The sun was cresting the morning horizon, bringing with it light and warmth that those in the arboretum craved. Casii could feel the grass around her tingle in excitement as they began to gorge themselves on that sunlight. The roots of nearby trees that stretched below her stirred in life like they were waking. It was encouraging to see that these plants continued to thrive in spite of the yaniis around them. If they could do it, she certainly could try to. It’s like Isii said. It's just what we gotta do.
The Student Faire was meant to be the place to do it. Casii reached into her bag and withdrew a familiar seed, taking it and giving a whirl in her finger before tossing it to her side. She channeled through the seedling and it sprouted swiftly, roots embedding and a bud growing. In less than a minute, a brown head of what looked to be cabbage had grown. Of course it wasn’t as innocent as cabbage.
Casii turned over to her plant and plugged an outer leaf. It was thin but durable and very flat. She spread it out in front of her and turned her attention to the head of the clustered brown cabbage and tore into it, digging towards the center and most dense part. Here she’d find the richest part, densely packed layers of leafy goodness. She’d pull a sizeable amount of material and crunch it into her hand. With a touch of magic, she ground the material into fragments.
While she worked there, she had magic take over on the leaf she had flattened. Water was pulled and the leaf dried out becoming rigid like paper. The perfect vessel for the fragmented material allowing Casii to sprinkle it in. When she had used up all the particles, she rolled the leafy paper into a joint and placed one end into her mouth. She laid back again watching the sun come up.
A blue flame flashed on the end of her joint, igniting the end of her joint and allowing her to take a huff of sweet intoxicants. She exhaled, blowing smoke with a certain satisfaction before turning to the remains of the plant. She pulled from it one seed and stuffed it back into her bag before the whole plant turned to dust.
While the Societies for the Faire set up. Casii would bake in the morning sun like the plants and trees around her, too.
Interactions: None 2.2 Faire-ly Easy Choices
Casii turned and spat, the black tar of her Jamb’ysp coming out. A passerby nearly had their shoe spat upon and looked disgusted, jumping away and mildly cursing. Casii didn’t notice as read through her society list. Her scrawlings are written in yasoi, naturally.
She gave the nut in her mouth a swirl, shifting it to her other cheek in contemplation. Her head jerked up in recollection, scribbling another name down.
She had apparently been on their watchlist for a while. They were cool. For yaniis, anyway.
The Eskandr had withdrawn by the time Camille, the Queen, and the company of knights had reached the city. They could have given chase, but it hadn't crossed the young paragon's mind as she charged into the city, racing Perrin through the rough remains of the tightly packed streets, she reached what would have been the front door to the keep first.
The great wooden doors that she had remembered had been splintered and broken, replaced the mound of rubble from the keep. Camille had stood aghast. She thought the worst had befallen those that she knew. Had the keep fallen before they got here? The weight caught her chest, threatening to topple her from the back of Perrin. It had only been a familiar voice that called to her that caught her attention, stealing her away from the dread she was feeling.
"Dame Camille! Dame Camille!"
A hand waving had in the pile of stones had caught her attention. She dismounted and rushed over, climbing the few chunks of rubble to reach the small window created in the debris. She peered in, catching the tired face of a man bearing patchy dark facial hair. "Chevalier Henri?" Camille couldn't believe the knight captain had made it. She looked past him, seeing others hurrying over to witness their salvation after three days from the bitter siege. Camille had heard them muttering, passing the word along.
"Dame Camille!" "The Grand Armee has arrived!" "Oh bless the Pentach for this mercy!" "We are saved!"
Camille muttered a prayer to Dami to give her strength, throwing herself at the rubble to create a larger opening. She had managed to do just that, expanding the window Henri had been peering out of by using her enhanced strength to lift a partial pillar out of the way. Many of those inside had gathered to witness the great Dame Camille stand at the threshold, light of the sun illuminating her from behind.
Their faces… She could remember the awe in them… but she didn’t deserve it. She was far too late to save most of them. She would have looked away but she was looking for people in particular. They were all faces she recognized at some point but…
Her eyes went wide as she witnessed two of the people she was looking for. Marc was there in front, waving at her. Behind him, Marion, who looked a bit shaken and the stain of blood down along the front of her dress were signs she didn’t make it out entirely whole.
Camille slid down the crumpled stone, nearly losing her footing in her haste. She wanted to see them! Ask them about what happened.
”Marc! Marion!” Camille’s lips actually curled into a timid smile as came to a stop before them. ”You are alive.. I-” She lunged for Marc, wrapping her arms around him. She couldn’t help it. For three long days, she rode alone without her friends. It was nice to see a friendly face. ”I’m so glad you both made it.”
Camille tucked her head into his chest. He had a tight, warm hug. Just like his father. Marion slipped in and the dame made room for the three to embrace in a tender moment. She’d pull away quick enough as curiosity got to her.
”Where’s your dad?” She held her smile like she was expecting a quip to come from behind her at any moment. Yet all she was given was a pair of disappointed looks. They couldn’t even look at her. Her smile faded.
”Where-?” Camille managed to get out, but never found the strength to continue.
”The Eskandr broke through. Papa threw everything he had into closing it and he was trapped on the other side.” Marion heaved a sigh, like she had long since processed the reality. Camille focused on the cloth wrapped around her eye. She had taken a cut that had been healed, but the crust of blood was still there. ”He sealed us in, protected us. If you didn’t see him out there then I fear the Eskandr might have taken him.”
Camille felt her heart drop. Claude being taken by the Eskandr… What would they do with them? She heard they weren’t kind.
The dame swallowed, feeling a lump in her throat as she finally approached another conflict. This wasn’t everyone that had been saved inside the keep, surely her parents were inside just waiting to hear about her return. ”What about my papa and mama?” She had a bad feeling.
”I’m sorry, Camille. I don’t remember seeing them come in here before we shut the doors.” Marion stated plainly. Camille turned to Marc, who shamefully shook his head as if he felt responsible.
That wasn’t fair to him. It was on her for failing.
Interaction: None 3.2 Fields of Fire || The Lament of a Saint Camille had spent the rest of the day helping her hometown. She pulled survivors from wreckage and fires and laid healing hands on those wounded enough to need tending. The people she helped all uttered their desperate thanks and each time, it sank the dame low. She had failed them. If she were truly worth it, then she’d have stopped the Eskandr on the beach. Slain the wicked fire witch. Routed the enemy army off their land for good…
Yet each person thanked her and praised Dami for sending them a saint. A few, Camille had even outright refused but they only claimed her to be humble. It was exhausting and by the time the bishop began his sermon, Camille collapsed in a slumber only to be awaken by Marc with a snicker after discovery.
The next day, Camille had set out early for the beach. It had meant so much to her, the white sands of Port Morilles that she had carried a bag with her. That bag still sat tied to Perrin’s saddle, believing she’d never see it again. Yet here she sat not in relief, but in loss.
It was so easy for her to recall the time before when she sat on this beach. Armand, Claude, and her parents, Pierre and Berenice, were still alive waiting for her back in the town. Waiting to say their goodbyes together.
Her fingers curled, buried in the sand she strangled the clumps of sand she clung to. Her faith was being tested in her head. Why had Dami judged the good of her loved ones to be not worth it?
”I’m really trying but am I not good enough?” Camille muttered looking up to the dawn sky, expecting a sign. The rhythm of the waves rolling had been her only answer.
For a time.
”I knew you’d be out here.”
Camille jumped, knowing who it was and turning to face her father. She froze, not believing this was real at first. In fact, not even recognizing her father. He looked older, like the past four days had advanced his age by ten years. Dirt and grime covered his face and the lack of sleep had worn his features to look like they sagged with advanced age. The dim light of the rising sun didn’t help either.
”Bastards damn near chased me to Torragon.” He limped over to her side and collapsed onto his bum next to her. ”But when I heard you were here, I told them you’d be out here. Heh.” He forced a single chuckle before grunting as he leaned back on his hands. He looked exhausted.
He looked at her, his face unwavering in a steadiness but even Camille could tell, there was so much he wanted to say. She couldn’t figure out what to say either. Instead she quietly slid over to his side and leaned against him, tucking herself in a ball and making her as small as possible as one of his arms came around to her shoulder.
Her father had been pursued by the Eskandr ever since they broke into the city. Berenice and him had ran for the keep, having both volunteered to fight the fires during the siege. They were cut off from getting to the keep and tried to escape to the caves. The invaders pursued them, chasing them both into the countryside where they were separated. Pierre had spent the night searching for her. He never found her. He hadn’t slept in nearly two days and hardly had the strength to stay awake.
Yet that arm around Camille flexed enough to hold her tight as the two watched the sunrise and the waves crashed in.
Interactions: Ismette [@ForceandFury] 1.1 All that is Faire that Ends Well!
How long had it been since facing a Wyrm and surviving?
It already felt like an eternity. Somehow facing a lethal sand dragon was a little more comfortable than dealing with this. Yanii-land.
Life here was a slow, meandering existence of horrid urban life. She had forgotten how tight and closed in she felt in Ersand, having experienced the liberty of the Refuge’s openness as really the only collection of yanii buildings as far as the eye could see. Here, however, it was closed in with walls that felt like a cage for a fenced in animal.
She missed home.
It felt odd to think about it. Having desperately wanted to get out there and see more of the world, but having ventured through a portal on her trip only to return to a place that wasn’t really her home messed with her. She wasn’t returning to the familiar comforts like all the other yaniis were. It was like she was taking another trip to somewhere exotic. She sighed, turning to the wyrm pearl she had tucked under her arm. A rare, attractive keepsake that she had found on her recent journey. She didn’t really know what to do with it. Her grand na would tell her to bring it back to the Mette’stiroi but if her grand na was right about that, it hardly didn’t have the meaning it used to.
She threw her torso back in frustration letting her head thump against the branch she was lounging on. ”Ow.” She uttered rather plainly for just taking a lump on her head. At least she had enough sense to ask for help in this situation. Invited rather hastily in passing earlier in the day, Casii had asked Ismette to come find her in the park in her secret grove. It was open to all yasoi but she had issues with yaniis hanging around.
Ismette was… attractive, Casii had kept considering. Not just in her tall petiteness, mind you, but how she seemed to have herself all figured out outside of the homeland. She seemed so confident and assured. Ever since their awkward meeting of Casii coming down from her aberration thrill, Ismette had been there for her.
She needed it.
The aberration had been an impulsive decision. Indulging in it just like her kin back home had left a sour taste in her mouth. Figuratively speaking but in reality Casii was still feeling it. Her head seemed to have a gnawing pain like a stomach yearning for food. Energy seemed to be another symptom as lethargy slowed her for the following days where she even doubted she’d be able to lift herself out of bed.
Such a price for an aberration. If another one came by, she didn’t want it… How did Ismette manage to refuse? Casii needed to know…
A brushing of leaves sounded and Casii’s ear twitched. Someone seemed to be coming. ”Izzii, that you?” She called out in her native yasoi tongue.
“Dii,” teased the other, “Nax ya Papa Curliix. Rawr!” She hopped nimbly up into the branches and grinned impishly before letting it fade into something more appropriate. “Eleh uush joi, suunei?”
”Vish nax, fo’senii yasoi pai’it selang fi’ela Casii vel Papa Curliix.” Casii mused, waving her hand but not stirring from her spot upon her branch. She did, at least, prop her head up to meet Ismette’s gaze, lifting her wyrm pearl. ”Nax wiip yuul eleh juu’juup sin o’panuu.” She let that hang for a moment before quietly follow up with an admission. ”Rey ela juu joi liisan’yanii pan? Nax wiip yuul…”
Translation: ”Lucky me, for now yasoi will tell the story of how Casii fought Papa Curliix.” - ”I do not know what to do with my treasure.” - ”And how do you live among humans well? I do not know…”
After a brief giggle, Ismette sighed. “Panuu ya posh.” she waved dismissively. “Eshe ap ol joi soceh ap; thrii ap ol el’muul ilac. Ismette ya el’paltha par’wes elai joi’ya dii’dolrey jiiruul yanii.” She cocked her head to one side, a bit concerned. “Joi tajuup yim Ismet, suunei. Pelosh ap ziib’it nax ziib’it joi.”
Translation: “The treasure is easy. Keep it if you like it; sell it if you want money more. I’m more interested to know why you’re uncomfortable among humans. You can tell me, sister. Maybe it will help me help you.”
Casii shuffled in her spot as she considered the yasoi’s advice on the treasure. The pearl was pretty but she didn’t even really have a home right now and she certainly didn’t trust her yanii neighbors to not go snooping. Selling it, maybe, but what did she want with money?
She blew air out of her mouth and returned to reclining, watching the wind blow at the leaves above. ”Suunei…” Casii began, continuing in her native tongue to try and outline it all. It had been awhile since she had spoken her natural language. It almost felt off at first but now it was coming back to her. ”... Do you feel comfortable in all those buildings? Ever been to Southern Mycormi? It’s so open and here it feels so closed. It ain’t just the people. It’s the whole thing.”
