Irulia: The Spirit Changers Quest

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The explanation was long and meandering and reminded Sera of the boring history classes she'd had to endure back at the citadel. However like those classes she tried to concentrate on what she was being told; cutting through all of the false starts and digressions to glean the facts being given to her. Truth be told it sounded like the hero of old had had the same idea that she had; go out into the countryside where no one would get hurt and try and figure it all out, only with the addition of meditation thrown into the mix "well at least we know that we should have a little time to try and figure things out before..." recalling how Mandan had reacted only a few moments before Sera decided that she didn't really want or need to bring it up again and so ended up finishing the sentence with a few awkward mumblings before quickly skipping to another topic "Thank you Amelia, I know you didn't have to help us and it means a lot to me that you went to the trouble to do so" she said; finishing moments before a tired yawn escaped her "I...I don't mean to be rude but...could we finish this in the morning? I really need to get some sleep" she said leaning her head against Mandan's shoulder almost as if she intended to go to sleep on him there and then.
After bidding good night to Amelia, Seraphim listened as Mandan suggested that in order to avoid her potential fate as the other hero that all she had to do was to not pick up any arcane objects and then get angry about it "Mandan...that isn't very helpful you know?" she replied with a slight smile playing across her pretty features and the barest hint of a laugh in her voice. With his promise that he wouldn't let her go through it alone running through her head Sera slowly started to drift off to sleep. If he let her she'd go to sleep resting on his shoulder she would do though she wouldn't protest if he was to lead her somewhere else to lie down by herself. After all he'd already given her a hug today and she didn't want to push him too far in go.

Lord Regal

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Sera gently told Mandan his advice wasn't particularly useful, though she didn't fault him for it. He couldn't help but smile a little, his veil shifting as he did so. Her head was on his shoulder at this point, with obvious intent to go to sleep there. The dark boy wasn't entirely comfortable with this, but figured there wasn't a point in making a big deal of it. He simply shifted a little to be more comfortable, then settled in. The day had been exhausting…jumping from finding a town decimated to almost dying trying to save the others to finding out he had accidentally gotten a power he didn't want and was quite possibly a hero, which he very, very much didn't want. However…he wasn't exactly alone…Sera had promised to stick by him…if he had her support…maybe he had a chance. And he'd do everything in his power to prevent her from winding up being the other hero, even as that began to look more and more likely.


Seraphim slowly awoke to find her head resting against a warm, soft wall with the soft beating of his heart coming from nearby identifying it as Mandan's shoulder. Although she couldn’t see the early morning light filtering in through the broken windows and gaps in the masonry, she could feel its warmth upon her cheek and hear the sound of birds singing in the distance and smell of cooking fires being lit for breakfast. Ah breakfast, now that would be nice; she hadn't eaten since lunch the previous day what with all the excitement of their group fracturing, the ruined city, the minotaur and her darling brother turning into a legendary hero. Did that really all take place during the course of one day!? Sera silently exclaimed finding it hard to believe that so much drama could happen within such a short space of time What fun filled lives we lead!
Feeling Mandan slowly shifting beneath her as he awoke Seraphim carefully moved so as to he sitting beside him, rather than leaning upon him in a way that he would most certainly not enjoy " are you feeling?" she asked hoping to gauge his mood considering the events of last night " know, you didn't have to let me sleep on you all night, you could have moved me I wouldn't have minded, honest" she was kind of touched that he hadn't moved her though not at the expense of him feeling uncomfortable. Then again maybe it hadn't bothered him? He was getting a lot better where that was concerned as he no longer wore gloves, he'd hold her hand without flinching, he'd even let her hug him so long as she didn't over do it, maybe he really was changing like the Ultimate One had said he should?
It would take her several moments to fully wake up and clear the sleep from her head if not her eyes, and once she was sure that Mandan was in a good enough state to understand her Sera started to speak to him in a soft, quiet voice "you know, we should probably go and speak with Amelia again after breakfast, just to let her know that we appreciated what she did for you though before that we need go and spar together for a little while, you know...give me some fresh bruises to complain about" she said with a chuckle, fully expecting any sparring match she had with him would result in bruises for her. However if it meant that she could remain a Spirit Changer then she would take all the bruises he could give in order to achieve that goal.
It was at this point that she hesitated as a new idea floated into her head, an idea that may or may not be a good one to say out loud. But then again she'd never know if she didn't "Mandan...would...would you take your veil off for me?" she quietly asked with just a hint of trepidation edging into her voice "...only for a few minutes that is, just that...its only the two of us and well I can't see you so it would allow you to get used to being without it without actually going too far in one go, I mean you don't have to if you don't want to've been doing so well as of late and I was kind of thinking that this could be the next step?" Sera nervously finished; bracing herself for whatever would happen next.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
The first thing Mandan noticed when he woke up was that someone was on his shoulder. His brief concern as abated when he remembered how he'd gone to sleep that night. Sera noticed he was awake and asked how he was feeling, shifting off him as she added he could've asked her to sleep elsewhere without hurting her feelings. "Morning…I feel…drained. Too much at once, ran out of ability to process. But…I know I won't kill you or anyone, so some good did come." He was silent for a moment, then, "You needed sleep. If you didn't shift off me all night, you slept well. I did too. Thus, I see no issue about where we slept." He was speaking the truth…he'd been so exhausted he'd not woke once during the night, despite the less than optimal conditions…and thus he could hardly fault Sera for having experienced the same.

