The whole situation was starting to creep Raven out. What the hell was that thing talking about? Fucking riddles. Never got them. Whatever. That thing doesn't want to give me answers fine. I'll just keep doing whatever I want, and screw anyone else who thinks otherwise.
The shadow that had appeared attached to herself was odd at first. A couple simple movements proved it was hers. She tried to touch it, and was successful holding it's hand for a brief moment. It looked exactly like her only it was completely dark. An improvement.
The growing darkness pleased Raven, even up in the sky it was forever present. Not seeing much else for her on the deck, she decided to make her way back down towards her assigned room. She spotted Seth, talking to the Light Thrower. She gave them a bit of a look, something her shadow did not replicate as she passed by.
Alexander had to spit out a bit of water that had rushed into his mouth in the water she had thrown over him.
"Well if you want to make a rainbow you may want to try water vapor." Alexander replied, luckily since his ball was pure light instead of fire it hadn't gone out when being hit by the water. He decided he may as well create a second with his other hand just in case she did find a way to stop the other ball of light.
Seth couldn't help but grin as if he was up to something when Nydia noted he tended to show up when unexpected. He wouldn't really call sneaking around a skill, but it seemed to be his stronger point when dealing with Nydia. When asked about how "You wouldn't happen to be planning this, would you?", made him give off a small shrug.
"I plan a couple things, and I think surprising you every time might be a fun one to have." Seth began, answering the question, only to realize that it was just an attempt at getting around her more difficult thoughts.
"Well, I wouldn't call it 'obvious'. I mean, I can tell you a bit from experience that it isn't obvious until it actually happens to you. Feelings are really funny like that." Seth said, figuring Nydia needed some reassurance more than she needed his wry sense of humor. Which became slightly more obvious when he heard a splash of water as Fei had apparently splashed Alexander in an attempt to do....something. When then he noted as Raven stepped by as well, her shadowy self close behind, which seemed fitting, he guessed. Pulling his attention back to Nydia, he figured it was best to ask the important question, and see if he could help her do what she needed from there.
"Though, I think we all like to think that we will not end up in quite a few situations. I never really thought I would be representing my element in another land, but yet here I go to do so. But....regarding what you said. Is it that you can't break your vows or that you won't break your vows? I think that is probably the most important part, especially for Cale."
Alright Seth, when in Loriot's name did I get in between....Never mind. When I was a good fellow and helped Nydia home, and had that.....interesting time. I really do step into things, don't I? Well, best I can do now is be a damn good friend.
Gabriel too was somewhat damp, having been splashed by his own sphere of water as he dissipated it... Fei had startled him by yanking him off to Alexander, and disrupted his concentration. Giving the Lightdweller, whom he had met earlier, an apologetic grimace, Gabe raised a hand and siphoned the dampness out of Alexander's clothing before doing anything else. Not everyone liked the idea of being hit by water every so often.
Turning to Alexander, to whom he could freely speak, Gabriel spoke up. "Erm... I don't think it likely that the three of us can produce the result Fei requests. Largely because it's getting dark, and the light you create will probably have to be the chief focus of it... I dunno." Gabe was speculating more than anything. He was a little worried about the darkness creeping in, even with the water vapour in the thickish mist... perhaps it might be easier to give Fei what she wanted in brighter weather conditions. Probably in the morning.
Gabriel said as much to Alexander, and by extension Fei, though his thoughts turned elsewhere as he spoke. It was only the first day of the journey, but already there had been events that worried him. He wanted to talk to Seth again, perhaps in the morning... Assuming Fei didn't drag him off to practice magic with her.
Drew saw the same person he talked to earlier reemerge. "Alright, so what'd the man in charge say?" Drew never really did like waiting, despite never really doing much to occupy himself. He also hated anything resembling a bureaucratic process, so he was mildly annoyed when the response to his question was 'I need to ask someone else'. He was pretty much standing in the same spot, messing around with his shadow when the guy walked back.
"Easy there killer. The captain says it is fine for you to go on in and look about, and do whatever it is you plan on doin. Just don't go thinking that you can tamper with anything, or take anything out of there. Kind of important that we stay in the air, and I would rather not it be because we decided to let you go to the engine rooms. We clear?" The guard said, somewhat annoyed that the reward for his life was being given to someone else.
"Cause if that is damned clear, then the engines are this way. Below the decks, straight forward to the large metal-lookin door. Then you hang a right, and there ya go. And don't go disturbin the workers either. They'll keep an eye on ya, or chop off yer hands if they think you are tamperin with their engines."
Nydia fell silent for awhile as she pondered the question Seth posed to her. He was certainly diving to the heart of the matter here it seemed. As she thought about it, she came to the conclusion that it was more a matter of her pride than anything else. Few knew of the vow she made, so no one who was likely to think less of her for it would even know if she broke it. But she would know. And that might just be the worst part. She had come so close to her goal of becoming a Weaver, could she really find it in herself to throw it all away now?
"I.... It's that I won't break my vows." She finally admitted guiltily, fully aware of what the distinction meant. "I know this may seem selfish or stubborn or even cruel of me, but I simply cannot cast aside my honor so easily. How can I ask others to take me at my word if I cannot even keep the promises I make to myself? I've almost reached my goal. If I give up now, won't all my effort have gone to waste? I-" As the words poured out of Nydia's mouth faster and more frantically, she seemed to realize that she was saying more than she had really wanted to. She cut herself off abruptly and waited to see Seth's response to her outburst rather than go on rambling.
