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 EOTI: Himmin

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PostSubject: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 24 Feb - 0:56

This will be for the re-working of the little Himmin bit from the start of EOTI. Very Happy

From here on out, we'll use this only for posts and use either Facebook or the OOC category for anything else just to prevent clutter.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 24 Feb - 16:38

The sky above was darkening, with the sun slowly sinking towards the horizon, almost out of sight by now and signaling the blessed end of the workday on the Oaklear estate. Roughly two hours previously, the six o’clock bells had sounded in the Himmin Township below, and ever since he’d heard those peals, Lachlan Fox had been watching the sky as if he could convince the sun to set even a quarter-hour earlier than it’s steady rotation dictated. But as a general rule, the sun was much more dependable than the reason Lachlan had for wishing for that early release.

What the Oaklear family thought of Dusk Koh’Tera was common knowledge throughout their estate and Himmin beyond, and it was no secret that they were uneasy at the idea of residing in such close proximity with the lawless youth. Lachlan did not buy that he was dangerous, though. He was certainly not one to conform to the rules of society, but he was not dangerous. A year Lachlan’s junior, Dusk was an apprenticed Mage, and that fact alone made their friendship highly unusual. It was true that Dusk spent more time trying to get out of work and training than he actually did studying under his master, and that his master probably spent more time trying to find his pupil than he spent teaching him, but the system worked for them. As far as Lachlan knew, both were content to let things continue as they always had. For even though Dusk sometimes grew frustrated under his master’s expectations, he did still hold a deep respect for the old Mage.

The pair had come to Himmin in Dusk’s infancy, and as the story went, Mage Keiro had already appealed to the Council of the Myrr to become the boy’s master as soon as his magical abilities had manifested, as they were quite sure they would. And even Lachlan, who knew almost nothing of how Mages were usually apprenticed, knew that this was unusual. Everything about Dusk was unusual, though: his blazing red hair and matching eyes, his attitude towards the other Mages in and around Himmin, his choice of friends and acquaintances, and even his skin tone, which was just a shade darker than Lachlan’s despite the long hours Lachlan spent tending the fields outside. If danger was equated to difference, then yes… Dusk was very dangerous. But that would also make Lachlan and his family dangerous, and so Lachlan had never bought into such closed-minded thinking.

So lost in his thoughts, Lachlan almost missed Reuben’s wave, signaling that it was time to return the plow animals to the barn and head home. He began to unhitch the team of oxen as Reuben trotted over to help. “You heading down to Himmin tonight?” Reuben asked. “I can take care of the team if you want.”

“Nah, that’s fine. They cooperate better for me anyhow.”

Reuben smiled gratefully and clapped him on the shoulder. As his brother turned to leave, Lachlan smiled slightly, though made sure to duck his head away under the pretense of reaching the team’s harness so Reuben wouldn’t see. Reuben had only been trying to repay a favor, but if Lachlan didn’t accept the help, then they were square. And Reuben was free to meet up with Charlotte.

Patting the first ox, Lachlan turned and began to lead them back to the barn, but was stopped almost at once at the sight of a rider approaching from the east. A courier’s bag slung over his shoulder, the man looked to have been on the road some number of days already, for his shirt was dusty and rumpled, and his hat pulled low over disheveled hair. Lachlan reached up to put a hand on either ox as the man road up to him, calming them as they each took a heavy step back from the courier’s large horse.

“This the Oaklear estate?” the man asked, bending down in his saddle and shading his eyes to get a look at Lachlan.

“Yes, sir, it is. What can I do for you?” Lach asked, falling into the rhythm of stroking the two animals on either side of him.

The courier reached into his bag and pulled out an envelope. “Deliver this straight into the hands of Miss Cira Oaklear. As soon as possible.” He handed the letter down to Lachlan, who hastily wiped a hand clean before reaching out to take it.

“I’ll do that,” he answered as the man gave him a nod, then wheeled his horse around and took off again.

Grasping the reigns again, Lachlan clicked his tongue gently to prod the oxen into a slow walk, looking down at the letter in hand as he did so. It wasn’t his right to wonder whom the sender might be or about the contents of the letter, so he pushed it from his mind as he neared the barn, wishing now that he’d taken Reuben up on his offer.

“Jem?” he called out as he neared the barn. The stable master owed him a couple favors as well, though, so Lachlan was confident that the middle-aged man would consent to take care of the team just this one night.

The sound of Jem’s footsteps preceded the man as he stepped out from the darkness of the barn, a smile crossing his face as he saw Lach. “Lachlan, my lad. What can I do for you?”

“I’d like to call out a favor, Jem.”

The stable master’s smile broadened. “You mean you’d like to call in a favor.” He laughed as Lachlan shrugged, then stepped forward to take the oxen from Lach. “Sure thing. Go on, now. Get.”

“Thanks.” And with that, Lachlan turned and set off towards the lake, knowing well that it was the first place he might find Cira Oaklear. He’d seen her down at the water’s edge in training with her master several times that week already, and was quite impressed with the progress she’d made.

Cira Oaklear… she was quite a different sort of Mage than Dusk Koh’Tera. Where Dusk was loud and brash, Cira Oaklear was calm and quiet; where Dusk’s laziness held him back from his training, Lachlan had seen Cira Oaklear sitting at the water’s edge countless time even without her master looking over her shoulder. She was quite dedicated to her art, even if Lachlan didn’t know quite what that art was.

As he approached, Lachlan saw that his guess had indeed been correct. On the other side of the small lake, he could just make out two figures standing in the shallows, though he was yet too far to see what they were doing. One taller, with long white hair held up in a bun, and the other with long blue hair tumbling down to her shoulders, the master and apprentice both held an air of peacefulness about them that was quite unique. Even though he rarely came into contact with Cira Oaklear, Lachlan could still sense that innate peacefulness hanging about her, and it followed her everywhere she went.

He pulled up short just before reaching them, waiting silently for some sort of acknowledgement before approaching Cira and offering her the letter. “Miss Oaklear? This letter just came for you.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 24 Feb - 21:17

Beneath the soft orange hues of the setting sun with hardly a beach or cliff to mark its edge, lay Lake Shaye. The surface, smooth as glass, reflected the violets and lavenders from the clouds above with a quiet lustre, conveying a welcoming feeling of serenity that was visibly contagious. It permeated everything from the warm evening air to the still prairie grasses at its coast, remaining undisturbed regardless of the two figures at the water’s edge. One a young woman, the other much older, they both harmonized with the scene so thoroughly that it was difficult to imagine them elsewhere.

Emulating the calmness of her surroundings in her mind, Cira Oaklear stood with her eyes closed and her bare feet in the gentle waves. Her hands, held palm down by her waist, moved in slow rhythm with the thin streams that rose from the water at her call. It was an eloquent dance between the young Mage and her element where concentration and control were the steps, while understanding created a naturally graceful fluidity in every movement. Beside her, Cira’s master held a tender smile on her lips, her pride in her pupil obvious within the glow of her crystalline blue eyes.

Age had been kind to Lady Ahlmir, but not gentle. The beauty she had possessed in her youth had been something to admire, and though she yet retained her charm, time had long since worn it into a different form. The lines on her face spoke of compassion and intellect while her silver hair whispered of the many experiences in her past, yet her eyes still shone with enough vigor to carry her through many years to come. There was strength in every word of wisdom the Lady said as well, and few knew it better than Cira herself, for Lady Ahlmir had been her inspiration since her youngest memories. They were an inseparable pair in spirit and mind, and it was clear to see for Mage and Common alike.

Noticing a familiar young farmhand making his way down the trail towards them, Lady Ahlmir touched Cira softly on the shoulder to inform her. Without being startled, Cira let the water streams flow smoothly back into their source while her hands drifted carefully downward until she looked as if she’d simply been gazing out to the horizon. Her eyes opened slowly and she turned to her master with a look of question before having her attention diverted to the path behind them by a motion of Lady Ahlmir’s hand.

“Miss Oaklear? This letter just came for you.”

Cira smiled in the wake of the message; the corner of her lips pulling up as a testament to previous conversations she’d had with the man standing before her. Lachlan Fox, son of Arlan, had been living and working on her father’s land since before she had even been born, and as such they were no strangers. In fact, she knew Lachlan better than most of the other farmhands since they had held conversations on several occasions. Of course, Lord Marik Oaklear, Coulcil-Mage and owner of half the land between Himmin and the nearest southerly town, didn’t quite approve of his daughter spending any amount of time conversing with a ‘Common farm-boy’, but Cira had never shared such shallow sentiments. In fact, she’d tried her best to relieve Lachlan of his need to use any sort of a formal title for her, but he always insisted otherwise. He was just too well mannered she supposed, or perhaps it was a tradition born from his father’s Treaganish heritage which she knew admittedly little about, but it was admirable in a frustrating sort of way.

