It took more time than Ria liked to get the charred bits off the oven and stove respectively. It was cute Lavinia wanted to learn to cook. Maybe next time she would agree to allowing Zenith or herself, or maybe even Damian, to help walk her through it. Well, that would be for later to figure it out. For now, she'd gotten the worst of the mess power washed off. After drying it off, a quick check revealed it was all still working.
"Perfect," Ria chirped. She clasped her hands together and turned to face Damian. "Thanks for getting all that put back away. I just have to get the dishes done and that shouldn't take me long. Do you know how to make minestrone or onion soup or any soups in general?" As she spoke, the water mage headed to the sink to try to power wash the charred bits off the baking sheets and clean up the excessive amount of bowls dirtied in the process of attempting cookies this morning. She organized everything and started washing the easiest to clean first after setting the worst to soak. She continued speaking, "We offer a soup of the day and when I'm cooking I usually make minestrone or onion soup. But if there's a soup you know how to make and want to help out with by cooking it up, that'd be appreciate. Or just keeping an eye out for customers, that would also be helpful."
Kaden walked into the guildhall, gaze quickly taking it in for a moment. Huh, Gras still isn't here. Weird. Maybe she'd show up later - or not be out on the streets at all to avoid the crowds of the festival. Not that he cared. She was just more of a mainstay out of everyone in the guild. It was just weird walking into the place and not seeing her brooding in the corner.
But there was one person that he'd grown accustom to seeing lurking in the hall that he would go hunting for if the guy didn't show up. A soft smile cracked on his face as the S-Class mage crossed the room. It was definitely out of his way, but he didn't mind. The kid was always too nervous to approach others first anyways.
He ruffled the boy's hair as he took a seat beside Jasper. "Hey, Kid. How was the coma? Musta been nice. You weren't in the hall yesterday," he said with a laugh. "Up to anything today?"
"That's the spirit. Right, now keep up, everyone," Carver called in a delighted tone. The historian led the trek up the footpath. He kept the map out, looking down to reference it and the compass every so often and correct their path. Unless one requested it, it would only be ever few hours they would stop for a drink.
The sun sank well below the trees and the sky was turning dark before he finally had them stop in a small clearing. "Right. So we should stop here for a brief break to eat, then - if you are all up for it - we will continue on." Hoisting his pack off his shoulders, he set it on the ground and pulled a flashlight from within it, then spread the map out on it. He pointed to it as he spoke, "We are roughly here, which puts us needing to go still about fifteen or twenty miles following this trail." Though the trail in question was just ink on the paper. The path went up at a far steeper incline than the previous hike. "We could just do that part tomorrow, or we can hike the rest of it tonight and make camp when we get to the ruins, but it is likely this will be the flattest part of our trip until we reach the ruins I'm looking for.
"Either way, we should all eat something and take a short break to recharge our batteries." Carver folded up the map and tucked it away into a pocket. Then he dug out some of the meal packs he had brought along and offered them out to the Fenixtear members accompanying him. "Eat up."
* * *
Small feet scurried through underbrush and hopped from tree branch to tree branch. Not quite close enough to be heard but for on the wind, squeaks and chirps murmured between them. The first time a light was shined toward the sound, there would be nothing but the forest coverage to be seen. If one were quick enough, they might catch a glimpse of a bushy tail or a small spear in trying to figure out what the noises were.
Name: Astoria “Ria” Ocenade Age: 19 Birthday: June 9th
Magic: Water and Water-Make Magic Level: A
- Water Bubble: The user creates bubbles of water with oxygen trapped inside that enable those who put their heads in the bubbles to breathe underwater.
- Water-Make (structure): This is mostly used as an unnamed spell. User is able to create structures out of water, the top layer of which is condensed to be solid enough to support weight.
- Rejuvenating Waters: The user conjures a ball of water into their hand and offers it to the recipient. The person that drinks it will feel their magic restored like they rested, as well as minor injuries will be completely healed and they’ll feel generally well rested and relaxed; moderate to severe injuries are also healed to a degree, becoming less severe than previously, but it is not healed much. The amount of healing done by this spell is dependent on how much magic the caster directs into the water. This cannot be used on the caster.
- Rainstorm: Unnamed magic, that allows the user to summon up rainstorms. The duration, size, and strength depend on a lot of factors, not the least of which are caster's magical capabilities and intent. It generally syphons - though if nature decides to keep the storm going, it can linger for longer naturally - from the user's magic and can allow for it to be shaped in size and power. Casters that aren't well versed in controlling the storm can only summon smaller ones that are barely useful for watering plants. The more practice that goes into it, the larger and more powerful the storm can be.
- Water Lock The user creates a large sphere of water that can be used to attack their target while they are trapped inside it.
- Water-Make Decoy: User generates realistic looking facsimiles of a person/persons out of water. Decoy(s) cannot move or make sound, but can be generated in any pose. If physically interacted with, Decoy(s) will disperse into a puddle of water.
- Undertow Water thickens the air and pulls at the target(s) making it more difficult for the target(s) to move and stay upright. This can even affect the ability to cast magic, and at the very least slows the target(s) down.
- Water-Make Barrier: Whereas Water Dome is for camouflage, this spell creates a barrier out of water that remains in place and carries an extreme current. The current is strong enough to prevent weak magical attacks from penetrating it, and makes it extremely difficult for things to cross the barrier. It is not impossible to break through, and it requires dedicated magical energy to maintain. If the caster falls unconscious or runs out of magical energy, the barrier will fall. Barrier can be made into many different forms, but generally seen as a wall or dome.
- Obscuring Mist: Through concentrated focus on condensing the water molecules in the air, the caster creates a fog cover to obscure vision around them and their allies. Range grows with practice, use, and magical force applied and can vary from a 20 foot radius to a 50 foot radius. With effort, the caster can allow individuals the ability to see through the mist clearly, but it is extremely strenuous and exhausting to do so. Mostly used as a diversion to escape dangers.
