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Lynn instantly seemed to look a bit more relieved when Maeve cooled the water. "Thank you, that feels a lot better already. My name is Lynn Meditrina, by the way. A pleasure to meet all of you," Lynn said, finally introducing herself to them properly. Lucky for Lynn, Maeve didn't seem to make the water as cold as it would be comfortable to her, as that would near freezing even for Lynn, but knocked it down to only a little bit cooler than the ocean waters of Lynn's home, which in this heat, wasn't really that bad. Lynn sunk below the water, her eyes slowly closing. Valia was worried momentarily before she remembered that the girl was from the ocean and could see her soft breathing under the water.

"Thats a beautiful name," Valia commented, "as you may have already heard, my name is Valia." Soon the girl arrived with three clay head sized jars in her arms, each had a different color lid to them. "Three jars, Himi?" Valia asked inquisitively.

The girl nodded as she set them down. "Yes Madame Valia. One is the oil, one the lotion, and the other I thought to bring was some salt."

Valia's eyes lit up, "Oh! great thinking, though we will only need just a little bit," she said as she took the salt jar to use first, looking to Maeve with a little grin, "white desert gold." It was her personal jar she used normally for cooking, but it did well to have some on hand if someone dehydrated as well. "You lady, if you haven't dozed off in there, would you mind coming back up for a moment?" she asked whimsically. Lynn's tired eyes opened and she shifted herself back up in a seated position in the tub. "Open you mouth and take some of this," she instructed. Lynn complied, letting Valia take a pinch of salt and put it on her tongue.

Lynn was surprised by the taste but not in a bad way. In fact, it tasted quite familiar. "Crystallized sea water?" she asked in confusion.

"Not quite, it's salt," Valia responded, "it is in sea water, yes, but here we mine it. You probably naturally filter this into your diet in the ocean, but being dehydrated, an extra pinch can go a long way. Though too much and it would be counter productive." She took a small handful and let it fall into the bath water. "Its one of our most lucrative exports for this town, especially for cooking. But the trade allows me to get this lovely little jar here," she said as she grabbed the next jar she wanted to use, "Have you had any brought to Tundral before Maeve?" she asked, striking up small talk. As soon as she opened it the room was filled with the smell of cocoa butter.



Nix looked to Allanon strangely, not sure why he would volunteer such a thing. Nix "This pack.... help Nix find pack?" she said asking him while slightly unbelieving. Nix "Nix... accept," she said giving her joining an approval.

When Kistal started to approach Nix, she instinctively backed away a little, still not completely sold on the idea of traveling with them, especially not that close, but he mentioned something about the things binding her arms and clasped to her ankles. Hesitantly, she plopped down in the sand and held out her bound arms first, which held her forearms together as much as they possibly could. Kistal would see a bit of bleeding around each of the bindings from how tight each one was. Nix's ears laid back as she watch Kistal work on them.

---

As for the warriors and many of the rest of the group, they were forming marching lines to leave the camp, but waited on the others to get ready as well. Bidzil nodded to the newcomer and the others. "Well, I hope this 'Jeevak' character doesn't mind sharin', been looking into the legend a little myself. F-for nothing nefarious though I assure you!" he said, waving his arms in front of himsel with a big dumb grin. He cleared his throat. "Anyway, the rest of the warriors look about ready to head out. Oh, and Chihiro, Hilde was calling out for you it seemed. She asked I just leave her there, but she seemed pretty banged up. She took a direct hit from that hooded figure-"

"I-its not so bad, nnf, pro-obably just a busted rib or two. No biggie," Hilde's voice called out, still lying in the sand but now with a couple more worried Kalla warriors around her, checking if she was alright. They muttered something about making maybe another stretcher if they had extra sailcloth.

As for Allanon, he would find his target among the other girls. It seemed to be in fact the very girl Malkhad was dragging around before the fight, the one Dorran died trying to shield and Bidzil saved. her paler features now easier to see with the rising sun and being surrounded by mostly Varuk. She for now seemed pretty out of it, just as before, and was resting in the lap of one of the older girls that were taken hostage.
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Allanon knelt before the girl. He took a moment to remember the name of the girl. He had only heard it once from her father when he took the mission upon himself to rescue the girl. "You must be Irene." He spoke gently. "I'm here to take you back to your family and make sure that this never happens to you again. I can teach you and your father how to keep yourselves safe." He was beginning to wonder why the Calabris family would take the effort to bring her all the way from Portea to here. Perhaps they were not able to get the girls they needed exclusively from Kalla, and needed to import them from other regions.

"I won't force you to do anything," Allanon continued. "You are at an age you can make your own decisions, and I will respect them if you think another path is better for you."

------------

This Chihiro confirmed to him that the Jeevak mentioned was the Jeevak of legend. If this was true then he did not like the implication. He glanced over toward the ignorant man that commented about Jeevak sharing. He put on a smile and placed his hand on Bidzil's shoulder. "If this is the historical Jeevak. The Jeevak of legend. Then you are talking about sharing with the enemy of humankind. The last heir of the Grandis Empire. Seeking another key for the Oracle, or recovering the Soul are now the best options if we want a chance to stop a villain such as Jeevak."

Finding another key would take work, but the key was just the start of getting access to the Oracle. The ritual had conditions to be met as far as he was able to understand. His information was incomplete. He had hoped to get a hold on the Soul so he could have time to study the ritual, but that was no longer an option. If Jeevak made it to the Oracle first, he was worried he would not be able to achieve his desires.

"From what I understand of the ritual," Kallen continued. "It will take a fair amount of time to set up and meet the conditions. Just because Kitchi is far faster than anything I've ever witnessed doesn't mean we can't catch up." He then scratched the back of his head and paced around a bit. What would happen if they did catch up? He had no idea what these people were fully capable of, and his own abilities were specific and niche when it came to combat situations. He also had zero information on any of Jeevak's people.

Would this group even work with him?
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Kalla




Maeve simply smiled kindly towards the merfolk girlas she thanked her for making the water a bit colder and introduced herself. Truth be told, she could relate to her struggle with the hot climate as Maeve herself simply hated hot weather and was constantly either looking for shade while the sun was still high or using her magic to make the air around her colder.

"Doesn't it? I do know very well how awful this hot climate can be for someone who isn't used to it." Maeve said with a chuckle.

"Oh, my name is Maeve by the way. Maeve Orzhov. Pleased to meet you, Lynn." Maeve said with a kind smile to her.

When the girl finally arrived with the jars Madam Valia had asked her to fetch, Maeve paid close attention while they discussed about it. Being a woman, she was also interested to know how did Madam Valia make to keep her skin smooth and soft even under such harsh climate. According to the girl, one jar was oil, the other lotion and the last one, interestingly enough, salt.

"Salt. Tundral often has quite a good demand for it. I wouldn't be surprised if some of Kalla's salt ended up in Tundral." Maeve said, replying as Madam Valia mentioned salt.

"Although it does take quite a while for it to get there, which sometimes may cause shortages depending on what happens." Maeve said.

When Madam Valia opened the lotion jar though, Maeve was surprised with the wonderful scent that quickly filled the room.

"Hm, it smells wonderful! We do have lotions and oils on Tundral but I've never had one with such an incredibly good fragrance." Maeve said, curious about the jar Madam Valia had just opened.

"Is this one of the secrets for your skin to be always so perfect?" Maeve asked with a mischievous grin to Valia.

"You have to tell me where you found it! I need to get some back to Tundral when I get home!" Maeve said with a smile and a laugh.
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"Well, personally, if I am not dancing or running small errands, I spend quite some time on personal upkeep. Since its just us, I suppose I can tell you some of my tricks," she said with a wink. She taught al her students these things as well, and even provided the materials for them should they become official Kallan dancers, but she didn't see the trouble in telling Maeve, especially not after all she has done for their village. "I have a separate jar for exfoliating salts than this one that I use before I take a milk bath. I use a honey and milk mask for my face while I soak. I use incense pellets for a deodorant, wouldn't want to make a show for anyone and when they come to meet you be turned down by an odor from working," she giggled. "I didn't want to give Lynn a milk bath because I didn't want to risk her breathing it in earlier. But once I go to moisturize, I make sure to use the lotion first, because if if used the oil first," she said as she reached for the oil jar, opening it and allowing the smell of warm spices into air, mixing wonderfully with the scent of the cocoa butter, "the oil will block the lotion from properly being absorbed into the skin. So lotion first, oil second. Plus, it makes you smell wonderful," she said with a smile. With that said, the scent that filled the room would easily describe Valia's normal fragrance if one was close enough to her. "The rest is makeup and personal care, which I try to stay away from using too much makeup so I don't damage all the hard work I put into my skin. A little redness for the cheeks, something for the eyes and lips."

