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Timber [closed] Read 17580 times

Beau

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2014, 09:56:17 pm »


"I'm not anything," Beckett mumbled.  He had nightmares that came true. His family sold him for money. The queen kept him around to amuse her and lately he couldn't even succeed at that. "And I have nowhere to go."  The truth but hardly words you used to impress a girl.   Mira was out of his league. He knew why he pushed his hair out of his face and straightened his shirt, but it proved nothing. 

The window called to him.  He could walk there at least and look out even if he couldn't enjoy the sunshine.  With luck he'd see his only friend.  No windows marred the bars but he put a hand to the glass without opening it.  He looked out but then found he was studying his own reflection.

"When I first came here I worked in the rain mines." It was hard and dangerous work. Since he wasn't afraid of heights he'd been adept at it.  "They use a mill to grind the electricity and lightening into power. He hesitated. In a small gesture of defiance he crossed his arms.  "Maybe I shouldn't tell you where."  Not that it wouldn't be hard to guess. 

He asked his own question. "What are you doing here?"

« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 10:10:31 pm by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2014, 10:40:02 pm »
‘So that means you can go anywhere.’ Mira didn’t say as much right then. He wanted to revel in his hopeless state, a beaten man. She didn’t move from where she leaned, but watched his movements as each one broke her heart, little by little.

Oh, she would enjoy the end of the sky city when it came. She would enjoy the end of Ilaera’s life.

Beckett would always be the better man, so far as forgiveness went.
“If you don’t tell me, I’ll have to explore every single one,” Mira noted when he kept the information from her. She could have tried to break into his mind, but she wasn’t yet ready to reveal anything to him. The fact he was so broken already, and so easily manipulated by the Queen kept her from it.

She might want to comfort him with truth and secrets, to let him in, but she knew it would be the end of her. Her mission. So, when he asked his question, she just smiled and shook her head,
“Didn’t you hear me?” A touch of playfulness. “Information. That is what I am doing here,” and that was as much as she’d say. He knew she was looking for information on a curse already. “It is why the Queen has me employed in her service, but some employers do not know what their employees need to do the work.”

That was true all around. Her father hadn’t known what she needed, and the Queen didn’t know what she needed. It was why book after book kept being given over to her.

To shift the topic, she said,
“You know, Beckett, if you have nowhere to go, you can go anywhere. Anywhere you like,” wasn’t that better than staying here? No tethers. He could fly free, explore the world. Mira humored such herself when this job was done, to travel the land she missed, and see all that she’d never seen before.

Beau

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #62 on: July 18, 2014, 10:56:45 pm »
For a moment something flared in his eyes. "An adventure?"   He had that spirit in him still. A thirst to see and do.  Perhaps he coveted it more because it was denied.

Mira didn't answer his question.  The queen wasn't here. He found that odd and he wouldn't dare to think that she had come for him.  She only sought him on dreams. Mira was looking for information.  "In my dream it is dark." He assumed that meant night.  Beckett looked out the window again and smiled at a passing winged shadow. "Perhaps".

He debated with himself. He had no idea where the queen was or when she would be back.  This could be his only chance and yet he hesitated. 

Beckett opened the window.  The small brass lock yielded under his hand and swung open soundlessly. He leaned out and whistled.  "I could show you.  Then you could avoid the place. " Logical of course. 

The air pushed at him as the eagle approached. Some of the weary sadness left him. He smiled and his expression had a certain ethereal quality.  He took a step up to the window ledge.  "Have you ever flown on an eagle before?" 

He glanced her way and noticed, "You have no shoes?" 

« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 10:59:54 pm by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #63 on: July 18, 2014, 11:08:24 pm »
When his eyes lit up at the prospect of an adventure, so did hers. ‘Yes.’ She smiled in encouragement. Yes, an adventure. Fun. Traversing and reveling, getting caught in bad situations, and kissing the wrong people at the right time. Adventure.

He opened the window, and she felt relief.
‘Run. Run as fast and as far as you can and don’t ever look back.’ She’d miss him, a familiar face in a strange place, but she wasn’t so selfish to want him to remain caged. He was not her bird to keep, nor was he Ilaera’s…anyone’s. Yet, when he offered something instead of just leaving, she pushed away from the doorway.

Quietly, she shut the door to the other room.
“Adventure is more fun with companions,” as if she knew. She’d come here alone, and been undertaking this adventure alone.

Two questions.
“Well, I was relaxing in my room. No need for shoes or other frivolities of attire.” Perhaps now there was a need, but she didn’t move to leave the room and fetch her shoes. “I think bare feet are better for keeping balance, anyway. I haven’t flown on an eagle before.” She hadn’t flown on any creature before, though it had taken eagles to bring her up here. It had been quite an interesting trip in the flying carriage. “Shall we be off?” She stepped closer to the window and where he was, glanced out it to locate the eagle he spoke of. 

Beau

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #64 on: July 19, 2014, 04:12:56 am »
Beckett shook his head.  He didn’t have shoes on either.  He’d rolled out of bed and the clothing was barely presentable.  The shirt flapped in the wind allowed by the open window.  Beckett self-consciously pulled at the hem to be sure his injuries didn’t show.  The pants he wore were soft and thin for sleeping.  He’d be cold in the clouds but he didn’t care.

Beckett offered his hand as he stood on the ledge.  His heart skipped a beat at the prospect of touching Mira.  He knew why but he wasn’t going to analyze it.  His smile grew wider.  “You first,” he said. “I’ll hold your balance and slip on behind you once you’re set.”

