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3 mos ago
Gahh, transcribing an interview took way too friggin long, and I knew it wasn't gonna be quick. I knew there was a reason for preferring quantitative data...
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1 yr ago
Going to a hated event might build my fortitude or something, but the though of seeing those f*rs' faces...Yeah, no thanks.
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1 yr ago
Why do I have a cold again when I've had one just last month?
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1 yr ago
How about Shiki?


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Jandar Varan

It had been something over a week since Jandar had arrived in Terreille, and though he’d been accompanying a dozen traders in the beginning, he’d separated from the rest in the first few days, and was now travelling by himself. Only Teo, his dapple gray, still accompanied him. It was now perhaps the third day riding on the road since the last village he’d been at, and he was eager to reach the next one. He was caught in the middle of a storm, one that was swiftly growing to a rarely-seen magnitude, with its razor-sharp winds howling at him, buffeting them and draining Teo’s stamina, the rumbling of thunder a constant. Mother night, it would be just my luck for us to get caught in the downpour! Jandar knew they should proceed swiftly if he didn’t want to get drenched or worse – which he patently did not.

So, he urged Teo into a gallop with a sharp “Hiyah!”, leaning down right next to the horse’s neck to lessen the effect of wind resistance. It seemed like hours before the Dhemlan male made it to the next village, though it could have easily been no more than half an hour; the journey was grueling in any case. Teo slowed down to a more appropriate walk as they joined the group of pedestrians frantic to either get inside or leave, and Jandar dismounted, leading his steed to the nearby stable, his pale golden eyes flicking from building to building. He took in the inn, the pens alongside the stables was taking Teo to, the service buildings, and…Jandar had to fight against the instinctual scowling growl that was trying to burst out furiously out of his chest into a proper scream at the sight of that four-story building and its decoration. He barely kept his face blank enough to pass as neutral at the travesty the literal fields of Witchblood represented.

He turned away from the proof of Terreille’s corruption, the crimes that must have happened here. Jandar was of a mind to call it evil, no matter his dislike for absolutes, because the atrocities, oh, the atrocities that must have led to Witchblood flourishing so! Hell’s fire! And may anyone responsible become a mere Whisper and be erased from history! He clutched at the Blood Opal he kept tucked under his shirt and secured to a leather necklace alongside some wolf teeth and a couple of broken-off parts of deer antlers he’d also attached to the jewelry – meaningless trophies, but they fit with the guise of him supposedly making his living as a hunter. His Red jewel was hidden in his personal pocket-dimension where he’d vanished it using his Craft, so his psychic scent would reveal him to others as a Blood Opal Warlord at most. Even with this precaution, Jandar had already noticed a few of the Terreille natives eyeing him with greed, a fact that deeply discomfited him. However, there was nothing to it aside from remaining cautious and observant.

With a roll of his shoulders Jandar entered the stable, and led Teo into one of the empty stalls, swung his backpack across a shoulder, and removed Teo’s saddle and reins which he hung on a nearby hook. “Kick anyone who tries to steal you or our belongings, won’t you, boy?” he murmured to Teo, who nickered in response, then proceeded to water and feed himself from the troughs attached to the stall. As Teo did so, Jandar brushed his coat of the accumulated grime and dust. “I’ll bring you a treat later,” Jandar promised as he patted the steed on the snout, leaving it to its well-deserved rest.

The dark-haired golden-eyed male then ventured back outside, where the storm was still raging. Most of the people had already taken cover, but there was still a line of departing folk at the landing webs next to the inn. The winds were becoming ever more violent, the thunder crying its outrage, an echo of Jandar’s own emotions; his deep sorrow at the memory of the Witchblood still seared into his mind. He avoided looking at the actual flowers, yet the memory was almost worse, sneaking upon him when he least expected it – he was certain the Witchblood would become a prominent part of the occasional nightmare, perhaps there to haunt him the following night already. To distract himself, Jandar focused on the wind mussing his hair, tugging at his clothes, and almost making him sway a little with how forceful it was now, but disregarded the inconvenience, closed his eyes, and simply listened. He heard quiet mutters from those attempting to depart via the Winds, but unless anything peculiar caught his interest, he would focus his Craft to listen to the storm itself. It was a turbulent one, and the first strikes of lightning and rain were starting up. Could it be a sign? If he was not mistaken, the storm was blowing from the Askavi mountains. Is that where he should head? Was it a mere coincidence? Or was it the hint of something much more ominous? Regardless of what he heard, he had to take cover, and the inn would be convenient enough.

