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Character Count: 101
Ml: 48 - Fml: 51 - Oth: 2
OR - 14 | R - 17 | H - 47 | G - 23

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Season: Autumn

With the cooling season of Autumn, Ice-types are starting to re-emerge from their hibernation as Ghost-, Normal-, and Flying-types swarm in the largest numbers they will all year. In comparison, wild Fire- and Bug-type populations are falling in number. The migration of Flying-types to the south in search of warmer weather has also started, as Istin City starts to re-freeze and Autumn marks the beginning of Cypwater Point's rainy season. Handlers and Rogues alike should be wary: Ghost-type powers are boosted during this season, at the cost of being more prone to their triggers.

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 The Lost Rose, Kalliope Tamsin | Closed
Korosensei
 Posted: Aug 2 2017, 09:01 AM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
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Total Posts: 1614
Member No. 1923
Joined on 24-February 15.


Characters:
Alexander Fitzgerald | Emilie Chartoire

Awards: 5




Kalliope Tamsin, Level 6


Prompt:
QUOTE
The news has exploded all over Doran Village that there have been sightings of a roselia on the loose. The pokemon apparently escaped from a certain Renard Hale, who has requested the help of the Guardians in finding his prized pokemon. The Order has also taken an interest in the rare pokemon, and is sending a team of their own to try to obtain the roselia for themselves. Join the Guardians or the Order to try to find the elusive roselia by any means possible. Bonus points for fleshing out the roselia's personality/making it more than just the object of the mission.


Spawn Pool

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/116horsea.png
Swift Swim and Damp
Aurora Beam and Muddy Water

http://files.jcink.net/uploads/harperregion/sprites/215sneasel.png
Inner Focus and Keen Eye
Spite and Throat Chop

Kalliope's catch level: 1-21

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Past Characters


Korosensei's Post Count Rewards
Caledonia picture by August! Alexander and Casper sprites by Mackay!
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Kaia
 Posted: Aug 3 2017, 10:40 PM
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Top Handler
*****
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Total Posts: 374
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.


Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3




Night well and truly set in. The birds settled into their roosts. Late summer warmth permeated the earth beneath the woman's bare feet. Hard packed dirt scuffed her soles, but no stray stones cut into her calloused heels. Rather, loose dirt sifted between her toes and raised a faint whiff of dry earth and stale grass. Before her lay a woven carpet of thick fleece, bleached and dyed into a pattern of vivid greens and warm browns. On two sides, toggles were woven to hold the shape as a whole, alternating colors from rich evergreen to pale maple and near every color between. No more than three feet in length or width, it rested on a somewhat flat patch of dirt and gravel, carefully swept of loose debris. Just beyond the edges of the carpet four candles sat, each centered against one side of the carpet. Arms outspread and palms skyward, the woman lifted her chin until her neck melded in perfect alignment with the rest of her body in one smooth arc.

Deepening her breath, the woman expanded her diaphragm and stretched. In a resounding exhale, she began to sing. The sound originated in the belly and rose from the throat in a soft, soothing tone. With each breath the volume increased. Soon she swayed side to side, voice alight with ululations. There were no words in her song. Rather, she followed the tempo of her own heartbeat and bound it to the rhythm of her song. Her voice reached a crescendo and she stepped unseeing into the center of the carpet before her. She knelt, arms barely swaying, on the soft cloth. Bare knees and shins pressed into the familiar weave. A thin, multi-fold dress wrapped around her. The coloring melted into the blackness of the night, unblemished by even the faintest kiss of the moon's luminous light. True, above the sky was awash in stars--the moon herself nowhere to be found. The song continued, its tempo quickening to the rapid pounding of her heart.

With one hand, the woman struck a light. A pungent scent of sage cut the air. Wisps of smoke rose in beautiful patterns, unseen in the darkness. She pressed the tip of the incense stick to the candle at her fore. Slow seconds passed as smoke curled around the wick and disappeared. Then, as her voice dropped do a deep bass, the wick caught and flame flickered to light. Her fingers drifted, gliding the incense to the candle at her right. In this, her song changed to something fast and twisting. Her throat contorted to capture the sounds as the second candle burst into being. She twisted deftly without moving from her place and lit a third candle. The forth sent trembling cries through her, building into a crash and fettering out, only to rise again. Lit by candlelight, the clearing bloomed in golden colors. Along the edges of the light's reach, something twirled and swayed. Blue, almost to bled to black in the weak light, then a flash of green as vivid as the woman's dress. Once each candle was lit, the woman tucked the end of the incense stick into a carefully bored hole along the rim of a wide bowl. Within lay a handful of dried herbs, cradling something oblong in shape.

