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Mercenary on the Winds

Faith in the Spirits Arc 1: To Align the Stars

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Gean let out a hearty chuckle at Miria's sudden freak out and ensuing attempt to cover the reaction up. "C'mon cub, you gotta be more aware of your surroundings." Her smile remained strong as she stayed draped over the smaller girl. For the most part, Miria was like a recharge spot for Gean. With the cub being far removed from the other "problems" currently plaguing Gean's life, she could just relax for now. "So what's going on in your world lately? You holding up well? Travel not being too hard on you?"

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"You have a sister too?" Seems to be quite common in this camp so far. "Well, the book I'm reading is called Carnelia. I've been told it's based off a true story, but it's probably more or less hearsay from what I understand. It's about a young mercenary wrapped up in a conspiracy. A thrilling read, but I don't know what kind of tastes your sister has." She paused for a bit to think. "I know some adventure titles I could write down for you if you'd like."

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Miria held Gean's arms and snuggled into them. Gean was comfy and safe. Not that a group of badass women and gents wasn't safe-feeling enough, there was something about Gean that made Miria feel comfy. "Mmm..." She embraced it a bit.

"I'm good, just a lot of travel." She answered. "So just relaxing until it's time to go again. How... about you? Are you okay?"

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“Honestly, sounds like that one’s right up Yuyu’s alley.” Tanya couldn’t help but think that Yuria would really like this group, as she stretched her arms as she heard out Renais’ description. “She’d love a new batch of those adventure books to read, she’s always been big into them. Our family encourages it, too; gets her pumped up to take to the road one of those days.”

Huh. Maybe she’d already set off on her own little adventure and they’d end up running into her along the way. “Carnelia… gonna hafta remember that. Really, thanks a bunch for this. Bet you’d have a lot more in common with Yuyu than just a few books.” She gave Renais a playful little wink, though she resisted the urge to give her a nudge too.

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Alriana crawled out of the wagon shortly after her sister, stoic face in full force. Everyone seemed to have either dispersed or moved onto different conversation. Natalya was still outside, standing guard like she said she would. Though there hadn't been any chiming in from their leader during their talks, Alriana had to be certain. "You did not overhear anything, did you Natalya?" Perhaps her speech was a surprise to the tiger, but Alriana was too busy thinking about what Sixteen had told her to uphold her usual butchering of the common tongue.

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"Huh." The revelation that both Sixteen and Alriana were magical creations as opposed to natural born creatures made some things start to make sense in Cinaed's head. Some of the contradictions of Alriana, her amazing grasp of somethings followed by a seeming ignorance of other things, combined with some of her odd manners made more sense in the reflection of the fact that she was a created being that had made for some purpose by a group that was now seemingly eradicated. "Well, I suppose in the end, it doesn't matter what they made you for, but rather what you choose to live for, right? You can live for whatever purpose you want now."

He smiled as she flopped down against him again, very gently patting her head with his free hand. "I think asking Alriana is a very good idea. After all, she's your sister. She should have some input if you don't have any strong opinion. I'm sorry that this Del never gave you a name. But you have a sister to look out for you now. And, well, a brother too, if you'll have me. I've never had a sister, but I would love one, if you want." It felt strange to offer that so soon, but there was something about Sixteen that just drew him to her. He wanted to protect her, give her a future outside of whatever purpose she had been created for. She deserved better than something that had required her being trained her whole life to fight, with seemingly built in weaponry, as he looked at her hands and teeth. "Well, if you ever want to hang off my arm, let me know and I'm sure I can accommodate.  I hear I make a pretty good shield in battle too, so even though I don't doubt your ability to handle yourself in a fight, you're always free to duck behind me if needed."

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Gean gave a a sigh as Miria returned the question back at her. "I'm... fine. I have some things I need to think about going forward, but I'm gonna sort them out bit by bit." Once again she pushed those things to the side. "Now enough about that, watcha reading this time?"

Briefly letting go of Miria, Gean reached down, plucked some grass, placed them between her fingers and began to whistle. She had just picked grass whistling back up recently and wanted to put some practice into it. The sound wasn't completely up to her liking, but enough for her to make a small melody with.

