Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by HylianRose
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Isabelline, otherwise known as Eagle, Isabelle, or Isa, sat at a long bar overlooking one side of the Echo airship, a glass of OJ on the table before her. Around her, conversations buzzed as people drank their mostly alcoholic drinks and talked about the day’s ventures.

Isa, however, felt more inclined to enjoy the view before her. For her, it was the best part of being on the Sentinel, Echo’s airship. Sure, the recreation areas were fun, the training facilities were always full of people training… That was an obvious thought… But, Isa felt more at home when she looked out at the open sky, the colorful hues of Archon spilling out onto Chroma as it disappeared from view for the night. She watched, smiling, as the fragments of Ying slowly faded from view. She hadn’t been born under either of the moons but simply under Archon’s soothing rays. It was what made her feel at home, flying under the sun she loved so deeply. A lot of the people she knew, well… a few of them, didn’t really like Archon that much, blaming the ball of flame for all of their troubles. While Isa could relate, when thinking of her brothers and sisters, she couldn’t really get past the feeling in her gut that made her love the feelings that sun gave her. She often had to fight the urge to drop from the hanger deck and fly around. The officials didn’t like that much and would chastise her for being so careless. She shrugged it off most times but when she got chided by Shae, one of her idols, she quickly stopped. She’d find some other time to fly anyways.

With her drink finished, Isa pushed away from the bar, popping up to her feet. She left the glass there, knowing that an attendant would come to pick it up sooner or later and began the long walk to one of the many meeting rooms. She was meeting up with her new teammates today. Her last team had asked the Harp to kick her out, saying that she was a nuisance which was great considering her new team captain probably read that on her file.

Isa – Professional Annoyance

She let out a long sigh and continued walking, her footsteps heavy with resentment. One day, she’d find a group of Echo members that saw past her… quirks and saw her for who she really was. An honest and hardworking Feren… Isa had to stop herself from laughing. What a terrible joke. She was honest but… hardworking? Hah. Not in her life.

_


In the meeting room, a tall hooded figure stood, a blue and black robe fitted around them and a white and gold ornate mask covering their face. Around this person, stood three others, dressed similarly but without the mask or the hood. One of these three turned to look at the hooded figure, his golden eyes staring up at this person.

”Harp, do you really think these individuals will be able to work well together?” He asked.

A muted voice returned, distorted by some force or mechanism, ”They will be fine. Shae is one of our finest strategists, Kaalia is one of our bravest Huntresses and Sylvia is no push-over. My hope is that they will be able to… train these younger, less accomplished Hunters and Huntresses. A few of them even show much potential. Plus, I think it will be good for Kaalia, Shae, and Sylvia to take a step back and remember what it was like to be new at this.” the Harp explained, hints of a laugh in his/her voice.

The golden eyed man simply nodded, satisfied by what the Harp had to say about the matter and returned to his silent position, his hands held elegantly at his waist. The other two, both golden-eyed males, remained motionless, simply following the Harp. It was their job to advise the Harp, protect the Harp, and preform the Harp’s bidding.

The Harp, him or herself, is the leader of the organization known as Echo and is a position that has been passed down through the generations. This Harp happens to be the 5th Harp as not all of the Harps died of old ages, hence the glorified body guards. The Harp, when they take their position, are to renounce their name and their past. The Harp’s motto? ”I am but the instrument through which the ECHO resounds.” It is the phrase that they chant when they are sworn into their position.

And so, the four individuals waited patiently for the new team members to enter into the meeting room, the only sound the soft, distorted humming of the Harp as he/she patiently awaited their guests.

Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Apokalipse
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INDIGO

Indigo yearned to see the sky, to see the blue over her head and the clouds rolling across the light canvas. She missed the feel of swampy, thick air on her skin, and sweat beading down her body. She craved the freedom of her flowing clothes, sliding through the jungle with a skirt billowing behind her. But now, all she saw was an enclosed ceiling, a cage of duty and revenge that held her still; cool air breathing down her skin, wintry wisps curling against the tan; thick pants and shirts, uniform and restricting. Indigo leaned her head against the cool glass in her room – a room! Humans and their territorial behavior; why be separate from nature?

With the Sky Dwellers, Indigo could express every thought with a simple body gesture, but now, words were needed. Heavy, syrupy words of “sophistication” to express every thought. But how? How could a simple word, a simple sound display what was on her mind to everyone present? With the Sky Dwellers, should could merely stand stiff and they would understand there was danger nearby. Now, she was expected to shout and cry words.

“I am Indigo.” She said aloud, swishing back a lock of black hair. It didn’t feel right. She was Indigo, but she was more than Indigo. She was wild, free, gruff, silent, cynical, sarcastic. How could she express such things in three words?
Indigo breathed on the glass, created an opaque white circle and she lifted a warm finger and pressed into the cool glass, drawing a rough stick figure with a tail swishing behind it.

Indigo. Blue. The color of sadness, for that is what she is named for. She is named for the sorrow of her mother. Is…that what can be expressed through her name? Sorrow, salty tears, pain? She did not want to be associated with her mother’s pain or anyone’s pain.
Indigo sighed, there was no use thinking of this misplaced, bleak world. She was here now; she had a purpose, a duty that she must fulfill. Linta was counting on her – she was her sister and she could not let her down. Indigo stood up, in her stuffy uniformed pants and shirt, and walked from the room and towards her duty.

The walk was quiet and silent, unlike the noisy walk in Tengu Island, and Indigo missed sound. When the bar came in sight, she straightened her back and walked with the saunter that her mother once walked with. The saunter of a wild cat stalking its prey.

She almost bumped into someone with feathered wings, and maybe it was the need to test the words on someone, or maybe it was the fear that she could not express who exactly she was, but Indigo grabbed the Feren's shoulder.

I am Indigo.”
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by HylianRose
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Isa found herself happily whistling the tune Nanny had taught her to sing to the children at night. A sweet and melodic lullaby. However, the way in which Isa whistled it was too fast and excitable to sound anything like a lullaby.

She stopped mid-phrase just as she was about to bust out into song when a heavy hand hit her shoulder, grabbing hold of her. The rough voice of someone not used to communicating so verbally resounded in her ears. So... Lucky guess, but this person's name was Indigo.

...I'll call her Digo. She chuckled to herself slightly and then turned her head to look at the person behind her. This person had brilliant blue eyes, tanned stripes along her body and a striped tail to boot. Another feren, huh? Interesting. She thought slowly, looking the girl over. She was a bit taller than Isa and a bit more intimidating. Though, the way the girl looked so out of place in a regular uniform sort of took away the intimidation and replaced itself with a tad bit of humor. Which was good, it made this person more relatable.

