Relieved to see that she was more shaken by the impact than the Unicorn, Kyla smiled and tried to get her bearings. "This really is a beautiful and interesting place, isn't it?" As Kyla said this, Rashida started nosing at her vest with interest, reminding Kyla of a curious little foal looking for peppermints, but with far more grace and beauty than any foal would be able to muster. Reaching into one of the pockets, Kyla pulled out a couple sticks of DoubleMint gum and held it out for Rashida, hoping that she maybe had the same propensity for mint gum that her Companion Midori did. "Would you like a piece of gum? I don't mind sharing, and I know Midori has really taken a liking to it herself. She is my companion, I stumbled upon her only a few days ago, so yes, I am very very new to this place. It's... compared to where I am from Kalidore is like a fantasy land! I have only seen very little of the isle, but Midori has told me such great stories of the other areas, I hope to do much more exploring with her in the future. Are you from these parts?" At this point Kyla paused, realizing she had been rambling a bit, and that clearly based on the scent of things old and ancient on the air no one in the party was likely from these parts. Quickly amending her question she added, "I mean, from the mountains?"
Post by tsukiclowes on Jun 24, 2014 18:20:06 GMT -5
Rashida agreed nodding, " Yes it is a beautiful place, especially I guess to those who have not seen it before" She felt a little swelling in her chest of pride for her home. Her green eyes turned to the piece of green food, or at least she thought it was, called gum in Kyla's hand. Leaning in closer, she took a big sniff. It smelled good enough, and she snatched it between her lips and chewed. She chewed and chewed, the more chewy it became, " Its good, tastes like mint leaves you sometimes find near the edge of Kaledon Forest!" As Kyla talked for a while, she chewed and watched, a little concerned the food didn't seem to break down like leaves and grass.
" No , no no, " She managed as she soon decided just to swallow this gum. " I am from the great plaines, close to the singing sands!" Looking toward the mare Midori, whom she had never met but seemed to enjoying a small snack of grasses. " What is it like where you come from then? I heard earth does not have unikore, " Rashida in her mind thought it must be a very strange place if there was none really. " Perhaps there are dragons there?" She tilted her head to look at the one traveling with them, her curiosity about it returning with fervor.
Post by Lady Whimsy on Jun 24, 2014 19:07:53 GMT -5
"I'm Lyonee," the girl's face broke into a wide grin, dipping her head in a quick half-curtsy. She imagined that if she had seen a unicorn back home, she most certainly would have followed it here, too. She decided Cassie was very lucky to have met a unicorn first; as fascinating as Mio was, he was certainly not as grand and introduction by any means (and she was most glad Fiera had come along when did).
Her next question caught her slightly by surprise. "Everyone who's on a quest knows that they're on a quest - otherwise it wouldn't be A Quest!" The capital letters were implied, and she shook her head soundly at that logic.
* * *
Tyden stood stoically through Tiponi's gracious barrage. Apparently, it is my lot today to make women furiously angry at me. He sighed. Despite all, it seemed Tip had not warmed up much at all since delivering her from the near-jaws of the a cavebear. Well, that wasn't quiet true. His bandaged hand itched in a steady, maddening, sort of way, and he did have her to thank for it. Yes, literally.
He nodded quietly at her attempted apology, "Aye, the day has been long and taken much from us; I would be remiss however if I did not formally thank you for your part, on both my behalf, and Phen's." He touched the bandaged hand gingerly. "Tali didn't mean it," he added quietly, as she had already turned away.
Phen watched the exchange curiously. A full grown and practised dragon could, at will, hone the ability to drift in and out of another's thoughts, if he chose to. Phen was by no means grown, and he had never had a teacher (beyond what schooling he had not played hooky through). He could still sense a flurry of subtext, but without being able to place and make sense of what he was seeing. So he ignored it, instead turning when Tiponi spoke to him.
"Tw'illen Night..." he scratched nonchalantly behind an ear. "Oh. It's a game. You play with polished stones that have symbols on them, and there's a diagram... and counting pieces ... Well, frankly, it's all very boring. The elders get very into it though, and more then one kinship has said to have ended by a fateful Tw'illen Match. I hope that I am never so old as to enjoy playing Tw'illen...." he shuddered reflectively.
Seeing that Rashida seemed to be enjoying the gum made Kyla feel slightly less awkward for her rambling. "Really? Back home we have a place called 'The Great Plains' too, though nothing I am aware of that goes by the Singing Sands." Kyla suddenly had an image of endless pale yellow sand dunes made of sand so fine that with every step you could ear it shifting beneath your feet like wind chimes in the air. "It sounds like a beautiful place, I think I will need to add it to my list of places to visit." Pausing, Kyla tried to figure out how best to describe her home. "I live in Denver, which is actually just west of The Great Plains back home, and just east of the Rocky Mountains. The only Dragons we have back home are from myths and legends..." which brought Kyla back to her earlier conversation with Midori about the dormant firebird in the Skyfields, "But then again until a few days ago unicorns were only myths and legends to me too." With this Kyla furrowed her brow a bit trying to make sense of everything enough to actually answer Rashida's question.
Having gotten bored with the dry stalky grasses the mountain had to offer, Midori decided to make her way over to her companion and the unikore she had not yet met. Walking up just as Kyla was stumbling over what was fact and what was fiction (again), she tried to help, "From what Kyla has told me, her home has neither dragons or unicorns, and instead of magic they have something called 'Science'. It seems a very peculiar place to me," she said as she winked at Kyla. "I am Midori, by the way."
Shooting a playful glare at her companion, Kyla snipped back, "I could say the same about your home!" Following Rashida's gaze in the direction of Phen she asked, "Are there many dragons on Kalidore?" Then mentally crossed her fingers that this question didn't make her sound too naïve given her lack of knowledge on everything Kalidore.
Post by tsukiclowes on Jun 26, 2014 9:35:03 GMT -5
Rashida's ears twitched as she listened to Kyla's story of her home. She could not imagine a world without unikore, and secretly she felt sad for it. Nodding in recognition of the mare that approached, Midori the companion of Kyla, " Greetings Midori, my name is Rashida." She admired the emerald green coat of Midori, the spots reminded her of Falling Star.
" I am sure your home is lovely Kyla." Although it didn't sound like a place Rashida herself would like to be, it would be rude to say anything discouraging about it. "No dragons are not common , this is the first I imagine most if not all of us has seen in our lifetimes." Gesturing in the direction of Phen, " Perhaps then we should both go and find out more about him? " Not breaking her gaze from the other creature, she approached him.
"Glad to meet you Rashida," Midori responded back. Introductions done, Kyla also commented on her home, "Lovely isn't quite the word I would use to describe it, though there are some parts of the Rockies that would even rival Kalidore's breathtaking scenery." Seeing the mare's attention being pulled toward the dragon again, Kyla decided not to make an attempt at further elaboration.
Following Rashida's lead, Kyla and Midori also made their way towards Phen. Before getting quite close enough for him to hear (or so she hoped) Kyla whispered to Rashida, "I have already met him, briefly, and he seemed a bit 'prickly' at the time. Hopefully his mood has improved, but if not I wanted to give you a heads up." And with that they were relatively face-to-face with the dragon. Not quite sure what to say, and seeing as her last conversation with him was quite awkward, Kyla resolved to let Rashida take the lead on this one. Midori watched with interest from by Kyla's side, waiting to see what mischief this dragon may get into next.
Post by tsukiclowes on Jun 28, 2014 9:47:31 GMT -5
Rashida aware of the others following her, approached the dragon. Giving Kyla a nod, acknowledging her warning, she felt a bit giddy with getting so close now. Catching just the very end of him talking, she couldn't help giving a little giggle of delight in hearing his voice. Looking both to Tyden and Phen, she had already heard whispers of there names threw the group.
" Greetings Tyden and Phen!" Then, catching sight of Tiponi on the other side, " And Tiponi!" Her gaze drew to the beautiful blue of the Phen's scales and the gold. She wondered what they felt like, but touching a dragon without permission didn't seem a good idea, so instead she looked at them curiously. Returning her emerald eyes back to there faces, she realized she had never met them formally, " I am Rashida, daughter of Anuket and Arieon"
Post by Lady Whimsy on Jun 28, 2014 22:23:37 GMT -5
Tyden turned as the mares (and Kyla) approached, glad for more distraction. "Good day, Rashida, you are very chipper this afternoon; we should all take a lesson from you!" his gaze slid side-long to where Gypsy was grazing at the other end of the pass. He turned away.
Seeing Tiponi was still silent and Phen seemed uncertain how best to respond he continued, "Tiponi and I were just being schooled on that most intense and riveting game of the Dragons that is Tw'illen; I do believe we came to the conclusion that it is too devastating a memory for our dear Phen and should never be mentioned in polite conversation again. Right Phen?"
Phen, surprised, snorted a little jet of steam from his nostrils. "Rivet--? er, I mean, yes. Devastating. Completely."
Post by tsukiclowes on Jun 29, 2014 11:34:52 GMT -5
" Ah well I guess each has there own lessons they can teach, and if you think being in good spirits is mine, than I thank you." Rashida bowed her head for a second to Tyden before perking up again.
Rashida ears perked in interest at the steam comming from Phen nose. " How interesting." Flicking her tail," Well then we should not mention it again, that dreaded thing, but instead you should talk of your favorite things!" She inched a little closer to the dragon. Perhaps if she just brushed against him she could get a feel of the deeply hued scales. " Perhaps there is a game that isnt so tramatic to speak of?" She made sure to keep clear of his injured wing, while stepping a inch closer each time. " Oooohh or maybe you could tell us what its like to fly!" Her eyes lite up with the wonder of her imaging flying. Phen was not the first thing she met that could fly of course, but perhaps the first one who could explain the feeling in her person experience.
