Vaude

The Haven (RP)

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The Guardian Skeletons blocked the air currents that flew towards them, making their sheilds more brittle in the process. a skull intercepted the third for Galla swiftly crumbljng to dust. Galla remained focused as the flames burned hotter, focusing on her left side and marking her body. “Rise....” she uttered as she stopped her incantation. “Burn...” she watched as Pang landed and rushed towards her with a swift kick. The Guardian behind her took th blow and turned to dust while Galla grabbed hold of her other guardian’s spinal cord. “Maim...” she the smiles as the ground shakes beneath her. A Giant Skeletal torso rose from the ground, its ribcage closed in around the burning Galla, which in turn engulfed the skeleton in flames and burn marks as well. “And Crush the Enemies before me O’ King of Skeletons” Galla commanded the creature who brought down its giant hands upon Pang, trying to swat him into the ground.

 

 

 

 

Ceres looked at Henry “well I can certainly say that weakness is rather normal here... none of us are infalliable. However I can guarantee that it can be covered up by thr strengths of newfound allies like Pang and Myself. OH but you havent met Pang yet! I think you will like him. He is very kind and knows so much about Haven” she smiles as they arrived at the arena. “Maybe you should give the arena a try sometime after you learn about this new home of yours.”

Edited by HeartOfFerria

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The name Surses didn't sound familiar to the mage, but until that day he hadn't even began to contemplate that there were other worlds beside his own.  If he didn't possess magic he might try to refute everything as a delusion, but, seeing as he did, Kolm accepted rather than questioned.

 

"I am sorry that your real parents aren't ideal, either."  The words came out awkwardly, and even Kolm did not recognize his own voice as he spoke them.  "It seems that the people whom adopted you are good to you, though.  I wish that I could say the same about those who bought me."

 

He fell silent after that, not feeling as though this were the time or place to discuss Rhogan and the other criminals.  Instead he took a stab at being friendly, something he saw more than actually put into practice.  "I'm glad to have met you, Lukkel.  It will be . . . nice to work around someone like you."

 

"Do you suppose that we'll ever get the opportunity to return to our home worlds?" Kolm asked, the question that had been eating at him for a while.

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A little surprised by Kolm opening his mouth again, Lukkel chuckled a bit by Kolm trying to sound comforting. "It doesn't sound like you try to help people with your words that often do you." Lukkel said looking back at Kolm. "But thanks, and yes the people who adopted me are great, I wish you could have had the same experience though. It sounds to me that you were sold to slavery, but you are free now." Lukkel stated. He was grinning ear to ear again, ecstatic to be talking to someone openly. After hearing Kolm say he was glad to have met him, Lukkel had a big toothy grin. "I am glad to have met you as well, and it will be nice to work with someone such as yourself... You just need to work on stepping outside of your box." Lukkel said still grinning. The last question was a shock to Lukkel though and without thinking he said bluntly "Why would you want to leave?"

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For a moment Kolm looked as though he was going to get angry, but then his expression softened with Lukkel's goofiness and general friendliness.  How could he be irritated with him?  Perhaps he was the friend he needed–if he were going to have any friends.  He still wasn't used to the idea of trusting people.

 

Lukkel seemed shocked that Kolm thought of leaving, to which Kolm was equally shocked.  A frown furrowed his dark brows.  "Well, perhaps I would like to leave because I was brought here against my will?  I don't know why that is so acceptable to everyone; it's called abduction, and it's not okay.  If I didn't see this as beneficial to me I would be up in arms and try to escape, but for right now I am going to accept the arrangement, because the situation is mutually beneficial."

 

He paused, feeling as though his statement was contradictory, though moved on.  "I would, however, like to meet the people in charge here.  Has Pang mentioned anything about them to you?"  He thought if anyone were to know anything that it would be the tiger, though when he could approach him alone about this he wasn't sure.  At least no one would die from this match.

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As the skeletal guardian behind Galla took the brunt of the blow, Pang fell without much grace to the ground, and before he could even ascend from the ground he regretted his choice of attacking then and there.  Galla summoned a new creature, and a massive one at that which towered its large hands above him.  With feline speed, he swirled his body into a dancing pivot and gyrated out of the way of the downward strike, narrowly escaping a brutal squashing.  The sheer force behind it, however, bowled him over, and after a good number of harsh tumbles he raised himself to his feet.  His body, if this match would last for much longer, would be covered with bruises, but once the match was over the pain and the bruising would go away.

