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Main - The Kitchen Table (Role Play Forum) - Trial by Dragon Blood
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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-21-19 01:22 AM Link | ID: 152741
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Bel: Does it even matter if the small fries are shook up? This won't have affected Aeshalt in the slightest, I assure you. And that "parley" is pretty much non-existant anyway.

Noticing the harpy moving around and Aren's reaction, he laughs.

Bel: Hah. You really do need to get out more. Also, I don't like the idea of taking her into even more danger either but we can't leave her here. And splitting up is an even worse idea.

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Trelior
Posted on 11-21-19 01:42 AM Link | ID: 152742
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"Bingo!" Zarik says and makes a gunshot motion with his hand, "We can neither risk the girl's safety or our party's stability by breaking apart at this point. And I'm erring on the side of caution by approaching Lord Bitch at 100% capacity, because i'm with you on thinking that shit's a trap!"

Aren heaves a sigh and says, "Hey, I'm sorry that between my jobs at the Foundry and the clinic take precedence over being an adventurer these days!"

"Not sure how the Foundry needs your oversight, dude." Zarik says, "Unless you have a pet project, you're not expected to be there any more than I am. I didn't hire the people we have for you to be a bastardized dragon up their asses. They already have a real dragon on their asses half the time."

Adjusting Caionna's weight on his shoulder, he adds, "And if you were so fucking concerned with the Foundry, then why in the hell were you impossible to find when I needed you for a project about a year or two ago, eh? Lie your way out of that one, Skippy!"

Cai heaves a sigh in protest of Zarik's mild manhandling of her, then cranes her neck to make eye contact with Aren. Raising a brow, she adds, "That's actually a good point. He, Zissou, and Bel nearly got torched in the Great Gubal because of failed goose chase after you!"

"I, too, would like to know, Arendal." Zissou presses.

"I... Uh..." Aren stammers, "It's a long story..."

"Well, unless we're gonna take to the air," Zarik says, "We've got about an hour before we get to where we're going. Spill it!"

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-21-19 09:32 PM Link | ID: 152774
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Bel: We're all ears. I'd rather not have to pry it out of your head with a telepathic probe. But let me guess...you were lazying off somewhere, right?

(This is gonna be fun.) Bel thinks to himself.

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Trelior
Posted on 11-22-19 01:59 AM Link | ID: 152784
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"Well... Uh..." Aren stammers, "I just wanna start by saying that you guys went on that goose chase for no reason. You said a goblin told you I was going?"

"Yeah, what about it?" Zarik asks.

"You realize that goblins aren't the most attentive to things that aren't shiny, right?" Aren responds, "That goblin could have just saw another Raen heading in that direction. We all look the same to them."

"Mildly racist, but the stereotype goes both ways. Our perception of them to their perception of us." Zissou muses.

"Okay, we nearly got ourselves and an otherwise uninvolved knight killed because we got lied to." Zarik says with marked irritation in his voice. "Now tell us what you were doing? Why weren't you responding on your linkpearl?"

"Fucked if I can remember..." Aren says sheepishly, "But I can tell you that I was nowhere near Dravanian soil."

"Get to the point!" Caionna chimes in.

"I may, or may not, have been in Ishgard." Aren says, continuing to dodge the topic.

"Get to the point before I hand Cai over to Bel and dribble your ass like a ball!" Zarik states with audible anger.

"I was sloshed and whoring, okay?" Aren confesses, "I wanted time away from everything I was working on, so I took a few days for absolute debauchery." Looking off to the side, he continues, "It didn't seem appropriate to talk about, given the context of the day's itinerary."

"On one hand," Zarik says with an aggravated sigh, "I get what you mean. On the other hand, we could have saved ourselves a lot of time and aggravation that week if you were reachable, even if you were blackout drunk and balls deep in an Elezen wench. I wouldn't have cared!"

Harpy begins giggling subconsciously at Zarik's example.

"That girl ain't right..." Zarik says with an eye roll.

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-22-19 05:24 AM Link | ID: 152785
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Bel snickers at Zarik's comment about a possible female elezen and Aren.

Bel: Well...I never expected to be so accurate in my assumption. And did you really think anyone here would be offened about what you were doing after what we've seen here? It couldn't possibly have made it worse. But next time you want to take some time off, how about leaving a note?

Speaking of her, and this is probably bad, I'm starting to get used to those reactions. Bel says and points towards the harpy with his left thumb.

