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Bio

honk honk motherfuckers

praise jesus it's summertime

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If you're interested in some short completed pieces of mine beyond my regular RP posts, feel free to rifle through my filing cabinet here.

About me:
  • Birth year 1998
  • Female
  • Canukistani
  • Time zone: Atlantic, GMT-4 (one hour ahead of EST)
  • Shitposter
  • So did the mod team just not read my bio or
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  • If you capitalize random words in the middle of a sentence, you’re an idiot
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Most Recent Posts


✧ Location: Soft Haven Bounty House ✧ Purse: 12 copper ✧ @McMolly

With Lilann’s help, it seemed Kyreth successfully convinced the bookman of their relationship – that or the man didn’t care enough to press for the truth, either of which was fine by him. The mention of a possible apprenticeship made Kyreth’s eyes go wide; apprenticeship, like under a carpenter or a stonemason or the like? The opportunity to learn a skilled trade was rare enough for most folk, but for a Tainted it was just about unheard of. Could he truly be so lucky? Lord Mystralath was a generous man indeed if this was the sort of employment put on offer by the Bounty House.

Kyreth’s brief moment of hope was interrupted, however, when the shadowy-haired kid raised his voice to ask after the meaning of “Asvari.” Perhaps it was optimistic of him to hope that nobody would question the odd name and he and Lilann could avoid scrutiny a little longer, but of course it was no use. Their eyes didn’t lie; by now surely everyone in the room knew exactly what they were.

The bookman’s explanation, on the other hand, was fascinating. It wasn’t ideal that he pointed them out plain as day to be Tainted, but he spoke of a land named Veraz founded outside the influence of Aziaza’s court, where even the Tainted could find refuge without persecution. Could such a place really exist? Kyreth had heard of no such land, but that didn’t mean anything when he knew little and less about the lands outside of Buscon, let alone the wider continent or what was beyond it. But if a haven like that was out there, why hadn’t every Tainted in Othard already fled there? And why would the bookman – Aleka – ever leave?

That question would be left for another time, if ever at all. A shiver crawled up Kyreth’s spine when a sarcastic clap sounded from the staircase, a tiny woman descending with a fan following behind her and spite on every feature. “The only succor they need is six feet of piss soaked dirt,” she spat, the familiar vitriol ringing like a dull throb in Kyreth’s ears. His eyes fell to the floor out of habit, angling himself away as if pretending she wasn’t there. Honestly, it was a blessing that this was his first such encounter since arriving at Soft Haven – even if he hadn’t actually entered the city walls – and he would take it as such, thankful that cruel words were the only thing she threw at the pair of them before taking her leave.

The Bounty Houses were renowned for their tolerance of all types; Kyreth just had to make sure he didn’t cross paths with that woman outside its walls.

Kyreth stepped quickly away from Aleka’s desk as he called for the next in line, ushering Lilann to follow him to a spot where they wouldn’t be in the bookman’s way. As a show of good faith, he decided to sit in one of the plush chairs against the wall as the blue-skinned elf – Cerric – jovially introduced the spiteful woman as Aeowyn Silventria.

“Wait, Silventria? Wasn’t that— was that just the mentor he recommended you?” he asked softly, looking quizzically between Lilann and the bookman across the room. He had to make a concerted effort not to whisper; no need to draw more bad attention. Of course, given they were also more likely to be overheard, he chose his words carefully. “...Are you okay with that?”

✧ Location: Soft Haven Bounty House ✧ Purse: 12 copper ✧ @McMolly @Trainerblue192 @Hero

The shadow-headed kid was just about as personable as a Buscon youth, too; which was to say, not very. He didn’t seem happy about being addressed, and wasn’t about to budge, either. Kyreth wasn’t surprised. If anything, it was a very tame reaction to sharing close quarters with a pair of Tainted.

What was unusual, though, was how chatty the kid was. Kyreth had come to expect little more than silent glares of warning or insults and thrown garbage, not a whole interrogation. The kid was suspicious of the pair of them, sure, and Kyreth supposed he couldn’t blame him; hell, even he would get a little uneasy to see two strange Tainted whispering among themselves. Still, most normal people were either too smart or too scared to confront a Tainted alone.

The boy took a step forward, and Kyreth stepped back, reflexively glancing around for the exits. The boy didn’t look like he could do much damage, but that was irrelevant when Kyreth had no plans of fighting back. But even as he shrank away, he couldn’t deny a little bit of his old self was chafing under the boy’s advance. A familiar indignation brushed him, thinking this kid was awfully confident for someone his stature in a room full of strangers, confronting a pair of Tainted two-on-one. And what right did he have to look at them with that kind of scorn all over his face?

Lilann must have been feeling it too. True to their shared nature, she didn’t seem to take kindly to the boy’s display, instead delivering a vaguely intimidating line before taking her turn with the bookman. Then, almost as if Selene herself was looking out for him, the boy’s attention was drawn away by the piano player’s grand display, allowing Kyreth to disengage. He rejoined Lilann near the bookman’s desk. This situation was getting far too dicey for his liking. But as if she knew he was about to make his excuses and take his leave, Lilann pulled him into the conversation with the only words she could possibly have said to make him stay.

“This is my close friend, whose employment is packaged with my own.”

