Liana stood away from her companions lest someone tried to touch her again. She could still feel where that Lyra girl had grabbed her as if her hand was still there, burning her. The new one, the loud one, she didn't look of this world. Not in the way Liana did, a little feral, wild, someone who obviously didn't live the way other people lived. No, this girl looked like she wasn't of this plain of existence; a place of mystery and magic.
She was wrong, though. It wasn't too late, not by a long shot. She knew what death looked like, and this wasn't this. Not yet.
They had move fast.
"Clearly," said Liana, trying to keep calm the way she could when she could when tracking through the forest, remaining unseen, "if you really believed we were completely without hope, you wouldn't be here. And if you're just trying to make a point, no one cares, we have bigger problems to deal with."
Lyra looked at the sea witch, pain obvious on her face. "If we...stop the sickness...we..." She coughed, and the black marks slowly went back to normal. She tried to smooth down her wild braid in vain. She sighed, as if in a memory. "I don't know about you guys, but my mom would be disappointed in me if I stooped as low as stealing from others. If there's even a 0.1 percent chance of saving my friends, I'll take it."
Zhala pulled the wool cloak tighter around her shoulders, the breeze from the sea had picked up and it stung her eyes and cheeks as she looked out at the horizon. It had only been a few days since she had bought her mother's body here and let her fade into the dark waves of the ocean. It had been a quick ceremony, her body anointed with the appropriate oils and herbs and a talisman hung from her neck, granting her a safe passage into the other side. In a perfect world, she would have had time to say goodbye properly. However, the sickness had struck many in the Kingdom and healers were rare.
Zhala slowly turned away from the ocean and headed back to her mother's shop in the centre of the village. Trinkets hung in the windows, catching the sunlight, sending a rainbow of colours across the tapestries that hung on the walls. In one corner of the shop was a table with two chars either side. Her tarot table. She walked over slowly and picked up her cards, placing them in a satchel. Water, herbs, gemstones, a pendulum and a few potions along with her spell book also went in. Zhala slung the bag over her should and took in the shop one last time. It had been her home. Her mother and she had grown up here, telling fortunes, selling potions to the locals. She had loved it.
After leaving the shop and her home, Zhala headed out into the sick filled streets. Soon she was ducking out the way of a young girl who hurried past her. She almost called out but realised there was little point as the girl came face to face with the guards. [i Good luck getting through there ] She thought to herself watching the guards converse with the girl.
She used this opportunity to slip past the guards, throwing her bag over the wall and then climbing up the cobbles until she dropped down the other side. Once over the other side she saw a figure in the distance hurrying through the palace. [i That damn girl again. ] Zhala followed her until she paused at a set of doors. There were two others with her and she quickly threw up a protection spell to avoid any unwanted attacks.
[b "Save Muran?!" ] Zhala burst out, listening to the second girls comment before she made a strange groaning noise. [b "Muran is past saving and we all know it. You should take my advice, steal what you can and get the hell out of this place" ]
Lyra watched the girl walk past them. As the girl touched the doors, Lyra grabbed her shoulder."Hey waiAAH-"
Lyra grabbed her arm in pain, as black marks seemed to stretch from her fingers to her shoulder. Lara's eyes had a soft glow and welled up with tears. Lyra could feel Liana's anger, sadness, and hatred. Despite this, she kept her hand on Liana's shoulder.
"Hey, I get that you're mad, but we can't enter. The king will summon us when we need to enter. This might be our chance to save Muran-" Lyra interrupted herself with a groan of pain, before letting go of the girl's shoulder.
Liana had wondered the cobbled streets Muran for hours, handing out her limited provisions and tending to the milder ailments of the Kingdom dwellers as she moved along. People were [I dying] and there was nothing she could do; she didn't have the time.
As she go closer to the centre, the more people who seemed to need help. She hung her head low, hoping that no one would recognise her and try to call for her. She didn't want to see their faces as she walked on by, their hopelessness as she condemned them. [I There was nothing she could do].
More people still stood outside the castle gates, waiting for handouts that wouldn't come. A woman cradling a baby screamed at Liana as she pushed her way through the crowd, muttering apologies after every shove.
