Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Admythaus
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Late Spring | Clear SkiesRun Dates: Sat & Sun (1pm EST)

The golden fingers of dawn stretched across the briny eastern coasts of Gemflors. Scattered atop the dark pines of her woods and through the twisted boughs of oak and maple stray light spun, to brighten the hidden thickets and spring upon the field grass. And from this coast, ushering an early sigh through newborn leaves, to the next, where the dewy vestiges of night remained draped over den and canopy, the wind stirred life back into the land. From peak to plain, morning was and had come.

In low places where shadow yet lay, a spear and a shield lay atop a knoll; homes for moss. As sun rose higher, the wintry magnificence of the mountaintops steamed. Somewhere, a ragdh unburies his door with a shovel, and elk bound through high grasses. When they turn their gazes to the horizons to which they are familiar, a cloudless and blush sky will greet them, nearly blue, and a breeze will blow in, promising clean weather. That will be the future, however, for as of now they work in preparation, as many do at the small hours of morning.

With Gemflors' every exhale the peace that has come to her can be heard. In every cast of light her wonder beckons, renewed, invigorated, in the absence of war cry, in solitude from fear. A horse snorts in the sun; a man awakens beside his wife; a brook babbles along green highways. Though not all may recognize it, these are the days of plenty. And plenty shall all have of them.

Auctamos, Blu, Yorsiccos

The sun is cresting the distant hills for those of you who can see it. A layer of fine mist covers the countryside, peasants have been awake for the last several hours farming their own land, and the merchants are already setting up for business in Susorex. The king of Heil and Gillsommr has decided to summer in Palace Errington of Susorex, where he has taken an unusual break from family, disappearing for long stretches in his room. This country's southern mountains are cool yet dry.


Ledwyn's Tune is nestled between patches of deciduous timberland, along a well-traveled road said to run from Heil's capital, Suyu an Minos, to the busy market streets of Susorex in Gillsommr. Saffron light spills over the fields, lighting up the thatch roofs of tavern and the sprinkling of farmland homes surrounding it. Ledwyn's Tune's keep has been up since before dawn, ordering the servants to freshen the hay and sending fetchers for this or that supply.

Daxterian, Jasilkal, Someyo

The central lowlands of Badlessi are still cloaked in a fine cast of night. It is cool, for now, but in a few hours that will change; the scorch of midday is coming to the plains. The final stars are winking "goodnight," even far to the north and south. The northern highlands, where nightmares are said to lie, are burning deep bronze, and shadow has fled into the crags. In the southern Herryway Woods the land is cool and dry, the thick canopy traps night in.

Torinazuril, Dio

Though dawn is still a couple hours away in the west, peasants are already awake to tend to their crops before the heat of the day. Merchants are loading their carts or assembling their wares in anticipation for a day of barter. The cities will be quiet still and the guard looking for those who seek to utilize the cover of early morning to their advantage. The countryside and wildland forests will be quieter still, as not even game has risen to graze, though many predators have slunk off to bed.

It is time for the protagonists of this adventure to decide their beginning.

Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Danddygold
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Torin awoke as he always did, several hours before dawn. He relaxed lazily on the hard surface of his light bedroll for a few moments, breathing in the cold morning air with relish. He had always loved the cold mornings of Geigghehemor. For him, chill made every day feel fresh and exciting. He rolled over slowly and scanned the darkness around him, listening carefully to the sounds of early morning. Nothing appeared to be amiss however, so he sat up gingerly and poked at the coals next to with a short oak switch. These coals were all that was left of the blaze from the night before upon which he had roasted the carcass of a freshly killed hare. He knew that with a bit of poking and prodding, he could rekindle the coals into a delightful blaze.

With this in mind, he set aside his deerskin blanket and stood quickly as was his custom. He had gathered wood the night before and had allowed it to dry all night by the warmth of his fire. He placed the wood - piece by calculated piece - on the coals with deftness and grace. Throughout his years living in the wilds of Geigghehemor he had built thousands of such fires and had made it his habit to stack the wood in the shape of a box so as to allow the fire to receive life giving oxygen from every direction.

