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The Sage of Stone (closed); 'Find Sihazr' Official Thread
Topic Started: Apr 22 2016, 09:53 PM (3,747 Views)
Echo
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Ms. Melody
This thread is open to: Vanilla, Anro, and Echo through the signup here: http://z8.invisionfree.com/Anime_Red/index...?showtopic=2303

Posting speed: at least once to twice a week. Preferably more if/when able.






This story began as most may: a tavern? A forest clearing? Not quite. More a roadside station between two genuinely minute, well-worn towns. To be honest, the station was nothing more than a slanted roof made of wood, held together with four posts and inset with the natural surroundings. Underneath the station a bench, also made of humble wood. Nearby was an additional fifth post with an informative sign listing a quaint map of the region, a double set of arrows stating which way was which town, and a plaque listing the times of the bus that came through periodically. On both sides of the road as far as the eye could see was a natural, tall wall of red dirt and rock, as if the road (and to an extent the shelter) had been cut into a mountainside. A strong, winding tree sprouted high from the ridge to the left with ample, green leaves.

The map was of the Komi province, of which the current area was in the southeast end of. Komi was known for a robust accumulation of mountain ranges, and hidden amongst them a spiritual canyon where the true story awaited those daring enough to traverse the length.

To the left a ways laid the village of Toruni, a matchmakery of three houses smattered within a few high flats of rice fields. Either the characters of this quest came from that direction or traveled by it on a ride. To the right a decent and brisk walk further was the town of Meiru, which was supposed to be a Sherpa residence if word of mouth was anything to go by.

Here, in the confines of the tall walls and lesser brace against the winds was where a certain ermine by the name of Vanilla posted an open request for a few willing travelers to accompany her on a fun adventure if they were so willing.



The sun had risen two hours ago, or it would have if a lucky soul could see beyond the low hanging clouds and deplorable slick of rain. A rickety old bus thundered down the road, kicking up water and mud in its wake, and stopped briefly to deposit its cargo. Out into the open arms of the shelter’s dryness stepped a woman dressed in a cloak with an extravagantly large, gold-feathered hat. Both red, matching well against her wavy silver locks of hair, silver-furred ears, and open, ivory smile. She took a moment to bundle herself deeper into the confines of the cloak against the wind. Thereafter looking to those present (should anyone be present) through an inviting emerald gaze. “Vanilla?”
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Vanilla Ermfield
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Perhaps some winds might stir the brunette hair adorning the head of Vanilla Ermfield, along with some of her lighter brown fur. In any case, as she stands under the roof at the station, an internal wind of nervousness accelerates her blood flow and makes her eyelids twitch. I got so excited thinking about what I might learn in this canyon, but what if nobody will teach me? What if the people don't even welcome me?

The ermine points her muzzle toward the tree atop the nearby ridge, and inhales deeply. It's not like me to worry. I guess I'm being affected by the lack of pleasant fragrances in this place. I need to save the ones I brought with me for later. She looks toward the traveling supplies she brought for the journey. In addition to basic needs such as food, water, a bedroll, changes of clothes, and other basic supplies, she also brought some magical perfumes, colognes, incense, and scented candles. There are also matches, and a flute. The fragrance mage has found the flute to be an instrument that makes exhaling the next best thing to inhaling.

After some deep breathing in the direction of the tree, Vanilla is back to her usual, cheerful self. She smiles and thinks a bit more. I'm forgetting how much I enjoy visiting new places, seeing new sights, and smelling new plants. I greatly enjoy being curious, and this journey should offer plenty of chances for that. Besides, maybe I will get to learn even more than I hope. You never know!

Another one of her defining personality traits emerges. Her right hand clenches into a fist as she feels det-ermine-d. Let's face it: another reason I've been nervous is that part of me fears the pain I'll probably have to go through upon completing my end of a deal I made. However, I need to be strengthened by thoughts of new love, just like such thoughts give a mother the strength to endure the pain of labor.

By the time the bus arrives, Vanilla has gotten her thoughts in order. She smiles and cheerfully waves to the new arrival. "Yes, I am Vanilla, and I'm very glad to meet you. Are you here to join my adventure, my new friend?" Her expressive brown eyes shine with friendliness.
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Anro
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Some distance from the bus stop, alongside a path that would soon be traveled by our heroes, lay by all appearances a bush, with only a straw hat and a pair of humanoid legs marking it as anything different.

It remained motionless, bearing the inclement weather with the stoic resolve of the shrub it resembled.

