• Closed • An Unexpected Visitor

A small island with an active volcano, Faldrass is the home to Saoire's school and to the Faldrass Induk.

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An Unexpected Visitor

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Ashan 26, Arc 721

The last time that the son of Ziell had been on a boat for any length of time had been more than four arcs prior. He had travelled from Rynmere where he had used to work as a teacher to Ne’haer in order to attend a meeting - and eventually fight during the battle at Treid’s Tomb. What he had done there, had become his deepest regret and the one thing that he wished he were able to undo. He had been wrong, as wrong as anyone could ever be, and a part of him still couldn’t help but wonder, even though he had found forgiveness and bore the mark of the Immortal that he had tried to kill once nowadays.

The aforementioned thoughts usually didn’t last though, at least not unless there was nothing else for him to do. He preferred to look to the future rather than continuously dwelling on what might have been or should have been, to do something, to realize the promise that he had given Xiur when he had knelt in front of him in Rharne, to serve him and spread hope, for the world of Idalos was too beautiful to ever give up on it and endure crisis after crisis, such as the one that was currently taking place in Scalvoris, until there was nothing left.

He had more information than he had had at the beginning of the cycle – he spent most of the time on the boat going through his notes on Scalvoris, the Warden and the Immortals – but there were still things that were noticeably unclear, and time seemed to be running out. He was just reading what he had written on the Heart of Scalvoris once more when one of the sailors alerted him of the fact that they had finally arrived on Faldrass.

He thanked her before he packed up his things - he travelled seemingly light, he had taken his domain bag with him so that he wouldn’t have to carry quite as much - and made his way to the rowboat that would take him to the shore, momentarily stopping in order to take in the view in front of him. He had heard that people had finally started rebuilding after the volcanic eruption the arc before, but he had not known what exactly the island looked like now.

"That's Hopetoun, right over there", the sailor, a red-haired woman in her thirties with slightly pointed ears that hinted at Biqaj blood somewhere down her lineage and rosy cheeks - explained and smiled when she noticed him looking at the settlement in the distance that was mostly comprised of tents and surrounded by a palisade. "The leader is one Darius Baer. He was given the position by none other than the Immortal Saoire herself", she continued which caused him to raise an eyebrow fractionally before he inclined his head in gratitude. He appreciated the information that she had given him, and what more, he liked the name of the settlement - and that new life was rising from the ashes.

That was encouraging.

He had not come to Faldrass in order to learn what things were like after the volcanic eruption or to take a closer look at the gigantic statue that rose in the distance though, but to find someone. At least, he had heard that Mrs. Vega Creede who he had last met in Rharne, at the Mummer's Ball, was currently on Faldrass. She had been involved in several of the events that he was researching, and he realized that he needed her help. Besides that, he was looking forward to seeing her again. He had not forgotten what she had done that evening, and the words that she had said to him were still fresh in his mind.

He didn't think that anybody had ever treated him like that, at least not in recent times.

Normally, the son of Ziell tended to wear elegant, bespoke suits, but he had traded his usual clothes for something that was more suitable for travelling under occasionally rough conditions. Since it was still quite cool in early Ashan, although it was not as cool as it would have been in Viden, he wore a dark coat over a matching shirt, pants, a vest and sturdy boots, all of fine quality, but plainer than what he usually wore. He had no interest in standing out more than he already would as is. He wanted the focus to be on what really mattered.

That his new surroundings still consisted of wilderness for the most part did not bother him in the least, although he rarely frequented such places and would likely have done a questionable job if he had been one of the new settlers and someone had asked him to tend to the fields or cut down trees, make boards and build a house. On the contrary, he looked around with interest as he walked down the path and entered the settlement.

And then he stopped, quite abruptly.

He had thought that he would have to spend more time trying to find her – from what he knew, there was at least one other settlement, and what more, there seemed to be a school of sorts on Faldrass now – but the red-haired woman that was busy constructing a fence was almost impossible to mistake.

“Mrs. Creede? Vega Creede?” he called out to her and raised a hand in order to wave to her, smiling lightly in spite of the urgency of the matter at hand. “I’ve been looking for you”, he admitted in a polite tone of voice.

He hoped that she wouldn’t mind his unannounced visit too much. He had considered sending a letter in advance, but a letter would likely have arrived around the same time that he had and thus been superfluous. With that thought in mind, he came closer. The fence that she was constructing still looked very much like a work in progress, he noticed. He wondered if Mrs. Creede could use some help.
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Re: An Unexpected Visitor

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26th Trial of Ashan during Arc 721
"Well, that's a really good question, Wren," Vega said to the young boy next to her. She smiled at him, her head tilting to one side as she did. "Why would we do it?"

Wren looked at Vega with serious eyes and she wished she could take some of the pain out of them. "It's jus' a fence, after all. Why would we want to make it look better?" She paused, letting him think about it. Vega was not about pressure and she was happy to wait, while Wren worked out what he thought. "So it looks good?" Wren asked, and Vega nodded. "Yep. But you know, when somethin' looks good. What does it do to an' for people?"

He smiled at her. When Vega was intense and questioning, Wren had noticed that she got a wrinkle in her forehead. She had it now. It meant that it was an important question to her, so Wren thought about it. "It makes the person looking at it feel better?" He wasn't sure but the wrinkle in Vega's forehead disappeared and she smiled. "Yeah, it does. It gives a message, too." Wren nodded. "Hope?" He knew that one. Vega talked about it a lot, spoke about Xiur and the hope that she felt - always.

