[Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

The home to the Induk Sweetwine and populated by fairies, this enchanted forest has many secrets

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[Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

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Blackberry Picking


38th Saun, 722



And so - by many different routes and across lots of different paths, they arrived. Kisaik was charging, making his way bravely from the lodge to .... well, somewhere along the line Wendy must have teleported them, because he was in a distinct and unique woods. Of course, because of who he was and what he was, Kisaik immediately knew where he was. Still, Wendy told him! .... (continued)

For Winston he had far less of a distance to travel. Still, Kelpie makes her way through Sweetwine and, somehow, Winston and his new friend find themselves in a place he knows to be quite a distance from where he was. Sweetwine is big, after all, especially when one is a very small ferret. ... (continued)

When Zoro meets his new companionSecret Objective Met! Zoro's fairy is male! This will have a significant impact, going forward, they embark together and, just like the others, it seems to be the very intention to move forward which means that the biqaj soon finds his feet walking on Sweetwine soil. He, too, like Kisaik, knows exactly where he was ..... (continued)

Gentle notes accompanied Elisabeth as she went with the fairy. The pretty little thing flittered and fluttered and Elisabeth's feet were soon on the soft grass of Sweetwine, not the warm earth of Faldrass. She doesn't know Sweetwine well, but that doesn't deter her small companion, who seems to know exactly where they're going .... (continued)

For Areia, things were almost certainly confusing. The humming beast was no longer a concerned but the bug-like thing talked - constantly. It wittered on - and on - about anything and everything. It spoke in riddles, or seemed to since Areia probably had little idea what many of the things it talked about were. But - like all the others - they moved and then they were not where they had been but were where they were. It was just ... where was that? (continued)

Meanwhile Nir'wei was rather impressed by the strange little creature. It's unusual appearanceSecret Objective Met! You used a dragonfly! This will have a significant impact, going forward was worthy of note and, as Nir'wei and she make their way he too soons find that they are in Sweetwine, and his companion keeps up a low-pitched droning commentary. (continued)

Back on Faldrass, Balthazar had quickly spotted that it was not blackberries that he was being asked to pick. No no, this was a singular thing. Singular and very focused thing, much like the fairy he followed. His journey was slightly different in that he took a step and was where they were meant to be. No bit in between, just one step. As for where that was, of course ....... (continued)


Finally, there was Yina. Her fairy was mischievous and stole the leaves, but here things ran into a problem. No matter how Yina chased them, she wouldn't get taken to where the others were. Secret Information Unlocked! Fairies require consent! . To do that, to get there, required you to agree - to choose - and until and unless Yina did, she'd find herself going around in circles. But, of course, first, the fairy needed to speak to her.
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The Clearing

And they arrived.

Ol'tucks run, there was no doubting it was where they were for those who would have reason to know or recognise it. They arrived and there was a clearing. The large canopy of trees shielded them from the suns, but the heat was still out there. However, in the clearing, as they stepped in, it was cool and slightly dark. Twinkling light hung from branches and the glow-worms fluttered around. There was tinkling laughter and deep chuckles from those already gathered and, as they approached, they saw that the place was filled with fairy-folk.
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All sorts of shapes and sizes, from quite large (relatively speaking - still under a foot tall) furry and weird-looking things to more traditional fairy. There were a lot of butterfly-shaped and a lot of dragon-shaped fairies here, anyone who might spot such things Detection at Competent or better would notice.

But they all stopped - the big ones, the small ones, the pinks and purples, greens and blues, the butterflies and dragon-fey, all of them, as one fairy fluttered forward. He looked like an ancient and wizened dragon-fey, his voice was deep and throaty, like he had lived a life speaking in a rich baritone. Once, his body had shone gold but now, he was a muted almost-rust. He stood to his full height - which was about 4 or 5 inches tall - and he gazed at them all with ancient eyes of watery green.

"I am Cage, the Blackberry of Sweetwine!" he said and there was a murmur from all the fairies, including the guides. It was a murmur of respect and reverence, of sadness too.

"I near the end of my life and soon, I will return to Ol'Tuck" he said. More mumbles and murmurs, a few low-pitched sobs. "And so, we are gathered to pick a new Blackberry. As has been our custom for many arcs, we have asked a mortal companion, each of the eight Guides, and they have brought their companion here. And so, fey-folk of the Sweetwine, I show you our Pickers! "

There were claps and cheers. A few whistles. "First, we must eat together," Cage said, with a grandiose gesture. "Taste our berries, that you may pick the Blackberry! Only when we all gather around the Dragonberry will we be able to tell Ol'tuck who his new Blackberry is! Guides, feed your mortals! "

And, indeed, each Guidecompanion fairy who brought you here brought them a small bowl (them-sized bowl, however big or small they were) with a few berries. Each one differentin your notes below, and all the strange and unusual creatures gathered here in Sweetwine woods watched them.

OOC Things & Stuffies

Rules, Etc

Please make sure to read and respond to my posts - while this is a light-hearted "theme" - there is still danger here.
There are secret objectives hidden throughout - as well as not-secret ones / notes!
I'm happy to wait for folks if there's prior notice, but if you don't communicate with me, I can't read your mind!
I would like you to have a go at the new knowledge system - please identify up to three knowledge per post.

Also- the berries here are all RL berries and may be googled if you like. Or made up if you don't wanna!

PC Notes

I'm going to leave you a note, each post. This might be an OOC thing or an IC thing. It's just something I'm trying - this will sometimes give you individual objectives, other times it will give you minor inconveniences or little bonuses. Who knows!
Kisaik

Dear Kisaik

On the way: As Kisaik makes his way, the purple fairy chats with him. She will tell him three things about Sweetwine woods, fairies, ol'tuck, turtles, whatever. Please identify these as knowledge (using the code) in your next post - additional to the three you're able to claim anyhow. Link them to the appropriate skill.

Your fairy: Your fairy is called Wendy. She likes to sing and is very proud of her wings. She's a very determined individual who loves beetles.

Your fruit: You are given blueberries
Winston

Dear Winston

On the way: During the journey, Winston will discover that his She will tell him three things about Sweetwine woods, fairies, ol'tuck, whatever. Please identify these as knowledge (using the code) in your next post - additional to the three you're able to claim anyhow. Link them to the appropriate skill.

Your fairy: Your fairy is called Kelpie. She likes things that tinkle delicately and her favourite time is night. She's a dreadful procrastinator who loves puns.

Your fruit: You are given Huckleberries
Zoro

Dear Zoro

On the way: Zoro's fairy is delighted to chatter and will do so with enthusiasm. He will talk in a lot of detail and will tell Zoro three things about Sweetwine woods, fairies, ol'tuck, whatever. Please identify these as knowledge (using the code) in your next post - additional to the three you're able to claim anyhow. Link them to the appropriate skill.

Your fairy: Your fairy is called Bob. He likes to travel and is determined to one trial see Viden. He's a happy and light-hearted individual who loves to share stories.

Your fruit: You are given Cloudberries
Elisabeth

Dear Elisabeth

On the way: Elisabeth's fairy is much more prone to playing music rather than talking. She will answer questions and, Elisabeth might note that the fairy is accompanied by music which she seems to conduct with her wings. She will answer three questions about Sweetwine woods, fairies, ol'tuck, whatever. Please identify these as knowledge (using the code) in your next post - additional to the three you're able to claim anyhow. Link them to the appropriate skill.

Your fairy: Your fairy is called Belle. She likes to do somersaults in the air and wants to learn to swim, but is afraid to. She's a serious and focused individual who has music in her blood.

Your fruit: You are given Youngberries
Areia

Dear Areia

On the way: OMG it doesn't stop talking. Like - it's like it's giving a running commentary of life in Areia's mind. Constant. Ironically, a lot of it is very useful information - or would be if Areia had the first idea. What she knows, though, is that they are going for a run to meet someone called Ol'Tuck. There, they have to find the Blackberry - to pick them, the Blackberry will be picked. Once picked, the Blackberry will do something with Ol'Tuck's Cherry (that bit gets quite confusing.) Amidst the chatter are useful tidbits and you may choose up to three things about pretty much anything. Please identify these as knowledge (using the code) in your next post - additional to the three you're able to claim anyhow. Link them to the appropriate skill.

Your fairy: Your fairy is called Merl. It likes to talk and is very proud of how much it knows. It is a bit of a know-all and likes to debate things. Anything. Everything.

Your fruit: You are given bearberries
Nir'wei

Dear Nir'wei

On the way: Nir'wei has met a veritable tome of information. He will find that as they travel, his dragonfly-like companion will be quick to answer questions. Nir'wei may ask up to three specific questions, and also will learn two things about Sweetwine woods, fairies, ol'tuck, whatever. Please identify these 5 as knowledge (using the code) in your next post - additional to the three you're able to claim anyhow. Link them to the appropriate skill.

Your fairy: Your fairy is called Pix. She likes to learn and teach and enjoys custard. She is desperate to see snow, but has never left Sweetwine, so learns everything she can.

