Travelers (IC)

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Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:32 pm

Edward ‘Ed’ Fletcher

He was staring up at high, wooden ceilings belonging to the gabled roof of a large room, thick beams going across, attaching to supporting columns in the center. His vision was blurry, and his mouth felt dry; Ed’s head was throbbing, and he was certain that the sunlight shining through the large, arched French windows lining the walls was only making it worse. Even so, his mind, as fuzzy as it felt, continued to maintain some sort of process, quietly analyzing where he was, and trying to make sense of how he got there. This place was one of wealth, the wood shining with a glossy varnish over the color and grain of authentic teak, the very structure expensive. He could smell the delicate floral scent of vanilla wafting through the air, punctuated by the aroma of strong expresso.

He felt clumsy, but Ed was able to slowly shift onto his side, sharp green eyes scanning his surroundings, even in a helpless state, looking almost serpentine. The broad sills of the windows, he saw, were lined with dark ceramic trays, and filled with planters that looked like oversized coffee mugs of every color, shape, and design. Some had funny faces, or intricate birds or flowers. A few were plain. The windows seemed to be frosted, making the space somehow private and secluded, dulling the harsh light like a shear curtain. Coffee trees, tea shrubs, black pepper vines climbing on trellises, and other plants Ed didn’t recognize grew from each mug. Wrought iron frames in intricate swirls surrounded the windows, and a massive network of vanilla orchids climbing over them, in full bloom, created the effect of a lush garden, and were the source of the wonderful smell.

Ed blinked, surprised to wake up in this place, and, shifting onto his stomach, tried to rise.

“Woah, woah, woah!” He heard someone rush over in a hurry from behind, and abruptly felt a hand press between his shoulders, forcing him back onto the floor, much to his shock and irritation. “Stay down, kid, stay down!” A young man’s voice, smooth, yet firm, warned him, “Wait for the doc here to take a look at you. You’ve got a nasty knot there, and I’m not taking chances of anyone getting hurt on my watch.” Although Ed immediately wanted to rise to his feet, a silent alarm in the back of his head told him to obey.

“Valentine,” Another voice, further away, this one female, and somehow frustrated, “I have told you, again and again, that if an injury you find among the new arrivals requires stitches, you should call me.”

Ed was not sure what was meant by these statements, but for whatever reason, he got the impression that the mysterious ‘doc’ this Valentine character was discussing was the person currently speaking.

Stitches? Someone needed stitches?

“Well, that guy wasn’t willing to let me take a look at him. Mentioned some sort of phobia? I didn’t think that he would let you treat him, even if I brought you here, and the burn on that lady’s tail seems pretty minor.” Valentine mentioned dryly.

“Excuse me…” A third, soft male voice interjected, “…You were going…t-to make it bleed again….I already lost a lot running….and then it opened when we fell through…”

“Well….I guess I can’t argue that I’m clueless on that note….er…what was your name again?” Valentine asked.

“Scylla.”

“Right, Scylla. You see, sometimes people walk smack into a wall when they show up here, but in your case, you and your friend had some weird injuries from the get-go. What exactly happened to you two? It’s not typical for someone to show up with burns, or for someone to have gaping cuts on their legs.” Valentine remarked, walking away from Ed.

“We were ambushed.” A fourth voice replied, calm, firm, and…Ed guessed it sounded feminine, but he wasn’t so sure.

“Ambushed? You two soldiers or something?”

“I guess you could say that…trainees? We weren’t attending the academy for combat roles, though. Scylla was supposed to be an engineer, and I was supposed to work with scientists on conservation projects.”

“You weren’t in the field?” The doctor asked, jumping in on the conversation. Ed formed a mental image of an older woman stitching up someone’s leg. “Mind telling us what happened?” she asked.

“No, we weren’t supposed to be attacked, but during the entrance ceremony, people just showed up on the campus and….started shooting….shooting at a bunch of kids…”

There was an uneasy, tension-filled pause.

The woman continued, “Scylla, me, and this bird kid, we ran out of the building and got to a safety bunker, but…well…I found one guy collapsed near this red dome-thing on the way…it kept us from escaping from school grounds, and I didn’t think of anything when I found him. I knew him, his name was Ira, we’d been talking several minutes ago in the auditorium. He couldn’t move, and I thought he’d been zapped by the field, so I just hurried over and picked him up. I wanted to get him out of there, those people might have gotten him if I’d left him there, and I knew it was risky, but I knew the guy, so I couldn’t just abandon him. The problem was, though….well….how do I put this….?”

“Mr. Suicide….he could self-combust….he was running around, destroying bunker entrances….he was keeping us from getting to safety….” Scylla interjected where the woman left off. “….He….pointed a gun at Honey….and said if she didn’t drop him….he’d shoot her…”

Ed wasn’t sure if what he was hearing was right. Self-combusting? Mr. Suicide? What kind of name was that, even? The whole story sounded like some sort of nightmare.

“Yeah….I got a gun pointed at me, and this guy….he’d killed a bunch of Changelings already, like it was nothing…but….you know….with powers like his, I thought, ‘Why is he threatening me with a gun? Why isn’t he just shooting me when I’m not looking, or killing all of us at once with his powers? What does he want with Ira? And then I thought, ‘Why was Ira right by the dome when no one else was?’ Then it hit me, Ira had been asking me to leave him there, and it was perfect, the way the dome barely touched the top of his head…”

A snarling sound came into Honey’s voice, “That kid was a traitor, and I could see it on his face when he realized I’d figured it out. This guy just wanted to fool me into thinking I’d be spared if I let Ira go. We all knew he’d shoot me anyway. So yes, I dropped Ira.” Her words dripped with venom, “I tossed him right at the guy. He’d trapped all of us in that dome, people died because of him, and he knew the whole time what was going to happen. If he got shot, not my fault, right? Because he was going to do something that got us all killed anyway if he’d stayed.”

“….Ahah….” Valentine laughed uneasily, “Sounds like things were very bad in your world.”

Ed didn’t want to be here. This ‘Honey’ character seemed really scary.

“Yeah, it was really bad, and I know what I did might be really…well…awful….but it wasn’t like anyone was thinking clearly…you kind of just act….you don’t think about what the consequences are until later.” Honey continued “When I tossed him, it distracted Suicide, and we ran. We got to the bunker, and then I started to wonder ‘What if he was innocent? What if I just killed someone?’ And Scylla, he has sensing powers, and he confirmed what I’d been scared of before…”

“….H-he didn’t get shot….he’s still alive….” Scylla said, uneasy with the sudden tension in the room.

“….Yeah….he was a traitor….in the end…..” There was something sad about the way Honey said it.

“Smart girl, clever that you can think on your feet….but that’s definitely one of the more serious circumstances that we’ve heard of. I’ve seen and heard a lot of bad things, though, in this line of work. Valentine can’t always handle it, but the fact is, plenty of Travelers tend to come from bad circumstances. It’s like the power is linked to strife.” The doctor said, “Alright, Scylla, the leg’s all stitched up.”

“T-thank you….”

Ed heard someone walk up to him again, and felt a hand rest gently on top of his head, “Sorry you have to wake up and listen to war stories, dear. Those two aren’t bad people, though, they’re very nice. They’ve just had a very rough time. I’m going to take a look at that bump on your head now, okay?”

Ed looked up to see the face of an older woman with hazel eyes and long, silver hair. She was clad in spotless white scrubs, and held a pair of dark blue gloves in one hand, turned inside out. The doctor turned to look at Valentine, a tall man with long blonde hair, blue eyes, and extremely feminine facial features, “Valentine, please take my gloves.” She requested, holding them out to him.

Valentine flinched, “But they’ve got blood on them…”

The doctor narrowed her eyes, “I took special care to ensure that they would be turned inside-out. You won’t get blood on your hands throwing these in the medical waste. Now take them, please.” She instructed, this time testily.

“A-alright…” Valentine grabbed the used gloves, looking faintly green in the face, and walked over to a short white bin with neon-orange plastic inside of it, a biohazard symbol slapped onto the side, dropping the gloves inside. He then held his hands out, still looking disgusted, and walked over to a bottle of hand sanitizer resting on what looked like a café table covered by white linens, proceeding to liberally clean his hands with the antibacterial gel.

As the doctor put on a fresh pair of gloves, parting Ed’s dark hair to take a better look at where he’d hit it, his green eyes darted over to look in the direction he’d heard Honey and Scylla’s voices coming from. There was a boy that looked about the same age as Ed sitting in a chair, sweat-pant leg rolled up over  his left knee, revealing a nasty-looking gash running down the outside of his calf, now closed together by stitches, and the site carefully cleaned of blood. Ed assumed this was Scylla, and noted how he was clad in all-grey clothing. His sweatpants, hoodie, and even the shirt, running shoes, and socks he was wearing all appeared to be the same pale shade of grey. The only attire that was a different color were the large, perfectly-round spectacles he wore for glasses.

Then Ed saw the kid’s eyes.

