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Unfinished Project King
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The Tashiri of Telanoth


As the sun rises on Telanoth, one cannot help but be taken aback by the beauty and majesty of the countryside. Miles upon miles of uninterrupted forrests cover the landscape in a verdan green that never seems to dull even in the winter months. Travelling westward from the coasts of the Amarinthine Sea one would come across the first of the great Fortress Countries, the great walled kingdoms of the remaining free people of Telanoth, Deidre. By taking the Shellnorn Gate westward away from Deidre, six days travel on the dangerous roads of the wilds, you will find yourself at the Walls of Borkan, the Jewel of Telanoth. The seat of the Council of Nine and the House of Lords, the place of power.​

Walking through the streets of Borkan's main city, Riasa, one cannot help but gawk and the splendor and majesty of the place. Even as you walk through the poor areas of the city toward the captial compound, the buildings are well made, solid, as if fused with the very ground the rest one. Moving into the inner city, passing through the Radan's Threshold, one will find the streets paved with seemless gold flecked marble as if the stone itself had been grown there. Boulevards are separated by elegant gardens, dutifully tended by flocks of young people in drab grey robes. Elaborate marble fountains adorn all of the intersections, casting reflected light onto the buildings that surround the squares.​

It is here in the center of the city that one walks into the shadow of the Talaisarat, the Temple of the Winds, the home of the Tashiri. Floating several hundred feet above the golden domes and crystal spires of the Council Hall this massive structure houses the training chambers, grounds, living quarters, and leadership of the Free Peoples greatest weapon against the darkness that surrounds them on all sides, the elite Nature Warriors of the Tashiri Order. The only way to the Floating Temple is on litters borne by Tashiri Aria, Wind Walkers. Flying high above the city of cities you will be dropped in the entrance hall, compared to the grandure of the city below the hall feels almost cold and barren. Things here in the Talaisart are functional, decoration is not needed. The temple itself seems to be created from a giant piece of marble, fused and shaped over centuries by Tashiri Terra, the Earth Walkers, grown to be an indestructable bastion, the first and last line of defense against the Magoth and their allies.​

In the far Northwest corner of the Temple you will find the living quarters of the Tashiri Warriors, and here is where we begin our tale.​

ALL: In separate rites of passage you all have passed your trials to become full members of the order. After your trials you were wisked away and lead to the Warriors Quarters that will be your new homes. Each of you is lead to a nice size room, though sparsely furnished as all of the Talaisarat, you find it is functional and comfortable. There is a desk with writing implements, a bed, a large Armoire that is big enough to hold all of your equipment, and a fire place that is lit adding light and warmth to the room. The serf that lead you to the room tells you that your personal belongings, few that they are, have already been brought to the room. He also instructs you that you are to remove the grey robe of the you wore during your apprenticeship, and done the traditional ivory garb of the Tashiri. You will find that your armoire contains several of these outfits as well as your weapons, armor, books, and any other personal belongings that you would have wanted to keep. He says that there will be a formal ceremony at sundown to welcome you to the order officially. Remember that your training has been quite and ordeal, lasting between 8 and 15 years for some, so in your characters reactions keep this in mind.​

Sven(Therizza): During your Rite you where required to Track a group of about 8 Nerim, small tough skinned troll-kin that frequent the hilly forrest to the northwest of Borkan. These foul creatures are known to ambush travellers on the roads between the Fortress Countries. You were taken in the middle of the night from your room and lead to a location on the Unaren Pass that leads north to Hardagan. You were shown a decimated Merchants carriage, and the remains of the mercenaries and the merchant, most of which had signs that they had been fed upon, and told to track the beasts and eradicate them. All that you had available to you was your Fury Craft and skill at arms. After finding them you find that they have a live prisoner that they are torturing. Describe briefly the challenge, how you felt about its completion. You are then free to occupy your time anyway that you like between now and the Ceremonial Feast several hours from now. Looking out of your room down the hallway you see that there are many doors that appear to lead to rooms just like yours. Perhaps you should explore a bit and introduce yourself to other Warriors of the order.​

Robb(Lord Ramo): When you arrive in your room the first thing that you notice is that there is a large package on your desk. You look quizzically at the serf who lead you here who merely indicates that the package had been held for you for sometime and only now that you have passed your trials were you permitted to have it. Opening the box you will find a brilliant shirt of Mithril chainmail and a close fitting steel helm whose face guard is sculpted in the form of a snarling wolf. Attached to the Mithril shirt is a short note that says, "For use in battles to come. I am proud of you my son." -Father Thinking back to your trial, you reflect on the fact that you were required to fight 8 normal swordsman to exhaustion, while blind folded, using only your Fury enhanced abilities to guide you. You took only a superficial cut to the upper shoulder during the excersise, while the other swords men were left bruised, bloodied, and beaten by your skills. How does this superiority over ordinary warriors sit with you? How do you feel about the outcome of the trial? Does receiving this gift from your father stir any feelings of regret or homesickness? You are then free to occupy your time anyway that you like between now and the Ceremonial Feast several hours from now. Looking out of your room down the hallway you see that there are many doors that appear to lead to rooms just like yours.
Perhaps you should explore a bit and introduce yourself to other Warriors of the order.​

Viktor(CaptainFatty):As you arrive in your room, soot covered and weary, you listen to the instructions from the serf. As he departs and you begin to clean yourself up you reflect back on your own challenge. You were awoken at day break and shuffled off to the the northwest side of the city where there were several homes on fire, nearly a city block is enveloped in the conflagration. You are instructed to use your skills and assist the other Fire and Water Walkers working on containing the blaze. For several hours you help fight the roaring fire calling upon the local furies to help shrink and contain the fires as the Water Walkers use their talents to extinguish it. As you strain against the power of the flames, you hear a cry from inside one of the buildings that recently took to flame, you hear a woman screaming and several children crying. Describe what you did and how it made you feel to help those less fortunate than ourself. Does this experience provide any context for you as far as your relationship with the people that your are now tasked to protect? How does your character feel about the fact that while you were able to save the children you could not save the woman? You trainers praise your act of heorism and finally deem you worthy of ascension to full warrior. How do you feel about the fact that your trial was one of personal choices rather than a display of Fury Crafting? You are then free to occupy your time anyway that you like between now and the Ceremonial Feast several hours from now. Looking out of your room down the hallway you see that there are many doors that appear to lead to rooms just like yours. Perhaps you should explore a bit and introduce yourself to other Warriors of the order.​

