• PM To Join • Chasing a Headline!

After a clipped Volareon arrives in the Skye Verath Lodge, the hunt begins for the culprit.

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Nir'wei
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Chasing a Headline!

21st of Ashan, 716th Arc.

It was a terrible day in the Skye Verath Lodge. Skyriders, called by locals who'd stumbled across the creature on their daily business, had come across quite an awful sight. Several men had gone out into the Warrick countryside and snagged a Volareon in a thick, weight-laden net and dragged it to the ground, de-clawing it and clipping its wings then and there, before shoving it onto a wooden trailer and riding the poor creature back towards the Andaris countryside in the apparent hopes of slipping unnoticed onto a boat. Most likely to sell it off on the markets in some other city as an exotic pet. At first the locals had shouted and the men retaliated with weapons, fleeing the scene as quickly as possible, but then when the Skyriders arrived on their own mounts, the men had fled into the forest and scattered without much of a trace. Although some were quickly apprehended and were currently facing their trials.. apparently one or two could still be scattered out over the countryside, or maybe even closer to the capital in an attempt to blend in, waiting for their opportunity to escape again. Skyriders and other members of the Iron Hand were still on lookout, struggling to find more information and capture the men before they had the opportunity to cause any more damage, but otherwise rumours were few and far between on the specific details.

Nir'wei, still unable to give any meaningful assistance when it came to the care of the animals, stayed behind as Poppy and Gaspard rode out to find the injured animal, hopefully treat it as well as possible and potentially bring it back to the Lodge until it could be released back into the wild. They'd told him it would only last a few breaks.. the creature was only on the outskirts of the capital proper.. but even long through the night and early morning, there was no sign of either. When they finally did return, late into the early morning of the next day.. they came empty-handed and heavy-hearted. The animal was beyond care, physically and emotionally. Rendered completely harmless, there was no way that it would survive in the wild, unable to hunt for food.. and with wings clipped, it would never fly again. Its horrific experience at the hands of humans had left it frightened and violent towards any human that came near it, as well.. released into the wild, it could prove very dangerous to anyone that came into contact with it, de-clawed or not. They'd had no other option but to kill it, for its own good and for everyone elses around it. Its carcass would be desposed of by the farmers that had alerted the Skyriders. There was nothing more they could have done.

"It's not right," Arch seethed from his perch on the edge of Nir'weis desk, "it's not fair, it's not humane, it's not alright, it's not, it's not..." The little spirit animal was distraught beyond reasoning. Although there was a lot of outward anger and energy, he could feel through their bond that his insides were filled with a stoney despair and sorrow, worming deep down into his core. It was an agonizing weight.

Nir'wei spread his arms and wrapped them around the little spirit-animal, pulling Arch close against his chest. It felt far from adequate, but it was the most comfort he could offer as the squirrel wrapped itself up close to his heart. "I know," Nir'wei replied with a shared sadness passing between both of them in unison, "I know." For a long time they sat there, wrapped over each-other, mulling in each-others thoughts before eventually pulling apart again, calmed and secured in each-others presence. "We're not going to let it happen again, though." It was true, Nir'wei had no experience in fighting. He'd always prided himself on his ability to pretty much avoid conflict, or just to not care about it enough to pay attention to when it was there. That didn't mean that he couldn't go out and help find those responsible for abhorrent crimes against the Volareons.

The only problem was, where to start?

With little to no real friends around the city, other than Gaspard and Poppy, the best chance he had was to retrace the steps.. and after catching the name of the place where the Volareon was found from Gaspard, he dressed himself as smartly as possible - meaning a dirty grey short-sleeved shirt and mud-caked brown trousers - before heading off on a rather long walk to find Sykel Farms - a wheat farm on the outskirts of Andaris city, the closest land to where the animal was found. If there were any eyewitnesses there, he might be able to build up a good image of who he was looking for.. and find any clues which direction they went. It'd be so much easier if he had a Voraleon of his own, or any kind of mount for that matter.. but frankly, those things utterly terrified him. Plus, he'd never even tried to ride any animal.. for some reason it didn't really feel right to force another to burden themselves with his weight when he had legs to do it for himself. It'd be a long walk, but in all honesty, he needed it.. it'd been far too long since he'd felt warm air on his face and chest that didn't stink of Volareon droppings.
word count: 946
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Elyna
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Just when Elyna thought that the cycle was picking up, the Volarean was bought in. The news spread like a fire from Skyrider to Skyrider and the anger of the Iron Hand was palatable. Elyna had thanked the Seven that she hadn't been anywhere near the stables to witness the death of the animal. But she had seen it. Blooded, shredded wings and claws. It was a sight she would have gladly forgotten, but held onto. Punishment would be bought, justice would be served against those who had defiled the creature.