When this morning ritual had been completed and Torin was once more able to warm his chilled body by the heat of the blaze, he set to the task of fixing himself tea (another daily ritual) made of local herbs and spices. First, he set his cast iron pot full of water atop the heat of the fire. He had procured the water the night before from a small, babbling brook near by and it gave him great pleasure to watch it bubble slowly as the fire transferred its heat into the warming liquid. When the water had begun to agitate with real earnest, Torin dropped in his favorite flowers and spices. First, he added Danddygold for a hint of sweet, then he added lilac for tang, and finally a bit of savory cinnamon and turmeric to bring the flavors of the two flowers together. It was Torin's favorite recipe. He had learned it from the alchemist back in his home town. He drank the tea every morning and was pleased by both the flavor as well as the health benefits it appeared to imbue him with. Comforted by the chill of the morning and the heat of the fire, he watched with delight as the colors of the flowers mixed together in the turning of the bubbling liquid.

Then, there was a loud snapping sound in the dark forest to the right of Torin. Instinctively, his cold, clear eyes darted in the direction of the sound and his hand move automatically to the double edged hunting knife that rested around his tawny waist...
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by AXIS
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AXIS Murderer of darkest light

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As Daxterian never slept it was easy for them to accommodate theirself to the rising sun. Morning began to stretch and the sweet smell of emotions were high in the air. Daxterian floated towards their three wonderfully preserved bodies and looked them over extatically, ready to put on a face and "make some friends" . After a few moments they had made his decision. Their choice was obvious his first body ever seized would be the one used today.

As the sun rose over the mountainside creating the dence midmorning fog his eyes opened. With a large stretch Alister malking stepped from his tomb. Dressed in his long cloak the red haired male looked about with fresh eyes ready to start his morning. The soul inside of Alister was happy moving him around. He walked around the desolate destroyed home he had loved so many years and began his walk.

Alister had decided he needed to find people. Grabbing a knife and a bag for supplies he took off. Heading south east ready for whatever might come his way

Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Admythaus
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Someyo awoke.

Her warm bed heaved once as Piopr snuffed the new air. Someyo held out a hand, eyes closed. A velvety nose touched the end of her fingers; a large lip tapped them all of a bright curiosity. The stallion was always awake before she was, snorting or huffing his pleas for her to awaken too. But his impatience didn't transfer to her. It was these first moments of morning, before the buzz of day and incessant procession of internal thought, that she enjoyed the most. The wind tussling the tree tops sent its muffled hiss down into the lower world, to where woman and horse lay. The quiet darkness draped them, alongside a beady hauberk of dew. Piopr pulled his nose away. Someyo sucked in a satisfied breath.

The woman sniffled and stretched. A hollow gurgling broke the clearing's stillness. Someyo blinked apart her eyes and went to glare at Piopr, when her stomach pinched. As if in response, Piopr swung his giant head over and nipped at his owner's blouse. Someyo smirked and shoved the horse's head off. All right, she told him with a stare, so it wasn't him this time. Someyo rolled onto her knees.

The clearing was dark still, but the sky between the canopy was lightening. A blue coloration tinted the items of her rustic home; a crate for seating, a hide tent for those rainy nights, a pot and firepit, and her sack of belongings. The wind stole in then, carrying upon it the clean scent of dawn and an echo of good tidings. Piopr hoisted his weight onto his legs and shook the dirt from his coat. His peppered hide looked purple in the dark; he would be fairest come the actual dawn, when twists of gold would catch in the lighter hairs and shine like alabaster. That was another one of Someyo's favorite times, but above it came breakfast.

After assembling some sort of concoction of quail egg and wild herb, Someyo enjoyed her bland fare to the crunch of Piopr's grazing. By the time the stallion finished his morning routine, by rolling in the soft hay piled by the raiche sapling north of the clearing, true dawn had come. A gentle light spilled down over Someyo's humble home. The woman leaned against a tree, enraptured by twists of tobacco smoke from a mahogany pipe in her hand. These were stolen goods, of course. Someyo pulled the pipe from her lips to examine it. She'd acquired this particular item a few nights ago. It would sell well in Uldrig, where commoners fancied such things. Mindlessly, Someyo glanced at her money sack.

