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  #1  
Old 06-27-2019, 02:30 PM
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A Cog in the Machine

Meet, Mr. Silas
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The tall, slender, dark-skinned man was sitting on stage. His eyes scanned the crowded inn's patrons. He slumped a bit. They had gone back to their mundane conversations and were paying little attention to him as he continued to weave his tale of Gods, Misfortune, and Adventure.

His eyes fell upon the tiny halfling girl that was sitting just off stage a moment ago. She was holding the flower he had given her and smiling broadly as she turned and pushed her way through the crowd. He smirked. Not even the children were enthralled by his...

The girl returned a moment later dragging two other children with her. She pointed and gestured at the man known as Mr. Silas. All three children now sat off stage, eagerly awaiting for the man to continue his tale.

Mr. Silas took a long drag off his hand-rolled cigarette and smiled as he breathed out the thick billow of smoke. The smoke falls, like a waterfall, to the stage floor. The children watch as it's wisps and tendrils curl towards them and stretch out to cover the entirety of the stage floor. Soon, there is a thick layer of smoke covering the man's shoes, but not extending beyond the confines of the stage. One of the children gasps as she draws attention to the tiny blades of grass that begin to poke through the smokescreen surface.

"Omnicia..." The word lingers in the air for a moment. A couple of dwarves at a nearby table take notice and begin, half-heartedly, paying attention to the man on stage. He watches as one of the barmaids gives him repeated glances as she makes her way to and fro. More and more children begin gathering around the stage to witness the strange spectacle as, what was once a bare wooden stage, has grown into a misty forest. Trees stretched from floor to ceiling and Mr. Silas began walking among the trees. He puled the purple handkerchief from his pocket and used it to clear some moss off a stump that emerged through the smoke. The large spider that was perched on his shoulder climbed down and began to build a web between two trees as Mr. Silas continued.

"You see, ladies and gentlemen... Not all of the Gods in Karthage are old... No no no... You see, some of them are quite new indeed. They are born out of faith, devotion, innovation, and... Belief. With enough mortals believing in the same thing for long enough, anything, or anyone, can transcend the mortal coil and be elevated to the celestial ranks."

"The problem with elevation is, if you get high enough, everything... And everyone... way down at the bottom... Well, they all start to look like ants. And, tell me, when was the last time you cared about what ants do?"

"Take the case of Richter Strauss. A good man. A loyal man. A believer... Richter believed in innovation. He believed in technological advancements. He believed in Omnicia... Until... He didn't believe in her any more... You see, Omnicia, just like Icarus, flew too high, too quick. She played God for so long that, when she finally became one, she forgot what it was like to be mortal. She turned her back on her most devout follower. She. Betrayed. Him. And, in Karthage... Betrayal is not to be taken lightly..."


"Gather round, good people... For a new member of our cast has been called forth to expand the tale... Enter, the artificer, Richter Strauss..."


Forest for the Trees
One heavy foot fell in front of the other as Richter Stauss traversed the forest. He had been walking for hours. Lacking a proper guide, he'd gotten turned around several times and could swear that he was being watched by something, or someone. Paranoia was setting in. But, was that irrational paranoia or justified caution? For a man on the run, it was hard to tell the difference between the two. Not to mention the fact that more than one man have fallen prey to the beasts that dwell in these woods. But, he knew that going back wasn't exactly an option.

The lookouts were certain to have been alerted by now and would surely kill him, or worse bring him back to the Ledger, should he step foot back in Tekata. His only choice was to gather his belongings and head south into the forest. Perhaps he could, somehow, find the Allfather's Cabin and convince him to grant a pardon. It was a long shot, but it was all he had at the moment.

Catching his breath while leaning against a nearby tree, Richter finally gave the matter some thought. If the Ledger were to really seek vengeance for what he'd done, who would they send? Maybe that creepy blind monk? Or maybe, Noctis and Verona?