 

"Well, that's a big one," Pang heaved through difficult breaths, preparing himself for another sprint.

 

Yes indeed, exhaustion was kicking in at a faster rate than he thought.  This miasma was more troublesome than he originally planned for, though knocking the numbers down to four rather than five enemies was a light success.  That, and he was able to see Galla's technique, one he had never seen before.  A massive skeleton was going to be a massive problem, though the larger the creature the slower its reactions.  Pang would take advantage of that if this protective giant skeleton tried to attack him on its own legs, though it did not seem to have one.  Instead, it protected Galla, or maybe because its original concept was to protect its user.

 

He took his time in surveying the situation, prepping his third and last charge of Shattering Weapon and Piercing Weapon with the vibrant glow of green energy.  The moment an opportunity arose, he would be able to take down this skeletal behemoth and potentially Galla too with one strike.  Given the situation, though, that opportunity might never surface.  Galla was acting very defensive in this fight, and covering her bases well.  He might have to take the fight to her.

 

-- -- --

 

Hogarth entered the arena behind the others, still smiling about the elemental spirits he had come to witness.  Perhaps they would be useful to his research, and maybe he had been going by the golems-with-a-soul thing all wrong.  Perhaps a core essence of nature, as pristine as he could get it, was the best source of energy for making the inanimate animate.  Unfortunately, that meant going into World IX, where nature was abundant and plant life was more than dangerous.  Even if it meant having to slay a killer ivy plant, he wanted his plan to come to fruition so badly that he would go alone if he had to.  He had to check the job boards later for any missions there, maybe one of Gold rank.

 

The arena caught his focus and broke his line of thought, and he looked with interest at the combatants.

 

"Oho, speaking of Galla and Pang, there they are," he wheezed, pointing into the coliseum.  "Let's sit with the crowd over there watching them.  Henry would be able to get to know a good amount of folks new and old.

 

-- -- --

 

"You want to meet the higher-ups?" bemoaned a lass with ebon hair to Kolm and Lukkel, her sharp and equally black eyes looking over the two new people as she folded her arms across her chest.  "Unfortunately they are not as desirous to see us as much as we do them.  They only speak one-way through a public announcement system.  Rarely do they speak to individuals, but as long as I've been here no one has met one in person.  I aim to be the first, but you can be second!

 

"But where are my manners?" she continued on, reaching out a hand to both of them.  "I'm Winona Kissinger, adventurer extraordinaire!  I was brought here just shy of two years ago, and my goal is to perfect my skills so I am second to none.  That's why I take as many jobs as I can, though when I heard the news of the six broadcast . . . well, I had to pay my respects.  Poor Grindra and Kimball.  They had just started dating, too, before the grand campaign ended up killing them."  Winona's fist tightened so that her leather glove ground together very audibly.  "I plan to avenge them all and be the woman on top, so nobody else would have to die."

Edited by Vaude

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Galla shiffted her hands and thr skeletal goliath did thr same its entire left arm crumbled and 4 shapes dissapeared into the fog. I let loose a low but ominous roar that hummed a hollow tune in pangs ears. The four shapes scattered upon landing and the last Phalanx took its position between were Pang was in comparison to Galla, dropping its weapon and holding the sheild with one hand. Galla seemed to have burned away plenty of her essence by summoning the King.

 

 

———

 

Ceres smiles “Hogarth is right, there they are. I wonder why they are fighting? Galla never fights.” She finds a seat and offers it to Henry, always preffering to stand on her own two feet

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Before Lukkel could say anything Winona walks up and as she speaks Lukkel is starring in her eyes like he can't look away. Taking her hand Lukkel shakes it, "I'm... Lukkel." He says getting his bearings and looking away. "It's a plasure to meet you." Lukkel states putting his guard up for the first time since he got here, but when Winona starts talking about paying her respects and the broadcast, Lukkel lowers his guard. "I'm sorry to hear about your friends... But, they knew the risks and had a choice. Nothing can be done now, it is all a part of life. People live, people die, and people take their place." Lukkel is talking in a cold lifeless tone he rarely ever talks in but, when deaths comes up he is reminded of his brother and grabs his shirt where the small jar is. As Lukkel hears the last part he chuckles, "So, naive avenging them, and being the woman on top won't change the fact they are still dead and other's will still die." Lukkel gets up, starting to temble realizing all he has been saying. "I'm sorry but... I have to leave real quick." And begins to run out.