Solomon(Bane_of_Kings):You are lead back to your room stunned at what you just experienced during your trial. You vaguely hear the Serf tell you about the Ceremonial Feast as your thoughts stray to the badly injured man that was brought to the Temple for healing. He had been stabbed and nearly disembolwed during a robbery and you were tasked to his care. Describe the experience as you first reach out with your furies to examine the man's injury as he lays in one of the healing tubs. How did it make you feel to use your Telepathic Abilities to sooth the man during the process? How did it feel to experience his pain and panic so accutely? Describe the difficulty of the healing as this was the worst injury that you have yet to deal with. How did it make you feel to see this sort of violence visited on another for no reason? Finally the healing was finished and the man's life saved. How does this accomplishment make you feel? You are then free to occupy your time anyway that you like between now and the Ceremonial Feast several hours from now. Looking out of your room down the hallway you see that there are many doors that appear to lead to rooms just like yours. Perhaps you should explore a bit and introduce yourself to other Warriors of the order.​

Zacarish(Santaire): As you return to your room you thank the serf for guiding you to your quarters and acknowledge the command to appear at the Ceremonial feast later. You begin to reflect on your recently completed challenge to pass into full membership within the order. You remember being awoken in the early hours of the morning and taken out the west wall surrounding Borkan. You were told that several Water Walkers had received advanced warning that a large group of Vicery, the insectiod race that inhabits the barren Deserts surrounding the land of Namanole, had taken wing and that the swarm was advancing towards Borkan. You were tasked to accompany several other Tashiri Aria to engage them in aerial battle before the swarm could make it to the city proper, hopefully thinning their numbers enough for the normal city guard to fend of the assault. (for your reference the winged warrior caste of the Vicery looks like this guy with four slender dragon fly type wings) Briefly describe the battle. You took injury to your right shoulder from one of the Vicery biting you with its mandibles, describe how you managed the injury. You made a good accounting of yourself and your instructors were pleased with your performance. You killed 6-10 of the Vicery over the 5 hours of hit and run engagements. You recall the trepidation that your fellow warriors felt at your presence, clearly thinking you an outsider as a Dark Elf. How did that make you feel? Did you find it difficult to fight and fly at the same time in a real battle as it is a skill not easily mastered? How do you feel about your accomplishment of passing the trials. You remember passing another of the rooms in this corridor as you were lead to your own and you recognize the occupant, a High Elf woman, that you remember seeing during the aerial battle with the Vicery, and you remembering overhearing a conversation between her and one of the senior Tashiri that indicated that she had also just passed her trials. Perhaps you should go back down the hall and introduce yourself.​

Djinn(djinn24): You are lead, soot stained and drenched in sweat, to your room by a serf who tells you about the Ceremonial Feast at sundown. As you start to clean yourself up for the feast you reflect on the trial that you just endured. You were awoken in the early hours of the morning and sent to the West wall with several other Tashiri Ignus and Terra as well as several archers from the ranks of the Tashiri Flora, Wood Walkers, in preparation to meet a swarm of Vicery that was reported to be on its way. You are informed that a group of Wind Walkers had already engaged the swarm as it journeyed north west out of the Sina Wastes, and that even though the Tashiri Aria were harring the swarm its numbers were still vast. You note with some concern that your masters and other full fledged warriors comment on the fact that they hadn't seen a swarm this size for several years. Soon you hear the low thrum of insect wings. There are nearly 75 of the Vicery left as the approach the walls, with a good half of those felled by the superb marksman ship of the Tashiri Flora. Breifly describe what you do to participate in the skirmish. As was expected the Vicery are no match for the numbers of Tashiri that are resisting them but several do make the walls. You manage to kill 5-6 with blasts of flame and you deal with 1 in close quarters combat. Describe how you feel when your masters indicate that you have performed well enough to advance in rank to full membership. Describe the strain of using your abilities in the midst of a real battle, small though it was. How did the strain of using blasts of fire effect your ability to fight subsequently in close combat? You remember passing another of the rooms in this corridor as you were lead to your own and you recognize the occupant, a Wood Elf, that you remember seeing on the wall during the fight with the Vicery, and you remembering overhearing a conversation between this Elf and one of the senior Tashiri that indicated that the Elf had also just passed his trials. Perhaps you should go back down the hall and introduce yourself.​

Aalrik(Apidude): You are lead to your room and thank the serf as he tells you of the Ceremonial Feast and turns to depart. You hear his foot falls fade down the corridor and you reflect on the experience that you just had. You were awoken early in the morning and you are sent to the West wall with several other Tashiri Flora, Wood Walkers, as well as a contingent of Tashiri Terra and Ignus in preparation to meet a swarm of Vicery that was reported to be on its way. You are informed that a group of Wind Walkers had already engaged the swarm as it journey north west out of the Sina Wastes, and that even though the Tashiri Aria that were harring the swarm its numbers were still vast. You note with some concern that your masters and other full fledged warriors comment on the fact that they hadn't seen a swarm this size for several years. Soon you hear the low thrum of insect wings. You look down the wall and see that the Fire Walkers begin to uncap several large fire pots working the contents up into a fire storm in communion with the Fire Furies contained there in. This is the first time that you have seen Fire Walkers truely work their craft in battle, how does it sit with you? What does your character make of the utter destruction Fire Walkers bring to bear? You don't get to think on this much as the Vicery decend toward the wall in a rabid fury. You are able to take out 4-5 at range with your bow, including a single close quarters shot, before you are forced to draw your swords to deal with the remainin Vicery that tries to gut you. Your masters are pleased with your performance and courage in a real skirmish and say they are glad to welcome one of your skills into the order. How does this decision make your character feel? Is your character surprised by the fatigue that settles on you after using your skills in battle. You remember passing another of the rooms in this corridor as you were lead to your own and you recognize the occupant, a Human, that you remember seeing on the wall during the fight with the Vicery, and you remembering overhearing a conversation between this man and one of the senior Tashiri that indicated that he had also just passed his trials. Perhaps you should go back down the hall and introduce yourself.​

Isira(Jackinator): You are lead to your room by a serf of the Order and you listen as he tells you of the Ceremonial Feast that will commence at sundown. As you enter your new quarters you begin to reflect on the path that brought you here and on the challenge that you just faced to attain full status within the Order. You remember being awoken in the early hours of the morning and taken out the west wall surrounding Borkan. You were told that several Water Walkers had received advanced warning that a large group of Vicery, the insectiod race that inhabits the barren Deserts surrounding the land of Namanole, had taken wing and that the swarm was advancing towards Borkan. You were tasked to accompany several other Tashiri Aria to engage them in aerial battle before the swarm could make it to the city proper, hopefully thinning their numbers enough for the normal city guard to fend of the assault. (for your reference the winged warrior caste of the Vicery looks like this guy with four slender dragon fly type wings) Briefly describe the battle. You make a good accounting of yourself and your instructors are pleased with your performance. You killed 6-10 of the Vicery over the 5 hours of hit and run engagements. Describe how it felt to be tested in battle. Did you find it tiring to maintain flight and fight at the same time as it isn't an easy skill to master? How does it feel to finally realize your true potential as a Warrior of the Tashiri after so many years of struggle? What does this accomplishment mean to you? You remember passing another of the rooms in this corridor as you were lead to your own and you recognize the occupant, a Dark Elf, that you remember seeing during the aerial battle with the Vicery, and you remembering overhearing a conversation between this man and one of the senior Tashiri that indicated that he had also just passed his trials. Perhaps you should go back down the hall and introduce yourself.​