- Water-Make Cage: User creates a cage out of water sized to trap the target(s). The bars are extremely high current water cycling around the structure, making it difficult to break out and can lead to injury if one tries to escape.
- Neptune’s Dance: Two or more waves of water rotate around each other and form a helix that blast the opponent into the air with tremendous force.
- Water-Make (weapon): User concentrates water into the form of a weapon. Water weapon can deal damage like a normal weapon of that type, but only for as long as user has hold of the weapon (in the case of bow/arrows, user must continue contact on the bow). If contact is lost, weapon disperses.
- Geyser: User shoots boiling hot water from hands at target, which can hit to cause blunt damage and potentially scold the target.
- Water Slicer: By swiping their arm, the user sends scythe-like blades of water at their intended target, which are powerful enough to cleanly slice through solid rock. It can also be used as a form of defense to intercept an attack.
- Cyclone: The user forms a circular torrent of water in front of their hands and uses the cyclone of water to attack their target. The size and power of the cyclone is dependent on how much magical energy the user puts into the attack. Attack can knock the target off their feet, but is mostly aimed to do blunt damage.
- Tsunami: The user curls in on themselves, drawing water from the area around them, or just simply creating it themselves. After a few seconds, they unfurl, raising their arms up high. A wall of water rises before them and moves forward in a massive wave of destruction, knocking over and washing away anything in its path. This spell consumes a lot of magical energy and has the potential to level small towns.
History: Ria didn’t just grow up with a family, or in a village. The village was populated by a single clan - the Ocenades. Everyone had a role to play in the village - from farmers and bakers to guardsmen that took shifts patrolling to make sure the village was safe. Those of the clan not born with magic were relegated to menial tasks such as being the farmers or seamstresses or craftsmen or educators of the clan, but everyone had a purpose. Children went to school and learned, and they helped their families with tasks when schoolwork was complete.
Her father was the head, the direct descendent of the original founding father of the clan generations ago. As such, it was expected his children would take over and lead when it was time. Born the older of two, it wasn’t a surprise that her brother was the one expected to fill this role. He was strong, smart, charismatic, and an ice mage like their father and mother - just like pretty much every other mage in the clan. Except her.
Ria wasn’t just the female - and would have been passed over for leadership of the clan should her brother have been born second anyway - but she also couldn’t use Ice magic. While being gifted with water magic should have still been fine - she was still born a mage after all - her father was disappointed, and thus her mother was too. She was raised to be prim and proper - the best thing she could do for the clan was to learn all she could about being a good wife and mother after all - in hopes she would marry another strong line of the clan and bear powerful offspring. Regardless of what the task was, she never performed it right as far as her parents were concerned. No matter how skilled she was at her magic, she would never be as capable as one of the others. She tried and tried to do better, to be what they wanted her to be, and every time kept coming up short. Never good enough no matter how much better at her lessons or her trials than the other children she was.
She struggled with a lot of issues as a child, and clung to validation wherever she found it. One of those places was an older boy. She was 12 and he was 15. He made her feel special, made her feel like she was actually worth something more than just someone to marry off. Moments she could steal away from her lessons were spent going out to their meeting spot and hoping to find him, letting him whisk her away to other towns and helping in tasks. Was it wrong to make keys to open doors when he said he had misplaced his? Yes, in hindsight she should have asked some questions. But he was nice and she was happy when around him. She had confidence in her magic when around him.
So it went, helping with petty crimes while naively believing they weren’t just that (or, as her mind tells her in her dreams, refusing to admit it was wrong to just do as he asked.) The older they got, the more she wanted to believe these worse and worse things were okay. She let herself get swept up in the feeling of someone actually giving a crap about her. He encouraged her to grow stronger with her magic, practiced with her and gave her the motivation to improve. He trained with her to be able to fight - showing her all the things others in the clan might be learning to fight and defend themselves and others - helped make her a fierce combatant. She never realized in all his encouragement, her friend was shaping her into a weapon that he could wield with little effort. And wield her he did, with Ria willingly helping with worse and worse things; burglary stepped up to actual larceny which stepped up further to assault and worse.
Until it all came to a head when she was 16. Unbenounced to her, her brother followed her on one of her rendezvous with her friend. When they realized she’d been followed and had been found out, she followed her brother as he went back to the village. She needed to explain, to try to make things right at least with him, but by the time she got there she saw him already talking to their father. It was when her friend suggested it was time to completely cut ties. She’d never gone so far as to what he suggested next - to completely rid herself of the judgement once and for all. Torn, conflicted, confronted...She didn’t realize what she was about to do until she saw the aftermath. The village destroyed, bodies - including that of her father, her brother, and her only friend - scattered among the debris as she had unleashed a tsunami upon the village that leveled it as far as she could see.
Ria had lost - no, destroyed - everything, everyone, she ever cared about, and that ever cared about her. She was aimless for a while, until she was found by an elderly woman. The woman took her in; kind, gentle, the woman didn’t question what had happened to leave the girl so destitute. All the woman seemed to care about was helping her out. And she wanted to do the same in return. She helped with chores, ran errands, and learned to garden with the woman. The woman was getting on in years, and appreciated the help - especially when it came to gardening. Ria’s water magic was a great help, and cut the labor in half from what it used to take her. The two lived in mutual happiness.
A few months ago, her elderly friend passed. Ria hasn’t figured out what to do with herself yet. Minerva had left her home to the girl she took in, her entire estate left to the girl she’d only known for a few short years. For now, Ria continues the routine - gardening, tending to the house, talking to Minerva’s urn about things she’d read or learned or heard in the local market just as she would before. She isn’t sure what else to do, but she’s sure she’ll figure out eventually. For now, selling the produce at market like she had started once Minerva couldn’t make the trips, and just keeping up the house seems best.
