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Old August 5th, 2018 (10:21 AM).
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Geras Geras is offline
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    The lakeside town of Shessalie Sunday July 1st, X784





    Overlooking Lake Cellis, Shessalie is a small town at the upper edge of Central Atria, its population only around 1,300 people. Its people have mostly lived a simple, self-sufficient life thanks to the bounty of the land around them, but it's begun to grow ever since the Burgess and Sons mining company established a presence there, and the town has slowly started progressing into the modern age. Most of the buildings are still completely made of wood and connected by dirt paths, but now most have basic things like electricity and indoor plumbing.

    Docks line the lakeside for the many boats crossing the lake, either for fishing, or to cut across to the mountains that house the mining operations. The town itself is unremarkable, but houses various craftsmen like the blacksmith and carpenter, and has services like an inn and a bathhouse. There are a couple cafes and restaurants, and even a recently opened shop for magic and magitech, though its selection is rather scarce. At the town's center is a fountain, this being where the townspeople congregate for the yearly festival at the end of autumn.

    Standing out from the rest of the town is the Burgess building, doubling as both a villa for the Burgess family and the headquarters for its operations in the town. the building is several times larger than any of the town's native homes, and has been gradually expanding. It serves as a permanent home for the servants who live there and Sarah Burgess, first daughter of the Burgess family.

    The nearest train station is at a town about a day away by carriage, but construction on Shessalie's own rail is underway.

    But of course, you haven't come for any of this. You're here for that building sitting atop a hill on the outskirts of town with a golden logo emblazoned on its sign: Phoenix Nest.


    The fledgling guild, Phoenix Nest


    Spoiler:

    The guild hall inside seemed to be set up like a tavern or restaurant, with tables in the main area and a bar in the back. The expensive-looking bottles lining the shelf behind the bar were a sharp contrast to the rickety-looking wood that made up the rest of the hall. A bulletin board labelled "Job Board" was posted off to the side with various papers pinned on it.

    On one side of the hall was a staircase leading up. Not much could be seen about the second floor from the first. The same could be said about the downward staircase on the opposite side of the room. And in the center of it all stood a small group of people, some of whom might be familiar faces.

    "Welcome, everyone, to what I hope you'll see as your new home!" Called the figure in the middle of the group, dressed in a simple robe. His long, gray hair was silky smooth and made in a braid that draped over his shoulder, reaching down to his waist. His face was narrow, his features soft, and his expression was comforting. Together with his calm voice he gave off a motherly aura, that voice being the only thing that made it clear he was born a man.

    "Or if not a home, at least just a place you can find comfort in," he added with a chuckle. "For those of you who don't know me, I am Myeloch Latare, great saint fallen from grace if the media is to be believed. But I don't think my past should matter here, nor should any of yours if you don't want it to. Here you can start fresh.

    Oh, and don't worry about any sort of entrance test. You're all in, if you want to be! Of course, it's not like I'm letting just anyone in, but considering the circumstances I've set up wards around the place that prevent anyone who'd harm the guild or its members from entering! And if anyone like that does make it in, these same wards will make sure they're swiftly dealt with. Though not dealt with in that way, I assure you I don't make a habit of hurting people!" Yet another lighthearted chuckle, though it didn't erase the weight of his previous words.

    "Unfortunately, I'm...uh... not actually here." He gave an apologetic look and a bit of nervous laughter. "Due to my... situation, the council has me on something of a leash. I'm speaking through a thought projection right now, which I can conjure up to talk to you all anytime! If you need to speak to me, you can ring this bell," he gestured to a crystal bell on the bar counter, "and if you'd rather speak in private I have another bell in my office. But don't worry! The other members will be more than happy to help, and in an emergency I can teleport here right away! Now..."

    He gave the floor to the rest of the group, who introduced themselves.

    “I’m Lina, Myeloch’s daughter!” The energetic young girl announced proudly. “I’ll be the one giving the grand tour! Well, as grand as it gets when the place looks like this, hehe. Don’t judge though, I did my best building it.” She was a petite girl with surprisingly bright eyes, considering their dull grey color. Her olive-colored skin was smooth, and her wavy red hair was cut just below the chin, the top tucked under a newsboy cap. She wore a button-up blouse, a skirt, and a tall pair of combat boots. She looked to be in her mid-teens, maybe 16.

    "I'm Sarah," said the next member in a tired voice. She looked much older than Lina, somewhere in her late-twenties. "Like the man said, don't worry about who I am outside the guild. Here, I kinda do a bit of everything. Receptionist, chef, bartender, you name it. I asked boss man for something to do and he gave it to me. I'll be the one to give you your guild marks, so just come to me when you're ready to commit." Her brown hair was tied in a ponytail, with a fringe covering one of her light-brown eyes. Her skin was pale, her dress was drab, and the rest of her was remarkably average.

    "I'm Boriel, I guess the guild's only S-class wizard right now," spoke the next one. He was a gruff man, maybe a bit older than Sarah. "That being the case, I'll probably be on jobs most of the time, but if you catch me while I'm here I'll help you out with whatever you need. Well, if its something I can help with I mean." He was easily taller than everyone in that group, packed with lean muscle and his tanned skin covered in scars. His long, messy black hair and stubble gave off a slovenly vibe for which his golden eyes seemed far too pretty. His outfit consisted of a plain shirt and pants, an open longcoat, and lots of seemingly random belts, all in black.

    "Aaaaaand saving the best for last, I'm Rowan!" The scarlet-haired young man next to Boriel spouted, harmlessly punching the shoulder of the gruff wizard. "I'll be making sure the old man here isn't lonely when I skyrocket to the position of Phoenix Nest's best wizard!" He announced. Everyone in attendance thought for a moment they could actually physically feel the confidence and warmth rolling off of him.The young boy standing next to Rowan was lightly bouncing on the balls of his feet, apparently requiring every ounce of restraint he had to hold in his excitement until then when Rowan leaned down and laid a hand on his shoulder. "And this is my little bro-"

    "I'm Patileer! Pat for short!" The boy burst out, interrupting his big brother and finally actively bouncing up and down as his garbled mess of an introduction escaped his mouth. "It'ssonicetomeetyouallandIcan'twaittobebestfriendsforeverrrrrrrr! And I'm going to be Phoenix Nest's next best wizard after my brother!" He finished, putting his hands proudly on his hips and puffing out his little chest.

    "Alright everyone," Lina called, "once you've gotten your marks you can follow me!"

    Spoiler:
    The first floor of the guild hall is mostly just what's been described above. A door behind the bar leads to the kitchen.

    On the second floor are several rooms for housing guild members with nowhere to go. The rooms are small and completely empty save for a small bed, so anybody who can afford to would probably be better off finding lodging in town. A few of the rooms already belong to people. The second floor also has a library containing a number of useful books for learning and improving one's magic, several of them written by Myeloch himself. A staircase in the library leads up to Myeloch's office, that has a crystal bell and a board of S-class jobs.

    The basement floor is a training area with various magically-operated facilities. These include: practice battlefield that can be shaped to the user's whims with an earth magic lacrima embedded in the wall; a first-aid station with a healing lacrima; a teleportation ring that leads to a hot spring on the mountain, also protected by wards; and a metal magic lacrima for creating training dummies of varying hardness. All of these lacrima are supplied ether remotely by Myeloch, so they can be used to your heart's content.


    Main Story


    You've gone on Lina's grand tour and, whether or not you've found yourself disappointed, the fact remains that it pales in comparison to more established guilds. Nowhere is this more evident than the job board, where every request is along the lines of "Find my lost cat!" or "My stove is broken, please help!" with equally pitiful rewards.

    For now, you can either get to know your new guildmates, or check out the town. Or maybe you want to go ahead and take advantage of the guild's resources.

    And who knows? Maybe while you're keeping busy something exciting will happen?

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      #2    
    Old August 10th, 2018 (1:31 AM). Edited September 21st, 2018 by Rose Quartz.
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    Rose Quartz Rose Quartz is offline
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      Faye Aubrey


      Female | 19 | Wizard/Touched


      A JP post with Sephear part 1


      “I’m leaving.” Faye said with a somewhat higher tone than she usually spoke with as she stood at the door. It was time for her to leave the ordinary, two story cottage she lived in with her father. Of course she would have to go downstairs first and through the store of her father if she actually wanted to go outside towards the big, angry world.

      “Okay, dear. Please don’t forget the lunch box I made you!” A slightly slender man with a manly beard on his face came running towards her. In his hands was a small, cute package wrapped in a dark green cloth. Before he actually handed his daughter this cute little package, he leaped in to give her a warm hug.

      “I’m so proud of you. I will always be so very proud of you. Take care and come back home anytime.” he spoke. He waited a few more second before letting Faye go and pushed the lunch package in Faye’s tiny hands. “Off I go then. Thanks for everything, Dad.” Faye’s facial expression didn’t change much but it was enough for her old man to understand that she was trying to smile at him.

      Faye closed the door gently behind her and walked down the stairs. Before leaving the cottage completely, she took one more look around her. She had already stocked herself with enough lacrima stones for her weapons, yet she felt the urge to bring a little more from her father’s shop. She was going to be on her own now. A feeling that made her both excited but also very lonely. She was fearing what would become of her, she was going to a whole new town after all. One she had never even heard of nonetheless. Completely lost in thought and caught off guard, her father appeared behind her. “Here, take a few more. Just in case.” he said as he filled her pockets with two more lacrima wind stones. “T-Thanks, Dad…” Faye’s facial expression, again, didn’t change much but it was once again enough for her father to understand her gratefulness. She was his daughter after all. His only child and his pride. He couldn’t possibly not worry about her.

      Faye reached out her hand to the doorknob, for a second she was almost changing her mind, almost. Before she knew it, the door was already open. Her body apparently had already decided that this was the path she was going to walk. She was going to become a full fledged wizard and was going to join a guild in order to become one. A small piece inside her had also decided on this because her father seemed to like the idea so very much but that was enough to motivate the young Faye. There she went, heading out to the town of Shessalie, to join a guild with the name “Phoenix Nest”

      Upon arriving in the town of Shessalie, she could already see some people making their way in the direction of a steady Hill. On top of that was a building with golden letters saying “Phoenix Nest”. Of course those people were going to join that guild then. Hopefully Faye was not too late as it seemed to be busy, or so she thought. In actuality many of these people seemed to be heading towards town instead. So much for a busy guild but that didn’t matter to Faye. Something or rather someone she was interested in was the wizard supposedly leading this guild, Myeloch Latare. Upon walking inside the building, she found around 7-9 other wizards poking around. The main centre of attention was a slender old man and a small lady that claimed to be his daughter. Of course Faye had already met her before but it was still quite surprising that this old man had such a young daughter. It was almost unbelievable even. A few other wizard introduced themselves. A wizard with the name Boriel, a younger wizard yet still visibly older than Faye, with the name Rowan and a small boy with the name Patileer. It was a cunning name that Faye had never heard of before. She didn’t show any interest at all if you had to guess that from just looking at her face but she was in fact interested in the many new people here.

      After the small tour, Faye wasn’t disappointed but also not very excited about this building either. It was pale in comparison if you looked the other guild’s building that Faye had seen in magazines and such. Yet she felt like it could have the makings for a cosy guild. Faye decided to go upstairs after the tour and claimed a room that she believed wasn’t claimed yet. She unpacked the few things she had brought and readied the money she had gotten from her father to liven the room up. Faye was not much for furniture but she did feel like she could buy some better sheets and pillows.

      “No way!” A voice whined loud enough for Faye to hear before even leaving her room. “Now the the guild’s open I should be able to go on a job all by myself, right? Myeloch said they were all simple jobs! I bet he’d let Lina go on one by herself.” It was the youngest of Phoenix Nest’s founding members who had greeted the new entrants earlier, apparently having a disagreement with his older brother.

      “That’s because Lina’s not a kid, she’s a teenager and she’s mature for her age, too. She’s been doing odd jobs around town since before construction even started on the hall.” Rowan replied slightly scoldingly. “What have you done to prove you can be responsible?”

      “I helped Sarah stock the shelves! And I helped her move some boxes and paper, too!”

      “Didn’t you spill one of the bottles and hand her a bunch of the wrong papers?”

      “...Think you’re so smart just because you’re the big brother super wizard...jerk.” Young Patileer sulked so hard it almost seemed as if the air around him physically darkened. Thankfully the strange sight lasted only as long as it took Rowan to roughly ruffle his hair.

      “Aww, c’mon. Is it really that bad to have your big bro around on your first job?” Rowan asked, smiling apologetically.

      Pat’s pout waned and all the air he’d been holding in to puff up his face in an attempt to look mad whooshed right out of him, almost causing him to lose his balance. “Fiiiine. But you better not do everything for me! I wanna do a job like a real guild wizard!”

      Rowan’s smile became a smirk as he straightened up and playfully slapped Pat’s shoulder. “Wouldn’t dream of it, squirt! Jobs like that are beneath wizards of my calibre. When I save a cat from a tree or help an old lady across the street it’s because I’m awesome and it’s the write thing to do - plus cats are cute - not for the pittance these kinds of jobs pay.”

      Faye had heard all the noise from the new room that she settled in. As the curious person that she was, she went downstairs to find the two brothers fighting. They had introduced themselves just a little while ago but it was still refreshing to see them fight. It did feel like they were close. “A… cat?” Faye whispered to herself. She didn’t know the job system here so this would be a perfect opportunity to let these two show her how it works.

      “Uhm, would you…” Faye started but she hadn’t chosen her next words yet. “I heard you’re…” Faye’s expressionless face made it hard to figure out what she was actually thinking. Faye was not a shy person, everything but that but she was lacking in communication skill when it came to talking to people. While she was thinking too much about what they would say, her mouth had already chosen it’s next words.

      “I would like to accompany you on this job.”

      Faye was a woman of not many words, which had always bothered her slightly but she simply never knew what to say. This case was not any different. Even now she would fall into the depths of her mind, wondering if they would find her weird for not explaining more thoroughly why she wanted to join them.

      Pat began to bounce with excitement again. “Okay! Oh wow! Finally -” Rowan interrupted him by pressing down lightly on his head and smiling welcomingly at Faye.

      “We’d be glad to have you along, any member of Phoenix Nest is a friend of ours.” He explained. “But we haven’t picked a job yet, I was just giving some examples. He held a hand out in the direction of the job board near the bar. “You’re more than welcome to pick one out for the three of us and we’d be glad to accompany you. First, though...You probably already heard ours but might I ask your name, miss…?”

      Rowan’s words made Faye a little a shy. She coughed away her discomfort and looked them right in the eyes with her hazel colored viewers. “I-I’m Faye. Faye Aubrey.” She said with an unbelievable straight poker face as she made her way to the bulletin board. “Then how about this one.” Faye didn’t even look as she just aimlessly pulled a note from the bulletin board. “Cat stuck in tree. Help.” She read and showed the piece of paper to the boys. That’s when it suddenly occurred to her what she had just read and took the paper away from their view. “U-Uhmmm…”

      Rowan smirked good naturedly and Pat blurted out his response. “Wow, your name is as pretty as you are! And you’re funny, too!”