Scylla….was not human. His scleras were a deep, dark brownish-red, the irises were pale yellow, and his pupils were just a glowing white, like sparks. He might have been a slightly chubby person with rounded features, long eyelashes, and messy, wavy brown hair, who was too young to even grow facial hair, but there was no way those eyes belonged to a human.

Ed, flinching as he felt a sting where the doctor was disinfecting a cut on his head, decided to train his gaze on Honey instead, and immediately felt his blood run cold, regretting the decision.

Honey was definitely not human, there was no way she was human in any way. Instead of a person, what Ed saw was a frightening, furry creature that resembled some sort of bipedal mountain lion with a mane, werewolf-like legs, and an otter tail. Ed saw that the tail seemed to have the fur singed off the tip, and there was some sort of ointment glistening on the skin. It seemed like the creature was dressed in nice casual attire. She was wearing a nicer long-sleeve denim jacket over a bright primary-red shirt, and black sports pants with a red line running down the side, something that conformed better to her legs. She was even wearing what looked like some sort of seagrass, floating inside a glass terrarium on a silver chain.

The creature looked at him, and Ed felt his heart speed up slightly. This creature’s eyes had intense red scleras, and the irises were very large, and a pale yellow around the edges, before turning sapphire blue around the round pupils. Tufted, lynx-like ears twitched, “I can’t see very good at a distance, but I can tell you’re looking over here by the blurs. You’ve been knocked out for a bit, so we were actually starting to worry you’d gone into a coma. I’m glad that isn’t the case.” The cat-like lips curled at the corners into a feline smile.

Ed felt himself break into a cold sweat, not sure if he felt comfortable talking to this creature. With no response coming, her ears lowered slightly, “Do I scare you? I’m guessing seeing someone that looks like me is really hard to deal with, since most Form-class Changelings can usually take on a human form.” There was some sort of agonized expression on her face, “It happens….” Her ears lowered sadly.

Scylla looked over at Honey, “Uh….I don’t think….he’s ever seen a Changeling.”

“He probably hasn’t.” The doctor backed away and grabbed Ed’s shoulders, “Alright, let’s see if you can stand up for me.”

Ed slowly rose to his feet, slightly shaky, but he quickly regained his balance.

“Good, good. No nausea? Light sensitivity? If it wore off you can probably disregard it.”

Ed looked at the doctor and shook his head.

“Well, then I guess you’re fine. Just try to avoid hitting your head in the same spot again. Might have a concussion, that’s very likely, since you passed out.”

The doctor smiled and looked over at Honey and Scylla, seemingly unfazed, as Valentine was, that they looked like something other than human beings. “That’s absolutely right, Scylla. It’s very likely this boy has never seen a Changeling in his entire life. He might not even come from a world that has magic or anomalous events. He might be the rare Traveler that comes from a completely normal life.”

“Normal as in…?” Honey pressed.

“Normal as defined by this world: Earth geography, typical climate and a year similar or close to ours, same tech. No magic, strange races, or anomalous evens. Well, no anomalies typically, I should say that we still have more portals than anyone else. Travelers kind of take the ‘normal’ out of our world. Nothing is more ‘abnormal’ than a portal dumping stuff from other worlds into yours.” The doctor explained.

“Well...guess that’s an irrelevant argument.” Honey’s ear twitched. She looked down at a mug she was holding in her hand and took a sip, before speaking again, “Well, out of all the things happening, the last thing I expected was to go from a crisis to sipping a chai latte in the middle of a shop in some other world, waiting for a so-called ‘Normal’ guy to wake up.”

“We can’t go back…” Scylla muttered, before picking at a loose thread on his right pant leg, fidgeting and tapping that foot, while trying to avoid moving the other leg for fear of pulling a stitch.

“Well, since the crisis is over, at least until some more people show up, I think I’ll stay for a few more hours, see if any more injured show up.” The doctor said, pulling a seat away from a nearby table and sitting down.

“Valetine,” She looked over at the apparent owner of the café, “Can you bring me a dark expresso, please? It was very early when I got your call.”

Valentine, who had gone to carefully stacking tiny petit fours on a display by the counter on an opposing wall, looked over, “Of course, Dr. Blount, free of charge, of course, for being willing to come take a look at these three.”

Dr. Blount laughed, smoothing a silver curl of hair behind one ear, “Of course, you don’t have anyone else, and we all know we can’t afford having nice Travelers like these people being injured.”

She looked over at Ed, “You haven’t spoken a word, quiet one, aren’t you? You’ve stood still just looking at us the whole time. I imagine this must be a confusing situation, waking up here.”

Ed looked over at the doctor, “….Where, what, and how? Something about portals?” He asked, his voice coming out much clearer, and his eyes glittering in a crafty way as he looked around the room, something like a natural sort of cautiousness appearing. Not fear, but the kind of observant nature that made one feel as if they were sharing the same space as a fox.

“Well, for lack of better words…..” Dr. Blount gestured with one hand, indicating she needed a name.

“Edward, Ed for short.”

“For lack of better words, Ed, regardless of what you were running from or why, a ‘magical’ portal opened right in front of you, you came flying through it and into this café, hit your head, and were knocked out. The portal closed right behind you, and you are now presently in a different world, in this café where a lot of other people who will probably suffer a similar fate are going to start appearing. The main time frame is around eight in the morning. You were here early, around five, and those two over there,” Dr. Blount gestured to Honey and Scylla, “Were here around four.”

Ed paused before speaking, “…I see….” He said, visibly trying to process the situation.

“Please, please, ask for a coffee or something and sit down, lest you be knocked out by another arrival.” Valentine interrupted as he rushed past Ed with a cup of expresso, dark, and set it down in front of the doctor.


Last edited by Tarragon on Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:22 pm

In the corner of the room, a bit away from the crowd, the air silently blurred as one would expect on a very hot day right above a road in the desert, stealthily existing there and likely going unnoticed. However the being flying through it was anything but stealthy, as they quickly held their hands up in front of them to avoid slamming into the nearby wall, creating a moderately loud thud. The being muttered something about "annoyingly convenient portals" and then turned to face the others when he realized he wasn't alone.
He appeared to be a tall human in his late 20s, his athletic build obvious under his clothing as his grey eyes took in the room and he adopted a sort of ready stance. Somewhat short and well kept pale blond hair topped his head, which contained a somewhat lean clean shaven face. Most would've thought him a businessman, except that instead of a suit he wore dark grey cargo pants, dark blue and black running shoes, a snug wicking shirt, and halfway unzipped grey athletic jacket.

After establishing that there were no apparent threats, he seemed to relax a little, and his face adopted an expression of serious curiosity as he asked in a tenor voice "What is this place?"

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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:17 pm

Before anyone could answer this question, the air in another part of the room began to shimmer. Then the hands came out, hands that looked human, except that they had four fingers. . . and small talons. Within another second, someone came came through, stumbling as they regained their balance. Like the two Changelings that sat at the counter, this was certainly a more unusual-looking traveler from a human's point of view, and even the Changelings might have mistaken her for one of their own. It was a young woman just a few inches shy of 6 feet. At least, the head and neck was that of a human, Caucasian in skin tone, with slightly filled cheeks, and long hair done into a ponytail, being honey-blond in color, yet strangely shot through with clumps of dark-brown, almost like she had highlights. Her eyes, although the usual structure for a human, it seemed, were bright yellow. She certainly had a human-looking torso, an athletic build, and was dressed in a olive-green tunic belted at the waist with supple brown leather, and had a skirt going just down to the knees. She had what looked like a small money bag hanging from the left side of the belt, and she wore brown leggings that came down her birdlike tarsi.

Here indeed was the first astonishing physical feature to a human. Although her shortish thighs were moderately human looking, her legs were definitely those of a bird, indeed, rather like a barn owl's; her feet had no shoes, and was difficult to imagine her wearing any such thing. They had four toes, three forward and one back, with long, sharp talons, and were feathered all over except for the bottom, which had white scales.

The next thing to notice was her arms. She had no sleeves, and her arms were feathered to the wrist. Her hands, as mentioned, were human in skin and shape, but had only four fingers, and had talons, smaller than the ones on her feet. Folded away along the back of each arm was a strange-looking arrangement of larger feathers that looked like she had giant fans stuck to the back of her arms; the plumage coloring was brown on top with darker markings, and white below.

The person stood blinking for several seconds, and then slowly turned in a circle, taking everything in with wide eyes.

"Wow!" she said at last. "I was right! It was a portal, just like in those Scifi magazines. I'm in another world! I'm in another freaking world!" With a whoop, she began to dance around, and then jumped into the air, flinging her arms out. With a whoosh, the feather fans on her arms opened into a large pair of wings, white below, and brown above, streaked with darker brown; to those attentive enough, it was clear that she did in fact have a fifth finger, longer than the others, but buried in the wing and helping to support it. With flaps of her wings that almost buffeted those present she rose a few feet in the air, and the dropped agilely to the floor.

"Woohoo!" she shrieked, spreading her wings all the way out. Then she noticed everyone else, and her eyes widened. Closing her wings up, she closed her fists and held them to her chin as she looked at them wide-eyed.