It was a remarkable act of kindness that stunned Kyreth into silence, dumbly stepping forward at Lilann’s direction. It was such a flawless trap that Kyreth might have smirked if he wasn’t so confused. Why would she do that? Was she trying to pin down some security for herself by keeping him around? Or was it really just a selfless act? She’d been so kind to him in their brief time together, but it was so hard to trust a face so much like his own, Kyreth wasn’t sure what to think.

But there was no time to think; Berta told him once that Selene only helps those who deigned to help themselves, and he’d be an idiot to refuse the Mother of Outcast’s guiding hand, no matter his reservations.

“Y-yes, of course – good morning,” he greeted not-at-all smoothly, a little unsettled by the dead tone of the bookman’s voice. He heard him refer to the two of them as “Asvari”, but what the hell was that? He wasn’t about to correct the man – being mistaken for anything other than a Tainted was well in Kyreth’s best interests – but he’d never heard of any race by that name before.

“My name is Kyreth… um…” And he stumbled on the first hurdle. Shit, he didn’t have a surname! “...Berta…sson. Sorry— Kyreth Bertasson,” he clumsily recovered, using the first name that came to mind. Poor old Berta was the closest thing he ever had to family; hopefully she wouldn’t mind him borrowing her name.

“Lilann and I travel together. She finds us opportunities, and I fetch things from tall shelves,” he continued, lying smoothly as he played off Lilann’s lead. He chuckled, an awkward, close-lipped affair, hoping the joke would sell the facade of familiarity between the two of them. And hopefully not insult Lilann in the process.

He cleared his throat. “Um, right. I’m originally from Buscon – erm, in Relfin. No next of kin either. I used to be a farmhand; I don’t have many skills except mending roofs and fences, but I’m a hard worker, I learn quick and there’s no job too small for me.”

Almost as soon as he volunteered, Jorah regretted his decision. While it was true that the best place for him in this mission (aside from nowhere near the battlefield at all) was at the front where he had less chance of being paralyzed by someone else’s fear, if he had thought about someone other than himself for two saints-damned seconds he would have realized that it was almost guaranteed that Clarissa would volunteer to help the civilians, thus leaving her too far behind for him to protect her. Jorah didn’t like the idea of Clarissa out of his sight on the battlefield at the best of times, let alone after Kayden’s bullshit back in Luin. But it wasn’t so much that he worried about Clarissa being attacked; she could more than take care of herself, that he knew well. That wasn’t the problem. No, what worried the blond was the other students around her, foolhardy or cowardly, putting themselves in danger. Clarissa was too noble, too brave, too utterly unlike Jorah to stand by and let someone else come to harm. She’d step in to protect them without hesitation – that was what he was worried about.

"Professor Lavender, I'd be more comfortable working with the civilians, if for no other reason than to have an extra person comfortable with restorative magic on hand if our front line is outmaneuvered or our enemies have prepared an ambush."

Dammit! For once, Jorah hated being right. He opened his mouth to change his mind, but his efforts went unacknowledged; positions might as well have been written in stone once Professor Lavender put them on the board. Worse still, unlike Jorah expected, Kayden ended up in the rear guard as well. Was the Goddess playing a trick on him? Was this how she taught him to be less impulsive? It was a lesson many years too late, but it stung just the same. Jorah could only pray there wouldn’t be a chance for a repeat of Luin on the back lines, but Clarissa had a point. If the heretics circled around and made it to the rear, it could be Luin all over again. Probably without the giant, but no less dangerous.

Even less comforting was the fact that after that ride the Prince invited himself to, Jorah had zero confidence that Kayden learned anything from his little suicide attempt in their last excursion. Although he had every faith Clarissa saw through Kayden as well as he did, the man saw himself as the reluctant yet noble prince, the magnanimous hero of his own song. It would make excellent storytelling to throw himself into the fray once more for the sake of the smallfolk, and in so doing put those around him in danger. Jorah knew the type well; hell, he fell into that category more often than not. But while he’d gladly label himself reckless, and even appreciate it in others, at least he had the sense to knock it off when lives were on the line!

When the briefing was over, there were precious few seconds before the units were whisked off to their respective preparations. In that time, Jorah only had the chance to grab Clarissa’s attention and urge her, “Be careful,” and then they were off to uniforms and stables and the battlefield beyond.

Once again, there was no chance for Jorah to fetch his own bow; instead, a stiff, standard-issue steel one was pushed into his hands as he scrambled to assemble the gear he was given. The Deer-yellow tunic and leathers were easy enough, although he struggled a moment with the light pauldron and hard leather vambraces.

But maybe the Goddess planned it that way, for by the time he was ready, he emerged from the armory just in time to cross paths with none other than Kayden on his way in. Without thinking, Jorah stepped in his way, their shoulders colliding. His eyes were hard as they bored into the Prince’s, burning with a deadly intensity that was otherwise foreign to him.

Unlike the last time they met, Jorah didn’t bother with pretenses. “Pull any shit like back in Luin,” he growled, “and if the heretics don’t get you, I will.