      “A winning combination if ever there was.” Rowan agreed with a slight chuckle before leaning closer to Faye and gently grabbing the posted job from her. “No need to be nervous, gorgeous. The quiet types have their own kind of appeal.” He teased with a slightly exaggerated wink, folding the paper into a little airplane. Sarah was arranging a few things over at the bar and he would not miss his opportunity.

      Faye wasn’t much for expressions but this did throw her off her comfortable stick. “U-Uhm…” was all she could blatter out.

      Pat watched in childish awe as Rowan kissed the tip of his own finger and pressed the finger against the paper plane, causing a glowing heart to appear on it with no signs of ink and the air around it to fill with a rosy aroma. He threw the plane and it glided smoothly, landing perfectly on the counter in front of Sarah just as she turned back around to scan the guild hall. “We’re off on a job, love.” He called to her. “Keep an eye on the kids while I’m gone, aye?”

      Sarah rolled her eyes, already entirely too used to Rowan’s antics but all the same she couldn’t resist a small smile. She waved him away in mock disgust as she took the plane and unfolded it to properly file it away.

      “Byyyyeeeee Sarah!” Pat shouted. “Bye, everyone else!” He continued, waving to everyone still in the hall. “Have a good first day!” And just like that, he was off, running out the main entrance without stopping to think about the fact that he was the only one who hadn’t even actually looked at the job they were taking.

      Rowan rolled his eyes much like Sarah and smiled apologetically at Faye again. “Sorry, he’s always like that. His energy will burn out enough to realize he’s got no idea where to go before he gets too far. Shall we, Faye?” He asked. Taking a few steps towards the door out of the hall.

      Faye watched the whole drama unfold before her eyes is dissarey. “Ugh… you’re that kind of man.” she whispered quietly, feeling flustered still all the same. Her eye twitched as she tried to shrug off this conflicted feeling. It was obvious, seeing as how Sarah reacted, that this was normal for him. She sighed and followed Rowan outside. “You do realize that that you’re the bad example here?” She told Rowan as she went ahead of him. She had no idea what their magic was but she would find out soon enough. Looking at Rowan made her feel slightly uneasy so she decided to just not look at him. The little Pat, however, was kind of cute.



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        #3    
      Old August 10th, 2018 (11:11 AM). Edited August 10th, 2018 by Sephear.
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      Sephear Sephear is offline
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      A Job Well Done


      “Oh, you think so?” Rowan confirmed with another lighthearted chuckle. “You’re missing a little context there but still, if you think so that means you have a good discerning eye. Looks like we found a responsible new guildmate.”

      Faye ignored what Rowan said for her own good. “I think the note said it was in the town center. I haven’t walked around town yet. Do you mind taking us there?” Faye asked the little Pat. The urge to pat his head was there.

      “Yeah!” Pat agreed, his eyes practically sparkling. He spread his arms as if they were wings and ran happily towards Shessalie’s fountain, the town’s only real landmark. By the time the older wizards caught up he was circling the fountain happily, at one particular moment Pat hopped from the cobblestone path onto the side of the fountain and then back down again and Faye could swear that she saw a flower up out from between two stones when Pat’s feet left the ground.

      “This fountain’s been here since this town was just a couple of houses out in the countryside if what I’ve been told is right. The place doesn’t have a lot of history but what there is to find is nearly all right here.” Rowan explained. It was a nice fountain. Smooth, well-shaped stone, clean, the water flowing through it looked perfectly pure and even drinkable but like the rest of the town, it was otherwise rather plain. Patileer finally slowed down and stopped next to Rowan, looking to him for directions. “Alright, guys.” Rowan began. “I’m just here as a chaperone, I’m not supposed to be doing any jobs for any of the newer folks right now, so what are ya’ll thinking of to find this cat?”

      “Maybe if we meow loud enough it will meow back at us?” Pat proposed.

      “Sorry buddy, maybe if we were shapeshifters but all you’d be likely to do with that plan is annoy the neighbors.” Rowan shot him down.

      “I think that would be rather cute instead,” Faye whispered to herself again but coughed at her own clueless words. It was like Rowan said, other than the fountain this town was everything but a high-end city. It brought back some memories from her hometown, however, the happy memories would soon turn into the sad ones before she left with her father for the big city. Faye tried to shrug off this feeling once again, it was all she literally did every day.

      Faye thought back about the question Rowan had asked. What could she do to find this cat? Faye thought hard and raised a finger to her lips. Faye's magic was darkness magic so it wasn’t really useful for finding things. She did have learned to look at the shadows of her surroundings. Fate hastily looked around on the floor around her near trees. She couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, unfortunately.

      “Meow.” Faye blurted out as she held a flat hand to the side of her mouth to make her sound louder. “Meow” she repeated as she walked around a little bit more. She just thoughtlessly decided to go ahead with Pat’s idea. Though it wasn’t as Faye expected that the cat would meow back at her. She wasn’t looking inside the trees either. As Faye walked around more she heard some rustling from a tree next to them, also a tail moving swiftly judging from the shadows on the ground. “I think it’s that tree.” Faye spoke as she pointed at the tree with another expressionless face but it was comical after the situation just now.

      “Oooh, oh!” Pat blurted out, stopping next to Faye and looking up at the tree. “There’s a lot of frustration up there! A little fear, too, more since we got here.” He saw a pair of pale amber eyes looking down at them from the cover of the leaves. “Kitty! Here kitty! It’s okay, we’ll protect you!” The cat’s head poked out of the leaves and it looked down at them, it leaned forward like it was preparing to jump down but backed up at the last moment. The jump was just too far down for it to go and it wasn’t about to trust some strangers to catch it. Pat’s eyes teared up almost immediately upon the cat recoiling, and the air around him grew a bit colder and damp. “Please, kitty? We’d never hurt you, we love cats!”

      Faye looked at goosebumps on her arms as Pat was getting more sad. The cold air around her made her even more visibly confused. “What the…” Faye squinted her eyes at the cat and watched its behaviour rather than Pat’s.

      As if in response to Pat’s worsening mood the cat’s hackles lifted and its fur fluffed up slightly in fear. It hissed at the young boy and that was enough to force a sob out of him. Rowan looked around them suspiciously, on guard for something nobody else could guess at. When the cat only seemed even more reluctant to move Pat’s sadness at not being trusted was overtaken by frustration. The air warmed and a breeze began to pick up. Patileer pouted so hard and screwed his face up so much he looked as if he’d just drank pure essence of sour and he stamped his foot. “Kitty get down from there right now!” As if on cue a powerful gust of wind blew from next to the tree, weaved through the leaves as if they weren’t even there and shoved the cat right off its branch with a yowl.

      Faye almost immediately responded with a cloud of darkness made from her fingertips at the area she guessed the cat would fall. The cat landed a little to the side of the soft looking cloud but the cat was okay nonetheless. Faye looked at Pat, wondering what his power was. “Look, Pat. He got down safely, no need to be sad anymore.” she told the little guy, she could have thrown some kind of feeling into that but hey… What is empathy, right?

      The burst of anger seemed to have left Pat as quick as it had shown up and he beamed at the sight of the cat touching the ground safely.

      The whole magic gust stroke a nerve. Was he able to control the weather or something? That sounds like quite a dangerous kind of magic. “We finished the job, now what?” Faye asked the slightly older her wizard.

      Before answering, Rowan turned his attention to the cat, which was backed into a corner by the tree, staring at the wizards with panic in its eyes at the strange circumstances of how it had come to leave the tree. Rowan stepped closer and knelt down near the cat, holding his hand out, palm up and just out of reach of its claws. The cat stared at his hand for a few seconds, hackles still raised. Then, inch by inch the cat drew closer and began to sniff his hand. When the little ritual finished Rowan very slowly began to rub his fingers against its chin, the cat pressed into him and he pets it more properly before finally scooping it up.

      The little furball was a mass of purring and relief and if Rowan’s smile was any indication he felt much the same. In fact, Faye didn’t just see the gladness and warmth on his face, it was almost as if she could feel it brushing against her own mind likes waves on a shore. “Now we bring this little guy home, I’m sure his family must miss him. Thankfully I recognized the name on the poster, I’ve become acquainted with quite a few of the townsfolk since Pat and I came here.”

      The sensation of the warmth coming from Rowan made Faye feel a little uneasy yet quite warm inside herself. Watching the cat cuddle up to Rowan reminded her that if her cloud had been just a little bit more off, the cat would’ve come to his end due to Faye’s inability. She was filled with insecurities about her own affinity. “That cloud was so much smaller than I intended it to be…” she thought to herself. It was another sign she could not control her power well.

      “That was awesome, Faye!” The younger brother interrupted, running over and hugging the young woman around her shoulders. “You saved the kitty!” Next, he jumped over to Rowan and began scratching between the cat's ears, which it certainly had no complaints about.

      Faye was left thunderstruck after Pat’s little hug. She was absolutely not used to this kind of behaviour. She was filled with more warmth. Though the feeling of unease wouldn’t go away. Why was that? Was it even unease? It was a feeling Faye couldn’t describe anyway. The more she got involved with these two the more curious she got about their magic too. Whatever it was, it was something interesting. Faye went against her own will and took a glimpse of Rowan’s face, he smiled slightly as he stroke his fingers through the fur of the little creature. Faye sighed and looked away from both brothers, while her cheeks turned slightly rosy.

      “In that case, you know where this cat lives then?” Faye asked Rowan. The moment Faye wanted to come closer, the cat started hissing again. “Okay, maybe not…” Faye decided. She didn’t want to make the cat feel even more uneasy. It did make her a little sad that the cat didn’t want her to come close and Faye couldn’t help but wonder why.

      “Don’t worry, it’s a bit of a walk, you’ll have time to get him to like you,” Rowan assured her. “All you have to do is relax a bit. Animals tend to be much more empathetic than most humans. Regardless of whether you chalk it up to a sixth sense, their sharpened primal senses letting them do things like smell fear or whatever, a lot of animals can sense when people are uneasy towards them. Cats especially tend to be like emotional mirrors, they often react with the same kind of feelings they sense from a person. In short, if you’re afraid of the cat, they’ll be afraid of you.” He began to lead the way towards the cat’s home but slowed himself down to stay next to Faye and keep her in reach of the cat. “If you approach a cat with patience, confidence, and friendliness, more often than not they’ll act the same way towards you. Especially if you let them get a good sniff of your hand before you try to touch them~” He finished, holding the cat slightly towards the girl, which brought another pout out of Pat when the cat was out of his own reach.

      Faye was silent for a while. So cat’s were able to feel how she was really feeling? Well that’s inconvenient. Faye slowly reached out her hand to the cat while trying her hardest to think about nothing. It was really hard though as there was always some sort of insecurity but the cat accepted. He sniffed her hand and allowed Faye to pet him. Faye eagerly took the opportunity and scratched his ears thoughtfully. While her face was still expressionless, there was this warm fuzzy feeling Faye had inside. She was happy at least the cat accepted her.

      “ Thank you…” Faye said really quietly. It was obvious she didn’t want to repeat those words though.

      Rowan simply smiled wide again and said nothing.




      “And here you are, Mrs. Nelson!” Rowan announced as the door to the house opened before the trio of wizards. The…ahem hefty woman who stepped forward squealed with delight and held out her arms, catching the cat when it excitedly jumped out of Rowan’s grasp and into hers.

      “Oh! Th-th-thank you so much, mister Hoskel...I don’t know what to say!” She looked back into the house over her shoulder and shouted. “Norman! Norman, Leonard is back! Get the children!”

      “Oh, don’t thank me, miss.” Rowan began to correct her. “All I did was carry little Lenny back here.” He stepped aside to reveal Faye hiding behind him and forced her to reveal her shyness head-on, pushing her softly towards Mrs. Nelson. “This young lady was the one who really saved your precious fuzzball. Faye here is one of Phoenix Nest’s new wizards! She just started today, this is her first job and she’s the one who caught Lenny when he fell out of the tree he was stuck in.”

      Pat pushed at Rowan with a huff. “Hey, I helped too! I wa-mph!” His voice was muffled by Rowan’s hand covering his face and forcing him to stand behind his big brother, out of sight for Faye’s moment.

      Faye didn’t know what to do and her usual expressionless face turned just slightly into one with a little bit of expression. One of a panicking person at least. “I-It wasn’t just me! Little Pat here helped too…” Faye said but apparently, it was too quiet for the woman to hear. “Oh thank you so much!” The woman clasped her hands while Faye just shyly looked at Rowan, hoping he would step in… but of course, he wouldn’t do that. This was probably way too funny for him. “Y-You’re welcome…” Faye spoke softly while looking at her feet.

      Rowan stepped forward before Mrs. Nelson could get too far ahead of herself and cleared his throat. “With that done, we should get going. Sorry we can’t stay for dinner, but now that the guild is finally officially open we’ve got to have all our new members ready in the evening for the...festivities.” He tried not to let too much mirth bleed into his mention of plans for the night but some slipped through anyway. He tugged just lightly enough on Faye’s shoulder for Mrs. Nelson to take the hint and let go of her hands. “Just make sure Sarah gets the reward so she can give us our payment and we’re all square, have a good night~”

      “Yes, yes of course!” Nina Nelson agreed. “Norman will be over with the fee soon, thank you again!”

      Faye sighed in relief. Rowan really saved her there. Faye was a little awkward when it came to sudden interactions that she couldn’t prepare herself for. What a strange first day this was.

      “Wooo!” Pat cut off the farewell, raising his arms and cheering. “First job complete!” He ran in a short circle, his excitement almost making it seem like he was glowing. He grabbed Faye’s hand and pulled her in the direction of Phoenix Nest’s hall while Rowan looked on with amusement. “C’mon Faye! Let’s go tell everyone we’re real guild wizards now! Ah, I can’t wait to see what Sarah makes for dinner tonight!”

      Faye was surprised when Pat grabbed her hand but was soon at ease. She had gotten a little used to Pat by now. He was just a child after all. “Maybe this isn’t so bad after all.” Faye thought. The people here were kind and they didn’t seem to notice any difference in Faye’s appearance from a normal regular human. Faye reached with her hand towards the top of her head, right where her small horns were supposed to be and rubbed her hair more around so it was not accidentally visible. She was hoping everyone in the guild was as kind as Rowan and Pat were.

      Back in the building of Phoenix’s Nest, Faye turned to both Pat and Rowan. “Thank you for accompanying me today.” she said coldly but did bow down out of respect. “I have claimed a room upstairs and will be staying in this building.” Faye slowly came back up. I came from the city so I don’t have any connections here.”

      “Nothing wrong with that,” Rowan assured her. “Neither do we, besides what little we’ve made since Boriel brought us here. We’re orphans, so we totally get it!”

      Pat nodded vigorously. “Or at least, we were! Now Boriel’s family...and Myeloch and Lina and Sarah all feel more like family every day!” For once a thought popped into Pat’s head that actually made him a tad bashful, looking at his feet. That still didn’t stop it from escaping his lips. “Maybe someday...all of Phoenix Nest can be like a big family…” Rowan pat Pat on top of the head and the little guy jumped, apparently not realizing he’d spoken out loud. “Eep!” His cheeks blossomed with the flush of embarrassment and the air around him grew noticeably hazy as if trying to hide him from sight. “I-I-I I mean I just hope everyone gets along becauseit’simportantforteamworkinaguildandohmygoshohmygosh.” Without another word, Pat pulled the hood of the cloak he’d stolen from Roran over his head and ran straight to the brothers’ shared room, the cloud of mist following him the entire way.

