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Main - The Kitchen Table (Role Play Forum) - Trial by Dragon Blood
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Trelior
Posted on 01-10-20 07:50 AM Link | ID: 153520
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"Best case scenario, Zarik caved against his word, and bitchy mood, and gave her the time of her life. So, yeah, fireworks." Aren says, awkwardly hacking at the brush and stacking it into a haphazard pile, "Worst case, the brush and wooden ruins catch on fire and we're fucked anyway. I wouldn't sweat it until we see smoke."

"As funny as you think that would be, Aren," Cai says, "You know Zarik as well as I do. There's nothing that girl can do to break his iron will."

"I mean, he's been in a bit of a dry spell lately." Aren replies, "She's also gotten more than mildly more attractive since yesterday. Maybe he gave in. I don't know!"

"A celibacy that he he imposed on himself, Arendal." Zissou confirms, "However you came to know this is curious."

"Does it matter? The point is, he might have given in since they're alone." Aren says, having inadvertently left Bel to do the heavy lifting of the job.

Cai decides to help Bel clear the crush away by picking up Aren's slack, "Trust me, Aren. He hasn't. He seems pretty nonplussed that she's a shortstack. If anything, he's chilled ut some and they've just talked through some stuff. The fireball could have been them building a makeshift fire and it went awry."

Assessing the clearing, Zissou says, "I can confirm. His intention is to remain steadfast on Neristhana at all costs. 'To do otherwise would be a disservice to us both' he told me." Joining in on wrangling the errant foliage, he surveys again, then nods, "This shall work nicely. How shall we set the shelters?"

"How about like last time?" Cai asks. "Or how about butting them together?"

"That's how we did it last time." Aren replies, "Don't you rememb-- Oh. Right."

"I'm fine with it if you guys are." Cai says, then gets started with digging out her components.
The fire clears in the sky above Neris and Zarik. As Neris uncovers them from her wings, and Zarik wipes a tear from her eye, they see a large fire bird and a blueish spirit in the shape of a man standing in the fire pit.

The bird nods in the direction of the couple and telepathically projects words, 'They're having a moment, Derry. Pay up!'

"I don't remember agreeing to a bet, Pharos!" The ghost says jokingly, "Besides, you're a self-imposed outcast, and I'm dead! What use do we have for money?"

Zarik and Neris both give the duo before them a thousand yard stare before saying, in unison, "Dad? Derigan/Pharos?" Saying the opposite's father's name.

"That's our names!" Derigan's spirit says, "Now, before you go all 'but wait, you're dead!' on me son, a sorcerer of my power when I was alive can bend the rules a little. I don't have a whole lot of time, so zip it and listen!"

'He's planar hopping with me, and I'm only gonna stay until I start getting cold' Pharos audibly thinks.

"So many questions!" Zarik exclaims.

Neris hops to her feet and rushes to Pharos, giving the comparatively massive phoenix as big a hug as she can muster, completely unfazed by the immense heat he is giving off. Her clothes also completely unaffected by the literal fire their wearer is engulfed in. "Where do I even begin?" she asks, muffled in his breast.

"Like I said, no time. Big guy here doesn't like the temperature below 'seventh layer of hell', which is a mite hotter than 'midsummer evening' if you get me." Derigan says, "But I just wanted to reiterate what I told little Cai. I'm proud of you, kid. Dunno if she told you, but since I'm free of your mother's curse, so are you. You should be awakening as a sorcerer now. Maybe you should take time to hone that skill set while your little cutie works on hers. Y'know, bond a bit."

"Well, I guess that settles that pretty quick..." Zarik says, "You seem to gie your blessing on me being a hard-ass on Neris."

'Your intentions seem pure enough' Pharos says, wrapping his daughter under his wing, 'You took her from a place she would have surely died, and refuse to perpetuate the mistreatment. You are willing to acquiesce to her eventually, should she fulfill stringent, yet fair, goals you set in place for her. You have my blessing to court her, albeit that you are actually reversing the roles.'

"I... Don't know what to say, sir." Zarik says, "Can't say I ever thought I would receive praise from a phoenix, let alone be the recipient of unrequited affection from one."

"Fate's a strange mistress, eh Zar?" Derigan laughs, "Hell, if it wasn't for Cai seeking the fire chicken out, neither of us would be here to congratulate the two of you. I guess if my son and his daughter can hitch up, we may as well pal around too!" Turning to Pharos he says, "Don't you have something to say to the fletch?"

'I do.' the phoenix replies, then fluffs his feathers out to chase Neris from his personal space, 'As per Zarik's demand of you needing to learn your natural abilities, you will need to harness the raw essence of your emotions to bring out your phoenix tendency. Your passion, determination, and anger will fuel your fires to burn your foes and cleanse impurities. Your harpy side, may the gods rest your mother's soul, should be easier as they rely on your physical attributes: your voice, wings, and claws. The rest of his requests will require soul searching of yourself. Do not sell yourself short, my girl. Believe in yourself, and your friends, and you will avail.'

Neris repeats the high points of her father's wisdom to herself for several moments to internalize them, then she pleads, "Tell me about mother! What kind of woman was she?"

