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The Chains of Arunsia


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It was strange how things that seemed so set in place could turn on their head and surprise people. This was almost certainly the case in this instance. Ever since he and Gilly had first met, out in the wastes beyond the walls of the Sanctuary, they had been at each other's necks. Melkanai had felt hatred towards Gilly such as he had never felt before in his short life. He had despised her every action, her attitude towards life, the silly things she said on a regular basis and lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the way she had treated him. Farqual had done it's best to bring their conflict to a head by having them fight one another. The illusions cast that day had almost been enough to end both of their lives. Somehow though, they had survived, and Melk had even found it within himself to stop Gilly from taking her own life. Even though Gilly had never known that it had been him who had saved her, it didn't matter. Unless she brought it up, then there was no need to speak about that particular experience ever again. Now, here he was, sat on the forest floor with Gilly's arm around him. How things had changed. Their experiences had hardened them in some ways, but had softened in others. This, and more Melk mused as the harlequin responded to his question, stating that though she was a lesbian, she did think he was fit. "That means a lot to me." Melk responded in a grateful voice before he found himself not only being kissed on the cheek, but also having his hair ruffled. That maybe was a little too much, but Melk didn't say as much, deciding that it was better to prolong the moment while it lasted. Still, he couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed by goings on. With Gilly wiping his cheek in the spot where she had kissed him, Melk smiled at her weakly, before gently shrugging his shoulders to let her know to remove her arm. "I feel much better now, thank you Gilly."

Once Gilly had removed her arm, Melk would stand up and move to examine the carving himself, despite his aching leg. Marvelling at the detail with which it had been crafted, Melk simultaneously responded to Gilly's thoughts, uttering a short laugh when she mentioned befriending monsters. "I wonder how Reznu is doing? Do you think it will have gone to see the sights of Arunsia? Either way, I don't plan to befriend any more monsters. Having one as a friend is enough for now!" As the harlequin discussed the potential for the forest Guardian having been the creator of the statue, the teenager stopped his examination and instead folded his arms and turned back to face in Gilly's direction. "It'd have to be a pretty talented monster to make a carving. I don't think so..." Melk paused momentarily, taking pause, before continuing, "That said though, if a monster didn't make it, then who did? It would have had to have been made after the monsters started arriving, else the bull monkeys wouldn't have existed..." Unsure what else to say, Melk took a different tack. "Even so, if we do manage to restore the sun, then statues like these will serve as reminders to our race of what happened to Arunsia once upon a time..." Having finished on such a thoughtful note, Melk waited to see if one of the others had anything else to say.


"Snakey?...dunno, probably gone home, that's what I'd do" Gilly said with shrug, not really caring what the fifty foot snake was doing so long as it wasn't following them, after all she had taken one of its eyes and consequently probably wasn't one of its favourite human's. Then again after busting her shoulder and giving her a pair of rather nasty scars that completely ruined her previously stunning legs she wasn't particularly fond of it either...perhaps it was for the best if they called it a draw and avoided each other from now on?

Having already taken the hint that Melkie was done with hugs for now and removed her arm from about his shoulders, Gilly continued to sit on the ground whilst the teen examined the pretty statue, quietly thinking over his statement that it couldn't have been a monster that had made it "Why not?...they do all sorts of other cool stuff so why not make pretty statues...I mean they can't all be stupid" Gilly replied, with her theory of an intelligent, creative monster making a strange kind of logic...at least to her anyway, I mean human's weren't all the same so why should monsters be?

Either way the answer could wait until the following day and who knows maybe the answer would come to her whilst she was asleep "well I still think the statue is pretty, oh well, Nighty night Melkie" Gilly spoke cheerfully as she got up from where she'd been sitting before then moving over to where Carrie was for something a little more personal.

After a quick glance down at Johnny to make sure that he was still asleep Gilly gently took Carrie's head in her hands and kissed her good night "Good night pretty Carrie" she spoke with a love struck smile and a blush before continuing to speak in a low voice "aww look at him...he's like a little sleeping, purple angel… you know, if he ever found out how much I want to cut his throat he'd never sleep again...oh well...if you change your mind Carrie, you know where to find me" she said with a giggle that bordered on madness before gleefully skipping over to where Perry was.

Crouching down beside him she'd gently wake him up just enough to let him know that she was there and looking for a hug before snuggling up against him as his arms encircled her body. Just because she no longer wished to be his boyfriend; a poorly thought out idea that had been doomed to fail from the very beginning, she was still very fond of him, and he also gave very good hugs which made him an ideal person to sleep next to. They were the kind of hugs that made you feel safe and warm just like her brother had given her back in Human Sanctuary; the mere thought of her absent sibling sending a pang of home sickness shooting through her like a stab to the gut. She hoped that he was ok without her and had found somebody nice to care for him and keep him warm at night, she'd hate for him to be sad and lonely.

One day she'd go home and see him, but first she had to finish this stupid quest of Johnny's...or finish stupid Johnny, oh the choices a girl had to make!


Mori continued to pointedly ignore the young girl and instead studied Zain as he spoke. He was definitely the same man from her dream, the one whose point of view she had shared. But how was that relevant? Why was that important? Admittedly, Mori had never put much thought into why the dreams occurred. Dreamers disappeared and that was the end of their relevance to her life. No need to worry about the dead, no need to wonder why they were taken. She wondered that too much in her life, she'd learned long ago she shouldn't.

Zain made it obvious through his words that he was used to being listened to. This was fine with Mori, and she nodded in acquiescence of such. The girl on the other hand… Mori was glad to have another around to keep her in line. Crazed - that was the only way Mori could describe the girl as she continued with her… rants. Rosemary, the girl finally gave as her name. Mori closed her eyes, already thinking of how to prove to Zain they weren't both lost causes. When Rosemary hissed at her to respond quickly, Mori opened her eyes to spare a glare in her direction before turning back to Zain.

