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New Friends and Acquaintances


Internally, Katerina bristled at the comments made by these newcomers. Annoying spirits? Beoris was no such thing. Katerina bit back a sharp retort, instead smiling genially at the older man and the stout fellow that would be her company for the forseeable future. "I'm sorry to hear of your plight, sirs. My lord is rather pleasant company, himself." Her eyes flitted between the two men as she addressed them. The first of the two to have spoken had the look of a soldier about him, scarred and rugged as he was. The dull and scratched -yet appearing no less sturdy for it- plate strapped across his body would have raised an eyebrow from Katerina, had she not been trained so thoroughly in matters of the court. Had he been wearing that all of the way here? The northman, stockily built and sporting a bushy brown beard, struck a less imposing figure in Katerina's eye.

Do not be fooled by his stature, child. That one is housing the great Titan within himself. Vardun is one of the finest minds this world ever has and likely ever will know. His great strength is shadowed only by his knack for practical siegecraft. In his time, no city was impregnable when Vardun was set to the task of bringing it down. That other one though, be wary of him. Alistar is the basest of creatures. Where Beoris' had spoke of Vardun with clear respect, his tone curled into something akin to disgust when describing the soul stowed away within the old man's psyche. He is a mindless, sadistic beast caring only for wanton destruction. His thirst for ruination was instrumental in leading to our downfall. Had we been afforded more time, I would have found a way to exclude that wretched thing from my prophecy. His return is most unfortunate. We must watch his vessel carefully, lest the same madness that ensnared Alistar befall him as well.

What a deplorable creature. Katerina, though, only inclined her head in his direction respectfully. "My name is Katerina, and it is a pleasure to make both of your acquaintances." As she said this, a third figure stepped into the light provided by the campfire, crackling along faithfully.

"Gwynne Lancet..."

Without missing a beat, Katerina turned to this latest of arrivals. "Welcome, Gwynne Lancet." Her voice was a gentle harp, the strings plucked ever so softly. "I am Katerina, as perhaps you heard me say." Lines of concern then formed upon her face, only half feigned. "You seem to be wounded, do you require assistance?" Katerina rose to her feet, and took a single step closer to Gwynne. She stared into the eyes of the white haired woman with worry, unfazed by their crimson shade, diverting her attention only momentarily to glance with wonder at the purple orb floating beside the garishly dressed woman.

Topesh, Beoris stated, somewhere between bored and disdainful. Though powerful, his obsession with aetheric energy is something of a detractor. He cared little for our cause then, I doubt that has changed now. The Shadow Legion to him was simply the most effective means to an end. Still, he is a tool that can be used to some degree of efficiency.

Gwynne looked to Katerina when she was offered some help with her injuries. She turned her ruby gaze to her shoulder injury and nodded, "That'd be much appreciated..."

Gwynne's clothing was tattered and dirty after her fight for survival in the woods. She didn't really carry herself, nor look the part of the other chosen. Then again, that randomness would likely help the group remain inconspicuous. The orb floated closer to Gwynne, then pulsed with light as it began to speak. Topesh's voice could be heard by all, the voice emanating from the orb, "T'is fortuitous that the apostate and I are not the first to arrive. Should our pursuers arrive, they will be in for a rather nasty surprise. You there," the orb floats right up to Katerina, "Your kindred spirit is whispering to you yes? Can he not talk like myself? Perhaps yours can?"

The orb quickly whips over to the other chosen, the northman. "No? Oh now this is quite the development. I was under the impression our reunion would be more... vocal. This is a funny twist of fate indeed... Topesh, the quiet, studious one now the most talkative of the bunch." the orb pulses faster as Topesh laughs.

As Topesh flitted about in his little orb, Katerina's shoulders squared themselves more firmly, and it seemed the girl began to stand just a little taller. A voice emanated from between Katerina's lips, still hers, yet carrying with it a smooth confidence that would be familiar to all listening. "I am, Topesh, entirely capable of speech." The words flowed together like melted chocolate. Katerina's eyes turned away from Gwynne and over to the orb lazily, a vaguely amused expression across her face. "Though it appears that speech now has a more feminine touch to it." Beoris and Katerina chuckled quietly in unison. "I give greetings to all of us gathered here currently." A teasing tut tut tut, then. "It seems the rest of our compatriots are somewhat tardy."

"Oh bollocks... I have to go through another era of listening to my chastizing brothers and sisters in arms. At least I can speak freely. I respect my chosen enough not to take over her body. She is a temple, after all. And temples are not meant to be ransacked and pillaged." the orb floated back to Gwynne and orbited around her in wide circles.

Beoris withdrew his control, then. I am sorry for seizing you so suddenly, love. Do not listen to the words Topesh speaks. He understands nothing of our arrangement, and little enough of people in general. Katerina only smiled faintly, and moved closer to Gwynne.

