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Beurve Forest, 7:01 am, Arianna Logan & raven companions

The newcomer had been christened 'Nakita'. He already was showing some sign of understanding her words, in part due to the willingness of Jamila and Miriam to 'translate' for her. Arianna was pleased. Nakita had accepted the name as a way to refer to himself almost immediately, repeating it a few times in what appeared to be mischievous glee.

That had quickly been followed by learning Jamila and Miriam's names, and finally, that of his new Fae companion. Unlike the two female ravens, Nakita preferred to stress the second syllable of 'Ari', causing Jamila to 'correct' him more than once, but this seemed to make him all the more devilishly glad to say it that way, until the elder female raven gave up on the practice of correcting his perceived mispronunciation.

All this had caused Arianna quite a bit of mirth already for the morning, but now it was time to teach her new 'bad boy' what he would need to know in case they needed to fight. Beginning this was simple enough. Arianna pointed to her own eyes, then at Jamila, and said...

"Watch... Watch Jamila."
Once she was sure that Nakita understood what she was trying to tell him, and his attention was focused on the elder raven, she motioned to Jamila to attack a nearby rock as a target. Jamila instantly fluttered into the air, swiftly approached the rock, then banked sharply to the side, and with a wingflap, sent an unusually strong Cosmosphere at it.

The energy dispersed with a strange huffing sound, cracking the surface of the stone and sending a few shards in various directions. Quite the power for a raven, but Jamila and Miriam had long since undergone the training which Nakita was now beginning, and had seen quite a few scuffles by Arianna's side.

"Now you," Arianna said clearly, pointing to the rock and then at Nakita. He did not seem to understand. Miriam fluttered up, landing on Arianna's shoulder, then repeated the words.

"Now you! Krru. Krru krrra. Krru krrra."

Arianna did not need to understand the nuances of Mime Raven communication to know that she had just received the services of an interpreter. Nakita immediately took off, and mimicked Jamila's attack perfectly, but with one glaring difference. The orb of energy that struck the rock was black, crushing a large chunk of it into fragments.

Gravisphere.

Jamila and Miriam now made a series of identical calls, sounding like encouragement, or perhaps congratulations. Nakita responded in kind, flying back to his perch, then, realizing that Arianna was going to reward him, over to her 'free' shoulder, instead, to receive his treat.

Arianna smiled. This was good. With Jamila and Miriam to help her, her new companion would be 'battle ready' quickly. This thought relieved her, as she could not stand the thought of her ravens being hurt unnecessarily.

They would continue for another hour and a half, before Nakita would cry out 'Stop! Enough!', another two words he had been quite happy to learn early on. Arianna conceded this, leaving the three to bond with each other instead, before going inside to relax for awhile.

Outcome: Arianna Logan has increased her bond with Nakita, at an approximate cost of 8 silver.
Outcome: Arianna Logan gained 4 DSP exp.
Outcome: Arianna Logan gained 4 FCS exp.

Leor Imperial Capital, Imperial Palace, 10:21 am, Princesses Lilmi & Jaena Hanjia

The Princess sat in her bedroom window, looking out at the courtyard, where the servants were being instructed in the day's goings-on. It always fascinated Jaena that they would so eagerly do their morning chores, then congregate to be given even more things to do. It reminded her of her sister's strange attitude, another, very similar mindset which she was yet to understand.

Despite being four years her junior, Lilmi was a bit of an academic prodigy, one who spent much time reading. What was even more interesting, to most, was Lilmi's choice of reading material, usually historical works and military tactics. Jaena found neither subject interesting at all. In fact, she hardly found her younger sister interesting at all. To say the least, the two were not close.

This made it even more surprising when the knock on her door came, and the voice announced itself as 'it's me, sister, let me in'.

Jaena did not rise, she merely called out 'come', and let Lilmi push open the heavy door. She had not bothered to lock it, only closed it. Her younger sister entered, and closed the door behind her.