Mar'akash(Vaz): As you are lead to your room by a serf of the Order, he tells you of the Ceremonial Feast that will be held in honor of newly raised Warriors at sundown. Acknowledging and dismissing the servant you think back on the challenge you just endured. Several days ago you were collected from your apprentices quarters and shuffled of to the south wall surrounding Borkan. There has been a request for aid to the temple from the ruling parties of Ioleth that they send some Tashiri to assist in an urgent matter. Your instructor indicates that you are to join the hunting party as they seek out and destroy a kre'loch, http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii313/jokerwitahatchet/Fantasy-Dragons-BlackDragonWallpape.jpg?, is about the size and girth of a large draft horse not including the wings. Does not have breath attacks, and its perferred method of kill is to grasp its prey tightly to its chest, that is covered in razor sharp spines, flaying it to death.) one of the twisted drake like creatures that came roiling out of the shadow lands with the appearance during the time of Joining. According to the missive this beast has been terrorizing the farmlands in Ioleth and causing destruction and loss. You are told that while the Kre'loch is not a dangerous as some of its cousins, its preferred aerie is one that is unreachable save by flight, and it is believed to be roosting in the southern most foot hills of the Carpascale mountains. The hunting party locates the beast and ends up slaying it in a vicous aerial battle. Describe briefly your involvment in the battle. How taxing was it to use your abilities in battle after the long flight to get there? When you return to the Talaisarat you are told that you have progressed enough in your abilities to be raised to full Warrior status. what does your character think of that based on his background with the Zeyphr Riders? You are then free to occupy your time anyway that you like between now and the Ceremonial Feast several hours from now. Looking out of your room down the hallway you see that there are many doors that appear to lead to rooms just like yours. Perhaps you should explore a bit and introduce yourself to other Warriors of the order.​

Adam(Serpion5): As you are lead back to your room by one of the Order's serfs he tells you of the Ceremonial Feast that will take place at sundown. After he departs you are left alone to change and prepare for the banquet and your thoughts stray to the task you just completed to attain Warrior status. A known service that the Tashiri perform is the retrival of lost and stolen goods. Due to their superb tracking abilities and unique gifts a Tashiri is excellently suited for these types of missions. A request has been passed down from a family in the city of Dulle (pronounced doo-LAY) that one of the local thieves bands broke into their business and stole all of their worldly possessions. The story has been verified by Water Walkers of the Order and you are dispatched to infiltrate the thieves hideout unseen, disable them, retrieve the goods, and alert the cities guard to their where abouts. Through the assistance of your own furies and dozens of local furies that come to your aid, you are successful in this mission. Upon your return to Borkan you are told by your instructors that your training is complete and that they are pleased with your performance. Briefly describe the incident. How does your character feel about the subterfuge that he just participated in? It has been years since you have been a position like that and how does your character react to the ease at which he eluded the thieves sentries due the increase in his abilities from so many years ago? How do you feel about the fact that you have finally finished your training? You are then free to occupy your time anyway that you like between now and the Ceremonial Feast several hours from now. Looking out of your room down the hallway you see that there are many doors that appear to lead to rooms just like yours. Perhaps you should explore a bit and introduce yourself to other Warriors of the order.​

OOC: This post is for some character developement and to provide the rest of the players some background on who you are and how you operate. Have fun with it.​
 

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HE HAD FINALLY passed his trials, completed the rights of initation, and done everything that the Young Tashiri had needed to accomplish before being granted the rank of a full member of the Order.

Solomon smiled, still stunned from the trials, keeping his twin blades attached beneath his wrists as the water wielder was lead to his warrior's quaters. Realising that this would be the first 'permanent home' that he would now live in, the twenty-five year old shared little regret of the fact that he never would have a home to return to - not since it had been burnt down by thieves and scavengers - by cowards. Finding himself in a nicely sized room, Lok took in the sparsely furnished design with little caring for it. On one wall there stood a desk with writing equiqments, and opposite it stood a bed capable of supporting himself.

Next to the desk, Solomon noticed a large Armoire (A/N: Is this spelt Armory, by any chance?) that was capable of holding all of his belongings. Not that he had much other than his weapons, anyway. Noticing that what objects he had were already there, with the exception of his hidden blades, he heard the flickering flames that had spawned from a nearby fireplace - their only goal to give heat to the room around him.

"Mister Lok," the serf, who had introduced Solomon to the room, addressed the Tashiri directly. "You will have no doubt noticed by now that your belongings have already been brought up to this room, and placed in the Armorie. I have also been requested to tell you that you must remove your robes and replace it with the traditional ivory outfit of the Tashiri, which you will find-"

He held up his hand to silence the man's questions, "Is already in the Armoire. And I think my buisness is concluded here. Just remember to come to the formal ceremony at sundown where you will be offically inducted into the Order."

Solomon wasn't paying attention any more, for his thoughts had drifted back to the badly injured man that had been brought to the temple for healing. Naturally, being a water-user with the power to heal great wounds, he had healed the man whom had been injured during the robbery.

It was in that time that he had first reached out with his furies, to examine the man's injuries as he laid in the healing tubs. Using the telepathic abilites to sooth the man's pain had been a challenge, and he had nearly cried out upon experiencing his pains.

However, he held it in to the best of his abilities, and the man had been cured. This was a tremendous challenge, easily the hardest person that he had to heal to this date, and was hoping that he would never find somebody with worsened wounds.

But nonetheless, Solomon had saved another life. That was an acomplishement, as he had vowed never to see somebody die a death that could have be prevented by him, especially after his parents had died. If only he had been... stronger.

The injuries of the man had reminded him of how his parents had died, which had pained the newly inducted Tashiri almost as badly as the injures that he had suffered. Sighing, the man watched the serf leave, and realising he had some free time before sundown, Lok stepped out of his room and glanced down the corridor outside. There were other rooms, most likely filled with applicants, but he did not want to meet them yet. Part of him was still nervous when it came to meeting new people, and the other part was that he didn't want to meet anybody who could eventually betray him in the future.

So, turning around, he walked calmly back into his room before plonking himself on his desk, and started to write something, a recount of today's events. Since the beginning of his inductions, he had decided that he would record as many events as he would be allowed to. So, write he would. Remembering to detach his twin blades first, Solomon's left hand moved as ink splashed against the page.
 

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Zacarish walked into his room and muttered a brief thanks to the serf and nodded his head silently at the request for him to go to the ceremonial feast later. He stared at the serf but managed to keep his mouth shut when he heard the man say that he should get rid of the grey robe he had worn as an apprentice and don the traditional Tashiri warrior garb. He had known he had passed his trials but hearing it said made the gravity of the accomplishment hit home. Before anything else he walked to his Armoire and placed his weapons in it. He took off his scale armour and leather breastplate and hung them in the Armoire. After that he pulled off the robe and pulled on the clothes worn by all true Tashiri. He picked up the metal blades in the robe using his powers and slid them into the thicker parts of his new clothes. It would be dangerous to remove them without his powers he knew for without the special leather glove deep in his bag the blades would cut open his palm easily.