And, of course, there was the matter of Omnicia. Her villainy seeks to tempt, corrupt, torment, and follow him no matter where he goes. She betrayed him to the Ledger. Framed him for a crime he didn't commit... All to further her interests in that stupid war she kept going on about.


OODMWelcome to Karthage! This prologue is just a basic introductory bit to get a little bit more acquainted with how each of us does things. Just want to see how well we play off of each other and build a little bit of backstory for Richter. I purposely left some bits vague so that you can play off them and make the character your own. Feel free to make checks in this thread and label them so I know what information you are hoping to obtain.

Last edited by Reliq0770; 06-27-2019 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 06-27-2019, 07:01 PM
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Richter Strauss
Human Arcanist


Richter calmed himself, slowing his breath, eventually reaching as peaceful a composure as the forest around him. He closed his eyes and tried to quite himself, listening to the wind rustling the leaves in the canopy above and to the sound of birds calling to one another. He was the intruder here, had brought this chaos and unbalance to this serene place.

right-aligned image
A small metallic creature suddenly bursts from the underbrush and begins hopping around in a circle in front of Richter, its filigree tail waiving back and forth.

Sly, settle down. We're trying to not be seen. The metallic fox suddenly froze and slowly lowered its head to the ground. Would you please stop that. Come here, Richter said, slapping his leg. Sly's exuberance returned in a flash as it happily stood on two legs against his master's leg, while getting stroked on the head.

Alright, why don't you go Sly's Perception Check:
Dice Roll:
1d20 8
(Forgot to add a +4 perception bonus to this)
see if anyone is following us. Stay out of sight and come right back at the first sign of danger.
Sly wagged his tail a few times before diving back into the brush and was gone.

Richter rubbed his eyes and an image of villagers on flame, screaming while they ran through the streets trying in vain to put out fires that could not be snuffed. He knew it was her doing, Omnicia. There was no other explanation. He shook his head, his anger and frustration returning. Those villagers were innocent, there only crime that they worshiped the wrong damned god. Perhaps I should have known, he thought, that Omnicia would never have sent him out of the goodness of her heart to cure the disease that was ravaging the town. Who else would they blame when instead of drinking a cure, they drank alchemist's fire instead...

Come on, Richter. Get yourself together. He looked around to get his bearings and tried to gauge how much farther until the cabin.


 

Last edited by Silent Rain; 06-28-2019 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 06-28-2019, 10:11 PM
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Familial Bonds
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More and more members of the crowd were taking notice of the spectacle happening on stage. The laughter and various conversations that were roaring mere moments before, had diminished to hushed whispers. It seemed that more than just the ears of children were eager to listen to his tale. Mr. Silas, however, didn't smile. His demeanor was stoic... hard as stone. The longer he sat there in silence, the more the tension in the air became palpable. It didn't take long before the entirety of the Inn had fallen silent. All eyes cast towards the statue of a man on stage. The feint red glow of his cigarette in his hand flickered for a moment before...

"HUHHH!!!!"


A wave of audible gasps washed over the crowd. A mother could be seen moving towards the stage, eagerly trying to pull her child away as the shadow darted between the trees behind the man on stage. It peeked out again;

"Behind you!" A little half-orc girl cried as she covered her eyes, peeking out through the slits between her fingers.

The shadow, monstrous in it's appearance and jagged and jerking in it's movements, was even closer to him now. You could practically hear the crowd's collective hearts pounding as the watched in terror. Desperately wanting to flee, but far too entranced to look away, the fear was electrifying. The shadow creature was now only a few steps behind him. The crowd was too focused to notice how dark it had gotten in the entire room. It was as if a spotlight were shining on this one gleaming spectacle. A small child began to cry as the shadow creature raised it's arm and...

"It's strange, isn't it?" He asked, breaking the tension in the room.

The shadow creature lurched forward, falling and being caught in Mr. Silas' arms. He knelt in front of the stump, cradling the creature's form. As he looked down upon this strange creature, a single tear fell from his eye and landed on the creature's forehead.

"HUHHH!!!!"