I wonder who I'm trying to convince here, Seth or myself? Perhaps I've said too much. I hope he doesn't think less of me after all this. Although, I can't say I'd blame him. Some of things I've said did sound rather selfish of me....
Seth listened, taking in all that was being said more frantically and guiltily as Nydia seemed to be trying to justify her words, making them sound better than they really were. When she suddenly went silent, Seth felt a light push come from behind, and didn't need to see that it was his shadow trying to encourage him to do...something.
Back off, Shadow. I am NOT going to step into this any deeper than this. If I give her a hug or something I....Well, she'll....I don't know, but just back off for a damned second. I just met you.
"What are you after Nydia? I mean, what is behind this vow that makes you want to avoid people like that, hunting for a goal or power or something? I mean.....Gods dammit." Seth said, cutting himself off as he realized he really wasn't sure what to say. Taking a moment to pull things back together, Seth started again.
"Lady Nydia. What do you think of Cale? Do you like him? Do you think you would enjoy being in a relationship with him? Standing by his side as he stands by yours? In fact, what do you think of me? Could you say the same for me as..."
Seth paused again, suddenly realizing that he might perhaps had been better off just hugging Nydia to reassure her than doing what he was doing. But he had come too far now to simply stop, so a determined Seth pressed on, taking a small step closer to Nydia to try and keep the conversation even more private.
"So Lady Nydia....I think perhaps it would be better for you to answer questions like those rather than holding on to some oath. But I can't claim to be anything special, I just....well, do what I can, and hope that is suitable enough."
Though she had stopped the tumult of words and emotions that were spilling out of her mouth, she could not prevent them from spinning around in her head. All the thoughts she had been putting aside or was too busy to address were flooding her mind at once. Seth seemed to be just as at a loss for the right words as she was, as he began to question the motives behind her vows but stopped himself and changed topics suddenly. Though she understood her own motives, it was difficult to put it in a way that Seth could understand. Perhaps he realized that as well and changed tactics.
As he began asking her about her feelings regarding Cale, she was quite surprised to hear Seth ask about her feelings regarding himself. She gasped slightly and her widened as they shot up to meet his. He stepped in closer to her and Nydia felt her shadow's hand on her shoulder again, as if to hold her back this time. Nydia silently removed the hand and stepped in closer as well, staring up at Seth with her head tilted slightly sideways out of curiosity. She quietly gazed up him for a moment, trying to read his face and see if he was really saying what she thought he was saying.
"I've never been in a relationship before, so I have difficulty imagining what one would be like. I don't think I can properly answer that question." Nydia answered softly, keeping her voice low to reflect the more private nature their conversation had taken. "Cale has always been kind to me. I find the way he gives every task his all and his excitement for adventure to be quite refreshing. I do like him, though I'm not quite sure what that means for me."
"I... I like you too Seth. Even when we were complete strangers, you were kind enough to go out of your way to assist me. I think you know me better than almost anyone else at the Academy." She continued, hoping that she was making sense. Having to sort out her feelings on so many matters at once was no simple task. Nydia took a deep breath before finishing what she wanted to say. "I think you are something special. Doing what you can for others is an admirable quality and while I cannot speak for others, it has been more than suitable enough for me. I don't know yet if I can bring myself to disregard my vows as you've suggested, but after this I believe I can at least give it consideration when I would not have thought to before."
If there was one thing Seth was not prepared for, it was how Nydia seemed to be watching him carefully. Under most circumstances, Seth was used to being looked at, or glared at, and usually met it with a stare of his own. But with Nydia....he didn't have an answer. He wasn't quite sure what he should do at this point, if he should stare back, or look away or something. He knew that Cale loved her, and he...wasn't sure what he felt for Nydia. He liked her because she always was so bubbly, and friendly, and being thoughtful and...
....What do I say? I mean, she keeps saying all this and I don't know what to say back! Just going to have to say SOMETHING.
Gazing slightly down at Nydia, Seth decided he should not break his gaze from Nydia. And he saw...thoughtfulness. She wanted confirmation, something from him that he wasn't sure he could offer her. He didn't think he could offer the normalcy that Cale could, or whatever it was that she was looking for. He simply was unsure of himself.
"I.....I really like you too Nydia. You say we are strangers, but I do not think...well, I think I understand you, and I would like to help you if you want. It is just....I would think Cale would treat you how you deserve to be treated." Seth said quietly, putting as much effort as he could into what he was saying.
"And...If you ever need help with your vow, or breaking it, I think you know that I will be around. Probably when you least expect it. I am sure that you will sort it all out in time. And if you need a guide, or some outside advice or...something, I will be around for you. Maybe you can surprise me at some time....I hope that kind of makes sense. I'm sorry."
Seth tried to put on a more humorous persona, but he knew it showed that he was somewhat out of his usual demeanor. There was a lot he wanted to say, and even more that he wanted to explain, but he couldn't say it here. He almost wished he were back at the Academy so he could at least go to some separate rooms to speak with her. Here, he had no idea where he could even go to have such a conversation. He truly was sorry now, and wished they would get to where they were going faster. Maybe there he could say something more.
It was dark outside now, but lights had been lit to light up the deck. Phebe prefered to be in a place she deemed secure when it was dark outside. A fight had taken place on deck not that long ago. It may be more dangerous when it was dark.
Who knew what was awake during the night?
She could hear some of the other mages talking, but it didn't interest her much. The shadow was still standing next to her. She didn't want to stay up here any longer, so she made her way towards the stairs leading down below deck.