He warned.  “Don’t look down.”  The clouds were ever present, but they were far below.  The first time he’d ‘jumped’ on a bird he’s deluded himself the clouds would be soft if he fell.  Fortunately the eagle had moved at the last second and saved him from experiencing the penetrating quality of clouds first hand.  He hoped his friend would be as alert now and adjust as needed for two riders.

The eagle would move once they were aboard.   The mill was to the east, but Beckett considered the possibility of pointing out other landmarks as they passed.   He wasn’t feeling talkative, but there might be other places she was interested in.   Other dangers she should stay away from.  She’d called him a diviner but he resisted the title.  He was just Beckett.

"At your service," he said.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #65 on: July 19, 2014, 04:26:38 am »
‘You’re using him.’

Mira firmly believed what she told Sorin earlier; every action was a selfish one. Mira could admit she was using Beckett, but she hadn’t expected the pang of guilt that followed the thought. She had accepted her own selfishness, much as she accepted that everyone had dark thoughts about those they loved, and sometimes hated.

Yet it bothered her as she took his hand, and considered the trouble he might be in. They would return her. If Her Majesty became aware of this venture out, Beckett would be in trouble. Mira wasn’t worried for herself. She could deal with Ilaera. Beckett, she wasn’t so sure of, and he was someone she really shouldn’t use. She couldn’t explain why, but it felt wrong.

She stepped up onto the ledge, and before she could look down, she was warned against it. She still considered doing so, but decided not to. No need to.
“Perhaps this is why I don’t scream,” she mused aloud, “I don’t think I’m going to die.” And then she stepped off the ledge, letting go of his hand and hoping there was something beneath her to catch her. The urge to scream was there, but she held it within.

Bare feet found feathers. Knees bent, and the palm of her left hand also found those feathers and tried to balance her. Beckett was not long after her. She stayed low rather than stand, and she tried to find a comfortable position on the back of the bird to rest, all the while her eyes insisted on looking down and at the world below, the world to which she could easily fall down to and die.

Beckett was here, though. She took comfort in the fact he knew how to do this. She laughed at his words, told herself not to consider that as a truth.
“Just don’t let me fall.” Nervousness did show through, as she reached for him, wanting to hold on to him rather than the feathered creature, even if it might not be as safe. Somehow, Beckett promised more security than the bird.

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #66 on: July 20, 2014, 09:18:04 pm »
Mira moved with grace, and Beckett wasn’t surprised by her lack of fear.  He had to jump to join her, and then swing his leg so that he came in behind her.  He motioned that they should sit.  With his arm around her waist he was unbelievably touched by her request to keep her safe.  Beckett barely resisted burying his face in her neck and allowing his skin to touch hers.  He settled for a whisper in her ear.  “That means you’ll need to stay close.”  Surely she’d understand geometry.

It was the wind and the sense of freedom that caused him to smile.  Nothing else could have caused the pure joy that settled inside him as the bird moved away from the castle.  “Let your hands reach down and hold the feathers.  It won’t hurt her.”

As if to put a lie to his words, the eagle banked and dropped a few hundred feet.  Beckett took that as a hint.  “This is Aredane,”  a chuckle, “I’m sorry I didn’t properly introduce you first.  She’s not typically the jealous type.”  Not that he routinely took women flying with him, but he could pretend. "Aredane, this is Mira.  She's pretty cool, so be nice."

He'd do his best to enjoy the moment, but he knew he needed to get to business. “Aredane,” he commanded, knowing the bird would understand some of the common tongue.  “Head east please, we’d like to see the mines and the mills on the rim.”

The bird let out a piecing cry that Beckett took to be a yes, and shifted course.  He’d need to be mindful of distance and location.  He didn’t want the bird to tire, of for them to be gone too long.  “Do you know where the queen is?  Last I saw her she’d brought me some food and then…nothing.  That’s not unusual.  She doesn’t speak to me everyday – usually one when she’s had a dream she wants interpreted.  But her last visit was odd.  She asked about you. Now I find you have a similar interest in her – so it would help to know, if you know, where she is."  Did that sound as clumsy as he thought it did?  He bit his lip.  The last thing he wanted to do was sound stupid.  "I can’t see that you don’t fall if we get blasted out of the sky.”
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 09:19:21 pm by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #67 on: July 21, 2014, 01:20:00 am »
There was something strangely intimate in this sort of interaction, in having no idea what was on his mind. Invasion was the norm, so things outside of that meant several factors. In this case, Mira wasn’t trying to look in. She was trusting Beckett without knowing ahead of time, if he was truly worthy of that trust.

Even so, she was also keeping some things hidden because of that. There were secrets Beckett would tell.

She had no problems staying close. It was keeping herself ‘in’ that she struggled with, for she was now touching two different individuals and trying to maintain a distance that was foreign to her.
‘Do not try to read the bird’s mind. This never works.’ It didn’t matter how intelligent the creature seemed, or if it understood orders. It never truly spoke their language, and that always meant a headache for Mira.

She listened to the animal expert instead, and did reach for the feathers. Of course, when she did, the bird reacted negatively. Mira leaned back, instinctively trying to put distance between herself and the ground the bird was plummeting towards, no matter how futile. She pushed closer against Beckett in the act, and her hands remained up and away from the bird.
“Aredane,” Mira repeated. “A pleasure,” not really. Aredane had scared her.

They got down to business, and Mira brought up an image of a map in her head. She would have to make a mark on a real map later, but perhaps if this mill ended up being connected it would help reveal where the others would be. That would make her life a lot easier. Markings liked to be in specific locations relating to the others, and she had a feeling this was no different. Some shape would be revealed. Hopefully it would only be five points.
‘If not five, then nine.’ If she was lucky and it was a compass.

She didn't really need to find them all. Just enough.