A second collective gasp washed over the crowd as fear turned to pure, unbridled bewilderment. The shadow fell from the creature's form and revealed Mr. Silas cradling the previous form he had taken upon entering the Tavern.

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"Fear and Terror are such strange emotions. Not in, and of, themselves... But, rather that they illicit such varied responses in us all. You ma'am..." His eyes glance towards the woman who had tried to make her way to her child; "Your first instinct was to protect your child. However, your husband..." The woman glances back at the city guard who was on his feet pointing a crossbow at the stage. "Your husband's first instinct was to protect you both by striking first."

He walks the full length of the stage, scanning the various faces and reactions that his illusion has illicited from the crowd. He stops and smiles when he locks eyes on one particular little girl at the forefront of the stage. There she was, holding a tiny flower, smile ever-widening and eyes filled with excitement and wonder...

"Familial bonds..." He nods at her, "Familial Bonds are stronger than fear. And few know this to be truer than the next Karthage natives to enter our tale... Enter... The twins..."


Forest for the Trees
It wasn't quite a <bark>... more of a metallic/robotic <yip, yip, yip> that the metallic fox let out as it began backing towards him. It's blue jeweled eyes seemed transfixed on something that his human eyes couldn't quite pick up on. He watched as Sly's metallic ear twitched and turned, tracking it's target. Then, suddenly, the fox appeared confused. It began to look to the left, and then to the right.

"What's out there, Sly?" Richter whispers.

It was at that moment, that he felt it. The familiar feeling of the tip of a sword pressed into his lower back. He hesitated for a brief moment before going for his Longsword;

"Calm down, human. We're not here to rob you but I wouldn't be reaching for that there sword if I were you..."

A small halfling emerged from the clearing and approached.

"Who are you and what are you doing in these woods?" Another voice, presumably the one holding the blade to his back, asked.


OODMWelcome Jules (UngainlyFool) and Cali (DaysUntold)! You both have Richter Stauss (Silent Rain) flanked in a small clearing within the forest. I'll let you all introduce yourselves and decide what you want to do... Have fun!
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Old 06-28-2019, 11:06 PM
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Calissa Frille
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Cali strode through the trees with a confidence that made it clear she was anything but concerned with him actually reaching his sword. Her short auburn hair caught the slight breeze that was filtering through the clearing. She leaned her left shoulder up against a tree and put one hand on a hip, a smug smile making its way onto her face.

"Let me eliminate the temptation," she teased, surprise registering on the face of the human sitting in the clearing as the sword floated through the air towards the child-sized woman. As it reached her she deftly grabbed it, then plunged it into the ground before her as she crouched down and held a hand out to the strange looking fox. "What are you doing out here? And what is this?" Her tone slowly changed from playful to curious as she eyed the construct.

"I've never seen such a thing..." she said, her words trailing off. She looked back up to the man suddenly. "Well?" she asked, impatience creeping into her voice, "are you going to answer or do you enjoy having a blade pressed to your back? We've got better things to do than babysit you all night."


Looking up and seeing Jules' expression, Cali's cheeks grew red. She couldn't help but shake her head at her sister.



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Old 06-28-2019, 11:51 PM
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Jullianna Frille
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An exasperated sigh escaped the one behind Richter and he felt the point withdraw from his skin as his own sword floated away. "Give the guy a chance to answer, Cali. Geez! He's going to lose track." The words came from behind him slightly muffled, but in the next moment she was off to the side ten feet away from him and nearer the man's construct. Her footsteps hadn't been distinguishable from the sound of the wind in the canopy. These two were quiet when they weren't blabbing.

The other of the pair looked similar to the first. Her hair and limbs were a little thicker, but the same freckles dotted her nose as she pulled the turquoise bandanna from her face.
 