"Good to meet you, Digo. I'm Isabelline. But please, call me whatever variation you like. I also go by Eagle, though that's really only in the field." She greeted, smiling sweetly as she turned to face the feren behind her. "I'm headed to a meeting, but you're welcome to follow me. Are you new on the ship? You seem new. I mean... I don't mean that in a bad way, you just don't really seem like you belong. I mean, not that you look tribal or anything, I mean you do... I just..." She rambled, suddenly finding herself in another hole she'd dug. "C-Can we just start over? Y-You're Indigo, and I'm Isabelline. D-Do you mind if I call you Digo? I think it's cute name..." She finished, feeling the crimson blush rise up to her face.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Driving Park
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Sylvia


Sylvia stood up in a room in some nondescript corner of the Sentinel. She had picked the spot specifically so that she could practice violin and do some roar-barking without disturbing anyone, and had been successful - at least with the violin part. As she made her way to the door to head to the meeting, she decided to release one last roar-bark at full bore.

She did so.

It was loud.

Very loud.

As she walked out into one of the airship's many corridors, she idly thought there's a nice, friendly welcoming call for the newbies, knowing full well that it was usually perceived as the opposite.

She walked down the hall, her long feren legs making short work of the journey despite her casual pace. Her enormous mane of hair, much of it bundled up in an extravagant ponytail, trailed along behind her. It was fortunate that she was as tall as she was, as the hair would drag along the ground if she was any shorter. Hearing a couple of voices down one of the corridors she walked past, she continued walking and soon reached the meeting room. However, as she peered in she noticed that the only people in the room were the Harp and his bodyguards. The Harp wasn't someone to have a casual chat with, so she didn't walk in, and instead meandered around the halls near the room, waiting for someone else to show up.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Whoami
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Lord Balthazar Darro



Archon was setting, the sky was a beautiful purple. Glints of light shined off of Yan and graced some parts of the world with a few extra minutes of daylight. The the woods of Barallia were starting to fall silent, a few chirps and calls from birds could be heard but the ambiance was starting to be consumed by the chirping on insects and nocturnal creatures. A flock of korjays flew from the tree canopy, their resonant wing tips gleaming in the low light. Another flock flew off shortly after.

Along the tight road within the Barallian roads, was a small convoy. Vindrell soldiers walked in file, resonant rifles in hand. They flanked a white and gold resonant carriage bearing the banner of a noble Vindrell family.

"How much further is it to Korstone, father?"

"Another day, Tessa. Soon you'll get to see the great Korstone itself. You'll be in awe of it for days. I promise you."

The young girl smiled bright at her father's comment. She spun around excitedly, humming a Vindrell tune. The little one pictured the giant Korstone shining with different colors and the city around it illuminating the massive crystal to be seen through all hours of the day. "Mother will be there too, right?"

The father smiled and ruffled her hair, "Of course, darling. And so will your broth- the resonant carriage stopped. The nobleman could hear the sounds of the soldiers talking and moving around quickly. "Wait here, Tessa."

The door to the carriage came open, the light from inside it spilling out into the quickly darkening forest. A soldier stood on each side of the door to the carriage. The noble looked to one of them, "What's the delay?"

One of the soldiers looked up at him, "Block in the road, sire. A tree has fallen over it. We're clearing it out of the way now."

Suddenly, another tree fell behind the carriage. The forest went silent. Another flock of korjays flew from the canopy. The soldiers gripped their rifles tight. The noble looked around for a moment before going back inside the carriage and grabbing his longsword. "I'm just stepping outside for a moment, Tessa. Lock the door behind me."

The girl tilted her head but complied. As the noble stepped out and closed the door, he heard the deadbolt lock slide into place. He looked over at the tree in front of them, "Somebody give me a flashlight."

A soldier answered his call and gave him his light. The noble thanked him and turned it on, shining it on the tree and stepping closer toward it slowly, his sword drawn in his other hand. Three Vindrell soldiers were at his side, rifles trained at the tree. When they got closer, they saw three long streaks at the base, streaks that tore through the thick bark and wood. One soldier mumbled, "Lost..."

The noble nodded slowly, "Don't shout it out. It'll scare Tessa. Relay the message to the men, form a circle around the carriage."

"Yes, Lord Balthazar." the soldier said and turned to quietly alert the other men. The lord didn't need a light to know that there was dread spreading through the group. None of them were hunters, none of them had formal training on fighting Lost. There was a whimper of fear in the darkness.

A gust of wind traveled through the wood, it was soft but the tree trunks made it whistle and ominous noise. It sent a shiver down every mans' spine. Balthazar gripped his sword tight, knuckles turning white. He could have sworn he heard some sort of clicking noise, and then a scuffle, and then nothing. "Did anybody else hear that?"

One of the soldiers spoke up, his voice in a bit of a panic, "Logan? Where'd Logan go?"

The soldiers all looked around, shining their lights in every direction. Balthazar's palms were sweaty, he didn't doubt that everybody else had the same thing. Another clicking noise. Another scuffle. Another soldier speaking up, "Wh- what happened to Lannis?! He was right next to me! I was just looking at him!"

Balthazar spoke, "It's playing with us. Taking us one by one. Everybody, tie your rope to the carriage and then yourself."

The soldiers all started rushing to get their ropes tied together. The idea was sound, if one was pulled, the weight of the carriage would stop anybody from being pulled away by this angered spirit, or at least give the man enough time to call out for help.

As corporal Tren was tying the rope around himself, he heard that awful clicking sound. He froze, looked up and saw four hellish red eyes staring at him. The silhouette of the monstrosity expanding. He felt hooks pierce into his body, his form becoming weightless as he was pulled into the creature's man-sized maw. His flashlight, rifle and rope all dropped to the ground in a clatter.

"Tren, you alright?" Balthazar called out, no response, "Tren!"

Another scuffle, then another. The last five of the men started to panic, one man screamed and ran off into the woods. He was quickly silenced. Balthazar heard his daughter knock on the door, worry in her voice, "Daddy?! What's going on?

Balthazar could hear the lock being twisted out of place. He kept his eyes in the darkness, "Tessa! Don't open the door! Stay inside!"

(Mood music)

But it was too late, the door was opened and the light from inside the resonant carriage illuminated the area in front of Balthazar. Standing five feet from him was the Lost. It was a sight that would haunt Balthazar's mind forever and no doubt his poor daughter's.The Lost was a six legged creature with long sinewy body. It had four red eyes on a mockery of a human face forever grinning. The abdomen of the creature was broad, a split going down the center of the chest. Two impossibly long arms dangled at its side, hooked claws curling backward. Balthazar looked the creature in the eye, but it wasn't set on him, it was set on the girl. He saw the hooked claws poised to lash out and grab his daughter. Tessa screamed.

