Completed [Empyreal Demesne] Many Hands Make Light Work

While work continues at the ED, Dess discovers lost family.

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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] Many Hands Make Light Work

Postby Dessarian on July 31st, 2019, 6:26 pm

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There was no slacking. Making a home in the wilderness started with mere survival. But the people of the Empyreal Demesne had planted their feet and made headway towards permanent residence. The tower provided much needed shelter, sufficient to house everyone. living within it was still very communal in nature, but the tower provided solid shelter and comfort to all. No one begrudged Kelski the top floor. Her jewelcrafting had funded the entire venture, and it would be asinine to deny her space to continue her lucrative business. But, like Dess, many of the people there gladly helped the Kelvic into the top floor simply because Kelski had saved their lives.

They were on their way to self-sufficiency with seed in the ground and a small amount of livestock, and the arrival of Svefra provided a means of trade without having to rely on Zeltiva. There was much work do to still, not the least of which was the boathouse to facilitate more trade, and the manor itself, the home of the Meraki.

Kelski had a grasp on their path forward. The Sea Eagle was ambitious, intelligent and thoughtful, laying out each step as they progressed. But Dess's mind explored other contingencies. He was raised to defend and protect the K'etir, and his thoughts often contemplated the security of the people that were still arriving on Empyreal Beach. An organized band of mages like the Meraki, as they grew, would no doubt acquire opposition. Opposition that could become enemies. And there was the looming danger of the Drust, should they learn of Kelski and Dess's presence. The unfortunate risk was that those around them could be placed in harms way.

While a greater strategy needed to be developed, Dess looked around at the immediate need. They were a band of settlers, vulnerable to bandits, or even hostile Svefra. Their defenses were light. Vasin and Anja with their swords, Djinn with his bow, Kelski's array of weapons, his own martial arts, and a few ferocious Kelvics. But everyone would need to be part of defenses, should the need ever arise. And not only by a straight forward assault. Enemies could come with subterfuge, to steal, murder or kidnap, just as Kelski was stolen from them. Dess and Kelski had agreed that those unskilled should be taught some basic combat skills. He would begin by educating some in unarmed fighting. Looking ahead, he realized they would need space for training and practice and not only for fighting. A place to test area affect magic would be helpful as well.

All he needed to do was find a good level spot for his proposed practice grounds. He would find it in a very unlikely way.

Scruffy was raising a ruckus. The buck goat bleated relentlessly. Dess was passing by, and stalked over to the pen where the goats had been gathered to have their hooves trimmed, but had not been released. Dess was only learning about the animals, and tried his best to figure out what had Scruffy so bent out of shape. Then he counted the nannies. One was missing. A quick glance around revealed no errant goat. With a sigh, Dess picked up a coil of rope hanging over a post and went to look for the goat. He finally spotted her, traipsing into the woods. The Damazar ran after her.

The goat had passed through a small section of woods, stopping when she came into a meadow with lush grasses and clover. She was content to feed. Dess laughed. The clearing was almost perfect. fairly flat, it was roughly oval in shape, and long enough for a short archery range as well. Dess began to lay it out in his brain.

"Alright, come on..." Dess coaxed the goat after tying the rope around its neck. After a short tug of war, Dess won and the goat followed him. Only when the nanny was returned to the herd did Scruffy finally cease his bellowing.

Taking a moment, Dess went to his bed and pulled out the ink from his chest, then a quill and a note book. He began to sketch a layout for the practice grounds.

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Accidentally written over, this post was rewritten 8/3/19
Last edited by Dessarian on August 12th, 2019, 2:35 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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[Empyreal Demesne] Many Hands Make Light Work

Postby Dessarian on August 2nd, 2019, 2:01 pm

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Dess set aside the book, wanting to run the idea past some of the others. He walked down towards the fields, where Mercy and Djinn had recently seeded. Mercy was there was on her knees, prying weeds out of the vegetable plot. Caitlyn sat nearby, her hands caked in dirt, much like her mother. Dess paused. Growing food came before things like the practice grounds and, in spite of his excitement, Dess knew where their priorities lay.

"Looks like you could use a hand." Dess offered to Mercy with a grin. He settled to his knees, careful of the rows of seed that were barely breaking ground.

"I could use two, in fact." The woman replied, flashing her own smile at the blonde man. Caitlyn remained occupied with squishing the cool earth between her tiny fingers and babbling. Dess set to digging his fingers around a young weed, until he could grasp the plant's root base, then he ripped it from the ground and tossed it to a small pile Mercy had started.

"How long will it take until we get vegetables from these?" Dess asked, he knew nothing about gardening or growing food. He was curious when they would be able to start relying on their crops.

"Tomatoes will come first, maybe forty to fifty days. Most of the rest will take sixty to seventy days. The barley should be ready by that time as well, it ripens faster than wheat. The amaranth will take longer." She replied. Her tone was not as much matter of fact, but almost anticipatory, like she anxiously awaited each plant to mature.