*How can he possibly make me feel three feet tall with that response* Tiponi asked Luminista resentfully. She did not like The Man putting her in her place without even trying or even conscience of doing it. It had her feeling low and petty. Her hand still resting on the dragon's neck she absently sought comfort by scratching around the scales. Luminista always seemed to enjoy it and it DID bring her some ease. Still contemplating her feelings toward Tyden she huffed out a breath that flutter the loose tendrils of hair along her forehead.
"Oh, yes! Do tell!" Foehn Miri seemed to appear out of no where to join the group. "What ever is it like to fly?"
Post by Lady Whimsy on Jun 30, 2014 17:24:11 GMT -5
Phen's hackles edged along his spine reflexively as the sooty unicorn pressed about lessons and games and flying, all the while moseying her way tightly into his circle of personal space. It didn't help when the tawny unicorn appeared, as if from left field. It also didn't help that flight was a sore topic with him, literally and figuratively; having his ability to fly right now would have released him of his most pressing of his perceived problems. However, the small, firm hand on the back of his neck worked to keep him in place, as if rendering him useless against the onslaught. Instead he began to steam again from his nostrils, just slightly.
* * *
Kynndrien's hoof made a dull, hollow sound on the strange metal plate, almost like a bell. He struck in again and the tone seemed to echo, low and undulating, the vibrations tickling him through his hooves. Squaring his aim, he struck it a third time with all his might, expecting the solid gong that would ring throughout the pass. Except that didn't happen. Instead, his hoof went right through the metal plate and lodged there, tight, above his ankle.
"Uh-oh," was the best Kynn could come up with in the moment...
Post by tsukiclowes on Jun 30, 2014 18:31:20 GMT -5
Rashida was very observant, and noticing the slight raise of hackles along his spine. It reminded her very much of when she saw griffons fighting over shiny objects, something that signaled a less than happy response. Sighing a little, she took a step or two away from him. Apparently he preferred humans to unicorns, she noticed as his neck was being absently petted by Tiponi on the other side of him. Although it wasn't like she had hands to do that, the best she could get was scratching him with her horn or maybe rubbing her body against the scales. She doubted that would feel as nice, she lacked the dexterity of human hands.
" Hmm I wonder how much longer till we get to the ruins." She mused, trying not to stare as much as before at the dragon, but glancing in sort bursts. Hopefully putting him a bit more at ease, and not feeling bombarded by her curiosity. She also wondered to herself what Ulysses would think of Phen if they ever came across him again. Probably attacking first, from what she had seen and heard of his attitude toward the dragons. Shaking her head with a snort of laughter, stallions did tend to be hot headed from time to time.
Standing a close, yet safe distance from the dragon, Kyla and Midori both watched with interest and amusement as Rashida inched towards Phen in her excitement. Their excitement quickly turned to uncertainty when the noticed smoke begin to curl out of his nostrils again as his muscles tensed. *I wonder if dragons smoke instead of pinning their ears when they are upset* Midori thought to Kyla, who couldn't help but smile at the notion. *I am more worried about the smoke turning to fire at this point* Kyla thought back with both worry any amusement at Midori's observation.
Stepping forward just a bit as Rashida stepped back, Kyla set her hand on the mare's shoulder and tried to continue the small talk. "I am not really sure myself, but truthfully I wouldn't mind at all if we still had a bit of a journey ahead of us. The scenery is so beautiful, and I must admit I do love a good adventure!" Trying to help take the attention off the perturbed dragon Midori added, "I for one have never been quite this far north. Anyone else?" The last question she directed to really anyone in the smallgroupsurroundingthedragon.
Post by Lady Whimsy on Aug 14, 2014 23:51:41 GMT -5
Gypsy was the Traveler, she who transverse the old roads and knew them all; and yet here she stood on old rocks that stirred only a mist of memory. The fault had been her own. The last time she had been in Al’therwen was with Mare Imbrium for the festival of New Spring; it was customary in those days for a unicorn to price the netted festival ball that hung above the square, freeing the sweets and other goodies to fall for the children waiting below. Then, Al’therwen had been a great city, with elves bustling about from morning to night; it was mostly inhabited by workers and craftsmen, who took the raw stones and metals from the mine and prepared them for transport back home. And yet from the mountains beyond, one might never suspect the elves were there, for their gift was to be one with the land, to nourish as much as they took, and they rarely ventured beyond the city walls and outlaying mining villages out of respect for wild Kalidore her unicorns.
And then one night the sky broke open and rained fire, and in the morning A’therwen was gone.
Could it be it simply never occurred to me to travel this way again? Of course not, silly old mare, she chided herself once more. You were afraid of the ghosts. Ghosts! Do they walk these old roads still? Only the ones you do not allow to leave…
Lilaini heaved a loud and innocuous sigh as she drew near, pausing to free the hem of her ankle-length traveling skirt from a short, knotted shrub. “Hello, Foundling,” Gypsy greeted her with an affectionate nudge, all the more unhelpful with what she was trying to accomplish. The woman took hold of the copper-brown mane as she pulled herself up with a look of playful admonishment. Of course it had been Gypsy who found her, alone and wandering, all those years ago; it was not by accident she stumbled into Kalidore after all. Now she stood beside her as Guardian, a title newly bestowed on her by the Daiga, to follow in her footsteps. Sometimes it amazed her that the short, white-haired woman with tiny feet had laid out such huge tracks for her to follow! Her arms circled around the mare’s neck and she hugged her. At least it is never alone.
“I did not mean to run out on you,” Gypsy apologized. “I was just feeling… a bit wistful. And old.”
“Well, of course – you are old,” her companion grinned, and she nibbled gently at her hair, and the mood lifted like dew under morning’s warmth.
* * *
Rhaine stuffed one stray woven napkin into her satchel and stooped to collect another when a dizzy swell of consciousness buffeted against her. It was vast and deep and seemed to spread an endlessly breadth beneath her feet, pulling her down, down, down into its maw…. And then, as quickly as it had swelled, the force was gone, and she straightened, surrounded only by the trampled grass and tumbled rocks, the sky above wide open.
She turned, gingerly, looking back across the green where unicorns champed a last few shreds of grass before they moved out, content and oblivious. Her eyes found Lilaini, walking slowly alongside the bronze mare, still wrapped in conversation; on the opposite side of the alley Tyden’s attention rested with Phen and the others around him. Neither had felt anything. She let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding, and turned again to the task at hand. That’s when she noticed Kynn.
Her stomach fell. She was running to him before it reached her toes, lest it render her immobile. “My foot –” the koros mustered, his eyes belaying his distress, “I only just tapped it, I swear…”
“Hold still,” she murmured, running her hand down the leg and feeling beyond her fingers and into the ground. The worst part was not sensing anything below; instead of warm earth and firm rock it echoed, filled with emptiness.
The koros shifted his weight and the ground shuddered. “Kynn,” she said very calmly. “I need you to hold still. Do not move until I say to, then we must pull your leg straight up.”
“Or what will happen?” he quipped; fear was no match for his curiosity.
Rhaine did not answer. Below them came a deep, laborious moaning. It swelled through the field and resonated in the mountains around them. Rock trembled, and then ground broke, cracking like spiderweb and spreading fast as frost. Rhaine threw her arm over the Koros’ back in solidarity as the earth opened up and swallowed them whole.
* * *
Moments earlier, Kyla and her companion were addressing the small group, drawing attention back to the crowning mountains around them; Tyden was thankful to have polite conversation. “The Skyfields are the most beautiful mountains I’ve seen, and I’ve hiked quite a few. Although,” he admitted warmly, “I may have some personal bias invested here.”
“You should visit Ithicathus,” Phen supplied, seeming equally relieved the conversation had drifted. “It’s not the highest peek on Cylindireal, but it rises nearly vertical for thousands of feet, straight up and through the clouds. It’s north of the Hold, where the rains stay and the weather’s most foul, and I don’t recall ever seeing the summit free of clouds; it’s like a single piller that holds up the mantle of the sky.” He paused, re-adjusting his wings ever so slightly, so not to strain what hurt nor bump the group clustered near him. “Actually, come to think of it, ‘beautiful’ isn’t quite the word I’d use to describe Ithicathus. Awesome, certainly; unsettling, even more so. But worth seeing before you die, as the Dar’Keeli say.”
Glancing his way, Tyden wondered how it were possible to glower daggers at/and ignore someone, all at the same time, because beside him Tiponi was pulling it off most efficiently. His smile half-wavered, but he refused to let it get him. At least she seemed to have a calming effect on Phen, which could only count as a good thing, right? He turned back to the group at large. “Well then, today the Skyfeilds, and…. how ’bout we pencil in Ithicathus for next week? Providing we make it through this adventure, of which I have dying at a very low priority today.”
He thought he heard Tiponi snort, or maybe she sneezed, or perhaps it was just a passing blackbird coughing. Inadvertently his gaze funneled back that way and met the hard green ones, brows drawn. And that was when the ground broke open as the roof of the old mine below them breathed a final, devastating sigh and gave way.
The earth trembled, shook, as piece after the piece the old archways that held the ceiling underground groaned, and gave way. There was the sound of wood snapping, metal beams yawning under the stress, and the sharp snap crack as rivets snapped and sheered away. Above, what had once seemed terra firma was cracked and perforated by holes, plunging down into the deep blackness below.
