2017-02-18: The Caravan

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<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Adlehyde is about as peaceful a region as one can expect to find on Filgaia, and the area around Curan Abbey, a major center of Crest Sorcery study, is moreso than most. The path from here to Adlehyde is straight, but with Kislev and Adlehyde at each others' throats and the recent steady rise in monster incidents, security on the road is paramount. Thus: Traveling in groups.

Also thus: Joining the caravan as it finsihes its business at Curan Abbey, trading Crest Graphs, staves and other other mystic tools, is a young woman who looks like she's spent approximately zero time on the road, with pristine blonde hair and bright green eyes and a clean white outfit that doesn't entirely look like the sort of thing you hit the road in. And a pentagram-tipped staff, marking her as a Crest Sorceress. The merchants and long-timers of the caravan are acting funny as they get back on the road, like they suddenly have extra strain for the final stretch to Adlehyde; and the young woman takes up a position in one of the carriages, sitting in the back with her legs dangling below as the sky goes by.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Filgaia, it was a dusty place but it had it's charms honestly, but Tesni was needing to get by like everyone else and had hired on to help guard the caravan as it made it's way to the Curan Abbey. She was perchec on one of the carriages as well cradling her ARM which looked to be some sort of long rifle, she prayed that there would be no trouble from man nor beast on this. Her purple hair caight in the wind and she looks over to Cecilia.

"This is my first time going through here, anything I should know about dealing with the sisters aside from not tracking my ARM into a place of peace and worship?"

<Pose Tracker> Lynnai Albrek has posed.

Travelling in groups is a good idea!

Not that Lynnai hasn't been travelling in a group for a while, but a group of two isn't the same as a group of five, or twenty, and the bigger ones are safer. Slower, in a case like this, but safer. And so she arranged to join the caravan at Curan Abbey, too, covering that last bit of distance. Sure, she's walked it before, but she'd rather walk it with others.

Plus, Lynnai traded at Curan Abbey herself: she needed a new journal. She can't magic paper out of thin air. And she showed someone else a better map than she owned, though she couldn't afford to buy /that/ and take it with her.

With a fresh journal in her pack, Lynnai walks toward the caravan, coat swirling around her legs as it is prone to do. She's not alone, either, and is busily talking with her friend. "From here it's not too bad a trip to Adlehyde," she says, perhaps suggesting her friend has never been there before. Which isn't too unusual, given how many people don't travel. "But I'd rather not encounter goblins alone, and there's enough people travelling there with the Festival that's been announced that we may as well. And," she adds, with a hint of a smile, "you may as well get used to groups again. I may be good company, but there's only one of me, and Adlehyde will be quite a bit busier."

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Traveling in groups is a pretty good way to stay safe these days. Traveling with guards is an even better one, and so even modest caravans traveling short distances are known to hire Adventurers...just in case. It's generally a cheap and easy job, right up until it isn't, and milk runs like this tend to attract the just-starting-out or the past-their-prime sort of guards.

Or, in other cases, the generally clueless.

Walking behind the carriage at a measured pace is a young man with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a tan jacket pulled closed against the early spring chill. Belted to one hip is a broadsword; to the other, a leather holster carrying the butt of what appears to be some sort of gunsmoke ARM. Claude checks his weapons for the umpteenth time before continuing to walk forward, keeping pace easily with the heavily-laden wagons.

Also, he keeps looking up at the sky for some reason, which is generally inadvisable when walking behind horses.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Lynnai is travelling in a group. In fact, her group of one got out to trade with her. She mostly had very unusual silver and copper coins on her person, and a few fancy little trinkets; she traded some of the coppers away for some dried food, a flask and a drinking-skin full of some kind of very strong liquor.

"Adlehyde, huh," Talise says with a tilt of her head as she heads for the caravan, heavy plated boots thumping somewhat heavily against the turf as she adjusts the ride of a pack over one strong shoulder. She's stuffed her usual breastplate into it because of the hotter weather, figuring she can get by with her normal casual clothing - and of course her gloves and a few other strategically-located defensive plates. And the sword. Definitely the sword. It's strapped across her back right now.

The teasing comment is met with a playful smile; when Talise does it, it not only draws out those cheekstripes of hers, but flashes the sharper points of her incisors. It's not too pronounced, but between that and the ears, it's evident that she's different. "What, a Festival? I love festivals. Maybe we oughta go to that, see what it's all about. I mean, /I/ sort of want to see it."

Her eyebrows crook up slightly, smile growing a little more relaxed as she glances around the group in the caravan, eyes lingering on Cecilia a moment. She gives the woman a nod before flitting her gaze to Lynnai once more. "I sort of miss groups. I'm actually really looking forward to seeing the town."

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.

What a day. First, she's tossed onto a world beyond her own, second, she's then amongst many tasked with going out from the great Dragonship Destiny to scout out local lands to figure out just /where/ in Althena's name they've ended up.

Priestess Amelia Rose might seem like an odd choice for scouting, given her reliance upon the silver-furred dog at her side, but one shouldn't underestimate soft words and a good tongue for negotiation. The silver-haired elf finds herself on a caravan towards one of the region's major population centers, or so she's been told. The fact that the priestess has had to avail herself of company that don't recognize Althena is, as she thinks of it, a mere test of faith.

She's not too far from Cecilia and Tesni, one elven ear clearly tilted. This could be useful.

With the apparent 'important' person of the caravan occupied, she falls just a step back towards Lynnai and company. Her cane taps the ground every now and then, meanwhile, her dog woof's occasionally, just to keep her out of the way of horses and other caravaneers. "A festival?" There's the slightest of frowns in that soft voice. She makes no effort to hide it. "What is the purpose of this upcoming festival? I understand that this city is a large one. For a foreigner like me, anyway." Comes that quiet voice, sneaking in on the heels of Talise's question. She /definitely/ looks far from around here.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Towards the midpoint of the train, a covered wagon trundles along, flanked on either side by people on horseback. From the outside, there is nothing to distinguish it from every other wagon in the caravan, except for the fact that the armed guards riding on either side are carrying rifles openly, as opposed to putting them somewhere they're not in plain sight. Two people sit in the driver's seat--one is an older man in some sort of army uniform, and the other is a younger woman wearing a long trail coat over a linen shirt and slacks.

"Well, that was a wonderful diversion," says the younger woman. She's got a bit of an accent, and as the caravan starts to move, she takes a moment to take it all in. "I'd certainly like to return someday. This place has so much history to it, and the Sisters were lovely hosts."

"Not gonna argue with that," says the soldier-looking fellow, "but it still feels like busy-work. Wish Aveh would just calm down so we can get our work done. I don't want to end up going home empty-handed, and I bet you don't, either."

"Well, the manuscripts are a start. Once Doctor Oxford and I go over them, we can plan. For now--" The young woman scoots over to the edge of the seat, waits a moment, and hops off onto the side of the road. She glances around, taking stock of things, and then wanders off towards what to Ignas-natives is a perfectly normal bush. A few moments later, and she's jogging back towards the caravan--towards Lynnai's wagon, instead of hers. She walks alongside it for a few moments, inspecting a twig she cut off while taking notes in a journal. She almost double-takes when she notices there's a conversation going on, but puts on her politest smile as she greets the others. "Wonderful day out, isn't it?" says Ida. Never mind she's already accumulating yet another layer of dirt on her clothes.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

In more ways than one, this is a world like any others. A day like any others.

Arleph moves along inside of the starting point of the caravan, keeping mostly to himself. The initial problem with being on a new planet, especially one where you KNOW you should not be on, is to keep at least comfortably causal. Thus, the young man keeps to himself, trying very hard to not look like a lost tourist as he observes the Crests being loaded into the caravans. That, he feels, he's going to have to get a better look at when the time comes.

He snaps out of his reverie when he watches Ida run past, the fast movement gathering most of his attention for a few split seconds. Right. Don't stare too much. This stuff is probably normal for here. Just act like you're just a rather guy, observing a caravan, a bit down on his luck and needs a job. After some terse looking around, talking to the right person and proving that he is, in fact, a person that can do work and can defend people, he's hired along for the ride. Time to meet the other guards.

"Howdy, pardner." Arleph speaks up, stepping up to Claude, giving him a nod. "One hell of a day for some walkin', huh?"

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

Caravans are a steady, safe way to go from point A to point B. There are bandits to worry about occasionally, but not in a big enough group, and not in the more civilized parts of the world. Monsters... well, monsters are another thing.

Also, hitchhikers.

A short ways out from the Abbey is a man by the side of the road. He's impossible to miss: he's dressed in what might be one of the most eye-searing ponchos ever conceived. It looks like he's got some dust on him, unlike some of the impeccably clean members of this caravan, and though he's in the proximity of the Abbey, he definitely didn't go in.

Kalve waits for the mass of wagons to trundle closer before raising his voice. "Where is this caravan bound?" he calls. It probably would've been easier to go join up with them in the Abbey, but Kalve didn't think of that. After all, walking into an enemy fortress is not on his list of things to do today, and that's clearly what it is.

<Pose Tracker> Lynnai Albrek has posed.

Lynnai explains to Talise - and Amelia, once she asks, "Oh, it's going to be quite large. The Ancient Culture Exhibition, an archaeological fair. But of course there's going to be a festival along with it, for people who aren't quite as interested in history as I am. Though I wouldn't call Adlehyde a town; it's a little bigger than that."

Lyn shoots a glance at the carriage because she /knows/ she should be picking up on something that is, so far, eluding her. What is she missing...? "I haven't been to Adlehyde in a year or so, though, since the last time I visited. I have family there," she adds, by way of explanation. "It seemed like a good time to return."

Having repacked her bag and so far been unable to figure out what's drawn her attention about the carriage, she finally turns to look at Amelia. Lyn does not recognize the symbol of Althena, of course, but then again they've just been to an abbey and there's any number of religious symbols she doesn't really care about there, so it hardly draws attention.

Lyn doesn't really have a wagon of her own - she's kind of tagging along with a merchant, and she didn't bother to explain how she got in their good graces so quickly when the answer is 'family contact' - but she looks up when addressed by Ida. "Decent," she says, politely. "It could certainly be worse."

<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia's own eyes are mostly on the sky, green jewels looking up as if hoping the heavens would speak back. She lets her staff lean against the wagon wall, listening to the song of the sky.

It's apparently quite a loud song, as it takes her a moment to notice she's being addressed. "Well," she says, thoughtfully. "Curan Abbey is the home of one of the finest Crest Sorcery academies on Ignas, so don't leave any food you expect to have later unattended." ...why did she state that like a causal relationship? She giggles, and adds, "But also you'll have to start running, as we're leaving. Did you have business back there?"

But her eyes find themselves drawn to the mysterious Drifter with his eyes on the sky. She wonders....

"A fine day, isn't it?" she calls to Claude. "The sky is so big outside the walls..."

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Even as Lyn explains, the sound of a question from behind her pulls Talise's attention. "Isn't any festival's purpose to have fun? At least," she begins, turning to look over her shoulder with a wolfish smile for Amelia, her mouth open to finish her sentence.