Personality: The first thing most people notice about her is that Ria tries to always be courteous and cheerful, loving to be around people almost as much as she likes wide open spaces and anything shiny or brightly colored. A fan of anything upbeat, she can often be seen dancing or heard singing to herself as she goes about her business, and generally moves with a skip in her step. She’s generally reliable, cares about the wellbeing of others regardless of whether she knows them or not, and is willing to do anything for her friends. She doesn't like to see people upset and will often go out of her way to try to cheer someone up.
She often seems like a bit of a ditz - forgetful, aloof, and perhaps even a bit naive. There are still simple things that are common sense to others she often overlooks - like privacy and personal space; some see it as her ditzy ways, but it’s more the childish naivety of not understanding other people may have different comfort levels than her, and her desperate desire to be around others. While not everyone gains automatic trust, Ria seeks to find the good in people and will often trust those that are shown kindness/trust from those she is friends with. She tends to give chances to people that many don’t believe should get chances, and has been led astray by kind words and gestures even if they are given with ill-intent.
Guild and guild mark location: NA currently Team Members: --
Strengths: Hydromancer: Her water magic allows her to manipulate water around her as well as magically generate water. That is not the sum of it though. There are a few water spells that come naturally to her, casted like flexing a muscle. Spells of note for this are mostly just self-impacting ones, that help her swim deeper and stay under for extended periods of time. Water responds a bit more fluidly to her than other water casters, and with a bit of studying of the mage’s spells she can eventually manipulate water cast by others too; she hasn’t had the opportunity to see if she can manipulate Celestial’s or Dragon’s water magic, but she’s interested to see if that’s the case too.
Friendly: Ria loves to make friends, and just generally be around others. Whether it’s seeing someone looking down and wanting to cheer them up, or just giving them a person to be with, she doesn’t like seeing others alone. She likes to do things for others, and generally enjoys participating in whatever activity friends or those she chooses to associate with at the moment are doing.
Supportive/Helpful: She likes to help others, whether it be with supporting them in difficult decisions or sticking to getting better with spells. Despite her ditzy/aloof appearance, she understands a lot about the core concept of how different types of magic work, and techniques to make a particular type of magic work better. She’s not as effective at teaching, say, a wook-maker mage at casting as another wood-maker mage might, but she certainly knows enough to help the other wizard improve. She also just generally likes helping out and working with others, whether it’s just dealing with day to day things or a job or whatever. She feels it’s everyone’s job as part of the guild to help one another out, and it’s just being a good citizen to help when help is needed.
Upbeat/Positive/Cheerful: Believe it or not, like it or not, Ria is a metaphorical ray of sunshine. It isn’t just being friendly. She rarely is seen without a smile on her face or a bounce in her step. She always tries to look on the bright side of things even in the most dire of circumstances. This energy she does try to share with others, and is ever willing to help with figuring out what’s good about a bad experience.
Skilled Combatant: Trained for many years to fight alongside her family, Ria is just as skilled in hand to hand as she is with weapons and magic. She can improvise weapons based on her environment, use the terrain to her advantage, and is quite skilled in using her lithe and agile figure to her advantage. This skill allows her to strike fast, in vulnerable locations, and use her opponent’s attacks and mass against them in her own attacks, dodges, and counterattacks. As a molding mage, she’s developed upon this further to create a fighting style mostly unique to her and her creative style of magic.
Weaknesses: Ditzy/Trouble Focusing: She appears to be an airhead. She generally has a lot of things going on in her head, that she can be a bit forgetful. She means well, and definitely doesn’t want to forget important things, but some things just slip through the cracks. Not just dates and times of important things, but maybe not paying attention to her surroundings (not necessarily to trip, but not notice someone flirting, or being uncomfortable because she got too close, etc). She usually apologizes, but it doesn’t keep it from happening again. So she leaves notes to herself, and - while there is an organizational system for everything she writes down - it kinda looks just as chaotic as her thoughts. While she does know a lot about a lot of topics given how much she reads, it’s not always reliable for her to relay the information she has stored in her head. Most of the time it just seems like she’s full of useless or unrelated information when she offers up things that come to mind during a particular topic she didn’t realize people had moved on from - or connected in her own head without when it apparently didn’t seem to connect to anyone else. When she’s on a roll with a topic that she’s interested in, if no one keeps the conversation focused, there’s a chance she’ll lead whomever she’s talking to on several different tangents before getting back on topic. Then there’s times where it seems like she can’t pull a thought from her head, despite having talked about something with a person already.
Insomnia/Nightmares: She doesn’t like to talk about it, to the point of refusal if someone won’t allow her to just brush off the concern, but she has trouble sleeping. She’s always had trouble sleeping ever since she was little, and while it got worse since she destroyed her home, Ria avoids dealing with it given when she does manage to sleep it is generally plagued with nightmares from her past.
Repress the Bad: Negative emotions and misbehaving wasn’t acceptable from her; she had to be the good child, the quiet one, the one that no one had to think about twice. Good wasn’t because people were looking at her, good was because the focus was somewhere else and there wasn’t time to deal with a child being a child. So she suppressed sadness. She made herself believe that she was happy. She won’t let herself dwell on the negative and buries anything that makes her feel anything but happy beneath layers of telling herself it’s fine. It’s second nature to her at this point, to shrug off a wrong done against her with a smile and a carefree “don’t worry about it”; what’s one more thing buried deep down? Because of this, she doesn’t allow herself to cope with her own negative feelings. Whenever something starts to creep up, feeling angry or sad, she shoves those feelings down into the “doesn’t bother me” zone. There, all the bad feelings go to - well most would hope - die, but really they just fester. Sure, one day they may break through the carefully crafted cage, but for now - it’s holding strong so no need to try to process the bad.