"I am Morinda Rubia, you can call me Mori. I worked as an apothecary in the city and have many years of experience as a healer. I don't know what you need out here, but I can at least do that for you, given the correct supplies." Mori took a breath, frowning slightly, "I'm not going to be much use in a direct fight. I'm not as young or as strong as I used to be but I'm a stubborn survivor and I'll do what I can."

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Forest, Commander Statues

Adrienneias laughed as Edric asked whether there was something he should avoid saying to Gemel, not wanting to make him angry. "You definitely got off on the wrong foot with him, but his moods are unpredictable so try not to let it worry you too much. If you distinguish yourself it's even possible he'll forgive your forcing him into coming with us. As far as things to avoid...don't force him into anything from now on and you'll be fine." She shrugged, smiling at him. "Plus, you know, just be polite and all, regardless of what he does and says. He likes testing people from time to time with his antics, and I'm guessing from his isolation he's going to enjoy that all the more. So yeah, you didn't start great, but we'll be with him for a while. Plenty of time to change his mind about you, right?" The Commander cast a look back at the statues that depicted her and her allies, then turned away, shoulders set. "Alright then, Edric...let's hit the road."


Forest, Monkey-Bull Statue

Nothing unusual happened at the camp until it was Melk's turn to keep watch. Things were quiet for a while, then an indignant whisper spoke up from directly behind the boy. "Who in the darkest night shot my freaking statue?" A hand found Melk's mouth to prevent any scream, and a soft chuckle emanated from the speaker. "Oh shut up, I'm not going to hurt you, I just want answers is all. One of your group shot my beautiful statue that lured the entire herd of freaky bull things to one area so I didn't need to deal with them anymore...do you think I'm going to get that kind of result now? You didn't kill all of them, judging from the amount of blood, so they're just going to run rampant again. Promise to not squeal like a little girl if I let go of your mouth?" The figure released, then moved so Melk could see him. His hooded, diminutive stature didn't match his high voice and forceful words, his movements almost too fluid to be human. "Now then, why don't we exchange our names to have some semblance of normal conversation? I know that's important, getting off on the right foot, and me grabbing your face wasn't the way to do it. Towards that end, you can call me Gemel. That would be my name, but it's also what you can call me. Anything else isn't acceptable. Feel free to add titles and honorifics for taste, but the Gemel must be there. Got it? Ok. Your turn, talk. Name, rank, profession, girls you like, girls you don't like...I want to know enough about you to ignore your name entirely and call you something else. We clear?" Gemel stood stock still, waiting for Melk's response, his face hidden by his hood in the gloom.


Near Human's Sanctuary

The raving girl decided to reinterpret Zain's role as a guide to lead them to this Heaven she kept going on about. Close enough to a version of the truth that he could work with it. Her name was Rosemary, and she had no actual skills. Just this fervor for Dreams leading to happiness. Utter. Foolishness. The only good thing was it seemed she'd listen to him without reservation. The other woman, Morinda, was much more reasonable. An apothecary and understanding of her relative combat weakness. She was honest with herself about her limits, and that was promising. Yes. This one he could work with. "Morinda, your skills in the art of healing will be much appreciated out here. Inform me of anything you see that's beneficial as we travel and we'll collect it. I have some rudimentary skill in the craft, but I will cede to your knowledge so long as you display the promised skill." He rose off the rock, moving closer to them. "As for the fighting, I will handle the heavy combat...it is something of my specialty, after all. However, I will be training you both in rudimentary combat. It's needed to survive out here." The mask turned to look at Mori. "Absolute strength is less important in combat than you realize. Overwhelming force can be cut down by a well-timed strike. I will be training you in that." Then, at Rosemary, "Defense can be a powerful offense. If you can outlast your opponent purely through keeping yourself safe, they will make a mistake. Your weapon is defensive in nature, we will work on that angle for you." Zain stopped walking, near enough for them to see his eyes moving between them. "I will not let any harm befall you that I am able to prevent. You provide what help you are able and put yourself into the training I provide." He was silent for a moment, then added, "We will not be staying here, incidentally. There is a problem with Arunsia's rivers. I wish to rectify the problem before it endangers the remainder of our kind. Do we have an accord?"


The other girl, the heretic, spoke, introducing herself to their guide. Stubborn survivor? I’m sure you were one of those in the city. Surviving on your diet of filth and unholy swine! Rosemary internally chastised herself, reminding herself that it was not necessarily the fault of this girl that she was such a heathen craven sinner with no morals or respect for the true word of the Dream. The woman was going through her skills now, explaining that she was an apothecary and that she couldn’t fight all that well as she wasn’t in peak physical condition. Not only a heretic, but one who meddles with the nature of this corrupted world, further perpetuating the land of the non-Dream, dragging us further away from the holy enlightenment. Rosemary truly had been stuck with the worst possible companion imagined. Still, she trusted their guide to bring them through, guiding their spirits to the new world of sunshine, delight and happiness. What her dream was, what it appeared to be a man talking with another one about ending the paradise, it all showed the Dream’s intent. They had to protect the paradise, they were to be led to it to defend it. Perhaps then, this purgatory was to teach them the necessary skills to defend the paradise. This answer satisfied Rosemary, and she hummed quietly to herself before realising with a shock that she had failed to answer their guide’s question. Throwing herself to the floor she apologised again and again. “I was distracted by thoughts of the holy land and failed to respond. I will follow you to the gates of paradise O noble guide. Forgive me for my insolence, it will not happen again.” Rosemary scrabbled in the dirt, failing to find a twig or anything else. Gripping the quarterstaff, she held it out from her body, trying not to let it slip through her fingers and drop it. As she closed her eyes, she prepared to bring down the staff upon her body, to repent for the egregious sin of not paying the guide the respect he deserved.