The Lost clicked more, and just before it lashed out, three arrows came from the darkness and lodged themselves into the side of the creature. It squealed and spun in the direction where the arrows came from. Two more arrows flew from the dark of the night and struck the creature in the chest. It was about to retreat into the darkness when suddenly, as if on cue, light glinted off of Yan and illuminated the entire patch of forest in the area. Balthazar's luck of Yan had paid off. He looked over to the direction where the arrows had come from and saw a woman standing there, a crossbow mechanism mounted on her arm aimed at the Lost.

The Lost charged the woman, lashing its long hooked arms out at her. She skillfully dodged to her right and fired more shots into the Lost as it advanced. Balthazar had no idea where she was getting the ammunition. He watched as the creature swung again and missed the armored woman. She was quick and wasn't giving the Lost any chance to recover from its unbalanced swings. She fired the wrist mounted crossbow in rapid succession, bolts piercing the hard skin of the spirit and causing it to shriek and roar out in pain.

The crossbow folded back into the woman's buckler shield and a saber suddenly appeared in her hand. The resonant edge of the blade gleamed in Yan's light. The Lost scrapped its claws across the ground and charged at the woman. Balthazar wasn't so sure she'd stand up to a charge from a Lost its size. That's when he caught sight of the resonant edge on the woman's sword begin to glow violet, she had infused the resonant with ice. He knew this woman was a huntress, no other person would challenge a Lost or have equipment like that. The spirit swung its long arm at the huntress, she raised her sword and met the clawed arm with the blade. The length of the arm froze instantly and shattered from its own momentum. The blade then turned red as the huntress chose fire. The creature roared as if in a rage and swung its other arm, the huntress ducked and it passed right over. She then charged at the Lost as it regained its balance from the heavy swing. The blade sunk into the Lost and fire burst from the wound.

The Lost squealed in pain from the fire inside of it and fell backward. It tried once again to swing its arm at her, she didn't move at all save for her sword arm swinging the blade to cut off the attacking arm. The long black arm continued flying past her and landed a few meters behind her. She stared intently at the dying Lost. "May Gala find renewed purpose for you, lost spirit." and with that, she plunged the saber into the heart of the Lost.

With one final screech, it died.

Balthazar knew of the skill hunters and huntresses had, but he had never seen it with his own two eyes. He had been so wrapped up in watching the fight, that he hadn't even realized that his own daughter was clinging to his leg and crying. He placed his hand on her head when he did, "Hush, child. We're safe now." he looked over to the huntress, "Mighty huntress! I am grateful for your intervention! My daughter and I will forever be in your de-"

"Get down!"

Instinctively, he dropped, taking his daughter with her. The huntress fired five shots off with her crossbow in the blink of an eye. He looked over his shoulder and saw another Lost with five bolts in the heart of the creature. It sputtered and fell back, motionless. Balthazar had just realized that the remainder of his men were missing, no doubt taken by the second Lost. He wondered just how close he was to falling prey to the creature.

The huntress approached them, "My lord. Are you alright? Are you hurt?"

Balthazar got on his feet and propped Tessa on her's as well. He brushed the dirt off of his daughter first before tending to himself, "No, we're fine thanks to you. May I ask your name, please? So that I can repay you in kind when we get to Korstone."

The light of Yan moved on through the forest, darkness retaking the group. The light from the carriage illuminated Balthazar and his daughter. The huntress stood in the dark. "My name is Shae Arca. It is an honor to meet you, my lord.

---<:::|||o|||:::>---
Shae Arca



Shae stepped out of a small shuttle and into the hangar of the Sentinel. She removed her helmet and tucked it beneath her right arm, running her left hand through her short blonde hair. The huntress sighed a long sigh and headed across the large hangar, some hands aboard the ship greeting her and paying their respects. The cross-buckler at her wrist seemingly vanished from thin air, then the helmet under her arm. Shae kept her equipment in her pocket dimension where nobody could touch it and tamper with it.

At the access to the rest of the ship, a man stood, clapping at Shae. "And so our champion returns with yet another Lost slain and another noble saved. When will her saga's come to an end?" the tone was sarcastic.

"Where were you when the Barallian packs spotted the Lost?" Shae crossed her arms and gave a steel gaze at Walter.

The man scratch the back of his head. His breath stunk of alcohol and the unkempt facial hair suggested he had spent his night drinking instead of doing his job. His emerald green eyes looked guilty and so did his crappy grin that tried to make him look innocent. "Well, you see, Shae. I was uh... Tending to our water supply an-"

"You're a hunter not a ship engineer, Walter. Now instead of hunting for your next bottle, you should be hunting for your next prey. You've been in Echo for just as long as I have, what happened to that pride of yours? You look like you slept in a swamp. Smell like it too." Shae shook her head and waved her hand dismissively, deciding she didn't want to hear an answer. "No matter. I have business to attend to. Seems Harp has picked me for some new team."

Walter turned and watched as the huntress trekked down the hallway. "Always a treat talking with you, Shae." he said and went about his business aboard the Sentinel.

It didn't take long for Shae to reach the meeting room, she had known the Sentinel by heart after living aboard it for the past eight years. When she opened the door, she saw the others gathered around. Ferens, all of them. Shae didn't usually have an issue with Ferens, but they usually had an issue with humans so it made it difficult for Shae to fully trust them. Thankfully, she recognized some of them and knew she could count on them. But some of these others were entirely new faces. Shae looked around to them all, wondering if they were supposed to be part of the team. "Welcome." she said to the ones she never saw before and picked a chair to sit on. Her eyes continued to float across the room to everybody.

"I wonder what Harp has in store for us."
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by BurningDaisies
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BurningDaisies Now hiring minions~

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((Whoops... double post))
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by BurningDaisies
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( ( O ) ) ( ( O ) )

8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

With the usual swagger in her stride, Kaalia stepped forward unperturbed and halted behind Isa, who turned and froze, awstruck upon seeing the fearsome veteran so close.

Indigo has always been praised for her courage and bravery, her alertness and her senses. While her mother was never around much, Indigo was guaranteed to recieve praise if she killed a large prey or found something extraordinarily shiny. And so, when an intimidating brunette Feren approaches the nervous bird Feren in front of her - Isa, if Indigo remembers correctly - she is immediately on high alert. The way she walks holds a confidence that Indigo herself posseses: the confidence of a predator. In the wild, when a Ground Dweller ever came too close to her, she would express herself through a snarl or a roar, through a threatening stiffness that warned the reptilian Feren that she was dangerous. And, for a moment, Indigo was back in the wild. Her mind had turned feral and her shoulders hunched over, her knees bent, and she snarled - loudly.

The frightening sound broke Isa from her trance, and she let out a meek cry. Caught between a rock and a hard place, she was at a loss for words.