That is, until a lone leaf drifted by on the wind, a leaf marked by its resilience to the rain pouring down around it.

A sun-browned hand snaked out of the bush to grab it gently out of the air. A canine ear cocked under the hat as the leaf was brought next to it.

…..

Whatever the dog-eared man heard from the fleeting bit of greenery seemed to please him, as he released the wayward leaf with a faint smile.

It seemed as if his long wait might be at an end.
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Echo
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Everything about the ermine's response caused the ambiance around the new arrival to sparkle with enthusiasm. Short of taking Vanilla's hands, Echo was overjoyed to hear she had found the right furry. "This excites me, you being Vanilla. Wow." The woman took a step backwards, her cloak an inch from the rain as she placed one hand to her elbow, and her other to her chin. She leaned side to side, attempting to examine the brown-furred one from more than one angle. "I, and you will have to forgive me, thought you would be whiter from the stories I have heard from Romana. Though from what I understand it was a certain guitarist's story she was giving me second hand about charming giant dragons. Sadly embellishment is a common trait in story tellers." She crossed her arms and slouched, the poofy red hat falling over one eye.

Or it did until she fixed it. In the same motion giving Vanilla a curtsy. "Ah, how rude of me. I believe an introduction is in order. My name is Echo, and I am a troubadour extraordinaire. I write songs and tell stories." She smiled again, extending a hand littered with rings and bracelets to the lady before her for a shake. Should Vanilla be keen to magic, she would sense it strongly on Echo's person. Though not nearly as strongly as the pleasant fragrance of rosewood incense that clung to the bard's enthusiastic form.

Either way she continued, "I believe you know a Romana? Tall, stunning, magical. Wings and tail of a dragon, if I may be so bold. She is my dearest friend and told me you may be her teacher? I had seen your name in a post declaring adventure and could not help but travel out here to help."



She had yet to look further up the road, through the rain, nor sense any other individuals present.
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Vanilla Ermfield
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Vanilla giggles in response to Echo's excitement, then speaks with a smile. "You act like I'm a big deal, which I'm really not!" She shakes her head, without ceasing to smile.

Her eyes widen at the mention of Romana. She shakes the offered hand without sensing any magic from the rings. "I'm very glad to met you, Echo! Oh, and it's really cool that you know Romana! She is both an eager student and a fun friend; someone I really enjoy being with! The story she heard was about a time a magical perfume temporarily turned my fur completely white and gave me certain magical powers. You might have heard that I'm a fragrance mage; a maker of magical perfumes, colognes, incenses, and scented candles. Such work is nowhere near as impressive as that of a troubadour, but I enjoy it greatly," she says with humility.

Her gaze wanders toward the natural passage where she plans to begin the journey. "The perfume that whitened my fur wasn't made by me, though. The one who made it is a far better fragrance mage than I. That's why I'm here, to find the place where she gained her knowledge. I really hope to learn more about my craft and make progress toward becoming a fragrance mage extraordinaire. I don't know if I'll find what I'm looking for, but I intend to try very hard!" Her expressive brown eyes show determination. Though Vanilla is a highly cheerful ermine, she can also be very driven when she sets a goal. Her claws scuff at the ground as she fights the urge to set off in the rain.

She shrugs. "Well, whatever happens, let's make the most of it and have lots of fun!" She takes a deep breath, which causes her eyes to widen as her enthusiasm soars. "That rosewood fragrance smells great! I'm always very glad to meet someone who appreciates pleasant scents! I think you'll be happy to hear that I appreciate songs and stories. I even play the flute a little, though I'm not great at it. Curiosity is an emotion I enjoy greatly, and I'm feeling very curious about your stories!"

Her tail twitches with excitement. "Would you please share some stories and songs while we wait for the rain to stop? I'm currently in curiosity overload! I'm curious about your troubadour work, and I'm looking forward to checking out that curious bush over there once the weather lets us start our journey." She points toward the bush, unaware it is actually a disguised Anro.
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Echo
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Vanilla's hand was shaken kindly. "I can certainly agree with you. Romana is a true life saver and a wonderful woman wrapped up in a single package." She listened, engaged, to the ermine's explanations of her white fur happenstance and how it brought her to this very meeting in the Komi Province. Intrigue littered every corner of the bard's features. Gears turned in her mind, likely of how to use this information later. Perhaps for a new tale in her book.

Pulling away, Echo blushed towards Vanilla's perceptions. Her silver-furred ears dipped ever slightly and she looked up to the lady furry with the most entrancing emerald eyes. "I have to say I am humbled by your knowledge in fragrances. It is Rosewood, one of my favorite incenses next to jasmine and pine. I found the scent to be therapeutic during performances."