Bel: Regarding that library...never seen so many possessed books at once in my entire life. I wonder if they solved whatever was happening in there.

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Posted on 11-22-19 06:09 AM Link | ID: 152786
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Aren is visibly red from embarrassment.

"I'm sure it did get sorted out eventually. Haven't heard anything about it since." Zarik says.

"As for the books, I swear I told you they were part of the security put in place by the Archons." Zissou says.

-Some time passes-

The party comes up on a large quarry-like area filled as far as they eye can see with a veritable rainbow of towering crystals. Near the center of the area are a dozen or so distinctly larger crystals in a familiar shade of amethyst.

Zarik points to the large crystals and says, "those must be the ones. Judging from the size, they've stolen way more aether than should have been naturally possible."

Caionna seems to be reacting in a curious manner to being so close to her own energy in such high capacity. "What if I told you, they pretty much were..." She says, with a nauseous tone to her voice. "I'm not feeling too good being so close, even though we're easily a few thousand feet away still... I can't tell if it's the crystals trying to eke more off of me, my soul trying to reclaim what's rightfully hers, or if it's a clash of the two happening in quick succession..." Her eyes begin to bulge slightly and dart around. "Put me down, Zar... before I get sick all over your armor." She seems to be disregarding the fact that she's wearing Bel's coat.

Zarik backs away to a distance before he noticed Cai start to have a reaction, then sets her down.

Her head reels and she asks, "What is going on?"

Zissou pulls out the device, walks over to her and states, "Please do not be alarmed, I must examine the rune Aesalth inscribed on your chest. It is upon your breast."

Caionna nods and allows the inverted robe to hang loose at her shoulders.

Zissou gently pulls the robe down her front and holds it to allow her to keep her modesty as he attempts to examine the brightly glowing rd rune.

Cai merely shakes her shoulders and pulls the robe down, completely exposing her chest. "Modesty was out the window when you found me this morning, naked. Just don't be weird about my lack of nipples."

"Wasn't gonna bring it up," Zarik says, "But now that you mention it, why even keep the shape shift up? Just go back to natural."

"Because even though I'm safe, I want to leave at least something to the imagination of the perverts among us!" Cai counters, rather snidely.

Zissou shakes his head and says, as calmly as possibly, "Would you two please stop bickering? I am finding this difficult to concentrate on."

Cai nods to her mentor, but shoots a glare at Aren and Bel from beneath a furrowed brow.

Zissou takes time to study the effects of moving the scale on the device, but never to any further than it was on when he found it, to see how it changed the rune. All that seemed to happen would be the symbol changing color, but not a change in Caionna's current state. "If I had to guess..." He begins to posit.

".. The rune is specifically for sapping her power." Zarik picks up where the old man left off.

"Precisely." Zissou affirms.

"If that's the case, can't we just dispel the rune and destroy the remote?" Zarik questions.

Zissou scratches his chin and says, "If only it were so simple. We know not what something like that would do to her."

Cai chimes in and says, "Hello? Please don't talk about me as if I can't hear you talking a few inches away from my face!"

"Alright, Little Miss Sass..." Zarik quips back, "What do you suggest we do? If it were so simple to dispel, what's stopping you from having done it?"

"In case you hadn't noticed, brother dearest, in order to dispel a rune like this, you need to be able to overpower it. Do you think I'm in any shape to try that myself?" Cai snips.

Zarik throws up his hands defensively and says, "Hey, you're the wizard here. Not me! If you're gonna suggest a dispelling, I would suggest trying it soon."

Zissou beckons to Bel and says, "Belgarion, I am unsure if I am powerful enough to do this on my own. May I request assistance of you?"

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-22-19 11:29 PM Link | ID: 152792
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(She still hasn't noticed?)

Bel: Actualy, Cai, you're having the exterior of my outfit on. Zissou was trying to find something you could wear in your bag but it took too long so I volunteered. And I thought I told you what you did or the condition we found you in back there wasn't your fault. Stop blaming yourself for that. You haven't done anything to damage your modesty.

At this point, Caionna shakes her shoulders so the robe falls down, exposing her chest completely.

Bel: Woah, geez. Bel says with slight surprise.

Bel: Except now, I guess? And just so you know, I was going to avert my eyes so as to respect your privacy. The wizard keeps quiet after this to allow Zissou to conduct his investigation but perks an eyebrow at Caionna's glare after the pervert remark.