“A letter?” Cira repeated rhetorically. Most of her letters were passed through her father or at least delivered by a delegate of the family who’d sent it. It was quite unusual for her to receive something delivered directly to her in any rite, and so was somewhat exciting.

Walking over to him, Cira received the letter and curiously examined the writing on the front. It was certainly from a noble house judging by the script, and she was quite interested in its contents. Even so, she didn’t open it right there, instead looking to Lachlan.

“Thank you Lachlan.” She said with a smile. “And really, you don’t have to call me ‘Miss Oaklear’. Cira will do, or if you must, ‘Miss Cira’.” She cringed at that, but it was still a step down in formality.

“And how is your family? and your friend Dusk? It’s been a while since we last spoke.” Her interest was genuine, and it showed in her face, for her smile never faded.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Thu 24 Feb - 22:16

Lachlan smiled in a self-conscious sort of way as Cira insisted yet again that he was not to call her ‘Miss Oaklear’. It was almost an on-going battle between them, for since as far back as he could remember, Cira had always insisted that he call her just that. Cira. And each time he hesitated to do so, she would add that ‘Miss Cira’ would be permissible. But even that didn’t seem… proper. At least he wouldn’t have felt it a decent thing to call her, and so he always side-stepped the issue by avoiding her name for a short amount of time and then returning to the familiar, the proper ‘Miss Oaklear’.

He supposed it all came down to the way his father had brought him up. It all came down to knowing one’s station in life and respecting the differences, the authority, the privileges, and the duty that came with each station. It was a careful balance, and not one that Lachlan was willing to upset. In that respect, Cira always made him slightly nervous when she asked him not to address her so formally, for it was his duty to obey her, but also to respect her and her family name.

The only thing Lachlan knew for sure was that neither his father nor Cira’s would be pleased to hear that he’d over-stepped that boundary between them by addressing Cira as she wished him to. He did not often come into contact with Lord Oaklear, but he knew that the man was very different from his daughter. Most of the time, Cira seemed barely aware of the fact that he was Common and she was… not. Her father, though, was of the strong belief that Mages were very different from Commons, and in many ways superior. He supposed it was true, but it had never truly bothered him. As far as he was concerned, it was simply another difference in station.

This belief had come about through observation more so than passed down from his father, though. Lord Oaklear housed them, fed them, clothed them, and in the winters provided their warmth. Several years prior—before Lachlan himself had been born—he had bought Lach’s father safe passage into Lochsalan. They owed him much, and yet Lachlan had always gotten the feeling that his father was uncomfortable around Mages. He didn’t speak on the issue often, and when he did, he was always careful to remind his children how grateful they should be to Lord Oaklear. But Arlan Fox was a man of few words, and often his silence said more than his broken Lochsalanian could.

He fumbled for words for a moment before replying as he usually did. “I’m sorry, Miss Oaklear. I’ll remember next time.” And then, remembering her master, he turned briefly to Lady Ahlmir as well with a short nod of the head. “Good evening, Lady Ahlmir. I hope you’re well.”

And then Cira pressed on with her next usual question. They had held this conversation so often that it was no longer one Lachlan was uncomfortable having with Cira Oaklear, though once upon a time her concern for his family had been… well, something of a mystery in light of her father’s own distance. “They’re well,” he answered briefly, deciding it best not to report Micah’s slight hay fever. It came around every year about this time, and nothing would change that. “And Dusk…” was waiting for him. “He actually has just finished up a week working for Mage Constance Alden.” He hesitated for a moment before continuing, making it clear he did not entirely condone Dusk’s actions. “You, ah, might have heard that he accidentally set her olive trees on fire. Nothing was damaged, though; she was able to set everything right.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Fri 25 Feb - 0:21

Himmin’s main square, day or night, was hardly the most exciting place to spend ones time. In a town of three hundred where only farmers and the odd traveler passed through on a daily basis though, it was pure foolish optimism to expect otherwise. From the well in the center to the general store, smithery, and inn, it had all the bare essentials and not a spot of anything extravagant- minus perhaps the windmill which was still a common sight in most farming villages. However, there was an unmistakable charm to it, and the people acted as if they were all one big family. Thatched roofs, houses built by the labor of grandparents and great grand parents alike, and worn cobble streets were the building blocks of the village, but its lifeblood was the golden crops in the surrounding fields- most of which were owned by Lord Oaklear. It was with that train of thought in mind that Dusk looked irritably out towards the southern horizon where Lachlan- his work finished for the day- should have been arriving from.

“Ah, c’mon Lach.” Dusk grumbled to himself, standing up from where he’d taken refuge on the only set of steps in the whole town. Hands linked behind his head, he paced absently to waste time, glancing over at the horizon periodically to search for a silhouette against the darkening sky. He waited for quite some time against his impatience too, but by the time the sky was taking on shades of navy and purple his patience had run out. Of the two unorthodox friends, Dusk was the truant one. At least, such was most often the case unless Lach found himself snagged up with one particular person- Lord Oaklear’s daughter- in which case Dusk took it upon himself to drag the dreamer back down to solid ground. After all, Lachlan had neither the guts to make a move nor the skills to lockpick himself out of the dungeon that Lord Oaklear would surely toss him in to, and Dusk wasn’t so fond of losing out on a good time after a week at Constance Alden’s olive garden.

Fed up with waiting, Dusk let an audible groan fade into the empty streets around him and set off towards the south. Had Lachlan taken any path towards Himmin through Oaklear land, he would have spotted him. That meant that Lachlan was either still at home, or off in the other direction. Dusk had spotted Reuben in town though, and if Lachlan was going to be intentionally late he would have had the message passed on. So, with an educated guess that sat well in his gut, Dusk set off for the lake. If the young Miss Oaklear was truly Lach’s hold-up, that was the most likely place they would be.


-----------------------------


Cira chuckled slightly and shook her head, knowing that next time would be just the same despite Lachlan’s claim. It was something she could only hope to change in time, and she was glad when Lady Ahlmir spoke up to prevent the subject from going further. After all, it did seem to cause Lachlan a certain level of discomfort each time she made her request, and that was certainly not her intent.

“Good evening to you as well, Lachlan. And I am well, thank you.” Lady Ahlmir, graceful as ever, nodded politely as she spoke. To her, the Fox family was one of the most well mannered families working on the Oaklear land, and Lachlan was most certainly not an exception. She knew unusually little about their father Arlan, except that he was a hardworking man, a good father, and a Treagan. Evidently he’d passed his accent on to his children, as Lachlan spoke with the faintest hint of a Treaganish dialect.

Carrying on, Cira couldn’t help but to chuckle at the mention of Dusk, for she’d heard the tale earlier that day as it had been told by Master Keiro- and with quite a bit more vigour she might add. An old friend of Lady Ahlmir’s, Master Keiro was a man who was no stranger to Cira. His fiery will was matched only by that of his apprentice Dusk, of whom she considered to be between an acquaintance and a friend regardless of his outlandish nature. Trouble seemed to be his constant companion, but Cira found him to be well meaning enough.

“I did hear. It seems Master Keiro wanted a word with him the moment he returned, however I...”

“Lachlan, Lachlan, Lachlan, how many times must I tell you not to talk to women when you’re in your dirty work clothes? Especially not Miss Cira!”

A voice, as friendly as could be, carried down to the lake shore from up on the path causing Cira to look over just as Dusk strolled up and clapped Lachlan on the shoulder. “M’lady.” He said with a gentlemanly bow that did not suit him but was done without sarcastic intention. “Let my apologize for my friend here. You see, he’s always at something of a loss without me. Really, it’s a wonder the poor lad can dress himself in the morning!”

Dusk’s lightheartedness was infectious, and Cira’s smile widened in the presence of the two mismatched friends.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Fri 25 Feb - 17:00

Lachlan’s face began to turn red the moment he heard the voice calling out behind him. He had never complained that Dusk was lazy; he had never complained of Dusk’s sometimes inappropriate or destructive behavior around Himmin; he had never said a word about Dusk’s lack of concern for his future (which he was not very well advancing by spending so much time concocting new ways to slip out of Master Keiro’s lessons). If there was one thing Lachlan would change about Dusk, though, it was his impatience. There was no way he could have been waiting all that long. He had barely been speaking to Cira for two minutes, after all. But Dusk ran on his own schedule, and if that meant that Lachlan was late, Dusk would make it his job to hunt him down and give him a slap on the hand. If Dusk himself were late (which was more often than not the case), well that was a different story altogether.

In all honesty, Lachlan didn’t really care. It was a mark of their friendship that Dusk wouldn’t take no for an answer and actively went looking for him when he wasn’t where he said he’d be. Except that Dusk had caught him at the most inopportune time possible.

His face flamed even more furiously as Dusk continued on, and he found himself wanting to sock Dusk harder than he ever had before. Not in front of Cira, though. Forcing a smile, he clapped Dusk on the shoulder in a similar fashion. “I assure you, Dusk, I have been dressing myself longer than you have, and I do not need a nursemaid to look after me. No matter how strong your desire is.” He looked once at Dusk, as if to beg him to wait just a few more moments, before turning back to Cira. Though it didn’t show on his face, he and Dusk would most certainly be having words about this later. No matter what the reason, Cira had some amount of respect for him, and Dusk was very good at undermining it.

