• PM To Join • Spitfire

Some noble cunt needs rescuing.

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Finnegan O'Connor
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Spitfire

Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:53 am

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Spitfire

70th Ymiden, 718

Time hadn’t been kind to the stables at the back of the Harpy Inn. When the sun shone, blades of sunlight stabbed through the thatched roof and cast bright, white eyes on the straw and dust floor; when it rained, the steady patter of rain splashing down into conveniently placed buckets dictated the pace of his work. He missed the sound of it, the smell, the freshness in the air after a good, Rharnian thunderstorm. Where the locals had chosen to flee indoors and drown themselves in another watery substance, Finn had taken to the back of the Harpy Inn and enjoyed the downpour until xx had come out half a break later and dragged him back in before he caught a cold.

Over twenty days had passed since, and it hadn’t rained a drop.

There had been some rumours of fires in the city and on one afternoon, Finn was able to make out a column of smoke through the wide-open stable doors, and a wind carried the scent of ash and charred driftwood. Good old Brimtattle with his great gray sideburns had come in the next day, with an alarming skip in his step and a dangerous mixture of red and purples on his cheeks, rendering Finn terribly concerned that the old fellar might suffer a stroke from over excitement. For the next break he was audience to several outrageous conspiracies regarding the culprit behind the fire, though Finn noted there was a commonality between all of them. “Some think it’s got to do with the Aukari,” Brimtattle would end each story, though he didn’t seem wholly convinced of this conclusion himself.

“What if it’s just the weather?” Finn ventured to ask as he lifted a heavy bucket of water with both arms and emptied it in a long, deep trough.

“That doesn’t explain the circles,” Brimtattle retorted from his position on a rickety chair near the double doors. He was too stubborn to admit it, but the old goat had seen better days and the relentless heat had started to take its toll. His memory was hazier than usual, and on several occasions now Finn had listened to the same story two, or even three times. It had only been after Finn had insisted the man sit down in the shade and let him do the work that Brimtattle’s enthusiastic storytelling returned. “Someone’s startin’ these fires, on purpose, and they want us all to know. That’s why they leave a mark. I don’t buy it’s those children. No one buys that.”

“But they took ‘em in for questioning anyway?”

“That’s what I’ve heard,” Brimtattle answered as he swatted a fly away. “You wanna be careful that you don’t come near any of those fires. The smoke is thick and clogs the lungs and what with those poor little sods claiming responsibility… they’re your age, or younger.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I means the whole city is on edge and if you happen to be near a fire, some cunt Knight or another might try to impress his superiors and make a pre-emptive arrest, for questioning, I suppose.”
Finn put the bucket down and sauntered over to a corner of the stable where he grabbed an old, scuffed broom. “But why?”

“That’s anyone’s guess, Noah. I don’t rightly know… but I do know that if we’re unlucky and this drought keeps on, and a fire’s started, and there’s a good, stiff wind blowing…”

“Then what?”

“Then it’ll be more than homes that’ll go to ashes. With one or two incidents people might keep a level head, but this is the seventh I’ve counted and...”

“And what?”

“-and I’m afraid reason is the first victim in situations like these.” He let out a long, raspy sigh before training his gaze on the passersby a few dozen feet removed from the stable’s wide-open doors. “My meaning is: you should not let any curiosity get the better of you. The reasonable mind doesn’t really think any child is responsible but…” he grimaced here, “not all men are reasonable.”

Finn ceased his sweeping for a moment and leaned heavily on the broomstick, his face ablaze with dangerous excitement.

Brimtattle’s face followed an opposite trend and his features contorted into a grim frown. “Perhaps that’s their aim.” His watery, saggy eyes flitted over to Finn and a lightness returned to his face. “Play people out against each other. Make the elderly mistrust the youth and the other way aroun-” He looked up suddenly, “I don’t mean to frighten ya. Just be on your guard, you understand?”

Better than most, Finn thought to himself, but he couldn’t say. He hadn’t spoken of nor toted his magic and so far it seemed to have paid off. Aside from a few kerfuffles in the inn, and run-in with Bertha, the Thundering Priestess, he’d managed to stay out of trouble and he was confident he’d continued to be safe as long as he kept his secrets to himself.