His question kept her distracted, so she didn’t plot other possibilities. Instead, she considered how to answer him.
“I don’t know where Her Majesty is,” Mira answered honestly, “I only understood she was out of the castle. She may have just left for a short while, or she may be gone for a while,” Mira couldn’t say. It had been a risk on her part to accept Sorin’s help then, but one well worth taking. “How often do you usually see her?” Perhaps they ought to plan to be back when he ‘usually’ saw her.

Mira being absent wouldn’t be too strange, after all. Mira had freedom.
"I think I upset her our last visit," Mira said, not sounding bothered by it, "I'm sure that's why she was asking after me, but we'll be fine. Communication is sometimes a problem with us."

Beau

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2014, 10:29:28 pm »
Her body was warm.  Beckett enjoyed the contact, surprised by just how comfortable he was.  Usually Mira made him walk into walls nervous, but up here she seems less threatening.  Maybe it was how the air blew her hair around.  Maybe it was the expression on her face that seemed less self-confident than usual.

She explained that she didn’t know the queen’s movements and that too put them on an equal plane.  “Ilaera doesn’t confide in me.”  And he didn’t want to get that close to her.  “Typically we see each other every few days.  No less than once a week.”  Sometimes the hours in between stretched to a point where he wanted the contact even though he knew it was wrong.  “She travels.  Sometimes I think she forgets about me.”  Or pretends to.   He had enough pride to hope he was memorable.

Mira explained she’d upset the queen and Beckett’s lips twitched at the thought.  He wouldn’t presume that the queen needed challengers, but the approach was refreshing.  “I wish I had your courage.”  It was true.  He rarely defied others out of fear.  It was easier to evade then confront.  “Communication with us tends to be rather one sided.”  This of course was putting it mildly.  He moved one hand to his chest, and only realized he’d placed his hand over his heart after he felt the warmth of his hand on the spot that still pained him.

The bird flew on, and Beckett looked down pointing out a few monuments as they went.  It filled the time to play tour guide, and made him think he was out on an enjoyable ride.  Cares were few in the brief fantasy, but as they approached the mill he realized he had a choice to make.  It would take her a day to make the trip over cloud.  Given her reaction to the eagle, he doubted she would ‘borrow” the bird.

“You’ll want to go down,” Beckett dithered.  “I don’t…I don’t know that it’s wise.”  The bird started to circle.  “Perhaps if you tell me what you are looking for I can tell you if it’s there.  Save you the trip.”  And the danger.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 03:28:07 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #69 on: July 22, 2014, 11:06:35 pm »
Beckett knew even less than she did, it appeared. They saw each other little, and spoke little. It was disappointing, but not at all unexpected. She and Beckett were different people, and he confessed as much. ‘Courage comes with knowledge.’ Mira imagined she wouldn’t be so bold if she lacked her talent. “I’m sorry your relationship with her is in this state,” Mira said.

Of course, it made her job easier.

The subject of Ilaera dropped as they continued the trip, and Beckett pointed out various landmarks and interesting things. Mira looked on with fascination, but it was a mask. There was sorrow for the ignorants down below, and there was also a hatred that was born into her. She could be fascinated by all that the people here had done, but she could also hate it for how it was an offense, a mimicry of the things on land.


‘There’s a reason some people think that grapes from the land taste better.’
Though Mira cared little, no true connoisseur, she understood there had to be nuances based on soil and climate. There was a reason it was better on the land.

Soon enough, they were over the area that Mira needed to be at. She looked down and made mental notes as to the location. It would take a little while to get back here. She’d have to plan accordingly, lest Her Majesty realize Mira was gone a whole day, or figured out where Mira went.

Beckett was still worried for her safety. Mira offered another option.
“Or we could make this a real adventure,” she looked over her shoulder at him, “We could both go explore the cave, and if it is there, you’ll see what I’m looking for first hand.” Then there could be little deception on her end. Beckett would see exactly what it was, and if he knew…well, Mira would have to deal with it, somehow.

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #70 on: July 23, 2014, 03:38:01 am »
They could both go.  Together.  His fingers bunched under the thought of a real adventure with her.

God you’re so pathetic.  A twinge of self loathing at how easy it would be.  This was trouble and fantasy mixed together in an irresistible cocktail for a man who was dying from loneliness.  He knew it.  Figured she knew it.  And still he couldn’t resist.

He looked away, and down towards the clouds.  “All right,” he agreed, although he wasn’t smiling over the prospect.  “We’ll scout first to be sure there are no guards.  The weather has been fair so there isn’t  a reason for the place to be operating at the moment.  They gather the crew during the high pressure systems and storms.”

She probably already knew that.  He shook his head over his own ramblings and spoke to the eagle.  After a bit of direction she flew lower and Beckett was able to confirm the lights inside the mill were dim and the windows were empty.  The barracks which kept a set number of indentured laborers were centrally located, and not close enough to see their descent and landing.  Beckett pointed to where he wanted the eagle to go.

He stood and offered a hand to help Mira dismount.  He was used to the after affect, and his ears popped once.   His legs were steady and his hands didn’t shake with the adrenalin rush.

“On to adventure,” he said.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 03:44:06 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #71 on: July 23, 2014, 08:03:00 pm »
He didn’t smile, and Mira found that to be odd. She thought he would jump at the chance to go. Not that he was disagreeing, but he didn’t seem happy about it. ‘Of course not. You knew he would want to go, you knew he wouldn’t resist.’ Even without reading his mind, she was still a good reader of people. She bit the inside of her cheek, thinking to take it back. ‘You only want to relieve yourself of guilt. This is the lesser of evils.’ It was always evils with her, too. Despite accepting selfishness, her mind insisted on it being evil, too.

