Blanda's Boredom

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Blanda's Boredom

Post by blazinvire on Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:27 am

"I'm bored," said the Blanda.
"Then make a character."
"...Wat..." the Blanda was confused, looking around the empty white space of this boring land, "...Who's talkin?"
"Me."
"I meant a name, dummy," Blanda said flatly.
"I'm the GM."
"...Wat..." the Blanda reiterated.
There was a moment of silence.
"Hurry up and make a character," the GM said a little irritably.
"I'm confused," the Blanda said plainly, still looking around empty space.
"Sigh... let's work through this then, pick a gender," the GM said a little tiredly.
"I don't get it, but I always make female characters," Blanda said, still quite perplexed about what was going on.
"Female it is!" the GM said decisively, and immediately the Blanda discovered it's body had snap-changed into a dull grey featureless base female model as though a base template for a computer game.
"Oh snap!" the newly en-gendered female Blanda exclaimed.
"Details now; skin colour, hair colour, etcetera," the GM prompted.
The Blanda was suspicious...
"Floor-length silver hair!" the Blanda cried flamboyantly, and lo and behold an incredible length of silver hair burst into existence from the dull grey scalp of the Blanda's new form.
The Blanda's eyes would have bulged in incredulousness if she had had any at the moment...
"Holy crap! Okay, um..." the Blanda said in shock, rapidly retracting and giving this some honest thought now, "Let's go with... chest-length wavy red hair?"
In the blink of an eye the Blanda now had lovely red locks where the ridiculous volume of silver hair once existed.
"...This is nuts..." Blanda remarked plainly, but the Blanda was bored thus went along with it: "Let's haaaave... vibrant yellow eyes! Tan-mocha skin! Awesome muscles! Ooo! Ooo! Let's be like, seven and half feet tall too!"

In mere moments the Blanda was transformed progessively into an oddly large martial artist type character, hair in a pony-tail with two bangs framing her face, her clothes consisting of mostly bindings about the chest and sort of poofy detached sleeves with similar pants, and fingerless gloves with a type of socks or bindings to match on her feet.
"Awwww yiss, it's butt-kickin time," the Blanda said with lazy confidence, taking up a cliche martial artist pose as though beckoning her imaginary opponent.
"Alright, time to play!" the GM said with a tone of relief, and immediately the empty space of a world disappeared around the Blanda in a whirl of colour before Blanda found herself face-down in a deep dark pit that smelt of death and stagnation.
"BLEH!" Blanda cried in objection, throwing herself to her feet and shaking the gunk off as she looked around, peering in the darkness, seeing little more than piles of bones about the place and the bricks that made up this strange pit.
"What the hell's this?" Blanda asked the ceiling since she didn't know where the GM was.
"You're an ancient warrior who mysteriously came back to life," the GM prompted.
"Sweet, was I like, super badass or something?" Blanda asked, already intrigued.
"You can't remember your history."
"Goddammit..." Blanda grumbled, slumping, "How terribly convenient..."

The rattling of bones on the stone floor distracted Blanda from any further thought, quickly glancing around to lock onto the source and discovered a dozen skeletons rising from the piles, apparently armed and some of them even armoured, all arranged in a rather nice ring around Blanda and approaching her steadily.
Blanda smirked and slammed a fist into her palm before her face in a grandiose manner before shooting forwards and leaping in the air, spinning around and landing a glorious roundhouse kick on the first skeleton's head and knocking its skull flying into a second.
They were skeletons of course, so Blanda knew a little overkill might be necessary and followed up the kick with a diving punch with the opposing fist to take advantage of momentum.
Her fist crashed straight down through the skeleton's ribcage and smashed the creature to bits, leaving her feeling pretty awesome as she stood up properly again to look at her remaining opponents.
The skeletons approached in an ivory horde and dogpiled attacks, but it seemed little could touch Blanda as she darted and dodged this way and that to neatly get out of the way each time, even occasionally slapping a blade or a wrist to redirect weapons into other skeletons.

Suffice to say, Blanda was soon standing triumphant atop a new pile of bones.
"Yeeup, this is pretty cool," Blanda said with an approving nod before finally looking around to find out how to get out of here.
With a bit of eyestraining, she made out a dozen chutes connected to this main pit, and the ceiling went upward a fair distance into another chute.
After a moment of careful consideration, Blanda just coiled her legs and let the Ki energy flow into them before jumping and positively skyrocketing into the ceiling.
Her aim was decent, and with only a few guiding kicks at the wall to stabilize her trajectory, Blanda shot all the way up the main chute and exploded through a lid of sorts.
She landed in a huge medieval wizard's laboratory, so many bright colours of liquids and enchantments floating around with various magicked lights, it was quite a sight to behold.
Except the wizard occupying the room didn't seem impressed by Blanda's arrival.
"You!  You were supposed to be dead!" the wizard boomed, magic building up in the air around him, "Such insolence! That I must kill you AGAIN!"
"Wait, what now?" Blanda asked, a little perplexed but apparently the wizard was finished talking, as he waved his hands as arcane symbols floated and weaved around them, and Blanda found herself being sent flying into the wall behind her, crashed painfully into a dozen potions and vials and things on one of the many tables about the walls.
"Sonnova!" Blanda exclaimed in frustration, shooting forth at top speed, balling up a fist and darting off to the side to slam a fist into the wizard's side intent on breaking him in half.
And it did absolutely nothing more than shake his robe about from the speed of the punch.
Before Blanda could state her frustrations, the wizard made another gesture and she went flying again, except this time she smashed into the floor before positively rocketing into and actually smashing through the roof -or roofs, as the force of the spell smashed Blanda through several floors before finally bursting free of the fortress and then slowly falling down onto the rooftop.

Her entire body felt like it was on fire and she was pretty sure a dozen of her bones were broken, Blanda could do little more than groan and attempt to sit up against the fortifications of the rooftop.  She was attempted to muster her Ki to recover, but the wizard didn't give her any breathing space as he floated up onto the roof after her.
"And this time stay dead!" the wizard yelled, raising a hand and making a sharp gesture at Blanda, ice and all kinds of strange crystals formed in the air and impaled the Blanda into oblivion.

"..."
"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?" Blanda objected fiercely, back in the empty space.
"What?  You died, it happens," the GM said with a shrug.
"What kinda GM throws a godlike wizard at the player as a first boss?" Blanda fumed.
"Not my fault you ran into him, you just have incredibly bad luck -or judgement, maybe; I thought you'd expect the main chute would be housing something important," the GM said helplessly.
"Grrrr... I demand a redo!" Blanda raged.
"Bleh, fine," the GM said with a sigh.

Blanda woke up in the dark and smelly pit again, but the bones barely got to rattle before Blanda was literally stomping them into the ground and attacking each one like a wild animal, clawing and tearing at them, gnawing and biting until the messier pile of bones had been recreated.
And like a witless idiot, Blanda supercharged her legs again and jumped up the main chute, exploding through the lid.
The laboratory was still amazing and the wizard was still disgruntled, except he barely had two seconds to turn about and state his distress before Blanda's supercharged fist had met his face with astounding speed.  Time seemed to slow for a moment as the energy passed from Blanda's fist into the wizard's face with terrifying quantity, a fire glistening in Blanda's raging eyes with a  flat and unhappy expression on her face.
Time sped up and the wizard almost literally disappeared, his robes whipping about and he smashed into and through the wall and skating across the tiles of the rooftop adjacent the laboratory.
The wizard's robe however was still fluttering about in the room.
"...You punched him so hard his clothes flew off..." the GM stated.
"Fffffricken magic robe, can't spend all that time studying magic and still take a hit like that," Blanda said, eyes still burning.
This time it was the wizard who didn't get any breathing room, because Blanda was on him before he'd barely sat up, and a hail of fists followed until he was one with the roof tiling.
"Yeah biatch!" Blanda taunted the wizard embedded in the roof, flipping him off before storming back to the laboratory.

Normally Blanda might've looted the laboratory, but she honestly had no idea what was valuable and what was too dangerous to touch, thus had to leave it all alone and decided to scour this castle from top to bottom for stuff.
First, the roof, obviously -which bore more fruit than she'd been expecting...
When she'd finally finished walking up the stairs that coiled around the outside of the tower that Blanda had been thrown upwards through, she discovered the rooftop was actually a ritual circle type deal judging from the circular nature, all the symbols on the ground and the altar with the fair maiden chained to it.
"Oh! Sweet, damsel in distress deal, old but gold neh?" Blanda said, shrugging with a smile as she went over to the altar.  It was a lovely cliche, the fair blond maiden in the beautiful white silk nightgown it seemed.
"-Huh... she's clothed," Blanda remarked with a hint of surprise.
"...What?" the GM asked, a little perplexed.
"Isn't this place run by an evil male wizard?" Blanda returned rhetorically.
"...Just rescue the fricken maiden..." you could almost hear the facepalming in the GM's voice.

Blanda went to do as much, grabbing at the iron shackles about the maiden's wrists and ankles and turning them about, finding them seamless.  Magically sculpted the shackles onto her then?  Lovely...
"Hi there," Blanda said airily to the maiden as she went about trying to figure out how to break iron with her bare hands...
"Hi..." the maiden said a little awkwardly, "...Who... who are you?"
"Hmm? I'm the Blanda!" Blanda said proudly, thrusting her chest out and taking up a striking pose with fists on her hips.
"...Blanda...?" the maiden said a little uncertainly, "That's a... interesting name..."
Blanda blinked a few times, realizing she was in a game and that the name probably didn't suit this character.
"True... hrrm... how about... Cass..andra? Katarina? Katrina? Kayli?  Hmm..." Blanda said in deep thought, realizing she was terrible at thinking of names, "Let's just stick with... maybe... Zera for now... what's your name?"
The newly named Zera was quickly getting frustrated with the metal shackles and her lack of anything to break them with.  She supposed her fists should manage the chains, but that'd probably hurt like hell.
"I'm Nalia..." the maiden replied, getting a little anxious as Zera got frustrated with the shackles.
"Screw it! Nothing stops the Blanda!" Zera exclaimed, her mouth opening up unnaturally wide before she bit down -and through- the metal shackle, freeing the maiden's left hand which she retrieved with great rapidity, looking absolutely gobsmacked at her rescuer.
"...You just..." Nalia sputtered, unable to find words as Zera happily chewed away at the mouthful of metal before swallow and going to the next shackle.

The maiden was eventually freed -although traumatized- and rather thankful, standing up and stretching a few muscles.
"...Now what?" Nalia asked a little awkwardly.
"Welp, first I'ma gonna loot the place, then get you back home -wherever that is," Zera said easily, looking at the maiden, "Where is your home anyways?"
"Um... Castle Mornalt..." Nalia said, tapping her forefingers together.
That was when Zera realized she had absolutely no idea where anything was...
"Ah crap... okay, let's just play this crap by ear... loot first!" Zera said, a little deflated but continued nevertheless.

Zera gave the castle a royal shake-down, breezing through like the wind at super fast speeds, hit-and-running everything to death before they get the chance to respond and dragging the maiden along at super fast speed.
They finally came up to a treasure room, piles of gold and gems and chests stuffed with random valuables, and the Blanda's eyes glittered.
"Looooot!" Zera cheered.
"Hmm..." the GM began, "Actually, you beat that high level wizard solely through meta-knowledge, I'm not rewarding you for that."
Half the treasure mysteriously vanished and Zera collapsed to the floor in defeat.
"Noooooo... why even show me the giant pile of treasure..." Zera despaired on the floor.
Nalia apparently wasn't the wiser as to what had just happened, merely looking at Zera like she always had been: like Zera was a freak.

Zera finally stood up and went over to the piles of gold and picked up a handful of coins and patted around her waist for something.
"Uhm... don't I get a gold pouch or something to store all this?" Zera asked, a little concerned as she checked herself for luggage but could find naught but the clothes on her back.
"That's not exactly realistic, and that'd be way too convenient," the GM replied flatly.
Zera grumbled and folded her arms for awhile, thinking hard before a metaphorical light bulb switched on.
"Aha!  Jokes on you!  I'm the friggin Blanda, bitch!" Zera said finally, before quite plainly swallowing all the gold and valuables, causing Nalia's expression to harden as she seriously couldn't figure this woman out.
Eventually the room was free of valuables and Zera patted her unchanged stomach pleasantly.

"You just... ate all the treasure...?" Nalia asked, still not sure she believed this madness.
"I'm the Blanda, I can store anything in my stomach!" Zera said in her proud pose again.
"This is getting ridiculous," the GM remarked.
Nalia threw another uncertain glance at Zera's stomach, and still the toned abdominals showed no signs of all those things the strange woman had just eaten.
With no other immediate issues, Zera threw Nalia over her shoulder like a knight in shining armour and bolted off again.

Once Zera had ran up enough stairs, she blatantly roundhouse kicked the wall and blasted a hole to the outside, letting her easily jump out and land nimbly on the ground and sprint clear of the castle before plonking the maiden back on her feet.
"Alrighty, where's this Mornalt?" Zera asked expectantly.
"I have no idea, I went to sleep in my chambers and woke up on that altar..." Nalia said, fidgeting while looking utterly windblown from all the craziness and high speed movement.
Zera sighed, her shoulders slumped and she looked around in vain.
"Ah screw it, maybe I can just run around and find some village or something to give me bearings," Zera sighed, picking the maiden up again before running off once more, heading into the forest north of the castle and picking up some serious speed as she went.

And so Zera sprinted, for quite a long time it seems which made the forest seem bigger and bigger considering the sheer speed she was running at, this place was getting old rather fast.
Just as she was thinking about slowing down to find a suitable tree to run up and use as a lookout post, the ground exploded around her in a huge radius, causing her to grind to a halt and rip up a swatch of ground in the process.
The explosion was over fast and apparently didn't even touch Zera or Nalia, but what it had done was apparently drag a stadium of sorts out of the ground, constructed of plants and trees and stone and dirt, and the stands were quickly filling even as the announcer stepped up.
"Okay what the hell," Zera said, quite lost.
"Ladies annnnd gentlemen we have our next contestants!" cried the announcer, who seemed to be almost a dryad or something, being either cover in or made of plant matter, it was hard to tell their exact specie though Zera might've wondered if they were just tall goblins or something.
"Hurry to your seats 'cause the action is startin' momentarily!" the announcer continued.
"The hell's going on?" Zera called up to the announcer, whom promptly ignored her and made a few flamboyant gestures.
There was a creak that drew Zera's attention to one side of the stadium where she discovered a wall of tree roots parting to spew forth an army of goblins and wolves with a huge ogre-golem thing holding up the rear.
"Oh snap," Zera sighed, plonking Nalia on her feet again, "Okay, I think I can take the big one and maybe ten of the small guys, you right with the forty others?"
Nalia just stared at Zera, and then at the charging army.
"What!?" Nalia said in shock.
"Yick, no time," Zera said awkwardly, charging forwards and hitting the lines like a freight train, smashing a line of them into the air before using them as aerial stepping stones to land on the golem's face and start punching.
Poor Nalia however ran the other way with surprising speed, no doubt spurred by the idea of fifty or so goblins and wolves looking to take her apart.
"What are ya doing?  They're just small fry, kick their ass!" Zera called to Nalia, idly pummeling the golem's head in.
"I'M A PRINCESS! NOT A WARRIOR!" Nalia screamed, running around frantically.
"Eh...? Princess?" Zera said, blinking a little in surprise before having a moment to think, side-stepping a grasping golem hand, "Warrior princess..."
Zera patted around, certain she had something for this occasion but hadn't been carrying anything last she checked, which left only hammerspace regions since she was certain she didn't store them in her stomach.  Well that was mildly frustrating, her cleavage wasn't particularly accessible and she didn't have any pockets or accessible sleeves -she really needed to get herself a bag or something...
Zera danced along the flailing golem's shoulders while busy digging through the bindings about her chest to bury a hand and then extract it once more, except with it clenched around an elegant circlet that somehow fit.
"Alright!  Here ya go!" Zera said triumphantly, flinging the circlet straight over to Nalia who caught it in a wild panic.
"What is this!?" Nalia said, on the verge of tears as she was slowly getting surrounded and she couldn't run fast enough.
"Put it on!" Zera called.
"IT'S JUST A CIRCLET!" Nalia fumed.
"PUT. IT. ON." Zera boomed.
Nalia ground her teeth and slammed the circlet on, and in the blink of an eye she seemed to transform into a warrior princess so fast it was like a sharp sudden breeze over her.
The princess, rather perplexed, stopped and looked at herself and whimpered a little, discovering the warrior princess package was exposing a lot more flesh than she was used to, considering it was little more than a metal skirt and bikini with some pretty epic gauntlets and greaves.
"Huh... fanservice..." Zera remarked in slight surprise.
"You started it," the GM said.

The horde quickly caught up to Nalia, wolves and goblins diving at her in droves and time felt like it slowed down as they all poured upon her like a tidal wave of death, Nalia's hand going to the hilt of a grand katana that had appeared at her waist of its own volition.  The moment her hand met the hilt, time sped up and in a flash of light there were a dozen bisected goblins and wolves flying past her.
"Holy crap that was awesome!" Nalia remarked, staring at the katana held firmly in both her hands, a strange and eerie confidence gripping her with mysterious and powerful knowledge and built-in muscle memory.
Then with infinite ease Nalia sprinted forwards with her sword held out at the ready most expertly, meeting the charge of the horde and ripping a swath through them in the blink of an eye, dancing and slicing in equal measure to make a royal mess.
And it was so easy for her... considering how infinitely helpless Nalia had felt before, she felt like a goddess right now.

In the meantime Zera stomped on the golem a few more times before swinging on one of its arms, flipping around and slamming a heel behind its knee and quickly racing around as it fell, planting her feet into the ground and both hands on the golem.  And with absolute mastery of momentum and surprising strength, Zera flipped the golem around and around in the air, using it as an impromptu bludgeon through it's own flailing before flinging it at the stands with brain-rattling thud.
Thinking she was pretty awesome, Zera struck a pose for the crowds, only to discover they were cheering for the warrior princess that was making such an elegant mess nearby with such beautiful swings from her sword.  The blade was so sharp and masterfully designed that it effortlessly sliced goblins and wolves in two, and its length was letting cleave through two at a time if not three with some effort.
Zera had to admit, Nalia sure was impressive, like an artist painting a portrait it seemed so serene -except it wasn't Nalia's strength that was doing the work here...