Her eyes fall to the Althena symbol on the woman's cloak. Immediately she presses her lips together and sets her shoulders. "...Guess we're both a long way from home, huh, Priestess," she says, her tone a little more subdued, and though her smile returns, there's something a little more tightly-controlled about it.

She straightens her shoulders, gaze snapping back towards Lyn; she shoots her a brief, silent look of warning, but it doesn't seem to be too serious.

"It's always good to go home sometimes. Well. For most people," she says with a smile for Lyn. "Y'oughta show me some good places to eat. And maybe to get some new clothes. I feel like I stand out like a Gorgon in a pack of Chiro dogs."

As someone else pulls up beside their wagon, Talise blinks, but responds rather more easily, smiling broadly and nodding down to the arriving woman. "Yeah! Sun's out and there's a breeze. Can't complain about the day at all!" she says, stretching her arms above her head and arching her back a little as if to indulge in the day somewhat. "You're not just gonna walk beside the wagon, right? Save your legs and c'mon up."

The half-Beastwoman scoots over a bit, making some space beside herself for Ida if she so desires.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

It is indeed a day like any other. The sun is shining, the sky is a peaceful shade of blue, and the wilderness of Filgaia rolls endlessly onward in every direction one cares to look. Sure, it's interrupted periodically by the occasional city, but those are ultimately pretty small time if you really think about it. I mean, who lives in cities anyway?

No really, who lives in cities? That's a very important question.

Also an important question is the other hitchhiker. What do you mean there's no other hitchhiker? Of course there is. You just need to look to the left-- no, that's a tree. Now look up. Yes, there in the branches, with his green hair blending perfectly in with the foiliage. That one!

...Do hitchhikers normally have scarves like that? It looks pretty cosy--

Oh hey! You people down there!" Zed points suddenly and dramatically at the folks clustered around the caravan. "You should answer my friend's question. Because you see, it's my question as well. Truth be told, after climbing this tree, I'm feeling kind of like my heels need to cool. A caravan is probably a better way to travel than walking, so I don't suppose you fine friends would care for another couple of companions?"

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue doesn't pay too much notice to Claude other than to wince and call out to the young guy. "You don't want to be day dreaming there unless you wnat to get kicked or worse." She also does give the young man abit of a look overbefore she turnesher attention back to the wide and the others who are talking asthey move along.

"Heard about it, it's what drew me here myself. Couldbe work, or at least a memorable time to cut back for a bit, I'm not from the the region myself so I figure I'll find out once I get there."

She gfives Amelia ahonest grin and an honest answer and just seems to be keeping watch to everyone. Ida also gets her attention as she talks about history.

"Really they keep historial records should have guessed really. Given my own love of history, Miss and you have access?"

That clearly has the woman's attention. Ida certainly has caught Tess' intrest it seems. She holds futher comment until Ida catchesbackup.

"Something sure got your attention over there, what was it, given your making notes now."

She turns her head back to Cecila for a moment as she gets her answer.

"Crest Sorcery huh? Should prove enlightening."

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Yeah, no spaceships up there, Claude thinks to himself. He thought he'd seen something metal glinting earlier in the day, but it was just a flash and there was no way to---

Claude blinks as he's spoken to, jolting out of his reverie. He drops his gaze to Arleph, glancing up to meet his eyes, and has to run his mental tape back to recall what was said. And his first reaction is: Man, people really /do/ talk like that here. It's the sort of thing that makes him glad for his years at the Academy in Paris (Texas, not the other one).

The blonde-haired swordsman returns Arleph's nod with a smile. "Uh, howdy, neighbour," Claude returns easily. When Cecilia speaks to him, he includes her in the general commentary. "Yeah, pretty good day for this time of year, I reckon." He hitches his swordbelt - going to have to cut another notch in that - before continuing to speak, enjoying the break from the monotony of plodding along. "The sky's nice here, and the air's so clean!"

Before he has the chance to put his foot in his mouth further, though, the shouts from the front of the caravan attract Claude's attention and remind him he has a job to do. "What's he mean 'you people,'" Claude mutters, half-offended, before dropping his left hand to the hilt of his sword, eyes focused on The Loud One.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida gets a good look at the wagon's occupants. My word, she thinks, but does not say. That would be /rude/. And besides, the nice Beastwoman was kind enough to offer her a seat, and she very much wants to get some of the local color while she's here. Mother did say to do that, didn't she?

"Indeed," she says to Lynnai, "and thank you." She nods to Talise, and clambers up into the wagon with what might be surprising agility. She takes a moment to take off her hat, and sits down. "You're very gracious. I'm with some people further up ahead, but as soon as I saw that specimen, I had to take a sample." She puts the branch in her journal for now, and sets it down to let the ink dry. "I'm a naturalist," she says to Tesni, with a broad smile. "Ida Everstead-Rey, of the Guild Galad Everstead-Reys." Not like there are many other Everstead-Reys worth mentioning; the name is a major, major one among the ARMs trade. They sell guns.

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.

Something about Lynnai's explaination has Amelia smiling just a bit. "'Ancient Culture Exhibition'. What an odd name. Well. I suppose some things can't be helped. A large town, this...won't be a small affair, I take it?" A deep sigh. Her enthusiasm wanes just a bit. Maybe she doesn't like crowds?

"A Festival should be proper and full of worshi..." Starts off Amelia, but then Talise's tone drops like a rock. Amelia seems focused, even if she can't see the other woman's body language. Silver moves over, making Amelia do a quick spin to avoid being tangled in a lead. The big dog is suddenly between her and the mercenary woman.

"...You too? So it's not just us..." Inch closer. Oh so casual. It takes a good minute. A single, surreptitious whisper.

"Althena go with you. We're in strange lands, don't let your guard down. Or your faith." It's as if Amelia just assumes the other woman is faithful.

Zed's entrance is...unique. And loud. Her elven ears wiggle a bit. One hand goes to one. Her irritation is plain on her face, but she doesn't speak. No, she'll leave that to Cecilia.

Speaking of, with some effort, she's rushing ahead to catch up to the sound of the caravan mistress' voice.

"'Crest Sorcery'. I'm unfamiliar. Please explain what you mean." Despite her vague attempts at politeness, it's worded less like a question, and more like a quiet demand. Her face, however, is nakedly interested.

A small sigh. "There's worse weather to be in." Mutters the cleric vaguely to Claude. A small shiver.

<Pose Tracker> Lynnai Albrek has posed.

"I'll show you some places," Lynnai agrees with Talise. "Unless they've moved on me, and they can't /all/ have. There should be places for clothes, at least - though I don't exactly shop in some of the regular ones." That with a bit of a smile. Her coat is custom-made, after all.

Hmm, Lynnai thinks to herself. Talise clearly recognizes the other woman - not as an individual but something about a group. Which means...

She looks at Amelia a little more intently. It's not quite staring, but the next thing to it, and not especially polite. But Amelia looks like an ordinary person to Lynnai. No stranger than Talise herself, honestly, and arguably less; she doesn't have the unusual cheek markings.

Interesting. Lynnai's fingers itch. She wants to pull out her journal and take a note, but unlike Ida, she does not. Instead, she ensures there's room for Ida - they're riding at the back of the wagon because like hell is Lynnai going to drive the thing, but as long as you watch your feet and don't let them drag you can sit on it.

Plus, she recognizes the surname. "A pleasure," Lynnai says, sounding slightly guarded herself. "My name is Lynnai Albrek." Which may help /Ida/ make the connection; the Albreks assist caravans, making sure they have enough guards, keeping the wagons running, taking some of the risks in exchange for some of the profit. They're based in Adlehyde. "I'm a scholar myself - just not a naturalist."

She pays no attention to the hitchhikers beyond turning, once, and craning her neck far enough to see them. "That is a truly ugly coat," she asides to her wagon-mates - but she's not going to invite them on. It's not her caravan. Her gaze passes again toward Cecilia, then back. Damn, why /is/ she familiar? Lyn is sure they've never been introduced, whoever she is. She doesn't know any nuns. Abbesses? Whichever.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

To be absolutely honest, Arleph's observation have been limited. This is how people talked like, sometimes. Not /everyone/, because that's kind of insensitive. But it's a white enough lie and correct enough assumption that it wont be too out of place. Besides, people on new colonies on the rougher side of things do tend to drift in that direction. Rougher, more slack dialect. Well. Again, /some/ of them.

Okay, let's be honest, Arleph likes the looks and apperance of it.

Arleph looks down from the skies, grinning at Claude... and pause. His eyes lands on the clothing of the young blond man, recognising them. The Federation? Here? This /kid/ is from the Federation? Now, that's a bit worrying. He looks lost and kinf of stranded... Like him.

"Oh yeah. I'm thinkin' that there might be some good sun up ahead if the clouds keep goin' like that. Should be good." He looks down at him, tilting his head. "Yeah. It's pretty darn clean. You can barley smell the beasties throdding along!"

He laughs, looking up at the shout ahead of them, shaking his head, shouting back. "THAT AIN'T FOR ME T'DECIDE, PARDNER. Y'ASK THE CARAVAN'S BOSSES."

Arleph shakes his head, rubbing his hands together before handing one down at the young man. It best to keep the charade up, in case... well, it's just better that way right now. "Name's Arleph Ardan, by the way. People call me Doc Ardan." He flick his gaze back to the front. "Relax. Keep an eye out, just don't jump at the slightest varmint with a loud mouth or y'gonna die at thirty of a weak heart."

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Hey hey hey now! Talise is only half-Beastwoman. She does have the cheekstripes and the elfin ears, though not quite as elfin as Amelia's.

Talise scoots over a bit further, smiling widely as she makes room for Ida. The name doesn't seem to register with her. She just nods, sliding a plated gauntlet off to offer the hand beneath it to the wandering naturalist. "No worries! Nice to meet you. Can I call you Ida?" Her eyes twinkle, skile broad and genuine. "I'm Talise Gianfair, but you can call me Tal, if you want."

That's about when Amelia whispers to her. She moues her lips for a moment. "No. I guess it was more than one, yeah," she says, voice quieting. As the priestess whispers to her, though, she bites down to her lower lip, fang indenting it ever so slightly. Her eyes drift to her lap.

"...Yeah," she says, her tone a little noncommittal. "...Maybe there's a way back. Who knows. If it's out there...."

The tall woman trails off, inhaling, then letting it out in a slow rush. She bunches her shoulders and then relaxes them. The gesture seems to help bleed off some tension; giving her head a shake and pushing her hair back with a rough hand, she straightens again to smile between Lyn and Ida. The former gets a shrug from her. "Our friend back there is I think from my neck of the woods," she murmurs, then lowering her voice to a whisper.

"Not sure if she's with the Guard or not... they're rough customers."

When she raises her voice to conversational tones again, she laughs richly and turns to glance to Ida once more, then back to Lyn. "That should work! It'd be nice to have a few extra things to wear in a pinch, just in case this stuff gets damaged. I didn't bring a ton along." Then she shakes her head, smiling crookedly. "I dunno, you two... I'm not a scholar but I can survive pretty good out in the wilderness, and if you don't mind a song, I can play some for you a bit."