It had been an interesting first day onboard the airship. She had gotten to use her bow again, after not doing so for months. It hung over her shoulder and she still had a few arrows left. She should ask for more arrows tomorrow, if they were going to be doing more fighting, it would be beneficial for everyone if she had more.
She had four left in the quiver. She knew how to make her own. It had been one of the requirements for staying alive in the wild, but she didn't have the materials to make arrows with her.
The shadow was following her through the hallways. That had been normal before. Now it felt like she was stalked by the dark figure walking behind her. It made her a bit uncomfortable.
They arrived at the door of her room eventually and she opened it, in the corner of her eye she could see the shadow.
"You stay here... Uh, guard the door." She told the shadow, even though she doubted it had much intelligence to begin with.
Phebe closed the door behind her and left the shadow outside, hoping it would stay there. She could protect herself if someone did try to get into her room, but she didn't want that thing standing next to her bed the whole night.
She threw herself on the bed. It wasn't until then, that she noticed how she was tired. Well, it wasn't that surprising after a fight. She had planned on reading some, but instead she laid staring at the roof.
Well, I suppose that could have been less well-received... Cale would treat me how I deserve to be treated he says.... I cannot say that he is wrong but... Perhaps I should leave it at this and think on it. Seth seems to be just as at a loss for what to say as I am. It is getting late, so a good nights sleep may help clear our heads.
Seth's sudden attempt at humor did strike Nydia as a bit unnatural, but it was true enough that it got a light giggle out of her. "Yes, it isn't exactly fair if you're the one surprising me all the time. I do believe I shall have to have my revenge one of these days." She replied with a small smile. "I think that shall be my goal for next time. Speaking of next time, I think this conversation may have to be postponed until then. I'm glad we had this chance to talk, but I fear the events of today have left me quite tired." She continued, having to stifle a yawn as she did so which served to emphasize her point.
Nydia was about to say goodbye when something Seth had said came back to her and made her realize something. They had both agreed that he knew her quite well, but now that she thought of it she knew next to nothing about Seth himself. It didn't seem fitting of Nydia to take so much of his time with her problems and not give anything back. "You know... I appreciate your advice thus far and your offer for more in the future, but these sort of things should go both ways, don't you think? Should you have a problem I can be of assistance with, do not hesitate to seek me out. I will be happy to do what I can." She told him, taking a step back towards the stairs down to their rooms.
"I think this is where I must bid you good night. However, I'd like to thank you for going out of your way to speak with me tonight. I... know I may have said some things that made things more complicated than they needed to be, but... Oh, I'm rambling again." Nydia stopped herself, and forced herself to end things before she went too far again. She put on her bright smile and bowed much more deeply than usual. "Good night, Seth. And thank you again."
Drew had walked down to the engine room, checking out the machines in front of him. He strode slowly, taking the time to examine every moving part he could observe. Behind him, his shadow made a low whistle, seeming impressed. "So you can make noises. Just not speak, I guess. Or you choose not to." Drew muttered. His duplicate merely gave an indifferent shrug and walked with him.
As Drew continued his sight-seeing, he felt a familiar sense of wonder. It was like the first time he had discovered magic when he was a child. Back when he and Fei just played with each other by just playing around with little jolts of lightning. Back when he was with his family, asking about the family business. Everything about this thing seemed strange and bizarre, but it seemed to draw him in. "I wonder if they have anything else like this at their homeland."
"Both ways huh?.......Maybe. You don't worry, Lady Nydia. Have a good night, and a good rest." Seth said, giving a slight bow as he did so. It felt like the proper thing to do, and all that Seth seemed to realize that he should do as the thoughts in his head kept right on spinning about.
So....now what? What do I do and say? What can I plan? What....Else?
Seth turned, looking at his shadow, who still had the emotional expression of a rock. He looked the shadow over, and threw a quick, friendly jab at the shadow, who took it stumbling backwards. That was for trying to get him in an even more awkward situation. Leaning back against the railing, he wasn't sure what else he could really do. He was not thinking clearly, obviously. Maybe it was time to call it a night. Hopefully they would have arrived by morning....or something.
Shaking his head once more, Seth made his way downstairs slowly, the shadow following close behind. As he passed by the other rooms, he couldn't help but give a small nod to the shadow of Phebe, who seemed to be sticking around outside of the door. Upon getting to his room, he shrugged and stepped inside, putting down his weapon and laying down in bed. It was going to be a restless night, but Seth knew he needed rest.
"Man, I imagine the Academy killing you if the Minister lets you in there." A crew member said to drew as he stepped past him to work on a moving piece of equipment, adding a bit of black liquid to it which seemed to remove an odd squeaking sound from coming from it. Satisfied, the man turned around to face Drew. Wearing a metal mask with the eyes covered by a tinted glass, the man's face was distinguishable.
"Just be careful now. These parts won't much care if you put any of your joints in them. And don't do any of that....stuff that you do. I don't wanna be punished for you doin something stupid." The man continued, walking past Drew yet again to go look over some other equipment.
"Relax..." Drew said, looking a little closer at the moving parts. "I'm just here to observe. Perhaps you could give a naive young mage a little tour. Give him a lesson on how these things work." He said, keeping his shadow behind him. "Or are you too busy?"
"Well thank you for drying me out, and we could produce it. In fact I can do it on a small scale right now. As for a larger scale all it takes is a little imagination." As Alexander said the word imagination he dramatically closed his hands together over his head before bringing creating a half circle ending at his shoulders. Between his hands following the arc his hands had traveled was a rainbow. Alexander couldn't resist from laughing a bit at the overly dramatic display.