The two of them sat in companionable silence for a time as they both woke up. Sera broke it, saying that they should probably talk to Amelia again today to thank her for her help, though she wanted to get in a sparring match first. "I agree…" Mandan replied after a moment. "As for sparring, I have a plan." He sighed, realizing he'd have no choice but to verbally explain. "Your weakness is blindness. We need to compensate. If I can teach you to sense locations without your eyes, we'll succeed. Rather than fight, I will move around you, striking occasionally. Your goal is to stop me. Will start noisier than I normally am. As you improve, will move silently. Once you can feel me no matter what I do, you'll be able to fight without eyes." It wasn't a perfect plan, and he knew it'd be frustrating for her to learn through trial and error, but it was all he could think of…straight up fighting would be unfair until she'd learned to detect blows again.

As he finished his explanation, Sera asked him if he could remove his veil. Mandan froze, his expression taking on a panicked edge, though he knew she couldn't see it. He was about to ask why when she pressed on, saying it was just them, she couldn't see him anyway, and he'd been improving a lot lately, and that this would be a good next step. He didn't need to remove it permanently, just for a few minutes. The dark boy considered for a moment…unlike anyone else, he could trust Sera's intentions. She truly wanted to help him, he knew this without a doubt. Plus, she was blind…she couldn't look at him…not that he was ashamed of his appearance, but it's just…no one had seen under the veil since he'd been a young kid…but still…the Ultimate One had told him to remove his veil or die…maybe…this was what he'd meant? Not a permanent removal, but the willingness to completely trust even one person? And if he was being honest with himself, if there was anyone he trusted, it was Sera. Even if she had her sight somehow and saw him…she wouldn't hurt him. To be honest…if there was anyone he would want to see him sans veil, it'd be her. Though of course, that wasn't what was being discussed…he was just being requested to remove his veil for a moment, in the presence of a person he trusted who couldn't see him, in hopes it would help him continue to improve on his unwillingness to trust people.

Carefully, deliberately, Mandan reached up and pulled down his veil, leaving it around his neck. He took a deep breath and in a slightly shaky voice managed, "I…it's down." He turned to look at himself in the mirror, as he'd done last night. His pale, angled features looked back at him. His face was fairly narrow, with pronounced cheekbones and a rounded, weak jaw. His mouth was thin, though it fit his features. He turned away from his reflection fairly quickly back to Sera. "Um…what now?" he asked, at a loss of what to do…he was fairly uncomfortable, but she couldn't see him…for her, he may as well have it up…right?


With her request greeted by silence Seraphim started to panic fearing that she'd upset him and was on the verge of apologising when she heard the slight rustling of cloth followed by him rather uncomfortably saying that he'd taken it off and what should he do now. Sera was gob-smacked. She hadn't really expected him to simply take his veil off for her there and then, she'd kind of hoped that he would but had been fully expecting a long process of gentle persuasion and logic in order to accomplish the task.
Managing to restrict her emotions to a tiny smile knowing that if she was to gasp or even worse laugh that he would cover up again and lose all trust in her. Ignoring his question she instead posed one of her own in the hope of taking his mind off of the whole situation "so this training...are you going to call your blows or just use something like a cane that makes a loud swishing sound?" she asked genuinely curious as to how he would do it; praying that he wasn't going to suggest using a bell "...also, we'll do this somewhere...quiet right?" having Mandan know that he'd beaten her senseless with a gardening cane was one thing but having the entire group watching as he did it was perhaps a little much. She already got teased a lot as it was, though admittedly not by this group but even so, the last thing she wanted was to provide them with fresh material to use against her.
She would listen intently to whatever explanation Mandan chose to give her, nodding along in understanding before carefully retrieving her weapon from where it lay beside her and getting up "ok...lets go before I lose my nerve" she said sounding just a little apprehensive about the whole thing before then adding with another tiny smile " can put your veil back on now" once again trying her best not to giggle despite how happy she felt over the fact that he was willing to try this for her.

Taking his hand Sera would let Mandan lead her to a suitable spot where upon she would strip down until she wearing only her vest, breeches and boots; trusting him that there was no one else around to see her whilst also knowing that she would get plenty warm enough in just her vest.
Speaking aloud the mantra that they were taught in the first year of their training Seraphim took a moment to re-acquaint herself with the combat forms for a stave; slowly moving the weapon around into the various positions as she spoke in an effort to clear her mind " weapon is an extension of myself, without it I am nothing, and without me my weapon is nothing yet together we are mighty...Ok Mandan I am ready when you are"


As the spirit changers bedded down for the night watches were organised in the group. The fires smouldered on, billowing smoke into the night sky as the stars wheeled above the spirit changers. There were no disturbances throughout the night and as the sun rose above the land the group began to wake. A small breakfast of bread and ham was organised and distributed, with Sam ensuring that Mandan and Sera got some of the food. Donna appeared separately at breakfast to Kulos but both managed to get something and mentioned nothing of her night's activities, having asked Kulos to keep it as their secret for now. About an hour or so after the sun had risen the group had packed up all of their equipment and were ready to depart. They left, the majority of the group talking amongst themselves, with all present and counted for.

Amelia waved off any thanks she was given, saying that she had simply wanted to help and to thank her when Mandan had full control. To that extent she offered to spar with Mandan and Sera, especially to help Sera adjust to being blind. Theo, however, remained distant having been put under instructions to maintain a safe space between himself and Mandan and Sera after having put his foot in his mouth the night before. Amelia would prove a pleasant sparring companion and the fact that she made a conscious effort not to ramble made her a better conversation partner. She remained quiet, only talking when she felt like she had something of serious value to contribute to the pair.