Rhaine hadn’t made a noise, but her mind screamed, jolting Tyden forward like he’d been shot. Tiponi didn’t hesitate either, sprinting after him and towards the gaping hole that was eating away the grassy green…
* * *
The moment before Gypsy had been waffling her companion’s hair, then her ears pricked as an odd, fluttering sensation washed over her, indistinct and untraceable. She drew her head up, instantly uneasy. Catching her movement, Lilaini’s fingers wound instinctively through the dark red hair. Then the ground gave way and swallowed up Rhaine and Kynn, and young woman pulled herself astride as Gypsy lunged towards them. Oh, sweet Kal, what world-eating monster graces us now? Gypsy’s heart thudded in her chest as leapt over the broken earth with enormous strides, yet it seemed like she was moving through heavy water. The sense of what was happening came sharply to her – old mines, old bones, finally giving way – and she chastened herself for not thinking of it earlier and readied herself, just as she might have planned against a freak hail storm or an asteroid veering suddenly down from the heavens.
*Off the green! Everyone, move out, and away!*
Lilaini’s gaze had been on her friend, it was with new horror that she realized the danger everyone else was in, too. The elven mines likely stretched for miles beneath them, their routes forgotten; the mountains had every right to claim them back, and it was only that faint whisper of elven magic (the same that had preserved the Library Temple these past centuries) that had kept them at bay so long.
They were nearly upon them when in an instant everything stopped. Gypsy’s hooves hit the ground and sunk deep, plunging up to her chest before she had a chance to maneuver. It happened so fast and so suddenly that Lilaini was thrown completely clear, somersaulting almost gracefully to land right side up on her backside, the wind gushing back into her lungs again with greedy gasp. “Gypsy!” the first words from her lips, untangling herself from her cloak as she struggled briefly to get her bearings. The world fell back into focus. Around her, the ground was falling away beneath their feet, pulling down whatever was in its path. Behind her, companion and friend, her brilliant bronze-glinted protector and guide, was sinking fast from sight into the earth below. Not on my watch, she ignored the throbbing between her temples, and threw a telekinetic net around the vanishing unicorn with all her might…
Post by Lady Whimsy on Aug 15, 2014 0:14:29 GMT -5
Yes indeed... it seems like some of us will be having a scenic view of Kalidore from down below! Who goes where has been determined by random roll. You may wish to describe the situation around your character's story-path, or I will place them on it for you to take over again once this catalyst has run its course.
We've tried to place at least one of each person's character in each location. If you only have one, but wanted to add another so not to be left out of anything, you certainly may!
Also - NEW PLAYERS CAN STILL JOIN AT ANY TIME <3
If you're just joining the RP now, OR your character's name is not on the list below, please PM me to be added. Also if I've missed anyone, let me know so I can fix that XD
Player Character Rolls ~
Down the Mine: Tiponi Tien Mu Midori Cassie Kynn Asarte Ali
Post by Lady Whimsy on Sept 10, 2014 1:02:13 GMT -5
The elves had always had a way with earth. It was said, in the days following Daes’ banishment of Erae, when heavens were still new and restless, that Daes’ first act as Overseer was to bestow gifts upon all His Children. Some say it was to distract the Children of Eraedaes from the gift they had lost – eternal life; or that perhaps Daes Himself was curious what might transpire now that they possessed the Gift of Choice. Or perhaps it was simply to taunt them further. Whatever the reason, He gathered them all together and asked each which elemental kingdom they desired as their own.
As testament to Erae, each chose with heart and mind as one. The mercurial Athyree chose the sky, that they might live mostly in dreams and whimsy, their feet never touching the ground; the shy Morosaria chose the sea, so deep and wonderfully discrete, and so on and so forth the tribes chose until only the eldest and youngest Child of Eraedaes were left.
The Elves were the oldest; they had seen much and knew much and stood quietly astute as each brother and sister made their choice. Soon only two elements remained: Fire, and Earth. And of course Man chose fire, his eyes glint and burning, filled with want and wonder, for he had much to learn. The Overseer turned last to His proud, eldest son and said, “All that is left is dirt; what say you now?”
Whether he meant to taunt the child that had been longest in Erae’s favour was unknown, but the Elven son took the last element graciously into his hands and he smiled. He alone had known what each brother and sister would take before the choice was made. Of course Man would choose fire, it was so bright and full of hope, so much like Man himself – yet fire was hot and could burn out all at once, destroying everything as fast as it had created: so too could be the fate of Man. But dirt – dirt was old, it was eternal. It had always been, and always would remain, no matter how the universe changed around them. And from this dust could be coaxed so many wondrous things – both formed from its bare particles, and things that took their shape from the strength the good earth provided them. And so the Elves were given regency over the elemental earth: the power to yield from her great bounty, and, like Erae, to create, harmoniously, living as one with the land.
And so the Mines of Al’therwen had grown up as if it had been there always, woven into the earth itself, and had stood a thousand years like the mountains. But like the mountains too were always in flux, not eternally set but shaped by the other elements around them. Time erodes all, dust to dust, and with a yawning sigh, the earth folded her arms over the mine and claimed again.
* * *
The danger of the ceiling falling had never crossed Tyden’s mind, or maybe it had and was just as quickly ignored. He flew down the stone landing, working to keep his balance over the loose rocks. “Xanthe, the rope!” he called out, catching sight of the resident pack-unicorn with a stab of inspiration, and the flaxen kore came scrambling towards him as fast as her hooves could carry her. The ground felt wrong under her feet, and it was all Xanthe could do to stand still as Tyden fought the rope free from its binding, her eyes fixed on the gaping hole where her friends had stood a moment before.
“…propelling over?” Tiponi was talking long before he realized she was with them. He didn’t answer, checking the knot firmly onto the saddle ring. “Hold, Xanthe,” he pursed, and addressing Tiponi, “Steady the rope.”
She took what was thrust into her arms, instinctively making a loop around the leather gauntlet of her left sleeve and followed, her brows furrowed. The need to help outweighed her resistance, but instead of answering she let her focus drift to the swarm of colours that riled around his head, punches of gaudy yellow and red. It was easier to see him as colours then The Man; if she focused, she realized the colours weren’t just on people, but on things too – only much, much fainter. She frowned, unable to glean anything from the strange sensory bombardment her new sight brought with it. At the same time she felt Lumanista’s presence like a clear beacon, the brush of consciousness against hers was reassurance, and strength. *See to the others* she sent to her. *I am fine here*
That was a lie, and Tiponi knew it, even as she followed the fleet Tyden towards the earth’s edge. Something is very wrong. “We should not go forward,” she said suddenly. “I have a bad feeling about this place…”
“That’s the kind of share that would have been great say, five? ten? minutes ago,” Tyden snarked, letting out more rope as he went sliding forward.
Debris churned and filled the air, the dry smell of earth mixed with something cold and ancient. Every nerve in her body bristled, and she knew logically that The Man was really not worth saving. But, “Wait—” Tiponi reached for him, the beacons going off in her head making no sense at all but demanding action.
He steadied the rope, wrapping it once as the sheet of dust swirled around them. For a moment was impossible to tell what was earth and sky, let alone where it all ended. He pulled away as she leaned forward, the plume of colour around him collapsing into every shade of indigo. “I can’t.” And then the ground gave out and he was gone.
For what seemed the longest moment Tiponi could just stare, waiting instinctively for the rope to eat the slack, but it never happen. That was because the next moment she felt her own footing give way and she was sliding again into open darkness…
*Off the green! Everyone, move out, and away!*
Gwyneira turned with a snort as the ground started crumbling around them. Gypsy’s blast shot through the momentary shock of seeing the Guardian Rhaine disappear from view, and she sprang into action again. The satchel had already been secured around her neck, and the only thing she missing was her other small foundling who had been chasing late-autumn butterflies through the grass the moment before. “Lyonee!” she brayed, her mothering instinct thick with fear in her throat. She spotted the child only a few feet away, frozen in place. “Lyonee,” she exclaimed again, this time with relief, as she cantered to the girl’s side. “Climb up on my back, quickly now!” she instructed, nosing the child into position.
Lyonee was only half aware of what the mare was asking her to do, but she nodded, grappling with a handful of silver-grey mane. But for all her strength her arms felt like paper, and try as she might she couldn’t pull her short legs over the great back, kicking a flurry on Gwyn’s side as she tried. Oh, to have been just an inch taller…!
The mare realized the problem instantly, she needed to get lower – but before she had even bent a knee the child was suddenly sliding up and over, her arms falling around her neck in a gracious hug.
“Are you a’right, wee lass?” Liam tucked the strap of the satchel over her legs, as if that might hold her in place over rough ground.
“I am frightened!” Lyonee whispered, face buried still into the thick mane. “I want to go home!”
“You can make for the next pass?” he asked Gwyneira.
“As if Thaedor were chasing me!” she assured, already scrambling up the rocks as he bade her away.
Liam turned, scanned the clearing and cursed himself for loosing sight of the others in the haste. His brain couldn’t register that Rhiane was gone – a lady simply doesn’t just disappear, swallowed up by earth, he repeated to himself. There must be some other explanation for this. Was this not the land where wolves talked and trees whispered, and surely it only made sense the earth might want in on the conversation too… He had seen Tyden running, and followed, stopping to help whomever he stumbled upon in his path. And now he couldn’t even see Tyden, but the dust was growing ever thick. And the noise – oh, the noise of splitting would and crumbling stone, echoing in a sound chamber and resounding through the valley.
Then he saw the golden dun unicorn, standing just at the edge of the maw, her expression blank and frozen. “Hark ye now, Xanthe – come away from there!” He started towards her when suddenly Luminista’s long face greeted him, fullstop.
“I can’t let you go down there,” she said firmly, a red wall of contention parked firmly in his way.