"Wow!" she said at last. "People from another world! Ooh, this is so exciting!" She took a few steps towards them, looking at them all intently.

"Wow!" she said again. "You're all so weird looking! Er. . . I mean different!" she added quickly in a more embarrassed tone, realizing she had said something potentially offensive.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:23 pm

Honey

Although this sudden new arrival, more so than the one man who hadn’t even gotten his answer yet, had made a loud commotion, the only person who seemed to be phased by it was Ed, and even then, he merely stared, blinked, and went back to sipping his coffee at the table where he sat across from the doctor, as though this were a perfectly normal occurrence, though a faint tremble in his hands gave some indication of distress. Dr. Blount, still in the same place, made an expression that suggested she found this entire situation highly amusing, and seemed to drink her expresso for the sole purpose of preventing herself from laughing. Valentine, meanwhile, looked at the girl who had cut him off before he could explain anything with an irate expression. He looked like he wanted to snap, but was managing to suppress the urge with an expert-level of skill.

“Hello, and welcome to the most bizarre café in existence.” Honey replied dryly, breaking the silence, and smoothing a wisp of her mane out of her eyes and taking a drink from the chai latte she was holding in her right hand. The calmness that she had about herself was almost comical, given the ridiculousness of this whole entire situation. Of course, Changelings that looked like this girl existed in Honey and Scylla’s world, so they had almost no reaction other than a bit of frustration at the gusts of wind from her wings. Additionally, given the horrible story behind how they had managed to wander through a portal in the first place, this was hardly upsetting by comparison. “You two might both want to walk away from that corner of the room. Portals are all on that side, and people coming through them might accidentally hit you. We’ve already got one casualty with a concussion, you don’t want to be next.”

Honey, along with Scylla, had been in the café for longer than any other Traveler so far, so Valentine had already explained to them that, while there was a specific time frame, portals could sometimes appear outside of typical hours, and that most of them were isolated in a specific section of the dining area. Anyone that worked in the café was wise to avoid the main floor space near the building entrance, because people could come flying through portals, and even if someone had arrived safely, another Traveler arriving immediately behind them could accidentally hit them and cause injury. Fatalities were rare, but the chances of this happening, in addition to people coming through with pre-existing wounds, were high enough to warrant a private doctor. Dr. Blount had been hired, both because she was good with humans and animals alike, and secondly, because she seemed to feed on the chaos Travelers caused.

“P-Please don’t f-fly indoors…” Scylla stammered, still stuck sitting in the same chair he’d been in since he’d wound up in the café, going through a portal alongside Honey.

Honey looked at her companion, noting that he was shaking somewhat, and his face looked a little pale. Her ears could pick up the sound of his breathing, and how he seemed to be trying to control his respiration, though it wasn’t quite effective. He’d been through a lot, she could tell he had some sort of fear regarding touching people, and that he’d barely managed to suppress the urge to flinch away, the whole time that Dr. Blount had been stitching up his leg. She could hear how he fidgeted with his right pant leg, picking at a thread that had come loose, trying to look for some sort of way to vent the stress. Perhaps some people would want to tease Scylla for the way he was, but Honey knew better than to judge him for being sensitive. For Changelings that couldn’t hide the fact that they weren’t human, abuse and discrimination was widespread, even amongst their own kind. Developing anxieties was hardly rare, and how could Honey ever make fun of someone when she herself was so frequently spoken to in a tone reserved for puppies and infants, and had complete strangers walking up to pat her on the head like she was some sort of dumb, exotic pet?

Honey’s ears twitched slightly, and her tail swished. The strange, alien-looking plant clinging to her shoulder rustled faintly, fronds curling slightly, as though commenting in its own, silent way on this situation.

Valentine, deciding that the cat-otter girl had managed to settle the situation somehow, proceeded to give yet another explanation of what was happening. “Yes, well, like this lady here says,” He began, looking at the strange man who had appeared, “the place you are currently in is a portal hotspot, which happens to be a café that has been owned by my family for three generations. The portals that we have here are random, temporary ones, and they’re one-way trips. Portals from many different worlds form, Travelers pass through the portals, and then those portals immediately close once they go through. We have no way of determining where the portals connect, and we cannot control them. If you want to go back to your own world, I’m sorry to say this, but we can’t help you.”

“Also,” Valentine added, “While myself and that woman there-” He gestured over to Dr. Blount, “-are natives of this world, everyone else in this room is a Traveler.”

He folded his arms, looking between the two new arrivals, “Any questions?”

As Valentine proceeded to ask this question, Honey’s ears lowered, wondering how the one bird-girl was going to react to this. She seemed so enthusiastic, but how would she take this situation, knowing that her experimentation with portals had just gotten her stuck here?
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:16 pm

The bird-girl stood for a moment, wide-eyed, digesting all this (she had folded her wings up).

"So, there's different worlds and stuff? Wow, this is Scifi!" Then her eyes widened.

"Wait, did you just say I can't go home?" She then turned back to where she had come from, and found to her horror that the portal she had come through had vanished. With a cry, she quickly began searching around, but after a moment, she slumped down to the floor, pulled her legs to her chest, wrapped her arms around her knees and began to weep.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:36 pm

Desin took in the newly arrived bird girl as Honey and Valentine spoke to him, keeping a serious expression of borderline boredom on his face as he inwardly sorted her into the 'stupid child' catagory.

Stepping away from the corner in which he had originally entered the cafe, he walked towards the group of Travellers with the same expression of uncaring, although if the truth be told he actually was carefully observing everything he could.

"I know what the portals are, and I could've guessed this was some sort of cafe or coffee shop. What I meant was, what plane or planet is this?" he replied, addressing Valentine rather bluntly
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:03 am

Scylla

Scylla was currently sitting on a chair off to the side, not sure if it was okay to move, for fear of pulling the stitches that lined the outside of his left calf. He was somewhat grateful that Honey’s explanation of how he’d gotten the injury was accepted, even though the actual nature of the wound was not clearly stated. Someone might have presumed Scylla was attacked, but realistically, it was something more along the lines of trying to keep Honey, whose appearance naturally drew attention, from getting killed. It wasn’t that Honey was brash or reckless, in fact, Scylla doubted that anyone had been more cautious or clear-minded, given that the attack on Legerman Academy had been a complete ambush. Despite the fact that the Academy was meant to help train Changelings in the southern Primacy for war against the northern Alliance, where genocide of Changelings was systematic, the attack had been on the first day of classes. Aside from the instructors, nobody in the entire school had possessed any combat skill, and so when the first shots were fired, the whole student body dissolved into panic, and the incident became a massacre.

In the circumstance of Scylla’s leg injury, the only way that a student hoped to survive the attack was to get to one of several bunker entrances scattered about the campus, since a field around the school made leaving impossible. This was a dangerous task in itself, because an entire team of gunmen had been present, solely devoted to shooting and killing the students. They also had a Changeling on their side with the power of self-combustion, Mr. Suicide, who was quickly destroying those entrances, with each explosion lowering the chance of survival. Honey, who had never even met Scylla before this incident, had grabbed him and another bird-like Changeling, and proposed that the three work together to reach a bunker before all of them were destroyed. Her plan was basic: run as a scattered group, don’t stay so close that it looks like you might be cooperating, but remain within earshot and line of sight.

In the end, this strategy proved successful in not only getting every member of the group to safety, but it also saved Honey’s life. Members of the group were to try to protect one another from harm, so when Scylla noticed that an attacker close to his own location was choosing to aim his gun at Honey, Scylla didn’t think about his fear of touch when he decided to tackle the man. If Scylla had balked from the fear of making physical contact, it would have meant letting a person die.

The end result of the scuffle that ensued was that the gun went off, the bullet slashing the side of Scylla’s calf, and Scylla, meanwhile, had the creeping suspicion that he’d somehow managed to snap his opponent’s neck. When Scylla ran to return to the group, the gunman lay on the ground, either unconscious or dead, he wasn’t quite sure. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know; Scylla didn’t want to think of himself as a person capable of killing. He didn’t want to have to explain himself, either, but he knew that seemed a bit ridiculous. He had been perfectly justified in his actions, but ultimately, it still boiled down to the fact that he might realistically possess whatever it was that made a person capable of taking a life.

Everything taken into consideration, it was an enormous relief that nobody had ever asked Scylla the exact details of what had happened.

At the moment, Scylla was more focused on the one new Traveler, who, as far as he could tell, had likely already passed through portals before, given the fact that he was asking what the name of this dimension or world was. Since both this world and the one Scylla and Honey had come from was named Earth, there was no other reason to warrant that question aside from the idea that there were multiple versions of the planet in question. That idea wouldn’t even be taken seriously unless you knew for a fact that such things were possible. Valentine had mentioned several worlds like Scylla’s and Honey’s, so currently, nobody was entirely sure what dimension the two came from. Someone else was supposed to come and pick up any Travelers that showed up in the café and offer some more insight, but there was no specific timeframe for when this would happen.

Scylla listened intently to what Valentine’s response to the Traveler was.

