• PM To Join • Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

The First Favor Born

As one approaches the City of Nashaki, trains of caravans lead through the sprawling outskirts to the numerous open city gates. The largest gate is on the west side and leads past the fortified walls into an octagon of eight districts. Each district features unique markets and is maintained by one of the eight Towers that rule Nashaki. In the city, heavily guarded, is the prized oasis that supports the Nashaki people to flourish in such an unforgiving land.
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

Of Sword Songs and Serpents [Part 2]

5th of Cylus, Evening
Nashaki City - The Makers Stonewatch Halls.
The Scrolls of Anar Verse One, Nashaki, #4 Favors are Never Simple.

Continued From Here: Part 1
W
ith the door closed tight, it gave the two men privacy. Thick white stone and plenty of furniture meant no sound was escaping this room, even so they would watch their words. “What have you committed us to?” Kaladis hated being surprised, scowling, his friend and mentor should know that by now, and today had been one long surprise! He’d held his true opinion close to his chest in public, here in private he was much less forgiving.

“Calm yourself Kaladis, it is not like you to lose your cool.” Ralari from time to time would exert authority over his student, because of their bond and not just that of arcane connection, or choice of study. After the landslide tragedy branded them as outcasts in Viden, as the older of the four Eidisi survivors he felt the need to look out for the others.

It wasn’t like Kaladis to lose his cool, perhaps it was the desert, no, it was being tossed around like a pawn on someone else’s chess table for seven breaks straight. “All I ask Ralari is you hide nothing from me. The outside world yes, not me.” Kaladis tapped his own chest and looked directly into Ralari’s eyes, to be sure he understood.

There was a pause while both men weighed how to respond further. "Very well. We are to translate ancient texts found within a dig site here in the city. The find is substantial."

"That'll draw attention," was all Kaladis could think of saying, "we are keeping a low profile."

"In Cylus?" Ralari inquired quizzically, it was twilight all day round.

Even in Cylus Kaladis wasn't happy being in the center of anything. Eidisi stood out at the best of times, hiding himself was difficult but hiding what their abilities or affiliations were seemed prudent. They should go, "at night when most sleep." Besides he had work at the smithy in the daytime now, this could be a second job depending on the size of the material to be translated.

"It is nighttime now." Ralari added and began preparing a bag, Kaladis sighed, he wasn't going to be getting any rest for a while. Tightening his boots, Kaladis resolved something else too, "I will need my weapon, I am not walking out into the unknown without one again." After being ambushed at the garden, he would not be without a means to defend himself, pride or no pride about borrowing a weapon.
~
Last edited by Kaladis Anar on Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:35 am, edited 5 times in total. word count: 469
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

“Before we go”, Ralari reached behind a table and pulled out a metal shield. Not just any metal shield, Kaladis’s families prized possession, a blue family crested cobalt heater shield, which he’d just as soon forget. If he hadn’t of nearly lost his neck a break or so earlier, Kaladis would have happily cast that reminder of his past out the nearest window. Right now, a cobalt shield might mean saving his neck. Were there no end to the stings to his pride today! With a visible sigh, and a half-hearted thank you, Kaladis attached the shield to his back.

T
he trip to the smithy where he worked wasn’t completely out of their way, Ralari didn’t take much convincing to make a stop. Equipping the old iron sword the smith had loaned him last week, it wasn’t much but it was all Kaladis had. The loaned sword was never a weapon that would be like new, no matter the work he did on it.

Their trip to the dig site was a different matter. Arriving at the edge, two guards halted them, standing out as an obvious Eidisi had its advantages, as few answers were needed to gained entry. With one guard escorting them, they moved inward. The dig site went through two former houses, navigating rubble and upturned furniture, with holes created in the wall so it was all done internally. Their walk ended in an abandoned tannery, a clear smell of raw leather defining its point on their journey. Whether the former owners had already moved on or were convinced to relocate wasn’t entirely clear. Ripped up floors to revealed a passageway down, it appeared as if the authorities here had been searching heavily in this area before finding the tunnel.

Taking an offered torch, the now trio descended the makeshift dig, climbing down a level when they reached the main shaft. At the bottom three Qi’ora were at work, with another human guard sitting around looking thoroughly bored. Not Ralari though, he clapped his hands together happily like an enthusiastic child, soon finding the head of the dig site. Kaladis took a step back and listened, he was learning to listen before acting, you could gain a lot from just watching and waiting.

“As you wanted, here we are.” Ralari announced, and moved by the Qi’ora’s side, getting a look at the uncovered texts.

“I didn’t want anything. I was told you were coming.” The lead Qi’ora replied neutrally. Kaladis squinted his eyes, watching the expressions on her face. He couldn't be sure, but he believed her, she didn’t want or dare to refuse their help either. Interesting, how much pull did their mysterious employers at the hall of stone have?
~
word count: 479
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

N
oticing how Kaladis was looking at her, “Your friend have something in his eye?” The Qi’ora researcher, who now identified herself as Laventia Dashmal, mocked, turning her back on them. It was more an insult to an Eidisi then it was perhaps intended to be.

