Eight Reasons to Run Pt. 1 (Graded)

With the escalation of hostilities between Etzos and Rhakros, a series of small walled towns is being established as a network of early warnings and defenses against Rhakros' reprisals. Only the very bravest and most formidable of characters should risk themselves on the Witches' Wilds frontier.

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Llyr Llywelyn
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Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:24 am
Race: Biqaj
Profession: Fairy Angel Ether Monster
Renown: +500
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Wealth Tier: Tier 4

Eight Reasons to Run Pt. 1 (Graded)

Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:42 am

42 Ymiden 719

The long night should have come to an end when dawn arrived. Diffused sunlight should have flooded Westguard and warmed the evacuated city.

Should have, yet it did not.

Instead, the sun hid behind thick layers of what appeared to be clouds if a person didn’t look too closely at them or think too much about them. Reminiscent of a mid-Cylus trial, an ethereal blue dimness barely revealed the city walls and narrow alleys. It was, however, more illumination than had been offered in the pitch-black night. For that, Llyr felt grateful.

He hadn’t slept. Not a single wink, even after the bath he’d shared with Mister Kiwi. Even if he had tried to settle himself, it would have reminded him of the dreamless disconnect from Emea. It wasn’t only avoidance of this fact that kept the silvery biqaj from lying down, but during one of the dark hours, Hazel coughed… and coughed… and she couldn’t stop.

His daughter, adopted nearly Ymiden’s entire worth of trials ago, had fallen ill with something. The island girl already struggled with the inland air and differences in atmosphere. He’d tried to keep her away from others, separated from potential carriers, but… Lisirra’s plagues spread through air, through water, through every which way it seemed, and to try and avoid it all seemed an impossible task. It had been fate and luck that had kept the group healthy so far… and it seemed his luck had run out. Perhaps he’d spent it, he considered, on something of an unworthy nature.

So Llyr separated Hazel from the other children. He set her in a room on her own, though he remained with her, and cared for her through the coughs and then the retching and then the feverish chills. By the time morning came, she had thankfully fallen into a light slumber with brief chokes of phlegm in her lungs.

It was likely he would contract whatever it was. He hoped the other children would not, however… and hope was all he could do.

Llyr left the room, to search for Kiwi as the man was the only other adult who could potentially help with matters. If the dreamwalker had not arrived like he did, a couple trials before… he wasn’t certain what he might’ve done. He needed Kiwi and so he searched for the porcelain doll-like man with panic in his step, in a rush to locate him. The house felt larger than it did before, more empty with every room he glanced inside - only to find it lonely and quiet and dark like the others except the couple which harbored the children inside. The thought crossed his mind that, perhaps, the man had left him.

This before he heard the sound of one-sided arguing outside.

He didn’t understand the language as he listened through the door, but the louder, clearly female voice was very much upset - perhaps angry? - at the calm and quiet one that undoubtedly belonged to Kiwi. Impossible to determine what Kiwi was saying and only able to interpret the blatant emotion in the woman’s, he glanced to see if there were a window nearby.

The first floor wasn’t incredibly spacious nor grand in design, but windows seemed to be a commodity the family had been able to afford. Llyr carefully approached the window, and ran his fingers along the frame to find a latch so he might open it and listen closer. No such latch existed, so he peeked past a curtain in hope to not be seen.

Kiwi, as always, stood rigid and correct, his arms folded and back mostly to Llyr, not that he needed to see the other’s man’s face to know exactly the sort of expressions he was making - or the lack thereof. The woman was older, hair wrapped up tightly into a dark but greying bun, dress rumpled and eyes reddened and wide. Before he could hear much else, he felt something soft and furry bump against his ankle; the sudden sensation startled him forward, hands hitting the glass of the window with a loud thump as he frantically glanced towards the floor, only to find that it had been the hem of the drape.

The sound had been loud enough to draw the attention of both parties who turned to stare at him, the woman seemingly even angrier than before with widened eyes and a rising flush in her cheeks. She shouted something that Llyr was almost positive was a swear - or a curse - and swung her hand at Kiwi. He stepped to the side, avoiding the slap and replying in what was no doubt a calm and infuriatingly rational way. The woman seemed to pause for a moment before her lips moved but voice was too low to even pick out the emotion behind.