"Can we have a look at this, then, Gwynne?" She offered the somewhat meek woman a reassuring smile. "I'm not a healer of any sort, but one of us here has experience as a surgeon." She gestured in the direction of Fayvre. The wound on Gwynne's shoulder could certainly benefit from inspection by a proper medical practioner. It was not a pretty thing. An ugly red cut, the flesh at the edges black as pitch, stretched across her shoulder.

Gwynne let out a deep breath when Katerina asked to inspect the wound. Indeed, the frostbitten injury was beyond anybody with rudimentary knowledge in first aid. Wounds dealt my magic were always complicated, even for the more talented surgeons in Avalon. With the lack of aetheric power in the world, the increased rarity in magic meant that doctors didn't feel the need to practice treating magical injuries as much. So many victims seeking aid were often left with nothing.

Upon hearing that a surgeon was among the group, Gwynne's eyes looked around the group. With luck, this doctor would be skillful enough to treat the injury. "It was a glancing hit from a frost bolt. A battle mage sent it a few days ago..."

Fay, who up until now had been sitting still at the campfire, looked up. She hadn't really been all that interested in making talk with the newcomers herself, lest they smell weakness in her. She was out of her league here. The rest were more inkeeping with who she'd expect the egiobarre to pick; Warriors. She was content to listen and observe them, and determine who was trustworthy and who was not, but before she could discern anything substantal about anyone, Katerina had outed her as a surgeon, and now she was being called upon to treat wounds...again.

Patience, Fayvre. This may be the last time, and besides, this is not work. This will valiate you in their eyes. They may even come to trust you. Getting along with your fellow chosen will make the near future a lot more bearable.

Fay approached Gwynne and examined the wound carefully. As she did, knowledge poured into her head, given from the pool of forbidden knowledgethat Quoris was privvy to. She dropped her pack to the floor and began to rommage through it. "I've never treated a magic injury before, but luckily, Quoris knows how to. "

Dorian listened while Katarina and Gwynne introduced themselves, inclining his head respectfully as they did. Though the most surprising thing was hearing Gwynne's supernatural benefactor actually speak openly. When he had obtained Vardun's ring publicly, nobody had shown any inclination of hearing the Titan's voice other than him, not even previous contestants who attempted to lift the ring. The Titan himself mused the situation curiously in Dorian's mind.

"Hmmmm. . . Topesh the Wellspring, small wonder out of all of us he'd be the one to obtain a form that would grant him the most external power to show off. Very interesting choice though, if I'm not mistaken that orb of his is from the former Nexus itself . . .greedy bastard."

Dorian felt almost a subconscious shifting beneath his own eyes as he looked upon the others, as if Vardun himself was sizing up his old fellow Legionnaires and their chosen. He gave more of his thoughts in Dorian's mind.

"His choice is also fitting of his champion, a right and proper magician of such potential he was likely grinning within that orb when they first met. But this Katerina, she's one to note, she's Beoris the Bastard's. Tricky son of a bitch, but a damn good shadow, and I doubt he's become any less devious in death. If he's picked her, he's probably been grooming her to his liking for a while."

Dorian replied within his own head.

"Like you have for me?"

"Exactly, except likely far more intensive in different manners, makes sense, its what I'd do in his place. Its what we're probably all doing, really . . . Quoris, the Green Death is here as well, and how ironic that her champion would be a Wrelmsman . . . Wrelmswoman? Whatever. Fact remains that that Legionnaire could poison all the nature that woman cares about, if she hadn't been more concerned with the pursuit of knowledge and using it to punish her mortal foes. Knows about as much about alchemy and witchcraft as I know of seigecraft . . . And then that last one, scion of Alistar the Wyrmcaller . . . strange to me that he'd pick someone older, I'd have thought he'd prefer a more hot-blooded youth to twist to his will and be more forth-with in his madness and bloodlust . . . but then who am I to judge his choice? He may well know something I don't. Make no mistake though, The Wyrmcaller is mad, oft times more beast than man . . . but such is his power, that he'd cut and burn through a battalion like a farmer through his fields. And while some of my bretheren and sisters may disagree, I don't disdain him, all of us serve of purpose, even those mad and desperate for power. Just be mindful of any of his mood swings and keep your strength up and you'll be fine . . . in anycase, introduce yourself, you're doing me disservice by standing around like a statue and staring."

To which end, Vardun only slightly tightened the ring on Dorian's hand, making him visibly clench his fist. Dorian turned the gesture into a salute across his chest and gave a short bow.

"Dorian Vadderung, out of Braldurheim. Honestly I didn't even know we'd meet anyone out here, Vardun was as cryptic as anything."

The ring tightened again, making Dorian wince.

"Only for your own good. Its not like we don't have enemies about, and besides its not like I knew entirely what to expect either."

Dorian shook his hand out as the weight and tightness relented, looking over at Gwynne and Katerina as the one was treating the other's injuries. He casually unslung his pick-hammer, forged recently but yet unblooded, he placed it with its head down, his hands on the top of its grip as he leaned against it. He looked out into the dark and bleak lands around.

"You and Topesh said you were pursued? By whom?"

