Rage of Titans

    • Land of Legends

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    • Rage of Titans

      Almost frantically Jessie Terac stood before the small assembly whipping what looked like a short piece of rope in her hand. "come on come on come on DAMN YOU WORK" Nearly shouting, every eye was upon her short disheveled form snapping the piece of rope up and down as hard as she could in short strokes. Her lack of Spirit weed for nearly five minutes while she had spoken to her little congregation had finally made Jessie snap and she needed a smoke now. Hanging from her lips was the pale green roll of paper stuffed with her potent drug and she just couldn't light the damn thing. Whipping the little rope even harder now Jessie was only briefly surprised when a dark tattooed hand snatched the thing from her fingers.

      Neviah Bavli, her constant companion took the rope and flicked it once. Finally! the firerope ignited, a small flame burning calmly at its end of which Neviah handed it back up to Jessie like she had just made some child's toy work for an unruly kid. In a sense, that's exactly what she had done and Jessie both thankful and annoyed by Neviahs casual ability to make the firerope work, took the burning end of the rope and dangled it in front of her face. Leaning forward into it, Jessies joint instantly took to the flame and began burning with its characteristic blue cherry and almost luminescent cyan smoke.

      Inhaling deeply, Jessie sighed as the smoke rushed down her throat to her lungs, turning what was once warmth to be replaced with an icy cold, the likes which that felt like she had a piece of ice cut precisely to fill her throat and lungs. Shivering with pleasure she closed her eyes and sighed happily. ohhh that's sooo much better she thought to herself. Content for now, Jessie reopened her eyes and noticed, as well as remembered why there was a crowd of nearly thirty people staring at her.

      Standing atop the bar, Jessie had for the past half hour been regaling the local drunks and travelers with the story of Garrot. The Guardian Titan and his rampage that had nearly driven the elves to extinction when the world was young. Thanks to her addict fit though she had forgotten entirely where she was in the story. Had this happened while she was near a sober state she would've stammered and climbed off the bar embarrassed. But instead, with her blood turned to ice and her mind numbing from the weed she calmly looked back at them with her shattered Iris's. Jessie found herself suddenly wondering why none of them seemed to have any hats on. Strange. Come to think of it why didn't she have a hat too? She'd have to fix that. Feeling an arm grab her leg Jessie could dully hear Neviahs voice telling her to get down and slowly complied.

      With Neviahs guidance, Jessie found herself shortly seated in a corner of the bar with a single lantern on its table to give the small space some light. Distantly she could hear her companion talking talking to her and in her current state Jessie paid the buzzing of Neviahs voice no heed. Things like "Giving us away" and "remember our mission" all slid off her sense of understanding, or caring like water. Instead Jessie gripped her joint tightly with her lips and inhaled deeply again and focused her attention on the table lantern. Inside its flickering flame her summoners senses told her there was a light sprite residing in this little iron and glass prison. Idly she wondered if the innkeeper knew, as he'd probably never had to buy oil for this lantern for years with its light sprite prisoner. Continuing to ignore Neviahs buzzing voice, Jessie took ahold of the lanterns handle, tipped the thing sideways and unscrewed the handle.

      "what are you doing?" Neviahs voice said as it managed to break through Jessies befuddled mind with its force of annoyance.

      "Charm gathering...." she muttered in response as if it settled the matter, her attention solely focused on her task of getting the lanterns handle off.

      "Figures. You better hope everyone thinks us mad else the guild will have our heads"

      "Oh? why's that?" Jessie answered absently, her head cricked sideways as she inserted a nail into the lanterns last screw and began twisting. Damnit Neviahs voice had gotten through.

      "Because you practically told everyone here we're hunting for the titans"

      "I did?"

      "Yeah..."

      "Shame" And with that Jessie let out a little cry of delight as the handle came off. Almost instantly she was diving into her backpack which had been placed by the table along with her staff, as Neviah huffed or continued, she didn't care if it was either. Inside her hand snaked around tins, pots, utensils,and spare clothes until she clasped a hammer and a nail from the bottom. The same one that had been poking her in the back during their travels for the longest time now she thought triumphantly. Giddily ignoring Neviahs ongoing dialogue, Jessie let her talk while she grabbed her staff that was propped next to her bag, laid it on the table, put the lantern handle in its middle and hammered it into place with one loud crack. Making everyone nearby jump and stare from the sudden bang.

      Neviah groaned and hid her face. Jessie just looked up from her work absently as if to say "what?"
    • Neviah rubbed her eyes with the callused palms of her hands, almost hoping that when she took them away from her face the other mage standing atop the bar would have somehow turned into a proper young lady with whom she could actually have a conversation. Or at least reason with. Too bad it wasn’t possible to develop those kinds of powers, because alas, when she looked back up at Jessie Terac she was still informing everyone in the bar about the guild’s secret plan to go after the Titans.

      She was currently telling the crowd about how the guild was providing the funding for mercenaries, hiring them to work alongside the mages and ‘study’ the Titans. The girl paused for a moment much to Neviah’s relief, although she seemed to do only because she needed to light a joint of that damned ‘spirit weed’ she seemed to be addicted to. The earth mage watched her flick the fire rope for a while, a smile coming to her face for the first time since the guild had stuck her with the girl, although to honest it really was more of a smirk. Finally she reached out and lit the thing in one swift snap. Neviah would have been happy to spite her, if Jessie was one to even acknowledge being spited.

      Finally she decided to get her down before she climbed up onto the bar beside her and did something drastic. Neviah tugged on the girl’s leg, hissing under her breath for her to get down. When that didn’t seem to work she tugged a bit harder and spoke a bit louder, adding an underlying tone of command to her voice and gritting her teeth in annoyance. Finally she complied and got down; although Neviah could tell that she was completely out of it again. The earth mage led her to a table in the far corner, guiding her down into a booth before sitting across from her. Neviah studied her blissed out face and cracked eyes for a moment before setting into her.

      “You were giving us away,” she whispered angrily. “Remember our mission? We were supposed to be discreet, not to stir people up, because as far as these people know the Titans are just a rumour.” Neviah sighed loudly when she seemed to get no response from the girl. It was like talking to a brick wall. When Jessie began to toy with the lantern her annoyance just blossomed out of control. She was being ignored for a lantern?

      “What are you doing?” She snapped.

      "Charm gathering...." Jessie replied without looking at her, instead completely focused on removing the handle from the lantern.

      "Figures. You better hope everyone thinks us mad else the guild will have our heads,” Neviah replied, giving her a dark look.

      Jessie just cocked her head to the side, twisting the screws with her nail. “Oh, why’s that?”

      Neviah sighed and fixed her with a dark, exasperated look. “"Because you practically told everyone here we're hunting for the Titans."

      “I did?”

      Neviah nodded, her voice becoming very sarcastic. “Yeah…”

      “Shame,” the girl replied, crying out with joy as she finally freed the handle. Naviah watched as she dove into her backpack and pulled out a hammer and nail. Burying her face into her hands once more the earth mage watched from between her fingers as Jessie also snatched her staff. It was covered in other ‘charms’ such as a thin curved bone, tattered ribbons and a vial containing the eye of some poor small creature.

      Neviah wasn’t even trying to talk to her anymore, instead just muttering loudly to herself. As Jessie hammered the lantern handle into the piece of decorated wood with a loud bang she groaned, closing her fingers over her eyes. When Jesse looked up Neviah took her hands away from her face and frowned at her. “Do you always have to have attention on you? And you don’t even do it consciously do you?” Neviah sighed, leaning back in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest. “I could be back at the guild, studying, learning how to expand my skills, do magic that people back home have never even dreamed of. Instead I’m the babysitter to some druggie.” The woman looked down at her dirt-stained robes and made a noise of aggravation in the back of her throat, biting her lip and toying with the piercing. “I suppose nobody else was willing to do it.”

      Falling silent Naviah busied herself with tracing patterns on the wooden tabletop with her fingers before looking around the bar, taking in the scents of ale, smoke and sweat beyond the pungent odour of Jessie’s spirit weed. She glanced at each patron individually and looked at every shadowy corner, offhandedly noting things like the worn-out patches of some one’s leather jacket, the dust motes in front of the lanterns or the sticky spots of spilled alcohol on the floor. The earth mage felt the beginnings of a headache coming on, something that she rarely got until she began dealing with Jessie, and she rubbed at her temples in a vain attempt to soothe the ache.

      When the bar fell suspiciously silent she let her hands drop, turning her head towards the door. A pierced brow arched, and she reached over the table to jostle Jessie and get her attention. “I’ve never seen one of those before,” she murmured. A tall feline-man has just walked in, surrounded by men in uniform with weapons. “I wonder why he’s here?” she muttered, half to herself and half to Jessie.
    • Moving somewhere between a prowl and a stroll, Tijras slowly tailed his guide ahead of him, the gruff Sergeant of the city guard Wilksure, whose band of guardsmen in turned tailed the beastman through the streets, warding off the reproaches or worse of the potentially terrified townsfolk. With the evening chilled air nipping at their heels, and the last of sunlight long since vanished, they reached their destination; a large stone brick building with wooden upper floors, which emitted a barrage of drunken singing and other loud noises as they approached. The Sergeant, in his white guardsmen’s tunic and light armour, flashed his sigil marked with the Guard’s crest and with a few words to the doorman pressed their way inside through authority.

      Tijras could feel the gaze of the nervous doorman drilling into him. He paid him no head as he followed the Sergeant’s lead through the door way; as he lowered his voluge going through to avoid it getting caught, so did Tijras duck his head, with only the tips of his ears brushing against the archway.

      As they entered, the din of the tavern bar dimmed, and all eyes seemed to set upon the towering Barazjirka, a sight he suspected none had seen before. His own silvery eyes darted around, taking in the sights of the reveling townsfolk, while his nostrils flared as he took in their scents; food, alcohols, sweat from hardday’s work, the smells of tanneries, the soot of the blacksmith, and even the stench of sex from working women and their clients upstairs. This and more hit his nostrils, and focusing on each one at a moment, he figured roughly where everyone and everything in this room had been that day, where they were positioned now in that building. Content, Tijras paid the stench of fear emanating from some no heed, he followed his guides over to a set of now vacant tables and benches to the side, and they took their place.

      Sitting cross legged on the floor at the edge of the table, his back to the occupants of the bar, Tijras watched the Sergeant, as the latter removed his helmet and set it upon the table shaking his raven hair loose, and began fishing around his person for something as a platter of meat was set down by a terrified barmaid who curtsied and shuffled away. Picking on of the slabs of lamb meat up, slightly roasted, Tijras sniffed it then growled ‘Thank you’ before scarfing it down.

      Wilksure picked up a roast mutton that had been brought him, and tore a chunk off with his teeth, chewed patiently, and swallowed. Clearing his throat he turned to one of his men;

      “Arnet, you have the letter I presume?” he questioned, and commenced wiping sauce from his beard, as the young, ginger haired, recruit he spoke to began searching his own person before pulling the worn parchment from a pouch and handed it to the older guardsmen. Unfolding it with the hand that hadn’t been touching meat he looked it over once more.

      “So, Monsieur Tijras.” The sergeant continued in a diplomatic tone to his present charge, but without the air of caution that others spoke with addressing the giant; he’s seen worse things in his time, and Tijras had proved most respectful in his eys. “You said Salazar de Gidosa was a good friend of yours?”

      He took another bite of mutton, as Tijras devoured another slab out of the various bits of former livestock.

      “I knew him, many, many rain seasons ago.”

      “Right,” Wilksure, knowing the beast man came from a hot and humid jungle continent, carried on “from what I’ve read here, back when you knew him he found something... ‘We at the guild are much interested in the knowledge you uncovered pertaining to the mythic tales of the Titans that were passed down among the now dead civilisations of the land of Ulgmoria; or as you insist on referring to it by the name its native’s give it, Shulku’” he paused, looking over at Tijras. “it seems to be addressed to him, from some higher up at the Mage’s Guild, and they asked him to head to one of their sanctums and bring anyone skilled and interested in well earned gold.