"Yep," Vega said. "It tells people, gives a first impression. 'Hello', it says, 'Hello, we're Hopetoun, an' we're full of hope, here' an' that makes them full of hope." Wren nodded and looked at the place where there was going to be a fence and a docks and a whole host of things. "But there's a more important thing to think about," she said, softly. The surprised Wren, and he looked up at her in interest. "What?"

Vega leaned forward and stroked his hair, putting a piece behind his ear. "What's most important to think about, Wren," she said, quietly. "Is a different question. When we've done this, you an' me, what will we feel like each an' every time we see it?" He looked at her in surprise, then he thought about it. "I think I'll feel good."

Wren had thought about that, Vega knew. She knew also that it was something which he needed to realise. "Me too, Wren. An' you know what? Same's true for everyone else involved." Wren frowned slightly, and Vega knew that he felt unsure about talking to people. "It's important for the people here, Wren. It's important to celebrate who they are an' what they've done." She smiled at him. "Because you know, they've been through a lot here. An' sometimes, it takes someone else to let them know how much they've done." Her hand continued to stroke his hair. "Jus' like you, an' jus' like me. We need people to remind us of jus' how awesome we are, you know?"

Wren smiled and Vega considered that, sometimes, she felt like Wren was the grown up and she was the child. But then, he pointed and Vega turned her attention from the fence that she and Wren were in front of and she beamed a smile. "Doran!" She lifted a hand and she waved.

Vega and Doran had a rather complicated history. They'd dreamed together before. Four arcs ago now. Of being husband and wife and being father and daughter. In those dreams, she'd learned that Doran had stabbed Xiur. And then, the very first time that she'd met Xiur she told him. Told him about the man in Etzos whose name she didn't know.

And then, arcs later, Vega had seen him again in the Mummers Ball. Seen him and recognised him.

Now? Now he too was marked by Xiur and Vega beamed with pleasure. "Lookin' for me?" She seemed - because she was - surprised. "What's that all about then?" And then, because she always would. "Doran, this is my friend Wren," she motioned to the small child there with her. Maybe seven or eight arcs old and with a very serious expression. "An' Wren? This is Doran." Looking between them both, Vega spoke to them both - about them both. "He's good people."
word count: 711
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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: An Unexpected Visitor

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Vega was not alone, the son of Ziell noticed, as he briefly watched her go about her work. There was a boy with her. He was seven, maybe eight arcs old, and there was a rather serious expression on his face. At first, he assumed that he was her son. Vega didn’t seem to be much older than twenty-five, but it was entirely possible that she had already had him when she had been a teenager – or that she was older than she looked. He didn’t appear to be much older than thirty himself, after all, even though he had already seen several centuries come and go.

He did not ponder the slight conundrum that the presence of the little boy constituted to him for long though. When the red-haired daughter of Faldrun beamed at him and waved to him, the smile on his face widened, and he closed the last couple of metres between them. He set his bag down on the ground in front of him (the domain bag stayed where it was for the time being) before he inclined his head and confirmed,

“I am.”

He was about to tell her more when she introduced the child to him. He didn’t wonder how Vega Creede, a grown woman, could be friends with a little boy, at least not any longer than couple of trills. He accepted her statement because such things did happen sometimes, smiled at the child, extended his right hand towards him (Although he would not mind if he refused to shake a stranger’s hand, of course.) and remarked, “I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Wren. How are you, by the way, both of you?” he asked a moment later.

Those were not empty words. He really was glad to be able to make the acquaintance one of Vega’s friends, and he did not simply ask how the two of them were because it was the polite thing to do. He was genuinely interested, and he was especially curious about how the daughter of Faldrun had fared since that fateful evening in Rharne in Vhalar.

“Xiur paid me a visit a couple of trials ago”, he finally told Vega. His posture was comparatively relaxed, but the expression on his face was more serious than it had been before. “We talked about the current situation on Scalvoris and my research – I’ve been supporting the island since I found out about the Council’s plans. Xiur also told me about a father who is without hope and desperate to protect his child”, he continued and paused briefly, furrowing his brow fractionally. He had been just like the Warden once, desperate and without hope, but he had realized that he had been wrong. There was always hope, even for the darkest of souls that most people thought should simply be destroyed. It was just hard to find sometimes.

”The Heart – or hearts, all over the world – seem to play an important part in the current conflict, as do places such as the Scaltoth Jungle and the Scalvoris Mountains. You’ve been there. I was wondering you’d be willing to tell me what you know, provided that you have time. That’s why I came to Faldrass when I heard that you were here”, he admitted in a polite tone of voice and looked at Wren once more.

“By the way, do your friend and you need any help?” he wanted to know a moment later and gestured towards the fence. It wouldn’t be right to just stand there, do nothing and wait for answers (or wait for Vega to be finished with her work) when there was a settlement to be built, after all.
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Re: An Unexpected Visitor

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26th Trial of Ashan during Arc 721

Wren shook Doran's hand, solemnly, but he didn't say any more than "Nice to meet you."

Vega, however, grinned and nodded. "Really well, thanks." Her eyes swirled colours, mostly shades of green with flecks of gold and she considered that it was more than serendipitous that he'd arrived. "I'm expectin'," she said, putting her hand on her currently-flat stomach. "So, really really well." She was obviously delighted. Wren touched her arm and Vega looked down at him. "You want to go help out my Papa, Wren?" Wren nodded and moved. Vega watched him as he moved away towards where a small group of biqaj men, one noticeably older than the others, were working; Vega watched him. "He's the son of a friend," she said, softly. "An' I have no idea how long he'll be here with me. So, I'm tryin' to make him comfortable and happy."