Maeve may not have expected to hear Valia talk about it so readily, but truth was, there weren't many people other than her students who ever seemed to care enough to ask. Sure the end result was always desired, but how it got there, not so much a talking point, but it was something Valia took pride in as much as her ability to dance. "Sorry if I am rambling, it's nice to have someone to talk to about such things," she admitted. "Alright Lynn, that should be enough soaking for a moment, lets get you moisturized." She helped Lynn out of the bath and helped her sit on a small bench. Valia got behind her and gently pulled her long wavy hair back, into a loose ponytail, which she then rolled around itself into a bun, no hair ties required. "Alright hun, this may seem a little intimate, but I promise we won't be handsy," she said before they proceeded to apply the lotion and then the oil to her body.

Lynn did seem a little uncomfortable with it at first, but was soon fine with it. She was feeling much better than before she had gotten here already, and this felt much like having a massage, especially when instructed to lay down. It was more relaxing than she was ready for as she soon fell asleep while they worked.



Bidzil thought about what Kallen said, "The enemy of humankind? I'm not sure I follow. I've never heard of Jeevak before now. As for that little speed demon, like you said, she may be fast, but if they are moving as a group she can only go as fast as the group does. The question is, where they went...," Bidzil shook his head, none of that was important at the moment, "Anyway, I'm going to see where I can help get everything ready to go," he said as he walked off to help make another stretcher for Hilde.

Irene's eyes opened when she heard her name, she rose up, much to the worry of girl who was watching over her, and listened to Allanon introduce himself as a man hired to come get her. "Someone... finally came?" she asked in disbelief. Tears started to form in her eyes as she reached up to Allanon, but then hesitated, drawing back. "N-no... I can't. If Malkhad is gone it is safer here. I was taken from home to pay my father's debt, he was never able to smith equipment fast enough to keep to Calibris's demand. So I was taken and then used as a bargaining chip, sold to Malkhad as part of some deal they were working out.... It isn't safe in Portea, They should run away and take refuge in Kalla," she pleaded. "If I go back.... I'm sure Calibris will find out, and... I don't know what would happen then..."
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Kallen frowned at Bidzil's lack of understanding. How could he be any more clear than "enemy of humankind"? Was the kid just naive? From what Kallen could tell they weren't too far apart in age. He decided it was not worth the effort to chase after and confront his ignorance. He scanned the area to see what he could do now that he had presented himself. Something that would put him in a favorable view with the people here. He noticed there was only one seriously injured, and many of the recently freed were fairly exhausted.

He recognized the one dead non-bandit as the Chief of Kalla. It should not be too hard to make a stretcher or sled to lay him on. The injured girl he saw Bidzil approaching looked to need a stretcher or sled as well.

Kallen stepped up to the warped archer tower he made his entrance from and placed his hand on it. "There should be more than enough material here." He took a breath before be began to chant another shape change spell.

"Shape and warp. Bend and fold. Change your form." As he felt his mana flow through him he willed the tower to change its form into a pair of sleds. The process took a solid minute as the wood creaked and groaned. He was not too worried about his mana limits, but the process of transforming the tower to such a different form and then splitting it into two of them took a while. He was fairly efficient with his mana control anyways. He had to be with how much of a toll his Eye took on him when he used it.

Once Kallen recovered from his casting he approached Bidzil who was working on a stretcher, and Kallen placed a hand on his shoulder to get his attention. He pointed a thumb toward the sleds. "Help me with these. Sleds are easier to move people with in the sand anyways than a stretcher like that."

--------------------------------

Allanon listened quietly to Irene's response nodding occasionally. She was of an age she could make intelligent decisions for herself. "Very wise. I recommend you give yourself a new name with this new life. Just in case. While I doubt the Calabris will spend the resources to capture you a second time it doesn't hurt to be safe. I will deliver for you any message you want to give to your father when we get back to Kalla."

If he was not committed to the promise he made his wife, Allanon would probably have moved to Kalla all those years ago. However, Portea needed someone capable of fighting and breaking Calabris operations. He had been a meticulous thorn in their side ever since they retired him and the other Ironblades. As long as they still existed in the form they did his efforts to make the world a brighter place would be thwarted.

He was confident he would die before he could do enough to remove the threat of the Calabris family, but that did not stop him from making every single effort he could to set a foundation for their removal.
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Kistal, once offered the bindings and seeing the blood, bared his teeth in an annoyed growl. "Reminds me of the bindings on flight risk slaves. We need these off and tended before they get infected. The chains are usually reused." He planted the spear into the ground and pulled out a few scraps of metal that turned out to be homemade lockpicking tools. He couldn't afford a good set just yet, so he was making do as he could. "These slavers were amateurs. They are using models of shackles older than when I was a kid. It should be but a moment. These have a particular weakness in the core that I think..." As he spoke, his fingers worked the tool and the lock let out a strained and almost broken click, the shackle undoing. "Can be heavily exploited. There, Nix, wiggle your fingers to get the blood flowing. It will be a bit prickly."

He then moved and knelt down, doing the same quick break on the leg shackle. He pulled the chains off rather unceremoniously and tossed them to the side with a face heavy with disdain. "I hate those things. Were any others still bound and needing my help? Hell, any slavers I can execute? I have a serious bone to pick with them, especially for messing with a beastwoman."

Upon being asked to see to Hilde, Chihiro gave Bidzil a solemn nod, kicking up some sand as she turned on her heel and jogging over to the injured half-Varuk. She knelt down and placed a hand on Hilde's chest, feeling her breathing. "Broken rib or not, let me listen a bit. Any blood in your mouth? I swear, if you are too badly hurt, Allard will make snakeskin boots out of me." Her other hand took Hilde's in her own, giving it a little affectionate squeeze. "On the other hand, knowing how you grew up, he may have expected you to do something like this."

--------------------
Kalla
--------------------

"Twas a battle most grand in the night," Sev replied grandly, clearly unphased by the woman's lack of surprise. While he had some skills at blending into a crowd and going unnoticed the Sylve's true talents lay in his magic and slight of hand, not stealth. So being noticed was a little disappointing but not unexpected.

"Many a rebel bandit assaulted this town, and many were cut down by myself and the other defenders. Truly I am surprised it was possible to fail to notice the battle," Sev continued, "but to answer your question, the wounded are being tended to, there are no prisoners to manage, to my knowledge, and the fair maidens who have just returned from captivity are being cleaned up. Thus there is little for a warrior-mage such as myself to do but to flirt.

"Thus I have come to you, I am Sevuid, Warrior, Mage and traveler," Sev finished with an elaborate, if not exactly proper, bow.

Tali floated to the ground as he spoke about the battle. A knowing smirk came across her lips as he tried to make it sound grander than reality. "It is hard to notice a battle when you are functionally dead. I just got better." She then moved into a much more proper bow, even mimicking her arm movements with her wings. "But I digress. I am Talise Rangatira, all around helpful succubus and eternal wanderer. Remember, a succubus has heard all the cheesy flirting, so you have your work cut out for you to bring something new."

She gave him a wink as she rose back to full height. Her wings once again wrapped around her hips and thighs as a sort of skirt, though it was for comfort rather than modesty. Sev would notice her eyes move to follow someone behind him. "Hmmmm, I remember her...oh yeah! That was a couple weeks ago in the tavern. That was a good night. Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, introductions. Nice to meet you Sevuid. Call me Tali. It is so suffocating to be referred to formally."

“A real live Succubus? With a living past lover as well? If it weren’t for your appearance, I’d assume you were pulling my leg!” Sev laughed, “none-the-less, if we are discarding the formality then you may refer to me as Sev.

“And were you truly dead last night? I have mastered many tricks, but returning from the dead isn’t one I can claim,” Sev continued, “generally I try to avoid being injured but being able return from the afterlife would lend a whole new layer of deviousness to my abilities. I assume that skill is reliant upon your demonic nature?”

