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  1. #581
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    Alain LeCavalier

    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens...

    Alain smiles and gives a small bow to Pasce. Clow is instantly abuzz with protocols for meeting the heir. Alain ignores the spirit and instead offers his attention to the girl. There are times when people matter more than traditions.

    "Thank you," Alain replies to Pasce confessing to liking the stars he summoned for the cleansing spell. "It was a special occasion, in order to better honor Nalia and Enchantry I made it as spectacular as I could."

    Alain nods when she speaks of her gifts from Taroc, and looking forward to learning of the cards.

    "I look forward to that," he tells her. "I'll teach you how to read them. Once you can read them, it's the cards that will tell us both what we can teach each other."

    Alain glances back at the sparring match. He can hear its conclusion coming. His smile fades somewhat as he knows what's coming. Alain is half tempted to intervene and spare his friend a moment of embarrassment, but he reminds himself that Heron is made of stern stuff, and will survive this moment. Every seer must learn that sometimes events happen for a reason, so it's best to step aside and let life play out.

    His attention is pulled back to Pasce as she speaks of Zareb, Mindoka, and the Shamaa. Alain's earlier smile is now entirely gone. His expression grows softer, somber.

    "In Shamaa it is believed that there is immortality in the tales we inspire. If we live good lives, help others, and bring honor to our people and ancestors, stories should be told about us. Stories that will live on when we are gone. The more these stories are told and retold, and the farther they spread, the longer the dead will live.

    "Mindoka has many wondrous tales of Zareb. Anyone that knew Zareb knows only good tales of him. If you wanted to, when Mindoka does come to see you, you could ask him to tell you some of those stories. By carrying those stories with you, you will help the Shamaa people celebrate the man Zareb was, and what he meant to us all."

    Alain turns to look at the sparring a few moments before Heron stumbles and falls to his knees. The guild Master approaches Heron as the king calls on his aid. Alain offers his gloved flesh and blood hand to Heron. The king will know he can put as much weight onto that hand as he needs to. Alain's titanic strength is always at Heron's disposal.

    "The weak are those that don't know when to call on their allies for aid," Alain begins telling Heron. There's something in Alain's tone that the king will recognize as Alain speaking in his grandfather's voice. These are the words of Harbin LeCavalier. "The foolish are those that don't know what lessons to learn from life's many hardships."

    Alain offers Heron a warm smile, and words of his own, "You, my friend, have never been weak or foolish."

    "Growing old, however," Alain whispers, "I'm afraid I don't have any words of wisdom that can guard any of us from that."

    Alain helps to guide the father and son to the nearest bench. It's up to Heron to decide if he wants to sit down.

    "The young prince's skills with the sword have improved quite a bit," Alain tells Heron. "My senses tell me it's best never to underestimate his dedication to his training. Give Eri a few more years of such dedication and we'll have ourselves a master swordsman."

    Alain then addresses Eri, "Though, if you should tire of the Rekōdo dueling style, I could put you into contact with some of Taroc's best swordsmen. They could teach you a few techniques that just might surprise Genard."

  2. #582
    Capios of Enchantry in The Ailes Bones: The Southwest Shores of the Isle of the Island of Capios


    Nalia al'Vatar of Enchantry, Fateema of Ordh'u, Merriam of Clow and Representative of Enchantry

    It would rain soon. Even here, among the fresh smell of saltwater at the shore the miasma of it could be plucked from the air like a pearl from an oyster. She wore pearls at her throat today, to honor the style of the O'aris for their honored visit to Capios. The clouds had thickened along the horizon but had not yet come to take away the beauty of the summer sun. It was a rare thing, to have such warmth on the Ailes. The mists had thinned. No even they could compete, but the breezes off the sea still added a cool element to the air. Cool with the coming rain. Nalia looked out to sea from the farthest southwest tip of the island toward the oncoming clouds. She took out a scrying glass and measured their movement with the horizon of the ocean, the way Alain had taught her. A woman next to her did the same. She always liked someone to check her math and Fateema of Ord'hu had proved to be brilliant in this and many things. The Da'Jinn had done the same to measure oncoming sandstorms along ridge lines of dunes. The way Fateema's lips pursed indicated that she saw as Nalia saw: The rains were coming fast. it could be quite a storm.