A bit more gold could do her good but, what was it? The woman rested the mahogany pipe by her knee. The serenity of morning passed and a restlessness took its place. When would she be done stealing to survive? The thought surprised Someyo. She looked at Piopr, laying in his hay, meddling with a fallen branch through bites and tosses.

"Piopr!" she called. The stallion perked up at once. Yes? he seemed to say. The eagerness in those eyes made her chuckle.

The stallion returned to his meddling, and Someyo returned to her thoughts. Perhaps she was done with this life? A shiver took her. How could she be? When there was so much left to do? But what was she doing? Would today be the day the tables turned in her favor; the local lords dropped their bounties and justice be beheld by her very own eyes? It seemed as though it had been too long since her heart felt rest. And now, nine years later, she longed for it again. Really, what had she been doing out here in the woods?

With a sigh, Someyo rose to the answerless dawn, snuffing her pipe. She stowed her cooking utensils and victuals, then prepared for the day. After tying her vest and strapping on belt and quiver, she unloaded a log by the tent of Piopr's tack. The stallion watched intently. He rose quickly when she turned to him and accepted the tack with puppy-like determination. It was all a game to him—the stealing. He loved it. But Someyo took his blanket and tossed it over the curve of his back with a long-suffering sigh. Her eyes found the woods, and her mind saw the Pondr; its wildwood path winding forever away to unknown, hush places.

The woman shook her head, mounting the stallion. They headed south, to the Pondr.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by The Bork Lazer
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The Bork Lazer Chomping Time

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Dawn came sooner than expected, yet, seemingly later than never for Ollo Darechnin.

Dappled sunlight leaked through the yawning gaps of the straw rooftop. Ollo's consciousness shifted in and out of the sweet peace of hazy slumber and the ailing reality of a new day. The creak of wood rubbing against wood jostled him out of sleep. He grumbled, eyes still closed. Probably just the morning delivery of ale. He shifted his bulk to the left, burying his face into the innards of his bed. The crowing of the tavern's ashgale elicited a groan from him. Ollo quivered and cursed silently, his enormously long ears twitching from the sudden intrusion of noise and hubbub that hailed morning's arrival. Couldn't he just have a moment of peace and quiet?

"Oi, rat. Get up!," A bellowing voice followed by a few hefty knocks finally woke him up. "Customer's 'ill be 'oming at mid-day 'nd I 'on't 'ave ya lazing about!"

Apparently not. His eyes slowly fluttered open, the first rays of Gemflor’s dawning splendor dribbling down his lashes. "Bloody donkey... Could call me a rabbit for once..." The Raskaal stumbled out of his makeshift bed, consisting of a trampled mixture of Maiden’s Hair and Stallion’s Mane stuffed inside a feeding trough. A stained, moth-eaten blanket served as his bed-sheet, marred from years of misuse by their previous owners. He stood stock still for a moment, ears quivering from the motes of dust before releasing a sneeze. Nine months and already he was beginning to miss the sweet sounds of glocken-dials in Hevnklippe that punctuated the arrival of a busy, yet, productive day. Stodman society was just so woefully primitive in comparisons to the architects and craftsnin of Raskaal society.

As he strapped the belt buckle of his trousers, he stared at a metallic reflection of himself on the cauldron. His chef's hat was lop-sided between his two ears. His tawny pelt was more gnarled and furled than usual. He lifted up his arm, sniffed and gagged. The stench was worse than boiled wine. It'd been a week since he'd gone out for a proper wash. His fur was beginning to become mangy from hours of cooking in the sweltering heat of the kitchen. He needed a wash, but he wouldn't find one here. He'd tried to cleanse himself in the Stodmen outhouses before. It'd left him a blubbering, swearing mess that caused Stodmen mothers to cover the ears of their spawn.