~ /// ~

Jorah seethed down the mountain, wondering if the anxiety and frustration burning in his chest was fully his own, or whether it was seeping into him from the group around him. He always struggled to tell; his own emotions and those of others bled together like ink on wet paper, and it was near impossible to distinguish where one drop ended and the next began. Thus, he chose to believe that it was others tainting his heart for the moment – better for his mood that way. Ironically, he did his best to ride close to Auberon; stiff as he was, the guy was damn unflappable, and the aura of holy righteous fire he exuded in battle was a potent draught, intoxicating and invigorating even to the meekest of men. At least, if they had a Crest that let them feel it. His fervor would make a great pick-me-up for any reluctant soldier, and a soothing balm for Jorah’s ailing mood.

The fog along the road didn’t help, but Jorah was surprised to note that aside from his classmates, no one was hiding in the mist; he figured the anticipation of someone laying in wait for an ambush would be clear as day, and even the horses weren’t bothered. Jorah chose to take that as a good sign. After all, if they were going to come back this far, they’d probably do it to ambush them, right? Maybe that meant they’d never bother coming to the rear, and the rear unit would be safe.

They soon emerged from the fog to find the town of Magdred eerily lifeless. It wasn’t empty, though; Jorah came to the same conclusion as Euphemia, sensing some muffled nerves coming from inside the first few houses. Still, the place was unnaturally still for such a developed town. Creepy.

Anticipation hung heavy in the air as they dismounted. Most of it came from the advance unit itself, but if Jorah’s senses were right, he could feel something fainter coming from up ahead as well. The teachers? They seemed too close to feel so faint, but maybe their nerves were just stronger than the students. Otherwise, perhaps more townspeople were still around deeper in. Or it was the tension of a throng of heretics waiting to strike – that was always an option. Jorah chose to assume the worst, and Michail seemed to agree.

Jorah formed up with his group – Auberon and a girl whose name he already forgot – who were meant to take point behind Michail with the other units following. He let the other two walk ahead (melee in front and ranged behind – turns out he did learn something in Tactics) and nocked an arrow, positioning himself between the two and a few paces back. He kept his fingers on the string, bow poised low in front of him.

“Let me know if you see anything,” he murmured to his partners, head on a swivel. He scanned the street with the eyes of a hunter, watching for any sign of movement.

@Scribe of Thoth@Hero and the whole back 9

It was a good thing only the advance unit was expected to ride to Magdred Way on horseback; not only had Lienna never put a foot in a stirrup in her life, but by the way the carriage horses fussed when she passed them to board (not to mention pretty much every other animal she’d encountered in her life), she would probably have gotten half the unit killed or injured when she sent their mounts bolting at the sight of her.

It was hardly the most relevant thought as she stepped down from the carriage at Magdred, but it was the first one that came to mind which didn’t feature gruesome memories of the last time she’d been forced to fight in the fog. The situation at Magdred was too similar for comfort: a now-empty carriage, an unnatural fog, and a foreboding sense that whatever was to come would not go according to plan.

"We're walking into a trap."

Rudolf’s voice from somewhere off to her side startled Lienna, but he stated the obvious. The mist was definitely unnatural (granted, she wasn’t entirely sure why she was so certain about that), not to mention the temperature – wasn’t it supposed to get warmer as you descended a mountain? There was definitely something else going on here. After all, the last time she conjured a fog, it was to set up an ambush. Contrary to Rudolf’s opinion, why would this be any different?

Rudolf’s rattled off theories went over Lienna’s head for the most part, but his voice in the fog was a reminder of one key difference between here and Luin: this time, she had more than a brooding princess on her side. The thought wasn’t much comfort – with the exception of Tomai, who was bound to their protection, and maybe Clarissa, who seemed noble and foolish enough to stick her neck out for any comrade in danger, Lienna didn’t trust a single soul among her unit to protect her – but at the very least, a few more bodies between her and approaching death would probably open up an opportunity to escape if things got ugly.

Still, the fog had a way of messing with her senses. Unsure if the figures in the mist were allies, enemies, or her own mind playing tricks on her, Lienna chose simply not to look at them, focusing instead on adjusting her sleeves. The heavy black robes she’d been given served an adequate distraction for the moment; the thick fabric hung poorly on her frame, never sitting quite right and restricting her movement. She’d been told they had some defensive capability and would help enhance her magic, but seeing as she’d only just gotten used to the stiff fit of her school uniform, the added weight and mass of the robes felt more like a death shroud than something meant to protect her.

But she could only focus on ill-fitting robes for so long, and as they stood in the mist, Lienna got more uneasy by the second. It was nearly impossible to stop her eyes from darting around at the fog, imagining brigands in strange garb bursting through at any moment to finish what they started back in Him—no, Luin. Ha. Lienna might have cracked a smile at the dark irony of that thought if she wasn’t so on edge. What a joke; her life was so defined by danger that her encounters were starting to bleed together.

“Let’s just get moving and be done with this quickly,” she suggested, still suspiciously eyeing the fog.



✧ Location: Soft Haven Bounty House ✧ Purse: 12 copper ✧ @McMolly @Trainerblue192 @Hero

While Lilann kept her awe mostly in check, Kyreth had no such skill. On the contrary, his eyes were saucers of featureless white and his jaw nearly dropped when he saw the inside of the House, gaping at the ornately carved wood and stone, the plush rugs and tapestries, the fine furniture, and just how clean and pristine everything was. By Selene, there was even a working piano! He’d only laid eyes on a piano a few times in Buscon, and they were always long broken and carved up with lewd graffiti, relics of optimistic owners who thought you could bring something that sophisticated into the Dregs without it getting destroyed. Of course, this was nothing like those hole-in-the-wall joints; the closest thing he could liken the Bounty House to was what he imagined the common room of an expensive inn would look like, but that he’d never seen firsthand.

