• Graded • [The Forging] Songs

The home to the Induk Sweetwine and populated by fairies, this enchanted forest has many secrets

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Oram Mednix
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

It’ not the way you look/It’s not the way that you smile

Oram had not liked the idea of letting Kalortah anywhere near their endeavor; yet, against his better judgment, he had relented and allowed the avriel to participate. And the results were bad, and were made all the more galling by the knowledge that those could have and and should have been avoided by simply making a different choice.

Oram had not liked the idea of eating the cakes and transforming into fairies; yet, against his better judgment, he had relented and eaten the fairy cake along with everybody else. And the results were bad, and were made all the more galling by the knowledge that those results could have and and should have been avoided by simply making a different choice.

The hunter had no sooner taken a bite of the cake when a strange feeling came upon him, a tingling all over his body, along with a dizziness that left him feeling almost giddy. A dazzling, colorful mist, not unlike the one that surrounded them, seemed to fill his vision for a few trills while these feelings were at their most intense. He felt disoriented and falling, as if his feet had left the ground, or rather as if the ground had left his feet.

When his vision cleared and he regained his bearings, he saw that everything around him had grown larger: this was most obvious when he looked at the pile of sticks and rocks he and the rest of the party had gathered for firewood. The small woodpile now loomed the size of a hut before him; he could have sheltered beneath it, had it been hollow, using the tinder bundle as a bed.

He held up his hands before his eyes and looked at them. They seemed unchanged apart from the fact that they shone and sparkled with a silvery light. In fact, every part of him did now. He soon realized what the light covering his body reminded him of: the fur of a crescent hare in the moonlight. Curious, he doffed his ushanka and looked at it. The hat was now a dull tan color, the same as most of his clothes had been before he had tasted the cake. But everything he wore -and carried, including his spear- *except* the hat now shimmered like Zilis on a cloudless night.

Examining his spear told him one crucial thing: the clothing and objects he had had on his person when he ate the cake had changed size with him. Patting himself quickly, he verified that his various tools and implements were still with him; this included the token of Vhalar he had in his pocket. But that raised the question: did he have wings? He had no sooner asked himself that question when he felt something, attached to his back, move and flex behind him, and he found himself hovering in the air. Looking as best he could, he could make out that the tails of his cloak had lifted, split apart, and were flapping like wings behind him.

Oram looked around for his companions, and found them similarly, if not identically, transformed. When he tried to communicate with the people at the Glass Temple to inform them of what had happened, he found that he could not reach Amoach. Wonderful, he thought, scowling. They were all much smaller now, and he was cut off from communicating with Scalvoris. He wondered what Cassion thought of his fairy adventure.

The traveler did not have long to contemplate this before a gust of wind caught the flaps of his cloak, and he found himself carried along through the air. He waited for it to stop, but it did not . The wind blew and blew, and it picked up intensity with alarming speed. Before Oram had time to swear properly, he found himself being carried by a gale.

Not wanting to be swept away, he willed his cloak to pull in closer to his body, finding to his surprised relief that it did, though the wind continued to snatch at it. He curled up to make himself more dense so that he could sink to the ground. When he landed, with a rough tumble that left him shaken, he first pressed himself flat against the ground, lying on his back to keep his “wings” pinned under him. Even here, this close to the ground, the wind howled and snatched at him like an eager predator. He hardly dared move.

Squinting against the buffeting gale, he looked about for his companions, hoping to get their attention. He would have to do so visually, as there was no way he could make his voice heard over the roaring wind. Looking up into the sky he saw that the bad results were still coming. Gulls. Gulls flew overhead in numbers, as they would at the beach, their screeching somehow carrying over the wind. One of them was trying to grab Mildred who was fighting for all she was worth.

And one of them was coming for him, tucking in its wings and plummeting towards his prone, silvery form with seemingly no regard for its own safety. At the last possible moment, Oram rolled frantically to one side as the gull swooped, its beak missing by a hair’s breadth. It struck the ground and tumbled, and Oram was at least gratified to see that it was having its own difficulty with the cyclone it found itself in, as it struggled to recover and get aloft once more, only to be swept away backwards as it squealed in frustration.