Dess nodded, "I can't wait to see it." He dug up another weed, this one had a spiny stem so he had to handle it with care. Ember appeared, standing by the edge of the tilled earth, watching the others work as she nibbled on a wild onion. "Hey kiddo," the Damazar greeted the K'etir Kelvic affectionately, "if your aunt doesn't have you doing anything, want to help us pull weeds?"

The mouse girl shrugged. "Sure." Her spindly legs navigated the rows of germinating vegetables to sit near Caitlyn.

"If you would keep an eye on her, that would be a big help. She tried to eat a worm earlier." Mercy suggested, looking sidelong and smirking at her daughter.

"Are you a silly girl?" Ember leaned over and tickled the baby, speaking in a squeaky voice.

Mercy and Dess set about again to dig up the intrusive weeds. The Damazar glanced over at the woman a time or two. She was pretty, a sweet girl who seemed to love the gardens only a little less than her precious daughter. Like Dess, Mercy was a broken soul taken in by Kelski, another of the family that had grown around the Kelvic Sea Eagle. Dess had learned only a little of Mercy's past, and only from Ebon or Kelski. Looking at the lovely young woman, it angered him to think of what was done to her, just as it did when he thought of what Darvin did. Dess had seen enough to know such travesties happened all the time, but it still angered him. It was good that they were building a place where no one had to fear being enslaved or abused.

Dess and Ember worked with Mercy until she the baby started to get impatient. Mercy scooped up the fussy Caitlyn. "Time to change and feed this little grub-digger." The woman teased.

"Can I help?" Ember asked, the girl brushing her dirty hands on her pants. The two women headed for the tower. Left on his own, Dess found one of the wheel barrows and gathered up the pile of pulled weeds and hauled them to a location at the far end of the garden where a compost pile was forming.

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[Empyreal Demesne] Many Hands Make Light Work

Postby Dessarian on August 5th, 2019, 6:52 pm

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Dessarian's thoughts returned to the practice grounds as he pushed the wheelbarrow back along the edge of the gardens. For his purposes, he just needed the sparring pit and the practice dummy to start. The rest could come along when they were all more settled. The two rings would need to be dug out a little to get rid of the grass and a layer of topsoil, then given a good layer of sand. That would be a task in itself, for the meadow was some distance from the beach. The wagon would have to be employed to haul the sand, he didn't think any one with them had the skill in Reimancy required to produce that much sand. Besides, there would be other equipment that would be hauled to the site via wagon. That meant the path cut through the trees to the meadow would have to come early. Fortunately, since it was at the fringe edge of the forest, the trees were younger and smaller than the giant elders further into the woods.

With the daylight left, Dess retrieved an ax and returned to the small band of trees between the edge of the Demesne clearing and the meadow. He plotted visually the optimum course through the trees, which would be the most efficient to cut down for a path wide enough for the wagon.

Dess started clearing some saplings while he was there, hacking through their trunks close to the ground and laying them aside. He would collect anything that the woodworkers could use. By the time dusk fell, Dess had cleared most of the saplings along the proposed path. Selecting out those with straight trunks, and were small enough to drag, Dess tied one end of a rope around the felled little trees. Others were dragged to create the outline of the path he planned to make.

Dess dragged his collected saplings back to the site's wood piles. It was tedious going and by the time Dess got to the stacks of wood, his legs and arms burned. He had at least scouted the meadow, sketched out some ideas, and laid the ground work for the trail to the planned practice ground. As time allowed, he would recruit help to fell the trees along the path. Then the sand-covered sparring ring would be all he needed to complete to get started with training.

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[Empyreal Demesne] Many Hands Make Light Work

Postby Dessarian on August 6th, 2019, 1:23 pm

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The following day, Dess started his day as usual, at the beach. His daily regimen began with a series of stretches and maneuvers learned while training in Riverfall. The techniques improved flexibility as well as helping Dess focus his mind for the day ahead. Heading back to the tower, he greeted many people, for everyone was up and beginning the day's tasks.

Dess entered the tower, from which the aroma of breakfast drifted. Within, he found Keesha working with Mosa at the hearth. "Momma Mosa and Little Raven, what is for breakfast?" The older woman barely glanced at the blonde man, making an unintelligible sound in repsonse. Mosa wasn't too fond of Dess's nickname, or at least she wouldn't let on if she did. The teenager turned with a more welcoming smile, a plate with scrambled eggs and a slice of toast in her heand.

"Hi Dessarian." Keesha offered. The youngest Zrevan didn't speak much, at least not since Hattie brought her and her mother to stay at the Demesne. But the girl had been through the trauma of the Ketir/Damazar massacre, her world still tumbling in the wake. Dess took the fork set on the plate and sat down to eat. "I sewed up the tear in your shirt. I got it upstairs." The teenager added as she set a cup of water by the Damazar. Dess had torn his sleeve while felling the saplings the day before.