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Melkanai listened on as Gilly's irrational side took over, with her stating that Rezna had probably gone home. She then went on to describe how perhaps a creative monster had made the carvings. Melk didn't agree that such a thing could exist, with the Guardians being a possible exception... If that were true though, there was just as likely a possibility that the forest Guardian had made the sculpture as a human being having done so. Deciding that this particular train of thought was not going to bring him any fruit without any evidence to support either side, Melk stopped his examination of the carving and proceeded to sit with his back against one of the large trees adjacent to the one from which the statue hung. Before he went to sleep though, he observed Gilly going over to Carolyn and kissing her goodnight, and then proceeding to speak in a voice too quiet for him to hear properly. A frown adorning his face, Melk suppressed his desire to speak up again, instead positioning himself in as comfortable a position as he could to sleep.

It was not long after he had at last fallen into a light sleep that Melk was woken quietly by Carolyn to take his turn keeping watch. Letting out a sigh, Melk got up slowly and began to pace around silently in order to keep himself awake. Over the course of his watch, he alternated this with sitting on a branch that had fallen from one of the trees a long time ago and was now so overgrown that barely any brown from the trunk remained visible to the outside world. It was in this latter location that Melk sat when he heard a voice. At first, Melk thought that the voice belonged to one of the others, but he quickly realised that this was not the case as his brain interpreted the words which had been spoken. Any time he might have had to react, however, was quickly cut short as he felt a hand close itself around his mouth, preventing him from calling for aid. His breathing rapidly increasing, Melk prepared himself for the inevitable slash across his neck which would sever his connection to the living world. The cut never came though, as instead, the voice continued to speak about how its intentionally placed statue had been shot, and how the statue had been put there in order to attract the bull monkeys to one place. As the man spoke, for man he was, though with a very high-pitched voice, Melk resisted the urge to turn to look at him. He felt unnerved by the fact that this mysterious person was not only the first person outside of the group and Zain that he had encountered since leaving the Sanctuary, but also that the stranger had managed to creep up on him without him so much as producing a sound... The man seemed irritated that they apparently had not managed to slay all of the monsters in the area, though this irritation did not seem to extend beyond speech. At some point, the man had Melk promise not to "scream like a little girl", to which Melk agreed by nodding his head, before he felt the clasped hand being taken away. As soon as the hand was gone, Melk immediately turned his head to get a better look at the person, though he didn't need to, as the small, hooded man moved around him into his line of sight anyway. As much as he wanted to wake the rest of the group, he felt that doing so would both endanger his own life and potentially theirs as well, depending on how powerful this man was... So instead, he sat still, listening as the man spoke. After a stream of roundabout sentences, the man eventually introduced himself as Gemel, insisting that Melk refer to him as such. He then went on to ask about Melk, his name, profession and some other random facts that Melk didn't understand the importance of in this particular conversation, but which the man was asking for regardless. Still seated exactly as he had been before the appearance of Gemel, Melk opened his mouth to speak, only to stop himself. The man had introduced himself as Gemel, which meant... His eyes widened as he realised who was stood in front of him. Loyal hadn't known if Gemel, or Crazed, if he remembered correctly, was alive, but it seemed that he indeed was.

With his heart still beating rather quickly, Melk attempted to maintain as calm a demeanour as was possible whilst he started talking in a quiet tone. "It's nice...I think...to meet you, Gemel..." The teenager peered at the hooded figure curiously as he attempted to discern the former Commander's facial features. "My name is Melkanai; my rank is..." Here, he paused, unsure how to respond. In the end, he decided to make something up. "My rank is light bearer and survivor. My profession right now is warrior and as you see me, the person on watch... You haven't earned the right to know the other stuff yet. You can call me Melk, just as I'll call you Gemel." Melk felt unusually calm as he delivered this last part. Right now, to him Gemel was just another person surviving outside the walls of Human's Sanctuary. He deserved the same respect as Melk would ask of in return, at least, until the man proved otherwise... After a short pause, he continued, with a furtive glance towards Perran and Gilly sleeping a short distance away. "What about you? Tell me your rank, your profession right now, where you learned to carve so intricately and why you're wearing a hood." He delivered this last part with a slight smile. If Gemel was allowed to ask him questions, then he could do the same. Hopefully, the much older man would not consider him rude.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member

The boy was going to take things literally it seemed, judging from his responses to the asked questions. That was less fun than it otherwise could have been...but still, he could work with this. Speaking in a quiet voice still, as it wouldn't do to wake up the other sleeping shapes, he responded, "It's always good to meet me, yes. You however, are not absolved yet. After all, anyone is a survivor, that is not unique. Every day you live you survive. Might as well call yourself a breather for all the good that does to describe the complex being that is you. Light bearing is more interesting, but anyone with a candle has that rank. As for a warrior...you do carry yourself with some competence, but you do a horrible job at watching. Too much looking, not enough seeing. After all, you're looking to see what's under my hood without seeing that it's not important what's under it. I'm wearing one, that is important. What it hides is not. See? No, of course you don't. But we shall move past that, as you seem nice, unlike Dough Puncher, who backed me into a corner, working with the Hellcat." The diminutive man's demeanor shifted without warning, becoming quite agitated, one hand rubbing his face under his hood, the other caressing his arm. This lasted for a few seconds, then snapped back to his still, calm self. "But yes, let us see...my rank is deserter, and yes I'm disappointed it didn't come with dessert too. My profession is whatever the light I want it to be at any given moment. Currently I'm an indignant master carver, a conversationalist, and of course an assassin and tracker, but I'm always that. I taught myself to carve. Had to destroy a lot of early works. They were ugly. No one likes ugly art. Some do. They're wrong. Got better. Was fun. Destroying. And creating. Creating better, good feelings last longer looking at good art." He sighed in contentment, leaning back and stretching in a luxurious manner, then froze halfway through, not moving at all. "Oh, I forgot to answer the last question, sorry. Happens sometimes. I'm wearing a hood because it's comfortable and I like being comfortable." Still locked in place, he pivoted so his partially upside down head faced Melk. "Wait. You seem less than surprised to meet me. This is becoming common. Depressing. Who told you about me? Why do you not fear me? You should. I'm dangerous. Killed a lot of people. Monsters too, but somehow that doesn't make me dangerous to people. Ridiculous. Killed people too. Lots. Said that already. And yet you know who I am somehow and don't fear me. Interesting. I think I might have a name for you, boy...but before I commit, answer my question please..." Gemel continued holding his inane pose, standing stock still as he waited for Melk to reply, looking for all the world like one of his statues.


