just two ribs and found she could move easier. Her muscles burned, especially in her back where the poles were balanced and in her calves that was doing the lions share of the work. Ebon, Dess, and Gilthas jumped in to help, while Mercy started moving some of the lighter freight up the hill. Mosa was busy babysitting Caitlyn, leading the toddler around in a search for sea shells.

Kelski was glad she had the horses settled and that she had the option to leave the goats and chickens in their crates. Slowly, over the course of the afternoon, the Pavilion got moved up the hill in a pace that let Vasin clear the land where they wanted to settle. When Kelski felt she couldn’t haul anything else for a time, she took to exploring where Vasin had cleared and started tracking where the water flows were and what parts of the forest where he was chopping down land was the most sheltered. When they eventually built the manor to house all of them, they wouldn’t need to think about wind breaks and where they could be safest from flooding or sliding slopes. And that portion of what she considered her new estate was obvious. But placing the Pavilion was tricky and Kelski decided to settle it in the trees, marking several for Vasin to fall and move out of the way to create space. They weren’t big trees so they wouldn’t have to worry about stumps. But when she was done with the reconnaissance, the site was to her satisfaction, tucked up against a bedrock outcropping and sheltered on at least one side from the sea wind which they were finding cooling.

When Alex and the little boy returned, Kelski wasn’t surprised. She gestured to where the goats were still crated in their large comfortable crates and smiled at him. “Do you think you can go pull them fresh grass and get them buckets of water? There are empty buckets over by the horses where they are high lined. The extra buckets are at the base of the tree. There’s a stream behind where the horses are that you can get water from.” Kelski suggested, then turned to Alexander.

“I’m glad he stayed. I didn’t like all the men on that ship.” She admitted quietly, knowing the sailors were a rough crowd. With that being said, she began sorting out poles and showed Alexander how to lay out the support poles and fasten them in big wide pointy upside down U shapes to form the ribs of the pavilion. Each had metal hardware already attached that allowed the poles to slide into one another via the mechanism of a metal sleeve with winged screws that clamped down and held them. The poles were as big as her arms and legs in some cases, so it was tough wrestling them into position. They assembled the main ribs, and Kelski got Dess and Ebon to move them into a neat row where they would be raised. Then, she got to work on the octagonal ends of the pavilion, which was a more complex structure. It had a center metal mechanism that looked like a sort of star with eight sleeves radiating out from a center. Poles ran into the sleeves, where clamped by the winged screws, and then those radiating out poles fixed into metal elbow sleeves that hooked them to wall poles that created the sides of the pavilion.

Kelski assembled both of the end octagons, laid them out on the ground, and then decided they needed to put one up, attach it to the main run of the tent, and then when everything was assembled, raise the other arm of the pavilion’s octagon. If they assembled both and just guessed at the space they needed, they would never be right. Even the new boy, when he returned from his task, was helpful in guiding the other end of the poles to help get everything assembled. Alexander picked it up fast, and together all of them worked hard to get the pavilion progressing.

So, when Anja joined her and introductions were made, she got him involved to raise up the left side octagon, and together all the men began putting the poles together and linking them up and putting the shell together. Kelski was getting tired, but they couldn’t sleep until they had shelter and all their stores safely stowed in the pavilion or wherever they decided was safe.
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The afternoon dragged on, and before long, Kelski was more than ready to run the guide ropes and pull the canvas up and over the wooden frame and start fastening down the interior floor canvas and lashing in the walls. When the arms were done, Kelski planned to build a quick fence and release the goats and chickens in the shelter between the Pavilion's octagon arms.
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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Alexander Slade on July 5th, 2019, 4:55 am

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Alexander was beginning to see it. He was beginning to see what Kelski and her group of people brought to the table. Studying them through brief glances in between his work, the Kelvic-boy had never truly experienced teamwork quite like this. Everyone seemed so focused, so eager to lend a hand. Everyone fell into place, exactly where they were needed. He was surprised at the rate they were already getting things done, even if they had just started. Alexander enjoyed the vibe, enjoyed the company of the pleasant people. It surely had solitude and loneliness beaten, any given time.

He had almost started to forget about the ship and the fiasco that went down earlier. Although his busted lip and bruised face still ached, it was beginning to feel better. Either way, it didn't compare to the pains and aches of his stiff muscles he had experienced, all thanks to being crammed in a small corner. All while being encased in the thick, dense air reeking of livestock, taunting his instinct to ambush and kill. Even with the company of Zeric, Alexander was quite miserable. It made him realize how much he took fresh air, sunlight and open space to run and stretch for granted. Having this in mind, he took a second to stretch his arms up towards the sky and inhale deeply. He doubted he would ever have to do something as spontaneous and impulsive now that he was settling in Zeltiva. Already, he felt like he was off to a better start. There was more opportunity here, more peace. It was such a step up from the grimy tent-city.