As a Sargeant, Elyna didn't have a flying mount of her own, but she was assigned a horse to carry out her scouting of Andaris and the farmsteads in nearby surrounds. It was always a relief to get out of the city, even if her muscles were far less used to horse-back riding than flying at this stage. After only the break of time it took to weave her way through Midtown and out of the city gates again, her back and core were sore and aching. Threads of discomfort wove through her shoulders and she grimaced. It would be a long day if this was how she was going to feel. Her fingers tightened on the reins and she nudged the horse onward, out of the city gates before she dismounted to stretch out legs already grown tired. Dressed in the clothes she wore most often, simple trousers and shirt with a heavy leather jerkin to stave off the cold, Elyna scoured the road ahead before tilting her head to one side. She jogged, leading the horse over frosty ground as she approached the man.

"Ser?" She called out, she recognized his gate, or perhaps his hair? But struggled to place him beyond the Lodge. Something triggered in her mind though, he was something to do with Volareans and Jacadons? Had he been a suspected poacher? Would he do something so awful?
word count: 335
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Andráska Venora
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News was spreading like wildfire, but the flame needed to be contained. Andráska stood outside the lodge, pacing... Well, lurking, for lack of a better word. The noble hated to stand still, paranoid he was going to lose his chance at uncovering something. Anything. The atmosphere was grim, tense, frantic. People either chattered or said nothing at all, moving at a sober pace that would have depressed the cheeriest of souls. He had already stopped a few individuals who he had caught talking about the incident, but when he tried to press them for information, they scoffed or downright shot him down. More than once he thought about telling them who he was, demanding the information, but he hated using his heritage as leverage. And who was he, anyway? Who would believe him?

Dressed in a black shirt and pants, soft leather boots, and with the same wild hair that never behaved, he looked average at best. Nothing on his persons was extravagant, nor costly, save for perhaps the crossbow slung across his back and the arrows. Even still, he likely represented a huntsman more than someone with any political sway (not that he had any of that, really). 'Maybe I should have paid more attention at court.. Or at least showed up once in awhile.', he mused, half sarcastically as his eyes roamed for another person to approach.

When no one caught his attention, he sighed, moving away from building. As he rounded the corner, he raised his eyes, cocking his head at the retreating figure. Something about the man stood out... something about the way he carried himself. He looked... devastated. A rider? No... András pondered the possibility, but quickly dismissed it. "Who are you," he whispered, keeping a fair distance.

He stayed behind, letting the dark haired man get some distance before the reporter followed, trying to keep his footsteps quiet. His sneaking wasn't anything dubious, of course. Simple... investigation. They walked further. 'To the farms? Where are we going?' Chewing on his lip, András tried to get closer and nearly fell over trying to stop himself. A figure approached the man. Two, actually. A woman and her horse walked to his target, calling him ser. The woman's body language was apprehensive, not all too familiar. If they knew each other, it wasn't very well, not from what he could tell.

András picked up his pace, deciding to break his silent following. 'I saw him first.' he thought childishly, "Mind if I join you?" András grinned, jogging up to the two. He nodded at the man and glanced at the woman. And then tried not to glance again. "Name's Andre."
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He'd managed to drift off into a little world of his own, staring off into the farmlands spread out before him. Thinking of soaring above it all with a beaming smile on his face. It was a happy little dream, one that had inexplicably drawn Nir'wei for quite a while, ever since he'd first seen the Jacadon and those elusive men and women who rode on the back of the beasts. True enough, it was arguably even worse than riding horses.. yet there was still some strange pull to it all that he simply could not break, no matter how hard he tried. Just as he was starting to let himself become absorbed in the far-fetched fantasy, a much stronger force ripped his brain from the sky and planted it back firmly in his body, at the sound of a voice calling from over one shoulder. He turned around and nearly tripped when a giant horse-face stared back. "Ke’u're lẹwä, ioi!" he shouted, taking a few steps back to shake off his surprise and laugh it off. "Ahh, uhh, yes. Help?" It was supposed to be a question, in his mind, but it came out more like a request, making the Sev'ryn grimace. "I means. You, help? Grr.. you need help?" Third time seemed to be the charm.