“I understand,” he nodded solemnly.

--

It wasn’t until he’d wolfed down his meal and returned the plate to the kitchen that the proprietor of the Harpy Inn waved him over for a last minute delivery. Arthur Yardley almost beat Brimtattle in age, though he was of a far less round disposition and had somehow beat back the forces of old age that diminished the posture and made teeth grow crooked.

“Can I have a word, Noah?” It wasn’t really a question, Finn knew, but he nodded regardless.

The wiry owner undid the worn, leather apron he wore when he assisted in cleaning out the kitchen each night and threw it on a hook in the wall before gesturing for Finn to follow him into a tiny office space behind the kitchen. Finn had only been there once before, on the day he’d been looking for a job, and the same stale air greeted him now as it did then. Pillars of boxes and paperwork, rendered vale by age, littered the room. Not even the desk was spared from what could only be his sister’s worst nightmare for it too played host to a wild scattering of papers.

“You’re doing good work,” Arthur said as he rummaged through the paperwork while Finn remained in the door opening, unsure whether to advance or not. “Brimtattle is quite pleased with you, and so am I. I confess I wasn’t sure if you had it in you, to work the hours as you do, and most of all, to not give up after half a season as the previous four or five had done.”

“I try to do my best,” Finn mumbled.

“Brimtattle has noticed, and so have I. I wanted to give you something of a reward but…” the man’s voice trailed off there as he moved from one pillar of documents to the next, evidently searching for something he couldn’t quite find. “Stay put just a momen- Ah there it is!”

He spun around triumphantly with a crumpled letter in hand. “Where was I- Oh, right!” He stepped around the desk and ushered Finn out of the office with an impatient gesture. “I wanted you to take the next few days off. You’ve earned it and if a lifetime in the business gives a man any right to say so: it tends to be calm this time of year. Not many people travel around with this kind of heat, and I think Brimtattle can manage on his own for a bit, wouldn’t you agree?”

They exited the kitchen and stepped into the common room by the time Arthur had finished his question. Finn merely beamed a smile in reply. “Thank you…”

“Ah, but before you go off on your break, I wanted to ask one more thing of you. I have a good friend in the Sky Quarter and wanted to have this letter delivered to him today.” He pointed out the address on the envelope, “I trust you know how to get there?”

“Yes mister Yardley.”

“Very well. Off you go then!”

A smile was exchanged as Finn pocketed the letter. The air was cooler now, but darkness was still a few breaks off and Finn soon slowed his pace to a leisurely stroll as he took in the sights and sound of Rharne, basking in the glow of the setting twin suns.

--

He was just on his way back when he smelled it. That same, burnt scent, that same bitter, dry taste in his mouth. Only this time it was closer. The Sky quarter was largely made from brick and mortar, but there were still elements of wood in the buildings too, and when he halted to determine the source of the smell, he didn’t have to search for long. No sooner than he’d turned, a loud pang saw one of the windows burst and shatter, raining down a hundred tiny shards onto the street below. Several cries came from the passersby caught in harm’s way, but their cries were soon overshadowed by thick plumes of smoke rushing out into the air, filling the street with a thick mist. Finn covered his mouth with his sleeve as the smoke crawled toward him and started to bite at his eyes. Best head back, he thought to himself. But as soon as the thought emerged in his mind, a hungry tongue shot through the window, blistering the sky and twisting around angrily, desperately seeking for something to feed on. Some voices cried out from the street, one calling for aid and others clawing their way through the smoke to find the building’s entrance. There were more voices still, voices that coughed and wheezed and choked out calls for aid, yet the loudest of them all was the voice of Fire, it cackled and whooped and rejoiced in the fresh supply of air that came rushing in through the burst window and like a toddler wreaking havoc on imaginary cities with toys, it mauled and gnawed at all in its path.

Stop it, Finn commanded, but the fire wouldn’t listen. In time it would, he had no doubt of that, but ever since he’d gained the ability to speak with the elements, he’d learned more of their personality, and fire was impulsive, hungry, and far easier to rouse than to douse. I said stop it!.