      I take it you presume to find anyone he may have attempted to hire to tag along and find out what direction? Still, I don’t suspect he’d of gone himself, really, he’s quite the old man these days.”

      “I know, your people age much faster.”

      “Hmmm... well, if there’s anything we can do to track down information on him, we’re eager to help. I mean it. You say you’ve a debt to repay to the old coot, and since we owe him plenty well...”

      “You say he was a mercenary, fighting for gold.”

      “Aye, that he was.” Wilksure was almost finished the mutton, and began washing it down with a stein of beer. “but an honourable one, at that, kept his men in line beneath him, made sure they weren’t looting from the townsfolk they were meant to protect. Tis Why he stayed on as Captain of the Guard for years after wards. Course; don’t mean to give ye a history lesson. We’d be here all night without any hunting done for your trail.”

      Tijras growled softly in acknowledgement. To think they probably didn’t know Salazar had been a pirate when he’d known him.

      “Till we can get you access to what’s left of his correspondence up in his old home, we might as well ask around...” he scratched his beard “Titans, those old myths... what could the guild be up to wanting anything to do with that...” He paused and pivoted around, noticing that Tijras eyes had long since darted from him to up behind his head. There were the peering eyes of an old man, with wiry grey hair and a boney nose, behind the bench.

      The old man took a swig of his the stein in hand and swayed a little, eyes nervously darting to the cat like giant that was Tijras.

      “’em ‘ere lassies ov’r d’ere ‘ave ‘een halking up a storm aboot ‘em ‘ere Titans.” He lifted a bony finger and pointed it accusingly to a pair of young women off in one of the corners, from whom earthy smells and the stench of burnt herb wafted to Tijras’ nostrils. He and his entourage all looked over at them.

      “Thank you,” Tijras stood up, and reached in his pouch for a small piece of uncut gemstone that shimmered green and black, placing it in the old man’s now outstretched hand. He made his way over to the women, the guardsmen scurrying to follow.
    • Juul was beginning to get irritated. This tavern was noisy enough before the shamble of a woman began her rambling, but now it was almost impossible to even concentrate on what she was saying with all the mockery it was causing. Which was a shame because despite the fact that this speech seemed like nothing more than the ramblings of a girl trying the cajaan plant for the first time, it could be true, and of vital importance to his task, which is why Juul was trying to quickly craft a charm to focus his hearing on the girl.

      With the severe lack of spiritually attuned materials in the area, however, this task was proving far more challenging than it needed to be. Though Juul normally carried around a reserve of materials he could use, lately this supply had been running low. This problem was this town, a spiritual vacuum. In the few weeks since arriving, Juul had yet to find a single focus point of spiritual energies. In fact, Juul had encountered very few spirits at all during his night trances. This problem seemed to plague the lands outside the swamps; this was not the first town Juul had encountered with this problem. Juul had noticed, however, that the lanterns on the tables were lit not by oil, but by light sprites, offering a perfect source of natural energy.

      Much to the confusion of his fellow patrons, Juul removed the top of the lantern and placed a large seed within, quickly closing the lantern so that the sprite could not escape. Next, Juul removed a few pieces of string and hide from his pouch and began to interweave them, muttering under his breath as he did so. To those around him, he was no better than the girl standing on the bar talking about the Titans as if they were anything more than an old story, a madman spewing meaningless sound. Were a member of the Vanaa in the room, however, they would recognize the familiar sounds of their native tongue, the unmistakeable cadence of a Wodu incantation. This incantation was a simple one, simply imprinting on the woven pattern a specific purpose. Once the weave was finished, Juul removed the seed from the lantern, noticing a slight char on the edges and smiling: this sprite was young and full of vigor, its strength would more than suffice for his purpose. Placing the seed in the center of the weave, Juul leaned forward and whispered a command in the Vanaa tongue, then tied together the ends of the weave to enclose the seed entirely.

      The next step was a bit more complicated, however. Walking up to the bar, Juul looked for an opportunity. As the girl stopped to smoke more of her spirit weed, Juul slipped the trinket onto the girl’s robe, where it attached itself, and suddenly, Juul could hear her words as if she were speaking directly into his mind. Listening intently, Juul ordered another drink and returned to his table, to avoid seeming interested: he had learned the hard way that taking an interest in these lands often gained unwanted attention, only made worse when he would inevitably be revealed as a Vanaa.

      So, there are others searching for the secrets of the Old Ones, or Titans as they are called here. I may have found an ally, at least for now.

      However, the tale of the Titans and the search for them is swiftly interrupted: the girl’s apparent addiction to the cajaan had caught up to her, and without its help she was left an incoherent mess. Looking up, Juul saw a woman come to the aid of the poor girl, a woman he had noticed earlier near the girl.

      As the woman brought her down from the bar and back to their seat, Juul continued to listen until he heard the confirmation he needed: “... you practically told everyone here we’re hunting for the Titans.”

      With this, Juul stood up and began to walk toward the women, pausing only to notice a large fur covered beast-man enter the tavern accompanied by a group of guards. Something else which would need to be investigated, it would seem. Making a mental note of this, Juul moved on walking up to the two women.
      “I do not wish to bother you, but you have something of mine. Volve, oyeter” Upon speaking the last two words, the trinket on the girl’s robes detached itself and floated into Juul’s hands. Taking a seat, Juul continued, “Now, about finding the Titans…”
    • His choice of tavern had been a good one, no reason not to admit it.
      Sitting at a table in the far end of the tavern, Melvin had a good view over tonight's entertainment. Well, though he sat at the table, he had still positioned himself on the floor, as to not attract unwanted attention. Sitting straight up on a normal chair had proved to be something that caused a lot of attention.
      "It's the cushion I miss", Melvin noted this to himself, as he had done so often.
      Entertainment, a very good meal, not to mention the wine - a quite good one at that - this was going to be a very satisfying night.

      Chewing slowly on a neatly sliced piece of tender sirloin steak, Melvin turned his attention to the woman eagerly telling bits and pieces about this and that.. or perhaps not this and that - it was about the Titans. On the other hand, it was a bit messy storytelling; head and tail was not at the beginning and the end.
      As interesting as it was, hunting those titans, Melvin quickly agreed with himself, that any person willing to tag along with THAT woman, had to be at least twice as crazy as the storytelling woman seemed; Or twice as stoned.
      Only finishing his thought another woman promptly addressed the storyteller, and succeeded pulling her down and into a corner.
      Ah - what a laugh. The new one didn't seem half as bad. However, Melvin knew from experience that appearances are deceptive on such a scale that one would possibly be taken quite aback.

      Giggling to himself he poured down the last of the fine wine, and thought of buying another. He shifted ever so slightly, making his purse produce a small "clink". Looking down on it he knew another bottle was too much.
      Irritated Melvin massaged his temples, his fingers circling the soft spot. "Got to eat tomorrow too you know - you damn fool!" He mumbled as he leaned back against the wall.
      A shiver ran down his spine, as the cold wind from outside seeped in through the wall. Suppressing a yawn Melvin decided it would be a good time as any to join his sheets. Starting to raise himself up on his feet he froze halfway, as two unexpected events happened at the same time. One that was interesting, and one out-right frightening.

      An interesting figure made its way towards the two loonies from before. To high and slender to be a normal person. Even though human sometimes grew to such height in these regions, they never moved 'that' way.
      "What a special guest, those two may actually be more sane than they appeared".
      Melvin was getting interested, he had to know more about this growing group of either sane conspirators, or just plain madmen . Whatever it was, he felt the urge as his curiosity gained the upper hand.
      A slight moment later however those thought were out of the picture. In walked the one of the big furred. Fascination mixed with pure fear emanated from every fibre of Melvin's body. Once he had met one of them, and once he had barely escaped alive. Even though he was quite sure that he too had dealt quite a few deadly blow to his furry enemy, the pain was still to visible in his mind. The scars had healed only on the surface.

      Slowly breathing out, Melvin's only thought was to calm himself. Those furred ones could smell fear - he could feel it. when a few seconds had passed and the predator had started moving again, Melvin collapsed with a thump, breathing loud but slow.
      Ordering a beer to further calm his nerves, Melvin reassured himself over and over again - of course he wasn't the only one in the tavern whom had been afraid, and of course the furred one had not noticed him - yet!
      Calm down Melvin!
      Speaking his own name had, for some strange reason, a relaxing effect, and his thoughts began to function more normally once again. He reeled up to himself:
      "Two loonies, a cloaked humaniod and a furred one."
      This was no coincidence. His heart pounded a bit faster once again, though this time in anticipation. Interesting it was, and it would probably only get better. Dangerous it would become too. The appearance of a big furred had proven that quite all right.
      Melvin felt a rush as his prediction came true - the furred one started walking straight towards the two ladies, whom Melvin no longer dared think of as loonies.
      A curse escaped his mouth as a few guards followed. They had not been in the room before, and therefore they must have been with the furred one. Melvin cursed again; it had been a long time since he had overlooked something as important as that.
      feeling a little indecisive Melvin stayed in his spot, content only reading their facial expressions, as he dared not venture closer to the group as long as the furred one was there.
    • Having replaced her staff with its new charm beside her pack next to the table, Jessie returned to her Spirit Weed with gusto. Holding it with only her lips, the summoner inhaled on the chilling smoke as if it were life itself. The icy breath of smoke filled her lungs near to bursting, and with a contented sigh she tilted her head back let it go in a great cyan cloud, perfuming the air with its distinct smell of mint and sulfur intermingled. In front of her, although barely paying any real attention at all to her, Neviah was rubbing her temples and remarking on something to herself. For now though Jessie was content to let the pungent weed freeze her lungs and let her companion have her rant. Sometime soon eventually Jessie knew Neviah would gather her up and they'd depart for their rooms for the night. But that time was still a ways off and for now she was going to ponder how best to utilize her new light sprite.

      Lazily tilting her head to one side, Jessie let her obsidian hair fall over her face, the beaded braids of her bangs slightly obscuring her vision. She didn't even realize she was being spoken too until she felt the tingle of some form of compulsion magic which snapped her head around. Coming face to face with some humanoid of nearly pure white skin and hair, she barely acknowledged the fact that a small object had been lifted from the small pocket of her bottle green dress. It was the mans bright neon purple eyes that she first truly noticed. Such color! Jessie just wanted to pluck them out and add them to her charm collection. Then again, she did have one of the eyes of a Beholder already, the eye that even now wandered and blinked at everything from its small vial hanging off her staff. Maybe a lock of that snow white hair or...Damn he was tall she finally noticed. He practically towered over the two mages.

      “Now, about finding the Titans…” he continued with a curious drawling accent.

      It was at those words Jessie stopped visibly acknowledging him, but began mentally acknowledging him as well. Now she took in his full appearance, from the hooded cloak, to the black tribal style tattoos that she could see snaking up from what little was exposed of his slender neck and over his face. Something from her encyclopedic knowledge of races and magical creatures tickled at her memory, but the Spirit Weed was too strong and with another inhalation she quite frankly didn't care too much to bother pursuing the train of thought any further. Instead it was his mention of the Titans that brought a little of precious lucidity to bear.