To her right, between the candle and her thigh, sat a short blade. No more than four inches in length yet sharpened on either side, its simple handle was embossed with a single leaf enclosed by a circle. To her left rested a hand tool, curved like the lips of a lily with a tapered tip. On its handle rested a matching insignia. She took each in hand and rose, candlelight throwing her curves in sharp relief. The hem of her dress swayed as she began to dance, following the tempo of her own voice. She stepped past the candle before her and began to dance, slowly at first, then all but leaping into motion. She twisted and whirled, always circling the candles and carpet while leaving enough space not to disturb the sensitive flames. Blade and shovel flashed in the light, glittering their own intricate dance. She rounded the makeshift alter one final time, then bent low to retrieve the almond shaped stone in the center of the bowl. As she did so, she broke the tip off the incense and dropped it into the bowl of herbs, catching them on fire with ease. She cradled the stone in one palm, balancing it between her skin and the athame. She danced a counterpoint to her last circuit and the small creature mimicking her dance sashayed into the pool of light.

Together, woman and pokemon reached the northernmost corner of their ritual space and bent low. The pokemon, her red and blue petals desaturated in the pale light, took the stone in her grip and began to sing to it, in much the same song as her handler. The woman took the athame and raised it above her head, then slashed at the earth before her. Once more she knelt in the dirt, her dark skin made darker against the earth beneath. She slashed again, and a third time before laying the blade aside. Carefully, lest she disturb the six pointed star she carved into the earth, she dug the tip of the small shovel into the center of the star. Each scoop of earth was left at each tip of the star, one after another, until it was deep enough to fit a fist and half her wrist. From a sash tied and hidden in the skirt of her dress, she retrieved a weighty pouch, tightly bound by a leather thong. Her song took on a softer, sweeter sound as she unraveled the fabric and poured half into the hole. The pokemon before her, having raised the stone into the air and met her handler's voice with a high, lilting alto of her own, dropped the stone into the earth with perfect grace of motion. The woman upended the pouch and put it away, then moved to bury the stone, working backwards from the star points to retrieve the loose earth she'd scooped away.

Once complete, the pokemon patted down the mound with her tiny feet, singing and swirling. The woman rose and began to dance once more, the choreography exactly reversed from the dance she'd completed earlier but in opposite tempo--beginning fast, then slowing to a gentle pace. All the while her voice rose and fell with the invocation of each element. First water, with its roiling waves, crashing against the shore in quick staccato. The soft, breathy air sung with faint but beautiful notes. Whirling in a tempest of song, she sang the brutal yet beautiful song of fire. She finished by kneeling at the northern candle, singing the deep, unending song of the earth and of growing things. She blew out the candles one by one, then took the bowl of ash and incense and carried it to the buried stone. She poured the ash into the earth and mixed it with her fingers, her song coming to an end. The pokemon at her side, trilling her own final notes, let her roses drop to her sides. The woman smiled and closed her eyes, speaking softly the ritual's closing. Lost in her devotion, the woman didn't hear a scuffle of boots over gravel, nor the confused note of her roselia's piqued inquiry, cut off in a muffled shriek.

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Namid and his Travels
PCR

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Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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Kaia
 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 04:50 PM
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Top Handler
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Total Posts: 374
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.


Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3




Major Players


Day One
Very hot. Mildly humid, few clouds.
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What was it with hot weather and wet dirt? Kalliope had spent time in Navdia, Cypwater, Fough Place. Now Doran? Everywhere she went it was hot. Sometimes she missed the cool northern mountains. What she wouldn't give for a dip in a river. Instead she trudged onward, up route seven toward Doran village. Kalliope estimated they were only a mile from the village now. The sun hung high in the sky, beating down around them. On either side hills rose, boxing in the road quite nicely. Kalliope got a good look at what tiered farming looked like. Five or six rows upward to the top, cut deep into the earth at perfect parallels. To one side, an entire tier was dedicated to tomatoes. Some as big as fists, others barely the size of a walnut. The scent of earth and fertilizer permeated the air. Above it was a tier made up fully of fresh-cut grass. Kalliope imagined it had recently been sheared by a few herbivore pokemon. One above that lay squash in varying shapes and colors. The closer she got to the village, the more farms she discovered. Vegetation surrounded her at every side.