He turned and walked to his desk, sitting at the chair. He reflected on the day’s events and what he had done to pass his trials...
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He had been woken early and taken with several Wind Tashiri to the walls. They had been told that told that several Water Walkers had received advanced warning that a large group of Vicery had taken wing and that the swarm was advancing towards Borkan. They had engaged them in aerial battle before the swarm could make it to the city proper, hopefully thinning their numbers enough for the normal city guard to fend of the assault.

Zacarish had made a decent account of himself during the battle. Although he had taken a wound to the shoulder early on that had slowed him down he had managed to fight on despite it, still managing to take out 7 of the beasts. He had used ‘Chablys’ to deadly effect. The extra length of the blade had given him an advantage. Fighting while flying was difficult to master for breezes could take you by surprise if you weren't careful. The 5 hours of hit and run attacks had taken it out of him. Not being a true air mage he had found it more difficult to control his powers than some of the others.

His metal powers had been useful for he had used the furies that increased his swordsman skill to help him fend off 3 of the creatures until the air furies increased his speed so that he could kill them. He had gained one of his other kills with his dagger and his final three using Metal Storm. His instructors had been pleased with his performance and that in turn had pleased him. A few of the warrior who fought alongside him had expressed some trepidation at the fact that he was a Dark Elf and one had even had the nerve to question his dedication. The fool had shut up after Zacarish had saved his life, smashing the Vicery out of the sky before stabbing it with his dagger, claiming his fourth kill.
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Zacarish's mind returned to the present and he stood up. He had a warm feeling brought about by the passing of his trials and the ending of his 13 year training but also nervousness and trepidation of what was to come. He remembered seeing a High Elf woman in a room he had passed earlier who had partaken in the battle. He also remembered it being mentioned that she had recently passed her trials too. He left his room and walked down the corridor. Stopping outside her door he knocked on it gently...
 

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Isira

The serf had showed her to her room and explained her new situation. She was a full Tashiri! She'd passed her trials and the bundle on the desk was the confirmation of that. She nodded a silent thanks to the serf who bowed and left the room then she slowly unfolded the uniform. She slipped out of her clothing and stood for a second, savouring the moment, then she dressed in the uniform of a tashiri, pants, shirt, then finally settling the red sash proudly about her waist. She sat down on the bed, her back against the wall and pulled her legs up, her arms around her knees as her mind was irresistably drawn back to the events that had earned her this honour.
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She was woken at the crack of dawn and rushed out of the trainee dormitories, the water walkers had learned of a large group of Vicery that were enroute to the city and the group of them had to slow them down and thin them out before they reached the city.

The insectoid warriors seemed to fill the horizon as Isira and her fellow wind walkers made to head them off and the noise of battle was vicious. The unintelligible chittering and clicking of the Vicery lending a sinister undertone to the fighting. She had soared into the swarms vanguard rapier out stretched, taking one of the creatures through the chest with her first blow. She tried to tug it free but the blade stuck and the two of them plummeted towards the ground, she struggled, finally wrenching it out of the corpse and pushing off back into the fight. She kicked another in the chest while her rapier ripped through it's throat and she flexed her palm, knocking another two out of the air with a fierce blast of wind, calming the winds around her and hovering as she watched their limp falls fall to the earth far below.

She suddenly let herself drop as she heard another coming in behind her, slashing wildly at the blurred figure flying past and severing one of the wings from it's body. Cursing for allowing to let herself be distracted she ignored this one and soared straight up, sheathing her rapier as she went. She ended up high above the battlefield and drew her knives, eyeing them for a second before launching herself downwards. She whirled as she fell, and feeling her knives encounter resistance she slowed her fall, seeing another two Vicery fall out of the air, seeing that they had reached the range of the walls she floated down to the ground, landing softly and watching as the city garrison made short work of the remaining Vicery. They fell quickly and propelled herself back to the walls, and from there to the temple.
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She was startled out of her reverie by a knock at the door, one hand flashed to her boot, her fingers resting mere milimetres from the knife concealed there. She answered hesitantly, "yes?"
 

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Reaper of Souls
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Zacarish heard a hesitant voice answer him. "Yes," the voice said. He opened the door fully and saw the young High Elf woman sitting on her bed. She held her hand near her boot and, calling upon the ability he had learned he was able to discern the knife hidden there. "You will not need the blade," he said, palms held open, "I merely wished to talk about the battle earlier. I noticed you there." The woman looked startled and moved her hand a little further away from the hilt of the dagger in her boot. He smiled briefly "I can sense Metal, one of my talents. I need not do anything to see it now that I have learnt the skill." The High Elf woman smiled briefly and shyly in return and relaxed slightly, but still kept her hand near the blade. She opened her mouth to answer him.
 

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Isira

An tall dark elf opened the door, his eyes were red and stood out sharply against his coal black skin. His appearance was unsettling, but his smile seemed friendly. "You will not need the blade, I merely wished to talk about the battle earlier. I noticed you there." She was startled about his knowledge until he explained himself, "I can sense Metal, one of my talents. I need not do anything to see it now that I have learnt the skill."

She moved her hand a little further away from her boot, but left her arms crossed over, her hands resting on her knees, still in reach of the knives sheathed in her boots. He seemd alright but she had learned better than to let her guard down. She smiled nervously at the tall elf, he seemed nice enough, despite his intimidating appearance. And she had a while before the feast, making a friend couldn't hurt. She sat up a little more against the wall and spoke hesitantly, "I'm Isira, what did you want to talk about?"
 

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The sight of the Vicrey cause a slight shiver as they come into sight. There are to many for me to handle alone, but I feel the presence of my masters close by observing what I plan on doing. As they move closer I can feel the heat in my blood rise as I recall the powers that I have been trained to use for many years. Is this a test, or the test I wonder to myself. As the first of the Vicrey move into distance I fling my hand out, a pure ball of fire is flung from my out stretched fingers, burning one out of the sky. I repeat this several more time, each time my aim true and striking down an enemy. Soon they are upon me and I can feel the strength of my power diminished so I take to blade, pulling out the twin scimitars from my back and beginning my deadly dance. The Vicrey proved to be a skilled, darting back and forth and parrying my blades. Eventually my felt the blade strike true and one fell. To either side I see others like me and farther down the wall, the Wood Walkers are taking arms against them as well, with bows and other fearsome weapons.

After the battle a serf came to me and told me to follow him. He leads me into the castle, to a part that full members of the orders live. He leads me to an door with the emblems of fire scribe upon them and opens the door. I begin to feel the soot and sweat on my skin as the serf informs me of a ceremony starting at sundown and that my new robes lay in the amoire in the room. The room was a good size, large enough to practice most of my skills but relatively barren, which suited me. On the way to the room I did notice another apprentice who had seemed to have passed his trials today as well. A woodelf, a wood walker as I recall.