      "Oh are you here to sign up?" she began in a voice that sounded reminiscently normal and not as slurred. The Spirit Weeds chilling effect had turned her tongue to slippery ice but now with the topic of Titans to talk of, it felt as if part of her mind had been temporarily unlocked. Already she could hear Neviah groaning again, her scolding for secrecy completely wasted upon Jessie. Surely she understood without bodies to protect them, the Titans would destroy them? Motioning to the seat next to Neviah Jessie invited the pale ghost of a man to take a seat. "The guilds authorized us to issue promissory notes redeemable at any major city treasury or bank up to five hundred gold coins for specialists and one hundred for standard mercenaries. Our job is to subdue and if possible to study their magical qualities." Pausing again to take another breath of Spirit Weed, she held the last remains of the joint with her fingers, reducing it to a tiny stub with a bright blue cherry before flicking it away where what little was left practically broke apart into ash before it hit the ground. "I will warn you though, the job is extremely dangerous" looking over his body again she noted his lack of weaponry/ If it was concealed beneath that black cloak it couldn't be more then a couple of dagger or short swords. "You may as well write your will now if your still insistent" In the back of her head Jessie knew the offering was extravagant. A hundred gold coins alone was more then many well established merchants made in six months. But the guild was not worried about price. Anyone who was crazy enough to accept wasn't coming back alive to collect.

      letting her words hang, Jessie felt the numbness of the joint coming back and began to fiddle with the broken pair of glasses hung around her neck. With her words said, there was little left remaining to keep her lucid. Fingering the cracks she left the world of reality behind to recall the story of how they came to be broken. She had been thirteen, standing in the guild hall of Trayas with an entire class starting on. Her dress was immaculate again, clean of dirt, and with her right sleeve still attached. Her hair still sleek and shiny and her lips a light pink as yet unstained black by the Spirit Weed. All around her the high towers hallway was the shining white of marble with green columns of moss wood covered in vines holding up the high rafters of the otherwise bare hall. In front of her stood the stern face of Jarran the Grey, the meanest instructor the guild had ever known. Laying at Jessie feet between them was a large segmented horn. The memory hazy, she could hardly recall the old mans voice as he commanded her to summon the beast of which the horn had belonged too. What happened next was all but a blurr now. The cracking of a firerope as Jarren light the joint and forced her to smoke. The roar of a minotaur out of control. The screams of the surrounding class as it fled. And finally the bone cracking crunch as a meaty fist collided with her face, forever smashing her nose sideways and breaking the glasses. Then nothing at all.

      Continuing to fiddle with the glasses, Jessie shuddered at the memory and let it flow away. For the most part while lost in her reverie, the pale man had been talking and it registered in her ears as little more then a buzz. Ignoring him, she chanced a look around and her eyes fell upon what she was sure had to be a hallucination. Striding towards their table was a creature nearly out of legend.

      "A Barazjikra!" she exclaimed out loud not caring who took notice. Startled by the sound of her own voice, Jessie scrambled as far back as she could until her back hit the corner of the bars four walls. "I thought their kind were wiped out!" This specimen in particular was a small giant. Earthen colored fur was molted across his entire powerful feline figure and striped in with brownish and beige tinges. He walked in their direction with the grace of a predator, each lean muscle stretching and accenting every movement and curve of a beast built to hunt. Cowering deeper into her corner and oblivious to the guardsmen escorting it, Jessie frantically reached into the satchel at her waist and reached for another joint she knew was stored inside. With trembling hands she managed to withdraw one and clamp it between her lips. Then reaching for her staff she mentally selected the bone charm of a War wolf from the frozen wastes, ready to summon it in a second.
    • Neviah tore her attention from the beast to the man that was now approaching their table. He was tall, with snow-white skin and strange-coloured eyes, another creature that Neviah didn’t recognize, at least not at first. He vaguely resembled a sketch in a book she’d studied, a tome about magic practitioners of the swamps, but Neviah couldn’t remember all the details that had been mentioned. Raising a brow and tensing a bit in her seat she watched as the man seemingly summoned the trinket out of Jesse’s pocket and into his hands. The girl seemed similarly drawn to the violet eyes although much more transfixed by them than her earth mage counterpart. Before Neviah could say anything he was asking about the Titans and she gave Jessie an exasperated glare.

      "Oh are you here to sign up?" she asked, surprisingly lucid for once. Neviah just groaned, hiding her face in her hands once more.

      “Jessie, have you forgotten all about our secrecy?” She asked, taking her hands away and tucking an errant dreadlock behind her ear, a distasteful expression gracing her face as the girl motioned for the stranger to sit beside her. It did, however, serve as a perfect opportunity to give him a better look. The sleeves of his robe slid back just far enough that Neviah could admire and inspect his tribal tattoos, still searching her memories for something that might give her the upper hand over him, or at least remind her of what he was.

      Per usual Jessie just ignored the older female’s words and continued talking. "The guilds authorized us to issue promissory notes redeemable at any major city treasury or bank up to five hundred gold coins for specialists and one hundred for standard mercenaries. Our job is to subdue and if possible to study their magical qualities.” Neviah chewed on the inside of her lip. She had been hoping that they would be able to pursue help instead of drawing it to them. However, she had to smirk at Jessie’s next words. "I will warn you though, the job is extremely dangerous. You may as well write your will now if you’re still insistent.”

      Of course, maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea. One body was as good as another, and would perhaps people interested in helping out of their own free will be more loyal? If people sought out to take up the offer on their own they were very obviously clueless, desperate, or very confident in their ability to fight. And between her and Jessie there really didn’t seem to be much fighting skills between them. Neviah only had the basics of combat, and Jessie seemed too constantly stoned out of her mind to do much of anything. She’d probably stare blankly at a monster and just let it attack her, Neviah mused.

      At the moment Jessie seemed to have wondered off into her own little world, staring at a pair of glasses around her neck. When the girl shuddered Neviah drew herself from her own thoughts and looked to the man sitting beside her, giving him a tired smile. “I guess that since she’s told you all you need to know already I might as well ask you what you think. Do you wish to join us?” The pale man would barely have time to answer before Jessie was yelling and scrambling from to seat to the corner of the bar. Neviah looked in the direction that she was staring and spotted the creature she’d seen moments earlier, the huge anamorphic feline surrounded by armed guards.
    • Though he expected no response from the drug addled girl, Juul was presently surprised to find that his mention of the Titans seemed to cause her to snap to attention, and she told him all the information that he would have wanted to know, if he were an average traveller.

      “The guild’s authorized us to issue promissory notes redeemable at any major city treasury or bank up to five hundred gold coins for specialists and one hundred for standard mercenaries. Our job is to subdue and if possible to study their magical qualities. I will warn you though, the job is extremely dangerous. You may as well write your will now if you’re still insistent.”

      As the girl spoke, Juul removed the seed from its casing, pressed it against his left palm, and slipped a partial trance, still listening to the girl, but also channelling the energy of the sprite to heighten his awareness of the entire room. Through this process, Juul noticed another strange figure watching them, making sure to keep an eye on him. As Jessie (as the other woman called her) finished her explanation, Juul noticed the large furred creature and the group of guards accompanying him stand up. As they began to move toward him, Jessie slipped back into a stoned silence, leaving the other woman to pick up the thread of the conversation.

      “I guess that since she’s told you all you need to know already I might as well ask you what you think. Do you wish to join us?”

      Juul smiled and calmly replied, even as in his mind’s eye he saw the large beast approach behind him, “Of course I will join you. Money is secondary to me, though it seems necessary to survive in these lands, so I will not refuse it. However, my primary concern is that of a scientist, if you will. I am interested in the titans themselves more than in the reward for pursuing them. I do suppose it bears asking, what exactly counts as a specia-“ before he could finish, Juul found himself interrupted by Jessie’s shrieking.

      “A Barazjikra!” after this outburst, Jessie jumped into a corner, as if in her impaired state, she could not even recognize her own voice. “I thought their kind were wiped out!” As she cowered and lit herself another joint of cajaan, Juul sighed to himself.

      “Will this girl’s obsession with the… spirit weed, I believe it is called here, not be a hindrance in our mission? She clearly lacks the mental stability to use the plant’s effects correctly. But more importantly,” Juul continued as he rose and turned to face the Barazjikra, “Is it really necessary for one such as yourself to surround himself with guards so weak they rely on armor to keep them safe, beast man?”

      Aware that the creature might not take kindly to this accusation, and aware that he may not have been friendly in the first place, Juul drained the last of the energy contained in the seed, causing his eyes to glow slightly, though not enough for a normal man to notice. Knowing that a creature such as the Barazjikra must have a predator’s sense, Juul entered a conscious trance, to prevent any emotion from showing.

      With luck, a simple show of Wodu will be enough to subdue this creature if he attacks, for I doubt there is enough power here to do any true damage.
    • That was just one of those days. A long, exhausting night, followed by being woken up much too early. Not that Sardona slept well anyway, his eyes usually flung open at the tiniest sound nearby which made it kind of hard to sleep deeply. He was used to it, yeah, but nevertheless, he was grumpy. Especially now in the evening. The halfelf was tired, having travelled all the day. Never staying in one spot for too long, always on the move, being aware of the surroundings. His deep green eyes took in the scenery when he entered the tavern, silent and unrecognized, just one of many travellers who came by for a drink, some food and maybe a good nights sleep. It was quite crowded here, which could either be a hint everything was good here, or that there weren't any other choices available. He wasn't bothered by either. The usual crowd had gathered as it seemed, a few drunks, some whores, traveller, whatever.

      Unnoticed by anyone, as far as Sardona could tell, he made his way to a table not far from the door - in case someone spotted him and recognized him. Chances were slim, but the halfelf had learned the hard way to always be cautious. His long, pale fingers slipped into a pocked, taking out some coins as he waved to the barmaid.
      "What can I bring you?" She must have been pretty some ten years ago, now she looked kind of worn out. He took in the impression without thinking much about it, just made a note about it. Notice the surroundings, take everything in, don't let it distract you. Flashing a surprisingly charming smile, he replied:
      "Just some wine. I might eat later." She nodded and took a few of the coins from him. Draght. Well, he had never met his father, but he could still curse well in the tongue of the elvish folk. With a sigh, Sardona fumbled his small leatherbag under his cape. Contracts had been rare lately, ever since he had run into Z'tor, one of the assassin masters from the guild. Well the so called master had run into the halfelf's knife not only once, but twice, and the body had attracted the attention of far too many ghosts of the past who suddenly had been able to track him down again. What he needed now was money, sleep and a possibility to disappear.

      Brooding, Sardona didn't even thank the barmaid. Instead, he silently took the glass and sipped. Wasn't the best he had tasted so far, could be better though. Again, he looked around. Finally, a strange scene caught his interest. Of course, the large furry one was hard to overlook, but who was that standing near him, besides the obvious guards? He had come too late to see Jessie's show, and didn't even really see her or the other woman, just - well, noticing she existed. The guy with these purple eyes was much more interesting. Casually, the halfelf stood up and strolled to the other side of the room, not looking directly at the group, letting his eyes slide over the entire tavern as if there was nothing that would interest him at all. Or everything. He wasn't even afraid of the large creature that could rip anyone in half for all he knew. The fair haired trusted his own skills. Leaning against a wall close enough to overhear some of the conversation, he sipped on his wine, looking to nowhere, like a drunk.
      Gone as BA.


      Thank you ruby_kirby, you are a true artist. :)
      Be head to serve, not to reign(Bernard von Clairvaux)
    • Tijras closed the gap between himself and the other end of the room swiftly, the occupants of the tavern between himself and his destination giving him a wide berth. His ears twitched as he focused in on their ongoing conversation with each other, and what seemed to be a strange and pale man. He overheard the two women explain their purpose to the stranger, and give mention of their connection to the Mages Guild and indeed their search for the Titans.

      It seems sorcerers everywhere are looking for these 'Titans'...

      He drew closer suddenly causing one the woman, a small dishevelled thing, to cry out as she spotted his approach and scurry back into a corner like a timid rodent. He watched as she frantically searched her person, withdraw her herb, and handle her charm covered staff. The scent of spirit weed wafted to his nostrils, confirming her as the primary source of it in the tavern. Before he could speak, the pale, cloaked man spoke, first complaining of this woman's behaviour to her partner and then to Tijras;

      “Is it really necessary for one such as yourself to surround himself with guards so weak they rely on armor to keep them safe, beast man?”

      He growled contemptuously in response; the dark stranger simply stared back back, impassively.