While Sev had partly picked this woman to speak with due to her beauty, he had also pegged her as unique. The revelation, or at lest claim, that she was a succubus mostly eliminated his desire to ask her to bed, stories he heard about succubi seducing and killing men were too common for him to ignore, but she was still something Sev didn’t fully understand. Something new and interesting, making her half the reason he traveled.

Also in the back of his mind was the battle with the magic canceling odd man, the fear of loosing his ability to use mana again had followed him like a shadow. This woman might provide a distraction from such thoughts, but with her unique abilities might also provide some knowledge that would help should he ever encounter someone else able to completely counter his magic.

His surprise at her brazenly being open about her nature was adorable. She feigned annoyance and leaned forward, hands on her hips, but her face had a warm smile. "Just because I'm a demon doesn't mean I like to kill my lovers! Those other succubi give us good ones a bad name. I just make people feel good and also destroy a bandit here or there. You know, normal adventuring stuff." While she was feigning annoyance and her tone was playful, what she said was serious. She had never met demons other than her mistress, so she had no real idea about why they left a trail of corpses anywhere they went. Perhaps her mistress being a good demon was an oddity for most.

She dropped the joke after and straightened back up as he talked about coming back from the dead. "Sev, to be honest, neither myself nor my mistress knows why. It is pretty obvious I did not start as a demon given my appearance. I achieved apotheosis, though the ritual was perverted and I stole the result to save my skin. All I know is that any fatal wounds knock me out for a time, then I come out of it nearly starved. I try not to get killed often, but I have died about a dozen times."

“I imagine most people try to avoid dying, just some are better at it than others,” Sev said with a smile, “though rarely does anyone get another chance. Despite how good one might be the reaper comes for us all, if you truly can return from the grave then I can’t imagine the price you must pay for such an ability. Perhaps it’s the souls of those you have… destroyed here or there, you trade their lives for your own.

Sev paused for a moment, looking into the distance as he considered such an ability. While his theoretical knowledge of magic was as minimal as most of his education, he’d found that generally the price exacted by magic was greater than benefit granted. His gift of illusions and light was great, but in return it demanded he abandon his past life and live in fear of being discovered. In that moment he suddenly realized that there was a man out there who knew what Sev was, and while the self-proclaimed king hadn’t held that against him, all he had to do was release that secret and Sev would be forced to pick a side. Perhaps that was why he’d reacted so violently, some part of his mind realized that in a single sentence Jeevak could once again crush Sev’s life.

“Eh, I’m sure it isn’t that simple,” the warrior mage shrugged, pushing that line of thinking out of his mind, “magic rarely is.”

Tali gave him a bit of a grin. "If souls have something to do with it, my Mistress and I have yet to see it, but I only utterly destroy those that are evil. I usually just take a little bit of blood and then cuddle them back to health. Souls are not my only way to feed." She brushed her hair from one side of her face before holding her chin in her claws. "However, this talk is only theoretical. I have many things to do, but first I need to loosen up my muscles. I remember a bathhouse somewhere in town. Was that damaged in the attack or can a girl get a hot bath today? Waking up on a grimy floor isn't good for my complexion."

She was kidding of course. She knew she always smelled and looked amazing since her demonic nature ensured that, but she was serious about the feeling. She still had mortal feelings from before the ritual and grimy floors and unintended sleep made her feel like she needed to wash up. Sev likely would peep if given a modicum of chance, but Tali never minded someone seeing her without clothes on. The other ladies, though, might cause him some troubles if he tried.

“Now that you mention it, a nice bath does sound divine,” Sev replied, “walking through a desert and then fighting a battle against a mad plow-share wielding anti-mage is far from good for anyone’s complexion. As for the location of the mythical bath… I am unsure, but the town isn’t that big. I’m sure we’ll find it before long!”
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Kalla




Maeve listened to Valia words with attention as she described how she took care of her own body, noticing the differences and similarities on how Isoli nobles cared for their own beauty. Even though Maeve was a duelist, she was also a woman and as it was evident by her dress and her silky smooth hair and impeccably white skin, she did care quite a bit about her own appearance.

"Interesting! Different climates need different ways to take care of one's body. Although there are some similarities to how we Isoli care for our beauty, such as the moisturizing part." Maeve said with a smile as she continued to help Valia to take care of Lynn while making sure she was observing how Valia herself did it.

"I may have to take a day for me to take care of my skin too. Earlier than what I expected as well. My skin isn't really accustomed with this climate. The heat and the sand are definitely taking their toll on my hair." Maeve said, with a slightly worried expression.

When Valia apologized for rambling though, Maeve couldn't help but giggle a bit. It was nice to have someone else that was willing to talk about beauty even though she was so far from home.

"Oh please! I should be the one thanking you for sharing your secrets! They definitely will be useful in this climate." Maeve said, laughing just as they took Lynn out of the water, helping her to sit on a small chair.

"If you feel too uncomfortable and want us to stop, you just need to tell us, okay? That say, just try to relax a bit. You are in very good hands, right Valia?" Maeve said, with a small wink to Valia and a giggle.

Strangely enough, even though Maeve had met Valia only recently, she somehow felt a connection with the woman. Almost as if they were already good friends despite how far away they lived from each other.


"Madam Valia surely is a master in taking care of her body and it does take quite a lot of work to be this pretty despite being a duelist, you know?"
Maeve said, laughing as she tried to calm Lynn down and make her feel a bit less uncomfortable with all that.
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"A strange creature you say?" Allard repeated scratching his head, "No, 'fraid not, however there has been talk of a Jeevak character who came by 'ere while I was still recoverin'. Not much has been heard save fur someone tellin' of'em coming by and stoppin' a fight between a scragly wicked lookin' man an the other visitors in town. Had great healing power, but never shown his own strength. The man our visitors were fightin seemed ta cower in fear before being sent away."

Allard get a couple of drinks, water for now, one for Tyrael and himself. "Now, as fur Krogan's soul an this oracle buisness. Its an old tale, not many believe it anymore. They say there are relics in tha world, that once brought t'gether, will open tha path to a place called 'the vanishin kingdom'. An old sacred ground that lifted away from the Grandis Empire when one of the old kings banished tha oracle that had forseen tha kingdom's fall. Reason these items supposedly work, is cuz they are rich beyond belief with magical energy, more so than any one man can hope ta accumulate. Within those walls, is an Oracle. Sees all, knows all, can answer anythin', an ta top it off, can grant wishes. Legend goes that since the fall of the Grandis empire, Not a soul has stepped into the vanishin' kingdom, an many just chalk it up ta old fairy tails. Can't rightly say m'self, But the magical energy from Krogan's soul is quite tha thing ta behold." Allard did his best to explain. Usually that was where most inquaries about the the legend end as well, with not many tomes to back it up, as if most of the texts on the matter were simply lost to time.

Tyrael rubbed his chin. “Hmm. Sounds like Jeevak and this Krogan Soul are powerful indeed.” Tyrael wasn’t entirely sure what to do with this information. It’s not as if he cared to accomplish his goals with something as vague and chaotic as wishing, and for all he knows even the oracle and this Krogan Soul could just be a fantasy lost to the time. But it was something to consider.

“Good to know. I cannot say I am interested in pursuing it. However it may be relevant for a different purpose. The woman I travel with is seeking stolen artifacts from her village. I intend to assist her, in gratitude for saving my life. Would you happen to have heard any information about thieves or smugglers before or after the chaos that attacked the village?”

"Hmm, tha only Varuk bandits left that would try opposin' Kalla still would be Malkhad's men. If it was his men that ya found, they would have a scorpion tattooed on their back somewhere. If those mercs were helpin' them, they must've had some sort of agreement together. We have a scoutin' party out now, lookin' fur tha other girls that were taken. Hopefully they arrive with 'em all in tow." Allard scratched his head looking ito his tankard of clear water. "So, tha girl you travel with, friend o' yurs or just met? She is much farther than she need be from her home, an of all places ta start here. Near suicide fur her kind, from tha looks of it, nearly was fur her too. Once she is cleaned up, I advice she stays in tha oasis till ya leave. And I am sure Valia can get some clothes together. Our tailor seems ta be injured, but I'm sure we can find somethin' fur tha girl."