“Oh, sorry, you must have already been through portals before,” Valentine held up his hands in an appeasement fashion, completely disregarding the bird-girl that was currently curled up in a sobbing mess on the floor. “We usually get first-timers here, so I tend to offer a more general explanation. I apologize. The name of the planet is ‘Earth’, but the dimension is ‘Cavitrum’. We have no magical events, humans are the sole dominant species, we’ve got basic laws of physics, and history is relatively…ah, never mind. The unique nature of this world is that it possesses an abnormally high level of portal activity, when compared to others.”

Scylla formed a mental image of Valentine preparing to say that history was ‘normal’, but as Dr. Blount had mentioned earlier, ‘normal’ was a worthless term in circumstances like this. It was useful when comparing another world to your own, for personal use, but if you wanted to explain ‘normal’ to someone else, it would only result in more confusion, unless you also gave objects of comparison. Even then, ‘normal’ to Scylla was strange, unusual things that science couldn’t properly explain, and apparently, ‘magic’ was the real term for it. Literally, ‘magic’ was anything that could not be defined, and even that definition was subject to change.

Thinking about this led to a lot of mental circles and contemplation of existence, and Scylla decided he needed to stop before he gave himself a migraine from thinking too much.

There was this creeping suspicion Scylla had, that perhaps the disturbing calm and even amusement at these Travelers coming through portals had something to deal with the fact that perhaps it was safer not to think too much about any of the mechanics of inter-dimensional travel. Was it possible to drive yourself insane if you did? Scylla wondered if people like Dr. Blount and Valentine were remaining chipper and carrying on a sense of ‘peaceful chaos’, exclusively because if they tried to actively grasp the concepts of what was actually happening, the whole thing would cause them to go crazy.

The systematic, business-as-usual attitude Valentine had about this entire situation suggested he’d seen enough people break down and cry that he’d not even bother trying to console the one bird-girl, she’d probably get over it anyway. He seemed more interested in providing information to the one experienced Traveler present, perhaps because this person was calm and already understood what was happening, and secondly, that sense of ‘calmness’ was sincere, and not just a façade meant to hide the inner turmoil of having your whole perception of existence distorted.

Realistically, Scylla could tell that this Edward character sitting across from Dr. Blount, despite a noble effort to look as though he were completely unfazed, was trembling. For Scylla and Honey, inter-dimensional one-way-trips were a fact of life. Changelings were born in one world, and traded for a human newborn in another. For Edward, something like Changelings didn’t even exist, and even though he was very good at acting and somehow preventing himself from having a breakdown, he had already panicked just from looking at members of a sentient species that wasn’t human. Thinking that there’s an endless number of worlds in existence would just add to the sense of turmoil. Another detail, Scylla could tell that the guy was one of those calculating types, so even though Scylla was spending a lot of time mulling things over, there was no telling what was going on in Ed’s mind right now.

Scylla began picking at the loose thread on his sweatpants, in one section of his mind wanting to take a pair of scissors and remove it, and in the other, appreciating that he could distract himself like this.

He looked over at the bird-girl, who was currently very upset when moments before, she seemed extremely excited to see that portals were real. Very child-like, she let her curiosity get the best of her. "Hey..." Scylla spoke up, looking at her, "...You...aren't alone....a lot of us....got stranded." His voice was still barely audible, and he spoke very slowly, but he did make some effort. "...be glad...you didn't get hurt...." He said.

It was a bit ridiculous, given Scylla's personality, that he'd almost chide someone.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:00 pm

Despite how softly Scylla spoke, the bird-girl seem to hear him just fine, suggesting that her sense of hearing was quite acute. Sniffing a bit still, she looked up at him. "I'm. . . I'm sorry," she said with some difficulty. With some more sniffs, she started to bring herself back under control. Relaxing her legs a bit, she kept one leg hunched up with her arm resting on it, while allowing the other leg to sprawl out a little.

"When I first saw that portal, I . . . I didn't really think about what I was doing. I just went through. I'm. . . I'm kind of like that. I just do things without really thinking about it." She sighed, and then getting to her feet, she turned to Valentine.

"Is. . . Is there really no way back?" she asked.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:33 pm

The Cavitrum dimension, don't think I've heard of it before thought Desin, considering what Valentine had said I think I have heard of an Earth once, although I never visited it. But if what the man says is true, then it should be a little easier to navigate due to lack of magic

He spoke to Valentine, completely ignoring the bird-girl who was still sniffling, much to his annoyance "It is forgiven, and thank you for that quick rundown, it is most helpful" His expression became a little warmer "My name is Desin by the way, I don't believe I know yours?"

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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:39 pm

Edward ‘Ed’ Fletcher


Ed was amazed that, given his current scenario, he wasn’t having some sort of bizarre, surreal dream. Even if this was reality, everything happening seemed far too strange, and even with the knowledge that three of people present weren’t human, just the way that everyone was behaving felt off. The two Changelings were far too casual about the fact that they had just gotten stuck in an alternate reality, or at least, the one named Honey seemed far too relaxed; that might have just been her personality, though, given she’d kept calm even when held at gunpoint, apparently. Scylla actually looked a little uneasy, but even if those two had just come out of some sort of war-zone scenario, Ed would have thought they would have been in a panic. He didn’t know what kind of world they came from, though, so maybe this was easier to understand for them, just because magic apparently existed in their world, or something like that.
 
Ed wasn’t sure about the two other new arrivals. The bird-girl actually seemed to be the most upset, but on the same token, she’d immediately pulled herself together when Scylla pointed out that she was being too dramatic. Or at least, she’d stopped crying. A part of Ed wanted to group her into the mental category of ‘airhead’, partly because she seemed a little ditzy with her behavior, but he didn’t want to think she was stupid, just for being naïve. She might actually be intelligent with a great capacity to learn, and for all he knew, she was just a sheltered kid, so she’d never been exposed to any sort of situations where she’d need to learn about the potential danger of stuff like entering random portals. How good for her if that was the case, though it would be irritating for anyone around her.
 
As for the man who appeared to be an experienced Traveler, something about the guy made Ed uneasy, even though he behaved in a really civil manner. It was just a gut feeling, and perhaps it meant trouble, but Ed had also gotten that feeling around the cut-throat antique dealers he and his parents worked with. Not so much posing a danger, as it was that you needed to be good at doing business with them, or they’d gladly go somewhere else other than your humble little shop. A part of Ed suspected this kind of business approach from the way he almost seemed to have no time to show courtesy to Valentine, until the café owner actually gave useful information about this dimension everyone was now trapped in. It didn’t entail the man, Desin, was actually a bad person, it just meant he valued his time and didn’t want to waste it. It was more like unnerving peer pressure. You dare not cause any disappointment.
 
Valentine, meanwhile, introduced himself to the two newcomers, “Valentine, pleased to make your acquaintance. I’m not a Traveler, but we deal with them a great deal.” He gave a pleasant smile as he spoke these words to Desin. “I’m also glad to know that so far, we haven’t had anyone arrive that’s immediately decided to violently threaten everyone upon exiting their portal.” He spoke this bizarre statement as if it were commenting on the weather, before turning to the bird-girl.
 
“As for you, dear, your question is a little complex. It is possible to return to your world, but you can’t just turn around and go back through the portal you arrived through, because it was an irregular one and disappeared. A new one that appears like that and leads to your world might not appear for years. You have to either find a portal in this world or another that you know leads there, or you can do it the hard way, which is just wandering aimlessly until you’re lucky enough to find the right one.”
 
Valentine sighed, “This is why we call you people ‘Travelers’ because the moment you get sucked into a portal of the irregular-type, getting back home isn’t easy, and you might spend the rest of your lives never finding it.” The café owner brushed a lock of his long hair out of his face, “Of course, it’s not just this, but the fact that portals that are of the permanent-type tend to be placed in either remote or hazardous locations. Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, superstition is pretty common, and so is conflict, injury, and death. Irregular portals are also sometimes known to show up in a bad spot as well, so really, unless it’s permanent, you don’t know what you’re getting into.”
 
Dr. Blount chose to become involved in the conversation at this point, “One other thing Valentine doesn’t mention, here,” She began, “Is that you’re lucky that this is a very Traveler-friendly dimension. Most people have some level of awareness that these portals exist, there’s so many that the world’s governments could never hide it, so even if you aren’t human, and might get weird looks, most people will typically leave you alone. There’s even a black market for exotic animals, plants, or items from other dimensions, but this is generally a problem, since some stuff is very dangerous or invasive. There’s two worlds that Cavitrum trades with openly and legally, but that’s heavily regulated, and huge portals that support that trade are almost nonexistent.”
 
The doctor took another sip of her expresso, “Furthermore, while you may wish to go home, and our government might try to help you out, you will also get an offer from the big-wigs to help with establishing positive relations with other worlds through these permanent portals mentioned earlier. Most people aren’t Travelers, and even though there’s been research, we can’t really determine anything that singles out you people from someone else. We also don’t have the luxury of our own world’s Travelers being present, so we wind up having to extend the offer to new arrivals from some other place.”
 