It was making Kazimir hungry. His stomach rumbled audibly and he pretended not to notice. Kali patted his head. "We'll get food soon, don't worry. I bet we can find plenty of produce for cheap. Think they have pears and apricots?" She asked conversationally. They chatted the rest of the way into town, distracting Kazimir a bit from his hunger. Kali and he had finished off the remains of her dried berries and venison that morning since they knew they'd get a chance to restock. The village itself opened up quite strangely. Around one corner of farmland built into the side of a hill, the ground flattened for miles. Buildings made of sandstone and clay blended nicely with the natural stained dirt beneath, giving it a bit of a camouflage. Behind the village Kalliope made out a mountain range with strange lines running across it. Kalliope stopped in her tracks.

The hills leading up to the village were only small crops. The mountains behind the village were covered nearly to the top in tiers, filled with every color imaginable. Every fourth tier lay empty, giving the mountain a strange lined pattern from afar. She couldn't even begin counting the number of crops. "This is what they call ambitious." She muttered. Shaking off her surprise, Kalliope continued on. The route led straight into town in one wide, flattened path. Little grass grew along the edges of the route itself and what did manage to grow was yellowed and crispy. The heat hadn't been kind to the cheat grass and weeds. Perhaps that was for the best.

Kalliope hadn't anticipated a large city - it being Doran village and all - but it was a bit bigger than she'd anticipated. The mountains had a hand in that but it was also the vast number of buildings and homes she passed as she followed the road. She expected maybe ten or fifteen homes and half a dozen buildings--there were more than that here, though not near a hundred buildings all told. Each building blended seamlessly with one another in color and styling, raised quite high even for single level dwellings. They towered around her. A frown deepened on her face. Kazimir. Do you notice anything--weird? She asked. Darting back and forth, her eyes searched her surroundings. Nothing technically out of the ordinary. Not many people were out and about but it was the hottest time of day. Not to mention most people were probably tending the fields.

What do you mean? Looks like another boring human dwelling to me. Kazimir harrumphed.I don't know. People are quite distrusting here. I sense...not fear. Something else. Odd. Kazimir joined her in frowning. They walked two more streets before Kali figured it out. The buildings. They're all facing the wrong way. She snapped her fingers.

I don't get it.

Kalliope gestured to the building to her right. She smelled rich dough and something vaguely sweet, like dates. Look. There's no door on this side. No door at all facing the street. Just blank walls. I can't see the bakery entrance from here. It was true. Every building they passed gave a blank face rather than an entrance way. Strange. Doesn't it deter customers if they can't see what each place is offering? She wondered. Kali rounded the corner of the building that must be a bakery. She was correct. The first corner led her to another blank wall but the back side of the building opened up with a little stair leading to a front door made of pale white wood. There were two signs nailed above it. One was written in a strange formation but the second read: Twice Baked Delights in calligraphy. Kalliope entered.

Can you get me some meat buns or something? Kazimir requested. His chin lifted and nostrils flared appreciatively. On second thought, get me one of everything. The front room was surprisingly small, perhaps eight feet long and six feet wide. Enough space to step inside, take three steps forward and reach out to touch the counter. A single pane of clear glass covered a shelf full of delicious baked goods. There were about six folks already inside. All of them bronze skinned with dark hair. One of them had his hair cut quite short, near the edges of his ears. Everyone else wore their hair long. Braids, updos, even a woman with an extravagantly designed hairstyle. Kalliope kept to the back, hands at her sides. Kazimir looked around. Small place. You can afford one of everything right? Kalliope didn't answer at first.

Instead she listened. The man at the front of the line was older with a rough voice. He spoke low and quickly to the woman behind the counter. She moved with efficiency, wrapping up each item as he named it and packing it away in a small basket. When they exchanged coins and moved to the next customer, Kalliope met the man's eyes. Dark, deeply embedded rings around the corners. His long hair hung in a single braid down his back and only three or four chunks had gone gray, giving him a very distinguished salt and pepper look. He frowned at Kali and moved the fingers of his free hand in a quick sign. He exited and Kali listened to the next guest in line. She noticed immediately they weren't speaking any form of Common she'd ever heard before. Or if they were, their accents were so thick she couldn't decipher it.