Jules bent down and idly flipped the short sword she was holding in lazy circles as she looked at the strange metal animal. The leather wrapped hilt smacked her palm in a rhythmic pat-pat-pat. Her face was scrunched up in a goofy-looking and exaggerated snarl of amused disbelief and it stayed that way as she looked back and forth from the man to the machine. "Huh." She didn't add any questions. He had enough to worry about from Miss Inquisition.
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Old 06-29-2019, 12:23 AM
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Richter Strauss
Human Arcanist


If you are not brigands, then you have a curious way of saying hello, Richter chided to the one holding the tip of a blade against his back. Sly started to make a metallic growling sound, but Richter shook his head and the fox ran back to his master and hid behind his legs.

The one Richter could see began rattling off questions. Before he had a chance to answer, he watched as his sword pulled itself out of its sheath and floated over to the halfling in front of him. Hmm, Richter thought. Arcane spellcaster. No discernible holy symbol, must be. He let her take it without protest. He still had his staff, after all, and was not completely defenseless.

The one behind him withdrew her sword and moved to stand beside her sister, Richter decided, based on their familiarity with one another and similar physical characteristics.

Cali, is it, Richter asked the one that had been asking the questions. My name is Richter and this is Sly, he said, motioning to the metallic fox still hiding behind his leg. He is a construct. A blending of magic and technology. As to your other questions, I think it would be best if we continued this conversation somewhere else. All I can say is that there is a strong likelihood that I am being pursued by those that would do me, and anyone that is with me, harm.




 
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:20 AM
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Jullianna Frille
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Of COURSE he said her name first, she thought, though it was her who gave him her name to say in the first place. Jules looked at Cali with a frown.
 

It had been her idea to get up and personal with Richter. Cali wanted to play a joke on him, and probably still was planning something like that. Jules wanted to see if there were muscles to go with the beard. But, alas, he was kind of average. Halvar could have mopped the floor with him.

Jules slid her sword back in its sheath. A darker expression came over her at the recent thoughts. "There's nobody around for a ways, Richter. Not that you would know. You've been stomping around in circles like you are pacing out a treasure map. Is that what you're up to? Is there treasure around here? And I'm Jules, by the way. Not that you care to ask." The forest had a way of bending and muting and sometimes enhancing sound. So she took a moment to stare off in the woods and
Dice Perception (listen):
1d20+6 (19)+6 Total = 25
listen just in case. But she was pretty sure she was right. He did look worried though. She shrugged and looked back at Cali and the sword half-buried in the humus at her feet.
 


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Old 06-29-2019, 09:21 AM
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Calissa Frille
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Cali went slack jawed at her sister's rambling.

"JULES!" Cali yelled at her 7 minutes youngerbaby sister. "You don't just go giving out our names to strangers!" Cali rolled her eyes at her sister, watching as she moved around the man silently.



The smirk returned to her face and she stood, pulling the sword from the ground and walking towards the human. "Jules is right, she's one hell of a tracker. If someone were close by then we'd know by now." she asked as she handed the sword back to him. "We can walk as we talk, if that would make you more comfortable. Though, it looks like you could use a rest." she added.



"Where did you get this... 'construct?'" she asked, curiously eyeing the small fox, "and is there somewhere you're heading to, or are you just heading from where you came?" The question was awkwardly phrased, but the logic was there. He seemed scared, scared enough that she had no doubt he was telling the truth about something following him.



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Old 06-29-2019, 07:59 PM
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Richter Strauss
Human Arcanist


Go ahead, Sly, Richter said as the halfling sheathed her sword. Sly wagged its tail for a moment and ran toward the sisters, hoping around in front of them, eager to get their attention.

I am sorry, it is nice to meet you Jules and you too Cali. Please forgive my rudeness, I sometimes have trouble remembering proper etiquette when a blade is pressed to my back, he said with the faintest hint of irritation. It does ease my mind to know that no one is following me, not that I would see them coming if they were, he chided himself.

Thank you, he said, taking the sword back from Cali and returning it back to its sheath. I am an arcanist, Richter said in reply to Cali's question about Sly. I study the science of magic, how it works and its applications. As he spoke, he picked up a rock and a removed what looked like a small etching device from a pouch at his belt and began making markings on the rock. This little guy, he said, rubbing Sly's head, is a creation of mine, a blending of magic and technology.