Workaholic: Perhaps workaholic isn’t the proper term, but Ria doesn’t like to sit idle. She constantly pushes herself to stay busy, whether it’s helping a neighbor or friend, gardening, drawing, reading, cleaning...she tries to always be doing something.
Selfless/Low Self-Worth: While some would find being Selfless a strength, she understands it’s not. She puts others before herself, and sometimes (okay, most times) neglects her own wellbeing while being concerned over how someone else is doing. Whether it’s making sure everyone else has eaten before she finally serves herself, or helping someone even if she really should probably sit and rest, or pushing herself beyond her limits to stop someone else from getting hurt. Some of this reckless behavior could be mitigated from others noticing what she’s doing and convincing her to think of herself first, but it’s been a long time since anyone’s noticed. But if she smiles, it means she’s fine, right?
The Yips: For as skilled as she is, all her other weaknesses tend to creep up on her and as the stress builds up, she starts to lose touch with her ability to function in combat. This is most common when she is fighting in front of a group, particularly if she knows that the fight isn’t a matter of life or death - that there are no stakes aside from winning and losing. Even if it’s a matter of life and death, there’s still a chance she’ll freeze up and not be able to perform.
Appearance: 5’3 She prefers skirts and dresses to pants; in fact, she only has two pairs of pants and two pairs of shorts in her entire wardrobe. Everything else is skirts, dresses, and nice blouses/tops to go with them. She generally avoids dark colors, but not to the point of exclusion.
Additional Details: She collects shiny stones, and enjoys gardening.
Her favorite food is strawberries.
She likes to paint and draw, and enjoys reading even if it’s not to avoid dealing with her insomnia.
A plan was coming together for a wonderful experience. The guild getting more foot traffic and jobs and such was starting to really help the cash flow. It could even mean that they'd soon enough have the funding to just hire a cook and waitress rather than the guildmembers themselves being the cooks. Eventually, maybe. They did have a lot of fast jobs and plenty of members. She could always hire out someone if they needed, but if it got to the point she considered hiring someone, she'd certainly be running that by Torys first.
She was startled from her thoughts with the sudden shout of 'steak' from Damian. Blinking, she looked at him with a bit of surprise while he rattled off about cooking a steak dinner after helping clean. The smile spread back onto her face with a soft laugh. "That sounds good. A steak dinner would certainly be appreciated by most everyone, I'm sure. I know I definitely appreciate the help cleaning, and would love to help you cook. If you wouldn't mind getting things organized, I should be able to get the dishes and the oven cleaned."
Ria was almost in the kitchen when she heard Trinity shout out her name. She turned and smiled at the other girl. "I'm fine. Just got back from sparring with Felix. Now I'm going to clean the kitchen and cook up lunch with the help of Damian." She paused for a moment when she finally took in the flustered appearance of her friend. "Is everything okay? You seem flustered" Glancing over her shoulder for a moment, she looked back at Trinity. "Get something to drink and once the kitchen is in order, I'll be back out to chat between taking orders and such. Okay?" With that and an encouraging smile, she turned and headed into the kitchen.
"Right, so if you could just get this all organized..." her voice trailed off as she looked over the unorganized catastrophe that was the counter space from the various ingredients still being splayed about and the charred remnants still haunting the pans. "While I deal with the charred mess that is the pans and oven." She didn't bother waiting to see if Damian set to his task, as she opened the oven and used a torrent of water to start cleaning the charred bits out of it.
Kaden wasn't entirely sure where he was going. He didn't have anywhere to be for hours, and he didn't exactly feel like going back to the guild right now. Maybe in a little bit for food. Maybe. Loathe as he was to admit it, the others in the guild definitely were decent cooks. Better and cheaper than most of the places around the city. Right now, he was still kind of disappointed Damian had cut in on the fight - that was shaping up to be a good work out.
His gaze followed the purple haired girl he'd seen around the guildhall lately as she ducked into an alley. Huh, that was unusual. She seemed like she was a bit panicked, almost like she was...Then he saw some guy duck into the same alley she had. It didn't take much to correct course and enter the alley just as Trinity disappeared up onto the roof. A smug smirk slipped onto his face as his hands disappeared into his pockets. "Tough break, huh?"
"Pfft, I know who she's with. She ain't gettin' away with stealin' our work." The guy scowled at Kaden. "What do you care anyway?"
"Ya know, you're right. I shouldn't. Except - " Kaden shifted his shirt to show the guildmark on his side before dropping his shirt - "She's one of mine. So if you got beef with her, you got beef with me," he said as he started closing the gap between them.
* * *
That shouldn't have been so easy. Really, it was more disappointing than satisfying to beat the guy. At least Salvis and Teague had actual fighting experience. It seemed that guy only had experience in intimidating and beating up defenseless people. Unbecoming, really, but it explains why the guy was looking to go after the fix-it girl instead of take it up with the girl. Intimidation - something Kaden knew a bit about. Maybe now this guy and his guild would think twice about going after one of theirs. If they weren't independent, the repair guys wouldn't mess with them, but then again - they'd have more issues elsewhere.
Still, beating the guy to send that message barely took any time and certainly didn't satisfy his desire to find something to do. With a bit of a sigh, the mage finished wiping the blood from his knuckles and started slowly on his way back to the guild. He wasn't hungry yet, but maybe if he took his time he'd be hungry by the time he got back.
Jarvis repeated the same sentiments. It was always good to know he didn't just sound like he was pandering. Of course, then again, he couldn't blame someone for thinking he was pandering to the hottest member of their little team; for someone in Trinity's position, it was understandable to be depressed about everything. But that was the point of their work together. That was the reason he'd managed to invent Second Wind in the first place, and the main target of his brainstorming recently. She'd get back up to power - and be giving Markovis a run for his money - in no time.
