Second Breath

Island of Ashes

Island of Ashes, I have only been leader of this island for mere moments but it was love at first site. The second lot to walk on it's shore looked weary as if they had suffered a great strife. It different take long to welcome them to my new island home. The bar was made in mere moments and refreshments eased the burden of travel.

The mysterious islands mysteries began to unfurl before us, Risa for now I am going to assume some sort of guardian spirit has a splendor to her. Her dedication to servitude was one part humbling one part disturbing, I hope as our connection deepens I will see more sides to her. 

The island was a blank canvas that are minds filled in so paradise surrounded us, relaxation was ever present as if it's only purpose was enjoyment and relaxation. 

Yet despite the unspoken beauty of the this place my two companions managed to bring storms to this tranquil sea. Chesire remains haunted by the past and Etzer is compounded at every turn by families disappointments.

The disturbing still the almost insubordinate attitudes of the muses crew when it comes to my story of the singing crab.  

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Majestically Empty
Episode 7

Etzer, mere inches away from the bladed hand of Kashim, is defended by the quick reflexes of Capt Ash.  The honorable duel having been violated by out interference, Kashim reveals the source of his sorcerous power, a perfect ruby necklace, and summons his elemental followers.

Capt Ash knocks Kashim out as Cheshire turns his attention to taking down one of the elementals that responds by damaging the rest of the circle.  Kashim is taken away underground by another of his elementals, leaving Etzer to take over the first elemental.  

With combat done, Capt Ash gets to know some of the locals, but they are seriously off.  Their emotions and actions have been sorcerously restrained, making them live almost like actors of a play, with everyone having their own role to play.  

Etzer begins to take the visage of Kashim while he interrogates the elemental he has brought under his control.  Cheshire takes the beguiled guards from the previous confrontation to ask them about Kashim and his companions.  Etzer and Cheshire gain some useful information on them before they join Capt Ash and proceed to the shore where they see ships on the horizon.

The ships belong to Kashim who, along with his followers, are certainly going to take measures against Chia.  At this point, the circle discuss bracing for conflict or leaving the city for their own safety.  It is at this time that Amber Glow whispers into Cheshire's ear.  It says that we still have the screaming sword but warns that Cheshire may not be able to withstand the "weight" of the sword.  Cheshire resolves to take up arms in order to remove the immediate threat.

Cheshire takes the screaming sword, forces his will into it, enduring the sound.  Moving to the end of a dock, he performs a dance with the sword, more ferociously than ever before.  At the end, the sword flies from Cheshire's hand toward the ships, pulling the water flowing beneath it up into a mighty wave. 

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Tides of Tyranny (log)

With the storms threat gone we made sail for Chia. I fear that Cheshire took on the dark storm clouds for his performance took on a dark tone, stirring memories in me which I prefer left in my wake, buried in the past where they belong. Fear gripped me that we would run a foul of a fool hardy choice or miscalculation that would steer us into the heart of danger. I was consumed with the course, running countless calculations and plots. Every book of route opened and read fervently attempting to alleviate my fears of what might befall my crew and ship if I made an error on our course.

 

Dawn's light often washes the worry of yesterdays in its glowing reassuring  light. What ever possessed me last night fleeting as if exorcised by the new days sun light. If only all barriers to our journey were similarly washed away, not so much for my sake I love the adventure of the unexpected well usually. On approach to the port of Chia the flags of

Ysyr displayed proudly on a flotilla acting as a blockade on the port.

 

Etzer has remarkable familiarity with Ysyr being from palaquin knowing all to well how dangers the sorcerous nation of Ysyr can be. He advised me I show stow away my beloved Adorei to iron dogs secret weapon armoury or maybe summon the storm and unleash it upon Ysyr. I told him only a fool would risk such ire of a woman's scorn willingly.

Instead I had a chance to show off my prowess and art with shaping wood and build a home fitting for Adorei stealing her away from the jealous converting eyes that surely be on her from the Ysyr once their boarding party arrived.

Upon the wooden sheath a poem to Adorei amongst the beautifully exquisite carving and relief work.