He was about to follow up with an actual question of his own, as a matter of fact - why he was being called out, really - and then another person seemed to appear from behind the horse and ask if he could join them both. "Uhhh..." What the hell was going on here, then? "They think you know something." Arch, the little ethereal squirrel on his shoulder, was probably onto something with that thinking. "Probably best that you didn't acknowledge them. Now you're going to have to deal with a whole bunch of people asking this and that and all other nonsense." Cynical thinking wasn't helping.

For a moment, he forgot that nobody could actually hear what the spirit was talking about and answered verbally. "Inan srä eltu azceah waje aizuv bou'eri ibiti, ke’u ailewu. Erè'll timole ọsïsẹ ïdäkẹjẹ'll jasi srä eyes yiyan ha'k osise gbängbä assholes. Dav ke’u snẹyä tä eairok gbängbä eltu tìflrr takip?" he asked Arch, who could only sigh softly and nod in agreement, before Nir'wei turned back towards Andráska and flashed him a friendly little smile. "Yes. My name's Nir'wei. Pleasure!" In their little break, he'd somehow almost forgotten the brown-haired woman straddling a giant horse just a few feet away. "Oh! You? Name?" he asked with that same rather oblivious little smile, creased with a little confusion.

For all his perfectly-drawn argument, Arch still seemed a little wary from atop Nir'weis shoulder.. and although neither of the two strangers could see it, the little spirit-animal was eyeing them both with daggers. "Who's to say these people aren't the ones that did all that stuff to the Voraleon, huh?" the squirrel said. "You don't know.. they could be anyone, you said it yourself." For his other half, Arch certainly was rather paranoid. Nir'wei just sent him a telepathic equivalent of a condescending smack to the back of the head, which put all his negative thoughts to rest fairly quickly.
word count: 579
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Elyna
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As the man turned, Elyna would have sworn that she had met him before but still struggled to place him. She kept her face as impassive as she could, brows raising in surprise before she nodded, yes, she could use some help. It was then that another young man came bounding up to them. She blinked at Andre, tilting her head to oneside, where had he come from? Why was he here…why were any of them here? She rubbed a hand across her forehead, her head was starting to hurt.

“Good morning Nir’wei,” she nodded to the first man, polite before looking to the second and extending the same greeting, “and Andre, good morning to you…” there was a pause as she realised that everyone else had shared their names and she let out a sigh, this was very strange, “I am Elyna, Sergeant of the Skyriders,” the young woman grew more confident as she stated her profession and sat up straighter in the saddle. She pulled at the lapel of her jerkin to show the single wings and finally recognition dawned. She had seen Nir’wei at the lodge. She couldn’t be sure if they’d ever met, but she had a clear memory of him tending to a Volarean. His long discussion to thin air was unnerving, but there were more pressing matters.

The horse shifted its feet beneath her and she put the reins against the pommel, trying to think relaxed thoughts. Her gaze pointed down the road before returning to the two me, “if either of you could be of assistance, I’ve been charged with an investigation of the highest importance,” she glanced at Andre, he wasn’t a skyrider, he wasn’t employed by them either; so she was reluctant to reveal details of what had occurred, “a Volarean was hurt,” she finally agreed, “have either of you seen someone pass this way?” It was a slim lead but it was all she had. She was too junior to be given work in the way of much importance.
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'Sergeant? Fancy, fancy.'

Andre looked between the two before him, and then around at the open land that stretched out and the dirt path they were on. The horse stirred beside them and the noble turned to admire the huge animal. It's man was a dark gloss, and its legs were powerful. A good animal. Briefly he thought of asking it's name, but changed his course of question, instead deciding to reach out and pat it on the neck. "Hello, friend," he cooed to the animal, stepping so that he was in its range of vision. Oh, how he wanted a horse again. It had been awhile since he had been at the stables, and longer still since he rode one. They were expensive to maintain and he needed land - nothing he could offer by himself. And he would sooner twist his own arm then go ask his parents for a hand out.