Cursing under his breath, Finn rushed up to the side of the building and searched for steady footing on the wall. The stone felt loose under his boots and there was a moment of weighlessness as he tried to scale the wall. His hands found a ledge above his head, and as he pulled up through the smoke, he could just make out his destination a few feet above him. He hadn’t forgotten what Brimtattle had said, but neither had he forgotten that fire especially would never seek to harm him, unless he harmed it. How could he not help? Knowing that there were people trapped inside and knowing that he couldn’t douse the flames quickly enough (not without drawing attention anyway), he was left with only one option.

His landing on the inside of the building was far from graceful and something bit into his leg as he half clambered, half tumbled through the window. The heat didn’t harm him, but the smoke still stung in his eyes as he got back onto his feet and stumbled ahead, blinded by the inky clouds of billowing smoke. “HELLO?!” he called out between coughs. The fire had spread quickly, and even though it retreated around him, he knew it wouldn’t be long before the woodwork would crumble and give way.
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Nir'wei
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Spitfire

Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:24 pm

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"I'll admit, it doesn't offer the opportunities for travel as other courses of action might, but it's the more sustainable option," the wolf argued partiently, "and it's important we don't get ahead of ourselves here. Picking them up from Scalvoris, from here, they'll need to be penned separately and with stalls to fit their needs. The cost, the maintenance, and all for a venture that might not even work? No, keep it small, local, and native is my opinion." Greyhide had been against the idea from the moment it'd been brought up as a serious consideration, but over time he'd accepted the benefits. His skepticism had never waned, however. Because of this he was both a source of frustration and a valuable asset, though he tended to lean heavily towards the former.

Archailist shook his head fiercely. "Small and local is all good and well for a business, but we both know this is more than that." His grey eyes swirled with intensity. "We cannot afford to sell ourselves short and face the consequences later when we are outnumbered and overwhelmed. The resources in Scalvoris and the opportunities here are too much to pass up on. It's worth a shot, at the very least. If we struggle with accommodation, we'll strike a deal with whoever we can--"

"And put ourselves at the mercy of the Iron Hand?" came the retort like a razor whip. "You know damn well that's a bad idea. Things are already growing dangerous enough as it is; putting ourselves in debt with the authorities of Rynmere, especially at a time where our actions are scrutinized to the extreme, is a recipe for disaster," Greyhide hissed back, his voice climbing in volume and force until the spirit let him finish, and even then he pushed the offensive. "You keep acting like you know everything before it even happens, but you don't. We shouldn't have to start preparing for half of Rynmere itself to descend on us and all of Scalvoris to fall on Faith in a seasons time, we certainly shouldn't be throwing ourselves into risks we can't even comprehend the consequences of down the line just on the off-chance that one of your half-baked predictions comes true, and you should just, for once, stop looking for the invisible sword dangling over our heads and let us enjoy a glimpse of simple life." Even though their argument happened all through mental connection, the grey wolf was heaving with breath by the end, his muzzle wrinkled in a half-snarl as he stared into the distance and caught his breath.

Silenced stretched, long and thick. "Are you finished?" the squirrel asked calmly at the end. No response. "I don't think all of this because I want to, I don't enjoy... dragging you out of your little fantasy-land where everyone stops being cruel, and vicious, and spiteful, and reminding you that there are people out there who may want to hurt or even kill Faith so they can go back to a lifetime of living off the backs of human suffering, and do the same to us for trying to save her. I do it because it's true." There was a horrible stillness in the spirit when Nir'wei tried to peer close. Like the calm lake of his mind had frozen over, filling with smoke until he couldn't see what thoughts lurked just below the surface. What was waiting to lash out.