    "It shouldn't be long now" she said quietly to herself as much as the three women beside her. She had thought it best for the O'aris envoy to be received by a small contingent of women. They were a matriarchal society and this was a private greeting, a gathering of allies. The O'aris had said they would come to Capios when Nalia had become their Atararim. Honored mother of Capios. She had been given little notice of their impending arrival. Yet here she stood, cloaked in what had become the traditional robes of Enchantry. She was the only one here with only two symbols at her belt: the earth and land lines of Enchantry and the infinite diamond symbol of Rekōdo. The belt was woven in threads of emerald, with just a hint of Taroc crimson and gold on one side and Maginus blue and black on the other, to honor both lands that called her their ward.

    "Will the O'aris come if it storms?"

    Fateema's voice held an accented edge of concern. She held the throat of her head scarf closed to keep the cold out of her blouse. Her native Ordh'u in Western Da'Jinn was hot and arid as it sat on the precepiss where the Hundred Year Plains melted into seemingly lifeless sands and scorching winds. The cold was hard on her, the rain more-so. The Ailes received more annual rain than all of Da'Jinn hoped to ever see in ten. Nalia glanced back at the strong, dark-skinned woman who lifted her head and proud almond-shaped eyes in the face of her Guild Mistress and offered her an encouraging nod. Of course they would come. What Fateema asked could almost be considered a jest if the serious Da'Jinn woman ever jested. Merriam of Clow, much plumper and slightly older in years than the woman beside her, was much more affectionate and gave Fateema a pat on her arm. It was an almost motherly gesture as Merriam's broad smile and creamy skin beamed up at the much taller woman.

    Behind them banners of Enchantry were tied to the tall whistling reeds of the southern shores. They were harvested from boggy inlets where they whistled out long notes depending on the winds that blew through them. They had been staked at intervals up the hillside back toward the construction of the palace that would house the Guild Mistress, the Council and collections of Totems discovered on the Ailes. It was incomplete. Nalia had made it very clear that the housing for everyone who would remain on the Ailes be the first thing to be built. That had been completed month ago according to her design. Everything on the Ailes was done by her design with careful attention given to detail. It was odd, but everything built seemed to fit, as if it had been meant to be exactly where it sprang up for centuries before. The School of Burning Clarity for afflicted Taroc natives was nearly complete. The docks, the roads. So much had been accomplished in the six months since Enchantry had become an established name of Rekōdo.

    Somewhere, up the winding, hillside paths that lead back to the heart of the blossoming city, The First Enchanters and Enchantresses to wear the Emerald Cloak waited with those that would be their novices waited for their honored guests to arrive. No one, not even Nalia, knew what to entirely expect. She had trained them as best as she knew how on the O'aris culture.

    And then, from the grayness of the dark water, the first banner poles and spears of the O'aris pierced the frothing waves. Nalia nodded to a fair-haired woman who bore the colors of Maginus in her belt. the woman's hood was drawn, but as she turned to relay the message of the arrival to the others, a hint of scars upon her cheeks could be seen. Nalia turned back to the water as more spear-tips broke the water's surface and many humanoid sentries began to emerge. She inhaled a deep breath and led her small contingent forward.
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  3. #583
    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens

    Attachment 2308 Attachment 2309

    Heron, King of Rekōdo, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Prince Eri, Protector to the Heir of Rekōdo

    Her father had told her that there was wisdom in the words of others and that if we listen, there is always something we can learn from them. Remember what was said to you and who said it. Such things mattered. They were important. SO when the Master of Taroc spoke of Shamaa tradition with reverence, she listened. She would ask Master Mindoka to speak of Zareb when he visited her.

    When her father stumbled and fell, Pasce's hands came to her mouth. She went very still and watched as the Master of Taroc approached her father and lent his aid. Slowly, she steps from the gazebo and as she does, the star points leave her long, blonde hair. She heard her father let out a short laugh as he took Alain of Taroc's hand.

    "Your grandfather was a wise man, and you are the wiser for remembering and passing on his wisdom. Even to an old man like me."