Joseph sat as he fiddled with the bandage on his arm. "Whoever's the healer I'd appreciate if ya had a look at my arm once your done with the first patient. I got into a nasty fight with some wildlife." He stated flatly while Alistar berrated his inner thoughts.
"You sickly worm! Asking these fools for assistance! My own vessel, disgusting! How humiliating...At least these other vessels seem just as pathetic! I should have known these insects couldn't have picked a proper warrior to carry out their deeds. This is why we failed! They didn't believe in my grand p-" Joseph ignored him.

"And what's this about being pursued?"

At the third mention of pursuit, Katerina's eyes flashed over to Fayvre's as the surgeon approached Gwynne. For the barest of moments, palpable anxiety was laced throughout the gaze. Katerina might not have been followed, but there was no doubt in her mind that she was being searched for.

Fay silently cursed to herself as she heard Joseph's request for her services. She had finished treating Gwynne's shouler, using methods that even with the knowledge now in her head, she didn't fully understand, and was now binding it tightly with white cloth bandages. The talk of some members possibly being pursued was scary, though. Fay didn't believe she had yet commited any crimes worthy of being pursued, and didn't want to be involved in a fight. If it came to that, she'd likely hide somewhere out of the way. But then, what if the Legionaires lost? There were all that was protecting her now. Them and Quoris.

Gwynne looked between the other chosen as they all seemed to be concerned by the mention of pursuers. She nodded slowly, "Sorcerers of the Court, two battle magi and a sorcerer superior. They've been on my tail for the past few days now. I crippled one of them two days ago, which should hopefully have sent them back to the Spyre to treat their wounded. I've been very high up on the Court's wanted list for years now, but only recently have I been actively hunted by them. Worry not, they should have no reason to believe that I have... allies..." The word is strange to Gwynne, she had only just met them after all.

With the cloth cut and tied, Fay told Gwynne that her treatment was finished, and before any remarks of thanks or otherwise could be made, picked up her pack and made her way over to Joseph. Gwynne at least gave a nod to the woman to show her appreciation. Now this wound, even from this distance, she could tell was within her mortal understanding of how to treat. She put down her pack beside Joseph and took his arm in her hands, extending it towards her and staring at the wound. "I've seen much worse than this. I think all this will need is disenfecting and sewing up."

She pulled a small vial of lavender-based disenfectant from her pack, and started to drp in into the cut. It stung. "I'm afraid this will hurt, and I didn't bring any whisky with me for the pain, but at least I'm not using lemon juice, " she joked, trying to keep the atmosphere light, before returning the disenfectant to her bag, and getting out a needle, thread, and a toothmark-riddled bit, which the offered to him. "Some men use it. Others like having the option of turning it down," she explained, as she got to work sewing. It felt...about as good as having your arm repeadedly puctured with a sharp object could feel.

Far from the worst pain Joseph's war-torn body had experienced, his body still occassionally jerked and twitched reflexively through the procedure, however his tolerance and will had supressed such reactions to prevent them from disturbing her work. "Well lets just hope we all can get some peace tonight while we wait for the others, at the very least. These old bones are sore from all the walking."

Katerina turned politely towards Joseph. "My, what strength of you will you possess..." She curled her nose back. "That procedure appears rather painful. But sir, you still have yet to introduce yourself?" Where were this old man's social graces? Still, the inquiry was phrased respectfully.

"Pardons." The old soldier raised his hand. "Sir Joseph Peter Kane, at your service." He answered to the young ally. It was odd to him how young some of these allies seemed, to him age meant experience. Still, figuring it rude to bring it up, he remained quiet on the matter. Alistar was also, fairly quiet now; to which Joseph was thankful for.

"It will be," Katerina began politely, "An honor to work by your side, Sir Kane." So the old man had some degree of manners after all. He wasn't entirely unpleasant company, even if a mad dragon made its lair in his head. The fire began to sputter then, and Katerina poked at it with determination until the flame regained some degree of intensity. The darkness was entirely palpable around the Shadow Legion reborn, despite the little campfire's best efforts. She thought it seemed fitting.
@Dynamo Frokane

I misread who you were replying to >.>

Sora stared at the blood bags, then at Edith, then facepalmed. At least she agreed to go and get something to eat. Sora admitted to herself that Edith wasn't as much as a scary psychopath as she'd first seemed. Deep down, she was more like a giddy, naive little sister that needed to be looked after and kept an eye on lest she cause trouble to others or herself. Sora kept up with Edith even if the girl was bouncing along the way with a pretty nifty speed. Sora was walking as fast as she could without resorting o jogging, until even that wasn't enough and she was forced to job besides Edith.

When they got to the cafeteria, Sora spotted Kiyoshi, and waved. After getting her food (which in this case was fish sushi) she went over to his table. "Hey, Kiyoshi! I didn't think you've be out yet! I'm so, so sorry! How is your head?"