 

My love is a ship in which we dwell,

Adorei my figure head of destiny,

I embrace you on this journey,

I stare into your soul, you see mine

 

Ezter approved of the craftsmanship and with us both sure that Adorei would not be viewed by greedy unworthy eyes. We prepared to receive the long boat of the Ysyr blockade.  Kasshim Kassam was welcomed with all the hospitality me as the Captain of Flirtatious muse could muster, despite Esters reservations I wanted to hear them out and if they raised steel I would respond appropriate but I don't seek death and violence lightly.  Kassam seemed to be a good humoured friendly man, I found him quite agreeable. Expressing interest in Champoor, I was able to whip up the delicacies from the city samples of it's best cuisine which we shared as I talked bit more about the port. I think I did the dishes justice. As it was clear the blockade was there to stay, it was clear we would have to find another destination and way to deliver our cargo. The is nothing worse than bland food I left Kassam with some spice so least meals would be less dull while anchored in port of Chia.

 

Concerned about the fate of Chia we resolved to help the besieged city by providing food and also allowing me to make our cargos delivery. With the council of Etzer, Serin and use of my charts we determined suitable nearby ports that 

 would be good for purchasing food and allows us to plot a land course to Chia. Settling on Vorai we made sail.

 

Consulting my naval history tomes the last time such naval display was seen from Ysyr was the annexing of Palaquin.

Say the least this news was probably grimly received by Etzer, who's hatred of Ysyr was obvious to those who found him on friendly terms and spent any length of time with him.

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Captain Ash log of Getting to the Heart

Sword's fury and rage caged inside would not subside. I tried to alleviate  her fears bathing her in rose oil's and soothing oils. I could not reach her. Cheshire had the notation that he could stop the supernatural storm already showing some sorcerous mettle I reluctantly handed the sword to him, although I felt a connection unlike any other with Adorei blade of my heart. As Cheshire moved to the docks the storm moved with him, crowds gathered to seek safety at the eye of the storm which was the Adorei. Seeing the strikes of lightening almost licking at the hull of my sweet muse, I acted without a moment of hesitation sweeping up Cheshire and carrying him across the water my feet not breaking the surface as if it was ground. Adorei spoke through visions conjuring images of a strange beautiful being who's gender or like I could not tell, I saw Cheshire murdering his family with the sword. Eventually the storm lost its vigour as mine and Cheshire's actions reached through to Adorei and her anger cooled. Although I don't know of the past life she speaks off, I swore that we would be together once more and would not cast her aside.

 

Tendrils of energy lit the air a call of past wrongs,

Not even the gulf of time can hold us apart,

Feelings flaring like endless fires,

Sparks leaping between us,

Reborn in the golden light of dawn,

We know each other. 

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Race for Dawn

My studies of collective folk lore, was interrupted by two strangers making way onto the deck of Flirtatious Muse. Assuming they want to negotiate my services  for themselves or their goods, I ushered them to my cabin. Giving the nod I wanted Serin to take over, I left the deck in her capable hands. Now I have had time to reflect I guess the lithe dancer later I would come to know as Cheshire seemed urgent to seek something a desperation that came above a simple acquisition.  Etzer a tall and of clear noble decent accompanied the dancer, maybe Etzer is Cheshire's patron perhaps? It turns out they were looking for an old acquaintance of mine and Serin's perhaps Cerian Ettara was to broker a performance for the pair? While I poured through the logs and record books for when I last met Cerian Ettara for we have had a busy few months since last we were in this port, Etzer and Cheshire inquired further trying to get any information they could. Etzer even dropped a coin presumably to purchase my as a guide to aid in the search for Cerian. Wasn't long into our discourse that the flirtatious muse set sail, Serin taking initiative usually good thing but she seemed unusually preoccupied with leaving Champoor with great haste this visit.

 

  Apologetically I launched the longboat and personally endeavoured to help them make the shore of Champoor. A storm erupted in Champoor wicked lightening angrily rained down on the streets and waves became violently awoken, storm like no natural one I have bared witness too it was like it was acting under the will of a spirit. In the rowing boat cresting the mountainous waves, the gulf between our longboat and the shore became too much for Cheshire.  In desperation the young man turned to powers of a sorcerous nature which were awe inspiring to watch.