When the last of them were dead, Nalia made a noble bow to both sides of the stands, flicking the blood from her sword and masterfully sheathing it to strike an imposing image -right up until Zera walked over and snatched the circlet from her head and Nalia quite appropriately poofed back into her damsel in distress self.

"Aw!" Nalia protested, clawing for the circlet except for Zera's hand pushing her away.
"The damsel in distress shouldn't be more awesome than the rescuer dammit," Zera said grumpily, picking Nalia up and leaping up to the stands and practically landing on the announcer.
"Augh!" the announcer cried as he was almost crushed under a foot.
"Which way is Mornalt?" Zera asked imperiously.
In lieu of replying, the announcer desperately pointed off in a direction and Zera just shot off once more.

"Why couldn't I keep the circlet?" Nalia complained as Zera went back to running, "I was powerful -and you're not even using it!"
"Well... shut up," Zera grumbled, "I can't use most of them, and you're supposed to be the helpless damsel, start acting like it."
Zera picked up speed which made any further protests difficult, and she didn't stop until she'd burst from the treeline and took a breath of fresh air.
Up there on the hill bordering the forest, Zera got a good look at the terrain and saw a towering castle not far from them, surrounded by a huge lake and looked like it probably took centuries to construct considering how tall and exquisite it looked.
So many floating constructions and pathways, and artful design of the architecture; Zera had a new respect for the princess she was carrying: Mornalt was an impressive place.

Zera took another deep breath and flexed her legs again, bouncing Nalia a few times to get used to the burden much to Nalia's protest, the crazy Blanda then shot off along the plains toward the grand castle.
Distance was such a laugh for someone like her, even the lake was trivial as Zera's footsteps apparently didn't break the surface, merely inducing huge ripples from each step, and then the castle's walls...  Well Zera could jump ridiculous high too, ignoring the ability to jump between all the artistic features jutting out from the walls.
Though as she was jumping off another gargoyle head, she did wonder about the feasibility of this place, as it'd look like it'd collapse from a single well-placed catapult stone... how the hell did they get away with this sort of thing?

After awhile of jumping up the astronomically large walls, Zera finally found a parapet in which she could move through the wall, and she was a little gobsmacked by the visage within.
The towering castle was like a miniature world, so many things were compressed neatly within its structure she could scarcely take in everything she saw even whilst standing still.
"...I never expected Mornalt to be this awesome..." Zera said in awe, "I thought you'd be like, from one of those old medieval castles on some hill."
"Huh?" Nalia asked, attempting to shuffle around to see but having great difficulty.  Even more so when Zera started jumping between the suspended pathways riddled all over the place.
"...Where are we?" Nalia asked, getting a rearview of Zera's path and seeing all kinds of floating gardens and shops built into walls and strangely armoured floating soldiers.
"Mornalt," Zera said simply.
"This looks more like what I pictured the Kolspire to be," Nalia remarked, "Mornalt is just a castle on a hill with rolling fields, farms everywhere."
Zera stopped and grumbled.
"That stupid announcer pointed the wrong way..." Zera sighed, going over to one of the patrolling guards giving them a weird look, "Which way is Mornalt?"
"...Huh?  Why do you want to know?" the guard asked suspiciously.
"...What?  'Cause I wanna go there, duh," Zera said like the guard was an idiot.
"Um... Zera... the Kolspire and Mornalt are enemies..." Nalia said, squeaking a little as the fear set in.
Zera blinked and set Nalia down, staring at her.
"...You're enemies with these people?" Zera asked in disbelief.
"Wait... I know her, that's Princess Nalia of Mornalt!" the guard remarked in shock, quickly yelling out, "Guardsmen assemble!  We have fugitives!"
"Are you fricking kidding me!?" Zera exclaimed, punching the guard straight through the visor, knocking him off balance long enough to grab his collar and pitch him off the pathway.
"Ahhh!  Quick, gimme the circlet again!" Nalia panicked, shaking Zera by the shoulder.

Soldiers came swooping in in all kinds of shapes and sizes, some wearing armour reminiscent of wings and able to fly about apparently, others bulky and running about on the ground, some flying on constructs of metal and magic.
"Uhm, I don't think a sword is going to help much here," Zera remarked a little awkwardly, attempting to sort out a course of action.
"It's better than nothing! We gotta move!" Nalia said desperately, resorting to padding down Zera to search for the circlet.
"Hey!" Zera objected, grabbing Nalia's wrists, about to tell her off when a blast of fiery magic narrowly shot between their faces.  Lecture had to wait, Zera dug into her chest bindings again, telling herself again to get at least a pocket next time, before extracting a rather enormous pointy wizard-like hat and cramming it on the surprised Nalia's head.
Again that sudden burst of wind like a transformation and then Nalia was standing there in a provocative sorceress outfit, corset and positively enormous assets.
Zera kind of stood and stared in uncertain disbelief.
"...Seriously?" Zera asked the GM.
"...What?" the GM returned.
"...SERIOUSLY?" Zera reiterated.
"Don't go blaming me, you started this with your obscure choice of storing Ki energy," the GM replied indignantly.
"Yer tellin' me that's mana?" Zera asked blandly.

Nalia eventually got over the transformation shock and looked down, her eyes nearly bulging out of their sockets as much as her chest was attempting to do the same to its corset.
"Woah! Look at those!" Nalia said in blatant awe.
But after the novelty wore off due to the imminent danger, Nalia finally whipped about the gnarled wood staff in her hand fired off a giant beam of energy up at the swooping pack of dragoon soldiers, causing their formation to scatter.
Zera threw aside her disappointment and leaped out into thin air, bouncing off a soldier and tackling a rider off his flying metal steed, falling several storeys before crashing violently on some pavement.
The Blanda looked up and found Nalia had similarly made her way down, though there were beams of fire and explosions, lightning arcing out from her and icicles raining all over the place from her haphazard brandishing.
Her landing was a bit of an explosion, sending people flying everywhere as a variety of spells spilled out all over the place in a whole fusillade of pretty lights and sparkles; she then quickly ran over to Zera whom had been throttling a second guard easily with one hand holding him off the ground.
"We need to get out of here, they'll stop at nothing to kidnap me when I'm this close!" Nalia said urgently.
"Ya coulda told me this was that Kolspire or whatever," Zera said blandly, smacking the guard's head against the wall to knock him out.
"I couldn't see anything!  You were carrying me in such a demeaning fashion that I could only see behind us!" Nalia said defensively.
That... actually made sense... Zera could see now why that choice was a bad idea.  But fortunately Nalia was too sensible to push the subject, as she focused on thinking of a way out.

"Lemme try something!" Nalia said, eagerly running over to the wall and nearly falling over due to the weight of her assets unbalancing her, but she managed to strike the wall with her staff and quickly retreated a few steps as a huge rune expanded from the striking point.
The rune grew to about person-size before rapidly charging up and exploding -or imploding maybe, as the wall disappeared and a rush of wind followed that literally plucked the two off their feet and threw them clean out of the castle, a thousand or so feet up in the air above the lake of a moat.
"I HATE YOOOOOU!" was pretty much all Zera managed as they plummeted down into the water, hitting with a bit of a clap.
Zera could easily shake it off, and had surfaced almost immediately, though discovered the princess's sorceress robe floating on the surface on its own, eventually followed by the hat which preceded the disappearance of the robe and the return of the Nalia.
The princess burst through the surface of the water and took in a deep gasp of air.
"Wow.  Kind of glad my own clothes return when I lose the hat..." Nalia remarked, staring at the hat and then at Zera, "Where do you get these things?"
Zera stared at Nalia flatly for awhile, stowing the hat away before starting to swim ashore.
"I make 'em," Zera replied.
"...You make hats that..." Nalia said, blushing a little and trailing off.
"No.  The hats seem to do their own thing," Zera said sternly, "Where's Mornalt from Kolspire?"
"Just north of here, we're constantly feuding," Nalia replied, obliging the subject change, "Ever since we managed to blow up the mountain path their attacks have dwindled, but they're still classed as our enemies."
"That mountain path the quickest way?" Zera asked, throwing a glance over her shoulder.
"It was," Nalia replied.
"Psh, for me it still is," Zera said confidently, picking up the pace and getting to the edge, stepping out and kicking her legs to throw some of the water off, looking back at Nalia and flinching as she was walking out herself, remembering the fair maiden was wearing that perfect white silk nightgown.
But... apparently it wasn't the see-through type when wet, which surprised Zera yet again.
"...What's the rating on this game anyway?" Zera queried the GM.
"It's... wait... I'm not gonna tell you, you're going to mess with it, I can already tell," the GM said suspiciously.
"Yeesh..." Zera said, tossing the subject aside.

This time Zera tried a proper princess-carry, one arm around Nalia's back and one under her knees, and started picking up the pace against, juicing up her legs once more with Ki.
With Nalia pointing every now and then, Zera ate up the distance and zoomed into the mountain pass, coming to a grinding halt to discover something else to perplex her.
Further down the path where it looked like two epic landslides had met to seal the path, there was a whole crew of miners chipping away with a dozen huge golems batting the blockade.
"Oh snap," Zera remarked, shooting off amongst the rocks on one side with one bound.
"Crap! They're working their way through it so fast!  And the golems!  They're going to rip right through Mornalt!" Nalia said in despair, peeking around the rocks to watch their progress, looking back at Zera, "We have to stop them!"
"All on our lonesome?  Have you forgotten we probably have an army of flying soldiers following us?" Zera complained, "How about I just jump over the mountain and take you home?  I'm already pretty tired from all this crap, I've been running all over the countryside."
"Grrr!" Nalia fumed, "If we don't stop them Mornalt is doomed!  You might as well be dooming me too!"
"...This is so much more trouble than it's worth, maybe I should go rescue a different princess," Zera sighed, nursing a headache and turning away to go leave.
"Hey!" Nalia objected diving at Zera and bear-hugging her from behind, knocking the wind out of Zera and making her stagger about, issuing complaints and curses in a steady stream of grunts as she flailed about trying to detach the princess.  Nalia had seen where Zera kept those incredible hat things, and her hands recklessly plowed into Zera's bindings with some sharp objections and terrifying threats as Zera finally snagged onto Nalia's wrists and whipped her about in the air, spinning and twisting and pulling her away.
Nalia roughly landed on her feet thanks to Zera's efforts, though her hand was clenched around not a hat but what looked to be a hairpin with some green-copper leaves.
"Wh- oh crap!" Zera said in alarm, flailing her arms and charging after Nalia even as the princess went to run away and put the hairpin on at the same time.
The rush of wind and the blinding fast transformation, and Zera found herself attempting to throttle the ankle of a fifty foot tall Nalia.
Zera's eyes bulged and slowly looked up at the equally surprised Nalia; the princess wasn't even wearing a stitch this time, merely copper-green leaves about her waist and her now voluminous hair draped down over her chest.
"Woah..." Nalia remarked, her voice booming a little by accident and getting the miner's attention.
Zera, however, stepped away, got a better look at Nalia and then turned around to stare at the sky.
"OH COME ON!" Zera yelled.
"Why do you keep insisting this is my fault?" the GM complained.
"Who else could be designing this fetishized crap!?" Zera said, shaking her fist.
"Wait, it wasn't you?" the GM said a little surprised.
"...You mean you actually didn't design that?" Zera said, actually a touch spooked as she glanced back at the giantess of a princess whom was now wrecking the golems and miners.
Zera probably would have continued that train of thought, but her eyes stuck as Nalia stooped to pick up a golem and throw it, and nearly laughed when she saw Nalia's hair defy physics in order to maintain basic modesty.
"Hah!" Zera smirked, "The rating isn't as bad as I thought."
"I feel like I should feel insulted," the GM said with a pout.
"So what IS the rating?  Since things are defying physics here," Zera queried.
"I still ain't telling you," the GM said firmly.
"Geh, okay; can you give me a rough estimate of how bad I should expect things?" Zera compromised.
"Well judging from our fair maiden's current attire, I'd of thought it'd be obvious you should be fearing for your clothes," the GM said with a shrug.
"W-wait, clothing damage?" Zera said, sweating a little.
"...What?  You expect your clothes to be mysteriously invulnerable when you yourself aren't?" the GM asked flatly, "Be realistic here."
"Oh shit..." Zera whimpered, fiercely hugging her assets protectively and looking around warily.
"Oh come on, you act like I'm gonna just send something flying in outta nowhere to-" the GM was interrupted by a miner flying past at blisteringly fast speeds, spiralling dangerously still clutching a pick that clipped Zera and snagged the bindings on her chest.  The pick wrenched the bindings and they unraveled at dizzying speeds as Zera was spun about like a top from the velocity of the flying miner.
There was an ethereal-sounding crash as though someone falling over from behind closed doors, followed by a quick sputtering: "I DID NOT DO THAT!" the GM blurted out.
"LIKE HELL YOU DIDN'T!" Zera roared back, clutching her assets even more furiously now they were bare, staggering and falling over from dizziness, managing to spare a hand to steady herself on a rock before shaking a fist at the heavens again, "My chest is not your plaything you prick!"
"For the last time that wasn't my fault!" the GM persisted.
"You control everything!  Of course it was your fault!"
"If I control everything then who the hell decides the outfits for your hat power?" the GM threw back.
Zera paused, trying to think of an adequate answer but nothing was really coming to mind; she glanced back at the giantess whom was tripping and stumbling around as the golems teamed up to snare her ankles or shift her footing, watching Nalia grab the odd miner and fling them away.
"Grrrrrrrrrr...." Zera fumed, going red from anger as much as embarrassment as she stormed her way to the battlefield.

Fighting one-handed was terribly awkward and unbalancing, as there was nothing to reorient her path or momentum every now and then as she charged into battle and kicked a few miners so hard they went flying out of their clothes.
She managed to pluck one of their leather coats with her toes as she gripped one by the throat and used him as a meatshield against anothers fireball, deftly tossing her shield into her opponent and quickly and awkwardly donning the coat and doing up a few buckles.
Zera could deal with a clumsy coat a lot better than she could deal with one less arm, and as such made a quick and tidy mess of the remaining miners while Nalia finished stomping on the last golem.

"This hairpin is amazing," Nalia remarked, looking down at Zera.
"Yeah.  Give it back," Zera said flatly, holding out a hand.
"Hang on, this'll make things easier," Nalia insisted, slamming her fist into the mountainside and pouring more rocks down into the pass, before reaching down to pick Zera up and climbed over the blockade with ease.
There she finally took off the hairpin and returned it shyly to Zera, whom snatched it back indignantly.
"Nice coat..." Nalia said, trying to lighten the mood.
"...You're lucky I'm supposed to be a hero," Zera said with narrow eyes, "Let's just get you the heck home and I can be done with this quest."

Nalia looked a bit dejected the whole way on the walk to the castle in the distance, Zera giving herself a break and walking, and they remained in silence for the whole trip.

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Re: Blanda's Boredom

Post by blazinvire on Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:11 am

While the silence was both awkward and painfully long, it was soon replaced by fanfare the moment the two entered the kingdom's residental areas and the word quickly got around that their princess had returned.
By how rapid the response was and the amount of effort put into it, they certainly seemed a little too prepared for Nalia's return, as the streets were quickly lined with horsemen and trumpets everywhere with banners hastly being strung up, confetti fired all over the place and such.
It was the beginnings of a distraction that fully flourished when the celebratory feast commenced, as numerous giant kegs of ale were cracked open and the amber liquid flowed like rivers, Zera could hardly say no to free ale.

Nalia had obviously been quickly cleaned up and dressed for celebration, so she was looking considerably more sharp and shiny, sitting next to Zera looking rather pleased with events unfolding. Zera was at least not grumpy anymore, finding much entertainment in draining numerous tankards of ale and watching the world swirl about.

"I've been meaning to ask..." Nalia began somewhat awkwardly as she looked at the little pyramid of empty tankards next to Zera, "Your ability for consumption seems most impressive, but what happened to all that treasure you ate?"
"Eh? Still here," Zera said as though it was obvious, patting her stomach casually.
"You didn't like... digest it or anything?" Nalia queried, a little perplexed.
"Nope, I can either eat stuff or store it in my stomach, it's pretty handy," Zera said lazily, draining the last tankard like she was pouring it down a sink.
"That's... a very... interesting? Ability..." Nalia said, still kind of weirded out but ultimately unsure of how to think of it, "But... how does it fit? I mean you ate over twice your own body's size of treasure..."
"I 'unno, it's coz I'm a Blanda," Zera replied with a shrug, setting the empty tankard atop the pyramid and reaching for another.
"So... what's a Blanda then...?" Nalia queried, still perplexed.
"Well it's... um... a... thing, that... eats stuff," Zera stumbled, looking concerned after a moment.
"But you said you were a Blanda, yet you don't know what one is?" Nalia asked, getting more lost by the moment.
"Geh! Stop asking me existential questions! I'm a Blanda, eating stuff is natural to me like being a pervert is natural to you," Zera said grumpily.
"I am not a pervert!" Nalia blurted out, flabberghasted.
"Well ya certainly didn't hesitate to get all gropey on my chest back there," Zera said flatly with narrowed suspicious eyes.
"I- ge- That was just to get one of those amazing hats you stored in your cleavage! You're the pervert!" Nalia spluttered, slowly getting her composure back and slinging the blame.
However the distraught princess wasn't a quiet princess, thus there was a decent crowd nearby who at the very least looked like they'd heard what she'd said, amongst a rather silent king and queen with an eyebrow raised.
Nalia gulped and sweated a little, attempting to pretend it hadn't happened.
"So those hats! They're quite amazing, how do you make them?" Nalia said, a look of forced interest and attention.
"Eh, I dunno, I just get a cool idea and scrap together a hat outta stuff I find, not quite sure how the magic works," Zera said with a careless shrug.
"You don't... design the outfits...?" Nalia asked a little tentatively, no longer forcing her interest as it was a subject of slight concern to her.
"Just the hats," Zera confirmed, "I could hazard a guess where the outfits come from, but I don't think you'd wanna know."