Kasuke Mina

"I actually don't know very much about you, but I'm something on an expert on putting on a friendly front. I can smell it a mile off. Even so, I know it feels better just to relax and talk honestly for a while. Trust me, it could always be worse than people thinking of your 'true character'. Undeserved and unwelcome pity is far less bearable."

Mina looked back to the courtyard when Asuka did, but couldn't see what she was looking at. Now Mina's mood also seemed to have soured, just thinking of that girl and Jett. She decided to besmirch the name of this unwelcome complication a little. "Well, what did you get out of helping her? A friendship of equals isn't one person constantly asking favours of the other and giving nothing in return. I wouldn't worry about Tatara-san either. She strikes me as that kind of person. Besides, she seemed to be mostly annoyed at Harukaze for not showing up in person and using you as a carrier pidgeon."

It was then when a boy appeared, who Mina hadn't seen in a while, though that was true of many students as she'd been recovering and training ever since the exercise. He was the loud, blue-haired self-proclaimed 'main character', though he seemed slightly less bombastically insufferable today. Mina returned his nod, albeit more curtly that she had recieved it.


Maeda Hitomi

Hitomi was now worried. Kamui Hibiki's quirk, she knew would be very useful in this exercise. Then again, so was her own. This would be closer than she had previously thought. Hitomi hadn't spoken to Hibiki-san much last year, but as the class rep of 1C, she kmew a lot about the quiet, hostile girl.

The exercise had now started. Hitomi dashed straight into the middle of the area, floofed up her hair as much as she could, got on her knees and tried to exude as much of a sense of 'natural prey' as she could, making herself small and low to the ground. She closed her eyes and tapped into her sheep sense. Now that many of the cats had taken notice of this prey, or her wooly hair, or both, she could tell the location of all of them at once. Even during this process, several cats had ran up to her and climbed up her body, before starting to play with and claw her hair, unable to resist the appeal of wool.

@Lucius Cypher@liferusher

Mako Akane

Mako shook her head. "We're now getting into differences in philosophical thinking. I actually agree with everything you've both said. Circumstances dictate a lot; the quirk you were born with, your upbringing. Who you meet, being at the right place at the right time and having your life changed forever. But I don't believe in luck. I don't believe some people are luckier than others. I don't believe circumstances can be changed by good luck charms or prayers. Above all, I don't believe that one of the key requirements of making it as a Hero is a trait that you have no control over. Just because you have no control over circumstance, and may never catch that big break, doesn't mean hard work and talent will go unrewarded just because someone's 'unlucky'.

As for your comment that I'd make a great Hero, maybe I would, now. But growing up, I chose a path of my own free will, and I never regretted it. I never had much of drive. My motivations were selfish, and there wasn't anything I cared enough about besides myself to push myself in a way a Hero needs to. I only got good at fighting Heroes through practice, and I persisted because I loved the attention and infamy I was getting. Villains aren't just evil Heroes. They have a fundamental difference in thinking."

Mako winced as Mamoro severely aggravated her injuries celebrating. "Maybe you could even stand to learn a few things from my past example, like self-care and self-preservation."

@pkken@Lucius Cypher@Melpaws

Eilidh took some time to look around Ambran as they walked, reveling in it's metropolitan atmosphere. Their party was getting some stares, as Eilidh and Ditzy were both completely undisguised Monsters, and considerably the tallest beings around, barring people on horseback, who were able to match Eilidh's height if you counted the horse. Eilidh smiled and nodded, or glared as appropriate, at their onlookers.

When they met Samuel Cubbage himself, Eilidh shook his hand when offered, and just listened to he and Neil talk once they were inside the inn. Eilidh felt some relief to be out of the gaze of people. The request confused Eilidh. "So," she started, "First of all, do you mean weeks, or generations? There's a fairly large gap there between those two time periods. Second, what exactly are you trying to find at Boreal Port? Third, to get to the port, it's pretty much straight west from here. In fact, the guildhouse is about halfwau between here and Boreal Port."


Rebecca pursed her lips ad rolled her eyes and being called 'human' in the same manner you would command a dog. Human or Monster, children should be respectful of their elders, and polite to them. She was going to have to have a few words to Maria when this was over. Looking at the condition of the church inside, Rebecca tutted. It wouldn't be a very romantic wedding. They didn't have time to order in repairmen, or carpenters to remake the pews, or to arrange flowers. They might not even have time to clean up all the mess!

Shortly after this, the floorboards below Lily gave way and her upper half as sticking out of a hole in the church floor. Rebecca grabbed Lily's hand and pulled, but the moment she did, se could tell something was wrong. Something on the other end seemed to be pulling back.

"Lily! Grab my hands and pull! And kick at whatever's pulling you down!"


Maeda Hitomi

Hitomi watched as the competition was officially started with the impressive announcement from White Hat. It felt that much more important and legitimate being announced by a teacher, and Hitomi was starting to get...not exactly nervous, not exactly exited. The halfway emotion that a stage actor gets before they go on stage, whatever that's called. She watched the overview of the cat herding challenge and paid close attention to the rules. It all seemed fair, and Hitomi grew more and more confident as she continued to watch.