      Rowan chuckled heartily after Pat was out of earshot. “Ah, what a sweet boy...too busy trying to be like me to even realize what a hopeless romantic he is...I can’t wait to see what kind of man he becomes when he grows up. Of course, first I’ve still got plenty of growing of my own to do. The path to world’s greatest wizard can’t be a short one, after all! All the greatest wizards we have right now are old farts for a reason!” That one actually got a laugh out of Sarah, who’d overheard from the bar. “Glad you liked it, gorgeous! Just...don't tell Boriel I said that, aye?”

      Faye crossed her arms and shook her head in disapproval. “At least he isn’t a hopeless flirt like his brother is.” Faye commented with her straight expressionless face. It would probably be taken as teasing even though Faye was quite serious about that, Pat would grow up a good man the way he is now. “There is no woman that’s going to be fooled by that behaviour.” Faye continued. “I hope so at least…” Faye turned away from Rowan and watched the people that were occasionally walking by. It was quite a sight to see.

      “...I’m going to do some sightseeing and train afterwards. I’m not going to be the world’s greatest wizard but I want to at least be able to make my father proud.” Faye made her way towards the door while waving with her right hand. “Thanks again for today. I won’t forget this favor.”

      Once outside Faye stood still and kept wondering. “Orphans…?” Faye repeated quietly. Faye was a quite surprised to hear that from the two brothers. There was this sudden heavy feeling that Faye felt in her chest just thinking about it. She grew up without a mother which had troubled her for years and even now while she’s become an adult, it sometimes bothers her still. She doesn’t know whether her mother is still alive or what has become of her. Even so, she still had her father that she could rely on. He raised her the best he could. Rowan and Pat had neither. They probably grew up without a father or mother they could rely on. Even though Faye is not very good with empathy, she did feel sorry for them. “At least they have this fella… Boriel?” Faye’s eyes drifted towards the sky and watched the clouds flying by. She had only just noticed how beautiful the weather today was.

      That’s when something occurred to Faye. It was such a beautiful day. Where did that gust of wind from earlier come from then? And why was it suddenly getting damp and cold at that time too? Faye started thinking more and more about it. She knew it probably had to do something with Pat’s magic but the curiosity she had in it kept growing. She also just remembered herself that she never saw Rowan use his magic other than that time he was teasing Sarah. It confused her. She had never seen anything like it.

      Faye shook her head. “I’ll try to figure that out at a later time I guess.” she told herself and put both of her hands behind her head as she walked off in the direction of the town.


      __________________
      "Ever looking forward, ever thinking back. Everywhere you've been, everyone you've met was another step on your path, shaping your future even as they become part of your past. One must never discount the pieces that have made up your journey until now but to lose yourself in them would be equally great folly, instead let them hoist you up, carry you on until you find the strength to walk for yourself. So it is that I continue towards that endless horizon. Ever thinking back, ever marching forward, inexorable as the history that brought me down this road. This Lonesome Road."
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        #4    
      Old August 14th, 2018 (2:41 AM).
      gimmepie's Avatar
      gimmepie gimmepie is offline
       
      Join Date: May 2012
      Location: Australia
      Age: 23
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      Nature: Adamant
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      Primilla and Patileer

      Falling Into You

      Primilla wandered lazily up the stairs, not in any real rush. She could have afforded to rent a place in town easily enough with the money she had saved, especially if her parents chipped in, but the thing about money was that you’d cease to have it if you spent it. She’d be perfectly happy in whatever Phoenix Nest provided as long as it was clean and had a comfortable enough bed.

      Finding herself in a hallway dotted by several doors, Primilla was left with a dilemma. Which room did she want? She supposed they were all much the same. Whistling to herself, she closed her eyes and swung a pointed finger up and down the hall. Opening after thirty seconds, she made her way to the door she found herself aiming at. Opening it and strolling in.

      The room wasn’t bad at all. A queen-sized bed dominated the centre of the small room, a small wooden chest for storage at its foot. Along the right wall stood some simple wooden cabinet and on the left an empty closet with its door hanging open.

      “I thought they said the rooms would be pretty much empty. This is great!” Prim said happily, flopping comfortably onto the bed, ignoring that she’d left the door wide open.

      Upon leaving Faye, Rowan and Pat were heading towards the live-in rooms when Pat tugged on his big brother’s shoulder and sped up a little bit. “Come on! Now that we finished our first job it’s time for some rest! I’m gonna go take a nap!”

      Your first job.” Rowan corrected Pat, halting them both. “And we barely even did anything on that job, if you’re that ready to slack off you’ll never learn anything.”

      “But I-”

      “Can always do some more later, fine, fine. Just make it a short nap, I’m gonna go get some practice in.” Rowan finished.

      “Okay!” Pat agreed heartily, zooming off without a moment’s hesitation. He ran all the way back to the room he and Rowan shared full throttle, failing to even notice that the door was already wide open despite Rowan having gone elsewhere and diving straight onto the bed...and the person he hadn’t realized was there.

      Primilla was unceremoniously jarred from her daydreaming by the impact of another person jumping on top of her. She yelped with shock, flailing about underneath her assailant until they shifted their weight enough that she could get her arms under them and shove them off of her.

      “The hell?!” she accused, leaping to her feet on the bed, in a fight-or-flight position, legs flexed and arms wide and forward ready to grapple the attacker if they were making another move. Upon seeing the figure now on the floor though, she froze in place with her head cocked to the side. “The kid?”

      “Owwwwie!” The lump groaned, straightening itself back into the shape of Patileer and rubbing the sore spot on his head. “I don’t remember the bed ever being so lumpy...or bouncy, it felt like it hit me when I-” His eyes made their way up to the top of the bed and he froze. “Eep! W-why are you in my room?” He asked, now sounding less hurt and more curious, trying to blink a tear out of his eye.

      “Your room?” Prim said, jumping down from the bed to land in a crouch next to the kid. Her head remained cocked to the side but dropping the reactionary posture.

      “Yes, my room...well, our room, mine and my big brother’s.” Pat responded, now resolutely pouting. “We’ve been here for a long time already. We even have a bigger bed than the other rooms because we have to share until I grow up a bit more…”

      “Oh… uh… whoops?” Prim offered sheepishly, jumping up to her feet and offering her hand to Pat to help him up. “My bad then! I didn’t hurt you did I? I’ve been told I can be a bit overboard.”

      Pat took her hand gratefully and sprang up with no signs of his previous pain or shock. “Wow, me too! A lot… especially by my big brother… but now I’ve got it in common with someone, cool! What’s y-” The young wizard stopped in the middle of a word, staring curiously at the girl. After a brief pause he began to lightly smack the palm of his hand against his ear, as if trying to get out water. Suddenly he stiffened and seemed aware of the real world again. “Whoah! You feel weird!” He took a step back from Prim and closed his eyes, slowly she began to hear him humming, changing in pitch and tone multiple times. “Hm. Noooo, it’s more like…” The experiment continued until he reached one steady tune and hummed it for a solid ten seconds.

      Out of nowhere Patileer grabbed Prim’s hands in his and shook them happily. “I’ve never met someone like you before! You feel so strange… and you’re super strong, too! What’s your name?!” He was practically glowing! Wait, was he actually glowing?

      “I am weird!” Prim said cheerfully, allowing herself to bounce up and down along with Pat as he vigorously shook her hands. “I’ve never met anyone like me before either. Oh, but my name is Primilla - Prim in short - not Weird. Being called Weird would be weird.”

      Primilla continued the enthusiastic shaking, not put out at all by how enthusiastic Pat was. Actually, his enthusiasm was kind of infectious in a way. It was just plain fun to be around. That being said, she wasn’t so caught up in the moment that she didn’t realise that she was jumping up and down with a human light bulb. She stopped mid-bounce.

      “Speaking of weird though, your eyes are orange now… and you’re literally glowing.”

      “Huh?” It took a moment before what she said properly registered and when it did Pat turned beet red. No, actually it was more like a steamed lobster… in fact he was burning up! The heat stung Primilla’s hands just enough for her to let go of Pat in surprise and allow him to stumble backward and thump his rump right into the low cabinet on the wall. “I-I-I’m sorry! It’s just meeting new people is a ton of fun and I’m so glad to have guildmates now and you’re so unique and interesting and I got carried away and - and -” He stopped for a second and his mouth simply hung open while steam literally poured out and rose away, which seemed to vent just enough heat to calm him down and let him continue. “Please don’t hate me.” He muttered at the end, barely audible.

      Prim stood there unmoving for a second before suddenly erupting into a torrent of uncontrollable laughter as she watched Pat freak out and start billowing steam. She was practically in convulsions, almost missing the last quiet remark.

      “Hate you?” she said, shocked “Why would I? You’re hilarious! Don’t get sad or it might start raining or something.” Genuine sentiments or not, she couldn’t help breaking down into more laughter as she imagined a cartoony rain cloud appearing over the pair of them and bucketing down. “Relax.” Prim added with a grin.

      Her words went through with shocking ease and Pat quickly regained his normal color, matching Prim grin for grin. “Okay! Hey, did you notice the training room when Lina brought the tour there earlier? I bet someone as strong as you could get a lot done there! Your magic must be cool, too!”

      “Uuuuuuuh -” Prim began “I don’t know if my magic would really classify as cool to most but I like it anyway! I can show you if you want, I did see the room.”

      “Ohhhh yesyesyesyes!” Pat chanted, bouncing once again. “This is gonna be great! I barely got to see any of Faye’s magic at all earlier! Let’s go!” Without waiting for a reply, he was off, charging away from the rooms and towards the training area at a nearly inhuman speed for a boy his age.

      “Wait that’s not what I mea-” Primilla started to yell after Pat, quickly abandoning the idea as futile. “Oh screw it.” She said to herself before taking off after the young mage, once again leaving the door wide open behind her.
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        #5    
      Old August 14th, 2018 (2:10 PM).
      Sephear's Avatar
      Sephear Sephear is offline
      Believe in the you that believes in cheese
       
      Join Date: Apr 2011
      Location: Nevada...ugh
      Age: 24
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      Posts: 1,260






















      Punch this rock!


      Once Primilla caught up she was greeted with the sight of the room already in use. Before she even entered the room she could hear the telltale sounds of materials being formed or transported through magic and flying through the air. What awaited her inside was a veritable volley of spears and arrows appearing along the walls of the room and flying towards the center, right at Patileer’s older brother, Rowan. Each projectile that flew towards the wizard missed narrowly as he weaved, ducked, dodged and bent, several coming so close it was impossible to tell if they missed by chance or not. Eventually it seemed dodging wasn’t enough and Rowan bent his elbow to thrust his palm upward, allowing an arrow to pass through the gap between his forearm and shoulder while simultaneously breaking the haft of a spear, the longer half of which he used to smack several other missiles away just before the assault stopped.

      Last but not least, a large boulder formed in the area the previous attacks had come from and flung itself right towards the wizard. His eyes narrowed and he took a deep breath, holding his right hand palm out toward the boulder. Just before the massive rock struck, Rowan’s index, middle and ring fingers clumped together and he thrust them the last few inches his arm could stretch into the boulder. It froze for a split second then shattered, raining down pebbles and debris around the arena. With his practice complete, Rowan bowed to an invisible opponent and turned towards the entrance. “Oh, hello there! We’ve got visitors here already? Good! I like that dedication!”

      “Your brother isn’t half-bad.” Prim said to Pat from her place next to the younger mage, genuinely impressed with the display. It looked to her that Phoenix Nest really was the right place to be if she had her heart set on making an impression at the Grand Magic games. She grinned sheepishly at Rowan as she continued. “Well I’m not sure dedicated is the word but yep, I’m here!”

      “Rowan’s super strong!” Pat agreed heartily. “Pretty soon he’s going to be the guild’s strongest wizard! That’s why I wanna be like him!”

      The big strong wizard in question scoffed. “Oh please, I’ve still got a long way to go!” He protested with a chuckle. “Who knows how long it will take to surpass the geezers. Besides -” He lightly punched Pat’s shoulder. “You’re stronger than I am! Even if I am still a better fighter.”

      “Oh come onnnn~ No I’m not -” At the word ‘not’ Pat punched Rowan’s shoulder in kind. Then Rowan wasn’t there anymore. A quick glance showed the two younger wizards that he was slumped against the wall, trying to shake a bout of dizziness away. Pat positively squeaked in shock and remorse before running to Rowan’s side. “I’m sorry! I meant to be gentle! I didn’t mean to...ahhh.”

      Rowan’s hand rested itself on Pat’s shoulder and he straightened himself up. “Relax, relax, I’m fine. It takes more than that to do me in!... Just don’t ask me to do anything too delicate or precise for… let’s say an hour.”

      “Why’d you want to be like your brother when you can already blast him across the room with no effort?” Prim said, head tilting to the side again as she peered at Pat as though looking from a distance. “Isn’t it better to want to stand on your own feet anyway?”

      “Because he’s my big brother and he’s super cool!” Pat argued. He seemed about to say more but instead he just looked down at the floor. “I may be strong but other than that I’m useless. I can’t even use my magic when I want to. I don’t even have my physical strength all the time. And Rowan’s the only person who can teach me to get better! There’s no one else to - sniff - show me…”

      “Seriously getting concerned about rain here.” Prim said, elbowing the kid in the side as gently as she could. “Snap out of it already, relax. Your magic is impressive, wait until you see how weak mine is next to it. Geez.”

      “OH! What’s your magic?!” Pat demanded, drawing closer to Prim. “Show me! Show me show me show meeeeeeeeeeee~”

      “Sure, sure. Why not?” Without further warning, Prim’s form was instantly replaced. Where a moment before a young woman stood, now a pretty blue and white bird flapped its wings in place in the air. A moment later, Prim was standing there, sheepishly rubbing the back of her head and displaying a cheery grin. “That’s pretty much it. Not quite as flashy as yours but it’s got it’s perks!”

      Rowan snapped his fingers and nodded his head with a grin that mirrored Prim’s. “Ah, I see now, that explains why you feel so strange. You -”

      “You’re a bird!” Pat interrupted. “I thought that you felt familiar!”

      “Complex and intelligent like a human.” Rowan continued as if he hadn’t been cut off.

      “But with a steady, constant hum like an animal!” Pat said.


      Rowan stopped next to Prim and both continued in unison. “Nobody’s ever really felt like you before! So utterly unique! You really are totally -”

      “Cool!” - Pat

      “Interesting!” - Rowan

      “And the bird you turn into is really cute!” Pat finished sweetly.

      “Not every day I get that reaction!” Prim exclaimed with a giggle “You pretty much hit the nail on the head though. Like I said earlier, I’m weird and I don’t think there’s anyone else out there quite like me. I do make for a cute bird though, huh?”

      Apparently after he’d said it out loud Pat had already moved on because now he was bouncing on his heels and biting his lip. “Heyheyhey! Prim! Show Rowan how strong you are!” Without waiting for an answer he dashed past both of them and to the room’s magical interface. A boulder much like the one Rowan had shattered as they entered appeared in the center of the room and Pat pointed at it excitedly. “Punch this rock!”