Ismette shrugged. “Sometimes it seems like yesterday when I left home. Sometimes, it seems like a century.” She let out a sigh, idly swinging a foot back and forth beneath the branch she was perched on. “I guess… you just have to find your space, go your places, adjust what you can change and accept what you can’t. Otherwise, yeah, you’ll go crazy.” She pulled a knee up to her chest and rested her chin on it. “Rooftops in a city like this are fun. Sometimes, at night, I treat the towers and spires like trees.” She grinned, but it faded quickly. “I think we’re a bit different. I’m… much more of a city girl than you, so the adjustment’s probably easier for me,” she admitted. “You’re from down south, after all, but some things are still the same. Houses for us are small things nestled in the branches: a safe and comfy place to sleep and store our junk. Yaniis live in them, like really live there: they occupy their houses much of the day and fill them full of comforts and other useless junk.” Ismette shook her head. “I don’t get it either, but we’re in a space that they built. It’s like transferring a plant to new soil: you’ve gotta find a way for it to take and grow, and maybe you bring a bit of the soil it came from with it to make it easier.” She sniffed. “I’m talking a whole awful lot and repeating myself.” There was an eyeroll. “Trying to get all philosophical on you. I dunno if it’s any good. I guess I just sort of kept what I could, adjusted some stuff, and learned to live with others. If you wanna travel, that’s what you’ve gotta do. Our ancestors did it,” she reminded Casii, “back in the good times. No reason we can’t.”
Casii slid her feet up so they bent at the knees as she lounged about, bouncing on her toes to make her legs shake idly. She listened carefully to what Ismette had to say. All of it, really. It seemed like she was reading right out of one of grand na’s lectures. She never really figured out the yaniis but just knew what they were like. Knew that they had to get along with them and it was all part of the adventure.
Patiently waiting until Ismette finished up her talking points, Casii remained quiet. ”I reckon any tree needs a bit of nurturing to get right comfortable in a new spot…” She mused, taking to the plant growth analogy quite well. It was what she loved, after all. ”...Guess that makes you my gardner?” She chuckled, turning over to give Ismette a grin.
Privately she mulled something in her mind for a moment but enough to be considered a noticeable pause. ”No sense in stopping now. With all your preaching, you might put me right to the best sleep I’ve had since coming.”
Ismette chuckled at the remark. “Harsh, suunei! Harsh!” She let the laughter fade. “But true,” she admitted mock-sheepishly. “I have a habit of preaching. You should see how it drives the yanii nuts to have a pointy-ear moralizing at them. Half the time, I do it for kicks!” She giggled, but it was not early, and it turned into a yawn.
Casii sat up, spinning on her branch to turn towards Ismette. ”Only thing is, I never quite found the trees here as comfortable. Not on my own, anyway.” She nodded towards Ismette, ”But looks to me that your lap is the best pillow around. Reckon you can spare me the time?” Casii’s feet kicked as she leaned forward, gleaming with her thinly veiled advancement.
Ismette blinked. That had been quite the… bold maneuver. Casii wasn’t half–bad to look at, though, and it had been some time since Ismette had been with another woman.“Mama raised a real charmer,” she joked, scooting into something cross-legged and leaning back a bit. She pulled Casii’s head down to rest on her lap, staring up at the canopy. “You got nice hair,” Ismette decided, starting to run her hands through it, “even though you don’t take care of it.” She smiled down, heartbeat quickening a touch.
Casii fell easily into Ismette’s lap, nestling in comfort. Her legs slide down the branch and dangled in the air, idly swinging gently. ”Well thank ya.” Casii hummed, watching Ismette endearingly as those hands ran through her hair. ”Ya know if yer particular to a certain style, I would not object. Maybe you have some advice there, too, suunei?” Casii teased, feeling a bit on cloud nine. It had been too long since she spent time with a yasoi. Longer still since she had the comfort of someone interested in her. At least it seemed that way, her heart swelled but the nerves crept in. Was she too bold and this was all humoring?
”Got a pretty smile, ya know. Might have to steal your advice on that, too… Err make it, three.” She softly giggled, though she mentally kicked herself for being a little lame. She sought to change the subject. ”Kind of a fun way to start at the academy. Fighting a giant dragon and all. Reckon the rest of the year will be like that?”
Ismette leaned down and planted a little peck on Casii’s nose. “You’re adorable,” she remarked. “And yes, there are things I would do with your hair that would be art, or so I tell myself.” She blushed and smirked at the same time. “No money back if I mess up, huh?”
Casii provided a stupid grin in response to Ismette’s kiss on her nose as well as the complement. ”Fine, I ain’t gonna charge you…” She muttered in quick reply.
It was not necessarily an early hour, and the slightly older teen took a moment to snuggle a bit more as she spoke. “You know, I was originally going to dip out of that.” She made an awkward face. “I just get a… vibe I don’t like from the Paradigm. Glad I didn’t, though. I think that’s where all the interesting things are gonna happen, and maybe I can make them a little less violent: a little bit more about love and a little bit less about “pew pew pew boom boom crash, hmm?” She shook her head and managed an embarrassed smile. “At least, that’s the big ideal.”
Considering what the other yasoi said, Casii nodded along, shifting her head in Ismette’s lap. ’Suppose that’s a good reason. Too many spooks runnin’ ‘round here. Some yanii with lifelike dolls approached me before that trip. Knew somethin’ private ‘bout me as well as gettin’ head yanii’s trip invite. She knew ‘bout the trip ‘cause she was on it before bowing out but no way she could threatin’ somethin’ private ‘bout me like that without somethin’ unnatural.”
Casii reached a hand up and caught one of Ismette’s hands, gently clasping the back of her hand and holding it to her own cheek. ”Bit why I’m runnin’ scared here. Yaniis seem to be wantin’ more out of life. Too much. Fightin’ and quarrelin’ like there ain’t ‘nough to go ‘round. Our people ain’t much better, mufflin’ in our own struggles, but some folks believin’ it all comes from the yaniis…” Casii sighed, closing her eyes. ”...Not sure what to think, myself.”
Ismette let out a long breath. “The world’s on fire again. A few people with all the power want it that way and it burns.” She shook her head and shrugged. “But I don’t think it much matters if the yaniis caused our problems or not. Wouldn’t put it past them, mind ya. It’s just that we’re the ones who’ll probably be left to solve it, and I dunno if we can. Truth be told, that’s why I’m here. If I can make some friends among them: useful ones and decent ones, maybe they’ll actually help.” On that note, she went silent for a moment, listening to the crickets in the grass and the bullfrogs in the rushes. “Now, why are we on such dark things anyhow?” She was massaging Casii’s shoulders now. She stopped and gave them a little squeeze. “You’re too cute for that.” She smiled. How nice it was to feel the warmth of another: how very central to Ismette’s existence. It had been over a week and the last had been a big Kerreman boy, about as tender and loving as an ox. She longed.
Casii lifted her shoulders in a weak shrug, trying to disrupt the message she was getting. ”Dunno. This sorta thing happens when I get nervous. Feel sorta anxious about it all. Scared…” She trailed off, lost in a thought for a moment… or it seemed so because she refocused on ismette, looking up at her with a goofy grin. ”I always get nervous when talkin’ with pretty girls.” She giggled at her own theatrics, shuffling some of her deeper thoughts under the guise of her own tease. Ismette was right, no need to stress about things now. There will be a time for that to come back.
”Naw… it’ll be alright. My grand na always said we’d pull through so we will. Just have to spend the time right. You’re a good messager, by the way. I think you missed your callin’.”
“Maybe,” admitted Ismette, “but you may find,” she continued softly, “that I have many callings, and the hours of Ipte approach.”
”Oh?” Casii perked up, almost leaving Ismette’s lap. Instead she found the other yasoi’s hands and gently seized them, pulled them down, inviting Ismette to lean down so their faces were hovering close together. Casii’s heart leaped as she took a breath in. ”Care to show me?”
It turned out that, as talented as Ismette was at telling, she was even better at showing.
Interaction: None 2.1: Fields of Fire / An Unexpected Farewell
Camille found herself stunned. The first meeting of the Red Table had concluded, of which, she was shockingly a member of. Yet Claude believed it was right. He had even told her that he was proud of her for that just minutes before. She liked to hear that but now, he was telling her something she didn't want to hear.
He was leaving her.
"That's the way it is. Gabriel wasn't too happy that the King was taking his best and with the Eskandr headed North, he's naturally concerned about Morilles."
It made sense. Somewhere in Camille's head, she could understand the logic behind it. Claude was being pulled to help the defense of her hometown, but she didn't want to be left alone. Her, Claude, and Armand... they always stuck together before. Why did he have to leave, too? She wanted to scream. Demand he stay with her. Do something other than stand there, dumbstruck and silent. Why couldn't she do anything? Was she really this pathetic?
Claude must have seen something in Camille's face as his expression softened, offering a sympathetic look. He reached out and gripped her shoulder. "It'll be alright, girl. Gabriel is pulling everything he can to add to the defense of Morilles. We'll hold if it comes to that. You and the army will catch up smash them from behind. You'll see."
She didn't believe him. He said several months ago that the Eskandr wouldn't attack with their full army. He said before the battle they would win. He said they'd all make it out of the battle alive. Now he was saying this. She couldn't handle it and found her hands curling into fists. "Liar." She muttered. Yet Claude didn't look deterred.
"Reckon my calling isn't an oracle." He joked with a light chuckle, but she was only finding his attempts at easing the mood to obstruct her real feelings. "Stop! Stop it! This isn't all some funny joke! Armand died. I almost died. Now you're leaving to what? Relax at home? Or maybe the Eskandr do attack home so maybe then you'll just die?" She protested, her face souring almost instantly at how crude it sounded. She saw it for a moment, Claude looked hurt but he quickly pulled her in to an embrace.
"I'm sorry this the way it has to be. I can't change that, but you'll be fine." He muttered, tightly squeezing his arms around her back. Her lip quivered but she didn't break down into tears, holding that urge back. She felt awful about what she had said but couldn't bring up any words to apologize. "I'll protect everyone back home and you, make sure you watch out for yourself. Come back to us in one piece."
Camille couldn't bring her arms up and around to return the hug. She felt frozen. Useless even now. She wasn't sure how long she was embraced but Claude pulled away, looking calm. "Goodbye, Puce." Camille stood there, looking defeated but she couldn't find the words. She didn't know how she felt. Angry, sad... It was all stirred in her, freezing her tongue.
Claude nodded, curling his lips in a weak smile. He turned quietly and grabbed his bag, headed out of the Cathedral. Camille was now alone.
Interactions: None 2.2: Fields of Fire / Siege of Port Morilles
The double wide doors of Gabriel's keep quaked from the Eskandr outside trying to break in. Claude had strangely found it be melodic like a drum considering everything else. He stood at the center of the entry hall to the keep. Shouts of panicked orders for assistance to sure up defensives. Chaotic stacking of debris and men to keep the door closed for as long as possible.
Splinters of the door cracked and sprayed out into the hall. A Force mage was out there throwing enough behind it that it didn't matter. The double doors were being battered from both sides and despite its sturdy construction, certainly wouldn't hold. There was hope. The Grand Armee was approaching to reinforce and in a way every second counted that they could hold.
"Claude!" Remon, Gabriel's court mage ran up to him from behind, clasping a hand on his shoulder.
The bracing around the center of the door started to cave in. Claude could see the Eskandr outside, huddled and ready to kill the moment the door broke down. Claude turned from this and looked at Remon. He had with him. His daughter, Marion was with him. He gave her an easy smile though the return smile he got was uneasy.
"We had a lot of people run for the caves along the beach. They've been noticed and I think the bastards noticed and a portion of them have diverted to the beach."
Claude frowned, knowing what that implied. There was no escape in those caves and all those people would be butchered senselessly. He also suspected where this was going.
"You're going?" Claude asked. Remon nodded.
Wood shattered and men called out to keep that door closed. It was holding but they'd break in soon. Claude caught sight of his son, Marc, running past with a wooden bench help brace the door. "I'll go alone. You'll need everyone to keep the Eskandr out. The Grand Armee crested the horizon. They are close." A relief, however...
A bloodlusted Eskandr leaped through a hole in the deteriorating door, hacking at the first Perrench soldier he could. The berserker slashed into the man's neck before a spear from another soldier lanced him through the chest. "Go. We will hold." Claude called out, turning back towards the door. It was going to be blasted open in the next volley. "Sword in arms! Let them come through!" He commanded, and the men retreated from the door forming a line around him. Remon slipped away, as Claude glanced around.
The door burst open easily now that there wasn't the strength of man and magic behind keeping it closed. Bloodthirsty Eskandr rushed in. Claude swiped with a slash sending a lightning wave of magic through his sword towards the Eskandr. Two of them fried, staggering back. Claude felt the heat and saw the wave of fire spew out from Marion's hands, catching one Eskandr in a blaze but deterring the others to stay out of range. Instead, they funneled around to the sides, clashing with the line of Perrench troops.
Battle was met and the exchange of steel, blood, and magic happened quick. Claude was lost in the chaos for a time before he heard a dire shriek he didn't want to hear.
"Marion!" He called, knowing there weren't too many women in his battlegroup. He dropped back, glancing around the entry hall, looking for his daughter. There. She had shifted to side, back against the wall as an Eskandr raised a dagger. Claude shaped his free hand with two fingers pointed at man's dagger. He shot a bolt of lightning out that connected with the metal, zapping it from his grip. Marion, covering her eye, had enough time to realize she was in danger and lashed out with her Arcane magic, freezing the Eskandr's sweat, encasing him a layer of ice. She waved her hand as she slipped back to more friendly lines causing the Eskandr to burst in a collection of ice shards that back towards the doorway, showering the horde of Eskandr who were unlucky enough to enter in fragmentation of their former comrade.