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

Kalve stands rooted to the spot, waiting for someone to give him an answer... for about six seconds. Then, Zed does his thing, and he turns and looks up the tree, grimacing at the incredibly dramatic demand for information. He exhales, muttering, "Zed," under his breath in a slightly pleading tone. It isn't going to do anything helpful.

He looks back down the road, listening, and raises a gauntleted hand to his mouth to call back. "And who are the caravan bosses?" Kalve asks. He looks for someone heavily armed and obvious; instead, he spots Talise and Amelia, who get a bit of a double-take, and then Claude, who gets... a longer look. He's got a guarded posture.

Kalve suddenly turns his head to look up at Zed. "Don't fight him," he warns, apparently out of nowhere.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

"Albrek," Ida murmurs, before things click into place. Her uncle does business with one of them--something about supplying Aveh, or Kislev, she cann't remember which one. "A pleasure to meet you. Perhaps I can give you my card once we hit camp, if you're so inclined." Though it sounds more like Lynnai is in the same boat as her, the more she thinks about it. "And yes, Ida is fine, if you want to be familiar." Her grandparents would not be pleased, but they're not here now, are they?

Ida does her best to politely ignore what is obviously a conversation Lynnai and Talise want to keep secret, but she can't help but overhear a few bits here and there. Guards? She glances over at Amelia for a moment, before turning her attention to what she hopes is not a fight brewing.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida also shakes Talise's hand, of course. It was offered, and she is not rude.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"Card? Sure, but I've got a deck already," Talise answers Ida with a blink.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue gives Claude a look again as he snaps out of it she also gives him a bit of a look and is eyeing his jacket again too. She's about to say something more but then a very loud guy shows up and starts talking. Tesni says "The name's Tesni Inoue, just call me Tess if you like Miss Everstead-Rey but it looks like we might have an issue."

She turns her head to Zed and she's also thinking on Cecilia's words and tones but right now? She's got her eyes focused on Zed for a moment.

"I'm not looking for a fight and traveling in a larger group tends to eb safer. I'm not the boss of this party though I'm afraid."

She's slightly wary but these two that being Kalve and Zed don't seem actively hostile. She also makes note of Arleph and nods. Good to know she's not alone on one front maybe even three but so far the locals just seem to have been very interesting.

"Hey Doc Ardan good to see you again"

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Zed holds his pose.

His finger points vaguely downward like a particularly harmless Sword of Damocles. A Finger of Damocles? Damofinger? Whatever. Zed points, and Zed waits, and Zed listens, and Zed...

Zed sees Claude go for his sword.

A terrible thing begins to happen. Or rather, Kalve would see a thing he knows to be terrible begin. The edges of Zed's lips curl vaguely upwards, exposing his teeth and a... A /grin./ A genuine, happy, expectant smile, "Ahahaha! Ohoho! I see you there, blonde one with the sword. Do you wish to test your mettle? I would be glad to oblige--"

Kalve.

Kalve warns.

Zed freezes and then starts... Sweating? A little bead of moisture works its way down from his hairline. A strange buzzing noise begins to eminate from somew-- no. No wait, it's that guy on the tree. He's actually vibrating. "But-- But Kalve," Zed suddenly looks at his companion, aghast and hurt in that way that only a kicked puppy can possibly manage. "But he looks like he wants to! And I really want to! And--"

The frown deepens.

"Awwwwnnnnggggggggggg," oh god he even sounds like a kicked puppy. "Fine. Fine! Fine, no fighting." Zed huffs. "I, the great and magnanimous Zed have decided to not fight for today! But really though, could we get a ride? I promise that we won't fight anyone unless they want to, if that's your concern!"

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude's attention is focused on Zed, and as such he has no idea he's been recognized by Arleph. Honestly, he didn't expect to have to worry about people recognizing his uniform - this whole place is restricted space! Honestly, don't people pay attention to laws any more?

He /does/ glance back at Arleph when the older man offers his advice, bristling a bit at being treated like a kid. A muscle tics along Claude's jaw for an instant before he makes the conscious decision to ignore it. God only knows he's ignored worse comments over the years.

"I'm Claude," the young man answers. "Claude C. Kenny," he elaborates, tacking on the family name of one of the five most famous people in the Pangalactic Federation because, y'know, how could that make this situation any worse? "And I'm not jumpy. There's just...something off about him," he mutters, frowning as he peers at Zed, trying to think of why the bescarfed man seems so famili---


"CLAUDE WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT CUTTING THE LAWN"

"MOM NO PUT DOWN THE CAR"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH"


<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia hems, eyes turning skyward at Claude's conversational reply. "Adlehyde is still beautiful country, even amid all the turmoil in the world. We are fortunate that the Guardians favor this land so." She smiles, calm. "So it is up to all of us to protect it. Thank you for your hard work, Drifter."

Ah, and he's got to get to work, speaking of which. The voices from above see Cecilia leaning a little ways around the bend of the wagon to see what all the ruckus is about.

The sudden interest from Amelia or the naked curiosity of Lynnai somewhat fail to penetrate Cecilia's attention to the weridos above.

A heavyset man from nearer the front of the wagon train thumps into view, accompanied by another man who towers implausibly over him; the second keeps his hand on the hilt of a long sword whose scabbard curves improbably off behind him.

The heavyset man, the caravan master, glances first to Arleph and Claude, then to a few other guards, then to the blonde young woman...

Cecilia glances at the odd duo while Zed monologues. Her hand hovers for a moment at her side, thinking about something on her person for precious seconds. Then she glances at the master and nods, a single, subtle motion.

"Feh! Fine. We've got a long way to go, strangers! Keep your blades to yourselves or you'll leave here on 'em!"

Cecilia turns a small, apologetic smile on her conversation partners. "Are the roads always this rowdy? I haven't traveled in a while."

<Pose Tracker> Lynnai Albrek has posed.

Talise may be trying to keep it secret, but aside from a very slight nod, Lynnai isn't saying much back private. She understands what Talise is saying, but it doesn't look like Amelia is going to pull anything here - and Lynnai certainly isn't going to be the one to instigate it. She'll have to get more information from Talise - later.

Unless Amelia does start something, of course; then it's open season.

"I could direct you to a better person to take it once we get to Adlehyde," Lynnai responds to Ida, probably confirming her thoughts on the matter and Lyn's position with her family. "Unless it's about naturalism. I saw you taking a note earlier; what did you see?" She sounds honestly curious; plants aren't her department most of the time.

She actually smiles, a little, toward Talise. "It's a card for business," she explains. "Her family and mine have some contacts, I think." Lyn really doesn't have much to do with that side of things. "Though if you have playing cards, you're at least covered if you want to stop some places. Provided you're good at gambling, at least."

She cranes around. It looks like there's /not/ going to be violence, for which she's grateful. Lyn straightens back out afterwards. She's certainly not the kind of person who wants to get into swordfights all the time. She doesn't even have a sword.

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.

There's a single pause in Amelia's walking. Almost her entire attention is left on Talise for a moment, enough so that she stumbles as Silver tugs a little too hard on a lead.

There's no need for secrecy, as she couches it all in ambiguity. "She wouldn't abandon us." Is her single statement to Talise. Plucking off her symbol, she'll set it in what she hopes is Talise's palm. Then she's rushing away to catch up with the Adlehyde royal.

But not without noticing both stares from Ida and Lynnai. The back of her neck burns a bit. A slight frown, then it recedes back into a neutral line. "Amelia. Amelia Rose. Blessings on you both." There's only a whisper of 'althena' there. She bit her tongue (literally) to stop that.

A deep, sucking breath. Kalve seems ok, but Zed strikes the woman towards the edge of annoyance. "I won't be offering either of my services to anyone who participates in petty, pointless fights in a group like this. The Destroyer can lick your marrow." She states, voice quiet, but somehow carrying over the caravan as if they should all know what she's talking about. Arrogant priestessism, it is.

Of course, Cecilia is highly distracted. She doesn't find it in herself to be annoyed. That strange pair are...well, strange. She waits a moment, ponders, then simply moves on. "I wouldn't know. These are strange lands to me. May I ask why someone not familiar with this area is traveling?" She offers, finally, to Cecilia. The priestess is mostly grasping at straws. Or more importantly, at information.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Honestly, Arleph is not THAT much older than Claude. Older, sure. it's not like he got several decades on him or anything. Whatever the case, he don't notice much his tic or the annoyance he created in him. If he did, anyway, he'd more attribute that to that man all the way over there, whining like a dog that he wanted to get into a scrap.

Similarly, Arleph's left eye twitch at the mention of 'C. Kenny'. C. Kenny. That ought to not be a coencidence. Is he related? There's probably a lot of 'Kennies' in the Federation, after all. But how many of them would be here?

Arleph snaps his thoughts back to order. That'd be stupid. Why would the son of a war hero be here, out of all places? It's just another poor slob that got caught here by some godforsaken means like he have.

Arleph muses on the sight, unaware of Claude's own inner monologue, frowning at Zed and Kalve up ahead. "Mmmmmyeah. I wouldn't blame you for that one, one bit. Seems kind of searchin' for trouble, I reckon." He muses, picking out something out of his pockets and popping it into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully.

When the ladies above them speak down, he blinks, holding his hat as he looks up. "Ahoy there, my lady Inoue." Ardan says, tipping his hat politely, nodding as well in Cecila's direction, smiling at her. "'Scuse me for ignoring you earlier, madame, that wasnt me intention. Who might I've got t'pleasure conversin' to?"

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise will probably be more forthcoming later. She'd hate to start something in the middle of this nice caravan ride.

She gives Ida's hand a brisk, firm shake; her grip's remarkably strong, though perhaps not surprising given the visible definition of her arms. "Nice to meet ya," she says with a broad grin.

As Lyn explains, Tal cants her head to look at her again, even as she slips her hand back into her gauntlet and gives her metal-placed fingers a wiggle. "Cards for business? Huh. Well, I guess I /have/ known a few cardsharks," she muses, scratching at her cheek; her gauntleted fingers brush over one of those darker-coloured stripes, the one racing over her right cheek. Then Lynnai explains it further, and Tal raises her eyebrows a little more sharply, followed by flashing another of those toothy little grins. "I love gambling. Remind me to play dice with you sometime. Or cards. Great way to kill time on the road, right?"

Then Amelia's handing her the symbol and scampering off, leaving Talise to stare after her with her mouth open slightly and her cheeks taking on a hint of a flush. She's quiet.

She looks down at the symbol that's been pressed into her palm, and closes her mouth. Her shoulders rise, then fall, before she closes her fist around the symbol and carefully tucks it away into a pocket.

"...Wonder how she'd feel about a few drinks and a good song," she muses, voice quiet and with a bitter edge.

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

Zed stops and sweats. Kalve fixes him with a stare, mouth set into a thin line. He keeps staring through his protests, a frown developing, deepening. It's a warning sort of thing. He's trying to keep him out of trouble. That means that he has to be the no-fun bad guy here and quash all of Zed's enjoyment completely and utterly.

It brings him some measure of joy, in a way.

