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Old August 9, 2018, 07:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[PA]Just Another Brightening In the Life of a Broken Girl(Open)

Early Spring, Era XXV


Ellie leaned on the counter, chin propped up on one hand, and sighed a bored sigh. Hazel eyes flicked around the room, looking for nothing in particular among the shelves and countertops displaying the myriad curios and knickknacks and...well..junk. Junk that apparently very few people wanted, because, she was sure she could count on both hands how many customers she had served at Baldo's Bits & Baubles during the last month. She had no idea how the old cether kept the shop open, but, it was his "baby," as he was fond of saying.

Sighing again, she stood up, straightened the silly, vibrantly multi-colored apron she wore, and grabbed a feather duster. She had already dusted the shop twice this brightening, and swept the floors, and straightened the shelves....but, there was nothing else for her to do. So, she tucked her hair behind her ears and went to work, half-heartedly listening for the bell on the door to signal a customer.

Before long, she had become lost in her thoughts, as she often did when minding the shop. She remembered the day she awoke, shivering from the cold, sheltered beneath a rocky outcrop on the mountain above the town of High Peak. Her home in ruins, her head throbbing and her memories shattered. She made her way to the mining town, but, found no answers there..and with little to tie her down, she continued on to Riparia.

Another sigh, this time heavy with sadness. Both High Peak and Riparia was destroyed, she had heard.

Then her mind turned to her time in Diana, where she had found faith in the patron goddess of that city. She had found a modicum of happiness, there, her faith helping her to cope with her lost past. And, then, the goddess Diana....She didn't like to think of it.

She lay the feather duster behind the pay counter and stepped into the back room, rooting around in crates for wares to fill the few empty spots on the shelves, her mind still replaying the last several eras of her life. She found something...a little porcelain cat figure. It would do.

She turned and her elbow hit the edge of the doorway, the figure dropping from her hand and shattering on the floor.

She stood there in silence, eyes staring down at the broken pieces...but, also, beyond that. Her family and home: shattered. High Peak and Riparia: shattered. Her faith: Shattered. Just like the little porcelain cat before her.

With another heavy-hearted sigh, she went to find the broom and dustpan.
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Old August 10, 2018, 04:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Odds and baubles shops were the best place to locate really cheap and rare items for an alchemist. As the saying went, what was one person oddity, was another's treasure.

A five inch creature with beautiful butterfly wings fluttered through an open window. The people of the empire were all quite inconsiderate to not make doors of her size, but they were often nice enough to have opened windows for her to enter, so she was not complaining.

The creature was known as Cherjaine 'Lady' Aldred, but her friends all called her Lady because of her initial misconception of the world. It was no biggie though. Lady was a good name and she was used to it. She fluttered around the shop looking for anything that might be useful to her trade. She had once seen a piece of cured bear muscle that the proprietor sold as cheap decorative piece. What a waste!

She noticed a girl shopkeeper below, cleaning and in deep thoughts. There was no reason to disturb her, not yet anyway. She continued fluttering around the place until she got pretty bored. She flew to near the ceiling and called down as loud as possible.

"Serale there! Serale!" She called out in her usual high pitch voice.
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Old August 11, 2018, 10:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The distracted shopkeeper disposed of the remains of the porcelain cat and leaned the broom and dustpan back against the wall behind the counter. She pursed her lips as she looked around the shop again, looking for something to do, her thoughts pushed to the back of her mind once more.

A high pitched voice startled her, her head turning from one side to the other, scanning the room for the source. Seeing nothing, her eyes flicked to the door....still closed....and then upward.

Sighing a little sigh of relief, that she wasn't truly losing her mind, she gave a slight smile up at the tiny faerie with the beautifully colored wings. "Serale," she replied. "How may I help you this brightening? We have a nice selection of..." she paused and looked around, trying to find a nice selection of..anything..really. "Of stuffed...umm..lizards." Because, yes, she thought, people go shopping for stuffed lizards.

She straightened her brightly colored apron and waited for the faerie's reply.
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Old August 11, 2018, 10:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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“Did someone say lizards?” rumbled a voice.

A head poked through the door. Quite high up the door, actually.
A large, savage looking draconic head; scaled in a stylish opalescent blue. Long, magnificent horns followed; the entire endeavor a thick reptillian neck with curved, deep blue-black spines.

There was a sound of shuffling and hunching; of wings folding and a tail being deliberately positioned in a way so as not to smack into anything. Then the creature (which was now quite clearly a dracon, albeit an exceptionally large and very old one) slouched its way through the doorway; doing its best to avoid snagging its head against the ceiling as it did so.

“Pleased to meet you. What types of stuffed lizards do you have on offer?”

He sniffed around at the air curiously, before giving a smile that would have seemed friendlier if the teeth were a little smaller and a lot less sharp. He turned his head side to side. There'd been another voice in here, he thought. He swore he'd heard something. A careful examination of the surrounds- and yes, there was a tiny flying thing. A fae, it appeared.

“Ah, didn't meet to cut in line good.. .lady. Must mind my manners.”
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Old August 12, 2018, 03:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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“Stuffed lizards?” Cherjaine repeated hesitantly.