As Lilann led the pair toward the desk, Kyreth started to feel even more out of place than usual, the typical self-consciousness that came with being Tainted amplified. He’d definitely never been somewhere this nice, and the sight of it all made him feel filthy, like he would soil anything he touched. It took him a moment to realize he was tiptoeing.

But his swivel-headed Buscon instincts wouldn’t be ignored for too long, and Kyreth soon snapped out of his stupor when the half-elf behind the desk to which Lilann had navigated them started speaking. The bored-sounding man credited the Bounty House to “Lord Malcer Mystralath”, and the name sounded familiar. Of course he recognized the family name – everyone knew the names of the major families of Othard – but Lord Malcer particularly stuck in his mind, and he didn’t think it was because of the Bounty House itself. Kyreth’s brow furrowed. Where had he heard that name before?

He stood by with Lilann to the side of the desk as the hedgeman – Ceolfric, apparently – gave the half-elf his details. Brigand from Dranir, eh? The only things Kyreth knew about Dranir were embellishments from bards’ songs about a harsh and frozen mountain range filled with warring factions and monsters, and by his experience with Ceolfric, that all seemed true enough. Strange to hear about the brigand’s supposed power to make people obey; in lighter circumstances, Kyreth might have laughed. He seemed pretty good at making people do what he wanted by pointing a blade at them, if that was what he meant.

As they stood there, presumably waiting so Lilann could give her details next, Kyreth struggled mightily to stand still, feeling very ill-at-ease. Not only did he feel like he stuck out even more than normal in such lavish surroundings, but that nagging agitation from before still hadn’t left him; in fact, the longer it went on the more he suspected that the feeling wasn’t nerves at all. He’d been scared out of his wits before – hells, traveling as a Tainted could put a man on edge for weeks at a time, and it definitely had for him – but this just wasn’t quite the same. No, the longer this strange nervous feeling clung to him, the more he suspected that the thrum of his heart and the quivering of his stomach were something else entirely. Excitement? He doubted that very much. Was hunger getting to him? He’d barely eaten two meals over the past two days, but this didn’t feel like hunger. Whatever it was, he didn’t like it. Even if it wasn’t organic nerves, the fact that the feeling only cropped up on the way to the Bounty House didn’t endear him much to the place.

He thought about leaving again, but decided against it. Yeah, he’d technically satisfied the bargain he’d made with himself and gotten Lilann safely to the House. But as it seemed there was lots more formality to go through before she was set up with the House, and he still didn’t entirely trust the place, Kyreth figured it was best to stay until Lilann was settled. Then he would leave.

“Well, what do you think? Charming, isn’t it? There are certainly worse places to find work. Pity about the company, but I believe this might be the safest we’ve been all day.”

Even though he was actively thinking about her, Kyreth was surprised to hear Lilann speak up, realizing only then that he got lost (unwisely) in his head again. Although he felt markedly less comfortable than Lilann seemed to, Kyreth couldn’t help a hint of a smile at her quip, the expression looking almost foreign to his face as he nodded.

“It’s definitely beautiful,” he answered honestly, keeping his voice down as if afraid that speaking too loud would bring the stonework crashing down around them. As for the comment about safety, Kyreth wasn’t so sure. It was certainly nice to be around a few more witnesses, the House denizens didn’t seem to wish them any harm (if anything, the blue-skinned one at the piano seemed pleased) and he’d heard of the Bounty Houses’ policy of not turning out Tainted, but that feeling gnawing at his gut wouldn’t let him put his guard down so easily.

Besides, it seemed he wasn’t alone in his suspicion.

“I hope so, but…” Kyreth replied quietly, trailing off. Gesturing to the door, he pointed Lilann’s attention to the richly-dressed woman who stood rooted at the entrance, stiff and pallid. She looked like she saw a ghost, and seemed to be the only other occupant of the House who looked as uneasy as Kyreth felt.

At that moment, though, Kyreth became aware of a body behind him; the shadow-headed boy, who was glaring at him from his place at the wall. Kyreth had to give the boy some credit for sneaking behind him without him noticing; another reason not to let himself get awed into a stupor every time he saw something expensive.

“I’m sorry, would you like to go ahead?” Kyreth asked the boy, gesturing for him to move past the two Tainted. He understood unease, but the kid looked almost angry. Had he done something to offend him? Kyreth looked between the boy and the woman by the door, suddenly wondering why they had separated.

“Is your… friend alright?” He asked the boy quietly. It dawned on him that maybe the woman was afraid of him; she probably saw through his disguise by now and responded the same way many women did when faced with a Tainted: muted fear. Maybe that was why her charge was so annoyed with him.

Lienna was well on her way to dozing off waiting for class to start when a meek, quiet "What are we doing?" sounded from the seat next to her that she previously thought was empty. She visibly jumped at the sound, hastily smoothing her hair and skirt to play off her surprise when she saw who the voice belonged to. It was Rudolf, whose name she only remembered because of a big, burly Fraldarius soldier by the same name who shared exactly nothing in common with the skinny, red-eyed boy looking sullen beside her.

