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THE DRACODILE had continued to watch everyone with a predatory glare, remaining motionless as the intense sunlight made his scales gleam. His reed cat, Licks, had made her way up to her cohort's new vantage point and perched beside him--she clearly approved of the spot as her tail had gone all fritzy with excitement. Gossk was examining a weird cloud when the cloaked one yelled at him to board the boat. He barely had time to register what had happened but he could clearly see Lynn being carried away swiftly to the boat.

'What is going on now?' Gossk wondered, looking down and picking his path downwards off of the large boulder.

He jumped down, his feet scuffing and slicing the rock as he descended. His giant form permitted him to shrug off the rough descent, but it was wearing off, he could somehow tell--and sure enough, as he and Licks arrived at their transport, Gossk's gigantic form unceremoniously shrunk. This was quite a good thing since he was about to get on the boat whilst in giant form, but then caught himself before he might have damaged it. The dracodile reminded himself to ask the cloaked one how he might learn that spell.

'That was fun,' he croaked with a mental chuckle.

Crouching on the deck, so as to not appear threatening to anyone around him, Gossk noted Tyrael's disappearing in tow with Lynn and her staff into the cabin. A pang of worry gnawed at his mind as he realized now that Lynn had fallen asleep. They weren't under enemy attack like he had assumed, but rather she had clearly overexerted herself while healing Tyrael.

'Oh, Lynn, I am sorry for you,' Gossk sighed.

The dracodile glanced away, taking in the former chattel into his purple eyes. They must have been watching him warily, obvious fear in their eyes. He looked at Sonia, having read the traits hinting at her dominant attitude over the other girls; In other words, she was in charge and would do the commandeering. He took a single step towards her, closing the gap between them quickly.

'Why does this one smell so good to me?' Gossk wondered about Sonia, trying to control his urges.

After a moment of sheer concentration, he growled slightly, albeit he was merely clearing his throat.

"Let us go." Gossk rasped, with a nod, and gestured towards Kalla--or the direction he assumed would lead them there. "Do not stot thor any reason."

'I'm going to eat her if she messes up,' Gossk decided, having found it very hard to put his trust not only in a flying boat, but a mere human thing to control it.

Satisfied that their servants would do their job, Gossk turned to the entrance of the cabin and sighed mentally at its small door frame. He gestured and grunted at Licks, telling her to stay where she was--or at least the general area. The reed cat sought out Sonia as she began to power up the skiff and steered it towards Kalla. Her tail flicked teasingly against the lady's leg.

---

Down below, Gossk observed Tyrael's work in the dimmed light--clearly he was taking care of Lynn. The worry in his mind was then replaced with curiosity as he drew closer and examined Lynn for himself. Gossk said nothing, his eyes scanning every detail of Lynn's body, noting her gills as well. It reminded him of his own, which left a bitter feeling but it didn't linger. Connecting his analysis of Lynn with what Tyrael was doing, Gossk experienced an epiphany. The dracodile remembered then, that Lynn hadn't been holding up well in the desert before he had placed his Far Stride power over her. He could tell that it was still on-going, but he surmised that Lynn's very nature contained an inherent weakness to these types of environment. In other words, despite his buff, she was doomed to fall from the start.

'Wait a minute...' Gossk mused, a bright idea hitting him in the noggin.

If the desert was her enemy biome, then clearly the ocean was her closest ally, Gossk surmised, scratching the chin of his snout with a claw. He glanced around--the cabin was a little small, but it would still work, especially if he didn't pour all of his mana into the spell. He left Tyrael's side then, and observed the details of the cabin's interior--he touched things here and there, on the wall, and such. He nodded, with a grunt.

'This place seems well built. It should contain everything,' Gossk decided, inhaling deeply as he turned to Tyrael.

"I think you should go adothe, uh, outside, at least thor now," Gossk suggested to Tyrael, "I an going to change this roon thor Lynn. It night de, err... un-confortadle thor you."

With his warning uttered, the Dracodile turned towards Lynn and cradled her gently in his arms. She was so small compared to him, that he worried his scales would cut her without him knowing it. Regardless, a chant began to emanate from Gossk, its tone dark and harsh with rasping, guttural syllables. With each repetition, it seemed to become louder, as though Gossk was trying to be precise with how powerful he wanted this spell to be. With the last necessary syllable on the tip of his tongue, the Dracodile ended the upkeep on his Far Stride spell and then unleashed his nefarious Swamp Pit spell.

In the cabin.