Your fruit: You are given elderberries
Balthazar

Dear Balthazar

On the way: One step - two steps - you're there. However, in those steps, Balth experiences a strange "fluttering" of time and is able to stop and chat, should he wish to. He can't move and chat, it (whatever "it" is) doesn't work that way, but if he stops, his fairy will answer questions, have a chat etc. She's child like in her simplicity, and she will tell him three things about Sweetwine woods, fairies, ol'tuck, whatever. Please identify these as knowledge (using the code) in your next post - additional to the three you're able to claim anyhow. Link them to the appropriate skill.

Your fairy: Your fairy is called March. She likes to cook and is very she. She whispers mostly in Balthazar's ear (who she seems to like) and will at one point inform him that she'd love to meet an Immortal, just to see how they smell.

Your fruit: You are given wolfberries
Yina

Dear Yina

On the way: As per the sign up post - the fairy had to appear and ask - urge - persuade - cajole. Simply chasing the fairy will not ever get you there. At this point - as a reward for uncovering secret information - you have an OOC choice. Yina can continue to chase the leaf-stealing fairy or you can write it that she gets asked and answers. If you choose to continue chasing, please post accordingly and I'll respond to you (there will still be a story there for you!). If you choose to join the others, then you must have been asked and given an answer! All the information about the woods and the dragonberry etc is ONLY there if Yina joins the others!

Your fairy: Your fairy is called Taia. She is a practical joker who enjoys playing tricks and having tricks played on her. That said, she's a very moral individual who defends others!

Your fruit: (if you get to the clearing). You are given Buffaloberries

Objectives

Round 1:
 ! Message from: Must Do
1. Be clear whether you talk or not on the way here.
2. Be clear where knowledge is coming from in the text.
3. Be clear whether you eat your berry or not
 ! Message from: Can Do
1. Share a story with your fairy - and have them share one back.
2. Do something embarrassing IC.

Yina - these are only objectives for you if you decide to join the others.

I'll be posting Friday 24th June.
Please post by end of day Thursday 23rd June in order to ensure that your response is counted.
word count: 2423
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

Given the waterfall. The illuminating gas.

OOC: Sorry to jump in at last minute! Peg said it was okay!

Oram had camped in one of his favorite spots, amid the granite outcroppings near the head of Ol’ Tuck’s Run. The waters of the Run were cool, even in late Saun, as to a lesser extent were the shaded portions of the overhanging rocks. The hunter had extended that shade by setting up his tent as a fly, stretching its walls horizontally and supporting the corners on poles so that it was more like a canvas veranda than an enclosure. He had supplemented the cool as well by strewing a thin layer of green sand across the ground under where he had stretched his hammock. Of course, being Fireforged gave Oram a great deal of tolerance to temperatures of both extremes. Yet he still preferred to avail himself of such cooling comforts as he could manage in the field, which were thankfully more conveniently-available than their warming counterparts in Zi’da or Cylus.

”Aren’t you hot?” a small, bored-sounding voice asked from somewhere in the shadowy recesses of the overhang, startling the hunter from his afternoon doze. ”’Cause I’m sure hot,” the voice continued in weary grievance. ”Even the darkness is hot now. Saun sucks, man. I can’t wait for Cylus. Lots of darkness in Cylus. Darkness is cool.” Oram raised his head to peer back into the shadows to discern the source of the voice.

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Clinging vertically to the shadiest part of the rock face was an oversized moth, just larger than Oram's hand, with wings black as the Cylus night, a darkness relieved only by a pale, skull-shaped pattern near the wings’ juncture. Unlike a typical moth, though, Oram saw that just above the skull pattern was a face pointed towards him, a pallid somewhat humanoid face surmounted by a pair of feathery antennae, shock-white with purple-tinged tips. Small, pale grey eyes strongly lined with black mascara regarded him with a faint resentment that just managed to pierce an overall attitude of apathy.

”You’re Oram, right? It’s time to pick the blackberry.”

Oram sat up completely upon being addressed by name, wrinkling his brow in bafflement. ”You know who I am? And what blackberry?” he demanded.

”It’s time to pick the blackberry,” the moth fairy repeated in the same dull monotone, still not stirring from its berth against the rock face. ”That sounds cool, right? A black berry?” For just a trill, the small being’s mood seemed to brighten slightly, but the gloom soon returned. ”It’s not what it sounds like, though. You’ll see. And of course I know who you are. I came specifically for you, didn’t I?”

Slowly, Oram leaned forward so that his hammock tilted his feet onto the ground. He stood and then peered towards the strange creature. ”You’re a fairy, right?” he asked. ”Do I get a say in this? Are we going far?”

The folded wings moved up and down in a gesture that reminded Oram of a shrug. ”I’m supposed to bring you, but I won’t fight you. They sprung this on me last moment. All the others are already there.” The wings shrugged up and down once more. ”You can do what you want. But it’s right here in Ol’ Tuck’s Run. Not far at all.” Chalk-white features continued to regard the hunter with that same resentment-tinged apathy, hardly moving while the fairy awaited his response. ”So, you coming or not? I’d understand if you didn’t. All those giggling, cheerful fairies. So fake. I’m Acherontia, by the way, in case you care. The other fairies mostly call me 'Ache'. They find that amusing” 'Ache' frowned in a way that suggested that she for one did not find it funny.

”Then again, most fairies find everything amusing," Ache continued, her voice taking on a tone of tired resignation: "Like it's all a big joke. Which I suppose it is. One great cosmic joke. Just not a funny one. Anyway, I need you to decide, because I can’t stay. It’s time to pick the blackberry. You coming?”

Oram hesitated, casting a questioning and concerned look at his animals. Ache sighed. ”They’ll be taken care of,” the fairy breathed tiredly. Then, a bit more defensively, she insisted: ”I *can* organize things, you know. I just usually don’t because I don’t believe in long-term plans. They’re an affront to Fate, and Fate can be so cruel and capricious…”

Oram took one last look around his campsite and then sighed. ”All right, let’s go,” he agreed at last.

”You might want to put something on first,” the moth fairy pointed out. Looking down, Oram recalled that he had been resting naked after a morning dip in the 'Run. As he turned quickly to retrieve his clothes, Ache snorted. ”Your back and butt look like a garden trellis,” she said, with the slightest hint of amusement as she regarded the reddened impressions from the hammock netting criscrossing Oram’s exposed skin.

Soon enough Oram and Acherontia put that initial embarrassment behind them as they made their way along Ol’ Tuck’s run. The journey was not long, as the fairy had promised, and Oram suspected that magic was somehow involved at some point to make it even shorter. They still had some time together to pass, however, and when Acherontia asked Oram if he’d met fairies before, he told her about the Forging, and his encounter with Mildred, including her saddening death and subsequent resurrection.

”You know, fairies don’t have interesting afterlives like you mortals do,” Ache pointed out after Oram had told the story about his encounter with Mildred. ”You guys are so lucky. Your souls can go to the Beneath, meet Famula, hang around Idalos as ghosts or revenants or something. I heard a story about one human who was murdered by his brother here at Ol’ Tuck’s Run. Desiring revenge, the dead guy’s spirit took the form of a monstrous flying fire-breathing turtle, and he hunted his brother and immolated him with his flaming breath! Then he could rest and his soul followed Famula back to the Beneath.”

The tale of death and vengeance brought a wistful sigh from the fairy. ”We don’t get to do cool things like that when we die. No, our spirits just rejoin Ol’ Tuck or the Sweetwine or something lame like that. Maybe we come back as turtles? I don’t know, but certainly not kick-ass flying ones that can breathe fire and vengeance.”

Oram scratched his beard doubtfully. ”I’ve never heard that story,” he pointed out, ”and I’ve never heard of anybody coming back as an avenging turtle before, either. You sure that’s really what happened?”

”*Pfft* if I know,” Ache answered dismissively. ”Fairies tell all sorts of stories and believe all sorts of things about mortals that may or may not be right. You probably tell all sorts of far-fetched tales about us, too.”

Eventually they arrived in a clearing, which was somehow cool and not suns-beaten as it should have been. There, Oram saw that a number of people he knew were there as well. They must have been brought here by magic, for he knew that they were not likely to have happened to be close at hand as he had been. There was little time to greet them, however. Acherontia was apparently laggard in her retrieval of her charge, and they arrived hardly a bit before a wizened dragonfey addressed the assembled fairies and guests, introducing itself as Cage the “Blackberry” of Sweetwine and explaining at last the meaning behind that cryptic phrase: “It’s time to pick the Blackberry.”

Plastered flatly to Oram’s chest, Ache quietly made a disgusted sound when Cage mentioned his imminent return to Ol’ Tuck. ”See what I mean?” she whispered to him. ”Totally lame death and after life.”

