[Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

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

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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

Zoro was delighted, thrilled by the impending adventure helping the fairies in Sweetvine Woods. He was born for this! He was pleased to be with other adventurers, some new to him and others that he knew and trusted. Zoro wondered to himself, thinking back to the words of an old biqaj rowing song which he had heard a million times and listened to but rarely.

Life is a waterfall.
We’re one in the river and one again after the fall.
Swimming through the void we hear the word.
We lose ourselves, but find it all.
Because we are the ones that want to play.
Always want to go, but never want to stay.

It fitted their situation, Zoro thought. Adventurers who were one in the river of life and were ready to risk their all for the thrill. It was like riding the rapids, he thought, and smiled to himself.

Zoro was aware of the others eating their berries and was unsurprised, due to previous experience, to see some of the strange changes which came over people. Nothing strange happened to him, though. He felt a little light-headed and perhaps he’d grown a little taller. Then, as he saw the stuffed bear behave in a frightful manner, quite unbecoming of something so cute, Zoro’s mood changed to indignant shock.

Making to spring forward, Zoro realized that he could get no traction to move and he noticed for the first time that he was in fact floating above the ground. He could not propel himself and for just a brief second Zoro floated in the air, legs pedaling wildly. He quickly realized that he was also still moving up, and he reached and grabbed the branch of a tree. His fingers wrapped around that, and Zoro realized that he wasn’t turning into a gaseous biqaj but he was just a floating one.

He had to act. To help the fairies. He could not allow this stuffed bear to eat one of the fairies of Ol’Tuck, the very Induk who had made him Songforged. So, Zoro did the only thing he could think of.

He pressed his foot against the tree he was holding on to and he pushed himself off it as hard as he could at the same moment that he let go of the branch and stuck both his arms out above his head, like he was diving. Since he was floating anyhow he decided to propel himself forward like an arrow fired from a bow. His aim was simple enough, he thought. He pushed as hard as he could with the aim of flying past the bear and grabbing the fairy right out of its hands as he did so. He didn’t want to fight the bear, but he knew he had to save the fairy.

(lyrics from Ariels Song by System of the Downed)

word count: 484
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

The Clearing

Deep in the Sweetwine Woods, something rumbled.

It was a deep and as they stood there (or floated there) it reverberated through the very ground they were on.

And should they be inclined to notice You need competent detection and a reason to be paying attention to it then they would recognise the sound which resonated beneath them.

It was a chuckle.

Cage looked on in surprise as Areia clumsily attempted to grab Merl novice / unskilled in unarmed combat . Merl saw it happening and didn't flutter away, didn't stop Areia. In fact, none of the fairies did.

Yet, there were others in the group, others gathered there who did attempt to stop her.

One fluffy paw lifted to one fluffy mouth, preparing to devour. Marl waved to her as she lifted him to her and Marl's face wore an expression of sadness - of compassion ..... even of forgiveness. Just then, Kisaik leapt forward and Areia felt her bite sink into her own flesh (and it felt like it was her normal, usual flesh). Her attack, her anger, reflected back on herself. Kisaik jumped into the fray and defended the fairy.

And then, as it all happened Winston opened his locket. Dozens of sprites and spirits, strange looking creatures and fairy-folk poured out of it, they poured out and the fluttered around - and they each one of them landed on the shoulder of one of the Guests of Ol'Tuck. They sat on shoulders, and as things unfolded, they took stock and watched, just for a moment. The one that was next to Kisaik, though, that was the one who made the decision, took the action. Winston would know that fact somehow - instinctively, maybe - that it was Kisaik's tiny tiny (fairy sized for him) sudden companion who made the locket do what it did this trial.

That creature appeared next to Kisaik and he saw a tiny creature of light as he heard it's tinkling voice. "We'll defend together! Kisaik's fairy companions, his forged diri too - they welcomed this creature and saw it as a good force, he knew that, and between them, they reflected back the attacks.

Elisabeth, in her very pretty dress was a small force to be reckoned with. She told Areia to sleep and Areia felt nothing of it. Elisabeth, however, felt a wave of exhaustion crash over her and it was only her high levels of stamina Endurance: Master which stopped her from sleeping where she stood. Her voice lifted in a song, perhaps even in defiance and determination not to fall asleep, and the fairies giggled and fluttered around her. The sprite from Winston's locket, a tiny will'o'wisp puff of pink fluffyness, didn't know that song but hummed along best they could. "Don't fall asleep!" the tinkling voice laughed.