Tyrael simply nods. "I've only known her for a few days. She travels with purpose. Better than I. I was simply a wanderer up until I encountered her." Tyrael lowers raises his mask a bit to drink his water, allowing Kalla a glimpse of his green skin. "To that end, I still require the use of your forge, and I am willing to trade for materials and other services. And while I know this village may not be able to spare the manpower, but it would make our journey much easier if we could have one of two villagers who know how to operate a sand skiff. I would not dare travel through the desert on foot anymore."

"I am willing to negotiate the ownership of the skiff itself, as by right of plunder I have claimed the ship for myself, however am I more than willing to grant it to the village so long as they in turn can do me the service of operating it in my stead."

"Use of tha forge should be fine. If ya know what yur doin tha smith won't put up much a fuss. As fur tha ship, considder it yours. It's an old model, but sturdy all things considdered. However, due to recent occurances, I cannot say if we could let anyone go. Up ta tha cheif though," Allard responded. "If ya wish ta leave it, well, like ya said, maybe some people will go with ya on yur way out ta sail it back."

Tyrael nods and stands up. “Thank you. If my... Friend comes to look for me, please tell her where to find me.” Not really necessary since Zastriel is with Lynn, but simply as a formality. Tyrael would leave the tavern and head to the smith’s shop to do business while he waits for Lynn to recover.

Outside the smiths door, Tyrael knocked you make his presence known.

"Oi! Door's not locked, c'mon in," Tyreal would hear a voice call out. There were the familiar sounds of a blacksmith's shop heard from outside the door. the roar of flames and the sound of a hammer pounding away a a piece of hot metal on an anvil.

Tyrael enters with a bow of his head. “I am Tyrael. I wish to use your forge. I have weapons and armor I also wish to barter for supplies and services.”

"Mornin' ta ya friend, I'll help any way I can, especially after what ya did. I wasn't out there m'self, but word travels fast, it does. What can I do ya for?" the man asked as he got to a stopping place in his work, wiping the sweat from his brow. He was surprisingly young to be working his own smithy, only around his mid twenties, but still built like a typical muscular and hearty Varuk. He wore simple work pants, a leather apron, heavy gloves and a bandana around his forehead with sandy hair cut short and unlike most the men in Kalla, didn't sport a beard. "Anything in particular?"

“I need iron and steel. And tools. I wish to make an axe blade of a complex design.” Tyrael enters the smithy room, looking for any spare aprons and gloves for him to use. “Afterwards I would try and craft some armor. I plan to repurpose some of the armor and metals I’ve obtained for that purpose. And perhaps a shield. If you can help me with any of those tasks I will be grateful.”

"I'll do what I can. I'm, uh.... admittedly not too skilled with body armor forgin'. My father was 'for he passed, but I never learned that far. Norm'ly if a Varuk uses armor, its some platin' on the arms an legs and a shield. Tha shield covers nicely an less armor keeps us mobile an cool, body armor just isnt used much round here. Last set made was the one Allard commission for his daughter from my father...," he waved his hand in the air dismissing himself from his monologue. "But I'll try ma'best. Now and axe I can definitely do. The various metal we can repurpose. Hmmm," he thought resting a hand on his chin. "I'll help with the shield after, and then we can work on armor, but uh...," he noticed Tyreal gearing up to help him forge, "If ya got tha know how... would ya mind showing me how ta do some armor?"

“I do not mind. But I should warn you that Orcish armor is not well suited for most other races. Varuk’s are strong, so they should be able to handle the weight. But the strength of orcish armor is being able to use their armor as a shield, to deflect blows with minimal movement to conserve their energy.” Tyrael dons the apron and gloves before unloading the weapons and armor he intends to use for the forging process. He starts by removing the axe blades from their wooden halves, doing his best to preserve the handles for other uses.

“Smaller races rely more on evasion to protect themselves, as conventional armor for them is often too heavy yet at the same time not sturdy enough for the threats they face, be it magic or monsters. But the orcs can and have taken advantage of their much greater strength, endurance, and decent agility to make armor that enables them protection without compromising their battle stamina. In other words, they can focus less on fighting defensively so they can focus on fighting offensively.”

----

"There, she should be right as rain in no time," Valia stated as they finished, "Help me get her into some temporary clothes so we can was up what she had while she sleeps. Then I think I could go for a relaxing soak as well." As Valia and Maeve dressed her, Valia thought more about the girl from Tundral. "So, What brought you all the way out to Kalla anyway? I'd imagine it would be the last place someone from Tundral would want to visit, much like I'm sure Tundral would feel miserable for one of us to visit." She didn't spare any time however, as once they were finished, Valia would start to move Lynn to go to the Oasis. She picked up the girl surprisingly easily and held her in a bridal carry, letting Maeve lead the way outside.

From there, if Sev and Tali were paying attention, they would see the three exit the bath house. Valia would let Lynn into the water to rest.



Bidzil looked surprised at Kallen's ability, it still was quite a sight to behold. "That was increadible! Yeah, this will be a lot better, thanks!" He said excitedly as he hurried to help Kallen get the sleds over. "Chihiro, Kallen prepped some sleds for us, should make getting Hilde to the skiffs much easier." Bidzil understood the sled was better, but he had no idea how to make one on the fly, luckily, Kallen made that a non-issue. When offering the sled for Dorran, however, the four men carrying Dorran in a stretcher refused, saying that Dorran died a heroes death for them, that they want to carry him back to the skiffs. It was a show of respect for a fallen leader, they would bear his weight back home, only setting him down for the ride on the skiff.

Hilde squeezed Chihiro's hand, "Its, a bit painful to breathe, but... I haven't coughed up anything yet" she said with a slight smile that ended up looking more like a grimace. She winced in pain when being set up on the sled, but there was no helping it. At least from here, she should be able to rest. "I didn't expect it to use an explosive attack so close range, it was like it had no consideration for its own safety. I... misjudged my opponent." She chuckled lightly at the mention of her father, trying not to laugh too hard. "He'll be upset but... I think he will understand. There had been stories of dad and Dorran running off plenty of times when others thought it too dangerous to go even in large groups. They never cared if it were dangerous, they just knew what needs to be done. Dad really wanted to come out here... but I could tell he knew something was off, I just didn't know what. If he had come, none of our strongest warriors would have been in town. I hope he's alright..."

Nix flinched a few times as Kistal worked, even whining a little as the one came off from around her ankle. She held her arm straight out and wiggled her fingers like he suggested, making an uncomfortable and irritated face as the strange sensation. She then instinctively lifted her leg and started licking at the wounds from the shackles. When she felt that it was sufficiently clean she would look to Kistal for a moment, watching him as he would be called over to help with some of the others who still had some shackles on. She looked around at the others milling about before she yawned out of some sort of idle frustration and began to silently follow Kistal around. She seemed to be studying him, from his mannerisms to what he was doing, any time he would look her way she would act as if she was looking at something else, turning her head and feigning interest elsewhere.

Eventually everyone was set for the march back to camp. despite the victory, it was a mostly quiet march, many of the warriors knowing their arrival to town would be met with much happiness, yet sorrow for their fallen leader. It was bittersweet. They would arrive to the cave and set off to the dunes once more. Even the sands seemed quiet with the passing of one of its children. Many found the ride as a time to get some rest after the fight. Wounds were tended to as best they could be while on the go, Hilde's sled was secured so it wouldn't slide around.

Bidzil wasn't able to sleep however. He sat in deep thought after the whole ordeal, not that things have quieted down. Despite how tired he was, the memories of his first real battle shook him up a bit now that the dust had settled. He wasn't ashamed of what he did, but he felt like he didn't do enough to help. He wondered what the power was that took ahold of him, and mentally cursed how drained he was after it was used to protect that one girl. What good was it if he was able to shield someone if he couldn't fight back afterwords? later on down the line there might not be someone there to pick up his slack and it would only prolong the death of who he was trying to protect. He needed to learn, but from what? There was nothing to guide him on how to be a transcendent and he felt learning as he goes could only jeopardize others. He let out an irritated sight as he leaned his head back on the railing of the skiff. He had an arm resting on one propped up knee as he ran his other hand through his hair. Weren't transcendents in all the stories of old supposed to be better at this kind of stuff? Maybe his single wing really was a bad omen...
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"That is much better, isn't it? I admire your determination, Lynn. Despite everything you went through, you still stood strong." Maeve said with a smile to both Lynn and Valia as they finished. It did take a while but Lynn was definitely in a much better state than she was when she arrived.