Edited by Bluemask 96

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"Brother? Didn't we just meet?" Sixteen tilted her head. She was still all smiles, but she was incredibly confused. As far as she'd been told, families were formed either through blood relations, or bonds over time. It was rather odd that Cinaed was offering that right away, leaving her not quite understanding, but not bothered. She looked off into nothing trying to piece it together, failed, shrugged, then moved on with her thinking. "I will make use of your arm and your body as a shield, though! Since you're offering. I definitely cannot take a punch. They designed me with quickness and efficiency in mind, so anything long and drawn out will probably take me out~" The tree was suddenly very interesting again, letting go of his arm and crawling up it again, her claws making the work easy and swift. She didn't hang down again, just sprawled out on the branch she'd hung from before and stared down at him.

"I don't really know what I want to live for, now... I guess I'll just help Alriana with whatever she needs to do until I figure it out! I can't really think about things for very long. I get distracted very easily and suddenly the old thoughts are gone~" She giggled, letting her tail hang, long enough to reach back down to the ground from where she was laying. "Oh! Oh oh oh! Do you have a flux tome? Or know where I can get one? I can use dark magic, but I've never had any money on me and magic has been difficult to steal. It was never really worth it when I was making ends meet, but now that I have a group of people to stay with, it'd probably be in all of our interests if I had access to all of my combat abilities, right?"

Edited by Mel the DM

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The way she asked that question was just... so very Nyx. "Beats me. I've never pried into what kind of Monster she is beyond surface level, haven't really had a reason to care. But maybe I should now that there's two of them." Come to think of it, she hadn't seen Nyx with a bottle in hand that much lately, so maybe her sleepiness was actually withdrawal. If that was the case, hey, maybe Natalya could finally stop having to tell her to quit the day-drinking.

But then a very much more important person came around, bringing with her a gift and the cutest nervousness in dealing with her love's birthday for the first time. Before Tasha would even accept this wonderfully thoughtful gift, a hand just went forward on its own and pet Alvira, a great big smile from the tiger to go with it. "You're just way too cute when you want to be, you know? Thank you, really," she said, not hesitating for a second to plant a kiss on her forehead. She could've gone a bit more daring, no problem, but she also remembered what the dragon had said the last time they had a bit of public teasing going on. "You'll have to tell me your birthday too, so I can get you something in return~" If Alvira was going to resemble a tomato patch for a moment after that, she might not even have noticed Tasha's free hand taking the charm.

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"Hweh..." Alvira was a tomato, blushing from ear to ear. She'd frozen in place a little after the kiss from Tasha, finally clueing back into reality as the charm was taken. She didn't waste a single second diving into a hug, squeezing her tight. There was no amount of onlookers that could get her to stop her cuddling, all smiles despite the embarrassment. "March twelfth..." Hopefully Natalya had heard her, it was a bit muffled from Alvira having buried her face against the Tiger once again.

She finally popped up-- not letting go of her hug --when Alvira poked into the conversation, giving the lizard a bit of a smile. "Hey, Aly... Everything okay with your... uh, sister, right? Everything okay with her? I've got a sister too, so if you need any advice, just let me know. I'd be more than happy to share it."

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Nyx hadn’t known about those two before, and now that she did, she wasn’t sure if she felt like a third wheel to Nattie and Viry or not. Especially since the alleged Aly seemed to pop into the conversation too. Technically, that probably made her a fourth wheel, but by then she was really losing the idea of it and instead focused on Aly. Now she remembered… she hadn’t gotten her name before, but she was the lizard girl that kinda scared her. Those were some sharp looking teeth, y’know! 

”Huh. A’ight, then.” Nyx nodded, almost as if she wanted to make like a tree and get the hell out of there, but stopped herself just short. “Wonder if anyone’ll get somethin’ fer me fer m’birthday… s’comin up pretty soon, I think.” June was close enough, right? Probably? Eh, she was preaching to the choir with her present company, probably.

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Yuyu, huh. Must be a nickname considering the way Tanya spoke about her, she certainly was playful. Renais didn't expect her to join along, and it was a little troublesome since she saw a bit of her real personality. But otherwise she seemed like a nice enough person, someone Renais didn't mind talking to at all. Then came the playful wink, and it got a tiny blush on her cheeks. But then something came to mind, and she quickly turned away. "...maybe she'd have more in common with Miria, truth be told. I'd be more a stick in the mud than anything." She cleared her voice. "I'll see you later, Tanya. I shouldn't keep that chapter waiting." She nodded her head at her new companion and walked along. '...with the way I can't take my eyes off...mm I'm terrible. Who would want to be in my company?'