'I do not have the time to impart that upon you now.' Pharos replies with a shake of his head, 'It is as Derigan said, I am becoming rather chilly in this climate. I don't understand how you lesser beings can stand this frigidity.' a distinct joviality to the last statement. 'Perhaps you can do what your mother did and find a way to summon me forth if you wish to hear the truth. With that, I must away to reclaim some of my warmth. Take care, my daughter, and thank you, son of Derigan.'

Derigan climbs onto Pharos' back and the phoenix lifts off into the sky with blistering speed. As he takes to the sky, Derigan calls out, "Take care, kid. Not just for your sake and hers, but for your sister too!." then they disappear into a fiery explosion.

"We..." Zarik begins, "Didn't just hallucinate all of that, did we?"

Neris looks over herself and says, "Nope! I'm all ashy from where daddy's fire tried to ignite my clothes."

"I guess it's a good thing Zis thought to enchant your clothes with a fire retardant." Zarik says. "Anyway, I guess we should make our way back to the others. I've had about enough excitement for one day."

"Me too." Neris replies, "Hopefully they picked a spot where we can look out over the sea. I would like winding down while looking over the water."

"Yeah, me too." He says as he wraps his arm around her, under her wings, he jokes "I guess I'm stuck with you. whether I like it or not... Our dads have expectations..."

She giggles and says, "Yeah, and I can see where your personality came from."

They then begin to make their way back.


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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 01-11-20 03:42 AM Link | ID: 153529

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Bel keeps swinging away with the sword at the local plant-life and stacks them in the same pile as Aren, while listening to the conversation.

Bel. I doubt either of them could've generated that fireball. Neris doesn't have the knowledge and Zarik still lacks the magic experience. Also, transforming, and thus using a breath attack to make a camp-fire seems excessive.

At this point, another explosion occurs.

Bel: Another one!? What are they doing over there? As for the shelters, I'm fine with whichever. Bel says as he stares in the direction of the second explosion.

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Trelior
Posted on 01-11-20 06:02 AM (rev. 2 of 01-11-20 10:49 PM by Trelior) Link | ID: 153531
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"Let's not forget that, typically speaking, a dragon's breath isn't explosive." Cai appends to Bel's statement. "Couple that with the fact that there were two explosions so close together, and we have a recipe for something being up."

"Well," Aren says, "Don't you want to investigate?"

"No." Cai replies bluntly, "You said it yourself: No smoke, no worries. I'm sure Zarik has things well under control. He tasked us with building camp, we should listen."

"You have what amounts to the power of the gods, and you're taking orders from your brother?" Aren snarks.

"Simply put: He is the leader of this party. Like it or not." Cai snaps back, "It shouldn't matter who has what for a power level. He was the one who orchestrated mobilizing to save me, so it would be unfair to usurp leadership just because I have a little bit more power than he does. Author forbid the day you stumble into power, you would likely abuse it."

Aren merely gives a gobsmacked look, then diverts his gaze in shame.

"As much as I would hate to interrupt your bickering," Zissou states, "But you said it yourself, Caionna. We have a task to fulfill. Please present your materials, dear."

"Right." Cai nods, "Ready when you are." She places her materials for focus.

Zissou nods and begins his focus with his mentee. Moments later, the double-wide shelter takes form. Making his way inside, he makes sure everything is in order as it needs to be.

No sooner does Zissou head inside, do Zarik and Neris come into view from the rear of the hut. Zarik's arm having moved up to her shoulders due to the height difference. Neris positively beaming with delight of finally having validation from him.

Cai almost immediately takes notice and says, "You two seem happy. Mind explaining what those explosions were?"

"We are!" Neris chirps.

"Uh, sure..." Zarik says, taking his arm off of Neris, " That was Pharos - yes, that one - appearing in front of us. Accompanied by our dad."

Cai perks a brow and says, "Really? So you were right that this place was significant. What did they say?"

"As you can imagine from the time," Zarik replies, "they didn't say much. Pharos told Neris how to harness her fire, then reinforced that I said her other skills are based on finessing her physique, then dad reiterated that I should be working on my magic. Specifically in tandem with her. They said damn near nothing else beyond saying that they approve of our 'budding relationship'." His expression at the end being one of bewilderment.

Neris grabs in him a hug and nuzzles against his chest.

Zarik's expression changes to a cry for help. He wants to reassert his demands, but doesn't want to crash the mood.

Cai takes notice and says, "Did Zarik say you could get all lovey and feely yet? Don't you still have goals to achieve first?"

Neris finally catches on to the fact that she is, indeed, being too up close and personal. Letting go and putting a bit of space between herself and Zarik, she says with a blush,"I guess I got carried away in the excitement. I'm sorry Zarik."

Breathing a sigh of relief, he says, "Don't sweat it, but I won't be so lenient after tonight because you were told what you need to do. As well as what I need to do."

"Right..." Neris says quietly, attempting to withdraw into her wings.


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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 01-12-20 10:15 PM Link | ID: 153541

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Bel: Tell me something, Zarik. Bel says, when he hears Pharos's name aswell as putting his sword back into its sheath.

Bel: Does Pharos have a lighthouse? Also, too bad I missed out on meeting Derigan again. Maybe he could've taught me some new spells. Also, I pretty much ruled out the both of you from being the cause of the fireballs. Which weren't really fireballs at all.