Teo stabled and as comfortable as he would be, Jandar payed for his own accommodations as well; a small room, but despite the meagre and rickety wooden furniture within, it also had a window which Jandar could use to observe the village’s main street from. A casual glance outside revealed several stragglers still cluttered at the landing webs, obviously impatient to travel elsewhere, but perhaps unable to do so on their own power. Jandar shook his head in exasperation at Terreille in general, a feeling all the more acute since he’d took it on himself to travel the lightest Realm. With a near-silent sigh, the Kaeleer native set to washing himself and the sweaty clothing, then put the latter out to dry as he dressed into another set of second-handed apparel – none of the clothing he’d taken with him was what one of the Aristo would usually wear, but then, that was the point. Here, he was a trader, hunter, traveler. Nothing but an unknown Warlord, though the Terreille inhabitants might consider the Blood Opal they'd sense on him to be a sign of great power. That, however, was not something the Dhemlan intended to concern himself with for the moment.

Jandar set his bow, quiver, and sheathed sabre aside next to the small dresser, but kept the hunter knife on his person as he left the privacy of his rented room (locking the door behind him) to join the hubbub of the inn’s main room. He sat himself at the bar, ordered a simple meal and ale, set an elbow to the counter and propped his chin and jaw on the palm of his hand. He forced his gaze to set on the nearest patron in an apparently lazy manner, nodded curtly at them, and muttered a gruff comment. “Terrible weather,” he noted, affecting a rougher, slightly deeper tone than his usual smooth cadence. “Bad for business,” he continued, as if all he wanted was a simple, casual chat while he waited for his meal to be done. He huffed, adding a correction to his generalization. “Well, s’not awful for places like this, ‘course,” he did not grin, but rather conveyed amusement with his voice and a twitch of his lip corners alone. “Wonder if it’ll last long,” he stated, then dug into the plain gruel set before him, washing it down liberally with the slightly better-tasting ale.

Location: Ares Colloseum -> Apartment 2F -> Mystic Forest and the Naiades Lakeside
Mentions: Lyra Woods @Filthy Mudblood

Half an hour or so after the introductions and, in some cases, fond greetings and clinging embraces, the students dispersed. Ian offered a hand to Lyra with her luggage, as any gentleman would, and they settled in their shared apartment shortly. The minutes of carrying several pounds worth of paraphernalia was not nearly enough to sufficiently stretch his muscles after the hours-long drive from L.A. where he’d been residing the previous week on account of his mother’s concerts, meet-and-greets, and a couple of free days she’d used to encourage Ian to explore the dizzying array of venues the city offered every which way. Shaking his head as if the physical action might help disrupt his reverie, Ian set to organizing his belongings. He refolded each piece of clothing carefully, placed the toiletries in the bathroom, prepared an efficient study place at his desk as he adorned it with books, notebooks, journals, pens, pencils, acryls, and the like. His laptop and tablet were at one side of the desk, his analogue writing and drawing supplies at the other. His bag and travelling case, now empty, joined the apparel in the wardrobe.

That done, Ian was sorely tempted to just throw himself on the bed, but he did not want to contaminate his sleeping place with the almost day-old sweat practically adhered to him. Thankfully, a 10-minute shower both fixed that problem, and energized him to boot. Now that taking a nap was no longer so overwhelmingly appealing, the dark-headed teen, dressed in black sweatpants, white T-shirt, and a crimson hoodie, headed outside. He heard whispers of the up-coming party throughout the Hestia building already, but ignored the enthusiasm and scoffed at the idea that this year, it would supposedly be arranged by the lake. If his light jog happened to take him to the self-same lake within the Mystic Forest, well, that was no-one’s business but his own. He slowed down to an ambling stroll as he heard voices from further in beyond the trees, and joined the two groups at the lakeside with a surprised blink.