She glanced one last time at Llyr, her clear brown eyes swimming with anger, pain, fear… and something he was almost certain was sadness. Without saying anything more, she pulled her worn scarf up and around her face, wrapped it around her head, and hurried away. Kiwi remained outside for a bit, watching her leave in a manner not dissimilar to how a hound might make certain an intruder was truly and genuinely gone. When he seemed satisfied, he turned, not bothering to glance in Llyr’s direction, and stepped back into the house.

“Mister Kiwi,” greeted Llyr as soon as the other man had shut the door behind him.

“Mister Magpie,” he returned, pausing to offer a polite nod of acknowledgement.

“Was that someone you knew?” asked the biqaj.

Kiwi blinked once. “She is now,” he answered. He had a tiresome habit of answering generic questions with generic answers, something Llyr endured regardless.

Llyr waited for a few trills, and when no further explanation followed as Kiwi opened up the chest that contained the remainder of the family’s clothes they’d left behind, he asked, “And… what did she want?”

He drew out a pale colored scarf, one that had seen better days but not yet ragged from use nor nibbled at by moths. “She demanded you vacate this place,” he replied simply, unbothered by the implications.

“What?” replied Llyr without pause. “Why didn’t you come get me?”

Kiwi turned, brow furrowed. “Should I have done so?”

“Yes,” answered Llyr in a raised voice. He looked over toward the window, the irises of his eyes turning periwinkle in hue.

“My apologies,” Kiwi offered. Llyr was never certain whether he meant it when he said things like that or not, but it was marginally better than him arguing. Maybe. “In the future, I will fetch you regarding such matters, should they arise again.” He neatly set the scarf over his shoulders, grey-green eyes scanning the room as he spoke.

“And what did you tell her?” he asked, his voice quieting again as he seemed to calm. He looked over, and momentarily admired the scarf on the other mage.

“Many things she chose to ignore,” Kiwi replied, eyes narrowing in thought as he stared at the kitchen cupboards. “But at the mention of your… children,” he continued, gliding across the floor then setting out opening drawers and doors and rummaging about within them. He turned, stare locking with Llyr’s for a moment. “She left without further argument.” He returned his attention to a particular drawer, calmly drawing out a wide-bladed cleaver, inspecting it, then exchanging it for a smaller, shorter knife that he slid into his back pocket.

Llyr returned to the window, glancing outside, then returning his gaze to look at Kiwi. What exactly had the man said… he worried slightly about it. If the woman had a proper claim to the house, there were plenty of others to take. They didn’t need to remain in this particular one. Yet, he didn’t share this or chide the other man. It was easier to stay where they were, for the time being. So, instead, he said, “Well… thank you, Kiwi, for handling it.”

“Of course,” he nodded, scarf now warped around his mouth, obscuring his words. He paced back to the door and pulled it open once more.

“Uh… Kiwi, where are you going?” asked Llyr, following after him and going next to the door.

“To inspect the city,” he replied.

Llyr remembered why he’d been searching for Kiwi in the first place before he’d gotten distracted by the woman outside. He ran a hand over his hair, nudging his bangs aside, then he nodded. “I’ll go with you. I need to find herbs for Hazel, if I can. It looked like whoever had this house before had taken all their tinctures and likewise with them when they left.”

Which made sense. Tinctures and herbs were likely one of the most beneficial things to pack when evacuating from an immortal who flung plague around.

He paused, considering.“Very well.” With a nod towards Llyr’s casual state of dress, he added, “When you are ready.”
word count: 1543

Vhalar

Llyr's eyes have undergone a change in what displays and what the colors mean.
See the new color references here.

Mutations

  • Gossamer wings resembling a cross between the wings of a dragonfly and a flying ant.
  • An iridescent halo that hovers over his head.
  • Crystalline legs from his toes to the mid of his thighs (like stockings made of quartz embedded into his skin).
  • An ever-moving inky tattoo, with Rorschach-like designs, on his back.
  • When an emotion dominates, the pigment expands past his irises to the entire eye - faintly glowing in that emotion's color.

Scars

Llyr currently has 12 major scars, referenced on his CS.
Most noticeable is two parallel lines, with an triangular arrow point connecting them, on the center of his forehead.