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Pang's gaze faltered when he saw an entire arm disintegrate and turn into four shapes before they disappeared into the fog.  Did she just turn the massive thing into full-fledged skeletons?  There was no way he can think of this as being possible, and yet it happened.  He had to be careful.  Who knew what kind of skeletons, or corpses, she summoned, though having a one-armed giant skeleton was a lot less threatening than a two-armed one.  That meant it had a great weakness unless some kind of trick was involved, though he doubted this was the case.  The roar, while menacing and ear-thrumming, but it was ineffective.  He was used to the obnoxious teeth chatter now, and another sound would not drown out his concentration.

 

He wasted no time as he ran at his greatest speeds -- without powers, anyway -- towards the weakened side of the skeleton.  Whether there was an ambush waiting for him or not, he leapt into the air, paying little attention to the remaining skeleton with the shield and launching himself towards the bigger undead.

 

The plan was to thrust a palm strike with all three charges of Shattering Weapon onto the giant skeleton's sternum, trying to open a large hole at the front of its rib cage.  If it was able to be shattered, he would likely be inside the giant and would swing his now-equipped quarterstaff at Galla,  There was a backup plan, however.  If he did not gain entry into the skeleton, he would attempt to jump off of the skeleton and throw his quarterstaff at Galla, this one charged with Piercing Weapon at the tip aimed for her.  This one would likely rip through all defenses, though if deflected or dodged it would miss Galla.

 

-- -- --

 

Winona looked perplexed, or maybe flustered, when Lukkel took off toward the exit.  Who was he to bash her like that and attempt to deflate her dreams and aspirations?  He certainly did not seem like a likable individual to her, or anyone worthy of initial respect, and so she would try not to attempt communication with him further.  Still, what was the reason that his good humour changed so drastically?  Was it her?  Was she too talkative?  Was she really naive?  She thought all this behind a mask of stone, her expression unchanged before she turned to Kolm.

 

"A friendly enough face to warm up my soul.  I hope I did not interrupt anything."

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As Pang rushed in. He saw the similar shape of a cloaked figure dash towards and after him, 4 times over. Their fingers sharp as knives. Four skeletal assassins all rushing in on one lone target.the Phalanx was unprepared for Pang. The giant however, broughtdown its remaining hand on Pang as the assassins rushed in. Galla herself however remained motionless and aflame in the belly of the giant

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((I'm not sure if you thought that Pang was still on the ground or not, but as that seems to be the case I'll roll with it.))

 

An interrupting attack?  That was unplanned for by the white tiger, though not unprecedented.  He had dealt with faster foes before, but the four skeletal assassins surrounding him were menacing with their numbers, skill, and speed.  He would have to deal with them and shred all possibility of backbiting attacks, but first . . .

 

With a supercharge to his feet again, he outran the hand of the massive skeleton in the nick of time, stopped short at the wrist, and spun his quarterstaff around so that he could shatter the wrist with all three charges of Shattering Weapon and leave the King of Skeletons entirely without hands if landing.  Next he cleared himself from the area and charged toward one of the four assassins, spinning the quarterstaff in a parrying motion before attempting to deliver a diagonal chopping blow to the collarbone.  If all went well, the blow from the quarterstaff would crumble it to dust like the rest, and he can concentrate on all of the others.

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(I did)

 

The kings arm shattered and it let out its hollow roar, then a massive plume of smoke bellowed from its mouth. This one was purple in color and seemed to be the very essence of undeath itself. The assassin shattered swiftly, just like before, however the other three slipped away into thr newly formed smoke cloud. The phalanx approached Pang and brought down its sheild upon his form.

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Kolm's aqua-blue eyes met Winona's dark ones challengingly.  "Perhaps we can tie for first, or battle in the arena for the opportunity."  It interested the young man that Winona aspired to meet the higher-ups, and why they desired to be so allusive.  Why bring so many individuals to fight for their cause against their will, only to lack even showing your face to greet them personally and make them feel at home?  Something felt amiss to Kolm, and he wasn't going to sit idly by without trying to gather more information.  Perhaps Winona could be his accomplice in this task, once he got to know her and determined whether he could trust her or not.