At first, Kaalia made no remark about the needless rancor, just blithely blinked at the shorter, smaller, feren accosting her with incessant mewlings. Her expression was slow, deliberate, mocking. She saw no threat and expected the little critter to move aside as most have the sense to do.

Her open posture told a different story, however. Chords of muscle rolled beneath her skin, twisted with loose tension. Like a firm, immovable wall, she would be the impasse one is tasked to overcome if a fight were to start. Her stance was frought with openings, but her body was wound tight, ready to hammer any annoying fly willing to buzz toward her. Even if she didn't say it, it was obvious she would crush this feren without a second thought, if they came to blows. Kaalia's stature and presence made the hall shrink as she slowly drew in a deep breath, and everything else seemed insignificant.

"Should I get a muzzle, or will you quiet down by yourself?" She scowled at the uncouth youngster before her.

For a moment, Indigo forgot that words existed. Her mind had turned animalistic and when those words were said, her mind reared at the foreign-ness. Words were occasionally used on Tengu Island, but inconsistently, every few weeks at best, and it was like a rubber band snapped inside of her brain. Indigo's body straightened, though she remained tense and uneasy, her shoulders cocked with muscles beneath the surface. While no longer snarling, her teeth were bared and her tail lashed side to side irately. She did not take kindly to such mockery.

"I'm not a common pet, beast!" She spat.

The callow youth's words were met with only a hard stare, Kaalia's cold ruthlessnes behind it. For a moment, the power of her spirits welled inside, and she urged an oppressive thought into Indigo's mind: "Calm". It was not a request or a soothing suggestion, but a heavy, impending command. Leveraging the power of her Font, a faint glint of white streaked through Kaalia's eyes as she willed herself to be understood. The instrinic meaning flooded Indigo's conscious mind.

A wash of serenity fell over Indigo and her muscles relaxed. While her senses screamed danger, her mind realized that there was no danger to fear. Nevertheless, Indigo didn't quite like this woman - not one bit. As if she could close herself off, Indigo crossed her arms and leant on the back of her heels, glancing at the silent Isa.

"Shall we go to that meeting of yours, Eagle?" She murmured, glancing at the woman from her periphery.

"Yes, Shall we go, Isa?" Kaalia ignored the islander runt obstructing her path, and with a soft, comforting gesture, ginerly locked arms with Isa, and ushered the little avian along with her. "The meeting room is this way. You shouldn't make a habit of being late."

Between Isa's confused ramblings, Indigo's low growling, and Kaalia's deliberate silence, the short journey to the meeting room was an awkward and uncomfortable one.

Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HylianRose
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Isabelline Carter could feel her heart leaping out of her chest as she felt the presence of someone behind her and when she looked, she stood face to face with... her. Kaalia Sigrund herself. If she had to be honest, both Kaalia and Shae were people in Echo that drove her emotions into a frenzy and caused her nerve-ending to short-circuit. If they could even do that, of course.

She couldn't even make sense of what going on around her at this point, everything felt a bit numb and muted, like Kaalia's presence had forced the poor feathered Feren to sink into the depth of her own psychological ocean. No, that was probably a bit too deep for Isa.

The short encounter to which Isa had no part in was over fairly quickly as suddenly, and without warning, a gentle, but gruff, arm linked with hers and began walking in a direction. Isa simply blinked, unable to comprehend what was going on. It was all a little bit to much for her bird brain to handle. Was... Kaalia taking her to the meeting room? Was Kaalia scolding her? ...

D-DOES KAALIA THINK POORLY OF ME?!

OF course she does. I'm a disappointment, always have been.

Lame Isa, the lame eagle, never able to truly take flight.

...

"S-Sorry.." She mumbled, as they walked towards the meeting room, however it didn't take her long to beginning rambling again, going off about how she never really means to be late and somehow ended up talking about whales... Somehow.

"...You see, whales have this weird habit of..." She rambled, stopping as the group reached the door to the meeting room, Sylvia standing outside. She blinked, looking around, as if not really believing they'd made it here so quickly. "Did... How did... This room is a lot closer than I imagined..." She spoke,a furrow creasing her brow. In actuality, it had been a rather long walk but Isa had spent the entire time talking non-stop and hadn't been very conscience of her surroundings and before she knew it, they were at the door.

≾ ❖ ≿


Minutes later, the group of Echo members sat around the room, the Harp silently surveying the room with a quiet and pensive demeanor. The men surrounding the Harp all stared blankly at the wall, not moving, not saying a word. For a moment, Isa almost thought they weren't even breathing though... as she started it seemed as if she'd seen one of their chest's raise and lower in a swift breath.

Isa could never be a vassal to the Harp, or the Harp for that matter. She could barely sit still for more than an hour, much less not move at all for hours on end. Besides, she'd much rather be out in the field, doing something for someone. She knew that the Harp did things for people, Isa just wanted a more hands-on approach to it all. Besides, fighting was fun, for the most part.

Still, she could feel the tension in the air. What were they waiting on? It seemed like they were all here, shouldn't the Harp be saying something? Still, she was a bit amazed that she still had the capacity to think in the presence of not only Kaalia Sigrund, but fucking Shae Arca too. And Syliva Sterling?! It... It was all a bit too much. And the only other person that wasn't as renowned as they were was still freaking intimidating. Isa squirmed a bit, thinking about it as she tugged nervously at the skirt laying limply on her thighs.

Maybe she should have worn the uniform to this meeting? Then again, maybe not? She didn't know and thinking about it was only going to make matters worse.

"E-E-Exc-cuse me!" She shouted, struggling to get the word out and then yelling too loud when it finally did. All at once, she felt all eyes on her as the Harp turned a curious eye her way. "S-Sorry, I just... What are we waiting on?" She asked, her voice suddenly much softer than it was before.

"There is still a missing piece, child of Gala." the Harp replied, seeming to smile beneath the mask.

"O-Oohkay..." She replied slowly, her head falling just slightly and then popping back up again with realization. "OH! So, we're still waiting on someone?" She asked, bright eyed.

"Precisely, dear." the Harp replied, the voice still distorted and skewed. Why they did that, Isa never knew. It was probably explained to her at one point but she'd forgotten by now, a distant memory. Something about... not needing to be anything? Or... needing to be everything? Again, another idea that was all a bit to much for Isa to handle.

Nervously, she glanced about the room. She hoped and prayed to Gala that this person would arrive sooner rather than later. She didn't know if she could deal with this much stress. Wait... If... these were her new... teammates...

Isa suddenly jumped up and pointed at Shae, her finger shaking slightly. "Y-Y-You're my new captain?!" She shouted, an odd phrase as the statement should have been rather obvious but it had taken Isa until now to realize that the people around her would be her new team.