The woman seemed cautious to offer too much information, and Andre found her reluctance a smart move. Tedious, but she was no fool. When Elyna mentioned an investigation underway, the decision was instant, "Can't say I have. Thought I'd go looking, curiosity, indignation, and all that. I'd love to help. What about you, Nir'wei? Up for some fun?" Andráska's tone was friendly, as if they were old friends and he was asking him to play some cards, not investigate such a tragic incident. If the young noble noticed that the other man seemed to be talking to himself, he didn't address it. Grinning at his new acquaintances, he looked back to the lovely female sergeant.

"So, if you'll have us, or me at the very least," Andre paused to indicate that he had meant to include Nir'wei but didn't want to make any assumptions, "What is our plan? And if we find such low scum, are there any rules?" Could they attack? Would there be an arrest? An interrogation? Andráska, despite his minor scuffles with some other children growing up, hadn't seen a fight in ages, and never with another grown man. It would be... an interesting experience, to say the least, and he played the scenarios in his head. Running a hand through his dark and messy hair, Andraska looked to the road, eager and impatient to get started. A story was a story.

An adventure was something else entirely.
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Nir'wei
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For just a moment, he allowed his spirits to be raised at the prospect of working alongside a military officer of some caliber. "Oh." Then one brief glance up and down the so-called Sergeant dashed such thoughts against stiff, jagged rocks and a rather disappointed frown settled. "Again, Skyrider who not ride sky. Disappoint," he muttered softly while shaking his head. It seemed that these were in no short supply, those who claimed to be affiliated with the riders of the animals he spent most of his days caring for.. but every time he met them, it was on the back of a horse... or on their own two feet. The stories he'd heard never compared to the real experience, unfortunately. Either they were all too important to waste their time with a little conversation, or they weren't even considered fit to ride the animals for which their entire military force was named.

His disappointment only deepened as she carried on. "I see lots people," he answered, struggling not to laugh at the rather ridiculously vague question, "but I know what looking for. Not find riding up down road asking every person." Even with absolutely no experience tracking down a mysterious person like this, he still had enough common sense to take a long sit down and realize just how futile such a thing would be. "Didn't ask what rank. Asked want help. Don't care, metal mean nothing. Never seen ride Volareon, not Skyrider. No excuse." He raised a hand and flippantly dismissed her words, not caring for the little metal badge pressed into her lapel, nor whatever it was supposed to signify. It could mean she was some aide to the King and frankly he wouldn't be able to tell the difference, nor bring up enough energy to care for it with her lackluster attitude. "I hunt people hurt Volareon. I know place where people see man. You follow, help. Want follow, fine. Not follow, fine too."

Elyna seemed like a nice sort, polite and all, but her first impressions had rather soiled their meeting. Not that Nir'wei looked any better in his slightly-soiled clothes but at least he had a clue what he was doing and how to do it. Andre seemed affable, however. "Plan, go farm. Talk people, find things, fẹsï èrè ies ke’u eltu dav kọv gbängbä ẹrọ. Find man, find men, talk, bring back city. No violent unless need. No sword, no bow, no fist." Nir'wei opened his mouth and started picking at some small piece of corn that'd wedged itself between two teeth as he walked, making quiet grunting noises as his fingernails scratched at the offending little object before, with a hiss of satisfaction, he tugged it out and flicked it into the grass at the side of the well-worn road. "You 'stand?"

Arch, who'd sat quietly on the man's shoulder for most of the conversation, slowly feeding small thoughts through their telepathic bond, once again spoke up after the silence had once more settled. "You know this is probably just going to cause a whole lot more trouble than it's worth." Agreement replied. "But it has to be done anyway, doesn't it." More agreement, but this time more solemn, mixed with a calm sadness that the squirrel familiar matched with his own... in a way, comforting them both, not because they halved the sadness when they shared it; just knowing that they weren't the only one to feel it was somehow comfort enough to know that they weren't alone in the world. "Mmm." For now, Arch's visible body faded. The easing warmth in his chest, making his breathing just that little bit easier, lingered. After all, the squirrel was never truly gone. Just hidden somewhere just beneath the surface of his skin. An eternal companion that comforted his times of need, in his own paranoid antisocial way.
word count: 674
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Elyna
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Elyna watched the man who had approached her with a smile that pulled at the corners of her mouth, he was certainly enthusiastic and eager to join in an adventure. Not that she was expecting much adventure from the limited information she’d been given.