He turns back to the caravan, looking up at the boss. He catches the way Cecilia seems to be making the call. Kalve smiles a little at the approval. "We will. If trouble arrives, we won't cower, either. Come on, Zed." He moves towards the wagons, looking for a good place to keep pace, raising a hand and waving it at Zed in a beckoning gesture. He can't stay in that tree all day.

Kalve inclines his head towards Cecilia in thanks, falling into step nearby and adjusting his garish poncho a little. It's even worse up close. He looks towards the source of the threatening and weirdly-carrying whisper, turning his head to Amelia, one of the odd-looking ones he spotted a moment ago. "What is the Destroyer, and why does it want marrow?" he asks, apparently cluelessly and entirely seriously, as if this wasn't a weird question to ask whatsoever.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude is 19. Anyone old enough to have a graduate degree is basically 40 as far as he's concerned.

"I haven't been up this way in a while, Miss," Claude answers Cecilia entirely truthfully. "But I was down in the Krosse Kingdom until a week or so ago." He frowns. "Bandits were pretty bad there. And a young girl was kidnapped. So it's probably best to be careful."

He looks up at the sky again, frowning. His left shoe misses a fresh horse turd by about an inch and a half.

When Cecilia is questioned, though, Claude looks back down and pays attention, because he's just realized that this young woman looks like she's bathed in the past several hours and speaks like she's used a book for something other than toilet paper. On this planet? Who the heck /is/ she?

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

"A pleasnt day to you, Miss Inoue," Ida says. She starts to unbutton her (elaborate, Victorian-looking to Claude and Arleph's eyes) coat, in what looks like an attempt to cool down.

The perceptive might notice the distinct shape of a shoulder holster before Ida moves again, adjusting her coat so it's out of view. "Well, it appears that altercation has been resolved," she remarks. The man in the bizarre poncho appears to be the handler (partner? traveling buddy??) of the... touched one, and Ida makes a note for reference. "Business card, yes. It's a tradition in some places. I'd be happy to pass one on, Miss Albrek, if you'd be so kind as to help me."

And with that business out of the way, she turns her focus to things she enjoys more. "Oh, it was a kind of sage I hadn't seen before," Ida says, showing her page of notes to Tesni. "I wanted to be certain to catalogue it. I'm not here on family business--I'm here on scholarly business." A pause. Amelia moves off, and Ida suspects something of import is going on. "Guild Galad is quite far away. If I might ask, Miss Inoue, miss Talise, where are you from?"

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Kalve is a horrible human being. He's a monster among monsters, so ruthlessly crushing Zed's hopes and dreams like the lives, bodies and bones of the fallen, or like a particularly crumbly cookie. Zed groans, bemoaning the unfortunate and untimely demise of a halfway decent brawl and actually seems to faint dead out of the tree--

Only to right himself mid-fall and land squarely at the front ridge of the caravan wagon.

Yes, Zed didn't need to stay up in a tree all day. And he wasn't going to! But he'll be damned if he's denied the highest spot in the caravan just because for some reason humanity hasn't found a way to casually uproot and carry trees from one place to another.

"I am Zed!" Zed says to Claude and pretty much everyone else by dint of speaking from way up there. "Just Zed. My last name is a mystery to everyone, including me!" Because he doesn't actually have one, but nobody needs to know that. "And you are Claude. Good! I'll remember that name. I don't forget things easily, you know. My mind is a STEEL TRAP!"

(This is probably a lie)

"Don't worry, if we are beset by desperados, banditos or bad hombres, yours truly will dispatch them post haste!" He glances over at Kalve, then, an ear actually twitching ever so slightly. "Oh, yes. A Destroyer? A Destroyer of what, exactly? I've heard of many things that can destroy, but none spoken of so... Spitefully? Hmm."

<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia receives a few roughly simultaneous inquiries that amount to 'who the heck are you', but she knows better than to make a scene. She doesn't expect to be /threatened/, per se, not on a caravan like this, but...

Well, it's nice to blend in a little while she can. Before the title gets to peoples' heads. For Amelia, she offers, "Oh, the area isn't unfamiliar. I'm from here. But I have been studying at the Abbey for several years, and there's not much cause to head far afield." She pauses, tipping her head. "Well. You don't want to be too close to a structure when you're practicing with the offensive Fray crests, of course." She giggles, as if this were a very easy joke.

  • (Fray is the Fire-type crest.)

"Krosse! My, that's a journey...a shame to hear the banditry has gotten within the borders." Her eyes cast down, searching her memories of younger days. Krosse and Lacour...she hasn't seen much of either, and not in some years at that.

"Ah," she adds, because Arleph has just asked the million-dollar question. One moment's hesitation, before: "My name is Cecilia," she says, smiling pleasantly enough.

That may or may not be enough for a resident of Adlehyde to go on.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue has an eyebrow go up at the name tht Claude dropped. "Claude C.Kenny huh? Tesni Inoue, asI saidbefore just call me Tess."

She kinds looks to Claude for a moment and nods. She's even more curious about this young man now but that has to wait due to the job they are and the poor so has no idea about the nature of the terror that is Claude's mother. They seem to be close and shrugs a bit at the comments about roads. The jacket and name surly have her attention alongwith the name but for now she's got to focus on her job.

It was good to see Ardan was all right but for now she'll leave him to be social.

"Kidnapping that doesn't sit right with me, Claude your right to be wary with that in mind."

She then now pauses for a moment at Ida and she catches sight of what might be shoulder holster. Ida had sense on top of a sharp mind fromt he looks of it. She'll take a look for it and grins as she looks it over.

"Not bad sketch work either."

It also seems Tess can read too.

"I tend to get that way about historial relics I fancy myself an Archaeologist, I have been meaning to get a new blank journal or two. Actually it's part of why I took this job."

ZEd seems to be a bit oddball but he doesn't seem to be looing for active trouble right now.

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.

Amelia doesn't seem to notice that whisper from a certain mercenary from her planet. No, she's too busy suddenly catching Kalve's question. Her mouth opens. It closes. Silver helpfully gives a bark to cover for his mistress' awkard pause.

"Do you really not...apologies. That was uncalled for. You wouldn't know. Her name is Lucia the Destroyer, Lord of Calamity. She'll cut down innocents without mercy, and seeks to turn all lands to ruin. May you be blessed to never encounter her. If you do, let me know, should you survive. You'll be rewarded." She's just loud enough to be heard well. Time to spread propaganda, even if she doesn't know it.

Just in time for Zed to speak up. "Everything. This entire world will be reduced...even beyond the dust if things continue this way. Don't give up your life...as a healer, I can't recommend that. But if you have the strength, please, stop her."

And then the connection is made. "...I suppose that should have been obvious. A local...I understand. No, you wouldn't have need to travel unless you were on a pilgrimage. Are you on one, I wonder?" If there's anything she'll equate across religions and respect, it's the idea of a sacred journey. She'll wait, a moment, then fall back a bit.

"Fray...crest?" She mutters to herself. Anyone too close might hear.

<Pose Tracker> Lynnai Albrek has posed.

Lyn lets Ida handle the crowd. There's a lot of people and she doesn't know any of them. Fortunately, she doesn't seem to be expected to.

"Yes, quite," she says to Talise, instead. "Though I wouldn't play dice with me if I were you. I cheat." She says it so straight-faced that it's difficult to tell if she's joking, though the corners of her lips are curling up in a way that Talise can identify as Lyn trying very hard not to smile. She's been around her enough to get that.

Does it count as cheating if you warn them exactly what you're going to do before you do it? (Yes.)

Lyn seems about to slide off the wagon to do... something. But she catches Cecilia introducing herself, and she pauses. She looks straight at her for a few long seconds, that same uncomfortable regard she gave Amelia earlier. It seems she's almost forgotten about Zed and Kalve for the moment.

"Should I bow?" she calls, though since she hasn't actually stood up that might be a little difficult for her to do. It sounds almost like she's being sarcastic towards Cecilia... except she looks so serious.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise tries to figure out the best way to answer Ida's question. What can she possibly tell her that doesn't sound like lunacy? Even /she/ isn't sure what Filgaia actually is; she's assumed it's somewhere that isn't Lunar, but her conception of the idea of 'planets' is so limited that she can barely put it into words.

Instead she lowers her hand to her thigh, cupping her cheek in her opposite palm. "Mmn. I'm not from a town. I grew up on a ship, actually... it was a merchant ship that kind of criss-crossed the ocean carrying cargo." It's not a lie, but it's certainly an omission.

Smoothly, she glosses it over by flashing Ida another of those fangy little smiles. "It wasn't a bad life - you get your sea legs real young. It's new for me being inland, so forgive me if I seem a bit lost sometimes!"

Lyn gets a sly smile from her, her lashes dipping ever so slightly. "I might bop you if you do that," she chides. "Cheat, I mean. Or at least I'll drink your drink."

Then the focus switches to Cecilia. Tal curls her hand against her cheek, thumb brushing along her lips as she takes stock of the woman. The name means nothing to her; Lyn's comment, though, startles her, and she glances from her, to Ida, to Lyn again, before lowering her voice with a blush. "Who's she? Someone really important?" she hisses in a voice barely above a whisper.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

"Thank you," Ida says, with a genuine little smile. "I learned how in school." The drawing as well as the note-taking; both are essential ingredients of the field naturalist lifestyle. The book seems dry now, so she picks it back up and tucks the botanical sample in between its pages. She'll fix it in with some spirit gum or something later. "I've never gambled in my life," she adds, to Talise. Miss Inoue seems to be catching up with that gentleman over there, so Ida adjusts her hat, and just kind of listens as the social world flows around her. Miss Inoue didn't answer her question, and while Ida gives no outward sign, she's definitely making a note.

"The Thames?" Ida says, unknowingly strengthening Talise's cover. Her mother talked about it, and Ida has internalized it as That Place Where All The Beastmen Live. "Or was it a smaller vessel?" Now that she remembers, she's not sure if her mother mentioned. All she told Ida was that it was a city at sea, aboard a giant ship, where Beastmen lived.

Lynnai gets serious. Ida blinks, and tries to be demure as she can while still looking at Cecilia, puzzled.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

"Well, the guy got caught and the girl was okay, so it at least had a happy ending," Claude offers, glossing over his involvement and also the phase-gunning the door down in plain sight of half the town. It was a rough day.

Cecilia's explanation, though, leaves the young man puzzles. Fray...cress? Claude sort of stares at Cecilia for a moment, trying to puzzle through her words. Isn't that, like... a vegetable? Or something? Why would you need to be careful about training with salad? (God, this place is so weird.) Still, he's got half of his answer - she's important and intelligent enough to have been studying at that place of learning. It's worthy of respect, especially on this world.

"Well, if you ever want to go, make a request to the Guild! I'd be happy to take you, Cecilia," he says, flashing her a bright and genuine grin, clearly not recognizing the name. Lynnai's reaction is puzzling, but before he can act on it....

ZED <(LOOK AT ME HAR HAR HEE MY FACE LIKES PUNCHES HO HAR DERP)

"...excuse me a moment," Claude says apologetically before stepping a little off to one side, putting some open space between him and the others. "I should probably check to see if the road's clear," he explains as he stops and drops into a crouch. For the briefest of instants, the dust of the road rises up from its surface, fluttering a half an inch upward as if propelled by a faint surge of unseen energy.