Ollo shimmied his body through one of the many rotting cracks in the planked walls, pushing himself out with a plop. His feet savoured the yielding yet firm sensation of earthen soil underneath his feet. The sky was tinted like the sea, flecks of white froth rippling in the temperate climate of Heil. He hopped through a patch of Maiden's Hair that grew behind Ledwyn's Tune. He stopped for a moment to tear a few young sprouts up from their roots and took a slight nibble, grinding it between his teeth. A light sweetness intermixed with a watery crunch which yearned to be used in salads, garnishing, stew stock and more. He grabbed a few more just for assurance. Ollo stopped in his habitual foraging and pondered the line of forests guarding the hilltop, the towering Raiche trees glowing in the dawn's wake. A breeze of wind blew north, rustling the trees and littering the floor with seasonal shedding.

Ollo breathed the air in deeply, taking in the scent of morning dew, bitter dirt, the minty morning chill of the day's beginning. He began to eagerly hop away from Ledwyn's Tune towards the forest in search of a shower.

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Mae
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Mae Crayola

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XP0,000 | Gold50


Dio had spent the night by a brook, breathing in the meadow air and listening to the melody of the water. She watched the stars that had once been strange to her, tracking their play across the sky until it was time to sleep. Her ramshackle lean-to was pressed against a hearty Oln-tree and composed mainly of scavenged sticks and the very travellers sack she usually tied her belongings in. As it was, anything she usually carried with her was very carefully placed within her humble shelter, her precious linens not even brushing the ground. It was a peculiar sight to see the Aphmayun crawl in among her things and curl up into the immediate embrace of sleep, but Dio had learnt long ago to grab any opportunity for rest she had and make the most of it.

The same story played out in reverse in the very earliest hours of the morning: Dio awoke without difficulty and searched the stars for their secrets. She clicked her tongue. She turned her gaze to the water. She poked the soft dirt with a stick. Eventually her brooding stood in the way of her progress of the day and Dio turned to taking her shelter down and putting everything back where it should be. Every night she built a home and every morning she tore it down without trace. It would of been easier to simply take a room at the inn, but even now there were a few things about settlements Dio found disconcerting. Crime was one. There had been near none of that in her childhood, so interwoven were the families, and she'd been robbed a couple of times in her travels since. It wasn't a sore spot for her, but neither was it pleasant, and it would certainly be problematic if she got beaten to death in an alley one day. She'd rather not test her luck and avoid the possibility if she could. Luckily near everything she had could be easily replaced, if one described easily as "partaking of extraneous amounts of travel and sinking days into master craftsmanship material without income for the foreseeable future". It was a good thing Dio enjoyed eating roots.

One last look at the sky. There were no ill omens today. None at all. That did not sit right with Dio. Usually she could find something to interpret, but there was nothing good and nothing bad that she could see. Today was set to play out like numerous others. The lithe woman would take her long trek to the market, set up her wares, and probably have a pretty alright time. How disconcerting. She didn't like it one bit.

She had 50 gold to her name and no plan on spending it presently. Dio had food. Dio had water. She didn't have to go to the market today. She could go later, or tomorrow, or the day after. In those cold early hours which the Aphmayun liked best, she turned her back on her current routine and set off towards the

Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by SilverPaw
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Yorsiccos made it back to his cave just in time to avoid the irritants that were the first rays of dawn – but then again, he always did. His years had allowed him to perfect reading the moon’s path, and when that was unavailable, pinpoint the starts which brightened as dawn approached, and he was now so well-versed in his practice that he always returned back to his cave just in time.

Tonight’s foraging had left him only with one whole corked wine-glass bottle and the shards of several broken ones, but he’d taken it all, fastening the bottle to his belt and wrapping all the shattered glass pieces in several bundles of cleaning cloths. The latter had been safely stored into cloth sack. The cloth sack carried his favourite items, and he took it with him everywhere. If he ever happened upon a new cave, sewer, or crevice during his night time exploring that seemed a better home than the current one he possessed (not that he’d found one that fit his criteria of ‘better’ yet), he would at least have what he most valued with him. The other junk…Well, he knew where it was stored.