The atmosphere in the cabin changed instantly, taking on a cool, moist temperature. Murky and salty water came into existence all around Gossk and Lynn, and Tyrael if he didn't leave, and filled up the cabin. Plants magically appeared and attached to the wood, as though it was ground. Mud and muck lined the outer edges, plastering the walls and ceiling. In short, the swamp pit tried to fill the cabin as much as it could, in the way its area-of-effect could form, but without damaging the cabin outright. The murky water would reach up to the top steps, right below the door that had led Gossk down into the cabin.

In the middle of the 'cabin pit,' Gossk cradled Lynn's body in his lap, much like an adult would hold a sick child. Her body would float a little bit, but he held her down, keeping her close. Despite the eerie murkiness that would make it hard to see, the dracodile's purple eyes glowed with a bright enough light to let Lynn see around her, should she wake and look around. Not that the light would help him see, rather it glowed due to the power of mana being controlled for this 'minor' Swamp Pit. Gossk just hoped that the cool temperature of his swamp pit would revive her quickly, as he felt the swamp was the cousin of the ocean--and for Lynn, he hoped it would suffice.

'This won't count for my life debt,' Gossk decided, puffing his chest with pride and integrity.
IT WAS TIME. As Henry and Julian ceased their conversing and prepared to brace the bitter cold--both of nature and their future missions--the latter held back his breath, trying to drown an anxious sigh. Julian returned to his seat, thinking about the pilot's words. He retrieved a large black overcoat that he'd taken off during their flight; It kept him warm, perhaps too warm, but now it was the only comfort item that would steady his nerves. Julian worried incessantly, a variety of dark thoughts plaguing his mind.

Rachel's call to her comrades cause him to snap back from the brink. It anchored him, and he silently thanked her for it. As the transport door opened, Julian growled under his breath and held his bowler hat tightly with his right hand, his carry-on in his left hand. He marched straight into the whiteness, keeping pace with Rachel and Henry--he wasn't about to be left behind. Like Rachel, he also felt that they should stick together, for better or for worse. This entire ordeal felt strangely like the starting events of a wedding ceremony, not that Julian had any idea of what a wedding was like, nor the after-effect of marriage. Regardless, he was determined to care about his comrades even if he had to embrace his deepest fears a thousand times over.

'At least Henry and Rachel seem to care,' Julian mused, eyeing the motto in the distance. He could barely read it, but as he squinted in vain to clutch at clarity, he noticed that Henry began breaking off from the group.

Glancing between Rachel and the others and the brave (he was truly brave, Julian felt), he decided to stay on track with the group. His pace did start to slow though, and he licked his lips as he watched Henry do whatever it was that he was doing. He really couldn't make out the thing in the ground, but the war whooping outright startled Julian. He even chuckled a little in spite of his fear, trying to feign confidence. As Henry returned, his words of warning presented a logical conundrum to Julian. But he dismissed it just as quickly as he had thought of it--in short, that the wind and snow would bury the ritual marker and render it effectively lost to them. He then changed his mind and would ask him anyway.

Deciding to trust Henry would not look at him stupidly, Julian asked, "Well, uh, Henry, what about the wind? A-And the snow? Won't it bury the--oh."

Julian could see more clearly now, the marker was taller than it had appeared at first to him. Chuckling and muttering 'never mind', he emphasized his dismissal of his question with a hand wave and head shake. Turning back towards the group and joining them, Julian chided himself. 'Stupid!'
THE OVERLY-DRESSED YOUNG MAN sighed with relief as Henry proved far more kind than he appeared to be, especially with that eye-catching apparel. Of course, Julian knew that he himself had no excuse; There wasn't going to be a dinner party for them, he was sure. He did find the Cree language rather beautiful to hear, it was as though he was listening to flowers or the wind speak sweet, colorful words to him that painted the corners of his imagination. He wondered how hard it would be to master a second language or even categorize hundreds of cousin tongues. Settling in for the long haul, Julian adjusted his hat and folded his hands on his large abdomen as the First Nation pilot went on and on.

'Henry Makokis, that's a lovely name,' Julian mused, nodding as Henry declared his homeland's name.

"Oh, of course, Henry. You may call me Julian," he interjected gently, smiling by eyes and mouth.

Julian blinked and adjusted his spectacles as Henry then retrieved some kind of (perhaps) ornamental stick and commented on its importance. He felt it prudent to perhaps ask about it later in lieu of now. Thinking of his uncle's pocket diary in his inner pocket, he supposed that they all had their own sentimental tokens to carry them through this endeavor.