Ache then, similarly to the other Guides, presented Oram with a tiny purple bowl with a few near-black spherical berries. ”Chokecherry berries,” she announced. ”Don’t get excited,” she then hastened to warn: ”they won’t kill you, in spite of the name.” Oram nodded. He knew about chokecherries; the poisons that gave the them their ominous name were mainly in the leaves and not the fruit, and were mostly a problem for livestock that would eat those leaves in quantity. He had had to keep his goats from browsing chokecherries on one or two occasions.

The fruits themselves tasted bitter raw, although they were safe to eat. The hunter had heard that some people even liked to cook with them; cooking apparently improved the flavor greatly.

Oram hesitated before eating them. While knowing that chokeberry cherries weren't dangerous, he had suspicions about fairy food in general. It could sometimes do weird things to the mortals who ate them. Still, he had done it before, and hopefully Delroth would not be on hand to try to kill him this time around. Unsure whether it was a good idea, Oram ate the berries.
word count: 1554
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Winston
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

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Clarity
Message from: Must Do
1. Be clear whether you talk or not on the way here: Winston does not stop.
2. Be clear where knowledge is coming from in the text: Done :-)
3. Be clear whether you eat your berry or not: OMG yes!
As they travelled through the forests of Sweetwine, Winston and Kelpie competed for airtime continuously. "So are yuh fram 'ERE? Fram Sweetwine?" He asked as he hopped over a root in the ground after a little time walking and trying to get other details out of her regarding the very vague mission they had set out on. He loved hearing stories and could tell a story himself, if not terribly well he made up for this in 'willing'.

"OH yes! We are ALL from Sweetwine, of course. Well, from Ol'Tuck and the city upon his shell." Winston gasped. "Dair's a CITY on 'is BACK?" Winston nearly tripped at this revelation. "Dat must be amazing ta see. 'ow me would love te see data. 'ow lang dat been dair?" Kelpie bobbed from side to side as she drifed swiftly through the air. "Oh you have NO idea. It's just the most fantastical place in existence! Living in the city ontop of Ol'Tuck's back really brings one out of one's shell." The pun was no mistake, given the giggled that followed it. "I once went to sleep in Sweetwine and woke up half way across the continent! Can you imagine it? I mean REALLY imagine seeing the world from your own doorstep? It was such a 'moving' experience." She spoke dreamily and did a little summersault this time as she tinkled and jingled along. "That day, Ol'Tuck created a new valley in the sea, or so I was told. I don't quite know why, who ever know why the Induks do what they do? But they always have their reasons. Even if we don't know what they are. The Induks are such forces of nature, protectors, shaping the very lands they inhabit. I was born in that very city you know? Its been there since Ol'Tuck was a tiny turtle. Long before I was even a tinkle in my grand-pappies jingle-bells. Oh Winston, we are SO very lucky to be alive in such interesting times as this."

Wiston could not agree more. In fact, he could barely believe it himself. He tried to concentrate on the winding woodland as they quickly passed through the terrain. "Me can't quite imagine eet. All dem little houses, nat just one small cottage made fa a littal persaaaarn, but an entire CITY da size af little peopal? Me would call data a paradise, fa shaw."

"Tell me about your world. Where YOU come from must be SUCH a wonderful place for it to contain such wild variety." Kelpie asked without shame, referring obviously to the odd nature in which Calourie took random animal forms.

Winston was struggling now a little to keep up the pace, while still trying to talk without sounding exhausted. Kelpie was swift winged and while she would occasionally stop to let him catch up, he didn't like to feel like he was going to miss out by being late. "Me don't 'ave many stories ta tell af me 'ome land. Its a beautiful place filled with all af Saoire's children, but when she offad far us ta go out inta da world of Idolas... Me could nat sey no. Not inna million arcs. My said ta meself. Winstaan mun ... me said ... Yu just gonna walk past data door fa da rest of ya life, nat knowing wat's on de udda side?" Winston took a breath as he shook his head in answer to his rhetorical question. "No mun. Nat dis ferret. Un since DEN, me 'av found treshas unda Saoire's Dream, been ta a weddin' da like me only read af in da fairy tails demselves, been in da presence of Immortals and now a FAIRIE! Me 'ave neva regretted me own choice. Me don't usually regret anyting." He continued philosophically. "Me 'ope me neva get inna trouble me can't get out af, but if me do, it will be cas me was doing the right ting by me meself un dem me love. An' dat nat far rettin'. No mun."

Winston quite lost track of time, or he assumed he must have given that before he knew it, he popped out of a bush and into, what he would come to know as, Ol'Tuck Run.

He gasped for air, recovering from the exertion of jogging, running and climbing while trying to talk continually for, well, he didn't actually know how long. But now, he was faced with an unbelievable sight. The lights and sounds. Fairies of every sort (or so it seemed) everywhere he looked. He could barely make them out from one another as he tried desperately to track them darting around. "What? ... *gasp* ... Where? ... *gasp* ... Hang on ... *gasp*" He held up one hand, with one finger extended, as if to request a moment's time-out, before doubling over, hands on his knees and inhaling desperately. "Wooooooow ... *gasp* ... Mun! ... *gasp* ... Phew! ... *breath* ... OK ... Lets do dis." Kelpie fluttered down in front of his nose and flicked it with a giggle that sounded like tinkling bells. "Shush, silly."

He listened carefully as the story unfolded. If he spotted Elizabeth and/or Balthazar, he would hop up and down in excitement, waving furiously and pointing at the old Faerie as if to say ‘You SEING this?’. He was currently living his devil’s dreams and to find his paths crossing with some many others again… It was too good for words. There was no advocate necessary, no internal conflict, there was only one little voice in his head. His Devil was getting its way and ... yes ... he and a bunch of other 'mortals' had been brought like pets, to this place, like a show-and-tell day at school. Were they guests? Perhaps the chosen? Or perhaps the chooSERS? Maybe they were just the entertainment? Or DINNER? None of these things worried him right now. He had some potentially magical fairy berries at a choosing ceremony in the middle of a magic forest... you godda bet he's going to eat the berries.

He grabbed one, smiled and flicked it into the air, catching it in his ... NOPE! Not in his teeth... NOPE. *cough* The back of his throat ... *CHOKE* ... *gasp* He pointed at his neck and Kelpie patted him ineffectively on the back. *gaaaaasp* 'Dis is NAT 'ow I was expecting magical fairie berries ta kill meh' He thought to himself as he choked. He thumped himself hard in the chest and shot the head off a small flower a few feet ahead of him as his berry careened through the air.

So Winston, for the second time in the proceedings, was gasping for air and doubled over with his hands on his knees. Kelpie might have chosen a Leamon this time. "I'm ... *gasp* ... O ... *gasp* ... K ..." He reassured anyone around him. "You can ... Um ... Sorry. As you were. He concluded with an appologetic smile.

Winston ate the rest of his berries without trying to show off this time. Enjoying every bight. Should his 'lost' berry be returned, he'd eat the one too.
word count: 1241

Appearance

When standing at his full height, Winston towers a full 1 foot and one blueberry tall. A fact he will happily demonstrate before flicking said blue orb into the air with his nose and then eating it with a snappy grin.

His eyes are dark and sharp, ringed by dark brown fur upon the bright white fur that sets off across the rest of his face.

Equipement

Winston usually carries the following on his person:
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Areia
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

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Other threads in this questline~ Blackberry Picking.
The little bug-like thing said its name was Merl. Merl was a very special name, the Merl bug said, because of something Areia did not have interest in and so did not listen to. Oh, did I mention? My name is Merl! I'm a faery and I know a lot! A lot! the Merl bug said in Areia's mind, flittering about on its little wings, and Areia gritted her teeth to stop herself from devouring it.

The Merl bug would not stop talking. If Areia devoured it, she wondered humorlessly, would it be she who would not be able to stop talking? If so, she would rather not devour it.

That did not mean that she would not grab it and squish it, but Areia would rather go with the Merl bug for now. It was~ interesting~ she told herself~ despite the Merl bug's irritations. The Merl bug seemed to know not to get too near to Areia, maybe because her pointed fingers moved subtly whenever it got too near, her hands waiting to grab and grasp, and so it did not land on her and it did not fly too near to her, positioning itself out of her grasp.

It was an intelligent little bug-like thing.

Areia was walking ~slowly and warily, like she tended to walk because legs were not fins~ and the Merl bug was flying. It flittered here and there, making Areia move her gaze this way and that to be able to watch it~ another irritation of the little bug-like thing.

Faery, Areia reminded herself, letting out an irritated breath. The little bug-like thing said it was a faery.

The Merl bug nattered on and on, and Areia thought how like the Merl bug was to the humming beast before. The Merl bug, too, was fluffy~ irritating; little and flying~ though, like the humming beast, it was not a bird; and loud~ irritating. It was not mean, though, and Areia liked that. Not once did the Merl bug bite her or sting her, and so she thought that the Merl bug was not that bad. Other bugs were more irritating than it.

Though, she thought irritably, other bugs might bite or sting, but they did not talk. The Merl bug did not stop talking and, though she listened to its nattering, Areia also looked about, her interest in the Merl bug and their surroundings divided.