"Marc!" Claude turned, finding his son by his side. "Watch your sister!" He nodded, moving off to find her.
Claude felt a lump in his throat. They were going to lose and he didn't want to lose it all. He looked back to the doorway, witnessing the Force mage that had broken the doorway. With him out of the picture, then he might just be able to buy a little more time. "Hold men! The King is coming to purge these invaders!" He found himself shouting, maybe he was heard. "Do whatever you can! Keep the Eskandr out! Dami guide us all!"
Not much of a final farewell, but to be fair, he didn't have much time to prepare.
Cranking up his Thunder Magic, he felt bolts arch around his body. He was going to overdraw for sure, but it would be worth it. "Rrrrrraaaaaaah!" He felt his body burning as she sprang forth, running towards the door. Electricity bounced from him to any Eskandr that approached him, frying them instantly. The Force mage easily caught sight of him and moved to blast him back, but he was far too slow to the draw.
Electricity pumping through his body, Claude's reactions were sped up. He felt himself juiced enough to slap his hands together sending a violent arch of lightning towards the Force mage. The Eskandr ignited in a burst of energy before falling gracelessly to the ground. Claude felt his body giving out and his dangerous aura of electricity was quickly closing in, letting the Eskandr get closer to him. He fell to one knee, cursing.
"Damn. Echeran... empower me." He muttered, glancing up at the doorway's threshold above him. With everything left, he channeled all his power into attracting the damaged doorway around him. Lightning shot out impacted the stone of the keep pulling in chunks to drop in around him.The debris of the keep piled around him, mainly behind him, forming a wall of debris that prevented access into the keep. One last act, he believed. One last attempt to protect his children and the people still inside the Keep.
Claude could feel himself collapsing, eyes closing with one last thought. How long did I give them?
Interactions: None 2.3: Fields of Fire / Close to Home
Camille could see and smell it. Riding up with the advanced Queen's guard, she was dreading the image of her hometown burning. Yet here it was. Had her parents made it to safety? Claude and his children? What of sweet El's bakery? Or Laurent's gallery? Everything she had cherished, could they all be gone?
Her heart sank, seeing her city like this. Queen Eleanor had managed to pull Camille's eyes from the carnage with her call to action. Ideas? Did Camille have any to be helpful? She was never too smart for tactics. Claude had always been the one to come up with strategies or ideas. So with him gone, what could she really do?
She glanced back at the city, remembering the last time her home was attacked. How that changed her fate bye hearing Dami's call. Maybe if she had taken a different route to the... keep!
"The keep..." Camille muttered, her admission settling in as she thought of what the keep meant to her. People ran to the keep that day over a year ago. Most of everyone would be there. Including her parents, Claude, Marion, Marc, and all the others. If they could get there then maybe they could be saved!
"Everyone tries to run for the keep in Morilles." Camille spoke louder, trying to catch the attention of everyone around her. "It is protected and stocked enough for a siege. There is an underground cave to keep more people protected than it looks. We should go there. We'll save as many people as possible!"
Perrin stirred under her, likely feeling Camille's tension. She wanted to ride now. Minutes wasted could mean everything!
Interaction: None 4.1: Siege of Relouse / Not an End
She could hear it. The breaking of her body as she was effortlessly swung around by the Silver-haired witch. In a blink of an eye, Camille had been full of life to being dumped to the ground unceremoniously, left to wonder. Was this worth it?
There was no glory. Her death did not valiantly stop the witch's tirade and rampage. Many more of her people would die because she wasn't strong enough to make a difference. Perrance was retreating.
There was no dignity. Whatever was left of her body was mangled. No one to honor her. No last words. She coughed, a mouthful of blood splattered through her mouth, only to fall back on her face.
Only the weight of a life cut short. Her eyes closed and the end, regrettable, embraced.
Interaction: None 4.2: Siege of Relouse / But a Beginning
Camille gasped, sharply inhaling like she was drawing a much-needed breath after waking from a nightmare. She had sat up a little too suddenly, a sharp twist to her chest and neck causing her to clutch at her tunic. Where was she? The ruined stone of the cathedral she had been laid to rest in had been cleared of the debris from the roof. This wasn't where she was because the last she remembered was...
Her head snapped to her other side, finally recognizing a familiar face, although she could tell by just the voice. "Wh-what happened?" She muttered, finding her first words after waking up to come a bit hoarse and requiring the clearing of her throat. Her long time friend did not look very pleased. Perhaps out of exhaustion but he had his head dropped low for an agonizing amount of time. He sighed, lifting his head. "Battle is over. Both sides are licking their wounds. You've been in and out of sleep for two days. You're lucky to have made it."
Camille frowned. His usual demeanor never slipped this low. Why was... Armand. The memory came rushing back in and she dropped her head. "Armand..." Whatever Claude's reaction, she hadn't been paying attention as she spaced out only managing to pick up on his response. "Killed, yup."
She didn't like this. Claude was usually so full of optimism and words. This wasn't the first time they had lost a companion and it always seemed like Claude was the one capable of pulling the rest of them out by just talking. It made it frustrating to her to hear him so short in his responses. So downtrodden. She glanced back up and eyed him. He was still in his armor sitting in the neighboring pew. He looked completely exhausted, like he went the night without sleep judging by how limp he looked. She didn't know what to say but wanted to protest the way he was acting. She was hurt too but he was always good at cheering them up!
Camille had opened her mouth but Claude immediately interrupted her, his voice raising and tone taking a sharp turn of anger. "Just what were you thinking, girl? Running off in a frenzy to what? Die by an Eskandr witch? You're better than that. You have to remember that!" He finally looked at her and even raised his hand, pointing at her. "Because the people who care about you, can't always protect you like that!"
He huffed in a breath and it was apparently enough for him to slide back into the pew. "We'll talk later, girl. A lot has to be said, but you've been summoned by the King. Not a very good look to be late. Go on. I'll be here when you are done." Claude muttered, closing his eyes and finally dropping into sleep. Camille wasn't sure what to feel but she didn't feel good.
Interaction: The Red Table 1.1: Fields of Fire / The Red Table Camille arrived just in time, maybe the last to arrive at the meeting. She took her spot and glanced around. With her just in basic linen clothes, she couldn't look more out of place.
Collected under the King's command were a colorful cast of warriors and then there was little Camille who could barely fit in her chair. She frowned at the quick realization. This was a room of the Pentach's finest and if Claude's words meant anything, and they did, she was just a stupid girl who threw herself into danger senselessly. She didn't belong here.
The King and Queen stood proudly at the heads of the table with the King taking the lead to explain his plan. Camille couldn't help but sink in her chair, her mind drifting to thinking that maybe she should have cleaned up, too. Lords preferred those in their attendance clean up and look presentable, so she had always been taught. Now here she was. In the same room as the King and Queen, without having taken a bath and wearing her dull brown clothes with a messy set of hair. She could of at least brushed her hair.
She slide down in her chair, trying to barely appear. Hopefully she didn't have to say anything as the King finished up. Still something bothered her. The King was going on about taking the fight to the Eskandr but she disagreed. They had a duty to the people. To keep them safe. She had little love for the Eskandr but surely they should easily unite against the enemy in the lands, right?
Deserted 1.1: Fixin’ to do things Right this Time Four Days Prior to 1.5
The Arboretum was the usual haunting ground for one of the only handful of Yasoi attending Ersand’Enise. Casii’fyret’alan had taken a big step in her life by becoming a student at the human academy. It was all alien to her. The stone grounds, brick buildings, and bustle of people, humans, everywhere had placed her out of her element. This wasn’t the thick woods of Mycormi that she knew and loved. This was the Yaniis' new world order if the folks back home were right and if they were, the world would be covered in stone and brick in a few hundred years. Maybe in her lifetime.
The, albeit weak, landscaping in the Arboretum was the only place Casii felt any comfort. Everything here had a real stink of being artificially made and it made her skin crawl. Even her dorm was uninviting and instead, she often slept out in the Arboretum. She even grew a cloister of native trees and plants, densely packing her own corner of the park to create her own room.
It wasn’t exactly sanctioned but Casii wasn’t going to budge. Any authority that challenged her had apparently given up after a while, maybe giving her a pass as one of the few Yasoi students. She wasn’t sure what the deal was. Regardless, she would have her peace after barking at any of the Yaniis who waddled over to her enclave like they were gawking at an exotic pet.
It made her right sick, same as the Yanii buildings. Thankfully they got the message she wanted to be left alone and they all stopped trying after a while. For a time she hardly braved a trip outside of her enclave but that was leading her down a path that wasn’t very fulfilling. Her grand na had told her to see the Yanii world and filled her with remarkable stories of what she could be experiencing. She wanted that and lately, she has been taking some big steps. None larger than this previous one: An invite to assist a group of students with their task elsewhere in the world.
Casii reclined in thought, sliding deeper into the great oak’s trunk as her continued to swing idly in the air. She ain’t ever seen a desert before and now she was going to experience it. ”Better be watchin’, grand na.” She muttered in quiet prayer to her passed mentor.
A nearby crow squawked in response and, for a moment, Casii mused if she was hearing her grand na, but she was attuned to nature well. Something about that bird was off. She turned her gaze towards the sound, catching a glimpse of the black feathered bird. Her eyes squinted to slits, studying the thing.
It wasn’t a bird.
There wasn’t life or warmth pumping through that tiny body but magic. Casii clenched her left hand into a fist, drawing magic but directing it towards the tree that the crow was perched on giving it life to and chemical direction to grow a sudden branch to impale the intruder. The bird made a distressed sound but it wasn’t the sound of flesh being impaled but wood being shattered. A soft voice projected itself just loud enough for Casii to hear coming from beyond her enclave.
”My, my. Perchance you could extend me an invite to enter your domain, then? We need to speak.”
Deserted 1.2: Deserted Lands Interactions: Jocasta @Force and Fury Two days prior to 1.5 Casii arrives to the Refuge and is greeted by Jocasta. She is shown the Great Path. Casii decides to make it her home for the next few days.
Casii hadn’t been through a portal before today. Now she could cross that off of her bucket list, though it felt no different than stepping through the threshold of a door into another room. Only this other room was wider than the grasslands of Mycormi and hotter than dredges of the warmest Dorrad day. Dryer, though.
As one of the few Yasoi at the Academy, she was surprised to have even gotten a summons to attend. She reckoned the Yanii wouldn’t rely on a Yasoi but here she was. Eating her own words. She also never expected a desert to be as… yellow as it was. Sand, she thought, was supposed to be little rocks and would be colored all kinds of grey. No vegetation. Well actually very little from her first glance around the Refuge where the portal had been summoned.
Little vegetation and whole lot of Yaniis. Casii tugged at her red and yellow tunic, a size too small to completely reach down to her waist line allowing the barest hint of midriff and clinging tightly to her lithe form. A light brown linen leggings reached to her knees leaving her shins exposed until her ruddy boots.
A single half of a Jamb’ysp hung in her right cheek, puffing out a slight bit. She turned and spat a wad of black tar. She looked unphased but she bounced on her toes and ruffled her fingers across her leggings. Who the hell was running this show? The wheel chair, lady, right? Hugo mentioned something about her.
Stepping lightly over she glanced down at the woman known as Jocasta. She didn’t look like much but Casii knew never to doubt someone by appearance. Legends like Talit’yrash weren’t no joke.
”So err.. Just how bad is it?” She plainly put, turning to spit behind her, trying to keep her habit away from the Yanii’s sight incase she had one of those sensitive dispositions.
They’d come through another of Hugo’s portals and, as ever, Jocasta found herself jealous at his abilities. Maybe if I got to live to a hundred seventeen, I’d have a shot at being a spacetime god too, she mused flatly.
The first had been an androgynous Joruban, the second a powergazer street urchin. This one was a yasoi. Jocasta blinked. After a moment, she shrugged. “There’s about a hundred feet worth of reptilian death somewhere out in that desert, a greedy duke on his way here to possibly raze the place, and about three dozen bitter birdies down in our dungeon.” She took a few errant chews of her chicle. “Another day, another adventure. Speaking of which, that’s why you’re here, right?”
Casii mulled over what Jocasta listed in her head. She hadn’t quite been that experienced with the world as maybe someone like her but was that really how these always went? ”Oh that’s all? The Yasoi almost sounded bored but really didn’t know how to comprehend the extent of everything she was being brought to face. At least it seemed like she, and every other student tagged for this would be on the same branch. Right before it snapped, no doubt.
”Yeeeaaaah, I reckon I can do somethin’ about yer problems. I ain’t a stranger to a scrap but seems to me yer in more for a scrap. Exactly what are yer thinkin’ we do’n just who in swamp’s pit do we have here to help?” She turned and spat once more.
Jocasta’s eyes flicked, imperceptibly fast, to the disgusting wad of spit and she expertly repressed a shudder. This yasoi was nothing like Verdi. Nothing at all. Still, she was… another capable person and beggars couldn't be choosers. “Six of us students,” she replied, “and more coming out of that portal” - and asking me all these same questions - “every little while, plus about a dozen trained magic users here.” She set hands to wheels, backing up a bit so she didn’t have to crane her neck so much to make eye contact. “Big problem’s all the untrained ones.” She shrugged. “They’ve got the Gift in spades, but no idea how to use it, so we’re here to give ‘em a crash course.”