Hand strayed to an instrument case beneath her cloak. She was really beginning to like this decision to join a new adventure. "Our meeting must be the work of fates. I would love to tell you a story. I know just the one." Whilst speaking, Echo fluidly moved around her newest friend to the bench to sit. Reaching into a stiff, leather pouch to her belt, a wonderfully engraved flute came to light. T'was shown briefly to Vani with a playful look about the face of the troubadour, before being placed to the bard's soft lips.

The music of the flute danced through the rains with the same momentum of the raindrops dancing upon the ground. First soft and gentle, then more playful. More active and lively. After a few stanza's she would pause to speak.

"Sunlight raised to woodland floor
Dusting off the boots and open door
The boy stepped out with nimble flint
To test toward hunter's merriment

He tracked the wilde to catch his prey
A legend learned just yesterday
To be the one to win the bet
Seek out beasts to bag and get
"

She continued to play the flute, illustrating through music a bold child searching the trees to find an unfindable creature. The flute paused, and the troubadour looked shocked. Placing a hand to her forehead as if trying to see something surprising.

"Suddenly out from a lesser burrow
Scurried a critter not bear nor doe
T'was a hare like none he'd seen before
Pearlescent fur with red eyes adore

Quick to take the aim and fire
The rabbit saw him and scurried higher
A scene would follow, the hunt is on
To catch the legend before it was gone.
"

The flute's music took on a chasing edge. Rushed, hurried, first trilling high then falling low. Until it could be concluded the chase had reached its apex.

"At last the hare cornered and stopped
Tapped between the rocks it had hopped
First the boy laughed and took sure aim
Until it turned to look towards him again

He paused and stared, eye to eye
Watching the white hare about to die
'I've finally caught you, and now I'm the one
To take on the legend with my trusty gun.'

Yet try as he might, he could not shoot
The trigger laxed and the barrel mute
With bated breath his eyes fell to tear
He dropped to his knees, the prize so near.

The boy shook his head, vision a blur
'But what prize would it be to stain your fur?
Go now, run! And never cross humans again'
He shouted, shooing his prey, thus becoming a man.

The lesson he learned was a humbling fare
To enjoy the gifts given and never take dares
Do not take blindly, nor boldly, like he almost did that day.
For beauty and nature should be loved and saved.
"

The last words given, the troubadour played a closing song to complete the tale. With the very last drifting, colorful notes the pattering of rain at their own doorstep began to lesson, to retreat. Until there was naught but the low hanging cloudcover and large puddles to contend with. Echo lowered the flute and gauged the expression of Vanilla.
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Vanilla Ermfield
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Vanilla's eyes go wide with delight when Echo mentions finding Rosewood therapeutic during performances. There's some potentially useful information! I really wonder if that would work for others, including me.

The ermine sits on the bench as silently instructed. Her head moves to the music in a rhythmic dance. It's a flowing dance during the soft, gentle parts. During the livelier parts, her hair seems to splash like raindrops hitting the ground.

During the storytelling, the fragrance mage listens with rapt attention. Her expressive brown eyes show a mixture of fun, excitement, and fascination.

During the closing music, Vanilla's head dances in a slowing rhythm as though the dance is receding along with the rain. Once the performance has concluded, the ermine jumps to her feet and claps with delight. "That was amazing! Your music made me feel like I was one with the weather! First I felt like wind dancing freely above the ground, then like rain dancing in a unique way upon the ground. The rosewood scent even got me imagining being wind playfully rustling a rosewood tree's leaves, and rain providing the tree with strengthening water. You've given me new insight into the beauty of weather, and made me wonder about the magical potential of rosewood fragrance!" She jumps in place a few times to release energy.

Her enthusiastic smile doesn't cease. "The story was great, too! The hunt appealed to my carnivore instincts, while the messages and vivid imagery appealed to my sentient mind. That was a very good lesson on the foolishness of accepting dares, and a reminder for me to not let my instincts cloud my judgement." Her tail twitches to release a bit more energy.

With that, she humbly says, "I would like to offer one very simple lesson in return: to enjoy the fragrances of plants after rain. Let's start with that bush over there." Vanilla tries to gather up her traveling supplies and head toward Anro while thinking he is a bush. She might be in for a major surprise!
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Anro
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Throughout Echo's song, there was a hint of noise that popped up from time to time. A hollow jingling, like distant wind-chimes, that seemed to get ever slightly louder over time.