      “Uh… sure, why not?” Prim said with a shrug. She walked up to the boulder and looked it up and down for a second. It might have looked for a moment like she wasn’t sure she could do it but she would quickly put anyone’s doubts aside. “Wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to break anything else by mistake… I’ve got in trouble for that a lot in the past. This’ll be easy.”

      Without further pause, Prim pulled back her right hand, curling it into a fist as she did so, and then drove it hard into the stone. The minute her fist touched the surface of the boulder it exploded under the impact, dust and shrapnel scattering in all directions.

      “Demonstration complete, I suppose!” Prim smiled “Now it’s your turn. You’ve got to explain that weird magic of yours to me. Why do you glow?”

      “Haven’t you ever heard the phrase ‘glowing with excitement’?” Pat queried. “That was me!

      “Had that part worked out, Pat. I’m asking why you literally were glowing with excitement.” Prim responded, sticking out her tongue at the boy for good measure.

      “Our magic reacts to emotions to physically affect us and the world around us.” Rowan explained. “It’s basically on all the time and there’s really no turning it off so it takes a lot of practice to control. Pat… well, he feels a lot and still needs a lot of practice on the control part so stuff like that tends to happen around him.”

      “Makes sense to me!” Prim said “You’ll get the hang of it when you grow up then. Awesome!” Prim ruffled Pat’s hair for good measure “I still want that demonstration though.”

      “We’re a small guild and everyone seems nice so far.” Rowan said. “So I’m sure we’ll all become a tight little bunch before long, you’ll see plenty, I promise.”

      __________________
      "Ever looking forward, ever thinking back. Everywhere you've been, everyone you've met was another step on your path, shaping your future even as they become part of your past. One must never discount the pieces that have made up your journey until now but to lose yourself in them would be equally great folly, instead let them hoist you up, carry you on until you find the strength to walk for yourself. So it is that I continue towards that endless horizon. Ever thinking back, ever marching forward, inexorable as the history that brought me down this road. This Lonesome Road."
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        #6    
      Old August 14th, 2018 (4:51 PM).
      Turnip's Avatar
      Turnip Turnip is offline
      Magnificent Turnip
         
        Join Date: Apr 2012
        Location: Private property what the heck are you doing here get out
        Posts: 652

        Also Saving A Cat But This One Was The First One Really I Promise I Started It It was Me
        Featuring Drell and Lina


        Earlier that day, before arriving at Phoenix nest...

        "Okay, so, uh, when you said you urgently needed help, uh, your tone kind of gave the impression that the situation was a little more dire."

        "The situation is dire! How will he ever get down?"

        "I mean, like... it's not exactly a wyvern attack or something, is it?"

        "I- oh, goodness- do you want to help me, or not?"

        "Well- yeah, of course! It's just... I'm not really sure how I can. It's, uh, not really my uh... area of expertise."

        A cat was stuck in a tree.

        "But you're so tall! Surely you could just-"

        "-I'm not that- It's not a sapling, it's a full-on tree! I'm not gargantuan, I just have trouble getting through doors, I don't have to look out in case I bump my head on the Sun, it's a completely different-"

        "-Okay, okay dear, calm down! I just... oh, I do worry for my poor baby's safety. George! Please come down, George!"

        The cat in the tree let out a noise that may well have been a valiant - if unsuccessful - attempt at an understandable reply. George, like most cats, could not talk. Unfortunately for the two below him, he also refused to come down. The older of the two, a middle-aged woman wearing a light cardigan, came up to the base of the trunk to try to gain a better view through the branches. She made a slight, half-hearted hopping motion before giving up and returning to her company with a pleading look, gesturing to the base of the tree as though it were an invitation.

        The older woman said, "Do you think you could, er, maybe-"

        "I, uh, I'm not sure where-"

        "-Climb it, maybe, with the, er, your claw-things? I'm not sure how predisposed you are, to, erm..."

        The one with the 'claw-things' gave the tree trunk a look of profound apprehension. Her hands and feet were, by most accounts, monstrous appendages - their digits ended in what could probably be quite fairly called claws, and they could likely be used to cling to the bark to a reasonable degree. She weighed the situation over in her mind, reaching one finger under her helmet to scratch at her head.

        "I dunno," she admitted, approaching the tree. "I could probably give it a go, but- oh heck no that'd be bad news real quick."

        The monstrous woman quickly stepped back as testing her weight against the trunk resulted in a decidedly off-putting creaking noise. She sighed as she adjusted her lifted visor - a strange-looking thing that had been made to fit over her elongated snout - and gave her elder a shrug and something between a smile and a grimace. She soon returned to pondering; seemed like the tree wouldn't take her weight. She was heavy enough as it is, and the plate armour certainly wasn't helping. She could potentially spend a while doffing it and then try again, but an idea occurred to her - something quick and dirty, but something that might just work.

        "Ok! I've got an idea," the younger woman announced, snapping her gauntleted fingers with a clang. "And don't worry about it, it's gonna work swimmingly. I've never failed a situation like- uh- there hasn't been- never- I've never failed at anything, er, in my whole life. It's great, it'll work, it's good."

        "I, oh... what were you thinking of trying...?" The elder asked, confused and perhaps a little bit frightened.

        "I'm going to do my, uh, my super, ultra, devasta- uh, probably no devastation, I- I'm gonna do a super-jump thing, is what I'm saying. Gonna jump real high real fast, and I'll try to nab good-ol' Georgie-poo on my way up."

        "Ok, I think maybe that could work... and on the way down?"

        "On the way down I will land in a, uh, superhero pose, because I'm just so great. Sound good?"

        "Well, if- if you're that confident, I suppose it couldn't hurt..."

        "Aaight, sweet, I'm goin'! I'm doin' it!"

        The younger one bent her knees, squatting down before a crackle of energy through her legs sent her rocketing into the air. The jump took her through the canopy, cracking branches and sending leaves-turned-confetti exploding outward from her impact. George screeched, jolting into action and darting away, evading the humanoid projectile who, having missed her target only to find herself disconcertingly airborne, promptly lost her balance and grasped for the tree to stabilise herself. She clawed with one hand at a branch which immediately snapped, then the other managed to snatch the trunk which swung her around the tree. It seemed to hold up under her weight for a moment before a sickening creaking sound turned quickly into a series of snaps.

        "Uh... all according to plan!" Came the voice from the treetop as the trunk bent and gave way, sending wood and plate-clad reptillian woman alike toppling to the ground with a resounding clatter. The older woman could only watch on in horror and silence. A mighty 'oof' was let out from beneath the tree as it made impact with the dirt, the general commotion startling a seemingly unscathed George who had made his way safely atop the bay of the neighboring house. The cat jumped down from the bay onto the tree, prompting another 'oof' of lesser might from the one below it, and ran quickly behind the legs of his owner who stood staring at the disaster before her.

        "Oh, my- are you ok?" The one in the cardigan asked, beginning to move over.

        "Yeah, I'm great- I- yep! Perfect! As intended!" The armoured one assured her from beneath the pile of branches, twigs, leaves and trunk. A large hand snaked its way out of the wreckage to present an exuberant thumbs-up.

        “Hey Mrs. B!” Drell heard a new voice from under her pile of tree-bits. “I wanted to knock out your job request real quick before any newbies showed, but it looks like someone already took care of that for ya. In their own, creative sort of way."

        "Oh! Hi there Lina," The older woman greeted the newcomer. "I was just, well- there was... yes."

        The one under the tree heaved the main portion off of her chest, which appeared to spook George the cat enough that he darted back inside the house. She shook her head a little and began to wriggle free of the arboreal prison, beginning to let off some kind of spiel as she did so.

        "So, uh, not only did I save your cat from the tree, I also made sure that he'd never get stuck in the tree ever again!" She paused to pull one foot free of a few branches. "That's like, some serious future proofing and- and, just letting ya know, I also slew the vengeful spirit that was residing within the tree. Real mighty, evil big'un. Got 'em good, though. It was a real- oh hey, uh, didn't see you there!" Pausing again upon seeing the new face, she brushed the last of the leaves from her arms and adjusted her visor. "So yeah, uh, anyway, the uh..." The monstrous woman finally trailled off as her gaze was drawn to the sheer mass of the felled tree before her.

        “Impressive!” The younger girl clapped. “Sounds like the job was a lot more exciting than I thought it’d be! I’m kinda mad I didn’t get here sooner now, but at least it’s done and George is safe. I’m Lina, by the way! Lina Latare.” She held out her hand for a shake. There was quite a bit of pride in the way she announced her name.

        "Oh sh- oh! You're the- it's you!" The big, armoured reptillian's eyes widened and she broke into a wide grin as she took the handshake heartily. "Duke Ith'drell, the big uh- it's me! I saw the guild thingy, it's actually why I'm- oh, uh, sorry Mrs. B," Drell turned to her client, gesturing to the fallen tree. "Yeah, my bad about that whole thing, I dunno what you want done with it. I mean, I've got a li'l axe if you want me to chop it up for firewood or somethin'."

        "Hmm..." The older woman seemed to consider it. "Well, us and the neighbours were considering having a barbecue this coming Friday. I suppose we could use it then...?"

        “I’ll help get this all cleaned up, as long as you let me stop by for that barbecue! As for the job reward, I guess you can just take it to the guild like you would have if the duke was gonna join the guild anyway. Speaking of...” Lina turned her attention back to Drell. “We’re heading back there as soon as we’re done here, no objections! A tough looking warrior type like yourself, and a duke at that, has got to have all kinds of awesome stories! And you’ve gotta let me have a closer look at that monster of a sword you’re carrying, too!”

        "Well, of course, you know we're always happy to see our intrepid guild heroes," said Mrs. B.

        "Well jeez, now I've gotta join," chuckled Ith'drell as she drew a handaxe wrapped in cloth from her backpack on the floor. She lowered the sheathed blade off of her shoulder as she began to unwrap the far smaller 'weapon'. "Go ahead and take a look if you want! I call it 'Big Whap'."

        “Big Whap…” Lina repeated unsurely. “Not what I would have gone with, but it’s not my sword.” She unsheathed the “Big Whap”, visibly struggling from the blade’s immense size. Despite her trembling hands that struggled to hold it up (which was quite the feat itself, considering her small, petite stature), her eyes sparkled in awe at the sight of it. She promptly put it away before her arms fell off. “I can’t wait to hear about all the enemies you’ve taken down with this thing!”

        “Now this is my sword!” Lina held out her hand, and in a flash of light appeared a greatsword that rivalled Drell’s in size. However, Lina seemed to handle this one quite easily, even with just one hand. In fact, everything about how she moved it was odd, as if it barely weighed anything. The large lacrima embedded at the base likely had something to do with it. “I call this one ‘Trial of Conviction’! It’s a tentative name, but I can’t think of anything else for it.” A white light covered the sword, and it was gone as quickly as it had come. “I use requip magic, so I wanna collect as many badass weapons as I can so I’m ready for anything! I, uh, only have two right now, but I’ll get there someday.”

        "Woah, that's neat!" praised Drell, pausing in the midst of chopping up branches to stare in awe for a moment. "Man, I always thought requip magic would be super cool to have. Well, 'cept when I was a kid; back then I thought requip magic just made it so if you said a one-liner and it didn't go over well, you could try another one and nobody would think any less of you... back then, I thought it would be ultra cool to have."

        Lina giggled. “I like you, you’re a funny one. Though I guess you can’t just learn that magic, being… you know… touched and all.” She got to work bundling the wood Drell chopped and putting it away. “But hey, if you make enough money maybe you can commission a spell lacrima from someone in the capital! It’s not quite the same, but I’m sure it’ll manage for your general ‘quipping’ needs.”

        "Ooh! Then I could have a sword and an axe and a hammer! Man... dunno why, kinda weird, but it never occurred to me that they could make lacrima for requip stuffs. Guess that's one-a the many miracles of Central Atria at work, huh?" Drell, having made short work of the remains of the tree, made sure the finished bundle of wood was all neat and tidy by patting it on its top. "Welp, it was great to meet ya, Mrs. B! Glad to be of service; I'm sure if you ever need another cat rescued or a tree defeated in spectacular fashion, you know where to come: Big fire bird- uh, the dragon- uh, phoenix guild place- hall, the Phoenix Guild Hall! That's the ticket, I got it."

        The older woman laughed, "It will certainly be my first port of call, should I not be blessed with the immediate assistance of such helpful bystanders again. I'm sure George is very thankfu- er, wherever he's gone off to. Not up another tree, I hope- oh, there he is at the top of the stairs. Very thankful. I'll send Eric up with the payment once he gets home, okay Lina?"

        “That’s great, thanks!” Lina replied before turning back to Drell. “And I was gonna wait until we got to the guild to show you this, but I really can’t wait after all!” She held out her hand again, and like before, a sword appeared, this time a different one. “This one’s my favorite! I pulled out the other one before so I could compare sizes with yours, just out of curiosity.”

        This new sword had a curved blade with a straight back like a kriegsmesser. It was long, but was still a far more reasonable size than her “Trial of Conviction”. Like her Trial, this one had a large lacrima at its base, this one a bright yellow color. Along the hilt were other, smaller lacrima that Drell recognized as energy lacrima.

        “I call this one ‘Rage of the Heavens’! The other one is kind of just a big hunk of metal, as much as I still like it, but this one is just so cool and sleek. And look!” She pressed a button on its hilt and a surge of electricity coated the blade. “Isn’t it great!? And if I ever need to, I can use up a bunch of ether to shoot out a bolt of lightning! And it’s super satisfying whenever it actually hits!” She posed proudly with the blade resting on her shoulder, but let out a yelp when it shocked her, having forgotten to turn it off and leaving her clearly embarrassed. Drell yelped at the yelp, reaching over to grab the electrified sword by the blade and pull it away slightly.

        "Woah, ey," she said, a little panicked. "Careful- you good?"

        “Yeah, I just got a bit too exci- uh, you probably shoudn’t- does that... not hurt you?”

        "Eh?" Drell tilted her head, slowly releasing her grasp on the sword. "Should somethin' be hurting me?"

        Lina tapped the flat of her electric weapon to Drell’s arm a few times, a frown forming on her face. “That’s actually really cool, but I don’t know if I like the thought of people immune to my precious Rage’s electricity. I mean, I knew there were gonna be people like that, but it’s different seeing it. But I guess that just means if we go on jobs together, I can shoot all willy nilly and not have to worry about hitting you!”

        "Oh, right, I get it- pff, I mean..." the reptillian warrior exhaled haughtily, turning around to swing her backpack over her shoulder and pick up her weapon. "Electricity can't do nothin' to me. I don't mean to, you know, but I'm kinda like... the biggest baddest- just, like, one hundred percent invincible titan person. There was this one time where there was like, this big evil snake with a big axe that breathed lazers and it lazered a city and destroyed the city instantly, but then it tried me and I was like 'nuh-uh', and then I was totally fine and I just exploded it with my mind powers. It was pretty awesome."

        “Oh wow, that’s so cool! So does that mean you use psychic magic, then?”

        "I mean, I guess. I can prolly do, like, all of the magics if I wanna- later, Mrs. B!"