Cira had laughed, though. She found Dusk funny in a way most of Himmin and the Oaklear household did not, and though Lachlan did not feel she was laughing at him, he did wish Dusk had simply waited just a few more minutes. Dusk had effectively cut off their stream of conversation, but Dusk’s presence would not deter him. He’d been waiting for quite some time for an excuse to talk to Cira, and here it was.

“Miss Oaklear, I must admit that the letter is not the only reason I had for seeking you out. Lord Oa… ah, your father recently acquired a new horse—a beautiful white Lochsalanian thoroughbred. She’s a very calm, very gentle. I had thought to offer to take you riding some time.” He folded his hands behind his back, wishing he could close his eyes as he waited for Dusk to burst out laughing beside him, all the while never breaking contact with Cira’s brilliant blue eyes.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sat 26 Feb - 16:42

Though Lachlan’s irritation and frustrated plea had gone into the way he’d returned Dusk’s friendly gesture, Dusk pretended not to notice. Instead most of his focus went to the way Lahlan’s face had become notably flushed, and as he watched his nervous friend out of the corner of his eye, Dusk’s smile gained a fraction of amusement. Oh, Lachlan would undoubtedly bruise his shoulder for it later, but there was nothing Dusk enjoyed more than getting under Lach’s skin when it was the least welcome. Lady Cira didn’t appear to mind, either. If fact, she seemed quite entertained by it all, but Dusk had expected no less. She was one of the few nobles Dusk could respect.

“Ah, you sure know how to crush a guys dreams.” He replied, sounding sarcastically hurt by Lach’s defense. Cira even chuckled at that, but Dusk decided not to push it any further. Lachlan was squirming like a shy little child, and even Dusk could donate a little support for whatever the cause was, even if that support only manifested in keeping his mouth shut for a few seconds. It would save him a from a larger bruise later on, and besides, he was quite sure that Lach was capable of blundering himself up well enough on his on.

“...had thought to offer to take you riding some time.” Huh, well, Dusk hadn’t thought the lad to have it in him to outright ask like that- especially in the wake of Lord Oaklears widely known... prejudices. That, and Cira herself, had been a topic of conversation between the two friends quite often, and each time Dusk urged him to man up and ignore such things. After all, Cira didn’t show the same way of thinking as her father, and Dusk had always reckoned Lach had a better chance than he dared to think. Evidently his advice hadn’t gone totally ignored though, for he watched as Cira’s face took on a similar flush to Lachlan’s before she replied. Lady Ahlmir behind her also had on a small smile that Dusk almost wanted to call out, but he stayed quiet for Cira’s reply.

“I... uh...” Cira stumbled, unable to hold Lach’s eyes despite knowing it was the courteous thing to do. Her hands fidgeted awkwardly as well, and she stayed them by grasping the letter in front of her before continuing on.

“Well, you see...” As her eyes cast to the side for a moment, Dusk noted that Cira’s nervousness wasn’t simply born out of bashfulness. There was something else there, almost like... fear?

“You see, I’m actually quite afraid of horses. Riding them, that is.” Yes, Cira knew that the horse Lachlan spoke of had been bought not only for its looks, but its calm demeanor, yet she had no intentions of sitting atop the broad back of such a creature. To be at its mercy, whether it had good intentions or not, was rather frightening. Each time she even considered it, she remembered a time when her brother Luc had taken her riding. That had been the first- and last- time.

“Ah, you’ve nothing to fear with my man here, m’lady! He may not be able to dress himself, but I assure you he can ride a horse like nobodies business!” Dusk nodded towards Lach, shaking his shoulder a bit as he spoke. “He’s even had me on a horse without being bucked off once! Can you believe that?” His pitch was almost salesman-like, but much more personal. Again, Cira chuckled.

“Indeed it is difficult to believe.” She said playfully, and Dusk appeared to look hurt.

“I might be insulted if it wasn’t true, but I beg of you, give this poor lad a chance. You’ve nothing to fear with him!”

Cira smiled and looked at Lachlan again, her eyes apologizing for her hesitancy that was not his fault in the least. “I suppose fear is something to be conquered, is it not? Perhaps I will enjoy it.” She paused, nodded, and looked Lachlan in the eye. “Very well, I will place my trust in your hands.”

Dusk gave a resounding “Aha!” and shook Lach’s shoulder again. “You won’t regret it, M’lady!”

“Cira is fine, Dusk.” She replied with that same gentle yet lighthearted tone. Dusk nodded. “Cira it is.”














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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sat 26 Feb - 17:48

“O-oh,” Lachlan said, feeling quite sorry that he’d even asked now. It hadn’t really ever occurred to him that he’d never seen Cira Oaklear out riding before, though she certainly could have any time she wanted. Plenty of people had aversions to horses, and preferred walking to riding. For one such as Cira, it would have been an activity pursued only for pleasure.

He hadn’t meant anything by it, though, despite what the look on Dusk’s face said his offer was being interpreted quite differently. He wasn’t like Dusk in that he had never thought to push the limits of the social constraints set on him. And Dusk, who had comparatively fewer restraints on him, seemed to find new ways to upset the social balance every day. Lachlan’s intentions, though, had been purely to Cira’s benefit. She worked much too hard, after all, and rarely did he see her pursuing leisure activities.

“I’m terribly, sorry,” he said quickly. “Really, I just thought you—“

Before he could go on, though, Dusk cut in. Perhaps sensing that Lachlan had been about to back away without another word, he’d decided to take the matter into his own hands and assure Cira that she would have nothing to fear with Lachlan at her side. It was true that he and Dusk had once gone riding, though it wasn’t entirely true that Dusk had stayed seated the entire time. A horse was very attuned to his rider’s feelings, and Dusk—ever the chaotic force—was perhaps not the best adapted to handle a horse. A kind of mistrust had soon formed between Dusk and his mount, and only after Lachlan had taken charge had the horse calmed, eventually allowing Dusk to take the reigns once more. And, as Dusk had said, he amazingly hadn’t been bucked off. Though they hadn’t pushed their luck for very long.

“I suppose fear is something to be conquered, is it not? Perhaps I will enjoy it,” Cira said in the wake of Dusk’s encouraging words. Beside him, Lachlan could feel Dusk’s hand tightening on his shoulder in a kind of premature show of victory. And then she nodded. “Very well, I will place my trust in your hands.”

And strangely enough, Lachlan didn’t know what to say. He felt rather bad for asking Cira to go riding when she genuinely was frightened of horses, and yet his only intention had been to give her a chance to do something… fun. Feeling that he ought to reassure her at least somewhat, he cleared he throat. “You have nothing to worry about, Miss Oaklear. I assure you, Valkyrie is very gentle.” He gave her a reassuring smile, feeling much more nervous than he should have. “Two days from now is my day off. I’ll be available at any time.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sat 26 Feb - 18:44

Internally Cira groaned at the way Lachlan continued to insist on calling her ‘Miss Oaklear’, but she didn’t bother perusing it any further for the time being. Dusk hadn’t had any qualms in making the switch, though she supposed that was due to an obvious difference in their personalities- and, though she didn’t like to admit it, their places in society.

“That sounds great, Lachlan. I’ll be looking forward to it. I’ll be sure to take the evening off from training.” Turning back to Lady Ahlmir to confirm it, Cira was met with a shake of the head as her master walked up to the three of them.

“No child, you should take the entire day off. A break is a vital part of any training, and besides, it’s high time you surrounded yourself with company closer to your own age for a change, hmm?” There was no force in Lady Ahlmir’s soft voice, but it was quite clear that her words had been more than a suggestion. In the face of that tame finality, Cira could do no more than nod and turn back to Lachlan.

“Well then, it appears my entire day will be free. I will meet you at the stables at noon, if that is alright?” She still felt a little nervous about the whole thing, but a third factor was just starting to tug at her. Her father would most certainly protest their meeting, and it would be hard for him not to hear about it when Valkyrie was his newest, and most beautiful, horse. Lady Ahlmir would most certainly be willing to help her deal with her father though, and so she decided to cross that bridge when she came to it.

“Well, then it’s settled! I apologize, but I must take this grubby man for the remainder of the night. There’s havoc to be caused and celebrations to be attended to, I’m sure you understand.” Dusk, thumbing towards Lach, knew that Cira would have little to no understanding of havoc, but she had no trouble in catching his sarcasm.