Kali also noticed something else. The remaining four people in line didn't speak to one another. They didn't fidget or squirm or glare at the next person in line. If this bakery were in Harper's Pass, there would be jostling and shouting above one another for the best pastry. Here they were patient and respectful. Kalliope filed this away for later consideration and moved up another step. The woman in front of her finally got her turn. She flicked her hair over one shoulder and spotted Kalliope. Her eyes narrowed for a split second, rimmed in dark khol to accent the dark wells of her irises. Her lip curled for a second then she turned toward the baker, muttering something. Kalliope strained to hear it. The woman behind the counter said something long and fluid but Kalliope heard the word again.

Gadji.

The women's conversation was a bit longer than the men's as the baker packed items into the woman's basket and held it out. The monetary exchange took longer this round. Kalliope didn't hear the word again but she noticed the way the women looked at her as their transaction ended. "Hello. I was hoping to buy a few pastries? These two, that meat stuffed pastry, and then two of those date loafs." She pointed at each item as she requested them. The baker behind the counter didn't speak a word to her. She gathered up all the items and set them on the counter. No basket for the strange girl, apparently. Kalliope reached into her pocket to get her coin purse out and the woman followed her hand motions. The woman made another weird sign with her own fingers.

Kalliope poured a few coins into her own palm and held them out. "Is this enough?" The woman swiped the gold, counted them, tested them against one another by scraping one gold coin against the others, then shook her head. Kali doled out another five coins and handed them over. The woman checked each of these, nodded, and turned her back on Kalliope. Not a word was spoken. Shrugging, Kalliope gathered the pastries into her pack and left. They reached the road once more - empty yet again - and each took a pastry to munch on. Hateful woman. Who did she think she was treating you, a Guardian of the region, like that? You didn't do anything wrong. I think she over charged you too. Kazimir complained. They followed the road in hopes of recognizing a Guardian outpost or something similar. It was strange, I'll admit. I'm not sure what they were talking about exactly but they were talking about us. Gadji. I wonder what it means.

Is that what she called you? Horrid woman. We should go back and call her out. Kalliope tried to soothe Kazimir's rage. If Kalliope was protective over Kazimir, he was equally as possessive and strong enough to do something about it to a mere human woman. It would do no good. We'd cause more problems than we would help. Let's just find a place to stay for the night.

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

user posted image
Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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Kaia
 Posted: Dec 4 2017, 11:27 PM
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Top Handler
*****
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Total Posts: 374
Member No. 2161
Joined on 29-December 15.


Characters:
Kalliope Tamsin, Namid Waagosh'Giizis

Awards: 3




The pair traveled further into town. Few roads converged on their own, giving much of a straight shot into the center of town. While they walked, they snacked. They split the meat pastry between them, both enjoying the spicy bite on their tongues. Further in, they ran into more villagers. For the most part, these people avoided the strangers on sight by either passing to the opposite side of the street or casting their gazes down and away until the strangers passed. Kali noted this but didn't comment aloud or to Kazimir mind to mind. She knew better than to pique Kaz's ire. For all that Kazimir considered himself aloof, his temper was difficult to quell. Instead, Kalliope pointed out other notes of interest. Once again they were in a hot, desert like dwelling in the middle of summer--not exactly the best timing.

Kali drew Kaz's attention to the sticky humidity much like Cypwater but without the incessant bugs and swamp stink. No matter how beautiful the bayous around Cypwater were during full bloom and high water, the stench of stagnant water and growing things wasn't pleasing in any way. Too, she motioned to the way the buildings were built. Not only are they built strangely facing, but look at the structures. Aren't they much like the ones we found in Navdia? Kalliope inquired. Kazimir made a rude sound, noncommittal. Kalliope chuckled. They're made of stone, but not just stone but some weird mixture of sand and mortar. Back home, everything is made with brick or wood. They don't have enough wood here for that to be viable, and though they probably have plenty of stone and materials for brick, they choose to make everything out of this strange stubbled stuff. No seams, have you noticed? Kalliope continued to draw Kazimir's attention away from the passersby.