“So, the party actually will be here,” he remarked to no-one in particular. “Colour me impressed,” he commented, his monotonous tone belying the interest his words might have otherwise expressed. He swept his gaze from person to person, but beyond the minute assessment of who he knew – no one well, not beyond their name or reputation – Ian chose to ignore the gathering. If a crowd were to assemble, he could leave easily enough before risking suffocation – or worse. With a roll of his shoulder, Ian walked casually right to the edge of the water, stretched, then promptly sat down cross-legged, and dipped a hand into the water. It was cold – too cold to swim comfortably. Shame, that. Nonetheless, he continued to play idly with the lake’s surface, not disturbing it overly much, but enough that perhaps a Naiad might deign to appear. If there were any resting nearby, warning them of the impending noise the students’ revelry was sure to cause would not be amiss.

Asteria ignored Ed's antics in favour of frowning after the goblin that left them not that long ago and the trail she’d left that lead almost directly to them. She arose from her contemplation at Mother Rat’s squeak and noted the tracks signifying a pair of humans or similar humanoid beings having passed through the plain. The tracks lead northwest, either toward the cave or the mountains. Asteria tilted her head at Ed’s suggestion, and whispered a reply “No, let’s avoid following any humans for now. Jezee wasn’t exactly subtle when she left, so…I believe heading further south and covering up our tracks is still the best idea. We can research where those two went to or came from later. Even if we found a road right now, visibility isn’t an advantage to us just yet, I dare say.”

That said, she brushed against Mother Rat to thank her and nudged her into following once again as she proceeded to stealthily and dexterously lead the trio south, relying both on the new passive alert skill and her trusty beast senses to listen for any disturbances. She glanced back at Ed to reassure herself he’d was willing to follow just as stealthily as he had before. After that one look, however, Asteria kept her attention on moving forward, diverting a slight tendril of concentration on trying to keep up Mana Drain to get whatever nature and/or wind mana she could from the environment. This time, she intended to proceed as far as they could get unless something prevented them from doing so. It went without saying that if any of the trio of Dire Rats sensed a danger and alerted the rest to it, as Mother Rat had done with the tracks.

Asteria stared at the crying, no longer damaged, but sure as hell traumatized goblin girl. Huh. I haven’t felt guilty in a while. Never so much in this life-time, yet. She cocked her head slightly, seeming to consider the kid’s request. “Fine. Just go. Leave, and make it fast,” Asteria dismissed her, the turned to both restrain and calm Mother rat. Mother hadn’t reacted well to keeping the goblin alive and nearby, so she might protest at her escaping, and Asteria would do her best to prevent that. Then, she considered the dilemma of getting farther without leaving an obvious, easily followed trace. But there was grass all around…

“Ed, get on all fours. Let’s weave around carefully,” she proceeded, demonstrating how she chose the largest gaps to pass trough and, if there weren’t any, the way she gently pushed a whole bunch of grass just a bit to one side, passed by it, and then righted it back, so as to disturb the grass the least she possibly could. All the while, she stayed crouched low, avoided stepping on any of the thorny weeds, mindful to not destroy, damage, or otherwise mark the flowers for now, though they were intriguing. Despite zig-zagging and looping around a lot, she still kept heading to the south.

Awhile after, she stopped again, straining her ears to discern whether they were being followed or not. “I don’t know if we’ve shaken them off or not, but we should either continue escaping southwards, or try and make something to deter the goblins, traps, maybe even a tunnel that we close the entrance to or something,” she whispered. Asteria didn’t want to admit it, but she was rather apprehensive about the idea of still being followed. My own damned fault, that.

She closed her eyes, just for a bit, not focusing on sound so much anymore, but just on pure feeling. She calmed her breathing, her racing heart, and soon became aware that her mana was still depleted. Where the usual energy would thrum alongside the blood flowing through her veins, there was a strange emptiness. She imagined she could feel it eager to be filled. Asteria attempted extending her senses outwards, trying to get a feel for the mana that she knew should be all around her. If she could sense it…or even if she simply thought she did, she could attempt to draw the surrounding mana in, filling her. It would be useful if she succeeded, but even otherwise, this was a calming exercise on its own. She opened her eyes once the needles tension dissipated from her body, her muscles less tense, but her mind now cleared, her whole being perhaps even a tad more energized, now. Asteria looked around curiously. Since they were resting, she stretched her neck to the nearest plant and licked off whatever water left on it from the latest rainfall.