She was actually relieved at the sight of him; the two of them saw more of each other lately in the new Crest class, as well as their usual small-group magic lessons with Professor Tomai, and Rudolf was always content to sulk to himself, rarely saying more than a few words when the class demanded it. Lienna was happy to return the favour; mutual silent focus was the kind of calm, unintrusive coexistence she could get behind (if only her Housemates shared that sentiment). Besides, she couldn’t deny some fascination with his entirely foreign, Imperial style of magic, so fundamentally different in form and function than her own, and his impressive control over it.

As such, Lienna was uncharacteristically unbothered by Rudolf’s presence, and simply shrugged at his question. “Couldn’t tell you,” she answered simply, a bit of northern slang showing through. Or maybe it was a lowborn saying – all she knew was it was something she didn’t usually hear the highborn students saying. “Those ones seem to think it’s some big group exercise,” she added, glancing over to the chatting strangers behind them. “Not sure who invited them.”

They didn’t have to wait long to find out. Shortly after a few more students trickled in, the geography professor (whose class was interesting enough, but whose name Lienna never bothered to commit to memory) launched into a spiel about dissidents and hostages and the Knights of Seiros. And surprise surprise, almost as if her previous musings had predicted it, their mission – which they would accept – was yet another illustrious and philanthropic death charge in the name of the Church.

Lienna’s mood soured as the professor asked for volunteers, the girl sinking back in her seat with arms crossed and gaze icy. Sparkling petals of frost bloomed over her fingertips and forearms as she bristled, seemingly responding to her agitation. Obviously she knew the whole “defending the faithful from the wicked” thing came part and parcel with her Officers’ Academy education (something she had come to find out was so respected by the nobles of Faerghus that not even pleading letters to her mouldering fiancé could get her out of), but she was still no fan of sticking her neck out for strangers that would probably never do the same for her. She knew their type; she grew up with them. Run, run, run, save yourself and maybe your children, take what help you can get and to hells with anyone else in the way. It made sense in Hima, maybe even here too, when you were lucky enough to be the one being rescued, but it did not extend to becoming the rescuer. It simply wasn’t in their nature. And it wasn’t in Lienna’s either.

At least the last interference had been coincidence (or so they’d been told), but apparently Garreg Mach made a habit of pushing throngs of barely-capable teenagers into the phalanx right alongside the Knights of Seiros. Lienna almost laughed, wondering how the famous Knights lived up to their fearsome reputation if they needed help from cushy highborn students bound for lives of luxury at the end of the year. And of course, once more Lienna wondered what the smallfolk of these southern valley villages – or the Knights themselves, for that matter – had ever done to deserve her own blood spilled on their behalf, and once more came up empty.

The room was quiet for a moment after the professor finished her brief, presumably the sound of every other student asking themselves the same question Lienna was asking. Then, to her surprise, the first to pipe up was none other than that showboating layabout Deer leader who fancied himself a ladies man. However, instead of the sexually-charged quip Lienna expected, he just about barked that he’d apparently go anywhere he wouldn’t be inconvenienced by the suffering of commoners.

Reflexively, Lienna bristled, ready to decry his callousness as the typical highborn attitude, happy to let his lessers suffer and die as long as he couldn’t hear the screaming from his castle tower. However, in an admittedly rare moment of self awareness, she realized that his thinking, pompously phrased as it was, wasn’t entirely unlike her own. Sure, his reasoning was undoubtedly rooted in highborn arrogance, and his foolhardy thirst for excitement and danger born of a sheltered life unacquainted with real suffering and death, but the end result was the same: neither of them were interested in dying for a village full of strangers to whom they owed nothing. She supposed she had to understand that, if not respect it.

Of course, her preference of battle station was opposite. While Blondie there didn’t want the wails of widows in his ears while he played hero, Lienna just wanted to be as far from any fighting as possible. After all, she didn’t come all this way to die defending thatch-roof houses in a field somewhere miles from home.

“I’ll hang back with the hostages, thanks,” she spoke up after Blondie. Less chance of skewering allies that way, probably; she’d made some progress with her control, but seeing as she was happy anytime the magic went forward, keeping her out of the fight was probably best for everyone involved.


To Jorah’s considerable surprise (and delight), his day, for once, did not start with a thunderous rapping on his door by a certain red-headed morning church bell. As such, although even this seemingly late hour would have been considered inhumanely early when he was still living at home, he was allowed to sleep blissfully well further into the morning than he could usually manage since his arrival at Garreg Mach. So, instead of bells or hurried door knocking waking him, he was able to sleep until the sun streaming in his window passed over his eyes, rousing him just enough to make him stir.

While he would normally have been content to pull the sheets over his head and go right back to sleep, Jorah was unfortunately roused just enough to notice that something was bothering him. He kept his eyes stubbornly closed in hopes that whatever that nagging feeling was would get tired and go away, but something still felt… off. Was there something he was supposed to do today? It wasn’t like he was one to stress over shirked responsibilities. Someone he needed to meet? Sadly no; the usual gaggle of comely maidens was a bit harder to come by in Garreg Mach, considering they were all either tight-laced daughters of lower nobility who’d probably been warned to steer clear of him or otherwise pristine young ladies in preparation to give themselves over to the Goddess rather than him. Did he have somewhere to be, then? Class, probably, but that never really bothered him before—dammit, the meeting!