Bel: What? That's not fair. I haven't had any such thoughts. Please don't lump me in with him. Bel says and tilts his head in Aren's direction.

Taking another break from speaking, Bel looks a bit disappointed about the whole pervert thing. (Is that really what you think of me? While I don't mind seeing a bit of skin, it's nothing I'd force someone else to do.)

He hears Zissou's requests and looks quite perplexed about what he just said.


Bel: You doubt your power? That sure doesn't instill me with a lot of confidence. But what choice do we have? I'm more worried about our options if this doesn't work, though.

Bel walks over to Zissou and begins chanting. Then he puts his hands down towards the rune in question and exlaims "Greater Dispel!"

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Trelior
Posted on 11-23-19 02:10 AM Link | ID: 152797
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Zarik perks his brow at Bel and motions a flat hand below his chin and points at Caionna when he begins making fairness accusations.

"Bel," Caionna begins, "With the way I've been treated the past few days, modesty is basically shot for me right now, and I don't have the energy to be shy about it. Do what needs done so I can feel normal agai--"she gets cut off by the rune on her chest violently giving off magical energy in an attempt to resist being removed.

The blast knocks all of the party members back several feet, and sends Cai sprawling back as well. The sky glows all of the colors of the rainbow in quick succession as the power erupts forth. When the dust settles, Cai is splayed out similarly to when she had been discovered just hours before. Zissou and Zarik are flat on their back near the purple crystals, Arendal is hunched forward a few feet back from where he was standing, it appears as if he had mind enough to brace and protect the harpy girl.

Caionna lay in the dirt momentarily before her body begins to glow and levitate from the energy of the crystals flowing back to her. Several minutes pass while the conflux of aether continues to make Caionna glow ever brighter.

All of a sudden, a large burst of energy emits from Caionna and every crystal in the quarry, except for those containing her power, begin to audibly splinter and crack. An absolute cacophony erupts as the crystals shatter, and the aether contained within well up into a veritable star above the purple crystals.

A familiar voice echoes from the source of the first ball of light. A powerful, confident feminine voice booms, "If she thinks she can just take my aether as if it was hers, then I'm sure it's fair game for me to claim all of it for myself as comeuppance!" Just as suddenly as the ball of concentrated energy appear, did it cause the existing crystals to glow and hum loudly and cause several more to sprout from the ground and grow to an immense size each.

When the light dies, the number of purple crystals appears to have tripled in the least, all glowing with a brilliant amethystine luster. Caionna stands proudly where she previously lay, au natural, everything in its place as it should be. The sunlight at her back giving her a glamorous silhouette. She puts a hand up to her head and comes to realize the disarray of her once-gorgeous locks of chestnut hair. Looking down, she notices her distinct nudity and motions quickly to redress the situation. Given the expediency required, all that appears to cover her is a plain loincloth and chest wrap.

Tapping her feet, she yells, "Nap time is over! Let's go! We have a great wyrm to put back where she belongs!"

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-23-19 03:17 AM Link | ID: 152799
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Bel is sent flying back a bit, landing flat on his ass from the erupting force but does manage to shield himself from the initial blast as he suspected the rune may have some sort of defense mechanism.

(Oof. I did expect a defense of some sort but not like that. Sort of rough but I guess I should be happy it wasn't worse. Now where's...?)

By this time, Caionna is floating in mid-air with energy flowing back into her.

(Oh. I guess it did work then? That's good.) The wizard lets out a sigh of relief and keeps watching the spectacle with awe. An occurence of magical importance such as this, he doesn't want to miss. He watches quietly as crystals shatter and more take their place as they shoot up from the ground.

(Purple. My favorite color.)

He nods towards Caionna where she stands in the sunlight, not because of her possibly seeing it, but because of her power finally being back where it belongs. One that signals satisfaction from the result of Bel's and the others' assistance. In short, he's happy for Caionna. He rises from his seated position and approaches Caionna.


Bel: Who's napping? Need I remind you that your consciousness has been going on and off since we got here, up until this point? Either way, it's nice to see you got your power back.

Bel notices the loincloth and chestwrap and concentrates for a few moments. In a blue glow, the exterior part of his robe is magically recreated around him, in the proper place, but without the unnamed combination of bodily fluids that were stained on it earlier.