When they were asked to select their volunteer, Hitomi smiled at Asahi with a confident, encouraging smile that almost made her look like a real pro-Hero. "This challenge is mine. Don't worry. I won't lose this!" With that said, she smiled at Yui too, before heading off to take her place as the Pro-Komei Collective candidate.

@Lucius Cypher@liferusher

Mako Akane

Mako listened to Mamoru's answer to Persia's question, and as Amane and Ruby were fighting, without taking her (closed) eyes off the fight, or the smile from her lips, decided to answer Mamoru's answer with her own answer. "Luck isn't an attribute that some people possess and others don't. There aren't any dice that are naturally more inclined to land on six than other dice, and there aren't any people who are naturally more inclined to catch a break than others. You need to get lucky to become a Hero. You need to catch that break, get the right Mentor in the right agency and face the right Villain or be on the scene at the right disaster, at the right time. But you don't need 'luck'. Besides, there is more to being a Hero than those three things. Growing up, I had those three things in surplus, but I would have made a poor Hero. And I'm not just saying they need to be good people. They need to be more than just 'good people'. I wonder how many students at this school would give their life to save a child from getting hit by a car. I wonder how many of them would stand up to a Tyrant armed with no quirk and a handful of stones."

Mako turned her attention to this battle. It was finished. Ruby had won, which did not surprise Mako in the slightest. She'd talked to Amane earlier, and she'd seen Ruby's tapes. "You were right about needing drive, though, Mamoru. That's the most important tool in a Hero's arsenal at the end of the day. 'Everything you've got' is seldom enough for victory. Impressive as her speed and reflexes are, if this was a contest of pure fighting talent, Ruby wouldn't have stood a chance."

Mako smiled and waved at Ruby when the neko noticed her, then caught Amane's eye, and nodded at him, her smile growing warmer, and her eyes opening to reveal a pleased, proud expression. "Now, you two. We should take a trip to the nurse's office. You're both naturally quite beat up."

@pkken@Melpaws@Lucius Cypher

& Kryss

(Several minutes after Kai leaves the second platform)

Though the guard's words and gentle touch were meant to comfort her Kryss was far too​ anxious to take solace from the kind gesture. Already concerned over what she had heard not too long ago, this incident happening almost right in front of her had her shaken to the core. This man seemed nice enough bit if she was reading things correctly he was likely going to wait for backup and a proper team before going down to see what had become of the girl. Sensible, but Kryss shared the opinion of the two boys that had already decided they were going down now to try and help. She still doubted there was much chance of her being alive but if she was... Death would not wait politely for the adults to get organized.

Sniff...sniff sniff

Rags, still teary eyed, and her face red from crying, had her nose to the ground and her eyes to the road, utilising her senses of smell and sight to track the trail of the girl she saw earlier, who had asked Aya and herself about the missing children from the orphanage. The trail, beyond the senses of most humans to track, was as easy to read as the pages of a book to the young savage (in fact, it was easier than a book to Rags)

Before she realized what she was doing, Kryss found herself standing near the edge of the Abyss once more. Time is life. Death waits not for one to be ready. Climb or fall... The Abyss, and everything that could be waiting for her down there still terrified her beyond reason, and yet she started shedding her light boots and discarding her shoulder bag on the ground. She looked back at the man behind her who was no doubt wondering what she was doing. Quickly she thought of a lie on the spot to prevent him from stopping her.

"I-I'm actually a Blue Whistle, it just got cracked and it's getting fixed. We're going on ahead until more help arrives. We.. we'll do our best, too!"

Rags caught up to the trail in time to see this scene play out, and made a mental attempt to muster as much english knowledge as she could. Her brain was working on how she could help. This girl was the other delver who would help her descend the Abyss. She was sure of it now. Why else would she be co close to the edge? Rags stood up and brushed herself off to look as normal as possible before approaching, and held out her own blue whistle.

"It’s okay! I have your blue whistle. It is fixed now! Let’s go!"

As she got closer, she leaned in and whispered to Kryss. "My name Rags. We go down Abyss together. Yes?"

Kryss startled having just gotten herself over the fence. She recognized her as one of the girls from earlier who she had meant to catch up with and talk to about the missing children. This was the best turn of events possible, not only would Kryss be able to ask Rags about the other missing children but the rescue party now had another pair of hands and on top of that she just helped Kryss with a very risky lie without hesitation.

Kryss smiled and nodded, trying to look as if she knew Rags well. “T-thank you! Your timing is amazing, like always! Let's get going then!”

Quickly, but carefully Kryss started climbing down the near vertical rock face without gear and without a second thought. It had been a long time since she had done any climbing more serious than a library ladder. However, as her toes and fingers made contact with the stone old instincts kicked in and she started finding hand and toeholds as if it were second nature. it's like I never left… She thought to herself, moving down and to the side several feet. She looked up at Rags to see if she was coming along alright on her own.