 

"Kolm Haranwy," was the raven-haired man's response to their newest companion, accepting her outstretched hand to shake it.  Kolm started to turn to Lukkel, but was surprised by his new friend's reaction.  He reached toward his pocket, his demeanor turning cold and the cheer dying in his eyes.  Kolm watched him leave, his face slackened as bewilderment washed over him.  What a curious reaction, and all because Winona had mentioned that her friends had perished?  Apart of him wanted to follow Lukkel to ensure that he was alright, but he felt that Winona may have answers since she had been here longer.

 

Winona seemed about as perplexed as Kolm, to which the cold mage shrugged to.  "I . . . have not known him for very long.  We were both just recruited, though I will admit that scene was . . . very out of character.  It was odd indeed."  He pauses a moment, before at last adding: "So you say that you will be the first to meet the higher-ups . . . .  Do you actually have an idea of how to meet them?  Are they on the premises?  And how long has anyone actually been here?  Are you among the longest?"  So many questions, and perhaps many of them improper for their first meeting, though manners were not things that Kolm was properly taught in his youth.

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(I did)

 

The kings arm shattered and it let out its hollow roar, then a massive plume of smoke bellowed from its mouth. This one was purple in color and seemed to be the very essence of undeath itself. The assassin shattered swiftly, just like before, however the other three slipped away into thr newly formed smoke cloud. The phalanx approached Pang and brought down its sheild upon his form.

 

Pang's blow struck true twice, though he did not feel any better about the situation.  It looked like the skeleton was just as powerful without all of its limbs, and it exhaled a new colour of smoke that several of the others slipped inside.  He did not want to test this new miasma out, especially if toxic, and he formulated a plan.

 

The skeletal spearman approached and tried to shield bash him over the head, but Pang held out his hands and stopped the shield, sliding back as he did so.  He hated the fact that this fog made him weaker, but he still had barely enough to spare.  With greater than average force, he attempted to let the shield fly to the spearman's right, then launched a right hook aimed for its jaw.

 

Next, he spun in the opposite direction, whether or not the attack was successful.  He readied his quarterstaff so that it was held vertical to his frame and prepared a nasty assault of a Piercing spear, all three charges unleashed at the tip to target where the heart of the Skeleton King was in the cloud, more specifically Galla.  The smoke served as a visual blindfold for both parties, he deemed, and if he launched an attack while she was blinded maybe he could cripple her, or end the match outright by killing her.  Part of him disliked this idea, having been trained in the monk ways and been taught that life, even unlife, is sacred, but as this was the arena, and because his blood lust beat a drum furiously within him, he persisted in his attack.

 

With a kick up into the air, he spun quickly around and around and around until he unfurled himself and, aiming rightly, threw the quarterstaff with all the force he could muster with Piercing Weapon.  If this swiftly flying missed its mark, he was sure that he would lose.  His stamina was borderline shot, and while he still had a small backup of energy it would not last him for long.

 

((I"ll make a post for Winnie later.  I'm rather tired at the moment, sad to say.))

 

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The Phalanx roared and chattered at Pang, grabbing him from the air but just after Pang had loosed his Quarterstaff forcing him upside down with its bony fingers holding him by his ankles. The three remaining assassins stepped out of the Smog and prepared their razor sharp fingers as the giant loomed over the spectacle, then all of them suddenly stopped, mid action. The smoke began to clear up revealing Galla at the Giants chest. The quarterstaff having been impailed right through her. She remained suspended for several more seconds before the head of the king crumbled. Soon the rest of the body followed. The smaller skeletons turned to duat like the collossus. The purple flames sputtered into nothing with no more life to fuel them. Galla was felled.

Edited by HeartOfFerria

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As Henry walked into the arena he couldn't take his eyes off the contenders fighting each other, one was a mage who wielded the undead, must be Galla according to Hoggart's description, the other was an anthropomorphic feline man with interesting self enhancing abilities. As Ceres offered him a seat, probably out of politeness. Henry simply waved his hand casualy,  "No need" He said with a kind smile as he began to float in the air, with wind magic, in a sitting position, "Im not gonna let you stand up while everyone else is sitting, sit down." Henry told her.