Bel: Are you sure that's all you need? What I mean is, are you comfortable with that? You can still borrow this if you like. Bel says and points to his exterior attire.

Bel: And if you mean "put her back where she belongs" as in a state of non-existance, I'll be all over that once we get there. I don't wanna hear any arguments about it. I have to do something other than just pinning down a weakling. In the last few lines of speech, Bel's tone grows progressively in anger.

Bel: *sigh*. Sorry. I get mad just thinking about her.

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Trelior
Posted on 11-23-19 03:58 AM Link | ID: 152800
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Caionna stands proudly, arms pumped and her arms flexed. A visible aura it emitting from her as a haze of purple surrounding her like a halo. Setting her jaw as she looks over herself and says, "Nah... I think this rugged look fits me right now. Can't describe why. Something about it just feels right."

Putting a hand on her head, she becomes visibly angry. "I have enough rage in myself left over from what I did to Zerilisk's cronies for what they did to my hair to obliterate any dragon that comes anywhere close to me!" She yells.

The ambient noise, aside from the wind blowing through the peaks, is completely silent. Zarik audibly coughs and says, "I don't think that's much of an issue. You vaporized damn near everything that wasn't us with your light show."

"Let that be a lesson to them, then!" She shouts defiantly, then turns her attention to Zarik because he spoke up, "Do me a favor, please Zarik. I want you to shave the rest of this mattered horror story off of my head. I'll finish this quest as a cue ball for all I care because I would sooner be bald than disgraced like this!"

"Uh..." Zarik begins, "I don't think I can do that, I don't have any razors, only my knife, and it's not a straight edge. I could potentially scalp you on accident."

"I don't care! If you cut me, Aren can fix it!" Cai growls.

"Okay, fine! Chill out, you Ayla wannabe!" He beckons to her to come closer and sit with her back to him. "What's next? 'DACTYL! GIVE CAIONNA DACTYL!'?" then he laughs.

Cai prissily obliges her brother and sits as he requested, but not before ramming her elbow into his shin as penance for his joke.

Zarik jumps and smarts at the sudden, uncharacteristically strong, jab at his leg, and says, "Okay, you're gonna need to sit still while I do this, or you're gonna get hurt." Snapping the switchblade out, he carefully begins to scrape the matted and thinned hair off of his sister's head.

Arendal stands and looks the harpy over carefully, she appears unharmed, but she is distinctly wide-eyed. Whether it be from the sudden blow back, the light show, or being able to sense Caionna's incensed fury.

Aren thinks aloud, "Wow, she's full of piss and vinegar right now. Almost blind in rage. Is it because she's fueled up and wants retribution, or is this just a side of her we've never seen before?"

Zissou mere nods and says, "It may well be a mixture of the two. I cannot claim to blame her for any of this." Turning to Zarik, he muses, "We must not leave these crystals here to be stolen by the dragons when our backs are turned. I have the capability to transport them in their current state with my magic, however, we have nowhere in range to send them short of your friend's establishment in Bruon. How likely is it that he would be amenable to storing these due to the risk involved with them?"

Busy with thinning out the few thick tufts of hair on Cai's head, Zarik says, "If I know Roff the way I think I remember him, he'd go to the depths of hell and back to help me. That's just how thick we were as kids. Try contacting him with a Sending spell or something, let him know what's going on."

"Understood." Zissou responds, and begins to prepare a message to be sent to the foot of the mountain.

Between protests at Zarik's roughness with her hair, Caionna says, "Bel, I mean MY nap time is over. We need to set the record straight and show these bastard dragons who the real queen bitch is!"

All three of Zarik, Aren, and Zissou stop for a moment and stare in wonder at this strange, new, uninhibited Caionna.

She continues, "This is my fight. It's likely Aesalth will insist on it, too. Help if you can, but store that rage and channel it to something greater if you can't. I know that if I don't unleash this fury, it's gonna end up eating me up. I implore you to let me lead, regardless of what happens." She cracks her knuckles in anticipation.

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-23-19 06:44 PM Link | ID: 152816
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Bel watches, baffled at Caionna's focus on her hair. (Really? That's your concern right now? I understand your hair is important to you and I'd like it if it looked better too but I'd say there are much more important priorities at the moment.)

Continuing to watch, he ponders Caionna's sudden change and wonders if this is her true self or if it's a result of what Aren and Zissou just mentioned.