I decide to freshen up and if I have time stop by and speak with my neighbor. I believe he was also at the attack today.
 

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“These are your quarters, Earth Walker,” the serf said as he opened the door to Sven’s room. Walking through the room, the serf continued;“You will find all of your belongings in the armoire. You are to shed the garb of the neophyte and don the trappings of the Tashiri.” As he approached the door to leave, the serf left Sven with one last thing; “The induction ceremony will begin at sundown, please do not be late.” With that, the serf was through the door and gone.

Sven took out the ivory garb of the fully fledged Tashiri and placed it on the bed. The sight of it brought a smile to Sven’s face. The journey had been long, but through patience and diligence Sven had completed his training and the Rite, just as his trainer had said he would. Sven changed into the robe and tied the red sash of his station around his waist. Tucking his beard into the sash, Sven decided not to put the boots on just yet, as he wanted to feel the room and surroundings better. He had to meditate on recent events.

Sitting cross legged on the floor, Sven closed his eyes, focusing on the ground and walls of the room. Thoughts of the Rite flooded to the fore.

Roused from his slumber, he was taken to the site of a massacre. The wounds on the gnawed upon corpses of a travelling merchant and his bodyguard were still fresh, and Sven knew that it was the work of a Nerim band. Told to track and eliminate them, Sven did so with much relish, hoping the families of the slain men would have some solace knowing that the perpetrators of this crime had met a grizzly end.

Sven could sense his prey’s footsteps, for anything travelling on land could be tracked by an Earth Walker. Sven followed the band for several hours, taking shortcuts wherever possible, until he finally fell upon them. The Nerim were camped in a shallow cave at the bottom of a ravine, and Sven would make them pay. Silently, Sven approached the cave entrance. Knocking one of the Nerim posted as a guard flat on his back with a stone he had hurled, Sven charged in, “Avalanche” poised to crush the others skull. Timing it perfectly, he stomped the already disoriented Nerim on the ground’s head in and brought “Avalanche” down in a powerful two hand swing, shattering the other’s spine where it stood.

Entering the cave, Sven could hear the screams of a woman. Charging in before any more harm could befall her, Sven leapt upon the Nerim closest the prisoner. Bowling him over, Sven landed a punch as hard as granite, blood and brains splattering everywhere. Beckoning the prisoner to follow him, Sven reached within himself and the earth and placing his palm flat on the floor, caused the solid stone of the cave to become as quicksand. The remaining Nerim sank to their knees before Sven let the stone solidify. Quickly extricating himself and the prisoner from the cave, he told her to stand back. Summoning up the greatest of his powers, Sven slammed both of his fists into the earth, the ensuing earthquake sealed the cave and the Nerim had been neutralized.

Done with his meditations on the Rite of passage, Sven felt refreshed. Standing up, he walked to the doorway and peering out, saw another Tashiri. Walking forward, Sven intended to introduce himself and perhaps exchange a few stories with his new family. Sven always enjoyed a good story…
 

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Viktor was tired. Once he got to his room, the instructions of the serf were barely listened to, thoughts of getting himself cleaned and rested filling his mind. One thing that did stand out, and make Viktor smile, was that he was to remove the apprentices outfit and put on the traditional Tashiri outfit. He was a warrior now, after fourteen long hard years of mastering his abilities he was finally there. Although it didn't feel like he had earned it. There was no glorious battle, no bringing burning hatred and light to the darkness outside, just a large conflagration inside the city. Looking back though filled him with pride as he remembered saving the lives of three children. He removed his clothing and began to wipe himself clean, reflecting on the events that led to his ascension.

The fire, the largest one he had ever seen, had engulfed several buildings, almost the whole block. With a group of other fire and water walkers, he was tasked with containing and extinguishing the blaze. It was hard, having to decrease the size of a fire that large, and he strained himself several times over the hours until the fire was completely gone. About an hour in he heard a cry, a piercing scream coming from one of the houses – there was someone alive in there and it was his job to get them out. He ran through the streets, his ability to ignore the heat of the flames pushed to it's limits and he could feel his body warming up. As he got close to the building he could hear crying, the screams of children. The woman could not be heard any more. His heart racing, he dived through the window, the flames licking his robe. The heat in the living room would have been unbearable to any normal person and the children, unable to escape because of the burning door, were screaming in pain. One of them had already passed out, Viktor unable to tell if he was alive or not. He struggled against the flames, temporarily reducing them to bearable levels if only for a few minutes. He realised he was almost out of time as the roof of the next room collapsed, filling it with burning debris. A fireball aimed at the door destroyed it, it's already weakened form unable to take the force of the attack. Then they ran, the unconscious child over his shoulder, the ran as fast as they could towards the edge of the flames. One of the children was crying for his mother, sinking Viktor's heart. There was no way she would have made it in that building. He quickly herded them towards the water walkers so they could check their wounds and went back to fighting the fire, noticing the approving grin on the face of one of the masters.

It had felt good, saving the lives of the people like that. He still would have preferred to fight though, the blaze could have easily been contained by the others. But then the children would have been found too late. He growled as the conflicting thoughts swirled around in his head. It didn't matter now, he was here, he was a full warrior and there would be a ceremony for him, and others, at sundown. He needed to clear his mind.

Grabbing the warhammer from the armoir, he began to repeat one of the many forms he had learned from his book. The strict movements and heavy swings came easy to him now, having trained with the weapon over the years of his training. He slammed the weapon into his hand and bowed, signifying the end of the form. He placed the hammer back into the armoir and decided to meet his fellow Tashiri, his thoughts calm for now. Walking out of his room, he spotted another figure looking out of his doorway. A dwarf from the looks of things, Viktor smiled and walked up to him as he did the same.

“Hi, I'm Viktor,” was all he said as he held out his hand towards the dwarf.
 

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Walking down the hallway, still barefoot, Sven could sense the other Tashiri within their rooms. He would have time enough, and soon at that, to meet them all. Throughout the years of isolation in the mountains during training, Sven had yearned to finally become a full fledged Tashiri, to walk that path with a group of peers. He loved his training partners and leader like family, but this new chapter of his life would be much more meaningful. Together, these warriors would fight, and perhaps die, but for something they believed in.


Sven could see another standing down the hall, a human by the look of him. Sven wondered what path he walked, and would soon find out. Nearing the stranger, Sven reached out his hand to shake. “Greetings friend, I am Sven Ironson, Earth Walker. What might your name be and which path do you walk?” The stranger grasped his hand in a firm shake and introduced himself…
 

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"I'm Isira, what did you want to talk about?" The woman responded hesitantly sitting up a little more against the wall. "I heard a serf mention that you have recently become a Tashiri and I saw you in the fight. How difficult did you find it? How long have you been training? It took me 13 years to master my powers and complete a deed great enough to become a true Tashiri warrior. To talk to the furies I can sense takes a lot of concentration for me normally, especialy since I wield the power of both Metal and Air," Zacarish replied instinctively.