Oram had little time to draw satisfaction from this, as other gulls soared overhead, looking down at him, just waiting for the right time to tuck in their wings and dive at him. Others, he was sure, were in pursuit of his companions, but he still had not caught sight of them again since evading his own attack.

Oram saw an outcropping of boulders nearby, and crawled towards it, spear cradled in his elbows, clawing into the soil with his tiny fingers to keep the cyclone from lifting him back into the air. He would make towards the rocks’ leeward side and try to shelter there. As he approached, he realized that the “outcropping” was none other than the pile of rocks from which he had earlier planned to make his fire pit. Once he reached it, he would crouch behind it as best he could, sheltering from the wind while watching out overhead for diving gulls.

This could not last, he realized. Now tiny and largely powerless, he found himself cut off from help and from his companions, and beset by seagulls that were now larger than he was. That had to be Delroth’s doing, he surmised. He was, after all, the Immortal of birds. And what could fairy-sized Oram do against the hostility of an Immortal? Call for help from another Immortal. With one hand clutching his now-tiny spear, Oram reached with his other hand into his pocket to grasp the Vhalar token. Vhalar he thought madly, not even sure in the howling tumult if he was speaking aloud, I need your aid now. Vri's whithered willy, I need your aid now.
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Xander Andaris
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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They ate the cake, it had seemed to Xander to be the only real choice they could make because was doing nothing even really making a choice? Regardless the decision had been made and as quickly as it had been made was it that Xander found himself suddenly tiny. He was smaller although he felt that he looked mostly the same, his features preserved in this new miniature form.

His shrunken features did seem somewhat more effeminate, his jawline and cheakbones had softened and his stubble that had grown over the last few trials was gone. His eyes were the same piercing blue as ever but they didn't seem quite as prominent as if the new face that they sat in reduced their more enchanting effect.

Of course the main additions to his appearance were the pair of lacey golden wings that had somehow sprouted out of his back. The wings that he could only assume were what was keeping him from falling down to the ground below him. Xander could not say he was glad to be flying again, he had only just recovered from the earlier flight that had transported them to the woods.

The father didn't have much time to dwell on his change though as the weather that surrounded them was violent, winds buffeted him in his new form. Being in the air with this wind didn't seem wise, in fact he wasn't even sure he knew how to fly, could he move, he would try. Spying out the nearest solid point where he would be able to touch down he attempted to head there.

He needed to go somewhere he could stand especially as he saw the Seagulls, the great giant creatures now that once would have been little more than a nuisance were deadly foes and if he were to combat them he would rather do it somewhere he was familiar which would mean being on solid ground.

So with that in mind he would do his best to navigate his way with the new wings through the heavy winds to find a place to put down his feet. The shiledbearer chose not to draw his miniature sword yet, lest he wish to risk losing it in the flight and the winds.

He looked for his fellow companions, it would probably be wise to join up with them too if they had the same idea to head to solid ground.
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Zoro Astrian
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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It was all rather strange. Strange even for Scalvoris, Zoro had thought a few moments before. Now, though, things took a turn and they became even stranger. “Strange!” Zoro said, blowing bubbles and changing colour furiously as he spoke in his new fairy form. Zoro was not just a colour-changing-bubble-blowing fairy. He was a three inch tall gossamer winged colour changing bubble blowing fairy. He had on a strange pair of boots, which seemed to be made from a leaf. His wings also changed colours and he noticed that bubbles didn’t touch them. At his waist there was a small belt and he seemed to be wearing the top of an acorn for a hat.