      "I've no reason to speak with you yet." Tijras spoke calmly, attempting at veiling his annoyance at this man's ignorance and disrespect. As far as he was concerned, the man was clearly trying to insult his honour and pride as a warrior, without knowing the circumstances of why he travelled this town with an escort.

      Sargent Wilksure butted in to educate, however, coming up to Tijra's side; "We're here more for folk's such as yer self's protection," he cautioned the stranger "I would suggest not provoking him, makes everyone's day go a lot smoother." He darted an irritated look up at the beastman. "Ask away" was all he said, before stepping back.

      Ignoring the cloaked man, with his strange violet eyes and alabaster skin, Tijras turned to the two women; the first who smelled of burnt herb and covered in charms and ratty robes was still pressing her back against the wall, wrapped herb dangling from her lips and strange unsettling crystal eyes staring back at him. Her partner, the dark skinned woman in humble but far better kept dress, was tense and had an expression of earlier frustration melting into wary unease. Tijras became aware of the effect his presence was having.

      "Greetings; I am Tijras." he bowed slightly, eyes closed and paws held open towards them. "You are..." he paused for a moment as he tried to think of the best translation for a common greeting of peace and goodwill among his kind. "You are not my prey." As he looked back up, the two women were... less frightened, to put it one way.

      The one in the corner made some sort of squeaking noise in acknowledgement and the other sighed a bit with relief. He continued; "You've said you search and hunt for the Titans, and do so at the behest of the Mages Guild. I am looking for someone who once worked for this... Guild, and who resided in this town until recently. His name was Salazar de Gidosa, and I came across a letter meant for him requesting that he reenter their employment to assist in hunting these Titans." As he mentioned this, the Sargent walked to the darkskinned woman and handed her the letter.

      The formerly cowering woman, clutching her staff to steady herself as rose up, squeaked again before speaking "T-t-Titans... Yes, Titans!" her voice was shaky but she was getting excited, as if something was dawning over her. "Sir, Tijras, uhm... as for your friend, he sounds familiar, can't really place him though. If he's working for the Guild though, I'm sure if come along you'll see him. If you overheard me explaining to this man here, we pay fairly well for big, strong, and talented individuals such as yourself... we'd love to have you aboard!" she reached for his paw and grabbed hold, shaking it vigorously as she looked him in the eyes with her eyes, sharp blue, and shattered like her nerves had been just moments before.

      "Mhmmmm..." Tijras mulled it over in his head. It seemed to be his best shot at locating Salazar once more, and the Titans were something he sought to learn more of. He had few uses for as much gold as they were offering, but that was irrelevant really. "It sounds like an intriguing hunt, and I've reasons to do so on my own. I might as well accept your offer." The woman lightened up even more at this response, while the Sargent cleared his throat.

      "While Im sure its true what you say about yourselves not knowing of Salazar's whereabouts, I would like to mention that he has left town without a word and his home was ransacked. If you do have anything worth us knowing, It be appreciated if it was passed along." he reached over and took the letter back. Before turning to Tijras "We'll let you have a look at his things if you're still going to be in town in the morning. When you're done with working out whatever it is you need to, we'll be back over there." he gestured to their earlier seats and turned to leave with his other guards.

      The woman smelling of herb still had her tiny hand wrapped around Tijras' paw and was still shaking it excitably; "So, that's a yes, right?" she queried.

      He nodded; "Yes."

      __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      OOC: I have some more to the post written, but I want to talk with you first Chii, cos like, character hijacks are bad and shizz, yo.
      I'll be around all afternoon/evening baring a nap at somepoint, so we can hash out any further back and forth dialogue and posts to get moving faster. >_>
      DISREGARD

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Just_Rot ().

    • (OOC: First. Sorry for all the character hijacking. Arch and Cass, just an FYI, im not ignoring you two, The fact is both of you wish your presences to remain hidden. in case either of you were wondering.)

      Shortly after the beastman agreed to accompany them, Neviah suggested with a firm hand on Jessie's shoulder that they all retire for the night. Gathering their things and making their way to the Innkeeper, a rather well kept skinny man with long hair, Neviah paid him for a single room with two beds against Jessies objections. She hated sleeping with another so close by but Neviah, as always, won by pointing out that the Guild had put them on a rather limited budget and their own personal supply of silver had dwindled over the weeks they spent getting to this squalid little town. Lead by one of the haggard barmaids, Neviah supported Jessie up the stairs to the second floor as her mind had reverted to blissfully chilled numbness.

      At the top the barmaid marched them down the hallway lined with doors from which behind one could hear the prostitutes plying their trade with the usual overacting. Between them, the barmaid used too it and probably one herself, Jessie off in her own little world and Neviah concentrating on making sure her ratty stoned charge kept walking, they paid the sounds no heed. Coming to the very end and instead of pulling the last door open for the two mages, she reached daintily up into the rafters and pulled a cord hidden in the darkness. Immediately behind the maids actions came the scraping of a latch cracking open, followed by a set of stairs descending from above.

      She rented the attic? Jessie dimly aware of what was going on thought. Guess we're lower on money then she let on.

      Of course Jessie knew she could fix that, but that required either getting her further blasted out of her mind, or stone sober. The latter too unpleasant for the addict, and the former unbearable for the Shaman. Else when it came to mixing the deadly chemicals needed for Jessie to manufacture the more potent and thus valuable contraband would end in disaster. The last inn they stayed at had no idea how close it had to becoming a bonfire when neither option had been chosen and her hands had been shaking so much she dropped a vial of highly flammable unrefined Red Sugar. Only by pure luck had Neviah knocked a pillow to the floor milliseconds before for the vial to land safely on.

      Shuddering at the thought, Jessie was pulled up the ladder into the taverns tiny attic. The room, if it could even be called that, consisted of the two requested spindly cots, a single half water rotted table upon which a lone candle stood, and a tiny window overlooking the inns back yard that housed the stable and beyond it a horrible untended field. The rafters themselves were so slow the pair had to hunch slightly to avoid knocking their heads off them. (That Jessie learned the hard way due to her lack of attentiveness) With Neviahs help, Jessie collapsed gracelessly into her own cot after depositing her staff and pack next too it. Sighing she flopped onto her side, not even bothering to change into her night shift and let her hands fiddle with the strings on her pack as Neviah went about her own devices getting ready for bed. God it felt good to be laying down again where she could let her stoned mind just relax. As her idle fingers played with her pack strings however, she briefly felt the coarse edged paper of an envelope. Curious, she pulled it out with a random giggle and looked it over. Stamped on it were the two crossed golden stave's and heavy lidded eye of the mages guild crest. Odd. She didn't recall writing any letters to send. At least not for more spirit weed anyway.

      Dismissing it, the summoner flung it onto the rotted table they shared with surprising accuracy where it slide to a stop against the candle holder and promptly forgot it. Sighing again she pulled her satchel of spirit weed from around her neck and undid the buckle. Inside the potent blue moss that had once filled it was now reduced to a single hard ball a little less then the size of her fist and a few joints she had rolled earlier that day. Damn. not much left. She'd have to rectify that. Huffing this time in annoyance, Jessie promptly rolled onto her other side and began snoring.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      It was over breakfast the next morning that everyone who had come forward last night introduced themselves. The Pale Man, over his meal who seemed to speak rarely simply called himself Juul and in brief terms informed the other three her was of the Vanaa from the Kalen Swamp. In turn Tijras who showed up late needed little introduction after last night and for the most part was content to chew through the large leg of red beef in front of him. Neviah on the otherhand then did her part and introduced herself and Jessie, who idly sat next to her ignoring her eggs with yet another lit joint and eating only when prompted too. Otherwise she occupied herself snapping her firerope with quiet glee at managing to get it to work again. For the most part the conversation that morning was light in terms of speaking and only when Juul brought up the topic concerning them all did Jessie perk up from her antics.

      "So, how exactly do you two plan to find any of the Titans?"

      At the magical word, Jessie immediately flicked the firerope to extinguish it and pointed towards Neviah. Then herself "Us"

      "You?" Tijras injected.

      "Correct" Jessie answered with her briefly returned full and quite surprising to many, vast intelligence "Nevi is a Shaman if you cant tell by her tattoos" which she pointed to Neviahs exposed hands covered in vivid green vines and leaves as she clutched her fork and knife in annoyance at hearing her name shortened "And I'm a Summoner, my staff here holds all my charms" To these words she indicated the long wooden pole leaning against her seat with its assortment of bones, vials, and various metal works. "Between us Nevi here can sense magical disturbances in the environment around her. And I can follow the life energy stemming from the First Trees network of magical lay lines that regulate the balance in the world. With them thrown out of the regular balance, I believe the Titans are drawing upon far more power from the world then their supposed to. Nevi and I Find severely disturbed regions by their passing and I point the way. Together we act very much like a compass with the nearest Titan pointing 'North'"

      Finishing the question, Neviah gave Jessie a stunned look of 'you can do that?' while the other two merely looked at them, mainly Jessie, with surprise. Of course their reactions went entirely unnoticed by her. "Even better" she went on "The guilds already located one of the Titans already. Our first stop is the Kadesh Desert."

      Lapsing into silence, Jessie rapidly forgot everyone was even there upon the end of her little spiel. Lighting up another joint from her remaining supply she let the rest of the morning drift by in an oblivious haze.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Come high noon, the group found themselves out back in the stables of the Inn. Sitting astride her dirty grey draft horse named Anarchy, Jessie nudged the young warhorse over to Neviah who tended to her dapple grey Percheon named Templeton by adjusting his saddle. Upon leaving the guild for their mission, the stable master of the tower had granted Jessie and Neviah the massive draft horse as an alternative means to avoid purchasing them a wagon. Standing at twenty two hands high, Anarchy was a giant among even his kind and an absolute powerhouse of muscle. Sitting atop him made Jessie almost look comical if it were not for the fact that she seemed just like another piece of his cargo. Because strapped to his form was a well fitted leather harness from which heavy saddle bags bulging with supplies hung. As for why Jessie was his rider, Anarchy had earned his name well. The draft horse had been horrible at accepting any riders and had been known for disobeying commands, not to mention destroying several plows and pulling large loads of logs into ditches on purpose. Come to think of it, the stable master had probably been glad to rid of the monster. Jessie unlike everyone else was perfectly suited for the beast as she barely registered on the horses innate ability to sense his riders moods. Thus she was little more then a nudge here and a tug on the reigns there which both Anarchy and Jessie were perfectly happy with.

      Surveying the yard with a distinct lack of interest, Juul and Tijras had yet to emerge from the stable. And the agreed upon time to depart was fast approaching as the sun climbed ever higher.
    • (OOC for future refrence, italic sections inside quotation marks mean he is having a flashback to one of the tramuatic events)


      “Darkness began to make it's silent fall on this most auspicious and silent of nights. The sound of sticks snapping and the heavy breathing of one not accustomed to trekking through the dark forest were the only things to be heard. Mon had left a small village not more than an hour before and already his out of shape nature was catching up with him. Using his staff as a make shift walking stick, Mon dragged himself on heading towards the next village a couple days walk ahead of him. Under his breath, Mon joked“I wish” panting loudly now “I could call upon something to make that village closer” A small smile crept over his face and a light laugh soon followed. Two months had quickly passed since he had bid his hasty retreat from the temple, and it has been equally as long since he saw his last temple knight. A sense of security had fallen around him, walking from village to village doing simple works of healing magic, life had become too simple for it not to of. It wasn’t until the sound of a bow's twang and the impact of its released arrow, did Mon learn he was not alone in the forest that night. The searing pain and force of the impact on his left shoulder forced him to stumble forward, nearly falling over in the process, and with it he let out a scream that echoed through the silent woods.”

      Panting and with fear in his eyes, Mon awoke suddenly from his dream, jumping up to a sitting position on the bed, his face being greeted by the warm rays of the early morning sun. His loud panting had just echoed back off the nearby wall and his left shoulder still feeling the pain of that arrow even four months after its piercing blow. His sleepy mind thought that this was a great start to his last day in town if he could ever have had one.