(Yes. I, more than anyone, understand your anger. I feel the same way for what they did to you. But to say that I like this new change in you is...hmm. I don't know what I think about it. You anger is entirely justified, however.)

The wizard turns to face Caionna as opposed to just looking at her, in thought, upon her calling his name.


Bel: Uh...I couldn't possibly call you that. The...word after queen. And you're right. It is your fight. I'll let you lead, but on one condition. I want to get some good hits in too. The reason I'm this angry too is on your behalf.

(What is this feeling? Why do I feel like I want to destroy Aeshalt myself, despite what Caionna said? I shouldn't need to. Cai is back to her...usual self?)

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Trelior
Posted on 11-24-19 01:31 AM Link | ID: 152852
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Caionna notices Bel's reaction to her demanding a haircut, and says, "My hair was my pride, those barbarians destroyed it by ripping out out, cutting it short, and just generally being disrespectful of it. The way I'm feeling right now is that I should just start from the beginning. I know a bald woman doesn't look good, but my old hair is a memory I feel I should leave here."

As he works, Zarik makes an offhand comment, "Y'know, guys... I think this is how Cai really is with some unresolved anger issues right now. I remember she was pretty fiery before we got separated."

"Now that you mention it..." Zissou begins, "Before Caionna was given to me for my mentoring, I do remember there being an over rambunctious girl that the guild administration had to go to extreme measures to get under control. Not mind control, mind you, just to settle her down. I had not heard anything more about the wild child after I took her under my wing..."

"What are you saying?" Caionna asks with a snap of her head, causing Zarik to nick her head, "Ow! Watch it!"

"You're the dumbass that jerked your noggin with a knife pressed against it. It's not my fault!" Zarik snips back, "Talk if you must, but sit the fuck still!" and he continues to work around the fresh wound in her scalp.

"Okay, fine..." Cai says, unwilling to admit she's wrong, then goes back to Zissou, "Are you saying the admins did something to me to calm me down?"

"In a word, yes." Zissou answers, "I believe they may have inscribed a rune onto your body to ameliorate your tumultuous attitude. It was not intended in a malicious manner. But since Belgarion and I cleansed you of your unnatural magical affects; it removed not just the baleful target, but also your personal affects, and the calming one."

"That... Makes sense." She says, "That explains why even in times where I should have been positively livid, I felt overly calm and collected, despite my mind wanting to let me fly off the handle..." with a gruff exhalation, she says, "Add that to the laundry list of things I feel like I'm going to need to work through..."

Having finished with the front of Cai's head, Zarik continues to the back. He asks, "How about that Sending? Don't you magic-y guys send a verbal message?"

"Not in this case, I had to send a visual representation so that our friend would know what we are dealing with." Zissou responds, "I await his response as we speak."

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-24-19 03:13 AM Link | ID: 152854
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Bel: I understand your hair is important. I really do. I'd prefer it looking like it usually does too. But winning this upcoming battle is even more so, wouldn't you agree? As for your new personality, I feel a mix of the two would fit but you can't force a certain way of being onto someone. You're gonna have to find out what feels the most natural for you. It's not necessarily how you are right now. I could try and help you with that once this is all over.

Bel has since found a boulder to sit down on while conversing with the others.

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Trelior
Posted on 11-24-19 03:54 AM (rev. 2 of 11-24-19 04:24 AM by Trelior) Link | ID: 152856
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"I appreciate the offer. But I have so much to come to terms with, and so much of it I have to reconcile on my own..." Caionna begins, "Part of it involves, and revolves on, you... And now doesn't seem like the kind of time to really elaborate on any of it." She then tilts her head forward, conveniently as Zarik needs it to reach what's left on the back of her head.

After a pregnant silence, Zissou calls out, "I just received word from Roff. He said he can make arrangements for the crystals to be stored in Bruon as a favor to you. Let us make haste to transport them quickly. More than enough time has passed that if retaliation were to be coming, it will be well on its way."

Before Cai can stand, Arendal walks over to her and places a hand on her head, the familiar glow signals that he has healed any cuts received from Zarik's improvised shave.

Getting up, she meets gaze with the giant and says, "Thank you." Turning to Zarik, she says, "Thanks to you, too. I figure the degenerate male dragons won't try calling out to me if I'm not as pretty, so this goes twofold." The last part seems to be aimed at Bel as an explanation, but she doesn't turn to face him.