Neil listened to Trinity, but was still caught off guard when she suddenly shifted to be closer in height with him. He shrugged lightly, leaning forward to make up the difference. Sure, it was a bit of a surprise when Trinity grabbed his face; he didn't realize what she was going for until she finished off the Second Wind she'd nursed this morning and touched their foreheads together. Feeling a barrier go up in his mind was odd but less intrusive than the first time he'd felt the other presence in his thoughts. Considering he had avoided getting within twenty feet of the sword since that first time, it had slipped his mind to warn Trinity about it. The fact Mark didn't seem to be bothered by it slipped his mind too - then again, Mark wasn't bothered by most things so there was no surprise there.
"Thanks. Don't push yourself too hard in trying to help me keep a telepath out. Though, ya know, sorry I didn't warn you beforehand. I thought maybe I had but that could have been back when she joined the guild and I don't even remember when that was." That should have been something he remembered and mentioned and now he felt awful for neglecting to remind his teammate of that fact. Well, now she knew and perhaps she would at least remember without him having to try to remember to remind her.
Then the woman that shared bodies with Percy approached them. Looking for Markovis? To say he was confused was an understatement. He could name on one hand all the people that ever looked for Markovis. Or, rather, Markovis would like to know were looking for him. Interesting. Perhaps his friend wouldn't mind too much.
When Trinity's gaze carried past him, Neil turned his attention over his shoulder. It was meant to be just a glance, but the man ended up doing a double take upon seeing the amount of fluff just beyond the Exceed delinquent - or at least that was the personality Dalton tried to exude. The fact the girl beside him seemed too bright eyed and - both literally and metaphorically - bushy tailed, he doubted Dalton had been told he had to accompany her. It took a few blinks before Neil managed to stop looking like he was gawking just like Trinity beside him.
The look melted away to a more friendly smile. "What she also means to say is hi, this -" he motioned to Trinity - "is Trinity." He dropped his hand. "I'm Neil."
His attention turned back to Elena. "Markovis is busy at the moment and likely wouldn't want to be interrupted. He'll be back around soon enough though. What job is it you were looking at? I know he's been eyeing one or two for Smokin' Bottle."
Location: Phoenix Wing Guildhall
Interactions: Dalton @hatakekuro, Jarvis, Trinity, & Neil
Nyssa's tails swished as she listened. One rested on her lap, and she idly brushed her fingers through the fur. Her ear twitched at the bit of ruckus that happened back toward the door but for the most part - especially because the music was done - it was easier to focus on what the people she was talking to actually said. Like that there were places around town and here. "Oh, well, I suppose if I need to sleep inside somewhere, here is better than on my own. But I have not actually spent a night in a town since coming to the mainland."
Her ear flicked a bit toward Trinity. Oh, but someone had offered to show her to a place someone they knew lived. As long as the other person was okay with someone new potentially coming into his territory, then that was probably best. The kitsune turned to face the other girl, grinning with delight at the offer. "I would be thrilled to meet another that enjoys sleeping outside the bustle of such big vill- erm - cities. Living out in the forests is not much of a concern, personally, but I do very much prefer groups. So if you think he would not mind - that would certainly be preferred. Thank you very much."
When the man beside the purple haired girl spoke, she giggled lightly. "It is nice to meet you both - Trinity and Neil. My name is Nyssa. I look forward to meeting this Karn person, too." The girl turned back to the man behind the counter. Jarvis, that was how they had addressed him. He was the one she needed to pay attention to right now, wasn't he? Wouldn't do to go making arrangements to live with a guild member if she wasn't part of the guild. "But before I go off to meet someone or really settle into accommodations with the guild, I should join, yes? What do I need to do to join?"
Ria nodded in response to the question for a moment. Her gaze drifted up to the sky, watching the clouds move across it. "Yes, I have. The village I grew up in was absent of light pollution." Her smile turned a bit sad, but she quickly shook the thoughts from her head. Though one might mistake it for stop wistfully watching the sky if one had not seen the shift in her look. Just like that, the bright smile was back in place and she'd returned her attention to her traveling companion of the time.
"A trip out to one of the borders sounds like fun. I'm sure others in the guild might enjoy that as well. I haven't been out near Bosco in....well, many years. Not quite as long than the last time I went fishing. Though I think my way of fishing is a bit different than yours." She laughed softly. It wasn't an understatement. It could be fun fishing with someone that did it traditionally. The last time she'd been fishing, it was in an ocean instead of a lake - as she assumed he was talking about - and it wasn't with a rod and tackle. She liked her way well enough, but learning to traditional fishing sounded fun too. "Maybe sometime you could show me how you fish. Even if it's just around here."
For now, that would have to wait, as they'd arrived at the guild already. She held the door for Damian to enter, an absentminded motion she was more than used to by now. "Shouldn't take long, hopefully, to get the kitchen back in order. Just in time for the next rush."
A few voices of being ready, but it was the less refined man that spoke up, echoed quickly by the other man. Ah, yes, provisions. The enthusiasm to get going was wonderful to see, but at least two were concerned with the means of eating. If it had not been brought up, it was very much true that he would have completely have forgotten about that need. "Ah, yes. The need for sustenance over the travel time. Excellent you brought it up."
Carver turned away from the table, looking around a few stacks as he moved deeper into the room before he finally found an overstuffed pack with a multitude of precision excavation tools handing off it along with a few pans and water canteens. He carried it to the table and dropped it atop the map, then deftly unlatched the top and flopped it open. "I believe I have enough provisions, should you lot not mind canned beans or REMs. Should have plenty of water too, hopefully. But there are streams along the route and should be clean enough." As he spoke, he rummaged through the pack to verify the count of items it contained. There were more people than he actually anticipated, but he had overstuffed the pack so it seemed there might be just barely enough for the three. He packed everything back into the bag and hoisted it onto his back. "We can stop if you want, but the sooner we leave, the sooner we will get there. Theoretically." He folded up the map and slipped it into the breast pocket of his vest, and the book he had referenced before slipped into an interior pocket of the vestment.