"There's nothing for you here," a guard informed her when she finally made her way to the front. Liana knew this to not be true: the castle kept a mountain of grain and saltfish and the like for eventualities just like this. The rich don't starve. "Go home." The guard repeated herself louder for the crowd. They didn't listen.
"No, you don't understand," said Liana, "I'm here to help."
The guard looked her up and down as if she doubted this skinny little girl could help anyone, much less a whole kingdom. After a moment of quiet contemplation, she sighed and said "fine, I'll let you in but be quick; we don't want the mob getting through."
Liana slid through the heavy oak door with he swiftness and agility of a cat. It shut behind her before she was fully inside and clipped her heal Even so, she could hear the desperate complaints coming from the other side.
There was no time to worry about it, she was already late. She power walked her way towards the throne room, not even pausing to take in the foreign opulence around her as she normally would. She didn't stop until she reached the ceiling high, gold guilded doors, wondering what it was that she was getting her self into.
But her forest was dying, her [I home] was dying. She had no choice. She pushed open the doors and stepped inside.
"True, true." Lucas set himself up near a wall and sat down as well. "Sadly, you can't expect much from anyone at all anymore..." He closed his eyes for a few seconds and thought about some things, waiting for something to happen or someone new to finally arrive.
Lyra sighed, and sat down. Bork curled up in her lap. She put away her sketchbook. "I doubt it. I'm pretty sure they're expecting more than two people." She started to pet Bork's head.
"This is quite an interesting selection you have here." Lucas said as he studied the sketches and admired the attention to detail. "I'm surprised that you were able to sketch some of these creatures so well! You're really good at it!" He hands the journal back to Lyra and begins to stretch. "So...when do you think we will be allowed into the throne room? Probably not anytime soon..."
Lyra smiled. "I'm a summoner class called a, well, caller. Sadly, my sketches take a while, so not many are in there." She takes out her sketchbook, and hands it to Lucas.
Inside the sketchbook is a multitude of ultra detailed drawings. These include Bork, griffins, a peryton, a forest drake, etc. She also has less detailed drawings of common animals like snakes, eel, ravens, vultures, etc.
"Sketched, you say?" Lucas was quite confused for a few seconds. "Could you...show their sketches to me?" He gets back up and turns towards Lyra again. "I'm quite intrigued!" Lucas thinks for a bit longer and realizes why Lyra is talking about sketches. "Oh, wait! You're a summoner, aren't you? I've read about many different mystical abilities, and I remember reading something about using sketches to summon creatures!"
Bork licked Lucas' snout. The wolf's fur shone like an orange crystal, its eyes full of energy.
"Bork's a topaz wolf, I tamed him before...well...this happened." She sighed. She was still hurt knowing that she had failed to save her friends in the forest. "Bork was one of the only creatures I managed to save. Him, and the ones that I have sketched."
"My name is Lucas Mui." He chuckled. "I expected to be the last one here after realizing how late I was..." He looks around again. "I guess I was wrong about something, too." Lucas noticed Bork and kneels down to get a get look at him. "Ah, a wolf. I don't usually see them around here."
Lyra studied the drake for a short while. She hadn't expected to see a tame dragon after the sickness fell. "Yup, I doubted anyone was gonna show up. Guess I was wrong." She laughed a bit. "I'm Lyra Shadow, what's your name?" Bork started sniffing Lucas' legs.
"Why do I have to be late on the one day the kingdom needs me?" Lucas sighed as he walked down the long, seemingly interminable hallways. Soon, he spotted the throne room doors and some girl standing next to them. "Ah, there it is. The throne room." Lucas looks down and thinks for a second. "I do believe that is where I'm supposed to go, right?"
He slowly makes his way down the last hallway and stops by the door, turning to look at the girl. "Hello, ma'am." He said. "Sorry for being late for something so important." He sighed and rubbed his forehead. "I assume that you're here because the king called out for heroes, too?"
Lyra stood in front of the throne room, bored. She had been waiting for others for a long time, and she knew she had been there for well over an hour. She wasn't very surprised, to be honest. The king was calling for what seemed to be a suicide mission!
She sighed. "I guess I might go alone..." At that moment, Bork barked at her. Lyra laughed a bit. " I get it, I'm not alone." She looked down the large hall, hoping others would appear.
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