“I do indeed.” Cira replied, honestly not having a clue. She made no motions to hide it either, for anything Dusk had planned was likely best left unexplained. As far as she knew though, he had well enough intentions, and if that ever came into question, well, that was why Lachlan was there. The nature of their friendship seemed to be based on a careful balancing out of each other to an almost comedic degree. If there was a more unorthodox yet unquestionable pair in Himmin and the surrounding area, Cira had yet to meet them.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sat 26 Feb - 23:25

Lachlan smiled slightly as Lady Ahlmir stepped forward, suggesting that Cira take more than just an evening off, but the entire day. And though if anyone deserved it, it was Cira, Lachlan knew that that the thought had simply never occurred to her. So dedicated to her schooling was she that she hardly stopped to consider anything else. Dusk had taught him that life couldn’t be all seriousness, and if anything, he hoped that Cira would….

“Noon,” Lachlan repeated, his mouth very dry. He nodded, acutely aware of the fact that he had suddenly become even less articulate than usual in front of her. It was Dusk’s presence. Oh, if only Dusk had waited! This whole ordeal would have gone down so much more smoothly, Lachlan wouldn’t have left off feeling so guilty, and he wouldn’t have the horrible thought hovering in the back of his mind that he was asking for just a little more than an afternoon excursion by horse back. “That would be perfect.” Turning to Lady Ahlmir, he nodded in thanks. She might have been the source of Cira’s studiousness, but she was also the one, it seemed, who would be nudging Cira to remember that there was more to life.

“Well…”

“Well, then it’s settled!” And once again, Lachlan’s face found another reason to redden. He was growing increasingly thankful for the quickly darkening sky. At least this time he hadn’t felt the sting of mortification as last time. This time it was bearable, for Dusk had just bowed them out, thereby cutting off his ability to do future damage.

Before Dusk could drag him away, Lachlan nodded once more to both Lady Ahlmir and Cira. “Good evening, then. Lady Ahlmir. Miss Oaklear.”

And with that, Dusk was practically pulling him away. He went willingly, though now that he’d turned away from Cira, he closed his eyes for a moment in sheer horror at what had happened. He didn’t need Dusk to help make a fool of himself. As Dusk was so very fond of pointing out, he was quite good at doing that all on his own… even if he wasn’t quite adept at the art of dressing himself yet.

Dusk took the lead, following the path stretching north into Himmin, barely able to restrain himself from breaking into a run, it seemed. Lachlan was sure that he would have much to tell him of his week spent working under Constance Alden, and much more complaining to do. He likely wanted to get down to that as soon as possible, but as far as Lachlan was concerned, it could now wait.

In fact… the moment they reached the boarder of Lord Oaklear’s land and crossed into Himmin proper, Lachlan dove at Dusk and caught him up in a fierce headlock, forcing Dusk into an awkward position half way between squatting and standing. “Damn it, Dusk!” he shouted through gritted teeth. “Damn it! You couldn’t wait, could you?”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 27 Feb - 16:10

Bidding them a good evening, Lachlan set back up the path towards Himmin with Dusk a few steps in the lead, and Cira’s eyes followed them until they were a good deal in the distance. Horseback riding... it wasn’t something she had ever intended to venture into, but her reservations felt overridden in some way. Logic reminded her that Lachlan was a natural with animals in a way that few others were, but that was only half of what had allowed her take up the offer. Dusk’s pitch had played a small part perhaps, but even that wasn’t it. There was just something about the boy that made him easy to trust.

“A charming fellow that Lachlan Fox. Well mannered, too.”

Cira turned and nodded to Lady Ahlmir, the smile still present on her face. “Indeed he is, though I wish I could shake him of his insistence in calling me by such a formal title.”

Lady Ahlmir gave her pupil a look that she’d seen many times before, and though it had no true meaning, Cira always felt more inclined to take things as they were. “It speaks to the admirable simplicity in his character.” The Lady said, looking towards the path where Dusk and Lachlan had long since walked out of sight. “Though there is more to the lad then we see, I do believe.”

This drew an inquisitive expression from Cira which Lady Ahlmir understood as a cue to explain.

“Can you not feel it? There is a stirring in him, distant and dormant as it may be, that suggests there may be magic deep within him.”

Cira’s eyes searched her master’s face for any signs that she was joking, but found nothing of the sort.

“Are you certain? I have never noticed, and he is well past the age for such things to manifest.” Though she knew it wasn’t impossible, it was very uncommon for magical ability to lie dormant into ones adulthood.

“Nothing is certain child, but I believe it would be best for you to try and sense it for yourself.”

Slowly, Cira nodded and turned her eyes back out to the trail. Lady Ahlmir was rarely wrong about such things, but it was something she would have to see to believe. For now...

Cira lifted the letter she’d been gripping since Lachlan’s delivery and turned it over several times in her hands before tentatively breaking the seal. Even as she unfolded the parchment within, the contents were a mystery. Just as the envelope had been, the script within was very regal looking, and clearly written with ink and a quill of fine quality. With this in mind, she read on.


(( This is a short post primarily for Ark. I have to run to work for a bit, and then I'll get a Dusk post up. ))

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 27 Feb - 21:21

Behind him as he may be, Lachlan’s expression was still crystal clear in Dusk’s head. They’d known each other long enough that there was no guesswork involved when it came to determining the reactions one could get from pushing specific buttons, and Dusk had known what he was going to be getting himself in to from the start. Merely acting on his impatience had been button one, and interrupting the conversation with Cira had been button two. Then there was embarrassing Lach, convincing Cira in spite of her uncertainty, and one more for every word in-between. Oh yes, depending on his mood, Lachlan was either going to sock him or give him more than a few words the moment they were out of view. If Dusk was any sort of a judge of character though, it was going to be something between. Sure enough, as soon as the shadow of the shallow hill overcame them, Dusk found himself head-locked and walking awkwardly just to keep moving.

“Ay! Ay!” He protested, laughing as he made meager attempts to escape Lach’s grasp. “I just secured you a date with none other than Miss Cira Oaklear herself!” With a quick tug, Dusk yanked himself free from the arm around his neck and took a second to regain his balance before moving on.

“You’da backed off the moment she told you she was afraid of horses, right?” He didn’t really need confirmation, but he pointed at Lach while he said it as if that justified everything by itself.

“And before you say anything, I get it. It’s not ‘gentlemanly’ to convince her to do something she doesn’t want to, but just think about this:”

With an energy that had nearly been drained from him during his week with Constance Alden, Dusk took a long stride that put him in front of Lach so that he could walk backwards while he spoke.

“If she’s outside of her comfort zone, it means that she’s vulnerable, right? Well, that’s where ‘you’,” He pointed at Lachlan with both fingers. “get to come in and be the ‘steady arm’ and ‘voice of encouragement’, you follow? Besides, if she’s never been on a horse, you’re going to have to sit up there with her to teach her how to use the reigns and what have you, yes?” Just by the look on his face, Dusk believed he was on to something, and he’d be hard pressed to admit it wasn’t genius.

“Cira doesn’t seem like the rest of those tight-collared nobles, anyway. I bet you ten silver she will actually enjoy it if you just, you know, loosen up a bit.”

Just before he could turn and face forward, Dusk nearly fell over as he felt himself hit something hard. It hadn’t been really hard though, not like a wall, and he knew his way around so well that it simply didn’t make any sense. There weren’t all that many people out at that hour anyway unless they were making their way to or from the tavern, and even so it wouldn’t have taken much for someone to move out of the way. With all that in mind, the dread in Dusk’s gut grew as he slowly turned to face front, a low voice meeting him before the menacingly amused smile.

“Hello, Dusk.”

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 27 Feb - 21:37

"Dearest Cira,

It feels as if it has been ages since last we met. I am not certain that you will remember me, but I'm Yild, the Archduke's grandnephew. We met at one of my fathers parties, years ago, and you made quite the impression on me. Few others are willing to call out the horrors of that green monstrosity she insists on me wearing, but citing someone who was willing to agree with me on the subject has saved me from many a badly dressed encounter since, and I do thank you for it.

I have been told you are training as a proper Mage now, and though I'm not quite certain what that entails, I do hope they allow you letters. I have been kept quite busy with my schooling, but as I was struck with an ailment have been unable to leave town for quite some time, though I am certain the half of the delay has been caused only by my mother's nagging. It shames me that I have been unable to make correspondance with you sooner, but I have managed to reach your father on several occassions, and from what he says you seem to be doing well. I hope that is the case. You had such a beautiful smile when we last met.

And it is one I would like to see again soon. My Granduncle has appointed me to be the Governor of a port to the South, and my parents have kept me quite busy learning all the right edicits and procedures for the post, so I have had little freedom recently, but I find that I might very well be passing through Himmin soon, as I have been invited there by an old friend of mine, and I wish very much to see you while I am there as well. There is something of great importance we need to talk about, that simply isn't proper to discuss with only a letter, and of a rather more personal nature. I would leave hint of it, but fear with a good deal of due case that my mother might intercept this letter and twist my words, and so I am afraid it simply must be done in person.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Governor Yildegarde Slauth"

The word Governor had been scrawled in later, with a seperate, darker pen, and below it was a large stamp with the crest of the Slauth household upon it in a blueish tone waxy material.[left]
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 27 Feb - 22:37

“That wasn’t what it was meant to be!” Lachlan shouted, all the while with Dusk still floundering within his tight grip. He didn’t know whether he wanted to shake Dusk or strangle him, but both seemed to be very imminent outcomes. “Do you have even the slightest…? I mean, do you know how much trouble there could be if anyone but you started assuming that that’s what I wanted? That that’s what I was asking for?” His face was red, but with anger now. “I know that’s not my place, Dusk.” As he said this, his grip loosened slightly, and Dusk took the opportunity to wriggle free.