By the time the song ended, however, it had ceased. Perhaps it was a trick of the imagination brought on by the power of Echo's performance?

In any case, the ermine was keen to show off her art in kind, and the clear target seemed to be a broadleaf bush that might or might not have been there before Echo started playing. It certainly stood out as the only shrub of its kind, both in sight and smell. Its leaves carried a subtle bouquet of many scents, as if it had been traveled to many places in its lifetime, as well as the mild astringency of a plant that held medicinal properties.

The top of the bush was obscured by a tall, scraggly scrub next to it, and the bottom by a rock, so Vanilla could be forgiven for not immediately seeing the features that marked it as something other than flora.

"Forgive my intrusion…" Came a deep, masculine voice, before the bush abruptly stepped out into the path, brown limbs revealing itself to be in actuality a man wearing a bush. "But I thought it a sin for such a masterful performance to have only a single audience member…"

tingalink The ringed staff in his hand gave a familiar jingle as he set it down, and lifted the conical hat to reveal his human visage, complete with blindfold.
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Echo
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Lillia-sai smiled warmly to Vanilla's response, which was both humbling and familiar to her. Flute set away into its respective pouch. Enthused, a nod or two were made to acknowledge the overflowing love of both music and its effects on the heart. "You give me too much credit." She laughed openly, taking on a more modest approach to her new friend - the fragrance mage teacher.

Topic turned to scent, specifically after the rains had receded. Echo stood and tread into the muddied roads, her arms outspreading to catch her balance as she purposefully strode into a puddle. "A wonderful suggestion! Let's - ah!"

Her shriek was short lived when the voice caught her off guard. She spun on her heel, equally shocked to see the bush so close. Made more awkward considering it wasn't a bush; instead being a man shrouded in mystery. Silver, black-tipped ears flicked to the sound of the multi-ringed staff. At the least she knew where that strange phenomena of unknown sound was coming from now.

All the same, Echo took a step in reverse so she could be alongside Vanilla. The sight of a strange man sneaking up upon her was going to set off triggers no matter how gentle he may have been about the matter. "I am quite honored by your remark, but a performer cannot go far with fluttering heart, Sir Bush."
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Vanilla Ermfield
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For just a moment, Vanilla skips toward the bush happily. I've never smelled a plant like this! How is this even possible?

She almost falls down with surprise when she receives her answer. Then she almost falls down with laughter. "Now that was unexpected, to say the least!"

Her tail twitches as her curiosity skyrockets. Why would someone come to a place like this disguised as a bush, and wear a blindfold the whole time? This is obviously a very unique person! I can't help wanting to learn more about him. There is only one way to do so without delaying our journey.

The ermine smiles in a very friendly manner. Her expressive brown eyes almost seem to shine with friendliness. "I thank you for the fun surprise, Sir. My name is Vanilla Ermfield, and this is Echo. We were starting a journey to find a special place somewhere within a canyon in this region. Would you like to join us?" Her eyes are so expressive, they clearly show she really hopes he will say yes.
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Anro
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It was hard to make out past the hat and the blindfold, but the man's brow seemed to furrow at the girls' startled reaction. The staff jingled as he took it up and knocked it against the rock that had concealed his lower half. "Ah, my apologies." He said with a self-deprecating laugh. "I'm afraid I.. sometimes make erroneous judgments on what sighted folk can and cannot see." He gave a wan smile, planting the staff back on the dirt.

"I am Anro. And as a matter of fact, I was about to begin my own trek into the canyons, and was wondering if you ladies were going that direction, and if you would mind a blind traveler in your company if that were the case?"

His head edged in Echo's direction, as if sensing she might not be so quick as the ermine to warm to a stranger's company. "I have my own provisions, and would find the way on my own if need be, but the going would be much faster with two pairs of good eyes on the trail ahead."
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Echo
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Lillia-sai did not know what to make of this latest stranger outside of her abrupt meeting with him. There was another detail to note, one which the bard was more than quick to pick up on beyond the strange nature of Anro and his blindfold:

Anro, it just so happened, was the same race as Echo. While not quite the same ears, there was a familiar look about their faces and animalistic additions that suggested distant ancestors.

Altogether, Echo was both intrigued and put off. She flinched to the latest jingle of the staff and preferred to keep her distance.

T'would be Vanilla to take up the charge and invite him on the quest. The very adventure he turned to inquire the troubadour's permission of. In response, she looked briefly from the ermine to the dog-eared man to consider her options. Then, shifting her belt and cloak, she decided there was no other option. "I guess the more would be the merrier."