Eventually the king stood up and turned to face Zera, a golden goblet cradled masterfully in one hand clutched close to his hip, striking an imposing figure if it were for the slight glaze in his eyes.
"Dearest savior! While this feast is in your honour, I have still yet to give your reward; I say name it and you shall have it!" the king declared flamboyantly, making the queen a little worried at lack of an escape clause in the offer.
"Hehe, well..." Zera began confidently, touching her fingertips together with a deviously thoughtful expression on her face -and proceeded to sit there blankly for good while until Zera just blinked and realized she had absolutely no idea.
Why the heck did she always pick monk-like characters? They literally didn't need anything! Wealth was useless, and she didn't need equipment or anything...
But then a momentary spark of inspiration hit her.
"Clothes!" Zera burst out a little urgently, blinking some of the bleariness away for a ultra serious stare.
"...Er... clothes?" the king asked, a little off balance, "That's... that's all?"
"Yes!" Zera insisted fiercely, "Lots of them! Strong clothes! Invincible ones! No tearing or ripping! Pockets!"
The king was rather uncertain if Zera was actually being serious, since neither of them were particularly sober, but fortunately the queen decided to capitalize on the situation.
"Our finest tailor will be at your disposal!" the queen interjected valiantly, standing up with flair and nobility, "We promise you an extensive wardrobe!"
Zera looked like she'd hit the jackpot, making a gesture of ultimate success before cheering and grabbing some more ale.

And then suddenly Zera was waking up the next morning with a killer headache, feeling terribly heavy and terrible in general, like she was being roasted and stretched, some kind of funky torture device?
But as her vision cleared and her brain caught up, she realized she was dangling over the princess's bed, apparently strung up in all the curtains of the four-poster bed, and she was wearing several dozen layers of clothes.
Strangely the princess was snoozing quite happily on the bed below, though was slowly rousing as Zera slowly thrashed around trying to get free.
"Wat dafuq happened..." Zera mumbled, feeling awfully sick and the blood rushing to her face.
Nalia rubbed the sleep from her eyes and slowly sat up yawning, stretching a little.
"Oh, morning," Nalia said sleepily, clearly not sleeping off a dozen drinks thus infinitely better than Zera, "You got drunk and challenged everyone to a variety of games with clothes as the betting chips."
Zera blinked, staring at Nalia for a moment before looking back at the dozens of clothes she was wearing.
"...Apparently I kicked ass..." Zera mumbled.
"Well obviously half the men took up your first two challenges that involved eating things, then no one would agree to eating challenges and things just got worse from there," Nalia explained, still attempting to shake off the lingering sleepiness as she slowly climbed out of bed, "Father nearly bet his crown after he lost his coat, mother vetoed the challenge and sent him to bed, then you destroyed the courtyard fountain, drank all the water to try and stop it flooding everywhere, proceeded to vomit it all out and propel yourself through my window. I'm not sure what happened after that but it sounded like you were having a fight with something."
"...Yer making that up..." Zera said suspiciously, squinting eyes.
"If you untangle yourself you can go check out the fountain," Nalia suggested, going to sit at her duchess and commence preening herself.
"...Faaarck..." Zera groaned.

After a scalding shower and a glass of ice cold water, Zera met Nalia out on the castle's front steps to behold the trashed courtyard, little more than piles of debris and the odd puddle about the place. The weird looks from the bystanders was more than enough confirmation of last nights events.
Zera ran a hand over her face and groaned.
The king and queen eventually made their way out, the king nursing a bit of a headache but putting on a legendary front to make it seem no more than a minor hindrance -even as he was relying mostly on the queen to keep him standing upright.
"Kind Savior, I wish not to belittle your noble efforts of saving our daughter-" the king began but was cut off by Zera raising a hand to stop him.
"Save yer breath, I know," Zera sighed, "How much do I gotta pay for this? Just give it to me plain and simple."
The king was set back a step and was taking a moment to recover when Nalia stepped up to chip in her two cents.
"Why not just use magic to fix it?" Nalia said to Zera, whom turned and gave a blank stare.
"Magic?" the king prompted in suspicious curiosity, "We haven't had a mage in Mornalt in centuries."
"No, no, check this out," Nalia prompted a little too eagerly, nudging Zera's shoulder impatiently whom stared all the harder before digging into her coat and pulling out the giant pointy hat.
Nalia's eyes lit up and she went to take the hat with all due speed, but Zera didn't let go, instead dragging Nalia closer so their faces were uncomfortably close together and Zera could stare Nalia right in the eyes.
"...I accept no responsibility for what happens after this point," Zera said in a menacing tone to match her stare, before finally releasing.
While unnerved but no less discouraged, Nalia retreated a few steps and jammed the hat on, poofing into her provocative sorceress getup.
"Tadaaa!" Nalia said with a flourish of the gnarled staff that had appeared in her hand; her parents nearly had a heart attack though...

The king nearly crashed to the floor when the queen abandoned his side to hastily throw a coat over Nalia, staring around in alarm as though trying to find anyone who was looking; Zera managed to catch the king before he hit the floor.
"What in the name of..." the king sputtered in shock.
"Moooom," Nalia said exasperatedly.
"Absolutely not!" the queen said adamantly.
Nalia looked a bit dejected but she nevertheless waved around the staff and eventually put the fountain back together, while Zera stood the bedazzled king back onto his feet.
"These hats..." the king began as though starting a proposition, except he flinched when he saw the queen's gaze snap onto him and wisely decided to stay silent.
"They're not /supposed/ to do that," Zera replied to the unspoken question with exasperation.
Nalia gave the hat back in short order and Zera stored it away.
"Well I never..." the queen huffed, giving Zera a suspicious stare.
"Wha- but! Hey!" Zera sputtered, defensively digging into her coat again and pulling out the circlet, holding it out to the queen, "You put this one on, it'll prove my point."
The range of expressions from the gesture would have actually been quite entertaining, if Zera hadn't been trying to defend her honour, since the queen looked vastly unimpressed, the king had a legendarily mixed expression and Nalia was sweating with anxiety again.
"Pray this does not backfire," the queen said in an almost nonchalant manner as she snatched the circlet, but there was no mistaking the terrifying threat behind her words; Zera was actually starting to have doubts and was contemplating snatching the circlet back.
Until the queen put the circlet on.
The next instant, the queen was clad in the most beautifully wrought full suit of iron armour, angelic in design with a wing-like structure to the pauldrons and backplate, and she had a seven foot long katana easily held in her right hand.

There was a grand pause. And then Zera broke the silence first.
"SEE!" Zera exclaimed loudly with a pointing gesture that couldn't have been more over-exaggerated.
"My..." the queen said with surprise and a hint of approval as she raised the blade to get a better look at it, and glancing down at her attire.
"But... but... but..." Nalia spluttered, glancing at Zera and panicking all the harder, grabbing the monk warrior by the collar desperately, "USE THE SORCERESS ONE!"
Again a whole new array of amusing faces, although the king was having even more trouble hiding his mixed feelings and the queen had a likewise mixed expression but with a more dangerous hint to it. Zera felt like she was about to get caught in an explosion.
"I am curious now," the queen said curtly, taking the circlet off and poofing back into her former regalia -almost a little mournfully though she hid it well- and handed the circlet back.
Zera gingerly swapped it back for the sorceress hat and gave it to the queen like a bomb possibly going to explode. She even closed her eyes for a moment as the hat finally went to rest upon the queen's brow.
When they opened again, Zera couldn't even accurately describe her awe at the beauty and complexity of the robes the queen wore.
The robes seemed far too long on the sleeves and ends and yet, they had a stylishly jagged edge and billowed about on a slow, ethereal breeze, her hair likewise positively voluminous and floating about. The mantle possessed a grand, regal collar and the robe had many layers to it though most of them were peeled back here and there revealing the layers beneath in an artful collage, and most amusingly it barely revealed two inches from the queen's neck -though strangely her assets still received a mysterious boost.
"This is most fascinating," the queen remarked, eyes glinting a little as she turned about a delicately gloved hand, watching magical sparks wash and flow about her hand gestures.
The king now possessed an amazing pokerface and Nalia looked incredibly depressed, hiding behind Zera feeing ashamed.
"So you just... make these hats?" the queen began, poking the exceptional rim of the pointy hat and looking at it inquisitively.
"Well... yeah...?" Zera said, unsure how to properly answer.
"Hmm..." the queen issued with a tone of disappointment at the answer, but taking the hat off and handing it back nonchalantly, "At any rate, the royal tailor has been notified and is at your disposal as per your reward."
"Right! Reward!" Zera said with renewed zeal, stuffing the hat away and marching off back into the castle leaving Nalia at her parent's mercy.

Many hours later Zera returned from the tailor's workshop, dressed in a sharp black and silver outfit hugging her frame in a rather uniform-style fashion, the silver lines tracing interesting yet sparse patterns like artfully placed seams. The top connected into a waist trailer dress article and the shoes were more reinforced socks with a split design to allow freedom of movement to her big toe, the gloves of course were her preferred fingerless variety.
The clothes themselves were quite thick and sturdy, and Zera had a few spares stored in her stomach and was on the whole feeling quite safe, so she made her way before the royal family again to get ready to leave.
She still didn't actually know what she was really doing in this game though, but she doubted answers were going to pop out in some random kingdom; the only one that seemed to have any knowledge of Zera's former life was the wizard that was trying to kill her.

"Thank you for your patience and hospitality!" Zera said politely with a formal bow to the royal family upon their thrones -though Nalia was mysteriously absent.
"Thank you again for saving our daughter," the king returned modestly.
"Though if we may be so bold..." the queen began after a sufficient pause, looking a little 'feathers ruffled' as she glanced at the king.
"We... would like to extend the offer of being our daughter's bodyguard..." the king said, a touch of awkwardness in his tone.
"...Eh...?" Zera could only utter, caught completely off-guard and confused until Nalia entered the room in traveller's fatigues.
"That's right, I'm coming with you," Nalia said assertively with a pointing gesture at Zera.
"Oh hell no," Zera said with a hard stare, "I've been traumatized enough by you!"
"How rude!" Nalia huffed, puffing her cheeks up in distress with her hands balled into fists, "You should be more grateful to be the servant of a royal family member!"
"...Uhuh..." Zera said flatly, folding her arms and continuing to stare.
"Y-you see we have a slight predicament," the king attempted to continue, fumbling a little, "With the situation with Kolspire, we find ourselves... um..."
"We're incapable of providing adequate protection for our daughter -especially since her heart is set on following you," the queen finished with exasperation.
"Nopenopenopenope," Zera said, skipping out of the castle promptly.

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Re: Blanda's Boredom

Post by blazinvire on Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:10 pm

"Heeey!" was the indignant call of a distressed princess.
"..." was the stoic reply from the large monk warrior striding down the path out of Mornalt.
Nalia was doing her best to catch up, which was only slightly faster than Zera's brisk walk, so obviously it took a moment for the amateur athlete to arrive beside Zera, gasping and puffing.
"Hey! You can't just- leave me behind-" Nalia panted, frantically trying to keep up in her exhaustion.
"Quit followin' me, I already did my heroic duty of dragging your ass home, you're supposed to stay there and live happily ever after!" Zera complained.
"What happily ever after? I'm just going to get kidnapped again!" Nalia said sternly, "Do I need to remind you I went to sleep in my chambers and woke up on some wizard's fortress?"
"Well then maybe the next hero will be more accommodating," Zera said, attempting to shoo the princess away, though the princess was having a hard enough time keeping up it was likely just a matter of endurance before she was rid of her.
"Hey! Would you stop for a bit and let me recover! You're so rude!" Nalia whined with a grand pout, "I thought heroes were supposed to be all noble and chivalrous!"
Zera stopped more out of objection and stared hard at Nalia, whom took a relieved breath and stopped immediately, keeled over forwards with her hands on her knees taking deep steady breaths.

"I attempted to be noble and chivalrous but then I got molested and thought better of it," Zera said plainly, staring at Nalia, "How exactly do you plan on keeping up with me anyway?"
Nalia gave a grumpy look at Zera bringing that up again, before finally straightening up and dusting herself off.
"Well I thought one of those hats might let me keep up with you," Nalia said with a bit of a shrug, "And it was your fault for being unchivalrous that led to that in the first place!"
"Don't you even dare try and blame me," Zera said sternly pointing a digit at Nalia, "I was prepared to save your butt, not fight your wars, my hats are not your playthings and I will start dislocating wrists if you try grabbing again."
"Why are you so determined to get rid of me? I just want to come along, I promise I won't get in your way and I might even be able to help!" Nalia said with a fallen expression.
Zera facepalmed and spun about with a grumble.
"Oh fricken FINE. Do whatever you want," Zera sighed, proceeding forward again though with an angry stomp in each step.
"Yay!" Nalia cheered, hurriedly moving up into pace with Zera now that she'd finally slowed down a bit, "So where are we going?"
"I dunno," Zera replied grumpily.
"Eh!? You don't even know where you're going yet you somehow know you don't want me along?" Nalia said, a little offended and awestruck.
Zera's fists clenched, her jaw set and quite randomly there was a small explosion around her, probably the result of angry Ki being vented.
"Okay! Okay!" Nalia said in a panic, waving her hands about trying to pat the air and calm the beast.

After awhile when Zera's mood improved and they'd gone on in silence along the main road, waltzing through the farmlands, Zera finally spoke again.
"Okay. So. Here's the deal: I can't remember anything prior to waking up in that wizard's fortress, so I'm hoping I can jog my memory by taking a walk," Zera explained somewhat begrudgingly.
"Uh... just by walking around randomly?" Nalia asked carefully, a little lost.
"Well how am I supposed to know what's going to jog my memory?" Zera asked in slight exasperation.
"Well you're a giant warrior monk aren't you? You must've trained in some kind of monastery, and people would no doubt remember someone your size," Nalia pointed out expertly.
"Yeah well I already thought of that!" Zera said defensively, folding her arms and looking away, "But I mean, I could have trained in a monastery on the dark side of the friggin moon for all I know."
"No those monks don't concern themselves with mortal matters," Nalia assured wisely, causing Zera to turn and stare hard at her.
"Yer fuckin' with me right?" Zera said with the evil eye going on.
"Yes I'm sorry," Nalia said dejectedly, "But seriously! Someone like you wouldn't be able to go around unnoticed, even if you wore a disguise you'd stick out like a sore thumb!"
"Well then why didn't someone from Mornalt recognize me then?" Zera asked.
"If you hadn't noticed, we're rather remote..." Nalia said flatly, "Do you want me to guide you to one of the larger cities where someone might recognize you?"
Zera sighed, turning away again and readjusting her folded arms, kind of not wanting to give Nalia the satisfaction of being so useful already, but she could already tell she was going to get bored of aimless wandering and cave sooner or later -better now while most of her dignity was in tact.
"...Fine..." Zera sighed reluctantly, beckoning Nalia lead the way with a gesture.
Nalia stepped forward on cue and spun on a heel to face Zera.
"Hat me!" Nalia beamed, holding out a hand expectantly.
"I'm not hatting you, you're crazier than a drunk goblin," Zera said blandly.
"Oh? I guess you'll need to be happy with my walking pace then," Nalia said a little smugly, spinning back around as though about to take off, but she stood there as though waiting for Zera to cave.

While Zera contemplated the sheer quantity of Ki required to punch this princess into orbit, she dug into one of the many pockets she had the tailor put in her outfits precisely for this, and all-but smashed a flower tiara onto Nalia's head.
Next moment there was a basically naked dryad-version of Nalia standing in front of Zera, whom squealed in shock after she got over the mental shock, whirling about and trying to cover up, staring furiously at Zera.
"Hey!" Nalia objected whilst blushing profusely.
"What's your problem? The plants growing on you are covering all the necessary parts and it's only this perverted because you're a pervert," Zera said casually with a helpless shrug, though there was a malicious hint in her eyes.
"I'M NOT A PERVERT!" Nalia cried, sparing a hand to yank the tiara off but was still red as a beet as her normal form returned, "G-give me the sorceress hat! Why would you even have a dryad hat?"
"I dunno, I probably had some reason to make it," Zera said with a shrug, taking the tiara back and exchanging it for the giant pointy hat, "I should probably look into that at some point..."
Nalia snatched the hat and crammed it on, poofing into her sorceress self once more and attempting to reclaim her pride though her face was still a beacon. She wrenched her staff and marched forward to lead the way, though she immediately nearly fell over due to the abnormal extra weight on her chest.
"Augh! What the hell!?" Nalia mumbled with a slight pout, staggering a little and catching herself with the staff, managing an awkward shamble of sorts, "Why are they so obnoxiously big? -And don't call me a pervert again!"
Zera just strode into pace with the staggering princess, easily matching her stride with a lazy swagger.
"Well that could be one explanation, but I have a pretty good feeling that's where spare mana accumulates as a kind of a reservoir," Zera explained in an offhanded fashion, a fluttering gesture to demonstrate the airiness.
"Huh...?" Nalia was a little perplexed, "But all the sorceresses I've seen aren't like this!"
"I dunno, maybe it's a byproduct of me building the hat? I tend to store excess Ki there, makes for a nice reserve," Zera said with a shrug, bouncing one of her assets in a hand before shrugging the matter off.
"Wh...why do you store it there...?" Nalia began, all of a sudden suspicious, peering at Zera.
"I don't know. Convenience? My own amusement? A joke that picked up too much momentum?" Zera said with overwhelming loss, a dramatic shrug of an ultimate lack of the answer, "I mean, where else am I supposed to store it?"
Nalia sort of drifted off in thought for awhile there, honestly trying to figure something out but apparently got lost or hit a snag as she came back emptyhanded.