Sounds of play, training, and construction all blended in together. They weren’t too far from the central courtyard, and around a bend was the Great Bath and Gran Naranja, and eventually the gardens. Jocasta really didn’t have time for this, but she could appreciate being a stranger in a strange land and… We’re working on not being awful to people, right? “I can get you a room, she offered, maybe somewhere high up? Give you the tour?”
Casii watched in obvious bewilderment as the Yanii wheeled back, never quite seeing someone get around like that. She realized soon after that she was probably way too tall and quietly squatted down. Her heels bounced in the air but the rest of her remained still on her toes. ”All fine and dandy to me. Reckon you got it figured.” Casii didn’t quite sound convinced but she was just as game at being polite as this Yanii was.
Now the offer of a room made the Yasoi fold her lips in a frown. She couldn’t even stay in her dormitory for an hour, let alone some strange room here. The offer for somewhere higher up was appeasing but glancing up to the roofs of the buildings, Casii could see the heat radiating, distorting the air in their usual manner. She’d burn to a crisp up there.
”You’n all got a place of shade. Tree shade? I’ll figure out how I sleep then.”
“For the record, you’re getting a room just so we can say we gave you one. And when it comes to trees, there’s not much to choose from around here,” admitted Jocasta, rolling from hard-packed dirt onto tiles. She tucked her gum into her cheek for a second so as not to swallow it by accident. “Though there’s Gran Naranja, down by the bath.” She began chewing again. It had taken her all of two days back here to become hooked on the chicle again, if only to manage the incessant pressure. She gestured. “I’ll take you there, but if you sleep in the tree, you be gentle,” she warned, half twisting as she wheeled. “She’s been here for two hundred years and she’s… like a great grandmother to us all.”
They made their way, then, out of the courtyard and around the bend, to where the younglings, all under twelve and still on four, swam and played in and around the bath, innocent to the worst of what was going on elsewhere. A colossal, gnarled orange tree, its fruit-laden branches hanging a mere foot or two above the water in places, stretched its shade across the area, leaves rippling gently in a light breeze. Names and little pictures were carved into its ancient bark, a rope swing hung from a particularly sturdy branch that Jocasta knew a yasoi might recognize as ‘palbor’ or ‘elbor’, and numerous chairs clustered around its trunk. “You can see why,” the tethered remarked, watching the yasoi’s reaction carefully.
Gran Naranja didn’t make a lick of sense to Casii but it sounded like “Grand” so it was probably their largest tree. In all likelihood, a pitiful comparison to the trees back home but to the Yaniis, sure.
She gave a look in reaction to being asked to be gentle. Just exactly who did she think she was? She wasn’t no Yanii but let it pass for now. Following Jocasta around to where their Gran Naranja was rooted, Casii’s gaze moved from watching how Jocasta wheeled herself around to the tree. Every bit of it was studied and judged. It wasn’t like a tree back home but she could tell then and now. It was special.
Quietly the yasoi approached, running a careful hand along the trunk of the old tree. She reached out with a little mana, letting the leaves rustle in excitement. New growths of fruit began to bud while those that had been afflicted by disease cured from their sickly color to the more vibrant namesake.
Casii reached out and grabbed the nearest orange and spun, sliding to plop down at the base of the tree. She peeled an opening into her orange and took a bite, displaying a rather smug satisfaction back at Jocasta. ”I reckon Gran Nan will be fine with me here, don’t you?”
There was something about the little display that irked Jocasta. She wasn’t sure why, and the person she’d been a week ago would’ve thought horrible, nasty things. Trust a yasoi to love a tree, though, at least. “So you’re a greengrowth, huh?” the tethered asked. She gathered a bit of energy to lift herself and let the gravity loop do the rest. She floated forward and sat on one of the cushions under the tree, brushing a hand fondly over its trunk. “Skyborn, here. It comes in handy,” she admitted. “Sometimes, I don’t know what I’d do without it.” Jocasta let out a long sigh, closing her eyes for a second and trying to just relax. She had people to settle in, training to conduct, facilities to repair, interrogations to run, and meetings with Amanda, Escarra, the other students, the Afortunado, and… She took another deep breath. “I imagine it doesn’t compare much to home, but I hope it keeps you centered like it does for me.” She smiled. “Jocasta, by the way. I think we forgot introductions.” She held a hand out.
Casii watched as if she were being treated to a magic act of Jocasta lifting herself from her chair and levitating over to her own spot under the tree. It was at this point, the yasoi removed her Jamb’ysp she had been sucking on, prefering to taste the orange without the sharp taste of tar in her mouth.
”Skyborn.” Casii repeated, carefully sounding out her Avincian. It was a new word for her but she could understand what it meant considering the levitation. Good to know. ”Think me’n you are just like yer Gran Nan here. It’s got its fruits and we got our family gift.” She offered lightly with a mouthful of orange in her mouth. There was some missing context in her allegory with the fruits being an advantage over other trees. Lures to spread their seed far and wide from animals that came to gorge themselves. Family gifts were the same way, at least in Casii’s nature themed comparison, but Jocasta’s second sigh cut off the explanation.
”Casii.” She replied, taking another bite and offering a slightly sticky, wet hand back. All from the orange, thankfully. ”It ain’t like home but yer right. It takes a special sort to stay here like this. Toughin’ the heat’n everythin’ else out like that. Givin’ you’n all us somethin’ more than just fruit, ya know.”
“Hun,” said Jocasta, eyes darting from Casii’s sticky hand to her face and back, “You forget, these are my feet, too.” She held her hands up. “I need ‘em clean to push my wheels.” She’d seen the yasoi’s curious looks and imagined that they were both fairly used to being on the receiving end of those. “But I’ll give you a magic handshake, if that’s just alright with you.” She shaped a hand out of telekinesis, her precision something only a tethered or a true master could manage, and shook Casii’s. “Now, much as I could just stay here all day, we’ve a crisis at hand and someone elected me to deal with about half of it.” One more deep breath. In, and out. “I hope this helped you get settled. I’ll have someone come by in a few and complete your tour, get you up to speed.” She was reaching down, uncrossing her legs. Jocasta paused for a moment, about to lift off. “Give you a room you probably won’t use,” she joked. “And then we’ll get you training people, ready for that aberration-addled dragon. We’ll win.” The tethered took a moment to roll her neck. She was honestly well-rested. It was just stress, all of it. “Oh, and before I forget, I think we might have a greengrowth here. She doesn’t know much about her abilities, but she’s usually attached to this tree like you wouldn’t believe, and it always seems to grow better in her presence. Luisa’s her name. Now…” she began straightening her dress. “I have so much to do and so few hours to do it in.”
Casii looked down at her hand, confused for a moment. What was wrong with her hand? Sure it had orange juice and pulp on it but that was just the benefit of eating a fresh fruit. Still, the yasoi didn’t protest the exchange. In fact, it only made an eyebrow raise as it felt exactly like a hand shaking hers. Not just any hand but a hand and grip like what Jocasta’s hand would have been.
There was a quiet consideration as Casii turned away and as the other continued to speak, going on about her responsibilities it was clear to see her initial instinct had been right. There was nothing fragile about the wheelchair bound girl at all. She even had the underlining confidence. A low chuckle escaped from the yasoi’s mouth as she stuffed another bit of orange in her mouth to suppress her tell.
”Send her my way. Actually, I’m sure I’ll see her soon.” She muttered dutifully as she pried apart the orange, spattering juice into her face. ”I could teach her somethin’.”
Before Jocasta could get entirely away, Casii raised her head, an amused smile returning to her face as she turned to meet the other’s gaze. ”You know, I knew yer tougher than you appear.” She chuckled again, quietly approving of the answer to her earlier question of just who was in charge here. She turned back to her orange, fishing out seeds and stuffing them into her bag. ”You’ll know where to find me if yer in need of me.” She uttered, shifting her attention to the messy corpse of the orange she was now dissecting.
Jocasta was already rising, her gravity loop beginning once more. “Tellin’ me I don’t look tough?” she teased, “With arms like these?” She flexed playfully. Side effect of using her arms for everything: they were huge. “Anyways, It was a pleasure meeting you, and thank you for coming here. I’ll see you when I see you.” She turned daintily in the air and was back in her wheeled-chair moments later. Then, she was gone.
Deserted 1.3: A Lion and a Deer meet Interactions: Ayla @Ti Evening of 1.2 Casii is about to fall asleep and Ayla was practicing her dancing. Casii thinks the little Yanii is silly but Ayla is very sensitive.
With Casii’s first day coming to a close, marked by the setting desert sun, she had come to at least somewhat tolerate this place. This was entirely due to the Gran Nan she had claimed as her own for the next few days. If she didn’t want anything, she’d be here. If she wasn’t required, she’d be here. Thankfully her only assignment, that of instructing Luisa a bit on being a greengrowth. It wasn’t hard. The whole family gift revolved around being natural, at least as far as her opinion was concerned. She wasn’t sure a Yanii would get it but Luisa did fine, showing an understanding and maybe an improvement after an afternoon of trials.
That left Casii with Gran Nan to herself and an evening sun to relax to. Climbing to one of the more robust branches of the orange tree, the yasoi reclined laying sprawled out on the bark, letting her limbs dangle off of the sides as she looked out into the rest of the complex. She still wasn’t sure if she belonged but at least she had this.
The momentarily peace would easily be disturbed by the noise occurring by the pool where a light framed girl in swim clothes seemed to be humming and singing followed by the repeated splash as she fell into the water before her. To her credit, the girl is getting herself back out, then attempting whatever it is she is doing again.
“It seemed so simple…” the girl muttered to herself. She tries again as she starts to sing a silent song, then like fingers upon a piano, the tones of the song play as she steps out upon the surface of the water. The girl makes some distance this time before the music ends with an uncharacteristic splosh.
Casii felt her eyelids grow heavy, fluttering in near sleep as she reached the height of comfort. It would have been nice to fall asleep there but the plunge of water made her snap awake. A scowl folded on the yasoi’s face as she lifted her head off of the branch and scanned the Great Baths. A muttering voice was around and Casii dropped her head with an audible sigh. Guess she wasn’t getting any sleep.
She lifted herself and nimbly navigated over to a perch on a higher branch that had an unobscured view of her intruder. Another student, this one floundering in the water. With the same posture as before, Casii dropped her stomach on the branch and let her limbs dangle as she watched, trying to figure out what in tarnation this Yanii was doing. It wasn’t long before she hollered.
”Hey Yanii! Yer gettin’ all wet!” She called out with a laugh, heckling the poor girl.
Ayla looks up towards the talking tree? It is at that moment she starts to notice that it seems a lot greener than before as she casts her eyes up towards it as she exits the pool. “Good thing that we are not wearing our Blancho best then.”, she calls in return, before considering the situation for a moment. She does a silent clap of her hands, before it erupts, the excess water upon her skin scattered around her. “You must be one of the new students from the academy, pleased to meet you. Would take your hand but…”, she moves over to tug upon a branch tip, as if shaking the hand of the tree.
Casii watched from her perch as the little Yanii climbed out of the water and casted to dry herself off. ”Blan-cho? What are you on about?” She uttered giving a look of confusion since she wasn’t quite as knowledgeable in Avincian words. She didn’t really care for the answer and instead something became even more pressing as Casii witnessed the Yanii reach out and shake a branch on the tree.
”You shaking Gran Nan’s branch… like a hand? Yer not very smart, aren’t you Yanii?” Now Casii just felt bad. She rolled from her branch, sliding off like a slug from her perch and down to a lower branch, adding a touch of Kinetic magic to slow her momentum enough for her to easily swing up and around and land in a low crouch at the base of the very same branch Ayla was shaking.
”I’m over ‘ere, Yanii. I ain’t a tree.” She tilted her head giving Ayla a patronizing look.
Ayla offers a smile as she looks towards the strange lanky individual, “Did you say your name was Gran Nan? Used to have one myself, she had white hair too.” She takes one of the ripe naranja from the branch, then offers it towards the shy girl. “My name is Ayla, not Yanii. Is Yanii the name of your friend you are looking for?”. As she examines the girl closely, she starts to notice some uncharacteristic aspects of her appearance, “Do you happen to be… a yasoi?”, she asks questioningly.
Casii could feel her head tilt the other way at the name confusion. Gran Nan? She was sure she said Gran Nan’s branch. ”I ain’t Gran Nan. Gran Nan is the tree.” She curled her hand into a fist, tapping on the branch she was crouched on. ”You were shakin’ the branch, remember?”
The Yasoi let herself fall back, plopping onto her bum and lounged against the trunk. She quietly took the orange, though not exactly hungry, but instead twirled it in her idle hands. ”No. Yer a Yanii whose name is Ayla. And yes. I’m a yasoi. What gave it away?” She mused, giving the orange a toss and catch. ”Goin’ too fast for ya, Yanii?”
Ayla frowns as she looks towards the girl, “It seems you are not used to interacting with humans. It is considered polite in our society to provide one with a name, and to address others by their name.” She takes a moment to breathe, then relaxes, and starts again. “My name is Ayla Arslan, it is a pleasure to meet you, Miss…?”, she tilts her head as she offers out her hand, giving the wrist a shaking moment as to ‘hint’ what the custom is to do in this situation.