Isa was never known for her cunning or witty ways. Most of the stories with her name involve some sort of explosion or failed plan.

"Oh... My... Gala..." She spoke slowly, her words getting more and more dramatic as she went along. She was going to be in a team with Shae, Kaalia, and Sylvia. She might as well go ahead and leave the team. There was no way those three would be willing to deal with Isa's personality. No way.

"...I'm in a team... with Shae Arca..." She spoke again, slowly and to herself as she slowly descended back into her seat, her eyes staring blankly at the table in front of her. There was a piece of paper there but she hadn't taken the time to read or even notice it's existence. "Shae Arca..." She whispered.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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\-\-\/-/-/


Dreams. An escape, for the mind, for the senses, sometimes even for the body. A passage to another realm, more open and ready to be shaped than any possible in reality. For some, a paradise-for others, an exercise in terror.

Linta, for now, dreamt of flying. Of leaning her weight on the wind, carried along smoothly and silently by the set of beautiful wings her bloodline had blessed her with. Ever dependable, sturdy, strong, her wings would never fail her, never drop her, never waver. Above her, the moons, her constant companions. All her life they'd watched her through the foliage, witnessed every moment and every milestone, a pair of distant observers to every event that shaped her. Around her floated the stars she'd tried and failed so many times to number, a myriad of dancing lights. Like children they followed her, like water they rippled out in her wake, drawing her path in the watercolour sky.

The colours, though, soon faded, plunging the bottomless sky into an eerie monochrome. The air grew heavy and cold, feeling as if Linta had to fight to stay in the sky, instead of being supported by the rising fingers of the once-helpful breeze. A steady beat shook through the air, at first barely noticeable, a vibration seated deep in Linta's chest. The beat grew stronger, faster, somehow soundless but reverberating through her bones. Blackened silhouettes crowded the air in a storming spiral all around. Panicked, Linta flew faster, only to be cut off by a swirling wall of writhing shadows, trapping her inside the eye of the storm. The beating grew harder and harder, buffeting her left and right and taking away her balance. She fought to stay airborne, but it was as if the air had disappeared, Linta could not find purchase, flapping like mad until blue feathers tore off of her wings and she, like the stars and moons, fell spiralling down into blackness.

\-\-\............./-/-/


Linda awoke with a start, breathing heavily with wings trembling and talons ripping into her sheets. A muffled pounding, like the rhythm in her dream, threatened to dent the door in its urgency. Suddenly angry, Linta screeched at the door, an ear-piercing, animal sound that sent the knocker running, if the thumping beyond the door was any indication. With a satisfied nod toward the door, Linta roused herself. Her tiny dorm was a mess, the few belongings that weren't nailed down littering the floor. Downy feathers were scattered there as well, and the blanket Linta had lain out on the floor had several large tears from her talons' iron grip. Linda scowled. She had a hard enough time sleeping in the tiny room as it was, and then some snake-witted idiot decides to wake her by pounding on her door? Evidently it would take more than a few weeks to get used to this place.

Deciding she needed to see something outside, Linta made for the door, catching a glimpse of herself in a mirror on the way out. Her braided hair was as much a mess as a braid could be, and her horrid 'uniform' clothes were wrinkled and twisted, but what actually miffed her was the unkempt state of her feathers. Hopefully late she'd be able to find some ample time for preening.

Linta made a beeline for Indigo's dormitory, but much to her discontent, she wasn't there. It wasn't until she couldn't find her sitting in a window somewhere that she remembered - some kind of gathering was organized for today. Maybe she'd be there.

It took some time, but with the help of a few attendants lint was finally able to find this meeting place. Unceremoniously, Linta managed to wrestle the doorknob enough to get it open and crept into the room, looking around for her sister. She found her, along with many other, very strange looking people. An unidentifiable person in a mask, flanked by stone-still attendants; a woman in armour, one looking like the gruff trunk of a tree, one whom Linta thought greatly resembled an icicle, and a nervous wreck of a girl who looked as if she was simply wearing a pair of wings. If it weren't for their subtle, living movements, Linta would have thought that they were exactly that: a costume. Nonetheless, Linta silently made her way to stand next to Indigo, nodding at the others as she went and really not fancying the idea of trying to fit into a chair.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Driving Park
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Sylvia


Sylvia had walked into the meeting room as soon as the others began to show up. Quickly picking a spot on the wall, she propped herself against it, casually leaning on it with her long legs crossed around the knees. She observed the others walking in and taking their places. To each entrant she gave a different greeting. To Shae, a respectful smile and nodding of the head. To Kaalia, another smile and slight tilt of the head. To the girl with wings, who clearly looked nervous or just confused, a quizzical look followed by a shrug of apparent temporary satisfaction - none of which probably helped the girl's state of mind. To the tigerish one, a similar reaction to the nervous winged girl.

Sylvia then began observing the situation in general until people started talking.

Shae, as usual, was first to speak.

"I wonder what Harp has in store for us," the veteran huntress pondered. Now, Sylvia of course respected Shae like everyone else did - not nearly to idol status like a certain avian in the room would soon reveal - but also knew her personally, and how well she knew her wouldn't really affect Sylvia's sarcasm filter in the first place. None of it was in malice, after all.

"If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it'll have to do with some Lost," she said, a little hint of a grin forming on her face. "I've noticed a trend recently," she said, resigning to her usual look of content.

Just then the winged girl piped up in fairly spectacular fashion. Sylvia made a mental note that she had been right about the feathered female being nervous - and apparently not a small amount. She couldn't help but mentally chuckle as the conversation between the new arrival and Harp continued. Archon give me strength, she thought.

She turned to Kaalia after the exchange had concluded. Her relationship with the bear feren was more one of mutual understanding than "let's hang out", but it was still one nonetheless. "You know, I like being on the B-Team," she said playfully. "It's less stressful than the A-Team, and there's more than one person in it. It's nice." Turning back to the room in general but looking in Shae's direction, she said "Welcome back to stardom, Miss Arca," with a grin.

Sylvia noted that the two new faces were quite silent, and decided to rectify that immediately. Turning to them, she spoke. "So, two Ferens, huh? What's your story?" Before she could deliver any breathtaking (i.e. boring) questions for them to answer, however, another new face arrived. An owlish girl, she silently walked in and stood next to the tigerish one. "Three Ferens? I must be dreaming," she remarked, stopping her barrage of comments and forthcoming questions there as everyone was now here, and that only meant one thing.

Harp speech was imminent.
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INDIGO


Indigo had not been paying attention to most of the proceedings, instead concentrating on the cover of the ceiling. Indigo cocked her head to the side, her black, greasy ponytail cascading down her clothed shoulder, pondering the reason of a ceiling. These people were strange; wouldn’t they like to feel the air rush over their skin as the airship moved through the sky? Linta seemed to like it. However, when a voice inquired about a “story,” Indigo casted her eyes towards the newcomer.