They wandered for a little while longer as Nalia played around with the magic talents she had at her disposal, systematically going through all her options until she discovered her staff pulled double-duty as a flying vehicle in much the same way a witch with her broom.
"Well this is oddly convenient," Nalia remarked with an approving nod, looking down at the staff she was rather precariously perched upon side-saddle, "None of this pesky walking."
"Magic's like that isn't it," Zera remarked with an eyebrow raised, "Does that mean we can speed up?"
"To run around in circles? Your plan sucks," Nalia said flatly, folding her arms and somehow managing to balance expertly on her flying staff.
"So let's hear yours," Zera prompted tiredly, throwing a resigned hand in a beckoning gesture to Nalia.
"Well, obviously since you're an accomplished warrior, other accomplished warriors would have heard of you or at least know of you, so the easiest way to find some clues is to enter the tournaments in Tijal," Nalia explained professionally with an almost arrogant air, "I overheard daddy talking about Sir Eustace heading out yesterday to enter the tournaments so it must mean they'll be starting some time in the next few days."
"...Sir Useless...?" Zera asked, a little distracted.
"Eustace! Eu-stace! Have some respect you decadent philastine!" Nalia said indignantly waving a finger at Zera, whom was giving a look as though she knew exactly where to put that finger right now.
"Just lead the way," Zera grumbled, rubbing her eyes with a thumb and knuckle of her right hand, sorely regretting this already.

And so with Nalia peacefully gliding through the air above the tree tops and Zera lazily jumping along the canopy, they made masterful progress through the forest as they ignored the winding path in favor of a direct route.
But all good things must come to an end, as they say: Zera was floating between jumps when the canopy viciously opened with a grand slice of air, and twirling aerial manoeuvre saving Zera from being bisected though one of her coattails was trimmed slightly.
"Dammit this was brand new!" Zera fumed, snatching the inch of fabric out of the air as she descended straight through the divide in the canopy, landing on one foot next to her assailant and spinning it like an axle as she went about to ruin their day with a kick to the face.
Except in what seemed two blinks of an eye Zera's foot had stopped dead and she'd reflexively deflected something and was spiralling away mid-air.
A small explosion followed off to the left, drawing Zera's attention for a moment to see a hulking troll made of twisted plant matter spontaneously fall into six pieces like it was neatly bisected three times.
She finally got a look at her opponent as Zera touched down in a readied stance, though quickly raising an eyebrow.

A woman stood a dozen paces away in a stance low to the ground with her feet far apart, a katana held up at her side at the ready as she was poised to launch another strike.
At first glance she appeared to be wearing some rather pointed articulated plate armour, a whole variety of straps and buckles and swatches of leather, but then Zera realized the woman was packing enough blades to fill an armory, all neatly arranged about her body for easy access.
She had dark skin and dark hair in an elaborate splayed pony tail, ornamented by a variety of dagger-like pieces that had an almost regal fashion to it, her eyes were a vivid almond colour and narrowly sizing up Zera.
Evidently this woman had amazing skill with a sword, and the kind of speed that made them terrifying.
Zera just shrugged and launched forward in a blind charge at first, except made a marvelous sliding manoeuvre as she ran, drawing a crescent moon with her modified trajectory and sweeping neatly out of the way of the woman's counterstrike of an upward vertical slash, that familiar blade of air rushing out from the slice.
Behind the woman, Zera went to go for a basic strike with her knee but the woman adapted and went full circle with her blade, one foot leaving the ground for her to pivot right around in a blink and go for a downward slash at Zera's new location.
With little time to respond, Zera's hands shot forth and clapped gloriously on either side of the sword and pinned the blade a few inches from her skull, as fortunately the swordswoman hadn't both feet on the ground for continued leverage. Zera took advantage and used her free foot to catch under the pommel of the sword and threw herself backwards whilst kicking upward, yanking the sword clean from the woman's grip with superior strength and leverage, throwing it high into the air.
The woman's response came the moment her other foot had met the ground, alternating to flinging her other foot up and sending out a whole fan of knives from somewhere on her leg, Zera haphazardly flying backwards, catching two and narrowly twisting in the air to avoid the other three as they thunked into the tree right behind her.
In the few moments it took for Zera to recover from the attack, the woman had apparently already flung herself into the air kicking off a tree to reclaim her sword, spiralling back down the ground and whipping her sword up for a grand slice.
Even Zera figured there was a bit too much momentum in that one to pin the blade, performing quite possibly the most awkward dodge in the world as she threw her top half downwards, whirling her hands about to try and twist herself out of the way in time. It resulted in the blade narrowly missing both arms as they flailed and the side of her face as she barely peeled herself out of the way, the blade slicing through the tree trunk and into the ground.
The awkward dodge however did leave Zera in a nice pose to spin from, with one foot in the air already she just brought it down and landed on the sword's hilt again, this time burying the weapon up to its hilt into the ground before following the attack smoothly with a powerful palm strike to the woman's abdomen.

There was a bit of a shockwave from the blast of ki behind Zera's strike, sending the woman flying and smashing dramatically into a tree trunk, nearly slumping on the ground.
Zera barely started to wonder if she'd won before the woman snapped out a pair of short swords from her sleeves and pushed off from the tree, intending on charging back in when a familiar cry and a bundle of fabric crashed to the ground between them.
The two combatants were a little addled by Nalia's arrival but nonetheless not distracted, both charging in to strike; unfortunately Nalia stood up at a very inconvenient moment as the two were about to throw their first strikes, ending up having to change trajectory at the last second to reroute around the princess.
They ended up in an awkward clash, with Zera neatly pushing both the short swords aside with the palms of her hand and pushing them clear of both herself and the princess, while the princess kind of froze in slight shock.
"Grr! Nalia you're in the way!" Zera fumed, trying to find a spare moment to push the princess aside but the swordswoman took it as a challenge and continued sending a hail of needling strikes around Nalia using the princess as a blindspot to try and cheap hit Zera.
And while the princess did indeed attempt to try and move, retreat or fight back or use magic or anything, the constant barrage of attacks flying neatly around her was constantly making her flinch and weave around in a vain attempt not to get hit.
Zera soon got grumpy.

The next thing the swordwoman knew, a blast of force pulsed out from through the princess and knocked her flying again, as Zera had masterfully smote Nalia in the stomach with her knee using Ki harmonics to pass most of the damage harmlessly through the princess as a medium and surprise her opponent.
Of course, even 10% of the impact was still enough to double the poor princess over, wheezing and gasping for air on the ground, clutching her stomach.

"I thought she was your comrade," the swordswoman coughed, slumped up against the tree trunk again, her swords blasted from her hands.
"She'll be fine," Zera assured, stepping over Nalia and striding towards her opponent, "She had it coming anyway."
"What's your business with me anyway? I've never even seen you before," the woman groaned, clutching her stomach as she tried to straighten her stance in response to Zera's approach.
"You attacked me first," Zera said flatly, folding her arms, "I was jumping along the tree tops minding my own business and you decide to throw one of those crazy wind slices at me."
"I recall no such thing," the woman replied grumpily, "I was dispatching a forest troll on my way to Tijal, you were the one who presented themself as an enemy first."
"So it's entirely coincidental you nearly bisected an innocent bystander?" Zera asked tartly, leaning forward and staring in a scrutinizing manner, somewhat curious all of a sudden about this woman desiring to go to the same place as she.
"Why was an innocent bystander flying above the tree tops? I can't account for every possibility," the woman said defensively, folding her arms defiantly mirroring Zera's stance.
"I just so happened to be on my way to Tijal as well to compete in the tournament," Zera explained in a haughty manner.
"What? Trying to eliminate your competition with these despicable tactics?" the woman said with clenched teeth.
"I'm not an assassin I'm a friggin monk," Zera said blandly.

While the two bickered, the wounded princess could only roll about in stunned pain, agitated and attempting to enlighten the pair on an important piece of information but was far from any condition to speak up.
Hence she could only watch as the two of them disappeared under the bulk of a forest troll that had taken a leaping slam attack to join the party.

There was no motion for a moment, as the troll was apparently content to lay there for a bit.
"...Ow..." came the muffled voice of Zera, before the troll's apparently limp form lifted off the ground with the monk staggering a little to lift the beast.
She tossed it to the side and it landed on its back, a hilt of a sword protruding from its chest catching Zera's eye.
"Dafuq did that come from!?" Zera said in shock, staring incredulously at the sword.
The slightly crumpled form of the swordswoman on the ground just looked up at her with a unimpressed and slightly disbelieving expression.
"...For a moment there I thought you were scary. Have you really not been paying attention?" the woman asked incredulously, laboriously climbing to her feet and stomping at the ground.
The seemingly innocuous gesture disturbed something that had been buried in the ground, which ended up being a series of knives and a sword or two laid out in a bit of a mesh on their battlefield, causing another shocked look from Zera.
"How the hell did I not divide you in two with obliviousness like that?" the woman asked frustratedly.
"How the hell did you have enough time to lace those all over the place!?" Zera said, staring in awe.
"Oh forget it," the woman sighed tiredly, going to collect all her misplaced weapons.

Later on the road when Nalia had mostly recovered and back to floating on her staff, Zera and the woman walked along a little uneasily.
"I'm Syla," the woman introduced idly, "Of the Iron Warriors."
"Zera, Amnesiac Monk, and that's Nalia, the Perverted Princess," Zera replied tidily.
"Hey!" Nalia burst out, hopping off her staff to attempt to smack Zera with it.
"Amnesiac Monk?" Syla obliged offhandedly as she buffed the smudges and trollmatter from one of her swords.
"Yeah, woke up with no memory, it sounds awfully tragic," Zera said unenthusiastically as she nearly made Nalia fall over several times using a single finger to mix up her momentum, "This tournament seems like my best chance of finding someone who knows me or something to jog my memory."
"Well you're on the right track for it at least, it'd be hard to forget someone like you," Syla said with a bit of a nod.
"Nalia said as much," Zera said indicatively, having a short staring match with a grumpy Nalia before she jumped back onto her flying staff.
"So what's the Princess's story?" Syla asked as a blanket question to either of the two, whoever was willing to answer. Zera glanced at Nalia for a moment to compose her thoughts and maybe give her a chance to explain herself, but Nalia huffed and turned her nose away.
"Rescued her from some wizard's fortress, now she's following me like a lost puppy," Zera explained with a small grumble.
"You mean her 'kingdom' doesn't need her?" Syla asked suspiciously with an eyebrow raised.
"Mornalt lacks the magical prowess to prevent my capture by our enemy," Nalia deigned to replied.
"...But their princess is a sorceress...?"
"Eh, long story," Zera said lazily waving the subject aside, turning her scrutiny on Syla, "You must know about this tournament thingy."
"I'd say 'who doesn't' but we already know that," Syla explained idly, taking a bit of a breath to begin, "Tijal hosts a tournament every year, and a grand tournament every ten years in order to develop something of a political pyramid. Success in the tournament earns a lot of political clout and it's a great way to entertain the masses, keep 'em distracted from bigger issues you know?"
"Politics...?" Zera remarked, both confused and surprised, "People sockin' each other can cause waves in the world of words?"
"Of course it can," Nalia interjected indignantly, "All contestants represent something or someone, and their success in the tournament directly sways their influence as the public's eye is drawn to what they represent."
"What if I don't want to represent anyone?" Zera asked with concern.
"They won't let you compete; it's not an official rule but they have a loophole they exploit to achieve what they need," Syla said easily.
Zera grumbled, not likely how messy things seemed like they were going to get; politics was never fun to dabble in, especially when one was a highly trained warrior. All those years politicians spent sharpening their tongues, Zera would have spent learning to make things explode by punching them, or so-to-speak.

The road away from the forest was winding and long, but enough hills to give them a good view of the fields of grass with the odd pond or lake making it a rather scenic little stroll. Considering they were walking at Syla's pace they obviously weren't making the same kind of distance, but it didn't entirely matter since they were both going for the tournament.
"So what are the Iron Warriors anyways?" Zera asked airily to stave off the monotony.
"Kind of like mercenaries, but we're more anchored down; not the fight-for-the-highest-bidder kind, more like a whole bunch of warriors who get together to trade tricks and blows," Syla explained.
"You don't do the allegience thing?" Zera queried, somewhat curious.
"We usually have to gather most of our members to make those kinds of decisions, it's only happened twice and we're already getting more than our fill of action and drama," Syla said in a somewhat exasperated manner at the reminder it gave, "So the only obligations we share are towards the Fire Court, the Kingdom of Gidanhall and each other; anything else is up to the individual."
"Sounds a little more stable than normal mercs," Zera said with an approving nod, "Here I was thinking there was a whole group of people who walked around wearing an armory."
Syla couldn't suppress a smirk at that comment, though there was a hint of concern in her eyes that went unnoticed as they walked along.
Though, eventually they hit a new snag after they'd travelled for awhile.

"Why... why am I getting tired?" Nalia asked a little drowsily, swaying about on her staff, "Staff's doin' all the work..."
Syla looked at Nalia at little unapprovingly with a shake of her head.
"How is it you don't seem to know a thing about magic?" Syla asked a little suspiciously, cueing Nalia to look at Syla a little surprised and anxious.
"Eh?" Nalia issued, sweating a little.
"Staff's not doing the work, you are," Zera pointed out, "The staff is just a focusing tool for mana, it won't do squat unless you juice it up."
"Aw what...?" Nalia complained, causing Syla to grow even more suspicious, but she kept her peace for the time being.
Regardless, they turned their attention to finding a place to rest for a little while, as Zera and Syla weren't too sharp and shiny since their fight so a small respite would be welcomed.

They found a small river to camp beside, wash some of the dirt off and generally just lay down or rest against a tree and relax. Nalia took forever it seemed, being the most pedantic with her garments and where she rested, as she spent a good while just finding soft enough materials.
Zera and Syla both found comfortable trees opposite one another, partially facing the other for a number of reasons -among them suspicion and general strategy.

"So what's your story then?" Zera queried for the lack of anything else to do, eyes half-shut resting in a bit of a meditative trance.
"What is yours?" Syla prompted knowingly.
"I said I had amnesia," Zera returned a little grumpily.
"Amongst the Iron Warriors, that would be a very poor trade then," Syla said with a smirk, lazily drumming her fingers across a large knife.
"Is everything about trading?" Zera sighed.
"Everything is about what one wants; if they have to trade to acquire it, then they trade," Syla explained helplessly with a shrug, though she threw a wary glance at the resting form of Nalia, "Her story might be worth the trade..."
The comment more seemed like a test, as Zera looked over to Nalia's form and saw it undisturbed even though she must've heard, which leant a suspicious gaze when Zera looked back at Syla.
"Tell me truthfully, where did you learn to fight?" Syla asked seriously, now giving Zera the wary eye.
"I told ya I had no idea," Zera said with a slightly exasperated gesture, breaking from her half-assed meditation, "It's just reflex."
"That side step was not the move of an amateur, you don't gain such mastery over momentum without knowing where you got it," Syla said with a bit of a warning in her tone, clutching her knife a little more defensively, "I figure you might want to play dumb around the princess who wouldn't know better, but I've seen those moves before. Perfect orchestration and unwittingly avoiding all my traps? Don't insult me by thinking I wouldn't notice."
Zera had to facepalm, kind of hoping the GM would lace a few hints for her to maybe tiptoe out of this mess but he was being oddly silent.
"I dunno what to tell you, Syl, I woke up in the refuse pit of some evil wizard scientist person, didn't know anything other than how to fight," Zera grumbled, "I wouldn't even know why I'd need to hide how I know these moves, if you wanna believe I'm lying then go ahead, but my reasons for going to Tijal are honest."
"Hmph," Syla leaned back, not altogether happy but apparently enough to keep her peace.

After awhile, Zera got a bit fidgety as something kept bugging her.
"You said... you've seen those moves before?" Zera attempted a new spark at conversation.
"I saw an old pilgrim use it once to easily throw an opponent much larger than himself," Syla replied, "He was the silent and mysterious type so it wasn't like you could get any answers out of him."
"A pilgrim?"
"wanders around collecting all sorts of knowledge, he sometimes did a bit of trading with the Iron Warriors though it was usually for little stuff, he never taught us anything to do with combat," Syla explained loosely, "It was a shame. He was undefeated."
Zera let the topic simmer in her thoughts for a little while, trying to puzzle out what exactly was going on with these mysterious momentum moves. The GM had said she'd come back to life but she wasn't sure if she was supposed to know she was actually dead, considering there were no hints or memories of her dying.
So all in all, it seemed like she wasn't any further or closer to figuring this plot out; she just hoped Tijal had more opportunities to dig up some info.

After their respite, Nalia decided to walk for the time being, and the three of them continued on the long, winding path to the kingdom on the horizon.
Zera had to sigh a little, getting a tad bored with the walking and the limited conversations.
"I don't suppose this road is frequented by bandits or anything?" Zera asked with a bored sigh.
"This road isn't used enough for bandits to be interested in it, Mornalt's not as popular as other kingdoms," Nalia replied.
"Actually," Syla began a little more wisely, "It makes a brilliant escape route for marauding bandits, they snatch what they want, run down the road, turn the corner and disappear."
She was making gestures to enunciate her explanation when there was noise of a carriage, lots of horse shoes hitting the dirt and a few yells, only a couple of seconds before a carriage wildly turned off the main road onto the one the three were occupying.
"That was convenient..." Zera remarked.
"Well I'd already set the damn thing in motion before you went and lampshaded it," the GM mentioned grumpily, "Now I feel like an amateur."

The carriage looked to be bursting at the seams with bandits hitching a ride after hijacking it, the driver heavily distracted even after not looking like he really knew how to drive, but they managed to veer off the road down a relatively concealed path into the trees.
A few moments later there sounded like a crash with the winneying of the horses, along with a dozen yells of objection and rage from the bandits.
"Time to punch some faces," Zera said eagerly, slamming a fist into a palm before sprinting off, Syla not far behind with Nalia attempting to catch up on her staff.
With Zera running so fast however, she failed to realize in time the little swatch of forest near the intersection shelted a ravine, which she slid into spectacularly and went plummeting into the carriage wreckage.