"We don't have the luxury of time. When we announce what we are, if we're unlucky, Faith's reputation in Scalvoris may precede us. Even if it doesn't, continuing her work will earn us enemies, ones that you cannot protect against," he said, voice growing sharper as the wolf raised his head to growl out an answer, blocking it out, "which I know you can't, because you're a wolf, and I'm a spirit, and neither of us holds a sword and neither do you, Nir'wei." He'd been little more than a channel until now, a bystander, but he felt both of their eyes on him now, though he refused to face any of them. "This is your decision, since we can't reach an agreement. But remember that this isn't just about us. This is about Faith, and Padraig, and this is about all of those people back in Scalvoris, and the people of Rynmere as well. We can feed them, and we can clothe them, and we can put a roof over their heads and give them a stable job and a profession. We can give them a life. But if we can't find a way to protect them from whatever might come their way, it'll be for naught." The squirrel straightened, looking down on them both from atop Nir'weis shoulder. "Collecting two or three Volareon in Rynmere and putting some delivery boys on their backs and swords in their hands is a start, but the Enormowls in Scalvoris and the Storm Rocs here can be added to them. It doesn't have to be forever, but it can make a world of difference when the time comes."

The second rolling silence was much less awkward than the first; he felt a great sigh pass through them all, tension relaxing in places he didn't even know he had. Archailist, with nothing else to say, dematerialised. Greyhide was a storm cloud, dark and fuming, but... he sensed something else, before the wolf realised his thoughts were being spied on and a mental door slammed in Nir'weis face. With one last withering look Greyhide crept away through the door, leaving Nir'wei alone in his cramped little tent, Cold and Myrth exchanging odd glances at his sides as they reclined on a few torn pillows he'd salvaged from his saddlebags. It wasn't their first argument and it wouldn't be their last, not on this subject, but Karem, why couldn't they wait until he'd had breakfast...

* * *

If he was going to find any information on those giant eagles on schedule to appear later in the season, the Sky Quarter was probably the best bet. Greyhide hadn't returned to the tent after their spat and Archailist was still sullen and silent; Traveller was lounging in the sun and clearly didn't want to be disturbed, which was probably for the best. He wasn't entirely alone however. Myrth both clung to his side like a lost puppy and sniffed at every blade of grass like a curious child, something bright flashing in her eyes and an extra little bounce in her step; he couldn't leave her behind in good conscience when she whined so pleadingly. Cold hadn't been far behind, though he showed much less enthusiasm. He refused to be outdone in any way as one of the self-proclaimed seniors of their pack, and kept casting unreadable glances at Myrth when nobody looked.

It was surprisingly pleasant. The air was warm, the people smiled, and Myrth had a certain way with people; a calmness more akin to that of a trained pet than a wild beast that made her more approachable to passers-by. Even Cold, notoriously anti-social, seemed tempered by it, watching as someone commented on her behaviour and stroked a hand down her muzzle. Good times could not last forever though, and Cold soon grew tired of the act, turning and sniffing the air as he started down another road. "Hey!" Nir'wei called after him, and soon Myrth was disentangling herself from the crowds to run after them both. "You can't just do that, running off in the middle of a busy street. Honestly, you need to learn some restraint." The wolf didn't look angry, he didn't even turn his head. All his attention was on the air, sniffing it, staring. Nir'wei glanced back to Myrth, just now catching up to them both, and she started sniffing the air too...

Burning. Ash and smoke and death. He didn't even need to see it, though it didn't take long for thick twisting spires of black smoke to start pouring from the building. He could smell it, rich and thick and clogging. Cold jumped in front of him, snapping his jaws at the flames as they burst through the doors and windows as if it were a living thing as he backed away, bumping into Nir'wei and pushing as if he expected him to follow suit. Myrth stood stock-still, gazing into the flames as if she could halt them with a glance, a shaggy statue, grim and quiet. Neither of them will act. They didn't expect him to, either. Even as voices cried for help, others like him stood frozen before the tongues of flame as they ate through the woodwork. How many people could be trapped in there? How many other buildings were at risk? Where were the buckets, the wells?

"Stay." He could only hope they'd heed his command as he gently pushed Cold aside. I have to show them. If we don't act, nobody will. It was his job, his duty. It didn't matter how many soldiers they made out of couriers, or which military forces they supported; they were Isonomia, and they would always help those who needed it.

"And from the ashes..." he muttered to himself as he sucked in a heavy breath and charged through the door, shielding his mouth and nose with one hand.
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Leeson Andaris
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Re: Spitfire

Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:43 pm

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It's important to learn something new every day.

Learning is the only way we, as people, improve, and it's the only way to gather more knowledge for the future.

Early man needed to learn almost consistently in order to survive, what with the fishing and hunting and inventing agriculture and whatnot.