Bel follows Zissou into the tent after saying what he wanted.

Bel: Is everything where it's supposed to be? Not that I have anything to unpack, though.

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Trelior
Posted on 01-13-20 02:46 AM (rev. 3 of 01-14-20 08:47 AM by Trelior) Link | ID: 153586
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"Doubtful?" Zarik replies to Bel, "I mean, I can think of two lighthouses that share a name with him, but neither exist on this plane."

"What's a lighthouse?" Neris asks.

"It's a tower set near the ocean's edge with a beacon to alert ships of shallow water at night." Cai replies, "Although, your mother's side of your heritage - as a general statement - is notorious for luring ships to their doom in places where lighthouses haven't been built..."

"Can we not talk about stuff like that?" Zarik asks, "We, at least I, want her to embrace the positives of the races that blended to make her what she is." Turning back to Bel, "I don't know if he could teach you spells. He was a sorcerer, not a wizard. From what I understand, there's a pretty big gap between the two, despite having similar spells to work with."

"Fair enough," Cai replies, "And you're partially right. Being that I'm a prime example of someone who is both a wizard and sorceress. I have spells I can use without research, and spells I have to study before I can use them. I can take an innate spell and scribe it to teach to someone else, but I can't take a studied spell and use it as sorcery without impediment."

Neris listens to the short exchange between the siblings and just gives a thousand yard stare, unable to comprehend it.

The rest of the group walks into the shelter and begins to pick out their bedding from amongst the cots. Zarik picks the spot in the corner, Neris takes the one beside it, Cai picks the one nearest where Bel will be meditating, leaving Aren and Zissou the center.

Aren shakes his head and says, "Nuh-uh. No, Neris." and tries to pick her up to switch spots with him.

"Haven't you done enough tonight?" Neris squawks, "Put me down!"

"No. Zarik has told you to have someone between you every time!" Aren attempts to assert.

"Except tonight is different. Put her down. Where she was." Zarik says, "If I had a problem with it, I would have said something. Step off!"

Aren puts Neris back where she was sitting and steps back, "Alright! But what makes tonight different?"

"A case of mind your own business." Zissou states with a slightly cross tone, "Did you not notice that Zarik had Neristhana in embrace as they approached camp?"

"But Cai called her out and didn't get scolded!" Aren protests.

"And she also had to scold you on power dynamics, as well." Zissou grunts, "I feel you may need a lesson in pecking order, my son."

Cai jumps in before Aren can make a rebuttal, "Zarik is the party leader; this is his quest, so what he says goes. I rank below him; because this is may be my story as well, I merely play a part. You and your father are near the bottom because regardless of your role in your business or combat importance, you are merely along for the ride. Bel is technically a free agent, so he can do as he pleases. And Neris is, for all intents and purposes, a ward; She doesn't fit among the order, but orbits near Zarik."

"Are you serious?" Aren exclaims, "You're okay with that, Dad?"

"It is not my place to protest, Arendal." Zissou replies, "I came along on this endeavor as to not be in the way at your facility. As for my placement, I do not recall trying to speak or make demands out of line. I admit, I have been the least useful member of this expedition. I accept my place at the bottom of the order."

"What's all this about, anyway?" Zarik inquires, "Why the sudden hostility?"

Aren sighs and says, "I'm not meaning to be hostile, I just..." he hesitates.

"He's been trying to push his weight around since you sulked off when we landed." Cai finishes for him with a shake of her head, "And now he's embarrassed because he's been put in his place about it twice now. Thrice, if you count Zissou's assertion just now on its own."

"All things considered," Zarik says, "I just kinda took charge at the beginning. They followed because I seemed to know what I was doing. I'm defacto leader if anything. Neris being the quote 'sub-leader' unquote is a little ridiculous. And as much as I didn't wanna be a buzzkill for her earlier, I'm just gonna say it now: I don't know what all this shit about us being an official hookup is about. Pharos and Derigan just kinda jumped at it because I was reassuring her about what we were talking about when they showed up!" He looks at Neris, expecting her to be upset.

She locks gaze with him and shrugs, "You told me I still have work to do, and I respect that. I guess I did go overboard with my happiness about meeting my dad, and you having your arm around me." giving Aren a glare, she adds, "I picked this bed because I just want the satisfaction of being close to him. Is that so much to ask?"

Aren closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. Exhaling with a, rightfully defeated, sigh, "No. It's not."

"Good." Zissou says, with a mildly huffy snort, "Shall we be retiring for the evening, or shall we break bread first?"

"Frankly," Zarik says, "I would probably rather just go to sleep. Today was just a little much. I can live without dinner, but that's up to you guys."

Aren, Cai, and Neris shrug in agreement.

"Very well." Zissou remarks, "Then retire, we shall."


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Trelior
Posted on 01-14-20 10:36 AM Link | ID: 153602
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Morning comes with little activity of note.

Neris is the first to rise. She releases her pillow from the fetal position grasp and stretches her body out. As she stands and stretches her wings, the stiffness and strain from the night before catches up to her and she winces in pain. Careful to not vocalize her pain overly loudly, she folds her wings and proceeds to get dressed in an outfit that Cai had apparently laid out on the foot of her cot.