        "Bye, girls! Have a great day!" The elder woman waved to the two as they began to head off for the guild hall.

        "You too! But yeah, like, I guess electricity is my main thing just 'cause I think it's the most cool. I could totally do the others if I wanted to, though. They're just not as cool."

        “Hmm… that doesn’t sound right, but I don’t know enough to say it’s not. You’re right though, electricity is definitely the coolest! What do you do with it? Especially considering you walk around with full plate and a greatsword.”

        "Ah, y'know, most stuff," said Drell, waving a hand. "Electricity is pretty versatile. Actually, there is one- you know how electrical impulses can, like, contract muscles and stuff? 'S'why it's so dangerous if you're holding something that's shocking ya, 'cuz the shocking can stop ya from letting go so you keep getting shocked and it's just a bad time. Pretty rough. Buuuut if you can control it like I can, you can kinda... force it in all the right places, if you know what I mean. Gives good ol' Big Whap some real big whappin' potential. But hey! Enough about me, tell me all about you and your old man and the guild! I heard he's like, some kinda old big shot wizard guy, so the guild's gotta be super great, right?"

        “Well…” Lina hesitated a bit, twirling her hair between her fingers. “It’s true that my dad’s a big shot; former wizard saint, renowned researcher, hero who’s even in the history books, all that jazz. He can restore severed limbs, wall off cities in an unbreakable barrier, and he knows pretty much every kind of magic. Everyone already knows how great he is. But right now the guild itself is kinda… well, you’ll see when you get there. Just know that regardless of what it is now, I’m personally going to make sure that Phoenix Nest gets bigger and better than even Gryphon Gale. And we’ve already got some incredible wizards at the guild like Rowan and Boriel that I'm sure could even take on that laser-breathing axe-snake of yours, so it shouldn’t take too long!”

        "Aaahhh, room to grow, right? I get that. I cannot wait to see everything and everyone, this is gonna be sweet."

        "You bet it is!" Lina answered with a wide smile.

        The two continued toward the guild at a brisk pace, sharing stories and gushing over their skills and accomplishments along the way until finally they made it to the top of the hill where Phoenix Nest proudly stood.
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          #7    
        Old August 31st, 2018 (4:03 PM).
        DLMuerte's Avatar
        DLMuerte DLMuerte is offline
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          ephraim thorne & the bart collection

          A sigh rang through the halls as Ephraim realized that, upon continued inspection, the tiny guild-provided room could likely house little more than Ephraim and Bartholomew’s webs. Ephraim had already tried fitting in there, too. It was in his attempt, however, that he realized the flood of black spiders rushing to claim a new stake in their new home was far too vast. Once Ephraim spotted a stray pack of Barts scuttling up to the bed in an attempt to distance themselves from their gratuitously web-slinging peers, he gave up on any notion that he was going to be staying at the guild; if this was to be even a temporary solution, it was one that he sincerely hoped he wouldn’t have to deal with. With Barts now receding from the recesses of the room and back into their typical places [his bag, his pant legs, his hair, the floor], Ephraim picked up his bags and turned directly out of the guild’s meager accommodations.

          It wasn’t as if he’d been expecting much, really, and despite Ephraim envisioning an idyllic guild life when he was younger, he had eventually come to the realization that it would never match what he had once expected. That said, he didn’t expect to have to find lodging elsewhere, and it was more than a bit of a pain considering that Ephraim wasn’t only looking for a place for himself, but also for the great mass of spiders which crawled about his clothes and his bags and across town in the same general direction. He knew Bartholomew wasn’t comfortable with it, either; the swarm had become skittish after only a few minutes in the room, and had remained skittish as the pair walked back out the front door and out of the guild. Even so, the guild was nowhere near awful. It wasn’t… exciting, sure, but it held… promise? It had… charm? It harbored a unique sense of… civic duty? For a moment, Ephraim found himself clinging to any justification for his being there; it was only when he took a moment to think about it that he decided that this was still definitely what he wanted. Being in a guild and going on adventures was his dream, even if those adventures seemed to mostly be mundane pilgrimages into the villagers’ plumbing. At least the abundance of drinks was a plus, even if he was already trying to remove himself from any constant consideration of alcoholism regardless. Of course, that was if....

          Ephraim was lost in thought as Bartholomew scuttled forth. As Ephraim made his way through the town with an occasional glance in search of lodging, the Barts crawled into every nook and cranny: some slung from webs; others tumbled down drainage pipes and in between crates; a great deal clung to the insides of Ephraim’s clothing; a few found themselves tidying up Ephraim’s hair; and most notably, a small pack was seen carrying off a few of what may have possibly and unfortunately been a few of an inattentive shopkeeper’s apples. [Ephraim eventually noticed this tomfoolery, but did little to correct it besides chastising Bartholomew later.] As Ephraim approached the town inn, however, the Barts scurried back onto Ephraim’s person, hiding themselves to the common eye and dropping the apples they had yet to devour into Ephraim’s bag. Sauntering up to the counter, Ephraim leaned in, put on his best “good Atrian boy” face, and asked for a room.



          Of course it was a difficult time. The girl at the counter called over her father, who complained about how Ephraim’s spiders would be a nuisance and an issue at the inn. He seemed to be stuck on the idea that they’d have no choice but to engage in some pest control unless he could keep his pests under control-- a phrase which, after the second utterance, made Ephraim clench his jaw and narrow his eyes. Ephraim found that these reactions were simply knee-jerk reactions to a previous tenant, given that the last Valbestian who stayed in the inn let his small beast roam the inn, and found little issue with having it create several holes in the walls and steal a great deal of cheese. It seemed to Ephraim that there was no choice but to insist that Bartholomew would never do such a thing, was “well-trained,” and, as he allowed a Bart to crawl up to his finger, listened to him incredibly well. The true test only arose when the owner asked that Ephraim bring out the rest of his “supposed beast” as well, to which Ephraim replied with stretching his arms out perpendicular to his torso and allowing the Barts to drop from his frame. It was then that the girl, eyes open wide, requested that he “please leave” because they “couldn’t possibly care for so many of those… things.” While this wasn’t Ephraim’s first arachnophobe [and likely not his last], he doubted bringing a Bart to the girl’s face and showing her how adorable Barts were would be a good idea; instead, Ephraim countered with the fact that there was no care involved for them and that he could handle them all. He wasn’t surprised when they expressed doubt regardless.

          Ephraim had already reconciled with the fact that living at the inn did not have to mean loving his landlord. That said, he was noticeably irked when they continued to express doubts after further persuasion, responding with a “well, if I showed you some of their tricks, would you believe me when I told you I had them under control?” The reply was a sigh of defeat, ending with a “no, but you can try.”

          Ephraim grinned as most Barts stopped what they were doing and began to crawl up the walls, shooting webs and raising their forelegs to begin the process as Ephraim moved his hands up into the air. He yawned as he moved his hands from one side to the other, taking his time and working the spiders like clockwork; cotton-like strands worked their way around his neck and shoulders until within the span of half a minute Ephraim had a new scarf on his shoulders. The Barts began to settle down quickly thereafter, and those which had begun to wander off and scuttle around the room and up the stairs quickly returned to Ephraim’s side. “It’s a trade,” he flaunted. “Lots of coordination involved. Not for beginners.”

          The innkeeper rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Please leave.”



          After a long day of searching, Ephraim returned and felt that he had failed to secure adequate lodging would be making the correct choice in saving money and staying at the guildhall. Upon re-entering the room and looking at it again, Ephraim sighed; as the Barts began to begrudgingly football-pile themselves into a corner at Ephraim’s request, Ephraim sat on a crate he'd found abandoned in the hall, laid his head on his fist, and began to wonder how he would fit all of his Barts and himself in the same room.
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            #8    
          Old September 24th, 2018 (12:12 PM).
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          Geras Geras is offline
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            Phoenix Nest Welcoming Party! Phoenix Nest Guildhall


            Night fell over the small town, its residents finishing up their work and going home for a long deserved rest. Windows lit up in the darkness, the electrically-powered homes and the remaining candle-lit ones making an interesting contrast when seen from a distance. Shessalie can usually be described as a quiet place, but once the last of the fishing boats had docked, it fell into complete and utter silence.

            But it didn’t look like Phoenix Nest planned to share in this peaceful atmosphere, as a squad of small plant creatures scrambled around the guildhall. They looked like large flowers, walking on their roots and carrying trays of food with the long vines they used as hands. Well, large when compared to normal flowers, as they barely reached a person's knees in height. Several of the first floor’s tables had been pushed together into a single large one, and atop it was an impressive spread of food. A whole roast chicken, pineapple glazed ham, bread, salads, potatoes, pies, and much more formed a veritable feast.

            Slumped in a chair off to the side was the architect of this meal, thoroughly exhausted from trying to work the counter while cooking all day. Of course, much of the physical work was done by her minions, but keeping them active for so long was plenty taxing on its own. Near her, standing rather unsafely atop a ladder was Lina, who was hammering the last nails needed to hold up the banner she’d been working on. It proudly displayed the words “WELCOME TO PHOENIX NEST!” in a multicolored font. It didn’t exactly look professional, but it could definitely look worse. And on the other end of the room was Boriel, his brow furrowed as he scanned through the various stations on the guild's radio.

            "Just pick something already!" Sarah complained. "It doesn't matter what, as long as you do it before the others get here. We have to look at least somewhat professional."

            "I feel like the music plays a big part in the type of atmosphere we're going for," Boriel answered without breaking his focus. "So we need to make the right choice. Although I'm probably not the best one to decide, since I'm... a bit out of touch as far as what's popular these days."

            Lina giggled. "Wow, I always thought Rowan was just joking whenever he called you geezer, but you really do sound like an old man!"

            "I doubt you're any better when a little town like this is the biggest place you've ever been." he shot back with a smirk.

            Lina prepared her own retort, which was cut short when she fell off her ladder and crashed into the counter. A hand rose up from the debris with a reassuring thumbs-up.

            "Well, if you're really stuck I can always turn into a bird and whistle all night. That's almost music." Prim said with a casual laugh, appearing from the direction of the guild's lodging. She took note of the impressive spread of food on the table, and of the flower minions wandering around as she made her way further into the room in the direction of Boriel. "Honestly though, all kinds of music are good music don't fuss so much. Phoenix Nest obviously knows how to put on a party, ease up."

            Paying little attention to what most would call "common courtesy" or "acceptable behaviour" Prim followed up on her statements by grabbing a breadstick from the table and munching down on it, all the while dancing around alone the music without a care in the world.

            "Hm. Can't argue with that," said Boriel with a shrug. He set the radio to something upbeat that matched Prim's dancing and took his place at the table.

            Just a short pause after Prim's arrival at the festivities, Rowan came as well, holding a limp, loudly snoring little brother. "Found him!" He announced cheerily. "I think all the little excitement of the day tuckered the little fella out but I know just the thing for it." He continued to walk closer to the bar until he was deeply mired in the aromas of Sarah's excellent cooking. Patileer's nostrils flared comically wide and he all but exploded out of Rowan's arms.

            "Food!" He shouted, running straight to Sarah and hugging her around the waist from her left side, grinning brightly. "Yaaaay! Sarah's cooking is the best!" Rowan smoothly slipped around to her right side and pulled her head into his shoulder for a side hug with an equally warm smile.

            Both brothers positively radiated infectious happiness and excitement. In moments Sarah felt more energetic and looked less haggard, mirroring Pat's smile in spite of herself and allowing the hug for a few seconds before good-naturedly shaking them off and shooing them away from her seat. "Well it'd have to be with all the practice this guild gives me! And you two are the worst about it." She added with a slight smirk. "So go sit down like good boys or no seconds."

            "Okay!" Both agreed simultaneously, even Rowan playing along with the faux scolding as they made their way to their own spots at the makeshift dining table, on either side of Boriel's chair.

            Faye came downstairs after leaving her self-assigned room. Only snorting lightly at the whole happening with Sarah, Rowan and Pat. She did seem to be a kind woman. Definitely looking older than Faye did even though she had entered adulthood herself. Faye took a look around the area where the tables were assembled but decided to sit down near Pat and Rowan, coincidentally also near a petite girl with blue hair. She waited with grabbing anything food related. She didn't want to come off as greedy and felt like it was more polite to wait for the others to grab something.

            Faye took a short glance below, at her chest and sighed in disappointment when she looked at Sarah's. Faye was almost completely flat, it would sometimes bother her. Faye did feel a little bit out of place, being near so many people that she just had met. It made her feel slightly uncomfortable.

            From upstairs there was a mighty thunk, followed by a rhythmic series of clunks before a reptilian face peeked excitedly over the banisters into the room below.

            "Aaight, I'm ready for-! Oh, It's dinner already..." Ith'drell seemed dejected for only a fraction of a second before a grin overtook her features once again, with a cry of: "Aaayyyyy, it's dinner already!" She hefted herself up a moment on the stair rail as though meaning to jump over it, before immediately thinking better of it and descending the staircase hurriedly instead. "Wassup guys? I'm, uh- it's me! Name's, er, Duke Ith'drell - sorry I couldn't be here earlier to introduce myself, got uh- getting that guild mark was a pain, 'cuz... well, ya prolly don't wanna hear the whole- ahh, whatever, smells good! Uh, food, right?"

            "I'd love to hear all about it, if you ever feel like telling, actually." Rowan chimed in. "I never get tired of stories and Pat wants to learn just about everything he can about our guildmates. Though...if anyone ever has any stories that aren't...child friendly, please don't tell him without asking me first."

            The Duke waved a hand, "Nah, you don't wanna hear that story; 's'boring and convoluted and just sorta complain-y, 'cause full plate's a pain in the arse to deal with and apparently I didn't even need it off but someone definitely had a problem with it before and- ey, jeez, there we go again - anyway, that story sucks, it's poopy. I got way better ones, don't you worry." She moved to grab a seat, testing its sturdiness before she put her entire weight on it. "If I can even tell them between eating because boy am I a hungry hit- uh, hild- harold- no- sure. Hungry harold. Hungry helga, I'll take that one instead, it's better."

            "Thanks for avoiding that little tale, since I'd rather not have to relive that whole mess..." Sarah chimed in. "You should all make sure to enjoy the food, though! This meal's special, so don't expect get a spread like this every night."

            "Your name is... Duke?" Faye said with a quite obvious surprised tone in her voice. It was a really odd name. Isn't it a title actually? What was more intriguing was Duke's appearance. Faye tried to not stare too obviously but seeing someone like Duke was not an everyday experience. Faye knew for sure now. Duke was a being like her mother. Something that regular humans and wizards call "touched".

            "Huh, didn't realize that was your actual name," piped Lina, dusting herself off after her little mishap. "Though I'm kinda hoping it's not so I can still say I've met a duke."

            "Woah!" Prim said as Duke ponked herself down nearby "You look... awesome. I am so glad I joined this guild." She beamed openly at Duke in a rather Pat-like manner, genuinely impressed with the visage that others might call monstrous or unpleasant. She kept the praise up for several moments before adding sidling over and attempting to stretch up to put an arm around Duke's shoulders.

            "Always cool to meet more Touched too!" She added enthusiastically.