Asteria stayed crouched down next to Ed, watching Mother rat and the goblin attentively. She didn’t know if the sticks she’d gathered and dropped were a curse or a blessing in disguise – with them, the goblin was now alerted to the commotion, but without them, she might have discovered them entirely on accident. The problem now was, that Mother rat was still up on the tree and practically ready to pounce. If she attacks, we have to kill the thing. Bet she’s part of that group we passed. While she was considering how to best dispose of the goblin without potentially alerting the rest of the goblin group that still wasn’t as far as she wished it to be, Ed offered his suggestion of not killing the goblin. Asteria exhaled a long, but very quiet sigh. Note. Teach Mother basic verbal and nonverbal commands at the earliest possible opportunity. With one more intent glance to Mother rat and a firm shake of her head in a “no” gesture, Asteria replied

“Fine, no killing. Watch out for any other danger,” in just as low of a mutter as Ed had done, before creeping up behind the preoccupied goblin. Less than a meter away, she crouched, bunched up her muscles as tight as a spring, and jumped! She aimed to land on the goblin’s upper back, clinging to her shoulders with her front paws in a tackle, hooking one of her hind legs around the goblin’s knee to unbalance it further, sending them both into a fall. She’d aimed to have them fall as far away from the sticks as she could, so hopefully, the landing would not produce an obnoxiously loud crash. As they were falling, Asteria also attempted to wrap her tail around the goblin’s mouth, both so the creature couldn’t get much of a chance to scream for help as much as it was for an additional assurance that she could use her whip-like appendage to break the girl’s neck if it was necessary.

((Assuming the attack is successful to the point that, at the very least, Asteria lands on top of the still living goblin.))

Sitting on top of the felled goblin girl, Asteria put a claw at her neck artery, and whispered in her ear: “Stay still and silent, and you live. Try anything, you die. Understand?” Regardless of the reply, Asteria would use the advantage of her position over the goblin to dig her weight into the green-skinned being’s back some more, as an encouragement. She then looked to Mother rat for but a moment, and chattered quietly to her to get her down and helping. “Ed? We’re kidnapping her temporarily.” Once her ally made it closer to her, she offered an additional explanation. “This was the first thing that came to my mind for doing what you wanted. As long as she’s with us, we can still change our mind…She could be used as part of supplies for our journey,” she grumbled quietly, thinking of the bone knife she’d long since longed to make, but still hadn’t quite succeeded at actually doing, though the bone needles had been a progress. “Goblin? I don’t know what your name is, but you’re coming with us for a bit. We’ll let you go once we get far enough that your group won’t catch us even if you tell them all about us. So, just cooperate, would you? Refuse, get dead. Simple, right?” she didn’t have the first idea of how intelligent goblins were or what kind of approach might work best for them, but she wasn’t in a mood for patience or kindness.

If the goblin put up too much of a struggle or began causing a ruckus, Asteria would simply clobber it over the head to knock it unconscious and for the goblin girl’s sake, such a method would not get it some kind of brain injury. She’d then turn the goblin over on her back, look it over, hopefully inspiring further co-operation with the established eye contact. One of the items the goblin had been carrying was rather fortuitously some sort of…a rope? Is that a grass rope? Asteria couldn’t help but wonder what material it was made from, exactly, and how, thinking of replicating it later. For now, she crushed one of the sticks she’d gathered, shoved the bits into the girl’s mouth, then tied the cordage around her mouth tightly. With some effortful re-positioning, dragging, pushing, and pulling, she managed to get the goblin over her back, the goblin’s head lolling down across of her shoulders, each of its legs dragging on the ground at the sides of her tail. Before it could try and flail herself off her back, Asteria wrapped her tail around her load, and fastened the goblin securely.