Xanthe snorted, spewing dirt from her nostrils as she fought to inhale again. She didn’t hear Liam’s call, not that she would have listened to him if she did. Hold your place, she repeated. They will be back shortly, you will see… But already the ground had began to crack and fissure, loosing soundness fast. Where Arieon came from she didn’t see, only that he arrived through the clouds of debris like a white ghost, shouldering her aside. “You must run now, young kore,” the stallion rumbled, “I will watch for their return.”
“I can’t LEAVE them!” Xanthe exclaimed, healthy rebellion snapping her from her trance. “I can help, I have a scroll—”
“There are those here who need your help more,” he spoke firmly, “Go.”
The sound of earth cracking and rope snapping drowned out his voice, and Xanthe found her own feet dancing backwards. A final shove and she was hurdling over the rocks, stumbling once and picking herself up again in the same forward motion. It’s not fair, despair pinched her face. I have to help, I mustn’t let them down… She almost stumbled right over the wolf next as he came leaping from the rocks in a hasty bound. “Tali!” she exclaimed with sudden encouragement. “Please, find them!” She didn’t even need to say who they were, the wolf bayed a curt parting and disappeared back into the dim.
And here I thought it was dragons that would gobble us up, Xanthe thought wryly. Then she almost stumbled a third time as an idea went through her like a shot. The Dragon. Could it be possible that the dragon might help us out?
"See to the others," Tiponi had said. Luminista knew what, or rather who, that meant. She eyed the soldier warily, telling herself she was ready for whatever he might do. As for the "I am fine," her connection to her companion was strong. She could feel her two-legged's distress. She was NOT fine. Though ripple of amusement still managed to find its way through the star-flecked red mare at her companion's irritation with a certain male, the stress and danger of the situation was a pulsing beat along the companion bond.
Well, crap! was mostly what Tiponi could recall thinking as the ground beneath her gave way. She held tightly to the rope and sent up a quick prayer that the ground beneath Xanthe would hold as well as the knot HE tied to her saddle. It seemed forever before the rope began to tighten around her arm where she had wrapped it to support Him, only it never jerked her. Not really. No sooner had constricted around her arm and pulled tight than the pressure eased, hardly interrupting her fall at all...
Post by Lady Whimsy on Sept 23, 2014 22:27:32 GMT -5
Liam’s brows furrowed in consternation. Wills fought – desperate to help his falling comrades and heed the authority of the red mare. Since his arrival, he had simply differed all decision-making to the unicorns; after all, he was still struggling with the culture of this place and had less-that-coherent memories of his own past anyways. It just seemed like the right thing to do, but, at this moment in time, he had never so badly wanted to chase one away with his sword. Of course he didn’t. Mostly, because he wasn’t sure which one of them would win the argument anyways – Lumanista’s horn seemed a worthy opponent. At the same time he couldn’t just stand there…
Motion to his right drew his attention to where the Guardian Lilaini was struggling. She was crouched beside the edge of the earth where her focus was fixed on the bronze mare suspended mid-way through ground. “The Lady and Gypsy,” Liam gulped. “May we assist them?”
Luminista blinked, wondering if it was the stress that nearly made her burst into laughter at Liam’s pious request. She saw where he pointed, and pushed him forward by way of answering. She could see the Guardian was deep in concentration, and she wasn’t sure if there was anything they could do to help. But even trying to be helpful did have its sating properties, and she understood Liam’s frustration too.
As they arrived, both came to an abrupt stop as the bronze unicorn slowly rose from the broken earth, floated over their heads and gently came to a rest and the solid rock behind them. As soon as her hooves touched the ground Lilaini let out a sharp cry, crumpling with the effort. Liam sprung forward, scooping her from the precarious perch at the edge and retreating to Gypsy and Lumanista’s side. “Are you hurt?” the red mare was speaking.
“I am fine,” Gypsy heaved, clearing the dust from her nostrils as rubbed vigorously against her leg. “Let me see Lilaini,” she swallowed hard.
“She is resting,” Liam was already there. The unicorn lowered her horn, resting it on the Lady’s head, and he could practically feel the energy radiating through her. His brain tingled, startling, and he closed his eyes against the pierce-points of light that were suddenly spinning through his head. The flash of swords, Brogan shouting, the pulse of hooves as he gave chase... and then he was on the ground and fighting, and the horse turned on him, again, running at him, it’s horn lowered and taking aim… the blood was everywhere…
The pictures came in short , random bursts, like a nightmare, the story loose and unraveling. And then just as suddenly the stream of consciousness stopped. Liam was left chilled and sweating, and it was only when the Lady stirred did he remember his time and place.
“Tyden, you are holding me too tight,” Lilaini murmured, then Gypsy’s nose brushed her forehead, exhaling deeply, and she jolted awake. “You are safe!” she cried with relief. “I wasn’t sure I had the strength…. oh, but the others—!” she pushed the long face out of the way, struggling to see beyond her, “where are the others?!”
And with that the ground gave a final, desperate groan and was done. The weight of the first beam snapping below had set off a chain reaction that pulled its neighbours down in easy succession, at last hitting the rock cross-brace in the centre and the cataclysm came to a halt, plunging the plateau into just as uneasy silence.
As the rumbling echo died away, the dust began to settle over the new landscape. What was left was a lattice work of broken ground, a few struts still connecting one side of the plateau to the other, fanned by the mass of broken ribs gaping down into the belly of the whale. Some fifteen feet below the floor of the old transportation tunnel was still firm, packed gravel pathways thick with silt and debris blown in through small, unmaintained service vents that shone like potlights; as the ceiling settled they shone beams of light through the thick dust until the blossoming sunlight all but drowned them out. The sun reached the floor for the first time in centuries and it was bright.
Tyden’s worry about falling had been replaced just as quickly with the concern about things falling on him. The landing knocked the wind out of him, he felt his knees buckled and momentum taking him forward. He through his hands over his face and rolled until he stopped, and for a long moment his only sense was violence around him. He completely lost track of his body. When he found he had the ability to move again, the first thing he did was take stock of himself – everything there? everything work? He stumbled forward, feeling pain in just about every part but nothing so bad as to deter him. “By Kal above us,” he breathed, trying to wipe the dust from his face with a sleeve that was just as dirty. “Amarhaine, are you here?”
“I’m here,” the small voice came back, somewhere from the dim.
Relief washed over him and he stumbled forward, only to be caught by the short end of the rope and went down. A grunt came from the other end, as if whomever was lodged there did not appreciate the tug. “I am here, too,” Tiponi muttered. No thanks to you. Her limbs still worked and she found her blade, making short work of the rope and severing their connection. At least then she could ignore him. And she had seen something very large and white moving in the rubble just beyond her.
Arieon pulled himself to his feet, snorting loudly. He gave himself a shake, striking the ground twice with his forefoot as if to ensure the ground was there. “Sweet Kal,” he rumbled. “Is everyone all right?” There was a scattering of answers from all across the strewn ground. By the Dragon’s might, the stallion muttered under his breath. How many of us have been dragged down into these bowels of the earth? Vile tidings… But he pranced forward without a word, stepping carefully over the ground and finding the next person nearest him – who happened to be Tiponi – “Are you hurt, young one?” She shook her head, looking grim yet a bit surprised by the outcome as well. “Good. Then let us see to the others.”
Rhaine had tumbled down with Kynn, hunched together as the world fell around them. It was Kynn who stirred first, unable to stay still, and it was all Rhaine could do to keep him docile until she could untangle her legs from his own. Miraculously all six were intact, and she thanked the iron nature of Unicorn’s limbs for that. Had he been an earthly horse… she brushed that thought away, reaching down to check his feet. The hoof that had caught in the plate was deeply cut and bleeding, and she wrapped her hands around it, drawing away the angry heat before it could set into the muscles. “Steady, Kynn; let me help here,” and Kynn, looking around at the gaping hole above them found he had nowhere to go anyways and stayed still.
“Rhaine,” Tyden was scrambling over the wreckage towards her. “Are you okay?”
“We are fine,” she replied, taking another moment to make sure the leg was mending before she looked up. By this time Tyden was already in front of her, pulling her up on her feet as if he didn’t believe her. “We are, truly,” her lips quirked as he gave a brisk once-over. “But you are bleeding—” she reached for dirty gash above his brow.
“Don’t worry about me,” he brushed her aside, apparently satisfied with the inspection. His eyes fell on Kynn, then back to the woman, then up to the open ceiling above. A fragment of the old door’s frame remained clinging to the side of the structure, but it was impossible to reach without a ladder. He ran his hands through his hair, realizing as he looked back to her again that his heart hadn’t stopped pounding. “Just what were you trying to do?” Stress gave his words unnecessary bite.
“I was helping,” she frowned. “And Kynn did nothing wrong; you know Kal alone could have prevented this.”
“I am sure Kal does not possess the unnecessary habit of wandering off,” his gaze drew upwards again. “Some help,” he whistled.
The walls of the great tunnel stood strong, and the ceiling had not broken clean away; a jagged lip remained around the perimeter. The hole itself was expansive – the largest gap stretched some thirty feet, with a smattering of smaller intrusions breaching its surface. The tunnel was truly massive, spreading the whole length of the clearing until it disappeared into the dark underground.
“I will see what we have in the way of tools,” Tyden said simply and turned and headed back from where he came.
Post by Lady Whimsy on Sept 27, 2014 21:47:18 GMT -5
((If your characters aren’t mentioned in these passages, don’t worry – it’s not because they're not there! I am simply refraining from mentioning people until you’ve had a chance to play your character’s own experience of the events first, to set the stage for the next (and final!) leg of the journey. And feel free to beckon to any character who’s offering help, should your character need it!))