He hadn’t expected that when he woke up this morning. And then the wind and then the seagulls came. He was buffeted by the wind and blown about in a swirling flurry of bubbles. He did what anyone would do in that situation – Zoro screamed and flailed about for a moment

But then, Zoro saw red. In fact, he was flashing red at the time. He knew crocodiles and he knew sharks; and, come to that, he knew seagulls. With crocodiles, Zoro knew that holding their jaws shut with all of your might was the best way to stop them biting. When it came to sharks, Uncle Zaphod had been clear with his instruction of the young Zoro. If you see a shark, Uncle Zaphod had said, you swim to it and punch it as hard as you can on their nose. Zoro had oftened wondered if sharks had noses, but he understood what Uncle Zaphod meant and he didn’t intend getting close enough to find out.

The same rule applied to seagulls, Zoro thought. When they tried to steal the food out of your hands, you lunge towards them and show them who is boss. Zoro acted in anger, haste, and indignation, feeling that this was all just a step too far. He drew his old and battered cutlass and was briefly delighted to see that it sparkled with fairy magic and flew in a violently colour-changing wrath, screaming bubbles which were filled with biqaj profanities. “You’re nothing but a Scalvuffy Skull Gull YAAAAAAA!” Zoro bubbled. He aimed at the seagull attacking Matilda, specifically aiming for it’s eyes.

Colour change and bubbles notwithstanding, Zoro Astrian would defend the lady.


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Bao Bao
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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As they had all agree to do, Bao ate the cake.

Suddenly, as he shrunk down to be a little fairy, he glanced at himself. His small paws had shrunk even smaller, his cute button nose became even more defined and his eyes looked bigger than they should. He was, as most believed him to be before, adorable. Beautiful wings decorated his back and for just a moment, Bao admired himself. For just a calm, brief second Bao could think about how small he was and admire his new form, almost wanting to stay as a fairy for the rest of his time on Scalvoris.

But then the moment ended.

Wind blew around them in a violent, angry flurry and birds seemed to attack them as if they had no regard for their life. Bao was afraid, immediately, but more than that. Bao was horrified. Animals diving down at the whim of an Immortal, or Bao could only assume. Delroth had been involved, the group had tried to get around it and then birds and wind attacked. It made too much sense, and yet the Cadouri was disturbed. His own creations, his own embodiment, being used as weapons - their lives were thrown away to attack the group. It was cruel and cold.

As the wind grew wild, Bao wrapped himself up as tight as he could, trying to close his wings in the hope it would stop him being pulled around as violently. When birds flew at him the Cadouri tried to dodge, flapping his wings in different directions to hopefully stray away. This situation was dangerous and Bao had no idea what to do to survive. Everything Saoire had taught him was about peace and love, spreading it through music and song. If Peace was all Bao knew, then he was not prepared for anger and violence - or whatever it was Delroth felt.

So Bao evaded, cautiously, and his thoughts went out to Ziell. He had prayed before and nothing had happened, but this was different - his life was in danger. "Please, Ziell. Give us all the peace I prayed for. Please protect me again!" he called out into the loud wind, hoping the Immortal he loved so dearly would answer his prayers. Ziell had been, in such a short time, the role model Bao had never known he needed. Everything Saoire believed in, Ziell believed in. Everything Bao wanted in the world, Zeill embodied. That was who Ziell was to Bao.

So all he could do was hope he was saved.

As he prayed, Bao did his best to find anything to grab onto. He was a climber, he always had been. A strong branch, something he could hide under from the birds. Anything. Without wings, the Red Panda had climbed many trees and sung many songs. Now, Bao would do so again. As he did, and he prayed, Bao sung quietly to himself. "When we go to Idalos, the world will know our name" he sang quietly, trying to keep himself calm as he gripped on tight to the branch as best he could. It was the song he sang when he arrived in Idalos, the song he sung when he first met Oram and became a part of Idalos for the first time ever.

If all went well, Bao could hide under the branch, keeping himself safe from harm.
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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It was probably fair to say that things were not going well in Sweetwine Woods.

What might form this opinion was a variety of empirical evidence. First, they were all transformed into fairies. Then there was the screaming gale force wind - an inconvenience to humanoids, but rather deadly in itself to said fairies. Of course, also, the marauding and bad-tempered seagulls added to this and, it was fair to say, things were not going well in Sweetwine Woods.