They scouted from the air, but Mira had another way. She opened her mind but was sure not to touch on the bird. It operated on a different wavelength anyway. The human signal was detected below, but not many.

Beckett didn’t see much of a problem either, for he had the eagle land and then held his hand out to help her down. Mira brushed a hand by her ear to quickly shut down the mental operations before taking his hand. She wasn’t as steady as him, visibly questioning her way down even as she held on to Beckett’s hand. She managed to get to the ground, but one leg lost its balance. Her other hand quickly moved to Beckett’s shoulder to steady herself.


Inhale. “Yes, on to adventure,” a nervous laugh as she glanced back at the bird and started to straighten herself, as if the bird might try to disturb the precarious balance she regained. "Thank you, Aredane."

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2014, 10:56:15 pm »
When Mira put a hand on his shoulder, he allowed his arm to circle her waist.  Reflex only.  He resisted the urge to pull her closer and let his hip rest against hers.  Deliberately he let her go once they were on solid ground.  He wasn’t sure if he was proud of himself, but he felt more in control.  Like the bird Mira would be gone soon enough.  He’d foreseen it.  Still, he needed to remind himself. You’re convenient.  It’s not personal.

Beckett gave a whistle and Aredane took off.   The same whistle would bring her back when needed, and he explained as much to Mira as they walked on towards the mill.  She would raise questions if spotted, and giant eagle feathers were rare and valued.  Here near the rim she was in danger of hunters.  The mill structure was relatively imposing.  Made of gray stone and mortar it towered over the trees.  The landscaping was scorched, the result of rogue lightning bolts and excess energy.

Since she wanted to see the cave, he said, “We’ll need to go through the mill to get there.”  Beckett walked forward, his body turning a full circle viewing the landscape.  His eyes narrowed under the bright sun and he put a hand to his forehead to shield them.  He didn’t see anything stalking them in the distance so he motioned Mira to follow.

The door to the mill was large, nearly twenty feet high and as wide.  The reason for that revolved around equipment and the size of things inside.  Here everything was built on a larger scale.  Stories once told of giants doing this work, but Beckett had never seen one.  The door was heavy and he put his back into the effort of pulling on the brass ring to open it.  The wood yielded, surprisingly quiet for its sheer size.   As a gentleman he should have waved Mira on, but he wanted to stay in front of her, so he scooted on into the shadows.  His vision of trouble had her ahead of him and out of reach – maybe he could use geometry as a shield.

He’d need to find the passage that lead down and ensure they weren’t seen by lingering eyes.  “Let’s go.”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #73 on: July 24, 2014, 05:54:05 am »
Aredane took off with a whistle, and it was explained to her that such a sound could bring her back. She nodded in understanding. They weren’t abandoned. Mira followed him. After all, he was the one who had seen what was to occur, and he had worked in a place like this. He knew the grounds far better than she did. “Understood,” Mira accepted his plan to go through the mill.

Her eyes trailed to the scorched ground, and she shook her head a little at the sight. Harnessing the energy was important to them. Still, the effects of such things didn’t appear to be worth it. The ground here wasn’t natural. Certainly it couldn’t endure these strikes and replenish itself forever?
‘Maybe it can.’ Mira mentally shrugged. She didn’t understand how this place even continued existing, and she knew less about how land adapted to its circumstances.

Beckett was able to open the door on his own, and it was quiet. It was tall, too, a necessity for the equipment within. Mira would have laughed at stories of giants; people did so like to belittle the intelligence of the past. She let Beckett go in first and followed after, glanced back at the door once in.

He wanted to continue on, but Mira asked,
“Should that be closed first?” Would it not be obvious that the door had been opened, that intruders were about?

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #74 on: July 28, 2014, 04:38:29 am »
Beckett looked back at Mira, and then at the door behind her.  To go back and close it would mean putting her in front of him on the path down.  He didn’t like that idea.  He chewed his lip and considered his options and body positioning, wondering how he might walk around her and yet somehow stay  ahead.   

Then it came to him.  He’d move fast.  And so he sprinted to the door and pulled it closed.  Then he hustled back into position to lead the way down.  “Stay behind me,” he added for good measure.   

Not that she’ll listen.

He even walked backwards a step or two  trying to read her expression in the dim light.   Then  he took on a tour guiding role.  “The machinery here transforms the energy into a usable form.”  Beckett wasn’t sure of how best to explain it without admitting his own ignorance so he waved a vague hand, pretending the details were irrelevant.  “Some is used here, but most is transported through a membrane within the clouds to other  junctions for local distribution.”

The mill was operating in a way.  A few gears turned in the central tower of machinery that dominated the room.  No people were there to turn dials or release steam, but Beckett could almost sense the atmospheric pressure as though the water vapor and electrical forces held within were bouncing around trying to get out. 

They were approaching another set of doors.  Giant sized as well, although they only guarded stairs.  Beckett looked around but he couldn’t hear any voices or much really beyond the gentle hiss of machinery.  He reached for the brass knob, but a whistle blew before he could grab the latch.   The central tower shuddered and a vent opened.  If they had been near the front entrance they would have been caught in the cross fire of a slug of white vapor that billowed up and washed over the doorway.

Beckett snatched the stairwell latch.  “Better hurry,” he urged, yanking the heavy wooden gateway open.  “The venting rotates.”
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 04:40:06 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #75 on: July 28, 2014, 08:16:02 am »
Beckett had an order for her. He must not have realized her intent was to follow him for at least most of the trip. He was the guide. He knew this sort of place, and his vision had shown him where she fell. It was more his knowledge of the place that made her wish to follow rather than lead. He knew how to navigate.