"What the hell was that!?" one bandit cried, a scrambling of feet and boards.
"Who was the moron that let Stev drive!?"
"I am NOT cleaning this crap up!"
Fortunately it seemed the bandits were in too much disarray from the crash to really notice Zera's arrival and subsequent disappearance into the wreckage -and what a glorious wreck it was, as it must have fallen over and smashed into a rock while it was still hurtling along all at the same time. It was hardly recognizable as a carriage now, the only hint being two carriage wheels protruding from their axles from the rubble.
Meanwhile buried in the rubble, Zera just stared up at the heavens for a moment looking rather unimpressed, though faint breathing from her right eventually made her look over to find a disheveled noblewoman shaking like a leaf buried in rubble like Zera herself.
"...Hi..." Zera said a little awkwardly, though she only received an incredulous stare in return.
Zera just shrugged and went to wriggle about trying to get free, making a bit of noise and little else.
"Hey!" Zera called, "Someone get me out of here dammit."
"What was that? I thought she was a noble?"
"She mighta been a noble 'afore you crashed the fricken carriage!"
"Ah shaddap,"
There was some rustling of rubble before a bandit appeared and grabbed the outstretched hand that Zera provided, and they tugged her halfway clear before they realized something was up.
"Er... that doesn't look like our noble..." one bandit remarked a little uncertainly.
"Cheers," Zera thanked appropriately, yanking the bandit forward with one hand while her other burst out of the rubble and smashed him flying into the second, sending both into the ravine wall with a bit of a crash.
Zera sort of exploded from the rubble after that and landed easily on the pile, staring down at the surprised bandits like a goddess of war.
"Who wants some?" Zera challenged, falling into a stance with a beckoning gesture.

Though it was about at that time did Syla come flying down as little more than a streak of silver, somehow apparently picking up absurd speed before crashing into the group of bandits on one side of the wreckage. Her landing produced a bit of an explosion as rubble and bandits alike went flying everywhere, the destructive rain rattling down amongst her as she came to a halt in an imposing stance with a sheathed sword in either hand held reversed in the air at angles.
"Dramatic, much?" Zera commented a little dryly at Syla, hand snapping up in the air around an arrow shaft that went to blindside her.
"Compared to your entrance I think anything would be dramatic," Syla replied in a composed manner as she stood up properly and went to put her weapons away.
Zera just grumbled and dived into the other crowd of bandits, firing an epic punch to send a bandit flying, but catching him by the ankle before he was ejected from the vicinity and then was used as a large club. A quick Ki-boosted whirlwind manoeuvre had the lot of the bandits flying upward into the air, giving Zera some time to dart back and forth, snaring ankles and flinging each one about into an aerial tangled-up ball of bandits before giving the lot of them an epic Ki-boost boot.
The resulting explosive kick had bandits strewn about all over the ravine grumbling and groaning, while Zera struck a triumphant pose on the pile of rubble.
"This wasn't supposed to be a contest..." Syla groaned, covering her face with a palm before going over to the wreckage.
"They're small fry, what else were we supposed to do with them?" Zera asked in earnest with a confused shrug.
"Nevermind..." Syla sighed, digging at the wreckage a little.
"Psh, fine, let's get this poor woman out of the rubble," Zera said with a shrug, reaching down until she snagged an arm before easily pulling the traumatized noblewoman free from the wreckage.
It was conveniently enough the same time Nalia arrived floating on her staff, right on time to see the stricken fair maiden be roughly extracted from the rubble and striking the princess with surprise.
"Meredith!"

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Re: Blanda's Boredom

Post by blazinvire on Mon May 05, 2014 6:47 am

"I never expected to find you here, milady," Meredith said respectfully as she and the princess sat at the bandit's camp, sitting most delicately on a pair of rocks for seats while Zera and Syla picked at the wago.
"Last I had heard you had been spirited away from your chambers," Meredith said with hushed concern.
"I was," Nalia said simply as she adjusted her hat and straightened her robe, "That giant monk woman over there was my rescuer."
Syla and Zera worked mostly in the background, though Syla seemed rather certain this was a lost cause.
"I don't think I put any points in Craft Wagon," Zera said with a grimace, staring at a broken axle in one hand and a wheel in the other.
"As much as I agree on the need for a vehicle, this carriage is beyond salvage," Syla said, tossing some broken pieces aside.

"Pardon my saying so, but you seem rather... different..." Meredith said a touch nervously, to which Nalia smiled with a wicked triumph.
"Yes, well, I guess I just hit that point in life," Nalia said a little too smugly, which prompted a flying axle to swoop her hat clean off and poof her back into her regular size and self. Obviously this in turn prompted a shriek from the prideful princess as she scurried after the hat and quickly jammed it back on.
Syla just looked at Zera who'd thrown the axle, almost suspicious but more chiding.
"...We didn't need that part anyway..." Zera reassured after a moment, her gaze flicking about.
"Let's skip to the part where you explain the hat," Syla suggested, shifting the rubble to take a comfortable seat and kicking up her feet, while Nalia had a similar but more flustered conversation with Meredith.
"Heh, I don't really know the details myself," Zera said helplessly, "I make these hats, and when people wear them they change into something appropriately themed."
"That... seems a little unreal..." Syla said uncertainly, throwing a glance at the pouting princess and then back at Zera, "But that princess's lack of knowledge on the most basic particulars of magic is very real; you're trying to tell me you are able to bestow powers on others that you yourself do not possess?"
"Che -I got no idea," Zera grumbled with a shrug, looking at Syla grumpily, "The last time I made a hat was before I woke up with no memory."
Syla just sighed and looked over to the princess who was still a little red, from frustration or embarrassment was anyone's guess but the two noblewomen came over to see how things were proceeding.
"What is the plan now? Meredith needs new transport and a place to recover," Nalia queried officially, brushing her robe as she attempted to dismiss the last of the redness in her cheeks.
It was fortunate Meredith seemed a kind soul as she didn't seem to even think about teasing Nalia.
"Yeah the carriage is screwed," Zera admitted, finally standing up and stretching as she threw a pair of wheels back onto the pile, "I'm afraid dear Meredith will have to get used to walking; Mornalt's closest right? She can get a new carriage from there."
"Are... are you suggesting she /walk/ to Mornalt? /Alone/?" Nalia said preposterously.
"We do not have a flexible schedule if we wish to reach Tijal before the tournament," Syla pointed out, "If Meredith can keep up with us she can follow us to the next town."
"Ugh, no respect for the needs of nobles," Nalia grumbled, folding her arms before looking to Zera, "Then I suppose she'll need a hat too."
"What? That's not how it works, I can only have one hat out at a time," Zera clarified.
"But you have dozens of them!" Nalia insisted.
"Not while you're wearing one!" Zera returned.
"I -I'll be okay with walking to-" Meredith attempted fretfully but was drowned out in the bickering.
"That doesn't make any sense, stop being so stingy!" Nalia demanded.
"I'm being exceptionally generous right now by even loaning you that one!" Zera returned angrily.
Quite suddenly there was a Syla between the two of them, a palm held to both of their faces.
"Time out!" Syla said flatly, before folding her arms and taking up a mediator's position, first glancing to Zera.
"What are the specifics of this strange hat power?" Syla began, instantly nearly smashing her palm into Nalia's face when she tried to speak.
"I can only have one out at a time," Zera explained again, "They exist in their own dimension, and I can retrieve them out of any pocket I own. But I won't be able to find any hats while there is one out."
"Alright. Then do you have one that may help this situation?" Syla queried.
Zera paused for a moment to think on that, but was drawing a blank.
"Honestly I can't even remember what all my hats were..." Zera said, looking a little puzzled before snatching the hat off Nalia -much to her protest- and stuffing it away into a pocket.
She dug around in the pocket for awhile before extracting a familiar copperleaf hairpin, blinking at it a few times before smiling fakely and putting it away, digging into a different pocket and extracting the circlet.
"Hrrm... having some technical difficulties here..." Zera grimaced, digging into another pocket and pulling out a demonic mask, "... I'm starting to think I have no idea what I'm doing..."
Syla looked a little unimpressed at Zera, though she had to admit part of her was curious about all these strange magical hats; Zera was a very suspicious individual, Syla was having difficulty properly sizing her up.
"Just give me the sorceress hat back, Meredith can ride on the staff with me," Nalia said with a grand pout, dejectedly holding out her hand while the other arm apparently protectively laid over her chest.
Zera pulled out a burnt hood before she finally withdrew the giant pointy hat again and passed it back to Nalia, whom immediately jammed it on and returned to glory and confidence.

They finally got back onto the path and on their way to Tijal, Zera carrying a lump of wood attached to some roots she'd retrieved from the forest region.
"...Are you going to make me ask?" Syla queried in advance, constantly eyeing Zera's strange behaviour with collecting random things.
"Oh nothing, I was just on the thought train with all these hats and wondered how I built them, so I figured I might try building one and maybe it'll jog some of my memory," Zera reasoned with a shrug, turning the lump of wood about in her hands and examing it from various angles, "Don't suppose you have a wood-carving knife in your arsenal?"
In retrospect it was a rather silly question all things considered...
Syla hadn't even issued a word before tossing Zera a strangely curved knife.

"So..." Syla began, partially probably to stave off boredom, "Do you design the outfits too-"
"That is SO not my fault!" Zera blurted out, cutting Syla off with her outburst, "Ol' princess fussybritches over there is a total pervert, I betcha if I gave her my Knight helmet she'd somehow make a full suit of plate armour slutty."
"Uh..." Syla issued awkwardly, trying to discretely walk a few paces further from Zera, patting the air uneasily, "So... the wearers... design them?"
"Unconsciously, I suppose?" Zera said with a shrug, falling back to her normal demeanor, carving away merrily at the lump of wood, "Her mother made some amazing outfits... I... just realized that Knight helmet..."
Zera slowed a little in her pace, moving back to where the nobles were strolling and snatching Nalia's hat again. She barely got a word in protest out before Zera had thunked an iron knight helmet on her.
Nalia poofed into one of the tightest fitting suits of plate armour that Zera had ever seen, and most unhelpfully had sections on the thighs exposed, the midriff and boasted gratuitous cleavage.
"Wha...wha..." Nalia was a little stunned and offbalance, Syla and Meredith were both surprised and intrigued where Zera looked like she was suppressing a fit -with great difficulty, it should be mentioned...
"...You should be able to summon a horse..." Zera somewhat muffled through gritted teeth.
Somewhere in her stunned reverie Nalia sort of tweaked to it and mentally called out, causing a phantom of a horse to burst into reality, and it quickly gained definition and solidarity, colours and texture until a proper knight's warhorse stood before them in armoured glory.
"It is a sad, sad day when the horse boasts more armour than the rider..." Zera grumbled before storming ahead.

With the noblewomen on horseback and the two learned warriors able to keep up a steady pace, they made a fair distance before night fell, finding a little cove off amongst the rocks far off to the side from the highway where they could make camp in peace.

Their journey continued mostly without event of note, beyond Zera and Syla getting into the occasional scuffle for reasons anywhere between training, boredom or frustration, as Syla still didn't seem to entirely believe the amnesia story and they both had some merits in their combat form to trade.
So they reached the next town on the road somewhere close to the end of the day, waltzing into the streets as people went about getting ready to pack up for the night.

"Oooh civilization at last," Nalia moaned in relief even as her faithful warhorse carried her along the cobbled street, "Can't wait to sleep in a proper bed again!"
Zera shook her head disapprovingly, Syla just rolled her eyes and strutted along a little tiredly, both keeping their eyes peeled for activity.
"I guess there isn't much we can hope to achieve at this time of day," Syla assumed, "Perhaps it would be best to locate an Inn for the night?"
"You know anything about this town, Syla?" Zera queried airily, feeling equally tired as her eyes sort of glazed over as they looked.
"Not much, my path doesn't usually cross this town oddly enough," Syla said apologetically, "I do remember the town center has nearly everything, so we can at least find the Inn and think about things in the morning."
"Huh... this place is on the major highway, what kinda path were you taking to avoid this place all the time?" Zera asked.
"I don't really know, I usually just follow the work which leads me to all kinds of places," Syla said with a shrug, "But now the tournament is near I'm obviously trying to get to Tijal with all haste."

It was a rather quaint little town, with the people happy enough and all the bustle of activity kept things interesting. The town center was clearly the heart in more than location, with the townhall and the inn, and the tavern in relatively close proximity to one another, along with enough random space all over the place for merchants and the like to set up.

"I hope everyone has enough gold for the inn," Syla said offhandedly as they stepped onto the porch.
"Nah it's cool, I'll cover everyone," Zera said easily before Meredith could begin to worry -being the only one who had been unprepared for this little sojourn.
"How exceedingly generous of you," Syla remarked a touch suspiciously, to which Zera just chuckled a little nervously.
Truth be told, Zera literally had nothing better to spend her looted treasure on, so it wasn't entirely driven by generosity. But honestly, who was going to complain about a free bed and meal?

It was only just after breakfast at the Inn the next morning did their day already get sent a turn for the crazy, as a loud roar was issued followed by several screams and yells, and then a dozen crashes and crunches.
Syla and Zera were obviously out the door in moments to check things out, to discover the tavern nearby had a new doorway and a large shirtless man standing in the street, musclebound to the absolute max -to the point he looked rather veiny, and his clean-shaven head gave a rather menacing extra to his overall intimidating glare and posture.
He looked like one of the meanest guys around, with enough muscles to make the average person crap themselves, and his face seemed permanently locked in an expression of glaring anger.
Guards were pouring in already, likely been posted nearby knowing this man's presence, but it didn't seem to change anything other than the number of people getting beaten up by the muscled ball of anger.

"Heh, that guy's sure gettin' his angry on," Zera joked in a jovial mood, pointing at the hulk of a man rampaging indiscriminately, sending guards and the environment flying in all directions in equal measure.
"OH SHI-" Zera dived out of the way as a guard came flying by, Syla not in the line of fire thus didn't even blink, she just remained examining the troublemaker.
"Shouldn't we do something? He's making a nuisance of himself!" Nalia said indicatively as she stumbled out of the Inn.
"The dude just tossed a fricken wagon earlier, what exactly are we supposed to do when he's in full angry-mode?" Zera queried Nalia as she laid casually on the ground, propping her head up with a fist.
"I saw you throw a golem three times the size of a wagon," Nalia sent back grumpily.
"That was totally different," Zera said defensively.
"You know you're not being very hero-like," Nalia chided, hands on her hips.
"Heroes are stupid, always sticking their noses into other people's businesses and getting themselves killed," Zera pointed out.
"Just go stop the angry man!!" Nalia demanded sternly, pointing fiercely.
"We may have no choice in the next three seconds," Syla commented out of the blue.
In amongst their bickering apparently the angry hulk had run out of things to punch or throw, and was now charging for the merry group as angry as ever. Meredith hid behind Nalia, Syla uncertainly assumed a combat stance and Zera shot to her feet looking completely bedazzled and attempting to figure out what to do.
Best idea she could think of was try and match the angry match, equal and opposite force and all that.
He sent out one of those terrifying punches and Zera sent a ki-boosted punch of her own -straight into his fist, the two forces clashing dramatically with a loud thud and both stopping dead.
But Mr. Angry was not deterred: in fact he was a little inspired, as he started unleashing a frenzy of haymakers, roaring as loudly as he could, going red and raising his veins.
Zera and Angry's arms disappeared into a bit of a blur as they proceeded to smash fists at blinding speed, Syla standing to one side with a sword half out of its sheath wondering if it was safe to even get close at this point.
The frenzied barrage broke for a moment as Zera and Angry both got a fist through and smashed into each other's jaw, both getting sent flying in opposite directions; Zera smashed through the door of the Inn and Angry nearly crashed into the townhall nearby.
But they were back on their feet in an instant and charging back at each other, though Angry dug his heels in to slide to a stop before Zera, strangely not attacking but instead heaving in a massive lungful of air.
Zera was still a bit dazzled from the turn of events so this was getting exceptionally odd, but she certainly didn't expect the power of Angry's lungs to be so overwhelming; he roared so loud and hard his eyes were getting bloodshot and Zera was sliding backwards, Syla, Meredith and Nalia had abandoned their posts in favor of guarding their ears against the incredible sound assault.
When Angry finally finished and Zera was a foot and a half backwards from where she'd stopped, she too decided to suck in a huge lungful of air, not about to lose to this nutter.
"Wha... what the hell are you doing...?" Nalia said more in disbelief at what everyone knew was about to happen, than actually asking.
Zera took it up a notch and forced more air in her lungs than should have been permitted, her chest swelling to a painful size and her body quivering before she leaned forward and let it all out.
There was a slight problem though, as Zera's deafening roar blasted the deafening silence that had proceeded Angry's, because Zera was a monk with a large amount of Ki...
The sonic shockwaves emitted from Zera's mouth blasted over Angry whom looked like a man standing defiantly in a tornado or something, still trying to be the angriest ever. Even as he was slid backwards, and then eventually blatantly tossed flying into the air once he'd lost his friction.
Even as he flew he didn't lose his defiant stance, not ragdolling like a normal person and crashing into the townhall like a sack of bricks -that is to say, through the townhall. Both sides of it.