Kaladis rolled those same white eyes, and walked over to pick up a text, carefully examining it. “Welcome as always,” he muttered. Ralari knew Kaladis well, and knew when he was joking, “just like home Kaladis.” The two Eidisi, eternal pariahs, shared a knowing exchange of looks while they worked.

What they found, was a lot of ancient text, none of which was particularly interesting, except to Ralari who was in his element studying historical volumes. People saw ancient parchment and immediately thought they’d found some great discovery. If they’d stopped to think about it beforehand, most text written wasn’t some grand discovery about a fabled legend just waiting to be discovered, it was someone cataloguing local fauna or how much animal feed was left.

After translating several volumes of different stone types, almost all of which had direct translations, they did find a volume with what seemed to be an extinct desert species, which one of the Qi’ora was interested in transcribing. Kaladis found himself tiring each break he was here, but fought to stay on task. The day at the smithy, the training, and now a night job would take some getting used to.

Two breaks into their translations, with the evening wearing on, Kaladis was sitting down flicking through their latest ancient text on recipes for sauces, when two of the team pulled Ralari over to furthest underground wall. With desire to stay close to his friend, Kaladis closed up the book he was reading, and took it with him.

By the way they were all chatting anxiously, Kaladis assumed they had found what they were looking for.
~
word count: 331
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

D
igging away a layer of moss, earth and small insect life, they’d discovered wall glyphs, once neatly carved, now a shell of their former mastery. “I have not seen them before,” Ralari remarked, tapping his feathered quill to his lip as he sometimes did. Everyone had gathered around, the Qi’ora almost all twice the age or more of Ralari let alone Kaladis, seemed equally puzzled by the symbols origin. It was the first time they’d been engaged with their work since they’d started.

“They look functional, not symbolic.” The two Eidisi began discussing their possible uses, as instructions, warnings, or identifying markings. Nobody here was rash to act or judge, least of all a Qi’ora. A break or two went by with people copying and then taking tracings of the symbols for later.

“So this is not ancient?” Laventia and Ralari were having a disagreement. “It is a derivative of ancient” Ralari advised. Laventia soon corrected him, “there are no derivatives of ancient.” Ralari taking great delight re-corrected her, “until today.” While the two of them bickered over academic details, Kaladis was a man of practical use, just as much as theoretical study.

The symbols were hard to identify, even for someone fluent in ancient. It was as if he was looking at a more traditional form that used pictures, or in this case a symbol to convey visual meaning. He was no linguistic specialist, but like many Eidisi he had a keen head for research, so he hit the books. Looking for matches or similar instances in other languages of these symbols being used, perhaps they would provide keys to the origin, the meaning of this derivative or more importantly use to him.

Breaks wore on, yet the researchers did not want to stop, only fatigue would eventually cause the first to retire. Using the tunnel, he brought his own bedrolls and food back with him, assisted by a larger guard, who was overloaded with equipment as he trudged down the steps. This insect ridden tunnel would not be a welcome place to spend the night for anyone, at this point it seemed unavoidable Kaladis would be here regardless.
~
word count: 376
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

C
losing up the second book, he’d had no luck with his cross referencing, and his eyes were tiring, as were everyone’s. When the final call came to leave the deciphering of these glyphs till tomorrow, the group settled down to rest. As the last word was spoken and the final light went out, a great rush of air followed it upwards. Draft from above? Someone immediately lit a candle and kept it burning.

Possibly, either way after being startled, everyone tried to get back to sleep, with more than one torch remaining burning into the night in case of any more surprises. It was a restless time thereafter, the more suspicious among predicting the worst, while no obvious great predator lurked in the tunnels beneath the tannery, it didn’t stop the mind of men wandering or making up stories about shadows nearby. Sadly several rodents and insects did make themselves known during their sleep, much to the extreme irritation of Kaladis to be sleeping among rats, why hadn't someone spared a bed from the demolition upstairs?

Stirred in the early breaks of the morning, Kaladis stretched his arms, he’d not have long till his blacksmithing day began. Moving to sitting, he stretched his legs out before him, and took a moment to eat what little scraps the blacksmith had spared for him. The bedroll had been sufficient but far from comfortable on the tunnel floor.

L
aventia was already up making ready to begin again, while Ralari was fast asleep. Kaladis approached the wall and blinked. Half the symbols were missing. “What happened?” He said loudly, Laventia came over and looked. “What do you mean?” She inquired with some surprise in voice.

“Where are the symbols?” Kaladis rubbed his eyes.

“Are you asleep? They are right there.” Laventia looked at him oddly and turned away.

Running his hand down his face to pull sleep from his eyes, he then walked over and woke up his mentor, whispering something in Ralari’s ear cautiously, “something strange is going on. Be on your guard.”
~
word count: 356
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

I
n his late fifties Ralari was still in his younger adult arcs for an Eidisi, even if he acted beyond his arcs, it would be a decade or two more of them before he reached middle age. The reason this was important right now, is because he always acted like an old Eidisi when you woke him up, immediately snorting, grumbling, rolling over and going back to sleep.