For Nir'wei, the sprite from Winston's locket was a floating, flying wood-sprite and it was as old as him. He called for the creatures of the wood - including those who had been transformed - to attack and they felt it. They were doing it. Nir'wei knew that they were - he knew it had worked. And then, the tiny wood-sprite chuckled and Kisaik's magic gifted to him by Saoire worked in conjunction with that, which led to the clearing suddenly being filled with creatures of all shapes and sizes. Foxes and owls and mice and squirrels, birds of every kind, even kitten bees and grizzly bees, all of them flew or ran into the clearing - specifically to Nir'wei. They weren't attacking him, though, they were just really very keen on showing him affection ooc: I see it like this, except with a really old guy..... Image. Perhaps Nir'wei noticed as that happened that quite a few of the wolfberries of the type given to Balthazar were dropped into his pockets. A couple of particularly mischievous squirrels dropped them on him from a tree above and he felt the berries land on his head.

It was all happening simultaneously, so when Oram called on people to take the knee and stop this nonsense, he would know - absolutely - that his ability had worked. He knew it in the same way Elisabeth did. Yet, like Elisabeth he found that his ability reflected back on him, taking on a slightly different shape. The animals which Nir'wei had inadvertently called - and many fairies, too - all started crowding around him in a manner so respectful that it was almost worship. They wanted to touch his arm, his leg, to hear his words.

Of course - because such is the way of fairy magic - it only worked on anything that could reach no further than his knee when standing. Balthazar and the wolves had no urge to worship, but anything that was both an animal and shorter than knee-high, adored him.

Now, if Balthazar was paying attention to what was happening around him, he might have a moment's pause here. Because left and right, attacks were being reflected back and he cast a snazzy-looking bolt of lightning at Areia. True enough, and true to the moment, it reflected on to Balthazar, not to Areia at all. It could have hurt him, of course, but it didn't. What it did do, however, was cause the Balth- wolf to turn into fluffy puffed-out bundle of fur and static electricity. Sparks flew off him and he felt all the hair on himImage rise up, the weight of it even lifted his ears. Sparks flew off him and, should anyone touch him, they'd get a shock.

It wasn't Yina's intention to harm, instead she intended to try and restrain Areia as much as she could. She called to her mäsällã'kọ'pọnọ, Adler, and the creature looked at her with wide and earnest eyes. But, at the end of the day, it was an animal and not an intelligent creature - and since Yina was not training Adler to beyond his scope Novice in Animal Training , the tiny creature just looked a little confused. However, what that meant was that Yina was in a unique position. While almost everyone else had some additional something either slowing them down or interfering with their concentration, Yina was able to see exactly what was going on and all around them.

This might well be a major advantage, going forward.

Finally, of course, there was Zoro. He was trying to save the fairy and that was a noble thing to do. What it meant though, was that when his attempt reflected back, the fairies tried to save him. The main problem Zoro seemed to be having, at least as far as the fairies could see, was that he was floating and so, he grabbed Marl out of Areia's hand as he flew past. That was done. But then, the biqaj was bombarded with fairies, all of whom were jumping up and down on his back in order to try and get him to land.

They were entirely unsuccessful. But they must get props for trying.
"Stop this AT ONCE!"
Cage commanded.

Many of the people here gathered had stood in the Forging. They had heard the voice of the Induks and to them, there was no doubt that an Induk spoke through Cage now. His voice rang out and while everyone present was able to do what they chose, they stood in Sweetwine and the Induk Sweetwine had just instructed them to stop. The power and force of that instruction was very difficult to resist. Even coming from a small fruit dragon.

For a moment, everything froze in a split second of time. It was like Cage / Ol'Tuck / Sweetwine breathed in and then, Cage turned to Areia.
"No violence here!"
, His voice was deep, the Induk still within him.
"You are not welcome here, violent one"
And then, in a blink, Areia was simply no longer there. She disappeared. Areia finds herself outside Sweetwine Woods. Just outside. She also finds that she is physically unable to re-enter. She remains a fluffy teddy bear for maybe another hour or two, then it wears off.

Meanwhile, there was Winston. The handy-ferret who had opened the locket which had coincided with Kisaik's action of reflecting aggression away. These two things had merged and this was the outcome. The spirits and sprites, the fairies and creatures of whimsy danced around and they all heard their song ~ it was breathtakingly beautiful.

And Cage turned to look at the two of them. Just for a moment Winston and Kisaik both saw something that looked nothing like Cage at allImage but instead an ancient being of power. That being looked at Kisaik and Winston and bowed its head, just slightly.
"Singers of my song. You have my thanks,"
he said to the two of them, yet his voice shook them all - all of those still present - to their soul. Only Kisaik and Winston saw the true form of Cage in that moment, the rest continued to see Cage.

But all of them heard the voice. Some of them might even remember and recognise it.

