• Mature • Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge

Mathias attempts to help put out fires and repair portions of Storm's Edge.

Beyond the city of Rharne lies the Stormlands, which is home to a number of farms, forests, fields, Lake Lovalus, and the River Zynyx. This subforum also includes the Stormwastes to the south.

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Mathias Blackwood
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Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge

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5 Cylus 720 | Mathias Blackwood | Storm's Edge
It had been a long trial in Storm's Edge for Mathias who had been at work since he arrived early in the unlit morning. First he'd met a plethora of strange but interesting figures, then they'd been attacked, then he'd gone to practice some archery so he'd be better prepared if he was attacked again, and now he found himself running back and forth over the last bastion of hope against the flameborn putting out fires wherever they seemed to crop up, and they were certainly cropping up. There were plenty of embers left over from previous attacks and those embers seemed to frequently get blown into some loose, flamable wood or grass which started a new blaze. Mathias found the most immediate solution was to douse the flames in water but considering their predicament he didn't want to waste it. He'd thought of shattering the mysterious snow globe in his possession but he wasn't certain what it would do but he could imagine based on what it was.

The snow globe felt odd in his hand. His spark recognized the glass that held the liquid and false snow, it could also sense something deeper within the object. Something mystical. Yet it did not seem to be a magic he could absorb, in fact it seemed that the magic perplexed his spark entirely as he was unable to transmute the snow globe. Not that he had put the greatest deal of effort into it. So he'd returned it to Hound's saddle and gone about the area, carrying the buckets of water from fire to fire as they cropped up. The other volunteers had taken the initiative to fill the buckets and Mathias, along with a few others, would come by, grab a bucket, and go off to try and put out one of the fires. For the most part the water seemed to do its job but sometimes the fire would grow to large before someone arrived and you'd have to run back for another bucket.

Before very long at all, Mathias was tired and growing sore. More sore than he had any right to be given the work that still needed to be done, especially because the library had just caught fire. Mathias sighed to himself and grabbed another bucket of water, moving over to try and save the burning books.
Last edited by Mathias Blackwood on Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 411
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge

"S'called 'ventilation', an' youse ain't got even near fuckin' enough of it in 'ere."

"Vent-what?"

Kasoria sighed and rubbed his tired, sweaty, smoky face. He was tired of explaining this to people. Just like he was tired of soot on his breath and waddling around on his fucking knees. Fates, you'd think none of these cunts had ever been in a fire before, or even near one! With a quick, deep inhalation he brought his face back up, studying the younger one peering back at him. His "assistants" for the job he'd been given... although, in actuality, he'd abandoned that pretty quickly.

Water won't be enough. Won't mean anything if we can't fucking breath in here, either.

"First thing we do," he'd told his assistants as they'd headed into the keep, "is open windows, an' get this smoke out. Shit'll kill yeh 'fore you ever see a fire... which yeh won't, by the fuckin' way, cuz there'll be too much smoke in the room when yeh go in there lookin' t'douse it."

"So... we don't take water with us?"

Kasoria nodded to one of the brighter candles, but didn't let him off so easily. "Nah, not this time. Me an'... Freckles here, will go up an' start openin' windows. Once we get rida' the smoke, we'll search for the fires, find 'em faster. While we're doin' that, you two-"

"Fill buckets and have them ready for you?"

"Got it in one. Right, off yeh go." They did just that, and Kasoria clapped Feckles on the shoulder. "A'right, lessgo..."

That had been the better part of a break ago, and only now were they reaching the point where Kasoria could walk upright. Most of their meandering had been through hallways and corridors and rooms where smoke was still churning and hanging in the upper part. They'd had to open up windows on two floors just to get enough air flowing to clear out the choking, poisonous stuff. Now they were near the top, and Kasoria was determined to finish it off and get moving again.

"S'a calculated risk, see? We get the smoke out, means we can breath, means we can see, means we can work. But it also means, we're lettin' air in, an' fire eats air as much as it does wood an' straw an' such."

"Better be quick about it up here, then."

Kasoria heaved open another set of windows, letting in a blast of light along with cold air. He shuddered briefly and then stepped aside, pinning back the shutters and nodding. "Aye. Pretty much. Youse done over there?"