This…this was ridiculous. It would have to do, though. “Ed, get Mother to carry the sticks, if she can. I’ll lead, she follows, you go last and cover our tracks. We better get away, fast. Let’s save the discussion for later,” she added, fairly certain Ed might otherwise have argued against kidnapping the goblin as well. Feeling rather worn out, and aching all over already, though she hadn’t even started to carry the goblin properly, she let out a long-suffering sigh. Asteria closed her eyes, and sniffed. She wanted to find a water source, and it wouldn’t surprise her much if there was one in the forest. She nosed at the ground, focusing on any hint of wetness or dampness. Were there signs of rain? Of water? Was it there any morning dew? Would the scents lead her back into the forest proper, to moss, mold, and rotting leaves? Or would there be a stream, pond, or even a river anywhere close-by? She hadn’t seen any such thing, but the view from up there hadn’t been perfect, to say the least.

Asteria opened her eyes every once in a while, making sure that if they did have to head back into the forest, they wouldn’t do it anywhere near the goblin group. The goblins were sure to notice one of them missing soon, wouldn’t they? The question was whether they’d search for her or not. “You…know,” she panted out, winded from the goblin’s weight but not letting that slow her down.“I can’t decide…whether to…admire your…decency, or be…baffled by it,” she stopped for just a moment, getting her breath back. “I’ve recently come to accept the fact that even if we show some mercy, common sense, or whatever else you have, others might not,” yeah, so she was still a bit sour from that whole cave ordeal. “This…this is just a precaution. If it backfires, we’re screwed, no need to mention that, of course,” she pondered, then promptly shut up again, continuing in her attempts to either find a water source nearby, or whatever relatively safe spot that wasn’t the scene of the crime, really. She even glanced back every once in a while, ensuring Mother rat and Ed were following.

Minutes and minutes of walking later, possibly half-an-hour or more, when Asteria felt her muscles burning, trembling, and thought they might soon give up on her, she stopped, dropped the goblin, and promptly sat on her chest. “So,” she stated after some moments of recovering her breath. “How badly hurt are you?” she addressed the goblin. “Because with as much trouble you’re causing us, you might as well eat one of our healing herbs, and walk with us for a while instead of literally getting dragged or carried around,” she shrugged a shoulder nonchalantly, but kept a close eye on the goblin.

Regardless of her response, she explained the options she thought they had to Ed. “When I was up on that tree, I saw a bit of the surroundings. The forest stretches far into the north-east. Straight to the east is a human house, maybe a forester’s hut. There was just one smoke trail I saw, but who knows if there are more or not? South, there are plains, weirdly empty. May be some swamp, lake, or something a shade darker than grass way southwards. Westwards are mountains. Wherever we go, we need to secure a water and food source. Warmth too, depending on where we head to. I’d suggest staying away from the cave, the humans, and the mountains. So, either the forest, or better yet in my opinion, the plains. But if you’d rather elsewhere, just say. The goblin girl stays with us until her group won’t be able to chase us down even after we release her. It’s inconvenient, I know, but if she reports back to the whole goblin group about us, we’re dead meat in any case. I should have just tried to get Mother Rat to stop somehow,” she trailed off on a sigh, considering the goblin currently lying more-or-less prone. Fucking, great, what was I thinking, adopting a kid? And one with every reason to hate me, to boot.


Asteria noted what was in each direction, memorized it, and created a rudimentary map in her mind. Before and during her way back down, she took the time to pick out the longest, thinnest, most supple of branches, and bit through them, gathering a whole bunch of flexible sticks which she wrapped her tail around to hold as she descended. This time, gravity was on her side, and she only had to slide down from branch to branch, leaving behind sets of claw-marks. When she passed Mother Rat on the way down, Asteria brushed against her briefly to reassure her that everything was well so far. She dropped the branches she’d managed to gather at the base of the tree for now, scenting for Ed. He’d hidden in behind another near tree, and Asteria suspected there may be something dangerous around, which left her tense, high-key, and alert. As much as she wished to relay the information about the land’s layout, this was the time to lay low and stay silent. She crouched down, stilled all movements, quietened each inhale and exhale, flicking her gaze left and right, her ears flat to her ears as she listened for suspicious sounds.

And on that note, that's my CS done. I still don't really know if the power is ok or not, so some feedback on that (or anything else, really) would be nice.
Definitely still interested, I've just been busy so far and haven't made much progress (at least, not to where the CS would be done).
WIP for now. I really don't usually post an incomplete CS, but I'm too excited to let it sit in my PM folder, especially as I know I'm not finishing this today. Hope what I have so far is decent enough.
And done.

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