He turned then and looked at Elisabeth and Oram,
"The peacekeepers"
, he spoke like it was a title, not an accolade. To Nir'wei and Balthazar he looked next,
"The attackers."
Finally, he turned his gaze to Zoro and Yina,
"The defenders."

The voice continued, deep and resonant.
"My fairies mean no harm with their games. Be at peace, with my thanks"
And Cage blinked and was once again who they knew him as.

And, just like that, they were back to the moment they should have been. They knew everything that had happened, none of the strange effects had worn off. Yet, they were back to being able to do what they were here to do.

"So!" Cage declared and the fairies (including their guides) cheered. Those who had fairy diris from the Forging would feel no sense of concern. Indeed, far from it - and from most it was deeply amusing. "We can reconvene! As I said, you have eaten our food and, briefly, you will walk in your world and ours. So come now, and let me show you!" he said.

The small dragonfruit fey gestured and all the fairy guides fluttered around him. They sang and danced in the air, laughter tinkled and they seemed inordinately happy. More claps and cheers and whistles. "Now we have eaten together, you must pick the Blackberry. That person will forever be who they are now - their fairy form. They will spend their trials liaising between Ol'Tuck, the fae and the creatures of Sweetwine," Cage beamed. "You will waken to the song of Ol'Tuck, you will dance all night beneath the stars and you wings will never fly outside Sweetwine, for that is the only place where we can exist. "

Suddenly, as though it was rehearsed, every fairy fell silent.

Cage spoke amid the stillness. "Now you must face three trials. The Trials of the Blackberry - the trials of the Flapdoodle, Flopsy and Pinch!! Those who survive these trials will be eligible to become Blackberry. Those who survive, but do not become Blackberry will return to their mortal form," Cage certainly had a flair for theatrics..... "Far across the misty seas and in the dark recesses of Faldrass, there exists a legend of the Smooglenuff. But here, in Sweetwine, we hear the song of all the legends. We know where that story began. It began in fear and fog and terror. It began with a creature held back by Smooglenuff. We call it the ..." Cage leaned forward, as though speaking the name might indeed summon the creature itself. "It is the .... Flapdoodle. A creature of fearful visage. Tall as a bear, with claws like razors, poison in its blood and the bane of fairies everywhere." He looked around them and he gestured. In front of him was suddenly an opening - an opening in the ground which led down into a place which seemed to have a waterfall and was rather... purple. It was all that they could make out.

"On this trial every ten arcs, the Flapdoodle must be defeated. He can only be defeated by someone who is both Fae and Mortal - and such you are and so we ask you to descend and fight the Flapdoodle. Save us all!!!!"

"Save us all!....." "Save us all! ....." "Save us all!!!! ....." "SAVE US!! ....."

The Flapdoodle

Should any of them go in (there was a lot of expectation that they would - no fairy would join them, even the Forged dirirs) then, indeed, they would find themselves in a purple-hued place. It was like a cavern, but the roof of the cavern was painted to be such a perfect rendition of the sky that they weren't sure whether they were above or below ground.

In the distance, there was a waterfall and what seemed to be a small golden-haired winged woman who was sitting by the waterfall and singing a mournful song.

If they went through (and of course, they could not do) then, when the last of them had entered, they heard a single bell chime and, behind them, the opening was no more.

OOC Things & Stuffies

Rules, Etc

Sincere apologies for the delays!!!
Please make sure to read and respond to my posts - while this is a light-hearted "theme" - there is still danger here.
I've kept your objectives the same as some of you had the chance to meet them, others not. :) If you've met them in your last post, you're golden.
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.

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!

Dear Kisaik

Personal Objective! Kisaik finds a small trinket. Please describe what it is and how you find it.


Dear Winston

Personal Objective! Winston hiccups so hard that he bangs against something and a tiny treasure is loosened / drops / etc. Please describe what it is and how you find it.


Dear Zoro

Personal Objective! Zoro spots something shiny in a high up place. Please describe what it is and how you find it.


Dear Elisabeth

Personal Objective! Elisabeth finds a small child's toy in her pocket. What is it?


Dear Areia

Personal Objective! Areia sees something honey-coloured but, it isn't honey. What is it? Does she pick it up? (it counts, what you did )


Dear Nir'wei

Objectives: You did NOT meet all objectives. PLEASE use the knowledge system to claim 3 knowledges. Negative consequence incoming!

Personal Objective! One of Nir's teeth falls out. Except, it's not a tooth at all.... what drops out of his mouth? (can be anything - as wild and wacky as you like)


Dear Balthazar

Objectives: All met! (it worked great!)

Personal Objective! Balth can smell something ... unusual. It's just over there and when he goes to sniff it out (if he does) he finds something odd and out of place. What's he find?