 

Fire born out of storm and strife,

Twirling concurrence of essence and motion

Blurring the line between dance and enchantment,

Arcane leaps spelled out in twirls of the flickering flames,

Un-dwindling in the heart of the storm,

Otherworldly defiance a beacon to the dawn

 

Reaching out to the docks a massive sorcerous projection of Cheshire beckoned and called out to a figure on the docks who was their after engulfed by lightening, docks and all those on it presumably obliterated in an instant.

 

Tired from rowing and storm weary we slowed but if Cheshire had urgency before to reach the shore now it was desperate need. He danced urging us on.

 

Fatigued and weary our eyes where uplifted,

Will and resolve renewed,

Mind cast to the warriors before who stood against all,

Mettle forged in the crucible of adversity,

Dance a salve to our weary bones and screaming muscles,

With new purpose we forged on to shore

 

We made shore, I ordered men to wait with boat and make ready for us to leave when we needed.

My nostrils were soon greeted by the foul smell of cooked flesh lightening had found some of citizens of Champoor, it's often peaceful night erupted in fearful screams. My keen smell led me to a couple Celeste and her husband, I did what I could for them offered refreshment and steered them to safety, a warehouse that would offer some respite from the storm.

 

Reunited with Cheshire and Etzer we decided to try head for the epicentre of the storm which seemed to be chained and contained to Champoor as if the was an anchor at the centre of the storm stopping it spreading over the sea.

Dodging lightening as we weaved through Champoor's street arriving upon a central courtyard.

A sword who's beauty was crowned in the light from the lightening flashes stood at the centre, an irresistible pull took hold of me and overcome by such feelings I moved between the strikes to grasp the sword I now know as Adorei.

I reached out with my mind to the heart of the sword.

 

Fury is nothing to chain us we will be the edge of the storm,

Righting the wrongs befalling us,

We will be that flash of hope and furry,

My hand can be the deliverance from your cage

If you can still your rage and we will be one

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Embargoed Hope

It seems that Cheshire is not only an expert dancer, but a powerful storyteller as well.  Clothing himself in gossamer and spinning a yarn about about a group of companions on a quest, hazy apparitions dot the ship and dissipate one by one filling the listeners with dread.  This is no tale of adventure and glory, but one of loss and dreams deferred due to personal avarice.  Expecting perhaps a more uplifting narrative Ash and Etzer are thrown into a panic over past failures and future mistakes while Cheshire, ravenous with a strange hunger, stalks his new companions like a predator scenting blood.

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The good captain bolts from the deck and seeks solace in cold hard facts.  Pouring through old tomes Ash tries to find comfort in the knowledge of ancients, but the words of the erudite and even first mate Serin can’t calm him.  After some goading Serin gets to the bottom of Ash’s fear: he is unsure he can properly control Adorei.  To the captain the idea of unleashing the same terror suffered by Champoor is unbearable, and he is so distraught he is unable to man the helm.

Seeing parallels between the story and his current plight Etzer can’t help but imagine his entire revolution stillborn before it even begins. For all his grand rhetoric on revolution Etzer is forced to admit that he has made no real progress towards his goal.  Expecting to to sup on his circle’s despair Cheshire finds himself dining on a different emotion: Etzer’s respect for him.  Etzer’s inquiries into Cheshire’s mutable attire are coldly rebuffed wounding his noble pride.  In that moment the warm desire Etzer had for Cheshire is pulled forth and made manifest as a red mist only to be consumed by Cheshire.  Sated for now Cheshire retreated for the evening leaving Etzer to reconsider his original impressions of the beautiful youth.

Affected deeply by the tale Etzer and Ash sleep poorly, but they are not the only ones whose dreams are troubled.  Cheshire is plagued by nightmares of his family, only for the figures to be supplanted time and again by Amber Glow.  Amber Glow promises Cheshire that they will never leave them, although it's ambiguous if this is a promise of support or a threat of further hauntings.