Her attention turned to the Lodge-worker and she tilted her head to the side, struggling to listen and process the information. Finally she nodded, eyes narrowed with concentration. Though she was fairly certain he had insulted her with his overt disappointment that she wasn’t in the sky. It wasn’t as if she had her own Volareon…yet. One day though, one day soon she hoped. Her nose wrinkled as he continued his insult and she sat up straighter in the saddle, back stiff. The Noblewoman held her tongue though. It seemed that they wanted the same ends, they wanted to find the responsible culprits for the crime, and better yet he seemed to have more information than she did.

“I will help,” she agreed quietly, at least she would do her best to help. The Sev’ryn seemed to have a better grasp of the situation. She exchanged a look with Andre and followed the rougher looking man on horseback, simply enjoying the wash of the arcs first sun on her skin.

A soldier at heart, Elyna did as she was bid and nudged her horse to the side, dismounting and tethering the animal. She offered another smile to Andre, “I’d rather assist you, Nir’Wei…no offence but you’re one man.”
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Nir'wei
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It seemed Andre had little love for this non-violent approach because he quickly broke away and decided to head off in his own direction. Well, he'd never expected company in the first place, so it wasn't as if he was losing any significant ground, he consoled himself. "He could have been a useful ally," Archailist suddenly spoke up again. "You should try and be a little less anti-social. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it." The sudden shift, the derogatory tone in the squirrel-spirit's voice dug under his skin but it unearthed a surprising amount of distaste that he didn't even know he'd harboured. It was true - nobody deserved the treatment he'd given either of these two. He couldn't even blame it on his own emotions or the spur of the moment, either. "Sorry." Switching so suddenly from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other must have looked very confusing. Still, Nir'wei was still coming to grips with understanding Archailist.. and the true effects that the little spirit had over his mind, bound together as they were in such a deep knot. "I one who meant no offense. Should not been so rude."

Unsure of what else to say, his conversation broke off into silence as he continued walking down the dirt path for what felt like breaks, but was actually just over some twenty bits. The farm was a small one with a house relatively close to Andaris and lands that stretched immediately out towards the nearest forest, where its wings had been clipped. Strangely, the house looked pretty empty though. Spring was hitting its high point and the gentle heat of the cycle was starting to bloom, but the fields looked barren - not even plowed in preparation for the sowing of the new crops. "Hrm..." he hummed softly to himself, glancing back over his shoulder to the Sergeant. "Look empty." A bad sign. "I knock on door and check who's inside... if answer, I call you. Search around field. Find anything, call." It was really hard trying to take charge when he had to constantly pause to try and remember which phrases to use. Damn common tongue.

Slowly, he stepped up to the front of the house. Relatively small, no upper floors, shallow roof. The windows were covered with a fair layer of grime, enough that he could only catch outlines of the furniture inside as he knocked. "Hello?" No answer, no movement. Perhaps they were out somewhere else? Although the house showed pretty much no sign of habitation.. not for quite some time, at least. "Elyna? Find anything?"
word count: 452
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Elyna
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The young woman was happy to settle into silence as they made their way towards the intended target. Waving away their third companion before keeping a watchful eye on the road and surrounds. The Skyrider didn’t have a point to prove and was confident in her own abilities, enough that she was happy to nod agreement to the Sev’ryns orders and dismount. The horse tethered to a tree as she started a careful exploration of the grounds. A small paddock boarded the house, but was empty. Along the fencing rail was the tree line before the slope of earth dropped sharply into a thicker forest.

With sword drawn she drifted through the very edge of the trees, scanning for signs of disturbance and found very little. A few scuffs in the half-frozen dirt but they were made from boots, not a volareon. With the ground still cool from Cylus it was hard to tell how recent they were, they could have been frozen since the start of the arc for all she could tell. It was turning back towards the fencing that she found the long black feather. Scowling she bent to collect the item, moving her fingers gently over the burs and smoothing the strands back together. Returning to the Sev’Ryn she shook her head.

“If they were here, they’re long gone. But there is this,” she offered the feather to him wanting little to do with it herself. Another glance back at the treeline and she scowled, “some people are sick Sev’Ryn and they deserve justice to land on them.”

The smallholding was as it’s name suggested small. With another scout of the landscape and the edges away, no more clues rose to the light. There was a small scrap of blue wool on a fence post, another feather and a broken branch towards the far end of the property. A discarded bucket, crumbs of a meal but nothing beyond what a careless farmer could leave behind on a normal day. It was with a heavy heart that Elyna mounted the horse once more and turned back to the city, praying that her fellow ‘Riders had better luck.
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