Though, Alexander wasn't the only one who felt better about where they were. Zeric's soft, brown eyes lit up upon Kelski's request to feed the goats. She didn't curse at him, push him around, and even asked nicely. Compared to the rough, gruff sailors, Zeric had hardly ever met anyone more nice than these people. He nodded vigorously, "Of course! Of course!" He cheered, barely before he was already zooming off, eager to fulfill his duty. After all, goats were his favorite! Their wiry hair and silly personalities came as a pleasure to the small boy. Alexander watched him leave towards the horses to fetch the buckets, a faint smile slipping into place. Seeing Zeric happy made him happy.

It was then time for Alexander, himself, to start working on more than just hauling materials to and fro. Although it was an exhausting workout, there was more to be done. This was his first day on land in quite some time. His muscles weren't used to this much strain but he pushed through the shaky, gelatinous feeling in his legs and biceps. He knew he owed it to Kelski and owed it to himself to get back in tip-top shape.

Tirelessly, Alexander knew he wasn't quite good at what Kelski showed him. His palms grew sweaty with the effort, often slipping and losing his progress at hassling the poles into the right form. The Jungle-cat's eyebrows were pinched together, jaw clenched down as he tried, as many times as it took. Soon enough, he eventually got the job done. With a many failed attempts behind him, Alexander began to get quicker (however, no where near an expert) and grew more confident. His facial muscles loosened into a more pleasant expression. He was happy to be moving, to be doing something productive like everyone else around him. He felt as though he belonged, as though he was needed. It filled his chest with a light, fluffy warmth; a feeling which he seldom felt.

Upon the new arrival, Alexander paused in his work to introduce himself. By then, Zeric had caught back up and planted himself beside the Kelvic. The black-haired boy studied Anja for a few tense moments, grey feline eyes nearly staring a hole through him. Though, it wasn't the actual man Alexander was captivated by, but the crow perched upon him.

The jaguar slid his jaw back and forth with thought, eyeing the bird and the odd, blue markings it wore on its head. There was something about the creature that made him... Feel odd. Shaking his head, Alexander realized the man had spoken.

"O-Oh, hello. No, I don't think we've met-" He coughed, "Either. My name is Alexander, or just Alex. This is Zeric." The jaguar took one last gawk at the skull crow before hesitantly turning around.

As the day grew older, Alexander and Zeric did everything they could to help, whether it be to 'set this in place, push this here, bring this over there'. The Kelvic gazed down at his hands- which had gone soft within the storage hold- and saw a painful blister beginning to form on one of them. Running his thumb over it, his grey eyes met Kelski. He approached her.

"How are you holding up?" Alexander asked in a low voice, placing his hands on either side of his hips and studied the pavilion in all of its nearly-finished glory, "Done some good work today, huh?"


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[Empyreal Demesne] Welcome To The New Reality

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 5th, 2019, 10:34 pm

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Although it had been years since he had last been in Endrykas, the rhythms of daily work for the majority of his life were not something that the passing of time could easily erase. The muscle memory, the habit, was there still, lingering on the edges of his consciousness and burning in his muscles. He had helped to erect and dismantle Pavilions more times than he could count. He had been doing it for as long as he could remember, each day, every day, up until he had left his ancestral home. That said, the Pavilion his family had been part of had been more humble than this, and just because Anja's memory clung to the process that did not mean that his body was forgiving of his atrophied muscles. It had been a long time since the Drykas had done this kind of work, and he was given a tender reminder of this through the burning of his muscles and the shortness of his breath. This was, he realized, a gentle reminder he wasn't as young or as fit as he used to be.

Still, in spite of the roughness of the work, Anja found himself enjoying himself. It was relaxing, nostalgic, to burn those muscles that hadn't been used in so long. And with Kelski delegating, everything was being put in their proper places, and no hands were empty or idle. Morte was mostly absent for this, but when Anja stopped to rest or drink water, occasionally the bird would return and chatter about his thoughts about the area. "Lots of coast, forest, and some caves," Morte told Anja. Anja got a bowl of water out for the crow to drink from, and to his surprise, Morte leapt straight into it and began to bathe himself, both drinking and scrubbing his feathers. Anja delicately removed the bird skull on Morte's head and scrubbed it with some dry scrap cloth so the crow was able to wash his head and eyes.