Casii’s eyebrows raised as she considered the reaction. Yewwie this girl really ain’t been around enough. Better to take it slow and now it made sense what that other one had asked her. Keep an eye out for this one and that other one like they needed help. Sure enough they’d need help if Ayla was the measure.
”Alright, Ay-la, I am called Casii.” She reached out and accepted, even shook Ayla’s offered hand. ”But you oughta know, Yanii is what I call yer kin. It is a yasoi word for humans and I wanna keep usin’ it. Hope that don’t hurt your sensitivities’n all that. It’s just natural.”
Casii touted, flashing a smug grin as she finally peeled apart the orange she was offered and bit into it. ”Just what are you doin’ out ‘ere anyway. Water dancin’?”
“Do you prefer to be called Yasoi, instead of Cas-ee ?”, she adopts the similar type of pronunciation as the girl, not sure if that is a typical yasoi custom or not. “It would have been rude for me to address you as such, you’re a person, a being, more than a thing.”, she nods towards her, using her reaffirming talk, “... and in a manner of speaking, yes, was practicing water dancing. Getting better at it too. ”
The yasoi scoffed, shaking her head in a disapproving way in response to Ayla’s question. ”If you wanna be that way, I don’t right much care what you call me, Yan~ii~.” She flourished with her tone proudly, not taking a liking to being directly confronted like that. Back home you’d only start doing that if you were looking to start something and there is no way Ayla would survive if she was going to start something.
”Yea yer great’n all but why bother with dancin’ right now? It ain’t gonna do much when a giant dragon eats you’n everyone else whole.” She took a big bite of her orange to play into the point but she didn’t believe it. No way was everyone going to be eaten. Only those smart or strong enough to avoid it. ”Maybe yer dance can distract the dragon or somethin’.”
Ayla frowns, as she considers the situation a moment, “You know, they do say bullies are cowards…”, she ponders as she whimsically makes a delay, “Perhaps hiding in a tree and throwing barbed insults will take care of the Sand Wyrm.”, the jab obviously referencing current events. “As for dancing at this hour, practice makes perfect.” Ayla moves her hands together as if clapping, only for it to be heard behind Casii’s head as an orange from the tree erupts, splitting as if crushed, spilling its juices, though Ayla deliberately did not use the one within the girls hand for her demonstration. ”Perhaps we should retire to bed, rest is needed for the morning. Buenas noches, Cas-ee.”
Poor Ayla, Casii considered as she thought she’d be getting a lecture. That thinking was too pure for what life really was. If you were too soft, you’d be squished by everyone and everything. This girl probably never got squished but Casii wasn’t about to be the one to rob the sweet innocence of someone like that. She bit her tongue, ready for the lecture… and was pleasantly surprised.
No lecture but a little show of teeth brought a smile to Casii’s lips. She wasn’t mad or stung by Ayla’s words, rather amused by the comment even laughing through her nose as she dug into her orange a bit more. She’d only peel herself away from her orange to watch the little display of Ayla channeling her magic, sound bursting an orange nearby. ”Well shoot, should have just said yer dancin’ helped you channel. Lead with that next time to shut a few mouths up before they start.” Casii’s own lecture was starting to slip in as she took, quickly scarfed down the remainder of her orange in that next second.
”I sleep ‘ere. I ain’t much like rooms or beds or buildins like you’n them all Yaniis like. But reckon we can sleep. Night, Yanii.” Casii offered as she dusted her hands together to wipe away any of the orange juice clinging to as she turned to climb up back to her cozy branch she had found earlier. ”Oh and Yanii!” Casii hollered from her perch. ”Try’n not take things so seriously. It ain’t gonna work with us if yer gettin’ worked up all the time. I ain’t meanin’ most of it.”
Ayla also recalls the other tale for when confronting a bully, they soon back down when they face any resistance. She silently continues to move over to her towel, covering up her figure as she makes her way out of the courtyard, offering a light wave of her hand in farewell as she leaves.
Deserted 1.4: Tangling with the Yaniis Interactions: Zarina @YummyYummy One day prior to 1.5 Casii ambushed Zarina outside of her room in the morning. They suck on breakfast melons together. They clash over spitting versus swallowing and sasuage.
It had been a day since Casii’s arrival in a strange new land. Deserts were honestly frightening at first and yet as her understanding grew, it became an intriguing place. They were barren of most vegetation from view but they seemed to be life defiantly clinging on in what she counted as inhospitable place. It was inspiring to say the least. How the animals and plantlife defied their circumstances and thrived.
If they could do it, Casii could too. Starting first with figuring out just who the hell these Yaniis were that she was stuck with.
There wasn’t a particular order but considering she only knew two by name at this point, thanks to the bag of bones she spoke to a few days ago, might as well start with them.
Casii was an early enough riser that she beat most people to wake up. Dressing in a loose green tunic that dipped beyond her waist and a pair of cloth leggings that had a very basic pattern, she was pretty much ready for the day. Dawn’s first light was always a warming sight for her so she never missed that but after the sun crested the horizon, she moved to hover around the rooms where her classmates were likely waking.
Perching herself on the balcony, Casii lounged delicately along the low wall in the open hallway. One leg was propped up on the wall, the other kicked from the knee down in boredom as she waited for her first target. Zarina.
She heard the door open and Casii turned to spit a wad of tar from her mouth as she shifted the Jamb’ysp from her bottom lip to her cheek to speak clearer. ”Mornin’ Yanii. You get yer beauty sleep alright?”
Zarina was taking her sweet time. As per routine, she was generally awake a good half-hour before the sun broke through the horizon and thus had some time to kill before she could do anything with the other residents. Today she took an early morning bath! And boy did she enjoy it. The light splashes and the loud humming were easy to hear from the other side of her quarters’ door, almost taunting anyone that would be waiting for her. She did, eventually, dry up and get ready for the day with a visage that was about as fresh as it got with the local insomniac. A little bit of covering up here and there and she looked normal enough.
Finally, the door opened and Casii greeted the Virangish with a drawl that Zaz did not recognize. Not that it mattered too much as the tall teen nearly jumped in place and gasped at the sight of a supposed stalker with a look she definitely wasn’t used to. Okay, she was exaggerating a tad, Casii wasn’t that scary and Zarina wasn’t really caught off guard, but it was rude to wait outside her door like that! Or so she thought anyway, ”Fuck!” she clenched her chest, feigning a near-heart attack, ”At least wait until I’ve had breakfast.” she looked around to see if there wasn’t a sort of ploy going on, ”... What’s up?” she inquired with her own, foreign accent, ”What’s a Yanii? Are you making fun of me?”
Casii brought her tongue around to shift around the Jamb’ysp in her mouth as she watched Zarina react to her sudden greeting. She wasn’t sure if it was a Yanii thing to do, but being attuned to life, she could sense the reactions to stimuli in living things. It got more diverse and complicated as the life grew complex. Plants had them, especially to the sun and water. Animals had them with favorite foods. Yasoi and Yanii and their emotions. So why the fright? Casii didn’t feel that to be right.
She spat tar onto the floor of the hallway as Zarina continued before finally opening with her questions. Casii spat again, nearly hitting the same spot she made earlier. ”Yanii means human.” She stated matter-of-factly, mulling over her regional word for human. It was a different term compared to the proper Yasoi language. Not exactly as flattering but it wasn’t anything bad. Just what they called them. The prospect of talking about her own kind had interested her enough to sit up. ”Err… I’m forgettin’ the Yanii word for it but only a small number of my kin’n I use it. It ain’t bad.”
Casii turned, shifting to face Zarina fully, bringing her legs up to fold over one another in a seated position. Her fingers drummed on both of her knees as she continued. ”’Fraid I’m talkin’ shit about ya, Yanii? I ain’t even know you. Yet. Figured I’d start.”
She turned her head and spat another wad of tar, this time outside of the hallway. She already knew Zarina’s name and a bit about her. At least what her sister was willing to share but it wouldn’t do to come forth with that. She had to keep that on the hush. ”So spill, Yanii. What’s yer name and all that?”
Zarina squinted at the Yasoi after a certain mannerism of her’s became a clear habit. The spitting was not a pleasant sight, and even less pleasant to hear. She set her hands on her hips, her posture making her appear as tall as she could before she spoke, ”Right. Human. What do humans usually call you? Or can I make somethin’ up?” her jaw shifted when she saw Casii spit yet another time. She did not like that at all.
The Virangish looked to her left, where the row of doors leading to bedrooms was, and then to right which led to a group of halls with the kitchen at the very end. Zarina pointed in that direction in particular, ”You mind if we move? They’re still sleeping. And I’m hungry.” less so now that she witnessed all that spitting, but she was a slave to her early day routines. She began to walk, turning her head slightly to see if the peculiar female was following or not. If she did, Zarina would blink and stop for just a small moment. It’d probably be the first time she’d meet a girl taller than her, or at least noticeably taller. Boy was she in for a surprise back in school.
”I’m Zarina. Zaz is fine.” she spoke during the little stroll through the empty halls of the still sleeping Refuge, ”Yours?”
Casii’s turn to squint in displeasure followed shortly after being asked what humans called her. She didn’t think this Yanii had the best intentions if given her choice of name to call her. ”Yasoi. That’s it.” She injected quickly in reply.
She eased up a little as Zarina offered to move this conversation elsewhere. That was fine but part of stationing outside of their doors was to catch them all at once and get it over with. Now some might slip away and it would become a whole deal to track them down. Despite her reluctance, she lifted her shoulders. ”Fine by me, Yanii.”
Casii leapt up from her perch and stepped quickly to reach Zarina’s side, pausing with her Yanii. She turned and met Zarina’s surprised look, tilting her head wondering what that was about for a moment before finally getting a formal introduction.
”Zaz.” Casii repeated getting a feel for the sound before turning her head and spitting again. ”Okay then. I’m Casii.” She turned and continued walking down the hallway. ”You’n ‘em all in your group get along? I ain’t never met many Yaniis so don’t reckon I know how y’all get along.”
Again with the spitting. The cringe was more apparent on Zarina’s expression with some of her features involuntarily twitching at the sound alone. Still, she didn’t speak up about it. It was far too early for whining and complaining. She let out a loud and conspicuous sigh right after it, hoping the Yasoi could correlate it with the incessant purging of tar.
”Casii. That’s a pleasant name. Sounds pretty …” she pauses, ”Yanii.” and then she chuckles before throwing a little smile over to her newfound friend. The not-so-tall teen paused to think though her legs kept going. The smell of the kitchen was keeping her going and it looked as though the staff was already preparing meals for the residents at this hour, ”I think we get along. Nobody’s tried to kill anyone. Yet.” she shrugged.
They got to the kitchen, and adjacent to the relatively large facility was a large dining room meant for the youths. Coffee was already at their disposal, so she took a cup and poured one for herself, ”Want some, Yasoi?” she waved a second, empty cup, ”Am I the first you’ve met, by the way?” she asked while pouring for Casii regardless if she drank or not. It was proper manners to at least leave such a beverage at one’s disposal, even if they weren’t too interested, ”If so, you at least got the rough shit out of the way.”
Casii’s lips scrunched up and eyes squinted as Zaz turned her word against her. ”No, it ain’t. Casii is as Yasoi as… everythin’ else.” She retorted, bordering between serious offense and light-heartedness.
She supposed that the Yanii group she got stuck with getting along was good. It wouldn’t do if they were at each other’s throats and somehow Casii had to mediate. That wouldn’t go well at all. Still, the answer wasn’t exactly what she had expected. Wasn’t Yanii supposed to be very communal and bonding compared to Yasoi? Like herd animals she’d often hear back home. Yet here Zaz was saying they weren’t exactly fawning over each other. Just getting along. That was confusing, she had to admit. ”Oh. Good’n all.”
The kitchen didn’t quite prompt her hunger. In fact, the smell brought a tinge of repulsion as she smelled meat being cooked. She was vegetarian, believing that plants gave food willingly. Animals didn’t. It was a complicated belief and one that did allow eggs to be eaten, at least. She bit her tongue but her demeanor changed when entering the kitchen. She was tense and clearly bothered. It didn’t help that they left the open air for one reeking of burning animal fat. All packaged in the Yanii made walls and furniture of their dining room.
Casii turned and spat. Her hands fiddled with her bag. ”Coffee? Sure, yea.” She accepted but placed it on a table, not taking a drink. ”Yea you’n the group here will be the first I talk much with. I ain’t talked much at the school.” She spoke fast, finally conceding to a baser instinct and swiftly reaching into her bag. She pulled out an unsplit Jamb’ysp and cracked the shell into two pieces, revealing the black tar she had been sucking on. She placed one half into her mouth to join the first while offering the other with an outstretched hand.
”Want it?” She offered, shuffling and fidgeting in place before turning to spit again.
The discomfort didn’t go unnoticed, though Zarina clearly appeared somewhat apathetic to it. It was only fair that both of them were a tad grossed out and not just Zarina with all that unsanitary spitting. Still, the steaming, dark coffee would potentially help with that should she drink it, given how strong the stuff was. The Virangish certainly indulged in her drink however– she needed it with how little sleep she got most nights of the week. With a single ‘sip’ about a third of the cup was already gone. ”Really?” she raised her eyebrows at the revelation that she was not only the first member she met, but supposedly the first ‘Yanii’ too? She didn’t seem quite sure what to make of it, so she ended up opening her arms with a halfhearted smile on her face, ”Well it’s an honor to claim your first,” she said with an abundantly clear sarcasm, ”and you’re my first Yasoi. Truly a romance worthy of the theaters of Perrence.” she chuckled and winked at the one sitting opposite of her.