After several minutes of struggling with it, she finishes putting everything on. The outfit consists simply of a purple open-back shirt that buttons on the back of the collar with the Hoir Foundry logo emblazoned in red on the front, mid-thigh black tights, and a knee-length pleated skirt to match the shirt. She looks herself over and perks a brow, unsure if she likes the look.

Aren is the next to rise. He stretches much like Neris did, then gets ready for the day. Muttering to himself, he stumbles over to the empty side of the shelter and rummages through the few cabinets. After a few minutes, he turns to see Neris awake and dressed and sitting on her cot in silence.

He groggily shrugs and snaps his fingers, summoning forth a meager breakfast of ham, bacon, and eggs. Motioning to Neris, he says quietly, "C'mon, kid. let's get something to eat and wait for the others to get up."

Neris gets up and gingerly steps so her talons don't make a clatter against the stone floor. Grabbing a fistful of bacon and beginning to nibble on it she says equally quiet, "Thank you."

"How are you feeling?" He asks as he fixes a plate, then hands her a handkerchief for the grease.

"My wings hurt at my shoulders, but you told me that would happen." She replies, accepting the cloth, "Between the pain and Zarik's anger, I've learned my lesson." Cocking her head to the side, she asks, "When will they get up?"

"I dunno." He replies, "Probably soon. I know Zarik will likely jump as soon as he smells the bacon. Time will tell."


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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 01-15-20 01:02 AM Link | ID: 153615

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Bel is the next one to wake up, or rather, snap himself out of the meditative trance. He streches his legs out from the meditattive position and touch the floor, ending the levitation. After that, he streches his arms which causes a bit of a pop. Looking around, he spots Caionna, Zarik and Zissou still sleeping.

(Hm. Expected Caionna or Zissou to be awake already, at least.)

The wizard takes a few steps over to Caionna and gently nudges her shoulder followed by saying "Time to wake up" in a low voice. He gives her a kiss on the cheek before turning around and walks over to Aren and Neris.


Bel: Morning. Bel says and sits down in a empty chair, waiting for the rest to wake up.

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Trelior
Posted on 01-15-20 01:59 AM (rev. 2 of 01-15-20 03:28 AM by Trelior) Link | ID: 153616
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Cai rouses slightly from Bel's nudge, and grunts in protest slightly until she feels his lips brush against her face. Placing her hand on her cheek as he walks away from her, she smiles and begins her wake-up stretches. She lets out a rather large yawn and sleepily joins the others at the table. Fixing herself a plate, she yawns again, "Hi guys." Noticing Neris had gotten herself dressed, she smiles and says, "You look cute today, how do you like the outfit? I couldn't fall asleep right away, so I worked on that until I was too tired to keep working on it. What do you think?"

"I appreciate it," Neris responds, "But I don't know how I feel about the color, and I don't like this thing." she tugs at the skirt reflexively with her still-greasy hand.

"That was a little harsh." Aren remarks out loud, but to himself.

"Better straight honesty than a sugary lie." Cai says with a shrug as she begins eating, "What could I have improved on to make it to your liking?" Her tone is cordial, but her volume was not hushed like then men's.

"I can't explain why, but I think blue may work better for me." Neris says, trying to match Cai's timbre, "Something tells me it would work for me like how you have a green eye and like purple. It's a pretty color, but something feels off against my reds." softly flexing her sore wings to show the tendency for shades of red in their iridescence.

Cai nods and says, "Appealing to the color wheel is universal, I guess. I'll remember that for next time." taking a bite of ham, she continues, "What's wrong with the skirt? It looks like you managed to put it on right, so what's the issue there?"

"I doesn't feel very comfortable, and I don't like how it folds!" Neris exclaims, getting unintentionally loud.

The volume the room is reaching is enough to rouse Zarik. With a gruff sigh he rolls into a sitting position and grunts, "Alright. Fine. I'm up. Can't a guy get a little extra sleep for a change?" Attempting to stretch and crack his joins before he stands ends abruptly as the tension from the previous night's injuries immediately catch up to him, making him groan.

"You okay?" Aren pipes up.

"I'll be fine. I just need to limber up before things get interesting today. Don't stop your breakfast on my account." His tone biting. Seeing Zissou is the only one still down, he shakes the old dog and says, "Wakey, wakey! Eggs and bakey! Everyone else is up!"

Zissou grunts in a manner similar to Zarik and drags himself upright. Peering around the room, he notices that the intensity of the evening has subsided. Performing his morning stretch, with his joints popping of their own accord, he says, "Good morning. Glad to see we're all feeling better. With exception to Zarik for having refused aid."

Throwing on his shirt and coat, Zarik says, "I'm fine!" the grimace on his face as he tried to move unabated says otherwise. Walking to the table, he fixes a plate of his own and asks, "No coffee, Aren?"

"Didn't think to bring any." Aren replies, "Everyone was kinda gung-ho to leave, I just assumed someone else thought of it."

"Fair enough." Zarik says, ruffling Neris' hair, he says to her, "Good morning."

Neris squeaks in a way that sounds cute in protest, then quietly responds with hesitation, "Good morning."