Fei's jaw dropped when she saw the mini rainbow. The heavy fog and the light were perfect. She reached up, waving her hand through the colors. "So pretty! Come on! Let's make a bigger one! I can imagine one as big as the ship!" She put her arms out, trying to estimate the length. "I wish we could change the colors though. That would be AWESOME! Maybe make it just blue and yellow or something like that. Those are my favorite colors. Its like the sun and the sky! Which is where you see rainbows though... I don't think we'd be able to see the rainbow then. Maybe it should be something like red and green..."
After bidding Seth goodbye, both Nydia's made their way back to the room they had been given on the ship. She was barely able to keep her eyes open by this point, so she took off her robes, changed into her nightgown, and slid under the sheets as soon as she got inside the room. She looked up and saw Shadow Nydia standing over her and realized that this was the only bed in the room. "I suppose we'll have to share then... Actually, do you sleep even?" She inquired, tilting her head as she watched for any sign of reaction. Shadow Nydia merely imitated the action though and remained silent as always.
Eventually, Nydia gave up on waiting and simply moved over to the side so her shadow could join her if she so desired. "Well, if you change your mind, the offer stands. You know... Back when I was speaking with Seth, you tried to prevent me from moving closer to him. Why, I wonder? Can you sense my indecision? Do you wish to protect my vow? I wonder how you would have reacted if I were speaking with Cale....." As usual, Shadow Nydia gave no response but Nydia felt it was helpful to talk these sorts of questions out aloud.
In the end, it failed to really get her anywhere. That was to be expected though, since thinking while tired wasn't something she did very well. After awhile, she gave up trying and though her mind was no clearer than it was when she laid down in bed, sleep claimed it all the same.
The man shrugged, yawned, and then shrugged again. He didn't seem to particularly care about showing Drew around, but also seemed to have a couple other things on his mind.
"........Bah, why not? Keep up though, I plan on calling it a night soon, cause my shift is all done." The man uttered, stepping over to another set of gears and engine work.
"This here? Helps keep those pistons over there moving. Gets the energy from the furnaces and the like over in another part of the ship. Helps fuel up all the steam, keep the energy flowing. Helps keep everything lit up on this ship, and helps connect the controls to later parts of the engine so that it will all follow the commands that the front of the ship sends down here via the control wheels." The man started, checking the gears as he did so and nodding in approval.
"And over here, we got more pistons. Largely to make sure that the steam that powers a lot of the ship just keeps pumping to the proper areas. Gotta make sure that the stuff is getting what it needs or otherwise we could start having issues in some of the propellers, or perhaps something else could go wrong." The man rambled on again as he checked the pistons to make sure that they were all working smoothly. Nodding again, he continued his walk, making sure to take a look at the few things he passed by as he did so.
It seemed that Alexander had Fei's undivided attention... it gave Gabriel the perfect opportunity to slip away and retire to his cabin for the evening. Assuming, of course, that Fei didn't immediately catch him and drag him back to remain a part of the trio. Gabe had tried to be as sociable as possible, but his unspoken weakness had gotten in the way as always. The other girls that he knew back at the Academy always bugged him about his lack of speech when working with them in class or otherwise.
Careful not to attract Fei's attention again, Gabriel took a casual step backwards, as if to watch Fei and Alexander work. Then he took another couple of steps, his shadow watching all the time. Soon enough he was away from the other mages, and promptly gave Alexander a quiet wave as he slipped away, quickly heading below deck. The day's efforts had tired him: he needed rest, preferably uninterrupted by the younger-minded Hydromancer.
Once Gabe and his shadow had descended the stairs to the deck below, Gabriel felt a hand on his shoulder. It was a gentle one, almost careful. He turned to find his shadow looking at him, as it always did. "What is it? Something wrong?" he asked quietly, confused. The shadow didn't answer. Unsurprising. Instead it adjusted its dark blue robes and looked back up the stairs to the deck above, as if expecting something.
Gabriel didn't understand his shadow. It had no way to effectively communicate with him, and so the look upstairs just added more to the confusion. Maybe it expected Fei to follow Gabriel... that wasn't the case. The two of them were just fellow Hydromancers, that was all there was to it. Nothing beyond acquaintances, really. Gabe just shrugged, said, "Come on, it's late," and led the way to his room.
Everything was as he had left it, which was good. While Gabriel collected his robes and set them on a chair, somewhat badly folded, his shadow just watched and waited. The Hydromancer paused and looked at the muted-colour version of himself, who simply stood there, watching. The idea that the shadow Gabriel was just going to stand and watch as he slept was downright gods-damned creepy. "Um... you can wait outside, right? You don't need to sleep or anything?" Gabe asked as he gestured to the still-open door.
The shadow just gave him another of its unchanging blank expressions... that too was creepy. It could at least show a flicker of emotion once in a while, Gabe thought. But it seemed to understand him, and glided out the door, at which point Gabriel immediately got up and closed the door behind it. He didn't want that thing watching him all damn night.
He checked the door for a lock: there was a bolt that could be slid home. Good enough. Gabe immediately shot the bolt home, just in case his shadow could simply open the door. He wanted his privacy during the nightly hours. Before he went to bed, though, Gabe took a moment to reflect on the day's events. He had gotten to know new people, learned a little of the lands outside of the Academy and a little more of the history of the world... but most importantly, there had been the confrontation with the bizarre spirit and the advice it had given.