In the immediate moment, a number of things happened. Bao held on for dear life. Xander, too, tried to get to more solid ground. Oram found the very pile of stones which had been previously assigned to be a part of the campfire. Zoro, however, had different ideas. A number of the gulls were attacking Midred and Zoro drew his now-sparkly sword and attempted to attack. As he bubbled out his rather high-pitched war-cry, the whole world changed.

The wind stopped and the screeching howling noise stopped with it. They found themselves tangled up on the floor and the seagulls had already dispersed by the time that they sat up.

When they did though, they noticed a few things.

First, they were once more in front of the door and it was, once more, glowing and so on. Second, Xander, Zoro and Bao were back to themselves. Third, Oram was still a fairy and, fourth? Matilda lay in a small heap on the floor, her wings as broken as her small body. She had died at the beak and claws of a seagull.

Around them, all was quiet. The mist still formed the outer circle and, as they watched, Matilda's small body sunk into the earth itself. Zoro's sword glowed, briefly, as it did.

"Oram?" his Diri whispered. "Cassion said, umm... "Tell Oram for me would you? I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. It'll wear off but it's just too useful for one of them not to stay" is it, word for word. Lots has happened here." And then, Oram got to know exactly what had happened in the glass temple.

"I can communicate with all of them, if you want me to?" His diri said. "Or I can just talk to you. What would you rather?"

And as Oram's Diri communicated with him, telling him and showing him everything which had happened in the Glass Temple, they stood in front of the door. Overhead, birds sang and the gentle breeze blew.

Info & Rules

Well - the situation in the Glass Temple was well timed for you lot.
 ! Message from: Reminder
There are no required skill levels for this.
It is - undoubtedly - dangerous. It's a war.
What will get you hurt is NOT if you are low skilled. What will get you hurt is doing something foolish. There's plenty for everyone to do.
Equally, being highly skilled is not a guarantee of anything. This will need teamwork and smarts.

Current State

 ! Message from: Current State
Group
  • Arrived at destination
  • Crossed the ice
  • Discovered the door
  • Opened the door
  • Discovered that measurements and dimensions are squiffy. (I'm happy to assume you're informing Command of this, Oram, please just let Kura or Doran know OOC)
  • Discovered that the firefly like things teleport you.
  • Discovered that behind the door is a concert hall.
  • Lost contact with Kal
  • Met Mildred
  • Got offered to be turned into a fairy by Mildred.
  • Turned into fairies.
  • Got attacked by gulls
  • Got de-fairified (except Oram)
  • In front of the door.
  • Oram insulted Vri's willy.
Individuals
  • Xander You feel great!
  • Zoro You feel great! You continue to be a new type of Rainbow Biqaj. Only your eyes - the one part of you which DID change colour - now don't. You blow bubbles whenever you breathe out.
  • Oram You feel like a very healthy fairy!
  • Bao You feel great! You blow bubbles whenever you breathe out.
[/mod]

Objectives

None this round.

DiriCom

Full service has been resumed. Oram has connection to his Diri.
Next Post: Sunday 13th June
word count: 684
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~~Red in hoof and claw... ~~


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Kalortah
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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The decision of Delroth and the errand he set him to turned over in Kalortah’s mind. He had a sense that he would be the one asked to invite those four from without the Emerald Tree into Delroth’s newest domain. Delroth seemed to have a change of heart regarding the hard negotiation he’d put upon Kura and her doltish companion. Delroth wanted to be looked upon as magnanimous and generous in the face of their refusal. He did care for appearances, afterall. Yet it didn’t occur to Kalortah that he considered the option of turning his loyal avriel into the scapegoat he’d need to sell that magnanimity to the fools in the Temple. While Delroth, in Kalortah’s mind, didn’t require excuses for anything he did, the avriel didn’t doubt that he had a perfect one in mind.


So he flew out from the Emerald tree, feeling great, and with the support of his Immortal at his back. He used his ability, Clothed in Finery to make all his belongings more radiant and impressive than when he’d gone into the Tree. He wanted to be able to make a positive impression upon the dolts standing outside the Tree, and that would certainly clue them in on the fact that something was different about Kalortah, as opposed to when he entered. He had to project his own power, and that of his Immortal, and would do it anyway he could.