Sam walked with Seamus and remained aloof, combatting any attempt at serious conversation with vague answers or contemplative silences. Lecta had enough food on his person to ensure that he wouldn’t need to see the group until they reached the cave but Donna always kept a watchful eye on him from a distance throughout the nine days that passed.

On the ninth day a storm cloud began to form, about an hour away from where they were. Calling the group together, Donna spoke. “I’m not too sure about that stormcloud and I’d rather avoid it. Rain, when it does fall in the desert here, is usually short and torrential. That said, the map shows there to be large quicksand patches if we deviate too far from our present route.” Sam, who had been studying the map contemplatively, shifted slightly and spoke. “If we were all bird users then we could fly across the quicksands but for earths such as myself that won’t be a possible option. I say we head towards the storm and see how it looks. If it’s bad then the airs and waters can transform and fly around. If not, then I say we all go through it. Any objections?” There was a general murmur of assent from Theo and the majority couple of boys in the group that they’d picked up. Amelia also assented to the plan along with Donna. Sam glanced up and looked round, trying to gauge the response of the others.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Sera was smiling at Mandan as he turned back to face her. Normally he’d be perfectly open to speculating exactly why, but he was ill enough at ease that he just didn’t care. She seemed to realize this, however, and asked him more about the training he had in mind for her. “A cane is an option. Should be one in a building. If not, other options exist.” He hesitated for a moment, reminding himself that the girl in front of him couldn’t see him with his veil down...and that even if she could, she was currently doing nothing with malicious intent...and unless she had been hiding her true personality this whole time, wouldn’t do anything in the future either. After a moment, he’d recovered enough to continue. “We won’t be in public, no. Training is...private.” The dark boy had always despised the group sessions they’d had to go through. In a setting with others around, the goal shifted from trying to improve to trying to beat the others, hardly a constructive shift. Competition was all fine and good, but that should come after training, not during. He knew not everyone shared his work ethic, but he still did not see the intrinsic value in actual group training. If they had formed a cohesive team, then maybe there would have been a point, but they had not.

Sera telling him she was ready to leave snapped Mandan out of his thoughts. He was allowed to put his veil back on as well, which he did with a bit of a relieved sigh. The dark boy led Sera through the streets with the same careful manner he always had, stopping only to grab a cane that he spotted lying just inside an abandoned house. After a bit of searching, he managed to find a small park that would allow them enough space to move while still remaining within the safety of Enylia’s walls. After he released her and moved away, the blind girl began working through the basic motions of using a staff before declaring herself ready. “In order to make it easier to detect strikes, I can’t swing lightly. I won’t be aiming with intent to cause lasting harm, and won’t swing harder than I must, but not blocking will sting. Be ready.” Mandan didn’t apologize...Sera had asked for this, and being soft on her during a session would do her no good. He’d help her afterward to ease any pain he inflicted, but during...during he had to be firm. After a moment, the dark boy began moving around her, actively making an effort to not move semi-silently like he normally did. After a moment to try to give her time to acclimate to listening for him, he struck at her upper right arm. Regardless of whether that got blocked or not, he continued to move around her before striking at her left calf. He’d continue to do this, picking only spots on the body with natural protection against the blows he was inflicting. If Sera got discouraged enough to vocalize it, Mandan would reply with a quick, “You can’t listen if you’re talking.” He didn’t like hitting her, but this was training...feelings went out the window. If Sera ever managed to block three strikes in a row, he’d reply by starting to move a little more quietly. The better she did, the closer to his normal semi-silent gait he’d adopt, swinging his cane with a little less force as both a reward for doing well and an increased challenge due to less noise.

Amelia was fairly amicable about her help when they thanked her, offering to help them spar. Mandan agreed tentatively, though as the days passed in their travel he flat out refused to let her join in his private sessions with Sera purely because multiple people would confuse her senses until she had mastered keeping tabs on one. This meant that the two of them wound up being involved in at least two different sessions…whatever Amelia had in mind as general training, and the bouts that were getting Sera to not rely on her eyes. In addition, Amelia was helping Mandan to focus his mind in hopes that he would gain a greater control over his power. He still was afraid of it, and he hated how it had made him feel…his arm had tingled like mad for a good few hours, and his sense of touch in that arm had been off for a day…he really didn't want to repeat the process, but…according to everyone but Sera he had no choice.

While he didn't think that his understanding and control over his newfound ability was improving, the meditation was helping him put more things in perspective, his mental state improving as the days went by. He wasn't happy, but no longer would he consider himself depressed. However, the dual training sessions were wearing on his body, and even the meditations weren't keeping him at full. He kept going though, more for Sera's sake than his own…if there was another fight, she had to be ready to fight both as an animal and a human. He wasn't the best in direct combat anyway, so if he could get her in fighting shape…what was his own ability to help?

Nine days after their disastrous stay in Enylia, a storm cloud was on the horizon. Desert storms were particularly vicious, and discussion fell on how to handle it. The option to go around was a poor one since there was quicksand if they deviated too far from the established paths. They couldn't go over since several of them were landlocked even taking into account the animals Mandan didn't have access to. There was a general assent to wait and see how bad it was, and the dark boy had no objections. However…running through the storm, most of them would shift to animal form for the extra speed…and he wouldn't be able to. Would they realize when he didn't shift? Would they laugh at him? Mock him? He could even see them throwing him out of the group if they figured out his inability to shift…after all, he was a Spirit Changer who couldn't change…surely that was indicative of how useless he'd become to the general group...


