Old December 31, 2015, 10:43 AM   #1 (permalink)

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You're a Toxin Wasting Perfectly Good Space [Noe]

I see I've surprised you with some of my words
And I know that surprises, while fun, still can hurt
And I hate to think that I ruined the day
Of the d**k and the queen of the high horse parade
But I'm sick and tired of your poisonous ways
You're a toxin wasting perfectly good space
And I say what I think
'Cause it's more economic than drugs or a drink

- "Sweet As Whole" Sara Bareilles

Winter, PF XXIII

The call had gone out, a search for a spellbreaker who might be interested in handling the contaminated landscapes that surrounded Medonia. Someone who would be willing to do what was necessary. Someone who would be willing to ensure that Medonia actually had a future...rather than turning its back on the city, regardless of the damage refusing to take care of what was necessary might do. Medonia needed to thrive, needed to live, needed some sort of land beyond its walls that did not choke with weeds and play the host to creatures of an unknown danger. The seas were safe but the earth was not. Iseult might have altered the landscape herself, if she had wanted to, but it wouldn't have been to the benefit of anyone. Turn the earth, bolster the rock. Then what might they have had? Nothing more than what they'd had now: useless terrain.

From everything Iseult had gathered over the months, Iseult had come to learn one thing: she needed someone who could suck away the contamination, could soak it up and do something with it. She didn't know much about these people but that was neither here nor there. Spellbreaker. She knew that term. She knew what she needed...and she was tired of pussy-footing around the matter simply because some people didn't have what it took to set things straight.

As it were, Iseult had heard that someone was interested in the fields around Medonia. So the glassblower stood outside of the gates, dressed in light-winter wear appropriate to the region: a light wool cloak, blue in hue, a pair of comfortable brown trousers and a flash of a white shirt barely visible beneath the cloak. The hood had been drawn up over white-blonde hair, protecting her from the light mist of a drizzle that was bristling through the region, and her shin-high leather boots were caked with mud. She'd forgone the gloves and wished she hadn't, her fingers curled in close against her folded arms as she shifted restlessly. The glassblower was not alone but was accompanied by a freckle-faced young man with a shock of red hair exposed to the elements. Both appeared unarmed although not relaxed, Iseult's posture rigid with her restlessness, the other shifting and looking miserable if only because he'd neglected to wear a cloak with a hood and his red hair was damp and plastered to his forehead; it wasn't raining hard but it had been wet out long enough that the outdoors was no longer a fun experience.

She moved away from the walls, striding out to the landscape that stretched away from the Medonian walls. The battle to reclaim the city had taken its toll on the land, the contamination thick in the soil where Druidism had wrecked havoc against the empire's enemies. The Xet had died here, had been routed out of the city, but it had come at a cost. While Iseult had done much so far to take away the filth within the city, it was outside of the city where she felt her hands were tied. It would have been easy, she thought, to rampage over the animals that had now claimed the battleground as their own--sentient creatures, freaks of nature, things that would fight to protect the land they claimed.

Land, Iseult felt, that belonged to her city, to Medonia. If they couldn't settle this through the use of the spellbreaker then she would need to turn to might and force...and Medonia had seen enough bloodshed that she wasn't terribly eager to rush in.

"What a miserable day," she muttered, loud enough for Finn to hear beside her. She didn't expect an answer and Finn just shifted, offering her a look that more than agreed. "Too late to send word to meet in the city, I take it?" She should have started there, in the comfort of one of the inns that were now popping up with the influx of people. To get to them, the individual arriving would likely have had to come in through the gates, seen what they had to contend with: a ground pitted with great vines and holes. There was no fine green grass as had greeted Iseult when she'd first come to Medonia eras ago. No, that was gone, the contamination working to ensure that little grower now. No greenery, just brown and yellow for as far as her squinted Thelyri eyesight allowed her to see.

Last edited by Iseult Fluersdotter; December 31, 2015 at 10:48 AM.
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Old January 3, 2016, 08:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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“It’s never too late.” The reply to Iseult’s question came, not from Finn, but from a small figure standing between the pair of craftsman and the gates of Medonia. Her waifish figure was hidden in a suitably dramatic black cloak - though, in fairness, any mysteriousness was effectively neutralized by her posture (“like a cat stuck in a shower”) and the shivering-induced slur in her voice. “Still, I shan’t mind seeing the ground myself.”