"I respect the power of magic but I am still more trusting of my weapons. It is a heritage thing," Zacarish shrugged. "My father raised me to be a warrior and nothing else and as such I sometimes find my power difficult to use with the exception of when I am angry. When I am truly furious all metal that does not belong to me rusts and snaps. That has happened twice and I pray that there will not be a third time. Do you trust me?" This question was added on, almost as an afterthought but it was a serious thing to ask "just because I noticed that some of the people we fought with doubted my dedication to our cause, thinking I only wanted to kill and they were wrong. Did you think that?"
 

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Robb was lead to his new quarters by a serf. He was elated about being a full warrior now, his 16 years of training were finally complete. Since he was eight had he been training, learning to master the elements of metal, and he had truly become a warrior with the aid of these skills. The serf brought him into his fairly nicely furnished room, compared to his old room anyway. While he had little in the way of possessions he had a writing desk, ink, armoire and various other items in there.

He listened as the young serf told him that all of his possessions had been taken and put in the armoire, and that he should don the traditional colours of the order now that he was a full member. Robb simply nodded at this before he noticed a package on his bed. He walked over to it as the serf spoke about tonight he would be formally welcomed into the order. "Thank you for showing me to my room, and the information you have passed on to me. I think I have it from here." He said, smiling at the serf until he left the room.

Robb carefully unfolded the packaging, a note slipping out onto the bed. he recognized it as his fathers writing, and it spoke of how proud he was at him graduating, as well as saying there were gifts for him in the packaging. Robb thought briefly about his father, whilst he did regret leaving him, his place was here. Robb was an outsider, as much as anyone liked to pretend in his family. But here, here he could be himself with others like him, this was his new family now.

Robb slowly unfolded the rest of the packaging, marveling at the sight that befell him. A pure untouched sheet of mithril chainmail gleamed up at him, he had sensed that it was metal when he walked into the room, but this was an exquisite present. It was light and strong, and would complement his fighting style a lot. The next gift made Robb's face light up like a rare jewel. A gleaming steel helm faced up at him, a snarling wolf as its image. His father always knew that he had thought a lot about wolves, his own fury was a wolf and the image on his shield was that of a wolf.

Robb couldn't believe his luck, he had been honoured by his father with these gifts. He carefully placed them in their section of the armoire, next to his dagger. He slipped out of his robe quickly, before donning what was know his colours. He had no need of the chainmail yet, but he donned the Ivory coloured trousers and shirt of the order. He pulled on his boots, slipping his dagger into its sheath inside before turning to his most prized possession. Fang. Fang was his sword, an extension to his body due to his unearthly skills with a blade. He had forged fang himself, and had used it as often as he could. He always took loving care of it throughout his trials and his mind drifted back to a particular one.
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Robb felt the icy cold wind slam against his still form, the howls of wolves in the distance. His master of metal stood behind him, overseeing this particular trial. He could feel Terros, his wolf guardian eyes on him, knowing that it would leap in whether he wanted to or not if it thought his life was threatened. Terros was a constant companion to Robb, and complemented his metal skills as it was also partially metal.

Robb could only see black, the blindfold covered his sight as he waited patiently. He could feel the eight swords around him, eight swords ready to bite into his flesh. His challenge was simple, fight with only his enhanced abilities with metal, beat these ordinary swordsmen. He could sense each shard of metal and waited until the first attack came, a man charging wordlessly from behind him. Robb turned, sidestepping the downward blow as he felt the metal in the air, it would be hard to catch him off guard. He ducked as another swung for his head, rolling underneath his sword as he drew Fang.

Robb charged forward, blocking a blow from one sword before dodging around another as he slammed his steel flat on a man's face. It would leave a bruise, but would not do any lasting damage. As the man reeled back Robb touched his sword, warping and twisting the metal so that it smashed and exploded in a hail of shards. He launched forward, delivering a stinging cut to the man's back before kicking him over, one down seven to go. The next two were easy, Robb using his ability to hurl the little shards into the two men that charged him with a flick of his hand, causing tons of little cuts all over their bodies. The two men cursed as the fell to the floor, obviously that had thought he would be an easy target.

Three charged him at once, and Robb met their charge, always flowing and weaving through their swords, in return slashing with Fang where ever it was possible. These swordsmen weren't bad swordsmen, but Robb was something else entirely. They couldn't touch him, he was able to feel the metal, where it would strike him and how to avoid it. He was a blur of movement as he felled this three, one managing to have a small cut land on his shoulder. The wind stung at the small wound, though Robb ignored it. It wasn't painful and was inconsequential.

The last two were nervous, almost afraid. They used very defensive style's but Robb broke through in a matter of seconds. Bare moments had passed between the start of the fight, and Robb ending it, once again showing his powers of metal.
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Robb was brought back to reality, strapping Fang to his waist as he donned his sash. He was ready to meet his fellows that had passed, obviously they had passed as they were in the warriors quarters. He was proud of his abilities, though he would never admit it to the outside world. He didn't like being arrogant so therefore was as modest as possible. He exited his room, sensing the metals shift as his fellows introduced themselves to each other. A dwarf and a man stood in the corridor, exchanging greetings. He walked over to them, respectfully introducing himself. "Sorry to intrude brothers in your convosation. I am Robb Eckardson, metal walker, i'm just trying to familiarize myself with my new brothers, you are?" He asked, keeping his tone polite, though his hand rested on his sword, as it always did when he had it strapped to him. He didn't do it to be threatening, it just came naturally.
 

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Adam

Adam looked around and dismissed the serf with a courteous nod as he stepped further into the small chamber. Some might consider this room cramped and subnstandard, but given the life he had before coming to the temple it was a welcome change. The life of a thief had been trying and dishonest, but that was long behind him now. Or at least he had thought it to be.

The final test had involved so many of his thievery skills that for much of it he had felt as though he was a young boy again. He had been forced to infiltrate and evade detection, and when push had come to shove they had basically been stealing. Stealing from thieves, so technically retrieval, but the act had been the same. They had broken, entered, and taken what was within. It was all for a good cause, but it still felt dishonest. In truth, Adam cared little. After all, the thieves had had the ability to steal and had done so of their own volition. Why didn`t matter, nor did the reason for why they needed to be retrieved.

Adam had little moral compass to speak of, what he did he did because he either needed to or had no reason not to. If serving as a protector gave a measure of protection in itself, then he would gladly do it. Collateral damage was a fact of life and Adam remembered several of the thieves had fear in their eyes before he had killed them.

It almost amused him that they had not simply accepted their fate. Some had tried to flee, but few were those able to outrun a windwalker as skilled as he was.