“Sto-ry?” Indigo muttered, “Yes, I shall tell a complete stranger my life story.”

The sarcasm wasn’t her sharpest, but it dripped like acid out of her mouth and she leaned backwards, crossing her arms, effectively closing herself off from the group. It was only when Linta walked into the room that Indigo uncrossed her arms, as if to welcome the owl girl with open arms. While she was not much of a smiling person, Indigo cared deeply for Linta, and so she allowed a small smirk grace her features. She was going to simply gesture at the girl to communicate her desire, but with so many of these “civilized” people around her, she thought it best to speak.

“Cutting it close, yeah, Linta?” She murmured, amused.

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\-\-\/-/-/


Linta cocked her head at Indigo, raising an eyebrow. "But I wasn't cutting anything..." she deadpanned, slightly confused. But it looked like Indigo was amused, so it mustn't have been too bad.

Quickly losing interest, Linta looked around the room with quick, jerking movements, further resembling the owl she felt she was. At times her head turned rather far around in her observations, probably making her look pretty creepy to the other people there. Once she had a good feel for her surroundings, however, her focus turned to the people. The 'Harp', whom she assumed was the imposing person with all the attendants, was of little interest to her. In fact, at the moment she was only really interested in the girl with wings. Linda openly stared at her, taking in her wings and her human features, the way she sat and the way she muttered excitedly. Her owl's stare seemed to pass right through her, huge golden brown eyes wide with interest. The one who resembled an icicle had remarked that there were three new Ferens, and logic said that this one had to be one of them. She found it hard to believe, though. This girl looked like a human wearing wings on her back, and every avian Feren Linta had ever seen was more bird than human. How could someone be the same thing and look so vastly different?

Well, no matter. Even Linta could see that something important was about to happen, and so she settled herself, waiting respectfully for whatever would come.
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After the owl-feren's entrance, the Harp suddenly walked closer to the table and motioned for the Echo members to take a seat if they hadn't already. "Please, if you have not already, have a seat. This will not take long." the Harp spoke, a machine like sound coming from the cloaked figure's mouth.

Once they had all either taken a seat, or refused the Harp, as they might, the Harp began to explain why they were all here.

"I'm aware that all of you have already been told that you will be grouped together today. And this meeting is both so that you can put faces to names and so that I can explain exactly what your team's purpose is." He/She began, looking around the room with idle curiosity. "There have been some interesting levels of Lost activity recently. I want you, as team, to get together and go see what's going on. It wouldn't hurt to reduce the Lost population either as the cities have been sending distress calls to us daily, more so than usual." He/She continued, shrugging with his/her shoulders. "Your captain will be Shae Arca, and your second in command, Kaalia Sigrund. Please take their advice and listen to their commands. They are both well experienced Echo members and, I'm certain, will only lead you on the correct path." He/She finished, looking over at the three newer members.

The Harp, having finished his/her briefing, turned to look at Shae and Kaalia. "If you'll both come see me before you all leave, I have a few things for you and your group. You should all leave the ship and head for your first destination by the end of the week." His/Her piece said, the Harp, and the men around him/her, left the room, leaving the others with each other.

≾ ❖ ≿


While this was all going on, Isa was twiddling her thumbs, trying not to look at Shae Arca. The looks of the other bird feren failed to phase her as she hadn't even noticed them. She'd seen a lot of different feren types, some more beastial that the other. And so, Isa stayed, her mission failed, as she stared at Shae Arca, sometimes glancing to look at the rest of the room. However, she heard not a single word the Harp had said and hadn't even realize the, rather imposing, figure had left.

...SHAE FUCKING ARCA.
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Shae Arca



Shae looked to Sylvia as the woman replied to her, "If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it'll have to do with some Lost,"

Shae was sitting in her seat, minding her own business before any real conversation was brought up. When it was, she was quiet and listening, waiting for the last of the members to show up. Suddenly, one of the people spoke up, "E-E-Exc-cuse me! S-Sorry, I just... What are we waiting on?"

Shae was about to answer but the Harp took the words right out of her mouth. She remained quiet and patient. It took the feren girl a short moment to realize what the Harp said, that was comical. Back into the silence, Shae was about to speak up but... "Y-Y-You're my new captain?!" the feren said in shock.

Shae let out a soft sigh, "It would see-" "Oh... My... Gala..."

"You know, I like being on the B-Team. It's less stressful than the A-Team, and there's more than one person in it. It's nice. Welcome back to stardom, Miss Arca," Sylvia said, Shae knew she was being teased but nonetheless the thought made Shae groan.

Shae pinched the bridge of her nose, she hated being famous and idolized. There was another moment of silence, Shae took the initiative, "Perhaps while we're waiting we sho-" "I'm in a team... with Shae Arca... Shae Arca..."

Shae's head lolled back so she could look up at the roof. She hoped the late-comers would be there soon. Her wish was granted and the Harp quickly started with his reason for calling everybody to the room. "I'm aware that all of you have already been told that you will be grouped together today. And this meeting is both so that you can put faces to names and so that I can explain exactly what your team's purpose is. There have been some interesting levels of Lost activity recently. I want you, as team, to get together and go see what's going on. It wouldn't hurt to reduce the Lost population either as the cities have been sending distress calls to us daily, more so than usual." waiiit for it... "Your captain will be Shae Arca, and your second in command, Kaalia Sigrund. Please take their advice and listen to their commands. They are both well experienced Echo members and, I'm certain, will only lead you on the correct path." Shae didn't detest but it was obvious she saw it coming, that's how things usually went.

When the Harp finished what was to be said, Shae and Kaalia were called to speak personally. Shae got up from her set and headed toward the Harp. She could feel eyes bolting to her and away from her, constantly. In the back of her head, she thought Shae... Fucking... Arca... Ugh I need to disappear... But Shae didn't, and she stood in front of the Harp waiting for whatever was needed to be said without the attention of the rest of her new team.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by BurningDaisies
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Kaalia


Eyes closed, arms folded, head bent forward, ears perked, and firm, stoic posture, Kaalia listened and waited for everyone in turn. Never saying a word, she resolved to remain silent. If one didn't notice her ears twitch periodically, she would easily be mistaken as asleep.

The reality, for those who knew, was in tight quarters the tiny, eccentric scents, sights and sounds tended to be overwhelming. It was often easier to cope by just closing off one of her senses, and relying on the others. Kaalia possessed preternaturally keen hearing, capable of perceive slight changes in tone and pitch which were useful in determining mood, intensity, and even posture. An open posture makes for an open, resounding voice, a closed posture delivers a muted voice, one which fails to project very far. Even the background ambiance of humming Resonant filled her ears, a strange and persistent noise which only she could hear.