Rhaine and Kynn were left to themselves, her arm still draped protectively over his withers, or maybe it was for her own support. The adrenalin was beginning to ebb, leaving her feeling raw and ragged. Rhaine had never been the adventurer, content instead to read their stories in books while others had them; she did not feel very certain about this story’s outcome now either, but .
“Can you walk?” she asked Kynn, by means of being useful.
Kynn, to whom it had never occurred the possibility of otherwise, nodded blithely. “How are we going to get out?” he nosed upwards.
“We will have to figure that out, won’t we?” she forced a smile that conveyed more confidence then she felt. “Let us see to the others first. Someone may have been hurt in the fall.”
They started across the littered ground, sometimes having to climb over the larger fallen beams. Four had fallen, and Rhaine hoped no one had been sucked down under them. She had no idea how they would lift them if they had. Maybe Lilaini can work her magic again, she mused. Telekinesis was such a useful ability.
Lost in thought she almost stumbled over a loose heap of rubble when suddenly it sprang to life. With a great shake that sent dust everywhere again, Tali scrambled out from alcove where he had sheltered, sneezing the dust from his nose violently, twice. “M’lady,” he drank in the air, scenting Rhaine more than he saw her for his eyes were still blurred with dirt. “First Ai’agnu took the sky, and then the very earth from under our feet. I do not know what we have done to cause him such displeasure.”
“T’was nothing you did, Tali,” she murmured, both relieved and saddened that he had been dragged down into this mess with them. “It is simply that you followed us, and it seems the heavens are not done deciding our fate yet.”
Tali shook his fur again, carefully exhaling. “All fates are intertwined; I chose to give chase before they chased me.” He reached up to lick her chin, and would have offered to clean her face too if another matter hadn’t been more urgent. “More fell over this way; I can smell them.”
* * *
As the dust settled the silence was almost complete. The birds had scattered, suspicious and quiet. With great effort Lilaini rose to her feet, straddled between Gypsy and Liam for support. They braved tentatively towards the mouth of the gaping earth, getting their first look at the pit below...
After all that build up, it was relatively unimpressive.
That was the first thing the Guardian realized. Envisions of a hundred-foot drops with churning lava sweeping through the bottom had been painted colourfully in her mind, and the reality, by that comparison, was much better. The drop itself was less than even twenty feet, and the chamber revealed was wide a corridor that had once been a main supply route within the mine. She watched, with an odd, almost out-of-body detachment as people and unicorns began to pick themselves up from the debris.
She closed her eyes for a moment, even though using even the barest reach of her powers caused her head to pound. *Is everyone accounted for?* she sent to Rhaine. There was a pause, and even though empathic abilities were not parcel to her usual repertoire, she felt her felt her friend’s relief before the answer.
*Yes! Yes, they are – I can sense every one of them. But I am not sure yet if they are uninjured, or even where they are – above, or here below. But I can sense them all!*
Lilaini sighed, sinking visibly, and Liam propped her up more firmly. “I can see them moving, m’lady,” he said to comfort her. “And there is the Lady Rhaine, and Lord Tyden, and… the others, they are moving too, at least.” He frowned, realizing the next problem. “Would you like me to fetch the rope? We can make a ladder—”
“Wait,” she stopped him as he took a step forward. “The edge is not stable. We cannot risk anyone else tumbling in. We will find a better way.”
He turned to her, remembering what the lady was truly capable of doing. “You… you could lift them,” he spoke quietly. “Couldn’t you?”
Lilaini closed her eyes. She felt Gypsy nuzzle her hair but she still felt worthless. “No,” she whispered, hating to admit vulnerability to anyone. “I am afraid between Phen this morning, and Gypsy now, I am too spent.”
Liam didn’t answer, but she felt the arm that steadied her offer just that much more support. It was all she could do to not shrug it off in defiance – partly because she needed it, and partly because she knew Liam only wanted to help. And sometimes, she needed to admit help was something she needed.
“Hullo! Ha-llo up there!” Tyden’s voice below provided just the right kind of distraction.
“Lord Tyden, are you well?” Liam was answering.
“Only so well as I can be when you insist on calling me that,” he replied easily. “But a little help getting out of here would be appreciated; I rope would be a splendid start. Lily, is everyone up there okay?”
“We are all accounted for,” she relayed. “We might have issue with the rope, however – the edge makes for a treacherous overhang; we have to find someplace solid to lower it down. No one else is allowed to fall over.”
“Now you make that rule,” Tyden quipped, shielding his eyes from the light as he scanned walls. They were made of reinforced brickworks, well-masoned and sturdy; it was that over-crop of ceiling that clung around the perimeter which was the problem. Even if he were to stand on Areion’s back, he couldn’t reach the roof, and there wasn’t a tree in the valley they could use for a make-shift pulley. But maybe if he stood on Areion’s back and hoisted another person up on his shoulders… if they threw in a clown and a tumbling routine, at the very least it would be bloody entertaining…
* * *
The rope, meanwhile, was still secured to Xanthe. A broken piece still trailed from her pack-saddle horn too, snapped as Areion had pushed her towards safety. Now she was staring at it in dismay. I hate rope, she declared gloomily. It grabs when it shouldn’t, and breaks when it should stay strong. It was also fairly uncooperative with magical spells. What a stupid invention...
But the rope was really just a distraction from what she planned on next. Her escape had brought her up over the rocks and towards the dragon. At least THIS spell seemed to be working, she noted with satisfaction. Just the same, she paused to have a few more quality inflections about her abhor of ropes before she turned properly up the rocks before him.
Phen had watched the proceeding cave-in with morbid fascination. His first instinct was to spring into the air, but that was still impossible so instead he allowed himself a startled scramble up the rock face, perching atop the crop. There he could see everything below, the people and unicorns struggling on both sides of the divide, and the small dusty-yellow one that was clambering up the rocks towards him. What now?
“Hey, dragon!” she called out.
“Hey, unicorn,” he replied, craning his neck lazily towards her.
She came to a stop, momentarily uncertain. Then she continued with determination. “We need your help,” she said.
“My… help?” he frowned. He wasn’t sure he was up on that whole share-share concept, which to his dismay it seemed pretty pervasive in unicorn ssociety.
“Yes,” she nodded. “My friends. My friends are in the hole. They can’t get out. Please – you need to fly down there and rescue them—”
“Fly?” Phen interjected sharply. “Look, have you ever seen me fly? Like, at all, since I got here?”
“Er, well… no,” she realized quietly. “But I just thought that all dragons fly… so I was wondering… it would be nice if you could help…” Xanthe’s voice fell to a low mumble. “I sorry, I guess I just assumed that’s what dragons do. Fly, that is.”
Phen hunched his back with jutted wings, wrapping his tail around himself and pulling his neck into a perfect S, looking very statuesque. His eyes were narrow slits. “Of course dragons can fly,” he snorted. His voice dropped lower. “I hurt my wing.”
“Ooooh,” the dun Kore eyes lit as the word expanded with her understanding. “Well, why didn’t you say something? We could help you.”
“You unicorns are very into that,” he observed nonchalantly. “Does it ever get bothersome?”
“Oh, goodness yes,” she replied with such honesty that he had to laugh. He relaxed his pose, turning to watch the others scramble around the hole, shouting to those down below and to each other, to mind the edge; their agitation and dismay were obvious. I could have been useful here, Phen thought to himself. Why does it bother me so much that I cannot?
Post by Lady Whimsy on Oct 14, 2014 14:48:20 GMT -5
Below, to those who were able, Tyden was shouting orders; Tiponi thought he was being particularly bossy about it, too. In fact, she had positioned herself on the opposite side of the collapsed area to do her part in scouting for a possible way out, all in the name of peace in the ranks. She didn't think it would be good for overall moral if she started growling at him like she wanted to do even from this distance.
The tunnel expanded far beyond the length of the broken ceiling, and she shuddered instinctively as a cool breeze prickled her skin. Catching herself grumbling a snarky reply under her breath to another of The Man's shouted orders, she glanced around to make sure no one heard, only to find Tali to her right, his nose questioning. But before she could speak to him he was on the move again, so she did the same, working her way back along the section of tunnel.
Rhaine had gathered everyone together and was seeing to injuries; that no one was worse off than they were could only mean Kal’s eyes upon them still. She worked quietly and efficiently, her healer’s touch making quick work of minor scrapes and bruises, and for more serious injuries Arieon worked alongside her, lending his own unicorn’s gift to her Guardian’s handiwork. Without Gypsy to lead or his brother to guide, Arieon rose to meet the challenge effortlessly. Rhaine had been impressed with him this entire journey, but no more so than right now. Of course, getting Arieon to stand still long enough for her to check him for injuries proved to be another challenge entirely. She finally cornered him, explaining that he would help put her own worries at ease if he might but indulge her a moment. Arieon simply couldn’t disappoint a lady, and Rhaine was quick, making no mention that the stallion who would not have allowed a speck of mud to mar an ivory hoof was covered from head to toe in caked dirt, and never once paused to flick even a hair back in place.
She gave the stallion the pat of approval, and he excused himself genially but swiftly. For the moment, everyone on the mine’s floor had been accounted for and attended to. Well, almost. Cornering Tyden was proving to be a different sort of challenge altogether.
Tyden kept hurrying back and forth, inspecting the broken tunnel again even though it had been thoroughly searched by both he and Tiponi the moment before. The walls remained stoic, the ceiling above just out of reach; an attempt to breach the two with a fallen beam jutted against the north wall had brought them all the way to the roof, but with no way to cross the crumbling span of ceiling, they were no closer to a way out.