Totems

When in a totem's body, Llyr's mutations persist but his scars do not.
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Mads
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Re: Eight Reasons to Run Pt. 1

Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:42 am

The deceptively still and quiet streets of Westguard, where eyes stared and panic simmered beneath the silence, were no place for children. Yet, Magpie had allowed the young girl, Hazel, to accompany them. Ordinarily, Mathias wouldn’t have particularly minded, but the child was very clearly ill, which made an already conspicuous journey through the twisting streets and alleyways all the more pronounced.

The stillness was unnerving, if only due to the fact that he was well aware that behind the closed doors and drawn curtains there were eyes and tongues and beating hearts, each watching. Each waiting, though what for, he wasn’t certain. While a sizeable portion of the city’s populace had, presumably, evacuated, Westguard was large. Those who had no place to go, those too weak to leave, those too stubborn… only the official guards themselves had left in their entirety, leaving the city teetering over the edge of self-destruction.

From what he had seen during the night, as he’d quietly slipped through the shadowed streets, a militia of a sorts had formed to keep what peace there was; men and women who had not left nor been called to Etzos proper. They were few and far between in a city abandoned where spirits sunk low and trepidation ran high. It made for a charged atmosphere of danger: the bad air, the empty-but-not-empty streets, and the people left behind.

Though he’d have preferred Magpie left Hazel at home, the man had at least bundled the child up in cloaks and scarves and hats, in spite of the heat, to the point she was unrecognizable - and, more importantly, muted. He could just barely hear the sounds of her coughing or quiet, occasional moan of discomfort. The less the watchers had to be suspicious of, the better.

But she was beginning to lag.

“Perhaps you should carry her,” Mathias murmured, glancing at Hazel out of the corner of his eyes, own voice muffled by the borrowed, pale grey scarf around his mouth.

Magpie paused, without even a nod, though he turned and scooped up the girl. He positioned her against his shoulder and tried to guide her arms so that she’d hold onto his neck. However, Hazel fell into a coughing fit instead. So, Magpie kept a tight, cradling hold and maintained the weight of the child - not as simple of a task if she had been of younger age.

“There has to be a… shop or… someone’s workshop somewhere that we can look through,” mentioned Magpie with a slight huff of breath behind his own thick and gray scarf. Even in Westguard, he showed an aptitude for bundling himself, only a hint of silvery skin showed around his blue eyes and over the dip in his nose. He nodded in a direction of a building. “What about over there?”

The building Magpie indicated bore a sign in Ith’esson, faded letters that read a simple “market”. If there was medicine to be bought - or, more likely, “liberated” - it was as good a place as any to start. With a terse nod, Mathias approached the wide, knobless doors and pressed against them. At first, they didn’t budge, but rather than being locked they proved to simply be heavier than he’d anticipated. With a shove from the full weight of his own body behind the press of his shoulder, the door slowly swung open.

Rather than allow Magpie to enter first, Mathias slipped inside without a word, a hand outstretched in gesture of pause. The inside of the building was as quiet as the streets. Wide enough to house stalls and booths along both sides of its walls, it seemed to stretch long, the back wall almost a mirror with a set of identical doors placed in direct opposition of those he’d managed to open already.

No obvious dangers as far as he could tell, Mathias turned, brow raised. “It seems to be empty.”

Magpie surveyed the street around them. He adjusted Hazel to his other shoulder, then tilted his gaze to look over her through the layers of clothing. The biqaj nodded, then moved to enter after Mathias into the quiet, empty-seeming building interior.

“Perhaps…” he started, but then trailed off. He shook his head as if rejecting whatever he’d left unsaid. The child coughed some more, not a dry matter either, but one that suggested fluid in the lungs. Magpie walked aside to the nearest wall, adjacent to the entrance. He set Hazel down, on her feet, then pulled the scarf to reveal her lower face. From under his cloak, he retrieved a flask from his belt, and had her drink whatever was inside. It eased her coughing, almost immediately. Magpie asked, “What is this place? Do you think we’ll find food or herbs here?”