Audibly groaning into his pillow, Jorah was even more tempted to shove his head under his sheets and dive back into sleep knowing that this was the morning of their special stupid meeting before class. He had more than an inkling what the meeting was going to be about, and seeing as how the last one ended with an unbecoming cut on his cheek (that still hadn’t completely healed, to his dismay) and half his House lucky to be alive, Jorah wasn’t exactly eager to get to this next one.

Goddess above, he should have bolted when he got the chance.

Against his better judgment, Jorah levered himself out of bed and splashed some water over his face, pulling on his shirt and uniform in a sleepy yet frustrated daze. He kept the buttons at the top undone in protest – or what would have been protest if that wasn’t how he normally wore it – and walked out the door, leaving his shoulder cape behind. Truth be told, he kinda liked the thing – it was flashy and excessive, both qualities that suited him fine – but he was a little too irritated this early in the day to want to draw even more attention to himself. The thought made him smirk; Clarissa would run a victory lap if she heard him say that out loud.

He made his way across the Monastery in such a way that he looked like he was rushing without actually going much faster, taking a detour to the dining hall to grab a soft, colourful fruit the attendant described as hailing from Morfis. The skin had flamboyant leaves sticking out from it and the flesh inside was brightly coloured and almost pasty, and tasty enough for Jorah to immediately add Morfis to his adventuring bucket list. He was forced to roll his sleeve up as pink juice dripped down his arm, but that just gave him an extra second or two to linger outside the Blue Lions classroom, flicking off the worst of it before he crossed the threshold.

Jorah took care of the rest with a yellow handkerchief produced from his pocket as he took his seat near Clarissa and… some others he didn’t recognize. Er, wait—was that one of the Gloucester boys? What was it… Ermes? No, Ezra—Ezekial! Yes, that one. A bit of a snob ever since his father died, but it was hard to blame the kid for that. Still, Jorah always did give him a wide berth; as much as he held himself together, his emotions always swirled around him like a dark gathering storm that made it hard for Jorah to relax in his company. Besides, he was always picking arguments even before his father passed, and that was just plain irritating. Maybe that was how Jorah managed not to hear that he was attending the Officers’ Academy.

He’d arrived just as the alluringly stern geography teacher – who was here, for some reason – started asking for volunteers, and Jorah visibly deflated. He missed the briefing, but it didn’t take much to guess; the map of Magdred Way on the board and the cloud of mixed emotions fogging up the room told him all he needed to know.

“Saint’s taint…” he murmured sourly, rubbing his temple and realizing that he had forgotten to paint his face in his half-hearted rush. A sign that this mission was just as damned as their last, as far as he was concerned. A wave of dread, some from others and some his own, washed over Jorah; as pissed as he was about Kayden’s reckless behaviour last time, he still hadn’t forgotten – nor fully gotten over, if he was honest with himself – his own poor performance. He’d clammed up when it mattered most, paralyzed by the fear and grief and panic of those poor townspeople as they watched their homes burn around them – and the ones they couldn’t save.

He felt his fingers brush over the mark on his cheek, not having realized he even raised his hand. He’d managed to snap out of it that time, sure, but not before some lowlife bandit came within inches of putting an arrow through his skull. What about next time? If he froze like that again, he very much doubted he’d get so lucky a second time. And making matters worse, there was nothing he could do to stop it! Crest classes had only been underway for a week, and though he’d been looking into ways to control his sensing ability, nothing yet was bearing fruit. He’d be helpless in the face of such a wave of emotions again, and it would put not only him, but his House and who knew who else in danger.

Who ever thought it was a good idea to put him on the battlefield?

Jorah exhaled sharply through his nose, a mix of feelings both foreign and domestic racking his nerves. The mix settled on irritated, and his wine-coloured eyes flashed with agitation as he crossed his arms, shrugging with a huff. “Fine; if this is what we’re doing, just put me far away from any screaming civilians.”


✧ Location: Soft Haven Bounty House ✧ Purse: 12 copper ✧ @McMolly @Trainerblue192 @Hero

Kyreth noted in passing the… well, passing of the hedgeman, pushing past himself and Lilann on his newly determined way to the Bounty House at the end of the bridge. It should have given Kyreth some comfort that the armed stranger had apparently lost interest in his Tainted hostages, but it didn’t - his nerves still buzzed like a head full of wasps in this strange, too-still place, leaving him again wondering if it was his own timid inexperience with the world at large working him up, or if something else entirely was at work.

He didn’t have to wait long for his answer, as no sooner did the hedgeman pass than Lilann hitched herself to the railing, pulling Kyreth’s eye down from the finely worked stone of the building and bridge to the still, murky waters below.

Kyreth didn’t need Lilann’s explanation to realize immediately that his nerves were indeed justified. Although she put it in flowery, esoteric terms he almost didn’t understand, any child of Buscon knew the legends of Wander’s Warning, even if he’d been lucky enough never to see them himself.

Well. Until today.

Gods above, he thought, he really was well and truly cursed. Either that, or Selene had taken pity on him and deigned to send a clear and present warning to her new and clumsy child; sailors did say the lights would sometimes bloom on ships as harbingers of coming storms. They were also said to be the souls of dead sailors trying to steer their kind away from doom, the lights pulsing like blood through the veins of panicked, dying men. Still other tales said they were the vibrant, pulsing warnings of spiteful spirits telling anything near to keep away and promising vengeance on intruders. In any case, the message was clear: “Here is death; go no further.”