"That is a sublime idea! I think I might do the same. I think we both deserved after everything, right?" Maeve said with a wink and a mischievous smirk to her as she helped her to get Lynn dressed. It was a bit weird even for Maeve, but she felt a connection with Valia, despite how distant the places they lived were from one another. It was almost as if they were already friends despite having met each other only for a day.

With that finished, Valia got Lynn, carrying her on her arms with a surprising ease. As they were heading towards the exit before making their way towards the Oasis though, Valia asked why someone such as Maeve, from Tundral was in Kalla, a place that was certainly miserable for her to visit due to the temperature.

"Hm... Indeed that's an interesting question. To answer that though, I will have to tell you a bit more about myself." Maeve said, looking back to Valia with a smile before continuing walking.

"As you might already know, I am the second child from the Orzhov family, a wealthy and influential family on Tundral. As it is expected from one of the oldest families in Tundral, the Orzhov are very strict in many aspects, insisting in dumb and obsolete traditions such as that the head of the family must be a male and the eldest son. For me, that meant I was going to be fated to merely be married to someone else in a political marriage, merely for the benefit of my family or to serve the royal family." Maeve began.

"Unfortunately for my family, despite them trying to raise me into the perfect housewife, since I was a child I was fascinated with fencing and as I began getting older, displayed a innate talent in fencing. That, coupled with the magic in my family being rather strong and my love for fencing made me into the best duelist in Tundral. To make things even worse for them, when they brought the matter of marriage to me again, I stated that I wouldn't marry anyone who was weaker than me." she continued, with a mischievous smirk as she said the last part. Valia would notice in Maeve's voice that she wasn't boasting at all when she said that she was the best duelist in Tundral. It wasn't mere arrogance. Her voice was the voice of a woman that knew she was the best. Such confidence wasn't born out of lies or exaggerations.

"For most of my life, I was content in merely honing my magic and my fencing skills. But it began getting... dull and boring after some time. Nobody else in Tundral represented a challenge to me anymore. There wasn't anyone else that could beat me. Not even the best instructors on Tundral. Being in the top is honestly... boring. Especially if you're living like a caged bird inside the Orzhov mansion. It was suffocating." she said with a heavy sigh.

"After some time, I simply couldn't handle that anymore. Living in the shadow of my brother, being denied the seat as the head of the family despite being better than him in almost everything, merely because he is a few years older and a male... It was insulting. Not even the family could deny my talents anymore. I grew too big for Tundral... and too big for a family that doesn't give me the value and respect I deserve. Luckily, due to my status as a duelist and the noble balls and events I had to attend, merely as a puppet for the main family and for my brother, who was 'too busy' to attend to such events, I managed to make some interesting connections to other noble families, which gave me enough influence and leverage to openly go against my father's wishes. Having consolidated my position in Tundral as more than just the 'youngest daughter of the Orzhov family', I was free to do whatever I please." Maeve continued, this time her voice had a rather satisfied tone though.

"The first thing I did after being freed from the plans of my family was to leave Tundral. Why Kalla? I don't know. I lived in Isoli for most of my life. Kalla is almost the complete opposite to what Tundral is. Maybe that is one of the reasons I choose to go to Kalla first. Either that or it was just on a whim. Who knows..." she said with an amused chuckle.

"About my goals... I seek to further hone both my magic and my fencing skills, to know the world and enjoy the freedom that was takeb from me so far by my family, to maybe find someone that can give me a worthy challenge in a spar and finally, to make it so not even the Orzhov family can go against me anymore. To show them how much they underestimated me." Maeve finished, turning her head towards Valia now that she was finally done with telling her story.

"So, this is my story, Madam Valia. As an addendum, although I must agree that the climate is dreadful for an Isoli like me, the trip to Kalla was rather interesting and eventful so far. Plus, if I had gone anywhere else, I wouldn't have met such a good friend now, would I?" she said with a kind smile as she looked to Valia.
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"Incredible?" Kallen mused. "That was just a creative application of a simple Shape Change spell. If we continue to travel together for some time you see some truly incredible works of magic."

While his specialty was countering and canceling other magic which only rarely had a visual effect, his Control Magic almost always had a strong visual appeal.

He cleared his throat. "Anyways, I'm glad to be of some use." While he was utterly disappointed in his initial reason for being here being all for naught, Kallen was glad that he found potential tools to further his own ends. Of course he would treat them all well and with respect. That was almost always the best option to take. He disliked domineering over others like his Calabris and Peregris family members did, not to mention the other branch families. It was inefficient, and he viewed the works of magic in effort to make puppets of others a foolish initiative. Even with the successes of such magic.

As he followed the group back to Kalla, Kallen puzzled over the idea of unraveling the puppetry magic with his own counterspell. It would take some effort and creative application, but it was possible. He would need to study further the theory of dispelling magic. He was fairly certain he had some tomes on the theory in Chest back at the inn.

______________________

"I-I need to think about it," Irene responded. She seemed to be out of focus.

"No hurry," Allanon smiled. "You need rest before anything else. Hopefully, you can get all the rest you need with the life you will have ahead of you in Kalla. Good people here. I'll be in Kalla for a couple days, so you'll have some time."

With that Allanon stepped away from Irene, and he walked with the caravan in silence. He had succeeded in his mission to rescue the captured victims of the Calabris operation. He had fought to defeat a powerful foe. Even with these victories, he felt as if something bigger had been lost when the Soul of Krogan was taken. He had a bad feeling about the future that could come from it.
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Chihiro, once in the caravan, sat beside Hilde, one hand stroking the girl's hair idly as she waited for the return trip. She knew Hilde would live, but a bit of comfort and a chance to pamper the girl was not something the naga would pass up. In the past, if Hilde was sick as a child, suddenly Chihiro would show up with treats and a story to cheer her up. Now, she could be a bit flirtatious with the woman and also a bit more affectionate. After all, it wasn't often you got to do so as an ageless wanderer.

"If anything could take down your father, I would give it a medal. I swear, he could duel down a mountain if the thought took him. I imagine you will get to that point soon enough. You take after him a lot in that regard. You are just cuter at it than a jolly giant of a beefcake." The naga's eyes never left Hilde. She had decided to essentially work through the stress by channeling it into teasing and taking care of the half-varuk. "As for your fight, that was no normal opponent. Kistal did something to it, said something about purification I think. That body was probably more puppet than person at that point given how easily it hurt itself and also ignored major injuries. Perhaps our friend will enlighten us on what he did later. For now, he seems caught up in his own inner demons. Slavery seems to hit him harder than most."

Kistal, meanwhile, had been working at the other shackles. Some were so gritty and mediocre that he had to break the locks or joints to get them open. His frustration was audible in his quiet growls. Once he had freed the slaves, giving them the same direction to work out the numbness before moving, he looked over at Nix. She had obviously been following him but acted like she wasn't actually paying him attention. He figured it was her way of trying to find someone to be comfortable around. So, he simply let her do as she wished and looked at the cluster of chains in his hand. He tossed them to the sands and ground them into the grains with a hoof, his brow furrowed and a somehow simultaneously sad and angry frown on his face. The nearly spent mana left in his body reacted with his mental state as he was once again confronted with bad memories, his hair raising a bit in the air and dark wisps flowing up from his body. The moment soon passed as he calmed down again, making his way to the skiff.

On the skiff, he took a seat and planted the butt of his spear on the deck, spinning it between two fingers as he let the adrenaline crash come and begin to run its course. "Good thing I have a bunch of alcohol finishing at Kalla. I am going to need a long night of drinking after dealing with all this...degeneracy."
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Valia prepared the baths for the both of them as Maeve spoke, making sure to turn to her to make eye contact here and there to let her know she was still indeed listening closely. “Mmm, that is true, and I wouldn’t have made myself a new friend either, and it's always fascinating to hear about things in other kingdoms,” she stated with a smile. She undressed and eased herself into one of the large round tubs, sighing relief as she did so. She rested a small folded hand towel on the rim to rest her head as a curious thought popped up. “Strange, Mrs. Suzune, Allard’s wife, would say, well… somewhat the same thing about women’s roles in The Scar, but from a place that is ruled by a lone queen, I wonder why they would adhere to such traditions? In Kalla, things may seem quite different. True, women are seen as more nurturing than the more warrior prone men, but that is what is cherished. There is a mutual respect for the other's talents. People of Kalla are judged on what they provide, and we work together to lift each other up. And as far as providing anything goes, children are one of the most precious things one can bring into the world,” she started to explain, though the mention of children made her unconsciously stop briefly before continuing.