"Watching the servants again?" Lilmi asked, not bothering to hide her mild disdain. She was quite adept at such observations, and moods, for one of only fourteen years. Jaena, on the other hand, was usually quite oblivious, and this proved to be the case this time also. The brown-haired Princess did not notice Lilmi's tone, or perhaps did not interpret it correctly.

"Yes, after all these years, they still fascinate me. Running around doing all that work, with so little to show for it, and yet so many of them seem... happy."

"Well, work is a bit of an acquired taste, sister," Lilmi said curtly. As usual, the undertone of Lilmi's words went right over Jaena's head. Knowing this, the younger Princess of Hanjia continued to speak, mentioning the reason she had come, rather than letting their time together degenerate into the usual awkward silence.

"You've heard of the Mesdina zealot uprisings? They're getting closer, and more frequent. Father fears they may be attempting to spark civil unrest... do you have any opinion?"

Jaena's gaze returned out the window, and there was a slight pause before she answered, "Father will deal with these things as he deals with all things. Why would I have any opinion?"

Lilmi grit her teeth and grumbled under her breath, "Yes, of course... why would you possibly bother to have any opinion...?"

"Hm?" Jaena asked, turning her attention back to Lilmi. She had heard only a murmur.

"Oh, I was thinking of perhaps cutting my hair short, and styling it that way. Do you have any opinion on that?" Lilmi covered quickly, unsure of how much her sister had actually heard. It was a weak cover, yet Lilmi had spoken strategically. She knew her sister's interests lay almost purely in the cosmetics of the world, much like their mother, yet somehow with less sense.

"Really? I think that would look adorable on you! You know, I've always thought that we looked a bit too similar with our hair at the same length, even though yours is that drab black. In fact, having it short would add far more interesting appeal to it than just leaving it to hang so. Much like when Mother had you curl it and we styled it. That was great fun."

"For you, maybe..." Lilmi muttered. She had hated the curls, and even moreso hated being fussed over. Empress Serebia had not been able to convince her to endure it again. As Jaena continued to talk, Lilmi let her usual irritable thoughts at the elder girl she called 'sister' float through her mind. Heir to the throne, yet apparently destined to be nothing more than a trophy wife. At least in their mother's case, her father had been heir, and groomed for leadership, and she had been simply the 'lucky noble's daughter' to catch his eye.

"I can see I'm going to have to leave the country if I don't see eye to eye with my future brother-in-law..." she thought now, as she watched Jaena rummage in her dresser for some ribbons to use to simulate the short hair effect that would 'look best on her adorable sister'.

Outcome: Princess Lilmi has lost another 3 points of respect for Princess Jaena.

Leor River, 11:41 am, Erika Hyril vs Trickworm

Erika was tired of this day out already. She had already run from a small group of Wild Bison, a Trickworm, another group of bison, and a gigantic Asmos Bison. That last creature had actually managed to catch up with her, but had not bothered to pursue her a second time. All this had, unfortunately, caused her to run quite a bit further down the riverbank, and somewhat away from it. Now, even as she returned, she found herself faced by a large 'rock'.

Unfortunately, the large rock apparently had teeth. The next minor surprise was the stretching out of this rock, to become a rather long worm, just as she walked past it. Only then, did Erika remember that it was generally not a good idea to ignore such a creature.

The Trickworm's body suddenly elongated, cracking out at her almost like a whip, but the impact against her shoulder was solid. She had responded rather quickly, considering that it had been aiming for her head. With amazing muscular control, the creature pulled itself into the part of its body that had struck her, before lashing out again, just as she drew her shiki.

She did not have any good response, right then. Stabbing the worm would be difficult. It was either long and thin, or thick and armored, at any given moment, and it was not at all bothered by the Feyn Flurry that she unleashed at it during its next strike. Thinking quickly, she took flight and let it lash out, upwards, at her again. The lashing impact bruised her arm, but she was able to grab onto the slippery body.