And then Claude jumps. Straight up.

About fifteen feet.

As he reaches the apex of his leap, Claude very deliberately does /not/ look at Zed, who will be a little ways below him, instead casting his gaze down the road as he relaxes his arms and shoulders, allowing his jacket to flap dramatically behind him with the force of his passage, because is not above that sort of thing /at all/.

Claude gets about two full seconds of hang time before dropping back down, landing lightly on his feet, left hand lowering to the ground but not touching it. Also interesting is that his shoes make almost no noise as he steps along back toward the others. "Looks pretty clear," he says.

Still not looking at Zed.

At all.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph will have to muse, some other times, on the problems of the youth, himself included.

His eyes flicks on Cecilia, frowning for a moment. 'Crests', again. He's seen one or two of them, but he wouldn't say that they are familiar to him. Perhaps it's some sort of local symbology? Some derivative or, more impressively, symbological artifacts that can be activated? He'll have to look into that.

The name is not enough for him to really ring a bell, as Ardan keeps smiling, lowering his hat back on his head. "Wonderful name, I'd say. Nice to meetcha, lady. S'always nice to find some other educated folks to populate the roads, y'know? I'm something of a Practicioner m'self." He says, snaping one finger before returning his attention down at the ground. He deftly avoid that turd.

Then Zed comes into Claude's face. The taller man, tilts his head at him, observing the energetic man closely as well as his companion. Hmmmm. Weird. /Sort/ of weird, anyway. "Chill, bub, chiiiill. I'm happy t'know we've got another pair of arms to deal with whatever might be causin' trouble. But take it easy, y'hear?"

His eyes rests on Kalve for a further moment, nodding at him. Seems the calmer of the two, at least. His eyes perk up at Amelia's shout, giving the woman a look. The dog is a dog, for one. He's pretty sure it's just a dog. More importantly, Lynnai speaks up, looking at Cecilia, then back at her. She's a Symbologist, for one, he notices. For two, she apparently HEARD of that girl.

She must be important, and probably didn't want to be recognised.

"Bah!" Arleph shouts, waving a hand. "If everybody bowed to everybody else 'cause she shared a name with some other folks y'know, we'd be here all day!"

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

At first, Kalve doesn't seem to notice that he's practically caused Amelia's brain to fault mid-thought. He notices when Silver barks, though, which gets his attention, and then, when he looks back, she's... oh. Maybe that was a weird question to ask. He should probably think about that sort of thing more next time before just asking whatever comes to mind.

"Lucia the Destroyer," Kalve repeats, as if turning the name and title over in thought. Kalve shoots Zed a glance, the kind one exchanges with someone else when they're of a like mind on a matter. It's entirely possible Zed totally misses it. "I do not know if I do," he tells Amelia. "I am a craftsman by trade, but I am familiar with combat. We've come a long way. But it seems to me that defeating such a person would require a greater force than the two of us, anyway."

Something else catches his attention. He's apparently sticking next to Amelia, who seems willing to answer his questions, which is a point in her favor. "A healer? Are you a physician, or do you know..."

Kalve stops mid-sentence, attention arrested by Claude's sudden ascension. He watches him go straight up, blinking a few times, very quickly.

Then, as if struck by a moment of prescience, his head snaps back over to Zed -- but might he be too late to stop the inevitable?!

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue pauses at the mentiono the Thames that something he's not heard about but as they talk ships? That does seem to get her attention. The Thames she'll have to not forget that name and then Kenny just does his thing, and wait does he hit on the lady or is he just trying to be helpful? She doesn't know but she's going to keep an eye on Claude as he does some full on TK antics or so she thinks. She sees no sign of visable tattoos though as she watches him.

"It end up a feed back loop of bowing, pays to be polite, it never costs you a thing to do so, right?"

She looks back to Arleph and meanwhile is just inwardly goaning at Kenny's stunt but from the looks of it all should be well or so she hopes.

"Looks like you learned pretty well wiaht what I saw there and gambling? Good way to pass time but not to make money and forgive me on that I'm from Augusta."

Augusta's a fairly notable seed town, which could explain why she might be odd. She may have just been distracted or was she thinking of something to say? Who knows.

<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia's lips purse, just a moment, at Lynnai's remark, at once both joking and entirely not. "I don't think the situation calls for that," she says, with a titter. Darn, outed. Kind of.

Not that severely, though. She favors Claude with another smile. "I doubt I'll have time to travel to Krosse for a while, but I'll remember that."

She tries to divert a little, looking over to Ida. "You mentioned Guild Galad? That's /very/ far. However did you make the crossing?"

Ah, and then Claude shows off.

Cecilia claps appreciatively, because that seems to be the desired response. She likes this guy.

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.

A single nod is offered to Kalve. The fact the man ends up closer to her doens't seem to be a bother, as she simply nods vaguely in his direction. "That's for the best. I wouldn't fight her alone, and you might be right that just two isn't enough. I've been told she seems sweet and youthful, but...well. Like I said, don't risk your lives. Burials aren't part of my duties that I enjoy."

'Healer'. It's well ture, and Amelia doesn't deny it. "Correct. I attend to the sick, the poor, and those lacking in faith. Or council, if they need it." A sigh.

Claude goes leaping off. Amelia grunts, raises her vaguely free hand to protect from any debris, and then scowls. Somehow, some part of this young man reminds her of a certain Hero.

"Anyone requiring mending of broken legs or other limbs in shows of bravado will require a fee. Humility is holy. Please remember that." Offers Amelia, voice just full of exasperation.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Zed stops and stares. Claude... Claude does something amazing. Something inconcievable. Something that no normal human could possibly do. Something... SOMETHING--

SOMETHING THAT LOOKS LIKE IT'S COME STRAIGHT OUT OF SOME KIND OF STRAIGHT-TO-BLURAY OVA.

Kalve is too late. Far too late. He recognizes that glimmer in Zed's eyes, the stupid smile on his face, the... The fact that he's actually, really and truly vibrating like he's some kind of cell phone and the caravan is the pocket of someone sitting in a movie theater right at the very climax of the film. "That... I see! I SEE! Yes! I, Zed, THE ULTIMATE MACHO MAN, ACCEPTS YOUR CHALLENGE!"

"Behold--" Zed bolts upright, somehow the caravan doesn't jolt at all. He poses gallantly, swinging his arms to one side of his body and squeezing his fists tight. "--The hidden powers--" Suddenly his arms sweep across his chest, scarf fluttering in the wind like some kind of AWESOME TRANSFORMING SUPERHERO. "OF THE ORIIIEEEEENT!"

"FASTER THAN THE WIND AND TRANQUIL AS THE FOREST," Zed poses, dropping down low. You can almost hear the muscles in his legs and the bones in his knees groaning like piano wire drawn too tight. "HOTTER THAN FIRE AND MORE MAGNIFICENT THAN A MOUNTAAAAAAAAAAAIN--!"

"I AM."

"NO! WE ARE--!"

ULTIMATE ZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!

One moment Zed is there. The next, Zed is not. Somehow, in between when Claude walked off, braced and jumped and came back down again, Zed managed to go through /that entire speech./ The world, inexpicably, seems to slow down as Zed, his face and body and clothes and /everything/ disintegrates into dramatic lighting and sketchy speed-lines. He shoots upwards from the wagon, he rockets higher and higher and higher, until he is indeed at least seven trees in height above the now distant wagon.

There, embraced by the sky and the air--

There, surrounded by heaven on all sides--

Zed poses majestically.

H-he's going to be up there for a little while, it seems.

<Pose Tracker> Lynnai Albrek has posed.

Lynnai Albrek is indeed a Symbologist, as Arleph can tell. Most of her tattoos are hidden under her jacket sleeve, but there's a hint of the red curlicue patterns visible near her wrist, at the lower cuff of her sleeve. It does make the details of her tattoos impossible to make out.

Which is probably the point.

Lyn doesn't respond to Talise until after Cecilia herself speaks up. And then, at that, she responds to Cecilia first. "Then I won't," she says, not entirely sure /what/ to think about this. It might be easiest if she just doesn't speak to her. There's kind of an awkward social gulf there; Lyn is from a wealthy family but she is empathetically not a noble, and Cecilia is just... there. Being... her.

More quietly, to Talise, she says, "She is the princess of Adlehyde. I was trying to figure out why she looked so familiar... I haven't been to Adlehyde in a while and we've certainly never met, but I /knew/ I'd seen her before." Yeah, Lyn knows. She keeps looking slightly awkward in Cecilia's presence...

...until Claude and Zed overpower it, at least. "Thank God," she mutters under her breath, "a distraction."

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"No, it was actually smaller," Talise says, as if she's heard of the Thames; she brushes past it with the easy smile and smooth delivery of someone who knows how to lie if she has to. "It was a rickety thing called the Lunabelle. Sometimes I miss it - the sailor's life was really cool, if you didn't mind the waves and the eating a whole lot of fish." A laugh slips from her as she adds, "We've gotta teach you to gamble. Start with card games, they're pretty easy! Great way to whittle away the down-time when you're resting."

As Cecilia addresses the group, Tal pipes in, "I won't either! Let me know when I should, okay?"

Lyn's murmured words leave her to blink and go quiet a moment. She lowers her voice, leaning over to her companion. "...We can always get away fast when the caravan arrives," she assures, her voice a low murmur. "Or we can just sneak out the back of the cart and walk if you wa--"

Tal trails off. For a moment, she stares at Zed hanging in the air, surrounded by speedlines. She gapes a little.

She brings her thumb up under her chin and pushes her jaw up to close her mouth again.

"...Adelhyde people are weird," she says to Lyn frankly.

"...Not you. You're cool."

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.

Pause. /PAUSE/. And then there is Zed. There are no words that one Amelia Rose could possibly offer. There's a slight turn to Kalve. A mere pause. Silence, just a moment.

"...Is it just your companion, or are /all/ people in this land so..."

Pause.

"So..."

Vague, grasping hand waves. Lean in, mumble.

"Idiots."

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph stops, eyebrows lifted when Claude just leaps the heck off the ground, shows off and is basically a grumpy kid that want to smack some smug face in.

"Well, I'd say." He says, lifting his hat up with a thumb, looking up and keeping a close watch on it, asiding at Cecilia. "Guy's got some pretty good legs." He adds, before watching Zed's reaction carefully.

His attention is briefly diverted away to Amelia, giving her a look. The pointy ears aren't too much of a problem, but she's not the first non-human he's seen. There's plenty of anomalities here, and all of them requires his attention. Trying to solve them all at once will just give him a headache.

Then, Zed catches everyone's attention again, by rocketing into the skies. Arleph stares upward, his back arcing as he tries to follow his trajectory.

He looks down, then back up.