He was, however, quite jumpy. The anxious energy around him was a touch annoying, and Mira briefly wondered if it was going to cause problems. Now that she was off the bird, her own anxiety had vanished. Though she wasn’t on ‘land’, the illusion of it was enough.


“I see,” she commented to his descriptions about the machines. She wasn’t so concerned with how it worked, either. They walked on towards another set of large doors, and Mira clasped her hands behind her back to ensure they wouldn’t inadvertently touch something and cause problems. There was so much to poke, too.

Beckett opened the doors, concern. The vapor must be quite hot. Mira quickened her pace, but didn’t run. She stepped up a few of the steps that were behind the door, but waited for Beckett all the same,
“I thought I was supposed to stay behind?” In walking through the doorway first, she had taken the lead.

Of course, her lack of movement suggested she had no intention of holding it. Beckett could shut the door and lead on. 


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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #76 on: July 30, 2014, 08:26:12 pm »
Mira reminded Beckett of his responsibilities as she questioned the order of things.  Adventure aside he couldn't shake the feeling that all this was a bad idea.  If he slacked in vigilance she would be hurt.  All this likely translated into a jumpy and huffy attitude as he abandoned good manners and retook his position in the lead of the procession.

"Fine," he mumbled.

The door would soon close, leaving them in the dark, but Beckett knew where the torch and tinder were.  Within moments he'd lit two, one to hold and one to leave to light the way.  He'd save time and only light a few more on the path, providing enough light to walk down the stairs, but not causing waste in time and materials they would only need to snuff when they exited.

His bare feet felt the cold of the stone steps as he descended.  He tempered his pace to avoid slipping on the condenced cloud moisture.  The steps spiraled under the mill. Like a corkscrew they wound down and the air thickened with mist.  The steps themselves moved occasionally; they'd jerk in rhythm with the mill venting above.  Now it wasn't difficult to maintain balance.  He'd simply reach out his hand and touch the center wall if he felt a sense of vertigo.  But he could recall how dangerous they could be.  When operating a full capacity no one wanted to be below.  A person could get trapped and unable to climb if the staircase spun too fast.  Death could find you then fairly easily.  You wouldn't need to fall.

"It's not terribly pretty."  Not much to see.  Can we leave? "Unless you like white clouds."

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #77 on: July 31, 2014, 07:06:58 am »
Perhaps she should not have reminded him. However, the damage was done, and his mood suffered. Mira could have commiserated, or else let the smile fade from her lips, but it had never been her way. She wasn’t the easiest to get along with. Confidence translated as arrogance, and Mira would even agree—she was arrogant.

So the smile remained, her hands were kept pinned behind her back, and she followed him. He held out a torch, and their path descended into the mist. Her eyes moved about it, a touch of glee. She had always liked fog, and this reminded her of it. The ground moved beneath her, and did remind her of the lie of security.
‘Just stay to the center.’ His hand reached out for the actual center, but she kept her hands locked behind her, more paranoid about touching it than she was about falling.

Her pace did slow because of it, whenever the stairs moved too much, she came to a stop.

His commentary expressed all his dislike of the place. All his concern. Mira chuckled,
“I didn’t come here to be dazzled by its beauty, Beckett,” he didn’t know why she was here. He had to know it wasn’t for the beauty, though. Her eyes looked up, looked around, “What I am looking for would not be in the stairwell. At least, I do not think so,” but they were going the right way. They were going down. It had been in the lower levels of the castle, in the actual land. Certainly this, too, would be in the land.

‘If it was here.’ That was the mystery. “It is cold though.” Her feet were freezing. She regretted not having shoes.

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #78 on: August 01, 2014, 11:08:34 pm »

“We’re almost to the bottom.” Beckett said.  He glanced over her shoulder and noticed her expression.  Her body seemed tense.  She’d asked to come, was clearly looking for something, but she didn’t allow touch as part of the experience.

Maybe she’s taken the warning to heart.  Caution would be good.

With those thoughts in his mind he didn’t offer reassurance. At the base of the stairs, Beckett placed the torch in the sconce on the wall.  He said a word, “Elantra,” and the misty white material that pooled at the base of the stairs started to glow.  The color was a warm yellow and the clouds seem to pulse and move as the color intensified.  Beckett took a breath as the air thickened and whipped the moisture from his upper lip.

“It’s not yet land we are standing on.  What’s here is a grid, like and unfinished building of steel girders or roof rafters.”  He wasn’t sure how familiar she was with construction.  Her family was more about books than labor.  “The paths are only this wide,”  He stretched out his hands to the width of his shoulders.  “Power flows though some so they could be hot or cold.” 

There was a main path that rose out of the mist as the vapor faded under the light.  “If we walk that way we can get to other buildings and machines.”  It was like the yellow brick road of a children’s story.  He only wished there would be music and a happy ending.

“So, what do you want to see?”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #79 on: August 01, 2014, 11:39:40 pm »
At the bottom, the torch was set aside and a word spoken. Mira made sure she was off the moving stairs, and she observed the reaction of the mist. There was magic here, but whether or not it was the sort she needed was another story.

Despite herself, hopes were rising.

She wasn’t expecting the sudden removal of the moisture. It caused her breath to be deep, for suddenly the air was not so heavy. A yawn followed, and she covered her lips with her hand as he explained, not meaning to appear bored or tired, for she was neither. An apologetic smile followed as she lowered her hand.

It seemed there were two paths, one to other buildings, and one to a construction area.
“Let’s go to the thinner path,” she said, offered her next words in a joking tone, “You know what they say about the wider path.” It certainly wasn’t a joke to some. The wider, easier road, was said to lead to a worse afterlife. It was not always the torment that many feared, the never-ending ocean, the constant drowning or the constant struggle to stay afloat, and never dying—never finding rescue.