This caused the creature to again contract itself powerfully upward, like a rubber band, which was exactly what she had been waiting for. Erika released it just then, letting the ball of worm go sailing into the air. She smirked, but only for a moment. Inertia was little deterrent to a Trickworm. It lashed its body out again, downwards, striking her in the head, then looping under her neck. The rest of its body carried on upwards, and the sudden jolt pulled her with it, pulling on the tendons in her neck painfully, as the worm arced through the air and began to fall earthward again.

She again grabbed the body, but it contracted at those points, escaping her grip. Now, they both fell, and she did not try to reestablish her aerial equilibrium, knowing that to do so would give the worm leverage. Only when they were just about to hit the ground did she use the Veyn Feyn combination to blast it off her and land, quite hard.

"Oww... that's twice in three days... this shoulder's gonna need some serious--"

The worm lashed out at her again, but by now, she was irritated, and she was able to duck under it, slashing its body, not across, but lengthwise, a bit. The Trickworm writhed, losing the ability to expand and contract in that section of itself. Erika, as usual, was merciless, stamping on that spot hard and then delivering a quick kneeling slash to the writhing body, doing it again. Her grip was unbreakable to the creature at that point, and soon, she had reduced it to a wriggling mass of dying worm.

"Killing these things isn't even useful... I should've just run..."

Outcome: Erika Hyril has defeated the Trickworm (taken 24% damage)
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 4 DSP exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 5 DEX exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 4 RES exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 2 FCS exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 1 PCN exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 2 RFL exp.

Beurve Forest, 5:43 pm, Erika Hyril vs Raven Conspiracy

There had been no more serious trouble for Erika for the rest of the day, and for this she was quite thankful. Now, she was returning home, having taken a short rest just before leaving the Leor River area. More surprisingly, she had found a blackberry patch, and had collected enough of the berries to take home to Arianna.

The Conspiracy of Mime Ravens that seemed to be surrounding her in the trees now gave Erika a most ominous feeling, but she ignored them, as she had so often been instructed to do by Arianna. To attack one Raven in such a group, even to make a hostile action, would provoke them all. She simply trudged on through the forest, and did her best to ignore the guttural caws around her, despite the fact that the Ravens, to her, sounded as if they were plotting against her.

She was just about to dismiss this as paranoia when they made their move, swooping in, attacking first with various spheres of elemental energy. Mostly, these were weak, and even with her pack full, she could evade quite a few. Sliding along the ground, she let the bag slip off her shoulders, then sprang to her feet, waiting to see what they would do. Of course, the Ravens went for the bag. Erika flicked out her shuriken, and threw them into the group of birds with deadly accuracy, killing at least one and deeply wounding two others.

The group instantly flew up at her, causing her to shield her eyes and face from their sharp beaks. It took only an instant for her to gather the energy to blast them off with a Feyn Flurry, but in that moment, their pecks and scratches and violent energy bursts did quite a number on her exposed skin. With no way to get any aerial advantage, she was practically at their mercy for the next four seconds.

Fortunately, the ice blast had deterred some of the weaker members of the group, who now flew back, simply 'tossing' more spheres of elemental energy at her. The stronger four had been only mildly bothered by her blast, their feathers absorbing most of the chill. Again, beaks and clawed talons scraped and jabbed her body, causing her to envelop herself in Aeslwind long enough to ease the pain and concentrate on the enemy. Her shiki flashed through the air with quick, deadly slashes, and soon three of the ravens had fallen. By now, the other five weaker ones had flown up against her again, but they were met by another Feyn Flurry.

It would take a while before she could down them all, as the ravens fought to the last wing. She dropped to her knees now, feeling the pain of hundreds of lacerations over her skin, and the weakness brought on by each of those lacerations slowly leaking blood. She picked up her bag, thankful that her eyes had remained safe amidst it all, and decided then, that it was best to get herself home quickly rather than stand around using Aeslwind in the forest at this time of evening.

Ten minutes later, she stumbled up the path to the cottage, and pushed open the door. Home.

Outcome: Erika Hyril has defeated the Raven Conspiracy (taken 38% damage)
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 7 DSP exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 12 DEX exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 6 STR exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 8 PCN exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 11 RFL exp.