"Your struggle is a valiant one, perhaps taking on too much for your slender shoulders to bear. Just keep in mind that with peace brings those who would manipulate it to their own ends. Humanity has always fought, over one difference or another. But it is not a bad thing that this happens, as in the end we either come out stronger, or we die.
"Your last sought prize is perhaps your easiest to obtain, though one that requires a different kind of seeking. Fellow travelers will help you in this step, and you will step beyond it. It is more of a matter of personal step than it is a challenge. You must simply force the winds to move."
Gabriel considered these words for a second time, but he drew no new conclusions about them. With that in mind, he grabbed a piece of paper, inkwell and quill and set to work copying them out for future contemplation, along with a reminder note:
Talk to Seth! Gabe cursed his slightly messy handwriting: it was a bit untidy, but nothing illegible in any sense. Still, he had written down what he wanted to, and now it was time to sleep. Gabriel promptly did so, not bothering to change clothes: he would change into fresh attire in the morning.
Sleep did not come easy to him. But eventually, after staring at the ceiling for a while, he drifted off. The day had been long and rough.
As the night dragged onward, and things seemed rather uneventful, the remaining mages proceeded to bed. Fei and Alexander proceeding to bed (largely after Fei had exhausted herself speaking incredibly fast and being excited.) Drew also toured the engines for a while, listening to a few things which after a while made less and less sense as they were explained. With all that, Drew also called it a night.
As the evening flashed by, the airships continued their flight through the misty sky. The shifts of guards and engineers continued its rotation, each doing their part to raise alarm if danger struck, and keeping the airship working smoothly.
Finally, morning came to pass. As the light of the sun broke over the sky, Aaron arose from his own slumber after a long day. It was time to once again be sure that things went well, and that the mages arrived safely, along with the Prime Minister, to the city. He estimated that by the early noon they would arrive. He imagined the mages would be hungry, and thus made sure that the breakfast bell would be sounded for the next shift.
And almost as if on cue, the bell was rung. The loud clanging of the bell was sure to be heard by the mages. As they mages awoke, they would find their shadows still largely where they had left them, though if they were in the room with themselves they seemed to be keeping a close watch over what their originals did. They still seemed to have the blank stare, but there was a small light in their eyes if they were looked at close enough.
Alexander woke up to the bell ringing through the ship. He had spent the night looking over his shadow and the morning started much the same way. It reacted in the same way it had the night before, mirroring his movements and otherwise not reacting at all.
I hope I hadn't made a mistake yesterday. Then again I can't exactly expect the world to trust me if I don't at least trust it first. Plus having enough power to end me if it so chose didn't really help me give the feeling I really could have acted differently at the time. I guess time will tell whether this was a good idea or not. With his mind made up for the moment at least he walked out of his room and decided to head for the deck. Between the mist and the night he hadn't seen as much of the sun as he normally would. He hoped today might be a bit clearer than the day before.
For the first time in awhile, Nydia was not awake by sunrise and instead was awakened by the ringing of a bell, though the two were not far apart from what she could tell. She sat up with a yawn and turned to see Shadow Nydia standing right where she had been when Nydia went to sleep. "Ah, good morning Nydia! You didn't sleep at all last night did you? I suppose you don't need to then. I rather doubt you require breakfast then. I'm not so fortunate though, so shall we be off?" Nydia inquired after greeting her shadow with a bright smile. Shadow Nydia made no reply as usual, though Nydia was getting used to this by now. It wouldn't stop her from trying to communicate and hopefully she would get some sort of reaction eventually.
Nydia got out of bed slowly and took her time putting on her glasses, changing into her usual robe, and brushing her hair. For once, she had little to do today besides wait for the airship to reach it's destination so it would be nice to take things easy for once. She was in quite a good mood this morning as well. She had gotten a lot off her chest last night and while she may have only complicated things further, it felt wonderful. Once she had finished getting ready, she turned back to Shadow Nydia. "Sorry for the wait. Shall we be off?" The question was met with the usual silence, so Nydia made her way out the door regardless.
She was unsure of where they would be serving food, but being in no particular hurry meant she could take her time and explore the ship while she searched.
Raven was enjoying her sleep. As she arrived in her room late last night, the pitch black created by the absence of the usually patrolling lights outside the window was welcome. There was nothing but the darkened clouds swirling below and the deep night sky freckled with ugly star light. She couldn't really see if her new acquisition had remained with her in the room and at that point she hadn't cared.
Morning however, morning was brighter then she ever remembered. With no clouds acting as a barrier, the light struck right through the window and smacked Raven straight in the face. Then the bell, an annoying alarm working in tandem with the beam. It was too much. She got up out of bed, grumbling and cursing the current time. The shadow was still there, still watching her. But it can't be watching me. With what? That's stupid. At least it gets to be dark.
Throwing on a quick set of clothes before securing her robe over her body, she emerged from her room and began a slow walk towards a place where food might be. Might as well start up top I guess...
Phebe was sprawled out across her bed. Her pillow was on the floor, by the side of the bed and part of the quilt was covering her right foot, but most of it was on the floor. She hadn't noticed and wasn't bothered by it. It was still more comfortable than sleeping outside. She had been tired yesterday, but had at least taken her robe off before falling asleep.
She woke up, when she heard the sound of a bell. She yawned, before rolling out of bed. She put her feet on the floor and her palm over her face, yawning again.
I guess there'll be more fighting today, someone might die... Could be fun.
She thought as motivation to get out of bed and go look for somewhere to take a bath or clean herself. She could hear her stomach rumbling, breakfast would be nice too.