Zera was left panting in the wake of the roar of doom, triumphant nonetheless as she stared smugly at the hole in the townhall where Angry had disappeared.
"What." Syla remarked flatly, staring at Zera.
"What...?" Zera asked with genuine innocence.
"What." Syla repeated.
"...Nalia told me to stop him!" Zera said defensively, pointed exaggeratedly at the shellshocked princess and noble leaning on one another.
Syla just continued staring until the doors of the townhall opened and a considerably less angry Angry stepped out and politely closed the door behind him before striding over to Zera.
"I RECOGNIZE THE FIRE OF YOUR SPIRIT," Angry boomed with a relatively calm but very stern expression, like he was glaring at Zera with respect or something.
"Uh... that... that's... good?" Zera said uncertainly, trying to discretely lean away from the man with no inside-voice.
"YOU ARE WORTHY OF THE FURIA NAME! I DECLARE YOU MY TENSHA! YOU WILL FOLLOW ME!" Angry boomed assertively, still appearing as though he was talking normally yet his voice was deafening.
"W-wait wait wait, what? No way! I ain't followin' your ass anywhere!" Zera said preposterously, putting her foot down.
"MY TENSHA WILL FOLLOW! LEARN OF THE FURIA! I WILL TRIUMPH AT TIJAL TO PROVE THE MIGHT OF THE FURIA!" Angry continued to boom, apparently mostly oblivious to Zera's objections.
However, a tap on his shoulder got his attention, and he turned to see Syla with a flat expression and an eyebrow raised in challenge.
"I don't think so, buddy," Syla said plainly, her hand snapping to the hilt of her sword.
Angry let out another roar and brought his arms up, and then back down into the ground, causing an explosion that sent Zera flying -Syla gracefully rode the shockwave and landed at the ready, charging fearlessly into the dust cloud.
She exploded out the other side sliding to a stop in a powerful kneeling pose, her drawn sword held out to one side.
However her moment of brilliance was dulled a little as she broke and stared incredulously at her blade that had likewise dulled in several spots and lacked suitable adornments of blood.
"What the... am I striking a stone rather than flesh and blood?" Syla said in honest confusion, spinning about cautiously to face the dust cloud at the ready again as Angry cooly stepped clear, strutting toward her powerfully with not a scratch on his bare torso.
"YOUR PUNY BLADES CANNOT HARM THE FLESH OF A FURIA!" Angry boomed, before breaking into his angry stance again and charging at Syla for another double haymaker while Syla set up her swords for another lethal strike.
Just as he closed in, Zera suddenly appeared between them with a grumpy expression, her hands blurring as she twisted about and suddenly Syla was flying over toward the Inn while Angry was rocketed into the heavens.
Zera then dusted off her hands, stood up straight and folded her arms, waiting rather randomly.
A couple of seconds later Angry smashed face-first into the ground right in front of Zera, surprisingly popping out of his Angry-shaped indentation in the ground and on his feet unharmed like nothing important had happened.
"Fine, let's go to Tijal, just stop being violent," Zera said firmly.
Angry stared at her for awhile before issuing a grunt of agreement and a nod.
"I'm Zera, you?" Zera figured they hadn't actually gone through basic introductions yet.
"I AM BARTAG OF THE FURIA!" Angry announced proudly, adopting a strong pose.
"Awesome, now let's go back to the Inn and rest," Zera said, thumbing the direction of the Inn with the broken door.

It was a very awkward next couple of minutes as the group sat at a large round table with the town captain of the guard, everyone feeling like they were standing on eggshells, trying their best not to even send a wrong glance at the muscled and permanently angry Bartag sitting next to Zera.
"So..." Zera began awkwardly, "It's understandable that we'll have to assist in repairing the town..."
"Oh no no," the captain said a little shakily, waving his hands deflectively, "No no, it's okay, we've endured worse, no hard feelings."
"Uh... huh?" Zera was understandably confused, though she had some suspicions.
"I was just... making sure... that you and your... acquaintance, are well-rested and prepared for the journey to Tijal," the captain said with a forced smile even while sweating a little, "We wouldn't want to keep such a noble band of warriors such as yourselves from getting to Tijal with all due haste, I mean, getting there early couldn't hurt, you definitely wouldn't want to miss anything right?"
Things obviously clicked there, and Zera just sighed quietly, not sure whether she should laugh or groan, but still grateful that she wouldn't have to fix anything else.
"Not... to worry, captain, we were... just thinking about leaving, we were simply... concerned about the damages..." Zera said a little awkwardly, looking to the others.
"Whaaat? Leaving already?" Nalia complained, "I still haven't recov-"
Nalia found herself incapable of talking the moment a ki-death-glare from Zera threatened to burn a hole through her skull, Zera's eyes looking like they were literally burning, smoking with ki energy.
"Oh-h I'm just being silly, of course we're ready to leave!" Nalia laughed nervously, sweating and scratching the back of her neck.
"I wish a speedy journey to you all, kind warriors," the captain said respectfully with that same forced and nervous smile.

After effectively being kicked out of town, the group just grinned and beared it, deciding to soldier on with the day.
Nalia and Meredith obviously stayed well behind on the warhorse, as Zera walked the middle of the road with Syla on one side and Bartag on the other.
Zera found herself a little impressed that the man still looked extremely angry, she wasn't exactly sure how he managed it, but maybe that was a part of his strange prodigal Angry power.
"So Bartag," Zera began, causing Syla to flinch preemptively and immediately take a few paces away, "How did you manage to deflect blades with your bare skin?"
"THE STRENGTH OF MY FURIA IS MIGHTIER THAN STEEL," Bartag said simply.
"You don't have like, a technique or something? I'm a monk so I've learned all kinds of awesome things like that boosted shout I hit you with," Zera said conversationally.
"WE FURIA EMBODY THE FURIA, WE FEED THE FURIA," Bartag explained unhelpfully, though he looked like he thought he was making sense.
"...This is confusing," Zera admitted.
"FEAR NOT, MY TENSHA, BARTAG WILL TEACH YOU OF THE FURIA!" Bartag assured, patting Zera on the shoulder.
"Don't you have an 'indoor' voice?" Zera queried offhandedly.
"BARTAG HAS ONLY THE VOICE OF THE FURIA!" Bartag objected proudly.
"Oh right. Silly me," Zera said blandly.
"SILLY TENSHA. YOU WILL LEARN," Bartag assured, causing Zera to grumble.

Their vigorous pace brought them to a pitstop of sorts along the highway, being a bridge over a stream where a small permanent campsite was set up for travellers to come and rest at, with a variety of guards and being a popular place for peddlers to frequent.
So they decided it might be worth staying here for a moment, considering their stay at the town had been rudely interrupted.

"Hail," called the guard on duty, with a small salute at the group as they walked over to the encampment.
"Hey," Zera said with a shrug, "Got room for more?"
"Room for another group of capable adventurers? You think we'd reject more hands to defend this little slab of land?" the guard laughed, waving them in.
"Another group?" Syla echoed to herself as they walked through the palisade gate, and true enough they discovered another merry band of warriors hanging about under the bridge practising and messing around.
Syla kept a wary eye on them while she apparently lazed about next to the large firepit, paying superficial attention to Nalia and Meredith whom were conversing on somewhat concerning matters about their own group.
"Your savior seems to attract... dangerous company," Meredith stated uncertainly as she glanced at Zera and Bartag whom were in some sort of a discussion out of earshot, "I know they're capable but are we really safe?"
Nalia honestly wasn't sure about that one, throwing glances from Zera to Bartag, then to Syla.
"Well... possibly..." Nalia said unconvincingly, "If nothing else, those three seem to be unbelievably strong, so I don't think any dangerous attention we attract will be more than they can handle. We just... gotta keep our heads down..."
"I... was more trying to say, maybe we don't particularly belong amongst them," Meredith said carefully, looking at Nalia with concern, "Despite that amazing helmet, we are still mere nobles on the inside, we shouldn't be anywhere near the battlefield."
"Yeah..." Nalia admitted though looking rather crestfallen, "I just... I dunno, ever since Zera rescued me I've been able to discover what else there is in this world; these strange hats gave me an incredible sense of power and confidence with their abilities..."
"It's good to know that fire is still there," Meredith comforted, placing a hand on Nalia's shoulder, "But what do you plan on doing after Zera reclaims her memory?"
"I... don't know..." Nalia said, growing even more crestfallen that Meredith grimaced a little and decided changing the subject.
"So, just what is it like to wear one of these strange hats?" Meredith asked, throwing Nalia off balance for a moment before her eyes lit up a little.
"Powerful..." Nalia said, unable to fully suppress a grin, fidgeting a little, and then looking like a lightbulb switched on, "Oh I know!"
Nalia immediately pulled the helmet off and plonked it on Meredith's surprised head.
The princess wasn't quite sure what she was expecting... but she was relatively certain it wasn't this.
The sweet innocent Meredith was adorned in the blackest and twisted armour, spikes and teeth ahoy with an almost demonic visage to the helmet, and a strange gravitation towards tight black leather for the under-armour clothes, though the armour was fully protective unlike Nalia's.
Nalia was sort of struck speechless and the two of them sat there in a paralysis.

Meanwhile, Zera and Bartag's discussion must have gotten somewhere as Zera was getting pumped up and settled into a very strong stance, tensing all her muscles at once before Bartag grunted and slammed fist into her stomach with staggering force.
The wind exploded out of Zera's lungs, and while she made a legendary effort to contain the impact, she quickly keeled over and collapsed onto the ground, rolling around groaning.
"YOU LACK TRAINING!" Bartag's voice boomed over the campsite.
Bartag later demonstrated his 'training' by having Zera hit him with all her might, and while the blow probably would have splintered a tree into fragments, Bartag barely budged and Zera immediately keeled and grasped her wrist like she'd broken every bone in her hand.
When Bartag went to the next part of the training, where he was effectively juggling a Zera who'd tensed all her muscles so she was stiff as a statue, Syla's curiosity finally got the better of her reluctance to be in earshot of Bartag.
"Where did you learn all this 'Furia' from, Bartag?" Syla queried formally, bracing herself for the sonic assault.
Bartag caught the aerial Zera by her head, balancing her upside-down easily with one hand as he looked thoughtfully down at Syla.
"FURIA IS LEARNED FROM ONE TO ANOTHER, PASSED LIKE FIRE, TO IGNITE STRONG SOULS WITH THE FLAME OF FURIA!" Bartag said proudly, still balancing Zera who was starting to complain a little, "NO SLACKING!"
"You... don't have a clan that teaches this?" Syla asked.
"BARTAG CLAN ROAMS, CLAN IS FURIA, WE SEARCH FOR THOSE WORTHY TO JOIN THE FURIA!" Bartag explained.
"Anyone can join the Furia?" Syla asked, ignoring the increased groans from Zera who was suffering from blood rushing to her face.
"ONLY IF THE FURIA PERMITS! ONLY FURIA CAN MAKE FURIA!" Bartag said pointedly.
"Your Furia is very formidable, I've never seen bare skin deflect a blade before. I'm wondering if we could trade our knowledge of combat," Syla proposed.
"YOUR WORTHINESS IS YET TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED BY FURIA," Bartag stated flatly, flipping Zera around and brandishing her by the ankle like a weapon, causing immense strain to her muscles.
"I know at least that I can keep up with the one you are training," Syla said, eyeing Zera uncertainly as she was a tad worried Bartag might use her like the weapon she appeared to be.
"YOUR METAL CANNOT COMPARE TO THE FURIA," Bartag rejected.
"The metal does not make the warrior," Syla said evasively.
"THESE ARE WISE WORDS," Bartag acknowledged.
"Then allow me to be your Tensha as well," Syla suggested assertively.
Except that was when Bartag's eyes bulged, his face went red and he almost started frothing at the mouth.
"T-TWO TENSHA? THAT IS AN OUTRAGE!" Bartag roared, brutally swinging his Zera-club at Syla.
With a split-second guard from a sheathed sword at the ready, Syla wasn't completely obliterated by the giant toned monk propelled by the giant ripped angry man, she still went flying however.
She reflexively ripped out her sword and stabbed it into the ground immediately, gripping the blade close to the point with her spare hand for the leverage as it tore up the ground slowing her down.
There was a line of dirt ripped up that trailed all the way to the palisade wall where Syla's momentum managed to run out before a painful collision. The blade-covered swordmaiden was about to look at Bartag in slight awe except Zera had decided to ditch the training in supreme frustration and fling Bartag positively flying into the air again.
Once again he made that signature indentation in the ground with his intimidating stance, and once again stood up like nothing had happened.
"Dafuq is with this stupid Furia training shit!?" Zera fumed, shaking a fist at Bartag threatening to fling him into orbit.
"THE FURIA IS WITH YOU," Bartag said wisely to Zera, "YOUR MIGHT IS BEYOND HUMAN."
"THAT WAS KI YOU MORON!" Zera roared.
"YES! YOUR FURIA IS OVERWHELMING!" Bartag said gloriously.
"YOU'RE PISSIN' ME OFF!" Zera screamed, firing a thunderous punch into Bartag's face with enough ki behind it the impact was delayed, and Bartag shot off like a stone skipping down the river out of sight.
Nalia just went over to watch the skipping Bartag for a moment, looking at Zera and back at the river.
"That's gotta be some kind of record," Nalia remarked a little out of the blue.
Syla finally recovered and walked back over to Zera, still ready for combat considering the latest craziness.
"Why did we bring him along?" Syla asked Zera.
"...Blame Nalia for getting me into this mess in the first place..." Zera said grumpily, massaging some of her muscles as she watched the distance, and then groaning a little when she spotted something, "Are you kidding? He jumps like I do."
The others barely had time to look up before Bartag crashed gloriously into the dirt next to them with his sturdy stance all ready. Syla nearly jumped out of her skin, backpedalling and getting her bearings again in preparation to fight Bartag if necessary.
"What was the deal with that 'Tensha' crap anyway?" Zera grumbled at Bartag.
"A FURIA WITH TWO TENSHA? ABOMINABLE! INCONCEIVEABLE! UNFORGIVEABLE!" Bartag boomed angrily, though he made no aggressive action yet.
"I... apologize..." Syla said off-balance, "I was unaware of the strictness of your teaching traditions."
"...TEACHING TRADITIONS...?" Bartag said in confusion, "ALL WHO ARE WORTHY OF FURIA ARE TAUGHT!"
"...I'm getting confused again..." Syla sighed a little fretfully, "You're only allowed one Tensha but you can teach everyone?"
"YES."
"...I clearly don't know what a Tensha is then..." Syla admitted, shrugging and loosening her stance a little.
"YOU AND YOUR TENSHA WALK THE PATH OF FURIA IN UNITY," Bartag explained, grabbing Zera's shoulder and dragging her to his side to demonstrate.
Something clicked again Zera's head, and she immediately jumped to the side away from Bartag in a hasty, off-balanced defensive stance on one foot.
"What!? No no no, no way, never, nope," Zera said in alarm, flailing her hands about to fan away the notion.
"YOU HAVE ALREADY ACCEPTED TO BE MY TENSHA," Bartag stated plainly.
"Maybe you should've been clearer you dummy!" Zera stressed, "I was interested in this Furia, not being some Tensha thing!"
"THE BOND HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE," Bartag rejected flatly, not budging an inch.
"What the hell? You guys form unbreakable pacts at the drop of a hat?" Zera said in disbelief, "I don't want to be your Tensha!"
Bartag finally turned his head to examine Zera, his eyes seeming to burn all of a sudden.
"YOU WISH TO BREAK THE SACRED PACT OF THE TENSHA?" Bartag demanded, his muscles bulging and steam starting rise off him, and most dramatically the ground around his feet somehow cracked and broke violently as though struck with a mighty impact.
"Yikes..." Zera squeaked, immediately recoiling.
"You know, you two do have a lot in common," Nalia remarked with a certain honesty that made Zera grind her teeth a little as she sent a glare at the princess.
"I don't think this is something we want to deal with right now so let's just cool off and relax a little," Syla suggested tentatively, trying to pat the tension down in the air.

And so Zera sat partly in the river to cool off while Bartag just sat in a meditative pose of sorts near the firepit, Syla decided to have a light sparring session with Knight Nalia. Meredith initially watched Syla and Nalia spar but eventually went over to sit beside Zera.
"Are you feeling better?" Meredith asked politely with a warm smile, though Zera answered more in the form of a pained groan as she dripped some water over the back of her neck with her hand.
"I've been forcibly married to a monster," Zera lamented, "This is messed up on SO many levels."
"You shouldn't be so negative about companionship," Meredith said formally as she adjusted her seating position to a more regal yet comfortable one, "Having someone to lean on and put trust in is a very precious thing."
"I can lean on him because he's like a friggin rock, and the only thing I can trust is that he'll get angry and deafen anyone nearby," Zera groaned, causing Meredith to giggle a little.
"Maybe... you shouldn't focus too hard on the negative things. A dash of optimism will lighten the dreariest of days," Meredith suggested.
"...Do I really have that much in common with him? He's completely ridiculous..." Zera said roughly, still looking a little depressed.
"You are both very strong warriors who treasure the virtues of simplicity to keep your purposes pure," Meredith said with a bit of a divine radiance to her, "Where you see something ridiculous, maybe it's more something charming?"
Zera finally turned and peered at Meredith suspiciously.
"The dude wanted marry me because I shouted him through two walls," Zera said bluntly, causing Meredith to snigger and break her overly-gentle disposition.
"Yes is he is rather ridiculous," Meredith giggled, throwing a sly glance over her shoulder at the large Bartag who had the tenacity of a stone for sitting still in front of the firepit.
"Merrie! Come over here and try this," Nalia called out.

Meredith got to try out being an all-powerful knight for awhile and Syla got to see the difference -or the lackthereof- in the two with the same magical hat, Nalia went to cool off next to Zera and Bartag was just being Bartag next to the firepit.
While the day was still only halfway through, they'd already slugged one another in a bout of tiredness that they figured they might as well camp here for the night while they had a convenient camping place.
They took their turns visiting the convenient palisade cubicle in the river that served as a bathing area, and they bartered some food off the trapper who was something of a permanent resident of the camp.

"Where does she keep getting all that gold?" Meredith quietly asked Nalia as they had dinner around the firepit so everyone could dry off properly from the bath.
"Uh..." Nalia had a bit of an unreadable expression at that one, as memories of Zera swallowing piles of treasure had sort of burned themselves in her mind, and she hadn't quite decided if they were traumatizing or not.