Getting to his home (a hoarder’s paradise, really) was quite the procedure though. It took even him nearly two hours, and he knew how to navigate the cavern’s treacherous twists, how to avoid the dead-ends, the maddening circuitous labyrinthine parts of the system, and the magnificence of nature-made pitfall traps. He’d fallen into several back when he’d first started as a Mormagi, and crawling out had been…well, decades of time dulled the experience, but he preferred not to think on it. Arriving into his home, on the other hand, felt welcoming and familiar, despite some of the memories associated with the caverns. The main room, the one that Stodmen occasionally made their way in was a spacious ellipsoid thing, the centre of it possessing obvious signs of a camping: earth packed tightly by the many bodies that had lain there and the remains of an old campfire scattered around, but still recognizable for what they were.

Proceeding deeper, there was a wall with two branching and ever narrowing tunnels, with some branches stretching wide but most leading nowhere, and the branches proceeding deeper leading to smaller chambers, claustrophobic crawl-spaces and crevices. His part of the cavern was a medium spherical chamber located not far from a sizable underground lake, the walls and floors of which he’d smoothed over his time of inhabiting it. The stalagmites (but not the stalactites) have also been removed. "Home sweet home," he muttered, the action somewhat unpleasant on his throat. But it did mitigate the solitude, and that was something.

Here, unknown thousands of meters underground, was where he stashed the majority of his belongings – all of those things that weren’t quite his favourites, yet made the cavern into a home. He placed the whole corked bottle next to the collection of tin mugs, wooden cups, buckets, and other similar man-made liquid containers that he’d been able to find whole (they were damaged, and in some cases misshapen, but nonetheless whole). The shards of glass on the other hand, he put next to a set of sharp-ended items (serrated or broken-off pieces of metal, mostly) that he kept on a wide expanse of cloth. The liquid containers came in handy whenever he desired a wash (he preferred not contaminating the nearby lake, thank-you-very-much), and the sharp implements were adequate for scraping off loose skin – a procedure which encouraged faster re-growth for a new layer of decaying epidermis.

After sorting his items, he sat down, laying his satchel next to him, and unsheathed his knife. Then he picked up a chunk of birch (he had a sizeable pile of broken furniture and several logs, though all the wood was rather damp), and set to carving somewhat mindlessly. Carving was something he often did instead of sleeping. He didn’t truly require sleep, though if he chose to do so, he could also sleep much longer than any of the other races did; he’d once slept for what he guessed later must have been close to a year. Now, he rarely slept at all. Carving was better, he found. This time, he set out to make a mask. His ultimate goal, if it could be called that, was discovering a way to tolerate sunlight better. Covering up with cloth and bandages hadn’t done much in his favour so far, but perhaps another material might.

A couple of hours later, he had a crude wooden mask. He tied it to his face with several strips of cloth, picked up his satchel after, and put the sheathed knife back at his left hip where it belonged, Yorsiccos wandered over to the lake-chamber several tunnels over. He examined himself; he could now perhaps pass for a shady Stodman beggar if the one observing him were particularly drunk. Well, it was something. He didn’t need a disguise to traverse his caverns, of course, but there had been some recent goings-on he’d felt reverberate through the earth. After exploring the upper levels, he discovered a group of miners had been making excavating attempts far to the west of where he usually resided. This meant that other beings were getting much too near to his territory for his taste, however, and so he’d found (or dug out) a series of tunnels and widened some existing crevices to make a tiny, tiny entrance to what appeared a mine being renovated. This was where he was heading now, his path underground taking him westwards.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by SilverPaw
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Jasilkal's sod house was a rather decent one by Occ standards. A room or two smaller than Master Makumu’s, of course, and more sparsely equipped, but the laboratory in the main room (which also served as the kitchen, dining room, and sometimes bedroom), the inside part of her garden in a side room (for the more delicate of herbs which required bi-weekly enhancements by Makumu to grow in these parts), and the study-cum-storeroom (also a napping location) were serviceable enough. The outside porch and garden (for the local foliage) were where she usually conducted her business, i.e. listened to requests and handed out the requested concoctions. The hill where she and Makumu resided being almost two miles out of their home village (Asen) meant that she occasionally ferried bulk orders there and back – and, yes, it did make it seem as if she’d never graduated from the fetch-girl duty, but this setup had its advantages as well.