      As the panting slowed, and his nerves cooled, he spoke under his breath“Damn these dreams” He said as his right hand reached up towards the scar on his shoulder, slowly attempting to rub away the pain with a bit of his magic, which failed to work. If was the fifth time this week he had a nightmare , and this morning he had awoken far earlier than he had wanted.

      “No point going back to bed now” he cursed under his breath. Throwing the covers off his body, Mon slowly raised himself off the stiff bed, and crept quickly and quietly to the wall opposite. A bucket of water he had brought up the night before lay under a small round mirror that stood a little higher than he did. Dipping his cupped hands into the water, he raised his hands up to his face. With a quick breath, acknowledgment of the fact that this cold water would shock him awake, he plunged the front of his face into the cold water and began a quick scrub. As he finished, he brought his eyes to look at the face in the mirror, a face still unfamiliar to him. The face was scared, bruised and looked as if he had not shaven in many weeks and returned his look with a vacant, lonely gaze. But at least now it was somewhat clean. Looking back onto the bed, he wishes he could do the same for his clothes. But they were too far gone for any amount of water and cleaning to fix, or sewing for that mater. “Once I am gone from this area, I shall clean my self up.” Mon reassured himself, “once I am gone.”

      Quickly dressing, Mon prepared to leave the tavern straight away, only the faint aroma of roasting meat and food did Mon reconsider his plan. As he finished lacing up his torn shirt, and strapping on his leather armor and shoes did he finally grab his money bag, located on his belt which still lay on the bed. With a quick untie, he looked inside and liked what he saw.

      “Enough silver for my first real meal in months with enough left over to buy food from the market.” he said with a grin, “About time I eat some nice food” Ever since he has been on the run it has seemed to Mon that everyday has brought more and more disgusting food, that he has to force himself to eat, than the day before. Recounting a time where he resorted to eating moldy bread 3 months ago, he shuddered with the return of those mental images. Thankfully, due to a bar fight a couple nights before, Mon had managed to make quite a few coins off the drunk man for fixing his broken nose, though the pain of doing so still resonating through his face. Coin was coin, no matter how he earned it now. Grabbing his staff with one hand and the door knob to with his other, he decides now is a good of time as ever to say a quick prayer to his goddess.

      “Goddess, I pray to you to ask that you protect and watch over me on my travels ahead. I pray to you, grant me the strength so I may help those in need, and make it through these troubled times.”

      With the final verse slipping from his tongue, he quickly opened the door and proceeded to walk down the stairs to the tavern bellow. Walking over to the bar, he gave a quick whistle to get the attention of the bartender. The bartender quickly finishes whipping a glass clean and walks over.

      “So Mon, you stayin 'ere another night are ya?” The bartender spoke, a grin had appeared that seemed to stretch from ear to ear. It was Mon's third day staying in the tavern, each day he said it would be his last but he could not seem to will himself from the place.

      “Would like nothing more than that” He paused, returning the grin of the bartender and after a brief pause Mon joked back with“But your damn tavern has already stolen most of my money!” The bartender chuckled, and he continued “What food can 15 silver pieces buy me?”

      “Oi, that'll get ye' a nice slab of meat we got cookin over yonder, and this nice cup of milk I got right here” He said while motioning to the split roast behind him and a cup of milk on the bar beneath him. He would work well as a merchant he thought, making him give up his money at the first sign of what appeared to be good Dropping 15 coins down to the mans hand, clicking as the small mound grew larger with each coin that fell, Mon simply replied “Besides the food” pausing real fast “any news of work for a healer come up?”

      “Come to think of it” He said while scratching his head “last night couple o' mages made quite a scene about chasing some sort of creatures, they we're joined by some odd ball characters. Don't know if it's what you want, but they are sitting over there right now. If I remember right one-hundred gold coins was the offer” He said while pointing to the far side of the table.

      “One-hundred gold coins” thought Mon as he began to slowly turn “I could buy a whole lot of-” His thoughts quickly turned from of a quick and easy, stress free job that would earn him a fair share of gold those shaped by reality’s cruel fist. “In the name of the Goddess what is that creature?” He muttered of the massive creature that could only be described in his mind by two words, cat-beast ,that now greeted his vision. “Thought you said odd ball for a second, now I know you really meant fur-ball” A terrible joke to try and calm himself down. The things height alone imposed a sense of dread in his attempt to figure out what this group was questing for.

      Thanking the bartender for his service, and saying a quick blessing from the Goddess, he grabbed the plate of meat and glass of milk and ventured across the crowded tavern, and sat down just opposite the table where the motley crew had assembled. Giving the table only a couple of glances at a time, at first he wondered what a group so diverse could all seek. Firstly, there was cat-beast that dwarfed all the others, the ferocity of his thick muscular frame only matched by the fierceness that was the earthen color that his fur did emanate. The second one to catch his attention was the tall pale man, towering near the height of the cat himself! Next he fixed his gaze upon the woman with the strange tattoos that flourished along her hands and arms, ones that grabbed the interest away from the cat and to her.

      “A shaman in these parts?” He muttered, his curiosity with this group beginning to rise. Sneaking more and more glances towards them and not focusing on his cooling piece of meat in front of him. Upon realizing their conversation was just small talk, he forced his attention back onto his food. Taking the fork and knife, he began cutting a small piece of meat off which he quickly grabbed with his fork and placed within his mouth. The taste of real food brought a tear of happiness to his eyes “For one-hundred gold, I could eat like this more often” He joked out-loud while grabbing his glass of fresh milk to wash down the food with. “Just need to figure out what they're after”

      “So, how exactly do you two plan to find any of the Titans?”

      Almost dropping his cup at the immediate answer, and only after focusing his attention back towards them did he notice the fourth member of their particular group. A sight of a mage if he had ever seen one. So thin and worn down was she, hardly he could believe she was the second mage the bartender was talking about. Her small fingers pointed first to the Shaman, and then to herself with a single word escaping her stained lips “Us” Focusing his attention again away from the group, he followed the frail ones plan as closely as he could, listening to her speak made him feel there was a lot more to this mages power then what meets the eye. It wasn’t until she ended her plan did Mon glance back over, curious to see why she suddenly stopped. “Temptation is a curse bestowed on us both, I see” he chuckled under his breath, her spirit weed addiction had caught up with her, the spirit weeds effects fully known to him, and feeling of understanding crept over Mon why her frail appearance was so deceiving. The rest of the groups conversation was not of any interest to him, only making out the name Jessie from the shaman named “Nevi” so he returned happily to eating the slightly warm now slab of meat before him and finishing his meal. The last thing he heard was the group agreeing to meet at high noon by the stables, and then departing with the shaman helping whom he presumed to be Jessie away from the table, the effects of the spirit weed still plaguing the mage.

      Finding himself at a crossroad once more, Mon contemplated joining them. Though they had not offered him a spot, he had not seen any healer with them and it would be his duty to the Goddess of life to assist them on this journey. He also needed the money, down to his last few silvers his options were limited. And furthermore, if worst came to worst while he was with this party, he could use his blood magic to help also. It was just the fear of being in a party that slowed his decision down, what if they learned about his blood magic before he told them, what if they reacted badly towards it? He remembers all too clearly what happened last time his secret came out, and those mental scars shall never heal. His curiosity with their quest eventually won out over his fear.

      “Titans, wonder what they look like.” He thought, his thoughts resounding the clearest they have been in months about the thought of Titans. “I guess there is only one way to find out.” he said muttered as he rose out of his chair onto his feet. Grabbing his staff off the wall as he walked in stride, he gave but a simple wave to the bartender and then slipped outside.

      Noticing quickly that high noon was fast approaching, Mon hurried his pace as he turned the corner towards the back of the tavern where the stable grounds lay. As he drew close, he noticed only the two mages were standing outside, tending to their horses and themselves, with no cat-beast in sight . A sign of relief escaped Mon's mouth, followed by a quick grunt in the form of him clearing his throat. He slowed his pace as he exited the shadow of the alley and whistled loudly, grabbing the attention of the two mages.

      “I heard about your quest, one that down the road a ways might require the skills of a trained healer” Raising his staff slightly “As you may have been able to tell by my staff, I was trained since a young age at the temple dedicated to the goddess of life so I posses these skills.” Pausing his speech as he stopped 10 meters in front of the two mages, “What do you say? Need a healer?”
    • Taking a deep breath Melvin accepted fate - or whatever it was. He was simply to curios to let it go - and therefore he had a few problems to consider.

      first of all - he was tired. A long day combined with a good bottle of wine and some beer - he had to admit it. He wasn't that good at alcohol. The problem however was, that he dared not fall asleep while the furred one was in the room and neither did he dare raise himself from his spot and go to bed.
      That problem however would hopefully soon be dealt with - the talking group had to break up for the night at some point!
      The second problem was actually a combination of many things - He wanted to follow the group when and if they headed out.
      However, he had no suitable horse - and those damn beast were quite expensive if they were to carry him around - and he didn't have the money for such a stallion.
      Moreover, he wasn't the sneaky type. Mostly because of his size and his appearance, neither of them allowing his to remain hidden was it in the nature or in a crowd. He was simply too easy to spot.
      Sneaky following and a simple "follow the trail by horse" out of the picture, Melvin wasn't able to imagine any other approach that the one he did not want to pursue; Walking straight up to them and say it as it was. He wanted to be a part of their search for titans.

      He startled when the group began to break up, the two women the first ones to depart upstairs guided by one of the barmaids. The smallest of the two practically hung from her friend's shoulder, to stoned to do any good anywhere.
      Only one word resonated through Melvin's mind; "Sad". And sad it was, that no one had beaten some sense into the girl when she had first started smoking that crap. Melvin had seen too many a good man fall from their pedestals of honor and down into the mud - all because of the spirit weed. Melvin had considered every man who started smoking it an outright idiot ever since one from the house-hold staff of his childhood home had fallen completely apart, not being able to hold his concentration for more than a mere few minutes. Halfway closing his eyelids Melvin tried to remember the scenes of the past, as his father had kicked the member of the staff out on the street; literately.
      "It was before Erik...", Melvin counted slowly in his mind. "6... or.. no 5. I was 5 at that time - wasn't I?". Not sure, and therefore putting the matter aside with a mental shrug, Melvin once again focused on the present as most members of the group had left the room.
      Slowly gathering himself Melvin got up, startling a group of nearby peasants whom until now had been unaware of his presence, walked up to the bar and paid for a room. His food he had already paid, since the tavern, wisely, didn't trust the customers to pay when they HAD eaten themselves full. People running from their bill was a common sight these days; people who Melvin disgusted for their dishonorable acts.


      Half an hour after sunrise Melvin got up. Even though a nearby rooster had wakened him with its morning crow, his head had been a bit too fuzzy, and though better, a slight headache hinted that he needed a good amount of water, and a good long stroll in the chilly temperatures of the early morning.
      Letting his legs carry him back to the Tavern from a stroll a lot longer than he intended when he headed out, he went several steps before he realized what he had seen - or rather, that he had seen something of interest.
      Slowly turning, tracing back his steps, Melvin went to the corner of the house he was walking beside. Taking a quick glance around the corner and into the stable grounds, he confirmed what his mind had at first been slow to realize. The two horses standing still wasn't just any two horses.
      Or rather - they would have been to Melvin, had their riders not been the women from last night.
      "Horses. Just as suspected" - Melvin let out a small sight. When they were traveling by horse, he really had no option left but to speak with them directly.

      However as interesting as this group was, it just got even more interesting as time flowed by. Standing in front of the two mages was none other than a beggar talking about some healing stuff. The sound didn't quite reach Melvin's ears, and he was only able to pick up fragments. However as always, the fragment "healing" along with the fact that the beggar carried a long staff - some kind of magic tool judging by the crystal in the top - was more than enough for Melvin to guess the context.
      Amused by the revelation he noted to himself; "beggars are not what beggars used to be Melvin"
      Still grinning a bit Melvin stepped out from behind the building and walked up behind the small man, who were too busy with the women to notice him. Letting his hood fall down he let out a deep growl, just to see if he could startle this new guy. As his mentor Erik had said whenever the occasion allowed;
      "One has only the fun that one creates", and Melvin felt he needed the pleasure.