    That is twice her father referred to himself as old. She had never thought of him as such, but in the light that shone through the taller deciduous trees, she could see his hair had become more gray than she remembered. It blended in beautifully with the same shade of brown her brother had inherited.

    "I am glad to always have an ally in Taroc." the King said and used Alain and his cane to both support and pull himself upright. Eri stayed by his father's side as he rose. He had grown taller since the ceremony of master, but he had a ways to go before his reached his father's height. The king was a few inches shorter than the great Alain LeCavalier, but what he made up for in inches, he gave forth in presence. The King commanded here without voicing a command. In a ballroom full of guests, his place among them was always known. He could convey with a glance, silence, bid one to speak, sympathize. Here, he conveyed a Herculean amount of respect upon the Guild Master of Taroc. It was not so much in the firm hold his serious brown eyes had upon the Guild Master, but with how hard he gripped his forearm as he shifted his cane to find balance. He placed a tremendous amount of his own weight and footing in the hand of the much younger Guild Master. For anyone it could be a source of scorned pride, but it was a great showing of trust for the King to forgo his presentation of strength and dignity and rely on this man to keep him upright.

    It took only a few moments for the King to find the balance he needed. When he did, he stood straighter but he did not release the Guild Master's arm. He give's Alain's arm a gentle shake, a gesture of testing his strength and finding it to be true.

    "Not yet, old friend" the King said to the Man of Taroc with his own smile. "but there is still time yet."

    When Alain speaks of growing old, the Prince betrays inner thoughts with a glance down at the ground. He remained at his father's right and was there as Alain and he helped the King walk with greater limp than before over to a bench. It was carved, hewn beautifully out of a tree that had fallen some time ago. The King chose to sit and his son looked on with a great weight upon his shoulders as his father sat and closed his eyes. The King stretched out his left leg and ran a hand down the muscle of his femur. The Prince knew there was a scar there that ran across the entirety of his upper leg just past his hip. The King exhaled a breath that would let both Alain and his observant son know he was in some pain.

    "Perhaps it is not growing old we need to guard against, but how quickly time seems to run before the end comes for even the greatest of us."

    Heron opened his eyes and leaned forward as much as his pain would allow. He could see his daughter in the gazebo, starlight in her hair like diamonds. She held onto one of the pillars and watched him. He could tell even from this great distance that she was worried for him. He motioned for her to come and she did so, a flurry of pink pastels and long blond hair.

    "Yes" the King said distantly as he watched his daughter approach. She looked so much like his fair I'yana. He remember the day she passed. The tiny pink child she'd brought into the world at his wish. She had been fine with just one son. That pregnancy had been difficult, but he could not let it go. Rekōdo needed another so that if anything should happen to Eri as had happened to his brother Ehrin...

    She had died within a week of Pasce's birth.

    His daughter came to him and hugged him. The King closed his eyes and allowed it and the moment of tenderness expressed by his daughter. He then nodded to her and she went over to the Taroc maples where she'd left her books and ribbons. One book was from Taroc to compliment her cards. One was a study on Shamaa Spiritualism: A Guide to Animal Spirits. The third was Old Runeology. A personal, handwritten text: a gift from Enchantry. The Princess sat upon the branch of the Taroc Maple and opened the book of runes. The King watched her fondly for a moment. He gave Alain's words a thought.

    "If such study will improve my ability to fulfill my Oath to the Princess, then I accept Master Alain." The Prince paused a moment and then asked something of Alain. "Are you not the best swordsman, Master of Taroc? Why would you send others in your place?"

    The King piqued a graying eyebrow at his son. He then shifted his amused gaze to Alain. He made a slight gesture with his hand that the Master of Taroc could deal with his son's questions as he saw just.

  4. #584
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    The Grand Palace in Rekōdo City: The Gardens...

    "There are some techniques of traditional Taroc fencing that I have not yet mastered," Alain admits. He holds out his right hand and a blaze of red fire blossoms out from his palm and deposits a Taroc fencing sword into his grasp. His left hand now holds a dagger. Alain then adopts the opened stance of a Taroc fencer. Sword held far forward and the dagger held close to the body.