He leans to the side, to the girls in the wagon. "I've got two gella sayin' he's landin' on an road apple." He comments, simply, still looking up.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Claude jumps. Ida leans out of the back of the wagon, watching as the young man just goes up and up and up, like there's a wire on the back of his jacket and it's pulling him into the sky. She blinks once, her jaw opening ever-so-slightly. Then Ultimate Zed happens. Ida watches. She cannot look away. Lynnai and Cecilia are talking to her, but she's staring in wonder at these two bizarre foreigners who appear to have started this contest for reasons she can't fathom. This is the sort of thing her mother told her about--warned her about. She's finally here.

It's a strange place. She's not sure if she likes it.

Then Ida snaps out of it with a shake of her head, brushing it off as though it were no more than an idle daydream. "Yes, Lady Adlehyde," Ida says, "Guild Galad. The seas were rough, but the expedition's crew has some of the finest sailors I've ever seen. We weathered it well." She looks over at Talise with a smile. "I'm sure you've weathered worse, though." Augusta, Miss Inoue answers. Makes sense. Mother said the SEED people were kind of odd.

"Is your friend all right?" Ida adds, to Kalve. She sounds genuinely concerned.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude accepts Cecilia's applause with a smile, a nod, and a...blush? Well, he had really just meant to get under Zed's skin but impressing a cute girl was an unexpected bonus. "Ah-ha...thanks," he says nervously. "Y'know, can't skip leg day! I ju---"

SUDDENLY, ZED!

And oh man, does Claude look like he's bitten off more than he can chew when Zed rockets upward. He had sort of ignored the speech, but...you can't ignore that many sketchy speed lines! And the dramatic lighting? It's impossible!!! That there... That Zed... is a man among men.

And yet.


"So mom, what was it like when you and Master Roddick landed on that planet?"

"Listen, Claude. Being on an underdeveloped planet is like being in prison. You've g---"

"Wait, when were you in prison?"

"Never mind. The point is, you're either on the top or you're on the bottom. You've got to make a statement, Claude."

"What do---"

"MAKE A STATEMENT, CLAUDE!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAH"


"...I'll be right back," the blonde-haired young man says, then steps off to the side of the road again. He looks up at Zed's insane, beautiful, posing form and then closes his eyes, gathering his chi, focusing his natural energies in his legs, concentrating on every strand of muscle, every tendon, strengthening flesh with will made stronger than iron. The dust-wavy thing happens again, this time more intense, and veins and tendons rise up from under Claude's skin as he reaches the breaking point.

He takes off like a shot, dust and pebbles flaring out like a cloud underneath him. Claude tightens his core and body, narrowing his profile to cut down on wind resistance, wishing he'd got rid of the jacket before jumping. His momentum begins to slow as he approaches Zed's altitude, then slows further, then hangs there for an instant... almost there... almost... He stops.

Height: 6.98 trees

Claude whips his sword free in a silvery arc, scything the blade up, around...down? "AIR SLASH!" he roars, firing a vacuum blade of energy downward, the recoil propelling him---

Height: 7.01 trees

D

He smiles the whole way down.

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

He's too late. It happened.

He told himself it wouldn't... but it did.

Kalve lowers his head, pressing a gauntleted hand to his face and sighing into it. He does his best to be invisible in that very moment, as if his mere association with Zed will make people wonder if he's some kind of crazed deviant, too. It doesn't take. Kalve shakes his head, eyes turning back to Amelia. "Zed is --" He struggles for a good way to explain it. 'Damaged' isn't /quite/ right.

"Special," Kalve decides. "Animated. Over-animated, if that is such a thing. Though, I can't speak for the others." He looks around the caravan, taking note of the other travellers. He wonders if he could score a seat in one of the wagons while Zed runs amok. "We aren't from around here."

He's quiet for a moment. Kalve doesn't seem worried about Zed landing in a ditch or something. It'd teach him a lesson: look before you leap (because you might land in a ditch or something). Instead, he tilts his head towards Amelia. "Is it permissable to ask about your eyes," he asks, making an attempt at politeness but unsure how to phrase it.

He looks up, blinking over towards Ida. "He's just excited to be here," he says. "He... doesn't get out much."

<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia heroically suppresses a grimace as Lyn outs her right there out loud. You were so close to earning points, Lynnai. So close. But she just casts her eyes down and quietly soaks up the attention, and replies with a calm and warm, "Well, you'll have no great worries in Adlehyde. The Ancient Culture Exhibition has brought Drifters and ARMs Meisters from across the land. I think the wolves will be having a poor few weeks." She giggles at her own joke.

And then settles in to watch the show. It's not a bad way to pass the time, she figures.

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.

In turn, Claude leaps once more. In turn, the risk to body parts increases. Amelia can practically /smell/ the injuries of a failed landing. She's been near Leo. She knows reckless, headstrong, but /THIS/!? It's like if you took two Leo's and tripled them. Then made them compete.

A single hand waves, almost weak. She at least manages to keep her composure. She's traveled most of Lunar, she can handle this. Mostly.

"Honestly? I prefer people asking. Yes, I'm blind. No, it's not natural. Bandits. Silver and I manage." She offers rather bluntly. Somehow, her voice softens just a touch towards Kalve.

A tap to her head. It's to Ida, but Amelia offers anyway.

"I hope your journey is blessed, and that Mister Zed learns...many things." Humility. Restraint. The list could probably go on.

Then, a single thoughtful pause. "Be loyal, though, if he returns that. People are flawed. I'm a priestess. Even so, me too. If he is truly your companion, then return those sentiments." A shrug. And then she runs up a bit, dog and priestess hitching a nearby free cart.

"If anyone is fatigued or injured, come to me." She offers.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue says "I have had far worse days too, Miss Everstead-Rey sounds like you packes away a lot of experiance already." There's a grin on her face and she's now watching the showdown between Zed and Claude,as well. Things are just getting nuts here b ut it's also very enteraining in a strange way, the pair are being highly enteraining, at the veyr least they are not trying to kill eachother and just out do eachother, right?

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida nods, somberly. "He just seems a little... touched," she says. "My apologies, sir, what did you say your name was?" Kalve doesn't seem that bad, and perhaps his odd wardrobe is just a thing where he's from. He does have that strange armor, too, so perhaps it's intentional? And Cecilia seems... well, suffice it to say, Ida is starting to identify something familiar there. A sort of resignation behind the friendly smile. She lets it drop.

She motions to Kalve, curling her fingers in--beckoning him to come a little closer? If he complies...

"I don't mean to impugn your honor, sir," Ida says, "but you shouldn't say that, least of all about a priest."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Yes. Zed can feel it. The adoring and mystified stares of the people so far below. He feels the Fanium Energy suffusing his every steelshod cell. It feels good. It feels right! But there's more. There's more to Zed's joy than merely the awe and the love of his adoring public.

Because there. The boy. The blonde young man with the great leaping skills who never even once missed leg day. He was not content to merely rest upon his laurels, to abandon the challenge at a single leap. No. He pushed further, endeavored to go beyond-- to reach that far and distant low hanging star called VICTORY upon the distant horizon.

He is here.

And with a single air slash... He defeats Zed's seven-tree leap.

Zed is wide-eyed. Zed is awed. Zed stares with fascination and respect and pride mixed into his expression in equal measures. He exchanges a look with opponent. Their eyes lock, whether Claude truly wants to or not. Somehow, the speedlines disappear. In their place, the world is suffused with sparkling motes of light and softly glowing bubbles as a connection is forged between two kindred spirits.

SOCIAL LINK ESTABLISHED - FOOL RANK ONE

But then Zed's expression hardens. His grin returns, full and earnest and true, practically splitting his face from ear to ear. "Good. GOOD! I WOULD EXPECT NO LESS! You. Claude Kenny. You deserve to be my rival! And so I will show you--"

He twists. Zed's hand falls to the hilt of his own blade as his body turns parallel to the ground. "Just as you've shown me your blade, I will show you mine! AHAHAHAHA! IF YOU CAN DO THIS, THEN SO CAN I! DOOM BRINGER, ROAR TO THE EDGE OF TOMORROOOOOOOOOW!" His hands move like lightning. ONE STRIKE. TWO. THREE AND FOUR! Zed swings, carving the image of a great and glowing /Z/ into the air beneath him!

The air...

Explodes.

Zed sails upwards. His fall is cancelled. Arrested, even. He's flung higher and further, and finally...

He meets his previous zenith.

And goes beyond.

7.02 trees.

WHAT NOW, KENNY.

<Pose Tracker> Lynnai Albrek has posed.

"Well I'm not a wanted criminal," Lyn points out to Talise. "I don't think I need to escape."

Pause. "Probably not, anyhow. I can't imagine /why/ I'd have a bounty, and nobody's tried to claim it if I do, but I somehow don't think she's going to summon guards and order me arrested." She would have done that already, right? Right.

And it doesn't matter because Zed and Claude are being way more obvious in a way more... intense way than Lyn ever is. "Though," she says, "I might need a break from this."

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph continues to stare up, his call to a bet unfortunately falling to deaf ears. That's probably better that way, it's not like he have a lot of MONEY. Especially local. If at all, honestly. The various lengths the two men take to jump and get as much air time as possible is impressive, observing the show off.

"Naaaaah." He comments after Ida's own. "I wouldn't say touched. That boy definetively looks excited more than anything else." He looks down at Kalve, thrusting a thumb up. "They DO know how to land from being that high, right?"

Talise is feeling a little off-balance right now. She keeps a lid on the feeling.

Scratching at the back of her neck, the tanned woman with the curious cheekstripes flashes Ida a smile. "Yeah, we've been through some pretty rough weather before. In some ways I'd rather be in a sea storm than a sandstorm one, though. Water at least drips off you, but sand gets into everything even if you cover up real good."

She crinkles her nose as she turns to glance to Lynnai again. "Yeah, I know you're not... besides, if someone tried to arrest you for something, I'd deck 'em anyway," she assures, patting the back of her right hand with the left.

Zed and someone else start shouting again. Talise lowers her eyelids and huffs out a short sigh.

"I'm with you," she mutters back to Lyn. "/Men,/ right?"

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

"Ah. And you cannot..." He trails off. Of course, Kalve thinks, if she could, why wouldn't she fix such an obvious disability? He seems somewhat puzzled for a moment, but the blessing of sorts cuts off any potential ponderances. He keeps quiet at the notions of loyalty, and nods, only after adding, "I will, priestess." It seems the best answer. Something to think about.

You know, when the air isn't exploding. Kalve rubs the side of his head with one hand, sighing, watching the aerial acrobatics. He glances at Arleph, shrugging. "I'm sure Zed will be able to limp away. I don't know about the other one. I'd estimate a safe landing, in any case, if a somewhat rough one, depending on how he's jumping like that in the first place." It could be /magic/. Magic's crazy shit. He doesn't know what to even make of that. Then again, it could also be rocket boots, so...

Kalve looks up, and shifts in his step to get up to Ida. He blinks, apparently missing something. "My honor is intact. Say what, exactly?"

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude locks eyes with Zed. Something passes between them. And in that moment, Claude realizes that his erstwhile adversary is not looking at the heir to a hero, nor the son of the admiral. He is looking at /Claude C. Kenny./ With approval.

The bond forged this day will never be broken. (Probably. Social Links are weird.)