Then, the conversation began to focus the spotlight on Julian, prompting him to sit up straighter and clear his throat as he nodded with each sentence Henry spoke.

"Ah, well yes, I suppose, Henry. Though if we're all unique, then everyone's the same, aren't they?" Julian joked, chuckling as he dismissed his own question with a wave.

"But yes, I'm a Helix pilot--and mechanic too. Well kind of one, I'm not that good," he shrugged humbly.

He looked past Henry then and glanced out the window wistfully "Anyway, I'm from Thorpe's Pier," Julian stated, hesitating a moment before making eye contact with Henry. "A sea sh-shanty in the, uh, Southwest. And I - ... well, to put it simply, I'm here to try to make it a great place again. Hopefully some day anyway, once I..."

It was obvious that the subject made Julian nervous, but he persevered and pressed himself to finish his thought. "I just think if I get a high enough rank and prestige, I'll have the connections and knowledge I'd need to bring attention to my family and the people there. We used to proudly serve the United Empire, but now we can barely contribute anything at all."

Henry might notice a flicker of fire in the young man's eyes. "But I'm going to change that," Julian stated solemnly, turning his head towards Rachel and Garret.

'But... what if I'm the one who gets changed instead?' Julian wondered, feeling at least mature enough to realize that your circumstances and company tended to change your character, whether you liked it or not.


THE EAGER DRACODILE had barely any time to register what was about to happen to him. He'd understood Tyrael well enough but Gossk had never heard of this kind of magic. It intrigued him greatly and reminded him of his own magical arsenal. He knew that one day he would have to explore the realm of magic more thoroughly, and conquer it. "O-herr do you get your, uh, nagic thou'er, cloaked one?" Gossk asked, eyeing Tyrael as he cast his spell Size Shift.

Gossk grunted a confirmation at Tyrael's warning about the duration and inhaled sharply as he grew, immediately feeling a sense of exhilaration and power. Licks also woke as she sensed something was amiss, and jumped out of her cohort's satchel--she then disappeared into the bushes around them. Lynn, Tyrael, and the chattel shrunk, falling away from the Dracodile's field of vision as he looked out into the distance. Once he had finished his transformation (reaching a truly towering 26-foot height), Gossk looked down and considered his path. He then took a few precise steps, his extremely large stride of 11-feet (15-feet with Far Stride's aid) bringing him to the skiff, which felt like a toy to him. His ridiculously long tail swept the dry air, literally kicking up dust and sand behind him. 'This feels amazing, I am the largest Dracodile that has ever lived...' the Dracodile mused, croaking a chuckle as he took hold of the skiff.

As Gossk was about to lift their eventual transport, he then paused and turned his head slowly to his companions, the images of Tyrael, Lynn, and the Varuk slaves in his eyes. He held that gaze for a moment, a multitude of scenarios and thoughts flowing through his mind. He could eat them all, if he wanted to--it would be quite a feast. There'd be no way that they could overpower him in his current state. The Dracodile even wondered if he would gain Tyrael's arcane knowledge if he consumed him--it was his belief after all, one that proved true to him time and time again. If Tyrael was going to betray them, killing him now would be the best time, lest he used this Size Shift spell on himself. The very thought of fighting a size enhanced Tyrael weighed heavily on Gossk. The Dracodile then considered Lynn...and that she clearly trusted the cloaked stranger enough to work together.

And on top of that, his integrity-bound life debt was wagging its proverbial finger at him. Scoffing at his own stupidity, Gossk wisely passed on the delicious opportunity.

As Tyrael was hoping, the Dracodile indeed placed the skiff in the open out of the rocks. In fact, as he returned to them, he swept aside the rocks between them and the skiff, by using his feet and tail. There was now a clear path for them to use. "It has deen done," Gossk announced with pride, his voice deep and thunderous.

Eyeing the largest outcrop of rock about 50 yards away, Gossk respectfully left Lynn and Tyrael to their business and made a trail of destroyed rocks, overturned trees and bushes, and large footprints. He then proceeded to climb, his thick claws ripping into the rock easily. Once he had reached the top, Gossk scanned the horizon, looking for trouble and finding none. He then began to scratch out his name on the rock, in Rasskarr no doubt. It was a peculiar set of symbols and its meaning known only to him. 'I might as well leave a memento for myself, for another day,' Gossk concluded, admiring his work.