    Alain demonstrates some of the simple strikes and parries that are common to the Taroc sword fighting traditions. He swings and stabs at the empty air. Parrying imagined attacks, and retaliating with quick strikes from the dagger. The sword is used primarily as a defensive tool, only striking out to lure an opponent out into a position for quick strike from the dagger. Gradually the dagger is meant to wear down the enemy until eventually the sword can then be used to deliver the killing blow.

    "We LeCavaliers have our own fighting style, and that is what I've mastered." Alain tells the prince. Red fire consumes the fencing sword and the dagger, teleporting the weapons away. Alain now only holds a larger, heavier sword. He effortlessly twirls it in one hand. He demonstrates a few slashes and stabs. Alain's movements are swift and graceful, like that of an Astral-born dancer. Every motion of his body is perfectly timed and balanced to strike down enemies while also making Alain difficult to hit. The LeCavalier fighting techniques are able to bring great force with incredible speed, in order to overwhelm an enemy before they can raise any defenses or a counterattack. However, when performed by Alain the movements seem entirely natural. It's as if the man were born for such movements.

    Soon his brief demonstration is over. He takes hold of the blade of his sword in his stone hand and holds out the handle of the weapon for Eri, so that the prince can examine the weapon. It's a sword of the LeCavalier clan. The hilt and blade are covered in runes of ancient Taroc. It's heavier than the swords of Rekōdo, but something in the balance makes the holder feel as if they should be moving forward or lunging into action.

    "I sought to learn everything of Taroc fencing, but the masters of the craft have been reluctant to share their secrets with me. I think they like having a few tricks to throw at me whenever they can challenge me to sparring matches.

    "Every culture has its own way to fight. I have found it's advantageous to learn as much as I can about all of them. You never know which province your opponent will be from, so prepare to face them all.

    "I would advise you to learn from the fencing masters, and then I will teach you how a LeCavalier fights. It will be up to you to figure out which technique to apply too your own fighting style."

  5. #585
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Lieutenant Lydmila Pavlich

    The Ailes Bones: An Encampment Near the Northwest Shores of the Isle of the Island of Capios...

    Lydmila had stayed. After the crises and drama of Enchantry's first days. After Darmon's attempt to halt the first migration, and the assassination attempt on Nalia. Even after the high guard of Taroc and guardians of Rekōdo had moved on. Lydmila remained on the island.

    A few weeks into her stay on the island, Alain asked her why she was still there. Lydmila only answered that she had something to work out. It was a simple, yet vague answer. Between Alain and Lydmila such answers are usually all that's needed for the one to accept the decisions of the other. A right hand doesn't usually question the actions of the left, they simply coexist and work together without pondering the why's of their activities.

    After spending one night on this island, Lydmila could feel something scratching at the back of her senses. It felt like a vision. She knows if she was in Taroc it would be a definite feeling. In Shamaa, under the influence of their herbs, it would be a dream. Here, swimming among the ancient chaos magic of these islands it's an elusive notion of something. If she could only touch it she's sure it would be too slippery to grasp, or possibly evaporate like a puff of smoke. However, if she's going to understand what her mystical powers are trying to tell her she will need to spend time here. She must live within this chaos magic, and figure out how her gift of visions works in this old and baffling place.

    Besides, Alain is always saying it would do her good to spend some time away from that old house of hers.

    Lydmila is returning from the beach with her sniper rifle slung over her back, a fishing pole balanced on her shoulder, and todays catch inside of a net held in one hand. Lydmila grew up on the Taroc coast, fishing is second nature to her. She can catch, prepare, and cook fish almost as well as she can field-strip, reassemble, reload, aim, and fire the rifle she carries.

    She returns to her camp, which is composed of a small, simple tent, a dim camp fire, and at this very moment a rather confused man standing amidst the camp site. Before her senses fully registers that there's someone in her camp, Lydmila's hand reaches for the revolver she has holstered to her hip. She has one hand on the handle of her weapon as she slowly approaches the man.

    She immediately recognizes him as that Astral healer Olivia brought here. It takes Lydmila a moment to remember his name. Elvio. She saw him poking around the beach just over a nearby ridge at around this time yesterday. Lydmila didn't think anything of it then. This Astral man seems harmless enough.