            "Well heck yeah I look awesome!" Ith'drell agreed with fervour, "It's 'cause I'm awesome, thanks for noticing." She gave Prim a grin as she leaned over to help the younger girl reach around, at least to the other side of her neck if not all the way over to her opposite shoulder, and put an arm around Prim as well for good measure. She turned to address the rest of the room and said, "Friendly bunch, huh? It's great to meet ya all. Uh, Duke's kinda just a title, I got it when I, er, destroyed- er, liberated- saved a town- er, the world from, uh, the doom of... big, uh, big doom! Huge doom."

            Rowan leaned back in his chair while Pat bounced with anticipation in his own. "Duke feels a bit formal for one of our guildies, doesn't it?" The older brother spoke. "Would it be alright if I called you Drell for short?"

            "I mean, that is my first name, so, no. Absolutely not," Drell chuckled. "But no, yeah, Drell's fine."

            "Sounds like a thrilling tale. The Big Doom!" Prim chuckled gleefully, her tone a touch coy.

            Drell's short version of what seemed like an explanation for her name as Duke left Faye kind of impressed but sceptical at the same time. "Hey Drell, I'm Faye. Nice to meet you. Do you mind telling us the story of... liberating that town?" Faye asked kind of skeptically. She can't say she wasn't curious who she was dealing with.

            "Oh, uh- well, it's great to meet you too," Drell smiled, hesitating only slightly. "Uh, so I totally saved the world and also town from, uh- yeah, the large doom, I was there- I did it! Uh, right, so there was this huge doom - the first thing to note about this story is that there existed a doom, of, er, incredible size - and it was in this town but it was totally gonna be a danger to, like, the whole darn place of everywhere, and it was all like 'mwaaah', but then! I came up there, and I puffed out my chest, like this," Drell puffed out her chest. "And then I said to the doom supreme, I said: "Doomsday's too early- you're later-" er, it was, "Big doom? More like small-" agh, er, I said, "I don't think so!" and then I bashed its head with my giant fist and it went 'bwaaaaargh'," Drell punctuated the gargling noise by lifting up her hands and sinking into her chair. "It was pretty great, and everyone was like 'wow, you'd better be the duke now' and I was all 'all in a day's work for Doomkiller Drell' - oh, damn, that's a good one - uh, yeah, and it was pretty sweet. But then I just moved on because, you know, it's no biggie. Uh, Rowan, can I change my answer? I'm really feeling 'Doomkiller' all of a sudden."

            "What's a doom look like?" Prim asked with a cheeky grin plastered on her face, thoroughly enjoying Drell's storytelling.

            Faye facepalmed unnoticed at Drell's story. She felt kind of stupid for getting excited over some story she knew had every sign of being farfetched. "Yeah Drell, explain to us what a big doom looks like." Faye said with a raised eyebrow but was enjoying this nonetheless. There are all different kinds of people in this guild but that only makes things more interesting.

            "Well, since you asked," said the Doomkiller, leaning back in her seat. "The big doom was, like, big. Massive thing - like, the size of a town, it was next to the town and about the same size - and it had, kinda, these massive horns on its big fat head, and its eyes were made of lightning, and it breathed lazers just everywhere. And there was like this big load of really thick smoke that just poured off it and killed anything it touched - 'cept me, of course - and it was all red and scary and glowy and it had this huuuuge mouth with nasty chompers that went 'mnap mnap, bweeeh', and it breathed lazers just everywhere!" Drell paused for a moment, realising that she'd said that already. "And it kept saying stuff like, 'I'm gonna eat you for doom breakfast' which was kinda weird 'cause it was like, six in the evening. Buh eh, I thought to myself 'what am I, the mealtime police? Nah, I'm the doom police' and then I totally policed it. Like, with some serious bappin' right on the dome. But yeah, you know that part - anyway, whew, speakin' of mealtimes, are we, uh... is this fair game?" She pointed to the veritable banquet arranged on the table before her. "My stomach's rumblin' up a storm, but I don't mean to, uh, you know."

            "Considering I made it for you all, I'd be pretty upset if you didn't eat it," said Sarah. "So feel free, oh mighty doomkiller."

            "Oh, sweet, uh- so enough about me. What's up with you guys?" Ith'drell asked, beginning to grab whichever foodstuff happened to be closest and snapping it up in her jaws.

            "Yes, let's everybody tell us all some more about yourselves." Rowan encouraged while Pat nodded vigorously between monstrous bites of food and rapid chewing.

            "Sure thing!" Prim chirped happily "My name's Primilla Bellamy but you can just call me Prim. I was born in Valbestia but they kicked me out so I've lived in Atria for over half my life and I'm kind of a bird. Nice to meet you!"

            Drell paused in her chewing for a moment, glancing at the roast chicken on the table which had multiple portions missing from it. "Bird, huh?"

            "Yup!" Prim replied, flapping her arms like wings for a moment as if the pantomime was necessary to establish what a bird was.

            "Heh heh, hey, that's super cool!" Ith'drell took a drink nervously to swallow the rest of the food in her mouth before turning to the ham. Actually, better make it the bread, just in case anyone else happened to be also a pig.

            "I-I"m Faye Aubrey, I came from the city where I've lived with my father. Nothing else to add really." Faye spoke quietly as she sipped her drink in peace. In actuality she was really nervous to interact with so many people at once. Faye, however, was quite interested in what Prim said about being a bird. Then again, Prim was tiny and cute which Faye has a thing for so it might've been just that. Who knows?

            "Me next!" Lina raised her hand happily. "I'm hoping you guys haven't already forgotten my name, so I'll skip that bit! I use requip magic to summon my in-progress collection of badass weapons. Besides my dad being who he is, only other thing to say is that I grew up travelling from village to village in the empty part of Atria a tad north of here. At first it was just me and my dad, but eventually we picked up those bozos!" She gestured toward Boriel and the Hoskels with a grin.

            The guild talked and laughed as they enjoyed their meal. Some focused more on the meal than the conversation, but all had a smile on their faces. There was some dancing and singing, and even a couple party tricks. The party lasted deep into the night, until meeting an abrupt end.
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              #9    
            Old September 29th, 2018 (4:09 PM). Edited September 29th, 2018 by Geras.
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            Geras Geras is offline
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              Chapter 1: The Gryphons' Grace Phoenix Nest Guildhall



              Their night of merriment was beginning to wind down, and the Nest had somehow managed to tear through most of their sizeable feast. Lina stood up and tapped her fork against her glass of water a few times to get the table’s attention (flinching at a disconcerting crack from the motion she hoped nobody would notice).

              After clearing her throat, she addressed her guildmates. “Tonight marks the official birth of this guild. Our guild. Nobody knows who we are right now, but with our heavy hitters being as incredible as they are, and the rest of us sure to follow suit, I have no doubt we’re gonna hit it big. And by big, I mean really, REALLY big. My dream for this guild is for us to us to waltz into the Grand Magic Games come December and knock Gryphon Gale right off their stupid throne! Ideally with me in the lead, but I’ll take what I can get as far as a victory goes.

              “Of course, I’m not gonna force anyone if they don’t wanna shoot quite so high,” She continued. “I plan to push forward no matter what, but it’d be nice to have some company, y’know? And if you don’t intend to step into the arena when the time comes, I hope you’re at least there in the stands cheering us on! So, who’s with me?”

              “Me!” Prim cheered excitedly “That’s what I’m here for, woo!”

              “Ayy, sure, yeah,” agreed Drell lazily. “I mean, I’ve already won like a thousand of those so it might be a lil’ unfair, but, uh, if you really want me to.”

              Pat was standing in his chair, pumping his arms and whooping excitedly. Rowan lifted his tankard in a toast with his eyes closed and a relaxed smile while he leaned back in his own seat. "You already know where I stand on that, sweetie. But if you really wanna lead the charge I hope you're ready to overtake me first." He finished with a smirk and took another draught of his drink.

              "Well your kid brother just blasted you across a room so I hope you're ready to step aside to the rest of us." Prim teased, already feeling completely at home in the company of her guildmates.

              Faye choked in her drink when Prim mentioned that Rowan was sent across the room by Pat.

              At that Pat's merriment died and he plopped down into his chair in embarrassment, blushing hotly. Rowan chuckled as he picked his teeth. "Well there's a big difference between getting knocked around by the most precious thing in my life and some spunky bird." He replied with a lupine grin. "Feel free to challenge me any time you like, cutie. We'll see if you can match my boy's feat."

              "If I'm not going to get in trouble for putting a Rowan-shaped hole in the side of the building I'm up for it any time." Prim said, poking her tongue out at her senior.

              "Come now you two. If you want to fight do it outside... Or clean your own damn mess." Faye mentioned as she stuffed some roasted beef in her face with an almost bored face, she was getting used to the presence of these people little by little. "Do make sure to teach that ladies-man a lesson or two though." Faye tried to tease but let's just say that she's just better off not trying to involve with humor. Faye thought it was kind of adorable how Rowan called Pat the most precious thing in his life so kudos to that.

              "Don't go too far away though," Drell chuckled. "I wanna watch."

              “You all seem pretty carefree considering what a brash statement that was,” Rang an unfamiliar voice.

              It was a woman’s voice filtered through a metallic echo, coming from the door which was promptly thrown open. There stood a group of three who strode into the guildhall as if they owned it. On one side was the likely source of the voice; a woman clad head-to-toe in metal armor. But unlike Drell’s, hers was sleek and form-fitting, with various lines that glowed a crystalline blue travelling across its jet-black surface. On the other side was an unassuming teenaged boy with round glasses, brown eyes, and cleanly-cut black hair. A bracelet adorned his right arm with celestial spirit keys hanging from it, a single gold key standing out from the rest.

              And in the center was a figure unmistakable to anyone familiar with the world of wizards. His body was lean and toned, and he stood taller than his peers. His skin was dark brown, and his eyes were ruby red. His snow-white hair fell just past his ears. And most importantly was the guild mark on the side of his neck bearing a Gryphon. Even without his iconic flame armor, Egan Lynch’s constant media coverage made him hard to miss, like him or not.

              “It’s a lot more… modest?... than I was expecting,” commented the younger Gryphon.

              “You mean pitiful?” added the armored one. “I expected more people, too, all things considered. Though I guess I can’t blame people if they didn’t exactly believe a flier announcing the return of the history’s greatest wizard, who’s been missing for decades, to some dump out in the sticks. Where is the big man, anyway?”

              “None of that matters,” Egan cut in.

              “Aww, don’t act like you weren’t super excited to finally meet him!”

              He ignored her and addressed the Nest. “What does matter is that you’ll all be representing him from now on. Everything you do will reflect back on him, seen by the public as the actions and the power of ‘Myeloch’s guild’. So we figured we’d come see it for ourselves; the ones who are gonna knock us off our stupid throne.”

              Sarah glared at the intruders, whispering to Boriel, “Hey, uh… shouldn’t we ring the bell?”

              “Not yet,” He answered, watching the events curiously. “The fact that they could come in at all means they’re not a threat, so let’s just see how the kids handle it.”

              Faye eyed the big man with the same hair color as hers. She didn't look all that impressed but he was somewhat right. They were going to represent this guild. She glanced at the tiny Prim and the young Pat and ended that glance with the also fairly young wizard, Lina. Lina had worked hard to gather this many members for this just started guild. Of course there weren't going to be many members but what could anyone possibly expect? Faye sighed and stood up, making her way in front of the wizard named Egan. She felt somewhat intimidated by being up there all alone but she wasn't going to show that obviously, especially since she's doing this for the kids. Faye just hoped they hadn't heard Drell's outburst about having won a ridiculous, unreal amount of tournaments as well.

              "We are well aware that from this day on, we bear responsibility for the name of this guild and it's our task to represent sir Myeloch's name to our best ability." Faye spoke loud enough for everyone to hear her, however, in her tone it was somewhat hearable that she had troubles with speaking so loud. Faye wasn't used to giving a speech. "My fellow members of this guild didn't mean any harm but we are not going to stand idly by if our honor is being trampled." With that Faye glared to the woman who had just called them all pitiful. After that she only looked Egan right in the eye. She was obviously tinier than him and she wasn't going to be intimidating but at least she tried. She didn't want to think about what could've happened if Drell had taken the lead.

              Before any of the visitors could properly respond to Faye, Rowan stood up with a welcoming smile worthy of the most gracious of hosts. "Oh, our first meeting with another guild, wonderful!" He approached their guests warmly. "So sorry for the paltry accomodations, we'd offer you some food but I'm afraid you just missed dinner." He scanned them for only a moment before locking eyes with Egan. "What luck to meet the star of Gryphon Gale so soon! Myeloch's reputation must not have waned much over the years if it's enough to bring everyone's favorite S-class star to visit a brand new guild. I'd shake your hand but you seem like you might spit on me for it." There was nothing but friendliness in his voice, yet slight undercurrents of menace radiated from him beneath the welcome. It was only then that his eyes grew sharp, though his smile remained. "You're right, there's not much to the place yet but if you're really aware of who Myeloch is then I should warn you of something you don't seem to be considering. If this is Myeloch's guild then every single person here is here because he thinks we deserve to be, because he wants us here. So if you're going to make any assumptions about us, make them based off of that little tidbit."

              "Didn't know you had it in you, Rowan." Prim teased, albeit a tad less loud than her earlier jibes. Unlike the other members of her guild, she remained completely at ease and gave the impression that she didn't much care that intruders had managed to enter the guild and interrupt their party a all. "Keep bringing out lines like that and I might have to start respecting you or something." It was only after ribbing Rowan that, still grinning widely, she turned a nonchalant gaze onto the Gryphon mages. "Are you three gatecrashers planning to join in the festivities or are you leaving? You're kind of boring."

              "Dunno about you, Prim," Drell murmured to the girl next to her. The large touched lady seemed a little confused, but happily continued to chew on a bit of pie. "I was just waitin' for them to tell us how many pet cats they needed savin' from trees. I was thinkin' they'd get around to it sooner or later, but your guess is as good as mine..."

              As the remarks went on, a small cadre of spiders stealthily lifted some food items off the table and fled the spread, though they seemed to glance at the newcomers and their guildmates as they did so in fear of being caught and tried for their transgressions. It was to their relief, then, that the two groups seemed too intensely focused on each other to watch the Barts dart away from the event and deliver Ephraim his dinner; the young man had arrived just in time to listen to Gryphon Gale call their guildhall "modest" [an adjective he was unable to refute] and had silently watched from the stairwell ever since. In an effort to not enter a discussion he knew little about, Ephraim elected to instead keep his mouth occupied with the better part of a dinner roll before he could say something brash.

              Lina’s eyes had been darting back and forth between her allies and their designated enemies, frantically trying to figure out how to handle this ever-worsening situation. “S-so, uh, there you have it! The guild doesn’t want you here if you’re just here to talk down to us!

              The armored woman burst out laughing. “These guys are hilarious! Doesn’t look like they like us very much. Though at the moment nobody really cares what they think, do they?”

              The younger Gryphon didn’t seem to take the Nest’s verbal lashings quite so well. He stepped forward with balled-up fists. “Hey, we were just-”

              “Calm down, Simon,” Egan grabbed his shoulder to stop him. Simon took a step back and sulked with his arms crossed while Egan addressed their hosts. “You’re all certainly bold enough, but that doesn’t really mean much in the comfort of your own home. But no, despite how it seems, and despite what one of my guildmates seems to think, we didn’t come to talk down to you. We actually came with a gift, though at this point I’m wondering if I should even give it to you.”