Walking over to the crystals, she says, "Let me take some of the smaller ones as an insurance policy if something fishy gets attempted." bending over to grab several small crystals just barely small enough to be picked up in her bare hands. She then walks over to a larger one that is as tall as she is from hip to shoulder with a diameter similar to that of Zarik's forearm. Touching the large crystal, it flickers and glows, then proceeds to float behind her, causing the smaller ones she claimed to orbit her like Aren's cards on his sphere.

Clutching one of the crystals, she focuses a bit on it and causes it to glow brightly momentarily before returning to its resting state. Walking to the harpy, she touches the younger girl and says in a relatively calmer tone, "Here... take my energy as your own. Take as much as you need to regain your strength."

As if in response, the crystal begins emitting a soft glow as it begins to spread its power over the harpy. A few seconds later, the glowing stops suddenly. The harpy shows some signs of rekindling, her hair and feathers show very faintly of a reddish color, but little more. Shaking her head, she says, "Thank you Caionna, but I don't think I deserve your power." Opening her eyes, the cloudiness to them is gone, and their natural blue shows through, albeit still fairly dull.

"Hang on..." Zarik starts, "How does she suddenly know your name?"

"I simply imparted some of my knowledge into the crystal I imbued her with to give her a fast-forward lesson on important details. Our names, our mission... A touch of etiquette..." Cai says.

At the comment on etiquette, the harpy begins blushing profusely, and she stammers, "I'm sorry guys... She helped me grasp what you meant by my inappropriate behavior. Please forgive me for making you uncomfortable."

"Water under the bridge, kid." Zarik says, "I hope she told you that that kind of stuff is only good in private, with the right person."

The girl's eyes dark back and forth as Zarik finishes his statement, and she blushes harder.

Zarik happened to be watching her, and his expression goes from neutral to 'oh shit'.

"That leaves us with giving you a name..." Caionna says to the harpy.

While this conversation is happening, Zissou has been marking locations on the ground around the crystal farm and drawing a perimeter in the loose dirt. Taking a moment to double check his work, he calls out, "Arendal! Belgarion! Caionna! I am in need of your assistance! I need each of you to take point at the markers on the corners and assist me in focusing for the teleportation spell to begin!"

"But that will have to wait a while longer." She says before taking her position on a nearby corner of Zissou's marked area.

Aren puts the girl down and follows Cai's lead.

The girl runs to the best of her ability to Zarik's side and nestles up to him shyly to watch the magic happen. She pulls the blanket snug around herself and leans her head into Zarik's side.

Zarik lets out a nervous sigh and rests his hand on the girl's head. Muttering quietly to himself.

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Bel nods in response to the immediate discussion with Caionna.

Bel: Don't worry, Cai. I understand if you need some time for this. I wouldn't force my assistance onto anyone. Just know that I'm there for you if you need it.

He rises from his seated position and walks closer to the crystals to get a good look at them. He then picks one up and turns it in his hand a few times before handing it over to Caionna. He watches as she walks over to the harpy and restores some of her strength.

(That was well needed, I'd say.)

Replying to the harpy girl's comment, he says
: They basically tricked you into thinking that was the norm. Don't worry about it. Wasn't your fault.

Bel just barely manages to hold back a snicker due to Zarik's face expression changing after his unwitting encouragment to the harpy. Hearing Zissou's call he takes his place at one of the empty designated corners.

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With the four magic users all focused on their points at the corners, the ground within the boundary in the dirt begins to glow with a bright, white light for several minutes. The light eventually fades, and the field is now devoid of crystals, and the aetheric atmosphere.

Caionna walks over to Zarik and beckons to him to lean in. When he does so, she begins to whisper something into his ear.

Zarik listens to his sister's words with a thoughtful look on his face. He nods and says quietly to her, "I like it."

Putting a finger to her lips she says in an equally hushed tone, "Remember, it has to sound like it was your idea."

Zarik clears his throat and says, "I think I may have just the name for you, kiddo!"

The harpy perks up and stares Zarik intently in the face, eyes wide.

"How does..." Zarik says, trying to drum up her excitement a bit more, "'Neristhana' sound?"

The girl mulls it over a bit, then beams happily, chirping, "I love it!" Giving him a hug, much stronger than it looked like she is capable of in her current state, "Thank you Zarik!"