      Pretending to ignore the reaction of the beggar-mage he looked the not-stoned-part of the two ladies right in the eyes and said
      "I believe I may be of use to you, though I do not own a horse. If you do not mind, I would like to join your ... group. I believe you're searching for the Titans right?"
    • A pierced eyebrow rose when the tiger man -Tijras – outstretched his paws towards them in an effort of friendliness as he calming told them that they weren’t his prey. Naviah supposed that was better than nothing though and she offered a small, hesitant smile. “Nice to know.”

      She listened to him speak before taking the letter and opening it, her eyes glancing over the words as Jesse began to talk with him.

      "Dear Salazar,

      Blessed greetings to you, old friend. It has been many summers since we've last corresponded over anything of serious note, and even longer since you last did any business with us, but I hope you're doing well in your current residence and with whatever pursuits you've taken up. Although I hate to rush to business topics so earnestly, I have much pressing matters at the moment and if you take up this offer I hope that we will be able to find some time for small talk in person.

      We at the guild are much interested in the knowledge you have uncovered pertaining to the mythic tales of the Titans, the stories that were passed down among the now dead civilisations of the land of Ulgmoria; or as you insist on referring to it by the name its native’s give it, Shulku. Not only this, but we could also greatly use your knowledge of other subjects, and your vast array of talents for various work. I know you're getting on in years as I am too, but I promise you won't be in a position that's strenuous, and the reward will be well worth the effort. I know you haven't quite retired yet; think of this as a last venture, and one that will pay well towards you doing so.

      I await your reply, patiently, and if you do wish to pursue this employment offer, I will send you further details in a more secure manner.

      Regards, Rufioh Nitram"

      The mage looked up just as Tijras accepted the offer to join their group and she smiled more genuinely, glancing at the pale man with tattoos before looking back to the beast man, letting him have the letter back. “I guess we have quite a crew coming together. Your help and loyalty to the guild will be much appreciated. And we will do our best in return to help you find Salazar.”

      When the conversation seemed finished Naviah placed her hand firmly on Jessie’s bony shoulder. “I think we should all get some rest and talk more in the morning.” She made sure they both had all their things as he steered Jessie towards the innkeeper, digging into a supple leather pouch she had tied to her belt for coins. “We don’t have much,” she said as she dropped their payment into the man’s dirty palms. “One room please, with two beds.”

      She shushed Jessie when the girl tried to protest, giving her a stern look. “We don’t have enough money for separate rooms, if we aren’t careful we’ll have nothing left.” And besides, Naviah thought as she helped Jessie up the stairs after the barmaid that was showing them to their rooms, she liked to keep her eye on the junkie. She felt like the moment she looked away would be the moment she decided to do something foolish and get herself, if not all of them, killed. And so far that theory had done the opposite of disproving itself.

      When they got to the attic room Neviah’s nose wrinkled in disgust at the damp stench of mold and rot as she helped Jessie up the ladder and into the room, her hand flying out to late shield the girl’s head as she stood. The mage sighed as she heard the dull ‘thunk’ of Jessie’s head hitting the rafters, and she gently took her shoulders to help guide her into her cot before putting down her own things and getting ready for bed. She didn’t bother to remove her clothes, possessing no desire whatsoever to let her bare skin touch the stained and smelly mattress. She did take a vial of lavender essence from her bag however, dabbing some onto her cheeks and forehead before rubbing it into her smooth skin with her fingertips. It served to calm her nerves and help her sleep, like taking a plunge into a pool of clear and clean water. Oh what she’d do for a bath at this point. Curling into a position on the cot as closely resembling a ball as she could manage, Naviah closed her eyes and slowly let herself drift off, thinking of her books and her herb garden.

      She awoke before dawn and before Jessie, laying still in her cot for a moment to listen to the girl’s breathing, reassuring herself that she was still there before getting up at stretching. As she popped her stiff joints she noticed the envelope sitting on the small table, and she walked over to pick it up, wondering where it had come from. Sliding her smallest finger under the flap she broke the seal and took out the letter inside, unfolding it as she moved over to the window to read.

      “Dear Neviah Bavli.

      IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, FORCE FEED THE ENCLOSED VIAL'S CONTENTS TO JESSIE. READ WHEN SAFE.”

      The earth mage glanced over at Jessie, making sure she was still asleep and facing the other way before continuing to read.

      “It is against The Nine's wishes, and awareness, that I write you this letter, and hopefully our mutual acquaintance Jessie Terac has gotten this to you in a timely manner. If you are reading this I can only assume both of you were in mortal danger either from one of the Titans or some other form of malice against you. It is also safe to assume that whatever was attempting to harm you has been subsequently destroyed by Jessie as well.

      This letter I will use to explain Jessies old disposition, and why you've been..."Stuck" with her as you no doubt perceive.

      Originally the plan was to assign you to Salazar de Gidosa, who also has been given the mission to discover the Titans whereabouts and study them. Followed by their destruction. However it was decided he was unsuited to the final task and instead we have granted you Jessie to be your unknowing bodyguard. As you know, or have guessed by her compulsive behavior to gather charms she is a summoner. A rather rare one. Unlike normal summoners Jessie not only has an astounding ability to command even an Arch-demons, but she neither requires charms for such callings. Her kind are called Spectral Summoners and rather then create a creature from its remains, they directly command them from their own realms to answer her call. I'm sure you can find a book or two in our magical archives if you wish to read up on her kind more.

      As to why she is as she is, Jessie has been deemed a hazard by The Nine due to her nature. Since being...Forcibly taken from her home as a child she holds a great hatred of the guild and only the knowledge that she needed a magical education kept her in line. The rather stern instructors we gave her unfortunately only added to the problem rather then instilling obedience. As she grew up however it became apparent she had reached the point of no longer needing us and thus had begun down the path of rebellion. As a result a magical compulsion and memory modifier has been placed upon her to keep her pliant. Also it limits her powers to that of a fairly strong, regular summoner. Using her once mild addiction to Spirit Weed we have amplified it to act as an anchor for the spell. Utilizing the Spirit Weeds properties of befuddling the mind, it acts as a masking agent for the compulsions ability to feed off her own power in order to maintain itself. You may have also have noticed that certain topics seem to snap her out of her haze. The Titans being the most noticeable. Along with this are the topics of defending yourselves and her encyclopedic knowledge magical creatures, plus a few other minor things. She is also unable to refuse a direct order from you. Use these as tools to assist with your mission.

      If you have fed her the Everclear Elixir contained within, it will free her of our control and restore her full magical capability. I recommend you re-instate the compulsion and re-addict her to spirit weed as quickly as possible. Else her full memory will return in short time and you may have a powerful problem on your hands.

      Respectfully
      Grandmaster Mitzgog.”

      Naviah noticed her hands were trembling slightly as she finished the letter and took out the small vial, peering into it before quickly stowing it in a pocket on the inside of her robes. After glancing at the letter one last time she began to shed it, tearing the piece of paper into pieces so small that nobody would ever be able to read them or piece them back together. Lastly she opened the window and released the fist full of shredded paper to the air, calling a breeze to scatter them and take them far away.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      At breakfast Naviah finally had the chance to formally introduce herself to the group, although she only very briefly mentioned her former tribe. Not from shame of course, but it was always safer to keep them disconnected from the outside world. She also sat beside Jessie, prodding her every once and a while and reminding her to eat her breakfast.

      When Juul asked them how they planned on finding the Titans she opened her mouth to answer the question only to have Jessie address it first. Of course, Naviah thought, the Titans brought the girl out of her drug-induced reverie. The mage didn’t have a problem with her talking as long as she was saying things she was supposed to, but she still ground her teeth and clutched her fork in annoyance when she heard the name that had been given to her with after much thoughtful consideration by her mother and the tribal elders shortened to four letters.

      When Jessie was done her explanation to Tijras, however, she had to give her a look of curiosity. Why had she never mentioned that before? Although Naviah supposed she’d never really had a chance to talk to the girl. Jessie was getting more intriguing by the moment, and Naviah had to admit she was starting to seem like less of a burden as well.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Naviah as always made sure to talk to her horse quietly as she saddled him up, stroking her hands gently over his beautiful coat. He was a good horse, and Naviah refused to use a bit with him. In fact it was only upon the guild’s utter instance on the matter that she was even using a saddle in the first place. At least she knew it didn’t bother him too much, even if Templeton was a foot shorter than the massive Anarchy he was still 19 hands and quite stocky.

      Since Juul and Tijras had yet to show the mage decided to take out a comb, beckoning for her horse to lower his head so that she could work on getting tangles out of his dirty white mane. “I ought to take this to your hair, Jessie,” she commented casually. Her attention was drawn away from her horse by someone’s loud whistling.

      “I heard about your quest, one that down the road a ways might require the skills of a trained healer,” A man said as he approached them, raising his staff. “As you may have been able to tell by my staff, I was trained since a young age at the temple dedicated to the goddess of life so I possess these skills.” He stopped a bit always from them and Naviah outstretched her hand over the ground, ready to summon the forces of the earth to her call. “What do you say? Need a healer?”

      Naviah relaxed a bit and was about to speak when another man come out from the shadows and up behind the first, growling before looking at her.

      "I believe I may be of use to you, though I do not own a horse. If you do not mind, I would like to join your ... group. I believe you're searching for the Titans right?"

      Naviah let out a hissing sigh from between her teeth and nodded, folding her arms over her chest. “Right; we don’t have a healer yet though,” she turned her dark gaze to the first man before looking back at the first. “So what do you think you can bring to the group?”
    • The beast simply brushed past Juul, dismissing his provocation. Turning back to the girls, Juul smiled to himself.

      So the beast is less feral than I assumed. Always a good thing to know.

      When the beast, who went by the name of Tijras, had spoken his piece and been accepted by the two mages, the more composed of the two (not a difficult feat in Juul's opinion, given the one named Jessie's propensity for abusing the cajaan plant) suggested that the group retire for the night. With nothing to add, Juul simply took mental note of the agrred upon meeting time and took his leave.

      Approaching the innkeeper, Juul placed a number of coins on the table.

      "Staying another night then mister? Same arrangement as the last few nights I take it?"

      Juul merely nodded and pushed the coins towards him.

      "Y'know it's awfully unusual for someone to rent the garden as lodgings. Then again, I been in the bussiness long enough to know when to pry and when to leave well enough alone. Some folk been asking questions though, townsfolk liking there gossip as they do." As he spoke, the innkeeper let Juul behind the bar and unlocked a door for him.

      "It is never wise to look too deeply into a stranger's life." with these words, Juul stepped through the door and closed it behind him.

      The small plot that passed for a garden was in truth little more than some upturned dirt and a pile of rotting vegetables. From what the innkeeper had told Juul, the garden hadn't been used in years, due to lack of demand for the food it produced. Not that it mattered to Juul, so long as he had a place to pass the night under the open sky. Muttering a short incantation, Juul slipped into a night-trance.

      In this state Juul's body remained entirely immobile, sat cross-legged on the ground, while the Farseer's mind was free to wander, projecting itself outwards into the spiritual plane that exists alongside the physical world. As Juul's spiritual projection wandered, he came upon a vision, the first he had had in a long while.

      Strange, I did not think this town had enough spiritual energy to produce a vision...

      In front of him Juul saw the girl from earlier, Jessie, standing alone in the smoking ruins of a house. Curiously, the smoke was the same blue as the smoke normally surrounding her. As Juul watched, the smoke slowly began to fade, and with it the house seemed to repair itself as a result. As the last of the smoke cleared, and the last brick of the house fell into place, Juul found himself suddenly in a mighty firestorm. Battling his way to the center and the inferno, Juul saw a monstrous creature of flame and shadow, unidentifiable except for one detail: it's eyes, a perfect match to those of Jessie in her lucid moments. As the demon lunged toward him, the vision abruptly ended, and Juul found himself returned to his body as the first rooster crowed.