Kaladis cleared his throat.

Ralari faked snoring some more.

Much as the puzzle intrigued him, and he did love puzzles, he had a job at the smithy to attend. “I will be back in the evening. Guard yourself Ralari, reveal little.” Kaladis’s last words did spike Ralari’s interest, and he nodded his head before returning to sleeping. Kaladis began to suspect he was faking sleeping to observe what the others were doing, but didn’t voice his suspicions openly.

The day at the smithy was the usual fare as an apprentice, slowly graduating to taking over for the smith on finished projects, it was an uneventful and simple day, while he loved metal and the feel of working on iron, he longed to be back at the dig site and the puzzle therein. Saying goodbye to the smith, he headed keenly at a brisk walk back.

K
een until he returned, and every single man and women was gone. Except one steel armored figure, dressed and colored in a distinct bronze attire. Even the symbols were gone, there was no trace of anyone, Ralari, Laventia, none of the work.

Back to him, the man swore under his breath. “He said it was a mistake to hire you.” That was the voice from the alley, not the green eyed man who had threatened him, his partner who liked repeating lines, only this time he had armor on.

“I’ve been absent, what happened?” Kaladis stopped exactly where he was, feeling the man’s suspicion, because he would have the same suspicions.

“I think you know.” Whatever his name was, he still hadn’t turned around, picking at small shattered remains on the floor, all that was left of who had been here.

“Where is Ralari?” Kaladis demanded, his voice now cold and equally suspicious.

And once again steel was drawn ahead of him, only this time, he was carrying his own weapon and his shield. He wasn’t a sitting duck for whatever nonsense he’d walked into today. “No more games.” The bronze stranger stated. “Answer me or answer this,” he held his sword up. As he did so, a gust of wind washed through the tunnel once again, the torches going dark. There was a scream, a snap, and then nothing.
~
word count: 461
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

K
aladis had resisted the urge to draw his sword or reach to the arcane for defense, something inside of himself was telling him not to act rashly. Keeping his head low till he could work out what was going on, he waited two bits in the silent darkness. When he did relight the torch again, he found no sight of the bronze man in the tunnel. Letting out a long sigh, he reasoned perhaps the end of the tunnel was dangerous, missing people, symbols. A thrall could better explore for danger? Perhaps, yes that would work, he could observe it more closely but far enough back to stay safe. Being aware of his disability, it was likely his hearing had meant he had missed something critical, putting him on his guard even more.

The thought occurred to him to get the guards above, doing so would mean he couldn't use his magic, no he would solve this mystery himself, he needed Ralari. Checking around to be sure no man heard him in bonesong, with the guards being a few houses away, the short scream seemingly hadn’t alerted them so he would risk it. Looking to the shadows for song, and inspiration, a dead rat was spotted on the floor. His voice was still its awkward dull self, only softer so not to draw attention, actually letting go of some of the tension in his voice, it was a mild improvement on his usual bonesong.

The dead rat clicked and jolted, filled with its new undeath, rising up and looking at him for commands. Kaladis sung toward the wall, so it moved along the edge of the tunnel, till it reached the end where the symbols had been. The Eidisi sung louder and harsher for it to claw at the stone, scratching and gnawing to try to get some effect out of it that he could observed.

Though prepared for it, on high alert, a gust of wind again came and the torch went out. Behind him formed a shimmering black hole, pulsing with a snap. Kaladis realised too late what was going on, with a non-too subtle push, possibly from the same wind, he found himself thrown through the hole, disappearing from view.

Continued in Part 3: Here
Fin
word count: 392
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Nymph
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 2]

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REWARDS

KALADIS

  • Knowledge:
    • Ralari: Reading Ancient Texts
    • Ralari: Employed by Someone with a lot of Pull
    • Ralari: Ruptured Somewhere
    • Laventia Dashmal: Ruptured Somewhere
    • Laventia Dashmal: Head of Dig Site
    • Linguistics: Translating Ancient Texts
    • Location: The Dig Site
    Loot: None
    Injuries: None (Yet)
    Fame: None

    Story: 5/5
    Collaboration: 0/5
    Structure: 5/5
[/list]


- - - - - - -

Comments: This was an interesting story. There is a lot of build-up here. I would advise that you add language to your NPC in your CS as this could become skewed down the road. Assume you have the same languages as an Eidisi's starter package. Please add those in so that there is no issue down the road. I will assume that Ancient Language (Fluent) will be one for Ralari. I am curious where this rupture portal will take Kaladis, Ralari, and their group. Keep at it. Same structure comments as before on my previously reviewed thread.

If you feel I've missed anything or if you have questions about your review, please don't hesitate to send me a quick PM. Thank you!
word count: 214
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I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be then me.
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