That is where I drank my first dewdrop, the Merl bug said, pointing to a land plant. Right there, it said, because Areia was looking with interest in a different direction. There, the Merl bug said, and flittered nearer to Areia, fluttering near to her pointed ear to get her attention. She grabbed at it, but it flew out of her pointed grasp.

Flying, the Merl bug showed its little bitty teeth to her in a smile. It had a good number of teeth for something so little.

Areia respected a good number of teeth. You have a lot of teeth, she said, and the Merl bug seemed pleased by that.

That was what I was trying to tell you! the Merl bug said. It flittered over to the land plant it had been trying to impress Areia with before. This is where I drank my first dewdrop, the Merl bug said, and Areia said, That is not~

It was not what she had said, but the Merl bug often did not respond directly to what she had said. She let out another long breath, and said, What is a dewdrop?

What is a dewdroppp! the little faery shouted, and Areia said, I will devour~

You will devour me if I'm loud, I know I know, the Merl bug said. The thing is, I am loud, the Merl bug said proudly, showing its numerous little bitty teeth in a proud smile, and Areia thought~ maybe the Merl bug, despite its irritations, was a little~ pleasing. The too-many little bitty teeth reminded Areia of little bitty mer teeth. She smiled, remembering the Swarmings, and all the little mer. They were good at biting.

Are you good at biting? Areia questioned the Merl bug, and the little faery gasped. Ohhh! it shouted. Nooo! I would not bite something!

It was interesting, Areia thought, listening to the Merl bug shout in her mind. The irritation at its shouting had transformed into agitation, and the agitation had transformed into aggravation. But, the aggravation was transforming into something different.

It was transforming into acceptance. Areia accepted that it would shout, and that she would likely not be able to devour it for its shouting.


Why not bite something? Areia questioned it, and the Merl bug's nattering turned into a stammering. It blushed loudly ~it did all things loudly~ and then said something about biting and dewdrops and a turtle and an alligator.

The little faery used a lot of land words that Areia did not know. Dewdrop was one of these land words. What is a dewdrop? Areia questioned it once more, and the Merl bug blushed more loudly. Nooo! it shouted, and though Areia was a bit irritated, she also thought that the Merl bug was~ humorous.

The Merl bug was embarrassed by something.

What is this dewdrop story? Areia inquired, but the Merl bug would not say. If you tell me the dewdrop story, Areia said, I will tell you a story in trade.

Trade? the Merl bug asked, and Areia noticed it was very interested in that. Areia smiled a pointed smile.

So, the Merl bug told her the story of the dewdrop, of the first dewdrop that the little faery had drunk. It had seen a fresh dewdrop ~a little bitty drop of fresh water that landed on the land plants in the mornings, it said~ and because it had been very excited by the dewdrop, it had drunk it up. Too late, the Merl bug said, it had noticed that the dewdrop was not a dewdrop at all. What was it? the Merl bug asked narratively, well, it was a drop of spirits.

Spirits? Areia inquired, and the Merl bug blushed more. It is a drink that makes you dizzy and wonderful and all warmed uppp! the Merl bug stammered.

Well, in the morning the tricksy faery Taia ~or maybe it was her sister faery, Daia~ ~or no, maybe that was the immortal, Daia~ ~Merl didn't know~

Well, in the morning some triscky faery ~but Merl thought it was Taia~ had gone out and gathered up all the good water dewdrops, and then ~tinkling with tricksy laughter~ had replaced them all with bad spirits dewdrops. The Merl bug had gotten drunk from the dewdrops, and that was when ~drunkenly~ he had met the turtle, the alligator, and ~worst of all~ the butterfly~

Butterfly? Areia thought. The Merl bug had not mentioned the butterfly before. What is~ Areia began to say, and the Merl bug shouted, blushing loudly, It's not importanttt!

Areia blinked. But, I don't know what~ she said, and the Merl bug shouted, Nooo! I will not tell you the story of the turtle, the alligator, and the butterfly!

But, I don't know what the butterfly is~ Areia said, but the Merl bug would not say. Why are you embarrassed to speak of the butterfly? Areia questioned.

Nooo! the Merl bug shouted. I'm not embarrasseddd! It was embarrassed. It's just that she was beautiful! More beautiful than any faery~ But then the Merl bug would not say. Trade! the Merl bug said, Trade! Trade me a story!

I will tell you the story of the little light dancers, Areia said, and so she began to tell the Merl bug of~

Nooo! the Merl bug said. It has to be an embarrassing story! Embarrass yourself would youuu!

Embarrass herself, Areia thought idly. I don't know~ she began to say, but then, thinking of one story, she shut her mouth.

That storyyy! the Merl bug shouted excitedly. I want you to tell me that storyyy!

That story, Areia said warily. That is the story of the Sovor'n mer tribe, where I originated, and its Swarming.

Ooh la la, the Merl bug said, and Areia did not question its land words this time. "Ooh la la" sounded like something the little faery would have daydreamed up, not like a land word at all.

In the Swarming, Areia said narratively, The female mer~

I know what the Swarming is! the Merl bug said proudly. I know a lot! A lot! Tell me the embarrassing bits!

Areia was feeling something. The something was like discomfort. She guessed that it was embarrassment, though ~thinking of other times she had been embarrassed~ maybe this was not that. She said warily, I laid my eggs. But the Sovor'n mer destroyed them.

That was~ embarrassing, she thought, and gritted her pointed teeth.

Why? the Merl bug asked.

It is embarrassing to be~ excluded, Areia said. The Merl bug looked at her with its little eyes shimmering, and Areia grimaced. They did not like the eggs. The eggs were not~ good eggs, they said, Areia said. Embarrassing, she said once more, because for once the Merl bug was not talking.

Humiliating, the Merl bug said, not loudly this time. Humiliating is different from embarrassing.

Is it? Areia questioned, and the Merl bug shouted, Yesss! It isss! If I met those Sovor'n mer I would~ I would~ I would bite themmm! the Merl bug said, and Areia laughed a pointed laugh. When she laughed, the Merl bug laughed its little tinkling laugh too. It was humourous to think of the Merl bug's little bitty teeth biting a big, strong, Sovor'n mer. The mer would squish the Merl bug without question.

You said you would not bite, Areia pointed out. I would bite them! the Merl bug said.

I will tell you how to bite them good, Areia said, and as they walked ~the Merl bug landing lightly on her pointed ear~ Areia told the Merl bug how to bite.
It was when they were nearing the clearing ~Ol’ Tuck’s Run, the Merl bug said proudly~ that it told her all about what they were doing. The Ol’ Tuck was some big something, something that the Merl bug liked very much~ though, Areia thought, the Merl bug liked lots of things very much. It had told her all about all the lots of things it liked.

The Ol’ Tuck was some big something important, and it was important to get the Blackberry~ to pick the Blackberry. The picking was important, and Areia would pick them~ or something. The Merl Bug was Areia’s Guide, special for Areia ~this was very pleasing to the Merl bug~ but this was when Areia, who had been listening, stopped listening. There was something about the Cherry but~

They were there.

Areia looked about with wonder. It was shady and cool like water here, and Areia liked that. There were little lights ~Areia thought of the little light dancers when the waters had been cooler~ and smiled a beatific, pointed smile.

There, in the Ol’ Tuck’s Run, were lots of little faeries that were like, and not like, the Merl bug. Some of the little faeries were little little, like the Merl bug, but some of them were not little little. There were little faeries of all different~ varieties, Areia thought, like all the different species of fish. Though, she noticed with interest, all of the varieties seemed~ different from one another. There was no other little faery that looked quite like the Merl bug, and there was no other little faery that looked quite like that little faery over there, and there was no other little faery that looked quite like that other little faery over there.

It was interesting, the diversity of the faeries.

There were land people here too, she noticed, and ~wary~ she remained a good distance from them. But, she did not think the land people minded her, and she guessed that she would not mind them. This was because the Blackberry spoke.

The Blackberry spoke aloud, in land words that Areia did not know, but the Merl bug ~who was balanced on her pointed ear~ spoke to her in her mind. For a moment she didn’t get why the Merl bug was speaking~ then, she did. The Merl bug was saying what the Blackberry was saying! It was trading languages, between the Blackberry and Areia!

Areia looked over at the Merl bug, impressed, and the Merl bug smiled proudly with its numerous, little bitty teeth.

The Blackberry told them that he was old and dying ~he did look old~ and Areia listened to the Merl bug whimpering aloud in her pointed ear. Why do you whimper, she said to it, and the Merl bug shouted, Because the Blackberry will dieee! The Merl bug did the thing where its little eyes shimmered.

To Areia, saying “because the Blackberry will die” was like saying “because the Blackberry lived.” She did not know why the Blackberry dying would cause the Merl bug ~and the other little faeries~ to whimper and shimmer and wash their little eyes.

But, for once, Areia did not question it.