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Cin tilted his head back to watch her as she climbed the tree. She really never did stop moving for long. "Well, we wouldn't want you going down, so I'm glad you'll take my offer. Your quickness should help with that too. Hard to hit something that never stops moving, you know?" He frowned at her explanation of why she didn't really have something to live for. An inability to keep a thought in her head was worrying, making him wonder just exactly what the people who had made her had been up to. "Mmm, well, I'm sure Alriana will be able to help you with a lot of this. And if not, well, the Tigers as a whole can." And just like that, like she had promised, she was on another topic. One that was a little less likely to be one she liked the outcome of. "Aha. Unfortunately I only use tomeless fire magic. We do have one dark magic user in the Tigers but, well, she's one of our humans. I can introduce you and you can ask if she has a tome to share, she won't hurt you or anything, I just want to make sure you're comfortable."

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Tio put a hand to her forehead, and sighed as Ingverd admitted that he knew exactly as much as they did, which was to say not nearly enough. She'd gathered then that Aly was anything but an ordinary monster. For there to be a second one, and calling her sister... "Figuring out what exactly is going on here is probably important. I don't know much but I do know that magical creations are both exceedingly rare, and, by Lufirian law, exceedingly illegal. For two of them to be in the same place, and to know each other. Ugh..." It seemed like speaking with Natalya was certainly going to be coming sooner rather than later. 

Tio then flinched for a moment before looking at Ingverd with a cocked eyebrow, "Wait, beautiful? Aha... I see you've done a little more thinking on our talk from before. Starting to make sense of a few more things, are we?" There was a smile on Tio's face for a moment, before returning neutral. "We'll see what we can figure out. I just know that worrying mystery is an understatement regarding this... but if Natalya appears to be fine with this, it's not our place to interfere. Though, we should soon be trying to get a move on; we're not far from Liste, so making it there will provide us with some actual rest, and supplies for the next portion of our journey." 

Tio turned to Elisa, "Anything you have to add before we go back, and get comfortable for a little bit?" This was not how she expected to be spending their little break, but this journey had been nothing but surprises thus far. 

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"Alriana will help me... And I'll help her. She's a good girl. I'm really glad I finally found someone from the foundation... I've been going around in circles for over a decade, so I was starting to lose hope... Today is the best day of my life~" She sighed, slowly closing her eyes, tail swaying lazily down to the ground.

"If I can speak with them while you're there, or Aly is, I'll be okay... Feel free to introduce me to them, if it's not too much of a bother."


Ing managed a chuckle, nodding along. "Yes, beautiful. An allure that no other woman has... Sorry to say, Tio~" He glanced over at Aly, letting a quiet sigh leave him. "We'll figure out what she is at some point, I'm sure... But I'm not fussed either way. She's just... Aly. That's what matters to me." He was probably missing the point, but it was what it was.

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Miria enjoyed the embrace until Gean had let go. It was clear to her that Gean had something bothering her, but... Miria would be kind enough to not prod. Besides, she asked about what she was reading. Well...

"Actually, I'm not reading anything. This," She showed, it was a journal, with a strap left hanging, "Is a journal I picked up back in Eibar. I thought, well... I really like the book that was done of Gran, detailing his life, and his efforts. So I thought... If I wanted to, or someone else, I'd document our efforts, and... Maybe one day we'd see our efforts in a story of our own. Or someone can use them, and make their own tale based on our efforts." Miria smile had practically glown, she was so proud of this idea.

"Pretty cool idea, huh?"

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Tio just waggled her finger, "Beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. No need to apologize for that; just means my charms are better spent elsewhere~" She leaned against Elisa. Ingverd's sigh was, and resulting response was telling. If it hadn't been obvious from his reaction to Alriana's brush with death, it was now. As long as Ingverd understood just what he was getting into--and with his station, he almost definitely knew more than Tio did--Tio had no reason to warn him off. He was exactly right; Alriana was just Alriana. She'd heard that creations weren't too different from feral monsters, if even more dangerous. Alriana seemed to have capacity for thought, and reason, which made her no different from any other monster or clouded. Of course, Tio had only ever interacted with her once. I really should look into that a bit more... Have to be a little more on guard than usual if that wasn't the case, but the Tigers were able to talk with her just fine. 

Tio then smiled at Ingverd, "Well, you're right, there's no reason to rush; plenty of time to figure this out. But, Ingverd, I'm quite pleased that you're starting to figure out what matters to you. Paints you in a different light." She turned back to the wagon that they'd emerged from, "Do let the others know that we'll be back on the road in a little bit. Not exactly how I would have used our break, but what can you do? Do keep us in the loop, Ingverd. Also, I've been working on your request. Just thought you should know." 

With that Tio, gestured towards Elisa, and sauntered back towards the wagon. 