As the storm clouds started billowing in from the horizon, Kulos kept a watchful eye on them, walking a little apart from the rest of the group. The storm was forming quickly, far more quickly than it really should out here in the desert without any sort of moisture. Thankfully, Donna seemed to have noticed the same thing and called the group together. Seeing Donna again... the fireworks hadn't stopped going off in her chest every time she'd seen the girl since their first night together. That had been something beautiful, glorious, and ultimately short lived since Donna had asked her not to make their relationship public. Almost as soon as she'd woken up and started getting dressed. The request didn't bother her, she'd still managed to make one excuse or another to cuddle with her new lover every night, but as soon as the sun was up, it was back to friends. And in some cases, not even that, Donna had been requesting space to "think about things." It made Kulos nervous, like her girlfriend was thinking that night had been a mistake, that she didn't want this, regardless of what she might say. Donna had also been eying Lecta and Ku wasn't entirely sure whether it was a concerned watch, a watchful eye, or flirtatious interest.

Regardless, the discussion was about options to deal with the storm, with Donna suggesting that they go forward and if there were any issues, the Airs and Waters could just back out and fly around while the earths do what they could to deal. To Kulos, it sounded like a sensible idea given the circumstances if they really needed to rush, but the last nine days had been uneventful since they'd killed that minotaur. There didn't seem to be any need to rush things. Not to mention that backing out of a storm like that might be problematic, even for flyers: storms made for some very bad times in the air. She didn't want to disagree with Donna, but if safety was on the line... "I think we could do that, but we could also bunker down and ride it out here. It looks like we're in for a bad time regardless and I don't feel like there's any need to rush, so I feel like this is a risk we don't need to take. All in this together and sticking together and all that jazz." Not to mention that every night she could spend before the end of this journey was almost guaranteed cuddle time with Donna. There wasn't any way she'd turn that down.


The next nine days had been going by fairly slow for Seamus. There weren't too many people he could talk to with any sort of seriousness. About the only person he could talk with was Sam, but he wasn't in the mood for real talk. Any attempt was stubbornly refuted or ignored, allowing only superfluorous topics. "After two days in the desert Sun, my skin began to turn red! After three days in the desert fun..." A rock was thrown towards Seamus's head, followed by a loud, "Get off it! If I hear that song one more time, I'll end you right here!" Seamus threw up his hands, and turned to Sam, smirk on his face. "Well, if a hundred times over can't win them over, they'll never accept it. Sorry, Sam. I'll try thinking of a different song. But I don't actually know an other songs about the desert. But hey! I've got something running around in my head. Lost most of my tools, but I think I could rough out a few parts. Alright; you know how catapults have to calculate when to release each projectile based on distance? Every time they make a new catapult, even when the temperature changes or the humidity's different, they have to use different calculations. What I've got in my head will help solve all that." Over the next while, Seamus would do his best to explain how the contraption, with all its gears and shafts and even a printer to prevent errors from improper transcription. It was fairly complex, and Seamus doubted he would get it simplified enough for anyone else to understand. Fortunately for many involved, the ramblings were cut short by a dilemma. The group was caught between a rock and a hard place, or rather a storm and a field of quicksand. The concensus was to brave the thunderstorm, despite the feeling that they would have to fly over it. "You know, I'm of the opinion that trying to get through the thunderstorm is the better option," Seamus said, after letting others speak. "There's a good chance that the thunderstorm is a dry one; lots of flash and noise but no rain. If there is lots of rain, we can brave the quicksand. You won't sink in it, and if you move slow enough, you might not get stuck. With the rain, it'll hold its form even better. And if you do sink a bit into it, you'll only go up to your waist. Just lean back, don't freak out, and you'll float high enough to swim away." Fortunately, everyone seemed to agree with that decision, creating less chance of conflict. This group didn't need anything else to drive them apart. They were doing well enough right now; why ruin a good thing?


Seraphim hated the desert. The desert sucked! It was hot, and dry, and there was no shade meaning that coupled with her fair hair and pale complexion she was sunburnt practically all over which in turn meant that when Mandan hit her during their frequent sparring sessions it really hurt. The sandy ground beneath her feet kept shifting and sliding with every step she took meaning that she struggled to walk and was forever stumbling, and other than the sound of shifting sand and her friends talking the place was practically silent which was really messing with her head meaning that it was almost a relief to hear Seamus singing that infernal song of his again "No, please Seamus...I had it stuck in my head all day yesterday!" Seraphim complained from where she walked beside her brother.
She'd all but forgiven Seamus now with her deciding that it was cruel to hold a grudge against him over something that may have been a misunderstanding...not that she'd actually told him as such though he may well have noticed that she was acting a lot friendlier towards him as of late. Lecta on the other hand was still in the doghouse; not that she'd heard any sign of the boy for quite some time now.

She was also getting a lot better during her sparring sessions with Mandan and Amelia; though she did wish the girl would stop apologising every time that she hit her.
Although she was still taking far more blows than she probably should be she was now able to block or dodge a fair number of the blows sent her way and had even surprised Mandan with a counter move of her own on one occasion.
She still had a long way to go, but if it came to a fight she wouldn’t be completely defenceless anymore meaning that all she had to do was hold her own until someone could come to her aid or she was able to shift. Not a great plan admittedly but better than what she had before.