She fluttered downward until she was about Ellie’s eye level and asked curiously, “Why would anyone wish to buy stuffed lizards? Is stuffed lizard in the rage right now? Trends are really funny thing. By the way, I am known as Lady, a perfume maker.”

Cherjaine looked around the ship as she spoke, to find the famous stuffed lizards. Once she saw the lizards, she headed over to poke it, trying to find out if the lizard was made from the real thing or it was made of cloth. In the meantime, she also scanned the shop for thing she wanted. Goose-down feathers, vials of liquids and cheap decorative pieces for her hotel made for faeries.

“Oh!” She exclaimed after poking at the lizard. “Do you mind having a duck in the store? He is quite well trained and he is currently sitting on your rooftop waiting for me. It is quite hot outside, so if it is okay, please help me open the door and I will bring him in.”

At that moment, a big lizard appeared. She thought for a while and shook her head. No, not lizard, A dracon.

“Oh, serale! Yup, I am Lady, not good lady or bad lady Not to worry. If you are so kind, hold the door for me for a minute.” She said chuckling away.

She fluttered out quickly and if the door remained opened, she would return mounted on a flying duck which she carefully manoeuvred to land on top of the counter table.
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Old August 12, 2018, 09:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The shopkeeper watched as the tiny winged woman fluttered down to her. She had seen a fair number of the fae before, but, she had never actually been this close to, or spoken to, one. "Was that strange", she wondered, "not to have ever spoken to a faeri?" She shook the thought from her mind and eyed Lady with a slight tilt of her head.

"If I say they are all the rage, would you buy them," she asked. After all, it was her job to sell this junk, even if she thought it was ridiculous to try and sell stuffed lizards. Or broken seashells. Or pieces of cloth tacked to a board.

And, then, just before Lady could reply, Ellie was startled for the second time today when the bell over the door rang, followed by a rumbling voice, which was followed by a rather large draconic head. Ellie's eyes went wide, and she took an involuntary step back. She had seen dracons before, but, she couldn't recall ever seeing one this large or this..well..scary..looking. She pointed over to a table covered with small odds and ends, the center of which contained 4 dead(obviously), stuffed lizards about the length of her hand. "Ummmm brown ones," she replied.

And, then once more she was startled as she suddenly realized that she had two customers, on the same brightening, at the same time. She thought she might faint.
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Old August 12, 2018, 11:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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“Ah. That's nice. Brown lizards.”

The dracon hunched over to look at them more cautiously. Having a reasonable representation of a lizard would be handy for some of his studies. Maybe he could put it up in .. wherever he next arranged to stay.

He nodded politely to the faerie; and carefully swished his tail out to prop the door open. For all that it got in the way when it came to chairs, it was definitely useful in domestic circumstances. He rotated one of the lizards carefully in one of his hands.

Smalltalk. Right. It was polite to make smalltalk.

“So, ah. Been running the shop for a long time? I haven't been back in Port Alyx for a while.”
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Old August 13, 2018, 01:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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"Thanks for holding the door", Cherjaine said gratefully after landing her duck on top of the counter.

"In the rage? I think maybe not for now. I have no place to put a lizard right now." She said regretfully.

When Z'kron came back after looking at the stuff lizards, Cherjaine decided it was a good idea to welcome him back to town and so she did. "Welcome back! I have not seen this shop before, but I have not seen many shops in Port Alyx yet. I am pretty small and going from shop to shop takes a lot of time, especially when half my brightenings are usually gone to produce perfumes and scented oils. Oh yes, what are your names again?"
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Old August 13, 2018, 06:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The shopkeeper blinked as the fae shot out the now open door. "Did she say..duck," she wondered, then shaking the silly idea from her head. She obviously misheard. She turned her attention back to the towering dracon, and shifted a little nervously as she watched him carefully inspect the taxidermied lizard.

"Me? Oh..um. I've been here for..almost two eras now, I think." She tried counting back in her head, but, that was close enough of an estimation for the conversation at hand.

She glanced at the door, still held open by the large draconic tail, wondering where the faeri had fluttered off to. And, then, without warning, a high pitched "thanks" and the loud beating of...duck wings. An actual duck..in which the faerie was riding. All the way to the counter.

Ellie just stared. This had suddenly become the most bizarre day she'd had in quite a long while. She barely even heard Lady's regretful comment about the lizards.

Because there was a faerie riding a duck on her counter.

She found her voice, without even realizing it, when Lady asked for her and the dracons name. "Ellie..."
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Old August 13, 2018, 09:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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“Oh. I'm Z'kron of House Kha'Serith.” A polite half bow. Unless one of them had a rather deep seated interest in draconic politics the second part wouldn't matter. And unless one of them had been moving in rather specific political or arcane circles before the fall of the empire, the first part wouldn't matter either.
“Druid and architect, formerly of High Peak. Well, I was the local druid around there. Kept the trees growing, took care of the crops. Sobering up the dwarves that spent too much time with the stock from Wolsely's kegs and beds.” An awkward shrug.
“So, moved around a lot since then- I mean after” he glanced around at the sound of quacking.