When Doran told her what he was here for, though, Vega's eyebrow raised slightly. "Right. Well, that's a long story, so I guess you'd best come to our camp an' I'll make us a cuppa?" She glanced at him and asked, with her usual lack of tact. "Have you got somewhere to stay on Faldrass? If you're not used to roughin' it, that'll be important. You can stay with us, if you want. We're set up good here. You know about Hopetoun?" If he didn't, Vega would tell him about Darius' settlement and how he was the leader of the group of refugees who were making a life here. If he did, though, she'd lead him to their camp.

Once they got to the camp, Vega moved over to a firepit which had a built-up stone wall around it in a semi-circle. There were a couple of grills on that wall, for cooking, and a pot of water was nestled in a box of sand. Vega pulled the kettle and hung it off one of the grills. "It's kept warm, with the sand," she said, gesturing to the container which was filled with orange sand. "What sort of tea do you want? We've got mint, or black tea, or raspberry leaf?" Whatever he wanted, Vega was happy to provide. The tea had been dried and was kept in small sachets in drawers underneath the sand-box. When he had decided, Vega dropped a sachet of mint tea for her and what ever he chose into mugs and waited until the kettle started to whistle. When it did, she poured them a steaming mug each. "Steep it as long as you like, for the strength you prefer," she said. "Personally, I keep mine in while I drink it, it's how I prefer it. That box there?" She pointed to a different box, attached to the outside of the built-up wall. "Drop it in there when you're finished, would you? We use them for compost an' stuff. Oh, an' there's honey in a pot in the side-drawer, there, if you want any, an' dried fruit in the one next to it, if you'd rather."

For herself, she took a slice of dried lemon and dropped that in her tea. Then, she left it all seeping as she spoke. "I got yoinked to a meetin', " she said quietly. "Over in Haven, a settlement in the north of the island. I met with Kura an' a woman called Elisabeth Angelus. You knew her, I think, at the ball?" Vega smiled softly. "So, lets start there. Elisabeth's been havin' visions of me an' Arlo goin' into the Heart of Scalv. She tells me that Balthazar reckons the heart of Scalv is on Faldrass, but I reckon it's different."

She smiled and spoke. "So, this is goin' to take a while. I hope you've got yer pen an' paper or a good memory. So, let me start with what happened." And she did just that. She told him, more or less exactly as she had told Kura and Elisabeth, about how she and Arlo had descended into the Heart of Scalvoris, and how she was Death Forged . When she was finished, she looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "Any questions?"

When he'd asked, and she'd answered, then, she continued. "I reckon that the Flame Born of Faldrass is the same as the Wardens of Lovalus. I am one of them. An' we go to the Heart of Lovalus. It's the place where the Induk of the Lake is. It's our ... I dunno, den, I suppose. I reckon that the Heart that Balthazar went to was the Heart of Faldrass. But that isn't where Arlo an' I went. We went to the ScalvHeart, where the ScalvFlame burns. It's the island. All of it. I don't know for sure, but I've been to the Scaltoth Jungle, an' I've been to Sweetwine Woods, an' to the Mountains. Ishallr, too. I reckon each Induk has a heart. They're bound to. But whatever this is, the ScalvFlame?" Vega shrugged.

"It's all of them. It's balance. It were damaged, but it's alive again now. Now that Wilma the Wonder-Weed is dead. That's where you need to look for your answers, I reckon." She shrugged. "I want to help you, an' I will. You can talk to Chuckles, if you want - take him with you if you go there. But, I can't. I'm pregnant, an' I'm not riskin' my baby." She smiled at him. "I can't even tell you I feel bad. I fight, Doran. Every fight I can. But this time, I've got a bigger fight goin' on. I have to grow a person inside me, an' I thought I couldn't do that. So I have faith, an' hope, an' trust - in people like you."

Gesturing around, she said. "An' I'm goin' to be here, an' be as useful an' hopeful, an' positive as I can be. I really appreciate you offerin' to help, but you know, you're helpin' me. An' every person here. So, is there anythin' I can do to help in return?"
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I thought I'd just link to the previous post where she told the story - I don't want to self-plagiarise, or re-write that missive!


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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: An Unexpected Visitor

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The two would certainly notice a lot of people coming and going, among the settlers as they watched the new arrival greeted by Vega, who was becoming a prominent member of the Hopetoun community in her time there. So it wasn't too unusual for her to be watched over by concerned citizens, even though they knew she could well take care of herself. One dusk-skinned person was hanging close by as she met with Doran. He was behind Doran, some distance, watching and looking on as they had their conversation.

Clouds began forming in the skies, descending into an early morning fog as the heat rose from the earth of Faldrass. Xiur was hopeful, but he was also concerned about the people under his charge. There was a storm coming, and the stars wouldn't always be there to shine through the tempest that would follow.

Vega would instantly recognize Xiur, being Exalted by him. He had a task for her, which she was uniquely suited, but also wished to include his newly marked, Doran, in the preparations for what would soon happen.

He arrived next to Doran, easily sliding into their conversation as if he were an old friend. He clapped Doran on the back as he did so, smiling to the Mortalborn, and then to Faldrun's daughter. "So, we're all here then?" Xiur looked down at Wren, and knelt to the ground, reaching a hand out to shake the young boy's. Wren took his hand, by way of politeness and also wanting to greet the new person as he sensed Vega was already acquianted with him. He followed Vega's cues anyway, and saw that she didn't raise her hackles at this new person.

"Well met, Wren. You've been a very good lad." Xiur's face became sad, as he considered the reasons for the boy's presence here, "Don't worry, all will be well soon, I suspect. But, I sense something else on the horizon. That's what's brought me here today..."