Near Human's Sanctuary

The two women seemed to be thinking over Zain's proposal, which was acceptable...they were of course allowed to make their own demands if they so chose. This was to be expected of any group that were traveling together for convenience over desire to do so. Though it seemed Rosemary had been daydreaming about whatever paradise she expected to reach rather than anything productive or sane, and panicked for having not answered as soon as the question had been asked, prostrating again before preparing to strike herself with her quarterstaff. "STOP," the large man commanded, force in his words. "You've done quite enough of that already. That is not how we do things out here. The world is harsh enough without you ruining your own body. You are allowed to answer me at your own pace, I prefer well reasoned answers over quick ones. Do not hurt yourself anymore. Same goes for hurting either of us. You have done more than I would have ever expected from a single person in that regard." Which was all true, in a manner of speaking. "Now then, let us return to the matter at hand. Is my proposal acceptable, or do you wish to add clauses?"


Feeling the softness of her skin beneath her fingertips, the taste of her lips as they kissed, Gily quickly fumbled with the buttons on Carrie's dress as her excitement got the better of her, she'd waited so long for this moment to happen and now it was finally here it was all she could do to stop herself ripping Carrie's clothes right off of her body "I love you" she whispered huskily, desperation creeping into her voice as she spoke into the other girl's ear before gently nipping the lobe, eager to explore this new territory she’d found herself in. However it was at this point that the beautiful redhead took hold of Gilly's wrists to stop her from undressing her any further; looking deep into her eyes as she spoke "Gilandria, stop a minute, please...there's something I've been meaning to tell you for a very long time, but have never been able to find the nerve to do so...Gilandria I..."

Gilly awoke to darkness and the sound of voices as she lay curled within Perry's strong arms, as opposed to Carrie’s slender and sensuous body like she'd been dreaming about only a few minutes ago, and so feeling more than a little robbed; those final mysterious words never to be delivered, Gilly slowly turned her head to see who was responsible for this outrage as her pale grey eyes locked onto a hooded figure currently speaking to Melkie.

Who was that? No one from their group that was for sure, could it be the guardian? The creative, intelligent monster that had carved that lovely statue standing within their midst to beguile poor gullible Melkie so that it could kill them all whilst they slept? Or some other mysterious stranger intent on causing them harm after all a friend wouldn’t sneak into their camp as they all slept as that would be rather inconsiderate wouldn’t it?

Carefully removing Perry's arms from around her body, Gilly slowly eased her knife from out of its sheath as she quietly shifted into a crouching position; her eyes never leaving the figures back as it slowly contorted itself into ever stranger positions which even Gilly had to admit were rather impressive. Not that it would stop her from killing him...or her, it was hard to tell from this angle but all the same a knife to the back usually did the trick and then once it was safely dispatched she'd be able to question it at her leisure.

Slowly drawing back her arm Gilly prepared to make her throw, at this range she couldn’t miss.


Rosemary’s hand trembled as she held the quarterstaff in the air. She didn’t enjoy this, but she knew she must. Pain was necessary. Pain was a purifier. Impure sinners needed purifying. And though she had only erred slightly from the path, pain must correct her course. As she went to bring the staff down upon herself, Zain roared at her to stop. The girl, so frightened by the strength of the man’s voice, dropped the staff and it cluttered uselessly to her side. Tears began to form at the corner of her eyes as the man told her that she was to harm neither herself, nor the impure heathen that was accompanying them. It made no sense! What did he mean that she didn’t need to beat herself? She had been impure, what he was saying… it made no sense. Unless… Rosemary’s mind ticked over what Zain had said to her, grasping for the meaning that lay within the words. Suddenly, inspiration struck her. He didn’t want her to beat herself… because she was pure enough already! Their guide didn’t require beating because, as someone chosen by the dream, he was already pure enough that he did not need to correct his course. Was he implying then… that she was pure enough as well? Rosemary reasoned that this must be the case. This did not explain the inconsistency of why the heathen did not require beating as well to drive her onto the path of the Dream, but Rosemary decided that their guide, in his infinite knowledge granted by the Dream, must have his own reasons for that decision. Perhaps it was not the best way to purify her. After all, they were going to a river… Rosemary wiped her eyes and slowly picked herself up off of the floor, supporting herself with her quarterstaff. “Your proposal is acceptable, O guide of the Dream. I will follow you to the light of heaven”. As Rosemary stood, she gripped her staff a little harder, waiting for the heathen… for Mori to respond.


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The guy was utterly crazy... This Melkanai had decided that for sure by the time Gemel had finished his long and convoluted speech. The immortal seemed to switch between berating him, complimenting him and trying to answer the questions which had been posed to him by the teenager. He had ranted about some Dough Puncher and a Hellcat, whatever they were - names for monsters for all he knew, though what a "Dough Puncher" would look like, he could only imagine. Melk had been able to do nothing but listen actively as Gemel spoke, with the man leaving no opportunity for him to speak whilst he carried on and on and on... By the time the speech had ended, then, Melk had to rack his memory to remember exactly everything that Gemel had said. This turned out to be no easy task, but after a few moments spent in silence, he had just about decided what he could say.