As the group came to a stop, Sera could practically taste the approaching storm; with the majority of the group seeming to favour forging ahead regardless despite the close proximity of quicksand for those that couldn't shift into birds "That's alright for the rest of you but there's no way of me finding quicksand without falling in it" Sera pointed out as Seamus made his observation about it being nowhere near as dangerous if it was raining.
Although she could in fact shift into an Osprey and fly over the top of the storm like many were intending to do Seraphim was more than aware that Mandan despite their best efforts still couldn't shift.
She'd tried everything she could think of to try and reverse whatever it was that was stopping him from shifting, leading her to believe that perhaps it was a psychological thing and that his ability may return of its own accord if she could get him to feel better about himself. However with a storm fast approaching she somehow doubted that she'd be able to bring about such a change before it arrived "Ku's right, we'd be better off digging in and waiting until it passes us over, we've taken this long so another day won't hurt...besides if it rains we may be able to collect some more water for our canteens" Seraphim suggested hoping that the added bonus of more water might sway some of the others to just stick it out. Regardless of which way it went she wouldn't be shifting into a bird and leaving Mandan to face the storm all by himself.


(OOC: I’m not sure what Lecta’s doing throughout all this but I’m assuming he’s not coming back with the group)

As Kulos suggested that they find a place to stay and wait out the storm, Donna nodded. “I’d agree with you, the only issue is that I’m not sure where we could bunker in. I’d rather not pitch camp and wait the storm out in the open desert. If we were going to do that, we’d be better off going through it.” It was as she spoke that one of the other girls in the group stepped forward. She had short jet black hair which was ruffled on the top, creating the impression of a teenage rebel. She smelt, like most things, of the scorched desert but the slight scent of fresh breeze that permeated her would identify her to Sera as an Air type. The girl shifted on the ball of her foot and spoke. “If we’re going to try and sit out the storm, there’s a place over that way that we could hide in.” As Donna followed her gaze, she couldn’t make anything out on the horizon. Dianne had farsight which would explain why this was the case and Donna looked back at the girl as she spoke. “You probably can’t make it out entirely yet but there appears to be some kind of structure over there. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it looks like a desert refuge hut.” Donna consulted the map, bewilderment spreading across her face. “Well if there is a building there, it certainly isn’t on the map here but that might be because this is a few years old. That said, I believe you that it’s there and that sounds like a good place to hold out and wait for the storm to pass through.” She began to roll up the map and placed back inside her equipment pack. Barring any major objections, the group would set off towards the hut. It came into vision after ten minutes of walking and was a single story small wooden barn. The storm, meanwhile, was slowly headed in their direction, lazily drifting on the desert winds, carrying its dark cargo with it.

Half an hour of walking later and the group, with the storm edging closer, arrived at the single story building. The house had no lock on the door and opening it would discover that it was comprised of a single room and a loft. There was a hearth in the centre of the building that sat smouldering and the general lack of dust implied that the building had been used within the last week or so. The loft section had what appeared to be three beds, all made up of straw. As the sunlight filtered through the gaps in the beams it dimly lit the building and as the light began to darken as the storm approached, the Spirit Changers prepared to pitch camp. Theo claimed one of the beds by tossing his pack on it before Amelia glared at him and he moved to the corner of the room instead. Another girl and a boy claimed one of the beds for themselves, citing a lack of sleep the previous night, and climbed into bed together fully clothed and began to fall asleep in one another’s embrace. The two remaining boys picked a corner and sat down there, opening up a small section of their own dried meats to have something to eat. Amelia, meanwhile, quietly sat with Mandan and Sera, happy to continue reading The Life Account and Assorted Writings of: Landath, Hero of Irulia unless spoken to. Sam, meanwhile, would begin to investigate the hearth and to see if he could potentially get a fire started, so that they’d have a way to keep slightly warmer if they were to stay overnight. As they entered the building, before Kulos had a chance, Donna was pulled to one side by Dianne. “There’s one other thing and it’s been concerning me. I thought I saw someone in the clouds but it was far off, so I can’t be sure. Anyway, I’ll let you go.” As Donna was released to be with Kulos, Dianne pulled out an elegant, curved blade that seemed to glitter in the dim light of the shed and, moving to an open space, she began to practice with the weapon, twisting and twirling it around her with the uncanny reflexes of an Air type ensuring that it narrowly avoided her own body parts as well as those of others. The Spirit Changers had about forty-five minutes or so until the storm would reach them, it was up to them as to how they might use it.


Shortly after Donna stated the final decision of the group to find a place to ride out the coming storm, a woman who had, until recently, been fairly quiet, stepped up and stated that she could see a safe house of sorts not too far away. Seamus looked in the direction the quiet rebel indicated, but could see naught but sand and storm. But there wasn't much reason for the girl to lie, so Seamus was forced to believe her, despite there not being any visual evidence either in the distance or on the map of the place existing. "Alright; let's go," Seamus said, as the group began moving again. About a sixth hour later, Seamus saw a dot in the distance, which might be the refuge station the woman talked about. As they got closer and closer to the dot, it resolved itself in greater and greater detail, eventually revealing enough to determine that it was a single story building, not too large, but it appeared capable of safely storing the entire group, though probably not comfortably. Around a half hour after first confirmation, the group arrived at the house, which had a single floor beneath a loft, and a closed door that wasn't locked. The inside of the place was very small with its only major furnishment being a fireplace that would no doubt be needed once the desert night arrived. The members of the group dispersed to various places, with Seamus setting up in one of the corners downstairs. The quiet rebel was in the center of the room, practicing with a curved, vicious blade. It was a thing to see, watching that blade narrowly miss her body with a strange sort of grace that was inherent in air type Changers. The water types that Seamus was a part of could approach that sort of reflex, but air types had that kind of skill naturally. At least water users could heal. Speaking of which... "Anybody need healing?" Seamus called out from his spot in the corner. "We've got a bit of light left before the storm hits. The hearth will also probably need lighting. I think I can take care of that if nobody else can."