“Hey! A duck!” An enthusiastic, sharptoothed grin. How marvellous. And even better, the fae was -riding- the duck. “What's his name?”

Ducks were of cause liable to (unless well trained), be a little scared at the sight of large, predatory seeming reptiles. So upon seeing the creature, the druid would immediately weave a minor cantrip of soothing around himself; making himself friendlier and more approachable to animals. No need for an advanced version that would allow communication yet. He just didn't want to scare the blighter half to death.
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Old August 14, 2018, 01:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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“His name is Knight.” Cherjaine chirped happily and patted on his head. Knight had been flying around town with her recently, helping her to carry things around just like any mounts. There was a harness at the sides that allowed her to put about 10 carrots in total and she could tie a papaya sized object at the back, just next to her seat. She even made a sling pouch to put over his neck. Although there were so many containers, she rarely filled them all. Long story short, Knight had seen a fair share of people.

“Knight, greet them.” She ordered and pulled out a small piece of lettuce from her own sling bag. The duck quack at Ellie once, then at Z’kron once to greet them.

“I met another dracon before elsewhere, a blue one who can move so fast that he seem to teleport. Do all dracons have some sort of magical powers? I know all faeries could sense magic unless they got knocked on their head.” She asked curiously.

“Oh, yes. Introduction from where I am. I used to be part of a faerie and pixie cave spelunking and exploration team named the ‘Guardian’ around the Great Mountains. I left the group and came over here to set up my own business. Not sure if I have already said, I am supplying essence oil of flowers and floral perfume to a shop and operates a hotel for us faeries and pixies.” She introduced herself and leaped off, more like, flew off Knight and started feeding him the piece of lettuce.
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Old August 14, 2018, 08:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Ellie's ears perked at the mention of High Peak, her attention drawn back to Z'kron. Out of politeness, she remained quiet as Cherjaine spoke, listening only enough to get the gist of what the faerie was saying. Guardian...Great Mountains...Perfume..Hotel...a duck named Knight. She couldn't help but chuckle a little at the ducks greeting quacks.

Unable to resist any longer, she spoke up to Z'kron. "You said you lived in High Peak? I once lived just up the mountain from there. I..." she paused and lowered her voice, not really wanting to vocalize the thought. "I heard that it was destroyed. Is that true?"

Her eyes darkened a little with the returning thoughts from earlier...of her fear that everything she touched broke. And, in all truth, her own self-pity.
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Old August 15, 2018, 07:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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“I'm afraid so, to my knowledge. I've been intending to go back to check..” The voice trailed off. “But the closest I've been to recently is Sancta Nova, earlier in the year. A lot of the refugees went there before dispersing. If you had any friends or people you were interested in, I might be able to help track them down next time I'm contact with some of them. The community seemed to have at least a few ideas as to who survived and where they were headed. ”
He exhaled, as he often did to be demonstrative, and also as an integral portion of respiration.
“It would be wonderful to rebuild that place someday. Or something like it. To create a type of sanctuary city somewhere, safe from all this chaos. It feels like this world has been slumping through cycles of progress and dark ages for generations now. A real safe haven.”

He addressed Cherjaine. “Well, not all.. hmm. But no, not all dracons have magic abilities.. sure, some of us can shapeshift, but that's more physiological. We're magical creatures, so you'd assume we had something, but a lot of dracons do. Although for some reason, a very large proportion of my family do. Frankly, to the point that every time a baby is born, you've got better than even odds of it growing up to be some kind of magus. ” He grinned. “Something to do with lineages and houses and such. Some folk theorise is goes back to the Cyraxian war, about what different breeds were picked for. Of course, others think that's rubbish. Who's to know?”
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Old August 15, 2018, 08:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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"Interesting." Cherjaine noted about dracon's ability and heritage. Those information were good to know, especially if she was going to create potions that would only affect dracons. "Maybe I should find out more about dracons, especially about this shapeshifting. Could a potion do the same thing for other people? Allow them to shapeshift."

"Safe haven for everyone you say? That is quite a hard task, but nothing easy is worth it right?" She replied with a small grin.

There was nothing else she could add at the moment as Knight began to poke at her slingbag for more food. She had been riding him for quite some time already so she obliged and began feeding him more vegetable.
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Old August 16, 2018, 07:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Her frown deepened at the confirmation of the bad news she'd heard. High Peak had been her first home after she had awoken on that cold mountain without the memories of who she was or what had happened to her. Though she hadn't stayed terribly long, she still felt a connection to the place.

She wanted to ask the old dracon more questions, but, decided against it. That was a conversation for another time and place. For now, she would try and turn her attention to less depressing things.

She listened with genuine interest as Z'kron shared his thoughts...hopes?...on a rebuilt High Peak and what it could be. She had never even thought of such a thing. From the moment she had heard news of the destruction of the town, she simply felt sad and lonely and more than a little bit sorry for herself.

She watched Cherjaine begin feeding the duck, Knight, and couldn't help a little smile. "How long did it take to train him to allow you to ride him?"
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