Noe inhaled deeply. To the Spellbreaker, the damp air stank of more than moldering leaves and wet dirt. She could smell underneath the merely physical the scent of flowers in spring, the fragrance of fruit rotting and fermenting on the forest floor, the musk of a furred hunter as it marked its territory. There was blood and the sharp smell of cracked bone and marrow. A smell only a fellow hunter might recognize. The Essence of Nature infused the very ground and air here. It was...enough. More than enough, many times over, for what the Esh’lahier girl intended to make.

“But I forget myself.” Noe curtsied at Iseult and Finn; all but a reflex for the young maid. That she wore a traveler’s outfit beneath the cloak - a voluminous white shirt clearly stitched for a man, brown pants, and black boots - didn’t free one from having good manners. She was armed, perhaps overly much, with a pair of gilded daggers in leather sheaths strapped to her thighs and a knife easily longer than her forearm strapped across the small of her back. Than again, hadn’t the rumors in the city spoke of strange creatures in the woods? Of brave woodsman cleaving the heads off twisted wolf-creatures to save a damsel in distress?

(She wouldn’t mind finding a few of those. Their teeth might prove useful.)

“I am Noe, servant of House Evile and Spellbreaker of some repute.” Even for a metropolitan city such as Medonia, the Esh’lahier girl’s accent would be strange; it’s sibilant undertones invoking the towering sand dunes and searing heat of the western desert. She smiled wryly, more like a childish girl than anything. “What have you got here?”
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Old January 3, 2016, 02:18 PM   #3 (permalink)

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The individual who greeted them was, to say the least, unimpressive. Perhaps Iseult had become too accustomed to those who flaunted their skill and stature that this one, small and draped in her over-sized black cloak, looked more like an ineffectual drowned cat than a spellbreaker that might have been of any use to her whatsoever. By and large, the glassblower had no idea what to make of this individual whatsoever and only hoped that her impression was going to improve as their interaction went on.

She canted a look towards Finn, who looked back at her and gave a shrug. All he could do was put the word out and they'd weed out what came to them. Knowing really nothing at all about spell breaking, there was no way to prove that one would be any better than the other until the right one came along. That this one supposedly came from the well-known House Evile gave Iseult some "Iseult Fluersdotter. And this is Finn Rhydderch." No fancy titles or associations offered, given that Iseult didn't really have any beyond what she herself had built up. She was Iseult of Emerald River and if the other did not already know that then Iseult saw no point in belaboring the knowledge. "Thank you for coming. We were beginning to think there was no one..." She trailed off and shrugged, her hands flitting up to adjust the hood over her hair, trying to ensure that her locks remained protected against the misty drizzle.

Her eyes turned out towards the field, wondering what the spellbreaker saw in comparison to what she saw. "The battlefield of the fight to reclaim Medonia." She gestured. The bodies had been retrieved and many of them had been burned but it was still identifiable as a place twisted by battle. "We had a Druid with us, powerful and not afraid to wield it. It's left us with a problem. He's a spellbreaker now, somehow," she shrugged, dismissing it as irrelevant to what was important here. "He said that the contamination was bolstered by something else, by a planetar called Xenar, one who dabbles in wild magic. It's created a population of sentient creatures on the land, creatures that don't much care for us."

She gave a sigh, frustrated with the situation. "Whatever the case, I need the contamination gone. Nothing can grow here and I need things to grow if we're to have a city. A safe city. One that people don't have to worry about traveling to or risk being assaulted by talking beavers." Her tone was sardonic and she gave a shrug. "I'm willing to pay or trade in exchange for your assistance. I'm a glassblower and an elementalist, two things that I hope might be of some interest, someway. With Medonia as it stands, a...trade...is always preferable." She liked to hoard her money where and when she could.
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Old January 3, 2016, 04:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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“Xenarius?” The Esh’lahier girl gave the pair of craftsman another look-over; her sky-blue eyes suddenly alight with interest. She’d last heard the ancient djinn’s name in the Heart of the World where the maid (along with a general and a were-badger) had foiled...what was it? A plot against the Plane of the Fae? Something like that. More importantly, she remembered a fire-breathing undead clockwork dragon crewed by toothy fairies. If something like that lurked in the woods, Noe would seriously consider scrubbing the countryside of druidic essence for free.