But Dusk wasn’t done. He sprang upright with an almost absurd buoyancy and spun around so that he was walking backwards, grinning at Lach.

“Yes. I would have. And id’uve been the right thing to do.” He spoke quietly, but there was heat in his voice yet. Dusk… he just didn’t get it sometimes. Dusk could get away with an extraordinary amount of mischief—some of it even dangerous. He no longer really had a respectable reputation to fear tarnishing. And he was quite all right with it. But the thought of losing his reputation as Himmin’s chief trouble-maker… Lachlan thought the prospect would genuinely scare Dusk. And there was the difference between them. The repercussions of Dusk’s actions always rolled off of him like water off a duck’s back. Lachlan didn’t have that kind of leeway to work with, though. And he didn’t need it. Except when he was around Dusk.

As Dusk continued on, painting a picture of the Cira that Lachlan would meet up with on the day after next Lachlan grew perceptibly guiltier. Oh, the way Dusk spoke, like Lachlan would be some kind of lifeline for Cira! That wasn’t what he’d wanted. Horrors, no! He hadn’t wanted to drag her into a potentially dangerous situation (or at least one that could seem so to her) only to become the one she relied on. The ‘steady arm’, as Dusk put it. But worse was to make her feel vulnerable, only so that he could act as that voice of encouragement. It wasn’t… it wasn’t right.

His lips drew down into a thin line, and his eyes bored into Dusk’s, but he didn’t speak yet. He hoped Cira would find it in her to enjoy herself. But it wasn’t the way Dusk had painted the picture. He could only hope that Cira hadn’t misinterpreted his offer as Dusk had. Or as Dusk wanted to. How many times, after all, had they been through this conversation? Cira Oaklear, noble born daughter of Lachlan’s employer, Lord Marik Oaklear, had no reason to so much as look at him. He could not afford to dare to think of this as any more than it was: a simple afternoon horseback riding, he acting merely as guide.

As Dusk spoke, a shadow unpeeled itself from its place leaning against a hitching post near the general mercantile, and Lachlan had to fight to keep his face straight as the figure’s face came into the light. Casually placing himself directly into Dusk’s path, Master Keiro waited until…

“Hello, Dusk.”

Lachlan grinned wolfishly. “Good evening, Master Keiro.” He had a feeling he would thoroughly enjoy this confrontation between pupil and master.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Sun 27 Feb - 23:54

Constance Alden, when enraged, had always reminded Dusk of a a vulture. Her general figure and facial structure played a large part in the imagery, but that only told half the story. Her nails, always well kept and polished, were long enough to tear skin or clothing, and her shout was something better suited to a bird of prey. She was quick too for an old lady, and Dusk was half convinced that wings were to blame for her uncanny ability to nearly keep up with a healthy young man such as himself. If Alden was a vulture though, Keiro was some sort of demon from the very depths of the most horrid fiery realm one could dream up. Old as he was, Keiro had taken the wear and tear of the years in his past and weathered himself with it, creating a strength that mere muscle and skill could not. Like the fire he wielded, his wrath- which Dusk found himself at the mercy of all too often- was unforgiving and destructive, and yet the other Mages in the village considered him a great source of knowledge and fighting spirit that was apparently admirable. Dusk didn’t really care what was admirable though. At least, not when he had to dodge fist and flame.

“Lachlan.” Keiro said flatly, nodding to the boy before turning back to his pupil who was looking a little lost for words. As if to prove it, the only thing that escaped his mouth was an unassuming “Uhh... hey.”, which only made Keiro’s frown pull lower. Dusk’s lack of respect was one thing, but there were more pressing issues to be dealt with.

“Alden tells me she nearly lost a whole acre of trees to fire. I don’t suppose you, of all people, would have ‘anything’ to do with that, now would you boy?” The gruffness in Keiro’s voice and the almost painful amount of sarcasm spoke bounds for itself, and one didn’t even need to speculate to know that Keiro already knew the answer to that question. Still, he watched with a growing angle to his brow as Dusk tried fruitlessly to give an innocent half-smile to tie in with his equally successful reply.

“Erm... no... ?”

Instantaneously a ball of flame flickered to life in both of Keiro’s hands where they hung at his sides, and though the flames licked at his cloak, nothing caught fire. It wouldn't be the same for Dusk’s clothes though, or his hair for that matter, and he wasn’t too fond of the idea of losing an eyebrow.

“Like hell.” Keiro growled, and Dusk immediately went into the first defense he could pull up.

“H-hey, I didn’t mean to! I mean, it wasn’t exactly my fault! ‘Cause I.. well.. you see..”

Raising his hands, Dusk took a couple cautious steps back before noticing the smirk on Lachlan’s face. Oh, so he thought it was funny? Dusk was about to show him just how funny it was.

“You see, Lachlan here dared me to do it! He didn’t believe I could light more than a twig on fire because, well...” Dusk looked at Lachlan for a fraction of a second, his eyes displaying everything that he couldn’t allow himself to betray otherwise. If Lachlan was content to watch him go up in flames, then he was going to be right there beside him.

“He said you were a hack-job master, and you couldn’t teach worth a damn. That, and he said he’s certain you have a thing for Alden, so he thought it might be a good way to get you two talking. I was only trying to defend you and do you a favor, you see.”

There it was with the buttons again, and Dusk had just pushed the worst two he could think of. Keiro hated Alden, but even worse, he hated it when his Mage skills were depreciated. Whether or not he had the sense to know that Lachlan was innocent, Dusk doubted it would matter. Sure enough, not a second after Dusk turned tail and ran, two fireballs were already en’route, and only one was aimed at him. He just hoped Lachlan had enough sense to run first and defend himself later.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 28 Feb - 15:57

Lachlan’s grin widened upon Dusk’s rather weak greeting to his master. If there was one person in the vastness of all of Eoti whom Dusk feared, it was the man who’d raised him. Perhaps Keiro wasn’t always able to keep Dusk in line, but neither could Dusk run forever. In the aftermath of every misdeed he’d ever committed, Dusk had wormed his way out of punishment for some period of time by physically distancing himself from his master. But in the end, he’d always have to admit defeat and return home because Keiro was all he had. Lachlan still recalled Dusk’s younger years when he’d had even less realistic notions stuck in his head than he did now. The time he’d run away, for instance. He hadn’t made it more than a few days before realizing that he needed Keiro in the same way Lachlan’s family was dependent on the Oaklears.

That kind of dependence could only be fostered with respect or fear, and most of the time Dusk and Keiro’s relationship seemed to be built upon fear. Not that the respect wasn’t there deep down… somewhere….

Keiro’s very words, his sarcastic tone, and the way he looked down upon his apprentice all combined to inspire that singular fear which revealed itself in Dusk’s weak answer: “Erm… no…?”

Lachlan felt his insides grow cold as the look on Keiro’s face twisted. “Like hell,” he muttered, and two balls of brilliant orange and yellow flame burst into being beside him. And though the fury was directed at Dusk only, Lachlan couldn’t help but take a fearful step backwards, all thoughts falling from his mind except one: that Keiro truly meant to teach Dusk a lesson this time. That he meant to leave a scar—a physical reminder to Dusk of what he’d done.

And with all of that power at his very fingertips, Keiro had the terrible ability to follow through with his threats.

And this… this is why we fear them.

He glanced sideways at Dusk in time to catch Dusk looking at him with telling look in his eyes. Oh, Lachlan had seen this look before—the one that said they would go down together. Even as Dusk began to speak against him, though, Lachlan couldn’t quite believe what his ears were telling him. When Dusk had set Constance Alden’s olive trees on fire, he’d crossed the line, and now he was dragging Lachlan over it with him.

“I did no…” Before he could get the words out, though, Lachlan found that he was staring down one of Keiro’s fireballs. Without thinking, he turned tail and ran as fast as he could, not even waiting to see which way Dusk was headed.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 28 Feb - 19:05

If his years with Keiro had taught Dusk anything, it was how to dodge a fireball. He had developed an almost preemptive sixth sense when it came to Keiro’s flaming projectiles, and he considered it to be one of the most useful skills the old man had inadvertently taught him. Sure, it had never been in the plans, but that was the one skill Dusk could almost enjoy practicing- almost. It was hard to fully enjoy anything when a single slip up could leave you smoldering like an old campfire, though.