It was just as Donna was pointing out that there wasn't exactly much in the way of cover for them to shelter in and that if they going to sit in the open desert that they may as well forge ahead through it that a voice that Sera didn't recognise spoke up. Judging by the girls aura she was an air type and that she'd somehow managed to spot a shelter of some kind in the distance. The idea of an actual shelter being far more appealing than walking through a storm the group took little persuading in order to change its direction and head towards it.
The walk was long and Sera could feel the storm getting closer with every passing hour with them reaching the shelter just in the nick of time. As Mandan led the pair of them over to spot by the wall Sera could hear Seamus asking if anyone needed healing whilst he still had the light to do so "Well...I have been having this problem with my eyes for the past couple of weeks" she jokingly said before beckoning for him to join her. Once she was sure that he'd moved closer to her Sera took a moment to pluck up the courage she needed before speaking to him "Seamus I...I'm sorry that I've been acting like such a cow to you, I you think we could start over?" she quietly asked knowing that he would be fully in his right to tell her to go to hell, though she kind of hoped that he wouldn't. there weren't many of their group around anymore and even fewer that were actually willing to talk to her so it seemed silly to hold a grudge towards the one person other than Mandan that had actually tried to be nice to her " do you say, friends?"

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
A girl Mandan didn't recognize informed them she'd found a shelter a ways out that they could use to ride out the storm. With a feasible way to keep themselves safe, the plan quickly shifted to that for certain and the group headed out. The place was far farther than anyone could have possibly seen, meaning the girl who'd located it had to have a power that had allowed it. The place was small, but well-kept, so whoever owned it would probably return eventually...they'd need to be out by then...sinking down against the wall after guiding Sera there, he closed his eyes. She quickly busied herself apologizing to Seamus, so the dark boy opted instead to try to shift again, in the method Sera had suggested. He could imagine himself as his panther easily...the sleek muscles, the glossy pitch black fur...he could feel his claws extending and retracting out of boredom, felt his tail twitching in irritation, could almost smell the individual people in the shack...but when he opened his eyes, he was still himself...human. Still nothing. He couldn't even find it in himself to be frustrated or saddened by it any more...he just didn't have the power anymore. His meditation had relaxed him though, and the toll the road had taken on him felt more pronounced now...Mandan closed his eyes again and leaned back against the wall, and was asleep within a few moments, his even breathing enough to inform Sera what had happened when she was done talking to Seamus. He'd try again later...for now, he needed rest.


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Things were not turning out as well as he had thought they might, Lecta thought to himself as he moodily trudged on across the desert. He had left Enylia early in the morning after having fallen asleep just outside the gate, and had started out across the endless expanse of desert across which he still found himself walking after many days. It had not taken him very long to notice the presence of the main group a long way behind him. In fact, he had had to ensure that he was walking fast enough to stop them from being able to catch sight of him, what with them being a ways off still. Each time he looked back towards their location, Lecta could just about make out the vague shape of the group, though he was not able to identify individual members. With that logic, he figured, as long as he stayed far enough ahead of them, it was unlikely that they would be able to see him at all. Being alone for so long had allowed Lecta a great deal of time alone with his thoughts, twisted and confused as they were. His well-worked out plan had started off as a great idea. He had wanted to trudge across the desert until he eventually found the supposed cave which was meant to be the Ultimate One's residence. Gradually, however, over the course of the long days of endless walking, the plan had begun to seem less well thought out and more stupid. His food supplies were beginning to run low, even with his strict rationing of them, and what was more he was starting to feel extraordinarily tired. A thought had even begun to worm its way into the boy's mind, but each time it had arisen, he had forcefully pushed it away. That thought was that he should return to the group and make amends with them all...

It was as he first spied the desert storm off in the distance that this thought once again rose to the forefront of his mind. The problem he was facing was not easy to overcome though. Lecta felt rejected. Firstly, by Seamus. His supposed friend had not thought enough of him to even bother to come to talk to him when he had asked. Secondly, Sera. If Mandan was back with the group, then basic deduction told him that Sera also would be. Facing her again was probably for him the hardest challenge of all. What was more, Mandan had some evil crystal power inside of him, and he was not sure if being near the dark-clad boy was the best course of action, especially if he was still angry with him. Lastly, Kulos, Donna and just about everyone else that had met him in the group. Even though he had done his best in the fight, the problems beforehand meant that they all probably hated him. For those reasons, Lecta was loathe to return to the group, for fear that it would mean the end of him. That would certainly be the case if Kulos had her way... So, unsure what to do, Lecta moved on towards the storm front. There was not any shelter about the place as far as he could tell, and the group that had previously been behind him were now nowhere to be seen. Perhaps any chances of returning to them were gone now anyway, regardless of what decision he might have made...