With everything he needed, he rounded the group and opened the door, gesturing for them to head out so he could close up his office. Short of anyone wanting to stop to pick up other provisions, the trip out of Crocus to the start of the trail was easy enough - navigating through alley ways and side streets to get around the bulk of the crowd to the other side of town. It wasn't until they were clearing the last bit of city that he pulled out the map and a compass to ensure they were going in the right direction. "Right, so this way," he said as he started up one of the many foot trails into the mountain range.
Markovis' eyes trained on Trinity for the entire time she spoke. The fact he came around here with no problem without them...it had completely slipped past his notice that Trinity only really ever came when she was with them. Or that a place that felt like home to her would feel so foreign now. Especially when that place was now filling once again with people she recognized but they didn't. He couldn't empathize...or sympathize...but he wanted to. He always wanted to be able to help support Neil and, in the past two years of building relations with her, Trinity. Times like these just proved how inept he was at doing just that.
The only thing he could relate to was that she had the same general reaction to the nuisance that was a telepathic sentient sword as he and Neil had. There was a pang of - was that regret? disappointment, perhaps? - something in his failure to note it to Trinity to make sure she was aware beforehand that something might invade her most personal of spaces. It was a matter that needed addressing, given how the sword and its owner were so unapologetically naïve - that was the kindest word he would give it - in both simply intruding in people's thoughts and not warning anyone in that it was a possibility. No matter how many reacted poorly to the intrusion, it never seemed to stagger the way the two seemed to approach new individuals.
That was for another time. Right now, dealing with a pair of unintentionally malicious individuals was not the crux of the problem. It was feeling like she didn't have a place here anymore. That simply was not true, and he knew it. It was a temporary feeling from being detached from what she was with the guild before he and Neil had joined and met her. A different Trinity for a different time.
True to the fact he rarely showed emotions, Markovis studied her impassively. Then, after a moment, he gently pat her head a few times. People liked contact when they were upset, yes? His cat certainly preferred scritches when he finally returned home after long days out - especially after jobs that took the team away for a few days. "Thinking about what was leads to a disappointing future." He meant it to be uplifting, but as soon as the words left his lips, he realized she may not appreciate it. Especially in combination with the fact he was still patting her head.
His hand suddenly returned to his lap as he looked at Jarvis. There was one thing he knew for sure that he could do that would hopefully help. At least, comfort food never hurt to try, that is. "As always, I will pay for the items I am to use, but I would like to borrow the kitchen facilities. Please and thank you." That was all he said, before tucking his bottle of liquor into his shoulder bag, handing it to Neil, and making his way into the kitchen.
Neil held the bag by its strap as he watched Markovis disappear into the kitchen. Then he shifted over a seat to fill the void Markovis' departure left between him and Trinity. The bag found a spot on the floor at his feet. The older mage leaned forward a bit, smile sliding into place, as he tried to make eye contact with their despondent teammate. "Hey, come on now. Don't be so down. If there's anyone that belongs here out of Smokin' Bottle - it's you. I get it - some old mates came back and seemed to have moved on. We're still working on your kick, but we're a step closer than we were a year ago - right? Soon enough, you'll be a one lady band way better than anything Damian and his group could put together. You're going to outshine everyone soon enough."
"So you have no way of knowing what would happen if it did go out? You would not die, would you? That would be awful. There was a legend we were told when little that said there was a kitsune once that had many tails, and on each one balanced a fire. We had made a pact with larger lands to trade and fight when needed, and when they called on us to fight - he went. Enemies struck at the fire and each time one flame extinguished he lost more power. Eventually, the final flame was snuffed, and he died. This is why those of us that can wield the gift of fire do not keep it for all to see, 'least we perish as he did." Nyssa's gaze kept moving back and forth between Dalton's face and his tails. When they came to a stop, her curiosity got the best of her. When he came to a stop and sat on the stool, she reached out to test the flame. Not only did she feel no heat before she got to the flame, but her fingers passed through without issue. Once, twice, three times. Interesting.
She blinked and seemed to realize they were at their destination. A brilliant smile spread on her face as she turned to face the man behind the counter. "Oh, yes. I would very much be interested in joining. I heard a little about this from Ariel, and am interested to take part in being a guild member to learn more. Though I can make do without burdening you or this Jamie person with finding lodging. I am quite adept at staying outside, no trouble." She sat down on a seat beside Dalton without taking her eyes off Jarvis.
Neil clasped his friend on the shoulder as he saddled up to the bar beside the younger mage. It wasn't even to make his presence known to his friend. He was fairly certain Markovis knew who was near him without actually turning to address the person. Or, maybe more to the point, that Markovis didn't care who was next to him. The fact that there was a physical contact that Markovis didn't shrug away from meant the guy knew it was Neil.
It was a moment of silence between when Neil joined Markovis and when he finally spoke. "Crowded now, huh? Lot more excitement than the last time I was here."
Markovis didn't even look over at his friend. Instead, he just took another sip of his drink. "It certainly is louder than the last few days, but the crowd is staying away so I don't care." Truth be told, the band playing actually made it easier to drown out the noisy reunions happening near the door. He wouldn't have let himself get caught up in all that even if he'd arrived with Neil and Trinity, but arriving alone made it easier to just head straight to his usual spot. If it got bothersome enough, he supposed the job board was right there - plenty of jobs that he could pick from.
The alchemist laughed, and the grin remaining in its wake. "Of course, silly me." He glanced around Markovis to look at Trinity when she joined them. "Done playing with the furball?" He paused for a moment when Jarvis had asked the question His smile faded, and he stood up a bit straighter. "Yeah, are you okay?"