A pair of shutters slapping into the stone told him Freckles was, and without another word they went out into the hallway-

"Wait."

Kasoria held out an arm and stopped the boy dead. Then he looked down... at nothing.

"Er... what's the matter?"

"The stones are warm," Kasoria said slowly, tilting his head to one side. "Too warm fer this season, this time a' day. An'... shite, youse hear dat?"

Freckles tried to imitate the odd little Etzori as best he could. He cocked his head and strained his ears, more to humor him than anything else... until his eyes widened, and Kasoria knew he wasn't just hearing things.

"Sounds like... crackling."

"Like a fire."

"From the stairway."

Kasoria pointed down, and they both started running.
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge


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5 Cylus 720 | Mathias Blackwood | Storm's Edge
Mathias had been fighting his way through the interior of the keep where fires seemed to sprout left and right, growing for some reason that he couldn't fathom until he began to see opened windows in the rooms that he and other volunteers passed through with their buckets of water. He had started enough campfires to know blowing on an ember could coax it into a flame and that opening the windows must have had a similar effect- yet it also served to get smoke out of the building and signal those on the outside where the fires were coming from. Room after room, they carefully entered, splashed their buckets of water across the fire- and ran back for more. Some volunteers collapsed outside of the keep after a few runs in and out but not Mathias who had covered his mouth with a scarf and therefore spared himself a little bit more from the smoke than the others. He refilled his bucket and went back in.

Mathias entered a hallway on fire first- Lightning Knight tapestries were burning, and the ceiling wouldn't have been far behind if not for Mathias running through the hallway and ripping the burning tapestries from the walls. He winced in pain as he felt the flames lick at his arms and hands (through his shirt and gloves), burning them slightly before he cast the tapestries to the floor and stomped out the flames that were consuming them. He didn't stop to worry about how bad that would have gone if he'd forgone his gloves for the trial. When the smoke thinned but remained Mathias looked and saw the staircase at the end of the hall was beginning to burn as well.

Mathias dropped low and crawled till he arrived at the bottom of a staircase covered in a thick black smoke, shoving his bucket of water with him and spilling some water with each shove. The flames that burned on the railing and steps were beginning to grow to high for Mathias to douse with one bucket of water but as the thought stunned him, water splashed down the steps from the floor above Mathias. That water began the work that Mathias's bucket finished and when the fire was out Mathias thought to bolster the steps for the others but stopped when he remembered that in the long run it would only cause them to decay further and maybe even faster. All the same Mathias looked up the steps to see who had helped him from above. He spotted a familiar if not frightening face among a group of volunteers.

"Karim! It's me! Mathias! The library is burning, help?" Mathias asked, recognizing the warrior from his dream and a few other places around the keep. Mathias had been on the way to the library when he'd stopped to help with the burning hallway. He introduced himself because the scarf was still covering most of his face.
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge

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And, here we go.......

Fiery temper. Daughter of Faldrun. Cursed by him, too. Oh, and come to that, a Defier. A pervading memory of Vega's was the time that she had seen a ship burn into the water as a child - her father still bore the scars of it.

Vega ran to where she heard the noise from. She'd been putting fires out in some of the other rooms along the corridor and she knew that things were getting out of hand here. She was, therefore, the other side of the hallway and she put her head down and ran towards where Mathias was calling from. The stairs at the end of the corridor she was running down were aflame, but Vega could see that there was a bigger issue. The library. Lots of paper, lots of kindling, lots of fuel and right, slap-bang in the middle of the building. "Nuts!" Vega exclaimed. She could feel where the fires were, thanks to her Defiance, but it was a trained art, and she was not trained in it. So, as Mathias and Kas approached from one way, Vega came from the opposite direction. She had a wet cloth over her face, and a bucket of water, of course. She didn't waste time introducing herself, there was no need. Before Vega had run in here, she'd emptied a bucket of water - or two - over herself. Her hair, her skin, they were wet. It wasn't the flames which bothered her.

What bothered Faldrun's cursed daughter was the heat.