With that done, Gossk once settled his gaze upon the merlady and cloaked figure and waited for them to beckon him so that they could depart for better shelter. His tail flicked impatiently--clearly a trait he'd picked up from his reed cat.
THE OVERLY DRESSED young man felt utter relief as it seemed someone had found his spectacles, and promptly handed to him. Not thrown at him, or kicked at him. Standing to his feet, Julian dusted himself off and eagerly put them back on. The full view of Rachel came into his focus--even with her aviator glasses on, Julian could see that she was pretty. His male gaze lingered a little longer than he'd realized, causing him to stammer and turn red.

"O-oh! Yes, t-thank y-yit, I mean, thank you so much," he replied hastily, adverting his eyes.

He was about to be brave and introduce himself when someone snarked at his rescuer. 'Another time,' Julian thought, leaving Rachel to deal with Garret. As he returned to his seat, the young man overheard an intriguing voice. It was almost too soft to be heard, yet it carried Julian's eyes towards the source automatically. He noticed a man with a long braid of hair, seeming to speak to himself.

Julian held onto that bravery he'd seized from his encounter with Rachel and decided to introduce himself to Henry instead. He seemed nice enough and Julian knew they would all have to work together some time soon anyway.

"Hello," Julian greeted, with a slight smile. The man had said adventure? "I suppose it could be an adventure, albeit I reckon it won't be a fun one."

He extended a gloved hand, "My name is Julian...uh, I mean, Julian Brumbles."
JULIAN BRUMBLES let out a slow, controlled exhale, his black rimmed spectacles sliding down his nose. His anxiety grew steadily as he immediately corrected this with a well practiced hand and then glanced out the window. The white, blank view that enveloped their transport reminded him of his own life: a blank canvas upon which he would soon paint the details of his career. He had finally been assigned to a base, to serve under a squadron leader, and to complete real missions. He knew that this was well worth the wait, albeit he sorely wished that he hadn't been left behind for a full year as his talented peers moved on to tackle bigger and better facets of military life. The young man, perhaps younger than he looked, would soon learn which brushes would be his to handle.

Adjusting his bowler hat, Julian eased into his seat and turned his gaze away from the bleak landscape, to the interior of the dropship. His seating position left him alone, window-side, so he really couldn't see anyone else, save for their heads poking out the top of their seat's head rest. Given his exquisite attire, he had felt out of place when they had all entered and it made him nervous--he generally wasn't treated well when dressed down in casual. Still, perhaps this time it would be different. He was going to have to get to know a new bunch of comrades, friends even... and he was eager, if not adamant, to not be such a coward who kept to himself. His black coal eyes narrowed out of focus, anger slightly rising up in his heart. 'If I want to become a confident person--a strong person, then I must... I must study the habits of people like that...' Julian mused, feeling a little better from his self-encouragement.

His thoughts were interrupted as the pilot spoke and the dropship changed momentum. Blinking and huffing, Julian shuffled over to the empty seat next to him, letting him see down the walkway. He adjusted his glasses again, taking in every detail of the man's instructions and advice. Considering their destination, perhaps it was no surprise that their squadron leader might turn out to be weird--scary even. In his own humble opinion, Julian felt that all leaders were frightening; they had to be, or they wouldn't get any real results for their superiors. He wondered if he would lead a squadron of his own someday, like his sister...

The image of her face flashed in his mind's eye, her knowing grin teasing him as she swung on a hammock and munched on a green apple.

Julian grunted quietly, casting the irritation from his mind. He loved his sister, and he knew the feeling was mutual, but her blazing success and natural talent made him rather envious. One day, he hoped to match her skill and give her a serious run for her money.

Adjusting his fine suit and tie, Julian was about to pull out his pocket diary that his uncle had given him a couple years, when a bit of turbulence rumbled the dropship's occupants and startled the young man. Everything suddenly went blurry, ripping a gasp from him as he felt for his glasses, his hands confirming that they have indeed vacated his freckled face. Alarm quickened his heart rate as he panicked and searched the seats around him, still finding nothing. Dread raked down his spine as he realized they had likely fallen into the walkway, where someone might step on them. It wouldn't be the first time.

"Uh, s-someone help me, please," Julian pleaded out loud, as he got on his knees and felt around, gradually crawling into the walkway. "My glasses, they--I can't f-find them!"