Dear Yina

Objectives: You did NOT meet all objectives. PLEASE use the knowledge system to claim 3 knowledges. Negative consequence incoming!

Personal Objective!Yina catches her horn on something hidden in the underbush. What is it?


Dear Oram,

Personal Objective! One time, Oram coughs and spits up something else. As small / smaller than a cherry it's a very unusual thing. What is it?


Round 1:
 ! Message from: Must Do
1. Well, I think you've got stuff to react to there. Please do.....
2. Be clear where knowledge is coming from in the text.
3. Be clear whether you go through to fight the Flapdoodle or not
 ! Message from: Can Do
1. Talk in rhyme! That would be fine! Or you can do it some of the time!

I'll be posting Friday 12th August (we're back, baby!)
Please post by end of day Thursday 11th August in order to ensure that your response is counted.
Talk to me if you need an extension!
word count: 2958
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

I'm a composer of rhyme and didn't realize it.

The fluffy bear attacked with fluffy claw
And bit at nearby fae with fluffy maw.
Turned out, that fae was made of sterner stuff,
And withstood said onslaught of angry fluff.
The bear, in fact, soon found that it was teething
Upon itself, which must have set it seething.

Other aggressive moves were likewise thwarted,
Forestalling the disaster they’d all courted.

The ferret seemed to reach into its pocket
And then pulled out and opened up a locket.
If ferret said aught, Oram didn’t hear it,
Yet the locket disgorged many a sprite and spirit.

What of our scruffy, scowly hunter Oram?
He tried to keep the peace, maintain decorum.
With Ziell’s words he bade the party chill
And forbear mayhem that would turn out ill.
But as he spoke, he coughed up many a cherry
He coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed, ‘twas very
Annoying, and then something hit the ground.
A something roughly cherry-sized and round,
Yet not a cherry, more of a red marble.
For now, he simply pocketed the bauble,
As other things demanded his attention,
And doing so, these probably merit mention.

Oram found himself beset by countless owls
(a prospect which he met with countless scowls)
And also rabbits, rats and bats and bees
Which thronged adoringly about his knees.
A trait which larger beasts did not acquire,
Not even his own song wolf. Et tu, Choir!

The ground afoot, it rumbled like an earthquake
That quite resembled laughter. (So…a mirthquake?)

Cage spoke once more, his voice now Induk-powered
He bade them cease the violence, and he glowered
At angry fluff bear, who then promptly vanished.
Now, with the troublemaker bamfed and banished
The fae turned once more to the in-hand matter
Of picking a Blackberry. Long he’d natter
At them about Flapdoodle, Flopsy, Pinch.
The trials were dangerous, and not a cinch.

For the first trial, they must meet, with strength and noodle
The feral, foul, nefarious Flapdoodle.

Weary of coughing cherries, and thus thirsty
For resolution; Oram thus went firsty
Into the portal, feeling that he oughtto,
And found himself within a purple grotto,
Where sat a woman by a waterfall.
Nothing was suspect here, nothing at all.
Donning his helmet, shouldering his spear,
Oram looked around before he got too near.

On entering, the hunter heard a low chime.
The portal closed behind him. It was go time.

word count: 417
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

Areia did not know what was going
She lunged to grab the Merl bug, to gnash and grind the Merl bug to
But, before she was able to grab the Merl bug, she discovered that the Merl bug was
One of the others lunged to grab the Merl bug and managed to grab it~ Areia thought that one, too, knew the Merl bug to be a

The moment that one grabbed the Merl bug, he was thrown to the ground by many of the little
The little faeries are devouring him! Areia
In that moment, Areia discovered that the little faeries ~and the bad little beasts of Ol' Tucks' Run!~ were throwing themselves on the ones they had poisoned with the
The ones they were devouring were the one who had grabbed the Merl bug, the two who were choking up their innards, and the old one~ those, in moments, would likely be

Areia was going to gnash and grind the little faeries, but in the moment ~the moment that was many moments in one~ it was one of the little faeries who bit her in the
Areia did not know why the little faery had bitten her, because the little faery had a weapon that looked to be of
Weapon or no weapon, Areia's mouth was stinging from the little faery's bite, and she moved back from the little faery, listening to it
If the little faery with the weapon did not back off, it would know Areia's

Many things were going on in the moment that was many moments in
The young one looked to be dying, or otherwise looked to be losing
The one that had been transformed into prey was not ~in the moment~ being devoured by the faeries, or otherwise dying of the
But, the one that had been transformed into predator looked to be discomforted by the bad poison's