Stirred by the flames of his newly declared rival, Claude whips his blade downward once more. "AIR SLASH!" he screams, the vacuum blade arresting his fall. "AIR SLASH!" he calls out again, rising slowly upward. Claude sucks in a deep breath, the leather of his broadsword's hilt creaking as his grip tightens.

"AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH---"

Height: 5.13 trees

"---AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SLASH--"

Height: 6.89 trees

"AIR SLASH AIR SLASH AIR SL--"

<INSUFFICIENT SP>

Height: 7.015 trees

"---craaaaaaaaaapbaaaaaaaaaaaaaskeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeets---" Claude shouts as he falls. Hey, that is a long way down.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

"When someone has an... injury like that," Ida says, purposefully avoiding the word 'crippled', "it's not polite to bring attention to it." Perhaps they just have vastly different social rules where these two men are from--but Ida is doing Kalve a service in helping him adapt to these ones. Isn't she nice? "She probably has a difficult life, but she's more than capable of caring for herself, or she wouldn't be here." The wind blows Ida's coat around, and steel glimmers under her arm--the chamber of some sort of weapon?

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

In the future, Arleph imagines, not all caravans will be that interesting. While he's used to roughing it up, even the most remote Federation colony is unimaginably more lavish than anything he's seen here. He's going to miss a lot of things.

Cute girls, cocky men trying to one-up one another, people of all sort of different backgrounds, however, seems to remain a constant as passengers in theses sorts of travel. What's less common in his personal experience, however, is people launching themselves up in the air like rockets, as spaceships tend to not have a super huge ceiling height.

"Mmmmn." Arleph comments to Kalve, scratching his chin thoughtfully. They could land both saftely, that's true, if they got themselves up there. The rush of air firing down from above with the sudden cry of surprise from one of them do make him wonder, however.

He look back at the ladies in the wagon, tipping his hat. "'Scuse me a moment, seems like I ought t'stop two roosters from breaking their legs. 'Cause I aint fixing that."

The cowboy steps off away from the caravan, lifting up a gloved hand and pulling on it. It snaps back against his skin with a leathery sound with his eyes fixated upward. He haven't done a spell yet while he was here beyond creating drinking water. This is going to be an interesting way to test it.

Arleph swings an arm, slamming a fot into the ground while the other remains by his side, fist balled. He takes a deep breath, then exhales. "IAH!" The wind billows his clothing as he thrusts a palm upward, a foot sliding to the side. Symbols visible by his wrists glows of a bright blue, a rumination of words escaping his mouth, culminating by a loud shout:

"TITULUS AQUARE!"

The ground erupts before him, a symbol glowing above it as a large stream of water shoots upward like, well, a pillar to engulf the two flying fighters... and to be surprisingly solid for them to come down from.

And obviously, it's wet. Pretty damn wet. It's /water/.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Speaking of cute girls, Talise takes a moment to slide down from her caravan. She's quite a bit taller than most cute girls - she's a solid six feet or so and rather more built, and she's currently draping the sheath of her long-bladed sword across her shoulders, arms draped across it in a lazy fireman's carry position as she strolls forward, seeming to have little trouble keeping pace with the group. The sword's hilt is wrapped up in a battered-looking bolt of cloth but there's a huge green stone clasped at the hilt, the crosspiece looking like it's silver.

She wets her lips as she moves to watch the exchange of skills from something of a distance. "...People here are nuts, huh," she observes to nobody in particular.

Then she's turning to move up near Ida again; it helps that she's tall enough to make eye contact with him without having to look up. She doesn't say anything at first, just giving the fellow a curious once-over.

Finaly she clears her throat. "So what's up with your buddy there? He sure seems to have a lot of energy."

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue is just now hanging back and watching this as Claude seems to run out of power? She can't help but winces this could be bad, very bad and she's lookingto Arleph for a moment then to Kalve for a moment then to Ida but she's wondering how Claude is going to make it through this? Given the amount of Air Slashing he's been doing. She wonders if she has the power to catch him. she's about to make her attemp but then comes Arleph she should have guessed he'd be able to act before she could and then comes water seeming out of nowhere. She ends up getting hit with the water and she's just not fluming given how hard water an be ot get she's not going to complain but she looking bemused for a moment.

"You do love putting on a show don't you Doc?"

She notes to Arleph.

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

'air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash'

Ida educates Kalve on the more pertinent bits of etiquette he seems to have utterly missed. "Ah! I didn't realize. I thought there must be some sort of complication, if she was a healer, and..." He trails off. The look on his face says that he probably just realized that he should not continue this train of thought, lest it be derailed by politeness banditos.

'air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash'

Kalve's poncho ripples in the wind from the side of the road. He tugs on it with one black-gauntleted hand. There's a glimpse of dull metal near his leg, about where you'd expect a concealed weapon to be in easy reach. "Is it polite to ask about an acquaintance's armaments, or is that --"

'air slash air slash air slash air slash air slash--'

  • SPLOOSH*

The sudden magical display arrests his attention. He staggers a little, walking into the side of the wagon and stumbling. Kalve rights himself, staring at the gout of water like he was willing it to give him its secrets. He needs to talk to that man, he decides, as soon as he can.

Talise asks him a question. He drags his attention away from the flagrant use of some kind of sorcery to regard her. "He doesn't get out much," he explains. "It's our first time coming so far. A caravan seemed like it might be a better way to pass the time and distance than walking just the two of us."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Yes. That's right, Claude C. Kenny. Today is your lucky day. Today, you have won a true rival! Trying to see through exploded air is difficult- the smoke stings the eyes and irritates the lungs, but Zed does so anyway. He must watch. He must observe as the one who he recognized as a worthy opponent does everything in his power to match Zed's leap.

Air slash upon air slash upon air slash ripples through the atmosphere. Zed feels every shockwave as a hammerblow against the hollow of his chest, sending pulses of exhileration surging through his liquid metal veins! But even with all of that exertion, Claude... falls short. Nor for lack of skill, nor for lack spirit, but for lack of...

SP.

Zed slowly nods. Yes, this is a limit he can accept in a rival. The rules of this world are strange and rigid indeed, and while it is the work of heroes to test and bend them, sometimes they prove truly immutable. Don't worry Claude, you did all you could. Only 0.005 trees short. But in scientific terms, that's still within a margin of error. Zed nods again as gravity reasserts itself and tugs him fully out of the lingering explosion cloud.

Yes.

Gravity.

...

Oh. Oh no! Gravity! That's one of those things that kills humans dead! Zed's eyes open in a panic. He pivots and begins SWIMMING THROUGH EMPTY AIR to catch his rival before Claude C. Kenny is a Claude Street Pizza! But even the power of the ULTIMATE METAL DEMON cannot overcome the fact that air just doesn't take to being swam through. IT IS AIR, NOT WATER.

...Until suddenly, it is water, and not air.

Zed eats a mouthful of this magical geyser. He also gets a bellyful, because that spell basically punched him right in the belly. It's kind of like belly-flopping off a high dive, except instead of falling towards the water, the water came up and fell at YOU. Zed 'HRF's, his rescue attempt denied! But then, the geyser is slowly declining. He makes landfall soon thereafter, pushing himself back onto his feet with a DRAMATIC FLIP. If his opponent is as skilled as he hopes... Then Claude would be safe as well.

A good rival is so hard to come by these days.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Wheeeeeeeeee this was a good idea at the time, Claude thinks as he drops down to his death (or at least his extreme pain). He slowly rotates his body until he's falling feet-first, gathering the dregs of his chi from his sputtering spirit. He would really like to just have a nice steak and take a nap now instead of landing a 7.015-tree fall, but he's probably got enough in the tank to survive it.

...probably.

Fortunately, he doesn't have to find out. Claude hears the shout and has enough time to look down and say "Wait, wh--" before WATER WATER EVERYWHERE and way too many drops to drink. The blonde-haired young man vanishes into the liquid column, arms and legs waving a little before the Symbol fades and he slowly slides to the ground, drenched beyond belief.

"...well," he says, soaked bangs covering his eyes. "This is not how I thought my day would go."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida blinks, not realizing what Kalve means at first, before realization hits her--oh. He saw the ARM. Thankfully, Zed and Claude ended up solving their problems nonviolently, but for a moment, there was the distinct possibility of her needing to disarm one or both of them. "It depends," Ida says, her voice hushed. "Around here, people tend to see ARMs-users as... tainted, somehow. It's nothing but superstition, but that won't stop a mob, of course. It's the Demons, you understand. The Demons used ARMs--or were ARMs, the line is blurry in some cases--and some of them think humans that use ARMs risk being corrupted."

"Where I'm from, what the Demons left behind is the foundation of our achievements. And yes, ARMs are my family's business, but even if they weren't, I would feel the same way." It sounds a bit rehearsed, now that she thinks about it. Granas damn it. Thankfully, the SUDDEN COLUMN OF WATER gives her a distraction. Ida watches Zed and Claude plummet into it, more than a little worried. "Are you all right?!" she cries.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

The tall half-Beastwoman scuffs the heel of one heavy-plated boot against the turf, kicking up a small puff of dust. Talise nods, seeming to accept Kalve's explanation at face value - after all, he doesn't seem like an awful guy. "Saves your legs, too. Always better to get into town fresh; that's where all the jobs are, after all." At least, she hopes that holds true in this world, or she's going to have a few problems; she keeps /that/ tidbit private, though.

She goes quiet, biting down to the inside of her cheek as Ida explains a thing or two about Metal Demons. She breathes out through her nose slowly, taking a few mental notes. Not that she has much of a clue about ARMs, but the more she finds out, the better, she supposes.

"Ah, they'll be fine," she assures Ida with a rough smile and a shrug, shifting her sword across her shoulders. "Goofing aroind is just what guys do."

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph watches the result of his symbology, nodding to himself with some amount of approval. It worked out well. The calculation was perfect, even if he feel the pressure might've been a little too high. That's easily solveable next time. As much a science Symbology might be, it's still very much performance art in many other ways at actually practicing it.

The pillar of water dies out as fast as it came into being, sending dropplets over Arleph, making his clothing a little wet. He gives Zed and Claude a quick look, tilting his head to the side to see if the two have broken any limbs. Nothing seems... out of place, at first glance. He tips his hat faintly in the two soaked youth, grinning. "No broken limbs. Congratulations, you two ought t'walk 'nother day. The sun's gonna take care of that water. Nice showin' up there." He says, matter of factly, before turning around to jog, catching up to the slow moving caravan.

He takes off his hat, shaking it to get the water off before donning it when he comes back into his spot. "Sorry 'bout that impromptu shower, ladies and gents." He smiles at Talise and Ida, nodding at Kalve on the way. Never hurts to be pleasant.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue look at Ida for a moment and seems to take what she's saying for a moment. "I have got that since I left home, honestly I'm used to it. I'm used to it but your family's in the business of ARMs? I might just be in luck then."

She looks to Cluade and she sighs to make sure they are okay, she's concerned but she seems to trust in the Doc's powers after all. "Fair enough on that, I can't throw stones I use an ARM and honestly? Better to learn from it to move forward than stagnate."

With the aftermath of Claude vs Zed leaving her distracte from saying more she looks to them with concern.