      It would seem there is more to this Jessie than meets the eye.

      Over breakfast Juul initially spoke little, his natural aversion to conversation increased by his pondering of the night's vision. Though the vision's true meaning still eluded him, Juul did have a theory (of sorts) to test. Glancing at Jessie, he asked the group how they planned to find the Titans.

      So, that seems to get her lucid, if only for a short while.

      Juul listened to the girl's explanation and went back to his food.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      The two mages were waiting outside with their horses. For all the time he had spent among the outsiders, this custom still made no sense to Juul. Why go to the effort of taming, and in Juul's view enslaving, a wild creature when the simplest of fetishes accomplished the same thing? Gathering a clump of horse hair, Juul snapped his fingers, sprouting a flame inside the hairball. As it burned, Juul spoke a few words in his native tongue, and collected the ashes into a small pouch which he tied to his waist before walking out to meet his companions.

      "So, it appears we have some new additions to the party. Good, another weak thing to drag along. At least the other one appears self-sufficient."
    • The kills jangled in the hands of the guardsman, as he opened the back gate to Salazar's manor style home on the edge of the town. It was middling in size, compared to some of the richer merchant homes, but included a courtyard garden enclosed by a tall, stone brick wall and a distinct brick tower attached to the north end. Otherwise It was much the same as the other townhouses, two floors with the upper structure made mostly of wooden frame with the distinct white plaster of wattle & daub. Tijras followed the guard as he led him to the entrance of the house proper, past rows of untended, overgrown gardens and shrubs. Once more the keys jangled as the backdoor was unlocked, and it slowly creaked open.

      _______________________________

      Salazar's study was a complete and utter disaster; books and scrolls that once neatly perched themselves on the shelves that packed the narrow walls lay strewn everywhere, many torn apart and it seems all were completely ruined; having been drenched in some liquid, their writings dribbled into unintelligible messes of ink dripping ink. The maps that adorned the gaps in shelving were ripped and torn. Whatever knowledge had been stored here, was now concealed. Cautiously Tijras prowled about the room, sniffing for the gap the scent of drenched parchment for something dry. There... was something familiar that lingered, beyond the dusty scents, the smell of ink, and the other familiar smell left by Salazar's presence.

      It seemed hidden though, underneath other novel stenches, hard to make out clearly...

      Following a long a row of drenched scroll holders, before coming across an oak desk. Books were strew around the floor next to it, and Tijras could only assume they were once neatly stacked upon it.

      He scowled, nothing seemed to be here. Whoever had destroyed what was left behind had been certainly thorough. He wondered what could possibly have led to this. Was this Salazar's doing, was he covering his own tracks from someone or something? Regardless, he'd searched the entire house for clues and peering out the window of the study, he could see the shadows in the courtyard marking the encroachment of noon as only two hours away...

      Reaching down he began shifting through the ruined books and scrolls for something legible, anything at all that might point a clue. As the hours passed, he'd collected a smattering of various books and notes. He had no idea if any of it was even relevant to the Titans and his friend's whereabouts, but they would have to do. Stuffing them in his pack he left his old friend's abode behind and made his way to the meeting place.

      _______________________________

      It was come highnoon when Tijras approached the meeting place, as Tijras prowled around to the back of the stables he came across the sight of the two mages and their mounts. Juul, the swamp-shaman was there as well however the three appeared to be joined by a pair of new appearances; some sort of poor, tattered preacher at first glace and a towering, blue, scaly giant. As he drew closer, he carefully reached behind to be ready to grab a weapon, just to be safe, while calling out to his companions in greeting.
    • OOC: Again hijacking galore :p If anyone has any further conversations to have with another character (you'll see your chance at the end of this post) please do it via Pm and get it out in one post. Thanks.

      Leaving the firerope lit, Jessie idly swung it around in circles or whatever interesting patterns came to mind. Beginning to trace sigels in the air with it made the perfect excuse to avoid answering Neviahs off-hand comment about her tangled black wreck of hair. The Shaman was too fussy about her appearance sometimes. Part of her had half a mind to just let Anarchy, who wasn't bothered by the smell of smoke above his head in the slightest, knock her over into the mud. But as it was, Anarchy and Templeton already didn't get along any better then their riders. The last thing Jessie wanted to deal with, her and Neviah verbally, was the two pairs nipping at each other.

      Letting Anarchy wander to the water trough, Jessie allowed the horse have a drink as she fetched another joint from the satchel hanging at the back of her hip. She had yet to have one since breakfast and the climbing sun was unbearably hot. Another flick from the short firerope and a deep inhalation later she was enveloped by the Spirit weeds chill and shuddered with enjoyment. Oh so much better!.

      It was with a sharp whistle from the far end of the stable yard that had Jessie coughing in surprise as she whipped her head around too fast to spot the source. Pounding her chest to calm her coughing Anarchy danced and raised his head, snorting loudly in response to his usually calm riders unexpected coughing fit. Digging her heels into the beasts massive backside, she patted the beasts grey mane that all was well before he could work himself up any further. Even as her head stopped, her vision kept stuttering just like it does after one spins themselves violently as her broken eyes settled on the intruder. Thankfully underneath her Anarchy rapidly calmed down.

      The whistler stood in all his ragged glory a respectable distance away. Clad in all black, with a matching hooded black cape, Jessie had to hold back a spirit weed induced giggle at his shredded clothes, despite the fact hers fared little better. However compared to her he looked like he had run a thousand miles through a field of razor sharp thorns. If he was trying to pull off the stereotypical dark and mysterious look with the black he was doing a poor job of it. In fact he looked like a begger more then anything. The cloak was practically a shredded scrap of cloth and the ends of his pants were caked in long dried mud. Even his brown hair was shaggy and the tell-tale signs of stubble peppered his cheeks and chin. Interestingly though, she could see he was wearing leather bracers on his arms and a section of hastily crafted leather armor over his knees and down his lower leg. Whitch of itself looked like the threesome marriage of a needle, thread and piece of old leather gone wrong.

      It was when her eyes noticed and locked onto the heavy steel staff he held that her opinion changed. Slightly. While very boring in its construction, the top was bejeweled. No begger would keep such a thing. It would invite all sorts of trouble from others down on their luck. Especially for its owner who obviously fared little better then them. Although focusing her eyes a bit more, Jessie threw out her bejeweled description. The stone was to dull to even be the most clouded of diamonds. Smoke infused glass perhaps?

      As he finished introducing himself and speaking with Neviah however another...being appeared.

      This time however, Jessie's reaction was far more measured, and with a deep drag on her joint, one filled with simple curiosity rather then fear for which this thing should have inspired. Standing at over nine feet, the giant creatures head would've only been a foot lower then her own from her perch atop Anarchy. Rather lanky, the male reptilian creature thing did have a firm muscle tone to make up for it. Head to toe it was covered in blue skin with even darker scales ranging from sapphire blue to sea foam turquoise running in lines along the length of his mass. The clothing he wore though bespoke of greater station then the other man who had just arrived. The hooded black cape was adored in royal blue embroidery and his body was covered in well made polished steel chain mail of some quality. Lastly, the broadsword at his hip which in any normal mans hands was practically a claymore, was a work of art. Held in little more then a simple holster, its gleaming length was again made of high quality steel and worked in gold leaf down the center with a shining silver hilt capped with a ruby pommel stone.

      Just who and what the hell was he? Jessies mind worked frantically, dredging through a list of racial candidate's against the encroaching Spirit weeds confusing haze. One of the Northern Giant Ice Lords? No. Too skinny. Wouldn't explain the scales or lack of nose. A Naga half breed? Explains the scales and skin color. Doesn't explain the height or wealth. Dragonkin? Gah no, no wings and again lacks the muscle mass. Possible though. Demonic origin perhaps? Now the haze was getting to her. Her rational mind knew that was unlikely as she would be able to sense a demons natural aura of fear and domination that they exude. Strange. For once she shouldn't name a species. She'd have to ask.

      "I believe I may be of use to you" It began after smiling at the other mans slight jump at its throaty growl and utterly ignoring the idea of courtesy or introducing himself" though I do not own a horse. If you do not mind, I would like to join your ... group. I believe you're searching for the Titans right?"


      Beside Jessie, Naviah let out a hissing sigh from between her teeth and nodded, folding her arms over her chest. “Right; we don’t have a healer yet though,” she turned her dark gaze to the first man before looking back at the blue giant. “So what do you think you can bring to the group?”

      Money obviously...and a good distraction Jessie privately thought. She didn't trust any creature she couldn't put a name too. Much less Nobility by the looks of it.

      Before he could answer Neviah though, both Juul and Tijras decided to turn up. Juul strode first from behind the opposite corner the newcomers had arrived, walking nonchalant and oblivious to the presence of the small giant of a lizard beast. The healer could pass unnoticed but not that.

      "So, it appears we have some new additions to the party." he said in way of greeting as he drew near "Good, another weak thing to drag along." he indicated the healer "At least the other one appears self-sufficient."

      With another heady smoke induced giggle Jessie simply couldn't help herself. If he had stopped to think he would see it the other way around. First their appearance. The healer while looking like he took his clothes from a leper bore all the marks of a survivor anda lean hard body from whatever kept him moving certainly had him physically prepared. The blue thing behind him however bore the marks nobility. While in just as good physical shape, he probably never left whatever home he had come from if he thought wearing a fine cloak and carrying a gilded sword was a good idea for a long arduous journey. Secondly, what they could do. A healer could prove invaluable to saving their lives. This brute next to him she herself could replace several times over with summoned beasts.

      Coming up behind Juul though, Tijras arrived with a partially shouted greeting, a furry paw kept firmly on the hilt of one of his many weapons. That was good. Neviahs and her had made a good hire. If Juul took his job half as seriously as the Barazjikra was taking his job, Jessie could foresee few problems with anything that possessed a sane mind to know not to piss off a walking predator and a creepy snow white skinned swamp man.

      In regards to Juuls last words though, Jessie made the reply to both him and the additions. "It seems that way. like Nevi here said" she indicated the Shaman beside her Percheron. "We do need a healer" And with that she nodded to the young man clad in his tattered black clothing. "So I suppose you can come along. I hope you have your own horse though. If not you can ride with me. As for you..." she turned her head towards the blue scaled thing and deliberately looked him up and down with a crookedly cruel smile "I think you can walk just fine with long legs like that"

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

      It was later that afternoon that Neviah called a halt to their march to the Kadesh desert and everyone began to prepare for unpacking for the night. Their chosen campsite was only a hundred meters off the road they had been traveling. Around them the land altered between forest and vast farmland, they themselves were on the edge of the next patch of trees, tucked away from any negative weather by a protective copse of fir trees. With the trees behind and bordering them it left only a great vista of a seemingly endless wheat field stained gold by the setting sun.

      At their head, the Shaman led everyone in, followed by Jessie (and Mon who's name Jessie had already forgotten several times) upon Anarchy. Next was Tijras and Juul nearly side by side and finally the near ten foot tall creature who had identified himself as Melvin and little more. None had spoken much during the rather hard pace Neviah had set for them. According to the maps kept in Anarchys saddlebags, they would reach the Kadesh desert by tomorrow and time wasn't necessarily on their side. The Mages Guild had only rumors at the time when Jessie and Neviah were sent to that backwater hole they just left as a precaution. Since the Titans presence was confirmed the day before they made it there, It was lucky that they had not only been close to the desert, but managed to pick up four mercenaries only a day later.