Some time later, Lecta found himself nearing the storm. None of his Spirit animals were capable of weathering it any better than he could in his bodily form. So, with no other choice in the matter, Lecta cut off a strip from the bottom of his loose trousers before tying it around his face to give his eyes some protection. This done, he shrugged off his pack, ensured his swords were safely tied to his form, before curling up on the ground, hugging his pack. Hopefully, the storm would not last very long, and he would survive. If not though, then no great loss...
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Donna raised a couple good points, which weren't quite what Kulos was looking for, but made enough sense. And if Donna really wanted this, it wasn't like she was going to go against her lover. Fortunately, Dianne stepped up to say that she'd seen a shelter that was close enough to take refuge in. Much better than trying to bunker down here or push through. Kulos smiled at Donna and nodded, safer for Donna, safer for everyone involved. The hut, when they finally made it there, was big, as these thing went. More than big enough for everyone. The lack of dust was worrying, though. If someone else was there besides them, it would complicate things. Not to mention that they hadn't seen any other signs of life since they left Enylia. There were three straw beds in the loft, with two being claimed before anyone else could speak up. Not that she really needed one, there wouldn't be enough privacy inside the building for what she really wanted to do with Donna. Kulos' face flushed a little at that thought. She really wanted a repeat of that night in the ruins of Enylia and this might be a good time to get a bit of privacy, something that had been majorly lacking in the desert.

To that end... Kulos looked around for Donna, finally spotting her talking with Dianne, who broke away to practice with her weapon as Donna walked over to join her. She refrained from asking what she'd been talking about Dianne with give her space, mostly because there wasn't anything good that could come out of that. Either she'd be too clingy and controlling or she'd be prying into private stuff. No. So instead of clinging and prying, Kulos just took a deep breath and went for a different tactic. "We need to chat about things, privately. I don't think anyone would see or overhear us out back behind the hut, plenty of privacy back there, would you mind... y'know, if we could get that chat in?" She was fumbling her words, she knew, but they really needed to chat, plus there was the possibility of... Thankfully, Donna was willing to go with the idea, though the request that the chat be quick was a little concerning. She wasn't sure if that meant Donna didn't really want to talk or maybe she just didn't want to do any alternate activities. Neither was really that comforting and the walk to the back of the hut was a little tense for them both, leaving Kulos fidgeting nervously, trying to figure out what to say. "I... I love you," she started, her voice quiet. "I've missed you, the last few days, y'know? And I know you don't want us to seem like we're together like that in front of the others, but it's almost been like we haven't even been friends during the day. I don't know if it's because I didn't do a very good job or you don't like me any more and you just don't want to tell me or... or..." She took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. "So... talk to me? Please?"

(Donna's actions okay'd with Zem)


The only medical issue that seemed to exist at the moment was Sera's eyes. She hadn't talked more than a few sentences to him over the past few weeks, and then she had to throw out some sort of smart comment like that. Before any words of retaliation could escape Seamus's mouth, he noticed that Sera was beckoning him over to her. With a wordless grumble, Seamus got up and walked over to see what sort of scolding he'd get for something he probably didn't do, again. Surprisingly, it wasn't a scolding or a snide comment but an actual apology. Sera was finally apologizing for the unreasonable way she'd been treating him the journey over. But now as not the time to gloat or remind her that her treatment really was kind of rubbish. Now was the time to forgive and move on. After allowing himself a moment, Seamus responded to the apology. "Look, I wasn't quite in me right mind, ya know? And I'm sorry for that. And I'm glad that we're able to move along now. We're about to get to the biggest part of this saving the world thing and I think we can only do this if we're all together. Thank you. I guess I could take a look at your eyes, but I don't think I can do anything about it. They're complicated things, and it might not even be a problem with the eyes themselves. Could be somewhere in the old brain. And that'd be even harder to deal with. I don't know if anyone can be healed from brain injuries. I think I should go study that once we're done. But I've got a couple things to do. I'll be back in a bit." Seamus moved on and went around to look for Lecta. His was an interesting case, but Seamus still had trust in him, despite those feelings not being shared by most the rest of the group. After a few minutes of searching, however, he had to conclude that Lecta was nowhere to be found. A quick scan of the horizon didn't reveal anything either. But he'd have to find Lecta before the storm hit, probably 20 minutes at this point. After another round of asking, Seamus finally discovered the name of that air type with the farsight. "Dianne," Seamus called out as he approached. "Sorry to interrupt your practice, but I can't seem to find Lecta. I'm worried he might have gotten lost along the way. I looked around, but couldn't see him. He might be beyond my sight. Would you mind taking a look beyond where the rest of us can see? I'd like to get him back here before that storm hits."


"It still wasn't fair of me to treat you like that...boys never show any interest in me, probably because I am not very pretty so when all of you started hitting on me I didn't know how to cope...I am afraid you got the blame" Sera explained in a quiet voice; shifting uncomfortably as she did so. It had taken her a while to realise that it hadn't been some nasty trick though the fact that she was still single and still not attracting the attention of any boys, probably because I am not very pretty and blind! It may as well have been. The only good thing to have come out of that situation was her relationship with Mandan; the pair of them having grown very closer during their travel’s together.
As Seamus offered to take a look at her eyes stating that they may not even be the problem and that it could be in her head Sera shook her head with a tiny half smile on her face "Don't worry about it, I was only joking when I said that...though if you could do something about this sun burn then that would be really helpful" she said moments before Seamus got up to go and speak to some girl by the name of Diane "Mandan, promise me that you won't let Seamus poke around inside my head...Mandan?...oh that's great now I am talking to myself" she quietly grumbled, realising for the first time that her brother had fallen asleep.
Shifting herself into a more comfortable position Sera tried to relax; waiting for either Seamus to return or for her to drift off to sleep, preferably before the storm hit.