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"You make me sound like a horrible person, Tio. I'm just committed to my work... Mostly. I'll do my best with her and thank you again for your quick help." Ingverd gave her a wink and hopped up to standing, giving the camp a loud clap. "Alright, everyone! Evokers orders; we're going to be moving again soon! Saddle up~" That was enough of an announcement... He gave Aly a wink, hopping back into the cart and making his way past the boxes to get ready to drive.

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Miria was beaming with how proud she was about her journal idea. "I don't know how well I'll be remembered in history, but if it makes you happy."

Ingverd's call signaled the end of their brief moment. "It's time head out Cub. Gotta get back on the road." With a stretch, Gean made her way towards the wagon Tasha was driving. "Oh!" Gean stopped and turned around towards Miria. "Miria can I have two sheets of paper? I need to write something."

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Elisa made a slightly frustrated shrug toward her wife, encompassing her thoughts on both how Ingverd seemed to know no more than anyone else and her lack of anything to add. It was kind of funny to see Tio poke him like that, though, getting the feeling that the two of them were getting along better now -- wait, Ingverd wasn't using her full name either! They really were getting along better, even if it was just for show~

Her thoughts about Ingverd aside, she was now curious about Alriana herself. She'd seemed a little withdrawn and Elisa was more than happy to give her space, but with the mounting concerns about potentially having illegal construct creatures in the group, the younger Evoker would have to hear things from the lion's mouth, so to speak. Even if Alriana and her newfound sister were that kind of creatures, all she really wanted to do was to get to know them better. She'd only been a child when Kansei began cracking down on the presence of Clouded, but despite how conceited her parents were, they had opposed the direction Carmine took the country in, and her time in Glacies only made her more convinced they had been right in that regard.

Those thoughts made her look a bit pensive as she followed Tio back to their wagon. "Sometimes I wonder if I'd never have left Kansei if Claire and Lotz were still in power. I'd still have done what I had to, but... I don't know. Maybe I'd have just gone to an academy in my homeland instead." That perhaps came a bit out of nowhere, but such was how her thoughts went when things reminded her of those times, just like how she wanted to give attention to and tease Renais after that moment on the ship.


"Not with this girl taking up all of my attention," Tasha joked in reply to Aly, ruffling Alvira's hair a tad in their continued hug. Nyx sounded more like she was just thinking out loud, perhaps for someone else to hear, but the tiger paid no mind to it, for now, at least. "Sixteen got out in a hurry, huh? She seems like a perky girl. If you're sisters, she's not that similar aside from the looks, at least on first impression!" Though, now that she paid attention to it, Natalya hadn't heard Aly speak in perfect sentences often. Something must have come up in their discussion, but she could only guess what it was -- at least if she wouldn't tell her directly -- and offer what she usually did otherwise. "Hey. If either of you want the company mom's attention, all you need to do is ask. I might have a dragon stuck to me more often than before, but you'll let us have privacy for a talk, right, Alvira?~" Looking back at her girlfriend, she put on a smile telling there was only one right answer to that question.

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Alvira shrank just a little. Tasha knew how to be convincing, while still looking like nothing was wrong... "Hh... Y-Yes mommy-- Mom-- Tasha!" Fuck. Alvira slumped, letting go of the tiger and almost sliding off of her, moving away almost like a machine, stiff limbs making slow movements as she made for one of the wagons. That's it. No one will ever take you seriously again. You've done it now, Alvira... Ugghhhhh, whhhyyyyy... Why does she have to have that kind of presence in public too...?

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Tio flinched for a moment at Elisa's musing, as she looked back over her shoulder at her. "I... don't exactly know. I suppose I have Carmine to thank for pushing you in my direction, but..." She mused a moment. Gathering her words, "I think you would have stayed in Kansei. You only came because of how things were changing under Carmine. You'd have left your family regardless, but that was what tipped your hand. I... hate thinking about that possibility, but I suppose that's selfish of me." Tio didn't want to think about what her life would be had Elisa entered it. In fact, there was a good chance that she wouldn't have even been here at all. Saddled with the herculean task of quelling a mana storm as her first real mission as an Evoker, and had Elisa not been there to share in that burden and to melt her heart, she doubted that she would have been able to do it at all. 