Bartag had come back from the bath still rather soaked, yet when he sat down he did some funny tensing of his muscles and the water immediately steamed off him and left him dry.
Zera unwittingly did a similar thing with ki after she got back after Bartag, looking relatively pleased with herself though a little bit suspicious of the somewhat disbelieving stare from Syla and Nalia.
Syla moved onto other topics, figuring to start some conversation over dinner.
"Zera, did I see you finish that carving?" Syla prompted.
"Oh right!" Zera exclaimed, putting the bones of her meal aside and pulling out a wooden mask that had used the roots as a form of hair, "I had told myself to figure out how I made it magical but I..."
Zera's gaze wandered to Bartag and squinted a little in frustration before going back.
"...got sidetracked..." Zera finished, extracting the carving knife and handing it back to Syla.
"You seemed to know what your hats were capable of -the knight with the horse for example," Syla mentioned.
"Yeah I have no idea how I knew that," Zera said with a frown, examining her work for a moment and trying the mask on herself, though nothing happened as she expected.
She looked over to Nalia whom was still wearing the knight helmet.
"Hat," Zera stated, holding hand out and offering a stern glance when Nalia opened her mouth to object.
It turned into a pout instead and she tossed the helmet back to Zera, whom made it disappear into a pocket and then looked at the mask expectantly.
Nothing really happened so Zera tossed the mask over to Nalia whom barely caught it, and then proceeded to stare at it suspiciously.
"This... isn't like that... dryad hat, is it...?" Nalia asked, eyeing Zera carefully.
"How the heck should I know? I don't even know if this is going to work," Zera complained.
Nalia clearly thought the better of it and passed it to Meredith, illiciting a squeak of surprise from the noble before she nervously put the mask on.
Meredith looked like she disappeared for a moment before she sat there in a glory of bark and plant matter, her body thrumming with green energy through a vein-like system, made of a strange wood with bark-like armour and the mask looked like it was her actual face and hair now.
"Wow," Meredith remarked in slight awe and tinge of terror, flexing her wooden fingers with the same ease as flesh and blood.
"Some sort of Tree Scion," Zera guessed in a scrutinizing manner, "Bark Warrior? No that sounds silly..."
"Whatever it is, it's kind of hard to believe you made that by accident..." Syla said, many levels of awestruck at the implications this had.
Bartag, was as always, just being Bartag. The woman turning into a tree soldier near him was apparently not as interesting as the giant shank of meat he was devouring.

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Re: Blanda's Boredom

Post by blazinvire on Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:10 am

The next morning when people arose from their tents, they discovered Zera and Bartag weren't amongst their number and grew a little concerned until they could faintly hear Bartag's booming voice.
Syla went over to the palisade gate and skipped up the ladder on the watchtower to get a look, and discovered Zera and Bartag had courteously moved out of earshot for a conversation mixed with a sparring session it seemed.
Though the 'sparring' part might still be in question, as it looked more like Zera was simply bashing her head against a rock -metaphorically speaking, she and Bartag were periodically trading a blow and Bartag was like a brick.

"They've been doing that for like an hour now," the watchman commented, idly watching the spectacle mostly out of boredom, "They chat for a bit, they punch one another -she usually gets flattened- and then they chat for a bit."
"Hmm... I guess this is that 'Furia' training..." Syla said contemplatively, making a bit of a grimace as she was suddenly not so sure she wanted to learn it, even if it had proven itself quite amazing.
The man could literally shrug off some of the most staggering blows without armour, and apparently could drop another trained martial artist like Zera in one shot. Though, Zera seemed to be able to keep toe-to-toe or even overwhelm him at times, so perhaps it was something to do with 'Ki'.
Regardless, Syla had located the missing people so she decided to head back down and get something to eat.

When Syla returned to their firepit, she noticed the nobles a little on edge, their gaze occasionally darting off to the group of adventurers at another firepit across the way.
"Somethin' wrong?" Syla queried airily as she went to sit down, not bothering to try and guess at this hour in the morning.
Nalia just glanced off a few more times before getting too fidgety to stay quiet.
"...I'm pretty sure their mage is from Kolspire. Mornalt's enemies. And I'm pretty sure they've recognized me even in this funny outfit..." Nalia said nervously.
At that, Syla had cause to throw a discrete glance out the corner of her eye to properly size up the adventurers.
It appeared they had a standard kit, not very imaginative but there was strength and sturdiness in simplicity: three of them toting varieties of weapons and armour, the Kolspire mage in a rather iconic hooded robe, an odd priestly sort who looked like he didn't even know the meaning of aggression, and a rather cliche mysterious sort covered head-to-toe in black bandages and a variety of discrete adornments of weapons.

"We... we're safe here, right...?" Nalia asked uncertainly, looking to Syla for support.
"Hmm..." Syla was pensive, pondering over a drink of water as she hovered a cup before her face.
In a direct up-front fight, Syla figured Bartag and Zera would be able to crush the lot of them with little sweat, but a fight that she was expecting... well it could get very messy before it got better.
"...Syla...?" Nalia was growing a little more worried with the fighter's silence, "Syla... please tell me... we're safe here... Bartag and Zera and you can wipe the floor with these guys if they try anything right?"
Syla just stared in silence, carefully, discretely watching the group.
Her eyes narrowed for a moment and she turned her head to properly get a look at the group, and then they widened again. Nalia held her breath, Meredith more or less froze, and Syla quickly started glancing around their own campsite.
"They've already done something," Syla said in alarm, quickly getting to her feet and stumbling back to the tent with her gear.
"What!? What have they done?" Nalia panicked, stumbling to her feet herself and grasping for the knight's sword at her waist, glancing around haphazardly.
She looked over to the group and saw them quickly readying their equipment and heading on over with a certain casualness, though the black banded and the Kolspire mage had yet to move.
Until she blinked.
Just like that the mage was way ahead of the group striding confidently towards Nalia, taking one hand out of his pockets to sweep a gesture at her.
At about the same time Nalia drew her sword, there was this casual clunk to her helmet and the force neatly bounced it off her head -the sword evaporated and Adventurer Nalia was all that was left, and she turned her head to find that black banded one casually holding the helmet.
She couldn't even get a scream off, bindings of energy from the mage coiled about her in an instant, binding her and capping off her mouth.
The three fighters went toward Syla's tent to take the initiative and overwhelm her with numbers, and Meredith didn't really stand much of a chance against that mysterious assassin-like guy.
Nalia was on the verge of despair when Syla's tent practically exploded.

The warrior woman was out the tent with half a million pieces of gear trailing behind her, in between the first two fighters and slamming through the third before people even realized what had just happened.
Before they could even try and react, Syla was already plowing through the third fighter and flew feet-first for the priest marching obliviously behind them, and before he knew it his face was viced between Syla's thighs -the next instant had Syla sort of somersaulting under the priest's arm and throwing his head straight into the dirt.
In the same motion she landed on her feet hands-free in a crouching battle pose behind the fighters, her hands whirling about the storm of gear trailing on them and sort of whipping them, and whole reams of daggers and things slapped around her and latched on in place ready to go.
So in the space of about three seconds, Syla had blitzed three warriors, grounded a priest and got half her equipment on, the rest in a bit of a mess around the place.
She was drawing a pair of swords from their sheathes on the ground while the group recovered from their whiplash, and the mage immediately thrusted a gesture toward Syla to deal with her -except she made a gesture of her own by planting the pommel of a sword in the ground to take the weight off a foot.
With that foot she swept across the ground and apparently caught a string line hooked onto a sword that was lying behind the mage, sending it flying pommel-first into the back of the mage's head, knocking him flat.
In apparently the same motion, Syla went into a bit of a breakdance as she whirled her feet around under her to sink them into the faceplanted priest, picking him up with her feet and spinning about on the ground on her back and flinging the priest at the three fighters.
What followed then was a fairly typical flip to her feet, altered only by the purposeful shifting of a foot as she flew to her feet, throwing upper half forwards with her right leg curling up behind her in an act of impressive aerobics to vault kick the jaw of the assassin that had mysteriously appeared behind her. The sheer surprise, timing and location of the attack knocked him flat on the ground, possibly out cold but hard to tell.

And then she took a breath, properly standing up and throwing her right sword to her left, clasping both expertly in reversed parallel with her fingers, taking up a suitably intimidating stance and beckoning to the three fighters whom had barely finished getting the flying priest off them.
"Ho...lee... sheeeet..." one fighter simply had to remark, "Did I fuckin' blink and miss everything?"
The three were a little too stunned to immediately respond, and their little staring contest with Syla only gave time for a Bartag to crash land behind the three and immediately sweep them all up in a giant bear hug. One brutal, bone-crushingly painful bear hug.
In amongst all this, Meredith was sitting half-sprawled on the ground, stunned with the crazy speed with which events had turned back and forth. She hadn't even noticed the helmet the assassin had abandoned in his assault, or it's subsequent disappearance and the arrival of Zera parking her backside next to Meredith.
"Ya know," Zera commented while rummaging through her pockets, making Meredith jump in surprise as she glanced at Zera, "I swear I had a hat for those ninja types, I must've fought some at some point and got fed up with them or something... it was like... Aha."
Zera issued triumph as she pulled out a blackened ivory demonic mask that was attached to a black full-head covering.
"This'll be fun, I promise," Zera said with a grin, merrily tugging the hat onto Meredith's head as she attempted to object -though slightly too dumbstruck to respond properly.

Meredith proceeded to be dumbstruck for a few seconds more as she watched her somewhat tattered noble regalia warp into black suit of sorts; it looked like it was partly made out of hardened leather or something, but there was that strange blackened ivory plastered all over it in an exoskeleton.
And then came all those nagging feelings and intuitions, instinctive reflexes and inherent knowledge from the hat, how suddenly all these mysterious and amazing concepts seemed second nature to her.

While Bartag had a slugfest with the three fighters and Syla negotiated a complex and somewhat fruitless fight with the priest and the mage involving magical barriers, the assassin was slowly getting back to his feet and regaining his composure.
It was probably exactly what Zera had been planning for, so Meredith just steeled herself with her renewed flood of confidence and got to her feet.
And then she and the assassin disappeared from sight for a moment, reappearing for a blink of an eye somewhere rather random in between landing a punch or a kick on each other, which happened a few times about the camp until Meredith reappeared in a dramatic crouched pose with a ghostly katana held out in her right hand.
The assassin was a dozen paces opposite her with a ghostly white line drawn over part of his torso, he looked like he'd been injured but he didn't seem physically damaged.
The assassin flicked his wrists and caused a set of claws to pop out over his hands, as well as gaining a fistful of throwing knives in each, before he and Meredith disappeared again.
The next instant, Zera was looking blown away in terrified awe as a dozen knives found their way to her position, leaving a few slices in her clothes and half a silhouette of knives behind her in her half-dodged sitting stance.
A few knives had hit Syla and Bartag but they bounced off for respective reasons, but the main feature was a Meredith who was neatly sticking to the side of the bridge over the encampment, a pair of batlike ghost wings held in perfect stillness and a ghostly claw extending from her left hand that was holding an unconscious assassin.
And then a few moments afterwards it seemed like Meredith was suddenly /everywhere/ swooping in and out of reality taking slices and throwing attacks at all their opponents, totalling the three fighters in an instant thanks to being battered up by Bartag.
The casters were met with slight surprise as Meredith's entire body went ethereal for the duration of her assault on them, quite simply passing through their barriers with slight resistance and slicing through them.

The ghostblade apparently didn't kill them, but it sure dropped them fast. Zera just left to applaud as Meredith finally skidded to a halt.

"What the heck was that?" Syla said in awe, quite blown away by the skirmish Meredith had thrown.
"Ghost Legion, I remember that much," Zera said triumphantly, getting to her feet and walking over to Meredith, who still seemed dumbstruck with just what she had accomplished, "Whole bunch of ninjas who dabbled in necromancy rather than the four elements, I beat enough of them to cobble together pieces for a masked hood like they wore."
"...Did I just..." Meredith was still quite understandably stunned, the ghostblade and wings wavering out of existence and she swayed on the spot, Zera casually catching and de-masking her as she fell, "So tired... all of a sudden..."
"I'm not surprised. The sheer amount of magic and agility you used," Zera said airily, pocketing the mask and carrying Meredith to seat her at the firepit.
Syla went over and grabbed Zera's shoulder, yanking her around to see her face-to-face for a moment, the swordmaiden looking awfully stern and dire.
"I'm at my limits for belief in this ability of yours; where do these hats really come from!?" Syla demanded, holding Zera firm by the shoulder. Zera sighed and looked a little mournful all of a sudden.
"Syla, I already-" and just like that, there was suddenly a blade pointing at Zera's throat and Syla's gaze flashed with warning.
"There is something clearly wrong here," Syla stated firmly with a deadly calm, locking stares with Zera, "If I hadn't seen it myself I may not have believed it at all, but you can't tell me you truly possess such an ability; how some noble court-bred waif can suddenly eliminate an entire group of seasoned adventurers with skills and powers beyond comparison, just by wearing a hat you cobble together out of scraps. Out of ignorant instinct."
Zera stared hard at Syla, grimaced and frustrated, both despairing at having nothing to offer and angry at the confrontation. Why was this suddenly so important that Syla was involving blades and threatening lives? Well, theoretically threatening lives, Zera was pretty sure Syla knew a blade would be useless if Zera had a moment to prepare herself -which she definitely did.
"...what do you want me to say?" Zera asked flatly with a gesture of hopelessness, "You know exactly as much as I do about these hats, you might not believe that but it's true. I build a hat, and when other people wear them, it does things."
"This isn't just a simple enchantment or a bestowal of abilities, because they're gaining a full set of skills and abilities that you yourself do not have. Not just a simple increase in strength or resilience, I know enough about magic to know that this is not possible, which means you're hiding something dangerous," Syla said aggressively, getting agitated with Zera's apparent evasiveness.
Bartag walked over to the furious two and displayed an eerily level-headed disposition as he folded his arms and looked down at them.
"The Furia works in mysterious ways. It does not need to make a sound to be heard, nor does it need a method, to be used," Bartag lectured in a calm tone -something that shocked the two enough right out of their tense moment to simply stare at Bartag, but his voice almost had a relaxing, rolling bur to it when it wasn't blasting your eardrums.
"Zera's Furia is like a finely sharpened blade, but also a raging inferno that can ignite the Furia in others. Her instinct is mighty," Bartag said wisely, with a suitably sagely nod, and the two warrior women looked like they were on the brink of a revelation, "BUT SHE LACKS TRAINING!"
Syla and Zera were sent flying by the sudden break of atmosphere, the sound wave hitting them unprepared and sprawling across the ground.
"...Ouch..." Zera squeaked, lying in a daze.
"...What?" Syla asked.
"Ouch," Zera enunciated.
"...What...?"
"I said 'Ouch' you moron!"
"Who you callin' a moron?"
"Oh so you heard THAT."
And thus normalcy resumed, though with many revelations that would take awhile to sort out and give them something to think about on the journey.

The merry little circus eventually got their things together and hit the road again, with Nalia and her conjured warhorse carrying the exhausted Meredith and the three crazy warriors leading up front like a vanguard.

"So... 'Furia' is basically like Ki," Zera sorted out, talking aloud to Bartag after his vague explanation that was filled with much gusto, "I guess that sort of makes sense, as you probably sunk all your points into physical stats, I split it over crazy utility as well."
"KI IS TOO SOFT," Bartag objected, "FURIA IS THE RAGING INFERNO OF STRENGTH! THE FIRE IN YOUR BLOOD AND THE STORM IN YOUR SOUL."
"Argh," Zera grumbled, talking mostly to herself, "This is awfully tedious..."
She straightened up and tried to think of a new approach.
"So Furia is kind of like an energy that passes through you?" Zera attempted to clarify.
"YOU FEED THE FURIA AND THE FURIA FEEDS YOU," Bartag explained.
"Argh..." Zera grumbled, giving up.
"I think Zera is right though," Syla chipped in her two cents, cuing a sideways glance from both giants, "You both have such similar techniques on a fundamental level. Your ability to dry yourselves off, for example."
"Eh? That was just a parlor trick I figured out with Ki," Zera said, flapping her hand, not buying it.
"THE FURIA IS THE FIRE IN MY BLOOD, WATER MAKES WAY," Bartag assured. Zera halted for a moment, blinking furiously and looking at Bartag.
"Wait a minute you did the same trick?" Zera said suspiciously, "Momentarily spike your body temperature?"
"WHAT IS THIS?" Bartag said in disgruntled confusion, "BARTAG DOES NOT USE TRICKS. IT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE FURIA!"
Zera had pause at that, though resuming her stride unlike last time, as few cogs ticked away in her head.
"Waitwaitwait, so, you actually feed the Furia straight into your blood? Rather than flowing it /like/ blood through your body?" Zera said, a little surprised.
"WHAT? WHAT IS LIKE BLOOD? THERE IS ONLY FURIA, AND THERE IS ONLY BLOOD," Bartag grumbled, getting a bit frustrated with the odd choice of words.
"Daymn," Zera remarked, a touch impressed and unnerved.
Zera didn't appear to be about to explain so Syla sighed and obliged the question:
"I don't know that much about Ki or Furia," Syla prompted, "Is Ki in the bloodstream bad or something?"
"Wha? Oh, probably not specifically, no," Zera snapped out of a thoughtful reverie brought on by the concept from Bartag, "Not unless it was your intent. But jamming Ki into the bloodstream... there isn't a whole lot you can do with it there -at least I thought so... it might help regeneration or something but not much else..."
"Your entire body is filled with blood, I would have thought some mystical energy would do /something/," Syla pointed out.
Zera was back in her reverie and could really only nod in agreement, looking rather puzzled and sizing Bartag up again. She put a hand on his muscled bicep and concentrated for a moment.
"Hmm... higher body temperature -though he's male so some of it is to be expected- and... that's one heck of a heartbeat -probably also expected for a guy his size..." Zera thought aloud.
Syla was still mostly lost, part of her not really caring but it wasn't like she had anything better to do on the long ass walk.
"How does your Ki work then?" Syla queried, partly interested -anyone who could fling Bartag into the air like that deserved respect.
"Sorta like magic. You have an intent, and it causes an effect accordingly, though it manifests more in physical boosts or projections from one's self," Zera explained, gnawing on a knuckle as her brain multitasked, "I typically boost my ability to cause vibrations in the target when I strike them, by raising them to a certain harmonic to cause a whole variety of effects. You can scatter the force behind a muscle with a surgical strike of vibrations, or cause all sorts of internal damage by introducing discord in the harmonics."
"Okay... so if Bartag is feeding his 'Furia' into his blood, what kind of 'intent' does he have there? Seems like he's just angry all the time," Syla said offhandedly.
"Well, I suppose anger does tend to give someone a certain brute strength when the adrenaline gets pumping," Zera reasoned, though suddenly snapping to, "Oh it can't be like that... wouldn't that be destructive on the body? Unless... that's just... wow..."