 

The rest of the spirits followed suit, Salamander sat mid air covered in flames, Sylph didn't even bother, she kept flying around, Undine sat mid air too, Gnome was still hiding.

 

"Quite the impressive powers." Henry commented.

"Quite, although lacking finesse in control."  Salamander commented as they watched the end of the fight.  "But they were evenly matched, fight could have gone both ways."  Undine commented alongside Salamander, who simply waved her hand as if to dismiss Undine's claim, 

"Its still fun to watch though!" Sylph commented.

 

"This 'revival' mechanic in the arena kind of reminds me of my training..." Henry commented with a sigh.

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Ceres cocked her head. “Very well.” She then remained standing. “Galla is strong when there are other things diverting attention. Pang is great at one on one combat. However Pang can take a hit while Galla is very fragile, her powers dont tend to make that easier either as she burns up her own life force from what ive heard. Its supposedly very very slow and painful.” Ceres had folded her arms. Too bad we only caught the tail end of thr match. Shall we go and meet up with them?” Ceres smiled as she looked at Pang. His victory took her mind off her own loss...but only for a moment.

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Lukkel calmed down after some deep breathing before his emotions went to far and headed back noticing more people were around. He looked for Kolm and Winona, heading in their direction. As he reached them he bowed as low as he could and said, "Please forgive me, I had no right saying what I said... Death is something I don't do well with and whenever someone brings it up I tend to be a bit heartless. I would like to be friends and I hope I didn't ruin my chances, please give me a second chance." He said with is head down and eyes closed as he was asking for forgiveness his necklace slipped off his neck to the ground. He didn't hear it though with the bit of comotion going on.

Edited by Cam1949

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Pang breathed out a slight sigh of relief, as well as mixed regret, once the skeletons returned to the dust they came from and the sound of a collapsing body echoed across the arena.  That was close, too close.  Running out of most of his energy was a bad idea, but it was a gambit that proved successful in the end.  He will have to find a way to improve himself, maybe gain a resistance to this strength-damaging property that Galla employed.  If he did that, his stamina would have dropped at a much more reasonable pace.  He would have to train more as a result.

 

After the standard fifteen seconds of waiting, both Galla and Pang would feel the effects of a great electrostatic energy that revitalised the cells of the body, granting a get-out-of-jail-free pass that provided life to those who were not living and vitality to those who had lost it.  Galla would be revived in full.  Pang would feel himself getting renewed, his wounds disappearing and his fatigue gone.  He sighed contentedly.  The pain, while not gone entirely from his still-firing nerves, was considerably less potent.

 

He turned to face Galla, maybe offer her a hand with which to get up as the quarterstaff would lie on the floor, separated from Galla during the revitalisation process.

 

"Good match," he loosed with a smile, hoping immediately afterward that she would not mind his closeness as he offered his gesture of goodwill.  Whether the reason was mental or physical, he did not know, especially after seeing that gash on her neck earlier, but he prayed that there was no repercussion for his being nearby.

 


-- -- --


 

Hogarth scratched his bushy head as he observed the arena match with great interest, though unfortunately it was the very end of the match before they got there.  Some of the tactics seemed curious, interesting even.  Pang's spinning attack, Galla's mighty protector -- maybe his dolls would be able to act similarly once he could breathe some life into his creations, though that might come far later than he would be able to live.

 

"You two go on ahead," voiced the mechanical mage through his apparatus, observing the sylphid one last time as he turned his back to the both of them.  "I'll have to tinker with my doodads and head off on a mission.  If you have any needs for items or just want to drop by, don't hesitate to come to my shop in the square or join me on my adventure!"

 

As he said all of this, he waved over his shoulder and slipped by Kolm, Lukkel, and Winona.  He stole a glance toward them as he passed by, admiring Kolm's hair and Lukkel's clothes.  Perhaps he should try making something like it to wear himself, or dyeing his hair, or trimming it short.  He doubted he could get fabrics as fancy as that, but in the marketplaces of some towns on World I he could get some good-quality linens.

 

-- -- --

 

It surprised Winona that she was able to find a person that wanted to challenge her for meeting one of the higher-ups, but she did not back down from her claimed desire.  Kolm would make a fine rival in the days ahead, and it would be good for her to have somebody to contest with.