“There is a respect for both man and woman and what each brings to the table so to speak, but that doesn’t mean that if a woman chooses to take to the sword or if a man tries to take a less combat oriented lifestyle that it is looked down upon. Well, unless they fail miserably at it,” she added with a chuckle. “And there are few exceptions of course. Our dancers are all female, so we leave the drums to the men. The chieftain is usually a lead warrior, so they are male, however, his wife, if any, is to lead while he is away, and is usually his closest and only personal advisor.” She absentmindedly started to bathe.

She chuckled at the thought of something, “Did you know Suzune and Allard actually met in conflict?” she asked, unsure of what tales Allard may have told her already.

-----

Tali and Sev would find the bathhouse not too far off, and close to the oasis that was nestled into the side of the village. The building was slightly elevated on stilts, with enough room for some people to go underneath and make the baths warm if desired. Two guards, though fairly casual in gear and an axe tucked in each of their sashes, stood guard, one male, one female. They stood guard to make sure people went to the right baths, as well as to keep an eye on Lynn who was now in a small roped off part of the water that the kids would normally use to splash in while their parents were in the baths. There were three chambers to the bath house, the women’s side, the men’s side, and the couple’s chamber in the middle. The couple’s chambers were sectioned off between each one for the couple’s privacy, and to make a barrier between the men’s and the women’s baths. There had been a time where it was simply women’s and men’s baths, but too many curious eyes at times made for more conflict for various reasons, so they took a small number of the middle baths and created this section from it. If Tali and Sev were to pass the two guards, who would both either nod to them or give them a wave with a friendly smile, they would go up a few steps and meet a receptionist at a counter right before you would get to the chamber doors.
“Hello and welcome!” the woman at the counter, “please, help yourselves to our amenities, after everything that has happened, we are letting people use the baths freely at this time,” she explained as she grabbed some towels. “Are you two a couple or seperate?” she asked genuinely.

-----

Tyrael would find that the young blacksmith was quick and easy to learn, and that his own ability as a blacksmith was quite something to behold. Due to the small town, there wasn’t an abundance of orders, meaning that he was able to give everything he made all of his attention and time. His attention to detail was outstanding, and he was a perfectionist at everything he had snow, making sure not just to make a product, but to make something that would last for generations to come. While much may not be able to be salvaged from what Tyreal gathered, anything that was created was sure to be some sturdy gear that could stand up to quite some abuse. At the end, the blacksmith offered that the axe head would be able to be made, some various pieces of armor, and a wood round shield with metal banding on the edge. The blacksmith actually insisted that instead of more armor, to make a boss in the middle of the shield, as well as to cover the front of the shield in a thin metal plate, just a couple millimeters thick. This would prevent any fire attacks from burning the wood on contact, something few shield users had picked up in Kalla when facing enemy firekin.

“If ya gonna not be able ta have full armor, ya need a shield. This is how most kalla warriors kit up. We are strong and mobile, we wear armor where the shield can’t cover, and let tha shield do tha rest. I know if we can handle nimbly toting a shield and a heavy weapon around, an orc should be able ta do it just as well, ay?” he said to try to convince Tyrael, but it was honestly their choice, after all, he is just here to make orders.
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Tyrael never thought he'd have something akin to an apprentice. In his entire life, either he was the apprentice, or he was working alone. There was something enjoyable to teach, watch someone improve, and more importantly getting more done within a day. With the blacksmith assisting in the shield and armor, Tyrael could focus on his axe. A hefty weapon of iron and steel, carefully shaped and carved. Around the time Tyrael had finished most of the work for his axe, the blacksmith had finished some armor pieces and the shield. Due to a lack of sufficient resources, the smith had chosen to create a more sturdy shield over armor, which suited Tyrael just fine. "That is acceptable. I would not want to wear too heavy of armor here anyways. I do not know a good design that can both protect me without burning me alive in the desert sun." Tyrael had vaguely heard of some armor designs used by knights of the desert, but they weren't things Tyrael was familiar with, certainly not enough to design himself. So he'll have to rely on this smith to provide sufficient armor for the orc.

Soon the two would finish making the equipment. Tyrael's axe was heavy, being made entirely out of metal with some leather wrapping. He gave it a few swings before giving it a strong twist, causing the shaft to extend turning the battle axes into a halberd. Another strong twist helped him shorten the length to a more manageable size. The armor mainly consisted of some arm guards, a helmet, pauldrons, and greaves. Not exactly the full set that Tyrael was hoping for, and barely any body armor either, but the shield was of very high quality. The shield boss was a good idea; when Tyrael first obtained this shield he didn't have the money to buy a metal shield, thus why it was so cheap and easily broken. However this one was much sturdier and lighter as well, making it far easier for Tyrael to manipulate. The shield was a little bit smaller than the wooden one he was using before, but that was fine considering that his new axe would require the flexibility of two hands, which his new shield now provides since he can reliably use it simply strapped to his arm. Lastly the helmet was a simple metal skull cap with a leather coif, decent enough to protect his head for a stray blow but nothing he'd rely on to take say, a sword to the temple. But Tyrael did take a moment to craft himself an iron mask. Not only would it be useful to protect his face, but also add an air of intimidation against his enemies as he gave it a furious visage.

After gearing up, Tyrael wouldn't look too different as his current attire would cover up the armor. Only his helmet would be a notable difference. He kept his shield off, his axe now hug on a latch on his belt, and his club strapped to his pack. Tyrael doubts he'll need to rely on it much now that he has a proper weapon, but he may one day make use of it's Ironwood to make something new. He bid the blacksmith farewell as Tyrael went to go look for Lynn to let her know he's finished with his business, with Zastrial giving Tyrael direction to Lynn's location. There was still much that they needed to do, such as gather supplies and see if anyone in this town was willing to accompany them and operate the sand skiff. And of course there was still the matter of those artifacts that Lynn was looking for. With the only leads being a tenuous connection to the brigands who attacked this village, Tyrael had no doubts that he would have much work to do.
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The ride back to Kalla from the camp was relatively quiet. Small conversations here and there were made between various people, but the loss of their chief was heavy on their minds. As Kallen thought about the strange puppet that was faced, he may start to remember hearing stories of people Calibris disliked vanishing. Sometimes it wasn’t even anyone he particularly didn’t care for, as whenever he had a curious streak and started locking himself away in his study to not be disturbed, someone always seemed to go missing as well. There was actually a surprising number of people in his service that wore masks under well covering clothes, and maybe this was just a glimpse at what was happening behind closed doors.

As for Allanon, Irene simply thanked him, telling him she would have an idea of what to do when they reached Kalla, but she seemed too worn out to continue. Meanwhile, if he looked to Bidzil, he seemed to have a distant look in his eyes. While the sight was normal for people who had seen their first real battle, Bidzil’s saving grace seemed to be that he was at least able to fight in the face of something new to him. What may have been odd, however, was the air of irritation around him instead of the cold acceptance of the realities of battle.

Hilde laid comfortably as she could in the stretcher, admittedly basking in the attention Chihiro was giving her. She chuckled despite the bit of pain it caused, “Beefcake? My, my, Chihiro, are you complimenting me or my father?” she asked with a smile, teasing her right back. When she spoke of the fight, the girl thought back. “I sensed something was not right while fighting it, and I didn’t expect it to launch an attack so close even to itself,” she started. The fact that the girl got away with a few broken ribs was a testament to the Varuk blood within her, even if she was only half blooded. “I could hear it crying when I got close to it… Something wasn’t quite right. You called it a puppet?” she asked a bit confused, “which may mean that it was being controlled, but what kind of person would do such a thing?”

Nix was wary the whole time of all the different people, though she didn’t outright run from any of them, she just kept her distance. Ever so slowly she would be closer to Kistal, taking a particular interest in him since he freed her and his scent reminded her of a place close to home. She didn’t say much, and she surprisingly didn’t prod for more food, but she did start to follow closely, even sniffing at the chains that he ground into the sands. Eventually, once they were on the skiffs, she didn’t leave his side, opting to be closer to him than any of the other strangers, even to the point to when when she finally passed out, she was curled up in a ball next to him, her back pressed up against his leg where he sat.