Any concern Kryss might have had was misplaced. Rags wasn’t descending the rock face footfall by footfall like a professional climber, but in stomach-churning leaps more reminiscent of a mountain goat. This little savage kid was truly without fear when it came to climbing sheer cliff sides. She’d seem oblivious of the dangers if you didn’t look at her face and note the look of deadly serious concentration with every leap she made further down. There wasn’t even a sign that her hands or bare feet were suffering or sore in the slightest from this rough treatment, which really made one wonder how tough her skin was.

Kryss stopped where she was and stared at Rags, mouth agape. She had yet to see a human adult climb quite so competently and she had imagined no child could be so skillful. Even the two boys that had gone down first were using the usual climbing gear but Rags was barefoot just like Kryss and easily matching her. She couldn't help but admire Rags’ technique and lean muscle.

Is she really human?

Despite how dire the situation was and how anxious Kryss was to be going back into the Abyss after all this time, she felt a rush of excitement. She took a few deep breaths to try to calm and center herself, closing her eyes and feeling the rock, remembering it. Remembering the Abyss.

Opening her eyes Kryss started descending at a faster pace. She started taking leaps like Rags was, tentatively at first, but more confidently as she realized she could still trust her body. She had a lot of questions for Rags but those could wait a bit longer; she didn't want to risk distracting the other girl.

We'll make great time at this pace. Just hang on a little longer, we're coming.

After scarcely a few minutes of climbing, they finally reached the first layer of the Abyss. Rags dropped the last couple of meters and landed on all fours, unharmed. This girl was 1005 biologically human, but there was still something very animal about the way she moved in the wild, free of the shackles of decorum and expectations. She dusted herself off and looked up at Kryss, smiling and unhurt. She was panting but didn’t appear completely exhausted. "Never seen climber good as you!" she beamed with a wide childlike grin.

Rags smile was infectious and she couldn't help but return it with a light blush, especially after her compliment. “Thank you, but I'm nothing special, really. You're the one that makes it look easy. That's your blue whistle, isn't it? It really shows, all the work you put into your delving.”

Kryss walked to the edge of where they had stopped for the moment and looked down, and then up. She had forgotten how different the Abyss seemed once you were down in it. On the surface it looked almost distant and somehow small. It was all that open sky she supposed, giving a perspective to scale that had taken some getting used to.

Kryss looked back down trying to see either the girl or the boys ahead of them but both were still out of sight. So they will probably reach her first I think. That's good, Rags and I can help once we catch up. Between the four of us we might be able to bring her up without having to wait for the adults.

“Um, Rags? Thank you for covering for me up there. I know I'm taking a big risk lying like I did but I couldn't just stand up there and do nothing. I… I think I had already decided I wanted to help you find your friends. This just…. got me back down here sooner than I expected.”

"Is not work. Is fun!" Rags replied, grinning innocently. "I also taking risk. Ran away Orphanage to help friends down in Abyss. Came to find you. Ask to help me. But you were here…..what word………...wanting! Wanting to go down Abyss too!"

This girl… here we are in what many would say is the scariest place in the world, the place where the worst things in my life have happened, where I haven't dared set foot in so long… and she's making me smile. How does she do that?

“I guess it is a little fun in a way. But you know we're down here for a very serious reason, right? No, I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking. Of course you must know that.” Kryss looked away, thinking about how brave Rags was, running away from the orphanage to find her friends.

Her brow furrowed in thought for a moment as she peered over the edge, looking for the best start to the next part of their path. “You're not wrong, I do… want to go. I-I mean I want to help. But you came looking for me? Why… why me?”

Rags looked at Kryss in confusion, as if the concept that serious, life or death struggles couldn’t be fun was something completely alien and nonsensical, as it was to her. Maybe she meant that they had to hurry, and there, Rags agreed, but Kryss is the one who wants to talk, and Rags didn’t believe that seconds or minutes would make much of a difference. They’d been gone since last night. If they were in immediate danger, they’d be dead by now, but Rags knew the wild wasn’t that cruel if you were smart. She had survived for years in the wild, being younger than her two friends were, and they’d been trained and taught things! Rags learned most of her knowledge through doing.

"Why you? Hmm..." Rags thought about that, before giving an honest answer. "Nobody from Orphanage ready, but I needed help. Remembered you from today. Followed trail. You older and wiser."

Kryss stared and Rags in surprise. “Older and wiser? Uh, I'm not so sure about that. M-maybe, but…” She trailed off, a sad look crossing her face as she remembered what she felt were far too many terrible mistakes. “I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound like I don't appreciate the compliment, it's just.. w-well nevermind. Let's help save this girl if she's alive, then let’s get back down here to look for your friends. I think that's what I had already decided to do. After all, I was on my way to the orphanage to ask you about it when this happened.” As she talked Kryss decided ease herself over the edge to start climbing down again, taking it slow at first. She remembered how with no problems but her stamina was probably less than it used to be. She would need to be careful of that.