No, sometimes it was milder.

But the heroes walked the narrow route.


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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #80 on: August 02, 2014, 06:53:19 am »
If she’d told him her reasons Beckett would have been the first to say he was no hero.  He wasn’t even terribly brave. 

The ground shook one last time and Beckett stumbled as he studied the path forward.  He took a step back and slipped, grabbing for the nearest thing to him which was Mira. Fumbling like an idiot he tried to regain his balance but she was soft and not sturdy like the wall had been. 

“Sorry,” he mumbled.  Not the hero seizing the moment, but more the last boy worried about what he should do next.

The narrow path.  That was what she wanted.  “What is adventure without risk?”

He took a step back with sure feet this time.  “Follow me, then.” Experience allowed him to almost feel the solid over the cloud.  His feet moved in succession, one after the other like a dancer.  And all the while he didn’t turn around. 

“How is your sense of balance?  Do heights scare you?”  He thought a moment and considered that she should be warned.  “Occasionally there is nothing – no land, no balance beam, and no cloud.  Don’t look down.”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #81 on: August 02, 2014, 07:11:42 am »
The ground shook. Mira’s balance had been sturdier, but Beckett seemed to lose his as he examined the path ahead of them. He reached out to her, and she nearly lost her own. There was an immediate buzzing in her head that about drove her to push him away and let him fall. It hurt, the contact trying to break through her self-imposed guards to cause her to reach out and see what was in his head.

She didn’t.

Their mutual fumblings and leaning towards the other seemed to force them to stand upright. They both regained their sense of balance, and she shook her head,
“Forgiven,” there was nothing to forgive, though.

At least he was willing to continue with this adventure thing. He wasn’t as grumpy about it, anyway. Forward they went, on the narrow path. She feigned his grace, keeping her eyes on his back rather than below. It was always bad to look down, and when he asked his first question, her answer was,
“My balance is ok, but yes. I’m afraid of heights.”

She didn’t like heights at all. Usually she was able to ignore it, but her first day in the sky city had been nerve wracking. It was no longer as debilitating as she'd seen some people's fear of spiders.

He shouldn’t have said anything further.

Her progress halted when he mentioned ‘nothing’.
“What do you mean?” She couldn’t convince her foot to step forward right then. “It can’t be nothing. No one can walk on air.” Panic was seeping into her voice. She needed to know there was ‘something’, that he’d misspoke—anything.

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #82 on: August 03, 2014, 01:39:06 am »
He felt silly as he said it – the second time he’d warned her not to look down, like somehow ignoring the danger made it less.  On the bird she’d seemed tense, but he’d thought it the newness of the experience or the movement that caused her muscles to clench. Now he heard a touch of trepidation in her voice and the courage he knew to be there seemed to question physics. 

“Well of course you can’t walk on air.”  That was the point you - step the wrong way -  you fall.  Did she think he was joking?

Beckett glanced over his shoulder, and what he saw had him pivot on one heal, and spin on his toes.  Now he was walking backwards, but still away from the mill at close to the same pace.   

“Adventure has its own rewards. But now you must ask yourself - is what you are looking for worth your life?”

The clouds were thinner here and the air clearer.  It was likely the sunlight that filtered through the golden glow making the mist paler and more translucent.  Beckett could feel the magic around him.  His skin tingled.  He continued to walk backwards and he chose not to glance down at his chest which he was afraid was bleeding again.  His shirt felt damp and there was a burning sensation he remembered from the morning.  He preferred instead to study Mira and not worry about magical consequences and how his body was reacting to being here.

“Will you know what you’re looking for once you find it?”  She still hadn’t told him what she sought so it was difficult to guide.  He stopped walking and let his hands rest at his sides.  “Or we could skip the adventure.  You could just look into my mind and see if I’ve seen it.  Save yourself the possibility of a misstep.”  He sighed.  "I know you don't want to tell me because you think I'll tell her.  I get that.  I'm weak, so your reservations are justified.  But if we continue I'll find out the secret anyway.  I'm not blind.  Maybe it would be best if we stop before someone gets hurt." 

Beckett took a step towards her.  Surrender or daring, it was hard to tell.  "Take what you want.  And then we go."

« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 01:46:08 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2014, 04:30:24 am »
Beckett must have misspoke, for there would be no walking on air. Her muscles relaxed a little, but she still couldn’t will one foot in front of the other. She observed him spin around, and her own eyes widened in fright for Beckett as he walked back—away from her, and further in. He was insane.

Yet, he must have had reason.

A step was forced as Beckett seemed to be getting too far ahead, something Mira didn’t want. She would have explored this place on her own, if it were necessary. She would have dug up the courage, or buried the fear. Somehow, she would have prepared. Mind over emotion. That was a bit more difficult than mind over matter.
“I will know,” another step forward. They were coming again, though slow. Beckett stopped, and she continued until she had made up some of the distance he put between them.

His question earned a quizzical look, for the connotations.
‘Ah. You know.’ She was surprised, despite herself, and knew that for a moment such surprise showed on her face. Eyebrows lifted, and her posture became guarded. Knowledge of her psionic talents weren’t widespread on the land, and certainly not here. Amit didn’t even know, and she imagined he would be the first to know, the first to be told officially by her father, anyway.

Either the Queen had told Beckett, he’d figured it out on his own, or he’d heard on land. 

That, or the visions.
“I doubt you’ve seen the entire place,” Mira told him. Some of the warmth was lost. She didn’t enjoy being known, and even if she might have one day trusted Beckett with the information, the fact was she hadn’t. She let her father's demeanor take over, channeled him to get over her petty fears and drew on the cold strength she remembered. Oh, he loved fiercely, but he had difficulties expressing it.