She got to the library, and she saw that things were, fundamentally, about to go to hell in a handbasket. So, she lowered her head and she prayed. "Xiur, if you don't mind, I'd be righ' grateful an' so I would." As she said that, a swirling mass of almost-fogthis is the Nalos ability cooling / warming trend flew out from her - it had a slight shimmer to it, almost like starlight, and Vega used it to cover the building. Everywhere, the temperature dropped by twenty degrees. Then, she turned to Mathias and Kas as they approached. "Don't go in there. Gimme 'alf a minute!" And Vega frowned, concentrating on the room where, suddenly, the whole library was filled with a cloudthis is the Nalos ability "Dry Ice Cloud".

"It'll only make a difference to the ground level, so I'm gonna stop it once the floor's not on fire. Then, we'll need to deal with the other bits. You ready? On three... two..... one." And when they were ready, she cancelled the second effect, so they could all go in and fight the rest of it. Hopefully, that made it an achievable task for them. Now, she thought, if only she could get one of them to make her lose her temper, she'd be completely immune to the damn fires anyhow.
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Vega's skin has a reflective metallic sheen with a red glow. Her eyes still swirl biqaj colours, but one colour is always bright red which glows like fire. She has a bright red glow in her chest, situated directly under the mark of a heart (Daia mark) in the middle of a glowing silver dragon on her chest (Xiur). She's unnaturally warm to the touch
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge

It had become customary for Kasoria to greet the boy Mathias with a blatant scowl, since it had become clear he would in fact not be getting paid for risking his life protecting this heap of stones and this pack of wankers. The lying little cunt would be getting more than just a hard stare at some point, but they all had bigger things to worry about. Such as the whole damn place either falling apart or burning down.

Case in point.

"The fuckin' library?!" He tolled his eyes, already moving down the hallways towards the hall where the smoke was coming from. Hells Fuck, could these people not keep anything locked up?! "How the fuck did it get-"

"Nuts!"

Oh, fucking lovely. Her.

Kasoria bit his tongue and let the woman work. Sword, bow, magic, mouth... Vega certainly had plenty of skills at her disposal. They were all useful skills, at that, and Kasoria wasn't so arrogant or shortsighted to ignore that. He squatted down under the smoke rolling over their heads and waited for her to finish conjuring... whatever. Some magic, maybe even an Immortal mark. Fates... how times had changed. The Raggedy Man shook his head briefly, having the time to ruminate while the woman worked.

Season ago, you'd have slotted the bitch just for having that mark. Now...

He sighed and thought of Llyr. Of Maxine. Of that wanker Oberan. So much he did not know and never suspected... so much he had learned, so different he'd become. At an age where he always assumed a man could be no more than what he was. Even-

"It'll only make a difference to the ground level, so I'm gonna stop it once the floor's not on fire. Then, we'll need to deal with the other bits. You ready?"

Kasoria was snapped out of his musings by her words, and immediately grabbed a bucket. His assistant had been bringing them up steadily, along with the others that Vega and Mathias had put to work. Without pause he lifted it up and upended the whole lot over his head, drenching himself from scalp to soles. Then he whipped off his cloak and dunked the whole thing into another. He pulled it out, dripping wet as much as the rest of him, and nodded.

Right before pulling his tunic up over his nose and mouth.

Fucked if I'm going to die the exact same bloody was I told the boy about.

"On three... two..... one."

The spell was removed and Kasoria surged in at the head of the trio. Heat blasted him from inside the room, burning flames clashing with the air suddenly made chilly by Vega's magic. Kasoria ground his teeth and ignored the sensation, the hesitation such extremes of temperature wanted to provoke in his mind. He had a job to do, and looking around at the shelves and chests of parchment and paper and wood...

Fuck me. Might as well be a bonfire.

The Raggedy Man moved towards the nearest wall and started feeling his way down it, batting at the flames with his soaking cloak. Buckets wouldn't be enough, unless they could bring in one every few trills. Besides, once they were tossed, that was it, they were useless. This way he could smother flame after flame, and still have a weapon at hand to fight the fires. He kept moving, staying low, feeling the wall as he went, until-

There we go!

Kasoria found a window and reached up to unlatch it. He looked around briefly. Noting the location of the flames, seeing them glow like ruddy, blurry celestial objects in the smoke. The chilly fog that Vega has magicked into the room had kept them manageable, kept their hunger in check so they couldn't join together into a true firestorm... but eventually, the air would heat up again, and the flames would be hungrier than ever. He took a deep breath, intending to use it, and threw open the window-

-letting light and air flood into the room-

-smoke started to surge past him, over him, around him, sucked out into the atmosphere, but as soon as it did-

"Shite!"