Feeling the heat as Keiro’s first fireball roared up from behind him, Dusk sidestepped hard to the right before diving to the left, rolling back on to his feet with a skill more akin to an acrobat. That too came from the uncountable hours spent trying to escape from his master, but it rarely came to use otherwise.

Sparing a glance over his shoulder, Dusk’s eyes followed Lachlan as he ran for his life from the glowing orb that was gaining on him. As much as he wanted to see Lach try to flounder out an escape, Dusk knew he couldn’t leave the poor Common farmboy to fend for himself. So, turning sharply, Dusk put himself on an interception course with Lachlan, knowing that he was going to be cutting it close.

“Lach, tuck your shoulder!” Dusk called out, launching himself through the air when he had only a few more steps to go. He caught Lachlan around the waist in a tackle, and sent them both tumbling into an alleyway as the fireball soared past and dissipated. Before too much momentum could be lost however, Dusk was back on his feet and yanking Lachlan up, taking off again the moment they were both back on their feet.

“C’mon!” Dusk called back, waiving for Lachlan to follow. “Almost there!”

Winding through the alleyways in way that might have seemed frantic if Dusk didn’t know where he was going, they took several twists and turns in an attempt to shake the fireballs that were always just a few steps behind. For the most part a single turn would cause the fireball to slam into a wall where it exploded and disappeared without effect, but the game was all about making those turns in time. Sure enough, this was something Dusk was well practiced at as well, and by the time he stopped at a cellar door the alleyways were strangely quiet.

“Get in! Get in!” Dusk rushed, unlocking the wooden door and ushering Lach inside before slipping in himself and locking the door behind him. Not a moment later, the sound of a fireball exploding somewhere above made him catch his breath, but he breathed it out soon enough as the sound of a pair of hurried feet padded harmlessly past. Cautiously, Dusk looked back and nodded to Lach through the dim light of the tavern cellar. They were safe. For now, at least.

“Whooh, that was closer than even I like to cut it.” Leaning into his knees, Dusk to a couple seconds to catch his breath. He was in great shape, but there was something about running for his life that just took it out of him.

“And don’t worry about him coming after you, I’ll straighten him out later. Somewhere between the yelling and disappointed speech or two I have coming my way.” Yep, Keiro was going to lay it on thick this time. Dusk could handle being yelled at since he could yell back, but that damn disappointed tone the old man used sometimes was a different story. It always made him feel as if his parents would be ashamed of him if they were still around. That was a whole new issue though, and Dusk didn’t much enjoy delving into it.

“Jeez, and all that for something I didn’t even mean to do.” Though Dusk had chuckled, a bit of bitter frustration had seeped in. To tell Keiro that it was an accident and explain what had really happened would only make things worse.




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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 28 Feb - 21:15

“Lach!” Dusk’s already out of breath voice rang out against the night, but over the pounding of his shoes against the cobbled street and the furious beat of his heart, he couldn’t tell which direction it had come from. “Tuck your shoulder!” Shoulder… which one?! But before Lachlan could snarl back a thanks for the helpful advice, Dusk slammed into him, taking him down in a spectacular tackle that pounded the breath out of both of them as they hit the pavement.

Obviously quite a bit more practiced in the art of escaping from his master, Dusk was already back on his feet while Lachlan was just trying to regain his bearings. It didn’t matter, though, for Dusk was hauling him to his feet and launching himself down an alleyway.

In a matter of moments, Lachlan was quite lost, and the only way he kept from losing Dusk was by keeping his eyes trained hard on Dusk’s heels. He didn’t know the intricacies of Himmin as Dusk did, and if left on his own, would likely have been cornered by Keiro in a matter of moments. Dusk had a destination in mind, though, and even if he was the one who’d put the finger on Lach to begin with, he didn’t seem about to leave Lachlan to defend himself before his master’s insatiable fury.

“Get in, get in!” Dusk whispered, his hand on Lachlan’s back as he hurried him through a back door. As Dusk hastily closed the door behind him, Lachlan took a shaky look around before sinking down to sit on a barrel and letting his head sink into his hands. He was shaking.

Hands twisting in his long, dark hair, Lachlan stared wide-eyed at the ground as Dusk let out a shaky breath and almost laughed at their close escape. “Like hell it wasn’t an accident,” Lach whispered. “That wasn’t funny, Dusk.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 28 Feb - 21:58

Dusk didn’t reply for several seconds while he caught the remainder of his breath and listened closely for and sign that Keiro might still be outside. It was always when he felt safe that the old man would appear, and by then Dusk would cornered and unable to escape. Still, he had reason to be confident in his belief that their breakaway had been a clean one, as Emira had only given him the key to the tavern cellar the night before. It was a new hiding spot in a town where there weren’t many left, and he just hoped it was as good as he thought it was.

“I beg to differ.” Dusk chuckled, that mischievous smile of his making an appearance. “Ah, Keiro wouldn’t have hurt you anyway, just scared you half to death. I doubt he completely bought my story anyway. He’s just easy to set off when he’s pissed like that.” That, and Dusk just knew what to say. Besides, he knew that Lachlan would have thoroughly enjoyed watching Keiro lay him out, and that would have been just as cruel. It would be something to laugh about later.

“But seriously, it was an accident. Setting Alden’s trees on fire, I mean.”

Lighting the nearest torch with a wave of his hand, Dusk had to take special care not to overdo it and burn one of his favorite places in the town down. It was pitiful really, that a Mage Dusk’s age had to be so careful with such a simple task, but he finished it and moved on to one of the ale tankards without dwelling on it.

“Don’t get me wrong, her face was priceless, but it wasn’t worth all the trouble.”

Grabbing a mug, Dusk began filling it as he continued to talk.

“I was just trying to, you know, practice; without Keiro around. Things just got kinda out of hand. I was actually trying to put the flames out when Alden came screeching up, if you can believe that.” He and Lach had already been over his frustrations with the way Keiro taught, and Dusk knew he didn’t need to explain it in depth. What he’d been trying to practice had been mild, but Keiro would have strictly forbade it. That fact alone was why he had agreed to help Alden with her olives, and though he had intended to get under Alden’s skin, he hadn’t meant to do any real damage. Such was the story of his life though, and he was finished complaining.

“Here, Emira owes me a few pints.” Dusk said, handing Lachlan a full mug as he sipped his own. Whether they stayed down there or went upstairs he didn’t really care, so long as there wasn’t someone chasing him down or shouting his ear off.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Mon 28 Feb - 23:56

Lachlan said nothing, but his face tightened as Dusk laughed a bit to himself over the whole fiasco. No doubt, he thought the thing was all a good laugh. Dusk was likely wondering why Lach wasn’t quite ready to join in just yet. The thing was, it would take Lachlan longer to shake off that fear he’d felt. Keiro had been… well, he’d seen Keiro angry before, but never quite to that extent. Why Dusk continued to prod at Keiro so, Lachlan wouldn’t know. But he was extremely thankful that his own father was not a Mage. He would gladly take a good hiding over… over Keiro… any day.

Reaching out, Lachlan took the mug of ale from Dusk and took a long draught without questioning Dusk’s story. Any other time, he would have made sure that he was actually telling the truth before accepting the mug. If he were lying through his teeth again, though (which Lachlan wouldn’t put it past him to do, even now), Lachlan would just see that Dusk paid Emira back later. His nerves needed the drink now.

Feeling himself begin to calm now, Lachlan stood and hooked a thumb into his belt loop, turning from Dusk and pacing a few steps. He rarely told Dusk, and often tried not to let on, but the fact of the matter was that Dusk and his use of magic rather scared Lachlan. And if Dusk was able to inspire even a little bit of fear in him… well, Keiro had been another thing altogether. Sure, the small displays were sort of entertaining, such as when Dusk lit a small flame in the palm of his hand and simply allowed it to hover there. But beyond that… even Dusk’s lighting of the torch had made him nervous, for he’d seen Dusk screw something even that simple up before. But what Keiro had done…? Well, that was exactly the reason his father always warned him to be careful around the Mages… and why he’d never exactly approved of Lachlan’s unusual friendship with Dusk Koh’Tera. As in all areas of Lachlan’s life, though, his father had simply left him alone over the matter, adhering to the principle that if Lachlan hurt himself in the process, the consequences would speak for themselves. This was one of those consequences: feeling the sheer terror of staring down one of Keiro’s fireballs, having absolutely no way to defend against it.

“Why don’t I believe you?” he muttered, staring into his mug. Probably because Dusk had the habit of telling the truth only about half of the time, he answered himself.

Shaking himself, he turned back to Dusk. “Look. I’m not going to pretend to understand how you get some sort of thrill out of that… but don’t drag me into it next time.”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 1 Mar - 3:12

Even though nothing had been said, Dusk had seen that moment of pause in Lachlan’s eyes as he took the mug that had been handed to him, and he didn’t much appreciate the obvious mistrust behind it. True, Dusk was trouble and he knew it, but he was no thief. It was more than a little insulting that his own best friend- and indeed, one of maybe two or three people that he could call friends- could think that. Were he in a slightly worse mood, Dusk might have called it out. Instead, he just took a chug from his own mug in a successful effort to keep his mouth shut.