Part of her day routine involved waking up before dawn, collecting several vials of morning dew to store for later use (in purification-potions and experiments on inducing youthfulness), gathering any of the common plants and animal-parts she needed to replenish her stock, meditating at dawn to greet the coming-of-a-new day, tending to her gardens, finishing off certain yesterday’s potions and putting to simmer the bases of others she’d complete later today. The rays of sunrise were an ingredient of sorts she could expose certain potions to (those for encouraging bone health, chasing off nightmares, and boosting energy, for example), and though she enjoyed the early morning, she knew the heat would later on would be likely near unbearable.

For now, however, it was pleasant, and the pre-dawn chores completed, she shouldered, saddled, and otherwise tied the various crates and satchels of supplies onto herself, adjusted her clothing by buttoning it to the side, tucked her legs alongside her tail, and slithered the two whole miles to Asen. It was convenient at such times to be an Occ; they could both walk straight on their legs or snake their way on their bellies and tails akin to the way their serpentine ancestors did. It was a shame they could not run on all fours as their Gegherun cousins could, but having a pair of dextrous hands with their opposable thumbs capable of the most delicate and meticulous of works more than made up for it. Jasilkal took the collection of vials, jars, flasks, tins, pots, and all the rest to the inn her mother was in charge of. Kaarmuken’s inn was a convenient location, not only because it was where she usually had her breakfast and lunch, but also because it was simpler for her to conduct her business in a single stable location within the village than going house-to-house. The inn, after all, was a sizable and well-known location, and any Occ who had a need of her services or wares knew where to find her.

Indeed, Kaarmuken’s inn was where a distressed Piyaskal, an amber-eyed yellow-brownish scaled Occ male and one of the many hunter-scouts of Asen, came running not half-an-hour after Jasilkal had her breakfast, babbling about Aldabukil having been bitten by a bronan that morning when her team was out on its usual patrol. Jasilkal thought it was odd such a reclusive and lethally venomous snake had been close-by at all, never mind the likelihood of it attacking, but kept her thoughts regarding the possible reasons to herself for the time being.

“Slow down. Where is she?” Jasilkal interrupted the male Occ’s panic – ascertaining the patient’s state was the priority.

“Oh-h, we, we’ve taken her to Elder Lerdinan already,” he reported in a slight stammer, regaining his breath in deep gasps, though he was visibly attempting to calm down.

“Good. But then what is the issue? The Elder is the best physician in the village,” Jasilkal asserted confidently, though she would eagerly offer her services if they were needed.

“Ah, well, only that- the ritual, um, it would help for it if there was a practiced Alchemist attending.”

Jasilkal clicked her tongue, slightly annoyed at the flattery, but also aware of a good opportunity when she saw one. “Certainly. Let me grab my things – you will help me carry them to Lerdinan’s.”

She took the kaolinite and zeolite to stop the female’s bleeding, the valerian and willow leaves for pain relief, and… “Mother! Quickly mix me some beef, beans, kale, yolk, and nuts!” she hollered across the rowdy inn (there had been a momentary pause at the news, but people were already loudly speaking over each other), and Kaarmuken answered just as loudly.

“Already on it, Jal!”

Ahh, of course she was. Her mother was ever the capable woman, Jasilkal acknowledged wryly. She hung her satchel over her shoulder and handed the excess healing supplies over to Piyaskal for him to carry. The unappetizing slushy mixture of high-in-iron-content foods arrived moments later, delivered by the familiar form of soot-scaled Kaarmuken in a wooden bowl.

“Thank you,” Jasilkal nodded curtly, accepting the puree-filled bowl and spoon, then hurried to Lerdinan’s sod hut as fast as she could while carrying something spill-able, followed by Piyaskal who carried the rest of her gear.

Nonetheless, they made it to Elder Lerdinan’s place minutes later, finding Aldabukil already abed and bandaged – the leeches had apparently made their work already. She hurried over, setting the food on the floor next to the female, and plucked the necessary plants and vials out of her satchel.
“Chew this and this, drink this, you’ll get fed that slop by Piyaskal while we’re making the anti-venin. Try not to move too much, and Piyaskal? Notify me immediately if she starts to run a fever or needs the opium-pellet.” She then turned to eye Elder Lerdinan expectantly.