The hours would pass and the sun would just start to begin its descent into the afternoon when one of the Kallan warriors spotted the town. “We’re home,” he announced before taking out a signal horn. He took a deep breath before sounding off on it, calling out to the other skiff which in turn took out its own horn and repeated the call. The other horn was set to a different tone to make sure which skiff was which, though when moving in only a pair, identification by tone was less necessary. “Light the torch, let them know we have lost some of our own, give them a moment to prepare themselves,” one of the men said as the other nodded. Upon seeing one skiff light a torch at the front, the other followed suit. From the town, they could hear another horn sounding, responding to them and acknowledging their arrival.
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The naga smirked at Hilde as she teased back. "I think I can fit a compliment for both of you into one sentence. Much more of a compliment to you, though. You are quite amazonian, so very much cuter than a musclebound giant. Plus, your hair is much better taken care of. Now, when we get home, I will be taking you to your bedroom. You need to rest and let your body heal. No adventures or work for you until those ribs heal." As the skiff began to move, she scooted as close to Hilde as possible, letting the people around them have more space and letting her use her other hand to stroke the half Varuk's cheek along with her hair.

Kistal, meanwhile, continued spinning his spear, the change in momentum seemingly not affecting his balance at all. When Nix eventually ended up asleep against his leg, he stopped messing with his spear and started to instead quietly and calmly scratch behind her ears as she slept. While he was angry and sad about the slavery, he did find a fellow beastwoman out here. Having her around was comforting to him as it reminded him of some of the better times in his life. It also helped that she was from a Tundral tribe. He would help her find her pack if at all possible. If they were gone, he would be there for her in the pack's stead. It felt only right to him to offer her a chance at a better life.

Tali strode through the bathhouse confidently. She intentionally upped the sexy sway a bit to mess with some of the others in the bathhouse as she went up to the counter, resting her chin on one hand, elbow on the counter, and her other arm supporting her bust. "Oh, I am very much available, darling, so I will head off to the women's side. I need a good soak after everything." She gave a sultry wink to the receptionist before sauntering off into the women's side, leaving Sev to his own devices. She was sure he would be around later, but she was more interested in getting into the water. In the room, she simply commanded her clothing to drop off, leaving it in a neat pile with her heels. She spent no time at all waiting and immediately waded into the water, finding a nice spot to soaked all the way up to her neck. Her hair splayed out on the surface like a pale pool of wheat. "Oh, that feels good...almost as good as a warm lover."
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After Valia herself finished preparing the bath and entered it, Maeve followed soon after, undressing herself and slowly entering on the large tubs in order to get accustomed with the water temperature. Feeling her muscles relaxing as she submerged her body was truly a divine sensation.

"That's just divine! I can feel my muscles relaxing..." she said as her expression clearly showed how pleasant the bath was.

As Valia mentioned about Allard's wife, how women's roles were defined in The Scar, comparing that to how Maeve's family treated her despite being from a place ruled by a lone queen, Maeve couldn't help but let out a sarcastic chuckle, remembering about her family.

"To be honest, being a woman is only one part of the problem. The other is that traditionally, the elder child is always the heir to the family and tends to receive all the attention from the family. It might not be as huge of an issue if I was the eldest. Even being a woman, my skill would prove to be enough to make me the family head." she continued.

"They are one of the few families in Tundral that still continue with such idiotic traditions. When I decided to go against the plans my family had for me, it wasn't really that hard for me to make a name for myself and be recognized by the noble society not only due to my talents as a duelist and my fine control over ice magic, but due to my looks as well." she said with a mischievous smirk.

"It is ironic isn't it? Being more respected, recognized and admired outside of your own family than inside it..." she continued.

"That doesn't mean I got rid of the marriage proposals though... Ugh it was so tiring having to refuse so many nobles..." she said, rolling her eyes with a chuckle.

"Having good looks, being the most talented duelist in Tundral, being able to use ice magic and being from the Orzhov family already made me the dream candidate for a marriage. The fact that I openly despised and went against the Orzhov family head was only the icing on the cake, since that could be used to make the main family lose some face and social prestige." she said with a sigh, almost as if that was an annoying subject to talk about.

"After some time though, I said that I would only marry someone who could win against me in a duel... No need to say that it solved many of the problems regarding marriage proposals. It was cute to see the titles they came up for me due to that, even though some of them were a bit exaggerated..." she continued, this time with a rather amused expression and a giggle as she fully submerged herself in the water for a moment.

When Valia mentioned about children, visibly stopping a bit as she mentioned that. Maeve too thought a bit about what she had said with a rather distant stare.

"I... never thought too much about that... Having children I mean..." she said, a bit absentmindedly.

"I have never met anyone that I found... interesting yet... Although I do agree that children are indeed a precious gift." she said, a bit embarrassed.

"Wait... Are you serious that Allard met his wife in the battlefield?!" she asked, immediately turning towards Valia, surprised, as she heard her talking about them.

"Oh, please do tell me more!" she said, looking to her with clear interest.
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Allanon watched as the torch was light to signal the loss of Kallan life. He wondered just what kind of a reaction this would create. He had seen many reactions to the loss of loved ones, and each of them spelled out to him just what kind of people they were. He looked over cautiously to the strange mage that appeared back at the bandit's camp shortly after the defeat of the bandits and Calabris ambassador. Something about the man gave him a bad feeling. Maybe it was just the timing.

Kallen spent the entire trip to Kalla considering his approach toward Allanon. Before him laid an opportunity that he simply could not let rest for long, but he had to make sure his approach was not too offensive lest he completely destroy a chance for a powerful ally. Finally, as Kalla came into view, he walked next to Allanon.

"Sir Allanon," Kallen said. "I am Kallen. I would like to speak with you if you have the time after we make it into town. I have a room at Allard's inn. It's the third one on the right." With that Kallen stepped away from Allanon whom was now glowering at him dubiously.

Allanon was now extremely suspicious of Kallen. Not only did he know his name, but he called him "Sir". The only people that ever called him "Sir" were either ignorant of who he was and being respectful, or a member of the Calabris family from the time he was their debt slave. Seeing as Kallen knew who Allanon was the later was the only possibility. What should he do? Kill him? Meet with him? Allanon first looked over to Kistal who was taking care of Nix, and then Chihiro whom was with Hilde.

After some debate he stepped up to Chihiro. "Chihiro, I was just approached by Kallen, the strange mage that appeared after the fight. He knows who I am, and asked me to speak with him at his room in the inn. I think I will go, but I think he's a Calabris family member, and if that's true I don't want to be alone just in case trouble happens. Would you mind coming along with me?"

_____

After stepping away from Allanon, Kallen made his way to the inn. His use of magic while limited was still tiring. He imagined Allanon would want to take some time to consider before visiting, and this meant he would have some time to rest a little. He could also prepare himself for what would likely be a difficult conversation. He was fully aware of how suspicious he sounded when he approached Allanon and simply left him after the fact. He could not think of a less awkward approach, so he figured it would be best for him to make the decisively awkward approach.

He ordered himself a nice warm meal, and a bottle of wine, and he then retired to his room where he pulled some books to peruse from his chest that had been waiting patiently in his room.
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Kalla


"Oooohhh gods," Sev sighed as he settled into one of the steaming baths. Sadly this bathhouse was gender segregated, most that he could remember weren't, then again he tended to go to the cheaper ones for the 'common folk' and likely couldn't afford two bath rooms.

Normally the thought of very attractive and naked women being a wall away might have distracted him but after walking for days through the desert, fighting a bloody battle and a run in with someone with powers he didn't understand he needed a good long soak. Even after scrubbing himself it seemed there was still some sand stuck on him somewhere, hopefully the owners were used to dealing with a bit of sand coming free in the baths.

While there were many things that likely demanded his attention Sev allowed himself to relax, the only spell running was his eye cover that he could maintain in his sleep, literally. The illusion on his spear would last another hour at least, so long as no one inspected it too closely it should be fine. Worst case he could probably spin some lies about it being a dangerous magical item, but for now as the warmth of the bath seeped into his muscles he didn't care.