Walking over to a stack of crates just a few paces away, Dusk sat him down just in time to catch Lachlan’s mumble to which he scoffed in reply. Either Lach was intentionally choosing a bad time to voice his views, or the run in with Keiro had really shaken him up. That wasn’t really surprising though, for Dusk had long since noticed Lach’s uneasiness around all things involving magic even though he tried to hide it, and he often wondered why Lachlan still chose to be around him. Of course, Dusk had only spoken out about it once or twice and usually just in jest, but it always bothered him that Lach had the capacity to entertain the same thoughts as the many Mage-haters Dusk had run into during the years. Perhaps Lach’s reservations were milder than the average Common, but they were there nonetheless.

“Alright, fine,” Dusk said, a little gruffer than he had meant to when coupled with the hand motions. “I’ll remember that I’m on my own next time, and I might as well keep my honesty to myself while I’m at it.” Again taking a sip to force himself to simmer down, Dusk just shook his head. Lachlan and Keiro were the only two people really capable of souring his usually impenetrable happy-go-lucky demeanor, but there were different reasons for each. When it came to Lach, Dusk knew that he was one of the few people whose opinion of him really mattered. In fact, maybe the only person. It was for that reason that Lachlan’s little comments and reactions didn’t just bounce off like they did with everyone else, no matter how much Dusk sometimes wished they would.

“You’re always so edgy around magic.” He continued, unintentionally insinuating the thoughts going through his head. Accident as it might have been, Dusk didn’t make a move to retract the statement. “I told you Keiro wouldn’t have hurt you, and I wasn’t lying. Otherwise I wouldn’t have brought you in to it.”

Though he wasn’t facing Lach, Dusk turned his head to look at him as he finished, allowing his expression to say the rest. Why was it that whenever magic came up, Lach totally forgot the things he otherwise didn’t need to be reminded of? Dusk was crazy, but he wasn’t stupid, and he certainly wasn’t going to endanger his best friend intentionally.

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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 1 Mar - 10:25

“All right, fine! You were telling the truth. The fire was an accident,” Lachlan growled impatiently. That injured voice Dusk could sometimes put on—it bothered him because sometimes it could be so genuine, and at other times Dusk could adopt the tone as easily as he could put on and take off his cloak. If Dusk wanted to insist that baiting Constance Alden had been intentional, but the actual damage had not been, well then Lachlan was more inclined to believe him. And yet he almost wished Dusk were lying this time, because the truth meant that Dusk had lost control of himself. Again. It meant that Keiro had good reason to be angry. It meant that Dusk’s magic was… dangerous.

“You’re always edgy around magic.” Dusk’s quiet voice broke the quiet that had fallen between them. And the unspoken rule between them that had always steered them away from speaking openly about Lachlan’s reservations in the face of magic. No, not even reservations. If Dusk was going to bring it up, they might as well call it what it was: fear.

He had spent many nights lying awake simply thinking about it, knowing that he would never be able to truly justify himself to Dusk if the subject was ever brought up, even despite Dusk’s own lack of control over his abilities. Fear was an irrational tormentor, though. It started with a difference, no matter how large or small, and wormed its way into the heart, poisoning the mind against the different. It didn’t take a Mage to inspire fear. There were those who would stay away from Lachlan’s father for the same reason that most Commons would stay far from the Mages. And though in his younger years, Lachlan had felt indignant at the ostracism, he knew now that it was no different for Dusk. But that knowledge did not lessen the fear.

Lachlan forced himself to meet Dusk’s eyes as he looked over. There was accusation written in Dusk’s red eyes. It was like a slap in the face, really, but Lachlan’s eyes still didn’t shy from Dusk’s as he tried to convey his own lack of understanding in the matter. Perhaps it was inborn. Perhaps it was universal to all Commons. But at least he was fighting it through his very friendship with Dusk!

…Right?

“I….” There really was no defense. Dusk had spoken a simple truth. Two of them, actually. “Just forget it, Dusk. Why even bring it up?”
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Tue 1 Mar - 22:15

It looked as if a storm might be coming soon. A light drizzle fell gently on the fields surrounding the high walled mansion, drops of water falling against the outside of the window and dripping down in tiny streams. But the sky was still a pale blue, even at the late hour, with clouds intermittently dispersed at best. Yildegarde Slauth sighed, and looked at his reflection in the glass. Fair skin, silvery white hair down to the neck, and vivid violet eyes looked back, and Yild groaned to himself. He had been quite set on going into town for a while in the evening, but there would be no leaving in this weather, not with all of the mud it would cause. The roads would be a mess, and his chair's wheels wouldn't be able to handle it.

He shuffled uncomfortably in that very chair, even though it was nicely padded, and ran his good arm through his hair as the other lay limply in his lap. Yild was quite aware of his afflictions limitations. He suffered from a genetic ailment; a slow degeneration of the nerves that sent signals throughout his body, that originated in his legs and had grown steadily worse the older he grew. His parents had drawn in the best of all the physicians in the world, and even MediMages, but even their magical healing arts had been able to help him little. It wasn't the same as a simple severed limb, which could in this day and age be replaced with a fine prosthetic. The source of the disease meant that the limbs remained perfectly healthy past their immobility, and that a replacement would only serve to remove any chance of their recovery.

That prospect was something that Yild continued to cling to. While his affliction had started in earnest rather early into his childhood, it had just a few years past ceased to continue its actual deterioration, and eased into a stable paralysis, from which Yild had retained all but his legs and left arm. The doctors had said that with time, and regular exercise, there was a chance that in the very distant future he might have a chance at recovering some if not all of the functions, and he didn't lose hope no matter how large the if. Still, at this point the chair was the only real way for him to get around, these days, when even crutches and leg braces had ceased to allow him mobility. His parents had had it specially designed, and it was the only and finest of its kind. But when it came to stormy weather, the wheels weren't exactly the most reliable sources. And that too, he had grown accustomed to.

At the very least it would have been nice to take a trip to the family barber. Yild didn't mind his hair the length it was, personally, and even considered it a bit dashing. But his mother was very specific when it came to sorting out his appearance, and she insisted that the style of the time was short and militant. It would make him look bold, she said, and he really had very little he could do to repel her when she had her mind set on something.

It was no wonder they kept acquiring beachfront homes. His mother didn't even enjoy the beach, but would simply look at the view and then decide they needed another spot to vacation during their spare time. Which was mostly always, really. Handling the estate took much less time than his father insisted, and he barely even looked into it anymore. A family of such high esteem as the Slauth's tended to have money simply come to it, and no longer needed to actively work for their fortunes. Most people would anyway, but unfortunately his parents were not most people. Still, they had the talent to handle the situation if an emergency ever did pop up, and Yild knew he just had to rely on his father to stop playing with puzzles and actually deal with them if they did.

But that was of little concern to him now. Afterall, he was in the middle of his own emergency, and it was about something far more frightening than keeping with his mothers trends. He had just written what might possibly have been the most important letter of his young life, and as far as he could tell from his companion's expression as the taller man looked over the draft Yild had provided him, the letter was approximately as good of a read as a pile of manure. Not the fertilizing kind either. Yild didn't know much about farming, but he knew enough to tell the difference. And Drow's face clearly indicated a worse case scenario.

Drow had had his own brush with misfortune, but remained Yild's most reliable bodyguard, and one of his few continued companions. The man was barely four years Yild's elder, but one would think from the patch over his eye and the clinking of his prosthetic right arm as he raised the letter to the light that he had had considerably more life experience. He was a positive fellow, for as long as Yild had known him, and despite the scar's that marked the right half of his face in two long gashes, and his trained manners, managed to display quite well that he was still full of enough vigor and good humor to outshine even his unwounded comrades.

The bodyguard's injuries had been sustained in the line of duty. He had enlisted in the Lochsalanian army, but within his first month in the field had been hit by Ra'an cannonfire, and lost his arm. Though it was commonplace enough for soldiers to operate with prosthetic limbs, the damage had also taken his eye, and the loss of depth perception had earned him an honorable discharge from active duty. It hadn't however, taken away his urge to serve his country, and Yild had hired him on the spot when the recovering soldier had passed through town a good six years ago now. The official position could be taken away, but it was nearly impossible to take the soldiering out of a soldier, and he had proven himself to a worthy bodyguard in more than his fair share of incidents by now, besides being another reassuring figure during the later years of Yild's physical decline. And when that was in the service of a family so linked with Lochsalan's history as the Slauths, he had told Yild that he had probably done more to help his country in a general sense than he ever would have as a common soldier.

That didn't keep him from speaking his mind however.