Again, spitting. It wasn’t enough to ruin Zarina’s mood at this point, and with an offering coming from Casii’s behalf, she let it slide completely, ”What’s thi- Oh.” it was the spitting material. Zaz pursed her lips and just looked at the Jamb’ysp half given to her, ”Do you just chew and spit it?” she seized the piece with her thumb and index fingers, bringing it close to her face for a sniff, ”... Does it make your teeth look gross? Or, like, do I HAVE to spit it?”
Both of Casii’s heels tapped lightly and rhythmically on the tiled floor. Her fingers drummed on the wooden table, joining the quiet orchestra of her Yasoi fidgeting. It wasn’t out of discomfort but usual inclination for her kind. Her discomfort was still present in her face, scrunching her face every time she got a strong whiff of the cooking just in the next room.
She’d scrunch her face again, but this time it was a reaction to what Zaz was saying. Romance? Casii had only understood that word in Avancian as the word to describe sexual partners. Was the Yanii joking or were they really light about sex? She eyed Zaz up and down as if she considered it as an offer but ultimately decided to let that line pass, hopefully sparing her from making an awkward response.
”Yea, Jamb’ysp.” She waved it in front a little just before Zaz took it from her hand. ”Yea you wanna be spittin’. It ain’t the type to settle right if you swallow.” Casii started before entering a low chuckle as she considered a dirty implication of swallowing. ”A bit like suckin’ someone off. Right nasty if yer takin’ that in.”
Casii turned and spat again but used that to lead into reaching into her bag and withdrawing a melon seed. She placed it down on the table, pinning the top and bottom of the seed with fingers. She channeled mana into the seed. It sprouted suddenly and the green, healthy stock grew swiftly and in a matter of a moments it germinated, spawning a ripe green melon that plomped on the table with a thud.
”Here. If yer hungry, I wouldn’t pop the Jamb’ysp into yer mouth yet. Eat first.” She raised her other hand and curled her hand into a fist. She dropped it down on the melon, splitting it with a bit of Force magic deftly applied.
Zarina just stared at the chuckling Yasoi. Lips only slightly parted, posture unmoving and the coffee left to cool before it could be finished. It went from light humors of romantic tropes to swallowing. The judging was off the charts, and slowly her gaze narrowed. This was awkward and she definitely needed a moment to ponder her strategy with this one. But, luckily for her, the Yasoi had something to ease some tension from the situation: A melon! … Sucking, melons. Vashdal help this lass.
”Err, wow.” a curious hand reached out toward the newly formed fruit that had just been prepped by Casii, ”Don’t mind if I do.” she seized this opportunity to let that previous exchange just kind of slip by. Using her own force magic, she waved her index in a perfectly vertical motion, which would cut a piece of the severed Melon, and then a little curve with the same finger to detach the orange piece of delicious fruitiness away from the shell. Then, she indulged, ”Mmm …” she chewed, chewed and chewed before taking another piece.
”This is fucking good.” she rapidly pointed at the opened melon, eyes wide with enthusiasm, ”How- just, like, how did you do that?”
Casii lifted her shoulders in a lazy shrug before reaching out to drum her index fingers on the melon she had just grown. ”Yanii call it Greengrowth. Castin’ leaks to other livin’ creatures so I just cast everythin’ into the melon. Easy.”
”Easy she says.” Zarina mumbles. Her arms crossed under her chest and her back sagged against her chair as she let the pieces of melon levitate into her mouth whilst she listened to the long-eared newcomer.
She wasn’t hungry, having eaten the parent melon that this melon’s seed had come from just a moment ago. ”Savin’ the seeds though. Need ‘em.” The second Jamb’ysp she had taken was starting to take effect. The room seemed to spread out like looking through a fish’s eye while the colors saturated, bleeding over into the other colors and mixing. Naturally, Casii’s words were starting to sound a bit more slurred as her attention to keeping her Jamb’ysp from impeding her speech was placed to the wayside.
”Better than that there kitchen stuff.” She gestured her head over towards the kitchen. ”Meat is no good’n gettin’ sick of smellin’ it. Don’t ya, too?”
The Virangish squinted at her Yasoi counterpart. The effects of what she had just ingested were becoming evident. A subtle brush of her hand over her side of the table had that Jam-grub be flung further away (although not on the floor, she’d be damned if a kid at this). The accent Casii wore was bad enough on its own, but now that it was slurred too, Zarina could only just stare in awkward silence as she only got about half of what was asked, only uttering a loud ”Uhhhh.” to pad out the moment, ”Yeaaaaaahhhh?” she shrugged with a clearly confused grimace.
Although, as fate would have it, the cooked sausages were about ready to be served and some were available on the buffet table already. Clapping her hands together, Zarina stood to indulge in some of them, plus some churros that came along with it and some freshly made, goat-milk produced cream, ”Want some, yasoi?” she shot a smile at Casii.
Yeah? Casii didn’t believe the Virangish girl, but the Yanii would soon get the chance to prove herself. The food came out and the extra Jamb’ysp had done its part to dull her senses to endure what was a fairly uncomfortable experience. This was her seriously trying to get to know her Yanii classmates and she didn’t want it to go poorly. Zaz seemed alright by Yanii standards, Casii quietly mused as she watched her collect her breakfast. Hopefully she would understand that the Yasoi did not want to see…
Meat. Sausages, specifically. Casii cringed as the Viragnish brought one up for a first bite. The smell was puncturing now and the vegetarian retreated her hands to hide her nervous fidgeting. ”Can you not eat those in front of me.” Casii stiffened trying to sound diplomatic but her tone had taken quite the turn to be more severe.
Zarina was just about ready to dig in. Knife and fork in hands, the still greasy and steaming piece of meat was about to be punctured for an added dose of stomach churning aromas. But it seemed as though Casii’s speech was a bit more digestible when put in distress- enough so to get Zarina to stop and look up at her, ”Hmmm? You don’t like sausages?” she asked with a somewhat dumb look on her face. She was hesitant to just eat a piece anyway, because that sausage really looked good.
The Virangish opted to just drop the utensils, pushed the plate away and just plucked a churro from her tainted breakfast so she could at least enjoy that, ”Shame, they’re actually real good. Churro?” she waves the long piece of sugary carbs. Its shape resembled a sausage too, and the smell from both the kitchen and the plate really helped to imagery here, ”Extra good with the cream, too. Better than uh-” she paused, recalling her own nauseating experience with Casii. A quick dip in the cream later and she took her first bite from the treat, ”Mmm. Better than riding through the Torraro coastline.”
Perhaps under different circumstances, you know, without any gross looking sausages being around stinking up the room, Casii would have loved to have tried a churro. Instead, the offer was spoiled by the presence of something hated. ”No thanks.” She sneered, suspecting the offer wasn’t quite as innocent as Zaz was making it out to be. In retaliation, Casii instinctively turned her head and spat, having spent the past few minutes collecting a considerable wad of tar and saliva.
”Never been. One day.” She commented on it but quickly relented to her impulse to try and leave this damned room. ”You wanna go outside, somewhere?” Between the smell of meat, seeing sausage, and the double Jamb’ysp she had been sucking on, she was starting to feel sick to her stomach.
Speaking of spoiling, nothing was more appetizing than seeing a sky-high Yasoi spit a wad of Jamb-shit and mucus into the floor just a couple of feet away from you. Zarina’s facial features twitched at the sight. The accumulated sleep debt and natural explosiveness of her person brought her to a near-headache at such foul sights. The Virangish’s mouth remained slightly agape, her stare directed at the impact point of the spit. It was important for Casii to notice this, and when she did Zarina would turn her gaze toward the tattoo’d face before her, ”Is it some sacred rite from your people to belch literal shit while eating?” she too had her appetite ruined and tossed her churro onto her discarded plate with a rough swing of her hand.
”Alright, new rule.” she tapped both her hands on her side of the table and rose up, ”No sausages. But no more fuckin’ spittin’ indoors.” a very crude imitation of the Yasoi’s drawl, ”To ensure the safety and prospering of future breakfasts. Yeah?” a tad aggressive, but her restraint testified to her desire to keep some peace. The Yasoi was gross, but at least tried to be enjoyable.
Casii followed Zaz’s appalled gaze to her spit before turning back to the clearly antagonized glare awaiting her. The Yasoi found her teeth clenching as the Yanii made a stab at her race, not quite understanding that is more meant for her. In hindsight, it was silly to get worked up about but there was a lot going through Casii’s head. It was difficult to search through the rationale part while stressed at the very moment.
Of course when Zaz rose up, Casii rose up as well, her chair sliding away in a rush as she was prepared to meet whatever Zaz intended. It was a common enough thing for her to fight back home and Casii believed if this Yanii was moving to try her luck, she’d be ready. It wasn’t quite as aggressive and the Yasoi only kept her glare trained on Zarina’s face, eyes darting around as if searching for something.
Zarina was about ready to square off as body languages were getting a bit too aggressive. Was the Yasoi going to leap onto her? Humans seldom dealt with them these days, so extra twitchiness was to be expected.
Casii would relent, her expression easing slightly. ”Fine. No spittin’. But pardon me if I ain’t much of an indoors person in the first place.” She withdrew a few steps from the table. ”Enjoy your breakfast in peace.” With that, Casii turned and walked out. Once outside and back out in the open space, she spat another wad of tar into the courtyard before heading off to her sanctuary she carved out of herself.
The Virangish relaxed the moment Casii complied and abandoned all stiffness in her disposition. The tension in the air had lightened at the very least, ”Aye. Enjoy the cool morning air before it chokes with the heat.” she didn’t stick around and packed some of her food and coffee to enjoy in her quarters. Zarina didn’t quite feel like dealing with people this morning after all.
Deserted 1.5: Call to Action Interactions: The Deserted Group Present
Casii felt the world around her rush into view as she awoke. The Great Bath was still cloaked in the veil of night but she had a feeling that dusk would be arriving soon.The yasoi stirred to life, uncurling herself from her nest up in the Gran Nan orange tree. She threw off the blanket she had helped herself to the previous night. As it turns out, the desert gets cold at night but nobody ever talks about that.
Rising to her feet, Casii stretched her long body out and moved to get herself awake and to check to see how the rest of the Refuge was doing. She navigated the branches to face more into the Great Bath’s alcove, making sure to give each of her newly planted orange trees a once over. Several new orange trees were introduced as noninvasive as she could help it. They made the Great Bath feel closed off with the new additions acting as a perimeter wall. These trees weren’t as impressive but they did bear fruit and Casii would use them instead of Gran Nan if she required the mass.
It helped to have another greengrowth and teaching Luisa the intricacies of managing her family’s gift had afforded Casii the ability to go wild. Looking beyond her new trees, the Refuge seemed to be stirring to life this early in the morning. A night’s watchman ran past, his lantern weakly flickering from lack of care to add more fuel.
Casii squinted, crouching low as she considered the sight. They should be sluggish at this hour, not that energetic. She mulled it over in her head and decided to slip away from her commandeered nature reserve to further investigate.
She moved, light on her feet, to furthest branch reaching just enough to packed wall of orange trees. Leaping onto one of those tree’s branches, she moved from tree to tree until eventually reaching the staff’s patio. From there she climbed up to the roof of one of the buildings and ran across towards the front of the Refuge.
It wasn’t hard to notice in the great distance of nothing but sand, a few lights on this still dark morning. A collection of Yanii soldiers marched, lanterns held by some lighting their way. They were making no secret about their arrival, likely messengers arriving. A prelude to the soldiers she had been briefed about.
Quietly, the yasoi exhaled coming to a stop and turned around. She reached into her bag and pulled out a roll of smokeleaf sticking one end into her mouth while she climbed back down to the staff patio. A lantern had been graciously provided and present for her to take the smokeleaf joint, light it using the flames of the lantern. She took a great puff, smoke exhaled through her mouth as she climbed to the patio railing. She sat on the edge, looking out at the Great Bath that had pretty much been her home this past day, admiring the bits of overgrowth she and Luisa had done. It felt a bit like home and this felt like one last admiration.
Interaction: None 3.1: Siege of Relouse / Why Her?
Camille wasn’t sure where Claude was taking her but she went with it, her mind felt glazed over enough that she passively followed. His arm wrapped around her back, hand pulling her in felt too comfortable for her to leave anyway. Although as the furied lightning behind them faded behind them, thoughts of her friend Armand began to gnaw at the back of her head. What did Claude mean? He was still alive, right? Just left the area when things got bad… but she knew. The pain in Claude’s voice was there. She was stupid to think that her friend was…
Her mind drifted but eventually they had reached a point where Claude stopped and withdrew his hand from her shoulder. Camille absently looked around, settling her eyes on the river headed towards the sea. Her greatsword slipped from her grip, clattering to the ground on the edge of feeling something she didn’t want to. She wanted to ask what happened but she never found the right words and the two stood in silence.
She finally braved a glance at her companion, noticing instantly that he was nursing his hand. The very same hand that had been clinging to her shoulder. His whole hand was charred black, the leather of his glove burned away and the metal of his gauntlet was smelted and fused to the discolored flesh from a strike of great heat.