Zissou takes note of the timidity in Neris, "Strange. You seemed cheerful last night to be around Zarik, why the sudden withdrawal?" then gets up to get himself breakfast as well.

"I don't want to talk about it." Neris replies, then goes quiet.

"Zerilisk?" Cai asks.

"Zerilisk." Neris terses.

Stepping briskly back from the petite bird, Zarik coughs, "Noted."


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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 01-16-20 12:06 AM Link | ID: 153634

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Bel proceeds to get a bit of everything onto his plate once the others are on the way up and begins eating. He listens in on Caionna's and Neris's exchange between bites, having nothing to add. After all, it doesn't really matters what he thinks about it.

Bel: I'll let the lack of coffee slip this once, Aren. Bel says with just a hint of sarcasm in his voice, hoping it'll be enough to have a little go at Aren. He continues eating but apruptly stops chewing once he hears a certain name.

Bel: There went the breakfast mood. What's with Zerolisk this time? Neris had a nightmare?

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Trelior
Posted on 01-16-20 05:47 AM Link | ID: 153645
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"I hope that's all this is." Zarik says. "Her mood soured hard when I played with her hair."

"It wasn't just playing with my hair... It was how you said 'good morning'..." Neris says, retreating into a standing fetal position.

Zarik perks a brow and gives a quizzical look. His eyes dart back and forth, in thought, then he asks, "What there a sinister tone to how I said it?"

"Not that I could tell." Aren says, disregarding Bel. "Makes me wonder, and hope, if it was a bad dream."

"Zerilisk would always run his fingers through my hair and greet me with those words a tone of voice that is just now registering to me as uncomfortable." Neris mutters into her knees.

"Well, it's a pretty standard morning greeting, and I've played with your hair every day... Sometimes in conjunction, like just now..." Zarik says, befuddled, "What makes today different?"

"Perhaps a dark perception." Zissou posits, "Perhaps she is sensing something we are not."

"Like?" Zarik asks.

"How about our rendezvous?" Cai says, "Maybe the dragons are outside, and Neris is picking up on a tense vibe from them that we can't."

There is a sudden knock on the threshold of the door leading outside. A familiar feminine voice rings through the closed door, "It appears your party has all arisen. I grow weary and would appreciate negotiation to begin sooner rather than later."

The knock and voice is enough to rattle Neris. She jumps and falls over, and lets out a short shriek.

Zarik and Cai lock eyes and nod, their suspicion confirmed.

Zarik scoops Neris off the dirty floor and cradles her in his arms. Her wings flapping nervously, and in disregard to the pain she had been experiencing moments before. Adrenaline is fascinating.

Cai takes charge and calls out, "We'll be out when we're damn good and ready! We'd appreciate if you stepped back and stopped scaring our bird!"

"The voice of Miss Caionora, I presume." The voice responds, "It is I, Ruki the Great Blue, pleasure to meet your acquaintance."

"It's Caionna." Cai snarls in retort, "What part of 'back-off' did you not understand, Ruki?"

"As vile-tongued as your brother, I see." Ruki responds, "Very well. Meet me at the precipice when you have calmed the little one."

Neris shakes in terror in Zarik's arms, continuing to batter him with her wings as she squawks. The room becoming noticeably hotter as she continues to get worked up.

"Dammit Neris!" Zarik shouts, clasping a hand over her mouth, "It's me! stop slapping me around and calm the fuck down!"

The anger in Zarik's voice only seems to set her off more, making her shriek louder.

Zarik makes his way to the doorway. Aren senses what Zarik is going to do and rushes ahead to open the door. Once through the threshold; disregarding the erratic flapping as he crosses to the outside, letting her hit the door frame heedlessly He tosses her to the ground with a thud. Trying, but failing, to compose himself, he yells, "I know you're scared to be around the Reach dragons, but beating the piss out of me isn't going to solve anything!"

Zissou rushes out behind and adds, calmly but firmly, "Compose yourself, Neristhana! Do not allow the fear to consume you! Realize you are among friends! Calm yourself and focus that fear! Channel it!"

Something about Zissou speaking reaches her, and she stops shrieking and squawking. Her wings finally grow tired and stop flailing at the ferocity. There is still a gaze of terror on her face as she looks up at Zarik and finally realizes who he is. Trembling, she runs to him and buries her face in his chest, crying, "I'm sorry Zarik! Don't hurt me!"

"Hurt you?" Zarik exclaims, "That's the last thing I want to do!"

"Do you mean that?" Neris sobs.

"That would be an overreaction." Zarik reassures her, wrapping her in a hug, "You were scared. Fight or Flight instinct kicked in. I promise, the worst is over, I won't hurt you any more than having tossed you away from me."

"Besides, retaliation for something like that just isn't Zarik." Cai interjects. "He wouldn't hurt a fly."

"Yeah." Aren chimes in, "It takes a lot to get Zarik spoiling for a fight, and calming his pretty new pet just isn't gonna fire him up."

"Wanna rephrase that?" Zarik growls at Aren.

"Uh... I meant to say... Uh..." Aren stammers, "Shit..."

"Let's just ignore that little faux pas." Cai interjects again, "Since breakfast is ruined, we may as well meet the bitch." She turns and waits for Zarik to take charge.