Areia did question why she ~a mer~ needed to be one of the Pickers for the new Blackberry. Why did the old dying Blackberry need Areia to pick the new Blackberry? But, once more, Areia did not question it too much. Mer tribes were like this, she knew~ diverse, in the manner that the little faeries were diverse. Despite their diversity, though, the little faeries might be of one tribe, the Ol’ Tuck’s tribe. If the Ol' Tuck's tribe was at all like mer tribes, the tribe would be defined by its culture, like mer tribes were defined by their cultures. If the little faeries' culture dictated that outsiders like Areia would be one of the Pickers, Areia would not disrespect their culture.

Areia was on their tribal grounds. Their culture was important, in this shady and cool location of Ol’ Tuck’s Run.


So, when the Merl bug gave Areia the little bitty bowl with the somethings in it ~bearberries, the Merl bug said~ Areia thought about it a moment or two before devouring the bearberries. They were soft in her pointed teeth. They were land plant things, she thought distastefully, and they were~ dry. Despite their distasteful dryness, Areia did not spit them out because the Merl bug was shimmering its little eyes at her.

Do you like them? the Merl bug questioned excitedly, and Areia said, grimacing, No. They are dry.

The bearberries are special berriesss! the Merl bug shouted.

I do not like them, Areia said, and the Merl bug grimaced at her.

You don't know much, do you? it proudly said.
Notes~

Objectives~ Must do!
  • Areia and Merl talked a lot on the way to Ol' Tuck's Run.
  • I marked the +3 Merl knowledge as (Merl 1), (Merl 2), and (Merl 3). The other three knowledge are marked normally.
  • Areia devours her bearberries but they're dry lol.
Objectives~ Can do!
  • Merl tells the story of the dewdrops to Areia. Areia tells the story of the Swarming to Merl.
  • The stories were embarrassing! Nooo!
word count: 2590
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Balthazar Black
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!


38 Saun 722
The fairy was eager to get on with the journey but Balthazar, who could not know it would be short, was not. He wanted a little more information before he let his curiosity drive him off. He'd agreed to help, so he would, but he was doing it because he was curious. Why let the curiosity wait until he arrived? He turned and took his first step, then time seemed to stop around him. He stopped as well, caught in a strange state between one moment and the next, given the time he would need to speak with the fairy who had chosen him.

You would think, as a mage with the ability to bridge massive distances with a little effort, that Balthazar might get used to being suddenly pulled away to another place... but no. He did not. It was worse when it wasn't him doing it. With Rupturing, he could feel the distance he was defying. His ether and his spark burned as he used it. It felt earned and that it made sense. Whatever the fairy had done was very, very sudden and fortunately less intense for the mage than casting would have been. Still, it was also somehow different than anything he'd gone through before. He didn't take his second step for a few moments more, instead calling to the fairy who he assumed had gone ahead of him.

"Fairy!" He called out, only to hear the small voice speak into his ear. She was sneaky one, but there was a small fluttering noise that had betrayed her position- in addition to Balthazar's spark telling him about her moving wings as she came closer to him.

"March." She said in a gentle and quiet voice, almost whispering to the mage.

"In a moment, I have questions." Balthazar said.

"No, I'm March, not fairy." She said as her wings began to flutter and she lifted off of his shoulder again. "Questions?"

"I've been to the jungle more recently than the Sweetwine, compared to that, what are the woods like where we're going?" Balthazar couldn't ignore the possibility that he was walking into danger, but he wasn't going to accuse the fairy.

"I don't know, I've never been to the jungle." March whispered with a confused look on her face. She didn't seem to know what the word jungle meant. After a few moments of thinking, she seemed to come up with the courage to ask what she was thinking, "What's the jungle like? How does it... smell?"

"Lots of trees, vines, and scary animals. Smell depends on where you are though, I didn't pay much attention to that when I went through it." Balthazar replied with a small shrug.

"Oh... well that's not what the woods are like." March said, looking a little deflated. "It's big and it's beautiful. More green than anywhere else. Once I spent an entire trial on a leaf taking a nap... I burned what I was cooking but I love the woods. Oh and the Fairy Ring! The Fairy Ring is beautiful after the rain."

"Fairy Ring?"

"A beautiful place. Lots of trees and artists. There's always someone looking to capture it. You should go sometime- if you haven't."

"You'd have to show me how to get there." Balthazar said as he watched the fairy flutter back and forth. "Is that why I don't see many of you outside the woods? You prefer staying in them." He'd seen spirits, ghosts, Immortals, Mortalborn, and all manner of different sized cadouri, but not nearly as many fairies.

"You might go out less too if you were less than two inches tall. The woods are plenty large enough and most of us tend to think Ol' Tuck's better company than most people."

"I have a pocket watch that can turn me into a Tunawa. I think. I've never actually tried it. Still, it wouldn't stop me." Balthazar countered before moving on. "Ol' Tuck? Thats the induk isn't it, the turtle?" Balthazar asked. He had only met the induk of Faldrass. The rest he had only heard about from reports and stories that emerged and reached him.

"I don't think it's actually a turtle, but yes." March pointed out. Balthazar nodded his head, admitting she was correct in that part at least. He moved to take his next step forward and his foot found the grass of Ol' Tuck's Run. He wasn't the only one who'd arrived either. His eyes quickly scanned his surroundings for familiar faces and he found a surprising number. Either from his wedding, including his wife, or from various adventures in the past. It was remarkable how the same groups seemed drawn to certain events. Perhaps that was part of why they'd been chosen.

March spoke of the beauty of the woods and with his forging keeping the heat from bothering him, he could focus exactly on what she'd been talking about rather than the way his body felt. He noticed Fuego on the ground beside him, waddling to keep up with Balthazar's larger stride. The diri had stopped and begun to stare at everything around him. He wasn't on Faldrass anymore and he wasn't sure he liked it. No. He just didn't like that March was occupying the shoulder that he normally stayed on. He didn't say anything though. If the fairy couldn't see him, why would he reveal himself to her?

They emerged into a gathering that seemed to already be going in full swing. There were dozens of fairies gathered, celebrating and talking with enough voices that even Balthazar had trouble picking out who was saying what. At least March was consistent. She seemed to always just whisper in his ear. There was something charming about the little fairy but it was probably how her shyness reminded Balthazar of Fuego... and Crow. He seemed to attract the quiet spirits and fairies.

However among the many fairies present, Balthazar couldn't help but notice a number of oddly shaped fairies. He'd always heard or read that they were just small human-shaped things with wings. Those he'd seen had matched that description. March matched that description. Yet there were a number of other fairies. Other types which looked as similar to March as Balthazar looked to an Ithecal.

"Are these all fairies? Why do some look so different?" Balthazar whispered to March. Apparently he hadn't been quiet enough because he garnered a few looks from passing fay-folk. March, for her part, gasped in surprised that Balthazar had thought to ask that in public.

"Some might think it's rude to ask that." March pointed out with a low voice.

"Alright, sorry." He said as he stepped forward to see what else was going on. "Is there anything else I should know?" He whispered to March as he scanned the area again.

"Compliment our wings... or don't... actually don't. I don't know. Not everyone likes it." March said in somewhat of a rambling whisper.

"Alright, I like your wings." Balthazar said to her. He deduced that if no one else liked the compliment, she probably would since she had suggested it. However once again he moved on while March got oddly quiet on his shoulder. One fairy to rule them all emerged from the masses and spoke in a rich, deep voice that Balthazar had to admit was a little surprising. It looked like a dragon though so if it spoke with a squeaky voice, Balthazar might have grinned. He wouldn't have laughed though. He was in better control of himself than that.

He spotted Winston while the Blackberry was talking and the small fellow made Balthazar grin. He always seemed so excited.

The dragon-fay quickly confirmed what Balthazar had suspected when March asked him to come help her though it seemed there was more planning to this than he'd been aware of. She was not just a fairy. She was not just one of the many that had gathered here. She was a guide. Chosen for some reason. He wanted to ask her what was going on but did not dare to speak while the Blackberry talked. Cage, as he introduced himself, claimed that he would soon return to Ol' Tuck and Balthazar felt a small swell of sadness. It seemed terrible whenever he met someone with only a little time left.

Yet that was why they had been gathered by the guides- to pick a new Blackberry. The proceeding seemed strange and it only grew stranger when Cage claimed that they had to be fed before they could choose the Blackberry. What if they'd been eating before they were summoned? Why did the eating matter? March returned to Balthazar with a bowl of red berries he did not recall seeing anywhere before the Sweetwine. A small bowl, very small, but it held the berries all the same. He took it from her when it was offered and picked out a berry. Was he being poisoned? He looked around at the others. No. He was being cynical. He took a deep breath and ate the berry under the watch of the many fay-folk.
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word count: 1645

Mutations

  • Once Paradigm Is Removed: He glows faintly, his skin is warm and sometimes hot to the touch, and when he gets angry sparks literally fly off him. He's a the middle of a field of static electricity so every once in a while when you touch him, you get shocked. Fire leans towards Balthazar and droplets of water seem magnetically attracted to him. He has a series of cracks on his right pectoral that glow of soft emerald. His eyes and the cracks reaching down to his cheeks glow a dark blue. The etheric cracks spiderwebbing up his arms glow orange.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks in Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Kisaik Glory
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

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Kisaik liked his new friend Wendy, he decided. Although their errand he took with a seriousness it deserved, he couldn't help but feel the mirth as they travelled to the Sweetwine, a place he knew and loved very well.