Kyreth’s hand found the iron charm on his chest before he even had the chance to remember it, his lips moving of their own accord with a nearly-silent prayer as his eyes latched on to those dread lights in the lake. But for all her own eloquent warnings, Lilann didn’t seem nearly as scared as Kyreth thought she should be, something that seemed to come as habit to her in the short time he’d known her. She acknowledged his fears as legitimate, but despite her words, the giggle that followed as she gently pried his hand from her bicep betrayed little caution.

Kyreth had half a mind to turn tail right there; from the claw marks to the hedgeman and now these horrible lights in the lake, the gods or fate or whatever pulled the strings around here was practically shouting at him to run. If he pressed on now, well, he’d probably deserve whatever gruesome end awaited him, having been fool enough to defy the countless warnings the powers that be so generously gave. Foolhardiness wasn’t like him; quite the opposite. A lifetime in Buscon taught you to run and run fast, run quiet and run agile through choking, twisting streets and dark, smoky taverns full of sleeping beasts. You only fought if you were really good at it or had your friends behind you, and Kyreth was neither strong nor popular back home. More than anything, you did not, did not go looking for trouble; it’d find you plenty well on its own, there was no need to tempt fate any more than that.

So once more, just like back in the woods, Kyreth thought of running.

But once more, just like before, he didn’t. And the reason was the same, too: he didn’t want to leave Lilann, who’d shown him so much kindness, who was so confident in the face of danger but just so small, to face the danger of this place alone. Of course, despite his many efforts over the past months he wasn’t an entirely changed man; he still didn’t much like the idea of delivering himself into the maw of whatever made the lake and forest and the animals here hold their breath. So he struck a bargain with himself: he’d see Lilann delivered safely to the Bounty House and then leave, divesting himself of the silly notion that finding an honest life would be just as easy as walking up to an establishment and asking for a job. At the very least he could do that, he thought.

Of course, for all his meagre mustered courage, Kyreth still just about jumped out of his skin when a voice much louder and much less gentle than Lilann’s sounded from mere feet behind him. He whirled around to find the shadowy-haired boy staring incredulously up at him, asking questions.

Kyreth consciously exhaled, letting his shoulders fall as some unconscious part of him noticed just how much shorter than him the strange-looking boy really was. By all accounts, he really could have grown up in the depths of Buscon; he was as skinny and sunken-eyed as any child in Urchin’s Run, with a familiarly wary look about him, pale like those kids who ran errands for the bawdy girls and never got much sun. Maybe he came from another big city somewhere else; hell, he might have come from Buscon if not for the fact that Kyreth was decently sure any kid there with inky shadows in place of hair would have been thrown in the ocean as a bad omen, or else kept in a dark and private place as a display piece. For a second, just barely a second, Kyreth’s nerves took a backseat to a sudden curiosity about this weird kid, and his brow knit together in bemusement.

But that second passed quickly, and at last remembering himself, he forced a personable smile. “Just… saw something in the water,” he excused lamely, rubbing the back of his neck under his cloak. He could feel the fabric tug on his horns, and raised his other hand to steady the hem of his hood. “Forgive us. We’re just a little nervous, is all. Far from home; you understand.” He inclined his head to the elvish woman trailing behind, not wanting to offend her if she was indeed this boy’s guardian, as it seemed she was.

Clearing his throat, he offered no more explanation, instead glancing to Lilann with a nod before setting off once more down the bridge to the Bounty House. “At your lead,” she’d told him. And if he kept his hand close to his knife under his cloak and his eyes always scanning as he did so, well, that was his business.

By the time Auberon’s knock sounded on her door, Lienna was already awake, albeit wishing she wasn’t. She was no stranger to early mornings, but she’d been able to convince herself to sleep in enough times since coming to Garreg Mach that it was always a slap in the face when old habits came back to drag her out of bed even earlier than Auberon did. At least when he did it, she could blame someone else.

To add insult to injury, Auberon’s knock came even earlier today than expected; the sky was barely light when he arrived at the door, and she held her breath until she heard his footsteps resume, hoping he’d assume she was still asleep and not bother her about it. She was already irritated from waking up so early; she didn’t need the first face she saw today to be Auberon’s.

By then, her fruitless attempts at going back to sleep had succeeded only in frustrating her, and Lienna reluctantly got out of bed and went about her routine. Truth be told, she didn’t feel as bad as she expected to, and a look in the mirror showed the usual shadows under her eyes had begun to fade. Probably because, for the first time since arriving at Garreg Mach, she’d slept… relatively soundly. Normally she was hounded by confusing, distorted dreams and started awake in the dead of night with the same urgency as any Srengese raid, haunted by that ever-present feeling of being watched as she tried to lull herself back to sleep. But while her sheets were undeniably twisted from tossing and turning, she never did wake in a cold sweat, and she didn’t feel the eyes on her back with the same intensity as before. Why would that be?

The thought tumbled in her mind as she went about her morning routine. Was the increased guard presence around the Monastery finally quelling her dread? She had never found much comfort in guards before. As she pulled off her nightgown, she noticed the new smoothness of her arms, looking a little less corpselike than the sharp bones she was accustomed to. Her ribs were a bit less easily counted, too. No doubt the new abundance of food and shelter was the culprit; Hells, maybe her new lifestyle was making her softer in every respect.