"Are you gonna be okay to walk?" Zarik says to Neris, "Or do you want uppies?"

Neris glares at Zarik, obviously insulted by way he ended his question, yet huffily chirps, "Uppies!" and holds her arms up.

He scoops her up and makes his way up the hill.


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Posted on 01-16-20 06:19 AM Link | ID: 153647

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Bel just promptly drops whatever he's using to eat with, causing a sound *tink* as it hits the plate the moment he hears Ruki's voice. He stands up quicker than usual, slamming the table in the process with his right fist.

(Terrific. Just what I wanted for dessert.) Bel thinks to himself as his expression turns into a frown. He's halfway to the door when he turns to Neris and considers the options. He walks outside as soon as Aren has opened the door and stands aside for the others to be able to get out quickly.


Bel: First they ruin our rest, then the breakfast. As long as they've lived, they've never learned what it means to be polite. I wonder if Ruki would miss a limb or two. I could use a bit more to eat.

He catches up to Zarik along the hill.

Bel: Also, you don't have to worry about them hurting you, Neris. They can't. Not if they don't want to end up like our last victim. At this rate Ruki's gonna get some black to go along with the blue. The wizard says in a grumpy tone.

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Neris hides her face in Zarik's chest as Bel speaks.

"I think the damage may already be done." Zarik responds for her, "If Ruki's mere presence triggered her thinking I was him, there may be more to worry about."

"I don't think starting a fight would be a good idea." Cai says gravely, "They may be fishing for exactly that."

"What do you suggest, then?" Aren says, bringing up the rear, "She claimed that they didn't want further conflict, but her tone just now says otherwise."

"I suggest we proceed with caution." Zissou interjects, "Arendal has the right of it. Such aggression does not fit with their show of timidity days ago."

Zarik looks down at the terrified girl in his arms, "I think they realized what they lost with this one..." Placing a hand gingerly on the back of her head, he continues, "The 'secrets' she supposedly holds may not have just been 'I'm a phoenix' and 'Aesalth isn't really gone'."

Neris shakes her head in protest of Zarik's hand placement, so he moves his hand back to her shoulder.

"I can't help but get the feeling that she's starting to understand just what we saved her from." Zarik remarks, "Let's just say I'm not unfamiliar with that 'don't touch me' reaction."

"Gotten bitten before?" Aren quips.

"Dude." Zarik says flatly, "Shut the fuck up for ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!"

Aren's eyes go wide at Zarik's reaction, "It was a joke..." He says quietly.

"A joke about a serious topic, jackass!" Cai spits.

"Quite." Zissou punctuates, "Let us drop the topic and move on. Perhaps she shan't be so pushy about the topic moving forward."

"We came to an understanding last night." Zarik says, "I think she wants to grow as a person more than anything right now."

"I do." Neris says, muffled into his chest.

Before the group notices, they are standing within stone's throw range of Ruki. Zarik puts Neris down and motions for her to stand behind him. Drawing his gun, he holds it parallel to his face, takes a readied stance. He remains silent, but glares intently at the dragon.

Cai instinctively readies herself, and says, "Let me sweep the area to make sure she's alone."

"That will be unnecessary." Ruki responds, "The council sent me, and me alone. They forbade anyone from following. Pray, put down your weapon. I wish to not escalate this beyond words."


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Posted on 01-16-20 07:25 AM Link | ID: 153650

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Bel: I don't much care if they're fishing for it or not. They're gonna get it if they continue like this. And I don't mind having another go. Bel says as they continue walking, carefully scanning the surrounding area as they go.

Other than shaking his head at Aren's joke, Bel doesn't say much else during the remainder for the short hike. He's thinking of various scenarios outside of the one that'd be most beneficial for both parties. At least until everybody stops and Ruki has appeared before them.


Bel: That's the second time you've interrupted us before we were ready. Are you going to go for a third? And I think I can guess why they forbade anyone else from coming here. To prevent more casualties. Well...that's up to you. If there's even a hint of ill will from you, we won't hesitate to attack.

I'd say search the area anyway, Cai. See the distance to Ruki from here? That's as far as I trust them. Bel says, giving Caionna a nod.

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"I planned on it anyway." Cai says and leaps to the sky.

Zarik strikes the cylinder of barrels on his leg, sending them spinning in carousel. Flicking his wrist, he cocks the hammer before resting it in its original position. "Bel has the right of it. Until we're certain you're not up to anything fishy, you'll be treated as hostile."

"So be it." Ruki says, clearly irritated. "Shall we await her return since you were so adamant of her attendance?"

"I don't trust her..." Neris whispers.

"No one among us does, kid." Zarik whispers back.

Moments pass and Cai makes a superhero landing in the middle ground between the group and their adversary.

"That can't be good for her knees..." Aren remarks to himself.

"What'd you find, Cai?" Zarik asks.

"Nothing." Cai responds, "I scanned a fairly wide area, but she appears to be alone after all."

"Why do you not trust me?" Ruki pleads.

"Gee. Couldn't be because you allowed Aesalth to sap Cai for her power, you hid the fact that Aesalth was attempting to harbor within Neris, and you're a Reach ally!" Zarik exclaims, "You're batting 1000 for being scummy!"