Arendal rolls his eyes and mutters, "If I heard Cai say that over here, how did she not hear it?"

Caionna smiles, then says, "Alright. Before we try to figure out where to go next, I think it's high time we do something that three other wizards didn't think to do and get us cleaned up a bit. Let go of Zarik and stand away from him, please."

Neris nods and obliges, awaiting Cai's action.

Cai focuses and runs a hand over Neris' body, canting, "A little cleanliness goes a long way! Prestidigitation!!" Almost instantly, the heavy buildup of filth on the exposed parts of the small girl's body - and the blanket - disappears, this allows her hair and feathers to show a modicum more coloration. The masked odor under Aren's scent masking vanishes as well, allowing the scent to come through more cleanly.

She then quietly repeats the spell over herself, needing to take slightly longer to cover the difference in height, and making sure she reached her entire body.

"One more thing!" Cai states, "Let's do something about your lack of clothing while we're at it. I'll use the blanket as the spell's materials so we'll have something a bit more dignified for you." She then touches the blanket in the center of Neris' chest and it begins to glow softly before transposing into a jerkin and knee-length shorts. In this new outfit, Neris' wings come through the back of the top, and her feathers on display show that there is some orange and yellow to them as well.

Neris looks over her new clothes in awe. She is too amazed to come up with words. She just beams happily.

Looking Neris over, Zarik nods with approval. Putting two fingers into his mouth, he lets out a shrill whistle, then yells, "Alright! I know it's been long enough for cunt face to mobilize more grunts to spy on us. Come out and tell us what we want to know if you know what's good for you!"

Silence.

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(Hm. Who'd think magic could pollute the air.) Bel thinks to himself as he looks around the now crystal-less field. Hearing Aren's muttering he walks over to him and explains the situation in a low voice (as in volume, not the tone) to not let the Neris hear it.

Bel: It was best she heard it from him. You must've noticed she kiiinda likes him.

Raising his voice to normal to address Caionna's comment about not thining of cleaning them off, he says: It wasn't so much forgetting to do it as removing immediate threats having higher priority. We had to make sure we were safe.

Casting a glance in Neris's direction he thinks: (Yeah, that looks better. I bet the coloration of the hair and feathers will improve once she's gotten some rest and food after this too.)

Then came the whistle which made Bel's facial expression change to a frown.


Bel: Dammit, Zarik. If I wanted to damage my hearing, I could think of better ways. Even Roff must've heard that.

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"Good! If Roff could hear it, then there should be no excuse to not get a response!" Zarik exclaims.

Aren narrows his eyes and says, "Yeah, I guess you're right..."

Suddenly, the sunlight directly overhead becomes eclipsed by a large shadow. A moment later, a large green dragon lands in the midst of the party's spaced out formation.

"Sending an adult green to convene with us this time? Awful ballsy landing where you're surrounded. Wouldn't you say?" Zarik says, his voice so thick with contemptuous sarcasm, it was palpable.

"Please, Zarik." say the dragon in a deep male voice, "I placed myself in a vulnerable situation to try to prove our intentions of extending the olive branch. We are serious about having a cordial exchange. Aesalth is wishing to speak to you, and I will lead you to the Dais of Fire to meet with her."

Caionna butts in and she yells, "Oh! Now she wants to talk to us? Go figure! She kidnaps me, attempts to kill me by stealing my power, shoves me off to her highest ranking piece of shit to be his sex toy in hopes of totally breaking my will to steal more power, then backpedals so hard she nearly falls over backward when we, no I, undo her work! Give me a fucking break!" Her ferocity equally as palpable as Zarik's sarcasm. The aura from earlier reappears and spikes slightly, the crystals in her orbit flicker slightly.

"As is to be expected," the Green begins, "You are both wont to be wary of her, and she is aware. Which is why she hath opted to send me as a possible sacrifice to your fury if you so desire."

"WAIT! WHOA!" both siblings shout in unison.

"She has the nerve to send an envoy with express intent of having him be killed thinking we're nothing but bloodthirsty savages?" Caionna screams.

"I only killed Zerilisk because he had it coming for doing what he did to Cai and Neris!" Zarik adds in measure.

The Green shrugs and says, "Did you not just do that upon unleashing your energy?"

"I find it difficult for you to pin the blame on Caionna for the lives lost from your ranks due to the deliverance of the baleful rune." Zissou interjects. "I feel as if that is naught but collateral damage at the fault of Aesalth's actions to begin with!"