The first question was simple and had a simple answer. “A market,” Mathias replied, eyeing the abandoned stalls that had, very clearly, already been ransacked by those who had no doubt come before them. Some of the spaces were entirely empty, though the more established shops that, no doubt, had been serviced for generations had had the locks on their cabinets and chests broken, contents rifled through and whatever of value taken away. Along with the general state of disorder, there was the subtle stench of death in the air. “I doubt we will find much of anything, but something is better than nothing,” he offered.

“That is true,” said Magpie in a distracted tone of voice. He had returned his attention to the girl. The biqaj bundled her again, then guided her to the nearby corner. He had her sit down, and she slumped against the wall without much fuss about it. “Stay here, Hazel, and rest. We’re going to try and find you something that’ll make it feel better.”

Magpie returned to stand beside Mathias. He surveyed the abandoned inside-market with a look to one side and then the next before he pointed to the left side and said, “I’ll go that way. You search through the right.”

They parted ways, then. Neither man seemed keen to discuss much, Mathias because there was no point in doing so and Magpie because… he seemed distracted - likely due to the sickly state of his daughter.

The search began and with it, Mathias came across a switch blade. Much easier to pocket than the knife he’d borrowed from the kitchen, he pocketed it and continued his search. It seemed, however, that Magpie wasn’t having as easy of a time or finding such luck. Faint sounds of boxes being turned over and muffled swears of both common and Vahanic language drifted from the left side of the market. He peeked over one of the booths, then continued along the path so that they kept the same pace during their search. Magpie kept looking back over toward Hazel, as while they searched, they got farther and farther away from the napping girl.

A quiet sound of discovery sounded from Magpie. He had crawled under an overturned cart, and then scuttled out to stand and hold up a bundle of greenery that was only vaguely wilted. A trade in luck, it seemed, as Mathias opened box after tin after bottle to find nothing of value inside.

The search continued. Magpie had a basket over his arm as well now, and in it, he had a few different things that poked out from the top. He caught Mathias’ gaze from opposite the room and waved. He called out in a voice that loudly echoed in the unlit, ransacked interior, “I found a case of tinctures!”

Rather than reply, Mathias raised a finger to his lips to remind the other man that while they were alone for now, it was better not to draw attention in general. Magpie didn’t seem particularly bothered. A further investigation into a stall that seemed to specialize in alchemical potions yielded a single, unlabeled jar filled with an odd, yellowish liquid. While he wasn’t certain what it did, he supposed it was at least worth taking along to be investigated at a later time.

The surprisingly successful search came to a halt when Magpie suddenly jumped onto the top of a booth. The jump wasn’t planned, obviously, as left behind baskets and scrolls and empty wooden coinboxes clattered to the ground, a cascade of echoes in their wake. His momentum continued past his temporary landing, his feet dancing over everything until he stopped on the ground in the space between the dual rows of market booths.

Magpie’s attention was fixed forward, and upon following the focus, Mathias saw various animal carcasses strewn around a torn apart stall. Lizards and felines and exotic looking creatures that likely came from beyond Etzos, all laid dead with foamy pools around their respective snouts and mouths.

It certainly explained the smell.

Magpie continued to back up, however, as if they weren’t obviously dead. As if… a faint shadow moved over one of the lizard corpses. It scuttled fast, almost undetectable in the darkness. Then, while brushing off his pants and cloak as if he’d gotten something on them, Magpie stammered, “Sp-spiders.”

Not spider. Not one. But multiple.

“I- I got bit,” said Magpie as he continued to retreat, though his left leg unusually dragged as if a heavier weight. “We have tinctures, let’s…” He paused and looked up. His eyes widened, barely illuminated in the pale shafts of blue daylight that struck through the few windows. While the ground had a few spiders picking over the corpses, above them, a great many had created a layer that made it seem as if the dark-colored arachnids - and the webs that held them in place - had been the ceiling above the section of booths.

An abrupt and unfortunate end to their foray into the Etzori market.

Potion still in hand, Mathias hopped over the short wall of the alchemist’s booth, sliding over the stone counter and hurrying to Magpie’s side. Without hesitation, he pulled the man’s arm over his own shoulder and half-helped, half-dragged Magpie away from the spiders. It was too dark to see much of anything outside of the dust filled beams of the windows’ light, but the brief glance behind him alerted him to the fact that the little scurrying creatures were in quick pursuit.