Kalliope made note of a few things about these people. First, they had similar bearing and coloring. Almost none of them were fair or light of hair. Too, their hairstyles were unique. Out of a hundred people, no more than three had their hair cropped shorter than shoulder length. Two of those were young enough to barely be out of childhood. Everyone, long or short haired, pleated or worn loose, wore harsh parts. One of the more impressive hair styles she'd seen was one of a man into his thirties or so - hard to tell for certain - in two long, thick braids that brushed his upper thighs. Kalliope had never seen hair so long, nor so thick. She kept her awe and curiosity contained just enough to keep Kazimir on other topics but she made note of these people. Kalliope knew she stuck out like a purple pikachu with her copper hair and tanned - but fair - skin. Kazimir, she noticed, was less spited by the passersby. In fact, some held a certain interest in him.

Happening upon the market must have been the design of the village itself. Surely they wanted commerce to go straight to the marketplace rather than through the solely residential locations. There were stalls topped with thin, airy tarps and carts pushed by docile tauros or on one rare occasion, a rhyhorn. But different from a usual marketplace, there were no hawkers selling their goods. In fact, the whole of the place was a quiet affair. Or would have been if Kali hadn't noticed a shrill, desperate voice raised among the rest. Curious, she followed the road further on and turned at the intersection. Beyond lay a simple, if overlarge well and a crowd of people. Perhaps not a "crowd" as such would be found in other cities. But a good twenty or thirty villagers milled around the well, which was covered by a sort of three sided shelter with a peaked roof to discourage bird pokemon roosting. At the fore of the well was a woman, begging on her knees. The villagers kept a fair distance away, though many carried pails or buckets on sturdy poles. Even the young children were schooled into silence by their elders and kept their eyes averted from the woman. .

Kalliope's face tightened. This wasn't simply a beggar woman trying to get coin for food. No, despite the muck caking her dress and the sweat- and dirt-track lines all over her arms and face, despite the wild tangle of her thickly curled hair, she was well fed and beautiful. Kalliope could see the sumptuous curves of her hips and chest, the narrow line of her waist and the thick muscles of her thighs and arms. Even her throat, bare but for a stone on a leather thong, was supple. Her mouth was wide and generous, her nose narrow and unbroken. But her pleading eyes and choked voice took Kalliope most of all. Kali strode through the villagers, parting them as her strangeness forced distance, and knelt by the woman. She grasped Kalliope's arm with a vice grip, eyes wide and bloodshot. Her voice, hoarse and raspy, held such sorrow and desperation, Kalliope's own breath caught.

"Please, please I beg of you, help me!" She squeezed Kali's forearm, her own limbs trembling. "No one will speak to me. They spurn me and spit on me. I beg of you, in the name of Shaymin, in the name of gentle Celebi. Help me." She began to sob, great wracking of chest and throat. Kalliope took the woman in her arms and held her, ignoring Kazimir's complaints and the thick smell of human odor. She held close the sobbing woman while she broke down, and Kalliope felt more than sensed the woman's exhaustion. Trembling arms, ribs pulsating with the thrum of her heart and her heaving. Dark bags marred the woman's eyes, and tear stains lay raw paths on her cheeks. Kalliope pulled the woman to her feet and guided her away from this place of gathering, away from the angry stares and jeering children, cursing at them in a strange tongue. Always, always Kalliope heard the word spit as if from utter disgust. Gadji, gadji, gadji.

In the shade of a nearby building, its stippled wall a rasp against her back, Kalliope settled the woman on a jutting bench and pulled out her water skin. She encouraged the woman to drink and clear her throat. "Miss, I don't know what's happened to you but I promise I'll do everything in my power to help." She took the woman's hand and held it, reassured by the return squeeze. "Let me take you somewhere you can rest. Anyone can tell you're exhausted beyond words. Fill me in then." Kalliope took the woman by her elbow and led her away from the market area, deeper into the village. She hoped to find something like an inn or a bath house, anything. The lack of signs and doorways made the search difficult. "My name is Kalliope by the way. I'm a guardian from Harper's pass." She didn't press the point but the and you? was hard to ignore. The woman coughed when she tried to speak, and Kali offered her more to drink.

"Chandra." She admitted once her thirst sated. "Thank you."