"Did you see any animals?" Anja asked. He wasn't much of a hunter, but Anja knew that Kelski hunted and fished. Their group was going to get sick of dried rations before too long. The rations on the ship had been bad enough. Their group needed fresh meat before long, for their sanity if nothing else. Morte shook his bare head free of water and blinked at Anja a few times, the violet sunbursts in his eyes reflected in the bowl of water. "Saw some deer," Morte said. "But they were hightailing it. You're making too much noise up here. Think most of the animals will give a wide berth 'round here. At least till one of the predators comes looking for a free snack." The bird glanced towards the group of animals impassively, before fluffing up his feathers.

"How about fish?" Anja asked hopefully.

"Oh yeah. Loads out there," Morte said cheerfully. "Up and down off the coast. I found a couple of tidepools too. Might be able to forage for something tasty in there too."

Anja worked on hauling some of the cargo for a while longer, but when everyone took a break for water the Drykas walked up the coast with Morte perched on his shoulder. The man followed the bird's direction to an outcropping of rocks about half a mile away from the campsite. The twists and turns of the rocks had created a portion of still water, bursting with color. Anja navigated the slippery rocks carefully, checked to make sure the tide wasn't coming in, then glanced at Morte.

"I haven't the faintest idea where to find something," Anja admitted. Morte pecked Anja's cheek fondly. "Why not use a handicap then, Chief?" Anja smiled faintly, and settled down on the dryest bit of rock he could find, legs crossed, then closed his eyes. He took those long, heavy moments to sink into meditation, focusing on his pool of djed until the internal light became visible. Out of all the strange, swirling colors, there was one he reached for in particular. The orange flashes, the same color as the sunburst in his eyes, Anja had found to be linked to his Pathfinding. Once the Drykas felt steady, he reached out touch the light. A bolt of orange electricity shot up his spine and burst out his eyes. When Anja gazed once more at the tidepools, tiny points of light glimmered in the water below.

"They don't move much," Morte said thoughtfully. "See how all the light is clustered?" Anja followed his friends gaze to find that what the bird had mentioned was true. The creatures under the water had been there for some time. Anja couldn't see any trails beyond a few set paths.

"These creatures aren't as bright as people are," Anja commented.

"Everything has djed," Morte replied. "That's what we're following. Djed trails. Just some things have more djed than others."

Watching the still light shimmering under the surface, Anja crouched beside one of the pools. A plant looking creature was sitting just under the surface, adhered to the side of the rock. It looked like a plant, but judging from the intensity of the glow, Anja had a sense it was not. The creature was covered in long spines, and was mostly black aside from a few hints of green. Minding the spikes, Anja made sure he had his gloves on before he plunged his hands into the water and seized the creature. It was stuck on the rock quite good, and after several attempts Anja took out his eating knife, this time using it to pry it off the side of the rock and pull the creature into the light.

"Smells like food," Morte commented.

Anja slid his knife into the underside of the creature, and watched as liquid drained from the puncture, and heard a soft sigh as Dira whisked it from this world to the next. Thoughtfully, Anja tucked the creature into his sash and made his way across the tidepools, gathering a few more of the creatures before returning to camp. Although the strange animals were peculiar, they were well received by the rest of the camp. After some experimentation, Anja found that there were several orange pieces inside the creature that had a very mild, sealike taste, and seemed just fine to eat raw. There was too little of the creature to satisfy anyone's hunger much, but it was a nice change of palate at least. Anja brought enough for everyone to get a taste who wanted some. Even Morte was able to get a bite.

With his scavenging complete and his hunger satiated a tad, he returned to work with gusto. Anja found himself intrigued a touch by Alexander, and introduced himself to him warmly enough. "My name is Anja Nightwatcher," the Drykas said. "I'm a friend of Kelski's. Nice to meet you." Anja's gaze went both between Alex and Zeric, and his eyes were very warm. The Drykas noticed the young man's gaze roam to the bird on his shoulder. "This is Morte," Anja said. "He's a skull crow, from Sunberth." Morte croaked and took off, strangely shy. Anja simply smiled and shook his head. "I gathered some food from the tidepools nearby. I think it's some strange kind of fish. Would you two like to try some?" If Alex and Zeric were willing, Anja would share some of the food with them. When the pavilion was finally up, Anja brushed the sweat from his face, and looked at Kelski for the next job that needed doing.
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