 

"Nobody knows where the higher-ups are," she answered with a huge grin before recomposing herself.  "There are no doors beyond what we have easily available on this floor, but I think the main gate is the way.  We just have to find the right coordinates, though that will take time and experimentation.  I'd take my time with it.  No use running into a sea of acid on a forgotten world if we die to it.  As for how long I've been here, I'm older than Pang down there when it comes to living here by five months.  I'm the third oldest, with Cari being the oldest and Enkodorado being the second oldest."

 

She was cut short when Lukkel came back, bowing his head in apology so much so that his necklace fell free from its placement around his neck.  Winnie did not know what to do for a time before smiling, stepping up to him, and patting his head as she stooped for the necklace.

 

"Think nothing of it to me or to the dead, as we don't hold grudges for too long.  I would like to be friends too, so forgive me as I do you, and we'll be fast ones."

 

She rose to her feet and held out his necklace, holding it cleanly in her hand.

 

"You dropped this when you bowed like Pang does sometimes.  I'm sure this piece of jewelry holds some sentimental value to you."

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Winona had a great deal of useful information to offer Kolm, which he was certain that he could make use of later.  He was convinced that this dark-haired girl would make an excellent companion.  Perhaps making himself at home in Haven wasn't going to be quite so challenging, after all.

 

Kolm was musing over a response to offer Winnie when Lukkel returned.  He seemed much more refreshed than he had moments ago, which pleased him.  Kolm clapped the youth on the shoulder, his aqua gaze intensely boring into him.  "Worry not, though I am wondering what got into you just a moment ago.  That was . . . unusual behavior."

 

Perhaps it sounded rude, but Kolm wasn't certain how else to address it.  Amidst the moment it seemed that the battle commenced, Pang emerging as the victor of the match below.  Kolm's gaze flicked over to Lucia, his curiosity burning with an odd intensity as to her identity.  Why was he so curious?  What would it matter?  He knew next to nothing about her, and why should he care?  Yet he did, which was infuriating to him.

 

"Anyway," Kolm said finally, tearing his gaze from the two.  "I think I am going to go exploring around Haven a bit more, perhaps see about finding something to eat.  Winona, do you happen to know where the cafeteria is?  I believe that Pang was going to show us, but decided to head to the arena instead."

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Galla began to reach out but then pulled away and stood up again. Her posture returing to a very defensive and slow stance. She looked awayfrom Pang. “You are taking that boy off my hands now right...” she shifted as the blue skull came off her shoulder and returned to its flaming source. She was left with one creation.

 

 

“Very well Hogarth. Ill see you around then.” The paladin replied before She motioned for the elementalist to follow her as she headed down to meet up with Pang and Galla. A big smiles was on the knights face. “I think you four...five... will really like him” she says reffering to the unseen 4th spirit.

Edited by HeartOfFerria

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Lukkel rose up and saw the necklace in Winona's hand. Slowly reaching for it he begins to tear up. "Thank you... It is the most important item I carry with me, honestly it's more important than my life." He said smiling and waping his eyes of his tears. Looking at the end of the fight Lukkel is saddened that Galla lost and he missed the end, but is pleased that from what he saw Galla did her best. The question that Kolm asked was understandable as Lukkel was about to speak he cut himself off. "I want to tell you but, if you can wait I will tell you when I'm ready." He said looking crushed about not saying anything. Hearing about exploring Haven made Lukkel jump for joy, "Yeah, let's go explore I want to come too. I want to know all I can about this place, and what kind of people there are." Lukkel said shaking with excitement. Lukkel took a breath and calmed down, looking down at his hand he smiled at the jar and thought to himself, 'We are about to see more than we can even imagine brother, so let's enjoy it together.' Lukkel clenched his fist and put the necklace back on. Looking at Galla he started clapping, "Good job out there Galla, wish you had won." Lukkel shouting and waving.

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((A shift in scenery is in order, I suppose, and a cafeteria was suggested, so that should be a nice venue for continuation!  If anyone wants to have their characters eat, chat, or mull over things, the cafeteria is open and ready for anyone.  Folks can order things at a table with a digital touchscreen menu.  If you think that there has been enough talk, we can move on to another area where there is more action and get your first missions going.  My ears are always open for suggestions.))

 

"With certainty," enunciated Winona, her lips uplifting at the question.  "I'll point it out to you, and to anyone else who wants some orts."