Magpie quietly hissed from behind his scarf. He held on tightly to the basket though, in refusal to let the few collected items within get left behind. His gaze flicked between above them, then forward and he hopped with his good leg to help along. He said, “I’ll be fine, get Hazel outside.”

Had either of them access to their sparks, the creatures would not have been anything to worry about. He would have given no thought to leaving Magpie on his own to tend to the sickly, still slumbering child, but that was not the case. Rather than release the limping man at his side, Mathias kicked a discarded bucket, aiming for the girl. It missed, whirling past her and smashing against the wall with a loud sound, though loud enough she was wearily roused.

“Get up,” he called, voice louder than usual but not especially insistent as he and Llyr continued to barrel through the market, skittering legs rapidly propelling their arachnid assailants along the ceiling, the walls, and everything in between. “And get outside, child.”

Magpie stumbled somewhat, though it seemed he wished to do so. He used the motion to break away from Mathias’ helpful hold and he shoved the other man in the direction of the corner where the feeble girl still laid, bleary-eyed and confused. “I said get her outside. With yourself, Mister Kiwi.”

The shove came at the most inopportune time, however, as Mathias meant to turn and hurl the alchemist’s potion into the dark mass of many legged shadows in an attempt to subdue them. Instead, he stumbled in turn, the glass slipping from his weakened grip and smashing harmlessly upon the ground beside him. He managed to stay upright, bright eyes flashing as Magpie repeated his orders.

There was no time to clarify that he didn’t take commands from the young man, in spite of what the other might have thought.

Without Magpie weighing him down, he was faster - but not fast enough. Several spiders dropped down from the ceiling, their furry bodies landing on Hazel’s bundled body and, very quickly, sobering her to the situation at hand. By the time Mathias managed to reach her, she was already up, panickedly swatting at the unusually large creatures with squeaks of terror.

Deciding one or two of the brood was manageable outside, Mathias didn’t slow as he approached. Instead, he crouched just slightly in his run, wrapped an arm around the girl’s waist, and hoisted her up alongside himself, like sack of flour. The moment they reached the door, he half-threw, half-dropped her outside, then turned to check on Magpie, leaving her to manage the several unwanted passengers she still struggled with on her own for a few trills longer.
. . .42 Ymiden 719. . .
word count: 2231
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Nursia
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Contribution

Re: Eight Reasons to Run Pt. 1

Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:44 pm

Just as a forewarning, the switchblade has been swapped out for a stiletto or knife of your choice of your styling. This is due to me double checking through staff, and them confirming that they'd prefer it if knives of that sort are made IRP rather than found. I am absolutely willing to negotiate the details of the blade, if it is important. Please send me a PM, if you want something changed!

The story was pretty good. A sickly child can make the scene all the more stressful, especially when it comes to the issue of spiders and poison. And I must admit, pulling that card made me cringe quite hard.

You two played well off of one another, as usual.
Llyr

Rewards


Knowledges:
Caregiving: Keep Your Child Within View
Caregiving: Helping the sick.
Caregiving: Staying up to care for another.
Strength: Carrying a sickly, older child.
Endurance: Staying up through the night.
Detection: Don't forget to look above.
Loot:
+1 case of medicine tinctures, bundle of mint herbs.
Renown:
+5
EXP:
+15
Injuries:
Scolor Spider bite: While not distilled, the effects of the spider can be felt within one's joints and major extremities. Aching and cramping of the muscles will be common for the coming trials. However, due to Llyr's relative size, it will pass on its own, or can be readily cured via herbs that relax the muscles.

Feedback


Understand that all criticisms are done in good faith. It would be a greater disrespect to not say anything in the face of problems. Please contact me through this account's inbox if you wish to further communicate on the matter of improvement, or if you feel as though anything is unduly harsh.


Mads

Rewards


Knowledges:
strength-
shouldering open a door
Loot:
+1 Avg quality simplistic knife
Renown:
+5
EXP:
+15

Feedback


Understand that all criticisms are done in good faith. It would be a greater disrespect to not say anything in the face of problems. Please contact me through this account's inbox if you wish to further communicate on the matter of improvement, or if you feel as though anything is unduly harsh.
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