Above, rope had been fetched; it dangled alluringly over the edge, but whenever they tried to bare weight on it, a fresh bombardment of dirt rained down. Someone had suggested forcing a section of the ceiling to break away completely, but it had been determined too dangerous. They were not unaware of the danger – the whole valley through-way was the roof, and already wrought and crumbling as it was, the rest of it could come tumbling down without a moment’s notice. And how many more forgotten mines lay riddled beneath the mountains?
At last Tyden came to stand in the middle of the clearing, frustration etched on his features. “We’re going about this all wrong,” he said at last. “We can’t wait here for the rest of the ceiling to fall, or try to bringing it down on ourselves… There has to be another way.” The sun was falling fast, and the edge of twilight had begun to creep into the hole. His gaze drifted down the dark end of the tunnel.
Watching him, Rhaine felt the hairs on her neck prickle. Night falling was bad enough, but to go wandering down unknown tunnels…? She shook herself, but crossed over to him. “You are not suggesting … going down there?” her voice was low
*What’s happening?* Lilaini sensed her unease.
Tyden felt Lilaini’s query, and glanced at Rhaine. “All roads lead to Al’therwen, do they not? And it’s imperative we get there as soon as possible. In that case, we can’t spend any more time here, shouting at each other through a large hole in the ground. Lilaini can continue to the Gate above, and we will meet up with her, traveling underground.”
“You can’t be serious!” Rhaine nearly forgot to keep her voice hushed. “We cannot bring everyone through the tunnels – they are injured, and the tunnels are dangerous, and unmapped!”
“Then at the very least I won’t have to keep listening to how things might have been had you had your stupid map,” Tyden snipped.
*Rhaine has a point* Lilaini’s thoughts interjected briskly *What state are people in to travel? And another cave-in—*
“Is every bit as dangerous for you above,” he replied, with the sort of accuracy that made him both humbling and infuriating. “The injured have been seen to. There is no safe way out here, and no Elven mine was ever built with one exit. These tunnels are probably littered with them; we’ll only be underground until we find our way out.”
Worry made her flush, and Rhaine squeezed her eyes shut. Once, when they were very young, she and Tyden had been playing near the Alden Pass, the most southern of the old eleven settlements. The Daiga had told them not to go near the ruins, for they were dangerous, but foolish children as they were had chased and played themselves right into the mess of crumbled dwellings. There, Tyden had discovered an old cellar, and declared they make a fort of it; Rhaine, small enough to squeeze through the rotting planks had tried to retrieve some glittery mosaic tiles and got trapped. She had to wait, for what seemed like hours, for Tyden to return with help while darkness fell all around her. When the Daiga and Mare Imbrium appeared it was almost dark, and even though Tyden got the worst of the scolding for being older and knowing better, all Rhaine remembered of the day was the dank smell of earth and darkness, and it chilled her long after the hearth had made her cheeks rosy again.
Rhaine still didn’t like the dark.
*Sweetling* she sensed her friend’s concern nudging her again. *What do you think we should do?*
Rhaine sighed. “Lilaini can follow the Gate to Al’therwen; we cannot lose time, and there is little she can do for us in the moment. The others shall wait here—”
“Wait!” Tyden touched his hand to his temples; it had begun to throb again, the bandages stained from the strain of lifting and digging through the rubble. “You would have us wait here, collecting dust, while so much is at stake beyond?!”
“And you would have us brazen forth into the unknown, simply to satisfy some sense of… of bravado! We can be no help to Kalidore if we are dead at the bottom of some elven pit.”
Tyden’s eyes blazed, but before he could speak Tali came bounding in between them. “The air is sweet!” he exclaimed. “I have found a tunnel – it will lead us out, for the air is sweet!”
Rhaine frowned, brows drawn together, but addressed him carefully. “Are you quite sure…?”
“Yes, m’lady – as sure as Areana’s Moon!” He circled once, his nose never still, sorting through the myriad of clinging scents and smells as if they were clearly numbered codex. “I wanted to be certain before I spoke up: it is a ways away, but large. There’s a clear north wind driving it through. The tunnels are still, and it’s been blowing steadily.”
Her face was taught, knit with worry, but at last she nodded. “Then you will lead the way.” Tali’s ears pricked, assertive and determined, and he bounded towards the mouth of his chosen tunnel.
Tyden was incredulous. “I make the suggestion, and you charge me with bravado – the dog says the same thing and you’re following him?!”
“He’s a wolf,” Rhaine said tersely, “and he smells better than you!” And she stormed off in the direction the wolf had gone.
“I—” Tyden started after, then stopped abruptly as he realized he couldn’t be a hundred percent sure she wasn’t right. He sniffed, supposedly to clear his nose. He turned around and nearly bumped into Tiponi, having no idea how long she’d been standing there.
“I shall prepare the group for travel,” she asked in a way that wasn’t really a question. “The sooner this place is put behind us, the better.”
“Right,” he agreed quickly, “whatever we can do to keep people calm and in good spirits is our mission.”
“Yes,” she nodded sanguinely, her head tilted almost thoughtfully. “Though how much better that could have been retroactively… say, one, two hours ago?”
And she shook her head, strolling towards the others without another word.
Post by tsukiclowes on Oct 22, 2014 12:24:47 GMT -5
Rashida stared out at the scene before her. The chaos a moment ago seeming almost not real, if not for the jagged scar in the ground before her. Shaking her head she brought herself out of the shock she was in. Somehow she had managed to stay upright during the turmoil, although the ground shook her hooves stayed surely beneath her. Surveying the landscape, she took in the scene and hesitantly went forward, making sure to keep a fair distance away from the edge. Thankfully no one below seemed too injured, and ears twitching she listened as they made the decision on a course of action to take next. Rashida would follow the group that managed to stay out of the hole to the gate with the rest. She felt thankful she wouldn't have to travel those dark tunnels underground, although her concern did go with those who did.
Post by Lady Whimsy on Oct 28, 2014 20:30:41 GMT -5
Above, Lilaini heaved a heavy sigh as the final decision was made. The hardest part would be announcing it to the others with all the confidence she didn’t feel. She rose, and beside her Liam mirrored the movement, offering a hand, but she smiled and shook her head. Instead she kept a careful arm on Gypsy’s back, both in solidarity and support. *Come, listen* she sent abroad to capture everyone’s attention. The unicorns and companions, who had been restlessly milling around the hard rock trails, stopped where they were, turning heads and pricking ears. She was standing as close to the edge as was safe, and below she could hear the chatter hush too. “Night is falling, and it’s not safe for us to remain here. We must follow the road down the ravine before the dark makes it too difficult for us to pick our way.”
“But – but Rhaine and Tyden and the others—” Xanthe’s nostrils flared with worry. “We can’t LEAVE them!”
“They will be travelling too,” Lilaini hoped her voice carried with it more assurance then she felt. “The mines of Al’therwen were once called the Underground City; they reach far deep into mountains beneath the ruins. They may well make it there before we do, and are probably even safer below, too.”
Confliction worked across the kore’s face, but she said nothing further. Behind her, the dragon was a silent blue shadow among the rocks. Everyone’s eyes were upon her, and she had to be strong for each of them. *Luckily I am here to be strong for you* she felt Gypsy’s firm mental nudge just as the mare shifted her weight, causing her to step aside. In the same playful motion Lilaini grabbed a handful of burnt auburn hair and hoisted herself aboard. Her attention turned to the pit below, and she gazed down long and hard.
“Is there anything else you need?” she said at last. Food rations had already been tossed down, but that was before they knew they’d be travelling separately. “You should take another set of water skins, and at least remainder of the buns.” She figured, the unicorns could eat bread too, for there would be no grazing in the tunnels. As she spoke, Liam had already sprung up to collect the spoken items, and bundling them together securely, he called out before he threw them below.
Tyden stood clear as food packs came down, but leaned in for the waterskins; last they would need were the bladders bursting should they hit the ground. He caught them squarely, and turned to find Arieon had already brought him the other bundle in his teeth, and he tied them both to the Stallion’s pack saddle. At least now they would not starve – provided the excursion only lasted two days. The water he was a little more concerned about, but should they find any underground, the unicorns would be able to purify it. As for other useful items – rope, knife, sword – what he really wished for was a lantern. And fuel. The flint they had was useless with nothing to hold the fire. But there was no point dwelling on what they didn’t have. “As long as you have enough for yourselves,” he called up. “Besides, we will meet up soon enough – probably before next day is out!”
His optimism was obstinate, and just a little bit contagious. Lilaini found herself smiling in spite of it all.
Beside him, the stallion rumbled low in his nasal, a sound of impatience and worry both. “You will be quite well without my assistance?” his gaze reached the bonze mare above.
“As sure as you will be without mine,” Gypsy allowed herself a chuckle. “Mark me – people will sing songs about the great white stallion who forded the eternal night of the underground! Keep safe, all of you, and yes – we will be with you again soon!”
She turned to the others, continuing brightly, “we’ll follow the road, and find the river. We might make it before nightfall yet, but we must hurry. Are we all ready here?”
Reluctance lingered in the silence. Lilaini could imagine how they felt, suddenly separated from loved ones and companions, with no choice in the matter or predictable conclusion; for a brief moment she had felt that anguish as Gypsy was falling. She blinked hard. Fate had never been fair. “We will be apart, but not out of touch,” she spoke gently. “Rhaine and I will be in communication the whole time, and your sisters, brothers, and companions will be only a thought away, as always, even if they are not with you right now.”