Leeson was learning something new today, too!

Today, Leeson was learning that smoke feels very bad.

He, trapped in a small cavern made by a fallen shelf, was inhaling far too much of the stuff, and, truthfully?

He didn't like it too much.

Leeson coughed and sputtered with every breath, his eyes clenched shut, his throat burning.

When he walked into Sarah's Silks, he had the intention of just browsing. Maybe feeling some silk. He just wanted to touch some silk! It feels good!

Instead, it seems, he was about to perish.

It is what it is.
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Re: Spitfire

Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:03 pm

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Spitfire

70th Ymiden, 718

His call remained unanswered.

He staggered ahead through the billowing smoke, shielding his mouth with the crook of one arm and tracing the nearest wall with the other. The fire parted before his feet, but the thick, black smoke closed around his throat like an iron hand, clenching and choking. Coughing and blinking furiously against the stinging mist he glanced over his shoulder, but the path back could no longer be seen. He stumbled forward, unable to find steady footing on the blackened floorboards crisping under his boots. There was a hallway ahead where rays of sunlight penetrated the toxic fog and the air was breathable. This is stupid , stupid, stupid! he cursed inwardly as he rested his hands on his knees to catch his breath. There was no doubt in his mind that Zipper would come to hear of this and when she did, he wouldn't best the end of het dissatisfaction with him until he was old and gray... if he lived to the tale.

There was a winding staircase leading into the roaring belly of the fire. Maybe he could pass the flames unscathed, but he wasn't immune to sibling through a collapsing floor or being struck on the heas by a falling beam. No, the stairs weren't an option anymore but where else could be g-

A silhouette in the shape of a man slumped against a wall became apparent in the room at the other end of the hallway, the door was barely hanging in its hinges still and a warm draft came toward him....

A draft! Of course! How could he have been so stupid?

The wind didn't speak to him in the same way that fire did. It wasn't quite so eager, but neither was it as stubborn as the greedy flames that gnawed at the foundations of the building, and as soon as he called upon it, the air responded with cooling breeze.

I need more.

The wind picked up around him, swirling, dancing, dispersing the smoke through every nook and cranny and-

-feeding the flames, renewing their crackling, cackling vigour.

"GET UP! QUICK!" he called out to the man over the roar of wind and fire. The smoke had momentarily retreated but already Finn sensed the first signs of the price he would pay for forcing the elements to bend to his will on such short notice. "C'MON!" he bellowed as he rushed to the man's aid-

A low rumble sounded above. He froze, then his eyes shot up to the ceiling, held aloft by broad beams, tickled by flaming tongues and groaning under their own weight. A loud creak as though a heavy tree had been felled sounded and the center beam split sagged as one of the pillars holding it up collapsed to the floor.

Finn hesitated no longer and leapt forward blindly, tripped over loose floorboards, flew forward onto his belly and landed in a pile of limbs as half the roof came crashing down behind him. He squeezed his eyes shut, covered his head with his arms and-

A powerful gust slammed into his ear and a wave of heat washed over him. For a moment the world fell silent as he was blanketed by a rain of debris pattering on his back. Flailing his arms about he freed his head and torso from the debris but when he tried to move his leg-

A pained yelp escaped him as he twisted his numb leg, buried underneath crumbled brick and mortar. Some rescue this was... He blasted the pile trapping his legs with a wall of air, but only managed to fill the air with dust. He tried again, willing the wind to ball into a fist, but to no avail. Two more times he tried ro free himself before he remembered why he'd come this way and turned his head toward what appeared to be the sole survivor of the blaze.

His eyes found the soot-covered man, daring him to comment on his predicament. "Don't just stand there! Go!"

Easier said that done when the only way out appeared to be the fresh hole in the roof.

Finn struggled a few more moments with his legs before he relented with a sigh and let his head fall back on the floor. He shot a hard stare at the man. Not exactly the princess he'd been hoping to give his life for but he didn't have much choice. If he was to die here tragically he at least wouldn't have to endure Zipper's scorn, which was a frightfully comforting thought.

His eyes collided with the stranger's and remained fixed there. "Say, have you ever flown before?"
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