Not that she’d tell Iseult that, of course.

“I know of two ways for a Spellbreaker to clean the contamination, kyria. The first is like standing beside a warehouse of firecrackers and throwing a torch on the roof. The second will take some more work - especially if you wish that I clear the entire forest. The druid spread his filth over a great part of the forest.” Noe knelt and produced a throwing knife from, well, somewhere Iseult and Finn couldn’t quite see. Using the tip of the blade, the Esh’lahier girl scraped a small trench into the wet soil and wafted the small up to her face. “Are you the thane, kyria, or a guildmaster? This is a difficult task you ask of me. We will need two things to clear an area so large.”

She raised a finger. “Materials. My tools will be arriving shortly but I shan’t have everything I need. A blacksmith and a carpenter will help.”

A second finger. “Laborers. We will need to deal with the symptoms of the contamination, the forest.”

A...third finger? Sometimes Noe didn’t always think things through. “Guards. Legionaries if you have some in your employ.” It’d been eras since Noe had met a legionnaire worth their salt. The city guard were, in her estimation, as dangerous as Arium shepherds. “It upsets the laborers if something dark and teeth-ey drags off their friends. And it upsets me so when a beast rummages around my trap.”

“I have something I wish made, in return for my labors.“ Noe rummaged in a bag slung over her shoulder and pulled out a long, thin bundle wrapped in dirty wool cloth. When she flipped open the cloth, Iseult would see a yellowed dragon’s tooth filed down to a razor sharp point. “I’d like this set in a glass crossguard, handle, and pommel. And a glass sheath. Made of glass that shan’t break when struck.”
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Old January 4, 2016, 09:19 PM   #5 (permalink)

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"Xenar. Xenarius." Iseult flapped a hand, bundling it all up in one big bag of 'who really cared', the point being that the glassblower cared as much about what god and the exact name as she did about the many different types of katta found throughout the empire. What she did know was that it was giving her a headache, all this contamination and the problems that came right along with it. What she didn't know were a lot of facts about the deity supposedly involved. She preferred to keep it that way, the gods being something of a pain as it were. She didn't bother with them and she really preferred that they gave her the same courtesy. So far, that wasn't really working out for her.

And if she didn't know much of anything about the involved deity, she knew really next to nothing about spellbreaking, too. She reached up to rub at the back of her neck, found it hindered by the cloth of her cloak and settled instead on playing with the material, adjusting it back into place when the flit of her hand accidentally moved it. "The more you can be rid of, the better." She'd pay for it, too...in whatever way she could possibly manage. "If you can manage it."

She had, of course, expected conditions, tacked on requests for something or other to make the matter easier to handle. Straylor had asked for things, so it set her to be prepared. She was marginally surprised at some of the 'items' listed but... "I'm perhaps as close to a thane as the city has at the moment." Although it would have made her uncomfortable to ever presume she had such a mantle. Iseult was a craftswoman, not a politician. Anyone who spoke to her would inevitably discover that. "The services of a blacksmith and carpenter shouldn't be a problem." Luckily, those were the types of tradesmen Iseult had been drawing into the city to repair it. "I'll work out any expenses you incur with them." A small wave of her hand, no problem.

The laborers gave her only some pause. "How many laborers do you need? We have so many already working on the city, I'm sure I can shift some people around..." This was important, she reminded herself, even if it irritated her to remove some people from certain things. They'd have to be people who didn't necessarily specialize in certain tasks. Still, no problem. "And I'd need to know how many guards, too. I have my own mercenaries, a handful. If you need more than that I can possibly hire others...or speak to the interim governor about letting us borrow what guards she has available to her." She'd rather hire her own, though. Asking to borrow from the governor continued to make her feel uncomfortable.