    He's a slender, blonde man. His eyes always seem as though they're seeking something. He's dressed in Astralian robes of dark plum coloring, and golden trim. Resting upon his shoulders is a jacket with fur lining. Lydmila can't identify what animal that fur came from. Probably some Astralian animal specifically bred to be made into the best looking and feeling clothing. It's not quite cold enough for such a garment, but Lydmila guesses Elvio has never encountered a northern autumn, and is completely unaccustomed to the slightest hint of cold weather. Or he's wearing the jacket for purely aesthetic reasons.

    Lydmila purposefully steps on several fallen branches and leaves, making some noise as she approaches the camp and the man curiously looking it over. Elvio hears the noise and twirls around. Despite being confused by the camp and startled by the noise, the man's turn is perfectly balanced and effortlessly graceful. Astral to a fault.

    "Oh, my- Hello- " Elvio nervously greets Lydmila. He seems to be working at peeling away at her appearance like layers of an onion. The immaculately groomed Astral man first notices, and instinctively judges, the state of Lydmila's clothes, hair, and skin. Though, Lydmila has done what is needed to keep clean, she has been living out in the wilderness for several months, and looks quite nightmarish to an Astralian man that has never been without the creature comforts of his families home in Dayena. Elvio has never even contemplated the idea of living outdoors, in a tent, and without the glories of indoor plumbing and exceptional laundry services.

    After struggling his way through the thorn bush of this 'wild woman's' clothing and grooming, the man's attention falls upon the weapons she carries. Firearms. Elvio doesn't like firearms. Such barbaric, backwards things. He's been told that the Tarocs, Maginus, and some of Rekōdo city use such things. Why, Elvio even saw a crazed Taroc woman use such a weapon to cauterize Nalia's- Oh! Elvio finally recognizes Lydmila. She's that crazed Taroc woman that used her firearm to treat a wound inflicted by another firearm.

    Elvio stiffens. A crazed, gun-wielding Taroc woman is living out in the wilderness like some kind of animal. The man is suddenly quite afraid. With fear comes a need for the only thing in his life that has always brought him comfort and true joy, he reaches into a cloth bag hanging from his belt, and pulls out a silver and brass music box. He clutches the ancient music box to his chest. The humming of it's old magic sooths him, as it always does.

    "Hello," Lydmila replies. She tilts her head slightly, watching the man hold the antique music box to his chest, like a child seeking comfort in the embrace of a teddy bear. She takes her hand off of her pistol. This man is probably more of a danger to himself than he is too others. Lydmila then continues with her daily routine. She hangs the net of fish on a branch and moves to put her fishing gear away in her tent.

    "I'm- I'm Elvio Caelius Linus," Elvio continues, as touching the ancient music box restores some of his courage. "I did not mean to intrude upon- um- upon this place. I saw it and thought some kind of native savage of these islands lived here. I know they say none live here, but I didn't think anyone civilized would live like this, especially with shelters available in the ruins. Sure, the shelters are a bit barbaric, but I have been assured that once more buildings have been restored or built that we will all be moved to much better accommodations.

    "Though, I am not one to shy away from harsh living conditions. Certainly not. I have been on several archeological digs in Astral. Those summoned cabins we had to live in were quite Spartan in their way. I mean, the bath tubs were much too small, and there was hardly enough space for a full range of shoe options."

    It is at this point that Elvio pauses in his ramblings to pay some attention to Lydmila. Currently she is seated in front of a tree stump located near her now fully lit camp fire. On the stump she is using her survival blade to debone and prepare her fish for cooking on the frying pan she has positioned over the fire.

    "Sounds terrible," Lydmila absentmindedly comments on the lack of shoe storage.

    Elvio looks around at the crude camp site and has a rare moment of self awareness. He suddenly realizes that he must sound very foolish to this woman living out in the wilderness. He looks down at the music box he clutches as his cheeks burn red with a rare moment of embarrassment.

    "I am sorry that I have intruded, I should be going," Elvio softly tells her.

    "What are you looking for?" Lydmila asks before he can make another one of his effortlessly graceful turns. She has no interest in why the man is out here, as she's only a guest on this island. However, if she can prevent him from stumbling through her camp any more than is necessary she will put forth the effort of investigating what brought him here today.