"Think nothing of it. Here, let's try this place. There's something hanging around the corner shaped like a bed." Actually, it was in the shape of a snorlax but someone had taken creative liberty to the extreme, crafting it not rotund but square and angular in shape. Within was a bright eyed gentleman with a silvery queue bound at his back, dropping low to his waist. His dark, wrinkled skin was much like the guts of a walnut--deep recesses, crags and shadows. Kalliope noted how much lighter he paled compared to Chandra's rich black skin. The man didn't glare or spit like many other villagers had done but he did make a strange sign with his fingers before stepping forward.

"Welcome. My name is Dag. I run this establishment." His crisp tones tried to hide his accent and only partially succeeded. "Rooms are fifteen gold each, and another five for accommodations." He looked the type to take more where he thought he could get it, for all his kindly old man guise. Kalliope stared at him, trying to pinpoint that gut instinct. His eyes. That's what it was. They stared not at Kalliope or Chandra but through them, or even right above their heads. Kali shivered. These people were strange, but it was the danger they posed that concerned her more than their ways.

"A single room for the evening, preferably with two beds. I'll take the added accommodations only if they include meals and possibly a bath." Kalliope returned, arm still tightly wound around Chandra's waist to keep her steady. Kazimir watched the innkeeper, his eyes hidden but his intent sharp enough to burn holes in the man's face. Dag's mouth twisted for a split second, then widened once more in that mockery of a smile which didn't touch his eyes.

"I supply the food and the bedding, but there is a nice bathhouse up the road. Seadra's Hot Springs, it's called. I can offer you a token for ten gold. They will give you every service you require and more." His teeth, stained and crooked, flashed in another smile. "Ten each." He punctuated each word with an emphasis on their ending sounds, making the phrase more along the lines of teN-NeeCHah. It was weird enough to cause Kali to hesitate. She considered this offer. No doubt it was a high price for a token not nearly worth as much, if they didn't use every service. And Kali would bet a hundred gold it was a one shot deal, not meant to last more than one service or session. She shook her head.

"No thank you. We'll do fine on our own. Here's twenty-five for the night." She counted out the coin quickly as Dag approached, then dumped them all into his hands. He was polite - or greedy - enough not to scrape one coin against the whole right there in her face. No doubt he would do so as soon as they went up to their rooms. He escorted them to a second story bedroom with a single narrow window high on the wall, barely wide enough for a spearow to squeeze through. The floor was, unsurprisingly, made of the same stuff as the walls with a single threadbare rug tossed over the dusty stone. Dag left them there with a promise of food in a few minutes. Kalliope settled Chandra in the bed away from the window, to give her the cooler side of the room, and sat beside her.

"We have a little while before he returns. Tell me what happened." Kali sensed a deep concern in the woman, something she held close to her belly where she wrapped both arms, now free of Kali's grip. Kazimir, sensing this to be a long story, hopped off her shoulder and went about exploring the room. Chandra stared at the far wall, though her eyes unfocused. Her lips were chapped from the sun and dehydration, and the skin of her cheeks was rough and chafed.

"It was two nights ago, the night of the new moon. I was performing a blessing ritual of renewal and--" She paused. Kalliope had made a small sound in the back of her throat, one of uncertainty and wariness. "I am of the Balican faith. Rituals are necessary for my devotion. I understand your consternation, but I promise I was doing nothing untoward." Kalliope patted Chandra's hand and nodded. "It's an important ritual I'm bound to perform each new moon, though I was--nevermind, the point is I was performing the rites with my familiar," She explained. "Someone attacked me from behind and stole my Cahaya away from me." Tears welled in her eyes, hot and fast. They fell down well carved raw paths over high cheekbones and down a slender throat.

"Slow down. Go back to the beginning. You were performing a ritual during the new moon. Where were you? I'm assuming it was nighttime?" Kalliope pressed. Chandra nodded.

"I'm a traveling priestess, you see." At Kalliope's blank look, Chandra elaborated. "Many of my people choose to stay in one place and gather a following to strengthen their devotion and spread their faith. I, among a few others, choose to travel Harper spreading my tales and offering gifts to the earth. I'm of the earth branch, specifically the Shaymin path. My skills lie in growing things and in herbal remedies. I offer them to strangers in kindness and in faith, though I doubt anyone here would accept me." There was no bitterness in her voice. Kalliope was surprised, but didn't press. "This is the first I've come to Doran. I was in the crescent mountains not far from here, no more than two days' travel. Since this is a place of growing things, I chose to plant an apricot tree in the crease of two hills. They're hardier than peach trees, and less temperamental than citrus trees. I was out in the wilderness, just past midnight as the murkrow cries."