He relinquished the boy's hand after giving it a good shake, and turned to include Doran and Vega in his address, "I have need of my faithful, and there is a ship-load of people inbound, many of them at the end of their rope, from Rharne. A mix of ex-slaves who are still mistreated in Rharne, in the wake of their being freed."

Xiur's brow furrowed at that, "Their coming here is a blessing, and yet one that will not come without consequence. As I said, something will happen in a few days, that will cause a great deal of fog to obscure the shores of Faldrass. The people here will need a beacon."

"I leave it to you two, to make such a beacon, one that can shine through the Dusk and Clouds and fog that are bound to result from the sudden chill." Xiur nodded to them both, "I leave it to you, how you do this. Should you accomplish that much, you will be rewarded in more than just my favor. You will have given hope to people who most sorely need it."

Thus having said this, he saluted Wren, and then walked away. "Look for me in about thirty trials." He said by way of parting, and then slipped out into the morning fog, gone from their sight.
 ! Message from: Pig Boy
This is a one-off, you're free to discuss and such from here on. I will make a mod-tracker for you soon, but in the meantime, I want you to discuss and figure out the parameters of what you plan to do about Xiur's task. I will model my tracker after what you decide.
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Re: An Unexpected Visitor

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“Congratulations“, Doran replied with a smile when Vega told him that she was expecting. He was truly happy for her, but at the same time, he couldn’t help but wonder if she knew that her child would likely only live a human lifespan, that it would die long before she did – and if it mattered to her. The Warden’s desire to make his daughter’s life as long as his own played a big part in the current conflict, but Vega was as different from Qylios’ son as someone could possibly be. At least, he had that impression.

“Your father?” he asked in a polite tone of voice and nodded towards the older biqaj gentleman that she had asked the boy – apparently not her own son, but a friend’s – to help. He knew that the red-haired woman was Faldrun’s daughter – she had been rather open about it - but a father was more than just the person who had sired you. A father was someone who raised you and loved you, and not the man who had raped your mother.

“I would appreciate that”, he replied when she offered to make tea for them and turned to face her again. “And no, I don’t have a place to stay yet. I’m not used to roughing it up”, he admitted in a calm tone of voice – there was nothing embarrassing about that in his opinion; it was what it was, and it had the potential of changing in the near future. “But I don’t mind. Thank you”, he added when she offered to let him stay with them. “I’d like that. And I know a little about Hopetoun, although I’m more familiar with Mister Baer himself. He’s a former student of mine”, he explained.

Having said that, he walked to the camp with Vega, looking at his surroundings with interest. Some of his aristocratic neighbours in Viden would likely show signs of discomfort – Faldrass was quite different from the Obsidian Prism - but he did not. Instead, he was curious about new places and looking forward to stepping out of his comfort zone, and learning. His comment about not minding roughing it up had not been empty words. He enjoyed the luxury that he lived in in Viden, but it was not everything.

Once they had reached the firepit, he took a seat, provided that there was something for him to sit on. His posture was comparatively relaxed, and he looked at the box with sand with interest. “Orange sand from Faldrass?” he asked when she explained that the water was kept warm with the sand – he had studied the different sands before and was familiar with their properties. “Mint tea, please”, he continued when she asked him which tea he wanted. When she explained that they used the sachets for compost, he nodded, and when his tea was finished, he walked over to the compost box and dropped his sachet into it.

“You are creating a wonderful place here”, he remarked when he sat down again and put some honey into his tea. Those were again, more than just pleasantries. From what he had seen so far, Hopetoun was full of potential. He liked all the little details that they had considered – such as using things as compost rather than just throwing them away – and how welcoming the settlement was. From the way the settlers had watched Vega and him as they walked to the camp it was obvious that they looked out for each other.

Of course, a few bits were hardly enough to get a complete picture, but it was an encouraging first impression.

“I met Miss Angelus at the ball, yes, and I’m acquainted with Mister Black as well”, he added. He did not have a good impression of Balthazar Black, especially not after he had been contacted prior to his trial – the man seemed to lack common sense and have gone half-insane due to all his sparks – but he was, of course, hopeful. Balthazar Black was not unintelligent; as long he lived, there was a chance that he would change.

He did not share his views with Vega though. It had little to do with the matter at hand, and it would not be entirely right. He just remarked, “I’m not sure about Mister Black’s theory regarding the location of the heart of Scalv. I found a source that mentioned the heart in relation to the Scalvoris Mountains, for example. There seems to be more than one heart. I don’t know if my memory is quite good enough to memorize everything, so I’ll rely on this here”, he continued with a very light smile and produced a notebook and a pen. A moment later, he fell silent, listened to her attentively and started to write.

When she mentioned the Prince of Eternal Mercies, he briefly looked up and furrowed his brow though. “Mrs. Augustin mentioned him as well, but I didn’t think he had anything to do with it at the time. Apparently, he played a part, after all”, he murmured. In hindsight, he regretted ever associating with such a man and creating such a powerful item for him. He had not known what Noth had been capable of back then though – although he should have been more careful when it came to sharing his creations.

He was so nowadays.

He did not dwell on his past mistake though – the past could not be changed, at least not usually – but continued to listen. He occasionally turned the page or furrowed his brow slightly, but he did not raise his voice again until she was finished. His entire attention was focused on her. When she asked him if he had any questions, he nodded. He had more than just a few of them, to be honest. It took him a few moments to sort through all of them. Finally, he wanted to know, “Would you be able to mark where exactly you descended into the Heart of Scalv on a map? And what exactly does it mean to be DeathForged, apart from the obvious?” he continued, aware that it might be a somewhat painful topic – dying and coming back always affected you in some way.