As the clouds began to roll over Lecta, they continued their silent march and not a single drop of rain fell. The sand began to turn cold under his skin though and no matter what he tried Lecta would begin to feel a pit of dread well up within him, an unstoppable force that paralysed his muscles. Lecta did not have much time to ponder this, however, as merely a minute or two after the clouds first passed over him, he heard a wooshing sound and a voice in his ear. “Hello Lecta.” The voice seemed to be that of Arthur’s, but the tone… the tone sounded like his throat had been sandpapered and he was growling out all of his words. His voice sent an involuntary tingle of shiver’s down Lecta’s back. “Now be a good boy and go to sleep.” As he heard the words, Lecta heard a wooshing sound from behind him again, though he was unable to make it out the cause and suddenly he felt an impact to the back of his head and then… blackness. Arthur picked up the boy from the floor, taking his pack and equipment as well, before the pair of them turned into dark shadows and vanished, flying up to rejoin the dark swirling mass of clouds.

As Seamus called about lighting the hearth, Sam picked himself up off the floor from where he’d been sitting down, having completed his investigation. “I’ve got this, don’t worry Seamus.” Producing a small tinderbox from his pack he grabbed some wood from the storage section that he’d found under the loft, a section that was otherwise devoid of goods, and made up the fire, using the techniques that they’d learnt. A couple of unsuccessful strikes later, he managed to get the fire to catch and, with a grin, he added a few more logs to the flames, letting the fire begin to burn. The smoke drifted up and, instead of gathering inside the hut, drifted out through gaps in the roofing which had been designed to let gas out but not water in. As the fire quietly crackled away, Sam sat back down against the wall and produced some bread which he ate with some of his own dried meats. Deciding to forgo other foodstuffs for the night, Sam leant his back against the wall and closed his eyes. Suddenly, ghostly screams of men, women, and children rang out in his ears and he bolted upright again, the rapier coming clean out of its sheath and pointing across the room at no-one in particular, but firm and resolute in its grasp. Sighing, Sam sheathed the weapon and muttered an apology to no-one in particular before sinking back down against the wall, his eyes open, waiting for him to fall asleep from the sleep deprivation if nothing else.

As Kulos approached, Donna forced a smile onto her face and as Kulos made her request, Donna agreed, though requesting that they keep it short. The storm should be hitting pretty soon and I don’t want to get caught up in that. As they walked round the back together, the air was tense and Donna felt almost as if the air were pressing in against her. Her natural instinct was to run but she liked Kulos and she’d enjoyed their night together and she wanted this to work and Kulos wanted to talk and if Kulos wanted to talk then it had to be important and. Kulos interrupted her thoughts as she began to speak, the pair having reach the back of the hut without Donna having noticed. As she listened to the other girl, she began to feel thoroughly miserable as it dawned on her exactly just what she’d done. “Oh Kulos…” As the other girl finished, Donna flung her arms around Kulos and hot, salty tears began to run down her face. Her voice was barely a whisper, but as her mouth nestled next to the other girl’s ear, that was more than enough. “I’m sorry Kulos, I’ve been an absolute… I… Sorry. I love you Kulos, I do, but this is… I… I’m supposed to be brave and here I am, running away from… Sorry.” Words failing her, she just hugged the girl tighter letting the tears run down her face as she stood there, her lover wrapped in her arms.

As Seamus approached, the blade continued to whirl faster and faster, moving until it was almost an impossible blur to the regular human eye and even Dianne was having a difficult time. As Seamus called out her name, however, the blade paused mid swing, hovering in the air as if waiting to be brought down upon an unsuspecting prey. As she listened to his request, she made up her mind and thought over the potential possibilities in terms of who could be in the shadows. When Seamus had finished, she gave a quick sharp nod and spun the scythe either side of her, the blade mere inches above the floorboards, before bringing it to bear on her back. Stepping outside of the hut, she narrowed her eyes and began to scan the horizon. The sun was beginning to set in the sky at this point and as it began to dip below the horizon, the most bizarre thing occurred. As the night sky began to take gradual dominance, the clouds, which had been less than twenty minutes from their shelter, began to fade from existence. Dianne jumped up, grabbing the edge of the building’s roof, and silently climbed up to sit and get a better view, apparently ignorant of the existence of Donna and Kulos, where she proceeded to watch the clouds for the next five minutes. Once she was certain that they were not to reappear she slipped down again, dropping silently to the desert floor. Re-entering the building, she flashed a quick grin at Seamus. “I didn’t see him but the cloud dispersed with nightfall, so he probably got through alright. I’d bet he just made his way through the storm but it looked like it was barely raining at all so I doubt he’s more than just a little bit wet and lonely. It’ll be fine though, we should see him at the Ultimate One’s cave.”


Donna's response was a lot more... dramatic than she'd been expecting, with the girl going for a tight hug and apologizing, tears don't cry don't cry choking up her voice. Kulos hugged her back fix this, rubbing Donna's back to try to comfort her as much as she could. "It's... it's okay, I forgive you, just please don't... it hurts when you shut me out like that. It feels like you're abandoning me. So if you're confused or whatever, please talk to me instead of running. I... I'll try not to get mad, just please..." Tears were leaking out of Kulos' eyes now, her emotions getting the better of her. But her voice was clear enough to choke out one more line before her throat closed up. "Don't leave me."
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