Awakening in ill spirits the crew of the Flirtatious Muse is dealt another poor hand.  Surrounding the port of Chia six Ysry frigates blockade the port; barred from proceeding Captain Ash is unable to unload the wares in his hold, and without the silver from this deal he is unable to return to Champoor and pay his docking fees.  While debating the next course of action, and rejecting outright Etzer’s dubious suggestions for the cargo, the Muse is hailed by the Ysyr fleet.  Seeing an opportunity to strike a blow against his nemesis Etzer attempts to convince the crew they should slay the envoy once he boards, but this too is rejected outright.  Instead Captain Ash offers a compromise: allow them onboard and if they deal peacefully with the crew they shall be treated in kind.  Etzer readily agrees convinced the rapacious nature of the Ysyr can’t be contained.

Much to Etzer’s chagrin the emesarry, the sorcerer Kasshim Kassam, treats the crew with respect.  Worse yet, Captain Ash prepares a splendid meal for their guest; Etzer tries to contain himself with his new friends break bread with his old enemies.  A dreadlocked man with a strange laugh and a stranger sense of humor, Kassam informs the crew that there are strange troubles going on with Chia, and the Ysyr are merely there to help “protect” the town.  Understanding full well that there will be no breaking of the blockage the Muse departs Chia for the nearby city state of Vorai hoping to acquire some carts and smuggle the goods in overland.

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Getting to the Heart

The three newly acquainted comrades have found the cause of an unnatural lightning storm that ravages the Nighted City, a sword imbedded in a fountain near the center of Champoor.  Capt Ash manages to pull the sword free while dashing between lightning strikes, and is filled with intense feelings of nostalgia and fury.  As he is attempts to bond with the blade, the Dawn Caste mark appears upon his brow.  The storm opens up below the sword, making a small safe zone around the fountain beneath the eye.  But…how can they stop the storm?

As a crowd gathers, Capt Ash attempts a ceremony in the middle of the fountain square.  Not seeing any significant effect, Cheshire tries his hand at the blade, revealing his Zenith Caste mark.  At this point, Etzer tries to run damage control, offering several hats to Capt Ash, hoping to cover up the Dawn mark and tries to wrap Cheshire's head with scarves to cover the Zenith mark.  Unfortunately, all of these efforts are ineffective.

Cheshire wants to take the blade out to sea so that the lightning can safely discharge on the open water and starts making his way toward the docks.  Capt Ash quickly catches up to Cheshire, snatches him in into his arms while running across the huge waves the storm is causing heading to the Flirtatious Muse.

Etzer guides the civilians that were in the area to shelter as the eye of the storm is no longer overhead.  He addresses all of the people there to make all of the events that have been seen up to this point a secret.  His silver-tongue proves to be enough to convince these individuals to agree to his request.

 After boarding, Cheshire tries to appease the blade's fury by performing an ancient sword dance, manifesting displays of the thunderous rage around the ship.  For all his attempts and familiarity with matters of the heart, the sword bites back at Cheshire's mind, infecting it with images of gore and betrayal.  Cheshire stops his dance mid-performance when he sees himself killing his own family, and tries to force the spirit of the blade to manifest in front of him, revealing his anima, the Four Masqued Figures of Emotion, in all of its glory.  Instead of a random spirit, a familiar figure appears…Vibrance Clad in Amber Glow.  

Amber Glow advises Cheshire that he cannot calm the blade.  "Only the guilty may apologize to the aggreived."  Capt Ash approaches Cheshire, offering to take the blade back.  Without turning away from Amber Glow, Cheshire blindly offers the blade to Capt Ash, realizing his failure at helping his fellow Chosen of the Sun.  Cheshire has a brief exchange with Amber Glow as Capt Ash continues to work with the blade.

Seeing the Anima flare into reality over the water, Etzer resigns himself to his fate, taking a long swig from his flask.  Etzer knows that such a display is impossible to keep quiet even with the crowd in front of him sworn to secrecy.  He awaits what will happen as the storm continues to pour lightning into the sea.  

As Capt Ash also allows his full anima to bloom, the blade's exterior sheds, revealing the true form the sword is meant to have.  Capt Ash has managed to soothe the Beloved Adorei.  Cheshire and Amber Glow have a short conversation where Amber says it will "always be close to your heart" before disappearing.  With the storm dispelled, Capt Ash sends his men to gather Etzer and his band of interesting compatriots.  

While Etzer is gathering his belongings and followers, he sews the seeds of revolution into the people of Champoor, leading them to believe that the Ysyr had caused the storm!  That quick whitted guy!