She picked her black and red robe up, putting it on, after changing into a new set of clothes under it. She looked at the room, but didn't want to clean it up right now. She'd be back later, for her bow and belongings. She didn't know how long they'd be living on the ship either, making the bed every morning wasn't necessary or fun.
She rolled up the sleeves of the robe to her shoulders, so that the white tattoos were exposed. It was one of the few morning rituals she had. She didn't do anything about her hair and she only wore the robe because she was forced too.
Come to think of it... Maybe no one would mind if I don't wear the robe.
She had already gotten dressed though, but another time... The robe wasn't something she was that fond of wearing. It didn't feel practical.
She exited the room and found her shadow standing in the corridor. It didn't seem like it would go away. She had to get used to it? She nodded to it, but felt stupid talking to something that wouldn't respond.
She decided to go looking for breakfast first. She looked left and then right in the corridor, but didn't remember where the breakfast would be served. Had anyone told her that?
She shrugged and went left, hoping that she would run into someone or find the dining area. The shadow followed her as she walked through the hallways.
Eventually she did run into one of the mages. A younger woman, with piercings and a black robe. A nightshade most likely. She felt like she should know the woman's name, if they were both nightshade's, but they all kind of dressed and looked the same to her.
Phebe had more friends among the pyromancers at the academy.
"Morning." She said, more as a statement of fact, than a greeting. Nightshade's were peculiar and wishing her a "good" morning would probably be met with a comment about how the morning wasn't good or something in that way. Well, it was just another morning anyway.
"I'm not sure if we've been introduced before. My name's Phebe. Anyway, do you know the way to the dining area?"
She crossed her arms below her bosom, taking a pretty confident pose. Her shadow did the same.
As Alexander made his way to the upper decks, with Nydia not too far behind, However, the crew seem largely unsettled, as the mists seemed to be somewhat thinner than yesterday. The entire crew seemed somewhat unsettled by the entire experience, and Aaron was walking towards the steps to greet the coming mages.
"Now that I think about it, you have no damned idea where the mess area is. Keep going straight towards the other set of stairs, and the mess hall is right down there. We just got some eggs, bread, and water, but I figure that should do for the few hours until we arrive." Aaron said, waving them in the general direction of the stairs.
While he did so, another soldier approached, and spoke with Aaron.
"Sir, we will be to the city within the hour...though, I wonder where the patrols are. We should have been noticed by now." The soldier said, obviously not exactly happy about events.
"Don't worry about it. We have time yet." Aaron said simply, and the soldier walked away.
Seth blinked, not instantly realizing the sound which had awoken him from his rest. As he sat up rubbing his eyes and stretching, he realized that his shadow seemed to be doing very little. He watched carefully, and proceeded to put on his usual clothes and attire, making sure his blade was secured like before, and that his robes and clothes prepared.
"Well.....lets go, right? Try not to push me into anything....stupid today, alright?" Seth said to the shadow, who nodded in response. While he wasn't sure if that was true or not, he let it go for now, as he was more hungry than he was worried about the shadow.
Opening the door, he noted Raven and Phebe seemed to have met up...or something. He figured it best to leave them both be for the time, and walked the other way towards the stairs, stretching and yawning as he did so.
The Prime Minister looked over the sky, not having gotten any rest as they had continued to fly. He kept on moving about, looking over the edges of the airship at the front. While his yellow eyes did stand out from many of usual eye color, they seemed to be glowing slightly brighter than they really should be. From time to time he would seem to mutter to himself, and kept walking and looking over the edges.
The heavily armed guards, who had accompanied the Prime Minister, did not leave the front of the ship either. Not doing much movement or anything, but their eyes and blades showed enough intent to make it seem like they were willing to move in an instant.
Gabriel was standing at one end of a long corridor, its walls made of plain grey stone. He could only tell which way he was facing by the blackness at the end of the corridor. So it wasn't a prison cell: he had heard stories of rooms that could only be unsealed from the outside. No walls, no door, no windows, nothing whatsoever to speak of. Just plain stone walls.
He could sense that someone had their eyes on him. Turning around in the corridor, he only saw more of the same grey stone. He didn't know where to go, or what to do. No-one was there, but he could still feel eyes on him... then his vision turned dark for a moment, and someone moved out of the space that his body occupied. A familiar someone: himself. More accurately, his shadow. The one the spirit had left behind on the airship.
The darkened version of Gabriel turned and affixed him with its blank stare. Gabe studied it carefully... something was different from what he remembered. Its eyes... something was wrong with its eyes. Before he could properly discern the change, his shadow turned away, beckoning for him to follow before it began to glide down the hall. Gabriel immediately broke into a swift walk: his shadow sped up, its robes trailing behind it.
Gabriel pursued the muted-colour version of himself, focused so intently on catching up to it that he failed to notice it stop, and shift to the side ever so slightly to allow him to pass. The young Hydromancer bolted straight into a new chamber. This one appeared to have no walls whatsoever... just a vast expanse of stars amid a sea of black. Dark clouds of smoke swirled under his feet, seeming to provide a solid floor on which to walk.
All of a sudden, bright shafts of lightning began to burst to life, seemingly starting from and ending in nowhere at all. They were just there... it was strange. The light from the lightning revealed six grand stone statues arranged in a circle around a central point. But Gabriel could not clearly see anything within the ring; it was just an odd blur. He turned his attention to the statues... and found that he recognised them all from his textbooks.