Sylvia and Shae provided the most predictable responses; though she had served with each of them enough to have adopted certain expectations. Shae was upstanding to a fault and chivalry disagreed with Sigrund sensibilities; the iconic captain has always had Kaalia's respect at a professional level, the Shindani was an exceptional product of her homeland military, Kaalia admits this readily.

While entertaining, Sylvia's cutting words have never delivered the best of comedy. Admirable combatant, of this Kaalia knew well.

While she has never regarded either veteran agent as a "friend", her relationship with those two has always been more of a "soldier's bond". They would destroy each other enemies, cover each others backs, share a laugh in the heat of the moment, and while their connection amounts to little more than this, it runs deep. The thread that binds them together as fellow comrades is perhaps at its strongest in the field.

The scatter-brained girl she escorted in was amusing, but was in dire need of self-discipline. Kaalia made a mental note to "fix" that issue later.

Special notice was given to the juvenile quips exchanged between Indigo and Linta. If Kaalia hadn't already read through the new recruits' files, she would have a strong suspicion of a previous history between the two feren of Tengu Island. The two would work well together as a pair, but Kaalia was more concerned with their individual merits.

Doubtless the Harp would put all the recruits through their paces. She tilted her head slightly, sensing the Harp was about to speak.
"I'm aware that all of you have already been told that you will be grouped together today. And this meeting is both so that you can put faces to names and so that I can explain exactly what your team's purpose is." Obvious... "There have been some interesting levels of Lost activity recently." What do you mean by interesting? "I want you, as team, to get together and go see what's going on. It wouldn't hurt to reduce the Lost population either as the cities have been sending distress calls to us daily, more so than usual." Here it comes... "Your captain will be Shae Arca," Everytime. Every. Time! "...and your second in command, Kaalia Sigrund." Kaalia stifled an dissatisfied sigh "Please take their advice and listen to their commands. They are both well experienced Echo members and, I'm certain, will only lead you on the correct path."

Kaalia bided her time and waited until everyone filed out of the room. A nagging thought obsessively occuppied her attention since the Harp began its speech. She would question the scentless, masked enigma in due time, but speaking... "plainly" to a superior wasn't something she wanted to do in front of a large audience. She knew better and held her tongue, remaining defiantly in her seat until only she, Shae, and the Harp were left. Once the rest were out of earshot, she opened her eyes and directed her glare at Harp. "I'll be the first to say, I don't like it." With a set jaw, and unflinching expression, she delivered each word with a calm, crisp directness; the kind of pinpoint, hostile honesty only Kaalia can provide.
"The reassignment I can live with. And dealing with Lost is nothing new, but what's so interesting about their activity levels? And why do I get the feeling you want us to rile up a wasp nest just to see what happens?" Her frank manner of speech was nothing new. In all fairness, Harp should have expected it. She's well-known for it. "I'd appreciate your honesty in this matter."

Kaalia has always regarded Harp with a peculiar personal bias, lending absolute trust to the leader's decisions and posing unreserved suspicion to its motives.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by HylianRose
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If one could see behind the Harp's mask, they'd know 'it' was smiling. It was a soft smile, for all intents and purposes, and though 'it' knew no one would see it, the sentiment still remained.

"I didn't expect you would, Kaalia." It spoke, a hint of a smile in it's machine-like voice. "It's nothing too terribly interesting, I'm afraid. But it does have us curious. And, if you want me to be honest, we are simply probing to gauge a reaction. The numbers are off. There are more and more Lost appearing each day. The affected towns and cities can't handle the increasing numbers. And it's not just the numbers, some of them are showing signs of evolution, like nothing we've ever seen before. I need your group to go down there and give us eyes on what happening down there and relay whatever information you can back up to us." It explained, crossing arms pensively. "I don't trust anyone else with this mission. I hand selected this group myself, the counsel aside. They'll get over it." It explained, an ominous tone about it's voice.

The Harp turned to look out at the window, looking through black lace at the sky before it. "The casualty numbers are skyrocketing, it's not something we can afford to stand around thinking about much longer." It explained further, turning back to stare at Shae and then at Kaalia. "I know you may not like it and it may seem like I am keeping things from you. But you must trust me. I would never turn you towards something I did not think you could handle." It told them, wanting ever so desperately to give a gentle squeeze to their shoulders but knowing it's limitations.

"Now, take these forms. They detail the places you will be visiting and which ones I recommend you visit first. Please, take care of your team mate, I am entrusting them to you. Isa can be... rough at times but she has a good heart. Linta and Indigo are both strong fighters and well disciplined. They may not know our ways just yet, but give them time and be patient with them. They want to help." Finished with it's piece, the Harp turned sharply and walked away, waving briskly at the two behind it, the men following.

≾ ❖ ≿


Isa found herself following Sylvia for some reason. After the meeting was over, she didn't really want to be alone and she didn't know what would be happening now. She'd never actually been deployed.

"Hey! Wait up!" She called over, running to try and catch up to the wolf feren. However, Isa was too preoccupied with watching Sylvia, that she failed to notice the foot that popped out from no-where and fell on her face, landing with a rather comedic "splat."

"Hah! Watch where you're going, Easy Isa! Didn't you know that walking is Isa Easy?" the male yelled, already walking away, laughing with his friends. Biting her lip, Isa sat up on the floor, crossing her legs in a fit of embarrassment, her cheeks red as beets.

"Isa Easy, I understand but... I'm not easy! In fact, I'm one of the few girls on this ship you can't get into the pants of!" She spoke, starting as a whisper but slowly growing into a yell, mostly at the world. "Ugh! I don't even date!" She groaned, falling backward as she succumbed to the plight that was her life. Staring up at the ceiling, she thought about Sylvia Sterling. She must have just kept walking. She wouldn't want to be seen with "Easy Isa." So what if she couldn't do anything other than the easy difficultly on the simulations. It wasn't that Normal was particularly hard, it was just the pressure. If they didn't tell her it would be even a bit harder, she might actually do well. But she always got nervous when someone told her it would be on Normal that day. And since then, people have used "Isa Easy" as an adjective for things that are so easy, they have to be paired with the failure that can't even get past the normal difficulty.

...

It was always the fear...

The fear of failure...

The face of Isaac always came to her in those moments, those clutch moments. She needed to get past it. But something about the way he looked at her just before the beast took him away sent chills down her spine. H-Had it been her fault? Had she been trained, she could have saved him. She had failed him, and she'd seen it on his face that day. Since then, all of the children looked at her differently. She heard the whispers they swapped in the night.

Isa... She just... let him die, didn't she?

I'm scared, what if she's cursed?