-Kasoria scuttled to the side and heard the "whoosh!" of flames. Moving towards him and the air-feeding aperture with greedy intent. He kept moving until he found a corner, and stayed there. Watching... and finally, smiling. The big bundle of flames nearest him weren't eating the books anymore; they were moving towards the window. Towards the air that sustained it as much as parchment did for fuel... and that meant he could get closer to it. Start beating at it with his cloak, smashing lumps of smoldering, burning books into soggy, useless chaff. Part of him winced whenever his cloak slapped down, regretting another hundred pages or more ruined and rendered into pulp forever.

This was a library, after all.

"Matt?!" He pulled down his tunic-mask and bellowed, throat raw from the smoke. He forced himself to bellow anyway, needing his voice to be audible over the sound of the flames. "Get the lads in 'ere! Start beatin' or drownin' these flames! See the window?! Youse open anymore, keep 'em on this side! Move the fire this way, not all about the room!"

He didn't bother shouting orders to Vega; she had her own ways and besides, he didn't need an argument with the bitch. He'd rather focus on getting the boys moving and being productive, and letting the Mistress of Storm's End (as he'd already heard her referred to, more than once) go about her own business. And maybe, hopefully, die in the process.

One can but hope, he thought with a hidden smirk as he started beating out another blazing bookshelf.
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge


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5 Cylus 720 | Mathias Blackwood | Storm's Edge
Mathias was surprised to find Vega at the library as well but he was more than relieved to have the additional help- and she certainly did help. The drop in the temperature was the most immediate and most appreciated of the things Vega did to help them because it felt very nice. She asked for a bit and Mathias gave her just that, standing with his bucket of water while he waited to see what she would do. He watched Kasoria preparing to enter the room and looked down at his clothing. He didn't see the advantage to soaking himself in the water. Then again Kasoria had been in more scrapes than he had for sure, the man must have known what he was doing! But Mathias still didn't want to waste the water on himself. Mathias adjusted his scarf over his mouth a little to make it more comfortable (it had begun to slip down his nose) and when Vega gave the countdown, he stepped forward only for Kasoria to sweep into the room before him.

Kas moved for the windows and Mathias thought it would be a waste of time but he waited outside the room till the Raggedy Man had opened the window. He'd seen the way that air made the flames surge for a moment and he didn't want to be in the room when it did. Yet whatever Vega had done seemed to help alleviate the effect a little. Mathias ran in and splashed his bucket across a burning bookshelf. The water caught most of the flames but a few books burned still- Mathias knocked them off the shelf and stomped the flames out then ran back out of the room.

He stopped outside the room again to catch his breath, he was not built for this but he had to try and help. He went and got another bucket of water from one of the volunteers running back and forth to supply them and turned to the room again. Mathias paused to watch Kasoria bat at the flames with his wet cloak for a moment before he realized the benefit of such a tactic. All the same he thought it more dangerous to remove his shirt and drench it. Instead, Mathias looked around for the larger fires left in the room. Then Kas called out to him with instructions and he turned to the other volunteers standing outside the room. "Well go do what he said!" Mathias instructed loudly and the volunteers scurried into the room. As he watched them funnel into the room he mumbled "I wish I brought my bow." He would have used it to break the windows on the side Kasoria had directed him to. It would have been fast. But he had water buckets and no bow so he went into the room like the rest of them, slinging water to stop the fire.
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge

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And, here we go.......

As Giggles moved in, Vega saw him move towards a window and she figured what he was doing; it made sense - mostly. It was mad, but it made sense. More than that, it was the first pro-active thing she'd seen from him and that could only be a very good thing as far as Vega was concerned. She could feel, thanks to the Defiance initiation she had undergone, the elements around her and she knew where the air was; so she ran for that. But there was no straight line around the flames and the heat and so Vega used her skill in acrobatics, leaping over an area where she could see that the floor was damaged. She was nimble and quick on her feet and was more than able to jump over the flames. Moving to another window in the same area, on the same side as he had, and she opened it with Giggles, at the same time, and then she too pressed herself out of the way. But what that meant was that they were able to get the fire put out more easily. Vega worked - as she always did - tirelessly. She was, in many ways, relentless.