 

She had been here for two years and change, so she had better know the ins and outs of the main hubs.  People, however, came and went, and remembering where to find people themselves was tough for her, but she kept all of this internal and did not voice anything.  It was the chivalric thing to do, and if everything she read about camaraderie was true she had to maintain some level of fellowship.

 

Cupping her hands, she piped out, "Anyone new or old to our company, follow me to the cafeteria!  We can meet and greet our new acquaintances there and get to know each other!"

 

A few of the older patrons that also watched the fight in the stands scoffed and headed for the exits, and some more nodded in agreement, but the majority seemed to head to the cafeteria regardless.  Winona looked at the ones that withdrew with soft eyes of understanding.  The loss of the six was hard on each of them, and there were many ways to mourn their deaths.  There were ways to celebrate their lives, however, on the same note, and if they can celebrate the arrival of the newcomers, all the better.  That was how she thought of it, anyways, and she maintained her composure and confidence in this as she led the way with a wave of her hand.

 

In the cafeteria, Uzumeashy was hard at work cooking a quality meal of her signature Uzume stew, steamed carrots and parsnips, and home fries.  Far in the back, culinary robots also assisted with the cooking of raw ingredients with a wide variety of cuisines and dishes.  Woks, springform pans, frying pans and griddles, baking tins, and other cooking containers decorated the walls on silver hooks, and the smell that permeated the air came in waves.  It smelt of Eastern cuisine, candied fruits and vegetables, and the stew itself.  Uzumeashy seemed to be missing a leg for one reason or another, but it did not seem to matter much to anyone.  Another would grow back in a day eventually, and she had a cane, so she was all right, right?  No lines formed in front of the halfwall's window, as lines were not necessary.  The ten-seat rounded tables did all of the taking of orders, whether it be for meals or beverages.  One can have a beer and a bowlful of scrod chowder without even having to talk to anybody, though most times people dined together and enjoyed each other's company.

 

Winona waved over Kolm and Lukkel if they came to the cafeteria with her, offering a seat for each of them by her sides with both hands.  Immediately afterwards, she pulled up the digital menu within the table itself, a simple list at first, but getting more in-depth depending on what was pushed.  Selections were possible, or the machine can read what the ordering person wanted the most.  The machines in the back of the kitchen would cook it for them either way, unless it was already cooked.  Winona loved ordering new things and picked something an entree at random, though she got a bowl of delightful Uzume stew as well.

 

-- -- --

 

Pang, while saddened, did not take offense at Galla's pulling away from him.  Some things took time, and he assumed that whatever she was fighting needed time as well.

 

"With your permission I will take him, yes," he answered with a wan smile, withdrawing his hand.  "Just remember the favour I owe you.  If you can think of anything, name it and I'll see what I can do."

 

The tiger eyed the blue skull, wondering what had become of the other two skulls.  Did the regenerating light of the arena restore them or did they get destroyed in full?  Considering their ornateness, he wondered how precious they were and regretted destroying them.

 

"It seems the others are heading to the cafeteria.  Are you going too?" he queried curiously.

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What a kiss-up, Kolm thought to himself as he watched Lukkel praise Galla.  Perhaps his friend genuinely liked her, though he could not ever imagine why.  There was positively nothing to like about Galla, in Kolm's opinion.  Sure, she did appear rather stunning, and those eyes were entrancing–but that was it.  Her demeanor was colder than even Kolm's, and, being a cold mage, that said something.

 

Kolm fell in line behind Winona, though the raven-haired man didn't particularly like the fact that she had to summon everyone.  He admired the halls and the simple yet elegant decor selected throughout.  It crossed his mind that perhaps the staff had chosen it rather than the higher-ups, if what Winona stated were true about them and that they didn't grace the others with their presence.

 

Once they arrived Kolm couldn't help noticing the somberness that filled the air.  It struck him as curious, making him wonder if perhaps things were always this grim here in Haven, but then he recalled that he, Lukkel, and several others were brought in as replacements.  Replacements of their fallen friends.

 

I wonder if they will resent us for it, Kolm thought, stealing a sideways glance at Winona as she took a seat and proffered the one at her side.  It seemed as though Winnie still looked upon them fondly enough, even if the loss of her fellow companions did strike her hard.