Yeah, everyone around her gets eaten by Lost. Even her parents.

SHH. I think she's coming.


...It had been a big part of her decision to come here. To get past that difficulty, to prove to them that she wasn't cursed. But... Was she? Was she just naturally unlucky?

For the next few moments, Isa simply sat in the middle of the hallway, slouched with her eyes staring listless at the floor. A strange appearance for the usually plucky girl.

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Indigo watched Isa slump down after the rather rude interaction. She hadn’t expected to follow the two, but that is where the majority seemed to go and Indigo did not know the place well. She figured that, despite how reluctant she was, learning the skills of her teammates would be the best thing to do in order to survive.

With stone eyes and a hard line for a mouth, Indigo approached Isa and looked down at her, a sense of superiority filling her. These “civilized” are nothing but lions wearing sheep skin. They can act as if they are better than the wild Feren, as if they are above such feral-ness, it came down to one simple concept: loyalty. Indigo’s time on Tengu Island was spent with family and a pack that she protected with every inch of her skin and every ounce of her being; these supposedly superior creatures turn on their own at the very moment they smell weakness.
Indigo bent down and placed a hand on Isa’s shoulder and pulled back her shoulders, subconsciously explaining her superiority towards such a pitiful civilization through her proud stature and slightly smug features. But Indigo doubted anyone would sense it, any of these ignorant people would notice her stiff pride.

“I have found that your people are cruel.” Indigo muttered, not unkindly but matter-of-factly. “Your people are quick to flip their allegiance – lacking loyalty. They will not last long on the field. Take pride.”

With her fragmented sentences over, Indigo let her hand curl under Isa’s arm and yank the girl to her feet.

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Sylvia


Sylvia had turned a corner into another hallway just as Isa was getting tripped. When she did an abrupt about face and rounded the corner from whence she came, there was Isa getting picked up by the tigress girl.

"Tripping? Wow, you'd think the brainiacs just came from the schoolyard," she said, making a mental note to forget to reprimand them later. "Sometimes I wonder how half the people on this ship were allowed on...anyway, she has a point," Sylvia continued, referring to Indigo's comment. "Granted, I don't know what 'your people' is supposed to mean, but there are people on the Sentinel that are actually decent if you know where to look."

Sylvia began to walk away from the pair, who were clearly recovered from the incident. "I'll be around if you want to chat. I enjoy company," she said as she walked in the direction of the bar. As they were about to get deployed, she figured now was a good time to relax a little (more) and contemplate such colossal oversights as not knowing any of the new members' names before the fun of battle began.
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Isa could feel someone walking up behind her but she felt that overwhelming anxiety that comes with the decisions one has to make. Turn and see who it is\stay as you are\turn and smile like nothing happened. The last option seemed like the best but for some reason she couldn't bring her body to do the action that she was telling it to do.

And so she stayed, staring at the floor until a hand pulled her shoulder around, forcing her to look at the person behind her which was the girl from before, Indigo. Isa put a faint smile on her face, the best she could manage.

“I have found that your people are cruel.” Indigo muttered, not unkindly but matter-of-factly. “Your people are quick to flip their allegiance – lacking loyalty. They will not last long on the field. Take pride.”

Isa nodded slowly, tears filling her eyes. Indigo's words wouldn't change what kind of person Isa was and the things she had done. "Thank you." She return, her voice barely a whisper.

She blinked as she was pulled up suddenly, her tears suddenly drying. She was trying to get loose of Indigo's grip, wriggling about, when she heard the voice of a familiar individual. It was smooth but a bit snippy, sarcasm dripping. Her head shot up to look at Sylvia, one of her superiors and she swallowed, nervous.

Yes, Sylvia was right. There were always nicer people around, enough nice people as rude. It was a fact of life. She turned to look at Indigo and smiled. "Shall we take her up on that offer? It would be useful to get to know each other and we'll have to talk eventually, anyway." She asked, Indigo, smiling brightly, her eyes slightly red and still wet from the moment before.
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Kaalia



A solemn determination sets into the atmosphere, as Shae and Kaalia pour over a myriad of witness portofolios, complete with verbal transcipts and photographs. A library of evidence has been strewn neatly across the long meeting room table with a large unfurled map of Tarcan.

"According to the reports, the Lost have overrun the outland villages here and here." Kaalia points to a long stretch of arid grassland, identifying the Tarcan outlands. "Not ten miles east is the Ish Sah Bog." Her finger moved to hover over a splotch of darkly mixed watercolors on the map along the northen border of Tarcan Sea. "We have less information about this incursion, but Lost have appeared there as well. Witnesses say a large snake-like creature burst out of the ground and devoured a small home--whole."

"The most pressing issue is in the suburban province east of the oasis, here." Again her hand drifted to another point, a matte beige area between the Tarcan sea and a tiny oasis, only made obvious by the map's legend and annotations. In the middle had been drawn a dark red 'X', larger than the others marking the other points Kaalia had drawn attention too. "The Kasmut Territories that make up this land are just populated enough--with herders and res miners from what I understand--for the people to suffer the most severe devastation." Stony, unflinching eyes focused intently on that spot, brooding over an unsettling possibility. "That Harp bastard was right... in a way. These aren't random incidents. Each attack by the lost has been against the Tarcan supply chain. Each of these areas are crucial to the region's irrigation. I've been to a few these places myself. Aqueducts run from both the oasis and the bog, running purified water to the other cities.

She paused and cocked her head, regarding the riddle with tireless scrutiny. "This was a coordinated attack, poorly executed, but coordinated nonetheless. My question is how? Lost aren't intelligent enough to plan this."

A grim expression tugged on the corner of her lips. Kaalia knew this could only spell disaster for Tarcan, if the Lost weren't dealt with quickly. The mystery which it provided, however, troubled her more than any other mission she had taken before. Lost were supposed to be mindless machines, twisted by rage and hunger. The thought of even one of them having the cruel intelligence to starve a nation of its water supply shattered her long-held beliefs on the nature of Lost, what they are capable of and willing to do. Even if the facts had been wrong all this time, or if someone was instigating these attacks, the 'how' and 'why' were immaterial. Tarcanis will be in shambles, if the Lost were left unchecked: those are the facts and Kaalia firmly reassured herself that her fears were impossible and just the result of overactive paranoia.

She turned to Shae with an expectant look. "Well, Captain?" Her voice was clear, but the 'captain' sounded hollow and bitter. Emphatic. "There's a lot of ground to cover. How do you want to handle this?"

In ages past, Kaalia might have served as a general, marshaling troops and delivering compelling speeches, a career officer from a bygone era. Offering valuable insight and concerted effort in determining a plan of action, Kaalia's dedication and attention to detail was second to none, except for perhaps... Shae.
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