Kalliope was fascinated. She'd heard of the Balican faith but she knew more of Arceus' beliefs, as to the strong following in Harper's Pass. She didn't know they performed rituals or dedicated to things such as earth or Shaymin, who was a legendary pokemon but not one ever seen by a living soul. At another time, Kali would ask a million questions. She stilled only due to the urgency and worry in Chandra's voice. "I understand. You were alone in the mountains. Er, with your familiar." She fumbled over the description, wondering what Chandra implied. Chandra saved her asking.

"Familiar, as in a pokemon of the path. As my path is earth, I choose grass and bug types as my familiars. I'm required to own a leafeon," She smiled faintly, as if remembering some long past memory. "But beyond that, my companions are mine to choose."

"So someone stole your leafeon?" Kali asked dubiously. It wasn't meant to insult. Surely any of the eevee line was rare, thanks to the way they bred and the number of evolutions they could go. But to attack a priestess over a leafeon? Kalliope wasn't convinced.

Chandra's voice firmed. "I said I was required to own one, not that he is my only familiar." Her tone softened a little. "Ever since I was young, my parents knew I wasn't destined to follow their path. When I was five years old, I was blessed with the discovery of a budew fresh hatched in the valley. She became my first and most precious familiar. My Cahaya." Sorrow filled her. Kalliope took both Chandra's hands in her own and squeezed. A sharp rap on the door jolted her to her feet. Kalliope's hand - gripping the hilt of her blade - retreated to her side when she remembered Dag. She fetched the door open and took the two platters heavily laden with food. Bread, soft butter, and a clay bowl full of some sort of cold soup, as well as a few summer fruits scattered on the empty space. She thanked him and closed the door in his face, returning to Chandra's side. First she arranged one of the trays at Chandra's side and encouraged her to eat. Kali sat back in her place, putting her own tray untouched beside her.

"So you and Cahaya," Kali barely wrapped her tongue around the name, "were in the middle of performing a ritual. What was the ritual?" Both from curiosity and to draw Chandra from sadness, Kali changed direction of the conversation. Chandra spoke around a mouth full of grape seeds.

"Each new moon Balicans are bound to offer life to the Balance--the balance of the world, ourselves, and our Path. I plant seeds, depending on the season. Some choose to breed pokemon, some choose to craft something of their own two hands, or to nurture life in some other way. There are many courses the river runs, and not all will twist in the same pattern." Chandra shrugged. "It wasn't anything new, the planting. But I was testing a new ritual song I adapted from some very generous bulwari stories, and the dancing and invocation take much concentration. Cahaya and I dance counterpoint to one another, it's our way of communing with the Balance. I was so wrapped up in the steps I didn't know myself observed. Neither, it seems, did Cahaya." Chandra's throat clenched and she swallowed hard, forcing her hands to return the food she'd attempted to eat. It sat heavy in her stomach like stones.

"When did they attack? How did they do it?" Kali asked.

Chandra tilted her head. "It wasn't so much that they attacked...one moment I was bent over the seedling, singing life into it. The next I was on the ground. It was dark. I put my candles out to better connect with the earth's voice. But I could see the forms of two shapes not far from me, and the muffled shrieking of Cahaya's voice. She cried out over and over, but my head swam and I couldn't find my balance." She scoffed, a vicious gesture of tossed head and angry lines around her mouth. "I wonder if this is their way of telling me I was wrong to seek a new voice." She shook her head, all thought gone but her concern for Cahaya. She turned to Kalliope, her dark eyes wide and sad. "I beg you to help me recover my dearest Cahaya. I cannot live without her. She is as much a part of me as breathing. Without her..." Her lower lip quivered, the rest of her sentence trapped.

Kalliope dropped to the floor on one knee, taking Chandra's hand. Her other hand went to her own heart. "Chandra, I swear to you I will find Cahaya. Give me time to seek the place where you buried your apricot pit, let me see what my hound can discover. If nothing else, I will search the mountains unstopping until Cahaya has been safely returned to you." She bowed her head, determination written in every line of her body. In the background, unheard by either human, Kazimir sighed heartily.

--------------------
Namid and his Travels
PCR

user posted image
Kalliope and her travels
Incredible sprite by Mackay!


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