The request perked Iseult's interest, particularly when the tooth was revealed. She leaned in, politely keeping her hands to herself as she eyed it over. "Of course. I can do that, no trouble. The unbreakable part..." She smiled faintly and lifted a shoulder. "Something to work on but something I'm sure I can manage. I'll make it strong and try for shatterproof. I'd need to borrow it, get measurements and drawings from it." She'd have to work on it while the other was working on the contamination--no trouble, given that the other had said it might take a while. Good. This might, too.
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Old January 10, 2016, 06:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Noe passed the dragon’s tooth to Iseult without another word. Lest it seem overly trusting, people didn’t really steal from the Esh’lahier girl all that often. Those who did showed shockingly low rates of recidivism. After all, it is shockingly hard to commit theft when dead, dead, and deader than dead.

“Many hands make quick work. Let me see…” Noe paced the eves of the overgrown forest, assessing the breadth and depth of the arcanic contamination. Every few steps, she stopped to sniff at the air, or snap off a branch to examine critically, or excavate a small trench with a tip of her boot. Insane as it might seem, the veteran Spellbreaker was trying to get a feel for the extent and structure of druidic contamination. Had it spread through the woods like a lake? Or seeped into a few hollows and stands like black tar? The latter seemed more likely - and easier to deal with than the former.

“I shan’t think I’d like to start with less than a score of workers.” Plus or minus a few who’d inevitably be eaten by sentient carnivorous trees. That would be an interesting fight for the head maid. “A score and a half of guards, to watch the camp and the workers. If you have them, I would prefer those familiar with the wilds: woodsmen, hunters, rangers and the like.”
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Old January 12, 2016, 10:35 AM   #7 (permalink)

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She was already studying the weight of it, the way it fit in her hand, once the Esh'lahier had handed the tooth off to her. She looked down at it and moved on to admiring the curvature as the other woman concentrated on the precise numbers of what she needed. The half-breed was highly attentive to the pause between them but for now there was the tooth in her hand and the knowledge that she would have to create something for it. A sheath, a hilt. She could do it--the shapes were simple enough--but there a multitude of factors to consider...

"No problem." She made mental notes of the requests, glancing towards Finn and making sure that he, too, was making notes. "It might take me a couple of brightenings to get everything together. Say...five brightenings? I can arrange to have them meet you at a place and time of your choosing." She did pause, considering. "I can't guarantee that all of them will have the necessary experience you're looking for but we'll have the hands you need."

David and his men would make up a portion of the guard numbers, with another mercenary captain another. If they still needed more...well...Iseult was sure there would be others looking for work. Hopefully people that knew what they were doing. She'd see soon enough, she supposed.
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Old January 31, 2016, 03:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Noe ran through a list of preparations in her head. Starting a cycle ago, wagoneers had started delivering her equipment to an unfashionably out-of-date (if still well kept) manor. She’d need to place a few orders with local merchants for more mundane supplies - carpenter’s tools, nails and pins, glassware, and the like. Designing a trap for such a concentrated pool of arcane essence would take a few brightenings, though from the morning’s survey the Esh’lahier girl at least had an inkling of what she needed.

“We meet in five brightenings then,” she agreed. Without another word, the head maid pulled her hood over her head and started trudging through the mud into the city.

---

Thank the spirits it wasn’t raining anymore. Noe lounged on a tree stump near the eaves of the forest. For once, the Esh’lahier girl was dressed sensibly: mismatched leather armor, brown linen pants, and a pair of well-worn black leather boots. The only commonality between Noe-the-mercenary and Noe-the-insane-killer-maid her friends (such as they were) would recognize was the net of small braids keeping her long white hair out of her face. Today she’d chosen to weave a handful carved wooden beads into the braids, a new purchase from one of the many craftsmen who’d flocked to Iseult’s leadership.

She was well armed. Well, that was a little bit of an understatement. Noe was veritably accessorized with weapons: a well-crafted Arakamatian khukri across the small of her back, a sylvian longknife in a sheath across her back, and a pair of ancient curved crystal daggers strapped to her legs. It was true that druids was rare and contamination rarer. The conservative druidic circles weren’t terribly keen on having Spellbreakers with their strange gear and stranger concoctions waltzing through their sacred groves. Even so, Noe hadn’t taken the job purely to further her craft. Rumor and gossip in the taverns was that the twisted, dangerous creatures stalked the dark woods; wolves the size of horses wounds that leaked black, flailing ichor.