"Neris, you say?" Ruki ponders, "A charming name for the avian one." Seeing her peek out from behind Zarik, she continues, "Ah, she appears healthy now. Quite a beauty, she is."

Neris shoots a glare that could cut like a knife, and shouts, "Shut up!" a sonic blast bellows from her small stature. The distance causes the burst to dissipate to nothing before reaching its target. "I don't want to hear compliments from one of the ones who let Zerilisk do what he did to me!"

"Very well. As you wish." Ruki says, turning to Zarik, she adds, "So you discovered that your mother was not as gone as you had originally thought. And you have obviously discovered the phoenix's true identity. Perhaps you know the significance of this spot."

"Yes, yes, and I was informed of this place." Zarik say, growing impatient, "Get to your point before I let her actually settle her vengeance."

"Please. You know as well as I that she lacks the discipline to successfully harm any of us here." Ruki responds shortly, "Need I describe the true significance of these grounds?"

"Something, something, her birth place. Something else, something else, her parents." Zarik mocks, "Then you bastards discovered the out-of-place egg, destroyed the place, kidnapped the egg, hatched it in captivity, and let an entire horde of dragons to.. Ahem... Relieve themselves with her. Spare it."

"While you are correct up to the point of bringing her into the world in our care," Ruki responds, "She was whisked to Zerilisk by Aesalth's decree and he was allowed to have his way with her by Aesalth's permission, not the council. Hence why I praised his eradication."

"So you brought us here for what?" Neris cries, "To show me a home I could never hope to enjoy? Remind me of a family I will never have? Rub in my face that I'm alone?" Each question ask increases the intensity of her aura. The temperature rising at an alarming rate.

"No." Ruki responds, "I merely wished to impart the knowledge of this place's existence. And express remorse for what happened to you. To set you free, in a sense."

"YOU? SET ME FREE?" Neris screams, "HOW DARE YOU!? ZARIK DID THAT WHEN HE SAVED ME! YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME!" The temperature of the air surrounding the diminutive woman beginning to warp and project mirages around her.

"Quit while you're ahead!" Zarik cautions, "I neither have power over her, nor a wish to control her. Diffuse the situation on your own, or we can't be held responsible for what she does."

"Oh please." Ruki taunts, "What does she hope to do? Burn me? You know as well as I do, we dragons have natural defenses against fire. Even that of a phoenix! This fledgling doesn't even know what she's doing! Come at me, brat!"

Zarik takes this as his moment to assist, "Hostility breached! Defensive maneuver is a go!" Firing two shots, one at each of Ruki's wings, the close range being more than sufficient to maintain power behind the magical discharge.

The shots puncture their target in such a way that Ruki's wings are disabled in a way to prevent retreat by air.

The dragon roars in defiance and shouts, "This wasn't between you and I! It was solely between me and the phoenix that shouldn't even exist!"

By the point, Neris is screaming like a banshee and blazing red hot. She leaps into the air to a height unexpected of her stature, bursts into an absolute inferno, then dive bombs into Ruki at breakneck speed, causing a fiery explosion.

When the smoke clears, Neris rolls limply down the gentle slope, back toward the group. Ruki lay where she once stood, obvious scorch markings. Zarik rushes over to the spent bird, and exclaims, "Neris! Are you alright?"

No response. She's out, relatively, cold.

Ruki laughs and shouts mockingly, "Is that all? She talked a big game, but was ultimately worthless! Your bullets hurt me more than she did!" Not taking into consideration just how close Zarik is.

He retaliates with a pistol whip across her face, and says, "Shut your gods damned mouth! You forced her hand with your chicanery!" Pushing the barrel of his gun against her temple, he says, "I still have one round chambered. We can either go back to our original plan of negotiating terms, or I can end you in an instant."

"You're bluffing!" She cries.

"Am I?" he sneers, pulling the hammer back.

The gravity of her situation settling in, Ruki backpedals, hard, and bargains, "What are your terms? I will gladly accept anything as long as I get to retreat and relay the terms."

"Alright then!" Zarik exclaims, "First! Your reign of terror ends now! The Reach dragons are to not leave the mountain for ANY reason, save to make CORDIAL meetings with the surrounding city states."

"Agreed!" Ruki pleads, "Now I will return and--"

Zarik slams her in the head again with the butt of his gun, shouting, "I'M NOT DONE! Secondly! You are to have NO interaction with my business or any of our subsidiaries under ANY circumstance. I saw you had weapons on commission from us. Don't deny it!"

"Understood!" Ruki says, bracing for another blow.

"Thirdly! Acknowledge that Caionna and I are decrying our ties to you for any and all purposes. You exiled us once. Approached us with an olive branch, then made a mockery of that allegiance immediately, and thus why we're here. To approach us again, or attempt to have ANY contact with ANY of us present today will be a cry for war between the dragons and EVERY nation you have terrorized until now. Am I clear!?"

"Crystalline!" Ruki weeps.

"Anyone have anything else to add?" Zarik says, waving his gun barrel.


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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 01-16-20 11:16 PM Link | ID: 153676

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As Caionna takes off to scout the area, Bel finds a boulder nearby and sits down to wait, not taking his eyes off Ruki. His stomach makes a bit of a growl from lack of eating enough earlier.