As to where I am going, I suppose there is no point in hiding, is the Allfather's cabin. I have a request I must make of him. Neither of you happen to know where it is located, do you?


 
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Old 06-30-2019, 12:40 AM
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Jullianna Frille
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Jules beamed as she was named first ahead of Cali. She made a motion to Richter that seemed like an attempt at a curtsy from someone who had never actually been taught how to do one. Smugly she glanced over at Cali, but her sister was too busy trying to interact with or maybe scoop up the metal fox in her arms. It was hard to tell. Either way, she missed to opportunity to rub it in. Jules looked down at Sly warily. She much preferred the living and breathing kind of fox to this guy's toy project.

She scrunched up her face in a frown and responded to him while still looking at it. "No one ever told us where it is. He always sounded to me like a spirit o' the wood. And..." She almost said their Brother's name, but stopped and looked sadly at Cali. "...I was always told the spirits o' the wood revealed themselves to you if they wanted to and not before. If there is an Allfather cabin, you may never find it, even if you are standing next to it." Halvar was full of wise words like that and Jules believed him. "Have you tried praying?" She seemed serious or at least sincere. "Who told you to go there anyway? And who are you running from?"

She looked around the area for an easy tree to climb and one that might get her above the dense canopy that shed the forest floor in green light like Gaia's blood. She found one and rubbed the bottoms of her soft boots on the bark to rough them up for better grip and looked back at Richter, letting him know she was still listening. She
Dice Athletics:
1d20+2 (3)+2 Total = 5
began to climb only to find the nearest branches were rotten and gave way almost immediately. She spat after dropping back unceremoniously to the ground.
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Old 06-30-2019, 08:57 AM
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Calissa Frille
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A pained look spread across Cali's face as the telepathic words her sister said reached her. The words took any of the awe she was feeling over the creation away, replacing it with sorrow.



Cali sighed. "We've been searching these woods for the past two months, looking for any sign of our brother or the Night Terror. We haven't stumbled across the Allfather's cabin," she hesitated, realizing that she revealed more information that she normally would have provided. "We can try to help though, perhaps he'll be able to point us in the right direction as well, once we find him."



The smug smile reappeared on her face and she stuck her tongue out at her twin sister. She pat the metallic creature on the head before standing and shifting the weight of her pack across her shoulders. "Well, come on then. We're not going to find anything sitting around here." She started walking back the way she came, away from where the man had been running. Her footfalls were as soft as morning dew among the dense forest floor.


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Old 06-30-2019, 09:52 AM
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Richter Strauss
Human Arcanist


Hmph, I am not keen on the idea of trying to find something that only finds you, but I have few options left to me. And no, I have not tried praying. That is something I do not do much of these days, Richter said, a touch of pain and loss in his voice.

He bent down and picked up another rock and began etching markings on this one as before. He looked up at Cali's words.

Searching for your brother are you, he asked. I don't know anything about this Night Terror, but perhaps we can help each other. Help me find this cabin and I will do what I can to help you find you brother.

Richter finished what he was etching on the second rock and returned his tool to his pouch. For you both, he said to Cali and Jules. A gift to commemorate our chance meeting.

He held out and a hand to each of them. Sitting in the center of his palm were one of the rocks he had been making etchings on. Now the image of a perfectly rendered yellow rose rises from the stone and hovers there in place. It is artifice, he said, looking at Jules, but that does not mean there is not beauty to be found there.

Yes, Richter replied to Cali's insistence that they set out. We have remained idle long enough. He grabbed his staff that he had rested against a tree and said Sly, keep watch for trouble. Both eyes open this time.

With that, Sly hopped in place excitedly a few times before disappearing into the brush, keeping Perception Check:
Dice Roll:
1d20+4 (1)+4 Total = 5
watch in the area around the group for danger.