After some time Sev's brain finally began restarting, even when relaxing he'd found his mind wouldn't stay still for long. Naturally his mind turned to women, specifically the Isoli princess and Succubus in the next room over. Some of the women from the desert ship who'd caught his eye should also be there. In the past Sev had used a mirror like illusion to look around corners but without an opening such a spell wasn't possible here. He had some mastery of light magic, surely he could manage a scrying spell? He even had a scrying medium right here in his bath water, which he figured was needed.

Glancing around the room casually he was far enough away from anyone else to attempt a bit of magic. When trying new magic Sev knew to start small, a few feet to the next room should be small enough. Holding still he focused his mana, ordered it and slowly released it, not enough to draw attention from anyone in the room but hopefully enough to form a small image in the water before him.
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“Well,” she said somewhat excitedly, repositioning herself to get comfy for the story. She stopped only for a moment to wave at the newcomer as she arrived, giving her a little smile. “Just in time for a story, glad to see you stayed safe during the raid. Was just about to tell a story,” she said to Tali before looking back to Maeve. “Wwe have had our run-ins with the Scar a few times, mostly from wandering bandit groups thinking they can try to raid other areas with mixed results, though that leads to scout parties from the Scar searching to clear the rest of those bandits out. They know of us here in Kalla, but they can’t as easily tell us apart from enemies if they find us in the sands, after all, I’ve heard they will claim to be from here to gain foreigner trust. This led to an unavoidable scuffle between a Scar raiding party and one of our scout groups, and Allard was there. The thing about Sylves is… well, they are quite dextrous compared to the normal Kallan warrior despite the difference in durability and strength. They actually incapacitated most the scout party rather quickly, save for Allard. He was able to fight them off, wounding some of them quite heavily, cursing how nimble they were, just as they were cursing how he could keep up. That’s when one of their group stepped forward, cloaked and sinister. It looked unarmed as it rushed in on the wind only for weaponry to appear out of the folds of its cloak seemingly from nowhere, as if it materialized weapons as it fought. It was none other than some of the Scar’s finest, the Reapers. That, is our Suzune.”

“Their battle was told to last for the better part of an hour,and despite any wounds Suzune inflicted on Allard on the rare times she was able, he never seemed to let up, though it was nearly impossible for him to even touch her, her stamina seemed to be letting up, but neither seeming to win over the other. Too tired to move or too injured to move, that was what the battle was going to come down to. However, while they were distracted with each other, the actual bandits that both parties had been tracking tried to take them while their numbers were low. Suzune was hit with an arrow to her left thigh, luckily missing an artery. Allard then fought the bandits off after that, even though he suffered some more wounds after being worn down for so long, he still was the victor. Upon their return to Kalla, the town offered shelter to the Sylves, and well… Allard and Suzune hit it off. It would seem that while they should have been recovering they had instead become quite intimate. He was enchanted by her beauty and her strength in battle, and she was charmed by his honor that big dopey smile of his. Plus, around here to us anyway, he was just about anything a woman could ask for in her husband and a lovable giant to boot. They got past their first impressions and hung around each other long enough during their recovery and Suzune decided to stay! Their marriage was within the next few weeks even. Better part of a year later and Hilde was born” she finished with a giggle. “Suzune may look small and frail, but no enemy has ever made it two steps into the inn during a raid, and that’s if they sneak by Allard,” she said with a sigh, “he had us worried with that last one though… fighting magic honestly isn’t something we are used to. I heard Suzune has been worried sick making sure to visit most the day while their son keeps the inn tidy while she is out.”

--

Sev’s efforts would not go to waste. His assumptions were correct in that he was able to feel out a spot to place his point of reference. There was nobody in the family room, a lot of the excitement keeping most people at home for the moment. Through it he could see three large tubs, quite a bit bigger than the ones like what he sat in, built for families with walls between the tubs, normally for couples or parents with young children, giving them some privacy from the other tubs. But for now, it was pretty clear, as well as the image in the water for him. Looks like it worked! A small water ball, relatively the size of an eyeball floated in the room, allowing him to see, though with about as much depth perception as one eye could provide since there was only one ball.

--

Tyreal would fin Lynn in the oasis just outside the bath house, he would see her a few feet deep into the water, resting, but being watched still by the two guards at the bath house steps. They recognized Tyreal from when they responded to the ship coming in, so they knew that was Lynn's companion and didn't bother him. Lynn seemed really relaxed and in much better health than before.

Kalla Outskirts


Hilde gave a faint smile and a sigh, “if you insist, but you better not run off before then,” she said blushing a bit. It wasn’t terribly often she got compliments on her looks. Most men were afraid of being scrutinized by her father for being flirtatious and when she did receive them it was usually Vali, though it usually accompanied how she wished Hilde would at least take some dancing lessons with her. Hilde always said maybe one day, she did love the fancy clothing, but she always seemed to keep herself busy with other things besides dancing.

It wasn’t long before Hilde fell asleep, which was probably better for her than fighting back the pain she felt in her ribs. With everyone else there, she figured she would be safe enough to doze off with the injury, not that she wasn’t already exhausted to begin with.

As for Kistal, every now and then, he could hear a small whine from Nix, or her body tense up in her sleep, the air around her surging with cold and a faint crackling of ice in the air around her, but it never amounted to anything more. Nightmares, one could guess. Whenever he would pet her or scratch behind her ears, it seemed to calm her down a bit, soothing her in her sleep. Once in a while, it would wake her and her ears would flick. She would resituate herself slightly and try to doze back off, her tail thumping against the floor of the skiff till she fell asleep despite her trying not to physically show she liked it.
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Kalla




The moment Valia began telling the story, Maeve turned towards her, getting comfortable and ready to listen to the story. It was at then that Valia stopped for a moment to greet a newcomer, whom Maeve had completely missed, being distracted by the conversation she was having with Valia. The newcomer, a beautiful succubus woman, relaxed visibly upon entering the water, mentioning how good it felt.

"A bath and a nice story, couldn't get any better~" Maeve said with a chuckle, waving towards the woman with an amicable smile before she turned towards Valia again, ready to listen to the story she was about to tell.

Maeve listened carefully, in silence as Valia began talking about the Scar. According with the things Maeve had already heard from Allard or overheard other people talking, it didn't came as a surprise the fact that the people of Kalla had encountered the Scar before. While they didn't have any reason to fight each other, as Madam Valia herself said, it was difficult to differentiate friends from foes in the arid sands of the desert. The despicable tactics the bandits often used made it even worse, claiming to be from Kalla to earn the trust of those they would target.

"Bandits... Despicable!" Maeve said shaking her head as Valia mentioned the bandits and their 'tactics'.

When she moved on, talking about the unfortunate scuffle that happened when a Scar party mistook a Kallan scout party as bandits, Maeve was surprised, especially when Valia said that the Scar party were strong enough to incapacitate most of their warriors, aside from Allard, of course. She went on, saying how Allard was able to fight them off, wounding some while cursing their agility. Even after having fought the other members of the Scar party though, he was still able to keep up with Suzune, who according to Valia was one of the finest warriors the Scar had, for more than an hour fighting. Ignoring the wounds he received, Allard kept fighting on. Having already met, talked with and having to deal with stubbornness before, she couldn't help but let out a smile and a chuckle, shaking her head.

"It sounds exactly like him, yeah." she said, laughing.

"I still remember how difficult and exhausting it was to heal all the wounds he had after the raid ended." she said with a smile.

Valia then kept on, saying how despite Allard not being able to touch Suzune due to her agility, his stamina was enough so even Suzune was starting to get tired. In the middle of their fight though, the very bandits the two parties were hunting appeared. Taking advantage of the situation, they attacked both of them. With Suzune being hit by an arrow, Allard had to fight the bandits off despite how worn down and wounded he was, which he did successfully. After the misunderstanding was dealt with and they returned to Kalla, they offered shelter for the Sylves in order for them to rest and recover their wounded. One thing led to another and after fighting against Suzune and then saving her from the bandits, they became quite close, marrying rather quickly after only a few weeks.

"So... After fighting against Suzune and gallantly saving her from the bandits, both of them got together? Now that's quite the story!" she said, laughing.

"Although I can't help but appreciate the beauty of it. In part, their love was born from the heat of battle. Both against each other and after that, the bandits. Admiration and respect for one another... It is quite romantic, isn't it?" Maeve asked, with a chuckle.
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