“Ah, Jasilkal. Good. Help me set up the transmutation circle for extracting the venom from the critters here,” she pointed to a glass-full of leeches. “I will be the one providing the magical forces, of course, but my eyes weren’t what they used to be…”

The younger Occ nodded, ignoring the chatter as she made the necessary preparations. Sometime during the work, her younger brother Karjuuvos (ochre-mint in his scale-tone) popped in at one point to check in on his hunting pals, but Jasilkal waved him off with a “Later.”

Later was when she had another hearty meal just outside her mother’s inn, listening to her friend Uruzik’s story time to unwind. Her brother re-joined her as she was finishing her early lunch to discuss the stray bronan. “We could be the ones to relocate it,” he enthused.

“Hm. I wouldn’t mind getting some of their venom, if they were willing to co-operate,” she answered in a more sedate manner, though the glimmer of interest in her eye belied her aloof attitude.

“You and your research,” he teased mildly. “But I’ll go find father to convince we’re a decent team for the mission. Will you stay here for a while?”

Jasilkal shook her head in the negative. “No. I’m mostly done with the trade for today. I’ll haul the rest back, notify Makumu, and prepare a sedative for the snake. Capture me some mice, will you? We’ll meet at mine.”

“So confident we’ll be the ones who get to go?” he grinned, bouncing off the chair to leave.

“Of course. You have looked after me since you were eight, as you say-”

“Since I was seven! Don’t forget that whole ‘I’ll dive to the bottom of the lake’ scheme of yours!” he exclaimed in mock outrage.

In any case, she stressed, “Jardaskul knows you can be relied upon. You are now a man, finally,” she teased in return.

Karjuuvos huffed good-natured.
“And you can officially patch up any scrapes and heal any injuries now, right?”

“Don’t forget the poisons. Any stray Stodman tries anything, I stab them with a laced knife, they get the seizures, the hallucinations, the frothing…” she trailed off in a smirk, which was returned by a fond shake of her brother’s head.

“Alright, alright. We’re the brilliant-sibling combo, and everyone knows it. See you in a bit with the mice and all,” he waved to her and Uruzik both, then weaved his way through the streets of Asen.

Uruzik was too preoccupied by the children enthralled by her retelling of Rralsmanul to say anything, but she did give her a pointed look. Jasilkal nodded once, earnestly. Yes, she would take care. She was old enough to take the necessary precautions and ensure both her and her brother’s safety – and with his expertise to help, they should be alright. Besides, if they didn’t discover any clues of the bronan snake today, they would most likely return to Asen.

After all was said and done, Jasilkal met up with Karjuuvos at her sod hut at the hill-side, her usual satchel across her shoulder, her knives and trowel tied belted to her hip alongside some vials and cloth pouches.

“Hey, are these fine?” the younger Occ greeted her, two mice held by the tail and squeaking incessantly.

“More than. I’ll feed them enough of the drug to calm them down but not incapacitate, and coat them in the liquid I measure out for the bronan if we happen to find it.”

Her brother nodded, tossed her the mice, and adjusted the bow and quiver slung over his back; he'd also brought his hunting knife. Jasilkal dosed the mice in a minute amount of sedative, and stored the now quietly chattering duo into one of her cloth pouches. The Occ duo then straightened in tandem, their strides matching each other’s as they made their way southwards, intending to investigate and possibly find the stray venomous snake and relocate it farther from their settlement, or else return to Asen by nightfall.

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The Story Continues...

Late Spring | Clear Skies

1. Torinazuril

Experience Gain: 10

Consequences: An hour before true dawn, Torinazuril hears the snap of a twig from the nearby scattering of trees--a small wood. The shadows appear to move below the trees, quickly revealing the shape of a slender head with two large fan-like ears. It's a small doe. The doe is one of the first of her kind to awaken and scout out a good place for breakfast. Her hide, tinged blue in the dark, shivers just noticeably from where Torinazuril can see. Her legs tremble as she stretches out her nose to sniff and stare about.