“And that crystal … you said that they told you that it is older than the Immortals and that Chuckles protected it for thousands of arcs which means that it predates the death of the Originals – and likely even their creation. Fei, Xiur’s mother, created a city on this island once, a city that Chrien destroyed in her anger over her death”, he explained. “There was another race here, before the humans. Do you think they could have created the crystal – or that whoever created them could have been responsible for it?” he wondered. He was aware that she probably didn’t know the answer, but he couldn’t not say it.

It was likely that most of the conflict could likely be resolved without that particular information, but in order to truly understand something, you had to learn where it came from. You had to learn its history – which would, hopefully, subsequently allow you to change the future for the better.

“I don’t know where the Originals come from, at least not exactly, but their origin seems to be connected to Emea in in some way”, he remarked, recalling a meeting with Professor Fridson a couple of trials earlier. “And the things that they or those that walked the world before them left behind play a big part in what is happening now”, he told her. Vega had shared so much with him. It seemed only right to share some of the things that he had found out and some of the theories that he had formulated with her. A moment later, when she had answered his questions and told him that that was where he needed to look for his answers, he nodded. “I would appreciate it if I could take Chuckles with me, provided that I go there”, he remarked and inclined his head.

“Your fight is just as important”, he told her. He really thought so. There was a new life growing inside of her. Children were a sign of hope, especially in times like these. “But you don’t need to do anything apart from what you’ve already done for me. I’m glad that I can stay with you in Hopetoun.” He wanted to say more when a man appeared next to him and clapped him on the shoulder. He was not alarmed, even though he had not expected anybody to approach them, but simply turned his head, looked up and smiled before he inclined his head in a sign of deep respect – for Xiur was one of those who truly deserved it. He had vowed to serve him for as long as he lived.

When the Immortal told them why he was visiting, he gestured for him to take a seat – it wouldn’t be right for their visitor to have to be standing while he talked to them - before he listened. Upon hearing that there was a ship full of former slaves bound for Faldrass, he raised an eyebrow. He could not help but wonder why they had decided to go to Faldrass, of all places, but that question could wait a while. What was most important right now was to help them and make sure that they reached the island safely.

“I will do what I can do give those people hope and help create a beacon to guide them Faldrass safely”, he promised him. “I will look for you in thirty trials.” He was about to say more and ask the Immortal if he wanted to drink tea with them, but he had already walked away and disappeared into the morning fog. He watched him for a while before he turned to face Vega again. “I had not expected to see him again so soon. He came to me three trials ago in order to tell me more about what is happening.”

“I think I have an idea”,
he continued, finished his tea and rose to his feet. “I know how to make things glow in the dark. We need yellow sand, a lot of it. And we could use my fireflowers to send signals. The fireflowers are alchemical stars, in different colors”, he explained as she was unlikely to be familiar with his invention. “They will need a literal beacon of hope as well though, somewhere to stay and food, among other things, possibly medical treatment. We don’t know if they’ll bring anything with them”, he remarked before he asked her, “What do you think?”

“Where would the best place to construct such a beacon be?”
he asked and raised an eyebrow. According to Xiur, they only had a few trials, so it would be best to get started.
word count: 1838

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Re: An Unexpected Visitor

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26th Trial of Ashan during Arc 721

She glanced at Doran as he congratulated her, and Vega smiled. "Don't you worry. Arlo an' I have been doin' this as long as we've been travellin' together. An', Arlo has this thing called his 'safe camp' what's a gift from Cassion. You can use it, I'm sure, an' that means you'll have your own space an' sleep in a bed." She chuckled when he said that he knew Darius, and Vega nodded. "I met him in Rharne, where I offered to teach him some swordplay. He told me he'd been taught by Grandmaster Doran an' it made me smile. " Vega was, always, honest and so she added. "An' take the mickey a bit. But, mostly, it was us' me teasin' Darius. Which is, I have to say, remarkably easy."

She made them their tea, carefully and she nodded as Doran said he knew about the sands. "Yeah. They're a real boon for those of us who choose to live outdoors. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer, you know? Arlo has a cool box an' all sorts." They sat, then, together - once she'd made sure he had his tea and was comfortable - and she started to talk. When she'd finished, he asked her to mark on a map, and Vega nodded. "Yep, no issue." They had charts and maps a-plenty, and she'd be happy to do so. As for Chuckles, she nodded. "I'm sure he'd be well happy to come with you. I spend far too much time around water for his likin'," His ideas about the city that was here before, though, that caught her interest. "Yeah, that makes sense. Like ... it felt like a place what was important, you know? I've been to the Heart of Lovalus, an' that felt different. Lovalus was about Lovalus an' Rharne. In that order. This was about Scalv - all of it. I can't explain it, really."

As for being DeathForged? Vega chewed her lip a moment or two and then spoke. "It means that, when the fire-monster-demon-thing what was in that rose tried to take me over, an' I heard those voices? Those were all people who'd died in fire." She looked at him, unwaveringly. Yet, though her gaze was firm and her voice strong, Vega's eyes swirled in an almost-kaleidoscope of colours. "It kept them, each one, an' it fed on them. Turned them, twisted them, broke them. It consumed them, but the reality was that, one way or another, they all went willingly." Her smile was without mirth as she spoke the next part. "It needed me to give in to it, an' that's why it whispered all my insecurities, all my fears. It was tryin' to break me - they were. Because they had been broken, an' they needed me to join them."