"Free water, why would I complain about that, I just hope those two are okay..."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"Hoh! I am flattered!" Zed says, standing straight up with a grin on his face and a puffed out chest. The effect is sort of ruined by the fact that he's also drenched in water. Even his scarf, normally fluttering majestically in the wind, can't do anything but drip water into a sad little puddle at Zed's feet. But dampened clothes do not mean a dampened spirit! "Thank you for your concern, but I am fine! And it seems my rival is also fine. I wouldn't have it any other way! Hahaha!"

"You say you have something left behind by the demons, eh? Hmmmmmmmmmmm." Beat.

...Beat.

"Nope, I've got nothing," Zed shrugs. "But those Demons must've been pretty powerful to have put the fear of them into everyone's hearts like that! Hahaha! Hm. I wonder if they're... Still out there somewhere."

Zed stares meaningfully at the horizon. Somehow, he also manages to stare meaningfully right at the camera and into your very soul. Yes. Specifically yours.

But then Arleph says a thing, and Zed turns his beaming face right towards his apparent savior. "Hah, it was pretty great, wasn't it!? How we both threw ourselves even higher, not just with our legs but with our ARMS! With our SKILL! Today is a good day and I am happy to have had it!"

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

Kalve tracks Claude and Zed's descent remarkably calmly. Really, though, he's a little tense. Does he expect he'll have to spring to Zed's rescue anyway? Well... maybe.

"Good advice," Kalve remarks with a nod towards Talise. "We /are/ a little short on coin..." He trails off. Kalve turns his head to watch Arleph retreat back to his spot among the wagons. He's got the look of a prospective student, or a wide-eyed superstitious local. Even odds on lynching him versus asking him how he did that.

"That's nonsense," Kalve says abruptly. He remembers himself about a beat later, looking back at Ida, a little embarrassed. "Ah... that is, the superstition. I deal in ARMs as well; I suppose I'd better watch myself before offering to fix someone's firearm, eh?" He smiles. "Especially if it's a --"

Zed happens. Kalve twitches, but otherwise maintains composure. "...if it's a Demon weapon. I heard rumors about some of them being dug up; I was hoping for the opportunity to do some work with one of the excavated pieces."

He half-turns to Zed. He opens his mouth to ask if he's alright, but all he does is sigh.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Zed looks to Kalve and flashes TWO THUMBS UP.

Also a patented HEAT SMILE.

His teeth are positively dazzling.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

"Are you a Crest Sorcerer, sir?" Ida asks Arleph. She's still unclear on the differentiation between Crest Sorcerers and Symbologists, and they were just at Curan Abbey, but it never hurts to ask! If he can just conjure up water like that, does the water stay around? It looks like this place sorely needs more of it. "I understand your reasons. A little warning next time would be welcome, though." She smiles at Arleph, though--she's clearly not that offended.

"Gunsmoke, Miss Inoue?" Ida says. She opens up her coat, slowly and delibrately, and shrugs it off--there's a shoulder-holster under each arm, and inside are a matched pair of pistols, the six-chambered revolver kind lots of people rely on. Ida's happen to have wooden insets on the grips, and fine carving in the detail-work. Zed walks up, now, and Ida gives him a level look. "Yes, things they left behind." She leaves it at that. She realizes people might get the wrong idea if she describes the Boneyard and the literal Metal Demon remains inside.

"And yes, it is." Ida brightens up a bit, seeming to recognize something familiar in Kalve. "Are you--are you an ARMs Meister? I wasn't expecting to meet one here, least of all one on the road like this. You're headed to Adlehyde, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

The whole symbology thing is new to Talise too, though she has a little more familiarity with it than she does guns. She looks after Arleph curiously, flashing an easy smile and a nod, before nodding back to Kalve once. "Sometimes I've got some good ones."

Zed gets a long, quiet look from her; she bites down to the inside of her cheek, pushing her tongue up to the roof of her mouth to keep herself from saying anything salty. She just scuffs her heel against the soil again. There's a low sound when she does it as the edge of a steel plate scrapes turf.

"You're an expert on those?" she asks Ida with a curious curve of her eyebrows. "Maybe if we cross paths some more you'll have to give me a couple lessons. I was never very good at using them." Sliding her sheath from her shoulders, she gives the hilt of her sword a brisk pat. "I've always thought it worked better for me to get close and do my work with this."

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Kalve's look is not lost on Arleph, pondering for a moment if what he just did what the right thing to do. Bah. If bandits attacked, they would've found out anyway. Still, this is a good gauge on how the locals are going to react to symbology. Xenohistorical studies DO say that no society reacts to Symbology and magic the same way. And, apparently, to 'ARMs' in very different ways, too.

He gives Kalve a nod at his uncertain glance, leaning up against the caravan, taking off his glasses to wipe off some water of them with his gloved fingers. "Mmmmmm?" He says, looking up at Ida, blinking before setting his spectacles back on his nose. "Ah, no, ma'am, I'm a practicioner of Symbology. Crests aren't much of my specialty. But," He takes wipes off a few more droplets on his outfit. "I'll keep that in mind! A geyser might've frighten some folks if used suddenly." He tips his hat in Talise' direction, grinning as well. Yeah. Showing off can be fun.

He switch his attention at Kalve and Ida, when conversation switches to ARMs. Now THAT's something he wanna hear about... but can't really speak openly about it without blowing his cover. So, instead, he works on cleaning his glasses.

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

Zed receives a shake of the head. "I'm glad you didn't hurt yourself," is pretty much his concession to his companion's well-being. Zed's... resilient. He'd've been fine, anyway.

"Those are excellent pieces of work," Kalve observes, eyeing Ida's revolvers for a moment. "The carving is a nice detail. Does it alter your grip at all?" He blinks, looking up. "Oh, ah -- well, yes," Kalve admits, nodding at Ida. "I am, and we are. It seems like it'll be the place everyone wants to be pretty quickly. I thought maybe there might be something to do there." He pauses, thoughtful. "Besides be run down by a mob," he appends.

Kalve's gaze wanders over to Talise's sword. He nods a little, as if in unnecessary approval. He appreciates all sorts of weapons, not just the more mechanically complex kinds.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue says "Yes my rifle is Gunsmoke. Miss Everstead-Rey if your family deals in ARMs it means you deal in ammuntion I hope? Suppliers of that can be rare at times, specially ones who might not try to turn on your and take your ARM for your trouble."

She gets a good look at Ida's ARMs and nods once or twice.

"Looks like solid work, from here, those arms."

then Ida talks about the boneyard which has her very curious now she's clearly interested in the talk about the remains of Metal Demons though, but it may be the history aspect it given her eariler statements.

"That's facinating."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"Ahahahaha! Don't worry about me!" Zed slaps at his travelling buddy's poncho'd shoulders. "It would take more than mere gravity to kill me permanently! Maybe only temporarily, but I'd probably get better." Probably. Zed wouldn't survive like... Atmospheric re-entry, but his head is both dense and empty of anything important, so as long as he led with it, he'd probably be okay!

Beat.

"Oh, yes! We're going to Adlehyde for many reasons! But mostly, I..." Zed clenches his fists. "I want to see... THE GOLEMS!" His eyes... Sparkle!? "Such legendary weapons on display for everyone to see! I've heard so much about them from so many people, to see them in person is... Is... IT'S THE BEST!"

Beat.

Zed... Catches sight of a sword.

"You there," he looks to Talise, his eyes flickering down towards that blade. "Are you... Good at swords?"

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Soon enough Talise is transferring the sword to her shoulder again; this time she just slings the strap back into place and lets it hang naturally. Quieting for now, she smiles and listens to the conversation, seemingly not bothered by the fact that Kalve's looking the weapon over. Even with the hilt wrapped, the large green pommelstone and fancy-looking silver crosspiece and pommel mount are probably distinctive; it seems like a fairly elegant weapon.

Her eyelids immediately lower as Zed focuses in on her, though. She lets her breath out in a slow sigh. "Yeah," she says, giving her shoulders a slow roll. "Yeah, I've been fighting with a sword ever since I was old enough to carry one. Why?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

"Certainly," Ida says, with a grin. And here part of her was expecting to have to try and calm terrified civilians the moment she pulled a gun--the one beneficial side-effect of the global ARMs trade, she supposes. "I'm not an expert, but I can help you familiarize yourself." Ida blinks, then, realizing that she's made a serious faux pas without even realizing it. "Apologies, sir," she says to Kalve. "I'm Ida Everstead-Rey, of Guild Galad. I didn't catch your name earlier." She offers Kalve a hand to shake.

"The grip is decorative, the recoil and other firing characteristics aren't meaningfull changed. My father made these, and he wanted them to be special. He's an ARMs Meister, and he trained me. Perhaps we could talk shop? It's something of an interest of mine, and perhaps we could learn from each other." An exotic stranger with similar interests, who seems decent aside from his puzzling association with Zed? This is the sort of thing she daydreamed about when she was much younger.

And then Tesni puts Ida on the spot. "I'm not here on family business," she says. "But perhaps I could pull a few strings and see who deals in our wares in the area."

<Pose Tracker> Kalve has posed.

"I suppose ammunition would be a problem if the people are superstitious about ARMs," Kalve says, looking to Tesni for a moment. "That's a good thought." He makes a note about the quality of that sword. He wonders if there's something else to it, or if it's just got some flash with its substance.

Kalve takes the proferred hand, gripping it a little delicately, as if he's afraid he's going to hurt Ida. He /is/ wearing gauntlets, but the parts in contact with her hand feel like some kind of cloth. There's something slightly warm set into the palm, too. "Kalve, of... Arctica, I suppose. My companion is Zed." He nods, smiling. "I'd be happy to talk shop on the way."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

The Zed that Kalve speaks of isn't paying attention to this little meeting. Instead he's still staring at that sword. Staring... Staring...

And then he sort of gestures vaguely at his own. "You want to... You know? Sword fight?" He's grinning in that horrible, eager, giddy way. The way he was grinning moments before jumping 7 trees into the air. "Weeeeelll? Like. Doesn't have to be now, but... It'd be fun! Probably. You want to?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Arctica? Ida turns the name over in her head before she realizes where she heard it--her uncle grumbled about it sometimes, first about it being a poor market due to superstition, and then... something about the place being cursed due to that comet incident a while back. "It's good to meet the both of you." If she notices the odd warmth, or the odd texture, she has no comment on it. At least, not now. "I've always enjoyed learning about faraway places."

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

All of a sudden, Tal's being challenged. Her eyelids lower ever so slightly, and she shifts the hang of her sword over her shoulder.

"Not really," she says, her tone cool. "I don't go around picking fights with people just because I can, to be honest with you... I learned how to use this to defend myself, not to hurt other people." She reaches back, giving the hilt of her weapon a small pat.

"Maybe some other time, if I've got a good reason to want to punch you in the face a bit," she leaves hanging before turning her attention to Ida once more.

She smiles; it's a little more relaxed, now. "Yeah... yeah, I like learning a lot, too," she says, her tone quieter, but genuine. "I want to learn all about this place."

(If it really is the Blue Star,) she can't help but think, slightly giddily.