(Hmm. This is gonna turn sideways sooner or later if Neris's increasing agitation is any indication. And I have a feeling I won't get to do much. Too bad. Was looking forward to test my power in this form against one of the remaining dragons.)

Bel continues watching and listens to the continued exchange of words and sure enough, Neris grows more upset as the conversation goes on.

(Any time now.) Bel thinks to himself as the intensity of Neris's aura grows. Not much else goes through his head during the skirmish as he already knew what was coming and what the result of it would be. Not until Zarik's last question does he speak.


Bel: I do. Did you have to be so thorough? I wanted to get some hits in too. Also, I'm still hungry.

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Posted on 01-17-20 12:00 AM Link | ID: 153683
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"Gonna have to veto your call for additional violence." Zarik says, "I want to send a message, not a body bag."

"But you threatened to kill me just now." Ruki protests.

"So you mean to tell me you want to be battered more than you already are?" Zarik exclaims, "And I hardly hurt you. You'll have a headache and some welts. Your wings will heal if you get them treated. My friend has some serious pent up rage between the Reach as a whole and you, personally. I won't kill you, but he likely would."

Turning to tend to Neris, who is unconscious on the ground, he adds, "Get out of my sight. You came for my terms. You got my terms. Get the fuck out of mu sight before I change my mind!"

"Very well." Ruki states, "But how shall I return to the Reach with disabled wings?"

"Simple." Cai ads with an aggravated tone, "You walk. Learn some humility and slink away home like the mongrel you are."

"Such harsh words from one destined for greatness." The dragon laments as she rises, "The Reach has lost two powerful souls this day."

Zissou slams his staff against the ground and growls, "The Reach has lost nothing if you speak of Caionna and Zarik! Did you disregard that Zarik had just stated in his terms a decrial of your ilk, as well as the exile all those years ago?"

"Last warning. Get lost, or become lost." Zarik warns. "Should you attempt to lie about what I said, we will be forwarding word before long to make sure your pecking order is informed."

"Understood." The dragon says and sulks off to the south, and eventually out of sight.

"You're just gonna let her go like that?" Aren asks.

"I know she deserved worse than she got." Zarik replies, "But it started Neris toward the growth I want her to have. Not exactly how I wanted it, but it deserved at least some lenience."

"Well, how is she?" Aren says as he approaches Zarik.

"She seems fine. She's breathing, and vitals seem fine from what I can tell." Zarik replies. "I say we head back to camp and wait it out a bit to see if she wakes up on her own."

"Good idea." Cai adds, "Doesn't seem like a good idea to fly back to Roff's if she's out cold."


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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 01-17-20 09:45 PM Link | ID: 153710

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Bel: Hmm. Perhaps this is more satisfying after all. Now that we've shown what we can do to two of them, the rest shouldn't pose much of a problem. Unless they're completely oblivious to their own limits.

And regarding how to get back, I could teleport us all there.

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Posted on 01-17-20 10:22 PM Link | ID: 153712
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"Two? That's our body count of confirmed kills." Zarik scoffs, "If you count disgracing their thundergod, three. Four if you count me having to exorcise Hothead."

"Did anyone leave anything behind in camp?" Cai asks, "Because we can just skip the interim of heading back down the trail if we don't need to pick anything up."

"I know Dad and I only brought what was absolutely necessary with us." Aren says.

"Same for me." Zarik adds, "The only thing I can think is the clothes Neris was wearing yesterday, but that seems insignificant enough to leave behind."

"I know I put everything back into my bag when I was done making her new outfit." Cai rounds out the group, turning to Bel she says, "I guess we're ready to go as soon as you can get the spell prepped."


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Posted on 01-17-20 11:38 PM Link | ID: 153715

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Bel: Righto. Bel says and takes his staff from the attachment on his back. He starts concentrating and a circular light appears below each party member, the edge of the circle looks like it has a brighter part that's spining rapidly. Each circle rapidly rises to above their heads and transports them to just outside Caionna's old lean-to. Arriving, a reverse effect of the spell's visuals occurs.

Bel: Ok. Now what? Food and rest?

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Posted on 01-18-20 12:21 AM Link | ID: 153716
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"I'll be damned." Aren says, amazed, "First time I've been affected by a spell like that. That was kinda cool."

"As much as I'd like to rest." Zarik says, "I have something pretty important to take care of."

Caionna walks up behind Bel and loosely puts her arms around around his neck and rests her head against his. Her face is flushed slightly, and she nuzzles against his neck.

Zarik takes note of this and says with a laugh, "And if what Cai's doing is any indication, you won't be getting much rest either!"

Cai doesn't protest, but instead embraces being called out by pressing herself against Bel's back.

"Anyway, good luck with that!" Zarik calls out as he hurries his way inside the inn, "Aren, C'mon!"

Aren simply nods and follows, "Right behind you!"

Zissou merely raises a brow at Caionna and Belgarion. With a shrug, he says, "Far be it from me to judge your decision. I suppose you want to have a bit of fun before you set off to do what you must." Then heads inside himself.

As Zissou turns to leave, Cai says with a sultriness to her voice, "All things considered on this quest, could you blame me?"


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