SEVERAL CONFUSING THINGS proceeded to happen at once, forcing the Dracodile to pay close attention lest he miss his opportunity. Before his question as to Tyrael's identity could be answered, Gossk heard an odd squawking bird--actually, it was just Lynn. Her water wall amused him, but as he took in her command, he glanced down at the Varuk head in his hand. 'Disgusting? Everyone became disgusting when they were torn apart,' Gossk reasoned to himself. He then thought that perhaps it was a poisonous creature. Lynn would know this fact, of course, he realized. There she was, looking after him and possibly saving his life yet again. The powerful epiphany merited a low growl as he scanned the headless bodies; And here, he was going to nibble on them for a taste test. He pocketed the head anyway, figuring he could still make a trophy out of it. That Varuk was worthy. He would just have to use his claws this time instead of licking it clean like a lollipop--not that a Dracodile would know about such confections.

Then the cloaked figure presumed to command him as well, albeit perhaps it was merely in the spirit of cooperation. Gossk understood that, still he wondered if the stranger was hard of hearing. Clearly he had understood the Dracodile, as his (false) confidence that he had gained earlier from his conversations with Lynn told him that his Common was getting better all the time. She understood him so well! So Gossk, as he removed their fallen foes' equipment, decided that he would speak slower for Tyrael next time their mouths conducted a battle of syllables.

The Dracodile was cautious to only take from whom he had killed, in this case the Varuk's dagger, his belt and a few coins (and other things that he thought was currency: shiny pebbles, a nice old bone, etc.) and put them in his satchel next to the rotting Varuk's head. He left the rest of the equipment for Tyrael to pick up, as he didn't want them, nor need them. Even as he turned away to return to Lynn, Gossk noted the control over the sand the stranger demonstrated. That was a useful trick, he'd thought.

As they returned to the merlady, Gossk and Licks kept their distance, about a couple yards as Tyrael explained its desires from him and his patron. The idea of using magic on Gossk to remove the boat from the crag reminded him that Far Stride was still in effect. It would be a fair trade, he supposed, as the desert was an enemy to them all. Gossk took note of how the stranger was worried about his own attitude towards them, but the Dracodile didn't think him demanding, rather assertive, like one of the alpha males back home. Tyrael was at least a little bit nicer, but not sickeningly so, Gossk thought, with a glance towards Lynn.

The Dracodile looked down then, noticing Licks had slipped into his satchel for a nap. He adjusted its strap as he sensed a lull in the conversation. Glancing at Tyrael, then focusing on Lynn, Gossk stated, "I do not control doats. Nayde o-ee should hathe kett an eneny alithe thor this, uh... thurthose, er... nission."

He growled then, taking a kneeling position as he addressed Tyrael. "Your nagic... is... o-elcone... dut I... I shall... consider it... a trade."

The Dracodile then took a moment to explain the effects of Far Stride, that among other things, it would help Tyrael weather the intense environment and put more pep in his step (literally). If Tyrael accepted the idea, then Gossk would mutter half of his initial incantation and gesture towards the stranger (and the slave girls) to include them into the already ticking down duration (about 23 1/2 hours left or so). They would immediately feel better, at least in regards to their temperature and ability to walk or run easily. If he did not, then Gossk would just include the chattel so as to comfort them.

And with all that being said, it was snack time.

Gossk retrieved the two hares from his satchel and tossed them into the air, snapping them both up with ease. He proceeded to hark them down, not caring about any pretense of manners or chewing--that was one odd thing he had noticed about family he'd eaten, the mothers insisting to their children to chew their food. What was the point of that? You would ruin your teeth that way, he knew.
That's cool, Who. :)

Now I'm just worried about all the ideas we're giving Senhara, which will undoubtedly be used to equip our enemies... LOL
So maybe half the size of the buzzsaws and add missiles? I suppose I could, if I had to... But my philosophy is simple.

To destroy your enemies all you need is the power to do so and the means of efficiently delivering that force, even to the detriment of everything else. I trust human ingenuity for the rest.
I could go with a buster beam or something but that'd bore me. 'You're original or you're nothing' constitutes the second half to that philosophy.


I'm not sure why, but I thought you were going to say, missiles that explode and throw flying buzzsaws everywhere like shrapnel. So I'll say it for you.

Your missiles ought to have buzzsaws attached to them and when those missiles explode, tons of buzzsaws with micro-rockets attached go flying out randomly to give everyone hugs.
@Whoami That's a great character sheet! Love the pilot and the mech. Inspired me a little bit too. I look forward to roleplaying with you, and of course everyone else. I simply mean to say, TEACH ME YOUR MECHY WAYS MASTER!
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