He learned more about her as he went, that she liked to sing and hear her own voice in song. Kisaik took note of this, as he walked along toward the Sweetwine with her. Hopping over a toadstool, he looked up at the flying shadowy fairy, and quirked a leafy brow, "Say, I know a song, friend Wendy. Let me teach you!"

So having said this, he began playing the kazoo with his hands, an invisible kazoo. It played a rompous, and silly tune as he went along, and began singing the words. As he did so, Wendy sang along with him.

Her voice, of course, was far better than his, but he enjoyed singing nonetheless.

”Friends and guests, we want you here!
With ale and beer, we have the best!

Seeds, nuts, and meats, we have plenty!
Five, dozen, and twenty, taste our sweets!

Eat until your heart full, my peers.
Of that beer, take a good long pull.”

It didn't rhyme all that well, and Kisaik hadn't sung it since he was in Soren's bar in Melrath. But it made him and Wendy happy enough. Happy enough that Wendy began telling him things, about turtles.

"Did you know, Chip? Turtles can hear while underwater. They hear the notes you play on your whistle. "You must begin high, as turtles will be looking out for raptors."

Wendy went on, "Then you need to play a low note, to get on its very special and earthy wavelength."

She concluded, "Then, you play a medium note, which is the promise of adventure and travel, and prompts the turtle to come along to you!"

Kisaik slapped his forehead, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that! Thank you Wendy! That will be useful when I resume my search for the turtles!"

So having said this, Kisaik continued along following the silhouette fairy. Eventually they reached a clearing in the middle of Ol'Tucks Run. Kisaik ooe'd and aah'd at the many different varieties of fairies. So inspired by their appearance, that he sprouted his
Orange Fairy Wings
. This done, he began flying into the air, floating alongside Wendy and beaming at everyone present. He played the kazoo with his free hand, as he introduced himself to the throng gathered at the clearing.

"Greetings Cage! Greetings my fellow adventurers! I am Mädärä Kisaik Ciuruọrun sọ Kufuata Karo Kashe Däuä, Tìfmi Härumtä sọ anou Faewun Samuwar, ọbavi sọ tẹlẹ, igbaradi sọ anou tabi ọludïbọ, Saoire's chieja kẹmïkälï kukïrï, Akoko Nọọsi, qy’akot o'Creede. But you all can call me Chip, if you like." He did a little twirl in midair as he bid them to use his nickname, stumbling a bit on the air.

But then, once they were all gathered there, Cage began speaking. A strange, almost dragon-like creature that claimed to be the Blackberry of the Sweetwine. "Oh no, Cage, I'm sorry to hear your life is growing short, but glad you will join Ol'Tuck. He's a good'un as Vega'd say."

"Yes! Let us eat, Cage! That is a splendid idea." So having said this, Wendy floated down toward Kisaik and handed him an innocuous looking blueberry. He admired it for a moment. It looked juicy and delicious. So he ate it, savoring its sweet flesh as he burned the memory of the fruit into his brain. He'd begin to grow more of the same, and in a trial or so more blueberries would sprout from his hair.

But for now, he just floated around, waiting for what the day would bring next.
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Yina Talliel
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!


Everytime Yina thought she had finally caught up to the fluttering thief, like a cat and a field mouse, she would slip away and let out giggle that chimed like tinny bells floating on an easy breeze. 
"Please! If you need them just ask! I am glad to help! Come back! Oh, you are relentless!" she huffed, exhausted.
It was as if Yina had spoken a magic word, though, for the mischievous little creature halted in its tracks, nearly causing a pile-up with her and Alder. 
"Help? You will help Taia? Really, truly? Oh, goodie, goodie, good! You will help pick The Blackberry!
The pair chasing the fairy, Taia as it would seem, embodied confusion and skidded to a halt in a small low-lit clearing. 
"The Blackberry? I...yes?" Yina threw a side-eyed glace at her furry companion, to make sure he would be okay with another possibly hazardous adventure. His wiskers twitched, and he took a moment to stare down Taia, but ultimately bumped his head to the tunawa's hand, his sign of aproval.
"Yes. We would love to help. Please, lead the way," she chirped. 
Taia yipped and clapped her hand with joy and jerked forward to wrap her arms around Alder's collar for a tight hug. Yina had expected him to try and wiggle free and give her a piece of his mind, as he did not like being touched without his permission, but surprisingly he merely froze for a moment before melting his bristled tail. The wisp of a fae was jabbering her 'thank you's over and over in quick succesion, almost too fast to comprehend. She fell back for a milli-second and launched into Yina's arms. Yina quickly discovered the reason for Alder's stangely calm reaction, Taia just felt safe. No other words could describe the warm, soft feeling that fell over the tunawa, just undeniable comfort and safety.
Taia took hold of Yina's hand, put one hand on Alder's back and urged the duo forward, gently humming an unfamiliar melody. The scenery around them seems to stretch and morph as they walked, turning the stomach of Taia's new companions. Yina felt what seemed like a snap, and the pressure ceased. They found themselves gathered in a grove, with more fae-folk than Yina had ever seen, each as different as the next. The gentle glow of lights and fluttering insects glistened in the trees, in the air itself, giving the clearing a low, warm ambiance in spite of the chill. Yina would have enjoyed the scene, wanted to enjoy it, but a sudden huffing sound from Alder broke the spell. She spun quickly and watched in worry, horror, as her friend emptied the contents of his stomach on to the shoes of a woman she instantly recognized. Yina yipped and whipped off the shawl she had around her shoulders and tried to clean what she could, but to no avail as the effects of the warp hit her and she hurled just next to Alder.
Beet red crept across her face. Yina glanced shyly up at the woman and practically bowed before her. She frantically swiped at the sick, desperate to salvage the poor shoes.
"I am so very sorry, Miss Elizabeth, So very, very sorry."
Yina could hear a deep voice start up behind her, and she turned to assess the sudden stillness around her. Although it was small, the small dragon-fae easily held a strong and dominating aura. It spoke to everyone about its life nearing end, and the curious ritual of finding their new leader? It all intrigued the tunawa, so much so that when Taia held her hands out to show a few little red berries, speckled with white, she only had to think for a moment or two before she popped them past her lips and ate them down.
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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

38th Saun, 722


Elisabeth looked around as she began to move with the fairy, led out of her fledgling garden and the settlement at large. Spotting movement, the young woman saw Silk walking towards Haven House. Perfect!

"Silk!" she called out quickly, knowing time was short. "Tell Balthazar I had to go with a fairy to pick a blackberry!" To emphasize her point, Elisabeth pointed to the somersaulting, flute-playing fairy flying a few feet ahead of her, who, for the record, paid no mind to Haven's guard whatsoever.

"A fair-what? Where are you going?" The confusion on the face of the avriel was understandable - Elisabeth's escapades were hard to explain sometimes. Before Silk could get a straight answer from the young mage, she and her fairy companion were gone.



It only took a few more trills before Elisabeth was no longer on Faldrass. That was perfectly clear.

It had to be said that Elisabeth hated Saun. With a passion. In her opinion, it was the most useless season of the arc, thank you very much. Having only endured one Saun away from Viden, her body hadn't acclimated yet, and she wished it would hurry up and do so. Luckily, she had already been outside, so her clothing was appropriate for traipsing around in the woods, but the sun's heat would get to her sooner rather than later.

Her companion wasn't very talkative, preferring to play her flute and make music with her wings. Elisabeth, however, decided not to let the opportunity pass to forge a new friend.

"Hello? You know my name. May I know yours?" Using the softest tone she could, Elisabeth inquired, hoping she could gain a bit of the fairy's interest.

Sighing dramatically, her companion stopped playing and circled back to her, showing off some impressive air acrobatics, speaking in a sing-song voice that floated along with the wind. "Belle. My name is Belle, Elisabeth of Viden. But no longer, I think."

Looking the young mage up and down, Belle shook her head. "The wind agrees, Elisabeth of Haven. Of Faldrass. Scalvoris. You are no longer what you once were. Your ties to Scalvoris are strong and deep."

An interesting exchange, to be sure. Elisabeth wasn't entirely sure what to make of it, but she tucked the information away for later perusal.

"Belle, where are we?" It was the most obvious question and one she hoped the fairy would answer.

"I suppose you are going to insist on talking now?" Her guide, who had gone back to playing music and lazily flying patterns in the air for a few moments, sighed. "Fine. A few questions. But then I must return to my music! Music is important, Elisabeth!"

Apparently, music was important.