Exploration: N/A

2. Daxterian

Experience Gain: 10

Consequences: N/A

Exploration: Daxterian walks in mortal form along the highland march of their home. To the east, the highlands drift down and away to low, soft land, green and humid, where A few hamlets sprinkle the countryside. Furthest east, just viewable from Daxterian's angle, the sea. The grass of the highlands blankets the soil trapped between the rocks in spotty patches. After a short while, the air, typically dry and cool, is pierced by a pungent odor. As a southeasternly wind rolls up, the unusual scent grows stronger. There's something else, too, a smell that isn't a smell, a thing that may not be physical as Alister is physical. This "feeling" or whatever it is drifts in alongside the odor.

3. Someyo

Experience Gain: 10

Consequences: N/A

Exploration: The game trails to the Pondr are familiar and empty. The birds are up, flitting through the trees overhead, watching curiously as horse and girl pass through. Piopr's hooves are large and the aging stallion is beginning to lose some grace, clopping louder than usual through the underbrush. Soon the trees thin and a wide dirt road opens before the two. Suddenly, there is the sound of a scuffle. Further north, from between the low hanging branches of a couple alders there's a flicker of movement. After a moment the struggle breaks and a man's voice shouts, "Help! Help!"

4. Ollo

Experience Gain: 10

Consequences: N/A

Exploration: The forest south-southeast of Ledwyn's Tune is sprawling and tall, composed almost entirely of broadleaf trees and thick blackberry tangles at their roots. As Ollo nears the woods, his keen ears, while maybe not as keen as others of his kind, can still pick up the tiny burble of what seems to be a distant, yet steady, stream. By the sounds of it, the water may be quite far in. The fringes of the timberland have a fresh, herbal aroma though--so it may be safe to explore.

5. Dio

Experience Gain: 10

Consequences: N/A

Exploration: As the sun lifts while Dio is walking, she notices the rise of a great march of mountains before her. Geigghehemor's quiet countryside seems to roll beneath the mighty shadows of the eastern mountains, tall, craggy, and black. Their dark backdrop hides the full majesty of sun, leaving the world as Dio can see it full of brightening sky but shadow below. The green world ahead appears clear and peaceful in contrast, though full of wildness.

6. Yorsiccos

Experience Gain: 20

Consequences: N/A

Exploration: Yorsiccos' westward exploration takes him to the tiny entrance he'd dug out earlier. As he is approaching the crevice, however, there is an echo of soft shuffling, and the pattering of small feet beyond it. When Yorsiccos approaches, the pattering stops and there are tiny, nasally whistles. Suddenly, a squirrel pops out before Yorsiccos. When its bulging eyes behold the form in the dark of the crag, its fur bushes and it takes off deeper into the mine. It darts up a wide tunnel, where in flows the soft yellow light of dawn. The squirrel bumbles back in, and the soft echoes of men's voices tumble in after it.
7. Jasilkal

Experience Gain: 25

Consequences: Jasilkal and Lerdinan's efforts to help the unfortunate Aldabukil have put the occ in a state of some ease, comparatively-speaking. In essence, she is stable, and appears to be on the verge of improving.

Exploration: Jasilkal and her brother travel south toward the distant mountains, through the wide stretches of yellow plain. The early sun is swiftly heating up, growing in temperature for every minute they wander. They search around tall, tan stones, by sand banks and a shallow stream bed. After but an hour the temperature has climbed enough to begin searing the heads of spring's new grasses, and the only relief is below the umbrella-esque coverage of the muulumu's branches; spindly trees scattered here and there throughout the vast, grassy landscape; but there aren't any signs of their target just yet, only the hoofprints of alaata antelope. Instead, some time at midday, an onyx-black figure appears on the horizon. As the figure nears, their features come into view, revealing a young male occ dressed in ceremonial hunting garb. The male is unfamiliar, probably from another tribe, and greets Jasilkal and her brother with a bow of the head from a distance.

"Nalon gooi!" the occ shouts; a typical greeting at midday. "From where do these brethren of mine hail?"

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