Dess looked up at her, swallowing his food before speaking. "Thanks, I really appreciate it. Can't walk around like some alley dweller, what would Kelski say?" He teased Keesha. Her smile flickered. "Have you seen Ebon?" Dess asked.

"He ate already, I think he was going to help Vasin." She replied.

Finishing breakfast, Dess left as others arrived to eat. He wanted to seek out the lion Kelvic to see if he would help cut down some of the trees. But as he tread the grounds, he spotted Hattie and Lynneah in a conversation near the edge of the cleared ground. The conversation seemed heated, but Dess approached them anyway. It seemed the mother and daughter disagreed on quite a few points. Both women grew silent as the Damazar drew near.

"Mother, its time." Lynneah insisted with a firm voice. Hattie's aged gaze darted between the two younger people before she sighed, as if in resignation. "I know." The crafty old woman replied. She had a full pack on her back, as if heading into the forest. "Come on." Hattie instructed. Dess looked to Lynneah, who nodded in assurance.

Dess followed Hattie, Lynneah behind, though the woman drew up next to Dess when there was space. Both Zrevan women were quiet, though Dess and Lynneah exchanged glances from time to time. Lynneah was sharp and astute, and had managed the Damazar stores and supplies before the family's demise. Lynneah had been fairly close to Dess, being only a few years older than he. As a teenager, the younger Damazar actually had a crush on the Zrevan woman. When Hattie brought her daughter and granddaughter to the Demesne from her wilderness hideout, Dessarian was stunned. Lynneah was able to confirm Hattie's story of the massacre, and the reunion was deeply emotional. But to have someone that was like family living with him at the Demesne had done much to help the Damazar heal.

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[Empyreal Demesne] Many Hands Make Light Work

Postby Dessarian on August 7th, 2019, 6:35 pm

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Dess was quite curious what the Zrevan women were up to, though he bit back his string of questions. If they were willing to tell him anything, Lynneah would have offered more information. They followed the trail Kelski had marked the day they had met Hattie, but then diverged as the went deeper into the forest. Eventually, the faint sound of water could be heard. The old woman lead them to a stream, the veered to follow it, moving in the upstream direction. They soon entered a hidden gorge of stony walls, a small waterfall at one end. Aside from the pervasive roots and vines that clung to the rocks, there was nothing of interest.

It was then that Lynneah stepped forward. She stood before a particularly thick covering of ivy that draped down the rock. Reaching, she reached into the dense covering. When her hand tugged, the entire covering of ivy shifted, as if it were a blanket. The woman revealed a small cave opening behind a cleverly crafted camouflage. Lynneah looked to Dess, her features sober, her eyes glistening with the threat of tears. "You need to go inside." She said softly.

The Damazar glanced at Hattie, who remained emotionless, then back to Lynneah before ducking into the cave. It wasn't dark, but softly lit by a source around a corner. Looking back briefly, Dess moved into the cave and turned the corner.

There, sitting by a lantern, was a young woman with light brown hair. She was separating out a pile of plant sprigs, plucking off the leaves and laying them on a cloth while tossing the stems aside. When her head lifted, blue eyes that mirrored Dess's color met his, then widened.

"Dess!" She whispered with excitement, as if afraid to say his name out loud.

"Darcee?" Dess replied, his brow furrowed in disbelief as he looked at his cousin.

The woman leaped to her feet, scattering her carefully formed piles, she ran to the blonde man and threw her arms around his neck, burying her face in his chest. Dess's arms laced around her waist. She wept sorely, uncontrolled for a long moment as Dess repeatedly kissed the top of her head.

"I hoped beyond hope that you were safe." She finally managed to mutter, reddened eyes lifting to him. "I knew you were out looking for her." She continued, having to pause as she tried to gain her composure.

"How did you..." Dess asked in return, knowing she would understand the question.

"I wasn't there. I was in Syliras, getting supplies I needed." Darcee continued, her arms finally slipping from around her cousin's neck so she could wipe her eyes and then nose. Looking past Dess, she saw Lynneah standing behind them.

"I'm sorry, for not telling you about each other. Mother insisted we keep Darcee hidden until we were sure your settlement would be safe. Mon has been sneaking supplies to her here since she came to live with you. Darcee, Dess lives at the settlement where we have been. Mom was afraid if we told you Dess was there, you would insist on going before we knew it was safe." Lynneah tried to explain the deception.

The dark-skinned Zrevan moved forward to place her arms around the two remaining Damazars and hugged them, kissing each on the head. "At least you two are together. And Kelski."

Darcee looked up suddenly. "You found her?" She asked with astonished excitement.

A small smile touched Dess's lips. "Well, more like she found me. Wait until you meet her!"

The four refugees left the cave and returned to their home at the Demesne.

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