As a precaution, he also materialized Wings of Steel along his arms, covering them in metallic feathers that protected the portions of his arms that were not already covered by his cobalt half-plate armor.

He sang as he exited the Emerald Tree, and flew up into the branches, to look down upon the four gathered there. Kalortah stifled a snort of amusement, when he saw what had become of Oram. Turned into a bearded fairy. Although, the look certainly suited him.

Kalortah sang the same song of Delroth as he had when treating with Delroth. And once he was done reciting the lyrics, he looked down with false beneficence upon his Lord’s guests.

”Welcome, my friends, to Delroth’s Tree. I have a message from my Lord to relate, but first…” Kalortah heaved a sigh, ”I must apologize for the way things appeared just then, rushing into the Tree without warning. I assure you, I had an excellent reason. I alone among you knew of the dangers that lie in store within, and I alone had the ear of one Immortal who is not bound by whatever Oath now puts the fate of our Island on the balance, teetering between salvation and perdition.”

Kalortah waved toward the rest of the tree with a grandiose gesture, ”You see, there were untold threats within this tree. Threats you four were not prepared to deal with. In claiming the tree for my Lord Delroth, I have assured his aid in passage through to the Induk. This will be very easy for us now.” He pointed toward Mildred, with a mock frown.

”He will resurrect the little fairy who died…” Here Kalortah’s voice cracked in false sadness. ”And give you free and clear passage to where we all need to go.” He smiled at each of them, a hidden threat on his lips as he stared at them with his red eyes. He tried to instill in them, without being too overt, that they had little choice but to acquiesce with his invitation. ”The only condition I ask, is that you, all of you, enter with the little fairy's body, and when you arrive thank Delroth for his hospitality.”

If they agreed to his terms, he would enter after the rest, to ensure that they all entered the Tree as they wished.

for reference
Kalortah's Intimidation is expert, his acting skill is competent, and his deception is competent. His singing skill (vocal quality) is grandmaster.
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Kalortah is always under the effect of the Tarouz ability,
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Larza Impre
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Milian Le Moigne
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Xander Andaris
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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Things seemed to move at an exceedingly fast rate in Scalvoris, almost as fast as he had become a fairy was he returned back to his usual form. The Shieldbearer untangled himself from the others and pushed himself up to his feet. The seagulls were gone and the wind seemed to have died down or maybe it was just that he was no longer tiny. Either way he noted that Zoro and Bao had returned to their usual size but that Oram seemed to be remaining as one of the fairy like creatures. The nobleman noticed that the one who had intended to be their fairy guide lay dead and Xander found himself frustrated. Perhaps he should have attempted to attack the seagulls rather than search for better footing. He cursed his decision though as usual he did not have long to dwell on it as suddenly Kalortah was with them once more.

The Avriel flew from the tree screeching some intoxicating tune, singing like he was some sort of angel. Though it would take more than some music to make Xander forget his earlier actions, he may not have been on the top of his game so far but he was not a fool and he would not be taken for one. How did that saying go, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Well Xander did not intend to let himself be fooled again. If there was one thing he knew it was politics and ettiquette and when someone approached you in the manner that Kaltorah approached them now it was usually to wheel out some false promises.

Still the Shieldbearer listened and did not interupt, curious what it was that the Avriel thought he could offer or claim to get them to welcome him back. Xander studied the man the whole while taking in his voice and his expressions, looking for the hints that the man was being untruthful with them. It had once been a daily part of his life to attempt to decipher truth from lie, to decide when someone was offering true and honest advice and when someone was attempting to decieve him. Rynmere politics were filled with weasels out for their own gain and Xander was accustomed to spotting them.

Xander was sure that there was more to this than Kalortah was telling them. Why would Delroth care about Scalvoris surviving, why would he suddenly change from setting seagulls on them to sending out a herald to welcome them into the tree as if they were fast friends. No something was off, there was something that they weren't being told something that would likely cause them all to regret trusting Kaltorah again should they do so. The nobleman waited for the avriel to finish and fought back a scowl.