Adjusting his seating position so that he could be more comfortable, Melk started to talk again. "I stand by my ranks. I think even you can see that I don't have a candle on my person, unless you're a hypocrite, which I don't think you are." Melk's eyes narrowed as he said this, but soon normalised again as he carried on. "What on earth are Dough Punchers and Hellcats? Are they monsters that you have taken it upon yourself to name? Very descriptive names if so...especially the first one." A pause ensued, as Melk considered what Gemel had said about his own professions. Melk paid particular attention to the carving and deserter aspects of the speech, finding those to be the most intriguing. "I think your carving skills are excellent, though that's coming from my unpractised eye, so make of it what you will... The arrow was an accident. One of the group mistook the carving for the real thing and shot it. Perhaps that's a testament to how close the likeness is!" Melk wasn't sure if he was trying to cheer Gemel up or achieve something else entirely with this last part. What he did know, however, was that the deserter was more likely to like him if he complimented him. Speaking of which, perhaps a question along those lines wouldn't hurt. "Who or what did you desert to cause you to describe yourself as a deserter in profession? As for the hood thing, I like seeing people's faces. Their eyes especially. Nothing more to it really."

Gemel then asked him an awkward question, to which Melk found it difficult to reply. The immortal had asked him why he wasn't surprised to see him, and why he also did not fear him. Melk sighed, thinking for a moment, then replied. "I'd be lying if I said I'm not surprised to see you, because I am. As for who you are, I know who you are, Gemel, because someone told me... If you are so dangerous, then why do you feel the need to tell me that? Surely being dangerous is something you'd want to keep quiet about to preserve your advantage over a foe? As it is though, I don't fear you, because I have no reason to. You're the same as me - you live in this dark, empty world, you're also a Survivor, though you achieved that by different means..." The man had also almost decided on a name for him, something which Melk was slightly displeased about - could he not just call him "Melk"? That said, he'd wait to find out what the name might be before saying anything on the issue. It was then, as Melk finished talking, that he spied a figure crouching next to Perran, holding a knife. The figure was Gilly, and the knife was clearly being prepared to be thrown at Gemel, something which was probably just a little rash. Despite not really knowing whether the immortal was to be considered as an ally or a foe, Melk did feel that he needed to preserve his life. His instincts running high, Melk hissed, "Gilly, stop!" This was done as he instinctively dived at Gemel, his intention being to knock the immortal over and thus prevent Gilly's knife from finding its target. Whether he would achieve this though, Melk was not sure, as he made full contact with Gemel's body.


Things seemed to happen in slow motion; her pale grey eyes that had only moments ago been staring intently at a spot between the hooded figures back inexplicably switched to lock onto Melkie's eyes as he desperately called for her to stop. Perhaps this wasn't a foe after all? Therefore meaning that killing him would be rather naughty of her, oopsie.

The knife left her fingertips to spin through the air at an alarming speed as it hurtled towards the confusion of moving bodies within its path, only to skim mere inches above Melkie's back to bury itself deeply into the tree against which he'd been leaning only mere moments ago "Melkie you idiot! I nearly hit you!" Gilly swore; jumping to her feet in order to draw her sword. Just because Melkie saw fit to save his life didn't make the hooded figure was a friend, after all Melkie was the one who'd befriended a fifty foot snake, that boy could be so soft at times it was unbelievable "...and you! You big meanie, woke me up! and I was having a nice dream with a pretty girl in it and everything!" the harlequin complained; jabbing an accusatory finger at the hooded figure as she strode towards the pair with sword in hand with her not exactly sure whether she was going to kill him or not, after all it had been shaping up to be a rather good dream.

However even Gilly knew you couldn’t kill somebody over a dream, a policy she felt a certain monarch ought to adopt and so stayed her hand for the time being…or at least until he’d answered two rather important questions for her "Ok Melkie, who's this meanie? And why shouldn't I cut his head off?"


Zain appeared to be pleased with Mori's skills, stating immediately that her healing skill would be appreciated. Good. Mori was comfortable with healing, she could easily accept that as her contribution to the overall welfare of the group. She nodded her agreement to keep an eye out for useful herbs, hoping in the back of her mind that there were herbs out here that she would be familiar with - she had no idea how similar the plant life was to that within the city.

Zain continued to talk, mentioning that he would be training them both in the basics of combat. This was expected, and rather appreciated. She may be accepting of the fact she might die, but Mori would take her chances at increasing her life span. He mentioned he was going to train her in timing rather than strength… Mori could work with that. Her knife was sharp, and she knew where the human body, at least, was weak to bleeding out from a decent enough cut… yes. If she could learn to time her cuts correctly, she might even hazard to say she could be deadly.

At the news they wouldn't be staying where they were due to some problem with the rivers, Mori narrowed her eyes. She had never heard of any such problem while in the city. Of course, they may as well be in an entirely different world out here. Perhaps whatever it was didn't affect the water that went to the city, or just as likely the problem was occurring and yet was hidden from the people of the city. It was something that could cause death if allowed to continue... was the water contaminated somehow?

Mori was drawn away from her thoughts about the river when Rosemary spoke, sounding as frazzled as ever, and Mori turned just in time to see the girl throwing herself to the ground in front of Zain. Starting to roll her eyes, Mori stopped as she saw the girl raise her staff above herself. Oh. The girl had not been abused then. She had done this to herself… all of her bruises, her welts, they were self-inflicted. Mori's mouth hung open in disbelief, anger and confusion swirling in her thoughts. This girl had done this to herself when so many others would have gladly given up their pains. Moving her jaw as if to speak but unable to say anything to the girl, Mori was glad when Zain commanded her to stop. The force in his words was obvious, and thankfully the girl continued to obey him without question. Mori watched as the girl began to shed tears, apparently rattled by Zain's interruption of her attempt to hurt herself. What a strange girl. And only making her strangeness more apparent the longer Mori watched her. Turning back to Zain as Rosemary voiced her own agreement to his proposal, Mori gave him a nod.