    "What? Oh. I'm scouting locations for a possible research facility. I want to make a proposal to Mistress Nalia. A facility designed specifically to catalogue and study totems. So much of the ruins is being designated for homes, that Taroc school, docks, and other things. I thought if I could pick out the perfect place that's off on its own I could- I just really want to start studying the totems buried on these isles. I help with the healing, and with the day to day labor- and that's fine, I am happy to be a part of helping build this great new Guild, but I need to start studying totems soon. It's why I'm here. I feel like if I can't study them I might go out of my mind."

    "East of the city," Lydmila replies as she places the prepared fish onto the frying pan. She reaches into a pocket to recover a folded up leaf. The leaf is filled with various herbs she picked from the surrounding wilderness. She sprinkles some of the herbs onto the cooking fish.


    "There's some ruins buried under some dirt. There must have been a mudslide long ago, which covered it up. It's east of the city, about fifty paces from the tents the merchants have been storing the freight they've been bringing in. If you get that facility made it will be in those ruins."

    Elvio stares at Lydmila. The crazy wild woman is telling him of the solution to his problems. He isn't sure if she's reporting on some forest-hallucination or- No, she's Taroc. One of the Guild Master of Taroc's trusted soldiers or agents, at least that's how it seemed that horrible first night on this island. She must have some special sense or vision of this. Elvio's desire to study the totems is great enough to push him into infusing hope into any possibility he is offered.

    "Thank you," he excitedly tells her. "If these ruins are where you say they are, they'll be perfect. I was not looking forward to walking so far away from the city to do my research. I once heard wolves howling, I would hate to encounter such a beast on my way to the facility."

    "Wolves aren't so bad," Lydmila comments while placing her cooked fish onto a tin plate.

    "Uh- Yes, I suppose- um- Well, thank you for your help," Elvio nervously, and confusedly, replies. He almost turns again but pauses as he realizes he's still holding his music box. He glances down at the box and then up at the woman, who seems more interested in her meal than him or the item he holds.

    "You didn't ask about the music box," Elvio comments.

    "Nope," Lydmila replies while recovering a piece of bread and a can of peas from her ration supply. She glances up from adding the bread and peas to her meal and looks at the Astral man, who is baffled by her lack of curiosity and seems to expect more of her. She offers him no more than that glance.

    "It's just that everyone always asks about it. You're the first not to- Some back in Astral would laugh at me because- It- It's my grandmothers. Or it was. She passed before the War. It's a totem. This box has been in my family since ancient times."

    Elvio holds up the box, as if it were a sacred item blessing him with its very presence. His features light up as he speaks of it. His features light up if he speaks about any totems, but there's a hint of something more in his voice as he talks of this music box. A hint of something warmer, something nostalgic and beloved.

    "When I was a small boy, my grandmother used to tell me tales of this box. Grand sagas and legends. Humorous tall tales. She had thousands of stories... She made them all up. She didn't know where the box came from, or what it does. Nobody knows these things. The box is so old that anyone that knew these things crumbled to dust long before my grandmother's grandmother was even born.

    "But she loved making up those stories. And I loved every one of them."

    He pauses. Staring at the music box. Staring back at a loving old woman entertaining her grandchild will her fanciful stories, and he adoring every second of it.

    "I always wanted to figure out how to open it. To find out what's inside, what it does, where it comes from. I always wanted one story to tell her... I know I can't tell her now, but it would be nice to have one story of my own."

    For the first time since Elvio has been talking to Lydmila this evening, he has her full attention. She sees more than just a pampered oaf of an Astralian man. She sees some hint of this man's soul. The thing scratching away behind her thoughts tells her not to get too attached to this one, there is no happy ending to this story.

    Once more, Lydmila only gets a hint of a vision the wild magic of this place is keeping out of her reach. She's frustrated, and worried about what cruelties fate has in store for this man.

    "I wish you luck in finding your story," Lydmila offers with as much sincerity she can muster in her moment of frustration and sadness. "You should probably get back to the city."

    "Yes, you're right. I have duties to perform back at the clinic. Thank you, once again, for your help. Good bye."

    And with that, Elvio turns with his effortless grace and trots off towards Capios.

    Lydmila is left alone with her meal, and this feeling of a vision that these islands keep just out of her reach.

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