Xander wanted to give Kalortah a piece of his mind, to begin climbing the tree so he could cut the seemingly treacherous man from the sky. He'd gone in there to protect them from untold dangers? He the stranger who had arrived unaware of what was going on. Seemed unlikely to Xander, in fact it felt like a stone cold lie. If it wasn't a lie then the man was a glory seeking fool who thought it wise to take on extreme dangers alone when there were a number of useful and skilled allies available.

Xander glared at the winged man that was up above them in the tree. "Of course, why don't I kiss yours and your Immortal Masters boot while I'm at it, he must be so gracious to set a flock of seagulls on an unsuspecting fairy." Xander shook his head, somehow he felt more disappointment for this stranger than he had for anyone for a long time. The Shieldbearer stood tall and defiant before the tree and its new gaurdian, he would not be decieved so easily. He wanted to call him out further on his words, to more openly challenge him and ask what it was that he had been promised or what it was that this Delroth stood to gain but he would wait. The nobleman had no doubt that question would be answered sooner or later whether he asked it or not.

"If your words are true then you should stand among us, look into our eyes and let us see the truth in your words not hide away out of reach where any deception you may attempt to bandy is without consequence." Xander hoped to provoke a more honest response from the returned party member, to force them to slip up in the potential act they were playing. Afterall even the strongest armour had a weak spot, a chink in the chainmail and if there was one in Kalortah's words and speech he would find it. The nobleman studied the avriel's face as well as he could from this distance, noting any changes he saw or reactions that were present. He had already noted the way that the man had spoken before, parts of it had felt false but Xander would need to see and hear more to be completely certain and it seemed that provocation would be a good way to exploit any weakness, after all angry or upset people did not always act or think clearly, it was easy to slip up when not in control of your emotions.
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Oram Mednix
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

Press ‘F’ to pay respects to Mildred

As Oram crouched behind his rocks, things changed. The winds died down. The seagulls relented. Atop a mat of grass lay Mildred, motionless, wings mangled. Seeing his, the hunter’s eyes quickly flicked around in search of his companions, and found, to his astonishment and relief, that they were not only alright, but had even reverted to their normal sizes. Zoro’s body still changed colors constantly, and he still blew bubbles, as did Bao. They had all, seemingly, reverted to the state they had had just prior to eating the cakes.

All except himself. Oram was still tiny, every inch of him still glowing silvery except for the ushanka he wore that ought to be. A voice spoke in his mind. Amoach. The tidings the diri bore made him scowl. It would wear off? It was useful somehow for one of them to remain a fairy? How?

Oram did not have time to ponder this riddle. Images of what had just transpired at the Glass Temple began to unfold. Before it got too far, he told Amoach: ”Show this to all of us -all *four* of us, not the avriel.” he amended hastily. He did not like the vulnerability of being the only one able to access the diri’s knowledge. Everyone needed to know what he knew, when he knew it.

There was a lot to take in: Cassion and…Daia? Oram didn’t even know Daia. Invoking the powers of the other Immortals. Driving Audrae away from Ru, maybe even away from the other girl, the one in Slag’s Deep. The full story -or at least a lot more of it than he had known before, about the Oath involving the Warden and his daughter. A vague realization that they had turned some sort of corner, yet still needed to free their induks.

Just then a resplendent birdlike form appeared in the tree; for a moment, Oram thought Delroth had decided to appear before them to issue a fresh ultimatum. But it was Kalortah. The avriel had transformed wondrously in the short time since he had passed within. Had Delroth done that? Or had Kalortah found something in the tree. They *had* seen what looked like a stage. A wardrobe, perhaps?!