It also made her wonder if his earlier guards had been intentional, his own mistrust of her.
‘No, it wasn’t guards.’ She reminded herself. Being a diviner, his mind operated at a wavelength different from most humans. Now that she knew that, she could have figured it out. “Best to continue on.” And she did, matching his step towards her with one towards him.

However, she didn’t reach out. He would have to turn around and walk on, or else she was going to have to find a way around him.
‘Wouldn’t it be amusing if you were the cause of the fall?’ This would be her attempt to step in front of him, if he refused to move. That could put her in the position to fall, as he foretold.

Ah, self-fulfilling prophecies. They were the best kind. 


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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #84 on: August 05, 2014, 05:42:36 am »
The flicker of expressions on her face was enlightening.  Gratifying almost.  Unlike another woman in his acquaintance she seemed reluctant to simply take.  And yet it irritated him that she ignored the offer.  Distrust perhaps?  He couldn’t fathom why.  He wasn’t smart enough to feed her a falsehood.

“I labored here for almost a year.  I’ve seen all of it.”

She took a step forward and he took one back.  Mira could have moved past him but he put out a bracing arm to stop her.  “I forgot,” Beckett said, “what is it the philosopher’s say?”  A heart beat, maybe two.  “Pride go-eth before the fall.”

He’d offered to help.  To make things easy and she’d chosen the narrower path – again.  He felt disappointed.

I cannot save everyone.

But that didn’t mean he didn’t deeply regret that lack. She would not appreciate a lecture either.  Silence seemed the best solution, but Beckett always struggled with the lack of sound.  To fill the voice he whistled a trill of notes.  In response, the flutter of wings echoed and a half a dozen small birds flew up towards them.  Beckett extended his forearm and one of the gray doves landed, digging her talons into his skin.  Too late he realized the mark would be difficult to explain to the sharp eyed queen.

“Scout,” he ordered.  The bird flew off with its companions. They circled and spiraled into the clouds.  He decided to explain the obvious.  “The birds will look below.  Hopefully we can avoid any surprises.”

The air shifted.  He hoped it was the beat of bird wings that caused the clouds to swirl, but he couldn’t be sure.

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #85 on: August 06, 2014, 05:18:51 am »
‘I’m sure many guards at the castle think that way, too.’ Mira wanted to tell him, but she couldn’t. She wanted to tell him that she could erase his memories, too, of anything he saw here to keep the truth hidden, but didn’t. When her father’s personality took over, she became much quieter.

She didn’t even respond to the comment about pride. She should have slapped him and walked on, but wouldn’t that just prove his point?

Of course it would. There was no room for her to move by him, for his arm moved out, and he lectured her.
‘Her Majesty has that coming before me.’ Not that life was ever fair in that regards. She wouldn't deny what Beckett said, either. She had a fall coming, perhaps not the one he saw in his vision, but she did. It wouldn't change her actions any.

She stepped back. He whistled, and birds rose up. He had an affinity with the winged creatures, it seemed.
‘You could leave any time you wish, and yet you remain here.’ Briefly, she wondered if he would leave, even if his life were at stake. Did he truly see nothing for him on land? No life, anywhere?

He gave orders to the birds, even as they abused his skin. They flew off to ‘scout’. Mira nodded to his assessment, and Mira walked around him then. He still wasn’t walking, after all, and she intended to continue. The birds could find them wherever they went.

She always made sure there was something solid underneath before she allowed her weight to depend on the placed foot. One after the other, while the air shifted around them. It was a tingling feeling, familiar from when she was within the castle. Even so, she kept her pace the same.

Fingers brushed by her ear, and she tuned herself back on to be certain. She recalled the feeling from the castle, the memory still so young.
‘Match.’ It was not Beckett, nor was it the birds.

Mira paused. No longer did she care for the path before her, for what she looked for was off the path. She could feel it, that pull of magic that interacted with her own extra-sight into the world. She turned her head towards the lighted mist, debating a course of action, giving the birds time to return and Beckett time to consider if he knew what was that way, even though she didn’t voice her intentions to stray.

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #86 on: August 06, 2014, 05:49:49 am »
He was bleeding.  A drop fell and landed on the top of his foot as she brushed past him.  Beckett lingered a moment and glanced down, pleased to see that his shirt wasn’t discolored noticeably.  The small stain could likely be mistaken for a splash of juice and the air billowed under his shirt keeping the cloth from absorbing much more.

Beckett turned to watch Mira’s progress as she moved forward.  He hovered close enough that he could react.  Her steps were slow and cautious enough that he didn’t feel a need to grab her for her own safety.  He let her move a few arms lengths ahead.

One of the birds returned.  It floated close to Beckett and then flew back down into the clouds with a chirp.  Beckett shook his head.  He didn’t understand bird.  No empathic link formed and as always he felt a touch of frustration over the lack.

Mira was quiet, so he was as well.  Beckett didn’t whistle or hum even though he wanted to.  Ultimately he managed a full minute of uncomfortable silence before he ventured, “You always used to do that,” and a rush to explain, “Get all tense when you didn’t get your way.  William would needle you on purpose to see if he could get a rise out of you.”  He let his thoughts linger on a memory of his older brother.  William was the most competitive of the lot.  He enjoyed playing games with people.  “You were smarter than him.  He didn’t much like that.”

When she paused, Beckett did as well.  He was close enough to observe the turn of her head and the glance to the right.  He figured she must be listening for something because she touched her ear, but he didn’t hear anything different.