The fairy's tone was insistent, but Elisabeth felt something must be behind the emotion. First things first, though.

After trilling her flute for a few moments, Belle answered the first question. "Sweetwine. Next?"

Having had no time to prepare for a proper conversation, Elisabeth's mind raced to maximize the opportunity. Before she could come up with something appropriate, however, the pair passed by an odd-looking tree.

Pointing at the white-barked tree with deep red leaves, Elisabeth's second question manifested. "What type of tree is that? I've never seen one like that before." Had she? No, she was sure of it.

The fairy glanced and replied. "Bloodleaf trees. It's an odd one. Very rare and only grows good here in Sweetwine. Fairies are wary of them because of the leaves. If you break them, it makes your eyes water. They don't taste good either, like eating metal. The sap, in contrast, is lovely, like honey, and the wood is bendy."

Bloodleaf - she'd have to remember that. A part of her wanted to see if she could transplant a tree to Faldrass, but no. She needed to concentrate on the native species to the island first before introducing something new.

It only then occurred to her that perhaps the fairy would be interested in hearing about some of the trees on Faldrass? Common ground was always something to strive for, and Elisabeth was starting to feel like she wasn't pulling her weight in the conversation, even if her companion wasn't the most talkative.

"It's a beautiful tree. When I arrived on Faldrass, I remember going out one day with a group of people, and we came across the most gorgeous trees. Very tall, and the wood is multi-colored. We figured out how to propagate the trees and plant them in different areas near the settlement." It wasn't the best story, but she didn't want to risk irritating her little companion any more than she might already have.

Belle twisted in the air to look at her with an unexpectedly excited look on her face. "The rainbow trees? I love the rainbow trees. I saw them when I came to find you. I've never seen the rainbow trees in Sweetwine, but we have some very lovely ones too. One time, near Immortal's Clearing, there was this sort of party, I guess. All the trees turned terrific colors of orange, yellow, red, and green, and there was music. So much music. Music is all around us, but most people don't stop to listen."

Music, huh. Belle was very much about the music, and if they couldn't connect through words, maybe...

The humming began softly. Elisabeth often turned to humming or singing some Videnese melody she knew out in the garden or tending to something in Haven. There was a calm to singing that she enjoyed but admittedly wasn't very good at that particular expression of art. Slower melodies allowed her to focus on the notes a bit more, however.

Right then, walking through the woods, the tune that came to her was an old Videnese lullaby - the same that she had sung in the Heart of Scalvoris, which felt appropriate to the surroundings somehow.

Belle continued to fly in front of her, but as they traveled, Elisabeth noticed the tune the fairy played slowly transformed, harmonizing with the notes the young woman hummed. They continued like that for some time before the fairy finally spoke.

"I recognize that song. It's part of a story that's told. A wondrous story," she remarked, turning to address Elisabeth.

Then the briefest of mischievous smiles slipped across her features. "You should practice more. The song is important, and you are not very good. You could be, though. Maybe. If you don't damage people's ears first." Her light tone implied that perhaps part of the comment was a joke, and she wasn't used to telling jokes. The other sentiment seemed sincere, at least from what Elisabeth could tell.

Stirred by their conversation, Belle imparted a few more thoughts about music. "It's not about the notes. Well, sometimes it is, but mostly not. It's about how you feel when you sing or play the notes. It's an expression of who you are and is still part of the bigger song, even if the notes aren't as pleasant as they could be."

As they continued deeper into the Sweetwine, words fell away as Belle returned to her flute. Instead of bothering the fairy further, Elisabeth called on someone else.

"Finn?"


Immediately, the iridescent ice phoenix diri burst forth, landing on his Forged's shoulder. Looking around inquisitively, the diri showed a bit of a confused expression. "Not Faldrass?"

Lighting laughing at him, she shook her head. "Sweetwine. We are apparently helping, although I'm not sure what yet. It's somewhat unclear."

Belle, dropping her flute for the briefest of moments, loudly agreed, not bothering to look back at the pair but clearly indicating that she was keeping tabs on them. "Elisabeth is a helper!"

For whatever reason, the fairy was stuck on that ideal - helping. The settlement leader had known for a time that her life was meant to be in service of others, but her brand of 'helping' was a bit different than others. Being in service to others meant allowing people to make decisions and offering her support and skills to assist them with whatever was needed. Leadership, sometimes, wasn't about making all the decisions. It often, in her world, meant giving people tools and then stepping back and allowing them to grow - a concept she had learned from her own mentors.

Finn glanced at the fairy and then back to his Forged. "Fairy? Must be something important."

It took a bit longer, but before long, they arrived in a clearing with others. Elisabeth, by then, was a properly melty lump of flesh and did not apologize for it - it was Saun's fault, not hers!

Murmuring to what she thought was only herself, she mentioned needing to go for a swim to cool off when Belle surprised her by responding. "I want to learn, but water scares me." The comment surprised her, solely because the fairy seemed so sure and confident, but then again, why wouldn't Belle be like everyone else with her own strengths, weaknesses and insecurities?

Fairies of all shapes, sizes, and colors swirled around a small group of people, many of whom Elisabeth knew were often involved in such matters. Thankfully, the tree canopy kept the sun at bay, making it noticeably cooler beneath, for which she was eternally grateful for.

A quick wave was offered to Kisaik as he introduced himself. A few more for Oram and Winston. Nodding at Nir'wei, Elisabeth continued to make her way through, smiling at everyone encountered, waiting to see why the fairies had gathered them.

One face, however, stood out in the crowd; that face always had.

Balthazar.

With a brilliant smile lighting up her features, the young woman swiftly walked over to be with her husband. "Fancy meeting you here, Mr. Black. Last I knew, you were in your workshop. I guess Silk is going to have a hard time finding you."

Of course, because the universe sometimes couldn't help but laugh at her, it decided to mess with Elisabeth just a little. Within a few steps of Balthazar, her feet found a small divot in the earth's floor, causing her to stumble and grab him to keep herself from hitting the ground.

Embarrassed, a faint hint of crimson appeared on Elisabeth's cheeks, muttering a bit. "And, of course, that happened in front of you. Obviously, the universe doesn't think you have enough ammunition to tease me about."

The oddities didn't stop there. Almost immediately after, the small tunawa from the event at Smooglenuff mansion appeared and promptly, well, eww.

Elisabeth could worry about her shoes later, instead opting to kneel and ensure that the tunawa was alright. "No apologies needed. Are you ok?"

Twisting around as the group was addressed, she stood next to Balthazar and listened to what was said. It was essential to do so because, as light-hearted as the adventure had been to that point, there was purpose to their presence.

Cage's word brought sadness to Elisabeth, but she understood the honor given, allowing herself, Balthazar, and the others to be a part of a sacred ritual such as was being described.

Belle came forward and brought her small bowl, complete with a few berries Elisabeth thought she recognized. "Blackberries?" she said, giving the fairy a curious look as she reached to grab the first berry.

Shaking her head, Elisabeth's guide corrected her. "Youngberry. They are better than blackberries, I think. More flavor. Eat, eat!"

Giving a glance to Balthazar, Elisabeth popped the first berry into her mouth, quickly followed by the second.

OOC Objectives
Must Do
1. Be clear whether you talk or not on the way here. Yep, a lot - this is Elisabeth, you know.
2. Be clear where knowledge is coming from in the text. Gotcha
3. Be clear whether you eat your berry or not - Ate the berry
Can Do
1. Share a story with your fairy - and have them share one back. Yep.
2. Do something embarrassing IC. Yep.


word count: 2062
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Nir'wei
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

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A little walking, and the two had soon made their introductions; the fairy, who's name he now knew as Pix, at first thought his name was a joke, or some sort of crude euphemism. They spent longer than he would have liked to admit arguing back and forth that it was, in fact, an entirely appropriate and normal name - but he couldn't quite tell if her constant giggles and smiles were because of the misinterpretation, or amusement that he hadn't caught on to her playful subterfuge. At one point she had the audacity to ask aloud if he'd been conceived in her interpretation of his namesake - he had to outright explain that mortal bodies couldn't do some of the things she suggested, and he had to admit, he blushed at the way she outright howled at him attempting to futilely explain the physical limitations of mortal reproduction. Either way, she had no understanding of Sev'ryn or their customs, though she was certainly eager to learn more and seemed very quick to pick up the nuances. He saw his opportunity, and took it. "Okay, okay. You know what I am, now - but, I hope you won't take offense, what are you?"

Pix tilted her head and turned to face him - while still flying in the same direction. Apparently her dragonfly-like wings worked exactly as advertised. "A fairy!" She said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world - though, really, it was his fault for not seeing it coming. Though she looked wildly different from what he'd ever expected, she did fit... most of the stereotypical features of something straight from a children's book. Minus the fact that she really looked more like a malformed insect than a person.