The fire flew, and Vega couldn't help but marvel at it - it was beautiful, she could describe it no other way. She would have thought that before her initiation into Defiance, but since it, Vega had a whole new level of appreciation and understanding of the beauty of each of the elements. Then, though, it was time to make sure that everything that could be saved, was. She didn't speak while they were putting out the fires, just got on with what needed doing. One of the volunteers had inhaled some smoke, Vega thought, and she heard him coughing, and then coughing more. Moving over to him, she put her hand on his arm. "Go breathe outside, an' drink cool water. Go on, we've got this under control." They did, she thought. Thankfully.

Then, she looked around and saw one of the Lightning Knights that she knew. "Hey, Rafe," she said, and moved over to him. "We need to get buckets o'water in every room we can, an' when we run out o'buckets, then crates of sand, or earth if you need to. But every room." He looked at her, and frowned. "Who do you suggest does that, Vega?" He was tired, she got it, he was exhausted - they all were. "Well, we'll start with me an' you, an' we'll get some more volunteers along the way, what you reckon?" He sighed slightly. "I know," Vega said with a sympathetic pat to his arm, "It's not fair when I say I'll do it, an' so you can't grumble at me." He glared at her and she returned a cheeky smile. "There you go see, I knew you'd see sense." Nodding her head she looked around.

"Yeah, I think we've done what's needed here," she said and she thumped Rafe companionably on the shoulder. "I'm gonna go get some water an' then get started on those buckets. Want a race?"

word count: 539
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge

"Where'd she fuck off to?! Know what, fuck it, dun' fuckin' care, jus' gimme dat!"

The black-faced volunteer didn't get so much as another stammer out before the Raggedy Man yanked the sloshing bucket out of his hands. Kasoria twisted on his hips and hurled the contents over the flames, hearing them sizzle and hiss and send up a fresh gout of steam. But with every bucketful, they were pushing it back. Around him and behind him, volunteers were daisy-chaining their way to and from the fire in the library. Empty buckets were being run back, full ones were laboriously passed along. Where water was taking too much time, dirt and sand and even damp straw was packed inside instead.

Kasoria had just shrugged at that one. Long as it smothered the fire rather than fed it, he wasn't one to complain.

"You?! Oi, you?!" He turned around and saw a bunch of fresh faces, squatting down above the carpet of smoke in the room. "Miss Vega sent us up, told us to-"

"Didja bring water?!"

"Er, yes, yes we gave it to-"

"She tell yeh what t'do once yeh handed it over?!"

"She-She said that you were-"

"Good!" Kasoria pointed at the piles of books, some singed, some just blackened, others untouched. "See all that? Start takin' armfuls an' get 'em outta here!"

"Where?!"

"Away from the fuckin' fire, boy! Downstairs, down the hall, in the yard, the fuckin' stables! Jus' not here! Fire's bein' starved an' watered but we dun' wanna give it anymore fuel 'less we ain't got a choice!" He paused to grab another full bucket, knee-walking closer to the fire and dumping it over the top. He used his wet hands to wipe at his face, coughing up smoke and what felt like a lung as he did. "Get to it!"

Whoever they were and whoever had sent them, they scuttled off and did as they were told. Mainly because they were sensible and shred orders, Kasoria reasoned, not because it was him giving them. Fires needed heat, air, and fuel. Take one away, the thing couldn't live. The heat was going down slowly, air was only being given to it on one wall, stopping it from spreading, and fuel... well, what wasn't sodden and soaked would soon be taken away. All they had to worry about after that was the smoke heating up too much and choking them before it did.

There was a nudge at his back and Kasoria took another bucket. Then he frowned and peered at the face looking at him.

"Where the fuck's Mathias?!"
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Re: Preparing For War: Fire Across Storm's Edge


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5 Cylus 720 | Mathias Blackwood | Storm's Edge
Mathias had thought himself smart. He'd picked up some rocks outside and brought them back in to break the windows that needed to be broken. It would be faster than opening them and let the workers focus more on putting out the flames than they focused on opening the windows. He went from room to room where he saw others battling the flames and he chucked stones towards the windows on one side. He missed... often... the smoke made it hard to really gauge his target and even when he could detect what he was aiming at, his aim with his arm left some to be desired. He should have grabbed his bow. He had no stones left by the time he made it back to the library so he'd returned to the classic method of putting the fire out, now though, he hoisted and dumped bags of sand rather than water.