"You use the word hope too much." Drow shook his head, and squinted a it at the letter with his good eye. "It's weird for someone to throw off on their mother as much as you did, and it's even stranger for you to have been talking to her father but not her. You also gave her the option of just ignoring you, and girls don't like guys without backbones. Don't even get me started on being assertive, but really, it's like a limp fish wrote this thing. And most importantly, if you aren't sure if she can even get letters, why would you send one asking about it?" Casually tossing it over his shoulder, Drow walked over to join Yild even as Yild himself turned to catch the letter before it fell.

"Hey, don't just throw it!" Yild struggled for a moment to grab at the drifting letter, but it fell anyway, and he stared at it glumly as it landed on the floor. He could have picked it up, if he tried for it, but the last time he had leaned that far forward in his chair he had fallen right out of it, and that was far more uncomfortable than the possibly gain of the attempt warranted. Instead, Yild simply threw up his hand in exasperation, and put it to his head as if he felt faint. "Alas! I get the one literate guard in all of Lochsalan, and he's a critic."

"You're the one who insisted I learn. But if I keep having to read stuff like this," Drow scooped up the letter and dangled it tauntingly in the air. "Then I shall consider the effort a complete waste, lord Yild." Drow chuckled as Yild snatched the letter back, pouting. The former soldier leaned on the table, his prosthetic making tiny, dull clinks as the workings moved in place. "Next time, let me handle the fancy letters, and you can be the one who helps move furniture back and forth."

"Hmph!" Yild crossed his good arm over his immobile one, the best he could do as far as shows of defiance at the moment. Turning back to the window, he said nothing for a moment, but then looked hopefully at his own reflection. "Though I do think the dinner table looks much better where it is now," he offered helpfully.

Drow sighed. "I never moved the dinner table."

"Oh." Yild looked sheepishly away from even his own reflection, and then a small grin broke across his face. "Then you did a terrible job."

"Awww, shaddup." Drow grinned in turn, and walked over to the window as well, and crossed his arms. The drizzle was still far from letting up; if anything, the rain was starting to pick up even worse than before. Still, there had been no thunder; yet. But the look on Drow's face told him that it had foiled the other man's plans for the day as well. Recalling the clinks, Yild sighed. Of course, the replacement arm would never normally have done such things. It was out of tune, and if some part of it had opened then the rain might get in the inner workings and make a proper mess of things for the mechanic to clean out. Still, it wasn't as if it would have been hard for drow to simply cover it and go anyway. Which meant he was only waiting because he knew Yild didn't even have the option of an excursion.

"You should get your arm checked out today." Yild said resolutely, and the bodyguard frowned, though Yild ignored it. "And don't give me that look. You aren't helping anyone if your limb jams up, and that Forger won't be working tomorrow anyway."

"Naw. It can wait." Drow shook his head, but Yild persisted.

"No, it can't. Drow you get over to that Forger right this minute, or I swear I'll write a new letter for you to read. And this one will have poetry! Sappy poetry!" Yild put his hand on his hip, but with his other now lying limply at it's side it didn't paint nearly as an authoratative look as he had intended. Still, Drow seemed to get the picture, and cringed rather overdramatically.

"Anything but that lord Yild, anything but that." Drow made a face as if he had tasted something bitter, but only held the motion for a moment or so before his face grew serious. "But really, are you sure about this? I am your bodyguard. If anything were to happen to you..."

"Then you'll have done me a horrible wrong, and my family shall bring down the full force of the law atop your head!" Yild smiled tauntingly, and winked. "So you better hurry!"

"Haha." Drow shook his head in defeat, but made an actual step towards the door this time. "But better the law than your sappy poetry I suppose." The bodyguard hesitated again, and looked back. "I'll get it done as fast as I can."

Yild waved the notion away. Now Drow was just being overprotective. "Take your time. Don't worry about me. I'd like to get some reading done anyway."

"Very well my lord." Drow bowed, but when he left it was at a jog, and Yild sighed. The bodyguard was a good man, and a good friend, but even Yild would admit that he took his job a little too seriously at times. Not that Yild would ever begrudge him the right to do so. There was soldiering in his blood. And if it kept him happy, then Yild didn't mind a bit too much security, as long as it was only some times. All things in moderation.

Sighing, Yild quietly considered what book to start while he waited for Drow to return, or whether he should forgo it altogether and just try one of his father's puzzles. He had been cooped up all day, but really, with the rain, it wasn't as if he had too many other options. Quietly looking back out the window, Yild watched Drow running off in the streets down below, and the streams of water trickling down the glass. He wondered whether it was raining where Cira was. Maybe being a bit soggy would make his letter seem a bit more intriguing. Or just turn it into a smear.

But a very heartfelt smear, nonetheless.
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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Fri 4 Mar - 0:36

Though Lachlan had grudgingly acknowledged Dusk’s frustration, it didn’t really make much of a difference. If he had to convince him, it didn’t change anything anyway. After all, the understanding had to be beckoned out, and even then it was still just obligatory. He knew his reputation wasn’t the best, but he had come to a place where he didn’t let it get to him. He was going to do what he had to to learn to be a real Mage whether Keiro liked it or not, and it was going to get him into trouble. Since that was the case, Dusk had just found it better to fill the shoes he’d made for himself and make the best of it, but it was always nice to have at least one person know that he wasn’t doing it simply because of some false assumption that he liked to watch things burn. For the most part, Lachlan could at least understand that, but he was always so damn... fearful. That in itself, was another issue altogether.

Whenever it came to magic, Mages, or anything in-between, Lach always backed off as if he’d hit a wall. Lachlan was afraid of magic, and Dusk wasn’t blind to the fact, but that didn’t make it any easier to accept. Dusk had been born a Mage, and Lachlan born a Common, but he didn’t see a reason why there needed to be an issue there. Sure, their friendship was something many people didn’t understand or frowned upon entirely, but Dusk had never taken any of it in. He had to wonder though, was it really just because Dusk was a trouble-maker that Lach always seemed so afraid? Did he understand that Lady Cira had just as much- if not more- capacity to do harm? He was hesitant to believe it had ever crossed Lach’s closed mind.

“You know Lach, Cira’s a Mage too, but I don’t see you getting so uptight around her. Just because she’s more ‘serene’ than I am, doesn’t mean she couldn’t slip up and do even more damage than I could. Some of us are born Mages, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. Hell, I wouldn’t do anything to change it even if I could.” He wasn’t sure why he was in such a mood to start the argument that he was sure would ensue, but Dusk felt no desire to back off. The only thing was, he couldn’t really voice what he really felt, and so he opted for one defining statement.

“If you could just spend one week in the shoes of a Mage Lach, then you might understand.” That was too much to hope for though, wasn’t it? Empathy couldn’t be forced.

“But, you’re right, why bring it up? You always run from it anyway.” Dusk said with a shrug as if it was something so simple and well-known that he hadn’t really needed to say it anyway.



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PostSubject: Re: EOTI: Himmin   Fri 4 Mar - 1:24

“I know that,” Lachlan said through gritted teeth, clutching his mug of ale hard as if that could relieve some of the tension running through him. Dusk had the wrong idea if he thought he was only nervous around his fire magic, though. It was true that he wasn’t as openly nervous around Cira Oaklear as he was when Dusk preformed magic. And part of that was because Dusk’s had more of that ‘awe factor’ and destructive ability. But Dusk was gravely mistaken if he thought Lachlan was largely unaware of Cira’s magic. And yet… and yet….

“Just because she’s more ‘serene’ than I am, doesn’t mean she couldn’t slip up and do even more damage than I could.”

“And it’s not about that,” he snapped back, though this was an outright lie. If he feared the Mage, it was because of the power and ability that he himself did not possess. And Cira’s magic was so different from Dusk’s that it was almost laughable to say that it would frighten him. Cira held such an air of calm serenity about her, so opposite from Dusk, that Lachlan couldn’t help but feel comfortable in her presence, and would have felt even more so if not for her nobility. His and Dusk’s friendship proved that there didn’t need to be a barrier between Magi and Commons… and yet it was there all the same.

Dusk’s voice lowered in pitch as he went on, taking on a defiant, almost menacing quality, and Lachlan looked determinedly away when Dusk said he’d never change the fact that he was a Mage. He’d never voiced the thought, the wish for Dusk to be Common, for he’d never even entertained the idea. Dusk was who he was, and though Lachlan was sometimes uncomfortable around his magic, Dusk wouldn’t be himself without it.

But now it was coming between them.

“But, you’re right, why bring it up? You always run from it anyway.”

Lachlan let out a long breath. Dusk had never called out his cowardice like that before. And yet it struck Lachlan as so true that he nearly staggered under the weight of the accusation.

Sinking back down to the barrel he’d occupied before, Lachlan set his mug on the floor and clasped his hands together before him, resting his elbows on his knees and leaning forward to look up at Dusk. “I know. But I wish I wouldn’t,” he said quietly. “I don’t like that magic… I don’t like feeling so nervous. Scared. I wish I didn’t. But that’s… well, it’s kind of like how you were born a Mage, Dusk. You can’t change it.”
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