Sipping her tea, Vega continued. "Later that season, when the docks here collapsed, I were there. The men who took us, me an' Kura, an' other women. They took us to sacrifice us to that power. They didn't know that Arlo an' I had killed it. They were sacrificin' us to Wilma the Wonder Weed." She chuckled, but again there was no humour. "They dragged me through the earth an' shattered my body. Then, they tied me to an altar an' burned me alive. In the very last moment, I was cold. So very cold." Shaking her head a little, she seemed to almost come back to the here and now. "But I was forged in death, Doran. By killin' that thing, by not only fightin' but by gettin' all the voices to fight too - it shaped me. So, when the twins came for me, an' my judgement started after I died that night in the docks, the judgement was interrupted. I didn't get sent back by the twins, I got pulled back." Shifting eyes regarded him, colours swirling and colliding. "I don't know what it means. If you go down there, maybe you can let me know? I think it means.... I think it means that if I do meet Faldrass, he'll already know me. I think they all will. They were all there, in that room with the crystal. I'm sure of it."

He said, then, that he felt that what she was doing was just as important, and that he was glad to be able to stay here. Vega was about to tell him that he was kind - very kind - to say so, when Xiur literally appeared. She smiled in pleasure at the sight of him, her own bow also deep and deeply respectful. She didn't speak as Xiur did, but she listened. Wren was wide-eyed, and Vega held on to his hand. When Xiur told them what he wanted from them, she nodded. "We'll do our best, Xiur, I promise you. An' thanks." As always, he was here one minute and gone the next, and she turned to Doran.

"Three trials ago? Wow. You're a popular lad." She smiled. Then, her brain started ticking over and she began to think, to plan. "Right. Lets look at this, then. What do we need to do?" She frowned slightly. "Ok. Yes, decide a place, work out how we're goin' to make a beacon - the tower structure." She glanced around, thoughtfully. "What if it were a tree? We have trees here, charwood and phoenix an' they're resistant to fire. An' we have a yellow-dragon tree that's... well, that's a log of yellow-dragon wood." She motioned to the log that was roaring in the fire. "It's been there eight trials, I think. Maybe more." She smiled "It doesn't burn out. An' there's a bloke here, Sir Chip I call him, he's a tunawa an' he has a friend who can grow things, like super fast."

Vega nodded, when Doran spoke of sand. "We've got yellow sand. Luckily, I sent my cousins on a supply run a few trials ago, an' one of the things I told them to get was sand. We've got all the sands, except the really rare ones." He spoke then about making a literal beacon of hope and she beamed at him. "Alrigh' now, I don't wanna get involved in any 'I've got more magic freckles than you' discussions, but I have," she said and she grinned at him, teasingly. "An' some of the more recent abilities Xiur has granted me, they allow me to provide hope, an' I can do light - there's a Xiur-granted ability what allows me to glow so bright, you can't look at me. Or I can make one thing glow."

Then, she held out her hand and above it formed an orbThe Favored is able to summon a free floating orb of light to brighten their surroundings. The color and intensity of the light can be controlled, though it doesn't get any brighter than daylight. The orb has no physical form and can't be touched. which glowed. Vega motioned to the two glowing bands around her arm. "Qylios' mark might help too. Sir Chip is an alchemist, too. Can we use any of these abilities?" She thought about it and nodded. "We need to let Darius know about the ship what's comin', an' we need to prepare. Food an' huntin' an' warm blankets. Places for people to sleep." She looked at Doran and nodded. "So, find a place, build the beacon, make it a super magic hopefull beacon, prepare hopetoun for the people, stock up on supplies, an' also, make sure that all the ships that we have - which is three - have their search beacons on, an' have rowboats ready to bring people ashore?"

In a few trials? That was quite the list for a few trials work. Vega's response, though, was clear. "Easy. I'm in. I'll write a quick letter to Darius, an' then we can go check out the best place to do this. Wren, go with my Papa, an' deliver..." she scribbled for a few moments. "This. Then, find Sir Chip an' ask him to meet us at Hope Point?" It was what she'd called it, so it would have to do.

Once she'd checked the letter, she nodded to Doran. "Righteo. Stop sittin' around drinkin' tea, then, lets get busy." As she watched Wren walk off with her father, Vega gestured for Doran to walk with her.

"I'd say that I'm sorry about bein' bossy," she said with a good natured grin. "But I'm not. So, feel free to be jus' as bossy back. I can take it."
word count: 1482
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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: An Unexpected Visitor

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“I understand“, Doran replied when Vega told him that she had been to the Heart of Lovalus and that it had felt different. There were a couple of similarities between Lovalus and Scalvoris. There were protectors, some sort of faction, in both places, there were Induks and hearts and spirits, but they were not the same – which made him wonder about Treid’s heart once more. There was almost certainly some sort of connection to the current events in Scalvoris – Audrae and the Naerikk had played a part back then, and Audrae played a part now – but he had not figured out how strong that connection was yet.

When Vega answered his question as to what exactly it meant to be DeathForged – he had not been entirely sure if she’d be willing to talk about her own death – he met her gaze and listened quietly and attentively. She spoke about her own death and the events that surrounded it readily, but he took note of how her smile was without mirth, and how she almost seemed to go back to the moment when she had been burned alive at one point. He had not known that she had actually faced judgement and that something had pulled her back.