We are going to be devoured, Areia
The little faery with the weapon would bite into her big, soft white body, and she would be devoured and she would be
The others, too, would be devoured by the little faeries~ before, Areia had thought that it was not over, that she would bite the Merl bug and the Blackberry, the two little faeries who had wronged Areia most in the
But, now Areia thought it was over~ she thought, This is

This was it, but looking at the little faery with the weapon, Areia thought to grab it, to gnash and grind the bad little
But, then the moment that was many moments in one was
For a moment, it looked to her like the world was over ~for her and the others, for the little faeries, for the bad little beasts~ for those in Ol' Tuck's Run who were
For the ground rumbled, or the Blackberry spoke~ no, the ground spoke out of the Blackberry, like it was his

Then, it was over, and Areia was not in
Ol' Tuck's Run
She looked over the big, soft white ~softness~ that was now her
She looked for the others, for the little faeries, for the bad little beasts~ but, it looked like the fighting was
With the fighting done, Areia thought of the ground speaking out of the Blackberry, and thought that the speaking was

Though she was in the big, soft white body, Areia thought to thank the godly thing that had spoken and, she thought, thrown her from the Ol' Tuck's tribal
Though she did not know if she should thank the godly thing or if she should grumble~ she thought the godly thing was the faeries'
Ol' Tuck
In the moment, though she was in the big, soft white body, she was not devoured by the little faeries, so she did not grumble or
Areia did not know of this godly thing, but she did know of Chrien, who she knew was bad

Objectives~ Must do!
  • Areia believes she and the others are being devoured by the little faeries and the bad little beasts of Sweetwine. Then she's uninvited by the induk.
  • Knowledge is marked. It's a little different because of my coding, but it's marked.
  • Areia doesn't go through. She's uninvited. :sob:
Objectives~ Can do!
  • I did the rhyming, but some of it's not rhyme ~some of it is assonance~ and it's only the last word of the sentence. It's got no meter. I'm not good at rhyming. :sob:
word count: 1021
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

Apologies. There'll be a delay of a few days to my reply. Rather than keep folks waiting, I'll extend the deadline by a week. So, please have your replies up by this time next week, and I'll reply the following day. Thanks!
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

He high-kood from a low altitood
Chaos was let loose.
Put out his hands, not the noose.
Cage Spoke of abuse.


Teddy was now all gone.
To Old Cage, he listened strong.
A choice they prolonge.


He spoke of afront.
Winston's turn this time to speak.
This was not his week.


"Mistakes are abound.
Fear, violence, mirth an' sound.
Sadness all around.


Nary belief held,
That Faries called out DIS crowed,
To speak fa dem proud.


DOOMED Faries these were,
If a Blackberry dey found,
So quick to anger.


So easily wound.
Quick to discombobulate.
Not one 'speaker' found."


His speech is now done.
Many friends all good and strong.
Protect... no fight now.


Not aimed at his friends,
Was his sound of discontent.
Hurt faith was the ends.

The Devil on My Shoulder
Curiosity: Da heeeeeeeells going on?
Winston: Don't know, but fightin's nat me.
Curiosity: But you have to help.

Curiosity: Stop talking in verse.
Winston: Ya just makin' it much worse.
Curiosity: Faries are crazy.

Curiosity: Fairies ask too much.
Idalos is vast and big.
I cannot stay here.


He walks to the gate.
At the threshold, he did stop.
Restrained to Sweetwine.


Nocked and fell small bell.

Upon the ground where it fell,
Only he could tell.


Taking the trinket,
It tinkled lightly in his hand.
He tucked it away.


Not scared, not at all.
But fight, this ferret must not.
Protect them he would.


To Cage he did turn.
Words are spoken they would learn.
For them he would die.


"Protect ya me will.
Speak words wid all kinds, af course.
But nat fight, nat I.


Me way is wid dis."

He held aloft his toolbelt
and he tapped his head.


On bouncing aside,
He did give up on the ride.
Much love he did have.


His friend were all safe.
Or in trouble, he would jump.
For now, he did wait.


But if through that gate,
Did come hence a Flapdoodle,
First with him its fate.
word count: 380


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.


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

The leaves of Sweetwine
Droplets fall sweet like honey,
shining dewy wet.

Sprout ran into harm,
To protect the fairy guide,
from a toothy threat.

The Ferret gave warning,
'She Is Afraid, don't hurt her.'
Fear in the bear's heart.

Sweetwine gave a shout,
In judgement toward Teddy Bear,
across wooded mark.

"Go away, you must."
Thus the furry menace left,
Without word depart.

Spake Sweetwine of Song,
Gave thanks to Ferret and Sprout,
Excused the fey game.

Sweetwine left them then,
Leaving Cage Amused at present,
Spoke of fruit eaten.