Ed looked up at Dr. Blount, “So you mean to say that the government here hires Travelers?”
 
Dr. Blount smiled, “Why do you think they let Valentine keep his business despite it being a hotspot? If this business were dependent on sales, Valentine would have been charging all of us for our drinks, but you can see that he’s been giving everyone free beverages without asking for anything in return. That’s because he’s a Greeter, and he’s reimbursed just for keeping up the place. Any damages, any financial loss, he gets reimbursed for whatever he might lose, and he’s also paid handsomely just for being physically present, since some Travelers might try to attack him. Harmless as running a café might sound, a lot of Greeters risk their lives just to meet newcomers, especially when you compare an average human to aliens or supernatural beings.”
 
Dr. Blount stood up from her seat, “Now, that in mind,” She looked over by the entrance to the café, “If you don’t want to wait and see who else comes around, or for the big boss who hired Valentine and I, you’re all free to leave out that door over there,” She gestured to it, raising her mug slightly as if proposing a toast. “We won’t stop you people, but I’ll tell you right now, you stand to gain more if you wait. Supplies, a map of portals and hotspots, info on other worlds. That’s useful, since if you go to a different world poorly-prepared-”

A glint appeared in her eyes, “-You could get captured by someone else, and they might not be as nice to you.”


Edward felt his pulse speed up again, and then noticed that there were ripples, like heatwaves, forming over right in the corner of the room.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:02 pm

The bird-girl stood for a moment, digesting all of this information. She cast a longing look at the area where her own portal had been and then sighed. Going over to the seat, she sat herself down, heaved another sigh, and then gave a small smile.

"Well," she said, her voice still just tinged with a little sadness, "I guess there's really no point in moping around, is there?" She then glanced behind the cafe counter "I don't suppose you have hot chocolate? Oh, by the way," she added quickly, like someone who had realized that they had just forgotten their manners, "my name's Therese. Therese Tytona Asio. I don't think I got any of your names." Here she glanced with renewed interest at the other Travelers. It was then that she noticed Ed looking at something else; following his gaze, she saw the portal, and her eyes widened. Leaning forward on her stool, she gazed intently at the portal, a child-like look of wonder and curiosity on her face as she waited to see who or what might issue forth.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:24 pm

Desin gave a small chuckle at Valentine's mention of Travellers attacking literally right out of the gate, finding it funny that someone would engage other beings while knowing nothing about them. Such was a good way to easily bite off more than one could chew without realizing it. And that was exactly the opposite of the approach he intended to take.
He continued listening, saying nothing until the Doctor had finished. "I like the thought of getting some supplies and information, it might be useful" even as he inwardly snickered at her mention of those not being as nice. He could handle most things out there and he knew it, and if he couldn't handle it, well he wasn't afraid of retreating, unlike those idiots obsessed with honor.
After Therese introduced herself and inquired as to the others' names, Desin was about to respond, however at the sight of Ed and Therese looking towards the corner of the room, he was distracted and said nothing, merely following their gazes. He tensed slightly, preparing in case something hostile came through.

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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:21 pm

Lynn & Elysia


The portal rippled for several more moments, before a bright, sapphire-blue blur appeared and charged out of the portal, revealing a tiny creature about the same size as a ferret or weasel, but with a scaly, reptilian body, a gecko-like skull and feet, and curved grey horns. The creature had deep brown eyes with a rusty, amber-looking tinge ringing the elliptical pupils. Despite the tiny…dragon(?) possessing a very small stature, it’s eyes gleamed with a feral, menacing light that suggested it was very, very irritated for some reason. When it curved its legs to jump away from the portal it had emerged from, everyone noticed long, inward-curving spurs on the back of its front legs, some sort of defense, and judging by the beads of clear liquid at their tips, probably venomous. The creature hissed and sprung away from the portal, twisting its body mid-air and turning to look back where it had emerged from, eyes narrowing as it arched its back like a cat preparing for a fight.
 
Shortly after this, another blur appeared and a man emerged from the portal, decidedly dressed in a very odd manner, given the flashy-looking nature of the robes he was wearing, and possibly magical, given that the fabric of his attire seemed to shimmer in an iridescent way that didn’t quite match with the room’s lighting. His tunic and cloak were both a bright, sapphire blue, but on the inner lining of his cloak, the main color was white with black and purple designs that looked like an abstract representation of the ocean and its currents. He was a tall man with straight black hair that made one think of crow feathers, aristocratic-looking facial features, and sharp grey eyes.
 
The man had a long dagger drawn in his right hand, and looked around the room, immediately alarmed by the fact that he was suddenly no longer wherever he’d been originally. He turned his gaze to glare at the tiny blue dragon, “Where are we? How is it that you can use teleportation magic?!” His grip tightened around the plain wooden hilt of his blade, but it looked as though he were trembling slightly, perhaps doubting that he could fight it, or maybe shaken, as others were, by the fact that he was no longer where he should have been.
 
The tiny dragon hissed at him, and shook its head wildly, as though denying it knew anything about this whole incident. “Your arm is shaking, brat,” It spoke in a high-pitched, feminine voice, “I don’t know where we are, any more than you. Lower that blade, can’t you see that wherever we are, there are civilians? There are many places and situations for fighting, but this is not one of them!” The creature’s tail lashed wildly, “I’m ending this chase now, for my own sake and yours.”
 
The man gritted his teeth and looked as though he wanted to argue back, but the dragon cut him off, “If you keep trying to provoke me, I’ll dig your eyes out of their sockets with my spurs.” It hissed venomously, “I simply want to be left alone, why can’t you people understand? What else have I done? Kill and maim the people chasing me? I have a right to defend myself! If they don’t stop, what else can I do? Go with them? They want me dead! Do you honestly think that I’m so evil, I’d want to hurt someone? What kind of flat, one-sided view is that?”
 
The dragon stopped ranting, and simply glared, tail going still, as it attempted to reign in its wild breathing, and slow its heartbeat. “I have been running from you for three days, I am tired, I feel sick from lack of sleep, and my patience is gone. It is clear you have never fought another person; you didn’t have the nerve to kill me then, and you don’t have what it takes to do it now. That is your only saving grace, because had you been willing to harm me, I would have killed you on the first day you appeared.” The creature’s voice was extremely quiet, but still sounded extremely frustrated.
 
“Okay, okay, enough with your fighting, you two,” Valentine held up his hands in an appeasement gesture, walking over to the tall man and, without any sort of fear whatsoever, wrenching the dagger from the newcomer’s grip, shoving him away so that he nearly fell over, his face wearing an expression of shock. Valentine examined the dagger, “Nicely-made weapon, not fancy, but good metal, hardwood, well-polished.” He looked at the man and pointed it at him in a non-brandishing fashion, the blade slack in his hand, almost as though he might drop it, “Of course, I don’t appreciate people trying to fight in my café, so I’ll be taking this until I’m sure you won’t use it against anyone. It’s clear to me that you’re the one who’s provoking this little lady over here,” He glanced sidelong at the dragon.
 
The dragon looked at him, head tilted sideways, as though intrigued, but also, perhaps slightly disgusted that it was referred to as a ‘little lady’.  “Regarding you,” Valentine began addressing the dragon, “I do not know what your circumstances are, but since you happened to walk through an irregular portal that has since closed, this man is the sole individual at the moment who would have any reason to chase you. You are no longer in the same world you came from, but in a different one entirely, where magic does not even exist.” Valentine spun the dagger in his hand, “Additionally, we have no control over these portals, so nobody here has done anything to influence you coming here. My café is a hotspot for portals, so you’re actually surrounded by mostly other people who have arrived though portals, and are similarly confused by their situations as you are now.”
 
Valentine stopped spinning the dagger in his hands, “Hope that explanation helps, but how about I say this? You are free to sleep in my shop, it seems you have had a rough time, but I can also bring a beverage or maybe something to eat, if you aren’t comfortable doing that, free of charge, of course.” He turned back to the man, “The same offer extends to you, but no fighting with my guests, not this dragon-creature here, me, or anyone else. Travelers come from all sorts of situations, you don’t want to be on someone’s bad side in the circumstance that someone particularly strong appears. I also have security personnel here, but Rob hasn’t had any reason to come downstairs yet, so he’s not present in this room.”
 
In fact, this was the first time today that Valentine had mentioned this ‘Rob’ character at all as a security presence. The two Changelings in the room, having arrived very early in the morning, had met the man when he was patrolling the café, and they looked up upon hearing his name.
 
It was then that a door leading to a separate room behind the counter opened, and an older bald man perhaps in his fifties with intensely dark eyes and a deep scowl, emphasized by his wrinkles, appeared. He was wearing a dark blue jumpsuit of sorts, baggy in appearance, and had what looked like a high-powered weapon slung over his shoulder, “Someone calling my name?” He asked, his voice dry, deep, and somewhat terrifying. The man wasn’t extremely young, but even underneath the baggy jumpsuit, muscles bulged, and he was also extremely tall.
 