There were very few things that had the potential of taking the son of Ziell by surprise anymore after almost four centuries in Idalos, but Vega Creede’s story definitely had that kind of effect on him. When Faldrun’s daughter finished speaking, he met her gaze once more and told her, in a deep tone of voice, “Thank you for telling me, Vega. I will let you know what it means if I go down there”, he assured her before he took a sip from his tea that he had mostly ignored while she had been telling her story as the latter had held his entire attention.

~~~

When Vega remarked that he was a popular lad, Doran chuckled and shrugged his shoulder slightly before he too focused on their work. Just like Vega he looked around thoughtfully. He was not familiar with Hopetoun and the landmarks there, having never visited the island before, but he knew that a beacon should be easily visible from the sea, and that it being in a somewhat elevated position might help. When Vega suggested using wood for the tower structure, he raised an eyebrow fractionally before he inclined his head.

Wood in general would be a bad idea since fire would very likely be involved, but if the wood in question was resistant to fire, that would not constitute a problem, and what more, making a tower out of wood would likely be easier and faster than if they had to procure stone or bricks first – unless she had suggested using an actual tree and putting a flame on top?

He thought about what she had said first and came to the conclusion that Vega Creede had indeed suggested using an actual tree. That was unusual enough that some of his colleagues would likely have questioned her, but Doran only considered what she had said for a moment before he inclined his head and decided, “That would work. It’s a clever idea, and what more, it would probably be faster than building an actual tower. We could use charwood or phoenix wood for the beacon itself and a dragonwood log for the flame on top, although a tree that is at least partly hollow would be best”, he mused and stroke his bearded chin thoughtfully before he wanted to know,

“Can Sir Chip’s friend grow trees to their full size within a couple of trials? And forgive me my curiosity, but you called him Sir Chip. Does he happen to be a knight?” he wanted to know, furrowing his brow very lightly. From what he knew, knighthood was not restricted to a particular race, but Tunawa knights were a rare occurrence, and thus he could not help but be interested in meeting him. He did not think that he had ever encountered a Tunawa knight – or a Tunawa noble for that matter – before.

“Perfect”, he decided when Vega told him that she had asked her cousins to get sand. “We need glass to focus the light of the flame and redirect it, should such turn out to be necessary. Glass that is made of yellow sand would of course be ideal, but I can use yellow sand to make normal glass or other materials glow and add something to strengthen the alchemical effect on top of it. I invented a type of alchemical paint a while ago. The flame would enhance the effect and recharge whatever material we decide to imbue so that the glow will hopefully never stop”, he continued in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. Xiur’s task was challenging, in no small part due to how little time they had in order to carry it out, but he already had a wide variety of different ideas. He was not a physicist, but as a chemist, he had learned how different substances interacted with each other and with energy, such as heat and light.

As far as he was concerned, it could definitely be done.

When Vega told him that she didn’t want to get involved in any ‘I’ve got more magic freckles than you’ discussions, he briefly raised an eyebrow fractionally and subsequently returned the grin. He did not mind being teased; in fact, he actually liked it. He liked that there were moments such as these nowadays, even, or especially when the situation was somewhat dire. It stood in stark contrast to the way things had been like before.

“We will definitely be able to use that. Your abilities could be used to support my alchemical creations or even replace them, should such be necessary. I can make things glow with a bright light as well, but I need to hold them lest the effect wears off”, he explained. It was the newest ability granted to him through his connection to Xiur. “Informing Mister Baer is a good idea, and a second alchemist will help. I can teach Sir Chip how to make my paint, among other things, and I can help provide medical treatment, should anybody need it”, he offered. He focused on his research most of the time nowadays, but he was still a doctor of considerable skill. It would be good to use his knowledge for such a purpose, although he did of course hope that it would not be necessary and that the former slaves were fine.

“I think”, he replied in an extremely dry tone of voice when she told him that she was not sorry about being bossy. “A bit of bossiness is just what might be needed right now. And I’ve already finished my tea”, he continued. He had in fact already done so when he had started to explain his idea to her, and so, he followed her without further ado.

“Do you think that Hope Point will be suitable for our beacon?” he asked her as they walked, taking a look at his new surroundings with interest before he turned to face here once more and asked, “Do you know how to work with wood, or is there someone on Faldrass who can help us? Would you be able to do it?” All those types of wood that were resistant to fire would not be of any use if they didn’t have anybody that was capable of working with them after all, and a couple of trials were hardly enough time to learn how to do it yourself. Vega had built fences though, so, maybe making a beacon that would guide the former slaves to Faldrass safely would be within the scope of her abilities.
word count: 1312

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Re: An Unexpected Visitor

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26th Trial of Ashan during Arc 721

As they sat together, Vega turned and rummaged in her bag. Then, she brought out what seemed to be a red stone heart. "This is Chuckles," she said, with a smile. "His heart, anyhow. If you put it in fire, he'll appear. But best not to do that while yer in a wooded area," Vega said seriously. "He's a bein' of pure fire." She smiled. "Somewhere with stone floors an' walls is better. But he's well helpful an' he's wantin' to look after Scalvoris. So, he'll help you. I'm not leavin' Faldrass until at least Vhalar," she smiled. "I won't travel while I'm in the family way, so I'm stoppin' here." Handing over the stone heart, she smiled. "An' he's a curious an' funny an' helpful guy who deserves not to be held in a dormant state for all that time. So, when you're off the island an' somewhere safe, you jus' drop him in a flame - any size - an' he'll wake righ' up."

The idea of Chuckles being able to be more free, to share his knowledge, too, that was pleasing to Vega. He was a good sort and he would be pleased to be helpful, Vega knew. It was his way. And, as an alchemist, Doran might be able to protect himself better against Chuckles' unique form.
~~~
They talked then about the Beacon itself, and Doran seemed pleased with the idea of it being an actual tree. "I think so," she said. Of Sir Chip's friend being able to grow things. And was he a real knight? Vega thought about it. "I think so, yeah. I mean, he's brave an' true, an' he is a Warden of the First Tree an' he's done loads of things. " She listened to his suggestions and Vega beamed. "Ok, so we're gettin' some kind of a plan, then. I'll ask my diri to go an' find Sir Chip, an' for him to meet us at Hope Point."