”Claude! You’re hurt!” Camille cried out, throwing off her helmet as she rushed over. Claude forced a chuckle. ”Heh. Funny story, that. One of those bolts was close enough to arc towards us after impact. I could feel it in my hand, the ricochet.” He huffed, wincing, as Camille wrapped her hands around his hand. ”Gods, the power that wielder is throwing. I deflected what I could but my hand.. Well that’s the result of playing with Thunder magic.” He chuckled, only this one sounded more sincere.
”Dami, please, heal my friend’s hand. Judge him kindly for saving me.” Camille chanted under her breath. She thought of removing the burned metal and healing his skin. The energies Dami bestowed her, quickly ran from her and into Claude’s hand. The metal seemed to burn away while the burned tissue seemed to quickly be replaced by new flesh growing underneath, dissolving away the damaged flesh. It only took a minute but his hand was nearly good as new when she heard Claude speak up again.
”I’m sorry, girl. Armand didn’t make it.”
A lump hung in her throat. She knew what he meant, even before he uttered the words to end any doubt. It wasn’t what he said but hearing his normally chipper voice waver as he passed the news was what made Camille break.
Her eyes welled up with tears, keeping her head down focused on healing her friend. She shouldn’t be crying like this. She had to be tough, inspire others as people often told her. Her role didn’t allow her to be soft. Maybe she might have managed to shake her grief but Claude knew better than to let her. ”It’s okay to cry, Camille.”
From all the time she had known Claude. He never did two things. One, willfully called her by her name and two, he always told her to play up this saintly, above everything attitude. She had to be stoic for the people and inspire them.
Camille whimpered as her lips quivered. Claude reacted immediately, withdrawing his now healed hand and wrapped it up and around the back of Camille’s head, pulling her into a kiss on her forehead before holding her tightly to his chest. She immediately broke down in a wail. Why did she have to be so weak? Maybe if she didn’t have to cry, she might have saved Armand.
Why was she chosen at all when she couldn’t even save people she cared about?
Interaction: None 3.2: Siege of Relouse / Dami’s Answer
Camille wasn’t sure how much time had passed. The sounds of battle and frantic activity persisted all around and yet, she wanted to continue to let herself go in Claude’s tight embrace. Her confliction about it was there but she felt too weak to push away or find her resolve until she was served a reminder of her duty.
”Merde.” She heard Claude utter as heat soon kissed the back of her neck. It was strong enough for her to finally peel her head away from Claude’s chest and look to the source. Fire. A great burst that had ignited the infirmary tents just beyond the river. Tents burned, people were crying out at least those unlucky enough to survive the initial burst. Camille’s heart clenched at the revelation in her head that this was no accident.
No, this was a move made by the Eskandr. A heartless, wretched move to slay the sick and wounded and the very good souls that did their best to preserve their life…
Camille felt her jaw tighten and fingers curl in a low burning frustration. This. All of this was their fault. The war. Her life being stolen. Countless people dead. Armand…
What did they get out of this? She didn’t have the education to understand the answer to that. It wouldn’t make sense but there was one thing that did. Her creed and her role.
”It’s their fault, isn’t it!” Camille spat, her frustration starting to boil over in a rage. She pushed away from Claude, striding over to her greatsword.
Dami, give me strength. All of it! Let me protect your people!
She recited in her head as she picked up her sword. She turned and took a few steps before looking back at the river. She strode forward in a sudden burst of speed. Claude called out from behind. ”Wait now, girl! I don’t–” He started but Camille wouldn’t be around to hear what he said next. Instead she leapt, Dami’s Strength coursing through her muscles as she easily cleared the river. Not missing a stride, she landed and continued in an olympian pace through the torched tents and dying wails of the burned Perrench.
She knew this was caused by someone and she didn’t need to search for long.
There she was. Laughing. An Eskandr who would give no mercy to the sick and dying, would now be given no mercy.
”That’s enough!” She shouted though she doubted the savage could understand her. Her hands curled around the grip of her greatsword. This was clearly going to be no simple matter and nerves churned her stomach with a tinge of regret. She might have started shaking, both in rage and fright standing alone here, if not for the fact that she had a tight grip on her sword.
Now wasn’t the time for regret. Now was the time for bravery. She had the Pentach at her side and there was one prayer she had that wasn’t directly praying for Damii’s intercession. It meant so much more to her. It was focused on the image of the setting sun piercing through to light the banner that had set her on this path. It was everything to her conviction and she would put all of herself behind those words. The sun swept away the darkness of her doubts.
As the image settled in her mind, it ignited her determination and her drive. She was Dami’s instrument and Dami would protect her. It was all she needed.
A golden glow began to emit from Camille’s whole body. It was dull at first, merely a candle’s light. Yet as her mind grew more focused, the light around her began to grow brighter.
”Dami. Be. My. Light.”
She proudly proclaimed her prayer and her golden aura shined like it was barely contained by Camille’s control. It radiated and pulsed like her heart. She became untouchable!
The conceptualization of my experiment began at a young age for me. Our lives are a fleeting concept, carried on the whims of our fickle creators. I sought the ambitions to be the one to escape the limiting workings of this world. Overzealous, I overextended and yet with the nurturing hands of your encouragement, I kept my aspirations enough to proceed. The initial experimentation was trying and yet I had vision of something extravagant planned.
How imprudent was I to contrive such an end without first understanding the beginning? The Doll is dead. In a deathrattle, she preserved the secret I have so carefully kept. A parting letter bequeathed on the Deserted bed where she had last been seen. Hidden from their view, I have made a request to a Confidante to retrieve the vessel and be returned. They need not be the wiser to my macabre experiment and my more, eccentric machinations.
I conclude my letter with an assurance. I shall toil away, shrouded from view. This was initially a haggard experience but one to be learned from. Murmurs of my demise are greatly exaggerated.
Her growth was stunted by the common harassment and tantrums of her kin, leading her to always be cautious and drive her to be closed off. Her family wasn’t cruel but it discouraged vulnerability, leaving Casii to either embrace it or struggle. Yet her family wasn’t all bad. Her great grandmother, Yas, had taught her the virtues of being kind fostering a rare form of gentleness. Nurturing the sick, the injured, or the depressed is a pull that Casii feels wanting to try and be benevolent to others if they are in worse or dire situations.
Outwardly, she behaves like she just doesn’t give a damn, even enacting her lack of keeping up performances. Without thinking, she’ll disregard established manners to be more comfortable. If engaged or challenged by someone that she feels threatened by, she’ll quickly turn to rage believing that the best way to settle disputes.
People just naturally make her uncomfortable in conclusion. She prefers to dance to her own tune and will do her best to avoid others.
C H A R A C T E R A P P E A R A N C E
Typical Yasoi build, Casii has a lithe frame, towering at six feet and four inches. Her hair is a bleached white usually styled over to one side of her head. Her skin is a little warmer and less gray that your typical Yasoi although to the Yasoi her most notable feature is her very meaty (to them!) and human-like nose. Her Tetsoi so far are in a light blue color with the most prominent pattern displayed on her forehead. She has two body Tetsoi, a set of asymmetric patterned rings around her right and left wrists that will mirror each other.
Clothing-wise, she doesn't have much often wearing the same clothing as the previous day, raggad with cuts and holes with basic coloring, she'd look rather ordinary had it not been for the extensive dyeing done to make some of her clothes more colorful. She'll pick up bits and pieces of clothing and might add it to her outfit if she likes it, only to discard them the next day due to a change of tastes.
L A N G U A G E S
Yasoi (Native) Avincian (Conversational) Perrench (Regionally accented and barely conversational)
T H E G I F T
❖ Chemical: Being a family of horticulturalists, there was a focus on chemical magic passed down from generation to generation. Chemical magic was at the center of this and despite the clan’s fall from grace, they still prioritize the instruction of Chemical magics for all manner of purposes. Aside from the usual biochemical applications, Casii has spent significant time studying the illusionary effects that Chemical magic has. She has a particular fondness of manipulating what others experience, whether for their benefit or to their horror.
❖ Binding: While Chemical magic is placed at the forefront of the clan, Binding magic would be quick to follow. A versatile class of magic that allowed the healing of disease or the removal of infestations. Traditionally, the family did not bother with the distinction of Blood magic, only turning that power against the pests in their fields, but many in the clan learned it as well as any other magic. Casii has made this her second class of magic for the practical purposes of being able to heal. However, she does turn this magic against the very plants and creatures if the need arises.
❖ Kinetic: Very little emphasis in the clan goes to the other schools of magic. Hardly any members nowadays will attempt to learn a tertiary class of magic because there isn’t a real need to extend that effort. Casii chose this school to model after her great grandmother, seeing the benefits of being able to manipulate forces outside of her control.
B A C K G R O U N D
They say somewhere on the Alan clan’s tree is a Perrench human ancestor and that is how the Greengrowth bloodline was introduced to the line. It, Casii has decided, is more of a colorful story that changes every time her great grandmother brings it up. A line to try and remind the children that the Yasoi and Huusoi are entwined together in a unique kinship. The story goes like this with variations included:
Your ancestor, Teclis’covish’lethan’alan, had been journeying in Perrence just after the Eskandr invasion. He was a reckless fool and found himself in trouble at the hands of a great beast / a frothing Eskandr / his own clumsiness. He would have been killed and you and I would never be here if that were the case. Thankfully he was saved by a witch / noble lady / landing on top of the poor woman thus cushioning his fall. The woman that happened to save him was a Greengrowth and after showing great compassion to the beast by healing it / healing Teclis / healing herself. Your ancestor made a strong enough impression and felt like he owed it to his savor. He spent time and eventually fell in love…
The story goes on sometimes but usually before then Casii is tuning it out. Yasoi can be Greengrowths so why complicate their history with such fiction? In fact, the origin myth of their bloodline isn’t quite as important as the development to her. Those are the stories she truly likes to hear. The ones that paint the picture of just how strong and clever they could be:
Oh yes, for a few centuries the Alan clan depended upon the Greengrowths of our line. We could grow anything and so all of our kin set out to the furthest reaches of the land to find the most exotic plants they could. They were our treasures usually and while we didn’t exchange the seeds of what we found at the Mette’stiroi, we would grow what we found and offer that instead. Many of our ancestors received their fourth name after the plant they brought back if it was fascinating or delicious enough. Segoii, Hiilay, and oh my, many others. That reminds me…
That was a different time. Even her great grandmother had managed to experience some of that real Yasoi culture. Casii loved to hear the stories because it swept her away from the sorry excuse her family has become. The vibrant and diverse gardens they had were withered husks of former glory. Unremarkable compared to the grandeur of the past:
The gardens in my childhood? Oh they were quite the sight! They used to grow whatever they could in branches, carving out planter boxes where the branches were wide enough, or making their own if a fork proved sturdy enough. I would always climb the tallest tree I could to look down at fields of colors growing in and around the leaves of the trees. It was like a field of flowers but with many colors and patterns from the different trees and bushes growing beyond our forest’s trees.. Fruit was in such an abundance that they covered the ground and the animals would come and gorge themselves. Vines grew and wrapped the trunks and our buildings and whatever cracks could support them, the smaller plants like flowers and shrubs would sprout.
The culture of preserving the life they created faded as the Yasoi as a whole grew closed off. Less of her family ventured out to collect new plants to replace those that had died off. They were controlled not to spread to rightly not invade Yasoi lands as a whole. Unfortunately, that led to the gardens dying out and the beauty that her great grandmother told of, Casii would never see. It was like how her own clan was fading from this world. Dying off from stagnation. Maybe it was the frustration of losing their work that made them bitter. Made them turn to other things to escape the sad reality of what was happening.
Ah, the aberrations. You know about those. They were only the beginning. Where one garden pest began, an infestation would grow. Smokeleaf and the fruits for wines are easy to get from our human neighbors and so they offered people like your father and mother a way to manage with everything going on. I fear the Yasoi look to anything now to keep their minds off the sickness. We are hardly going anywhere nowadays. That isn’t right. We aren’t meant to just sit here. Our lives belong out there.
Casii early on had struggled with the sickness. Many of her peers had. With so few of her people leaving to explore other lands, they felt like they were always bumping elbows, being nosy, and just being a nuisance. It flared up a lot of already existing tensions about their lot in life. Growing up, it always felt like you were getting snapped at for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It lead to a lot of children trying to pushback because it felt like they were always under adult surveillance. The event that got Casii her third name had always been an amusing one:
Fyret. You know normally that would net you a lot of trouble. Your whole treetop a blaze because you didn’t quite like how your father was scolding you. It took the whole of us to put out the blaze. Oh my, I can remember being out there. Your father’s smokeleaf burning and all of us getting high off of the fumes. It was a struggle to even stay up there but somehow we managed to put out the fires. Easy to grow back but I don’t think I ever felt sicker in my life thanks to you little Leaf Burner.
She got off easy with her third name. Everyone remembers the event humorously but it felt like her whole childhood was filled with little aggressions against their lot in life. Her peers were the same, lashing out. Casii was quick to pick up on sucking on Jamb’ysp as it made the rounds among the children. Their parents did it, so why not them? It was their elders that actively tried to fight the slowly seeping corruption. Her great grandmother did a good job. Her final advice the last time she saw her before she passed was enough to convince her. She had to leave and learn what it was to be a true Yasoi.
Go out there and see for yourself. We belong out there sweet child.