“Ah, Rob! We were just discussing you! I was worried just now that I would have to call you, but luckily the issue has resolved itself. How are you?”
 
“I’m fine, how’s the kid?” He asked.
 
“Right over there, has a mild concussion, but he’s fully conscious now.” He replied cheerily, pointing to Edward, before turning to him, “I should mention, Rob is the one who found you unconscious when you arrived. He also found Honey and Scylla over there.”
 
Valentine looked at the two newest people to arrive, seeing perplexed expressions on their faces, “I am supposing everything happening is very strange at the moment to you two, but I also suppose you are experiencing the phenomenon of culture shock? Yes, myself and a lot of other people here are dressed very strangely, but it also the fact that your situation is also a common occurrence here, and perhaps my kitchen equipment behind the counter is also very alien? Well, there’s many things you’ll start to see you’ve never witnessed before.”
 
Valentine turned to Therese, “Of course we have hot chocolate, dear, even in the midst of chaos I would not forget a request for that, otherwise I would not be a café owner. With or without marshmallows?” He looked around the room, “Also, I can make a fresh pot of coffee for anyone who is interested.”
 
One could not help but marvel at how Valentine was able to maintain a proper train of thought in this sort of situation.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:59 am

As the situation with the new arrivals sorted out, Desin un-tensed, as it seemed like he wouldn't have to fight anyone. He had to give some credit to Valentine though for the calmness displayed when disarming the man who had been chasing the reptilian creature, even if the man had seemed a little...unnerved.
He was curious though, due to the man's robes, which seemed a little off. I wonder what he can do Design wondered mentally. He stood up and approached him, causally asking "So I take it that you aren't skilled with a dagger, but something tells me that you specialize in another area, magic perhaps?"

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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Valnarian on Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:55 pm

"Marshmellows are fine, thank you," said Therese. Then she turned and cast a wide-eyed glance at the new arrivals, her eyes resting most especially on the small dragon. In fact, without waiting for her hot chocolate, she hopped down and squatted down near it, with a look of intense and eager interest. She seemed to have recovered for the time being from her initial distress of being stranded.

"Are you a dragon?" she asked it. "That's awesome!" She looked at the area where the portals seemed inclined to appear most. "What else is out there?" she mused.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:45 pm

Lynn


Lynn looked at the man who had addressed him, at first suspicious, before forcing himself to relax and have a more open stance, taking to heart the fact that anyone in this café could possibly kill him with ease. It was not a difficult thing to do, seeing that he had been disarmed and almost knocked to the ground by a man who looked very delicately-built compared to Lynn himself, and almost a full head shorter. His cheeks colored slightly red with embarrassment, but he quickly hid this emotion before straightening and introducing himself to the stranger. “Ah, forgive me, I am not sure…how to respond to a situation like this.” He apologized, “My name is Lynn, I am a traveling mage, and I deal with weather manipulation for farmer’s fields and magical pest control.” He glared over at where the rogue shapeshifter he had been chasing was now focused on a bird-woman. The small Azurite Dwarf dragon glanced at him sidelong, catching him looking at her, and shot him a death glare of her own in return, before focusing back on the bird woman.
 
Lynn returned his gaze to Desin, “I was asked by a guild in the area I was passing through to go after a particularly troublesome creature, a shapeshifter, but beforehand, I had always thought they were simply mythical beasts of legend, not something that could actually exist. They told me that a shapeshifter had been causing trouble, and that it had killed and mangled mages chasing after it beyond recognition using its power to transform. They claimed it was an anomaly of nature and too dangerous to remain loose. They told me to catch it, they said I could kill it, but taking it alive was also acceptable because there was research interest in its powers.”
 
He cleared his throat, still not sure how to go about with introductions when this person might not know anything about mages or guilds, “What they didn’t tell me, though, was that shapeshifters were actually humans with powerful, inherent magic. They didn’t tell me I was going after a rogue mage, and I don’t like hurting people. I figured if I chased her long enough, she would just get tired and I’d be able to catch her without causing any injury, but I think I’m doing more damage to myself at this point. Truth is I can barely see straight and this is probably bad for my health on many levels.”
 
Lynn sighed, “In the end, I was really just being stubborn. I’m a good hunter, honest, I can fight with that dagger, but if I try to turn it on anything other than an animal, I freeze up. Sometimes I don’t think before I do something…and….I’m rambling aren’t I?”




Elysia


Elysia looked up at the bird-girl, who reminded her a lot of the Agathisian race, although her appearance was somewhat different. Agathisians possessed a pair of arms with talon-like hands, and their wings were a separate set of appendages resting on the back. Their faces were owl-like, where this bird-girl had a human-like face. The bird-people of Elysia’s world, however, weren’t often seen by humans, and rarely did two races from any group encounter each other. Many humans went about their lives, unaware that there were actually three other civilized races in the world. Elysia had met representatives from those three groups in her travels, primarily because she wandered so far from civilization that sometimes she would even stumble into a different one entirely. Dragons could almost count as a fourth race, but there were many different species of dragon, and they ranged from the intelligence of a cat or dog to a level unattainable to humans.
 
She clenched her jaw slightly when the girl exclaimed, the sound was right next to her ears with the bird-girl squatting down so close by, but Elysia was far more willing to tolerate this, compared to having a mage hunt her day and night. “Well, I am a dragon presently, but if I were really an Azurite Dwarf Dragon, I wouldn’t even have the capability to speak or understand what you were saying.” She responded, the whole answer more cryptic-sounding than intended. “I’m a shapeshifter, this is just the form I assumed to get away from that man over there. I thought if I was a tiny dragon, I could blend in with some of the wild ones in the forest, but sometimes normal dragons will see my eye color and become disgusted. They drove me out and then I got spotted by the mage again.”
 
Elysia gave a small laugh, “I’m more relieved to be here, though. Even if I have no clue what’s coming through those portals.”
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:05 pm

Desin listened to Lynn and then Elysia, chuckling at the part where Elysia mentioned getting spotted again, before replying "Perhaps instead of a dragon you should've become a bird. Or a worm. Then you could either have flown off or burrowed into the ground where he'd never find you." He smirked a bit, but didn't make the comment about mortals being similar to vermin sometimes that he would've liked to make.
He then turned his attention back to Lynn, his expression warming a bit even as his opinion of the mage's usefulness dived at bit at his apparent incompetence "No you are not rambling, I actually find your talk of being a mage interesting. I am curious though, was there no spell you could've used to harm or subdue your quarry?"

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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:45 pm

Lynn Adrian Foster
 
Lynn shook his head at Desin’s question, “As I have said before, she is not only a shapeshifter, but a mage, and perhaps one formerly originating from a guild. Guild mages constantly practice their magic, and tend to know more powerful spells. My own magic is something that I combine with many other skills and was self-taught, and I have no affiliation with a guild. Although I may be asked to kill a nuisance animal, that does not usually require anything extremely powerful, so long as I use an element opposing the affinity of the creature, something I am generally an expert at.” He glared at the shapeshifter again, and the creature snorted, shaking her head.
 
Lynn continued, “Shapeshifters do not possess elemental affinities, they are able to work with any element, as I have learned the hard way, so using basic negation did not work. I hit her once successfully with an arrow in the foot, but after that, she turned into that Azurite Dwarf form. She took that form because the species’ thick skin is difficult to pierce unless your arrows are charmed with water magic, but her natural immunity to the charm makes that a useless effort. I was chasing her with a dagger because by that point, she had literally escaped every single spell I could have otherwise used to trap her.”
 
The Azurite Dwarf looked over at Desin, eyes cat-like, almost, “My actions need no justification, but isn’t it so that we like to tell stories about how our day went, even if it means belittling the people around us?”
 
There was an obvious challenge present in her words, though nobody could be sure if it was directed at Desin, for his bird and worm comment, or Lynn, for calling her a magical pest.
 
Lynn looked over at the shapeshifter, “Do you intend to argue with this man as well?”
 
The creature rose to a sitting position, glaring at Lynn, “When was I arguing with him? My argument is with you. You talk and talk, and all you do is complain about irritating I am, how much of a pest I am to you. And yet you turn around and want to call me human, and therefore something you don’t wish to harm? You’re just saying that, but yet you have no problem diminishing me to the status of a lowly thing in the eyes of someone else. You harm me just by opening your mouth. Leave me out of your discussion, if someone wishes to know anything about me, they can ask me themselves.
 
 
Elysia Forrest Underwood
 
The rules of a conversation were simple. Don’t talk about yourself, make other people discuss themselves, because that’s how a true, meaningful conversation works. People loved to talk, so it was a hard skill to cultivate, but an ideal conversation has mutual turn-taking, and mutual disclosure of fact. The reality was that human nature normally entailed that a person would discuss themselves three-fourths of the time, versus one-half. Elysia might have not cared that Lynn was disclosing information about himself, but because he was talking in length about Elysia’s abilities, also, it was a problem, even though she wanted little to deal with the mage.
 