They seemed to be in agreement regarding what they were doing - or what they were looking at doing, and so Vega stood and moved with him. "Workin' together, we'll get it done, much faster." Vega agreed. The people here were good people and she felt very strongly that she was correct in her assessment when she said. "I think we'll have help from the community, you know. An' my cousins will help us, that's for sure." Walking with him, she nodded. "I can work wood. Pretty well, if I do say so myself. I made the box that has all the drawers for tea, an' the benches an' things." All of which were excellently made and of high quality. "I can also use abilities what give hope, an' if you can alchemy-ificate them into it, that'd be great." Was that the word? She thought probably not - but he'd know what she meant.

Hope Point, as Vega had dubbed it, was the highest point outside the pallisade for quite some distance. It was an open area where she sat and looked out to see - overlooking the small cove on which boats came ashore. "My only worry," she said softly, as they walked up there. "Is lightnin' in a storm. It hits the highest spot, you know? It's drawn there." She frowned. "We have things on ships what help with that, but I'm not sure."

Then, she shrugged slightly and gestured around. "Hope Point," she said. "It's beautiful, innit?"

word count: 605
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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: An Unexpected Visitor

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When Vega handed what seemed to be a red stone heart to him and told him that this was Chuckles, Doran momentarily couldn’t help but wonder how such an ancient and potentially powerful being had come by such an unusual name before he returned the smile and accepted the stone, looking it over with curiosity as he did so and gently tracing its surface with the tip of a finger. The daughter of Faldrun would be able to notice that he handled Chuckles with care, and he didn’t just dump him into his domain bag. He removed a small box from it and put him into it so that he would be more protected.

“I’ll take care of Chuckles and wake him up as soon as an opportunity presents itself”, he told her in a sincere tone of voice before he asked, “Do you want me to return him to you once this here is over? If you are alright with it, I’ll visit you again and tell you how it went and what I learned”, he offered. It was the least that he could do in exchange for her help. The fact that Chuckles was a being that was made of pure fire didn’t concern him particularly either; the gambeson that he had made the arc before as well as one of his mutations afforded him some resistance to the element in question.

Of course, that didn’t mean that he would throw caution to the wind.

There was another thing couldn’t help but wonder about, besides the origin of Chuckles’ name, at least briefly: Where on Idalos had Mister Baer heard of “Grandmaster Doran”?

He had never been given such a title – unless the people in question had just not informed him of it for some reason - and neither had he adopted it of his own volition. The only title that he used these trials was “professor”, but it was only a minor issue, a small curiosity and a source of amusement rather than a cause of concern, quite unlike the conflict that he was researching.

~~~

When Vega mentioned that Sir Chip, the mysterious Tunawa knight, was a Warden of the First Tree, the son of Ziell was momentarily tempted to ask her what hat meant and if the Wardens of the First Tree were anything like the Wardens of the Lake. He decided to curb his curiosity and save that question for later though; that was something that he would ask Sir Chip directly. He’d likely be able to tell him more than Vega.

“I agree”, he remarked when the conversation turned to the matter of getting things done faster if they worked together, only in order to raise an eyebrow slightly later on when she mentioned that she had made all those things. “You are talented”, he told her. He was not trying to get on her good side, or schmoozing her, or whatever reasons certain people had to compliment someone’s skills – he saw no reason to engage in such a kind of behaviour. His words had been an observation, nothing more and nothing less.

“As for alchemificating your abilities into it”, he continued, momentarily wondering why nobody had ever come up with a simple verb to describe the act of enhancing an item with alchemy and if Vega Creede had just done so, without meaning to. “I can do that. I’ll need to draw your blood for that”, he told her in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. He did not use the words “but” or “though”, he did not make some sort of strange pause, and he did not beat about the bush either. Blood Magic was not odd, it was not disgusting, it was just science, and thus there was no reason to be hesitant, even if other people might be.

“And you’ll have to teach me more about your abilities. In order to turn our beacon into a literal beacon of hope, I need to understand the abilities in question as best as I can”, he pointed out before he fell silent and focused on his surroundings for a while, taking in the scenery with interest once more. It was different from Viden. Even the air smelled different here, he considered. A part of him needed to be surrounded by snow and ice, but there was something about this island that spoke to him, nevertheless.

When Vega admitted that she was worried about lightning, he turned to look at her again though and furrowed his brow very lightly as he thought about what could be done to prevent that before he simply decided, “Then we’ll need to redirect the lightning – or create something that is even higher than the beacon. Perhaps, we could simply use whatever ships use though. Mister Baer is a sailor, isn’t he? Do you know if he or any of his sailors are currently on the island?” he wanted to know. Vega was concerned, but in his opinion, protecting the beacon against lighting was a comparatively minor challenge.

“Their advice might be helpful”, he decided.

A moment later, he looked away from her and across the cove, and the ocean. “It is beautiful”, he agreed, his voice perhaps a hint softer. There had been a time when he had not cared about the world around him as much; nowadays, he recognized the beauty of Idalos though, and that it was a source of endless wonder and unlimited possibilities.

“It was aptly named”, he decided.
word count: 929

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