M O T I V A T I O N
❖ Try to live like a true and proud Yasoi ❖ Discover the world outside of Mycormi and Yasoi lands ❖ Find out what she treasures enough to bring to Mette'stiroi ❖ Recapture the heritage and glory of her clan
I N V E N T O R Y
❖ Bag of Seeds While not treasures, she does value any plants that take her interest on her travels. Should she find an interesting subject of fauna, she will take a few seeds and keep them with her. Paired with her Greengrowth bloodline, she can grow any of these seeds to full maturity in mere minutes without any effort. At present, she carries monkey nut, razor weed, starlights, a few different fruits, and lithe vine seeds.
❖ Jamb’ysp Or Monkey Nut in Avincian, is the production of certain type of mangrove tree found in the southern area of Mycormi. The seed, the nut, grows under the elevated trunk of the tree, protected by the tangling roots that elevate the tree from the water. When a storm comes in to raise the water, the seeds are pulled away with the water and allowed to float to new marshy lands to grow. They have a hard shell, difficult to break, but inside is a bitter tar that acts as a stimulant. Casii is horribly addicted to these, cutting the nuts in half and sucking the tar as a mild psychedelic to get through the day is a need for her at this point.
❖ Riigyl’laht Deer sigil. A wooden carving of a buck’s skull that is no larger than the size of palm of Casii’s hand. Delicately carved along the median of the frontal plate is her great grandmother’s name in Yasoi, Yas’riigylan’tiix’alan. Out of everything, she prizes the memento of her great grandmother the most, threading a line through the eye sockets and wearing the carving as a necklace.
S T R E N G T H S & S K I L L S
❖ Botany and Horticulture There is something about plants that just makes sense. Maybe knowledge of plants was passed down from her ancestors as well or maybe she just had good experience with the many kinds still cultivated in her clan. Regardless, she is already at the point of being able to identify many plants and those that she hasn’t seen before, she’d probably be able to work out what they are. If they are interesting enough, she might even keep a seed for study.
❖ Scrapper She was quite a delinquent growing up and that cost her all sorts of trouble. If it was with her peers, she’d often fight with them. You had to be tough if you wanted to not be pushed around and Casii might not have been the strongest but she was the feistiest, never willing to back down. Over time she developed a good sense in a fight to carry her through.
W E A K N E S S E S & F L A W S
❖ Addiction Whether it to be to Jamb’ysp, wine, or anything else that consumes a person in alcoholism, Casii remains extremely vulnerable to falling for these vices. Just about anything will require significant attention to break the habit for a time but she’s young and reckless so why not indulge? Jamb’ysp is something else. She needs this substance otherwise she’ll suffer major withdrawal.
❖ Dislikes Humans There are many names the younger Yasoi are calling humans and not many of them are all too positive. She isn’t quite like her friends back home, willing to venture into human lands, and understands that humans are a part of this world. However, the negatives of humanity are often the first things she points out, overlooking the good. She’ll distance herself both physically and emotionally from humans believing it for the best.
M I S C E L L A N E O U S
❖ Don’t call her tiilyt or talk about her nose. ❖ Fear the Deer
Interaction: None 2.1: Siege of Relouse / Let them Come The enemy forces dwindled Trickled, Then stopped coming.
This was just the beginning.
Claude had told her to stay, and she would. His instincts were too reliable to persuade her otherwise. Even among the shouts and orders of those around her, she held her ground as Claude clasped a hand around her arm. "Girl, we are going to lose a lot of people in this confusion. Try to do what you can." He sounded steady despite the commotion, Camille thought as she glanced to the raining sky. If only she could be like him then maybe she'd be worth all the admiration, praise and handshakes she has had to endure these past few days.
She closed her eyes and let a familiar prayer come to mind.
Dami, guide your flock and steel their hearts for what is to come. May they stand firm.
There so much noise. People shouting in triumph but others in confusion. Orders being barked by superiors and mummers of hesitation in response.
May they stand firm.
The voices around her quieted. Enough to hear the rain bouncing off of metal and sand. Grips tightened on weapons.
May they stand firm.
Boots dug into the sand and despite the calls and cries around them, those close enough to feel Camille's influence felt their hearts bolster. They didn't have to be told they were in the right spot. They felt like they were. Let the Eskandr come. They were ready to meet them.
Camille felt a squeeze on her arm, Claude letting her know that he approved. "Good. We'll need their help but if we all stick together, there is no Eskandr that can break us." He always sounded so sure, Camille mused with amazement. She might have been the one with Dami's Gift but he acted like he didn't even need that to be strong. It made her think he should have been chosen because who was she? "You're sure we will all make it out okay?" She muttered but Claude's attention shifted.
"Armand, what news are you hearing?" Camille turned to see Claude clasping his hand around the leather of Armand's shoulder. The younger of the two, shook his shoulder free. "Riders from Cap are returning. I couldn't hear why but they aren't dead so. Take that for what it is worth."
Claude let out a laugh though Camille thought it sounded fake. "Ha. Coming back from sniping King Hrothgar, no doubt. Wouldn't that be a sight, eh?" Camille and Armand both exchange a look. Claude had a habit of noticing that from them. "Oh come on you two. Have a little faith." He reached out and wrapped his arms around the both of them. "You'll see. We'll be back in Au Diable Roux, wondering what Alain put in his stew again. I'm already betting potatoes and pork to celebrate." "Oysters." Camille chimed in, her mouthwatering at the memory. "Carrots." Armand spat like he was disgusted by the very word. "Heh. If you go and order the stew, you'll doom the three of us to that. Every time." The three shared a laugh, however brief that might have been.
The clap of thunder from a bolt striking the wall had sounded for the next phase to begin. Interaction: None 2.2: Siege of Relouse / The Storm Arrives Camille had raised her arm, ducking her head to try and better weather the howling storm. Wherever this storm was coming from, she now knew it wasn’t natural. The town of Relouse was being battered by commanded lightning while she and the rest of the Grand Armee were battered by the winds and rain. The darkening sky was lit up by the occasional glow of magic which was an impressive array by itself.
The storm worsened as rain turned to hail and clanged off of her armor. Ships, real ships, were now appearing along the beach and landing. ”This is it! This will be the battle!” She heard Claude yell behind her.
"Hommes et femmes de Parrence, tenez ferme contre l'ennemi! Les dieux sont avec nous!" ”Je n'ai pas peur! Dami, mon Seigneur, c'est pour cela que je suis née!1” Maybe it was hearing the King but Camille felt steadfast all of a sudden. She wasn’t going to turn back. She couldn’t do that and let others die needlessly in her stead. This was going to be a fight and if this was a predestined path that she had to walk, so be it. She was going to embrace it because right now, her devotion would be the only thing to see her through!
The line of charging Eskandr closed and she shouted, joining the shouts of her comrades in arms as the battlelines met once again.
Camille moved effortlessly, her sword cleaving an overly zealous warrior in two. A crackling wave of lightning slipped across her right side and arced into the raised weapon of an unlucky Eskandr. He dropped his axe only to be met with a greatsword being brought back around. A third warrior approached, more measured as she raised his shield to meet Camille’s blade. He knew better to take the force of her blade and ducked under the swing to advance suddenly.
It would seem that she was left open but removing one hand from her greatsword, Camille reached for her shortsword and drew it in a swift draw to thrust into the warrior’s leg, halting him. She twisted and rammed her shoulder into his shield, knocking him clean off of his feet as she withdrew her shortsword, cutting effortlessly across any flesh the blade touched, half severing his leg by the thigh.
A whirl of her greatsword with one hand kept others, daring to take her on at bay. A crossbow bolt fired and caught one of them who had been more focused on Camille’s blade and got his neck, entering a coughing fit of blood as he collapsed. Her team was well versed in working together and would give any opposing force real pause, Claude always boasted. Camille never wanted to test their limit but they would have to eventually against the Eskandr.
She had a bad feeling in the pit of stomach. Destiny was calling. 1: I am not afraid! Dami, my Lord, I was born to do this!”
Interaction: Hrolf Bloodaxe 2.3: Siege of Relouse / A Blood Price A break in the Eskandr waves had given Camille the opportunity to glance down the Perrench battle line to see how her allies were fairing. They were holding but around twenty meters down their line, a brute of an Eskandr creature was cleaving through Perrench soldiers with frightening efficiency. Bodies of full soldiers sent flying with a single axe swing, half bodies sent even further. The violence that monster caused was becoming a cacophony to the shaking wills of her people. If they survived encountering them.
Her feet moved without a thought. Dami, lend me your strength. ”Girl! Wait” She heard Claude holler from behind her but she was already committed, closing the line towards the Eskandr brute swiftly. A circular area around the man existed where Perrench soldiers were too fearful to approach the whirling orbits of crude axes. One Perrench man in particular had Hrolf’s full attention, his panicked jabs with his spear doing little to deter the giant of a man. He didn’t even spare a gesture as a floating axe came and shattered the spear just beyond the man’s grip, leaving him defenseless as the Eskandr raised his axe like an executioner. He brought it down..
Camille’s upward slash of her greatsword met the axe before it could fall on the Perrench man. Her strength was enough to deflect the blow but an axe came around.
Her shield, strapped to her back swung around, pulled towards the incoming axe to deflect the blade from hitting Camille. She holds herself firm, realizing that she had saved the poor man who was threatened but she was now in this monster’s sights. His great leap coming to bear down, she didn’t think of anything other than to trust in Dami’s protection, leaping back herself however to try and keep him at a distance. She swung her sword again, trying to catch the Eskandr before he could land.
She watched her sword bounced off the metal of his axe but the tip of her blade catching his stomach enough to make Hrolf howl. He draws from a nearby corpse to pull material to close his wound in an obvious scar. Now faced with the man, Camille was sure she had his full attention for that and quietly cursed under her breath. She keeps an eye on Hrolf but she catches the movement in her peripherals. Whirling axes were coming around from all sides to try and cut her. She dove, instinctively to the Eskandr’s side, letting her greatsword lash out striking one axe away as she moved. That was one but she was watching the nearest axe follow her, set up to cleave her across her neck. She didn’t even have time for the full prayer.
”Dami!” She pleaded, begging for her God’s intercession. She wasn’t sure how she was going to escape with her life but then the obvious sign of Dami’s favor was bestowed. The axe in her sight was blown away suddenly. Dami protects! She praised, rising to her feet catching the movement of her companions in the corner of her eye. She knew they would follow and with the Eskandr focused on her, she hoped their surprise would be enough.
— ’Damn that girl! Taking on the biggest Eskandr she could find. Take your shot and slip away. We’ll have to catch him not looking, I think.” Claude commanded as he ran with Armand, given only a silent nod in return. His sword began to spark with Thunder Magic as she let out a downward slash, sending a crackling wave towards the back of Hrolf. Armand slid to a stop and hastily aimed for the brute’s spine before firing his crossbow. He moved after firing, trying to duck back into the Perrench lines… —
Camille hoped quietly but those hopes were dashed quickly as the lightning was scooped up in the invisible vortex of Hrolf’s axes and the crossbow was deflected by a wayward axe. The brute turned his head to catch Armand before he sank back into the Perrench battle lines and felt himself halted as the pull of Hrolf’s drawing began to decimate his armor, clothing before starting to dissolve his flesh.
His cries of anguish were obvious enough to Camille who screamed in a panic as she brought her greatsword up and attempted to thrust it into the Eskandr’s side. Hrolf wasn’t a fool and attempted to dodge out of the way but desperately, she pursued leaping with her thrust to catch his flesh. Her blade sank up into his abdomen, the brute of a man giving a very human howl of anguish.
Yet he didn’t relent. Armand’s screams grew louder and Camille found herself joining the chorus of desperate cries. She wailed in a desperate rage as only one thought came to her mind.
”Dami! Kill him!”
Her sword began to glow as if showered in a golden light. There was intensifying pain in Hrolf as his wailed. It was over almost immediately but the moment felt long in her head. Hrolf’s center mass burst in a shower of blood and gore and the once great man of the Æresvaktr fell in two, his last words something that Camille couldn’t understand. She kept her sword elevated, its golden glow illuminating the darkened battlefield for a moment before it faded as her mind focused on the only thing that mattered. Armand.
She turned and ran to where she thought she had last saw him. Where was he? Was he alright? Maybe she could ask Dami to heal him and then…
An tight grip caught her arm. Camille turned to try and slug whoever it was but found Claude was holding her. ”He’s gone! He’s gone!” He shouted at her. She thrashed in his grip. ”Let go! No!” She rasped, her voice already showing signs of strain.
The resolution to her struggle was put on hold as the area just ahead of her flashed and banged with the force of a thunder spell. It wasn’t just the one. It was a barrage of bolts, igniting the beach around them. Camille could barely hear Claude’s voice above it all. ”We have to go! Come on!”
Camille felt herself being tucked under his arm and pulled along. The lightning artillery battered the area. She caught a glimpse of a few Perrench soldiers too grouped up being blown apart by the sudden crash of a bolt. The flashes made it difficult to see and the percussion of thunder made it difficult to hear. Wherever Claude was going, she couldn’t tell, feeling the sting of something pierce the back of her leg. She hobbled slightly along, feeling like she was barely keeping up with Claude. Again, it was a few seconds of real time that seemed to drag out but they had managed to retreat far enough away.
Claude kept them going, however, towards the back lines of the Grand Armee.