      In the hour after everything was set-up, and the horses hobbled or tied, everyone finally settled into their places while Mon snapped and threw branches into the moderately sized firepit dug by a few great paw-fulls of dirt from Tijras. Juul as everyone suspected sat a little apart wrapped up quietly in his own thoughts. On the other hand Tijras took his place on a log, running a whetstone down the length of one of his many knives. Jessie sat on the dirt next to the fire happily puffing away with her pack and staff next to her and her portable alchemists kit spread out before her. A tiny cauldron of sickly yellow liquid bubbled from its holder made of rocks on the edge of the pit while the summoner ground away at several different leaves in a Pestle and Mortar. Neviah peeking at her carefully from behind the pages of a book opposite Tijras from time to time. While mixing Illegal Physco wouldn't explode like Red Sand, the precaution was now unfortunately ingrained in her. Finally there was Melvin pacing back and fourth, cooling down his legs from the seven hour walk.

      For the first and what would probably be the last time, everyone sat down to supper. If anything was to be said it was now.
    • "So what do you think you can bring to the group?"
      The sound of her words bounced back and forth a bit inside Melvin's head, before he was ready to answer.
      The smile that moments before had been on his lips, as he had managed to startle the beggar-looking healer, had been wiped of as a result of the somewhat negative greeting he was offered.
      An answer was not given though, as the high and pail fellow walked out from the stables, marking his territory with a rather harsh comment hinted with tone of superiority.

      Melvin could do little but mentally shake his head. Even the smoky-brain obviously understood the ignorance the pale man displayed by his remark - marking it with a small giggle; or was it that he just hadn't been in a larger group, where a healer could determine who won and who didn't and therefore trusted himself to be skilled enough to NOT need a healer on his side?
      It seemed to Melvin that he was either ignorant or over confident - and neither were good traits.
      It was clearly time to revisit his first impression of some of the members. It was clear that the small hint Melvin had picked up from watching the furry ones reaction to the greeting from the pale man when they met in the bar was spot on. The tension in the furry ones muscles, as if he had taken an ill placed insult, was obvious to anyone looking for it. The pale guy clearly lacked social skills - and possibly also some common sense.

      The smoky-brain-ragged girl on the other hand was clearly a lot sharper than Melvin's first impression had told him; he had fallen victim to the same kind of ignorance as the pale turnip over there - he had judged her by her looks.
      She underlined his final thought by issuing a clear command;
      "We do need a healer "
      And turning to Melvin she added
      "As for you, I think you can walk just fine with long legs like that"
      Melvin could nothing but respect that - even though he loathed the rest of her appearance, and the smell not to forget, that smile she send him told him that she knew she had just insulted him in a way that he couldn't respond to, and still keep his honor intact. Doing the only action he could think of, and remembering his manners, he made a slight bow the woman, whom he now regarded a great deal higher than just mere minutes before, and said
      "Melvin at your service."
      and with a smile and a small but noticeable shake of his head he added
      "And think I'll manage to trudge along just fine. At least my stamina should suffice if you would be so kind as to take it a bit slower than normal."

      Melvin couldn't help but feel slightly relieved. The smoky-brain had just accepted him into the group, letting him keep his fire a secret to himself a little longer. As he saw it there were no reason to just bark out to anyone in sight that he could induce flames at will. They would find out sooner or later anyway.


      Making himself ready to follow the group, he hastily packed his stuff before returning to the stable grounds, ready for the long walk.
      He could all ready feel how his legs was going to be a mess later when they made camp. He made a mental nota to himself, 'Remember to let them cool down slowly". In that aspect people were like horses - cooling down too quickly would induce injuries, and injuries was the last thing Melvin wanted right now.
      As he looked around on all the faces of this rather mixed group he found that he actually hadn't been able to pick up a single name besides "Nevi", as the smoky-brain obviously called her partner. Well, he would have plenty of time to learn the names as they travelled. Or so he thought until the group started on their journey with "Nevi" setting the pace - Melvin wasn't going to say more than a few more words that day.
    • "Why hasn't tha' saddle stra' sna'ed yet? I wore i' so thin i' should'a snapped before they left town." Dyeni sat and watched the group in their sleep, pondering why the saddle strap he wore thin with stones hadn't snapped yet.

      Dyeni sat across the way, watching patrons go in and out of the tavern. He had been sitting there for a couple hours, waiting for an unsuspecting person with some sort of item worth damaging. He had better days, like the time he sabotaged that wagon's axel. The issue couldn't wait much longer, and Dyeni was running down to his last dozen gold coins. This was it, his best bet. He casually strolled out of the shadows and up to the tie-offs where the horses were. "Horses go for quite a bi' o' money these days, and I bet one is more than likely t' pay t' fix'n their saddle."

      As Dyeni approached the tallest horse, he examined the harness' leather strap, identifying the location with the most worn point. Setting down his ruck-sack Dyeni stumbled forward slightly from the weight taken off his shoulders. "Aye, gotta wartch that next time." This happened anytime he took his ruck-sack off, he could never remember. He reach in and shuffled the items about and pulled out two thin, rough stones. As he reached towards the horse it aggressively moved its feet, knocking the moderately built Dyeni on his ass. "What the 'ell, I warn't gonna hurt ya none." Dyeni changed his attention to the next horse over, identifying another weak spot and rubbing the saddle strap thin.

      Thinner than thin and a half-hour later Dyeni scooted back accross the street waiting for the owner to come out.

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      Dyeni awoke in a panic to only realise the horses were still there. "Good," he thought, "I 'aven't missed the owners." Dyeni watched for a couple hours until he saw a pair of women come outside, one looking ratty, the other a little more kempt but tired. The women went over to the horses, and Dyeni couldn't help but anticipate with excitement, "all she 'as t' do is climb up and tha' strap will snap!" To his dismay a shabby man approached the women, followed by a tall blue fellow. Then out of the tavern a lean pale man joined the group as did a giant walking bob-cat.

      The combined stress on the saddle should have broke it, but they were leaving town, and the strep hadn't broke yet. Dyeni knew he wouldn't be able to keep up with them by foot, and so he did what he was best at, scamming. Running down the street as a man got on his horse, Dyeni lied down as the horse backed up. "Ahh! Ow, my leg! Shishkabibbles! You better get me t' a doctor you bleedin' fool!"

      "I'm sorry sir, the doctor is in the next town over, so you'll have ride with me," the man helped Dyeni onto his horse.

      As the man started climbing up onto the saddle Dyeni said, "I think ma foot is feelin' better now."

      "Real..." Dyeni kicked the man in the face and started after the group. He maintained a distance so as not to alert them of his pursuit.


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      "I followed these folks fer ten hour now, an' tha' damned strap still 'asn't snapped. Worse still, I 'ad to rob a man o' a horse, that ainna town I can go back t' now." Just then Dyeni's luck gave out and the saddle strap snapped. "Oh lucky day, er night... Now lesee, if I sleep I can casually like stroll pass these unsuspecting folks, then offer a lending 'and to fix it, say two gold pieces. Whaddya think Moradin?" Dyeni looked at the horse, it blinked back at him. "Aye, so two gold peices i' is then."

      Trouble wrote:

      Sounds like an expert clicker to me :D

      Doc Brown wrote:

      I have read several of your posts elsewhere over a number of years. I find your mental state to be disturbing and you probably need professional help.
      What you write in the spam section doesn't have much impact on the game as a whole ... But I don't like to see you attempting to influence normal players in universe 1.
    • She waited for an answer, but before either of the male creatures could speak Juul was walking towards them. "So, it appears we have some new additions to the party," he said as he neared. "Good, another weak thing to drag along. At least the other one appears self-sufficient." He indicated the healer and Naviah scowled at Jesse as she giggled, before just scowling at everything in general.

      Beind Juul came Tijras, calling out to them with loud greeting, his large paw upon the hilt of his sword as if ready for a fight The earth mage waved her hand to him in acknowledgement, letting Jesse answer the swamp-man's question as she took in the appearence of the two newcommers.

      One was just a little shorter than her, a welcome change from the near-giants they had already recruited. His clothes were tattered and shredded, discolored from his travels, but although he might have looked like a mess it at least showed that he was well worn and weathered from the road, that he was experienced in hard traveling and fighting. The other one was... different to say in the least, tall and covered in pretty turquiose scales, although Naviah supposed that in their little group of odd-balls he'd fit in perfectly amoungst them.

      It had only been about a week since Naviah and Jesse had left the guild and she was already getting used to seeing creatures she'd never seen before. Perhas later when they settled down for camp she'd go through the few book she'd packed in her bag and see if she could find out more about the races of her companions, but for now she was more worried about what the lizard-man was wearing. With such a fine cloak and weapons Naviah hoped he wasn't out to impress them, because if that had been his aim he had wholly missed the target.

      She let Jesse talk, rolling her eyes when her name was shortened once again. "Naviah. It's Naviah," she mutttered nder her breath in annoyance. The Shaman smiled however when Jesse suggested that the lizard-man walk. At least she knew she shared some opinions with the other mage if nothing else.

      Mounting her own horse in one swift movement she brought him gently foreward, looking down at their assembled crew. "I hope the rest of you are ready. Most of the morning is already behind us and we're leaving now with or without you. Oh, and I suppose I too can ride with someone if need be."

      When they were finally ready to leave she clicked her toungue softly and eased up on the reins, giving Templeton just a gentle amount of pressure from her heels to his sides to get him moving. Even with the cumbersome saddle she loved to be back on the horse, her body moving with each fluid movement of the beast beneath her.

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      When the sun began to sink in the sky she decided to call a halt to their journey, choosing a campsite only a little while off the path and convietly surrounded by trees and facing an endless sea of wheat. It was a beautifuland peaceful location, the area populated by farms and small patches of forest, and Naviah was pleased to finally be able to relax a bit and take in deep breaths of clean country air.

      Before she even began to set up her own camp she made sure Templeton was comfortable, after all it was the least she could do after making them move so fast on the road with such little rest throughout the day. Naviah ran a hand beneath his saddle blanket to make sure that nothing had found it's way beneath it, brushed the dust and mud from his hide and finally picked up his large hooves to ensure that no rocks had gotten stuck in them and to clean out any excess mud. Only then did she quickly set up her own outdoor sleeping arrangements before retiring across from Tijras to settle into her book. She would have taken care of Anarchy as well, but frankly the horse frightened her. As the people of her tribe would have said he had "wild eyes," or at least he did when he rolled them her way.

      As she read about the ancient reptialian race of Rashka'gourm, a race she detirmined their own scaled companion not to be a pat of but found fascinating nonetheless, she kept a watchful eye on Jesse and the addict's bubbling conncoction. She remebered a incident only a few days ago when she'd saved them and a whole inn from one of Jesse's stoned mishaps, and figured it would look very bad on them in front of their goup if she were to make such a mistake again, especially if Naviah wasn't there to save them from disaster.

      "I really hope you aren't trying to cook us supper Jesse," she joked dryly. When it was finally time to eat, each making a meal either out of things they'd gathered or brought with them from the village she decided to speak up first, introducing herself formally as well as the adventure they were about to embark on.

      "My name is Naviah, and my charge here is Jesse. As Juul and Tijras already know, we are both mages sent from the mage's guild to embark on a very important mission to subue the Titans and restore balance to the magical energies of the areas from wich they are appearing. Jesse and I will find the Titans, using our abilities to guide us towards them. You all work on a need to know basis helping us do our job." The shaman sat back and sipped at her tea, looking at the group with her dark eyes. "Im an earth mage, a predictor and changer of the weather as well as a commander of the natural elements you see around us. Jesse is a summoner, hence all the charms attached to her staff. Lastly, the first Titan has been located just south of here in the Kadesh Desert."

      After any questions had been answered and they were done eating their meals Naviah suggested that they get some rest so that they could leave early the next morning, retiring to her bedroll and promptly drifting to sleep, her mind interlocking with the earth around them. It was so pleasent to sleep beneath the stars again.

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      In the morning Naviah awoke to see Templeton's saddle lying on the ground beside the horse. Closer inspection revealed that the girth had snapped and Navaih swore. As much as she hated the saddle she needed the bags of supplies that were attached to it.