Alainia. Dorrokan. Loriot. Howleson. Jorrano. And Sitheria. The six members of the Council, the Gods to whom many prayed. Each statue towered over Gabriel, though that was unsurprising.
Gabriel's shadow placed a hand on his shoulder before passing him by. It stopped at the base of the statue of Alainia, turning back to the young Hydromancer. There the shadow began to gesture to the statues, the lightning bolts coursing through the place, and the misshapen blur in the middle of the room. It was trying to tell Gabriel something, but it could not speak, Gabe knew.
He studied the statues again, looking for something, anything, that could tell him what this was all about. Then, as a bell began to ring off in the distance, it hit Gabriel. It practically slapped him in the face.
There were seven Gods on the Council. Not six.
As the ringing sound in his dream got louder, Gabriel sat bolt upright in his bed with a low gasp of shock. That had been a bit more than a dream, he could tell... he remembered it as clear as the basics of his studies. The sound of the bell didn't let up: it was what had drawn him back to the land of the living. Someone was ringing it.
Gabriel didn't know what to do... what was going on? Was the airship under attack again? If so, he had been an idiot to lock his door. He hurriedly dressed, pulling on a clean shirt and pants, and unlocked the door to find his shadow standing there, waiting for him. There appeared to be no sense of urgency whatsoever... Gabriel had misinterpreted it. A false alarm.
Breathing a quiet sigh of relief, he nudged his way past his shadow and headed out into the corridor. A good portion of the other mages were already up and about, including some that he had seen earlier. Gabe's stomach growled at him: he hadn't eaten much, if anything, since before boarding the airship back at the Academy. Perhaps it was breakfast time: he could definitely agree to that.
One of his fellow mages had just reached the top of the stairs, the hem of a white robe disappearing out of Gabriel's sight. He hurried after the Lightdweller, for the person was undoubtedly one: white was the chosen colour of the mages who worked with light and healing. Perhaps they knew where the dining area was, and Gabriel certainly didn't. But if they didn't know either, it was better to be lost with someone else rather than alone, he reasoned.
All the while, a small part of Gabriel's mind was still on that... Dream? Vision? Premonition? He didn't know what it was. Perhaps explaining it to someone could help. And all the while his shadow followed him, a strange glint in its eyes.
"Pfft... hehe..." Fei covered her mouth, trying not to laugh. Her shadow and her brother's shadow were staring as she stuck another paper crane on top of the bundle that was her brother. He was a heavy sleeper, so sometimes when she was waiting for him to wake up she stacked things on top of him. It was easy to do at their house, or even in their rooms at the dorms, since there were a lot of books and bowls and stuff. Here all she had was paper. She managed to make 20 cranes in the time she had been awake, stacking them on the blanket. Under that was her bag, and her pillow. It wasn't a big pile, but it was amusing to see.
She was pretty good at making the cranes. She would ask her brother to fly them in the air. I wonder how it is to fly by yourself... this is kinda like flying though, right? It's not very exciting in here. Maybe I should wake Drew up so we can do something... I wonder how it would be to have wings. Maybe they have metal wings I can borrow in Kerbones! Drew can help me fly then! The paper in her hand quickly formed another bird and joined the pile. If I fold all of them now... I won't have anything to do until we land! I wonder how much longer we have...
She got up and went to the door, cracking it open and looking out. Some of the mages she saw before were going out. She didn't see anyone she knew though, and quickly retreated back into her brother's room. "Fei, do you get hungry?" It was weird calling the shadow her name. "Do you like dolls?" She took out a brush from her bag, fixing her black hair into pigtails. "It would be nicer if you talked to me sometimes..."
As Nydia was wandering in search of the dining area, she ran into the Prime Minister's assistant Aaron. He was kind enough to point her in the right direction, so she thanked him with a smile and bow before heading in the direction he had indicated. She felt someone nudge her from behind and turned to see it was Shadow Nydia. "Oh? Is something the matter?" Nydia asked her shadow and as she did so she spotted another mage and his shadow coming up the stairs behind her. Normally, she would simply give a polite greeting before going on her way but she noticed that he was one of the younger ones to come along.
Since she had promised Master Rotunz that she would look after ones such as him, it would probably be a good idea to introduce herself. As he drew closer, she took a deep breath and prepared to greet him. "Good morning to you!" She began, giving a friendly smile and her usual bow. Once again, she was delighted to see Shadow Nydia bow as well. "I don't believe we've been introduced. Nydia Freecs, Lightdweller Adept at your service." Giving her element was probably pointless and her rank unnecessary, but Nydia felt it was an important part of introducing herself and did so regardless.
Raven wasn't expecting a voice from behind her. She turned around, an older woman was standing there, the archer from before. She remembered her hanging around the darker corridors at the academy, one of those multi-classing types. Trying to cover two bases? Thinking your special? Ha, get over yourself. Still the question she asked was pertinent. The second one anyway.
"Raven," she answered Phebe's implied question with her usual hushed manner. "And your guess is as good as mine right now. I would have thought that they would have at least provided some kind of direction as to where the food is stashed. But I guess that would be too much to ask considering they haven't given us direction on much of anything on this trip."
As she search her brain for any clue as to the whereabouts of the mess hall, Seth passed by, almost in a daze. From the looks of it, he was still asleep. He had an idea on where to go however.
"Might as well just follow Seth," she told Phebe. "He seems to have this place figured out. Better than me anyway."