Easier to say, Xanthe thought numbingly. She felt strangely alone without the familiar company of Rhaine, Tyden, and even rambunctious Kynn. For the first time, the packs on her back felt really heavy, and she was tired. The girth itched, just in the wrong place to reach with her horn, and no one was nearby to help scratch it. Everyone was just as distracted, and for that reason she couldn’t even get into the packs to look over her spell scrolls. If only! She knew there had to be another way… even if she understood what they were doing, it didn’t seem right… Her eyes found Gypsy and Lilaini again, with Liam standing just to the Lady’s side.
Her heart sunk like a rock down a well. Oh no – he’s gotten to Lilaini! Thoughts began to spiral faster and faster, nearly wiping all the worry of her trapped friends from her head. If a warlock could overpower someone as powerful as a Guardian, then who could stop him? And what could he do? Not just a fallen mineshaft – maybe the whole valley – the whole isle! Just what could he be planning next…?!
“Be careful where you put your feet,” Gypsy was speaking. “Keep to the bedrock until we are back on the road!”
Xanthe, without so much as a glace to the hole, set out resolutely, her gazed fixed on the human who was leading the way.
Gypsy watched as the group fell into single file, Gywneira pulling up as lead mare and her hooves struck a steady rhythm over the stones to follow. As the last unicorn – a certain dun filly – trotted by, her eyes caught the dragon, Phen, still perched on the rock, watching silently and hunched like a wet cat. When his gaze inadvertently caught hers, his frills splayed with surprise, nearly slipped, then he quickly shuffled his self to the ground as if that had been his intent always.
“Poor guy is looking particularly bedraggled,” Gypsy murmured. “He has had quite the introduction to Kalidore.”
Lilaini mused, “he’s not what the stories say about dragons, is he?”
“Are they ever?” and, raising her voice as Phen approached, “It shouldn’t be more than an hour’s travel before we camp for the night; how are you holding up?”
The dragon’s features seemed to colour, especially around the cheeks. “So long as your scenic isle doesn’t swallow me whole, I’ll be fine.” Then, after a pregnant pause, “why do you ask?”
“It’s been a hard day’s trek,” Gypsy replied honestly, “and, you don’t seem the type who is very comfortable on the ground in the first place.”
“Well!” he started, a brief shot of steam escaping before he could clamp his nostrils shut. “Well, I am as comfortable as I can be on the ground we are on. Kalidore is just chilly, and my muscles are stiff; I could walk all the way back to Kylindrial if given the chance! In fact, more walking would do me good. So I’ll walk. This way.” And he scurried after the others as fast as he could, head high and wings swept back… which made him appear to waddle, just slightly.
Lilaini started to say something, but Gypsy shook her head. “Let him have his space; we are no help if we force our help upon him.”
Her companion nodded slowly. “When he’s feeling better… do you suppose he’ll be less grumpy – or more so?”
“One can only hope?” the mare smiled, and with a last cast to open mine, turned to take their place behind the others.
* * *
As the sounds above began to drift away, Rhaine stood in the last puddle of light before the underground swallowed it all. She was digging furiously through her satchel, and at last she found what she sought – two small, round stones like hens’ eggs and milky-white. With a deep breath, she stepped into the darkness and struck them together. In the dim they began to glow, faintly at first, so she struck them again and the light grew stronger. One rock’s light was slightly cooler blue, the other warmed with purple, for they had come from different sources, but all glow-orb was the same – they stored light, and when activated, would glow a full night’s breath. And the more you had, the more they reacted and glowed brighter still. Two small stones, she sighed. It would have to do.
Tiponi appeared beside her and handed her the end of the rope; each person who was not astride would hold the rope, so not to misstep in the dark tunnels ahead. The news of the trek had gone over extremely well, or they simply trusted their guides to bring them through the adventure safely; and while unicorns could see better in the dark than humans, the sheer blackness of the underground would require all their senses to navigate. With Tali scouting ahead and Areion minding the tail, a slow but steady procession was the best they could hope for, and manage.
Tyden approached, and Tiponi slipped back along the rope’s length and out of sight without a word. “Here,” Rhaine held out the brighter of the two orbs towards him.
“Thank you,” he accepted it graciously. His right hand still throbbed, so he took it in his left, holding it above his head to see how much light it threw. Not much, but faint light was better than no light.
Tali appeared silently from the darkness, his eyes briefly glowing from the light of the orb. “This way,” he beckoned, bright with excitement and urgency. He didn’t like being underground, but the sense of purpose swelled his chest and he lead resolutely, without hesitation. “It’s a smooth road ahead, at least for as far as I went alone.”
Tyden turned, and nearly bumped into Rhaine who was now offering the end of the rope, but he shook his head. “I will scout the route just ahead, with Tali.” In truth, he couldn’t grab both the orb and the rope with only one good hand, but decision made, he gritted his teeth and pressed forward.
Rhaine frowned, but the clip of small hooves on stone slabs had her turn. Kynn, who was feeling just a little bit guilty about the whole ordeal had made up his mind to be as helpful as unicornly possible. “Everyone is holding on. And Arieon says we’re ready,” he relayed. It was hard to keep the squeak out of his voice, but weather it was excitement or fear, even he wasn’t sure.
“Good,” Tyden nodded, and then simply and unceremonious, “Let’s go.”
Tali yipped, and the sound echoed down the tunnel, and they were off.
Below: Cassie tumbled end over end as the earth literally fell away below her. It happened too fast for her to even register what was happening let alone get out of the way. Dirt and dark swallowed her whole and she kept rolling and tumbling. She was stunned when she finally hit bottom and couldn't move as the wind was knocked out of her. She was in too much shock to notice who picked her up and checked her over only answering in monosyllables. She felt a headache begin pounding her skull knocking as if it could get out. She felt something happen but really wasn't sure what it was since she really couldn't see very much. "Owe" She felt a bunch of scrapes and bruises that registered more when someone was poking her presumable to check her out. She heard every hoof beat around her pounding in time to her head. It was less then fun. There was a rush and she felt... something. Her injuries seemed to hurt less after that and her head cleared up. "That was a relief. What did you do just then? I feel a bit better." She began to look around and take stock of herself. "Cordy... Cordy?!" Cassie started to panic wondering what had happened to her friend. Cassie could make out shapes but none of them looked right. She felt her panic rise as she was a relative stranger and didn't really see anyone that she knew. She could feel the tears trying to build in her eyes. What was she supposed to do now?
She heard the talk of moving and gathered herself up with the group to travel. She hoped that she didn't make a muck of things. She did feel quieter than her usual self. Cordy was still above. She was finally able to figure that out at least. She felt truly naked without her friend but the others seemed confident. She hoped that they knew what they were doing. It would be a shame if running off with a unicorn got her killed.
Above: Cordy could feel her companions distress and could do little to help her with it. The best she could hope for was for the two parties to come together as quickly as possible. Their bond was so new that she wasn't really sure of the extent of it. Cordy fretted wondering how she would fair under such extenuating circumstances. Confidant or not, the young and inexperienced relied far more heavily on the good graces of others. Cordy couldn't begin to think what she could possibly say to Cassie right this moment that would make this situation and easier. *Stay strong Cassie! I will find you!* She hoped that Cassie could hear her but wasn't really sure if she could.
Cordy pulled their pack together as best as she could and shouldered up to the group traveling to the gate. The sooner she could reach it the happier she would be since that would be one step closer to her companion.
((OOC - I am less familiar with the magics and I am guessing at this all mostly. Please feel free to clue me in if I get anything out of cannon.))
Last Edit: Nov 11, 2014 23:16:17 GMT -5 by hardwired
Post by Lady Whimsy on Dec 3, 2014 23:03:22 GMT -5
Towards the back of the line, Phen was slinking. His head stooped, his wings drooped, and if he were any more mopy he would have been dragging his tail. The moral of the group wasn’t much better, and despite the chipper inquiries they kept tossing his way, he couldn’t help but think that somehow, in some way, this was partly his fault.
If I could fly, I could have lifted everyone out of the hole, easily, he thought. Then everyone wouldn’t be so upset. Then again, perhaps his motives weren’t entirely altruistic. Perhaps it was even harder to admit he missed the company of the humans who had been kind to him before. He found humans very easy to get along with, and he didn’t fret about them, the way he did with unicorns….
He shook his head vehemently. If a unicorn hadn’t busted my wing in the first place, none of this would have happened. So, serves them right!
Then, he would never have been in this mess in the first place.
And they’d have never met…
Now his attention was drawn to the unicorn at the front of the procession. Her name was Gypsy. It was inexplicable. No, not the name (it was quite pretty, he though, so very un-dragon-like. He liked it). It was the way he felt every time he laid eyes on her. She intrigued him, drew him in, made want to help, to be useful. She lead the herd onward without nary a concern for herself, bravely, resolutely; she was amazing. He might have considered Stockholm syndrome had he heard of it, but obviously some stressed-induced psychosis at the very least. He should his head again to try and clear it, but, he couldn’t. He sighed.
Laughter edged on the brink of consciousness, and at it took him a long, long moment to realize he wasn’t laughing at himself. Which meant –
He turned abruptly, first to the left, then to the right, but the twilight was still, the shadows long but unmoving. He frowned. The unicorns ahead were plodding on diligently, and seemed to have noticed nothing.
He let out a breath, slowly. And then he was tackled into the bushes.
They went head over feet in a silent whoosh, like a cat and mouse. Phen was the mouse, and at first couldn’t even squeak because of the weight on his chest. The shock had distracted him from the pain that shot through his wing as he recognized her. “Sess!” he exclaimed, and he wasn’t sure if he was thrilled – or oddly disappointed? – “what are you trying to do?!”