She did not want to argue the hesitancy in her voice. Thus action was made to step onward to pass them. If not walk ahead of the two.

Her boots come to a stop not too long later. "Vanilla? Are we supposed to head towards Toruni or Meiru?" Her question related to the towns (See paragraph 3, post 1). Considering the possibility Echo may have been sleeping on the bus before arriving, she was not familiar with exactly which direction to take.
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Vanilla Ermfield
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Vanilla's mouth opens into an excited smile when Anro decides to come "Yes! I'm glad to meet you Anro, and I'm glad you are coming!" She is stating the obvious; her tone of voice reveals her gladness better than her words.

She blinks in surprise at Echo's question, but decides quickly. "Let's head for Meiru. I heard there are mountain climbers there. Perhaps someone there has seen the place we are searching for, or can help us find it." With a smile, she adds, "In any case, it should be fun to pick up mountain-climbing tips."

She tries to stay near Anro and help guide him along. "I guess you probably catch many sounds and scents people with sight miss. That sounds like a major upside to blindness. You might have heard me say I'm a fragrance mage, and a fragrance enthusiast. There don't seem to be many plants growing in this area, but I hope we discover some that smell really nice and have strong magical potential in their scents." She blinks. "Oh, but smell carefully. There are certain plants that are dangerous to inhale."

Though Vanilla has a very cheerful, energetic personality, she is also caring. Thus, she notices something seems to be bothering her troubadour friend. Her expressive brown eyes show concern as she says, "What's wrong, Echo? You don't seem as excited as you did before."
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Anro
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Anro, blind as he was, kept his sightless gaze on Echo a few moments past her grudging acceptance, seeming to pick up on Echo's ambivalence all too well.

Questions for the journey ahead swept any unspoken concerns aside for the moment, however, when the bard asked about their initial destination.

"Meiru? I believe it is…that general direction." His staff pointed noisily toward the sherpa village. "If a certain sign was accurate… At the least, the signmakers were kind enough to etch the words for a blind man's benefit." He gave a wry chuckle, moving in behind Echo's steps.

His head tilted thoughtfully as Vanilla's bubbly curiosity blossomed into questions. "As a matter of fact, I do. Of course, parts of my…mixed heritage help in that regard." He flicked a long canine ear conspicuously. "I inherited less of my canine forebears sense of smell, but it is a thing that has come in handy at times."

He gave a smile in the fragrance mage's direction. "I don't know enough to comment on the flora of this land, but I would be very surprised if someone as adventurous as yourself came away empty-handed…"

The blind traveler fell back a pace as Vanilla inquired into the subdued demeanor of her friend. As if he knew the cat-eared fae would feel more comfort in the space.
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Echo
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Before she knew it and with a slow spin in between, Lillia-sai had found she was indeed going the correct direction. One hand finds her hand to reestablish its crown upon her head, the other points towards the direction of Meiru. "To Meiru it is then! Follow me, adventure awaits!"

Alarmingly, she did not find reason to join the conversation with Vanilla and Anro. It may have been the way her shoulders went tight towards the other Fae's discussion about his heritage. Or it may not have been. Assumption was the in the eye of the beholder.

Ears perked and head turned to take in the ermine. "Hm? Oh, I am still excited. Brimmingly enthused, in fact. I simply have no words for it."

Echo seemed cheerful enough again after her response, emboldened by the concern Vani had shown. Whilst her steps were broad and straightforward, she took moments to sway and stray towards what bested her fancy. A puddle to splay, a frog nearby to startle, or a pause and curious look over her shoulder for the others to catch up. She was in that moment both easy to predict in her ultimate destination and hard to follow with her child-like bearing of the situation.

Though skip? Echo would never skip. She was a fully grown adult, after all.



Before long they would find their way to Meiru, as it was not far down the mountainous path. The wall of mountain to their right side fell away into oblivion, showing a beautiful landscape of canyons for the imagination to grasp before heavy, low hanging cloud cover would erase it all away in due time.

The path, itself, was less like a road now and more like a worn trail. Up ahead, after climbing a brief hill, the land along the remaining wall of stone would branch out and encompass a wood cabin with a railing surrounding it's girth. The lettering atop the lodge was of foreign language. A pack animal on two legs with a low-swinging neck, curved horns, the face of a camel, and the long hair resembling a yak stood near a trough munching away at hay.

There were no sherpa in sight. They may be in the cabin.

Echo far before this had stopped in her tracks to the previously stated view of the canyon. Her voice was really at a loss for words now.
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