"Pick the Blackberry!"
Said he, and vowed fey-hood,
Upon the seekers.

A trials he deemed,
Flapdoodle, the fearful one.
Must be defeated now.

From one to ten arcs,
"Flapdoodle one must defeat"
Or their realm will fall.

Save us all, said they!
Save us, save us, save us all
Sprout could not deny.

He would save them all.
Entered the Flapdoodle's lair.
Saw the waterfall there.

Sprout squinted his eyes.
Eyes reflecting an angel's
Wings, and golden hair.

"What ho! Who are you?"
Asked Sprout of the woman.
"Who can it be now?"

As he listened,
All to her slow, mournful song.
"What song do you sing?"

He asked, tapping chin.
He'd not heard her melody.
In his traveling.

But then, bell chimed,
Behind them, the way was sealed.
Their fate was to strive,

Ever forth, Kisaik strode.
He approached the lady.
She was quite lovely.

Kisaik did have hope,
appearance did not deceive,
In this instance now.

word count: 269
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

For a moment he felt so certain that something horrid would happen. Areia lunging so clearly to catch the nearest fairy with clumsy stuffing-filled paws. If only he hadn't eaten the elderberries - if only he'd stopped to consider his actions... if only he hadn't put an ounce of trust into Balthazar, considering he seemed to think the 'proportional' response to such a thing was throwing bolts of magic lightning at the nearest thing! Didn't he realise the dangers of throwing around lightning in a forest?! For a moment he worried that Areia might even become the least of their worries, if anything was set alight and they burned the entire forest to the ground, and Cage along with it.

Then, however, something extremely odd happened. Well, no, that wasn't quite right. Several extremely odd things happened, all at the same time.

He couldn't even keep count of them all, considering what was happening to him at that moment. Animals of all shapes and sizes, swarming him from all directions, birds and rodents and even more rubbing into his sides and crowding around his shoulders and head. Reflexively, he turned back to his wolves, but they were experiencing much of the same. Squirrels and birds hopped along their backs and perched between their ears, deer and dogs and foxes pushed up against their legs.

"Where did these come from? Why are they here?" he asked.
"Mice, and owls, foxes and deer..."
"They must have all arrived to follow your command--"
"But this really isn't what we all had planned!"

Each of his wolves answered in turn, glancing to the next with a shared look of amazement.

"This magic, why is it rewriting our power?"
"To turn the aggression into an affection shower?"
"More importantly, what is this infernal curse--"
"--that's making all of us answer in verse?!"

None of them could answer that, of course, but none of them needed to. The voice that Cage suddenly bellowed in was a voice that Nir'wei recognised. Everything clicked into place. Sweetwine. Sweetwine! No wonder none of the familiars had felt strange about this encounter... just hearing Sweetwine's voice and feeling all the pieces click together in his head was, if anything, more jarring to his psyche than the sheer command of the Induk's voice ringing through his head. The only thing that could bring him back to the present was the firm command of 'no violence' - which, of course, he immediately realised he'd broken, before Cage turned away and seemed to focus everything upon Areia instead. He let out a sigh of relief he hadn't realised he'd been holding. Aware of Sweetwine's presence and what it surely must have been doing to him, in the presence of the Song Induk, he kept his mouth firmly shut and bowed politely at the acknowledgement.

Then, just like that, it was over. Areia was gone, the danger abated... and Sweetwine himself had appeared and told them to not take too much stock in the fairies' playful antics. Some things should probably have given him pause, like the suggestion that he'd be stuck like this - an old, withered man, forever, never to leave Sweetwine again - if he was to be chosen as the next Blackberry. However, surely Sweetwine wouldn't actually allow such a thing. If not him, then he was sure he could convince Faldrass and Lovalus to have some words. Or... whatever it was that spirits did, when they wanted to talk.

"If the Flapdoodle really is such a terror, why not deal with this monster forever? Wipe out its kind, once and for all, or capture and train it, make it your thrall? It seems like you're sending all us volunteers, to fight it like gladiators to your claps and cheers."

Not that he was particularly worried - but he channelled his frustration at Sweetwine's lingering touch to fix Cage with a firm stare, at least, before he sighed in defeat and turned towards the opening. In truth, he wasn't worried. Old he might be, walking stick and all, shuffling along with slow and careful steps in case he made a mockery of himself and tripped over the multitude of woodland animals still balancing on his shoulders and crowding around his feet with every step - but this Flapdoodle sounded like just another wild beast to him. At least those he could handle without need of a weapon, beyond a firm voice and a steady hand. Though he did consider for a moment staying behind, considering his significant disadvantage... this, at least, was something he could do. Or, well. That much he thought before he shuffled to the other side of the portal, and spied something that definitely didn't seem like a Flapdoodle, sitting before them and singing to herself instead.