The avriel began to sing, and Oram realized he had heard that voice before, on the beach of Faldrass during the ceremony last Cylus. Kal had a glorious voice. Whatever else he may have done, one must grant him that, even a tone-deaf hunter like Oram Mednix. Having finished that song, the avriel proceeded to use that voice to explain himself, his errand on behalf of Delroth. It all sounded good at first, so plausible, so seemingly well-intentioned. But something was off, though the traveler could not put his finger on it, and part of him did not want to.

Xander spoke next, cutting across the avriel’s sweet meoldy with a tone of strident mistrust and outrage. The sour note broke the spell, and Oram, after at first being annoyed at the soldier for breaking in so boorishly, realized that Xander had a point. When Kal mentioned Delroth’s offer to resurrect Mildred if they brought her body, Oram’s eyes went to the mangled heap on the earth. He remembered the cyclone, and the seagulls that had nearly killed them all not a bit before. Reminded thus forcibly of Delroth’s malice, as well as Kalortah’s treachery, the traveler felt embarrassed that he would even hear the avriel out.

Xander’s attempt to get Kalortah to come down out of his exalted perch was a bit ham-fisted, but the soldier had the right idea. Oram looked up from the fallen fairy to the garish, smug avriel in the tree. ”It sounds like Delroth wants to be praised and thanked, simply for putting things back the way he found them, after ruining everything in the first place,” he observed. Then he thought of something else, something that both annoyed him and further stirred his reawakening mistrust, after it had been lulled by Kal’s pretty, plausible words. ”Except he’s not even offering to do that, is he? Why should we need to bring him the fairy’s body? Delroth has shown he can do his thing outside the tree.” He pointed at the seagulls’ handiwork. ”He took Mildred’s life out here; he should return it out here.”

The more Oram thought about it, the more suspect he found the request. Mildred had thought that transforming them all into fairies would somehow give them the means of getting in and out of the tree, Delroth notwithstanding. And Cassion had said something about its being useful for one of them to remain a fairy. Would bringing Mildred’s body into the tree before bringing her back somehow cut off that fairy ability to get in and out of the tree? The hunter had no idea how that worked, but he knew how traps worked. This looked like a trap.

He crossed the ground to hover over Mildred’s body, watching Kalortah carefully, observing his reaction to unwelcome words. That would test how gracious and well-intentioned the avriel actually was.

”You nor your patron have done anything that would inspire trust,” he continued. ”Even if everything you say about your intentions and actions are true, you have failed to be forthcoming, to tell us things when we ought to have known them. Regardless of what happens with Mildred, you can start now. First, you say that you know all sorts of perils within the tree. Assuming that’s true, tell us what they are. Specifically, tell us what is the first significant peril we will encounter after entering the tree, and what the plan is to deal with it.

“Another thing: since you know all about these perils, and about the best way to completing our errand, it makes no sense for you to follow us in. We should follow you in. That makes more sense, and would be a show of your good faith besides.”
He gestured towards the door. ”After you, please. *I* will go in last.”

While he waited for the others to sort out their reactions to this, Oram would take his eyes off of the avriel for a moment to examine the tree and the door more carefully. He had not had a chance to do so since turning into a fairy. Were there things he could see about the door, or about the tree, that he couldn’t before? Were there fissures suggesting alternate entrances and exits? Or was it magical fairy ability stuff that he didn’t have? If turning into fairies somehow gave him the ability to get in and out of the tree with or without Delroth’s cooperation, he needed to figure out how.
word count: 1151
Villains are powerless against story beats.
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Bao Bao
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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So many things happened at once, so much that Bao got to witness.

Suddenly, however, the wind stopped. Everyone but Oram was back to normal. They were the same size as before, though Bao still blew out bubbles. Yet a few things were different. Aside from Oram being a fairy, Kal stood before them now. Zoro was just as rainbow as he had been before, apart from his eyes. But, the thing that caught Bao the most, was Mildred. Dead at the feet of everyone else, mangled and ripped apart by the birds that had attacked them. Deep down, Bao felt a dark and morbid sadness at the sight of it. She was an innocent soul, torn from Scalvoris at the wishes and whims of a selfish Avriel and Delroth.