That question caught Markovis's attention. He stopped mid-motion of bringing his glass to his lips, and put it down on the counter instead. His dark gaze landed on Trinity beside him. "What happened?"
Nyssa listened to the explanation of Ariel, then Nolan. Okay, not life-mates. But mates of some sort. Not that she wasn't still confused by their relationship status given the mixed information, but it was fine. There was time to get clarifications and actually understand things. This Nolan answered her question, though it brought up some more questions. Like what a husband was, and what an s-class was and -
The rest became irrelevant when a talking cat interjected and volunteered to take her over to this Jarvis person. Her eyes widen as her attention fell on the Exceed. She opened her mouth to start asking more questions as she walked away with Dalton, but the questions caught up in her throat. A look of a dawning realization overtook her curiosity. "Oh! Wait!"
The kitsune skipped back over to Ariel. "I forgot. I am still holding this and you had it before we met," she said as she handed the older mage back her lacrima box. "And I had said I would repay you for the food, and in getting me here. I would rather not forget about it, and if I do not do it now, I surely will. So rather than repay the - um - money! you traded for the food, I figure repaying you magic expended to get from - Oak Town you said? - to the food house and then here would be better."
Before she could get a response, Nyssa closed her eyes. Her tails fanned out as she lifted up on her tiptoes. Her fingers wiggled as she swept her hands toward her abdomen, and a glow started in the tips of her tails and moved to take over more of her. She swirled around, the glow seeping into her skin and moving to pool in her fingers and on her lips. Lacing her fingers with Ariel's, the kitsune leaned up and nipped Ariel's ear. The glow transferred from the girl to the rainbow mage.
Nyssa lowered to flat feet and stepped back. "Energy transference is not necessarily the same from one of us to another, but hopefully that was enough to recoup you for the magic expended getting from Oak Town to here." She grinned and bounced a little as she waved.
A quick twirl around, and she skipped back off to rejoin Dalton. "Can I ask you some questions? Because you are an - um, I believe Ariel said Exceed? Because she had a form that had ears and a tail like you - well not exactly like you because she only had one tail and it was not on fire, and wings. You do have wings, too, yes? They just happen to be hidden right now, correct? Do all Exccceed have two tails or is it just you? Do Exceed tend to have fire on their tails? Why are your tails on fire? Is it dangerous for you if that fire goes out?" Her attention fixed on Dalton, almost as if - and because it was true that - she had completely forgotten about what she'd just done.
When Trinity completed the bike and suggested he get on, Neil obliged and together they made quick work of getting to the guildhall. He didn't figure it would be terribly much different arriving today than any other day, aside from perhaps a bit more hubbub from Damian and Penny returning. That didn't seem the full of it though, as others seemed to be returning too; a few new faces were scattered throughout the guildhall. He spotted Markovis at his usual spot, nursing a drink he'd apparently brought himself. How did Neil know that it hadn't been ordered? Because he recognized the glass as being one of the set Markovis used at home too.
His attention turned back to the group he and his teammate had joined when the man Trinity had greeted as Damian introduced himself and shook his hand. Neil smiled and returned the shake for one of his own then watched the returning S-Class move to the stage and make an announcement. A festival, huh? That certainly would drive up foot traffic in the city. Maybe even increase business. Never a bad thing when he was working on new potions.
The thoughts surrounding the festival distracted him enough that he hadn't noticed Karn moving in for a hug. The dazzling smile spread on his face once again as he returned the hug with a chuckle. "Hiya Karn. Though I'm still not sure why you and Bri shorten my name like that. I'm sure it takes more effort to say two syllables than my actual name." He still laughed though. NiNi was a pretty ridiculous name for an adult, coming from another adult. He supposed it would always get his attention better than just Neil.
His attention turned to new, eccentric, entrances which found Trinity capturing the little furball Jasmine insisted was actually a worthwhile contributor to her and the guild. His attention fixed on the scene they were making - getting a collar on an exceed - until another new face arrived. And went straight over to kiss Nolan. If Neil thought he'd been laughing at the ridiculous nickname Karn and Brianna insisted on using for him, the way Nolan's face went so red he could nearly feel the heat of all the blood flooding his skin had him nearly double over.
It took a moment to settle down from the laughing, and wipe the tears from his eyes, but the alchemist collected himself all the same. A soft sigh helped finish the calming breaths. "Man, I didn't think I would ever see someone go tomato red like that. Classic." He kept the smile as he turned and offered Ariel the same smile he'd had for everyone else. "Hi, nice to finally meet you. I'm Neil. Read the issue you were in. Pretty cool a member of the guild is working for Sorcerer's Magazine."
It was only after that that his gaze landed on the girl beyond Ariel, and furthermore the boy - woman? huh - that entered after to introduce herself as a long time habitant of another guildmate's body. The guild seemed to have quite a few body transformers - or at least bodies that had a few more people in them than normal. Interesting. As was the fact that apparently Nolan had a cousin that was as hyper as Nolan could be awkward.
He turned his attention back to everyone in the group. "If you'll excuse me, I need to go check up on Markovis. I'm sure he's not thrilled with the rise in activity this morning. With an incline of his head as a parting, Neil headed for the brooding team member still drinking by himself.
Nyssa, for all the excitement of watching Magnolia come into view, didn't match looking at the building Ariel set them both down in front of. Magnolia was far larger than any village she'd visited thusfar. The building the older mage said was the Phoenix Wing Guildhall was gigantic, twice the size of anything she'd seen thus far - even dwarfing the common home for the children in the village. Her mouth hung open, eyes wide, taking in the building. If she wasn't mindfully clutching the case to her chest, she might have forgotten she was holding anything at all. When Ariel entered, the kitsune blinked to life and followed the older girl inside.