A trick? Obviously. This entire exercise was a trick. But what kind, how much? He hadn't the faintest idea, so he shuffled slowly towards the golden-haired woman and set his jaw. As he did, he winced - one of his teeth felt loose, and prodding it with his tongue, it tumbled free and into an outstretched palm. It must have been one of his fangs, he was sure of it... but looking down, instead there was a tiny white statue of himself there instead. Striking a heroic pose, a little miniature Greyhide at his feet, and a plaque at the front that read 'The Unknown Hobo - We Hardly Nir'wei'.

"These fairies will be the end of me, swear it. I'll beat them at their own game though, with merit."
word count: 955
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Balthazar Black
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

38 Saun 722
Everything happened faster than the wolf could have prepared for otherwise he would have most certainly not fired the bolt of lightning at the attacking teddy bear, but he did and it was reflected back at him. All of the fur across his body rose to the maximum length and Balthazar, who was a little used to being charged with electricity, shuttered slightly at the sensation as it spread over him. Balthazar didn't know how to react. He was not used to having his lightning reflected back at him and he was even less used to responding to shocks in the form of a wolf. Did he jump? Did he fall over? Neither movement felt right and for some reason he instead found himself moving in a small circle like he was chasing his own tail for a few trills before he realized he wasn't hurt. It was, in his mind, akin to someone stubbing their toe and hopping around in a circle while the pain wore off.

When he realized his lightning hadn't burned a hole through him and the worst part of it seemed to be his fur refusing to lay back down, Balthazar was left with other thoughts. Primarily, if the fairies could reflect all abilities on whoever used them, what need did they have for any of the guests? However once that thought passed others began to bother Balthazar. Questions which made him look around at the others in attendance as the little dragon fairy took command of the situation again with a voice that was not its own. How could he trust this group which had so easily become divided in one moment? He wanted to move closer to the child Elisabeth but didn't out of concern that he might shock her. On the bright side, now he knew he could still use some of his abilities in this strange form. Sneezing worked relatively well for aim apparently.

He'd have to test that in his human form.

For the moment it didn't matter. Cage bellowed for everyone to stop in the voice that was not his own. It was easy for the wolf-mage to obey since all he was contending with seemed to be a lot of built up electricity and he hadn't intended on hurling another bolt regardless. Cage continued to speak with the voice that did not fit his body. He labeled the guests by their actions, deeming Balthazar and Nir'wei attackers. Fair enough, Balthazar did sneeze a bolt of lightning. He considered it a measured response given the fire he could conjure would have done much worse. Then again for someone who could dispel flames with a thought, the risk of a wildfire was low. There was little chance he would have launched into an attack like an actual wolf. Regardless the voice that spoke through Cage claimed that the fairies meant no harm with the game they were playing. That struck Balthazar as a little odd given what followed.

It may not have been objectively harmful, but Balthazar didn't relish the idea of being bound to the Sweetwine in the form of a wolf for the rest of his trials. How did the voice and the fairies define 'harm?' As Cage continued his seemingly well-rehearsed speech about the trials awaiting them, things only seemed to grow more and more confusing. He spoke of the Smooglenuff and the beast that was held back by it. The Flapdoodle. Someone was having too much fun with making strange names. The beast that Cage described did not strike Balthazar as particularly flappy or doodle-y. The ground before them opened and Cage explained that the Flapdoodle could only be defeated by one who was a mixture of both fae and mortal which explained why they were there but also opened up many other questions.

Who was in this ritual the last time? What was the point of becoming the Blackberry if it meant you could not stop the Flapdoodle the next time it came around? What had Cage been before he was the Blackberry? Balthazar suspected he would not get satisfying answers to any of those questions. His suspicion doubled when the task was presented to them. "So much for no harm." He said in a moderate voice so that he would be heard. He felt it was only fair to point out the contradiction. It changed nothing about his plan, despite who he saw entering with a quick scan.

A strange smell stole the wolf-mage's focus for a trill and the wolf's nose turned up slightly in thrill. It wasn't a good smell, it wasn't a bad smell, but it was a familiar smell. His nose found the dirt and his paws began to dig, revealing an iron coin that was not all that big. He prodded and tapped but with no thumbs to hold, he could not claim what might have been gold. He'd remember he'd seen it and he'd seek it again, hopefully when he had thumbs to help him.

Regardless of the confusion and danger, Balthazar ventured forth into the opening in slight anger. While the fae might have been tame, he knew little about their game. In the opening filled with a purple hue, he had little idea what he should do. On four legs the mage walked, ignoring some of the others while they talked. There was no point in questioning their guide, it was fair enough to assume they'd have lied. The only way out was in, and the odds of survival didn't seem that thin. While others moved to talk or inspect, the wolf stayed back with his posture erect. Eyes watching and waiting, hoping that the winged woman was not their enemy baiting.

word count: 995


  • 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.