“Rescuing you of course, silly,” the last part rolled off her tongue with a certain smugness. “Or perhaps you rather we left you here?” She straightened up, cocking her head thoughtfully. “Would you get in trouble for that, Oro?” As somber as a tree, Oro grimaced and said nothing. Phen might not have noticed him there if Sess hadn’t spoken to him, and suddenly wondered how long they had been following.
“Long enough to tell Uthor you’d been assimilated by unicorns and he might even believe us,” Sess smirked. She hadn’t entirely moved off of him, which left him pinned in a most awkward manner. It was not so long ago that he had been admiring Sess’ most sinuous feminine form, and this was closest he’d ever gotten to it. And yet –
He struggled again, and with a last significant pause the red dragon shifted and let him rise. Phen scrambled to his feet, tucking his tail around him a protective manner. Confusion gave way to anger, which was always a good defense. “I came to help you!” he blurted out.
“After Uthor told you not to,” Oriano snorted.
“No, he never did,” Phen said truthfully. (After all, that would have meant he’d have asked permission; he was sure however that point was not lost on any of them).
Sessatine’s expression had softened, and she sidled up to gold dragon, gushing, “Isn’t he just adorable? All that, for us!” Oriano just snorted again and pulled himself away. “This is all on your head,” he practically seethed.
Phen’s face felt hot, and his head was spinning. He knew he was going to get in trouble one way or another, but he wasn’t prepared to still be talked about as if he were a child. “Well, what have you managed to find out for his Lordship?” he rebuked hotly.
“Besides that unicorns are really really boring? And smell...”
“They do not,” Phen shook his head before he realized that he shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter. Or that his opinion was that they were horrible. Or something.
Sessetine’s laughter was like sharp, struck bells. “Oh, Phenthor – you are something else!” She cut him off with a look, her head cocked coyly. “That’s what I like about you; you go the extra mile. For here you are, completely immersing yourself into Unicorn society as a means to infiltrate their trust and ranks and have them take you directly to the source of magic themselves. Brilliant.”
Brilliant! It was! And as soon as he realized it he nodded emphatically. Except—
“Now, if you should need any help...” she continued.
“I don’t,” he blurted out again. “You can’t. It would… spook them. Dragons, and all…”
“Oh, but of course. We just wouldn’t want anything to happen to you, that’s all.” She leaned over, and with a casual whip of tail, snaked it around his injured wing. Without a word she yanked, abruptly; with a yelp Phen realized the spasm that had been keeping his wing locked released, and everything clicked back into place. “We’re all here for each other, Phen,” she smiled sweetly.
He wasn’t sure he liked the way she was looking at him, and there was something here that seemed terribly… amiss. Ori had remained silent and brooding, every bit of his body language radiating his disgust. And Sess was… Sess. Completely beautiful, and unreadable. It was a good thing he trusted her more that Ori, which, in the grand scheme, was really saying an awful lot.
He didn’t know what to say. So he didn’t say anything. Just nodded, folded his wings (completely!) across his back, and slunk back through the bushes towards the path.
“Don’t say it, Ori,” Sessatine hushed before the yellow dragon had opened his mouth. “I think you underestimate him.”
He grimaced again, but had already given over to disgust and there was nowhere else to go. “As if he COULD infiltrate a travelling war party…. I have already said I wipe my hands of this. You alone will be answering to Uthor, I’ve made my peace.”
“And this shall be mine.” Her eyes were as cold and glinting like stars, and the darkness couldn’t see her smile...
* * *
The tunnel was long and wide and full of darkness. At first, pot holes had lined high along ceiling, but then Tali’s nose had taken them down the smaller passage, and the last of the daylight had disappeared altogether. The packed gravel of the road was also as sharp and rough as they day they lay it, untouched by weather, wind, or sky. It hurt Tali’s feet, but he didn’t complain, keeping as much as he could to the narrow run that marked where the carts had rolled a thousand of years before. The ruts also helped the group find their way in the dim, still holding the rope, and Tyden and Rhaine’s two small orb rocks cast a soft glow. It was just enough to remind them they were all in this together, as much as the darkness tried to separate them.
“Will the tunnels take us all the way to Al’therwen?” Kynn asked again, bumping into Rhaine as his attention darted after some creeping small insect on the wall. They were in the middle of the line, with Tyden following Tali ahead, and Areion bringing up the rear behind them, the rest of the group strung along the ropes’ length between them.
“You must watch where you put your hooves,” the Guardian reprimanded gently. “There are many things we can trip on in the dark.”
“Like snakes?” he suddenly shuddered. He didn’t particularly like snakes, as harmless as they were in Kalidore, for reasons mostly related to one of Xanthe’s wild tales.
“No, sweetling; snakes need the sun to keep them warm. The only time they go underground is to escape winter’s coming.”
“So, like now?” Kynn snorted at a shadow.
“Well,” Rhaine began, and then realized he had a point. Luckily Rhaine had never minded snakes. The little crawling cave insects that flitted in and out of her peripherals… now, those she did. Not that she had anything rationally against crawly bugs – so long as she could see them. Currently though, dark + bugs = she refused to touch the walls, no matter how close she came to stumbling, which is why she wasn’t in the least minding Kynn’s barrage of questions, so long as it meant he was walking nearby.
Her boot kicked against a loose stone, and sent it sputtering down the dark. The slope of the road had quickened, and this made her uneasy. “Kynn,” she began again. “Why don’t you lead us in a song, while we marching along? It will help pass the time.”
“I can do that!” Kynn smile was audible, all thoughts of snakes abandoned. “Which song, now? Oh golly, I never get to choose the song! Xanthe always does , she’s so bossy and clever with them…. Do… do you have any requests?”asked after a while.
“Something bright, and hearty,” Rhaine recommended.
“My Shiny Urdvoggen!” Kynn declared. “All the kor sing it at the summer solstice sleep in the great meadow – not that I’m still a kor,” he affirmed with certainty, “but everyone knows the words, and better yet, we can do it in rounds... ” He began:
“A soddy little ‘voggen in a puddle was a soggen’* Where my little shiny pebble had a-chanced itself to roll, And the ‘voggen in his soggen’ saw the pebble come a-plodden’ And before I could’a stopped him – he ate the shiny pebble whole!”
And so began the tale of a koros’ quest to retrieve his ill-fated jewel in time for the festival dance, which after about 20 unsuccessful verses cumulated with him wearing the urdvoggen on his head instead. Other voices begin to join in quietly behind them, and Rhaine gave Kynn a firm pat to carry on before she began to creep slowly up the rope line.
Her orb-stone grew brighter as she neared the front, reacting to the proximity of Tyden’s stone. He was striding a couple paces ahead of the line with Tali, holding the light above their heads. Suddenly feeling selfish for taking all the light with them, Rhaine stopped to give it to Sapata, who held the beginning of the rope, and took the last few steps through darkness despite what creepy crawlies maybe laying there. “Tyden,” she whispered, nudging him with her mind as well so not to raise her voice above the singing.
He turned his head, shifting the stone so that the small warmth of light touched her, and she was grateful. “Good idea, the signing,” he whispered back. “Although you could have chosen more wisely; I will now have that song in my head until next summer…”
Darkness hid her smile. “There are worse things. And songs,” she reminded. Ahead, she could only just make out the wolf in the darkness. “Are we headed down... hill?” she finally asked, her voice remaining low.
The dark felt thick on her cheeks. She took a deep breath. “How… much longer, do you suppose?”
“I cannot say. I don’t think there’s anyone alive today can say.” He shrugged, the light dipping slightly with the movement. “We are likely the first to travel this path in centuries. Kind of spectacular, that!”
“I’m not sure spectacular is the word I’d use to describe it!”
“Come now, where’s your sense of adventure?” he quipped. “You wanted to follow the white rabbit down his hole, and now here you are! Except it’s grey wolf, and this is mine shaft, but basic symmetry remains…”
She shook her head, trying to blot out the barrage of words. Her sense felt so confused down here, and her own fright made it hard to concentrate; it was like being doubly blind, and she hated it—
“I wonder if we’ll find us a mad hatter, though more likely a march hare; just so long as it’s not the Jabberwocky, eh?”
And he so was not helping!
The verse of the Shiny Urdvoggen bounced and echoed down the chamber, the koros’ lament unfolding all around with words and nonsense. And then –
Tali stopped, his ears pricking as he caught something in the echo that wasn’t in the song. At least, not this song. He pulled up, hackles raised, and eyes boring into the darkness. Tyden took another step before noting the change in demeanour, but as he did his arm came up to block Rhaine in tracks behind.
“Some one’s coming,” Tali growled, and behind them the song began to fracture as the unicorns and companions realized something was happening.
“Up the tunnel,” the wolf continued, “towards us. And they’re... singing.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ * soggen’ (saw-gen) slang; sogging: the act of getting soggy; the cereal was soggen’ in the milk.
Tiponi was trudging along toward the end of the rope-length, lost in her own little world of one step and then another. She was following a young woman who was actually taller than she (Cassie) although not by much. The poor lighting didn't allow Tiponi to see much more than that although she thought she sensed an uneasiness in the woman.
With a light touch to her arm, Tiponi asked, "Are you alright? Its rather dark down here, but Tali knows what he's doing."
Tien Mu had been striding along with Luminista up toward the front of the group. Soon she began to drift back until a buckskin unikore (Rashida) was alongside. Rather tired of the silence, the tang mare decided to strike up a conversation. "Do you have anyone down in the hole?" she asked by way of an opener.
Toward the back of the pack, Foehn Miri happened to look back. The group had been moving along for some little time and she was a bit concerned about their new traveling companion with his hurt wing. She came to an abrupt stop and turned full around, looking for what wasn't there. "Phen!" she called.