"I will accept your proposal as well. You have much greater knowledge of what needs to be done out here beyond the city walls and I trust in your ability to guide us as safely as you are able. My only request is that we will not be treated simply as underlings to do your bidding. I will defer to your judgement and direction, but I would prefer to not feel used. I also hope that you will be willing to answer our questions about what is going on out here, whenever you are reasonably able to do so." With the last bit, Mori wondered if perhaps she might have a chance to talk to him alone - she would not mind asking him about her dream and if he knew why he was in it.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Gemel listened with rapt attention as Melk answered his questions, asking plenty of his own in return. There was no time to respond in kind, as was only polite, because someone else was preparing to throw a knife. He was about to point out this rather irritating fact when Melk yelped and tackled him. "Woah, hey, at least buy me dinner first...granted if you do you'll just find out..." the man's babbling was lost as he hit the ground, exchanged for a grunt. "Darkest night, I could've stopped that knife if she'd thrown it at me," he grumbled, pushing the boy off him and rubbing his side where an elbow had all too rudely jabbed him. Though of course this new person had questions too, addressing the boy rather than him. "Girl, my name is Gemel. Get it right or there will be consequences that I will enjoy and you...well, ok, there have been a couple people who enjoyed them, but masochism is rare, or so I'm told. And you shouldn't cut my head off because you can't. Or...well, you are capable of the physical act of head removal, but my head isn't one you're capable of doing it to. After all, many have tried and it's still attached to my neck which is attached to my shoulders, right in the middle where it belongs. A sword like that is so boring though. You did better with the knife, that's more interesting, but still dull. I'm going to stand up now, and you're not going to try to kill me, ok?" Without waiting for a reply Gemel jumped to his feet in a smooth motion before adopting the position he'd been in before Melk had jumped him. "Now then, I have unanswered questions to provide the answers to. In order, no I'm not, people who annoy me, not monsters, an army, it was important for you to know." He turned to Gilly. "You I answered everything for already." The man's head rotated back to Melk, though he kept his body pointed at the harlequin. "Now for perhaps the most helpful question of this conversation. Who told you about me? There shouldn't be anyone alive left to talk about me, except the Hellcat it seems, and you don't have the stink of magic about you. I don't like people knowing about me anymore, moved far away to avoid people. Little lonely but good. You are in a small group, also good, can be bad. We're getting off track though, so answer. Who told you about Gemel...and why?" The man was standing stock still, still twisted around to view Melk while keeping his body pointed at Gilly. It seemed he was in no hurry to fix his posture as he stared, waiting.


The girl, Rosemary, accepted his orders and agreed not to self-harm or harm either of her newfound companions, which was gratifying to Zain. The older woman, Morinda, was more reserved, agreeing to follow his lead but not wanting to be subservient. She wanted information about the outside world and what was going on as well. While any smile was hidden by his mask, his eyes softened in what might have been such a gesture. "Of course to both of those. I led many people over the course of my life, and the vast majority were satisfied with their treatment. I do not view myself as superior to you, nor do I believe you lesser than anyone else. We have had different walks through life which renders me the most able leader in these circumstances. That is all. As for your other request, knowledge is useful, and I am happy to share. We should be on our way now, however. Odds of being attacked are low this close to the city, but we should still exercise caution. Feel free to ask me things as we walk." In a casual motion, he lifted his right arm to a point above his shoulder, and with minimal fanfare a sword...or at least as close to one as a hunk of metal far longer than it had any right to be could look like one, appeared over his shoulder, his body taking what had to have been an incredible amount of weight with practiced ease and without visible effort. "Come, I want to be farther away from that sordid place than this when we rest." As soon as the pair showed signs of compliance he would turn and lead them off in a steady direction, though to the Dreamers it seemed no different from any other option, walking at a pace that was brisk without being grueling. They had agreed to follow, there was no need to concern himself with a change of heart, and he did not want to delay any longer.


"I can too!" Gilly replied petulantly, stamping her foot for good measure, in response to the hooded figure's opinion that she was unable to remove his head with a sword "I'm good at killing things, tell him Melkie, tell him!" she whined, directing her gaze at Melkie in search of support, though by this point the conversation had moved on to other topics. Stamping her foot again for good measure just in case they hadn't seen it the first time Gilly returned her sword to the scabbard hanging over her shoulder with a sulky look on her face before wrenching her knife free of the tree in which it'd buried itself, muttering to herself bad temperedly as she did so.

It was as she was carefully checking the knife's edge with her thumb that Gemel stupid name, doesn't have an ee sound to it or anything! asked how they knew about him since he'd spent so long out here by himself "oh stupid Johnny probably told us, he's always prattling on about archlights and stuff" she responded absently as she rapidly grew bored with the conversation with the harlequin beginning to weave patterns in the air with her knife, passing it from hand to hand as she did so seemingly heedless of how close she was to the others and their safety "Oh and my names not Girl! It’s Gilandria! Though you can call me Gilly if you like...everyone else does...and I can too cut your head off!"


Rosemary watched quietly as the Guide of the Dream spoke to the impure heathen. Nothing made sense anymore. Everything she’d thought had been turned upside down by her expulsion from the Sanctuary. Not supposed to hit herself. Not supposed to hit others. Supposed to guide heretics to the light of the Dream. None of it made sense. She felt like she had before she’d seen the light of the Dream. Just a scared, little, hungry girl, shivering on the streets. Dirt under her fingernails. Mud in her hair. The Guide set off, shouldering a massive sword, furthering her conviction that he was a messenger of the Dream. Rosemary started to shuffle after him. Her bare feet hurt, her shoulders hurt, her arms hurt. The staff wasn’t helping much in supporting her but the Guide had set a pace for them and she must follow. And so it was, that as they marched through the wilderness, Rosemary stumbled on. She would not fail their guide. She would not slow their journey to the promised land of the Dream. She would become stronger and she would make sure that she would not fail the Guide. How long had they been walking for though? Rosemary wasn’t sure but she wouldn’t stop until their guide did. She put one foot in front of the other and another and another and as she leant on the staff for support it slipped in the mud and she went tumbling to the ground, splattering her ragged clothing even more, tearing the midsection of her dress and exposing her stomach. “Sorry Guide.” She picked herself up and put on a burst of speed, determined to not hold the group back and to show the heathen how things should be done.