Syla just sighed as Zera went off into her own little world again, deciding to fall back and talk to the princess instead.
"So what's new?" Syla said lifelessly to Nalia.
"Besides all the crazy things that have been happening lately?" Nalia assumed, "I'm still trying to figure out how you did all those things back there..."
Syla perked up a little, now that the topic seemed to have slid mysteriously onto her abilities instead.
"I mean, I blink once and suddenly we're about to lose and I'm about to be kidnapped again with some cheap tactic, and then it's like within another blink you've spun it all back around," Nalia said, still in a dazed awe, "And I swear you barely moved or did anything. You just... dived out of the tent and suddenly everyone was sent reeling."
Syla had to smirk a little, as she did feel a little proud of her own abilities, regardless of the two giants of physical might marching ahead.
"Where did you learn to do stuff like that?" Nalia asked very curiously.
"To be perfectly honest, it's just a big jumble of things I've picked up here and there. I've travelled all over the place and learned random things, little stunts and tricks from circuses to getting rather specific reflexes from dealing with a guild of rogues," Syla explained with the voice of experience, "Anything can be used as a fighting style if you're willing to try it. That's almost the basis behind the Iron Warriors; we're always willing to learn new things about combat and we're quickly discovering the art is as infinite as the world of experiences itself."
Nalia looked quite impressed for awhile there, staring off into the distance with her imagination, though suddenly snorting with a moment of laughter.
"Like to see you turn a princess's skills into a fighting style," Nalia mock challenged with a smirk.
Syla just looked up at Nalia slyly and gave a smirk of her own.

After awhile of strolling along that road -a considerable pace despite the apparent lax nature of it- a squad of riders appeared in the distance on the road heading their way, and they appeared to be in quite a hurry.
The group had respectfully went to step off the road to let them pass considering their haste, but apparently their interests included the group as the riders specifically stopped and trotted over to them in an official manner.
It was a retinue of uniformed soldiers, wearing black, gold and grey tabards, the one in the lead looked less like a soldier and more like a noble, with perfectly groomed grey hair of an elderly gentleman.

"Hail travelers, have you-" the gentleman began formally at first, but his gaze caught onto the mounted noblewomen, "Milady Meredith!"
That cued a jump of surprise that went across both parties like a wave, Meredith jolting awake and blinking a few times, focusing on who had spoken her name.
"...Jasper!" Meredith said in delighted surprise, causing the groups to ease a little, though Nalia grew a bit awkward.
"Milady! I never expected to find you here amongst such company! I had received word your carriage was attacked and you were kidnapped -I left immediately but there was a great distance to cover," Jasper said in relief, going grim as he finished, "I am pleased to find you safe. We're ready to escort you back to Tijal with all due haste."
"Oh!" Meredith issued, still quite happy though she did seem a bit undecided, looking at the little group she was travelling with.
"Well that's oddly convenient," Zera remarked, definitely not complaining.
"Yes I... suppose so," Jasper said a little uncertainly as he sized up their group, considering Zera's outfit was a little tattered and cut here and there, Bartag was a mountain of shirtless testosterone and Syla was a walking armory.
"I do believe I should formally introduce myself to who are I assume are Milady's rescuers?" Jasper declared, his gentlemanness holding fast, he dismounted and formally bowed with his right hand over his heart.
"I am Jasper Marshall, the loyal servant of House Ildares," Jasper announced.
"Um... I'm... Zera.." Zera said awkwardly.
"BARTAG." Bartag said plainly.
"Syla... of the Iron Warriors..." Syla said uncertainly as she looked at Zera and Bartag's introduction, feeling a touch out of place.
Nalia assisted Meredith off the horse and dismounted herself.
"And... you? Milady?" Jasper asked Nalia politely with a gentle gesture, still an uncertain glint in his eyes at the 'knight's choice of armour.
"Hah, this is Nalia, Jasper," Meredith said with a chuckle, shaking her head as she reached for Nalia's helmet -whom was about to object.
Jasper's gentlemanly jaw dropped when the helmet left Nalia's head and left the princess in her traveler's outfit -a very unimpressive regalia for a princess.
"M...Milady Nalia Mornell? I... I uh..." Jasper's perfect composure was shaking, his brain still trying to make sense of what just happened, but his willpower soon plowed on through, "It's... a wonderful surprise to see you."
Nalia looked somewhat embarrassed, merely nodding politely to Jasper but attempting to look as insignificant as possible to attract the least attention.
"W-well, I do believe if there is no further business to be had, I shall politely render my services to escort these ladies of the court to Tijal," Jasper said officially.
Zera just shrugged, looking at Bartag and Syla whom were likewise indifferent.
"Well alright, we were heading to Tijal ourselves anyways. Tournaments and all that," Zera said with a shrug.
However, both Meredith and Nalia looked ambivalent, glancing at the trio and then to Jasper.
"O-Officially, I was accompanying Zera as she was sort of like a bodyguard..." Nalia attempted, though not entirely sure what she was saying, "As I had been recently kidnapped and she had rescued me, so... if... it's not too much trouble, I would... prefer to travel to Tijal with these three..."
"I wish to stay with them too," Meredith said politely in her ever-sweet tone, vastly more confident than Nalia.
"Wh...what?" Jasper had to issue, finding things difficult to take in, looking at the three misfits and then to the two nobles, then to his own soldiers and proceeding to remain perplexed.
"M-miladies, surely..." Jasper attempted, trailing off a little awkwardly, "I can guarantee your safety, and I can certainly spirit the two of you back to Tijal with much greater haste where you can recover and rest in comfort."
"I know, Jasper," Meredith acknowledged with a nod of her head, "I appreciate your effort to come to my assistance, but I am enjoying myself here. I shall meet you again, back in Tijal."
She had such an innocent and warm, reassuring feel about her, Jasper was in knots battling frustration and confusion.
"Milady... perhaps it is better, for you to come with us?" Jasper reasoned, "The roads aren't all that safe and it will be a long and tiring journey. It is not something milady should have to put herself through."
"It is quite okay, Jasper, I assure you, I am alright and these three are very capable," Meredith sighed with a smile, shaking her head lightly.
Jasper grimaced, clearly holding back a mountain of frustration, looking at the three with suspicion and uncertainty and getting agitated from all this strange behavior. He just wanted this to be a normal retrieval of Meredith and ferrying her home before anything more could happen to her.
"Milady," Jasper said in a disapproving tone, "I must insist. Your noble comrades may be formidable but I have an entire retinue ready to escort you to Tijal. I am simply concerned for your safety."
Meredith grimaced herself a little, about to open her mouth to speak when Syla stepped forward.
"I can see where this is going so let's cut to the chase: the three of us will have 'practice fight' with your retinue," Syla said plainly, getting a little frustrated with the delays, "The ladies go with the winners."
Jasper eyed Syla but ultimately admitted she was right, straightening his uniform and nodding to her, gesturing to the soldiers to dismount.

They setup off to the side of the road, Meredith and Nalia minded the horses while the soldiers and the trio got into their battle modes. They'd effectively tied their sheathes onto their bladed weapons so they were all working nonlethal, and Jasper gave the go ahead for the session to commence.
"THIS IS GOOD WARM UP FOR FURIA," Bartag stated pointedly to Zera, whom just nodded and adjusted her stance a little.
She wasn't expecting miraculous sword techniques from soldiers regardless of their status, as any fighting style made to be taught in bulk was going to be missing some quality to it, which meant she could focus more on trying things.
This concept of juicing up one's blood with Ki sounded volatile but potentially very powerful, and Zera was always up for more power and understanding. She started the process early, figuring it'd take awhile to transmit all throughout her bloodstream, so while the soldiers moved about into a formation and advanced in a flanking manoeuvre, Zera was just standing there charging her blood up.
Bartag was being Bartag and statuing waiting for the soldiers to attack him, Syla was scanning the situation and getting a bit caught up in the 'nonlethal' issue; the weight of the sheathes didn't bother the average soldier, but Syla's techniques would be thrown off balance.
However there was one she could still use, though she was treating two trusty combo swords as extended nunchucks which could be seen as an insult to their masterful design. Nevertheless, Syla started swirling and juggling a pair of sheathed swords connected to one another by those cords she seemed to have everywhere, whipping them about her with increased speed as the soldiers closed in and rapidly advancing on them when they got in range.
She'd seen some baton-twirlers in the circus and few other little tricks performers could do, along with some general inspiration from Zera, Syla soon had a third sheathed sword out. One flew about wildly in the air attached by the cord to the other held firmly in her hand, while her free other sword occasionally intersected the path of the cord and dramatically changed the speed and direction of the flying sword. It was techniques like that, along with general batting the sword itself to effectively manipulate an airborne sword with brilliant precision, and she still had a sword in each hand to play with.
So in other words, Syla was now swinging three swords as she charged into the fray, and it was making a royal mess of the melee.
She had an excellent form for dual-wielding swords which was difficult enough to deal with, without a third sword flying in from almost literally nowhere to completely mess things up.
She'd block with both swords and the flying third would smack an opponent from behind, or she'd seemingly let her guard slip with a double offensive when the flying sword would swoop into the way and shore up the gap.

Meanwhile, after the first two attacks on Bartag had gone horribly wrong and the rest sort of stayed back to try and figure this out, Zera was treating this like the training session that it was.
Half the time she didn't even block, attempting to tank the blow with her body and see what ki-boosted blood did for her, rather than juicing up the muscles or skin directly. For the most part it was doing a famous job, as she felt sturdier than ever and it didn't seem all that difficult to maintain.
She did notice her body heating up dramatically, heart was pounding more aggressively rather than faster, her blood was accelerating, but she felt like she was quickly encroaching on Bartag's territory in this regard. She felt quite unstoppable right now!

At least, she did until she received a beautifully orchestrated quadruple thrust to her stomach; the craziness of the attack knocked the wind out her as much as the multiplied impact did, as the soldiers she'd been so effortlessly dealing with suddenly took a level in badass and pulled a perfectly synchronized squad manoeuvre.
Having the air explode out of her lungs ruined her concentration and rhythm, and the soldiers weren't afraid of taking advantage of it and pressing the attack, practically bouncing her between them like it was a game. She'd be barely finished staggering from one attack before discovering she'd literally fallen straight into another attack, which deflected her over to yet another, and the cascade of strikes were taking their toll.
From what she could see of Syla and Bartag, similar things had happened as the soldiers put some impressive teamwork and coordination together -seeing Bartag lose his foot and getting knocked around was quite amazing, Syla was just having issues picking her momentum back up as they kept neutralizing her ever-changing tactics.
The chorus of blows crashing into her body were starting to piss her off though... these soldiers seemed content to just whittle her into submission but that just wasn't going to fly with her.
Zera gritted her teeth, dug her heels in and clenched her fists as the rage burned through her veins, violently making a powerful meditative pose of sorts and her area just exploded with Ki.
The soldiers were blown back, their own rhythms broken and Zera deciding to give them a taste of their own trick.
Her feet dramatically slid apart to widen her stance for extra leverage, outstretched flat hands slowly curled the tips their fingers in as though grasping something thin against their palms.
Ki swirled together in her palms and then suddenly Zera's arms disappeared in an ultimate flurry, the soldiers getting struck several times each in the blink of an eye and knocked every which way.
She grabbed one by the ankle and one by the scruff out the air and twirled them, using the ankle-born as a club to smash another out of the air and both into the ground, and the scruff-born received a ki-boosted kick to the abdomen, rocketing him straight into the remaining comrade.

Once more she looked around and found Syla and Bartag had also turned the situation about: Bartag had resolved to grabbing soldier's arms and beating them up with their own weapons while they still wielded them, and Syla had hers tied up in a length of some sort of rope and using their combined shoulders as a seat.

Jasper was a little baffled, to say the least.

"...Rather unorthodox, but you managed to defeat some of the finest soldiers the Vanmeyer house had at its disposal..." Jasper had to admit, looking at the three warriors with mixed feelings, before looking wistfully to Meredith and Nalia.
Syla, evidently, had other ideas as her eyes wandered suspiciously to Jasper.
"...That sword of yours just for show, old man?" Syla said in a discretely taunting manner.
Jasper laughed, a hint of nervousness in his tone but there didn't seem to be any genuine fear in the man, he just unconsciously patted the sabre on his belt as he scratched the back of his neck with his other hand.
"Oh nevermind me," Jasper assured a little worriedly, patting the air in afterthought before recomposing himself, "I'm a man of my word; it is quite apparent you three are well capable of protecting Ladies Nalia and Meredith, and thus I humbly surrender them to your care. At the very least, my mind is at ease, you may continue your journey at your leisure."
Zera idly dusted herself off and massaged a few bruises as she looked at Jasper and the defeated cohorts.
"...You're not gonna come along for added safety of the fair maidens?" Zera queried a little suspiciously.
"Afraid of getting in your way, mostly," Jasper said kindly with a nod, "But my men and I will require a respite after this undertaking; I do believe you have little time to waste if you wish to reach Tijal before the tournaments."
Syla jumped in surprise as if remembering, suddenly looking fidgety.
"Damn, the tournament! We were already cutting it close before but we've run into so many obstacles... I got distracted..." Syla fretted, getting up and beginning to pace. Zera didn't look overly concerned, Bartag was Bartag, and Nalia was looking about as panicky as Syla.
"Noooo we can't miss the tournaments! The political ramifications would be agonizing," Nalia despaired, "There must be a way we can get there in time! You three must have something being so ridiculously resourceful!"
Nalia looked desperately at the trio of warriors but they seemed to be coming up empty.
"Er, Nalia, my only options right now are ki-running, and I'm pretty sure that ain't gonna work for everyone," Zera said, looking unimpressed.
"Hydevald," Syla spoke up a little randomly, looking a little grim in her confidence but she wasn't fretting any more.
"Hydevald?" Zera echoed in confused, looking to Syla.
"I know of a smuggler's shortcut in Hydevald," Syla replied plainly.
"Wait, are we talking about the 'Kingdom of the Lost'? 'The Kingdom of the Lonely', of the Orphans?" Nalia asked a little skeptically, looking at Syla as though she wasn't sure she was serious.
"Indeed," Syla confirmed with a nod, "I know the way, and it will shorten the journey considerably."
"Okay I know I said you were resourceful but that's a little ridiculous," Nalia said blandly.
"There's nothing ridiculous about it. I want to participate in the tournament so I'm going to Hydevald, if anyone wishes to join me they're welcome," Syla said flatly.
This amnesia thing was getting to be quite the annoyance, as Zera found herself just staring back and forth between the princess and the heavily armed warrior, having zero idea of what was going on.
"Okay let's just stop right there and explain things to the monk who can't remember anything," Zera grumped, holding up her hand in the gesture for stop.
Nalia sighed and adjusted herself to look at Zera a little tiredly.
"Kingdom of the Orphans is a grand sprawling castle up in the mountain ranges that had been abandoned for centuries after the defeat of its previous owners, and then a whole bunch of orphans moved in," Nalia explained in a bored tone, "It was said to be an impenetrable fortress back in its time due to the maze-like design of the mountain ranges and the masterful design of the castle. It's somewhere between myth and fact and Syla claims she can lead us there."
Syla just sighed and forgoed any response in favour of heading onwards, away from the highway entirely.
"Well..." Zera began in a reasoning tone as her eyes trailed after Syla, "It's not like Syla would lie so randomly; she definitely wants to get to Tijal in time so I figure we can trust that if nothing else."
Nalia grumbled a little and folded her arms, not quite able to refute Zera's logic on that one but still a little grumpy about this whole mysterious mythical theme. She didn't want to miss out on the tournament just because of some crazy claim about something that probably existed but no one seemed to know exactly where it was or how to get to it.
Jasper had only jut finished rounding up the soldiers again before casual eavesdropping caused enough concern for him to approach again.
"My apologies, but did I hear your path will take you through Hydevald?" Jasper interrupted as politely as he could, an expression of deep concern on his face.
"I... suppose so?" Zera said with a shrug, "If I wasn't suffering from chronic memory loss I might be able to grasp the ramifications of such an endeavour."
Jasper let out a fretful sigh as he looked at Meredith and Nalia again, idly fidgeting with the hilt of his sabre, drawing Zera's suspicious gaze.
"I don't suppose you would allow me to accompany you?" Jasper attempted formality but he looked out of place at the moment. He noticed Zera merely content with staring at him suspiciously so he decided to elaborate.
"The highway is one thing -a trifle for a trio of warriors like yourselves- but Hydevald is... I've heard unsettling tales, and I don't wish to impugn your honour by requesting to assist you, so I shall humbly request a small favour to allow an old man to ease his conscience by seeing you through," Jasper explained with open honestly and no shame, the concern in his eyes genuine and innocent as he looked to Zera hopefully.
The giant monk just sighed, sort of exasperated as she eased off the suspicion.
"Alright, you can stick with the nobles then, us three 'warriors' will stomp a path," Zera sighed, a sweeping, beckoning gesture from Jasper to Meredith and Nalia.
"I am in your debt," Jasper said with a respectful and most perfect bow, before going off to make arrangements with the soldiers.

"Pickin' up people like it's going out of fashion," Zera remarked nonsensically as she stepped away to followed Syla's path, Bartag in step with her.
"A GREAT FLAME WILL DRAW OTHERS TO IT," Bartag affirmed with a nod.
"Ya mean I'm gonna end up with an army following me soon?" Zera asked sardonically.
"AS MANY AS YOUR FLAME CAN ALIGHT," Bartag replied with another nod.
"Goddammit."

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