"Fair enough." replies the Green, "Now, do you wish to follow me to the dais, or do you wish to continue slinging abuse?"

Caionna shakes her head and rolls her eyes, "Sure, but not everyone in the party has the luxury of flight, and we refuse to go without all six of us there."

"I'm willing to die, but can't accept the slings and arrows of those my mistress has gravely wronged!" Zarik says in a mocking tone, "Are all of the dragons on the Reach fucking pussies? Why is anyone even afraid of you worthless sacks of shit? Your roar is clearly worse than your bite."

"I will cede yet another point to you, my Lord." says the dragon, now audibly irritated, "I will show you the path, then you may lead them upon your return." he then takes to the air and flies toward the north.

"Keep an eye out for anything that tries to attack while I'm gone, guys... I'll be back as soon as I can." He says to the group before taking a flying leap into the air, calling out, "Cut the 'my Lord' shit! I want as little to do with your nobility as you fuckers wanted us to begin with!" His rant continues, but he is too far away to be heard.

Neris tries to run after him, but only loses balance and falls on her face. Pushing herself up, she tries to dust off, and says, "I hope he'll be back safely... I trust them about as much as you two do... I'm scared."

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Bel shakes his head.

Bel: Where does he think he's going? He made it clear we're not stupid enough to fall for any traps or hollow promises of cease-fires. Yet he takes off with that green stain.

Also, Neris, there's no need to fear them. If Zerilisk was their second-in-command, the standards must be pretty low. I assume you're scared for Zarik's sake then?

Bel finds another boulder to sit down on while they wait.

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"Yeah I am, Bel." Neris says while crossing her arms on her chest. "I can't shake the feeling they're going to do something since he's technically unarmed right now."

"Zarik is far from unarmed, young lady." Zissou remarks. "That man harbors many secrets, and an arsenal of weapons is one of them. Add in his skill, and the only way they would overcome him is by overwhelming numbers"

Neris walks over to Caionna and huddles down at her feet to wait for Zarik to return.

Cai sits down next to Neris and pulls her down to sit beside her. Running her fingers through her hair to calm her.

A moderate amount of time passes before Zarik reappears on the horizon from the northwest.

Neris is the first to her feet as Zarik comes into view, she waves her arms excitedly and calls out, "Zarik! You're safe! I - we - were so worried about you!"

Zarik makes a hard landing out of exhaustion from the flight. Dropping his shoulders and rolling his neck lets all of his joints in the upper part of his body snap, crackle, and pop as he lets out a sigh of relief. "Gotta get used to flying, I guess. Haven't done so much for quite a while..." He says to himself.

Neris rushes to him and accidentally gives his chest plate a hard enough headbutt to bounce off of it. Zarik helps her off of the ground and she clutches him in a hug. Her forehead turning bright red from the impact.

While Zarik tries to escape the diminutive girl's gras, Aren steps toward him and asks, "So was it? Given your time away, it must be pretty far."

Giving in to Neris' iron grip, Zarik sighs and says to her, "You're way too clingy, you know that?" Looking at Aren, he says, "Yeah, it's far enough away that if we beat feet, we can get within a decent walking distance by sundown. I could use a bit of a rest, but I'm not opposed to pressing on if you guys want to."

Neris lets go of Zarik and lets him sit, while saying, "I want to let you rest! You're tired!" then clings to him again, causing them to begin quietly bickering.

Cai springs to her feet and says, "I want to go deliver justice as soon as possible, and being fresh in the morning will let us have peak energy for a fight!"

Aren nods and says, "We've sat around enough, we need to keep moving! I'm with Cai."

Zissou shakes his head and says, "You two fail to keep in mind that Zarik has done the majority of the work today, I feel it is unfair to him to exert himself in saving Neris from her cell, doing the legwork whilst fighting Zerilisk, locating the path to where we are now, then scouting the path forward. I vote with the young one that we rest for the night and allow the hero to rest."

Zarik's ears begin to burn at the hero comment, and says, "I'm no hero! I'm just doing what needs done."

Neris bops him in the chest with her nub of a hand and says defiantly, "You're my hero!"

Zarik gives her a stern look and says, "No. Chill out!" turning his head to look at Bel, he says, "We have two votes to stay and rest, two votes to keep moving, and my vote of neutrality. Your vote calls it."
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