Carolyn was on the ground, cuddled up against the Arclight, the conversation between her, Gilly, and Melk bouncing around within her mind. Nothing about the situation Carolyn had found herself in would have been inherently wrong for a Young Arunsian. But there were no Young Arunsians here, besides herself. And very few people outside her former group felt the same way about relationships as she and her group did. Since there weren't any historical records remaining from the Arclight's time, Carolyn could only guess at how romance was handled back in his day. She could have asked, but he was as new to relationships a newborn baby. He'd probably be fairly useless in that regard. And it might be risky just bringing up the subject; who knew how he would react to such a query. But then there was Gilly; how would she deal with the harlequin? Carolyn was quickly finding out that Gilly was fun and wild and so much different than the often boring (self titled) proletariat intelligentsia that made up most of the Young Arunsians. Yes they had their fun, but their meetings sometimes did get tedious, especially when there were long periods between overt activities of civil disobedience. Carolyn was grateful for Eris having brought the harlequin into her life, but like her other name implied, nothing was given without at least a hint of discord. Any sort of relation with Gilly would eventually get discovered by the Arclight, probably sending him into a shell of despair and isolation so thick that he would be effictively dead to the world, and the rest of the group would follow him shortly thereafter. And, Carolyn also loved the Arclight too much to even really want to do anything that would hurt him, moments of what now had to be considered weakness aside. Which brought up the other side of the issue. He was incapable of playing that game of give and take, an act that had been raised to the level of everyday activity (or would she now have to change that to lowered?). Gilly was not only capable, she was more than willing. And Carolyn was certain that when that outlet was available, her other avenue, that curious supersadism, seemed a less desirable route to travel, an avenue whose existence Carolyn was reminded of only a little bit ago when Gilly nonchalantly spoke of her desire to slit the Arclight's throat. There was the possiblity that this knife edge balancing game that Carolyn had placed herself in was the only thing keeping everyone alive, and that thought was a terrible burden on her mind. She had gotten herself into an impending disaster that could spell the end of the world if Carolyn slipped from that edge. That knowledge combined with the weeks of travel through this impossibly large and densely packed forest, and the occasional visits by the shadow dancer in her dreams had begun to wear down Carolyn's psyche. Lately, it was becoming more difficult to even draw comfort from the Arclight's embrace. An embrace that she had worked herself into as the Arclight laid sleeping behind her, while Gilly's last kiss was weighing heavily on her head. After a while of laying like this, Carolyn had almost managed to find sleep, despite all the concern and worry floating around in her head. The only thing left to bother her was the count of people that her mind had subconsciously picked up. There were three talking in a group over there, one asleep against a tree, and her and the Arclight here. The tree guy looked like Perran, and Gilly was always distinctive. That meant her and Melk were talking to someone else. “Arclight, wake up,” she whispered, while gently nudging the sleeping form behind her. “We've got a visitor and they haven't tried killing us right away. Let's go say hello and see if they're actually friendly.” The prospect of finding another survivor out here, probably a new Dreamer who had inherited one of their fallen comrade's burdens, was exhilarating, a new wind through the open window. On the other hand, it could be a new monster, more clever than the others. You could never be certain out here.

Lord Regal

Well-Known Member
Gemel continued watching Gilly as she complained that she could too take his head off, a frown on his face. "It's not a matter of physical ability, for I'm sure you're capable of the actual act, just I like my head where it is so that's where it stays. You're getting off topic though, Bloodlips." His frown became a scowl as she mentioned a Johnny. "I don't know any Johnny. This is troubling...how did anyone hear of me when I've spent the last...sixty millennia less fifty nine in here...no one should...oh, empty night why couldn't more of you have died, or at the very least have left me ALONE!" The last word was accompanied by one of his three-pronged oversized shuriken flying in the direction of his ire...

The haze of a dream that he was already forgetting lifted as Varus was woken by Carolyn, who informed him there was a visitor who hadn't attacked them on first sight. Shaking his head to wake himself up quicker, he rose and summoned his bow, nodding. "Sure...better safe than sorry though...thanks for waking me, there're a couple more intelligen-" He was cut off by the shuriken Gemel had thrown, blocked only through his long-honed reflexes, glancing off his raised bow He blinked in shock for a moment, then looked over to where Melk, Gilly, and their new 'friend' were standing. "Gemel??"

"Yes, it's me, you unbelievable cretin! I should've known you were still alive, wouldn't let a little thing like the actual end of the world slow you down." Gemel glowered over at Varus, loathing in his eyes. "Though it looks like your loyalty came and bit your ass hard enough to turn you purple with duty. Or poison, that would be fun...are you dying?"

The corrupted man shook his head, frowning at the shorter, hooded figure. "I'm not dying, no, and I didn't know you were even here! You vanished so long ago I thought you were dead!"

"That was the POINT, you imbecile!" Another shuriken appeared in his hand, though he held it at his side. "I wanted to be left alone, wanted you all to find some hole to stick your heads in and not find me, and now in a single eternal day I've been found by two of you...well I'm not going to get suckered into another deal like I did a moment ago...nosireebob you can't make me do a *****'s job. I've bent over once today, that's more than enough."

Varus struggled to find his words for a moment, pinching the top of his nose and sighing. "I...don't want to ask anything of you, Gemel...especially not anything like that...just...what do you want?"

"I want to be left alone, that's not going to happen even if you let me go. I'm questioning if I want to kill you before I leave...if I did that I could probably get out of the other deal, since I'd be too busy fixing your carving to worry about a monster for another one. The corpse was mangled, that's the important bit, right? I don't really need to know the details, right?" Gemel's tone dropped from angry to pleading, though without waiting for a response he shifted to resolved, cold, and distant. "Right. I'm going to kill you. You can't hit what won't stay in one spot, Freak. So just give up before we start and I'll make it quick. Shuriken to the eye or throat, you'll be dead before you know it. Sound good? Sounds great to me. I'll give you ten seconds to put your bow away...nine...eight..."