              “It’s actually something the missus in the back might know a thing or two about, as a member of the Burgess family,” Armor girl chimed in.

              Sarah sighed. “Not really. If it has to do with the company, then it’s none of my business.”

              “The company you just mooch off of so you can live in that glamorous mansion completely free? Right, of course.”

              Sarah shot her a nasty glare. “Okay, now that’s none of your business. Who even are you?”

              “You’re pushing it, Harmonia,” Egan scolded. Harmonia put her hands up in a disarming gesture. Egan groaned and continued where he left off. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a piece of parchment, unfurling it for all to see. It was a job request that read:

              BURGESS AND SONS MINING COMPANY
              Mining operations in Shessalie are being forced to stop by a swarm of magical beasts. Our guards are capable of repelling the swarm, but they return every day. Please investigate the cause and put an end to it. To avoid panic among the townspeople and shareholders, this has not been made public, so please keep things discreet.
              REWARD: 600,000 J

              “This request was delivered solely to our guild. A simple request, and once it’s done we’ll leave. But as Harmonia has so… eloquently… put, this guild currently has no influence. Your request board is proof enough of that. It’s a situation unbefitting of a guild belonging to Myeloch Latare, so I figured we could lend you a hand and give the job to you. You’d get all the reward and the credit, and it’ll put you in the good graces of Burgess Mining, one of the largest companies in Atria. Assuming you can complete it, though that shouldn’t be a problem for Myeloch’s chosen.

              “Though if this is all too ‘boring’ for you, we could just have a little match instead. Face us in battle, and if you can prove your strength, we’ll use our own influence to spread your names. Though there’s only one person in this room I’m interested in facing personally.” His gaze rested on Boriel, who stared back with equal intensity.

              “Doesn’t that sound fun?” Piped Harmonia. “I’m especially curious to see how our four-time GMG champion fares against your thousand-time champion.” She struggled to hold in more laughter. Drell shot her a pair of finger guns.

              "I think she'll do better than you." Faye snapped at Harmonia but soon regretted that, it was an impulse. Faye was not too keen on fighting them if she was going to be completely honest. Even though she looked somewhat calm on the outside, her panicking got worse with the moment on the inside. Faye couldn't control her magic well enough to fare well in battle against wizards supposedly better than them, at least, that is what she thought. If it was a battle without magic then sure but otherwise it was a big hell of a nope. "What unexpectedly considerate of you." Faye crossed her arms in annoyance. She was not sure whether they should take the job of a guild they were rivalling against. Especially since they seemed to be looking down on them even when they said they weren't. On the other note, it could be a good opportunity to get their name out there. Before Faye knew it, she was lost in thought.

              "I really wanna talk 'n' stuff," Drell burbled quietly, desperately trying to keep her mouth as closed as possible. "But, like, I'm still eatin' this bit of pie. There's only a smidge left, c'mon guys."

              "You can have mine, Drell." Rowan replied, stepping back to the table and deftly sliding his plate over to her out of pure generosity and not at all to keep her mouth too full to talk anymore before Gryphon Gale left. After, he turned back to Egan and this time his friendliness was genuine. "Sorry about that, being new means having more to prove, right? Can make folks a little over-eager to answer any challenge, but it puts me at ease to see that two of you are mature." Besides the minor nod to Simon he spoke as if Egan's two compatriots weren't even there. "That makes it all the more generous that you'd give us a chance to make a debut worthy of Myeloch's guild. It may be a bit presumptuous of me considering the big man's not here right now, but I'll gladly accept the job if nobody else has any objections. As much as I'd like watching you and my pop fight it out I'd rather get our guild some money and fame."

              Faye sighed in relief when Rowan slid his plate over to Drell. It was as if he was reading her mind. As long as Drell was occupied with food she at least wouldn't say anything else that could possibly to trigger these guys. "No objections here." Faye raised her hand only slightly as an answer to Rowan's question.

              Ith'drell garbled something that sounded like it could have been a complaint, but her mouth was full so the noise that came out was completely unintelligible.

              Prim shrugged nonchalantly at that. Either way there was good potential for increasing their recognition and finances.

              "I'm good with whatever way we go on that one."

              Drell let out another indecipherable noise before grunting irritatedly.

              Faye, who had absolutely no idea what Drell was trying to say, pretended that she understood what Drell was trying to say. "Drell agrees with us." Faye said with a still expressionless face. Drell grunted again.

              "Yay! A real job! Thanks, Gryphon Gale!" Shouted Patileer, who'd been oddly quiet throughout the entire exchange so far. It was clear now that this was because he, too was still eating - finishing up his fourth course, in fact.

              “Aww, no takers for the smackdown?” Complained Harmonia. “What a bunch of sissies.”

              Simon furrowed his brow, and grumbled something under his breath.

              A chair scraped across the floor as Ith'drell fidgeted angrily in her seat, pointing to her mouth and trying to enunciate something that sounded suspiciously like an obscene way of saying she was still eating.

              Egan, on the other hand, gave Rowan a smirk. “I don’t feel the same level of magical power from you that I do from your ‘pops’, but something tells me you might be an interesting opponent after all. Which makes your decision that much more unfortunate.”

              He closed his eyes pensively. “I’ve decided that I’ll give your guild this mission on one condition. Just as you seem to hold your guildmates’ best interests at heart, so too must I. After dragging them out here for a job I could have easily completed by myself, I can’t let them go home empty-handed.” He rolled up the job request and stowed it away.

              “I’ll take this back with me for now, and we’ll return to our inn in town. If you want it, come find us before sundown tomorrow. Once there’s a fight between your ranks and ours, you’ll get the job. It doesn’t matter who, how many, or even the outcome. All that matters is that we gain something from it that helps us grow stronger, and hopefully you do, too. Considering everyone’s confidence earlier, it shouldn’t be too much to ask. But if the sun sets and nobody’s shown, we’ll finish the job ourselves and be on our way. Until then, farewell, and I hope we’ll be seeing each other again soon.” With that, he made his way to the door.

              Harmonia pumped her fist in excitement. “Nice, Egs! I’m pretty curious about that skinny one who got all up in your face, but I think she’s probably more Simon’s speed.” She followed after Egan, but not before glancing at Faye from over her shoulder. Her glassy helmet covered her face completely, without so much as eye holes, but it wasn’t hard to imagine her expression from the aura of smugness she radiated. “And that lizard of yours had better not choke to death before tomorrow, either!”

              "Skinny one...?" Faye raised an eyebrow as Harmonia left the building. It then occured Faye that she could've referred to the fact Faye has nothing there and looked slightly disappointingly at her chest. Drell, meanwhile, had given up on trying to pronounce words. She let out a long and irritable groan that lasted several seconds.

              “Despite what metal-head over there says, don’t expect me to be a pushover,” said Simon. “The fact that I was able to get into Gryphon Gale in the first place is proof enough of that.” Having said his piece, he rushed to Egan’s side, walking in a suspiciously similar way to the older Gryphon.

              "So... can I go then?" Prim asked, sounding more like she was asking about a social event than a sparring match.

              "Everyone who wants can go!" Rowan blurted out as soon as he was sure Gryphon gale were out of earshot. "But I don't know if all of us will get the chance to spar, we have no clue how many potential opponents we'll have. What I do know is that Egan is mine." At that the air of responsibility left Rowan to be replaced by a radiant aura of pure excitement and satisfaction everyone could feel so clearly that it was almost like it were Pat speaking. "This is great! We've only just started and we've already got a real job and the chance to duke it out with the number one guild!"

              "I would be careful with saying that, Rowan. Those guys are strong." Faye said softly. She didn't want to let her fellow guild members know that she didn't actually want to fight but she also didn't want to look like a coward. "If I get a chance to give Harmonia a good beating, I would do it. Otherwise I don't really care if I would be against Simon." Faye crossed her arms. If she had to choose between Pat, Prim or her being beaten up, she would prefer it to be her.

              Rowan shook his head and tutted in mock disappointment. "Their strength is exactly why this is great! Weren't you listening to what their star player said? We haven't been called out for some street brawl, this is sparring to help both sides grow." He smirked and leaned towards Faye theatrically, clasping his hands. "and if I get hurt, you can just nurse me back to health, right? As long as sweet girls like you and Sarah are around I can fight with courage~"

              "Keep dreaming." Faye sighed as she gently pushed Rowan a little bit away from her with a face ever so expressionless but with slight shaded cheeks. She could see Sarah shaking her head in the distance as well. "Fight with courage so you can show Pat how it's done instead." Faye commented under her breath.

              "I swear," Drell blurted out, gasping for air as though she'd just been diving. "Did nobody get that I was still eating? They just come up while we're eatin' and leave 'fore I can even get a word in? Like, how even- I wanted to ask about the-" She gave up with a sigh.

              "They were never gonna stay long anyways, Drell." Rowan said comfortingly to his armored guildmate. "Since they want us to earn the job I don't think there's much you could have asked them today anyways, we'll learn more when we go see them tomorrow, and I figure it's what would have happened anyways."

              Pat was resting his chin on the table and dozing off, the excitement from the day having now been replaced by the stupor of a full belly and so remained quiet.

              "Yeah, fine, it's whatever, I guess," huffed Drell. "Good riddance. Rude-ass garbo poopy-people - well, mainly just the, er, what's her name, Harmonia? More like, uh, just harm. 'Cause, uh... something." She trailed off, hushing her voice and jabbing a thumb in Patileer's direction. "Dude, what the psyduck, your lil bro's adorable. That teeny sleepy-head blasted you 'cross a room?"

              Rowan grinned wide at the praise for his brother, not showing the slightest bit of shame or embarrassment at the reminder of the punch. "Oh yeah, he sure did. If we're just talking pure power Pat's a lot stronger than I am. He could probably do it to anyone here, it even happened to Boriel once." As several gazes moved over to Phoenix Nest's resident S-class wizard and Boriel's own eyes widened slightly at the sudden attention. Rowan chuckled. "He used to not be very good at handling kids~"

              Faye was a little speechless upon hearing that. That made it a lot less funny that Rowan was blasted across the room. Faye was a little curious to what magic everyone uses.

              Boriel gave his own chuckle. “Hasn’t happened since, now that I know what to expect, but it’s still hard to believe it happened at all. Our opponents should be glad he isn’t more disciplined. Speaking of which, I was considering offering to take them on myself if it came to that, but it looks like you’d rather take matters into your own hands. Good.”

              Lina gave a deep sigh of equal parts exhaustion and relief. “I’m just glad it turned out more or less alright. It’s hard to keep your composure when the famous guild that’s all over every issue of Sorcerer Weekly just waltzes through your front door, especially when it immediately escalates into an argument with your own guild… But knowing them, there probably wasn’t any way to avoid a fight, so this is probably the best case scenario.”

              She held out her hand, summoning her curved sword “Rage of the Heavens” and resting it on her shoulder (this time remembering to keep the electricity off). “Though if we have to fight anyone, I wanna blast that Harmonia’s stupid ugly face! Well, I assume it’s stupid and ugly. Or… uh… it will be when I’m done with it? Yeah, that works.”

              Faye agreed with Lina when it comes to how this all turned out. They probably would've tried to get them to fight anyway. "I think they're testing us to see what they can expect from a guild that was created by Myeloch so fighting was unavoidable." Faye said as she drifted back to thinking and had been staring at her own hand. She was able to at least cover some body parts with her magic and sometimes her daggers but it was still hard to keep that up for longer than a few minutes. At any rate, she would have a great disadvantage against anyone of that Gryphon guild. Knowing that frustrated her a little which was why she suddenly made a fist with the hand she was staring at. "Is it possible... they are trying to find out what kind of magic each of us possesses?" Faye asked as she lifted her head.

              "Oooh, ya know..." Drell put a hand to her chin. "That's an interestin' theory, Faye. Try'na get a sneaky leg-up, huh? Wonder if fightin' em but refusing to use any showy-magic-surprises would annoy 'em a little... well, that and interrupting their mealtime. That's, uh, we should do that. Maybe both, but interrupting their mealtime for sure - we gotta pounce on them the second they take the first bite, just to really stick it to 'em for being such roody-doodies. Heck, I still ain't even had dessert yet."

              "I feel we should give them a pass on the dinner interruption on account of the really good job they're going to give us, I'm not sure you guys appreciate what a good deal this is for us." Rowan added. "As for the bit about our strength, I say let'em see! They may be our competition, in a sense but they're not our enemies. They don't really have anything to gain from knowing what we can do, by the time the Grand Magic Games come around we could all fight entirely differently." Smooth calm dominated his countenance. "Besides...don't dare to think for a second you can afford to hold back. This may more or less be a friendly bout between two guilds, but Gryphon Gale didn't get to be the strongest guild in Atria by messing around. I guarantee if anyone who goes up against them doesn't try their best, they'll get their ass kicked. That Simon fella was right that even just getting into Gryphon Gale at all counts for a lot."

              Gryphon Gale’s challenge was at the forefront of the guildmembers’ minds, be it from excitement or anxiousness. It was the strongest guild in Atria, after all. But it was late, so the guild soon finished its meal and went their separate ways.

              The Sun Rises over Shessalie Monday July 2nd, X784



              Even before the sun had finished its ascent into the clear sky, the town was absolutely buzzing. Most of the commotion was centered around the inn, with word spreading that members of Gryphon Gale had come to stay there. Fans eager for an autograph from the Blazing Knight himself and curious residents alike surrounded the building.

              Phoenix Nest's fated encounter was fast approaching. The guild's malleable training hall, as well as the nearby mountains and forests could all serve as practice grounds to warm up your bodies. Or if the mind is what needs sharpening, the library has many useful texts, and a walk through nature or a trip to the hot spring might be a good way to relax. The shops might have things that could give you an advantage, be it a weapon, lacrima, or magitech item. And as always, the job board has work, pitiful though it may be.

              Alternatively, you might prioritize the mission over the fight that rewards it. Surely there are members of the mining company that could offer further insight into the mysterious monster swarms, and by the sound of it, the site of the swarms itself is currently out of use.
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                #10    
              Old October 13th, 2018 (3:48 PM). Edited October 13th, 2018 by Geras.
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              Geras Geras is offline
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                A Night to Forget


                The previous night...

                Patileer rolled over in bed, one foot thrusting out and kicking the blanket off of the bed. Normally he would have bumped into a certain brother of his before he rolled over too far, but tonight he was the only one in the room. The other Hoskel sibling stood atop the roof of Phoenix Nest’s hall, staring up at the stars, contemplating something, a crimson book with gold filigree and no title on the cover held tight enough in his right hand to turn his knuckles white.

                “Having fun with the guild yet?” came the gruff voice of a familiar darkness wizard. He stood beside Rowan and joined in the stargazing.

                Rowan’s posture and voice were uncharacteristically stiff - or at least what would be uncharacteristic were he speaking with anyone else. “It really is nice...It’s like this place has come to life for real now. It’ll be really good for Pat. Not having anyone else around a bit closer to his age was hard on him.” He allowed himself a restrained laugh, covering his mouth with the back of his hand. “He has a hard time being himself with Lina, guess he likes pretty little redheads… What’s your take on it all?”