Rags was surprised to hear that Kryss was going to return to the Orphanage herself. She had never been taught about the concepts of ‘coincidence’ or ‘destiny’, but at this moment, understood them both perfectly. She followed Kryss in descending further down the Abyss. Rags was no more careful or conservative here than she had been before, but was taking it slower just so she didn’t leave Kryss behind. During the descent, Rags landed on a thin ledge that crumbled under the impact, and she plummeted for a few seconds before she caught hold of another ledge. She didn’t seem to be afraid or panicked at all from this, as if it was something she was used to, or just a regular part of climbing. Even so, she decided to take it a lot slower afterwards, matching Kryss’ pace and care.

Kryss watched admiringly as the energetic Rags took the lead, as confident and carefree as Kryss was reserved. She looked so… free. Though a little envious she was mostly just happy to see Rags unburdened by doubt or fear or-

The sound of crumbling soil and rock. Kryss’ reaction was reflexive, her head snapping to where the sound was, her wings twitching under her dress. Everything was fine in another split second, Rags reflexes being even faster than hers. Even so Kryss hung loosely from the rock, ready to drop at any moment, until Rags was no longer at risk of falling.

It took a while for her heart rate and breathing to slow down after that. She felt much more relieved to see her slow down and match Kryss’ pace, though now she was checking nervously every few seconds to make sure their next few feet of cliff side was safe.

Rags reached level ground first, and was glad to feel grass under her feet again. She looked around, and sniffed around. She could smell blood. The first thing she noticed was the arrow sticking out of the ground. This was a recent addition. Further exploration solved the mystery of where the smell of blood was coming from. There were marks indicating that human hands had been struggling to hold onto this edge, and there were red spots nearby. There were two sets of fresh footprints, but they were very, very fresh. Rags couldn’t suppress a suspicious snarl. These were boys, and weren’t from the orphanage, or at least weren’t people Rags was friends with. Just what was going on here? Was a rescue party already descending?


@Silver Carrot & @Lovely Complex
Madison Weaver and Rose Powers
Location: Destiny’s Deck

Madison’s new look was received positively, and she’d been invited to dance with many partygoers, men and women, but she soon realised the drawback of this was that the music was too loud for anybody to talk. This meant that although she was having a lot of fun dancing, nobody could get her number. She didn’t even know if anybody had tried yet. Ready to take a break, and also willing to try her luck in a quieter albeing less populated area of the ship, Madison headed to the deck. It was pretty quiet at this point, and most populated by smokers who were facing out towards the sea. She didn’t exactly think she was ready to get hit on, but even so, her goal was to get people’s numbers. She’d been complimented on her appearance and called ‘hot’ by many boys, and girls, but she felt like by not pulling anybody, she was letting Shauna down somehow.

Not a flirt and not someone who remotely thinks in terms of ‘sex, love, and romance’, Rose sat on the floor of the dock, leaned against the ship’s railing, playing her father’s Gameboy that she packed in her bag. She had forgotten her original goal for the night and decided it was time to play Pokémon Yellow. Rose was different than most people and if you wanted intentional advances from her, you better reconsider. It wasn’t in her character to want cuddles unless they’re from her parents or the animals of her household.

In fact, Rose was happy with not having some person interfere with her dreams. No one means no stress. She’s had time to think about this — since New Years when the topic became a thing. For damn sure, that kiss had stressed her out and she didn't know if it was worth trying again.

Even if she tried kissing again with someone, it would be with someone she trusted. Adubs? Ew, he was her brother. Q? No… she was with her brother. Wyatt? Raff? Of course not! She knew they were better off just staying friends and hanging with her and her brother. Honestly, her shell-shaped mind in regards to these foreign topics was just fine with her. She’d be prepared when she finds her very own Quincy, but until then, having her own Quincy was not necessary. Nope, not at all.

While she played the game, she thought about what her parents were doing. It was lunch time in Japan. Maybe tomorrow she’d give them a call… the house was quiet without them. Have them talk about the time they first met and how they knew they were meant for each other. Stories that would help her understand love remotely. Yeah, she missed her parents. If she knew any great love, it would be their love for each other… the best kind of love. The love that survives, after all trials and tribulations. A love that was meant to be.

There was a little chill in the breeze, since they were on water, but Rose had her comfy as balls alien baseball bomber jacket on. Always prepared. She even had a change of clothes, just in case. All in her handy-dandy backpack, which she occasionally hid so that she didn’t have to carry it everywhere. Right now though, it was beside her. Her jacket covered up her meow shirt, and out of all the people on this dock, Rose didn’t seem to fit in. Nah, not in this ‘picture-esque’ party. She didn’t show much skin, she didn’t wear heavy make up, she wore sneakers for god sakes, and her hair hardly had any maintenance done to it. Sure, she showed some tummy but it was nothing compared to other girls. Rose was comfortable, with a pinch of fashion, her fashion, and that’s all that mattered.

Not looking up from her Gameboy, she addressed the new person, having noticed her the moment she went on the deck. “Enjoying yourself?” As random as it was to say that to a complete stranger, Rose wanted to make sure most people were having a good time. This female that she didn’t necessarily recall in her not-so-sober mind was not the first person she asked this question to either. All responses resulted differently but at least Rose was trying to socialize.