He knelt and rapped his knuckles on the support beam. “Reebar,” he said.  A shaft of light moved in the direction that she looked.  In quick succession a grid of lit bars appeared in the mist.  Within a few seconds the grid formed into colored squares.  “You can step on blue, but not yellow.  And of course the blanks are…well blank.”  He shrugged. He could advise her to watch her step but he’d already done that.  Mira was reckless, not stupid.

Beckett decided to be thorough.  He tapped the left. “Rabeer.”  Shadow crept out and built a grid of inky blackness.  He didn’t think she wanted to go that way but he explained.  “This side the opposite is true. Yellow not blue.”

Great.  Now I rhyme.  Maybe Mira will jump just to avoid the idiotic conversation.

He stood up and said, "Still want to lead?"
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 05:52:02 am by Beau »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #87 on: August 06, 2014, 06:11:26 am »
William. It felt like it had been a while since she saw his face, but she brought it up easily. ‘Not smarter.’ Well, perhaps so. ‘I just always knew.’ She wouldn’t claim psionics made her smarter, but it did give her a certain intelligence. William had been easy to read, compared to Beckett. She rarely showed sincere anger, but Beckett was right. This behavior was typical of her, the closest most ever got to witnessing anger.

Even so, she didn’t break out of it. Habits were difficult to break once formed, and she didn’t care to expend the energy to press mind-over-matter in that instance.

Beckett understood the way she was looking, and read her well enough. She wanted to go that way. Blue was safe, but yellow was not. Simple enough.
"Yes," She stepped onto blue. Now that she had a grasp of where it was, now that she could feel it, she wanted to lead.

“I’ll offer you a trade,” she said, “and you may want to consider not accepting, depending on what the truth is,” to another blue square, “You know I am a psion.” And she had good reasons to keep it hidden.

There were reasons they were rare. They tended to get themselves killed. They were always weapons of a sort, for knowledge was its own form of power, and people valued it. Of course, those who found the weapon turned against them, hated it. They were always targets. 

However, when they stopped being subservient to others, and used their power for their own gain, their own rule, there were issues. There had been a time in history when that was true, when they came to understand the power of knowledge and sought to use it to rule over all others. They wouldn't be the weapons, the spies, and the servants of others. They would die for their own causes.

So, of course, they did die. Others got fed up with the constant blackmail, threats, and bribes. Where words fail, swords work. It was a bloody history, one all but forgotten to the land of mythology. After all, no psion raised their head anymore to show they still existed, just in case. Even diviners were rare, but now and then, the Old Blood did make itself known.


“You will tell me how this knowledge came to you, and I will let you remember being here.” The trade wasn’t fair, but if he knew prior to coming here that she was a psion, then he must have known the risks of accompanying one who was keeping things a secret. “I will not look to find out how you know if you choose not to tell me.”

With that, she proceeded, keeping to the blue and following that voiceless yet resonate energy deeper into the cave.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 06:13:43 am by Krystal Itzume »

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #88 on: August 06, 2014, 06:54:58 am »
He laughed.  He couldn’t help it.  Mira was all prim and drama.  Unlike some he wasn’t afraid of her because of her abilities.  He had other reasons to fear her, but the threat of lost memories wasn’t one. 

“You’d steal all the adventure for yourself?  No fun in that.”

She moved off to the right and Beckett followed suit as he contemplated his answer.  The squares were long enough that his full foot could rest easily, and his balance was good.  The steps between were wide, but manageable. He paused on one step as a bird flew through one of the blanks.  It twirled and dove back down again.  Beckett thought it might have been the same one as before and he considered where the others might be.

Another step, following but not moving ahead.  “I dream of you sometimes,” Beckett explained.  Simple enough.  And yet not simple at all.  He didn’t dream of his family.  Events came and went.  He could focus on certain things and see possibility.  Mira however appeared without will which made the pattern all the more intriguing. 

“I saw you once with your hands.”  He wasn’t sure how to describe it.  He formed a claw and tapped his temple.  “Well, anyway,” the thought was unpleasant so he moved one.  “Maybe we should find you another hobby.”

It made him a little sad.  He couldn’t think it pleasant to push memories around, regardless of the reason.  “Researching.  Books.  Those are pretty cool.” 

And they won’t get you killed.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Timber [closed]
« Reply #89 on: August 06, 2014, 07:19:57 am »
His laughter almost broke Mira’s front. It would have been easy to slip into a more comfortable, amicable persona. Pretend it was a joke, and steal the memory at the end anyway. It was what was necessary, and she knew it was the smart path. If he remembered nothing, there was nothing the Queen could take from him. ‘It is for his own good.’

Even so, she’d give him an option to save it.
“What can I say? I always wanted to adventure.” The front was slipping. She wasn’t sure if she was pleased with that or not.

It was not a lie, though.
“Having more of it from your perspective would make it doubly interesting. More fun for me.” Less for him. She’d watch the memory before killing it. She had to, to make sure she didn’t overdo it.

He continued on. Mira knew that he dreamt of her, and glanced over her shoulder when he tried to describe one. He made a gesture, but couldn’t put it into words.
“I have those hobbies already,” she said as she turned away, back to the path. “When this is done,” a pause, a change of phrasing, “when I go home, I will likely return to those as my major source of entertainment. Perhaps I’ll travel.” There was much to see on the land, and she’d seen so little.

‘But for now.’


She knew what he wanted to steer her away from. Oh, he’d want to keep her from it if he knew the full purpose.

She paused on a square, glanced towards a yellow one. The bird flying up hadn’t gone unnoticed earlier. ‘Off the path.’ She reminded herself. Only now it was pulling her down. She did not like heights. She did not like the thought of dropping down an unknowable distance, possibly to her death, but it was down there. She could sense it there, as if it was right below her.
“How far is the drop?” She inquired of him, leaving off the topic they were on.