"Gabriel Westmar, Hydromancer Mage, at yours and your family's," Gabriel answered, performing an identical bow to the Lightdweller and her shadow. Common sense dictates that if someone bows to you and you're less magically talented than the bower, you bow straight back. However, Gabriel's shadow did not bow. Instead it hung back and observed the conversation.
"I apologise for not wearing my robes: I usually only wear them for special occasions or events that are not day-to-day occurrences," he added, imagining that he would look a bit out of place without the most obvious symbol of magekind. "But I digress... you wouldn't happen to be on your way to some sort of dining area, would you? I don't exactly know my way around the airship."
Gabe briefly wondered how much this Nydia person knew about the Gods and suchlike... he needed a critical thinker to talk to, preferably someone who was highly knowledgeable about the Council. He needed someone to help him understand what the dream meant, because it undoubtedly meant something.
Briefly he went over the people he knew on the airship: Fei was definitely a no-go. Drew was a possibility, but Gabe didn't know him all that well. Alexander too was a possibility, and he was of the same Element as Nydia. Seth... Gabriel somehow doubted that Seth would provide clear answers. He hadn't been very forthcoming on previous subjects.
Phebe nodded, as Seth passed them by. He didn't seem very awake, but at least he was moving and if he was sleepwalking he would probably need help...
"Indeed, but maybe they expect us to use our magic to find these things..." She snorted, looked at Raven and grinned. "Well, it's nice meeting you Raven."
Phebe had kept to herself, so far and getting to know the others might be crucial. If they were going to fight and travel together. She would like to get to know them, to find out if they could be trusted or not. It would be a good thing if they actually trusted her too. She needed to socialize, even though that had never really been her strong side.
She went in the direction Seth had gone. She didn't need to make sure the shadow was following her.
"So, Raven, what do you think these shadow.. stalker.. things are for?" She asked, trying to make small talk and because she was genuinely interested in finding out.
Drew grumbled as the bell rang, reaching up and rubbing his eyes right around the time Fei checked the door. "Fucking hell... thought getting away from the academy meant I wouldn't have to be dealing with..." he heard a couple things fall to the floor, and noticed all the stuff on him. "Very funny, Fei..." he said, sarcasm and annoyance dripping from every syllable. "Nice job with all the cranes, but don't you think you're a little old to be doing this?"
He didn't want to be like everyone else at the academy who kept barking orders at him to his sister, but sometimes he did wish Fei would grow up a little. He lifted up a bunch of the cranes, spilling the rest onto the floor. His hair was a little more messy than usual, but he tried to straighten it out with a couple gusts. He stretched as he placed the cranes down, reaching for a spare robe he had. He really was glad he had these custom made, considering it took almost no effort for him to get it on and off. A good investment on my part. And the folks said it was a waste of money... he chuckled to himself.
"So how long have you been up, Fei? You know you need to get some sleep." He started heading to the door "I'm gonna have to ask some questions. Mostly where one can get a shower in this joint, and where I can get somethin' to eat. They might have said so before, but I wasn't really paying attention..."
Nydia's smile broadened as Gabriel returned her bow. It was always a pleasure to meet someone as well mannered as she, so it seemed as though she and Gabriel would get along quite well. "A pleasure to meet you, Gabriel. And no need to apologize. I suppose now that we're away from the Academy, we're no longer obligated to wear our robes. I simply have grown accustomed to dressing this way." Nydia replied. It was strange to hear someone apologize to her for the way they were dressed, but she decided not to dwell on it much.
Upon hearing that he was searching for the dining area, Nydia was silently thankful that she had just learned it's locations only moments before meeting Gabriel. "Ah, yes I was just heading to get some breakfast myself actually. I'm afraid I don't know the layout of the ship any better than you most likely, but someone was kind enough to show me the way." She told him, gesturing towards the stairs that Aaron had directed her to. She was starting to notice that Gabriel seemed to have something on his mind. It wouldn't be proper of her to inquire into such matters so soon after meeting him though.
What was it that Master Rotunz had told me again? 'I cannot simply be a big sister, it has to happen as such' I believe it went. I suppose that means one would need to come to think of me in such a way, rather than me attempting to force them to trust me so. Yes, that makes sense. If I'm to keep my promise, I should spend some time with Gabriel then. Nydia pondered her next course of action for a brief moment before continuing to speak. "Would you care to accompany me, Gabriel? I tend to eat alone, so having someone join me would be a nice change of pace I believe."
"But cranes are beautiful!" She stood up and collected a few off the floor, intending to float them off the deck later. "Did you know they can grow up to as tall as you??? I want to see a crane some time. Do you maybe think one could carry me? I'm not very heavy..." Fei paced around the room as she talked, not at all fazed by her brother's sarcasm. "I went to sleep last night. I had exactly eight hours of sleep!" She held up eight fingers, four on each hand. "But I woke up early. I don't like the beds here. You sleep good no matter where we are... and you always wake up late!"
She jumped up on his bed when he got up, bouncing a little. "I can make you a shower! There's a lot of fog, so it'll be easy! I don't know if there's any water here though. I didn't feel any when we were upstairs. Wouldn't that make the ship really heavy if they had water here? When we were on the boat with Mama we could filter out the salt from the water and reuse it. The salt was good when she cooked though. I remember trying to drink a cup of salt water once. Now that I think about it, I didn't get as sick as mama said I would. Do you think I was good with magic then, too? I want to be the youngest Weaver ever! But to do that I have to learn how to make ice..." She got sad again. "Do you think I'll be able to practice my magic where we're going? Gabriel's not very good with ice. I only brought a few books on it..."