Oh, she was looking forward to this...
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Old February 5, 2016, 10:29 AM   #9 (permalink)

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So Iseult set to work making sure that Noe would have the help that she required to do what needed to be done. She'd get a message to Rhystlin that specific work was now available to her while informing Davin, her own mercenary leader, of what would be required of him. Did Davin need to hire on anyone else, he was more than able to do so with the promised coin available appropriate to the skills demonstrated by the new hire--more arms were better than few in these current days of Medonia, Iseult recognized, and if anyone Davin deemed suitable wanted to stay on with the Emerald River company then they were more than welcome to do so. But that was neither here nor there.

As for the hired labor, that ought not to be a problem even if the skills Noe wanted weren't necessarily going to be found over the course of five brightenings. Iseult would try her best, though, leaving the whole matter of hiring labor in the hands of Finn for the time being.

That freed Iseult up to sit down with the dragon tooth that Noe had presented her with. She wanted shatter proof...and well Iseult could certainly deliver that...that just meant that Iseult needed to use certain left over sand that gave Iseult the shivers. Contaminated glass. She paused, considered. Maybe this glass was then best suitable for this client, given what she was.

So Iseult got out the leftover black sand from the Xetan lands she had acquired from the Maeve household when constructing the lord's tomb and began to prepare a new batch of sand, feeling a tendril of dread creeping up her spine at the prospect of working glass tainted with necromantic and mystical magic. This wasn't going to be fun but it was the best thing she that had. She put out a warning to her employees that should anything happen to her, it might be best to get a hold of the spellbreaker--Noe, that was, not the other one they all knew...

[ooc: Sand acquired and previously used here from Matty, for reference.]
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Old February 17, 2016, 09:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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oocsorry for the poor post, just trying to jump in so we can get this rolling!

Noe would not be the only one accessorized in weapons. The half elf mercenary almost seemed to be compensating for her small size with the array of killing instruments on her person, from the bow and arrows on her back to the dagger and short sword at her hips. A set of throwing daggers were strapped to one of her thighs, not to mention whatever else might have been hidden beneath boots or in belt pockets. She was armored in light, asymmetrical leather accented with hints of steel, her dark hair tightly braided and tucked beneath her cloak.

At her back came an array of individuals, a human swordsman and a large vagaran axewoman, two other human males taking up the end of the procession. The half elf's brown eyes scanned the landscape for Davin, but landed on the esh'lahier instead.

"Rhystlin Farsteel," was her greeting as she tugged her gloves to ensure the fingers were snug within. "I understand we have some work to do."
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Old February 29, 2016, 12:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Noe/Rhystlin

Davin arrived on scene not too long later, around two score guardsmen with him (an eclectic mix of spearmen and swordsmen) with another score of archers to arrive soon. Better safe than sorry, as far as he was concerned. He nodded towards Noe and Rhystlin, waiting for them to lead the way.

They were just the muscle, after all.

Iseult

Iseult felt a strange tingling sensation on any skin that made contact with the sand, but otherwise she'd be able to prepare the batch without anything particularly untoward happening. So far so good!
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Old March 28, 2016, 04:02 PM   #12 (permalink)

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With the glass of sand begun, Iseult set herself to work. It wasn't unfamiliar territory to her, having worked this sort of molten glass before...not to mention, that portion of her glass working career was well-emblazoned on her skull, given all that had happened at the time. With the measurements of the dragon tooth on hand, as well as a basic design sketched out before her, locked in her head, Iseult picked up her punty and set to work drawing out some of the molten material. She went through the process per the usual, gathering glass, then rolling it out into a smooth globe that.

With the globe in hand, the glassblower reheated the material and then began to give it shape, elongating it. She'd start first with the hand guard. The spellbreaker hadn't given her visual specifics but Iseult applied her own bit of whimsy, giving the ends of the crossguard the vague suggestion of dragon wings. It wasn't dramatic and Iseult wasn't aiming for obvious but the suggestion of three lines of bones moving along the interior of the crossguard became evident as she gave it shaped, the ends tapering to a vaguely up-edged point. Once she did this to both ends of the elongated crossguard, Iseult would create an indented space where she'd fit the hilt--two pieces she'd eventually merge together--and then she'd set the crossguard aside in a garage of the furnace, provided all went smoothly.
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