When his instructors had told him that he had passed his final test, he had simply nodded and accepted his new title with indifference. It was an accomplishment to be sure, but one that also came with greater responsibility. People would expect more of him now, people would look up to him as a leader and protector. He cared for none of them as individuals, as long as the greater part of society remained secure then he was doing his job.

He looked around the room some more. There was a desk with writing implements on it, a simple bed and a cabinet near the corner of the room. He walked over and examined the cabinet, opening it carefully. Several of his new uniforms were inside, as well as his scimitar and a spare suit of leather armour. He smiled approvingly. Though he claimed not to care, he was proud of his own achievement. Walking back to the doorway, he glanced outside and looked around. Other rooms like his must have been here judging by the spacing of the doorways. Further down the corridor there were people engaged in conversation. Other Tashiri diciples perhaps?

He left the door open. Frankly he didn`t feel like striking up a conversation, but wouldn`t shy away if any of the others felt like introducing themselves.
 

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The dwarf approached and held out his hand, which Viktor met with a firm shake. He was wearing the uniform of the Tashiri, his beard tucked underneath the red sash, but something was different, wrong. It took him a few minutes to realise that the dwarf was barefoot, the reason or which he was about to find out. “Greetings friend, I am Sven Ironson, Earth Walker. What might your name be and which path do you walk?” Viktor smiled back, nodding his head as Sven spoke.

“Viktor Smirnov, fire walker. Damn good one too.” Viktor let out a small laugh at the boast before continuing. “I heard about the battle on the west wall. Were you a part of that?” Before they could continue, another man walked up to them, also one of the new warriors. One thing Viktor did notice was that the man was armed despite being in the safety of the floating temple. Whether the man saw his puzzled look or not, he didn't seem to show it as he gave a polite greeting. "Sorry to intrude brothers in your conversation. I am Robb Eckardson, metal walker, I'm just trying to familiarize myself with my new brothers, you are?"

“Not intruding at all, I'm Viktor Smirnov, fire walker. Worried an ambush might get you?” Viktor couldn't help but comment on the sword, the peculiarity of carrying it at a time and place like this was slightly confusing to him, unless the man wanted to seem threatening. Either way Viktor's curiosity demanded an answer.
 

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“Well met, Viktor. Of the battle on the west wall, I know little, aside from some fleeting words while heading to my chambers of Vicery. A job more fitting of an air walker methinks!” With that Sven let out a hearty laugh. “A fire walker you say? Tell me of your trial, and I will tell of mine.”

Just then, another approached. Sven had sensed him vaguely approaching, and the man introduced himself as Robb Eckardson, a metal walker. Viktor seemed a bit concerned with the sword on Robb’s hip, but Sven understood old habits died hard. He wasn’t wearing shoes after all.

Sven fixed Robb with a firm handshake; “Pleasure to meet you, Robb Eckardson, metal walker. I am Sven Ironson, earth walker. We’re exchanging stories, and would be honored to hear yours.” As the group exchanged tales of training and their trials, Sven decided these two weren’t half bad. It would be a pleasure to fight alongside them.
 

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A new beginning....

FWUMP …

Aalrik jumped, startled by the concussion that shook the fortress wall beneath his feet.

FWUMP … FWUMP … FWUMP

Aalrik felt the air itself blown outward as more of the soul shaking explosions shook the wall as Tashiri Ignus released more of the furies of the cauldrons and he watched balls of blue flame climb toward the approaching swarm, leaving a trail of light grey smoke rising to end in their flaming points. Tashiri Aria, small dots of color against the larger black of the swarm, scattered outward away from the enemy as they too heard the dull explosions on the ground.

As the flames entered the swarm there were sharp reports and the fire blossomed out in slow motion, raining sparks of flame onto the swarm where they clung, searing the Vicery's wings and melting their chitaneous armor. Flaming insects fell to the earth and shriveled in the flames. The fields where they fell caught fire, sending columns of smoke into the air, making archery work difficult.

Aalrik grasped the bowstring and leaned into the bow, nocking his crooked thumb into the hollow beneath his ear and reached to the furies of the bow and the arrow. He let his senses expand as he had been drilled. He sensed the eddies in the smoke and heard the yelling of the serfs below as they fought the grass fires. He focused as Ailesin had taught on the entire situation and, in the tendrils of smoke around the walls he began to see patterns in the way the smoke swirled as the Vicery flew and disturbed the rising flow of hot air. He found he could track their flight from the disturbances of the smoke.

Aligning the furies of the bow and the arrow with the center of one of the disturbances, he released into the cloud. The heavy arrow with armor piercing point, driven by the 150 lb draw of the bow, sped into the smoke, the fury of the arrow’s wood seeking the center of the target – the joint between the head and the thorax of the Vicery. All his senses awake for the slightest sign, he loosed five more arrows into the grey smoke. Six Vicery fell to the grass fires below and writhed as the flames consumed them.

Then, there was no more time. He dropped his bow and with a quick crosschested draw, pulled Zilphos and Aor to guard. Two of the surviving Vicery sped over him and returned to hover above him, wary of the blades, but thrumming their anger. They drifted apart, separating to force him to fight two targets. Then they both swooped, clawed limbs trying to ensnare him and pull him from the walls.

Spinning, his blades weaving a constant cutting pattern around him, Aalrik danced along the parapet. Zilphos sliced through the forelimbs of the first Vicery while Aor severed the second’s abdomen from its thorax. The abdomen fell with a thud to the courtyard below and convulsed, driving its sting into the ground below. Small drops of venom dripped from its tip and sizzled against the stone of the yard.

Aalrik brought the two blades to bear on the first Vicery again. It hovered, its multiple eyes glittering, and its amputated arms scrabbling at its side, then it sped away from the walls and vanished into the smoke.

As Aalrik turned to look for more enemies, he heard an angry thrum from the smoke and lept to one side, sweeping both blades into the Vicery who had sped out of the thickest smoke, aiming its stinger at the back of Aalrik’s neck.

It stopped, its body pinned to the wood of the parapet by his blades. Aalrik kicked its head from its body, breaking the thin neck. It's wings flurried and it's abdomen curled trying to sting him in its death throes, then it stopped moving. He pulled his blades loose and opened his senses again….

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“I beg your pardon, Tashiri, but you really should wash and change from your rather disgusting apprentice garb into your Tashiri uniform. It is a big day as I am sure you are aware and you look terrible. What IS that stuff on your robes? Would you like help?”

Aalrik blinked, startled out of the memory. Before him was an elderly human, looking at him with one eyebrow slightly lifted and the hint of a smile touching his eyes.

Aalrik chuckled, “No, thank you, although I appreciate the offer. I can manage.”

The man did smile and gave a short nod of his head.
“You have about two hours before the final ceremony that recognizes your completion of your training. I have made sure that the bath water is the correct temperature, although, I dare say, you know how to adjust it by now. There are clean towels and your apprentice’s locker has been moved with all your belongings to this room from your apprentice carrel. If you like, I can unpack for you while you bathe.”