After all of the members have been gathered, the mostly formed circle of Solars sail off toward the nation of Katham.  Cheshire retires into the cabin for the evening, Etzer socializes with the crew and his own people, and Capt Ash sets the ship to course.  

As the moon crests in the sky that evening, Cheshire awakens after disturbing dreams have been circling through his mind.  He walks out to the deck where he finds Etzer and the Capt talking.  Emotional memories are exchanged between the men.  However, something is wrong…Cheshire's hunger seems to have flared.  

How will this effect his new Circle mates and the other people on the ship?  What exactly is Amber Glow?  How will the two Solars revealing their identity to the population of Champoor affect the Nighted City?  So many questions, so little time.

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Bureau of celestial anecdotes
Race for Dawn Summary

Champoor the dark city – Fae Amber glow slips into the docks. Cheshire prances onto the stage and the tragedy is soon to strike. Family lost, Cheshire finds respite in the noodle bar that stands on the ground of where his family home should be. Though misery likes company, an exiled Etzer offers to share a meal and drink with a downtrodden Cheshire. Don’t believe in coincidences? Me neither. 

So what weird turn of fate is it that Etzer is also seeking Cheshires family, his father to be more exact? Both spurred on by a common purpose they go off together to seek Cheshire’s father. Amber Glow, their only lead, explains that the captain of the Flirtatious Muse has conducted business with Cheshire’s father and might know where he currently is. 

They board the ship; enter the comical series of events. The Captain greets them with open arms and gives his first mate the "you have the helm" nod, mistaken for the "make sail nod" (they are quite similar to be fair). We find Captain Ash's memory isn’t that great, unlike the volumes of records he keeps on exquisitely carved shelves. Captain Ash has indeed had dealings with Cheshire’s father and offers to help track him down. Offer politely refused and unnecessary bribes offered, Captain Ash decides to take it on himself to be hired as bounty hunter by Etzer to track down his old business associate. Cheshire is a mixture of rage and despair as the ship makes way out of the port.

As if a mirror of Cheshire’s emotions, Champoor's night explodes into a storm of lightning and fury. Guided by some mysterious will and tether to Champoor, it rages against an invisible cage. Captain Ash, feeling responsible and feeling the pull of a new adventure, launches a row boat with two burly sails manning the oars; the trio try to go shore. Cheshire shows his sorcerous and dancing prowess resulting in a beacon, a huge fire-wreathed Cheshire that reaches out to Amber out across the stormy waves. Lightning strikes Amber glow with blinding light and it disappears.  Etzer points out that there is now a ship waiting to be claimed.

Cheshire inspires the rowers with a dance of warrior defiance and strength. They make shore. Captain Ash tends to a wounded couple. Etzer makes away with a Fae chalice wrapped in fine silks. Cheshire charges into a raging storm futilly trying to find his Amber Glow and his family. Reunited they work out that whatever is the cause of this unnatural storm might be tether at the centre of town. They press on dodging the strikes of lightning. In a fountain, it looks like a sword is the anchor to the storm, lightning striking it. Flashes of brilliant light fill the fountains square. Captain Ash, in a blink of essence between two strikes of lightening, grasps the sword, and maybe his destiny.

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Champoor shipbound
Captain Ash Personal log

Champoor city known for its night life. Shrouded by a constant veil of night by the goddess Tenepeshu, maybe it is because the suns warmth being absent for so long or the that edge that night time brings out in people it isn’t known for being a friendly and hospital place. People look out for themselves, not necessarily bad but cold and foreboding like the cold constant night they dwell in. The is a excitement to night though and night is place where secrets and those moments that shared briefly with a chance encounter can leave a lasting warmth, maybe that’s why I don’t hate the port.

I couldn’t leave the ship, my first mate was quite insistent. As usual she seemed to have everything arranged in mere moments of arrival, crew as one body under her direction load and unload the cargo like a dance that notable nobles would attend. That was a pleasant night. I must remember to return soon. I can’t complain I picked up some fascinating volumes in market that was an adventure in itself stores of rare treasures unfurling to a keen eye like exotic blooms of flowers of the eastern forests. The was this particularly interesting collection of folk lore about those touched by the spirits, maybe it will explain my own blessings and what happened that day.

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