"Okay, point taken, but what is that. Like, are you... some kind of Emean Being, from the Dreamscapes?" He thought he recalled something about fairies up in there, at some point, but his mind might have been playing tricks on him. Sage was, as usual, quite useless in providing actual answers on the topic. "Are you some sort of ghost, or spirit, or... a combination of different things at once, or something else entirely?" The more he went on, the more silent Pix grew - apart from that ever-present hum of her wings, droning along. At first, he thought that she just wasn't going to answer. Her face was an inscrutable mask, faceplates barely twitching with emotion. "You know, I've met a lot of them. All of them, from all different places. Travelled all the way to the Beyond, at one point, and witnessed... things that shouldn't be. You can tell me, whatever it is. I can promise you, I'll have a bit more of an open mind than most."

Out of nowhere, she piqued up again. "We're part of Ol'Tuck. Part of the Sweetwine - like the trees, or the flowers, or the squirrels and mice. Might look different, might act different, but we're just as much them as they are." Now that nearly stopped him in his tracks. Part of the Sweetwine, well that made sense up to a point. But part of Ol'Tuck? Cyshe and Gaddwin fluttered about his head on wings of fire and water. They would have said much the same thing about being a part of Lovalus, or Faldrass. He thought that Ol'Tuck was a turtle or something. Perhaps he needed to revise that when he made it back. "I heard of dreaming. I tried to, once. Just to see what it was like. Everyone laughed... but I know I'm not the only one that wants it, deep down." She went silent for a second, fingers to her chin in thought, tapping the chitin plates with interest. "It's strange. Dreaming to dream." They both went silent for a second, contemplating their answers, their places in the world. For what little it was worth.

"Alright, so that's out of the way..." And they were now getting deeper into the Sweetwine, closer to this blackberry she wanted to pick. "What's so important about this blackberry?" That seemed the most pertinent question, with the basics out of the way, but unfortunately it seemed he'd asked wrong, since she just started to laugh again - as if he'd told a funny joke, or asked if apples were green because they dropped out of people's noses. Then she flittered closer, and thwacked him on the head with a small leafy branch he hadn't seen her pluck from a nearby bush! Dew trickled down his forehead and she fluttered out of reach before he could snatch it back from her.

"Be more specific!" Oh. Well, she could have told him in a nicer way!

He wiped some of the dew from his hair. "Okay, okay okay! Specifically - why do you need me to pick it. What's so important that a fairy can't just pick it themselves, you or another one - why does it need a... a mortal, I guess?" She laughed again and he leaned back, preparing for another swipe, but her mandibles spread in something resembling a smile. That alone was enough to make him wish he'd asked something else.

"That's the way that we've always done it!" Pix nodded to herself, proud of the answer, but Nir'wei waited for more... and it never came. Really?! She'd been so eager to share on the previous question and now it was like she was just having fun at his expense by answering in the most vague and confusing ways possible. Still... how they've always done it. So picking blackberries was something done often and they always asked mortals specifically to do it? He picked up his pace slightly, eager to see exactly what awaited them.

On the way, he still found time to ask one more question, though it was feeling more and more like most of his questions would be solved soon enough - and at the very least, this wasn't some sort of horrible trap to lure him in. "How many fairies are there in Sweetwine?" If they were anything like spirits, it might have explained why he wouldn't have seen them before then, though Pix grinned again and went off on a tangent. There were as many fairies as there were leaves on trees, blades of grass in fields - she went on and on with euphemisms and prose, showing off an impressive vocabulary that ended with her spinning on the spot and loudly proclaiming "Some days, there's only a few of us. Most of the time, there's all of us - and now, there's none of us!" He stopped dead at that, about to ask her exactly what she meant by that, but she shushed him and zipped backwards faster than he'd ever seen her move before, dancing eloquently between the trees and bushes. "Come on, we're here!" He pushed after her just a few more steps, and she was right. They'd arrived at a clearing he'd never seen before, utterly filled with fairy-folk of all different shapes. His eyes were automatically drawn to the more dragon-shaped ones, though. Fairies with leather, bat-like wings and scales. He stared openly at those.

At least, before Cage himself approached. There was no mistaking what he was, of course. A dragon... except, less than half a foot tall, and apparently also a berry. Dragons were stranger than he'd thought they might be. Also, as it turned out, he wasn't the only one there. Balthazar earned a quick nod, though he didn't imagine the man would be happy to see him there. A Cadouri got a raised eyebrow - a Mer got two. A couple of Tunawa for good measure. Goodness, what a crowd they'd assembled. His 'Guide', Pix, suddenly flittered up before him with a small wooden bowl filled with berries, but they certainly weren't blackberries. Still, he wouldn't turn down a meal. "You're very kind," he told Cage, plucking an elderberry from the bowl and popping it into his mouth. "Shame we couldn't have met sooner. Would have been a delight." He popped another elderberry in for good measure.
Objectives
Shared a story - visiting the Beyond.
Did something embarrassing - explained mortal reproduction to a fairy.
word count: 1422
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Zoro Astrian
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

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Emerging from the mellow haze that warm Saun afternoons and uncle Zeb’s fragrant patio garden induced Zoro was delighted by the sudden apparition of the fairy. It took him a moment to take it all in and gather his thoughts.

Bob. He was called Bob. It occurred to Zoro that all the fairies in his life had quite pedestrian names He hoped most fervently that his fairy diri, Maureen, had not picked up on that stray thought.

“Bob”, Zoro said, “please let me introduce you to my fairy diri, Maureen.” Another stray thought struck Zoro – ‘is she my fairy diri, or am I her biqaj?’. He wasn’t quite sure. “Tell me about yourself, Bob!” Zoro exclaimed.

Then followed a five minute long monologue from Bob. Zoro thought that he learned a lot in that time – but mostly what he learned was that it seemed fairies didn’t need to breathe. Bob spoke and spoke and spoke. He didn’t pause, come up for air or wait even when he asked a question (which he did a lot). Eventually, Bob fell silent and looked at Zoro expectantly.

“So, Bob,” Zoro said, “you want to go to Viden?” It had been part of the monologue and Zoro honed in on it. “I’ve been to Viden. It’s quite chilly, but quite an interesting place. We can go there, if you like after the blueberry thing. My great-aunt Zelda used to tell a story about Viden. Apparently, when she was going to Viden she met a man with forty wives. Each wife had forty sacks and every sack held forty cats. Each cat had forty kitten and each of them had four pink mittens.” Having spoken it aloud for the first time in a long time, Zoro considered that maybe aunt Zelda had been exaggerating the number of mittens, worn by kittens, sired by cats who were in lots of sacks. . Zoro blushed furiously, pink mist floating off him.

“Zelda!” Bob exclaimed. “I know about the Legend of Zelda”

“It’s not her,” Zoro said. “I get this a lot.” Bob, however, was undeterred.

“What happened was, there was this prince and he was drugged and kidnapped just before his coronation by baddies. However, there was one of his distant relatives that looked a little like him there for the coronation and with a little help from fairy magic, we made it so he looked identical to the prince. And there was a happy ending, though I’m not sure what it was. I got bored.”

Zoro thought that Bob was so awful at telling stories that he was good at it. and so Zoro was entirely honest when he said “Thank you Bob, I thoroughly enjoyed that story.”

Before they set off, Zoro picked up his Starblade sword, and some other supplies. He had learned quickly on Scalvoris that it paid to be prepared! “This is my best sword!” Zoro explained to Bob with pride in his voice and he puffed out his chest as he said “Xiur gave it to me”

“Fancy,” said Bob.

Not sure how to react to that one-word response, Zoro collected his supplies and they set off. They were walking and then they were in Sweetwine, and Zoro didn’t know when the landscape changed, but he recognized that it did.

“Would you tell me, Bob, about Ol’Tuck,” Zoro asked. “And the fairies and the turtles. I’d love to hear about it.” As they had left his house, Zoro was striding in what he thought was a very manful manner. However, as they walked through Sweetvine, Zoro skipped and danced happily. “I’m songforged, you know!” Maureen sighed as he said that, but Zoro soldiered on “Ol’Tuck himself did that!”

“Fancy,” said Bob. Zorro wondered if he was taking the mickey, but was in too good a mood to care.

They came to a clearing and there were people that Zoro knew. “Hello!” He said. He was delighted to see Oram and he bounded over to greet the ranger with enthusiasm and genuine pleasure at the sight of him. “How are you Oram!” He smiled and waved and greeted Elisabeth, who he recognized from the Forging and he nodded to Nir’wei who he knew from the Forging and what Zoro called the “Other Thing” that he tried not to think about too much.

They were addressed by a dragon-fairy – a wonderful sight Zoro had never seen before – and he listened carefully. When Bob offered him a fruit, Zoro looked at it, and said. “What type of fruit is this, Bob?”

“It’s a cloud fruit,” Bob said. Zoro gave a wide grin and just before he popped it in his mouth, he spoke.

“Fancy,” Zoro said and ate the berry.


Ooc: I didn’t answer the questions about Ol’Tuck, because I am unsure of them as a player. I hope this is ok.



word count: 827
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