Varus scowled, looking around at the scattered Dreamers, wanting to tell them to get back, but there wasn't time...he had to defuse the situation, but he had no idea how...Gemel wasn't given the title of Crazed for no reason...he couldn't match his logic with...actual logic. All he could do was ready himself for the inevitable attack and scare him off...


From what she gathered from his continued ranting, Mr Sneakypants was starting to get annoyed about... something or other; she wasn't really paying attention anymore as she concentrated on the knife now balancing on the end of her fingertips by its hilt. However her attention was quickly drawn away from her current game when Johnny made an appearance prompting Sneakypants to go from annoyed to angry, because apparently he didn’t like Johnny, No surprises there, with him even going so far as to ask the other immortal if he was dying due to his purple skin "Unfortunately not" Gilly huffed as she plucked her knife from out of mid air and replaced it in its scabbard, having learnt herself that the purple immortal was annoyingly resilient.

But what happened next was like a dream come true for the harlequin, for Sneakypants was going to kill Johnny for her…well…not for her specifically but he was going to kill Johnny meaning that she would be free to be with pretty Carrie and with absolutley no blood on her hands. Sure no doubt Carrie would be sad for a while but Gilly was sure she could comfort her and what was even better, was that with Johnny gone there would be no reason to continue his stupid quest and they could all go home! I love you Mr Sneakypants!

With the hooded figures arm moving back ready to throw one of those rather cool pointy things Gilly wasted little time in scaling the nearest tree with near effortless ease.

Once she was safely in amongst its leafy boughs and out of the path of any of those pointy things, the Harlequin would settle herself down to enjoy the show. It’d be interesting to see another person’s technique and perhaps learn something new, and if it looked like he aimed to kill more than just stupid Johnny then she felt that she was more than capable of taking him out, despite what he said. Though she would have to make sure that he lived long enough to see her cut his own head off if only to prove a point... though it would be incredibly fun doing so.


As she continued to stay on the ground, Carolyn kept switching her attention between the Arclight, who was still slowly waking up, and the conversation between the rest of the group and the new stranger in the distance. They apparently hadn't noticed that the two of them had woken up, and were carrying on amicably enough. The Arclight, sleep still weighing down his voice, was mumbling something about how there were still creatures intelligent enough to trick people. That may have been the case with this mystery person, but was it even possible that the most intelligent of beasts was capable of playing the waiting game for so long? Carolyn's question was answered soon enough as a flying disk with several blades around the circumference flew straight for them, well more specifically the Arclight. Said Arclight was up in a moment, sleep thrown off him like a blanket in summer, and blocked the weapon with his crossbow. A strange conversation then began between the two, in which it was made almost instantly apparent that the two knew each other. This attacker was a Guardian, formerly serving along the Arclight in the service of the Archbeing. As this verbal sparring match continued, Carolyn laid there, listening to the insane conversation. Here was another ally, another survivor, another Guardian even, that had decided that the best course of action was to kill the Arclight. They should be happy, ecstatic even, to have found each other, glad in the fact that the Quest for the Sun had just become that much easier to complete. But this newcomer, Gemel his name apparently was, had decided that the best course was not jolly cooperation, but to go it alone, and was willing to kill his former ally just to maintain that loneliness. Carolyn couldn't have that happen; she wouldn't allow anyone to take the Arclight away from her; she was too attached to him to give him up now. And although she knew that he was more than capable of defending himself from this psycho killer, Carolyn wanted to increase his chances of survival as much as possible. So, as the two Guardians had their mad argument, Carolyn rolled over to her Messer, grabbed the blade, then rolled over behind a tree. Her heart was pounding, causing her hands to shake, making the Messer all that more difficult to unsheathe. There was something different about this task, about having to kill a fellow human, albeit a crazed, millennia old human, but a human nonetheless. Everything she'd killed before had been a near mindless brute or a purely evil entity, bearing no resemblance to humanity, worthy of total destruction. This time was different however; this burnt out hermit was a human. But this human wanted the Arclight dead, was actively trying to kill the Arclight, and that meant that he would have to die first. Taking a deep breath, Carolyn steeled herself for the task at hand, and withdrew the Messer from its sheath. As the two kept bickering, Carolyn slowly crept behind the treeline, hoping that the Guardian conversation would disguise the telltale sound of footsteps through the jungle long enough for Carolyn to position herself behind the lunatic. Shortly, Gemel reached his final countdown, prompting Carolyn to leap out from behind the trees, Messer held high next to her head, and charge at the senile sculptor, an earth shaking URA! issuing from her mouth.


Perched within her treetop Gilly had been so intent on Sneakypants and Johnny that she hadn't been paying attention to any of the others; and why should she? Melkie was sensible and would most likely get out of the way rather than become trapped between two fighting immortals and both Perry and Carrie were safely out of the way and fast asleep...or so she thought. Hearing Carrie's battle cry Gilly turned to watch in horror as the woman she loved launched herself at Sneakypants in what the harlequin considered to be a suicidal attempt to save stupid Johnny from his deserved fate, risking her own life and completely destroying her plan to have Johnny removed their lives.

Deciding that Johnny's death, not to mention her own existence would be completely irrelevant if Carrie were to die at the hands of Sneakypants it didn't take Gilly long to work out what she had to do if she was going to save the love of her life and salvage what little remained of her scheme and so dropping from out of the tree Gilly tackled the other girl before she was able to make contact with the hooded figure "No stop it Carrie, you’re going to ruin everything!" Gilly cried in a desperate voice as she wrapped one arm about Carrie's middle whilst using her free hand to take hold of the girl's sword arm in an attempt to stop her from killing Sneakypants. Quickly Sneakypants! Kill him! I can't hold her back forever! Her mind screamed as she tried to wrestle the other girl to the ground; an activity she'd have found quite enjoyable under any other circumstances. But seen as she was trying to prevent her friend from making a horrible and most likely fatal mistake she hardly noticed the feel of the other girl's body against her own as she continued her desperate struggle "No Carrie leave it! He'll kill you!"