  • 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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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Seasonal Event] Blackberry Picking!

Arc 722, 38 Saun

As so often happened with Elisabeth's luck,
Things happened, changed, running utterly amok.

Sleep was cast on the fluffy one's being,
But the child's consciousness was the one fleeing.

Heart of light and soul of fire,
Found herself in a situation most dire.

What would happen to the little one,
Read on and immerse yourself in all the fun!

Well, that happened.

It was all a blur, meeting Balthazar's fairy guide with a warm smile and introducing him to Belle. Before anyone knew what happened, berries partook, people changed, and chaos reigned supreme.

Elisabeth the Little, impeccably dressed for her stint in the Sweetwine, was confident her ability had worked. Absolutely one hundred percent convinced that what she had intended to happen happened – just not on the right target.

Somehow, she had whammied herself.

Had the small one not been fighting to stay awake with every inch of her being, some surprisingly colorful, explicit words would have been flying out of her mouth, but Elisabeth had bigger things to worry about.

Fairies fluttered around her, and Elisabeth continued to sing. She had to stay awake. Nestled on her shoulder, Fintan offered additional encouragement to keep her awake. Focusing on what she had to do, she found, helped her mind push away the waves of exhaustion. Luckily, the young mage had a deep vat of experience in situations where her body was compromised, and she needed to push through it.

Many, many things happened at the same time, some of which she was aware of and some that slipped her notice because of Xiur's ability. Once the threat had been removed, her focus switched to making sure 'Wolfazar' was alright.

Twisting around, she found her husband, currently in wolf form, a short way away. His fur, standing on end, seemed to have a mind of its own. While it wasn't time for jokes or even teasing pokes, seeing him alright brought a quick smile to her face, followed by a softly spoken comment.

"You're sparky…."

Elisabeth knew he wasn't happy – she could feel it – but there wasn't much she could do to calm him at the current time, nor would she. Balthazar needed to deal with their situation in his own, unique way, as did everyone else gathered with them. What she could do, however, was be there with him.

As Cage spoke, Elisabeth knew immediately who was speaking through him. She had heard the voice once before, deep in the Scalvoris Mountains, and quietly relayed that information to Balthazar.

As the Induk recognized her as a 'peacekeeper,' Elisabeth realized there was truth in that title. It was a philosophy that often put her in dispute with others, but it was who she was and a core piece of her being. She always looked for solutions to stop conflict first before resorting to violence.

Inclining her head in respect to the Sweetwine Induk before he moved on, a few more words were said, and then Cage was back with them, explaining what was to occur.

The lingering exhaustion was an issue, but the little one had a plan. Events had given her perhaps one small boon in the form of Balthazar, and she wasn't going to waste the unexpected opportunity.

Walking closer to him, Elisabeth lifted her hand to caress the wolf's face gently, choosing a respectful gesture instead of petting, shocking herself, and helping clear her mind, chasing the tendrils of sleep from her as best it could.

"Ouch! Sparky, indeed, but thank you, love."

Balthazar paused to paw at something in the ground, digging up a coin. He seemed interested in it, and since he had no hands, Elisabeth knelt, picking it up and slipping the item into her pocket for him.

However, when she did that, the young mage noticed another item that hadn't been there before. Pulling it out, it appeared to be a simple, colorful wooden block with an 'E' ornately carved into the side of it. Elisabeth was sure it hadn't been there before, but perhaps it had something to do with the upcoming trial?

Putting both items back in her pocket, Elisabeth focused on the path before them, stepping through the portal with her husband.


A gold-winged woman sat next to the waterfall, and Elisabeth's eyes continued to dart around the area, seeking anything out of the ordinary. It was evident that sometimes the fairies saw things differently, and she had no desire to aggravate a situation before evaluating it. As such, she waited to see what would develop first.

There was another reason for it, of course. In her current form, Elisabeth's physical skills were diminished, limited by her size. It would be mad to run headlong into the fray, so different tactics were necessary. Besides, she still wasn't yet sure that fighting would be required.

Instead, she did the only thing she could think of.

Giving the winged woman distance - a prudent course of action in Elisabeth's eyes given how often things were not what they appeared to be or how quickly a situation could change - Elisabeth's voice rose. She briefly considered trying to sing the same tune but didn't wish to dishonor it, so she decided on the next best thing.

Softly, Elisabeth hummed along as best she could, keeping her eyes open for trouble.

word count: 924
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