Kal spoke, telling them a monologue about how Delroth welcomed them, and if they showed him hospitality it would be appreciated. Xander expressed how much he disliked the situation, and Oram said that Kal could enter first and that he would go at the back. As if they were going to go with him. Bao was not normally a fierce leader, or even a leader to begin with. But Bao was one thing.

Councillor for Welfare.

"No" the Cadouri said simply. He paused for a moment, placing himself beside Xander, Zoro and Oram. Partially for protection, partially for the sake of standing together. It was important to do so now, and as a small Cadouri he couldn't do what he was about to without their help. "As Council member for Welfare, I am placing you under arrest. Any attempt to leave or attack and you'll be a wanted fugitive. You were not chosen for this expedition, and you ran ahead for selfish reasons. You locked us out and come back with nothing but words and a corpse. We were attacked by birds, and now a fairy is dead. Bring her back or not, you admit your master owns this area. The master that killed this fairy, that you assisted. Which means you are now a murderer."

Bao kept his eyes on Kal at all times. "We will find another way in. Zoro and Xander - restrain him and tell HQ immediately. If he does not come back in ropes, he is a wanted man. Use rope to tie his hands, wings, legs and anything else he can use as a weapon" the small Cadouri said with a look of deep sadness. "Unless he means to harm you, do not hurt him. If he fights back, disarm him and bring him back alive and as unharmed as possible. I don't want blood spilled today, but this man is unstable" he sighed, looking to Kal with what was almost pity. Not quite the audience he was hoping for, Bao imagined. But Kal had proven to be more than just not trustworthy, he was dangerous.

"Mildred had told us of a different way in, without the need for Delroth. So that is what we will do once the Elements restrain him. We'll find it" he said, ready to jump aside as quick as he could should Kal attack. Bao did not believe Delroth would, or could, bring back their short-lived friend. Any promise Kal had made was a lie as far as the Cadouri was concerned. Deep inside, it hurt him to say it. The Red Panda was raised on trust and love from Saoire, being a trusting person. This was a situation he was unfamiliar with, but it was not one he was going to give in to. Not now, and not ever. Ziell had given him the gift of peace, even if it didn't extend to here and now. But with that peace came the need to keep it. If the group gave into Delroth they forfeited their freedom, forfeited their peace because of his will and wishes.

So Bao couldn't give in to this man. It wasn't his way, it wouldn't ever be his way.

"I can not arrest Delroth, but I can arrest his followers" he said to Oram, looking to the hunter should he be unscathed and should no attacking commence. "Tell Kura I want him taken straight to a cell, with guards. Not to a place he can do more damage than he might have already."
word count: 727
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Zoro Astrian
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Re: [The Forging] Songs

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It was true, when Kalortah sang, he was spellbinding and his presence was mesmerising. But for Zoro, it all seemed a little too saccharine. Looking at the poor, broken body of Mildred, the Avriel’s words took on the air of pathos. Zoro was glad of Oram’s wise words and Xander’s confident assuredness. In that moment, Zoro felt sure that if push came to shove that the Avriel would end up as kibbles and bits, as his Uncle Zachariah used to say.

As much as he was confident in the other two, Zoro was astounded by Bao Bao and the authority he emanated despite the fact that his words were punctuated with bubbles. Fighting the urge to address him as “Sir”, Zoro spoke. “Honour Bright,” he changed colour at this point and bubbles ascended. Undeterred, he continued. “I do not think that we should waste further time with this irrelevant interloper. Have the Elements restrain him until judgement can be passed. We should proceed with our task forthwith!” Stepping forward, he lifted Mildred’s body and cradled it gently to his chest.

“I want to take Mildred to the Induk,” Zoro said sorrowfully, “maybe they can help her.” He tucked her gently into his chest pocket and then Zoro Astrian strode towards the door in the tree in a cloud of bubbles and earnestness. “Avast! It is time for action and no more time to be wasted on this creature. Let us proceed”

With those words, Zoro opened the door. He hoped he sounded braver than he felt but more than anything he hoped that the Induk could save Mildred and they would all succeed in this task.


word count: 280
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