That was fine by her. The sooner she could start taking survival and safety for granted, the better. Dipping her hands into her wash basin, she was distracted by a thin sheet of ice forming over the surface, blooming out from her fingertips like blood on snow. She watched with interest until the whole basin was covered, the paper thin skim of ice taking on the filigree pattern of frost on a window. She poked a few exploratory holes in the ice, her routine momentarily forgotten.

Maybe that was what had her at ease all of a sudden; these new Crest classes had her mind abuzz, not to mention her extra meetings with Tomai. More and more she found herself too busy thinking about Crest theory and sorcery techniques to worry about how many times a day a hidden assailant might jump out from the shadows to abduct her.

Honestly, it was a welcome change, if not a smart one.

Having had her fun, she finished getting ready, buttoning her bishop sleeves and tying her scarf around her waist in a limp bow, as had become her habit. She wasn’t out of her room quite as fast as some others, but the dining hall was still empty enough when she arrived that she could have a hearty breakfast in peace and make it to class without being the last one to arrive.

In fact, to her surprise, she was almost the first to arrive – or the first of the Rose Unit, anyway. Lienna initially thought she had the wrong classroom when she was greeted to three unfamiliar faces and her geography professor, and almost turned and left before she saw Tomai and Michail at the head of the room as well. Not hiding her look of offended confusion, she simply slipped past the strangers (and Clarissa, who was talking to them) and took a seat far enough away that she hoped they wouldn’t bother with her. She tossed an especially disapproving look to the girl scarfing down danishes as she walked past, giving her a wide berth as if to avoid any splashback of pastry from her churning jaw. Maybe she was just biased from growing up hungry, but it was awfully irritating to see someone go to town on their food that… excessively.

She tipped her head in silent greeting as she passed Professor Tomai, looking grumpier than usual. It would be funny if she didn’t share his frustration, albeit possibly for a different reason. He was probably put out over whatever they were doing this morning, which didn’t bode especially well, but Lienna figured some of that discontent must have been coming from their… less-than-successful meeting yesterday. It had been mercifully short, only about an hour compared to their usual three, but what it lacked in length it made up for in absolute dead-end unproductivity. Tomai had it in his mind that her lineage might be the key to her “abnormally presenting Crest”, so the evening was spent with Lienna being reminded how little she really knew about her family and Tomai being frustrated there wasn’t more information to be had. Shock and awe, turns out coming from a fractured family wasn’t super uncommon in the Faerghian region ruled over by redheaded manwhores.

Macuil’s heels, she could have told him that in five seconds and saved them both a lot of time.

Content to let that debacle live in history, Lienna turned her focus to the geography professor, already hard at work drawing a detailed map on the chalkboard. She somehow doubted that they were called in early for a special cross-unit geography lesson, so why bother with a map? The other students were speculating that it was a field training exercise. Lienna wasn’t thrilled at the prospect, but she hoped that if that was indeed the case, they’d have at least warned the newbies to give her a wide berth. With any luck, the professors wouldn’t soon forget what happened on their last little excursion.



✧ Location: Soft Haven Bounty House ✧ Purse: 12 copper ✧ @McMolly, Everyone ✧

Kyreth was thankful for the distraction the newcomers seemed to provide the swordsman in their midst, following the group along the path without a word. He kept his eyes peeled for trouble, of course, and stuck close to Lilann, but all he saw was beautiful scenery; lush foliage, singing birds, sunlight filtering down through green leaves, a pristine lake and a beautiful building sitting in the middle of it. He’d never seen anything like it in the Dregs or on his travels, all stately stone and creeping vines jutting high into the sky. He’d probably seen crooked wooden buildings taller than it, but with no other urban clutter pressing in on the sides, the Bounty House looked like a monument rising to the heavens.

Even the gate guarding the bridge was decadent by Kyreth’s standards, an iron arch clearly worked with a skilled hand and more extravagant than anything he’d have seen back in Buscon. The sleeping guard, on the other hand, was a familiar sight; anyone in uniform in the Dregs was usually either bleeding in a gutter or blackout drunk in a bawdy house, unless they came in groups to drag someone kicking and screaming never to be seen again.

As the rest of the group discussed the sleeping man in hushed tones, Kyreth stood by, shifting anxiously from foot to foot and scanning his surroundings. He thought his nerves would calm as they neared the Bounty House, but he felt the opposite; his fingers were close to shaking, his skin practically crawling with agitation he couldn’t quite place. It couldn’t just be the swordsman, his attention was more divided than ever and Kyreth had been in much tighter spots before and kept his cool. No, something else was going on, and he didn’t want to stick around to find out.

Growing antsier and antsier as the group delayed, Kyreth eventually got tired of waiting and swept forward, his steps quick and silent as he took Lilann by the arm and slipped the two of them past Jenson with barely a sound. Moving with stealth born of experience, he sidestepped the shadow-headed boy and kept going, making it a few paces down the bridge with Lilann in tow before stooping over to explain.

“Sorry,” he whispered, glancing behind them but not releasing his grip on Lilann. “Something feels off here, I can’t tell what but I’d rather get to the Bounty House before I find out and I didn’t want to leave you alone with that guy.”
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