                “You should hope your bad habits aren’t rubbing off on the boy,” Boriel said only partially serious. “As for the guild, Myeloch’s built a good place for everyone to grow. Whether they actually do is up to them. Part of me is still a bit unsure with how hard to read that man is, though. The way he left after setting things up, knowing what kind of impact his name has… It’s not that I don’t trust him, I know he's a good man. But I don't like feeling like I might be a pawn in some master plan, something beyond my sight. Or maybe I’m just too used to being in control, and being a good little guild wizard is getting me antsy. Either way, I doubt this is what you called me here to talk about.”

                “Honestly there’s not all that much too it.” Rowan responded. “You actually just summed up my own feelings almost to the letter, besides the bit about being in control. I just… I expected to be more comfortable with all this. They mostly seem like good folks but I don’t know if I’m ready for all this yet.” He looked away from the stars and to his adoptive father. “Pat wants this guild to be a big happy family and I want to give him that but I - the very word still makes my stomach turn.” By the time he finished speaking he was clutching his book tightly to his chest as if it might try to fly away at a moment’s notice.

                He glanced at Rowan’s book with a frown, but quickly focused on the boy’s eyes instead. “If you don’t want to see it that way, you don’t have to. Not right now, at least. I know you always want to do what you think is best for Pat, even if it comes at your own expense, but he’s in good hands here so maybe it’s time you focus on yourself a bit. Whether or not time helps you feel better playing into Pat’s fantasy, I think as long as you can be happy, he’ll be happy too.”

                “Maybe you’re right…” Rowan muttered. After a moment he shook his head as if to fling something off of it and turned to hold his book out to Boriel. “Has any of it stuck yet?”

                “No… But I feel like I’m getting closer, like it’s taking away a little bit less each time.”

                It wasn’t exactly what Rowan hoped to hear, but it was something and that brought a small smile to his face. Seemingly rid of his melancholy, Rowan stepped closer, squared his chest and thumped his own fist against it. “I’m gonna make you proud tomorrow. Those guys from Gryphon Gale are going to see Myeloch still knows how to pick’em and even if I can’t beat him I’ll push Egan far enough to make clear he’s still years too early to take you on.”

                Boriel chuckled. “I’ll be looking forward to it. You know full well what a monster he is, but I know you wouldn’t have challenged him without a plan.” He gave Rowan a pat on the back. “Just don’t push yourself too hard.”

                “As much as a newbie guild wizard can plan around fighting the star of the Grand Magic Games.” Rowan said sardonically but not rudely. He stretched, yawned and began to walk to the edge of the roof. “I've got to work off some more of this energy before I can get back to sleep. Think I'll go gather some wild herbs and veggies for Sarah's stock. See you tomorrow p-Boriel. Thank you.” He leaned forward and dropped into the open night without awaiting a response.

                Boriel stepped to the roof’s edge as if he was going to call after Rowan, but decided against it. He just stared at the dark woods below, pensively and silently, before going back inside with a sigh.


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                Old 2 Weeks Ago (5:31 PM).
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                Geras Geras is offline
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                  Breakfast with Spiders Phoenix Nest Guildhall



                  It was a quiet morning in the Phoenix Nest guildhall, all things considered. Sarah sat behind the counter reading the morning news while she waited for the guild members to wake up and ask for breakfast. Lina had already scarfed hers down and left on her morning exercise routine. Boriel lingered in the library, searching intently for something.

                  Faye slowly woke up from a nice and cosy dream she was having and buried her face even futher in the too many pillows laying on her bed. Her hair was a mess, and with that I mean even messier than usual. She brought one of her hands to the top of her head, to the spot her horns were supposed to be. In her dream they had disappeared but she let out a slight sigh as her horns were still there. She got up and made small clumsy steps towards a mirror to brush and shape her hair to something more decently but messy enough to keep her horns hidden. "GRMBL..." as Faye made her way back to her room to change into her casual attire, her stomach made the noise of a dying whale. "Time to get breakfast I guess..." Faye whispered. She changed as quickly as possible before her stomach would make another embarrassing noise like that.

                  "G-Good morning..." Faye greeted Sarah as she stumbled towards the counter. "Can I... have breakfast?" She asked. She knew Sarah was in charge of the kitchen but it still felt weird to ask her for food.

                  “Sure, what do you want?” Asked Sarah without even looking up from her paper. Rustling could be heard from the kitchen, likely her plant minions preparing to make whatever Faye decided she wanted.

                  “I recommend a veggie omelet, myself!” said Lina as she trotted through the guild’s door, wearing a tank top and shorts and glistening with sweat. “Sarah keeps all sorts of plants growing with her magic to use as ingredients and seasonings, and she can work some real… uh, magic… with them. I'd join you for the meal, but I'm just popping in real quick to get my wooden sword for practice swings.”

                  "Ooh, oh, can I come?" Pat blurted out from his usual spot at the table. "I need to get some practice in too! Everything's always more fun when you're around, Lina~" He finished sweetly, beaming at her.

                  "Sure!" she smiled back. "I mean, you don't use a sword so we'd kinda just be doing our own things, but extra company's always welcome! What about you, Faye?" She turned to her other guildmate. "Got something planned before the big event later?"

                  Faye turned to the two youngsters, both energized so early in the morning. "M-Maybe later, I want to do some groceries before I go to that "Big event"." Faye spoke. "I want some stuff to decorate my room with..." she added softly. She turned back to Sarah to give her the order for breakfast that she's been waiting for. "I'll take a veggie omelet, please." Faye was still slightly tired but she had to get stuff done today. Of course she wanted to train but not until later today probably. The kind of training Faye wanted to do required her to have at least decent sunlight.

                  Ephraim emerged from the stairwell with his lack of meaningful sleep written all over his face. It had taken him all night to get Bartholomew all settled in, and despite having gotten a solid few hours of rest, it wasn't enough to offset the sudden lack of energy which had befallen the young Valbestian. As if to punctuate his slow movements towards the table and several people he had only gotten glances of earlier, he sat down in a chair, put his head in his hands, looked far into the distance as if to recall the horrors of the previous night's "tribulations" with Bartholomew, and said, "If we're serving breakfast to everyone, I, too, would like a veggie omelet." As a few Barts emerged from his scarf and began to painstakingly fix his hair, Ephraim sighed. "Make that two."

                  Seemingly out of nowhere, Prim arrived and perched herself on the chair next to Ephraim. In stark contrast to her fellow guild member, she looked as bubbly and full of energy as she did at any other moment.

                  "I'll second that order," she said jovially. "Need a full stomach so I can keep my strength for pounding Gryphon heads later." Prim said this despite there not being any real decision as to who exactly was going to be facing off against the opposing guild. Instead of continuing on that tangent however, she instead turned to Ephraim and began to stare intensely at his head with her head cocked.

                  "Alright, four of the exact same thing coming right up," said Sarah, finally putting her paper down. "Not sure if everyone's just going with the flow or if Lina's pitch was that good, but either way it's easier for me." She headed into the kitchen, leaving the guild members to their own devices.

                  "Your personal groomers are interesting," she eventually commented after several moments of deafening silence.

                  "So that's what I've been feeling!" Pat blurted out, suddenly staring closely at the Barts on Ephraim's head. "Normally I can't feel anything from bugs but your spiders are different. Each one is like a tiny buzz of static, so are the other spiders I noticed last night. Are they yours too?" He cocked his head, mirroring Prim. "You should introduce me to them all some time! I wanna know what they're like together!"

                  "Well, I can definitely take some time out of my morning to introduce them right now, if you'd like. This is Bartholomew," Ephraim explained, carefully lifting a Bart off of his hair and showing it off in the palm of his hand, "although, it'd be more appropriate to say that it's a Bartholomew." The Bart beamed up at Pat and Prim, although upon looking at Prim, it seemed to tremble a little bit. "What's important is that all of these little Barts together are one creature, whose name is Bartholomew, and that none of them are mine. I guess to most Atrians, Bart might seem like an out of control infestation, or like a bunch of pets which belong to me, but Bart is really more my partner than anything. A special partner, yeah, but still its own thing." Quietly eyeing a few Barts covertly crawling out of the kitchen with an egg and witnessing a singular Bart veer off into a completely opposite direction for seemingly no reason, Ephraim cleared his throat and added, "I can definitely show them all off for you later, but for now let's stick to the ones in my hair."

                  "This had better be the last time they do that or I'm getting Myeloch to put a few extra wards on the place!" shouted Sarah from the kitchen.

                  Faye froze at her seat upon hearing the word "spider". She slowly turned to the boy with sleek black hair and Prim before deciding just staring in front of her is probably a far better idea. Yes. Faye is terrified of Spiders.

                  Noticing Faye's concern, Ephraim spoke up quickly. "Right, I don't believe we've all formally met quite yet. My name's Ephraim, I joined yesterday, and although it may seem like I didn't, I saw some of what happened at dinner."

                  "Nice to meet you... hey why's he looking at me like that?" Prim said, leaning in closer to the Bart "Weird little guy. You planning on burrying Gryphon Gale under a bunch of 'em?" Ephraim chuckled and shrugged in response.

                  "Hmm..." Lina put a hand to her chin as she tried to picture it. "I'm not sure that's the best idea, at least if the Gryphons I know are anything to go by. I haven't seen the younger two in any issues of Sorcerer Weekly, so I don't actually know anything about them. Maybe you'll get lucky and they're also afraid of spiders?" She couldn't help but glance at Faye as she said that. "Oh! What can your partners... or I guess partner, do, anyway? Valbestians only bond with magical beasts, right? So that means they oughta have cool magic of their own!"

                  Faye couldn't help but glare slightly at Lina. Faye didn't like her fear to be exposed on the very first real day. Though... As long as they stayed away from her there shouldn't be any problems.

                  "And here I thought you'd never ask!" Ephraim smiled as more Barts began to crawl out of his sleeves and pockets and make their way up to Ephraim's shoulder. "See, they can't do much right now because I've got so few of them down here, but with just these I can do a good deal." Ephraim twirled his finger above him and the Barts in his hair immediately jumped and shot their webs, while some Barts on his shoulders directed their craft with their forelegs. The threads spun from the spider's webs quickly came together in a swirl and gleamed in the sunlight, creating a beautiful image as the threads began to overlap and tighten around each other. While it was clear that it was certainly not instantaneous, Ephraim had a slightly sloppy, but cute hat sitting upon his head within the second, complete with a small tuft on top.

                  Faye let out one of those rare snorts upon seeing the hat. "What happens if one of them dies?" She asked curiously although it might have been a rude question.

                  Ephraim scratched his neck sheepishly in response. "Uhh, it's hard to say? I, um, don't like to think about it. I've only had a few-- relatively speaking-- die on me because they're pretty tough. Usually they come back in a matter of days and seem good as new, and I've seen some hatch out of eggs before, so my guess is that Bartholomew just... pops out new ones." The Bart formerly on Ephraim's palm used this chance to skitter off onto the table and quietly keep watch for food.

                  A procession of thunderclaps from upstairs signalled the waking of Ith'Drell, who opened the door to her room groggily and let out a Yawn of Champions. As she set about the slog of journeying down the steps, she took her eyes off the bundled sheet she held under one arm to spy Ephraim - a face she didn't recall seeing at dinner last evening.

                  "G'mornin' all," said the pseudo-reptile. "There a lotta spiders around this place, or's it just me?"

                  "You're imagining things," Prim immediately replied, a mischievous grin on her face.

                  "Eh, yeah prolly," Drell slurred. "Wonder what I can get for brekkie, uh- hey, wait up just a minute!" Her eyes landed on the Valbestian boy at the table, being close enough now to get a better look at him. "Ah, yup. I definitely haven't been introduced to you yet, bud, I-" She paused to yawn. "Oof, sorry, uh yeah- I'm Duke Ith'drell, but you can call me Doomkiller! Or, uh, Drell, I haven't been callin' people out on usin' Drell but Doomkiller's probably the awesomer one of the two - it's whatever though. What's yer name, pally pal?"

                  "Aaannndd the peace and quiet is gone." Is what Faye thought. These little spider guys were interesting fellas. Faye still doesn't want them near her though.

                  Ephraim waved from the table. "Ephraim Thorne, nice to meet you! The spiders are mine, so feel free to flick 'em, but please don't squish 'em." A few of the Barts still nested in Ephraim's hair bit him in response. "Is Doomkiller more of a name or a title?"

                  "Drell kills dooms!" Pat exclaimed excitedly, wiggling a piece of bacon in front of a Bart he noticed on the table.

                  "Fu- uh, heck yeah I do - it's a title, yeah," Ith'drell smiled, plodding toward the kitchen. "I'll tell ya the story over breakfast or somethin', once I figure out what we got, uh... and I'm not much bothered by the creepy crawly thingies as long as stuff ain't crawlin' on my face. So long as they ain't crawlin' into any squishy grooves without me noticing or willfully jumpin' into the oncoming path o' my shoes, your eight-leg-lads'n'ladies are good as gold 'round me."

                  Ephraim simply grinned in response. "I'll keep an eye out for them, but they're usually pretty good about staying out of trouble. ...uh, lethal trouble, anyway."

                  The door to the kitchen opened with several familiar plant creatures spilling out of it. They carried their fragrant dishes to those who’d ordered them, save for one who quickly scurried back into the kitchen only to return with a pen and pad. It held these up to Drell, the pad itself only reading “Order?”

                  “Hope you all enjoy! Or if not, that you don’t blame me for the recommendation,” Joked Lina. “As much as I’d like to stay and chat, I’ve gotta get to my training! Wouldn’t want to cool down too much before the real workout begins.” She gave her guild a wave and a smile before jogging up the stairs.

                  "Ah, wait for me, Lina!" Pat shouted, running after her with the bacon still in his hand and now a Bart dangling from it. Just as he reached the door he skidded to a stop and set the bacon gently on the floor with its Bart. "There you go, sorry, little buddy." Then he was gone, leaving the Bart to appreciatively watch Pat run away before skittering away to share the bacon with its other bodies.

                  "Oh- uh- bye, Lina- uh, and Pat!" called Drell, blinking at the plant. "Uh, oh jeez- I, uh- how can I-? I haven't seen the menu yet, plantie-plant boy, I can't just- uh breakfast! I want breakfast?" The plant creature paused, likely awaiting a command from its master, before writing an explanation on its pad on how making a full menu was too much work, and to just ask for whatever she wanted. If Sarah was willing and able to make it, she would.

                  "Maybe it's edible," Prim joked, poking lazily at one of the Barts cowering on top of Ephraim.

                  "Heh, the menu is the food you get," Drell chuckled. "The illusion of choice... bu-uh, sorry- porridge?" She turned to the plant again, shaking her head to help her focus on the topic. "Uh sure, porridge, I guess, pretty standard - didn't realise the world was my oyster over here. Kinda put me on the spot, heh." The plant nodded and ran back into the kitchen.

                  Before long, Drell's food arrived as well, and the guild enjoyed a meal as they got to know each other better. Or at least the guild members who were there. Getting along would serve them well in their new life, as some of them would learn sooner rather than later.
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