Ready when you are



 
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Old 06-30-2019, 11:13 AM
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Jullianna Frille
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Jules nodded slowly as if some unspoken words had passed her and her sister. She became distant, sullen even, as Cali spoke. Her fingers combed through the feathered flights of the arrows on her back as she stared into the woods. Cali's words sounded of hope, both those to him and her. Jules carried a completely different silent demeanor.

"Help me find this cabin and I will do what I can to help you find you brother." the arcanist had offered.

"The Great Night Terror," she said flatly. "Help us find him. Our brother will be there." She avoided her twin's eyes and instead watched the man fidget with the stone in his hand. The knit brow of seriousness eventually gave way to curiosity. She glanced at her sister and blushed. And then he held out his hands to them and offered his gifts.

Jules face transformed to wonder and she slowly walked forward as if being pulled by unseen strings. Her blue eyes twinkled in amazed joy. The yellow rose hovered almost translucent above the stone, shedding small arcane motes that drifted and popped back out of existence. She looked up to the man, her face taking on an ever deeper crimson hue, and then back down at his creation. Her small hands reached out and took the stone, a thumb temporarily obscuring the glyph and causing the image to fade. "Oh." She flinched and spread her fingers and the image reappeared. A giggle escaped her involuntarily.

The halfling looked back up at Richer and all of a sudden she was hugging his legs and pressing her cheek against the folds of the brown clothing at his hip. The hug went on for a bit too long and Cali had to pry her away.

Jules mouthed a silent Thank you as she was pulled back. It took Cali taking the lead into the forest to break Jules's eye contact with the man. "Hold up! You couldn't lead a river to the ocean," she said and dashed off to join her sister and the construct.
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Last edited by UngainlyFool; 07-01-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 06-30-2019, 11:47 AM
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Calissa Frille
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Cali's smile stayed on her face as she turned to address the human. Before she could even register what he was offering, Jules had herself wrapped around his waist.

As soon as she saw that, her face took on the same crimson hue as her sister's, embarrassed for the both of them.



She lightly ran back to Jules, accepting the rock with a barely noticeable movement, putting it in her pocket before grabbing Jules by the arm. She pulled, but Jules was quite a bit stronger than she was and her foot slipped on the leaves below her. She landed on her butt, and got up, brushing the dirt off of it lightly before grabbing her brother's bandana that was tied around Jules' neck.

"Come on," she said, laughing out loud this time.



"I'm so sorry," she said to Richter, a blush lingering in her cheeks, accentuating her copper hair.

With her sister finally under control, she turned back in the direction that they had been headed. She retrieved the small stone from her pocket and swiped her finger back and forth over it, the flower appearing and disappearing over and over. A huge grin betrayed her otherwise calm demeanor, revealing the palpable excitement emanating from her.

As she did, she heard Jules running up behind her, teasing about Cali's own lack of tracking skills.

"Hmph, water always rolls downhill," she said. In an instant, and before Jules' could react, a decent sized branch lifted off of the forest floor. Her sister's small foot caught on it and Cali stopped to stand at the top of the hill, watching Jules roll the rest of the way down.

"Huh," she said teasingly between giggles, "turns out you do too." Cali ran down the hill, still laughing, after her twin and the strange little fox.



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Last edited by DaysUntold; 06-30-2019 at 11:57 AM.
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  #15  
Old 06-30-2019, 12:54 PM
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Richter Strauss
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Richter's look of surprise at Jules' unexpected hug turned to a concerned smile, his age showing itself by the lines appearing at the corner of his eyes when he did. He could only image the pain the girl must have gone through, or perhaps still is, to have reacted so dramatically to such a simple act of kindness. Although he had not intended it, he already felt himself becoming protective over his two new acquaintances. As the hug wore on, he gave the girl a gentle pat on the had.

It was not until Cali began physically removing her that Jules finally released her grip. Then, just like that, the two of them returned back to their normal mischievous demeanor and began heading off down the nearby hill. Even Sly seemed content to run along after the girls.

Richter couldn't help but shake his head and smile, re-shoulder his pack, and begin making his way after the two halflings leading the way.



 
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