Basically, what she had just done was tell the mage Lynn that he needed to shut up about discussing her in his conversation, and also, though it was more like snapping at the mage than at the man, Desin, basically implying that Desin would not get any meaningful information out of the mage, and if he wanted to know anything more about her, he would have to ask her himself, and not some third party. He wasn’t winning her over, and she’d also made it clear, even if other people might have not caught it in her words, that she could see what sort of game he was playing at.
 
Elysia snorted and turned back to the bird-girl, shooting a glare at Lynn, a clear sign that she did not intend to argue with him over what she had just said, before deciding to drown the pair out, “I apologize for my own rudeness, ma’am. I did not properly introduce myself, I was just too relieved at the time to pay attention to good manners. My name is Elysia. What is yours?” She asked, turning back to the bird girl with an annoyed expression that suggested she was trying very hard to ignore Lynn and Desin, perhaps even despairing that she had to be anywhere near them.
 
Edward ‘Ed’ Fletcher
 
Watching the newly-arrived mage and shapeshifter was entertaining, and at the same time, like being forced to stab your eyes out with shards of broken glass. It was definitely interesting, but the fact that the two continued to take jabs at each other was somehow painful to witness. He was sure that they were both interesting people by themselves, but it seemed like the two individuals were so incompatible that the moment they were forced to remain in the same room together, the entire situation would turn sour. Amplifying their negative relationship was the apparent sleep deprivation of both individuals, and the fact that the mage, Lynn, was constantly discussing Elysia without any sort of awareness that it was incredibly rude to do so. It was clear the two hated each other, and this whole scenario was just making things worse.
 
Ed looked over at Valentine, a pleading look in his eyes, begging for the café owner to do something to put distance between the two individuals, before they began to argue again. Whatever differences the two had, even if they could eventually set them aside and get over the fact that Lynn had been hunting Elysia down like an animal, it would probably not be resolved for a very long time. Tempers were short, both of them sorely needed sleep, and trying to talk to them wasn’t really any help. It was clear that Desin was trying to get information about Lynn and Elysia’s skills and abilities, and was opportunistically relying on the fact that they were too tired to effectively consider things, but that did not resolve the fact that they were both in a terrible mood.
 
Just from this incident, Edward liked both Lynn and Elysia less than he might have originally if they’d been more pleasant to be round, and recognized that Desin was probably a bit manipulative, and maybe not someone he should whole-heartedly trust. Of course, he was willing to re-evaluate everyone, especially since nobody acted as they normally would when they were suffering from extreme fatigue, and Desin might simply be the observant type who was very curious by nature, but Ed wasn’t sure. He didn’t have enough information to draw a good conclusion. He only recognized that the bizarre, pleasant atmosphere of the café was rapidly dissolving with the bickering individuals in the room. Ed realized that the reason the café wasn’t replaced with some high-tech facility was probably because it was far easier to keep a despairing Traveler calm if the area was peaceful or somehow cozy-looking. There were limits, though, to how effective that could be.
 
Valentine looked at Ed, made eye-contact, and nodded, mouthing, ‘Yes,’ before walking over to Therese with a mug of hot chocolate, complete with what appeared to be cubic, home-made marshmallows. “Here you are, madam,” He said, offering her the beverage, before leaning down to look at the shapeshifter, “There are a few private rooms upstairs. If you are not comfortable with resting in the café’s dining area, I insist you go there and sleep. I understand that you might wish to have a conversation, but it is clear that you need rest above anything else.” He gestured over to the same door that Ron had emerged from, “Through that door is the stairwell.”
 
He then straightened and turned back to look at Lynn, “You, as well. I would suggest you go and rest if you cannot see straight, as you claim. No fighting, or I will send Ron to escort you.”
 
Elysia looked up at Valentine, and the tiny dragon sighed, “Heaven knows, I cannot rest when someone is nearby, the slightest sound is like a thunderclap. Very well.”
 
Ed noticed that the shapeshifter didn’t even argue with Valentine. Perhaps she was such a light sleeper, even a slight amount of ambient noise or quiet conversation made the concept of rest impossible. It seemed to be that way. She turned to Therese, “I suppose we can finish introductions at a later time. My apologies, though it is probably for the best.” With this she lowered her head and walked over to the door Valentine had indicated, looking up at the door knob, before jumping into the air, grabbing it with her front legs, twisting it, and kicking the door to knock it open. She landed expertly on all fours, like a cat, and slipped past the door before it could close.
 
Perhaps this would have seemed cool, but it also looked as though the shapeshifter was relieved to have been given the opportunity to leave. It was almost as if she were glad to have any way of getting out of the increasingly crowded dining area. Perhaps she was antisocial, or maybe she had few positive experiences with people. Ed suspected a combination of both, but once again, did not have enough information to draw any good conclusions.
 
Where Rob had taken to standing close to where Ed was, he walked over to Lynn, “Are you going to stay here, or do I need to ensure you don’t attack the small blue reptile?”
 
Lynn backed away, “I...suppose I don’t have choice, do I?”
 
Valentine, still standing by Therese, gave an almost vampiric-looking smile, and gave a slight chuckle, “Oh, did you think that I haven’t dealt with people like you and the shapeshifter before? Of course, you have the choice, but I would highly recommend you go with Rob. You’re staggering, so if we don’t make you rest soon, you’re going to collapse from exhaustion. We can administer a sedative if you like.”
 
Dr. Blount, sitting across from Ed, chuckled slightly, “There’s why Valentine is still a Greeter, even though he looks like he couldn’t hurt anyone, he’s actually quite intimidating when he wants to be.”
 
“What?” Lynn suddenly blanched, but by this point, Ron placed a hand on the mage’s shoulder and gave him a shove, “Alright, don’t argue, it’s better if you don’t.” He said.
 
With this he began to escort Lynn out of the room, but was stopped short.
 
Another portal had appeared, and the person emerging from it had stepped right into their path.
 
Mouse
 
Walking through a desert-like landscape that radiated heatwaves, with a rat pup the size of a cat in her arms, still with eyes closed and having scarcely begun to grow fur, Mouse had not expected that she and her new companion would somehow suddenly find their surroundings shifting to look like the home of a wealthy aristocrat. A place made with wood, something that she had never thought she would ever witness, as giant ants had made short work of many of the world’s remaining forests. Now the hot oceans of the globe were overgrown with algae, the one thing credited with sustaining the atmosphere in the absence of other vegetation, and festering with the larvae of colossal mosquitoes and dragonflies that had since adapted to survive the salinity.
 
When Mouse saw the world shift, her whole body tensed, and cradling the rat pup in her left arm, her right arm went to rest on the pocket where she carried her pocket knife, not that this could effectively fix the situation. Now, standing before her, were two men, one man wearing bright blue clothes like what a rich man might have had, the other like royalty in his colorful, iridescent robes. Despite this, both looked stunned to see her, and Mouse did not know how to effectively react.
 
Mouse stood there, her eyes the only part of her body visible aside from the tips of her fingers, everything else covered by rough, greyish-tanned fabric, and looking every bit like the inhabitant of a wasteland. A swirl of ash-like dust swirled around her moccasin-clad feet, and the skin that was visible on her face, a patchwork of scars. She said nothing. She did not ask where she was, what had just happened, or why. She merely stared at the two she was suddenly facing, black eyes conveying the questions, but with none of the fear that she should have had.
 
Valentine’s eyes widened, “Oh….we seem to have an apocalypse survivor….” He mused aloud.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Glict on Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:08 pm

A rather grotesque, grayish portal materialized over in the corner of the room. Something about it was unlike the other portals; it was almost evil looking. There was muffled shouting in an unintelligible language, and then a man was sent tumbling out of the portal. He quickly got to his feet, entirely angered. He turned back to where the portal was, but it had vanished before he had the chance to start back towards it. "No! No, no, no!" He hurried back to where the portal once stood. To his dismay it was gone. He yelled a curse word in his native tongue, "Byauk!" He then repeated it three more times and then slammed his fist on the wall. He was tense and huffing with fury, but seemed to calm down slightly when he noticed the others.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:43 pm

Contrary to what Elysia was thinking, Desin was getting plenty of meaningful information. Or at least enough to take the small, otherwise not so threatening pseudodragon seriously. Especially compared to Lynn, who it seemed was a rather unimpressive mage of lesser power.
At Elysia's comments, the edge of his mouth twitched into a smile, noting the shapeshifter's apparent quick irritation. However before he could respond in any way verbally, Valentine interrupted them, much to Desin's annoyance. He elected to stay, not needing sleep himself, as Lynn and Elysia filed out.

He chuckled inwardly at Doctor Blount's comment, and replied "He may be intimidating, but it seems to me that so far nothing too serious has materialized here. And anyone that has apparently has been good natured enough to not wreak havok..."