Aalrik laughed out loud, “You are bound to play this out, aren’t you Demetrius?”

Now there was no longer a hint of a smile as the elderly man grinned widely.

“Of course, Tashiri. As of today, you are no longer Aalrik the lad who was my friend when I was a boy, but Aalrik, the Elven Tashiri Flora, who has passed all these years of mentoring and training and testing and trials. Ailisean would swear and complain, but he would have been very proud of you. I want to shout it from your window, but am afraid some of the other Tashiri might take offense.”

“Yes, you are right. Many of them faced the training alone and started much later than I. From the time I arrived, you were always there, as well as Ailisean before he was killed. Most of the rest left their families behind while what became my family has been here in the Temple throughout the training. ”

Demetrius snapped open the lock of the footlocker and absently began to remove items and put them into the large armoire. “I still remember how pale you were when they brought you into the Temple. I was sure that you were going to die. I think, looking back, the healer himself worried that you might have lost too much blood by the time the patrol found you and got you to the temple but your parents were extremely important Tashiri Flora. I remember they brought Master Healer, Herotious, himself out of the hospital to you and he worked in the courtyard for over an hour before you were strong enough even to move into the infirmary. I’ve never seen a boy, elf or human or dwarf, of 5 years so near to death. I can still see the image clearly after all these years.”

His eyes stared at something he saw in the distance, then shook his head.

“Enough memory! You bathe. I will get these things put away and get your clothes out for you, but I draw the line at dressing you…unless you order it, Tashiri.” He said with a rebellious glint in his eye.

“No,” Aalrik laughed. “I would not have you dress me for all the gifts of the Tashiri. You’d probably put the sash on backwards or leave the buttons loose so that the pants would fall when I bowed to the ladies. I will bathe and then go meet some of the other Tashiri, in particular, the Tashiri Ignus, I saw on the wall helping in the battle with the Vicery. I had never seen them explode fire into the air the way they did. If I hadn’t seen them preparing the cauldrons of fire and been told that it was possible, I’d have not believed it.”
 

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Robb walked over to the two Tashiri who had already introduced themselves to each other before he sent out his greeting. If these were the people he was destined to fight alongside, and possibly even die alongside, then he wanted to get to know their characters as quickly as he could. The first Tashiri eyed his weapon for a moment, painfully obvious for both him and the other companion to the convosation.

“Not intruding at all, I'm Viktor Smirnov, fire walker. Worried an ambush might get you?” The one that eyed his weapon said, a hint of irony lacing through the comment. Robb let out a loud laugh before he responded to him, "Viktor, a pleasure to meet you. I am afraid its not fear of an ambush, I'm attracted to metal like a moth is too light! I carry this weapon, my constant companion as old habits die hard, one I believe our friend here knows about." He indicated with a hand to the dwarfs feet, a smile on his face to show he was just trying to be friendly.

The dwarf offered him his hand as he introduced himself to Robb, “Pleasure to meet you, Robb Eckardson, metal walker. I am Sven Ironson, earth walker. We’re exchanging stories, and would be honored to hear yours.” An earth walker? That would help to explain the lack of boots. Robb smiled as he extended his hand a shook the dwarfs rock hard hand, with an equally firm handshake of his own. "A pleasure Sven, I think between us we all have plenty of tales to share, and a unique insight into the other nature paths."

He thought quickly about his new companions, the dwarf was friendly and seemed fairly dependable, like most dwarfs. Both he and Viktor would be worthy Tashiri to fight alongside, and Robb could only hope that the rest of his companions were like these two.
 

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“A fire walker you say? Tell me of your trial, and I will tell of mine.” Viktor smiled. It would be good to talk to others who weren't part of his training group. It had been so long since he had a good chance to talk to someone new. He waited for Sven and Robb to greet each other before he started to speak, recounting his tale.

“Well, I'm not much of a story teller but here it is. You probably saw the huge cloud of smoke to the north east? It was a fire, almost a whole block consumed by flame. It was up to a group of fire and water walkers to put it out. Let me tell you something, putting out a huge fire is a lot harder than starting one, and the heat even got to me. Anyway, about an hour or so in, I hear a scream coming from one of the buildings and assumed someone was trapped. I ran closer and could hear crying. Children it was. So I break in, blow down the door and help the children escape. I...” he stumbled over this part, remembering the woman's scream and how he never found her in the building. “I couldn't get the woman, I think it was their mother. But the masters decided to reward me with this. It felt like it took forever to get the fire out but we got it. Saved a few people...removed the dead. Man I never want to see anything like that inside the city again. Vicery and other monsters can all burn for all I care, but innocents like that? Well, that's my tale, I think it's your turn now.” Viktor tried to hide his uneasiness at having to recount some of the memories. The children crying, the blackened, barely recognizable corpse of someone’s brother. He tried to recompose himself and waited for the dwarf to speak.
 

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Bathed and wearing the flowing garb of the Tashiri which Demetrius had insisted on inspecting and adjusting before he left the room, Aalrik left the old man working on stowing his things and stepped into the hallway, looking for the other Tashiri. As he left he heard the old man muttering, "After all these years, you'd think he'd care how he looked."

There were three Tashiri in the hall, a dwarf with no shoes, and two humans, one carrying a sword. Their new uniforms all were neat and spotless and seemed to be buttoned properly. Aalrik quickly checked the buttons in the back of the uniform. It would be like Demetrius to deliberately leave key ones loose, but today he had behaved. All was fastened properly.

The three were conversing. He wondered if he should interrupt, then decided that now was the time to meet three of his new Tashiri brothers. Time was short, the increasing number of those gifted with Tashiri furies in the world proved as much.

He stepped forward, hands up and palms out toward them in greeting.

"Good day, brothers. I am Aalrik Faengoede, Wood Walker, like you raised to the Tashiri today. Tell me your names and your skills, for I feel we will know each other very well, very soon, unless I am badly mistaken."
 

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"Do you trust me?" The question was almost an afterthought but there was something more behind it, "just because I noticed that some of the people we fought with doubted my dedication to our cause, thinking I only wanted to kill and they were wrong. Did you think that?"

"What?" The suddeness of the question had caught her off guard and Isira found herself flustered, "of... of course not. You are Tashiri, you would not be if you could not be trusted." But it was a lie, she didn't trust him, not like that, but then she had grown up knowing that to trust was just to open yourself up for more pain. She had no doubt of his dedication, if he was not then the Tashiri masters would not have elevated him, but to trust him was another step. She could... No! She had to rely on herself, he seemed nice but she knew better than most that looks could be deceiving. She wasn't ready to trust anyone. But she couldn't let the others know that, it might spark resentment, hostility, she spoke again, her voice more confident now. "Of course I trust you," her mind giving practised voice to the lie that slipped easily off her tongue, another habit she had picked up, and one which she still practised, to her own secret shame...
 
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