"Either way. It's happened, and the only thing we can do now is deal in the present, and shape the future. We do that best together, Elisa. Now then, let me remember where we are on the map, and get back on our way. Hope you won't mind me getting comfortable next to you~" 



With Ingverd's call, the Tigers returned to their wagons, including Sixteen, who was still attached to Alriana at the hip. Their break proved to be less than that, but perhaps just a bit more meaningful. With their odd acquisition over and done with, the three wagons continued on their way with Tio's surprisingly expert guidance. The remaining journey was quiet, and without incident, if uncomfortably warm. As they moved further into Hecatia, the heat would only grow more oppressive as summer took over, and then sun remained high in the sky for longer. 

But after a few more hours of travel, the trees, hills and rivers that had characterized their horse-drawn journey fell away as they approached a small gate with a lax guard leaning against his post. On a closer glance, it was more like a fence with a small checkpoint next to it than a gate, and beyond it was a reasonably sized village. Towards the center was a large bell, and in the distance behind that, up on the hill, was a large manor. Not quite a castle, but much more extravagant than the simple wooden and stone houses that one could see from the gate. 

"Halt'a moment." The guard stood from his post, spear in hand as he approached the lead wagon. His tail swished behind him, and the whiskers on his face revealed him to be clouded. "Sorry fer th' trouble, but th'--" The man froze as he looked up at Tio, and Elisa. "Th' Evokers?! Heck, ye here early!" He peered behind their wagon at the other three. "Three Wagons... Kay, just continue with the wagons in ta the center of town. The Liste Bell over there-- ah, ye two know where it is." 

"That's fine, it's not a problem. Do you know where our supplies are?" Tio fanned herself, she was only in her blue and pink dress. Her mantle had been discarded in an attempt to weather the heat. It was working, but not nearly as well as she hoped. 

The feline scratched his head, "Aha... Well, I did say that Sarasin thought you'd be here tomarra, and well... they're not here yet." 

Tio blinked, before pulling a hand up to her forehead, "That's... less fine, and more of a problem. But I suppose... it won't hurt much to stay an evening. But we'll need to speak with Sarasin in that case about accommodations." 

The guard nodded, "I'll get one of th' boys to take ye there. Sorry fer the trouble, really didn't think ye'd be here until tomorrow." 

The guard waved them on through. 

Tio hit the back of her head on the carriage, "Of course... The one time we're ahead of schedule. Oh well, I'll just explain things to Natalya and the others, and we'll spend the evening. Can't really leave without the supplies... Oh Sarasin..." The heat was leaving her a little more bothered about the supplies. But they were ahead of schedule.

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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Alvira was completely fine as the trip continued on and the heat increased, not even moving to use her ice to cool off. This much heat just didn't bother her, owing to her nature as a fire dragon. She spent most of the rest of the trip attached to one of Tasha's arms, only letting go when the tiger said she was too warm or someone needed to speak with her. Mmm... I'm really turning into something of a wife ga-- W-Wife!? You're not even married and you're barely dating! Calm down Alvira... She shook her head to snap herself out of that sensation as they began wheeling into their first destination of many.


"Alllyyyyyy... Why is it so waaarrrmmmm... Are you sure I can't take my top off? Are you sure...?" Sixteen was squirming around the wagon next to her sister, trying to deal with the warmth by fanning herself with the end of the shirt. "I need a lake to crawl into... This is so uncomfy..." 


Ingverd was doing his best to not let the heat get to him, despite the small trickle of sweat rolling down his face. It wasn't too bad, but they were getting into the summer months and hadn't brought any real cover from the sun. I'll have to fix that. They'd been stopped for barely a moment when the gates opened to let them in, Ingverd ushering the horses along once more. "That was convenient." They wouldn't have to wait much longer, now. "Hopefully this contact of the Evokers is hospitable."

Edited by Mel the DM

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"Have we finally made it?" Gean poked her head out from behind Tasha and Vira  as she whined her question. Most of the trip had been fine, but it was safe to say that she did not agree with the heat they had ended up in. Humidity was never a problem for the girl, but dry heat like this was amplified for a Seafolk like herself. Getting to an inn and some copious amounts of water would have her stable, so it was just a matter of getting settled.

"Vira, can you spare a gal some ice? It's deadly over here." Gean just wanted some relief, any at all. "Hell you could chuck it at me if you want to."
 

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Alvira had been about to quietly create some ice for the whining Aegean, but when the woman suggested she could chuck it at her instead, a mischievous smile spread onto the dragon's face. In the blink of an eye, a brick of ice was formed, shooting off into Gean's gut without another word. Solid, cold, and despite the slight gut punch, likely welcome ice.

"Consider it chucked~ Hope it helps you cool off... I guess I should've made some for everyone, but this isn't even close to my limit on heat, so it slipped my mind... Sorry."

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