It was then that the portal opened and deposited the being which Valentine referred to as an 'Apocalypse survivor', closely followed by the strange angry man who started punching the wall and what sounded like swearing. Desin watched in amusement as the man calmed down and took notice of the group, and then addressed him "You might as well get used to it here, you aren't going home anytime soon"

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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Glict on Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:43 pm

Goose was clearly still angry when he turned to see Desin. He spoke more menacingly than angrily, "And who are you to know this? If you had anything to do with me being transported here, then so help me, I will ****ing end you." Something about Goose didn't seem right, like he wasn't entirely bound to the existence of... Wherever he was.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:57 pm

"You know it's typically considered a bad idea to threaten people you've only just met, and know nothing about" Desin replied calmly, an eyebrow raised at the man's threat.
"However rest assured I had nothing to do with pulling you from whatever hole you emerged from. I'm just a bit more familiar with the portal business than you"  and his mouth curved back into what was rapidly becoming his signature smirk.

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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Tarragon on Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:27 pm

Mouse

Mouse saw a strange man with unusual features appear suddenly, forming out of heat ripples that looked oddly disturbing, as if a toxic lake had been somewhere in the distance, were it not for the fact that the wall was immediately behind him. In the back of her mind, she suspected that she was being stared at by the two rich men because she had somehow materialized there in a similar way. She did not know how this could occur, and to keep her wits about her, she decided not to dwell on the matter. She noted that the unusual person immediately lost his temper, punching one of the walls near him and cursing as he did so. Another man, also richly-dressed by her standards, made a snide comment, and Mouse quickly understood that, regardless of temperament, she was in the same situation as the one currently in a fit of rage, and unlikely to return to the wastelands to complete her duty as a Scavenger.

Mouse doubted she cared much; there was not anyone other than her immediate family that she could bring herself to care for, and she could easily have perished in the jaws of a lizard or by the fangs of a spider. She would not be that greatly missed, and it was not as though, a year from now, anyone would suspect she had encountered something different from whatever grisly fate they could imagine. Regardless, this absence of worry did nothing to explain where she was, who these people were, or what would happen, now that she had somehow become stuck here. It was more concerning to notice that there seemed to be conflict, and that her environment was drastically different from anything she understood. It was even more alarming that she had almost touched the people she’d appeared by due to their proximity, a prospect that made her skin crawl.

Mouse took a step back from the two men, deep brown eyes narrowing suspiciously. Whisker, as she had decided she would name the orphan she had found, sensing her unease and flinching from the sound of the one man’s raised voice, began to squirm, pawing at the air helplessly. Mouse could sense the small creature shuddering slightly; the weather was normally warm enough, but this room, while pleasant to humans, was far too cold. Most Scavengers would claim that a giant rat was either too risky or impossible to handle. The creatures were aggressive social hunters, highly intelligent, moving in packs, and often carriers of lethal zoonotic disease, proving themselves wild and dangerous in the small number of attempts made to tame adults. Mouse, however, had read enough about their pre-radiation counterparts to know that if kept from a young age, wild rats could become docile.

She knew it was an enormous handicap to take an orphaned animal that was so young, especially when giant rats at birth were initially blind, furless, and unable to fend for themselves. The opportunity, however, was so rare, and the benefits if she were to succeed were so great, she was willing to take the risk. Rats had changed little other than increasing in size and apparently developing a longer lifespan, and Mouse knew enough from her research to be aware of what Whisker needed to survive; she was not blindly pursuing her goal without some prior knowledge. Human infant formula, dried and often overlooked by other Scavengers, was sufficient for rats because their nutritional needs were so similar, and Mouse had been taking water from sources at night when there was low predator activity. The true difficulties were the frequency of feedings and the amount needed to both provide nutrition and not cause harm. Rats also needed three weeks to grow fur before they could truly regulate their bodies, so the temperature was a constant worry. They could become independent as early as six weeks, but needed a caregiver for everything early in life.

Six weeks was two months, but that was two out of twelve months Mouse had expected to spend fending for her life, and desperately searching for supplies to deliver to the underground cities that were thus far not self-sufficient. Perhaps she would have brought back fewer things and be rewarded less due to this, but most considered it lucky just to survive. Every year Scavengers depleted resources that were close to the tunnels, so each consecutive year they had to journey further to find things. Every year the overall haul was less. Everyone was aware that the system would eventually fail, and it was only a matter of time when the ocean had already been reached in one direction. Citizens would eventually begin to starve, unless more people found the nerve to work on farms, despite the constant threats posed by wildlife.

Meanwhile, Mouse could only reflect on this, something familiar while she was in an alien world, as she softened her stance, deciding not to put the young rodent in her care at risk, removing her hand from the pocket where it rested over her weapon of choice. She pulled Whisker close and cradled her in her arms close to her body, trying to offer some sort of warmth, worrying about the risk of pneumonia, straining her ears for any sign of the tell-tale crackling in the pup’s breathing. The whole time, however, she never took her eyes off the two men closest to her, looking more like a stray coyote staring down a threat. Mouse was small in stature compared to the men, and her frame looked delicate, but she emitted an aura, one that was somehow menacing in nature. Her silence only made the tension worse.

“Ah….ma’am…..” The man in the dark-blue jumpsuit began, addressing her, and finally breaking the silence in this encounter, “I’m trying to escort this fellow here to the door behind you.” He gestured with one finger to the door Mouse was blocking. “Could you please move?” He asked, his tone polite, and somehow uneasy. She was small, but the woman was unnerving, to say the least.

Mouse slowly stepped aside, but never gave any sort of verbal response.

“Err…..thank you….” He said, as he escorted the person in brilliantly-colored robes through the door, despite several protests.

Rob and Lynn had officially left the room, and now the strange woman simply turned her gaze to scan the room. She seemed to be cooperative, but her behavior was enough to sufficiently disturb someone, and if it did not make them uneasy, it was enough to seem weird or eccentric, at the least. She focused more on the man losing his temper, however, out of anyone else. This was something universal, perhaps, seeing as he might pose a threat, should he decide to continue on a rampage and attack someone. The one person who decided to mock him was the likeliest victim in this circumstance, but that did not mean collateral injury was not a possibility.

Mouse didn’t know who these people were, and even though it seemed that they were not hostile, trust was not a strong suit. People were often selfish, to the point that even if they acted like friends, the moment a situation turned sour, they would abandon their companions. Their boasts and promises were broken so easily. Mouse hated talking and engaging in this sort of interaction, when her profession had been a lookout for so many years and noise was a hindrance. Watching for threats was her greatest strength, and running away was a perfectly valid option. She could fight if the circumstances called for it, but it was a waste of energy, and it was an enormous risk when so many things were far stronger than humans.

She looked over at the man who had been yelling, as Whisker made a quiet squeak, now becoming distressed. Mouse’s eyes narrowed slightly, and although she never said a word, it was clear that she wanted him to stop before he upset the animal any further.

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

Valentine rushed over, “Ah, sir! Please do not yell or damage the property! We have many other people dealing with situations similar to yours, so please settle down!” he then lowered his voice, realizing that the apocalypse survivor had shifted her gaze to now stare at him, displeased that he was also yelling.

He turned to Desin, “Please, don’t provoke anyone, you’ll only get my café destroyed that way.”

He then rubbed his brows, feeling the beginnings of a migraine. Valentine sometimes had lucky days where very harmless creatures and people came through portals. Those days were easy. He gave food and beverages, sometimes offered beds, and that was sufficient, along with catching the handful of non-sentient creatures that could also pass into other worlds like Travelers did. Today, however, was not an easy day, with injured people, two mages at each other’s throats, an apocalyptic-looking desert-dwelling woman who didn’t speak, and now a man who was quick to act on his anger. Desin was an experienced Traveler, so he should have been a breath of fresh air to Valentine, but in this circumstance, he was now becoming a problem himself, by teasing someone who might just decide to respond violently instead of calming down.

Valentine silently hoped that Rob would return, soon. He doubted he was at any risk, though, but even if his personal safety wasn’t threatened, the property could be damaged, and he was not happy to deal with this kind of stress today.

It had only been two hours since the hotspot time began at eight, so this was already bad, it wasn’t even noon yet.

He had only until two in the evening, and then he’d be free to rest. He wished more people like Edward, the two changelings, and the bird-girl would show up. People who wouldn’t cause any fuss and would quietly avoid causing problems. Hopefully not injured, but that was his favorite kind of Traveler.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Glict on Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:30 pm

Goose turned to Valentine and looked him up and down, his glare almost scrutinizing. A certain sense of urgency replaced the anger in his voice. "Similar situations? What do you mean by similar situations? These people don't look like falsehoods to me." There was a scowl perched upon his face as he looked around at the others. They either looked like freaks, or had an entirely different sense of spirit around them, one he wasn't used to, which irked him greatly.
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Re: Travelers (IC)

Post by Canis_Dirus on Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:45 pm

Desin mentally sighed The sooner I can get what I need and get away from these fools the better. I suppose for now though, that I should pretend that I care. After all getting some information and supplies would be beneficial...

His head rotated to look at Valentine "My apologies. Not to worry though, at least for now it's in my interests to keep your cafe intact, and I intend to do so" his tone and the accompanying partial smirk undermined his apology a bit, however he wasn't lying, at least not obviously.

He then turned his attention back to the man who had just arrived and was now seeming somewhat worried "What he means, is that most everyone here has stumbled through a random portal and been stranded here by mistake"

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