Immediately regretting it. Between the music, the huge amount of loud conversations, and the general bustle of the building, her ears flattened and she shrunk back a bit. Her tails flattened against her legs and curled around them to hide them and her feet. How could such a large building - such a large space - make her feel like there was too much too close? It wasn't like anyone was too close to her. Or actually ambushing her. It still made her feel like at any moment something might happen and she felt woefully underprepared. Her gaze darted from one person to another, from one wall to the other to the floor then ceiling then back again, to help take in everything. The thousand conversations filtered through her ears and she couldn't keep up with any of them. How was this so much more overwhelming than when she was performing earlier? Or at restaurants? Likely the music - that's what she contributed it to. Conversations didn't happen while they played music, it was only to accompany dancers. It hadn't occurred to her there were possibly conversations while she was dancing because they were quieter. Here it was a competition between the performance and the conversations it seemed.
Her attention landed on Ariel greeting another mage - who in turn became red as embers - with a kiss. That bit helped her focus in. Or maybe it was the music dying away. At any rate, she didn't feel so ready to run back out the door. Ariel had mentioned it was one of the bigger guilds of light, and that there were many people here. It wasn't like she hadn't been around thousands of people - dinners with the village were the entire community after all. It was all likely just because it was sudden and new.
So after a moment to collect herself, her ears perked up slightly, and her tails didn't so tightly tangle around her legs. A smile spread on her face. She stepped closer to Ariel, looking up at the older mage once more. "You did not say you had a mate." She looked at Nolan, appraising him a bit before looking back at Ariel. "He is strong. Very good for you. Are you two life-mates?"
She blinked before looking back at Nolan with an apologetic smile. "Oh, sorry. I neglected to introduce myself again. I am Nyssa. It is nice to meet you. I met Ariel earlier today, and she told me lots and about this guild and I wanted to see it and maybe join. That is okay, correct? I do not need to be from Fiore to become a member, yes?" The more she spoke, the more her tails began to swish happily behind her instead of clinging around her legs. Especially by the end when she had regained her formerly cheerful smile and composure.
"Oh good. Slipped my mind for a moment," Ria said with a soft laugh. She glanced around for a moment before remembering where they were in the city. Then glanced at the sky before looking back at Damian. "It's about lunch time, isn't it? Are you hungry?" She started walking, again, though this time she seemed a bit more mindful of where they were headed. A list of things swirled around her head, trying to vie for the correct order of priority, but things get jumbled every so often. There were books to get, things to look into, and - "Oh yeah, we should go back to the guild, anyways. I've fallen behind waiting and taking my turn to cook in the past week. I need to make sure the kitchen is cleaned up from Lavinia's attempt to make cookies and take my turn as guild cook."
Carver's attention returned to the rude one. Formerly rude one - a pleasant correction to make. Explanations that were offered were only partially adequate for the performance thus far, but it was far more than he anticipated from the gentleman before him at the time. The others, in turn, seemed to all share the same sentiment. The warm smile returned to the historian's face as he turned his attention from one Feinxtear member to another.
Gwen rolled her eyes at the round of complaints. After pushing a stack of books into a much orderly pile than the 'how has this not tipped over yet' haphazard stack it was, she hastily pulled her clothes back on. "Yes, apologies," she said as she turned. "You keep your office like my sister keeps her room, and habits are habits." She fixed another stack of books on her way back over to them, casually pushing a few books that were nearly falling back into the shelves.
The historian's eyes lit up with the mention of the sentient sword. "The sentient sword of the Tranzell family? Intriguing. My colleague - Professor Ksenia Nikowski - would be terribly interested to speak with you and your sword at some point. She specializes in weaponry through the ages. Perhaps you would allow me to arrange such a meeting?" He put a hand up before she could answer, shaking his head lightly. "Actually, don't answer just yet. Think on it. You're not here to speak on your family artifact."
He stepped back up next to the table, standing opposite the others that moved to the table. As he spoke, he motioned to the map on the table, "There are several routes we can take, as you see from my mapping, but I believe that this way will prove both the least dangerous naturally and hopefully will avoid potential mating locations of several of the more dangerous beasts that live in the mountains. Without the guarantee of being able to avoid it is why I didn't wish to travel by myself. That and once we're there." Carver let his voice trail off as he put a few old books atop the map. Each he opened to particular pages, some illustrating the ruins they were looking for while others had illustrations of things that looked like stone beasts and what might be warnings of traps - all the writing in ancient languages. "Within the ruins themselves, there are natural dangers such as beasts that may have made these ruins their home or even just the natural decay causing them to potentially crumble beneath our feet if we are not mindful. Beyond the natural, these texts indicate there are special magical protections on the throne room, royal chamber, and treasure room, as well as throughout the ruins' inner chambers. What I am looking for within are mostly items that have significance to when this ancient people lived, but according to this book - " he held up a particular book, highlighting a scepter - "This was an item of great significance to the emperor. It hopefully will lay within the throne room, but it was also known to stay with the emperor at all times so it is likely to also be within one of the many other rooms left to the ravages of time. I'm looking to recover this specifically, and study it further."
Carver placed the book back onto the table, and rest his hands atop it. "Getting theoretically will take us a day and a half, perhaps two depending on how the terrain actually is. According to the texts, the ruins are slightly smaller than the king's castle, so it is my hope it will take no more than a day to fully explore them and hopefully locate the item of interest. Any additional items would be much appreciated - there's only so much one can learn studying the books about a people without actually seeing their things, after all - so I may be able to increase compensation based on what we are able to recover if it is not simply the scepter I seek. All in all, we will be gone from Crocus for about a week. Is everyone ready for the venture?"
Gwen listened to the whole speech, standing with her arms crossed but studying everything the man said. When he'd finally seemed to take a breath and checked on if they were ready, she shrugged. "Yeah, I'm good."