Madison looked over to the girl who’s just asked her if she was enjoying herself, and sighed, relaxing. Time to take a break from trying to get pulled, and playing this cool, confident character. Madi felt she needed to be herself for a while and recharge. This girl (admittedly quite pretty) was not dressed like somebody who wanted to hook up, and that’s largely why Madi strolled up to her and rested against the railing. She looked chill, like somebody you could actually have a normal conversation with.

“I am in some ways,” she replied. “Not in others. I made a promise to the friend who dressed me up that I’d get some numbers, but so far, nothing, It might be too early, but people just want to dance. I don’t mind dancing and it’s fun, but, I feel like I’m letting her down somehow if I just go and dance all night. If you don’t mind me asking, what brings you to the party? You don’t really seem to be...taking part, no offense.”

“None taken.” Rose glanced up, looking away from her game, finally getting a better look at the girl beside her. “Taking part as in... swallowing some acid, seeing some colors, and doing things I might regret the next day?” Rose raised an eyebrow, before bringing herself to her feet and standing next to the girl, on the same level. Sorta. The girl was taller than her. Still, it was better than her having to look up, up, up and have her neck ache.

Pausing her game and looking at the stranger, who had a strikingly chiseled body, mind you, Rose shook her head, “I did have an agenda, but, I think I understand the answer now. Even if I didn’t have a ‘goal’ to achieve, I’d probably still be doing something weird. I’m happiest when I’m myself, y’know? Hell, I don’t even think there’s one way to party. Me and my parents, we smoke weed and play video games together all the time! That’s a party. A Mario Kart Party!”

Shifting her body a little, to face the girl she had yet gotten a name from, Rose tilted her head and asked, “Why do you care? About letting this one friend down? Her being disappointed over your inability to get numbers kind of makes her a bad friend.”

Madi sighed, and sat down against the railing. “Not even sure if she’d be genuinely disappointed. I just want to pay her back for fitting me out for tonight. I’ve wanted to try and engage in the social scene a little bit before I graduate. I’ve been taking High School too seriously the past couple of years. Refusing parties and nights out and sleepovers and cheerleading get-togethers in favour of training and practising, with some prize or accolade always on my mind. Now I’m 18 and I’ve realised there are very few people I could call close friends, and one of them’s my ex-boyfriend.

And it’s working. Tonight’s been a lot of fun, and I’ll definitely go to more parties and gatherings in the future, especially if there’s dancing and free drink, but I can’t just let go and spend the whole night dancing, as much as I want to. Besides, even I get tired eventually.”

She stretched, and then turned to Rose and offered her hand, introducing herself. “I’m Madison. Madison Weaver.”

By now, Rose had put away her Gameboy, fully invested in the conversation. With both hands, she grabbed Madison’s and gave it a friendly shake, “Ilyana. Ilyana Powers. But most people know me as Rose. Some people don’t even know that ‘Ilyana Powers’ exist because Rose just… stuck. Derives from my middle name. Rosalyn. My mama’s mom. Ilyana is my daddy’s mom. She is Ana. I think it would be weird if I were Ana too. My mama’s mom. I never met her. She died when mama was young… I’m getting off track.” Maybe she needed more weed.

Releasing Madi’s hand, Rose ran both hands through her unruly blonde hair, “I don’t really come to parties to socialize. Socializing happens, yeah, but I like seeing people. People inspire my work. Other than that, Dreamland with my brother and friends is the perfect place to be. Maybe I’ll take you some time. You look like you could handle my dad’s playground.” Rose nodded to herself, proud that she was making this girl feel better. “I don’t have a huge pool of friends. Actually, the person that I came here for tonight, we stopped talking to each other years ago. But, he did something to me that I wanted explanation to. Then I realized I did something to him years ago, with hardly any explanation… which made us no longer friends. I cut ties with him because he was just… different? We’re very different people. From different worlds.” Rummaging through her backpack, Rose took out a tiny notepad and a pen. She began gracefully scribbling something.

“Adubs, Quincy, Wyatt, Rafael, Jax, they’re like me. Weird and people that just don’t care. They’re my family. We’re small, but it’s enough… I’m happy with them. There’s also Shi and Honey, but they float around, and I don’t blame them for wanting to make friends everywhere. To each their own.” Ripping the paper off, Rose revealed a doodle of her playing her Gameboy and Madi sitting next to her, smiling. Above the doodle was her digits and above her digits was her full name. Ilyana Powers. “Your first number of the night. The Misfit, Powers. Nothing romantic, though. I’m not one to sleep around and have one night stands... I’m not even sure I’m one to date… Let’s be friends and see where that takes us, yeah?” Rose beamed at her new friend. Someone she was deliberately letting in, to her world, which consisted of a few burners, a couple of weirdos, a daredevil of a dad, an art genius mom, and a lot of love.

Family love.

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