 

Kolm had experience with simple cafeterias: food laid out, which you would select and then pay for.  This method of ordering was entirely new and exhilarating to him, however.  He fingered the screen tentatively, uncertain of how machines worked.  "This is a . . . machine, did you call it?" Kolm's lips twisted into an odd smile.  "We didn't have anything like this in my home world.  Incredible!  Is it run off of magic?"  It certainly felt like magic to Kolm as he flipped through the various screens, trying to determine what he would like.  Most of which he had never even heard of before.  He settled on a simple sandwich of bacon, lettuce, and tomato, with a side of soup that he was unfamiliar with.

 

As he awaited his meal he folded his hands in his lap, turning to Winona on her left side as he inquired: "So . . . when do you think we will be given our first mission?  And how does it work?  I think I heard something about . . . disappearing, was it, if we don't act often enough?"

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“....i um.... ive reached my limit for social interaction for today. I would like to retire to my room.” Galla replied in a muttered tone taking hold of the skull before walking away, gripping the skull tight. “I dont understand l... why cant i reach out....” she whispers to the skull. “Master, why am i like this? Why couldnt you guide me anymore... why did you have to keep the severity of your illness a secret. Why?” She mutters

 

 

 

Ceres grabs Henry’s hand and pulls him along. She was very, almost overly excited to present the elementalist to the monk.

Edited by HeartOfFerria

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Pang nodded slowly, sighing under his breath.  He hoped that she would break out of her shell and Galla's standoffish behaviour would end, if not for her then for him, but this was double-edged for Pang.  What if he became friends with her and she too died?  What then?  He would be as alone as before, and with the extra weight of surviving where others have perished.

 

With all of this burdening his mind, he slipped out of the arena after Galla left and headed towards the cafeteria where the many had gathered.

 

-- -- --

 

Winona batted her eyes in surprise and looked around, unsure if it was someone who told Kolm about this or if he learned of it through wandering the halls.  While important, this was not something often told to newcomers on their first day.  Still, they had to be told, and told rightly.

 

"That is correct," she confessed resignedly, finishing her ordering of a tall glass of birch beer to go along with her meal.  "You are given a total of three weeks since your last mission before one disappears.  One can head off to a mission whenever by going to the job board located in the next room over"--she nodded towards one of the exits of the cafeteria--"but it is highly recommended to train before doing so.  Unless it is a simple hunting-gathering mission or something of lesser difficulty, it can be dangerous out there beyond the Gate.  That's not a bad thing, but several people who do not like fighting are content with picking out bronze-ranked missions just to continue being here.  This leaves us short-handed in the stronger missions, but we do what we can to help out those in Haven and those beyond.

 

"The job board is easy enough, however.  Ranks are given depending on difficulty and importance.  A kidnapping of a governor's daughter would be high on the list to prevent mess-ups that risk her death, for instance, whereas picking herbs would be low.  Rewards and merits are doled out to those that take jobs, and greater risks give out equally substantial rewards, both in terms of combat experience and fiscally.  We can keep the spoils of what monsters and materials we find -- the higher-ups privilege us this -- but if stolen or ripped from people of need there are penalties to our earnings.  This includes non-monstrous, sentient life, so don't kill anyone you needn't.  Not that you both will have an issue with this, right?"

 

She folded her hands in front of her mouth and scanned over the young men, Kolm and Lukkel, if the latter were there.  She hoped both of them understood the gravity of what they were thrust into.

 

It's unlike you to be so dispirited, Winnie," Pang vocalised, his tail swishing behind him as he produced a weak smile.  "You are giving them the ins and outs of working out there?"

 

Winona quickly grinned and uttered, "And other things.  Good match out there.  Was it tough?"

 

The Zouyu nodded and returned, "You don't know the half of it."

 

"This is Pang, in case you haven't met.  He's tall and fluffy and bathes himself with his tongue, but he has a heart of gold."

 

"And this is Winona," said Pang with a roll of his eyes, setting himself down, "whose ambition cannot be outmatched, even for fantasising.  We've met before.  That includes Lukkel over there."

 

"Ah," grumbled Winona.

 

Her drink and stew had just arrived and was set in front of her by an automated servant, and Kolm's soup arrived as well, though the BLT would take a little while longer.  Silverware spat out from a pop-up launcher at the center of the table, neatly wrapped in a linen napkin.  Winona took hers and enjoyed the taste of a spoonful of Uzume stew, and the automated servant slipped away dutifully and wordlessly.

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