Not long later, Mathias was out in the hallway coughing up what he was sure would amount to his lung. He wasn't as durable as Kasoria and Vega. He hadn't seen as many battles, run into as many fires, and killed as many things... well he wasn't sure about the last one in regards to Vega. It was the killing his work demanded that made Mathias seem wizened but the truth was that he was still a boy. His heart still ached for a love somewhere far away from him. He still feared the reality that he might not live to his birthtrial this arc... even if he tried hard not to show it. When Vega and the Lightning Knight went to supply the other rooms with what was needed to stop the fire, Mathias gave them a small wave and returned to his coughing.

The first time someone brought him water, he took it and splashed it at the nearest fire in the library, then the volunteer walloped him on the back and said that he was supposed to drink that water to help with the coughing. Mathias nodded and another, cup was brought to him. He downed it in record time, spilling some onto his face and shirt. It was a refreshing cool against the heat and so when the next cup of water came, Mathias splashed it in his face. Then he heard 'Karim' calling out for him and he pulled his scarf back over his face. Mathias turned back into the library which was more filled with smoke than flames at this point. The fire had more or less been quelled in the library.

"Fires dying in here, right? What do you want?" Mathias shouted back to Kasoria as he began stacking books into an empty sand bag to carry out of the library. He'd heard that order at least.
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And, here we go.......

If there was one thing that this place needed, Vega was very sure of it, it was better consideration of fire. She knew that fires were breaking out now, but anywhere should have some level of contingency plan, surely. She hadn't been here long enough to make a clear judgement, but the other thing that Vega knew this place needed was someone in charge. But it just wasn't happening and, so, they were doing their best. Vega wasn't considering herself as there for the job of being in charge - she had neither the experience or the inclination. That, and the simple fact that people mostly just annoyed her. They weren't clear or they were all dark and gloomy, or they were just stupid.

Often, they were all three.

Still, these trials, she was trying to be more accommodating and less inclined towards punching people. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't quick, but it was there. She had to get some marks for effort, Vega thought, surely? Still, they needed to keep carrying in the water here, first, and then they'd be able to get started. Making sure that Rafe, the Lightning Knight she was with, wasn't about to keel over, she just kept going. Vega was determined and then some - she was also at the very peak of physical fitness. So, she carried water, and sand, and she lifted heavier buckets than anyone had a right to be able to lift, and she did it quickly.

And, on the way down, she carried books and scrolls and parchments. Vega was tireless and she pretty much ran all the time, or at the very least jogged. She pushed herself because, if she didn't, then it was hardly fair of her to push anyone else and Vega liked being pushy. So, she just kept working. Once the fire was out, she and Rafe started to get buckets of water and sand and boxes of sand, and putting them in the rooms around the place. With each one, if she could, Vega put a large and heavy stone - just enough for breaking the windows. As she and Rafe passed in the corridor, she reached out and touched his arm. "It occurs to me," she said softly. "That we could do with all of us discussin' what to do in these fires. They're happenin' a lot. Can we have a chat after the evenin' meal tonight, everyone? Someone in charge say somethin' about how to deal with it?" Rafe looked at her and raised an eyebrow.

"And who would that someone be?"

Vega shrugged, genuinely not considering herself - which was, of course, who he thought she meant. "I dunno. I'd say you're the best best, personally." Rafe looked at her in surprise. "I mean, you've been invaluable here, yer a Knight, an' you'll say it how it is. Will you do that, then?" He nodded and Vega grinned.

"Excellent. Righteo then, lets get on."

word count: 508
Image

Vega's skin has a reflective metallic sheen with a red glow. Her eyes still swirl biqaj colours, but one colour is always bright red which glows like fire. She has a bright red glow in her chest, situated directly under the mark of a heart (Daia mark) in the middle of a glowing silver dragon on her chest (Xiur). She's unnaturally warm to the touch
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